Book Review : A List of Cages

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A List of Cages by Robin Roe
Publication: January 10, 2017 (Disney-Hyperion)
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary

synopsis

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian–the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives. x

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I got an e-mail from NetGalley about this book with a subject “You’re pre-approved for a YA debut we think you’ll love” and they were right! A List of Cages ended up as one of the best books I read in 2016.

Julian has dyslexia. His parents died in an accident when he was 9 years old so he had to stay in foster care. Everything was doing great until he’s Uncle, the only relative he has, took him. He’s now a high school freshman who doesn’t have any friends and his teachers are impatient with him. His misery continues at home. Living with his Uncle is more worse than having no friends. The way he treats Julian is unacceptable and pure evil. But Julian wants him to be happy. He wants everyone to be happy.

Adam is a popular high school senior who has a genuine heart. He struggles with ADHD but he won’t let that get in his way. He loves his wonderful Mom and his amazing friends. He likes helping other people without expecting anything in return. He treats Julian as his real brother and he’ll do everything to keep him safe no matter what it takes.

This book is written from Adam and Julian’s POVs. I loved that the author managed to give these two characters their own distinct voices. They are extremely different but both brave, flawed and beautiful. The secondary characters are relatable and incredible as well.

I loved the writing style. It’s straightforward yet compelling. Important and serious topics are present in this book and Roe handled them effectively. This book also has the right amount of romance and I liked it.

I have to say that this was not an easy read for me. I was crying most of the time. It’s painful to read some parts but I couldn’t stop. I was emotionaly attached. I was so afraid that more horrible things will happen to the characters. I wanted so badly for them to be okay. At the same time, I think that without these “horrible scenes”, we will not be able to see the real message of this book.

Hate ricochets, but kindness does too.

There was a scene towards the end that I thought was not really that necessary but it didn’t bother me that much. I am absolutely satisfied with the ending and I finished this book with tears in my eyes. Heartbreaking as it was, I am so happy I got a chance to read this extraordinary book. I can’t believe that this is Robin’s debut novel! To say this book is exceptional is an understatement.

An incredibly moving story about true friendship, kindness, courage, unconditional love and a lot more. I can’t wait for you guys to read this book.

Please, please add A List of Cages in your TBR / To-Buy List. It will be out on January 10, 2017.

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Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


About The Author

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Robin Roe is the author of A List of Cages, which has received starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. She has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s from Harvard. She counseled adolescents in Boston before she moved to Dallas to run a mentoring program for at-risk teens.

Author Links
Website | Twitter | Instagram

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Book Review : Enrule by Holly Sparks

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I remember waking to the scream.
I remember calling my sister’s name.
I remember seeing the blood smeared along the staircase.
I remember the creature’s green eyes.
They say there’s a cure. They say there’s a way to stop this madness, a way to stop the hunger.
I think they’re lying.
My name is Ella, and this is my story. x

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Ella is one of the very few survivors after the zombie virus invaded their neighborhood. They were taken to a place called Underground where they are trained to fight and defend theirselves against the zombies. Saving the other survivors who were trapped outside is their main objective. Just when she thought that everything is finally getting better, a shocking incident happened that made Ella and her new found friends to take a very dangerous step.

I want to start with what I love about Enrule and obviously, it’s the gorgeous cover. I haven’t read the book description so I had no idea what the story was all about. I thought it’s a fantasy novel with warriors or magic on it. I was totally surprised that this is about zombie apocalypse which was so perfect because I’m a zombie fiction fan.

Ella is the main character in this book and honestly, I didn’t really like her that much. She can be really stubborn and sometimes, annoying. She made me roll my eyes especially during those instances when she meets a new guy. But I do admire her braveness, dedication and willingness to save and protect her friends and other people.

Zoe is definitely my favorite character. She is a certified badass. Just like Ella and the others, I was also amazed by her assassin/ninja-like skills. Sadly, I wasn’t able to connect with the characters because I didn’t get to know much about them. I hope we’ll get to see more about their background stories on the next book. There is romance and probably a love triangle but I didn’t care much about it. I was more intrigued with the mystery part of the story.

Action-packed! This book has a great deal of well-executed fighting scenes and I love it. Aside from the engaging story, the writing is easy to understand and it flows smoothly which made this book a quick and fun read.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Enrule. This is perfect for zombie fiction lovers out there and for those of you who wants to read something which is outside your comfort zone. I’m pretty sure that you’ll love this.

A very outstanding debut novel. Congrats to Ms. Holly and please don’t let us wait too long for the second book. 😀

3.5Enrule by Holly Sparks
Series : The Enrule Series #1
Edition: Paperback (283 pages)
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing
Platform (December 9, 2015)
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Zombie Apocalypse


*Disclaimer: A physical copy was sent by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

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Book Review : Honey Girl by Lisa Freeman

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Honey Girl is set in the 1970s California (and Hawaii) beach scene. After the sudden death of Nani’s father, her mother decided for them to move from their house in Hawaii to California. One of Nani’s goals, aside from giving her father a “proper” burial, is to be a part of the lineup – aka “the mean girls” – of the State Beach.

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Book Review : Maybe Not by Colleen Hoover

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image1 (2)When Warren has the opportunity to live with a female roommate, he instantly agrees. It could be an exciting change.

Or maybe not.

Especially when that roommate is the cold and seemingly calculating Bridgette. Tensions run high and tempers flare as the two can hardly stand to be in the same room together. But Warren has a theory about Bridgette: anyone who can hate with that much passion should also have the capability to love with that much passion. And he wants to be the one to test this theory.

Will Bridgette find it in herself to warm her heart to Warren and finally learn to love?

Maybe.

Maybe not.image2 (1)I just randomly started reading Maybe Not (on my Kindle) when I was in bed and I had no idea that this is about Warren and Bridgette. Warren was my favorite in Maybe Someday so a book, even just a novella, about him made me so happy. In case you didn’t know,  Maybe Someday was my very first read from Colleen Hoover and I ended up not liking it that much. You can read here why.

Maybe Not follows the story of Warren and the mean Hooters’ waitress slash roommate, Bridgette. If you’ve read Maybe Someday, you know that these two have a weird (and crazy) relationship. And in this novella, we get to know how it all started, including Warren’s addiciton. Also, you’ll recognize some scenes because the story takes place at the same time as Maybe Someday, only in Warren’s POV.

Warren is an unforgettable character. He is funny, open, a loyal and caring friend and most of all, a true lover. I didn’t like Bridgette that much in the beginning because she is very very mean. I understand that she went through or having a tough time but it doesn’t mean that she has to be rude the whole time to all the people around her. But Warren sees something special in her and that’s enough for me to like her at the end. Honestly, I enjoyed these two characters more than Ridge and Sydney.

“I don’t want you to change Bridgette. I’m not in love with who you could be, or who you used to be, or who the world thinks you should be. I’m in love with you. Right now. Just like this.”

This is absolutely a fun and fast read. There were steamy scenes (but not in a way that you will feel uncomfortable reading them) and also funny moments. I enjoyed the sarcasm, pranks and their visit to Warren’s sister (I was laughing hard with this one). Minus .5 because I want more. I also want to know Bridgette a lot more. Hoover’s impressive and brilliant writing style combined with interesting characters and delightful story made her one of my favorite authors. Yep. It’s official, she’s now included in my list.

If you want a quick and fun read (and you’re 18+), I recommend you to read this book. I was in a bit of a reading slump and this helped me a lot and it made me write a review. (My last review post was in April 8). lolimage3 Maybe Not by Colleen Hoover
Series: Maybe Someday 1.5
Edition: Kindle (130 pages)
Publisher: Atria Books (November 2014)
Genre: New Adult, Novella, Romance, Fiction

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Book Review : Sunday’s On The Phone To Monday by Christine Reilly

“So, this won’t be a love story. Nobody is trying to tell you something about love. This will be a story about a family.”

Claudio and Mathilde Simone, once romantic bohemians hopelessly enamored with each other, find themselves nestled in domesticity in New York, running a struggling vinyl record store and parenting three daughters as best they can: Natasha, an overachieving prodigy; sensitive Lucy, with her debilitating heart condition; and Carly, adopted from China and quietly fixated on her true origins.

With prose that is as keen and illuminating as it is whimsical and luminous, debut novelist Christine Reilly tells the unusual love story of this family. Poignant and humane, Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday is a deft exploration of the tender ties that bind families together, even as they threaten to tear them apart. x

Mathilde Spicer, an aspiring actress and Claudio Simone, a record store owner, meet in a party and fall in love instantly. Within a year of dating, Claudio proposed and they get married. They raise three wonderful and unique daughters namely, Natasha (the eldest), Lucy (who is suffering from a rare heart condition) and Carly (adopted from China). Dealing with both physical and mental illness, the Simone family continues to overcome life’s changes and challenges and continue to stay strong for each other.

The book is divided into two chapters with siwtching POVs and short chapters. The characters are very interesting and real. Although I felt like I didn’t get to know them better, I still enjoyed reading their point of views. It didn’t really affect my reading experience so it’s okay. The thing that got my attention was the author’s writing style. It is different but in a beautiful way. I have to admit that I struggled in the beginning but later on, as I got used to the style, I couldn’t stop myself from reading. Each words/sentences are perfectly crafted and reading this book feels like reading a long poem or lyrics of a song. I highlighted quite a lot of passages. Music plays a big part of the story so it’s a big plus for me. Some random facts, the book’s title is from a Beatles song. The author also did a great job on presenting some serious issues like same-sex marriage, mental illness and racism.

I’m so glad that I ended up loving this book. I was reading it in bed and I got so emotional I fell asleep crying. I cried while reading the last few chapters because I was expecting for a different scenario. But just like in real life, you’ll never know what will happen. You just have to accept it and move on.

“Some things don’t get better, said Mathilde. But you can make yourself better.”

Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday is a very compelling story with a unique style of story-telling. Kudos to Ms. Christine for an amazing debut novel.

4stars Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday
by Christine Reilly
Edition : eBook (336 pages)
Publisher : Touchstone (April 5, 2016)
Date Read : April 2016


Disclaimer : An e-copy was sent by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review : Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

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I finished this fantastic short story collection of The Lunar Chronicles yesterday and I feel like I want to read the series again. Each of the short stories are unique and outstanding. My favorites are The Queen’s Army, The Princess and the Guard, and Something Old Something New.

The Keeper

This story is about Michelle Benoit and the great role she played in Princess Selene’s life. I immediately became curious about her when she was mentioned in Scarlet. In this short story, we get to know more about her, her love story and why Scarlet idolizes her so much. Also, the little Scarlet is so adorable.

Glitches

This is a short prequel to Cinder. I read this right after I finished Cinder last year. Here, we get to see the arrival and adjustments of Cinder in her new family. We get to know about her stepfather, how her relationship with Peony and Iko started, and where Adri’s hatred is coming from. This just made me love Cinder, Iko and Peony even more.

The Queen’s Army

This tells Z’s (Wolf) heart wrenching story and his transformation (or should I say modification) from a 12-year old boy into a big bad wolf. We also get to see his family, how the tension between him and his brother started and how he became an Alpha.

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Book Review : Even The Moon Has Scars by Steph Campbell

Two strangers.
Two broken hearts.
One night to set each other free.

I have to admit that I bought this book because of its lovely cover, plus the title caught my attention. I didn’t know what to expect because I hadn’t read the summary and this was my first Steph Campbell read. I’m so glad that I enjoyed it.

Lena is a walking miracle. She was born with multiple heart defects and had a surgery when she was still a baby. She’s now seventeen years old but her parents are still keeping a very close eye on her. They never leave her alone even she’s just at home until an unexpected incident happened.

Gabriel (Gabe) is the opposite of Lena. He can do whatever and go wherever he wants but there are still things missing in his life. His mother is more concerned with her public image than her family. His father left after his grandfather died. He only have his grandmother but she is also starting to forget him. After an incident involving his ex-girlfriend, Gabe ended up in jail and has been “exiled” by his mother to his grandmother’s house.

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Book Review : Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin

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image2 (1)How much do you know your mother? Are you often mad at her because she’s irritating? Does she always ask you to do some household chores? Or are you considering her as the witch in your own fairytale?

Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin is about the disappearance of an illiterate and elderly mom in a crowded Seoul train station without his husband’s knowledge. Her family, including her four adult children, is desperately trying to do everything to find her and as they continue searching, they realize how little they know about their mother, like they don’t even have a recent photo of her, and they starts to blame themselves for giving her less attention.

The novel is divided into different parts and each one was narrated by the family members including Chi-hon (the eldest daughter and a novelist), Hyong-chol (the eldest son and the favorite one), the neglectful husband and mom herself. Mom’s background reveals through flashbacks as the novel continues. All her sacrifices for her children, how she handles her unfaithful husband and her generosity not only towards her family but also to other people.

“Mom was the kitchen and the kitchen was Mom. You never wondered, Did Mom like being in the kitchen?” – p. 60

The participation of the reader is present by the author’s way of using “you” (second person) in this novel and though it’s quite perplexing in some parts, it still works well. It demands us to ponder and ask ourselves if we are also like one of mom’s children or the husband. Shin has done a great job on reminding us the importance of honouring not only our mother, but also the people who have done a lot of selfless things for us. The changes of the woman’s role are also present by showing how different mom’s life before compared to her children who are living in the present time. (On the last page of the book, I wrote a short letter for my mom.)

A certified Korean tear-jerker. I had a hard time to finish reading this novel because it’s hard to read when your eyes are filled with tears. From what I’ve read, Shin has won countless awards in her homeland for her works and Please Look After Mom won the Shadow MAN Asian Literary Prize 2011. This book is also her first novel to be translated into English. And I personally would like to thank Chi-Young Kim for expertly translating this amazing novel so it can be appreciated by readers, including me, from different countries.

I recommend this to those who are into deep emotional stories (like me) and also if you are interested in learning about some Korean cultures like The Full Moon Harvest.

image35starsPlease Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin
Original Title : Omma rul put’akhae (Korean)
Edition : Paperback (272 pages)
Publisher : Vintage (2012)
Genre : Fiction, Contemporary

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Book Review : Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.x

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Book Review : Black Crow White Lie by Candi Sary

First of all, I would like to thank Ms. Candi Sary for sending me a copy of her book. ♥

Black Crow White Lie is a story of Carson, a young boy who has a magical gift of healing, living in Hollywood motels together with her alcoholic fortune-teller mother. She tells him stories of how great he was in his past life including stories about his deceased father as a war hero. During the absence of her mother, Carson finds out the truth about his identity and is confused on what to believe in. Does he really have the ability to heal? Or is he just imagining it the whole time?

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