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Sunday, August 31, 2014

[REVIEW] This is Not A Test by Courtney Summers

This is Not A Test

Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: YA Dystopia
Published: June 19th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin
Purchase from: Amazon | The Book Depository
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to? 


It's not everyday that I come across a good zombie story. But This is Not A Test is beyond good. This is brilliant, a well-written zombie novel that's not all gore and violence. It has enough drama, suspense and emotion to keep you reading. More than an apocalyptic novel, This is Not A Test is a story on what it truly means to survive.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

[REVIEW] Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Say What You Will

Author: Cammie McGovern
Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance
Published: June 3rd 2014 by HarperTeen
Purchase from: Amazon | The Book Depository
John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern's insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.


My thoughts

Say What You Will is a difficult read. It's raw and honest and maybe, a tad uncomfortable. But it's brave and daring. It depicts the ugly reality of the lives of people who suffer from disabilities that may or may not be so obvious to other people.

Friday, August 15, 2014

[REVIEW + Giveaway] Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Out of the Easy

Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: YA Historical Fiction, Romance
Published: February 12th 2013 by Philomel Books
Purchase from: Amazon | The Book Depository
It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer.

She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

Out of the Easy is undeniably a good book. The writing is superb; Ruta Sepetys is a master of metaphors. She has a way with words that will sneak up on you and poke at your heart. Captivating story, actually. But I can't say I liked it very much. For one, the pace was too slow for me. It took me over a month to finish this book because it could not hold my attention for too long. I was expecting more thrill and mystery since the blurb mentions about a "mysterious death." Sadly, it fell short of my expectations. But on a positive note, there are no shortage of interesting characters in Out of the Easy. There's Cokie, Jesse, Willie, Sadie, Patrick, and even the girls at the brothel house. I'm not too keen about the main character, Josie, though. I mean, she's strong and head smart, but I just can't sympathize with her. I think my favorite part of the book was when Josie realized who Patrick was really in love with. That was an amazing turn of events. I almost believed they would end up together. Good thing they did not. The last quarter of the book was marginally better than the first parts. There's more action and less dawdling on Josie's part. Her problems were actually having solutions. Things were starting to look up, if only a bit. And then an amazing character dies. Sucks, right? I personally don't see why the author had to kill that particular character off, except maybe that it would be the only way for Josie to have the chance to decide for herself and escape her crappy life. It was sad but what actually moved me to tears was Sadie's gesture at funeral party. So simple yet so touching.

Overall, Out of the Easy isn't bad. It's just not for me.

One (1) winner will win an e-copy of Out of the Easy in epub or mobi format
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One (1) Philippine resident will win my hardbound copy of Out of the Easy
Open to PH only

Monday, August 4, 2014

[REVIEW] The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver

Author: Lois Lowry
Series: The Giver Quartet, Book 1
Genre: YA Sci-fi, Utopia
Published: April 26th 1993 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Purchase from: Amazon | The Book Depository

In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is in order and everyone is happy and contented. But the peace he – and everyone else – knows came with a high price. Only one person knows the truth and Jonas is about to become that person.

The Giver is a powerful and thought-provoking novel about the things we take for granted and what we sacrifice in the name of humanity. What I liked most about this book is that even though this is a serious story, it doesn't feel heavy at all. And because this is utopian, there's no dark and gritty that's very common in post-apocalyptic books I've read before. Just the underlying truth that there's more than meets the eye. That even the most perfect world isn't really perfect at all.

I loved how real Jonas's character is. He grew up in a society of rules and order, but he quickly adjusted to his role as Receiver. And even though he was prepared to take on the role, he was willing to admit that he wasn't brave enough for it. His friendship with the Giver and the memories he saw gave him the courage to do what he thought was right. I admired his faith and belief that even though the memories were painful, they were worth to be remembered by the people. And in the end, I wanted to believe that Jonas achieved what he set out and risked his life for.

A really good and brilliant tale. I don't know why I didn't read The Giver before now, but I'm glad I finally did. Every page is a treasure.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

[REVIEW] Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Published: September 10th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin
Purchase from: Amazon | The Book Depository

In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I utterly enjoyed reading Fangirl. It was light and cute and quirky. If you've been reading my reviews, you probably know by now that light-cute-quirky is a winning combination for me. So why 3 out of 5 stars only for Fangirl?

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