Blog Tour Review: In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton

I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton. Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for asking me to take part in it!

Thanks to NetGalley, Algonquin Young Readers for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads: In the Neighborhood of True
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: 07 July 2020 (PBK pub)
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction, Own Voices
Panda Rating:

A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.
After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton”

Gotham High Blog Tour: Review

Hello, friends! It’s been a hot minute since I joined in a blog tour, huh? I’m back with another Fantastic Flying Book Club tour today and this time it’s for the graphic novel: Gotham High! Every time I get picked to be part of any FFBC blog tour I die a little bit inside out of happiness because it’s always such a privilege 🥰 Huge thanks to FFBC for organising these amazing tours and to the authors/publishers as well for making the eARCs available to us.

Be sure to click on the banner above to see the other bloggers on tour!

Gotham High
Publisher: DC Comics
Release date: 07 April 2020
Genre: Graphic Novel, Superheroes, Young Adult

Panda Rating:



From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Alex and Eliza and The Witches of East End comes a reimagining of Gotham for a new generation of readers. Before they became Batman, Catwoman, and The Joker, Bruce, Selina, and Jack were high schoolers who would do whatever it took–even destroy the ones they love–to satisfy their own motives.

After being kicked out of his boarding school, 16-year-old Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City to find that nothing is as he left it. What once was his family home is now an empty husk, lonely but haunted by the memory of his parents’ murder. Selina Kyle, once the innocent girl next door, now rules over Gotham High School with a dangerous flair, aided by the class clown, Jack Napier.

When a kidnapping rattles the school, Bruce seeks answers as the dark and troubled knight–but is he actually the pawn? Nothing is ever as it seems, especially at Gotham High, where the parties and romances are of the highest stakes … and where everyone is a suspect.

With enchanting art by Thomas Pitilli, this new graphic novel is just as intoxicating as it is chilling, in which dearest friends turn into greatest enemies–all within the hallways of Gotham High!

Amazon (US) | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Books

Continue reading “Gotham High Blog Tour: Review”

O.W.L.s Magical Readathon: Announcement and Possibility Pile!

I know it’s April so I’m already late to the party (surprise)… But after quite a bit of debating I’ve finally decided to join the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon this year! I’ve been keen on joining since I first heard about it last year and I’m seriously impressed by the amount of amazing work that has gone into making this readathon a possibility. Exhibit A are the career pages in the booklet that G made–the artwork is stunning! Here’s the announcement video from G’s channel about the readathon in case you’re interested and want to join in too (it’s never too late right?)!

G @ Book Roast introducing Year 3 of the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon!
Continue reading “O.W.L.s Magical Readathon: Announcement and Possibility Pile!”

Top 5 Saturday: Books with Beautiful Covers

We’re back with another Top 5 Saturday! I might’ve missed last week’s topic but I will come back to it at some point 🙂 Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is: books with beautiful covers!

I think the only reason this prompt is so hard is because there are so many options and how do I narrow it down to just five books?! But I’m going to do my best by focusing on five upcoming releases with beautiful covers (that I haven’t featured in a post before–I’m looking at you my sexy space elf)!

The Kingdom of Back is so beautiful holy wow 😍

Continue reading “Top 5 Saturday: Books with Beautiful Covers”

Top 5 Saturday: Trilogies

We’re back with another Top 5 Saturday! I might’ve missed last week’s topic but I will come back to it at some point 🙂 Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is: trilogies!

I’m surprised to learn that a lot of the series on my TBR and ‘need-to-finish’ lists are trilogies! I like trilogies. I think three books is a good number because it’s just long enough for those who like reading series but it’s also “short” enough for those who don’t like long series. Or simply for those who don’t have the patience to wait even longer for the next book to come out 😅 Lucky for me, almost all the series mentioned below are complete so there’s no waiting time between books and that’s really the most perfect scenario! I’m really looking forward to starting/finishing these series!

First up is the Chaos Walking Series by Patrick Ness. I still haven’t read anything by Ness although I have five of his books (including this full series) sitting on my physical shelf. I got really cool copies too!

I’ve been wanting to read more by Amie Kaufman and when I saw the covers for the Starbound Series I knew there was no way I would be passing these up. Totally cover judging here–they’re STUNNING!

Ah, The Kingkiller Chronicles. I don’t know whether I’m dreaming but THERE IS A COVER FOR BOOK THREE. Is it the actual? I don’t know. There’s still no official release date but there are 2020 whispers and if it happens I’ll be deceased (kidding… But I might actually pass out from shock LOL)!

I have been meaning to finish His Dark Materials for a while now. I enjoyed the first book but didn’t continue with the rest of the series because I wanted to find matching books. Anyone else do that? 😂

I loved The Bear and the Nightingale when I read it last year but I was waiting for the rest of the Winternight Trilogy to deliver (which obvi took forever). Planning to re-read and finish this year!

Continue reading “Top 5 Saturday: Trilogies”

Jack Janson and the Storm Caller by Andrew Marsh Blog Tour – #BookReview

This year is definitely the year of the blog tours for me as I’m back with another one for you and this time it’s for Jack Janson & the Storm Caller. Special thanks to Heather Fitt from Overview Media for asking me to be part of this blog tour and to author Andrew Marsh for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review! Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers on tour.

Goodreads: Jack Janson & the Storm Caller
Published: 05 August 2019
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Panda Rating:

Jack Janson is nearly fourteen, an only child living with his parents who hate him almost as much as they hate each other. The only good things about his life are the girl next door, Sarah-Jane Farmer, whom he adores, and his Granny Jean in Cornwall who he spends the summer holidays with.

His gran is cool but she has been hiding a HUGE secret. As her health fails, she decides to share the secret with Jack.
Gran leads Jack to a cave.
“Boom Tom tum” a loud voice echoes and a rock opens up to reveal a young giant called Winfred Storm Caller. Gran has been looking after the friendly giant since pirates killed his mother, but she now needs Jack to care for Winfred.
Sarah-Jane arrives to help and they uncover The Book Of Lore hidden in the cave.

What magic does it possess?
Have they found a way to get Winfred home to his own lands?
Are Sarah-Jane and Jack brave enough to use the book to save Granny Jean’s life?

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Continue reading “Jack Janson and the Storm Caller by Andrew Marsh Blog Tour – #BookReview”

Top 5 Saturday: Books about Mermaids

We’re back with another Top 5 Saturday! I might’ve missed last week’s topic but I will come back to it at some point 🙂 Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is: books about mermaids!

I don’t know about you but I’ve always loved the idea of mermaids and especially of being one! I surprisingly (or not) can’t recall having read many books about mermaids but I do have several on my TBR now (and they’re not all of the pining-teenager Ariel variety but more like the will-eat-you-alive kind)! Here’s what’s on my list:

I was lucky enough to get picked for the blog tour for The Deep. It looks and sounds sufficiently creepy and since we all know I’m a chicken, I’m starting to wonder what business I have reading a book that’s guaranteed to terrify me? I guess I just won’t step into the ocean for a while (not at all hard to do when living on a tropical island *cough*)!

I’ve been really looking forward to giving Sea Witch a try. I have to be honest and say the gorgeous cover is what initially caught my eye but I’m hoping the content will be just as good (although I have heard some mixed reviews)!

All the Stars and Teeth isn’t only about mermaids but I thought it still counts. Again it’s mostly thanks to the insanely good looking cover that caught my eye that this was put on my radar, and I’m only convinced to read it even more now because I’ve seen so many reviews for it lately. They are mixed reviews but I’m hoping I’ll enjoy it all the same!

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Christina Henry’s books and a few of them have admittedly been sitting on my Kindle library for quite some time now… The Mermaid is one of them and I’m really curious to see what her writing is like!

I’ve been looking forward to giving Coral a try ever since I first heard about it but I heard it can be quite triggering as it’s quite heavy on the mental health issues. I’m looking forward to finally picking it up once I feel ready for it though!

Upcoming Schedule:

  • 02 Feb 2020: Dystopian books
  • 08 Feb 2020: Mental Illness
  • 15 Feb 2020: Books about Mermaids
  • 22 Feb 2020: Books about spies
  • 29 Feb 2020: Books inspired by mythology

Do you like reading books with mermaids? What are some of your favourites? Share your recs down below!

Nils: The Tree of Life by Jerome Hamon – #eARC #GraphicNovelReview

Goodreads: Nils: The Tree of Life
Publish date: 11 February 2020
Publisher: Magnetic Press/Diamond Book Distributors
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Panda Rating:

A dystopic Nordic fantasy world, where spirits of light are the key to life, but seemingly have abandoned the world. Young Nils and his father set out to discover why the ground has grown infertile, heading north where the drought seems worse to find the cause. Far along the way, they find signs of fresh and vibrant life, caretaken by these little light spirits. But before they know it, a large metal creature arrives and attacks the creatures, apparently hunting and gathering them.

From out of the woods, a woman attacks the creature, bringing it to its knees… apparently the plant was bait for the spirits, which in turn were bait for the metal creature, which serves the high-tech Cyan Nation. This huntress, named Alba, takes Nils and his father into their tribe, where the battle between the shamanistic people and the Cyan Nation is paramount, a battle over the protection vs exploitation of the light spirits power…

Meanwhile, three goddesses watch these events, lamenting the fact that man had abandoned all belief in their power long ago. They watch but do not intervene, despite the fact that the spirits are being harvested en masse by the Cyan Nation, wreaking ruin on the world outside their city. Realizing that this conflict will in one way or another change the very fabric of this world, they slowly begin to intervene…

As they continue their travels, Nils has a dream (seeded by one of the goddesses) about the World Tree, Yggdrasil, which is being consumed by a metal plague. He knows he must now find and save the tree, and in the process, save the world. But the high council of the Cyan Nation would have otherwise…

Having been separated in their quest, Nils’s father finds himself a guest of the Cyan Prince, where he learns that they do indeed understand the power of the spirits, which they call Ethernum, serving as the power source for their technological advancement. More sinister than that, however, is the fact that they’ve used the Ethernum as a means of near-eternal longevity, having wiped out all competitors to their power and resource long ago. And now, they believe they have unlocked the secrets for using the Ethernum to revive the dead…

And for the goddesses, that is a step too far. They intervene, but in the process find one of themselves surprisingly captured by the Cyan royalty… and then killed. The remaining two goddesses are torn by this affront. One vows to wipe mankind off the planet for good, while the other goes to help Nils save the Life Tree.

High fantasy adventure combining science-fiction with pseudo-spiritual magic, posing dramatic examinations of man vs nature, life vs death, fact vs faith, and man’s desire to play god.

This was an interesting graphic novel that had a fascinating mix of Nordic mythology and fantasy elements that shared a story about a dying earth due to corruption, exploitation of resources, and the troubled Goddesses that are affected by the effects of human greed and technological advancement.

I enjoyed how Nils started but as more elements of the story were introduced I became confused with the direction it was going but also the erratic flow of scenes towards the middle and end. There were many scene jumps that made the climax feel disjointed and since there was a lot of action in these parts, it only left me feeling confused with everything that was going on. I did go back to re-read scenes in case I missed anything but I still didn’t get the clarity I was looking for. I had plenty of questions about the whole world and the characters in it — Nils, the goddesses, the Cyan nation and how it came to be, and Alba’s tribe of women hunters and how they survived. I wish that these elements were better explained so that we could have a better understanding of the story. There was also some romantic notions that were hinted at between one of the goddesses towards Nils which seemed unnecessary and didn’t make me feel more sympathetic towards her fight to save him and human kind. It honestly creeped me out a little bit lol…

That said, the artwork is simply stunning and it’s what made me want to continue reading despite not fully understanding what was going on in the storyline. The color palette was well chosen and really reflected the ‘cold tundra’/Nordic feel alongside dying nature and technologically advanced city vibes that the story presented. The details were wonderful and I loved the distinctive look of all the different characters. There were some illustrations, particularly to do with nature and the spirits, that really gave me Princess Mononoke / Miyazaki vibes and I loved it!

While Nils had an interesting and promising premise it unfortunately didn’t follow through for me. The artwork was beautiful and I’d love to see more graphic novels illustrated by this artist however, I wish that the storyline had been more clear and easy to follow/understand!

Thanks to NetGalley and Magnetic Press/Diamond Books Distributor for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This graphic novel is out 11 February 2020.
Have you read Nils: The Tree of Life or is it on your TBR?

How to Build A Heart by Maria Padian – #eARC #BookReview

Goodreads: How to Build A Heart
Publish date: 28 January 2020
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Panda Rating:

All sixteen-year-old Izzy Crawford wants is to feel like she really belongs somewhere. Her father, a marine, died in Iraq six years ago, and Izzy’s moved to a new town nearly every year since, far from the help of her extended family in North Carolina and Puerto Rico. When Izzy’s hardworking mom moves their small family to Virginia, all her dreams start clicking into place. She likes her new school—even if Izzy is careful to keep her scholarship-student status hidden from her well-to-do classmates and her new athletic and popular boyfriend. And best of all: Izzy’s family has been selected by Habitat for Humanity to build and move into a brand-new house. Izzy is this close to the community and permanence she’s been searching for, until all the secret pieces of her life begin to collide.

How to Build a Heart is the story of Izzy’s journey to find her place in the world and her discovery that the choices we make and the people we love ultimately define us and bring us home.

There were elements to this that I really enjoyed and really didn’t enjoy. The start hooked me in quickly but around the 30% mark I started to struggle with our main character Izzy, and I found myself only wanting to read the story in small doses. I’m glad I pushed through though because I ended up really liking the new characters that were introduced further on, and most importantly how Izzy’s story ended. I obviously knew that this book wouldn’t have an unhappy ending but it was, for the most part, a very satisfying end to a story full of teenage angst and struggles. Padian delivered a sincere story about family, friendships, finding yourself and understanding where your heart belongs. Some content warnings include: (cyber) bullying, depression, racism, and physical abuse.

Surprisingly, what I enjoyed the least was the portrayal of one of the main friendships. Also, the character that I started out liking the most, ended up being the character I felt most frustrated towards for the majority of the story, and unfortunately that was our MC, Izzy. To me it was clear as day from early on how Izzy’s actions would spiral and end up exploding into exactly what happened in the story, and it filled me with such angst. I couldn’t help wanting to shake sense into Izzy and to tell her to stop lying and digging an even bigger hole for herself. I didn’t like Roz at the start and thought she wasn’t a great influence but I also felt that her character deserved better considering that she also didn’t have it easy (something that even Izzy attested to). While I’m not saying what Roz did in the story was okay, I really didn’t like how Izzy ended up treating their friendship; especially as she claimed Roz was the only one who knew the truth about her and was the only person that understood the “real” her. Although their friendship was more or less mended at the end, I personally didn’t think it was a very satisfying resolution and I felt that Roz deserved better than Izzy’s lack of apology and brushing over for her own selfish reasons.

That said, I thought the cultural representation was very well done. That’s the aspect I related to the most in the story and it’s the reason why I requested it in the first place. I appreciated the author’s note at the start about how she came to write this story and how much of her own experiences went into forming Izzy’s character and relationship with her mixed heritage. Although I’m not of mixed heritage, growing up outside of my own country made it difficult for me to connect and relate to a lot my Indonesian heritage and extended family. Izzy’s limited understanding of her Puerto Rican heritage and the language was a struggle that hit close to home. The most satisfying part of ‘How to Build A Heart’ was the growth that Izzy experienced in regards to her identity and when she finally stood proud of who she is.

I also have to mention that there were some really great side characters like Mark and Betts who I adored, not to mention the warmth of the Shackleton family, and the rallying support behind the Habitat for Humanity house building. There were only a few Habitat scenes and they were mostly at the end but they filled me up with such warmth and happiness. I used to volunteer for Habitat in high school and it’s such a truly rewarding experience!

The more I let this story sink in the more satisfied I am with how it went. There was a lot more depth in many aspects of the story than I expected and it was such a pleasant surprise. Yes, Izzy made some very questionable decisions throughout but then again I have to remind myself that she’s a teenager. and I’m certainly no stranger to making similarly bad decisions when I was her age (and even when older–oops)! It’s all a part of growing up and her character certainly did that at the end. I think many young adults who read this will be able to relate to and enjoy it!

Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book is now available!
Have you read How to Build A Heart? Is it on your TBR?

Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

Today I so badly wished that I was in the comfort of my bed in my flat in Bali instead of spending hours flying while incredibly sick. I *finally* managed to finish my re-read of Thunderhead (Arc of Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman and finally started on The Toll on the last leg of my journey. I’m *loving* the detail on this cover — I just noticed the jewels on someone’s robe!? 😱

It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.

In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.

Continue reading “Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp”