City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

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Title: City of Ghosts
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 282 pages
Publication Date: August 28th, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: 3,5

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synopsis

Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself. 

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PLOT

Cassidy is a weird kid, she has an old camera that she bring everywhere, she has weird parents who wrote books about paranormal activity, she has a ghost as a best friend, and yes, she could see ghosts. Her supernatural ability began when she was drowned in the river and almost die, a boy named Jacob saved her, but later she found out that Jacob is a ghost. Ever since Jacob saved her, they become connected to one another. Cassidy not only could see ghosts, but she also could enter the veil, where the ghost live in their own world and memory.

The story become interesting when Cassidy’s parents get a chance to shoot a show in Edinburg, the most haunted city on earth, and Cassidy has no choice but to follow along. Cassidy and Jacob’s thrilling adventure starts here as they discover so many scary and powerful ghosts that could actually harm them if they’re not careful.

Although the idea is not very original but I really enjoy the story, I love how we could also get a thing or two history lessons of Edinburg. The adventure is thrilling and fun, the story is nothing new and very predictable, but this is a great and entertaining story.

WORLDBUILDING

I loved but also a little bit confused of the world that Schwab created in this book, I feel so weird reading about things I could not understand but this is a really personal opinion, for example like how Cassidy could feel the veil and the tap tap tap feeling in her shoulder, and I’m really confused of how this veil works, ghosts in their own timeloop and memory and all. Well maybe I was overthinking this, again, this is only my personal opinion. But weirdness aside, I found myself enjoying the stories behind each ghosts they encounter, like how they died and what has been keeping them in the veil.

The world is also a little bit darker than I expected, there are slightly disturbing issues such as, death in general and the various ways of death which I’m not really sure are appropriate for Middle Grade.

WRITING

This is the first V.E. Schwab book I ever read so I couldn’t compare the writing style with her previous books (which I’m sure it’d be different from her YA books). I love the writing style, it’s light and easy to follow. Although I feel like the HP references are a bit too much.

CHARACTERS

Cassidy and Jacob are two lovable characters. Cassidy is a brave kid with so many curiosities and Jacob is usually the voice of reason, to restrain her from doing something reckless and stupid, he’s not brave but he should be brave for Cassidy. I love how heartwarming their friendship is, how they really depend and understand each other.

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Victoria “V.E.” Schwab is the #1 NYT, USA, and Indie bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including Vicious, the Shades of Magic series, and This Savage Song. Her work has received critical acclaim, been featured by EW and The New York Times, been translated into more than a dozen languages, and been optioned for TV and Film. The Independent calls her the “natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones” and touts her “enviable, almost Gaimanesque ability to switch between styles, genres, and tones.”

Website I Instagram I Twitter I Facebook I Tumblr I

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Have you read this book? What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my opinion?

carolina

 

 

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Otherwood

I got this e-ARC from Candlewick Press through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

I really don’t know how to express my feeling about this book and I think I wouldn’t be able to write a proper review because this book has so many twists and turns that I’m afraid that I would unintentionally gave the plot away. But I love this book so so much and this is my attempt to persuade you all to read this amazing book! Although, it’s best to read it without knowing anything at all because I did and look what this book made me feel!

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Title: Otherwood
Author: Pete Hautman
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy
Pages: 320 pages
Year of Publication: September 11th 2018
Rating: 4,5
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synopsis
“Hatred combined with lies and secrets can break the world.” Grandpa Zach used to say that before he died, but Stuey never really knew what he meant. It was kind of like how he used to talk about quantum physics or how he used to say ghosts haunted their overgrown golf course.
But then one day, after Stuey and his best friend, Elly Rose, spend countless afternoons in the deadfall in the middle of the woods, something totally unbelievable happens. As Stuey and Elly Rose struggle to come to grips with their lives after that reality-splitting moment, all the things Grandpa Zach used to say start to make a lot more sense. This is a book about memory and loss and the destructive nature of secrets, but also about the way friendship, truth, and perseverance have the ability to knit a torn-apart world back together. 
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PLOT

Stuey and his new best friend Elly Rose are not only share the same birthday, they also share the passion and interest of wild life. They spend a lot of time playing in the wood and they even have a secret basecamp in the deadfall right in the middle of the wood. They somehow attracted to that place, it’s enchanting and sometimes they can hear music and people talking inside it, it’s creeping them out but they can’t help to love the place. Grandpa Zach told him that the wood is haunted, is it the ghosts that they’ve been hearing?

One day, Stuey told Elly Rose about their old family secret, about how their great grandparents was connected to one another. In the middle of his story, something unbelieveable happened right in front of Stuey’s eyes. And finally all of Grandpa Zack told him make senses.

And that’s when the story become interesting! The pace is rather slow in the beginning but it was gripping me from the start, so tight that I can’t get my eyes off the book. I finished the book in one sit, less than 5 hours!! That’s the fastest I can finish a book since forever!

I could tell you what was happening in the wood but then I’d totally ruin the fun. This is the book that you HAVE to read yourself!!

WRITING

The writing is out of this world! The mystery was really well written and I can’t guess where the story would lead me, will this lead me to a ghost story? Another magical land? Is this a thriller book? Or was the main character simply lose his mind? I really can’t guess!

WORLDBUILDING

The worldbuilding is the most interesting part of this book. Pete Hautman created an entirely different world from most MG fantasy books. This is actually a pretty common theme but I just rarely seen another MG books with similar theme, so I found this really unique and interesting. I love the concept and I love the way the mystery resolve toward the revealing. Although the ending kinda confuse me and make me questioning all how and why but this book is beautiful nonetheless.

This book bring out so many deep and slightly dark topics, about a dark old family secret, loss, grief, and guilt. But also a heartwarming topics about friendship and family.

CHARACTERS

Stuey and Elly Rose has a really great chemistry, their relationship is one of the most heartwarming friendship I’ve ever read. Although I feel like both characters lack emotions when the “thing” happened and ended, I mean, if I were them I’d totally freak out and questioning my sanity. I kinda expected a big dramatic scene in the end but there weren’t any.

I love that they still believe in each other despite all the circumstances and always try to get back to each other, to get back to the way they were.

OVERALL

This book is nothing like other MG books I’ve ever read, the theme is so unique although it’s a little bit confusing at the end but if you could just enjoy it and not asking so many questions, you would totally like it. There are some slightly dark contents in this book which I don’t think suitable for middle graders but that’s not the main focus of the book. I love the mysteries and the friendship, it’s totally a friendship goal!

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Do you know about this book before? Is it on your TBR? Does my review make you want to read this book?

carolina

 

 

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Keeper of the Lost Cities

Title: Keeper of the Lost Cities
Author: Shannon Messenger
Publisher: Aladdin
Pages: 496 pages
Year of Publication: October 2012
Rating: (1)
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Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.” 
There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.line

worldDARE I SAY THAT THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING MAGICAL WORLD I’VE EVER READ IN MIDDLE GRADE BOOKS AFTER HARRY POTTER!

Although I must admit that I saw many resemblances to HP but it doesn’t make this book less brilliant!

This book is set in a whole different unique world and I’m amaze by how well the author built this entire magical world. Everything seems very well thought out, every detail of places, histories, people, and creatures, they are so amazingly well written!

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Sophie has been feeling out of place for her entire life, she has no friends, and her family sometimes doesn’t understand her, it doesn’t surprise me that she will have this temptation to leave all of her life behind and start a new life in this new world which seems understand her and full of people like her. But, I didn’t expect that she would willingly to go so easily it seems like her family didn’t matter to her at all. She lacks of emotion in the beginning of the book but I’m glad to see she developed as the story goes.

As much as I hate “The Chosen One” trope I won’t deny myself that I like this book so much, I feel kinda irritated though because this book is too centered on Sophie herself, meanwhile there are so many equally amazing characters that should have shine more.

Sophie is also a “Special Snowflake” character which I usually really hate, well I admit I kinda hate her in the beginning but her character development is so well done I turn to love her and want to protect her in the end!

Like I said, there are so many amazing side characters that I think deserve more shining role in this book. Maybe I’ll find it in the next book?

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I loooove the writing style, it flows easily with the story, it’s so light and really fun to read. The pace is rather rushed in the end. It’s funny that the climax is the only scene I didn’t like, it feels so forced and end up really quick I barely had time to think.

overall

This is the next MG books that I think I’ll fangirl over after Harry Potter. So I think everyone who love HP should read this book, it’s sad that I don’t see this book much on the blogosphere! I finished this book in 12 hours straight, while I was on shift and working!! This is instantly become my favorite book. I ordered the second book immediately after I finished this, and I really can’t wait to read it!!

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carolina

The Dollar Kids

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Title: The Dollar Kids
Author: Jennifer Richard Jacobson, Ryan Andres (Illustrator)
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 416 pages
Year of Publication: August 2018
Rating: 4
lineI got this e-ARC from Candlewick Press through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

I’m trying to explore more genre because for all my love I always been afraid to get out of my comfort genre and I’ve been meaning to read Middle Grade books other than fantasy, so you could see that I’m really glad when I found out that NetGalley approved me to read this e-ARC!


plot

Twelve-year-old Lowen Grover is a passionate comic artist, at least he was, until his only friend Abe who’s usually there when he was drawing and criticizing him, died in a random shooting. After that, Lowen barely draw anymore because it’s always reminding him of Abe. Haunted by guilt and grief, all Lowen need is to escape the town he lived in. So when he saw the advertising of one dollar house in a former mill town, it seems like a perfect escape. He proposes the idea to his parents and siblings, and after various considerations they decided to give it a try. But is that really a good choice? Have they traded one set of problems for another?

I must warn you that if you don’t have the patience to read a slow pace book then you might won’t survive this because the pace is so slow and sligthly boring, at first. Well you know I hate slow paced books too but the good thing is, I always power though, and for once I’m glad that I power through this book and not DNF this. I read the first 250 pages in 3 weeks but then things are getting interesting after that and it only took me 2 days to finish the rest.  Continue reading “The Dollar Kids”

The Explorer

Title: The Explorer
Author: Katherine Rundell
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Book
Pages: 337 pages
Year of Publication: August 2017
Rating: 4
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lineI have never been surprised by a book as much as this book did to me! This book was recommended by a dear friend of mine, she rarely read Children/Middle Grade book but for some reasons she gave this book a try and she was blown away.  So she was really excited to introduce me to this book because she knew I love Children/Middle Grade book. But I wasn’t sure if I’m gonna like it because I usually read fantasy, and knowing that this entire book is about an adventure in Amazon really make me question what’s so interesting about it. But boy was I wrong! I’m so glad I took her advice and just read it without any expectation! Because in the end this book shock the bejeezus out of me!

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This book is about Fred, Lila, Max, and Con. Four children who were on six-seated aeroplane from Manaus to England before the pilot had a heart attack and the plane dive straight into the Amazon. The children are wounded and traumatize, but alive and also lost in the jungle. In order to get home, they have to survive the jungle.

You probably wonder how boring it must be to read 300-ish pages of children surviving in the jungle, well guess what, I did too! But once you read about these children and follow their adventure, you could never stop reading until the end.

They have to find food, build shelter, survive the weather and whatever dangerous creature there might be in the wild jungle of Amazon with little knowledge they had about survival.

The pace is rather slow and I normally hate slow pace book but I was surprised by how I enjoy the pace because I’m too caught up on their adventure. Continue reading “The Explorer”

Aru Shah and the End of Time

Title: Aru Shah and the End of Time
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Rick Riordan Present
Pages: 355 pages
Year of Publication: March 2018
Rating: 4

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lineThis book was one of my most anticipated book of 2018 because duh, it’s Rick Riordan present. I would literally read anything with Rick Riordan name on it! And this whole idea of Rick Riordan Present really excite me because I’m a huge mythology nerd and you may have already know that I’m a sucker for a good middle grade fantasy. So I don’t really care which mythology they will write, the books in this project will totally be my instant buy!

I’ve heard that there are three upcoming books which will be focused on three different mythologies, Mayan, Korean, and African mythology and I’m so excited for all of them!! Okay enough rambling, I’ll get back to the topic which is reviewing this amazing book!

Continue reading “Aru Shah and the End of Time”

Unwritten

Title: Unwritten
Author: Tara Gilboy
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Pages: 198 pages
Year of Publication: October 2018
Rating:4
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 This book has been on my Goodreads TBR for months. At first I was attracted by the gorgeous cover of this book and as you know I have a soft spot for a cute Middle Grade book cover, but as I read the synopsis in Goodreads it turns out that this book sounds no cute at all. The synopsis is really intriguing so I decided to request this ARC in Netgalley and I was so shocked when my request was approved.
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I started reading this the minute I received the e-ARC and finish it 3 hours later. The story hooked me from page one and I just can’t stop swiping through the pages ever since.
plot
The story follows a twelve year old Gracie who was told by her mother that she was a character from a book, an unpublished fairytale in which she supposed to die in fire when she was a baby, murdered by the evil Queen Cassandra. Twelve years ago her mother fleed them from the story to the outside world and live a normal “human” life to avoid such tragedy. But Gracie, being a curious teenager keep digging to find out about her past life despite her mother told her not to. The opportunity comes when the author who created their story comes to a book signing in her town and that’s when Gracie accidentally did something terrible that turns into a series of events that lead her to the dark truth. Okay if this plot doesn’t interest you, I don’t know what will!
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I obviously have been fooled by the cute and colorful cover, boy I was so misjudged, this book is not colorful and cheerful at all. It’s a slightly dark book and a twisted one. The idea may sound familiar because there are some books with similar idea but this book is well executed!

Continue reading “Unwritten”

The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo #3)

Title: The Burning Maze
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 448 pages
Year of Publication: 2018
Rating: (1)
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lineOMG I was in complete mess after reading this and I was crying in the corner of my room for several hours! I can’t believe Uncle Rick did this to me! I CAN’T EVEN… I can’t forgive him for what he’s done!

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In this third book, Lester Papadopoulos, a former olympian God called Apollo along with his master Meg, daughter of Demeter embark a journey to free the third Oracle from the hands of Triumvirate, the evil Roman emperors. To do so they have to enter the dangerous and burning maze of Daedalus (yes, the infamous labyrinth is back) to find the oracle in the center of the maze. In this journey they got some help from our favorite satyr Grover, also from some demigods and dryads.

Continue reading “The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo #3)”

The Door by the Staircase

Title: The Door by the Staircase
Author: Katherine Marsh
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 288 pages
Year of Publication: 2016

Rating:4

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lineThis book is an impulsive buy to be honest. I saw it in goodreads, read some good reviews, high rating, and intriguing blurb, and then boom! The book arrived at the front door of my house a couple days later. I don’t know why I always did this to myself especially when it comes to middle grade fantasy, maybe it’s because I’ll always enjoy them no matter what.

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This book is about an orphan named Mary Hayes who was adopted by a mysterious old woman named Madame Z, in an instant Mary’s life turned upside down, she is fed with hearty meals, clean clothes, room of her own, so many books to read, and she get to explore the strange town of Iris. Unlike the city she was from, this town is so dreamy and full of magic, there are so many street magicians, tricksters, magic shops, fortune teller, and many other magical things. With her new friend Jacob, they’re off to a new adventure that they have never experienced before.

Continue reading “The Door by the Staircase”

Granted

Title: Granted
Author: John David Anderson
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Pages: 336 pages
Year of Publication: 2018
Rating: 4
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lineI got this book from Owlcrate Jr March “I WISH” box. To be honest I’ve never seen or heard about this book or the author anywhere before so I had no expectation on this book. I dove into it blindly, not knowing anything beside it’s about a fairy,  well at least the cover said so.

plot

The story follows Ophelia Delphinium Fidget, an ambitious and perfectionist little fairy, actually she’s not just an ordinary fairy, she’s a granter, the most noble profession among fairies. A granter’s job is to make sure every wishes made by human were granted, either the wishes made by blowing up birthday candle, dandelion, wishing on stars, wells, or flipping coins to the fountains, it’s a granter’s job to grant them. But the granter have to go to the human world to sprinkle their dust on whatever thing human used to make the wish, and it could be quite an adventure.

After many years training, Ophelia finally given her first mission, her first wish to grant. She prepared for this moment for her entire life, but the journey she’s about to take is not as easy as it seems. Ophelia was faced with so many obstacles in her journey, she was forced to get out of her comfort zone, and surprisingly made an unusual friendship.

Continue reading “Granted”