The List of Real Things Review

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The List of Real Things by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

A poignant and big-hearted story about love, loss and believing in the magic of the imagination. The fourth novel from bestselling Waterstones Children’s Book Prize shortlisted author Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, following BACK TO BLACKBRICK, THE APPLE TART OF HOPE and A VERY GOOD CHANCE.

Grace knows the difference between what’s real and the strange ideas that float around in her little sister’s mind. Their parents died – that’s real. A secret hotel on the cliff-top where their parents are waiting – definitely NOT real. So when grief strikes again, Grace is determined not to let her sister’s outlandish imagination spiral out of control. But the line between truth and fantasy is more complicated than it seems…

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I won this book on a giveaway by Team BKMRK, and the premise sounded interesting enough. However sadly it didn’t live up much, the story was confusing in trying to “confuse” you yet at the same time leave you wondering.

Gracie seems to love Bee and then she turns on everyone, and it doesn’t make much sense in general, except maybe the fact that everyone is trying to deal with grief in their own particular way and trying to cope with it. That was the bit that saved the book.

It is definitely geared to younger readers rather than older ones which makes it a quick read for me.

(As a note to myself, I am definitely picky with my contemporary reads).

 

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Emergency Contact Review

Emergency Contact was a spur of the moment purchase, it sounded interesting, but I hadn’t committed to it and then suddenly I made the decision to preorder it and that was that.

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Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

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Warning, I usually avoid spoilers as much as possible in my reviews but this one may include some. I will still try to keep them to a minimum.

I am not the biggest fan of contemporary books, and if I do read them I tend to prefer more “magical realism” or something like that, which this does not have. However, the idea of having an “emergency contact” for panic attacks was a lovely thing (I think it is one of the things that made me preorder this book, not sure but it definitely would’ve since I have had panic attacks).

And both Sam and Penny aren’t perfect, are struggling and are learning to be “adults”, so it was refreshing to read from them, and hey look at that, the parents aren’t conveniently out of the way as such (yes it happens while Penny is in college/university but her mum is definitely a big part in this story).

I was shook when Penny’s “secret” was revealed, not because it was a bad secret but rather because it touched me as I had gone through something similar and I could understand her too well.

All in all, the book left me feeling happy to be alive, wanting to fall in love slowly and just needing an emergency contact.

Moon recommends

Reading Emergency Contact, I literally said to my friends they had to read it because it was so good! Another good book that is contemporary and gave me similar vibes is When My Heart Joins The Thousand, so I recommend reading it if this sounds interesting.

 

 

The Apprentice Witch Review

This book was lent to me (and recommended) by the lovely Nikki, and I am glad she did.

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The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

Arianwyn has fluffed her witch’s evaluation test.

Awarded the dull bronze disc and continuing as an apprentice – to the glee of her arch-rival, mean girl Gimma – she’s sent to protect the remote, dreary town of Lull.

But her new life is far from boring. Turns out Gimma is the pompous mayor’s favourite niece – and worse, she opens a magical rift in the nearby Great Wood. As Arianwyn struggles with her spells, a mysterious darkness begins to haunt her – and it’s soon clear there’s much more than her pride at stake …

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This is such a sweet story. It reminded me of Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle (the books), The Little Leftover Witch and a few others, and it was just a cozy fun read.

This doesn’t mean bad things didn’t happen but it just somehow left me with a good feeling inside after reading it. Wyn is a spunky girl with a lot of confusion and lot to prove in a way and then Gimma appears to ruin her already frail position as an Apprentice.

Thankfully Salle is a wonderful friend and I just adored her, as I did all the spirits and creatures and the magic in general that happens in the book. (I do not have a Moon hare as prop but I do have an Easter Bunny).

And one of my favourite things was the twist of the test results. Wonderful indeed.

Moon recommends

Reading The Apprentice Witch and all the books mentioned above, because magic!

 

Flawed Review

I have been trying to cull my “library” of books and also to read through old book box books (This one was part of Owlcrate) so I am reading my way through it.

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Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

You will be punished…

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed.

In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

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I admit I like Cecelia’s writing style and as such, this book already had a few stars in it’s pocket. The premise was quite interesting and reading through it, I felt a vibe of a very moral/religious society that dictates what makes you a saint(perfect) and what doesn’t but that also tends to be partial to whomever is the one who has the judgment voice.

However, the perfection of Celestine and everyone’s “perfection” was hard to believe and also, how do others find out you aren’t perfect if no one tells them? Is that possible? Do you get marked as Flawed only if you are a political/ideological enemy or a way to set an example? (Or like Celestine, in a very public setting where it is impossible to avoid having to judge it).

It also seemed like a critic to the fact that as a society we let things happen because we are trying to be “safe” and not cast out even if it goes against compassion and good values.

It was interesting read but it didn’t wow me nor did it hook me much.

Moon recommends

Flawed and Perfect by Cecelia Ahern (I do like her “adult” books more than her Young Adult ones). If you want a different outlook and more political and more “relevant” to today, try Outwalkers by Fiona Shaw.

Wayward 1: String Theory Review

Apparently I have been in a reading craze, and have a lot of stuff to review, so yeah, bear with me.

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Wayward Volume 1: String Theory by Jim Zub, Steve Cummings and John Rauch

Rori Lane is trying to start a new life when she reunites with her mother in Japan, but ancient creatures lurking in the shadows of Tokyo sense something hidden deep within her, threatening everything she holds dear.

Can Rori unlock the secrets of her power before it’s too late?

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I rushed through this volume, without intending to. And it surprised me. I had added this to my list since I like graphic novels and wanted something to get my eyes into but wasn’t sold on Saga which is what others were raving about (I am more of a Monstress/Fables kinda girl). So I decided to give this a go.

I loved it, it is like a mix of American graphic novels and manga, with all the crazy and nonsense of both and the good artwork too. I quickly liked the characters and wanted to know more about what was happening and as much as you can guess a little where the story goes, it ends up surprising you at times.

I can’t wait to learn more about Rori and her group of misfits.

Moon recommends

As I mentioned above, Monstress is a definitely good one however I will warn you it is not for everyone, and then there is Fables which is more well known. And of course, this lovely first volume.

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: Newt Scamander A Movie Scrapbook Review

Wow, massively long title for a book and today I will deviate from my usual book cover picture because while I read this a happy accident happened. (If you want to see the cover, the book was part of this box).

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Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: Newt Scamander A Movie Scrapbook by Rick Barba

Learn all about Newt Scamander and the incredible film from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Peer inside Newt Scamander’s enchanted suitcase, encounter marvelous creatures, roam the streets of 1920s New York City, and meet Newt’s fascinating friends! This magical scrapbook takes readers on an interactive adventure through Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Filled with removable artifacts, such as wizarding newspapers, posters, and other fascinating finds, this book has something for everyone!

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This is an adorable quick read book with the main things about the film and the “world building”. My favourite part was that it had a lot of “interactive” things to play with as you moved through the book, with cards and flip pages and little “secrets” that made it much more enjoyable to leaf through.

And of course, ti is indeed a quick look at the film, but that is helpful when you don’t want an in-depth narrative that covers everything, and this one also includes some comments from the actors and crew so ti was interesting to read bits and pieces from them too.

Moon recommends

This cute book that apparently makes doggies want to read, and of course reading Harry Potter if you haven’t yet because we all need some magic in our lives.

The Sketchbook of Loish

This review should be of no surprise to anyone, given my love for Loish’s artwork (I was part of the kickstarter for the first book, ended up buying a PS4 and Horizon Zero Dawn because she was part of the concept art team, and now I was also part of the second book Kickstarter).

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The Sketchbook of Loish: Art in progress by Lois van Baarle & 3dTotal

I sadly couldn’t afford a high tier reward, but I was pleased with all the lovely extras it came with. You can see a pack of cards, a bookmark, a colouring book (which is full of gorgeous artwork and the pages are only printed on one side so you don’t ruin the drawing on the opposite side when you choose to colour with something that may transfer to the other side of the page) and some stickers, which I am trying to decide where to stick them and can’t make up my mind.

This is less of a guide book than her first book and more of a collection of her artworks, sketches and how she has worked her way through art. I still loved the details and to see half finished pieces (it feels like you’re getting an insight into the brain of Loish). And I could gush about her artwork for ages, but I will try to be good and not go crazy about it.

If you like artwork, then I highly recommend you check her out and her books too.