Book Review #83: Mr. Bambuckle’s Remarkables by Tim Harris, Illustrated by James Hart

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Title: Mr. Bambuckle’s Remarkables
Author: Tim Harris
Illustrator: James Hart
ISBN: 9780143785859
Pages: 240
Genre: Children’s Book
Format: Paperback
Date Published: August 28, 2017
Publishing House: Penguin Kids Australia
Goodreads Rating: 4.75
Personal Rating: 4 / 5

“Sometimes the best learning happens when you teach yourself.”

Synopsis

He’s the first teacher to cook us breakfast.
Is his spark-maker beetle really that dangerous?
I heard he drank yak’s milk in Mongolia.
He’s the only person who isn’t afraid of Canteen Carol.
My mum says he used to be in the circus.

The class in room 12B has a new teacher, and nothing is ever going to be the same . . . [Goodreads]

My Personal Thoughts

Tim Harris’ Mr. Bambuckle’s Remarkables is a highly entertaining children’s book. It is jam-packed with life lessons that we, adults, often forget and neglect. I like how books for kids can become an eye-opener and refresher in order for us to contemplate our life choices and actions. This book was sent to me by Penguin Kids Australia. Yes, I do review children’s books as well because I can recommend them to my kids for them to read and enjoy. First, the illustration is really nice and catchy. I like how they all complemented with the story. Second, the main character, Mr. Bambuckle is so good in terms of bringing out the best out of his students. It is not surprising how the students of 12B became so fascinated with him. He teaches in a unique way but the lesson that he wants to impart to the kids is still clear and relevant. The ending is a cliffhanger and I was craving for more, I was a bit disappointed because it felt like I want to know the rest of the class as well and not just the first few students who were introduced. But I am not complaining, I’ll just look forward to the next book. Third, I like how it was written and executed, the simplicity of the words will be easy for young readers to comprehend. The illustrations also added colour to the book. Overall, this is highly recommended to young readers and those young at heart just like me. Kudos to the author for making me realise all the things that I have been forgetting because I was busy thinking that I’m already an adult and that I don’t need to know the basics in life anymore. I love it, each and every chapter; and each and every character including the pseudo-antagonist kid who often bullies the underdog. It was worth my time; a fast-paced story with sense and purpose.

Thank you, Penguin Random House, for sending me a copy to read and review. However, this does not change my views and opinions.

~JaNnA

 

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Book Review #70: Geekerella by Ashley Poston (Advance Reader Copy from Penguin Random House Australia)

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Title: Geekerella
Author: Ashley Poston
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling
Format: Paperback
Date Published: April 04, 2017
Publishing House: Quirk Books
GoodReads Rating: 4.13
Personal Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis

Anything can happen once upon a con…

When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.

Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

My Personal Thoughts

The story is very predictable but highly entertaining and young adult friendly! I personally requested for a copy of this book because I was so curious about its hype and rating on Goodreads especially its impact on young readers on the bookstagram community. First, I must admit that it is truly adorable and bubbly, and super CUTE. I have nothing against it because what would someone expect from a modern-day Cinderella story? Obviously, it contains the usual ingredients: a young lady who’s deprived of love and attention from her stepmother and two wicked stepsisters; and who also happens to meet a prince charming in a ball with the aid of her fairy godmother-ish bestfriend slash workmate. PRESTO! And I was right, although, in this book, the antagonistic witches aren’t as gruesome compared to the classic fairytale that all of us have read over the years. The stepmother here in the story was still decent in a way and less bitchy-ish. The stepsisters, on the other hand, surprised me because the other twin sister actually has a heart. The so-called prince charming is Darien, and I like his character. He is famous and rich but despite all of the fame and wealth he still felt lonely and abandoned. There’s a lot of amazing stuff here which is different from the original story. I just don’t like the idea of having a fandom! Like seriously? It’s not my cup of tea, it was added to match the novel and for me, it’s not appealing. It seems like the fandom was just added and viola everything should match perfectly! It’s a major turn off. Aside from the fact that it’s weird, it’s also annoying because the story revolved around this sci-fi fandom that the characters were so fond of, without it, I could have given it a higher rating. But I am not complaining, it’s just that it took me ages to finish reading it (one week to be exact) because I find the Starfield thing boring. The main character, Elle, is a sweet and nerdy girl who likes to self-pity most of the time. I just love how Sage (her instant bff) brought out the inner fighter in her and helped her with all her shenanigans. This story is also LGBT friendly which makes it cool but I find the love story of Darien and Elle too good to be true and an insta-love. I believe that we can’t really fall in love with someone that we haven’t met or even talked to yet. Come on! In addition to this, the cover is just so commendable and to giggle for! It is a combination of pink, purple, and glittery font; and for me, it is a cover-buy-book. Anyway, overall I’m giving it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. It is recommended for young readers; it is Young Adult themed but I would also recommend it for much younger readers (even for starters) because of its innocence, simplicity, and life lessons. Kudos to the author for creating such an inspiring light-read and thank you, Penguin Random House, for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest and fair review.

~JaNnA

Book Review #66: Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Title: Origin (Lux #4)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Pages: 418
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Format: Digital Copy
Date Published: August 27, 2013
Publishing House: Entangled
GoodReads Rating: 4.44
Personal Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?

And will they even be together?

My Personal Thoughts

Wow! Finally! My long wait was over! Daemon Black never ceases to bring me butterflies in the stomach, ugh! I just can’t! Honestly, I still don’t like the flow of the story (it’s just going nowhere), just like with the 3rd book, but the OTP (one true pair) is just so awesome and perfect for each other. I can’t count the number of times I swoon and screamed because they just make a real great pair. The setting is getting weirder and weirder as well now because they are on the run, away from their enemies and they spent most of their time in the DOD’s (Daedalus) camp where they were held prisoners and experiments were being done. Katy is always so annoying just like in the previous books but I love how she made good choices here in the 4th installment. Daemon’s determination and perseverance is just admirable because he could have run away and never looked back but he just can’t because Katy is all that matters. This is highly entertaining and funny. Very light and cute and the characters were able to maintain their bubbliness despite all difficulties. The sad part is the betrayal of a family member, I was caught off guard and did not realise that he was a threat. Anyway, the crew is getting smaller and it saddens me because in the 5th book an all out war is screaming and I don’t know how they will be able to withstand it. Dee and Katy’s friendship was restored and it made me giddy because BFFs will always rule. Hoes over Bros like what they say. I am not yet ready for this to end. Four out five. ^_^

~JaNnA

Book Review #62: Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #3) by Jenny Han

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“Disappointment is good for kids; it prepares them for the real world, where it’s not all about them and their feelings.”

Synopsis

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

My Personal Thoughts

Young adult contemporary books are really not my cup of tea since I started my reading habit, but Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series definitely made an exception. OMG! I don’t know how to start drafting my book review about the 3rd and final installment of Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky’s young love story. It is evidently innocent, pure, and overflowing with emotions! Just like what I mentioned a year ago when I read the 1st two books via audiobook during Valentine’s Day. I know, it’s so cheesy and everything but a woman can only fangirl and reminisce, right? The characters both matured and evolved into more fabulous and gorgeous beings! Lara Jean is someone to be proud of because she kept her thoughts and principles about love and sex until the very end. Peter, on the other hand, is a young man who changed a lot because of Lara Jean. He transformed into a real gentleman compared to the naughty and easy-go-lucky dude he was from the first 2 novels. I am so happy because this book is very inspiring and it contains a lot of life lessons which are suitable for young readers especially to those people nowadays who think that young love is not or will never be a real love. I am so proud of Lara Jean’s conviction and Peter’ not-taking-an-advantage attitude. Basically, this story is just so light and cute and realistic. Many young readers can relate and reflect about their own situation and views in life. The story is fast-paced which I was able to read and finish for 6 hours. The writing style has always been my favourite part, the author writes from the heart and it is evident in my e-reader because I highlighted plenty of inspiring lines and scenes. Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Nicola Yoon are my favourite YA contemporary writers at the moment and I just admire the way they write books that will make a person swoon. I am so happy that I immediately started this book after I did a whole day of reviewing for my upcoming final exam. It was worth it. Family, friendship, life, and love lessons are all here! I can’t think of anything negative to say, maybe the simplicity which I think New Adult story lovers would find boring but not with a 29 y/o mom of two like me who still enjoys reading stories that gives me butterflies in the stomach. It is highly recommended for readers of all ages. Five amazing stars for Jenny Han and cheers to Lara Jean and Peter K’s refreshing love story.

~JaNnA💖

Book Review #61: Ragdoll (Detective William Fawkes #1) by Daniel Cole

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“One body.. Six victims…”

Synopsis
A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’.
Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.
The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.
With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?
My Personal Thoughts
Ragdoll is a story that will give you the feels as if you are watching the tv series CSI. It is about a detective and his journey towards unraveling a case that has been haunting him for quite a long time. It is a heinous crime where six victim’s specific body parts were stitched together to create one dead body for the police and the media to talk about. My reading experience is so fantastic that I cringed a couple of times while the characters are trying to piece together all the clues that the murderer was giving them. It was a topsy-turvy escapade because 6 victims will also be killed on designated dates and the last victim is detective Fawkes himself. The writing style is good but not that appealing, although the author caught my full and undivided attention. I was able to finish the book in 2 consecutive days. It is a decent and nice crime fiction story but I find the scenarios too TV Series-ish. All that was included in the book were also scenes that a reader can find in some tv programs nowadays so I wasn’t really that surprised with the ending. In addition to this, the Evil-ish thingie in the end is not my thing. I find it off and not too appropriate with the plot line. Overall, it is recommended for readers who enjoy crime fiction but don’t expect too much because it is a conventional type of story and writing and nothing will surprise you that much. The characters are easy to like and relate to but not that impressive when action-packed scenes are involved. The setting matches the genre, kudos to that. I am just not sure with life lessons because I don’t think it contains a lot where the readers can reflect to. I was honestly kind of disappointed, not that much but just a bit, I was so excited to read this book once it arrived because of the synopsis but once I was able to finish it, it made me think. Is it okay or not? Anyway, I am still giving it a 4/5 rating for being able to finish it that fast which means that it is gripping and a page-turner.
Thank you, Hachette Australia Books, for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest and fair review.
~JaNnA

Book Review #58: Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

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Synopsis
In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

My Personal Thoughts
Holy Guacamole! I never thought that this series gets better and better with each book! This was screaming awesomesomeness and bubbliness! Cress and Thorne made a good pair, almost! This 3rd installment focused on Cress’story which is kind of similar to Rapunzel (our 3rd fairy tale princess) who has locked up in a tower far away and up in space. She was looked after by a fake wicked mother whom she thought was an ally, just like in the old fairy tale. Thank goodness she also happens to be a hacker which was the sole reason why she became connected to Cinder’s crew. Everything became so twisted here in the book. I almost lost all the hope that the team will be able to survive all the threats and dangers that they’ve encountered. Additional members have joined Cinder’s fight for the crown but unfortunately, some allies got lost. This story is so funny because it showed how Thorne and Cress became close and how the latter continuously falls in love with our hunk. Thorne, on the other hand, had no choice but to suppress his feelings for Cress. Hopefully, in the 4th book, our love birds could finally figure out how to get their shit together. I love this book! It’s getting more fabulous each time! I can’t wait to read and finish the whole series! Winter, here I come. *wink
~JaNnA

Book Review #56: Harry Potter Film Wizardry (Revised and Expanded edition)

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First of all, who am I to do this review? Seriously? Haha! Anyway, I am making this review right now so Potterheads out there will be able to take a glimpse and see what’s inside of this fabulous illustrated book with plenty of add ons. Yes! You’re definitely reading it right, Add ons baby! 💖 First, the outside appearance is just so classic. Red  and gold has always been the picture of class and perfection for me. It was love at first sight, really. The physical appearance of this book is merely enough reason for me to buy it! (rolling my eyes so damn hard right now) 😂 Plus, this is the revised and expanded edition already so it’s a score!😍 Second, the thick material of the paper used is to die for! It is for life! Something that my children can still enjoy and use when they finally decided to become a potterhead in the future. Ofcourse I’ll encourage them to read and like Harry as much as I do. Third, the creative illustrations and informative contents are definitely worth it. It is a must-have for every Harry Potter fan out there. I’ve read it all the way and it made me understand the series more and appreciate the characters so much. Because I am kind person (LOL), I will show you what’s inside so that you can decide for yourself if you also want to grab one. 

Freebies:

1) Hogwarts Acceptance Letter

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2) Borgin and Burkes Auctioneer’s guide

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3) Libatius Borage’s Advanced Potion Making stickers

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4) Honeydukes of Hogsmeade candy stickers

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5) 422nd Quidditch World Cup programme guide

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6) Yule Ball invitation

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7) Print outs of Dolores Umbridge’s declarations

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8) The Marauder’s Map

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9) Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes product guide

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10) Ministry of Magic identity card

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11) Film Wizardry photo album

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Slay, right? I can’t believe that I am using that word. Haha! Anyway, so that’s it! Hope you enjoyed browsing! I know how giddy you are now to score this. Go ahead, grab your copy and enjoy. 😊

~JaNnA