Fence #8 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad & Joana Lafuente

20180718_195010

5stars

“Now that they understand his skill, they’ll treat him differently. Whether they’re jealous and hate him, or they put him on a pedestal. His talent is isolating. It sets him apart. It probably has his whole life.”

Title: Fence
Author: C.S. Pacat (Author), Johanna the Mad (Illustrator), Joana Lafuente (Illustrator)
Series: Fence #8

Number of pages: 29 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Seiji and Harvard (and Nicholas)!
Bad things about this book: Give me MORE!
Do I recommend it? How could I not?
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Such a fun volume to read. I already loved Seiji to pieces, but now I love him even more. Also, Nicholas is a sweetie and he is the only one who can make Seiji make so many sorts of faces. I love it. I love them. The characters are more interesting the more I read. All of this is making me say the same thing I say every month: why is it so short and why do I have to wait a whole month to read more??

20180718_010033It was nice to see Seiji’s ASSets. Nice assets, really!

It was refreshing seeing Seiji’s morning workout regime. It also made me pretty concerned about this precious boy because he wakes up really early and pushes himself to the limit every single day. He needs to be the best, and for now, he isn’t. He is number 2 and that stinks! My boy Seiji deserves the crown and he will get it by being cuddly with his new best buddy Nicholas. Seiji and Nicholas best fencing bros forever!

20180718_005959You’re cute Seiji! And you’re cute only when Nicholas is involved!

Seiji against Harvard was a wild match, and I loved how it shut up those awful jealous guys hating on Seiji. Harvard is super strong, but Seiji’s talent is just something else. I love how Harvard isn’t like the other boys; he isn’t jealous of Seiji, he wants to be better and he recognizes he still has things to fix and to learn. Harvard is an amazing character. I ship him with Aiden so hard! So, so hard!

Here I am waiting again, resetting the monthly countdown on my phone and anxiously waiting for volume 9!!

firmablog

Advertisements

Boy Meets Hamster by Birdie Milano

20180716_215328

4stars

“If you pretend to be someone you’re not, you’ll never know who would have liked you for who you are.”

Title: Boy Meets Hamster
Author: Birdie Milano
Number of pages: 336 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: Adorable book with sweet and read characters.
Bad things about this book: Dylan could be annoying but he wasn’t unbearable so it was okay.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it was pretty cute.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

When I bought the book, I thought the hamster was going to be an actual hamster and not the place’s giant orange mascot. It caught me by surprise at first. I did ask myself how a hamster was going to ruin Dylan’s chances with the boy next door. I was curious to find out how that was going to happen. The reality was so much funnier and sweeter. It’s amazing how much trouble a boy can manage to get himself into in just a short week.

It is a fast read, and it’s an enjoyable one. Dylan is fourteen and, as all the other boys his age in books I’ve read, he is insufferable, unreasonable, and very immature. I liked him, though, but he infuriated me. So much! He is looking for a summer romance, a movie-like love, and he is looking for it with the most awful and rude boy next door. Dylan is blind to how awful this Jayden-Lee is because he sees him with a romantic filter; he kept making excuses for how bad Jayden-Lee was because he saw something there that wasn’t really there, a spark of plain delusion.

Besides the infuriating parts of Dylan making everybody mad because of his crush, I loved everything else: the details of the story of this short vacation, the characters, the personalities, and the way this boy struggled differentiating reality with all the messy scenarios he had in his fourteen-year-old mind. I loved Dylan’s parents, his little brother Jude, and his best friend Kayla. They were all super interesting and different from characters I’m used to read. I have a 5-yo niece and I would fight whoever says mean things about her or tries to pick a fight with her! Jude has a disability and people are just plain rude, they just not think before talking. I have to say that it was a tad unlikely, though; do kids that age really cause that much trouble? Jayden-Lee’s little brother was a tiny monster. He needed to be sedated.

It was a fun read, light and sweet, and the romance was pretty obvious from the start, but it was adorable nonetheless. This book made me smile, it lifted my mood, making me forget for a little while how freaking hot it was outside, or inside for that matter. When I find a book about a fourteen-year-old that I don’t want to slap repeatedly from beginning to end, then it’s a book I’m going to recommend to the crowds! Read this book and imagine slapping Dylan for a bit, then imagine slapping real hard Jayden-Lee for the whole book, and finally imagine giving the fluffiest of hugs to Nibbles the Hamster! Never a hamster was more adorable than him!

firmablog

[ARC] Nyxia Unleashed by Scott Reintgen

20180709_215817

5stars

We’re weapons. They made us this way.

Title: Nyxia Unleashed
Author: Scott Reintgen
Series: The Nyxia Triad #2

Number of pages: 400 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: So many twists, such an intriguing story!
Bad things about this book: That ending left me wanting the next book now!! (not a bad thing, I know)
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

ARC given to me by NetGalley

I didn’t expect anything to go the way it went. Everything caught me by surprise. I’m speechless after those last chapters, and I need the third and last book like right now because I don’t think I can’t wait a minute longer. I love sci-fi novels, and I love when sequels are as good as the first books, or even better. Color me shaken and excited. But mostly shaken!

I started the book barely remembering all the character’s names and personalities. It’s been a year after all. By the first quarter of the book I was all caught up on the characters and I would’ve killed anyone who wanted to hurt them (all but Isadora. Also, yay for lgbt representation! Do not kill them, please, Mr. Reintgen, PLEASE). By the end I was so messed up by everything that was happening that I almost forgot to pray the alien gods for their safety. It’s not a YA contemporary, lives can be lost, the characters, no matter how important, could die at any moment. I was eternally on edge.

There’s absolutely no way I can write about this book without telling too much, giving up too much information that I got later on the story. The last book ended with Emmett having to fight for his place in a launching pod that’d have taken him to Eden. This book starts right inside the pod with Emmett on his way to the planet’s surface. All the rivalry is put aside as they team up to mine Nyxia, partner up with the Adamites, and sense that things aren’t the way they appear to be. They never are, right?

Emmett is like a living lie detector. He senses when things aren’t right, reading the little tells everyone have when they are not being truthful. Morning is no less; she is truly a force of nature. In the first book I thought their romance was forced because it really was, but now I love them as a couple. They are adorable and care for each other deeply. As much as I didn’t like the way their relationship started, I love how it blossomed to the way we see in this book. They are meant to be together, and I will fight whoever hurt them! I want them safe with their friends on Earth. It’s my wish and I demand it to be granted!

Book series are great and all, but you need to wait months and months for the next book to be published, right? And it’s not only the human memory (mine) that is weak and will make me forget about all the characters, it’s also the fact that I will imagine multiple scenarios in my mind about how this will end, and I will be worried about all the characters’ well-being until the day I’ll read the third and last book. I know some characters won’t make it; they are too many, too easy to sacrifice. How can I live with the knowing that all my babies won’t be happy and safe surrounded by the people they love? A reader’s life is a hard life.

firmablog

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

IMG_20180524_193525_710

5stars

“Anger is a gift. Remember that” She stood. “You gotta grasp on to it, hold it tight and use it as ammunition. You use that anger to get things done instead of just stewing in it.”

Title: Anger is a Gift
Author: Mark Oshiro
Number of pages: 463 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: This is such a powerful book exquisitely written.
Bad things about this book: Nothing. It has a side effect, though. It makes you furious.
Do I recommend it? Yes, to the world!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

“We are angry. We are mourning. We are tired.”

I’m crushed, overwhelmed, filled with rage. This book is powerful, so true, and infuriating. It makes you feel powerless, a standby in a world you are told you should just accept, never fight, because it doesn’t have your back. To feel afraid to just go out to buy an apple, to run free on the street, to love, to just live, because there’s always going to be someone who will accuse you of being suspicious, thug looking, not a good person, and the world is not going to believe your innocence. Your skin is not light enough for you to be a good guy, it’s your fault you looked armed, the way you dress is gangster looking = YOU ARE WRONG, YOU ARE GUILTY, YOU ARE INFERIOR THAN ME. It’s tiring, this needs to stop!

I can’t begin to explain the rage I feel. I can’t begin to understand the rage the victims of police assaults might feel. The nerve of some people. Why are we living in a world that allows this? When is it going to stop? I can’t help shaking my head in disbelief, this reality sucks and the world is absurdly unreasonable. Stupid and ignorant people should become extinct and soon. This world needs a reset and a virus cleanse.

“It’s like they can’t avoid it,” said Kaisha. “We were literally there to protest against them using deadly force, so they responded with…deadly force. Incredible.”

I can’t give a personal opinion, because I am a Latina living in Italy and my skin is light enough to pass as white. The little town we moved to when I was 12 gave us a home, support, and friends. I don’t know the hate and intolerance Moss and his peers have to face every day of their lives. I don’t know how it is to feel unwanted in your own community because of the color of your skin, to be categorized as a bad seed with just a glance. The amount of racism I have faced in my life is merely a drop compare to the ocean Moss and his community faced in this powerful book.

The queer touch of the narration gave the book more power. Moss is a gay black boy, and his friends are all part of the lgbtqia+ community. It’s natural and calm the sensation you feel when he deals with his sexuality; he is out to everyone and, as much as it feels weird because he hasn’t done it before, he isn’t afraid to kiss another boy or hold hands with him in public. It’s refreshing because it’s part of their everyday lives. It’s part of who they all are and, yes, they all have different family situations, but they are all accepted and supported. The love they all have from their families, the love Moss has from his mother, is heartwarming. That’s the truest of loves, pure and simple. The love Wanda has for Moss transcends everything, IS everything.

“Moss wears his heart on his sleeve,” she said. “It’s one of his best features.”

Moss is one of the most adorable characters I have encounter in the few years I’ve been reading books. He suffers from panic attacks, sees a therapist, is trying to get better, to cope, to be happy. He has faced too many obstacles in his short life. He has seen too much death in such a short amount of time. Tragedy shouldn’t have to be his bread and butter. This boy deserves all the happiness he was deprived of. I just want him to be happy.

There’s no more left to be said. A lot of things happen in this book. A lot that will make you think, some more that will make angry, and quite a few that will make you cry. I cried a lot, from rage, frustration, and sadness. I still feel like crying. I was expecting this book to impact me, but I didn’t expect it to wreck me, break me to pieces. I think everyone should read this book, it’s written beautifully and it’s as brutal as it should be. Life is brutal, and we should stop being blind about it!

“You might be surprised at how unwilling people are to turn a critical eye on themselves.”

firmablog

A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra

20180625_135408

5stars

“You are a normal person. We all are. We all have brains that work differently, that’s all. You guys have been handed challenges. But you are worthy of happiness and health and help.”

Title: A Tiny Piece of Something Greater
Author: Jude Sierra
Number of pages: 258 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: It’s a very sweet book with a good portrayal of mental illness.
Bad things about this book: It’s hard to read. Read the trigger warnings first.
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course. It’s a story to be read by everyone.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Pretty intense. Read with an aching but hopeful heart. I cared for these characters and, even if I won’t know what choices they decide to make, I will know in my heart that they’ll be okay and living day after day. Together.

Books about mental illnesses are always very hard for me to read. Books like this are somewhat triggering but I can’t help but read them; I feel the need to know other point of views, to learn more, to be able to help myself and others with new information. It won’t ever be easy for me reading about someone struggling to keep themselves afloat. It won’t ever be easy for me reading about someone using unhealthy behavior.

He tries to give his body over to the sounds of a great big earth around him, understanding that he is very small, a tiny piece of something greater, a small glimmer of either light or darkness, depending on his choices and will.

Reid suffers from an illness called cyclothymia that I have never heard of before. It was hard to read how he struggled in the past, is struggling with recovery in the present, and will struggle with it for the rest of his life. Reid is a magnificent boy who has a brain that works in a very peculiar way and it makes his life very difficult. He really tries his best. Reid touched my heart with his personality and the way he wants to be seen by the world, and by the amazing and handsome boy he starts crushing on, Joaquim.

Joaquim finds himself in it too deep and too soon with Reid. Reid is not an easy person to be with, but it won’t be a mental illness the cause for him to walk away from someone he can see himself building something concrete with. Why would he run away when things get difficult? He asks a lot of questions and is destined to make mistakes, but he is a very patient boy and his feelings are deep and real. He can’t run from them.

Reid doesn’t pray, but sometimes he likes to think that the energy he and the others put out into the world might make a small difference.

The portrayal of mental illness is done in detail, wonderfully, and painfully. Nothing graphic, nothing just to give us some drama. Things aren’t okay, and they’re explained in a way that you understand both how Reid is feeling and how Joaquim is elaborating the info he’s getting. It’s a painful process, but it’s liberating. Joaquim is seeing Reid for who he is; he is not his mental illness, he is a boy fighting to get better, who wants an adventurous life and to love and be loved. Reid and Joaquim were sweet and cheesy and adorable. All the kisses, the hugs, the little touches, they were all elements that made their love story, one to desire. I will never be loved like that and it makes me sad.

When I finished the book last night, I closed it and realized I wasn’t in the mood for anything else; I was left empty yet full, no space for anything more. I went to bed and waited to fall asleep recalling one of my many happy made-up scenarios, because I knew that if I started thinking about the book, I’ll stayed awake analyzing every single aspect of my life. I hope I’m not the only one that uses made-up fantasies to fall asleep in order to avoid falling into the endless stream of anxious thoughts about life.

I keep sighing thinking about Reid and Joaquim. Those boys stole my heart. I’m so glad I somehow found this little book and impulsively bought it. I knew my impulsiveness had more pros than cons!

firmablog

Anatomy of a Murderer by Tim Floreen

20180623_133645

4stars

“We humans like to think of ourselves as more rational than we are. We imagine we navigate through life using pure logic, but far more than we realize, we do things for illogical reasons and then bend our perception of reality to make our actions seem logical, at least to ourselves. It’s a trick of the brain, something we all do.”

Title: Anatomy of a Murderer
Author: Tim Floreen
Number of pages: 370 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: It has pretty dark themes but I liked how they were portrayed.
Bad things about this book: Read the trigger warnings before starting it.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Oh, how I wish I could just spoil the entire book and write every little thing that’s in my mind right now. I have a lot of thoughts, really a lot! When I picked it up, intrigued by the darkness it promised, I truly didn’t expect to read what I read. I found myself following Rem’s mind, influenced by his feelings and thoughts. Our brain is really powerful; it tricked me into believing things that should have been obvious from the start. Maybe I didn’t want to believe, maybe I just wanted to imagine how the story would turn out if things went my way.

This is not an easy book; it has many triggering moments and it surely isn’t for everyone. I got palpitations during a few scenes, nothing that made me close the book but, in those moments, I imagined how these scenes would look like to someone who has experienced school shootings and bullying. I can’t begin to imagine how traumatic it could be and how frightening it is to live in a country where everyone can brandish a gun and kill whoever they want.

In the past, I have always thought of American high schools as some sort of great experience I wish I could have done: proms, sports, science labs, the canteen, the friendships. I don’t remember at what point my eyes opened to the awful reality that that high school dream hides. The bullying, the way if you do sports you are deemed a king and you can do what you want with no consequences, the shootings, the suicides, the popular kids feeling like royalty. I started to fear it, to start seeing high school in the US as a place you went but you never knew if you’d come out unscathed or alive.

This book made me think of myself back when the idea I had of high school broke into a million pieces. I felt for Franklin, being an odd kid, targeted by bullies for how he looked, what he liked, and how he was in general. I tried to understand Rem and the way he thought he was protecting himself by not being the nice guy everyone thought he was. I really tried to see the reason Rem’s mother had for starting her brain experimentations in Franklin in the first place. I tried to give everything logic, my logic, and failed.

Everything that happened couldn’t have been avoided by Franklin not being a sociopath, by Rem being always nice, by Tor and Pete not being bullies, by Callie making less jokes, by Lydia stopping herself from saying a bad thing. If it wasn’t Franklin shooting Pete, that day a year in the past from when this book takes place, it could have been another kid, another day, with a gun they could have gotten easily. And that’s the problem. Not only we should try to treat people they way they deserve, the way we want to be treated, we should also understand that without the means to violence, with guns purchased online with few to zero background checks, maybe things wouldn’t go as awry as the do today. Violence wouldn’t end but maybe it would be easier to control, and people with ill intent would be easier to stop if instead of a gun or a rifle, they were armed with a knife.

I’m rambling because I’m scared. This isn’t fiction, this isn’t fantasy, this is real. These things happen all the time. They are happening so often that, even though I’m all the way here in Italy, I’m scared every morning when kids the other side of the ocean go to school, hoping they all make their way back home safe and sound.

This book was hard to read but I’m glad I did. I think it will make a very nice tv show or movie. It has all the elements needed to be great. I started reading this book expecting something entirely different from what I got, and, as rarely as it happens to me, I liked how things ended here more than how I wanted them to end in my head.

firmablog

Fence #7 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad & Joana Lafuente

0

5stars

The idea of Aiden beating Seiji makes me mad. Not mad. Jealous.

Title: Fence
Author: C.S. Pacat (Author), Johanna the Mad (Illustrator), Joana Lafuente (Illustrator)
Series: Fence #7

Number of pages: 29 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: More matches, super happy Nicholas and adorable friendships!
Bad things about this book: Nothing! I WANT MORE!
Do I recommend it? Always!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This volume was so fun to read. All those matches. Nicholas all smiles and hope. Grumpy Seiji back as strong as before, his weak façade left in that bathroom. Aiden and Harvard’s friendship. Adorable! I need to see more of them, a lot more of them! Will I reread the 7 volumes again, maybe tomorrow and also the day after tomorrow? Of-bloody-course I will! The wait is atrocious!

Screenshot_20180621-212045_Amazon Kindle

Look at my boy Seiji! Look at his face!!!I love him!

I’m sensing an obvious crush from Bobby towards a certain broody prince, and, girl, I’m so sorry, but there’s nothing that’ll distract that boy from fencing. Certainly not you, and I’m not being mean but it’s so clear that Seiji will never see her that way. This crush is going to hurt, and I’m really sorry for Bobby because I know it was inevitable, the boy is dreamy, but it was a recipe for disaster from the very first blush.

Screenshot_20180621-211919_Amazon Kindle

Nicholas is just a simple boy with not very simple dreams. But he tries his best!!

I have to be honest, though, I keep wondering when we’re going to see Nicholas and Seiji start seeing each other as more than roommates. It’s going to happen, right? They’re not really friends now, but there will be a time when a spark is going to start what I hope it’s going to be the most beautiful love story of the fencing world. While I wait, I’m enjoying the competition and the glares and pouts (from Seiji, mostly). It’s going to be epic, I know it!

firmablog