[#EverlastingNoraPH|PH BLOG TOUR|BOOK REVIEW] Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz

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Today is my stop for my review on Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz. I was so happy I got the chance to be a part of this blog tour. Thanks to Kate ( The Backwards Bookshelf ) for having me!


«book synopsis»

An uplifting middle-grade debut about perseverance against all odds, Marie Miranda Cruz’s debut Everlasting Nora follows the story of a young girl living in the real-life shanty town inside the Philippines’ North Manila Cemetery.

After a family tragedy results in the loss of both father and home, 12-year-old Nora lives with her mother in Manila’s North Cemetery, which is the largest shanty town of its kind in the Philippines today.

When her mother disappears mysteriously one day, Nora is left alone.

With help from her best friend Jojo and the support of his kindhearted grandmother, Nora embarks on a journey riddled with danger in order to find her mom. Along the way she also rediscovers the compassion of the human spirit, the resilience of her community, and everlasting hope in the most unexpected places.

Check it out on:  Goodreads | Amazon


«about the author»

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Get to know her: Twitter | Website | Goodreads

«trigger warnings»

Violence, child abuse, classicism, extreme poverty/ hunger, kidnapping, descriptions of blood and other serious injuries

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«title» Everlasting Nora

«author» Marie Miranda Cruz

«publication date» October 2, 2018

«publisher» Starscape

«genre» Children’s/MG, Realistic Fiction

«rating» 5/5 stars

Everlasting Nora is an easily-lovable novel with over the top adorable characters. This novel follows the story of Nora, a twelve-year old girl, whose life had turned upside-down  due to unfortunate circumstances. Forced to live among the dead, she struggles with the loss of comfort of her old life, the sudden disappearance of her mother and making ends meet. With life weighing down on her, she learns to fight, persevere, endure, and trust people who are in deep in helping her. Throughout the book, we see Nora from a closed-off, serious and unattached to her dwelling to a girl who slowly accepts help from the people around her.

Nora is a brilliant character. She’s bold, resilient and a dreamer. She is that type of character who goes through much and you just want all the great things given to her and end all her sufferings. Her love for her mother is heartwarming. One of the things I admired, is how she had the ability to point out her mother’s faults and loopholes but still love the woman nonetheless. She could do everything, even put herself in danger just to put her loved ones out of it.  The times she’d hold on to every thing or material she could cling on to when faced in a dire situation, the unrelenting hopefulness oozing out every time, is very inspirational. And a common Filipino trait at that.

I may not have related to Nora in a personal sense, however I connected with her. Cruz had written Nora in way that made me sympathize with her, cried with her, felt miserable with her, felt hopeless with her and felt happy with her. 

On the other hand, Jojo, a friend and cemetery fellow resident, is just as adorable. I loved how he deeply cared for Nora in the entirety of book. He is cheerful, positive and hardworking kid I wish him all the wellness in the world. Whenever he enters the scene, I can’t stop myself from smiling because he exudes such light aura. My heart is just so full with Nora and Jojo’s friendship. These two, I would cherish for the rest of my life. 

I also loved the other characters (Lola Mercy, Kuya Efren, Mang Rudy, little Ernie). In this book had I only understood camaraderie and cooperation so much. I have used the said words a lot of times in a lot of my academic papers but never had I had a deep sense of comprehension on them. It is also common here in the Philippines, people reaching and helping each other out, that is. I just unfortunately resided on a not so friendly neighborhood that the concept took me by surprise. It felt unfamiliar and familiar at the same time.

This book had not lacked in the suspense area. It had been my favorite part of the entire prose. It was written so well, it kept me on my toes and constantly rooting for the main characters!

Another upside is the simplistic writing. It had been so easy to read and get yourself immersed in the story. Effective writing means so much in a story and a character like Nora needs a really good one, which Cruz had not disappointed in giving us. As the story goes, we see pieces of information about what had Nora’s life been and why had it turned that way. Now, I know some readers hate it when there are flashbacks in between pages because I am one of that readers. But worry not, in here, it had worked so well! Trust me, it’s so good. This book tackled and wrote about sensitive and controversial topics with so much ease and a good premise, I was left in awe.  I loved the way it had highlighted and valued education amongst the poor community. It provided a holistic knowledge and understanding that many people had missed out on about poverty, that poor people had to work twice as hard  and never get as much as they deserve. I just hope many people would make time to read this to make the notion that “poor people are just lazy” vanish forever.

Finally, this book sated my Filipino heart! I breathed every single page of the book. I’m almost certain that anyone within a hearing distance could hear my “omg’s” and “aws” the whole time I was reading it. I was delighted every time I encounter Filipino words (Salamat, Kumusta?, Walang anuman, Hoy etc), Filipino food (suman, dinuguan, puto, biko) and Filipino traditions and beliefs (All Souls’ Day, fortieth-day anniversary of the dead, prohibition on pointing fingers on anything lol). This book moved me. This is the first book authored by a Filipino and written strongly and based on Filipino culture, it is overwhelming me with joy. I wish we had this sooner! I wish we’ll have more books like this, continuously! The feeling is monumental when you finally get to be reflected in a book. With that, I am so thankful to Marie Miranda Cruz for writing this book! Eventhough, intended for young readers, this book fit right in any age spectrum in my opinion. I highly, highly recommend this book.


«edits from yours truly»

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I invite you all to  join our Twitter chat on December 16 at 9:00PM PHT (GMT+8)!

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Follow through the reviews and thoughts of my fellow blog tour participants!

December 3

  • Tour launch

December 4

  • Review, fanart, and quote graphics from Divine (Vinedicated)
  • Review and feature post from Erica (Living a Hundred Lives)

December 5

  • Review from Rose (Rose Books Blog)
  • Review from Justine (Bookish Wisps)

December 6

  • Review and moodboard / aesthetics from JM (The Book Freak Revelations)
  • Review from Karlita (Tale Out Loud)

December 7

  • Review and feature post from Zia (Accio Blog)
  • Review and moodboard /aesthetics from Cathrina (Chasing Words and pages)

December 8

  • Review, book photoshoot, and feature post from Joel (Descendant of Poseidon)

December 9

  • Review, moodboard / aesthetics, playlists, and quote graphics from Hafsa (Petal Hugs)
  • Review from Jennifer (Jen D Bibliophile)

December 10

  • Review, fanart, and quotegraphics from Nessa (Utopian Pages)
  • Review, moodboard / aesthetics, quote graphics, and downloadable bookmarks from Bianca (The Ultimate Fangirl)

December 11

  • Review, playlists, and quote graphics from Hana (The Wraith Reads)
  • Review and moodboard / aesthetics from Aki (Aki Through Books)

December 12

  • Review and quote graphics from Cara (Little Miss Bookworm)
  • Review from Samantha (All My Fictional Children)

December 13

  • Review and feature post from Kester (Lil Book Lovers)
  • Review from Gel (Whimsy Wanders)

December 14

  • Review from Mica (The Girl on Track)
  • Review from Shealea (That Bookshelf Bitch)

December 15

  • Review and author interview from Kate (The Backwards Bookshelf)

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[BOOK REVIEW] An Ember in the Ashes

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〈〈title〉〉 An Ember in the Ashes

〈〈author〉〉 Sabaa Tahir

〈〈my rating〉〉 5/5 stars


〈〈goodreads synopsis〉〉


Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.


〈〈my review〉〉


As cliche as this might sound as to start a review, why the hell did I not get into this book sooner? I’ve been hearing people rave about this book but I shamelessly ignored the calling. Now, obviously I regret it. This fantasy book will surely pull you in with its beautifully-woven world, flawed and determined characters and all the magic within.  It kept me on my toes the entire duration I was reading. I’ve read some chapters while I’m at school, which I never do because of the noise and I was afraid I’d creep people up with my sometimes, indecent fangirling. However, with this book, I was so immersed with the world Sabaa Tahir created I didn’t find myself get distracted by the noise. (I think it’s worth mentioning that my classmates had blasted pop songs on full volume, using portable speakers.) She completely transported me to a world beautiful enough to forget my own. 

This fantasy novel is told in a dual POV, one of with Laia, the heroine and of course the hero, Elias. Now, I usually don’t like books told in multiple POV’s but I think in this book, not only it was essential, but it’s also a necessity.  Honestly, I couldn’t imagine this book only told by either Laia or Elias alone. We embark on a journey of two people, of completely different upbringing, and who are nonetheless suffering from the same cruelty of the world.

As to how it was a necessity for this book to be told in dual POV, is that because we get to know Laia as she gets herself involved in a rebel group in order to save her brother from execution. Laia finds herself entering a military academy posing as slave and there, she undergoes events that will determine if she is what she really thinks she is. Laia is driven, determined, strong and definitely a lovable character. She would literally do everything for her brother, Darin. She was this girl who thinks so low of herself when she really is not that makes you really want to hug her and slap her at the same time. I love how her character evolved and portrayed with so much authenticity.  Sabaa Tahir took a lot of time in molding her character respective of how much different her world had become from what she was used to. It didn’t feel forced and it comes so naturally, it amazed me. This is the reason why it is necessary to hear the story from Laia’s POV.  I mostly enjoyed reading through her mind and breathing in every pages she’s in because we get to see her grow from this girl who knew first hand how cruel the world is from the girl who’s has had a taste of it.

On the other hand,  Elias Veturius deals with his own indignation for how things are in the Martial Empire, covertly. Elias is ambitious, principled and  full of life and compassion contrary to what they are taught to do in Blackcliff. I loved reading about his frustrations and get frustrated myself. I have laughed a couple of times because let’s admit it, Elias is so effortlessly funny. You have to read the book to know!!

As for the secondary characters, I’m not a huge fan of Helene. I did like her at the first few pages but oh well, I do not want to spoil anything so I’m shutting up now.  As for Keenan, I’m still 50/50 about him, mainly because he belongs to that edgy boy with a tragic backstory trope, which I do not hate, but I’m shamelessly admitting, I am tired of it.

Overall, the prose is so engaging you would not notice there’s only a few pages left to read! This book definitely deserves a spot in your shelf! 


 

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Have you read this book? What about the sequels? Let’s gush about it in the comments!

 

 

[BOOK REVIEW] It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

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Title: It Only Happens in the Movies

Author: Holly Bourne

My Rating: 5 stars

My Review: 

I SQUEALED AFTER I HAD FINISHED THIS.  THIS. IS. THE. LEGIT. BEST. BOOK. I’VE. EVER. READ.

Ok I jumped into this book mainly because of the actress x director romance. I was surprised  it was far from what I expected but I kept going because I’m an actress and a director myself. That doesn’t make sense but you see when you encounter something in fictional world that is the closest to your real life, instead of repulsion you get to feel a different affection towards it different from what you usually feel towards other books. That’s just how it is. Well that’s how it was for me.

Moving on, I haven’t ever felt this intense connection with a character until this one. I feel like I was exactly breathing the same air as Audrey Winters. Her views in life were frighteningly alike as mine. Mum, I think I might have found my soul mate!

Someone who hated romance films?

Someone who loved acting?

Definitely Audrey and oops.. me.  I hate how romance films literally glamorize everything, it repulsed me every time and I love how Audrey feels the same way too.

Throughout the pages of the book, we get to know Audrey Winters, a girl fresh from break-up and is currently under the pressure of having to take care of her sulking mother with her older brother away for college. With her dad leaving his own family for another, Audrey felt suffocated and forced to mourn for the loss of a fatherly love while trying to make sure she doesn’t lose her mother’s. With all these weighing down on her, she knew she had to have a break and that by all means working for their town’s cinema wherein she met Harry who she has been warned off to. Harry is a director working on his zombie film and couldn’t have been lucky enough to find Audrey to play his zombie bride. Starting then, Audrey and Harry embark on their journey with the former being anxious that Harry could be just another man who would just break her already shredded heart. But the latter, determined to prove her wrong.

Needless to say, I love Audrey, my strong and independent girl, so much I could marry her! I love how she stood through it all. She handled the matters into her own hands which turned out damn well, so damn well to the point that I want to pat her on the back and say that’s my girl” because she is!! I love how opinionated she was taking the “preach” into another level and she doesn’t let anyone deter her from what she believes in. And last but not the least, she doesn’t take ANY BULLSHIT from ANYONE.

Harry, God I swooned over him! He’s literally the one of the few that I didn’t mind hearing sexual comments from. I usually roll my eyes at any guy who tries to squeeze in sexual antics into every damn conversation but Harry? Oh I don’t mind because well 1) he knows his limits 2) he’s actually funny 3) he damn well knows he’s good at it 4) it comes off as natural unlike the ones I usually read that make my eyes hurt from rolling them a hundred times. Despite his love for the whole female population, I especially love how he genuinely cares for Audrey, knowing when to push and when to retract.

Overall, I love their relationship. I love everything especially when they are together. They’re at their best and most real selves when in the arms of each other. I love how they genuinely enjoy each other. The banters are highkey okay-ed from me!!!

And oh…

God I effing love the ending. I was actually about to give 3 stars but noooo this book doesn’t deserve that because Holly Bourne knows exactly what she’s doing and knows exactly what I wanted!

“The movie either ends when the couple gets together, or someone dies before you can see the relationship develop.  So you only see this perfect idea of this couple. You don’t see the niggles that can become cracks and how those can become giant crevices over time”

“Love changes over time. No person is ever perfect for another person. No couple goes through life without an argument or a bad patch.”

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You gotta love a book that teaches you something 😉

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[BOOK REVIEW] Black Lies by Alessandra Torre

introductory-imgTitle: Black Lies

Author: Alessandra Torre

My Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

Brant: 
Became a tech billionaire by his twentieth birthday. Has been in a relationship with me for 3 years.
Has proposed 4 times. Been rejected 4 times.

Lee: 
Cuts grass when he’s not banging housewives. Good with his hands, his mouth, and his cock. Has been pursued relentlessly by me for almost 2 years, whether he knows it or not.

Go ahead. Judge me. You have no idea what my love entails.

If you think you’ve heard this story before, trust me – you haven’t.

My Review:

“Years I’ve loved you through. I don’t love you despite this. I love you, including this. Every part of you, even parts you don’t know”

Wow this book wow. Honestly, upon reading the blurb I expect myself to put this book into the deepest part of my own dungeon,never read it again. You see I seriously can’t take cheating. Any forms of it. But then I find myself flipping through this book not giving a damn if this book defines all the things I hate, or so I thought. The entire book I was lost, that irritated me but never became the reason to stop reading. Every chapter, it feels like I skipped a whole previous chapter, with irritation came intrigue. I knew within myself this book has more to offer and I WAS NOT DAMN WRONG. HOW THE HELL DID I MISS THAT??!! It was cleverly written that I found myself rolling on the floor smacking myself for missing that!! When it comes to the MC’s, I can’t talk about them without throwing away spoilers so I’ll just leave it up to you 😉

If you think you’ve heard this story before, trust me – you haven’t.
That I couldn’t agree more!

[BOOK REVIEW] Becoming A Vincent by C.M. Owens

introductory-imgTitle: Becoming A Vincent

Author: C.M. Owens

My Rating: 5 ROFL STARS!!!

Goodreads Summary:

When you live in a place where “turbo speed” internet is a slight step above dial-up, men carry on nine-year beard-growing challenges out of stubborn pride, and your brothers do things like nail all your panties to the outside of your cabin just for funsies, you tend to be a little crazy. You can call it a “locational” hazard, if you will.

That’s Tomahawk for you.

We rank people based on just how crazy they are. And the four craziest families in town are called the Wild Ones. 
I’m on the bottom tier of those, so technically I’m not as crazy as the other Wild Ones. In fact, if it wasn’t for my brothers and their endless antics, I wouldn’t be considered a Wild One at all. Ahem. Sure. We’ll go with that.

Anyway, I have a best friend who endures it all with me. Benson Nolans is my one, constant favorite person.
Without him, I’d probably go really crazy, and not the fun kind. It’d be ridiculous, after three years of a flawless friendship, to mess that all up by falling for him.

I mean, even if we did get a little too close one night, it’d be reckless endangerment. Even if we did suddenly feel the chemistry that’s always been there and stop toeing the line, it’d be a foolish risk to take.

It’d be stupid to start hoping a really fun, but completely irrational, night with zero inhibitions might accidentally happen.
Really stupid… 

Right?

My Review:

It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed reading a book like really enjoy it. People around me may be weirded out because of my occasional laughs every now and then, and those are with no subtlety I tell you. This is the funniest book I’ve read in a while or maybe til forever. God I love this so much.

No unnecessary drama.

Just pure fun.

Exactly what I need right now.

If you ever think you’re funny wait til you meet the people in Tomahawk. They’re crazy and strange in a good way. God I would love to meet these people. In fact I’m on my way to their town bye–oops one more thing… if ever you’re having a bad day, let this book do its thing and you’re good. Give it a read and I’m sure you’re gonna understand what I’m saying 😉

[BOOK REVIEW] The Layover by Whitney G.

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Title: The Layover

Author: Whitney G.

My Rating: 5 IWishThisWasLonger STARS!!!

Goodreads Summary:

I don’t care which city. I don’t care which flight. I just need to get the hell out of here… Paris Weston is tired of all the broken promises her boyfriend has given her over the years. Instead of showing up to their ‘secret’ engagement party, she shows up to the airport—ready and willing to go wherever the next flight is bound. Determined to get away and start again, she’s certain that a week or two away will solve all of her problems. Until she never makes it to her final destination. Until the sexy, dirty-mouthed stranger who sits next to her on the plane changes everything. Until the unintended layover leaves her never wanting to go back home.

My Review:

Quick and short read but all the things I want in a book are found here. Blake and Paris are remarkable characters. They couldn’t have expressed themselves better but through their smartass mouths. I love their banters and smooth exchange of sarcasm. The only thing I hate in this book is the existence of Adrian, he’s such an opportunist and selfish asshole. Overall I love it so much I wish it was longer (this is just the fangirl side of me talking) but it’s perfect the way it is. One thing I’m sure of, I definitely would love to read all the books of this author.