Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Dream Keeper's Daughter by Emily Colin | A Book Review

The Dream Keeper's Daughter by Emily Coliin | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I finished this last night, or rather early in the morning, past 1 a.m. I just can't seem to put the book down. I had to finish it because I knew that I would not be able to sleep unless I find how the story turned out.

Looking at the title, it doesn't give out any clue as to what the story is about. Though, it may appear that it hints of something paranormal but that's the only thing you can guess out of the title. No other revelations as to what the story would be. Or it could also suggest something profound as the word dream keeper would want to make you believe. A dream keeper may be someone who makes one's dreams come true. Like someone who doesn't give up, no matter the odds. Well, the story actually contains a bit of the two.

From the first chapter until the last, there was no way I was going to let this book go. The first chapter alone had me intrigued and jumping on my seat. I never thought this book would excite me. It seemed so unassuming and subtle but it's not. The paranormal aspect of the story was taking its time to unravel. It made me guessing the whole time what was really going on. And when it was all revealed, I just nodded my head like it was the most natural thing to do. It was done intricately and with so much precision. Perfect timing and all.  I was just so caught up in all its mystery and enchantment.

The only small crack I found in the whole incredible tale was Isabel's choice at the end. I think it was so unnatural. I felt like it was not in congruent to the whole flow of the story. I think it was a bit forced. It was possible and in some way, I sort of saw it coming, but still it was disappointing for me. It felt like the author was also undecided on who Isabel should end up with and how she ended up with the choice was not done so flawlessly like  the rest of the book. 

I give this book 4.5/5 dragonfly necklaces. Aside from the ending which I thought disrupted the whole flawless rendition of the whole tale, everything was perfect. It was a very stupefying experience that I would want to do again and again.  A very delicious and magical story. Thank you, Emily Colin, for writing this. Now, I am curious as what her would other book, The Memory Thief, would be like. If this is book would be the basis, I'm sure I would be astonished out of my wits.

I think maybe it's like poison. If I let it out, then maybe--maybe it will finally leave me alone.

Sometimes when you love someone, you want so much to keep them safe that you wind up saving them from all the wrong things. 
- Emily Colin, The Dream Keeper's Daughter -

Thank you, Netgalley and Emily Colin for the copy.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Kiss Me in the Moonlight by Lindzee Armstrong | ARC | A Book Review

Kiss Me in the Moonlight by Lindzee Armstrong | ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I read this back in July. 

I would love to be Paige. Chaperoning teenagers through Europe is not a bad way to spend summer at all. That is, of course, not putting Nick into the equation. Nick is Paige's ex who broke her heart. Even worse, he broke up with her through email. What a jerk, right? He didn't even have the guts to say it to her face.

For an observer, sometimes it's fun watching two people who used to be close act awkwardly in front of each other. That was how it was reading Paige and Nick's story. It was awkward and in a way painful also. But you would also wish they would sort everything out and kiss and make up. Like two lead stars in a movie that you hope would actually be in love in real life. 

I think cities in Europe are so romantic. If I were in Europe, I think it would be so easy to fall in love. If not for a person, to fall for the city, for the food, the culture and for the majestic buildings and scenes. With all the gorgeous, historic and classic architecture that surrounds you, it's a perfect backdrop for a romantic meet up. So, Paige was a little powerless to fight her feelings for Nick. Surrounded with beauty and grandeur, it just can't be help to soften up. 

I give this 3.5/5 moons. This is a cute and sweet story with a little mission impossible on the side. I think Europe and espionage make a good combination. A perfect setting for a James Bond-like scene complete with a maiden in distress in the picture. 

Love. Was it possible for a heart to explode with happiness while shriveling with despair.
- Lindzee Armstrong, Kiss Me in the Moonlight - 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

If Two Trains Leave at Midnight by Meredith Rose | A Book Review

If Two Trains Leave at Midnight by Meredith Rose | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

This book just screams Math is fun! Math is fun if you love it and if you have the aptitude for numbers and equations. But if you are a word-person, simply you'll find Math a pain in the butt. And if you won't try hard enough, there would be no use making numbers, x's and y's make sense. Me? I actually love Math, but before I memorized the Table of Multiplication, I found long division tedious and annoying. Until, one of my classmates tried to show me how he solved long divisions. I realized, the only secret is to memorize the multiplication table. Unlike in this story, he was unsuccessful in teaching me because I found the solution all by myself, which isn't exactly a secret at all. 

If two trains leave at the most used algebra problem ever.  I think everyone has been asked to solve this train-problem at least once. This is my first time to read a romance story with Math in it. And it was not awkward or forced at all. Math perfectly fits into the whole equation of the story. 

I am not sure if I was unfortunate not to experience being tutored by my crush. That would have been a nice experience to look back on. But I did have a similar experience. The guy helping us pass the UPCAT (University of the Philippines College Admission Test) was a looker so it was not so hard paying attention with the summer heat full on and with only a fan to fight it. Our rooms did not have air-conditioning. He was giving us pointers on how to pass the exam. I did pass the test but I decided not to study there. Looking back, I should have, but during that time, my heart was telling me no.

This was fun, with that secret meeting place right in the middle of a hidden forest and the LARP game (live action role-playing) and Dungeons and Dragons. Reminds of episodes of Big Bang Theory where the guys were playing the same game. 

At first, I find Cate irritating the way she brushes Math like it's a really complicated subject and beyond her comprehension. I think she was just not trying at all because she just wanted to piss off her parents. She was trying too hard not to like Math because she doesn't want to follow in her parents footsteps. She knows what she wants and it's far from her parents expectations. It took someone she was interested in hanging out with to make her appreciate Math. 

I give this 3.5/5 Math books. This story brought back memories of my student days. Days spent in the study halls doing group study or working on our feasibility study. This also reminded me of times when my friends would visit me at home to ask my help about their confusing homework. I think I was pretty good at tutoring for free back in high school. That was how my mom got the idea that I would make a good teacher and was pushing me to take Education but I had my mind set on something else.

It makes me feel old and wistful, like looking at a pair of shoes I can remember adoring as a child and realizing now they won't even fit on my fingers much less my feet.
- Meredith Rose, If Two Trains Leave at Midnight - 

The Virgin of the Wind Rose: A Christopher Columbus Mystery-Thriller by Glen Craney | A Book Review

The Virgin of the Wind Rose: A Christopher Columbus Mystery-Thriller by Glen Craney | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

Paperback: 406 pages
 Brigid's Fire Press 

While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane stumbles upon a Latin palindrome embedded with a cryptographic time bomb. Separated by half a millennium, two global conspiracies dovetail in this dual-period thriller to expose the world's most explosive secret: The real mission and identity ofChristopher Columbus.

Recent editorial praise for this Books & Benches 2017 ScĂ©al BOYTA Finalist

Bella Wright of Best Thrillers: "An impeccably researched, high-velocity historical thriller.... If you love Steve Berry, Dan Brown or Umberto Eco, you may have a new author favorite in Glen Craney."  

Quarterdeck magazine: "An exciting journey across time, with more twists and turns than a strawberry Twizzler. Craney has produced a page-turning adventure, with crisp, clean and measured prose... The research behind the stories is massive, lending credence to the cast of characters and authenticity to the historic periods. This is a highly recommended historical thriller." 

Rosie Amber Reviews: "It grips you in its teeth and whirls you through history."
Sweet Mystery Books: "Move over, Dan Brown, you've got competition."

I just finished reading this last night. I was glued to the story. Oh, how I missed reading stories just like this. This is a mix of Dan Brown, Clive Cussler, Bernard Cornwell and Steve Berry. Yes, all the above are into the same genre and I love all of their books. Bernard Cornwell may be the least read because I have not found a lot of his books in the second hand bookstore. I have only read one book of Cornwell and I am already a believer. I was so elated that Mr. Craney asked me to review this book. This has been the most amazing adventure I have been, so far this year. I have travelled to Portugal, Spain, Canada, Africa and the Middle East. Suddenly, I had this thought of visiting the Lalibela churches in Ethiopia because of this book. Another one for the bucket list.

As the title suggests, this is a Christopher Columbus mystery-thriller but it took quite a while for the story to come to that. I was not disappointed though, because the first chapter alone had me hooked. There was no way I was going to let go of this book until I finished it. Although, I did not finish this in one sitting because that is a bit hard to pull off unless you forgo eating, chores and other things. I was looking forward to getting to the part when the Christopher Columbus connection of the story would be finally revealed. I did not mind the waiting because each chapter is just filled with its own adventure. It's hard to describe the feeling but it was so familiar to me. The feeling of reading a book of Clive Cussler or Dan Brown is exactly the same feeling I got when I was reading this book. The same intensity, mystery, and thrill. I just love this feeling. I was high. This is my kind of drug.

The chapters would take you to the present then back to the past. The time when Portugal and Spain's strong rivalry for discovering lands and spices was the big thing. It was the only thing. These two countries were the supreme powers then. It was what all people thought of. It was exhilarating reading about characters that I have known only in history books and in here, it seemed like they have become flesh and blood and I was being shown to walk in their footsteps. It was even more a different experience for me because this is my first time to read of Portugal. It was always Spain. This book proved that Portugal was indeed a formidable foe for Spain and even more so because the Portuguese simply would not be outsmarted. They were just so cunning. I actually felt elated having learned that Spain was led to believe that they got the upper hand when they were conned. They let a Portuguese right into their den, even given him resources to help bring their plans to usher in their ruin. Yes, I think I am on Team Portugal. The Spaniards colonized my country for 333 years, so I had it for them. 

I know a lot of books has been written about the holy relics and this one is no exception. This book not only talked about the ark of the covenant or the holy grail, but also the coming of the new messiah. The subject is not new but the style of writing and how the writer takes you to places and makes your heart beat like drums is just so unbelievable. How come I never heard of Glen Craney before? I must have lived under a rock. I love historical thrillers and mysteries so this is right on my alley but I have never come upon any of the author's works. Hmmmm...I thought I was so good in finding new authors under this genre but I was wrong. Thank the book gods, Craney found me. I am so thankful. I would have missed a few years of my life if he hasn't.

I usually read three books by an author before I add him to my favorites list but I think Mr. Craney is an exception. He is my favorite already. Just like Bernard Cornwell, I only read one book and I had been turned. Note to self: hunt for Glen Craney's books starts now! And of course, add him to my favorite authors' list.

Need I say more? There is no question. This book definitely deserves all the thirteen stars in the constellation of Virgo. I have undoubtedly found another star. Thank you so much Glen Craney! I have never felt so honored and lucky that this book landed in my lap. I believe this book is not the end of Jaq Quartermaine. I feel that the engravings in her headstone hinted of that. How will Jaq rise from the dead? That is altogether another adventure I can't wait to be part of. The talk of constellations and stars was dizzying but I was also mystified. And most of all, the author made it appear like sailing is the most amazing and fulfilling thing in the world. Ah, I can't wait to command my own caravel and prove that the world is indeed round and not flat.

There are two types of men in general. Believers, who avoid the unknown for fear of destroying their precious beliefs, and Knowers, who risk all to test their doubts.

- Glen Craney, The Virgin of the Wind Rose -  

Glen Craney holds graduate degrees from Indiana University School of Law and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He practiced trial law before joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to cover national politics and the Iran-contra trial for Congressional Quarterly magazine. The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting, and he is a three-time finalist for Foreword Reviews Book-of-the-Year Award. His debut historical novel, The Fire and the Light, was honored as Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards. His books have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, to the Scotland of Robert Bruce, to Portugal during the Age of Discovery, to the trenches of France during World War I, and to the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression.

AMPAS Nicholl Fellowship Winner
indieBRAG Medallion Honoree
Chaucer Award Double Finalist
Nautilus Silver Award Winner
IPPY Silver Award Winner
NIEA Award Winner for Best New Fiction
Eric Hoffer Finalist/Honorable Mention Winner  
Three-time Foreword Reviews Book-of-the-Year Finalist
Da Vinci Eye Award Finalist

Books from Netgalley

I signed up for Netgalley last October 10, 2016. I have found a lot of very interesting books and new authors. I have earned a few badges from them. This month celebrates my one year anniversary for being a Netgalley member and reviewer. So far, I have reviewed 29 books of the 42 that I have signed up for.

Thank you Netgalley and I am looking forward to meeting more authors and live vicariously through more new books. Cheers!

Books from Netgalley by iamnotabookworm!

If you are not yet a member of the site, go ahead and sign up.

One secret to get approved to review books is to use the "Read Now" link on the Find Titles tab. The titles under this category are like auto-approved to be sent to anyone who wants to review the book. This was how I started my Netgalley profile until I got an auto-approval from publishers.

Professional Reader

Each member starts with this badge, to acknowledge your contributions in helping books succeed.

        Professional Reader

Reviews Published

Members receive this badge when 3 or more of their reviews have been added to any NetGalley title details page by a publisher. (You can see which reviews have been added on your Shelf, under Feedback Sent.)

Reviews Published

25 Book Reviews

Members earn this badge based on total number of books reviewed.
25 Book Reviews

Here is a complete list of the titles I have chosen on Netgalley. Feel free to tag include some in your TBR and check out my reviews. Just click on the titles.



Freefall by Joshua David Bellin - book copy expired, wasn't able to save an unencrypted copy
 The Jerusalem Parchment by Tuvia Fogel 
 Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
 The Eden Legacy by Harold Gershowitz
 Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien
 Watch Over Me by Jody Gherman
 Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
 Lantern: The Complete Collection by Chess Desalls

Total 44

Reviewed 39
Read 4
Unread 0
Expired 1
Reading 0


 Dreaming on an Arabian Carpet by Igor Martek
 Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
 Qumran by Jerry Amernic
 Dreams and Reason by Juliet Valcourt
 The Fix by Lisa Wells
 No Prince Charming (Secrets of Stone Book 1) by Angel Payne, Victoria Blue
☐ The Senator's Assignment by Joan E. Histon
☐ Karna's Wheel by Michael Tolbert
Total 8

Unread 2
Read 6

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Spanish Exile (Islands of the Crown #1) by Jewel Allen | A Book Review

The Spanish Exile (Islands of the Crown #1) by Jewel Allen | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got this, along with the next book in the series from I could say, I am a regular reviewer of the site. Every month, I always sign up to review any or all of the titles featured. Most of the books featured on the site are also really good stories. I came to meet a lot of new authors through it and some of those authors I have come to love and follow. I have become bewitched by their talent and can't help but wait for their next stories to come out.

Let me just get this out--Yes, right at the start so everyone will know. I sort of felt a personal stake or kinship to this story because it mentioned the Philippines. I know it's shallow or pathetic but I feel proud finding books written by a non-Filipino and mentions a Filipino character or a place in my country in his/her story. As long as it speaks of good things about my country and my people, it makes my heart swell. It's a far cry from hearing about terrorists and terrorism on the news. I am even prouder of this story because the writer is part Filipino. 

For some who don't know, the Philippines was under the Spanish rule for 333 years. Yes, the big three. In those more than three centuries, we have been influenced by the Spaniards greatly, even some of the common and undesirable Filipino traits have been unfortunately acquired from the Spanish rulers. Those three centuries were unfortunately not the best years of our history. A lot of maltreatment and abuses were suffered. If only, good things and influences were gained from those years of rule, then maybe, my country would have probably been better for it.

So, history aside, this story is coined from those years of Spanish rule. The main protagonist, Raul Calderon, a Spanish born with one bad leg that causes him to limp, dreams of joining the military. By some unfortunate incident, he met a man that would become his fencing tutor, after saving them from road bandits. This man became Raul's mentor and fanned more his yearning to become a military man. And he did become one. He rose up the ranks and became a captain. By another unfortunate event, he was charged of a crime against the crown and was later exiled to the Philippine Islands.

I love historical fiction. I was never fond of history in my student days. I guess, I would owe this love for this genre on Clive Cussler. I have been fascinated by his stories that history came to be a very interesting subject for me. Especially after having travelled to some historic places in Asia, I became even more interested in history. So, no wonder this book got my fancy. 

I was even more enamored when I learned how this story came to be. It is for me the greatest adventure--to be able to discover some proof that you were descended from some people who had done something important and became part of history. This was what urged the author to come up with this story, though this may in part contain fiction. 

The story of Raul Calderon is a story that a lot of people can relate to. Fighting for your country and fighting for love. Which of the two carries a heavier weight? Which would you give up, betray and save? Raul Calderon represents a good Spanish man who loves his country and who has seen the sufferings of war. He's torn between doing his duty and doing what's right. 

I give this book 4/5 swords. This is a well-written story of adventure. It seemed as if it was not fiction at all. It's a pleasure knowing you Capt. Raul Calderon. 

She'll have no problem attracting a smile, especially if Good Fortune is a man.
- Jewel Allen, The Spanish Exile - 

Heritage (Transcend #1) by Addie Hunter | A Book Review

Heritage by Addie Hunter | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

Heritage was released on March 30 of this year and spent the first week in the Top 50 for Superhero Fiction on Amazon. 

"Arhaus, Nevada is a small town on I-70 that currently has more superheroes than trees.

After an accident in the summer of 2012, six teens gain superhuman abilities and quickly decide to put them to good use and become heroes in a world that's since lost its good opinion of people with abilities. As if that weren't enough trouble trying to keep their powers hidden from their friends and family, they're going into their senior year of high school.

Strange symbols begin appearing all around town, a new kid moves in, someone threatens to bomb the news building, and Dave still can't find a date to his senior homecoming. Blaise hopes that they can figure out who keeps setting all these fires, and Kat just wants to graduate in one piece.

The first novel in the Transcend series, Heritage sets up a universe full of the supernatural, following the lives of six friends as they begin to find out the world is much bigger than it once seemed."

This book also came by the Contact Us link of this blog. The author said she found me on a recommended reviewers forum. It's flattering to know that I am sort of one of the recommended reviewers. Whatever forum that is, thank you. I strive in making my reviews as objective and honest as possible. This blog was first created just as a self-expression and to help tide me over a period of unemployment. This blog would turn two in January and I am thankful and proud that I have helped a few authors get their books known to a few people who bothered to read this blog. Now, I realized that is just what I wanted to do with this blog--to help all authors, in whatever way possible to spread a word about their books. This has become a lifestyle for me and I don't think I will have or will ever survived the long days of waiting and stewing of whatever is in store for me if not for those countless books that have come my way. The stewing and waiting is still on going and I hope that wherever this life takes me, books will be there to comfort and make things bearable. Thank God for books and for authors who never run out of ideas to make them.

Just by looking at the title, you would never guess that this book is about superheroes. Yes, not just one hero but a lot of them. Yes, this is like Marve'ls The Avengers or DC's Justice League. The only difference is that these superheroes are teenagers and they are all in one town--Arhaus, Nevada.

I never thought there could be too many superheroes in one place. It was fascinating. At least, they would never feel like Superman, overwhelmed by too many people to help or too many crimes to solve. They would never feel overworked by putting out too many fires. And isn't it nice to have a backup? If Superman gets hurt or needs help, who would save Superman, right? Well, at least here, there will be others who will be able to save the day.

There are two groups of teenage superheroes--a group of boys and a group of girls. Both have three members each. Each group does not know the real identities of the other. At the start, there seemed like a rivalry between the two groups, but then they found themselves always at the same crime scene. In the end, they found that it would be to their advantage if they helped each other out. Aside from that, it seemed that the boys were smitten by the girls.

I never expected that I would enjoy this story of teenage superheroes. Along with saving damsels and hapless victims from any lawless criminals or unfortunate events, these superheroes had to be daughters and sons with family problems, friends who need to console or help out another friend. In short, they are like all other normal teenagers going through a bad hair day. Yes, this also reminded of the Power Puff Girls. Young heroes who had to rise up to the challenge and sweep in to get rid of their town's criminals and save those who needed help.

I give this book 4/5 superhero masks. These unlikely superheroes not only dealt with small thefts and fires but they also have to go against something more sinister and bigger than they are. A force they could only defeat if they all work together as a team against one common enemy who had been literally painting the town with unknown symbols and wrecking havoc. This book was skillfully written without sounding outrageous or ridiculous with superheroes in it. I was entertained and I look forward to their next adventures and villains to banish. Thank you Addie Hunter for giving me the opportunity to read this book. Who needs comics if there are books like these, right?

Don't say retarded. It's a diagnosis, not an insult.
- Addie Hunter, Heritage -  

The Last Man She'd Love by Summerita Rhayne | ARC | A Book Review

The Last Man She'd Love by Summerita Rhayne | ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got this review request through the Contact Us link of this blog. This story is set in India and gives us a perspective into the inner workings of most rich Indian families. The family dynamics, how marriages are made and how their culture is similar and different from the my culture and the rest of the world.

I have not read of any works of the author before this so I don't know what to expect. I didn't even know that she is from India before reading the story. But knowing a few things about the author and from her culture is a really good learning experience. And it's fascinating reading a story set in her land and showcasing her culture. It's as good as an invitation to getting to know the author more.

This is a story about two people who work together. The guy is the boss of a movie production company. The woman is one of his creative directors. The guy-Guy, is a flirt. He often drops flirty suggestions in conversations with Lyna. At first, they were all harmless and Lyna would often respond back with cold and sarcastic retorts. Until, they realized that the flirting started to get less harmless and Lyna is starting to get confused if she will take Guy up on his innuendos.

The best part of this story is when the two were forced to act like they were engaged, to appease their families and for damage-control for the embarrassment from the unfortunate video that was uploaded on social media. It was really interesting knowing about the family of Guy and their dynamics. The family secrets, fights and scandals. It was like being shown into the lives of the truly rich in India.

At first, Guy may seem like a jerk and a conceited person. A man full of himself but as it turned out, he has a soft side to him. And Lyna, acting as cold as the Arctic was no use to Guy's heated flirty attempts. Staying in Guy's childhood home and meeting his family has shown Lyna the real Guy and she ended up melting like the icebergs helpless against global warming.

I give this book 3/5 peepal trees. It's nice to know more about the marriage aspect of the Indian culture. It was a really good learning experience. I liked how Guy can turn a flirty banter into a funny and witty exchange. I especially like the one about him being a knight in a shining armor. It was just so witty and a little funny. The host of other interesting characters, especially Guy's family was also very interesting. The eccentricities of each character added more color to the story. The only small kink I found in the whole book was the use of not so common words. In a way, I understand because the author might be more attuned to British English. I just wished simpler words were used to be more relatable to the audience.

Maybe it's a kind of circle. Some give pain and some others accept it and that's how nature equates itself.
- Summerita Rhayne, The Last Man She'd Love -  

Eye on the Prize by Dmytro Holmes | A Book Review

Eye on the Prize by Demytro Holmes | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got this review request from the author last February. It took quite a while for me to get on this book. I remember, at some point, I had this lined up on my TBR but I lost my tracking worksheet when the laptop crashed. This somehow got lost in the never-ending TBR pile. Last week, I checked my list which I wrote after the unfortunate laptop crash and realized I still haven't gotten to this. Finally, here it is. I am really sorry, Demytro Holmes for the delay.

This book is about a boxer. This reminds me of course, of no other than, Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao. As it turned out, the author was a former boxer and this fictional story seemed to have been inspired from his first-hand experience as a boxer. So, I was very fascinated when I found out how this story came about. Even more so, when I found that the author is a cancer survivor. He knocked out cancer just like the main character here in this story, Mikai, who knocked out his demons and fought hard for his dreams.

The title perfectly fits the message of the story. Eye on the prize! I often hear this phrase associated or often given as a piece of advice to all those who are working on achieving something--like athletes, or a guy trying to woe a girl for a long time, or any other goal. Eye on the prize! Focus! No distractions! No goal is too far if you keep your eye on the prize and work hard on it, everyday. This I think is the mantra for most athletes to get that coveted gold medal. 

Like all success stories, Mikai, became a champion boxer by keeping his eye on the prize. Unfortunately, like all stories, it was not as easy as it sound. Along the way, he lost his focus, was distracted mentally and emotionally and lost his way. His discipline wavered and trusted the wrong people. And like every other successful person, what saved him was his mentor and father-figure who never gave up on him. Without him, Mikai would have surely never reached his dream and would be probably six feet under or forever be under the claws of a mob boss.

This is my first time to read a story about a boxer and more so, written by a boxer himself. The story resonates with a lot of personal experiences of the author. I can clearly hear and taste the raw emotions of the hardships the characters of Mikai, Joe and Caitlyn had to go through. The story does not only talk about the rigors of training to become a professional and champion boxer but also about the personal demons of the characters. This talks about bullying, of domestic violence, of running around with the wrong people and trusting the wrong people to save you. We often hear of best friends betraying each other. This story has that also. 

This isn't an easy story to read because it talked of very painful subjects and experiences which are very common and real. In some way, you will find yourself relating to one or many of the characters experiences. At some point, you have been in their shoes and going through the same ridicule and battle. 

The best thing about the book is the straight and raw stating of the events like they were happening as of the moment. I can feel that it was written as honestly as possible without embellishment. For the most part, I felt so sorry for Mikai. And I for one, could definitely personally relate to his experiences. This story, in brief, tells us to be meaner than our demons. 

I give this book 4/5 pairs of boxing gloves. I love stories about underdogs and bullied people rising up. As I said, I can relate to Mikai's character because I too was bullied. I can't wait for the next book where Mikai and his childhood bully would meet in the ring. I am sure his bully won't know what's coming for him. I would like to see his face getting reduced to pulp by Mikai's punches. Then, remind him of boy with the glasses he used to torment.

This is a painful story but inspiring as well. We all could use Mikai's experience as an example that not all is lost. Whatever battles and problems we are dealing, with enough will-power and unfailing support from our family and friends, we can defeat all demons and throw away all baggages that have been weighing us down for the longest time. This story is also proof that even the most disciplined people like athletes, fall off the wagon and succumb to temptations. After all, we are just human but even so, we can tap into that resilience and will-power hidden within the depths of our being, to punch and kick all the demons that forever want to keep us down.

All of us have made choices at one time or another that left a bad taste in our mouths but we do what we have to do.
- Dmytro Holmes, Eye on the Prize -