Review: Channel ’63 — By Bruce Edwards

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Channel ’63 (The Age of Amy, #3)

Author: Bruce Edwards

Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 of 5)

Genre / Pages: Fiction / 244

Summary: What if you could tune your TV to the year 1963, and watch—live? A new theme park attraction allows visitors to not only observe, but talk with the people of that turbulent decade. For 16-year-old Amy, it’s the perfect escape from her own time, and the hardships of teenage life in the 21st century.

Things get complicated when Amy falls for a teenage boy in the 60s. Trying to build a relationship across time proves maddening, especially when computers bleep any language that might impact the future. Happily, Amy acquires a “magic clicker” which defeats this annoying restriction. But gaining the ability to speak freely comes with a heavy responsibility: Amy now has the power to alter history!

Cover Review: It’s a very simplistic cover, but it’s not awkwardly posed clipart, which is more than you can say for most covers nowadays. I like it!

My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Age of Amy is a morality play. A hyperbolic story. A cautionary tale. Everything in it — characters, plot lines, events — is exaggerated to teach a moral. It’s not supposed to be a story where you think “Wow! I really relate to that character and what they’re going through right now!” It’s one of those books that makes you think “Wow. Maybe I should re-evaluate that aspect of my life. …Okay, I’ve thought about it, I probably won’t change anything, but it’s a fun story anyway!” Kinda joking there, but it really does teach important lessons, in a very fun way. 

Personally, I found the endless 60’s references a bit tedious for my tastes. It was clear that the author was reliving his favorite era in the writing of this book. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, write what you know, etc., but it definitely didn’t captivate me, a 21st century teenager. The political agenda in this one wasn’t really my cup of tea, but being politically over-the-top has always been what makes these Age of Amy books so much fun. And this one was a lot of fun! I didn’t like Channel ’63 as much as I liked the first book in the series, Bonehead Bootcamp, and the second book, Thumper Amendment, but it was still an enjoyable read.

Amy is intelligent, rebellious, and fiercely independent. She’s a teenage girl trying to be a grown-up, and doing a pretty good job at it, honestly. Her voice is raw and defiant, and her story is almost inspiring. The only REAL issue I have with this book is the Robert A. Heinlein-esque borderline pedophilic relationship that was referenced but not explicitly stated, at the end of the book… That’s the best way I could describe it without any major spoilers.

Content Advisory: Some swearing, some intense scenes – medical emergencies, domestic fighting, and armed assault. Nothing graphic, detailed, or excessive. 

To Sum It Up: Fun, fantastic (Definition: imaginative or fanciful), and more than a little crazy, The Age of Amy: Channel ’63 is the perfect choice for a younger reader — or for an adult looking for a break from the intense realism of most modern-day literature. I recommend this book to readers ages 10+.

Review: A Tale of Light and Shadow – By Jacob Gowans

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Cover image and summary from Goodreads.com.

Title: A Tale of Light and Shadow

Author: Jacob Gowans

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 of 5)

Genre / Pages: Fantasy / 400

Summary: Enter Atolas, a world where swords and daggers both extend life and end it, where magic is feared by all but a few, and where feuds and friendships influence kingdoms and courtships. Henry and Isabelle have secretly sworn to marry despite his lowly station. Though Henry is but a carpenter, his devotion drives him to commit an unthinkable act that may cost both of them their lives. At the same time, a secret, dark prophecy has set in motion events that will affect not only them, but the thrones of rulers throughout all of Atolas, threatening to eclipse the world in shadow. But all is not lost while hope remains in the guise of an unlikely hero and the strength of friendship.

Cover Art Expectations: This is one of the new sections I’ve started adding to my reviews, and I’m loving it! Let’s be real here, everybody judges a book by it’s cover. You kinda have to, because there are so many books to choose from, you have to quickly narrow down choices somehow. There are certain expectations one gathers based on covers. Mine were the following:

  • Sweet Romance novel (Kinda true, kinda not, I’ll explain later.)
  • Medieval fantasy (Yup, this one’s true, for sure)
  • Old, Patricia Wrede style, writing (No, not really)

Overall, it’s a simple, pretty, cover that brings to mind epics such as the Princess Bride. I did read on the author’s website, that he was very opposed to these new covers that were marketing his books as a romance, but, in all honesty, I think it’s a pretty accurate representation of the book’s content. Cover art rating: ★★★★☆ (4 of 5)

My Review: A quick shoutout to my friend Jonah for recommending that I read this book – thank you! Little bit of a tangent here, but I love reading books on the recommendations of my friends, because then you have a built-in fellow reader with whom to discuss the book once you’ve finished it! It’s always a bit disappointing when you read a book that you love and then don’t have anyone with whom to discuss it.  So thank you to all my awesome bookish friends, be you people I know in real life, or my fellow book bloggers. :)

From the very first chapter, this epic fantasy enchanted me, intrigued me, and pulled me into the world. The rest of the book didn’t disappoint – I loved it! It was the author’s first written book, and that is noticeable at times, but I always cut debuts a little bit of extra slack. (Not his first published book, but a book that he wrote when he was 18, and published later). I really wish that this book had explored the magic and magical creatures aspect of the world more. It was referenced and alluded to multiple times, but was never actually fleshed out, which disappointed me a bit. The magic was built up to be important, used when needed, and then brushed aside to avoid having to dedicate time to addressing it. My guess is that the author decided to wait till the second book to address it (I am SUPER excited to read the second book, btw). Aside from the magic thing, I think the author did an excellent job of world, plot, and character building. It was a thoroughly enjoyable adventure. I also really liked that the story was being told by a storyteller, that was a fun aspect.

Hero / Heroine: Henry: The youngest master carpenter around, and in love with a fallen nobleman’s daughter, Henry’s life isn’t very easy. However, he is a fantastic and realistic character, and one that I think you will thoroughly enjoy reading about. One of my favorite aspects about his character is that he isn’t a great warrior, he doesn’t have much combat training, and he’s not the first fictional character I’d call up if I had been kidnapped by an evil tyrant. But,”Life [had] taught [Isabelle] that Henry could protect her without using a sword.” I found that to be a very refreshing take on the lead in medieval fantasy such as this one. Henry may not be a natural leader, or skilled in swordplay, but he is incredibly brave and loyal – and I think that counts for an awful lot.

Isabelle: Fiesty is a good word to describe her. She’s kind, brave, and ready to stand up for herself and her friends. She’s more than just the love interest, which is great, because characters that exist only to be love interests are always boring. I don’t feel like I got to know her as well as I would have liked, due to certain circumstances, but what I did learn about her, I really loved. She was complex, flawed, and incredibly compassionate and courageous. What’s not to love?

Plot: Tale is a romance in the same way that The Princess Bride  is a romance – there’s plenty of adventure, action, and intrigue, but it all exists for the purpose of advancing the romantic plot. In fact, the more I think about it, the more Tale does remind me of  The Princess Bride, in the very best of ways. The only thing I really disliked about this book, was the ending. Due to the events of the last 5% of the book, it kinda felt like nothing ended up being accomplished by the characters at all. I think that’s something that comes with the debut novel part, though… The author just didn’t have the pacing or plotting quite mastered yet. Aside from that, I really enjoyed the plot. The adventure was fun and unpredictable, the characters were well developed, enjoyable, and realistic, the brewing war and political subterfuge was intriguing, and the betrayals were unexpected but believable. Honestly, I think one of my favorite aspects of the novel was the character dynamics – they were unlike any other band of unlikely traveling companions I’ve ever read about, and it was really fun.

Content Advisory: Some violence, captivity, torture, execution, and death (both in battle and at home). Mentions and threats of sex slavery. A teenage girl is sold into sex slavery. Alcoholism and drunkenness. Intense sequences of father-daughter domestic violence. Nothing sexually explicit or graphically violent. 

Raising Awareness: I’ve discovered that you can learn very important things from every book you read, so I will start highlighting one of those things in this section of my reviews. The rising action of this book is when a teenage girl is sold into sex slavery. It’s very easy to read this book, be horrified by the idea of sex slavery, and then feel comforted to remember that we abolished slavery 150 years ago. See how civilized and humane we are? Slavery is all gone now! Um, no. No, it’s definitely not. In fact, there are more slaves in the world today than ever before in human history. These are labor  (mining, sweat shops, etc) and sex (Brothels, massage parlors, trafficking rings, etc) slaves . But that’s in the third world countries, right? Sorry, but no. I live in Dallas, Texas. Houston, Texas, USA is 4 hours away from me. Houston is the number one sex trafficking hub in the entire country. This is in your neighborhood, your strip mall, your workplace. It’s everywhere. Check out Traffick911 and the 8 Days film for more information, and to see how you can help. #AwarenessISkey #SlaveryStillExists #ThisEndsNow

To Sum it Up: 400 pages may seem long, but I read this book in almost no time at all! I could hardly put it down. If you like The Princess Bride story feel, quirky characters, and crazy adventures, then A Tale of Light and Shadow  is the book for you! I loved it and I bet you will, too. :) I highly recommend this book to readers ages 13 and up. 

 

Review: Sword of Summer – By Rick Riordan

First of all – I am still alive! I sincerely apologize for the hiatus I took. It was not something I wanted to do, but I overloaded myself with coursework this past semester, and a hiatus was necessary. Never fear, my friends! I have returned! Now on to the review!

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer

Author: Rick Riordan

Rating★★★★

Genre/pages: Mythology/499

Synopsis: “Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .”

My Review: I’ve been a diehard fan of Rick’s work since I read the first PJ&O book nearly six years ago. I remember when he first announced that he would start a Norse series “in 2015” and I would sigh about how very far away 2015 was. And now it’s gone! Anyway, I think MC&GA is going to be a fantastic series. It’s certainly off to a phenomenal start with SoS! I mean, I’ve read some crazy stuff, but starting a book with a death… that’s pretty cool, Rick.

Hero/Heroine: Magnus and Sam. What’s not to love? A street-smart teen with mysterious ties to the Norse, and a cousin by the name of Annabeth, combined with a hijab-wearing valkyrie? Well, it’s pretty crazy, more than a little weird, and plenty of fun. I’ve heard some people complain that Magnus was too much like Percy, but I didn’t really see that. He had the same endearing Rick Riordan sass and sarcasm, but they remained very separate and unique characters. I would love to see them meet, though. They’d be quite the pair. And Sam! Sam is epic. And I love that they have a very Percabeth banter, without the romance.

Plot: The formula is pretty much what you expect from Rick’s books: regular guy figures out he’s a hero, saves a bunch of people, prophecy/mission that has to be fulfilled within about a week, etc. It’s a tried and true formula, but that doesn’t make the book any less wonderful! The actual details of the plot and the characters kept me fully invested and on the edge of my seat. You never really know what’s going to happen when you’re dealing with Rick, and Sword of Summer is FAR from predictable. You will be wholly satisfied with this epic installment in the modern mythos of the Riordan universe.

Content Advisory: Some mild violence. Death.

To Sum It Up: An absolutely magical adventure by everyone’s favorite mythological author – Rick Riordan. Mixing modern with myth and a healthy heaping of sass, Rick creates a story that will thrill readers for years to come. Here is to the next generation of the Riordan universe! I recommend it for readers ages 8+.

Attention Horse-lovers! Review: Wednesday Riders — By Tudor Robins

Cover image from author, summary from goodreads.com. Image links to Goodreads book page.
Cover image from author, summary from goodreads.com. Image links to Goodreads book page.

Title: Wednesday Riders (Island Trilogy, #2)

Author:

Goodreads.  Amazon.

Summary: 

The island.
Meg can’t wait to get back. She’s excited to see her new mare kick up her heels in Salem’s old paddock. She’s impatient to run on country roads between breeze-blown hayfields.
Mostly, Meg longs to be back with Jared again.
It’s going to be the perfect summer.
But can real life live up to Meg’s huge expectations?

When Jared makes a heart-wrenching confession, Meg has to re-evaluate everything. If perfection’s not possible, can Meg find a way to build happiness for herself?
Fans of Appaloosa Summer will welcome the return to familiar places and characters, with the chance to be captivated by more of the beauty, romance, and dreaminess of Meg’s summer island life.

Pages/Genre: 181/Equestrian Fiction

Rating: ★★★★ (5 of 5)

My Review: You may recall the not so distant past when I was gushing to you about Appaloosa Summer, the horse book that restored my faith in equestrian fiction. And not to long ago, I was claiming that I believed that Wednesday Riders would be just as much of my “Happy Book” as Appaloosa Summer had been. Boy, was I in for a surprise. Probably no more than two or three chapters in, I was sobbing and throwing things.

So, thank you to the incredible Tudor Robins for sending me a free copy of Wednesday Riders!

I could just cut this review short and say “OHMYGOSH I LOVE TUDOR ROBINS SO FREAKING MUCH SHE WRITES THE BEST BOOKS IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD I CAN”T EVEN ASDFGHJKL”, but that really wouldn’t be professional, so I’m going to write a “real” review.

Hero/ine: Meg: In my review of Appaloosa Summer I gave a pretty good overview of all the things I loved about Meg. Appaloosa Summer was a happy book. It had conflict, yes, but it was happy. In Wednesday Riders, Meg was faced with horrific circumstances that would change anybody. Meg became a little bit of a whiny teenage girl in this book, but that wasn’t a bad thing. It didn’t make me mad like it did when characters like Tris or Katniss did it. Because it was different. She was incredibly complex and deep – she was a real character, with real feelings, emotions, and reactions. She was utterly relatable and therefore utterly lovable. Remember Amy Fleming from CBC’s hit family drama Heartland? (if you haven’t — BEST. SHOW. EVER.) Though the characters are each very different and unique, and I’m not saying that Ms. Robins ripped off Heartland by ANY stretch of the imagination, but the two women are very alike in a few ways. I love it. I think they would be best friends.

Jared: Without giving anything away, I can say that Jared was colored with an unfavorable light from the very beginning. And it broke my heart. Because I adore Jared. But even though he was not as physically present in Wednesday Riders as he had been in Appaloosa Summer, I still absolutely adored him. He was still very real, complex, and engaging. That’s what I loved most, actually. He wasn’t forced into the Male Love Interest YA Fictional Novel stereotypes. He wasn’t perfect and he wasn’t terrible – he was a real person. Good things, bad things, perfectly romantic and adorable things, ALL of those things are what make me love Jared so freaking much.

Plot: I felt the agony, I experienced the pain. This was a very pain filled book for me — and quite the shocker, since I’d expected it to be super happy and perfect. But, another PHENOMENAL thing about this book? It wasn’t all about the romance. Yeah, that factored into it, and yeah, it affected the characters, but they still had lives. I loved the plot about the Wednesday Riders, and about Bridget. Tudor isn’t afraid to address the hard issues. Nor is she afraid to resolve them. One thing is for certain, Wednesday Riders does NOT suffer from Second Book Syndrome. I wish I could say more about the specific things I loved, and the character decisions that I didn’t love, and the overall freaking amazingness that is this entire book, but, alas, SPOILERS. :(

Content Advisory: Eesh. This made me sad. I found it largely unnecessary, BUT… There was one scene of a sexual nature, went to second base. There was one scene of an implied sexual nature, but largely it took place off-screen. There were mentions of drinking, smoking, and of having sex. I can’t recall much swearing, so it was probably a relatively small amount of D’s, S’s, and B’s.

To Sum it Up: Though the sex scenes did disappoint me, aside from that I adored this book – almost as much as the first – even MORE in some ways. Appaloosa Summer put the bar ridiculously high, but Wednesday Riders did not disappoint. The complex and engaging characters (I loved the integration of the children!), the emotional and heart wrenching discoveries, and the horses (oh, the horses!) – this book was fabulous from beginning to end. I was crying, I was laughing, I was screaming, (and if I owned the physical copy, I would have been throwing it, as well). This is one of the best equestrian fiction novels you will ever read. I highly recommend it to 16+.

Termination of Brief Hiatus

You know what I hate more than anything else? Being forced to take a Hiatus. So, I’ve had a few weeks to get into the swing of school work, and even theugh the work load has not gone down any, I think I have created a schedule and gotten my priorities straight enough, that I’ll still be able to blog a little bit. It may only be a post or two a week, but it’s going to happen.

 

Thanks so much!

Love,

Lynette  ❤

Week of Potter: July 30th, 2014 — Bite-Sized Book Reviews

“In honor of the birthday of the boy wizard and his creator, I am throwing a Week of Potter right here on Escaping Reality — One Book at a Time. It could be anything. Whatever I’m feeling like at the moment I decide to write a post. It might be a “Dear Jo” letter, a “Dear Mr. Potter” letter, it might even be the ramblings of a member of the Fred Weasley Death Denial Support Group. Or it could be mini-reviews highlighting my favorite parts of the books.” Day One can be found HERE. Day Two can be found HERE. Day Three can be found HERE.

I’ve never really felt the need to review the potter series seeing as they’re basically my life, and there’s really not a lot you can say about them. However, in this post I’m going to attempt to highlight my very favorite parts of each of the books.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

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“The Boy Who Lived.” I do not own this image.

By – J.K. Rowling – Published June 26th, 1997

The beginning of an era… There’s something wonderfully magical about this book. You open this book never having entered this world before, and you get to become fully immersed as the story slowly unfolds around you. You’re thrown full tilt into the end of a war, and the beginning of freedom. …But is it really all that it seems? This book is pure perfection. You feel Harry’s pain, the horror of his childhood, and you feel his absolute ecstasy when he discovers that he is special. A lot of people don’t like “Chosen One” stories starring orphans, because people think that it is just far too “convenient,” but Harry’s story isn’t like the others. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I first read it at the age of 4 or 5. It was the first real chapter book I ever read. This book changed my life. ★★★★★ 6 Stars.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 2nd, 1998

The adventure continues… This book is hilarious. It’s in this book that you begin to get to know Fred and George a bit better, which is absolutely fantabulous. In fact, this entire book stars the Weasley family — Percy, Ginny, the twins, Ron, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley,  the whole deal. You get to know all of them! The story really begins to develop here, as you (unknowingly) confront and destroy the first of Voldemort’s horcruxes, as well as discovering his identity. Chamber of Secrets is definitely a mystery. You don’t know how anything’s happening, you just know that Harry’s being blamed for all of it. Rowling lays out the clues so carefully and discreetly, that you never feel frustrated, but you never could have guessed who it really was. Rowling expertly crafts the story of Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, while further progressing the overall story arc. Because of Ginny, this was a childhood favorite of the series. ★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 8th, 1999

The Prisoner escapes… This book shakes things up. 3 is a big year for the Hogwarts students, but it’s much bigger for Harry than anyone possibly could have considered. This the last truly happy and bright book of the series. This is Harry’s final year as a child. The reason this is the best book ever??? SIRIUS BLACK. AND REMUS LUPIN. TOGETHER AT LAST. Victory! I still remember the first time I read this book. The excitement and suspense, and the climax!  Everything you previously believed is completely unraveled, and the action is at break-neck speed. You, and Harry, are given a burst of hope, you can see the light, the answer, pure happiness. To good to be true, right? Right. :/ And, of course, the wizard time travel! The best thing about this book is the excellent writing of J.K. Rowling. She is a master of her craft, Joanne Rowling is The Queen of fantasy literature. This book is definitely one of my favorites, of the series. Well, they all are, actually. ★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 8th, 2000

Darkness returns… This is the beginning of the Second World War, and the end of Harry’s childhood (if it hadn’t already been obliterated during his time in the cupboard). It begins with a bang! and doesn’t slow down for an instant. Chapter by chapter, it gets darker, and darker, as you slowly struggle to discover who’s really behind it all. The magic of J.K. Rowling is that you never suspect the true perpetrator until it is revealed, but you believe it right away. Sometimes when I’ve read books like this, when the bad guy is finally revealed, you just get mad, because the author didn’t handle it well. Fortunately, that’s now how Rowling works. Everything is absolutely perfect. Each piece revealed at just the right time. And the end of the book? It brings tears every time. Harry’s just a child – fourteen! Your world, and his, is ripped to pieces.

★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

By – J.K. Rowling – Published June 21st, 2003

Dumbledore’s Army begins recruiting… This is my personal favorite of the series. Originally, I refused to read it. I even went so far as to read books 6 and 7 before I finally broke down, and opened OotP. But when I did, it instantly became my all-time favorite. As soon as I finished it, I read it again. Harry is a PTSD wracked teenager, the Dark Lord is back, and he’s lying in a garden of rose bushes, listening to the news, because, you see, “it changes everyday.” Sassy Harry has finally appeared! Even though this book is the darkest Harry’s life has ever been, you never get hopelessly deperessed. There are still those happy moments, those moments of laughter, the smiles, the complete joy. Harry’s character development within this book is incredible. Yes, we have Angst Harry, but it’s so very realistic. Harry is broken, and this book certainly doesn’t heal any wounds. This book probably makes me cry more than any other book I’ve ever read. I love it. Continually in a state of re-reading. ★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 16th, 2005

Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen?… Even though I still absolutely adore this book, it’s always been the most “meh,” for me. I don’t know what exactly it was, but it just isn’t my favorite of the series. It’s a new brand of darkness, and one that I just don’t like. However, Quidditch is back! Quidditch! YAY! This book sets off all the sequences of events to make book seven possible. You don’t understand everything at the time, but it’s all of the absolute essence. Even the characters! The DA has been dissolved (but we all know that won’t last for long), and Snape has finally received the coveted post of DADA teacher. It’s a strange world you have returned to. But you still love it. The ending of this book… it’s horrible. Heart breaking. But it’s a wonderful finish. I loved every second of it. This book moves the series to a new level. ★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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“All was well.” I do not own this image.

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 21st, 2007

The end of an era… The grand finale. How does one truly describe a book as superb as this one? I’ll attempt it, but I can’t guarantee it’ll be cohernet. And I can promise that it won’t come near to expressing how phenomenal this book is. This is the first book that does not spend the majority of it’s time at Hogwarts. The war is in full swing, and the Golden Trio are out trying to save wizard – and muggle – kind from an unthinkable evil: the uncontested reign of Lord Voldemort. The character development in this book is definitely at it’s high point in the series. Characters you love make horrible mistakes, say horrible things, do horrible things, and again and again you are forced to remember that these are teenagers. Hardly more than mere children. They’re ‘so young, to be fighting so many.’ Another think I love about Rowling’s writing is that even when it seems like there is no hope left in the world… well, let’s just say that “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” The big finish was done with the spectacular story telling that only Jo could have pulled off. Loose ends are tied up, and everything comes full circle. Watch out, you’ll cry, a lot. No matter how many times you’ve read the series. ★★★★★ 6 stars

To Sum it Up: Best series ever written. 

OBLIGATORY GENIUS MOMENT. 

JKR is The Queen.

Harry

And as always…

In the true spirit of Harry Potter, and the love that Potter fans share… Don’t forget toDONATE to Lumos so that we can Light Up  Jo’s Birthday 2014! Lumos is an amazing organization founded by our Queen Rowling in order to work towards stopping the institutionalization of children world wide. Light up Jo’s Birthday seeks to get extra donations for Lumos as a special birthday present to Jo. Please, please, PLEASE donate! <3 :DHP10

Review: Her Ex Next Door – by Beverly Farr

Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to Goodreads book page.
Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to Goodreads book page.

Title: Her Ex Next Door

Author: Beverly Farr

Summary: Ginny hasn’t told anyone about her brief marriage nine years ago — not even her new fiancé. But sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.

Ginny is planning to get married in six weeks, but then her ex-husband Derek shows up. Derek has always been trouble — too smart, too sexy, too unreliable. Ginny wants nothing to do with him, but now he’s rich, and he has mischief on his mind. Ginny does not want to trade her dreams of happily-ever-after for a guaranteed heartache.

Author’s Note: in this book you will find a late night rendezvous, a wedding, a financial crisis, a sexy millionaire, and brownies.

Her Ex Next Door is a sweet, quirky, clean romance.

Genre/Pages: Sweet Romance/146

Rating: ★★ (4.5 of 5)

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Review: This was the first romance novel I ever read.  Honestly, the plot synopsis made it sound like the type of super cliche book that I would totally hate. But it wasn’t! I was SO HAPPY! Plus, the cover is totally adorable! I read this book during finals week, and it made my life so much easier. Great stress reliever. It was a fun book.

Hero/Heroine: I should’ve hated these characters. They had the making of characters I would hate. Cuz, you see, Lynette Dalley does not like romance novels. And yet… I loved these characters, and this book. Beverly Farr is an amazing author.

Ginny: She was a great character. With an amazing name! She seems very uptight at first, kind of out of her element. Her mother is an wealthy upper class elite who goes through husbands like shoes. As her mother tries to control the preparations for Ginny’s upcoming, you can tell that this isn’t who Ginny is. She feels very out of place, and not altogether happy with the wedding. She has an amazing job, and loves her work. She’s not stupid, and she doesn’t try to lead anyone on. It’s a nice change. 

Derek: Well, well, well… What have we here? When the word “sexy” is used as one of the main descriptors of a male love interest, I usually hate the character, cuz it’s usually just an “eye candy” stupid character who has no actually depth, complexity, or story. Dylan was different. He was real. Yeah, he was super smooth and attractive, but he had an actual story, an actual background. He hides behind his smooth talking, but when you get to know him… he’s a real person.

Plot: This basic story could’ve ended up being very bitter, cliche, predictable, and boring. However, Beverly Farr expanded upon the premise, she created deep, realistic, and lovable characters. As their background and story begins to be revealed piece by piece, you begin to understand everything that’s going on. 

The Ending. I think a lesser author wouldn’t have been able to pull it off. You kind of guess at it from the beginning, but I wasn’t sure how it could be pulled off. Beverly Farr was fantastic. She pulled it off with such style. It just made sense… it was a very satisfying and happy ending.

Content Advisory: As the author herself says: “What you will find in my stories:
1. Sweet quirky romance.
2. Very little swearing. There may be an occasional h*ll or d*mn, maybe even a b***h, but there will be no Lord’s name in vain and no f-bombs.
3. No explicit sex scenes. Characters might discuss sex, but any love scenes are off screen (Think AFRICAN QUEEN).
4. No vampires. At least, not yet.”

To Sum it Up: I LOVED THIS BOOK. It was so fun, and good, and enjoyable. It was what one might even call a “guilty pleasure” book. I’m really liking this new sweet romance genre! I read it in a day, hardly put it down, and yet I didn’t feel like I’d wasted any of my time! It was well worth the hours of happiness this book brought. It was just a genuinely GOOD book. I highly recommend it to 16+.

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it? 

ARC Review: The Break-Up Artist – by Philip Siegel

 

Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to goodreads book page.
Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to goodreads book page.

Title: The Break-Up Artist

The Break-Up Artist will be released May 1st. It will be available for purchase via Amazon HERE in one month! Make sure to buy it! :)

Author: Philip Siegel

Summary: Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples. 



After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.

Genre/Pages: Fiction/319

Rating: ★★ (4.5 of 5)

My Review:  

First Paragraph: Couples are made to be broken. That’s what my sister, Diane, told em when I started my business, and she knows better than anyone. “Don’t get duped like I did, Becca,” she said almost a year ago, as she shoved her wedding dress into a garbage bag. She’d had it designed to look like Kate Middleton’s, lace sleeves and everything. It’s a shame nobody saw her wear it.

I’ll be honest. Going into this book, I thought I’d hate it. Obviously, I didn’t. I mean, really? That cover’s not very good, and the synopsis sounded like every book I’ve ever hated. Your typical “Never-had-a-boyfriend-strong-independent-woman-who-don’t-need-no-man-hates-everyone-with-a-significant-other-thinks-all-men-are-evil” female lead who’s whiny and a jerk to her friends because she has a serious victim complex. Then girl meets boy, hates boy, but gradually falls in love with boy, forbidden love deal, they live happily ever after, boring teenage romance novel. 

But I was wrong. That’s not what it was at all. Even though it felt that way to start, it gets better, I promise. So much better.

I received an ARC via the amazing Literary Lushes in for an honest review.

Hero/Heroine: As I previously stated, you just roll your eyes at every idiotic statement Becca makes in the beginning of the book (and don’t even get me STARTED on her sister!!!), SO cliche. SO boring. SO predictable. Or so I thought. Boy, was I wrong. Becca (and even her sister!) really grows on you. She is a flawed heroine, and at first you assume you know everything about her and her motives. But as the book goes on, you learn that you can’t judge someone based on your immediate assumptions. Becca grows a lot, and learns the consequences of actions. And the “Hero”. I’m not gonna name names, but let’s just say, once more, you can’t judge someone on your immediate assumptions. There’s a lot more to him than meets the eye. Die-hard romantics may not like this book, because it defies all cliches, and flat-out makes fun of your stereotypical YA romance novels.

Plot: This was the best part! It’s what you’d expect of a Gallagher Girl in a public high school. Becca makes a living breaking up couples – secretly. She has to be inconspicious, and unexpected. Her twisted methods of discovering what a person most fears in their significant other, and then making it come to pass our pure GENIUS. Becca is a master of sabotage and slander. Waiting to see what she came up with next was probably my favorite part. But the main romance? Let’s just say (as I’ve said a million times already) this book is NOT your average YA romance. Everything that’s never happened in one of those, happens here. It’s all about girl-empowerment, how you don’t NEED a boyfriend to complete you – but sometimes, just sometimes, true love is possible.  The plot is complex, and completely unexpected, but in the end? Absolute perfection. You are on the edge of your seat, as the plot slowly unravels around you, and everything begins to fit into place…

Content Advisory: Maybe 10 or 15 minor cuss words. BS, the B-word, the S-word, the H-word. Some sexual innuendos. Mention of a condom. Mention of rumored sex. A fair amount of under-age drinking, getting drunk, etc. A lot of kissing, though nothing graphic. Frat party, not very graphic.

To Sum it Up: So far, this review has probably made about zero sense, so here goes: NO CLICHES, everything is unexpected, and yet amazing! Girl empowerment, but you can still have a boyfriend! It teaches real morals for real girls. The plot and character development are amazing! Really? I LOVED THIS BOOK. First YA Fiction Romance I have honestly enjoyed. I highly recommend this book to 13+.

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it? 

Review: Dragon Boy & the Witches of Galza – By A.A. Bukhatir

Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to goodreads book page.
Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to goodreads book page.

Title: Dragon Boy & The Witches of Galza

Author: A.A. Bukhatir

Summary: In a tiny village nestled between a haunted forest and a magic mountain, lives an old woodcutter named Aijou. Shunned by the other villagers, he mourns the death of his cherished wife and spends his lonely days going about his work in nearly total isolation. He never dreams that in a flash his life will change completely, and that his courage and strength will be profoundly tested.

It all begins innocently enough when Aijou loses his way in the enchanted forest. Desperately seeking the path back home, he suddenly encounters two tiny fairies engaged in battle with fire-breathing she-dragon. Against all odds, the fairies prevail and with its last breath, the dying dragon assumes her human form. She begs Aijou to adopt her baby boy. Aijou agrees not knowing that the infant is actually a dragon. From that moment on, Aijou¹s life will never be the same. Filled with determination, he tries to escape the haunted forest.

But in order to return home, Aijou must obtain permission from the evil Witches of Galza. With two fairy guides, Aijou and the dragon baby set off to find the wicked sisters. When they finally meet, the Witches offer Aijou a terrible bargain and he must decide whether he will accept.

Genre/Pages: Fantasy/320

Rating: ★★ (4 of 5)

My Review: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“A chill passed through them as they looked at the horizon where the sun was about to set and darkness slowly invited itself in, without waiting for permission.” pg. 270 of Dragon Boy

Maybe it’s just me, but anybody who can write something as beautiful as that phrase, has got to be worth reading. It’s pure poetry! Sorry, my inner geek just had to come out. That phrase stopped me in my tracks.

ANYway, about the book… The opening was brilliantly done, as was the ending. One of the things I found most fascinating about this book is how… original it is. It’s so wildly different from any other YA Fantasy you’ll read, but in a good way. The main character, for instance, is an old man.  At first I wasn’t sure how that was gonna be, but I loved it. The 2 side-kick characters were… interesting. You’re kinda’ve thrown into them, but over time, as you get to know them,  they’re really great. One of the best things? The world. I love love LOVE worlds that have a lot of detail and thought put into them, and this was definitely one of those! It was fascinating, complex, and well-thought out. You go on this huge adventure traveling mountain ranges, fairylands, dragon cities, and deadly forests, meeting all sorts of magical creatures along the way. It’s fantastic.

The only thing that did bug me throughout the course of the book were the names; Rasaia, and Shiawa. I have this thing about names. I HAVE to know how to pronounce them, or else I will never stop thinking about it. Rasaia & Shiawa? I have no idea. Other than that, though, I did get lost every so often, and I would have to go back and read a sentence or paragraph a few times over to actually understand what happened. That was confusing, and some of the concepts weren’t introduced in the best ways. Also, there is an overuse of the word “really” (e.i. really tightly, really hard). Honestly, though? I loved this book. Not like I love Harry Potter or anything, but I loved this book. The character development was PHENOMENAL. And I loved the ending! Everything comes together so perfectly! I cannot wait for the 2nd book! I’m sure it’ll be just as (if not more) fantastic as the first.

Content Advisory: Umm… two dragons fight. A woman dies. Nothing scary or graphic or anything.

To Sum it Up: Strangely enough, it almost reminded me of Pilgrim’s Progress, or some such novel. Fun, fast-paced adventure, mixed with life lessons and fantasy creatures? Yes, please! Sound like your type of book? I would definitely recommend it to readers 9+.

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it? 

COMING SOON:

I recently finished The Fall of Five – By Pittacus Lore

The Fall of Five! FAN-GIRL MOMENT.
The Fall of Five! FAN-GIRL MOMENT.

Review: Saucerville – By Jordan Hofer

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Cover links to goodreads book page.

 

Title: Saucerville (Saucerville, #1)

Author: Jordan Hofer

Summary: Elliot Hill hates UFOs. Growing up in McMinnville, Oregon (aka Saucerville), Elliot is fed up with loonies wearing aluminum foil hats. After a science project leads him to the revelation that his long-lost mother is still alive and held captive on a flying saucer, Elliot and his best friends, Stella and Whitley, are pulled into a secret world of UFOs, men in black, and alien abductions. Now their only hope for survival and escape is their powerful friendship. But the Gray aliens have other plans, and one of the friends is about to change…

Genre/Pages: Science-Fiction/236

Rating: ★★ (2.5 of 5)

My Review: Yeah, I admit it, I’ve been putting off this review. Trying to come up with how best to phrase it. First off, my 2.5 Star review means simply .Not my cup of tea, but you might enjoy it! If it sounds like your kind of book make sure to check it out. It’s excellently written, the content just wasn’t for me.. It does not mean that I hated this book, or the author, or any such thing. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. So I’m gonna be honest.

I went into this book expecting a fun, middle-grade version of I am Number Four, or some such novel. That’s definitely not what I got, but I still enjoyed it. The first half anyway. The characters were fantastic, and I loved reading the dialogue among them. And the development! Though I may not have enjoyed it all, the development was phenomenally written, and the character’s stayed believable, and, well, themselves throughout the whole thing. The writing was fun, believable, and exciting. The writing, throughout the entire book was fantastic, and I LOVED IT! Jordan Hofer definitely has a lot of potential as an author.

So why isn’t this book my cup of tea? Let’s put it this way; I read the the book in 2 sittings. The first because (though a little, okay a LOT, preachy about UFOlogy & the fact that UFO’s exist), I still enjoyed the plot, and the characters. The second half, for me anyway, went downhill. The plot became violent and… revolting, too much so for my liking, and, though it was fast paced and exciting, that isn’t why I read it in one sitting. I am very… sensitive when it comes to violence and general nastiness, especially  when it comes to novels about middle school aged children, and I just couldn’t stand it. 

Content Advisory: Many scenes of intense action and violence. A scene that seems to balance on the edge of a sex scene (With Middle School children!), it never happens, but they are there ‘because the aliens want to see how humans reproduce’. An 11 yo gets physically and mentally abused, and almost killed, by his father. 3 children have many ‘scientific experiments’ run on them by aliens. e.g. needles stabbed into their eyes, up their noses, and in places I am not going to mention. Children (and adults) in extreme agony. One get’s his/her heart ripped out of his/her chest, thus killing him/her. You ‘see’ lots of disturbing things. Disected human bodies having reflex tests run on them, and many other things I’ve blocked out of my memory. A drunk man calls his brother “Dicky”. A child turns psychotic and murders and tortures many aliens.

To Sum it Up: If you’ve got a better stomach for violence, and you don’t mind a little UFO preaching, this is the book for you! Exciting, fast paced, excellently written, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. But I DEFINITELY would only recommend it to readers 15+.

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it? 

COMING SOON:

I’m currently in the middle of reading Dragon Boy & The Witches of Galza by A.A. Bukhatir.

Dragon Boy and the Witches of Galza – By A.A. Bukhatir
Dragon Boy and the Witches of Galza – By A.A. Bukhatir