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: The Age of Amy: The Thumper Amendment – by Bruce Edwards

First, an apology. College is crazy. And so my blog updates have been VERY lacking, and for that I apologize. I will NOT let it happen again. Time flies when you’re studying for a test, yeah? But from now on there will always be at least one review a week.

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 Age of Amy: The Thumper Amendment

The Thumper Amendment will be released April 1st. It will be available for purchase via Amazon HERE in one month! Make sure to buy it! :)

Author: Bruce Edwards

Summary: It’s an election year, and Congress has lowered the voting age to 14! In support for her favorite candidate, 16-year-old Amy joins his campaign — not out of patriotism, but because the opposing candidate’s son bullied her in the third grade. Defeating her offender would be the perfect payback for her maltreatment.

Presidential campaign reform laws now require that all candidates participate in the TV reality show, The Race For The White House, USA. Amy accompanies her candidate-of-choice in this bizarre, cross-country contest, where she encounters robot presidents, mutant laboratory animals, and escapes injustice in America’s “wild west” of the future.

But, there’s a problem. While Amy is committed to seeing her grade school nemesis get his just deserts, the wicked boy has grown into a tenderhearted (and cute) young adult, making it difficult for Amy to dislike him. Her vengeance turns to feelings of affection and admiration. Is she falling in love?

This fantasy-adventure for young adults examines just how mean people can be—personally and politically—and under-scores what Bambi’s friend, Thumper, always says, “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”

Genre/Pages: Fantasy/212

Rating: ★★ (3.5 of 5)

My Review:  

First Paragraph: “Let me go!” My demand went unheard over the playful din of grade school children at recess. Two large boys held my arms behind my back. A third once casually walked around me, his cold stare never leaving my angry face. The boys jeered and taunted me as I struggled to get free. What had I done to deserve this kind of abuse? Elementary school is a wondrous place to learn and grow, to discover reading, writing, and finger painting. But for naive school girls lie me, we sometimes get more education than we signed up for.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Hero/Heroine: Amy & Peter. As always, I loved Amy. She’s spirited, fun, and a touch rebellious. I mean, how often do you find a 16 year old willing to run for Vice-President of the whole country? She is seriously amazing. I love her. I even wear a clip-in purple streak in my hair, sorta like Amy. :) Peter  is a very complex character, with a fascinating back story. He’s romantic, cute, willing to admit mistakes, and has the amazing ability to see the bigger picture. How cool is that? Even the touch of romance between them was very well written, enjoyable, and engaging. The inter-character relations were all perfectly executed.

Plot: Though I didn’t like The Thumper Amendment as much as I liked the first book in the series Bonehead Bootcamp (check out my review HERE.), it was still enjoyable. The first book had focused more on personality problems and lesson to be learned from them, whereas this one focused more on politcal problems and lessons to be learned from them. The premise of the book was absolutely enthralling – imagine! The voting age has been lowered to 14, and teenagers cannot only vote, but the can also run for office! Not only that, but the presidential campaign is actually a reality tv show where candidates traverse the country in a race to reach the White House, all the while facing endless challenges and tests, to determine which candidate should be voted into office. However, I believe that, overall, it could have been better executed. This book is intensely political – but that’s what I loved about it! It addresses many different issues – from teenagers getting the right to vote to scientific cloning!

Content Advisory: A lot of minor cussing. Probably about 40 or 50 minor cuss words — way to much for a middle grade novel, and every single cuss sounded out of place and forced. 

To Sum it Up: Though considerably different from Bonehead BootcampThe Thumper Amendment was still thoroughly enjoyable. You have to exercise the suspension of disbelief in order to truly enjoy the book, but it teaches many important lessons and morals, while still being a fun, light, MG/YA novel. I really enjoyed it! I recommend The Thumper Amendment to readers ages 12+.

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

I Am Number Four: The Lost Files – By Pittacus Lore

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com

(Rate this book!)

Title: I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: The Legacies (Lorien Legacies: 1-3)

Author: Pittacus Lore

Genre/Pages: Science-Fiction/351

Rating: ★★★ (3.5 of 5)

Summary: A book combined with Six’s, Nine’s and The Fallen’s Legacies all in on paperback. (Legacies originally published as eBooks.)

You know we’re out there, living among you.
You know we’re waiting for our day to come.
You have seen the power of our legacies.
You know this is why they hunt us.
You may think you know our stories.
You are wrong.
We each have our own story.
We know the time has come to share them with you.
Our legacies are your only hope.

My Review: I’m a big fan of the Lorien Legacies series, so when I saw this audiobook on my brother’s Audible account, I quickly downloaded it onto my iPod (Nano, 6th Gen). I ended up really enjoying this collection of novellas.

Six’s Legacy: Getting more in-depth on the character, motives, and story behind Six was awesome. Though not my favorite of this collection, it was still thoroughly enjoyable. This story was written in such a way as to create a connection with the previously aloof and unreachable Six.

Content Warning: There is one torture scene that is a bit on the graphic side, not in a whole lot of detail, but enough to make it a pretty intense scene.

Nine’s Legacy: My second-favorite of the three, I loved the extra background on Nine and his Cepan. Nine is an excellently  well-written character, he was infuriating-ly human and realistic, but written in such a way that, no matter how annoying, you were rooting for him the whole time.

Content Warning: This story had two incredibly graphic scenes. They weren’t very detailed, but left a LOT up to your imagination, and I had to stop listening a couple times due to the intensity of the scenes.

The Fallen Legacies: Oh my gosh, I loved this novella! The whole pretense behind the plot is fascinating, and brings a whole new aspect to the story of the Lorien Legacies. By far my favorite, I loved the characters – and the ending! – Oh my goodness I loved the ending! Such an incredible cliff-hanger!

Content Warning: Violence-wise there’s nothing super-intense here, a couple people are killed, but nothing graphic.

To Sum it up: “Pittacus Lore” really out-did himself with this one. It was fascinating to be able to read these new stories and insights on the story, and I can’t wait to be able to read the next book in the series. I really enjoyed this collection, and  I highly recommend it to fans of the Lorien Legacies series that are 12+.

Content Warning: Aside from the violence there are multiple H**ls, a few s**ts, a B***h, and a f***.

The Age of Amy: Bonehead Bootcamp – By Bruce Edwards

Picture and summary from goodreads.com
Picture from goodreads.com, summary from AgeofAmy.com

Title: The Age of Amy: Bonehead Bootcamp

Author: Bruce Edwards

Genre/Pages: Fantasy/178

Rating: ★★★ (4 of 5)

Summary: Amy is uprooted from the city she loves to the Midwest–and she’s pissed! Miserable in her new home  and unpopular at school, the 16-year-old blasts her parents for destroying her happiness. But when her verbal attacks turn physical, she is sent away to a boot camp for troubled teens. Expecting Bonehead Bootcamp to be a laid-back country retreat, Amy instead enters a frightening fantasy world of altered time and space. Together with three other unruly teenagers, she must summon all her courage and ingenuity to get back home.

My Review: I received a signed (Extreme happiness! I adore/collect signed books. :) ) copy of this debut novel for Christmas, and was very excited to finally get a chance to read it… But before I get into the specifics of the novel, I  just have to say how much I love the cover! It’s so beautiful and captivating. And Amy’s hair? Gorgeous!

Bruce Edwards has amazing potential as an up-and-coming author; he has a way of describing things that really intrigues and engages the reader. His writing style enables you to relate with the  protagonist, Amy, in ways that really make you think.

Now on to the plot… You begin with Amy, a teenage girl, who, like many others, doesn’t get along with her family, and isn’t very popular at school, however, her parents, thinking her disrespectful and out of line, “unjustly” condemn her to a weekend at “Bonehead Bootcamp” a camp for troubled teens. As she arrives… Well, to say the least, it was definitely an interesting, and very unexpected, turn of events that left me with a new outlook on society, and myself. Long story short, I really liked this book.

To Sum it up: A wonderfully thought-provoking tale of discovering yourself and seeing the world from another’s perspective; The Age of Amy: Bonehead Bootcamp was a pretty clean book. Multiple “a**”es a few “B****”es, and a solitary, passing mention of condoms. All that aside though,  solely because it would take a certain level of maturity to be able to understand and relate to this story, I would still recommend this book 11+.