Category Archives: Book/Movie Review

Wait… Were are the Dragons? A review of Dragon Weather

Dragon Weather by Lawrence Watt-Evans (Hard Cover) This book was published in 2000, and came on my radar because a friend told me it was one of 498139the best books she’d read. Any hey, dragons… I was all over that. Unfortunately, this is a case of “different strokes for different folks.”

This novel is written in the old-style of epic fantasy, which means a long drawn out adventure (Think Lord of the Rings) The long drawn out adventure was not the problem for me… the problem (in my opinion mind you) is that we went on the WRONG adventure.

Problem #1 Look at the cover. Does that look like a nasty dragon to you? I may be off my rocker, but that dragon looks like he’s smiling. The rest of the scene on the cover makes sense. Smiling dragon? Ummm… No. Unless the dragon smiles as he torches the entire village.

That brings us to problem number two. THIS IS NOT A BOOK ABOUT DRAGONS.

Say what? It’s called Dragon Weather. There is a dragon on the cover.

Yes, yes there is. At the beginning of the book, dragons attack this poor boy’s village and destroy it. This is the event that starts the boy on his journey. A few chapters later, though, he is now a man. Yes, he is on an epic journey, but the book then is no longer about dragons. It is about revenge. He wants to kill a bunch of men who looted his village after the dragon attack, and then sold him into slavery. Okay, I get wanting revenge, but this isn’t the story I wanted to read. I found myself skimming 10, 20, 50 pages of (what I felt was senseless) looking for these men, instead of looking for the dragons. Yet I plodded on, waiting for an epic dragon battle. *****SPOILER ALERT**** There isn’t one. You do not get to see the dragons again in this very long, drawn out search for a handful of men, and then challenging them to duals so he can pick them off one by one.

Now, if you like a good revenge story, and you like “journey” novels, this might be the book for you. If you are looking for an epic dragon tale, I’d steer far away. 480 pages is far too long for a journey that ends in disappointment.


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Hold on to EVERY LAST BREATH – A review of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s ELB

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Audiobook)

This is the third book in a series. It was almost everything I wanted it to be, and it’s probably the best book out of the three. There is a love triangle in this series, and the author put a vote out to fans for them to choose which guy got the girl in 17455817the end. I knew this before I read it, and I had a pretty good idea who everyone picked. Problem is, that was the wrong guy for me. I had to read, with my own heartbreak, as the guy I would have chosen had his heart broken for no reason whatsoever. He did nothing wrong. In fact, he did everything right, where the guy who got chosen did everything wrong. I hated that.

But that aside, I have to admit that seeing the “wrong guy” develop for that point was a treat, and by the end, I did like him a whole lot more.

There are a lot of interesting spins in this book, and it definitely kept my attention. I listened on audiobook, and I was a little surprised that when I hit the climax of the book, there was still an hour and a half of listening left. At first I thought maybe there was a double climax. Instead, there was a very long, slow wind-down to the end.

Now, in general, I HATE long wind downs… but this one kept my interest until the very last page. I think it was necessary, because two characters are left broken… one because her boyfriend dies, and the other because he was dumped for an A-hole. (Yeah, still miffed about that) The long wind-down closed out all the open issues in all three books, and it really worked well. While none of these books will be in contention for best reads ever, I did really enjoy them.

 


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This is the strangest book I’ve ever read. A review of Grasshopper Jungle.

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (Ebook) [Language warning] This was a really really really really strange book. And yes, I did intentionally repeat the word really… because this book was really really really strange.

This was the pick for my book club this month, and I started scratching my head in the first few pages, then I went back and looked at the burb to find out what this book was about. In the beginning, this is a coming of age story about a teenage boy struggling with his sexuality. He is an obnoxious, foul mouthed, chain smoker with no redeeming qualities that I could see. For the first quarter or more of the book, we have to listen to this really unlikable kid and his problems. Then, out of the blue, the sci-fi elements pop in. I have to admit that things got better from here. These two unlikely heroes try to take on the apocalypse caused by a man-made virus. (That turns people into giant man-eating bugs) The style of the writing might be genius. We are basically reading the main character’s journal chronicling all that is going on. However, we don’t get deep into any scene, and I found myself not really caring about the characters. But I kept with it, because you know, book club and all. I hoped for that payoff in the end, but the book never takes us there. Nothing gets resolved, not the end of the world, and not even the personal plotlines. Overall, this was a very unsatisfying read for me. I’d give it three stars because the author gave us a really well thought out story. The execution, however, and no satisfying ending, were a downer for me. Warning – Don’t pick up this book if you are sensitive to really foul mouthed kids.


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I’m totally OUT OF CONTROL! No, Really. I am. (A Review)

Out of Control by Suzanne Brockmann (Audiobook) [Adult Content Warning] This is my second Suzanne Brockmann book, and I now think she 6635813may be in contention for my favorite author’s list. The first book I read by her was “Over the Edge” and I loved it. I grabbed another book to see if she’d be able to suck me in again, and in this book, she sucked me in even faster. What I enjoy about this author’s writing is she pulls in the characters that have small rolls in the story, and brings them to life, so when the random person ends up in the sites of a terrorist, and our hero decides to save them, you have stakes in both the victim and the hero. I really love that. This book uses the same characters as the previous book I read, this time concentrating on a different Navy Seal as he is trapped in the jungle with a pretty attorney with two different drug rings chasing after him. Great action, great adventure and an all around great read. As soon as I am done here, I am adding the rest of the 18 books in this series to my TBR. The challenge for me will be to NOT read them back to back, because I already have about 50 other books to read sitting on my shelf.


 

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Sometimes you just need to get a little WICKED but only if you are an adult, please

Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Audiobook) [Adult Content Warning] I am a big Jennifer L. Armentrout fan, so WICKED has been on my TBR for a while. I know I like her style when she writes under the JLA pen name, 22895264so I didn’t even bother to look at the blurb. Wicked has all that I love about a JLA novel, but it also has a lot that I didn’t love. Jennifer L. Armentrout also writes under the pen name J. Lynn. I read a J. Lynn novel once and quickly realized why she wrote it under another name. (I will not pick up another J. Lynn novel again) Wicked, while not being quite as graphic as the J.Lynn novel, was pretty close to it. The blurb does state that the character is 22, and it does allude to a heat factor, but the sex scenes are not glossed over in any way shape or form as it is in other JLA novels. As a fan of her work, I just wish I was warned in the blurb. I understand writing in different genres, but if you are a YA author, I really think there should be at least a warning so you know what you are getting in to. Okay – rant over. I did, believe it or not, enjoy this book. The hero is not the most likable. He is a playboy who wanted to get in the heroine’s pants the moment he saw her. Not my type of guy, but okay, I went with it. I did enjoy the heroine, and I loved her sidekick, Tink the Brownie. This was an exceptional character.

At its roots, this is an interesting paranormal story– something like Shadow Hunters set in New Orleans. If you enjoyed Shadow Hunters, you’d probably love this. Just be ready for a foul-mouthed hero, and some pretty graphic intimate scenes. And a very predictable twist at the end, but when it comes right down to it, JLA writes so well that sometimes it is fun to read despite knowing what is going to happen.


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Sometimes you just need to go OVER THE EDGE

Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann (Audiobook) [Adult Content Warning]

This is a Navy Seal novel. I picked it up because the last Seal novel I read was exciting enough to hold my interest, and I wanted something with some action. Never in a million years did I expect that this book might be in contention for the best of the year, or that it might be one of the best books I’ve ever read. In this novel, a SEAL team is called in to save the passengers on a hijacked plane. But this is more than an explosive rescue story. We see the SEAL team, and the passengers, and the FBI agents before the hijacking. We see who they are outside of “hero mode”. Then we get to see them as real people through the entire operation, with real, everyday problems that they need to deal with on top of having the lives of a few hundred people in their hands. In an interesting and well-done twist, we also get to see into the lives of a Jewish family escaping German occupation of Denmark, a country you don’t hear too much about when you think of the Holocaust. Interesting, that it is this part of the story that had me in tears at the end. There are several romances running through this novel, and not all of them end well. ROMANCE READER WARNING -NOT EVERYONE GETS A HAPPY ENDING. Showing the true danger Navy SEALS face every day, not everything goes as planned.

This is what will sit with me for a long while. This novel was published in 2001, just 14 days before 911. The themes within are startlingly timeless, as we are facing the same threats today. Five enthusiastic stars for Over the Edge. I can’t even subtract a star for one side-character’s overuse of the F-bomb. Just be ready for it. Ignore it if that bothers you. This book is worth every minute.

 


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Did someone say aliens? A review of INFINITE SEA by Rick Yancey

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey (Audiobook) This is book two of The 5th Wave. This is post-apocalyptic novel dealing with the survivors of an alien apocalypse. I have to admit, I really liked this book a lot. Probably even more than the first book.

We are left with one group of humans at the end of The 5th Wave. In book two, this group gets split up so we experience two different stories. The Cassie/Ben timeline continues, and is very exciting as they question every move they make. Stakes are increased when the aliens start doing the unthinkable to children five years old and younger.

The second half of this book deals with the character Ringer, who splits off from the group in search of a safe refuge before winter comes. Ringer was not a favorite character of mine in book one, but she really came alive in this book. I love the inter-dynamic between her and her captor. And there is a twist in here that… well, yeah. It’s a good one.

It is interesting that the author tries to deal with all the open questions readers had about the aliens from the first book. At times it seemed like Yancey was scooting around issues that really didn’t make sense, and that he had no answers for. But I have to give him credit for at least admitting over and over that a lot of what the aliens were doing made no sense, and that they should have just [spoiler removed]. I’m interested to see if some of these questions are answered in upcoming books.

My only niggle on this book is slight. It has one of those end-in-the-middle-of-a-chapter endings. Nothing at all gets resolved. We get some changes happening for one character, but all the open plotlines at the beginning of the story are still open at the end. I would have liked to have SOMETHING sewn up… but that won’t stop me from buying the next book. I do recommend this one.


 

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What is going on out there? A Review of THE LYING PLANET by Carol Riggs

The Lying Planet by Carol Riggs (Ebook) This is going to sound like a bad review, but stick with me… it’s not. The Lying Planet is Science Fiction/dystopian story. It takes place on a world that has been colonized, but years ago the colonies started fighting and destroying each other, leaving a poisonous dust in the air so everyone needs to take pills so they don’t die. There is more to the story, but I can’t go into much more detail without a huge spoiler.

Now, I am kind of a weird reader. When I go to the movies, I LOVE a good hard-sci-fi story. I eat it up. But when I read sci-fi, I like it a little tamer. There is one particular sci-fi troupe that always makes me roll my eyes. Unfortunately, that Trope is in this book, and it is an essential element of the Lie in the Lying Planet. I had a little trouble getting past that, which made some of the other elements, that I might have been willing to suspend my disbelief about, even harder to swallow. But I trudged on anyway, because the author has a nice, smooth writing style that is easy to read. I was genuinely interested in how the main character was going to get out of his predicament.

This is an easy read, with no intense feels that will leave you haunted at night. Even though the characters are older, this might be a decent read for a middle grader who is a little more mature and doesn’t want to read about little kids anymore. (I think I might give it to my 13 year old and see what he thinks)

Anyway, despite having that trope that I don’t care for, I did end up enjoying this book. And also – a big plus in this world of series – this reads like a standalone. That is really a nice change. If you are open to all types of sci-fi and not looking for deep emotional impact, this story is a great match for you. This is a nice, light read about saving a world that only a week ago, you didn’t know needed saving.


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Living under the domes – A review of Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (eBook) This novel takes place in a dystopian future where mankind lives in domes because the sky is filled with ether, a cloudy gas that rains fire down on the planet intermittently, destroying everything below.

When Aria witnesses a crime committed by the leader’s son, she is thrown out into the outside world and left to die. But there are people out here, and she teams up with an outsider. He needs to get information on a child that was taken by the inside dwellers, and she needs to get home. They work together to make this happen.

I enjoyed this book overall. There was a long time in the middle where the two characters just seemed to be walking. And walking. And walking. I wished a little more happened here, but once the characters got to know each other, and more characters were introduced, the story got more interesting.

The main story does tie up nicely at the end, but the MC is sent out on another adventure, which is okay since this is a book one. I appreciate a book where there actually is an ending, and you don’t have to get the next book to find out what happens. I guess I’d give this book three stars. It was good, but I am not scrambling to get my hands on book two like I have for many books I’ve read this year.


 

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Do NOT look lout the window! A review of GIRL ON A TRAIN by Paula Hawkins

Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins (Audiobook) This is a contemporary missing person mystery with an unreliable narrator. Rebecca is a drunk, but she thinks she has seen a crime while riding on a train. The book deals with her personal issues and her own quest to find out the truth, which leads her to getting involved in the lives of people she’s watched every day from the train.

This book is a little creepy and stalker-ish at times. I had trouble connecting to the main character because of the drinking problem, but I guess her issues are real and timely. I love the way the author wove little bits and pieces of the stories of three women involved… letting us in on just enough information to make us THINK we know what’s going on, while sometimes leading us in the totally wrong direction.

This book is one of those crazy breakout best-sellers. I can see why. It is really well written. Still, there was a part in the middle, and it is a very BIG part, when I was getting bored with this drunk woman and her meddling in other people’s lives. It got slow for me, and while all those scenes we leading up to something great, I really wish that the author could have condensed it a bit.

HOWEVER- I am willing to admit that this is a mystery, and the typical reader of this genre is looking for a slower pace to figure out all the clues. So I don’t really think this is a problem with the book. Rather, it is a problem with a poorly matched book and reader. Anyway, the ending was worth the wait, but I would suggest NOT WATCHING the movie trailer while reading this book, because the trailer, believe it or not, gave the ending away for me.


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