Category Archives: Book/Movie Review

The odd world of Mangus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. A review

Mangus Chase by Rick Riordan (Ebook)

This is book one in a Norse god contemporary spec novel.

15724396This was a book-club pic that surprised me from the first page. I really enjoyed the pace and the voice in this novel. I really felt like I was sitting down with Mangus as he told me his story. That being said… He story did fall into the ridiculous at times.

Part of me wondered if I was reading middle grade, but I guess you need to be a little ridiculous when you are dealing with mythology. I’m considering giving this book to my reluctant middle grade reader to see what he thinks. (note: he actually is enjoying it)  This book was very good, but with jumping from place to place so much, and the almost silliness of some of the situations as the book unfolded, my original enthusiasm began to wane. And at one point, our hero kills two people – er… things—that I don’t think really needed to be killed, and I think this was out of character.

So, overall, I’m going to give this book three stars. I did enjoy it. It was totally readable, with great writing and a great voice… but some of it seemed a little too middle grade for my reading tastes. If I loved talking inanimate objects and talking animals I probably would have given the book four stars, subtracting one for the unnecessary deaths.

 

There be trouble afoot – A review of Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes

Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes (Audiobook)

16000044This is the second book in the series of an epic fantasy adventure. I’ve heard people recently refer to “second book slump”. I think this is a classic example. (At least it was for me) This book seemed to drag on forever at times. Not boring… But I just felt sometimes like, “Why are they still talking… nothing is going on.” You know what I mean?

HOWEVER this book does not disappoint on the ending. In fact, despite the drag throughout most of the book, the ending is so exciting, and the last few words set up the next book so nicely, that I could pick up the next book right now and be perfectly happy doing so.

There are some surprises in here that I think will definitely entertain, shock, and sadden, and anger those who loved the first book. Despite the drag in the first ¾ of the book, I would still recommend this one.

Hanging out AMONG THE HIDDEN, a review of the book byMargaret Peterson Haddix Margaret Peterson Haddix Margaret Peterson Haddix

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix – This is a middle grade dystopian. Middle grade is not normally my thing, but I was trying to 1222403encourage my youngest to actually finish a book by reading it with him.

This is a pretty dark look into the future, and it probably enough to scare the pants off younger middle graders, so please take caution.

There is an evil-overlord government, and people die for the crime of being born… yeah, pretty scary.

My son liked it overall, and he DID finish it. He was not disturbed, but he is 11… take caution for younger readers. He did say he would be willing to read the next book in the series, so I’d call that a win, being that he has not finished a book in months before this.


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Ooo! Ooo! Pick Me! I Wanna be a Princess! – A Review of THE ONE (The Selection) by Kiera Cass

The One (The Selection) by Kiera Cass (Audiobook)

10507293This is Book Three of THE SELECTION series. In book one, 35 girls enter a competition to marry the prince and become the future queen. 16248068In book 2, THE ELITE the competition is cut down to four girls. In The One, those four girls battle it out, so to speak, to become “the one”.

I loved book one, and I liked book two. Book 2 started to get a little political, which I didn’t enjoy as much.

18635016While the politics are still there in book 3, the author manages to make it a little more fun again, with a fluffy feel that I enjoyed so much in Book 1.

The author never tried to keep it a secret who would win this competition, but the ending of The One managed to surprise me. In some cases, I was disappointed. In some cases, I was shocked. I think some of my shock came from knowing there were two more books. Too much seems to have ended here for two more books, and I wonder if the author intended to finish the series here, but got cajoled into writing two more.

Anyway, there is no real reason to read the next two books after The One. This book definitely has a feeling of “The End”. And where I was disappointed in part of that ending, I won’t let the last 20 pages of the book ruin how much I enjoyed the ride to get there. And, yes, I will probably pick up the next two books. I’m curious if the author will be able to keep the momentum going in this wildly entertaining world, or if it will run dry now that “The Selection” part of the world is over.


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Bring on the POWER OF SIX – A review of book 2 in the Lorian Legacies

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore (Audiobook) This is the second book in the Lorian Legacies series. In book one, we met up with Number Four, who was 8659601marked next in line to die after the bad guys killed numbers one through three. At the end of book one, Four met up with Number Six.

In book two, we continue our story with Four and Six as they run from the human police who think they are terrorists, while still hiding from the alien bad guys.

We are also transported to Spain to see what’s going on with another Lorian in hiding.

This book really amps up the action, and places some pretty high expectations on book three, because we know all these kids are going to meet up soon, and the bad guys are going to throw some pretty heavy mojo at them. I liked this book a lot, and am once again looking forward to book three.


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This might be the best book I’ve ever read-A Review of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Ebook, Audiobook, and Hard Cover) I picked up this book because I’ve heard a lot of talk about it, 23395680despite not being fond of one of the book’s authors. I never in a million years expected to like it so much.

I started reading in ebook format, but quickly realized that you really can’t read this in ebook. Well, maybe if you downloaded it on your television so you can make it really big.

Illuminae suffers from the same problem that comics and graphic novels do on ebook… it just does not work for me, because Illuminae is very graphics-intense. There are pictures of the ships, blood splatter on the documents, and graphic representation of madness. It is one thing to know that your character is on level 130 of a ship, with the bad guys on specific floors. It is completely another thing to see the actual picture of the ship the character is looking at, knowing she is the white circle in the engine room, and the bad guys are the stars ALL OVER THE FREAKING SHIP.

Yeah – the pictures are important.

Now, you’ll notice that I list ebook, audiobook, and hard cover as my method of reading Illuminae. At first I didn’t “get” the whole graphics thing, so I switched to audio book. But I found myself referring back to the hard copy daily to help fully 23395680immerse myself in the story. For me, this was wonderful because I could hear the character’s voices. I could hear the beep in the background, counting down the arrival of the ship that was chasing them, I could hear the banter of the fighter pilots in their own voices, and I could hear the screams of the “bad guys” running through the ship. Then, I would go to the text and see how the computer saved this information for later review, which was a treat in itself.

I think reading and listening definitely enhanced my enjoyment, because I’m not sure I would have read every word on the high-graphic pages, and thus I would have missed out on the story. Right now, writing this review in January 2017, this book is in contention for best of the year, and is probably in the top ten books I’ve ever read. If you decide to give this a try, don’t bother with ebook. It does not work. If you read in paperback/hardcover, make sure you read every word on the page, even the little sticky notes. They are there for a reason. And when the nutty computer draws shapes with words… read the words. If you don’t you will miss out. If you listen on audio book, get a copy of the paperback to read along. You really need to see the pictures. And the pictures are also a clue to a HUGE plot twist that I did not see coming, but made sense when I went back and looked at the graphics.

So, yeah, Illuminae… it is a multi-media experience. I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend this one.


 

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Wait… Where 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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