The Jumbie God's Revenge Book Review

Book: The Jumbie God’s Revenge
Author: Tracey Baptiste
Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher, Algonquin Young Readers, for providing me with this ARC.

This is the third and final book of the Jumbies series by Tracey Baptiste. I have read the entire series this month and I must say that they are very written books. They follow Haitian mythology, which is something different.  I love the depth of this series and the characters are really flushed out. I love seeing the bonds that the characters have with each other and how these bonds strengthen over time.

So, why a three star rating? I really didn’t enjoy this one as much as the other two. This is supposed to be the finale of the series, but it was just lacking in so many ways. The ending felt rushed and I didn’t get the same good vibes that I got from the first two books. I understand that this is middle grade and all, but as I was reading, I really didn’t get a sense of how intense the events actually were. It just felt meh to me. I guess what I’m trying to get at is this ending felt really rushed to me. It’s a shame too, because this could had been epic.

Like with the rest of the series, Tracey does an amazing job with detail. It really did feel like I was on a Caribbean island and going around with the characters. This is what I love about reading. It allows you to go to places that you may never get to. To me, this is what diverse books should be: you should be able to explore another culture without losing the story. She also does an amazing job with weaving in traditions and explaining to the point where people don’t get lost. Not it’s not info dumping; it’s just enough to get you in the mindset as to where you are going.

This book comes out September 3, 2019.

Youtube: https://youtu.be/92nyJRU22Ao

Rise of the Jumbies Book Review

Book: Rise of the Jumbies
Author: Tracey Baptiste
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher, Algonquin Young Readers, for providing me with a free copy of the book.

This book picks right up where The Jumbies left off, which means that yes you do have to read the first book before you can read this one. I love how the characters and the plot has grown since the first book. A lot of people think just because something is middle grade that it is too childish for them to read. This is an example of how complex and enjoyable middle grade can be.

I love the character growth. The characters are still  really young, but you can see how they have changed as people. They still have really tight family and friendship bonds. We see how loyal they are and just how much they will do for the ones they love. I also love that the African Slave Trade was thrown in there, so we get a sense of just how fearful people were. It just makes the story seem that much more real.

Tracey’s writing has also improved. I really don’t know that much about Haitian mythology, but Tracey weaves in enough information that makes it easy enough to follow. She takes us to different places that the first book and describes them with such detail that it will pull you in. I just really enjoyed how she puts so much into such a short read. I’m sure that others will feel the same way.

The plot is super-fast paced. Things just happen from the moment you pick up the book to the moment you put it down.  While there is a lot of action, the story still has those little human moments that really allow you to get to get to know the characters. It just flows so well together. Plus, there is no middle of the series feel to it.

This book is out now, so if you liked the first volume, I highly recommend this second one.

Youtube: https://youtu.be/wqAmENPrXQ4

The Rest of the Story Book Review

Book: The Rest of the Story
Author: Sarah Dessen
Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

Listen, I love Sarah Dessen. Her last book, Once and For All, really wasn’t my thing, but I do really enjoy her books. I have been a fan over her for over ten years and her books are a must read. The Rest of the Story is probably my new favourite book by her and is the prefect summer read. Ugh, it just pulled me in and I couldn’t put it down.

Most of Sarah’s books take place in either Colby or Lakeview. This one didn’t; those places are referenced, but they are not the main part of the story. Here we get to travel to North Lake or Lake North-depending on which side of the lake you are on. I don’t remember if any of Sarah’s other books take place here or not, but I loved the change. I love the other two settings, but it’s nice to be able to go to different places. Plus, this is set during the summer and I love books that take place in the summer. There’s just something magical about it.

This story follows Emma Saylor. Emma comes from a well off family, who is starting over. Her mom passed away five years ago after a drug overdose. She and her dad have been living with Nana, her dad’s mom. Her dad just got remarried and they are starting off this new chapter in their life. Even though Emma loves her stepmom, she is still hanging on to her own mother, who struggled with addiction. Things happen and now Emma is going to be spending three weeks with her mother’s family, who she doesn’t really know.

What I love about this book is how it deals with a serious issue. Emma’s mother was an addict. Most of books that deal with this topic only focus on the addict and not the family. Emma is still dealing with this and really is missing half of her life. She has this whole other family who she doesn’t know and now has the chance to meet them. Not only that, but her father is struggling with this. I get it; he doesn’t want her to get hurt. It is this struggle and family aspect of this book that made me really enjoy it. I guess what I’m getting at is that Sarah is good at adding that human element to her books and making you actually care about the characters and what they are going through.

Now, this book isn’t all gloom and doom. It has a fun and light hearted side. We get great friendships, fun adventures, and a little bit of romance. All of this feels very real and very natural. Yes, there is a dark undertone to the book, but you will walk away feeling good. This is what I like about Sarah’s books. She makes everything seem real and it just pulls you in. You can relate to her characters and their problems, because they are real.

Sarah Dessen is one of those authors who I don’t think I will ever outgrow. After ten years, she still pulls me in and has a really special place in my heart. If you are looking for a book with real feelings, but still makes you happy at the end of the day, then pick this up. Trust me, you will not be able to put it down. 

The Jumbie God's Revenge: Sneak Peek

It’s time for a sneak peek. This week I am working with Algonquin Young Readers to bring you a sneak peek of The Jumbie God’s Revenge by Tracey Baptiste!

Summary:
In book three of the popular Jumbies series, Corinne must use her emerging supernatural powers to battle the angry god who would destroy her Caribbean island home.

When an out-of-season hurricane sweeps through Corinne’s seaside village, Corinne knows it’s not a typical storm. At first Corinne believes Mama D’Leau—the powerful and cruel jumbie who rules the ocean—has caused the hurricane. Then a second, even more ferocious storm wrecks the island, sending villagers fleeing their houses for shelter in the mountains, and Corinne discovers the storms weren’t caused by a jumbie, but by the angry god Huracan.

Now Corinne, with the help of her friends and even some of her enemies, must race against time to find out what has angered Huracan and try to fix it before her island home is destroyed forever.


1
The Horizon
Corinne La Mer leapt from one tall coconut tree to another. Nothing but air surrounded her and there was only the sand and a few sharp rocks below. She landed on the rough trunk of the tree, slapping it hard with her palms and then wrapping her legs around it. She slipped and felt a rush of panic rise to her throat until she got the
soles of her feet flat against the bark to grip her in place.

Corinne looked down at the beach. Mrs. Duval, in a bright purple headwrap and a loose white blouse and colorful skirt, shaded her eyes as she peered into the tree.

“Don’t injure yourself before you get my coconuts, please,” she teased Corinne.


Next to Mrs. Duval was Corinne’s friend Malik. He shaded his face with a small hand, watching Corinne as she moved. His older brother, Bouki, wasn’t looking her
way at all. He was focused on the road, hoping for one last customer before they called it a morning.

Corinne caught her breath and returned to her task. It was dizzyingly high at the top of the coconut trees. Even in the shade of their large fan-like leaves, and with the sea breeze blowing to shore, the heat had her drenched in sweat. She panted as she reached up for a thick, yellow coconut.


She twisted and twisted it until the tough stem snapped and then looked down to see where Malik was waiting to catch it, but the coconut slipped from her sweat-slick palm.


“Watch out!” she cried. Malik stepped nimbly out of the way, but Bouki, busily counting Mrs. Duval’s coins, didn’t hear her warning.


The coconut grazed the side of his arm and dropped near his foot. “You nearly killed me!” he yelled.

“I said ‘watch out.’” Corinne carefully climbed back down the sloping trunk. She had skinned the insides of her thighs climbing down before and had learned to use
the soles of her feet to keep her body away from the bark.

When she was close enough to the bottom, she pushed off the tree and landed near Bouki, who had lopped off the top of the coconut with a machete and passed it to
Mrs. Duval.


Mrs. Duval shook the coconut and screwed up her face. “All these coconuts dry, dry these days. I thought it wasn’t rainy season already.” She peered up into the tree again. “Aren’t there any more up there?”


Bouki patted the trunk. “We only have what nature gives us,” he said.

“And whatever else you can grab,” Mrs. Duval added.


Bouki put on a fake look of offense as he pocketed her money, but it was not news to anyone that Bouki and Malik used to be thieves.


“They’re reformed,” Corinne said.


“Hmm. Reformed,” Mrs. Duval repeated, looking at the boys out of the corner of her eye. She sniffed the opening of the coconut and first sipped, then tipped it back and drank long. When she finally came up for air,  there was a look of satisfaction on her face, but only for  a moment. “You should go back to selling oranges,” Mrs.Duval said to Corinne.


“Nothing on the island compares to your oranges.”   Corinne blushed, but her gaze flitted over the waves,    and the compliment faded quickly. “I can’t only sell oranges, Mrs. Duval,” she said. “It’s not good business.”


“Ah, of course,” Mrs. Duval said, smiling. She turned to the beach, where a band of children played on the sand. She waved at them to catch their attention, and then
pointed with the whole length of her arm to a pink house.

They all went running.




Corinne waved at Laurent, the oldest of the bunch, who played cricket with her when he wasn’t doing chores or watching his younger siblings.


“I can send him along later,” Mrs. Duval said. “If you   want to play.”

Corinne shook her head. “Maybe another time.”


“You know,” Mrs. Duval said, leaning in close. “You can’t watch the waves forever.” When Corinne didn’t answer, Mrs. Duval picked up all her coconuts by the stems
and walked behind her children to their house.


The sea was bright blue and the sun reflected off the choppy waves in dazzling silver and gold. In the line of fishing boats near the horizon, Corinne could just make out her papa’s, even though it was impossible to see its bright yellow color. She had memorized the shape of it, so she could always pick out her papa on the waves.


“He’s safe, you know,” Bouki said.

“For now,” Corinne replied.

“You worry too much.”

Corinne turned from the sea to look at her friend. There had been a time when she didn’t worry. That was before her orange trees bore their first fruit, when she and her papa had their routine. He would wake her up in the morning and tell her to be careful on land, and she would tell him to mind that the sea didn’t swallow him up, and they would both promise to be safe. But then Severine came. She was beautiful at first, dreadful at their last encounter, and with her came all of the jumbies.


“You don’t worry enough,” Corinne told Bouki. She clutched the stone pendant of the necklace that hung near her heart, and rubbed its cracked surface with her thumb.
Corinne hadn’t believed in jumbies before Severine followed her out of the forest. She thought they were only stories that grown-ups told to scare the children on the
island, stories about things that came out at night so little ones would stay in their beds. But then she encountered creatures with backward feet, women who shed their skin,
and men covered in spiky fur with teeth as sharp as daggers. There was a jumbie who cared for the woods, and one who lived beneath the waves who would turn anyone into
stone at a glance and who ruled the mermaids in the sea.
Corinne had seen them all. But worse than that, she had witnessed their power, and she understood just how easy  it was to succumb to any one of them. She had nearly lost her papa to Severine, and Bouki to Mama D’Leau. It was enough to make anyone worry.
Months ago, when Corinne had dragged Severine into the sea and left her there, she had been sure that it was only a matter of time before the sea spat Severine back out.


“The sea doesn’t keep anything, Corinne,” her papa had told her. So today, and every day, she stayed near the shore watching the waves and waiting.


Corinne nicked the skin of her thumb on a sharp edge of her stone necklace. The stone had been her mama’s, and after Corinne had broken it, her papa had wrapped it
in leather to hold it together again. In the months since, Corinne had rubbed some of the cracks smooth, but the stone did not soothe her like it used to.


“What is it we are looking for?” an old woman asked. She had appeared out of nowhere and stood next to them in the shade of the coconut tree.


“Witch!” Bouki said.


The witch picked up her walking stick and brought it down with force on Bouki’s right foot. The sparse few strands of her short white hair shook with her jab. Bouki doubled over to nurse his foot and looked daggers at the white witch, but he knew enough not to say  anything else.


“Good morning, neighbor,” Corinne said.


The witch knocked her walking stick on the trunk of the tree and squinted up at the fruit. “Any more good ones left?” she asked.


“All green,” Corinne said.
The witch nodded. “I don’t mind the young ones.”


Malik scrambled up the tree. The witch leaned against the trunk, letting her stick rest against its curve. She rubbed her left arm slowly.

Everything about the white witch looked like it was near expiration: the sun-bleached pattern on her dress, the threadbare wrap that tied her head, the few drooping twists of short white hair that refused to be contained in her headwrap. Even the skin of her body sagged loose around her bones as if it might detach and crumple  around her at any moment. No one knew how old the white witch was. Even the oldest people in the villages remembered her as ancient when they were young.


Corinne watched the witch massage her damaged arm. It was even more shriveled and grayer than the rest of her, as if the life had been leached out of it. But at the end of her arm, her hand seemed more vibrant. Her fingers curled and stretched in short, jerking movements.


“Your hand is getting stronger,” Corinne said.

“There’s only two ways for a thing to go,” the witch said. “Better, or worse.” She stretched and bent her fingers as she looked out to sea. “What you looking out at the sea
for? You already know what is under the water.”


Before Corinne could find an answer, Malik jumped to the ground holding a coconut with just the barest hint of yellow on the husk. He macheted the top off before
presenting it to the witch.


The witch’s tongue jumped out in anticipation, flicking over her thin, dry lips. She took the husk in her good hand and drank deeply. Some of the water dribbled out
the sides of her mouth, past a patch of gray chin-stubble, and down the dark, wrinkled folds of her throat, which made jerking movements like fresh fish bundled in a net.

She downed the entire contents in one go. Then she handed the coconut back to Malik. He moved to cut it open, but she shook her head. “There’s nothing there,”
she said. She seemed to be discussing the sea, not the lack
of jelly in the coconut. Without another word, the witch shuffled off, kicking
up pale sand.


“Didn’t I say that, brother?” Bouki asked. “Didn’t I tell her that nothing was going to happen?”

“Is that what I said?” the witch called over her shoulder. She maneuvered back around to face them. “Dunce. Who ever said nothing is going to happen?” She lifted
her cane with some difficulty and gestured around her.
Her loose dress rippled in the wind. “Something is always happening.” She moved her mouth in a way that made Corinne think she was rearranging her teeth before she
continued. “Boy, nothing is as dull as you.”


“You think something else is going to happen,” Corinne said.


The witch shot her the same look of disdain she had turned on Bouki. “Something is happening right now,” she said. “And a moment after that something will happen
again.” She cut her eyes at Bouki again. “Maybe you are spending too much time with this one. You were smarter when you were coming to the market alone. You will miss
things if you keep wasting time standing guard at the sea. You think this is the only piece of shore? The only spread of water?” She stretched her ruined fingers again and muttered, “Only two ways for things to go, better or worse. And there’s nothing you can do about it.”


They watched the witch as she bent the corner around a grove of coconut trees. It was only after she was out of  sight that Bouki shouted, “She didn’t pay!”


Like what you’ve read? The  Jumbie God’s Revenge will be published on September 3, 2019!

Youtube Video: August 2019 Book Haul

New Youtube Video:
Link: https://youtu.be/TjLUV3BjvLY
Description:
This week I am doing another book haul. I can’t believe it’s already August. I picked up some great books this month. Huge shout out to all of the publishers and authors who sent me ARCs.

Book Previews Coming Soon: The  Grace Year by Kim Liggett! More to be added! Check back for these videos!

Subscribe, like, comment…You know what to do. Let me know what you want to see and I will try to make it happen.

My Thoughts:

For Business Inquiries: Aphrodite-venus-u.k@hotmail.com
Publishers, authors, and companies-I do take requests for reviews, interviews, product endorsements, and etc. Check on my livejournal page for more information as to what content I am looking for. Dates do fill up quickly-I only like to feature on thing a day so you aren’t overlooked.

Links:
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Fanfiction: https://www.fanfiction.net/u/2489110/Aphrodite-Venus-u-k
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Finale Book Review

Book: Finale
Author: Stephanie Garber
Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars

I really don’t know what has happened with this series. I loved Caraval and I thought that this series was going to become one of my top series. It seems like with each book, we lose an element of Caraval. The magic, the wonder, and the mystery just seems to be lost with each passing book.


So, Finale picks right up where Legend left off. Now, Legend, to me, really did have that middle of the book series feeling to it. So, I was expecting something grand and epic throughout this book, but it just didn’t deliver. This one is heavy on the romance, slow with a rushed ending. I think that had we spent less time on the romance and more on the Fates, then we would have had something great. Now, I’m not saying that this is a terrible book, but I am saying that it could have been a lot better.

I really enjoyed the characters for the most part. I really didn’t like how Scarlett was written here. I loved her character in Caraval, but I felt like she was kind of shoved to the side. Tella is clearly the star in the book. Now, I like Tella, but Scarlett has always been my favourite. It honestly seemed like Scarlett couldn’t do anything without having Jillian or someone there to help her. If this was present in the first books, then I didn’t notice it as much. However, here, it felt like Scarlett really didn’t get a fair chance to shine. Legend’s character also seemed weaker here than in other books. I don’t know if anyone else got that feeling or if it was just me.

The ending felt really rushed. I really do hate to say it, but it did. Not only that, but it felt like it really didn’t cost the characters anything. Everything was tidy and we really weren’t left with any unanswered questions. I really did like this part, but I like whenever the ending cost our characters something. I know it sounds like of bad, but it’s what I want. I firmly believe that if you want to achieve great goals that you do need to lose something-at least in books. It felt like everything here was just handed to the characters. Never once did I think that they weren’t going to make it. I guess what I’m trying to get at was there was no sense of urgency. It was just one of those books where I knew that everything was going to be okay.

It’s not the worse book I have ever read, but I do feel like this is the weakest of the series. It was slow paced, heavy on the romance, and didn’t have the depth that I was looking for.

Youtube Video: Finding Out Hogwarts House, Illvermory House, and Patronus

New Youtube Video:
Link: https://youtu.be/6aByCa-cXO4
Description:
This week I am doing another Harry Potter Video! Today we are going to be taking some Buzzfeed quizzes to find out what my Hogwarts House, Illvermory House, and patronus are.
Book Previews Coming Soon: The  Grace Year by Kim Liggett! More to be added! Check back for these videos!

Subscribe, like, comment…You know what to do. Let me know what you want to see and I will try to make it happen.

My Thoughts:

For Business Inquiries: Aphrodite-venus-u.k@hotmail.com
Publishers, authors, and companies-I do take requests for reviews, interviews, product endorsements, and etc. Check on my livejournal page for more information as to what content I am looking for. Dates do fill up quickly-I only like to feature on thing a day so you aren’t overlooked.

Links:
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCicZLIsRvY5REImKqQa7orQ
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AlysonSerenaStone
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Fictionpress: https://www.fictionpress.com/u/773118/AlysonSerenaStone
Fanfiction: https://www.fanfiction.net/u/2489110/Aphrodite-Venus-u-k
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?i=digital-text&rh=p_27%3AAlyson+Serena+Stone&s=relevancerank&text=Alyson+Serena+Stone&ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1
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A Realm Divided: England in 1215 Book Review

Book: A Realm Divided: England in 1215
Author: Dan Jones
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I must say that I really do enjoy Dan Jones’s books. This is my fifth read by him and I have no been disappointed by any of his books.

I think what really pulls me into Dan’s books is the writing style. It honestly doesn’t feel like you are reading nonfiction. I love the way everything flows and how everything is explained. A lot of time in nonfiction, it feels like the author is either trying to show off how smart they are or writing way above their readers. Dan doesn’t do that. He writes in an engaging way that anyone can understand-even if you know nothing about the content.

I love that the book explored all different types of life and just didn’t focus on the nobility. Now, the nobility is a huge chunk of this book, because that is what most of the facts that we have are. I do like how Dan weaved in bits of daily life and showed us just how hard life actually was. We get to see how political did or didn’t affect those at the bottom. We also get to see just how much influence the Church had at the time and how everything pretty much centered around it.

I really honestly almost didn’t pick this one. I thought it was just the British version of Manga Carta, but it’s not. This is an excellent companion book to have if you really enjoyed Manga Carta. Both are short reads. Yes, both do cover a lot of the same topics, but this deals more with the human element of history.

So, a great short read. It’s under three hundred pages and it is super easy to read.

The Jumbies Book Review

Book: The Jumbies
Author: Tracey Baptiste
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher, Algonquin Young Readers, for sending me a copy of this book.

I was really, really surprised with this one. I can honestly say that I have never read a book that deals with Caribbean mythology and I must say I enjoyed it. I love it whenever I read something different and this was certainly different than books that I normally read. What surprised me even more was the fact that this is a middle grade read. I’ll say it again and again: I really love the direction that middle grade has been going. I really wish that there were books like this whenever I was in middle school.

This book is spooky. I would call it a mix between Small Spaces by Katherine Arden and Mary Downing Hahn with a bit of Percy Jackson thrown in. It’s like Tracey has thrown in all of the middle grade traits into one epic book. This has a little bit of something for everyone. We have strong, well rounded characters, spooky writing, adventure, family bonds, and folklore. What’s not to like about any of that?

The writing isn’t really descriptive by any meanings, but it works for this book. To me, not knowing what was going to happen added a fun element to the book. It’s a spooky story and in these cases less really is more. After all, it’s more fun not knowing what is going to jump out at you in the dark, than knowing. The writing also gets us into the mid-set of us and them. Throughout the book, this theme is played up. However, this changes throughout the book-I can’t go on without spoiling the story.

I really enjoyed the characters. I don’t know hardly anything about Haitian culture, so I don’t know if they were written good enough to fit that lifestyle. I love the bonds that they have with each other and how they grow throughout the book. I love how Tracey exploded the role of family and how important family is.

This book is out now, so if you are looking for something a little different to read, then pick this up.


Youtube Link: https://youtu.be/dFS8G3pjAEg

Turtles All the Way Down Book Review

Book: Turtles All the Way Down
Author: John Green
Rating: 1 Out of 5 Stars

No, you’re not reading that wrong. I really am giving a John Green book an one star rating.  I just couldn’t get into this book at all from the first page. I kept trying to read it, but if I have to force myself to read something, then I’m usually not going to enjoy it-no matter how much I want to.

Aza is dealing with mental illness, which is played out very nicely in the book. I think John does a great job of portraying Aza’s mental illness. I really liked the voice of doubt that kept coming up throughout the course of the book. It made Aza seems somewhat human-I use the term somewhat here for a reason. However, how he was trying to make her so philosophical and all knowing really didn’t add anything to her character. It actually took away from her and made it very difficult to connect with her. As you know, I don’t like books in which I can’t connect with the main character.

It just wasn’t Aaz who bothered me. All of the characters just weren’t relatable. I’m not going to say that they didn’t act like teens-as some people have pointed out. I’m just saying that the fact there wasn’t really any character growth or development throughout the story just made it really hard to actually care for them. John Green is very good at writing characters that you actually care about and remember, but here, nope, didn’t happen.

A billionaire has disappeared, which was one to of the reasons why I wanted to read this book. So, this should have set us up for a very interesting story. However, nothing really happened. All of the focus was on making the characters philosophical. I really wish the focus had been on either the disappearance or the character’s mental illness. This is a very short book, so putting both of these stories in here just made everything messy.

Sighs, I think that the age of John Green is probably over. It’s sad, but I can’t read his books anymore if this is how he is going to write. Come on, the writing, yeah, it was like he was trying to be artsy and failing so badly. Don’t force yourself to write in a style that doesn’t fit. I’m used to John Green’s emotional writing that pulls me in, but it just seems to be gone here.

Again, another 2019 disappointing read.