Book: Extinction of All Children Author: LP Epps Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars
I would like to thank Netgalley for providing me with this book.
So, it’s been awhile since I have written a review for a self-published author. I know that self-published books are hit and miss, but just give them a try. You never know if you are going to find your new favourite book. I will admit that I only got this one because the cover looked pretty. I really did not know anything about it nor really what it was about. Once I started reading, I discovered that this was a dystopia novel. It’s fine; it’s actually been awhile since I’ve read a good dystopian book.
What really kept me hooked on this one was the plot. It’s not really anything new in dystopia, but it was really interesting. Our characters live in a world that is divided on class and has a president who rules over everything. In Emma’s area, there can be no children and having a child can mean death. To me, this was hard to look away from. I know there are a lot of novels out there like this, but I have been away from this genre for awhile. I really thought that this was a good book to ease my way back into the dystopian genre.
Now, the actual writing was just okay. There were some parts that I thought kind of rambled on and were a little bit unnecessary. Now, I will admit that I am guilty of this in my own writing; it’s just something that we need to work on. I just thought that there were places that we got told what was going around, only to have it shown a few lines later. This was perhaps the most noticeable during Emma’s training sessions. It really doesn’t take away from the plot, but it just made me cringe a little bit inside. I do have the rest of the series, so I think it will be interesting to see if this is improved on.
The characters were decent enough. They weren’t as complex as other young adult characters, but they weren’t bad. Emma was an okay led. There was this bit about the chosen one going on; I’m not sure what that was about. She also isn’t the most resourceful of characters and does seem to rely on others to get her out of her messes. I guess this is fine, but it’s just not what I’ve come to expect from this genre. I don’t know…
Overall, not a terrible book. There is room for improvement. I am interested in reading the rest of the series, so this is why I’m giving it a four star.
Book: A Face Like Glass Author: Frances Hardinge Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars
I would like to thank Scholastic for being so kind as to allowing teachers to get books for free or at a heavy discount. I really do like this program and I hope you never get rid of it.
So, anyway, I did get to read this one for free. I had no expectations nor I have ever really heard of this one. I mean, it was on my to read shelf, because I thought the cover was interesting. My students are into strange books, so I got this one from Scholastic for free and read it. I must say, I was very surprised. This is a very strange book, but a really well written strange book.
This is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, only our Alice never did get out of the rabbit hole as a young child. Neverfell actually grew up in Wonderland, only its called Caverna. She had no idea who she really is and is on the quest to find out. I liked her character. She had a lot of muchness, so to say. She is resourceful and not afraid to get her hands dirty when needed. She is focused on her mission and it is this focus that really does drive the story. However, she wasn’t actually my favourite part of the book.
What I really enjoyed was the world building. I got Alice in Wonderland and Ember in the Ashes vibes off of this book. So, Caverna is underground and the people can’t make their own expressions, aka Faces. The people have to be taught how to create Faces and pay a lot of money to do so. Also, each of family of the upper class, I guess that’s how I would put it, has a specialty item. For example, some make cheese and wine. Come on, it’s not an Alice in Wonderland retelling if it doesn’t have a little bit of food. What I really liked about this strange world was that if you really stopped and thought about it, it did actually make a lot of sense. Now, in another book, it probably wouldn’t, but here it just fight with the vibe.
Frances also does an amazing job with the little descriptions. Unlike a lot of fantasy books, she doesn’t really tell us that much about the world in the beginning. We get to experience the world as the story goes on, so we don’t end up with that overwhelming feeling that comes a lot of times with fantasy. A slow build up is fine with me in this case. I just loved how much detail was woven into this story, I guess.
Ugh, I really can’t put this book into words. You just need to go get it and experience it for yourself. It’s just one of those strange books that is going to stick with you for a very long time.
Book: The Afterlife of King James IV: Otherworld Legends of the Scottish King
Author: Keith John Coleman
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars
I would like to thank the publisher, Chronos Books, for sending me this ARC.
I will admit that at first, I wasn’t sure that I was going to like this one. Keith’s writing starting out was a bit slow. It read more like a scholarly piece than the easy writing that I have come to expect from Chronos Books. I kept on going and it did get better. I really do think that this is one of those books that you are gong to have to give time to. It is a very well written and researched book, but this may not be the one to start on if you are looking into Stuart Scotland.
This book kind of straddles between history and folklore. We do actually get the best of both worlds in this one. On the one hand, Keith is looking at the historical background and figure of King James IV, then he turns around and adds in some folklore about the king’s death. Again, this is why I don’t recommend you start out reading this book if you are new to Stuart Scotland. What Keith does he cleverly weavers in both of these elements with support to make us get the whole picture of what could have happened to James IV after his death. We also get some of the lead up to his death; again, this is why I don’t recommend this to newbies because if you don’t have an understanding of what was going on in this time period, then you are going to be lost.
What I really liked was the different layers of the story. It’s kind of a ghost story, but it’s not. I mean, this is nonfiction with just a little bit of a twist. I like how complex the book was, even though it’s really not that long. I really have never read a nonfiction book like this; I’ve read nonfiction books with layers before, but this one is different. I don’t know, but I just really like mixing the known with the unknown and having the information to support his theories.
Okay, that is the main thing here. I have read a number of articles and books that are supposed to be arguing something, but end up losing that point throughout the book. This one doesn’t. Keith uses information to form his point and explores all angles. Keith’s voice is there, but it’s not too much-like some other books that I have read. It’s just enough to see what Keith is trying to prove, but, yet, sticking to the story.
Overall, not a bad read. It did take me a little bit to get into it, but it was worth it. This book comes out on April 26, 2019. If you want to check it out for yourself, then hop onto Netgalley and make a request…At least, I think it’s on Netgalley…Don’t hold me to that….
Book: Hurricane Season Author: Nicole Melleby Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars
I would like to thank the publisher, Algonquin Young Readers, for providing me with this ARC.
I must say I was very surprised with this one. To me, a lot of times middle school reads can be kind of iffy. It seems like a lot of middle school books almost want to shelter kids for the world or make it seem so much simpler than it actually is. What I really liked about Hurricane Season was that it didn’t do any of that. It deals with real issues: mental illness and sexuality. These are real things that real middle schoolers are dealing with and it’s such a shame that it’s not put into this ban of books very often. What’s even more messed up is the number of schools that will not allow books like this into their buildings-mine being one of them.
Enough about that…
Fig is our main character. She is a sixth grader, living with a single dad who has a mental illness. She tries her best to play it off as not being as bad as it really is. I mean, she is really afraid that she is going to be placed into foster care and never see her dad again. Now, she really doesn’t present her dad’s illness as being his fault. She tells everyone that he can’t help it, which is true. This is a lot more insightful than most people. A lot of people really don’t understand that people with mental illness really can’t help it and that they do need help. What I like about Fig is how she tries to take care of everything herself and really steps up. A lot of people her age would not be able to deal with what she is dealing with. Yes, she does break and all of that, but it doesn’t take away from her strength. I think, that as a teacher, that Fig is a great role model for all ages. She is also joined by a great cast of characters, but I can’t go anymore into that what I have because I don’t want to spoil it.
The book goes through so many different levels. What really makes all of this come to life is Nicole’s beautiful writing. I mean, there is such an emotional punch there that really makes you feel the pain and the joy of the book. The last book that really made me feel this way was Wonder. As I was reading this, I was actually thinking of Wonder because this reminded me so much of it. I love just how something very real is put on the page and how much you just end up feeling. Gasp, I just really can’t describe it; you just need to read this book. Just do it….
Again, this is a middle grade book, but really all levels of readers will enjoy this. it is very well written and done that it is really hard to put down. If you liked Wonder, then I think you will like this one. So, Hurricane Season comes out on May 7, 2019. I really do hope that this goes down as one of the most talked about books of 2019, because it does deserve it.
Book: King of Scars Author: Leigh Bardugo Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars
Let me start out by saying that King of Scars was my top pick book of 2019 and it was not a letdown. I have been super excited about this book since Leigh announced that she was returning to the Grisha world. I know there are a lot of mixed reviews out there about this one, but I really enjoyed it.
So, let me just be honest. If you were expecting something as action packed as Six of Crows, then you are going to be disappointed. No, this is not as tightly plotted as Six of Crows nor is it really in the same realm. It is more like the Grisha Trilogy than anything. Yes, there is action and well written characters, but it really doesn’t have the same vibe as Six of Crows. Before I go on, you really must have read the Grisha Trilogy before reading King of Scars.
I have always really enjoyed Nikolai’s characters. I did feel like that in the Grisha Trilogy that he really didn’t get a big chance to grow and here he does. I know that a lot of people are complaining about his banter and charm not always being present, but it happens. It’s called character development. Characters are like people and they are supposed to change. It’s still Nikolai, but he’s just dealing with some stuff. If you have read the Grisha Trilogy, then you know what I’m talking about.
I really enjoyed Nina’s storyline, almost more than Nikolai. If you don’t know who Nina is, then you need to read Six of Crows. I felt like in King of Scars, she really got her chance to shine. I don’t know if others feel the same way, but it almost felt like in Six of Crows that she was kind of shoved aside. I don’t know if anyone else felt that way. Here, we get to see some serious girl power from her.
Zoya, I really don’t know about her. She is actually one of the few characters in this series that I really don’t care about. It’s not that she’s a poorly written character or anything, it’s just that I really haven’t been able to connect with her like I have with the others.
Now, that ending! Where did that come from? Okay, the ending to this book rates right up there with Harry Potter. I was so shocked when Leigh ended the book that way. I need book two now! She simply cannot leave us hanging like that. (Don’t ruin the book for anyone, please. Spoilers are not cool.)
So anyway, yeah, this book was worth buying. I cannot wait for book two.
Book: The Dark Days Deceit Author: Allison Goodman Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars
I have an honest question: is this really the last book in the series? That ending strongly hinted at another book. Allison surely will not be able to get away with leaving the ending the way that she did. We really don’t know what happened. I’m just saying, I would like a little more closure.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way. Really, though if someone does know out there, please be a good person and let me know.
Anyway, I have been reading this series for a couple of years and have really enjoyed it. I like the storyline and the world building. The characters are also very likable and fun. I also like how the series developed over the course of four books. Like with so many other series, as time goes on, the characters change and age.
I mean, the Helen we have in book three is not the same Helen from book one. Sure, most of her traits are there, but she had grown up and changed. She never really followed society’s rules, but here she embraces her differences and is finally telling people that she will not fit into their cookie cutter mold. It’s about time she really starting taking charge and becoming that amazing heroine that we all knew she was. Still, though, she does actually value what her family says and really takes it to heart. The men in her family are really typical of the time period, but it still didn’t stop me from wanting to slap them. I mean, come on, I know she’s a young woman and all, but still. I’m so happy that she finally started putting them in their yes. Again, yes, I am fully aware that this was how women were treated back then and some still are.
Carlston is here, but he seems to have almost lost his charm a little bit. He really doesn’t seem to annoy people as much anymore more, which was my favourite part in the series. I still think he is the best male lead in the series and I still really love his character. Like Helen, he also changes. He is growing up and actually trying to move on from the past. Everyone keeps bringing it up and they don’t see this. However, we, as the reader, get to see this and you may actually end up feeling sorry for him.
Selburn-you know, he never really was my favourite character in the series. That still doesn’t make him a bad guy though. He really does have Helen’s best interests at heart and does actually look out for her-not that she needs it. I mean, as far a marriage protectives goes, he’s really not that bad. Helen could have done a lot worse. My favourite parts are still with him and Carlston in the same room. I love how they just knew what to do to get under each other’s skin. Yes, we do find out who the Grand Deceiver is. I was actually surprised. I know a lot of people aren’t, but I clearly missed all of the clues. So….yeah….
Really great book. My only complaint is not actually having a final ending. I wouldn’t be upset with a fourth book though.
Book: Lady Katherine Knollys: The Unacknowledged Daughter of King Henry VIII Author: Sarah-Beth Watkins Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars
I would like to thank the author, Sarah-Beth Watkins and the publisher, Chronos Books, for providing me with this book for free.
I must say that I really enjoyed this short book on Lady Knollys. It was a very easy and engaging read about a woman who is often times over looked in history. Sarah does an amazing job with telling the story of her life and how many different monarch Katherine actually went through. I mean, this woman saw the court four Tudor monarchs-well, five, if you count Lady Jane Grey! There’s not a lot of people out there who can say that. This alone was very interesting to me. I have been in a Tudor mood for about the last two years and this just added to that interest.
Like many women in history, Katherine’s life wasn’t easy. I mean, it was a lot easier than most, but it was still hard. Just imagine being the king’s daughter, but not recognized. Now, she still got along very nicely and grew up next to the royal children, but still. It’s not the same. Not only that, but she was in the castle during her aunt, Anne Boylan’s, execution, Katherine of Aragon’s downfall, saw the changing of the crown five times, saw her father remarried five times, and more. Think about what you know about Tudor England and remember that Katherine was probably there. Not to mention that her husband was Mary, Queen of Scots jailer. Just think about how much she got to see.
I know a lot of people are complaining about how the argument about Katherine being Henry’s daughter didn’t really come across. They are right. I know that the title is really misleading. It doesn’t really argue that Katherine was Henry’s daughter, but is instead more a biography type thing. You know what? I’m okay with this. Don’t let that stop you from reading this book. This book is a great addition to a Tudor library. I mean, it really is a well written book.
What I really liked was the use of first hand accounts. To me, those always add a special touch to a nonfiction book. It makes the historical figures seem a bit more real. A lot of times people may forget that historical people were actually real people with real feelings. By bringing in the letters, it makes us remember that this is real.
Again, this is a great short book about a woman who saw a lot of Tudor history in action. If you really can’t get enough of the Tudors or are just looking for a short nonfiction read, then give this a try.
Book: Strange the Dreamer Author: Laini Taylor Rating: 1 Out of 5 Stars
Yeah, I know, very unpopular book opinion coming your way. I don’t know, I think I really did come into this one with way too high of expectations and only ended up getting burned.
Let me start out by saying that I have read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and really did enjoy it. I picked this one up thinking that it was going to be just as well written and enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong, the writing in Strange the Dreamer is actually well done. I just really struggled to get into it. I personally thought the book was really boring. I know, I know, a lot of people think that this was one of the top books of 2017. I am also aware that a lot of people think that the pacing and the characters are well developed. I think otherwise.
The characters, I thought, were almost too over written. There is a difference between being complex and too much. It almost felt as if Laini was forcing it almost and not letting the characters take their own natural course in development. We had almost too much information about them. None of them also really stood out to me, which, for me, made it really difficult to connect to them. In turn, there was this untouchable element to them that really didn’t make them seem like they could be real. I know that this is a fantasy novel, but most fantasy books still have that human element to their characters.
The next thing was the pacing. Okay, this is a slow book. It felt like things were going on forever just so we could have a second book. Some books are meant to be stand alones and that’s fine. Don’t add all of things that we don’t need. I know Laini is more of an artsy writer and that’s fine. I felt like here that this really slowed down the pacing. The pacing is what keeps the story going and if my mind is wondering while reading, then something is wrong. I actually kept wondering when we were going to get to the meat of the story. It seemed to never happen.
The world building was good, but this was a part where Laini really didn’t go into details. We honestly have no idea about what some of things she talks about are. It was just like she describing the world, without putting any feeling or meaning behind it. Like with the characters, there was just a lot of detachment for me.
The idea behind the book is really good, but it’s just not as well done as I expected. I mean, it’s Laini Taylor. It’s supposed to be a good book, but it’s just not. I don’t know what’s going on with young adult fantasy for me this year. This is the second book that hasn’t wowed me this year. Maybe I’m just starting to outgrow it. Anyway, yes, I am aware that I am one of the few people who didn’t enjoy this one. I’m just going to cut my loses and move on the next one.
Book: In Another Life Author: C.C Hunter Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars
I would like to thank the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with this ARC and for allowing me to be a part of the spring preview. It’s really great to be working with you again.
Well, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting from this one. I really did think that it was going to be about a girl searching for her birth family and that was going to be the end of it. I never imagined that I would get such an action packed adventure, full of surprises, and amazing characters. I was just stunned. This book is so well written and with so much packed into it, it really was hard to put this one down.
So, let’s start with Chloe. Chloe is the main character-just a normal, adoptive high school girl. She finds herself torn between a rather ugly divorce. To make matters worse, her mother is dealing with depression and recovering from cancer. Now, this puts a lot of pressure on Chloe. In a sense, it really does make her seem a lot older than what she is. At times, it was actually kind of hard to remember that she was a teenage girl. This maturely will not make it difficult for younger readers to connect with. She is mature not because the author doesn’t understand the mind of a teenager, but because of the curveball that life has thrown at her. Not only was all of that going on, but her parents did not get along at all and she found herself kind of being pressured to almost pick a side. The emotions of the divorce just come right off the page, almost as if you are experiencing them yourself. All of this just really impacts Chloe’s character and why she takes the course that she does. It’s just really amazing to see this kind of character being developed.
Next, is Cash. Cash is a foster child, who really had a rough childhood. Once again, like with Chloe, this past really affects his character. He is smart, doesn’t want handouts, and doesn’t want people to get close. He completely freaks out whenever his foster family, the Fullers, want to help him and let him into their hearts. It’s almost like he doesn’t know how to handle this kind of affection. Once you really get to know his character, you understand why he is the way he is. He is completely afraid to let people because he doesn’t want to get hurt again. Really, the only person he lets in is Chloe.
This story is very action packed and I know that the first half or so of my review does not show that. As the story goes on, C.C lets it kind of take a dark path. The Fullers’ daughter went missing a long time ago and Cash thinks that Chloe looks like her. So, they start looking into Chloe’s adoption and find out that things are not what they seem. This leads them to high speed chases, evil characters, and more. So, this is where the action is people. It doesn’t sound like much, but I really don’t want to give away too much. Think of it as Unstoppable movie with Chris Pine action fun-yeah, I just rewatched the movie and it’s what popped into my mind. This brings us to a very important question: Why four stars instead of five? Well, if anyone has ever read my reviews before and has read this book, then you know why. It’s not really anything wrong with the book, but a personal thing. I cannot stand books that go from first person point of view to third person point of view. That is what is happening here. I like reading from different character’s point of view, but let’s pick either first person or third person and stay there.
Alright, so In Another Life comes out on March 26, 2019. I hope you will enjoy it.