Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Rosette Thornbriar Review

Rosette Thornbriar by Rachel Roden


I'm participating in the Three Sleeping Beauties Blog Tour. Apparently, I start out all of my blog tour posts with that sentence. Oh, well, can't break the tradition now. I was given the chance to review this lovely book, and I present that review to you now.

Once upon a time, way out west...
Back when they were young'uns, Fleur Guardstone proposed to Rosette Thornbriar with a cigar band ring. However, not long after, she disappeared back into the forest and hadn't been heard from since. However, when Fleur hears reports of smoke coming from that woods, he's determined to find out if it is, indeed, his dear Rosette. If he can get past all of the briars.

This was a very cute little book. It is surprisingly short, and only took me a couple minutes to read. Sleeping Beauty has never been my favorite fairy tale, but I was able to enjoy this retelling very much. There is something about this author's writing style, something I can't put my finger on, that is very charming. Whatever it was, I liked it a lot. This author shows a lot of promise.

My review, like the book itself, is very short. Nevertheless, it is not too short to urge you to check out this book and the other two wonderful ones in this blog tour, and read them as soon as humanly possible.

About the Author

Rachel Roden is a natural story teller, capable of weaving the most hilarious of fairy tales. She fell in love with the Lone Ranger in her teens, but ended up with a basketball referee instead. Together, she and the Ref homeschool their four children in the Piney Woods of East Texas, as well as any other odd kid who ends up in their house. She might also be the sole human who still uses math after college.

You can connect with Rachel on her blog, twitter, and Pinterest.


You can order Rosette Thornbriar on Amazon or add it to your Goodreads!

Check out the rest of the blog tour here!


Don't forget to join the giveaway!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming Review

   Anyone that knows me can tell you that I'm a huge fan of Spider-Man. I loved the original movies and I loved Spidey's appearance in Captain America: Civil War. (I wasn't a fan of the Amazing Spider-Man movies, but that's neither here nor there.) So needless to say, I was super excited when Spider-Man: Homecoming was released. I managed to convince my dad to take me to go see it not long after it came out, but due to Camp NaNo and other stuff, I haven't gotten around to doing such things as writing reviews for a while. So, without further ado, here is my (rather fangirly) review of the latest Spider-Man movie.


   First of all, this movie starts out hilariously. I loved how the original Spider-Man theme was incorporated into the intro music. The rest of the music was beautiful as well. Michael Giacchinno, while he couldn't measure up to John Williams with his Rogue One soundtrack, still did an amazing job with this movie.
   The technical aspects of this movie were very well done. Filming, lighting, acting, CGI, even the costumes were spectacularly done. Something so subtle and easily overlooked as costume design can really complement a story's plot and characters well, and this time they did so. Just something as simple as Peter's clothing choices says volumes about his character. 
   I mean, this t-shirt screams nerd:

   Also, Peter's two different Spidey suits designed by Stark were beautiful. Just sayin'.
   The plot was amazing. It wasn't ridiculously predictable, way too complex, shallow and meaningless, or centered around a girl. It wasn't even in the vein of a typical superhero movie. It was very well-written. The plot points were all spot-on and powerful. The plot twist near the end was very unexpected, and the climax was masterful.
    The characters. Wow, the characters. They are some of the best parts of the movie. My favorite, naturally, was Peter Parker himself. He was a nerd, a dork, and a hero. And what's more, Marvel didn't feel the need to tell this to their audience. They just let it show. As a fellow super-dorky nerd, I really appreciated it. Peter was by no means perfect, but he had a good heart, and it showed. His character arc was amazing, and the center of the whole movie. His flaws were shown as clearly as his virtues, which takes bravery. He changed so beautifully. Alright, I'm done fangirling.
   The other characters were marvelous and deep. Tony has very obviously adopted Peter as his son, and is trying to do a better job fathering him than Howard Stark did with Tony. He states several times that he wants Peter to be a better person than he is. He makes some tough decisions and says some hard things to Peter that really help him overcome his flaws and struggles. Ned was a wonderful, loyal friend to Peter, and a great "guy in the chair." :) Peter's crush, Liz, was sweet, kind, and very understanding. And MJ was a star. She was hysterical, and I can't wait for more interaction between her and Peter in the future.
   The theme. Hardly separable from the character arc. It was so powerful and wonderful. Unfortunately, I'll have to see it more times before I'll be able to articulate further. Guess I'll just have to buy the DVD or something.
   All in all, this was a wonderful movie. I wouldn't recommend it to younger children, especially not without their parents viewing it first, mainly because of the language. You can read a good overview of the content concerns here. Despite all that, I would recommend it to teens and up, and for any Marvel fans or Spider-Man fans.
   Now, I just hope I get this movie for Christmas so I can rewatch it a ton.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Book Review: Give Me Liberty

Rating: PG

Recommended for: Ages 10 and up

For thirteen–year–old Nathaniel, an indentured servant in colonial Virginia, life is hard. Though things improve with the help of a kind master named Basil–who shares music, books, and philosophies on equality–around him the climate is heating up. It's 1775 and colonists are enraged by England's taxation. Patrick Henry's words "give me liberty, or give me death" become the sounding call and the American Revolution is about to errupt. Nathaniel and Basil must make a choice about joining the fight and face a larger conundrum about the true meaning of liberty.

L. M. Elliott crafts a stirring narrative for middle grade readers–conveying the hopes and dilemmas of this crucial era in American history.

 A few weeks ago, this book was returned to the book drop at the library where I work. It intrigued me, as I love American history and the cover gave off strong Johnny Tremain vibes. It's difficult to find a historical fiction book that doesn't distort history these days, so I skimmed the author's note, found little known but awesome history facts there (which indicated a perspective I agree with), and decided to try it.

Now the book. Unfortunately, I can't completely rave about how awesome it is because of a few literary flaws. First, I feel like it could have used another editing pass to refine the use of old fashioned language. That aspect was good, but not great. Especially considering the fact that she once referred to Nathaniel's unusually pale blue eyes as "weird-colored" even though according to Webster's 1828 dictionary, "weird" meant "skilled in witchcraft."

My primary complaint is that she shoved in too much historical and cultural information via exposition in the dialogue. Too many characters went on for paragraphs in an "as you know, Bob" manner. Now, as a lover of American history and particularly the American Revolution, I didn't really mind the history, but at the same time, it's a sign to me that she did a lot of research and wanted people to know everything she found out at the cost of the story. I kept comparing it to Johnny Tremain as I read, and Johnny Tremain is just a better written book.

But lest you think I hated this book, I actually really enjoyed it. Yes, there are literary flaws, and no, it doesn't measure up to Johnny Tremain (one of my three favorite historical fictions), but it still managed to be a pretty good book. Not spectacular, but pretty good and I don't regret the read. I liked Nathaniel and obviously I liked the historical period, and the details felt very authentic (minus the use of "weird"). It's very obvious the author spent a lot of time in colonial Williamsburg. Speaking of which, there were some moments of internal squealing at mentions of places in Williamsburg where I've been and lesser known historical figures I learned about on my trip there. (Which was 8 years ago this fall. Wow. I really need to go back.)

So would I recommend it? It depends. If you love the American Revolution, are looking for a book with an accurate perspective, and are willing to overlook some literary flaws, then absolutely. Because seriously, my only complaints are the literary ones already listed. The American Revolution is a fantastic period of history and I love it. And this book reminded me of that fact. Though now I have an urge to go reread Johnny Tremain

Originally posted on Goodreads.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Review: Lady Dragon, Tela Du


I'm participating in the blog tour for Lady Dragon, Tela Du, the second book in the Rizkaland Legends series. I'm reviewing the book. I'm really tired right now, so I don't know what else I need to say about this, other than here's a cool picture!


And an author bio: Kendra E. Ardnek is a home-school graduate who picked up a pen at an early age and never put it down. The eldest of four, she makes her home in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her parents, younger siblings, giant herd of giraffes, and honor guard of nutcrackers.

And the author herself: 

 And the book cover. Because why not?

Recommended for: Ages 12-Adult

Kendra's content advisory:
"Romance: Pretty strong since I'm dealing with a married couple, but doesn't go past minimally-described kissing and sharing a bed.
Violence: Mild fantasy sort. I can't write gore to save my life.
Magic: Fairly strong. You can read a full description of how I use magic in this series here."

Two girls with one face
Two girls with twisted fate
One in purple, one in red
One shall speak the other’s death
Who shall win their final war?
Lady Dragon or Tela Du?

Amber, the Lady Dragon, has been promised a fifty-year reign over Rizkaland and nothing can stop her from claiming it. But when you've lived six thousand years, fifty is such a pitiful number. Only one person can keep her from making this reign permanent - the Tela Du, a girl who shall share Amber's face.

The last thing Petra wants is a magical world interrupting her plans for a normal life, let alone an ultimate battle against the Lady Dragon with only one prophesied survivor. She has her childhood best friend, Reuben, at her side, but she's not sure if he's more of a help or a hindrance right now. Though she'd much prefer to just return home and forget about this whole crazy affair, things change when she discovers that the world has surprising connections to her own family - including her sister who disappeared without a trace two years before. Still, Rizkaland can't possibly expect her to risk her very life, can it?

I totally called most of the plot twists. The book still kept me up, though, way past when I should have gone to bed. But I had to finish it so I could focus on my review of Reversal Zone. (At least, that's what I told myself.) At any rate, Kendra has entered my roster of evil authors.

Writing: 4.75/5
Kendra's writing style is very fitting for her personality. Really fun, yet somehow serious, too. It was really well-written. The only drawback was the many typos. Some of them were fixed, but I didn't mark all of them, so not all of them got fixed. Oh, well. Most of the time I could figure out what she meant, so it wasn't really that much of a drawback.

Setting: 5/5
Of course, a lot of the world had already been set up in the first book, so there wasn't as much ground for Kendra to cover, but the world-building she did was very well-done. The settings were interesting, fun, yet serious, and the descriptions were well-done.

Plot: 5/5
So twisty and turny. Oh, my goodness, I'm not even sure I even understand everything that went on. It was very intriguing and kept me up reading, as I said, really late. It's just so...I don't know how to describe it, especially without giving something away. You just have to read the book.

Character Development: 5/5
Okay, so you know the author's doing a good job when you heartily wish for the bad guy's reformation even though there seems to be absolutely no way she will survive. Just all of the characters...but this category is even more spoilery than the last one. So I'll just talk about Reuben and Petra. They're both awesome and cool and I love their relationship. It's so close. I like Ashley, too. Amber and Granite...it's complicated. Really complicated. I won't even try to talk about anyone else.

This is such a good book. You totally have to read it. Although you have to read Water Princess, Fire Prince first. Which, by the way, is free from the 19th to the 23rd. That includes today, so go get it and start reading, if you haven't read it already. And go here to buy Lady Dragon, Tela Du on kindle and paperback.

Other links:
Add it to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25873539-lady-dragon-tela-du
Go to Kendra's blog: knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com
Kendra's website: kendraeardnek.weebly.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Review: Silas Marner

Silas Marner by George Eliot


Rating: PG

Recommended for: Ages 15 and up (interest level)

Embittered by a false accusation, disappointed in friendship and love, the weaver Silas Marner retreats into a long twilight life alone with his loom. . . and his gold. Silas hoards a treasure that kills his spirit until fate steals it from him and replaces it with a golden-haired founding child. Where she came from, who her parents were, and who really stole the gold are the secrets that permeate this moving tale of guilt and innocence. A moral allegory of the redemptive power of love, it is also a finely drawn picture of early nineteenth-century England in the days when spinning wheels hummed busily in the farmhouses, and of a simple way of life that was soon to disappear.

When I read this book for school I didn't really know what it was about or what to expect. The descriptions don't really tell what the story is about, so I waited for more than half the book for the child to come into the story. I really liked it and there were some times where I wanted to keep reading.

Technical: 4/5

It did not have as much wordiness as many classics do and it was easy to find the story within the book. There was one chapter that was boring for a good portion of it, but it was the only chapter like that. They were not the easiest characters to connect to, but you could still feel for them. It did jump to some backstory and then several years later, but the timeline was easy to keep track of.

Setting: 4/5

The story is set in the town of Raveloe, where the people do not really like strangers. Silas is from a city but I don't remember it ever being named. There was nothing that seemed to be out of place in the setting and the setting worked well for the story.

Plot: 4.5/ 5

It does not have the most unique plot, but it is done in an interesting way. A good portion of the story follows Godfrey, who is the son of the Squire. Godfrey is being threatened by his brother with blackmail. Godfrey causes himself trouble by trying to live two lives and to keep others from knowing about a secret marriage. From the reader's point of view, there is not much mystery as to where the child came from.

Characters: 5/5

The characters are flawed. Silas becomes obsessed with his money after he has lost everything else. Godfrey tries to avoid dishonor and focuses on what he wants then and not thinking of how he might regret it later. There are other characters too, one in particular having a lot of problems. The characters grow in the story and they are different at the end than how they were at the beginning of the story. There was one thing that I'm a little confused on how it came about, since one character involved was opposed to the matter and then it skips and the thing has then happened.

This book has a mostly happy ending, though some things are left unanswered in the characters' lives but it was mostly concluded. I would recommend this book especially if you like classics.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Book Review: Firmament: Reversal Zone

I'm participating in the blog tour for J. Grace Pennington's new book Reversal Zone, part of her Firmament series. Obviously, I'm reviewing the book. But first, read more about the book below.



J. Grace Pennington has published four science fiction novels. They each have a unique bent to them, but this one is very different. Each book is a standalone, but as with any series, you get more of the story if you read them all in order. In Reversal Zone, the main character, Andi Lloyd, becomes the only one who can save the ship and crew. Can she do it in time?

About the Book


Nothing is as it should be.

After weeks of boredom, Andi is excited when the Surveyor is called upon to rescue a freighter that mysteriously vanished in uncharted space.  Excitement quickly turns to unease when the ship encounters an unknown phenomenon—a cloud that appears not to exist.  But with the freighter's crew in danger, the Surveyor has no choice but to venture into unknown territory.

As soon as they enter the cloud, its unstable effects wreak havoc on the ship.  They're flying blind.  Every piece of equipment is malfunctioning.  And every member of the crew is unable to think straight or act like themselves—except Andi.

Now she's expected to guide them through the predicament with no previous command experience and no one to turn to for support.  And with each passing hour, it becomes clear that if they don't escape the cloud soon—they won't escape it at all.

Recommended For: Ages 13 to Adult (interest level)

Rating: PG

If you like sleep, then this book isn't for you. However, if you are perfectly willing to stay up all hours of the night to finish this book, then you must read this book. Because it is amazing.

Rightly is Grace called "The Sleep-Stealer." I stayed up way later than I should have reading this book. But being incredibly tired the next day was totally worth it.

Writing: 5/5
I read another really good book for a different blog tour before writing this review (perhaps not the most brilliant plan?) so I might forget something, but I don't remember any flaws in the writing. The story was clear and concise, the wording well-put, and I don't remember any typos. It moved the story along brilliantly and kept the focus where it should have (Crash! Why did he have to-but spoilers). 

Setting: 5/5
This story is set entirely on the Surveyor. Same good old ship we know from the previous books. Well-described, perfect setting for the story.

Plot: 5/5
*Incoherent screaming* SPOILERS Andi's going to die. The radialloy isn't working any more because she's so brave and saved them all and now she's going to die and it's awful. And CRASH HOW COULD HE DO SUCH A HORRIBLE THING? I get why, but EVERYBODY ALMOST DIED! Is being a responsible and reliable human being really worth that? And August was so mean to Andi, how could he? The captain was really that lazy? HOW COULD AUGUST BE SO DARN SNAPPISH TO ANDI? END SPOILERS Okay, I'm good now. Man, what a plot. I did see both of the major plot twists coming, but the second one was still really heartbreaking. The plot was all twisty and turny and exciting and kept me up reading too late.

Character Development: 5/5
Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. The amount of work it took to invert the personalities of all the characters and make it seem natural...wow. Andi, of course, was great. The Doctor was pretty good when he was himself, August, too (when he was himself), and Crash...well, you're just going to have to read the book. The other characters were good, too, down to Spock-ish Guilders, but I much prefer when they're being their normal selves. Granted, I think the book would have been much improved by Elasson, but I think I'm going to have to wait a few more books before he comes back in. (How could Grace be so cruel and make us wait so long?) In short? Characters: Brilliant. But I need more Elasson.

This book is amazing. You have to go buy it right now HERE! and read it as soon as possible. If you haven't entered the Firmament series yet, you must do so. You can buy the first book HERE! or enter the giveaway below for a chance to win them for free. And the series needs more Elasson. Just saying.

Another link to buy Firmament: Reversal Zone:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LZV1ILB

About the Author


J. Grace Pennington has been telling stories since she could talk, and writing them down since age five.  Now she lives in the great state of Texas, where she writes as much as adult life permits.  When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading good books, playing movie soundtracks on the piano, and looking up at the stars.

You can find out more about her writing at www.jgracepennington.com.


Giveaway





Grace is generously offering three prizes. A signed copy of each of her three previous novels in the series. They are each standalone stories, but they are also connected. If you would like to read more about them, you can read about them here: Radialloy, In His Image, Machiavellian.

To enter the giveaway, please fill out this form.



You can find the rest of the blog tour below. Go check it all out!

Friday, October 7
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Introduction
The Destiny of One-Guest Post
Rebekah Lyn Books-Author Interview

Saturday, October 8
Shout outs-Guest Post
Shire Reviews-Book Review

Sunday, October 9

Monday, October 10
Rachel Rossano's Words-Excerpt and Guest Post
In the Bookcase-Excerpt and Book Review

Tuesday, October 11
The Overactive Imagination-Excerpt and Guest Post

Wednesday, October 12
Bookish Orchestrations-Giveaway Winner