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review 2018-08-16 21:21
Book Review of Sentinel (Book One of the Sentinel Trilogy) by Joshua Winning
Sentinel - Joshua Winning

This is a fantastic start to what looks like an exciting trilogy! I loved it!

Nicholas Hallow is a fantastic character. I liked him very much; and felt extremely sorry for him, as he dealt with a tragedy that destroyed his world. When he is sent to live with his godmother, Nicholas has no idea what mystery and danger awaits him.

This is an exciting, danger-filled YA Fantasy novel set it Cambridge, England. I found myself completely hooked from the first page! The characters come alive as the tale unfolds. Samuel Wilkins is Nicholas's parents friend. I liked his spirit! At 71 years old, he's still got a lot of it! Nicholas's godmother seemed a bit flighty to me, but when I read the full story of how she became that way, I could understand why. She's a powerful witch, but emotionally damaged by an event in her past. Isabel is a unique character, and her snarky and sarcastic comments had me giggling! I liked her very much! It's amazing what havoc a misfired spell can do to your perspective! However, there is one character that sent chills down my back, and her name is Malika. She is a creepy and dangerous individual! Well, I suppose you would have to be, working for a demon!


I struggled to put this book down, and couldn't wait to get back to it when I had to! There are several twists and turns in this book that I didn't see coming, but they just added to a totally enthralling read! By the end of the book I still had some questions that needed to be answered, such as: Why were the Sentinels created/formed? Who or what is Esus? And, what will happen next? I am now looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy as soon as I can!

Joshua Winning has written a debut novel that had me sitting on the edge of my seat! I loved his fast paced writing style, which made the story flow beautifully. This author is one to watch. If he's not careful, he'll be on my favourite authors list in no time at all! 

As this book is a Young Adult fantasy, I highly recommend this book to young readers aged 12+, and adults who love YA stories filled with witches, demons, supernatural beings, danger and adventure! - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-08-14 22:42
New Release Review!
How to Breathe Underwater - Vicky Skinner

 

There's a lot to unravel here, so bear with me. I'm still in awe of the profound emotional roller coaster I just experienced with this heartfelt story. Skinner has a way with words that elicits your emotions and keeps you engaged page after page.  
 
Kate is a fairly average teenager, save for one big exception, she's the best swimmer in the state. With her dad as her coach constantly pushing her to do more, be better, work harder, etc. there's a lot of emotional baggage tied into her sport. When Kate's life turns upside down after her dad's affair becomes public, it's more than just a relocation. It is the first time Kate really questions whether she wants to keep swimming now that she's not striving for her father's attention.
 
I imagine switching schools after growing up with the same team is difficult in itself, then add the pressure of being "the best", any kid would have a hard time. Kate manages to navigate her new circumstances with less than stellar grace and a few bad choices to makes things more challenging. Crushing on the boy next door is adorable and sweet, but navigating through an existing girlfriend and trying to make new friends does not make it easy. 
 
Kate's struggles with her new family life are an integral part of the story. Divorce is a difficult topic to write about, but Skinner does an exceptional job keeping things just the right amount of heavy without feeling overwhelming. It was important that we see how the divorce is affecting Kate's mom and sister as well. The camaraderie of their shared heartache is a refreshingly honest look at the emotional toll divorce can have on a family. 
 
Michael and Kate's friendship is the bright light in an otherwise tumultuous world. There's one particular scene that stands out in my mind where they sit in the hallway across from each other in the middle of the night eating ice cream. That sweet moment of friendship made me wish I had a neighbor like that, especially as I suffered from insomnia in high school too. I found their story endearing and frustrating at the same time. It is a splendid story fraught with awkward moments, sweet gestures, and a fair amount of hardship. 
 
I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy a heartfelt look at what strengths lie in moving on and forgiveness. 
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review 2018-08-13 22:30
DANDELION WINE by Ray Bradbury
Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury

 

Once I realized there wasn't going to be a plot, but instead a loosely connected set of vignettes about boys coming of age, I relaxed and enjoyed DANDELION WINE.  I marked several pages that I wanted to quote in my review, but now find myself thinking that reviewing it is going to take some of the magic out of it for me.

 

I absolutely adored the end, (Aunt Rose got sent packing!), and there's no doubt that this book is steeped in nostalgia, but overall, it was a little too wordy for me. I would have liked fewer pages full of solid text and more dialogue, but hey, this is Ray Bradbury and I love the guy but I think The October Country is still my favorite of all his works.

 

Lastly, much as I love Ray Bradbury, I still hold Robert McCammon's BOY'S LIFE as my favorite novel of all time.

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review 2018-08-13 21:38
2.8 Out Of 5 "what the what and who the who" STARS
Like Never and Always - Ann Aguirre

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~BOOK BLURB~

Like Never and Always

Ann Aguirre

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On a hot summer night, Liv, Morgan, Clay, and Nathan are on the way home from a party in Clay's convertible. Best friends dating brothers? It doesn't get better than that. But the joyride ends in sudden impact, a screech of brakes, and shattering glass. On that lonely country road, four lives change forever.

 

Liv wakes in the hospital. At first, she's confused when they call her Morgan, but she assumes it's a case of mistaken identity. Yet when the bandages come off, it's not her face in the mirror anymore. It's Morgan's.

 

Morgan always seemed to have a perfect life. But as Liv tries to fit herself into Morgan's world, she discovers endlessly disturbing secrets of the criminal and murderous variety and a dark task to finish...if she doesn't lose her mind first.

 

Forced to confront the disturbing truths that Morgan kept hidden in life, Liv must navigate a world of long-buried murder, a dangerous love affair—and a romance that feels like a betrayal.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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The cover is brilliant, and the blurb for it seems like a fantastic idea, but the execution…was off.  I wanted this perfect explanation for what was going on, even if it was something that dipped into the supernatural, but it just kind of fizzled. Also, sometimes the odd love triangle this had going on felt seriously awkward.  While it had its suspenseful moments, and the characters were mostly likable (especially Clay), the story ultimately left me confused and let down.  There was this tidbit of a plot twist thrown in at the end of the story that just leaves you feeling like…wtf was that all about?

 

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~MY RATING~

2.8STARS - GRADE=C-

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 3.2/5

Main Characters~ 3.8/5

Secondary Characters~ 3.5/5

The Feels~ 2/5

Pacing~ 3.8/5

Addictiveness~ 3/5

Theme or Tone~ 3.3/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 3/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 3.5/5

Originality~ 3.5/5

Ending~2.5/5

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Book Cover~ Very Cool…way cooler than the story.

Narration~4.5 for Emily Bauer, her pleasant voice may have influenced the overall rating of this book.

Setting~ Renton (not sure of the spelling because I only had audio version)

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

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review 2018-08-13 20:26
4 Out Of 5 "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" STARS
Alex, Approximately - Jenn Bennett

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~BOOK BLURB~

Alex, Approximately

Jenn Bennett

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The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

 

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

 

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is a whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

 

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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I was worried, despite the multitude of glowing reviews that I would find this annoying and juvenile, but it was actually quite good.   It might have felt like it was even going in that direction, early on.  But it soon became a story of substance.  After reading the blurb above, it comes off as being a story about IM's between two people, but that’s really only a small portion of the story.  Overall, the story has a lot more to offer than that and it was a really sweet and worthwhile listening experience.

 

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~MY RATING~

4STARS - GRADE=B+

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4.2/5

Main Characters~ 4/5

Secondary Characters~ 4/5

The Feels~ 3.8/5

Pacing~ 4/5

Addictiveness~ 4/5

Theme or Tone~ 4/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.5/5

Originality~ 4/5

Ending~ 3.8/5

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Book Cover~ It's Okay…but it doesn't represent the story.

Narration~ Amy Melissa Bentley

Setting~ Coronado Cove, California

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

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