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review 2019-02-13 12:14
The Binding
The Binding - Bridget Collins

by Bridget Collins


This is a rather fascinating imaginary world. Emmett buys a book at a fair and his father reacts as if he has brought something evil into the house and gets rid of it. A few years later, a woman who is a binder of books asks for Emmett to be apprenticed to her and to his confusion, his parents hand him over to his fate.


The world building unfolds slowly in this, allowing the reader to gradually get used to the beliefs and attitudes of the people and learn what it means to be bound in a book. A lot of superstition and outright fear surrounds the occupation of binding, yet Emmett is told that he was born to be a binder. Exactly what that means is revealed to the reader at the same time that it is explained to Emmett.


On his first solo binding, Emmett has no idea what he is meant to do. He also has reason to object to the assignment, yet what is entailed and why he was predicted to be a binder born soon becomes clear.


One thing that was unique about this book (apart from the entire concept) was that I actually changed my opinion about a character. After not liking Lucien for a long time, a side of him came out that made me more sympathetic. The action speeds up in the second half of the book and I actually got so engrossed into what would happen next, despite present tense writing in part three throwing me out of the story every time I started a new chapter, that I stayed up late, unable to put it down.


My one complaint is that the ending was rather abrupt. I wanted to know what happened to Emmett and Lucien after the events of those last chapters. I don't know whether a second book is planned. If it is I will probably read it and hope it holds my interest as well as this one did!

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review 2019-02-12 14:29
The Key to the Demon's Gate
The Key to the Demon's Gate - Daniel Quilter

by Daniel M. Quilter


The target age for this story is Middle Grade and it reads appropriately for that level to me. The story is wonderfully imaginative and sends three teenage protagonists on quests and through adventures that would definitely appeal to young readers.


Henry Rockwell and his friends get whisked away into a fantasy world adventure with demons, pirates, magic and of course a quest.


Though the character development and plot were fairly average for the age group, I think younger kids would enjoy it. My only complaint is that it ends with some of the details of the story unfinished and an invitation to continue the adventure in the next book.


I'm becoming less tolerant of this sales approach as more authors do it and although I don't mind it in favorite adult or YA series, I think it sends the wrong message to younger readers and feel that even a series should conclude the adventure at hand and act as a stand alone. How can you encourage reluctant readers to take an interest if the story never ends? Or takes three or more books to do so?


Overall an okay story that would sit well in a children's library one the series is complete.

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review 2019-02-10 10:35
The Age of Misadventure
The Age of Misadventure - Judy Leigh

by Judy Leigh


I really enjoyed the author's previous book and was looking forward to another fun adventure with this one. The title is intriguing and full of promise! Imagine my shock when I saw that it was written in present tense. Generally when an author turns to the dark side and uses this abomination perspective, I never trust them again.


I did persevere, although the rather miserable beginning seemed to go on too long. I have to admit that I was really disappointed that I didn't like this story. I gave a lot of thought as to why and concluded that it's the characters. The author's previous book had a main character who I really liked. A strong woman who despite being elderly, decided she wasn't ready to be dead yet and went on adventures. This one, all the characters were whiners, complainers or both.


I felt it took too long to get to the traveling part and then everything seemed to go wrong so that it was just depressing. Even a satisfying ending couldn't make a stressful journey into something fun or daring.

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review 2019-01-31 11:50
Just Eat It
Just Eat It - Laura Thomas

by Laura Thomas PhD




I had mixed feelings about this book. The premise is sound. A qualified nutritionist is advising to escape 'diet mentality' and stop obsessing about food. Great! But there's rather a lot of swearing which makes it sound unprofessional and hinders the 'authority' of the author's voice, despite the PhD after her name.


She makes a lot of good points about the detrimental obsession over weight and food, but at times she seems to be saying that people who are overweight should just accept it as normal and make no effort to lose health-destroying obesity. I can see her advice being wonderful for those who obsess over 10-20 lbs of natural weight gain and for rejecting the rail-thin ideal of popular magazines, but someone who is 100-200 lbs overweight can't rely on 'intuitive eating' to lose enough to be a healthy weight! Diabetes and heart disease from excessive weight are a real thing!


Not to mention increased mobility and energy if someone does it a healthy way rather than through fad diets (don't even mention Keto to me! I equate it with Scientology.)


There is a chapter on 'gentle nutrition' and some extensive nutrition information near the end, but the author seems to assume that anyone who stops obsessing over food will naturally gravitate towards healthy eating. I don't believe that. I know people who would happily live on pizza and tacos forever and never touch another vegetable if they weren't paying attention to nutrition and quite honestly, I'm one of them. I spent my late teenage and early 20s years eating whatever I liked and the fruit/vegetable category didn't feature! The occasional banana maybe. And assuming I would EVER put vegetables on a pizza is just fantasy. I'm a meat feast girl and don't want my flavors diluted with nasty vegetables!


There are several mentions of Instagram and a specific hashtag that give me the impression that the author is assuming everybody has the same attitudes and assumptions about food and dieting as a particular group on that network. I'm not on instagram and don't know anyone among my real life family/friends/acquaintances/work colleagues who is, or who has the exact mindset as the author is working from.


I know a lot of people who consider themselves to be overweight to one degree or another and a few who have successfully lost weight through healthy diet programs. One thing we have in common is that given free reign to eat anything we want as the author suggests, certain Easter sweets in the stores right now would push those vegetables off our plates as far as our budgets could take it!


There are a lot of good nuggets of information in this book but I don't feel I can recommend it to anyone except those who keep obsessing over 10-20 lbs over the BMI charts. True those are outdated and imperfect, but someone seriously obese could easily see this as giving them permission to ignore the very real health dangers and put it down to stressing over food, as the author theorizes. Accepting your body shape isn't going to get you to fit into seats on planes or at entertainment venues and as much as I might agree that fat shaming and discrimination is wrong, it still happens.


I don't swallow that nature makes some people naturally fat in the extreme. Processed foods and high sugar content might have made it the new normal, but eating a nutritious diet will find the biological norm.


I've never one starred a book on Netgalley before but I think apart from the unprofessional delivery, the advice in this book is actually dangerous to people at risk of diabetes and heart disease through excessive weight.

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review 2019-01-30 08:18
Review: Shattered by A.K. MacBride
Shattered - A.K. MacBride

Hope is what keeps the world alive.

Shattered by A.K MacBride is a story about diminished hopes and dreams. About people who believe they are too broken for someone else. 
Harper ran away from her abusive husband when she was pregnant. And now, six years later she is still afraid he will find her and doesn’t stay at the same place for more than a few months. But Willow Creek is different. She likes it here, has a real friend who cares about her and a neighbor who is hell bent on dating her. 
 Logan yearns for a family he can’t have. But after seeing Harper and her son, his desire skyrockets. He wants her, and she creates a safe distance from him. 
I liked the story. There was emotion, there was love and a cute kid. The kid stole all the limelight. It was adorable how he looked up to Logan and how Logan behaved when he was with him. The other characters were blurred for me. Logan’s brother was the only one with a lasting effect. 
This was a one-time well-worth read for me.

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