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review 2020-05-28 02:47
Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep
Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade) - Jennifer Estep

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I am so glad that I finally read this book! I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of this book near its release date but it fell through the cracks somehow. As more time passed, I realized that I would need to refresh my memory of the first two books in the trilogy before I could review the book properly so I put off reading it. I decided to push this book to the top of my list recently and it was a very good decision. I thoroughly enjoyed my re-read of the first two books in the trilogy and was eager to experience this book for the first time. I really had a good time with this one.

This is a trilogy that really needs to be read in order. Things have been building to the events in this book for the entire trilogy and I was excited to see how things would work out. Victor Draconi has been working towards a plan to eliminate the other Families and take control of everything himself. Lila and the other Sinclairs are aware of his plan and they are working to do whatever they can to stop him.

This story was exciting and there were a few scenes that were incredibly action-packed. There were a few scenes where I was really worried about how things would work out for this group of characters that I have grown to care for and some scenes that broke my heart. I loved the way that the monsters and magical abilities were such a vital part of the story. It was great to see Lila really become a trusted member of the Sinclair Family as they came together with the other Families to fight a common threat.

Brittany Pressley did a fantastic job with the narration once again. I looked forward to putting my headphones on and escaping into Lila's world for a few hours. I really felt like she brought this story to life. She did a fantastic job with all of the character voices and brought a lot of emotion into her reading. I believe that her narration added to my enjoyment of this story.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a wonderful trilogy set in a very interesting world. I had a great time going on this adventure with Lila, Devon, Felix, Oscar, and the rest of the characters. I cannot wait to read more of Jennifer Estep's work.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Kensington Books via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
I am so glad that I finally read this book! This was a battle that has been brewing for the entire series and I was excited to see the Sinclairs take on the Draconis. There was a lot of excitement and action in this book and some pretty intense scenes. I thought that the characters were at their best in this installment and there were some pretty emotional scenes. I listened to the audiobook and I thought that the narrator did a fabulous job bringing this story to life.

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review 2020-05-25 13:19
Undone by Shannon Richard
Undone - Shannon Richard
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I just loved this book! I have had this book for years but failed to take the time to read it until now and I must that I am a little mad at myself for not picking it up sooner. Once I started reading this story, I was hooked and did not want to put it down and found myself reaching for it every chance I had. I am so glad that I finally decided to give this one a try.

Things have not been going great for Paige. She has lost her job, her apartment, and her boyfriend in short order. As a result, she was forced to move back in with her parents who now live in the small town of Mirabelle, Florida. It has not been an easy transition and she feels like most of the town is against her. Her vehicle breaks down after a horrible interview and the town's handsome mechanic comes to her rescue.

Brendan has lived in Mirabelle all of his life and knows how hard some of the residents can be on new residents like Paige. He hasn't had things easy in his life but he has a great support system including his grandparents, his sister, and a great group of friends. He decides to help Paige out just a bit and he also plans to spend a little more time getting to know her.

I really liked Paige and Brendan. I thought that both of these characters felt very real, like someone I wouldn't be surprised to meet. They were fun together and I loved the chemistry between the pair. This was a pretty low drama story for much of the book and I really enjoyed just spending time with these two as they fell in love. There is some excitement before the book is over but I must say that I liked the parts of the book that just focused on these two getting to know each other. Paige and Brendan were not perfect and they made some mistakes but I think that helped them to feel more authentic. The secondary characters were very well developed and I appreciated what they brought to the story.

I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. I thought that this was a really well-done romance filled with wonderful characters and a lot of sparks. I would not hesitate to read more of this author's work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I just loved this book and I am kind of mad at myself for not reading it sooner. Paige and Brendan were fantastic characters and they were so good together. The bulk of the story is rather drama free and I really enjoyed stepping back and watching Paige and Brendan fall for each other. Some drama does show up before the story draws to a close but I had a pretty good feeling that these two would find their happily ever after at that point.

 

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review 2020-05-23 00:22
Sweet Revenge by Rebecca Zanetti
Sweet Revenge - Rebecca Zanetti

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was really good! I have had a copy of this book to read for years but failed to actually start reading it until now. After reading the first book in the series recently, I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. I do feel like this series is best when read in order since some of the events from the first book come into play in this installment. Once I started reading this one, I hard a hard time putting it down and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Matt and Laney are the focus of this book. Matt is the oldest of his brothers and always tries to take care of everything. He needs to find the doctor that has the ability to save him and his brothers and he has it narrowed down to the small town of Charmed, Idaho. He gets a job working at the local bar owned by Laney and the pair have an instant connection. Before long, things in town get a lot more complicated than they ever imagined.

Matt and Laney were both great characters and I thought that they were great together. I thought that the chemistry between them was amazing. They did have a few communication issues at the start of the story but they eventually learned to work together very well. They were both incredibly capable people that were protective of the people that they cared about. It was really easy to cheer this pair on.

This story was really exciting. Matt's mission to find the doctor that could save them was interesting enough but there was some additional crime occurring in the small town that really added to the excitement. There were some revelations in the story that completely surprised me and a ton of action worked into the story. It was really easy to be hooked by this story.

Karen White continues to do an amazing job with the narration of this series. I really like the quality of her voice and thought that she did a wonderful job with all of the character voices. I thought that she was able to bring a lot of emotion to the story. I had such a good time listening to this story and believe that her narration added to my enjoyment.

I would recommend this book to others. I put off reading this series for a number of years and am so glad that I finally have made it a priority. This book was filled with wonderful characters, intense action, and some incredibly romantic moments. I cannot wait to start reading the next book in the series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

Initial Thoughts
This was really good! I liked Matt and Laney were both great characters and they were really good together. The story had a lot of excitement and there were a few twists that I didn't see coming. I was able to guess a few things but for the most part, this story kept me guessing. I listened to the audiobook and thought that the narrator did a fantastic job with the reading of the story.

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review 2020-04-30 19:36
REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Middle School Misadventures: Operation: Hat Heist!
Middle School Adventures: Operation: Hat Heist! - Jason Platt

 

This was SO MUCH FUN! to read!!! I honestly didn’t know I’d get such a kick out of reading a middle-grade graphic novel but I found myself up one night at 1 am completely wrapped up in this...

 

a bit about the book…

 

Middle School Misadventures: Operation: Hat Heist!

by Jason Platt
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 21, 2020
Genre: Middle Grade, Children's, Graphic Novel

Synopsis:
In Jason Platt's second Middle School Misadventures graphic novel, Newell's favorite hat gets taken away! With the help of his most talented friends, he concocts the perfect plan to get it back. Operation: Hat Heist is a go!

Newell's favorite show of all time is The Captain! Newell is beyond excited when he learns that the Captain himself, Patrick O'Shaughnessy, will be at Monster Comic-Con. He can't wait to meet The Captain wearing his once-worn-by-The-Captain WWII crusher hat that his dad gave him. But when Newell brings the hat to school, it gets stolen from his backpack! Fart.

When Newell finally spots the culprit wearing his hat in the hall, Mr. Todd confiscates it and reminds the students, "There are no hats to be worn in school!" Double fart. What will Newell do?! He wants his hat back so he doesn't let his dad down and can impress his hero, but Mr. Todd refuses to return it! Just when Newell is about to give up, he receives a note from 8th-grader Ethan: "I have an idea. Also, bring your friends. They can help, too." Can Newell, Ethan, and this ragtag group of friends pull off the perfect hat heist?

In this fun and imaginative full-color graphic novel, Jason Platt sends fast-talking, daydreaming, Newell on another desperate quest to save his favorite hat before he meets his all-time hero.

 

 BOOK LINKS: GR | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | TBD | Kobo

 

 

what makes this a great read...

This is a middle-grade buddy adventure graphic novel that goes so much further than the cover and description would at first suggest, and I loved every frame of it. Newell is an eighth-grader with a group of loyal friends, a dad who he watches their favorite show 'The Captain' with, and a very special hat that he keeps on losing.

Author Jason Platt opens the book with an 'episode' of 'The Captain' and this is the hook for the entire story; Newell shares a love for this show with his dad, and it also represents their connection. When Newell gets his hat stolen and then confiscated at school (so many lessons/horror stories!) he has just got to get it back. He can't go to Monster Comic-Con and meet his hero without it and there's no way his dad can find out about the hat being gone…again.

There are so many dilemmas and interesting situations presented for Newell in this fast-paced story, and every single one feels genuine. They all feel natural for the age group that Platt has written for (and placed me right there back at school): the school teacher you feel is out to get you, your group of friends that is your entire world, the class you hate, the things you look forward to, the worry that you will disappoint, those big emotions. But there are also high-jinks and a heist plot which is brilliant, and a major twist to the story that I was completely not expecting which displays expert story-telling.I can't even completely reveal the whole story because of it.

While a middle-grader will probably be reading this for the adventure of Newell getting his hat back for Comic-Con (and this is a very worthy cause; I go to them with my own son), there are many deeper levels to this graphic novel that I hope are absorbed and maybe discussed if read with someone else, it is also filled with beautifully-drawn artwork, and it works for other age ranges for an entertaining read.

I'll be recommending this series for the school library, and I'll be reading more of the series myself!

 

 

a little bit about the author Jason…

 
 

Jason Platt is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, and in 2016, he was accepted into the National Cartoonists Society by a unanimous vote. He is also the creator of the popular webcomic series Mister & Me. He and his family live in Davenport, Iowa.
 
 
RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY: win the book -> ENTER HERE!
 
  • - 1 copy of MIDDLE SCHOOL MISADVENTURES – OPERATION: HAT HEIST
  • - US only
  • - The prize may be delayed due to shipping centers being affected by COVID-19
  • - Go to any tour stop to enter! - Fantastic Flying Book Club


 

*A review/e-galley copy was provided by the publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in exchange of an honest review, as part of a blog tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club (FFBC). THANK YOU!*

 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/51284938-middle-school-misadventures
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-04-24 06:23
Review: The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag
The Sisters Grimm - Menna van Praag

***Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley and Harper Voyager!***

 

The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover. I mean, look at it. It is probably one of the most gorgeous book covers that I have ever seen. Then the title. The Sisters Grimm. Immediately my mind is drawn to fairy tales. I love fairy tales. And I love fairy tell re-tellings. But this book is a perfect example of a good idea that got beaten to death with poor writing and poor execution.

 

***SPOILER ALERT: Be aware, this is a spoilery review. The ranty ones typically are.

 

 

The basic idea of this book is that a demon (Wilhelm I think his name was) has fathered thousands of sisters Grimm on earth. I am not sure if this is metaphysical thing or a biological thing, but some of the daughters have mothers who are also Grimm sisters. So, ew, I imagine at some point in the history of this world we had some incest. As children, the Grimm sisters can come and go from “Everywhere”, a magical forest, as they please. But as they age they forget this place until about a month before their 18th birthday, which is when they start to remember and get their powers back. Wilhelm also has soldiers, who are transformed into babies from stars (WTF?), and their life’s mission is to kill Grimm sisters on their 18th birthdays. Then something about the Grimm sisters who survive have to choose good or evil and then their father kills them if they choose good and then….well, the author didn’t both to tell me what happens then.

 

That was my first big problem with this book. Despite being 400 pages long, the author didn’t bother to explain anything to me. I have no idea how the world works, how the magic works, why things are this way, or what the rules are. I am not even clear on what the sisters’ powers are. Scarlet can start fires, Liyana can telepathically listen in on other people’s minds, Bea can transform things with her mind. And I have no idea what Goldie can do except mentally tell people what to do and they sometimes listen. And all of them have other powers that randomly appear and don’t seem to relate to anything else they can do, at all.

 

Since we’re talking about the girls, let’s talk about how utterly devoid of personality all of them are. I honestly could not tell the difference between any of them until someone used their name or until Bea or Liyana would occasionally throw in a non-English word into an otherwise entirely English conversation….seemingly in order to remind me that they were the book’s representation of other ethnicities and cultures.

 

Now let’s talk about the technicals of the writing. It was bad. It was the single most confusing book that I have ever read. There are SO MANY narrators. Everywhere (yes the forest is a narrator), Goldie, Scarlet, Bea, Liyana, Leo, Wilhelm, Liyana’s aunt….and I am pretty sure there were a few others in there that I’m forgetting too. Between these narrators, some of them are told in first person, some in second person, and some in third person. And the narrator changes approximately every page and a half. With me so far? Now let’s throw in some chapters in the past for some extra fun so that we have past tense, present tense, and future tense. It was so difficult to read. It gave me a headache when I actually tried to concentrate on who was speaking and what time period we were in.

 

I also don’t appreciate what the author did to poor Vali. He was a nice guy. And despite the book’s message of empowerment, all Bea did was belittle the poor guy. She called him fat, called him all sorts of other names, made fun of him for being a virgin and then ultimately killed him! Then she has the nerve to get upset about him dying because she didn’t mean to. Way to go Bea, you bullied him to death. The author did him dirty and I am still mad about it.

 

I finally gave up on this book after 245 pages. My brain couldn’t handle it anymore and I found that I really didn’t care how it ends. Leo is not going to kill Goldie, Goldie will probably choose good. Liyana and Scarlet will probably die because they were entirely expendable in the rest of the book so why not? And Bea will probably live and choose evil. Or maybe all four of them survive and choose good in order to challenge their father. But really, who cares? The author hasn’t made me care about their upcoming battle or told me why the outcome matters, so why should I spend any more of my time finding out?

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