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review 2018-06-24 19:45
Reeve of Veils (Inheritance #4)
Reeve of Veils (Inheritance) (Volume 4) - Amelia Faulkner

Hmmm, not sure what to make of this one. 

 

First, this goes back to Knight of Flames timeline and gives us Freddy's POV, so there's a lot that's repeated. Pretty much the first and last quarter of the book, in fact, and I ended up skimming the bulk of those parts, looking only for new details. About the only new thing we learn during those parts is that Freddy's a bigger jerk than I originally thought he was. We get confirmation of his powers, which are more extensive than hinted at prior to this.

 

As for the new stuff in the middle, well... Freddy's a jerk and I prefer not to read POVs of jerks. Mikey's somewhat better, but he's been a victim for so long that he (and Freddy) actually deludes himself into believing he's left that behind even as he willingly becomes Freddy's literal plaything. Which brings me to the second thing.

 

Second, there's just no way to see Freddy and Mikey's relationship as anything other than D/s, which is a dynamic I don't enjoy. Just because Freddy thinks he's doing good by Mikey and Mikey's getting out of the ghetto doesn't erase that. Freddy might want to see themselves as equals for whatever reasons he needs to, but they're really not.

 

Plus, Freddy's just not that good of a guy. He's not a complete bastard, but he's barely one sidestep away from Kane - and even that's only until he succeeds in his plan to off dear old daddy, which I assume is the next book, and then he will be exactly like Kane. Morals and ethics mean nothing to this guy. Or to Mikey. So I guess they are perfect for each other in that respect, but they're certainly not a couple I'm rooting for or care about, and the insta-love here is just completely unbelievable given that Freddy's practically a sociopath.

 

Ok, I give Freddy credit for not violating Mikey's sexual consent. But since he violates consent in every single other respect with everyone around him, that credit doesn't get him very far. It gets him a crumb. A crumb mashed into dust.

 

The good news is you don't actually have to read this book. The last two books made it perfectly plain that Freddy's manipulating Laurence and how, and that he's trying to line up Quentin to kill their dad. So this book ends at pretty much the same point as the previous book, just with a bit more info than we had before. 

 

Two more little nitpicks:

 

Mikey's a drug dealer and a high school dropout who's never been outside San Diego. He's not going to measure distances by kilometers. This same thing happened with Laurence in the last book. We use feet and miles in the USA. There are various conversion charts and calculators available online. This sort of error shouldn't happen, and it pulled me out of the story both times.

 

And lastly, mailbox flags work the exact opposite of how they're used here. When you have outgoing mail, you raise the flag. When the mailman comes, he lowers the flag and leaves the incoming mail. If the flag is up, that means the mail hasn't been delivered yet, not that it has been.

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review 2018-06-23 23:19
Love Mystery by Pamela Styles -- DNF
Love Mystery - Pamela Styles

Disclosure:  I obtained the Kindle edition of this book when it was offered free on Amazon.  I do not know the author nor have I ever had any communication with her about this book or any other matter.  I am an author of historical and contemporary romances and non-fiction.

 

This is one of those books that you think maybe has some potential, but the execution just wrings every last drop of hope out.

 

All it took was a paragraph.  The first paragraph.

 

A sheep was gnawing on the corner of my coat. I snatched the fabric away, causing the animal to retreat, startled. I looked up, following her direction of travel. She had re-joined her flock on the hillside where I sat looking out, allowing rain to fall on my face, plastering long, wet, gray hair to my skin. I was struggling to breathe and closed my eyes intending to rest, just for a moment…

Styles, Pamela. Love Mystery (Love Magic Book 2) (Kindle Locations 15-19). Kindle Edition.

 

Gnawing.  Causing.  Following.  Looking.  Allowing.  Plastering.  Struggling.  Intending.

 

This kind of over-reliance on present participles is the mark of an amateur writer.  Perhaps one who hasn't done a lot of reading herself.  Perhaps one who hasn't had a good critique group to help her through the process of developing a prose style.

 

Regardless the reason, it makes for a disappointing reading experience. And it only gets worse in succeeding paragraphs.

 

That disappointment is intensified with clumsy repetitions.  "Pounding" appears three times in the next couple of paragraphs.   Or this:

 

This was not the best start to my eighteenth birthday. I could hear movement outside my bedroom, surely my mother, come to rouse me to celebrate. She knocked on the door.

 

“Alexis,” she called to me through the door.

Styles, Pamela. Love Mystery (Love Magic Book 2) (Kindle Locations 23-24). Kindle Edition.

 

There's no need to write "through the door." It's just extra words that don't add anything.

 

But here's the thing that pulled me completely out of the story, far more than just the unpolished writing.

 

There's the cover, first.

 

 

 

I post it here because they get changed so frequently on Amazon. Lovely young woman, flowers, soft colors.

 

Then the opening section of the book is titled "Alexis."

 

Then the opening scene depicts a person in the rain, with long wet gray hair, which suggests that the person is a woman.

 

But in fact, "Alexis" is a young man!

 

I had already built up a mental image, based on the cover art, of Alexis as a young woman.  Even though I'd only invested the few minutes necessary to get through two or three pages, the magic was completely broken when I learned my mental image had to be completely redrawn.

 

Shelly Lowenkopf, in his 1982 article for The Writer magazine "Creating the Rejection-Resistant Novel," says a writer only has three pages at the very most to capture a reader's attention.  I was barely three Kindle pages into this book when my attention was completely thrown out of the book, not only by the weak writing but now by the false mental image I had created based on the clues the writer had left.  That was enough for me to DNF.

 

Those problems were enough, but they weren't the end of my reasons.

 

The book is supposedly set in 1869 in the U.S., but the celebration of Samhain seemed  out of place with that era and location.  I could have bought it if the author had given me some kind of context. 

 

The context is provided in the Amazon listing description, but we all know that books get withdrawn or descriptions changed, and they don't accompany the book files to the reading device.  The description also clearly states that Alexis is male.  But reading the book on my Kindle, without access to the original listing, I had no way of knowing that.

 

All in all, it was a very disappointing experience, and I'm not inclined to read any further.  This lengthy review is to give other readers a full explanation of my analysis.  I'm sure there are people who won't like that I wrote more than I read, but that's just too bad.

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review 2018-06-23 19:38
The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill Peet
The Caboose Who Got Loose - Bill Peet

Title:  The Caboose Who Got Loose

Author:  Bill Peet

Genre:  Trains / Traveling / Children's / Adventure


Year Published: 1971


Year Read:  2009

Publisher:  
Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 4+  (Nothing Objectionable)

 

 

Caboose

“The Caboose Who Got Loose” is a great story from the creative mind of Bill Peet about a small caboose named Katy who wants to escape her life as a caboose and live happily in a peaceful place. “The Caboose Who Got Loose” may be a bit tedious for some children, but it is still a cute little story nonetheless. 

Bill Peet’s story about a caboose who wants to live a peaceful life in the countryside is a great tale for many children. Children will feel for Katy’s sadness at being a mere caboose and not having a peaceful life of her own. Bill Peet’s writing is highly creative as he narrates the story in a rhyming prose that fits the mood of the story perfectly. Bill Peet’s illustrations are always the highlights in his books and this is certainly no exception. The characters are drawn in a similar fashion as “The Brave Little Toaster” as the cabooses and the houses have windows for eyes. 

Caboose

“The Caboose Who Got Loose” is a cute story about how one must be satisfied with what life brings us and will definitely interest many children who love books about trains and how to love life. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate about the story.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2018-06-23 19:31
Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent by Bill Peet
Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent - Bill Peet

Title:  Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent

Author:  Bill Peet

Genre:  Animals / Children's / Sea / Adventure / Pirates / Traveling


Year Published: 1975


Year Read:  1994

Publisher:  
Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 7+  (Some Intense Scenes)

 

 

Sea

“Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” is an adventurous book from Bill Peet about how a friendly sea serpent who at first wanted to wreck a ship to have fun, ends up trying to protect a ship full of passengers looking for a new land. “Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” may be tough for smaller children to read but older children would most likely enjoy the adventurous scenes contained in this book. 

Bill Peet’s writing is extremely inventive and exciting as he writes the story about a sea serpent that is willing to risk his life to protect the people on a voyage for a new life. Bill Peet is extremely inventive whenever he uses various words such as “doldrums” and “bedraggled” to make the story more clever and dramatic. Also, the idea that Cyrus is more like a friendly sea serpent rather than a vicious one makes the story more creative as people usually believe that sea monsters are meant to be scary. Bill Peet’s illustrations are beautiful and colorful, especially of the scenes where he illustrates the sea as a calm ocean for the water is beautifully blue and during the storm scenes, he makes the sky dark and the ocean smashing viciously at the Primrose. 

Sea

Parents should know that there are many advanced words in this book and that this book may be a bit too long for younger children to handle. Some of the advanced words mentioned are “pilings,” “doldrums,” and “bedraggled” and young children may not understand what those words mean. Parents should write down the advanced words down on a piece of paper and define them so that the younger children would understand what the word means and therefore, it would make it easier for them to read this book. Also, the length of this book is a bit too long than any normal children’s book and that may be a bit too tiresome for some small children to handle, so parents should read at least a few pages a day so that children would not get too tired of this book. 

“Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” is a wonderful story about the power of friendship and how it is better to help people rather than be cruel towards them and children would easily enjoy this book for ages. I would recommend this book to children ages seven and up since the advanced words and the length of the book may be a bit too challenging for smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-23 19:23
Encore for Eleanor by Bill Peet
Encore for Eleanor - Bill Peet

Title:  Encore for Eleanor

Author:  Bill Peet

Genre:  Animals / Children's / Circus / Artist


Year Published: 1981


Year Read:  2010

Publisher:  
Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 4+  (Nothing Objectionable)

 

 

Eleanor

“Encore for Eleanor” is a cute story by Bill about an old elephant named Eleanor who was once a great circus performer, but was moved to the zoo when she got too old to play her part. It was then at the zoo that Eleanor learns a new special ability that might jumpstart her career again. “Encore for Eleanor” is a great book for children who want to discover new talents for themselves and realize that everyone is special in their own way.

Eleanor the elephant was once a great circus star who would stand on stilts and impressed the audience to no end. One day however, since Eleanor has been performing in the circus for forty years, Eleanor’s knees were weak and suddenly, she fell off the stilts and landed on the floor with a hard crash! Eleanor began to worry that her boss, Colonel T.J. Tinglehoffer was going to send her away because of her ruining her act by falling off the stilts. Sure enough, Colonel Tinglehoffer did send Eleanor away to the zoo and Eleanor bade a tearful goodbye to her friends at the circus. 
Even though Eleanor had plenty to eat and good home to stay in, she still missed the circus life and was miserable because she felt like she could not do anything extraordinary like she used to do in the circus. One day, however Eleanor awoke to find a teenage girl trying to draw a rhinoceros on her canvas. Of course, when the rhinoceros moved and girl could not draw the rhinoceros, the girl became angry and threw her charcoal to the ground. Eleanor was so interested in what the girl was doing, that she wanted to learn how to draw also. So, when the girl went off to see some ducks in the pond, Eleanor slyly picked up the charcoal and she decided to draw one of the clowns from the circus. However, Eleanor was soon discovered drawing the picture by the teenage girl and the teenage girl was so impressed by the drawing that she decided to show the picture to everyone. Everyone was impressed except for Mr. McJunkens, who did not believe that Eleanor drew the clown. Eleanor was so mad that she grabbed the charcoal and… 

What does Eleanor draw and will she able to convince Mr. McJunkens that she can really draw? 

Read the rest of the book to find out! 


Bill Peet’s story of an old elephant who wants to be special again is extremely cute and brilliant for children to read. The scene that stood out the most for me was the scene where Eleanor learns how to draw after she witnesses the teenage girl drawing the rhinoceros. That scene was so amazing because you would have never imagined an elephant drawing such a great picture and drew the picture in a matter of seconds. Bill Peet’s illustrations are beautiful and detailed, especially of the image of Eleanor herself as she looks beautiful in her circus outfit and yet, she maintains wise appearance throughout the story telling the audience that she has indeed aged after performing in the circus for forty years.

“Encore for Eleanor” is a great book about the importance of trying out new activities in life to keep your life going and will surely encourage many children to follow what they believe in and do many new things in their lives. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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