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review 2020-01-20 20:36
Review: "The Girl the Sea Gave Back" by Adrienne Young
The Girl the Sea Gave Back - Adrienne Young

Iniital reaction: I really enjoyed this story, namely for the stakes in the story, the action scenes, and the intrigue of the lore.

Full review:

My first full book finished for the start of 2020, and this ended up being a solid read for me. I'd probably rank it only slightly below the author's debut novel "Sky in the Deep" as far as how much it intrigued me and immersed me through the read. The story follows two protagonists, the first of which is Tova, a young woman who can see the future among the runes she carries. She's taken in by a group called the Svell after being found on a half burned boat and taken in for the value of her abilities. But she's been used by the Svell much of her life and as war clashes between the Svell and a sworn enemy, she finds herself in the middle of the crosshairs with a series of bitter losses. She tries to do the best she can with her abilities and willingness to do the right thing, but with what she feels is a cursed existence, Kova finds herself lost in the fray. Enter Halvard, a young warrior who's attempting to find his own way and gets caught thrown into the tides of battle. Both Tova and Halvard's fates are destined to meet and intertwine, but it's not without heavy losses along the way.

What I really enjoyed throughout this novel were the action sequences and really the dynamic of the relationships Tova and Halvard had among their respective groups. I felt the writing for the action scenes were well written and paced throughout the book, immersing me into the battle sequences as they unfolded. Tova's willingness to help those around her, yet feeling helpless with her role and overarching missing identity was palpable. Likewise, Halvard wanting to protect his family and loved ones alongside finding his own purpose was something I could see through the narrative. Where the narrative faltered fell more on developing the leads with a deeper connection to themselves as well as their overarching journeys. I could sense the book rushing towards its conclusion without necessarily tying those threads together and giving Tova and Halvard more character connectivity to make their chemistry and intertwined fates more realistic and immersive. The novel certainly circled back to the feeling of identity on Tova's end and related to the title towards the conclusion, but it still left me wanting more to see where the characters would go from here on out.

This book takes place many years before/is a prequel of sorts to "Sky in the Deep" and features the reappearance of characters from that novel, though they are only in minor roles in the book. I liked "The Girl the Sea Gave Back" for what it offered and found it a valuable read. Still, there were steps that could have been taken to deepen the experience and round out the story better than it was. I'm looking forward to seeing where Young takes this universe in the future and reading more from the author as well.

Overall score: 3.5/5 stars.

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review 2019-10-12 03:11
Book Review: God Gave Us the Bible
God Gave Us the Bible: Forty-Five Favorite Stories for Little Ones - Lisa Tawn Bergren

I know some parents might be seeking an excellent book for their children. Are you seeking a way to identify Gods story to little one? Well this book, God Gave Us the Bible as a few favorite stories. It a good one and well done.

The stories are brief but mean full. They may allow the children asking some questions about the bible or the meaning of the story. This book retains characters that display this though animals with a Mama bear and a few forest animal kids. I like this concept and could understand it. The stories are not in depth of the Bible, but it gives the children or animal kids in the book to ask about a b meaning of a word or prase. Mama explains them try to provide them an answer that they would understand.

The pictures are effectively put together. I enjoy looking them, and they did tell the story. I was able to read this book in one sitting. I had to take a break when I was going an appointment. I finished the same day as I started it. If I did not have to go any where and launched this at home, I would completed reading it in one sitting.

This book does teach you some lessons and the story of Christ though the eyes of little cubs. Parents should think to put this on their bookshelves for their children or grandchildren. Good for children of juvenile readers.

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review 2019-07-18 11:21
Podcast #154 is up!
Levi Strauss: The Man Who Gave Blue Jeans to the World - Lynn Downey

My most recent podcast is up on the New Books Network website! In it, I interview Lynn Downey about her biography of Levi Strauss, the immigrant wholesale merchant who is most famous for giving denim jeans to the world. Enjoy!

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review 2018-12-20 20:27
Ehhhhh Okay Stories for the Most Part-24 Tasks
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories - Rainbow Rowell,Holly Black,Laini Taylor,Myra McEntire,Kiersten White,Stephanie Perkins,Gayle Forman,Matt de la Pena,Jenny Han,Ally Carter,Kelly Link,David Levithan

Per usual, some stories were delightful, some were good, and some were just okay.


Midnights by Rainbow Rowell (5 stars)-Wow. This one was a great set-up for the anthology. We get to read about two teens New Year's Eve through the years. You get to see their friendship turn to something more. 


The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link (2 stars)-This felt endless. I liked the idea of a curse keeping a man from being part of our world unless it snowed on Christmas every year. But did anyone else get squicked out that the main love interest met this dude when she was a kid and he sees her grow up? I just could not. 


Angels in the Snow by Matt De Le Pena (2 stars)-I just didn't like the writing style in this one. Sorry. It felt broken up and I like I was missing something.This story actually caused me to put this down for a while since it just totally took me out of the wanting to finish anything.


Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han (5 stars)-Teen elves getting ready for the Snow Ball at the North Pole and a human called Natalie who has an interesting relation. I maybe laughed with delight with this story. It was so cute. And I could picture it in my head. I also thought it was super cute that elves don't really like to receive gifts, they by nature like to give things to other people. 


It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins (3 stars)-We follow a character named Marigold Moon Ling (that's a mouthful) who is staking out a Christmas tree lot over a boy. Look, unless this guy looked like Chris Hemsworth I don't see it myself, but to each their own. This story dragged for me after reading the one prior to this.


Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan (3 stars)-Ehh, okay, didn't really thrill me. A Jewish guy pretends to be Santa to help out his boyfriend. It just....it made zero sense to me. I maybe felt uncomfortable for this fictional character. It just....no. I did laugh at him explaining how his parents told him that yes Santa did exist, but he had too much to do and couldn't stop at their house. This just didn't really seem realistic with this character dressing up as Santa for her boyfriend's younger siblings. Levithan can spin a tale though so I did laugh a few times while reading this. 


Krampuslauf by Holly Black (2 stars)-People dressing up like Krampus. The author also gives us some info dumps on Kraumpus. I get it, you have to explain it since this is a short story and many people may not know who this is. That just took up a lot of time setting the story though. This book also deals with ugliness among teens too. There is slut shaming (not by the main character) and she is dealing with things trying to help a friend. Just not very joyous in my mind. 


What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman (2 stars)-Story dealing with a main character, Sophie Roth, and her freshmen year of college. This one is actually fairly short and I just didn't care about Sophie and her love interest. 


Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire-(1 star) I can't even recall this one. And I refuse to look it up.


Welcome to Christmas, CA, by Kiersten White- (2 stars)-I just recall thinking it was hilarious there are many towns in the U.S. called Christmas. Other than that, didn't feel engaged with this one either.



Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter (1 star) A girl switches tickets with someone called Hulda because she doesn't want to go and meet her boyfriend (Hulda doesn't) and then she pops up and meets Ethan (Hulda's boyfriend) and he kisses her and my brain went wait did they switch bodies? He should know it's not her? And then I stopped caring. Believe me the why behind this mess is so dumb. 


The Little Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (3 stars)-Apparently it's custom for young men to leave gifts for their sweethearts for the 24 days of Advent on the Isle of Feathers. Shrug, yeah, I don't know why either. This story follows a character named Neve who doesn't have a sweetheart so she doesn't expect gifts. Just an okay story. Not a strong finish to the anthology I thought. 



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review 2018-03-16 18:37
God Gave Us the World, Lisa Tawn Bergren
God Gave Us the World - Lisa Tawn Bergren,Laura J. Bryant
I enjoyed this Christian Children's book. I received this as part of a gift and I voluntarily chose to review it. I've given it a 4.5* rating. I felt this was very on spot to how a child can understand. Maybe a parent can take it a step further and explain that people are different too.


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