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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 2018-08-16 00:57
Keeps Getting Better
Empire of Ruins - Arthur Slade

***Possible spoilers you’ve been warned***

 

This series is so consistent and does not disappoint. So we covered the city, we covered the sea in the second book. Now it’s time to go into the deep jungles and go on an exciting adventure that involves natives, flying ships, an Egyptian temple placed in Australia (I know right?), which results in an Indiana Jones type of adventure but involves secret agents, spies, and horrible clockwork falcons that can kill.

 

You can’t get more exciting than this. It starts off at a good pace and it’s steady. I enjoyed how during the ‘down times’ there is focus on Modo and Octavia’s character development. Modo still has some childish characteristics in him but as the novel progresses he slowly gets over that and the change stands out. You really do feel for him as his appearance starts to affect him, especially with his relationship with Octavia. His encounter with the natives help him to be comfortable in his own skin and I think because of this he starts acting more headstrong and does the talk back to Mr Socrates (which was a great scene to read. Wowwweee Modo, you do that clap back because Mr Socrates sure can’t take it haha)

 

I felt for Modo when he reveals his true likeness to Octavia. I get where she’s coming from though. She had this mental picture of Modo and it was nothing like the real thing so of course she wouldn’t know how to react. It hurt to read though. I couldn’t even imagine how crush Modo would have felt considering how much he feels for Octavia.

 

The plot in itself was super good and filled with action during the last half of the novel. The bad guys run with their tail between their legs in this one (enjoyable to read no doubt) but they come back with a vengeance towards the end. I rather expected the temple to be a little more of a challenge to go through (more traps please) but then perhaps that would prolong the adventure just a little too much.

 

I’m wanting to know what’s going to happen between Modo and Mr Socrates considering they had a falling out in the novel. This is going to get good and I hope the fourth and final novel will close this on a good note. Greatly recommend this series so far, pick it up and enjoy! It’s a great adventure!

 

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review 2018-08-15 04:17
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
The Westing Game - Ellen Raskin

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, on things for sure: Sam Westing may be dead…but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!

Amazon.com

 

 

 

Sixteen people are invited to the reading of the will of Samuel Westing. This will stipulates that all the potential beneficiaries must play a game. The victor wins Westing's fortune, an estimated 200 million dollars. This game, a gauntlet of sorts, will put the players through bombings, blizzards, burglaries and mental puzzles. 

 

I heard about this book through some of my Booktube acquaintances. Apparently this is a common one for kids to get assigned in school these days? It never came up on my school reading lists but I heard so many rave reviews for this story that I was curious to see what I was missing. 

 

Well, now that I've tried it for myself ... this one is going on my list of "Did everyone else read a different book than me?" because I honestly don't get the hype here. The plot had a few entertaining moments but largely felt like a mess and was often pretty slow to boot, and most of the characters were BORING. To make matters worse for this reader, the ending struck me as aggravatingly pointless.

 

This novel won the Newberry Medal in 1978... but WHY? In the book's intro, Ann Durrell (Raskin's friend and editor) writes that when Raskin was crafting the puzzles for this story, nothing was pre-plotted... she just made things up as she went along! Initially, that sounds impressive... but I don't know, man. Sometimes there's something to be said for taking the time to craft an outline!

 

Personally, I found my curiosity struck more by the person Ellen Raskin rather than her writings, learning the little bio tidbits about her: 

 

*The Westing Game was her last book before she succumbed to a connective tissue disease in 1984 at the age of 56

 

* In addition to being an author, she was also an accomplished graphic artist, designing over one thousand book covers over the course of her career, one notable one being the first edition cover of Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time 

 

WrinkleInTimePBA1.jpg

 

 

* In 1960, she married Dennis Flannagan, founding editor of the modern day layout of Scientific American magazine. This was her 2nd marriage.

 

*Raskin was a diehard Schubert fan. "Death and the Maiden" was played at her funeral. 

 

 

What's your take on The Westing Game? Was it a favorite of yours as a child?

 

 

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review 2018-08-04 19:36
Formulaic, problematic
The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring - John Bellairs,Richard Egielski

And then there was The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring which focused almost entirely on Rose Rita and Mrs. Zimmerman's adventures over the summer while Lewis was at Boy Scout Camp. (So why then is this often referred to as The Lewis Barnavelt Series?) Rose Rita is a full-fledged tomboy and is dissatisfied with being a girl. She wants a chance to prove herself and she gets the perfect opportunity when Mrs. Zimmerman becomes afflicted by dark magic and then mysteriously vanishes. [A/N: Richard Egielski is the illustrator of this volume and has a much different style.] If you haven't picked up on this by now it seems as if Bellairs sticks to the same narrative with only slight variations which is the main reason why this series got so stale by the second book. I don't have a lot of hope for the fourth but maybe with a different author at the helm (books up until 2008 and they began in the early 70s) there will be an uptick in excitement and narrative diversity. 3/10

 

Source: John Bellairs Wiki

 

Compare the illustrative styles from the first two books. While all are enjoyable they evoke quite different feelings.[Source: Tumblr]

 

 

What's Up Next: One Step at a Time by Sara Y. Aharon

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Founding Mothers: The Women who Raised our Nation by Cokie Roberts

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-08-04 19:31
Back at it again
The Figure In the Shadows (Lewis Barnavelt) - John Bellairs

I gobbled up The Figure in the Shadows in one sitting. This could lead you to believe that I thoroughly enjoyed it but really it was super short coming in at 160 pages with quite a few of Mercer Mayer's illustrations sprinkled throughout adding to that number. The plot of this installment revolves around an amulet which Lewis acquires and which seems to hold a 'spirit' of some kind which he has awakened and which turns out to be rather malevolent. (If you think this sounds similar to the first book you're not alone.) Once again, he keeps this a secret from his uncle and the witchy neighbor, Mrs. Zimmerman, next door. Instead he shares his discovery with his new friend, Rose Rita, who is virtually Lewis's opposite in every conceivable way. I will say that Lewis is a unique character in that he's not brave, overly intelligent (although a voracious reader), good looking, talented (described as quite fat), or particularly good-natured (in fact he's rather whiny and prone to childish fits of anger). He doesn't fit the prescribed parameters of a typical protagonist. He's bullied and anxious about the possibility of even being bullied or 'bawled out' by adults. (I was nervous about the latter through my adolescence as well so in that regard I can relate.) Magic + mystery + misadventure = the plot 5/10

 

Source: Amazon

 

Mercer Mayer's work (Edited as original post credited Edward Gorey.) [Source: Pinterest]

 

 

What's Up Next: One Step at a Time by Sara Y. Aharon

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Founding Mothers: The Women who Raised our Nation by Cokie Roberts

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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