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review 2020-10-06 02:48
Jack Frost: The End Becomes the Beginning (The Guardians, #5) by William Joyce
Guardians Chapter Book #5 - William Joyce

I've been reading this series for a long time now. I began reading this series earlier this year with the intent to read each book back to back to get the full picture of what William Joyce wanted to tell the reader. I started well with my reading adventure, reading all the picture books and the first four books in the series in a timely manner. Then 2020 happened and slapped everyone in the face including myself. I'm not going to lie, guys. It's been hard. Extremely hard. With the pandemic, the civil injustices happening in my country, wildfires raging madly on the West coast, and personal issues happening throughout, I have not had the time nor the mental fortitude to dedicate to reading. My health (physical, mental, and emotional) has not been doing well either. I just feel like I've been all over the place as of late. With that being said, I am hoping things are settling enough that I can get back into reading. Still being mindful and aware we are not out of the woods yet (nor will we be any time soon), but also capable of treating myself right and enjoy a good book from time to time. I'm still mentally clogged with everything going on, but I want to try to get back into the hobbies I love and miss doing this year.

 

And with that, I bring to you my review of Jack Frost: The End Becomes the Beginning.

 

I really liked this book. It's not my favorite book in the series, but I did enjoy it for what it was. I don't intend to go into too many details with this review since it's the final book in the series but I did want to talk about a few things that won't spoil the plot.

 

It's a very good book. And the conclusion, though not really what I was hoping for, was not bad in any way. However, I had a few problems with it as I was reading it. The first thing that bugged me was the pacing. Joyce wrote this book after the movie came out and it shows. Which is a bit of a bummer for since his original story was magnificent. In this book he tried to tie in the movie and book universes too much and it did not blend well. It felt disjointed at times and forced. The pacing suffered because of this as well. The beginning was very slow. VERY SLOW. He kept rehashing certain scenes from the previous books and also diving deep into moments that took placed in the past and not during the actual story being told. A lot of the story was told in "flashback" moments which took the reader out of the current plot. It felt messy and rushed in some areas and it dragged in others.

 

The characters are still loveable and unique. But they definitely took a backseat in this book. Joyce focused more on action and "plot" but he completely forgot about what a lot of readers picked up these books for in the first place and that was to see these amazing characters interact in this whimsical world he created. When those parts appeared in this book, it was incredible just like it was in the precious books. But they were few and far between. Most of the scenes in this book was one battle after the other. That's it. I wanted to see more of the relationships between all of the characters,

 

I especially feel Pitch was left as an afterthought, almost. Yes, he's a lingering presence throughout the whole book, but he doesn't actually make an appearance until the end of the book, if you're not including the flashback portion. It was very underwhelming seeing what happens at the end. I was hoping for more interaction, more feeling. It was like (and I'm keeping it vague here on purpose) Jack does a thing, Emily Jane says thanks, and that's it! I wanted Jack and Pitch to have a full on conversation! To come to the realization that they are not so different after all. To say thanks or sorry or something! But we didn't get much of anything and it felt very hollow.

 

The ending... I'm not a huge fan of. It was an ending that would have meant something if we were introduced to certain elements beforehand. Not almost 250 pages into the book. It felt, like most of this books, rather empty and pointless.

 

That's not to say this book is bad. It's not. I did like it. I was just expecting to see more of the characters I fell in love with interacting with one another and understanding one another. Instead I got a bunch of action with no real substance.

 

If you've read the other books in this series, I do recommend you read this one. It's good to see the conclusion to this amazing series. Just don't expect too much going in and you may enjoy this a lot more.

 

I'm glad that despite everything that's been happening in the world, I was still able to finish this series that I have been meaning to read for quite some time now. I don't know what I'll be reading next but I hope that I will continue to read regardless.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-08-06 13:20
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
House of Salt and Sorrows - Erin A Craig

TITLE:  House of Salt and Sorrows

 

AUTHOR:  Erin A. Craig

 

NARRATOR:  Emily Lawrence

 

FORMAT:  AUDIO BOOK

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DESCRIPTION:

"In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
"

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REVIEW:

 

A beautifully written, dark (and sometimes creepy) retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale.  Lovely world building and characters, though some of the younger sisters started to merge.

PS:  I listened to the audio book and managed to stay awake, as well as anticipating my next listening session, which is something that almost never happens with audio books.

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review 2020-07-13 09:08
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Animal Farm - George Orwell

TITLE: Animal Farm: A Fairy Tale

 

AUTHOR: George Orwell

 

PUBLICATION DATE: 2018 (originally 1945)

 

EDITION: Penguin English Library

 

ISBN-13: 9780241341667

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DESCRIPTION:

"'All animals are equal - but some are more equal than others.' When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless élite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another."

 

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REVIEW:

 

You may call this a political or social commentary, a satire, an allegory, a moral story, or a combination of a whole lot of other things. The novella is still relevant today and should be a warning to the general public to think for themselves and question everything, instead of dully going along with the approved narrative (whatever it is). At the end of the day, this is a short and witty observation of animal human nature.

 

PS: This is not a children's book. The book is better if the reader has some knowledge of history and adult concerns (i.e. putting food on the table, economy in general and politics).

 

 And just because:

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review 2020-05-15 14:16
The Sandman and the War of Dreams (Guardians of Childhood, #4) by William Joyce
The Sandman and the War of Dreams - William Joyce

Another beautiful addition to this sweet little story. I am a huge fan of Pitch Black and in this book we finally get his whole story told to us. It's heartbreaking, beautiful, and tragic. I love learning more about him and his daughter and I love seeing how even beings like him, deserve some love and respect.

 

In this book, we have a returning character from the picture books. Sandy! I love this little guy. So much strength with such little words spoken. I adore him. I also love that this is the first time we get to see Nightlight grow a little as a character. He was someone who was very immature in his way of thinking. But it's in this book that he learns that things are not just black and white, good and evil. That there are many layers to who a person can be and many reasons to explain the actions one choose to take. I think it's a brilliant lesson for anyone to learn. Especially Nightlight, a boy who never ages.

 

I love this series so much. I know the writing can be quite simplistic at times, but the story and the characters more than make up for it. I think with such a lovely story, you don't need flowery writing. The story speaks for itself. 

 

I am close to the end of this series now. I've never read the last book before. This will be my first time reading it. Makes me nervous to finally find out what's going to happen. I love Pitch and I don't want him to get a nasty end for just being different. I will hold on to hope that the ending of the series will be just as sweet as the rest of it has been.

 

If you haven't read this series yet, I highly encourage that you do. It's a lot of fun with endearing characters and such fantastical ideas that it will make you want to explore your own imagination as thoroughly as you did when you were younger. Or still do. Some of us never forgot our "child-like wonder." I hope you never do.

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review 2020-05-13 13:14
Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies (The Guardians, #3) by William Joyce
Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies (Guardians of Childhood Chapter Books) - William Joyce

I'm finally continuing with my read of this amazing series. I had to take a bit of a break since Final Fantasy VII: Remake was released so all of my time went to that for about two months. X3 BUT! I am back and I just finished reading my favorite book in the series thus far.

 

In this book we meet Toothiana and I love reading about her past and how she came to me the mighty Queen that she is. Her wit, her strength, her will, her everything is so incredibly inspiring. I love learning about her powers and what makes her such an amazing Guardian.

 

All of the other characters make an appearance in this book as well. We see North, Ombric, Bunnymund, Nightlight, and Katherine grow and learn more about Pitch. Especially when it come to Katherine. She plays a key role in this book and it is through her that the other Guardians learn how to understand and sympathize with other beings. There's a certain scene that happens at the end of the book that introduces a new character and makes you fall in love with an old character all the more. I love this book.

 

Please, if you haven't read this series yet, please do. It's so much fun and helps you to understand and care for others who are different. It's such a heartwarming series that I think is worth the read. 

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