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review 2017-03-10 14:19
Tiberius is a pretty cool name for an arachnid
The Last Shadow Gate: The Shadow Gate Chronicles Book I - Michael W. Garza

The following book was kindly sent to me by the author, Michael W. Garza, who requested a review. This book is out now and you can get a paperback or ebook copy by visiting Amazon. :-)


The Last Shadow Gate is the first book in The Shadow Gate Chronicles and begins the story of Gavin and Naomi who are agnate siblings (i.e. they have the same father). On the face of things, there is nothing truly remarkable or strange about these two kids...and then they are sent to spend the summer with their great-grandmother. This is when they start to become interested in the mystery revolving around their great-grandfather, Papa Walker. As they delve deeper into what really happened to him they get closer and closer to a danger that will change their lives irrevocably. Without giving too much away, there is a swashbuckling, coming of age adventure mixed with fantastical creatures, political intrigue, and magic wielding. Garza has clearly spent a lot of time on world building and it shows. If you're a fan of books that consist of character names each more wild sounding than the last then you have stumbled onto the right book. I will offer one criticism which is that after the midway point I felt that the writing quality diminished significantly. It felt rushed and not as well thought out as the first half which is a shame as I had started to really get into the narrative by that point. I know that Garza is hard at work on the second installment of the series so I hope that the books continue to show improvement. (Note: I don't want to sound like this was horrifically written because it wasn't. It just became markedly more muddy and repetitive towards the second half.) For middle grade fantasy lovers, this would be a fun book to sink their teeth into this winter (especially if they're into series books which everyone seems to be these days).

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-08-23 23:12
Aspidistra sounds like the name of an alien
Keep the Aspidistra Flying - George Orwell

Since it's been awhile since I read a classic, I thought I'd give Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell a shot. It kept cropping up on my radar and the name alone had me quite intrigued. I went into this blind...even to the extent that I didn't look to see what the heck an Aspidistra was. (I know now though and saw it mentioned fleetingly in Harry Potter so it's definitely super British-y.) For someone who is a huge fan of 1984, this book fell pretty flat. The book follows a man by the name of Gordon Comstock who fancies himself a poet but in reality is little more than a poor bookshop assistant. Right off the bat, I felt that Gordon had 0% likability and his actions made no sense to me whatsoever. At one point, I decided to look up what other people thought of this book because it has a decent rating on Goodreads. Everyone seemed to think that this was a profound story about the struggle against commercialism and "the Man". What I see is the story of a man who is self-destructive, self-absorbed, and annoying. He is constantly picking apart everyone and everything around him in terms of its inherent value to society (there's a really long bit about advertising on different food products which was bizarre). Bottom line: this one wasn't a winner for me. I won't completely discount Mr. Orwell though. I'm sure I'll give him another shot in the future. :-) Also, I'm sorry that this is the second negative review in a row. Sometimes that's just the way the cookie crumbles. 1/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-04-22 00:35
A Lively Story of How Changing One's Image Changes One's Life
Crowning Glory: An Experiment in Self-Discovery Through Disguise - Stacy Harshman,Veronica Tuggle

Crowning Glory -- An Experiment in Self-Discovery Through Disguise may initially sound like a psychological self-help read; but in actually it is an unusual memoir based on the author's experiment in wearing a number of wigs in New York City, assuming personas which change as often as hair color in the process of discovering who she is and how appearance changes psyches.


Her idea for this transformation didn't begin overnight with an Internet buying binge: all her life, Stacy Harshman felt defined by her hair … what it wasn't, and what it could or should have been. What began as a simple acknowledgement of the limitations on her life imposed by her self-image and longing for flowing locks and her investigation of why bitterness had grown to permeate her psyche evolved into a determination to buy not just one wig, but to wear a series of changing wig colors (same style) and analyze changing reactions to her hair.


Her initial experiences after she dons her first wig are dramatic and leads her into an unexpected exploration of the influence of hair in self-image and psychology.


Photos throughout do a terrific job of illustrating these colorful transformations as Harshman tells her story, adding visual impact to an unusual research process that weaves in and out of dating and personal relationships, the reactions of strangers, and how her hair affects all facets of her approach to life; whether it be on the dance floor, in internet cafes, or on the street.


Expect a lively romp through the dating world with plenty of opportunities for exploring the results of Harshman's changes. In the course of conducting these experiments, Harshman finds her own healing path through life, altering her world and finding a different kind of romance in the process.


Any reader who would consider the process and result of self-transformation will find Crowning Glory a lively, pointed story of what it means to change one's image and, consequently, one's life.

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review 2016-03-25 22:52
Drama llama: The epic conclusion
Skim - Mariko Tamaki,Jillian Tamaki

Yes, I've reached the end of my journey with Jillian Tamaki. I just finished her first work with her cousin Mariko entitled Skim. One thing is for certain...Tamaki has the corner market on teenage angst. (As you can probably tell, I'm over the angst.) The story follows a girl named Kim who is your typical teen who believes she's a practicing witch. (Normal for Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer so...) You might be wondering why Kim is nicknamed Skim. Me too. The explanation given didn't make much sense to me so I'm not going to even bother telling you. In Kim's school there is a preoccupation with suicide and depression. Most of the other students believe that Kim is at risk and as a result a lot of unwanted attention is turner her way. She develops an unconventional relationship with someone (I'm vague to avoid spoilers) and her relationships with others suffer. SO MUCH ANGST. I did enjoy this one more than This One Summer but it is by no means the best graphic novel I've ever read (that honor goes to Through the Woods by Emily Carroll). If you like manga type illustrations then you might enjoy this one for the aesthetic value alone but if you're looking for a WHOA kind of book then you might want to keep looking.


Photo source: http://theliterarysisters.wordpress.com

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-03-15 18:22
Nicholas Sparks meets Bridget Jones meets Love Actually
Me Before You - Jojo Moyes

There are some books that actually make you angry while reading them. This might happen for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you disagree with the choices that the characters are making. Maybe there are a ton of grammatical errors and it makes you want to punch the author in the face. For me, this book made me angry because it was so, so good and it ended way before I was ready. The book I'm talking about is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and it emotionally wrecked me in the best way possible. I saw the trailer for the upcoming film (June!!) and felt intrigued enough to check it out from the library...and the rest is history. The book is primarily told from the perspective of Louisa Clark who is a twentysomething living in a small English town who has found herself looking for a job in an area where jobs are few and far between. That's when she meets Will, a quadriplegic, who needs a caregiver. (I've just realized that I have no idea how to continue this synopsis without giving any spoilers...) The point of view flips a few times between a few other characters but the focus is mostly on Louisa and I liked that just fine. This is a story about hopelessness, love, determination, and questionable fashion sense. Simply put, Me Before You is a love story about two vastly different people who are thrust together in circumstances neither one could have predicted. IT IS BRILLIANT AND YOU SHOULD READ IT.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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