Book Predictions, Book Recommendations, Uncategorized

The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

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Only bad books have good endings.
If a book is any good, it’s ending is always bad – because you don’t want the book to end.

The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch is a middle grade mystery that could be compared to the writing style of Lemony Snicket. It details the adventure of Cassandra and Max-Ernest as they uncover a mystery of a missing magician as Pseudonymous Bosch warns the reader to stop reading lest they be in danger by learning the knowledge the book contains.

I think the writing style really elevated the book. I felt it kind of dragged on in some places, but the humor helped me forgive that. It does keep the book from being taken that seriously, but I think that might be the adult in me talking. I’m sure if I read this as a kid, the idea of these two kids and their secret mission I wasn’t suppose to know about would send my imagination running.

The two main characters are smart and cute. I loved following them and their blossoming friendship. I love that Cassandra has two grandpas as well. They are all fully developed, and their mistakes only endeared them to me more.

It was a fun, fast paced read. The plot interesting and exciting. This is only the first book in five book series which I think I will pick up in the future.

4 stars

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Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

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A scoop of dried rosemary goes into the bag, followed by salt. Sometimes, magic looks a lot like how my mom prepares chicken.

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson pretty much made it on my top favorite books of the year at the very first sentence. It is a young adult, paranormal, mystery following Mila Flores as she brings her best friend and two enemy’s, those were accidents, back to life for a week. She’s convinced her friend was murdered, and needs her help in order to solve it.

The writing of this book was so easy and smart and funny. I quickly sank into this world, and did not want to exit it even as I tore through the pages desperate to find out what would happen. It was gripping and the twist at the end I did not see coming.

The characters were the best part of the book in my opinion. Mila is a fat, Mexican, Wiccan who is snarky and insecure and funny, and one of my new favorite characters. I love her growth throughout the story. The female friend group that forms is great, and I came to really care for each of them.

This book talks about feminism, fatness, cultural appropriation, depression, PTSD, therapy, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some. There are two fat girls of color who talk about their town being small and white. There is an f/f couple as well.

This book should be on everyone’s radar. It’s tragically under talked about. And with it now being October, this could be a perfect book for those who like spooky vibes without things being too scary.

5 stars

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

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Deadlines just aren’t real to me until I’m staring one in the face.

I’ve been debating whether or not to review this series when I had finished it. On one hand, everyone had heard about this series. On the other hand, it’s taking me a long time to finish and multiple weeks have missed posts because I was reading of the these books. Obviously, I’ve decided to review.

The Lightning Thief is the first in this five book series following Percy Jackson. He starts off as a regular twelve-year-old who struggles in school because he has dyslexia and ADHD. He soon discovers the dad he has never known is a Greek god, and that his whole life will constantly be in danger because monsters will always be after him.

5 stars

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 You can’t give up on your family, no matter how tempting they make it.

The overarching plot is this Great Prophecy that the characters aren’t sure who it is about. Percy is obviously a good candidate.  So he has a lot of expectations and enemies before even knowing that the myths are real.

As Percy goes on his various quests, he gets more and more proficient at navigating his new world. However, his world is steadily getting more and more dangerous. He has to rise up to these new challenges every time. 

One common theme in these books is the short time frame Percy has to finish these quests. Somehow, Riordan makes these action packed books work without skimping on character development or world building. 

3 stars

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In a way, it’s nice to know that there are Greek gods out there, because you have somebody to blame when things go wrong.

The characters are definitely the shining stars of the series. Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Chiron, Sally, and so many others. They are all fully formed and complex. Even the smallest side characters. Everyone has flaws and makes mistakes, and every betrayal and redemption made me just as emotional as the one before it. 

I loved how Riordan made the gods into people. They were so annoying yet helpful yet detrimental. Like a real family.

5 stars

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Don’t feel bad, I’m usually about to die.

The writing is so easy and nice to sink into. I never had any complaints about it. The humor never skipped a beat. Even now, a couple hours after finishing the last book, I want to pick up the next series to keep the feeling of peace these books give me.

5 stars

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With great power… comes great need to take a nap. Wake me up later.

This first series was perfectly wrapped up for me. Everything ended so well, and I love knowing this isn’t the last time we see Percy or Annabeth even if they aren’t as prominent.

There are still so many books that I can read after this that I know get better and more diverse. I can’t wait to finally pick them up.

5 stars 

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Film Reviews, Uncategorized

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

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“Remember, every treasure comes with a price.”

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan is an adult contemporary novel following Rachel as she meets her boyfriend, Nick’s, family. What she doesn’t know is that they are super crazy rich, and that money has gone to their heads. So the book follows her as she deals with all of their judging and backstabbing ways a long with a couple other POVs like Nick’s mom Eleanor and his cousin, Astrid.

This is such a light, funny book. A nice break from my usual books that can be a little dark. It doesn’t have the best writing in the world, but it doesn’t subtract from the book at all which I think is the important thing.

At the start it can be confusing. There is all these names of family members and it takes time to really understand who is who and who all is related, but it does get easier. I did feel like there is a lot of filler in the beginning, but it does help you understand to whole world later.

I really liked to characters and even when I didn’t, I liked disliking them. They shocked me with their antics, and made me fall in love with their love. They are complex and real even when it is still hard to wrap my head around how rich they all are.

I also saw the movie adaption and it is just as wonderful. The changes were there, but I felt they were good changes. It was a sweet, funny movie just as the book was. I would recommend reading the book and seeing the movie.

There has been talk about the anti-black sentiments in this. Most of the help had darker skin. There is classism and  sexism as well. I would link an article talking about this but I can’t find a good one. 

4 stars

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

The Spiderwick Chronicles Series Review

The Spiderwick Chronicles is written by Holly Black and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi. In total, there are five books each around a hundred pages long. The premise is that the Grace children (Jared, Simon, and Mallory) have contacted DiTerlizzi and Black because they believe in fairies and they want to have their story told as a warning to others. Black and DiTerlizzi obliged.

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Just as he paused, something inside the wall rustled.

The Field Guide is simply an introduction to the series. Anyone who picks up the series will know from the beginning letters that it is about fairies, but it isn’t until the end of the book that the Grace children know. 

3 stars

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“What’s wrong?”

“Could be trouble, could be nought. Whatever it is, it’s what you wrought.”

The Seeing Stone introduces the Grace children and the reader to the troubles that knowing about fairies can cause. More creatures are introduced, and the children (mainly Mallory and Simon) start wondering if keeping the book around is even worth it. Jared thinks so, mainly because he feels as if he finally has something of his own.

I really like how that is incorporated into the series. Jared is having the toughest time out of his siblings with their parents divorce, and life in general. His character development is one of my favorite things that kept me turning pages throughout these books.

3 stars

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“Weird things started happening when we found that book, and they’re not going to stop until we get rid of it.”

Lucinda’s Secret continues the children’s struggle. Do they keep the book or not? More creatures keep being introduced all wanting the book. The children aren’t sure who to trust, and it’s starting to rip the siblings apart.

3 stars

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The creature’s grin widened into something that still wasn’t really a smile. Then suddenly it shrank back as though frightened. Jared watched in amazement as the Not-Jared’s body shrank, its dark hair paled into a sandy brown, and its now blue eyes went wide with terror.

The Ironwood Tree is where the series turns darker, and that’s where my enjoyment of it really picked up. The big boss of the series is shown, and everything set up from the first three books really comes together. 

4 stars

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They were at the gate of the Spiderwick estate. To Jared’s horror, trash, papers, feathers, and broken furniture littered the lawn.

The Wrath of Mulgarath is a great ending to this lovely little series. Everything wrapped up in nice and interesting ways. The illustrations were great as always, and the characters stronger than ever.

4 stars

Overall, I find this to be a cute little series that I think would get reluctant younger readers more into novels. And if this isn’t enough, there are four companion novels all about expanding the world, and a spin off trilogy with all new characters. I’m not sure if I’m going to check those out myself, but I am glad I got to these books even if it is years later than most people have read them.

 

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Dragonbreath #10-11 by Ursula Vernon Review

So I have written about Dragonbreath quite a bit on this blog. It’s a children’s graphic novel series that follows Danny Dragonbreath the only dragon in his reptile school who has trouble breathing fire and always gets into crazy adventures with his best friend Wendell the iguana.

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“A good scientist shouldn’t make assumptions until she has all the facts.”

In the tenth novel of Dragonbreath, Danny gets a letter from his cousin Spencer that he has been kidnapped by knights and needs help. Danny, while still not liking Spencer, decides he has to save him since he is family and all. Along with Wendell and Christiana, Danny goes on a rescue mission, but not everything is as it seems.

I liked Spencer making a comeback. He forces Danny to be a little bit more responsible which is a nice side to see sometimes. Christiana and Danny had a lot of focus on their friendship in this one which I loved to see. I also liked the acknowledgment of the whole knight vs dragon thing that happens so often in stories and how Vernon paralleled it with outdated racist/sexist ideals the older generation often holds onto.

5 stars

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The air hitting the back of his throat was like frost.

Danny’s sick. His fire has gone out. As you can imagine, for a dragon this is a serious illness. Danny needs help from his Granddad, Wendell, and Christiana in order to get better. 

I love when Danny’s Granddad is in the books. He is funny and I always like how odd his solutions to crisis are. This was a bit more serious I found than the rest of the books, but this didn’t tame my enjoyment at all. If anything how different some of the books can be keep the series interesting.

5 stars

I am not sure, but I do think this is the last books in the Dragonbreath series. The last book came out two years ago, and the ending to The Frozen Menace was a lot more final than the other ones. I’m sad about it, but I’ve enjoyed reading it and Ursula Vernon has other series to continue onto. 

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher

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“Caliban would have laid down his life for Slate, probably with a sense of relief, but a man’s socks…that was asking a lot.”

The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher is the concluding book of The Clocktaur War duology. I reviewed book one here, but to explain briefly three criminals are forced to get cannibal tattoos to go on a suicide mission for their government. It’s filled with creatures that are similar to talking dogs, giant clock armies, love, demons, and I could go on and on.

This was originally supposed to be one book, but was split in two to keep everything the author wanted. This causes the book to start off a little awkwardly. It has to start off like a second book, so it’s repeating what happened in the first, and it takes a little bit to take off.

But when it does, man I was hooked. I love all these characters so much I would read about them getting groceries and enjoy it. Luckily, this book has a bunch more action to that, and it does it so well. The ending took my breath away. I was so scared and horrified and sad but happy because the book was so good. And for the first time in a long time I cried while reading a book. I’m still crying a little now if I’m being completely honest. 

To say the least, I loved this book. I want everyone to read this series and love it like I do. T. Kingfisher started she will definitely be back in this world she created and I will be eagerly waiting for any news about it. I don’t know how I will move onto any other book now, and that’s one of the highest compliments a book can receive.

5 stars