Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Star Jumpers: The Lion Roars by Sophie Baxter

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I was sent a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Star Jumpers: The Lion Roars by Sophie Baxter is the first book in a new fantasy series. Four teenagers are unknowingly picked for an important mission to save their world and another that they had no idea existed. It involves magic and politics and creatures and adventure.

Along with the four teenagers, the reader is also dumped into the deep end of this magical world. There is the briefest of introduction and then it’s okay accept it and go go go. As a result, I had a lot of trouble absorbing the world. There was so many words thrown around with no explanation that everything was flying over my head. Which is disappointing because a lot of thought went into the world and I would have liked to enjoy it.

I mentioned that the characters were also thrown into this all willy nilly as well. I feel like this was perhaps the worst way to start the book. I didn’t understand Zara’s immediate acceptance to the mission or how she started talking like how Refus and them talked. I didn’t understand the motivations behind characters a lot of times which makes it hard to connect. 

I also disliked how we jumped into different heads all the time, but I think that’s a very personal thing for me. 

Overall, I thought they was going to be an exciting book for me, but I was left confused and disappointed. I think it has a great premise but the execution was a little off.

2 stars

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Book Predictions, Uncategorized

The Game of Stars Predictions and Theories

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Game of Stars by Sayantani Dasgupta is the second book in the Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series. You can find my review of the first book, The Serpent’s Secret, here. I’m really excited for this beautiful cover so I wanted to do a quick theories and predictions post for it. Obviously, I’ll spoil the first book a little so go read it first if you haven’t already.

  • The first thing I notice are the eight Kiranmala’s skateboarding. Now, on the first cover there were seven snakes on the cover and that was significant to the story. I wonder if maybe there will somehow be clones or something that messes with time? The story already addresses multiple dimensions so maybe it is about that.
  • I bet this book will deal with Kiranmala’s normal life and her princess life. That’ll be interesting. I wonder if her friends from school will get drawn her magical world. I think that’ll be cool.
  • Her parents! They will be in it more and I really can’t wait to see them more. And see how their relationship with Kiranmala has changed now. 
  • The bees are an interesting part of the cover. I wonder if it’ll talk about how the bees are dying off. Or maybe they will be a weapon. I wonder if they will be magical or talk or anything special. There’s so many possibilities. 
  • With the way the snake is positioned and what looks like fire surrounding it. I’m pretty sure that’s her dad, and I’m equally sure he’ll show up again. I  wonder if he gets hit with fire. 
  • And that brings me to her mom, the moon behind her. I wonder how she’ll help this book because I’m sure she will. Probably something to do with her dad again.
  • Kiranmala’s and Neel’s relationship is sure to continue to grow, and I can’t wait for the adorable awkward moments that are sure to come.
  • Neel’s mom is sure to cause more trouble, and I wonder if she’s connected to the title. She did turn Lal into a planet last book. I picture them playing a chess-like game in the sky that if they don’t win will destroy the world, but I’m sure I’m completely off base there.

Basically, I don’t have too many fleshed out theories, I’m simply excited for the book, and wanted to talk about it some more.

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull

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“When jumping is the sole option, you jump, and try to make it work.”

Grip of the Shadow Plague is the third book in the five book Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. Here is my review of the first book, and here is the second book’s review.  To sum up the book simply Kendra’s and Seth’s grandparents run Fablehaven, a magical preserve for magical creatures, but it is under attack and they must do everything they can to save it.

As this is the third book in the series, things have become increasingly intense and dire for the Sorenson family. As the series has become darker and more complicated, my fondness from the series has continued to grow. Many described series as getting better as the books continue, and that definitely holds true for this series.

The world has been expanded, the magic is more intense,the characters continue to grow and develop, and new ones have shown up. I can’t say much else about the books though as I don’t like writing spoiler filled reviews. I do, however, want to touch upon something that I noticed before but it became more prominent in this book. In the first two books there were only two characters of color, but in this one a lot more were introduced. Without getting too into it, basically it is only these characters that get hurt. The white  characters always find a way to be virtually unhurt. I feel unsure about whether to mention this, I looked for reviews from people of color, but no one else that I could find mentioned this. I felt like I must mention at least something even though I feel I can’t make a full discussion about it. I did find this post about the Native American representation though.

I did end up giving this book five stars, and I definitely will continue this series. It has successfully gotten me hooked even with the reservations I have about it.

5 stars

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher

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She glared at both of them “I realize we’re all going to die, but I’d just as soon we do it there and not here.”

Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher is the first book in the Clocktaur War duology. T. Kingfisher is actually the pen name of Ursula Vernon, an author I talk a lot about on here as she made the Dragonbreath series. This is an adult steampunk fantasy series though instead of a children’s fantasy one.

The Clockwork Boys follows three criminals and a priest on a quest to figure out how their weird giant clock centaur enemies work and how to destroy them. Why would criminals be trusted with a mission like this? Well, the first two groups turned up dead, and they put carnivorous tattoos on them that will eat them if they even think about abandoning their mission. It sounds crazy, right? But somehow it all makes sense while reading. The world isn’t confusing at all with the way Kingfisher writes. 

I have completely fallen in love with these characters. We have Slate, the group leader and expert document forger, Caliban, a disgraced knight with a dead demon wrapped around his soul, Brenner, an illiterate assassin, and Learned Edmund, a priest/scholar who has never been around a woman before. They are a motley crew that simply make magic together.

The writing, the plot, the pacing, the description, I loved all of it. The only thing I can think to complain of is I wish it was longer. I guess they split the book in half for some reason, but there’s a second one out there that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Easily a five star book. Everyone should go pick this up to experience it for themselves.

5 stars

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Medium Wave by Rose Zolock

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The evil was coming for her.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way shaped my opinions of the book.

Medium Wave by Rose Zolock is the first book in a new paranormal thriller series. Becky Moran has made herself famous by pretending to be a medium who can talk to the dead. She has a radio show called Medium Wave. However, during one of her shows Becky touches an old, paranormal object, and suddenly has the very real gift of seeing the dead. Now she has to deal with her new gift because it turns out not all spirits are good. Some are dark, and they are coming after Becky.

The premise of this novel is one I love. The way everything played out felt very natural while still surprising me (somewhat). The story follows Becky, mainly, but also the studio team that had built her image. It showed a lot of the business side of having a radio show which I liked just as much as the paranormal plot line going on.

I didn’t much like the way the narration would jump into everyone’s heads though. Sometimes it felt repetitive though it was basically the only time that we got to know the other characters. So it was good and bad.

The book includes a main gay character and a main black character which was cool. There was also a lot of fat characters, but I found that less cool because they were always painted in a bad light compared to the tiny, perfectly slim Becky Moran. It was something that really started bothering me by the end of the book. Beck was also in general the perfect person and everyone around her had a lot of bad flaws.

Suicide is mentioned a couple of times in this book so be aware of that if that might bother you. Nothing was especially scary to me, but I don’t think I scare that easily. I could see this being really scary for other people.

All in all, I enjoyed this book, and I could see myself continuing on with this series. It’s a relatively short read, though I felt the end dragged on a little too much. It’s still a solid four stars for me.

4 stars

Book Reviews, Categories, Uncategorized

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta

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“In the name of the Garden State Parkway, how many times do I have to tell you guys?” I jogged down the front steps. “For the last time already, I am not a princess!”

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta is the first book in a new middle grade fantasy series called Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond. I’m not sure how many books the series will end up being. There’s not much information out since this book barely came out at the end of February, but there will definitely be a book two.

This is an ownvoices novel with an all Indian cast that draws from many different folktales and children’s stories from West Bengal, India. I knew that from simply reading the novel, but in the author notes at the end Dasgupta lists the different stories she used. The number that she layered together along with all the science elements was seamless, and created a rich world that I’m sad to have to leave now.

Kiranmala has grown up being told all her life she’s an exiled princess. She doesn’t believe her parents until her twelfth birthday when they disappear, two princes appear on flying horses to help, and a demon smashes through her kitchen. Even then, she’s slightly skeptical, but determined to do whatever she has to in order to get her parents back.

The whole story reminded me of Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, but I think I connected to Kiran and Neel and Lal even faster than with Percy and Annabeth. They were all so real, and their relationships and inner struggles were so complicated and well done while remembering their young ages.

I loved this book if that wasn’t obvious. I could gush more about it, but I think I’ll end it here so you can go out and get it yourself even quicker. I’ll be waiting anxiously for any news about book two.

5 stars

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Tokoyo, The Samurai’s Daughter by Faith L. Justice

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“And it’s adventurous. Most girls – even a samurai’s daughter – don’t get to cheat death, fight sharks, or find pearls of great worth.”

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tokoyo, A Samurai’s Daughter by Faith L. Justice is a middle grade story inspired by a Japanese folklore called The Tale of the Oki Islands. It’s a short book of only 101 pages that follows Tokoyo who is the daughter of a samurai and an Ama in her spare time. That means she dives in the sea for seaweed and clams. One day her father is accused of poisoning the Regent, and is sent to exile. Tokoyo knows he didn’t do it, and is intent on proving that innocence.

Because of the shortness of the book, a lot of detail wasn’t incorporated. Sometimes I did want more of that when Tokoyo was traveling though the big action scene I think was described well enough.

Each chapter begins with an illustration by Kayla Gilliam. I really liked that. Her art is simple yet pretty just like the story.

Overall, it’s a quick story with pretty simple writing. I finished it in an hour. It is also nice that it is based on folklore I haven’t seen, and involves the girl going on an adventure instead of waiting for a prince.

3 stars