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The Heavens Rise: Review

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I really enjoyed this book, up until about halfway through. I found myself really into the story at the beginning, yet it lost all magic and I got bored with it midway through.

The plot of this book is really quite unique. Nicky, Anthem, and Ben are a tight-knit group but when Nicky, and her entire family, mysteriously disappear; things just fall to pieces. Not only has Nicky’s family disappeared, but also it seems to be that the shady (and borderline psychopath) character, Mitchell, might have something to do with their disappearance. The story then follows along with what is going on in the lives of the characters as the reader learns more about what is going on with Mitchell and the disappearance of Nicky and her family.

The plot really captivated me up until about halfway through the story. Some of the major mysteries were revealed by the midpoint and I couldn’t bring myself to care enough about Nicky’s disappearance to maintain any interest in the book. I wish that the plot had kept up throughout the book, but things definitely weaken by the midpoint.

Although the plot started out strong, the writing was weak throughout the book. The jumps between past and present were a good technique to use for this book but they were not executed well. Each jump between time periods was jarring and left me confused, I often had to revisit the first page of the chapter to remind myself what time period that chapter was supposed to be taking place in. Excluding the sudden period changes, there wasn’t anything that really stood out to me as exceptionally good or bad about the writing itself.

The characters in this book were somewhat mediocre. Mitchell was somewhat of an exception as he was an incredibly interesting character. I found myself wondering what was going on with him as I was reading through the book. Without giving too much away, I will say that you need to read through a decent chunk of the book before things really start to get interesting with him. The other characters weren’t exceptionally interesting because they seemed like they were just depictions of everyday people. Yet, although they seemed to be everyday people, I had a really hard time relating to any of them.

Bottom Line: I would give this book 7/10 stars. Although I was bored by the halfway point, I truly enjoyed the first half of this story.

I received this book for review purposes via NetGalley.

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The Troop: Review

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Sometimes, after reading a few benign books, you just need a good dose of creepy. You know, shake things up a bit. This book provides that needed creep factor, without losing the elements of a good story.

This story centers around a group of boy scouts, and their troop leader, camping on an isolated island. When a strange, sick man stumbles onto the island; everything just goes a little crazy (that being an immense understatement). The boys face off against the elements as well as each other, and the relatively unknown sickness that threatens to infect every one of them.

There was an ok plot throughout the book. It basically just follows the boys as they try to avoid becoming infected and as they deal with the others who are already infected. Although the reader knows what the sickness is and what caused it, the boys don’t. It’s interesting to follow them as they try to figure things out, but there isn’t much mystery for the reader.

This book is pretty gory, so I would definitely not recommend it if you get grossed out easily. The descriptions of the people who are infected are incredibly disturbing (as are the thoughts that those people have). The description of the “worm” is also pretty disturbing and makes me never; ever want to encounter a tapeworm, or any other worm/snake for that matter.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the news articles that were placed in between the chapters. I understand that they aided in the clarification of numerous points, I didn’t think they added very much to the story as the writing wasn’t as good as the rest of the story. I would have preferred it if they had been left out altogether and the author had just revealed the source of the contagion at the end.

The writing itself is pretty good, other than the news articles. The author does a nice job of describing the thoughts and feelings of the characters in a way that isn’t annoying and does add to the story.

Bottom Line: I would give this book 8/10 stars. Although there were a few things that need some work, the overall story was creepy and pleasing.

I received this book for review purposes via NetGalley.

The Whole Golden World: Review

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I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway and honestly, I started reading it as soon as it arrived in the mail and I couldn’t put it down. It’s been a long time since I encountered a book that I literally couldn’t stop reading until it was finished.

This book, especially the beginning, reminded me a lot of J.K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy”. Both books follow the problems of a couple families of characters, and follow the bizarre interactions of how the families end up connecting. Although they are similar, “The Whole Golden World” manages to draw out a lot more emotion in the reader and captivate the readers’ interest.

The characters in this book are really fantastic. I found myself loving all of them at the start of the book, when they’re first introduced, and hating half of them by the end, when their true colors were shown. Morgan is a fantastic main character, despite being naïve and bitchy. She shows tremendous growth throughout the story though, and by the end I couldn’t help but root for her.

The book is arranged in a way that really suits the story. Each new paragraph is told from the perspective of one of the main characters. The book also alternates from the present to the past, with the latter part of the book taking place only in the present. I thought that was a really smooth way to arrange the story, it was easy to understand what was going on while still providing some mysteries for the reader to ponder.

The author did a really nice job of making it clear to the reader which paragraph was from which characters’ perspective. There were only a couple of times throughout the entire book that I found myself confused as to who’s perspective was being told – but that was mainly because I hadn’t read close enough or it would be revealed in the next couple of sentences.

Bottom Line: I would give this book 9/10 stars. Although this book doesn’t make it onto my 10/10 stars list, it comes extremely close. I genuinely enjoyed this book and the characters throughout it. I would highly recommend it.

The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen: Review

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Honestly, I enjoyed this book. It was cute, short, and presented a clear message to young readers.

The story is nice, it’s short and simple but presents a very clear message – eat natural foods. This book does a nice job of showing kids where there food comes from and what makes certain foods (does it come from the chicken, cow, or tree). Everything is presented in a way to make the reader understand where the food they eat comes from, without being too life-scarring for small children (i.e. not really talking about where meat comes from until the very last page).

The illustrations weren’t that great. They were cute but seemed a little bit rough around the edges. I would have liked to have seen smoother lines and prettier pictures, but the illustrations in the book still manage to convey the point.

Bottom Line: I would give this book 8/10 stars. The story was short but presented a strong message, although the illustrations were a little rough. I would definitely read this book to a child especially if they were curious about where there food came from.

I received this book for review purposes via NetGalley.

The Punishment Imperative: Review

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The book started out a little slow, with the first chapter being a little technical and difficult to immerse into. By the second chapter though, things begin to pick up. The flow of the book comes together and the information is a lot easier to process. By the end of the book, I was really into it and couldn’t put it down. If you find yourself unable to stop reading, don’t worry, this book is an extremely quick read and only took me about a day to finish.

There is a lot of information presented throughout this book. At times the amount of information was overbearing, but usually it was a very manageable amount presented at a time. With the information being given to the reader there were a lot of statistics. Normally I am not a huge fan of stats but this book is really the perfect place for them. The placement of the statistics really did a nice job of emphasizing certain points for the reader.

The graphics also did a nice job of emphasizing certain points to the reader. Sometimes the statistics were hard to visualize and the graphs placed throughout the book aided in driving the point home to the reader. They were unobtrusively placed at the top of a page, allowing the reader to continue reading with only a casual glance, and managing to avoid interrupting the overall flow of the book.

The writing in this book is decent. There was such a constant stream of facts that the writer’s style of writing didn’t really shine through. But the authors’ presentation of facts was pleasant to read through and very informative. After reading the book and being exposes to the authors writing style, if I came across another book written by the same authors I wouldn’t hesitate to read it.

There were a couple of times where the authors stated things such as “in the remainder of this chapter we describe what we think…”. It drives me nuts when authors A) refer to themselves in their non-fiction book and B) refer to the chapter itself. This isn’t a huge issue, and only occurred sporadically at the beginning of the book, but it’s one of my pet peeves and so I figured it deserved a mention.

Bottom Line: I would give this book 7/10 stars. It was incredibly informative and by the end I felt that I had learned a lot, yet the book was a little bit too numbers/statistic based for my liking.

I received this book for review purposes via NetGalley.

Survival Of The Sickest: Review

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I bought this book on a whim, figuring that it might be an interesting and educational read. This book certainly did not disappoint.

There is a lot of interesting information presented throughout this book. There were many times that I thought to myself “Hey, that’s interesting. I should write that down so I remember it later…” I didn’t end up writing anything down while I was reading but I did share certain tidbits of information that I learned with my family and friends.

This book offers the perfect overview of how the sickest have survived. While there is a lot of information presented throughout the book, it’s presented in an easy to understand manner that allows the average reader to enjoy the book. It also allows the reader to share information with others; regardless of age and scientific understand of either.

I enjoyed the writing style of the author, not only did she present the information in a manner that was easy to understand but her writing itself was genuinely enjoyable. She writes in a manner that encourages the reader to relate to the stories being told while managing to avoid becoming obtrusive and overbearing.

 Bottom Line: I would give this book 8/10 stars. There was a lot of interesting information presented in a manner that was easy to understand while still being scientific. The writing itself was enjoyable and very easy to read.

The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell: Review

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I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway. The title and cover seemed intriguing and I couldn’t wait to read it.

This book wasn’t exactly what I expected and yet I certainly wasn’t disappointed with it. The story is sorrowful as well as hopeful, and is really tastefully written. Klaber writes with a very refreshing style that fits very well with the historical-fiction genre. Things were described  beautifully while still being simple and to the point. The author also wasn’t very explicit about certain relationships between characters, which was refreshing!

The characters themselves are fantastic! They are all very realistic (thank goodness, considering this is historical fiction) and are mostly all likeable. Even the antagonists in the story, while definitely not likeable, easily evoke strong emotions in the reader. The main character, Lucy or Joseph, is easy to relate to and understand, even if the reader hasn’t experienced what Lucy was going through.

Bottom Line: I would give this book 9/10 stars! This book was a beautifully written and refreshing story. I would highly recommend this book to any woman (or man) who enjoys historical fiction or stories about women who do what they want regardless of societies expectations.