Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Reviews, Uncategorized

Book Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Hey guys, guess what?  I read a YA book and actually loved every page of it!

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson had me riveted to the page, and I’m not just pulling a book reviewer phrase out of a hat here.  I read the entire book in a day, stopping only for meals and chores, and when I did stop, I got antsy.  I needed to know what happened next in the fictional world of Lee Westfall.  I can read quickly when I’m reading a physical book, but I haven’t been this transfixed by a one in ages.

Summary (as told by yours truly): It’s 1849, and our protagonist is a tomboyish girl from the state of Georgia named Leah “Lee” Westfall.  She’s an only child and her father’s ill, so she does most of the manly work on their farm, including hunting.  So among her peers, she’s already considered a bit weird.  What’s even weirder is that she has a secret ability to sense gold.  This ability has brought wealth to her family, though they can’t really cash in on it without raising suspicion.  Plus, there isn’t much of it anymore in her locale, but there’s talk of finding even more of it in California.  Her best friend Jefferson wants to go west in search of it, and wants Lee to join him.  As tempting as this sounds, Lee hesitates.  Then one day, Lee comes home to find her mother and father murdered, and their hidden supply of gold stolen; at the funeral, she identifies the culprit by the teeny traces of gold dust, imperceptible to the naked eye, that remain on his/her person.  He/she knows about Lee’s secret ability – as the culprit closes in on her, Lee prepares her escape.  Disguised as a boy, she heads West on her own, hoping to reunite with Jeff along the way.  The road is rough, and the company of travelers she joins faces a series of trials, from disease to theft to mysteries only a gold seer can solve.

I can’t get over how tastefully Ms. Carson dealt with so many different subjects and issues.  There’s a lot of underlying social commentary which gets conveyed super-subtly in the way the characters behave and interact.  In short, this book excels at being showy, not telly. Continue reading “Book Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson”

Posted in Reviews

My Review of Rogue One [MINIMAL SPOILERS]

Rating: 5/5 stars!

Rogue One chronicles the events leading up to Star Wars: A New Hope, with emphasis on the “Rebel spies” who obtained the Death Star plans that Luke and co. used to save the day.  In a mere span of forty-eight hours, who knew so much went on?  And who were these spies?  Where did they come from?  Why did they join the cause?  Rogue One answers these compelling questions and leaves me with many more. Continue reading “My Review of Rogue One [MINIMAL SPOILERS]”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Reviews, Uncategorized

Review: Shirley Link and the Safe Case by Ben Zackheim

I snagged this eBook on BookBub a few months ago, and only found the time to read it recently.  I found this one browsing through the Middle Grade section, and it’s one of the few mystery books that wasn’t begging to be compared to Nancy Drew.  But if we are going to compare the two, Shirley Link is like Nancy Drew’s cooler cousin.

There are at least two mysteries in this eBook – the first, which I read, is the titular mystery story.  “The Safe Case” is in a setting familiar to many readers: middle school.  In this case (no pun intended), a safe containing a large sum of money is robbed – the safe itself included – and the principal is being held accountable by the school board.  It’s up to Shirley to prove his innocence … even if it doesn’t help her academic standing.  The mystery-solving process is fast-paced and filled with age-appropriate wit and humor. Continue reading “Review: Shirley Link and the Safe Case by Ben Zackheim”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Reviews, Uncategorized

Review: Vastian Lore by S.C. Gregory

Reviewer’s Notes: I received an autographed paperback copy of ‘Vastian Lore’ from a giveaway run by the author.  I’m choosing to review it – all opinions expressed herein are my own. Thanks so much, Steph, for the beautiful book – I’ll treasure it always! 🙂

I’m also trying out a slightly different format for this book review, in the style of my friend Olivia’s book reviews, which you can find here.  I tend to ramble, and her style is excellently concise.

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Title: Vastian Lore

Author: S.C. Gregory

Publisher: Self-published

Publishing Date: November 2015

Rating: 4/5 Stars Continue reading “Review: Vastian Lore by S.C. Gregory”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Reviews

Review: The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey

Disclaimer: I was given a free, digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

This is the story of a girl whose heart was stolen, and not in a good way.  The beautiful Princess Caityn is well-known throughout the Twelve Realms for her kind disposition and graceful features.  She’s loved by many, and envied by few, including some with twisted motives…. Continue reading “Review: The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Reviews, Uncategorized

Review: Adela’s Curse by Claire Banschbach

I read this book as part of a review exchange with the amazing Claire Banschbach, published author of two other YA fantasy novels, The Rise of Aredor and The Wildcat of Braeton.  She kindly reviewed my novelette, Secrets in Seaport, and the wonderful things she had to say about it immensely relieved much of the low book-esteem I’ve been suffering with since publishing it. 🙂

An original story of love, conflict, adventure, and chock-full of mythical creatures, Adela’s Curse has to be one of the cleanest YA fantasy novels I’ve read in a while.  Adela, a happy young faery, is tricked by a pair of conniving “mortals,” who bind her to them with dark sorcery and force her to use her magical powers to suit their twisted agendas.  Adela is forced to do whatever they tell her – or die.  And every faery fears death above all nasty fates!  (To borrow another science fiction franchise’s terminology, faeries typically “ascend to a higher plane of existence” when their material bodies expire, instead of dying the way people do.)  Adela is a clever faery, and finds creative ways to resist and delay her captors’ machinations, but can she find a way overcome her curse completely before it’s too late?

Claire Banschbach is true a master of world building and fantasy storytelling. There’s a certain light, airy, jovial tone to her writing that makes me (as a reader) feel like I’m being carried through the fantasy world on my own pair of faery wings. Continue reading “Review: Adela’s Curse by Claire Banschbach”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Reviews, Uncategorized

Books Every Kid (and Kid-at-Heart) Should read

I recently discovered the Top Ten Tuesday weekly tag from The Broke and the Bookish blog.  This week’s tag is “Ten Books Every X Should Read”.  As an older reader with an affinity for kids’ books, here are some books and book series (in no particular ranking order) I think every child at heart should read. 🙂 Continue reading “Books Every Kid (and Kid-at-Heart) Should read”