What I’m Reading: Seven Dead Pirates by Linda Bailey

If you know me, then you know I love pirates. So when I saw Seven Dead Pirates by Linda Bailey on the shelves, I had to pick it up. This middle-grade book is a quick read, and follows a boy who suddenly finds himself with seven pirate ghosts for roommates.

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Now, there are two types of middle grade fiction: the kind written for kids, and the kind that is shelved as middle grade because of the age of the characters. I recently read The Girl Who Drank The Moon, which is shelved as middle-grade but I would argue is definitely all ages. Seven Dead Pirates is the opposite, and it is a great book for young readers. I look forward to reading this book to my kids in a few years, when they old enough to sit still and LISTEN for at least five minutes straight. They both love pirates and ghosts, so I’m sure it will be a win for them.

As an adult reading this book, I found it to be well written and engaging, but not that exciting since the problems in the book were the problems of a twelve-year-old boy and easily solvable (to me, anyway). There were some great lessons in this book for young readers, like sticking up for yourself and finding friends where you least expect them. A solid story.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Young Adult Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer had such a fetching cover that I just had to pick it up. The image actually has a striking resemblance to the Twilight Cover, in my opinion, with the same colour palette and the bright red right in the middle. But what does that matter? What I really wanted was to read a Cinderella story set in the future.

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Cinder was probably the most refreshing fairy tale retelling I’ve read in a while. It was still recognizable as the Cinderella story, but it wasn’t weighed down with backstory I didn’t need (like some retelling’s I’ve read in the past year). The funnest part, I thought, was that instead of a glass slipper, Cinder is constantly struggling with her cyber foot, which no longer fits her. I was also very interested in the Lunars, and will read the other books in the chronicles just to find out about them. The other books, however, don’t feature Cinder as a main character, and I’m kind of glad about that, since I feel like Cinder(ella)’s story has come to an end.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Blood Ties by Garth Nix & Sean Williams

When I knew I had to go on another long, solo road trip, my first thought was about what audiobook I should listen to. I browsed the virtual shelves, and then remembered my previous experience with the Spirit Animals series. As I enjoyed the first two books in the series, so I figured why not just continue on with the third book.

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Blood Ties takes the four main characters on yet another journey to find another legendary talisman before the bad guys do!

As I’ve said with the previous audiobooks, these are quick listens and full of action, so they work well to keep me listening on the road (though perhaps not as awake as a good murder-mystery does). I still want a spirit animal, and I want to be a Green Cloak about as much as I want to go to Hogwarts (though Hogwarts is still top of the list by far). If you know young readers, let them know about these books, and if you’re young at heart, maybe you’ll enjoy them too.

4/5 Stars

JEH

Star Wars Books that Changed My Life

May the 4th be with you!

This year, in order to celebrate ‘Star Wars Day’, I’m going to share with you some of my own history with what I consider to be one of the best fantastical worlds ever! As a child, I remember watching the Star Wars Movies every chance I got. My favourite was Return of the Jedi (it is now Empire Strikes Back), and I borrowed it every chance I got on VHS from my public library. I borrowed it so many times that my father banned me from borrowing it for six months! I was crushed.

I always dreamed of new Star Wars movies, but they never arrived in my childhood. Instead, I turned to the books. By the time I turned 10, there was an entire Star Wars Universe waiting to be explored on the page. I began with Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn, and read everything I could get my hands on. I still have some of these books, as I’ve never been able to part with them.

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One of my favs was the Young Jedi Knights Series, by Kevin J. Anderson with Robecca Moesta. This series was about Leia and Han’s twins, Jaina and Jacen. I wanted to be them, go to school with them, learn how to be a Jedi Knight too. So I consumed these books with a vengeance. I credit the strong character of Jaina and her mechanical aptitude for my own interest in science and my the much later degree in Engineering that I received in 2004. I was disappointed with Disney when they kaiboshed everything that was Star Wars, making it legend, and coming up with their own cannon. But there are a lot of similarities between Rey and Jaina, and after I watched Star Wars, The Force Awakens, I found I could accept this new story and love Rey as I loved Jaina (to me, they are really the same girl by a different name. I’m positive that Rey belongs to Leia and Han, and that Kylo Ren is her long-lost twin brother, just like in the books).

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Another of my favorite characters from the book world, Mara Jade, in Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire series, and pictured fighting Luke, above, is also now legend. Mara Jade was an apprentice to the Emperor, and takes it upon herself to battle Luke. But Mara Jade isn’t all bad, and she’s also my favorite Sith ever.

While my Star Wars book collection is not what it once was, I still treasure it, and it is still growing. With the Disney takeover, more material is being released now than ever. I’ve previously blogged about reading some of the new comic books, and I’ve also finished the first book in Chuck Wendig’s new Trilogy, beginning with Aftermath, about the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. When it comes to my love of Science Fiction and space travel, Star Wars will always have a very large place in my heart. So happy May the 4th, and may the Force be with you.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen it yet, or if you just want to watch it again because it is May 4th, be sure to check out The Last Jedi Trailer below.

JEH

Books I’ve Read: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Young Adult Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

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As I continue to look through my old book journal, I’m posting about books I read a number of years ago. This week, I’ll be posting my initial “review”, on Divergent by Veronica Roth. It isn’t so much a review as my opinion of the book, and boy was it opinionated. See below:

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This write-up is pretty harsh. It sounds like I hated the book yet I gave it 4.5 stars. I guess that says a lot about a books ambiance, which to me means the general feeling the book generates and my ability to ‘suspend disbelief’. Divergent was a book that I really had to not try to reason out. I mean, the entire population of the city is forced into four groups—FOUR! People are so much more diverse than that. And there are so many more job functions than that. Anyway… Even if I had a difficult time falling for the premise and the choices some of the characters made, I liked the FEELING of the book. The tone. I guess that’s what won me over.

Come back later in the week to see what I thought about Insurgent.

JEH

What I’m Reading: What Light by Jay Asher

Young Adult Book Review: What Light by Jay Asher

When I heard that Jay Asher had a long awaited second book coming, I was excited. Then I began to read it… The premise of What Light is very different than 13 Reasons Why, which I loved. What Light is really just a Christmas Romance, and I use the word ‘just’ heavily.

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The real problem with this book for me was that it had potential (I mean a Christmas Tree Farm and a Bad Boy sounds like fun…), but nothing happened. Like ever. The story, while it may have been well written, lacked tension. And I really hate to say that just because I loved 13 Reasons Why so much. (Though I haven’t had time to check out the Netflix series yet).

Sierra (cool name), goes to California every winter to sell trees with her parents for the month before Christmas… and that’s about it. The entire time I read this book I expected something to happen. But it never arrived. I imagined at least ten different twists that never came to light. And the result was that it took me a long time to read this book. I also had a problem with the dialogue, which at times felt pretty forced. I would recommend this book if you really love Christmas and sappy romance, but otherwise, I’d give it a pass (but I still love 13 Reasons Why).

2/5 Stars

JEH

Books I’ve Read: Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

It’s not often I pick up a graphic novel. My husband gave me Castle Waiting by Linda Medley as a gift a couple years ago, and I loved it. Castle waiting is a beautifully illustrated black and white graphic novel great for all lovers of fairy tale and fantasy.

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Sometimes a change of pace is nice when reading, and after finishing Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners trilogy I was ready for something a bit different, so I picked up volume two and am currently working my way through it. This reminded me thg at I’d never posted anything about Castle Waiting Volume I, so here’s a picture of my book journal and my review from October 2014. As you can see, I was looking forward to the sequel.

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If you haven’t checked out this graphic novel yet, I highly recommend it.

JEH