‘The Paris Hours’ Book Review

“Paris is always there, waiting for him on the other side of the door.”

Chapter 39.

Paris, between wars, everyone has lost something. Camille has lost a dear friend, the one who held her biggest secret. The notebook where it was written is now missing. Her reputation depends on it not landing in the wrong hands. Souren is a refugee from Armenia, he has lost his homeland and his family. Then there is the artist Guillaume he has lost a great love and is in a serious debt and has to find the money to pay it or his life could be taken from him. Finally, there is Jean-Paul, a writer, who dreams of America but cannot leave France because he truly believes his daughter is not dead but lost in the streets of Paris.

This is a character driven novel and those are my favorite kind of books to leave. Usually, shorter books seem to be more plot driven but that was not the case for ‘The Paris Hours’. This book is less than 300 pages but I feel like we got to connect with the characters so well in that span of time. (The book only lasts the course of a day.) I will be honest though and tell you, that not all these characters had entertaining chapters. I think Souren and Camille have the best chapters and they were my favorite to read from. I feel like Souren had the strongest story out of all of them and I think it can be applied nicely to the refugee crisis we have seen in recent years. I might have connected with Camille more since she is our only lead female character but I just enjoyed her chapters and her mission to protect herself and her family. Guillaume is our lovesick character. I just did not connect with him and I still do not understand why he was in the debt that he was in. Yes, sometimes I did feel for him but at other times I felt he might be a tad selfish but that is better than having a novel filled with Mary Sues, I just did not connect with his character. Lastly, Jean-Paul, he was not one of my favorite characters but I could really feel the emotion in his chapters. His plot left me with my jaw dropped at times. You could just really connect with him. The characters are getting a five out of five.

‘The Paris Hours’ is a love letter to the city of love that is in its title. This book just gave off such a French aesthetic or vibe. You just instantly feel like you are walking the streets with the Eiffel Tower towering in the smoggy skies of the French capital. The atmosphere also gets a five star.

The writing, the writing! Oh my gosh, the writing is so good in this book. I think it will be an acquired taste, much like other French things. This writing was just so beautiful and so romantic. It never dragged but it never got too fast either. It was such a breath of fresh air to read. I think this writing goes perfect with the setting of France and especially at this somewhat of an awkward time in the country’s history. There is so much I could say but I just cannot get the words out. I think you will understand more when I tell you that the writing is a five out of five star.

“Some things you cannot leave behind. Your history will pursue you doggedly across frontiers and over oceans. It will slip past the unsmiling border guards, fold itself invisibly into the pages of your passport, a silent, treacherous stowaway.”

Chapter 23.

I left the quote above because I think it perfectly describes the plot of this story. We all have a past and there is no running from it, there is no changing it. The past has happened and there is nothing we can do about it except move on. Sometimes we do have to accept it and think about it first though, before we can actually move on. All these characters have a past and that is what is impacting their decisions and the actions that they are taking throughout this day. Again, this is not a real plot heavy book and if that is something that you are into then you probably won’t like your journey reading this I think you really have to dig to find that true plot and story. The plot gets a 4 out of five.

The short chapters really helped with the intrigue. They just leave you wanting more and then you have to wait to get through all the other POVs to get back to the character. It is a good technique. Short and fast chapters will always be the best. I am going to give this a four though because I felt like some we did not really get a wrap on.

I feel like I do have to state that there were some typos throughout the novel, which there are probably some typos in this blogpost so I should not be one to judge but I also do not have an editor. So there were some instances where a space was forgotten and words were pushed together. The biggest however was in the second to last chapter, on page 249; “He is leg is hurting, and he wants to go home.” I am assuming the author meant “His leg is hurting.” I just hate to see things like that in books, maybe there needed to be a better editor on hand.

Time Travels in one direction only. There is no going back.”

Chapter 32.

I really, really, did enjoy this book. I did not think that I would feel that way going on because of the ratings on Goodreads and that I have heard nothing of this book before, I got it from BOTM. This was such a wild card for me, my favorite so far this year. The characters were fabulous, I might not have connected with all of them but that is life, we do not connect for every soul that we meet. I loved the French setting, the author did such a good job dropping us into 1927 Paris. This was the best writing that I have read in a long time. The plot is something that I will not forget. Again, I really enjoyed this book and I will be looking into more books by Alex George.

This book gets the rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

Check out my Youtube channel at Izzy Rain – YouTube . Or you can follow me on Facebook! Izzy Rain | Facebook

‘Well Met’ Book Review

Emily’s sister April got in a car accident and has broken her leg. Emily moves in with said sister and her niece to help out until April can get on her feet again. She has never lived in a small town like Willow Creek, Maryland before. She assumes it will be a rather boring summer with nothing to do except sit around the house and watch Netflix. Willow Creek is known for it’s Renaissance Faire, which Emily’s niece, Caitlin will be working at with practically the whole town. Simon’s brother is the one who founded the festival around a decade ago. Simon takes on all the weight of the festival on to his shoulders. It is something that he takes very seriously and does not like Emily’s lack of understanding about the festival.

Emily was a really relatable character. I could understand her feelings and thoughts. She was a pretty funny perspective to read from. I do think she grew throughout the story and we were able to see that. I was not a fan of Simon Graham, though. To put it kindly, I think he was a jerk. I so did not want our main character to get with him but from the synopsis of this book it is obvious that the two of them get into some kind of relationship. I liked him in his pirate character but outside of character he was just terrible! Maybe it was so we can really feel how Emily feels but I don’t know, I could be a minority here. I think I might have felt better about him if we had chapters at his POV. I did like the townspeople though, this really did feel like a small and cozy town. I liked the side characters a lot. We will give the character’s a three out of five.

I, myself, have never attended a renaissance faire or festival but I REALLY want to go to one. When I am vaccinated and it is safe to travel again you can definitely catch me at the Carolina Renaissance Festival. This setting was a lot of fun but it did get repetitive at times. We just went through the every day activities of the tavern life. If we were not there we were at the human chess match. I think I actually preferred the parts when our main character Emily was at her bookstore job. The setting was good though I think we will give it a four out of five stars.

The writing was not anything great. It was just average and bland, nothing to get excited about. As I stated earlier it was a funny writing style, it could make me laugh. Just your average three star.

The main trope of this book is enemies to lovers. That is advertised everywhere, so, no, it is not a spoiler. I usually love that trope but here I just did not enjoy it. I felt like their reason to hate each other was just petty. I would get maybe disliking but these characters full on hated each other, that is until she saw him in leather pants. Like come on, you are going to stop hating a guy just because he looks good in a tight pair of clothes? Stupid. Then, the going from enemies to being lovers was just so sudden, I do not think Simon would just suddenly change like that, again maybe if we had chapters from his perspective too that could be different. I just was not a fan of this romance. I feel like this might be extreme but I am going to give that a two out of five.

The chapters in this book were too long for a romance novel. I was dreading picking up the book knowing that the long chapter potentially would be going through the same events yet again. I get that is life that the same events usually happen day to day but it’s just boring for a book. I feel like there could be so much done with the Faire setting. 3/5.

I guess everything here is logical as it does feel realistic. I have never been to a Renaissance Faire so I will take this book’s word for it that this is how they play out. We will do a four out of five.

Did I enjoy this book? I don’t really know. It was an average read, I know it seems like I hated it but I am being honest, I did not hate it. I really liked the main character, Emily, and then all of the side characters. The atmosphere was pretty cool, I just wish we could have explored more into it. The writing was not anything special but it was not bad either. The romance was not my favorite but it does seem I am really picky with romance novels, I think I do better with ones in a fantastical or historical setting but I did like A Lesson in Thornes by Sierra Simone. The chapters were long, even though this book was under three hundred pages, I feel like it could have been shorter. This could have made a good novella. This did seem like a realistic romance even though it might have been petty. ( I am glad that I don’t have a hate like that towards anyone.) I think others might enjoy this book but it was just not for me. I will not be continuing the series.

This book gets a 3 out of 5 star rating.

Be sure to check out my YouTube channel here: Izzy Rain – YouTube

‘Into the Drowning Deep’ Book Review

The Atargatis set sail in 2015 in search of mermaids. The crew was made up for a mockumentary for the Imagine TV Network. The channel had been known of making these kind of shows on different cryptids but none had ever gone as dark as the voyage of the Atargatis, the whole crew vanished, killed by these mermaids of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. Seven years later, a new crew has set out to find out what happened to the previous ship.

The cure for anything is saltwater… tears, sweat, or the sea.

Isak Dinesen

Some wanted fame, others revenge, proof that they were always right, or simply just to follow their studies or career. Everyone on this ship had a mission. The characters in this book were so real. They all had their flaws and might I add that they were all morally grey, in my opinion. I was constantly thinking someone would turn on the other. This was a really diverse cast be it, disability, race, or sexual orientation. There was lots of representation here. All these characters had a purpose, Tory was probably the main character but the others did not feel like they were pushed to the side either. The characters in this book are going to get a five out of five from me.

Mankind’s exploration of the oceans had been going on for centuries, yet barely scratched the surface, leaving much of the depths uncharted.

Chapter Nine

The atmosphere was so creepy and that is just what a horror novel needs. In general, boats being in the middle of the ocean freak me out anyway and then the author adds in killer mermaids. Just the thought of being in the middle of the Pacific, in a very desolate part of the ocean might I add, knowing that there are things that want to harm all the humans around you.. that is horrifying. Mira Grant hit the atmosphere nail right on the head. Once again a five out of five.

When I first started this book, the writing was so great. Probably the best I had read in months. However, that rating started to drop when we got into the science bits. Yes, this book is about a lot of scientist on a vessel but sometimes it was like reading another language and I found myself skimming. The writing just got heavy at the science bits but at the other parts it was great! Four our of five stars.

I had only read one book before this that was set on a boat and it was a thriller, not a horror. Boat books are just so unique. I really liked how this voyage was to solve a mystery of the past ship and then the mystery that humans have had for centuries, are mermaids real? Add in the fact, that all these characters had different motives. They were all seeking something different rather it be closure of a family member who was on the Atargatis or it be to bring a new creature into the realm of biology. Sometimes their motives changed throughout the voyage. Grant very much so did her research for this book, it just felt so real. I could totally see this happening in real life. You really feel like that you are put into this story, the plot gets a five star.

Intrigue is something that I find so important in horror, mystery, or thriller novels. You are trying to find out what is behind all of this or what is going to happen next. I was always making theories with this one but a lot of the time my theories came out to be wrong! That just shows that Mira Grant is so intelligent with her writing, she had ideas that I was not even thinking of. I do not know how I felt about the ending though. I wanted to know more about how the characters felt after everything on the ship wrapped up. I am not sure if there will be a sequel, at this time. Four out of five stars.

If this book was one thing it was logical. Often times in the CAWPILE system, I never know what to say about the ‘L’ part of the acronym. ‘Into the Drowning Deep’, does not leave me skipping over this category, though. Everything was so well thought out. The paragraph structure and everything was just so logical. It is a heavy read but you learn so much about different kinds of study that fall into the marine category. 5/5.

I did enjoy this book, I think all of you who have read this blog post can see that. I enjoyed that all the characters were so different and even though there was a large cast, I was never getting them confused. The atmosphere was so creepy and fit perfect with the black and red cover of the book. The writing was great but it was heavy at times which was the main downfall for me but I think if you have a career path in the science or field of if it is just something you are interested in then you would not have the same problem that I did. The plot was unique and this would make the perfect movie, someone really needs to pick this up. I was constantly trying to find out what would happen next and it never felt like a drag to pick up but I am lightly disappointed in the ending. This book was smart, too smart at times but it just made it all the more realistic. I will be picking up more books from this author.

The final rating for this book is a 4.5 star out of 5.

Be sure to check out my Youtube channel here: Izzy Rain – YouTube

“Pirate Women” Book Review

Laura Sook Duncombe saw that there was a lack of books on pirates about the females who also sailed ships and looted for treasure across the seven seas. So, she decided to write her own and that is how we have “Pirate Women”. I picked up this book at the Pirate Museum in St. Augustine, Florida. I was not expecting much as it was just one, I had picked up at random with no research on but Duncombe blew me away with this book. This is not just a pretty cover with cool colors, there is so much information inside that I never about before.

This book does go in chronological order, I am so thankful for that as it does not confuse the reader at all. That being said we start in the ancient world on the Mediterranean with the Greeks and Romans, these were ancient queens like most women throughout this book we do not know if they were fact or fiction or somewhere in the middle. That is a common theme here, women were often written over in history and there is not a lot of information to be found on these women. They were just supposed to sit there looking pretty and baring children to their husbands not fighting against other Greek city states.

The next step we take is towards Ladgerda and the Vikings who are trying to reach the halls of Valhalla. The writer debates on if these warrior women should be listed as literal pirates. Most of the fighting was done on the shores of England or other states on the North and Baltic seas. It was fighting and raiding on land and then back on the ship to Scandinavia.  Nevertheless, the tales of these female Viking warriors are interesting and had been pasted orally for hundreds of years.

I did not find the pirates of Brittany in the middle ages as interesting as the Vikings, but I do think some will. There should be a television show or at least a historical fiction book on these women and what they did to protect their thrones and rights. Throughout this chapter I could not help but think that George R.R. Martin, the author of A Game of Thrones, took inspiration from some of these women for his universe in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

And then on and on we go throughout history, the Barbary era of pirates with the sultans, Queen Elizabeth I with the sea dogs she hired to take on the Spanish Armada. The Golden Age of piracy taking place in the 1700s with the likes of Anne Bonny and her crew. The story takes us all the way to China in the twentieth century. There was so much to learn in this book that is so small that it is less than three hundred pages long.

Enough of the summary for now, lets get to my likes and dislikes. As I stated previous, I like that this is in historical order, so I did not have to sit down and write out a timeline for myself. seriously, if you are writing a nonfiction book, please go in chronological order. One thing I loved that the author is a woman, writing about women, and most of the sources that she used were also female. It was just awesome to see! The book was easy to understand and I was never confused. The chapters had a good page length, usually around fifteen pages long. (Another bit of advice if you plan to write a book, never make a chapter fifty pages. I will lose interest.)

Duncombe also does a good job at setting the scene. Yes, this is a nonfiction piece of work, but she does a great time at describing the world that these women were living in and how it might have attributed to their actions. The author also reminds us time and time again that we do have enough information on these women to know their stories full and well. We also must remember that the things we learn in history are never one hundred percent certain as we are not hearing all the sides of it and we were not there. That information is so important to remember as we learn or read anything that is nonfiction.

I only have small complaints. The last chapter about actual pirates, chapter 13. I felt like it was rushed. We had so many women to discuss and only got a few short paragraphs about them and I feel like I did not learn as much about them as I did about the previous women and that is strange as these female pirates were all in the last century, some in my life time. Then there was the last chapter about pirate women on the big screen. I felt this chapter to be unnecessary as these are all known works of fiction. The chapter was basically the full plots of movies that I will never watch. It was a waste of time.

I really enjoyed this book. It is probably my favorite nonfiction that I have read this year and I will have to look and see if Laura Sook Duncombe has any other books out that I can have the pleasure in reading. Just learning about how these women got into these situations rather it be that they were born or married into it, joining the sea life, dressed as a male to get out of societies standards. It was just so interesting to read and I definitely want to read more about pirates in the future. Five out of five stars read.

‘Game Seven’ Review

Game Seven tells us the story of Julio Ramírez Jr., a teenage shortstop from Cuba. His father has already defected the country by playing in an exhibition game in Baltimore and leaving the team to get signed by the Miami Marlins. Julio is given the choice to leave Cuba like his father, to find freedom in the United States or stay in Cuba with his mother and sister. It is the hardest choice that he will ever have to make.

Let’s start out with the characters. At first, Julio really annoyed me and I felt like all he did was complain. I had to remind myself that he is sixteen years old and going through crazy life changes. That really put it into perspective for me. I think the characters in this book are greatly realistic and relatable even though they are not all likeable. I really liked Luis, Julio’s cousin, though! Characters get a four out of five.

The atmosphere was like nothing I had ever read before. It was very fascinating and different. I would give it once again a four out of five.

The writing in this novel was not anything great. First off, I am not a huge fan of first person perspective, please keep it in third person. The next thing, I felt like it was very much, “I did this and then I did that.” Just telling and not showing. The writing gets a three out of five.

A story of baseball in Cuba and how difficult it is to go from there to play in the MLB in America? The perfect plot. So many of the players we love and watch have gone through quite similar situations. I just cannot imagine being in a refugee situation. I think more people need to see how hard it is to come into this country, especially from one like Cuba. The plot makes this very much worth the read. That being said the plot gets a five out of five.

There is a downfall in this book though and that is the logic. I find it unrealistic a player around the age of forty would get a contract in MLB and be one of the great pitchers. There were a few other things but I won’t go into all of them here. The logic gets a two out of five.

Intrigue, definitely important. ‘Game Seven’, had me like most baseball series, wanting to know what was going to happen next. Maybe there was a little too much intrigue though. I was not really satisfied with the ending of the book. I think there should have been maybe another thirty to forty pages. Intrigue gets a four out of five.

I did enjoy Game Seven and I think that most fans of the game will too. However, I think you should at least be a casual fan of the sport so that you have a better understanding of what you are reading and know all the calls and positions on the diamond. What is your favorite sports book?

3.5 out of 5 stars.

‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Review

I took a week long break in the middle of this book so my thoughts might be weird and I am not going to be doing a deep synopsis.

Usually longer books are longer I assume that they are more character driven than plot driven but with this one, I really do not know. The story is told through Buendia family but the story is about the history of the town of Macondo. The town is the main character rather than the actual people. Back to the humans though, most of the characters had names of their parents or grandparents. The same names were being used over and over and I just kept getting confused if it was junior or senior. I understand that this is common in real life but I do not think it is wise in literature. Two out of five for characters.

I like the idea of following the town throughout its beginning to its end. I liked Macondo. I just do not know if it was executed properly. Three out of five for atmosphere.

Now time for the writing. I was surprised how good the writing was for this being a translated work, from Spanish to English. Some paragraphs were just absolutely beautiful. Gabriel Garcia Marquez really can put a picture of what you are reading into your head. Four out of five for writing.

The plot somewhat ties in with the atmosphere. (That seems strange to type.) I love the idea of the town being the main character and the story being the history of this town but I just do not think it was executed properly. Generational tales are my absolute favorite but when you have characters living to be 122 years old and having the same names it just gets confusing. Plot gets a four out of five.

Logic? Was there really any logic here? That like a lot of things in this novel, I truly do not know. One character living to be 145? I am not sure if that is possible in this time but who knows. Also, there were no dates in this book so I was having to guess when everything was taking place. I still do not know. Logic gets a two out of five.

Before I wrap things up here I want to say a lot of things in this book are unusual, and that is putting it nicely. We do have to remember this book takes place in the past when cousin marriage was common and arranged marriages as well. With that being said some of the things in this book did make me uncomfortable and I would recommend you up the trigger warnings before reading.

I would not say that I did not enjoy this book. It was a classic three star for me. I did enjoy getting to learn about a different culture that I had not known a lot about before. I got another classic under my belt and that feels pretty good. Have you read ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’? Let me know!

3 out of 5 stars.

Into the Black: The Inside Story of Metallica Review

Metallica became the biggest band in the world in 1991. The band was already ten years into their career but the were just now releasing their self titled album, more commonly known as ‘The Black Album”. This album was produced by more of a mainstream producer, Bob Rock, who had done albums with Bon Jovi and Motley Crue in the past. That sounds like a thrash metalhead’s nightmare.

The band received loads of criticism for this album. Some saying they were selling out to Hollywood and forgetting their metal roots.The band was growing and trying different things. The album did sell well, becoming one of the top selling albums of the decade. The band had to ride off of this high and continue the momentum. That was done by touring with huge acts of the time on giant stadium tours, making music videos for MTV, and a last making more music.

The 1990s was an awkward time for rock music. Glam was getting thrown out the door and the Seattle grunge was coming in. Bubblegum pop and bands that wouldn’t last for five minutes were taking over the scene. Metal prevailed, Metallica prevailed though while all others fell.

First and foremost, I should state that Metallica are one of my favorite bands. I knew most of the facts going into this book, therefore, it was easy and fast for me to read and understand. I felt like this book did a good job compiling over twenty years into an almost three hundred page book.

This book is about the music and the industry that it is in. Don’t come to this for a juicy tell all but I really don’t think Metallica fans would be looking for that to begin with. At some points there were little personal paragraphs but only about James. I get that he is the frontman but do I really need to know that his eye sight was getting bad and he needed glasses? Just pure randomness.

As I said, I am a fan of this band, mainly their work in the eighties. I don’t think their later albums are bad, bands need to evolve and grow. I think it is important to try different sub genres. I know that Miley Cyrus gets a lot of hate but one of the awesome things about her is that every album is different, never the same. Metallica are the same and I applaud them for that. I learned a lot about that process in this book. I never realized how much criticism the band got for their more modern albums.

My few complaints are very minimum. The writers did get somethings wrong, example one being “[Lars] had flew from Los Angeles to California to see the band perform at the Woolwich Odeon in south London.” Okay, how do you fly from Los Angeles to California and I don’t think London is in California. Point number two, the paragraph is talking about Ron McGovney driving the band to San Francisco from Los Angeles.. on Interstate 95. I95, is the east coast connector and not the west coast. All these “typos” happen in the last twenty pages, I don’t know if the writers were rushing to finish or what. I thought the writers did at times sound cocky. They acted like Metallica were the only band in the world or better than everyone else. That didn’t leave a good feel with me. If you like heavy metal and want to know more, pick this book up.

4 out of 5 stars.

Canterbury Tales Review

PhotoRoom_20200810_133634

This is a retelling of the Canterbury Tales. This is not the original. Barbara Cohen took four of the original tales and made them easier for us to understand in modern times. This is done in prose and not poetry like the original.

The first tale that we are told is the one of ‘The Nun’s Priest’s Tale‘. It is a fable which uses animals to get its point across. The reader learns in this that if someone is too prideful they might not see their own faults or anyone’s around them. This could lead to their downfall.

Then we come to ‘The Pardoner’s Tale‘, this is a tale to teach the readers about greed and what corruption that it can lead to. However I found that it could also teach us you get what you deserve and treating others how you want to be treated.

Ah, now the tale that I remember the most from reading this in high school, ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’. In this tale we really see how women were as people and how they were treated in fourteenth century Europe. I do think this is a feminist story, we see how women want to be treated in a relationship and also that there is more to a woman than just her face and body. Something that I really wish men would understand.

The last tale that we come across in this short book is, ‘The Franklin’s Tale‘. This is a tale on relying on someone else, having faith in that person. It can also be seen as staying true to yourself. It is a story of honor, very much Stark and Tully manner.

When I purchased this book on Amazon, a year ago, I thought it was all the Canterbury Tales and the original version. Not a version that is made for young readers to understand and get a general idea of Chaucer. This is my fault! This is all a me problem and not the book problem.

I found that the way the prologues are done to be awkward. They mention tales that the reader will not read in this bind up, I found myself being confused by this. I know that I did not go into too much detail about what the tales are actually about but when they are around ten pages long I feel like there is not much that I can say without spoiling it.

Should I find a copy of the actual Canterbury Tales to read it? If so, do you have a certain one that you recommend? Again, everything here is a me problem so I felt like I should just give the book an average rating of a three star.

Star Wars: Knight Errant Review

PhotoRoom_20200806_133609

Kerra Holt is a Jedi. She is known is an errant knight in Sith run space. All alone and not in her own galaxy. Her goal is to end Sith rule and the oppressions it has on the citizens on multiple planets. Rusher is a mercenary, he works for whoever will hire him and his crew. Usually his employer is a Sith lord. He does not like the Sith but it is a way to make money. Narsk is a spy, taking work for Sith lords just like Rusher. Those are our main characters.

Lord Daiman rules a few planets in Sith space. He is only in his twenties but sees himself as a god. He tells his people that they or their universe simply did not exist before he did. Most know that this is a straight up lie but they live in a dictatorship, where questioning that could end up with death or another kind of severe punishment.

Kerra is on a mission to kill this Sith lord and rid the galaxy of him. She will save his people and take them as refugees, back to the Republic. She lives undercover in this world to understand its people and investigate how it is ruled. She is one Jedi who has to take down many Sith lords. Can she do it?

Rusher is working for Daiman. There is a battle to come and he has been employed to have his group be the troops. Rusher knows that Daiman’s whole regime is a scam. He knows that the elites just play this game of power. He is just a piece in it. It gives him something to do and money to make.

Narsk is one of the few people who has a general idea why this war has been happening, what started it all. One of the ploys from his current employer, Daiman’s older brother, is to kill Daiman. He comes across a Jedi in this time as well. They both have the same goal but for different reasons and go about it very differently.

Are all Sith bad? Are all Jedi good? Is there a pure evil and a pure good? These are questions that go throughout many Star Wars novels.

*****

 Before starting this novel, I had no idea that it was an adaption of a graphic novel. I thought the book came out first and then the comic. So, I have to say, read the comic first! From reading other reviews I have heard that this is very helpful and adds more to the characters and the story!

John Jackson Miller’s books seem to very plot driven and not character driven. Kerra Holt was without a doubt our main character, she’s on the cover of the book and the title is about her. I still had lots of questions, how did she get to sith space? How long has she been there? Does she plan on going back to the republic? We do not really get any answers to those. Then we had other character POVs, who I did enjoy, but they were just a long for the ride. We did not get any real development with them. I would have liked to know more about the certain Sith lords in this story.

Characters were a three out of five stars. I enjoyed them and liked the tension that we had between Kerra and Rusher but we only really had development with Kerra and none of the others.

The atmosphere was like most Star Wars books set in the old republic era. I thought seeing how each government on the planets ran and I really like the tundra world that we see in the last part.

Atmosphere is a four out of five stars.

The writing was not anything special. The very last chapter, I do think was beautiful but the rest was just average for me.

The writing was  average so that is a three out of five stars.

The plot. Earlier I said that Miller’s stories are more plot drive than character driven. Now that I think about it, yes, there was a plot, but it was just a lot of action taking place. There was not any dull moments but it was always go, go, go, and I think that was over done. Then the ending, I just thought it wasn’t good. We did all this travel and fighting throughout the novel and then the ending was just bland. I wanted to know what happened next. Maybe I have to read the comics to find out.

The plot gets a three out of five stars.

Now time for the intrigue. I was intrigued. I wanted to know who characters were working for, what their motive was, would they be alright, and so on.

Intrigue gets a four out of five stars.

I have a lot of questions about the logic. This isn’t necessarily about the book but I just felt like this taking play a thousand years before the events of the Star Wars movies, nothing has really changed with the society. The technology has not advanced much.

Logic is a three out of five.

Lastly, did I enjoy Knight Errant? It was an average read for me. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had read the comics before hand. I will read the comics at some point. I wish we would have learned more about the characters and that our plot was not always at such a fast pace. This is just one stop on my journey of reading all the Star Wars canon and legend books.

 

Song for a Whale, Book Review

77ca10235ea05c2c1592afd280e8b987-w204@1x

Iris was born deaf. It runs in her family as both of her maternal grandparents are deaf as well. The disability seemed to have skipped a generation, so Iris is the only one in her home that is deaf, her mother and older brother know American Sign Language but her father still struggles with communicating with her as he says that languages are not his thing but numbers are, eye roll.

She attends a regular public school that is full of “normal” kids, she is the only one who has to around with an interpreter, it is hard for Iris to fit in. One day, in science class the teacher plays a video about a hybrid whale who goes by Blue 55, he has yet to be tagged and is only followed by his unique song.

Blue 55 is the son of two different kinds of whales so his song doesn’t match any other whale songs. He cannot communicate to the other whales. Therefore, he is alone in the dark waters of the Pacific without a family or pod, a group of whales.

Iris cannot help but compare 55’s story to her own. Being so alone in the world, feeling like no one is listening or there to understand. She feels like she must help this whale who is four thousand miles away from her home in Texas. Iris must find a way to communicate with this whale and let him know that he is not alone in this universe, other’s relate to his struggle with communication.

The characters in this book were alright. I had to keep reminding myself that this book is middle grade and that Iris is twelve years old. I have to say most people that age are annoying, trust me, I know because I was an annoying twelve year old before. You think that you know everything but you don’t. That being said, I think that it is okay that Iris is this way as it is typical for someone her age.

Now, the parents, that’s another story. First, the dad not taking the time to learn sign language to be able to communicate with his daughter just makes me mad. In this book she meets a friend who wants to learn right away but her own father doesn’t!! Then there is the mother who does not want to let Iris go to the deaf school where she would be around her peers because the mother does not want to feel alone. What? Wouldn’t you want your kid to have friends? Come on. I gave the character’s a four out of five as I felt like our main character was realistically written.

The atmosphere in this book is nothing special. We start in Houston, I felt like it was a smaller town so maybe the family is out in the suburbs. Once we get to the traveling aspects of the book the atmosphere gets better. Nothing to write home about,   an average three out of five.

The writing isn’t great either, very, we did this and then we did that. I understand that this is middle grade so that writing style might be easier for the age range to understand. I also felt like we had jumps between chapters with no explanation of what happened between the two scenes, that leaves readers confused. Writing is a two out of five.

Throughout the story, I do feel like there were several contradictions. Yes, there are several similarities between Iris and Blue 55 but she has a family and he has none, she does have friends when he isn’t is in a pod. That is just one example.

With the main character of this book being deaf we do get that disability representation. As I am not deaf I cannot tell you if it was properly done but the writer, Lynne Kelly, does work as a sign language interpreter and seems to have a lot of experience working with those who do have hearing impairments. It really opened my eyes to how frustrating it must be to be deaf.

I would not say that I enjoyed this novel but it did not bore me either, God bless short chapters. The parents did bug me a lot but we are seeing them from the point of a view of a tween and I feel like most tweens do see their parents as annoying. All that aside, I do think this book would be something good for young people to read. As it does bring representation to the deaf community and that was something as an adult that I have never read before. It also shows you that nothing is impossible and if you really work than you can reach your dreams even if there are a few bumps in the road, they just make  you more determined.