‘When the Sky Fell on Splendor’ Book Review

“Just Kids. Kids, pretending to be okay in a world that wasn’t.”

Chapter Thirty-five.

Six teenagers in small town Ohio are all linked together because of a town tragedy and how it impacted each of their families. This group of kids call themselves ‘The Ordinary”. They have a rule that they won’t talk about the event that brought them all together and only do things that make them happy so they can forget all about the grief that took over the town of Splendor. The Ordinary have a Youtube channel where they post fake paranormal videos and what not but one night when they are going out to film one of their episodes, the unexpected happens. They catch video of something falling from the sky and it changes everything that they have ever known.

I was not a huge fan of these characters, even though I wanted to be. I was getting all the boys confused from the get go. They are all supposed to have quirky personality traits but I feel like you could have morphed them all into one and it would have been fine. I didn’t really like Franny, I just found her kind of annoying. There was not one exact thing that I can think of off the top of my head, I just didn’t think she was likeable. Characters get a two out of five.

“Nothing in this universe could ever be deleted, only hidden.”

Chapter Thirty-six.

The atmosphere was alright. Splendor is just like any other small and ordinary town in the United States. I feel like this had to happen in a small town though, it would not be as fun in a big city. Three out of five.

I expected more from this author to be honest with you. I have heard so many people rave about ‘Beach Read’, so I thought the writing must be great. It was an average writing style, it got the job done, nothing impressive. Some paragraphs were very nice and emotional but some paragraphs are not going to make up for a 350 page novel. Once again, a three out of five.

“How many billions of things had to happen just right to give me this ordinary life.”

Chapter Thirty-six.

This is a very interesting plot and one that is right up my alley. It is a coming of age story, check mark. Aliens, another check. Compared to Stranger Things, basically a bingo. Again, this book is just ordinary like the group of friends. I am not that all impressed by it and I feel like the plot we had going for 90% of the books just got all thrown away with the ending. I don’t think that this book was leading towards that at all. There’s so many things I could say but it would be spoilers. We will just leave a three star here.

The intrigue fell flat as well. The first half of the book was so slow. I did not know when the story would actually start happening. Then we got to that fifty percent mark and it all started happening and the pacing was great. I was making theories/predictions throughout my time reading.. I got all of them right. Yes, that is fun getting to know that I was right but also makes it boring when I knew what would would happen. 3 out of five.

My logic complaint, I do not know if this falls in the right category but we will just put it here. It’s the ending thing again, I guess it works with the grief aspect of the story but I feel like it just made the rest of the story seem pointless. I think there were some loose ends with some of the plots as well. They just were not wrapped up. 2 or 3? Let’s do a 2.5

This was an average read for me, I mean, I kind of feel like I wasted my time but it is too late to complain about that now. I feel like this book would have been good with just Franny and Remy but instead we got a whole pack of underdeveloped characters. The atmosphere was just a small town, nothing marvelous about it. The writing was like any ole book. The plot was really cool I just wish we would have got a better ending. This was an average read, nothing more to it.

The final rating for this book is a 2.75 out of 5 stars.

There will be reading vlog for my time reading this book. It will come out 01/19/2021 at 9PM EST. You subscribe to my YouTube here: Izzy Rain – YouTube or you can follow me on Facebook at Izzy Rain | Facebook

‘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.

Canterbury Tales Review

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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

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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

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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.

Pride and Prejudice Book Review

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The Bennet family is derived of five daughters, the home will pass to a male cousin as this is set in the late 1700s or early 1800s. The daughters need to be put into good marriages as they might not have somewhere to go once their father, Mr. Bennet, passes away. Jane is the eldest daughter and the most beautiful in the eyes of society, then there is Elizabeth or “Lizzy” Bennet she is very witty and intelligent, Mary who is tucked away in her studies, and then the  two younger and wilder daughters, Catherine “Kitty” and Lydia Bennet.

One day in the small, sleepy village of Meryton, a big to do happens when an old estate is purchased by a young bachelor from London. This obviously widens Mrs. Bennet’s eyes as she is trying to get her daughters into good and respectable marriages.

The man who moves into Netherfield Park is Mr. Bingley. He brings a big entourage from London with him, including his best friend and then his sisters. A ball is hosted to celebrate their arrival and Mr. Bingley dances with Jane not once but twice.  Mrs. Bennet is thrilled. Therefore the relationship between Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley begins. At the party there is Mr. Mystery or otherwise known as Mr. Darcy. He refuses to dance with any of the women from the Meryton area, even saying that he does not wish to dance with Miss. Elizabeth Bennet. All of the locals find him prideful and that he thinks himself to high mighty to converse with commoners. He gets a bad name in the village and surrounding areas.

The story is a slow burn romance starting at that ball and going through months of denying having feelings for each other over ranks in society, and in fact over pride and prejudice against Mr. Darcy and Miss. Bennet.

This is very much a character driven novel! I really enjoyed the character of Elizabeth Bennet. I felt as though she had more of a head on her shoulders than the other women in her family. As stated before she has wit and intellect to her, she does not see herself as one just to settle down and be any man’s wife, she refused two proposals in this book! I think she was very ahead of her time.

Mr. Darcy, a literary favorite of many. This man is loved by so many people, and I am certainly glad that he did not let me down. I think he was very similar to Elizabeth he had wit and was intelligent. He was not just the good looking man with money like his friend, Mr. Bingley. Darcy was a very complex character that we got to unravel throughout the novel. I think he is the reason for the “bad boy” trope that we see in many romance novels in modern day.

Characters got a five out of five for me. There were some characters like Mrs. Bennet and Lady Catherine that I did not like but I believe they were written that way.

The atmosphere did not impress me too much. It was average, just a small little English town that soldiers would sometimes get stationed in and people would come to live in, in the winter or summer. The writing could have saved this but I was not too impressed with Austen’s writing either, very average and dull. Both atmosphere and writing got a three out of five.

The plot was going smoothly for the first fifty percent, but when I picked it up for the last twenty chapters it just seemed to drag. I felt like Austen was throwing in some drama, with Lydia, that did not necessarily need to be there and I felt like it had no real impact on the story. Remember, this is a character driven novel and I felt as though that made up for when the plot was lacking at times. The plot got a three out of five.

Going into Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, I did not think I would like it. This classic is very hyped, and a favorite of many. If you follow me on Goodreads, you know that I have had a hard time with romances in the past and this is one of the most iconic romance books of all time. I was scared. I did however very much enjoy it. I love a nice slow burn love story and then the two love interests being a bit feisty is always good! I can totally see so many tropes that came to be inspired from this book. I think this is a very influential book and inspired many. I cannot wait to read more from Jane Austen.

Overall this was a 3.75 out of five star review.

 

 

 

February TBR

My February TBR is here, the first blog post of 2020! This month I plan on reading five books to bring me closer to my 2020 reading goal of 63 books! In February I will be participating in the Explore-A-Thon! I will leave a link to their twitter at the end of this post!

The first book I plan to read this month is a booktube favorite, the first book in the Illuminae Files trilogy, written by popular authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This book is written in a multimedia format and I’ve been told the audiobook format is the route to take as you follow along.

This story takes place in the unimaginable year of 2575, following two main characters, Kady and Ezra. They were once lovers but the relationship did not seem to work out for the pair. Their planet gets taken over by an enemy civilization, they both have to find their way to an evacuation craft. An enemy ship tails at them, willing to end it all at any second. That is a worry until a plague breaks out among the evacuees. Kady has to get to the bottom of how it all started, the artificial intelligence is supposed to be protecting them from such things. She has to try to break into the system but it is almost impossible to hack through all the codes and files of data. There is one person who can help her and that is no other than Ezra.

Beartown is a work of fiction that is translated from Swedish. It is also one of the longest time books on my TBR, it has been on my shelves for at least two years and I am so ready to get to it!

A small village nestled by a forest, that’s what Beartown is. Everything revolves around the ice rink that was built years ago by the town’s founders. Their local team is making its way into the national hockey playoffs. If the team of teenagers could win, that would wake up this sleepy town again. A violent incident comes upon a young girl, that could change everything for the town. Tempers are flying with fingers being pointed, all the hopes and dreams of Beartown could come crashing down.

I found out about this nonfiction book from Claire Ridgeway on YouTube! If you are fascinated by Tudor England, I highly recommend checking out her channel. She has written several books on English history as well.

Margaret of Austria played and important role in Middle Ages Europe. She was an influence to one of the most notorious consorts in English history. Margaret was well educated and spent her youth in various courts across Europe. She was regent of the Low Countries and cared greatly for the arts and humanities. Margaret showed what it was like to be a strong ruler.

February TBR Video

ExploreAThon

October 2019 Wrap Up

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In October, I finished four books. That adds up to 1,357 pages. I don’t give rankings to graphic novels or children’s books, so overall the ratings I gave these books made it be a very good book month!

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 4/5 stars
  • Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan 4/5 stars

I also took part in the Witch-a-thon on book tube. The challenges I completed and which books I used will be listed down below.

  1. Pick a book that features your heritage: The Book Thief as I am 30.9% German.

4.  Pick a book that involves a pantheon of deities: Wicked Saints as our main character can communicate with the gods.

October TBR

All the Books I Read in October

“Wicked Saints” Review

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“She had come here to stop a war, to bring about justice for her gods, to bring them back.”


Nadezhda Lapteva, Nadya, was raised at a monastery in the country of Kalyazin. She has no memory of her parents; all she knows is life in the mountains. Her mother knew that the child she was carrying was touched by the gods. “Nadya communed with the entire pantheon was a rarity the priests who trained her could not explain.”-Page 34. The records in Kalyazin, never spoke of a cleric who could speak to more than one god, but Nadya could hear them all. She is something divine.

“War has made us all used to living in desecrated spaces once considered holy.”

   Across the border in Tranavia, there are different rulers, the high prince being Serefin Meleski. He is the prince and one of the most powerful blood mages. He has been sent away by the king, his insecure and weak in magic father, to Kalyazin. He is to kill the cleric and take blood magic to those who still believe the ways of the old gods. “If he pushed Serefin out of sight, the slavhki of the court would never recall the son was more powerful than his father.”- Page 74. It is obvious that Serefin has built up resentment to his father in these years away from the court and in battle in a foreign land.

“Don’t you wonder what it would be like? To be someone else, with no expectations upon you or the fear of retribution keeping you on the same path.”

    A monster, not knowing what path he is to take, who he is to become. He has had a conflicted life, starting at the same age. Is he just a normal boy with powers stronger than some or is he becoming a monster? He has left the cult he was raised in, to find the path that he truly wants or needs to take. “Here was the very thing she had ben taught her entire life was an abomination-and he was very much the worst kind of abomination-but he was also just … a boy.”- Page 116

“The girl. The girl and the monster and the prince.”

     These three have to come together and assassinate the king, to a end a holy war that has been in the works for a hundred years. “The Tranavians had found ways to shield themselves from the gods; that was one of the reasons the war had begun in the first place. It meant that if they had found some darker method of harnessing magic, then the gods would not know. It was terrifying.”- page 135. Nadya is being sent by the god she still believes to end this war by bringing her gods back to Tranavia. Serefin has come back to court to find a suitor to be his future queen. The monster must decide what his fate will be. How will all their paths cross to take down the king?

“No one. Just a girl. Some small scrap of divinity.”

  Ah, a young adult fantasy that received a ton of hype. Will I enjoy it? I did! I am always hesitant opening up the cover of a book that has been talked about so much on booktube or bookstagram but Wicked Saints did not disappoint. I think the audiobook would be better for the Something Dark and Holy series, as I am still not certain on how to pronounce certain names and locations that are mentioned throughout the story. A glossary would come in handy as well as I was often finding myself confused with the gods, characters, and words that are used in this universe. The writing style was average, it made me feel cold though and I think that is perfect for a world that is inspired by Poland and Russia.

This plot line was entertaining, wondering how all three paths and plots would cross. I liked how we had multiple kinds of magic and how they were against each other, both types seeing the other as an “abomination”. I did not know which one was truly the good one. Theories were constantly coming to my head as I read this story, there were so many twists and turns, I was wanting to know what would happen next. I will be continuing this series when Ruthless Gods comes out on April 7,2020.

October TBR

This month, all these books except Wicked Saints were hand chosen by me because I hit my Goodreads reading goal of fifty books! Yay me! The book Thief was included in this TBR originally but since it is a carry over from 5e previous month there will not be a description in his post.

Wicked Saints is the first book in the Something Dark and Holy trilogy. It is a Slavic inspired fantasy novel that has a lot to do with blood magic. Three paths have to meet to take down the king and end a war that has been in the process for generations.

Princess Lia has a life laid out in front of her. One of the parts of life is an arranged marriage by her parents, one to form an alliance with a nearby kingdom. Lia runs away when it comes time to marry this unknown prince. She starts a new life in a small village but that gets flipped around when strangers approach her, one the prince she was supposed to marry, the other an assassin who has come to kill her.

Sadie had to raise her sister all on her own. Mattie, the sister, is found dead one day. Sadie is going to do anything to get revenge on the killer of her sister. The police investigation didn’t do well enough, she needs to bring justice to this all.

The other part of this book is told in a podcast format, the reason why I am doing this as an audiobook. That’s where our other character comes in. West is a radio host and hears about the story missing girl. He wants to find out what happened to her, West starts a podcast to help spread word of this case and document it.

(I didn’t include The Book Thief, since it was a carry over, or Prisoner of Azkaban since it’s the third in a series.)