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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ragesong: Retribution (Book 3)



Ragesong: Retribution (Book 3) by J.R. Simmons

Blurb (from amazon.com):

"While the Dread King advances steadily through the land, a resistance movement led by the exiled king of Kardonin scrambles to turn the tide of war. King Klyle sends Jake, Sam, and their Changeling companions on a quest in an effort to combat Brael and his powerful Elites. Together they journey forth into a new kingdom, searching for information about an ancient artifact of unknown power that just might be the only thing able to stop Brael and his dark forces. Meanwhile, Klyle and two of his most loyal soldiers travel with the mysterious leader of a clan whose people were once his sworn enemies. Klyle faces obstacles and threats as he works to secure an alliance with the Bloodmox riders of Southern Reach, while Jake and Sam find troubles of their own among the rich and powerful Traders. Will they find the fabled treasure of Fermicia? Can Klyle overcome the ghosts of his past and join the riders to his cause? Each second counts as Brael draws nearer to his dark and twisted goal."

My Review:

I was so excited to read this book! I couldn't wait to learn more about Jake and Sam and their adventures! Will they finally defeat Brael? I hate that guy. Anyway, this book did not disappoint! Once again, I got sucked into the story and couldn't put it down. The story line didn't progress a whole lot, but enough that I need to get my hands on the next book. Pronto. One of my favorite parts was with Jake and Sam in Yolieseleth when they participated in the Shilaak Milikum. I loved the descriptions of the laaks and their designs, especially Chet's. I thought that whole part of the book was so fun, and it was great to see how Sam and Jake were able to grow as individuals, and how Jake was able to hone in on his Ragesong. In this book we were able to learn a lot more about Klyle and his past, and I thought it explained a lot; I learned so much about his relationship with Brael and why it turned out the way it did. I wasn't a huge fan of the place Klyle ended up in, and his situation, but hopefully the next book will make that situation a little better. The book is well written, and I like the writing style because it just sucks you right in. The descriptions of the cities and the different creatures are very well done. I have really enjoyed this series. This ending is quite abrupt, and it definitely leaves you hanging, so I'm hoping the next book comes out soon!! There isn't any profanity or "intimacy." There is some teenage flirting, but it's harmless and cute. There is, however, quite a bit of violence, and some of it is quite graphic. There is a lot of fighting and a few characters die. The violence is the only negative with this book, and it is the reason for the higher age rating. As a bonus, the cover art on this book is much better than the first book's. :)

Rating: PG-13 (There isn't any profanity or "intimacy," but there is quite a bit of violence, and some of it is graphic.)

Recommendation: 13 years-old and up  (YA approved!)

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Forever and Forever: The Courtship of Henry Longfellow and Fanny Appleton


Forever and Forever: 
The Courtship of Henry Longfellow and Fanny Appleton
by
Josi S. Kilpack

Blurb:

"It's 1836, and nineteen-year-old Fanny Appleton, a privileged daughter of a wealthy, upper-class Boston industrialist, is touring Europe with her family. Like many girls of her day, she enjoys the fine clothes, food, and company of elite social circles. But unlike her peers, Fanny is also drawn to more intellectual pursuits. Published author and poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is also touring Europe, but under much different circumstances. Widowed while in Europe, he has stayed in order to gather credentials that he hopes will secure his professorship at Harvard College. When Henry meets Fanny, he sees in her a kindred spirit, a lover of language and literature and high ideals. He is in love. Fanny, however, is uncertain. He is ten years older than she is, and from a much  lower social class. How could such a relationship ever thrive? Could a book of Henry's poetry, personally delivered, persuade Fanny to believe in a love that lasts forever and forever?"

My Review:

I thought this was a cute love story. Henry and Fanny are both well written, and it was fun to get to know them and their story. Fanny is quite the character. She is a strong female character; almost too strong, in fact. She is a bit stubborn and set in her ways. Henry seems like such a nice guy. He's down to earth and up in the clouds at the same time. He is stubborn in his own way. Because each of these characters is so strong-willed, it takes most of the book to actually reach the romance part. There are bits and pieces here and there along the way, but the lead-up is definitely most of the book. This could be seen as a negative, but I actually enjoyed getting to know the characters and their stories. I liked how their paths intertwined and how they both needed the time it took. It's funny how age and a little experience can make you look at things differently. I also loved getting sucked into the 19th century with its customs, traditions, and language. It was fun as a reader to know that these people were real, and that many of the events that took place and the people that surrounded them were also real. I thought it was a good depiction of what their lives could have been like. As a woman I'm also thankful that times have changed a bit in regard to women and their circumstances. We've come a long way since the 19th century, and it makes me wonder what Fanny would be like if she were living in today's world. I also thought it was fun to have quotes from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poetry intermixed throughout the story. Although it was a little slow in parts, and there were quite a few typos (the spelling of one character's name changed throughout the book), I thought this book was sweet and fun, and I think it's a good addition to the proper romance genre. I enjoyed it, and would recommend it. 

Rating: PG (There might be a kiss or two. :) There is also the death of a character, but it doesn't go into too many details, and it's not gory or anything.)

Recommendation: Young Adult and up (13+ years-old and up)

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.



Thursday, April 7, 2016

How Do I Know If I Know?



How Do I Know If I Know? by John Bytheway

Blurb:

"It's spiritual gut-check time! The mission age has been lowered, and now more than ever, young people are asking themselves important questions:
  • How do I know if I really have a testimony?
  • Am I ready to serve a mission?
  • What does the Spirit feel like?
John Bytheway suggest that we "F.E.E.L." the truthfulness of the gospel through our feelings, our experiences, the many evidences we encounter, and our logical conclusions about how a loving God interacts with His children on the earth. Like gradually turning up a dimmer switch, understanding all the ways we F.E.E.L. our testimony will help it grow brighter. As you read, you may discover that your testimony is stronger than you thought, and you'll also become more excited and motivated to let your light shine!"

My Review:

I heard John Bytheway speak many years ago when I was a youth, and he captivated me! He does such a great job of relating to the youth with his humor and stories. This is the first book I have read by him, and I was interested to see if I would feel the same way about his writing as I did of his speaking. I have to say that I was impressed. His writing style is easy to follow and understand, and he uses simple examples to explain difficult things; which makes them easier to understand and follow. He puts things in an engaging and motivating way, and it makes you want to work harder to do better. I think the topic is so relevant too. I have a 14 year-old son, and he could go on a mission right out of high school. There isn't the chance to spend a year figuring it all out before you go, it's now! These kids need to be prepared, and it scares me as a mom! What if I haven't prepared him? What if I haven't done enough? This book helps the kids to prepare themselves, which is what really needs to happen. We moms can't do it for them. They need to know--they don't need to know that we know. This is a short, easy read, but it packs a big punch. I am going to have both my 14 year-old and 12 year-old sons read this book because I think it will help them to determine where they are and if they are doing enough to prepare themselves. I definitely recommend this book to parents and youth alike, those who want to serve missions and those who don't, it benefits everyone.

Rating: G (It's clean!)

Recommendation: 12 years-old and up (Younger kids could read it and understand it, but I think it will most benefit the youth rather than the children.)



Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I'm now on Instagram!!!

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My sister has been trying to get me on Instagram forever! So I finally did it! I don't have any friends yet, so please be my friend (is that even how instagram works???). My username is TheReadathon. Please find me and help me out!

Thank you!!!


Monday, April 4, 2016

Flight of Dreams



Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

Blurb:

"On the evening of May 3, 1937, ninety-seven people board the Hindenburg for its final, doomed flight to Lakehurst, New Jersey. Among them are a frightened stewardess who is not what she seems, the steadfast navigator determined to win her heart, a naive cabin boy eager to earn a permanent spot on the world's largest airship, an impetuous journalist who has been blacklisted in her native Germany, and an enigmatic American businessman with a score to settle. Over the course of three hazy, champagne-soaked days their lies, fears, agendas, and hopes for the future are revealed. Flight of Dreams is a fiercely intimate portrait of the real people on board the last flight of the Hindenburg. Behind them is the gathering storm in Europe, and before them is looming disaster. But, for the moment, they float over the Atlantic, unaware of the inexorable, tragic fate that awaits them. Brilliantly exploring one of the most enduring mysteries of the twentieth century, Flight of Dreams is that rare novel with spellbinding plotting that keeps you guessing until the last page and breathtaking emotional intensity that stays with you long after."

My Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I liked getting to know all of the characters. I definitely had my favorites. Werner is the cabin boy, and I liked his character a lot. You can see that he is young and impressionable, and you can also see that he wants to impress the adults around him. He wants them to respect him. He tries very hard, but gets himself into a few awkward situations because he is young and the others feel like they can manipulate him. Emilie is the stewardess, and I also liked her character. She has a kind demeanor, is friendly to even the most obnoxious passengers, and does her job well. She has a secret that causes a bit of commotion, but I enjoyed getting to know her. Max is the navigator, and I liked him as well. He has a bit of a temper that causes problems for those he cares about, but I think he has a good heart. I also liked some of the passengers aboard the Hindenburg. I know that it's impossible to know exactly what each of the people aboard that trip were like, but I think Ms. Lawhon does a very good job at making them come to life on the page. Each of them is lifelike and relatable. And because none of them are perfect, the flaws they have make them seem so real. You can see their joys, their fears, their weaknesses, and their strengths. The plot Ms. Lawhon follows seems as if it could be what actually occurred on that doomed flight. It is completely plausible and I enjoyed watching it unfold. The hardest part was getting know these characters and being unable to stop what was coming. Reading about the explosion and how it happened was heart wrenching, especially when you saw what happened to each of the characters you had come to know and love. Let's just say it is not a fairy tale ending. However, I liked this book a lot, and would definitely recommend it.

Rating: R (There is at least one "intimacy" scene, and it's a bit detailed. There are several innuendos also. There is some profanity with at least one "f" word. And it's quite violent at the end with the explosion. Watching that many people die is not for the faint of heart.)

Recommendation: Adult

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.