Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Beginning of Everything - Robyn Schneider

Summary: Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? 

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

Summary and cover art from Goodreads.com

My review: At first pass, you might think you've picked up a John Green novel. Wise, witty teenagers dealing with darkness, flirting with happiness, yet knowing that no happy ending could ever be in store for them. But unlike Green--who comes off as self-indulgent to me--Schneider is less trite and weaves a more dimensional tale that is a joy to read. 

After Ezra's accident, he resigns as the reigning king of the school. While other YA books might have had him banished to his table of misfits, Ezra willingly banishes himself. It takes most of the book for him to discover that his jock friends are still his friends, willing to do anything to help him bridge his "before" and "after." And Ezra learns he never really was king of the school. Perhaps king of his clique, perhaps Homecoming king, but he learns that other cliques have their hierarchies that he never knew about nor appreciated. The lines of cliques he once saw are blurred. The growth and tragedy he experiences during his senior year--though he initially attributes it to his relationship with It-girl Cassidy Thorpe--comes from his own development. I was quite pleased with that. I'm all for a good transfiguring love story, but in YA, it's especially nice to have the main character's development be independent from the love story. 

The characters shine as the heart of the story. Ultimately the theme of the book is that people are kind, good, compassionate, and understanding. The limits we live in are often self-imposed. Who we are at 16 will never be who we are for the rest of our lives, and that's a very good thing. And, of course, young love is wonderful and heartbreaking, but it's not meant to last and that's okay. 

My rating: Four stars

For the sensitive reader: Swears, including a handful of F-words, though not as riddled with profanity as some YA books (Looking for Alaska, for example). A hazy memory of a decapitation at Disneyland, handled in a mostly comical way--not gory. Kissing and teen sexuality. Teen drinking, though it's fairly demonized. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Happy Birthday Reading For Sanity!

Reading For Sanity, this lovely little book blog for those who love to read and love to find new reads to love, is seven years old today! It's been an amazing journey with literally thousands of reviews under our belts. We have loved to do this and have loved to share this most important past time of reading with you. Here is to many more years of sanity-saving reading!

Our lovely friend at Gnome Sweet Gnome Shop helped us celebrate by giving us these darling candle holders. I mean, seriously? It was so hard to choose which to use--the horse (LOVE) or the shark (LOVE). Whimsical fairytale? Girls party? Horse. Shark week? Boys party? Shark. Hard.to.choose.

But don't be jelly. You can get your own! There are tons of cute animals to choose from to make any event super special. Lovely Liv has got you covered. Visit her etsy site. Follow her Instagram gnomesweetgnomeshop. You will thank me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Long Way Gone - Ishmael Beah

Summary:   My new friends have begun to suspect I haven't told them the full story of my life.
"Why did you leave Sierra Leone?"
"Because there is a war."
"You mean, you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?"
"Yes, all the time."
I smile a little.
"You should tell us about it sometime."
"Yes, sometime."

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.
What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.
In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.
This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.  (Summary from Amazon.com and image from macmillan.com)

My Review:  I read this book rather unwillingly--this is not my typical book of choice.  I was assigned this topic by the Text Set Project I was a part of and had no idea just how much I was to learn.  This book was part of a collection of texts on the issue of child soldiers--articles, a graphic novel, videos, etc.  I believe this text gave the most vivid and clear depiction of what these children go through, but even with this firsthand account you miss some details because the boys were kept high on drugs like cocaine that blurred their thinking and memory.  Additionally, this is a boy's perspective.  A girl's perspective and experience would be different and one that would be necessary to have a complete understanding of what's currently happening.

Beah is a beautiful writer--and an incredible survivor.  The majority of the book is not of the boys fighting.  Beah attributes this to his being so high that he doesn't remember everything.  These haunting images come back to him when he least expects it and torments his mind without his knowing they're coming.  His healing process and his avoidance of the war are what make up the majority of the memoir.  It does put a clear face and family to this horrific situation in war torn countries.  To say using children as soldiers is evil is an understatement.  The more you know and learn, the more sickening the story becomes.  Read at your own risk.

For the sensitive reader:  I do not recommend this to anyone younger than 17 or 18.  The themes and overall story is heart-breaking.  Violence and war is the premise--reading accordingly.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Sum it up:  One boy's memories of living as a child soldier through the warfare in Sierra Leone.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Reading Bingo Challenge - A Mother/Booklover's View

Our school has the best program in the world.  Starting at the end of the school year, children are given a sheet of colored paper with twenty subjects listed on it.  They have the summer to fill in all twenty boxes.  Once school starts, they work their way through five more sheets - eventually reading 120 books by the middle of April.  For those who accomplish this goal, our amazing librarian hosts an in-school party complete with fun assembly, prizes, and a special recognition for the exiting elementary school kids who have completed all five years of Reading Bingo Blackout.

Our school has quite a high success rate with this program.  Granted, the kids are  motivated by the prizes they receive - for each card, our kids get to choose a literary Spirit Stick for their backpacks, and in addition to the End of Year party, they get a T-shirt sporting their accomplishment.

I love volunteering in the library and even more, I love being part of the support staff for the End of Year party.  These kids work hard to accomplish these goals -- 120 books in seven months isn't easy! This summer, however, our Reading Bingo challenge has been a little different.  My son realized at the end of the party last year that he wouldn't the five year award at the end of Fourth grade, since he wasn't a student at our school for Kindergarten and First grade.  He was a little upset.  He kept assuring me he would have done it had the opportunity been there, so I asked him how much he wanted that extra recognition.

He spent some time thinking about it, and proposed an idea to me.  What if, he thought, he were to do the Kinder and First grade Reading Bingo Blackouts this summer?  Forget that that would be 240 books he'd need to read -- not to mention the 20 he'd have to do for his Fourth grade Reading Bingo, it didn't matter to him!  He ended up asking the librarian  (read: he had me ask her), and because she truly is awesome, she agreed.  He came home with a list of 260 books to check off before the end of the summer.

This was a lot harder than we thought it would be.  Our library only allows ten books (TEN?!  I know!!!) to be requested at one time, and we can only check out fifty items at once.  We knew we couldn't go in without a game plan, so I ended up creating a two-page cheat sheet for us to use to check books off.  Checking books off has been truly satisfying, but 260 books is a daunting challenge, especially when not all of them are picture books.  It was also difficult to keep track of which books go where.  With many books coming off of Texas-specific lists, I ended up misappropriating books I'd forgotten were meant for other squares.  Oops.

We ended up scheduling not a daily reading time, but a number of books that my guy had to read every day.  Weekly, we'd go to the library, return our forty books (we can check out fifty, but I can only carry forty -- back issues), check out forty more, and repeat.  More than once, I'd hear someone say "Who could ever check out fifty books?!", see my pile, mutter "Oh ...", and walk away shaking their heads.

I am so, so proud of my fourth grader.  He has come close to burning out more than once, but he's persevered, he's found books that fulfill the requirements that also interest him, and he's found some new favorites in the meantime.  Assuming he completes the Fourth Grade Bingo (and he had so better after this summer!), he'll have read 360 books (actually more, but I haven't tracked non-Bingo books) in one year.  That's a lot!

Would I do it again?  Reading Bingo, yes.  On this magnitude?  No.  One of the challenges we've faced is that my kid, who has the memory of an elephant, hasn't been able to retain as much as he normally would while reading.  It's like a memory overload for a brain -- for him to retain the last few books he's read, the first few books have fallen right out!  It's been hard for all of us to have our lives dictated by what C has to read and by when.  Further, I worry about his passion for reading dulling a bit.  His willpower to finish this has astounded me.  It's truly more than I expected from him.  But I know he'll need a break.  I have a feeling he's not going to read anything for a month once this last book is checked off!

Overall, this is an amazing program.  It provides such a great motivator for reluctant readers, and rewards them for a job well done.  I'm so glad we have this program!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series—Betty MacDonald

Summary: Everyone loves Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside-down house and smells like cookies. She was even married to a pirate once. Most of all, she knows everything about children. She can cure them of any ailment. Patsy hates baths. Hubert never puts anything away. Allen eats v-e-r-y slowly. Mrs Piggle-Wiggle has a treatment for all of them.

The incomparable Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle loves children good or bad and never scolds but has positive cures for Answer-Backers, Never-Want-to-Go-to-Bedders, and other boys and girls with strange habits.

Summary from book #1 and cover art from Goodreads.com

My review: The concept of this series is fun and darling. The prose is long winded and repetitive. I was surprised my 6-year-old did not grow bored. These books were written in the 1940s when, perhaps, attention spans were a little longer. The chapters are quite long for a children’s book (30 minutes to read one chapter out loud) and I really had to pace our bedtime routine to be able to have time for a chapter at night.  The book has no overarching plot. Each chapter takes on the bad habits of one child and his/her frustrated mother who tries to get advice from various friends and neighbors and lastly resorts to calling Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle for her unique and always perfect advice. The first book, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, relied entirely on cunning, natural consequences, and giving kids a “taste of their own medicine.” Subsequent books involved magical cures, which I didn’t find half as endearing or fun.

While I didn’t love these books, my daughter sure did. They are a favorite for her. She even learned a lesson or two, and asked for help cleaning her room and caught herself tattle-telling. So that alone raises my rating from three stars to four.

Old-fashioned gender roles and disciplinarian attitudes abound. That could turn some readers off (I did skip the line where a parent was noticing his daughters amazing qualities, summarizing that she would “make someone a good wife someday” ) but most of the time it’s a relic of yesteryear, sort of like watching a black-and-white show on Nick at Night and admiring the wholesome goodness of the era while simultaneously rejoicing that things are quite different today.

My rating: 4 stars

For the sensitive reader: No worries, this book is squeaky clean. Though there are several gender stereotypes that might bother some readers. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux

Please welcome returning guest reviewer, Joseph Marshall!

Summary: First published in French as a serial in 1909, "The Phantom of the Opera" is a riveting story that revolves around the young, Swedish Christine Daaé. Her father, a famous musician, dies, and she is raised in the Paris Opera House with his dying promise of a protective angel of music to guide her. After a time at the opera house, she begins hearing a voice, who eventually teaches her how to sing beautifully. All goes well until Christine's childhood friend Raoul comes to visit his parents, who are patrons of the opera, and he sees Christine when she begins successfully singing on the stage. The voice, who is the deformed, murderous 'ghost' of the opera house named Erik, however, grows violent in his terrible jealousy, until Christine suddenly disappears. The phantom is in love, but it can only spell disaster. Leroux's work, with characters ranging from the spoiled prima donna Carlotta to the mysterious Persian from Erik's past, has been immortalized by memorable adaptations. Despite this, it remains a remarkable piece of Gothic horror literature in and of itself, deeper and darker than any version that follows. (Summary and image from goodreads.com)

My review: It's no secret to bookworms, theater buffs, or movie buffs what this tale is all about. Over the past hundred years, it's been adapted many times both for film and the musical stage, the latter bringing it its greatest acclaim and fame. The greatest delight I take in the immortal Lloyd Webber production is its faithfulness to the source material. I'm comfortable allowing for artistic license to be taken in an adaptation (yes I'm a Tolkienophiles who still adores the LOTR films), so long as the makers frame it with an amount of accuracy and ultimate respect. I reread The Phantom of the Opera two months ago, then one month ago saw the show for the second time. While the production has all the typical rearrangements in plot, deletions of events and characters (the arcane Persian being the most significant and disappointing) and so forth, I am pleased with its constructors' restraint, and reverence for the original story.

There is a reason why it has so liberally been replicated over and over. It's a classic tale, tragic and tender, of a deranged prodigy smitten as if dead by the sweet and beautiful innocent whose timbre is to him the voice of Deity. (I love Cooper's description of the relationship between King Kong and Ann Darrow: "It was beauty killed the beast.") It is these stories, immortalized by sentiment, that people seem unable to get enough of. We thrive on them, are pained by them, and in the end yearn for more, sometimes in spite of ourselves.

In this tale it is the protagonist Christine Daae whom we follow and root for. A naive yet courageous Swedish orphan, by good fortune she finds herself an up and coming lead singer at the Paris Opera House. She also finds herself seduced by what she can only imagine is an Angel sent from God, appearing to transform her gift of singing into an ethereal masterpiece. She follows his lead for a time, until the Angel of Music is soon unmasked, revealing him a Phantom of Darkness, cold and cruel, yet also hurt and lost. Despite his hatred for humanity and physical derangements, as well as her own terror, Christine takes pity on him, which adds upon her charm and irresistibility. The plot stirs as Christine's childhood playmate, a respected viscount named Raoul, visits Paris and there watches her perform in the Opera House, likewise smitten to the core and determined to fight to the death for her. An amusing side plot emerges as the new managers of the Paris Opera House find themselves increasingly harassed and confused by letters signed "PTO", requiring of them a permanent seat in their finest box for the opera and a monthly stipend to boot.

The Phantom, the book's most enigma, is the reason for its continued retelling by whatever medium. Like many good villains' histories, most of his is untold, left to the reader's imagination, for better or worse. Physically the man is deformed beyond recognition, with two luminescent red beads where his eyes should be, racked with torment and humiliation from it all. But Erik also possesses gifts and ideas which at every turn appear not of this world. Having once studied mysterious arts in Persia, he has a knack for contraptions, inventions, and illusions of the most diabolical sorts. He possesses the deepest appreciate for music, trained in all its theories and techniques, frequently conjuring his own majestic (and also diabolical) manifestations. As for his singing voice it is so unspeakably divine that it can at will turn even the sturdiest minds to hypnosis.

It is the characters and the dialogues, the descriptions and the whole gothic charade that make this novel an unforgettable delight, numbered among classics for reasons far beyond what the greatest theater production could depict.

My Rating: 5 Stars. Suitable for teens and up due to thematic elements.

Sum it up: Gothic, Majestic

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Girl Underwater - Claire Kells

Summary: An adventurous debut novel that cross cuts between a competitive college swimmer’s harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster and her recovery supported by the two men who love her—only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness. 

Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.

That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.

In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but.
  (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review: This is one of those books that makes you uncomfortable. I mean, you can’t read about disasters and people dying without being a little uncomfortable, right? It’s interesting. It’s something you want to know about, and it’s comforting that it’s fiction (although there are obviously real-life plane crashes and people dying in them), but still. It’s hard to read. But because I found it so difficult to read, it was even more incredible that I wanted to keep reading. I wanted to know what happened. That is the sign of a good book, people.

Girl Underwater is well-written. It’s not literary genius or a serious classic, but it is one of those books that’s written in such a way that you’re instantly sucked in and feel like you’re part of what’s going on. You care about the characters, you can feel their pain (see above paragraph, ya know?). Seriously, it’s one of those books that you can’t stop reading. I owe at least one very late night to this book thankyouverymuch and was regretting it the next day when I had intended to “go to bed early” and instead stayed up reading for a couple of hours. I blame this on the structure of the book as well. It alternates chapters between the plane wreck and the impending drama of the survivors and then the wreck and their lives now. It’s so hard to stop when books are well done that way. You get right into something, you see what’s going on, and then BAM. Rudely, the chapter is over and it skips to the other reality. Seriously, people. You have to keep reading, even if you want to go to bed early. Consider yourself warned. Also, just as a warning, your children don’t care if you stayed up late reading because the chapters rudely end on a cliff hanger. Oh no. And in fact, they may want to get up earlier than normal just because. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I wanted to give this book four stars. I really did. I am giving it 3.5, though, because I feel like the plane wreckage part ended abruptly. I don’t want to go into too much detail because I’m expecting that you’ll want to read this book, but I would have liked that part dealt with a little better. I would have liked more details. Instead, it just ended, almost like the author had either run out of time and space or just wasn’t sure how to deal with it and so chose instead to just skip over it. Kells is obviously a very competent writer, but I think that this was maybe an inexperienced novelist kind of mistake. That being said, you should read this book. It’s a very interesting, heartbreaking, coming of age story that was a fun read. But be prepared to lose some sleep.

My Rating: 3.5 stars

For the sensitive reader: There is not much language in this book, and although it deals with new adult issues and romantic situations, it is clean, especially compared to others in the genre.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles: Cloaks and Daggers - Daniel Falconer

Summary: The ultimate celebration of the first two Hobbit movies reveals the culmination of the creative vision for the film through more than 500 previously unpublished photographs, plus exclusive interviews with the designers, cast and crew, written and designed by the team at Weta Workshop.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles – Cloaks and Daggers peers through the silver screen to examine the incredible efforts undertaken to create thousands of costumes, armour, weapons, props and set dressing elements for Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson’s adaptations of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Covering both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, this lavish volume bulges with behind the scenes images, sumptuous photography and film stills. The films’ stars and the creative geniuses behind countless beautiful objets d’art share their insights and stories, revealing how it felt to craft, wield and wear these precious pieces of Middle-earth.

Researched and compiled by Weta Workshop senior concept designer Daniel Falconer, with a foreword by Evangeline Lilly, playing Tauriel the Woodland Elf, and an introduction by costume designer Ann Maskrey, this is the definitive guide to the artefacts and sumptuous fabrics of The Hobbit film adaptations.
 (Summary and image from goodreads.com.  I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.)

Review:  I need to start by apologizing to the publisher.  I devoured this book the day I got it.  It's been a staple coffee-table book in my house.  It's almost walked out of my house numerous times -- I have yet to have a guest over who hasn't gotten lost in its pages. I even shlepped it to Utah to show my Lord of the Rings fanatic brothers - who nearly made off with it.  I spent so much time gushing about this book that I was sure I'd reviewed it.

Guess what?  I hadn't.  Oops.  In my defense, I've given it multiple states' worth of Word of Mouth ... ?  And when I love a book, I'm fairly vocal about it!  Okay, so now to it.

This book is an incredible look behind the scenes of The Hobbit.  (Break out the pitchforks ...) I'm one of the few that actually appreciate the movies more than I appreciate the books.  Before you storm the blog, I've read the whole series multiple times.  It just doesn't resonate with me; I get bored.  The movies, however?  They accomplish what I believe Tolkien accomplishes to my personal detriment.  (I find his ability to say in 10,000 words what could be said in 1,000 tiresome.)  Peter Jackson has created the best love letter from a fanboy ever to hit the big screen in his six movies (although the Battle of the Five Armies was a little too long), and the depth and scope of his vision is incredible.  This book, this incredible, perfect book showcases that without fault.

The history that each piece of scenery, weaponry, armor, coinage, costuming, even the footwear that has been written, recorded, created, and masterfully sculpted into reality is beyond comprehension.  The descriptions and snippets of behind-the-scenes cooperation and the camaraderie that obviously developed endeared me to the film even more.  Someday I want to take an entire day to watch the series while reading these books -- just to give myself as much of the backstory I can, and to appreciate the work that went into these movies that much more.

Really, this is one of those books where the words written are amazing, but nothing can compare to the visuals.  The incredible detail and vivid coloring on the photographs are exquisite.  They so perfectly showcase the pieces that I still find myself getting lost in them.  

If you're even a small fan of the Lord of the Rings series, you need to check out this book.  There are multiple other companion books as well ... and I would love to pour through them as well!

Rating: Five stars

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Wind Catcher - Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef

Summary: Juliet Wildfire Stone hears voices and sees visions, but she can’t make out what they mean. Her eccentric grandfather tells her stories about the Great Wind Spirit and Coyote, but he might as well be speaking another language. None of it makes any sense.

When she stumbles upon a series of murders she can't help but worry her grandfather might be involved. To discover the truth, Juliet must choose between her new life at an elite private school and her Native American heritage. Once she uncovers an ancient secret society formed over two hundred years ago to keep her safe, she starts to wonder whether there’s some truth to those old stories her grandfather has been telling her. 

All she wants is to be an average sixteen-year-old girl, but she has never been average—could never be average.

Betrayed by those she loves, she must decide whether to run or risk everything by fulfilling her destiny as the Chosen.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review: I am embarrassed to admit that even in my advanced age (hopefully you’re laughing and not thinking that I am actually of advanced age) I have read quite a few books in this genre. I am familiar with the sassy, slightly defiant teen. Her well-meaning parents. Her boy who is not a boyfriend but they both like each other and should be hooked up by now and everyone thinks it and you get the drift. Her girlfriends that are somewhat distant for whatever reason but in the end it all works out. Anyway, you get it. I know the drill.

In that light, I was happily surprised by this book. First off, I wasn’t sure what to expect because it’s an indie book and sometimes those can be touch and go. Not so with this one. I think it holds up well as far as writing and story. Also, it is co-written by a father and daughter, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wouldn’t normally think a teenage girl would be able to write about being a teenage girl simply because she is a teenage girl. This one did, though. I think she did a good job with the angstiness and the drama but didn’t take it too far. It read easily, which I always think is really important for a book in this genre. YA Fic should not be convoluted and hard to read. The writing doesn’t need to be literarily perfect or poignant or even awesome, but it does have to be easy to read and accessible and I think this book is definitely that.

Now. The story. This is a typical coming of age story. Ya know, the one where the main girl—sassy, slightly defiant—realizes that she is Chosen for whatever reason and has to grow up and accept that and become who she is supposed to be. There is no doubt that this is done a lot, but there is also no doubt that this is because teen girls like to read about this kind of thing. I liked this particular book because it had a lot of Native American lore which I found interesting. I thought it was a nice change from the paranormal regulars (although there are some paranormal beings that come into play because, let’s face it, there’s gotta be in this genre).

There is a love story, of course, but it’s not annoying and there are some genuine familial relationships, which I appreciated. The older I get the more I appreciate a fleshed out familial life because despite the fact that the teens may want to be only involved with their friends, family actually plays a huge part and this did a good job of including those normally peripheral characters.

So this is definitely an indie book you should check out if you’re into this genre. I think it’s a fun read and I’m looking forward to the next installment.

My Rating: 4 stars

For the sensitive reader: This book is clean. There is a little bit of language, but nothing too harsh and there is no discussion of sex. There is also some violence, but it is not really descriptive or grotesque. 


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