Sunday, December 1, 2013

More Mini Reviews

THE FREEDOM THIEF By Mikki Sadil. Mikki is one of my critique partners and her debut MG novel released last month from MuseItUp Publishing. I'm so excited for her! She completed this manuscript before I joined the group, so although I’ve read several of her works in progress, this was my first time reading The Freedom Thief. It’s the story of thirteen-year-old Ben, the son of a slave owner and the lengths he goes to save his friend and stand up for what he believes. Ben leads his best friend, a crippled slave, and his family through collapsing tunnels, foreboding swamps, a dangerous forest in a life or death adventure towards freedom. This is a book I would have enjoyed reading with my children when they were young. It's a story both boys and girls will enjoy.

Once I had commandeered my daughter’s Kindle, I decided to keep it long enough to read ELIXIR BOUND By Katie L. Carroll.(Am I the only one who forgets about books once they're loaded onto the Kindle?)  I don’t usually (ever) read fantasy, but I’ve been visiting Katie’s blog and hearing about her book and, I just couldn’t help myself. I won’t say it made a fantasy convert out of me, but I did enjoy the family aspect to the story. The quest and the life-changing decision Katora had ahead of her kept me pressing that page turn button. The characters were likeable, there was a sweet romance, and I couldn’t help but root for Katora and hope she would make the right decision.                   


Another title that had been waiting on the Kindle was Rachele Alpine’s CANARY. Contemporary YA is where my heart is and I thoroughly enjoyed this one – even though I wanted to shake Kate sometimes. She, her brother and her father are all trying, in their own way, to hold what’s left of their family together after their mother’s death. When Kate and her brother transfer to the elite private school where their father has become the basketball coach, a whole new world opens up to them, and changes them both in very different ways.






I also read Gayle Forman’s JUST ONE YEAR, the sequel to Just One Day. I loved Forman’s If I Stay and Where She Went and how the second book was told from a different character’s point of view. I was excited to hear that Just One Day and Just One Year followed suit. But after reading the first book, I felt duped, slogging through a fluffy middle only to arrive at an end point that wasn't an ending at all. It felt as if one book had been split into two. I would have preferred one tighter book where the viewpoints alternated. Still, as disappointed as I was in the first book, I read the second one – because, let’s face it, I was invested. *SPOILER ALERT* Sadly, a lot was lost in the wait for the second book. The near misses the characters have while searching for each other go under appreciated because the finer details have been forgotten in the wait for the second book. And by the end of book two, Willem doesn’t seem like much of a prize anymore. You almost don’t care if they end up together. But the biggest disappointment was that book two ends exactly where book one ended. (With all of a paragraph or two more – which is all telling.) Yup, I got to the end feeling even more duped than I had with book one. At 368 and 323 pages, it was a big investment with little payoff.

What have you read lately? Tell me about a book I just have to bump to the top of my TBR pile ;)


25 comments:

  1. Love the cover of Canary, I'm a sucker for birds. I just finished Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea and...I'm just not sure. I really liked the spooky elements of the story, and the writing was great, and so was the atmosphere, but I just couldn't get into the main love interest. Like the fact that he'd killed people. =(

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  2. Hi, Ruth! Thanks for review of Elixir Bound...glad you enjoyed it. :)

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  3. I like the sound of The Freedom Thief. I often wish history could be taught as a series of historical fiction novels -- it would engage students in such a different way.

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  4. The Freedom Thief sound like a really good book. Thanks for stopping by my blog, I love to read also, so it is nice to meet you.

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  5. Always thoughtful, always tactful, and always true. How do you do it?

    I'm reading The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher. Considering it's a MG homage to Rear Window, my favorite movie, I'm blissfully happy with it.

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  6. Thanks for the recommendations for these books, Ruth. I'm afraid I may have to download a couple on my Kindle before Christmas! ^_^

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  7. Wonderful to learn about so many books in one post. The Freedom Thief sounds like a book I must read. I am drawn to books about this time in history and it has a great title too. How exciting that you have read other works by this author. :)

    I have been seeing Elixir Bound around- but I haven't read it yet. Glad you are catching up with some Kindle reading. I am reading Liar and Spy right now. :)

    ~Jess

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  8. Love the mini reviews! Honestly, I haven't been reading much lately. Class is taking all my time and I just can't get sucked into anything right now. mostly I'm just piddling around reading bits from my favorite books as a stress release.

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  9. I'll admit that as much as I loved IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT, the blurb for the new books didn't grab me. And now I'm glad they didn't. Thanks, Ruth, for the warning. I think I might check out Canary some time.

    Thanks for the great reviews, Ruth!

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  10. The Freedom Thief sounds like something I'd enjoy. I've been reading The Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy by D. M Cornish. Not your ordinary set of novels. Very different. Not particularly easy to read because of the vocabulary the author has invented, but the story and the characters and the world he's created are amazing.

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  11. I won a copy of CANARY earlier this year, and can't wait to read it!

    I'm a huge fan of the DIVERGENT series, so I just bought ALLEGIANT at a bookstore last month. So I'll be reading that soon too, I hope!

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  12. Great mini reviews:) Thanks for the comment:)

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  13. I love your mini reviews, Ruth! They get right to the heart of what matters. I read If I Stay and liked it very much, but I haven't read any of the others listed here... guess that's a good thing in the case of the last two books you mentioned :) Yeah... I constantly forget what I have on my Kindle! And then I look at the list and can't remember which book is which and what they're about because there's no jacket cover... But I also have ALLEGIANT waiting, as well as REACHED and a few other YA dystopian types.

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  14. I have a backlog on my Kindle too. I'll have to check some of these out. I just finished a book on Urban Legends by Richard Roeper. I've had a fascination for urban legends for a while and his book was brilliantly done. I had tremendous fun reading it.

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  15. I'm in the middle of a YA story, A Really Awesome Mess. Before that I read a couple of nonfiction books--one, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, I bookmarked dozens of pages with post it notes!!
    Thanks for the book recs!

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  16. Hi Ruth -

    Thanks for the reviews. I haven't read much in the way of YA books, but these sound interesting.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  17. I can't wait to read Canary! I also have a lot of Gayle Foreman to catch up on. :)

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  18. Thanks for the honest reviews. I loved If I Stay, but haven't read anything else by her. Sounds like I should try Where She Went and leave it at that.

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  19. I've been reading a lot of chapter books, so I'm not sure I'd be much help in book recommendations! I am re-reading The Shining in preparation for reading Doctor Sleep.

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  20. Mikki's story sounds great, and the cover of CANARY took me immediately. Sorry to hear about the disappointing JUST ONE YEAR. I always feel like I've wasted precious time when a novel is a let down. I've just finished WALK TWO MOONS, an MG novel I think you might like, Ruth. And am reading LONESOME DOVE now.

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  21. These all look good. I'm especially wanting the last two.

    Yes, I forget about books on my Kindle. There are so many.

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  22. Interesting, as always! Yes, I forget about books on my Nook. They just don't quite "exist" the same way that books on a pile do.

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  23. I too, forget about books on the Kindle. Scrolled through the other day and found a lot of goodies. Just finished Ann Tatlock's Sweet Mercy. Really enjoy her books, and this one was good too. Thanks for the reviews!

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  24. You've reminded me of my Kindle stash. Thanks and thanks for all these books.

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  25. What great reviews Ruth, my pal. I have been wanting to read Canary. I'll check out the others too. Lately, I've been reading loads of picture books. I hope you have a beautiful Christmas, pal. Hugs and smooches!

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