Category Archives: Book Reviews

Young Readers Book Review: Warriors Into the Wild

Hello Everyone!

I know that this was a review that was supposed to be posted before Christmas, but what can I say, I was having a very hard time getting through everything that I needed to and by the time I realized what had happened, it was already Christmas Eve.

Anyway, I hope that you all are ready for a 2020 full of books, book reviews, and analysis of book characteristics

So let’s get started!

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Title: Warriors Into The Wild

Author: Erin Hunter

# of Pages: 288

Genre: Animal Fiction/ Fantasy Fiction

Published: January 2003

Total Reading Time: 2 Days

Rating out of 10: 10

Summary:

For gerations, four Clans of cats have shared the forest. But ThunderClan is in grave danger, and ShadowClan grows stronger every day. In the midst of this turmoil appears a house cat named Rusty… who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all.

Review:

This is probably one of my favorite young reader series of all time. The last time I read this series was when I was 15 and I love it as much now as I did then.

Erin Hunter is a pen name that was taken on by several authors who cowrite the series together. With how many books that they have put out, I think that the amount of consistency between all the books is absolutely amazing.

Now, talking about Into the Wild: this is the first of six books in the original series. Since this one came out, there have been about 3 more (possibly 4) series released that continue to follow the story of the clans and especially the cat that we meet in the first book: Rusty.

I’m not going to go too far into this, but there is a lot about this series that makes it nice for younger readers, which is what I want to focus on here. There are 5 things in this book that stand out as working well for younger readers: pace, character types, theme, relatability, and adventure.

This book moves very quickly. In the beginning you meet a young kitten, and by the end he has been completely accepted by the clan that he has entered. At no point does the book drag on about something specific. There are also a lot of different characters types that were presented that are easy to latch onto. The best friend. The mentor. The person-you-thought-was-a-bad-guy-but-actually-is-a good-one. The real bad guy. And of course, silent supporters. These are things that kids can easily recognize in books and relate with them at times.

The animal theme that is all so present here is something that kids gravitate towards – at least I know that I did. This theme is presented in a lot of children’s books, so sticking to the common theme and changing it is something that can help ensure readers. Finally, there is always a sense of adventure during Into the Wild. Part of that comes with the pace involved, the rest comes from an uncanny attention to detail. Everything happens for a reason – and remembering those reasons can be the hardest part.

Warriors is a series that I will be reviewing A LOT so be prepared to look at these often especially as my reading continues to pick up in the new year. A lot of book reviews will be coming out, so I may space them out and release one every couple of days.

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I hope that everyone enjoyed this – and I hope that you’ll take the time to read this. This is an amazing book series with dedicated authors and a large amount of supporters.

I think that this series is quite magical.

Till the next chapter,

Amanda

Reading Below Your Reading Level

Hey Everyone!

So this is my second post this week, so I won’t spend a lot of time on an introduction. But I’m really glad that you are reading this particular post. This is a topic that I have been wanting to talk about for a long time because I think it is very important.

When we’re in school, we are told to never read below our abilities – that we should always be looking for a book that is harder than the last one even if it’s only by a little bit. As an adult now, I am finding it to be somewhat of a challenge to have time to read at all let alone read something that is harder for me. I want a story that is entertaining no matter how easy the read is. As a writer, I think that reading is very important. I also think that everyone should be actively reading and looking for story tellers no matter how easy the books are to read.

Since working with elementary age children, I have found myself being drawn back to books that are meant for children between the ages of five and twelve. Books like: Box Car Children, The Hardy Boys, Junie B. Jones, and of course, the Warriors series. Which – is still one of my favorite book series of all time despite the fact that I am a dog lover and not someone who cares much for cats.

I believe that there is so much that we can learn from reading these kids books as adults – or more importantly – as writers. Books like the ones that I listed above show us the basics of writing in the genre. It takes a complicated and intense thing like – animal fantasy – and can simplify them in something like Animal Ark or complicate it into something like Warriors – which creates it’s own world.

Something that I want to start doing, is every other week reading and talking about one of these ‘lower-level’ books instead of one that is considered to be more my speed. I want to do a normal review on it and then examine the story telling qualities and skills that it presents and what some of the skills to learn from it could be. I want to read these books like a writer would.

Some of you may think that it’s kind of dumb, but I think that there is a lot to gain from reading books that we used to as kids. I mean, we read them as kids because they told a good story. They held our attention. Now as an adult I want to read these books and see what they do to prepare us to read more complicated books.

How does Goosebumps get us into horror novels later on?

How does Junie B. Jones get us into memoires and slice of life books?

How does Nancy Drew get us into mystery novels?

How does Magic Tree House get us ready for adventure novels?

I think that the things that we read as children really help us develop our writing styles as well as the kind of books that we like to read. So why not explore these books that helped to shape the way that we read and think about books now?

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this so drop your comments down below and I look forward to posting my next book review!

Till the next chapter,

Amanda

Book Review: The Sentinel

Hey Everyone,

I am very excited about this book review. This was actually a last minute suggestion by my step sister and I took a leap and tried it out. Probably the best book that I have read all year. So let’s just get into it!

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Title: The Sentinel

Author: Jeremy Bishop

# of pages: 284

Genre: Action & Adventure, Fiction, Horror, Thriller

Published: September 2011

Total Read Time: 1 Day

Rating out of 10: 8

Summary: (Taken from Back of Book)

In the frigid waters off the Arctic Ocean, north of Greenland, the anti-whaling ship, The Sentinel, and her crew face off against a harpoon ship in search of Humpback whales. When the two ships collide and a suspicious explosion sends both ships to the bottom, the crews take refuge on what they think is a peninsula attached to the mainland, but is actually and island, recently freed from a glacial ice bridge. Seeking shelter, the two opposing crews scour the island for resources. Instead, they find Viking artifacts, the preserved remains of an ancient structure and a stone totem warning of horrible creatures warning of horrible creatures buried in the island’s caves.

Facing violent and frigid storms, a hungry polar bear and the very real possibility that they are stranded without hope of rescue, Jane Harper leads the two crews, who must work together to defend themselves against an ancient evil upon which the modern stories of both zombies and vampires are based upon. The original undead are awake and hungry.

Beware the Draugar.

Review:

This book was a fantastic read. Something that I think is a good intro into suspense and horror reading. I am not a horror fan in movies or in books, but this might very well be one of the best books that I have read all year. I was not expecting something quite like this.

I think what threw me a bit about this book was that there was a lot of humor involved – Jane is a very sarcastic character that is very likable and is probably the thing that makes the book worth reading. As I said earlier, this is a good starter book for anyone looking into reading horror based novels. The beginning of the book is no problem and moves really fast. I like that there aren’t any bigger words so that you are able to work your way through the book without stopping to figure out what anything. Once you hit the halfway mark is where things start to get creepy.

As I was reading this I had a chat going with my sister and I was just venting – this book plays with your emotions a lot. You hate some characters, love others, but in the end you know that a lot of them are going to die. Which brings us to the actual descriptions that Bishop uses when showing us how someone dies. I think that he did an amazing job with describing just enough that our imaginations would take care of the rest. I have an extremely overactive imagination, so I was pretty creeped out reading the second half of the book.

My favorite part about this whole book is that you learn so much about Norse and Viking history and mythology. The other thing that I like is that this isn’t a zombie story and it’s also not a vampire story. It’s an undead story that has it’s own set of rules and doesn’t fall into normal stereotypes that so many books do. I think that the uses of the Draugar was amazing and that it made the story a little different which I liked a lot. The final thing I want to say is that the entire book only covers about 1.5 days. That’s all. So much happens that you often forget that.

I only gave the book an 8/10 because there was a lot of stuff that happened because of a conveniently placed character. Without this character, everyone would have died so much faster and there would be no one left over. If/when you read the book, you will know who I am talking about. There is also one person that I have no idea what happened to her. It bothers me because I read that section of the book several times trying to figure it out, but it’s like she just disappeared off the face of the earth. If someone knows what really happened to Peach, tell me because I couldn’t figure it out.

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Don’t let any of the negative comments dissuade you from reading this book. It was amazing and I would read it again. It was fast and that was something that I was really liking about it. I would suggest this book to anyone who is looking to try out the horror genre because it’s sort of like Goosebumps for adults. Its got a lot of sarcasm, lots of humor, but has a good plot.

Thanks so much for reading this and I hope that you check this book out. It is worth the time and effort if you like a light read with a good story.

Till the next chapter,

Amanda

Book Abandonment: Dark Visions

Hey Everyone,

So this is something that I was hoping would be happening a little bit later. I had high hopes for this series because I am a fan of L.J. Smith, but I could not bring myself to try and finish the second book and the prospect of reading the third book was kind of… I probably would have died before finishing it. So, let’s get on with it.

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Dark Visions by L.J. Smith

I’d like to start by saying, that L.J. Smith is one of the authors that I have read several books from – in fact I have a few more lined up that will appear as book reviews here as well.

I spent a total of almost two months reading through the first two books of the Dark Visions Trilogy. Here’s what I found:

  • Smith tried to come up with another theory as to Vampires and the way that they take a “life force” from humans. I thought that the idea was good, but there was something to be desired about the way that she set everything up.
  • All of the characters were somewhat annoying and there was a lot of childish natures tied with people who were supposed to be seniors in high school that I don’t see reflected in real seniors. aka – some of the characters lacked maturity.
  • The whole series was moving quite slow. I think that there are ways that certain details could have come up much faster and in just as meaningful of ways.
  • The romance was way too fast and the triangle that was created was cringe worthy. I do enjoy some romance in books and a lot of the YA that I read has it, but this romance happened without any real struggle and way to fast.

These were some of the main things that I found to be awry with this book.

I respect and enjoy L.J. Smiths work having read it for many years, but there was something about this book that I couldn’t stand. This book just missed the mark with me. It happens a lot with authors – you can love many of their books and then there is just one (or in this case 3) that just tend to miss the mark.

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this book, as you can tell. I do reccomend some of her other books such as:

  • The Night World Series
  • The Forbidden Game
  • Vampire Diaries – this one is one that I need to read again to make sure, but from what I remember, the first book is the one that is the most worthy of reading.

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Thank you everyone and sorry for an abandonment post so early on. This is something that I am typically too stubborn to do, but with too little time to read, why waste it on a book that drives you nuts? This book is officially going on Goodwill pile – another thing that I don’t normally do.

Till the next chapter,

Amanda

Book Review: Dark Visions Part 1 of 3

Hey Everyone!

So this is the first review of three for the Dark Visions Trilogy. I have decided to break this into three parts for a few reasons. I think that each book has its own pros and cons and I think that it’s important to know when you probably want to stop reading. The other reason is that I am only finished with the first one because the wedding has been taking up a lot of my spare time. I haven’t touched my rough draft since Saturday. So, let’s get started.

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Title: The Strange Power

Author: L.J. Smith

# of Pages: 250

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Supernatural

Published: December 1994

Total Read Time: 30 Days

Rating out of 10: 4

Summary:

Kaitlyn Fairchild is an Ohio senior without friends and often labeled as an outcast and as “cold”. The reason: she sees things that others can’t. She can see things as they happen, horrible things. Her skills as an artist brings it to life on paper and when people see it, they get scared. Kaitlyn finds herself getting the offer of a life time and moves to California to finish out her schooling in exchange for some testing on her “psychic” abilities. For the first time ever, she is face to face with people like her who have special powers.

Review:

In all, the first book held my attention. It did start slow and it took awhile for me to get into the story which is why the read time is so long for how short the book was. Once I was into the book and realized where it was going, I was able to roll right through it. It was difficult in the beginning to tell where the story was going. The title of the trilogy leads you to believe that it is about Vampires when in reality it is about physic abilities – which was a bit of a throw off. This first book is very light in a romance sense. There are hints of crushes, but nothing for sure happens. You’re in the head of a teenage girl, so I think that it makes sense.

I think that this is a really easy read even for an avid reader so I think that this would be perfectly fine for someone who is not accustomed to reading all the time. It is easy to follow and moves at a pace that would keep most everyone interested.

I rated this book as a 4/10 because this book really wasn’t meant to be read on it’s own. You know that it was meant to be read with the other ones and it felt like an introductory book. I don’t know if this would be one that I read again.

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Just as a note for how I will be doing the reviews: the Genre that I put are the ones that I see the book as in order that I feel that they appear. Meaning this book is mostly YA and least Supernatural. Also, the rating is also just a personal opinion. As someone who reads a lot of YA in particular, this book was especially disappointing because of how hyped up the series was to me and how much I enjoy L.J. Smith’s writing.

That’s all for this book review!

The next book that I will be doing is for the second book in the Dark Visions series.

Till the next chapter

Amanda