Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Book Review: The Fairy-Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm #1)

The Fairy-Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm #1)
by  Michael Buckley, L.J. Ganser (Narrator)
Date Read:  3/16/17
Rating: ★ ★
   

Oops, I never wrote my review of this book! I enjoyed it. I listened to it as an audiobook, so it took a little time to get in to it, especially because it’s told from a girl’s perspective, but it was a male narrator.

The story itself was pretty good. I liked the twist on the fairytale world and real world. It was very reminiscent of the TV show Once Upon a Time. Once thing I loved about the show is how not everyone you thought was a villain is actually a villain and vice versa. This book does a good job of that as well.

Sabrina was a little obnoxious and annoying at the beginning of the book. I tried to remember the fact that they’ve had a hard life with losing their parents mysteriously and all the different homes they’d been put in. But all that happened before the book, so you still couldn’t quite relate to it. I think of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Now those are kids you could feel sympathy for and root to get a happy ending.

However, once Sabrina got over that and accepted fairy tales are real and who her ancestors were, the story got pretty good. I liked a lot of the characters that we were introduced to. You weren’t quite sure who was going to end up being a good guy or bad guy.

I look forward to continuing the series!

Book Review: Beheld

Behld
by  Alex Flinn
Date Read:  3/20/17
Rating: ★ ★
 

To say I’m disappointed in this book is an understatement. Actually, to be honest, Beastly has been Flinn’s best novel I’ve read. All the subsequent ones I’ve read had left something to be desired.  But I think this has been the worst.

It’s possible a lot of that has to do with there being 4 stories jammed in to this one book. You never really get attached to any of the characters or sucked in to any of the stories. I think my favorite would have been the first story about Kenda and the Salem Witch Trials. I wish she would have just done one story and focused on that – and if she’d focused just on the Little Red Riding Hood story, there probably wouldn’t have been insta-love. After that, Kendra was hardly in the book as you progressed with each story. 

I felt that you understood the characters the most in the last story, but it was a bit boring. It was an ugly duckling story, but very loosely. Kendra was barely in this book except to make Chris blossom in to someone handsome.

I pretty much hated the two stories in the middle and didn’t recognize either of the fairy tales.

This book was really hard to get through. There was a point where I almost didn’t finish it. But I’m a stickler for trying to finish what I started and I really wanted to like this book because of how much I loved Beastly.  I don’t think I can overlook the fact that I don’t particularly enjoy Flinn’s writing anymore. If she continues writing, I’m not sure I’ll pick up her books.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Book Review: Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted
by  Gail Carson Levine
Date Read:  2/7/17
Rating: ★ ★ 
  


Wow, it's been a while since I've posted a review! It took me a LONG time to get through The School of Good and Evil #3. In the meantime, I've listened and completed Ella Enchanted too. Here is the review for the latter.

I actually really enjoyed this book. It took a while to get used to the narrator – she sounds like a 12 year old girl!  But once I got used to it, it worked and I was able to get in to the story.

I’ve seen the movie several times and enjoyed it. But the book is really different than the movie. The main character names and the obedience curse are about all that they kept for the movie. I really liked that Ella and Char knew each other for a long time and were good friends. You could really see how their feelings grew for each other. No insta-love here.

The one thing that I didn’t think the book captured was just how horrible being obedient could be – in the movie, someone tried to use her to harm another person. That never happens in the book – she just considers it when she’s contemplating making a move on her feelings for Char.  I think the book should have capitalized on that more. And it made more sense in the movie how she was able to break the curse herself. In the book, she broke it on the THOUGHT of someone using her in that way, so it just didn’t feel as strong enough a reason to break the curse.

The other languages were odd as well. I couldn’t keep straight which was which. Maybe it wouldn’t have been as strange if I was reading the physical book, but listening to it just kind of jarred me out of the story.

The parts with her step-sisters and step-mom are believable. I liked how much time the story took to build all of these relationships, whether love or disgust. I noticed the Cinderella elements more toward the end of the story.  This was a fun, easy to read (listen) fairy-tale retelling. I’m looking forward to reading the book with my daughter one day and then watching the movie with her to identify the differences.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Book Review: A World Without Princes (School for Good and Evil #2)

A World Without Princes (#2)
by  Soman Chainani
Date Read:  11/17/16
Rating: ★ ★ 
  

I’m going to start by talking about the length of this book. It was over 400 pages. Do you know how heavy that is to carry back and forth from work? How hard it is to keep a book that size opened and on the correct page while you’re eating lunch? I lugged this sucked around for WEEKS because my only reading time is during my lunch break at work these days (I love my 2-year-old to pieces, but she definitely has drastically changed my life)! 

There were times I felt like this book kind of dragged on…but that’s easy to do when you’re 400+ pages. About 300 pages in I was ready for answers.  I had a wait a little longer until things started piecing together and much longer for Agatha to put it all together. However, the positive to the length of these books is that nothing feels instantaneous. There is NO insta-anything. Everything is very believable through both books.

I also felt like I was able to relate to Sophie a little more in this book. Or at least I understood her motives more in this book than the first. I couldn’t stand her in the first one. I still don’t condone what she did, but at least she had good intentions (for herself anyway).  The only thing I wasn’t happy about was how long it took for Agatha to figure it out.  Sure, it had more impact having her make the realization at that point, but as the reader who has known since the beginning of the book, it was super frustrating. It would have almost been better if this book was told only from Agatha’s POV and we hadn’t known.

I also wasn’t a fan of how quickly Agatha and Tedros lost trust for each other. And did the honestly never think Sophie’s name when the mentioned the pink spell? I mean, honestly!
I did enjoy Agatha’s relationship with the witches. I really enjoyed every time the 4 of them got together. It also showed that good and evil can work together. There are blurred lines. Not everyone is black or white.

I thought it was an interesting concept that the towers of Good and Evil became Girls and Boys. It was also interesting how quickly they hated each other – though I suppose if I was evicted as rudely as the boys were, I’d be pretty upset also.

I think the concept that the author is working around about love vs friendship is so unique. Everyone always thinks you can’t have these best friends anymore once you get married. I love one of my best guy friends when I got married. So I’m really interested to see how this works out in the end.

I’ve really enjoyed the concept and I enjoy most of the characters. The world is super interesting. Looking forward to what is in store for Agatha and Sophie in the final installment.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ebates Referral for Black Friday Shopping!!


Hi all! I know I've been a bit absent lately. Once November hits, our lives get pretty busy and time gets away from me. Black Friday ads have been leaking all over the place, so I've started putting my list together. The best part? I can do most of my shopping online and get cashback through Ebates!

I wanted to share this with you all. Most of the major stores do extra cashback for Black Friday and throughout the holiday season.  Most years, I end up with at least $50 cashback just from my Christmas shopping. It doesn't require any work. You just need to sign up, and then you can either just go to ebates.com and click on the merchant link from there, or you can install the Ebates button on your browser so you'll never miss an opportunity for cashback - it notifies you when you are on a merchant website offering cashback.

The best thing about Ebates is that you still get the same amazing deals but you get a percentage of it back just by clicking the button!

TIP: Sign up through my referral link here and you will get a $10 bonus after you make your first purchase over $25 using Ebates.

So check it out and sign up before you start your shopping! I know everyone looks for great, easy ways to make extra cash, and this is a great way! You don't really have any extra work to get this cashback!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Usborne Book Party!

I hosted a party last night on facebook showcasing Usborne books. Have you heard of them? They have super unique and interactive books for ages infants through young adult!  If you haven't heard of them, you should follow this link to browse all the books they have to offer. These books would make great Christmas presents for the kids in your life (think your own kids, nieces and nephews, grandkids, godchildren, etc).

Here is the link to my shopping page. The shopping link will be open until midnight tonight!  Make sure when you check out to select my name, Kristen Ray! I hope you find some amazing books your kids will love!
https://w4960.myubam.com

Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Review: The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil
by  Soman Chainani
Date Read:  9/27/16
Rating: ★ ★ 
  

I listened to this in audiobook during my commute to and from work. It was a LONG book; I actually had to re-request it from the library in order to finish it.

I really enjoyed this book.  I was so intrigued by the plot summary that I had some high expectations.  It reminded me a lot of Harry Potter with the magic and the lessons, etc, and of course I absolutely love anything relating to fairy tales!

The main theme of this book was that you don’t have to be who people think or want you to be. You can choose your own path and make your own decisions.  Beauty is on the inside.

Sophie was utterly horrific. I hated listening to her. She went from annoying to completely evil over the span of the book.  Agatha was such a good, loyal friend to Sophie, and Sophie just used her.  She is really a terrible person. It’s frustrating that Agatha just won’t let go of that friendship.  Sometimes friends go opposite directions and that’s ok. That’s life. But Agatha fights till the bitter end to save her friend.

Agatha – I LOVE Agatha. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a main character so much. She isn’t your typical heroine. She loves to wear black, she hates conforming to what people want her to do, she doesn’t realize that she has a good soul underneath her not as pretty exterior. She has very low self-esteem and it takes her almost the entire book until she realizes her worth and her goodness.

I really liked how the book focused on friendship.  Even though Sophie and Agatha were told that they could never be friends (a princess and a witch can never be friends), they never stop fighting to get home together.

There were a few times that the story seemed to move slowly and there were some points where it seemed to wonder to things that didn’t seem important. In the end Agatha’s trip to Sader’s office is important, but I feel like it was just thrown in there for Agatha to have the revelation at the end of the book. It wasn’t written in as seamlessly as it could have been.

I hated the way the book ended!!!  It just ENDED. There was ZERO, I mean absolutely NO wrap up at all. After such a long book I wanted some closure for our characters but there was none. The author obviously knew he was going to write a series.  But I would have appreciated just a little wrap up.

Overall I really enjoyed it.  Looking forward to where the author takes the series. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...