Stormbreaker Review

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Alex Rider is an orphan who lives with his uncle, so he is shocked when his uncle who was always a very careful driver is killed in a car accident. At the funeral some shady people come, and Alex becomes even more suspicious about how his uncle died. When he goes to the junkyard to view the car that his uncle died in before it is crushed, he almost gets crushed but he clearly sees that his uncle was not killed by a car accident but by gunfire. Bullets pepper the seat that his uncle was sitting in. Soon, Alex Rider is swept into the world of his uncle, the spy.

I love plots like this, with kids being swept into mystery/spy worlds. This was why I loved the 39 clues series, the Infinity Ring Books I read,  and the Spy Kids movies. However, I never even touched this one, and I have no idea why. This book was action packed, and didn’t have any down time. It was a quick and nice read, with a 14 year old yet mature main character. The story takes place in several locations, and all are described in detail so that no one gets lost. I hope to be able to continue reading this series, but I do feel satisfied after reading this one book because it was wrapped up really well in the end. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a new mystery series to read.

Overall Rating: 4/5

The Wizard of Oz Review

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz, #1)

Almost everyone knows the story of the Wizard of Oz. A farm girl from Kansas gets swept up in a cyclone and is transported to a magical world, where she is hailed hero for killing a wicked witch accidentally with her house when she landed. She wants to be able to go home, but she is told that she has to go to the Emerald City and speak to the Wizard of Oz. Along the way she meets a Scarecrow who is looking for brains, a Tin Man who wants a heart, and a Cowardly Lion looking for courage.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I am used to going back to old fairytales and seeing that when the movies were made that the story was toned down a lot. Therefore, the original stories would be violent, and often racist in some way or another, so I would end up disliking it. However, this story was just as pure and innocent as the movie was. I read this before Dorothy must Die to see if there would be any discrepancies between the remake and the original story, and I still found none.  So I recommend this to anyone who wishes to read the Dorothy must die series or who simply wants to read a nice and sweet classic book.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Shadow and Bone Review

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)

Alina Starkov is an orphan who grew up with her best friend Mal, and now they are in a kind of camp/army that takes care of them yet moves around a lot. During one particular move, they are attacked by gigantic bird monsters called Volcra, one of their friends is killed, and as Alina is being dragged away by one of them a light fills the camp and the birds stop attacking. In their world, only the Grisha are shown to have powers, but she had never shown powers before this point. Nevertheless, she is swept into the world of Grisha training, meets the mysterious Darkling leader of the Grisha, and begins to question many of the things in her world.

Although the storyline was honestly not that different from many other YA books, I still enjoyed the story overall. This was the first book I had read by Bardugo, and I am pleasantly satisfied by it. The character Alina never seemed to be too whiny, or too stuck on love, making the plot slow, but instead showed strength as her world was flipped upside down. Some people say she was stubborn to a fault, but I actually think that she refused to back down as the Grishas wanted to make her like them and following their rules. The twists in the plot seemed appropriately placed, and it was just a rather smooth ride throughout. I was able to finish the book in one sitting, which pushed me to check out the next books of the series and THEN went to immediately read Six of Crows. Which I then loved just as much. Altogether, I love when authors succeed on their debut book, and this one definitely hit the spot for me. I won’t spoil anything else, if you’re late like me, go read this book!

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

About Camp Camp S2Ep. 1 “Cult Camp”…

I love RWBY on RoosterTeeth. So when they came out with a new webseries called Camp Camp last year, I thought that everything would be great. The show was about a summer camp that was not doing so well and so the only counselors were one overly enthusiastic boy named David, a girl named Gwen who hates her job, and a man named the Quartermaster who has a hook for one hand and is supposed to be the “creepy” character. The camp lied about being different types of camp, so they have kids who thought it was theatre camp, a kid who thinks its space camp, a kid named Max who is basically the enemy of David as he hates camp and just wants to go home, and a few other characters. The show was basically made to make fun of summer camp and summer camp shows with their perfect lives and the perfect kids where all you have to worry about is someone putting bugs in your cabin. These kids basically hate camp, curse, act crazy half the time, and can’t understand why David just loves the crappy camp so much. I didn’t particularly like the show, but it was a fun thing to watch in between episodes of RWBY Chibi last summer, so I kept up with it until the last episode.

This year, I was debating whether I really wanted to watch it again, but in the end I decided, “Why not give it a shot?” The first episode had just come out recently, so I went on Youtube to watch it. In the episode, Gwen has found a secret stash of money and wanted to hire another counselor. David was excited when the first job applicant came, and he was basically the same as him. (Literally, it was his exact personality, and his exact character, wearing white clothes and with blonde hair). Gwen leaves because she cannot take the idea of having a second David around, and so now David and “Daniel” are left on their own. You see a newspaper flip over saying that a cult leader who basically killed all the members of his previous camp is on the loose, and shows a picture of this “Daniel”. When David introduces Daniel to the kids, Max sees that when David leaves Daniel starts talking to them about spiritual things and tries to get them to allow themselves to be cleansed from the negative energy from space. Max thinks that Daniel is some sort of cult leader, but David doesn’t believe him. When they go back, Daniel has prepared a gas chamber for the kids to go into to cleanse themselves, but when they come out they are in all white clothes and they are complete husks of themselves, basically brainwashed. Some are making a sort of Kool-Aid drink for them all to drink so that they can finish the cleansing process, and finally be free. Max knows that something is up with the drink and that they will die if they drink it, and so he convinces David that Daniel is a better counselor than him and goes into the chamber. David tries to fire Daniel, but since Daniel fulfills the job requirement he legally can’t fire him for some reason, David says that Daniel can’t sing camp songs, they go into a sing-off, Daniel sings the villain song and says he is going to sacrifice the children once they drink the Kool-Aid, drinks the kool-aid as part of the song, and basically accidentally kills himself. He goes off in an ambulance, Gwen comes back with a second “evil” counselor, and the episode ends. Funny episode right? WRONG.

The community of Jonestown in northern Guyana was formed by the Peoples Temple, a religious organization lead by a man named Jim Jones. He moved all of his people there when they moved from several American locations to create their own paradise. Their own socialist/communist paradise. It wasn’t people from communist nations that made up the community, it was actually 70% African American. Everything seemed perfect, until Jim Jones showed signs of mental illness. He was constantly in fear of capitalists coming to take his paradise away from him and kill all the people. He decided that the best way for them to die would be to take their own lives, so he would have drills called “White Nights” where he would have the intercom system that went throughout the community tell all the people to come to the main building, and in the main building there was a drink mix that he said had poison that would kill them within 45 minutes. Everyone would think it was the real deal, but then the time would be up and he would tell them it was simply a test of loyalty.

Throughout the years of 1977-1978, the Peoples Temple planned to move to another country, and relatives of those who lived in the community were becoming concerned for their safety. More and more members tried to leave the camp, and some were actually allowed to go. However, as they waited for the plane to leave, one of the members began to shoot them, killing several of them. That same day, November 18 1978, Jones told all of the members of the camp to drink the Kool-Aid mixture that he had made, that it was better than the troubles that would lay ahead of them, and killed himself soon after they had followed his directions. 918 people total died that day, 909 of them by drinking the mixture at the camp. This was the largest loss of American civilian life ever recorded until 9/11.

So almost 1000 people died in this massacre, not because of some silly gas chamber, but because they honestly believed, regular people honestly believed that the man Jim Jones was telling them the truth, and now people joke about it? How many times have you heard someone say “Don’t drink the kool-aid” to mean “Don’t follow the crowd”. And now, even Roosterteeth, one of my favorite companies, has the audacity to publish an entire webseries episode making a joke out of this horrible event. No one even disliked the episode because of it. Out of the 343,000 views, only 121 people so far have disliked it. It doesn’t even make a dent in the like bar, for all people know it could have been a fluke. And its not like cults aren’t around anymore. People still put their trust in others who either claim to be holy beings or claim to be the leaders of a religious organization who will protect them. Now while I don’t shame those people, they could honestly believe what the people are saying, and it could happen to literally anyone. However, it also means that if another cult leader came up who decided to create a massacre like that one, it could affect many. Not even 9/11 was orchestrated by one person, but Jim Jones was the ultimate leader of this group and all the orders came directly from him. Google the images of the Jonestown Massacre, I won’t even link them here because they are so disturbing. It really puts into perspective the number of people who were killed from this event.

While I don’t like posting about specifically negative things on my blog, when I realized that no one else was going to call out Roosterteeth and the creators of Camp Camp for publishing this episode making fun of the deaths of nearly 1000 people, I realized that I absolutely had to do something. I couldn’t sit here and allow this to happen! Most people don’t even know that the massacre occurred, they probably just thought that it was either a small scale thing or a completely unique plot line. Some people in the comments even applauded Rooster Teeth for having current events in their cartoon. This isn’t having a current event in the cartoon, it is mocking the deaths of 918 people. It isn’t approaching the topic with respect and raising awareness, it is simply making light of it. Someone made an advertisement last year about a 9/11 sale, stacked up 2 stacks of mattresses and fell on them as a part of the skit, and people completely lost it. That’s an ad, no longer than 2 minutes on the full Youtube version. This is a 13 minute long episode that focuses SOLELY on this topic.

Please share this and let more people know about how wrong it was for Roosterteeth to allow something like this to be posted. For the families of those 918 people that were killed, and for those who managed to escape the community, running away from their friends and family on a hunch that something was wrong, and who have to see and hear a tarnishing of their names as a joke. I hope that more people will know about it, and maybe even Roosterteeth will take down the episode eventually.

Link to the episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcL-fGTc27g

The Valiant Review

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Fallon is in love with her best friend and hopes to be able to marry him after her father allows her to fight in the army like her sister. However, her father calls her on her 17th birthday not to tell her that she is in the army, but to tell her that she has been engaged to her best friend’s brother. She is against the idea, but when her best friend and his brother get into a duel over her, the brother kills Fallon’s lover. She runs away from home, hopefully to find a way to kill the brother, and she is captured by slave traders and along the way is sold to a gladiator fighting ring owned by Julius Caesar. She must make herself stronger than she has ever been in order to win the fights and survive the brutal arena. Along the way, she befriends a slave girl, struggles with her feelings for a Roman Soldier, and learns many of the secrets of the arena.

I don’t know what it is about me and the Ancient Roman historical fiction stories. Fallon’s character is a strong girl who knows that she wants to be in the army, but also hopes that she will be able to marry her best friend before she leaves for war. She wants to follow in her dead sister’s footsteps and be a hero to her country before she has to settle down, but she needs her father’s permission to do so. Even when she is in danger and is taken by slavers, she doesn’t settle down and simply accept her fate. She fights to the last breath, and then gets accepted to a gladiator ring where she gets to hone her fighting skills. Although there is romance in the story, it does not overpower the plot, and it does not diminish Fallon’s character in any way. The story was pretty well balanced, only in the middle did it seem like it dragged for a short time. Then it sped back up again and I was happy. Overall, an entertaining, quick, and full read.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Thieves of Ostia Review

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Flavia lives in ancient Rome, and she is thriving in her world. One day when she is running from the neighborhood dogs, she befriends a boy named Jonathan who is asthmatic. Soon after, she sees a girl her age that is being sold as a slave, and after her father buys the girl she befriends her and realizes that the girl does not speak any Latin besides the words she needs to know to serve her master. Then the three meet an orphaned boy who cannot speak named Lupus, and they befriend him as well. When Jonathan’s dog is killed along with other neighborhood dogs, the four kids want to solve the crime and stop more of the dogs from being murdered.

This was a creative historical fiction mystery novel. It kind of reminds me of an “A-Z mysteries” that takes place in Ancient Rome, but it is still a lot more detailed and is definitely for older readers as the dogs’ murders are a tad graphic. Flavia has a lot of spunk, and is a resourceful young lady as she leads her and her friends into solving the mystery. I felt a connection to all of the kids although they were all 10 years of age and younger, and each of them had their own personality past the physical and language barriers. Although everything might not be historically accurate, it was still a very entertaining story and I would definitely recommend it for middle grade readers.

Overall Rating: 5/5

The White Aura Review

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Scott Tabors is 20 years old, a college student, and a sorcerer. Sorcerers are known to be able to find their soulmate, and then they will be happy with that person for the rest of their life. Basically, Twilight imprinting. But his specific sorcerer family has been cursed that if they come into direct physical contact with their soulmate before the soulmate is 18, the soulmate will die on their 18th birthday. This will in turn, emotionally destroy the sorcerer as they lose their soulmate. Scott’s soulmate is 17 year old Olivia Whitehead.

Olivia has been having dreams about a sexy man who comes to visit her and makes out with her on occasion. She feels like he is real, but a boy at school has started showing interest in her so she want to focus her attentions on him. However, something is strange about the boy at school.

This story was pretty predictable. It wasn’t exactly like Twilight, but the “love” seemed like imprinting with a side of forbidden love. Olivia was an annoying character for like 80% of the book, but she did get a little better by the end of the book. Since this book is a series, I could give it the benefit of the doubt and say that she was just going to get better over the course of the series, but I highly doubt that she is. I don’t know how the dreams didn’t count as contact for Scott, but apparently it doesn’t. His character isn’t bad, but it isn’t particularly good. The side characters aren’t that great either, so the storyline was just pretty average.

Overall Rating: 2/5

Linger Review

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Grace and Sam are back together, but Grace has been stricken with a strange illness that feels sometimes as if she has a fever, but sometimes as if she has an extreme flu. She doesn’t know what the illness means, maybe she has a a severe flu, but she is worried that it means that being in the hot car after she was bitten by the wolves at a young age didn’t make her immune to changing as she thought she was. Sam is worried that either the illness or the potential changing will take Grace away from him forever.

Cole is a famous musician in a band, and he has a wide variety of issues from drugs, to depression, to falling out with his friends and bandmates. When he is turned, he doesn’t know what to expect, but he finds that the act of turning gives him some mental solace.

Isabelle is mourning the loss of her brother, and she is having to deal with her troubled family life. However, when the new wolf Cole comes into town, she wonders if her life might take a turn for the better.

Okay, so I know that I railed on Shiver and said that I disliked it. I didn’t like the main characters any more in this book than I did the last, but I absolutely loved learning about Cole and Isabelle. They were both just so, unique and interesting. Cole is a troubled character, but I liked to hear about the change actually helping someone in some ways rather than just being an annoyance. It created a different point of view for the story. I loved how Isabelle continued to help the wolves and her new friend Grace even though technically the wolves were the reason her brother died. However, she did not become bitter and try to kill them, but tried to understand things from their point of view and help them in any way she can so that more don’t end up like her brother.

I definitely liked this book more than the previous book, and while I felt a tad more connected to Grace I just felt no more connection with Sam. But what saved this book for me were the stories of Isabelle and Cole. Hopefully in the next book in the series will have more stories with these characters.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Carve The Mark Review

CARVE THE MARK by Veronica Roth - on sale January 17, 2017

Cyra grew up with her older brother, her tyrant father, and her loving mother. When she is young, she gets the power to cause people pain. When her brother comes into power, he uses her power to torture and gain information out of people. She hates that she is exploited like this, but there is nowhere for her to go. Her gift leaves her with chronic pain that periodically intensifies every time she has to use her gift, so she constantly lives throughout different waves of pain.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle, and his power is to interrupt the “current” or basically silence someone’s powers (like the Silencers from Red Queen). Because Cyra is such a useful asset to her brother, her brother assigns Akos to help her with her pain. At first, he is against the idea of helping the person who has probably caused the most physical pain in the kingdom. But eventually when the two end up having to spend more time together, they both realize things about themselves, their kingdoms, and each other that they had never known before.

Okay let me address one  thing first. I have heard many people who have read this book quote the (blogger?) Justina Ireland when she wrote a review (that seems to have been taken down?) of this book saying that it was racist because of the stereotypical tropes within it. For example, Cyra and her people are considered “savages”, when they speak their language sounds harsh to foreigners, they cut themselves for “traditions”, and they are considered “evil”. So these seem to be quite a few things that have either been said/known about Native Americans or people from different countries of Africa for very many years, and so many people thought that it was wrong for all these things to be used for the characteristics of the evil group of the book.

I have to say that I agree, the choices were in very poor taste, but I am very torn about how this will affect my view of the book itself. Minus all of the poor choice of evil characteristics in the book, I quite enjoyed the storyline and I fell in love with both characters. I read it in one afternoon, and it felt to me as if I was falling in love with another Divergent Trilogy. If I overlooked all of those things, this book would probably receive 5/5 stars for me. Many people on goodreads say that they couldn’t understand why someone could enjoy such a story, but I honestly liked it.

Cyra was such a unique and interesting character to me. She suffers a lot throughout the book, but she was determined to not be dependent on anyone and not to break down. She is considered to be the worst person because she has to make people feel pain for her brother, but she too struggles with the stress of having a broken family and her chronic pain. Akos isn’t that special to be honest. He’s just kinda there. But he helps Cyra and he’s cute so that makes him important.

Overall, I am really torn between giving this book the rating that the story deserves, and giving the story the rating that the trope deserves. But in order to stop these tropes from being used, use of them at all has to be discouraged. So I will rate it according to the tropes.

Overall Rating: 2.5/5

To-Review Book List!

I am sorry for being so dead this past week. I came down with some type of food poisoning for most of the weekend, my usual catchup time, and I can’t seem to shake it now. However, I have read quite a few books, and I never got the chance to catch up on the books from before, so here is a list of some of the books that will be reviewed on here as soon as possible!

Linger

The White Aura

Thieves of Ostia

The Valiant

Shadow and Bone

The Wizard of Oz

Stormbreaker

Envy

The Viscount’s Christmas Temptation

The Tower Treasure

Carve The Mark

Fangirl

Splendor

Mask of Shadows (ARC)

The Wicked Will Rise

Six Of Crows

The Red Pyramid

Celebrity Gulag

The Selection

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

The Orchid Caper

The Wrath and the Dawn

So that’s my current to-be-reviewed list. Slowly but surely I will bite into this until I will finally be up to date and able to post on a more regular basis.