Monday, June 16, 2014

Fever The Chemical Garden #2 Book Review

Title: Fever (The Chemical Garden #2)
Author: Lauren DeStefano

I enjoyed this book just as much as I enjoyed the first book and, once again, the author got me at the end and now I need to get the third book to see how the story ends.

The beginning of the book was interesting and I enjoyed reading it but I did not really come to care for any of the new characters that were introduced. Especially since they are only there at the beginning of the book. The second book in the Chemical Garden trilogy starts off with Rhine (and Gabriel) waking up at what looks like a carnival but is really a place of prostitution. The two manage to escape from the "carnival" and start heading to New York to try and find Rhine's brother.

Of course, the evil Vaughn is still chasing after Rhine and will stop at nothing to get her back to the mansion.

The book does a great job continuing to paint the world that Rhine and the others now live in. Rhine remembers growing up with her brother, and while it was not glamorous or secure by any means, she had freedom compared to the brief time she was forced to spend in Vaughn's home. However, with freedom came a lot of danger and while she was under lock and key in the house, Vaughn did provide her with safety. Of course, he's still evil what with the creepy secret lab and what-not.

I'm glad that the author showed us a little more of the world. The first book was focused more on Rhine's new life in the big house with Linden and Rhine's sisterwives so while we knew a bit about the world we did not really get to see it.

There were some parts of the book that dragged on a bit and I still don't care for either of Rhine's love interests, but I did enjoy the book overall and I must get the third book now just to see how things end.

Rating: 4 out of 4

The Monsterjunkies An American Family Odyssey Book 1 Review

Title: The Monsterjunkies An American Family Odyssey: "Being a normal Family is a State of Mind" (Book One 1)
Author: Erik Daniel Shein and Theresa A. Gates

Another e-book! I like supporting indie and self-published authors which is why I have decided to review such books on this blog. I will be getting back to reviewing mainstream books alongside e-books soon though. But for now, let's review The Monsterjunkies Book 1!

The story takes place in Maine so as I New Englander I have to support it just based on that. Kidding! But seriously, I did enjoy this book. The story is about a group of teenagers who live at Monsterjunkie Manor and with a name like that you have to expect monsters to be involved. The manor is home to not just the teenagers but also all sorts of magical creatures. Of course, while this can be a alot of fun it is also difficult growing up in such a different home and being bullied for being different.

That's really the main themes of the story: Learning to stop hiding and not being afraid to show who you are. The Monsterjunkies teens have had to wear masks their entire lives growing up but, as the authors put it, "It is the people who take off their masks and show the real person inside who truly find meaning in their lives." This theme of masks hiding one's true self and learning to remove said masks plays throughout the book. But just like how the Monsterjunkies kids are really not spooky, there are others who hide behind a mask of goodness when they are anything but good.

The actual story focuses on two teens, Crow and Indigo, who live at the manor. Everyone at school knows where they live and the two face a lot of bullying as a result. They are assumed to be creepy people just because they live in a house with a reputation for being spooky and full of monsters. It is not just the kids at school that pick on Crow and Indigo, but the adults do so as well which I liked seeing in the book because we often overlook that sometimes adults are also the problem.

The Monsterjunkies falls under a new genre called YA Visionary Fiction which basically means that the book deals with real issues, such as social issues and bullying, with a bit of magic and esoteric wisdom. Throughout the story the authors touche on the theme of bullying through creating a fantasy world filled with strange and interesting monsters.

The monsters add a little fun element to the story that I feel really helps to add to not only the message of the story but also the creativity and fun of the story. The plot is actually well developed and the characters are great. I really felt like the characters were representative of real teens facing real problems. Crow and Indigo, while siblings dealing with the same problem, both have different takes, feelings and experiences related to being bullied.

This is a great book for any teen feeling bullied and also likes monsters and more gothic-esque things. Of course, it is also just a good book for anyone to read.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Saturday, June 14, 2014

George Knows Review

Title: George Knows
Author: Mindy Mymudes

When a magical basset hound, George, meets 12 year old greenwitch Karly, he takes it upon himself to protect and train her. The two soon get caught up in a murder investigation though, which they then have to solve. And how does saving the park fit into all of this?

I love stories involving magic and witches. One of my favorite thing about kids' books is how there's a lot of room to play around with fantasy elements like magic and guardian basset hounds. I also love how there's also plenty of room to create magical worlds within our own mundane world.

George Knows is written from the point of view of a basset hound named George. In my opinion, this makes the story fun in a lot of different ways. George sort of sees himself as Karly's teacher yet he cannot always easily communicate with her which makes training her at times both frustrating for George and funny for the reader.

George Knows is a fun kid's story filled with magic, adventure and mystery. It is also a very well written and engaging story. Even as an adult I found the story to be gripping and engaging. The characters are well developed and consistent, and the plot is interesting and attention holding throughout the entire book. I would recommend this book for grade school kids. I know I would have loved when I was younger!

You can find this book online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books and itunes.

Rating: 5 our of 5