Review | Split the Sun by Tessa Elwood

Split the Sun (Inherit the Stars #2)

Title: Split the Sun
Series: Inherit the Stars (Book 2)
Author: Tessa Elwood
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Running Press

Publishing date: 6th December, 2016
Pages: 288

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

The Ruling Lord of the House of Galton is dead, and the nation is in shock—or celebrating, depending on the district. Kit Franks would be more than happy to join him.

Kit’s mother bombed the digital core of the House, killing several and upending the nation’s information structure. No one wants the daughter of a terrorist. Kit lost her job, her aunt wants her evicted, her father is using her as a shield against a drug lord, a group of political rebels need Kit to ignite an interplanetary war, and the boy two floors down keeps jacking up her suicide attempts—as if she has a life worth saving.

When Mom-the-terrorist starts showing up on feeds and causing planet-wide blackouts, everyone looks to Kit for an answer. The rebels want Mom on their side. The government needs to stop Mom’s digital virus from spreading before there’s no record of government left. Both sides will do anything, destroy anyone, to make Kit crack. They believe she’s the key to Mom’s agenda and the House’s future. Worst of all, they may be right.

Kit’s having dreams she can’t explain, remembering conversations that no longer seem innocent, understanding too much coded subtext in Mom’s universal feed messages. Everyone, from Mom to the rebels, has a vision of Kit’s fate—locked, sealed, and ready to roll. The question is, does Kit have a vision for herself?

Tessa Elwood’s final book in the Inherit the Stars series introduces readers to a strong, unique heroine who must chart her own destiny against a minefield of family ambitions and political agendas.


My Take:

Okay, now this is turning into a problem. When I picked this book up for review. It had nowhere written that this was a second book in the series. Neither on the cover nor in the description. It wasn’t even written in the BOOK!

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Now, as I look it up there’s this last line in the description on Netgalley that this is the final book in the series. It’s a duology. The way it was written, I didn’t pay much attention.

Tessa Elwood’s final book in the Inherit the Stars series introduces readers to a strong, unique heroine who must chart her own destiny against a minefield of family ambitions and political agendas.

FINAL BOOK?? :O

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If you check the summary on Netgalley it will sound far more interesting than the Goodreads descirption. Here’s the Goodreads version:

The Ruling Lord of the House of Galton is dead and the nation is divided. Kit Franks, a nobody escalated to infamy since her mother bombed the House capitol city, wishes she were dead, too. Then Mom-the-terrorist starts showing up on feeds and causing planet-wide blackouts and Kit becomes a target.
Kit’s inundated with half-truths, betrayals, and the coded subtext in Mom’s universal feed messages meant for her alone. Everyone from family to government enforcers seems to have a vision for Kit’s future. The question is, does Kit have a vision for herself?

I usually put the synopsis from Goodreads into my review but I will make an exception for this one.

Screenshot_2017-06-25-18-42-40-1This is how the book starts. How can you not be drawn in if this is how a book starts. I was immediately captivated by the lines. ❤

 

This book had so much potential and had so many subplots to choose from but neither is fully explored, even the main plot seems to be lacking in the terms of proper layout and planning. I am not actually impressed with the world building either.

It still was a good read but I think because of this being the second book in the series or final book, I didn’t know the back story and that might have helped a little. By no means is this a bad book, it is still very enjoyable but it doesn’t reach it’s potential growth.

When Mom-the-terrorist starts showing up on feeds and causing planet-wide blackouts, everyone looks to Kit for an answer.

This was the thing I was most excited about. This line seems sassy and that’s what I expected Kit to be but she might not be that. I didn’t find Kit much relatable, I think that’s because so much was happening that I didn’t actually get a chance to connect with her.

I am not sure where I stand with this book. The ending seems a bit rough to me and I think it can be explored more. Despite all the issues I enjoyed reading it.

Again, do check if the book is the part of a series. 😛


Why would I pick it up?

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For this line- When Mom-the-terrorist starts showing up on feeds and causing planet-wide blackouts, everyone looks to Kit for an answer. ❤ 

Review | Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs by Susan Schaefer Bernardo

Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs

Title: Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs
Author: Susan Schaefer Bernardo
Illustrator: Courtenay Fletcher

Genre: Children’s Fiction
Publisher: Inner Flower Child Books

Publishing date: 1st May, 2017
Pages: 32

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs is a beautiful new book with a simple but powerful message: love last forever.

Lyrical writing and delightful illustrations provide perfect bedtime reading for any child. The book is also ideal for supporting children through grief, separation anxiety, divorce, illness or other traumatic situations, by wrapping them in a warm and comforting emotional security blanket and opening a dialogue on the nature of love.

Even when loved ones cannot be with us, we can feel their presence through our deep connections to the natural world.


My Take:

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All that I want to say about the book is already said in the summary. I loved the lyrical writing in this and the illustrations were very colorful and detailed.

 

 

The only reason I gave it 3 stars is because of the ARC copy I received. I usually am very thankful for the ARCs I receive and ignore few grammatical errors because it’s an uncorrected copy but sending out a book which is difficult to read is obviously going to alter the reading experience and will affect the review.

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This was the case with most of the book.

I don’t know if all the ARCs sent out were like this or it was just my copy’s problem but it was surely irritating enough for me to reduce the rating. If not for the format issue, it would have easily been a 4 or even 4.5.

I was so disappointed by my copy that I couldn’t enjoy the wonderful writing.

That being said it is a beautiful little lyrical tale about how distance doesn’t mean that you don’t love someone and there are ways to remind people of how much we love them even when they are far from us.

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Why would I pick it up?

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For the beautiful writing and the illustrations. ❤

Review | Escaping Camp Ravensbrook by R.T.Johnson

Escaping Camp Ravensbrook

Title: Escaping Camp Ravensbrook
Author: R.T. Johnson
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: CreateSpace

Publishing date: 16th October, 2015
Pages: 148

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

*Book received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

Katrina is a girl who is caught and captured and is sent to Camp Ravensbrook after her parents die. She’s treated terrible there, but Katrina has a secret. She has witchcraft powers she uses for good, but Katrina wants to find a way out of there. When she meets Peter, she realizes that he’s the right man for her. But she’s worried about the fact that he might not accept her witchcraft powers. Will they be able to make it out in one piece despite the horrors of a war going on? Or will they be sentenced to this camp forever?


My Take:

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a smooth ride from the start to the end. No lows, no disappointments. ❤ ❤

Katrina is 16 years old when her parents are murdered and she is captured and sent to Camp Ravensbrook with her Aunt.

“Katrina looked out the small window at the very back of the truck and saw men lighting her home on fire. The place she grew up. The place she learned to walk, talk, read, and do magic, was slowly burning. Within moments, it turned into a pile of ash. Katrina felt tears form in the corner of her eyes. She bit her lip and held them back. Weakness could get her killed.”

Camp Ravensbrook is a women’s prison, the condition of the prison is horrible and the women are treated miserably. But, Katrina is no normal girl, she has witchcraft to help her. She uses this power to ease some situations in the camp. They are touching to read. Her encounters with the guards while using the powers are thrilling as well as funny to an extent.

She falls for one of the guards, Peter. I liked his character very much. She is scared to tell him about her powers, what if he turns her in or doesn’t want to escape with her or doesn’t want to help. She thinks of all sorts of what ifs.

“… Illness didn’t matter. Death didn’t matter. Chores had to be done. And, Katrina and Alice had to work on their plan to escape.”

The emotions are very well portrayed in this book. You can feel a pretty strong connection with the characters which you don’t find in many middle grade books.

The lesson that this book teaches is of love and friendship. Some people might find the mention of rape in a book meant for middle graders uncomfortable but that was the truth of concentration camps. There’s no way to sugar coat reality. The language used is suitable for children so I don’t see any problem with the talk of rape being one of the evil things happening to women in the camp.

I liked the ending very much. I have read another book by the author, which was very good. This exceeds that book, the writing is much more gripping or maybe I enjoyed this book more than that. I would recommend this book to introduce the kids to the harsh reality in a light manner. 🙂


Why would I pick it up?

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For the well written premise spun from reality and fantasy. ❤


My review of another book by the author:

 

Review | Rick and Jake Meet King Arthur by R.T.Johnson

Rick and Jake Meet King Arthur (Rick And Jake Series Book 1) by [Johnson, Richard]

 

Title: Rick and Jake Meet King Arthur
Author: R.T. Johnson 
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: CreateSpace

Publishing date: 12th March, 2016
Pages: 190

My Rating: 3.75/5 stars

 

*Book received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

King Arthur and King Ralic battle fiercely for Cornwall. When Merlin the Wizard is captured, King Arthur and his men lose the kingdom to Ralic. The only way to redeem the kingdom and save King Arthur’s lineage from the dark side is through his 70th generation grandson, Rick. Rick must pass five tests of honor and bravery in order for the kingdom to return to its rightful owner. If he fails just one of the tests, King Arthur’s kingdom and lineage are lost forever. Present day Rick is thrown into a world of kings, knights, battles, and life and death. Will he be able to save the kingdom? Will he be able to save his lineage?


My Take:

This was a fun and easy read. The colorful cover caught my attention at first, then the summary had my interest piqued.

“The only way to redeem the kingdom and save King Arthur’s lineage from the dark side is through his 70th generation grandson, Rick.”

70th Generation?! Now, that sounds interesting. 😉 (In the book it’s 50th Generation)

It was kind of funny reading the *sound effects* 😛 😛

“King Arthur wielded his sword high. SWOOOCCCH.
THUMP. Down fell the Damonion soldier.”

THROOOOOWWWWP. An arrow shot passed the King’s head, almost grazing the skin.:

“Sir Simon sat straight up in his saddle. “I will give the order, Sire. Bugler, sound the horn.”
TOOT TOOT TOOT TOOT TOOT”

This is an educational book hidden under fantasy. This book teaches about kindness, patience, honesty, selflessness, and bravery. 😀

“While King Ralic spoke, King Arthur heard a voice travel through the air. “Tell him evil has prevailed this time. There is pure evil and there is pure good. Pure good cannot be tainted with evil.””

Despite the back story being historic, the scenarios used to test Rick of all these qualities, who is 13 years old, is of the modern day and pretty believable. Not some unrealistic situation but something anyone can face. What we choose is what makes us who we are.

“So, you think you and your line would never falter. Well, I decree that your grandson of 50 generations will be given five tests. Each of those tests will tempt his purity. The lineage will well be weakened by then. If he fails just one of those tests, I will be proven right. It will be that there is no pure good. And, your entire lineage will be doomed to misery and hardship. And, you will lose your Kingdom forever.”

I liked the way it was written. It won’t bore anyone reading and learning about right things in a story is always a plus when that book is intended for middle graders, or kids in general.

“Do not worry, Richard. It is not always the size of a man’s weapon that will determine victory or defeat. Just be on guard.”

Calling Rick with his real name, Richard, can be a hit or miss; a) miss for, he is called Rick in the title so it kind of breaks the link with the whole book where he is called Richard. b) hit for, even when the story is taking place in today’s world, him being called Richard gives a hold to the back story as Rick would sound too modern.

Overall, the premise for the story is interesting and the characters unique. This is a good read for children and a quick easy read for adults. 😀 😀 The illustrations, which are actually sketches are good too. You can use them to color, because why not? 😛


Why would I pick it up?

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For the easy read with life lessons. 😀 😀


My review of another book by the author:

Review | Gift of Darkness:Growing Up in Occupied Amsterdam by Craig K. Comstock

Gift of Darkness: Growing Up in Occupied Amsterdam

 

Title: Gift of Darkness:Growing Up in Occupied Amsterdam
Author: Craig K. Comstock
Genre: Non Fiction, Biography
Publisher: Willow Press

Publishing date: 25th November, 2015
Pages: 206

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 

*e-ARC received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

Gift of Darkness” tells the story of a boy who, like Anne Frank, lived in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Unlike Anne, he was not taken into early hiding, but was able to move around the city, even to help serve its Jewish community, and observe first-hand the ominous things that were happening. Robbert Van Santen lived each day not knowing how or when the war would end, not being sure that he would survive, not imagining that as an elder he would articulate his experiences to an American author. To put one of Mary Oliver’s poetic phrases in a new context, his story is “a box full of darkness,” but in the telling he offers the author and the reader the gift of stepping into his shoes and thus the satisfaction of coming to understand a teenager’s challenging life. What did Robbert do afterward? He sought “to find joy in life despite what happened. Not instead of the memories, but as a response to them.


My Take:

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If you only look at Robbert’s  experiences and focus on the events of the time then this is a good book but overall this is not that of an interesting read.

When you think of someone going through all this, it obviously tears your heart apart. Using present tense can make a person experience the ordeal while they read it but it gets exhausting at times. I don’t actually like present tense narration in fiction either, it takes out the story telling element which is what makes a book more enjoyable, atleast to me.

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While the approach might be different and the reason logical to an extent it takes out the pleasure of reading. This approach might better suit a documentary because reading the past in past tense actually makes the story seem real. I don’t know if it’s just me but the tenses make or break the book. The message, the story might be good but the writing style is not well suited.

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I kind of feel that narrating his life story in present tense might have been more painful for Robert.

I think it would’ve worked better as “as told to.”

 

 

I really liked the foreword of the book, it is written by Francis Weller, he explains the decision of writing the book in the particular way better than the author himself.
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Now, if Robbert could talk about the facts detaching the feelings then he was already dealing with his grief. If you can separate the facts from the feelings it means you have come to terms with that experience to a certain extent. I get the, “to enter the grief and allow the full weight of sorrow to be felt and expressed,” this makes sense for using the present tense but then again if it was in first person it would’ve made more sense. When the story is being told in third person it automatically becomes  “as told to” and the present tense seems irrelevant.

“The whole story must be told, reuniting the facts with the feelings.” Robbert wanted to delve out only facts so to get the feelings out this method might have been helpful in the interview but in the book, not so much.

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Image result for old man reading animated gifThis is the actual story I wanted the most focus on. This was the part I wanted to read when I started reading this book. The story of Robbert. The author’s thoughts, psychoanalysis, historic facts, information are all necessary but should’ve been secondary to the actual story but all of these stuff seem to push towards being the primary aspect of the book. I think in making this book worthy the author lost focus from the main element of the book. Yes, they decided to skip some parts, in a joking manner, but some of the things required more attention and details that was not provided to the parts. Some places it felt rushed when it came to Robbert’s story and some places it felt dragged when it was the author recounting the experiences he had with Robbert.

Yes, Anne’s story is heartbreaking but you don’t actually get to know about the state of the Jews, in this book you are amidst all the disaster. To get a glimpse of how life was for the people who couldn’t go into hiding, this book is a good start. 🙂 🙂


Why would I pick it up?

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For Robbert! 🙂

Review | Boyfriend for Hire by Gail Chianese

Boyfriend for Hire (West Side Romance, #2)

 

Title: Boyfriend for Hire
Series: West Side Romance (Book 2)
Author: Gail Chianese
Genre: Romance
Publisher: Lyrical Shine

Publishing date: 24th November, 2015
Pages: 278

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 

*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

In this sexy new series, author Gail Chianese celebrates the heart—and the heat—of modern dating. This time, a temporary boyfriend may be the right man for a permanent position…
 
The only girl in a family of five brothers, Tawny Torres has had enough of waiting on men. She has her life and her career all mapped out, and neither includes an apron, an iron, or a husband—yet. But when a new job emphasizes a healthy balance of work and play, she needs a guy to stand in as her love interest at a company picnic. Gorgeous charmer David “King of Pleasure” Farber fits the bill perfectly—so well that Tawny is shocked to realize she’s having a hard time letting him go…

David’s a confirmed bachelor, but he can’t get enough of Tawny’s firecracker combination of tough and tender. Unfortunately, he’s overloaded with work at his construction firm and now definitely isn’t the time for distraction—he struggles enough with that already. Still, he can’t ignore his feelings for Tawny. He’ll just have to convince her that he’s more than a
boyfriend-for-hire. And she’ll have to prove he can trust her with his biggest secret…


My Take:

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What an enjoyable book! ❤

I loved reading it. The writing is good and engaging. Although the concept of the book isn’t something fresh, the writing gives it its own essence. 😀 😀

The title “Boyfriend for Hire” might be a stretch because our lead pair are already friends and David already is hot for Tawny, the title gives off the strangers-falling-in-love vibe.

I am not a fan of the cover. :/ I have already read many fake-boyfriend-for-the-sake-of-job-or-family kind of books so the plotline wasn’t that intruiguing to me but the writing, the relationship growth, the character development made up for what the plotline lacked in originality.

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It sure was an entertaining read with sass and smartass… 😛 😛

The conversations between the pair are funny and highly entertaining, I liked Tawny’s no- nonsense attitude and Dave obviously is very likable. This is the second book in the series which I didn’t know at the time of reading but it can be read as a stand-alone. The main characters of this book act as supporting characters in the first book. I think that’s how the series is going to continue. This book makes me want to read the other books in the series.

A real entertaining read. 😀 😀


Why would I pick it up?

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For a fun and light read. 😀 😀