Review| A Bird! No, a Plane! It’s a Dragon!

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Synopsis:

A desperate Knight. An imprisoned dragon. What will crossing fates of the two bring about?

I have slain countless monsters as a Shirai Knight. I have gained great wealth and high status over many years. But so what? If I can’t even protect the one thing I truly care about, then it’s all meaningless.
However, I will not give up. That is not an option. Not when I have one last hope of making things right.
Dragon, I don’t know if you’re ready for me, but I’m coming for you.

“Dragon’s Avatar” is the first book of the “Crossing Fates” series, an action-fantasy story set in a medieval world of magic and monsters created by the author Marc Ingram.
The POV style of writing is inspired by Japanese Light Novels and Visual Novels, so it may seem unique, but western audiences should be able to enjoy themselves as well. This book is for anyone who likes well depicted characters and vivid fighting scenes with tension hanging in the air. ”

My Review:

I’m almost not even sure what I’m supposed to be reviewing, but, as always, I’ll give it my best shot.

I don’t know what or where the plot was? The book just seemed to continue on and on without a real “end result”. There was an end result, but you don’t know what the end result is until you almost finish the book. If I’m not making any sense, it’s kind of like this: In dystopian books, the end result is often a successful uprising and the government is taken down. In sci-fi war books, there’s a war and the good guys win. Even in TV shows and comic books, the Joker is wreaking havoc and we already know that Batman is going to take him down and win. We already know the end result of the plot, it’s getting to the end result that makes the plot so interesting.

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The Pan: Experiencing Neverland by Matthew Eldridge (Review)

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Kindle Price: $7.88

Official Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis:

“Take a journey with one of the world’s most popular orphans, Peter Pan, as he leaves his native land, England, in search of adventure. Traveling across the Atlantic Ocean, Peter makes some new friends and villainous enemies as well. Eventually, he discovers the place where a boy should never ever be—Neverland: The land of pirates, natives, zombies, missionaries, and Wendy’s orphans, the Lost Boys.
And while Peter vows to never grow up, he can’t help but to mature into a young man, faced with the attraction of a beautiful young woman.
But Peter’s entrusted with a secret: He can stay young forever, after all. He only needs to discover the clues to finding and unlocking the Fountain of Youth, while battling the dreaded Captain Hook for the same prize.
Matthew Eldridge’s version of the Peter Pan story is a dark, humanistic, yet innocent adventure, dipped in realism with true settings and believable characters. Join Peter, Wendy, John, Michael, Tiger Lily, the Lost Boys, Captain Hook and many others as they fight their way from Neverland to the Fountain of Youth. This is not a fairy tale, but a historical action adventure following the life of the boy who refuses to grow up.

This special edition of The Pan benefits impoverished Native American children living on reservations. Many of these native children live in deplorable, third world country-like conditions.”

 

My Review:

I won’t lie, I picked up The Pan: Experiencing Neverland because of the promise of it being dark. Don’t get me wrong, I like Peter Pan and his childish innocent ways, but I most definitely wanted to see a dark version.

I was disappointed though, although it may be just me personally, I felt that it lacked the ‘darkness’ that I was looking for. Admittedly, I had wanted to see Peter be rather…well, bad. My interpretation of dark was that he wasn’t going to be the giggling boy who wouldn’t grow up, he was going to be a boy who knew so much that he had to.

Eldridge captured the child-like part of Peter, I would have to agree. I could hear his voice as I read, sometimes I would raise my eyebrow at his thoughts (which was the most movement the book could elicit from me (besides my eyes as they read)), and his juvenile thought process was realistic. I do wish Peter had grown up though. While yes, I know that he is supposed to be the boy who never grows up, I felt that with all the situations he went through, poorly detailed and obvious fillers as they were, he should have quickly lost his innocent state of mind.

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Long Live Freedom by Elizabeth Hunt

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Kindle Price: $6.99

Official Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis:

“When Karter, banished and alone, stumbles across the Kingdom of Conquistado, he finds himself recruited to the Pantasmas -the rebel group living in the forest just outside town. From there, they do their best to thwart Derex Fallon, a man who stole the crown ten years ago and has kept a strangling hold on the populace ever since. When a crazy tradition gives the Pantasma’s leader, Alick, the chance of a lifetime, Karter and Alick embark on a journey to the mountains beyond to find help of a most unusual kind. In this stunning story of a handful of teenagers struggling to fight the injustice of a nation there is mystery, romance, and adventure of all kinds. The Battle for Libre commences and the reign of Derex Fallon balances on the edge of a blade.”

My Review:

Fantasy. A genre that allows us to pretend, if but for a moment, that dragons, unicorns, and weres (oh my!) exist. There are only about one hundred and fifty pages, so Hunt didn’t have a large amount of space (of course, that was by design), but a short book is never an excuse for poor execution.

There was almost nothing wrong with the plot. I did see a couple of holes, a few circumstances and (convenient) outcomes that made me roll my eyes, and unnecessary death(s), but it honestly was a fairly solid plot. I think it could have really bloomed into a fantasy story that I would have loved to visit if some of the issues I’ll mention are addressed.

The characters could have been great. I liked the name “Alick,” it was different and “Karter,” which is (obviously) spelled with a ‘k’. The only issue is that cardboard has more depth than them. Don’t get me wrong, they have tragic backstories, but I wasn’t sold on them. I read them and thought, “Aw.” but that was as far as I felt. There was no conviction in the information they told and therefore I felt none. I knew their cause, what they had been through, but they all fell flat. All of them, Alick and Karter include, lacked character development altogether. If none of your other/side characters have any form of mental or personality or decision-making growth, at the very least, you owe it to the reader, (with few exceptions), to have your main characters grow. It’s the right thing to do. In addition to that, one character is singled out and undermined whenever it’s possible. Alick even said to herself that “It [ignoring them] made it easier to undermine [them].” The character in question was given such a bad attitude that I was/am convinced that they were a villain. Why do such a thing? It didn’t make much sense to me. A leader should never allow, encourage, or participate in the ridiculing of someone who follows them or anyone in general. That is bad form and doesn’t demonstrate leadership skills.

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Broken Symmetry by Dan Rix

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Blaire Adams can walk through mirrors.
It’s called breaking symmetry. To her, a mirror feels like a film of honey. She can reach through it, grab things…even step inside.
On the other side she lives every teenager’s fantasy: a universe all her own, zero consequences. She can kiss the hot guy, break into La Jolla mansions, steal things…even kill. When finished, she just steps back into reality and smashes the mirror—and in an instant erases every stupid thing she did. Gone. It never happened.
But breaking symmetry is also dangerous. First there’s the drug-like rush she gets when passing through the glass, like a shot of adrenaline. She suspects it’s degrading her body, making a new copy of her each time. A reflection of a reflection, each one a little hazier. Then, of course, there’s the risk of getting cut off from reality.
When she narrowly escapes a military quarantine zone with the San Diego Police Department hot on her heels only to discover her escape mirror littering the floor in shards, her worst fear is realized. Now, trapped in a broken reflection, she must flee through a mind-bending maze of mirrors, going deeper into the nightmare as she struggles to grasp a betrayal, uncover the chilling truth about her ability, and somehow find a way out of a dead-end universe that “never happened.”
Somehow, she must find a way home.

My Review:

I wish I could have thoroughly enjoyed this. I really do.

A while back, I read a book about time travel/leaping (A Time to Reap) and I sincerely enjoyed it. I gave it a four-out-of-five stars review and recommended it. Time travel can get complicated very quickly because it’s a very complicated subject. Likewise, the concept of traveling within mirrors is a complicated subject as well. So why did A Time to Reap receive 4/5 stars, but Broken Symmetry received 2.5/5?

The low rating has three reasons. One: I didn’t understand it. Maybe complicated topics lose me as easily as I lose my chapstick, but I was able to keep up in A Time to Reap. In Broken Symmetry, a lot of things were lost to me. Why? Because it was poorly explained. As a reader, I learn along with Blaire; what she knows, I know. At least, that’s how it was supposed to be. Somehow, Blaire is able to understand what Damien (I’ll go over the characters later) tells her without much trouble, but I was left behind. As they walked through the plot, I was left on the other side of the mirror, still trying to figure out how to get my hand to go through. It was frustrating and unfair because it left me having to decide if I wanted to re-read the same paragraphs three times or continue on and hope I’m not missing valuable information. In the end, I was able to make it through the story without understanding it all, but that didn’t make it any less frustrating. Unlike in novellas, short stories, or novelettes, there was plenty of time to really explain how this “mirror jumping” business worked. Instead, Damien would smirk, tell Blaire something in one to three lines of dialogue, and Blaire’s mind would shrug and understand it. On the other side of the page, to my brain, Damien was explaining quantum physics to me and Blaire, who is a quantum physics expert, and as she nods along, I’m still reading the first paragraph of the Wikipedia page. How fair is that? At least there wasn’t an exam.

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A Hairy Tail (A Hairy Tail series) by Jamie Campbell

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Kindle Price: Free

Official Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis:

Please note: This is a short story. Flash fiction is a fun and quick read, not a novel.
Hannah needed a project to get her through the long summer. Signing up at the local animal shelter, she finds exactly what she needs in the sad, lost dog Basil.
She sets her sights on finding his owner, promising him he would be reunited with his family. What she didn’t anticipate was being distracted by her gorgeous co-volunteer, Harry.
Overcoming her inner shyness, Hannah needs to reel in Harry the hottie, find Basil’s owner, and try to be a normal teenager for her mother. And do all this before the summer ends.
Love, paws, and fur balls abound in this fun short story that is bound to make your tail wag.

My Review:

Don’t take my rating as a bad 2.5, A Hairy Tail was a decent read, which is why it received a 2.5.

The main character is Hannah and she was kind of cool. She was more interested in school and homework and schedules than summer parties and wildness, which I respected. There was actual no obvious character development from what I could see, but that was fine. Mostly because there was no need for development, it wasn’t a thirty-two chapter novel about a teenager who finds herself. It was about down-to-earth Hannah who finds something to do while she wants for the last ninety-three days of summer to end. There wasn’t much to her, since, again, this wasn’t a long novel, but it was enough.

I think what I didn’t like of anything was Hannah’s mother, Coco. I didn’t appreciate that Coco was almost shaming Hannah for not liking the party scene. Multiple times she asks or tells Hannah that she isn’t normal or not doing what normal teenagers do by not enjoying parties. I have known teenagers who don’t appreciate the party part of life and it wasn’t as abnormal and unimaginable as Coco made it seem.

The romance was surprisingly subtle. I thought that this was a romance story so I had expected a lot more of the romance aspect, but the ending was cute. Would I recommend A Hairy Tail? I don’t see why not. If you have an hour of your time that you won’t feel guilty about spending on a book, definitely go for it.

No, Not That Jane Austen by Marilyn Grey

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Kindle Price: $0.99

Official rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis:

The complete opposite of her parents, Jane doesn’t like reading love stories and can’t stand all things romance, but most especially she hates her name. “No, not that Jane Austen,” she’s said so many times to so many teachers, friends, and strangers, while lamenting the fact that her parents named her after one of their favorite authors, the very author who sparked their own love story.
Jane isn’t looking for a love story, and on the eve of her 18th birthday she happily considers changing her name and finally steering her life away from the self-imposed expectations that come with it, but … she meets a charming British boy on his way back home and everything she’s fought hard to control suddenly becomes irresistible.

My Review:

This wasn’t a very exciting adventure and it ended in a boring way. No, Not That Jane Austen’s synopsis is pretty misleading. It seems as if Jane has her life completely set out in front of her and then suddenly a British boy throws himself into her plans and Jane is thrown for a loop. That’s not true, don’t get it twisted.

Jane Austen isn’t an intriguing character; her name sure is, but she isn’t. She felt like a side character, a girl to push the plot along but didn’t have much else reason to be present. I didn’t and still don’t see what made the male interest want to kiss her so bad. I also don’t understand why the male interest kept saying he wanted to kiss her even though she would blatantly ignore him after he said it. Take a hint?

The plot of the story had about the same amount of meat that a vegetarian dinner would have. None. What was the point of the whole story? Technically, it can’t be called a short story, rather a really long sample of the actual story (that is definitely not worth a dollar). I think this wasn’t much a prequel, but more of a short short story that is supposed to tease you into wanting to buy the next book. Unfortunately for Grey, in order for that to work, as an author, you need to make sure that if you read No, Not That Jane Austen you would want to buy the next book. And not just because it’s yours.

Steel Lily (Periodic series) by Megan Curd

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Price: Free!

Official Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis:

“AVERY PIKE is a commodity. No, more than a commodity. Her existence is guarded at all costs.
She’s a water Elementalist, the strongest of her dwindling kind. She creates steam to provide energy to fuel Dome Four: the only thing standing between humanity and an earth ravaged by World War III. No steam, no Dome. No Dome, no life.
Or so she thinks.
That is, until a mysterious man offers her a way out of having to donate steam. A way to escape the corrupt government of Dome Four. While the offer seems too good to be true, Avery is intrigued. But when she arrives to her new home, she realizes the grass isn’t any less dead on this side of the fence. Instead, the lies are just hidden better.
…Which means digging deeper.
When Avery enlists the help of her friends to uncover the truth, she learns that while some secrets are better left concealed, humankind was never meant to live in a cage. And when you can control the most sought after resource, you can learn to control anything…including the fate of your world.”

My Review:

I honestly love the title Steel Lily as well as how the name arrives in the book. I rather enjoyed myself reading this, but I still had to give it a review of 2.5.

Avery Pike, the heroine, wasn’t as complex as she needed to be. In a dystopian world where you can hardly trust yourself and, in Avery’s case, your class hates you because of your abilities, you need to be complex. Firstly, you need a poker face. Throughout the whole book at least three characters comment on how Avery’s face is a snitch when it comes to how she feels. And this never changes, which I will get to shortly. Secondly, be more than just your superpower/what makes you stand out. Besides Avery’s special power, there wasn’t much to her. She was just a pawn in her own book! Avery felt very naive to me and for the most part, just wandered around hoping to uncover “secrets” even though she wasn’t doing much. All of the secrets were conveniently given to her by a few of the friends that she surrounds herself with. It wasn’t the heroine the world needed after what everyone says was a terrible World War III, which I will also get to later. Thirdly, don’t swoon over the first guy you meet. It’s just so sad. All it takes is one look and suddenly “Does he feel the love too?” Please don’t do that, focus on your goal in life, you know, the one that involves people you love that may die? Thanks. Curd tried to make Avery seem somewhat quick-witted, someone who bravely (or stupidly) pushed her captor’s patience to the limit, but it fell flat. I found myself rolling my eyes when she tried to be a smart-aleck towards anyone besides Jaxon because at least Jaxon wasn’t taking her seriously. She never fixed her poker face issue either, she just continued to walk around with her thoughts written out on her face and eventually everyone just accepted it. It was very unrealistic.

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