Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Review: Mirain

By Jacob Reifsteck
Pages: 592
Date Finished: April 15, 2017

Book Reviews- It Was OkayIt Was Okay

Synopsis:

Princess Sofia, just recently turned old enough to have her own personal guards. The guards, Hector, an unproven, yet ambitious young knight and his sarcastic squire, Mark, sees this as an opportunity of a lifetime to guard the noble lady from the safety of her castle…but the lady has other plans. Her home, the land of Mirain, has prospered under years of peace, but the princess becomes alarmed at the news of possibly superstitious events at the outskirts of the kingdom. Even more alarming is that few knights bother to acknowledge them, preferring to instead compete in tournaments for personal glory and recognition. The princess drags her unwilling guards to investigate the reports of monsters in the far off corners of the realm. Soon, they discovers a much bigger problem than anyone anticipated.

Review:

I keep putting off writing this review, because I want to like this book, I really do. It just has too many problems. It felt like an unfinished or unedited book. But the promise of the book was there, in many little glimpses especially toward the latter half of the book.

The story is basically a coming of age tale for 3 characters Sophia, the crown princess, Hector he personal guard and Mark his squire. From naive young teens ready to take on the world to war weary veterans just desperate to help their friends survive the next onslaught.

The first problem is that the characters are too modern, especially Princess Sofia. The way she talked just ground a nerve, it didn’t fit with the rest of the story or setting. Especially when the characters use the phrase, “Just saying.” That being said her voice matured though out the book and by the end (finally) the dialogue fit the story.

Secondly, the mistakes! Several times characters were called by the wrong name. Once even a sentence was in the wrong place, which completely took me out of the story. The word knew was used instead of new, and there were other mistakes that really should have been caught by an editor.

Soap-Box-Rant: Also you can’t just steal the Uruk-hai from Tolkien. I’m pretty sure that’s copy right infringement or plagiarism or something. It’s one thing to make allusion to another work, or homage to it, but to just straight up take a part of his world and use it as your own that’s not good. They are not commonly used fantasy characters like elves, dwarves and what not they are characters made up by Tolkien for use in his world.

Bottom Line:

Please someone edit this book and put out a second edition! There is a good epic fantasy story hiding in this book, and I hope it will get the rewrite it deserves.

More info about Mirain from Ravenswood Publishers.

2016 Overview and Book of the Year

Ok so major fail on the 2016 reviews, it July 2017 and I am just now finishing them up. I didn’t even manage to read 35 books last year, but well it was an awful year. The good news is that I read a lot of things I really loved.

Read all of my 2016 Reviews.

The Rating System:

Book Reviews - Loved ItLoved It – 13

Book Reviews- Liked it AlotLiked It A lot – 9

Book Reviews - Liked ItLiked It – 3

Book Reviews- It Was OkayIt Was Okay – 4

Book Reviews - Kind BadKinda Bad- 0

Book Reviews - BadBad – 0

Book Reviews - It stunk It Stunk – 0

Total =  29       Goal =35

Goals

Re-Read A Book: none

Greek Mythology or Tragedy: The Seven Against Thebes

Poetry: none

Book of the Year

I knew, as soon as I finished reading it, that Rags and Ruins would be my pick for book of the year. It turns so many fantasy troupes on their heads and I just feel in love with the characters. From my review: “Bob Dixon can weave a tale. Rags and Ruins is a masterpiece, a must read for fantasy fans. “My bottom line: I loved it! From the first page to the last, I thought this book was adorable and the characters truly likable.”

Read my full review.

Rags leads an idyllic life for a goblin child—he spends his days playing in the landfill with his gargoyle friend Ladin, going fishing with his father Hargo in the river, and developing his love of music. His parents love him intensely, and his mother Calin is fiercely protective of him. How could he ask for anything more as he lives an enchanted life on the reservation on the outskirts of the “civilized” world, surrounded by mystical creatures and magic? Little does Rags realize that he is not a goblin but instead a human who was abandoned shortly after his birth and left in the landfill to be raised by the goblins as a way to fulfill an ancient prophecy of good and evil, twin brothers separated at birth and reunited in the thirteenth year of their life, one to unleash an ancient evil, the other the only hope to stop it from happening. A powerful tale of magic, music, and danger, Rags and Ruins is sure to thrill readers of all ages with its mix of adventure, intrigue, and humor—and if it doesn’t, they’ll have to answer to a furious goblin mother.

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” ― William Styron

March 2017 Book Pick Ups

The Deliberate ReaderI am so far behind in my book pick up posts that I couldn’t hope to catch up, so I just decided to start fresh by posting just last months books.

Since our move I kinda settled down on picking up anything but kindle titles and kids books. We just have less space, and I have less time for personal reading right now. Hopefully as we get more settled in and use to our new routine that will change.

For Kindle:

The Daemoniac (Dominion Mysteries Book 1)
Why I got it: Because Kat Ross is an awesome author and I want to read more of her books. Go follow her on twitter and then check out my reviews for her other books Blood of the Prophet and Queen of Chaos.

Ella Dethroned
Why I got it: You know I forgot I had picked this one up, I’m assuming it was from Instafreebie or Book Bub. It’s the prequel to a fantasy series, and has mostly 4 and 5 star reviews. It sounds exciting so I’ll give it a shot.

The Silver Skull Preview
Why I got it: This one is going up to the front of my TBR list because it sounds so intriguing. Add Steampunk, plus spies, plus a dash of fantasy and I’m am in. (I believe this copy is just a sample though, and I will probably end up buying the full book.)

ARC:

Who Counts?: 100 Sheep, 10 Coins, and 2 Sons
Why I got it: I got this children’s book through the LibraryThing early readers program. I requested it because it looked like a good childrens book about some of the parables of Jesus. However I had mixed feeling about it. Read my review here.

eARC:

The Waterfall Traveler
Why I got it: I am going to review this book for Xpresso Book Tour in May. It sounds like a good fantasy story, with rouges, fugitives, conspiracies and someone the power to travel through water. Also, the cover is just amazing.

Kids Books:

The Little Grumpy Cat that Wouldn’t (Little Golden Book)
Why I got it: I picked this up from my Goddaughter’s school book fair, partly because she loves Grumpy Cat and partly because this year is Little Golden Books 75th anniversary. And the thought of Grumpy cat in a Little golden Book is hilarious.

Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty
Why I got it: It was .99 cents at St. Vinny’s and I am a big sucker for collecting all the books in a series. Plus this gives me more to read than Bad Kitty vs. Uncle Murray: The Uproar at the front door, which is her favorite bad kitty book and therefore I have read it about 4,00 times.

Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet
Why I got it: Same reasons as above, but this one we got from the book fair.

Mary Poppins
Why I got it: .99 cent at St. Vinny’s and it a book I’ve always wanted to read. Now that my goddaughter is a little older I’ve started reading chapter books to her, like Winnie-the-Pooh and I think we’ll try Mary Poppins too.

The Shy Little Kitten (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: I remember reading this book as a Little Golden book when I was a kid. The step into reading version is just right for my goddaughter to practice her reading aloud.

Cinderella (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: A cheap thrift store pick up. And like I said before I like to collect books in a series, and we already have a bunch of Disney princess Step Into Reading titles.

The Sweetest Spring (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: Ditto what I just said, but even more so because this one is part of a series-within-a-series of Disney princess seasonal books.

Tink’s Treasure Hunt (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: Another Thrift store find, and who doesn’t love Tink?

Misc:

National Geographic Inside the Medieval World 2017
Why I got it: This is actually what I’m reading right now. I saw it on a supermarket newsstand and picked it up because I’m intrigued by the Medieval World and a century-by-century guide is a great tool for understand the pieces of history.

 

Review: Who Counts? & A Morning with Grandpa

Because today, March 28th is Children’s Picture Book Day I’m going to share my review of the latest ARC picture books I’ve received. I don’t normally post them to my blog because they are often much shorter than my other reviews. Occasionally I will get a picture book to review and I always save them to read with my 6 year-old goddaughter.

Who Counts? 100 Sheep, 10 Coins, and 2 Sons

By Amy-Jill Levine
Pages: 40

Synopsis:

One sheep makes a difference. Without her something is missing. Now my flock is complete.

Oh, no! The man is missing his sheep! The woman is missing her coin! The father is missing his son! Can you help them find what they are looking for?

Who Counts? is a creative retelling of three popular parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. As young readers count to help the characters find what s missing, Who Counts? teaches that every one of us counts in God s eyes and that everyone should feel counted.

The stories are beautifully illustrated with modern-day characters and a diversity of ethnicities so that all children will be able to see themselves in the stories.

Review:

I have mixed feelings about this book. It’s a 3-part retelling of some of the parables of Jesus. Using bright, colorful pictures it tells the story of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. The first two stories are great, the ones about the sheep and the coin. But then on the third story, the lost/prodigal son, it goes kinda sideways. I agree with an earlier reviewer who said they were uncomfortable with the slant it took. In trying to make the third story more like the first two it changes the end of the parable a bit. Story-wise it makes sense, but Biblically it’s not a good interpretation. Otherwise I would be able to rate this book much higher.

Bottom Line:

Skip it. This book has a great idea, that just goes off course enough to make me uneasy with it.

A Morning with Grandpa


By Sylvia Liu
Pages: 32

Synopsis:

Mei Mei s grandpa is practicing tai chi in the garden, and Mei Mei is eager to join in. As Gong Gong tries to teach her the slow, graceful movements, Mei Mei enthusiastically does them with her own flair. Then Mei Mei takes a turn, trying to teach Gong Gong the yoga she learned in school. Will Gong Gong be able to master the stretchy, bendy poses? Winner of the LEE & LOW New Voices Award, this title celebrates, with lively spirit and humor, the special bond between grandparent and grandchild and the joy of learning new things together. Readers of all ages will want to try out some tai chi and yoga too!

Review:

A wonderful book! Both the pictures and story are just lovely. The book is about a little girl and her Grandfather spending a Sat morning together. The grandfather, Gong Gong, is outside doing Tai Chi, and the little girl, Mei Mei, wants to join. The illustrations flow with the story as they move through the poses, with Mei Mei not quite grasping the idea of Tai Chi movements. Then the story flips with Mei Mei trying to teach Gong Gong yoga moves, which he finds difficult to follow. Eventually they find a form that fits them both. A great story to use to introduce multicultural families to children, or to introduce yoga or Tai Chi to kids. The 6 year old loves this book!

Bottom Line:

Get it, if you’re looking to add more multicultural books to your child’s library. It’s a great book and has lots of potential for rereading or for classroom reading.

That’s it. What new picture books have you read lately? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to pick up a picture book today.

December 2016 Book Pick-Ups

December 2016 Pick-UpsThe Deliberate Reader

Christmas is always a great time for new books. Most of the year I get books through Kindle deals, and thrift stores. But December is a time where I can count on getting a few new physical books. The last couple of years this means coloring books too. Although, it’s a big fad now and every publisher is trying to get one out for all their IP’s, I never gave up on coloring and have enjoyed it as a hobby since I was a child.

For Kindle:

The Destroyer
Why I got it: I’m on the author’s email list and he said the book was being offered for free so I thought I would check it out. Sounds like it has a lot of graphic sex in it though, and I may decide to abandon it, because that’s not really something I like in books.

The Missing
Why I got it: My Kindle First selection for the month. Which I now regret because most of the reviews are bad, and a mystery without a likable lead is not my cup of tea.

Ocean’s Justice: The Little Mermaid Retold
Why I got it: The Little Mermaid retold sounds awesome, and it was free.

Ocean’s Trial
Why I got it: The follow-up to Ocean’s Justice, it was also free. I found out about both through the author’s newsletter.

eARCs:

Mirain
Why I got it: This sentence “The princess drags her unwilling guards to investigate the reports of monsters in the far off corners of the realm.” That and it’s from Ravenswood Publishing and I have really enjoyed the experience of being part of their reviewer team.

Queen of Chaos
Why I got it: The 3rd book in the Forth Element Series. I read books 1 and 2 earlier in the year (read my review), and was offered the third as an ARC. I can’t wait to finish this exciting series.

ARC:

A Morning with Grandpa
Why I got it: I won it in the November batch of Early Reviewers books from LibraryThing.com. It’s a children’s book from a publisher that specializes in multicultural books for children. I haven’t had a chance to look it over, but it sounds interesting.

Book Fair:

I bought several of these book as gifts.
I bought several of these book as gifts.

A Bad Kitty Christmas
Why I got it: We love Bad Kitty, maybe a little too much. But well the book fair was right before Christmas, so we had to get it. Right?

Avatar The Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow Part One
Why I got it: We also love Avatar, and I enjoy a graphic novel from time to time. But seriously if you haven’t watched Avatar the Last Airbender you are missing out.

 

Coloring Books:

Serenity Adult Coloring Book
Why I got it: A gift from my sister. 🙂 Was the only Firefly themed gift I got this year, despite having the card game and Yatzee on my wishlist.

Dot-to-Dot for Grown-Ups
Why I got it: A gift from my mother-in-law. While Dot-to-Dots aren’t really my thing this was it pretty interesting.

Misc:

Thou Spleeny Swag-Bellied Miscreant: Create Your Own Shakespearean Insults
Just a couple of the Shakespearean Insults.

Heart and Brain: An Awkward Yeti Collection
Why I got it: I love Heart and Brain, and my husband knows what I love, so he got it for me as a Christmas Present.

Thou Spleeny Swag-Bellied Miscreant: Create Your Own Shakespearean Insults
Why I got it: Actually this was a present for my husband, but he’s doesn’t really enjoy Shakespeare the way I do.

The Wise Man’s Fear
Why I got it: Because I needed it… I have been waiting to read this book for an eternity, and finally just decided to buy it for myself.

2017 Inspire Daily Desktop Calendar
Why I got it: My MIL gave it to us for Christmas.

Review: The Last Treasure of Ancient England

The Last Treasure of Ancient England by MJ Colewood
Pages: 412
Date Finished: Dec 8, 2016

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It

  • I received this book free from the author

Synopsis:

It is 1066 and in the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings the lifeless corpse of King Harold has been looted. The disappearance of a particular item enrages Duke William, and only one of his knights knows its whereabouts. In his remaining years this knight has to make a decision: will he ever share his secret, or take the greatest enigma in English history to the grave? Centuries later, when Chester Bentley arrives at his new Devonshire boarding school, he is unprepared for the mystery it conceals. The discovery of an age-old riddle lures him and his new friends into a quest to uncover the secrets safeguarded by the stately manor house. Hidden somewhere in the county is an extraordinary treasure and the school holds the puzzling key to its surprising location. But something is lurking in the dark, shadowing them each time they venture out from their dormitory at night, and a ghostly legend puts fear into the bravest of pupils. In their last year at the remote school time is running out; so can they succeed where others have failed, and even died, in a chilling hunt to reveal the last treasure of ancient England?

Review:

You’ve probably heard a book claim to be the next so-and-so. You know the next Narnia, or new Lord of the Rings, or next Nancy Drew. Well I often dismiss those claims. Especially since I’ve been let down so many times because the comparision didn’t live up. However, I will dare to make a comparission here… This Chester Bentley Mystery is the closest I’ve come to reading something that captures, as an adult, the feelings I had when reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys as a child.

There is a real sense of wonder, mystery and discovery as you read this book. I felt like I was going on the adventure with Bentely, Montague, Iona, Zara and Q. The pace is much slower than a traditional mystery, yet there is a palpable sense of urgency building through out the book.

The book has three separate story lines that all take part in different times. I was really impressed with the one following the Norman invasion of 1066. I have read multiple books about this time period and never had a Norman character that was as compelling as Richard. Usually the Normans are all cast as bad guys with a serious case of blood lust, and there are those characters too, but Richard is not like them. It was nice to see a character that was three dimensional, and thoughtful.

The only problem I had with the book is what I call the “Harry Potter Effect,” where the book basically praises and reward children for breaking the rules. In fact, if they didn’t repeatedly break the rules the mystery would never have been solved. Add to that, the fact that some of the adults are bumbling and clueless and others are out to get the children, and you have a bad mix. This is just one of my pet peeves. I want to see books set a better example and for writers to find more creative ways to move the plot ahead.

Bottom Line:

A really good book that mixes a historical fiction of the Norman invasion with a mystery at a boarding school. The mystery had plenty of surprises (in fact I had not guessed which “particular item” it was that disappeared,) the characters were warm and likable, and the pace well thought out. I hope to read more of Bentley’s adventures in the future.

Purchase:
Amazon

Review: The Breedling and The City in the Garden

the-breedling-and-the-city-in-the-gardenby Kimberlee Ann Bastian
Pages:  280
Date Finished: Oct 31, 2016
Book Reviews - Liked ItLiked It

Synopsis:

Absolute obedience, servitude, neutrality.

These were the laws that once governed Bartholomew, an immortal soulcatcher, until one ill-fated night when he was forced to make a choice: rebel against his masters or reveal an ancient, dangerous secret.

He chose defiance.

Imprisoned for centuries as punishment for his decision, Bartholomew wastes away—until he creates an opportunity to escape. By a stroke of chance, Bartholomew finds himself in the human world and soon learns that breaking his bonds does not come without a price. Cut off from the grace that once ruled him, he must discover a new magic in 1930s Chicago.

Armed with only a cryptic message to give him direction, Bartholomew desperately tries to resume the mission he had started so long ago. Relying on the unlikely guidance of the streetwise orphan Charlie Reese, Bartholomew must navigate the depressed streets of the City in the Garden. But in order to solve this riddle, he must first discover if choice and fate are one in the same.

Review:

Not so much a fantasy story as a tour of 1930’s Chicago with a little bit of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” type mythology mixed in.

The Breedling and The City in the Garden, has a really warm narrative that slowly unfolds the mystery surrounding the character of Bartholomew as it takes you on a tour of depression era Chicago. The depth of the depression history draws you in and makes the unraveling bits of mythology that much more believable.

The characters and their discoveries and struggles are really what makes the story. Charlie the street smart orphan who has lost everything and is struggling to still be the man his mother wanted him to be. Bartholomew/Buck the otherwordly Breedling, who is trying to overcome centuries of grief and guilt and to finish his mission. The Devil, who Buck can’t shake and who has a too keen interest in Charlie. The mysterious and benevolent Father Van Lewen, and the brief glimpses we get of the characters from the world of Buck’s origin and the hints they give us of the true puzzle being unraveled.

Inter-playing ideas of destiny, free will, servitude and muniplation this story asked some big questions but leave them unanswered for the next story.

Bottom Line:

I’m unsure what to think of this book. I enjoyed reading it, but it wasn’t at all what I expected from the book description. This isn’t really a book for fantasy lovers, and those who regularly read heavily supernatural themed books (Like my Kindle First pick of this month Venom and Vanilla.) This is much more a book for fans of historical/period fiction who want to dip their toes into fantasy.

Purchase:
Amazon

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Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Party! (The Source of Magic: Excerpt)

I’m participating in the genreCRAVE Science Fiction and Fantasy $1200 Giveaway! They are having a party and have something really exciting things going on. First, some great Science Fiction and Fantasy books are on sale at bargain prices, and after that, a chance to enter our $1200 Gift Card Giveaway! (Plus bonus giveaway on the Facebook Event Page.) Read on for more information, but first, check out the books from our sponsors at the link below!

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The Source of Magic: A Fantasy Romance

by Cate Rowan (Excerpt)

the-source-of-magic-200x300For a moment there was quiet, and peace. Jilian couldn’t hear or move, but she could see Alvarr’s eyes, gray and deep. Then, with a tremendous roar and a jolt through every nerve, the world reappeared.

Cries of struggle buffeted her ears. She twisted toward them and Alvarr set her down, but kept her corralled in his arms, her back to his chest.

They stood in a round room of mortared stone and blazing torches, and they weren’t alone. Two men and a woman in sapphire-blue cloaks battled soldiers in black tunics slashed with red belts. Three soldiers attacked each person in blue. The blues fought awkwardly, as if unused to combat.

Jilian jerked back, knocking her spine against Alvarr’s solid form. Where am I?
The heat of his broad chest seeped through her nightgown. He leaned down to be heard above the clamor, his lips brushing her ear. “Please, send me your kyrra!”

Kyrra? Her brain scrambled for a meaning.

His left hand gripped her ribcage and he reached for her right hand.

“What are you DOING?” No, this is only a bad dream. And I’ll end it. Just as she was preparing to ram her elbow into Alvarr’s ribs and wake up in her study, a soldier hurtled toward them swinging a wooden quarterstaff.

She recoiled, slamming against Alvarr.

“Takerran!” Alvarr shouted. Green fire streaked from his raised palm to his opponent’s chest. The soldier sank in a heap and his staff clattered to the ground.

The world thinned and condensed into the soldier’s murderous sneer, frozen at the moment of the fire’s impact. The glare in his eyes iced her gut.

A dream! Wake up!

But his cruel gaze was too real—as were the frantic shouts, the acrid burn of torch-lit air, and the strong hand on her hip.

A familiar ring of light encircled their feet, and from it Alvarr yanked up a crackling wall of jade fire. It surrounded them and he twisted to his right, hauling her with him. “Rokad, look out!” he yelled to one of the cloaked men.

Jilian shoved against Alvarr’s grip, unable to budge even one powerful finger. She saw the dark-haired Rokad vault to the side, panic flooding his face. A glinting spear whistled through the air but caught only the edge of his cloak. He spun and lobbed a green fireball at his attacker, who crumpled to the ground. But he didn’t escape the second soldier, or the rope in the enemy’s hands that cut off his breath.

“Rokad!” Alvarr started toward him, dragging Jilian with him once more. The wall of fire flickered erratically.

“No, the FireRing—keep her safe!” Rokad gasped, clawing at the rope around his throat.
Jilian flinched as the butt of a sword crashed into Rokad’s temple.

Alvarr grabbed her hands. “The kyrra—hurry, send me your power!”

WHAT power? A scream pounded on her tongue, but the consequences it might bring clamped her teeth.

Within moments, the soldiers knocked out the three figures in cloaks and the sapphire mantles pooled on the stone floor. A brawny man with a red circular badge stepped forward, pulling a clear cylinder from a pouch at his waist.

A scarlet glow flared within the cylinder and the officer aimed it at Rokad. Rokad’s body paled. Even the sapphire of his cloak faded to a dull slate gray. Alvarr’s furious breath rushed across Jilian’s cheek.

Through the wall of fire, she stared in horror at Rokad’s ashen face.

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Review: Elemental Secrets

Pages: ES368

Date Finished: Aug 20, 2016

Book Reviews- It Was OkayIt Was Okay

Synopsis:

Valerie Moore was a beautiful, headstrong girl with below-average social skills and above-average anxiety (including a flair for over-analyzing).

With her mother long deceased, and her father recently deployed, she ends up being sent to live with her eccentric aunt in a tiny town nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania. But, being a Navy brat had made her into a bit of a loner, and making friends certainly wasn’t her strongest suit. As if the life of a typical teen wasn’t hard enough.

But Valerie soon discovers she’s not a typical teenager. Not by a long shot.

SECRETS are revealed…

…About her family, about her newfound friends and relationships, and about her whole world… Things that have been kept from her for her entire life…

But the biggest secret of all is revealed when Valerie discovers that she has Elemental powers, and a chain of inexplicable and irrevocable events unleashes throughout the little town…

Review:

This story is 8 parts high school drama and 2 parts super natural. The high school drama is that of a Navy brat who is living with her Aunt while on her dad is deployed. She trying to fit in as the new kid at the high school, although she’s not too new because she was with this same group of students for 8th grade during another of her dads deployments.

It has the typical love triangle with the new girl having to choose between the hot, loud mouth, popular jock and the quiet guy she just can’t get out of her mind. The drama part is only made interesting because you are kept guessing at the motivation of a couple of the characters.

Soon you find out that there are two factions in the town and that Valerie has accidentally gotten caught between the two.

As she discovers more about what is really going on in the town the action finally begins to ramp up, but the transitions between scenes begin to fall apart. There are times when things have happened in one scene which should be game changers, but have NO bearing or impact on the next one. For example she gets shot, twice, and the next day goes out to breakfast and then to school. Seriously, it was like nothing happened. Like you would expect getting shot to be a major event in her character arc, but the day afterward it has had no effect on her.

It’s really on the transitions that the story lost me. It felt like it could have been a good read, but that it wasn’t tied together well enough.

Bottom Line:

I have had so many mixed feelings about this book that it’s taken me a long time to post this review. It has some compelling elements but jumps around too much and some of the transitions between settings are so jolting they take you out of the story. I wanted to like this book. I hope that it will see a cleaned up second edition.

Purchase:
Amazon

Review: Rags and Ruins

by Bob Dixon
Pages: 292
Date Finished: Sept 9, 2016

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It

 

Synopsis:

Rags leads an idyllic life for a goblin child—he spends his days playing in the landfill with his gargoyle friend Ladin, going fishing with his father Hargo in the river, and developing his love of music. His parents love him intensely, and his mother Calin is fiercely protective of him. How could he ask for anything more as he lives an enchanted life on the reservation on the outskirts of the “civilized” world, surrounded by mystical creatures and magic? Little does Rags realize that he is not a goblin but instead a human who was abandoned shortly after his birth and left in the landfill to be raised by the goblins as a way to fulfill an ancient prophecy of good and evil, twin brothers separated at birth and reunited in the thirteenth year of their life, one to unleash an ancient evil, the other the only hope to stop it from happening. A powerful tale of magic, music, and danger, Rags and Ruins is sure to thrill readers of all ages with its mix of adventure, intrigue, and humor—and if it doesn’t, they’ll have to answer to a furious goblin mother.

Learn more.rarbanner

Review:

Rags and Ruins is a fantasy story that takes so much of what we think we know about fantasy tropes and turns them on their heads, in the best way possible.

Hargo, is a good-hearted, hard working goblin. Calin is a loving, protective mother goblin. Ladin is a fun loving, adventurous gargoyle. With the Man in the House to keep watch on him and the landfill where they and other “creatures of darkness” live. Rags is really lucky to have them all in his life. A boy never had it so good from so many “bad characters.”

The main story line is about a prophecy that Rags and a twin brother are destined to fulfill one day. Of course, as happens with most fantasy stories there is a magical council working behind the scenes to make sure that the “child of darkness” has as little training as possible and that the “child of light” as much as possible. Their plan is to stack the odds so that come the day of fulfillment evil will be easily overcome. But they are wrong… wrong about Rags, wrong about his brother, wrong about the true meaning of darkness and light, and wrong about themselves. (Telling you this is not a spoiler, you’ll see this coming from a mile away.)

Luckily Hargo and Calin have seen the truth of things and Rags’ love of music is no accident.

This isn’t rooting for the bad guys the way some dark fantasy and urban books have you rooting for the vampire with a soul, or the brooding bad guy. Rags and Ruins has a deep message about stereotypes but brings it out with a light touch.

Bob Dixon can weave a tale. Rags and Ruins is a masterpiece, a must read for fantasy fans.

Bottom Line:

I loved it! From the first page to the last, I thought this book was adorable and the characters truly likable. It’s hard for me to imagine that in 2016 I will like another book more than I liked Rags and Ruins. I think I have found my book of the year.

Purchase:
Amazon