Book Review: Everland by Wendy Spinale

Everland by Wendy Spinale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Buy Link:  https://amzn.com/B015QMBYD8

I received Everland in the May Steampunk Owlcrate. I decided I wanted the box because of the advertised Infernal Devices inclusion in the box. I was extremely excited to discover the book was a steampunk version of Peter Pan, as (if you read my reviews you already know) I've been reading a lot of Peter Pan retells lately.

What I Loved: This wasn't so much a retelling of Peter Pan as it was a reimaging. All of our favorite characters, and their personalities were present and accounted for. I really enjoyed that about this book - it was it's own story throughout the entire book, but it was also very much Peter Pan!

In some of the retellings I've read lately, Peter is cast as the bad guy while Hook is really our hero - in this book the characters are put back into their rightful places, and Pete was perfect and made me fall in love with the kid Peter Pan was, but also with the teenager and guardian he was in this rendition. He was playful and sarcastic yet he bore the weight of burden but not without its scars.

It was awesome that this was steampunked. I've read a few steampunk books, but I think I like this one the best so far. And Pete's tattoo...I really would love to see that for real. However the best steampunk element was most certainly Belle's wings!

Not So Much: Truthfully, Hook was completely unstable in this book, but I was sort of confounded by this character. At times I felt like he wasn't really such a bad person, other times he was the worst. I kind of felt like the two sides didn't come together very well, but perhaps that is as it should be when someone isn't quite right in the head.

I also would have loved to have had an Epilogue of this book. It was pretty well wrapped up, but not completely.....aaaaand as I was typing this I looked it up, and it appears that this is a series. Now I'm really wondering where this is going to go.....

The Verdict:
This is my favorite Peter Pan Retelling so far. I loved it. I loved the setting, and the characters. I do want more and am very intrigued to know how this is going to be as a series. Hopefully it does not disappoint.

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Book Review: These Vicious Masks - Taurn Shanker

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Buy Link: https://amzn.com/B011I5QPP4

These Vicious Masks was one of those moments when I was just browsing through what was available at the library and just happened to run across the book. After reading the blurb, I found it might be something I could possibly enjoy. I’m SO not disappointed that I downloaded this book!

What I Loved: So Evelyn, our main character and narrator, is SO FUNNY! She has very dry, sarcastic humor, but I loved it. Straight from the very first page I knew that I was going to enjoy this book based on her voice alone.

Normally I’m not a ‘love triangle’ lover, not that it’s horrible, it’s just done so frequently, but never have I read a book and really wanted both options to win. Not that I want this girl to have two guys – but well, I liked both options equally and for different reasons.

These Vicious Masks is the beginning of a series (imagine that!) and this book gives you just enough to get you into the story, fall in love with the characters, and make you want more without some huge cliffhanger. I loved that! And I am very excited to carry on with this series.

Not So Much: There was a story line that I wanted to play out soo differently. It’s an extreme spoiler and plot killer, so I’m not going to list it here. But it is just one of those, I want my way, type moments for a reader.

The Verdict:
An excellent Paranormal Victorian YA. I loved it! It’s clean and perfect for the age group it’s written for. I can’t wait to read more.

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Book Review: God Bless America: A Patriotic Adult Coloring Book by Multnomah

Title: God Bless America: A Patriotic Adult Coloring Book
By: Multnomah

Blurb (From Goodreads):
Return to simple pleasures and simpler times.

Enter the pages of this coloring book for adults, and you will find a peaceful way to reflect on what makes America a truly amazing country: our values of equality, opportunity, faith, family, character, generosity, justice, and perseverance. Each coloring page features an original design from one of nine different artists, illustrating an inspirational quote from one of the Founding Fathers, an historic document, a patriotic hymn, or another of America s heroes.

Slow down, quiet the noise, and express creativity as you color your way through history.

So grab your colored pencils or markers, find a comfortable spot to relax, and spend some time celebrating America. To help set the perfect patriotic mood, a link to the Coloring America playlist is
included inside.

My Review:
Adult coloring books are all the rage, and this one even more appropriate given the day! I couldn't turn down this treasure!

What I Loved: This book is filled with wonderful patriotic images from birds and flags, to military shots, all pages waiting to be filled with color and life. Each image includes a quote, popular line, or some sort of patriotic verse. On the left-hand side there is a bit of a history lesson as well.

Not So Much: Most of the images are beautiful, but there were a couple of pages that were just okay to me. I think you'd get that will every and all coloring books; children and adults alike.

The Verdict:       

In all, I enjoy this coloring book. I love the peace that comes with filling in the blanks and making the pages my own.

I received this book for an honest review from Blogging For Books. No other compensation was given for this review other than the joy of a book.


Book Review: Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Author: Pam Muñoz Ryan
Genre: Middle School Age, Fairytale, Historical, Humanity

Form: Audiobook
Narrator: Mark Bramhall, David de Vries, MacLeod Andrews, and Rebecca Soler

Blurb (From Goodreads):
Music, magic, and a real-life miracle meld in this virtuosic, genre-defying tour de force from storytelling maestro Pam Muoz Ryan. Lost and alone in the forbidden Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives, binding them by an invisible thread of destiny. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. How their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.

Richly imagined and structurally innovative, ECHO pushes the boundaries of form and shows us what is possible in how we tell stories.

My Review:
Echo is not a book I would have picked up on my own. Never would I have read the blurb and thought, “hey, this book is for me!” However, I have a friend who is a youth/young adult librarian, and she read a variety of things, some of them specifically to have a better knowledge of her product. She listened to this book via audio, and thought it was great, and pressured me into listening to the audiobook specifically because the audiobook comes with musical interludes that correlates with what is happening in the book.

What I Loved: This book isn’t simply fiction. It isn’t non-fiction. This book isn’t even straight up literary fiction. Describing Echo to others has been a little bit something like this: “It’s a fairytale, historical fiction, and a lesson in humanity wrapped into one book.” Echo starts off with a short fairytale, or myth, which surrounds music. Music, specifically harmonica music played on specific harmonicas becomes the point zero of this tale, but once the first part is completed it quickly branches off into three different stories taking place in a somewhat jagged yet still the same timeline. Each story is unique, yet the lessons seem to be about the same.

I love the woven tales, the music, the relationship between the stories, and the differences. I LOVE the message of this book most of all.

Not So Much: I can’t tell if it was mean, or genius how the stories are broken down. All I have to say is that if you are using some kind of electronic device, you might have a strong temptation to throw it. Don’t do it. Just trust me.

The Verdict:        

I cannot speak more highly of this book. I know my review was vague, and it is purposeful, because the journey itself is what makes this special. If I were to lay out details too specific, it might ruin the effect for you. I suggest getting the audiobook if you are able to. This book is written for Middle Age/Jr. High Age, and it’s very age appropriate. In fact, I recommend it for your children, and you adults as well!