Friday, November 29, 2019

Legacy (Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 8) by Shannon Messenger

44150974. sy475 Legacy is the eighth book in the middle grade fantasy series, Keeper of the Lost Cities. Sophie Foster is tired of endless secrets and is determined to uncover the truth about her family and her friends' legacies. As the Dwarves land in danger and Keefe ultimately launches headfirst into his destiny, Sophie must face that some mysteries might be better left unsolved.

My favorite element of Legacy is the involvement of more characters shown in different lights. Messenger has a true talent for world building with dozens of characters emphasized in balanced amounts of attention and value. In addition, I love how Messenger is able to shock me with plot twists and revelations that are extreme but also believable.

Stina had extremely interesting character development because now she is no longer simply a "mean girl" or an enemy but an alliance with a developing friendship. I also enjoyed the greater role of Maruca and other previously backseat characters. Keefe's mom has always been a mysterious villain in the sense of her devoted love for her son and righteous points of view, and her development and plan by the end was rather shocking. The introduction of Glimmer as a character is fascinating and mysterious, and I cannot wait to see what Messenger has in store for her in the next book!

I also really liked the further development of Sophie's inflicting ability. In addition, I am so happy that one of Sophie's genetic parents is revealed! As usual, Messenger wrote an incredible cliffhanger and I cannot wait to read the ninth book when it is released next year! I started reading this series back in seventh grade and it amazes me that in next November when the ninth book comes out I'll be in college already! This is a series I will always keep with me.

I will say that I did have a few issues- primarily the pacing. For 800 pages, the huge climactic event at the end seemed too short and fast paced while other parts, like the beginning of the book, were slow and drawn-out and had the potential to be removed. While I do have tremendously high standards for Messenger as this is my favorite series, I love some of the previous books, like Neverseen, more.

I recommend you read this book!

Read my previous reviews of books in this series here.

Title: Legacy (Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 8)
Author: Shannon Messenger
Publisher: Aladdin
Pages: 816
Series: Yes, Book 8
Rating: 4 Stars

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Poseidon's Trident (War on the Gods Book 2) by A.P. Mobley

Poseidon's Trident is the second book in the YA Greek mythology trilogy, War on the Gods. This book was sent to me by the author and will be released next week on December 3. While Andy and Zoey have managed to steal the Helm of Darkness from Hades, they will need much more than that if they have any chance of defeating the Gods and restoring humanity's freedom. Next on their list is Poseidon's most powerful weapon: the Trident. In order to get it, the teens will have to enlist the aid of the Giant Prometheus and battle demigods, all whilst discovering the truth of their past and why they were chosen to complete the prophecy.

I love that contrary to Percy Jackson or most other mythology books surrounding demigods, this series uniquely discusses the potentially evil side to the Gods and the moral conflict that surrounds their children as a result, like Karter. While he has experienced terrible tragedies due to his father's (Zeus') selfish, horrific decisions, he still feels indebted to him and tempted to serve out his destiny and make his father proud. I vastly enjoyed watching him struggle with his choice to save humanity or to stand with his family. As consistent with the previous book, the imagery was substantial and Mobley has created a full world packed with intense action and emotion.

I also enjoyed the major plot revelations regarding Zoey and Andy's past and their true destinies. Choice verses destiny was a huge theme of this book. Speaking of Zoey and Andy, they are truly inspiring characters who never gave up, no matter how bleak their future looked. The dedication they had to keep fighting and save the ones they love is a rarity. Something else I enjoyed was the added hint of romance between Andy and Zoey, and I love how all the characters and their worldview keeps evolving.

I highly recommend this book! If you would like to know how to enter to win the presale/giveaway prizes, click here. It expires on December 17th, 2019.

Read my review of the previous book in this series, The Helm of Darkness. I can't wait to read the final book in this series, The Master Lighting Bolt!

Title: Poseidon's Trident (War on the Gods Book 2)
Author: A.P. Mobley
Publisher: Sea of Ink Press
Pages: 320
Series: Yes, Book 2 of 3
Rating: 5 Stars

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Grape! by Gabriel Arquilevich

44025422Grape! is a middle grade realistic fiction book set in 1976 that was sent to me by the author. Gaby, (who changes his name to Grape) is a fifth grader at Rolling Hills Elementary school. You see, Grape is not an ordinary kid. He's got these spiders in his brain that make him do strange things and be quite impulsive at times. After he punched a teacher, the principal gives him one last chance, and he must write for an hour a day, reflecting on himself and explaining his side of the story.

I loved Grape!! One of my favorite things about this book is how honest and revealing it is regarding peer pressure and bullying. Grape is also quick to apologize and I love his explanations regarding the spiders in his brain. Yes, Grape acted impulsive and made not-so-great choices, but he is still a wonderful boy who had best intentions at heart and never meant to cause trouble or hurt anybody. A lot of the cringe-worthy embarrassing scenes were hysterical, and I would have liked to be his friend.

As a future teacher, I love how the book proves the value of second chances and the importance of taking the time to understand the motivations and reasons behind children's actions and not jump to punishing conclusions. It was also shockingly honest regarding issues like bullying, jealousy, crushes, immigration, divorce, and religious disagreements. Grape! also would be a great guide to teachers, and there are a lot of amazing excuses and reasons for his behavior that I wouldn't have thought of if I were in those situations.

I highly recommend this book!

Title: Grape!
Author: Gabriel Arquilevich
Publisher: Regal House Publishing
Pages: 185
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, November 15, 2019

Where I Live by Brenda Rufener

35516439. sy475 Where I Live is a YA realistic fiction book. Linden Rose is homeless, living in the dirt behind her school. After her mother was beat to death by her father, Linden has been on the run, living in the back of her school. Flying under the radar used to be her specialty, but when she gets involved in a classmates' abuse and a reporter starts digging around, her cover may be blown.

The issue of domestic abuse was definitely represented clearly, but a surprising element that made me question the focus of the novel. The plot didn't have a clear path or real climax, jumping all over the place in no particular organization. It also felt like the author shoved too many serious issues in one book.

I was ecstatic to read this book, but it did not turn out at all what I had hoped. I wanted something touching and tear-jerking about the real issue of teen homelessness, but I was disappointed when it became a discussion about domestic abuse and running away rather than actually forced to live on the streets with nowhere to go. Linden had it easier than most and had friends she could rely on for food and a shower. Yes she was technically homeless, but she had a support system that undermined the gravity of homelessness that I was looking forward to.

However, this book can go to show the importance of having true friends and how to earn them. The support system of her teachers and friends saved her life and does prove that people are kind and willing to help you if you let them. It also still clearly illustrated how burdensome not having a home was, and could help educate people to look for the warning signs. I also love the inspirational tone of hope and learning to speak up for yourself and tell your story.

I do recommend this book and I enjoyed reading it, but just don't get your hopes up too high.

Title: Where I Live
Author: Brenda Rufener
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 352
Series: No
Rating: 3 Stars

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

Anger is a Gift is a YA realistic fiction book about police brutality and racism in a high school. West Oakland High School is literally falling apart at the seams. Instead of purchasing textbooks and science equipment the principal is spending money on metal detectors. The police sweep the halls, randomly inspecting lockers and patting down the students for "weapons", inappropriately touching the girls and physically assaulting them with zero probable cause. When the police attack the students during a peaceful walkout, Moss Jefferies decides to use his anger to earn justice for his fallen friends.

Anger is a Gift made me very angry- though I suppose that was the point, to show readers that their anger and sadness can be turned into a force for change and inspire people to stand up for what's right. This book is shocking, and it is hard to imagine that these atrocities occur, especially by the ones who are supposed to protect us. The police are supposed to uphold the law, not break it. Obviously I know from the news about police brutality but it is entirely different to watch it unfold in your lap and be powerless to stop it. It felt real. I would say this book serves as a scary wake-up call to alert people that racism and police brutality is real.

My one complaint would be that I wished the book explored the legal side of the issue. Everything that occurred in this book completely breaks the Eighth Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, and Title 6 of the Civil Rights Act, and even parts of the 14th Amendment. In all these meetings and town hall discussions and media coverage I am shocked that nobody ever discussed how the entire department could be criminally prosecuted- any lawyer watching the news with common sense could have jumped on this.

Other than that, I recommend this book!

Title: Anger is a Gift
Author: Mark Oshiro
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 463
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Spirit of London (Spirits Book 2) by Rob Keeley

25713716. sy475 The Spirit of London is the second middle grade fantasy book in the Spirits series. This book was sent to me by the author. After Ellie's parents get divorced, Ellie, Charlie, and their mother move back to London. Ellie figures everything will return to normal until she starts having visions and receiving panicked pleas for help from the ghosts of Mary and her father Henry, who are in danger after the evil murderer James Meadowes escapes his imprisonment. As Ellie tries to put her family back together and help Mary, she finds her worlds colliding- and realizes that nobody is who they seem.

I loved the family conflict. Ellie was caught in the middle of her parent's messy divorce and living in a tiny cramped flat with her mother acting bizarrely neglectful. For me personally, her conflict in the real world with her seemingly insane mother and scheming father was more interesting than the spirit world conflicts. Her emotion and fear was raw and I could connect to her easily.

I enjoyed the vast change in setting from the rural castle to the busy city. Similar to the previous book, I also saw the clear plot escalation with a terrifying climax. I loved how the intensity and mystique increased so drastically throughout the book. The mind-controlling aspect was superb and it was really cool when reality blurred with the spirit world. For a children's book, it was skillfully written with great imagery. This is a great mystery children's book that is easy to get into and hard to stop!  On a side note, I also love the cover!

I highly recommend you read this book! I cannot wait to read the third book in this series, The Sword of the Spirit! See my review of the previous book, Childish Spirits!

Title: The Spirit of London
Author: Rob Keeley
Publisher: Troubador Publishing
Pages: 152
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 5
Rating: 5 Stars
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