BOOK REVIEW: The Serpent’s Shadow (the Graphic Novel) by Rick Riordan; adapted by Orpheus Collar

This review will center on the third, and last graphic novel adaptation of The Serpent’s Shadow, the epic finale to Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles trilogy. The graphic novels were adapted by Orpheus Collar, and this book was released in 2017.

The Serpent’s Shadow is the darkest of the three books in both subject matter and art. The coloring reminds me of Jafar, with a lot of reds and blacks. In this book we find the Kane siblings attempting to turn Apophis’s shadow into a weapon against him. All of the side groups are divided against each other, and whether or not they support the Kanes’ mission in this story. And in all of this the stakes have never been greater, as Apophis is after the entire world, and wants to pitch it into darkness.

This was an excellent addition to the series, though I found Sadie a bit annoying in this one. Why does she have the be the annoying character that just wants one normal night, and not her brother? Why do we need to have a weird love triangle in her plot line, but not her brother? Her brother has his love interest, but he remains focused on the mission. I think I would have enjoyed this even more if Riordan hadn’t chosen to stick with gender stereotypes here of which genders come off as strong vs. weak.

I can’t wait to read the full length novels. I wonder if they will change my perception of the stories at all?

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan; adapted by Orpheus Collar.

This post will take a look at The Throne of Fire, the second book in the Kane Chronicles series written by Rick Riordan. I am taking a look at the graphic novel adaptation, that was adapted by Orpheus Collar, who adapted the first novel as well. It was published in 2015.

This second installment of the Kane Chronicles starts developing more of the characters and action. There is a lot more fighting in this book and we meet more of the gods. The main quest in this book is for the Kane siblings, and their trainees, to find the three pieces of the Book of Ra. In doing this they are going against the House of Life and the gods. Readers will be in the real world, and the world of the gods as they try to find the pieces and put the puzzle together. They need the Book of Ra to wake Ra from his coma-like-slumber.

I think this installment does a good job of balancing the serious fighting parts with comedic relief, like at the nursing home for the gods. It is a little difficult to slow down, as the entire book takes place at a roaring pace with non-stop action. This is probably my favorite of the three graphic novels in this series, though it is a close call between this and The Serpent’s Shadow.

I encourage you to pick this up for a fun read filled with action and Egyptian mythology.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Red Pyramid (The Graphic Novel) by Rick Riordan; adapted by Orpheus Collar

This book review will focus on the graphic novel adaptation of The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. It was adapted by Orpheus Collar. It was published in 2012, and I borrowed this title from a friend.

In this first installment of the series, readers are introduced to the main characters, Sadie and Carter Kane. They are siblings that were not raised together. Sadie was raised by her grandparents and Carter travelled with their father. The two are tween to teenaged in these books. Carter has learned much about Egypt and the Egyptian gods during his travel with his father, but the two learn that the gods are real and waking in this graphic novel. The Egyptian god Set is the main villain in the book. This book is entirely introduction to the world where the siblings come to terms with their family’s destiny, learning magic, and starting their journey.

I found this graphic novel to be a great read for tweens and teens. It was still enjoyable for me, but I found myself wanting more detail, which I hope to find when I eventually read the novels for this series. The imagery does a really great job of pacing the story along. The colors used change the mood of the story too.

This was a fun read, and I hope you all enjoy it!

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Together We Caught Fire by Eva V. Gibson.

This review will take a look at Together We Caught Fire written by Eva V. Gibson. This novel is a contemporary YA romance that includes a blended family. I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It was released on February 4, 2020 and begins with a pretty lengthy content trigger warning. Normally, I’m not a fan of them because when I see these warnings it’s a page by page rundown of the plot that I want to get to as I get to it, but this warning was well done by giving general warnings of subject matter that occurs throughout the novel. In general, this includes suicide, drug use, and self-harm, among a few others that I can’t remember off the top of my head, but I think those were the most graphically described.

Together We Caught Fire focuses on four main teen characters, but it is told from Lane Jamison’s perspective. The other three main teens are her secret, longtime crush turned stepbrother Grey McIntyre, his girlfriend Sadie, and her wild older brother Connor Hall.

I was pretty confused for the first 15-20 pages learning who each of these four were to each other as the book opens with Grey driving, Sadie in the front passenger seat, and Connor and Lane in the back. Lane is known as the “bad girl” at school, while Sadie is the typical preacher’s daughter. Connor used to be evangelical as well, but now is the quintessential bad boy and is a metal worker. He lives in a shared workshop that houses many methods of art.

He and Lane bond over both being artists and I quickly saw Lane forgetting her interest in Grey. Connor, though he has his own problems and flaws, challenges Lane, while also always being there to support her when her traumas take the front seat.

This was an excellent debut from Gibson, that I thoroughly enjoyed. I bought the romances, and relationships between the characters. I liked that the book wasn’t a light fluffy romance, but a gritty real one that highlighted that relationships are work and there will be good and bad in any relationship, whether romantic, familial, or friendship.

I encourage you all to go find a copy and read it. It’ll give you all the feels.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Theodosia Burr: Teen Eyewitness to the Founding of the New Nation by Karen Cherro Quinones

This review will take a look at the YA nonfiction title Theodosia Burr: Teen Eyewitness to the Founding of the New Nation by Karen Cherro Quinones. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was released today, February 4th.

Theodosia Burr was the daughter of Aaron Burr, who served as Vice President to Thomas Jefferson. Many readers out there will have more knowledge of Aaron Burr because of his feud (and duel) with Alexander Hamilton that was a plot point in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s famed musical Hamilton.

I found it important that this book acknowledged the lack of information remaining surrounding the life of Theodosia, and other women during this age. Though I understand this, and that the lack of information makes it difficult to write authoritatively on the subject, I had a difficult time digesting this book as a biography of Theodosia. It is a short book, only just over 100 pages, and the author spent much of that time building up to the child’s birth. Because of this it seems much more a biography of Aaron Burr to me, focusing on his relationship with his daughter, which was unorthodox at the time.

The author also makes it clear that Aaron Burr had very different ideas than general society about educating women at the time. Theodosia was extremely well educated, like her mother, and received the same tutoring a boy her age would have had.

What was emphasized throughout the book was how exceptional Theodosia was. Caring for her ailing mother, while pursuing studies. Taking charge of a household at a very young age, hosting parties for politicians, the list can go on and on.

This book just skims the surface of Theodosia through research of the letters between her and her family, though many of the family papers were lost at sea, along with her. While reading, I found myself wishing for more information leading up to her marriage, the birth of her child, and her death. These seemed glossed over in comparison with her unique childhood. I think this book is a good starting block for a pre-teen looking to learn about strong women during colonial times, but not for anything looking to go more in depth.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

This review is going to take a look at Ann Napolitano’s new book, Dear Edward. Dear Edward was released earlier this month on January 6, 2020, and has been used by many for January book clubs.

This book is about Edward, who is 12 at the beginning of this story, and how he lost his family in a plane crash. His family was moving from New York to L.A. and the plane went down. Edward was the only survivor of the 191 people on the flight.

Knowing the vague plot going into the story I was surprised to immediately be introduced to several of the victims as they boarded the plane. As I began to read, I understood. The story is told alternating between during the flight and after the crash.

Understandably, it is difficult for Edward to continue on without his family. Especially, his older brother Jordan. And as the book goes on he has more thoughts that Jordan should have lived instead of him.

Napolitano explores several forms of grief, and growth through Edward. As I read the book I had a little bit of a difficult time seeing where we were going while following the other characters, but by the end I was able to figure out how each piece of the puzzle helped Edward move through his grief and relearn how to live.

I thought this was an excellent coming-of-age story that was expertly woven together by the author. I recommend you take a moment and pick up a copy, just be prepared for a heavy read that will give you all the feels.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Missing Letters of Mrs. Bright by Beth Miller.

This review will take a look at the book The Missing Letters of Mrs. Bright by Beth Miller. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was released yesterday, January 9, 2020 from Bookouture.

At the start of the book we meet our leading lady, Mrs. Kay Bright. She has led a remarkably predictable (read boring) life thus far. Her thirtieth wedding anniversary to her dull husband Richard is approaching, and she has come to the realization that she’s done. Done with working at her husband’s stationary shop, done with never traveling, and done with marriage.

Pretty much the beginning of the book is one big–‘what if’ that has Kay in conflict with pretty much every other character in the book, and then working to resolve those conflicts throughout the book. Her biggest fight is with her daughter, Stella, with both of them blowing up at each other in reaction to Kay leaving her husband.

The story unravels in alternating points of view, learning about Kay’s story, and then Stella’s. They are also broken up by the letters that Kay sent her best friend Bear over the years. Bear moved to Australia with her family as a teenager, and since then Kay and Bear wrote letters to each other in alternating months. But something is off–Bear hasn’t replied for a few months now so with a gentle push from their other best friend Rose, Kay decides to travel to Australia to visit Bear.

Upon finding Bear, Kay gets to catch up with her best friend in person, and realizes something is wrong. Only she couldn’t figure out what exactly until Bear decides to travel to Venice with Kay. Bear insists on staying in a fancy (read super expensive) pallazo and going to an exclusive restaurant, paying all of the bills.

Kay’s time spent with Bear helps her realize what she really wants to do with her future. Once home she works to resolve the various conflicts she has with family members, and fulfilling her promise to Bear.

While Kay is traveling and finding herself her daughter is going through her own problems. We follow her through fights with her flatmates and boyfriend. She finds a new love interest in a librarian (yay librarians!), and slowly things become more positive for her.

This book was a slower start for me, since I found it harder to relate to Kay’s story because of my age. However, as the book progressed I was brought into the story and began having a deeper connection with characters and realized the connection between the letters we read, the title, and Bear. I think this was a lovely, heartfelt book and many readers will enjoy Miller’s writing.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson.

This review is going to focus on The Dating Charade, written by Melissa Ferguson. I received an eArc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cassie Everson’s story is an interesting one, and one I feel isn’t written very often. Though the trope of not wanting kids, and ending up with kids is done, but not normally to this scale.

Cassie has had a lot of bad dates. So many that she decides to delete her online dating profile. But not before Jett sees her profile and remembers his childhood crush on her. Jett’s charms, with the help of Cassie’s best friend, seem to be succeeding at winning the girl. Until each feels they need to keep as secret from the other.

Cassie is the director of the Haven, a program to help at risk girls. Her favorite teen is Star, who has two young sisters. After her first magical date with Jett, Cassie become aware of the abuse and neglect Star and her sisters have been hiding as she sees the police and child protective services at their apartment. She takes temporary custody of the girls while waiting to hear if there is a family member able to take them in.

Meanwhile, Jett’s sister surprises him by stopping by with his twin nephew and niece, and surprise, a newborn nephew, TJ before leaving them there with their young uncle. Jett struggles to figure out raising a newborn and two toddlers with the help of his roommate Sunny and their neighbor Sarah.

The problem is, Cassie and Jett are both thoroughly aware that each other’s dating profiles stated that the other does not want children. Afraid of scaring off the other, they try to hide the children from each other coming up with lame excuses as to why they need to cancel or cut dates short.

Though I found both lead characters admirable, I became fed up with how long they kept the truth from each other. There is more drama to this book than romance. It was an enjoyable read, but not what I was expecting, nor what I was quite looking for in a read.

I think those interested in romantic comedies, blended families, and hot firefighters would find this book worth reading 😉 It was released on December 3, 2019, so find a copy and pick up this debut by Melissa Ferguson.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron.

This review is going to take a look into the world of historical fiction and castles. The Painted Castle is the third and final novel in Kristy Cambron’s Lost Castle series. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It was published October 15th and I highly recommend readers pick up a copy.

Kiera Foley had been working on a PhD in Art History when she was ostracized from the art world. She retreated back to Dublin and we find her working in the family pub when a dark and mysterious man shows up and makes her an offer. Little does she know, it’s an offer that she can’t refuse. She arrives in the English countryside and is delivered to a rundown manor housing a painting of Queen Victoria the she must study for authenticity.

This book tells the story of the manor and those that lived there in three different points in history. The life of the viscount and artists in the 1840s, the widow of the viscount and a base full of soldiers during World War II, and that of Keira in modern day, as they work to restore the honey cottage and beautiful library that was found bricked up on the premises.

Cambron does an outstanding job of using the three couples’ stories to create the big picture of one place throughout time. And although this book is categorized as Christian fiction, it is not as heavily based on the Christian faith as some. I think those that love to get lost in the English countryside and read about art would thoroughly enjoy this book. I will definitely be going back to read the first two books in the trilogy to learn more about Keira’s mysterious brothers.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell.

I recently finished reading Songs from the Deep, a debut Young Adult novel written by Kelly Powell. It was a book I selected for the leisure reading collection at the academic library I work at and I was looking for something to read over our holiday break. Songs from the Deep did not disappoint.

Songs from the Deep takes place on the island of Twillengyle which has sirens off its shores. The story centers on Moira Alexander a 17-year-old who follows in her late father’s footsteps in playing the violin, and advocating for the safety of the sirens. It also follows her former best friend, 19-year-old lighthouse keeper Jude Osric. Their father’s were best friends and they grew up very close, until Moira’s father dies and she finds something in his belongings.

Once upon a time the islanders hunted the sirens. But Moira’s father helped create a ban on hunting the creatures and they haven coexisted in an uneasy way since. Many islanders have lost loved ones to the sirens, and still occasionally islanders are injured. However, most deaths come at the expense of tourists who don’t know how to best protect themselves with a piece of cold iron.

But now, a 12-year-old islander is dead, and the sirens have been blamed, but Moira doesn’t by it. She knows how sirens attack, and the cut across Connor’s throat is too clean to be made by teeth and claws. Moira and Jude reunite in order to find the true killer, while trying to protect the sirens from harm by the islanders.

I thought this book was an interesting twist on the typical murder mystery that is ever so popular in books today. The characters were believable with real problems that were handled mostly realistically. It was a good departure from reality and had me wishing sirens were real. Here’s hoping Powell’s next novel is just as good.

Happy reading 🙂