Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas [Joint Review!]

2.5 out of 5 Stars!
The Immortal Heights By Sherry Thomas
Series: Elemental #3
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release: October 13, 2015
Paperback:  432 Pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
My Copy: Library
Reviewer: Julia & Shannon

Book Summary:
In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.

However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort…(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Julia & Shannon - Joint Review! 

1. What are your general thoughts on Immortal Heights?
Shannon:  I don't really know what to think.  I know I really enjoyed the first two books but I really struggled with this one.  I could not get into it at all!  I don't know what changed between the 2nd and 3rd book but I was just really...bored.

Julia: My thoughts are full of apathetic nothingness. This book didn't do anything for me, zero emotions. I would have quit halfway through if it wasn't the last one, but I figured I owed it to myself to at least see how the trilogy ended. I thought the first one was pretty good, the second was okay.... this one? Ugh!! In all fairness, my favorite character died in the previous installment so maybe there wasn't anything else to carry me through. 

2. How did you feel about the plot?
Shannon:  It meandered too much for me.  A lot of talk, not a lot of action.  I had trouble remembering details of what happened in the previous books, so that's on me.  But I also kind of felt there wasn't much of a plot and there was a lot of treading water.

Julia: What plot? Lol. I need action in my books, especially the fantasy ones. There isn't any action here, but lots of talking about things. Come on. 

3. This is the third and final book in this series- did the characters evolve?
Shannon: I think so?  They must have?  As I mentioned, the details from the previous books are fuzzy.

Julia: The characters do evolve, but there isn't much that makes you really care for them or feel connected with them. It's all rather flat.

4. Any thoughts on the chemistry between Iolanthe and Titus?
Shannon: I always liked them together.  But I definitely liked them better when they didn't always know who each other ways or know all the secrets.  There was a lot more push and pull and it was more exciting.  The "dearest" and "darling" stuff got a little...much...for my tastes at least.

Julia: They work- that's obvious. There isn't chemistry popping out of the pages, but they've got it. Shannon's right, the dearest and darling stuff got silly. 

5. Is the ending satisfying? 
Shannon: Here's a common problem with a Big Bad.  The characters spend three books worrying about the villain, so your expectation as a reader is that the climatic showdown is going to be epic.  Unfortunately, sometimes the showdown is more of a fizzle than a bang and I think that is the case here.  But I do think it wrapped up the story well.  I didn't feel like there was any loose threads.  So in that sense, I am satisfied.

Julia: I don't have any lingering questions, though there isn't any big bang at the end to get you all worked up and happy. It's only satisfying in that, well, you know how it goes for everyone. I HATED the epilogue. I thought it was just... weird. I mean, awesome, thanks, I know what happens to the characters... but it just made my eyes roll. A lot.

6. Rating and recommendation?
Shannon:  I would give it 3 out 5 based on my boredom.  It was a real struggle to get through this book.  I'm crazy busy right now, so I really need something to hold my attention and make me want to read.  In general, I have recommended this series, but...I would put a little asterisk on the final book. 

Julia: 2 Stars, I was so bored and apathetic about the ending, plot and characters. I'm not recommending this book, though the first two were just okay. This one made me not want to recommend the others either. Kind of put a damper on the entire series.

Books in this series:
1. The Burning Sky - REVIEW
2. The Perilous Sea - REVIEW
3. The Immortal Heights

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tell Me Tuesday #50

Tell me Tuesday is a weekly feature that where you talk about what you are currently reading and what you have on deck!  Let's begin, shall we?


Julia and I are still working on this one.  It's not that we don't enjoy it (we do!), but we are both crazy busy right now and reading has definitely taken a backseat.  That's what I wrote last week.  Nothing has changed.  LOL

The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen, #2)

In the meantime, I'm also reading this.  I've enjoyed Emery Lord's previous books and it will be a nice break from all the fantasy I've been reading.
When We Collided

This audiobook is part of my Newbery challenge. It's darker than I expected, but so far I'm liking the magical realism!
 The Underneath

Kaylee (age 5) and I finally finished the third Critter Club book and now I think we'll read the 4th one.  Kaylee was given a book that had books 1-4 in it, so once we finished this one we can move on to a different series!
 Marion Takes a Break (Critter Club, #4) 

If I can get through the above, this is my next read.  This series is totally silly, but it's fun.  This is the last book in the series.

Lady Renegades (Rebel Belle, #3)


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Newbery Award Books Mini Reviews - March Reads

The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom3.5 out of 5 Robots!

The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle
Release: April 1, 2008
Hardcover: 169 Pages
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
It is 1896. Cuba has fought three wars for independence and still is not free. People have been rounded up in reconcentration camps with too little food and too much illness. Rosa is a nurse, but she dares not go to the camps. So she turns hidden caves into hospitals for those who know how to find her.

Black, white, Cuban, Spanish—Rosa does her best for everyone. Yet who can heal a country so torn apart by war? Acclaimed poet Margarita Engle has created another breathtaking portrait of Cuba.
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
Oooh, boy.  This is a tough book to review.  At face value, it is a very good book.  It is written from several different perspectives in prose.  It highlights Cuba's struggles for independence from a ground level.  It was very eye opening.  I have NO idea about this part of Cuba's history, especially the concentration camps.  I especially enjoyed that there were different narrators for each perspective.  That being said, this book is a hard read.  There is a lot of suffering and death.  It was hard for me to read as an adult.  I think it would be a bit much for 8-12 year olds.  I was thoroughly depressed after listening this book.


Heart of a Samurai4 out of 5 Robots!

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
Release: August 1, 2010
Hardcover: 305 Pages
Publisher: Henry N. Abrams
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
In 1841, a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japan’s borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way.
Manjiro, a fourteen-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives for some time in New England, and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the shogun to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
I liked this book and the narrator quite a bit.  It was interesting to see everything through Manjiro's eyes and to see how he ends up shaping Japanese history.  I didn't actually know Manjiro was a real person until after reading the book.  I also think this would interest boys who only like to read "boy" stories.  There is a lot of high seas adventure and what not.  The only thing I would make note of is that Manjiro spends a lot of time on a whaling ship and this story does not shy away from the brutal practice of whaling.  Manjiro has his reservations, but does participate.  The book is very matter of fact and doesn't take a side on it.  But, for anyone who is sensitive to animals being killed, I would be warned.


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