Book Review: The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull

Title: The Radiant Road — by Katherine Catmull

Release Date: January 19, 2016

Page Count: 368

ISBN-13: 978-0525953470

Summary from Amazon

After years of living in America, Clare Macleod and her father are returning to Ireland, where they’ll inhabit the house Clare was born in—a house built into a green hillside with a tree for a wall. For Clare, the house is not only full of memories of her mother, but also of a mysterious boy with raven-dark hair and dreamlike nights filled with stars and magic. Clare soon discovers that the boy is as real as the fairy-making magic, and that they’re both in great danger from an ancient foe.

My Review:

The Radiant Road was a very interesting read. The magic throughout the story was quite strange, but I was still able to enjoy the story. I found it difficult to get into the story at first, but once the action picked up a bit I was hooked. The cover of the book attracted me right away and I also liked the tree graphic that is found at the beginning of each chapter.

This story is very much about nature and humanity’s connection to it. Throughout the story, Claire’s connection to her tree is very important. She grows closer to her tree during the story and feels a need to protect it because she its guardian.The author tries to convey that all trees are connected and perhaps this was meant to imply that all humans are connected as well. During the story, Claire even becomes a tree and gets a sense of what it’s like to feel a connection with her Yew and other neighboring trees. Perhaps, the author was also trying to convey that humanity is the guardian of nature and as such, people have a responsibility to protect and care for it.

I enjoyed reading about many of the characters in the story. I think that Finn was my favorite character, but I also liked Claire, Her of the Cliffs and the Yew girl. I felt that the characters were interesting and often unique.

I thought that the imagery in the book was quite beautiful. The author’s writing was very poetic and she often created vivid images and scenes. My favorite part of the book was when Finn shows Claire a field filled with falling snow and fluttering white butterflies. I was able to picture this scene very clearly and thought that it was creative and beautiful.

Overall, I enjoyed this book a great deal even though it was strange at times. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about fairies.

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Book Review: The Apple Tart of Hope

Title: The Apple Tart of Hope — by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Release Date: April 1, 2016

Page Count: 160

ISBN-13: 978-0823435616

Summary from Goodreads:

Oscar Dunleavy, who used to make the world’s most perfect apple tarts, is missing, presumed dead. No-one seems too surprised, except for Meg, his best friend, and his little brother Stevie. Surrounded by grief and confusion, Meg and Stevie are determined to find out what happened to Oscar, and together they learn about loyalty and friendship and the power of never giving up hope.

My Review

I really enjoyed reading the Apple Tart of Hope. The story was quite poignant and I liked the way the author set out to teach the reader several things about life. The first lesson is about hope. I think that the author wanted to convey to the reader that one should never never give up hope. Some of the characters lost hope at different points in the story, including Oscar and Meg, but that hope was redeemed when they tried to view their situations in a new way. I think that sometimes if a person feels that there’s no hope in a situation, he or she should try to look at the situation from a different perspective. This may help the person to see a solution to the problem that was not apparent before. The second lesson was about friendship. In the story, there were true friendships and false ones. I think that it was clever of the author to write about both types of friendships so that the reader could compare the two. I think that the author was trying to convey through the story that friendship should have no conditions. If a friendship does have conditions then it probably isn’t a true friendship. The third lesson in the book was about the fragility of people. Oscar was a fragile character who was driven to attempt suicide by the teasing of his peers and the cruelty of Paloma. I think that the author wants the reader to know that we should be careful of how we treat others. Some people are strong and can handle taunting but others are fragile and may consider commuting suicide if they are bullied. The bottom line here is to treat others nicely. I think that there were other lessons in the story, but these are the main ones.

I liked Oscar as a character. He was brave and grew as a person by the end of the story. I thought that Meg was an interesting character as well.

I also liked the imagery in the book. Some of the scenes that the author described were just beautiful.

Although this book was a bit sad I definitely recommend it because of the lessons that it teaches.

Book Review: This Monstrous Thing — By Mackenzie Lee

Title: This Monstrous Thing — by Mackenzie Lee

Release Date: September 22, 2015

Page Count: 384

ISBN-13:  978-0062382771

Summary from Amazon

In an alternative fantasy world where some men are made from clockwork parts and carriages are steam powered, Alasdair Finch, a young mechanic, does the unthinkable after his brother dies: he uses clockwork pieces to bring Oliver back from the dead.

But the resurrection does not go as planned, and Oliver returns more monster than man. Even worse, the novel Frankenstein is published and the townsfolk are determined to find the real-life doctor and his monster. With few places to turn for help, the dangers may ultimately bring the brothers together—or ruin them forever.

My Review

This Monstrous Thing was an excellent read. The book is filled with the perfect combination of action, romance and suspense. I never felt bored when I was reading and finished the book rather quickly. The cover of the book attracted me right away and so did the summary on the inside of the cover.

The characters were very well developed. The author makes the reader care about the characters over time. My favorite character was Alasdair because he seemed so real. The fact that he was carrying an awful secret around made him seem very human. I liked the way the author explored how holding a secret affected Alasdair’s character. I also liked how Alasdair curses so much in the novel. I appreciated the fact that the author made up curse words for the book or found period appropriate curses. I also liked Oliver a great deal. The author gets the reader to like Oliver despite his appearance and misdeeds which I thought was a great feat. Clemence was also an interesting character that I enjoyed reading about. I also liked the way that Alasdair and Oliver grow as characters over the course of the book.

One thing that I really loved was the imagery in this book. Lee has a great ability for describing intense emotions, sensations and the characters’ surroundings. The book is filled with wonderful descriptions that help the reader to envision different scenes very clearly.

Overall, the book is a very well written, poignant story about two brothers. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Frankenstein.

-Avery Griffin

Book Review: Heartlight — By T. A. Barron

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Heartlight — by T. A. Barron
Release Date: September 27, 1990
Page Count: 275
ISBN-13: 978-0399221804

Summary from Amazon

PCl (Pure Condensed Light) = FTL (Faster Than Light travel)

A butterfly’s wing, a silicon chip, and a new equation for light hold the key to humankind’s boldest dream–faster than light travel.

A distinguished astronomer and a sensitive young woman are hurled into a dazzling cross-galactic adventure when an unexpected discover links the explosive uncertainties of quantum physics with the still-untapped psychic powers of human kind.

PCL is a bold theoretical synthesis, launching a voyage through awesome wonders–and into unimaginable terrrors. For Dr. Miles Prancer, at the end of his career, has made a discovery too horrifying to share with humanity. He has found a black hole in the center of the Sun that gives our solar system less than three years to live!

My Review

I happened upon this book at my local library in the YA section. Although it was written quite some time ago, the book has a great storyline and is sure to please many fantasy and sci-fi fans of today. The book is not very long and was well worth the time that I spent reading it. The characters were unique and well developed. My favorite character was Kate, but I also enjoyed eading about Morpheus, Orpheus and Ariella. Throughout the story, the reader can really sympathize with the main character and all that she must endure during her journey. Kate is a very realistic character and I felt that her behavior and dialog was appropriate for someone her age. The other characters were all very interesting to read about and I was glad that the author included some alien characters in the story. I think that it’s often difficult for authors to create alien characters, but the author does a good job with this task. As an aside, when I was writing my first book (The Demon Rolmar) it was very difficult for me to invent alien worlds with societies that have unique languages, customs, etc. However, it is a lot of fun creating these worlds and determining how their inhabitants will behave.

One thing that I really enjoyed about this book was the imagery. The author did a great job of describing different scenes in the book. Some of the beginning scenes of the story involving butterflies contained beautiful imagery. The author certainly has a knack for description. This book was quite moving and I felt that the author did a good job of pulling the reader into the story. T.A. Barron has a talent for crafting characters that the reader will care about and scenes that he or she will find poignant. I definitely recommend this book for anyone  that is looking for a great sci-fi read!

Book Review: The Boy at the End of the World — by Greg van Eekhout

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The Boy at the End of the World — by Greg van Eekhout
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Page Count: 221

Summary from Amazon

This is what he knew:

His name was Fisher.

The world was dangerous.

And he was alone.

Fisher is the last boy on Earth – and things are not looking good for the human race. The carefully crafted survival dome where Fisher and dozens of other humans have been sleeping for millenia has been destroyed. Through a lucky accident, only Fisher survived.

The world Fisher wakes up in is a lot like ours – but it’s changed, too. After the human race wiped itself out, nature took over, and wild creatures evolved into barely familiar beasts. Fisher must face them all as they set off on a journey that seems hopeless – at first. Then Fisher uncovers evidence that there may be a second survival dome far to the west. What was once a struggle for one boy’s survival becomes a journey of hope.

With a broken robot and a friendly mammoth as his only companions, Fisher heads West. But something is watching them… something that wants to find the second survival dome just as badly as they do.

My Review

I really enjoyed reading this dystopian book. It was only 221 pages and proved to be a very quick read. I couldn’t put this book down because I was intrigued by the characters and the story line. The pace of the book was pretty fast and I liked this as well. I don’t think that there were any dull moments in the story at all.

My favorite character was Fisher. He was very brave throughout the entire story and by the end of the book he had matured quite a bit. Click, who served as Fisher’s guardian, was also a great character. I really liked how the author envisioned robots in the future. I thought that Click was the perfect blend of human and robotic traits. I thought that the Intelligence was also a very interesting robot. The author is very creative and the Intelligence is just one example of his creativity at work. I enjoy reading about robots and I was pleased with how they were depicted in this book. Protein was also a wonderful character who was very loyal and fun to read about.

I really enjoyed the author’s writing style. His use of imagery was very good and by the end of the story I cared a great deal about the characters. Some ideas about the nature of humanity were explored in the book, but not so much that it bogged down the story. All in all, this was a great story. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick and thought provoking read.

Stygian Rift – By Jayra Almanzor

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Stygian Rift – By Jayra Almanzor
Release Date: July 14, 2014
Page Count: 318
ISBN-13: 978-0692269831

Summary from Amazon

What would you do if you woke up in hell and couldn’t remember a thing? Set in a dystopian society about 150 years from the 21st century…… Suddenly rousing in a place completely different from his world, seventeen-year-old Robert is greeted with accusations, bullying, and fear from the teenagers around him. Life isn’t easy in the new place, especially if it’s the direct opposite of how and where he was raised. However, there’s something more about the place that gives him the chills. Is it the fact that monsters and demons always get to massacre someone every night, and then leave when dawn comes? Or that he can’t recall what his surname is? Maybe it’s that the locals are always blaming him for what happened to Cleo, a girl whom Robert doesn’t even know. Determined to find out what happened, how he got there, and how to get out, Robert and his unreliable fox companion tries to persuade the most stubborn party of defeatists to help them on their crusade, or go off on their own. Filled with thrills, devotion, realism and originality, Stygian Rift is one unforgettable, emotional journey!

My Review

I really enjoyed reading this book. I was pleasantly surprised by the talent of such a young author. She was able to create a convincing dystopian world full of interesting characters and frightening monsters. I thought that her writing was very good, especially when describing the Chamber and its monsters. I had a very clear picture of how the Chamber appeared and the cells that it contained.

I also liked many of the characters in the book. My favorite character was Bo. I thought that he had very realistic reactions, thoughts and dialogue throughout the book. The devil inside of Bo’s head was also an interesting part of Miguel’s psyche. I liked the reactions that the imp would have to Bo’s thoughts and to what was happening around Bo. I also liked Miguel as well. I thought that it was interesting how the reader didn’t know if he would help Bo at first. This made the interactions between them more interesting. Anise was a character that I liked as well and I thought that the descriptions of all the monsters were all very good. I definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a great dystopian novel.

New Book Review of 84, Charing Cross Road has been Posted

Hi everyone,

I have posted a new book review in my review section. The review is for 84, Charing Cross Road, a charming book chronicling the 20 year correspondence between Helene Hanff, an author and Frank Doel, a book shop owner. I really enjoyed reading this book. You should check it out if you love books and reading.

To see the review just click here.

-Avery