Sign of the Symean Review

The Sign of the Symean (Kaira Renn #1)A new urban fantasy series packed with mystery, action, adventure and, above all, magic.

When twelve-year-old Kaira Renn listens in on one of her father’s secret meetings, she hears of strange things: Searings, Melackin and the words which bring quiet to the room below … The Sign of the Symean. Soon after, Kaira leaves the comfort of childhood and enters a place like no other: The Society for the Preservation of Magical Artefacts. In this secret world of wonders, Kaira learns how to use magic, conjuring spells, charms and remedies. She also begins to make links between the strange words overheard on her bedroom landing and the darkness closing in on the magical society. And soon Kaira learns the true meaning of bravery, betrayal – and sacrifice.

I was really looking forward to reading a new urban fantasy novel with a middle-grade protagonist. By the time I got to the end, I had rather mixed feelings about the book.

Let me start with the things that I really liked about this book. Lindo creates an entirely unique world from scratch, and I didn’t feel that this was a repeat of some other mainstream middle-grade fantasy novel. Almost everything had its own unique name, so I was able to differentiate which items were from the “real” world and which were from the fantasy world. There was some sort of council that was in charge of the fantasy world, which made the new world feel complete. Without any form of governing, fantasy worlds can feel too fake.

What I struggled with while reading this book was trying to keep up with the amount of information being thrown at me. I love fantasy worlds that are very in-depth, but I felt almost as confused as Kaira was in this story. All of these new terms were new to me, and by the end, I couldn’t remember what words were connected to which objects. It felt as if I had moved to a country that was sort of like mine, but that spoke a completely different language. There were some “translators” in Kaira’s father and some friends that Kaira meets along the way, but I still felt confused.

The novel is fast-paced, which I usually enjoy, but I believe that it might have been a little too fast-paced. I felt as if I was flying from scene to scene, and while some chapters had semi-decent transitions, others did not. By the time I got to the 80% mark some of this confusion had been alleviated, but I had wished that I had been able to get closer to the characters individually without feeling rushed.

The last thing that stuck out to me as I read this novel was the character development. The character development and the personalities of the characters themselves were pretty unique. Kaira was a bit young to be finding out about the magical world as most parents didn’t tell their children until the child turned 18, but Kaira’s father thought she was mature enough to know. There were some other kids her age there, so she was able to befriend them. Each person had a different background as some had basically grown up around magic while others had been sheltered from it until they turned a certain age. I did enjoy seeing the other characters interact with Kaira and seeing how they grew throughout the events in the book.

I have to say, I would still recommend this novel. It is a fully unique urban fantasy novel for middle-grade students, and the story is really fun. Middle-grade readers would definitely enjoy this novel as it is not babyish in any way. Adult or YA readers would like this book for how intricate the world is.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesdays are a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl! This week’s topic is “Longest Books I’ve Ever Read.” Let’s get started!

Click on the cover of each book to be taken to my review of it! Some were in the early days of my blog and haven’t been seen for a long time. Also, for the most part, these books have been all read in the last 2 years since I started this blog.

1) King’s Cage: 507 Pages

King's Cage (Red Queen, #3)

This book took me FOREVER to get through even though it was the shortest book on this list. I ended up not liking it as much as I thought I would, and after leaving it alone for a few months, I might have to go back and rewrite the review after rereading it.

2) The Red Pyramid: 514 pages

The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles, #1)

I love the Kane Chronicles, and I didn’t realize that it was this long! I hope to be able to finish the trilogy soon.

3) New Moon: 563 pages

New Moon (Twilight, #2)

This book was probably my least favorite book in the Twilight series, as it really just taught that “if your boyfriend breaks up with you, ignore all other guys that might be nice to you and wait for him to eventually take you back.” SOO problematic for teen girls. I might also have to revisit this book now that I have more experience reviewing books.

4) Beautiful Creatures: 563 pages

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

I liked this book a lot, but I never continued with the series. Maybe I will do that soon.

5) A Court of Mist and Fury: 626 pages

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

One of the best books I have ever read! I would definitely recommend that all my blog friends read the ACOTAR series.

6) Outlander: 627 pages

Outlander (Outlander, #1)

This book honestly outdid itself, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to read the rest of the series. They are just all so LONG.

7) Eclipse: 629 pages

Eclipse (Twilight, #3)

I don’t have much to say about this book honestly. I don’t even remember reading it. I know that there are important plot lines in this book, but I still didn’t like it as much as the first book in the series.

8) Everything Under The Sun: 656 pages

Everything Under the Sun

This book was far longer than I thought it would be, but it was AMAZING. Definitely my second favorite book on this list.

9) A Court of Wings and Ruin: 699 pages

A Court of Wings and Ruin

I also can’t really remember reading this book much. I might have to revisit it and rewrite my review, now that I know that it was technically the “end” of the series.

10) Breaking Dawn: 754 pages

Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)

This, unfortunately, is the only book that I don’t have a review for. I wrote it, but I don’t know what happened to it. I think it was even posted, and maybe it was accidentally deleted. I don’t really feel like reading it again to try to review it. But it was the longest book I ever read I think!

 

TBR Tuesday!

Books that I have recently read and haven’t reviewed yet:

The Damned: A Snowverse Novella (The Almosts, #2)The Redeemed: A Snowverse Novella (The Almosts, #3)Target (The Royal Cleaner, #1)Home (The Royal Cleaner, #2)Disgraced (The Royal Cleaner, #0)Compelled By The Vampire (Vampire Enforcement Agency, #1)

Books that I am planning on reading within the next week:

Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet, #1)Web of Lies (Blood Bound, #3)Divine Fate: The Complete SeriesBring Me Their HeartsMayflyJilliandThe Clock FlowerA Life Worth Remembering: The Raw Beginnings of the Women's Suffrage Movement in Texas.Captured by the Vampire: A Paranormal Romance (Vampire Enforcement Agency Book 0)Giving Birth to HIVTied to Deceit

Life Updates

So, I know that I promised to weave in popular books with the reviews of indie authors books. I will still try to do this, but I still want to be able to work through my backlog of review copies by the time September comes. Nevertheless, I just moved into a different room in my house. Now, I have my computer and books all in one place. This may seem to be a good thing, but some complications have arisen in the move. For example, even though my new bookshelf has 2 times the space of my old one, I still have two plastic bins in my room full of books that I bought for myself that I still need to get through. I also have an overstuffed new bookshelf.

Admittedly, things are much better than they were just a month ago! I still have books that I need to get through but I have worked through a significant amount of them. Hopefully, in another month I will be able to say that I have eliminated my backlog, even though I am currently unsure if I will be able to do so.

I have a few more bits of news, but I will alert you guys as they come to fruition. Things are still a little crazy on my end, as I am trying to get my room in order while still pounding through my log of books. I will see you guys soon!

Beyond the Green Review

Beyond the GreenThis book transports readers back to the late 1970s, where Indian/Native American children whose parents were not able to care for them were simply given as foster children to white families. Even if there were viable biological grandparents or aunts and uncles for the child, the government thought that it would be better to take them off of the reservation entirely. This meant that if the parents ever became able to reclaim the child as their own, they would essentially be ripping that child from the only family that they have ever known.

Britta’s family took in Dori when she was only 5 months old and has raised her for the past 4 years. Eleven-year-old Britta has become used to having two younger sisters, and they seem to all be perfect together. Dori’s birth mom was unable to take care of her because she was an alcoholic, but now she has gotten her life back together and wants to take her daughter home. Britta doesn’t think that Irene is going to be a good mother to Dori because she barely knows her and she used to be an alcoholic, what’s saying that she won’t fall back into old habits? Britta is determined not to let Irene into her or her sisters’ lives and will stop at nothing to save her baby sister.

This story truly revolves around the theme of family. Britta has known her family to include Dori, and her mother has always treated Dori as a third daughter. Dori was never a burden and never stood out to them as being “different”, yet she is the only one who has to leave her family and return to her “real mother”.

Even though Britta’s family would probably not think of themselves as being prejudiced, Britta is prejudiced to some extent towards Dori’s birth mother. She believes that since Dori’s mom is an alcoholic, she will always be a “drunken” Native American woman. She doesn’t think that she is worthy of having her angelic little sister. She has to work through this deep-set hatred she has for this new woman for taking her little sister away from her family.

This book has excellent character development and world-building. I didn’t even realize that the novel was supposed to be historical fiction until I got to certain parts of the story that dated themselves.

I believe that this book could be useful for preteens to read, especially if they have foster sisters and brothers who always have the chance of being called back to live with their birth parents. It teaches them how to work through their initial grief and help their younger sibling through the changes that they will have to go through after completely changing houses.

I would recommend this story to anyone looking for an inspirational children’s book about foster families and dealing with change.

I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 stars

The Blood of Olympus Review

The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5)The demigods have escaped the House of Hades, but now they must split up in order to save Camp Half-Blood and Olympus from Gaea. Nico shadow-travels with Reyna and Coach Hedge to Camp-Half Blood to bring the Athena statue back quickly. He is sick though, and their journey is definitely not easy. Even Reyna’s ancestors are against her. The rest of the team go on missions of their own, each doing their part and learning more about themselves along the way.

 

This felt like the longest book in the Heroes of Olympus series, even though it may not have been. The beginning part of the story is just a lot of traveling and POV switching. Even though each character’s name was at the start of each chapter, with the constant switching, it still got confusing and frustrating. I never got to really learn a lot about the characters, and I ended up not connecting with anyone in this entire novel.

Also, I really feel that I am tired of reading Riordan’s novels for kids with teenage characters that are simply…..lacking. These stories just don’t seem to have enough character development for me. Another issue is the action scenes. They want to be really intense, but most of them are simply just silly/funny and not actually violent or even really suspenseful. Reading it, I knew that nothing was going to actually happen to any of the characters, and I was right. It just seemed like 50-80 pages of…floundering?

I am glad that I am finally finished the Heroes of Olympus series. I think that this series was just not for me, but I am definitely proud of myself for finally finishing it. I wish that the series had truly shown the growth of the characters from children to adults, but the characters, save a few like Renya who was adult-like from the start, have remained in the immature child-like mindset. I hope that the Magnus Chase series does not end up the same way.

The world-building wasn’t that disappointing as the characters do visit several places. The pacing was also fair, as I was able to speed through this entire book in about 2-3 hours. The only thing that I keep harping on is the lack of character development in the entire series.

I would only really recommend this series to middle-grade readers, I would not recommend it to adults looking for a deep and satisfying fantasy read. Hopefully, Riordan will start to finally write books for truly adult readers. Harry Potter started off as a children’s series, but then it eventually started to have real character development, show the growth of the characters, and even more violent/mature storylines. This series stayed the same nearly the entire way through, and this disappointed me.

Overall Rating: 2/5

Honey Moon Shiver Review

Honey Moon has a sleepover with her friends, and she wants to show them her mother’s prized necklace. After taking it out if its hiding place, in a book, she shows it off to all of her friends and lets them try it on. The next day, she realizes that the necklace is gone. Her mother would absolutely kill her if she lost her prized necklace, and so she must do everything in her power to find it before her mom notices. With the help of Shiver, the owner of a new popsicle shop, she goes on a mission to find out who stole the necklace. Along the way, she learns lessons about lying and forgiveness.

I definitely have to read more books in the Honey Moon series, it is just so good! Honey is a strong-willed young girl with loving parents and an annoying brother, and she lives in the Halloween town of Sleepy Hollow. She is a fairly normal young girl, but her town is far from normal.

This book is definitely a good read for elementary schoolers and middle schoolers. I personally was a big reader at that age and felt sad that there were no long books made for people my age. This story is about 200 pages, which is long enough to feel satisfying for young readers but not long enough to be too intimidating. The subject matter is appropriate for kids of that age, and the moral of the story is definitely an important lesson for them.

The pacing of the story is excellent and it will definitely engage young readers. The words are simple enough for young readers to understand, but the story isn’t so basic that they will become bored. This book even discusses healthy eating, because the Shiver store has low-sugar all-natural popsicles that can be bought from a real-life company.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a sweet fantasy story with important morals, or for anyone who is looking for a new story for young readers.

I received an advanced copy of this book, and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 5/5