A Review of “The Hike” by Drew Magary: The Odyssey of Our Time

 

Cruising down the aisles of my local Barns & Noble I remember the cover being the first thing that caught my eye. Bright neon pictures of strange monsters dotted the black cover drawing my attention immediately. I picked up the book, a hardback, and opened to the front flap to read the summary. A comedy! How delightful, as I was in the mood to find anything that might catch my eye to add to my Goodreads reading challenge. Well a few months later, I finally got around to reading this oddly decorated book, and I don’t think I was prepared for the ride it was going to take me on.

The story follows a suburban man named Ben, who works an office job, and is married with three children. While away on a business trip Ben finds himself on a path that would change the course of his life forever. In this page-turner, you are sucked in right along with Ben as you witness the ghastly torment the main character endures in order to return home to his family. The author does a good job of making you believe the weird and crazy things that happen in the story. I swear this could be an episode of “I Shouldn’t Be Alive,” at the same time you’re engulfed in an epic like tale, fit for a poet of ancient Greek times. You’ll have trouble putting this book down, as you’ll find yourself trying to piece together what exactly is going on.

I really enjoyed reading this book, I will give it a 4/5 for keeping, no, stealing my interest from page to page.

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A Review: Poppy by AVI

Before I begin,

I retain very few memories from my childhood, but I remember the nights my mom sat up with me reading this story. That moment is one of my fondest memories, and just the other day, in passing, my mom took one glance at the cover of the book and smiled as she remembered reading this to me also. Truly, this story has had a profound effect on me. I have never forgotten about Poppy and her many adventures, even in my writing, I am inspired to write daring tales about courageous creatures fighting the odds. So to the author, I am glad you decided to share this story with us.

 

*****

 

This is the second book in the Tales from Dimwood Forest series that follows Poppy, a young deer mouse, who takes a stand against a great horned owl named Mr. Ocax, the protector of the forest.

This is the second time I’ve read this book, and I stilled enjoyed every bit of it. The story telling echoed the classic tales I use to watch as a child. It was told in a way that made you feel like you’re reading a fairytale and not a book meant for children. I also loved the characters and the way the author describes them. I enjoyed the illustrations throughout the book too. As for the plot, it’s easy to get pulled in. You immediately want to know what is going to happen to Poppy and her family and why Mr. Ocax acts the way he does.

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All and all, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys classic adventure tales. It’s the perfect bedtime story to read to your children, and you’ll find that you’ll like the story as well. I give it a 5/5.

 

***HALT: The section below contains spoilers***
***Read at your own risk***

 

Closing Thoughts and Discussion

 

It’s hard to remain unbias here, but I really enjoyed re-reading this childhood classic. I’m actually surprised how much I liked it the second time around. Go Poppy for beginning so brave, I think her meeting Ragweed really had a positive effect on her life. I really need to finish the series now.

As the bliss of reading the story ebbs, I find myself thinking about Mr. Ocax’s final words. When he died, he said he didn’t understand why he bothered to protect the mice. I was under the impression, just like Poppy, the stories about porcupines were made up to keep the mice in line. Did Mr. Ocax actually believe he was doing the mice a favor or were his last words meant to make Poppy feel bad? What do you think? What are your thoughts?

A Review: The Unlikely Tale of the Royal Elite Squad by D.A. Alston

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The Unlikely Tale of the Royal Elite Squad follows four ordinary girls who gain superpowers after a mysterious accident. However, with great power comes great responsibility. How will they balance their new gifts in between their busy lives?

I really enjoyed reading this. The author takes you into the lives of four young high school girls struggling to find themselves. The story is structured in first person of each girl giving you an interesting perspective into all of their lives. The diversity is welcoming in a culture lacking in heroines of color and each girl stands out and has their own unique story and hurdle to overcome. I also loved the cover and back art, it helped me to visualize who each character was. The pacing and plot development was easy to follow and had enough changes in it to keep me engaged. The story is based on themes of honesty, friendship, and acceptance, something the world could truly use more of.

the-unlikely-tale-of-the-royal-elite-squadAll in all, I’m inspired by these girls and would recommend this book to younger readers who love a good old fashion superhero story. I give it a 3/5.

 

***HALT: The section below contains spoilers***
***Read at your own risk***

Closing Thoughts and Discussion

I wasn’t sure how the point of view changes was going to work, but once you get used to it, it becomes easier to read. I loved the fact that we can jump into each girl’s head. I think you need something like that if you’re truly going to write a story with four main characters. As I mentioned above, I really loved the diversity. The author did their homework and made me believe each of the girls and their backgrounds were believable. It was modern and the dialog was hip to the culture, making it easily relatable. It wasn’t without its error or two, but nothing is perfect. I still enjoyed the story. I’m hoping the author will continue. I believe the world could benefit from more heroes of color, especially positive female role models.

What are your thoughts? How did you feel after reading the story?

A Review: Wandering City Blues by Jonny Lupsha

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Wandering City Blues is an engaging murder mystery that literarily takes you around the world. The story follows Detective Leon and his new partner Iris, who has a very mysterious background, as they try and figure out the motive behind a series of grizzly murders. They go through hell and back in this science fiction novel about humans who live on the backs of giants.

I really enjoyed this story once I started to get into it. It was a little slow to start, but I’m glad I finished it. The story was very technical and jammed packed with lots of details, but luckily for me I had Google right by my side to help me look up anything I don’t know. My favorite parts of the story were the descriptions of all the titans and the people and cultures who lived there. It was very creative, as the author strived to make life on the back of mile high giants as real as possible. I believed it, and I really loved the cover art and pictures throughout the story too.

In short, I’m glad I stuck it out and finished the novel. The author had a really cool idea, with a dynamic story, so I give it a 3/5.

 

the-unlikely-tale-of-the-royal-elite-squadNext on my reading list is The Unlikely Tale of the Royal Elite Squad by D.A. Alston

Summary from Amazon:
The Unlikely Tale of the Royal Elite Squad follows four young girls as they embark on an exciting new journey after an accident occurs at their school.

 

 

 

***HALT: The section below contains spoilers***
***Read at your own risk***

 

Closing Thoughts and Discussion

I can’t say how much I really loved the ending. It was a roller coaster of a ride reading this and I mean that in a good way. I’m happy Iris found her peace. I’m also dying to learn more about the other titans as they only talked about a few and I really want to see pictures of them too.

I found Sao to be the most amusing, for the life of me I couldn’t imagine a giant beast trotting around Earth blasting angry Jamaican music. My favorite titan though was Psamanthe, she was sweet and kind, and she proved Detective Leon wrong, that titans do care. And the children on the ground, I would love to read a story about them. That was the most magical part seeing them wave to Leon and Iris as they ascended.

With the knowledge of the children what are your thoughts? Do you think more humans survived elsewhere?

A Review: Clockwork by Philip Pullman

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Clockwork is an eerily enjoyable tale that follows a series of events in and around a small German town. The themes of clocks and time are what drive the story and the events that follow, with the warning that once a story is wound up, it can not be stopped.

From the first page, I was immediately drawn into the story. The author does a great job blurring the lines of the real and unreal. I still believe I lack the understanding to unwrap to story completely, even after re-reading this, but what I can say is that enjoyed this haunting tale. I loved the descriptive language, and even though this was meant for children, there is something unsettling about the happenings in the story. Little details that would be off-putting to adults and I like that. I like the feeling of knowing there is real danger in store for the characters, raising the stakes on the consequences to be told.

clockworkOverall I really enjoyed re-reading this. I would give it a 5/5. I liked the characters, the dialog, the storytelling, and pacing.

 

 

 

Next up on my reading list is: Wandering City Blues by Jonny Lupsha

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13 creatures emerged from the ocean, each over 1/4 mile tall. Then came a lethal fog that covered Earth’s surface. A small remnant of mankind built cities on the backs of those beasts and migrated up over the fog forever. 99 years later, Detective Leon Adler and his mysterious new partner Iris investigate a murder case that takes them halfway around the world to an extinction-level conspiracy. Can they survive the journey, chasing leads on massive skyscraper-perched birds and colonies of inbred cannibals, or will they succumb to the Wandering City Blues? (Summary is taken from Amazon)

 

***HALT: The section below contains spoilers***
***Read at your own risk***

Closing Thoughts and Discussion.

I think I need further clarification on the end. Dr. Kalmenius said to Prince Otto in order to save your son you must give a heart that must also be kept. It was my understanding that true love would save the child, yet Dr. Kalmenius took Prince Otto’s heart anyways. I understand Prince Otto’s impatient nature robbed him of further understanding on the matter, but does that mean Princess Mariposa never loved her son? Was Gretl the only one who truly loved Florian?

Something else I found humorous in the story was when Herr Ringelmann opened up Sir Ironsoul, he found nothing but rusted and mismatched parts. Could this be a reflection of Karl’s character? He was lazy, and thus the figure that slew him bore his trades. The figure was sloppy and not well put together, so truly this was the work of Karl. That’s funny to me.

ALSO and this is a biggy, how and who regulates these wishes? First Fritz wished for an ending, then Karl a figure and was Prince Otto and family even real or does the wish maker combine wishes?

 

Feel free to chime in, I’d love to hear your thoughts.