Book Review: “Running Away to Home” (The Journey Trilogy #1) by Lita Hooper

running-away-to-home

“Running Away to Home” (The Journey Trilogy #1) by Lita Hooper (2016)

Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary

Page Length: 145 (electronic review copy)

Synopsis:

How do you find your way home when your home no longer exists? For 17-year old twin sisters Sammie and Ronnie and their father, Willis, the answer to that question becomes a life raft when they are displaced after Hurricane Katrina.

Identity….Fear….Family

Running Away to Home, a YA verse novel, tells the story of two brave sisters, a repentant father, and the amazing triumphant spirit of familial love.

Loss.…Memory….Family

After leaving New Orleans for Atlanta, Ronnie and Sammie are separated and find themselves living in different parts of the city. Each sister is lured by false promises of love and security as they initially believe the people they encounter.

Love….Change….Family

As a YA verse novel, this story relies on poetry to express the intimacy of sisterhood and the triumphant spirit of its characters. Older YA readers will be moved by this family’s journey in the wake of one of the most memorable historical events our nation has experienced.

Spirit….Strength….Family (description from Goodreads)

Review:

Running Away to Home is a verse novel that follows a family who has to leave their house and belongings behind in the wake of hurricane Katrina. Being that the novel is written in verse, it makes the story even more powerful by evoking the emotions of the tragedy and how people mourned the loss of losing everything.

Each character tells a different story. Wilson, the twin’s father, is an alcoholic who has fallen apart after the death of his wife, Velma. The twins, Ronnie and Sammie are glad to be whisked away to safety by the Red Cross, but all they can think about is going back home. Ronnie acts as the responsible one who is desperately trying to find their father while rationing supplies, while Sammie is relishing in her newfound freedom and wants to have fun.

As the family is separated they go down divided paths all while continuing to look for each other. Sammie ends up in helping hands and Ronnie is lured into a trap of false promises by her naivete. Meanwhile, Wilson works hard at getting back on his feet so that he can be reunited with his girls and try to find a home to go back to. The family’s separation serves as obstacle that must be faced head on. Each character goes on journey of self-discovery to learn from the past and grow from their mistakes.

This novel reminded me of all of the emotional and physical damage that Katrina left in its wake and how people are still (today) trying to clean up areas, rebuild, and cope with the aftermath. The book also highlights the enormous amount of families that were torn apart and displaced by Katrina after they were relocated to various shelters and temporary homes. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to lose everything you’ve ever known.

While the books is beautifully written, I felt it suffered from pacing issues. Everything seemed to happen all at once and there was no breathing space between the events that occurred. Other than that I enjoyed reading this novel and its overall messages of family, survivors, and finding your identity.

Final Verdict:

3 star rating

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Book Review: “Of Metal and Wishes”(Of Metal and Wishes #1) by Sarah Fine

of-metal-and-wishes

“Of Metal and Wishes”(Of Metal and Wishes #1) by Sarah Fine (2014)

Genre: YA, Fiction, Fantasy, Retellings

Page Length: 321 pages (hardcover edition)

Synopsis:

There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including their outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the Ghost and learns he has been watching her… for a very long time.

As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen must confront her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the Ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. She must decide whom she can trust, because as her heart is torn, the factory is exploding around her… and she might go down with it. (Description from Goodreads)

Review:

Of Metal and Wishes is a story that follows a teenage girl named Wen who works as her father’s assistant in his doctor’s office at a slaughterhouse factory. Wen doesn’t believe in the so-called “ghost” of the factory who grants the worker’s wishes and desires, so she ultimately decides to challenge its power. And after strange occurrences start to occur she learns the lesson of being careful what you wish for.

This book has been on my TBR for a while and I decided to pluck it off of my bookshelf. Initially, I was drawn to its cover art, synopsis, and fantasy-like description. Fine uses descriptive writing in order to draw her readers into Wen’s surroundings so that they can get a good feel for the overall setting. Wen lives in a grim place and she sees gruesome sights at her job in a doctor’s office. The people at the factory work hard to provide for their families for such little money, while risking the liabilities that might occur during handling heavy machinery.

Wen and her father are still grieving over the death of her mother (its been one year since her death) and they are trying to adapt to their new life. Though Wen is struggling she puts up a brave face and tries to be rock of support for her father. She is an intelligent girl who is loyal and skillful, but her superstition and naivete drag her into the ghost’s wrath. When Wen starts putting her faith in the ghost’s powers and learns its true secrets, things really start to intensify. Is the ghost truly lonely as it says or does it have dangerous intentions of placing Wen as pawn in it’s game?

While the novel is somewhat what predictable at times, it also has some surprising elements thrown in that I was not expecting. The suspense slowly builds as more of the mystery unravels and I love the heightened tension that is laced throughout the entire plot. I also enjoyed the fact that the book is an exciting retelling of Phantom of the Opera, which I had little to no exposure of before reading this book. I love retelling style novels especially when they are set in a different place (original story takes place in France) with PoC characters. I picked up on some of the similarities from the original tale, but appreciated that the author put her own spin on the story.

Of Metal and Wishes has a smooth plot progression, intriguing characters, lots of action, a little bit of romance, and a good mystery. I’m looking forward to how the story will continue in Of Dreams and Rust.

Final Verdict:

4 star rating

Booktube Bites: Stages of Book Grief

booktube bites

Booktube Bites is a weekly segment in which I spotlight cool bookish videos on the internet. I will discuss some entertaining videos and Booktubers which you can check out. Feel free to participate as well, and send in your own recommendations of videos you would like spotlighted.

Found At: Caroline The Reader

Today’s Video: Stages of Book Grief

In this week’s viral pick Booktuber Caroline, from the channel Caroline the Reader discusses a problem every reader runs into. Book grief, the all too familiar feeling of not being able to let go of amazing book you just read. You loved the characters, the story line, and now you’re not sure what to read next.

The five stages of book grief has happened to me way too many times to count. It not only happens with books, but with TV shows, movies, and other fandoms. It’s so hard to move onto the next thing when you’re stuck in that story’s world.

Question of the Week: What was the last book you read that gave you “book grief”? Share your thoughts!

Have a great weekend and happy reading!🙂

 

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Book Tag Thursday: Nintendo Book Tag

nintendobook-tag

As always for this segment I will find awesome book tags throughout the vast, wide inter-webs and complete mini-challenges. I’ll hope you’ll have fun and participate with me as well! Leave your own answers in the comments or write your post and link it back to me. (You are also free to use the picture if you’d like, just credit me.)

Today’s Topic: Nintendo Book Tag

Tagged By: Zezee With Books

NES (Nintendo Entertainment System): A classic you want to read.

beloved

Beloved by Toni Morrison

I’ve only read one book by Toni Morrison since college and realized that I need to read more of her novels. I’ve heard wonderful things about Beloved, so this book is next on my Morrison TBR list.

SNES (Super Nintendo): A sequel you liked more than the first (can be a second book in a series).

the faerie prince

The Faerie Prince (Creepy Hollow #2) by Rachel Morgan

The Creepy Hollow books is such a great fantasy series. While the first book focuses more on world building, I felt like the writing, character development, and action were much stronger in the sequel.

Nintendo 64: A book that revolutionized the way you look at the world.

americanah

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I know I’ve stated this before, but I liked how this novel explored the question of “What does it mean to be an American?” It’s well-crafted and I like how it dissects social issues.

Gamecube: A popular book that did not go over so well with you.

the stars-never-rise

The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

The plot in the first installment of the series had great promise, but it fell into typical YA fantasy story tropes and there was a lack character depth from all of the main characters.

Wii: A new favorite book.

with-malice

With Malice by Eileen Cook

I saw this book floating around the book blogosphere earlier year and I decided to give a try since I love a good suspense story. I just finished this book about a day ago and I was not disappointed. It went in a direction I was not expecting!

Nintendo Power: Favorite graphic novel series or a series you want to start.

Saga Vol.1

Saga by Brian K. Vaughn

This series is one amazing fantasy/space opera. The writing is great, the characters are well written, and the plot is entertaining! If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it.🙂

Super Mario: A character that you’d love to squish like a Goomba.

the-turning

The Blood Ties Series by Jennifer Armintrout

The main character of the series Carrie. She is so indecisive about everything that it infuriated me! She gets caught up in a love triangle in the second novel and throughout the whole book she still can’t make up her mind of who she truly loves. I had to DNF this series!

Zelda: A newer fantasy that you consider to be a modern classic.

Hmmm…I can’t really think of one.

Samas-Aran: Favorite sci-fi novel or one you want to read.

kindred

Kindred by Octavia Butler

I started reading this book last year and I need to go back and finish it. It’s a sci-fi book that everyone recommends so hopefully I’ll finish it soon.

Pokemon: Book editions that you want to collect.

classics

Pretty much any one of the Leather bound Classics from Barnes & Noble. The cover art is gorgeous and the trim of the pages are colored!

Donkey Kong: A book with original characters.

lord of the flies

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

This novel was one of my favorite books I read in British Lit. I loved the characters and the deserted island survival story line.

Nintendo Fandom: Favorite Nintendo game(s) or game you really want.

super_mario_bros-0

Super Mario Bros. I used to play this all the time on my Game Boy Color growing up for hours upon end. It can be somewhat challenging at times, but I always have fun when I play this game.

Tag! You’re it! Comment with your answers below or participate by writing your own post and link back to me. :)

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

 

Reading Recommendations: Fall Reads!

fall-reads-2016-2

Autumn has arrived! The smell of cider is in the air and the leaves are changing into hues of red and gold. Today, I’d thought I’d share a compilation of books to enjoy throughout this fall season! Enjoy!

labryinth lost

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Synopsis: Alex, a girl from a family of brujas (witches) wishes she had a normal life instead of the one she’s destined for. On her Deathday celebration she tries to get rid of her powers and accidentally sends her family into Los Lagos where she must rescue them from danger.

This was such a fun book! It’s got fantasy, witches, magic, and adventure. On top of that, the coming of age aspect of the story makes it relatable to wide audience.

trixi pudong and the greater world

Trixi Pudong and the Greater World by Audrey Mei

Take a journey through generations with Trixi Pudong and The Greater World. It’s a story that is centered around one family’s story as they struggle with their hopes, desires, through turbulent times.

If you’re a fan of historical fiction like me, you will surely enjoy this novel. Mei not only focuses on a theme of family in this novel, but she also helps readers to explore a part of world history they may be unfamiliar with.

we are all made of molecules

We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

Another story focused on family, this book follows the story of a newly blended family. Stewart is academically brilliant but socially awkward while his older sister, Ashley is the popular girl in her class, but she is a bad student. Will these two find a middle ground and find a way to get along?

I love this book’s message of being yourself and not letting anybody change who you are. While it’s a lighthearted novel overall, I liked that the author does discuss some deeper topics such as bullying and peer pressure.

the-wolf-road

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

This novel follows a girl named Elka who is raised in the wilderness by a man named “Trapper”. When she finds out the man she loves as a father is a killer she find herself having to escape from everything she’s ever known.

A gripping page-turner! This book is perfect for fans of thriller and suspense stories. Lewis crafts an excellent tale and carefully builds up the tension throughout the entire novel. You won’t see what’s coming next!

kite-runner

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

As always for this list, I like to include books I read during school since fall is the start of the back to school season. The novel tells the story of Amir, a young boy from Kabul, whose closest friend is Hassan, his father’s young Hazara servant set against a backdrop of events.

An amazing novel that I think everyone should read. It not only opened my eyes to some historical events I had little knowledge of, but the author also has a way of exploring the themes of guilt and redemption as well as family.

 

And that completes my recommendations for fall! What books do you recommend? Comment below.🙂

 

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed. 

Book Review: “The Wolf Road” by Beth Lewis

the-wolf-road

“The Wolf Road” by Beth Lewis

Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery

Page Length: 400 pages (hardcover edition)

Synopsis:

Everything Elka knows of the world she learned from the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who took her under his wing when she was just seven years old.

But when Elka sees the Wanted poster in town, her simple existence is shattered. Her Trapper – Kreagar Hallet – is wanted for murder. Even worse, Magistrate Lyon is hot on his trail, and she wants to talk to Elka.

Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her true parents. But Lyon is never far behind – and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move. There will be a reckoning, one that will push friendships to the limit and force Elka to confront the dark memories of her past. (description from Goodreads)

Review:

The Wolf Road is a first person, psychological thriller that follows a girl name Elka who is raised in the wilderness by a man named “Trapper”. When she finds out the man she loves as a father is a possible serial killer she tries to escape from him and her past.

There is so much attention to landscape in this novel as it takes place in a wilderness setting. Readers get this vivid imagery that immerses you into the novel such as the freezing waters of the river, snow-covered grounds, and types of various wildlife. You quickly see how cruel mother nature can be and how difficult it can be to survive in these conditions with no supplies. Readers also get a taste of what it’s like being alone in the woods for such long periods of time, how fast time elapses, and how lon periods of isolation can play tricks on the mind.

Elka, the main protagonist, is kind of brash and has an attitude. Though is very sure of herself and confident, her arrogant nature sometimes gets her put into sticky situations. Elka is also resourceful and she knows how to hunt, camp, and survive in the wild. She realizes during the entirety of the novel that her survival skills are based off of everything Trapper taught her through the years. On top of that, she struggles with the accusations being held against Trapper, and is terrified at the fact it is probably true. While she is running away from him, she is also running away from her own haunted past. Though Elka feels betrayed, she also knows she has to be on her a-game in order to survive and outrun Trapper.

Elka is so intelligent about wild life, which I was in awe of. However, when it comes to society and real world affairs she is so out of her element. She is quick to judge others due to her own shortfalls (lack of book smarts). By being exposed to society it makes her realize how truly isolated she’s been for most of her life even though she lived with Trapper for ten years. Watching her character development throughout the novel was intriguing because the reader gets to see all her thoughts, emotions, and feelings.

I think that Lewis’ own hands-on encounters and research of wilderness/survival helps to enhance the book’s entire experience. The whole novel is like one big cat and mouse game in the wild wheee Trapper is the predator and Elka is the prey. Every moment of the book something is new unfolds and I kept getting surprised at every new occurrence. I also loved the way Lewis writes her action scenes in this book. She builds suspense and tension into the smallest moments and keeps the readers constantly guessing at the possible ways the plot could turn.

On a side note, be warned that there are trigger warnings in this book! It was way more gory and graphically descriptive in certain parts than I thought it would be initially.

Final Verdict:

4 star rating

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Booktube Bites: What Is Literature For?

booktube bites

Booktube Bites is a weekly segment in which I spotlight cool bookish videos on the internet. I will discuss some entertaining videos and Booktubers which you can check out. Feel free to participate as well, and send in your own recommendations of videos you would like spotlighted.

Found At: School of Life

Today’s Video: What Is Literature For?

In this week’s video the School of Life asks the big question, “What Is Literature For?” It opens the discussion of why people spend time reading novels and poems when bigger events are happening in the world. The video goes on to explain why reading literature is so important such as learning from history, acting as a cure for loneliness, and how it allows you to learn from other mistakes.

I found this video to be really interesting and it even opened my mind to new ways that literature is not only essential to the world, but to each individual.

Question of the Week: What do you think literature is for? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Have a great weekend and happy reading!🙂

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

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