Book Review: The Scorpio Races 

Scorpio-paperback-websiteRating: 5/5 stars.

Oh dear… I’m in love. This was an incredible book. I don’t think words can tell you how beautiful this book is.

On the first day of November, something unique happens on the island: The Scorpio Races. People race dangerous water horses known as capaill uisce in hopes of winning. Many riders die in preparation for it and in the race. Sean has raced many times, and won most of them. If he fears anything, no one knows. Kate was never going to race; she never wanted to. Now she is given no choice. She won’t flee from what she has given herself over to do.

Kate Connolly is amazing. She’s tough, but that doesn’t mean that she’s not without fear. Kate, also known as Puck, doesn’t allow her fear to control her actions. She has a lot of stubbornness to her that gets her in and through bad situations. Puck is willing to do almost anything to keep her family together for a little longer. Sean Kendrick is quiet, unmoving. Every choice, every action is deliberate. He has this way with the capaill uisce that is so special. He is not afraid. Finn is so childlike. He’s scared, but so very brave. Gabe has dealt with something for far too long. Now he has made the decision to fix the problem. Even if it tears his family apart. George Holly is another interesting character. He’s not from the island, but he starts to feel the same way for the island as any native would.

It was a slow moving tale, but that didn’t make it any less interesting. The tale was woven perfectly at the pace it was at. I loved how Sean and Puck’s relationship developed. Puck’s relationship with her brothers is very neat. The race was intense, but everything that built up to it made my heart go so fast.

It was intriguing world, depicted so that it felt very real. The smell of fish. The wind against my face. The pounding of the surf. The sand in my eyes. I felt it all. Every time I read this, it was like I had stepped into another world. The island was amazing in its own unique way. The cliffs, the grass, the horses, the capaill uisce, and the stormy weather made the tale what it is.

This is the fourth book that I’ve read by Maggie Stiefvater and I will say it time and time again: I love her writing. Whether she is writing in first person or third person, it is gorgeous! It is so elegant and rich. It gives the story this sort of depth that is beautiful and resonates with your heart. She could probably write about the most boring thing and I would read it because her sort of writing style keeps you intrigued and interested no matter how “boring” it may be.

Now there was a bit of language, but it was spread very thin. There was a few inappropriate references to things too. The religion on the island was a mix of superstition, island’s spiritualism, and Catholicism. But the book didn’t get into much of it.

I’m recommending this to older teens. It is really a masterpiece. You must take the time to read this.

-G. Paige

Book Review: Co. Aytch 

45556Rating: 4/5 stars.

I read this quite a few months ago for school. Then school told me to review a nonfiction book I’ve read. I really enjoyed this one so here’s a review.

“In these memoirs, after the lapse of twenty years, we propose to fight our “battles o’er again.””

This is certainly what Sam R. Watkins does. He tells his story of joining the First Tennessee Regiment, Company H, to fight for the Confederacy. He recounts their victories and their defeats. As one of seven of the original recruits to survive all of their battles from Shiloh to Nashville, it is a unique story. He tells the story not of a general or lieutenant, but of the average private and his thoughts on the war.

I really loved this story. It made the Civil War just come alive. The battles were so real and very bloody. There was such sad and dreadful memories. It was really shocking. So many people died either from being killed in battle, battle wounds, or infection in the wounds. The author does describe some very literally torn up people,  but I loved the reality of it. He is recounting what he saw onto paper.

But this book doesn’t just dwell on the battles. There is also a good mix of humor which included lots of humorous stories. He tells of letters from home, staying at people’s house, and visiting hospitals. He tells the true thoughts of the foot soldiers. How there were certain leaders that they despised. How, at times, they just wished for the war to be over and they didn’t care who won anymore. How the Confederate soldiers would chat from where they were positioned to the Union soldiers across the way.

This showed me that a lot of people signed up for war thinking it would be exciting, an adventure, and they expected it to be over soon. Once they saw the reality of it, most of them didn’t want to fight anyone. But they were brave enough to not desert, because they would be executed or hanged if caught. They fought, even as they knew (towards the end of the war) that they were losing.

The writing style was different. It was first in person, but in past tense. I liked it though. It felt so much more true. Like an old man telling his story to you.

This was such a rich book and so full of life. I’ll recommend this book to anyone who can handle the bloody descriptions, because it is really worth the read. It opens your eyes to the truth of war.

-G. Paige 

Book Review: Dreamlander

Dreamlander-coverRating: 5/5 stars.

What an amazing book! I was expecting something great, but not such a prodigious book (Yeah, go look up that word.).

There is another world that we see glimpses of in our dreams. We lives two separate lives: one in this world and one in the world we only dream about. Chris has dreams of a lady begging him not to come to her right before shooting him in the head. They are only dreams until he wakes up in that world. He has a strong belief that he is going insane. Then Chris makes some very bad mistakes and realizes that this may all be real. But the consequences of his mistakes may destroy both worlds if he doesn’t find a way to fix it.

I started this book and it seemed pretty good, but nothing special. Well it didn’t take long for that to change. The characters were memorable. I loved Chris and Allara! Chris was a average man who was running away from facing his family problems. He makes some major mistakes, but he’s willing to do whatever it takes to fix it. He was determined once he set his mind to something and brave to the point of recklessness. Allara was tough and fearless on the outside, but underneath all that armor she was fearful and worried. She wanted peace but didn’t know how to get it. Quinnon was a hardened warrior. It would take awhile to earn his respect. He was willing to follow through hard decisions. Orias was a Cherazim and an heart wrenching character. At times I liked him, other times I didn’t. Worick I didn’t see enough of. But I loved that parts I did see of him. He was such a father figure. A good and trusting friend Mike. Brooke was just crazy. She’s one of those characters who you need to look out for. She’s out for an adventure…and trouble.

Once you get past the first few chapters this was a really fast paced book. There was action left and right and it just never slowed down. Oh, it had me worried so much! The battles were so intense and felt very real. There were a few instances that felt a little rushed and maybe a tiny bit easy, but for the most part it flowed smoothly.

The world building was fantastic. The Rievers and Cherazii were so cool and fit the story like a glove. I loved how there wasn’t just medieval weapons, but canons and different sorts of guns. It made the story stand out more. The skycars were another unique feature to this world. All of it was awesome.

I’m recommending this to older teens because it was bloody in some of the battle scenes, but otherwise anyone could read this. It was such a good mix of modern world and fantasy.

-G. Paige

Book Review: Unbroken 

imageRating: 5/5 stars.

Woah… Where do I even start? What should I say? This book was amazing. One of the best, if not the best, nonfiction books that I have ever read.

When I first started this, I felt pretty sure that I was going to like it. I just wasn’t sure if it was going to be one of those books that I have to almost force myself to read or if I was just going to start reading and not want to stop. Well…I didn’t want to stop.

Throughout this whole book, there was such a realness to it. It felt so harsh, rough, and real. There was some language and definitely a lot of violence. There was even some mentioning of sexual stuff, I was kind of surprised. But I guess that’s normal for the world.

All the people were really interesting. There was at least a little something told about everyone. I must say that I got a bit confused about some of them because there was just so many. Even though it got a bit confusing, but it didn’t effect my understanding of the story.

Louis’s childhood was very entertaining. Man, he wasn’t the best of kids, but it was the truth. I loved it. It was very neat to see what the early twentieth century was like. Then how he got to the Olympics at such a young age. It was so incredible and seemed absolutely impossible, but he made it. He showed such perseverance and determination. He was a very fast runner.

Louis joins the military and all goes well, except for some terrifying instances, of course. World War II has never felt more real. There is nothing like reading or listening to a first person account of a war to begin realize what war is actually like, even if you’ll never truly know what’s it’s like until you’ve been there. Louis and his mates’ fears, horrors, and terrors became my fears, horrors, and terrors. It was so real.

What Louis survived through only to get captured be the Japanese…is unreal. I can hardly believe it. This book can really give you a fear of sharks. Then the way he was treated by the Japanese was gut wrenching. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and starvation and everything else he went through. It was inhuman how he was treated. He and so many others. And it just got worse and worse…and worse. He was kept prisoner for about two years and he survived! He showed so much resilience. It was heartbreaking to see what his family was going through at the same time. It must’ve been so stressful for them.

Last of all, his conversion story was fascinating. Such an amazing thing to read about. The ending was beautiful and filled with hope and joy and a tinge of sadness.

I’m recommending this to older teens and up. I think everyone should take the time to read this. It was so good, but horrible too, if you know what I mean. It’s a incredible true story that you won’t soon forget.

-G. Paige

Book Review: A Dream Not Imagined

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Rating: 5/5 stars.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a short story, but was full of meaning. It’s a perfect light and fun read, while still having a great message embedded in it.

Ellie Abbington’s life is different from any other. She lives under a wealthy father and stepmother along with two stepsisters, serving them as their maid. Cast out from the regular servants because of her higher upbringing while also ignored by the rest of society because of her position as a maid, she is alone. So she dreams of falling in love with a prince and living happily ever after. Will this dream of hers come true? Or is there one that is even better than what she had ever imagined?

I loved the different characters, especially Ellie and Rowen. Rowen was so sweet and fun and such a gentleman all at the same time. Ellie was sweet and felt pretty realistic throughout the story. Oh, and her realization after that twist was really neat. It is something that we could all do to remember.

So…as I said earlier, I loved this book. It was a really start for a new author. At first, this may seem like an everyday Cinderella story. But about halfway through, everything goes array. It was a great plot twist. Even though I was expecting a twist, I still couldn’t very guess what it was or how it was going to be solved which made it so much more interesting. I do wish that it had been a bit longer between the plot twist and end, but it probably would’ve felt a bit out of place since it kept the same steady pace throughout the whole book.

I would recommend this to people of all ages, though it is more for younger kids. It is really fun and sweet with a great message.

-G. Paige 

Book Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory

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Rating: 1/5 stars.

I only read 65 pages of this book. Why? Well, what I read and where I saw the book was going towards was inappropriate and was unacceptable, to me.

Hayley and her father, Andy Kincain have been on the road for five long years. They never stayed long in one place for they were running from the demons that have haunted and tortured Hayley’s father (mentally) ever since he got back from Iraq. This book starts as Hayley and her dad are finally settling in her grandmother’s house in the town where her dad grew up so Hayley can attend school. When she starts hanging out with this boy she starts thinking about her own life and where it’s heading. Maybe now Hayley can live a normal life and leave painful memories behind. But will her father’s memories drag him under?

I was recommended this book by a wonderful librarian. I have never read anything by this particular author so I was not sure how this was going to turn out. Also, I can’t remember if the librarian had read this book or read other books by her. Either way, it did not turn out to be an enjoyable experience. The main idea of the book (Hayley helping her dad get through/over the drugs and memories) sounded great, but in what I read, that wasn’t the main focus point (it was more to the side thing). The spotlight was on Hayley and her school life. That led to just a lot of cultural stuff that was mentioned between Hayley and her “friends” (like pornography and homosexual stuff). Then there was a ton of bad language that got really too much for me. So that, combined with the idea of a boyfriend and girlfriend relationship ahead got me to put the book down.

I won’t recommend anyone to read to this. But maybe I’ll try one of the other books by this author.

-G. Paige