Book Review: Dragon and Herdsman

Dragon and Herdsman by Timothy Zahn

Dragon and Herdsman (Dragonback, #4)
by Timothy Zahn (Goodreads Author)

4.5 out of 5 stars

In this fourth book of the series, Jack and Draycos visit a distant planet with their friend, Alison Kayna. They discover a herd of creatures called Phooka that appear similar to K’da like Draycos. However, the creatures are insentient, unintelligent, slow, and behave like animals with no language. Draycos wonders if his people, the K’da, could have evolved from this lower animal form. He questions what that could mean for his species in the future.
The mercenaries from the Malison Ring track Jack and Draycos to the planet, forcing them all to flee into the dense forest. Jack must herd the Phooka through miles of dangerous terrain to save them from being slaughtered by the mercenaries.

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Book Review: Breaking Dawn

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, #4)
by Stephenie Meyer

4 out of 5 stars

There are so many weird things in this last book of the series. In some ways, it’s absolutely brilliant the way that all the crazy vampire/werewolf magical stuff comes together to bring a satisfactory resolution for each character. And in the moment as you’re reading it, it makes sense. But when you take a step back, it’s really just so weird and dumb. I still love it though!

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Book Review: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (The Twilight Saga, #3.5)
by Stephenie Meyer

3 out of 5 stars

It is definitely interesting to see this completely different perspective into the vampire world of Twilight. I like that it broadens the world-building and creates even more meaning behind the way the Cullens choose to live without killing humans. I think that Bella doesn’t quite realize just how unique the Cullens are in their morality. Seeing this other perspective of the way other vampires live is definitely eye-opening.

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Book Review: Eclipse

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, #3)
by Stephenie Meyer

4 out of 5 stars

I love all the extra backstories and world building that we get in this book. Just when you think you know everything about vampires and werewolves, we get Jasper’s backstory about the vampire wars in the south, and we get to hear the Quileute legends about how werewolves first came to be. I just love these imaginative and compelling stories within the main story!

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Book Review: New Moon

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

New Moon (The Twilight Saga, #2)
by Stephenie Meyer

4 out of 5 stars

I am always amazed at this author’s writing style. There is something so immediate and emotional in her scenes. Even if Bella is just doing something boring like eating cereal, there is an emotional undercurrent that makes every action meaningful. It captivates me every time.

This book is not perfect, but I really loved it. The flaws were not severe enough to ruin my enjoyment, and all the good things and the wonderful characters made it so satisfying to read.

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Book Review: Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Midnight Sun (The Twilight Saga, #5)
by Stephenie Meyer

4 out of 5 stars

Midnight Sun is a retelling of Twilight, but from Edward’s perspective, instead of Bella’s. I really liked that the dialogue and main plot remain the same, but we get all these insights into what was happening with the Cullen family when Bella was not around. We get to hear Edward’s inner thoughts and feelings, and his reactions to everything that happens.

I really enjoyed the scenes of the Cullen family, and all of Edward’s flashback memories of his earlier days as a vampire. It was so cool to get this background and more depth to the story. All these extra facets made it almost feel like a whole new story!

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Book Review: Roswell High The Outsider

The Outsider by Melinda Metz

The Outsider (Roswell High, #1)
by Melinda Metz (Goodreads Author)

3 out of 5 stars

When Liz gets shot and is bleeding out, only Max can heal her with his alien powers. He puts himself and his friends in danger, and now Sheriff Valenti is hunting for an alien in Roswell. Can Liz and Max learn to trust each other before it is too late?

I loved the Roswell TV show when I was a teenager, and it was so fun to rediscover this story through the books! I don’t think I would have enjoyed the books nearly as much now as an adult if I didn’t already have the nostalgia of the TV show.

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Book Review: The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass

The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass by Anna Priemaza

The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass
by Anna Priemaza (Goodreads Author)
5 out of 5 stars

Vera has this strange empty feeling inside her, as if something is missing from her life, but she can’t remember what is missing. She finds herself crying at odd things. She seems to half-remember random objects, but can’t remember why they are important. When Vera realizes that her family and some of her classmates are also experiencing that same empty feeling, she begins to investigate what she can’t remember.

This plot completely broke my brain! It was so exciting and masterfully constructed. It was amazing to see how the plot unfolded, since the reader CAN remember all the people and things that Vera is gradually forgetting. The reader has so much more information than Vera does, and that made it really interesting to see how Vera tries to reconstruct the facts from what is left over after a memory is gone.

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Book Review: How Do You Live?

How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino

How Do You Live?
by Genzaburo YoshinoBruno Navasky (Translator)
4 out of 5 stars

Copper reflects on the meaning of life as he faces challenges at his school. He befriends a poor classmate who is being teased and bullied, but that puts him in crosshairs as well. Somehow he must find the courage to stand with his friends, and find out what kind of person he really wants to be. Copper’s uncle and mother give him good advice, but ultimately it is up to Copper to make his own decisions.

This book is told in two parts; the first is Copper’s experiences at school and the second is his uncle’s notes to him about philosophy and the underlying meaning behind everyday things. These two perspectives overlap in alternate chapters. First we read about something that happened to Copper and then his uncle writes to Copper about it, expounding on different moral and social ideas of why that particular experience was important and how it can help to shape Copper into a good person.

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Book Review: The Boatman’s Daughter

The Illustrated Boatman's Daughter by Tom Durwood

The Illustrated Boatman’s Daughter
by Tom Durwood (Goodreads Author)
2 out of 5 stars
In 1860s Egypt, Salima helps her father with his ferryboat business, but she longs for more education and wants to travel and see the world. Hoping to make some money to pay for school, she applies for a clerk position with a company overseeing the construction of the Suez Canal. She becomes entangled with the corruption and danger surrounding the various European and Egyptian powers struggling for control of the new canal.

The writing style is really excellent, and made me care deeply about the characters. However, it could use a copy editor for little things like punctuation.

The plot was exciting, and the adventure was interesting. However, there were times when I couldn’t understand why the plot took the direction it did in some scenes. It wasn’t clear why the characters chose to do what they did, or how they got to a certain point, or how they gained particular knowledge. It was just some little things that didn’t quite add up, but it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the overall story.

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