Review: Persephone’s Orchard (The Chrysomelia Stories, Book 1) by Molly Ringle

persphone's orchardReviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Persephone’s Orchard (The Chrysomelia Stories, Book 1)
Author: Molly Ringle
Format: Ebook
Page Count: 370 pages
Grade Reading Level: Grades 9-12

Summary: Sophie Darrow is just your average college freshman – she writes a food blog on fruits and vegetables –  has a Greek god friend from the other side of the world and… . Wait? What? Even Sophie didn’t know that one – but apparently Adrian knew her from another life and wants to rekindle their romance. Que abduction sequence.

Why I started this book: I was offered an reviewer copy and it featured a story on the Persephone/Hades myth, which I like to read.

Likes:

  • Ghost dog. / Ghost animals. / Hitching rides with alternate dimension reeds.
  • The gods aren’t actually gods? They’re immortals (not invincible, but it takes quite a bit of work to kill one) with super human strength and a keen thirst for knowledge.

Dislikes:

  • The reincarnation twist makes it too easy to create instant-love between Sophie and Adrian. It’s almost like they like each other for reasons in the past versus the present.
  • A sexual relationship happens too quickly for me.
  • There’s a lot of time spent on memories.

Favorite Quote: “I’m trying to bring you on board because I’ve never lived a life without you. And I don’t want to start now.”

Last Minute Thoughts: This book doesn’t stick with Greek mythology, so be warned. They have different characters from their myth counterparts and among other things these immortals can’t impregnate human women without risking the mortal woman’s and child’s death. In the end it just didn’t satisfy my Persephone/Hades craving.

Buy: Persephone’s Orchard (The Chrysomelia Stories Book 1)

Rating: 2 Treasure Chests

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Audio Review: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

the hostReviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: The Host
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Format: Audio Book
Length: 23 hrs and 5 mins
Narrator: Kate Reading
Grade Reading Level: Grades 9-12

Summary: The earth was invaded quietly and circumspectly. Humans realized too late when “miraculously peaceful” events took place like junkies turning themselves into hospitals and polite arguments while refereeing sports. The aliens call themselves souls but humans call them parasites. Melanie is body snatched by a soul called Wanderer (Wanda). Wanda is not expecting company and suddenly two are occupying a space meant only for one.

Why I started this book:

I was hesitant to read this book when it first came out. It didn’t sound like anything that I would want to read, but I enjoyed the movie when it came out, so I thought, ‘what the heck.’

Likes:

  • Melanie is smart and observant (hard not to be in her situation). She sees a way to secure what she wants and uses her memories and emotions to transfer her feelings of her lover and her brother to Wanda, the alien. If they both love the same people, Wanda won’t want to turn them in to become hosts for other souls.
  • Jared, Jamie, and Ian, the guy that falls for Wanda.
  • Eventually, Wanda prefers being human ala Little Mermaid style.

Toss-up:

  • Wanda is not an awful alien, but she’s dumb as rocks. I guess if you’re the parasite you don’t see your actions as wrong when you take over another body/civilization/world. She justifies it because souls make the world/bodies they inhabit better.

Side bar: And on that point, how do they make it better? They commit genocide of entire species and then homogenize the world they are on and continue in the lives of the people they inhabit… but they play at life and lack the sophistication to create/do anything of their own. There’s no art or science – there’s imitation of art and science. Don’t ask me where the souls came up with their medicine, or spaceships, I believe the spider aliens had it and the souls stole it when they occupied the spiders.

Dislikes:

On a theological side, I take a lot of umbrage with the book. There are many things I disagree with including…:

  • The royal “we” – Wanda does not speak for Melanie. Period. They are separate entities. This plurality is incorrect. Melanie is not her body. The body does not have the ability to speak or identify itself.
  • The idea that a body has a mind of its own (as in… memories get stored in the brain and are accessible like a computer… if that is true, then a brain is unique and not the person… and identity is wiped by removal of memories/brain from the body and [implied] not recoverable, ever, not even in the idea of afterlife)
  • The idea of being trapped inside your body (God gave man dominion in Genesis)
  • The idea that we love bodies not persons (lots of references to “this body loves so-and-so and so-and-so loves the body not the person the body represents). That kind of “love” is superficial and shallow and animal.
  • The idea that people “disappear” or “check-out” under the host invasion and are gone forever, even if the host is removed.

Final Thoughts: Just so we’re clear… This book is not about a love triangle. A love triangle implies one person loves two people too much to make a permanent choice between them in order to stay in a relationship with one of them. Jared wanted Melanie. Melanie wanted Jared. Wanda wanted Jared. Jared didn’t want Wanda. That’s unrequited love, not a love triangle.

Also, I like the movie better. Shouldn’t have read the book.

Narrator: Kate Reading reads beautifully. I honestly felt I was listening to the characters thoughts versus listening to a book. Kudos!

Buy: The Host, The Host (Audiobook)

Rating: 2 Treasure Chests
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Review: Wacko Academy by Faith Wilkins

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Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Wacko Academy
Author: Faith Wilkins
Format: Ebook
Page Count: 201 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 12-14

Summary:  Eighth grader Lily Mason has plenty of drama in her life between school, family, and the cute guy she is crushing. But then she’s kidnapped and brought to the elite Wackerson (Wacko) Academy! They won’t let her leave and she’s forced to take classes, and although there are some perks to staying, Lily just wants to go home.

Why I started this book:

Saw it on Amazon and it kept popping up when I searched for teen books – last time I buy like that!

Likes:

  • Evil genius school masquerading as a gifted student program. Good idea!

Dislikes:

  • The story could use more exposition. It lacks details, intrigue, and depth. It’s the bones of a story and needs a little more fleshing out, as it were.
  • The wrong details are focused upon and the things readers want to know are left unexplained. Some areas are too long, others too short.
  • The timeline is rushed.

Last Minute Thoughts: Congrats to the author, who is said to be a teenager, on getting published.

Buy: Wacko Academy (Wacko Academy Series)

Rating: 2 Treasure Chests
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Review: Bitter Frost (Frost, Book 1) by Kailin Gow

bookreview

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Bitter Frost (Frost Series, Book 1)
Author: Kailin Gow
Format: Digital ebook
Page Count: 316 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 14+

Summary: Breena dreams of a world of fairies and of a mysterious boy. On Brenna’s sixteenth birthday, she has several strange experiences. Logan, her best friend, tries to keep her indoors, but a supernatural stranger appears and blast things to kingdom come.

Why I Started this Book:

I have been recently on a fairy fantasy romance kick so when I saw these on Goodreads I had to try.

Likes:

  • Plain girl is best friends with school’s hottest boy and he’s not embarrassed by her lack of popularity. Go Logan!

Dislikes:

  • Even though it is pegged as a young adult fairy romance, don’t expect much from it. All the elements are there, but they are lacking cohesiveness. I blame this on the voice of Breena and her narration of events which left me feeling detached from the book.
  • Too short! It needs more plot development! More characterization! More depth!

 

Last Minute Thoughts: Not stellar, but entertaining enough to read if they were free through my library’s digital collection.

Buy: Bitter Frost and The Wolf Fey (2 Books in 1: Frost Series)

Rating: 2 Treasure Chests
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Review: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Enchanted
Author: Alethea Kontis
Format: Ebook
Page Count: 320 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 12+

Summary: Sunday is the youngest of seven sisters. Like her sisters she has a gift, the ability to tell a good story, which unfortunately tends to come true. So she’s very careful to only write about what has already happened in her journal. When she meets an enchanted talking frog in the woods interested in her stories, Sunday is over the moon. When her kisses don’t turn him back into a prince, she is happy to keep him as a friend. What she doesn’t know is that one of her kisses does turn him back into a prince – a man who is an enemy of her family.

Why I started this book:

It looked amazing, cover and blurb, and it was recommended by Amazon, based on past purchases.

Likes:

  • Using the days of the week for the character names.
  • The evil king (marries new brides and then eats their souls) and his evil fairy godmother (who loves him).

Dislikes:

  • Every character is too extraordinary – a sister dances to death, another sister is a pirate captain, another sister is the queen of the fairies, a brother is turned into a werewolf, another brother is a changeling. Too many pieces, not enough consistency.
  • Sunday and the Rumbold (the frog prince) are too quick to like/love each other…. Good thing when he turns into a prince he is not the man Sunday is expecting or this story would be over too quick.
  • Two fairy godmothers are fighting each other and retaliating against the other’s wards? But it’s okay because one is evil and the punishments are only temporary. Sigh.

Last Minute Thoughts: The potential for this story was there, but the execution created a bizarre hodgepodge of ideas gathered loosely into something resembling a story.

Buy: Enchanted

Rating: 1 Treasure Chests

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Review: The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: The Amaranth Enchantment
Author: Julie Berry
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 336 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 10 and up

Summary: Lucinda Chapdelaine is an orphan living with her cruel aunt and uncle, working as a servant and shop helper to earn her keep. A visitor to their jewelry store looking to get her large and unusual stone reset. Lucinda is told to return the jewel when her aunt is convinced the stranger was the Amaranth Witch, but Lucinda doesn’t return it and when a thief seeks sanctuary in her bedroom he steals it… and the adventure begins.

Why I started this book:

It looked like a retelling of Cinderella – wealthy family, orphaned, cruel relatives, servitude, handsome prince, happily ever after.

Likes:

  • Peter, thief. Cocky. Mysterious. He could have been a great romantic lead.
  • Lucinda, heroine. Mousy. Strong. Lots of embarrassing moments.
  • Gregor, prince. Handsome. Sweet. Does he follow his heart or his crown?
  • Dog, the goat. Kicks butt.

Dislikes:

  • Beryl, the witch. She’s not evil, but she’s an alien. Yup. Alien.
  • Criminals from this alien world are sent to Earth with a keeper to mind them… because you know, sending a bad person to a populace unable to handle said person’s magical gifts sounds like a good idea.
  • The ending isn’t neat or tidy and leaves many unanswered questions in terms of the aliens.

Buy: The Amaranth Enchantment

Rating: 2 Treasure Chests

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