Category Archives: Book Reviews

I read books and when I really like them, I wouldn’t mind sharing some thought on them here!

Book Review: Under the Dome

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Read from October 24th, 2016 to August 19th, 2017.

I’m so excited to say that I have completed a life goal of mine by reading my first 1000-paged book! It’s also my first Stephen King novel, which did not disappointed.

Under the Dome was very Stephen King-esque in the way that it was a psychological thriller. You never knew what people were going to do next. The dome was definitely an interesting plot device, too. Everyone was going crazy!

I’d actually give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars because there were a few moments when I thought it got slow (Very few and close together in the second half. It’s probably because it’s hard not writing a couple of slow scenes in a 1000-paged book). Near the end I saw one tiny, tiny plot hole that had to do with the giant government fans. And I also wanted a horrible death or judgment day for a certain someone. I didn’t think they got exactly what they deserved. Finally, I wanted more, if that’s too hard too believe! There were a few things I wanted to know at the very end.

In general, I thought the story was very satisfying. From page 1 to 1072, I knew I’d finish the book. I loved watching people grow together or suddenly die. I felt things that were expected. And I learned some neat survival tricks. Mostly though, I took from the story an unexpected message about violence, how it worsens in groups, and how to forgive one’s self after committing an act of violence.

I had fun, to say the least.

I’m giving Stephen King’s Under the Dome a 4.5/5 stars. See my rating system below:

  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, “I really liked it,” but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, “I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn’t sit well with me.” 2/5 is, “I really didn’t enjoy it and I’m not going to recommend it.” 1/5 is, “no one read this – throw it in a lake.”

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Book Review: The Reality Bug

Read sometime in 2008 and again in 2017.

The Reality Bug of the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale was one of my favorites when I was a little girl. I’d say I read it in 8th or 9th grade, and now this was my second read through. I’m obviously much older, but unfortunately I remembered a lot of the twists that happen, so alas it wasn’t as shocking or amazing as the first time. It still made me nostalgic, though!

So I’m going to try to mix my feelings about this book, from my childhood and adulthood reads, for this review.

I’d say this entire book is fast-paced, per usual. It started slowing down for me near the end with all battle scenes, but that could also be my childhood telling me what already happened in each fight. I remember being amazed at the imaginative images during my first read and so shocked at the twists that ensue at the end. I’m sure if you’re a first-time reader, and maybe a tiny bit younger than me (23 y.o.), this would still be a very fast read for you or a loved one.

This is my favorite childhood series, so of course I’m giving all the books 5 stars, because if this review affects another child’s potential to choosing it, I want to make sure they do. For a reread, it was a bit disappointing knowing what is going to happen, so I would’ve given it 4 stars this time, and if I read it for the first time as a 20 something year old, I might be inclined to give it a 4.5, as long as I’ve read all the books that come before this one. Hobby Ho! My grading system is down below:

  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, “I really liked it,” but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, “I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn’t sit well with me.” 2/5 is, “I really didn’t enjoy it and I’m not going to recommend it.” 1/5 is, “no one read this – throw it in a lake.”

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime
Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/
Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Book Review: The Bungalow Mystery

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Read from May 22, 2017 to May 26, 2017

This third book in the Nancy Drew series, The Bungalow Mystery, by Carolyn Keene was so close to getting five stars, but I did have one little issue with it.

Again, I’m basing my review off the fact this is a children’s book, not an adult’s, though I would say this book was acceptable as both.

The helpful and classy Nancy Drew took us on another fun adventure, this time around a lake with near death experiences. It was an entertaining read! My only criticism toward this book would be on the passages explaining how the bank worked and why the criminals were suspicious. I never got a full understanding how the bonds and money issues functioned in this book, and I had trouble understanding why the suspects were suspects, if that makes sense.

Mostly, though, one can guess what the author meant by these passages and look past them. I loved the action in this one. I feel like the series is getting more and more dangerous! I also like the idea of Nancy collecting something from each case and keeping it in her Dad’s house (a little reader’s nostalgia). Overall, it was a good addition to the series.

I am giving The Bungalow Mystery by Carolyn Keene a 4/5 stars. My grading system is below:

  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, “I really liked it,” but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, “I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn’t sit well with me.” 2/5 is, “I really didn’t enjoy it and I’m not going to recommend it.” 1/5 is, “no one read this – throw it in a lake.”

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Book Review: The Hidden Staircase

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Read from May 10th to May 14th.

I’m going to base my ideas about The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene on its intended audience. I wouldn’t expect a children’s book to be too scary or too headstrong. Therefore, my 4/5 star recommendation would be for teens and younger.

I really liked this book compared to the first book in the series. I think The Hidden Staircase had a lot more surprises than I was expecting, and even some scary parts (not too scary – kid-friendly).

I’d say the ending was a bit rushed, and there were moments in the book that I thought were too obvious or the solution to a problem was given too easily. But for a kids’ book, it seemed to work out alright.

I will say that this definitely got me ready for the next book in the series. I learn more and more about the character that is Nancy Drew every book. (She’s so well-behaved!)

As a children’s book, I’m giving The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene a 4/5 stars. I LOVE YOU, NANCY DREW! My rating system is below:

  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, “I really liked it,” but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, “I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn’t sit well with me.” 2/5 is, “I really didn’t enjoy it and I’m not going to recommend it.” 1/5 is, “no one read this – throw it in a lake.”

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Book Review: The Secret of the Old Clock

Read January 6th, 2017

The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene this was a short-ish book (180 pages), I figured I’d start the year off right by reading it in one night! I just got a box set of the first five books in the series, so I thought “might as well!”

I do realize these books are more or less meant for kids and also I have the hugest bias toward the franchise (I literally collect the PC games), so I’m going to try to leave both factors out of this review.

As an adult, I wouldn’t say this isn’t the most entertaining read, but as a kid, I might’ve liked it a lot more. I will say that even as a child, I still would’ve been able to predict what ended up happening in almost all of the situations (this book didn’t leave anything up to the imagination), but the language was refreshingly mature. This did happily surprise me. I especially liked were the plot was starting to go halfway through the book, even if it was predictable, it was exciting!

This book really pushed good morals and relationships, so if you’re a mom or dad maybe this would be a good book series to have your children read.

As a children’s book, I’d give The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene a 3.5, only because as a child I read much more interesting novels in the past. I LOVE YOU NANCY DREW! My rating system is below:

  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, “I really liked it,” but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, “I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn’t sit well with me.” 2/5 is, “I really didn’t enjoy it and I’m not going to recommend it.” 1/5 is, “no one read this – throw it in a lake.”

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Book Review: The Piano Lesson

Read from November 13 to 17, 2016

The Piano Lesson by August Wilson was a good play. This might’ve not been one of August Wilson’s best, but it still resonated well with the times of the 1930’s. A little back story: August Wilson’s goal was to write a play for each decade during the twentieth century, starting with the 1900’s and ending with the 1990’s. The Piano Lesson did this goal justice, depicting African American lives well during the end of this decade.

Interesting enough, this particular copy (I’m not sure if it’s different in other editions) had quite a lot of mistakes, from misspelling a name to fudging up when or where a character exited. This left me only slightly confused at times. Also, I knew there was some sort of lesson to be learned by the end of the play, but I never could pinpoint that.

On the positive side, the play left me thinking about how there is always two halves to every story. Maybe the lesson could be studied from the piano: in the play, Boy Willie threatens to cut the piano in half to be shared equally even though that would prove to be useless, so I assume so. I think the siblings in this story need to sit down and talk things out with one another instead of creating sides. I also like the depth of generations within this family.

Anyway, I’ve now read The Piano Lesson based off the 1930’s and Fences, which I loved, based off the 1950’s. Only eight more August Wilson plays to go!

I give The Piano Lesson by August Wilson a 4/5 stars. My rating system is below:

  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, “I really liked it,” but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, “I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn’t sit well with me.” 2/5 is, “I really didn’t enjoy it and I’m not going to recommend it.” 1/5 is, “no one read this – throw it in a lake.”

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Book Review: The Shock of the Fall

Read from September 16 to October 05, 2016

I’m giving The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer a three out of five because I didn’t much like it, but I know others who adore it and I don’t want to not recommend it, if you know what I’m saying. I was recommended this book by Regan on her YouTube channel, PeruseProject. Not too long ago, I also read a book recommended by her called The Enchanted. I felt the same about this book, which I gave a three on my review. She’s really good at hyping up books, but I’m starting to think we have different tastes. Sorry, Regan! If you liked The Enchanted, then you also might like this book and should also follow her for more recommendations.

The chapters in this book were easy to follow individually, each about a day in the life of a grieving insane person, but together the chapters don’t really make a lot of sense. There’s a lot of jumping in time without much explanation, and that prevented me from seeing the big picture, even when entering the end chapters. Some of the writing was beautiful, and I wish I saw more of that throughout.

This is a small thing, but I thought it was somewhat amateur. At the end, I was confused about which relative is named what. That could’ve been clearer.

But most of all, I didn’t think this story and it’s synopsis matched. I felt very disappointed with it because of that! From the synopsis, I got a sense of magical realism, thinking that the boy lost his brother and ten years later he found a way to bring him back. The book is actually about a grown man living day to day in an insane asylum wondering if his brother’s death was his fault or not. If you were me, I’m sure you could see why I was saddened by this result. 😦

So again, that’s why I’m giving The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer a 3/5 stars. My grading system is listed below.

  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, “I really liked it,” but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, “I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn’t sit well with me.” 2/5 is, “I really didn’t enjoy it and I’m not going to recommend it.” 1/5 is, “no one read this – throw it in a lake.”

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Book Review: A Raisin in the Sun

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Read from August 31 to September 07, 2016

This is one of my first plays that I really enjoyed reading (recently, I should say. I read a few in high school.) Actually, I take that back: I read Fences last year and loved it. If you liked this play, then you’ll most likely like A Raisin in the Sun. A Raisin in the Sun was like a look into a time around the 1950’s through the eyes of an African American family. From this, one might think the play was mainly concentrated on discrimination issues, but it also heavily explored the ideas of poverty, money, and how each affected one’s dreams, along with the issues of sexism that festered that time period.

I love how the author exposed stereotypes for what they were using these rich, rounded characters. Lorraine Hansberry broke down a wall between color and people, I think. It’s definitely still relative today.

Not going too deep into the plot, I give this A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry a 5 out of 5! Can’t wait to read my next play! My rating system is down below:

  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, “I really liked it,” but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, “I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn’t sit well with me.” 2/5 is, “I really didn’t enjoy it and I’m not going to recommend it.” 1/5 is, “no one read this – throw it in a lake.”

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Book Review: Champion

Read from July 31 to August 10, 2016

Congratulations, on writing a fantastic action/dystopian series, Marie Lu. It had sat on my shelf for about two years before I picked it up unfortunately, but I finally got around to it a few months ago and, unlike most books I hold off on, this trilogy did not disappoint.

I wanted to start writing my five star review near the middle of the book! Champion is amazing. I feel like the characters have come such a long way from who they were in book one. I teared up maybe three, for sure two time. The final chapters really struck cords with me, which had me looking back on my own life and memories. So amazing.

The Legend series just has so much emotion, I can’t help but love the characters. I was behind both sides every step of the way, rooting them to safely and victory. Now, it’s like waving them off as I close the book for the last time. I feel contempt with the ending and I feel like everything has been wrapped up nicely, to say the least.

If this series has been on your guys’ shelves for too long, let me re-hype it up for you. These books are breathtaking! Go read them, now! P.S. After you’re done reading, you will go searching to see if there’s a companion novel, which there is a prequel and GRAPHIC NOVELS!, but then I suggest going through other reviews on Goodreads by readers who’ve also finished the series to cry some more because it’s all over.

If you want to read my book reviews for book 1 and 2, I’ll link them here.

I give Champion, the third book in the Legend series by Marie Lu, a 5/5 stars. My grading system is down below.

  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, “I really liked it,” but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, “I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn’t sit well with me.” 2/5 is, “I really didn’t enjoy it and I’m not going to recommend it.” 1/5 is, “no one read this – throw it in a lake.”

     

Book Review: The Never War

Read in January, 2008 and Re-read in 2016

This third installment of the Pendragon series is another one of my favorites. I mean, it’s based off of 1930’s New York City! We got gangsters and flappers, one of my favorite times in American history. Of course, there are still out-worldly elements to the story because Bobby is a traveler.

I think in The Never War, Bobby really matures as a character. This is the territory, obviously, that strikes home with him, and because of that he realizes why it’s so important to protect Halla. I also think that Courtney and Mark’s characters (his two best friends who read his journals on Earth) are growing, which is refreshing.

About the series: I love that every single book adds more detail to the big list of rules for being a traveler. It makes the reader feel like they’re becoming a traveler themselves as they learn the ropes and the stakes of the game.

Although this could possibly be a stand-alone if you really wanted it to be, it’s even more enjoyable to read the series as a whole since there’s a bigger plot to uncover.

I gave D.J. MacHale’s The Never War a 5/5 stars, and if you want to read my review for book 1 or 2 I’ll leave the links here. My rating system is down below.

  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, “I really liked it,” but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, “I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn’t sit well with me.” 2/5 is, “I really didn’t enjoy it and I’m not going to recommend it.” 1/5 is, “no one read this – throw it in a lake.”