Book Review: Far Far Away

Read from January 4th, 2018 to January 12th, 2018
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For my first book of the year, can I first say that, wow, this book is underrated. I didn’t know much about Far Far Away by Tom McNeal when I first picked it up, and it had been sitting on my shelf for years after I bought it for a discounted price somewhere. I finally started it up this year and I can’t believe how long it took me to get to it!
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The writing is absolutely beautiful! The detail is spectacular. I couldn’t wait to get back to reading this story every chance I got. It just kept surprising me how much I liked it more and more.
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There were a few issues: there were a lot of artistic spots that got drawn out, which was usually great, but when the action hit I felt those scenes could’ve used less detail. I still had a few questions that were left unanswered at the end and the last few chapters felt a bit rushed. Also, and this is a small also, I was picturing a different setting than the one presented in the book the entire time, due to the narrators diction, accent and the way things worked in that setting in general.
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Besides that, without spoiling anything, I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes a good fairytale with a dark twist, or just a beautifully written story. You won’t be disappointed.
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I’m giving Far Far Away by Tom McNeal a 4/5 stars. My rating system is as followed:
  • 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

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Book Review: The Secret of Shadow Ranch

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Read from December 16th, 2017 to December 31st, 2017

I believe The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene was the best Nancy Drew book in the series yet (I’ve read #1-5)!

Since this is a children’s book, so I’ll grade the book as such. No spoilers included.

I thought that the setting was so dramatically different than the other locations that I’m used to that it added a new appeal to me. This book was full of hidden clues and tasks Nancy wouldn’t typically find or participate in back in River Heights. There were lots more characters in this book, too, which I feel were fleshed out more than usual. I actually couldn’t figure out who was the bad guy for the longest time. It was cleaver.

I also loved all the animals included. I can’t remember: were there animals in any of the other ones? Good, quick read to finish off the year.

I’m giving The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene 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: Lexicon

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Read from October 14, 2017 to December 12, 2017

Lexicon by Max Barry was both confusing and awesome all at once. Just putting this out there right now that this is an adult book, not a young adult. There are quiet a few sexual scenes and curse words within it.

I actually didn’t know what I was getting into when I picked up this book. This was a blind recommendation from Reagan from Peruse Projects on YouTube. So I knew nothing about it before starting.

I won’t spoil anything, but I will give a general opinion about the book. The publisher might have skipped a few edits here and there because throughout the book there would be one or two sentence, movements, or images that I didn’t quiet understand, especially at the beginning. The sentence structure could have been polished in those few instances. This bothered me sometimes because I thought these moments in the text might have been important to know, but eventually I got used to not knowing possibly important details and going with the flow of what I did know about the story.

Secondly, this book starts as a mystery and didn’t really say much about the main plot until the very end. It’s a slow, brewing plot that sometimes bugged me because I just wanted to know what was going on there and then. However, I never got bored because there was always action that later became part of the plot. More and more was explained over time. You won’t need much patience because of all the action, but the lack of plot does take some getting used to.

Lastly, I want to say that this book stuck with me for a while after I finished. I was sad when it was over. It’s a very long book, so the story hung around in my mind. You do get to know the characters really well. There is a satisfying ending, but I still felt like I was leaving my whole life behind when I closed the book for the last time.

I hope I didn’t leave a negative perception of this book. I honestly thought it was a great read and would recommend for someone who just wants to binge read a good action book for a while. I totally felt like an adult while reading this, if that makes sense.

I’m giving Lexicon by Max Barry a 4/5 stars. My rating system is as followed:

  • 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 Mystery at Lilac Inn

Read September 9, 2017 through October 23,2017

I always base my ratings off what I think the age group meant for the book would agree with. With that said, the Nancy Drew series is for children and I have taken that into consideration while reviewing this book.

The Mystery at Lilac Inn by Carolyn Keene had some new things to bring to the series and revived some old features that are prevalent in all the Nancy Drew books, for example her love for her father and friends, which is always nice.

I won’t say any spoilers, but the ending seemed quickly put together, which I’m unsure why: the book’s only 180 pages long. Some things could’ve been explained more within another eight pages or so. That was my biggest problem I had with it. I couldn’t remember some of the characters since there were so many, but as long as the mystery got solved in a somewhat understandable way, which it did, then I’m happy.

I’m giving The Mystery at Lilac Inn by Carolyn Keene a 4/5 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: 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 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