Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl / The Awakening of Sunshine Girl



The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is a YA supernatural novel by Paige McKinnon. The Awakening of Sunshine Girl is it's follow-up sequel, recently released this year.

Sunshine has lived in sunny climates with her mother up until her sixteenth birthday, but now it is off to rainy, dreary Washington state. Her mom has a new job in a small little town. They move into a rather... creepy... house. She's trying to make the best of it.

But things are seriously weird.

It seems a cold breeze follows her throughout the house causing doors to slam. And she hears an eerie laughter that turns to sobs. She *knows* she is hearing it.

And where initially her mom was skeptical but noticing some things... now she is completely oblivious to supernatural acts occurring right in front of her. Clearly she needs to figure out what is going on...

Before it's too late.

Okay. That synopsis was weak. Let's all agree to this.

It was token. And the problem is... so was the book. I got 100 pages into the story and was trying very hard to get into it. Every author deserved an audience and this one will have it! It has glowing reviews and clearly quite a few readers enjoy it.

For me - Sunshine was very typical. She was clearly meant to relate to the normal YA girl audience. A little awkward around boys, nice, smart and a major book lover that quotes classics.

The move to the small town and a haunted house... it just all felt very cliche. I couldn't make it past the first 100 pages and therefore also didn't read the sequel.

I feel bad to say that - and like I said, many readers will love it.

However, in my position of reading so many books over the years - I could not devote time to reading longer into something that felt all too familiar.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Throwback Review: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon


Throwback review from June 2011!


Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a middlegrade fantasy and Newberry Honor winner by Grace Lin.

Minli lives in the Valley of Fruitless Mountain where she sees her parents work very hard every day in the fields with very little to show for it. Her favorite part of the day is the evening when her tired but pleasant father tells Minli tales about the Valley they live in and how it became Fruitless, as well as about the Old Man of the Moon, who knows the answers to everything.

Then one day Minli decides to try and make things better for her family by setting out on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon - knowing that he will know how to change their fortunes. So she sets out on a journey that causes her to meet a talking fish, a dragon who can't fly, a powerful king, and more!

First off, I must say that I love the vivid, eye-catching cover and illustrations that decorate this charming, sweet, earnest tale of magic and fantasy. It didn't take long at all for me to be swept away in this quest for a better life, sought after by a loving, caring young girl.

The stories told throughout Where the Mountain Meets the Moon are intelligent and provocative, interweaving seamlessly in the plot and enriching it. It's an easy, fast book to read and ready for all ages - a beauty of a book.

Grace Lin's storytelling is entrancing and enchanting, a fun journey with lots of interesting stops. It's surprisingly poignant and touching, bringing the human element of family and love into the story. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is lyrical, lovely tale of kindness and generosity, highlighting the evils of greed and cruelty and the fruits of wisdom, compassion and thankfulness.

There are meaningful connections and plot twists that are astounding and so very sweet and heart-rending. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a truly magical, elegant, riveting tale that puts a new spin on Chinese folklore. It is stupendous and stunning - a simple yet powerful read!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two


First of all, I am so sorry for two weeks off the map!! However, I am back with a BRAND NEW REVIEW. Worth waiting for, yes?!?



Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne is the script that carries on the story of Harry Potter in a new modality.

Beginning as Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione’s children are at the start of their Hogwarts education, Cursed Child introduces us quickly to our primary child character, Albus Severus. We had a brief meeting of him at the very end of the original series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in which his name brought us to shuddering tears or scoffs of bewilderment of the terrible name – I was in the former category, unashamedly.

Now, though, we see that something happens in the start of young Albus’s time at Hogwarts that puts a strain on his relationship with his father, Harry. And as some initial years pass – quickly in a montage-like scene in script format – growing that resentment in a way that is disheartening and surprising.

In the meantime, Harry and Hermione both play vital roles in the ministry – Harry being the Head of Magical Law Enforcement and Hermione being the actual Minister herself. They deal with what has been a lasting peace after the defeat of Voldemort – but also whispers of a scandalous rumor.

A rumor that Voldemort has a child.

And that this child is living. Somewhere.

There are some that think they know exactly who that child is, too. They believe a time-turner must have escaped the utter destruction in Harry’s fifth year and a devoted follower of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named went back in time to make sure this would happen.

When these mutterings reach Albus and his best friend at Hogwarts, and the means of investigating further happens, Albus decides it is a perfect opportunity to correct a vital mistake he feels his father made in the past…

But is this best way to try to conquer the heavy weight of a legacy he never wanted to inherit?

Okay, so y’all know I am a HARDCORE Harry Potter fan. I love it. I’ve read the books so many times that they have become a part of me. Because of this, I like many fans, know these characters and plots through and through.

That’s why as much as I didn’t want it to be the case – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child felt much more like entertaining fan fiction than actual canon. In fact, I cannot include it in my mind as “Book Eight.”

Keep in mind, it is not a bad read. I enjoyed it as I think most fans will. But certain concepts that had been well established throughout the series get a little tweaked here, which is unsettling. Also, the script format is so very different and lacks the lovely, imaginative narrative that Rowling excelled at in the novels. It’s not meant to be a novel, and it’s not.

What it is, is an interesting concept that was never boring and certainly was a fast read. Seeing the children of our favorite protagonist’s is fun in a curious way and the twists the story take are at times quite shucking and, dare I say, eyebrow raising.

As I do not want to give anything away, I cannot go into more detail here. I will just say I do feel it is worth a read from Harry Potter fans – but I warn you to go into with a grain of salt or a preparation to not feel fully satisfied.

I am wholeheartedly excited about going to see Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and honestly am hopeful it will be a more satisfying experience than Cursed Child, as it is not extending a plot and characters we know well and love – it’s a prequel of sorts just taking place in the same world as Harry Potter. I think it will step on less toes and be a more enjoyable experience. I hope.

But, again, still a pleasurable read and I do still recommend it – as a fan fiction type of story that is watered down from the Rowling we know and adore.