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Friends Reviews

Review: Ruin of Kings

Check out this video by Deseretgear that reviews her qualms with Ruin of Kings. Review: Ruin of Kings is now active on Youtube. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to ring the bell and subscribe.

Des highlights the great amount of anticipation with which she began reading this book. Only to have that same expectation splattered against the rocks. Will you agree with Des’ observations? Only time will tell.

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5 YA Fantasy Cover Comparisons

Deseretgear and I recently did a YouTube video, 5 YA Fantasy Cover Comparisons, about book covers we like and don’t like as well as why. Check out the article below to see highlights or go head and click image below to hop on over to YouTube and watch the full video.

cover comparisons

Reason 1: What is the Genre?

There’s nothing I hate more than when I pick up a book and I have no idea what genre I’ll be reading. Especially since there are some genres that I don’t like. Some book covers don’t give off any indication at all. I’m more likely to never pick the book up in the first place rather than flip it over and read the blurb. In making things as generic and mass-appealing as possible, the cover loses could-be readers. Specificity may lose the crowd, but it brings in the ones who will cling to content to the bitter end.

covers on the shelf

Reason 2: The Design is Cluttered

There’s too much going on, or the things that are added don’t add to understanding the story inside. This has to do with purposeful design. If it seems like things were thrown together or if they don’t really have a purpose, then the cover feels bland. The best example of this that we discussed in our video were the covers for the book Shiver. Both covers we looked at were similar and both contained elements pertinent to the story. However, one of them was certainly a tighter and more thoughtful design. Purposeful covers are a testament to the thought that went into the creation process.

covers with purpose

Wrapping Things Up

We haven’t judged these books by their covers but we have judged their covers by their covers. Both Des and I know that traditionally published authors have little to no say in the design of their book’s covers and in no way does our review intend to reflect poorly on these books. These are fantastic books that either we’ve read personally or heard good things about. However, doesn’t that make this all the more lamentable? Doesn’t it make it even sadder when a good book deters readers who would love and enjoy the story inside because of industry choices outside the writer’s control?

So, if you’d like to see the full review, check out our YouTube video and subscribe for updates. Also, tell us in the comments below what you think. When have you been disappointed by the cover of a book you know and love?

cover blank
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Book Review: Monster Calls

This book was heart-rending in all the right ways. A Monster Calls is from the perspective of Conor, a young boy whose mother is sick. This book was tragic, but we knew what we were getting into from page one, or so we thought.

The fantasy-like stories are juxtaposed against the hard realities until we start to realize that the fantasy stories are just as dark as the issues that Conor confronts daily. Although he’s still a young child, he must learn to deal with very hard things at a young age and the monster is a wonderful personification of his terrifying, and sometimes violent, emotions.

Although it’s dark, it feels similar to Bridge to Terabithia in the way fantasies come crashing down around the main characters.

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Book Review: Fire and Thorns

I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns about a month ago or so and I found it very refreshing in some ways, a bit of a let down in others, but over all a great read. I openly cried in the first couple of chapters and I almost lost it again at the end.

First of all, this book passes the Bechdel test with flying colors. The main character, Elisa, has two handmaids who are 1. unique and 2. endearing. Also, there are other characters we meet along the way who are powerful women in their own right. Again, just like other books I’ve read, they have a delightful cast of characters both male and female.

I also love that Elisa does not start out… how to say this… in sync with modern notions of feminine beauty? That is to say, she’s overweight, and this is mentioned throughout the first couple of chapters in the book. Not only that, but as we progress to have love interests in the story, we see that this is referenced again. It was delightfully done in my opinion. I won’t get into my small disappointments with this sub-story for plot spoiler reasons. But, although this starts out strong, I am a bit put out with some of the ways things pan out.

Also, the conclusion is fantastic. Although a reader may suspect the outcome before it comes to fruition, it is no disappointment when it plays out exactly as was suspected. Again, this was a wonderful read. Rae Carson has a number of great titles under their belt.

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Reading Review: Ice and Snow

I just finished reading a middle-grade book called Prisoner of Ice and Snow. It had me from page one. Honestly, I loved the female cast and the diverse characters. It was short, sweet, and to the point. The setting was unique, the world-building wasn’t tossed up all at once, and it had genuinely high stakes that keep you reading chapter after chapter. Ruth Lauren did a great job with this one. I particularly loved the ending which will keep you on the edge of your seat.

We start and end in the snow, but with the blood-boiling main character, Valor, things don’t cool down from start to finish. Although the warden who keeps the prison is frosty, she heats up as Valor continues to push her as well. The contrasts are fantastic and simple in all the best of ways.

There are strong themes of friendship and family which are both key themes in middle grade fiction. Also, can I just say, the name Valor? Yes. Please. I love literal names like this one and the fact that this names was the opening line of the book sets the tone and lets the reader know what the book will be discussing.

Again, a great read and I recommend to adults and middle grade readers alike.