Title: Long May She Reign
Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Page Count: 422
Publishing Date/Publisher: February 1, 2017 by HarperTeen
Review: This book was not my favorite, but I must give it credit for originality. Our unlikely and antisocial heroine, Freya, inherits the throne after an unexpected tragedy. Much to her dismay, she is forced into the role of queen. Fearing that the event that led to her newfound power was the result of foul play, Freya decides to find the perpetrator of the horrific crime through…wait for it…SCIENCE. Of course in the meantime, Freya decides to make the best of her circumstances and becomes a reluctant, albeit conscientious, ruler.
There are parts of the book I liked, but it was by no means a page turner.
Title: The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Page Count: 722
Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2008 by DAW Books, Inc.
Review: This book is the first installment of a long saga. Although I am not usually partial to such lengthy epics, I found this one to be rather enjoyable. The beginning was a bit slow, but I was assured by one of my colleagues (the one who made the initial recommendation) that it would soon pick up speed if I invested a little time. She was absolutely right, and I soon found myself drawn into a tale of loss, betrayal, love and resilience.
At times I found this story to be rather stressful. The storyteller, Kvothe, relays many near death experiences, and there are many moments when he is facing imminent danger. He always manages to come out on top due to his own cleverness and resourcefulness, but I still found myself experiencing secondhand anxiety. To me, this is the mark of a very talented writer, and I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre (and has a lot of spare time and/or patience to get through a long book).
I was not as keen on the chapters that took place in the “present”, but these were added sparingly throughout the story, so I cannot gripe about them too much. I will probably get to the second book in this series eventually, but due to the lengthy nature of each book, I will probably wait until my next maternity leave to tackle it (hopefully a couple years from now). Considering that the author still has not released the third and final book of this series, I am in no rush to get through the second.
Title: Essential Oils for Mindfulness and Meditation: Relax, Replenish, Rejuvenate
Author: Heather Dawn Godfrey
Page Count: 160
Publishing Date/Publisher: November 6, 2018 by Healing Arts Press
Review: This book was not what I was expecting. I was expecting a user-friendly guide to essential oils and how they can be incorporated into mindfulness and meditative practice. Instead it is a highly theoretical book that read very much like a college thesis. There was a lot of scholarly jargon, quotes from various studies, and charts discussing the purpose and application of various essential oils. Thrown in were also chapters giving an overview of mindfulness, meditation, healthy eating, and other self-care practices. It had some information I found helpful, but overall I did not find it very interesting and I admittedly skipped through a lot of it. This is not by any means a light read, and I would not recommend it to people who are unfamiliar with essential oils and their therapeutic properties.
Author: C.H. Armstrong
Page Count: 320
Publishing Date/Publisher: February 5, 2019 by Central Avenue Publishing
Review: This book would be an excellent assigned reading book for teens and pre-teens. I work in a community where many families are living out of cars or a single room, so the concept of homelessness and being stuck in a cycle of poverty is all too familiar to many of the people who frequent my library.
This book was very formulaic; however, this can be viewed as a positive attribute considering its targeted audience. The simplicity of the book puts it at an appropriate reading level for kids in Jr. High and High School and makes it more broadly relatable. It demonstrates that poverty does not always wear the face you expect, and it is not always evident when people are facing extreme hardships. I also appreciate that this book teaches empathy. For readers that can closely relate to Abby’s struggles, this book will show them that they are not alone and there are resources available to help them get through difficult times. I will absolutely be recommending this book to teachers and students who come into my library.
Title: Girl in Pieces
Author: Kathleen Glasgow
Performer: Julia Whelan
Length: 10 hr, 43 min
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2016 by Penguin House Audio Publishing Group
Review: BIG trigger warning for this book: there is a lot of graphic self-harm. Sometimes it can be difficult to stomach, but it is important to note that the self-harm does not feel in any way gratuitous. Without such vivid description, it would be difficult to understand the characters’ mental state and the extent of the damage they inflict upon themselves as a result. This is a powerful story of addiction and finding coping mechanisms to overcome extreme trauma.
I will say that as difficult as this story was to get through due to the heavy content, I found myself wanting to finish because I was truly hoping for a positive outcome for the main character, Charlie. I wouldn’t say the ending is uplifting, but I found that when I put it down, I did feel some sense of closure.
It’s hard to say I “love” this book…more like I found it to be very compelling. It addresses a sensitive topic that is infrequently talked about, but important to understand.
The performer of this book did a good job. Her voice fit the character, and that’s really all I ask for.
Title: Rebel of the Sands
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Performer: Soneela Nankani
Length: 9 hr, 35 min, 55 sec
Series: Rebel of the Sands, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2016 by Recorded Books
Review: I have been on a fantasy kick lately, and I am very excited about this series. More often than not I will read the first book in a fantasy series, and then move on. Not the case with this series. I was downloading the second book before I even finished this one in anticipation of continuing the story.
Sometimes it takes awhile for a story to really rope in the reader. This book had me hooked from beginning to end. Although I am not quite behind the rebellion itself 100% yet, I am 100% behind the heroine of the story, Amani. This book had just the right amount of action and romance to keep me invested, and it has really set the stage for the books that follow. I can only imagine that the story will getter better as it continues to build.
The performer they picked for this book was very well chosen. Her melodic voice is an absolute pleasure to listen to, and I was very happy to discover that she is a woman of Indian/Ghanaian descent. I looked up a photo of her online, and she is very much what I would have pictured the main character to look like, sans the unnaturally blue eyes.
On a completely different note, I LOVE the cover art featured above. I was a bit dismayed when I saw that the cover art had been revamped for more recent editions, and I was shocked when I realized that the new cover art for the first book is a bit of a spoiler! One of the most critical reveals in the story is actually evident on the new cover. This surprises me, as I would think that such things would be vetted by the publisher BEFORE release. I’m just glad that I got to the reveal before I started browsing for the second book and saw the new cover art.
Author: Chandra Prasad
Page Count: 240
Publishing Date/Publisher: March 27, 2018 by Scholastic Press
Review: This book was marketed as a modern day retelling of Lord of the Flies, which I found very intriguing. After reading the book, I would say that is an apt description. If you can get past the fact that a bunch of teenagers survived a horrific plane crash relatively unscathed, then it is an interesting story.
For readers who have read Lord of the Flies or similar survival stories, the outcome of the story is fairly predictable, but I think this would be a great discussion book for classrooms that want a fresher take on the classic story. I liked the analogy of the damselfly, and the cliffhanger at the end was certainly satisfying in its own way. I hope this is a standalone, not because I didn’t like the story, but because I think it packs more punch not knowing the fate of the remaining survivors.