Review: The Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy

the pages of the mind

Hi bookies (all those who pour their hearts and souls into books by reading them),

I have set a goal for myself. That is, to try to post one book review per week. It’s a little ambitious for the schedule I have. But hopefully, if I am not able to post a book review at least I will try to publish one post of another sort.

This  week, I have met my goal (barely). I have read two books actually. I will post a review for one of those books this week. The next one will be done by next week.

These are the facts:

Title: The Pages of the Mind

Author: Jeffe Kennedy

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Release Date: May 31, 2016

*I received this ARC copy of The Pages of the Mind from Kensington Books in exchange for a honest review. It in no way affects, compromises, or guarantees a positive review.

Now here is the book’s self-description:

AN ORPHAN’S THRONE

Magic has broken free over the Twelve Kingdoms. The population is beset by shapeshifters and portents, landscapes that migrate, uncanny allies who are not quite human…and enemies eager to take advantage of the chaos.

Dafne Mailloux is no adventurer—she’s a librarian. But the High Queen trusts Dafne’s ability with languages, her way of winnowing the useful facts from a dusty scroll, and even more important, the subtlety and guile that three decades under the thumb of a tyrant taught her.

Dafne never thought to need those skills again. But she accepts her duty. Until her journey drops her into the arms of a barbarian king. He speaks no tongue she knows but that of power, yet he recognizes his captive as a valuable pawn. Dafne must submit to a wedding of alliance, becoming a prisoner-queen in a court she does not understand. If she is to save herself and her country, she will have to learn to read the heart of a wild stranger. And there are more secrets written there than even Dafne could suspect…

First of all, I’d like to say that this book is part of a series. I had no idea when I first picked it up, since I had never heard of these books nor of this author. However, it isn’t like you start off in the middle of a series if you start with this book. As far as I can tell, this author has written and is in the process of writing 3 series which are interconnected. This book is the first book of “The Uncharted Realms” series. It makes a great stand-alone book, but it definitely got me interested in the previous series. I thinking having read them before reading this one would have enriched the reading experience.

That being said… I really enjoyed this book! More than anything, I really liked the main character, Dafne (and the queen she is loyal to). She is a librarian-turned-scribe who is used to being a side character. She has low self-esteem, considering herself a plain looking old maid who has few redeeming qualities. As is revealed later in the book, she also feels some deep guilt towards others who suffered under tyrants, since she protected herself by keeping her head down, so to speak.

However, Dafne is definitely underestimating herself. She is a “demon on documents”, has an affinity for learning languages, and can read people very well. So well, in fact, that she can fade to the background or intimidate kings and queens at will. She is considered beautiful in the eyes of others and although it is true that she is no warrior, her knowledge, intellect, and willingness to learn new things get her out of the stickiest situations. Though, maybe, that’s also what got her into the main problem in this book.

Dafne is only an unofficial adviser, librarian, and scribe for the new queen of the 13 kingdoms. Dafne has a deep admiration, respect, and love for her queen, as well as an unparalleled loyalty for her. Fortunately, the queen feels similarly towards Dafne, to the point that anyone threatening Dafne will have to deal with the all of the queen’s wrath, resources, and willingness to go to war over her. Trusting in Dafne’s skills more than Dafne would ever believe in herself, the queen sends her on a diplomatic mission to meet with King Nakoa KauPo and discuss merging kingdoms after which, she will continue on to Dasnaria and spy on their enemies before returning to the queen’s side.

Seeing the logic in the queen’s plans and wanting (for once) to be part of the story rather than documenting someone else’s, Dafne accepts the mission with trepidation. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned and Dafne is unable to continue with her mission after meeting King Nakoa KauPo. Why? Because she inadvertently ends up married to the king, who isn’t willing to let his new wife leave.

zooey deschanel it's possible i'm still in shock

Accepting the current helplessness of her situation, Dafne makes contingency plans so that others can continue to accomplish her queen’s objectives while she waits for help and gets to know the natives’ language. Alone, Dafne must avoid consummating her marriage to a man she is strangely attracted to while establishing diplomatic relations to the king and his people. Along the way, she saves the king’s life, learns a new language, figures out the answers to questions plaguing her queen, and communicates with a mythical creature. In doing doing so she proves her personal motto true: “This is why it’s perilous to ignore a librarian.” I’ll leave you to read the book and see how it all plays out.

Frankly, the only things I didn’t like about this book is the partially insta-love attraction between Dafne and the “leading man” as well as the rather explicit romantic details of that particular relationship. However, I still greatly enjoyed the book and will definitely be checking out the previous series. I give this book a 4/5. It was a great read, it just felt a little rushed in some small parts. I would have liked a longer, more detailed, book.

I received this ARC copy of The Pages of the Mind from Kensington Books in exchange for a honest review. It in no way affects, compromises, or guarantees a positive review.What about you, bookies. How do you feel about this author’s previous books? Have you been introduced to Dafne before?

Thank you to Kensington Books & Goodreads for this ARC of The Pages of the Mind.

Review: Super Quick Mysteries by Andrew Stanek

super quick mysteries

Hi bookies (my fellow avid book readers),

What have you been reading? Well, I just finished reading Super Quick Mysteries by Andrew Stanek. No, it isn’t a super short book. I think it is a decent-sized book. It is a collection of short stories with different mysteries reminiscent of Encyclopedia Brown. Before I launch into the full review, let me share the facts:

The Facts:

Title: Super Quick Mysteries

Author: Andrew Stanek

Genre: Mystery, Short Stories

 

So now that you know the facts, you’re probably thinking “Ok, already. Bring on the rest!”. To which I respond “Ok”.  If you have read the Encyclopedia Brown stories, you are already familiar with the layout this book will use. (In fact, that is where the author got his inspiration for this book.) You are introduced to the characters, a mystery arises, you are presented with the clues, and all of a sudden the main character knows the answer to the mystery. How did he get the answer? You can verify that on the following page, which contains the clues the main character used to solve the mystery and, of course, the answer to the mystery.

As with the Encyclopedia Brown books, the main story is actually the cases. So while you do get to know a little about your characters, there is not much in the way of character development and the little that there is will be wrapped up neatly at the end of the book.

The cases are pretty simple. At first I felt like the style was too boring. The first few cases presented all the clues in a list sort of format. Think detective notes. Or the straightforward facts I always present before the actual review. Rather boring, right? However, the author changes up the style for the rest of the cases and tells them in a story versus a list.

The cases weren’t hard. After the first few cases, I got a sense of which were the important clues and could accurately guess the answer to the mysteries about 75% of the time.

Basically, I think this book is the story equivalent of doing a crossword puzzle (or sudoku) for relaxation. On the plus side, you can get an electronic copy of this book for less than a dollar! If I were to recommend it to someone, I would recommend it to kids around 4th-6th grade. It would encourage them to develop their logic and reasoning skills. I don’t think it will be a huge hit for adults, though, which is the intended audience. I give it a 2/5. Fair, but I would like more plot and/or character development.

So bookies, what do you think about mysteries? Do you have a favorite “Mystery” author? Or do you prefer a different genre? Let me know in the comments!

Review: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

the truth about forever cover

Welcome bookies (book fans),

I have just finished a nice book by Sarah Dessen. It’s not the first one I have read by her, and it likely isn’t the last. I have read a few of her books and have enjoyed them all, some more than others. So let’s get started!

The facts

Title: The Truth About Forever

Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: YA

Publishing Date: May 11, 2004

Book summary: Sixteen-year-old Macy Queen is looking forward to a long, boring summer. Her boyfriend is going away. She’s stuck with a dull-as-dishwater job at the library. And she’ll spend all of her free time studying for the SATs or grieving silently with her mother over her father’s recent unexpected death. But everything changes when Macy is corralled into helping out at one of her mother’s open house events, and she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew. Before long, Macy joins the Wish team. She loves everything about the work and the people. But the best thing about Wish is Wes—artistic, insightful, and understanding Wes—who gets Macy to look at life in a whole new way, and really start living it.”

Sarah Dessen often covers “deep” topics in her books. This one was not the exception. Macy is still grieving the death of her father. How does she deal with it? She strives to be in control of everything, to be perfect. She tries to be the perfect student, the perfect girlfriend, the perfect daughter and, to all outward appearances, she is. But Macy is far too aware of her shortcomings. What happens when she meets her polar opposites?

This book explores those friendships and seemingly negative influences. It challenges the biases of society weaving a story about how those “bad” kids help Macy realize she needs to fix her “perfect” life. Told from a fresh perspective and embracing the idea that happiness needs imperfection, this book helps the reader understand the emotions of those that feel insecure after a tragedy.

I’ll be honest. I shed a few tears near the end. I love how Macy doesn’t give up when she feels uncomfortable. She obviously isn’t a quitter. But when she sees how people can be happy despite chaotic situations, she decides to delve deeper. In doing so, she steps out of her… not comfort zone exactly, but her routine. She makes new friends and slowly makes up her mind about what truly makes her happy. She has one of those “slowly-but-surely” attitudes.

Her new friends from the chaotic Wish Catering (somehow still in business) see her quite differently from how Macy sees herself. She has been stuck in passive-aggressive relationships far too long and because of that her self-esteem is quite low. They help her see herself in a new light and don’t judge her due to their own abnormal backgrounds/experiences. You get a little bit of lightheartedness from the disasters that appear in their workplace at the last minute and the ingenious solutions from Delia, who thrives in chaos, despite always wishing for it not to befall her.

Wes, who is the love interest, is able to connect with Macy due to his experience with the death of a parent. Unexpectedly, he doesn’t share  much about his feelings over that loss. You are given just enough to see how he can understand her. They slowly build up their friendship even as they are attracted to each other. I appreciate that because I don’t really like the instant love stuff. They understand each other more and more as they reveal one secret at a time in a very relaxed, no-judging series of conversations.

Macy’s mother relationship with her is emotionally constipated since they both have trouble expressing their feelings and are both trying to avoid dealing with any deep or delicate situations. That means that they also avoid talking about Macy’s dad’s death, who seems to have been the outgoing, expressive one. This is a bit backwards from the norm, which is that the female/mom is the expressive and affectionate one, but it is not too strange. What is strange is how much she rejects any attempts to emotionally connect with her daughters, but by the end of the book, this has been addressed too.

The most touching part of this book is probably when Macy makes the wrong decision. She doesn’t realize it is the wrong decision until the last moment when, despite her fear, she takes a chance to attempt happiness. As you can probably guess, there is a happy ending. It is a simple novel with no big surprises that I think most people will enjoy. On a 1-5 scale (5 being the best), I would give a 3/5. Worth reading, but I might put it off until I have some extra time. If you’d like to purchase this book, you can find it here. Keep an eye out for my next review! Also coming soon: my reading list.

So now it’s your turn! What did you think about this book? Have you read any other books by Sarah Dessen? Which is your favorite and why? Feel free to comment!

Sister’s site

sister site

 

Hi bookies (by which I mean the totally legal book lovers out there),

So, I think I finally got the hang of this WordPress account. It took a while there, but I definitely couldn’t have done it without the help of the book harpy. You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Okay, maybe a little. But seriously, bookharpy on WordPress was the one who helped. She happens to be a book blogger/reviewer and also, incidentally, my younger sister.

That’s why in a gesture of appreciation I want to take a bit of time to promote her WordPress. If you’d like to visit it, here’s the link. You’ll also see it under my “Blogs I Follow”.

She has done a ton of reviews, has gotten tons of books, and has a great layout. Stop by her site for more book loving fun. What about you guys? What are your favorite book loving sites? Feel free to include your book blogs, book giveaway sites, and other interesting book-related sites!

The Beginning of my Love of Books

I have read thousands of books and enjoyed probably 95% of them. I remember the first book I tried to read- an encyclopedia that one of my parents had used and left on the couch. I approached the book, carefully looked around to make sure no one was coming, sat down on the couch, and pulled the encyclopedia onto my lap. I stared hard at the little black marks on the page, completely determined to learn how to understand them and read for myself. And so began my lifelong love for books.

You’re probably wondering, “So what?” Well, there’s plenty more to my story, but the main point is that I really love books. I am a complete bibliomaniac, bibliophile, booklover, bibliolater, bookman, bookworm. You choose the book-related name and that’s probably me. So why am I “hardcoverlover”? Easy. Booklover was taken, and I sure don’t want to steal anyone’s thunder so I took the next best name. (Ok, not really. It took me some thought to come up with a name that convinced me.) However, please don’t think I only like or appreciate hardcover books. NO! I love all types of books, from hardcover, paperbacks, electronic books, the back of cereal boxes…

(Talk about that Post’s Cereals employee’s dedication to the company!)

honeybunchesofoatsoriginstory

That last one doesn’t really count, but my point is that as long as it can be read, I will take it.

Of course, like any non-robot, I do have my preferences. You’ll get to know them better as I put up more posts, such as my book reviews. Hope you enjoy them!