Big Hid

*** (3 out of 5)

Big Hid by Roisin Swales

Big

Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

Amazon $10.51 

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.  Giveaways are free raffles for books.  The trade-off is that, if you win, you write a review.  Its that easy!  I have won 4 books so far.

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I don’t have any kids, but I have a 10 year old brother and a 3 month old niece.  I used to read a ton to my brother, but I have yet to read to my niece.  I am a bit out of the loop when it comes to children’s books, so I apologize in advance if my review offends anyone.  (I entered the giveaway with the intention of giving the book to my niece, but I still need to write the review)

In all honesty I thought this book was stupid.  The story was too simple, and missing a huge plot point.  Why did Big Hide?

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I feel like that should be an important part of the story. The back cover says “A tale of friendship and overcoming sadness,” but the story has no indication that Big is hiding because he is sad.

I did really like the colors and illustrations in the book.  The illustrations are different from anything I’ve seen, and they are fun.  The colors are bright, happy, and warm.  As weird as it sounds I also liked the physical feeling of the book.  It is fairly big (10.5″ x 9″) and the pages are very thick.  The texture of the pages is rougher than a normal page.  Almost like construction paper.

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I didn’t want to be unfair in my evaluation (I feel really bad calling a children’s book stupid) so I looked at other reviews online.  Most people just said it was beautiful and they liked the simplicity.  One person said Big Hid  “can easily start the conversation about sadness, depression, social anxiety”  I disagree with this because there is no indication he is hiding because he is sad.  No one had anything bad to say about the book, so I was still worried about my review.

Next, I brought the book to work, and gave it to a coworker to see what she thought.  While showing her the book,  a couple other guys joined the conversation.  Kristin, who has a 1 year old, thought the book was incredibly stupid. (her words not mine) Andy, who has two daughters aged 3 and 6, thought the book would be okay for a 2 year old.  Kristin disagreed saying that she wouldn’t even bother reading it to her 1 year old.  Andy did say that halfway through he thought Big wasn’t really hiding but that he had died, which would have been a little morbid, but not completely out there.  Gary, who doesn’t have kids, liked the illustrations, but thought the story was too simple.  All three agreed (without any prompt from me) that it was weird that the book left out why Big hid.

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I decided to go ahead and give it an honest 3 star review.  It is a children’s book so it is supposed to be simple, but it is missing a major key issue.  Other than that I didn’t have any issues with the book and I liked the illustrations.

The Beauty of Darkness

*** (3 out of 5)

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

The Remnant Chronicles Book 2

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Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links. That means if you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in my posts are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

The Remnant Chronicles:

If you read my reviews of The Kiss of Deception and The Heart of Betrayal you may have gathered that I have a love/hate relationship with this series.  I love Lia but there are so many things that drive me nuts!

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Lets start with the good.  Lia is freakin awesome.  She is independent, strong, smart, and doesn’t take shit from anybody.  When the entire world is conspiring against her she doesn’t back down.  She risks everything to do what is right.  She would make a great role model for any girl.  Especially in today’s world when a lot of heroines put their love life before everything else, Lia is a breath of fresh air.

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While there is a lot of emphasis on the love aspect of the story, the rest of the plot is still very strong.  You could remove the love triangle and it would probably make the book better.  Lia fights for all the different Kingdoms, and she wins the hearts of the inhabitants wherever she goes.  She finds the good in every single place she visits.  You can’t help falling in love with the kingdoms who publicly denounce her and the inhabitants that support her.  Seriously Lia’s whole journey is an amazing story, all by itself.  It is the only reason I kept reading the series.

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Now for the bad: The love triangle

Triangle

I am not completely opposed to love triangles on principal but this one got tiring.  I really liked both men, and wanted them both to be happy.  At one point she makes her decision which I was glad of, but then, of course, circumstances conspired against her and we were right back where we started.  One of the classic tropes of love triangles is the “loser” finding someone else and living happily with them.  This happened here too but it was rushed and weird.  It just didn’t feel right.  It would have been so much better if Lia had made her choice earlier and then we could have seen the other romance bloom properly.

The other issue I had with the book was the ending.  The story dragged on right up until the very end and then it was super rushed.  It was so rushed I couldn’t even figure out what was happening.  I had to re-read a couple parts to figure out what was going on, and then I still didn’t understand.  It was awful.  All this build up is should have been great but it was just confusing.

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So overall this book had some really great parts, but others parts fell short.  I felt more frustrated with the book than anything else.  I didn’t get the closure I needed at the end of the series.  I debated giving the book only two stars, but I did like Lia and her Journey so I feel it deserved three.

 

Text Don’t Call

*** (3 out of 5)

Text Don’t Call by INFJoe

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Before I get into my review I want to give you some background knowledge on the Author’s name.  INFJ is one of 16 personalities as defined by the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you don’t know your type there are tons of free tests you can take online to figure it out.  Personally I like this one: https://www.16personalities.com. The free online tests are usually shorter than the real test, but I get the same results everywhere I take it (including the official MBTI test I did in school)

I am not going to go into detail about all the types.  If you want more information most free test sites have info, you can visit the wiki page, or you can google it yourself.

Here is the full list of personality types in order of frequency:

Types

My personality type is INFJ, so this book especially appealed to me because the author is INFJ too.  If you are not INFJ, don’t worry, this book is about introverts in general, not specifically INFJs.  So, if you are an introvert, or if you are an extrovert wanting to learn more about introverts, then this is the book for you!

One issue I had with the book, is that it is hella short.  It only took me 30 minutes to read. It cost me $8.50 on Amazon, but the cover price is $14.  There is no way I would ever pay full price for this.  Its just not worth it.  There are a lot of comics, and I knew it would be a quick read, but I still wasn’t expecting it to be THAT short.

The comics themselves are awesome.  The drawings are crude, but that just adds to their charm. For the most part the content is spot on.  I had a lot of “Hey! That sounds like me” moments.

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All my life I have had trouble explaining how I felt and this book was able to pinpoint exactly what its like:

Introvert

(This is a comic from the book, but you can also see it on INFJoe’s blog.)

I always want to be included and I hate feeling left out, but at the same time I don’t want to go do anything.  It sounds super contradictory and most people don’t get it, but this comic sums it up perfectly.  Its nice to know I am not the only one that feels this way!

While I related to most of the book, there were still some points that didn’t apply to me. This is a book of generalizations about Introverts, so it won’t describe any one person perfectly.

For example, introverts tend to be quiet.  INFJoe says this is because we prefer to listen and observe, and because we process what we want to say and only speak when we feel we have something worth saying.

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(This is a comic from the book, but you can also see it on INFJoe’s blog.)

This one doesn’t quite apply to me.  I love to talk and ramble on, but I rarely feel comfortable enough to do so.  Talking to certain people I won’t shut up, but talking to strangers I am often really quiet.  I also do better in one-on-one situations.  When I am in a group I can’t process the conversation fast enough.  Usually by the time I figure out what to say the conversation has moved on and my thought is no longer relevant.

Overall I liked this book.  For the most part the content was accurate with respect to me.  It would have been nice if it was a little cheaper or a little longer.  The author could have gone into more detail about how two different introverts might appear the same on the outside, but their inner struggles could be completely different.  Instead he generalized with the most common struggles.

If you are interested in buying the book you can get it from Amazon.

(That is an affiliate link.  If you purchase the book through my link I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.)

The Heart of Betrayal

*** (3 out of 5)

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

The Remnant Chronicles Book 2

Betrayal

This is the sequel to The Kiss of Deception.

Urg I wanted to love this book, I really did, but it just didn’t do it for me.  It felt drawn out and got a bit tiring.  I got completely sucked in the first book, but it took me a while to get into this one.  It had sooo much potential yet it was just sort of flat.

I still love Lia.  She is amazingly strong despite all the bad things happening to her.  She does what she needs to survive.  She is resourceful and clever and everything a strong female character should be.  However, I am a little tired of the love triangle (or is it a love square? its kind of blurry where that one is headed)  I realize she needs to play certain games to survive, but does she really have to fall in love with them all?  Just because someone has a troubled past doesn’t excuse their current actions, even if their intent is sincere.

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I could have done with less interactions between Lia and the Komizar.  Or at least it would have been nice if the interactions had more variety.  They were very redundant.

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And what was his deal with obsessing over her hair and clothes?!? Oooooh maybe he is gay and in love with Kaden.  Haha that would be a cool twist.

I would have liked to know more about Rafe and his time as “emissary.”  For the most part you only see him when he is with Lia and that is not very often.  It would have been nice to learn more about who he is and what he thinks.  We did get a lot of insight into Kaden.

I also would have liked to know more about Pauline and her story.  There are only a handful of chapters where you see what she is doing.  I know that her actions will most likely come into play more in the next book, but it would have alleviated some of the monotony of Lia’s story, to see more of Pauline’s.

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This book is better than the first in the aspect that it actually has a conclusion of sorts.  It is still a huge cliffhanger but something big actually happens at the end of the book.  It was a slight improvement, but not enough to overcome all of its other shortcomings.

I am still very much invested in the story and am excited to start the third and final book.  Hopefully it isn’t slow (because there is a LOT that needs to happen).

Midnight in Austenland

*** (3 of 5)

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

midnight in austenland

Midnight in Austenland is the sequel to Austenland.  I really really liked Austenland, buuuut unfortunately Midnight in Austenland didn’t live up to its namesake (Lets see how many times I can say “Austenland” before it gets old).

I was so excited to read this book.  Maybe that was part of the problem.  My expectations were too high going in?  Maybe if I hadn’t have been so excited I would have liked it better? Probably not.

The plot of Midnight in Austenland was a mix between suspense and romance.  It was a far stretch from the original Austenland, which was straight up romance. (Not steamy romance, but like a love story romance)

Time for a tangent …. I am a huge chicken when it comes to scary or suspenseful books.  And I refuse to watch scary movies.  Even scary commercials are too much for me.  One time at the movie theater they showed a commercial for one of those creepy doll movies (Annabelle maybe?) and my heart rate literally spiked.  I had a fitbit that kept track of my heart rate.  It thought I was exercising.  Thats how bad it was. And it was only a commercial.  My body physically reacts to being scared and I don’t like it. (Maybe everyone’s does? I don’t know, but personally its too much for me) I couldn’t imagine what my heart would do if I had to sit through a full movie.  Last time I went through a haunted house I had a panic attack and my mom had to take me out the way we came. (I was 12 ish) Another time on a school overnight retreat the upperclassmen made a “haunted house” and all the underclassmen “got” to go through it.  Everyone else had a ton of fun,  it definitely was meant to be fun, not mean, but I hated it.  Just thinking back I can feel my heart start to race. So, yea, I don’t do scary

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Back to the review … While Austenland was loosely based on Pride and Prejudice, Midnight in Austenland tends toward Northanger Abbey.  The heroine has a very active imagination and she is thrust into a world that is not as it seems.  Her stay at Austenland is themed by a mystery. (think murder-mystery dinner but 2 weeks long and you are solving a really old mystery)  As she is searching for clues she finds more than whats intended and she can’t tell the game from real life.

At one point they play a game in the dark where one person is the “murderer” and everyone tries to find them.  The heroine is obviously flustered and unsure but everyone else presses her to play anyway.  This hit a little to close to home.  When I read I often get lost in the story and connect with the heroine, so them forcing her to play made me uncomfortable and brought back memories of makeshift haunted houses.  I did not like it at all.

So my biggest issue with the book was the plot.  I am sure there are tons of people who love the suspenseful plotline, but it ruined the story for me.

You may be asking “If she hated it so much why did she give it 3 stars?”

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Well I am glad you asked!

I didn’t actually hate it.  It just wasn’t my cup of tea.  I can tell that it is a good book, and that most people who enjoyed the first book would probably like it.  And there were parts I liked.  I liked the heroine, Charlotte.  I liked how she was introduced.  How she was described in the beginning.  It made her especially relatable.   I also liked how the story jumped back and fourth between present and past.  It made her so much more real, seeing how she handled different situations.  And it brought you there gradually.  Showing you what you needed to fully understand why she reacted the way she did.

So overall the book was just okay, if you like suspense and romance I would recommend it.  If you are like me and don’t like suspense then I would probably skip this one.