Review Rendezvous: 6/16/18


The Lost Heifetz and Other Stories by Michael Tabor
Book stats:
Genre(s): Contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 348
Publish date: February 15th, 2018
Purchase: Barnes & Noble

38636428A musician has a life-changing encounter in a New York record store with a mysterious old man who may have known a brilliant violinist who was presumed to have died in World War II…

The Picture of Dorian Gray is revealed to be a pure fiction by one of the characters from the novel who explains what really happened to the infamous portrait and its subject…

An aspiring writer receives a surreal and mind-bending lesson in creative writing from a pawnbroker who deals in narrative voices…

The well-ordered life of a widower in a peaceful English village is disturbed by the arrival of a wealthy new resident who needs to be taught a lesson in respect…

An art dealer and an artist meet on vacation and embark on an intense affair that is tested by their redacted lives…

These and other stories and satires, set in the US and Britain, explore the lives, relationships, and search for fulfillment of men and women from many walks of life.

I must admit, this was a bit of a new type of book for me to read. I haven’t really read any novellas or novella collections unless they were attached to a larger series that I have already read. But, I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the book. I don’t have any experience to compare this one too, so I kept my expectations to myself this time.

Some would say that writing a short story is actually harder than a novel, because you have less words to squeeze the same plot points and descriptions into that a full-length novel does. But Tabor is able to weave the individual stories excellently, and you care for the characters just as much as if you’d had a whole book to get to know them.

The range of stories that this collection touches on is quite large. There’s the story of an old man who may or may not be a long-thought-dead violinist, a professional house-sitter with a few quirks of her own, and many more.

This book is great for readers who may like taking fiction in with smaller chunks. It’s easy enough to read just one short story and come back to it a bit later, so if you don’t feel like diving all the way in, this book is for you. You’ll find yourself enraptured in the characters for sure!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 6/9/18


XVI by Julia Karr
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, science fiction, dystopia
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 325
Publish date: January 6th, 2011
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

XVIEvery girl gets one.
An XVI tattoo on the wrist–sixteen.

Some girls can’t wait to be sixteen, to be legal. Nina is not one of them. Even though she has no choice in the matter, she knows that so long as her life continues as normal, everything will be okay.

Then, with one brutal strike, Nina’s normal is shattered; and she discovers that nothing that she believed about her life is true. But there’s one boy who can help–and he just may hold the key to her past.

But with the line between attraction and danger as thin as a whisper, one thing is for sure…

For Nina, turning sixteen promises to be anything but sweet.

This had a promising idea attached to it. I was interested in the idea of the tattoos and the social constructs surrounding them. But, after the first chapter or two, things began to go downhill. I didn’t particularly empathize with the character, which is a huge sign that the rest of the book won’t be too enthralling either.

I will admit, I finished the whole book for this one, which is an accomplishment. Normally if I end up disliking a book that quickly, I will just skim the rest to see what happens. Maybe it was my interest in the few mysteries that Karr brought up, or the fact that I had nothing else to do. Either way, the book isn’t particularly bad, it is just lackluster in my opinion.

Nine seems to follow the cookie-cutter dystopian teenager mold that I’ve seen many, many times. You can forgive the character the first time you read one like her. But the 20th? Not as easy. Granted that there are extenuating circumstances in the book, but Nina just seems to float through, responding to the situation rather than really acting. And then there is her reaction to events surrounding the end of the book, that I can’t disclose. If something like that happened to me, I feel like I’d have a much more emotional reaction. Just saying.

Overall, it’s meh if you have nothing else to do, but I’m not particularly motivated to read the second book.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 6/2/18


The Hauntings of Cold Creek Hollow by Alexie Aaron
Book stats:
Genre(s): Paranormal, mystery, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 342
Publish date: January 6th, 2012
Purchase: Amazon РBarnes & Noble

tHoCCHLittle Mia Cooper’s ability to see the dead made her an outcast in her hometown. Several years later, she has finally managed to blend in, but her hard-won peace is threatened by the arrival of a bumbling team of paranormal investigators. Mia is drawn in reluctantly as an advisor on what, at first, seems to be a fairly straightforward case, only to discover that the Hollow has much more in store for her. An ancient evil is rising in Cold Creek Hollow. What begins as a ghost hunt will become a fight for survival.

The premise of this particular novel is certainly intriguing. I’m all for the story of an unwilling former gifted child dragged into a paranormal investigation. There’s quite a bit of mystery and suspense involved, but on the flip side there was also some out of place moments.

First of all, this is the beginning book in a series that has stretched to 19 books already, so the premise definitely has promise. The thing that really bugged me though about this book was how much focus was put onto romance relationships. Sure, add in some romance now and then to hooks readers who look for the kind of thing, but the main focus should be the mystery. Better yet, develop the kind of relationship throughout the series that has everyone going “Just get together already!”.

There also happens to be quite a few characters. I would expect to collect a large group of characters throughout the series as a whole, not in the first book. It was a bit overwhelming to try and read them all.

In the end though, it was a fairly good read. I did enjoy the mystery aspects, I ust wish it had been a little easier to follow the plot. I suppose I could try out the next one in the series, as it has the potential to be better. Although, the covers could use a bit of work, none of the books in the series look like they belong together.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 5/26/18


The Ride Delegate: Memoir of a Walt Disney World VIP Tour Guide by Annie Salisbury
Book stats:
Genre(s): Nonfiction, memoir
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 170
Publish date: September 7th, 2014
Purchase: Amazon

Ride DelegateThe rich and famous experience Disney World differently from the rest of us: they’re escorted by VIP Tour Guides, elite Cast Members who truly¬†do¬†hold the keys to the kingdom. Annie Salisbury was one of these Cast Members, in charge of making the very best magic for those who could afford it.¬†In¬†The Ride Delegate, her memoir of life as a Disney World VIP tour guide, Annie shares some of her most memorable experiences:

  • The Middle Eastern royal family who needed a room at the Contemporary where all thirty-seven of them could pray,¬†right now.
  • The wealthy woman who used cancer as an excuse for why her family should be able to ride It’s a Small World until they were ready to get off
  • The mysterious VIP (dubbed “Dr. No” by Annie) who arrived for his afternoon tour in a private plane at a private airport in the swamp
  • The famous football player who didn’t understand why he couldn’t ride Universal’s Incredible Hulk Coaster at EPCOT
  • Plus, you’ll learn about the perks and privileges of being a VIP Tour Guide, from corn dogs to illicit cash, and the lengths to which Disney will go to keep its VIP guests happy

Come get a taste of what Disney World is like for those with deep pockets‚ÄĒand personalities to match‚ÄĒand meet the eccentric, outrageous guests who turned Annie’s dream job into a reality show.

Now, this is waaaaaaay off the type of book I usually read. Well, I’ve actually read quite a few of this type, but that was back when I was preparing for my experience with the Disney College Program, which you can read about and watch videos on various platforms. So basically, before I go on, I will warn you that this review comes from someone who knows the situation all too well and has experienced the behind the scenes. It may “break the magic” for you, as some say, but I think it’s hilarious as all get out, so ¬†the choice is up to you.

I love Annie’s voice and writing style. That’s one of the first things that stuck out to me. I opened this book kinda as a ‘meh’ read because it was on my suggestions for Kindle Unlimited, and boy did that suggestion work well. I blew through it in two hours (of course, I had to work when I was halfway through the book, which sucked, but I quickly got back to it after my shift).

She has so many anecdotes and hilarious stories, it is so worth the read. This book is memoir-style, so I can’t really critique plot or characters or anything since the whole thing is real. The fluidity between the chapters could be worked on a bit and there are a few minor spelling errors, but otherwise an all-around good read. If the “behind the scenes” of Walt Disney World has ever interested you, I think you’d enjoy this.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 5/12/18


A Grey Sun by S. J. Sherwood
Book stats:
Genre(s): Science fiction, dystopian, young adult
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 432
Publish date: November 16th, 2017
Purchase:¬†Amazon¬†‚ÄstBook Depository¬†‚ÄstBarnes & Noble

TDA convicted Denounced, sentenced to death.

When sixteen-year-old Ned is wrongly convicted and kidnapped to a secret location, he meets ninety ‚ÄėDenounced‚Äô, and a terrifying truth begins to unfold ‚Äď one that will change the world forever.¬†

Forced to lead a Pod of five, Ned begins to realise thousands of lives could depend upon him. A survivor by nature, he now has to face his past, confront his destiny, and fight a System that has never lost.

A Grey Sun is the first in a three-part series following six Denounced teenagers as they struggle to live in a world where a simple mistake will cost you your life…

I don’t think I will ever be able to get enough dystopians ever. This particular genre is easily my most read, and it is likely because I was getting fully immersed in the reading world just as series like¬†Hunger Games¬†and¬†Divergent were making huge waves, which brought many more authors to that genre. Today I’m reviewing¬†A Grey Sun, the first in a new dystopian series. I will admit, upon first glance I feel like the cover could have been better, but that could also be just me. It kinda works as a more minimalistic cover however, so to each their own.

Getting into this book, there is really no easing in. You are dumped into the action from the very first page, where the main character Ned is rescued (?) from certain death. But then he goes on to a training camp, and you begin to wonder if this rescue was really better than dying. Especially when there’s still a chance he could die anyways.

There’s quite a cast of characters, bringing to mind a series like¬†The Maze Runner. But, despite all of the similarities to other dystopians, this new series has a good chance to stand on its own. We learn just enough about the world to be drawn in, but there is plenty of space to learn more in later books, which is very important if an author wants to sustain a series.

I honestly found the “mother figure” a bit creepy and strange, something just felt off about her. But I suppose that’s the point, as you go the entire book wondering if she really has the best interests at heart for these kids.

I’m definitely interested in reading another of these books, I want to know how the story ends!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


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