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—and personalities to match—and 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.


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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 – Book Depository – Barnes & Noble

TDA convicted Denounced, sentenced to death.

When sixteen-year-old Ned is wrongly convicted and kidnapped to a secret location, he meets ninety ‘Denounced’, and a terrifying truth begins to unfold – 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.


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Review Rendezvous: 4/14/18

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, science fiction, dystopia
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 384
Publish date: January 28th, 2014
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository

UninvitedWhen Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

I was so excited to get into this one because there is so many underlying issues and commentaries I could think that relate to it, and I was not disappointed. The idea that a genetic test can tell you if you’ll kill someone in the future is a bit of a stretch, but with the way modern science is going who knows?

Davy has it all in the beginning, and quickly loses it as soon as she gets the results of the test back. She doesn’t feel different, but the science says she will kill someone someday. She’s immediately torn from her friends and family, stuffed in another school meant to keep the teen diagnosed like Davy out of trouble.

What intrigued me most about this is the prejudice and temperament of the others around Davy. People who have known her the entirety of her life now fear her. One must ask, was Davy going to kill someone anyways, or did the test and the situations that follow push her to that length?

There’s also the idea that even the top can fall. Davy literally was the golden child, headed for a bright future. That all changed in an instant, and no one could prove anything, say anything, or do anything to help. She was just as helpless as the kids from the lower income areas that had no one to back them up.

There is a second book out, which I am highly interested to read. I’ll be back on here once I get through it to post another review 🙂


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Review Rendezvous: 4/7/18

Final Girls by Riley Sager
Book stats:
Genre(s): Thriller, mystery, horror
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 342
Publish date: July 11th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

FGTen years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. 

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Murder, lies, betrayal. Quite the recipe for disaster. And yet, Quincy Carpenter made it through. Of course, she doesn’t remember anything that happened, but that’s probably a good thing. In the time since her horrific incident, Quincy has made herself a new life and refuses to acknowledge that she is a ‘final girl’ as the media has dubbed her.

On the outside, everything looks good. She’s got a mildly successful baking blog, she’s living with her boyfriend (the one she expects to be upgraded to fiancé at any time), and she’s moved on with life. Of course, when you’re the victim of a mass murder event, life is never going to be that easy for you.

I love slowly peeling back the layers of Quinn. She’s got quite the complex character, which is key for authors to achieve. There’s also quite a few misdirects and red herrings, and this book was a wild ride from beginning to end. You also get snippets of Quinn’s memories from that night, and it all culminates in one vicious night when the memories finally return and everything is out in the daylight.

There’s so much good realization and character arc in here, not to mention plot twists everywhere. I highly recommend this book, if you haven’t read it already!


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Review Rendezvous: 3/24/18

The Crowns of Croswald by D. E. Night
Book stats:
Genre(s): Fantasy, young adult
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 320
Publish date: May 21st, 2017
Purchase: Amazon

CrownsIn Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret… 

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

I tried to start this book like three times and kept getting interrupted. But, I finally hunkered down and read it. Quite glad I did, actually. At first, I was struck by the similarities to Harry Potter. But, as I kept on reading, I found the world to be very immersive and entertaining.

We first meet Ivy as a lowly scaldrony maid (that means she’s in charge of the beasts that function as ovens for the castle’s meals). In quite the turn of events, she gets herself chased out of the only home she’s ever known, left only with a note from a mysterious visitor she’s made friends with.

Ivy is then thrust into the real world, full of magic that had been kept from her by a stifling spell. We experience quite the harsh introduction to the world as the poor girl is thrown directly into the madness of preparing for the first day of school and the renowned magical academy.

The first thing to come across about Ivy’s character was her care for magical creatures. She takes along the scaldron that got her kicked out of the castle, naming it and offering to keep it with her as a pet. She’s also very adventurous, and doesn’t like the sound of the word ‘no’.

I will admit, a few of the things that she gets away with are a bit suspect, like it shouldn’t have been so easy for her to do the things, but if higher ups were supporting her, then it might end up making sense. I’ll have to read further books to fully understand that one. This book sets up a lovely segue into a sequel, so I’d be overjoyed to read more.

Also you should definitely check out the author’s website. Very nice and polished, one of the best author sites I’ve seen. Also, after you’ve read the book, you might realize that the author’s name sounds familiar… 😉

I was kindly provided this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


If you liked this book, check this one out:

Harry Potter

If you’ve never heard of this book, you have been missing out on life (and possibly living under a rock)

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