Book Reviews

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook By: Leslie Connor

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook By: Leslie Connor

Plot:

From Leslie Connor, award-winning author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch, comes a soaring and heartfelt story about love, forgiveness, and how innocence makes us all rise up. All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook is a powerful story, perfect for fans of Wonder and When You Reach Me.

Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth—and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home.

When Perry moves to the “outside” world, he feels trapped. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. As he gets closer to the truth, he will discover that love makes people resilient no matter where they come from . . . but can he find a way to tell everyone what home truly means?

Review:

I cried through this entire story, there are so many tear stains on the pages of this library book. I expected it to be well written based on the buzz around it, but I had no idea that I would end up crying so much. After the first chapter I knew that it was going to be an emotional journey so I had to read the last chapter to make sure there was a happy ending.

***SPOILERS***

There was.

Perry was so innocent and optimistic and just let things roll right over him that would normally drive an adult crazy. His ability to cope with things was remarkable and I wish I had his skills. Just when I was starting to think he was too good, though, Connor allowed him to get mad. He had been bothered by things throughout the book, but he was able to accept that there was nothing that he could do about them.

I do wish that he had a bit more fight in him, but the book acknowledged that was an area he could grow in. I also wish that the pay off at the end was a bit better. I found myself reacting like one of the characters and I wished things had been fair. I at least wanted the DA to have more negative backlash against him. It would have also been nice to learn more about Perry’s father.

There was so much love between the characters. It was beautiful.

4/5

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Dynamite Review Best of 2017

Movies

1.      Thor: Ragnarok – I don’t get to watch new movies much as they come out, but I was so lucky to get to see this in theaters. It was AWESOME! I’ve already pre-ordered the steelbook from Best Buy, I got the theatrical poster off of Disney Movie Rewards and it’s framed and in my kids bathroom, and I can’t wait to watch it again and again.

2.     John Wick 2 – Great action movie and addition to the series. Awesome world, I’m interested in the Stars series that’s potentially coming out.

3.     Kingsman: The Golden Circle – In your face, over the top action.

4.     Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – While not as good as the previous one I loved so many things about this movie. The colors, the characters, the relationships. I’m so glad that this is part of the Marvel Universe.

5.     Spider-Man: Homecoming – I really enjoyed this movie but what’s potentially more important, my daughter loves this movie.

6.     Moana – This is more an honorable mention since it came out in 2016 not 2017. Love the music and the story, reminds me of the Disney I grew up with.

Books

1.      White Hot by Ilona Andrews – The long awaited sequel to Burn for Me, so good.

2.     Wildfire by Ilona Andrews – Love this series so much, want more. Wasn’t too happy with the ending, but still love.

3.     Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan – Beautiful art, interesting story, need some answers though. The only comic I pre-order.

4.     The Rosetta Man by Claire McCague – Picked this up randomly and I ended up loving it. So happy when that happens.

5.     Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs – Not my favorite Patricia Briggs book, too many Doctor Who references, lots of other little things, but still a Patricia Briggs book so it’s going on the list!

6.     Heartstrikers Series by Rachel Aaron – This series didn’t come out last year, though they did have a book release that I haven’t read yet, but I had to put it on the list because I enjoyed it so much.

7.     The Guardians Trilogy by Nora Roberts – This is the kind of Nora Roberts series that I love. It didn’t come out in 2017, but after being wary of starting it because of her more recent books I got to it late.

TV Shows

1.      The Crown – I resisted watching this because I heard so much praise, but I’m glad I finally did. I destroyed the second season that recently aired and I honestly think it might be better than the first. Amazing show.

2.     Sense 8 – I love this idea so much and the second season wasn’t as slow as the first. The ending killed me and then when they canceled it, ugh, I never do TV show petitions but I signed them all. I canceled Netflix for the first time in years. I was furious. I’m hoping that the movie will be able to wrap things up but I seriously don’t see how that’s possible. I’ll probably never keep Netflix running continuously because of how they did this show.

3.     The Good Place – I had no desire to watch this last year, it just didn’t seem that funny to me. I ended up having the end of season one spoiled for me and that changed everything. I was able to binge the first season on Netflix and I’ve watched every episode of the second as it’s aired. So freaking funny.

4.     The Orville – Wow, I had no expectations for this show. I had hopes, but because of Seth MacFarlane I didn’t have many. I was certainly surprised and this has ended up being one of my favorite shows of the year. It’s like getting new episodes of Star Trek, only instead of the Enterprise team we’ve got the D tier crew. The jokes don’t always land and they’re reusing a lot of Star Trek plots, but I don’t care. I’m so glad that this has been picked up for a second season and I’m hoping that they continue to find their footing.

5.     Future Man – Loved this, it was so crude and hilarious and just came out of nowhere. Time travel, video games, the 80s, James Cameron’s AI, a terrible future, so many things that add up to funny. So glad we’re getting a second season.

6.     Legion – This is not my usual type of show. It’s wild and out there and very trippy. The only reason I watched it was because I needed something to keep me up during late night feedings and I ended up staying up just to finish episodes. Half the time I’m not sure what’s going on, but I honestly didn’t care. They gave just enough answers not to drive me crazy, but still left me needing to know more.

7.     Black-ish – I just discovered Black-ish this year and thank goodness Hulu has all of the episodes. Most episodes are nice, funny episodes, but the episodes that aren’t, the episodes where they “teach” you something are so good. This year there was one about postpartum depression that really resonated with me.

8.     Life in Pieces – I laugh in every single episode of this show. Love it.

9.     The Librarians – The third season was probably the weakest so far and I’m not overly thrilled with all that’s going on in the fourth season but I seriously can’t think of anything that would have me stop watching this.

 

Games

1.      Splatoon 2 (Switch) This was hands down my favorite game of the year. In an alternate universe I went pro, built a brand, and lived the life of the rich and famous.

2.     Stardew Valley (Switch) After putting in 160 hours on the PC version you’d think I’d be done with this game, but nope. As soon as it came out on the Switch I bought it and started all over again. Aided by the amazing guide my husband bought me for Christmas 2016 I’ve been chipping away at all the in game achievements.

3.     Lego City Undercover (Switch) I beat this once, then got halfway through beating it again before Splatoon 2 came out. I still plan on going back and working on unlocking everything, though, it’s not a priority because I certainly got my money out of this.

4.     Delicious Emily Home Sweet Home (PC) Really liked the story in this one, young married couple with a little kid get their dream house and fix it up. If I was crazy and didn’t mind construction around toddlers I could totally do this too.

5.     Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4) I’m stretching things a bit including this to my list. I got it for Christmas after trying it out at Red Box and finding it interesting enough to try more. I didn’t start playing it until December 31st and at this point I’m only a couple hours in, however, I love the idea a lot. I love that she’s a real looking woman and she’s kicking ass. So far they haven’t put her in super revealing clothes which is nice too. The world is interesting, however, I wish I didn’t have to use a bow and arrow. If I ever beat it, or put a significant amount of time in I’ll write a review.

Year One By: Nora Roberts

Year One (Chronicles of the One #1) By: Nora Roberts

Plot:

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed—and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river—or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.

Review:

I know what the blurb sounds like, post-apocalyptic paranormal horror, I realize that but—but—it’s Nora Roberts. She writes romance. She gives me happy endings. There has to be some of that in the story despite what the blurb sounds like, right?!?

Actually, nope, there doesn’t have to be. In fact there is almost no happiness in this entire book and it definitely does not end on a happy ending or even set up a happy ending. It is nothing like I hoped and everything that the blurb advertised. Is it fair for me to be disappointed? I don’t know.

The story starts out following several different people, you see the Doom and the decimation of the human population from their different views and eventually they all meet up together, only to have the ending abandon all but one person. I found that frustrating because the person that we wound up with was one of the most boring, even though she was a witch. We don’t even know who all is alive because of how they separated or even if we’ll see them all again. It felt like my time was wasted following those people only to have them abandoned.

The world was awful, there was no point of hope that wasn’t tainted by the awful either. It was depressing and what you would expect from the genre, but because of the author I kept hoping for more, for some bright spot.

Everyone was from New York City, which is annoying. They would vaguely mention the government and that people were being rounded up, but you never saw any of that. You saw the Raiders and the religious nut job group, but never the military. Only good people seem to die and stay dead, while the evil came back. Apart from the magic everything was just too realistic human wise, which I disliked because of the addition of the magic. Why does that always have to be the most real? Why can’t people be good? Or not horrible and evil?

Oh well. The book was mostly well written, I thought some sections could have been edited out, but then since I don’t know what’s coming out next they might actually matter latter. We’ll see, I’ll probably read the next book, but I definitely won’t be buying it in hardback. Probably.

3/5

Charmed: Let Gorgons be Gorgons By: Paul Ruditis

Charmed: Let Gorgons be Gorgons By: Paul Ruditis

Plot:

When Piper, Phoebe, and Paige undo a spell that turned a local politician to stone, they little realize the powerful magic behind the hex. As attacks on innocents mount, The Charmed Ones enlist the help of their sister, Prue, confined on the magical Nexus, only to learn that the most heinous of mythical creatures—a gorgon—is to blame.

Freed from her underground tomb, Medusa joins her sisters in a crusade to avenge womankind, turning those who cross her to stone forever. At the same time, dark magic seems to be undoing all of Phoebe’s good works, distracting her from the impending battle with the gorgons. With time running out, will the sisters be able to defeat Medusa and restore their innocents to life?

Review:

I liked this book, more for the world building than the descriptions of the sister’s magic. I loved that it expanded on Coop and what being a cupid is, I always felt like he just sort of showed up at the end of the series and was just there, so it was really nice to find out more. Reading a magic fight, though, with the sister’s usual go to moves is kind of eh.

There were lots of call backs to older episodes, including the one where they turned into goddesses, not exactly a Charmed high point, but I enjoyed the addition of Medusa and her sisters. They were a villain that you could understand their side of, it wasn’t just an over the top demon.

The side plot had a rushed ending that mainly happened behind the scenes. Coop and Cole worked together and we saw them for brief periods, but they seemed kind of forgotten.

The book was a bit short, but it was a lot like an episode of Charmed, so while I would have enjoyed more it was pretty good.

3/5

Montana Secret Santa

Montana Secret Santa (Love at the Chocolate Shop #3) By: Debra Salonen

Plot:

Ad exec Krista Martin, while feeling more Grinch than elf, still jumps at the chance to co-chair Marietta’s Secret Santa Society. Why not? Especially since brilliant, attractive, and innovative tech wunderkind Jonah Andrews has agreed to help. He’s well connected and Krista’s hoping for some advice on rebooting her career.

Jonah knows Krista has a not-so-hidden agenda, but sparring with her over cocoa at their Secret Santa meetings is the most fun he’s had since returning to his old hometown. Krista may come across as all business, but Jonah’s positive he’s glimpsed a little girl inside her who wants to believe in Santa… and in love.

Review:

Krista is a confusing protagonist. She starts off prepared to tell her partner that she needs to step up because she’s not carrying her weight and their business is going to fail if she doesn’t pick up the slack. She ends up doing a complete one eighty when she finds out her partner is pregnant. All of a sudden none of that matters and an intern will solve everything. An intern that doesn’t start until the next year.

Jonah is a tech genius and says he’s socially inept but doesn’t seem to be at all. He takes over Secret Santa with no issues. He does have some issues with Krista, but that’s mainly because they don’t communicate.

One of my least favorite tropes, lack of communication leading to misunderstandings and in this case a flight from Montana to LA. It’s lazy writing and there were lots of bits like that, characters were inconsistent in things that weren’t romance related. One minute Krista was concerned about her business, the next it wasn’t a big deal and they were going to be alright. Jonah is supposed to be humble, but he talks about his staff and drops around the fact that he’s a millionaire and gives people hundred dollar bills for Christmas. It’s weird.

It was an alright Christmas book and I’m giving it an extra Christmas star, but I’m not a huge fan.

3/5