Review: Magic, by Mike Russell

Before the universe existed, there was a giant, black, upside-down top hat surrounded by empty, black nothingness.

Magic follows 23-years old Charlie Watson as he writes about how magic exists. And then how it doesn’t exist. And then how it exists again. The story is narrated by Charlie himself and starts with a description of how the world was created.

Magic is… different. I went into this book without any expectations and I was incredibly surprised. Usually, the books I count as good aren’t real page turners. An example of that is The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. It takes time comprehending what you’re reading and therefore it costs a lot of energy. Magic is one of those books. The tone of the book was odd, but it really added to Charlie’s view of the world. The writing style completed the story.

I’ll admit, I was confused throughout the whole first half of the book. And confused about other things in the second half of the book. As I was reading, I wasn’t sure if it was fantasy or not, but everything became clear in the end.

This book contains bullying and depression, and approaches it in a lighthearted way. It doesn’t make the message of Magic any less clear though: there’s magic in even the smallest and common things. You can’t change the world, but you can change your world.

Magic isn’t a real page turner but it’s so much more than that. It’s more than just a story and definitely worth the read.

 

Review: The Bro Code, by Elizabeth A. Seibert

Big thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of The Bro Code!

The Bro Code follows high school boy Nick Maguire. Nick blindly follows the rules of the Bro Code, created by him and his best friends Carter and Austin. One of the rules in The Bro Code is that you aren’t allowed to date a bro’s sister. But when Caster’s younger sister Eliza comes home after a year in Australia, Nick starts to realize that The Bro Code isn’t always fair…

It starts off as a typical ya contemporary romance, but instead of an underdog as main character, The Bro Code has one of the ‘cool’ guys. Nick is incredibly close with his friends and they always support each other, but they leave a lot of other people around them with a mess to deal with. Nick is actually kind of an ass. But despite of that, I was rooting for him and Eliza. Real hard. Eliza is a good influence on Nick and it was heartwarming to read about their developing relationship.

The plot was fine. I was looking for a fun contemporary read after reading lots of fantasy and The Bro Code managed to fulfill that need. The writing style took some time getting used to, but once used to it, I enjoyed it a lot. It was like Nick himself was telling a story, instead of the reader following Nick as he experiences everything.

The book deals with a lot of important problems, like sexism, sexual harassment and misogyny. These problems were presented with humor and I think that’s an interesting way to confront the reader with them. The Bro Code clearly sends a message that a lot of things that seem harmless, are part of the current problems in the world.

I enjoyed seeing the character development. HOWEVER, an important revelation in the end of the book destroys basically all that character development and ruins the whole message of the book. If that didn’t happen, the book would have gotten 4 stars instead of 3.

The Bro Code is a fun, witty contemporary read. With lots of editing to remove spelling mistakes, it would become a fine book. I recommend reading it if you’re a sucker for cliches (like me) and enjoy a witty main character. Don’t go into this book expecting Nick is a ‘good’ person or that all his actions will be explained, because you will be disappointed. Nick is flawed but willing to learn and I think that’s great.

 

Ultimate Blog Tour: Catalyst

Hey guys, today I’m doing something different! I read the book Catalyst as part of the blog tour organized by The Write Reads. I’m very grateful to be a part of the tour! Catalyst is the sequel of The Field and can be read as a standalone (in fact, I haven’t read The Field and I had no problems following the story).

Catalyst follows Marcie as she, her brother Eric and his girlfriend Renee join an archaeological dig overseen by Marcies parents. It starts when Marcie and the others arrive at the dig site. There, she meets the other students she will be working with, including Leo and Scott. Marcie also meets the senior graduate assistants Zeke and Lorraine. But Marcie has an odd feeling about Zeke and Lorraine that she can’t place as they work on the dig site…

When one day Marcie, Eric, Renee and Leo follow Zeke and Lorraine on a hike, Marcies feeling is confirmed as Zeke demonstrates how he moves a large rock. With his mind. If that isn’t enough, Zeke and Lorraine ask Marcie and the rest to help them save the world. But can they take on such a big task?

Marcie is a strong lead who stands up for what she believes in and I really respect that. She says what she thinks but she’s also fair to others. Those are characteristics I often miss in books, so I was glad to follow Marcie on her journey!

I did feel however that Marcies love interest fell a little flat. It started off cute and realistic, but I liked him less and less throughout the book. At a certain point in the book, I just wasn’t rooting for them anymore, which was a big let-down for me as I’m a huge romance lover.

I really enjoyed the first three quarters of the book. It was very clear that the author was sending a message to the readers and I appreciate that. But the last quarter of the book was incredibly confusing as it was a lot of information in not enough pages. It think the subject of the last part would have been great for a sequel, but it was too much to fit into this book and make it work.

Catalyst is a fun young adult book with a strong lead. I recommend it to readers who are invested in making the world a better place and to very patient sci-fi lovers, as the sci-fi part comes up later in the book. I enjoyed Catalyst and I really hope you do too!

 

Here’s the official blurb of the book:

Marcie is spending her summer working on the archeological dig that her mother runs: Angel Mounds, a site of an ancient indigenous civilization. Soon after she arrives, she meet some intriguing individuals, and becomes wrapped up in a supernaturally-charged mission to save the planet from the destruction man has brought upon itself.

Marcie Horton has a sixth sense. Not in the “I see dead people” way, but . . . well, maybe a little. She feels a sort of knowing about certain things that can’t be explained-an intuition that goes beyond the normal. Then there was that one summer four years ago, when she connected with a long-departed spirit . . . But nothing that incredible has happened to Marcie since.
This summer, Marcie is spending time working at Angel Mounds, the archeological dig her mother heads, along with her brother, Eric, and his girlfriend, Renee. The dig is the site of an ancient indigenous civilization, and things immediately shift into the paranormal when Marcie and her teammates meet Lorraine and Zeke. The two mysterious dig assistants reveal their abilities to access the Universal Energy Field with their minds-something Marcie knows only vaguely that her brother has also had experience with. Marcie learns how our planet will disintegrate if action is not taken, and she and her team must decide if they are brave enough to help Lorraine and Zeke in their plan to save Mother Earth, her resources, and her history. It looks like the summer just got a lot more interesting.

Get your copy here!

Review: Finding Eden, by K.R.S. McEntire

Finding Eden is the second book in The Eden Saga, but can be read as a standalone. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic US, where some people have mutations in their DNA due to the Bio Wars. Because of the potential danger they pose according to the government, extra Wardens are hired to kill mutants on sight.

Lilah is one of those mutants. Being able to hide her mutation, she was able to live a relatively normal life until a few boys were coming after her. Using her power for her own protection, she exposes herself as a mutant and has to flee from Chicago to Eden, a safe haven for mutants.

Adam is a newly hired Warden who is tasked with finding Eden and killing mutants. After searching the woods for a week, he meets Lilah and found the perfect way to find Eden and reveal its location to the Government. But as Adam starts spending time with Lilah, he learns that things aren’t always as they seem.

The book is engaging, I had trouble putting it down. It’s a light read that doesn’t require too much thinking. It’s a fun read, but I wouldn’t exactly call it good. The pacing is quite irregular and there are time jumps in inconvenient places. Some pretty important events were skipped. I would have loved to read how Lilah says goodbye to her family before leaving for Eden.

If Finding Eden was longer, it could have been a really good book. The writing style was easy to read but still descriptive and I liked that. With more information about the Bio Wars and a more regular pacing without as many time skips, it could easily earn 4.5 stars.

I highly recommend reading Finding Eden if you enjoyed the Shatter Me series! K.R.S. McEntire has a lot of potential as an author and I’m looking forward to reading more of her work!

PS I am IN LOVE with that cover

Review: The King’s 100, by Karin Biggs

Princess Piper Parish has always struggled with following the rules of Capalon, her kingdom. Love is seen as an unnecessary distraction in Capalon and things like singing, dancing, wearing dresses and eating sugary foods are prohibited. Knowing she is seen as a disappointment in Capalon, Piper leaves on a quest to bring back her mother after she received an anonymous note stating that her mother is still alive and being held in Mondaria, the enemy kingdom.

To enter the Mondarian king’s Mansion, Piper joins a group of performers. She meets singers, drummers and magicians and learns what it’s like to live in a world where people express their emotions. She experiences friendship, love, hot chocolate and many other things that aren’t allowed in Capalon, but will these things distract her from her quest to find her mother?

I loved this book. If circumstances allowed me to read it in one sitting, I would have. It takes some time getting used to the way of things in Capalon, but everything eventually clicked. Karin showed in her book that different countries develop in different ways. Capalons are more intelligent when it comes to new inventions and technology because they chose to ignore and suppress emotions, but Mondarians are more intelligent in the social aspect.

There are two things that stand out in The King’s 100:

1 – The characters are flawed. They aren’t portrayed as perfect people. They are 17 years old and they act like it. The characters make mistakes and sometimes they own up to it and other times they don’t. It’s a good break from the “The main character’s actions are always excused” trope, because Piper makes mistakes and she apologizes for them. I honestly think she rocks as a main character because of that.

2 – There is no real villain. Problems are all caused by cultural differences and stereotypes. Once characters got to know each other without prejudices, they were able to look past it and I think that’s a beautiful message.

Okay maybe I’ll add a third point that stands out in this book: the side characters, I loved them all (I’ll admit, all except one). I grew really attached to them and I can’t wait to read more about them in this series!

If you love The Selection or Grace and Fury, I highly recommend The King’s 100. You will definitely enjoy it!