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Inside the Illusion – K.A. Applegate- Everworld #9 – Mini-Review

This is the one I have been looking forward to re-reading the most out of this series. In fact I jumped right into it after Brave the Betrayal instead of reading something else in-between.

This is the only time we get this story from Senna’s POV. I love when we get inside the head of the villain or the antagonist. I find it fascinating to learn how they think and how they make the choices they make. This time was no different.

As I have been reading the series again I found myself not caring much about Senna. I can’t remember how I read her when I first read the series as a teenager. She didn’t leave much of an impression on me. I was curious about her but I wasn’t dying to understand her.

In this book we see that the her past has colored all her decisions. She is resentful and angry. She is someone who blames the world for her issues and she is going to make that world pay. Senna is done being pushed around and left to the side. She is going to rule this world if it kills her.

I understand her anger. She was left by her mother, dropped into her father’s family and left on the outside of a seemingly perfect family. She knew she was different but no one was around to explain to her how or why. Naturally she become a loner and very independent.

Where I lose sympathy for her is her decisions in this world. She is only out for herself and she will use anyone to get what she wants. She doesn’t think about the consequences of her actions. She doesn’t care who make it out in the end, as long as she is the one with the power.

Power has corrupted her. I wonder if her mother had been braver and stuck around how Senna would have turned out. I wonder if she would have learned to appreciate her power and use it to help instead of hurt.

I can’t remember exactly what happens from this point on. I don’t know how her story ends but I am almost positive it isn’t well. I am more excited now to continue the series because I want to see where her story goes.

Brave the Betrayal – K.A. Applegate – (Everworld #8) – Mini-Review

(This is a review for the 8th book in this series, there may be spoilers for previous books)

For this book we were back in Jalil’s head. I vaguely remembered this one, mostly because of the upside down world part. I found it interesting how as I read certain aspects came back to me. I was reading and was like “Oh yeah, forgot about that guy.” I found it a bit fun in this one to see how much I remembered and how much came back to me.

Two parts of this book stood out to me. One was this one centered on the African gods. The interesting part was that we never actually meet any of them. We meet a minor, messenger type god. We never meet the major ones. This portion gave me more a feeling of forbidding than anything else.

What this book did make me want to do is research the African culture and the gods that were mentioned here. I wonder if we don’t get to see much of them because the author didn’t know much about them or if the history and information available is scarce.

I also wonder if this part was smaller because people are not as familiar with these gods and thus she concentrated her time in the story on the stories people are more familiar with? Though that is a lost opportunity to learn more and become familiar with a new set of stories.

This all plays into the theme of this book though. In this one we see Jalil and April unwilling to submit to these gods and make a sacrifice. They anger the gods and get themselves in trouble. The issue is they learn that this not the world they grew up in. This is not our world and thus our rules do not apply here.

They both were firm in standing their ground and trying to not be “weak” but in the end they nearly get themselves killed. I liked this exploration of the idea of “giving in” or doing something to keep yourself safe. Does it really reflect bad on them if they had done the sacrifice? They couldn’t live with the idea but does it really change the way they think? Does it change their beliefs in the end?

What it does to Jalil is make him realize he has a darker streak to himself. He is willing to take out others and make them change but not for himself. I can’t quite remember how his story finishes but I am curious how he ends up and where he is at the end of this series.

The World of Lore – Wicked Mortals – Aaon Mahnke – Mini-Review

I picked this one up the same time I picked up the Monstrous Creatures edition. I was so enthralled by that one that I decided to read this one right away instead of taking a break for more story-esque books. I thought this one was going to dive into the minds of infamous criminals and serial killers.

I love books that go into the way people’s minds work. I am fascinated by how people think, why they make the decisions that they make, and why they do what they do. I think reading about that is always interesting and that is what I thought this book was going to be about. I thought it was going to give the backstory and the history of these people. I thought there would be commentary on their choices and why they may have done what they did.

While it started out that way diving into H.H. Holmes and others that was only a small part of the book. The first half, if that was about certain people and who they were and where they came from; but then I felt like he ran out of people or sources and fell into just randomly telling stories.

At times the stories felt random barely a page and many times they were about frauds or people fooling other people. There was a whole section on the witch trials again which got boring to me. While it was talked about why people accused people of witch craft and of being sorcerers it didn’t really stay with the theme of wicked mortals. At least not how it was blurbed and how I understood it.

I read the last half quickly, just trying to get through it because it wasn’t holding my attention anymore. I felt like we stopped talking about people making bad choices and just talked about why people were superstitious and fearful of everything. It just didn’t fit with the theme of the rest of the book I thought.

I end up giving the book 3 stars mostly because of the first half. That half I found fascinating , the last half I just had to get through.

Gateway to the Gods – K.A. Applegate – Everworld #7

The group of friends is beginning to realize their lives are now in to parts. There are the Everworld parts, full of adventure, danger and new ways of seeing themselves. Then there is the real world part, school, the mundane and the normal. Which is the one they are meant to live? Where do they belong?

This book was told from April’s POV. We see that she is struggling with a few things in this book. First she can’t understand the way the gods think. They are literally under siege and yet they are barely able to make any changes. They can’t think outside of what they normally think. They can’t adapt.

I thought it was super interesting the way this idea was explored. The idea that the gods are stagnant. They can’t dream or imagine. They are the molds created by the stories that were told about them in the old world. Once they left that world there was no one left to make them into new people or give them new abilities. They are stuck in one form, unable to adapt or change.

I also liked how this book begins to explore the idea that this life is not a nightmare for these four kids. They are beginning to see the advantages to this life. April is conflicted because she likes the independence and the importance she feels in Everworld. She fights, she wins and she is in control.

But that also terrifies her. She is scared of leaving what she knows behind. She is scared to think that Everworld is becoming where she wants to be. For the others there are plenty of reasons why they would choose the other world but for April she doesn’t have a bad home life or OCD to force her to choose this world. She is just seeing that maybe there is more for her here.

I also liked that her conflict is many sided. She is confused not only about her desire to stay in the world but also about what being in a new world is doing to her belief system. She is losing her faith a bit, seeing the world in a new way. She is scared to change her way of thinking and and I am curious how that evolves over the last few books.

This book is the turning point in my memory of the series. I know we are going to move to Egypt and African Gods soon but I don’t remember much beyond that. I am eager to continue from here because my memory is fuzzier. I am interested to see how we get to the end, which I do remember and know I loved.

The World of Lore – Monstrous Creatures – Aaron Mahnke – Mini review

I am going to do just a mini-review for this book since it isn’t a fiction book and thus doesn’t have as much to analyze with plot, setting or characters.

If you have read a number of my other reviews and posts you will know that I love myths and legends. I also love the supernatural (even if it freaks me out a little bit at times). I love the idea of there being creatures things we can’t explain in the world around us.

This book is based off of (or more like a transcript) of the podcast by the same name. Now I have never listened to the podcast, mostly because I tend to get bored and distracted when listening to books or podcasts. Some of the reviews I saw were a bit critical because they said it was what was already in the podcast and nothing added.

I can’t speak to that part but I can speak to the fact that this book did a fantastic job of giving history and stories about some major things in our culture. It delves into vampires, werewolves, zombies, legends and ghosts. I know quite a bit about some legends but this book actually talked about things I didn’t know.

I think my favorite part of this book were all the stories that were told throughout the book. It went into great detail about some of the stories that started a lot of these legends. It went into depth about them, and you got to see how these ideas grew out of these tales.

I loved that it was tied to history. We forget many times that in the past they didn’t have the advantage of the knowledge we have. They didn’t have the ability to explain away things like we did. We see that they strived to get explanations and did it the only way they knew how with the only knowledge they had.

I thought it did a great job at talking about these ideas while also delving into what causes people to think this way. We see that as humans we will go to great lengths to explain difficult things away. I loved the context this provided.

I walked away from this book with a deeper appreciation and much more knowledge about these topics than I had before. I didn’t feel like I was rehashing things I already knew. Too many times these books feel repetitive to me and this one didn’t.

If you enjoy tales of the unknown and supernatural and want to learn more this a great read and I am sure a great podcast.

In An Absent Dream – Seanan McGuire – Review

Katherine Lundy makes a choice early on in her life. She is going to live her way, she is going to do what she wants when she wants. She learns quickly the world is not going to work in her favor. She finds a door to The Goblin Market, a world where you can get whatever you want as long as you are fair with your deals. But what happens when some deals ask for too much?

I love this series. I love the way this feels like a fairytale while also capturing some important issues of today. You get a lesson without realizing it and you get to see that not all stories end with a happily ever after moment.

This story in particular was about a girl who realizes early on that she is okay being alone. I think I like this one the best so far because I identified with Lundy so well. I was also the quiet child, who loved books and followed the rules. I also balked at the idea of having to fall into line of what a true woman is supposed to be.

I felt like we got to understand Lundy so well. Her back and forth through the door showed us that she was struggling with deciding where she belonged. While the other books the characters stayed, finding their new lives and ways of life, Lundy was stuck in this in-between. She wanted both and learned the hard way that life is not always fair.


Not much threw me out of this book. They are shorter so we get hints at bigger events that happen but I am starting to see that it fits in with the fairytale atmosphere of these stories. While it was a bit bothersome not knowing more about the battles she fought I realized it was more important about what happened afterward. Lundy was created from those after moments and choices and not from the moments themselves.

There was nothing that kept my from enjoying the story. It was fast paced. It hit all the points of the character development well. I read it in 2 days and was sad when it ended.

I gave the book four stars. I loved the story and can’t wait to see who we get to understand better next.

“If the children in the yard next door or on the playground couldn’t find her worth loving the same way, she wasn’t going to change for them.” (pg. 17)

“Following the rules didn’t make you a good person, just like breaking the rules didn’t make you a bad one, but it could make you an invisible person, and invisible people got to do as they liked.” (pg. 38) (This hits very close to home).

Fear the Fantastic – Everworld #6 – K.A. Applegate – Mini-Review

Christopher, April, David and Jalil are once again on the run. They made their escape from Fairy Land and are on the hunt for a way home. A few missteps and they end up in Hewten territory. There they meet Dionysus and Ganymede, two Greek gods. They need to rescue their new friends and make it out alive, a task that is easier said than done when you have to travel through Ka Anor’s territory.

(This is a mini review for the 6th book in the Everworld series. There may be spoilers for the previous five books).

When I started reading this book I realized that I remember very little of this one. I knew it was Christopher’s story and that it involved a lot of the Hewten. The issue I see is that I don’t feel that attached to the Ka Anor or Hewten storyline.

This book should have made me afraid. It should have been tense and made me scared of this threat. Instead I just felt bored. I like the other books and the other stories because it is all about different gods and these teenagers trying to navigate this world. This one was kind of boring.

I found myself just wanting to get out of the area, knowing that they would and move on to Olympus. I didn’t care about the Hewten city. I didn’t care about the fact they could get eaten alive. The threat felt minimal. Even when we see Ka Anor (which I can’t really picture at all) I still didn’t feel that scared or upset at the situation. I think it is because it was so abstract and nothing much truly happened.

The saving grace of this book was Christopher. I have always like his character and this book solidified why. Christopher is the type of character that appears one way but is deeper and more considerate underneath. He hides his insecurities under humor and makes some off color jokes but in this book you see who he truly is. He is a guy who just wants to live and have fun. He doesn’t want to be bogged down with responsibility and moral codes. But he realizes that sometimes you have to make decisions that will haunt you.

I forgot how many deeper issues these books touch on. In this one we see that Christopher has to choose between what he knows is right and his job. He realizes some may seem him as this hard, racist and sexist guy when in reality he is just someone who makes a joke but doesn’t mean them. He begins to realize the face he is showing to the world and the person who truly is are getting confused and misconstrued. I came away from this book wanting to see how far his character grows and who he becomes.

Black Wings Beating – Alex London – Review

Kylee has a secret, one that could change her and her brother’s life forever. The village they live in is being threatened by an outside force. They need to go on a mission to capture the elusive Ghost Eagle. Can Kylee help her brother without revealing who she truly is? Can Brysen prove his worth outside of his sister and save the boy he loves? What happens when secrets get out and the world around them begins to tip?

This book is about the relationship between this society and their falcons and birds. I adore any story that surrounds animals. (Though I always get nervous because I don’t know if an animal is going to survive). I love to see the way stories tell about the relationship between a people and their animals.

This one is interesting because of the way the story works with the birds. I like that the villagers can tame the birds but are never in full control of them. They know that they can’t fully keep these birds down. They know they deserve to fly and be free and it kind of comments back on their way of life as well.

I also like Kylee’s character and her relationship with her brother Brysen. Kylee is a strong minded person who realizes she also has responsibilities. I liked her because you saw that she wanted to get away and be free but she also was not going to let her brother get hurt in the process.

The sibling relationship was the best part of this book. That dynamic grew throughout the story and you saw the secret ways they tried to help each other. You realize that Kylee has always been trying to protect her brother even if he doesn’t release it. You see that Brysen needs his sister if he won’t admit it. I liked that build up and that growth.


I wasn’t fully attached to any of the characters. I liked Kylee but she wasn’t someone I latched onto. She was there but I didn’t find myself scared of what would happen to her. The same went for Brysen. They felt a little flat to me.

I felt like we were told a lot about who they are but never truly shown those things. We got them thinking it over but never acting out to show that side of themselves. You knew that they had secrets but it didn’t feel life altering. I wanted more to be at stake for them. I even wanted them to have more negative or darker sides to them.

The story didn’t feel like it had high stakes to me. I felt like we were just moving piece to piece. I didn’t feel like there was anything in the way that was going to truly stop them. It felt like it was just moving gently along. One issue solved then another and it solved without much fuss.

I didn’t feel any urgency from the plot. I didn’t feel like I wanted to rush to the end. Even the end didn’t leave me wanting the next book right now. I may read the sequel one day when it comes out but I won’t rush out to get it.

I gave this book 3 stars because it was fun to read, loved the birds but wanted it feel like more was at stake and like there was a possibility of true failure.

“Kylee hated the assumption that boys always made when she was made, like her emotions weren’t a part of her thinking mind like theirs but rather tied to the moons and the winds like an animal’s.” (pg. 53)

“The truth was rarely kind, so why not let a lovely lie linger?” (pg. 101)

“It wasn’t the words themselves that had power but the memories that stuck to words like ticks to deer, draining and infecting them. If you shut down your memory and ignored the knowing-self inside you, you could say anything.” (pg. 127)

“He was the sort of man who’d rather take a punch than let go of his hate.” (pg. 186)

The Crucible – James Rollins – Review

Christmas doesn’t go as planned for Monk and Gray. As they head back to Grey’s home they find those that mean the most to them are severely injured or kidnapped. Now time is ticking down as they hunt for those who took them while also battling a new threat, AI. Eve, a computer program, is wreaking havoc on the world and there is only one young woman who can stop her, but will it be in time before destruction takes it toll?

This story focused on AI and it was fascinating. I have always been intrigued by the idea of AI. It is one of those things that is great because of what it can do to help the world but it also one of those things that is terrifying because of how out of control it can get.

This story explored the darker side of AI. We see that in the wrong hands so much destruction can happen. Lives can be lost. I thought it was very clever the way the book talked about the two forms of Eve, the AI. There is the benevolent side and the darker side.

It was great because it looked at how to train her. You realize that what works on humans works with this program as well. Pain was used as a training mechanism and you see what that kind of torture does, close to what it does to a real human. It is a bit scary how close to real humans it seemed.

I also liked the focus on Monk and his family in this book. Monk has been the focus before but here you get to see a softer side of him. I also like that he knew Kat well enough to make decisions she would want. He doesn’t coddle her. He does procedures that helped them even if it hurt her because he knew that was what she would want. Even in a coma he didn’t treat her as fragile and breakable. He kept her strong and I loved seeing that side of their relationship.

I though this book as going to center on the storyline of finding Seichan and the girls. I thought that this was all going to play into one another but it really didn’t. It felt like two separate storylines.

I understood that this was more a set up for a future conflict between Valya and the Sigma Force group. It was just mentioned a few times though. I had trouble understanding what Valya’s issue was. She wanted the technology but I had no idea why. I didn’t get what her end game was.

She mentioned that she wanted the girls to raise as her own. Is she trying to set up a new group? What does she want in the end other than the end of Sigma? I wished we had gotten more from them and a better idea of where that story is going

This could have set up a good amount of time to build up Seichan’s character. We see that she is afraid of being a mom and feels like she can’t manage it. I thought we would see her find a way through helping the girls but we barely touch on it.

The idea is there but it isn’t explained well. There is no focus on how she is developing. I wanted to see her try to realize she can be a fighter and a mother. I wanted her to come to that realization on her own instead we got a quick thought from Grey at the end and that was it. I felt like we lost out on some great character development.

I gave this book 3 stars because while I enjoyed the storyline I wanted more from Siechan’s character.

Queen of Air and Darkness – Cassandra Clare – Review

Death has fallen over the Blackthorn family. The Shadowhunter world is once again thrown into chaos. Julian and Emma have to fight to save their world, their family and their loved ones. But their cures is getting stronger. How do they save everyone else and themselves at the same time? What sacrifices have to be made?

One thing that Cassandra Clare does really well is creating a series where the whole thing wraps itself up well while also leaving room for more. This book ends in a way that lets us know our main characters are in a good spot. But there is a hint that this story is not over, that these characters are not going to be able to just run off into the sunset and be happy forever. She always leaves room for more.

While I love this idea, especially because there are certain aspects of this story that I wasn’t quite satisfied with, it also makes me wonder if and when things will truly end. I love this world but I do want to eventually get to a point where the end is the true end and I am not wondering about things afterwards.

I thought the way we learned more about Julian’s character in this book was great. We learned that some of his behavior wasn’t as scary as it seemed before. The way he handled certain situations and seemed to be manipulating people was because he was protecting everyone around him. I was worried about what he would do to save his siblings and we see where he will go but we also saw that there was line he won’t cross. A few short paragraphs really gave us a full picture of him.

Cassandra Clare is someone who isn’t afraid to step out and talk about subjects some shy away from. Her books was the first time I encountered a gay character in a story. Since the introduction of Alec she has included a range of diverse characters in her books. In this one she took an even further step out and included a polyamorous relationship, which was interesting. I have not seen that before and I thought it was handled well.

I wonder at how that was received. I haven’t done much research on other reviews but I thought it worked well in the story. The situation was gone through, you understood the choices made and it works. I didn’t feel like it was there just to be there but was explored in a good manner. You realize it is right for these characters and that is what overall matters.

I also really liked the evolution of Kit’s character in this book. I felt like I got to know him so much better. I want to see more from him. I would be okay with a book, short stories or series about him. He needs more about him and not his past but where he is going from this point on.


In the very start of the book Magnus helps Julian in a way I was super surprised at. I won’t say exactly what happened because it is a bit of a spoiler but I didn’t understand why Magnus did it. He is someone who doesn’t do things because he is asked. He makes someone think about their choices more but he didn’t this time. I felt it was very out of character for him.

There is also a character that came back in this that had very little explanation of why. I was super confused by it and it was very glossed over. Why did he do what he did? Why wasn’t there more explanation to it? I felt like he was brought back to just be there to watch Ty. I wanted more about him.


There was one plot point at the end that really bothered me. I won’t say what exactly but it didn’t make sense to me. Two characters have an issue and there is no resolution to it. They fight and never fix it and it makes no sense to me.

One conversation could have fixed it but we are just left with one character thinking the other hates them. I hate that. I felt like it was a thread that could have at least had a small conclusion and been explored more later. I hope we get more because that was not enough for me.

Over all I gave this book 3 stars. I enjoyed the ride. I did think it dragged on a bit and some of the storylines could have been wrapped up a bit better. It did leave me wanting more though.


“Maybe the rest of them, in accepting the fact of her death, were the ones who didn’t understand.” – pg. 34

“Horace remind him of politicians shouting on TV, red-faced men who always seemed angry and always wanted you to know there was something you needed to be afraid of.” – pg. 60

“Perhaps you outgrew your dreams, too, as your world expanded.” – pg. 98

“Sometimes you have to let people blame you. When the only option is letting bad things happen, it doesn’t matter what people think.” – pg. 421 – One quote to sum up Julians character.

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