Frankenstein: The painting of a naked man, twisted so that only his back, right knee, and anguished face show.

Book Review: Frankenstein is Fascinating and Free

Reading a classic book is not the same as reading something published relatively recently. You go in with different expectations, and sometimes maybe even with a  sense of obligation: “I’ve got to read this book so I can sound like I’m well-read” or “I’ve got to read it for a class.” I challenge you to read a classic book of your own free will and choice at least once a year. It’ll be like looking back through time, a way of gaining a “multi-generational awareness.” It can be quite fascinating. Case in point? Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It’s a fascinating story, not just because it’s 200 years old.

What Is Frankenstein About?

From Goodreads:

 At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but, upon bringing it to life, recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature he created turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. [It was] an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only [because it] tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever

The styles of storytelling have definitely changed in the almost 200 years since this book’s original publication; it was almost 100% narrative, which got tedious. But there is definitely more to the tale of Frankenstein that I’d originally thought.

What’s The Deal?

The Kindle version is FREE.

Who Would Like Frankenstein, And Why?

Anyone who wants to read a good book. I’m not a particular fan of the horror genre, but this was pretty tame.

a puff of smoke against a white backdrop, with "Survival" in green script below that

Book Review: Survival

It’s been an interesting week, with school shopping, some family drama, friends having drastic problems, and a bunch of job interviews. And it seems that the closer we get to the school year starting, the more time speeds up! I’m not quite ready! I mean, I’m excited, but not ready yet! In the meantime, I just finished a novella called Survival by Rachel Watts. It’s a post-apocalyptic Blade Runner-ish kind of book, and a compelling read.

a puff of smoke against a white backdrop, with "Survival" in green script below that

What Is Survival About?

From Goodreads:

The world has suffered economic collapse and multiple environmental crises. In a flooded city, Ava Murasaki is searching for her activist sister Sophia. Meanwhile, Valerie Newlin lives in the secure complex of the Scylla Corporation, the world’s only remaining multinational. There, she finds evidence of something horrifying in the Corporation medical research data. Set in a searingly real near-future, Survival is a story of what people will face for those they love. This is a devastating vision of a post-climate change world in which governments have collapsed and corporations rule with an iron fist.

It takes place in a flooded city where a dam failed five years ago and there wasn’t enough left of the government to clean up the mess. So some people moved to higher ground, but most just built shanties and docks on the water and took over the office towers that had once housed businesses but whose lower floors were now permanently submerged. And in the middle of the squalor sits a giant corporate complex on dry land, walled off and impenetrable, a city unto itself.

Although it’s this dichotomy that should drive the conflict of the book, it’s more about the dynamic between Valerie, a corporate scientist who discovers an awful secret about the corporation and wants to reveal it to everyone, and Ava, a young woman from the outside trying to find her sister. Their paths cross, their goals align somehow, and they have to work together to infiltrate and bring down the corporation.

Who Would Like Survival, And Why?

If you like dystopian books, you might like this book, but it’s not the dystopia of books like Matched by Ally Condie or Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. There is no romance or heavy-handed government. Thankfully, there’s no killing competition either, even though the title would suggest that there is. The characters are older and deal with darker things. There is some death.

If you like books written with style, such as Maggie Steifvater’s Dream Thieves, you’ll definitely like Survival. These lines are very representative of the narrative’s flow and imagery:

Ava stepped out...and walked through the floating suburb, feeling hundreds of invisible eyes on her. They settled on her, carved into her, made her brittle.

Keep in mind that it’s basically a short story, and comes with four other shorter stories by the author, which is part of what you pay for.

What’s The Deal?

The Kindle version of Survival is just $2.99!

Nutrition Facts, Anyone?

Profanity (d*, f*, sh*): 6

sex: none

violence: some

negative themes (greed, selfishness): throughout

positive themes (familial love): throughout

 

 

The words "Atlantia" in large white script above a seashell just touching water and sending out a small ripple. "Ally Condie" below that.

Atlantia by Ally Condie: Well-Crafted and Inexpensive

Can you believe it’s time to start getting kids ready to go back to school? On the one hand, I’m looking forward to watching my oldest start high school and my youngest go into fourth grade. On the other, though, I’ve enjoyed the good times we’ve had this summer, playing at Lagoon, going to the movies, and taking “road trips” (i.e., fishing expeditions where I didn’t catch anything but everyone else did). I’m thankful for the relative peace we’ve had, and our health! I also love that I found Atlantia by Ally Condie, and that I can share a great deal on it with you! It’s such a well-crafted book.

What Is Atlantia About?

The words "Atlantia" in large white script above a seashell just touching water and sending out a small ripple. "Ally Condie" below that.From Amazon:

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamed of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose. Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

Who Would Like Atlantia, And Why?

I love when a well-crafted plot draws you in as it unfolds to reveal many pleats and twists, and then closes in around you as all those twists fold back in on themselves to make a nice little braid of detail. The fact that this plot takes place primarily in an underground city that is vivid and clear adds to the charm of this book. The only thing that keeps me from giving this book 10 stars is that, in the end, I couldn’t quite identify with the main character, Rio. I’m not sure that I could put my finger on the reason why, but it has something to do with a slight lack of emotion, or lack of the whole spectrum of emotions in her. Other than that, this was a great read. So, anyone who likes a well-written book will like Atlantia.

Also, if you like fantasy books like The Selection by Kiera Cass or the Matched trilogy, also by Condie, you’ll like Atlantia.

What’s The Deal?

You can get the hardcover version of Atlantia, which sells for $18.73 on Amazon, for $4.59 on Thriftbooks. Dude. Hardcover. You can get a used paperback copy in decent condition for $3.79.

The words "To Ride Pegasus" above the image of three women gathered around a man in wizard's clothes, and behind all of them, a horse.

Book Review and Deal: To Ride Pegasus, An Informing Read

Can I tell you why I’m fascinated by science fiction, as both a reader and a writer?

  1. it allows so many opportunities to explore the possibilities of our scientific knowledge, technology, ability to space travel, etc.
  2. In a way, it provides me with hope that we as a species will be able to overcome the problems and contentions we’re currently experiencing and emerge even stronger.
  3. It’s a relatively new genre, having only begun in the 1930’s and hit its stride in the 1960s and ’70s. Soft science fiction, which is the subgenre some of my manuscripts belong in, only emerged in the 1980s. This means there are so many story ideas that haven’t yet been explored!
  4. Women who have had successful science fiction writing careers are particular examples of perseverance and talent.

 

A picture of Ann McCaffrey in her later years, seated, with white hair, a multi-color jacket, and a cane.
credit: Wikipedia

Ann McCaffrey is one of those women. Before she passed away in 2011, she had a 46-year career as a science fiction writer, publishing 120 books, short stories, and novellas. She was the first woman to win a Hugo Award for fiction and the first to win a Nebula Award. Her 1978 novel The White Dragon became one of the first science-fiction books to appear on the New York Times Best Seller list. I totally want to be her.

One of her many books, called To Ride Pegasus, is somewhat characteristic of the New Age of science fiction, during which writers in that genre placed a greater emphasis on style and storytelling than previous writers who had focused more on premise. To Ride Pegasus, as a representative of that age of science fiction writing, is a fascinating read.

What Is To Ride Pegasus About?

From GoodReads:

They were four extraordinary women who read minds, healed bodies, diverted disasters, foretold the future–and became pariahs in their own land. A talented, elite cadre, they stepped out of the everyday human race…to enter their own!

What Is The Deal?

You can get To Ride Pegasus for $3.79 on ThriftBooks, which is more than $4 less than the $7.99 you can get it for everywhere else.

Who Would Like To Ride Pegasus, And Why?

I would argue that anyone who considers themselves any kind of a science fiction has to have read at least one Ann McAffrey book, and this is a good one to start with. This isn’t my favorite of Mrs. McCaffrey’s because the conflict wasn’t particularly focused, the main point-of-view character switched to someone else a third of the way through the book, and the climax and denoeument took place in all of about five pages. This is a book you read to become a more knowledgeable fan of the superhero sub-sub-genre of science fiction, of which books like Steelheart are more recent, typical examples.

 

"Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression" over a pile of white word pieces with various emotions (i.e., "anger," "amusement") in big black letters on each tile.

Writerly Advice: Get and Use The Emotion Thesaurus

I don’t know about you other writers, but sometimes I’ve struggled to find different ways to show character’s emotions, rather than tell. I think it’s part of every writer’s journey to learn the difference between showing and telling (e.g., “she cried” vs. “she felt sad”) then think of the myriad ways in which emotion can be shown, and then  effectively show character emotions with voice and style. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, is definitely a book that has helped me on that journey, and I highly recommend it to anyone seriously looking to improve their writing abilities.

What Is The Emotion Thesaurus About?

From Amazon:

One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character’s emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This book comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each. Using its easy-to-navigate list format, readers can draw inspiration from character cues that range in intensity to match any emotional moment. The Emotion Thesaurus also tackles common emotion-related writing problems and provides methods to overcome them. This writing tool encourages writers to show, not tell emotion and is a creative brainstorming resource for any fiction project.

For each of 75 emotions, there is a definition and lists of physical signals, internal sensations, mental responses, cues of acute or long-term states of that emotion, cues of suppressed versions of that emotion, and tips. The lists of physical signals are usually the longest, which is very helpful, and the internal sensations shorter. As I’ve done more and more book research, talked to more and more people, and read more and more books, I’ve found myself adding to the list of internal sensations. For example, for the emotion of loneliness, Ackerman and Puglisi list these internal sensations (i.e., ways loneliness might physically manifest itself in someone, and how those physical manifestations might be interpreted):

  • a thickness in the throat signaling the onset of tears
  • a longing so intense it manifests itself as an ache or pain
  • insomnia
  • fatigue

As I wrote Stranger In My Own Head (#1 & #2), which is about a girl who wakes up amnesic, being shot at by her grandmother, and with a boy who helps her escape and says he’s her boyfriend, but who she has no recollection of whatsoever and who has a troubled past that keeps interfering with their attempts to get away, I felt like loneliness would be one of the many strong emotions she’d experience. She’s only ever able to talk to Lorne, the “boyfriend,” unsure if she should trust him, knowing she can’t trust her grandma, being an orphan, and wanting to find someone else to reach out to to feel safer. To that list of physical manifestations of loneliness, I added things like:

  • feels like she has a heavy brain
  • vacuous chest
  • heavy steps
  • lack of energy

It’s been very helpful, as have the other six thesauri that Ackerman and Puglisi have published: Emotion Amplifiers, The Negative Trait Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, The Rural Setting Thesaurus, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus, and The Urban Setting Thesaurus. I highly recommend them.

What’s The Deal?

The Kindle version of The Emotion Thesaurus is only $5.99, as opposed to $14.24 for the paperback version.

Who Would Like The Emotion Thesaurus, And Why?

As I’ve mentioned, all fiction writers can benefit from this book, no matter the genre they write in.  I know that’s pretty broad, but it’s the truth.  Anyone who wants to avoid telling, clichéd emotions, or melodrama needs it.

The words: "readers pick up a book to have an emotional experience," a quote from The Emotion Thesaurus, over a fuzzy background with the open pages of a book at the bottom, a girl running through an amber field of grass, and a setting sun.

 

A Book That Is More Than It Seems: More Than This by Patrick Ness

More Than This, by Patrick Ness, is an interesting book. Indeed, by its title, you would think that there was more to the book than what it appears to be about. Or you might think that the main character would be seeking something more than the life he or she has been given. You might even think that the theme—the underlying story, if you will—is that we all need to recognize that there’s more to this life than what we think there is. If you read this book and thought any one of those things, you would be right…in a way. It’s a book that some would say is slow-moving and simplistic, the story of a teenage boy who wakes up in a place he’s not supposed to be who strives to make sense of his environment.  But you don’t have to think about it much to realize that its message is more than that, a deep message about life.

What Is More Than This About?

From Amazon:

Seth drowns, desperate and alone. But then he wakes. Naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. And where is he? The street seems familiar, but everything is abandoned, overgrown, covered in dust. He remembers dying, his skull bashed against the rocks. Has he woken up in his own personal hell? Is there more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?

Who Would Like More Than This, And Why?

Anyone who likes good writing, the kind that sweeps you along like a gust of summer wind, the kind found in books like The Giver by Lois Lowry or If I Stay by Gayle Forman, will like More Than This.  If you’ve read The Knife of Never Letting Go, also by Patrick Ness, you’ll probably like More Than This too, although it’s a different kind of book. Know that there are sci-fi-ish elements like those in Ready Player One by Earnest Cline, and dystopian elements like in Nemesis by Brendan Reichs. I can’t tell you what they are because that would give away a good portion of the plot.

What’s The Deal?

You can get a used copy of More Than This through Thriftbooks.com for $4.89.

Nutrition Facts, Anyone?

Serving size: 480 pages (print), 5430 locations (ebook)

Swear words (d*, f*, sh*, g*d*): 70

Incidences of violence (suicide, murder, death): ~15

positive themes (familial effort & love, charity): ~7

negative themes (selfishness, criminality, meanness): 3-5 big ones

gay characters/mentions: 1 (m.c.)

other (mention of masturbation): 1

Visual

via GIPHY

Favorite Quote

 

"The One Memory of Flora Banks" in big blue letters over a cloudy gray background

The One Memory of Flora Banks: Book Review & Deal

“I kissed this man on the beach. I know I did. I know it because it is still in my head. I have to get to him. He will save me.” So says Flora Banks, the main character in The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr. That one line summarizes the entire plot. The book is a look inside the mind of a girl with anterograde amnesia, whose short-term memory was destroyed during brain surgery to remove a tumor a few years prior to the beginning of the story. Her best friend’s boyfriend kisses her at the start, and that, of all memories, is the one that sticks, and she spends the rest of the book chasing it. It makes for an interesting read.

What  IsThe One Memory of Flora Banks About?

Here’s Amazon’s summary:

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So, when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world—in Svalbard, Norway—Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life. But will following Drake be the key to unlocking Flora’s memory? Or will the journey reveal that nothing is quite as it seems?

What’s The Deal?

BetterWorldBooks.com has a deal going on Pathfinder for $3.68, with free shipping.

Who Would Like The One Memory, And Why?

I read it because I was looking for a title to compare my YA amnesia book to in query letters to agents. Turns out, this book and mine are not similar at all. If you happen to be writing an amnesia book too, then read this. On the other hand, if you’re not a writer, but are just looking for an interesting YA read, then read this. If I had to pick a genre for it, it’d be contemporary YA because there are no fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, or historical elements.

Note: there are two affiliate links in this post, both to vendors of the books. This means that I get a small amount of money if you click on one of them to buy the book. This money helps me provide more book, video game, and movie reviews and deals for you guys. I only provide affiliate links to products that I’ve read/played/watched and think others will enjoy.

A young woman in a feathery, light-blue ball gown stands in front of a multi-faceted mirror behind the words "The Selection by Kiera Cass"

Book Review & Deal: The Selection, A Delightful Read

Finally I know why people rave about The Selection series by Kiera Cass! I’ve heard people talking about it for years, and finally decided to get it when I saw that the Kindle version of the first book was on sale for $2.99. I finished it in a few days, then immediately bought the second book in the series, read it in two days, bought the third, and read it in 1 1/2. Altogether, they were delightful reads, with a purely lovable main character and a compelling storyline, and while the first one’s no longer on sale on Amazon, it’s only $3.99 on BetterWorldBooks.com!

What Is The Selection About?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Amazon:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. [It’s] the opportunity to escape a rigid caste system, live in a palace, and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, and competing for a crown she doesn’t want. Then America meets Prince Maxon—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

It’s dystopian, in the same sense that Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith and Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi are:  set in a far future where America and the other countries of the world no longer exist as we know them, but as new countries with different names, governments, and alliances. America Singer is the main character, a 17-year-old girl named after a country that no longer exists and part of a society ruled by a monarchy and bound by its caste system. She likes her humble life, but can’t pass up on the opportunity to be part of The Selection, even though she hates it, because it will mean more money for her family and a path out of poverty. The whole series follows her transition from the “life she always dreamed of” to the “future she never imagined.”

Who Will Like The Selection, And Why?

Obviously anyone who likes dystopian and the books I mentioned above will like this series. It’s also been compared to Divergent by Veronica Roth, and that comparison is apt. This book isn’t as bleak as those books or others in the genre, although there’s still violence. Because it involves a monarchy, it has more of a Dark Breaks the Dawn is like The Selection by Kiera Cass because of its dystopian setting. Dark Break The Dawn's cover is black with a swan-like white and purple crown hovering over "Dark Breaks the Dawn"speculative feel along the lines of Dark Breaks The Dawn by Sara B. Larson.

What’s the Deal?

There’s a used copy available from BetterWorldBooks.com for $3.98 with free shipping. Grab it now!

Sum Up the Book in One Visual?

This sums up America:

via GIPHY

Nutrition Facts, Anyone?

swear words (d*, f*, sh*, g*d*, h*): 13

incidences of nudity: 0

positive themes (familial love, honesty, striving for improvement): 3

negative themes (greed, power-hunger): 2

incidences of violence: ~2

 

Have you read The Selection? What did you think?

Big white letters "Us Against You" against the backdrop of a small town's bluish-purple night sky

Book Review & Deal: Us Against You, A Blunt But True Classic On Sale On Audible

I find myself in the very odd position of highly recommending a book I didn’t particularly like. Fredrik Backman’s Us Against You is the sequel to a book called Beartown, and one of several that Backman has written since  his New York Times Bestseller A Man Called Ove came out. It’s about the struggle fought by the residents of Beartown to deal with the traumatic consequences of a rape committed by one of their own against one of their own, under the guise of hockey as their common language. It’s rough and blunt, full of profanity, examples of how poorly most people deal with difficult things, and about how about how we’re oftentimes worse when we get in crowds. But the truths it shares about human nature are so spot-on and evocatively written that one can’t help but say to one’s self: “Once again, Fredrik Backman has put his finger on the pulse of humanity!” So, if you don’t mind the profanity and rough dialogue like I did, you will love this book, especially at 30% off the cover price.

Big white letters "Us Against You" against the backdrop of a small town's bluish-purple night sky

What Is Us Against You About?

From Goodreads:

After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach. Soon a new team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

As the big match approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt grows deeper. By the time the last game is finally played, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after all they’ve been through, the game they love can ever return to something simple and innocent.

a hockey player in a white and blue uniform pushes a puck across the ice, while a hockey player in a green and yellow uniform stumbles behind himIt sounds relatively benign and easy to understand, but it’s not, for a couple of reasons: 1) it’s told in a train-of-thought style, skipping around between the perspectives of several townspeople. There’s Maya, who’s recovering from an incident of rape that happened to her at the end of Beartown. There’s Peter, Maya’s dad and the coach of the hockey team, being led by a local politician with unknown motives, and then replaced by an out-of-town female coach. There’s Kira, Peter’s wife and Maya’s dad, who, like her husband, doesn’t know how to help Maya heal and is wrapped up in her own struggle of supporting her husband in his hockey identity while also trying to carve an identity of her own. There’s Benji, Ramona the Barkeeper, Ana the daughter of a drunkard and best friend of Maya, among others. 2)There is no one main character. This device, while brilliant on the one hand because it puts the truths Backman tells at center stage, makes it hard to connect with any one character, as most readers are wont to do.

But those truths! Here are a few:

“Fatima loved the people here because they didn’t try to pretend that the world was uncomplicated. Life is tough, it hurts, and people admitted that. But then they grinned and said: “What the h*? It’s supposed to be hard. Otherwise every bugger in the big cities would be able to do it!”

“Everyone wants to get paid, the only difference between us is the preferred currency.”

“What is a marriage if you take away the infatuation? A negotiation. Dear Lord, it’s hard enough for two people to agree what television programme to watch, let alone fashion an entire life together. Someone has to sacrifice something.”

“If you live with the same person for long enough, you often discover that although you may have had a hundred conflicts at the start of the relationship, in the end you only have one. You keep slipping into the same argument, albeit in different guises.”

“It’s hard to care about people. Exhausting, in fact, because empathy is a complicated thing. It requires us to accept that everyone else’s lives are also going on the whole time. We have no pause button for when everything gets too much for us to deal with, but then neither does anyone else.”

“Anyone who feels responsibility isn’t free…”

“A lack of respect is like sparks in a summer forest: if you don’t trample on them at once, the fire spreads until you find yourself surrounded.”

“Anxiety. It’s such a peculiar thing. Almost everyone knows that it feels like, yet none of us can describe it…. It’s an invisible ruler.”

Who Would Like Us Against You, And Why?

If you liked A Man Called Ove, you’ll probably like this book too, although it has a very different feel. It reminds me of many of John Steinbeck’s books, moody, stylized, and narrative heavy (little “action,” some dialogue, a lot of showing people living their lives).

What Is The Deal?

If you buy the audiobook from Audible (a service I HIGHLY recommend), you can get it for $20.95 (or 1 credit, if you’ve got the monthly subscription thing). That’s a good deal for an audio book, which often cost a minimum of $25.

Nutrition Facts, Anyone?:*

profanity (d*, f*, s*, h*, g*d*, f*g): 201

crude words (i.e., cock): 22

incidences of nudity: 1

incidences of cruelty: 2+

gay relationships: 1 (between an adult and a minor)

allusions to masturbation and petting: 2

positive relationships (formal and/or involving commitment, effort, love) or themes (hard work, love, trying to make people happy, charity): 3

negative relationships or themes: 6

 

Note: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I receive a small amount of money if you follow the deal link, at no extra cost to you. I only review and provide deals on books I think are worth reading.

*These numbers are not guaranteed to be accurate. In fact, please correct me if I’m wrong.

Book Review & Deal: Lost Years of Merlin, For $3.46

You know when you’re looking for a book to capture your kids’ imagination, or find one that’ll make them realize that they actually like to read? Maybe you make your kids keep their brain’s active during the summer, like me, or you have a child that’s a voracious reader and are struggling to keep up with their demand for books. Or maybe you’re an adult looking for a fanciful read yourself. For all of you, I recommend Merlin: The Lost Years, Book 1 by T.A. Barron. It’s one of those books that is just fanciful enough to enchant even the most recalcitrant reader, but plenty fanciful for those who like a good escape. I read it for the first time as an adult a few years ago, and enjoyed it alot. Merlin: The Lost Years, Book 1 is a great book for which I found a great deal.

What Is Merlin, The Lost Years About?

From Goodreads:

A raging sea tosses a boy upon the shores of ancient Wales. Left for dead, he has no memory, no name, and no home. But it is his determination to find out who he is – to learn the truth about his mysterious powers – that leads him to a strange and enchanted land. And it is there he discovers that the fate of this land and his personal quest are strangely entwined. He is destined to become the greatest wizard of all time–known to all as Merlin.

Who Would Like The Lost Years And Why?

The Lost Years reminds me slightly me Penric’s Demon by Louis McMaster Bujold, as well as The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. They’re mysterious, rural, a little bit moody, with young protagonists. It also shares a lot of elements with The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper, which I also highly recommend; it’s about kids on a quest that brings them in touch with ancient powers. If you or your kids like “quest” books (think 39 Clues), books about kids with powers, or books set in wild, old England, you’ll like this book. There are seven books in the series, mind you, so if you get started with one, you’ll probably have to read the rest.

What’s The Deal?

If you buy The Lost Years from Amazon, it’s $7.10 to $8.99, depending on whether you want a Kindle or paperback copy. BetterWorldBooks.com has a copy, however, for $3.46 with free shipping. That’s a $3.62 difference.