The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan — A Book Dragon Review

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Red PyramidBook Review Profile of the Red Pyramid

Title: The Red Pyramid

Author: Rick Riordan

Genre: Middle Grades Fiction

Main Characters: Carter & Sadie Kane

Small Bio: Sadie and Carter Kane find out their boring archaeologist dad is actually an Egyptian magician, who is trying to save the world from Apophis (the Chaos Snake). After Set (Egyptian god) captures their dad, Sadie and Carter must find out Set’s plan and save the world before Chaos has a chance.

Favorite Quote(s):

“I saw magicians dueling in a place. A man in tattered robes, with a shaggy black beard and wild eyes, threw down his staff, which turned into a serpent and devoured a dozen other snakes. I got a lump in my throat, “Is that…”

“Musa,” Zia said, “Or Moshe, as his own people knew him. You call him Moses. The only foreigner ever to defeat the House in a magic duel.”

Reviewer Thoughts: I love mythology. The stories about good vs. evil always get my blood pumping and normally it is greek mythology I cling to, but Riordan has opened up a soft spot for Egyptian mythology now. The format for this story is much different than others I’ve read from him. This is the first book series (before the seven Olympians) he goes back and forth in point of view. His first series was all Percy, so it was refreshing hearing from both of the narrators. Also, something I always enjoy is Riordan has small references to Christianity such as the Moses part and in other books, he references how there is an all powerful God above all the mythological ones. I can’t wait to read the next adventure for Sadie and Carter!

Goodreads.com Rating: 4.06 out of 5

Reviewers Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars —  Recommend to any pre-teen who loves fantasy, mythology, and adventure.

Keep the Reading Fire Going,

BookDragon

The Winner’s Crime {A Short Book Review & Recommendation}

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winner's crimeTitle: The Winner’s Crime

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Genre: YA Romance/Fantasy & Adventure

Age Group: Young Adult

Short Description: Kestrel is now awaiting her marriage to the prince of the Valorian Empire and Arin is the new governor of Herrani. Although, everyone has their place and it seems as if peace has finally been achieved there is still something lurking in the shadows. Kestrel becomes a spy against her own country  to save her father and the love of her life, but will her lies help her or be her doom? Read to find out!

Reviewer’s Thoughts: For being a middle book in a trilogy, Rutkoski kept me on the edge of my seat through the whole thing. My attachment to the love between Kestrel and Arin fuels a passion in my as I read. This isn’t just some typical romance, but a sacrificial love and the reality of falling for an enemy. Rutkoski brought tears, angry cries, and a heavy longing for resolution. I still have one more book to read and I can say I will be going to Barnes & Noble after work to collect it.

Recommendation: I recommend anyone who loves a well-rounded themed story to pick up the trilogy. The first book in the trilogy is The Winner’s Crime.

Overall Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮ (out of 5 stars)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child {An AshleyDannie Book Review}

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Book Review:

The 8th Installment–The Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Title:  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Author: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, & John Tiffany

Genre: Screenplay, Fantasy

Age Group: Adult, YA Literature

Short Description: The Cursed Child starts up at the epilogue from The Deathly Hallows. The focus is on Albus Potter, who is now a Slytherin student, and his new best friend Scorpius Malfoy. Rowling brought to life the reality of what life would be like for a child of Potter’s and a new adventure of facing an evil that seems to never die.

Reviewer’s Thoughts: The excitement overtook my emotions as I opened the first page of the book. I returned home to a fantasy world I walked in for over a decade with the books and movies Potter had given me. Now it was time to re-enter it as an adult. As a college student, the epilogue satisfied me with knowing the Potters and Granger-Weasley’s grew up okay, creating families, and no trouble found them. I actually still had that mindset as I started to read the familiar and new words of the Potter series. What I found out quickly is life isn’t a happily ever after–even in books. Rowling (and the others) explored what it would be like after the fact. How maybe Potter’s kids wouldn’t be the highlight of good or even Gryffindor. How maybe  Potter wouldn’t know how to parent a rebellious child because all he knows is war.

My reaction to it all surprised me the most. I loved it. The heartache and the struggle drove the screenplay. It made the Potter world even more real to me that yes it is a fantasy world of magic, but it also has the elements of real life family problems.

What I struggled with was the ‘bad guy’ of the novel. I don’t want to give anything away, but in my head, it doesn’t make sense where they brought her from. If I say too much it will ruin the joyous reading, so I will leave it at that. Although once I got past the confusion of the evil, I fell back into step with my Potter emotions.

I could imagine being on the train again and walking the halls of Hogwarts. I could smell the banquet meal and I cried when portrait Dumbledore talked with Harry. So to all the Potterheads out there, it is worth the read, because it is more than just another story, but it is another piece into the world that helped our generation define good and evil within the pages of a book.

Recommendation: I fully recommend this to any Potterhead who is of teenage age and older.

Overall Rating: ✮✮✮✮ (out of 5)

Don’t Ever Stop Reading,

AshleyDannie

Reaching into the New Frontier in their 3rd Installment

Star Trek’s New Frontier

new frontierStar Trek Beyond exceeded my expectations for this third installment in the new series. I have always been a fan of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto playing the iconic roles of Kirk and Spock. As I have watched them grow into their roles, I see the depth start to settle in their personalities. Even though many Star Trek fanatics are looking for the representation of the original Kirk and Spock, I don’t believe that is possible. Not that Chris and Zach aren’t capable of doing this, but the circumstances are quite different. In the first new installment, we watch Kirk grow up without a father, who inspired him to be in Starfleet. This mere change in the timeline changes Kirk’s whole view on life. Spock also has this new reality that is going to change and shape him into somebody different than the original. The effect from the different timelines brings in a darker and a more damaged storyline as the installments have progressed.

Not that Chris and Zach aren’t capable of doing this, but the circumstances are quite different. In the first new installment, we watch Kirk grow up without a father, who inspired him to be in Starfleet. This mere change in the timeline changes Kirk’s whole view on life. Spock also has this new reality that is going to change and shape him into somebody different than the original. The effect from the different timelines brings in a darker and a more damaged storyline as the installments have progressed.

new frontierBy the Beyond installment, both Spock and Kirk have dealt with the death of parents, betrayal from one of their own, coming to terms with the possibility of dying themselves, and now the uncertainty of where they want to go next in their lives. So with all of these darker themes plaguing their lives, it isn’t surprising the turn in character development Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto had to figure out for the ‘newer’ versions of Kirk and Spock.

 

 

Do I Recommend?

After watching the movie, I would say I enjoyed this installment as much as I have enjoyed the others. The characters have become a part of my fandom family. If I had to rate the film I would put a 7/10 on it. The only reason I would dock the three points I did is because it does feel somewhat like a Star Wars movie. The battle scenes, overcoming the death of parents and mentors, fighting against an evil that was onnew frontierce good screams Star Wars.Even some of the artwork released for the film resembles the look of a Lucas film (see picture to the left.) Maybe Star Trek and Star Wars have always had the closeness and we are just starting to realize it or maybe there are many of the similar influences involved in both coughabramscough, but you can’t deny there is something familiar.

Even some of the artwork released for the film resembles the look of a Lucas film (see picture to the left.) Maybe Star Trek and Star Wars have always had the closeness and we are just starting to realize it or maybe there are many of the similar influences involved in both coughabramscough, but you can’t deny there is something familiar.

Now, I am not trying to start a Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate, because if I had to choose I am Star Wars all the way, but I have respect for the Trek world. So, all-in-all great movie, great cast, and a fantastic storyline. Go see it!

Live Long & Prosper

 

AshleyDannie

 

Want to Go Back to Camp? Five Summers Will Take You There.

Five Summers

Book Review Profile

Title: Five Summers

Author: Una LaMarche
Genre: YA Fiction

Main Characters: Jo, Skylar, Emma, &        Maddie

Small Bio: Five years of camp and friendship are in their past, but reunion weekend is about to bring up memories & betrayals that they have been hiding from each other since their last summer three years prior. Will the JEMS of Camp Nedoba survive the heartaches?  

Favorite Quote: “I get it,” Skylar said, “No one loves you like your camp friends do.”

Reviewer Thoughts: Five Summers took me back to the campfires, late night cabin talks, crazy games, and life-long friendships I had in my 10 years of going to summer camp as a camper and counselor. The sting of betrayal from friends and from your crush is the worst, but it is life. LaMarche brings the reality of camp to life and the realistic ending you hope to always have. I loved reading about the JEMS and they made me relive some of my own memories, but just like them, you need to move forward, even though sometimes the first step is going backward.

Goodreads.com Rating: 3.61 out of 5

Reviewers Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars —  Recommend to any teen who has gone to or is going to camp.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road–Dorothy Must Die

Follow the Yellow Brick Road because Dorothy Must Die

A review by Ashley Dannie

Dorothy Must Die We all know the story of Dorothy, Toto, and their adventure through the world of Oz to get back home to Kansas, but what happened after they made it home? Did they stay? Did they have a full life? According to Danielle Paige in her novel, Dorothy Must Die  things didn’t turn out like we thought.

Dorothy got bored and came back to Oz, becoming greedy enough to take over the kingdom, destroying the good she originally saved. Except forces beyond the control of any magical being of Oz has decided it is time for this to stop. Here enters Amy Gumm. A girl who lives in a trailer park with an alcoholic mom and a popularity score of -10 and counting. When a massive tornado hits Dusty Acres, Kansas (yes, Kansas…coincidence? I think not!), Amy experiences the same ride Dorothy felt all those years ago, but when she arrives it looks nothing like the storybooks she read of Oz.

On the side of the pit on which I stood, a vast field of decaying grass stretched into the distance. It was gray and patchy and sickly, with the faintest tinge of blue. (Paige 28)

Oz looked as if it was dying and through a complicated journey to Emerald City, getting captured by the spoiled Princess Dorothy and escaping for her life into the clutches of the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, where Amy trains for the most important task of a lifetime–kill Dorothy.

“What had I done to make them think I was a potential teen girl assassin?” (Paige).

Paige takes us on an adventure I never thought I would embark on. I have continuously looked at Dorothy Must Die over the past year off and on, not knowing if I wanted to read it, but I am glad I did. The way she used the classic base of Oz with her own devices to morph the story into the dark entity it needed to be was fantastic. I can’t wait to pick up the next book in the series. You will see all the familiar characters from the Cowardly Lion to Glinda to the Wizard. You will also meet characters you don’t know about unless you read Frank L Baum’s actual story.

Even though there is a lot of good in this book, there are a few concerns I have for it. It is violent and graphic. I would examine yourself and see if you are ready to read something like that. Also, she cusses more than I would like in the book for a YA novel. I know kids say worse things than what we find in their books, but as a small group leader, I find it concerning.

Other than those few issues I just stated above, Dorothy Must Die is an action-packed adventure to add to your Oz reading list. I rate it 8/10 stars and will be picking up the second book here very soon.

Happy reading!

AshleyDannie

A Small Look into My Amazing Weekend at Disney!  

My Amazing Weekend at Disney!

Preliminary Review of New Attractions

Written while Stuck at the Airport with Stupid Delays

So as you know I went to Florida this weekend ( and technically still am there thanks to maintenance on the plane :/ ). So if I rated the trip I would say it was a 15/10!! Yup it was an amazing weekend that I needed very much! I mean come on I went to the Magic Kingdom on Saturday and if you don’t follow me on Instagram you should! I mean it…click the link…click it….CLICK IT!!! ….sorry got carried away…

Anyways, I blew up my feed yesterday and some of today with pictures for your enjoyment. Some new experiences I had there? Well, I am glad you asked!

  1. The Mine Ride! Okay so we did a fast pass and it was the best thing! It was a fun, fast-paced train ride with thrilling turns and drops. They even had some awesome storyline displays! Now would I stand in the 70-100 minute line for it? No. I loved it but it isn’t worth that long of a wait. So make sure it is on your fast pass list.
  2. Under the Sea! Okay so unlike the mine ride you DON’T need a fast pass for this. The longest it gets is 30-40 which it looked like was rare. If you have been on Nemo and Friends in Epcot it resembles that. It showed a life-like story of LittleMermaid  with songs to sing along with. Yes, I sang along. 🙂 Not one that is top ten list material but still a great ride!
  3. Refurbished Thunder Mountain! So haven’t been on this ride since they refurbished it and I love the new additions! They gave it character instead of just a ride in the Wild West and this character they added to the waiting line. Trust me the ride itself has always had a ton of character! Also, I realized as we were riding it that the ride is much smoother than before and faster! No more getting thrown from side to side in the train! I approve!

Of course, the whole new atmosphere of the circus and fantasyland additions made everything seem more real! Definitely love everything they did to the Magic Kingdom! Here is a gallery of many of the pics I took!

Oh Disney! Looking at Their Newest Animated Hit Zootopia!

Zootopia

Zootopia Review

Everyone knows Disney has a way of taking a story and bringing it to life and Zootopia, their newest animated masterpiece, keeps that tradition going. Being set in a fictional world where zoo animals take on the role of humans, Disney creates a story, which entertains kids and brings up modern-day issues for adults. How?
Well, the story is about a bunny, Hopps, who grew up wanting to be a police officer, but everyone kept telling her it couldn’t happen because of her size. Even in the academy at first it looked as if she was going to fail, but in the end, she worked so hard that she was top of her class, but the torment doesn’t end there. Once she gets to the force in Zootopia, the Chief still doesn’t believe in her and puts her on ticket duty–the easiest and safest job on the force.

During her stint as a ticket jockey, she stumbles into the biggest case in the city and putting her job on the line she must solve it in 48 hours with the most unlikely of partners–a fox named Nick Wilde.

I am not going to spoil the ending, but I will say it is worth the watch! Teens and older will understand the most sophisticated humor while younger ones will just have a great laugh. Also, what is great about this story is the messages behind it.

1. You can become whoever you want as long as you put in the hard work.

2. “Life’s a little bit messy. We all make mistakes. No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.” Judy Hopps

3. You should never judge someone on their shape, size, ethnicity, gender, etc. Preconceived notions are almost always wrong.

I can see Zootopia being a great tool to teach equality to younger generations because this is something we are continuously fighting against and have been since the dawn of time, or you know when we got kick out of Eden. I definitely give this movie 9 out of 10 stars!

So don’t wait! Join the adventures of Officer Hopps and Nick Wilde through world wind case to save their way of life!

Sarah J Maas Wins Me Over Again! Review of Her Latest Series

 

Sarah J Maas

A Court of Thorns & Roses Review

Written by Sarah J Maas

Combine the survival nature of Katniss, the fantasy world of Harry Potter, the classic Beauty & the Beast conundrum, and Sarah’s amazing writing style, you get a thrillingly romantic adventure you can’t stop reading.

Feyre is the youngest daughter of three in a poverty-stricken family, who lost their mother many years ago. The family lives in a small village in the Southern most parts of the island. Why? Because the tip of their island has a wall dividing it from the massive lands of the Fae. Rumors of the Fae coming across the wall doesn’t stop Feyre from going hunting to save her family from starvation. While hunting she comes across a deer, which was being stalked by a giant wolf and if she was going to eat she had no choice.

“His remaining golden eye now stared at the snow-heavy sky, and for a moment, wished I had it in me to feel remorse for the dead thing. But this was the forest, and it was winter.”

What she didn’t realize about the wolf was he was Fae and there were consequences. Brought to their land by Tamlin, a very attractive, but emotionally stunted High Lord, because of a treaty law, Feyre tries to find any loophole possible to break free and go home. Although, she learns quickly that staying might be the safest route for her. Now she must live in a magically dangerous world with a sickness that only effects magic spreading on the lands, but she doesn’t realize is she is their only hope in stopping it.

This being Sarah J Maas’ second series I have started I already knew going into the book I would love it. In a matter of eight-ish hours, I started and finished the novel, feasting on every word and every scene Maas gave me. Her new character Feyre, I will admit doesn’t compare to Aelin, but she has her badass moments. What I also like about the character of Feyre is she knows she has made mistakes and she doesn’t magically let them go by the end of the book. The pain of them still courses through her, which is more realistic, even though it takes place in an imaginary world.

” I lifted the ash dagger, something inside me fractured so completely that there would be no hope of ever repairing it. No matter how many years passed…”

Where the Throne of Glass series is more about saving the world and the love elements are just minor plots, in A Court of Thorns and Roses the plot roles are reversed. It is essentially a love story and has many influences of Beauty and the Beast, which Sarah told Teen Vogue was how the story started. First, there is the mere fact that Tamlin can transform into a wolf beast, with horns. Sound familiar? No. Okay, what about this. Feyre must sacrifice herself to living in Tamlin’s land for the rest of her life to protect her family. And if you know the classic fairytale, you know there has to be a witch and a curse, but I don’t want to spoil it.

Even though I have much love for this story, there was one disappointment for me. I felt as if I figured out the story within the first third of the book. As I read I kept figuring things out quickly and then wanting to yell at the characters, especially Feyre, for not seeing it! There is a riddle given toward the end and as soon as I read it I knew the answer. Maybe I figured everything out so quickly because Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale, but my disappointment in my picking up foreshadowing doesn’t change my excitement for this tale.

I will say though A Court of Thorns and Roses is going on my top books shelf for YA Literature and I can’t wait for the next in the series. Honestly, I can’t wait for anything by Sarah J Maas! Since I have fallen in love with Aelin and Fayre, she has moved onto my favorite author list, which is actually quite short. J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, Sarah Dessen, and now Sarah J Maas.

Don’t Ever Stop Reading,

Ashley Danielle