The Bewitching of Alison Allbright BY ALAN DAVIDSON
Publisher: Straw Hat (May 20th, 2012)
Length: 160 Pages
Source: Amazon Freebies
Series: Stand Alone
Completed: November 2013
From Goodreads: Alison Allbright has always sought refuge in day dreams - of having a glamorous mother and a lovely home, of being an exciting person, of doing all the things that the others at high school do - and more. When Mrs Considine appears, spinning her amazing web of fantasy and making those dreams come true, Alison is completely bewitched....until she discovers the catch.
From Goodreads: A British children's author whose work has been compared to that of Richmal Crompton, Alan Davidson is of Scots descent, and was born in Langholm. He was educated at Thorne Grammar School, and pursued a career in the Civil Service, before turning to editing and writing. His first children's novel was published in 1978, under the pseudonym A.D. Langholm, undoubtedly chosen to honor his birth-place. Currently, Davidson publishes under his own name, and later reprints of his earlier work reflect that change.
SETTING PACE AND STYLE
This book takes place in Atlanta, Georgia. With only 160 pages, it was an extremely quick read. Most readers could get through it in one setting. Written in England, the dialogues between the young characters were not really true to American style. It felt a bit like reading a fairytale, having both good and bad guys. This story is written in a third person perspective, told through the eyes of the main character Allison Allbright.
CHARACTERS AND PLOT
Alison Allbright the main character in the story lives in a very affluent area of town. Unfortunately, her family is on the lower end of the income scale. She and her brother, Keith, are two of the poorest kids in the school. They tend to miss out on plenty, living in a little run down house in a very poor neighborhood. Alison is embarrassed of her family, craving to lead a completely different life. She yearns to be rich and of course not unlike most pre-teens - popular. Then, one day everything she ever dreamed of begins to come true after a chauffeur runs over her bike and a wealthy lady, Mrs. Considine, who he works for replaces it. Unfortunately I struggled with making a strong connection with Alison, which isn't surprising because in the story she is friendless. Kids don't like her because she's a total sourpuss, pushing people away vs. letting them get close to her. It seems like she's a pretty girl - its just her personality and unapproachability make her seem far more ugly than a mirror would reflect. The horrific way she treats her family, especially her brother is disheartening. Mrs. Considine, the wealthily woman who replaces Alison's ruined bike starts off the story as a kindly sole. As the story progresses, it becomes pretty evident, something with her is really not right. Initially, I liked her. Then, I became very suspicious. She's a great character, someone who the author made easy to understand.
I recommend this to preteen gals more than guys, especially since the narrator is a female. I don't think boys may find a lot to like about this other than the sense of mystery. This is a suspenseful read with an overall moral to the story. Readers looking for something engaging, but quick should give this one a try. Its a nice clean read.
This book eludes to morals and character. Its meant to teach kids somewhat of a lesson, but is very subtle in the manner it goes about it - almost sneaky. I believe the ongoing mystery in this one will definitely be enough to keep even the most reluctant readers interested. The author does a wonderful job of building suspense and intrigue. A small pitfall is for me, I felt the story was slightly predictable. This is one of those books where it pretty obvious something isn't quite right. In the back of my mind I sort of saw the direction the story was going, but it still contained enough unknown to make it exciting and very worth flipping pages. The only aspect I wasn't a big fan of was the ending. Everything up to this point was well thought out, then for some reason the author chose to wrap it all up very abruptly. I wish he would have taken more time to craft a better ending, something that packed a little more of a moral punch. None-the-less, the abrupt ending didn't distract from my overall enjoyment. I still would recommend this book to young readers as a very captivating and engaging read.
I award this one four rings, deducting one ring for the ending, which I felt just didn't really suit the detail present in the rest of the book. I think it wrapped up just a little to quickly. I would have like to see it drag out quite a bit more.
4 out of 5 Rings (CAPTIVATING ~ LOOKED FORWARD TO READING)
From Goodreads: For more than a year Royce Melborn has tried to forget Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved him and his partner Hadrian Blackwater from certain death. Unable to get her out of his mind, the two thieves return to Medford but receive a very different reception --- Gwen refuses to see them. The victim of abuse by a powerful noble, she suspects that Royce will ignore any danger in his desire for revenge. By turning the thieves away, Gwen hopes to once more protect them. What she doesn't realize is what the two are capable of --- but she's about to find out
The Riyria Revelations and The Riyria Chronicles are two separate, but related series, and you can start reading with either Theft of Swords (publication order) or The Crown Tower (chronological order).
The Riyria Chronicles
1. The Crown Tower (August 6, 2013)
2. The Rose and the Thorn (September 17, 2013)
The Riyria Revelations
1. Theft of Swords (contains The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha)
2. Rise of Empire (contains Nyphron Rising & The Emerald Storm)
3. Heir of Novron (contains Wintertide & Percepliquis)
SETTING PACE AND STYLE
Pacing for this novel was slow to moderate and then really picks up in the last third of the book. Even during the slow parts, it amazed me I was never bored. It reminded me a bit of watching a soap opera, I kept wanting to keep on flipping pages to find out what was going to become of all the charters as their story was slowly exposed. Again, this story is told in a third person narrative, through multiple viewpoints throughout the book.
Its to be expected, in most second books, the author introduces new characters. In this series, the author introduces an entire slew of new players. For me, this was challenging, it was difficult to keep up with all of them. The main characters Hadrian and Royce aren't really even brought up until the second or third chapter.
The author opens the story with a brand new character, Reuben Hilfred. I wasn't sure exactly sure what to make of Rueben initially. As I read about him all I could think about was how he would fit into the bigger story. I kept hoping the author would switch back to Hadrian/Royce or at least Gwen's story. It seemed a little odd to me, almost like I was reading a completely different story. I think it was a little risqué to begin with a new character and I'm not sure it worked. I think I would have rather have the opening chapter be about either Hadrian or Gwen.
There is a multitude of new characters, too many to devote the time explaining them all in detail. I guess the take home message about this particular book is that it contains an abundance of new characters to read about and really get to know. The author does a good job of giving each character a unique personality, which I appreciated it helped me in getting to know them all better.
Strongly recommend this book to readers who have read The Riyria Revelations and want to get some more backstory on their favorite charters or those who have read The Crown Tower and want to continue the series.
The first book in this series held my attention with mystery, action and a touch of magic. This book, the second in the series, a completely different type of story, tantalized me with complex world building, politics and thievery. A decent amount of the story is spent on world building and complex politics of the land. Again, this was all somewhat confusing for me. In fact, one particular chapter, near the beginning of the book, I read twice to catch everything going on. I almost felt like this book was a different story all together for a while. Pacing for this novel was slow to moderate and then really picks up in the last third of the book.
This book lessened the degree of mystery and magic the first book held, but what it lacked in that area it totally made up for in a moving backstory and strong character building. I found this book to be a quick, entertaining read. I looked forward to returning to it each night until I was finished. When I turned the last page, I was very content.
Again, this is one of those great series where when one book ends, it feels complete, but at the same time, the author leads the story in a new direction. I can't wait to read Theft of Swords now to see what continues to go one in the lives of my favorite and not so favorite characters.
This book wasn't quite as exciting for me as the first book since I'm more of an action, magic and mystery reader. However, it still was a great story and added to the series. It did a great job holding my interest and was so entertaining that I'm really looking forward to reading the next series by this author.
4 out of 5 Rings (CAPTIVATING ~ LOOKED FORWARD TO READING)
The Atomic Weight of Secrets BY EDEN UNGER BOWDITCH GOODREADS | AMAZON Publisher: Bancroft Press (March 15, 2011)
Print Length: 320 pages
Format: Kindle File
Source: The Publisher
Genre: Steam Punk, Science Fiction, Middle Grade
Series: The Young Inventors Guild Book #1
Completed: October 2013
A small group of young children, belonging to primarily highly intelligent couples, get taken away (sort of kidnapped) by the Mysterious Men in Black. They are separated from their parents and sent to a farm like setting to be schooled by a young mistress named Ms. Brett. She is responsible for teaching them worldly things like cooking, gardening, nursery rhymes and classical literature, none of which they ever had any exposure to prior. During the time spent there they develop true friendships and special bonds with each other, something they were unable to accomplish in their previous lives. Despite the plush conditions, the entire time the kids are on the farm all they can dream about is how to escape to return to their parents.
Eden Unger Bowditch is the author of the Young Inventors Guild series. Inspired by her son's disappointment in the impossibility of the magic found in young adult novels, Eden wanted to tell a story about science—the kind of magic that’s all around, and the kind people can actually do. She hopes that the Young Inventors Guild series will inspire a love for the real magic of science in young adults and encourage them to to create, invent, and trust their imagination.
Growing up in Chicago, Eden later lived both in Los Angeles, Paris, Baltimore, and in Egypt with her husband and three children. She is the author of several nonfiction books about her longtime hometown, Baltimore, and has been a journalist, a welder, an editor, and musician. For more information, visit: http://www.younginventorsguild.com(less)
SETTING PACE AND STYLE
This story takes place in the past (1903), in Dayton, Ohio. The writing was long, drawn out, slow with extensive details. Sometimes the author went a little over the top with descriptive passages, while at other times his repetitious, nonsensical dialogue left me feeling overwhelmed. I do admit I've not read anything quite like this book before. Its told in a third person narrative from many different viewpoints throughout the story.
CHARACTERS AND PLOT
This story is far more a character driven story than a plot driven one. Lucy the youngest child, six years old, had and incredible memory. Her brother Jasper and an Indian girl named Faye were gifted inventors. Noah played the the violin with savant expertise. The last character, Wallace, was a chemist.
The author wrote in a descriptive prose, I felt like I did get to know the characters in great depth. I found them all very endearing and easy to root for. Each possesses a quirky personality, all were ultra intelligent beings, inventors of some sort. The children came from similar backgrounds, all were accustomed to being ignored by their parents and being teased by other children, since they were basically science geeks and had trouble fitting in. Sometimes, it was difficult to believe they were youngsters, other than when they had fears about losing their parents.
This would be a great book for patient youngsters who are happy getting plenty of integral details about the characters in the books they like to read. If you really want to get to know your characters, this book is a perfect fit. Also, kids who like mystery, suspense, science and inventing will find this one enchanting.
This book was utterly confusing to me. The length of the book versus the amount of stuff going on (or lack there of) baffled me, it really dragged on. For a book which is well over 350 pages, written in a very detailed manor, I was appalled by the lack of action. I felt like it took forever to make forward progress and spent most of the time moving laterally. Sadly, for more than half of the book, I had no idea where the author was taking me or could I even guess the main idea of the story.
The Mysterious Men in Black were a unique aspect of the tale. These men do not interact with the children, but are the ones responsible for transporting them back and forth to school from the homes they reside in with their nannies. These men are odd, wear very strange black outfits, ones you wouldn't expect men to usually where. In fact the costumes might even be considered somewhat feminine in nature. It will definitely keep young readers guessing on whether or not these men are good or evil. I felt like they were most likely protecting the children in the book. I'm not entirely convinced though because sometimes they acted as if they were not on the same side as the youngsters.
I found it extremely difficult to appreciate the slow pace of this story. It seemed to me like its main purpose was probably to set up book two. I have a feeling the next book might hold quite a bit more action then the first installment. My biggest fear is this book doesn't contain the right level of excitement to keep young readers engaged. The first book concluded much like the end of a chapter would. I didn't feel a lot of closer and I was left with too many burning questions, enough that I would probably say this one could NOT be read or appreciated as a stand alone. Despite the crazy slow, directionless story, the writing was impressive and the did make me care enough about the characters to see what she has in store for them in the next installment. Its just that I don't feel a real urgency to grab that next book and start reading.
Its hard to rate this one too low because the writing was beautiful and the plot was interesting enough to keep me treading forward, even though many times it felt like I was climbing uphill! In the end, I think I'll deduct two rings primarily for lateral plot movement and slow pacing.