Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Wish Thief

Title: The Wish Thief

Series: None (currently)

Year: 2016 (first published in 2012 under the title Glory Alley and the Star Riders)

Author: C.D. Verhoff

Summary: A girl on a quest for the perfect stone finds more than she ever imagined. A modern tale about the power of hope, courage and persistence.

Glory Alley is a young caving enthusiast on a personal mission. Since Mother's death, Father started drinking again and can't find employment. Her siblings constantly quarrel with each other, making home feel like a war zone. Labeled a loser by her peers, school isn't much better. Thinking money will solve their many problems, she sets off to find the legendary treasure of Queen's Mesa. Just as the prize appears within reach, otherworldly beings arrive to take it away, but they have met their match in Glory. 

A battle of wits versus magic ensues, unraveling the order of the universe. Only the girl who started the trouble can return things back to normal. Considering her unhappy situation back at home, surely there's a better option than 'normal', but can she find it before time runs out? (from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Glory Alley
~ Clash
~ Bone
~ Needle
~ White Feather

Review: In truth, this review should have been up a month ago. Shame on me for finally getting to it.

The author contacted me about reviewing this book for her a few months ago. I will admit, I was instantly interested in this book based on the title alone. I mean, come on! The Wish Thief! Isn't that just epic? I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its title, but I think I may have. It sounded awesome. And then I went and looked it up, and judged the book by its cover, too. It sounded even more awesome. Of course I agreed to review it. 

All in all, this was one really cool adventure. Bits of it reminded me of Narnia, as Glory underwent tests and met interesting people in a new world. Other parts reminded me of a dystopian novel. There was even some sci-fi flair in there as well. Basically, a little bit of everything to please any reader.

Glory Alley isn't your typical heroine. In fact, for most of the book, she's not even the heroine. She's the bad guy. But the good guy all at the same time. Fascinating how that works. The fate of a world and perhaps much more of the universe rests in her hands, and her thoughts are for her family. That's one thing that I really liked about Glory. She's got a very keen love for her family, despite the hard times and arguments. Whatever she does, she does for her family.

The whole concept of the wish thief is so cool, and it got cooler with every page. Seriously. I could rave about that, but I won't. You'll just have to read that to figure it all out. Spoilers, ya know.

Most of the action goes along pretty quickly, and it's easy to get lost in the adventure. There was a section toward the middle where Glory is learning of the other worlds and the Elboni that is a lot of talking and information. There, the pace does slow down, and it gets a bit difficult to wade through, but its worth getting through. Trust me.

Also, shout-out to fantastic secondary characters! Clash was awesome. Which is why we need a sequel to this novel. And more of George. Which is also another reason for a sequel. *cough*

Advisory: Various characters use "fake profanity" and swear and cuss. Also, some adult comments from time to time. 

In addition, there is a scene where a character appears before people naked. Nothing is described, but following are multiple comments related to the unfortunate event. Just something to be aware of. 

As far as the magic is concerned (because magic is a big part of this story), it was the same as the magic in Narnia and similar stories. Glory comes from a world that doesn't use magic, so she doesn't know anything of it. It's not until she visits another world that she becomes aware of its existence. And even there, magic has strict regulations.

This book is categorized as "Christian Fiction" because it contains a lot of symbolism. At the end of the book, the author included a section explaining the symbols in depth. While I can't say I personally agree with all of it, I really enjoyed reading through that and understanding the story at a deeper level. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*Please note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot)

Title: Murder on the Orient Express

Series: Hercule Poirot (#10)

Year: 1933

Author: Agatha Christie

Summary: One of Agatha Christie’s most famous mysteries, Murder on the Orient Express was inspired by two real-life crimes and the author’s own experience being stranded on the Orient Express during Christmas of 1931. While traveling to Paris, a wealthy American is stabbed to death in his cabin on the Orient Express. With the train stuck in a snowdrift, there is no easy escape for the killer. Fortunately, detective Hercule Poirot is aboard and launches a clever investigation into the curious assortment of passengers, of whom each seems to have a motive. (from Goodreads)

Main Characters: 
~ Hercule Poirot 

Review: To be completely honest, it took me years to get around to actually reading this book (which I can blame on the long time it took me to hunt down a copy of the book). I'm a new-ish fan of Agatha Christie, muchly provoked to read her works by one of my best friends. And yes *ahem* I say provoked. But Agatha Christie is well worth the read, provoked or not. However, I began reading this book with a complete knowledge of how it ended (i.e. who the murderer was). Thank you, creative writing teacher first semester. Despite knowing the outcome, I was eager to see *how* everything wove together.

I was not disappointed. 

It was amazing. 

I've always loved mystery novels, but for the most part, my experience with them has been limited to Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Bobbsey Twins (Boxcar Children really don't count). Sherlock Holmes didn't enter my life until high school. I didn't even know Agatha Christie existed until after I'd turned 20. I didn't realize how much I'd missed until one of my sisters gave me an Agatha Christie novel for Christmas. Murder on the Orient Express is my third AC novel (but my second Hercule Poirot), and it was thoroughly and absolutely amazing.

I won't say much about the story itself as it is hard to write a summary without giving too much away, but I will say that this definitely deserves the reputation it has garnered. A classic mystery, classic Agatha Christie, classic everything. I'll stop fangirling now. But I really want to go read more of her novels now. If you're any fan of mystery, read this book. If you're any fan of Agatha Christie, read this book. If you're any fan of classic and clever stories, read this book. You won't be disappointed. 

Hercule Poirot is a fantabulous detective, and I loved following him about as much as I've loved following Sherlock Holmes. While Murder on the Orient Express is the tenth book Agatha Christie penned about him, you don't necessarily need to read the previous nine books to understand what's going on. This novel stands completely on its own, so make sure you go read it.  

Advisory: Some typical murder mystery details of dead bodies and whatnot. Nothing alarming to report. Also, if my memory serves me correctly, there may have been a choice word or two to watch out for. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars