Book Review: Young Adult (YA) Fiction

Review: Garden of Shadows

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Garden of Shadows Book Review
3 out of 5 stars to Garden of Shadows, the 5th book in the young adult thriller series written in 1987 by V.C. Andrews. Two key things to note about this book. The author passed away while writing this book, and I’m not clear on how much VC Andrews wrote versus a ghost writer at the publishing firm. Also, it’s the fifth book in the series, but it is actually a prequel to Flowers in the Attic, so it should be read first. That said, if you read it first, you’d totally lose the power of the first book… it’s better to see someone as bad before you find out they were once good, as well as what pushed them to turn towards the bad life! If you haven’t read Flowers in the Attic, stop reading this review and go back to the beginning.

We find out what Olivia, the grandmother, was like as a child. We learn to like her for awhile, seeing how she was broken down by a wicked man and the loss of her parents at a young age. You begin to feel sympathy, but then you remember, it doesn’t quite matter what was done to you, you should know better than to repeat the cycle, right?

I loved and hated this book. Took too much to read, pushed in the wrong directions. But it also continued a devastating and complex family saga. I had some different ideas on how it should have come together, but I was barely a few years at this point to be able to say anything. Imagine a young kid saying “Oh, I can write that better.” LOL

If you read the series, you owe it to yourself to finish it with this one. If you didn’t, don’t start with this one even tho it’s technically the “first.”

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsBook Review
4+ out of 5 stars to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and supposedly final book in 2007 by J.K. Rowling. But then “Cursed Child” came out last year… so is a series really over? Not in our hearts and minds, my friends… this neither shall this one be… and although I considered spending a huge part of today drafting a very thorough review of Harry Potter, my instincts kicked in and told me not to do so… instead, let’s meet up and talk about it somewhere if you want to get into the details. I literally don’t have the ability to write everything I am thinking about when it comes to these books… and I wrote my first novel in less than 3 months with not a stitch of writer’s block.

Sometimes things just flow out of your creativity and into the world’s waiting and willing hands. And that’s exactly what’s happened with the HP book series. It’s the kind of book where you can read it at any age and feel a deep connection. You can re-read it and watch the movie all in the same day and never be bored or feel the need to do anything else. When HP movies are running on TV back-to-back over a weekend, I always catch a few of them.

These characters are wonderful. The plot is just brilliant. And in this last book, when all the surprises burst from within our own little goblet of fire, we find true nirvana in a set of books unlike any other. From drama to shock, sadness to beauty, Deathly Hallows re-invents the construct of an emotional roller-coaster. Whether you read the whole series or just picked up the last one, you feel the power inside the text… especially when you consider it all started with an innocent and scared little boy who lived under the stairs at 4 Privet Drive.

We are all Harry Potter at one point in our lives or during the course of his life. Could be when you were a child searching for someone to love you, or it may be now as an adult looking back on the differences you faced in the eyes of good versus evil. Whatever the connection is, you’ll feel it until you are no more… and while this may seem like an exaggeration or a rather ethereal point of view… one thing I know is true:

We all make the exact same face when we hear or think of anything to do with his amazing story: there’s a brief pause, our lips curl, our eyes roll back a little as we shut out lids, our breath thins out towards the back of our throat, and our hearts all decide it’s OK to stop beating for just that 1 second. And in our collective sigh of “I love Harry Potter” exclamations, we are all for once, connected by a shared intense feeling that might be strong enough to fuel the world’s future.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the 6th book in the Young Adult Fantasy series written in 2005 by J.K. Rowling. Although I could go on and on about this book, there are so many other reviews and reviewers who are likely to have a better one simply because they wrote it write after reading the book or watching the movie. I read it close to ten years ago, saw the movie at least 5 years ago, and though I would love to re-read them… my TBR pile is way too high. That said… it’s a fantastic series full of wild imagination, great beauty and intricate sentiment. In this book, Harry must connect with the past and his dark side, trying to figure out who this half-blood prince is… and when he finds out, everything is different. The book is about relationships… discovering things about yourself and others that you didn’t know. And when someone Harry absolutely adores is murdered right in front of him, and it’s connected with the half-blood prince, it sends Harry on a downward spiral, out of control, but necessary for him to find the inner strength to fight Lord Voldemort. I can’t even begin to write a review for this book… let’s just go get some coffee or a drink and talk about it. It requires us having an animated conversation… right?

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Seeds of Yesterday

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Seeds of YesterdayBook Review
3 out of 5 stars for Seeds of Yesterday, the 4th book in the “Dollanganger” thriller and young adult series, written in 1984 by V.C. Andrews. When I first read this series, I absolutely loved the characters and plot. It was mesmerizing and felt just dark enough to pass the reality line, but not too far where I thought it was completely unbelievable. Somewhere around books 3 and 4, it fell down for me. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t as good as the originals. I still enjoy hearing Cathy’s voice, understanding her point of view and knowing what happens with her and Chris. But her own children are terrible, and the concept of the seeds of yesterday coming back to haunt you… was mediocre for me. It’s a fine line to say what turns a good person bad, and a bad person to redemption. It’s rare I can buy such a change… or do I really want it to change in something like this. Writing is similar. Style is similar. But the plot just gets away too much for my taste. I gave it a 3 as it’s worth the read, have some cautions with it, but would still want to finish the series. One more to go!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Anne of Green Gables

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Anne of Green Gables Book Review
3+ of 5 stars to Anne of Green Gables, the first book in a series by L.M. Montgomery, written in 1902. I read this book nearly 30 years ago and had to refresh my memory a little, before writing the review. I’d forgotten it was part of a whole series. I read more than one, but not sure which other ones. I recall this first one… a tale about an orphan girl, acclimating to a new family, meeting friends and neighbors. On the outskirts, it’s a coming-of-age tale about a young girl becoming a woman and learning about the realities of life. It’s both a funny book to read and an educational one with some lessons. It’s something every kid should read, just to understand how good they have it… or if they are adopted, to learn how to deal with it. Anne’s a beautiful person, forgetting age for a few seconds. And whenever she’s around, it sorta feels like the comforts of home. If you haven’t sampled it, read one of the books in the series just to see what life was like for a girl like her over a century ago. It’ll be a positive read, even so many years later.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Book Review
4+ of 5 stars to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the 4th book in the “Harry Potter” young adult fantasy series, written in 2000 by J.K. Rowling. Although this one was close to a 5 for me, I think it’s enough to give 1 book in the series a 5-rating, which means this one will stay at a 4. But I still loved and adored the characters, the setting, the story, the themes… all of it! Rather than go into a detailed review, as we’ve seen too many of them (always fun to read tho!), I’m just going to chat a little bit about the parts that I enjoyed the most.

1. The selection of the 3 students to participate in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. It’s scary to think the schools condone putting the kids at such risk, but then again, I suppose they’d stop it just before anyone died or was hurt irreparably. To imagine the goblet of fire choosing one from each school, and then Harry’s name being cast as a fourth one… fantastic idea and approach. I felt the drama. And I loved having him put to the test mid-way thru the series… as he never seemed to be all that good of a student or a wizard!

2. The introduction of new characters in this one is intense. I loved all the folks at the various stages of the competition. To see feelings emerge for one another, to know they were going thru the same unrequited love and anger we all go through as teenagers. Was a good experience — I thought it was one of the more real aspects of the series.

3. The imagination for all the tournaments and the dance… fantastic. I wanted to be there watching it all happen. I can only imagine how it felt to write those scenes… knowing it would propel the characters forward in a very different path by the end. And to see the drama of how it all turns out.

I am feeling the need to re-read this series again soon…

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: If There Be Thorns

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If There Be Thorns Book Review
3+ of 5 stars to If There Be Thorns, the third book in the “Dollanganger” series written in 1981 by V.C. Andrews. After the first two books, I didn’t think you could keep the thrills and suspense going in this series, mostly because one family can only endure so much torture over the years. Surprisingly, I actually found I liked a large part of this book; however, it was a bit excessive and drawn out at times. The story, told from the perspective of Cathy and Chris’ kids, continues the saga of the torture from a wicked grandmother and mother, combining religious beliefs and family values. And it’s got a Gothic ending to keep readers enthralled the the concept of “payback’s a bitch!”

I love the series because it pushes the envelope. This one explores the theme of adoption, when two half brothers explore and learn who their fathers were and who they thought they were. Cathy and Chris are siblings, yet they are in a relationship and raising two kids. Jory and Bart are examples of good and bad growing up in a loving household, but tortured by the past. When Cathy and Chris’ mom re-enters the picture, you know something bad is gonna go down. And it takes one of the boys on a trail of vengeance. Mostly unrealistic, the books take you on a little jaunt into the wild imaginations of a tortured family who have done nothing but brought on their own destruction. Yes, some of them are innocent; some cross a line not really intending to harm anyone else. Others are truly out to instill pain, and some are just ill. Finding the balance among the different family members is good entertainment. There really aren’t any lessons in these books… just pure drama.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews