Ultimate Blog Tour: The Die of Death

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Title: The Die of Death (The Great Devil War II)
Author: Kenneth B. Andersen
Rating: ★★★★☆

Philip’s adventures as the Devil’s apprentice have changed him—in a good way. Although he misses his friends in Hell, he has made new friends in life.
But when the future of the underworld is threatened once again, Philip’s help is needed. Death’s Die has been stolen and immortality is spreading across the globe.
Philip throws himself into the search—and discovers a horrible truth about his own life along the way.

The Die of Death is volume 2 in The Great Devil War-series and winner of the ORLA-Award.

The Great Devil War-series is a humorous and gripping tale about good and evil, filled with biblical and historical characters, such as Judas, Goliath, and Pontius Pilate, as well as modern figures such as Elvis Presley, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, and many more.

Hello my dear readers, it is finally my stop on The Ultimate Blog Tour! For this tour, a bunch of us bloggers took a look at Book 2 in The Great Devil War series by Kenneth B. Andersen.

I was pleasantly surprised by the first book, and immediately jumped at the opportunity to read the second book.

Before I begin, I just want to let you know that I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

Shall we get going?


The Character of Phillip

Phillip comes off a bit juvenile in this book, maybe even a little more so than he did in the first one. I’m hit and miss on this aspect.

On one hand, it’s nice seeing a kid be a kid and have an innocent point of view. On the other hand, it almost seems fake, because that’s now what kids are like any more.

Though he seemed a bit predictable at times, I didn’t think any of his actions were too obvious that it ruined the book for me

I think Phillip knocked Satina out of the spotlight a bit, which isn’t necessarily bad, but she was one of the things I enjoyed about the series so far, and I wanted to see her a bit more this book.


The Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding is something that I look for in books. It is one of the things that can easily turn me on or off to a book.

Andersen does a good job at worldbuilding, in my opinion. I think he did a great job in the first book, and kept that going in this book.

Though we are already somewhat familiar with Phillip’s world, we got a bit of a peak behind the curtains to Purgatory and Heaven in this book.


YA Category

Though I would consider this book Young Adult, it definitely is nearer middle years. Yes, it is a bit dark, but it comes off very child-like to me. If the dark aspect of the book wasn’t present, I think this book would definitely be middle years.

I don’t read a lot of YA these days, but I pick one up now and then, and it’s refreshing. They’re usually simple reads with interesting premises, so I enjoy exploring their pages.

This was definitely true for The Die of Death. It was a lot of fun diving deeper into the world that I enjoyed so much in the first book.


Slow and Steady Doesn’t Win the Race

Anderson’s pacing is one of his strengths when it comes to his writing. He seems to have mastered the pacing of the books in the series, knowing exactly when to press on the gas, and when to ease up just a little bit.

He makes it feel a bit stressful. Like there’s always something happening, and that the stakes are high.

This helps add to the connections you feel with the characters. You feel like they’ve achieved something, like they’ve failed or succeeded in their goals.


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If you do a little digging, it won’t be hard to find a bunch of other bloggers with reviews out there of this book. It was a lot of fun to read, and I can’t wait till I can get to book 3!

Let’s talk about The Die of Death in the comments, or on the social media!
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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: An Honest Review

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J.K. Rowling
Rating: ★★★☆☆

The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike

And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls’ bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone — or something — starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects . . . Harry Potter himself?

Hello my dear Potternerds. TO be completely honest with you, I will not worship Harry Potter like a lot of people do/will.

I have grown to understand the reason people worship it so much, and I will admit my dislike of the series has shrunk over the past few months, but I will not sit here and blow smoke up the Harry Potterverse ass.


Harry’s Luck

Harry is generally pretty lucky. He generally has things thrown in his lap that help him save the day. He does very little on his own to solve any issues, but I will say CoS is one of the books where he does manage to get a bit done on his own.

He still needs some help, but he sort of figures out parts of the mystery on his own, and he does manage to kill the giant basilisk.

Sure, a magical healing bird flew in to save the day with a magic sword, but I’ll give it to Harry because he managed to still kill a giant snake which would be absolutely terrifying.

If Harry is good at one thing, it’s not cowering from a fight. He doesn’t seek them out per se, but when they are thrown at him, he won’t back down.


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The Overall Story

What’s great about this book is that it sets up the premise for book six and seven, but we don’t know it yet.

I don’t know if Rowling intended it that way, or if she was smart enough to do a little bit of word smithing, but the fact that book 2 was the set-up of the Horcruxes is really amazing.

Once you read future books, book two makes even more sense, but alone, it works perfectly fine. You just assume Voldemort has come back in another form, this time in one of his old notebooks.

I’ll give it to Rowling, other than Voldemort’s respect for Harry’s summer vacations (he only causes issues during the school year), she definitely knows how to set up a premise for a story. Each of the books follows a great idea, that may have some issues, but generally is really interesting.


Voldemort

Voldemort is obviously an important part of the Potterverse. He is the main enemy, directly or indirectly, in each book, and is the ultimate villain of the entire series.

He doesn’t have a strong presence in this book, but he is there, or rather his memory is.

Though his ultimate goal in this book is a bit off from what he normally wants, it makes sense for who he is.

Voldemort is a well-written villain, and I think CoS is a great example of his character.

What’s Next?

None of the Harry Potter books “set-up” the future books that much. Sure they have ideas or plot lines that continue through the books, but they generally end when the book is over.


This would definitely be one of my favourite Harry Potter novels. Without thinking about it much, I’d probably put it in at number three.

Where would you put Chamber of Secrets in the overall Harry Potter ranking? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
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The Hunger Games vs. Divergent

Hello dearest readers, today we have a matchup for the ages! Two very popular YA series pitted against each other.

On one hand, we have The Hunger Games series, the other the Divergent series.

Both series will go head to head in a battle of five different categories, but only one series can come out on top.

If you have any ideas for a future vs. battle, let me know in the comments or on social media.
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The World Before the Books

The world of the Hunger Games is a small dystopian nation split into 12 different Districts, each responsible for producing a certain resource. Meanwhile, each of the 12 Districts needs to give a tribute each year for the Hunger Games – a battle royale mainly used for entertainment, but also to make the Districts submit to the government.

Divergent on the other hand is a relatively happy society. People are sorted into one of five different factions based on their personality. There are outliers called “Divergents” that present multiple characteristics for the factions. We find out later that they are in a sort of experiment and are being watched and their memories reset if needed.

This Round Goes To: Hunger Games.
Though I think Divergent has a better premise overall, it takes too long to learn they are being observed. We don’t get to find out till the final book. Hunger Game’s concept is going right from the start, so they take this round.


The Story

The Hunger Games focuses on Katniss surviving her hunger games, and another one, and then leading a revolution to overthrow the government. It has a nice progression to it, and there are only minor hints of the story being too ridiculous.

Divergent focuses on Tris as she trains to become a member of the Dauntless faction, her living with her Divergent nature, and then fighting in a civil war, before finally discovering she has been living in a social experiment.

This Round Goes To: Divergent
I loved the thrill that was the Hunger Games, but it didn’t explore the grittiness enough, and Katniss was more along for the ride than being a key player. Tris was a key player from the start, and though she had a lot of help along the way, she was never a background character in the story.


The Characters

The Hunger Games had a lot of interesting characters, some with some captivating backstories. We didn’t dive too deep into them, but when we did they were some of the best parts of the story. They were often damaged, hardened characters, and they played a key role in the story.

Katniss herself was a great protagonist in my opinion. She had a good depth to her, and I think she was a nice perspective for a YA Dystopian novel. She wasn’t the perfect protagonist that we too often get from YA novels. She had her flaws, she had her emotional struggles, but we got to see her get through them.

Divergent didn’t have a broad character list. Yes, we got to see a lot of different people while Tris did her thing, but they all felt like the same person. To me it felt like you could mold a few characters together and the story wouldn’t be lost at all.

Tris was Divergent, so we got to see her struggle with that reality, and her need to hide it from society. She had some depth to her, and she was a strong part of the entire story. She didn’t really take a back seat and let others tell her what to do.

This Round Goes To: Hunger Games
There was more diversity to the entire character list. Though both protagonists were a great part of both stories, the range of characters was what put Hunger Games through to win this round.

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The Ending

I’ll be honest. I hated the end of the Hunger Games. I felt like it was too rushed, and we didn’t get to flesh it out fully. I don’t think the characters got the justice that they deserved (Finn). I will admit that I am glad it wasn’t an entirely straightforward ending. With Prim’s death and Katniss killing the District 13 leader, I don’t think a lot of characters were expecting it to end that way, but it felt like the ending wasn’t true to the story, and the characters were just sort of left to deadlines and publisher’s demands.

Divergent wasn’t much better for me. Another series where I didn’t like the ending. I was fine with them all being a part of an experiment, and Tris dying in the end, but again the ending didn’t feel complete. Tris ends up dying, which isn’t common for YA novels in my experience, but she did have a change of perspective which is even more rare.

This Round Goes To: Divergent
The only reason Divergent wins this round (just barely) is because of Tris’ death and her change of heart. I liked that Katniss didn’t live happily ever after, Tris dies when she finally realizes she was in the wrong. I liked that a series wasn’t scared to kill its’ protagonist, so Divergent takes this round.


The Popularity

The Hunger Games was immensely popular with a lot of audiences, and the series seemed to take the world by storm for a few years.

Divergent, though seemingly popular with a younger audience, didn’t seem to get as much hype, though I think it was deserved.

This Round Goes To: Hunger Games


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The Winner: Hunger Games!!!

I think this was a close battle, despite Hunger Games taking the crown. They were both great YA series, and both had good and bad things about them, but Hunger Games pulled through because of the worldwide popularity it seemed to gain.


Do you think Divergent should have won, or is Hunger Games deserving of the crown? Let’s talk about it in the comments, or send me a message on social media.
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Quote of the Day: Prodigy by Marie Lu

“He is beauty, inside and out.
He is the silver lining in a world of darkness.
He is my light.” 
― Marie Lu, Prodigy

“You know, sometimes I wonder what things would be like if I just … met you one day. Like normal people do. If I just walked by you on some street one sunny morning and thought you were cute, stopped, shook your hand, and said, “Hi, I’m Daniel.” 
― Marie Lu, Prodigy

“Love is illogical, love had consequences–I did this to myself, and I should be able to take it.” 
― Marie Lu, Prodigy

“The first time I saw you, when you stepped into that Skiz ring against Kaede, I thought you were the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. I could’ve watched you forever. The first time I kiss you…” That memory overpowers me now, taking me by surprise. I remember every last detail of it, almost enough to push away the lingering images of the Elector pulling June to him. “Well, that might as well have been my first kiss ever.” 
― Marie Lu, Prodigy

“See?” she says. “tricked you. You’re always staring at your opponents eyes-but that gives you a bad peripheral view.If you want to track my arms and legs, you have to focus on my chest.”
I raise my eyebrow at that. “say no more.” 
― Marie Lu, Prodigy

“Day, the boy from the streets with nothing except the clothes on his back and the earnestness in his eyes, owns my heart. He is beauty, inside and out. He is the silver lining in a world of darkness. He is my light.” 
― Marie Lu, Prodigy

“Yeah, something was wrong. That was the understatement of the year.”
― Marie Lu, Prodigy

“I want to run. To do what I always do, have always done, for the last five years of my life. Escape, flee into the shadows. But this time, I stand my ground. I’m tired of running.” 
― Marie Lu, Prodigy

“I make sure to keep a good distance between us, just in case she decides to get happy with a knife or something.” 
― Marie Lu, Prodigy

“My heart is ripped open, shredded, leaking blood. I can’t let him leave like this. We’ve been through to much to turn into strangers.” 
― Marie Lu, Prodigy

“Now you’ll get to see how I can really run a building, darlin. Not even a cracked knee to hold me back, yeah? What a nice birthday present.” 
― Marie Lu, Prodigy

“Even in the dark, I see hints of a smile creep onto her face.
“Yeah. You are a smooth talker.”
I give her a wounded frown.“Sweetheart, would I ever lie to you?”
“Don’t try. I’d see right through it.” I give her a low laugh. “Fair enough.” 
― Marie Lu, Prodigy

“He spins around. Before I can say anything else, he steps forward and takes my face in his hands. Then he’s kissing me one last time, overwhelming me with his warmth, breathing life and love and aching sorrow into me. I throw my arms around his neck as he wraps his around my waist. My lips part for him and his mouth moves desperately against mine, devouring me, taking every breath that I have. Don’t go, I plead wordlessly. But I can taste the good-bye on his lips, and now I can no longer hold back my tears. He’s trembling. His face is wet. I hang on to him like he’ll disappear if I let go, like I’ll be left alone in this dark room, standing in the empty air. Day, the boy from the streets with nothing except the clothes on his back and the earnestness in his eyes, owns my heart.” 
― Marie Lu, Prodigy


Do you like any of these quotes? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
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A Fitting Romance: Prodigy by Marie Lu Review

Title: Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Rating: ★★★★☆

Hello my fellow Prodigies, we’re looking at Book #2 of the Legend Series by Marie Lu today. This series was one I fell in love with back in high school, and enjoyed thoroughly. I followed up with it till the end, and I am happy to share my thoughts with you today.

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

Now it has been some time since I read this book, but there was one thing that I remember sticking out to me. I read it during the time when The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, and all the other Young Adult series were really taking off, but Prodigy stood out to me.

It wasn’t as simple as an exciting book, filled with teens getting into insane action packed fights, doing death defying stunts, and saving the world.

It was characters, solving the puzzles and hardships of their environments, trying to make it a better place. It was much deeper rooted than kids with bows and arrows, its dilemmas and principles at the forefront of the conflict. It’s making that hard choice in order to do what you think is right.

That’s what makes Prodigy so brilliant.

Prodigy doesn’t fall prey to being a sequel, which too often don’t live up to expectations. Prodigy doesn’t just live at the same level of Legend, it exceeds it. Prodigy goes deeper, and doesn’t pull its punches.


There is also the very obvious romance. Sometimes romance can ruin a book. It’s forced, or poorly executed, or unnecessary.

With Prodigy, it seems more natural. It seems like it belongs. Day and June don’t fall in love because of circumstance. That is a factor, but they fall in love, because of the chemistry they have. They see the world from two sides of the same coin.

They each grew up in different worlds, but they both analyze their environments, process the information, and come to their own conclusions.

Day and June are so similar. You could probably mistake the two of them at times, but the two different worlds they lived in makes their connection that much stronger.


What did you think of Prodigy? If you haven’t read it, it’s a great YA book to read that has a bit of action and romance mixed together.
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TOP TEN TUESDAY: BOOKS I’VE READ THAT I’D LIKE IN MY PERSONAL LIBRARY

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This one took me a long time to figure out, but I think I came up with a pretty good list in my opinion.

The Fellowship of the Ring

I read it on an e-Reader but haven’t purchased a physical copy yet.

Redwall Series

My favourite books growing up. I have kept the main stories, but I’d like to own them all again one day.

One Piece

Seems like a loft goal owning every chapter of One Piece. I’d probably need a room dedicated to it, but I wouldn’t mind that.

Naruto

I think this is a series I could re-read again in a reasonable amount of time, and I’d like to own it in order to do that.

Fullmetal Alchemist

I’ve started the collection, but I hope to own them all one day soon. There’s not too many so it’s not that achievable.

Where the Red Fern Grows

A great book from my childhood that I would love to read again from an adult perspective.

Legend Series

One of my favourite YA series that I’ve read. I always got the books from my school library, so owning them would be nice, especially since there is a new one coming out soon.

Various Shakespeare Works

Something about owning a bunch of Shakespeare stories makes me feel distinguished? Educated? Either way I’d like to own some more.

Sherlock Holmes

I’ve read a few Sherlock Holmes pieces in various books, but I’d like one giant collection of them all.

UnNamed Book from Childhood

I don’t remember the name of it, or who wrote it, but I remember it was about a boy who was kidnapped and dragged to an island in order to figure out a water pumping system his dad built to get at some buried treasure. If that makes any sense to you and you know the name, please let me know!

Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

I remember reading this book years ago in highschool as the first book in the book club I had just joined.

We got to pick books out of a crate and I was one of the last ones to pick, and the cover of Legend looked interesting.

I started reading it on the bus ride home that afternoon and I was done by the end of the week.

I was hooked in an instant. It was an easy YA book to read, and it was the first book that I read that had a dystopian theme to it. I was putting my foot in the water with Legend, and quickly dove right in because I loved it so much.

One thing I really enjoyed about Legend was jumping between two different perspectives. Marie Lu wrote her entire trilogy about Day and June, two “perfect” characters, or so their tests and evaluations tell us, who have two different experiences in life.

June is hunting down Day, whom she believed killed her brother, and we get to see their interactions from both perspectives.

Usually having different perspectives in the same book isn’t much of a big deal because plenty of books do it.

That is true, but most of them have different character perspectives because they are focusing on different parts of the world, and having just one person’s perspective wouldn’t give readers a large enough scope of what is happening.

In Legend, and the other two books in the series, Day and June spend a lot of time together.

Day is from the poorer part of society, and we get to experience his life as a rebel, helping out the poor much like a Robin Hood sort of figure. He pulls off some pretty insane stunts and is a genius in his own regard, he just does things on his own.

June on the other hand, works for the “government”. She is top of her class, and like June, is able to perform some very remarkable physical stunts and is also a genius in her own regard. She is also fairly well off in life, and hasn’t known poverty.

The two different perspectives in the books is a nice change. It gives us the poor and the rich side to everything. When one character is living their everyday life, the other is exploring it for the first time, and as a reader, this style of reading was nice, because it’s different.

June knows her truth of certain events that happen in the book, and Day knows his truth. Jumping between perspectives gives us a look at the inner thoughts of both characters when the time is right, but also puts us outside of their mind and their thoughts when the stroy needs it to happen.

Marie Lu has done a wonderful job utilizing the different perspectives and making the two characters bounce off of eachother nicely.

Like I said, it is a fairly easy read, but it is good. If you like dystopian style books mixed with some spy and mystery novel aspects I recommend Legend.