A Real-Time Review

June 23, 2013 at 12:33 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

I always take notes and comment in the margins or in a journal through out my reviews.  But recently, I read a friend’s novel while he was on facebook chatting with me and I gave him a real time review… moment by moment, thought by thought.  He seemed entertained by this, so I thought I could try doing this with more books.  What if instead of editing a formal review after a book, I just shared my streaming thoughts?  With Prominence League Part Two, I’m giving it a try.  The following is directly from my journal this afternoon –  no edits.

Prominence League IITitle: The Prominence League Part Two

Author: C. David Cannon

Publisher: LucidBooks

Genre: Young Adult

Length: 230 pages

Mandarin Moon in my Scentsy warmer, coffee depleted, still in my pajamas, I sit down to read The Prominence League Part II. I truly enjoyed the first book, but that was baseball and this is martial arts – my element. From line one, I’m HOOKED.

Already the book shows a level of writing maturity – that confidence that radiates “I am a seasoned author now.” I hope my second book shows the same degree of improvement over my first.

I love that he starts the chapter numbers where the previous book ended. It gives you an immediate sense of continuation and begs the question – “Is there an omnibus in my future?”

Still, Cannon keeps with his love for knocking out characters. Carriane is a fainting Queen with a flair for drama. It kind of makes you wonder if she was mildly based on anyone he knew in real life and what that was like.

My favorite thing about dystopian society fiction is how it points out intentions behind real world current events.

“Now I see why people did nothing to stop it,” Ian says looking at the timeline of events in the report.  “It happened too slow, and was covered in lies the whole way.” […]

“That’s right Ian […] they weren’t trying to keep us safe from terrorists like they claimed.  In fact, they encouraged new reports of terrorist attacks, because they always beefed up their measures after one.  This was obedience training plain and simple.”

In all this fabulous story telling, though, I want to slap Carriane and her obsession with her relationship status.  But Cannon’s behind the scenes take on our current education system quickly makes me get over it, until Emerald reinstates the token young adult love triangle.

What’s with the Caleb kid that all the females salivate at his very existence? It’s like sitting through high school watching girls fawn over the boy that became the man I married.

And it’s not just the writing that is better than ever [I note after seeing a new graphic], I’m especially impressed with this round of maps and graphics.  And for the first time in the series we see a worldwide view of Carriane’s reality.

By Chapter 26, my daughter is using me as a full on jungle gym.  She has no idea that what I am reading now will be passed onto her in about eight to ten years.  There’s just so much to discuss afterward… the obvious dystopian society and personal worldview stuff – but then also the less obvious near dive into meta-fiction with Carriane’s self-absorbed reality show fantasy and the ever interesting relationship between a hero and their adventure.

Once again I find myself reading an American novelist, possibly sending me on an escape route to Canada.  Man, I need to visit Canada already! It is so often deemed a safe haven.  do they write novels in Canada about escaping to the United States?

There’s this book by Olivier Dunrea that I read to my kiddo literally every night called BooBoo,  BooBoo is a little blue gosling who likes to eat.  Almost every page she eats something and the line after goes: “Good food,” she says. My internal ear is all wonky with toddler stories as I read Cannon’s book and creep up on the end… I just want to close with:

Andi read another book.

“Good book,” she says.

So there you have it folks… my first official stream of consciousness review.

Other books you might enjoy if you read Cannon (or if you enjoyed you should read Cannon):

The Hunger Games

Seed Savers


Fizz & Peppers (Not dystopian, but an awesome adventure!)


Arlington Park (Totally random – Just in case you enjoy the desire to slap characters.)

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The Hunger Games Series

May 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

The-Hunger-Games-TrilogyTitle: The Hunger Games Trilogy

1. The Hunger Games

2. Catching Fire


Author: Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games movie came out on Netflix and my husband really wanted to watch it.  But I have a rule in my house about watching movies before I read the books, which goes like this: I don’t.  I did want to see the movie, but I feared the series a little bit.  I didn’t want to read something out of obligation to curiosity and book pop culture and then feel let down like I had with Twilight.

I enjoyed Twilight, but I felt as though I had killed off more than a few brain cells by suffering through the commitment of all four books… but Twilight was a paranormal romance adventure… The Hunger Games is a dystopian society… there, there it is again “dystopian society” that little phrase that sucks me in every time!

the-hunger-gamesSo this week began project Hunger Games.  I wanted to at least get through a chunk of the first book before movie date night, and I did get through a bit, but I did not have the book completed when I watched the movie.  I tell you what though, I went through the movie and all three books in three days and I’m blown away.  It was pretty awesome considering what I was expecting.  The series is more comparable to Harry Potter than Twilight, in my opinion.

When I finished Mockingjay, I closed the book with a shake and had to go take a shower to wash the invisible grime off my skin and bask in the happiness of the epilogue.  It was perfect.

A lot of people say the third book wasn’t good.  I admit I was thoroughly disheartened about halfway through, and the emotional disconnect of some of the primary characters lasted way too long.  But it was appropriate.  It made the end that much sweeter.

On to the highlight of the purpose of my post:

triangleThis is the most intelligently written young adult love triangle ever.

Love triangles in young adult novels are pretty much a staple plot line.  Everyone has them.  They are always melodramatic, fitting considering the angst of being a teenager.  But Collins wrote a tip of an iceberg beauty that I will actually be proud to share with my daughter.


Love is presented very clearly as a choice.  In a world that is completely out of Katniss Everdeen’s control, in times when her family’s safety is based on how she behaves towards others, in a time when the choices don’t seem to be hers at all but a manipulation tactic from the authorities in her life… who she loves and how she loves them is still her choice.

I’m so exhausted of whirlwind romances in young adult novels that are out of the teen’s control.  They fell in love… they were destined… they were fated…. blah, blah, blah.

ÀμâI believe that everything happens for a reason, I do.  I believe that God has a plan, I do.  But I also believe that loving others and how we show them that is a choice every step of the way.  What I like about Collins’ book is the importance one simple choice leads to another choice to another and another and steam rolls into larger choices.  The whole book is about the importance of weighing consequences, realities, and feelings within the scales of logic, need, and want.  Sure, events out of the characters’ control changes circumstances, but given new circumstances what is the new ‘right’ choice.

I love it.

If you haven’t read the books, I tried to write this in such a way so I would not overwhelm you with blatant spoilers.  I hope you understand my meaning without clear cut examples.  Maybe when the dust settles I’ll write a spoiler alert review.

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