Account Login Canada Toll-Free: 1.800.561.1833 SK Toll-Free: 1.877.506.7456 Contact & Locations

No Good Deed by Kara Connolly (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Thursday, Aug 10, 2017 at 8:22pm

Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle she ends up in medieval England. Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood? Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.

No Good Deed can be considered a 'fun read,' and maybe that's why I wasn't as invested in the story as much as I should have been. Considering the synopsis, I was really excited for this read. I've always liked a good retelling, and for someone to put a spin on a classic story that isn't as thoroughly well known as others, especially considering Robin Hood was of my favorites, yet this story fell flat to me with such disappointment that I once threw the book across the room because I was so frustrated. There was always this nagging feeling while I was reading this that just didn't feel...right. I always felt distracted while I was reading and was dreading to pick it back up every time I set it down.

Going back and rereading some parts, I found out 2 main reasons why I didn't like this book as much as I hoped. 1) The main character. Ellie Hudson, the Olympic winning archer who's strong, brave, selfless, pretty, everyone's favorite, blah blah blah. Ugh. This character is an archetype of what a manic-pixie-dream-girl slash Mary Sue character would look like. I mean does she not have any flaws?! If Ellie had made some crappy decisions along the way, it would of made her look more interesting and showcase her abilities to survive. Robin Hood was a character of wit and selflessness. He was clever and cunning with amazing survival instincts and he knew how to persevere. Ellie was a great disappointment since she was never put in a tough situation to display any of these skills. She was never tested and she never had to make agonizing decisions in the name of her survival. 2) The writing. Just the way this author describes certain things made me seriously roll my eyes. There are countless filler words or paragraphs that doesn't sit well with the rest of the context. And the dialogue. Oh gosh. Where do I start? You can tell that Kara Connolly struggles with dialogue by just reading a couple exchanges between Ellie and a character from the medieval-England town. Because of the time period, isn't the dialogue between medieval times and modern day suppose to be vastly different? No, I'm not asking the author to write the dialogue like it literally came out of a Geoffrey Chaucer poem (although that would be cool), I'm just looking for a little bit of a distinct difference.
Overall, No Good Deed is a series I will not be continuing (if it is a series). It had so much potential but the author played it safe. With this, the highest rating I can give this book is a 2/5 stars.

- Yen Anh, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Tuesday, Aug 08, 2017 at 8:10pm

Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance. But everything changes when the mysterious River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman which means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then, Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

This book starts off with an exciting adventure with tensions and high stakes. Until it turns into a train wreck that you'll never see coming, everything kind of crashes and burn's from there. And the truth is, I can't tell you if it's a good thing or a bad thing that the ending left me in a state somewhere between shocked and emotionally scared. My mouth is still hanging open as we speak. What just happened? I'll try my best to elaborate. Finishing Even the Darkest Stars felt like I just climbed a mountain myself. It was fast paced enough, I was invested in Kamzin's story and Kamzin is not even a likeable character herself. She is selfish and naive, but I warmed up to her quickly despite those flaws. The tension she has with River is great to read about, I just wished that she was nicer to Tem. The true problem lies in the fact of how this book could've been 100 pages shorter. So many scenes are just completely unnecessary toward the end, it frustrated me. The author properly tries to craft an intricate plot so everything makes sense, but I don't need to see something like people getting injured, healed and then get knocked out over again.

The good news? Despite my problem with its length, this book doesn't drag at all, at least for me. It is properly one of most well done travelling type of book that didn't bore me to death, which happens more often than you think. There are enough high stakes, mysteries, hints of romance (yes I said it), and plot twists to keep those pages flipping. You probably won't notice how unnecessary some of them are. And about the ending. Since my opening rant, I guess you will want to hear about it and how it left me more confused than ever. To keep it spoiler free, let's say that there's a plot twist involves a character that I may or may not have seen coming. Said character then proceeds to cause the train wreck, in which a certain development in the past chapters ceases to exist? Or it seemed like it to me. That character is also so confusing, their personality is all over the place. Of course, the train wreck doesn't concern this one character alone and... let's just say, that I am not okay!

But in the end, do I recommend this book? Yes. Despite all the things. I may have confused you, but I do think that Even the Darkest Stars is a promising starter to the series (trilogy? duology?), I can't wait to see all the things that are promised to go down in the next instalment. And look at that cover, it's an actual scene from the book (!!!) and you should just read it for this stunner alone. 4/5 Stars

- Phuong, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Even the Darkest Stars will be available September 5.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Saturday, Aug 05, 2017 at 9:25pm

Rosa and Eddie are two competitors looking for a spot on team 3 for the Interworlds Agency. The competion brings up 200 teenagers for the most difficult thing they have ever witnessed. Competitors quickly get eliminated and the new trainees for team 3 are Rosa, Eddie, and boys named Trevor and Brad. These trainees have no clue what unpredictable situations could happen and they're barely prepared when the most devastating emergency happened. Suddenly team 3 has been sent out into the great unknown. No one knows whar will happen. Follow the trainees in What Goes Up as they embark on the most amazing, but scary, adventures they have ever had.

What Goes Up is a fascinating book with exciting pages filled with an amazing storyline and unique characters. It depicts a near-future scene and describes space and astronomy in a whole new angle.

- Daniel, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Thursday, Aug 03, 2017 at 5:44pm

Jemma has a terrible secret that's eating her up: there's been a murder and she knows who did it. She knows because he told her. And she can't tell anyone. Fourteen-year-old Jemma has severe cerebral palsy. Unable to communicate or move, she relies on her family and carer for everything. She has a sharp brain and inquisitive nature, and knows all sorts of things about everybody else. But when she is confronted with this terrible secret, she is powerless to do anything. But that might be about to change...

I Have No Secrets was an amazing book! Jemma, the main character, had severe cerebral palsy and was quadriplegic, but even with her disabilities she found a way to live life happily. I thought it was an amazing book and I would give it a rating of 10/10. I suggest this book to teenagers who like inspiring but suspencful books!

- Elia, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

Fireblood by Elly Blake (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017 at 3:48pm

Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost King and melted his powerful throne. But the bloodthirsty Minax that was trapped inside is now haunting her kingdom. The answers to its demise may lie to the south in Sudesia, the land of the Firebloods, and a country that holds the secrets to Ruby's powers and past.  Despite warnings from her beloved Arcus, Ruby accompanies a roguish Fireblood named Kai to Sudesia, where she must master her control of fire in a series of trials to gain the trust of the suspicious Fireblood queen. Only then can she hope to access the knowledge that could defeat the rampaging Minax. How can Ruby decide whom to trust? The fate of both kingdoms is now in her hands.

Fireblood was just as entertaining, if not more, than the first novel in its series. Frostblood is filled with cold-hearted beings in the Frost Court, while Fireblood contains hot tempers in the Fireblood capital. It was pretty good for a sequel. Sometimes, I find that the author loses touch with her characters and alters their personality and impulses unintentionally when continuing on a plot, but thats not the case for this book. Ruby is just as loyal, snarky and badass as she was before. It was nice to see that nothing changed.

While keeping up with the roles of her past characters like Arcas and Brother Thistle, Elly Blake also threw in some new noteworthy people. Kai, for instance, is probably one of my new favourite characters. He's always sarcastic and makes a lot of jokes, but he can be serious at times and it shows just how deep he is. He has a major role in this novel and I don't see it as anything other than a good thing. I'd 100% recommend this novel (after reading Frostblood of course), and I'd rate it as an 8/10.

- Lauren, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Fireblood will be available September 12.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up
< Newer  - 1 ...  5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 ... 194 -   Earlier >