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Book Reviews

My Thoughts on Good Omens by Neil Gaimen and Terry Prachett

My Thoughts on Good Omens by Neil Gaimen and Terry Prachett

My first introduction to Good Omens was the Amazon Prime Original Mini-Series, and I loved it so much I had to find the book.

My first thought after finishing the book was, “wow, I wonder if I can ever co-write anything like this with a friend.”

So, my biggest takeaway here is to find a friend that is willing to co-author something, and to make that something magical.

Because Good Omens was magical. I loved every minute of it, both the book and the mini-series.

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My Thoughts on Saturdays at Sea by Jessica Day George

My Thoughts on Saturday at Sea by Jessica Day George

And now I have finished the Castle Glower series. My kids asked me to read it, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

And after reading Saturdays at Sea, I was impressed with the author’s ability to write one major story arc that lasted for five books. When I realized that the series is about the castle becoming whole, I saw how each book supported that plot.

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My Thoughts on Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George

My Thoughts on Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George

Of all the Castle Glower series, this one was my least favorite. But it had its good parts, too. The personality of the castle is always fun for me and my kids to see. The personalities of the griffins, and how the griffins and their riders bond is fun to see.

I think the biggest lesson for me with this story is the hook at the end. I finished this book, and because of the end hook, I had to pick up the next book and see what happened next.

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My Thoughts on Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George

My Thoughts on Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George

Settings have backstories, too.

Thursdays with the Crown was a great story. It was a lot of fun to see the kids bonding with their new pets. The world building was great. The character development was solid, and believable.

But my biggest takeaway was that settings have backstories.

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My Thoughts on Thrawn Alliances by Timothy Zahn

My Thoughts on Thrawn Alliances by Timothy Zahn

Thrawn Alliances is Book 2 of the New Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn, but due to my impatience and when my library had Alliances available compared to Treason, I actually read Book 3 before I read Book 2.

It didn’t seem to matter, because the two stories stand alone so well, while at the same time combining to tell an epic space opera.

Alliances is basically two stories. One happened in the past, one is presently happening. It is a form of story telling that I have been dabbling with, so I paid close attention to how Zahn did it.

While I was not able to crack any unseen code about how I can use the same style of timeline jumping, I did appreciate seeing it in action.

I mean, I love Thrawn, I love Star Wars, and I loved this book, but as an author writing this blog post, my biggest takeaway from Alliances was the jumping of timelines, and how backstory plots and present timeline plots can be used by the author to write a cohesive novel.

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My Thoughts on Thrawn Treason by Timothy Zahn

My Thoughts on Thrawn Treason by Timothy Zahn

This book was a masterpiece. But first, let me share this. I lost track of book order of the new Thrawn trilogy, and I was able to borrow Treason before Alliances from my library and I was impatient. So I know Alliances is book 2 of the new Thrawn Trilogy, and Treason is book 3, but I am sharing them on my blog in the order I read them.

Oh my goodness, this was beautifully written. Zahn is a genius.

For those of you not familiar with the timetable, this story takes place during two other timelines, the Rogue One movie, and the Rebels animated series. And Thrawn is heavily involved in the Rebels series, but not involved in Rogue One, though Krennic & Tarkin from Rogue One play roles in Thrawn Treason. That is what made this so beautiful to me. The author, Zahn, did not create a plot that was unrelated to everything else, but instead wrote a plot that weaved through the timelines from Rogue One and Rebels, and in several instances enhanced backstory and character development of both other stories. That was my takeaway. That when a new plot overlaps a previously published story, to work with and enhance what came before while making something new.

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My Thoughts on Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

My Thoughts on Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

The best part of the hostile Disney dethroning of the “Legends” story lines is that Timothy Zahn got the opportunity to write a new Thrawn trilogy.

I love Thrawn even more now. One thing I loved about this new trilogy is that Thrawn was no longer the villain. Yes, he worked for an evil emperor who was a Sith master. But, he was not fighting against the New Republic, he fought to save and preserve the Empire and his own people.

I really enjoyed seeing Thrawn’s weaknesses, and how Thrawn used those weaknesses to his advantage.

My biggest takeaway from the author was to understand my characters and let them move the plot.

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My Thoughts on The First Fowler, A Green Embers Story, by SD Smith

My Thoughts on The First Fowler, A Green Embers Story, by SD Smith

I loved this story. My kids loved it even more than I did. But that is not hard to believe. My kids are huge fans of anything Green Ember.

This was a second example to me about how to use companion short stories to provide valuable information to readers when the backstory just does not fit in the theme and/or desired word count of the main novel.

And I learned that these companion stories really can enhance reader’s love for secondary characters. I wonder if JK Rowling ever released any short stories about Ginny Weasley or Neville Longbottom (my two fave Potter characters.)

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My Thoughts on Ember’s End by SD Smith

My Thoughts on Ember’s End by SD Smith

It was a conclusion to the series. There is no doubt about that. And, as I expected from a series of children’s books, it was a happy ending.

There are a lot of takeaways I had from this story, but my initial thought after closing the book was, “I’m not sure what I think about that ending.”

My children loved the final book start to finish.

Please do not mistake me, this book was just as well written as the other books and short stories in the Green Ember series. The character development was spot on, the actions and reactions of all of the characters were true to personalities (or so I thought.) I guess I just didn’t like book 4 as much as I enjoyed book 3.

But I will say this, I loved seeing how Smith allowed his characters to control the plot. I have read some books, and have attempted to write some others, where the main characters (both protagonists and antagonists) were forced by the author (or script writer/movie director) to act and react to situations in ways that go against the character’s personality. At no point in the series did I feel that way from Smith. His characters moved the plot while allowing me the reader to always feel like no matter how bad things get around me, there is always hope for a brighter future.

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My Thoughts on The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Book 2) by Robert Galbraith

My Thoughts on The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Book 2) by Robert Galbraith

Robert Galbraith got my attention with the first Cormoran Strike novel.

I am not usually a fan of detective thrillers, but when I read the first book, I was writing Cross of Roses and needed to do a bit more research on the thriller genre, and The Cuckoo’s Calling was recommended. By the end of Cuckoo’s Calling, I was hooked.

What did I learn from The Silkworm? Well, one thing that impressed me was Galbraith’s misdirection. I am still working on learning that skill, and I look forward to reading more of the Cormoran Strike series both for the enjoyment of a well told thriller tale, and for whatever new lessons I can glean from a master storyteller.