March 22, 2012

Review: Nebador #4 - Flight Training - J. Z. Colby

Well hello there!

I'm back with the Nebador Series. I can't tell you how much I adore this series!
I'm divided, I'm glad it goes to book 8 (and who knows, maybe more), but I'm sad it'll take long for them to be out (2014 for book 8). But hey, at least it's no Song of Ice and Fire, taking 5 or more years between books :)

I finished book 4, "Flight Training" and Book 5 "Back to the Stars" but I started writing this review while I was still reading book 5, since I was starting to mix them up.

Author J. Z. Colby has been nice to send me a copy of the latest two books, after I reviewed the previous ones, so I must thank him deeply.

We find our crew right where we left them at The Selection, stopped at the desert, starting their real training. They already know well their beloved ship Manessa and their captain, Ilika, but now it's time for some real learning.
Altitute and movement training get some of the crew members spilling their guts - and not on the talking way. Also, all of our friends have their own issues to solve, including fear of heights, fear of the dark, fear of closed spaces and so on.

Kibi considers to run away. Mati thinks about going back to one of her previous choices. Rini makes a bad mistake, but makes the right decision, in the end.

With this Flight Training, we get to see our crew in action, solving puzzles and knowing more about their home world. Aside from that, we get a pretty big scare in one part, but they work it out.

As Ilika is, we are proud of our little crew members. We are happy to see how much they learnt and grew and we are sure Ilika did the right choice, they were the best he could've found.

I am considering to read Book 1 (The Test) again, as now I know what comes, I know who's who, I think I can appreciate it even more.

After going all over the world and  knowing some interesting points (the tallest mountain, the deepest ocean, some different cities), Manessa's crew flies out of the planet, into orbit. That's where we leave them and that's where we'll find them again on Book 5 - Back to the Stars.

I loved the book, as I loved most of the series (Book one had major potential but I had a hard time loving it, which is why I'm thinking of re-reading it), I thought that after they had learnt all those things and knew of the real shape, form and nature of Manessa and Ilika, there wasn't much more to learn and not much would happen - I was afraid the book could be a bit boring, since the characters were all pretty much developed.

Boy was I wrong.

The characters are nowhere near ready - as we all aren't. That was silly of me to think. They are only teenagers and young adults and they have a lot of personal and professional development to work through, Ilika included.

I was sad that we don't get to see the previous characters anymore, I thought, all the time, we'd get a glimpse of Buna, Toli, Neti and Misa, but I guess the author is leaving it for young writers and readers to write their own short stories, like the ones published along with the series books.

You can find Nebador Book Four: Flight Training on several shops in several different editions, see them here. 

Also, you can read my previous reviews of the series here: Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3.

March 12, 2012

Review: Sunrise Over Disney - by Bert

Hello readers!

I entered a giveaway for this book on Goodreads, and I ended up getting a copy for review, which I thank the author very much.
Technically, this book isn't by Bert, but by L.N. Smith (which is also a pen name, it seems). And yet, it IS Bert who writes it.

This is a complicated book. It's not properly fiction, but it is fiction. If you've read Sophie's World or anything by Jostein Gaarden you probably know what I mean - it is meant to teach people, but also fascinate and entertain.

The book tells the story of awakening, of learning and of the world today and tomorrow.
You only understand that if you went all the way through, it's impossible to understand before then. It has something to do with Disney, but not really. It is about Walt Disney, Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln and so many others, but what it is most about it us. Human beings. Normal and ordinary humans.

We start by meeting Bert and Mary, their two children Michael and MJ and the rest of the family, specially "Mom" and "Dad", Bert's parents, and Uncle Albert. We also hear about Mom and Dad's proposal to take the whole family to a Disney World trip, which they reluctantly accept - by Bert's incentive.

We get to know Disney World and it's history, as well as Walt Disney's history.
We discuss, along with the author, how can someone very prejudiced also be a good person and when or how cna we judge people without forgetting that we must consider their environment and time on history.
We end up keeping company to Bert while he learns and tries to decide what to do with his life - it's a difficult thing, for some people, I understand. On one hand, you want to keep on learning and learning and on the other, you must "grow up" and get a job, take up responsabilities... But, specially on the job department, you usually end up doing several of the same things over and over again, which kills the learning for you, and for some people, learning is much more important and much more interesting...

Bert says that there is so much that people should learn and they don't know even how to start. Things that may challenge their beliefs so he proposes that it's made into a Disney ride, where people have fun while learning and  if it so happens to be way too much in the way of their beliefs, they may dismiss it, as the entertaining experience it is - and it still might make its way into their subconscious mind.

I found it to be a very entertaining book, while teaching, which is something I love. It is a "not so easy" book, while it's not hard, it's just definitely not a summer afternoon reading.

You can buy the book here.

March 06, 2012

Review: The Phantom's Legacy: Family Secrets - Ann M. Kraft

Well hello there!
I've reviewed Ann Kraft's work before, The Opera Ghost Lives and The Red Diamond of Nadirijna.

After reading The Phantom's Legacy: Family Secrets I can tell, for sure, that Ann is an amazing author, with lovable characters and deep family plots. On the other hand, I believe that her being amazing tends to let me down on sequels. I've been slightly put down by The Red Diamond of Nadirijna and now Ann shows me just how amazing she is, again, which makes me think the problem isn't me, it is that Erik on that book really just isn't quite as cool.
The Phantom's Legacy - Family Secrets is a contemporary book, where we meet Amanda Slaughter, a history teacher, who loves antiques. She ends up buying a dresser that is full with old papers and evidence on a long lost mistery.
Her "old stuff" must have a story, they can't be just old stuff, so the owner of these "old stuff" agrees to let her buy a piano, that just happens to come with the owner's great-grandchild, Ayrik.
The plot develops sort of the same way that The Opera Ghost Lives - they meet, they work together to discover some of the plot hidden by a deceased family member of one of the two and they end up finding out much more about others and themselves than they intended to.
I can't speak much more about it or I would be spoiling it, but I must say that I fell in love with the characters. Ann sure knows how to build loveable people, with flawed backgrounds and definitely confusing families.
We, who read the previous books, know in a second that Ayrik is Erik and Amalie's descendant, Louisa's family. But I'd be a bit happier if there was someone in the family with the same deformity as Erik's, maybe not on their face, I don't know, since it was supposed to be passed around by family/blood line (as stated on Book #1 - The Opera Ghost Lives), so it would make sense that on a large family, at least someone... But it's ok.
Reading this book we learn more about Louisa and how her life went after those childhood years we saw, how she grew up to build a wonderful and loving family.

Most of all, you can read the first chapter HERE, buy the book autographed HERE or on Amazon HERE.