Oscar Banks lives in the extremely popular city of Candor that his father founded in the book “Candor” by Pam Bachorz. In Candor all of the kids are perfect and never make mistakes, relationships miraculously become better and best of all, no one ever wants to leave. Oscar is the star student. He gets straight A’s, volunteers frequently for every club, and all of the other kids want to be just like him. However, it is as if Oscar is under cover. He knows how to fight the subliminal messages that are fed to all of the citizens of Candor and he helps those teens that have enough money escape to the real world. When Nia moves into town, it turns his world upside down. Nia is a teenage artist with some obedience issues and Oscar likes her just the way she is. He secretly feeds her his own messages to keep her from learning the truth and wanting to leave. They fall in love. When Nia learns about the secrets he was keeping from her, everything begins to fall apart. Will their relationship be able to weather this storm or will they be lost forever?
While I was reading Candor I thought it was pretty good with an interesting premise, however, it had several inconsistencies within the story. There were two that really bothered me. First, it said that the parents were told about the Messages before they move in and that’s how the kids stop misbehaving and their marriage problems might go away. So, they know that their children are being brainwashed and they know that they will be brainwashed as well. This bothers me most because I don’t know of any parents, no matter how rotten their kids are, that would be willing to have their own children brainwashed, let alone do it to themselves. It is unbelievable and that is the biggest issue I have with it. That being said, there was one other inconsistency that really irked me. The Messages were given subliminally through music. Yet some of the Messages talked about how art was evil and it shouldn’t be encouraged, etc. Hmmm… last I knew, music was a form of art. This one definitely bothered me the most because it was so glaringly obvious and pushed by the author throughout the entire book!
I liked the main character, Oscar, a lot. I thought that he was interesting and can’t forget how difficult it would have been to hide the truth from his own dad. He did love his dad even for all of his father’s faults. It would have been extremely lonely in a town when only he knew the truth. He would have made friends with those that he helped to escape but then would have no other contact with them. Even though I liked Oscar, I can’t help but wonder if the reason he fell in love with Nia is just because she was so different from everyone else in that entire town. Also, why doesn’t he just tell her the truth in the beginning? It would have made everything a lot simpler and it would have been easier to get her to act how he needed her to. Other than those things, I liked Oscar. He was a well rounded character and it was sweet how he cared for the people in the town even though they were brainwashed. Overall, I enjoyed the story line and thought there were several good things brought up in this book.
You can read an excerpt here.
Author: Pam Bachorz
Page Nos.: 257
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release Date: September 29, 2009
Carol Jenski is a dragonspeaker, a human who understands and reads the dragon language, but she has spent her entire life hiding that fact so she wouldn’t have to deal with dragons, but in Dancing with Dragons by Lorenda Christsen, Carol has allowed herself to be talked into helping her friend Myrna to mediate a dragon dispute in China. When Carol is injured by the dragons, she finds herself spirited away by her boyfriend Richard and then blamed for an attack on the dragons in United States.
Only reporter Daniel Wallent is willing to listen to her side of the story. With Richard missing in action and Carol being hunted down by the dragons, Carol finds herself relying on Daniel but will it cost her life, or her heart?
Dancing With Dragons is the second book in the Dracim series (you can read my review of Never Deal With Dragons here) and I eagerly picked it up as soon as it was available. I LOVED Never Deal with Dragons, Christensen’s world is fascinating and a completely different take on how the dragons came to be. I REALLY wanted to love Dancing With Dragons but, I just couldn’t (and I have to mention I am not a fan of the cover art, sorry, but it had to be said). Carol is a fabulous character other than her poor choice in boyfriends (not a good track record there), independent, spunky and willing to work to clear her name. My problem was with Daniel, he started off as a jerk trying to get a story and he just never quite redeemed himself to me. The plot was great, the mystery of the dragons (I won’t give away too much here) was fabulous but (I know, again with the but) I just couldn’t like Daniel. I just feel like Carol deserved better. Dancing With Dragons is written in the first person, similar to Never Deal with Dragons so we only get Carol’s point of view, and I do wish we got more interaction with Myrna because she was such a great character. I gave Dancing With Dragons a three star rating because I do feel it is worth a read through at least once and I am really hoping that the next book in the Dracim series is more like the first book, well written with likable characters.
You can read an excerpt here.
Dracim Reading Order
Title: Dancing With Dragons
Author: Lorenda Christensen
Format: Paperback, eBook
Page Nos.: 184
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: March 17, 2014
Available for purchase: Amazon
**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.
Gwen has spent her entire life in her cousin’s shadow in Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier. She is a normal teenager, well except for the fact that she can see and talk to ghosts. Oh, and her family has a certain gene that allows some members of the family to go back in time. Gwen’s cousin, Charlotte, has been training her whole life to go back in time for the secret society. The gene begins to manifest itself as teenagers and Gwen gets the surprise of her life. She gets thrown into a society that she understands nothing about. Her partner to help her adjust to going back in time is a gorgeous Gideon and Gwen immediately begins to crush on him big time. Not only is Gwen dealing with the troubles of being a teenager, but now she has so much more she has to deal with as well as trying to understand the leaders of the secret society she has unexpectedly found herself involved in. Can Gwen work her way through historic London with the help of Gideon? Will she be able to find who, in this strange new world, that she can trust?
I picked this book up on sale and absolutely loved it! Within two days, I had read the first two books in the series and had to figure out with the third book would be released. Gwen is a character that you love and can relate to so easily! She is an average teenager that loves to watch movies with her friends and is trying to survive the troubles of being a teenager. Gwen isn’t considered beautiful, she isn’t a straight A student, she is slightly overweight, and she is sarcastic. All of these qualities combine to make a heroine that anyone can love.
You can read an excerpt here.
The Ruby Red Reading Order:
Title: Ruby Red
Author: Kirsten Gier
Page Nos.: 322
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: 2009
Tiffany Aching, a nine-year old witch in the book “The Wee Free Men” by Terry Pratchett, starts to see creatures from fairy tales that she shouldn’t be able to see. When her brother is taken, she decides that is the last straw and she starts demanding answers. She grabs her grandma’s book on common sheep ailments, a frying pan (because it is made of iron and monsters don’t like iron), and enlists the help of some very unusual clans people. The Nac Mac Feegles are six inches tall, have shocking orange hair, are covered in blue tattoos, and wear only kilts. Oh, and they are famous for stealin’ (anything that isn’t nailed down is fair game), drinkin’ and fightin’. It is what they do best, afterall. After following them back to their home, the elderly Kelda tells her what she wants to know in exchange for becoming the new Kelda of the clan. She then has the unpleasantness of trying to decide which of the Feegle’s hand in marriage she wants because as the new Kelda, she must marry one of the warriors. Tiffany does her best with this rowdy bunch as she enters the dreamland where the Queen lives that took her younger brother. She fights her way through the monsters of nightmares to find the Queen and her younger brother and along the way picks up the Baron’s son (who was missing for a year) and they barely escape with their lives.
The Wee Free Men, although not really a romance, was hilarious! No one can understand how funny the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett are until they start reading. This is a good one to start with to get the feel for his writing. His writing style is a bit unique and generally contains quite a bit of satire. The Wee Free Men is a bit different because the wee free men use a very heavy Scottish dialect that does take a little bit to understand in some places, using words like ‘ken’ and ‘dinna’. Once you get the hang of how they talk, it goes smoother and you can pick up the pace again. The Wee Free Men has a lot of flashbacks to stories about the protagonist’s granny. It is easy to recognize those because it changes to italicized font. This is nice because it is a lot easier to keep straight what has happened so far. This book followed the typical story line for a “quest”. The protagonist is living a normal life, strange things start happening, her brother gets kidnapped and she must go rescue him. It is a typical “hero’s journey”. The plot is paced well in the first of the novel; it does slow down a bit in the middle, and then picks back up in the last few chapters. I really love The Wee Free Men and have read it several times over the year! The idea of traveling through dreamland (where your nightmares come true), is very intriguing to me. Overall, The Wee Free Men is exciting and hilarious, a perfect combination!
You can read an excerpt here.
Tiffany Aching Series Reading Order:
Title: The Wee Free Men
Author: Terry Pratchett
Page Nos.: 375
Release Date: October 2009