Category Archives: Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons

Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons

Set Fire to the Gods is a pretty exciting book. The way gladiators from ancient Rome and element bending were blended was quite interesting. The characters were well-written and made you care about them and what happened to them. I recommend this book to teens and up, particularly those who like gladiators or Avatar: The Last Airbender.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 67
Pages Read in 2022: 24,529
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Literati, Young Adult

Game Changer by Neal Shusterman

Game Changer by Neal Shusterman

The premise of Game Changer is great. The execution leaves a lot to be desired. The author seemed to want to hit every social issue and hit people over the head with it and then pound it in a whole lot to be sure they got the message. The preachiness got really annoying. When he jumped worlds to one where the Brown v Board of Education ruling went the other way, that was an interesting idea to think about. It would have been nice if more of his jumps were like that one. It was weird how some jumps built on each other and some didn’t. A few chapters before the end it seemed promising that it was going to wrap up well, but then the author decided to go big with it and it just was even more absurd than the rest of the book (and when you are talking about a book about a guy jumping around the multiverse that’s saying something). I don’t particularly recommend this book.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 61
Pages Read in 2022: 22,186
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Literati, Young Adult

Cut Off by Adrianne Finlay

Cut Off by Adrianne Finlay

The beginning of Cut Off seemed pretty straightforward. A survival reality show with a bunch of kids competing for the top prize. And then it all went insane and went every which way. It was sort of sci-fi and sort of horror (though not terribly scary horror). There are parallel dimensions and creating a timeline out of your mind and being able to choose the one where you end up. My 13 and 15 year old sons (who both liked the book more than I did) thought it explained the multiverse much better than anything else they have encountered. The best chapter in the entire book jumps between snapshots of what’s happening in various parallel universes as they are trying to find the right one. I recommend this book to teens and up, particularly those who like sci-fi and especially parallel dimensions.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 48
Pages Read in 2022: 17,554
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Literati, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Reached by Ally Condie

Reached by Ally Condie

Reached is the final book in the Matched trilogy and completes the story very nicely. There’s no specific end, nothing wrapped up in a perfect bow. Life continues and it might be a happy ending and it might not, and you are never quite sure if the Rising is good or not or if it’s just an alternative to the Society while being pretty much the Society repackaged, but it still is such a satisfying conclusion. This one is told from three alternating points of view, Cassia, Ky, and Xander, which is very effective. It spurred several very interesting conversations with my 13 and 15 year olds. I highly recommend this book to everyone who enjoyed the first two in the series.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 41
Pages Read in 2022: 15,145
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Young Adult

Crossed by Ally Condie

Crossed by Ally Condie

There’s a lot of running in Crossed. There’s also a lot of finding. Compared to the first and third books in the trilogy, this one moves a lot slower. The alternating Ky/Cassia points of view works very well. There are many questions, but few answers, the biggest being is Ky right? Should they go to the Rising? Is it any better than the Society? There comes a point when things start moving a lot quicker and some chapters are less than a page which is very effective particularly when combined with the alternating POVs. This book sets up the next one very well while still having a satisfactory ended. I highly recommend it (the whole trilogy) to anyone who enjoys young adult dystopian.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 31
Pages Read in 2022: 11,232
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Young Adult

Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie

I first read Matched a decade ago and I remembered enjoying it a lot so I decided to read it to my 13- and 15-year-olds for their bedtime story. Once again I enjoyed it very much. We had many great conversations sparked by the chapter or two we read that day. It was very interesting to discover one of my sons would be okay with being matched if it really did guarantee a successful marriage while my other son was totally against the idea. The book is dystopian, but the Society is presented as utopian. As with any utopian-appearing place it is anything but utopia. That inspired a discussion about how some people see the cracks in the perfect facade while others do not or deliberately overlook them and which type of person they’d want to be. The romance part of the book is sweet and very clean (one of my sons, who enjoys a little romance but gets annoyed if there is too much, was very much a fan of the amount in this book). I love the author’s writing style. I just find it very comforting somehow just in the way she phrases things. The use of a poem to push Cassia to act is very clever (and, back when my older daughter read the series at the same time I originally did, it kind of caused her to become a little obsessed with Dylan Thomas and especially with Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night). I’m glad I decided to reread this book and share it with my boys. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys young adult dystopian.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 19
Pages Read in 2022: 6893
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Young Adult

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

There’s so much that annoys me about Allegiant. First, she chose to alternate which character (Tobias/Tris) narrates the chapters. She needed to do that since having it all narrated by Tris definitely wouldn’t work in the end. Normally, I quite enjoy that writing style. The problem with this book is there’s no discernable difference between Tris’s voice and Tobias’s voice. It’s very easy to forget whose chapter it is because they all sound the same which is weird because those two characters think, talk, and act very differently and so should not sound the same at all. Second, the characters often act so stupid, though this is a problem throughout the entire series. They get hung up on things they shouldn’t and it makes alllll the difference in their lives. It gets really old. Third, this book only seems slightly related to the rest of the series. It’s so incredibly different. Fourth, the whole genetically pure/genetically damaged thing is silly. So, so silly. And that’s what the entire story hinges on. Fifth, Tobias having a total meltdown about not actually being Divergent to the point he wonders if Tris will even still love him is utterly ridiculous and immature. So what if he’s not Divergent/genetically pure. He can still fight the serums which is kind of extra cool since it’s not an expected result for someone who is “genetically damaged.” Sixth, David still being all hung up on Tris’s mom and him just not being able to have her submit reports once she joined Abnegation and got married is utterly ridiculous. He’s running an entire bureau over these experiment cities. Grow up. Seventh, Tris leaving her gun in the hallway before entering the weapons lab is not within character. She’d have had that gun. Maybe she wouldn’t have used it, but she’d have had it with her. Eighth, the kissing scenes are uncomfortably awkward and seem to be shoved in there in order to make it sort of a romance. They are totally unnecessary or should’ve been written better. They were all pretty much identical. The very end, the last few chapters and the epilogue, are good, probably the best part of the whole series and definitely the best part of Allegiant. That part is raw and honest. The rest? Kind of insufferable.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 6
Pages Read in 2022: 2114

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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Young Adult

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I had forgotten just how utterly annoying and immature Tris is in Insurgent. She was kind of awesome in Divergent and then she became this sniveling lovesick annoying and completely ridiculous person in Insurgent. The whole thing about keeping how Will died a secret made no sense. Once they found out, Four and Christina were so angry, but it was clear self defense. It’s not like Tris hunted Will down while he was under a simulation in order to kill him. He would’ve killed her without hesitation. But for some reason no one in the book has any common sense and so it’s obviously reason to destroy friendships. When it comes to Tris going to Erudite headquarters to prevent further simulation deaths, she acted exactly as everyone should’ve expected her to act. Four is really kind of dumb when dealing with his mother. How he didn’t think she would want to take over I have no idea. I do more or less like the Divergent series including Insurgent, but it’s my least favorite of the three.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 87
Pages Read in 2021: 28,345

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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent is just as good on the third or fourth read. I do think the author is a little lazy filling out pages describing kissing repeatedly, often in the exact same way as a few pages before. Tris’s character development is excellent. The world is built very well. I highly recommend Divergent to anyone who enjoys reading dystopian books.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 70
Pages Read in 2021: 22,585

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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

The Desolations of Devil’s Acre by Ransom Riggs

The Desolations of Devil’s Acre by Ransom Riggs

With less than 10% left in The Desolations of Devil’s Acre I had my doubts that the story could possibly be wrapped up. Somehow, though, the author managed to do it and even gave an ending that was completely unexpected and also absolutely wonderful. As my 13-year-old said, it was a perfectly happy ending for a scary and intense book. The action is pretty much nonstop in this one. It’s an excellent conclusion to the six book Miss Peregrine series. I’ll miss Jacob and Emma and Noor and even Enoch. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has read and enjoyed the first five in the series.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 65
Pages Read in 2021: 20,542

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: I Like the Series, Young Adult