Warriors: Darkest Night (A Vision Of Shadows 4) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

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Book Review: Warriors: Darkest Night (A Vision of Shadows 4) by Erin Hunter | Fantasy | Middle School | Fiction | Book Blogger | Creative Writing | Reading | RachelPoli.com

I got a hardcover copy for my birthday.

Summary:

SkyClan has returned to its rightful place among the other four warrior Clans, hoping to find a new territory to call home. But not every cat is convinced that this is where SkyClan belongs—and the fate of all five warrior Clans remains uncertain.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comAs always, the cover is very pretty. I love seeing the vivid colors, even though this one is on the darker side. But hey, it matches the title.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThis book has a lot of build up in it. SkyClan is back, but some cats don’t necessarily know where they belong. ShadowClan is also going through a rough time as well. There are five Clans again, but it might not be for long.

While this was a good read, I felt like this book was a lot of build up for bigger things to come. The Clans are trying to rebuild after the events of the previous book and it’s almost like they’re starting over.

Characters | RachelPoli.comNormally, we follow one or two cats as the “main characters.” This particular series, however, have been following a couple. Normally they’re in the same Clan too, but not this time. There are a lot of cats to keep track of, but I like it. I like seeing how other Clans work and checking out which cats are where as they figure out where they belong.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is another easy read and while it’s wasn’t much a page-turner until the end, I still read it fairly quick. The story is easy to follow, the dialogue and cat terms are fun, and the characters are great.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was another great read and I’m looking forward to book five.

Warriors: Darkest Night (A Vision of Shadows 4) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Rowanstar doesn’t have enough cats to cause a storm. He barely has enough to cause a mild breeze.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: Darkest Night (A Vision of Shadows 4)

Buy the book:

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Warriors: Shattered Sky (A Vision Of Shadows 3) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

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Book Review: Warriors: Shattered Sky (A Vision of Shadows 3) by Erin Hunter | Young Adult | Fantasy | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

I got a hardcover copy for Christmas.

Summary:

Only shadows can clear the sky

The warrior Clans are facing an enemy more dangerous than they have ever known. Darktail and his band of rogues have seized ShadowClan’s territory. Worse, many of ShadowClan’s young warriors and apprentices have joined the rogues, forcing Rowanstar and a few loyal warriors to take refuge in ThunderClan.

Though Darktail’s rogues are a threat to all warrior cats, the ties between the four ties have begun to fracture. RiverClan is heavily wounded, WindClan has closed its borders, and in ThunderClan, medicine cat Alderheart is more certain than ever that their only hope is to find SkyClan. They must fulfill StarClan’s prophecy–before Darktail’s vicious reign puts an end to all the Clans.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comAs always, I like the book cover. I like how realistic it looks and how it showcases certain important characters of that current book.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThe plot of this book needed all five Clans, including SkyClan, to ban together to get rid of Darktail and the rogues. This plot is very intense but it was great to see all the Clans working together. My only complaint – if you can call it a complaint – is that this book seemed to be the end. It would have been a great ending to A Vision of Shadows, but there are still three books left in this series. I’m lost as to what will happen next for the last three books.

Characters | RachelPoli.comAll the characters are great, as usual. I’m glad Twigpaw took matters into her own hands – it was about time one of them did something without obeying and then calling “woe is me.” All the characters had a purpose in this particular book and it was great.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

These books are always an easy read. Shattered Sky is on the shorter side compared to the other books in the series. It was a page-turner and definitely a fun read compared to the first two books of the series. As I said for the plot, though, I’m not sure what’s going to happen next. This book would have been a great wrap up for the series.

Overall | RachelPoli.comShattered Sky was a great read and I’m looking forward to reading the fourth book.

Warriors: Shattered Sky (A Vision of Shadows 3) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Warriors: Thunder And Shadow (A Vision Of Shadows 2) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

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Book Review: Warriors Thunder and Shadow (A Vision of Shadows 2) by Erin Hunter | Book Blog | Fantasy | Fiction | YA | Middle Grade | Reading | RachelPoli.com

I got this as a Christmas gift.

Summary:

Nearly a moon has passed since Alderpaw returned from his journey to SkyClan’s gorge, where he found the territory taken over by rogues. Now the same vicious cats that drove out SkyClan have traced Alderpaw’s path back to the lake… and ShadowClan may be the next to fall.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover, as usual is very pretty. I really love the new designs and the cats look fairly realistic.

Plot | RachelPoli.comLike the title suggests, this book focuses on ThunderClan, as usual, and ShadowClan. The rogues that drove out SkyClan in the previous book have followed Alderpaw home and taken over ShadowClan as their own territory. All that’s left of ShadowClan is Rowanstar, Tawnypelt, and Tigerheart. All the other ShadowClan cats have remained in ShadowClan with the rogues for various reasons.

The stakes have truly raised in this book from the last. All the Clans are effected by these rogues, but ThunderClan and ShadowClan need to truly team up to defeat the threat – and this isn’t a typical team in this series. With that said, it was very well done.

Characters | RachelPoli.comAll the characters are confused in this one and trying to figure out who to trust and what to do. My only complaint about the characters is that Twigpaw and Violetpaw’s relationship is starting to get annoying. The two of them are confused and want to be together but are making very different choices. Yet, they each seem to think that whatever the other decides is because of them. It doesn’t make any sense and they bicker over nonsense because of it.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This particular book was very well written. Up until now we’ve always seen the books through the eyes of a ThunderClan cat. This book goes back and forth between ThunderClan and ShadowClan. We’re allowed to see how ShadowClan runs, their customs, and how they’re different and the same as ThunderClan. It’s made me want a separate Warriors series based in ShadowClan as well as one based in WindClan and one in RiverClan. I would truly love to see how the other Clans run.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was a pretty intense book but there was a lot of arguing and misunderstandings which got old quick. I think this book was a set up for what’s to come later. I really enjoyed the way it was written though and seeing through the eyes of another Clan was eye-opening and very cool.

Warriors: Thunder and Shadow (A Vision of Shadows 2) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Shared knowledge is never wasted.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: Thunder and Shadow (A Vision of Shadows 2)

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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How To Build A Fantasy World In Flash Fiction [Guest Post]

I’m happy to welcome Carin Marais back to my blog for another guest post! Thanks, Carin!

Guest Post: How To Build a Fantasy World in Flash Fiction by Carin Marais | Creative Writing | Guest Blogging | Short Story | Fantasy Writing | RachelPoli.com

When writing fantasy or sci-fi stories in a flash fiction it can be difficult to get the world in which the story takes place across because of the word limit. However, there are some steps that you can take that will make your worldbuilding in flash fiction not only work but also stand out.

Choosing a world to write in (a new world/a world you already know)

First of all, you need to decide whether you’ll be writing in the primary world (i.e. our world), or a secondary world. There is a bit of overlap – or grey area, if you want – between primary and secondary worlds. For instance, in “Scorched Earth”, I wrote a “straightforward” historical flash fiction piece, but added some paranormal aspects:

Johannes’ voice sounded in my ears as I turned to climb onto the wagon.

“Want Hij zal Zijn engelen vam u bevelen, dat sij u bewaren in al uw wegen.”

I looked around and spotted him standing some way off. Still dressed in simple clothes, he no longer held a Mauser in his hands. His chest was covered in dark blood and sand crusted his face. I wanted to wipe it away, to tell him it’s alright. I wanted to beat his chest and ask him how he could have left me. How he could let me go to the camps. How he dared recite the Bible to me.

I jumped when a young soldier touched my arm and I stepped back.

Jy sien ook?” he asked, the words barely recognisable. “You see them as well?” he repeated in English, his eyes pleading.

“See what?” I shrugged and climbed onto the wagon, sitting down next to Maria.

The young soldier folded his arms around him, eyes darting from ghost to ghost.” (“Scorched Earth” by Carin Marais, 2018)

Then there are those who are set in a world that is either completely alien to our own (Daily SF has published many stories that uses this wonderfully), or which are a complete secondary world, hinting at a larger world beyond the story:

They had always said that my blood wasn’t pure enough to work here, that the gods would take vengeance for having their holy objects exhibited for all to see. I rolled my eyes at them – but only behind their backs.

The priests added their voices to the surging crowds once money changed hands and their earlier blessing of the travelling exhibition was recanted. All objects were to be returned to the half-forgotten temples.” (“Red” by Carin Marais, 2018)

This also brings me to the first part of worldbuilding when you’re writing flash fiction – build only the part of the world that is necessary for the story.

Building only what is necessary

When you only have a thousand words to work with (give or take), you hardly have time to go into the intricacies of the economic system of the city where your story takes place.

However, if you need to show a disparity in income, for instance, you can mention hijacked buildings turned to slums or the beggars in the streets. Perhaps your character passes a soup kitchen line, or perhaps they drive past informal settlements that line the main roads out of the city. You don’t (necessarily) have to give up too many words for this kind of description if you use your words economically.

You also shouldn’t underestimate the intelligence your readers – you don’t have to spell everything out to them, but just leave enough breadcrumbs for the reader from which to gather the whole picture. You can always make a few notes about the world if you want to return to that world later, but just watch out for ending up with worldbuilder’s disease before you’ve even written the flash piece! This includes writing languages and cultures.

Other languages and cultures

(Fantasy) culture is a lot easier to portray in flash fiction, in my opinion, than other languages. However, using words in another language – or even languages – can be a powerful way to ground the story in a specific milieu.

For instance, I used three languages in “Scorched Earth”; English (the language the story is written in), Dutch (the language of the Bible quotations), and Afrikaans. The story is set during the Anglo Boer War (1899-1902) and, at that time, the Dutch Bible was still used by Afrikaans Christians. Each time, however, I noted that it was verses from the Bible that was being quoted and, in the context of the story, it wouldn’t be a huge problem if the reader didn’t understand the exact verse that was being quoted.

Johannes’ voice sounded in my ears as I turned to climb onto the wagon.

“Want Hij zal Zijn engelen vam u bevelen, dat sij u bewaren in al uw wegen.”

How he dared recite the Bible to me.” (“Scorched Earth by Carin Marais, 2018)

When it comes to using fantasy culture(s) in your fiction, there are some simple steps you can take to make it work.

If you’re just working from a vague idea in your mind, try some free writing to get a better grasp of what the culture is about and where it may have parallels to cultures in the primary world. If it does, and you need to do some research, now is the time. Talk to people of that culture, read up (for example articles by people of that culture) if the culture is on the other side of the world as you, etc. NaNoWriMo forums are especially good for this type of research.

Of course, if it’s a fantasy culture that you’re not actually basing on any real culture (much easier to do in a short piece than an actual novel!), you can basically do what you want and show that element that you want to highlight. For instance, this can be a part of their mythology and ritual as I did in “They Burn Your Birth-Tree” (2017) that I wrote for Paragraph Planet:

They burn your birth-tree with you when you die. Your ash would mix before being scattered by the ever-swirling-whispering-wailing wind. I always thought winter – that dark season – was the perfect time to die. My son was born with the first blossoms. I held the newborn at the newly planted birth-tree next to his mother’s stump. A bitter wind blew ashes from the pyre into the sunlit sky. You shouldn’t die in spring, I thought. “They Burn Your Birth-tree” by Carin Marais (2017)

While the fantasy culture may be foreign or strange to the reader, ways to make it understandable and relatable includes smart naming of the objects or rituals in the culture. So, for instance, I chose the English name “birth-tree” to denote an otherwise strange and alien idea instead of making up a word in another language. The reader immediately has some inkling of what I am referring to even though they have probably never heard of the word before.

You also don’t have to give more information about the use of the tree-burning than that which is in the final story, as the story only hinges on the reader understanding the implications of the mother’s tree having been cut down. The whole history of the tree-burning is therefore unnecessary clutter in the story even though you may have made worldbuilding notes about this. (More about it in the ‘editing’ part of this post.)

The magic system/technology

When writing a magic system or technology in flash fiction, it’s best to keep the magic “magical” and the technology “something that works” as you are really pressed for space.

Remember that it’s always important to focus on the story and what the story and characters need rather than focusing on that which goes on behind the scenes. Your readers are much more likely to enjoy one where the magic just works than one where the magic is being discussed for no apparent reason. Of course, if your whole story is about that, then go right ahead, but don’t feel the need to do it in every story.

The same goes for technology. In a tome of over 100K words, you’ll have more than enough space for explaining how certain technologies work. In 1 000 words, however, it’s unnecessary. All you have to really know that it works (or doesn’t work) and what the actual story is about. For instance:

I pick up the old delivery box and open it. Inside is my stinging, half-beating heart, its cogs and wheels and pipes all scattered. No wonder my chest ached so. I take a small screwdriver and go to work…” (“A Cup of Tea” by Carin Marais, 2018)

Don’t info-dump

All of the above basically boils down to one thing: don’t info-dump in the story. If your story ends up being 2 000 words, it’s more than likely that things can be edited down by half by either re-writing and deleting unnecessary details.

Here is an example of my first draft of the beginning of “They Burn Your Birth-tree” and what ended up in the published story:

“They burn you when you die in the winter, or so the old people always said. When the ground is frozen and the birth-trees bare, they would cut down your birth-tree and burn it with you.” (Draft 1)

Versus

“They burn your birth-tree with you when you die.” (Published story)

This took about 4 edits and I ended being a lot happier with the concise sentence of the final piece than the info-dump of the first draft when I was still finding my feet in the story.

  • Editing your flash piece

When you start to edit your story, first look at the number of words you need to cut – 100? 1 000? Once you know that, you know the minimum you need to trim from the story to turn it into a flash piece.

Start by deleting all unnecessary words. You’d be surprised how many you can use in such a limited space!

Next, go through all your descriptions. How can you tighten them or even rewrite them to make them punchier?

Usually by this time I find that I’d cut quite a large number of words already and may have already hit my target number of words! If not, I look at the story itself. Are there details that I can delete? Or perhaps whole characters that I can leave out without breaking down the story? Remember to spellcheck before posting or sending!

About Carin Marais

Carin Marais is a South African fantasy author and copywriter whose fiction and articles have appeared in Every Day Fiction, Jozi Flash (2016, 2017), Speculative Grammarian, Inkspraak and, most recently, Vrouekeur (June 2018). Her flash fiction collection Dim Mirrors (2016) was followed by Shards of Mirrors in 2018, shortly after the short story Forgotten (2018) was published on Kindle and Kobo. She is also a regular contributor to The Mighty.

Website & Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Shards of Mirrors By Carin MaraisShards of Mirrors is a free collection of 16 flash fiction pieces by Carin Marais. The stories are thematically linked, with the writer exploring loss, grief, forgetting, and remembering throughout the collection. Though not light-hearted, many of the stories are bittersweet and even hopeful. The genres range from steampunk (“Calling the Rain”), and horror (“The Call from Below”, “Red”), to sci-fi (“Shared Memories in High Definition”, “Petrichor”) and fantasy (“A Cup of Tea”, “A Fair Trade”).

DOWNLOAD SHARDS OF MIRRORS HERE.

Be sure to let Carin know what you thought of her post in the comments! Check out her links and show her some love. If you liked the post, please share it around.

If you’d like to write a guest post for my blog, then read the Guest Post Guidelines.

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Thomas Wildus And The Book Of Sorrows By J. M. Bergen [Book Review]

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Book Review: Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen | eARC | Middle Grade | Fantasy | Book Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I received an eARC from the author and his publicist.

Summary:

Magic is real, Thomas. No matter what happens, always remember that magic is real.

Seven years have passed, and Thomas hasn’t forgotten. He hasn’t forgotten the blue of his dad’s eyes either, or the tickle of beard on his cheek as they hugged goodbye. Last moments with a parent are memorable, even if you don’t know that’s what you’re having at the time.

Now, with his 13th birthday rapidly approaching, Thomas’s search for magic is about to take a radical and unexpected turn. At an out-of-the-way shop filled with dusty leather books, a strange little man with gold-flecked eyes offers him an ancient text called The Book of Sorrows. The price is high and the rules are strict, but there’s no way Thomas can resist the chance to look inside.

With the mysterious book guiding the way, a strange new world is revealed – a world in which Thomas has a name and destiny far more extraordinary than he ever imagined. But time is short. Even as Thomas uncovers his secret family history, enemies emerge, threatening to end his rise to power and destroy everything he holds dear.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comI think the cover is gorgeous. I enjoy the swirl of dark colors and it really emphasizes the magic portion of the book.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI was approached by the author’s publicist. I enjoy middle grade novels and with it being about magic, I was more than happy to give it a try.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThomas Wildus is living his normal pre-teen life – going to school and hanging with his friends. He lives with his mother and his father has been dead for quite some time. Thomas then comes across a strange bookstore and is given the Book of Sorrows. Then the story begins.

This was the classic beginning of a fantasy world where the protagonist finds their powers on their 13th birthday. Except, he didn’t really find his powers accidentally.

Overall, it was pretty well done. The way Thomas finds out about everything seems a bit cliche to me, but it was done well enough for the story that sets it aside from other books that got about that trope the same way.

Characters | RachelPoli.comI enjoyed all the characters in this one. Thomas made a great protagonist and his friend Enrique was highly amusing. The two of them definitely acted like middle-grade kids, which was fun to read.

All the supporting characters – Huxley, Adelia, Professor Reiley, Thomas’s mom, etc. – were all great too. Each character had their own unique voice and each one had a purpose and seemed to have enough equal light in the spotlight.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book is about 350 pages long. It can be a quick read, but for me, I had trouble getting through the beginning. I felt the pacing was slow to start and the story didn’t really start until 100-150 pages into the book. There was a lot of build up, which wasn’t necessarily not needed, but I felt it could have been done in a different way.

Then, when the action did start, I felt it went along pretty fast because, at that point, there was only half of the book left. Thomas and Enrique were training for about two weeks before they confronted Arius and, while they trained, Arius seemed to be finding and collecting crystals left and right. It was too fast for the stakes to get high and tension to build.

Other than pacing, the book was easy to read and well written overall. The story was interesting once the magic really began.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows is a pretty good read. I enjoyed the characters and the plot is definitely intriguing enough. The pacing was the biggest issue for me and because of that, I wasn’t able to get into the story as much as I would have liked. However, I’m still interested enough to read book two when that comes out.

Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen gets…
Book Review Rating System | 3 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com3 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“I’m just trying to keep you from embarrassing yourself. It’s not easy, you know.” -J.M. Bergen, Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows

Buy the book:

Amazon

About J.M. Bergen

J.M. Bergen | Author | Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows | Middle Grade, Fantasy | RachelPoli.comA long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…

J.M. Bergen graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in creative writing and a minor in business. Over the years his writing has appeared in a variety of publications under a variety of pen names, and though his favorite stories are about magic and adventure, his best-known work to date has been non-fiction.

J.M.’s debut series originally started as a bedtime story for his oldest son. The story turned into a saga, and one book turned into five. The first book in the series, Thomas Wildus and The Book of Sorrows, is scheduled for release in February 2019. The second, Thomas Wildus and The Wizard of Sumeria, will be published in late 2019, with the remainder of the series released before the end of 2021.

When J.M. isn’t working on the Thomas Wildus books, you can find him playing with his kids, splashing in the ocean, or dreaming up new adventures. If you ever meet him and can’t think of anything to talk about, you might ask about Herman the Shark, the Kai and Eli stories, or why Riddle-Master by Patricia McKillip is his all-time favorite book. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll have questions and stories of your own (if you do, he’ll think that’s far more interesting).

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Is a book you think you’d like? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Warriors: The Last Hope (Omen Of The Stars 6) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review | Warriors: The Last Hope (Omen of the Stars 6) by Erin Hunter | Middle Grade | Fantasy | Fiction | Book Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I got the book as a gift for my birthday.

Summary:

The end of the stars draws near. Three must become four to battle the darkness that lasts forever…

After countless moons of treachery, Tigerstar’s Dark Forest apprentices are ready to lay siege upon the warrior Clans. As the Clan cats seek out their allies and enemies, Jayfeather, Lionblaze & Dovewing search desperately for the fourth cat who is prophesied to lead the Clans to victory – and who may be their only hope for survival.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comAs soon as I picked up this book, I knew exactly who the cat on the front cover was. And I cried. I had spoiled something for myself a while ago and, with the content of the Omen of the Stars books, I knew something was coming. The title alone says it all.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThis is the final book in the Omen of the Stars series. This particular series of Warriors has been my favorite so far because it had so many Harry Potter vibes. I’ve been with these characters since I was 11-years-old and this plot wrapped everything up so nicely and punched me right in the gut.

This would have been the perfect ending to the series as a whole. Of course, there are three series (at the time of writing this review) after this one. So, this book serves as an ending and new beginning.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book, as I said earlier, punched me right in the gut. I don’t even know how to write this review because of spoilers… though, based on my blog audience, I’m not sure how many of you will actually go read these books. Still, I took out the character section due to spoilers because I don’t know what to say.

I cried throughout the majority of this book – that’s how good the writing is. I’m still crying even while writing this review.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was a wonderful ending to a new beginning. I’m glad the series is still going, but I would have been satisfied if this was the final book in the Warriors series. I’m looking forward to reading a brand new generation of Warriors.

Warriors: The Last Hope (Omen of the Stars 6) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“I would have taken your place if you had let me.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: The Last Hope (Omen of the Stars 6)

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Warriors: The Forgotten Warrior (Omen Of The Stars 5) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

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Book Revew: Warriors: The Forgotten Warrior | Omen of the Stars | Erin Hunter | Book Blogger | Blogging | Reading Books | RachelPoli.com

I got it as a gift for a birthday.

Summary:

With a divided StarClan driving a treacherous rift between the four warrior Clans, the spirits of the Dark Forest are gaining strength. Ivypool’s role as a spy becomes more dangerous with each passing day, and Dovewing is haunted by nightmares about the mountains.
Then an outsider appears in ThunderClan’s midst, spreading discord and pushing the Clans farther apart. As tensions mount and Clanmates turn against one another, the warrior cats will be forced to choose whose word they can trust–before it’s too late.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe book cover matches the rest of the series. It highlights a cat who’s important to the current book and series as a whole. I had guessed who the cat was on the front cover, even though that cat is no longer listed as one of the characters.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comSince I knew who the “forgotten warrior” was, I was eager to get going on this fifth book. This cat hasn’t been seen for a while and I’ve missed her.

Plot | RachelPoli.comA lot of the plot in this book is highlighting what’s already happened before and how the cats are dealing with it. Then an outsider shows up to help and that throws some characters for a loop. Overall, this plot was a lot of build up for the next book, the final in the Omen of the Stars installment.

Characters | RachelPoli.comA lot of this book focused on the forgotten warrior. Again, it was great to see her again after so long, even though it was easy to guess she’d be coming back. Overall, all the characters are great – Dovewing, Lionblaze, and Jayfeather – and it’s weird to know their story is coming to an end.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

As always, this is an easy read. The book flows well and while this wasn’t as tense as the previous books in the series, it was still a page-turner.

Overall | RachelPoli.comI enjoyed this book as much as I have the others and I’m looking forward to seeing the ending of Omen of the Stars in the next book.

Warriors: The Forgotten Warrior (Omen of the Stars 5) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Why do relationships have to be so complicated?” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: The Forgotten Warrior (Omen of the Stars 5)

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Warriors: Omen Of The Stars: Fading Echoes By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

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Book Review: Warriors: Fading Echoes | Omen of the stars book 2 | middle grade | fantasy | reading | book blogger | blogging | RachelPoli.com

I bought a hardcover of the book a long time ago.

Summary:


After the sharp-eyed Jay and the roaring Lion, peace will come on Dove’s gentle wing.

Three ThunderClan cats, Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Dovepaw, are prophesied to hold the power of the stars in their paws. Now they must work together to unravel the meaning behind the ancient words of the prophecy.

As Jayfeather tackles his new responsibilities as the Clan’s sole medicine cat and Lionblaze trains his apprentice in the ways of the warrior cats, Dovepaw hones her own unique ability and tries to use it for the good of ThunderClan. But the dark shadows that have preyed on the Clan for many moons still lurk just beyond the forest. Soon a mysterious visitor will walk in one cat’s dreams, whispering promises of greatness, with results that will change the future of ThunderClan in ways that no cat could have foreseen.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

As usual, the cover is simple. It showcases one cat that will be important to the story. Sometimes this is obvious to me which cat it is and other times it isn’t. Still, I like it.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

Warriors is a series that I’ve been reading as a kid. This is the second book in the Omen of the Stars series, which is the fourth series of the whole thing. A lot of stuff happened in the first book and the story is getting dark, so I was certainly eager to keep reading on.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Dovepaw continue to work together to understand their powers, learn about the prophecy, and figure out what they need to do next and where they need to go. They discover Ivypaw, Dovepaw’s sister, has been training in the Dark Forest (the book’s version of Hell).

They do their best to keep moving forward but that also means keeping secrets and sneaking around, which sometimes land them into even more trouble.

I enjoyed this plot and the back and forth between Dovepaw and Ivypaw. It hurt to see the two sisters fighting so much, especially when they’re usually joint at the hip. I definitely enjoyed the dark elements of the story and this series is beginning to give me Harry Potter feels.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I’ve always loved the characters. I have a new appreciation for Jayfeather and his snarkiness. Sometimes he could seem like just a grump, but I sympathize with everything he has to do and go through. Yellowfang plays a big part as his “mentor” in a way from StarClan (the book’s version of Heaven). She has been a character I’ve certainly missed.

Lionblaze was certainly getting arrogant but I think Cinderheart, his crush, and Dovepaw did pretty well at trying to snap him out of that.

Overall, the characters are fun to revisit in each book.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is a fast read. The book is around 300 pages, which is the typically length for these books. The chapters vary from seven pages long to 20 pages long, but each one goes fast.

Erin Hunter has a certain style of writing so that you just keep reading and going on. There are lulls here and there, but nothing too dull to get you to put down the book unless you have to.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was another great book to the Warriors series and I can’t wait to continue reading Omen of the Stars.

Warriors: Omen of the Stars: Fading Echoes by Erin Hunter gets…
4 out of 5 cups

Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com

Favorite Quote:

“He never seemed to get tired. Always first up and ready to move on. Never afraid of what lay ahead.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: Omens of the Stars: Fading Echoes

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Wishtree By Katherine Applegate [Book Review]

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Book Review: Wishtree by Katherine Applegate | Reading | Middle Grade | Fiction | Fantasy | Book Blogger | Book Reviewer | RachelPoli.com

I got the book from my mom, who borrowed it from her school’s library.

Summary:

Trees can’t tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this “wishtree” watches over the neighborhood.

You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover is very pretty. It’s simple and says a lot about what the book will be about.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comMy mom had borrowed this from the library and once she was finished with it, she told myself and my sister that we needed to read it. So, I didn’t really get much of a choice, but I’m glad she gave it to me.

Plot | RachelPoli.comRed is a big oak tree as is the narrator of the story. He has a story to tell, a lot of them. However, as a tree it’s his job to shelter certain animals and people watch. This is the story of Red trying to understand his own place in the world as well as understand the world around him, especially humans. There’s a much deeper meaning to the plot that was well executed, but I won’t say much further due to spoilers.

Overall, this plot was very well done and has a special message that everyone can read and understand.

Characters | RachelPoli.comThe main character was Red the oak tree along with his critter friends which included opossums, skunks, and owls alike. His best friend was Bongo, a crow. It was a great cast bursting with many different personalities. They were all written in a unique voice that made the book comical as well.

The human characters were done simply, which worked well since we see them through Red’s eyes. However, we get just enough information.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book is a super quick read. The words just flowed right along throughout the book. It captures your attention from start to finish between the plot and sub-plot as well as the voices of the characters. It was certainly interesting to read a book from the POV of a tree.

The chapters are mostly short being only two or three pages long and some of them were broken up with pictures to illustrate the characters and aid the plot along.

Overall | RachelPoli.comEvery part of this book was well done. It was easy and fun to read and even though the story is over, I’d love to hear more from Red.

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“It is a great gift indeed to love who you are.” -Katherine Applegate, Wishtree

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Caught Dead Headed (Witch City Mystery 1) By Carol J. Perry [Book Review]

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Book Review: Caught Dead Handed (Witch City Mystery 1) by Carol J. Perry | Mystery | Paranormal Fantasy | Fiction | RachelPoli.com

I received a free review paperback copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

She’s not a psychic–she just plays one on TV.

Most folks associate the city of Salem, Massachusetts with witches, but for Lee Barrett, it’s home. This October she’s returned to her hometown–where her beloved Aunt Ibby still lives–to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV. But the only opening is for a call-in psychic to host the late night horror movies. It seems the previous host, Ariel Constellation, never saw her own murder coming.

Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she’s using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities. To make things even spookier, it’s starting to look like Ariel may have been an actual practicing witch–especially when O’Ryan, the cat Lee and Aunt Ibby inherited from her, exhibits some strange powers of his own. With Halloween fast approaching, Lee must focus on unmasking a killer–or her career as a psychic may be very short lived. . .

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

The cover is dark and mysterious. It shows off a lot of what the book is about – the cat, for example – and even the title hints as well.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

If you know me then you know I love a good cozy murder mystery. I was asked by the author to read the series and gladly accepted.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Like most cozy mysteries, Lee Barrett doesn’t have things going the way she wanted them to. She didn’t get the job she wanted. As she leaves her interview, she stumbles upon a dead body. On the plus side, the dead body was one of the workers so Lee ends up with a job in the end.

Things begin to get strange around the news station and, as Lee researches witchcraft and psychics for her job, she discovers some things about the people she works with and ends up investigating the murder case as well.

This adds a new twist on paranormal mysteries as Lee is pretending to be a psychic for her audience on her TV gig and find the true nature of her job as the people around her.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

All the characters were wonderfully written. I didn’t have a problem with any of them. They all had unique voices and personalities. Aunt Ibby, Lee’s aunt who she lives with, is an awesome character. She was very supportive and likable. I’m sure Aunt Ibby was my favorite character.

Every character has a purpose, though by the end of the book there were some characters who seemed to have disappeared. Scott Palmer, the man who got Lee’s job in the first place, had a lot of meaning the beginning and then just seemed to fall off the face of the earth by the end.

Oh, and O’Ryan the cat. He was truly my favorite, the MVP.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed the author’s writing style. There’s a good balance between dialogue and description, though more on the description end. The picture was painted well and the author had great knowledge of the setting of the book, Salem, MA.

The story flowed well and went at a nice pace with a good amount of tension and funny moments. It was an easy read and was a decent length at nearly 400 pages.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was a great first installment for a mystery series. It was a fun mystery to figure out and, now that it’s finished, I’m remembering some clues that would have helped me figure it out sooner. It was well put together. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Caught Dead Handed (Witch City Mystery 1) by Carol J. Perry gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“She held up a well-manicured hand and began counting on cerise nail-polished fingers.” –Carol J. Perry, Caught Dead Handed (Witch City Mystery 1)

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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