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Review: The Last Lumenian by S.G. Blaise

The Last Lumenian follows Lilla, a princess turned rebel turned powerhouse.

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S.G. Blaise does an excellent job of giving each character a unique personality, speech pattern and customs. The characters’ interactions are spot on for their personalities, sometimes clashing or showing kindness.

The Last Lumenian’s universe is vast. This book revolves around Lilla’s homeworld with references to the other worlds (perhaps we will explore them in future books?). At the book’s beginning, a map lays out the essential areas referenced throughout the story.

I found it interesting how the book combines sci-fi with fantasy, creating a uniquely satisfying story.

A significant theme that Lilla needs to overcome is her claustrophobia. It is immediately introduced and explained why it plays a major role in her life. I think the author did a great job of exploring that theme in the story’s context without overdoing it.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and would love to read the other parts!

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Review: Toxic Family by Susan Gold

Toxic Family is exactly what Susan Gold grew up experiencing. The book chronicles her growing-up experiences and how she finally healed.

Susan doesn’t hold back as she explores her life in a home of chaos. I particularly appreciate the real experiences Susan Gold shares that some memoirs gloss over. Each chapter features a photo (or two) enhancing the reality of the book. 

A central theme the author explores is the need to push herself in sports to avoid the other things in her life. How the author shared her feelings of defeat and uselessness was precisely how I felt. No one has been able to express those feelings in a way I could relate to better than Susan. 

Activities that match each chapter’s theme are at the end of the book, which is a beautiful touch to an important story. 

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Review: Enigma Tracer by Breakfield & Burkey

This is the first in the Engima Heirs series, the continuation of the original Enigma series. The Enigma Heirs must uncover and gather enough evidence to stop Pliant.

I have not read any other books by Breakfield and Burkey and worried I would miss pieces. However, the authors did an excellent job filling in all the blanks, and I could follow along without any issues.

Enigma Tracer takes the reader on an undercover job aboard a Caribbean cruise. What I found interesting were the characters’ planning discussions before they boarded the ship. The discussions are enough to help understand the technical side of what they will be doing but don’t give away what the characters will do.

The friendships are clearly defined, and the dialogue is natural. Following the story had some twists and hardships.
This is a great young adult book, especially if you are into detectives, mystery or technology.

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REVIEW: Insurrection: A White Council Novel by Brandon Hargraves

A year after Reflection, Dawn and the other characters are again in the middle of life-challenging events. Political unrest, surprise encounters and learning the greyness of the world make this fantasy a roller coaster.

This is the perfect continuation for this story; I loved the continued character development. Dawn’s shadow still appears as she learns that the world is not black and white. The other characters are finding their voices and trying to find their roles in society while still maintaining who they are. The solid friendships of Book 1 were tested, and some became quite strained.

A fantastic “WHOA!” moment came when a certain character appeared (not telling who). It was a great shock and worked really well into the overall story.

Compared to the first book, there were more fights and hardships. The fight scenes weren’t too drawn out and added great substance to the story.

I look forward to the next installment to see where this story goes.

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Review: But I Didn’t Say Goodbye by Barbara Rubel

But I Didn’t Say Goodbye follows a family that is struck with the unthinkable; the suicide of their father.

The book’s first section provides research-based evidence on suicide, loss and complicated grief. Barbara Rubel provides a foundation for understanding. The second section is written through the eyes of the son as he griefs for the loss of his father by suicide.

Within the story, the reader is taken through finding out that the father is dead, the funeral and living without him afterwards. Each chapter focuses on a specific timeframe of the journey, ten years later reflection, and thought-provoking questions.

The story is an easy (though emotional) read. The interactions of the family members (children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) are beautifully written. Both children are under the age of 10 and need help understanding what is happening and ways to express their myriad of emotions; sadness and anger. Their mom uses language appropriate for each age level when talking to her children. It is a great book to help any family member experiencing significant loss through suicide.

In the end, there is an activity called Pallet of Grief, resources and additional readings. Overall, I think this is a beneficial book.

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