Saturday Stuff and Recent Reads Review

Happy 4th of July weekend (for those in America who celebrate Independence Day)! It’s been cloudy and rainy. YAY!!! No really, I’m excited about the rain. It’s monsoon season for us here in AZ and we’ve been praying for rain since it sort of got a late start. There have already been forest fires in AZ this season, so we’ll take any rain we can get. Plus, the rain and clouds help cool things down. It hasn’t been as hot here in my part of AZ as it has in Phoenix, but we’ve reached triple digits here and that’s way to hot for me. Of course, I’m a wimp so when it’s in the nineties, it’s too hot for me. LOL

In addition to the benefits of helping keep forest fires down and cooling things off, the rainy weather puts me in a writing mood. I don’t know what it is about it this year, but in years past it hasn’t been this way. Usually the rain is a deterrent for me, making me want to stay inside and read or something, but this year, it makes me want to be out in my office writing. Not a bad thing. I’ve written and revised a couple of picture book manuscripts, started a chapter book/MG (not sure which direction I’m going to take it at this point, but I’m leaning toward chapter book), done some work on writing a past MG that I’d set aside, and jotted down some notes for a couple of YA (one I’ve started in the past and one new one). So, bring on the rain!

When I haven’t been writing, I’ve been reading or cleaning house. Believe me, I prefer the reading. Winking smile I recently finished Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. Here’s my review:

As a reminder of my scoring system, I’m using emoticons. Here’s what they mean:

Open-mouthed smile–WOW—I loved this book and will talk/have talked about/shared it with others.

Smile–Not totally in love, but this was a great book and I may talk about/share it with others.

Thinking smile–This was okay. I enjoyed reading it, but it’s not my favorite.

Sad smile–This wasn’t for me. I stopped reading and couldn’t bring myself to finish.

Steaming mad–How did this get published?

If you happen to be the author of one of the books I review, please remember this is my honest opinion. Don’t hate me if I don’t give your book a great big happy grin. I am only one reader in the whole wide readership and I’m sure there are those who’ll love your work—it just wasn’t me.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

RatingThinking smile

The Story—Amy is a girl from Kansas who dreams of going somewhere else to escape a mother who’s an addict, a father who left to start a new family, and a school life that pretty much sucks. So when a tornado whisks her away to Oz, she isn’t too heartbroken—confused and unbelieving for a while, but not heartbroken. But the Oz Amy ends up in isn’t the same one Dorothy left.

For starters, Dorothy has returned to Oz, and that’s part of the problem. Dorothy isn’t the same happy, sweet girl from Kansas that she used to be. This Dorothy craves power and gets power from magic. The magic of Oz is being harvested by Glinda the-not-so-good witch for Dorothy to use as she pleases.

Dorothy has displaced Oz’s true ruler, Ozma, and taken over as queen. She rules with an iron fist, torturing anyone who might get on her bad side. The Tin Man, Lion, and Scarecrow aren’t what they used to be either, and nothing will stop them from being loyal to Dorothy. Well, almost nothing.

Amy is “recruited” by the Wicked—the witches formerly good and bad who have banded together against Dorothy. Amy’s job? To assassinate Dorothy. But will she be able to do it?

My thoughts—First of all, I had seen this book in my local Wal-Mart. It sounded interesting, but I had no intention of picking it up. My oldest daughter, on the other hand, did pick it up and asked me to buy it for her. Who am I to deny the child reading material? So I did buy it for her. But then I had some doubts and told her I needed to read it first (that’s how I am—I try not to let my kids read things unless I’ve read and approved them first). So I took it that night and read most of it, leaving off when I was so tired I couldn’t take it anymore. I picked it up early the next morning and finished it, returning it to her before she had even crawled out of bed.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to let her read it because it has a few “f-bombs” in it. It seemed to be contained to the beginning of the book, but I could have lived without them, and don’t like my kids reading such things. So, even though I love books with all my heart, I will admit to taking a pen and inking over the bad words (gripe at me all you want, call it censorship or whatever, but it was either that or not allow her to read it at all—which I’ve done in the past).

But the “f-bombs” alone aren’t enough to determine rating. I’ve given great big happy faces to books that used the “f-word” before. So why the lower rating? Many reasons. This book was LONG. I enjoyed the concept, and there was lots of excitement, but it was all basically set up for future novels. I know, I know, the first book in a series is always set up, but it should also contain it’s own complete story. For me, this one just didn’t. The ending was too abrupt. Ending right in the thick of things. Yes, she had accomplished a task that needed accomplished, but it wasn’t until the end of the book that we found out there were things she’d need to do first before she’d be able to kill Dorothy. Yeah. Like I said, this was all just one big long set-up—kind of like a super long prologue.

Still, I did enjoy the concept, and I enjoyed it enough that I’ll probably pick up the rest of the series, or at least the next book to see how it comes along. Hopefully the next book will be the last one though. I can’t see dragging it out over more than one novel. At least I hope not. I want it wrapped up and concluded—I like closure.

So that’s my opinion. I liked the book. I didn’t love it.

Write/Read/Weekend on!

About Joan Stradling, Author

Joan Stradling is a middle grade and YA author of stories with magical elements. She loves painting, baking, crafting, pet wrangling, and anything else she can fit into her schedule. A passionate believer in the power of books, she still hopes to one day ride a dragon, meet a Hobbit, or discover new worlds by walking through a wardrobe. In the meantime, she imagines and writes about her own incredible worlds and characters–and continues to live vicariously through the adventures in other’s books. You can find her on Instagram (@JoanStradlingAuthor) or Twitter (@justJoanS) or FB (Joan Stradling aka Joan Stewart) Join me on Patreon:
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