Review: Over The Rainbow by Brian Rowe

Book Title: Over The Rainbow
Author: Brian Rowe
Published Date: August 6th
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Genre: YA/LGBT
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Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis:
A modern re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz!

Zippy Green never meant to fall in love with a girl, but when she does, her ultra-conservative father tries to send her to anti-gay camp. At the Kansas City airport, however, she hides inside a giant suitcase and sneaks onto an airplane headed not to the camp, but to Seattle, where her online love Mira lives. Halfway through the flight, the plane barrels out of control and crashes into the ground, knocking her unconscious. 

When Zippy awakens, she finds that most of the passengers have vanished. She doesn’t know what’s happened, but she’s determined to find out. She begins a quest on foot toward Seattle, and along the way, she meets a teenager with a concussion, a homeless man with a heart condition, a child without a shred of bravery, and a terrier named Judy. Together the group discovers that more than two-thirds of the world’s population have mysteriously disappeared. But that’s only the beginning…

All Zippy wants is to find her Mira, but before she can she has to contend with two outside forces. The first is her homophobic father, who does everything in his power to keep her from the girl she loves. And the second is extinct creatures of all shapes and sizes, including living, breathing dinosaurs, which have replaced the missing population.

Disclaimer: I received this e-galley from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
Okay first of all let me admit that The Wizard of Oz is definitely not my all time favorite movie. In fact I don’t like it. At all.Even as a nearly 28 year old woman, I don’t like it. However I was curious about the modern retelling of it so I decided to give it a shot.

With the exception of Zippy’s conservative anti-gay father, I loved the rest of the characters. Zippy was absolutely adorable and Frankie, Mr. Balm and Ellie were awesome too.Frankie’s father was the complete opposite of Zippy’s father which was so awesome.When we first meet Mr. Balm he gives off this really creepy old homeless guy vibe. Thankfully we realize that he’s quite normal and not creepy at all.

I get very angry every time someone in a book goes on a homophobic rant, tangent, whatever you want to call it. I absolutely hated every word that came out of Zippy’s dad’s mouth. It was clear to me that he didn’t care about Zippy’s happiness. He only cared about his career and how it would look to have a lesbian daughter. However, watching him evolve throughout the book was awesome to watch. It was something I never expected to see, but I did and it made me happy.

I don’t like Jurassic Park either, but it was really cool to have dinosaurs and other extinct species emerge from the shadows in this book. It was fascinating and I loved seeing how excited Zippy got,especially with the dinosaurs.  

Oh I almost forgot about Judy, the white dog that was also on the plane with Zippy and Frankie in the beginning.She was clearly supposed to be Toto if we are comparing this modern day version to the original version.

I love that there are getting to be more LGBT characters in YA. That shows a lot of progression if we compare the books out now to the books that were out even five years ago. So I am giving this book 4 stars. I found it completely enjoyable and the characters were likable, with the notable exception of Zippy’s father. 

“You can’t prevent someone from being gay. They just are.” -Frankie

Review: One More Dance by Valentine Cardinale

Book Title: One More Dance
Author: Valentine Cardinale
Published Date: July 12th, 2013
Published By: Outskirts Press Inc.
Genre: Mystery
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Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble) 
One More Dance is a powerful tale about two people looking for love, a family in crisis, and the search for a mysterious assailant. After Julian Case, a Manhattan realtor and widower, meets Alegra Rossini, a university professor and single mom, at a wedding in Italy, he’s confident he’s found new love. On the plane back to the States he’s already making plans to see her again. But when he enters his home in New Jersey, he discovers his son has been savagely attacked and left for dead. Fearing that whoever beat the young man into a coma will try to finish the job, Julian puts his life on hold to assist in the investigation to find the assailant. 

And so the mystery begins, taking the first of many telling twists and turns. Who did it? Is there a likely suspect? Will the attacker strike again? Can a father unlock the secret connection and find his son’s attacker before it’s too late? Will Julian lose his chance at new love as he throws himself into the chase? 

In Italy, Alegra, who feels as strongly about Julian as he feels about her, can only continue teaching, caring for her eight-year-old daughter, and hoping. Will she let real love slip away from her? Can she wait as Julian deals with a family crisis that may take months, or years, to resolve while she struggles to get on with her life? The quest to find new love after the death of a spouse is understandable and a universal concern. But when it conflicts with a grave family matter, does it have to take a back seat? Should Julian be denied the chance for one more dance in his life?

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
When I received a request to review this book, I was intrigued. The premise looked promising and involved Italy, a place I have wanted to travel to for a long time. Unfortunately my initial excitement over the book’s premise faded as I began to read the book. It was a very quick read. In fact I finished it in less than six hours. 

The writing style did not appeal to me at all. It seemed as though very little thought was put into it as the descriptions of things seemed to use the least amount of words possible. Now I’m not saying every book has to be the size of J.R.R Tolkien’s classic Lord of the Rings books,but what I am saying is that this book read like an extended fan fiction. I found no spelling or editing errors in the book so that was definitely a plus.

I couldn’t connect to any of the main characters. I tried throughout the entire book to connect with Julian or Allegra or Florence or Leo or Frankie, but I just couldn’t. That’s when I really started to get frustrated with this book. If I cannot connect in some way to the characters, then I am more than likely going to hate the book. I liked Florence and Frankie enough but I just didn’t connect with them. I think, had Allegra been a bigger part of the book I would have liked her, but she wasn’t so I didn’t. I blame the lack of character development.

One of my biggest issues came near the end. I can’t specifically talk about what happened as it is a major book spoiler. But what I can say is that in involved a certain piece of medical equipment that the author clearly didn’t understand how it worked.

I was really annoyed at the supposed romance because I didn’t feel it. I need to feel like I can root for these characters and because of the lack of character development and the lack of chemistry between Allegra and Julian, I just couldn’t root for them. 

So I have to give this book 2 stars, the lack of character development, the poor writing and the lackluster effort towards this book are the reasons why. Maybe someone else will take a chance on this book.