More than Meets the Eye

I received a free copy of this book from the Bethany House Blogger Review Program in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

More than Meets the Eye was written by Karen Witemeyer and published by Bethany House in 2018.

Four-year-old Evangeline Pearson, Evie for short, is desperately hoping that she and her older brother, Hamilton get adopted at this next stop or they will be sent back to New York where she and her brother will get separated and sent off to different families. There are only two other kids on the train. A sickly boy named Seth who hadn’t been claimed because he wasn’t fit for farm work and a boy named Zach who threatened to kill any families who showed the least bit of interest in him in their sleep. Now you may be wondering, what is so wrong with Evie that she hasn’t gotten adopted yet? her eyes are two different colors. Nowadays that doesn’t seem like too big a problem but back then everyone thought she was a witch. No one’s going to adopt a witch. Hamilton, Evie, Zach, and Seth, have no luck getting adopted at the last town so the train turns around and starts heading for London. Suddenly the train flips over. Hamilton saves Zach by pushing him out of the way of the falling debris but ends up getting fatally hurt himself. He makes Zach promise to take care of Evie before breathing his last breath. Zach, Seth, and Evie run away during the pandemonium of the overturned train. No one notices them leaving. They become a new family changing their last name to Hamilton in honor of his sacrifice.

Fastforward 15 years to present day. The Hamiltons are a happy family. Zach works odd jobs to pay the bills while Evie and Seth take care of the house. in the mornings, Evie likes to go for romps with her pig, Hezekiah, Hezzy for short. On one of these romps she meets a charming man with whom she builds a friendship. Little does she know that this man has come here for the express purpose of revenge against Zach.

I really liked this book. It is by far my favorite book that Bethany House has sent me. I would honestly recommend this book to just about anyone it was that good. I liked all the mystery in it and how at least one character is always in danger so you always have someone to worry about.

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Winning His Spurs

I hated this book. While I don’t like Historical Fiction as a rule G. A. Henty takes it to a whole other level with trying to make everything as historically accurate as possible. There comes a point where there’s not enough fiction in it and you’re basically just reading history. There’s so much empty space in this book that you never get truly invested in the story and you honestly don’t care what’s going to happen to the main characters. I realize that this is a short review and I didn’t introduce the characters or give a synopsis but honestly this book isn’t worth that.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

One of Shakespeare’s better known plays, this book does not rank very high on my list of his work. I much prefer A Comedy of Errors or Tempest. Nevertheless this is still a good book and is worth the read. Some of you might be thinking about going and picking up a picture book like I told you to do with Beowulf but I’m going to tell you to do the very opposite here. In my opinion, Shakespeare is always better when read in its original form. Some of you might also be thinking that instead of reading this book for school or something that you could just watch the movie instead. After all, it’s basically the book word for word isn’t it? What’s the harm? I’m here to tell you that the movie is not very good and that they added a lot of stuff in that wasn’t in the book just to waste your time. The only good part was when the actors performed their play at the end. Again I will say that Shakespeare is always better when read in its original form.

With that being said I will get into my actual review. I assume most of you know the basic story so I won’t go into too much detail now. Basically, Hermia and Lysander are in love but Hermia’s father wants her to marry Demetrius. Helena is in love with Demetrius but Demetrius doesn’t love her back King Oberon and Queen Titania are fighting over a little kid. Hermia and Lysander decide to elope. Hermia tells Helena and Helena tells Demetrius. Demetrius follows Hermia and Helena  follows him so eventually all of them are in the wood where Oberon and Titania live. All kinds of shenanigans and tomfoolery ensue.

Even though it might have sounded as if I really hate this book at the beginning I do actually like it quite a bit Shakespeare has just done much better work, in my opinion. I think this is definitely a must-read for any Shakespeare fan.

Beowulf

Okay, I’m just going to start out by saying that I love the story of Beowulf. But don’t waste your money on buying the full book. Since Beowulf was an epic poem and meant to be told over the span of a few days/weeks/months half of the story is repeating what happened before so that the audience can remember kind of like “previously on so and so TV show”. Instead, I would buy a kids version where everything is concise and plus, you get pictures.

I’d also like to say that J. R. R. Tolkien was a huge fan of Beowulf and basically plagiarized the whole dragon part of Beowulf  in his book The Hobbit. It’s literally the same story just fleshed out a bit more and not so repetitive. I would recommend reading Beowulf for any Hobbit and LotR fans because it’s interesting to see where Tolkien got his ideas from. Vice versa, I would recommend Tolkien books to anyone who likes Beowulf.

Now into the actual review part. Basically the Danes are being haunted by this monster, Grindel. Beowulf comes and saves them all and kills the monster. For a little while all is well but they forgot about Grindel’s mother and she takes revenge on them for killing her son. Beowulf kills her too. Then a dragon comes up out of nowhere and starts to wreak havoc. Beowulf defeats the dragon but dies in the process.

Again, I would just like to say to not read the full version read a kid’s version and after your done reading that go pick up The Hobbit.

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood was written by Howard Pyle and published in 1985 by Signet Classics.

I enjoyed this book but it got a little predictable towards the end.  Basically Robin and his friends decide to go and see what kind of trouble they could get into, end up getting drubbed, and the person who beat them up decides to join their band. Nevertheless, it was a fun read and I probably would recommend it.

Most everyone knows the story of Robin Hood so I won’t bother going into too much detail but basically Robin Hood lives with his band of outlaws, the merry men, in Sherwood Forest and they steal from the rich (most notably the Sheriff of Nottingham) and give to the poor.

This was an okay book it could’ve been a little shorter and personally I think the Disney movie is more enjoyable so instead of buying this book go watch that.

A Knight of the Word

A Knight of the Word was written by Terry Brooks and published by Del Rey Books in 1998.

We return to the story of John Ross and Nest Freemark but their lives are completely different. Nest is in college and John Ross no longer considers himself a knight of the Word. If you are looking for another book about Nest in her friends this is not the book for you. Nest has been moved from the main character spot to an important supporting character and the only person from her group of friends in the previous story that makes an appearance is Robert and his part is barely a cameo.

At the beginning of this book Nest is pondering over whether or not she should sell her house in Hopewell. With both of her grandparents dead and Nest spending most of her time at college she doesn’t know whether it is worth it or not to keep the house. She doesn’t even know if she plans to move back to Hopewell after college.

Meanwhile, John Ross, after a traumatic failure, has resigned from being a Knight of the Word. He will not head the people the Lady sends to tell him that it’s not his choice to decide whether or not he is still a knight or not. He refuses to believe that right now he is easy prey for demons and that he will easily be turned by the Void. That is why the Lady sends Nest to see if she can change his mind and get him to resume his position as a Knight.

As you can probably tell, I wasn’t happy that this story focused mostly on John Ross and not Nest. I think that Nest is a much more interesting character than John is and that John does better in the supporting character role. I think this is a good book as a stand-alone but as a sequel it disappoints.