book review: School for Psychics by K.C. Archer

School for Psychics has an interesting premise.  The book opens up with Teddy Cannon, a 20-something woman, with a large debt to some Russian mafia types.  She stole money from her parents and decided to go to a casino to win money to pay back her debt.  Unfortunately, she has been banned from every casino on the Strip in Vegas because she won too much.  She ends up being told that the reason she is so good at poker is that she is psychic and she is recruited by someone from a school for psychics.  The school is a secret, but they work with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to help solve crimes with their psychic abilities.  It reads kinda like Harry Potter in that sense.

Despite the age of the characters and the occasional sex scene (nothing graphic, really), I would consider this book to be juvenile fiction.  I found the storyline enjoyable, but the characters were pretty awful.  I wish that the characters were better because the plot has so much promise!  I really didn’t like Teddy.  She is the main character and the book is told through her, but I thought that 1) it was pretty crappy of her to steal her parents’ money, 2) she is irresponsible – I mean, come on, a 20-something who isn’t going to school with no job, 3) the gambling thing is an annoying plot hole (if she’s a psychic, how could she have lost so much money in the first place?), 4) the way she interacted with her friends and others was selfish (I wouldn’t want to have her as a friend), and 5) I really didn’t see any redeeming qualities other than her psychic abilities, which she was born with and did nothing to earn.  She came off as a bad stereotype of a millennial.  It actually detracted me from the plot because I kept thinking that Teddy was such a brat.  Actually, I can’t think of a single character that I actually liked from the book.

Maybe if I was 12-13 years old, I wouldn’t have minded her behavior.  That’s probably the target age for this book.  It was an easy read.  I just wish there had been more substance to the characters.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced review e-book from NetGally in exchange for my honest review.  This book will be published April 3, 2018.

 

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book review: Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume

I finished Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith several weeks ago, but I wanted to take some time to think about how I wanted to review it.

This book is about a misfit boy who finally feels at home when he starts attending a magical school.

If this sounds like Harry Potter, that’s because there are many similarities between Ewan Pendle and Harry Potter.  Ewan doesn’t fit in with the other children because of his ability to see monsters and is often bullied by his foster siblings.  Like Harry, Ewan is an orphan.  However, instead of living with an aunt and uncle, Ewan has been passed from foster home to foster home until Enola, the Grand Master at Firedrake Lyceum, takes him into her care. There are hints throughout the book that perhaps Ewan is known to some people in this new world, as Harry was famous in the wizarding world.  There is a Master at the school who seems to strongly dislike Ewan, as Snape disliked Harry.  Unfortunate events happen to Ewan, often outside of his control, that land him into trouble, just as Harry had a penchant for getting into mischief at Hogwarts.  The similarities don’t end there.  The white wraith conjures memories of the dementors.

This book is an okay book, but it could be a good book.  The magical world of Ewan Pendle was interesting, the characters were likeable, but I found myself thinking that this book needs a good editor.  It took me a little while to get into the story because of the repetitive descriptions.  There were some inconsistencies in the story, too.  First, the Does (Ewan’s foster parents at the beginning of the book) have four foster sons, besides Ewan.  The four pick on Ewan and though the Mr. and Mrs. Doe are not nasty to him specifically, the reader is told that he is their least favourite foster child.  Given the unwelcome behaviour, it is a wonder that Ewan is so hesitant to leave their care.  Another inconsistency has to do with Ewan seeing monsters.  He first starts seeing them at age 5 and the book states that having been passed off from foster home to foster home due to his babbling about monsters, Ewan quickly learned not to tell anyone about them.  Ewan himself is perplexed by why he is bandied about, but blames his special ability.  However, if he has learned to keep his mouth shut about the monsters, why is he being passed around yet again if his foster parents and siblings have no knowledge of his special ability?  Why are his foster brothers bullying him?

I think that readers who enjoyed the Harry Potter series and the Charlie Bone series would also enjoy this book.  Be warned that this book is the first in what will be a series, but there are no plans for the release of the second book yet.  The end of this book contains an impassioned plea from the author  to help with funding so that he may finish writing the next book .

Disclaimer: The author provided me with a complimentary copy of this e-book in exchange for my honest review.