Wednesday, April 5, 2023

A Letter to my Readers

 Hello everyone,

When I first started up this blog, it was a project to help my writing skills in the 6th grade, as my writing sucked back then. That was 6 years ago. Now, I am completing my senior year of highschool, and it has been a wild ride. It is unlikely, but not impossible, that I will post again, so I will take this opportunity to say a few things. 

First, thank you to my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Krukar. If it wasn't for you telling my parents how bad I was at writing, this blog never would have been made.

Second, I want to thank my dad. His skills in English and linguistics in general served as my own personal Grammarly. He helped push me through whenever I had a tough time. And he left his invigorating afterthoughts on most of the posts. 

Third, I want to thank my loyal viewers. Some of you have been here since the beginning. Some of you have been long gone. Some of you have just found this blog. And to all of you, I say thank you. Even though it has been nearly 3 years since I last posted, you still come back. 

Finally, thanks to you wonderful folks on Reddit. You guys helped this blog gain attention, and without you, this never would have grown the way it did. 

At the present, I am prepping myself for beginning college in August. I may revisit this from time to time. But, in the event that I do not come back, goodbye, and thank you.


Julia King

Monday, August 24, 2020

Nemesis, by Brendan Reichs Nemesis (Project Nemesis) (9780399544934): Reichs ...

Melinda "Min" Wilder hates her birthdays, for an unusual reason. Every other year, on her even birthdays only, the same man in a black suit brutally murders her. However, every time, she wakes up hours later in the same clearing, completely unharmed, with no evidence to prove the crime was ever committed. She is 16 now, and has been killed 5 times. When she was 8, she was pushed into a ravine. When she was 10, she drowned after being pushed into rapids. When she was 12, she was run over by a car. When she was 14, her head was bashed in with a rock. And on the morning of her 16th birthday, she was shot to death.  

Min desperately wants answers. Who is doing this? Why? How is she waking up each time completely unharmed? She had decided after her 10th birthday (and second death) that she wouldn't tell anyone, because the people she did tell didn't take her seriously. She now goes to a therapist, Dr. Lowell, whom she hates and doesn't trust.

It doesn't help that there is a multitude of other problems she has to deal with. NASA is about to announce whether or not a gigantic asteroid called The Anvil will annihilate the planet. Plus, she has to deal with Ethan Fletcher, the son of the richest man in town, and a huge jerk. He's always followed around by his posse of lesser jerks, who love to tease Min and her best friend, Tack. 


Noah Livingston has been living a nightmare. Every two years, on his even birthdays, a man in a black suit tracks him down and kills him. He wakes up hours later in a cave a few miles west of his town, completely unharmed, with his memory as his only evidence. 

When he first told someone about this, he was sent to a therapist, Dr. Lowell, whom he trusts completely. Noah tells him everything.

Min finds a footprint outside her trailer that could only match the boot of the black-suited man. This, coupled with the fact that her therapist has been giving her pills to help with her "delusions" (what he calls her murders) ever since she told him about them is enough to convince her that he has been lying to her. 

She breaks into his office at night with Tack, searching for the files on her. What she finds is a set of files and forms on a top secret government project titled Project Nemesis, along with a consent form signed by her mother, allowing "various procedures" to be performed on Min. She wonders what that means, until she comes to the sudden realization that the "various procedures" could only relate to one thing: The black-suited man killing her.

Min continues going through his files, before turning to his MacBook. where she finds a file on herself in a folder titled "Nemesis," subtitled "Beta Run-Test Patient A." 

She also finds a file on her classmate Noah, subtitled "Beta Run-Test Patient B."


Nemesis is about government conspiracy, deception, the end of the world, and how the lives of a group of teenagers are wrapped up in the fate of humanity. 

I loved the story, how the narration switches back and forth between Min and Noah, how author Reichs uses dreams and flashbacks to alternate between the present storyline(s) and the past, and the suspense and action that emanate from every page. I am also now on the lookout for Genesis, the sequel.

Lovers of YA action and suspense novels will get a kick out of Nemesis, just like I did. 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Isabel Finch is a young slave living in Rhode Island at the time of the Revolutionary War. Her mistress has just died, leaving the question of where Isabel and her younger, developmentally delayed, epileptic sister, Ruth, will go. Isabel claims that her mistress wrote in her will that she would free Isabel and Ruth at the time of her death, but the will is nowhere to be found.

Isabel and Ruth are sent to live with their new owner, who immediately sells them to a rich Loyalist couple living in New York. They are brought to New York in a ferry, and while unloading their master's luggage they meet Curzon, a young slave boy owned by a Patriot (a colonial rebel).

Isabel is told by her master, Elihu Lockton, to fetch water from the pump. Since Isabel doesn't know where the pump is, Curzon offers to guide her there. Once they are out of earshot, Curzon tells her that she may hear things in the Lockton household. Since the Locktons are rich Loyalists, they will probably be scheming against the rebels, which, at the time, would be a reason for arrest. Curzon asks her to inform him if she hears anything, explaining that since she's a slave, certain things might be said in front of her that wouldn't be said in front of white servants.

Isabel fetches the water and ponders Curzon's request for a while. Helping him could mean separation from Ruth if she is caught. She could be beaten, sold, branded, or worse. But it's the thought of losing her sister that terrifies her.

Roughly a week later, Isabel (now renamed "Sal" by her master) hears that Mr. Lockton is having a few friends over for dinner. Sal is ordered to serve them. She brings the food and wine and hears them talking about the war. It is clear from what they are saying that they are all Loyalists, and may be plotting something. Sal decides to listen from her spot in the corner of the room where she had been ordered to stand until she was needed. When she returns to the room after being sent to the kitchen to get some more food and wine she hears them talking about bribing the rebel army to switch sides and join the British army. She peeks in and sees Mr. Lockton holding a fistful of cash.

Sal decides to visit Curzon and inform him of this plot. But from that moment, Sal has to be very careful. Any slip-up will come back to her, the informant. Things get really tense for Sal, really quickly. Ruth is sold by the master's wife, who believes her to be possessed by the Devil. Sal attempts to escape, and is branded with the letter I for the crime of insolence toward her mistress. Sal makes a silent vow that night that she will find Ruth and bring her home, no matter what it takes.

This novel is one of many books by Laurie Halse Anderson that I own. Her novels cover a wide range of settings and topics, but all are emotional and heartfelt. Chains is followed up by Forge, which is told from Curzon's point of view. Ashes is the third book in the trilogy. I have not read the next books yet, but plan to.

Recommended for 9+, this is a wonderful and captivating read for most historical fiction lovers (it feels like it is written for a younger reader). For me, it lacked a little something, at least in comparison to some of the other historically-set YA fiction novels I've read and loved. I liked it, but I can't say I loved it. Still, I will read the sequels because I want to see where it all goes! If you read the book, or have read the book(s), leave a comment and let me know what you think!


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