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Muggle-Born.net is a blog mostly on young adult book reviews. My name is Cialina, and I am a college student living in New York City. I love Harry Potter, coffee, and bookstores.

I am currently accepting review requests from select publishers and authors. I do not accept titles from self-published authors and have no plans to do so in the future. For more on my review policy and rating system, click here.

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Homeland by Cory DoctorowHOMELAND by Cory Doctorow Book Review
Series: Little Brother, #2
Publication Date: February 5th 2013 by Tor Teen
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: In Cory Doctorow’s wildly successful Little Brother, young Marcus Yallow was arbitrarily detained and brutalized by the government in the wake of a terrorist attack on San Francisco—an experience that led him to become a leader of the whole movement of technologically clued-in teenagers, fighting back against the tyrannical security state.

A few years later, California’s economy collapses, but Marcus’s hacktivist past lands him a job as webmaster for a crusading politician who promises reform. Soon his former nemesis Masha emerges from the political underground to gift him with a thumbdrive containing a Wikileaks-style cable-dump of hard evidence of corporate and governmental perfidy. It’s incendiary stuff—and if Masha goes missing, Marcus is supposed to release it to the world. Then Marcus sees Masha being kidnapped by the same government agents who detained and tortured Marcus years earlier.

Marcus can leak the archive Masha gave him—but he can’t admit to being the leaker, because that will cost his employer the election. He’s surrounded by friends who remember what he did a few years ago and regard him as a hacker hero. He can’t even attend a demonstration without being dragged onstage and handed a mike. He’s not at all sure that just dumping the archive onto the Internet, before he’s gone through its millions of words, is the right thing to do.

Meanwhile, people are beginning to shadow him, people who look like they’re used to inflicting pain until they get the answers they want.

Fast-moving, passionate, and as current as next week, Homeland is every bit the equal of Little Brother—a paean to activism, to courage, to the drive to make the world a better place.

Homeland by Cory Doctorow Book Review Overview:

  • Super nerdy book full of Internet factoids and cameos from famous Internet pioneers
  • The book is long and didactic and almost preachy
  • Inspires me to fight for my rights on the Internet

I listened to the audiobook version of HOMELAND by Cory Doctorow after really enjoying the first book, Little Brother. The book in general is super nerdy, full of Internet factoids, and even some cameos from pioneers of the Internet. (For the record, I knew none of them and had to Wikipedia to double check that they were in fact Real People.) But as much as I wanted to really enjoy HOMELAND, I found the book a little too didactic and wanted a speedier plot.

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Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , , | Words 579 words



Illusions of Fate by Kiersten WhiteILLUSIONS OF FATE by Kiersten White Book Review
Publication Date: September 9th 2014 by HarperTeen
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |

Book Summary: “I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White Book Review Overview:

  • World-building takes a while to develop but is worth the wait
  • Charming characters
  • One of the few standalones that I wish was either longer or was part of a series; companion novel please!!

Kiersten White’s Illusions of Fate is a great light historical fantasy – without it actually being set in the past. The time period of the novel is based on Edwardian England, but the novel takes place in the fictional nation of Albion. As a reader, I got all the best things of Edwardian England such as fancy dresses and galas and cute teacups, but I also got the great world that White created.

Jessamin leaves Melei, her island home, to pursue her studies at a boarding school in Albion. Jessamin struggles to survive in the foreign city and is subjected to discrimination because of her heritage. Jessamin juggles her schoolwork along with the chores at the hotel, where she works in exchange for room and board. But when she meets Finn, her whole life changes as she learns about the hidden magical world within Albion’s gentry.

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Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Four Stars - , , , , , , , | Words 489 words



The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin WassermanTHE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman Book Review
Publication Date: April 10th 2012 by Random House Children’s Books
Rating:  – Dreadful

Book Summary: It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman Book Review Overview:

  • I liked the Latin, but there is a lot of translating and not much action
  • Flimsy romance; no spark at all
  • The twists and turns of the plot were predictable

I first tried to listen to THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman over a year ago when I first got into audiobooks. The length of the audiobook is quite intimidating, and in the end, I just couldn’t get into it. I put it aside, and I hoped that I would pick it back up one day because I liked the concept. A year later, I decided to try again. Now that I listen to more audiobooks, I thought that I would have more patience for a really long book such as THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman. Unfortunately, the book still was not my cup of tea.

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Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, One Star - , , , , , | Words 531 words



The only French word I know is oui, which means 'yes,' and only recently did I learn it’s spelled o-​u-​i and not w-​e-​e.
- Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss


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