Saturday, August 19, 2017

Review: Thin Places

Thin Places Thin Places by Lesley Choyce
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Declan is just an average teenage boy until he starts hearing the voice of a girl inside his head. He doesn’t believe she is a figment of his imagination, though. When he closes his eyes … he sees her. Through their conversations and visions she shares, he feels the need to go to Ireland and find her. Can Declan convince his parents to let him travel to his crazy Uncle Seamus? Will he discover the mystery behind this voice in his head?

Thin Places is a stand-alone novel in verse. The book is very short, even for its format, and most readers will finish it in about an hour. Choyce gives just enough background about Ireland’s history and mysteries to pull the reader in and gives them a reason to keep going. The “thin places” are a tantalizing idea that connects Declan to his family’s ancestral Ireland. Thin Places is a very quick read and it is also enjoyable.

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Review: Black Light Express

Black Light Express Black Light Express by Philip Reeve
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Zen and Nova know what it is like to ride a train from one world to another, but now they have traveled through a gate that shouldn’t have been there and they can’t undo that action. Chandni has just finished a stint frozen in prison and is attempting to determine her place in a world torn apart by war. Their stories may be separate, yet they continually intersect as the Black Light Zone calls them.

Black Light Express is the second book in the Railhead series. Second books are always questionable because they usually are setting up a deeper storyline and this is no exception. Many readers will find the story a pleasant escape, yet others may prefer to wait until more books are written in order to have a fuller appreciation of where the tale will take them.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Review: Poe: Stories and Poems: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Gareth Hinds

Poe: Stories and Poems: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Gareth Hinds Poe: Stories and Poems: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Gareth Hinds by Gareth Hinds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poe: Stories and Poems is a graphic novel adaptation of seven works by Edgar Allen Poe. Most of these stories and poems will be familiar to readers, yet even as a first introduction to Poe, it is great. Hinds has added depth and details to these vivid tales and brings them to life beyond a personal imagination. The author mentions that the original narrators are not described and encourages readers to think of their own narrators while enjoying his version. A great book for readers new to Poe or experienced with his tales.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Review: The Way It Hurts

The Way It Hurts The Way It Hurts by Patty Blount
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elijah’s band needs to make it big. If it does, then his family won’t need to put his special needs sister into a home. Once Elijah sees Kristen perform, he knows she is exactly what his band needs to be discovered. Unfortunately, an out-of-context social media comment is posted and the band is being recognized, not for its music, but for this controversy. Can Elijah and Kristen use this exposure to benefit their own purposes? What happens if the followers don’t know that there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed?

The Way It Hurts is a realistic fiction story that has controversy, music, and a little romance. Blount tells the story in the alternating voices of Kristen and Elijah, so readers will feel as if they are getting the entire story. The social media posts included throughout give variety to the text and add a third (and more) voice to the mix. The tension gets high, yet the story pulls through with a strong finish. The Way it Hurts is a great read that should be added to everyone’s TBR list.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Review: Strange Alchemy

Strange Alchemy Strange Alchemy by Gwenda Bond
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Many people know about the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island where 114 colonists disappeared, but what about the 114 present day residents who have recently vanished? Miranda comes from a long line of “cursed” family members and the island’s residents don’t let her forget it. Grant may be the sheriff’s son, but he has a family secret that he is trying to keep hidden. These two unlikely teenagers decide that their family secrets might just be what is needed to uncover the secret about both disappearances.

Strange Alchemy is a stand-alone novel that defies one genre label. There is a bit of supernatural and/or fantasy involved with the family secrets and disappearances, but overall the pair uses deductive reasoning to uncover the truth. Bond has taken a historical period of America’s past and re-envisioned it for today’s readers. I hope most readers, when finished with this book, will look for more stories or non-fiction accounts about this period of time.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Review: Sparks of Light

Sparks of Light Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hope has always lived an unusual life, which includes limited friends. It looks like she is finally creating some personal bonds and might even have a boyfriend. She comes from a long line of Viators and has been training to time-travel, just like her ancestors before her. Unfortunately, all Viators are not good and when it is discovered that someone plans to steal an invention from Nikola Tesla, she must travel back to 1895 and try to save the timeline.

Sparks of Light is the second book in the Into the Dim series. Most second books are lack luster compared to their beginning, yet this novel is great, even on its own. Hope must face high society and the dregs of the underworld while attempting to not change anything in the past. Taylor has given readers a satisfactory ending while also creating more interest in future time-traveling escapades. Sparks of Light is a great book and will delight male and female readers alike.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review: Solo

Solo Solo by Kwame Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blade can’t get away from the paparazzi or his family. The final straw was when his father crashed his commencement speech and embarrassed him in front of the entire school and then being told about a family secret. Blade cannot stop thinking about his dead mother and his crazy rock ‘n roll family, so he goes on his own quest to determine what is actually true.

Solo is a novel in verse with song lyrics dispersed throughout. Alexander has taken Blade on a trek of self-discovery and readers will find themselves questioning their own lives alongside Blade. Since it is a novel in verse, it is a quick read and will probably be completed by most readers in one sitting. A great read, even if you don’t know the songs along the way.

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