Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Review: Alone

Alone Alone by Cyn Balog
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seda is happy to spend her summer in an old mansion that her mother has inherited. Her aunt and uncle had converted it into a haunted residence and Seda and her siblings enjoy the scary rooms and all of the secret passage ways. Unfortunately, her mother doesn’t want to sell it and she is now stuck in the boonies with no contact with her friends back home. Then a group of teenagers arrive at her door following a car accident and Seda and her family have no choice but to let them in. As the blizzard rages outside, the creepiness level inside begins to climb. Are Seda’s worst fears coming true?

Alone is a mystery novel that will keep readers engaged throughout. Most readers will think they know where the storyline is going, yet Balog has created an ending with several twists and a few extra turns. The characters are exciting and readers will slowly discover more about them as the story progresses. Since this book is relatively short, readers may find themselves stuck in their favorite reading nook turning page after page until the very end. A great read that should be added to everyone’s TBR list.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Review: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Xifeng is beautiful and knows she is destined for greatness. Her aunt has instilled in her that the stars have predicted that she would one day become the Empress of Feng Lu. It doesn’t matter that she is a lowly peasant girl, the witch Guma has regularly read her cards and has seen Xifeng’s future. What will Xifeng need to do in order to bring these predictions into truth? Will she be willing to give up her true love in order to follow her destiny?

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is the first book in the Rise of the Empress series. Although Dao has created an East Asian world that is deep with history and legends, readers won’t feel like they are inundated with excessive world building. There are portions of the story that drag some and the ending felt rushed, yet readers will still finish the book with an anticipation of the next volume. A good read but will not satisfy all readers.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Review: Dear World: A Syrian Girl's Story of War and Plea for Peace

Dear World: A Syrian Girl's Story of War and Plea for Peace Dear World: A Syrian Girl's Story of War and Plea for Peace by Bana Alabed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bana may be seven years old, but due to the war in Syria she has needed to grow up quickly. Her family has been devastated by loss and she has been exposed to truths that most seven year olds are never aware of. She is encouraged to express her concerns to the world on Twitter and she quickly has a large following. Dear World is told in Bana’s own words with some additional chapters written by her mother. This woman and child wanted to tell their story in the hopes that the world would not underestimate the atrocities that are taking place. This is a short non-fiction book that will inform readers about a very timely topic in the world today

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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Review: Rosemarked

Rosemarked Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Zivah has just passed her exams to become a healer when the rose plague hits her village. She was infected and lived but is now a carrier of this disease and it is only a matter of time before it will finally kill her. Her life can be lonely or she can choose to use her gifts to help her people overcome the Amparan Empire. Dineas has also survived the rose plague, but his healing was complete. As these two unlikely people work together to infiltrate the capital, they must weigh the cost of spying alongside the chance that their hearts may be broken.

Rosemarked is the first book in the Rosemarked series. The story is told in the alternating voices of Zivah and Dineas, yet Blackburne has created a story that moves along smoothly as the reader unravels new information. It is hard to put this into any one genre. It is obviously not our world, but there isn’t a lot of magic or non-human creatures that would lend it to a fantasy classification. It still gives off a fantasy vibe and readers of that genre will be excited to delve into this world’s issues. A great read with just a little bit of romance along the edges.

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Review: Manga Classics: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe

Manga Classics: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe Manga Classics: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe by Stacy King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe is a manga adaptation of many famous works of Poe. The stories included are The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Mask of the Red Death and The Raven. Each story is masterfully penned with the artist exploring what Poe may have wanted readers to experience in each story. I didn’t compare the dialogue word for word, but most of the stories stayed true to the original text and readers new to Poe will experience his dark works and probably go looking for the original afterward. The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe was a great read and I am glad I revisited these stories.

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: The Midnight Line

The Midnight Line The Midnight Line by Lee Child
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reacher is doing nothing different. He is taking a walk during a break on his long bus ride when he notices a West Point class ring from 2005 sitting in a pawn shop window. Although this is several years after his time there, he feels the need to look into the reason a fellow officer would have to give it up (or lose it). He doesn’t get back on the bus and decides to try and discover why this ring is no longer with its owner. Can he find the woman and return her ring? What secrets will he uncover in these small Midwestern towns?

The Midnight Line is the twenty-second book in the Jack Reacher series. All of these books are good, but this book is great. It is hard to believe that Child can take a character with so much history and create a unique story that keeps the reader turning the pages. I won’t say this is my favorite Jack Reacher novel (since I’ve been reading them over many years), but I can honestly say it is in my top five. A high adventure that will keep readers engaged until the very end.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Review: Tool of War

Tool of War Tool of War by Paolo Bacigalupi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tool may have been designed as a perfect killing machine, yet he has become more than the scientists could have planned. He has shattered his programming and he now has a new pack. This pack consists of human soldiers and they are willing to follow him anywhere. Tool may be able to ignore his feelings of loyalty toward the gods from the sky, but he is still aware that someone is still after him. Will Tool be able to take down the people who genetically enslaved him? Is he all animal or is there a piece of humanity in him?

Tool of War is the third book in the Ship Breaker series. Bacigalupi continues his saga of a world gone wrong and takes his characters to new depths with insights that are unexpected. Since this is a continuation, it would not be as enjoyable without the backstory that comes with the first two books. The story spirals toward a climax, yet the adventure is not over. Tool of War is a page turner and will be a welcome read for most science fiction fans.

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