Friday, September 14, 2018

Review: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elizabeth is just a child when she is rescued from poverty and brought into the Frankenstein home to be a friend to Victor. She relishes that role, yet she knows at any time Victor’s father can end this relationship. The main thing in her favor is that she is able to quell Victor’s temper and mood. She understands Victor’s darker side, but Elizabeth believes that only she can keep him from falling into utter depravity.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is a stand-alone retelling of the classic story. This version is told from the strong female protagonist that was just a cursory character in the original tale. White has taken a dark story and has brought it out of the shadows while still keeping the gothic mystery in the mix. Since 2018 is the 200th anniversary of this beloved horror story, readers will have another good selection to get their Frankenstein fix with a twist.

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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Review: Nicola Berry, Books 1-3

Nicola Berry, Books 1-3 Nicola Berry, Books 1-3 by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nicola Berry is just an average girl in class, trying not to be called on when her life is turned upside down. A very tall man arrives in her classroom to find the Earth Ambassador that will save her planet. After a series of questions, it is determined that Nicola is the one and she sets off to another planet in order to stop Princess Petronella from turning Earth into her own private garbage can. That is only the first adventure that is included in this three-book compilation. In the second adventure, Nicola and her friends are invited to the planet Shobble to help the commander-in-chief with his issue, but when they discover that his issue doesn’t align with their own values; they decide to take matters into their own hands. In the third and final adventure, Nicola and the Space Brigade must help one of their own members find their missing family. This new adventure takes them to a new planet where war is imminent and they must try and help them find peace. These three stories are meant for younger readers, yet can easily be enjoyed by those in their teen or later years. This Nicola Berry set of stories will be a delightful read for those who enjoyed A Series of Unfortunate Events series. It is full of ridiculous adventures and crazy vocabulary.

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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Review: The Lantern's Ember

The Lantern's Ember The Lantern's Ember by Colleen Houck
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jack has spent 500 years guarding the portals to the Otherworld in order to ensure that no one passes from the mortal plane. He is very successful at this job until Ember O’Dare comes on the scene. Ember is a natural-born witch who feels the need to go to the Otherworld and when she goes against Jack’s advice and travels there with a vampire, the adventure truly begins. Will Jack be able to get Ember back to the mortal world safely? How can someone save a strong-willed young lady who doesn’t want to be saved?

The Lantern’s Ember is a stand-alone novel that attempts to explain some natural and not so natural folklore. Houck has developed a cast of characters that are wide in their characteristics, yet easy to relate to. Scenes that seem inconsequential in the first half of the book have far-reaching effects toward the end, so readers should make sure they don’t gloss over those first few chapters. The Lantern’s Ember is a fun fantasy adventure that will leave readers feeling satisfied even though it isn’t a long series.

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Review: Born Scared

Born Scared Born Scared by Kevin Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elliot is always scared. He has a feeling that he was even scared in the womb. His fear is controlled by a pill that he takes six times a day, but if he is late or misses a dose, the fear returns with a vengeance. It is the day before Christmas Eve when Elliot discovers that the pharmacy gave him the wrong medication. It was scheduled to be corrected on Christmas Eve, but there is a snow storm and his mother’s car won’t start. His aunt is willing to pick up the medication, but when his mom goes to check on his aunt and doesn’t return, Elliot sets out to find his mom and his medication. What will happen when a boy who is always scared ventures out into an unusual storm?

Born Scared is a stand-alone novel that will be interesting to reluctant readers for many reasons. Brooks has written a short book that doesn’t take long to finish and he has included a fast-paced storyline that will keep the reader’s attention along the way. Although the protagonist has a mental issue, readers will still be able to relate to many of his processes as he works his way through various ordeals. Born Scared is a great quick read and I recommend it to all readers.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Review: People Kill People

People Kill People People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this small town, there are many reasons to carry a gun, but not all of them are honest. These six stories all have hidden secrets and as the larger story slowly unravels the reader will discover many of their rationales for wanting a firearm. Gun violence is only one of the topics addressed in this novel; Hopkins also delves into the thinking behind white supremacy and undocumented immigrants. I will admit that these are three large issues and it is a lot to cover in one book, yet People Kill People does all three topics justice. Since this is a novel in verse, the 400+ pages fly by quickly and the reader will feel as if the story read itself. People Kill People is a good read, but not a fun and easy read.

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Review: Grace and Fury

Grace and Fury Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All her life, Serina has been taught what it takes to become a Grace. It is finally time to go before the heir and see if he will pick her, but when her reckless younger sister catches his eye and is chosen instead of her, Serina’s world is turned upside down. Now Serina is in prison for an action her sister committed; Nomi is stuck in the palace in a position she never wanted and is trying to determine if there is a way to save her sister. With all of the palace intrigue, who can Nomi trust? Will the sisters be reunited or will they run out of time?

Grace and Fury is the first book in a series with the same name. The story alternates between the sisters’ points of views, yet readers will easily be able to follow the story through the pages. Banghart has created characters that are easy to relate to and brings out hidden depths as they struggle to cope with their situation. Grace and Fury has two strong female protagonists which gives the novel just a little something extra for the reader to enjoy. I will be looking forward to the next installment in this world where women are too often overlooked.

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Review: Like Never and Always

Like Never and Always Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Liv wakes up recovering in a hospital bed. Everyone is calling her Morgan and she doesn’t understand how she could be mistaken for her best friend. That is until the bandages come off and she realizes that she is not Liv at all. Liv thought that Morgan had a perfect life, but as she literally has to walk in Morgan’s shoes, she quickly learns that Morgan was hiding many secrets. It doesn’t help that she is torn between the boy she has learned to love as Morgan and his brother (the boy she loved as Liv). Is Morgan going crazy or was Liv’s essence imported into Morgan’s body?

Like Never and Always is a stand-alone novel that gives readers many things to think about. Aguirre has included many plausible scenarios next to the primary unbelievable story. As the book moved along I couldn’t help but wonder how it was going to end. I will tell my readers that there is a twist and you will be left satisfied with part of the ending and not quite sure about the rest. I recommend Like Never and Always for those who enjoy a good mystery and adventure that doesn’t take too much mental power on the reader’s part.

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