Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: Reality Boy

Reality Boy
Reality Boy by A.S. King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A lot can happen in 12 years. What most people don’t understand is that Gerald is not the 5 year old who threw temper tantrums on a reality TV show. His rage and unimaginable outbursts were recorded and shared for the entire world to watch and for the Internet to repeat constantly. Now he is nearly 17 years old and he continues to try and keep his anger under control, has no friends and has been stuck in the special education room for his entire school career. After he finally decides to reach out to a girl he works with, Gerald begins to come to terms with his dysfunctional life and the triggers inside it.

Reality Boy takes the idea of reality television and makes the reader think about life after the show. Are the people on the show the same off camera? What is not seen and how would that affect your feelings? What happens when the show is over? King does a superb job exploring life after a child star is no longer in the lime light. The scenes dispersed throughout the book pull the reader into the history of Gerald’s issues and brings depth and purpose to his actions. Readers looking for a realistic fiction read that has not been overworked will enjoy this coming of age tale.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: The Rising

The Rising
The Rising by Terra Harmony

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Serena is the last mermaid born in the Kingdom of the Undine. The increased acidity of the ocean is destroying her landscape and the werewolves who used to protect mermaids are now attempting to destroy them. After she is given the position of Werewolf Liaison, Serena decides to try and make things right for all mermaids. As part of her training, she spends time on The Dry and meets Liam, a werewolf who begins to turn what she knows of her world on its ear. During her research into her people’s past, she discovers what really happened on the night of her birth and the troubling history between werewolves and mermaids.

The Rising is the first book in The Painted Maidens Trilogy and with that said the reader needs to be prepared for some world building. The book is not terribly long so it is quickly developed and the story will gently pull the reader along. Harmony takes a character type (werewolves) and puts a different spin on it. What is the relationship between mermaids and werewolves? Why was Serena the last mermaid born? Is there anything that can be done to save her people? I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next book in the series, but The Rising can stand on its own and does not require the reader to long for the next volume in the series.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review: Six Months Later

Six Months Later
Six Months Later by Natalie Richards

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chloe is an average student. She might do better if she applied herself, but why should she? She is thinking about summer as she falls asleep during study hall, but when she wakes up it is night time and there is snow on the ground. She quickly discovers that she can’t remember anything from the previous six months. If that is not shocking enough, her average student status has been thrown out the window with her awesome SAT scores and she is even being recruited by Ivy League schools. Her dream crush is now her boyfriend, but her BFF won’t talk to her. What has happened to her? Why can’t she remember?

Six Months Later grips the reader from the first nap and pulls them along as they try to discover with Chloe what has happened to her. Although she recently hit her head, that shouldn’t cause this selective amnesia or the drastic turnaround of her academic performance. Richards encourages the reader to explore various scenarios and to question the integrity of the teens and adults in Chloe’s life. Were these changes intentional? If they were, was Chloe or her friends aware of the process? Readers looking for a realistic fiction novel that is a strong stand alone story will enjoy this book.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Review: Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always

Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always
Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always by Elissa Janine Hoole

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cassandra fears she cannot be herself. Although she no longer believes in her parent’s religion, she is too afraid to say anything to them. When her English teacher assigns a poem that should reveal her true self, she is stuck. She can’t say who her real self is, because she doesn’t really know. In order to begin expressing herself, she anonymously begins to write an advice blog with a tarot card feel. She wants the blog to be uplifting and supportive, but when one of her posts appears to become a case of cyberbullying according to her school and sorcery according to her church Cass doesn’t know what to do. She wants to protect the victims since she has seen what people have said and done to her gay brother. Does this make her a bully? Should she admit that the site is hers?

Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always takes teen identity issues and creates a thought provoking read. Cassandra knows she doesn’t agree with what is happening around her, but is unsure if she should express herself. Hoole takes the timely issue of cyberbullying and puts it in a situation that will cause readers to understand how it may get out of hand. Although Cass never intends to hurt those around her, she is unable to control the actions of her fellow students and the adults in her life. Readers will enjoy this standalone novel and will become more enlightened about cyberbullying and the ways it can get out of control.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review: The Naturals

The Naturals
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cassie has a knack for reading people. She usually uses this skill while waitressing to determine what a customer really wants, but when the FBI come by and tell her she is a Natural and they would like to train her to assist with cracking cold cases, Cassie is all too willing to join the team. See, her mother disappeared from her dressing room and is presumed dead because of the blood all over the place. The gifted teens that Cassie now shares a house with are unusual in their own right. Michael can read emotions, Dean can profile people, and both boys are attracted to her. Just as Cassie begins to settle into these new situations, a killer strikes close to them and it seems as if it might be related to her mother’s disappearance.

The Naturals takes murder mysteries off on a new angle with gifted teens assisting hard working adults. The story progresses wonderfully as Cassie discovers how to hone her skills and work closely with other teens. Barnes includes enough clues throughout the book to draw the reader into the underlying story, but is still able to pull off a twist or two to jog the reader’s senses. Although it appears to be a standalone book, I definitely would continue to read about Cassie and this team of exceptional teens should a series be created.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review: Swagger

Swagger by Carl Deuker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jonas Dolan has always planned to work with his father after high school, but then his basketball coach encouraged him to look for a scholarship to play Division II basketball. He is encouraged by a college coach and is told that a scholarship is possible, but he must raise his grades to show determination off the court. After his father loses his job, the family packs up and moves to Seattle. Now Jonas must improve his academic performance AND earn a spot as a starter on the varsity team. Between chemistry and a coach who doesn’t want to play fast ball, Jonas is unsure about his future.

Swagger will be an entertaining read for those who love basketball as well as those who are indifferent to the sport. Deuker includes several play by play descriptions of the game without pulling away from the overall story. Jonas struggles with many issues that student athletes must overcome during their high school sports career, but he also is forced to learn some life lessons that the reader may wish were not required of anyone. Decisions he makes on and off the court not only affect him, but those around him. To make matters worse, he is balanced with two decisions. One may ruin a friend and the other may ruin his chance to go to college. Deuker did a wonderful job writing another sports book with a cutting edge teen issue included.

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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Review: Relic

Relic by Heather Terrell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eva has lived a sheltered life with her twin brother, Eamon. After he falls to his death shortly before participating in The Testing, Eva decides to take his place. Those around her don’t want her to join the competition. It isn’t that she can’t, it is the fact that no Maiden has Tested in 150 years. After training for this competition in the Tundra she sets out to make her family proud and hopefully find a Relic. These Relics are from a time before the Healing and each one is to teach the surviving generations a lesson. Eva will need to learn the limits of her own abilities and discover that there are some things she just can’t train for.

Relic will please readers of dystopian fiction. It has been nearly 250 years since the fall of the wicked civilization and those chosen to survive are fearful that they may slip on the same slope that their ancestors fell on. Terrell’s world building is superb and when the reader begins to understand the hidden meaning in many of the phrases and words the connections to our current society become evident. This book is listed as the first book in a series and I look forward to reading about Eva and this world she lives in.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Review: The Iron Traitor

The Iron Traitor
The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ethan Chase has returned from the lands of the fey and is looking forward to things getting back to normal. Of course, normal for him is completely abnormal. Since he was kidnapped by faeries at the age of 4, he has been able to see the faeries in his everyday life. Now he has a girlfriend and his loner bad boy attitude isn’t flying at school. It doesn’t matter that he has been told to stay away from her after whisking her to New York City on a secret faerie adventure. He has barely returned home when he discovers that his nephew, Keirran, is missing and is planning to save the love of his life, no matter the cost. As Ethan helps Keirran try to save his love while trying to keep the dark side from taking over, the prophecy of their fates become clearer.

The Iron Traitor is the sixth book in The Iron Fey series and the second book in the Call of the Forgotten series. Readers who jump into the story as soon as it releases will enjoy the memory jogging clues dispersed to refresh their memory of the previous stories. Ethan and Keirran continue to learn who they are and that impulsive reactions have long lasting consequences. Kagawa’s continuing saga will satisfy the persistent reader, but be advised that the tale is not complete. Of course no grand adventure would be complete without a cliff hanger, and The Iron Traitor includes a doozy. I refuse to give a spoiler, but be advised that the title may be a hint at what is to come.

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