Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review: Killer Frost

Killer Frost (Mythos Academy, #6)Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gwen is getting tired. She is tired of fighting the Reapers, she is tired of waiting for the next attack and she is tired of responsibility. She may be Nike’s Champion, but she just wants to be a girl. Now she has a secret she must keep from her friends and her Spartan boyfriend. She is destined to kill Loki. That is if he doesn’t kill her first. The final battle is staged when her grandmother is kidnapped and a ransom demand is given. The Powers that Were won’t negotiate, but Gwen is willing to do whatever it takes to rescue her grandmother, even give Loki the only thing that can restore him to full power.

Killer Frost is the sixth and final book in the Mythos Academy series. Gwen has developed from a na├»ve Gypsy girl to a fierce fighter and now she must pull from the strength and powers given to her as Nike’s Champion. Estep does reference many battles and situations from the previous books, but she does not spend a great deal of time reminding readers of all the nuances. This is a refreshing aspect of this young adult urban fantasy and if readers need these cues I recommend looking up book summaries as a reminder. This book does not disappoint with its constant action and developing story. Although future stories may come from this created world, the Second Chaos war comes to a satisfying conclusion. Whether the reader is happy with the ending depends on if they are rooting for Gwen or Loki!

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: Minders

MindersMinders by Michele Jaffe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sadie Ames appears to be the perfect candidate for the Mind Corps Fellowship program. She’s great at organizing and analyzing her thoughts, plus she has firm beliefs about what is right and what is wrong. She is accepted into this program and will now spend six weeks inside subject 9’s head observing everything he says and does. Ford is a trouble boy from the inner city and Sadie quickly falls in love with him. As she struggles between her feelings and the pull to remain an impartial observer, her conscious is quickly heaved in opposing directions when Ford does something unimaginable. Sadie thought she knew everything about him, but if she does, then how did she not see it coming.

Minders is an urban science fiction story that would be a great introduction to the genre. Although I am not aware of any current science that would allow this storyline to take place, it is easily imagined with the help of Jaffe. Her writing enables the reader to discover Ford’s hidden secrets and also allows some unexpected twists and turns in the second half. Even though it appears to be a stand-alone novel with a satisfying ending, readers will easily be able to see the possibility of additional novels in this newly created world. For readers looking for a science fiction book without the space travel angle, I highly recommend this book.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: Feral Curse

Feral CurseFeral Curse by Cynthia Leitich Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kayla knows nothing about being a werecat. She is the adopted daughter of two human parents and although they are very accepting of her differences, the town and world are not. After she comes out about her were-ness to her boyfriend, a tragedy occurs and she becomes even more determined to know about this hidden heritage. Answers appear unexpectantly when a sexy male werecat comes into town and a few other were-animals help out with a possessed antique carousel causing magical mischief.

Feral Curse is the second book in the Feral spin off series of Tantalize. This book continues the world of were-animals and focuses on the species intolerance prevalent in this world. More of an action packed thriller than a romance, there is a touch of everything in this paranormal adventure. Smith already completed the world building in the previous books, but readers jumping into this series or this book should have no trouble understanding the quirks contained. This is NOT a “can’t put this down” read, but it is enjoyable and pleasing. Readers looking for a quick escape without a lot of commitment will be satisfied with this book.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review: Mistwalker

MistwalkerMistwalker by Saundra Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Willa’s father has banned her from being on the family lobster boat after her brother’s death. She wishes to help her family and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that the family is taken care of. When she feels that there is nothing else she can do, she senses a pull to the haunted lighthouse and after a boat with her name appears out of the fog she is transported to the island and meets the Grey Man. Grey is trapped on the island until he traps one thousand souls or until he has a willing replacement. Can he seduce Willa to take his place? With her life falling apart on land, is she willing to make this sacrifice?

Mistwalker is an enchanting read with a touch of supernatural folklore. Readers will be pulled along the story as Willa and Grey tell the tale in their alternating voices. Mitchell’s research into life on the coast of Maine will make the reader understand the love of the sea and the draw to the water. Although no world building was required for this seaside town, as a landlocked reader I was able to appreciate this coastal town and the quirks of the residents inside. I highly recommend this refreshing stand-alone novel to teen and adult readers alike.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Review: Tesla's Attic

Tesla's Attic (Accelerati, #1)Tesla's Attic by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nick has lost it all. After a fire takes his home and his mother, Nick’s father moves them to a house they inherited from their aunt. The attic is full of her “junk” and Nick decides he is going to hold a garage sale to make a little extra money. An unexpected thing occurs. Strangers flock to their home in the rain and are drawn to objects they must purchase. Nick reminds them that all sales are final and there are no guarantees the objects will work. Soon after, Nick discovers that each object was tinkered with by Nikola Tesla and does more than its intended job. There are also men in suits that want these objects, but Nick has no idea who the people were or how to get the objects back.

Tesla’s Attic is the first book in the Accelerati trilogy. This action packed story pulls the reader in immediately and the quick banter of the primary characters is an added benefit. Can four middle school children solve a mystery left behind by one of the world’s greatest minds? Will they be able to out think the men who have pledged their lives to the Accelerati? Shusterman and Elfman have spun a wonderful tale with the potential to keep kids and adults looking for the next book. This book is the perfect length with enough historical references to ensure the reader understands why these inventions were important, but these references did NOT distract from the main story. I know I can’t wait for the next book to be released.

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review: Heartbeat

HeartbeatHeartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emma’s life is going downhill. Her grades are slipping, she has been shunned by the boy she was crushing on and her mother is being kept alive by machines in order for the baby insider her to continue to grow. Her step father made this decision without consulting her, and now she can’t even grieve like a normal person because her mother looks alive inside the ICU. While sitting inside the ICU waiting room, Emma meets Caleb Harrison, the school’s bad-boy, who is completing his community service by delivering magazines around the hospital. They discover they are both battling a family in grief and the bond formed between them encourages their hearts to heal.

Heartbeat takes a very rare situation and brings in a heartbreaking storyline that many readers will be pulled into. Most readers will have experienced the loss of loved one on some level, but the ache portrayed through this story is unique and intriguing. Would the mother really want to be kept alive for the baby to have a chance? Readers will never know, but the characters delve into the emotional and ethical dilemma created by this ability of modern medicine. Scott’s writing is once again great and those who picked up this book because of other books they have read by her will not be disappointed. Even readers who never experience what Emma and Caleb have experienced will find comfort and enjoyment from the truths presented. If readers are looking for a realistic romance novel with a deeper story, this is a great book to choose.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Review: Divided We Fall


Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Danny Wright wanted to serve his country.  He joined the National Guard soon after his seventeenth birthday and has recently returned from basic training.  It is the Friday before the start of his senior year and he receives a call from his unit.  The Idaho governor has issued orders to assist the police with a protest in Boise.  It begins as a routine crowd-control process until Danny accidentally misfires he gun and a fire fight ensues.  When everything clears, twelve people are dead.  The president wants the soldiers arrested and the governor refuses.  As the tension continues to build the unspeakable happens.  The second American civil war begins between Idaho and the United States.

Divided We Fall takes political questions that are relevant today and throws them into a story that not only will captivate the young adult reader but be completely plausible too.  Reedy creates a main character that the reader will connect with and as he travels through the tough decisions brought before him, the reader will ask themselves how they would have handled that situation.  Is seventeen too young to be in combat?  Which orders do you follow: the President or the governor?  How do you face combat AGAINST fellow Americans?  This is the first book in a trilogy and the ending will leave the reader wanting more. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Review: Nil


Nil by Lynne Matson

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Charley was distracted. She is walking across the Target parking lot thinking about her sister and best friend not being around, when a heat mirage appears on the ground and comes toward her. The next thing she remembers is waking up naked on a field of rocks. Now she is lost and alone. No one is around and she begins to wish she had taken some survival classes. After nearly two weeks she meets Thad. He is tall, gorgeous and the leader of a group of teens trying to survive on Nil. She is told there are only two ways to leave the island. First – you die. Second – you catch a gate. What is the catch? There is only one gate a day (at noon) and no one knows where it will appear. Any more catches? Why, yes! You have 365 days to escape. If you don’t, you die anyway.

Nil is an action packed drama that will keep the reader’s heartbeat racing and eyes flying across the page. Matson’s first novel is a thriller of read with just a touch of the supernatural. Throughout the book I kept thinking this was going to be a series as I anticipated twists and turns (some which came, some that didn’t and some I didn’t expect). Although from what I can tell this is a stand-alone novel, I can see where Matson could write companion books on this island of Nil. If readers are looking for a refreshing book that will grab them from the start, Nil is a strong recommendation.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Review: The Queen's Choice

The Queen's Choice
The Queen's Choice by Cayla Kluver

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Queen of the Faerie Kingdom of Chrior believes she will soon die and must name her heir. Anya has recently learned that the queen would like her to take her place since Anya’s cousin, Illumina, does not have the desired qualities of a ruler. Anya does not want this position. In order to keep from becoming queen, she decides to take a journey into the Warckum Territory to find Prince Zabriel, who should become the next ruler. Zabriel had disappeared into the human realm because he did not want to rule either. Her quest quickly becomes more desperate when she is attacked in the human realm and her wings (and her magic) are brutally cut off. Can she find and convince Zabriel to return and take the crown? Since she can’t return without her magic, what will become of her and the ones she loves?

The Queen’s Choice is the first book in a new fantasy series. Although the story has some refreshingly new spins on the human/faerie story lines, too many of the components tie up too cleanly. These aren’t enough of a distraction for the reader to hate the book, but life doesn’t have THAT MANY clean closings. Kluver’s world building was enjoyable without being overbearing and readers should be able to enjoy the tale whether they have read a lot about faeries or are new to the genre. Sometimes cliff hangers are a downside to series books, but the ending to The Queen’s Choice gives enough satisfaction with a touch of mystery to make the reader add the second book of the Heirs of Chrior series to their “to-read” list.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Review: And We Stay

And We Stay
And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emily Beam has survived the unimaginable. Her boyfriend, Paul, walked into the school library with a gun and killed himself in front of her. She is angry, grieving in her own way and feels extremely guilty. Her family determines the best course of action is to send her away to a boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts. She quickly discovers that the school is famous for being the home of the poet Emily Dickinson and with the help of two unexpected friends Emily is able to begin healing by writing her own poetry.

And We Stay is told in alternating styles of verse and prose. Although the story jumps in time to give backstory and details as needed, these changes only enhanced the reading experience. Hubbard’s second novel will be quickly consumed by those who wish to read about hard topics such as suicide, teenage pregnancy and societal pressures on today’s teens. This book is a very quick read and does not require a large commitment of time to finish. Because of the mentioned topics and length I highly recommend this book to reluctant readers who wish to read about realistic topics as well as avid readers.

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