Sunday, September 28, 2014

Review: Unmarked

Unmarked (The Legion, #2)Unmarked by Kami Garcia
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kennedy Waters is at her boarding school wondering about Jared. She has survived a demon attack and is questioning why the other Legion members have not come for her. She has been monitoring the reports of missing girls and can’t help but recognize the connection they have with her physical characteristics. When Alara, Priest and Jared finally show up for her, Kennedy doesn’t take too long to join their quest to find the demon she accidentally set free. Will Kennedy finally know why she has been left Unmarked? Will the secrets of her own family be enough to help the Legion or will these mysteries be its downfall?

Unmarked is the second book in The Legion series. The story picks up a few days after the ending of the last book and the events that transpire move quickly and with purpose. Readers will easily be refreshed on the earlier events and the story does not dedicate too much time for those who need additional nudges. Garcia’s second book in The Legion series was much more enjoyable than the first. This is saying a lot when many second books are only setting up for the third. Readers will create bonds with these characters and feel their uncertainty and pain with each discovery. Unmarked is a satisfying read that leaves the reader with just enough unanswered questions to be anticipating the next volume.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review: Skink - No Surrender

Skink--No SurrenderSkink--No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Malley is scheduled to leave for boarding school when she lies to her parents and runs away with a guy she met online. Malley is Richard’s only cousin. He understands the trouble Malley is in and is determined to bring her home. Then Richard literally stumbles across Skink while looking for turtle nests on the beach. Skink may be the ex-governor of Florida, but with his homeless appearance and missing eye he certainly looks like a crazy guy. This unlikely pair sets out to find Malley and they won’t let anything stop them from reaching their goal.

Although Skink – No Surrender is the seventh book in the Skink series, readers can jump right into this story and enjoy the thrill ride without feeling as if they are missing another part of the story. I don’t believe many readers would expect all of the quirky adventures to take place outside of a book or movie, yet the escape found within the pages of Skink – No Surrender is satisfying and entertaining. Hiaasen has created another quick read that can be enjoyed by many age groups since it does not include a lot of strong language or sexual content.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: Silvern

Silvern (Gilded #2)Silvern by Christina L. Farley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jae Hwa Lee is preparing for the rest of her life. It is now time to take the test for her second-degree black belt and it should be easy after fighting the demi-god that haunted her ancestors. Unfortunately for her the god of darkness, Kud, has other plans. The person she is to spar with for her test is really an assassin who is trying to kill her. Jae survives and has a new mission. She must find the lost White Tiger Orb before Kud does. Kud isn’t the god of darkness for nothing. He will exact his revenge on those Jae loves in order to get her to do his bidding. What or who is Jae willing to sacrifice for the downfall of Kud? Will she have to be tested more than once?

Silvern is the second book in the Gilded series. Farley picks up soon after the end of the last book and spends a lot of time reviewing tidbits from that volume. Although I had read Gilded just a few months ago, the refresher was useful, especially with the unique names and places. The storyline was varied and fast paced so that the reader will quickly lose track of time and find the pages flying past. The ending isn’t a cliffhanger in the traditional sense, yet the reader will wish the next book was already out.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Review: Unmade

Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy, #3)Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kami loved Jared even before she met him. Now he is missing and she has a new magical link with Ash. Although she does not love Ash, she must work with this new connection to try and stop the magical mayhem that is their town. Rob Lynburn is back and in charge. He demands a death from someone in Sorry-in-the-Vale and Kami wants to stop him. She investigates with her friends and discovers a secret they believe will save the town. Saving the town will come with a high price and Kami must decide if she is willing to pay that price. Will her friends let her make this choice on her own?

Unmade is the third and final installment in The Lynburn Legacy. Readers who have followed Kami’s explorations and adventures will not be disappointed in this last book. The tension is high and the story progresses quickly as the reader follows the twists and turns of events in this dark yet sleepy town. Brennan does have a bit of review early on in the story. This may be pleasing to some and annoying to others, but I didn’t feel it was too much information. The events wrap up all of the major questions, yet the most anticipated question isn’t answered until the last few pages. Please … don’t read the last chapter first!

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: Stormfront

Stormfront (Undertow #2)Stormfront by K.R. Conway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eila Walker is still healing from the events that occurred at the Fire and Ice Ball. She doesn’t remember what happened that night. She knows that whatever it was awakened her powers and now she is trying to stay one step ahead of the FBI. The FBI does not believe the boiler exploded, but they can’t find any evidence of a bomb. It has been five weeks and Eila is preparing to return to classes. Her best friend, Ana, is still trying to figure out how to act around her ex-boyfriend who happens to also be a soul thief. Eila is starting to think that being a supernatural isn’t as unusual as she believed since she discovers new connections at every turn including a few new truths about her grandmother.

Stormfront is the second book in the Undertow series. Conway spends a good portion of time recapping moments from the first book. This will be annoying for those readers who read the first book, yet it will be helpful for those who stumble across this second book out of order. The story progresses quickly and the anticipation levels rise and fall as the characters overcome one supernatural obstacle after another. This story is not complete. Although I wouldn’t call the ending a cliffhanger, there are many questions left unanswered and the story presented in this volume is not satisfying. Readers will be hoping the next book in the series does not have a large delay.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review: Undertow

Undertow (Undertow, #1)Undertow by K.R. Conway
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Eila Walker has never been lucky. That is until the day she is told that a mysterious person purchased a house from auction and insisted it go to the last living relative of the original owner … her. She has moved to the Cape and is living in the house her 4th great grandmother had lived in. The town legend says her grandmother was struck by lightning and vanished, but what do legends know. This little sleepy seaside down is anything but sleepy. As Eila makes friends and builds relationships she begins to unravel secrets that have stayed hidden for 160 years. Does she have what it takes to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps? Will it cost her the lives of her friends or herself?

Undertow is the first book in a new paranormal YA series. Readers will need to get to nearly the halfway point in the book before the real story is revealed, yet the world building and character development is entertaining in itself. Readers know in advance that this is a series and Conway does not lead the reader on by leaving a cliff hanger. This start of the storyline is complete in itself, but readers will see the hints and suggestions of the next and future books. Undertow is a satisfying read for teens of all ages since it does not include an abundance of sex … just the suggestions of attraction and romance.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review: Blood of My Blood

Blood Of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3)Blood Of My Blood by Barry Lyga
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At the end of Game, our three main characters find themselves in very tough situations. It is now the beginning of Blood of My Blood and all three are in the hospital, thankful to be alive. Jazz will do anything to get out and stop his serial killer father, Billy Dent. His best friend, Howie, almost bled to death in Jazz’s home and his girlfriend, Connie, has recently escaped the clutches of Jazz’s father. As Jazz continues to pursue Billy, he begins to cross lines he never wanted to cross and continues to ask if his genes and upbringing can be overruled by friends and society. Is Jazz destined to become his father? Is his father this infamous Crow King?

Blood of My Blood is the third and final book in the Jasper Dent series. The book picks up just hours after the first book ended and readers will experience the turbulence of a man hunt through the eyes of all participants. All of the events in this book take place in a very short span of time and readers will quickly see their reading time flying away as they turn the pages. Lyga has created characters readers will love completely and those that are easy to hate. Readers must read the first two before picking up this final book.

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Review: The Caller

The Caller (Shadowfell, #3)The Caller by Juliet Marillier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has only been a year, but Neryn has changed so much. She knew she had a canny skill, yet she had been taught as a child to hide it. After traveling to the secret rebel base, Shadowfell, she began training to be their secret weapon. Two of the fey Guardians had imparted their wisdom to hone her skill as a Caller, yet as winter approaches she is running out of time. The rebels are planning their battle for summer and Neryn still has to find the last two Guardians. Will she be able to complete these last two training sessions in time? Will she be able to save Alban from the overbearing King Keldec?

The Caller is the third and final book in the Shadowfell series. Readers who have been following Neryn’s training and maturation will be looking forward to the outcome of these last few tasks. The stakes are high and the pace of the book represents the actions the characters are required to perform. Marillier provides just enough review throughout the text for the readers who have been reading these stories as they are released, yet not too much that a reader that consumes all three quickly will be annoyed. This is the conclusion of this journey, but readers will have to reach the end to discover if Neryn and the rebels are successful or not.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Review: The Iron Trial

The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)The Iron Trial by Holly Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Call has had anything but a sheltered life. His mother died when he was a baby and even after a series of surgeries, he cannot walk correctly. He seems to have an affinity to magic, yet his father continually reminds him that he needs to hide his abilities. Call is now 12 years old and must take the test to attend the Magisterium. It appears that his practice at being ordinary has paid off. He finishes the series of tests in last place (with a negative score), yet he is selected to attend the school anyway. Is it his destiny to become a magician? Call can still flunk out, but does he want to?

The Iron Trial is the first book in a new series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Even though the book is being promoted as a middle school series, I can see many young adults picking it up and enjoying it anyway. There are many characters that are left unexplored and the story has the potential of spinning in a multitude of directions. Readers of these authors’ other works will not be disappointed in this new series and those who are just experiencing them will be looking for their other books. This was a truly enjoyable read without all the sex and teen drama rampant in many books today.

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