Sunday, October 26, 2014

Review: The Body Electric

The Body ElectricThe Body Electric by Beth Revis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ella Shepherd uses technology invented by her mother to help people relive their happy memories. Recently she has discovered that she can enter these dreams with them. This ability comes with a cost, though. Now she is seeing crazy things. Why is she seeing her dead father? What is with the warnings about who she can trust? The government asks for her help to use her skills to spy on a rebel group, but when the rebel leader makes contact with her and claims they not only know each other, but were in love Ella can’t deny the blaring truth. Someone has changed her memories. Who would do that and why her?

The Body Electric is a sci-fi fantasy created around a world at peace. Although we have never known a world at peace, we all understand that peace is fragile and can easily be shaken. The decisions that Ella is faced with are perplexing and unique. There are many times where the story dragged, but then it would pick back up and pull me along again. In this world of series fiction, it is nice to find a stand-alone novel. Revis has weaved this story on the same Earth that sent Godspeed into space, but readers do not need to have read the Across the Universe trilogy to enjoy this book. The Body Electric is a good book and will satisfy most sci-fi fans.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: A.D. 30

A.D. 30: A NovelA.D. 30: A Novel by Ted Dekker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maviah was born out of wedlock and sent away to be a slave. When she returns home with her own baby her father asks her to go on a mission to protect the people who didn’t protect her. After an unexpected attack, Maviah escapes with two others and they flee to King Herod’s court to ask for help. Can she convince him to help her cause? Who can she trust in this world where woman have no place? During her journeys she learns about a man named Yeshua (Christ) and his teachings touch her and those around her in an unexpected way.

A.D. 30 takes readers back to the time of Christ and tells of the social and political upheaval that was transpiring around the religious changes. The story of Yeshua is weaved within the story of Maviah and the reader will discover the truths he taught as they are explored by her. As a gentile, a woman and an illegitimate child she had many stigmas against her. Yet throughout the book she uncovers a hidden source of strength and overcomes the barriers put before her. Dekker has written an historical fiction novel that can only be enhanced by the truths included. This book covers many of Yeshua’s early teachers and another book, A.D. 33, is promised in the future.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Catch Me When I Fall

Catch Me When I Fall (Dreamcatcher #1)Catch Me When I Fall by Vicki Leigh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daniel has been guarding humans and fighting Nightmares for 200 years. His most recent human died peacefully in her sleep after being guarded for 80 years, and Daniel’s new charge is a 16 year old girl in a psychiatric ward. Her mother put her there for her own protection because Kayla believes her touch caught her mother’s boyfriend on fire. During Daniel’s first night on duty five Nightmares attacked. Multiple Nightmares in one night are unusual and Daniel has never heard of multiple Nightmares at the same time. He is drawn to protecting Kayla even in daytime and after an attack more brutal than usual he breaks the first Law and shows himself to her. In order to protect her from the increasingly vicious attacks, he takes her to his headquarters in Rome. Why are these Nightmares becoming more severe? Are the Protectors themselves in danger?

Catch Me When I Fall is the first book in the Dreamcatcher series. This urban fantasy will delight readers and grab their attention at the beginning. Leigh mentions many previous cases and characters so readers may discover future books that take place before this one. I do want to warn younger readers that there are some descriptive sex scenes and may not be appropriate for the younger YA crowd. I found myself thinking about the characters and where the story was going next when I wasn’t reading the book and I longed to get back to my reading time so that I could discover the ending. I good read and definitely worth my time.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Review: Time's Edge

Time's Edge (The CHRONOS Files, #2)Time's Edge by Rysa Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kate’s grandfather has evil plans. As a fellow time traveler he is able to move about and rewrite the points in history he would like to change. In order to stop her grandfather, Kate must stay at least one step ahead of him and retrieve the CHRONOS keys before the Cyrists get them. She can’t grab them willy nilly, though. If Saul discovers what she is up too, he can go to a previous point in time and stop her. With the help of Kiernan, a fellow time traveler, she creates a plan and taxes her mind and body beyond the breaking point. Can Kate keep all the timeline’s straight? Can she rebuild the relationship with Trey that only she can remember?

Time’s Edge is the second book in the Chronos Files. Walker periodically references events in the first book to nudge the reader’s memory and these tidbits of information would be enough to help a reader who jumped into this second book without the first. The time traveling creates a read that is full of action and intrigue where the reader must consistently remind themselves that the era is extremely different from the previous point. Even with these constant time shifts, the story is not hard to follow and the reader is easily swept along. Sorry faithful reader … the Chronos Files are far from over and the adventure should only get better.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blue’s mother has disappeared. She wasn’t planning to be gone long, but now no one knows where she is or when she will return. Blue has also found friendship with the Raven Boys. She never thought she would have anything in common with these prep school boys, yet through supernatural connections they have become a unit. The dangers within the dream world are connected to the waking world and these unlikely friends must push their ideals to the limit. Who can they trust? Can they trust the visions given to them?

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the third book in the Raven Cycle, but it is nowhere near the end. Readers who enjoy a story that is wrapped up before the last page might want to steer clear of this volume. The story moves along quickly and the characters respond to increasingly more difficult issues, yet when the reader gets to the last page they will be longing for the next book in the cycle. Stiefvater’s world of the Raven Boys has developed into a richer story and this book is not a disappointment.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Review: The Paper Magician

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1)The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paper magic is so out of style, yet Ceony Twill has been selected to become a paper magician. During her training at the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined she had dreamed of learning metal magic, yet now she is bonded to paper. The quirky magician Thane turns out to be better than Ceony had imagined as he unlocks the wonders of animated paper creatures. There is dark magic on the prowl and when an Excisioner attacks their cottage and takes Thane’s heart, Ceony must learn forbidden magic in order to try and save the man.

The Paper Magician is the first book in a new supernatural trilogy. The magic may be dark … yet the reader will find the read light and easy. Holmberg’s debut novel has flaws that many first books contain, but those who make it to the conclusion will want to find the next book to continue the adventure. The feisty female protagonist is easily liked and most readers will root for her as she fights the darkness around her. A good read that will please teen and adult readers alike.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: Sweet Unrest

Sweet UnrestSweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lucy keeps having the same nightmare. She doesn’t know anyone in the dream, yet when her family moves to New Orleans … the nightmares become more intense. As she discovers clues around her these signs lead her into the dark history of the area and the local Voodoo practices still performed. When Lucy meets Alex she feels as if she has always known him, but there is a part of her brain that keeps screaming something is not right. Can she discover Alex’s secret? How is the New Orleans plantation tied to her nightmares that began in Chicago?

Sweet Unrest is a stand-alone book that has been left open for additional storylines should the author wish. This dark tale is a perfect blend of southern gothic superstitions and modern people with everyday concerns. Readers who enjoyed reading the Beautiful Creatures series will be drawn to the characters and the history of the area. Maxwell has developed the characters fully without spending an exorbitant amount of time with useless trivia. This is a good fantasy read for those who want a different storyline.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: Chaos

Chaos (Guards of the Shadowlands #3)Chaos by Sarah Fine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Malachi has been captured by the Mazikin and Lela will do anything to get him back. The Judge offers her a chance to save him, but the Judge has her own motives behind the offer. Unfortunately, Lela is not in charge. Ana, the new Captain, is cut throat and tough, but she also has a personal mission she wishes to complete. These women have seen a lot, but their past experiences do not prepare them for the horror that awaits them in this new realm. With love on the line, can Lela know who to trust? Does she have the strength to decide about sacrifices that need to be made?

Chaos is the third and final book in the Guards of the Shadowlands trilogy. Readers who enjoyed the action packed scenes will continue to experience their own fight or flight response to the character’s dilemmas. Fine does not spend a lot of time rehashing the world building from the first book, so if readers are starting with this volume they might be a little confused. Chaos is a strong finish to a great urban fantasy series.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Review: The Eye of Zoltar

The Eye of ZoltarThe Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jennifer Strange is not your normal sixteen year old. She runs a company that rents out wizards for cash, yet she has no magic herself. In book one she saved two dragons, and now the Mighty Shandar is requiring a favor. He must give a refund for not killing all of the dragons, but if Jennifer finds and deliver’s The Eye of Zoltar to him, he won’t punish her for this extra expense. The last time the jewel was seen it was in the possession of the legendary Sky Captain Morgan. In order for Jennifer’s life to be just a little more complicated, the Queen of Snodd transfers her spoiled daughter’s mind into a maid servant and requires Jennifer to teach her humility. Can Jennifer manage both of these tasks? What are the Mighty Shandar’s motives? Will she be stuck with the princess if she never learns to have compassion?

The Eye of Zoltar is the third book in the Chronicles of Kazam, but the adventure is far from over. Jennifer’s strange world is a twisted, magical version of our own and readers will enjoy pairing up the parallels throughout. The action starts out quickly at the beginning and the reader will find the ride of the adventure makes this a can’t-put-down read. Readers who enjoy a complete story within a series will be disappointed in the volume. Fforde leaves the story with issues still pending, but not with a throw the book cliff hanger. If you are an impatient reader, though, you might want to wait for the fourth book so that you can read it directly after this one. Otherwise, this third book was just as fun as the first two.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review: Love and Other Unknown Variables

Love and Other Unknown VariablesLove and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Charlie Hanson has plans. He is a senior at Brighton School of Mathematics and Science with plans to attend MIT. His life goal is to find the answers to the universe’s unanswered questions. These plans suddenly veer off course when he sees a tattoo on a girl’s neck. It turns out that Charlotte is the sister of Charlie’s new English teacher. She convinces him to plan a prank that requires the participation of the entire classroom. Why is Charlotte encouraging Charlie? Will this plan affect his future plans?

Love and Other Unknown Variables is a quirky story that will be enjoyed by readers young and not so young. The story is told through the eyes of a socially stunted math nerd and the references to specialty mathematical terms are easily digested. I loved the “voice” of Charlie in that he was an outsider that was still accepted by most of the students in his class. He could have been the nerd everyone ignored, but instead he leads the charge into a plan against the teacher. Alexander has created a wonderful story that male and female readers will all enjoy reading.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review: A Song for Ella Grey

A Song for Ella GreyA Song for Ella Grey by David Almond
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ella Grey is gone. She has left behind friends and the love of her life. Claire is Ella’s best friend. She must tell the story in fits and starts so that she (and the reader) may understand. Ella’s love for Orpheus was quick and complete. Nothing in her short life had prepared her for the depth of their love, yet when her life is suddenly cut short all who are left behind believe they are at fault.

A Song for Ella Grey is a story that leaves a lot to be desired. I usually don’t mind a story that jumps around, yet this book was not enhanced by the storytelling format. Readers who are looking for a relaxing read that can be quickly finished without a lasting impression will be happy, but those who want just a little more meat will feel as if something is missing. This should not be moved to the top of a TBR pile, but it would be a good choice when a simple escape is needed.

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Review: Frozen

Frozen (Heart of Dread, #1)Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The planet is now covered in ice. There is only one season … cold. In New Vegas a blackjack dealer, Natasha Kestal, wants to leave. She has heard of a place called The Blue, yet it seems too good to be true. Can there really be a place where the sun still shines and the waters are warm? Rumor has it that those who bear the mark are not persecuted there. She will do anything to not hide who or what she really is. Through a series of events she is able to book passage to The Blue with a group of mercenaries who don’t really believe her. Everyone has secrets to hide. Can they trust each other enough to get to paradise?

Frozen is the first book in the Heart of Dread series. The post-apocalyptic world building is effortlessly weaved into the story so that the reader will not feel as if it is an additional element. Although the characters are not extremely deep, de la Cruz has written relationships and struggles into the storyline to enable a series that will be enjoyed and pursued. Frozen does contain elements of magic and the supernatural, but it is pleasantly different from the author’s other series. Readers who pick this up because of the author should not have any regrets of the time spent reading it.

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Review: The Diamond Thief

The Diamond ThiefThe Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rémy Brunel has many skills. Her skills on the trapeze are not to be rivaled and her ability to detect the value of jewels has enabled her to become a successful jewel thief. Her troupe is in Victorian London and her next assignment is to steal one of the world’s most precious diamonds. She believes she has pulled off the caper when it turns out that she was outwitted by another. She is now on a mission to steal it back, but can she complete this assignment without her usual support? Detective Thaddeus Rec also wants to find the diamond. Especially since his superiors believe he is the real thief.

The Diamond Thief is the first book in a new series. The characters are richly described and the scenes in and around Victorian London will please readers of adventures and historical fiction. Gosling is able to create characters with depth and a series of events that are believable without adding a ton of pages. The Diamond Thief can quickly be devoured by an excited reader or it can be slowly consumed by those who like to pace themselves. This was a pleasant read and I look forward to reading the second book, The Ruby Airship, due to be released in February 2015.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Review: Witchrise

Witchrise (The Tudor Witch Trilogy, #3)Witchrise by Victoria Lamb
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Meg Lytton is a Tudor witch that has inherited her mother’s magical wand, a magical ring named Invictus and a spellbook. Even as she is trying to discover the extent of her powers, Marcus Dent is haunting her dreams and it seems that he will do anything to take her powers for his own. Meg has made many friends that are willing to help her in the looming battle, yet in the end she may lose the man she is secretly betrothed to. Alejandro has secrets of his own and the twists and turns of fate are constantly mixing up events.

Witchrise is the third book in The Tudor Witch Trilogy. Although the series is called a trilogy, readers will finish this book and be expecting more stories to come. Lamb has created a cast of characters that readers will enjoy exploring and if there are more books I will be adding them to my reading list. Even though I expect there to be more stories in this Tudor world, readers will at least be satisfied with Meg’s romantic attachments. Will Meg choose Alejandro or another suitor? Will Marcus Dent be beaten or will he continue to taunt the Tudor witches? Readers must get to the end of this volume to find out the answers.

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