Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review: Atlanta Burns

Atlanta Burns (Atlanta Burns #1-2)Atlanta Burns by Chuck Wendig
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Atlanta Burns has a reputation. After taking a shotgun to her mother’s boyfriend … everyone knows not to mess with her. Although she tries to stay away from trouble, she becomes the target of two sets of bullies when she intervenes to help a couple of students who quickly become her friends. But since no good deed goes unpunished … Atlanta knows that something is going on when a teen shows up dead and it is listed as a suicide. She doesn’t want to make things worse by looking into it, so she dedicates her time to find out who is killing dogs in the neighborhood. When she discovers a dogfighting ring, she is once again surrounded by bad people and her future is looking more and more forlorn.

Atlanta Burns is a young adult novel that blends many everyday issues into one story. Atlanta confronts bullies, sexual abuse, parental neglect, dogfighting and American poverty. The downside of these many issues is that most are only addressed minimally when they could have used an entire book by themselves. With that said, Wendig did a superb job of creating a story that was believable even if it wasn’t very plausible. The adventure moves along nicely and many of the issues are wrapped up before the conclusion. Wendig has left openings for future books with his new heroine.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Review: The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant

The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant (The V Trilogy, #2)The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anne Merchant is back on Wormwood Island even though her body is in a coma and not dead. She has been informed that she is connected to a woman known as Lilith and that she must embrace her dark powers in order to be released. Unfortunately, Ben is now a senior and must compete for the Big V. He doesn’t want to compete … he wants to enjoy the time he has with Anne. Anne must decide whether she will stay on the straight and narrow, which will lead to Ben’s end, or will she take the darker path into the underworld and hope that good will prevail in the end. Can she save Ben without losing herself? Is there a line she will refuse to cross?

The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant is the second book in The V Trilogy. This novel picks up shortly after the ending of the first book and Wiebe has included many references to the first story to help jog the reader’s memory. As a person who read the first book a while ago, I felt the tidbits of information were helpful. I do not recommend readers start with this book. Readers will be completely confused if they jump into this second story. The tale is twisting and characters are numerous. Much of the background information about these characters is in the first book which can lead to confusion if that story is skipped. This book will appeal to readers of supernatural tales and the ending will lead the reader to question where is the third book going to take them.

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Review: The Last American Vampire

The Last American VampireThe Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Henry Sturges has been a vampire for centuries. He has experienced so much of America. He was in Roanoke with the first settlers and watched America bloom in its youth. As the years passed, he traveled the world and was in England with Jack the Ripper, in America to watch the electric era with Tesla and Edison, went to Russia during the October Revolution and experienced the First and Second World Wars. No mortal human has experienced all of these events except in books.

The Last American Vampire is an alternate history of America viewed through the eyes of a vampire. Readers who enjoyed Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will have fun discovering which famous people were really vampires as well as those who passed up the chance to be immortal. This is not a direct sequel to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and readers who have not touched that novel will not have any issues with this book. This is not an action packed adventure tale, so readers should be advised that it can read more like a narrative history book than fiction. Although this is an enjoyable book, it is geared toward those who like alternate histories and not necessarily those who like vampire books.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: The Deep

The DeepThe Deep by Nick Cutter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You don’t want to get the ‘Gets. This strange disease is killing humans worldwide. It doesn’t affect humans in the usual way. Those who catch it slowly forget to do things. As the disease progresses, your body eventually forgets to keep itself alive. Deep in the Marianas Trench, scientists believe they have found the cure for EVERYTHING. They call it Ambrosia and they believe this will stop the ‘Gets. A special lab has been built eight miles under the ocean’s surface and there seems to be more than isolation and the ocean’s pressure affecting the scientists inside. Will Ambrosia be able to stop the ‘Gets? Is there something else in the complete darkness or is it the imagination of those present?

The Deep is a science fiction thriller that presents itself in a way to cause the reader to believe this could happen now. The scientific discoveries mentioned in this story may not be real when this book was published, but the technology and knowledge discussed is not too far off in our future. Disease’s with no cure are always scary, yet when the symptoms are so mundane they may be easily overlooked or worse, easily misdiagnosed, humanity as a whole is at risk. Cutter pulled me into The Troop and did not disappoint me with The Deep. The suspense is palpable as the reader continues through the pages, yet the ending will leave the reader wanting to know what happens next. Although the current listing does not have this as a series, I hope that there are more books in this world Cutter has created.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: There Will Be Lies

There Will Be LiesThere Will Be Lies by Nick Lake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It will only be four hours before Shelby is struck by a car and her life changes forever. When she leaves the hospital, her mother tells her they are finally going to visit the Grand Canyon. Shelby is told that her father (who she believed was dead) has discovered their whereabouts and they must try and disappear again. Unfortunately, Shelby can tell that her mother is still hiding the truth and as the story continues to change and her mother keeps acting unlike herself, Shelby does not know who she can trust. To top it all off, she had begun to have strange dreams that are leaving clues in the waking world. What is her subconscious trying to tell her?

There Will Be Lies is a roller coaster of a thriller. There are many times the reader will believe the story is about to come to a climax, but then they look at the book and realize they aren’t even half way through. Emotions are high for the all the characters and the reader will quickly feel intimately involved with the story. Although I wanted to get to the end of the book just to know the truth, I was sad for the story to end since this book was a welcome distraction and a truly enjoyable read. Lake has created a story that will tug at the heartstrings of the young and the more mature reader. I recommend this book to ALL readers whether you normally read YA or not.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Review: Hellhole

HellholeHellhole by Gina Damico
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Max Kilgore has always been a good kid. The only reason he decided to steal something, was because he wanted to cheer up his sick mother. But the theft and resulting lie were enough to free a devil. This big red guy is in his basement and is demanding stolen food and also a house gotten by illegal means. Max doesn’t know what to do and asks for help from Lore, a girl who is rumored to know some things about the dark side. Can these two satisfy the demands without getting caught? What lines are they not willing to cross?

Hellhole is an action packed tongue-in-cheek adventure that is easily read and then forgotten. As a fan of Damico’s Croak series, I was disappointed in the shallow characters and predictable storyline. I would recommend this book for an easy escape, but I won’t be urging people to move it to the top of their reading list. Hellhole is fun, but forgettable.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Review: This Shattered World

This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lee is a career soldier. She is the captain of one of the troops on Avon trying to control the rebellious colonists. Although her troops should know better than think she would leave a bar with a man, she is kidnapped right under their noses and is being held prisoner. Her captor, Flynn, thinks he can use her to negotiate a cease fire, but he quickly realizes that neither side wants peace. Flynn and Lee escape the rebel base, yet now neither one truly know which side of the war they are really on. Who can they trust? Can they trust each other?

This Shattered World is the second book in the Starbound series. This book is more of a companion story with references to events from the first book mentioned on the fringes. Readers can pick up this book without the first, but be warned that you may feel the need to read it anyway. The star-crossed lovers have both been hurt by many people and have issues with forming new attachments. This is definitely a science fiction story, but even readers who normally don’t have the patience to read sci-fi will be able to digest this book in order to enjoy the love story. A good read that will have the reader checking for the next volume.

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