Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review: Claimed

Claimed (Servants of Fate, #2)Claimed by Sarah Fine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Galena is now under the protection of the Ferry Family and is determined to continue her medical research. It is her destiny to develop a vaccine that can save millions of lives, but then her test subjects are targeted and it looks like Galena will not be able to continue her research. Declan Ferry may be considered the black sheep of the family, but when he decides that Galena’s safety will be his personal responsibility … both of them must determine how much they are willing to share.

Claimed is the second book in the Servants of Fate series. Not much time has elapsed since the conclusion of Marked and the characters are still reeling from all of the changes. Fine has crafted a story that is easy to be pulled into and the drama that ensues is linear and will make most readers eager to keep going. I must state that the intimate scenes between Declan and Galena definitely push this book into the mature young adult and new adult genres. I would not recommend this book for middle school or early high school readers. With that said I enjoyed this book and can’t wait to see where Fine goes next with these characters.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: The Tightrope Walkers

The Tightrope WalkersThe Tightrope Walkers by David Almond
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dominic Hall loves spending time with the girl next door. As they learn to walk on an improvised tightrope, he slowly falls in love with her. Together, they may be able to break the bonds that have held their previous generations hostage in a dead end and dangerous job. Yet he also has an unexpected pull toward Vincent McAlinden. Vincent is a wild child that notices and nurtures a killing nature in Dominic. Although Dom has the potential to make something of his life, he also has the potential to wreak havoc on those around him. Which will he choose?

The Tightrope Walkers is a coming of age story that will pull on the thoughts of most readers. Although the story takes place in northern England, the events that transpire and the issues that are addressed transcend time and geography. Almond has created a small cast of characters with strengths and flaws we can all recognize. I found myself in tears and quickly turning pages to discover the outcome. A good selection for readers who enjoy a realistic story that is not easy to predict.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: Hostage Run

Hostage Run (Mindwar, #2)Hostage Run by Andrew Klavan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rick Dial may have been crippled in a car accident, but he has used his skills in the gaming world to help a secret government unit stop terrorism that uses cyberspace. Rick has survived the Realm and has returned to Real Life. Things can never be quiet and now another cyber-attack is on its way and Molly, Rick’s best friend, has been taken and is being held hostage. It seems as if there is a mole within this secret organization and Rick has the fate of the world on his shoulders. Every time he enters The Realm it may be his last. Should he take on this mission or should he let others take all the risk?

Hostage Run is the second book in the Mindwar trilogy. Rick is an ordinary teenage boy who discovers he can help in extraordinary ways. The action is quick and the story progresses swiftly. Klavan does review key points of the first book that I found helpful. If readers pick up both books close together, they may not find it useful. I will warn readers that this book does have a cliff hanger. It is not a throw the book across the room cliff hanger, but it does leave the reader with things to ponder while they wait for the next installment.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Review: Nightbird

NightbirdNightbird by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Twig doesn’t have any friends. Her mother has always discouraged friendships because their family is cursed. The curse was enacted two hundred years ago when her four times great grandfather didn’t show to run away with a neighbor girl. This girl was a witch and descendants from her line have moved back into the family manor and have offered friendship to Twig. Twig begins sneaking around with her new friends, but she isn’t sure she can share the truth about the curse. As the summer progresses Twig learns more about the curse and the possibility of its reversal. She can’t do it alone and must decide who she can trust.

Nightbird is a stand-alone novel about love, friendship and magic. Readers will discover that this short book quickly pulls them in and Hoffman has spun a tale that can be enjoyed by middle schoolers or high school students. Although hints of romance are weaved into the storyline, hints are all they are. The main character is twelve years old and I would see no problem with girls or boys of this age reading this book. This would be an enjoyable read for everyone, even reluctant readers.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Review: Shadow Scale

Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Seraphina has been hiding a secret for years, but now everyone knows that she is part human and part dragon. The fragile peace is beginning to shatter and she must travel through the realm to try and convince others like her to work together and try to stop a war. Can Seraphina gather everyone together without the humans stopping her? What if some of the half dragons have motives of their own that run counter to Seraphina?

Shadow Scale is the second book in the Seraphina series. This book picks up shortly after the ending of the first book and Hartman includes a lot of story review within the new novel. There are actually enough tidbits of information that if a reader starts with this book they would have no trouble following the story. This is a lengthy epic fantasy that only readers who truly enjoy this genre will finish. Definitely not a beach read, but a satisfying story none the less.

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Review: As White As Snow

As White As SnowAs White As Snow by Salla Simukka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lumikki has traveled to Prague with the plan to be anonymous. Her number one hope is to let everyone forget what she did to destroy Polar Bear’s crime ring. Her plans are quickly undone when an unknown woman, Lenka, tells her that they are sisters. Lumikki doesn’t believe Lenka, yet something feels right. It doesn’t take long for Lumikki to discover that Lenka’s life is full of secrets and sadness. As Lumikki’s life hangs in the balance, she must use everything she has learned to save herself and those around her.

As White as Snow is the second book in the Lumikki Andersson series. The book is short and the action is quick. These two combinations make this a book that can easily be devoured in one sitting. Simukka does some memory nudging with tidbits of information from the first book. These facts do not distract from the new story and readers will easily fall into this new adventure. This is a good adventure that can quickly be started, finished and moved past.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Review: Razorhurst

RazorhurstRazorhurst by Justine Larbalestier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It is 1932 and Sydney is at peace, if you want to call it that. The peace is held by two mob bosses and their “razor men.” Kelpie has always been able to see ghosts, but this secret is kept hidden from everyone, especially since she is an orphan living on the streets. These ghosts sometime speak and the secrets they tell Kelpie hint at the flaws in the truce that has been set. After Kelpie meets Dymphna, she discovers a beautiful girl with a secret like her own. Can these girls survive a world governed by brutal men? What is their ultimate goal in achieving their freedom?

Razorhurst is a paranormal historical fiction told from many points of view. Readers should be prepared to pay attention to the character shifts in order to understand the story more completely. This is one book that I believe would be enhanced by a professional narration. I enjoyed the many twists and turns of the plot and felt the ending was complete and satisfactory. Razorhurst should be added to reader’s TBR list, but maybe not moved to the top.

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Review: Feral Pride

Feral Pride (Feral, #3)Feral Pride by Cynthia Leitich Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Shifters have been outed in the media when Kayla’s transformation to werecat is recorded and uploaded for everyone to see. She is now seen as a werebeast threat and is on the run with Yoshi, Clyde and Aimee. As if things couldn’t get any worse, a weresnake has kidnapped the governor of Texas and announced to the media that this is just the beginning. All werepeople are now at risk as law enforcement tries to round them up, corporations develop a shift-suppressing vaccine and an underground slave trade is uncovered. Do Clyde and his friends have the strength to overcome the obstacles put before them? Who can they trust and how far are they willing to go?

Feral Pride is the third and final book in the Feral series. This book picks up shortly after the ending of the second novel and I encourage readers to start at the beginning. Although Smith references people and events from the original series (Tantalize), this spin off series can still be enjoyed by itself. As a final book in a series I was pulled in by the quick plot twists and fast story progression. I do feel there were a lot of “lessons” thrown in as the characters were explaining different werepeople traits, but if that flaw is ignored Feral Pride is a very satisfying conclusion.

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