Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: The Girl at Midnight

The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight, #1)The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Avicen are a magical race that has hidden their feathers from humans for years. Echo may be human, but she survives by selling what she steals and the Avicen treat her like one of their own. Her loyalty to the Avicen leads her to look for the Firebird. This mythical creature is believed to have the power needed to stop a century long conflict. Does Echo have what it takes to complete this task? What will she learn about herself along the way?

The Girl at Midnight is the first book in a series by the same title. The book is easily read, but is also easily forgotten. The twists and turns of the storyline were a saving grace since the characters themselves feel shallow and unremarkable. This is a recommended book if the reader has time, but it shouldn’t be moved to the top of your TBR pile.

View all my reviews

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Review: Cold Burn of Magic

Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1)Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lila has been on her own since her mother was murdered four years earlier. She has survived stealing for her friend’s pawn shop and living in the library basement. Her goal is to stay off the feuding Families’ radar and finish high school. Neither looks like a long term option when the Family feud finds its way into the pawn shop and Lila ends up saving Devon Sinclair. Now she is asked to help protect Devon and Lila believes she will end up like her mother … dead because of the Families.

Cold Burn of Magic is the first book in a new series by Jennifer Estep. Readers will be pulled into the story quickly and the action weaved throughout will keep them turning page after page. Estep has created a world that is slightly different than our own since magic and its monsters are known, yet readers who don’t normally enjoy fantasy stories can still devour this adventure tale. The second book is scheduled to come out later this year and I will definitely be looking for it.

View all my reviews

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Review: Storm

Storm (The SYLO Chronicles, #2)Storm by D.J. MacHale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tucker Pierce and his friends have made it off Pemberwick Island. They thought that all the secrets and military attacks were limited to their hometown, but when they reached Portland they discover missing buildings and missing people. Unfortunately, there was no sign of an attack. No rubble … no bodies … Along the way they saw wreckage with the logo of the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy. Could this all be the United States against itself? While taking refuge in a hospital, Tucker discovers a message on the emergency channel and this unlikely group of teenagers decides to cross the country to look for answers.

Storm is the second book in the SYLO Chronicles. The story picks up shortly after the ending of the first book and MacHale has included a lot of review within the pages. As someone who read the first book when it first came out, I found this helpful. For readers who read them close together, though, it might be annoying. The action is fast and the story moves along quickly, yet so much is implausible. Since this is written for middle school and high school students, I will not hold it against the book. Thank goodness the next book is coming out soon. There were parts toward the end that made me think the series was going to wrap up early, but rest assured … the story will continue.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 13, 2015

Review: Patient Zero

Patient Zero: Solving the Mysteries of Deadly EpidemicsPatient Zero: Solving the Mysteries of Deadly Epidemics by Marilee Peters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Most people would agree that more people have died throughout history due to diseases than have died because of war. What many people may not be aware of is the variety of diseases and the processes that lead to the detection and treatment of these diseases. Patient Zero: Solving the Mysteries of Deadly Epidemics brings to life the stories behind the Great Plague, the Yellow Fever outbreak in Cuba, Typhoid in New York City, AIDS in the 1980’s and many other epidemics.

Patient Zero is a short book with fun drawings interspersed. Readers can delve into one epidemic during each reading session or complete the book in one sitting. There is enough science discussed to pique the interest of readers without leaving the unknowledgeable reader lost in the wake. This is not meant to be read by hard and fast science buffs, but if readers are willing to skim over a variety of topics this book can be a good break from fiction into non-fiction without being a chore. Not my first choice as a non-fiction science book, but I am also a former science teacher.

View all my reviews

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Review: The Shadow Cabinet

The Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London, #3)The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rory is still mourning the loss of Steven and is wondering if she acted in time to make him a ghost. Even if she was successful, how do you locate a specific ghost? Rory’s friend, Charlotte, has been kidnapped by Jane and it seems to be tied in with a cult from decades ago. It has been forty years since ten teenagers went missing and all evidence leads to a mass murder. Rory wants to find her friend and the ghost squad needs to stop Jane from releasing evil across London. Can this group save everyone or will sacrifices need to be made? What hidden secrets will be uncovered?

The Shadow Cabinet is the third book in the Shades of London series. As the reader finishes the book, they will definitely know that this is not a trilogy and other books should be on the horizon. Since it has been awhile since I read the last book, it took me a few chapters to remember the who and what of the story. Johnson has some reviewing weaved into the story, but not too much. The story is action packed and plot twists will give the reader interesting questions to ponder. A great read and I will be looking forward to the fourth book.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Review: Black Dove, White Raven

Black Dove, White RavenBlack Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emilia and Teo have been raised as siblings. Their maternal parents were best friends and stunt pilots. After a bird hits their plane and causes a crash, Teo’s mother is dead and Emilia’s mom decides to raise him as her own. Unfortunately it is 1930’s America and a white woman raising a black child is frowned upon. She decides to follow her friend’s dream by moving herself and the children to Ethiopia. All three enjoy this peaceful country and would love nothing more than stay where they are living. But Italy has other plans and when war breaks out, the teenage Em and Teo are pulled into the struggle. Even though they cannot avoid the war, will they be able to maintain their own loyalties when pulled in so many directions?

Black Dove, White Raven is a stand-alone historical fiction that shows the strength of friendship and family is a most trying time. Wein has once again taken a little know portion of world history and weaved a story many readers will enjoy. I quickly fell in love with Em’s voice as she told the story of her family’s struggles. I am sure some readers will discover historical inaccuracies in this tale, but as a reader who knows little about this time period I enjoyed the book for what it was … a novel.

View all my reviews