Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: The Secret Side of Empty

The Secret Side of EmptyThe Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

M.T. seems to have it all. She is a straight A student, she has had a best friend since kindergarten and a great looking boy is showing interest in her. But she also has a deep secret … M.T. and her entire family are undocumented immigrants. As her senior year progresses it becomes harder and harder to hide the fact that she has limited choices after high school. Since she doesn’t have a social security number or passport, she does not have a chance to even apply to colleges. M.T.’s life is falling apart and she doesn’t feel like she has anyone she can turn to. What are her options? Will she be able to make the best choice for herself and her family?

The Secret Side of Empty brings the reader into the world of undocumented teen immigrants. Since most undocumented immigrants keep their status hidden, even their closest friends may not know about the issues they are dealing with. Readers who complete this fascinating story will leave with a different view of immigration in the United States and will hopefully realize the plight. A great read that I can’t wait to recommend to students and staff alike.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: Moon Bayou

Moon BayouMoon Bayou by J.R. Rain
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Samantha Moon’s life ended many years ago, yet she still carries on. As a private investigator who happens to be a vampire, she is able to uncover truths no mere mortal can. Her latest case takes her to the city of New Orleans to find a missing girl. New Orleans definitely has more of a night life than Sam is used to and the darker side of the city takes its toll on her missing person case. Samantha discovers that there is an ancient vampire feud with “Mme Samantha Lune de Californie” in the middle. How can a feud that started in the 1860’s be related to her? Will she be able to leave this dark city and return to her family in California?

Moon Bayou is the first book in a spinoff of the Vampire for Hire series. Samantha Moon Case Files #1 gives new readers some back story of the original series so that they will not be completely lost. As a reader of the primary series, I feel the review was adequate and not overwhelming. The story was short and readers will not find the ending satisfying. I finished the book wanting more and will be waiting for the next book … hopefully we won’t have to wait too long. Overall I enjoyed revisiting Samantha Moon and the crazy adventures that follow her like a lost dog.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Review: The Harvest

Harvest, TheHarvest, The by Chuck Wendig
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cael has been in a Blightborn sleep for a year. During that time the Heartland has undergone many changes. There are no more Obligations, towns are dead or dying and the survivors are being involuntarily transformed into mechanical beings. The Empyrean has one priority … to destroy the Heartland. The Heartlanders are not willing to be rolled over so easily. Cael and his friends set out to overcome the mechanicals, war machines and a group of girls who have embraced their wild nature. Can Cael overcome all these obstacles? What can they use to fight a group of people that have so many advantages?

The Harvest is the third and final book in The Heartland Trilogy. The book would have been much more enjoyable if Wendig did not continually include information about events from the first two novels. It wasn’t until I reached the last half of the book that all of this reviewing finally stopped. Once the true story was in full swing, the story progressed quickly and the ending was very satisfying. I recommend this book as a supplemental reading option, but I definitely encourage readers of the first two books to wrap this series up with the finale.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: Wicked Charms

Wicked Charms (Lizzy & Diesel, #3)Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Glo has a new boyfriend and he is taking Glo and Lizzy on an after-hours tour of Salem’s Pirate Museum. What starts out as something innocent turns into a treasure hunt when Lizzy uncovers the mummified remains of a bootlegger who had found and re-hid a real pirate’s treasure. Lizzy would just like to continue her life and maybe get to know the coroner, Theodore Nergal, who came to the scene. That doesn’t look like a possibility when Diesel interrupts their dinner and tells Lizzy that they have been enlisted to find the hidden treasure and hopefully the Stone of Avarice. Of course Lizzy and Diesel are not the only people who want to find the treasure. Wulf appears to be along for the hunt and a demon or two might also be in the mix. Can Lizzy and her crazy friends outwit the minions of hell? Does Lizzy really believe there are minions of hell?

Wicked Charms is the third book in the Lizzy & Diesel series. Evanovich does a great job including background information discovered in the first two books so that readers who stumble across this book can read it properly, yet for those of us who started at the beginning … the review is not so much to be a turn off. This pirate adventure will keep the reader on their toes and those who wanted Glo and Broom to have a deeper roll to play will be pleasantly surprised. I didn’t have as much eye rolling with this book as the first two, yet I was still turning page after page to discover the next twist. A fun read that was quickly finished and I’m sure readers will be looking for more books to fill the void.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Review: Silver in the Blood

Silver in the Blood (Silver in the Blood, #1)Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dacia and Lou have a privileged life in New York City toward the end of the 1800’s. They really have no curiosity about their Romanian family and prefer to dwell on their clothing and talk about the people in their social circle. Now they are seventeen years old and have been told they must return to Romania to meet their relatives and maybe even find a husband for each of them. But their family has more secrets than could have been anticipated and as the girls uncover the truth about The Claw, The Wing and The Smoke they must decide if or how they are willing to use their newly discovered powers.

Silver in the Blood is the first book in a new fantasy series by the same title. The secrets presented in Stoker’s Dracula seem to have only scratched the surface of these supporting beings. The girls are juggling the need for romance in a prim and proper time period, yet they are being thrown into the deep waters of shape-shifters without any advance knowledge of its existence. George has created a dark world with the possibility of many books to come. This is an enjoyable read for those who like this genre, but if this is your first try at an historical fantasy, there are other books to try first.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Review: Miss Mabel's School for Girls

Miss Mabel's School for Girls (The Network Series, #1)Miss Mabel's School for Girls by Katie Cross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bianca Monroe is beginning her school career at Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. As a first year student she is expected to learn everything she can about magic and stay out of the way of the second and third year students. But Bianca has other plans. When the time comes for girls to volunteer for the ultimate training test, Bianca steps up and demands to take the challenge. She can’t wait until she has formal training under her belt. Her grandmother was cursed and as the third generation after the curse, she must break free or die on her 17th birthday. As the lessons get darker and darker Bianca continues to face Miss Mabel’s tasks and test the boundaries of her own inner strength. Will she be able to overcome the hurdles placed before her? What is Miss Mabel’s underlying motives in pushing so hard?

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first book in The Network Series. This magical tale has everything a reader can wish for except a romance. That would be expected in a story that takes place at a school for girls, yet this is the first book and it is likely a romance may be in Bianca’s future. Readers who enjoy a first book that has a clean ending will not be happy with the final chapters. There is no cliff hanger, yet readers are left with a feeling of despair in not having a satisfying conclusion. If you as a reader that doesn’t want to wait, please don’t read this book until the second book is available. This is a great start to a new series and I will definitely be looking for the rest of the series in the future.

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