Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Review: Heir to the Sky

Heir to the Sky Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kali is used to limits. The only land she has known is the floating island that protects the inhabitants from the monsters on earth. As the heir to the monarchy, she doesn’t even get to choose who she will marry. After Kali stumbles upon knowledge of a rebellion and a possible alternate history that has been kept from her, she goes to people she trusts, but safety is not found. She falls off the edge of the island, but she doesn’t die. There is a force that slows her decent and now she is on earth and sees first-hand the monsters that inhabit it. Lucky for Kali, she meets a monster-hunter that is willing to help her try and return to her floating kingdom.

Heir to the Sky is a stand-alone fantasy adventure, yet Sun has created a world that readers would welcome additional stories about. There is a dabble of romance weaved into the fabric of the story, but it isn’t enough to turn off most readers. This adventure has a little bit of a mystery that is introduced at the start, and by the time readers reach the end they have discovered the truths alongside Kali. Kali must face the facts placed before her, even if they go against everything she has been taught since a child. This fun read should be added to all adventure and fantasy fans TBR list.

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Review: An Uncertain Choice

An Uncertain Choice An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lady Rosemarie is a month away from her eighteenth birthday and the time she will become a nun. Although she has accepted this event as necessary, it was not a choice she made herself. Her parents made the vow in order to conceive her, yet Lady Rosemarie has just learned of a second alternative. If she falls in love and marries before midnight of her eighteenth year, she would not have to be cloistered. Will she fall in love with one of the Knights presented to her? Can she trust her heart to guide her in this uncertain choice?

An Uncertain Choice is the first book in a series by the same title. Readers will be teased with information that would have been provided in the prequel novella (The Vow), but that book is not needed to enjoy and understand this portion of the story. This is a clean and fun romance that would be great for a weekend escape, but it is not geared toward any literary awards. Readers will have a good time following the romance and intrigue, but there are no surprises in the predicable ending.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Review: Nightstruck

Nightstruck Nightstruck by Jenna Black
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Becket is doing the normal activity of walking her dog when she finds what she believes is an abandoned child. After picking up the bundle, she pricks her finger and a drop of her blood releases a magic into the city that quickly escalates into murder and pandemonium. The city of Philadelphia is no longer filled with brotherly love; weird creatures and seemingly innocuous objects coming to life are stretching the police and residents to the breaking point. Of course, this is only at night and the city returns to its normal state after sunrise. It is safe inside, but is safety enough when the dark magic released on the city is beckoning residents to join the Nightstruck.

Nightstruck is the first book in a new series by the same title. Readers will discover the magic early on, yet Becket and the city around her are in denial for a good portion of the story. There is an unrequited love that adds a bit of romance to the pages, but it is mostly in the background and does not pull away from the magical mystery that is the bulk of the story. Becket does have to come to terms with pushing back at the restrictive limits her over protective father has set, yet she does keep her sights on the bigger picture throughout. The ending is sudden and readers who do not enjoy cliff hangers might want to wait for the second book to be released so that they can be read close together.

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Review: The Beast of Cretacea

The Beast of Cretacea The Beast of Cretacea by Todd Strasser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ishmael has risked everything to travel in stasis to work on another planet. Although he is not used to the fresh air and the leagues of ocean, he is willing to work hard hunting the beasts of the oceans in order to send money back to his foster parents and hopefully earn enough for them to leave Earth before the planet is completely dead. The beasts in the waters are everywhere, but the captain of the ship continually tells the crew to ignore them in order to chase a monster few have seen and lived to tell about it. Ahab has seen this monster and will stop at nothing to capture it and achieve revenge for the leg he lost to the beast.

The Beast of Cretacea is re-telling of Moby Dick that takes place on another world in a future time. Although the original story would be considered a realistic fiction tale, this account is more on par with science fiction. With that said, those who enjoy adventure stories will be able to lose themselves in this re-telling. Strasser’s version will entertain readers and also peak their interest in the original saga as well as the many non-fiction books available about the original Whale Ship Essex.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Review: Tell the Wind and Fire

Tell the Wind and Fire Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lucie has only known life in the Dark half of the city. Her father chose that life in order to be with her mother, but after Lucie’s mother disappears and her father is put in the cage as punishment, she steps forward and exposes the truth. Now she is let into the Light half of the city and she believes she has left behind the darkness, but it turns out that her boyfriend has his own dark secret. After Lucie learns about this stranger, she is pulled back into the secret side of the city and must rediscover who she can trust. Can she save herself and the boy she loves?

Tell the Wind and Fire is a stand-alone supernatural thriller that leaves a lot to be desired. I wanted to love the story since the premise was unique, yet the storyline rambled along and never really had a hook to keep me interested. The primary saving grace is that it is not part of series, so the events have been concluded and I won’t have to decide if I want to continue the series. As a retelling of A Tale of Two Cities, I would rather re-read the original.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Review: Believarexic

Believarexic Believarexic by J.J. Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jennifer would like her family to admit her to a psychiatric hospital for help with her eating disorder. After her parents sign her into the Samuel Tuke Center, she quickly discovers that it is not like the made for TV movies. The nurses don’t trust her and the rules are made to punish. She only has one way out, follow the strict (and many times confusing) rules and take a really close look at her relationships, especially the one with her mother. During this harrowing ordeal, she is faced with harsh truths and must relearn what being healthy really means.

Believarexic is a stand-alone story that addresses many of the stress factors teens are faced with. This is a fictional account of a real experience and it is that fact that makes this novel so fascinating. As Jennifer continued to face each obstacle set before her, I found myself questioning how I would have reacted as a 15-year old. Most individuals would have lashed out or pulled within, yet Jennifer set her eyes on the goal and kept pressing forward. Although this could be enjoyed by readers of both genders, I can see more of a female following.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Review: Railhead

Railhead Railhead by Philip Reeve
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Zen Starling is a thief who is just trying to survive. He has been given an offer of a lifetime with the promise to be able to live the life of luxury for the rest of his life. The job is to steal a box from the Emperor’s train. But the trains on the Great Network are actually gates to other galaxies and the removal of this one box might cause more damage than anyone could have imagined. Can Zen make correct choices when he is not given all of the information? What exactly is the Great Network and why have some lines been abandoned?

Railhead is a stand-alone science fiction novel that will tantalize readers with extreme adventure and constant space travel. The storyline is continually traversing the ancient rail lines that connect the universe and the characters are learning long forgotten truths about humankind and the beings that came before them. The story moves along at lightning speed and readers will want to hold on to their book or device as they zip through space with Zen and his companions. Reeve has wrapped up this story with a definite ending, yet he has created a world where more stories would always be possible.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Review: Walk the Edge

Walk the Edge Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Breanna is an unusual middle child. She is the fifth of nine children and has always followed the rules. Breanna wants her senior year to be different, and when an innocent encounter becomes the focus of a cyber-bully, she has no choice but to let Razor into her life. Unfortunately, Razor is a member of a motorcycle club, and Breanna has grown up with the knowledge that she doesn’t belong in that world. Will Razor go against the club rules and protect Breanna? Can she help him discover the secret behind his mother’s death?

Walk the Edge is the second book in the Thunder Road series. This companion story can be read on its own or after readers have finished Nowhere But Here. McGarry has created a new set of characters that readers will enjoy exploring and rooting for. The “bad boy” and the “good girl” who are both smart in differing ways work together and complement each other. This is another page turner that will excite the reader as well as give them something to think about.

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