Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Elora of Stone by Jamie Lee Mann

I chose to read and review Elora of Stone because it had been many many years since I had read a book geared towards middle school children and wanted to see what they were like again. Elora of Stone is written by Jamie Lee Mann and is the first in the Legend of Rhyme series. The story centers around four year old twins, Asher and Ariana who are the children of one with a pure heart and a powerful magician. One day when the twins are playing the woods, Asher vanishes. His family searches and searches for him, but eventually believe him to be dead. You see, in the Kingdom of Falmoor, twins are cursed. Since the day the evil sorcerer Larque turned the good witch Elora to stone, one of each set of twin have been mysteriously vanishing. Ariana is now about to turn 13, when she finds out that her brother is alive and in order to save Falmoor, she has to find him and use their magical bond to release Elora and stop Larque from his dark purpose.

I found this book to be a very fun and enjoyable story. It was nice to read something easy and that was not filled with darkness and love triangles. This book is targeted for children aged 9-12, and I would definitely recommend it for that age group. If I had children, I would not be worried about them reading this book, unlike a lot of other books that are so popular right now.

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review from NetGalley.

Bloodmark by Aurora Whittet

Bloodmark, by Aurora Whittet was, overall, a good read. The story centers around 16 year old Ashling, who is a werewolf princess. However, it was apparent from birth that Ashling was different from the other wolves, in that she was able to shift into her wolf form from birth, when she should not have been able to do that until puberty. Because of this, she is sent by her father to live isolated from her kind in the Ireland countryside. Then, one day when she was fourteen years old, she was summoned by her father to his kingdom. She thought that this was her chance to finally be accepted as a member of the pack and royal family. It turns out, however, that her father had agreed to marry her off. From this point on in the book, her life takes a turn for the worse when another rival pack begins to hunt her. She is sent to the human world to hide, and while there meets an unusual and rebellious boy named Grey, whom she finds herself falling in love with.
Like many other reviews, I thought this book had the potential to be an excellent book. The plot idea was fantastic, and different than many other werewolf based books out there. It started out strong, but when she met Grey, the book became a little awkward for me. I really enjoy a relationship that builds, where the characters get to know each other first. That did not happen, because they instantly fell in love. While I would have liked their relationship to develop a bit more slowly, that did not ruin the rest of the book for me. I still really enjoyed it overall, and had to read it in one sitting so that I could find out what was going to happen. I also really enjoyed the ending and how it set up and framed the plot for the next book. I am looking forward to reading the next book, and cannot wait to see what happens!

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review from NetGalley.

Link by Summer Wier

Link, by Summer Wier, was a surprising read. It is a young adult sci-fi book, and the first novel in The Shadow of Light series. It was interesting and different than many other books I have read lately. Kira, who is the main character, was celebrating her eighteenth birthday with her friends at a lake in the woods, when a falling star collided with her and she found herself torn between two different worlds. The falling star that collided with her transported Kira to the center of a black hole, and an interesting world filled with carnivals, gypsies, and of course a mysteriously attractive boy. However, she only has a certain amount of time before her star dies and she will be trapped in whatever world she is in when that happens. Because of this she finds herself in a race against time to save her past and her future.
All in all, I greatly enjoyed this book. I had not expected the book to have the unique plot that it does. It addressed many “what ifs?” that we humans have had for centuries: life in other galaxies, black holes, alternative worlds, etc. This book was full of pleasant surprises.  It messed with my mind just enough to keep me thoroughly entertained and I enjoyed the scientific theories mixed in with the plot. Overall, I recommend this book to young adult science fiction lovers, and hopefully I will be able to read the next books in the series to find out what happens to Kira and the other characters.

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review from NetGalley.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Poison by Lan Chan

I was very pleasantly surprised by the novel Poison. I had expected the book to be like the other young adult dystopian novels that I have read recently, which I still enjoy, but it was very different. Poison is the first novel in the Wind Dancer series written by Lan Chan. It is the story of a 16 year old girl named Aurora Gray, and takes place in post-apocalyptic Australia, where scientists known as the seeders have poisoned the plan and made it illegal to save any seeds for future use, in order to maintain control on the country. Aurora is what is known as a wind dancer, and when she was a child worked in the circus at the citadel as an aerialist. When Aurora was six, her mother was killed by the seeders for being a Wanderer, and six years later, the seeders are withholding food from her region for being disobedient.  Because of this she has to use her Wanderer knowledge to take the harrowing journey back to the Citadel, and face more challenges that she could have imagined.

Overall, I thought this book was very well written. The sentences flowed nicely, as did the story line. I also liked how she developed her major and minor characters, and how strong the female lead was. However, I do think that quite a lot happened in this one book, and that it would have been nice to develop certain sections, and perhaps leave some of the other plot for the future novels. I just feel like a bit of the story was undeveloped, and left me in the dark. Other than that, however, I thoroughly enjoy this book and cannot wait to read the next in the series one day so that I can continue the story and see how things play out!
Note: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review from NetGalley.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Winter Wolf by Rachel Raithby

When I received the book Winter Wolf to review I was very excited to read it based just on the cover and description. It is the first novel in the New Dawn series written by Rachel Raithby, and I thought it had a very intriguing plot. I have not read any other of her books, but after reading this series I know that I need to because I really enjoyed her writing style in Winter Wolf. This novel follows the story of Katalina Winters, whose entire world changed on her 18th birthday. After a tragic car crash takes the lives of her beloved adopted parents, Katalina finds herself plunged into an unknown world of shifters and wolves, where she has to change who and what she is. Then, in the midst of war and a controlling Alpha father, she meets Bass Evernight, who is from the pact they are at war with: Dark Shadow.

I absolutely loved this book. I loved that it was easy to read, and I was hooked from the very beginning, and finished it in a few hours. For me, this was one of those books where I have to put the entire life on hold until it is finished, yet did not want it to end. I finished this book with a smile on my face, and unlike other books where the ending is very unhappy and leaves you feeling extremely dissatisfied, I felt content with where the book ended. I wholeheartedly recommend this book, and cannot wait to read the next installment and other books written by Rachel Raithby.
Note: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review from NetGalley. 

The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomberbhoy

I really enjoyed reading The Last of the Firedrakes. This book is the first book in the series entitled the Avalonia Chronicles, and is written by Farah Oomberbhoy. I received this book as an advanced reader's copy through NetGalley, and I have to say I was not disappointed. The Last of the Firedrakes is a story about orphaned 16 year old Aurora. She has a tough time fitting in and school and is mistreated by her adopted family. One evening, she finds herself kidnapped, and dragged through a painting into a magic but dangerous world called Avalonia which is filled with fairies, mages, and evil queens.  While there, Aurora learns the truth about her parents, and must fight for her future and the future of all Avalonia.

Overall, I thought this novel was great. I thought that Farah did a good job creating the characters and developing their stories throughout the book. The main character, Aurora, was such a strong protagonist. She showed incredible bravery and power, yet she also had moments of weakness and self-doubt. I was hooked from the beginning, and to be honest, I could not put this book down until I was finished with it. It was intriguing and I just had to know what would happen. Plus, there was a bit of romance mixed in that was filled with mystery and secrets, which makes the reader want to know what is going to happen as well. I simply cannot wait to read the next installment. I give this book 8.5 out of 10, and would definitely recommend this book to lovers of young adult fantasy and magical stories.

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review from NetGalley. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Illuminate by Tracy Clark

Illuminate by Tracy Clark was overall an entertaining and very worthwhile read. However, it is the third and final installment in the Light Keys Trilogy, and I have not had the opportunity to read the first two books in the series, so in the beginning I was a bit lost because it picks up basically where the second book ends. This being said, I still greatly enjoyed the book. The story line and plot was fascinating. I also greatly enjoyed the fact that the novel combined history, religion, and magic in a enchanting and beautiful way.

           While this book seems to be geared towards a young adult audience, it is very different from the young adult books that are popular today. Cora, the main protagonist and the one who is searching for the ancient clues, is in love with two men. One of them is a Scintilla like her, while the other is an Arazzi, the mortal enemy of the Scintilla. She knows she must choose between them, and this is where the book differs from others I have read recently because her choosing between them is not the main focus of the story. Her trying to do the right thing, save the world and save the people she loves is.  As I mentioned above, I have not read the other two in the series, but from just reading this one, I can tell that the series is a fantastic battle between light and dark, and I cannot wait to read the other two in the series. I enthusiastically recommend this series for all. 

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review from Net Galley.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Enthrall by Tarynn Kerr

            The novel Enthrall, by Tarynn Kerr, is the second installment in her paranormal book series. Enthrall picks up where Lure left off, which is why it is important to read the first, if at all possible. The story is set in the world of the fae, where David was unknowingly lured in the first novel. Humans are not welcome in this world, and everyone there is determined to kill David and his family. He then met a fairy named Cearo in the first book, and she was the one fairy that might have been able to help him. He almost made it back to the human world, but Cearo almost died protecting him and became stuck in a deep sleep. Because of this David gives up his chance to escape the fae world to help her. However, Cearo is being tormented while in her deep slumber and is trapped deep in her mind with the terrible memories of her past. This book is about David’s quest to wake her and save her life.

            I did not have the chance to read the first novel, Lure, before reading Enthrall, but I wish I had. There was a lot of background information that would have greatly benefited me as a reader and made the book even more enjoyable. None the less, I still found this to be a fantastic novel and completely worth the read. I was hooked almost instantly, and read this book from beginning to end in just a few hours. The plot was intriguing and has a dark twist to it, and the characters were interesting as well. All in all a very enjoyable book and I cannot wait to get my hands on the first (and hopefully third) installment!!

Note: I received this advanced reader copy for free in exchange for my honest review from Story Cartel.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Palace of Darkness by Tracy L. Higley

       I recently received Palace of Darkness by Tracy L. Higley to read and review. The novel is in the genre of historical Christian fiction and was an amazing book. Palace of Darkness takes place in A.D. 106 and revolves around Cassia and her little six year old son Alexander. The story starts with Cassia and Alexander losing an abusive husband/ father. Because of this they leave their home and flee to Petra in order to find her late husband's family. Everything is not as it seems in Petra, however, and they soon find themselves in a troubling situation with the royal family. It is revealed that Alexander has royal blood in his veins, and he is snatched from his mother and taken into the darkness of the palace. Cassia is devastated, but finds help from the followers of the Way, a religious group who follow and live their lives for Jesus.

       This novel also has a bit of romance thrown in, and the biblical undertones make the book that much better. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read other novels written by Higley. Palace of Darkness is a novel about love and acceptance and trying to find your place in the world. As a Christian, reading this reminded me in little ways about God's love for me and the great plan that He has for my life. Overall, I highly recommend this book, as well as others by Tracy L. Higley. 
       Note: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review from BookLook. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Elsker by S.T. Bende

       The young adult fantasy novel Elsker, by S.T. Bende, was an excellent read. It was very similar to many other books I have read lately in that the romance was between a seemingly ordinary girl and a not so ordinary guy, which is okay. But then the author decided to switch things up and throw out the whole vampire, elemental, etc., idea and went with the lesser known Norse mythology. Because of this, I absolutely loved the book, as well as the story line behind it.

       The story began with a young woman named Krista, who was living in Oregon at the time. Her whole life she has suffered from dreams, or visions, and in a spur of the moment decision decided to study abroad at Cardiff University in Wales. While there she meets a handsome and mysterious man called Ull, who at first is very rude and indifferent. Then as time goes on, his attitude towards Krista changes, and they begin to fall in love. Of course, Krista begins to notice that there is something off about Ull, as well as his roommates and she discovers that he is the Norse God of Winter. She also discovers that Ull's world is in danger, and that he ultimately must decide between his love for her and his responsibilities as a Norse God.
       As I mentioned above, this is a very good book. It was so interesting that I read it in only a few hours, and I was sad when it was over. I cannot wait to read the second book and see what happens in the characters' lives. The author created some awesome characters and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to learn about them and their personalities. I also really enjoyed the Norse mythology part, and how it was interwoven so well. The author also made a good decision in introducing it later on in the book after we already knew a bit about the characters and their past. For me the romance was enjoyable and not terribly mushy. The best part was the way it was not just love at first sight. They fell in love slowly, and it was beautiful. I cannot wait for the next book to come out. I highly recommend this novel to all.

       Note: I received this book in exchange for my honest review.