Archive for the ‘Young Adult’ Category

ignited

 

 

 

 

 

Author:  Laurie Wetzel

eBook, 327 Pages

Published in 2015 by Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Genres:  Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy

Synopsis: After surviving an attack from a demon that killed her friend, Maddy Page thought the worst was over.

It’s not.

Word is spreading through the supernatural world about Maddy, the mortal girl with rare gifts. Some want to use her powers; others want to destroy her. One wants to protect her—her boyfriend, an angel named MJ.

MJ knows that the demon that attacked Maddy was sent to collect her by someone very powerful. Someone he has tried and failed to stop before. MJ can’t beat him, but he will do whatever it takes to keep Maddy safe, even if it means turning his back on his own kind.

My Review: Okay, I liked this book as much as I liked Unclaimed.  I probably read it even faster, as I needed some answers! The story of Maddy and MJ flows easily to this second book in the series.  It’s almost as if they are one book, which I appreciate.  Sometimes you dig into a sequel and you are either inundated with information you already know, or you are completely lost from the start.  That doesn’t happen here.  It is a seamless transition.

Wetzel’s writing is still on par.  In this book Maddy and MJ are still desperate to be together while at the same time unable to completely trust each other with their secrets.  Maddy is trying to learn more about herself and her abilities, and MJ is trying to prevent all out war on earth.

When I got to the end of the book, I was shocked.  Not by the story (although there is plenty of tense moments), but because I wasn’t ready for it to end!  I actually went back a page and then forward and couldn’t believe I was staring at the Acknowledgements!  I wanted, no, needed to know what happens next!  Quite a cliffhanger we are left with.  I am sure the 3rd book will be worth the wait, but time will drag on until then.

Another great book by Ms. Wetzel.  Please hurry with #3!

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

unclaimed

 

 

 

 

 

Author:  Laurie Wetzel

eBook, 472 pages

Published in 2014 by Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Genres:  Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy

Synopsis: Abandoned by her birth parents and ignored by her adoptive family, Maddy Page believes she is unlovable. She only allows herself to dream of falling in love. That changes when she meets MJ; handsome and kind, MJ penetrates Maddy’s defenses. Maddy soon finds herself confiding in MJ like she has with no one else, revealing secrets even her closest friends don’t know. He makes her feel safe—a feeling she’s never experienced except in her dreams.

When Maddy witnesses MJ disappear and reappear in thin air, she realizes she might have been wrong about him. He could be dangerous—maybe even a killer. Determined to uncover the truth of who—or what—MJ is, Maddy ignores her instinct to run. But she soon realizes that getting close to MJ could cost more than a broken heart—it could cost Maddy her soul.

My Review: This book was recommended to me by author Aurora Whittet and I am so glad that I agreed to do a review.

For a debut novel, this is a surprisingly well thought-out and delivered story. The characters are easy to identify with and so easy to get attached to. The writing flows easily and is well constructed.

I was somewhat confused in the beginning when trying to decide if it was a dream or reality, but as the book progressed I quickly understood what was happening. There are many twists and turns throughout, and just when you think things are going to go the way you want them to, surprise! another twist.

I liked this book so much that it was hard to put down. It had me on the edge of my seat and wanting more. I was truly sad when it ended and can’t wait to read the next installment.

I would give this book a 4.5 if I could.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

wagesAuthor:  Jeffrey Hickey

Paperback, 40 pages

2nd Edition Published in 2014 by Big-n-Boo Productions

Genres:  Children (All ages really)

Synopsis:  Dercum Audio is pleased to invite you on a camping trip with the Hickey Family, where everything is going great until Dad catches a cold. That’s when the real fun begins. The story takes place at Wages Creek, a magical place where the grasses are tall, the creek bubbles lullabies, and the local ducks are not like any ducks you’ve met before.

My Review:  It is no secret that Jeffrey Hickey is a great storyteller.  It should also come as no surprise that his talents are not limited to books geared toward adults.  This very charming and often laugh-out-loud book is where Hickey shines.  I say this because it comes with an audio version read by Hickey accompanied by music that he scored.  To fully enjoy the experience of this book, you must listen to the audio while reading.  Not to say that the book alone isn’t worth the read because it is, but the audio vaults it to another level. 

As Hickey’s family leaves him behind in the campground with a bad cold, hilarity ensues with the arrival of three ducks.  Able to understand and talk to the ducks, Hickey offends Gilbert, the patriarch of the group and an intense game of horseshoes begins.  With a wager that he must win, this tale is both funny and heartwarming rolled into one.

Kudos must also be given to Hickey’s wife Karen Kiser for her lovely illustrations.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

shifter

Author:  Adam Alexander

Paperback, 343 pages

Published in 2013 by Outskirts Press

Genres:  Young Adult, Sci-fi Thriller

Synopsis:  If an alien passed you in the street, would you know? Except for an unfortunate attachment to numbers, Andromeda Brown is an ordinary girl with an ordinary life at a perfectly ordinary school. Until, that is, circumstances throw her into contact with folks whose zip code is, quite literally, out of this world. Her new acquaintances are in trouble and desperately need her help. They are frantically looking for a freakish, shape shifting alien scientist who has been hanging out on planet Earth for, well, ages. And hard as it is to track down someone who can change appearance at will, Andromeda’s difficulties are multiplied by the fact that she and her friends are not the only ones on the shifter’s trail. Darker forces are at work. For if the shifter’s knowledge falls into the wrong hands, humanity is in for a very bad day.

My Review:  In The Shifter’s Trail, author Adam Alexander presents a highly imaginative take on alien invasions.  When young Andromeda and her friends are plucked from Lake Michigan by an alien species, they unwittingly become involved a quest to find the Shifter and save Earth from certain destruction.

Well-written and thought-out, this fast-paced book leads the reader on a unique adventure.  Chock full of twists and turns, it is a fun read that I would recommend to any young adult sci-fi fan.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

blookmark

Author:  Aurora Whittet

Hardback, 333 pages

Published in 2013 by Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Genres:  Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Synopsis:  Sixteen-year-old werewolf princess Ashling Boru is different from other wolves—she was able to shift to wolf form at birth. Rather than bringing pride to her family, it brings fear, and as a result, she is forced to live in seclusion in Ireland’s countryside. Ashling’s reputation is further blackened when she refuses her betrothed and defies the ancient laws. When her pack’s oldest rivals begin hunting her, she finds herself in the small town of York Harbor, Maine—far from everything she’s ever known.

In Maine, she crosses paths with the dark and rebellious Grey Donavan, and something ignites within her soul. There’s just one problem: Grey is human. Their instant connection turns into a passionate romance, and Ashling begins to believe she can create her own life outside of wolf laws. When she begins to uncover long-buried pack secrets—secrets that threaten to destroy all she holds dear—Ashling’s courage and tenacity are tested. Will she choose her deep and enduring love for Grey, or will she follow Old Mother’s path to her destiny?

My Review:  Look out Twilight, there’s a new pack in town!

I am so glad to have found this great book written from the werewolf perspective!  It is a much needed and refreshing change from the bevy of vampire novels out there.

Author Aurora Whittet offers up suspense, paranormal fantasy, and romance in her debut novel and the first in the Bloodmark Trilogy.  Her ability to depict the pull of first love and the desperation that sometimes accompanies it is impeccable.  The characters are well developed and the fast paced story leaves you on the edge of your seat and begging for more.

I was captivated from the start and couldn’t put it down.  I can’t wait for Bloodrealms!

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

intangible

Author:  C.A. Gray

Paperback, 482 pages

Published in 2013 by Wanderlust Publishing

Reader Category:  Young Adult

Synopsis:  Peter Stewart grew up on a unique version of the Arthurian legends taught him by his father, a harebrained quantum physicist who asserts that anything is possible. But Peter disbelieves anything which cannot be scientifically explained, despite a nagging sense that there is more to the world than meets the eye.

Lily Portman is an orphan with a secret: she can see creatures that are invisible to everyone else. These creatures control every human being she has ever met to varying degrees… until she meets Peter and his father.

When a mysterious stranger stages an accident which nearly costs Peter and Lily their lives, suddenly Lily learns that she is not crazy after all, and Peter discovers the truth of his father’s stories… including the existence of Arthur’s ancient nemesis, one who calls himself the Shadow Lord, and a prophecy with implications so profound that it will alter not only the course of their lives, but potentially the fate of the world.

My Review:  I was very excited to start reading this book and I must say that I was not disappointed!  The mix of modern science with the tales of King Arthur and Excalibur made for very interesting reading.  I didn’t always get the scientific references, and lucky for me neither did some of the characters, so the author was able to cleverly explain those references in plain English without being too obvious. 

The cast of characters contains a good mix of jock, geek, devoted best friend and new girl.  While the main focus is on Peter, the loveable science nerd who can’t seem to stay out of trouble, I felt that the other characters were well rounded.

The story is fast paced and full of plenty of action and twists and turns. I was so engrossed in the story that I didn’t want it to end.  I can’t wait for #2!

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

santa

Author:  Stephen Miller

Paperback, 238 pages

Published in 2013 by V & E Enterprises

Reader Category:  I would categorize this as Young Adult, however I think the entire family would enjoy it.

Synopsis:

Julia Martin is the most incredible girl in school, and Mason Howell is hopelessly smitten by her. Julia is in charge of the local Charity Christmas party and she’s pleased with how everything is going…until her Santa Claus calls in sick. In a panic, she begs Mason to help her by wearing his grandfather’s heirloom Santa Claus suit. Mason agrees, just to impress the beautiful girl, but things don’t go as planned…as soon as he puts on the suit, he gets all the powers of Santa Claus!

Together with John Patton, Mason’s best friend, they learn his grandfather was a member of an ancient league of men and women dedicated to helping St. Nicholas use Christmas magic to save the world. The three of them could become the newest members of the Santa Claus League…if they can learn the secrets of Christmas magic!

My Review:  Just in time for the holidays, this charming tale will warm your heart.

When Mason Howell dons the family Santa suit, little does he know that he is destined to join a secret league of men and women whose mission it is to make the world a better place.  With the help of St. Nicholas himself, Mason and his friends are tasked with ridding the town of a local gang of thugs while bringing Christmas spirit to those in need.

Leaving a lot to the imagination, Stephen Miller brings back the true meaning of Christmas within these pages and will leave the reader hoping that one such league does exist.  It might even inspire some to acts of kindness for those less fortunate.

A delightful read full of magic and wonderment, The Santa Claus League should be on everyone’s Christmas reading list.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

perf6.000x9.000.indd

Author: Joshua Kraushar

Published in 2013 by Outskirts Press

Reader Category:  Children’s/Young Adult

Synopsis:  There Once Was A Man From the U.S.A. is a book of limericks about each of the fifty states in alphabetical order.   The book contains several illustrations from the talented Victoria Rose Weiss.  Many of the limericks have very little connection with the states mentioned but some are directly related to several of the others.  Although it may seem simplistic to use the same rhyme scheme, it turned out to be much harder than one would think.  Try rhyming words with Massachusetts, (not that’s something that you would normally do) and you might find it more difficult than you would imagine.  If you are a child, a teen or a geographically challenged adult who needs an easy way to remember the fifty states, this may be the book for you.

My Review:  From the very first limerick I was hooked.  Some of them are laugh out loud funny while not always appropriate for the younger reader.  The others are simply entertaining.  As most of them don’t have direct connections to their state, I was a little concerned about them sticking with me.  But the fact that they are funny and entertaining, led me to read them over and over again.

So, did this book help teach me about geography?  Not sure.  However I do think that the entertainment value of this book will help encourage young readers to take an interest in learning the 50 states.

Review: Peak

Posted: October 2, 2013 in Reviews, Young Adult
Tags: , ,

peak

Author:  Roland Smith

Hardback,  246 pages

Published in 2007 by Harcourt Books

Reader Category:  Young Adult

From the Publisher: When fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello’s long-lost father presents the opportunity for them to summit Everest together, Peak doesn’t even consider saying no – even though he suspects there are a few strings attached.  And if he makes it to the top before his birthday, he’ll be the youngest person ever to stand above 29,000 feet.  It’s not a bad turn of events for a guy who’s been stuck in New York City with only skyscrapers to (illegally) scale.

Here, in Peak’s own words, is the exhilarating, gut-wrenching story of what happened on that climb to the top of the world – a climb that changed everything.  Welcome to Mount Everest.

My Review:  This book provides a look at the danger and excitement of climbing the highest mountain in the world.  Peak is caught climbing and tagging a skyscraper in New York City and in order to avoid jail time, is sent to Thailand to live with his absentee father.  As this happens during the school year, Peak is compelled to write about his experiences in order to complete the year.  Written from his perspective, the reader is not only given an account of the difficult climb, but the commercialization of the mountain that exists for those wishing to traverse it.

Roland Smith has written a novel that pulled me in and made me feel like I was up on that mountain, struggling for each breath right along with Peak.  It also taught me a lot about climbing!  Written with enough information for the non-climber to understand what is happening, but at the same time well researched, allowing it to be believable to the experienced climber.

This was a great read filled with adventure.  I would recommend it to any lover of Young Adult fiction.

vaclav

Author:  Haley Tanner

Hardback,  292 pages

Published in 2011 by The Dial Press

Reader Category:  Young Adult

From the Publisher:  Vaclav and Lena seem destined for each other.  They meet as children in an ESL class in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.  Vaclav is precocious and verbal.  Lena, struggling with English, takes comfort in the safety of his adoration, his noisy, loving home, and the care of Rasia, his big-hearted mother.  Vaclav imagines their story unfolding like a fairy tale, or the perfect illusion from his treasured Magician’s Almanac, but among the many truths to be discovered in Haley Tanner’s wondrous debut is that happily ever after is never a forgone conclusion.

One day, Lena does not show up for school.  She has disappeared from Vaclav and his family’s lives as if by a cruel magic trick.  For the next seven years Vaclav says good night to Lena without fail, wondering if she is doing the same somewhere.  On the eve of Lena’s seventeenth birthday he finds out.

My Review:  I have had this book for a while as  I purchased it for very cheap at my local library’s quarterly book sale.  I occasionally picked it up and looked at, only to put it back down again.  Just recently, I read the jacket again and decided to give it a try.  Boy am I glad I did!

This book is so engaging that I had a hard time putting it down.  Ms. Tanner is able to draw the reader in with her simple prose, allowing them to be swallowed by the story.  I’ve read other reviews and sometimes see the comment that the story ends too abruptly.  In my opinion, the story had to end this way as the book could have gone on for a lifetime.

This heart-wrenching tale of two young children ripped apart by unthinkable acts is sure to stay with me for some time to come.  Vaclav’s love for Lena and his need to protect her tore at my heartstrings.  All young Lenas would be so lucky to find their Vaclav.

I highly recommend this book.

messenger

Author:  Markus Zusak

Paperback,  pages 357

Published in 2002 by Random House

Reader Category:  Young Adult

AR Book Level: 3.9

From the Publisher: Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future.  He’s pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman.  His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That’s when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That’s when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains:  Who’s behind Ed’s mission?

My Review:  I picked up this book a few times at the library and read the back cover and put it back down.  After reading The Book Thief and absolutely loving it, I decided to give it a chance.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but from the first page, Zusak had me laughing out loud.  While humor never left the book, the story became increasingly touching.  He has the ability to tell a story that flows so easily that it grabs you and doesn’t let go.  His way with words and how he describes scenes is unlike anything I have read before.

Here are a few examples:

“Our feet dangle.

I watch them, and I watch the jeans on Audrey’s legs.

We only sit there now.

Audrey and me.

And discomfort.

Squeezed in, between us.” p. 120

“There’s a streetlight standing over us, watching.

There’s a breeze, cooling the sweat on my face, and slowly I see my shadow step on Gavin Rose.” p. 170

Ed Kennedy takes the journey of a lifetime and I felt like I was right there with him.  Through his eyes we see the world as it really is.  We see the abused, the lonely, the poor, and realize that simple acts of kindness (or hurt) can make a big impact on people’s lives.

A truly touching story.  One that will stay with me forever.  I am grateful to Markus Zusak for helping me to realize that we all have the potential to be something great, and to use that greatness to help those around us.

For those of you who are looking at the Book Level for your younger readers, be warned.  This is definitely a Young Adult novel, and I wouldn’t recommend it for children.

Related articles:

I Am The Messenger – Markus Zusak (whatshesreadingnow.wordpress.com)

king

Author:  Jennifer A. Nielsen

Hardback, 331 pages

Published in 2013 by Scholastic Press

Reader Category:  Young Adult

AR Book Level: 5.0

From Goodreads: Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

My Review:  In the second installment of the Ascendance Trilogy, Jennifer A. Nielsen does not disappoint.  Her ability to capture the reader’s attention from the first page makes this book hard to put down.  Told in the first person, we journey along with young King Jaron in the fight for his life – and his country.

I had been waiting quite some time to read The Runaway King, afraid that maybe this second book would not stand up to the first – The False Prince.  Not only did the story continue flawlessly from the first novel, but Nielsen was able to flash back without weighing down the reader with redundant information.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait for The Shadow Throne, although it will be a little bittersweet as that will mean the end of the series!

tithe

Author: Holly Black

Paperback, 331 pages

Published in 2002 by Simon Pulse

Reader Category: Listed as Young Adult

From the Publisher:  Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad.  Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home.  There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms – a struggle that could very well mean her death.

My Review:  When I first picked it up I thought that the cover was beautiful, and the summary on the back clinched it for me.  Unfortunately the cover and summary were not enough to get me through it, and I had to really push myself to finish this book.

The negative:

As this is told from Kaye’s point of view, it somewhat limited the reader’s ability to understand the faerie world that this story is set in.  I felt like the reader was left out of some unknown back story and I was somewhat frustrated.

I was quickly turned off by the brash, cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, foul mouthed Kaye.  While it’s not at all surprising to find smoking and drinking in a young adult novel, the over-the-top language that cropped up really detracted from the story.  I felt that it was sadly unnecessary in this tale.  I get that it is a ‘modern faerie tale’, and I am by no means turned off by foul language (in the right context. I had a really hard time connecting to this book and these characters.

Corny, brother of Kaye’s best friend Janet, starts out as a psychotic head-case, and then without any sort of transition, becomes Kaye’s confidant and companion.  It was surprising, and somewhat awkward.

There were so many characters and so many ‘faerie’ terms, that I had a hard time keeping up and found myself skimming over parts that confused me.  Normally, I would try to back track and re-read to refresh my memory, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it here.

The positive:

The story is well thought out and the author has a clear vision of where she wants it to go.

The story finally started to take shape for me in the second chapter, with the introduction of Roiben, the injured knight from the faerie realm.  This is when I felt that the story was going somewhere.  Before that, I really wanted to abandon the book.

Unfortunately, for me there was more negative than positive.  The lack of initial connection made this a hard read.  I found myself rushing to read it and get it over with.

lincoln

Author: Steve Sheinkin

Hardback, 214 pages

Published in 2012 by Scholastic Inc.

Reader Category: Targeted to the younger reader, use judgement

AR Book Level: 6.6

From the Publisher:  On October 20, 1875, Secret Service agents raid the Illinois workshop of master counterfeiter Benjamin Boyd and arrest him.  Soon after Boyd is hauled off to prison, member of his counterfeiting ring gather and devise a plan to get Boyd back: steal Abraham Lincoln’s body from its tomb, stash it in a secret location, and demand, as a ransom, the release of Boyd – and $200,000 in cash.

The action in this true crime thriller alternates among the conspirators, the Secret Service agents on their trail, and the undercover double agent moving back and forth between the two groups.  Along the way, get a glimpse into the inner workings of counterfeiting, grave robbing, detective work, and the early days of the Secret Service.  The plot moves toward a wild climax as robbers and lawmen converge at Lincoln’s tomb on election night, 1876.

My Review:  When I started reading this book, I kept thinking that it reminded me of a history book.  Of course, that is exactly what it is!  As I kept reading, it became more than a history book, and turned into a crime novel.  This book is packed full of interesting facts and details and is enjoyable to read.  I never knew that the Secret Service was started to apprehend counterfeiters, not protect the president.  I also learned  that US political elections have not changed much from the 1800’s!  You are never too old to learn something new!

inmyhands

Author: Irene Opdyke

Paperback, 304 pages

Published in 2004 by Laurel Leaf

Reader Category: Young Adult to Older

From the Publisher: In My Hands began as one non-Jew’s challenge to any who would deny the Holocaust. Much like The Diary of Anne Frank, it has become a profound document of an individual’s heroism in the face of the greatest evil mankind has known.

In the fall of 1939 the Nazis invaded Irene Gut’s beloved Poland, ending her training as a nurse and thrusting the sixteen-year-old Catholic girl into a world of degradation that somehow gave her the strength to accomplish what amounted to miracles. Forced into the service of the German army, young Irene was able, due in part to her Aryan good looks, to use her position as a servant in an officers’ club to steal food and supplies (and even information overheard at the officers’ tables) for the Jews in the ghetto. She smuggled Jews out of the work camps, ultimately hiding a dozen people in the home of a Nazi major for whom she was housekeeper.

My Review:  This is a remarkable story of courage and humanity.  Ms. Opdyke knew that what was happening to the Jews during World War II was wrong, but knowing was not enough for her.  Barely an adult herself, she decided that she would sit by and watch it happen.  She used her position and a lot of courage to help save the lives of at least a dozen people.  She can easily be called a hero for her actions.  Heart-breaking to read and even harder to forget, this is a MUST for any non-fiction book lover (really a MUST for everyone).

book thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Paperback, 576 pages

Published in 2007 by Alfred A. Knopf

Reader Category: Young Adult to Older

From the Publisher: Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

My Review:  This story is written from Death’s point of view, so at first was a little bit hard for me to follow.  Once I kept reminding myself that this was the case, it was easier for me to get into the flow of the story.    Although a work of fiction, if you know anything about the history of World War II, it is not hard to imagine hundreds of actual tales like this one.  As if Liesel didn’t have enough worries (a harsh foster mother and her love of the stolen book), she is faced with harboring a Jewish man and all that it implies. The bravery and compassion in this book are at times overwhelming.  I can’t count the number of times that I cried.  Both tragic and beautiful, this book is one that I recommend to all of my friends.

rolmar

Author: A.V. Griffin

Paperback, 172 pages

Published in 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Reader Category: Young Adult

From the Publisher:  Rolmar is a heartless, misanthropic demon who serves as one of the three overlords of Pentar, a planet in the Amenis dimension. When Rolmar’s brethren bestow upon him the illustrious task of destroying Earth, his growing curiosity of humans adds a momentary pause to his original plan. Still intent on annihilating Earth, Rolmar extends his stay in order to discover what makes humanity unique. However, when Adam, a quirky college student, crosses paths with the all-powerful demon, one fateful night will change his life forever. Haunted by nightmares of his mind-blowing encounter, Adam can’t return to his normal life. His only path to solace is attempting to convince the demon that Earth is worth saving. With the fate of the world on their shoulders, will Adam and his friends be able to convince Rolmar that they and all of mankind should be spared?

My Review:  In A.V. Griffin’s debut novella the high demons of Pentar have met and determined that those planets which display less advanced societies than their own should be exterminated.  The people of Earth are forced to prove why their planet should be spared.  During his visit to Earth, high demon Rolmar has several human encounters.  Unexpectedly, he begins to experience feelings that leave him doubting his decision to destroy the planet.

The storyline is well thought out and very creative.  The dialogue at the beginning was a little short and awkward, but as the story progressed, the conversations seemed to flow easier.  I also didn’t find myself invested in the characters until Rolmar started to interact with the humans.  Once that happened, the story became more believable and I felt more connected.

Overall this is a good read with an interesting story that has a tendency to raise questions about whether other species really would find our planet worth saving.

WzHeir_Cover_200

Author: Cinda Williams Chima

Paperback, 458 pages

Published in 2007 by Hyperion Paperbacks

Reader Category: Younger (contains some violence, use judgement)

From the Publisher: Sixteen-year-old Seph McCauley has spent the past three years getting kicked out of one exclusive private school after another.  And it’s not his attitude that’s the problem: it’s the trail of magical accidents – lately, disasters – that follow in his wake.  Seph is a wizard, orphaned and untrained, and his powers are escalating out of control.

After causing a tragic fire at an after-hours party, Seph is sent to the Havens, a secluded boys’ school on the coast of Maine.  Gregory Leicester, the headmaster, promises to train Seph in magic and initiate him into his mysterious order of wizards.  But Seph’s enthusiasm dampens when he learns that training comes at a steep cost, and that Leicester plans to use his students’ powers to serve his own wicked agenda.

My Review:  This is a great book for younger and older readers alike.  It is easy enough to read for mid-grade levels yet good enough to hold the attention of older readers.  In this second book of the Heir Chronicles we meet Seph, a high school student who is struggling to control his powers.  Because of his potential, Leicester will stop at nothing to control him and use him for his own evil gains.  The main characters in The Warrior Heir are present as supporting cast in this second novel.

If you liked The Warrior Heir, you will surely like The Wizard Heir.

warrior heir cover 200

Author: Cinda Williams Chima

Paperback, 426 pages

Published in 2007 by Hyperion Paperbacks

Reader Category: Younger (contains some violence, use judgement)

From the Publisher: Before he knew about the Roses, sixteen-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity.  Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high schoolers.  Then one day Jack skips his medicine.  Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before.  And it feels great – until he losses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts.

Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: he is Weirlind, part of an underground society of magical people who live among us.  At their helm sits the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing the Game – a magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death.  The winning house rules the Weir.

As if his bizarre heritage isn’t enough, Jack finds out that he’s not just another member of Weirlind – he’s one of the last of the warriors – at a time when both houses are scouting for a player.

My Review:  This is a great book for younger and older readers alike.  It is easy enough to read for mid-grade levels yet good enough to hold the attention of older readers.  In this first book of the Heir Chronicles we meet Jack, a high school soccer player who has no idea how drastically his life is about to change.  He has been given medicine his entire life that dampens his warrior abilities.  When he forgets to take his medicine ,his powers manifest and he is incredibly strong.  Once the houses find out his location, each house begins trying to “recruit” him to fight to the death and shift the balance of power in their favor.  

When I first read this book it reminded me of Harry Potter.  The premise of the hidden abilities/identity of the main character and the entirely new world that they are thrust into are similar but that is where the similarities end.  If you enjoy fantasy novels, this is one you shouldn’t miss.

false prince

Author:  Jennifer A. Nielsen

Paperback, 342 pages

Published in 2012 by Scholastic Press

Reader Category: Targeted to the younger reader, use judgement

AR Book Level: 5.1

From the Publisher:  War is brewing in the kingdom.  Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him on the throne.  Four orphans, including Sage, are recruited to compete for the role.  Sage knows that Conner’s motives are questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point – he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed.  But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well, and as Sage moves from the rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold.  Finally, a truth is revealed that may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together!

My Review:  I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end.  To be honest, I was a little surprised at the brutality that appeared at the onset, but it definitely made it easy to decide which side I was rooting for.  Jennifer Nielsen has created an unlikely hero in Sage.  Not only will you be cheering him on in his quest to save his country, you’ll be left scrambling to your library or favorite bookstore itching to read The Runaway King (book #2).

Caution:  This book is listed for 5th graders but does contain some violence.  It may be inappropriate for younger readers.