Reviews :: Book Genre :: Young Adult

Review

The Antidote

Posted: February 19, 2019 by Jane Funk in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Shelley Sackier, Fantasy, Young Adult
The Antidote

THE ANTIDOTE by Shelley Sackier reads like a fairytale–and not one that the Brothers Grimm recorded; there is no real peril here in Sackier’s stage-set world building. With a lively protagonist and a plenty of twists, THE ANTIDOTE should be a bubbly little read, but a fumble on some story fundamentals makes it more frustrating than fun.
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Review

The Fever King

Posted: February 5, 2019 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Meta: Victoria Lee, Dark Fantasy, Young Adult
The Fever King

To borrow a phrase from The Princess Bride, Victoria Lee isn’t writing to the death in THE FEVER KING — she’s writing to the pain. So when I characterize this novel as dark and unsettling, I have to believe that Lee would take that as a complement.
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Review

Skyward

Skyward

Spensa has always dreamed of being a pilot. When she was a child her father was a pilot for the DDF, the military force that protects the planet Detritus from alien Krell incursions. But one fateful day during a defining battle against the Krell, her father ran from the battle, died, and was labeled a coward. As a result, Spensa and her mother and grandmother live on the fringes of society. But now that Spensa has come of age, she can test for pilot training and prove to everyone that cowardice doesn’t run in the family.

But the DDF doesn’t make it easy for her.Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Final Six

Posted: December 20, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Don't Like Meta: Alexandra Monir, Science Fiction, Young Adult
The Final Six

It’s the end of the world as we know it. The effects of global warming are claiming city after city and millions of lives have been lost. Nope, it’s not the front page of the newspaper. It’s the plot of THE FINAL SIX (Amazon) by Alexandra Monir.

Looking to escape an increasingly devastated earth, the international community selects Europa as a site for future colonization. And who better to colonize a distant moon and save humanity than six teenagers?
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Review

Dive Smack

Dive Smack

DIVE SMACK , Demetra Brodsky’s debut YA novel, is a fast-paced mystery that conveys both the exhilaration and exhaustion of teen life with a supernatural twist. In diving parlance, a ‘dive smack’ occurs when a diver mis-judges their entry and hits the water painfully instead of smoothly. It also describes the situation of Theo Mackey, who’s the captain of the dive team and has a good shot at a scholarship to Stanford–if he can keep the rest of his life from spiraling out of control.
When Theo is assigned a family history project at school he freaks out. Theo has a good reason though–hewas playing with matches the night his house burned down, killing his mother. He blames himself her death as well as his father’s, which followed three years later. So when Theo is assigned a family history project at school he…freaks out. The bad news is that the only way Theo can find out about his family history is by asking his alcoholic grandfather, or his Uncle Phil, […]Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Tombs

The Tombs

Teenage Avery’s life changed the day her mother was committed to the Tombs, a ‘hospital’ for the insane. In an effort to hide their disgrace–and out of necessity as their middle-class standing is ruined–Avery and her father change their names and move to a less desirable part of town, where her father opens a clockwork shop and she begins working as a welder at a local factory. It’s not the life she lived before, where she went to school, wore nice clothes, and was friends with girls her age–and when her father didn’t drink himself into a stupor every night. But not everything is bleak. She has her peregrine “Seraphine”, best friend Khan, and welding work that she realizes she has a knack for.

Everything changes again when new abilities begin to manifest and she realizes that her mother was hospitalized for being crazy when in reality she has empathic powers.
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Review

Weave a Circle Round

Posted: May 8, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Meta: Kari Maaren, Fantasy, Young Adult
Weave a Circle Round

I hate to start a review by saying that a book was good because of what it did NOT contain, but when a YA novel does NOT contain handsome supernatural beings, sorting, life-or-death romantic longing, cancer, or shockingly young children being pressed into military service, I feel like that bears mentioning. In fact, I’m not sure I can remember the last time I read a YA novel in which not a single character was sorted into a color-coded societal group. ‘Sorting’ isn’t necessarily a bad thing; like any trope, the success depends on the author’s skill. Still, reading WEAVE A CIRCLE ROUND (Amazon) and not having to remember which ‘team’ anyone was on was… genuinely refreshing.
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Review

Seriously Hexed

Posted: March 14, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Tina Connolly, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Seriously Hexed

Cam is your typical teenager. She’s got friends, wonders how her awesome boyfriend could like such an awkward girl as her, and is frantically studying for her American History test. The only exception is that she’s a witch. However, it’s that extra complication that makes her high school years less than typical.

For example, most teenagers don’t have to deal with their mother disappearing during a coven meeting.
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Review

Wicked Like a Wildfire

Posted: August 8, 2017 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Lana Popovic, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Wicked Like a Wildfire

Twin sisters Melina and Iris aren’t your typical teenagers. For one, they are half-Japanese (a father they never knew) living in a village in modern-day Montenegro. They’re exceptionally beautiful and talented, Melina with music and Iris with color and art. And they have magic.

Some might call them witches. Their mother calls it the “gleam” and when they do magic together it’s called “eating the moon.” Whatever it is, they are otherworldly women living in a village where they hopefully won’t get too much attention.

However, after accidentally exposing their magic in front of a neighbor their mother Jasmina forbids the girls from doing their magic–especially Iris, whose flashy magic is the most noticeable. And they must never, under any circumstances, fall in love.
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Review

The Last Harvest

Posted: August 3, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Meta: Kim Liggett, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
The Last Harvest

As I’m sitting down to write this review, I’m reminded of a card game that my oldest child taught us one night. It’s very similar to Uno, only played with a deck of face cards, and there are a whole lot of rules that the “director” of the game gets to make up. The rest of the players then spend the rest of the game trying to figure out what those rules are by watching the director abide by them and then trying to decipher what the rule governing the director’s actions might be. And then obviously duplicate all of them in such a way as to win the game before the director does. It is a wholly frustrating and ridiculous game, and I’ve forever banned it from being played at my house if I have to be involved. What can I say? I guess I just like knowing what the rules are when I get involved in something. That goes doubly for my reading experiences.
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Review

Seeker

Posted: June 6, 2017 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Veronica Rossi, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Seeker

It isn’t the end of the world, but the Four Horsemen of the Apocalyse in their current incarnation as young men must use their new powers to stop the demon Samrael and save the incarnation of Famine from the rift where Samrael was sent at the end of RIDERS. Now in the second and final book of this duology, Daryn must find a way to save Sebastian–and do it without the sight, which she depended on to tell her the future.
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Review

Martians Abroad

Posted: January 26, 2017 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Carrie Vaughn, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Martians Abroad

To Polly’s dismay, her mother–the administrator of Mars Colony–has signed up Polly and her brother Charles to the earth school Galileo Academy where the teens will rub shoulders with the progeny of the solar system’s elite. Polly and Charles were born on Mars and have lived there all their lives; but while Charles considers schooling on Earth as useful, Polly knows she’ll miss Mars and doesn’t want to give up her own plans.

Here at EBR we love us some Carrie Vaughn. We’ve reviewed several of her Kitty Norville books as well as a couple of her standalones, DISCORD’S APPLE (EBR Review) and AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE (EBR Review). Now her newest book, MARTIANS ABROAD is another standalone in the vein of Heinlein’s Young Adult books (such as CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY — EBR review) mixed with a little STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND–only our protagonist is a teenage girl.
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Review

Seriously Shifted

Posted: November 29, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Tina Connolly, Fantasy, Young Adult
Seriously Shifted

Not long ago Cam rescued potential-boyfriend Devon from being possessed by a demon, saved the town from a phoenix resurrected by her witch mother Sarmine, and was still able to pass Algebra. Such is the life of a teenage witch.

It seems that trouble continues to find her, because now her mom’s old college buddies have descended on the hapless town and decided to make a bet that involves making Cam’s friends miserable–her job is to thwart them.
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Review

The Thorn of Dentonhill

The Thorn of Dentonhill

I was in the mood for a straightforward, uncomplicated fantasy story and voila! There on my to-read shelf was THE THORN OF DENTONHILL. I was prepared for tropes and predictability and was even determined to be O.K. with magic system/plot inconsistencies because, really, I rarely notice those details if the characters are engaging and the pacing and story is good… but there is simply no margin for error when the writing is poor. Too bad, because this was potentially as good as early Harry Potter and might have satisfied Rowlings fans in search of something similar and good. Except it’s not.
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Review

Hollow City

Posted: June 21, 2016 by Vanessa in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Ransom Riggs, Fantasy, Young Adult
Hollow City

HOLLOW CITY starts right where MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN leaves off, our hero children on the run from the horrible hollowgasts and wights. Their main concern is for Miss Peregrine, herself, who needs help returning to her human form, but they need to find another of her kind to perform the magic. So off they travel in search of help, all the while being pursued. The exciting beginning events teach us the reality of their situation and what they must do to find help, and…

…yawn.
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Review

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys

So, I totally picked this audiobook off the shelf because the cover totally caught my eye and the title latched me solid before I could move my eyes away. Absolutely couldn’t pass it up once I’d seen it, and I’m so glad that I read this one. Lots of potential in a title like that, don’t you think? Well, if you’re in for a little horror that is, and we’re usually game for that around here at EBR. And even though all of the stories weren’t exclusively about slasher girls and monster boys — there were, for instance, some slasher boys and some monster girls, heh heh — nearly all of the stories did a great job of staying true to the theme of the anthology.
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Review

Bluescreen

Posted: June 10, 2016 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Dan Wells, Cyberpunk, Dystopian SF, Young Adult
Bluescreen

I don’t review enough of the books I read, and I don’t read enough books in certain genres or categories to really review them. On the Best of 2015 EBR list, I marked BLUESCREEN by Dan Wells as one I was looking forward to. I don’t really read YA as a category (I am neither young, nor an adult, so my wife says), and so I admit some bias, but I like cyberpunk and dystopia, and here we are.
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Review

Truthwitch

Posted: April 22, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Susan Dennard, Fantasy, Young Adult
Truthwitch

Safi and Iseult live in a world of witches. They are “Threadsisters,” tied by bonds of friendship and magic–and mischief. But after spending their youth under the guidance and training by other witches, they are ready to strike out on their own.

Unfortunately, everyone else seems to have plans for them, and none of those plans include the girls being able to make their own choices.
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Review

Wings of Sorrow and Bone

Posted: April 13, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Beth Cato, Steampunk, Young Adult, Short Fiction
Wings of Sorrow and Bone

Rivka loves machines, but she’s a girl in a man’s world. She’s moved to the city to be with her grandmother, whose social circle involves the rich and famous. During a social event, Rivka makes a new friend, Tatiana, and as mischievous girls are wont to do, they find themselves somewhere they don’t belong–in this case it’s a basement room. It’s not any basement room, however. Owner of said basement, Mr. Cody, is financing the creation of a chimera from mechanical parts and pieces of recently living gremlins.
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Review

Riders

Posted: February 16, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Veronica Rossi, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Riders

Gideon is the Incarnation of War. Yes, one of the horsemen of the apocalypse. One day he was in Army Ranger training, doing a routine parachute jump… only, the impossible happens. Neither his chute nor his back up deploy like they’re supposed to and Gideon hits the ground, dies, and is miraculously resuscitated. But that’s not the only inexplicable event to happen. Despite severe injuries, he’s back on his feet a week later, a new cuff on his arm seems to be part of his body, and then demons show up at his sister’s college party.

Daryn, a strange girl who convinces him that the demons are after him, gets him to safety and explains what’s going on. Some renegade demons want a key to a realm where they can escape Hell and set up their own purgatory. One such key was nefariously stolen and now the four horsemen–or at least four teenage boys who can currently wield their powers–are summoned to protect the key until it can be returned to its rightful angelic owner.

Phew. Did you catch all that? In RIDERS we are taken on a wild ride–and not just because Gideon is afraid of his crazy war horse.
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Review

Black Bottle Man

Posted: January 22, 2016 by mtbikemom in Books We Love Meta: Craig Russell, Fantasy, Young Adult
Black Bottle Man

I read this book a few weeks ago, but wanted to give it a bit of time to settle. I mean, was it really that good? I found myself comparing it to one of the greatest of American novels, and I hesitated. Will the seemingly unforgettable characters stick with me, even in the cloud of life and more reading and all? The answer is: yes! If anything, many characters and scenes from BLACK BOTTLE MAN (Amazon) are even more vivid now than the day I read it, and I consumed this little masterpiece in one sitting. Bravo, Craig Russell. I hope there is much more to come.

The synopsis from Amazon.com is so good, I copy it here:

Forced to move every twelve days, what would happen to your life?
It’s 1927. Rembrandt is the only child in the tiny community of Three Farms and his two aunts grow desperate for babies of their own. Hope and Hell arrive in a mysterious black bottle, and on a moonless night a dark spell is cast. Soon after, a man wearing black top-coat, and a ‘glad-ta-meet-ya’ smile comes to visit. The devil seeks payment, and a dangerous wager is made. Until they can defeat him, Rembrandt, Pa, and Uncle Thompson must embark on the journey of their lives, for if they stay in one place for more than twelve days terrible things happen. But where and when will they find a champion capable of defeating the Black Bottle Man?
Time ticks.
Lives change.
Every twelve days.
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Review

Airships of Camelot

Posted: November 13, 2015 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Robison Wells, Steampunk, Young Adult
Airships of Camelot

The title AIRSHIPS OF CAMELOT (Amazon) pretty much gives away what this book is: a King Arthur and steampunk mashup. Usually I’d hesitate reading something like this, but since it was written by Robison Wells of VARIANT (EBR Review) fame, I was actually excited.

Turns out it’s a really fun read.
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Review

Half a War

Posted: September 25, 2015 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Joe Abercrombie, Fantasy, Young Adult
Half a War

When I first heard that Joe Abercrombie was going to write a YA series, I was a little skeptical. My impression of his books at that time hadn’t exactly meshed with the ideals that YA raised in my mind. On the flip side, I was also kind of excited because sometimes the sheer mountain of content that came buried within each Abercrombie novel was frequently a major aspect of its own. Keeping within the relative boundaries of the YA genre, however, could give him a chance to really focus on the two aspects of writing that he really does best: character and story. The story thus far has been one that I’ve enjoyed. Based on what I’d seen in the first two, some aspects I thought were good but others not so much, I was cautiously optimistic when beginning this final novel that it’d all turn out amazing. I wish I could say that it had.
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Review

Spindle

Posted: September 22, 2015 by Vanessa in Books that are Mediocre Meta: W.R. Gingell, Fantasy, Young Adult
Spindle

Polyhemia is asleep and has been for three hundred years, until Luck wakes her up with a kiss. Only, he’s no prince, and it certainly wasn’t the kiss of True Love. Which would explain why she keeps falling asleep, why her memories are fuzzy, and why her dreams are so odd–the curse was only sorta broken. Luck, you see, is an enchanter, and uses his kiss/magic to wake up Poly and deliver her to the Council because they think she’s the princess.

Only she isn’t.
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Review

Seriously Wicked

Posted: July 30, 2015 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Tina Connolly, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Seriously Wicked

Camellia is a high school sophomore who lives with her adopted mother, who happens to be a witch. But witches are only ever wicked, as evidenced by the spell Cam saw the witch perform when Cam was five years old. She still doesn’t like to talk about it.

Growing up with a witch stinks, since their M.O. for child rearing includes really terrible punishments. Like turning fingers into noodles. Or turning the child into a pile of rotten tomatoes for the afternoon. And forcing them to gather weird ingredients such as goats blood, pigs ears, and… eggplant?

But now the witch is planning to take over the town using Phoenix fire, and needs Cam’s help to manage the demon she summoned in order to do it. Cam wants to undermine the witch’s plans AND pass her Algebra test at the same time, but she’s not sure that’s possible.
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Review

Woven

Woven

Nels can’t remember a time when he didn’t want to be a knight. Unfortunately, despite his aptitude for combat and a desire to help others, Nels’ mother won’t let him apply to become a squire. So far he’s listened to his mother. But this year she’ll be gone during the festival and decides to sneak out of the house while she’s gone.

By the end of the night he wishes he’d listened to his mother. Everything goes wrong. He gets in a fight with a real knight. Offends the princess. And is found by the very man who wants to see him dead.

Princess Tyra is in love with Knight Arek. Sure he’s a little pompous, but the idea of governing the kingdom scares her, and she’d rather hand it over to a capable husband. She just needs to convince her father that Arek is the best choice. Things were going well until Arek gets in a fight with peasant boy at the festival. When the boy wins he demands his prize–a kiss from the princess–and she refuses, she’d been expecting to kiss Arek as the winner. But later that same boy comes to haunt her–as a ghost.
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Review

Hexed: The Sisters of Witchdown

Hexed: The Sisters of Witchdown

Luci Jenifer Inacio das Neves–Lucifer, for short–isn’t the kind of teenage girl you’d find at any given high school. Beyond the mundane such as her unusual name, living on her own in a dump of an apartment, thieving for a living, and avoiding the authorizes, there’s the fact that she knows about magic while the rest of the human population lives unawares. She makes it clear from the beginning that she doesn’t have magic, but she can use magical items. That’s where the thief part comes in: she steals these magical items from bad people.

It turns out that even though she’s not technically an adult yet, she has insider knowledge of a world few know about. So when a policeman’s daughter, Gina, is kidnapped by a witch in a mirror, only Lucifer knows how to navigate the strange and mystical in order to bring the girl home.
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Review

Residue

Posted: April 28, 2015 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Steve Diamond, Horror, Young Adult
Residue

RESIDUE (Amazon) is the debut novel from EBR’s very own head honcho, Steve Diamond. The reason I am reviewing my bosses book is because he knows I’m incredibly picky, I dislike the genre he wrote in, and I’m the only EBR reviewer who wasn’t involved in the book from any standpoint other than reading it. Also, I’m more likely to be hard on Steve than nice.

So let’s talk about RESIDUE.

Right out of the gate, it should be noted that the cover is fantastic. A top notch effort, and really lends to the atmosphere of the book. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that covers aren’t important.

RESIDUE opens with Alexandra Courtney in a bloodbath and fight, and quickly establishes the novels reliance on the paranormal as a plot device and tool to make the characters unique. Almost as quickly, we’re introduced to Jack Bishop, the protagonist of the novel, who is a (surprise!) paranormally powered individual who is wanted by an evil “THINGY” for experiments. And stuff. Can’t get into too much detail there – spoilers, and all that!

Right?! Super tropey and a little off-setting in the beginning. Well buckle your seat-belts, cuz right there, is where the tropes end. First off, Diamond delivers complex, motivated characters, who refuse to be defined by what they can do, but instead are defined by the choices they make. All of the cast is well-written, delivering consistent high note after consistent high note. The use of ESP powers is done in a way not often seen in Horror, and definitely not YA.
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Review

Half the World

Posted: April 24, 2015 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Joe Abercrombie, Fantasy, Young Adult
Half the World

This book is a gem.

No, seriously, I mean it. Don’t be rolling your eyes at me. Although… I must admit that if I were to leave this review at that, and not elaborate at all, then I’d very much expect you to roll your eyes, blow me a raspberry, and click on to the next review. How many times have you read a comment like that about a book and been like, “What the freak does that even mean?” So don’t worry. This book is so worth talking about. In fact, I’m getting kinda giddy just thinking about it all.
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Review

Sand and Blood

Sand and Blood

Rutejìmo is labeled among his clan as a useless teenager, and is considered lazy, temperamental, and cowardly. He’s jealous of the much-admired Chimípu, who seems to be able to do anything–she’s more athletic, clever, and better liked. And he wants to be like his brother, Desòchu, who is a warrior and protects the clan; no one believes Rutejìmo is capable of such a thing.

But Rutejìmo gets his chance to prove the naysayers wrong when he, Chimípu, and three other boys are taken into the desert as part of their rite of passage into adulthood. He knows that when he becomes a true member of the Shimusògo clan he will inherit the clan magic that allows him to run faster than a horse and use sunlight as a weapon. The adults, including Desòchu, take the youth into the desert to begin their rite… and leave them to fend for themselves by disappearing during the first night. Rutejìmo can’t believe Desòchu would abandon him. While Chimípu tries to find help, Rutejìmo is left with the three other boys, one is Pidòhu who is even weaker than he is, and the other two who are well-known bullies. And everything goes wrong.

So begins Rutejìmo’s rite of passage.
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Review

Into the Wilderness

Posted: February 20, 2015 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Mandy Hager, Dystopian SF, Young Adult
Into the Wilderness

In 2013’s THE CROSSING (EBR Review), Maryam discovered she’d been lied to her entire life. That the Apostles weren’t who they said they were and that the native women taken to the ship were being treated like slaves. Determined to escape the injustices, Maryam makes a plan, and with the help of her newfound friend Joseph they do–with two unexpected companions in tow.

Now, in INTO THE WILDERNESS (Amazon), Maryam and Joseph cross the sea in search of a new home, but nothing goes according to plan.
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Review

Red Rising

Posted: February 18, 2015 by Nickolas in Books We Love Meta: Pierce Brown, Dystopian SF, Young Adult
Red Rising

I originally dismissed RED RISING (Amazon) by Pierce Brown because of the immense level of hype behind the debut. RED RISING was being touted as the next THE HUNGER GAMES, as it seems the majority of Young Adult novels are marketed these days. Being that I consider THE HUNGER GAMES a vastly overrated and underwhelming novel I gave RED RISING a pass. I purchased a copy several months ago on a whim, unwilling to leave the bookstore empty handed. It sat untouched and unloved near the bottom of my To Read Pile until the recent release of GOLDEN SON (Amazon), book two of the trilogy. News of the sequel drew my attention back to the series and I decided to give it a shot.

I should have jumped aboard the first car of the RED RISING bandwagon when I had a chance. I absolutely devoured Pierce Brown’s debut — reading for hours at a time, even skipping dinner in order to finish the book during a frenzied four-hour reading binge. I’ve read a lot of good books lately nothing on the level of RED RISING in a long, long time.
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Review

Awakening

Awakening

McKayla’s aunt Avril has always been a little odd. She travels the world as a psychic for the FBI, to the chagrin of McKayla’s mother, who doesn’t like it when she talks magic with her daughters. Now, Avril is visiting Sun Valley in small-town Idaho where McKayla and her family live in order to investigate a serial killer who – it appears – possesses her victims. McKayla goes with her aunt during a case to interview the widow of a murder victim. There she discovers that maybe Aunt Avril’s psychic abilities are magic and run in the family because McKayla can feel the window’s emotions–she’s empathic.

But that’s not even the strangest thing, because despite outward tears the widow’s inside emotions are not what McKayla expects a widow to be experiencing: she’s not sad, she’s angry.
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Review

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Posted: January 19, 2015 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Ransom Riggs, Fantasy, Young Adult
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Jacob’s grandfather was kind of an odd guy. When Jacob was a kid, his grandfather would tell him all sorts of stories about the kids in the Welsh children’s home he lived in after escaping pre-war Europe. Then he would show Jacob all sorts of strange photographs (see cover picture of levitating girl) of the other peculiar children he lived with. As Jacob grew older he began to realize that these stories couldn’t have been memories, but were tall tales to entertain an imaginative grandson.

Or were they?

After witnessing his grandfather’s death, Jacob’s parents are convinced that it was so traumatic that he hallucinated the monster-like creature Jacob saw. Jacob is able follow the clues of his grandfather’s last words, and convinces his father to take him to the island where Miss Peregrine’s home for children resides. Instead of answers, Jacob instead finds an abandoned relic from 60 years before. While there he meets someone from his grandfather’s past, and Jacob begins to realize that maybe his grandfather wasn’t completely bonkers after all.
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Review

Conquest

Conquest

Syl was the first of the alien Illyri to be born on Earth sixteen years ago after their (mostly) peaceful conquest of the planet. Her father is a diplomat living in Edinburgh, where earthlings persist in fighting off their conquerors, despite bringing peace and advanced medicine to Earth. On her sixteenth birthday Syl sneaks out of the castle to explore the streets, an activity fraught with danger as she soon learns when a café explodes before her eyes.

Paul may only be a teenager, but he’s been a part of the Resistance for years, gathering intel, learning to fight, and helping others on missions. He’s old enough now to start leading his own missions, as well as mentoring his younger brother, Steven. After the café explosion, he sees a young woman on the street and takes her to safety, never learning she’s Illyri. He may be part of the Resistance, but the bombing killed civilians, so he knows it wasn’t his people. Unfortunately, his proximity to the bombing causes suspicion.

The chain of events continues from there as a result of that chance meeting. Their lives will never be the same.
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Review

The Archived

Posted: October 27, 2014 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Victoria Schwab, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
The Archived

When people die their memories and experiences are archived in a special library that few people know about. But sometimes those memories wake up, the restless and violent kind especially, and someone has to return them.

That’s where Mackenzie Bishop comes in.

Four years ago, when Mackenzie was twelve, her grandfather introduced her to the Archive, where the people’s Histories are stored, to learn about the job of a Keeper and take his place. She’s spent the years since his death doing just that, finding Histories assigned to her by the Librarians at the Archive and returning them to their rest.
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Review

Tin Star

Tin Star

Stranded on an alien space station when she’s left behind by her colony ship, Tula is never able to contact them again. She must now learn to survive as a lone human among less than friendly aliens. Tula prepares for the day when she can have her revenge on Brother Blue, the man who left her behind, and who was responsible for the disappearance of the colony ship.
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Review

The Winner’s Curse

The Winner’s Curse

Kestrel is the teenage daughter of a general in the Valoria army, the equivalent of the ancient Roman Empire. He helps the provincial governor in the Herrani territory, where they have enslaved the invaded locals. As a Valorian she must soon decide to join the military or be married. But despite a knack for strategy her combat skills are lacking–her true talent lies in the piano.
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Review

Half A King

Posted: April 22, 2014 by Nickolas in Books We Love Meta: Joe Abercrombie, Fantasy, Young Adult
Half A King

HALF A KING (Amazon) by Joe Abercrombie is one of the most hyped novels of the year. Check out some of the author blurbs and you’ll see what I mean. Patrick Rothfuss, Rick Riordan, Robin Hobb, and Brent Weeks are among the fantasy heavyweights heaping praise on the novel. When Abercrombie first announced HALF A KING I was anxious. He’s my second favorite author and my very reason for returning to the fantasy genre, but I couldn’t see how well his brutal wit and grim perspective would translate to a YA novel. You’ll no doubt notice that this review has been filed under “Books We Love,” but it didn’t start out that way.
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Review

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

Posted: January 24, 2014 by Shawn in Books We Love Meta: Catherynne M. Valente, Fantasy, Young Adult
The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

Have you ever had a secret?  I mean a delicious, wonderful secret?  The kind you want to tell the whole world about and at the same time keep only for yourself?  Something sweet and wonderful, something that would change other people lives if they only knew, yet at the same time you wanted to keep it all to yourself?  Have you ever had one of those?
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Review

Wasteland

Wasteland

So two award-winning journalists decide to try their hand at the current craze of YA dystopian/post-apocalypse novels. But WASTELAND by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan (Amazon), is what happens when non-fiction writers think that writing a coherent, engaging, and imaginative YA novel is not so hard. Throw in a controversial situation, maybe some race-themed antagonism, a couple of clever adjectives for spice, and voila. Easy peasy, right?
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Review

Phoenix Island

Posted: November 15, 2013 by Nickolas in Books We Like Meta: John Dixon, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Phoenix Island

John Dixon’s PHOENIX ISLAND (Amazon) first came to my attention when I heard that a Young Adult novel has inspired a new CBS television series starring Josh Holloway (LOST) and Marg Helgenberger (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation)– before the book had even released. It seems that with the recent success of the THE HUNGER GAMES series (Amazon), studios have been aggressively pursuing the next big YA property. Of all the YA novels that have been optioned PHOENIX ISLAND is the first I’ve heard of to get picked up for TV–and before it has had a chance to gain a fanbase no less! It’s enough to get a reader excited, that’s for sure.
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Review

Steelheart

Posted: September 6, 2013 by Shawn in Books We Love Meta: Brandon Sanderson, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Steelheart

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book in three days.  (You have to understand that I work two jobs and have four kids, one of which is a two month old, so reading a book in three days is kind of like reading it in one sitting for me.)  From the prologue, STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson (Amazon) hooked me in and never let me go.  This is the type of book that begged me to slip away from family and read for just a few minutes more; to let the dishes sit in the sink for just a bit longer so I could read another chapter; to stay up late, no matter that I had work early the next day. I just had to know what was coming next.
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Review

Earth Girl

Posted: September 4, 2013 by Vanessa in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Janet Edwards, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Earth Girl

Jarra lives on Earth. But what sounds normal to us doesn’t to those who live in 2788, when man has since left Earth for other worlds, thanks to the invention of portals. Unfortunately, not every human’s immune system can handle what the universe has to offer. One in every thousand born can’t survive on other planets and must return to Earth within hours of birth or they die. Jarra’s parents sent her to Earth right after she was born and haven’t been a part of her life since.
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Review

The 5th Wave

Posted: August 30, 2013 by Vanessa in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: Rick Yancey, Dystopian SF, Young Adult
The 5th Wave

The aliens have arrived.

Now mankind is on the verge of extinction, and Cassie is alone, having lost her family and escaped to the forests outside Dayton, Ohio. She can’t trust anyone, even other humans, because she’s convinced that some of them work for the aliens.
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Review

The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys

I don’t get as much time to read books these days as I’d like to, so I’ve widened my available reading time by opening up to the wonderful world of audiobooks. I found myself with a long drive ahead of me and nothing picked out to read, so I went to my library and checked out a digital audiobook. Time was short, so I didn’t have much of a chance to research what I wanted to read.
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Review

The Far West

The Far West

I first met Eff Rothmer in THIRTEENTH CHILD (Amazon), where she lives in the frontier border town of Mill City with her family. She’s the thirteenth child of a seventh son, and her twin brother Lan is the seventh son of a seventh son, making him a naturally strong magician. Some consider a thirteenth child as unlucky. Stir those expectations around and the result is that poor Eff has trouble learning the magic that comes naturally to her family. But despite her rocky start, Eff discovers that how you use your magic is often more important than how strong your magic is.
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Review

The Crossing

Posted: May 3, 2013 by Vanessa in Books We Don't Like Meta: Mandy Hager, Dystopian SF, Young Adult
The Crossing

Many years ago monstrous sun flares changed everything, and humanity was thrust back into the Dark Ages. For the natives of an island in the South Pacific and passengers on a beached cruise ship, they are the last known survivors of the subsequent apocalypse.
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