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Book Review: Incarnate


Author: Jodi Meadows

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 374

Summary: New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?


Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

Review: Jodie Meadows has done an amazing job setting up this strange world. The idea of people being the same souls, who are reborn over and over again, is new and intriguing. Adding in the idea of “what would happen if a new soul arrived?” brings more intrigue and mystery to the story.

Meadows has created some full characters as well. The main character, Ana, is defensive yet intelligent– a great combination for a strong female lead. Sam is more mysterious. With his many past lives, readers get the sense of who he is in each lifetime, but still aren’t sure of his actions and the reasoning behind them.

This book has wonderfully set the stage for the next in the series. Ana must figure out why she was born, what happened to the soul who never returned, all before she is stranded and alone until she dies, unsure if she herself will ever return.

Recommendation: Wonderful! Must read!

Book Review: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress


Author:  Robert A. Heinlein

Genre: Science Fiction

Summary: It is the year 2076, and the Moon is a penal colony for the rebellious and the unwanted of Earth. The exiles have created a libertarian society in order to survive in their harsh and unforgiving environment, their motto being TANSTAAFL: “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”. Looming over them is the Luna Authority, the heavy-handed Earth administration, who trades life necessities to the “Loonies” in exchange for grain shipments to the starving populations of Earth.

As the situation steadily deteriorates the inhabitants of Luna come to realize that they have little choice but to revolt against Luna Authority in order to save themselves from resource exhaustion and a subsequent environmental apocalypse.

A small band of dissidents emerges to lead the revolution. This consists of a one-armed computer jock, a radical young woman, a past-his-prime academic, and a nearly omnipotent computer named Mike. These people ignite the fires of revolution, despite the near certainty of failure.

Review:  This is only my second “true” science fiction novels. That being said, it was amazing!

Not only does Heinlein have a great grasp on plot, but he also has a way of teaching the reader something without actually teaching. This book is heavy on tech speak, political speak, and extremely heavy on revolution theory. But it is presented in a way that is interesting and that drives the story forward.

The characters are very well developed, as is the technology. What you need to remember is that he wrote this book in 1966. BEFORE WE WERE ON THE MOON. Once you begin to read this book, you’ll understand just how genius this man was!

The setting was unique, as was the situation, the technology, and the plot. I must say, this was a fascinating read with some stong craft work!

Recommendation: Wonderful! Must read!



Book Review: The Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)


Author:  Deborah Harkness

Genre: Fiction

Summary: Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

Review:  There were things I absolutely loved about this book…and things that I didn’t.

Deborah Harkness has created an interesting world in which there are four species: humans, witches, vampires, and daemons. I loved the way she built this world, along with all the rules and regulations. I also love the magical caste system and the specifics of each species. She has put a unique spin on witches, vampires, daemons, and the way they interact in the world together. That got me hooked right away.

I also loved the female lead character, Diana. I loved that she was a historian and that Deborah really showed you the ins and outs of an alchemical historian. It made me want to get my PhD! The male lead character, Matthew, wasn’t so bad either, if not a bit too stereotypical.

I was on my way to finishing this book in less than a week when suddenly the “romance” novel appeared. The middle of this book is a romance novella. I’m not a romance reader, never have been, but maybe in the future. But not now. So, needless to say, the story seemed to veer away from the tension and the magic and the mystery. All that was sais was “i love yous” and “swoon”. And I had to stop. It wasn’t my cup of tea. (You’ll get that pun later).

Finally, near the end, the romance let up a bit and the tension came back. Not fully, but it did. I’m on the fence about finishing the trilogy. Like I said, Deborah put a great twist on the magical creatures and their rules, and I do love the plot of the story. I just can’t handle the romance stuff…

Recommendation: Borrow from your local library first



Book Review: Killer Instinct


Author:  S.E. Green

Genre: YA Thriller

Summary: She’s not evil, but she has certain… urges.

Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. Afterschool job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick.


Because she might be one herself.

Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals—delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush the line of self-control blurs.
And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to return… in parts.
When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer that has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim…

Review:  WOW! I couldn’t put this book down. Amazingly written and filled with nonstop action. S.E. Green knows tension. The entire book is full of rising tension, action packed scenes, and a well crafted plot. I have to admit, I was trying to figure out the mystery the entire time. The ending was wonderfully drawn out and had a great twist!

Most thriller’s are action-based, and Killer Instinct is no exception. Lane aka Slim aka the Masked Savior is constantly getting her hands dirty. But Green brings in two more layers. One is Lane’s stream of consciousness. Readers learn about her “urges” as she feels them and as she figures out her own view on them. She is extremely analytical about the whole thing, and very self-controlled. 

The second layer Green brings to this YA thriller is more of a subplot. Though Lane doesn’t have the same emotions as a normal teenage girl, she still has the capacity to feel for others. Readers will see that she is not merely acting on her urges, but acting on her sense of justice. She defends those who can’t defend themselves. She feels more for the innocents or the weak than she does for herself. This caring quality is what gets her stuck in a twisted game of lies, blood, and murder. She must decide whether to accept her inherent urges or to take charge of them.

Recommendation: Get your hands on this ASAP



Book Review: Fledgling by Nicole Conway


Author:  Nicole Conway

Genre: YA Fantasy

Summary: Jaevid Broadfeather has grown up as a wartime refugee, hiding from the world because of his mixed racial heritage. He feels his future is hopeless, until a chance encounter with a wild dragon lands him in Blybrig Academy—a place usually forbidden to anyone but the rich and royal. But Jaevid’s case is special; no dragon has voluntarily chosen a rider in decades, so the proud riders of Blybrig must begrudgingly let him join their brotherhood despite his bloodline. Lieutenant Sile Derrick, a sternly tempered man with a mysterious past, becomes his instructor and immediately takes a peculiar interest in Jaevid’s future.

While struggling through the rigorous physical demands of training, things begin to go awry. Jaevid witnesses the king’s private guards kidnapping Sile in the dead of night. When none of the elder riders are willing to help him, Jaevid begins a dangerous adventure to save his instructor.

Everything Jaevid learned at the academy will now be put to the ultimate test.

Review: Nicole Conway is a great writer! Fledgling is 100% story. I have to admit, the “hero’s journey” is my favorite type of story, so this was right up my alley. 

Conway has created an interesting world in which humans, grey elves, and dragons exist. Only, not in harmony. The main character is a half breed, hated by both humans and grey elves, finding no place he really belongs. Until one day, he accidentally talks a dragon into choosing him as a rider. Suddenly Jae is in the elite training academy for dragonriders and he must prove that he belongs there.

This book touches on the subjects of faith in oneself, bullying, and discrimination. As a halfbreed, Jae is discriminated by both humans and grey elves. Niether knows that the other side hates him as much as they do. Jae goes through his life never fitting, never having friends, and never having a life to look forward to. He’s stereotyped by each side as well. Both think he’s a traitor and both think he’s sided with the other. In reality, he has no choice, because neither wants him. He is constantly bullied and name called by everyone, humans and grey elves alike. Jae must find the courage to have faith in himself and to choose where he wants to be in life. Only then with he ever find happiness or a reason to build a future life for himself. 

Recommendation: Fun and entertaining read!



Book Review: #Scandal


Author: Sarah Ockler 

Genre: YA

Summary: Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation. 

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love…

Review: Sarah Ockler has done a great job spotlighting cyberbullying, judging, and bullying in general. Name-calling has always been an aspect of high school that everyone must endure at point or another. But things have escalated with the internet and social media. No longer can you find a safe haven outside of school walls. The internet is everywhere and forever.

Lucy has one night in which she makes a total mistake with Cole. In her mind, she will fix everything the next morning, but when she wakes up, her and a handful of people have been outed. On Facebook. The worst part is that everyone thinks it’s her fault, since the pictures and tags came from her account. In truth, Lucy’s phone was stolen and she has no idea who has set her up.

Worse goes to worst when all of her friends ditch her, she is being called all sorts of names by the girls in school, her locker is trashed daily, and the internet is having a field day with her pictures and some very creative phrases. 

#Scandal sheds light on the dangers of social media and reflects (very accurately) how teenagers love to bash those who are already down. It seems like a “normal high school” thing to do, talk about someone’s indiscretions, but in reality it is bullying. 

Lucy must face her indiscretions, the bullies, and find her voice, to clear her name and fix something that someone else has started.

Recommendation: Must read!



Book Review: We Were Liars


Author: E. Lockhart

Genre: YA

Summary: A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Review: This is one of the most stunning novels I have ever read! Her descriptions are emotional and evocative; the story is a thrilling mystery!

Cady has headaches. Headaches that keep her from being able to function. Cady can’t remember anything about her accident, or anything about the summer two years ago when it happened. She returns to her family’s island for summer seventeen, trying to piece together what when wrong.

She spends her time with her three best friends; two cousins, Johnny and Mirren, and Gat, who she is in love with. They can’t tell her what happened, the doctors say she must remember on her own. As she watches her family fight for inheritance and fall apart at the seams, Cady clings onto her best friends, the Liars. They are all she has and all she cares about.

E. Lockhart keeps the tension high until the very end, when Cady finally remembers what happened in summer fifteen. She has created the most spectacular emotional arc that I’ve seen in years. Cady’s story is stunning. 

Recommendation: READ! READ NOW!



Book Review: Daughter of Chaos (Red Magic #1)


Author: Jen McConnel

Genre: YA

Summary: There comes a time in every witch’s life when she must choose her path. Darlena’s friends have already chosen, so why is it so hard for her to make up her mind? Now, Darlena is out of time. Under pressure from Hecate, the Queen of all witches, Darlena makes a rash decision to choose Red magic, a path no witch in her right mind would dare take. As a Red witch, she will be responsible for chaos and mayhem, drawing her deep into darkness. Will the power of Red magic prove too much for Darlena, or will she learn to control it before it’s too late?

Review: Jen McConnel knows how to keep the tension high. In the novel, Daughter of Chaos, tension is brought on early, with Darlena choosing a path that she didn’t know existed. This focal point is driven throughout the novel, leaving readers almost as desperate as Darlena to find out more about Red Magic.

The tension rises more as the life she once knew is taken away from her. Her parents are scared, her friends are misunderstanding, and a plethora of goddesses keep showing up,trying to convince her to use Red Magic their way, but leaving Darlena with more questions than answers. She is frightened and intrigued by the power that she wields, hoping to be able to do good for the world; not just destruction. Her journey for answers takes her farther than she realized she’d ever go.

Recommendation: Read



Book Review: The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1)


Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: YA

Summary: More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings — merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing — kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery — one that will change Rithmatics — and their world — forever.

Review: Brandon Sanderson is known for his world building, and he does not disappoint in his first YA novel! Sanderson is a master of pacing, so don’t be worried about getting overwhelmed in this world he has created. Sanderson slowly introduces readers to the world of Rithmatists, Rithamtics, and Chalklings. It’s a fun ride, with a murder-mystery intertwined as well!

Sanderson has added steampunk elements to the twenty-first century, along with a sort of magic. Rithmatists are able to draw–with chalk–cirlces, lines, and pictures that come to life. Wild chalkings are those chalk creatures that are untamed and are wreaking havoc on the United Isles. Oh yeah, Sanderson splits the States into Isles! 

Joel, a non-Rithmatist, is obsessed with Rithmatics and finds himself in the center of a murder-mystery invovling Rithmatist students from his school. Melody, a Rithmatist who’d rather being drawing unicorns, also finds herself in the center of things, alongside Joel.

This is the first novel in a new series, so the pacing is nice and slow. However, the tension is kept high with the disappearance of students and new teacher who stirs the campus into a frenzy.

Recommendation: Read!



Book Review: The Program (The Program #1)


Author: Suzanne Young

Genre: YA

Summary: Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

Review: Readers are immediately immersed into Sloane’s unraveling world. She has already lost her brother, her best friend, and now she’s facing another friend’s “illness” as well as her boyfriend, James’. He is the only thing she has left and would do anything for him. But she is forced to enter The Program soon after he is released, with no memory of her.

Young takes readers on a journey through The Program, which camoflage’s itself as therapy. Readers watch as Sloane goes through every important and special memory of James. Young keeps the pace a little slow, showing the exact effects of the pills Sloane is forced to take before and after therapy. She keeps the tension high as readers realize what’s happening before Sloane does.

In the end, there is an erie feeling, a sense of loss but also of hope that springs forth in the last few chapters.

Recommendation: Read!