Tag Archives: reading

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

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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

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Book Review: The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1)

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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!

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Book Review: The Program (The Program #1)

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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!

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Book Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow

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Author: Robin Wasserman

Genre: YA

Summary: It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark. 

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

Review: Robin Wasserman has written a wonderful stand alone book! There’s blood and love and an ancient mystery. What else could you ask for?

Her characters are unique, though spun from the normal archetypes. I loved that each character turned out to have a secret! (I refuse to be much more spoilery than that!)

I had the privilege of hearing her speak on a panel at AWP in Seattle last week. They were discussing creating a career in children’s and YA. This is not Wasserman’s first book (or second or third or tenth!) She has taken the time to hone her craft, and in this book, it shows.

The tension rises well as the action does. Nora’s emotional arc is slow, but forefront and is very authentic. My favorite craft element of this book though is the voice! Wasserman has created a wonderfully sarcastic, bright, and lovable main character with Nora.

Recommendation: READ!! 

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Book Review: Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3)

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Author: Veronica Rossi

Genre: YA

Summary: The earth-shattering conclusion to Veronica Rossi’s “masterpiece” Under the Never Sky trilogy and sequel to the New York Times bestsellingThrough the Ever Night (Examiner.com).

Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it’s time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won’t even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

Review: Rossi is great with tension! 

Of course, this is the last book in a trilogy, so naturally it is full of tension. But Rossi doesn’t leave you there. She keeps the tension high with Roar and how he’s dealing with what happened (I refuse to be spoilery for those who aren’t up to speed!) 

She also throws in a lot of tension with Aria and her health (again, non-spoilery!)

Overall, this book was nothing but suspense and tension. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time! Right up until the last page!

Recommendation: READ!! Read NOW!

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Book Review: Storm Front (Dresden Files #1)

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Author: Jim Butcher

Genre: Fantasy/Crime

Summary: Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or
Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things — and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a — well, whatever.

There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get… interesting.

Magic. It can get a guy killed.

Review: Butcher has an amazing way with description. This is an action packed novel, but he doesn’t rush anything. Instead, each page is brought to life through description. Whether that be physical descriptions or description through Dresden’s many observations. It works!

Dresden is a witty, sarcastic, badass (to say the least) private investigator slash wizard. Butcher has done a great job creating a well-liked character who is also very authentic. His faults and sarcasm bring him to a human (though he’s a wizard) level. 

Recommendation: READ!!

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Book Review: The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2)

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Author: Rae Carson

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Summary: In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone’s power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

Review: Again, Carson does a wonderful job with tension. Her scenes are very focused, as is the dialogue. This book is nothing but action! And oh the tension between Elisa and Hector. 

Carson has setup an a great war from the first book. Now she moves us towards Elisa’s destiny. She has realized that she has strength within herself but has yet to discover how to use that strength and power to not only become a great queen but to fulfill that prophecy that’s been set upon since birth. 

Recommendation: READ!!

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