War of the Seasons: The Human

War of the Seasons: The Human

Sad and lonely after the deaths of her father and younger siblings, Story finds herself visiting one of her childhood romps, a cave she used to visit with her family. In a headstrong moment, she forgets the cardinal rules of spelunking and falls down into a deep chasm. Finding a way out, she finds herself in Ailionara, a world in which elves, gnomes, faeries, and dryads are real…and humans are myth.

Janine K. Spendlove’s War of the Seasons: The Human brings a lovely blend of Celtic lore and YA fantasy while full of beautiful Celtic names. The reluctant heroine provides a nice change to traditional masculine leads in the genre, with a romance that is only a tertiary line, as opposed to love struck girl mooning over a mythological man. While a bit flat at first, Story’s character grows as the book gains momentum, driving the reader to the finish. If you like books such as Inheritance Cycle (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, Inheritance) and Progeny: The Children of the White Lions, you won’t want to miss checking out this up-and-coming author who only promises to be better with the next book in the series.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the author.

For more information about War of the Seasons or the author, check out Ailionara.

Double

Double

He never claimed to be the missing Cassiel. He just neglected to deny it. Given the choice between being a nobody, nameless and homeless, or being a somebody, with everything you’ve never had,  who wouldn’t hesitate? However, pretending to be someone else isn’t easy, especially when no one is who they seem.

Jenny Valentine’s young adult novel, Double (available for purchase tomorrow), begs the reader to ponder the essence of a person’s character – what defines a person and how that affects, or is affected by, an individual’s choices. Slow to build momentum, plot turns in the later portions of the book are certain to build suspense. Many of the characters seem lacking in dimension, but Chap’s struggles with ethical and moral decisions help readers identify with him. Despite annoying changes in tense during parts of the book, Double is an enjoyable book for teens and may lead to discussions.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Tankborn

Tankborn

After fleeing a dying Earth, humans were divided into two classes: trueborns, who had money to buy passage on the ship to the new world, and lowborns, who had to work for their passage. In order to elevate the classes and create a working force, tankborns were created. Tankborns, genetically engineered non-humans (GENs), are created with specific skill sets (skets) to serve those who deem them inferior, virtual slaves with no rights. But what makes a human?

Karen Sandler’s Tankborn addresses topics of racism, classism, friendship, humanity, and more in this non-traditional dystopian novel for middle grade/young adults. Tankborn is science fiction for the next generation.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Beyond the Grave

Beyond the Grave (Past Midnight, #3)

It’s hard to have a normal life when your parents are paranormal investigators. Charlotte’s mother is in a coma after a previous encounter with The Watcher. Her father and sister are struggling to live, the business if falling apart, and Charlotte is left floundering, trying to hold it together and spend time with her boyfriend who is becoming more secretive each day.

Mara Purnhagen’s Beyond the Grave is the third and final book in her Past Midnight series. The book is strong enough to stand alone for those of us who haven’t read her earlier novels, but the characters seem a bit flat and the build up and discovery drags. Luckily, the action at the end mostly makes up for the slow clues.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Catch and Release

Catch and Release

Polly Furnas had a plan. Graduate highschool. Marry her sweetheart. Go to college, and have children. MSRA was not in the plan. Neither was spending weeks in the hospital and loosing her eye. Somehow, out of everyone in her hometown who survived the infection, she survived, along with a fellow highschooler, Odd. Now she has a choice. She can lie around wallowing in self-pity or take Odd’s offer for a fishing trip. She can choose to fight to live or slowly die inside her new body. Plans change.

Blythe Woolston’s Catch & Release is interesting, a bit disturbing, and just perfect for analyzing our views and anger. With writing and a story line that gets under your skin, Woolston wraps it up with Odd’s letters to his grandmother, effectively putting a balm on the infected story. A new book with merit for discussing what we make of life and those around us, Catch & Release is certain to find its own among teens looking for something out of the ordinary.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Pure

Pure

Julianna Baggott’snew  young adult dystopian novel, Pure,promises to deliver. Touted as the new The Hunger Games Trilogy and with movie rights already sold for the first novel, the hype is indicative of a best selling book.

Baggot’s descriptive writing pulls the reader in, and the premise behind the book is horrifying. Atomic bombs, set by those wanting to purify the Earth, have drastically changed the world. Secret agendas abound and the main character, a strong female lead, starts out strong. However, after the initial chapters, the book seems to be carried by remaining momentum rather than driving to a capitulating climax.

My main complaint, and one that I can’t let go of, is that the science in the book moves is so far removed to make the book fantasy rather than science fiction. With all of its promises and good points, for me the book failed to deliver.

The book comes out today, so yu can pick up your own copy and see what you think of it.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.

The Shadowing: Hunted

Hunted (The Shadowing, #1)

Callum Scott is predominantly a normal boy. He does well enough in school, plays rugby, and keeps a low profile. The only problem is that for as long as he can remember he has seen ghosts. Now his premonitions are growing and he is being chased by a large creature from another place. Life is about to get interesting.

Adam Slater’s The Shadowing: Hunted would be a mediocre paranormal young adult novel with characters who are screaming to be further developed. However, he has managed to weave new aspects into his brand new paranormal series which may just set the foundation for a great story.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

The Garden of the Purple Dragon

Garden of the Purple Dragon (The Dragonkeeper, #2)

In the second book in the Dragon Keeper series, Garden of the Purple Dragon,
Carole Wilkinson takes the story of former slave turned dragon keeper, Ping, to a new level. Faced with the dessertion of Danzi and the responsibility of raising his son, Kai, Ping is forced to grow in new ways. As always, Ping represents a strong female character in the middle grade fantasy genre and Wilkinson’s prose paints a beautiful picture of not only Ancient China but also of the diversity of human character. In my opinion, this is a buy-worthy series for families who enjoy reading aloud or individuals who enjoy reading on their own. All of my children have been excited over the series, and I like being able to share some books which portray females in strong roles, despite typical treatment of them in the era.

The Sleepwalkers

The Sleepwalkers

Caleb’s life is all set. He has his plans laid out for after high school graduation until the arrival of a letter from an old childhood friend. Shortly after, he sets out on a road trip with his best friend, Bean, to find out what is going on. Arriving at his old hometown, he finds that secrets have been kept there for years.

J. Gabriel Gates’ The Sleepwalkers brings a new scene for teen horror. Reminiscent of Stephen King and John Saul, the story is artfully written and skillfully suspenseful. While I found I had many questions about some of the story’s end, it merely added to the disquieting feeling of the book.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Cinder and Ella

Cinder and Ella

Cinder and Ella are two of four sisters. Both their older and younger sisters are selfish, their father quit doing anything to help the family before disappearing altogether, and their mother spins all day at her spinning wheel, effectively ignoring her daughters to the point that she has forgotten that Cinder and Ella are two individuals. Ella, tired of being forgotten and taken advantage of, sets out on her own, leaving Cinder to take care of the family.

Melissa Lemon’s telling of the Cinderella story, Cinder and Ella, is only marginally related to the original fairytale. With an evil prince on the horizon, and a story of living trees, the book’s closest tie with the original tale is the name of the book. While the book is a decent read, the characters, with few exceptions, just aren’t very likeable.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by the publisher.