Tag Archives: ya

Book Giveaway: Don’t Cosplay With My Heart

Courtesy of Scholastic, I have a copy of Don’t Cosplay With My Heart by Cecil Castellucci for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends October 20. I’ll draw a name on October 21, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Don’t Cosplay With My Heart

Fantasy Book Review: Wings of Fire: Darkness of Dragons

Wings of Fire: Darkness of Dragons by Tui T Sutherland

Synopsis:
Qibli knows Darkstalker must be stopped. And he knows he could stop him – if he had magic. With even a sliver of the ancient dragon’s all-powerful scroll, Qibli could rewrite history the right way: end war forever; make every dragon happy; perhaps even cast a very small spell so that everyone would like him.

Instead, as Darkstalker’s dangerous influence spreads across Pyrrhia, entrancing or killing every dragon in the seven tribes, Qibli can only grasp the small animus objects he’s borrowed from Turtle. With some clever thinking, Qibli’s talons finally hold the power to make a difference.

But prophecies are not easy to rewrite. Can Qibli be the magical force Pyrrhia needs, or will he be the one to bring Jade Mountain – and his family, his friends, his whole world – crashing down?

Review:
This is the 10th book in the Wings of Fire series, not including the standalone Darkstalker novel. This final book in the Darkstalker arc focuses on Qibli. He’s easily the most humble and clever of the dragonets. Though he has dreams, he doesn’t feel he deserves them. This is most likely due to his harsh upbringing from a mother who clearly didn’t love him, though he craved her love and acceptance.

Each installment in this series I say is my favorite, and this is certainly no exception. The character of Qibli is so amazing that you want to reach into the book and hug him. His story is full of danger, suspense, drama, and intrigue. With Darkstalker, you never know how he’ll respond, yet Qibli is the perfect dragonet to come up with a plan to take him down. There is a surprising and satisfying resolution to this 2nd story arc that was even better than the first. This fantastic series is a must-read for fantasy fans of all ages.

Fantasy Book Review: The Silver Mask

The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Synopsis:
A generation ago, Constantine Madden came close to achieving what no magician had ever achieved: the ability to bring back the dead. He didn’t succeed . . . but he did find a way to keep himself alive, inside a young child named Callum Hunt.

Now Call is one of the most feared and reviled students in the history of the Magisterium, thought to be responsible for a devastating death and an ever-present threat of war. As a result, Call has been imprisoned and interrogated. Everyone wants to know what Constantine was up to-and how he lives on.

But Call has no idea.

It is only when he’s broken out of prison that the full potential of Constantine’s plan is suddenly in his hands . . . and he must decide what to do with his power.

Review:
When a surprising prison break frees Call, he finds himself in an even worse situation. Call must decide whether or not to follow in Constantine’s studies in order to bring back his best friend from the dead.

The Silver Mask is the fourth book in this exciting fantasy series for middle school on up. This installment definitely takes a darker turn as Call confronts a big choice that will have consequences. Meanwhile, he wonders if his friends trust him anymore. Full of suspense, danger, and magic – this latest story builds to an exciting finale. I love this unique series and the complex characters. The protagonist of the story happens to have the soul of the villain living inside him.

SciFi Book Review: Miles Morales

Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds

Synopsis:
Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He’s even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he’s Spider Man.

But lately, Miles’s spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren’t meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad’s advice and focus on saving himself.

As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can’t shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher’s lectures on the historical “benefits” of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk.

It’s time for Miles to suit up.

Review:
I haven’t read many comics with Miles Morales yet, other than some team ups. So, I didn’t really know his background or origin story. And while this isn’t an origin story, those of us who are new to the character get enough backstory – yet not too many details for those already familiar. Miles is a good kid with loving parents who don’t have much – yet who are still giving and hospitable. Miles is an easy young man to connect with. He wants to do the right thing, yet he still has peer pressures, a pretty girl he’s crushing on, and the responsibility of being Spider-Man.

This standalone novel focuses on Miles, his daily struggles, and a creepy conspiracy that super hero fans of all ages will enjoy. The camaraderie with his best friend and roommate, Ganke, is one of the highlights for me. The plot is well-paced, mixing teen drama with suspense and mystery. I’ve always been a fan of Peter Parker’s Spider-Man, and I’m happy to say I enjoy Miles Morales just as much. He’s down-to-earth and relevant and has plenty of heart. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Fantasy Book Review: The Adventurer’s Guild

The Adventurer’s Guild by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos

Synopsis:
In one of the last cities standing after the world fell to monsters, best friends Zed Kagari and Brock Dunderfel have high hopes for the future. Zed desperately wishes to join the ranks of the Mages Guild, where his status as Freestone’s only half elf might finally be an asset. Brock, the roguishly handsome son of merchants, is confident he’ll be welcomed into the ranks of the Merchants Guild.

But just as it seems the boys’ dreams have come true, their lives take a startling turn . . . and they find themselves members of the perilous Adventurers Guild.

Led by the fearsome Alabasel Frond, the guild acts as the last line of defense against the Dangers-hungry, unnatural beasts from otherworldly planes. And when the boys uncover a conspiracy that threatens all of Freestone, Zed, Brock, and their new allies-Liza, a fierce noble, and Jett, a brave dwarf-must prove their worth once and for all.

Review:
Zed and Brock are hoping to get into their favorite guilds. But when Zed is picked for the dangerous Adventurers Guild, Brock volunteers as well. Though, he has a secret reason he’s infiltrating the guild. Zed and Brock make a great team and are likable despite their flaws. The Adventurers are the only guild to brave outside the city walls, so the new recruits must prove themselves. And the boys soon discover there’s a traitor in the city.

This is the first installment in a new children’s fantasy series. The Adventurer’s Guild is packed with engaging characters, exciting intrigue, dangerous creatures, and magic. This is a fun and fast-paced story that builds to a surprising finale. The rich, fantasy world is familiar – with the feel of a role playing game. I look forward to the next in this promising new series.

SciFi Book Review: Replica

Replica by Lauren Oliver

Synopsis:
Lyra’s story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida that from a distance looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, Haven is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed. When a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape.

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. A lonely teen, her life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April. But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions.

Review:
Lyra and a fellow clone escape their facility only to learn horrifying truths about their pasts. Gemma helps Lyra and 24 escape, and finds herself in the middle of more danger than she could imagine.

Replica is a unique and fascinating story told from two different characters’ points of view. It’s the first in a YA scifi duology. It’s a flip book, as one side of the book is Lyra’s story, and you flip the book over to start reading Gemma’s which ends in the middle of the book. The pacing is steady and flows well – even when we switch to Gemma’s side, it doesn’t get repetitive. Full of suspense, intrigue, drama, and a bit of romance – this is an exciting thriller that I won’t soon forget.

Fantasy Book Review: Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Wonder Woman: Warbringer
by Leigh Bardugo

Synopsis:
Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

Review:
I’m a huge Wonder Woman fan (comics, books, tv, movies, you name it), so I really wanted to like this book. I saw that it was a story set before Diana becomes Wonder Woman. And while the story of a girl coming to the island and Diana leaving and seeing the world of man, completely disregards all Wonder Woman origin stories – I still tried to put that aside to enjoy this story. However, it’s just a slow-paced, dull plot that only really picks up at the end climactic scene. The characters weren’t really likable. And while Diana stays true to character for the most part, she attends a silly party instead of hurrying to get Alia (and the world) to safety. That’s right. The world is in mortal jeopardy, and they attend a gala – and even worry about gowns. It’s ridiculous. And disappointing. There are some fun fight scenes where Diana kicks butt. And I enjoyed her subplot coming-of-age story back home, but it wasn’t enough to save the book for me.

Book Excerpt: Bad Girl Gone

Awakening

When I tried to remember exactly how I came to be lying in the cold black room, my mind couldn’t focus.
I could feel myself slowly climbing upward, clawing my way out of the clutches of a nightmare. This was usually a good feeling, because you knew you were just dreaming, and the nightmare was over. Except this time it wasn’t. My hands felt clammy. I gripped the sheets until I knew my knuckles must be white. Help me, I thought. Somebody please help me.

I had no idea where I was, and for a terrifying second I couldn’t even remember who I was. But then I remembered my name. Echo. Echo Stone. My real name is Eileen. When I was a toddler, I waddled around repeating everything my parents said and they called me “Echo,” and it just stuck.

Remembering my name and how I got it kick-started my brain. I knew who I was. I remembered that I was sixteen years old and lived in Kirkland, Washington, with my mom and dad. It was all coming back to me. Mom was a dentist and Dad taught middle school English. Good, I could remember parts of my life. But I was still in a dark, cold room and had no idea how I got there. I held back a scream, my chest tightening. Don’t lose it, Echo, keep it together, I told myself. Calm down, think good thoughts.

I pictured Andy, my boyfriend. Six feet tall, broad shoul- ders, blue eyes, and long golden-brown hair. He loved to feed me cookie bites and called me his rabbit. I called him Wolfie. Sometimes he got the hiccups for no reason at all and usually laughed them away. Thinking of Andy momentarily made me feel warm inside, even though the room was freezing.

Where was I? I was shivering and yet also bathed in sweat, my skin slick with it. I clutched for my trusty Saint Christo- pher necklace. But it wasn’t there. Mom gave it to me to protect me when I traveled. Would it protect me now? I would never have lost it. The chain must have broken. And then I had an ugly thought. What if someone had ripped it from my neck? I shuddered. Where are you, Andy? I need you!

Continue reading Book Excerpt: Bad Girl Gone