Fantasy Book Review: The Seven Tales of Trinket

The Seven Tales of Trinket by Shelley Moore Thomas

Synopsis:
Guided by a tattered map, accompanied by Thomas the Pig Boy, and inspired by the storyteller’s blood that thrums through her veins, eleven-year-old Trinket searches for the seven stories she needs to become a bard like her father, who disappeared years before. She befriends a fortune-telling gypsy girl; returns a child stolen by the selkies to his true mother; confronts a banshee and receives a message from a ghost; helps a village girl outwit—and out-dance—the Faerie Queen; travels beyond the grave to battle a dastardly undead Highwayman; and meets a hound so loyal he fights a wolf to the death to protect the baby prince left in his charge. All fine material for six tales, but it is the seventh tale, in which Trinket learns her father’s true fate, that changes her life forever.

Review:
Trinket dreams of following in her father’s footsteps and becoming a bard, though she worries she isn’t talented enough. She and Thomas embark on a magical adventure, while searching for clues about her missing father and collecting stories. The quest-like adventures begin to feel like adventures in Narnia. Unfortunately, the official synopsis spoils too much of the story in my opinion.

This fairy tale-like story for middle readers on up is fun and inspired. Each of Trinket’s seven adventures is a fresh and exciting story with sweet and wholesome resolutions. Since it can be read in one sitting, this is a novel that can be read again and again. I highly recommend this enchanting book for readers of all ages who enjoy fairy tales and magic.

Fantasy Book Review: Alchemystic

Alchemystic by Anton Strout

Synopsis:
Alexandra Belarus is a struggling artist living in New York City, even though her family is rich in real estate, including a towering Gothic Gramercy Park building built by her great-great-grandfather. But the truth of her bloodline is revealed when she is attacked on the street and saved by an inhumanly powerful winged figure. A figure who knows the Belarus name… Lexi’s great-great-grandfather was a Spellmason–an artisan who could work magic on stone. But in his day, dark forces conspired against him and his, so he left a spell of protection on his family. Now that Lexi is in danger, the spell has awoken her ancestor’s most trusted and fearsome creation: a gargoyle named Stanis. Lexi and Stanis are equally surprised to find themselves bound to each other. But as they learn to work together, they realize that only united can they save the city they both love.

Review:
Lexi (Alexandra) seems a bit naive and rushes into danger, dragging her friends with her. She is an artist, though we don’t really get much sense as to what her level of ability is. So when she’s thrust into her family business, it doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. Stanis, the gargoyle, is a fantastic character, mysterious and imposing. He gives the story a new dimension. While Lexi’s friends provide comedy relief.

Spellmasons who bring stones to life and a flying guardian gargoyle – Strout has come up with an even more fantastic story than before. Alchemystic is a fun and exciting start to a promising new urban fantasy series. With plenty of adventure, mystery, suspense, and magic – this was impossible to put down. Fast-paced, fresh, and surprising, there is never a dull moment. Urban fantasy fans will definitely want to check out this new series (as well as Strout’s previous Simon Canderous series).

Received in September

The following are the books, DVDs, and Blu-Rays I received in September for review and/or giveaways:

47North / Amazon Crossing:
Tears in Rain by Rosa Montero

Ace:
Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman
Alchemystic by Anton Strout
Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews

BBC Books:
Doctor Who: The Dalek Project Graphic Novel by Justin Richards

Berkley:
The Vampire Combat Manual: A Guide to Fighting the Bloodthirsty Undead by Roger Ma
Alpha & Omega: Cry Wolf: Volume 1 by Patricia Briggs

Bloomsbury / Walker:
TimeRiders: The Doomsday Code by Alex Scarrow

Crown Publishing:
The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss

Daw:
Redoubt by Mercedes Lackey

Harper Teen / Greenwillow:
Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Harper Voyager:
Initiate’s Trial by Janny Wurts

Health Communications, Inc.
Blood Zero Sky by J. Gates

Kensington:
Blessed By a Demon’s Mark by E.S. Moore

Orbit:
Seeds of Earth by Michael Cobley

Paizo:
Pathfinder Tales: Queen of Thorns by Dave Gross

Penguin / NAL:
The Hiding Place by David Bell

Pocket Books / Gallery Books:
Lust for Life by Jeri Smith-Ready
Borderlands #2: Unconquered by John Shirley
Ghost Town by Jason Hawes
Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack

Pyr:
Be My Enemy by Ian McDonald

Scholastic Press:
The Golden Door by Emily Rodda
Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities by Mike Jung
The Bar Code Prophecy by Suzanne Weyn

Simon Teen / McElderry Books:
Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Simon & Schuster / Touchstone:
Red Rain by R.L. Stine

St. Martin’s Griffin:
Portlandtown by Rob DeBorde

Titan Books:
Supernatural: Rite of Passage by John Passarella
The Martian War by Kevin J. Anderson
Resident Evil: Retribution by John Shirley

Tor:
Ironskin by Tina Connolly
Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

University of Minnesota Press:
Death Sentences by Kawamata Chiaki

WMG Publishing:
Blowback by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

SciFi Book Review: The Bar Code Tattoo

The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn

Synopsis:
The bar code tattoo. Everybody’s getting it. It will make your life easier, they say. It will hook you in. It will become your identity.

But what if you say no? What if you don’t want to become a code? For Kayla, this one choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in her high school. Dangerous things start happening to her family. There’s no option but to run . . . for her life.

Review:
Kayla’s about to turn seventeen, the age everyone is allowed to get the now extremely popular bar code tattoo. But her father regrets getting his, and it sends him into a spiraling depression. Kayla obviously has reservations about getting the tattoo for herself, and after seeing what it does to her family and friends, she jumps at the chance to join a small group of bar code resistors in her school campus.

What happens to Kayla’s family and her friends is horrifying and suspenseful. Though, I would have liked to see more character development, especially with the young men in her life. The resistance is easy to root for, though the fight seems all but hopeless. Surprisingly, it’s not the tattoo itself that is the danger, but the information stored in the code.

The evolution (mental super powers that seemed to want to mimic X-Men) of several of the young characters that weren’t tattooed didn’t really make sense. The evolution was sped up too fast for the genetic engineering explanation that is just now happening (in the story). But past the suspension of disbelief, this was a fast-paced, suspense-filled thriller. This short, easy read is exciting with plenty of mystery and drama for middle readers. First in the new Bar Code series, it peaked my attention enough to that I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel.

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