Synopsis: For the past twelve years, adults called “Freds” have raised Rosi, her younger brother Bobo, and the other children of their town, saying it is too dangerous for them to stay with their parents, but now they are all being sent back. Since Rosi is the oldest, all the younger kids are looking to her with questions she doesn’t have the answers to. She’d always trusted the Freds completely, but now she’s not so sure.
And their home is nothing like she’d expected, like nothing the Freds had prepared them for. Will Rosi and the other kids be able to adjust to their new reality?
Review: Rosi and all of the kids in Fredtown have been raised by loving, nurturing adults. But now they have to go back to their parents and the real world. And they are completely unprepared for the reality of their biological families and what life will be like going forward.
Children of Exile is the first in a science fiction trilogy for middle readers. Rosi is a sweet, likable girl who has been taught only good things from the Freds. However, since the kids were so sheltered, life is culture shock for them back in their real home – full of secrets and danger. I thoroughly enjoyed the suspenseful pacing and surprising final reveal. Though, there is plenty left unanswered. It feels like we’ve barely scratched the surface of the dark, intense world. And it’s a quick, easy read. Fans of post-apocalyptic series should check out this unique series debut.
Synopsis: The formerly glorious god Apollo, cast down to earth in punishment by Zeus, is now an awkward mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. In order to regain his place on Mount Olympus, Lester must restore five Oracles that have gone dark. But he has to achieve this impossible task without having any godly powers and while being duty-bound to a confounding young daughter of Demeter named Meg. Thanks a lot, Dad.
With the help of some demigod friends, Lester managed to survive his first two trials, one at Camp Half-Blood, and one in Indianapolis, where Meg received the Dark Prophecy. The words she uttered while seated on the Throne of Memory revealed that an evil triumvirate of Roman emperors plans to attack Camp Jupiter. While Leo flies ahead on Festus to warn the Roman camp, Lester and Meg must go through the Labyrinth to find the third emperor–and an Oracle who speaks in word puzzles–somewhere in the American Southwest. There is one glimmer of hope in the gloom-filled prophecy: The cloven guide alone the way does know. They will have a satyr companion, and Meg knows just who to call upon.
Review: Apollo (currently in the mortal body of Lester) and Meg team up with more familiar characters in this third installment in the Trials of Apollo series. Apollo has to brave the Labyrinth and discovers the 3rd evil emperor – who happens to want to steal his godly powers as well.
This latest installment had plenty of humor, adventure, drama, and heart. The story dragged a bit in the middle – it felt like it was purposefully made to stretch to a certain book length. There’s something to be said that my favorite books were the original Percy Jackson stories that were half of this length with all of the action and adventure, but a tighter (and more memorable) story. That being said, I love this incarnation of Apollo. He’s become humble, but still a bit of a coward, expecting others to fight for him. I still love the mystery, adventure, suspense, heartbreak, and humor. I look forward to the next in this inspired series.
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Gordy Stitser is one of the few people who knows the truth about the secret society of potion masters, because not only is Gordy’s mom on the Board of Ruling Elixirists Worldwide (B.R.E.W.), but she has also been training Gordy in the art of potion-making.
Gordy is a natural, and every day he sneaks down to the basement lab to invent new potions using exotic ingredients like fire ant eggs, porcupine quills, and Bosnian tickling juice.
One afternoon, Gordy receives a mysterious package containing an extremely rare potion known as ”The Eternity Elixir.” In the right hands, the Elixir continues to protect society. But in the wrong hands, it could destroy the world as we know it.
Now, sinister potion masters are on the hunt to steal the Eternity Elixir. It’s up to Gordy, his parents, and his best friends, Max and Adeline, to prevent an all-out potion war.
Review: Gordy is an apprentice of potion-making. He’s fascinated with his mother’s work. So, when he received a package meant for his mother when she’s out of town, Gordy decides to do his own experiments. But the Elixer is very dangerous. And his mother has been keeping secrets.
The Eternity Elixir is first in a new middle reader, fantasy series. The story is fast-paced and full of mystery, suspense, and humor. The characters are engaging and kept me guessing – from Gordy’s mother’s side of the family to his friends. And I loved the unique idea and clever use of magic through potions and the backstory of B.R.E.W. Events build to an exiting finale that doesn’t disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and look forward to the next installment.
Synopsis: Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father’s global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he’s truly gone. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can’t understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death.
Review: Alicia Vikander is the new Lara Croft – who was fantastic as an aimless young woman who becomes an archaeologist action hero. The research that her father was involved in is not very engaging – and pretty forgettable. This film was more of Lara’s journey and kind of a coming-of-age story. The actual archaeological spot and clues are fairly disappointing – there just isn’t much to it. But the suspense and thrills are spot on – as well as Vikander’s performance. Now that we have her backstory, I look forward to more interesting stories and actual tomb raiding. I certainly hope we get to see more of these films.
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My training resumed. I squeezed rocks and hopped up and down the staircase, and bit by bit, the muscles of my wrists and forearms and legs acquired new strength. The three-pronged kopar was still too unwieldy for me to use, but I reached the point where Brother Merik deemed me capable of learning the rudiments of the yakhan and began teaching me.
There was a great deal to learn. There was a complicated series of slashing strikes one made with the curved outer edge of the blade and straightforward thrusts with the tip. In close quarters, there were reverse thrusts with the spiked pommel, though one had to be careful to avoid fouling the blade. There were backward blows to be struck with the blunt inner curve of the blade. Brother Merik made me practice each and every one of them over and over, first with my right hand, then with my left. I did so with diligence, working toward the day when I should be allowed to spar like a true warrior-in-training. Brother Hakan, who was the smallest in stature, had promised to give me my first bout as soon as Brother Merik consented.
From Brother Yarit, I learned stealth.
I learned the Shahalim ways of walking: the silent toe-rolling step he had first demonstrated to me, the back-to-the-wall crossing walk, the swift heel-toe glide, the crouching walk, the crouching frog walk with splayed fingers and toes. On Brother Saan’s orders, Brother Hakan and a few of the other young brothers studied with us, so that the skills might be preserved and passed on within the Brotherhood of Pahrkun.
No one trained harder than I did, for the other warriors were already well versed in the usage of a wind- cutter sword. They needed only to keep the edge of their skills honed, while my fledgling skills were like a blade with no edge that must be ground on the wheel. At least that was how Brother Drajan put it, for he was as at home in a smithy as a kitchen, and taught me how to sharpen and maintain a blade.
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About STARLESS: Jacqueline Carey is back with an amazing adventure not seen since her New York Times bestselling Kushiel’s Legacy series. Lush and sensual, Starless introduces us to an epic world where exiled gods live among us, and a hero whose journey will resonate long after the last page is turned.
I was nine years old the first time I tried to kill a man…
Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him.
In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.
If Khai is to keep his soul’s twin Zariya alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine.
About Jacqueline Carey: JACQUELINE CAREY is the author of the New York Times bestselling Kushiel’s Legacy series of historical fantasy novels, The Sundering epic fantasy duology, postmodern fables “Santa Olivia” and “Saints Astray,” and the Agent of Hel contemporary fantasy series. Carey lives in western Michigan.