The Hunters’ Girl – Book Review

The Hunters’ Girl by Barb Hendee

What would you do if you orphaned a girl?

Cooper Reyes and Lee Nevada run their own business hunting things no one else wants to hunt—ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and other dark entities. Before taking a job, they have clients sign a “hunters not responsible for damage or collateral” contract. They do a job, and they leave.

Then one night, in a hunt gone wrong, they orphan a teenage girl with a speech impediment. To Lee’s shock, Cooper won’t leave her to social services, as he doesn’t think she could survive the foster system. This could shatter their “no collateral” policy . . . and possibly their partnership.

They bring her to their log house in the forests of Quinault, Washington, and try to figure out how all of this is going to work. Though still damaged, she begins trying to fit into their life and home, determined to prove her worth. When it turns out she may have gifts and secrets of her own, Cooper and Lee have to face even harder decisions.

Taking in a stray is never simple.

Cooper and Lee are supernatural hunters for hire. They like their quiet and solitary life. They are both stoic and rigid and seem like the last men to take in an orphaned teenager. However, she’s not only emotionally scarred, but psychically gifted.

The Hunters’ Girl is the first installment in a new urban fantasy series. At only 212 pages, this is a shorter story than I’m used to, as I don’t read many novellas. But it just left me wanting more. It’s fast-paced and fun, with several supernatural mysteries that we get to experience. And I’m looking forward to seeing these characters evolve in future installments. I enjoyed every bit of this exciting new book. It feels like Ghost Hunters meets Supernatural. I can’t wait for the sequel.

The Princess Will Save You – Book Review

The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning

When her warrior father, King Sendoa, mysteriously dies, Princess Amarande of Ardenia is given what would hardly be considered a choice: Marry a stranger at sixteen or lose control of her family’s crown.

But Amarande was raised to be a warrior―not a sacrifice.

In an attempt to force her choice, a neighboring kingdom kidnaps her true love, stable boy Luca. With her kingdom on the brink of civil war and no one to trust, she’ll need all her skill to save him, her future, and her kingdom.

The inspiration for this novel was Princess Bride. This becomes really evident at times, with quite a bit of similar dialog and events. But don’t expect the same lighthearted humor. While there isn’t much in the way of humor, there is plenty of suspense, drama, and intrigue. And in this novel, the princess does the rescuing.

The Princess Will Save You is a fun YA novel that will appeal to fantasy fans of all ages. The adventure and mystery make for an engaging read. As well as several exciting twists and surprises. This is the first in a planned series, so don’t expect all threads to be wrapped up. But I certainly look forward to the next installment.

Captain Marvel: Beware the Flerken

Captain Marvel: Beware the Flerken! by Calliope Glass (Author), Rob McClurkan (Illustrator)

This new picture book is basically the Captain Marvel movie told from the Flerken’s point of view. The artwork is cute, and not at all scary for young children. We never actually see the flerken’s tentacles when she eats something.

Captain Marvel fans raising a young generation of Marvel fans will all enjoy this sweet and colorful story of a cat-like flerken who likes to eat a variety of things and makes several new friends.

Goddess in the Machine – Book Review

Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

When Andra wakes up, she’s drowning.
Not only that, but she’s in a hot, dirty cave, it’s the year 3102, and everyone keeps calling her Goddess. When Andra went into a cryonic sleep for a trip across the galaxy, she expected to wake up in a hundred years, not a thousand. Worst of all, the rest of the colonists–including her family and friends–are dead. They died centuries ago, and for some reason, their descendants think Andra’s a deity. She knows she’s nothing special, but she’ll play along if it means she can figure out why she was left in stasis and how to get back to Earth.

Zhade, the exiled bastard prince of Eerensed, has other plans. Four years ago, the sleeping Goddess’s glass coffin disappeared from the palace, and Zhade devoted himself to finding it. Now he’s hoping the Goddess will be the key to taking his rightful place on the throne–if he can get her to play her part, that is. Because if his people realize she doesn’t actually have the power to save their dying planet, they’ll kill her.

With a vicious monarch on the throne and a city tearing apart at the seams, Zhade and Andra might never be able to unlock the mystery of her fate, let alone find a way to unseat the king, especially since Zhade hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Andra. And a thousand years from home, is there any way of knowing that Earth is better than the planet she’s woken to?

The synopsis hooked me when a girl is woken up 1,000 years in the future instead of 100 on new planet. Andra wakes up to everyone calling her a goddess and expecting her to use her powers to save them. But she knows she’s just a girl, with everyone she’s ever known long gone.

Goddess in the Machine is the first in an inspired, new YA series. Set in the far distant future, this group of humans that Andra wakes up to are not familiar with any advanced technology. And the young man who woke her up has his own, secret agenda. Full of danger, suspense, political intrigue, romance, and betrayal – this is an impressive debut novel. It’s fast-paced and compelling. I certainly look forward to the next installment.

Hood – Book Review

Hood by Jenny Elder Moke

Isabelle of Kirklees has only ever known a quiet life inside the sheltered walls of the convent, where she lives with her mother, Marien. But after she is arrested by royal soldiers for defending innocent villagers, Isabelle becomes the target of the Wolf, King John’s ruthless right hand. Desperate to keep her daughter safe, Marien helps Isabelle escape and sends her on a mission to find the one person who can help: Isabelle’s father, Robin Hood.

As Isabelle races to stay out of the Wolf’s clutches and find the father she’s never known, she is thrust into a world of thieves and mercenaries, handsome young outlaws, new enemies with old grudges, and a king who wants her entire family dead. As she joins forces with Robin and his Merry Men in a final battle against the Wolf, will Isabelle find the strength to defy the crown and save the lives of everyone she holds dear?

Isabelle is the daughter of Mariena and Robin Hood. Though Robin Hood has been an absent father, Isabelle is just as talented a marksman. When she’s forced to find her father to save her mother, Isabelle joins up with the Merry Men while keeping her identity secret.

Though I feel like the Robin Hood legend has been played to death, this was fun, fresh take – focusing on his daughter. So, it was a new story with several new characters (offspring of the Merry Men).

This is a young adult novel that will appeal to wide range of readers. It’s a mostly lighthearted, exciting story with suspense and a bit of romance. It certainly has the feel of a traditional swashbuckling Robin Hood adventure for a younger generation. The final showdown is thrilling with a surprising somber note. And though this is a standalone novel, it would be a fun start of a new series as well.

Race to the Sun – Book Review

Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect monsters, like that man in the fancy suit who was in the bleachers at her basketball game. Turns out he’s Mr. Charles, her dad’s new boss at the oil and gas company, and he’s alarmingly interested in Nizhoni and her brother, Mac, their Navajo heritage, and the legend of the Hero Twins. Nizhoni knows he’s a threat, but her father won’t believe her.

When Dad disappears the next day, leaving behind a message that says “Run!”, the siblings and Nizhoni’s best friend, Davery, are thrust into a rescue mission that can only be accomplished with the help of Diné Holy People, all disguised as quirky characters. Their aid will come at a price: the kids must pass a series of trials in which it seems like nature itself is out to kill them. If Nizhoni, Mac, and Davery can reach the House of the Sun, they will be outfitted with what they need to defeat the ancient monsters Mr. Charles has unleashed. But it will take more than weapons for Nizhoni to become the hero she was destined to be . . .

Nizhoni can see monsters, but otherwise she is smart and loyal girl. She and her friend Davery are likable and relatable. Their journey into Navajo lore is exciting, perilous, and magical.

Race to the Sun is a fun, middle reader fantasy. Fans of Percy Jackson will enjoy this standalone story with fascinating Native American folklore. I only wish the villains would have been fleshed out a little more. But the journey Nizhoni follows is perilous and engaging. With plenty of adventure, suspense, and humor – this fast-paced story was a joy to read.

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