Fantasy Book Review: Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy

Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy by Tui T. Sutherland

Official Synopsis:
The seven dragon tribes have been at war for generations, locked in an endless battle over an ancient, lost treasure. A secret movement called the Talons of Peace is determined to bring an end to the fighting, with the help of a prophecy – a foretelling that calls for great sacrifice. Five dragonets are collected to fulfill the prophecy, raised in a hidden cave and enlisted, against their will, to end the terrible war. But not every dragonet wants a destiny. And when the select five escape their underground captors to look for their original homes, what has been unleashed on the dragon world may be far more than the revolutionary planners intended.

Review:
There are fantastic drawings and descriptions of each of the dragon tribes at the beginning of the book that made for a necessary reference when trying to keep the characters straight while reading. The dragons have human-like personalities, especially the dragonets, raised to bring peace to the world. The young dragonets have good hearts and not at all violent. Even the central character Clay, a MudWing, who supposedly attacked his peers’ eggs as soon as he hatched – can’t seem to bring forth that fury within himself again. So, when the dragonets emerge from their secluded place of protection and training, none of them are prepared for a world where dragons have lived in war for ages. The dragons on the outside are hard, violent, and cruel – with a vastly different set of moral conduct.

I absolutely fell in love with Sutherland’s world of diverse dragons, intrigue, and prophecy. But the highlight of the story is certainly the five young dragons, and Clay in particular. Their bravery, selflessness for each other, and innocence is heartwarming in the midst of their dark surroundings. Wings of Fire is the first in the Dragonet Prophecy series with plenty of promise. The series is marketed for middle readers, but can be enjoyed by fantasy fans of all ages. Though it is somewhat dark and could be a bit violent at times for younger children. Full of adventure, suspense, fascinating characters, and plenty of surprises along the way – this novel was impossible to put down. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the sequel, planned to release in January 2013.

Book Giveaway and Spotlight: The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires

Courtesy of Pocket Books, I have a copy of The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper (on sale July 31st) for one (1) lucky winner!

Set in the world of Half Moon Hollow, made famous in Molly’s Nice Girls Don’t… series, this stand-alone comedic novel features a daytime vampire concierge who helps the undead take care of errands and appointments during sunlight hours. Iris Scanlon’s only rule: relationships are for business, not pleasure. But when she finds newest client, Cal, poisoned on his kitchen floor, her quiet life gets turned upside down. Could it be that what she really needs is some intrigue and romance—and her very own stray vampire?

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 27. I’ll draw a name on July 28, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Read moreBook Giveaway and Spotlight: The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires

SciFi Book Review: Changeling

Changeling by Kelly Meding

Dahlia “Ember” Perkins is the new Meta (superhuman) on the team and has the ability to absorb and manipulate fire. The super-heroes-for-hire have done everything they can to welcome and accept Ember into their group, but she still feels like she doesn’t fit in. The Metas are called in to help local police with a bizarre murder where only the victim’s skin is left behind. And when clues lead to an old case of Ember’s, she soon finds herself the target of a killer.

This is the sequel to last year’s Trance. While Trance felt more like a super hero/super villain showdown, Changeling feels more like a mystery/paranormal cop show. While still in the same series, the point of view shifts to another team member as well. Meding has done a great job with character development. No shallow cardboard cut outs here. And I was surprised that the drama was just as interesting as the action-packed adventure scenes. This fantastic sequel is packed with suspense, thrills and plenty of surprises. Urban fantasy, scifi, and super hero fans alike will enjoy this dark, intense series.

Fantasy Book Review: Tin Swift

Tin Swift by Devon Monk

Cedar Hunt has been traveling with the Madder brothers, Mae, Rose, and his brother Wil. Cedar has promised to lead the Madder brothers to the mysterious Strange weapon called the Holder. Cedar can track it, thanks to his curse. Every full moon Cedar feels the call of the beast within himself. Mae is a witch and once they find her coven, she has promised to free Cedar and Wil from their curse. But when they come across a town that stinks of the Strange and all the people are dead, Cedar will have to make hard decisions that will alter their course.

This is the sequel to last year’s Dead Iron, bringing back some great characters. Cedar has blossoming feelings for Mae, the recent widow who is slowing going insane because of her link to her coven miles away. Unfortunately, the Madder brothers aren’t in this story very much, but we’re introduced to an airship full of new, fun characters.

Monk flawlessly blends fantasy, steampunk, and western in this fantastic series. And surprisingly, I enjoyed this one even more than the first. With swashbuckling adventure, mysterious artifacts, magic, and imaginative steam-powered technology – Tin Swift is not to be missed. Fast-paced and exciting, I flew through this one and couldn’t put it down. I’m certainly looking forward to future installments in this incredible series.

Mystery Book Review: The Harry Houdini Mysteries: The Houdini Specter

The Harry Houdini Mysteries: The Houdini Specter by Daniel Stashower

Harry Houdini is a struggling performer, trying to become famous. Houdini and his brother Dash will agree to just about anything to get on the stage. Dash and Houdini are asked by an old friend to expose a conman holding séances and claiming to speak to a wealthy widow’s recently deceased husband. But during their séance, even Houndini can’t manage to immediately figure out how the conman, Lucius Craig, created a ghost-like figure that seems to have murdered one of the guests. And Craig was completely tied up to a chair, which Houdini himself secured the ropes.

This is the third installment in the Harry Houdini Mysteries, though is wholly standalone. As a fan of the famous escape artist, I love reading about Houdini – even fictional accounts. Stashower’s atmosphere and dialog feels like an exciting Sherlock Holmes novel, set in a slightly later time period and with a seemingly unsolvable mystery. In this series, Houdini is an outrageously eccentric and flamboyant performer who is always “on.” He obviously appreciates Sherlock Holmes, but is significantly more showy and absolutely believes that he is one of the world’s greatest performers and escape artists. Dash plays straight man to Houdini’s over-the-top hilarity, and the two are incredibly funny and charming.

The mystery within The Houdini Specter was inspired and engrossing. The characters are completely loveable. And the final climactic showdown was suspenseful and thrilling. Fast-paced and a quick read, I couldn’t put this down and devoured it in just a couple hours. I will definitely be picking up the rest in this fantastic series.

YA Thriller Book Review: Cold Fury

Cold Fury by TM Goeglein

Sara Jane Rispoli is part of a close-knit Italian family. Her father, uncle and grandfather all run a bakery. But when her uncle’s jealousy of her father causes a rift in the family, Sara Jane learns that her family has been keeping some dark secrets. Then her house is broken into and her parents and brother disappear, and Sara Jane discovers, courtesy of a hidden notebook, that her family has been rooted in the Chicago mafia since the days of Al Capone. Now, Sara Jane is on the run from a determined, hooded pursuer and a dirty cop, while desperately trying to find out what happened to her family.

Sara Jane is a smart sixteen-year-old with a good heart. She doesn’t have any desire to join any cliques at school and would rather hang out with her family. As a result, she doesn’t have many friends. But she excels at boxing, her favorite past time, that seems to fuel a strange “cold fury” that burns within her in times of distress.

I love being surprised by new authors. And this was a breath of fresh air. Goeglein’s story of Sara Jane’s family is fascinating, weaving in Chicago’s mob history back in the days of the prohibition. I found myself completely caught up in the excitement and suspense. Cold Fury is YA thriller with a complex plot, fascinating characters, and fast-paced adventure. This riveting story was impossible to put down. The climactic ending, left on a bit of a cliffhanger that left me wanting more. Thankfully, this is just the first in a planned trilogy from an obviously talented new author. YA adventure fans as well as adults should check out this outstanding debut.


Cold Fury releases from Putnam Juvenile on July 24, 2012.

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