YA- Young Adult
A review of young adult novels
Every once in a while a book really surprises me. Normally I have a pretty good idea of what I like to read and I stick to that. Well Kings and Pawns, was totally outside of that. It is not a book that I normally would read. I am not really big into the whole fantasy genre, and my brain must have been asleep at the wheel when I signed up for this. But I am so glad that it was. This book was really really well written.
It is kinda geeky, I am not going to lie. When I got the book, I giggled a bit. There is a two page map of the lands that are described in the book. Plus there are several pages that point out the pronunciation of the characters name. These were details that I thought kinda odd. They turned out to be wonderful to have!! And I actually referred to them several times throughout reading it. There is actually not much to not love about this book.
About the Book:
J.J. Sherwood’s debut novel KINGS OR PAWNS: THE KINGS, BOOK 1 is the first in a high fantasy epic series sure to please fans of both the science fiction and fantasy genres.
The year is 8994 P.E., and the city of Elvorium is corrupted—rotted to the core by the machinations of depraved politicians. With his father dead and the country facing a rebellion, Price Hairem becomes the king of the elven world of Sevrigel in one of its most turbulent points in history.
Young and daring, Hairem is determined to eradicate the corruption festering in Elvorium’s self-serving and all-powerful council, which thwarts his best intentions at every turn. But Hairem’s problems are far more sinister¬—and deadly—than merely political. The loyal members of the council are being savagely murdered by an assassin loosed within the city—an assassin whose brutality knows no bounds. Outside of the city, the Lord Saebellus wages a vicious rebellion against the capital. He has been thwarted thus far by the brilliant General Jikun, and Hairem is certain that the general can crush Saebellus.
But instead of continuing the campaign against the warlord, the council orders Jikun’s army to be split, sending him on a mission that furthers only their own wealth and power. Jikun knows that the council’s demands will leave Elvorium vulnerable to an attack from the formidable warlord. Although Saebellus has been recently defeated, he is far from vanquished. As corruption and death threaten to tear the city apart from within, the rebel Saebellus seizes the opportunity to lay siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital and unleash his most powerful weapon yet: a demonic beast that neither weapon nor magic can kill. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem is grasping for his own power to fight against the forces that threaten Sevrigel.
Will Hairem overcome the council’s scheming and duplicity? Can General Jikun defeat the warlord Saebellus? Will this be the war that finally brings Sevrigel to its knees? KINGS OR PAWNS offers action, intrigue, mystery, and suspense—a thrilling story that will leave readers hungry for the sequel, Heroes or Thieves, to be published in February 2016.
So I know that this is not a typical Christmas time read. But sometimes you just gotta have a break for all the sugary sweet Christmas stuff. Right? Well if you are needing a break then this is just the book for you. School of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder’s Secret) needs to be your next read. Any tween girls in the house, looking for a kick ass heroine to relate to? Give them this book! This was a great book, with an awesome twist on old mythology. There is no sex, while there is violence (I mean the title states School of Deaths), it is not real graphic or detailed. The girl is strong, smart AND pretty.
This was a really well written book. The characters were awesome, and believable, the storyline moved fast without any weird plot holes or jumping around. It was easy to understand and follow. And while the ending was not what I was hoping for, it wrapped everything up very nicely. Perfect for a fourth to fifth grader boy, in my opinion. And a fantastic summer read.
Now the other side, my girls did not enjoy it. After the first chapter my two little ones opted not to read any more. While my oldest did finish the book, it won’t be one that she will be re-reading. **SPOILER** Tink did love the talking cat, though. She thought that he was quite funny, and loved his very nonchalant attitude. She was not a fan of the amount of the book that takes place in the sewer. She kept asking me, “Why would boys go down there? Eeww.”
Back of the Book
Summer vacation is almost here! And Pea O’Neil is stoked to try out the new local BMX track which is finally open. He and his gang of friends can ride all summer long!
But when Pea tries a back flip, he unwittingly opens a portal to another dimension and hordes of flying mutant zombie rats are unleashed upon the city. With the help of an otherworldly talking cat sent to help prevent the demise of humankind, Pea and his friends must hunt down the hungry mutants and send them back before the portal closes.
But when the zombie rats attack a neighbor man, the boys have to enlist the help of a graveyard looney and the city’s stray cats. With time running out, Pea and his gang track the monsters to the city’s sewer system. But in the city sewer of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, it’s eat…or get eaten.
If you have boys, I think that this would be a good read for them. However, those with girly girls (like my three), you might want to keep looking. Do your little ones read books that are gender specific or do you stick with neutral type books? Would your girls like a book like this? Let me know your thoughts.
Ok I really wanted to love this book. I really wanted to like this book. I LOVE Stefanie’s Nick show Parental Discretion, and was excited to read one of her books. While I was hoping to have the same type of laugh out loud humor, there was something missing when it was put into writing. The book was missing something and it was just not there for me.
From the back of the book:
“From the popular mommy blogger and seasoned author of Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay andNaptime Is the New Happy Hour comes this hilarious book of honest, no-holds-barred musings on motherhood.
Stefanie Wilder-Taylor is officially fed up with the endless mommy fads, trends, studies, findings, and facts about how to raise children. Tiger Mom or Cool Mom? Organic or vegan? “TV is the devil” or “TV is a godsend”?
The mother of three young girls, Stefanie has finally decided to hell with Google—she’s going to find out how to be a mom all on her own. In this latest mommy book from the popular blogger, author, and TV personality, Stefanie will share her secrets for achieving a balance in motherhood between being protective and caring, and downright bats**t crazy. She’ll debunk some of the looniest parenting myths and reinforce others; she’ll describe how, through as simple a process as good old trial-and-error, she’s learned to pick and choose what works for her and her family, and tune out the rest.
Filled with sage advice, laugh-out-loud stories, and Stefanie’s signature wit, Gummi Bears Should Not Be Organic is sure to appeal to any and every renegade mom who’s forged her own path to childrearing.”
It covers a very large range of topics, which is great. It sheds a lot of light on a lot of topics. There are moments where it is completely relatable, and where you smile and think, “Oh yea. I have been there and done that.” But then it takes a turn to the dark side.
I like parenting books that encompass a right there with you feel, then give you some advice on how to make it better. This particular book, has a the hell with it feel. So it talks about how moms dress, and that she likes her yoga pants (and lets be honest who doesn’t), but instead of then talking about how you could dress them up a bit and make yourself feel a bit more put together, all while staying comfy. It takes the hell with it feel, and encourages all moms to look dumpy in their yoga pants and forget about doing any hair or makeup with them.
Now don’t misunderstand me here, I am all for those days when you are just needing to not worry about anything other then a ponytail for your hair, and forget about doing any makeup. But I don’t want to read a book telling me that not only is that ok (which it totally is), but that, that particular look is what all moms should strive for.
When you are reading fun fluffy mom books, what do you want in them? Do you like having the right there with you feel? Do you want practical advice on making the situation better? Are you striving for verification that it is ok to be your own type of parent? Let me know, I am so curious to see if I am just odd wanting a different spin on these books.
To say I loved this book from the first sentence would be a stretch. To be honest, I had issues with the first sentence. It took a few reads to get past it. But once I did, it was awesome!
From The Back Of The Book-
“When Vivian’s mother dies in a tragic accident, Vivian’s world is turned upside down. Her life, as she knows it, is over. A new life, full of her mother’s secrets, begins…
Sent away by her father to live with two eccentric aunts on the mysterious Tremaine Estate, Vivian comes to learn that a powerful curse lurks over her family – one that only she may have the power to break. With each day she spends in Misty Hills, Vivian uncovers more unsettling discoveries about the town, her reclusive family, and herself.
Can Vivian let go of every truth she’s ever believed and discover who she really is, before the dark secrets hidden within the supernatural town threaten to consume her and those she loves?”
This story starts after (I think a year after) Vivian’s mother dies. Her father is running out of ways to parent a teenage daughter and sends her to live with aunts that she never knew existed. As Vivian is getting to know the small town that she is living in, she learns more about her mother and the family she never knew she had.
The story of magic, curses, and small town rumors comes right to your front page. It starts slow and builds without you realizing it. Before you know it, you are up well past mid-night trying to finish the book. With as much as I loved this book, it was wonderful to see Tink get so involved in a book.
She is not a big reader. In fact getting her to read “for fun” is like pulling teeth. Actually, she would much rather go to the dentist and really get some teeth pulled then be forced to read a book. She just does not enjoy reading in any form. I got huge eye rolling and even a huff when I asked her to read this. She was not pleased with me, not even a little bit. Then she started it.
I caught her up well past bedtime, hiding in the closet, with a flashlight to finish this book. Then got the eye rolling and huffing when I told her she had to put the book down and go to bed. This happened more then once, or even twice. Until she was finished reading this was the nightly routine with her.
Then one night, while my husband and I were watching tv, we heard her yell from her room. Then a door slam. After racing down, and asking her what was going on, she informed us that she had just finished the book. She was not a fan of the ending, and even less of a fan of having to wait for the next one to come out. Please come out with Book 2 soon!!!
Do your kids like to read? What do you do to get your middle schooler to read more?
This was the first book from Heidi Acosta and I am hooked. While the writing itself does not always flow as smoothly as I would like in a few parts. Her vivid details and imagination more then make up for it. Acosta is one of those rare authors that can paint an entire new world for you, with just a few pages. Worlds that you would never have thought to even think about, come to life. Not only that, but they jump right out at you and engulf you, swallowing you whole.
From the back of the book:
“Sixteen-year-old Eden Day, also known as freak, is stuck caring for her alien obsessed aunt after the death of her parents. When she’s not helping her prepare for the next alien invasion, Eden spends her time trying to escape her self-appointed tormentors, listening to her perfect best friend complain about her perfect life, and struggling to write her overdue sports article for her school newspaper … not that she knows anything about sports.
Then two brother’s move into town, turning her boring life completely upside down. Golden boy Cardelain is the talk of town and seems to have set his sights on Eden. But, it’s the dark and elusive Jaxson who has caught her attention. Bound and determined to figure out what secret he is hiding, Eden begins to dig for the truth, but the deeper she digs, the more her life seems to be in danger. Then one night a man with glowing eyes attacks her, everyone thinks she imagined it and is as crazy as her aunt. But, Eden knows she is not crazy and that Jaxson had something to do with the attack. Soon she finds herself involved in a dark game with Jaxson, immersed in a strange and twisted world that nightmares are made of.”
This particular story has a typical, formulaic plot for about half the book. Geeky girl gets bullied in high school. New foster boys come to town; one the all american football star and the dark, mysterious one. Geeky girls crushes on them both, all while she thinks they are out of her league. It has a very Twilight feel (but with aliens not vampires). Both boys like her and she is torn between them. blah blah blah
But then it takes a new twist, you thought that you are on a pretty safe, slow moving road here and you are quickly whipped to the left and start racing down the rabbit hole. The whole time that I was reading the beginning of the book, I thought that we were going to be taking a vampire turn and that was the secret. I promise you this is no vampire fan fiction book. It goes someplace completely different.
There is so much that I want to say about this book, but honestly anything that I would tell you would spoil it for you. So I will leave it with…..
Add this to your must read list!!!
LOVED this book! It has everything that one would ask for in a twisted tale: zombie princess, zombie prince, zombie army, and the unlikely hero that manages to save the women he loves. Without being turned into a zombie. What is not to love?
If you read my review on Insanity (if not you can check it out here), you know my love of twisted fairy tales. Maybe it is the sick part of me that likes seeing the princesses in a new light, without all the glitter and tiaras. Maybe I just like a new spin on an old princess story. Who knows, but one thing that I do know, without any doubt. That these authors, the ones that can your traditional story and come up with a whole twist. The ones that take you way way way out to left field, are the best story tellers in our day and age. Their imagination is unbelievable. How they are able to come up with these, is beyond me.
Rob E. Boley is no different. That Risen Snow is a wonderful twist on the classic fairy tale Snow White. It starts the way that every Snow White tale starts. Snow had taken a bite of a poisonous apple and fell into a deep sleep. Where she waits for her prince to come and wake her with a true loves kiss.
The prince finds her, and kisses her. She awakens to look up at the man that loves her, the one that truly loves her. And.. Then she wakes up wrong. The similarities on the classic story and this twist end right there.
From the back of the book:
“The zombie sequel to Snow White begins where the classic fairy tale ends, with the Prince’s kiss waking Snow from her cursed slumber. Snow wakes up, but she doesn’t wake up right.
Now a deranged zombie, Snow infects both the Prince and the seven dwarfs’ leader. That leaves the young dwarf Grouchy, who is secretly in love with Snow, to find a cure for her malicious curse. So begins an epic journey that pits the lovesick Grouchy against dwarf-hating human soldiers, Snow’s ever-growing zombie horde, and his own bad temper.
Snow is hell-bent on spreading her horrid curse across the land, and it’s up to Grouchy to stop her before it’s too late.”
That Risen Snow is currently free, thats right you can read if for free, on Amazon right now! Go get it. What do you have to lose. If you want more information about the author you can check him out here.
What is your thought, fairy tales are perfect they way they are or do you like when they get all twisted? What is your favorite fairy tale? Would you want to read a twisted version of it or leave it how it is?
Did you love Divergent? Did you love Hunger Games? Wish that those had a small paranormal twist? Then Seeker is the next book that you should put on your must read list.
From The Back Of The Book-
“The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor.
As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world.
And she’ll be with the boy she loves–who’s also her best friend.
But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes.
Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought.
And now it’s too late to walk away.”
This was one of those books that sat on my virtual bookcase for quite a while before I read it. And I am so mad at myself for not picking it up sooner. It was AMAZING. I loved every moment of it. The book itself starts in the present, with what is going on right now. And you think that you have a pretty good idea of who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. But then, the book jumps back in the past and you get to see the why behind how the characters are acting. Then your view shifts, and the bad guys become the good guys.
While Quin is the main character and the story follows her closely, she is not my favorite character. I really fell in love with John. His character is so much deeper then most of the characters in the whole young adult genre. During the second part of the book, you get to see his upbringing. His interaction with his mother, you get to see his driving force, and he really becomes a well rounded person (in my mind).
My least favorite character would have been Shinobu. While, I think he was suppose to be a good guy, he really got on my nerves. I like how he developed, I liked all the background information on him. But he himself was someone that just bugged me.
I really liked the idea of the book. A girl being rasied and trained from the time she is young, to grow up to be special. She grew up thinking that a Seeker was something to be idealized. That a seeker was a hero, that they would protect the community and right the wrongs of the world. But then once she took her vows, she learns that this is all wrong. And it is to late to do anything now.
Seeker is a book that needs to get on your must read list.
Do you like books that this kind of book, where the build it is not the truth and the story takes such a drastic turn? Do you enjoy paranormal books? Or books that jump around in time? Let me know.
“The day I was born, a single red apple grew on a juniper tree in our castle’s garden.
A Blood Apple.
It was a rare fruit; the most sought after in Europe at the time. An apple of unmatched sweetness and unearthly ripeness. Some claimed it could cure the sick and enrich the poor, grant children to the sterile, and keep the soul guarded from demonic possessions. Its rarity and taste made it comparable with gold and diamonds, if they were edible. There was a well-known saying: “A Blood Apple a day keeps all Sorrow away.” Few people knew why the word “sorrow” had always been capitalized in this sentence. I learned why many years later.
The single, delicious Blood Apple that grew on my birthday was even rarer. This one was the first to grow in my homeland, Styria, in seven years.
A nameless witch—we did not speak her name—had cursed my homeland in Western Europe many years before. Every time a tree gave birth to an apple, it came out grey, rotten, and infested with worms. No amount of magic or prayers managed to lift up the curse. They said the witch was the mother of all witches, that she was darker than the darkest shades of night. For reasons beyond me, she had cursed us with no intention to relieve us from her wicked omen, ever.
All of this changed the day I blossomed from my mother’s womb into this life. No one knew how it was possible, or why it happened. Everyone said I was going to be a special princess who’d prosper and grow and maybe rule Styria one day.
The servants in our castle drooled at the sight of the single red and ripe apple. They stared at it as if it were the fountain of youth that could quench their thirst and wet their seven-years-long dried souls. Some of the servants sank to their knees and thanked Pomona, the Goddess of Fruits whom no one had ever seen, for her blessings.
But only fools thanked Pomona, for the rest of our land knew it was me who had saved them. I possessed the power to defy “the witch whose name we don’t speak.”
The birth of me, Carmilla Karnstein, daughter of Theodora and Philip II, was a miracle like no other in centuries. I came to this world with a revelation, a sign, and some kind of rapture: the first Blood Apple in seven years.
Little did I know then that it wasn’t a lucky coincidence, that I wasn’t just a fairy tale made up by the poor and wishful peasants of Europe. How would I have known that I was part of the universe’s plan in an eternal feud between good and evil?
The arrival of a beautiful child, the blossoming of apples, and the end of a curse were only a prelude to an epic tale of love and sorrow.”
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After reading Insanity, by Cameron Jace (you can see that review here) I knew that I had to get my hands on all the rest of his books. His has a way to twist all the classic story book characters into new stories, that will grab you from the very first page. And never let go. While you know the characters like the back of your hand, his books take on a new life of their own. They are not simply the re-telling of an old story; they are brand new ideas, new stories, that will have you guess and turning the pages till it lets you go.
If you have not yet read one of his books, I would HIGHLY recommend picking up one. Find the characters you like the most and jump on in.
To check out Blood, Milk and Chocolate, just click below and it will take you to the Amazon page for it.
Who is your favorite author? What types of books do you enjoy the most? Let me know.