Tag Archive | YA

TBR Spotlight: Death to the Undead — by Pembroke Sinclair

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Death to the Undead (Life After the Undead, #2)

Author: Pembroke Sinclair

Genre/Pages: Zombie Post-Apocalyptic / 286

Summary: “Seventeen-year-old Krista has already proven she can survive the zombie hordes.

After moving to North Platte with her distant cousin General Liet to help build a wall that will keep the zombies in the West, it becomes apparent that the zombies aren’t the biggest threat—some survivors are far more dangerous than Krista had ever imagined.

With the help of Quinn, a survivor and fighter from the zombie-infested wildlands of the West, they free the garrison at North Platte from the power-hungry Liet. But there is a bigger battle to fight.

The Families who rule Florida and use intimidation and the threat of the zombie horde to coerce their territory want Krista and Quinn captured, the zombies want to devour them, and other survivors want them dead. Caught between powerful forces, will they survive long enough to devise a new plan and put it into action? Or will they self-destruct?

Find out in book two of this thrilling apocalyptic series by author Pembroke Sinclair.”

Cover Review: I like this cover a little more than I do the first one. I know it’s going for the post-apocalyptic feel, but, tbh, I’m getting more of the Old West vibe from it. Which is weird, I know, because there is a modern fence, but whatever. I like the cover, overall!

Why I put it on my TBR list: I’m a huge fan of the author, and so when she offered to send me some of her YA novels, I happily accepted her offer. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t able to get to them before I left on my mission, so this spotlight post will have to suffice for the time being, and to serve as a reminder that I need to read them as soon as I get back. 

Okay, so what I like the best about this story, from what I can tell, is that the entire premise is not just escaping zombies. It’s about rebuilding a destroyed society, and the politics and danger involved in that endeavor, and that sounds like an epic book to read! I can’t wait to give it a try!

Read the first book? Or perhaps you enjoy jumping into books mid-series? Make sure to pick up your copy of Death to the Undead!

Attention: This is a scheduled, pre-written, post. I am serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Jan. 2017 through Jul. 2018, and will not be checking my blog email, or updating my blog during that time. (I may have some already written posts scheduled go live during that time, but I will not be active on my blog, and these posts are completely my own opinion and are not representative of the opinions or stances of the church). For more information about Mormon missionaries, go to: lds.org or mormon.org.

Any book requests or other communication received in that time will not be responded to until after July 2018.

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TBR Spotlight: Faults — by Tudor Robins

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Faults (Island Series, #4)

Author: Tudor Robins

Genre/Pages: Equestrian Fiction / 260

Summary: “Giving up her pony didn’t make Austen’s sister better. Sacrificing her social life hasn’t done it either. But with her sister’s life at stake, Austen’s never good at saying no. So, when their mom decides a move to the island is just what Eliot needs, Austen says good-bye to her perfect summer plans.

Rand’s not on the island by choice, either. After drinking, driving, and crashing his neighbour’s car, he’s been sent to live with his uncle until a spot opens up for him at boarding school.

If too-nice Austen, and too-much-trouble Rand are opposites maybe that’s why they’re so attracted to each other.

New characters mix with familiar faces – not to mention plenty of horses and dogs – in this fourth book of the much-loved Island Series.”

Cover Review: Say what??? I can’t make heads or tails out of this cover… Cuz there aren’t any on it. It’s just weird… I mean, I’ve given baths to hundreds of horses, and I like to take artsy photos… But I would never take this shot and think “this should be on the cover of a book”. It doesn’t work. At all. 

Why I put it on my TBR list: I love this series. Like, a lot. It’s my happy series. It’s what I read when I’m sad. It’s like the Heartland TV series, except books… and completely different stories. But still. I love Tudor Robins, and I love her writing! I am so so SO excited to read this one when I get back from my mission and I cannot wait to see what more Tudor has in store for us!

Tudor restored my faith in equestrian fiction when I thought that there could be no more good ones. Then I found these books and they are so beyond perfect I can’t even. 

Are you a fan of the Island Series? Do you love horses? Make sure to go buy your copy of Faults!

Attention: This is a scheduled, pre-written, post. I am serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Jan. 2017 through Jul. 2018, and will not be checking my blog email, or updating my blog during that time. (I may have some already written posts scheduled go live during that time, but I will not be active on my blog, and these posts are completely my own opinion and are not representative of the opinions or stances of the church). For more information about Mormon missionaries, go to: lds.org or mormon.org.

Any book requests or other communication received in that time will not be responded to until after July 2018.

Review: Twice Upon a Time — by Aya Ling

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. 

Title: Twice Upon a Time (Unfinished Fairy Tales, #2)

Author: Aya Ling

Rating:  ★★★★★★ (6 of 5)

Genre/Pages: Fairytale retelling / 319

Summary: “Seven years have passed since Kat left Athelia. Through the intervention of the goblin king’s baby daughter, the book is re-opened and Kat is transported back to Story World. Upon learning she is given a second chance, Edward is determined not to let her go this time. His chance of succeeding, however, seems like nil. Kat doesn’t remember anything of their past, she loathes life at court, and she’s anxious to return to modern world. Not to mention that there’s a price to pay for tampering with the book again…”

Cover Review: Absolutely gorgeous. More self published authors need to follow Aya’s example, because this cover is positively breathtakingly perfect. This is the kind of book that I want to have on my shelf not only because it’s amazing, but also because the cover is just so pretty.

My Review: So I was actually lucky enough to be able to beta read this book in exchange for honest feedback. Honestly, I am SO thrilled that Aya let me be part of her beta reading group because, even though I may not always be the nicest of beta readers, I love getting to see the process of how authors write the books that I love so much. I have always loved Aya’s books. They make me happy. 

Characters: I cannot possibly say enough good about these characters. I absolutely adore every single one of them. This is really where Aya’s incredible skill as an author shines through – her characters. They are all complex and thought out with detailed enough sub-plots that she could write spin-off books about each and every one of them if she so chose (man, I hope she does that. How could would it be to have a spin-off story dedicated entirely to Henry and Ella?). I love her characters so much. I know I gush about books and authors all the time, but I promise you, Aya Ling is one of the very best. 

Plot: I hate amnesia as the catalyst to a romance. It’s so dumb. It makes me incredibly angry. But… Aya Ling pulled it off. She actually wrote a fairy tale with star-crossed lover amnesia that I enjoyed reading. And I really enjoyed it. It was a page-turner, for sure.

Content Advisory: Things got a little bit…erm… heated, at two different points, and there was a sexual assault that almost happened, but it didn’t, and scenes of a sexual nature were almost entirely off-page, so you don’t have to worry about anything explicit. A few swear words here and there, but not much.  

To Sum It Up: Aya Ling is a masterful storyteller who has the ability to make you instantly fall in love with the world and characters that she creates. If you love, or even like, fairy tales, you need to read Aya’s books. I recommend Twice Upon a Time to readers 13+.

Attention: This is a scheduled, pre-written, post. I am serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Jan. 2017 through Jul. 2018, and will not be checking my blog email, or updating my blog during that time. (I may have some already written posts scheduled go live during that time, but I will not be active on my blog, and these posts are completely my own opinion and are not representative of the opinions or stances of the church). For more information about Mormon missionaries, go to: lds.org or mormon.org.

Any book requests or other communication received in that time will not be responded to until after July 2018.

TBR Spotlight: Life After the Undead — by Pembroke Sinclair

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Life After the Undead (Life After the Undead, #1)

Author: Pembroke Sinclair

Genre/Pages: Zombie Post-Apocalyptic / 248

Summary: “Seventeen-year-old Krista must quickly figure out how she’s going to survive in the zombie-destroyed world. The one advantage humans have is that the zombies hate humid environments, so they’re migrating west to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors plan to construct a wall at North Platte to keep the undead out, and Krista has come to Nebraska to start a new life.

Zombies aren’t the only creatures she has to be cautious of—the other survivors have a dark side. Krista must fight not only to live but also to defend everything she holds dear—her country, her freedom, and ultimately, those she loves.

Join Krista in her quest to survive in this thrilling apocalyptic novel by Pembroke Sinclair.”

Cover Review: This cover is a significant improvement on the one I first got from Pembroke, but it’s still not my favorite thing ever. It’s trying to hard to be mainstream, with it’s simplistic cover with random clipart as the focal point. BUT, I’d pick it up. It looks clean, professional, and intriguing.

Why I put it on my TBR list: I’m a huge fan of the author, and so when she offered to send me some of her YA novels, I happily accepted her offer. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t able to get to them before I left on my mission, so this spotlight post will have to suffice for the time being, and to serve as a reminder that I need to read them as soon as I get back. 

TBH, I’ve never actually read a zombie book before. But this one doesn’t seem to cliche, and I know that the author writes well, so I’m going to give it a try. There’s a first time for everything, right? I really like the premise of rebuilding a community after a tragedy, because personally, that’s one of my favorite book tropes and I love to read it. So I’m super excited for that!

Like zombie novels? Looking to try something new? Make sure to pick up your copy of Life After the Undead!

Attention: This is a scheduled, pre-written, post. I am serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Jan. 2017 through Jul. 2018, and will not be checking my blog email, or updating my blog during that time. (I may have some already written posts scheduled go live during that time, but I will not be active on my blog, and these posts are completely my own opinion and are not representative of the opinions or stances of the church). For more information about Mormon missionaries, go to: lds.org or mormon.org.

Any book requests or other communication received in that time will not be responded to until after July 2018.

Review: Shadow Eyes — by Dusty Crabtree

 

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com

Title: Shadow Eyes

 

Author: Dusty Crabtree

Rating:  ★★★★☆ (4 of 5)

Genre/Pages: Urban Fantasy / 328

Summary: “Iris thought she could ignore the shadows…until they came after everyone she loved.

Seventeen-year- old Iris Kohl has been able to see both dark and light figures ever since a tragic incident three years ago. The problem is, no one else seems to see them, and even worse…the dark figures terrorize humans, but Iris is powerless to stop them.

Although she’s learned to deal with watching shadows harass everyone around her, Iris is soon forced to question everything she thinks she knows about her world and herself. Her sanity, strength, and will power are tested to the limits by not only the shadows, but also a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows, a new friend with an awe-inspiriting aura, and a mysterious, alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend. As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, Iris must ultimately accept the guidance of an angel to revisit the most horrific event of her life and become the hero she was meant to be.”

Cover Review: Not a fan of this cover. The font is pretty, and the colors are nice (and important to the plot), but it’s not a very aesthetically pleasing cover, or one that would make me want to pick up / buy the book. It could definitely use a complete revamp. 

My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. First of all, Dusty Crabtree’s writing and imagery are absolutely captivating. She has a way with words that makes everything come to life beautifully. The world and premise are really creative — it’s an epic modern battle between angels and demons, it’s a story that embodies Dumbledore’s quote: 

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Characters: Honestly, the protagonist infuriated me at times, but that’s exactly what made her such a good character. She was so receptive and good at seeing what was wrong with everyone else, except for herself and her immediate circumstances. Then again, I suppose that is exactly what made her so relatable and realistic, because human beings tend to be pretty blind when it comes to themselves and their friends. That’s what enables Iris’ story to teach so many good and important life lessons. Each character exists to teach the reader different things (but not in a preachy way at all), and each character is in a different stage of their personal battle between good and evil. 

Plot: I loved the plot. It told the very real story of a teenage girl in a scary world overcoming her own personal evil. It was heartfelt, it was poignant, and it was meaningful. This is the kind of story that actually stands for something. It’s more than just a fun book to read, it’s genuinely good book, and an important story to tell. It was a fantastic read!

Content Advisory: Wow, this book deals with some really heavy topics. Alcoholism, date rape, drug use, teenage pregnancies, self-harm, suicide, blackmail, manipulation, miscarriages, cheating spouses, and car crashes, if memory serves. These things are always portrayed in a negative light, and is a story contrasting the battle between the light and the dark in the world. When I asked the author about it, she said: “There are some PG-13 things, but nothing major – it’s really more just descriptions of stuff leading up to something bad that never actually happens.  But everything (guy/girl stuff) is shown in a negative light – not condoned.  In fact, I have yet to get negative feedback on that from a Christian or person sensitive to that stuff.”

To Sum It Up: A beautifully written contemporary tale of the eternal battle between good and evil, this book is nearly impossible to put down. It’s engaging, gripping, and realistic. I highly recommend this book to readers 15 and up. 

Review: The Sailweaver’s Son — by Jeff Minerd

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: The Sailweaver’s Son (Sky Riders of Etherium, #1)

Author: Jeff Minerd

Rating:  ★★★★★★ (6 of 5 – One of the best books of all time!)

Genre/Pages: Steampunk Fantasy / 310

Summary: “The Sailweaver’s Son combines traditional fantasy with a dash of steampunk and takes readers to the world of Etherium, where mountains rise like islands above a sea of clouds and adventurers travel the sky in sail-driven airships.

When fifteen-year-old Tak rescues the survivor of an airship destroyed by one of the giant flammable gas bubbles mysteriously appearing in the sky of Etherium, the authorities react like a flock of startled grekks.

Admiral Scud accuses Tak of sabotage and treason. Tak’s father grounds him for reckless airmanship. Rumors spread that the bubbles are weapons devised by the Gublins, a race of loathsome but ingenious underground creatures. The King’s advisors call for war, hoping to win much-needed Gublin coal.

To prove his innocence, solve the mystery, and prevent a misguided war, Tak must do what anyone knows is suicide – visit the Gublins and find out what they’re up to. When the wizard’s adopted daughter, an oddly beautiful and irksomely intelligent girl from the Eastern kingdoms, asks Tak to help her do just that, he can’t say no.

The adventure will take Tak from the deepest underground caves to a desperate battle on Etherium’s highest mountaintop. It will force him to face his worst fears, and to grow up faster than he expected.”

Cover Review: Absolutely beautiful. This is the kind of cover I love to see on a book. The artwork is well-done, the colors are aesthetically pleasing, and the scene actually presents a solid idea of what the book is about. 

My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I don’t give out six star ratings very often. It takes a very special book to receive my highest of ratings, and Sailweaver’s Son was completely worthy of it! This book automatically ranks among Percy Jackson and the Ranger’s Apprentice/Brotherband series’ as one of the single best MG/YA books ever. 

Plot: The world building was exquisite, and unlike any concept I’d ever read before. I also think this book did a beautiful job handling the after effects of war on Tak. Too often I see MG/YA characters carry on as if nothing of importance had happened after they kill their opponents. I think Jeff Minerd portrayed war with realism, while still respecting the age of his readers.  This is a steampunk fantasy world of teenagers flying airships and going on diplomatic missions for the king. This is a story of friendship, of compromise, and of peace talks. This book is more than just a fun adventure world to escape to — it’s a story people (myself definitely included) will be reading to their children for years to come. 

Characters: These were characters worth cosplaying. They were crazy awesome. They were realistically brave, dedicated, and adventurous. They were characters that I would happily read a dozen more books about. These are characters that I continue to think about and wonder about even after I’ve closed the book. Like Gregor the Overlander.  I loved these characters so much, I could hardly put this book down. 

 

Content Advisory: Death and war. Threats of torture. Lots and lots of death, but not horribly graphic… Just heartbreakingly real. 

To Sum It Up: It’s books like these that made me start this blog — books that don’t have a mainstream publishing agency promoting their book, but are a million times better than almost any book mainstream published. These are books that I need to tell the world about, because The Sailweaver’s Son makes it possible for the reader to Escape Reality — One Book at a Time ;) I highly recommend it to readers 10 and up. 

Side note: Jeff Minerd told me that he is currently working on the second book in the series, The Wizard’s Daughter. I’m super excited!

 

Review: Join Up — By Tudor Robins

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Join Up (Island Series, #3)

Author: Tudor Robins

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 of 5)

Genre / Pages: Fiction / 224

Summary: A summer at one of the poshest riding camps in the province. A hundred horses. Rolling hills ribboned with hacking trails and cross-country jumps.

It could be perfect. Unless you’re Lacey Strickland, and you’re leaving Salem, Meg, and Jared behind on the island.

The only thing that isn’t hard to leave is Lacey’s memory of her first kiss, delivered in a spring-scented hayfield, which sizzled, then fizzled into nothing at all.

The other thing making camp less-than-perfect for Lacey? She’s not a cosseted camper, but a staff member – teaching riding lessons from sun-up to sun-down.

In Meg’s first letter to Lacey, she writes: “I bet anything there’s at least one amazing horse waiting for you there. And maybe a new great – if not best – friend.”

Is Meg right? Could Lacey meet a horse she’ll love just as much as Salem? And are there new friends in her future? Maybe even somebody who could give her more than just one kiss in a hayfield?

Cover Review: It’s not the artwork that I really love on covers, but it’s still a beautiful cover. I would love to have this gorgeous book on my shelf.

My Review: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I absolutely adore this series. Check out my review of the first book, Appaloosa Summer, and my review of the second book, Wednesday Riders I LOVED the first two books, and the third one did not disappoint!

This series has restored my faith in equestrian fiction. There actually ARE fun, original, quality horse novels out there in the world! The self-publishing world, at least. I think the traditionally published horse books are a lost cause, at this point. Anyway, back to the story. I absolutely loved that Lacey took center stage in this book, and getting a chance to better know a beloved character from the previous books made me incredibly happy! This story is set at a summer camp, and there’s something inherently magical about summer camp stories, and I’m not exactly sure what it is. I suppose I’ve simply watched too many Disney Channel Original Movies.

The romance is adorable and adds some fun drama to this incredible story chock-full of adventure, laughter, and solid horse training advice. I really can’t say enough good things about this book! It was fun to get to see Meg from Lacey’s point of view, and I loved the setting. It was very odd to get off the island, but in a good way. I also liked the larger cast of characters this book had, and the very unique plot. Sure, we’ve all read a million summer camp romance novels, but, as always, Tudor Robins takes a tried and true concept and turns it into something spectacularly original and refreshing.

Content Advisory: There’s one awkward scene that almost goes to the explicit level, but the character’s decide to stop. It was weird, tho. Lots of kissing. 

To Sum It Up: I’m in love with this series. Tudor’s writing style is absolutely magical, and I immediately get drawn into her story of broken hearts, horse training, and new starts. I HIGHLY recommend that you read the other books in the series, but even if you haven’t, I think you would be able to enjoy this one as a stand-alone. I recommend this book for ages 14+.