Seeker

Somewhere between the old world and the new, there’s a powerful magic that allows people who are wiser than most to travel beyond the normal world. These people are known as the Seekers, and they have been around for centuries, descending from the Druids. The magic is guarded by a strange triad known as The Dreads. The laws they hold are sacred…or at least they used to be.

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Unfortunately, in Arwen Elys Dayton’s new book, Seeker, modern selfishness has caught up to the remaining clan of Seekers, and things aren’t as they used to be. The legends are still there, much like our tales of chivalry in King Arthur’s Round Table. But what has happened to those sacred laws to make things go so awry?

This book is going to be immensely popular when it releases in February, I can tell you that right now. I’ve already heard people talking about the ARC, and every review I’ve seen has been a positive one.

Mine is also positive–though I did think the story lost a bit of strength in the middle. I think that’s just a mental block of mine though, because I always struggle a bit with the mixture of old world magic and guns. Add a cell phone in there and I just get really confused. I feel like this story should take place in 1315…not 2015 (or later).

But, other than that, I loved it. I shipped Quin and Shinobu from the very beginning. Get out of here John. No one wants you. And can I please have a whipsword for my birthday? Please please please?

Make sure you pick this up next month. I am not going to be surprised at all to see all of Booklr posting about it soon.

 

Received ARC for free from NetGalley

Fulfills PopSugar #11:  A book with a one-word title

The Darkest Minds

Staying true to the norm, once again I am way behind on another very popular YA trilogy. Everyone started OOING and AAHing over In the Afterlight  by Alexandra Bracken when it came out this year, and when I looked it up–what? It’s the last book?!?!?!

Lucky for me, the release of the final book meant that Hey! The first ebook was free on Amazon. Woot! So, I’m catching up.

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The Darkest Minds can be described, basically, as another one of those love triangle dystopian YA trilogies, but there’s quite a bit going on–and from what I can tell, at least, the love triangle only seems to last for this book. At least the third branch of it. *shudder*

But let’s back up. The story begins with a sickness that rages through the children of the United States, hitting around age 10. It seems to have no effect on adults, as it is linked to the onset of puberty. Most of the children die instantly, but those that aren’t killed take on 5 different styles of superpowers. And the adults are absolutely terrified, so they send them all off to internment camps. Great parenting, huh?

This book is basically Lord of the Flies in modern times, except the adults are still around, and absolutely pissed off. The setting is very zombie-movieish, without any zombies. Everything is complete and utter destruction, everyone lives in camps outside the city because the economy has completely tanked. It’s madness.

The concept is pretty brilliant, really, and terrifying. I will say that the book is a little confusing at first, but once you start to understand Ruby, everything falls into place and the action picks up. This is a trilogy I’ll be continuing, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a movie come out of this one either. It wouldn’t be a hard world to design since it is based on reality, and it’s quite a different concept from what is already out there.

 

Fulfills PopSugar #34:  A book with a love triangle

Sins of the Father

It’s funny, I just read a comment the other day, that someone needed to write a story about people getting unwanted super powers, and not knowing what to do with them. Then, I came across a request for book bloggers to join the Diverse Book Tour for Thelonious Legend’s first book:  Sins of the Father, and that is exactly what his book is about.

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Aside from being the granddaughters of a very famous, very rich civil rights leader, the Parker sisters are three pretty average teenagers. They are athletic, smart, and have all the same sibling rivalries that I had with my sisters. Except suddenly, they don’t feel like themselves. Things start to happen…weird things. Eva gets faster, Gwen gets stronger, and Ana suddenly knows EVERYTHING. There’s a catch though, as most things do, and they have to figure out how to deal with their new powers, and stop the timebomb that is ticking away.

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Ok. Here’s where I have to level with you.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the super hero stuff in this book. I felt it was a little implausible, and so it was a little distracting from the rest of the girls’ lives.

HOWEVER! And this is a big HOWEVER, guys!

Thelonious Legend does not need to grasp at sci-fi to make his voice heard. Without the awkward superhero, but not superhero stuff going on, Sins of the Father is a fantastically written teen story, AND it is written from a black family’s perspective, which you see exactly NEVER in mainstream young adult fiction. The characters, the teen ones especially, are extremely well developed, and have very independent personalities. I loved Ana–I think she was my favorite–but her friend Stacy, with her speedy run on hyperactive commentary made me laugh hysterically.

I think the author definitely has the capability to do amazing, excuse me…LEGENDARY…things with his fiction, if he were to focus on his strong POC characters and their individuality, rather than forcing the sci-fi aspect. The strength of this book were the challenges the girls faced with their friends and those they interacted with on a daily basis, not so much the evil janitors.

Like I said…A big however! I loved the Parker family. They reminded me of myself and my two sisters. I think a lot of kids (and plenty of adults like me) are going to relate to this book, and are going to be begging for sequels.

Thelonious, I wish you luck, and I hope to see more from you.

 

Disclaimer:  I received this book for free as part of the Diverse Book Tour.

 

 

This checks off #36 on my PopSugar list:  A book set in high school.

Since You’ve Been Gone

My last post was a happy, fluffy, feel good favorite…and now I’ve got to be a bit of a Debbie Downer. Sorry about that. They can’t all be warm ones.

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Mary Jennifer Payne is coming out with her first YA novel in February. Since You’ve Been Gone is the story about a Canadian teen on the run with her mom. They land in London–new school, new flat, new troubles. Right off the bat, even though she doesn’t tell us until later, we get the feeling why they are running. Him. Someone tore Mom up at some point. We find out later exactly what happened…

Since You’ve Been Gone took me about 2 hours to read. I’m reading an ARC on my Kindle, and if Goodreads hadn’t told me it was 224 pages, I would have considered this more of a novella. While the subject matter is pretty intense, the reading itself is fairly simple. I’m not going to say this is the best book I’ve ever read as far as quality…but it definitely hit me somewhere. Would I buy it? Probably not. But, I expect this is going to resonate well with the teen crowd.

 

Disclaimer:  I received this ARC from NetGalley.

This fulfills PopSugar #4:  A book published this year.

A Little Princess

Sometimes, I wonder if the old movies I grew up with are still making their rounds with kids today. I hope so. It is one of the things I do miss out on, not being a parent–getting to read my favorite childhood books and show my old movies over and over.

Shirley Temple was always one of my favorites when I was little. Even though she was way before my time, we watched her constantly in my house. She’s a classic, obviously, but also, she was especially famous in our family because my Nana looked so much like her when she was young. And, of all the Shirley Temple movies we had, the best one to me was, of course, the one about the clever book-addict, Sara.

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I may have watched A Little Princess a million and a half times, but this was my very first time reading the book! Until I picked it up at a Goodwill sale recently, I never realized it was written by the same author as The Secret Garden!

The story was just as magical. Of course my Sara will always be Shirley Temple, although in the book she’s described as much skinner than Temple’s chubby little features. I suppose that makes sense, for someone who is starving. On one hand, the book is sadder–there’s no reuniting with the father at the end–although the ending IS happy, and I thought it was a much more likely, and very sweet ending. Maybe not as Hollywood, but I liked it better.

A Little Princess should be read over and over again, especially at bedtime to your young princesses. It’s a story of hope in a world where there isn’t much hope, and it’s a good lesson in humility and encouragement. The morals in this book are as true today as they were when Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote it in the 1800s, and I think it’s not one we hear very often anymore.

 

This fulfills PopSugar #33:  A book from your childhood.

Savannah Grace’s books are FREE today!

GUYS! I’ve reviewed BOTH of Savannah Grace’s books on this blog, and I absolutely love them! If you love travel memoirs, you NEED to go check her out, and her books are FREE TODAY!

I know, Haley, LOTS OF CAPS LOCK! But I’m excited. Click the linky below and go grab her books right away! Think teenage Elizabeth Gilbert. You’re gonna love her.

 

Free eBook today and tomorrow.

Robinson Crusoe

After reading some very droll old literature, I was ready for something with a little more POP to it, to finish out the year. Thankfully, Robinson Crusoe was next on the Kindle list.

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I can completely see why this book is so popular. It may not have the same thrill as it used to, but I can picture dad or an older brother reading chapters of this before bed, siblings tented under sheets with flashlights after lights out. And, I’m sure, even though it did have cannibals and mutiny, there was also quite a lot of Bible included too, so Mother would approve.

I have mixed feelings about this book. The survival story on its own was very interesting. We joke about Tom Hanks going crazy in Castaway, having a volleyball as a friend, and he wasn’t even alone that long. Crusoe was on that island for almost 30 years! He built a farm, raised goats, built a boat to get around in. He didn’t just survive, he THRIVED.

I start to struggle a little bit towards the end of the book, mostly once he “saves” Friday. Here you are, you FINALLY interact with someone from another culture, and instead of listening to them, learning from them….NOPE. Everything he has to say is wrong. WRONG WRONG WRONG. I’m not saying he should have become a cannibal, but talk about whitewashing. Down to the fact that Friday called him Master, and Crusoe never did learn Friday’s real name. GRRRRRR. I guess in my head there’s ministering…and there’s shoving things down people’s throats.

Ok…deep breath…stepping off my soapbox.

Told you I had mixed feelings. This will probably get 2 stars from me. It’s good writing as far as literature goes, for the time period, and longevity. But, some of the subject matter just hit me the wrong way.

 

 

Teaser Tuesday 12/16/2014

 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

“Far over the misty mountains cold

To dungeons deep and caverns old

We must away ere break of day

To seek the pale enchanted gold.”

–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

 

Pardon this brief interruption of my regularly scheduled book reading. I could not resist the pull, with all the trailers and cosplay and everything else happening today. I am going to try and get through one more reading of this wonderful story before Husband and I go see the last movie tomorrow night. Can it be done? Oh, it must, it must!

 

Backpacks and Brastraps

I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait very long before reading the next book in Savannah Grace’s saga. I was really looking forward to experiencing the next leg of her family’s trip, and I wasn’t disappointed!

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Backpacks and Brastraps follows the family as they take a short, and slightly scary, stint up into Russia, through a few Central European countries and into Western China, Tibet, before finally arriving in Nepal in time for trekking season.

Savannah’s writing is really taking off in this second book. I could tell that she’s becoming more and more comfortable in her own skin as she’s out in the world, and she’s discovering more about herself. She’s not nearly as much the whiny teenager as she was in I Grew My Boobs in China, although there still is a bit of that, she is settling down and opening her eyes. I was pretty amused when a friend from home joins them for the trek in Nepal and Savannah almost rolls her eyes at her inexperience.

Overall, though, I love these stories and I can’t wait for the third book, which, sigh, isn’t due out until August 2016! I’ll have to mark my calendar for that one.

Breeder

K.B. Hoyle will be releasing her new book tomorrow:  Breeder. I had a chance to read an advanced copy, and I’ve been dying to share this review with you for over a week now! It’s so hard not to post things right away!!

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Breeder is very similar to The Giver in many ways. You have a very structured, limited “utopian” society, rebuilt after several “Great Destructions.” In fact, the whole first part of the book, I kept thinking that I was essentially reading The Giver, from the birth mother’s perspective. It has that same, very eerie, “something is just not quite right” feel to the story.

Pria, or B-Seventeen, starts having those same feelings too, and then suddenly gets ripped from her very sheltered life. What she finds to be reality is terrifying, and the story shifts almost to a Mockingjay type of beginning.

Hoyle has a really good start to the series, and I’ll be really interested to see how far she takes it. While it is similar to many other utopian/dystopian series, there are some marked differences.

While there is some romantic interest building, it’s being done in a very slow, very interesting way. It’s not being thrust onto the reader, and it’s not the major focal point of the book, at least not yet.

Also, POC characters are the main focal point here. In fact, they are the majority. White people are considered genetically flawed, and recessive traits like freckles and blue eyes are being cauled out.

Hoyle did a great job with this, and I’ll be pulling for the second book in 2015. Definitely something to check out, guys!