Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fragments by Dan Wells

To read my review of the first book in this series, click here: Partials.

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Title: Fragments (Partials Sequence #2)
Author: Dan Wells
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: Mild language
Premise: "With the Help of Samm and Heron, Kira sets out on a desperate search for clues as to who she is, while Marcus and the remaining human population gear up for war with the Paritals"(King County Library System).
Opinions: Once again Dan Wells sucked me into this world of post-Break Earth and the struggle between humans and partials. His storytelling makes it hard to put this book down. I was fascinated by how he envisions what the world would physically be like after a virus and wars kill off the majority of the population. The downstream effects are fascinating. I still think the overall story provides a fantastic basis for a discussion on ethics, moral choices, and right from wrong based on one's point of view. I can't wait to read Ruins to see how the story resolves itself.  This series is definitely a should read.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron


To read my review of the first book in this series, click here: The Dark Unwinding.

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Title: A Spark Unseen ( The Dark Unwinding #2)
Author: Sharon Cameron
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Historical Mystery/Suspense/Steampunk
Rating: Like
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "When Katharine Tulman foils an attempt to kidnap her Uncle Tully, she finds herself caught up in international intrigue. Aware that there are people who want to turn her uncle's mechanical fish into an explosive device, and unsure of who to trust, she decides to fake her uncle's death and flee to Paris in search of Lane Moreau, her uncle's assistant" (King County Library System).
Opinions: This was an intriguing follow-up to The Dark Unwinding. I love to see the courage and tenacity that Katharine displays. I love the faith that she has in someone everyone else has given up for dead. I admire her for being willing to do whatever it took to get the job done, in spite of social conventions of the time. The story was an interesting twist on espionage, historical propriety, with a touch of steampunk thrown in. I can't give too much away because I don't want to spoil the story. So you'll just have to read it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Girl With the Windup Heart by Kady Cross

To read my reviews of the other books in this series, click here: The Girl in the Steel Corset, The Girl With the Clockwork Collar and The Girl With the Iron Touch.


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Title: The Girl With the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles #4)
Author: Kady Cross
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fiction/Steampunk
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: There were references to sex, but surprisingly at a high level (keep in mind this book is published through Harlequin TEEN).  There is moderate swearing and some horror aspects.
Premise: "In 1897, part-automaton Mila seeks an independent life in London's West End while Finley Jane plunges headlong into the Aether, hoping to outmaneuver the Machinist who has taken Griffin King captive" (King County Library System).
Opinions: I liked this book a lot better than the last one, The Girl With the Iron Touch. The Girl With the Windup Heart happily answered many questions that I've had throughout the series, and even ones that I didn't know had bothered me until now.  I still struggled to remember that these characters ranged from 18-21 in age. They were more adult, skilled/professional, and had greater depth of history than many people I know twice their age.  Though I wondered if that that might just be part of the steampunk genre. (I'm still pretty new to this style of book.)

I felt this book twisted steampunk with some horror aspects which made it twice as intriguing to me. The concepts were fun, the answers mostly satisfying, and I have to admit that several point made me laugh out loud, and another particular moment made me out and out bawl.  Overall, though I had difficulties reconciling the characters ages and some of their decisions, I really enjoyed reading this book and felt it was a satisfactory resolution to the series.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross

To read my reviews of the other books in this series, click here: The Girl in the Steel Corset and The Girl With the Clockwork Collar.

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Title: The Girl With the Iron Touch (Steampunk Chronicles #3)
Author: Kady Cross
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fiction/Steampunk
Rating: Like
Alerts/Warnings: Mild Swearing and some references to sexual situations
Premise: "London, 1897. When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What's left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons or forfeit her friends' lives. With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, the young duke's sanity is close to the breaking point. Seeking help, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. When Jack kisses her, Finley must finally confront her true feelings for him-and for Griffin. Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily, from Whitechapel's desolate alleyways to Mayfair's elegant mansions. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine. To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist's ultimate creation-an automaton more human than machine. And if she's to have any chance of triumph, she must summon a strength even she doesn't know she has" (King County Library System).
Opinions:  This book was a weird juxtaposition for me. I felt that the story was a see-saw  back and forth between the main plot section and everyone's romances.  The flow in-between the two felt somewhat awkward/forced, and some of the personal decisions characters regarding the romance aspect left me disappointed. 

However, the main plot was what really carried the story for me.   I loved seeing more of Emily and I was glad to see Sam stepping up to the plate more. The concept for the new characters left me intrigued. Overall, I felt that this was a story of decisions--that no matter what your past you have a choice on how you will move forward--and that made it a positive read in the end.  I am still looking forward to reading book four of this series, The Girl With the Windup Heart.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bayou Dogs by Tony Abbott

To see my review of the first book in this series, click here: City of the Dead.

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Title: Bayou Dogs (The Haunting of Derek Stone #2)
Author: Tony Abbott
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Horror/Paranormal
Rating: Adore
Alerts/Warnings: People dying and coming back as zombies (but very tamely described)
Premise: ""Derek's brother Ronny isn't himself. No, really. Ronny's body has been taken over by the long-dead soul of a man named Virgil Black. Lucky for him, Virgil is one of the good guys. Not all of them are. In fact, a Legion of evil souls is staging a serious comeback. And they're staging it at Bayou Malpierre, the site of Derek's most horrible nightmare. That nightmare is about to get even worse..."  - Back Cover
Opinions: For a zombie story I really liked this book (and I hate zombies). It's an easy read. I was able to get it done in a couple of hours. I am fascinated by the plot and I think I know where the story is going, but I'll have to read the next book, The Haunting of Derek Stone: The Red House, to find out for sure.  There was suspense, action scenes, and interesting twists. Overall I feel this series reads more on the younger end of YA, though it was shelved as a YA book. However, I still enjoyed it as an adult.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Partials by Dan Wells

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Title: Partials (Partials Sequence #1)
Author: Dan Wells
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fiction/Dystopian
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: Moderate Violence, Mild Swearing
Premise: "Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. But sixteen-year-old Kira is determined to find a solution. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that that the survival of both humans and Partials rests in her attempts to answer questions about the war's origin that she never knew to ask" (GoodReads.com).
Opinions: As soon as started reading this book  I was sucked in and would have loved not to put it down, except for three problems -- 1) my kids, 2) it was due back at the library two days after I started reading it, and 3) I couldn't renew it.  In that two days I made it half way through the book and it ruined me off of reading for a whole month.  I just got the book back from the library and I'm already done. Phew, now I can read other books.  Needless to say I loved this book. I loved the concept and I was intrigued by the main character, Kira. Most of all I loved the complexity of all the characters. They were three dimensional and came alive to me. Overall, what kept me pondering of the last month while I waited to be able to finish it was the concept of ethics. This book is one fantastic debate on ethics. And the "right thing to do" is based on the person asking the question.  The only reason I didn't give this book a fabulous rating is because of the violence and swearing.  But considering the setting and plot they fell in line with the story.  This is definitely a book I recommend parents read first to make sure that their particular child is ready for it.  And if they are, it will make an amazing book to start a discussion on ethics and moral decisions.  So go read it all ready.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fiction/Sci-Fi/Fairytale Retelling/Everything
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: Scenes of death from an epidemic
Premise: "As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story" (King County Library System).
Opinions: This book is AMAZING.  Take Cinderella, combined with a little Anastasia, and make into a sci-fi futuristic story with cyborgs, lunar people, and place it in a newer version of Beijing, China. How can you get more brilliant than that. Okay, add in three dimensional characters, incredible plot twists, bio-electric manipulation and an epidemic.  Do I have your attention now.  This book is worth reading. So go get it now. Read it. And then tell me if you loved it as much as I did.  As for me, I have to go and immediately put my name on the wait-list for book #2, Scarlet, at my local library.  See ya!