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!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

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Title: Sky Raiders (The Five Kingdoms #1)
Author: Brandon Mull
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Mid Grade Fantasy
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "Whisked through a portal to The Outskirts, an in-between world, sixth-grader Cole must rescue his friends and find his way back home--before his existence is forgotten" (King County Library System) .
Opinions: Okay, I am never going into a haunted house again (like I'd have gone before reading this book, but really. . . not happening now). I love the vividness and imagination that Brandon Mull creates in this new series. I love the concept. I'm intrigued by the varied characters. And I love the cool and amazing equipment and abilities that they come up with to use in this book. Seriously, I want to be able to shape, have a jumping sword, and about a dozen other awesome things.  I love Cole as a main character and I'm intrigued by Mira, Jace, and Twitch. I want to raid a sky castle and try and rescue my friends.  Plus, each of the five kingdoms is unique opening up the reader to imaginative locations like giant playgrounds, lakes of milk with floating cookies and much more.  This has to be my favorite of Brandon's books since his Fablehaven series. So go pick it up and read it with your kids. Make it a family adventure. You'll enjoy it.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

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Title: The Dark Unwinding (The Dark Unwinding #1)
Author: Sharon Cameron
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Historical Mystery/Suspense/Steampunk
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "In 1852, when seventeen-year-old Katharine is sent to her family's estate to prove that her uncle is insane, she finds he is an inventor whose work creating ingenious clockwork figures supports hundreds of families, but strange occurences soon have her doubting her own sanity" (King County Library System).
Opinions: My husband read The Dark Unwinding first and then told me that he thought I would like it. I loved it. It was an intriguing mix of Jane Austen and Alfred Hitchcock with a touch of steampunk thrown in for good measure. The mix of characters was fascinating and I loved Katherine as she works to figure out what is the right thing to do while ensuring her own welfare. I loved watching her struggle to understand her role, insanity, propriety and the causes of the underlying sense of horror. Mostly I was fascinated by the location - Stranwyne. It became a character all of its own in a little way.  Overall, I am impressed with this book and am eager to read more by this author.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Zombie Kid by J. Scott Savage

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Title: Zombie Kid (Case File 13 #1)
Author: J. Scott Savage
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Mid-Grade Horror
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: None unless your kid is highly sensitive to zombies and voodoo.
Premise: "The Halloween plans of monster enthusiasts Nick, Carter, and Angelo are thrown into turmoil when a magical amulet acquired from Nick's voodoo queen aunt turns Nick into a zombie and prompts an uproarious effort to break the curse" (King County Library System).
Opinions: I LOVE this book and I hate zombies. This book is an awesome cross between a mystery, Halloween horror, and just plane awesome sauce. It is perfect especially for pre-teen boys who love to be grossed out by limbs falling off of the undead, practical jokes, and learning that your relatives have spooky secrets. And for a zombie book it was incredibly clean and fun to read. There was great character growth, proof of awesome friends, and fun humor.  I'm still dying over the creation of a food substitute for zombies who crave brains.  I'm intrigued by the concept and look forward to reading more about Nick, Carter, and Angelo in book #2, Making the Team.