Friday, January 29, 2016

The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale

To read our reviews of the other books in the Princess Academy trilogy click here: Princess Academy and Palace of Stone.


Title: The Forgotten Sisters (Princess Academy#3)
Author: Shannon Hale
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "Miri's eager to return to her beloved Mount Eskel after a year at the capital, but the king and queen ask her to first journey to a distant swamp and start her own miniature princess academy for three royal cousins, but once there she must solve a mystery before she can return home" (King County Library System).
Opinions: Shannon Hale is on my top ten list of incredible authors. If it has her name on the cover then there is a 98% chance that I'm going to LOVE that book. Once again, she did not fail. Even though The Book of A Thousand Days is my all time favorite book of Shannon's, the Princess Academy series is my favorite series. She does a fabulous job of taking the struggles of young women that apply to today and put them in a fantastical realm that lets the reader's imagination sore. When I read this conclusion to the Princess Academy series I was down with a cold. This may be cheating, but I'm going to share what I posted on Facebook: "Today I have had the luxury of recovering from a cold while reading Shannon Hale's Princess Academy: Forgotten Sisters and I rolled over and looked out my bedroom window. The clouds were so low that I could no longer see the mountains just outside and suddenly I felt like Miri, missing MY mountains."

I love that Miri is one again handed a twisted goal that she must deal with in the hopes of bettering the lives of Mount Eskelites. She takes the challenge head on and then realizes that not all is as she was promised. I love the continuation of Miri & Pedre's relationship to see how it grows from a distance. I love Miri's growth and how she finds a greater strength inside herself. I love the strength of women portrayed in the book, even if they falter, once they realize the truth each and every woman stands strong in her own way. This entire series is one that I long to and will be proud to read to my daughter.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage

Sorry for the absence. I took the month of December off to recover from NaNoWriMo, help sick kids, and spend time with family. So be prepared for a load of updates over the next week as I finally type up the reviews on the page-turning books I read over the holidays.


Title: Fires of Invention (Mysteries of Cove #1)
Author: J. Scott Savage
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Mid-Grade Steampunk
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "Trenton Colman is a creative thirteen-year-old boy with a knack for all things mechanical. But his talents are viewed with suspicion in Cove, a steam-powered city built inside a mountain. In Cove, creativity is a crime, and invention is a curse word. Kallista Babbage is a repair technician and daughter of the notorious Leo Babbage, who died in an explosion--an event the leaders of Cove point to as an example of the dangers of creativity. Working together, Trenton and Kallista learn that Leo Babbage was developing a secret project before he perished. Following clues he left behind, they begin to assemble a strange machine that is unlike anything they've ever seen before. They soon discover that what they are building may threaten every truth their city is founded on--and quite possibly their very lives" (King County Library System).

Opinions: Steampunk Dragon. Need I say more. Well, yes, I probably do. J. Scott Savage has created a multi-level society living inside a mountain.  From page one I was drawn into the world by the laws the citizens of Cove lived by. I wanted to know why, and Trenton Colman was the perfect vessel to help reveal the details. Savage is a master at creating three dimensional characters that the reader can relate to. For example, Trenton is a skilled teen mechanic in a world where invention is considered evil. When he is beaten up by a girl then assigned to working on the farming level, Trenton is pretty sure is world is over. And yet, his world suddenly is filled with secret excursions to out of bound areas, budding relationships, and major character growth.

Trenton wasn't the only one who felt real to me, who I could connect with. I love his parents. There was true love that motivated each of the actions. Even if, at times, the presented a roadblock to Trenton's growth I could understand the whys and the love behind their actions. Then you get to Kallista. An girl orphan dressed as a boy, shunned by society, kick-butt steampunk gear and outfits, and has an incredibly sick secret workshop filled with brilliant tools and walls of books in a society where stories are forbidden. What isn't fascinating about that combo?

So basically: the characters were well developed and real, the plot was complex and intriguing, and the world...steampunk magical awesomeness. This is definitely a must read for kids, teens, young adults and adults. I, personally, cannot wait to read more.