Monday, April 25, 2016

Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede


Title: Dealing With Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1)
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings:  None
Premise: "Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart - and bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon - and finds the family and excitement she's been looking for" (
Opinions: This book was awesome. If you ever feel like the black sheep of the family and like everyone expects something of your life that you don't want, then you will find a soul sister in Cimorene. At first I thought she was just being strong-willed, like her parents assumed. I was wrong. She has an inner strength that I would love to have. I loved that she was willing to learn, willing to listen. She is full of spunk and personality, but is willing to seek advice when she doesn't understand something. I loved that she had a healthy respect for dragons and treated them with honor, as it was the smart thing to do, especially when ticking one off might cause death by flaming. The variety in personality/characteristics of the dragons was impressive and helped make the story come alive. Kazul was a very logical and realistic dragon and was a great match for Princess Cimorene. They're friendship strengthened each other. The humor or the story was fantastic. I admired the creativity of the world, the variety of mystical creatures, and environments. I highly recommend this book for all readers, young/old, male/female. I don't care who you are, this is a fun read and I'm excited to move into book two, Searching for Dragons.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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


Title: Insurgent (Divergent #2)
Author: Veronica Roth
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: Like
Alerts/Warnings: High Violence, Swearing, Intense Moments
Premise: "As war surges in the dystopian society around her, sixteen-year-old Divergent Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love" (King County Library System).
Opinions: I had mixed feelings about this story. Once I read the first book, I of course wanted to know what happened next. I was pleased to see that the plot was fascinating. At first I wasn't fond of where Tris' character arch was going, but I was glad to see her grow and how she chose to honor her parents.  I would recommend that parents read this book first to ensure that their particular children can handle the content. I was pleased to see a new level of connection between Tris & Four and that their relationship didn't automatically come easy. I liked Christine's return and the things she overcomes throughout Insurgent.

I did have serious difficulties with some of the more violent scenes, especially when Tris is given a Terror serum. It was more than I can handle, though I am sensitive and have an active imagination. Also, keep in mind I was listening to the story on CD in my car with young children in the back seat. I immediately turned it off, until I could finish it without them around. I was fascinated enough by the ending that I'm debating weather or not go ahead and find out the ending in Allegiant, or to call it at watching the movie. The jury is still out.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

 To read my reviews of the other books in the The Reckoners series, click here: Steelheart and Firefight.


Title: Calamity (The Reckoners #3)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Post Apocalyptic Fantasy?
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings:  Moderate Violence, Moderate Fake Swearing
Premise: "David prepares for a confrontation against the High Epic to help his friend, Prof, achieve redemption and embrace his destiny. When Calamity lit up the sky, the Epics were born. David's fate has been tied to their villainy ever since that historic night. Steelheart killed his father. Firefight stole his heart. And now Regalia has turned his closest ally into a dangerous enemy. Once the Reckoners’ leader, Prof has struggled to control his Epic powers, but has now embraced his Epic destiny. Everyone knows there’s no turning back... but everyone is wrong. Redemption is possible for Epics. And David is just about crazy enough to face down the most powerful High Epic of all to get his friend back... or die trying" (King County Library System).
Opinions: This book, the whole series: FREAKIN' FANTSTIC. Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors, but he takes the cake with the completion of his The Reckoners series. To the end I loved David's ability to use and abuse bad metaphors. They, and his poor ability to drive anything, made him stand out as a very real person to me, and one of my all time favorite characters. I loved the growth of each character. The decisions they faced where incredibly difficult and yet The Reckoners put their faith in David and his in-depth research into the Epics, their abilities, their faults, and their downfalls. I was impressed by Megan to no end and her strength and courage as she worked to overcome her past. Plus, Sanderson's ability to weave a imaginative, colorful, and wholly believable post-Apocalyptic Earth was astounding; I could see it with every word on the page.  And better yet, the ending was highly satisfying in every way. If you want to read a series that covers faith, forgiveness, trust, growth, humor and evil Superheroes than you MUST read Calamity.

Friday, April 15, 2016

One Horn to Rule Them All: A Purple Unicorn Anthology


Title: One Horn to Rule Them All: A Purple Unicorn Anthology
Author: Various (edited by Lisa Mangum)
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings:  Mild Violence
Premise: "Unicorns, with their single ivory horn, are elusive and magical creatures of myth. Yet even more elusive are the purple unicorns. First sighted at the Superstars Writing Seminar, their legend has grown year after year until it could only be contained in this anthology. Nineteen storytellers, including Peter S. Beagle, Todd McCaffrey, and Jody Lynn Nye, as well as new and rising authors, invite us into worlds both near and far, across a desert oasis, a pet shop, a Comic-Con exhibition floor, and more, and show us the many variations of purple unicorns, from the imaginary to the actual—and one very memorable half-unicorn, half-potato. One Horn to Rule Them All is an unforgettable collection of imagination and creativity. So, saddle up, and take a ride beyond the rainbow" (GoodReads).
Opinions: Wow. If you want to see dragons in a whole new light from a variety of talented writers, then this book is perfect. This book has everything from a discussion at a bus station between two people wondering what the graffiti purple unicorn means, to a human detective solving mystical crimes with the feel of The Godfather, and even a rampaging purple unicorn turned into a potato. The imagination and creativity in this book is remarkable and showcases brilliant new authors on a shining stage. Then the book throws in stories by Todd McCaffrey (Dragons of Pern series), Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn) and Jody Lynn Nye (Mythology 101, Imperium, etc), editing by Lisa Mangum (the Hourglass Door series), and artwork by James A. Owen (Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica). It's perfect to read while waiting for your bus or at the doctors' office, or whenever you can sneak a peak.  Fair warning, The Last Dregs of Winter left me sobbing. . . and I was in the waiting room of a doctor's office. ;-)  So YES, I most definitely recommend this anthology. And, to top it off, the proceeds from its sales go to fund scholarships for other writers to learn the business side of writing.