Thursday, December 26, 2013

Orb of Truth by Brae Wyckoff-5 stars

Wyckoff, Brae, The Orb of Truth. Amazon Digital Services, 2012. Pgs. 233. $12.99

When Bridazak and his friend, Dulgin, a fellow Ordakian, discover a mysterious, magical artifact, they never imagined how much their lives would change. Thrust into an adventure that will challenge their faith, their purpose, and everything they know about life, they must cross the realm of Ruauk-El to fulfill an age-old prophecy that will herald the return of God, the City of Righteousness, and the days of old. There is an ancient evil, however, who will do anything to stop the prophecy from coming true, and he has enlisted the help of the two’s old enemy, King Manasseh. The two will encounter many new friends, lots of danger, and even more enemies. Will they succeed in fulfilling the prophecy or will the ancient evil take over?

A great adventure filled with action, old truths, and good vs. evil. The characters are entertaining and well-developed. The plot is intense, well-written, and engrossing. The author does a great job of implementing different plot devices such as cliffhangers that make it really hard to put the book down. Not to be read while trying to go to bed, readers who like fantasy and adventure will plow through this book easily and quickly an eagerly await the next one.
5 stars. MS, HS.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The 500 by Matthew Quirk-5 stars

Quirk, Matthew, narr. by Jay Snyder. The 500. Little, Brown and Company, 2013. 

Everyone has a price at which they can be bought. At least, that is what Matt’s lawyer boss, Henry Davies says. When the debt from his mother’s death and school loans get to be too much to bear, Henry Davies, a professor at Harvard, offers Mike a job at his firm. For $200, 000 a year plus 30%, Mike will be able to pay off his debts, get his dad out of jail, and live the happy life he’s always wanted. With a criminal juvenile past, that can be hard to obtain, so when mysterious circumstances lead Mike to believe that his boss is a murderer, he decides to covertly investigate. Soon, however, a Supreme Court justice and another woman are murdered, Matt finds himself in some really hot water. With Davies having anyone who matters wrapped around his finger as well as Mike’s girlfriend. Suspected of the double murder of the Supreme Court judge and the other person, Mike has to race against time to find the evidence that got the man murdered in order to clear his name and beat Davies at his own game. Will he succeed or wind up dead as well?

The characters are well-developed and hold the reader’s interest. The plot is action-packed, well-paced, and engaging. The narrator, Jay Snyder has a unique voice that truly captures the characters and captivates the reader. His intonations and smooth transitions masterfully draw the reader into Mike’s world. Readers and listeners alike who like suspense, legal thrillers, and mysteries will enjoy this book.

Adult, 5 stars

The Tinkerer's Daughter by Jamie Sedgwick-4.5 stars

Sedgwick, Jamie, The Tinkerer’s Daughter. Timber Hill Press, 2008. Pgs. 313.

Breeze is an outcast. She’s a Halfling whose father was killed in battle. Taken by a reclusive tinkererer, Breeze never knew her fae elven mother. Looked down upon by the villagers, Breeze takes solace in helping her adoptive father create inventions. When one of his inventions turns out to be a plane, Breeze sees potential to end the war between her mother’s and father’s people. Things grow worse when she discovers that the Kanters, another local race that is cannibalistic, is the reason the war between the two has never ended. Breeze realizes she will have to become a traitor to both countries in order to save them from the greater evil. Will she succeed?

The characters are likable and entertaining. The plot is well-developed and does a great job of keeping the reader’s engaged. Readers who like fantasy, adventure, suspense, and stories dealing with elven/human relations will enjoy reading this book.

Gr 5 to 9, 4.5 stars

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ginger High by Melissa Burmester-3.5 stars

Burmester, Melissa, Ginger High. Infinity Publishing, 2008. Pgs. 229.

In a school where the students have special powers, unexplained deaths are popping up around Ginger High. All of the victims have bite marks on their necks.  After having to back to their parallel, supernatural world of Animist, supernatural beings, Matthias, Taeru, and Amanta, are brought back to help solve the mysterious deaths. After her old school burns down, Daisy Fisher starts at Ginger.  As if learning to control her newfound supernatural powers wasn’t enough, she discovers a deep, family secret. She soon makes friends with Amanta and teams up with him to try and solve the deaths, but could the family secret and the deaths be somehow connected? Will the 4 people be able to solve the mystery before they too wind up victims?
This book has a great concept and a unique plot, especially with the parallel universes. The characters were likable and entertaining, but needed fleshed out more. The plot was fast-paced, but had a few holes and the transitions weren’t smooth. It also would have been nice to have a little more detailed description in some parts. The story was a fun read, however, and well worth the time. Overall, a pretty good book for a first-time young novelist.

Grades 7 to 10, 3.5 stars

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Jack Templar Monster Hunter by Jeff Gunhus-4 stars

Gunhus, Jeff, Jack Templar Monster Hunter. Jeff Gunhus, 2012. Pgs. 168.

Jack never expected his 14th birthday would bring monsters as birthday presents. The eve before his birthday, he discovers that his parents were monster hunters that died when he was a baby. As per the agreement that no one under 14 could be harmed by a monster unless they attacked first, Jack was raised by Aunt Sophie, who turned out to be one of the monsters. Making the mistake of defending his new friend, Eva, from getting killed by a monster, Jack finds himself without protection and having to fight Ren Lucre, the vampire who killed his father. When Eva, Jack’s other friends, Will and T-Rex, and a girl named Cynthia are kidnapped by the vampire, Jack must figure out a way to defeat the thousand year old being with about a ten-second crash course in monster fighting. Will he succeed?
A humorous, action-packed novel for fantasy fans. The characters are likable and complex. The plot is well-developed and fast-paced. The cliffhangers at the end of the chapter put the icing on the cake and easily hold reader’s interest. Readers who like fantasy, adventure, and books with monster will enjoy reading this book 

4 stars, Grades 5 to 9