Book Review: The Syndrome (A Kingdom Keepers Adventure) by Ridley Pearson

The SyndromeThe Syndrome (A Kingdom Keepers Adventure) by Ridley Pearson

Pirate Princess’s Review

DESCRIPTION:

“Fans of the Kingdom Keepers will devour this captivating stand-alone adventure told from the point of view of the Fairlies.

When Amanda travels east to Orlando on a hunch, she’s met with the worst news possible. Kingdom Keeper Finn Whitman is missing. Calling on her own gift (she’s telekinetic), her sister Jess’s ability to dream the future, and their fellow Fairlie Mattie Weaver’s unexplained ability to read minds through physical contact, the three gifted girls must navigate treachery, deception, and the stubborn, unwilling parents of the missing Keepers if they’re to save their friends.

As a special bonus, an excerpt of Disney Lands, the first book in the new Kingdom Keepers series, The Return, is included.”

Age Range: 10-14                                                                                                               Hardcover: 304 pages                                                                                                           Publisher: Disney Hyperion

RATING ~ FOUR EXCITING STARS

The Keepers are back, baby! Well, technically, they’re back. Kind of.

Taking place after The Insider (Kingdom Keepers 7), which was the final book in the Kingdom Keepers series, The Syndrome is told from three different people’s point-of-view. Amanda Lockheart, an eighteen-year-old girl and Finn Whitman’s girlfriend; Jessica ‘Jess’ Lockheart, another eighteen-year-old girl who’s close enough to Amanda that she considers herself her sister; And last, but not least, Mattie Weaver, who I believe is also eighteen. They’re all also Fairlies, a term they came up with for themselves and others like them. It means ‘fairly human’. If you wanna know more, REEEEAD THE BOOOOKS. 🙂

When Finn Whiteman and the other Kingdom Keepers seemingly disappear, Amanda gets worried and heads to Orlando, Florida (where Disney World is), where she meets up with Mattie. Back in Anaheim, California (where Disneyland is), Jess worries about her sister, which is normal, considering what they’ve been through in the Kingdom Keepers series.

When Amanda gets to Orlando, she runs into a lot of trouble and calls up Mattie, asking for help. Together, they try to figure out what’s going on with the Keepers and deal with the return of an old enemy. Back in Anaheim, Jess has a vision dream and tries to figure out more about it, worried about what it could mean.

Here’s I learned about the three main women in this book:                                                     – Jess can actually be really frightening. Like, really frightening. Do not make this girl mad. – Mattie has ATTITUDE. A lot of it. I wasn’t quite sure what I thought about her. She was a strong character, that’s for sure.                                                                                             – Amanda loves Finn Whitman with all of her heart. At least once every chapter we hear about it.

Speaking of Amanda, she was really … emotional, in this book. It may just be that I haven’t read all of the books in a little while, but I remember her being less so. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that she goes through a lot in this book, but it surprised me how much she got teary eyed. She’s still a strong lady, though. But the small bits of crying and emotionalness that happened every other chapter got annoying.

What didn’t get annoying was humorous parts that showed up. And the action scenes. The action scenes were AWESOME. Especially the one with Jess, towards the end of the book.

Overall, four stars. Ridley Pearson, you’re still awesome.

NOTE: If you’re going to read this, it’d help if you read the Kingdom Keepers series first. It’d explain a loooooot of stuff. The first book is Disney After Dark. Also, this book helps bridge the gap between the first series and the spin-off one, which is called The Return. 😀

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I recommend to ages 8 and up. It’s awesome for Middle Grade readers. I seriously recommend reading the Kingdom Keepers series before you read this, if you haven’t already done so. If you’ve read The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan or Sky Raiders (Five Kingdoms #1) by Brandon Mull, then Kingdom Keepers is probably a good series for you. ESPECIALLY if you love Disney. 😀

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Book Review: Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye

Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo (Leven Thumps #1) by Obert Skye

Pirate Princess’s Review

DESCRIPTION: ”

WELCOME TO FOO.

Fourteen-year-old Leven Thumps (a.k.a. “Lev”) lives a wretched life in Burnt Culvert, Oklahoma. But his life is about to change and his destiny be fulfilled as he learns about a secret gateway that bridges two worlds — the real world and Foo, a place created at the at the beginning of time in the folds of the mind that makes it possible for mankind to dream and hope, aspire and imagine. But Foo is in chaos, and three transplants from that dreamworld have been sent to retrieve Lev, who alone has the power to save Foo.

Enter Clover, a wisecracking, foot-high sidekick; Winter, a girl with a special power of her own; and Geth, the rightful heir to Foo. Their mission: to convince Lev that he has the power to save Foo. Can this unique band of travelers help Lev overcome his doubt? Will Lev find the gateway in time? Or will Sabine and his dark shadows find the gateway first and destroy mankind?”

Age Range: 9 and up
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Aladdin

RATING ~ 4 INSPIRING STARS

This book……….Is certainly different from others that I’ve read.

The main character in this book is a fourteen-year-old boy named Leven Thumps. He lives with his terrible Aunt Addy and Uncle Terry, in Burnt Culvert, Oklahoma. But his life is about to change. Big time. When he meets Clover, a cute, little sycophant, he finds out that there’s another world other than our one. One called Foo. Clover tells him that there’s a Gateway to get to Foo; that anyone can enter it and be in Foo……And the other way around. People can also leave Foo if they find the Gateway. That’s when Leven is told he needs to destroy it, before an evil being named Sabine finds it. To assist him during his search is a girl named Winter Frore and Geth.

Dun, dun, dun!!

I enjoyed reading this book..A lot. It’s not one of my ‘I’m absolutely obsessed’ books, but it’s still pretty darn good. I loved the plot and the characters.

My favorite character out of them all was Clover. He was just plan awesome! His attitude rocked, along with how he gets along with Leven, Winter, and Geth. 😀 I mean, check this out..

“You have food?” Winter scolded. “I thought you said you were hungry.”
I’m hungry for other things besides what I have,” Clover argued.

~~~~~~

Clover: “Well, it’s not my fault that you can’t manage your money.”
Winter: “You threw away my purse.”
Clover: “I thought it was an enemy.”

~~~~~~

[Clover] secretly hitched a ride with a nice German couple and their new baby…Clover appeared to the baby, so as to be a delightful, soothing surprise. Well, the child did like Clover. In fact, she held him and cooed. When the parents turned around to look at her and saw their child holding a furry, living creature, they needlessly panicked.

~~~~~~

“What was that you gave me to eat?” Winter panicked.
“A Filler Crisp,” Clover said, his eyes seventy percent concerned and thirty percent mischievous.

See! SEE! That’s what I mean. His awesomeness is almost tied with mine…….Almost. 😉

Speaking of ‘Almost’, this book was almost on my ‘Awesomest-Books-Ever-Read’ list. It didn’t get one because of these reasons:

1. The author didn’t elaborate very well. As I read the book, I was figuring some parts out by myself. He didn’t go into depth about what Foo is, about why Leven needs to be the one to destroy the Gateway, and about..Well, everything he didn’t describe well.

2. Leven didn’t have much self confidence. I know why, and I feel for him, but he needed more.

There. That is why this book is not on my ‘Awesomest-Books-Ever-Read’ list. Other than those 2 reasons, this was a very good book. I saw some reviews, where the reader compared it to Harry Potter, and I have to say that I see what they mean. This book did remind of Harry Potter in a way. Leven and Harry are actually similar, where they’re up against evil and people expect a lot of them.

I give this book 4 stars. Good read, great for passing time, very awesome characters. 🙂

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I recommend to ages 8-17. It would be a good bedtime story for 8-year-old boy or a good book to read at night. If you’re an adult who likes fantasy adventures, you can pick this up and try it. If you’ve checked out Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, you might wanna pick this up. 🙂

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Book Review: The City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

The City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)  by Cassandra Clare

Pirate Princess’s Review

DESCRIPTION: ”

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go—especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil—and also her father.
To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings—and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.”

Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (March 24, 2009)

RATING 4 STARS!

The first time I saw this series, I didn’t want to read it……NOW I WANT TO READ IT AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!

Clarissa ‘Clary’ Fray is back in this book, along with Jace, Isabelle, Alec, Simon, and Magnus. And of course our very much hated villain: Valentine. The book takes place in Brooklyn once again! The main conflict is cool in this book, to me at least. The Mortal Sword has been stolen and Jace is being accused.

I really liked this book a lot. The book had the right amount of action, funnies, romance, and feelings put together. It’s hard to accomplish that. Simon had a lot of problems in this book, but he was my favorite character, along with Alec. The middle was my favorite section of the book. I enjoyed it immensely, especially this: ‘Haha? That’s your comeback?’ 😛

The ending was awesome! Another action scene! Oh yeah baby! 😀 Simon…..Simon’s life stinks majorly. Again? Seriously Cassandra? You did it three times in the book. Three times! Clary’s love life stinks also. I personally think she should be with Alec is he weren’t….You know.

Above all, 4 stars! Keep up the good work Cassandra! 🙂

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I recommend to Cassandra Clare lovers, of course! YA, paranormal, magic, and romance lovers all alike will enjoy this action packed drama! Also, I recommend to ages Teen-Adult. If you’ve read The City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) or The Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1), you’ll want to look at this. 🙂

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Book Review: Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Pirate Princess’s Review

DESCRIPTION: ”

Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s talents for storytelling and creating strong female characters take a fresh turn in this spirited and sophisticated fairy tale.

Benevolence is not your typical princess.
With her parents lost to assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia. Starved and miserable, locked in the castle’s highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts: mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle pantries, setting her hair on fire . . . But Ben’s private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat to her kingdom. Can Ben save the country and herself from foul tyranny?”

Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Graphia; Reprint edition (May 4, 2009)

RATING 4 STARS

Princess Ben is one wicked awesome princess.

This book is about Princess Benevolence, a girl who soon finds out she’s different from the rest of the royal family. That’s basically the main conflict. Ben is not like the rest of the royal family. She is part of the magical arts. This book takes place in Ancienne, a fantasy land.

The book has four parts. Part one, to me, went slow, even though they were explaining the fantasy world, it was still slow. Part two kept me interest and made me love Ben so much! Part 3: the whole thing was an adventure that I would go on again. 🙂 Part four had awesome laughs, good adventure, and some funny but interesting scenes. Altogether, the book was good enough for me to keep reading. 🙂

The ending, has to be my favorite part of the book, because of the laughs, scenes, adventure, and how much it made me smile. The beginning was slow, but it made me realize, READ 100 PAGES BEFORE YOU GIVE UP ON A BOOK. I was on, like, page 76 when it finally got interesting. SO KEEP READING IT WHEN YA’ GET IT.

The character Ben was amazing. She has natural talent that shows more toward the end of the book. Prince Florian, I usually always wanted to punch his face, that annoying nuisance of a prince. Hmph.

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I recommend to people who enjoy fantasy, magic, and princesses. I mostly recommend for woman and girls, teen girls especially. Girls, 9-15 might like this. If you want to read this to your 9-year-old, make sure they can handle blood, otherwise wait until they are older, just to be safe. If you’ve read The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, you’ll enjoy this book. Miri and Ben kick butt. 😉

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Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.”

Paperback: 320 pages
Recommended Age: Older Teen
Publisher: Tor Teen; First Edition edition (July 3, 2012)

RATING 4 STARS 

I almost walked away from this one a few times… But, I kept picking it up anyway and, eventually, it was worth it.

Anna Dressed in Blood has a great premise – and that’s what kept me from giving up on it. It’s not vampires, love triangles, and teenage angst (at least not entirely.) It’s a ghost story. A really creepy ghost story at times.

The problem, at least for me, was how slow it was to take full advantage of the premise. I was almost half-way through the book before the plot itself was gripping enough to keep me turning the pages. In and of itself, that wouldn’t be a deal-breaker. But, during that down time there wasn’t anything to balance out the lack of excitement. Every time it felt like it was about to kick into gear, it still managed to meander of pretty quickly.

I would really have liked to see more character depth from the beginning. More relationships. More conflict. More to keep me reading, and building the suspense, while waiting for the “ghosty” parts. Heck, I really wouldn’t have been upset to see any of the characters suffer a horrible death for the better part of half the book. That’s a problem.

As the story goes on, I never really fell for the protagonist, Cas, but there was still enough there to keep me hooked. Maybe that was the problem – the bulk of the beginning was supposed to be introducing Cas… and I just never really grew to like him during that time. At times I actually disliked him. If nothing else, how do you have a “ghost hunter” who seems so weak at times.

I normally would have rated this around three stars. But, my rule is that if I’ll pick up the next book in the series it’s worth 4. And, I just may grab the next one. Maybe. This book actually ended on a note that strongly reminded me of Demon Kissed – and that’s a great series.

***Although YA, my twelve year old will have to wait for this one… Otherwise I foresee a lot of nightmares in the near future. Just an FYI – maybe your kid is made of stronger stuff. But, I was creeped out at times, and I’m old enough to know the bogeyman isn’t under the bed.

4 star book review

Recommended for people who read YA Horror, Ghost Stories, and like a good creep-out.  Need a spooky read for Halloween?  This is it.  Anna Dressed in Blood is followed by Girl of Nightmares (release date Aug 7, 2012).

Grab Anna Dressed in Blood on Amazon now. It was only $2.99 when I grabbed it!

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Book Review: Valkyrie Rising by Eric C. Currie

Valkyrie Rising (Warriors Wings #2) by Eric C. Currie

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION: Two years after the initial invasion of Hayden’s World, the newly reinforced Hayden Militia is in a state of stalemate with the remaining enemy forces but neither side is content to leave things at that.

The alien alliance has dispatched their varsity to clean up the resistance on Hayden while the USF has officially activated Task Force V, the latest and most advanced combat ships built by humans.

In the end there are some things you decide in the skies, but some can only be settled in the mud.

Print Length: 255 pages
Age: Adult Sci-Fiction
Sold By: Amazon Digital Services

RATING – 4 STARS

This is the sequel to “On Silver Wings,” and from the author of “Into the Black: Odyssey One.” If you’ve read my reviews of those, you’ll know that I’m already a big fan.

With “Valkyrie Rising” we get the return of our protagonist. Sergeant Aida is back. But, this time she’s in her element as part of a larger force. And as readers, we’re no longer just focused on the conflict evolving on a lone world, but we’re also exposed to a much larger epic. So while keeping tabs on Aida, we’re also able to see the greater story unfold where she plays but a small role. It’s a great way to keep the comforting intimacy of the characters we know, while expanding the scope of the story into something bigger – bigger conflict, bigger stakes, bigger cast, bigger!

Somehow, Currie has managed to keep each book intense, and full of conflict – but still end on a really satisfying, fulfilling note. Instead of following the “Star Wars” formula (introduce the conflict, dark episode, vindication of the good guys), he’s made each book a complete story arc. Personally, I find that a much funner and more satisfying way to read a series.

Looking forward to the next book…

4 star book review

Recommended to Sci-Fi readers.

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Book Review: On Silver Wings by Evan C. Currie

On Silver Wings by Evan C. Currie

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION “In the future, mankind has colonized other worlds, mined asteroid belts, and sent ships so far into the blackness of space that light from their drives won’t reach Earth for centuries. Through it all, life has been found in almost every system we visited and yet we’ve never encountered another intelligent species.

Until now. When the Colony on the planet known as Hayden’s World stops transmitting on their CASIMIR FTL system, a Solari Fleet Task Force is sent to investigate. When they arrive there are enough oddities in the situation that they in turn send in a special operations unit to contact the colonists and determine what happened. Only one of those operators survives to make planet fall. Sergeant Sorilla Aida finds herself against an alien force of unknown power and capability. Her only assets?

A depleted suit of power armor, her rifle, basic kit, and a few hundred Hayden born civilians looking to take back their home. Just what she was trained for.”

RATING 4 STARS

I picked this up after reading Currie’s “Into the Black: Odyssey One.” That was a great read, and I was anxious to see what else he’d done. I wasn’t disappointed.

As opposed to a lot of science fiction, here we’re given a great female protagonist. And instead of a utopian future and amazing tech, you’ll find a universe that you can easily relate to. Humanity is still the same. And so, when the protagonist is dropped into truly alien experiences, you’re along for a great ride.

The pace is quick. But character development and relationships aren’t sacrificed for plot. I wish my daughter read more action/adventure and sci-fi, because there are so few great female characters out there. Here’s one where the fact that the story centers on a female marine is simply taken for granted. It’s a non-issue, there’s no pandering, and the story tears along dragging the reader with it.

Since this isn’t a space epic, the scale is much more local – and it works. That alone would be a nice change of pace, but the fullness of the story and the great characters make it a 5-star book.

4 star book review

Recommended for Sci-fi readers and anyone who likes a solid cheap kindle book.

Grab On Silver Wings now on Amazon!  It’s only $3.99!

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Book Review: Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

insurgent review, divergent 3, dystopian ya, Chicago, strong female heroineInsurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

Marie’s Review

Description: “One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, 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.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.”

Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 1, 2012)

4 STARS – YOU GOTTA READ THIS!

Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent triology by Veronica Roth.  You know how middle books can feel like a bridge to get to the final showdown at the end of the third book in a triology?  Insurgent wasn’t like that.  It stood on it’s own, offering the reader more insight into Tris’ world.

This wasn’t a light happy read.  There was a lot of Tris grappling with her parent’s sacrifice that lead her to be suicidal for a good chunk of the book.  It wasn’t just that she was moving through life as a fearless Dauntless/ Divergent, and the author made that very clear.  For a good portion of the book Tris had a death wish.

There is more death, deciete, and trust issues in Insurgent.  Tris’ problems are growing, partly because she can’t let go of what happened to her in the previous book (and honestly, I wouldn’t expect her to).  Her past is haunting her, altering her actions.  That compenent of the book was well executed.

I have mixed feelings about the bad guy and am interested to see what happens in the next book.  It’ll be a kick in the teeth if Jeanine was really a good guy, and no one could tell because she was heartless.  That’s my prediction.  We’ll see what happens.

I’m a little bipolar when it comes to Four and Tris’ relationship.  I don’t want to like it, but I do.  It seems like she’s screwing it up on purpose, but both of them seem to have trust issues.  While it’s annoying, it’s also more believable.  They’ve both been through a lot and I don’t think we know as much about Tobias to really get a good glimpse into his head.  I was surprised Tris allowed him to kiss her at the end.  I think I would have punched him, if he did that to me.  Major Tobias points lost.  And oddly, I’m starting to route for Peter.  I know I’m not supposed to, and I totally hated him in Divergent, but now he’s all rogue and unpredictable.  But Tobias… Tobias, you poor bastard. Tris is becoming a nutcase, and it seems like you already are.

The reason why I gave Insurgent 4 stars was because it felt like the book didn’t have a powerful climax.  We went through a lot to get to the ending, and that scene felt about as intense as the rest.  It was only the last few pages that really started to build, but the book ends.  Major shocker at the end.

Yes, Insurgent ended on a cliffhanger.  Yes, I like cliffhangers and this one was well done.  It made me a Veronica Roth fan and I can’t wait for the next book.

4 star book review

Recommended for: Hunger Games fans, dystopian fans, Shatter Me fans, readers of dystopian lit, YA survival stories.

The kindle edition of INSURGENT (Divergent #2) is on sale for $9.99 right now, which is great.  Go get it!

Related posts: Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Book Review: Amaretto Flame (Eagleton Coven #1) by Sammie Spencer

sammie spencer, book review eagleton coven, witches book reviewAmaretto Flame (Eagleton Coven #1) by Sammie Spencer

Marie’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “When Olivia Landry screams, people die. No wonder she’s been shunned by humans her whole life. When Olivia makes a huge mistake, she’s banished for a summer to a human town; forced to live as one of them. She’s out for revenge when she discovers the humans are different than she imagined, especially the rugged, sexy guitarist, Jackson Vance.

Pretending to be human isn’t as hard as she thought it would be…until the witch hunters attack. Now Olivia must somehow protect herself, her family, and her new human friends. There’s a problem with that. When you go around screaming, people are bound to learn your secret. Can love really conquer anything?”

  • Ages: 15 & up
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208

RATING: 4 STARS – YOU GOTTA READ THIS!

AMARETTO FLAME was a pleasant surprise.  One of my favorite author’s loved it, so I thought I’d give it a try and I am so glad I did!

This novel doesn’t fit squarely into the YA genre, because the heroine is older–nearly 20 years old.  But she still has some of the lingering situations of childhood, such as, she is in ‘school.’  Olivia gets tossed out of school (her coven) and starts working at a bar.  Since this novel straddles the YA/ Adult line, I think it will appeal to both groups.

The premise of the story is about a witch who can kill with a scream.  There’s a lot more to it, but that alone was something I found interesting.  The story unfolds at a great pace (slower in the beginning and speeding until the climax), and the story is beautifully told.  The pacing was perfect.  I thought it was a great paranormal novel.

And the romance was just right.  Jackson was an awesome character, and I found myself wanting to read more to see who he really was.  Ms. Spencer doesn’t disappoint.  Witches isn’t a paranormal fav, but this book made it onto my fav’s list.

AMARETTO FLAME was the kind of rewarding read that makes you grin.  And getting a grin out of me, while reading, isn’t easy.

4 star book review

Don’t let the cheap price fool you.  AMARETTO FLAME is on sale for only $0.99, but it’s easily as good, if not better than many of the best sellers currently out there for $10.

Recommended for paranormal romance readers, YA readers, readers wanting something different, or something a little dark with a great guy.

Book Review: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth review, dystopia book review, ya dystopia review, paranormal book reviewsDIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

Marie’s Review

DESCRIPTION:

“In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.”

Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 3, 2011)

REVIEW 4 STARS–YOU GOTTA READ THIS!

In Roth’s dystopian Chicago something interesting happens – people divide into different factions based on ability.  It’s the ultimate need to fit in, but I had issues accepting the factions would occur to begin with.  The background as to why the factions occurred wasn’t compelling enough to pause believablity.  But, I looked past it because the story seemed different than a lot of what’s out there.

The other reason I gave it four stars was the ending.  I refuse to post a spoiler here, but everything lined up to be horribly romantic–but it seemed like the author chickened out at the last second and went for the crowd pleaser/ cheeser.  As an adult, it irked me, but I can see younger teens enjoying the end of the book.

Due to the violent nature of the book, I think this is better suited for older teens.  Izzy (our Pirate Princess Reviews) couldn’t stomach it.  There is some gore in scenes where kids are fighting to the death.  Kids who don’t get into a faction are factionless, and are better off dead.  And Beatrice’s faction only takes the best.  The rest are tossed out.  Or killed while trying to claw their way into the faction.

That was some of the issues I had with the factions.  I had trouble believing that people fit so squarely into one slot for so long, and that parents would willingly sever all ties with their children if they chose a different faction.  So, you know I have issues with the factions…

Looking past that, it was an excellent story.  It was adventure driven with elements of survival, trust, and a tiny bit of romance.  The story moved at a good pace.  I enjoyed Four, even though his name threw me initially.  In some scenes where they were counting (which they seemed to do a lot when jumping onto/ off of stuff) it took me a bit to figure out they were talking about him, especially if Four’s name started the sentence.  The proper name capitalization alone didn’t make it clear that it was Four the person and not four the number.

I liked how Roth wove the world that we know with what it became.  Her dystopia is barren and dry.  The sections of the city are dangerous and deserted.  This book also has bad bad guys.  They aren’t nice guys dressed up as monsters–they were actually bad people doing evil stuff.  I liked that.  It made the story more compelling.

And the heroine was kick-ass.  She stuck her neck out and risked everything.  Stuff goes to hell and she doesn’t cower and wait for someone to save her.  But she still accepts help when she needs it.  Great character.  So, you have a book full of awesomeness with some minor flaws.

INSURGENT is the second book in this trilogy and is scheduled to be released on May 1, 2012.

divergent book review

This book is recommended for older teens and adults who like survival stories.  Dystopian readers will enjoy Roth’s Chicago.  If you liked the HUNGER GAMES or SHATTER ME, you’ll like this.

PS – The Kindle edition has several formatting/ grammar issues.