Book Review : Feel Me Fall

review-cover-feel me fallTitle: Feel Me Fall

Author: James Morris

Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Survival, Adventure

Rating: 5 Stars

AmazonButtonGoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Emily Duran is the sole survivor of a plane crash that left her and her teenage friends stranded and alone in the jungles of the Amazon. Lost and losing hope, they struggle against the elements, and each other. With their familiar pecking order no longer in place, a new order emerges, filled with power struggles, betrayals, secrets and lies. Emily must explain why she’s the last left alive.

But can she carry the burden of the past?

Discover the gripping new adventure novel that explores who we are when no one is watching, and how far we’ll go in order to survive.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Feel Me Fall by James Morris is perhaps one of the best books I’ve read yet this year. Part adventure, part thriller, I was sucked into the vivid narrative voice.

The book was flawlessly written as far as the technical aspect goes; it flowed at a steady pace, it was easy to read and held just enough description to make the story come to life without feeling bogged down. The characters were full of depth, and even if I didn’t like all of them, they were at least interesting. I found the struggle of survival for the teens both disturbing and realistic. Combined with a few twists and turns to the plot here and there, and it proved to be a gripping story.

Honestly, I have nothing bad to say about this book. If you’re looking for a somewhat realistic story of survival and adventure, I’d definitely recommend you pick this up. I’m excited to pick up more from this author in the future!

Advertisements

Book Review: As We Know It

review-cover-as we know itTitle: As We Know It

Author: Carrie Butler

Genre: Romance, Survival, Adventure, Natural Disaster

Rating: 5 Stars

AmazonButtonGoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Deep beneath the ocean, stretching hundreds of miles alongside the Pacific Northwest coastline, lies the Cascadia subduction zone—a fault on the verge of unleashing a catastrophic earthquake, thirty times more powerful than the San Andreas. Unfortunately, like most tourists, Elena Cordova is oblivious.

She’s got her own pent-up stress to deal with, a humiliating breakup that’s driven her to end her tenure as a human doormat once and for all. So, when a pickpocket makes off with the last remnant of her relationship, she takes action—only to get trapped with him when disaster strikes.

Now, if either one hopes to survive, they’ll have to get past their initial impressions and work together . . . because in fifteen minutes, half the town will be underwater.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

What a fantastic read. Honestly. I’ll admit, I was a little thrown off by how this book began. I opened it up, and for a few short minutes, I sank into what felt every bit to be a contemporary romance. I forgot for a moment that the cover looked apocalyptic, and then BOOM, everything changed—much like, I imagine, it changed for Elena and Vincent.

As We Know It by Carrie Butler was a gripping survival tale that I felt, portrayed a natural disaster situation in a reasonably accurate light. The situation felt not only real, but plausible every step of the way, and I was sucked into the harrowing world of Elena and Vincent for a few hours. The book was wonderfully well written. I only found a couple of typos, and nothing jarring enough to pull me out of the story. The characters were complex and imperfect, but genuine. The romance was surprisingly sweet, and the banter between the two lead characters was compelling and dynamic.

I honestly don’t have anything to complain about with this book. I absolutely adored it. It was tense, gritty, believable, and heartwarming all at once. If you’re looking for a gripping adventure story, look no further.

Book Review: A Threat From The Past

 

review-cover-a threat from the pastTitle: Bentwhistle the Dragon: A Threat From The Past

Author: Paul Cude

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Adventure

Rating: 1 Star (DNF)

AmazonButtonGoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat from the Part is an adventure story children and adults alike will love, about the present day world in which dragons disguised as humans have infiltrated the human race at almost every level, to guide and protect them.Three young dragons in their human guises become caught up in an evil plot to steal a precious commodity, vital to the dragon community. How will the reluctant hero and his friends fare against an enemy of his race from far in the past?Fascinating insights into the dragon world are interspersed throughout the book. Ever wondered how dragons travel below ground at almost the speed of sound? Or how they use magical mantras to transform their giant bodies into convincing human shapes? In an action packed adventure that features both human and dragon sports, you’ll get a dragon-like perspective on human social issues and insight into what to do if you meet a giant spider grinning at you when you’re wearing nothing but your smile You’d be flamin’ mad to miss it.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I tried to get into this book. It sat on my TBR list for two years while I picked it up, set it aside, picked it up again, set it aside… again. I just couldn’t get into it. I’m not a huge fan of high fantasy, to begin with, but it was clear from the outset that I was going to have a problem mostly with the way the book was written. To be honest, the writing was weak. There was a lot of the author telling his readers what was happening, without putting any effort into showing them the world so they could come to their own conclusions. The narrative was written in an extremely passive manner and was littered with cliché phrases.

In spite of its size the dragon was clearly agitated, roaring occasionally, scraping the large claws on its feet along the top of the rubble on either side of it, and banging its tail into the ground intermittently.

Why “in spite of its size”? That has nothing to do with the fact that it was agitated. Why are you telling us that it’s agitated, to begin with? Why not show us with the roaring and the scraping and let it speak for itself?

As the apparently inevitable drew closer, the sprinting knight managed to find a little more speed and at the spit second before hitting the tip of the flame, dived headlong towards the cobbles.

Why “apparently inevitable”? There were so many instances of “apparently” and “seemingly” just in the first chapter that I grew frustrated with each new reiteration.

“For all intents and purposes, yes,” said the knight.

Why not just say “Yes.”?

“I require no reward. I’m sorry for the loss of life and damage to your city,” the knight replied in a heartfelt manner. “I have companions who as we speak are making their way there with great haste to assist with what has happened this day, among them healers and engineers. I ask that they are allowed to help out as best they can, and also that you not address me as Sir, as I have not yet earned that title, but by my name: George.”

The lack of appropriate punctuation aside, the dialogue was heavily crafted and monologue-esque. It didn’t feel real. I kept pushing, but by the end of the first chapter, it was clear that the entire book was going to be written in this way, and I just couldn’t push myself to keep reading. When I start a story, I want to be gripped by it. I want to be pulled in and several hours later find myself staring blankly at the last word of the story wondering how I got there so quickly and why it had to end. I didn’t have that with this. There may be a reader out there somewhere (probably a middle-grade reader) that will absolutely love this story, but It isn’t for me. I’m setting it aside and moving on to something a little more thoughtfully crafted.

Book Review: The Journal of Curious Letters

review-cover-the journal of curious lettersTitle: The Journal of Curious Letters [The 13th Reality 1]

Author: James Dashner

Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Rating: 5 Stars

AmazonButtonGoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

What if every choice you made created an alternate reality? InThe Journal of Curious Letters, Atticus Higginbottom, a.k.a. Tick, is an average thirteen-year-old boy until the day he receives a strange letter informing him that dangerous— perhaps even deadly—events have been set in motion that could result in the destruction of reality itself. Tick will be sent twelve riddles that, when solved, will reveal the time and place of an extraordinary happening. Will Tick have the courage to follow the twelve clues and discover the life he was meant to live? Tick’s journey continues in The Hunt for Dark Infinity! Mistress Jane and the Chi’karda are back. Tick and Mistress Jane race to find the deadly Dark Infinity weapon. But who will destroy it—and who will become its master?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

What a gem! I picked up this book for my 12-year-old daughter and we ended up reading it together. I’m glad to say that I honestly found this to be a joy to read.

The book was exceptionally well written and full of colorful characters. There were funny, heartwarming, action-filled, and even creepy moments throughout the book as Tick worked to solve the mystery of the 13 clues he received from one very odd Master George and his companions, Rutger and Mothball (who was definitely one of our favorite characters).

One of my favorite aspects of the book as a parent, though, was the relationship Tick had with his father. Where most children’s books seem to either omit the parents, or fall into the trope of having the parents not believe their children, James Dashner crafted The Journal of Curious Letters in such a way that not only did Tick turn to his father with his worries, but Tick’s father believed his son—and helped him! It was a great moment to witness in a children’s book, and I and my daughter had a great talk about how important it was for kids to talk to their parents about their worries, and for parents to listen to them and take them seriously.

Overall, we found loved the book. It was exciting, funny, and full of interesting characters. It’s a bit of a long book, but I’m not complaining—we never wanted to put it down, and often read 5-10  chapters together a night until it was finished.

Book Review: Out of the Ashes

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00037]Title: Out of the Ashes [The Ending 3]

Author: Lindsey Fairleigh, Lindsey Pogue

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Adventure

Rating: 3 Stars

AmazonButtonGoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Hope brought them together, but it’s now fear that drives them…and threatens to tear them apart.
Zoe and her companions succeeded in rescuing Dani from the Colony. But not without sacrifice. Beaten and broken, they head west, determined to leave behind the torment and horrors they experienced in Colorado.

As Dani and Zoe make the perilous trek home to Bodega Bay, they learn that danger can take many forms–other survivors, their friends, even themselves–and that things are rarely what they seem. Zoe is desperate to become the woman she sees in others’ memories, while Dani struggles to conceal damaging secrets, risking losing herself–her humanity–completely. Together, they must rediscover the true meaning of friendship, love, and trust, and learn just how hard they’re willing to fight for what remains of their shattered world.

As relationships are put to the test, second chances are given, and new life emerges, death lurks in the most unlikely of places. To survive, Dani and Zoe must accept that sometimes hope alone isn’t enough.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Let me preface this review by saying that I adore this series as a whole–I’ve been following it from the moment I was sent the ARC of the first book–but this installment to the series wasn’t my favorite. It’s been more than a year since I read the second book in The Ending series, so going into Out of the Ashes by Lindsey Fairleigh and Lindsey Pogue, I had a bit of a hard time sinking in. Like Zoe, one of the main characters of the series, I felt like I had a form of amnesia. I couldn’t remember what had happened previously in the series, particularly near the ending of the second book, and so being dropped into the fast-paced and somewhat alarming beginning of the third book, I was rightfully confused. It took me a while to sort out what was happening and to remind myself of previous plot points… and in that way, I felt very close to Zoe in her struggle with trying to remember her past. It was an unexpected and strange sisterhood between us throughout the book.

Technically speaking, the book was exceedingly well written. I didn’t run into any grammatical errors, typos, or punctuation problems. The characters were all distinct, easy to love or hate respectively, and the story moved along at a steady pace. The setting was rich with detail but not so much as to bog down the narrative, and overall, I enjoyed the book as a whole.

There was only one problem.

I slogged through the book. It was odd how slowly I moved through the story–and it took me till nearly the end of the book to figure out why. There were no big battles or dramatic plot points. The majority of the book was spent delving into the character’s emotional states and the relationships between the members of their group… but very little was spent in any sort of action scene or on any sort of big battle with a nemesis. It was all very interesting–don’t get me wrong.. but by the end of the book, I was left feeling that nothing had happened. As much as I enjoyed spending time with the characters, by the end I was glad to finally be done and to set the book aside and move on. I’m even a little hesitant now to pick up the fourth book, though I will be doing so shortly… this installment just wasn’t as tension filled as I’d come to expect–although, thank goodness, there was a lot more of the romance present that had been missing from the second book in the series.

If you like post-apocalyptic stories filled with special abilities and great characters, I highly recommend this series, even if this wasn’t my favorite out of the bunch.

Book Review: Dreamscape–Saving Alex

review-cover-dreamscape saving alexTitle: Dreamscape: Saving Alex

Author: Kirstin Pulioff

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Adventure

Rating: 5 Stars

AmazonButtonGoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Alexis Stone is used to getting away from life’s frustration with Dreamscape, a video game she’s loved since childhood. As her family prepares to move, a sleepy night of gaming pulls her into the world like never before. Trapped in Dreamscape’s realm, Alex is about to learn that being a hero has consequences… and this time, the stakes are deadly. Will helping the rebellion cost her everything she knows and loves? Or will she betray them to save her own life?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

What a hidden gem. I picked this book up on a whim because it was free on Amazon. The cover was pretty, it was a genre I liked… I thought “Why not?”I didn’t expect to fall in love with this book as thoroughly as I did.

I was engaged from the very first page—though I’ll admit that at first, Alex wasn’t high on my list of favorite characters. She whined and pouted and was so full of teenage drama and angst that I’m surprised she didn’t lay on the floor and throw a tantrum. That’s probably the parent in me speaking. That being said.. I hated her mother even more, so I was willing to side with the teen. Throughout the book there was a wide array of characters with different personalities, some that I liked, some that I didn’t, and some that fooled me and forced me to change my opinion of them. Alex was definitely one of those. She grew throughout the story at a natural pace, and before I knew it, she was a pretty spectacular person. I adored her. The only person I liked more, was Arrow.

Technically speaking, the story was exceptionally well written. I didn’t run into any obvious typos or errors, no grammatical fumbles or awkward sentences. The pace moved steadily along at a nice pace, and I lost track of time. For six hours, I got sucked into Alex’s world, and I didn’t come up for air until the end of the story. The book was filled with grand adventures and quests, colorful characters, daring battles, deadly traps, and a heartbreaking romance. I couldn’t have asked for more.

My only complaint was the ending… because I really, REALLY wanted just one more chapter… or, you know, a continuation of the book. Why is this not a series?

Overall, I loved the book. If you like YA Fantasy and you’re looking for a fun book filled with crazy adventure, hijinks, and a bit of a romantic subplot, I would urge you to pick up this book and give it a try. It’s going on my keeper shelf… and then I’m going to hand it to my daughter. There’s some mild gore/violence/romance involved, but nothing I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable handing to my 12 year old.

Book Review: Back Roads Kingdom

review-cover-back roads kingdomTitle: Back Roads Kingdom [The Back Roads Cycle 1]

Author: Christian O’Neill

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure

Rating: 5 (4.5 Stars)

AmazonButtonGoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Just ahead on the highway, there’s an exit ramp no one’s ever noticed before.

At the edge of the woods, a trail you can only see if you know just where to look.

Hidden in your own basement, a door you’ve walked past a thousand times without noticing.

Congratulations. You’ve found the Back Roads. Good luck finding your way back home.

Penny Lazarus has spent her entire life wishing she could escape from the real world. Through it all, she had exactly one friend – her sister, Dana – and now Dana’s dead, drowned in the distant Pacific under mysterious circumstances. But she left something behind, meant only for her sister’s eyes: a surreal teen-road-trip screenplay, BACK ROADS TO VEGAS. Penny sets out into the wilds of West Virginia to make her sister’s movie…and winds up taking an unplanned detour, straight off I-64 and into a madcap alternate America.

Here, in the hidden country known as the Back Roads, every individual’s deepest desire emerges as a powerful supernatural ability. In Penny’s case, that means she’s a Veil, capable of turning herself invisible, intangible, ghost-like. Stranger yet, this is a place Dana somehow knew about. That bizarro screenplay? A veiled code, Penny soon realizes, embedded with clues leading deeper into the unknown. The only problem is that nearly everything in the Back Country is trying to kill her and/or drag her soul away to netherworldly depths.

Like the man-eating mosquitoes. And the gangs of slave-trading cyborg bikers, and the soul-devouring tree haunted by its long-dead victims, and the snake-handling zealot who’s mesmerized his flock into following him to the depths of Hell. Also, Death himself, who turns out to be kind of a jerk in real life.

She’s got help, too, for whatever it’s worth: a fierce mountain-woman werewolf and a guitar-slinging thief who slowly but surely ensnares Penny’s heart, entirely against her better instincts.

What she hoped to find was the truth behind her sister’s fate. But what awaits her at the end of the road is something even bigger – the dark secret of her own world-shattering destiny.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I was wary going in to Back Roads Kingdom by Christian O’Neill. To be honest, the cover threw me off. It looked vaguely anime and featured fox-eared and magic wielding people, and I was more than a little afraid that I was going to open the cover and find out some anime fan boy had scribbled out a melodramatic fantasy tale with goofy dialogue and ridiculous villains. If you too looked at the cover of this book and thought “eh… maybe I’ll pass this one by” STOP. Pick up this book. It isn’t what you think.

I’ll admit, diving in to the narrative, I was a little put off. The beginning of the story wasn’t the easiest to follow. Littered with flashbacks, absent twins, and mentions of bouts in a mental institution, I had a hard time sinking into the story. It took me awhile to grasp what was going on—but once I did? You couldn’t pry the book out of my hands with a crowbar—even with one that may or may not turn into a magical flaming sword.

The characters were brilliantly complex, each with their own motivations and personalities. The world building was familiar but also lavishly unnatural, and despite the back and forth switching between memories, the present, different dimensions, and different view points, the text was easy to read….if a little hard to follow at first. Confused? Yah, me too. The story reminded me of following Alice (or Penny in this case) down the rabbit hole, and instead of ending up in Wonderland, I ended up in the Appalachian Mountains—complete with hillbilly witch doctors that swig hexed moonshine, and snake-handling preachers with the ability to mesmerize any poor fool to cross their path—and that barely scratches the surface of what Penny encounters in the Back Roads.

I don’t want to spoil this story for you, but I can say this: It wasn’t what I expected. It was complex, filled with adventure, good natured hijinks, and some ill-natured trickery. If you’re looking for a fresh idea on a modern fantasy, I highly recommend you check this out. I cannot wait for the second book in the series!