Monday, January 23, 2012

Mist Warriors by Rebecca Shelley

Here's the blurb:
The mist on Lake Tahoe holds powerful and dangerous secrets. When Robby's sister vanishes into the mist, Robby follows and finds himself entangled in an ancient struggle between magical foes. Only courage and loyalty can bring him and his sister out alive. Recommended ages 10 and up.

First of all, take a look at that cover--cool, right?  This is so important to a kid.  They don't want to look like they are reading a baby book, or worse--a girl book.  So, before you even open it, perfect for a pre-teen or young teenager.

I loved this book.  The story was fun and exciting and unexpected.  All the things I look for in a YA book.  The characters were great.  Some were funny and bumbling, some were evil, some were brave.  There was just enough romance to be interesting to a young girl, but not so much that it was a huge part of the story.  That would turn my boys off for sure.

My favorite character, by far, was a young kid from the faerie kingdom, Greenleaf.  He seemed to be the character who went through the most as far as character development and conflict.  While Robby and Ellen are sort of the main characters when the book starts, Greenleaf is the one who will capture your heart because of the things he goes through in the story. 

The whole book is presented in a way that is completely appropriate for kids about 10 and up.  And younger if they are good enough readers.  It is funny in a way that is appealing to kids.  There were a few parts that I was sure my boys would die laughing at.  And it touches on some issues like being accepted and believing in yourself in such a perfect way for this age group. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I know my kids and any kids and adults will, too!  Five stars!  Bravo, Rebecca Shelley!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Heir to power by Michele Poague

Don't actually click to look inside, I borrowed the picture from

The colony of Survin has been hidden for centuries, protecting an ancient religious artifact called the Healing Crystal from men who would steal or destroy it. Kairma, heir to the Crystal, is destined to mate with the handsome Naturi and become the leader of the reclusive colony, but she is too young to realize the peril soon to arrive. At sixteen, Kairma is too young to realize many things ....
Kairma would rather go spelunking with her brother and his best friend than study ancient medicine and religious laws, but the discovery of a tomb containing ancient artifacts leads Kairma to question her religion and the true nature of the Crystal. To further complicate Kairma's ascent, a childhood illness has left her resembling a nearby race of men both hated and feared by the people of Survin. Because of this, Kairma's younger sister Kinter, who is in love with Naturi, believes she is the rightful heir.
Disease and infertility have decimated Survin, but bigotry and religious laws forbid the introduction of new members so things heat up when a traveling archeologist stumbles upon the reclusive colony and introduces a powerful new weapon. Forced into a larger world, the Survinees discover they hold an object of unimaginable power, a power other men covet, a power that might save or forever damn the human race.

I have to admit, it took me about 200 pages to feel really interested in the characters.  The book doesn't follow traditional pattern (hook, twist, climax, etc) and I wasn't quite sure exactly what the conflict was.  There was also a lot of world building, which was done really nicely--woven throughout the story.

I felt lost for a good part of the book while I tried to figure out where I was.  Africa?  Ancient America?  Post-Apocalyptic world?  Another world entirely.  I know this was done on purpose, so as I reader I could "put the pieces together."  And I really enjoyed that.  I won't give any spoilers, but once I did figure out when (approximately) and where the story took place, I liked it a lot more

Basically, there are a few main characters.  Kairma is the future leader of her people.  The birthright is handed down from Mother to Daughter and you guessed it, she is next.  She is an insecure girl because of a disease she contracted as a kid that turned her hair and skin (ala Michael Jackson) white.  Her apperance looks so much like the enemies of her people that she has a hard time gaining their trust.

Collin is her brother's best friend, and he is the only person in their small village that has any desire to see the rest of the world.  Everyone calls him a rogue.  A stranger comes into town and tells about the big city and Collin is dying to check it out.

Naturi is the most handsome guy in town and all the girls, especially Kairma's sister, Kinter love him.  Unfortunately, it's pretty much decided that he will be marrying Kairma, which is a major source of conflict with Kinter and Collin who is in love with Kairma.

The story was interesting.  There was some adventure and action, but most of it was centered on the village and their need to get some new people to marry, but at the same time, not let anyone know that they have the healing crystal.  They also have a rule that if you join the village, you can't leave.  In fact, nobody can leave, which makes Collin's goal to get the heck out of there almost impossible.  It also focuses a lot on the discovery of the big city and how the more modern ways can improve the lives of the mostly primitive villagers. Important to the world-building, but I am more of a relationship gal.  I wanted to hear more about the people and see them interact and figure out some of the more personal mysteries.

Typical to the first book in a series, there is not a lot of resolution as to who ends up marrying whom, and we are left knowing that more bad guys could pretty soon be on their way, as well as some questions as to the intentions of the white cave dweller guys. 

I wanted a few more answers, but I guess that's what the next book is for, right?

All in all, a good read, a little long and technical, but a really intriguing premise.

You can find it on Amazon:

Michelle Poague even has a facebook page for it:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The next five books...

The Graveyard Book is a Newberry award winner.  I don't always love to read books geared toward kids, but I really liked this one.  It was quirky and different and really  sweet.  It is about a boy who is raised in a graveyard by ghosts.

A Red Herring Without Mustard is the third Flavia DeLuce book and (sigh) I wish it wasn't over.  I love those books.  This one is my favorite so far.

Opal Fire--Well, to be honest with you, I was looking on the Amazon free kindle books and this one had a really cute cover.  So, I made an informed decision and got it. It is about a town full of unique characters and Stacy Justice (great name, right?) is trying to deal with the fact that her witch powers are growing stronger, as well as solve a mystery, hold down a job, deal with two handsome men who are vying for her attention, and keep tabs on her insane family  Poor Stacy.  She is such a great character, nice and snarky--that's how I like 'em. It's written with such a great voice, there were times I laughed out loud.  I liked it so much that I read the sequel:

Bloodstone-- Oh, Stacy.  What have you gotten yourself into this time? A teenager shows up in town claiming to be Stacy's sister and telling her that she has a clue to Stacy's (their) mother's dissapearance.  I liked this one even more than the first. More snark, more giggles, and I am finding myself thinking about the eccentric characters even now, days after I finished the book.  So, check out the Stacy Justice books--what can I say more?

The Afterlife Club-- Another typical paranormal romance, you may ask?  Well, that's what I thought, too, but I was wrong.  There is nothing typical about this book.  It follows Maddie as she gets in a bike accident and finds herself, well...dead.  Instead of everything being great, her baggage comes with her.  She still has to deal with her insecurities and looks at the life she had under a microscope, realizing that she could have done more, and been more, but there's nothing she can do about it now, right?  Nope, it seems that in the Afterlife Club, she still has to deal with her junk, and figure out how to be the person she wished she had been.  There is also another main character named Ryan who was there when Maddie died.  We follow his life and watch him struggle when his wife leaves him and their daughter.  And he becomes friends with Maddie's mom, helping to heal both of them.  It is a sweet, touching, at times heartbreaking read, but it has a satisfying, uplifting ending and I totally recommend it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Those first five books

So, what's the point of listing all of those books if I don't give any feedback?  Here's a quick review...

The Sign of Four--Loved it.  I really love reading classics and I can't believe I never read any Sherlock Holmes books until a few months ago.  If you think that watching the movies is good enough, no way, Jose.  Although Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are fantastic and quirky.

The Eyre Affair-- One of my favorites.  I re-visit it every few years.  The main character, Thursday Next is one of my favorite heroines.  Every line in this book is almost like an inside joke.  It is indescribable.  Academic, humorous, fantasy, adventure, literary, mystery, slapstick, word play, need I go on?  I think it's enough to say that I will definitely need to read it again soon. 

The Weed that Strings the Hangman's bag-- If you've never read any of the Flavia de Luce series, what are you waiting for?  There were parts that made me laugh outloud and other scenes were poignant and tender.  It is written from such a great POV with such a fantastic main character.  If you like a good mystery with a little twist, these books are for you.  I just got the ping that the next book in the series is on hold for me at the library--nothing like the anticipation of seeing familiar characters that I've grown to love.  Monday morning can't come fast enough for me.

The Crystal Bridge--What I thought would be a typical fantasy adventure turned out to be nothing short of spectacular.  Charles Pulsipher approached the whole "kids who don't know that they are special save the world" thing in such a unique way, weaving different storylines together masterfully.  It was exciting and fun-- super dialog and characters, and had a satisfying ending.  I liked it a lot.

On Little Wings--So beautifully written.  I had to slow down to enjoy the language that Regina Sirois uses.  She is a wordsmith.  I truly enjoyed the journey, and I will not give away ANYTHING in the plot, but I will say that it was worthwhile and touching and real and I have thought of nothing else for days.

There you have it, folks.  I can't wait for the library to open and the kindle top books of the week to come out, so I can delve back into my fantasy world. Just a few more steps...

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Ember Gods

Jacob Clark has just returned from the world of Eklaron, where he frustrated the evil plans of the Lorkon and returned the magical Key of Kilenya to its rightful owners. His quest is far from over, though—Aloren is trapped in Maivoryl City by the Ember Gods, and Jacob can't return to save her until he receives the potion that will protect his team from the corrosive influence of the Lorkon.

Balancing between this new world and his own proves tricky. Not only has he started his first year of high school, but his magical abilities are bringing him too much attention. He feels pulled by both sides, hoping he'll figure out his special powers to save Aloren in time.

The Ember Gods picks up right where the Key of Kilenya left off.  If you remember, Jacob had just rescued Akeno from the Evil Lorkon. (not Lorkons) He made the difficult choice that left Aloren in the freaky City of Maivoryl with the creepy zombie people outside her door.  Jacob is raring to go rescue her, but the Makalos and his parents have other plans for him.  They are insisting that he wait until they have more info about the city and what is keeping her there.  So, in the meantime, Jacob starts High School.  He deals with regular kid problems like getting the basketball coach to notice him, teachers, girls, bullies.  Add in to the mix the fact that he is trying to understand his newfound powers, help rescue prisoners from an enchanted forest and finish reading the diary that the Makalos entrusted to him.  Sound like a lot for a teenager to handle?

These books have a fresh take on Young Adult fantasy.  The world is unpredictable and interesting. And the characters don't fall into any stereotypes.  The characters are more developed in this book and I felt like I knew them and understood them.  There are times when I laughed out loud and times when I was so worried about a character that I had to keep reading just to make sure he or she (no spoilers here) was safe. 

Andrea Pearson has done a great job in this book of developing Jacob.  We can really see that he is someone special, not just by his skills on the basketball court or his math abilities, but by the way he treats people and makes good choices.  I really enjoyed seeing him grow.  I don't want to give anything away, but the end of this book has a great twist and I can tell that there are more coming.  There are still so many unanswered questions, I can't wait for the next book. 

So, if you're looking for a fun read for anyone about 12-ish up, and still interesting enough for an adult, I highly recomment the Kilenya series!