Saturday, August 11, 2018

The King Slayer (The Witch Hunter #2)


“I think, in time, you’ll either be my greatest mistake or my greatest victory.”

Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the price put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper king of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his thirst for power grows stronger every day. He’s readying for a war against those who would resist his rule—namely Elizabeth and the witches and wizards she now calls her allies.

Having lost her stigma, a magical source of protection and healing, Elizabeth’s strength is tested both physically and emotionally. War always means sacrifice, and as the lines between good and evil blur once more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she’ll go to save those she loves.

My Review:

I read this book hoping it would be better than the first book. Again, I will say the writing was good and I enjoyed the style. Yet, it was still too similar to other fantasy stories I've read before. I liked the characters enough to keep reading, but I won't read further. It is a good story if you haven't read as many fantasy books as me, but otherwise, its plot is too similar.

I would not mind reading other books by Virginia Boecker though, she does write well.

I give this a 2 out of 5!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Witch Hunter (The Witch Hunter #1): A Review


The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.

Your greatest enemy isn't what you fight, but what you fear.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that's been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth's witch hunting past--if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she's thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.

Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.

My Review:

I suppose, however, after reading so many books with a similar plot as this one, I got a little bored. If you haven't read as many fantasy books as I have, perhaps this one would be a good match for you.

Elizabeth is a well-rounded character and is good at keeping secrets, although she's not the best at keeping the right secrets. What I like about her is how even though she's been taught her whole life to hate a certain type of people (witches, wizards, and the like) that she was still open-minded enough to see that it's not magic that makes you good or evil, it's your choices.

Nicholas is pretty cool. I liked him a lot. He's the character who you think you are beginning to know and then you're not quite sure  I want to know more about him and about his past.

I will say, I enjoyed Boecker's writing style. She was able to get me into the story with a clear vision of being with the characters.

I will give this a 2 out of 5!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3): A Review


Words can kill.

Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny…

Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.

Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library…

My Review:

Jess and his friends are currently trapped with knowledge that could get them tortured and killed. Several of their friends have already survived torture because of this secret.

Funny, how The Great Library boasts about sharing knowledge, and yet...hoards what it doesn't want the world to see and kills those who try to share it. That's not exactly my idea of a library.

Jess and his friends are now in post-modern America, where they have to learn how to work robots which seem to have more emotion than they should and are also trying to kill them. They are forced to find ways to convince others of the truth behind the library, but it always comes back to them helping themselves.

Stakes have risen, fires are burning. I really hope the next book comes out soon so I can find out where Jess and his friends are headed now.

I love how this series makes you think about what goes into free speech in every country. Is it really all free? And are we willing to do everything we can to make sure we all have the right to say what we believe and gain knowledge in what we are passionate about? Are we willing to live with the consequences if we aren't?

I give this a 4 out of 5!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Bruiser (Standalone): A Reivew

"There’s a reason why Brewster can’t have friends – why he can’t care about too many people. Because when he cares about you, things start to happen. Impossible things that can’t be explained. I know, because they're happening to me."

When Brontë starts dating Brewster “Bruiser” Rawlins – the guy voted “Most Likely to Get the Death Penalty” her twin brother, Tennyson, isn’t surprised. But then strange things begin to occur. Tennyson and Brontë’s scrapes heal unnaturally fast, and cuts disappear before their eyes. What at first seems like their good fortune turns out to be more than they bargained for…much more. 

My Review:

I think everyone needs to read this book.

Brewster is a boy who has given the worst of it in life. He somehow has gained the ability to take away the pain from everyone he cares about...some he doesn't care too much about.

He stays away from people for his own safety, even his miraculous body can only handle so much. Bronte and Tennyson at first love the fact that someone else is taking their pain away until Brewster ends up hurt worse than they imagined.

This book teaches us the importance of feeling pain. It is good to have others there to support us, but we don't learn if we do not feel pain. For without pain, we can't feel goodness, happiness, joy even. Everyone goes through their own trials, but it is not our right to take away that experience from them. We must let everyone make their own choices and let them hurt. Because only when we hurt are we able to pick ourselves up again and rise STRONGER than before.

It's hard to admit, as it was for Brewster and the twins, but they all saw the benefits and soon were able to move beyond the major internal suffering which brought about the physical.

This is truly a beautiful book.

I give this a 5 out of 5!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Everfound (Skinjacker #3): A Review


While Mary lies in a glass coffin aboard a ghost train heading west, her minions are awaiting her re-awakening by bringing lots of new souls into Everlost to serve her. Meanwhile Jackin’ Jill has met Jix, a fur-jacker—a skin jacker who can take over the bodies of animals, most notably jaguars. Jix serves a Mayan god who collects Everlost coins, and has his own agenda. In the concluding volume of The Skinjacker Trilogy, Neal Shusterman reveals new sides of the characters of Everlost, who are pitted against each other in a battle that may destroy all life on Earth.

My Review:

In this final installment, we are taken to a different part of the Everlost limbo world. We meet new characters who have curious talents and can somehow affect the world differently. I rather enjoyed their addition. They certainly make things more complicated.

Then we have old characters who are committing murders to make more limbo children to serve Mary. How does a child in limbo get that way? Of course, they fully believe that this limbo is far better than their real life, but if they don't try hard...then they can't remember their real life. Perhaps that's why. They think they are saving takes a lot for the ones in charge to see otherwise.

Nick is still trying to convince kids the light is good and most are too scared to try as he says. He is still moving forward though, even as a chocolate monster.

Allie has woken up from her high of skinjacking and is back with Mikey as they try desperately to stop the murderers. When Mary wakes up, she and Allie are literally placed in a battle of life and death.

This last installment has the most beautiful ending. It is complete with the story while not tying everything in a bow. We learn about the importance of life and the importance of kindness--in this life and the next. This book isn't religious, but it makes you think about what exactly you will be doing once you're gone and the consequences of your life's actions.

A great series from Neal Shusterman!

I give this a 5 out of 5!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Everwild (Skinjacker #2): A Review


Everlost, the limbo land of dead children, is at war. Nick the “Chocolate Ogre” wants to help the children of Everlost reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Mary Hightower, self-proclaimed queen of lost children and dangerous fanatic, is determined to keep Everlost’s children trapped within its limbo for all eternity. Traveling in the memory of the Hindenburg, Mary is spreading her propaganda and attracting Afterlights to her cause at a frightening speed.

Meanwhile, Allie the Outcast travels home to seek out her parents, along with Mikey, who was once the terrifying monster the McGill. Allie is tempted by the seductive thrill of skinjacking the living until she discovers the shocking truth about skinjackers.

My Review:
What a wild end to the first book right?

Well, here we are with our characters again. Nick may look terrifying, but he really does have a heart of gold. All he wants is for kids to go home...wherever that may be. He knows the light is good because it is the only time anyone looks at peace right before they go. He desperately wants this for himself, but he knows he needs to convince all those under Mary and other's influences that the light is not evil.

Allie and Mikey travel to find her parents. They are met with another group of Skinjackers who aren't exactly the nice type. They Skinjack for fun and without consequence, leaving poor Mikey behind in the world of limbo as they bounce about everyone's bodies. Poor Mikey just wants someone to love and respect him for the power and person he is. Allie, unfortunately, stays blind to this until far too close to the end...but I guess that really is good storytelling. I couldn't put the book down!

Mary drove me insane. The way she thinks is just wrong! Of course, it's right in her head, but really it's just wrong. She doesn't want to lose control over all she's built, and yet Nick and Allie are making her limbo and actual hell. The lengths she goes to in order to stop those two is disgusting.

I will have to say, the ending to this installment made me anxious to read the next. Neal Shusterman does well with leaving us with a cliff-hanger but not in a suddenly cut-off way but in a way that gets you pumped for the next book not dying for it...for lack of a better description. Once again, another great book from Shusterman who does well at keeping it clean and still telling a riveting story.

I give this a 5 out of 5!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Everlost (Skinjacker #1): A Review


Nick and Allie don't survive the car accident...

...but their souls don't exactly get where they're supposed to get either. Instead, they're caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It's a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.

When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he's found a home, but Allie isn't satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the "Criminal Art" of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.

In this imaginative novel, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between.

My Review:

It's been a long time since I've found an author (who is new to me) that I will buy their books simply because they wrote them. After this book, Neal Shusterman became one of them.

This series follows Nick and Allie, siblings who passed away in a car crash. They wake up and soon find themselves sinking into the ground. For, you see the dead can't walk on living ground. It's a crucial point to the story and is what set's Nick and Allie off to trust those they might never have in order to find "dead land" they won't sink through.

These two have their own "powers/abilities" in this world of the dead. They are separated at times and brought back together. They make hard choices and sometimes the wrong ones, but I love how they both choose to do what's right--even when they get a little lost on the way.

Mary is meant to be sweet and charming on the outside, but if you cross her you will see the monster she truly is. This limbo world is her kingdom and she won't let anyone throw her off the throne. What hurts my heart is that she preys on the smaller children's need for routine and the fact that they don't realize they are dead.

The McGill is terrifying, and yet a complete character. We get to see his thoughts and feelings and motivations. He's definitely more complex than I was expecting. And quite the good "bad guy."

This novel really makes you think about the choices you make in life. Although all these characters are dead, they are in limbo for a reason and they are all on a course to find out why they are still "living" in a sense.

Neal Shusterman had me walking next to his characters and right along with the action. It was as if I was right there with them. He was able to whisk me away completely, and that is a huge mark of a wonderful story-teller.

I also appreciate his ability to keep his books clean. More books need to be like this. Wholesome, while telling good stories.

I give this a 5 out of 5!