Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Halo Sun by Christy A. Campbell

I received A Halo Sun for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. A Halo Sun is the sequel to The Sharing Moon, and it is a unique mix of YA realistic fiction and fantasy. Damian Cass was left to burn in a fire set by his dad. Damian did not want to die, and is in the In Between. When the Messenger sends him back with another chance, he ends up trading places with his father. Now he is alive, and his father is dead.

He arrives with no memories and lands in a psychiatric hospital, and hears his father's voice in the back of his head. He has to live with a mother he never knew and a past that is just as horrible as his real one. He is always angry and upset, but one person can change that. Aurora is set on making Damian more happy and open about himself. She has the same secrets as him, and they bond over time.

I liked A Halo Sun more than The Sharing Moon, mostly because of Damian. I liked the choice of Damian as the main character! We saw a tiny bit of him in the first book, and I like that readers can find out more about him. His emotions were very real, and I could connect a lot with him. The amnesia was more visible in A Halo Sun, and that helped the character development. He developed tremendously over the book. There was less romance than in the first one, and A Halo Sun is more about emotion and character development.

There was a lot more about Damian in the book than there was of Aurora, and I unfortunately could not connect with her. Aurora was distant, but she was the ray of sunshine that helped Damian overcome what happened in his past. The plot was great, and there was a very steady climb to the climax, which I loved! The Sharing Moon did not have as much as a build to the climax. Peter, the therapist, was very strange. There is a mystery left at the end of the book about him, and I can still keep guessing!

The writing style was the same as the first book- amazing! I could still believe every word that was written, and readers can dive into the book and be an eye-witness to all the excitement! I enjoyed that the book started at the hospital, and it made me instantly hooked.

I recommend that you read this book!

Title: A Halo Sun
Author: Christy A. Campbell
Publisher: CreateSpace, Inc. and Lightning Source, Inc.
Pages: 308 Pages
Series: Yes, Book 2 of 2
Rating: 5 Stars

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Sharing Moon by Christy A. Campbell

I received The Sharing Moon for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. The Sharing Moon is a unique mix of YA realistic fiction and fantasy, and has a sequel. Elijah Solomon died. He lost all of his memories and is a lost soul in the In Between. The Messenger sends Elijah back to a different reality without his memories to change the life of a girl. Seraphina Adams lost her father and lives with her mother, who does not really care about her. She finds it extremely hard to trust anyone and be happy, but Elijah makes it easy. Both of them have to eventually face their past, but they can do it together.

Elijah is almost too perfect. He is a beam of light and pure goodness. Seraphina is the darkness, the one who is insecure with a really hard past and likes to give up. They balance each other out, and they were meant to be. I liked the mystery of the Messenger. I kept trying to picture this mysterious character that can leave notes whenever and wherever. Elijah's dreams were very engaging. I loved his amnesia, and it was incredible to watch him begin to regain his memory.

The book tackled some important issues and everything felt real, like it was all happening right in front of me. I could feel the emotions of the characters while I was reading, even though the characters do not exist in real life.  There was way more thoughts and actions than dialogue, and I felt that was a wise choice.

I liked that the characters called their parents by their first names. It made them feel like real people, and that they had a purpose. In a lot of books I read, the parents and adults are just figures in the background, but in The Sharing Moon the parents were real characters that had big impacts. All the characters held a significance, even if they were little background characters.

The only thing that I would change if I was the author would be to make a more distinct difference between reality and the dreams. Sometimes I had to go back and think whether or not a scene was a dream. There was a little too much romance for my liking, but there was not anything inappropriate.

I recommend that you read this book! I cannot wait to read the second book, A Halo Sun, which I have also received for free from Christy A. Campbell.

Title: The Sharing Moon
Author: Christy A. Campbell
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 318 Pages
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 2
Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Bad Decisions Playlist by Michael Rubens

The Bad Decisions Playlist is a YA realistic fiction book about chasing your dreams and making good choices. Austin Methune has always wanted to be just like Shane Tucker, a famous musician. Ironically, Shane shows up and announces that he is Austin's father. They are alike in more ways than one. They both have a bad history of doing stupid things and being irresponsible.

Austin hopes that with Shane around then he can have the chance to turn around his life and help make his dreams of music come true. That opportunity shows up a lot sooner than he thought, but only the second part. The first part, turning around his life? Not so much. It turns out that being famous has more responsibilities than he thought- and full of decisions for him to screw up. 

Austin's character was very isolated and I could not connect with him. He was a little too far away for my reach. He was a horrible friend and as much as he knew it, he did not want to change. He did not realize that there are consequences for your actions, and he wanted to grow up too fast. I would have liked to see more emotions from Austin. I wanted to yell at him for how careless he was being. I also did not enjoy the amount of romance. I felt that some of the scenes were a little too detailed, and steered away the focus. Speaking of the focus, I really liked the music! I thought the lyrics were really good.

The inspiration piece of the story is the difference of dreams and reality. Sometimes, you have to put aside your dream and do the essential stuff to get there in the first place. Austin wanted to jump ahead. Unfortunately, that happened for him. Shane was a huge influence on Austin. Shane was everything that Austin wanted to be, at least, all that Austin saw. He was so caught up in hope that he did not see the heartbreaking truth in who he was and why he really cared about Austin. The book teaches about focusing on reality and not getting carried away by hopes and dreams.

I recommend that you read this book.

Title: The Bad Decisions Playlist
Author: Michael Rubens
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pages: 304 Pages
Series: No
Rating: 3 Stars
Goodreads

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 5) by Shannon Messenger

I was literally jumping for joy when I received Lodestar, the fifth book in the middle grade fantasy series Keeper of the Lost Cities! I have been eagerly waiting for a year for the release of this next installment in my all-time favorite series!

Sophie and her friends have been allowed back in the Lost Cities, but nobody is safe. The Neverseen are planning something really big, and keep hurting more and more people and animals that are close to her. The only clues are from a friend who is infiltrating the Neverseen, and a symbol that even Sophie and Dex have trouble translating. When the Neverseen cross one of the biggest lines ever, and the possibility of war getting closer and closer, Sophie knows that she must act quickly.

One of my favorite things in the book was the telepathic conversations between Sophie and Keefe. Some of them went a couple pages in length at a time, and it helped to seal the gaps made by Keefe not being there. I really loved that even though the interactions with them are telepathic, this helped me connect with Keefe more in this book than the previous books.

Lodestar is the longest book in the series so far, and filled with a lot of events. There were so many things constantly happening! However, there was not an obvious difference between the small events and the bigger, main events. The only thing I would change if I was Shannon Messenger is to create a bigger distinction between the smaller events and the huge, earthshaking main events.

I am so upset about the character that died!!! I know it had to happen, but I really wish it was not this really important character. I understand why he/she died, but I wished I could reach my hand into the book and shake the character or do CPR to save his or her life. However, it takes a really amazing author to make a reader feel that way about a character. I honestly felt my eyes tear up a little bit.

The award for the author who writes the best cliffhangers in the whole world is Shannon Messenger! I always thought that the cliffhangers in the other books in this series were phenomenal, but, this one was spectacular! I need the sixth book right now! Oh, by the way, Shannon Messenger recently announced that there will be two more books!!! They will be released in Fall 2017 and Fall 2018.

I highly recommend that you read this book!

Read my reviews of the other books in this series:

Title: Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 5)
Author: Shannon Messenger
Publisher: Aladdin
Pages: 688
Series: Yes, Book 5
Rating: 4 Stars
Goodreads

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

The Accident Season is a unique cross between YA realistic fiction and fantasy. Every October, Cara and her family become very accident-prone. Some years are worse than others, like the time when her father died, and sometimes it is just cuts and bruises. This accident season when Cara, Sam and Bea are 17, it is going to be horrible. This time, Cara has had enough, and is beginning to ask why these things are happening. However, the answers are dangerous, were never meant to be uncovered, and lead to a dark family history and the real truth about a loved one's death.

The fantasy part was confusing. It was not explained enough for a reader to understand the meaning. This is more of a book to read for the adventure and the mystery, and to connect with the characters. Trying to understand and asking a lot of questions kind of ruins the book. While I wish that there was more of an explanation, I think that the style was done on purpose.

The story was intriguing and had a great pace. It was the appropriate length, and I loved the length of the chapters, not too long, not too short. I really like the three sentences on the cover. They summed up the idea pretty well. I loved the part about "we stay alive." That was an awesome message. The cover is very attractive, and I loved it right away, especially the color scheme.

I loved the accidents! They were funny and unpredictable. Some of the accidents were worse than others, but some of them were funny. One example is that in anger, Bea throws her phone at a shelf, and the shelf collapses into the wall and then goes through the wall and falls on Cara. Some of the accidents were so extreme. I liked that.

A lot of times when there is a group of three friends, there is a third wheel. This was not like that. They were all equally friends for the most part. Cara wanted what was best for her siblings, and was not afraid to find the answers to protect them. Bea relied on magic and her cards to give her advice and see the future. I liked how Cara and Sam tried to help her stop. Bea was going through a tough time, and I loved how Sam and Cara tried to protect her.

I recommend that you read this book!

Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Pages: 280
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars
Goodreads