Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mirage (Above World Book 2) by Jenn Reese

Mirage is the second book in the middle grade fantasy and science fiction trilogy, Above World. Aluna, Hoku, Dash, and Calli are on a mission to save the world from Karl Strand, who wants to rule the world. Aluna and Hoku are Kampii, which is half human, half mermaid. The desert is the last place they would rather go, especially since Aluna is secretly growing her tail. The Equians (half human, half horse) are up next for Karl to conquer, which means they must travel to Mirage and warn them. Unfortunately, they are too late, and Karl's clone Scorch has gotten there first. To make matters worse, Dash was exiled from Mirage, which complicates their visit, since a broken exile means death. 

With the leader of the Equians ready to go into war with Karl and Scorch's army, the only way to have them switch sides is if Aluna and her friends win the Thunder Trials, a competition of the arts, tech, and one-on-one combat. The herd who wins gets control over the desert for a year. If they fail, the four friends will die, and the desert will be under Karl's control forever.

The determination of Aluna in Mirage was great. She kept her hopes up, and went out of her way to protect Dash and win the Thunder Trials. She kept getting injured, and growing a tail does not make it easy to run, but she kept going. 

I was very intrigued throughout. I really liked the mix of characters, and their personalities. Despite their differences, they all worked together to help the greater good, which was being done by nobody else. All the other tribes have always lived apart and kept separate, which has changed by the influence of the group. The plot was good, and the flow was pretty steady. The tone and writing style fitted the book perfectly.

I cannot wait to read the third and final book in the series, Horizon.

Title: Mirage (Above World #2)
Author: Jenn Reese
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 368 pages
Series: Yes, Book 2
Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Tragic Age by Stephen Metcalfe

The Tragic Age is a young adult realistic fiction read about finding yourself and learning things the hard way. Billy Kinsey is seventeen years old, and he views seventeen as The Tragic Age. For example, his twin sister, Dorie, died of leukemia, and his parents are on the verge of getting divorced. Billy is a genius, but fakes being normal, and hides in the shadows playing his drums. Then, he is influenced by two new people. Twom Twomey (yes, that is his name) is a new student who believes that being a little rebellious is all a part of life.

Gretchen Quinn was a friend of his sister, and becomes his new girlfriend. She believes in experiences, and that anything is possible. Even though Gretchen is his girlfriend, he is more influenced by Twom. Billy knows he is leading toward disaster, but does nothing to stop, which he will soon regret.

I really liked the internal conflict in The Tragic Age. Billy is being pulled both ways, and he has to decide what he would rather do, which is really hard, since it is black and white. He doesn't know how to do gray, so against his better judgment he goes with Twom. The entire time, he knows what he is doing is wrong, but he doesn't have enough confidence to stand up and stop. The book really teaches about telling the difference between right and wrong, and how things end up if you do the wrong thing. The Tragic Age also shows that you can turn around, and that one bad thing does not define you.

The reading level is really middle grade, but due to some of the fighting scenes and other content, it is actually a young adult book and better for high school readers. I really recommend this book.

Title: The Tragic Age
Author: Stephen Metcalfe
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 320 pages
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fear (Gone Book 5) by Michael Grant

Fear is the fifth book in the young adult dystopian series, Gone. A year ago, everyone 15 and older disappeared, leaving all the kids trapped in a barrier called the FAYZ, with no way out. Now, the barrier is turning black, threatening to get rid of light, and engulf the world with darkness. With everything that has already happened, this does not sound like a huge threat, since Sam can create light for them to use, but you know the saying, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

I was definitely disappointed. Given the others in the series, I was expecting better, especially since this is the second to last book in the series. It went very slow, and I was kind of like "hurry up, already!" I know that is harsh, but I really did feel that way.

Another thing was that it was like running in a circle. You would finish one thing, but it would come back again, basically the same thing over and over. The ending was very confusing. Even after reading it over and over, it is hard to understand how it happened.

There were some parts that were good, but not really enough for me. The next book in the series is the last, Light. I really hope it is better than this was!

Read my reviews of the other books in the series:

Title: Fear (Gone #5)
Author: Michael Grant
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 509 pages
Series: Yes, Book 5
Rating: 2 Stars

Monday, September 14, 2015

Island of Legends (Unwanteds #4) by Lisa McMann

Island of Legends is the fourth book in the fantasy middle grade series, Unwanteds. Artimé is under attack from Pirates Island, since Alex has rescued some of their slaves. Even though they are under attack, he still promised to rescue Sky and Crow's mother, and there is no time to lose. The team goes on the journey, and learn that there are more creatures than they thought, and they are all in danger by an electric eel. Rescuing their mother is harder than they ever thought, and Alex must overcome his emotions to take control and save everyone before it is too late.

Island of Legends' greatest strength is the characters. For one thing, Alex's character is growing, and you see more and more of him every book. This is the only one of them with him so down on himself. Alex messes up one of his creations, his friends are fighting, and he and Sky are at ends. Alex has a lot of weight on his shoulders, and he has so much internal conflict. All of the characters' personalities really shined through, and I got to see them as themselves.

Another great thing about this is the creatures. Animals and statues helped in ways that saved their lives. The bond between animals and humans was so precious, and you saw Alex and the others really connect with them. Oh, and I almost forgot to talk about Fox! Gosh, he is hilarious. He is a dog who thinks he is a cat, which really livens up the story when something sad happened. He would always be there in the nick of time with something funny to say.

I really recommend this fantasy book and series.

Title: Island of Legends (Unwanteds #4)
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Aladdin
Pages: 512 pages
Series: Yes, book 4
Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, September 11, 2015

Backward Glass by David Lomax

While at the public library looking for another book, I stumbled across this teen science fiction book. In 1977, Kenny Maxwell and his parents have just moved into this old Victorian house, and have started to renovate when Kenny discovers a secret behind the walls of the home. He discovers a dead baby wrapped in newspaper with a note: "Help me make it not happen, Kenny. Help me stop him. Clive is dead all over again."

Soon after, he meets Luka, a girl from the future, who shows him the Backward Glass, a mirror that allows certain people to travel in time. There is a legend of "Prince Harming," a man who kidnaps and kills kids for no reason, who is also out to get the "mirror kids." Once he traps Kenny in the past, Kenny must save the baby he found dead, and find the courage to face what happens to him in the future.

Backward Glass was not as good as I had hoped. The book started out as really great, but halfway through the book, it was like a different author wrote the second half. The mood and plot changed, especially the ending. Suddenly it would feel like the story was all wrapped up and at the end, but then it changed, and there was more. That happened over and over, and made me really just want to get it over with already. The real ending was not clear, and I wish it were different.

The first half of the book was amazing, and it is such a shame that it went so downhill. I don't recommend this book.

Title: Backward Glass
Author: David Lomax
Publisher: Flux
Pages: 315 pages
Series: No
Rating: 2 Stars

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Double by Jenny Valentine

Double is a young adult mystery about Chap, a 16-year-old boy with no home or family. Then, one day he is mistaken for Cassiel Roadnight, who has been missing for two years. He knows it is wrong, but suddenly he has the opportunity to have the life Chap has always wanted. As he tries not to be discovered, Chap discovers who he really is, and that he is in greater trouble than he bargained for.

I really liked the mystery in it about who Chap is, and how Cassiel disappeared. Every other chapter was about Chap's life before with his grandfather, so you got some background information about him. The title gives away some hints, and if you pay enough attention you can guess how Double will turn out. Chap's situation can be related to almost anything involving confusion and discovering yourself.

I really liked that I could picture what to do differently. In my head, I was putting myself in the book, but only certain parts of the book appealed to me to do that. There were specific parts in the book where I felt that the characters could have said something different, so I imagined myself in the book and how I would have changed what they said.

I have not read a book on this subject before, and I really liked it. I recommend this book for anyone who is in the mood for a good mystery.

Title: Double
Author: Jenny Valentine
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Pages: 256 pages
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Plague (Gone Book 4) by Michael Grant

Plague is the fourth book in this young adult dystopian series, Gone. Sam and his friends have been without adults for eight months, and they are barely surviving. Things were just starting to get back to normal (or, at least the closest thing to normal in the FAYZ) until multiple disasters strike. Mutated bugs are attacking and harvesting in humans, a highly fatal, contagious disease is spreading, and on top of it all, they are almost out of water. Everyone is out of hope, and now their thoughts are not about getting out; it is about staying alive.

I was so excited to read Plague and see what adventures the teens have next. The disasters bring everyone together, and they really have to get past their personal issues with each other to survive. However, it was not really clear what the plague was. There were three disasters happening at once, and it was hard to focus on them separately. While I like the idea of the mutated bugs, some of the details are too graphic for my liking.

Some of the characters that the previous books said were evil actually helped to fight the bugs, and you got to see good and bad characters working together, which has never happened before.

Overall, Plague was a good fourth book, and I cannot wait to read the next book, Fear.

See my reviews of the other books in the series:

Title: Plague (Gone #4)
Author: Michael Grant
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 459 pages
Series: Yes, Book 4
Rating: 4 Stars
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