Otherworld Tales: Irish the Demon Slayer by C T Markee

Irish the Demon SlayerIn this action-adventure-fantasy, 12-year-old Pete (Irish) Kehoe thinks he’s an ordinary kid-until trees start talking to him and an old woman tells him he’s chosen to defend the mystical Otherworld against the King of Demons.”No way!” he says, until a demon kidnaps his kid sister, Kathy. Then Irish and his two friends, Streak and Huff, time-hop to this besieged world of Celtic mythology to rescue her. But . . . are they ready to deal with a shape-shifter, a death fog, demon warriors, killer earthquakes and vicious flesh-eating wulgoars to save her? Can Irish’s ancestor, the ancient Celtic warrior hero Cuchulain, or the talking trees, help the boys triumph over evil?This middle-grade adventure story targets readers age 9 and older. It’s appropriate for boys, girls or older readers who appreciate fantasy and authentic Celtic mythology with non-stop action. (From Amazon.com)

What I really liked about this book was the vast amounts of Irish mythology. I don’t know much about it, and have not read much that uses this type of myth so it’s something different for me to read. It’s different, but it’s also so action packed it was like watching one of those adventure movies that are meant for the younger crowd (like Neverending Story, for example). The writing style was good and easy to understand, the setting was very well done and easily pictured, but I really liked how the author tried to make the Irish characters even ‘talk’ in their Irish accent. That, I thought was really well done and it helped give the characters a more real feel to them and it was well written enough that you could even imagine them talking in their Irish accent.

The book is small, and because of the action in this book, reading through it goes fast. There’s a little bit of character development, but the action takes up most of the novel. It’s nice to see familiar mythological characters, Cuchulain for example, and what helps a lot is there’s a list of characters’ names, and places in the beginning, with a pronunciation guide (whoever thought Sidhe was pronounced so differently?!) this was extremely helpful and useful.

The story overall was really good – it hit a bit of a rut towards the ending, but it was still a great adventure to read nevertheless. It’s a great story to read for all ages, however those that liked the Pendragon series by D J Machale should give this one a chance!

I give it a 7 out of 10.

Note: thank you to the author for giving me a review copy of this book!


Bumped by Megan McCafferty

BumpedWhen a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food. Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job. Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from. When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common. (From Amazon.ca)

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. For sure, I wasn’t expecting something that had humor in it. In a way, I suppose you could call it a dystopia, but with comedy mixed into the book. It’s an interesting world, where teen girls are prized and are a valuable commodity. Despite the humor in it though, there are also serious consequences in this society. This is mostly seen through Melody’s eyes. Although under substantial pressure to conceive a child, she also wants to live the life of a normal teenager. Zen is seen as an outlet for that and he provides important support for Melody to cope with this confusion, and eventually, she realizes what she really wants to do with her life.

The introduction of Harmony adds more complication with the story, but also gives an interesting dimension to it. Although she’s raised in a very strict religious upbringing, it didn’t seem to suit her, and it’s only when she’s out of it that she comes out of her shell. Her actions even surprise herself, but she also learns a lot on the way as well.

The plot overall was good, although a little slow to start. We’re not quite sure what’s about to happen, but through the second half of the book it does pick up the pace and gets more interesting as the book progresses. Character development is really good, especially on Melody and Harmony. I preferred reading about Melody, and I thought it was more of an eye opener.

The ending does leave it open to a sequel, and I am interested on how this story develops. Despite the slow pace in the beginning, I say stick with it as the latter half gets much more interesting. It’s an interesting world, one with a good amount of humor to keep the reader entertained. Although it does have a lot of dystopia characteristics, the humor in this book gives the setting a whole different side. It’s certainly refreshing and different to see. Do give this book a try, it’s certainly worth a look see.

I give it an 8/10

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

EnclaveNew York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20’s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known. (From Amazon.ca)

I had high hopes for this one. It had all the makings of a great book. It had all the makings of a dystopia and I liked the background setting. Deuce seems to be living in a rather tribal like society where you are classified into different groups depending on how useful you are. It was really interesting, and I liked reading this part of the book. Deuce herself is an interesting character, she’s tough and Fade is just as tough as her, so they make an good working pair. It was only inevitable where you’ll run into romance between the two, although I didn’t see the romance being so great. Yes, Deuce and Fade made a great pair when it came to survival and working together, but romantically, I don’t know, I just didn’t see it. It was flat and they just did not have that spark you’d expect in most YA couples.

The best part was the incident with the gang. That to me, was very real, and expected in a post apocalyptic setting. I was actually glad this wasn’t sugar coated to make it easy on the eyes for younger readers. They were most certainly brutal, and their behavior towards Deuce is horrible – but expected. (That being said, this book should be geared towards older teens). I did not expect Stalker to change so quickly, and I didn’t expect Fade and Deuce to be so forgiving and trusting. You’d think of all they’ve been taught and been through, they’d tie up Stalker and watch him being fed to the wild animals?

So a few things bothered me about this book. The fact that Deuce and Fade – despite their training and survival skills, end up being so nice to Stalker, and the fact that everywhere they went in this post apocalyptic world, they found food. EVERYWHERE. It was all conveniently placed. Call me cynical, or very pessimistic, but most books I’ve read that had this kind of setting, food was scarce, and few and far between. This did not sit well with me and my interest in the book started to wane. The fighting parts however, were good and well done, they were exciting and action packed. I especially liked how Tegan even was able to defend herself!

I wanted to like this book. I really did. I did like some aspects of it but other parts of it did not sit too well with me to fully appreciate the post apocalyptic story. Perhaps I’m being too picky but it just felt like some things were just a little too conveniently placed for them to take the easy way. I will be reading the next book, as the unanswered questions and the open ending got me curious. Is this the book that beats Hunger Games? definitely not. Dystopia readers could give this a try just for a look at a different type of society.

I give it a 5.5/10

Side note: no, seriously..that finding food thing REALLY SET ME OFF.

Time Travelers Never Die by Jack Mcdevitt

Time Travelers Never DieWhen physicist Michael Shelborne mysteriously vanishes, his son Shel discovers that he had constructed a time travel device. Fearing his father may be stranded in time—or worse—Shel enlists the aid of Dave Dryden, a linguist, to accompany him on the rescue mission. Their journey through history takes them from the enlightenment of Renaissance Italy through the American Wild West to the civil-rights upheavals of the 20th century. Along the way, they encounter a diverse cast of historical greats, sometimes in unexpected situations. Yet the elder Shelborne remains elusive. And then Shel violates his agreement with Dave not to visit the future. There he makes a devastating discovery that sends him fleeing back through the ages, and changes his life forever. (From Goodreads)

I’ve noticed with this book, some readers were not pleased as there is no ‘real villain’ of the book. This was fine by me. There’s no need for antagonists in every book read. I really enjoyed reading this one, the time travel was excellent and it made a real good adventure/science fiction book to read.

The plot was good. It flowed and didn’t stop until at least towards the end. I really did enjoy the time traveling aspect of the story. Being a history lover myself, I loved how Shel and Dave traveled through different time periods where important historical events had happened it made for very interesting and sometimes dangerous or funny reading. I cringed when Dave was asked to join in the adventure, because I knew something bad was going to happen. (Something did happen, but am not going to reveal to keep this review spoiler free).

There was a mini mystery plot with this book, (regarding Shel’s father) and although it was interesting, I found I preferred reading the time traveling part much more and the mystery part followed after – it just didn’t seem as important, at least it felt that way while reading the book. Once the mystery was solved, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I expected a little more drama, maybe some action but it wasn’t the case. So, I was mildly disappointed. It still did not deter me from enjoying this book though.

The characters were all right, nothing out of the ordinary or special. I actually enjoyed how Dave developed through the book more than Shel. His small love story was touching and provided a nice tender moment of the storyline. I’d have to say Dave is the most exciting character to follow between the two and although Shel becomes more interesting later on, I preferred them traveling together instead of separately.

Also, I have to note, I loved the ending of the book. It just seemed like such a perfect ending and one of the best I have read so far this year. I do admit, I did expect some sort of catastrophic event to happen. Yet I found that by the time I was finishing the book, it was a nice satisfying adventure to read. I think this is a perfect read for even those not really into science fiction but would love to read a great adventure as well!

I give it an 8 out of 10.

Side Note: Extra points goes to this book to mention and feature Cesare Borgia!

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

CrescendoPlease note, to really enjoy this book it’s best if you read Hush, Hush first!

Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can’t figure out if it’s for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home. The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father’s death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn’t answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine? (From Amazon.ca)

You think you enjoyed Hush, Hush ? Crescendo is just as good as the first! there was so much piled into the book and the pace was steady so reading through this book will take hardly any time at all!

Things start off a little rocky between Patch and Nora, although the strong tension and chemistry is still there between them. You start wondering what Patch’s problem is, because he starts acting like such a douche. Yet you can’t help but like him because he just seems to be there for Nora when she needs him. But when he starts paying attention to Marcie it almost felt like a slap to the face or a knife to the heart (or both). If these kinds of feelings come out from the reader, then it just shows Becca Fitzpatrick is doing a great job in her writing style!

Not to mention, the more Marcie is mentioned, and the things she does just makes you want to seethe and grind your teeth. There’s quite a few revelations about Marcie and there’s another blindside move that I was not expecting. Still, I hate her as much as Nora and Vee do because she’s just so…infuriating (for lack of a better term). Some of the things Marcie does just makes you want to go in and defend Norah (which annoyingly enough, she’s always alone and Patch/Vee are conveniently gone). Sometimes though, I wish Nora could fight back – even though it’s not really her personality to do so.

The plot of this book was excellent and the pacing was even. Readers might find Nora a little on the whiny side but the action, and the mystery just make up for all of that. Vee is always an extremely funny BFF to be with and her actions and quotes are just memorable. Nora and her make perfect partners in crime (although may result in disastrous consequences). The ending leaves on a huge cliff hanger, which can only mean, the next book will be even better!

I most definitely recommend this book for YA readers. Note, reading Hush, Hush is required and essential to understanding the series.

I give it a 9/10

Side note: *gushes over Patch* you’re a jackass Patch, but I *heart* you. You’re too damn sexy for your own good!

Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George

Princess of GlassHoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program. She travels abroad hoping to find better political alliances and perhaps a marriage. But thanks to a vengeful fairy, Poppy’s happily ever after gets complicated. This companion to Princess of the Midnight Ball will delight readers with action and romance. (From Amazon.ca)

It helps if you had previously read Princess of the Midnight Ball. Characters from that book are featured here, and also it helps you understand, and get a better idea of characters, and the setting.

I enjoyed reading about Poppy. She’s definitely not a typical Princess, and her aversion to dancing is certainly understood. I’m rather glad they chose this sister to feature in this story. She’s certainly just as determined, and strong willed as her other older sisters that were mentioned in the previous book. She’s most definitely not the needy whiny type of Princess, and one can’t help but like her for these strong characteristics.

The supporting cast around her is also well done. I liked Marianne and the two made a fine friendship pair (well, they’re cousins too). The chemistry between Poppy and Christian was there and I liked seeing them together – although as Ella(Ellen) came into the picture you had the urge to knock Christian upside the head with a baseball bat (although it’s perfectly understandable why he’s acting this way!) because he just seems to be the right one for Poppy (and also he became increasingly frustrating thanks to Ella).

It’s hard to sympathize with Ella. She was hateful and typically a selfish brat. Although once you realize her background and how she came to be how she is, you might change your mind. To me, she just seemed like someone who wanted an easy way out and she just seemed a little too naive to take something without realizing it had consequences to go along with it.

Again, like Princess of the Midnight Ball, the setting descriptions are magnificent and well done. Everything is clearly pictured and well described (plus there’s plenty of gorgeous dresses everywhere! and glass shoes!!!!! oh so pretty but sounded extremely painful!). The plot itself was good, although the ending had left a lot out in the open – like the issue with the Corley…that was closed, yet it was…open (get my meaning?). Perhaps there’s more books to come featuring these Princesses and their ways of fighting evil? let’s hope so, as it was a pleasure reading this book. The author’s writing style is excellent and fun to read. I definitely recommend this, especially those that enjoyed Princess of the Midnight Ball.

I give it a 9/10