Invictus || Time Traveling Teenage Thieves

Far is the son of a gladiator and a professional time traveler. The first baby born outside of time. Top of his class. At least Far was, before his failed final exam shatters Far’s dreams of following in his time traveling mother’s footsteps faster than his cousin’s gelato can melt.

Far’s only hope is a handwritten note from an unknown sender promising him a second chance. Far’s present is not a time of second chances. The sender could be anyone, yet Far knows this is the sole remaining possibility allowing him to fulfill his time traveling dream. Continue reading

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Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Title: Wolf by Wolf Author: Ryan Graudin Publication Date: October 20, 2015 Genre: Young Adult Alternate History, Fantasy/Science-Fiction Synopsis: In an alternate 1956 where the Axis Powers won World War II Yael, a teenage Jewish concentration camp escapee, enters an ambitious cross-continent motorcycle race. The … Continue reading

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

15724396Title: The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)

Author: Rick Riordan

Published: October 6, 2015

Genre: Young Adult Mythological/Urban Fantasy

Synopsis: Magnus didn’t plan to die on his sixteenth birthday. He actually didn’t plan anything at all.

Magnus has spent the last year homeless on the streets of Boston after the mysterious death of his mother. Finding the source of his next meal is higher than his birthday on Magnus’s priority list, but when Magnus discovers he is the son of a Norse god his life is changed drastically minutes before his death where Magnus finds himself in a strange afterlife he hadn’t known existed.

Review: Magnus Chase has one of the strongest voices of any character I have read for some time. This being the author of Percy Jackson that comes as little surprise. While I normally hate it when authors break third wall, Rick Riordan does so in a way that somehow manages to add to the story.

There appears to be much concern about this book being too much like Riordan’s Percy Jackson books. There were some major parallelisms, Magnus is even the cousin of on of the main characters from the Percy Jackson book and it is clear there will be more overlap between characters of Riordan’s various series in future books.

That said, readers do not need to have read any of Riordan’s other books to read The Sword of Summer. The series stands on its own thus far in spite of the sometimes not so subtle callbacks to Riordan’s previous books.

The similarities between this book and other books by this author don’t really bother me. Whenever I read several books by one author I start seeing common themes and character arcs throughout their works and even see the same in my own writing. The similarities between Riordan’s books just happen to be more obvious than most.

Perhaps my favorite thing the Percy Jackson books and this series have in common are the hilarious chapter titles. I missed the chapter titles in The Heroes of Olympus.

Some of the side characters were very well developed while others felt like they didn’t get enough development. *slight spoiler* There was one side character in particular that died in this book, but didn’t get all that much development. I feel her death would have been more meaningful had the reader been given a chance to get to know her.

Rating: Really enjoyed reading this book, but it doesn’t standout in my memory as life changing. For that reason it gets a four out of five.

4 blue jays

Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days, 1) by Susan Ee Book Review

Title: Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days book 1)

Author: Susan Ee

Genre(s): Young Adult, Paranormal, Apocalyptic

Release Date: May 21, 2011

Synopsis: Six weeks ago the world ended. Those cute little angel mosaics and statues? Turns out they’re about as far from the truth as it is possible to imagine. The apocalypse was not from an alien invasion or scientific invention. The world was destroyed by angels.

17-year-old Penryn Young doesn’t care about saving the world. She just wants to have her sister back, and there’s only one person who can help her. The only problem is that he’s not exactly human.

He’s a wingless angel named Raffe, and angels are the enemy.

If Penryn is to find her sister and Raffe is to get his wings back these two must make a temporarily alliance. Their only hope is to reach San Francisco where the angels have gathered in number, but there is no guarantee that arriving in San Francisco will give either of them what they want.

Review:  When I told my friends I had read this book in one night they thought I was crazy. When I reached the “100%” mark on my e-reader in one sitting I was not at all surprised. I enjoyed this novel that much. Angelfall is the suspense grabbing, action-packed type of novel that leaves readers wondering “what happens next?”

I must admit that I came into this book with some doubts. To put it simply, I had a prejudice against self-published authors. But, this book has helped change that. If I hadn’t known before I started reading that this book had been self-published I never would have guessed.

One of the main reason this books works is our main character, Penryn. Unlike most of the heroine’s I’ve read lately Penryn is a very strong female lead who never forgets what’s at stake and is determined to find her sister no matter what the cost. Penryn isn’t about to let anyone push her around– not even Raffe.

Raffe knows this about Penryn. He lets Penryn fight her own battles and acknowledges her strengths. Some readers might be expecting some Penryn and Raffe insta-love thanks to all the paranormal romances in existence, but this was not the case. This book does contain a touch of romance, but it is mostly found in the last ten percent. Perhaps one of my favorite elements of this book was the absence of the “love triangle” cliche that plagues paranormal novels.

The usage of angels in this book was fairly well done. The author was trying to write an angel book that appeals to the general audience. I know that a lot of people are hesitant to read books containing angels because they either a) don’t read books that are preachy or b) don’t read books that are the opposite of preachy. As this book takes a neutral stance, neither audience is likely to have a problem with it on this regard.

Raffe is not your stereotypical angel from modern YA novels either– none of the angels in this novel are. Most novelists either decide to have the focus of their angel novel be on fallen angels or  morally perfect beings who can do no wrong but Mrs. Ee has decided for her angels to be more like the angels of the Old Testament. Meaning that there is destruction to the point that the world can say goodbye to most of its major cities.

The world building was another strong point. This novel is set only a few weeks after the start of the apocalypses which results in characters who still remember their lives before and most modern infrastructure is still around but useless. I liked the way the author intermixed the highly popular Apocalyptic and Paranormal genres. I often see the two apart but almost never written into the same book, and I found the combination of angels and the end of the world to be a refreshing twist.

One of the only element that I didn’t enjoy was the cannibalism. I give a detailed analysis of my reasoning without giving away major spoilers so all I can say is I felt it was unnecessary.

This book was one of the best apocalyptic novels I’ve read in a while.

Disclaimers: If this book were a movie I’d rate it towards the more gruesome end of the PG-13 spectrum. This novel contains references to cannibalism and potentially disturbing depictions of dead bodies.

Rating/Recommendations: I recommend this book for people who enjoy strong heroines and are looking for a fast paced read. I would recommend reading this book when you have time set aside to read through it quickly.

I give this book 4.5/5 because I adored Penryn, liked that the romance remained a subplot, and found the world Susan Ee created facinating. The .5 is only taken off because I didn’t enjoy the way cannibalism is used in the story-line.

4.5 blue jays