What I’m Reading: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman

Young Adult Book Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Starbound Trilogy #2)

Early this year I reviewed These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, book #1 of the Starbound Trilogy. I loved that book, so I wasn’t surprised when I feel right into This Shattered World. The second book of the trilogy has two different main characters, Jubilee and Flynn, but the tension, world, and romance were similar enough that I found the transition easy. Because the mystery is bigger than the characters themselves, it is easy to get hooked.

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I listened to This Shattered World as an audiobook. It was nice that the book was ready by two narrators, one for the part of Flynn, and one for the part of Jubilee. Without two separate narrators, I might not have so easily been able to tell the chapters apart. There’s one more book left in this trilogy, and I imagine I’ll be listening to it soon.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Young Adult Book Review: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep (Mythos Academy #1)

I recently had the privilege of attending a writing conference, where Jennifer Estep was one of the Key Notes. I had never read anything from her before, and I wanted to be familiar with her work before the conference, so I picked up Touch of Frost, the first book in Estep’s Paranormal Young Adult series, Mythos Academy.

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Now, the Mythos Academy name tells you almost everything you need to know to get started reading Touch of Frost. First, it relies heavily on world mythology; Second, the Gods are back (bad and good), and Third, you’re in for a whole lot of fun. The main character in Touch of Frost is Gwen, who’s a gypsy newly arrived to a school full of warriors, most of which are also blessed with some sort of bonus magical power. Of course, as always happens, things go wrong and Gwen ends up attempting to sort things out.

Touch of Frost was a quick, easy read, set in a world that I would love to live in. There were a few weak elements with the plot, but I could overlook them because the pace was quick, and there was never a slow moment. There are currently six books in the series (apparently #7 is currently only going to be release in Germany. But six books is plenty to keep me reading for a while.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Seven Dead Pirates by Linda Bailey

If you know me, then you know I love pirates. So when I saw Seven Dead Pirates by Linda Bailey on the shelves, I had to pick it up. This middle-grade book is a quick read, and follows a boy who suddenly finds himself with seven pirate ghosts for roommates.

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Now, there are two types of middle grade fiction: the kind written for kids, and the kind that is shelved as middle grade because of the age of the characters. I recently read The Girl Who Drank The Moon, which is shelved as middle-grade but I would argue is definitely all ages. Seven Dead Pirates is the opposite, and it is a great book for young readers. I look forward to reading this book to my kids in a few years, when they old enough to sit still and LISTEN for at least five minutes straight. They both love pirates and ghosts, so I’m sure it will be a win for them.

As an adult reading this book, I found it to be well written and engaging, but not that exciting since the problems in the book were the problems of a twelve-year-old boy and easily solvable (to me, anyway). There were some great lessons in this book for young readers, like sticking up for yourself and finding friends where you least expect them. A solid story.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Young Adult Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer had such a fetching cover that I just had to pick it up. The image actually has a striking resemblance to the Twilight Cover, in my opinion, with the same colour palette and the bright red right in the middle. But what does that matter? What I really wanted was to read a Cinderella story set in the future.

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Cinder was probably the most refreshing fairy tale retelling I’ve read in a while. It was still recognizable as the Cinderella story, but it wasn’t weighed down with backstory I didn’t need (like some retelling’s I’ve read in the past year). The funnest part, I thought, was that instead of a glass slipper, Cinder is constantly struggling with her cyber foot, which no longer fits her. I was also very interested in the Lunars, and will read the other books in the chronicles just to find out about them. The other books, however, don’t feature Cinder as a main character, and I’m kind of glad about that, since I feel like Cinder(ella)’s story has come to an end.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Blood Ties by Garth Nix & Sean Williams

When I knew I had to go on another long, solo road trip, my first thought was about what audiobook I should listen to. I browsed the virtual shelves, and then remembered my previous experience with the Spirit Animals series. As I enjoyed the first two books in the series, so I figured why not just continue on with the third book.

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Blood Ties takes the four main characters on yet another journey to find another legendary talisman before the bad guys do!

As I’ve said with the previous audiobooks, these are quick listens and full of action, so they work well to keep me listening on the road (though perhaps not as awake as a good murder-mystery does). I still want a spirit animal, and I want to be a Green Cloak about as much as I want to go to Hogwarts (though Hogwarts is still top of the list by far). If you know young readers, let them know about these books, and if you’re young at heart, maybe you’ll enjoy them too.

4/5 Stars

JEH

Star Wars Books that Changed My Life

May the 4th be with you!

This year, in order to celebrate ‘Star Wars Day’, I’m going to share with you some of my own history with what I consider to be one of the best fantastical worlds ever! As a child, I remember watching the Star Wars Movies every chance I got. My favourite was Return of the Jedi (it is now Empire Strikes Back), and I borrowed it every chance I got on VHS from my public library. I borrowed it so many times that my father banned me from borrowing it for six months! I was crushed.

I always dreamed of new Star Wars movies, but they never arrived in my childhood. Instead, I turned to the books. By the time I turned 10, there was an entire Star Wars Universe waiting to be explored on the page. I began with Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn, and read everything I could get my hands on. I still have some of these books, as I’ve never been able to part with them.

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One of my favs was the Young Jedi Knights Series, by Kevin J. Anderson with Robecca Moesta. This series was about Leia and Han’s twins, Jaina and Jacen. I wanted to be them, go to school with them, learn how to be a Jedi Knight too. So I consumed these books with a vengeance. I credit the strong character of Jaina and her mechanical aptitude for my own interest in science and my the much later degree in Engineering that I received in 2004. I was disappointed with Disney when they kaiboshed everything that was Star Wars, making it legend, and coming up with their own cannon. But there are a lot of similarities between Rey and Jaina, and after I watched Star Wars, The Force Awakens, I found I could accept this new story and love Rey as I loved Jaina (to me, they are really the same girl by a different name. I’m positive that Rey belongs to Leia and Han, and that Kylo Ren is her long-lost twin brother, just like in the books).

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Another of my favorite characters from the book world, Mara Jade, in Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire series, and pictured fighting Luke, above, is also now legend. Mara Jade was an apprentice to the Emperor, and takes it upon herself to battle Luke. But Mara Jade isn’t all bad, and she’s also my favorite Sith ever.

While my Star Wars book collection is not what it once was, I still treasure it, and it is still growing. With the Disney takeover, more material is being released now than ever. I’ve previously blogged about reading some of the new comic books, and I’ve also finished the first book in Chuck Wendig’s new Trilogy, beginning with Aftermath, about the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. When it comes to my love of Science Fiction and space travel, Star Wars will always have a very large place in my heart. So happy May the 4th, and may the Force be with you.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen it yet, or if you just want to watch it again because it is May 4th, be sure to check out The Last Jedi Trailer below.

JEH

Books I’ve Read: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Young Adult Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

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As I continue to look through my old book journal, I’m posting about books I read a number of years ago. This week, I’ll be posting my initial “review”, on Divergent by Veronica Roth. It isn’t so much a review as my opinion of the book, and boy was it opinionated. See below:

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This write-up is pretty harsh. It sounds like I hated the book yet I gave it 4.5 stars. I guess that says a lot about a books ambiance, which to me means the general feeling the book generates and my ability to ‘suspend disbelief’. Divergent was a book that I really had to not try to reason out. I mean, the entire population of the city is forced into four groups—FOUR! People are so much more diverse than that. And there are so many more job functions than that. Anyway… Even if I had a difficult time falling for the premise and the choices some of the characters made, I liked the FEELING of the book. The tone. I guess that’s what won me over.

Come back later in the week to see what I thought about Insurgent.

JEH