Ignite by Danielle Rogland


Ignite

Title: Ignite

Author: Danielle Rogland

Publisher: Inkitt

Date of publication: April 8th, 2017

Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Number of pages: 329

POV: Alternating 1st person

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In the ruins of dystopian London, the Empire rules through fear and fire.

“Everyone knew about ‘The Flames’ and how much trouble they had caused the Empire. They were the only rebel group anyone knew of that had lasted longer than a few months without getting caught, leaving candles behind whenever they snatched somebody out of the Empire’s grasp. To get involved with people like them is stupid. So stupid.”

Ever since her parents were murdered by the empire’s agents, Jacks has been living on the street as a pickpocket trying to keep away from trouble. When she accidentally witnesses the rebel group ‘The Flames’ in the middle of an operation she is unwillingly swept up into their world and has to decide if she’s going to go back to looking after herself or join the rebellion and help them fight for the people of London Ruins.

She knows that getting involved was stupid, but does she really have a choice?

My review:

I am a fan of dystopia. I just love reading about what civilization could be like in the future. So when I was approached by Inkitt to review Ignite and I read the blurb that came with the email, I immediately responded with a yes to my contact person. I wasn’t disappointed by Ignite. Honestly, I was blown away by it.

Usually, when I read 1st person and the views keep switching from person to person, it does something to the story. Makes me disconnect from the story and I usually end up not liking it because of that. I have read books, though, where the switching back and forth between different people has worked and it worked well. Ignite is one of those books. The switching between the characters did not take away from the story. The author actually labeled the chapters with the main characters name (Jacks, Corry, Zira, and Jeremy). That way you could always tell who was speaking.

The Emporer and the Burners were pretty bad people. The author only touched on what happened to dismantle the government that used to rule London and replaced it with an Emporer who liked to burn things. I am going to take a wild guess and say that it was pretty bad. I mean, there is a part of London called London Ruins. Kinda answers my question right there. The Burners I perceived as reverse firefighters. They lit contained fires that forced people out of their houses. Then they killed them for being rebels. Hence reverse firefighters. I never figured out if they put out the fires or if the fires went out themselves.

My favorite character was Zira. At first, I didn’t like her and I did have my suspicions that she definitely had her secrets. When they were revealed, I was just as shocked as the rest of the Flames. But, during her chapters, you could see her anguish over the past and her past deeds. It was after that confrontation with Jacks, that I started to like her. By the end of the book, she was my favorite character.

Jacks had to be my second favorite character. She was a tough cookie and she had overcome a lot in her life. It was that strongness that showed in the last part of the book.

The ending was pretty much what I expected but the author did throw in a few curves which made the story a lot better and added depth to it.

How many stars will I give Ignite: 4

Why: I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a quick read with characters that you couldn’t help but like.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Older teen

Why: Violence

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Moonstroke by Blaine C. Readler


Moonstroke

Title: Moonstroke

Author: Blaine C. Reader

Publisher: Full Arc Press

Date of Publication: December 1st, 2016

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

Number of pages: 252

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

It’s been twelve years since a massive solar flare destroyed communications with the American base on the far side of the Moon, killing the platinum mining workers and leaving just three adults to raise thirty-seven orphans. Isolated, the base has carried on, and the orphans now teenagers have taken up the mining. It’s all they’ve ever known. But now enigmatic lights on the horizon and in the sky mark the arrival of someone or something that heralds an end to a patterned life of restraint and enforced duty. Katlin, the daughter of the base leader, has enjoyed the full education afforded by the base library and finds her loyalties torn between her father and Van, the capable teenage leader who is ready to break the yoke of servitude and face the wonders available in the wide universe.

My review:

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I am a huge fan of science fiction, fantasy, young adult, romance and any combination of those. When Moonstroke showed up on my Titles in My Categories section on NetGalley, I clicked on it to see what it was about. What I read caught my attention and made me click on the read now button. I think that I can’t remember if I have ever read a book that took place solely on the moon. I know I have read books where the moon was a stopping point but never the sole area where the story takes place. Also, factoring into my decision was that the entire book took place on the dark side of the moon. Which fascinated me and I couldn’t wait to see how it was the storyline went.

Speaking of the storyline, I liked that the author chose to have almost all the base’s adults die in a solar flare and leave their toddler children in the hands of 3 men. I do wish, though, that there was some sort of preface about the solar flare that happened. It would have given a lot more insight into why the toddlers, now teenagers, are called nextgen and why they continued mining.

I do think that the storyline started really slow in the beginning. Like super-duper slow to the point where I honestly thought nothing would happen, even though it said on the blurb that it would. What also bothered me was that the nextgens were being kept in the dark about Earth and their heritage. Almost everything that they know about Earth came from movies that they were allowed to watch. The only one exempt from this was Katlin, the daughter of the base leader. And even she was exempt from some things. But the book did pick up towards the middle of the book and I was able to enjoy it.

The main characters were teenagers and I thought that the author did a great job portraying how they would act if they lived in a community with no access to Earth. I do think that they acted pretty normal for kids who had no contact with anyone but the people on their base. I mean, they acted like typical teenagers and rebelled like typical teenagers. I loved reading the parts with Van in them because he was very forward thinking for being in seclusion for his whole life.

The last half of the book was very surprising to me and I didn’t expect certain events to happen or certain truths to be revealed. It kinda blew my mind when those truths were revealed and made my heart hurt for those involved.

How many stars will I give Moonstroke: 3.5

Why: I did like this book but I do think that it could have used a bit more backstory than what was given (just my opinion). The beginning of the book was very slow and to be honest, I almost DNF’d it. But, it did pick up speed towards the end of the book and I did enjoy the read from that point on.

Will I reread: Maybe

Will I recommend to family and friends: Maybe

Age range: Young Teen

Why: mild violence

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Perfect (Flawed: Book 2) by Cecelia Ahern


Perfect (Flawed, #2)

Title: Perfect

Author: Cecelia Ahern

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Date of publication: April 4th, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia

Number of pages: 352

POV: 1st person

Series: Flawed

Flawed – Book 1

Perfect – Book 2

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured–all her freedoms gone.

Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick–the only person she can trust.

But Celestine has a secret–one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing.

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or to risk her life to save all Flawed people.

And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed?

My review:

This is another one of those books that I loved but I really wished that I read book 1 first because book 2 blew me out of the water. I devoured Perfect. I think I read it in a couple of hours after my kids went to bed for the night and when I was done with it, I closed the book and just stared out into space….trying to digest everything that I just read. Yes, it was truly that good.

Celestine was a reluctant hero of the Flawed. When I say reluctantly because she really didn’t want to be a poster child for anything. All she wanted to do, at first, was to just find a place that she could go off grid and hide from Craven and his Whistleblowers. But that just doesn’t happen. Any place that she finds sanctuary in, they always show up. I kept thinking that maybe she had a tracking device or something on her at one point because of how they would always show up. But it was revealed, in most of the cases, that fellow Flawed were calling the Whistleblowers and altering them to where she was. Which was kind of crappy, in my eyes.

I couldn’t stand Craven. He was gunning for Celestine because he thought that she had incriminating video evidence that shows him illegally branding Celestine on the spine without numbing the area first. Then he tries to cover up his crime (because it was a crime) by kidnapping everyone that was there or saw her brand. Like that was going to help everything. And when he does finally get Celestine, what does he do….arranges for her to have a skin graft to cover her brand. Any scene with him in it made me feel seriously greasy and I wanted to shower.

I wasn’t too sure about Carrick at first. Everything he did for and with Celestine ended up serving himself or the political party that he has become attached to. I even began to question if he was really attracted to her or if it was a ruse to get her to join him and help the political party. But, like everything else in this book, not everything is what it seems.

Again, I do wish that I had read book 1. I had a small issue with the significance to where the people were branded. It wasn’t clearly explained in Perfect and that drove me nuts. But it didn’t take away from the story. Just personally drove me nuts.

The end of the book was pretty intense, action wise and I did like that all the storylines were brought together and ended.

How many stars will I give Perfect: 4

Why: Like I said above, I devoured this book in 2 hours. The plotline was great, characters were memorable and I loved the twist at the end of the book.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Older Teen

Why: Some sexual situations, mild violence, and some language

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Dream Magic (Shadow Magic: Book 2) by Joshua Khan


Dream Magic (Shadow Magic, #2)

Title: Dream Magic

Author: Joshua Khan

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Date of publication: April 11th, 2017

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Young Adult

Grade level: 3-7

Number of pages: 352

Series: Shadow Magic

Shadow Magic – Book 1

Dream Magic – Book 2

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A fabulously exciting sequel to the fantasy adventure SHADOW MAGIC.

People throughout Gehenna are disappearing, even the feared executioner Tyburn. Many of the nobles believe the kidnappings to be the work of the northern trolls, raiding south for the winter, and when Baron Sable and others head off to fight them, Castle Gloom is left guarded by only the squires.

Lily is struggling with her growing necromantic powers. The castle fills with ghosts, drawn like moths to a flame by the brightness of her magic. Zombies roam the country, some left over from those raised in SHADOW MAGIC, others awakened by Lily. Families are troubled by the returning dead, so Lily tries to incorporate them into day-to-day life, much to the resentment of the living.

Then Lily is attacked in her own castle by a mysterious sorcerer known as Dreamweaver, a young man determined to conquer Gehenna using jewel-spiders, strange crystalline creatures whose bite doesn’t kill but sends victims to sleep. Lily soon discovers that Dreamweaver is harvesting dreams to fuel his magic.

Lily enters the realm of sleep known as the Dream Time, in an attempt to awaken all the captive dreamers. Instead, she finds herself trapped within a dream, one where her family is still alive. With the help of Thorn and the ever loyal Hades, she must somehow overcome the evil Dreamweaver by using his own magic against him – and reclaim her kingdom.

My review:

I really, really, really wish that I had read book one of this series. Not that I didn’t like the book (I did) but I felt kinda lost during the first couple of chapters. But, besides feeling lost, which really only lasted a couple of chapters, I loved the rest of the book. Like I had mentioned in another blog, I have reviewed a fair amount of middle-grade books lately. Like I also mentioned in that blog, my two oldest children are in 3rd and 5th grade. I am always scouting out new books for them to read and again, with this book, I have found a book that I think that they would like. Scratch that, I know my son, the 3rd grader, would love it. This book is right up his alley. My daughter, the 5th grader, is difficult to find books that she would read.

While this book has some darker elements in it, they weren’t completely dark….if you know what I mean. Zombies are featured predominately in the book. While they are scary and they do want to eat brains, they aren’t typical zombies. They can communicate, they can work. Their other urges are nulled by being in Lily’s general area of power. Which I thought was very cool and it toned down on the creepiness factor.

I liked Lily a lot. She was dealing with the aftermath of her parents’ and brother’s murders by her uncle, trying to run a country at 13 and trying to keep her magic (necromancy) under wraps because of superstitions of her people about a woman doing magic. On top of it all, she has to deal with an arranged marriage to a boy who is the total opposite of her, she is trying to find out who is behind the abduction of her people and the trolls have amassed an army and is marching on Castle Gloom. She also found out that using her magic, a lot, can cause some unforeseen issues with her body. Poor kid was dealing with a lot and she was dealing with it the best that she could.

Thorn, I loved. He was exactly what Lily needed. He was trustworthy, loyal to her and he was willing to do whatever he could to protect her and to protect Castle Gloom. Plus, he had a pretty cool bat mount named Hades. He was the one who found out where the crystal spiders were coming from and he was part of the group that stayed at Castle Gloom when the rest of the army went to fight the trolls.

Now, I will say that the storyline surrounding Weaver, the bad guy, was very dark and I actually felt bad for him….which is rare for me. It was a tragic story and I did like the small plot twist that took place when his story was revealed. I was shocked, along with Lily, when it was revealed who Weaver was. But my feeling bad for him lasted exactly two chapters and then I didn’t like him again….lol. The crystal spiders were an interesting aspect of the book too.

All of the storylines were merged beautifully and there was no lull in the chapter between the author doing that and the ending chapters. I will say that the couple of plot twists in the book (one that was mentioned) got me. The one at the end absolutely had me fooled and I was surprised when it ended up not being what I thought (and feared) it was. I also liked how the author left the book open for a book 3.

How many stars will I give Dream Magic: 4

Why: I think that this will be a great book for kids in 3rd grade through 7th grade (as mentioned above). The characters were fleshed out and likable (or unlikable…depending on who you were reading), the potential scary characters were made not so scary by humanizing them and I really liked that the book had a strong female main character. I would be very comfortable letting my 3rd and 5th graders read this books

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Child

Why: Mild violence. Potentially scary characters for younger readers (trolls and zombies)

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

New Blood (Thoroughbred Breeders: Book 1) by Christine Meunier


New Blood (Thoroughbred Breeders, #1)

Title: New Blood

Author: Christine Meunier

Publisher: Self-published

Date of publication: November 22nd, 2016

Genre: Romance, Christian, Young Adult

Number of pages: 103

POV: 3rd person

Series: Thoroughbred Breeders

New Blood – Book 1

No Hoof, No Horse – Book 2

Recessive – Book 3

Where you can find  this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Savannah Reynier is doing exactly what she wants in life. After finishing a horse breeding course she has landed a job and been working on a thoroughbred stud for the past year.

Her days are made up of looking after mares and foals, witnessing births and helping to breed horses. Plus, one day a week she holds horses for the farrier men who come to trim the horses’ feet.

Savannah has sworn she won’t date farriers – not ever again. Not after Jackson.

So what is she to do about the new apprentice in town? With an attractive frame, gorgeous smile and green eyes Savannah knows she’s already in trouble. Add a clever mind to the mix and she knows she needs to stick to her resolve. But looking never hurt anyone, right?

My review:

What a cute book and a great beginning to series. I have been fascinated (scratch that, obsessed) with Thoroughbred horses since I was about 8 or 9 years old and I was first introduced to Walter’s Farley’s the Black Stallion series. I devoured those books and I believe that I had the entire series. Unfortunately, my mother tossed them when I moved out, and I still feel the loss of those books. So when Christine approached me to review this book, I jumped on it.

I thought Savannah was cute but also felt that she was missing something when reading her. While I definitely connected with her, I felt that something was missing. She almost felt a little flat to me. There were no real emotions that came from her. Everything was on an even keel. I mean, even when the mare was having a difficult labor and she, with the help of the new farrier, helped the mare deliver the foal, I didn’t get a real sense of joy from her. Like I said, flat. I couldn’t even get a good reading if she was interested in Craig, other than her stomach flip-flopping back and forth when she saw him

I also liked that while this is a Christian romance, religion wasn’t pushed down your throat. It was mentioned and just left at that, a mention. The only time that it even came up was when the new foal that Savannah delivered needed to be named and Craig suggested Twenty Three. For the Twenty-Third Psalm.

I do have a couple of questions that will probably be answered in the next books. Like, who was Jackson? I know he was a farrier but what on earth did he do to Savannah. Where was Savannah from? I get the feeling since Creole was mentioned, that she is from the States but it really wasn’t gotten into.

Other than my minor complaints,  I did enjoy reading the book. The end of the book was not a cliffhanger but it did leave room for book 2.

How many stars will I give New Blood: 3.5 (rounded up to 4 for Goodreads/Amazon)

Why: I enjoyed reading this book but I did have some issues with Savannah being flat. I also have some questions that were not answered in this book (see above). Other than that, this was a great read and I enjoyed reading about life on a horse ranch. This is a book that I would feel comfortable having my 11-year-old read…even though it is not in middle-grade categories.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Tween

Why: Very clean book. No swearing, no sex, no violence. There is a Christian element but it is not pushed down your throat. Like I said above, a book I would be comfortable having my tween read.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Strange Lands (Heros of Distant Planets: Book 1) by Anderson Atlas


Strange Lands (Heroes of Distant Planets #1)

Title: Strange Lands

Author: Anderson Atlas

Publisher: Synesthesia Books

Date of publication: August 1st, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Number of pages: 236

POV: 3rd person

Series: Heroes of Distant Planets

Strange Land – Book 1

Return to Lan Darr – Book 2

Immortal Shadows – Book 3

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Ripped from his wheelchair by a massive flash flood, Allan drags himself through the dense forest only to find himself surrounded by strange and ruthless creatures who are not from Earth. Allan can’t run away and has no means to defend himself. Instinct overcomes his terror and his cleverness blossoms, which is all he needs to survive the dark jungles, poisonous plants, Shadic hunters and the vile slave trader Killian Crow.

Follow Allan’s path of self-discovery, and watch him take back what he’s lost. Surviving the Improbable Quest is a spine-tingling adventure, with exciting twists & turns. A perfect and inspiring read for 10 and up.

My review:

I have found myself reviewing a lot of middle-grade books lately. Which is a good thing because I have two children that are within the age range and I am always on the lookout for books that they would like. After reading Strange Lands, I think this would be a book that my 10-year-old son would like.

The plot itself is pretty straightforward. Allan, a boy in 8th grade, was in a horrific car accident that not only paralyzed him but took the lives of his parents. What made the accident even more tragic, well at least to me, was that Allan had been disqualified from a swim meet, after winning it, because of failing a math test and his parents come to find out that he is missing work in other areas of school as well. So, when the crash occurred, his mother and father were lecturing him. I could see why he was rendered mute as well. Poor thing was living with the guilt that he caused the car accident.

I don’t know if I would class Allan as likable at first. He had a lot of issues due to the accident and was definitely taking it out on his uncle. I was glad when Rubic forced Allan to go on the fishing trip. It took Allan out of his comfort zone and got Allan somewhat out of his funk. Of course, something goes wrong and that is where the book took off.

Rubic and Allan were caught in a surprise flash flood when fishing in the creek. Rubic snatches Allan out of his wheelchair and runs for it and almost makes it. But a boulder knocks Rubic out and leaves Allan helpless in the mud beside him. After damming up the water, so Rubic doesn’t drown, Allan starts crawling to get help. Along the way, he crawls through a field of flowers and ends up somewhere else and that is the start of his adventure.

What I liked is that the author didn’t downplay Allan’s disability at all. Allan wasn’t miraculously cured of being paralyzed (but he did get mechanical legs to help him out with part of his quest). Allan learned to work with his disability when he was in Lan Darr. What I also liked is that his mental issues were addressed too. The speech given by Mizzi about the accident touched me and brought me to tears.

The storyline with Rubic was interesting too. I saw him grow, even in that day, from the uncle who was forced to take care of his nephew to a parent searching for his child. He was willing to do anything to get Allan back…even if that meant getting even more hurt.

I will say that both storylines were brought together beautifully. While Asantia’s identity was kept under wraps, it still surprised me about who her mother was. How it was revealed was a huge surprise too. While not a cliffhanger, the ending did leave it open for another book.

How many stars will I give Strange Lands: 4

Why: This is a book that I could see both of my kids reading. The overall message was fantastic, as was Allan and Rubic transformations. I enjoyed reading it and I am an adult.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Child

Why: A middle-grade book for kids over the age of 10. There are some mild violence and some creepy characters but nothing that wouldn’t give a kid nightmares.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Defy the Stars (Defy the Stars: Book 1) by Claudia Gray


Defy the Stars

Title: Defy The Stars

Author: Claudia Gray

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Date of Publication: April 4th, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

POV: 3rd Person

Number of pages: 513

Series: Defy the Stars

Defy the Stars – Book 1

Where this book can be found: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

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