Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: Cinnamon Twigs by Darren Freebury-Jones

Cinnamon Twigs
Cinnamon Twigs by Darren Freebury-Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Intelligent, poignant, believable...

These are the three words I'd use to describe Cinnamon Twigs. This fictional memoir follows the rise and fall of Daniel Mace from childhood, through college, love, loss, fame, and finally redemption. Daniel falls in love with drama as a child, and this early love molds his life and guides him towards greatness as an adult. His memories of youth include best friends Lisa and Elliot, making home movies, and playing small parts in school productions. Not all is perfect even then. His friend Lisa's father is abusive and violent, his mother is bipolar, his own father abandoned him and his mother.

From there, the story progresses into his teen and college years. Daniel meets best friend, Michael, and their adventures play out in the youthful illusion of invincibility.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review: The Tree of Mindala by Elle Jacklee

The Tree of Mindala
The Tree of Mindala by Elle Jacklee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonderful tale!

The Tree of Mindala is perfect for kids and kids at heart. The story unfolds 40 years ago when the magical land, Wunderwood, is under the attack of power-hungry Thornton and his followers. Their goal is to find The Tree of Mindala and steal away it's essence so they alone can decide who can use magic and to what extent. But, although the flora of Wunderwood withers under Thornton's attack and all seems lost, a young man named Truman discovers he could be the key to righting things. And that's just the Prologue!

Fast forward to present day, near Halloween, and we meet Miranda and Marcus. Eleven year old Miranda, ever the daydreamer, reports seeing a mermaid in a pond and gets in trouble when her teacher investigates. Marcus, her pessimistic

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review: Beyond the Plains (World of Myth #1) by Travis Bughi

Beyond the Plains (World of Myth #1)Beyond the Plains by Travis Bughi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fantasy meets the old west...

Coming of age in a mythical world has it's own challenges. Sixteen year old Emily Stout lives with her family on their farm in the Great Plains. The harsh environment lends itself to a hard life. Although similar to the old west, these Great Plains are roamed by behemoths and banshees. The dangers and toils of this desolate land are compounded by the monotony, and Emily dreams of one day escaping to find adventure beyond the plains.

Over the course of events, Emily grows from a flighty and naive farm girl into a strong and courageous young woman. I also love the way old west meets fantasy. Unicorns are used as draft horses, gunslingers sell their services to take down massive behemoths, and minotaurs are much sought after as hired hands.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Review: Exile by R.L. Kiser

Exile by R.L. Kiser

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Genius star man crash lands on Earth in 1600's Japan.

Exile is really two complete stories in one, although it isn't broken down that way in the table of contents.

Part I:
Exile begins as Kendrick surveys his new home. Having narrowly escaped the empire who destroyed his own civilization, he's picked an out of the way, undeveloped world where he hopes they won't follow. But his arrival does not go unnoticed. A local lawman, or Shukido, investigates the "meteor" landing site and discovers him. Kendrick becomes friends with these surprisingly civilized natives and proves himself to them early on by helping them deter an invasion force from a local warlord. A rebellious daughter of the local shipbuilder catches his eye and the two hit it off.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review: Dissever by Colee Firman

Dissever (Unbinding Fate, #1)
Dissever by Colee Firman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Romantic and mystical...

Addy loves texting, shopping, and hanging out with her best friends, but she's not your average teenager. Growing up on the Tremain estate, she has been groomed from a young age to take over the family job of Overseer for a magical race of beings called the Akori. The only problem is that this job has never fallen to a female in the hundreds of years the Sanders family has served the Akori.

As her grandfather ails, he shifts the estate one last time to a pristine beach in Florida. Considering that the usual locales are frigid and harsh, Addy is thrilled with the move, but there's a problem. The estate has landed here before, and Addy learns that the move had little to do with chance or her grandfather's desire for a little sun.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Review: Heart of the Witch by Judy Goodwin

Heart of the Witch
Heart of the Witch by Judy Goodwin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A thrilling adventure.

Heart of the Witch follows Zerrick, a young man who practices magic in secret under the tutelage of Alden, an old herbalist. The problem is, he lives in a town becoming more and more afraid of "witches" and the power they wield. No one would ever suspect that the witch everyone is so afraid of is Zerrick, the son of the town's pastor, a devout follower of Iahmel, whose purpose is to rile the town against the threat of witches.

Zerrick, hearing differing histories and views from both his father and his mentor, is conflicted from the start. On the one hand, he is taught that magic is evil and dangerous, a gateway to the domain of Angist. His father also teaches that Ainera, the Goddess of magic, is also evil, a trickster to fool people into using and abusing their magic.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review: The River of Blue Fire (Otherland #2) by Tad Williams

River of Blue Fire (Otherland, #2)
River of Blue Fire by Tad Williams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enjoyable, but takes its time...

The second installment of the Otherland series by Tad Williams picks up where the last leaves off. The "heroes" gathered by Mr. Sellers at the Golden City narrowly escape into another simulation, one that seems perfectly normal except that they are now 1/100th their real size. Gigantic insects and birds populate the world, going about their natural activities, but those are hazardous when you're the size of the next meal.

Soon, events beyond their control shatter the small company and each remnant must find its own way through the increasingly disturbing simulations. Renie and !Xabbu find themselves in Oz gone wrong where they meet a mysterious man who can overcome the rules of the simulation and a naive young girl named Emily who needs rescuing.