Posted in Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Blog Tour: Mary Weber’s Storm Siren

About

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse – and the girl – can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth – meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

Review

I’d been waiting to read this book from the first time I saw the cover released from Thomas Nelson, mainly because I am a huge fan of sci-fi/fantasy and YA. My thoughts:

What I liked:

The world-building. Weber managed to create a new world that I cared about. I cared about the war that was destroying lives and the people who could maybe save them. I cared about the fact that people were slaves, and some like Nym were really supposed to be dead. And I somehow found myself very invested in the politics going on and whether or not things would work out right.

The characters. Nym manages to become a very likeable and realistic narrator. I understand why she’s frustrated and angry. And for once, I found myself with a heroine who hasn’t set out to make stupid decisions. Also, I really liked the details of how Nym’s slavery has affected her physically, and how being an Elemental means she has white hair. Nym really came alive to me, and was able to drive the book in a way most heroines can’t handle. I thought the secondary characters were really amazing: Eoghan and Colin. They help make Nym who she is. And yet, they both had these interesting and incredible back stories that I just wanted to learn more about. Particularly Eoghan. I wanted more of him.

The romance. I’m so glad that it’s not insta-love and you can see them getting to know each other. I also liked the kind of forbidden aspect of it (not contrived!). It adds some nice tension to the story. I thought everything Weber threw at the couple made sense.

Spiritually, the novel doesn’t touch to much on this topic except to identify a Creator who has created us for a reason, but I’m interested to see where it goes in the next book.

What I didn’t like:

The Ending. Let me just preface this by saying I’ve never had this thought before, but I read the ending, and my first thought was, the publisher gave me the defective copy. For five seconds, I contemplated contacting Thomas Nelson and telling them they gave me the wrong copy, that surely there was another copy out there with a different ending. So….yeah….But. I have hope. I could have read something way wrong. But if I didn’t, there is hope.

Romantic Scale: 8

Overall, a very good fantasy novel. If you follow books like I do, you may be asking yourself, is it worth they hype? So I’m going to be honest with you, this book is good, it’s very good. But I got the feeling that it was almost more world-building and I have a hunch that now that we know the setup, the second book is going to be amazing. It’s engaging and creative, but don’t feel too bad if you think your copy is defective at the end.

*I received this novel from Thomas Nelson. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

Posted in Contemporary, Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Personal

Feature Friday…Sarah Witenhafer

At the beginning of the year I wrote a post about diversity in Christian books Here

One of the comments by Deborah recommended the author Sarah Witenhafer to me. And I’m so glad she did!

Let me just tell you, this series goes out to all the paranormal romance lovers out there. I will say it’s a bit edgy (though all within the confines of Christianity) and has some mild language, but you cannot deny the message of the gospel. For me, the series starts off a bit predictable, but it has this great mystery in it and characters that pull you in…and it’s addictive. So, if you find that you love secular paranormals, give this one a chance. You won’t be disappointed!

 

Posted in Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Lisa T. Bergren’s Remnants‏

About
 
Our coming was foretold by the elders— Those who would change the future, just as the planet teetered on the edge of darkness.
Born on the prophesied day with birthmarks in the form of a crescent moon, they knew us immediately. Swaddled and screaming, we were spirited away by those who hid us, trained us, and kept us safe until our time came.
They poured their lives into us. Some died to save us.
And now we, the Remnants, protected by Knights of the Last Order, have gathered.
Called until we breathe our last … to save the world.
 
Review
 
As a lover of YA fantasy/dystopian novels, I have discovered that there are two ways in which a brand new series can start: one in medias res (or in the middle of things) and the other as world-building. I would classify this novel as world-building. It’s essentially a new world with a new way of life, and new groups of people, and much of the novel is Andriana coming into contact with different things and people. That is not to say that this novel was not fascinating (I’m very much looking forward to book two!)! Here’s what I noticed:
 
What I liked:
 
The world building was done fabulously. In no way, did I feel like the story stopped to explain things. Instead we got to experience and see things through the mostly sheltered eyes of Andriana. And what a world we encountered. It was both modern with the fantastical elements and medieval in the ways that people thought. It’s a great world to be in and I was extremely disappointed that every page I turned meant that I was closer to the end. I will say that it wasn’t always edge-of-your-seat exciting, but the writing was done so nicely, I still didn’t want to put the book down.
 
Andriana is great heroine. I never got annoyed with her, and that’s good because we’re in her head the whole novel. I liked the way she thought about things. I liked the way she reacted to things, and I liked the way she dealt with things. I also liked the idea of the romance in this. There’s actually a legit reason why they aren’t supposed to be together and that adds a lovely tension to the novel.
 
I also like the epic-like feel to the novel. I don’t feel like I’m being short-changed or that the author is rushing. There’s a lot going on it, but I was never lost. Furthermore, I like the whole idea of this special group of people who have amazing gifts.  I’m very excited to see what happens next.
 
Spiritually, there are a couple of principles here, but the one that stuck out in my mind is the importance of closing the door to darkness. Otherwise it will take a foothold and take you places you never wanted to go.
 
What I didn’t like:
 
My biggest critique would be Ronan. I liked Ronan. I just wished Ronan got a chance to speak more. Every time he spoke, it was like time froze for me. But there’s a huge amount of the novel where he is just this silent presence and while I knew Andriana’s history with Ronan, I felt like I didn’t know Ronan. And he seems like a great person to know. Let’s face it, the whole point of having a great hero is so that we readers can fall just a little bit in love with him ourselves. So, here’s to hoping that book two has lots more of Ronan!
 
Romantic scale: 7.5
 
Overall, I really enjoyed Remnants. It was such a treat to read and I’m looking forward to the next one!
**I received a copy of this novel from the author. My opinion was not affected in any way.**
 

Posted in Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Jennifer Hartz’s Heroes of the Horde Book Two: Siege and Giveaway!


About
Last year’s battle was just the beginning. Now the Horde is sending out smarter, more personal demons to attack the superpower-charged teenage Heroes. Romantic tension mounts between Hero members and jealousy is in high gear. Can the Heroes put their personal issues aside long enough to locate the source of the Horde before it destroys them all?

Review
Heroes of the Horde Book Two: Siege takes place about three months later after the first one, and was really a lot of fun. It had the superhero aspect mixed in with teen drama, and light spirituality. So:

What did I like:

I think with the first book, I kept wondering where the series was going. Well, now I feel like I know. I get it. And for me this made for a far more cohesive tale and sold me on the series.

This may sound weird, but in this book you begin to see how vulnerable the characters are. But in their weaknesses they become stronger.

I like how they have to learn to work together, and how they don’t all gel right away. It’s six different people and that is a lot of personalities.

I liked the teenage drama. I will admit to thinking they were silly at first and then being completely caught up in it. The “L” word was tossed out a lot for such young people, but then again, I know teenagers talk like that.

Some of the characters personalities were so strong (i.e. Jimmy, Shelley) that they instantly became my favorite character.

The curveball ending! I didn’t see that one coming.

Spiritually, I like the subtleness of the message that only Jesus saves as well as the importance of repentance. As the series goes on, I imagine that that message will grow to be important to all six of the heroes (but also note for sensitive readers that their is mild language, though far less than what you would find in most YA novels).

What I didn’t like:

Some of the characters personalities were not as strong, and so I didn’t miss them when they weren’t “talking.”

Romantic scale: 8 (there are a lot of little romances going on, though one caught my eye more than the other, so I averaged them and came out with 8)

Overall, very cute and very fun and very original.

**I received this novel from the author. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

Giveaway!

The lovely Jennifer Hartz is willing to giveaway three copies of the first book in the series: Heroes of the Horde (they will be kindle copies)It’s worth reading, and if you love superhero anything (or paranormal for that fact) you will enjoy this book. All you need to do is leave a comment below with your email address. The giveaway ends three weeks from now on April 16! The winners will be randomly selected!

Posted in Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Jill Williamson’s Outcasts

About

In Outcasts, the second book in Jill Williamson’s Safe Lands series, Levi finds himself not only the leader of Glenrock’s remaining people but also the head of a new rebel force called the Messengers, intent on unmasking the Safe Lands’ lies. At the same time, Mason uncovers secrets that may be more dangerous than he ever imagined. Meanwhile, Omar decides to take matters into his own hands.

Review

I will readily admit that Captives (the first book in the series) only really pulled me in towards the end of the novel. But I shouldn’t have doubted, because I inevitably end up loving anything that Ms. Williamson writes. I was thoroughly engrossed with Outcasts. Outcasts has quite a list of things going on, but here’s the skinny:

Mason is my favorite. He’s so logical it’s endearing. The way he thinks, acts, responds, etc., is funny. And yet, he’s such a trustworthy narrator. If Mason says it’s true, than it is. There is a person in the book that will probably make you vacillate in regards to whether they can be trusted. But I think Mason handles the situation as well as he can. In this book, you get more of him and Ciddah together and the way he is with her is priceless. More Mason, please!

Levi is beginning to grow on me in this series. In the first one, he was all action, no real thoughts. In this one, you begin to see where he is coming from, and more importantly how he will one day be a fine elder of Glenrock. He also manages to stumble across a revelation that is fairly surprising.

Omar (the one who made me cringe in book one) is still struggling to find himself and yet, he manages to become such a likeable character in this one. The things he does in this book, I think, are so very similar to how people are today. They want to do right, but find themselves caught up in this strange cycle of wrong. And let’s not forget, Omar gets some unplanned news of his own that, I think, really adds some great tension in the book. Omar, though, is the one who will surprise you the most. He’s the one to watch.

Spiritually, this book gives you several points of view about the way to treat the world around you. Our would is clearly not their dystopian world, but you will find similarities and it will remind you to make sure that you take a stand for righteousness.

Overall, I couldn’t put this book down. I have even reread my favorite parts several times. The only thing that made me happy when it ended ( and what an ending!) is that the next one comes out this year!

Romantic Scale: 8

Posted in Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Jennifer Hartz’s Future Savior Book Five: Revelation and Giveaway!

Congrats: Deborah, Laura, and Marie!

(Scroll to the bottom for the giveaway)

About

With the forces of good and evil amassing in the Marle Desert the time for the finale battle has come, but Christina’s place is not on the battlefield. It all boils down to this: She must face Leticia and destroy the evil at its source.

Little does Christina realize that Leticia has her own diabolical plan. With the help of Christina’s former friend, Jonus, Leticia knows exactly what it will take to break the spirit of the Savior of Meric.

Christina is faced with an impossible decision. Can she sacrifice the lives of thousands just to save the person she loves?

Review

What a great series! I found it, on a whole, to be creative, romantic, and fun and I’m so glad I had a chance to read it. In regards to this book alone, I think Ms. Hartz did a fabulous job wrapping up this series.

What I liked:

Book Four ended with some pretty heavy revelations, but with this one, we finally get to know about Charis! And the big reveal is well worth the weight. There are a few more revelations in this book that come together in a really nice way. I will say that the juxtaposition of the current world with Meric worked really nicely.

Christina is a fabulous heroine. When I was in her mind, I flew through the pages of the book. To a certain degree, Shaw gets dialed back a bit, but it makes sense in this novel. This is the last one and by focusing on Christina, it comes full circle.

Quite a few romances on the side come to completion in some very cute ways.

I really enjoyed that the people of Meric go through very familiar Bible stories, almost creating their own version. That is a really great idea, that I didn’t get it until this one. I also love the emphasis on how the journey creates the change in people. Spiritually, there are a lot of great things happening here that I think could be applicable to real life, but the idea of the journey really stuck out in my mind.

I also liked, and this may sound weird, but I liked that there were casualties in the book. It helped emphasize the seriousness of what was happening.

What I didn’t like:

That there were casualties in this book! One person’s death in particular almost brought me to tears.

The only other thing was that there are a lot of minor stories going on and some were more interesting than others.

Otherwise, overall, I really enjoyed this series. It’s well worth reading and you absolutely must finish the series if you’ve started it. It’s a beautiful conclusion.

** I received a copy of this book from the author. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

Giveaway

The lovely Jennifer Hartz is willing to giveaway three copies of the first book in the series: Future Savior One: Conception (they will be kindle copies)It’s so worth reading, and probably my favorite one in the series if I had to choose. If you love that epic, fantasy, romantic kind of novel, than this one is for you. All you need to do is leave a comment below with your email address. The giveaway ends three weeks from now on January 31! The winners will be randomly selected!

Posted in Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Dragonwitch

About

Submissive to her father’s will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves–Lord Alistair, future king of the North Country.

But within the walls of Gaheris Castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair to the brink of insanity. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta’s tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the North Country into civil war.

And far away in a hidden kingdom, a fire burns atop the Temple of the Sacred Flame. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice…and for the one person who can wield it.

Review

Dragonwitch is fabulous story-telling. Ms. Stengl did a wonderful job weaving together this fantasy tale that was complex and filled with depth. Her characters were all fully-fleshed out feeling like real people…ahem or cat that could just step out of the pages. I think Leta and Alistair were my favorite characters. I enjoyed the dichotomy that was Leta. There was practical Leta and rebellious Leta (which was not really all that rebellious). Watching her change and develop over the course of the novel always made the pages turn faster. But my heart just went out to Alistair, he seemed to sacrifice a lot for very little in return and he was such a good person! Romantically, I could see the romance, I could understand the romance. I would have liked for a bit more development and yet the novel didn’t exactly call for it. The only problem I had with this book, is that I haven’t read all the books in this series and so at times I felt lost. There seemed to be two stories going on at the same time, and I skimmed one and read the other one until they seemed to converge at the end. Therefore, if this is your first foray into this series (thankfully it wasn’t mine, I just haven’t caught up yet) then you will probably be very confused. Spiritually, (because this is fantasy, things are a bit different) I like the theme of when God calls, He equips, it doesn’t matter what things look like on the outside. Beautiful novel filled with adventure. Recommended!

**I received this novel from Bethany House. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

Romantic Scale: 6.5/7