The Broken Blade by Anna Thayer

I received this book from the author/publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis: 

Eamon Goodman is now the Master’s Right Hand. But despite being the second-in-command to the ruler of the River Realm, Eamon becomes the victim of vengeful plots engineered by the other Quarter Hands. Eamon finds himself powerless to stop them and the people he cares for are under threat. Eamon then discovers that the Nightholt – the book he long ago delivered to the Master’s Hands – holds the key to the Master’s power, which will become absolute upon the death of the King. Thus the stage for the final battle is set. Eamon rides out at the head of the Master’s army and must finally decide where his true allegiance lies. His choice will determine the fate of the River Realm…

My Review: 

Before I begin, hats off to the cover designer; just wow!

Despite this book being number 3 in The Knight of Eldaran series, I was able to follow relatively well with the story and the characters were easy to engage with. Though I’m sure that the first 2 books would have helped explain much of the story.

The plot was really well thought-out and I was pleased with the number of twists that were scattered throughout this gripping story. However, I did find the writing to be kind of choppy and the scenes were too short for my liking; but it wasn’t bad enough for me to dislike the book.

Overall, I rate The Broken Blade 4 out of 5 stars and look forward to beginning the story with books 1 and 2 as soon as I get them!

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Rated:

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Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada and as the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon, the harsh land made famous in the stories and poems of such writers as Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska’s inside passage and Canada’s Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves as Kitty prepares for her next adventure – flying around the world!

Review:

As the synopsis says, Kitty Hawk is a great combination of Pipi Longstocking, Nancy Drew, and Amelia Earhart. Her character is adventurous, fun, and most girls that find themselves reading her stories will certainly enjoy themselves!

As I read this particular novel, I felt like it targeted an audience between the ages 10 to 13 or 14 even though the main character is much older (19 I believe), just because of how it is written and the way the storyline unfolds. Though I certainly enjoyed the story and know some much older teens and young adults who would also enjoy a clean adventure novel, so it depends entirely on the reader.

I really liked all of the history, geography, marine science and classic literature that was included! Because this novel takes place in the Yukon, where Jack London gathered his inspiration for his masterpieces, I was thrilled to be introduced to some history about one of my favorite authors as well as many other poets and writers.

There are some “high-school” references, such as “Toby broke my heart in the 9th grade” and different conversations that some parents may want to steer their tweens away from, but this is definitely a clean book overall. My only complaint is that God’s name was used in vain many many times throughout the entire book.

I give Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold 5 out of 5 stars and most definitely recommend it as some good reading material for the upcoming school year (home-schoolers’ *wink wink*)!

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Rated:

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The Vestige by Caroline George

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

Julie Stryker has spent her life in the scenic streets of Charleston, South Carolina, bicycling to the local college, working at a coffeehouse, watching her family fall apart and back together. She has plans, dreams—all of which seem out of reach. Then she meets a handsome stranger at work, and she believes her life is on the brink of a much needed change. But after a tragic accident, Julie is whisked away from the only home she’s ever known and confronted with a life-altering secret: The end of the world has already occurred and a portion of humankind has been kept oblivious.

Tossed into a hidden world of deception, Julie must confront the truth within herself and reveal the government’s layers before the end of the world becomes a permanent reality.

1st Layer: What you can see.
2nd Layer: What you know is real.
3rd Layer: What you can neither see nor know is real.

Review:

“Choose to see the unseen…”

Thrown into adventure from the beginning and attention gripped through the rest of the book, The Vestige combines real life with fiction in a way that won’t be easily forgotten.

Romance that’s clean and real, action that is graphic but not gory, and clean of any profanity, this novel is a “go-to” for teens and young adults alike. The plot line is clean in its transitions and there are enough twists and surprises to keep the reader hooked along the way.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to reading more of Caroline’s books in the future!

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Rated:

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Coffee Confessions: Choosing to Express Like Espresso -A Guest Post by Author Caroline George

Writers tend to be different. Maybe our abnormality is accredited to the excessive amounts of time we spend with our own thoughts. Maybe we see and understand more than non-writers. Maybe our creativity has fried our brains.

I was and am different.

As a determined, overly imaginative teenager, I decided to spend my seventeenth birthday with my mom at Counter Culture Coffee in Atlanta, Georgia. There were two things I wanted for my birthday—a handmade vintage sundress and barista lessons. If the requests don’t convey my weirdness, let me preface by saying I had already published two books and launched my author career by the time I first used a tamp and steam wand. Different described every aspect of my life.

The first thing I learned about working an espresso machine:

Coffee is an art form.

Baristas at Counter Culture are required to complete various courses and training before receiving certification. These classes teach basic espresso machine usage, the chemistry of milk, and much more. All of this information is needed when working in authentic coffeehouses.

How does coffee relate to creative writing?

Writing requires the same amount of knowledge, practice, and skill as pouring the perfect latte. Professional baristas must be so familiar with the coffee-making process, they know when milk reaches the desired temperature, when the espresso is pulled to its prime consistency. Professional writers must also be so well-versed with their craft, they’re able to develop plots and characters with ease, build concise and effective sentences.

I tasted my first espresso shot at barista training—I was required to take multiple shots of espresso pulled at different draw times. My body was buzzed on caffeine as I made lattes, attempted a tulip and art design with steamed milk. The drinks were proof—I was not knowledgeable, practiced, nor skilled.

There are three writing tips I learned from Counter Culture classes.

Knowledge: Acquiring know-how takes effort.

Writing is a constant education, same as working as a barista. To be successful as a writer and author, one must do research, learn about the publishing industry and current market.

Practice: Knowledge is useless without implementation.

Like knowing how to pull an espresso doesn’t mean a barista can work an espresso machine, someone who knows how to write isn’t always a good writer. Once knowledge is gained, it needs to be applied and practiced.

Skill: Time determines talent.

Although some people are gifted with natural writing ability, the best writers gain their skills from utilization and diligence.

We have to make lattes with disfigured latte art before we can pour intricate floral designs. We have to be willing to write not-so-great stories before we can build masterpieces.

I left Counter Culture over-caffeinated, covered in grinds, and more appreciative of baristas. The experience was so inspiring, I made my main character in The Vestige (coming June 30 from Evernight Teen Publishing) a barista—shameless self-plug.

Overall, as writers, we need to express like espresso.

We need to be knowledgeable, practiced, and skilled.

 

About Caroline:

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Caroline George, author of THE PRIME WAY TRILOGY and THE VESTIGE, resides in Nashville where she spends the majority of her time in hipster coffeehouses, sipping lavender mochas and undertaking over-the-top projects. She is a two-time Georgia Author of the Year nominee, speaker, blogger and writer for teen magazine PURSUE. Caroline studies publishing and public relations at Belmont University and works as a publicist for local artists.

Instagram @authorcarolinegeorge

Facebook/AuthorCarolineGeorge

Twitter @CarolineGeorge_

Website: authorcarolinegeorge.com

 

About The Vestige:

Choose to see the unseen . . .

Julie Stryker has spent her life in the scenic streets of Charleston, South Carolina, bicycling to the local college, working at a coffeehouse, watching her family fall apart and back together. She has plans, dreams—all of which seem out of reach. Then she meets a handsome stranger at work, and she believes her life is on the brink of a much needed change. But after a tragic accident, Julie is whisked away from the only home she’s ever known and confronted with a life-altering secret: The end of the world has already occurred and a portion of humankind has been kept oblivious.

Tossed into a hidden world of deception, Julie must confront the truth within herself and reveal the government’s layers before the end of the world becomes a permanent reality.

1st Layer: What you can see.

2nd Layer: What you know is real.

3rd Layer: What you can neither see nor know is real.

Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen

I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are all my own.

The Synopsis:

Jonah wishes he could get the girl, but he’s an outcast and she’s the most perfect girl he knows.

And their futures seemed destined to fork apart: Jonah’s physical condition is debilitating, and epileptic seizures fill his life with frustration. Whereas Stormi is seemingly carefree, and navigates life by sensing things before they happen. And her most recent premonition is urging her to leave town.

When Stormi begs Jonah for help, he finds himself swept into a dark mystery his small town has been keeping for years. And the answers Stormi needs about her own past could possibly destroy everything Jonah has ever known—including his growing relationship with Stormi herself.

Review:

Trying to fit the Gospel into a YA novel, and still have it sell, is very hard to do, and though I applaud Jonathan for trying, I think he may have spent a little too much time on trying to fit the Gospel in than he did to develop the story.

It was very well written and I fell in love with both Jonah and Stormi (Arthur too), I was just left with unanswered questions and was very confused at the ending. Stormi’s gifts aren’t really explained until the middle of the book, the antagonists aren’t dealt with in the end, and honestly, I wasn’t really sure what the plot was as I read.

Now don’t get me wrong, the way it’s written made it impossible to put down and I enjoyed reading it, I’m just left with many questions, but perhaps this is what the author wanted. Regardless, I’m only going to give it 3 out of 5 stars, though I do recommend it to anyone who wants to give this Christian YA a chance, maybe its plot will be clearer to another reader.

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Rated:

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