Monday, June 5, 2017

The Broken Ones by Danielle L. Jensen

This book really challenged me to change my perceptions of Trolls. Two images come to mind when I think of trolls: the little dolls that were popular when my mother was young and again when I was young,
and then this guy ------>

Neither one of these trolls would be my idea of something beautiful. However, from the beginning of the story, the author asked me to think of trolls as beautiful creatures. She described them as

The story is technically a prequel, but is suggested by the author as the third book to read in the series. The order is as follows: 1. Stolen Songbird, 2. Hidden Huntress, 3. The Broken Ones, and 4. Warrior Witch. To see more of her reasoning, visit her comment on Goodreads. I read it as a stand alone before seeing the suggested reading order.

The setting is Trollus, a cursed land that the inhabitants cannot leave. They rely on the magic of the King to protect them from an avalanche of stone. Even so, the King is somewhat of a tyrant. He sends half-bloods and humans to the labyrinth, a certain death, for not meeting quotas in the mines. Only those with magic are worthy. Years in partial imprisonment has led to inbreeding and an affliction of iron poisoning. Bonding to an iron poisoned Troll can lead to death for both bonded partners. Amongst all of these concerns, emerges the prince, Tristan, who opposes his fathers position on those who are not full-blooded Trolls. He enlists the help of his friends to begin and sustain a resistance movement.

Two of his friends are the voice of this novel. Marc and Penelope alternate perspectives. More than anything this is the story of Marc.

This was a clean read but does contain basic information regarding premarital sex, pregnancy, miscarriages, death, physical and mental abuse, and insubordination. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, was surprised by the unique elements, and plan on reading the other stories in this series. This would be a great story for anyone who loves fantasy and are willing to give trolls a chance.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Rise of the Dawnstar by Farah Oomerbhoy

This was a pleasant surprise. I have not read the first book in the series, The Last of The Firedrakes, but I definitely plan to now. The author provided enough connection to the first story that I was not completely lost in the events that led to this book. The beginning was a little slow for me, but the pace definitely picked up and proved exciting. I appreciate that the romance element was clean and that it took a backseat to the elements of fantasy and adventure.

Aurora must set out on a journey to her grandmother's kingdom, the only place that she will find safety. While there, she must also learn about her heritage and improve her skills with her fae abilities. She is met with animosity and resistance, as she is not a full fae, instead she is half mage and in danger from the very people with which she seek refuge.

This is a dazzling coming of age story full of intrigue and politics. I think fans of the Fantasy genre will greatly enjoy this story.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Hidden Legacy by Christine Rees

I really enjoyed reading this story full of teens with para-normal abilities. It reminded me of X-Men in a way. Faye is an outcast at her school but gets a new start when she moves to her Grandmother's house in Astoria, Oregon. She has to navigate a new school while trying to keep her abilities hidden. Unfortunately, she has a premonition of someone's death. Even more unfortunate, that person is the first person she meets at her new school. Faye finds a place for herself at the new school, only to find out that someone is searching for her and does not have good intentions.

Some might find the story predictable, but I do not feel like it diminished the quality of the story. I enjoyed the twists that were thrown in and was surprised once or twice by the author. I feel like she was able to capture the feel of high school without making it overly juvenile. The author provided a suspenseful tone that kept me engaged. She also answered enough of my questions before she ended with a cliffhanger. This was a clean read. I look forward to reading the next chapters of Faye's story.

The Unseen by Jacob Devlin

If you are a fan of fractured fairytales or the show Once Upon a Time, The Unseen is a book you would enjoy. Set in both the Old World and the New World, Alice, Peter Pan, and Pinocchio try to rescue their children who have been pulled through a mirror. The children are on their own quest to reunite with their parents. They must battle the forces of the Red Hearts and the Ivory Queen. Love is lost and found, friendships are tested and battles are won and lost. I would suggest reading the first book, as I was a little lost at first, although you can read it as a stand alone. There is also a book #1.5 called The Ivory Queen.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Windrunner's Daughter by Bryony Pearce

I really enjoyed reading this story. It is set in the future after Earth dies and the human population has settled on Mars. They have worked together to create a habitable atmosphere on Mars, but saboteurs destroyed much of the work and set progress back greatly. The humans live in several biospheres spread out among the Martian landscape. Each biosphere has a certain function for the community as a whole. One engineers seeds, while another houses scientists that work on replicating, another creates hybrid animals from DNA and others work on various other projects. At each biosphere, there lives a group of messengers called Runners. The humans have lived in these conditions for several generations. Their goal, always working toward a sustainable living environment, is impeded by dissension and sickness. Wren is a girl and must adhere to societal rules that say she can only contribute by either marrying a Runner and maintaining one of their outposts or by producing offspring for the baby exchange, a way to prevent problems from inbreeding. Wren is left alone with her mother as the men in the family are off on Runner's business. When her mother is taken ill, she is left with the decision to stay and tend her mother, possibly watching her die, or to reject societies mold they have set for her and try to find help.

I loved the attention to detail that was afforded to the dynamics of flight for the Runners. I was scared of the creatures and still have several ideas in my head about what they are. I was so invested in Wren's story, the decisions she would make and their outcomes, that I would have read this story in one sitting, but I had to go to work. This is a great book for young and old alike. There are realistic consequences to each choice made and there is a love story that is fitting but doesn't take center stage. I only wish there was a sequel.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Better Together by Kimberly Stuart

Heidi now has a 5 year old daughter, who is starting kindergarten. She turned down returning to work because she plans on having a second child. But life, doesn't always follow our plans. Heidi distracts herself with all sorts of drama. She begins pushing away all of the people that matter most. Only time will tell if she will emerge unscathed from her self-imposed drama.

Heidi's husband Jake is amazingly patient with all her levels of crazy. He gives her space. He tries to help shoulder the burdens of their life. He encourages her to move on when their plans don't work out as expected. Only time will tell if his patience will last or if he will have enough.

Great things are in store for Heidi's friends Annie and Willow. Maybe it's jealousy that leads Heidi to create the mess of her relationships that ensue. Only time will tell...

Better Together is a contemporary Christian fiction novel. I enjoyed reading this edition of Heidi's story much more than the first. It is probably because my life is closer to this story line than one with a newborn. Ms. Stuart really captures the feeling of life with a little one, the moments of stress and joy in a marriage and the vagaries of close friendships. At times poignant and others humorous, this book has a great flow. The romance elements are clean and the subject matter is addressed in a way that even my pre-teen daughter could read and enjoy the story. There is a spiritual element to the story that is evident but not forced. Heidi helps remind us all that life is messy but so worth the effort.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Promise of Rayne by Nicole Deese

I love to read Nicole Deese novels. She sucks me into her made up worlds and leaves me mourning when my visit is over. Her latest story is a prime example.

Rayne Shelby is a beauty. The daughter of the Governor of Idaho and the granddaughter of the former Governor of Idaho, she is a political princess. She has raven hair and a heart of gold. All she has ever wanted was to be worthy of the Shelby name. Yet, her choice to do business with an enemy of her family may undermine all of her dreams.

Nicole draws the reader into Shelby Falls, Idaho and into a story that is full of familial deceit. Rayne wants to focus on social work, primarily reconnecting with the citizens of Shelby Falls. Her family wants to focus on only those things that will further them in the political realm. Family members that don't contribute to the family goals are ostracized.

This story has a clean, swoon worthy romance. It has elements of faith that should not be overwhelming to someone who isn't a Christian. It has an old mystery and the danger of a large forest fire. And in all the layers, there are so many nuggets of truth, words that will resonate with me far past my reading of this book. Just as these first words did: Desperation undermines wisdom.

I cannot wait for future installments of Shelby Falls!