Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Review: Silent Harmony by Michele Scott

Title: Silent Harmony
Author: Michele Scott
Publisher: Amazon Children’s Publishing
Source: Netgalley
Publication Date: 5/28/2013
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Rating: 4/5

Vivienne Taylor has always been a good horse rider, with her special power that lets her “talk” to horses. But she is still surprised when the Fairmont Academy, an exclusive equestrian academy, accepts her on a scholarship basis. Now, traveling to a new school, a new life and new friends Vivienne has to adjust, because the other rich students weren’t accepted on scholarship. And where there are the rich, there is always drama.

Attending her new boarding school, Vivienne is hard at work. But when her new horse at Fairmont, Harmony, doesn’t respond the way other horses do, things are definitely off. Little does Vivienne know that Harmony belonged to the school vet who has passed away just recently. Yet, there is something strange about this school. Vivienne must figure out the mystery of her horse, before it is too late.

My favorite character in this book is Vivienne. After living in a small town in Oregon and growing up with the same kids for the first 17 years of her life, moving somewhere else is something Vivienne has never thought she would have to do. But moving to a private, rich school is far worse. After being tormented by the popular girls, and teased because of her relatively impoverished life at home, Vivienne is definitely the odd one out. But, throughout the story, Vivienne stays strong and doesn’t let herself become the laughingstock of the school. As Vivienne continues her training and investigates the matter that is troubling Harmony, it is hard to tell right from wrong. But will Vivienne figure it out in time?

There were some very enjoyable aspects to this book. One such aspect is that throughout the whole story there is always something important occurring. Whether it be details on how somebody lied to another, or the proof of someone’s misdoings is revealed, there are lots of twists and turns that keep this book lively and entertaining. The best part of this book to me would be that there are multiple story lines going on at the same time. In the beginning the main character is fitting in. Around the middle, the first problem is observed and solved, and in the end a second problem is created and solved. This keeps the book fresh and helps the reader not feel as if they are reading about one long, continuous problem.

One main point that I did not like at all was how the story kept changing perspective. In lots of books there are different point of views, and everything flows. But in this book, I felt that when the point of view changed from the first person to the third person point of view, there was a very rocky transition. Adding to that, throughout the third person point of view, the wording was awkward, and hard to understand.

Read the book Silent Harmony by Michele Scott, and join Vivienne on an enjoyable adventure. I recommend this book to teens based upon the language being too young for pre-teens and other children. Other books about horses include ‘Catch Rider’ coming out June 4, 2013. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book Review: Scrap by Emory Sharplin

Title: Scrap
Author: Emory Sharplin
Pages: 350
Publisher: Green Leaf Book Group
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, adventure, action
Source: NetGalley
Publication Date: 5/17/2013
Rating: 3.5/5

In this new magical book, Emory Sharplin writes a story of a young girl who finds the truth of her past, and what is to be of her future.

Tucker Scrap never thought she was anything but an orphan breaking the laws of the evil king. But when a mysterious girl comes to take Tucker away, things are far from ordinary. This young heroine must quickly put together the pieces of her unknown past if she has any hope of claiming her birthright and defeating the king.

The ruler of the kingdom – King Ibis - has been terrorizing his people for centuries with his magical powers. Hunting for one girl who can make or break his world, the king stops at no costs to find this special, unknown girl. Tucker is now realizing the key role she plays in the fate of the kingdom. Only she can decide what will be the fate of her beloved kingdom. But will she make the right choice?

My favorite character in this book is Tucker Scrap. Being pushed into a completely different scene is hard, but this character takes it in stride, neatly accepting the new life that is hers. Tucker slowly realizes that her past was not what it seemed, and that it was a key part of a long chain of events. Along with her new friends, Tucker must fight for what she believes is right to save friends, family and herself.

When I first looked at the plot summary of “Scrap” my hopes weren’t very high. But, it was after I was completely immersed in Tucker’s world did I realize that this book is one that teenagers of all ages will love to read. When realizing that Tucker was quite young - 13 years of age - I immediately felt that she was too much of a child to be dealing with all of this action, romance and adventure. But as the story progressed, I realized that it only made this book more unique. Having a young girl’s input was refreshing after reading countless novels in which all of the main characters are boys or girls in their late teens.

While this was a good book, I felt that at times the story went too fast. In some parts, there wasn’t enough time to digest what was happening before the story continued. This was truly a hindrance, making me have to go back and read over the text to interpret it more carefully to get all of the details. Another big flaw this book had was its ending. It was one nobody could have ever seen coming, but it was too abrupt; a real cliffhanger. While I hopefully have a sequel to look forward to, I can’t help but regret that there wasn’t a bigger explanation before the book ended.

In the end, Sharplin has written a book that readers will thoroughly enjoy. Read “Scrap” and join Tucker and her friends on an adventure to find the truth of the past. I recommend this book to pre-teens and teenagers. Other books like this is the Hex Hall Series by Rachel Hawkins and The Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Book Review: Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Title: The Warrior Heir
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Pages: 426
Publisher: Hyperion
Genre: Action, romance, fantasy fiction
Rating: 4/5

In this, the first book of Cinda Williams Chima’s series, ‘The Heir Chronicles’, Jack Swift is forced into a decision that he never thought he would have to make. Enemies are approaching, and Jack is thrust into a life that he knows nothing about.

After spending his whole life in Trinity, Jack never thought he was anything out of the ordinary. Yet, all the truths he has recently been told, point to that being the only option. And if that isn’t enough, it turns out he is a warrior, a magical fighter. The most shocking part is that he is the only one in the whole world, and is being hunted for it.

The enemies are coming, and it is all Jack can do to hone his powers; they will be the key to his survival. With his wizard teacher Leander Hastings, a mysterious man of many secrets, and the threat of a battle approaching, Jack’s survival is on the line, but he must do everything he can to save the ones he loves – even if it means dying.

My favorite character in this book is Jack Swift. His whole life has been one big lie, and he knows things will never be the same again. As he is pushed into this new situation, he fights literally and figuratively knowing that if he gives up, it’s all over. Jack feels ready for the upcoming events, but things are not as they seem. Together with his friends and family, Jack must find a solution to the problems that threaten to destroy everything he knows before it is too late.

“The Warrior Heir” seemed to be all about fighting and violence, but it wasn’t, much to my surprise. I had been expecting blood and gore splattered on every page, but Chima entertains her readers with a deeper, more interesting story. Her protagonist Jack is sketched in a story where he must strive hard and fight long to attain his goal. Though the story does seem a tad bit fantastical, Chima draws in Jack’s characteristics - good and bad, and graces her readers with a story that’s mixed in with witty banter, hilarious lines, and a furiously exciting plot to entice readers.

Read ‘The Warrior Heir’ by Cinda Williams Chima, a book that no one will ever be able to put down. Join Jack, his friends, family, and enemies on a journey that requires grit, determination and strength to accomplish the impossible. With a stunning conclusion, this book is one that readers will always remember. Other books in this series include ‘The Wizard Heir’, ‘The Dragon Heir’ and ‘The Enchanter Heir’, coming out in October, 2013. Other series written by Cinda Williams Chima include the Seven Realms Series which consists of ‘The Demon King’, ‘The Exiled Queen’, ‘The Gray Wolf Throne’, and ‘The Crimson Crown’.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Title: Spell Bound
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Page: 327
Publisher: Disney Book Group
Genre: Adventure, action, romance
Rating: 4.5/5

In this amazing final book of Rachel Hawkins’s Hex Hall Series, Sophie Mercer is forced to make decisions that will decide not only her fate, but the world’s as well.

Sophie never thought that she would be the most important person in the magical war. But there she was. Being the only demon fighting for the protection of other magical creatures, was never her intentions. It’s too late to say no, though. And now, the fate of the world depends on what she does.

As the evil Casnoff sisters continue their plan to create an army that will forever change the world, Sophie realizes that everything she had been told about her enemies was false. Now, coming to terms with the cold brutal truth, it seems that all her facts were lies, and Sophie must repair the damage that has been done. Filled with romance, adventure, and a heart-breaking end, Spell Bound will leave readers astounded.

My favorite character in this book is Sophie Mercer, the protagonist of this story. With her stubborn refusal to give up, and her continuously trying to solve her problems, she’s a character that many will enjoy reading about. Together, Sophie, Archer, Jenna and Cal will have to fight their enemies, and give it all they have if there is to be any hope for them to win the war.

Rachel Hawkins writes an amazing ending to the Hex Hall Series in Spell Bound. With the stakes higher than they’ve ever been before, everything is on the line and nothing is certain. But, throughout all of this, Hawkins still manages to show the hope the characters hold close to their hearts, and the readers are still given a taste of the wit and sarcasm that have entertained them throughout this series.

Finding out that this was the last book to the Hex Hall series, I was happy and sad. Happy because the solution to this enjoyable adventure was sure to be a stunning one, and sad because it would be the end to a great series that I had thoroughly enjoyed reading. And I was right. This book has twists and turns that nobody can see coming, and an adventure that nobody can resist. But with the completion of Spell Bound, the Hex Hall Series is finished, and Rachel Hawkins’s series is over. Hawkins has done a truly outstanding job with the finale to this magical series, one that I am sure readers will treasure.

Read the other books in the Hex Hall Series, including the first book Hex Hall, and its sequel Demonglass. The first book of a new series, School Spirits, will be released in May, 2013. I recommend this book – and series – to anybody who loves a good adventure, along with a compelling romance. To get a sneak peak at what life is like after the battle, read A Very Hexy Valentine’s Day, a Hex Hall Extra.
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