Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Book Review: Four: A Divergent Collection (Divergent, Book 0.1–0.4), by Veronica Roth

Four: A Divergent Collection (Divergent, book 0.1–0.4)
By: Veronica Roth
ISBN-10: 0062345214
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The Transfer

Tobias takes his aptitude test and is first given the nickname “Four,” but with Choosing Day approaching, he isn’t sure which faction to decide on.

The Initiate

Newly christened Four struggles as a Dauntless initiate and faces new enemies.

The Son

Four explores the Dauntless compound and finds that many of the leaders are hiding powerful secrets. And all the while he’s wondering: can he rise above the old, lingering fear of his father?

The Traitor

Tobias uncovers a dangerous Erudite plan, but he has to hide this fact as he trains new Dauntless initiates, and takes a particular interest in an Abnegation transfer named Tris.

Four is a collection of short stories that takes place before Divergent, and can be read before or after the other books in the series. The stories contain:

• A kiss
• Physical desire
• One of Four’s friends makes out with a girl
• Insults
• Drinking alcohol
• Violence (fighting, blood, suicide, child abuse)

More Divergent reviews:
Book 1: Divergent
Book 2: Insurgent

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Book Review: Ghost Story (The Dresden Files, Book 13), By Jim Butcher

A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 13
By: Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden thought being dead would entitle him to some resting in peace, but when he gets to the white light he's sent right back to catch his killer. So now it's back to business as usual only this time: he's a ghost, all the rules are different, and he's the new guy on the block.

Ghost Story is a mix of different and new with the old tried and true. The story contains language and violence, but virtually no sexual content (in comparison to the earlier Dresden Files). I recommend it as a crucial book to the Dresden Fan, but strongly suggest first time readers start with one of the first eleven books. The earlier in the series the better.
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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Book Review: Jackaby (Jackaby, Book 1), by William Ritter

Jackaby (Jackaby, book 1)
By: William Ritter
ISBN-10: 1616203536
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R. F. Jackaby has an ability that allows him to see paranormal creatures. When Abigail Rook arrives in New England, she teams up with the observant detective to track down a serial killer Jackaby suspects is not at all human.

Parents should be aware that this book contains:

• Violence (references to blood, fighting, shooting, killing, and scary descriptions of monstrous creatures)
• Mild profanity (d*mn, h*ll, b*stard)
• References to a nude statue and a naked man
• Abigail has a crush on a young policeman
• Some drinking, drunken characters, and references to smoking

Jackaby is a young adult debut that combines a bit of every genre: mystery, paranormal, humor, historical fiction, and romance. Brimming with witty dialogue and a charming story and cast of characters, this Sherlock Holmes–like novel is bound to win over fans of hilarious, quirky, mystery thrillers.

Readers who enjoyed Jackaby might also like:

The Cure for Dreaming, by Cat Winters

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Book Review: A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange
By: Anthony Burgess
ISBN-10: 0393089134
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Vicious gangs of teenagers run rampant in an out-of-control futuristic society. One such young lad, Alex, is a highly sophisticated lover of violence and classical music, and he thinks his lifestyle is just fine—that is, until he’s taken in by the police and the tables are turned, so now he’s the one on the receiving end of cruelty and ultra-violence.

It includes:

• Violence (beating innocent people, mentions of “krovvy” or blood, murder, attempted suicide, gory descriptions of films a character is forced to watch)
• References to private parts and “groodies” (a.k.a. breasts)
• Rape (a gang of teenaged boys take turns raping a woman while making her husband watch)
• The main character imagines raping young girls and ejaculates
• References to “in-out” (a.k.a. sex)
• Some criminals are homosexual and one of them makes an inappropriate advance on another character
• Mild profanity (b*stard, d*mn, h*ll, and one b*tchy)
• Vandalizing
• Characters drink milk mixed with drugs; a character is also given injections
• Lying
• Stealing

A Clockwork Orange is a very thought-provoking look at a disturbing futuristic society. The Nadsat, or teenage slang, is confusing at first, but fun to read after the first chapter and can be quite humorous. The rape and violent scenes are hard to stomach, so I would recommend this for mature teens and adults only.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, Book 1), by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, book 1)
By: Kendare Blake
ISBN-10: 0765328658
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Cas inherited his father’s line of work: he kills dead people. Now that might sound a bit redundant, but there are plenty of murderous ghosts on the loose for Cas to track down. When Cas hears about the legendary Anna Dressed in Blood, who is supposed to be the most bloodthirsty ghost around, he knows she is his next target.

It includes:

• Profanity (F-word, sh*t, b*tch, godd*mn, Jesus, d*mn, h*ll, b*stard, *ss, p*ss, douche-bag, p*ssy, d*ck, cr*p, and whore)
• Kissing
• Reference to wet dreams
• Implied sexual abuse
• Violence (slicing throats, disemboweling, a man killed his family with sheers, suicide, shooting, stabbing, and dead bodies and body parts)
• Smoking
• Spells, voodoo, and chanting with candles

Anna Dressed in Blood is a young adult paranormal horror novel that includes plenty of violence and swearing. However, the book is lightly written, humorous, and fast-paced, with not too many jump-scare scenes.

Readers who enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood might also like:

Croak, by Gina Damico
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, by Lish McBride

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Book Review: Twice Tempted (Night Prince, book 2), by Jeaniene Frost

Twice Tempted (Night Prince, book 2)
By: Jeaniene Frost
ISBN: 0062076108
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There was Leila and there was Vlad, her vampire lover, but he didn't love her. It ended in heartbreak. So, when an attempt on Leila's life results in Vlad chasing after her, she must try to discover if her ex-boyfriend is the villain of her story or the hero.

Twice Tempted is an adult paranormal romance and the second of four books in the Night Prince series. While there is a definite non-romantic plot, everything is too strongly colored with the romance for me to give it an urban fantasy designation. The writing is fast  paced like the prior book. Fans of the Night Huntress series will enjoy the cameos of Mencheres and Cat.

Reading Order: The Night Prince series is one of multiple series and stand alone novels set in the Night Huntress Universe. The chronological placement for both Once Burned (book 1) and Twice Tempted is right before Up From the Grave (Night Huntress, book 7).

Twice Tempted contains:
  • Language (*ss, b*tch, f word) 
  • Torture (burning and other loveliness) 
  • Killing (burning, beheading)
  • Memories of past brutal acts of violence/torture/murder 
  • References to rape and murder of child(ren) 
  • Black magic 
  • Blood drinking 
  • Detailed sex scenes (biting, scratching, oral, aroused male/female anatomy, etc)   
  • Psychological abuse, at the very least. (This is excused due to the culprits age/species/past. It includes controlling and manipulative behavior, threats to imprison or in effect magically neuter someone if not obeyed. Also threats to murder someone due to a difference of opinion.)
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Book Review: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend, by Kody Keplinger

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
By: Kody Keplinger
ISBN-10: 0316084239
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It seems that Bianca’s whole life changes the minute Wesley Rush, the ultimate school playboy, calls her a DUFF—a designated ugly fat friend. Before Bianca realizes it, she’s slipping away from her best friends, and the rough spot her parents are going through only seems to be getting worse. To take her mind off of everything bad happening in her life, she begins sleeping with Wesley, but their enemies-with-benefits status might not be as solid as Bianca thought.

Parents should be aware that this book contains:

• Profanity (many uses of the F-word, b*tch, *sshole, sh*t, d*mn, and h*ll)
• Kissing
• Sexuality (pretty detailed sex scenes between teenagers, oral sex, a teenaged boy puts his hand in a girl’s pants, references to a minor having had sex with an adult, the main character calls many people [including herself] sluts and whores, rumor about someone getting pregnant, references to breasts, reference to a character sleeping naked, sexual references throughout)
• Reference to someone being homosexual; a character rants about supporting homosexual marriage
• A character who is a recovering alcoholic drinks heavily
• Parents get divorced
• Violence (a girl throws coke in a boy’s face, a man hits his daughter, a boy punches a man)
• Lying

The DUFF has a good message about how everyone makes mistakes, but people can learn from those mistakes and move on. Unfortunately, the story, though fast-paced, is full of sex and profanity, and most definitely not appropriate for young teens.

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Friday, June 10, 2016

Book Review: A Twist in the Story, by Sophia Olson

a twist in the story by sophia olson book indie teenager teenaged author ya young adult romance contemporary realistic fiction sad tearjerker
A Twist in the Story
By: Sophia Olson
ISBN-10: 150103653X
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Nathan befriends Adelaide, a homeless girl wandering the streets of Washington, D.C., and as they begin to fall for each other, Adelaide refuses to tell Nathan about the dangerous secrets surrounding her past.

It includes:

• Violence (shooting, wounds, blood, deaths, and reference to an abusive father)
• Some profanity (sh*t, d*mn, h*ll, and cr*p)
• Kissing
• Partial nudity (a girl removes her shirt and is left in her bra for nonsexual reasons)
• Reference to an affair
• Some smoking and drinking
• Homosexuality (references to a young woman having a girlfriend)

A Twist in the Story is a fast-paced, sweet, humorous, and incredibly sad young adult contemporary standalone. The story switches from Nathan and Adelaide’s point of views, and don’t let the the chick-lit sounding storyline fool you: the ending packs a surprise that might just leave readers in tears.

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Book Review: The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave, Book 2), by Ricky Yancey

The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave, book 2)
By: Rick Yancey
ISBN-10: 0399162429
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Cassie, Ben, and their crew are hiding out any place they can find shelter as they try to hide from the alien race known as the Others, who are determined to exterminate the human race.

Meanwhile, Cassie is still holding out the hope that Evan Walkers survived after sacrificing himself to destroy the Others’ main database, and Ringer, the quiet girl with a deadly accurate aim, is trying to figure out who exactly they’re up against in the war for humanity.

The Infinite Sea has less action scenes and more emotional turmoil than the first book, but much like The 5th Wave, the story is captivating, and told from multiple point of views.

It includes:

• Profanity (F-word, godd*mn, b*tch, p*ssies, d*ck, *sshole, sh*t, d*mn, and h*ll)
• Sex scene (un-descriptive; very vague and dreamily written)
• Kissing
• Nudity
• Violence (explosions, deaths, shooting, wounds—some pretty gory descriptions)

More 5th Wave reviews:
Book 1: The 5th Wave

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Book Review: Illusions of Fate, by Kiersten White

Illusions of Fate
By: Kiersten White
ISBN-10: 0062135899
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In the country of Albion, Jessamin is looked down on because of her Melei heritage. Cast out and lonely, Jessamin turns her attention to her studies at school. One day a bird snatches a piece of her hair out and she meets the charming Lord Finley Ackerly, and after that, fate decrees Jessamin to get swept up in a magical, romantic, and dangerous adventure over Albion and Melei politics.

It contains:

• Kissing
• Violence (deaths, shooting, broken fingers, twisted neck, a woman is attacked by birds, reference to rape, mention of past murders)
• Reference to prostitution
• Mention of affairs
• Crude drawing of a woman’s body
• Jessamin and Finn share a bed and they sleep together (in the innocent sense)
• Champagne drinking

Illusions of Fate is set in a charming, Victorian-like fantasy world. The plot moves at a smooth pace and the story contains likable characters. Jessamin is an especially strong female protagonist, and the romance between her and Finn is powerful, but not overbearing.

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