Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase by Wendy Mass

The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate ChaseThe Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase by Wendy Mass
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an e-book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

I haven't managed to make it all the way through a children's book in a while, but this one?! Wow! I mean, what's not to like? Chocolate, young spies, adventure, mystery... If I could have kept my eyes open longer at night this would have been finished much faster, but alas - life gets in the way.

This was a VERY well-written story. I am planning to go back and read the first book in the series as soon as I have a chance - I hadn't read it yet so you do not need to have read the first book to enjoy the second. This plot is reminiscent of a cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boy adventure.

I love how the story is told from varying points of view so that you get a more well-rounded idea of the details, and the verbiage is very detailed letting your imagination paint a vivid picture as you read. I would strongly recommend this series to any fans of the aforementioned series as well as any youngster with an imagination. ;)

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Red Queen (The Chronicles of Alice #2) by Christina Henry

Red Queen (The Chronicles of Alice, #2)Red Queen by Christina Henry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**I received an e-ARC from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.**

"We might go to sleep and wake up to discover a madman with a knife leaning over us."
"I'm the madman with the knife," Hatcher said.

A darker twist on the classic Alice in Wonderland travels, Red Queen picks up a few months after Alice ends, with Alice & Hatcher attempting to find his daughter outside the walls of the city. As they travel through various environments - each of which has it's own treacheries.

This story was not my normal fare. There are overtones of paranormal and the fantastical, but it is still realistic enough that it doesn't read as a paranormal. It could be read by mature teens (in fact, my daughter read parts over my shoulder, and didn't understand why I said she might not want to), but adults will probably read more into the story than most teens would. Despite those things - the writing was good enough to keep me involved in the story.

I didn't love the book, but I did enjoy it, and would recommend it to others.

-Note: I have not yet read Alice so Red Queen can be read as a stand alone if desired.

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade, #3)Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

** I received an ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

First, it is important to note is that while this is the third book in this series, it is the first one of the series that I have read. I was able to follow the plot line, and did not feel like I was "missing details" because of that fact. So, while I am sure it is MOST enjoyable to read this series in order - it is possible to read it out of order without feeling lost. My daughter had read - and loved - Cold Burn of Magic so I wanted to see what it was she loved. This was the first chance I got to look at the series. Being a big fan of Jennifer's writing in general and of the Elemental Assassin series specifically, I felt at home in Lila Merriweather's world.

What we have:
- a strong-willed, self-contained female protagonist
- an orphan (her mother has been killed and she's looking for vengeance) who has been taken under the wing of her mother's best friend and the head of the Sinclair family
- magically gifted in not just one, but two abilities (which she doesn't let most people know)
- a "Scooby" gang of friends who help her whenever possible
- her boyfriend
- heir and "bouncer" for his family - the Sinclairs
- her cousin (via her mother) and daughter to Victor Draconi (the villain)
- her cousin's boyfriend & member of the Sinclair family
The Monsters
- various magical creatures who have befriended Lila thanks to her mother's teachings

What they do:
Combine their skills and access to thwart Victor's plan to take control of all of the magical families of Cloudburst Falls.

This book is definitely YA - no sex, and the violence - while there - is not explicit. I enjoyed the story, and was reminded not only of Jennifer's protagonist, Gin, when reading about Lila, but also of the worlds created in Harry Potter and Narnia - where magical creatures abound in everyday life. I am now trying to find time in my reading schedule to go back and read the first 2 books in this series! I hope there are more to come! :)

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Rootbound by Shannon Mayer

Rootbound (The Elemental Series, #5)Rootbound by Shannon Mayer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**I received an ebook in exchange for an honest review.**

"Oh, little Larkspur. Your desire to fit in, to be the good girl. It will be the death of you, I think."
Lark has learned that the gem stones are not as safe as she though, and she must gather them up again. With Peta, Bella, and Shazer, Lark sets off once again to try to prevent the destruction of the world.

I love how this series twines with the Rylee Adamson series, and how Shannon always tries to be forthcoming about timelines between and among the two series. You can read one without the other, but... why would you?!

As always, Shannon's writing is detail-oriented, action-packed, and full of sarcastic wit - all of which are at the top of my list for "great reads" .

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