Young Adult

bookcover: 
Author: 
Maria Padian
Publisher: 
Knopf
Fiction: 
Rating: 
10
ISBN/ASIN: 

978-0-375-89610-1

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Review: 

bookcover: 
Author: 
Rue
Series: 
The Chronicles of Hawthorn, Book 1
Publisher: 
Sittin’ On A Goldmine Productions LLC
Genre: 
Fiction: 
Juvenile_: 
Rating: 
10
ISBN/ASIN: 

9780997311891

Description of Sales Url: 
Available from Amazon
Review: 

This is my second review of the book An Average Curse, Book One. I was alerted that extensive editing had been done, and could I re-read it to see if it improved. Boy has it ever. This book is something you will find yourself living in. A rare treat to find these days. You will feel the mist of New Zealand and ride the Moa Bird as you follow the learnings and mishaps of Flynn and her dearest friend Hazel. The Ninth daughter of the Ninth daughter, she was expected to be one of the most powerful Witches and help save the land from darkness. But from the time of her toddler days to her first class as an a spell caster in training, not even the most simple of spells could be done by her. She was quickly rumored to be nothing more than a Watcher. A person who can see others do their spells, but never herself. To help, her friend Hazel tries to cover up her folly by doing magic enough for two. Then they meet Po a young man, who was very clumsy except with his carvings and haphazard ways of doing things. Can the three of them get though their first sessions of learning spells and rescue their home from the beginnings of evil magic.

I rarely give out 10’s for stories, but if I could, I would give this a 20, its that good.
Nancy Louise
May 20, 2016

bookcover: 
The Hill bookcover
Author: 
Karen Bass
Publisher: 
Pajama Press
Genre: 
Action-Adventure: 
Fiction: 
SpeculativeFiction: 
Rating: 
9
ISBN/ASIN: 

978-1-77278-002-4

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Review: 

In Karen Bass's The Hill,When the private plane Jared insisted on riding crashes, he is rescued by Kyle, a Cree boy who ought to be wearing a cape, given the circumstances. Jared is an unlikable spoiled rich kid flying from unlikable parent A to unlikable parent B. Jared is a city boy, completely unfamiliar with nature. Luckily for them both, Kyle is his polar opposite. Jared's refusal to listen to Kyle's advice forces them to climb the hill, a place forbidden by Kyle's Kokum (grandmother) and cross into the terrifying territory of legend, where they are stalked by the relentless Wihtiko, a virulently carnivorous creature out of the Cree spirit world.

All I can say is that this story works on many levels, and even if it is speculative fiction, has a ring of truth. Jared's journey occurs because he is forced out of his insular rich kid kingdom to a strange wild place where he must confront evil. He must rise to the challenge. If he gives in, he and Kyle will both die. We share his experience as he pushes past his boundaries, and struggles to survive.

I especially like how Karen Bass captures the voice and personalities of two boys who are polar opposites. Not only does the story show how they come together, it also shows how, in many ways, the boys are not as dissimilar as they believe. Jared has both of his parents, though he is essentially so apart from them he might as well be an orphan; and while Kyle has only his grandparents, he is so deeply steeped in his culture, he knows his place in the universe in a way few people do. The setting is rustic; the boys' relationship is dynamic; and the monstrosity hunting them is quite as terrifying as any creature out of a horror movie. Gripping story.

bookcover: 
An Average Curse
Author: 
Rue
Series: 
The Chronicles of Hawthorn, Book 1
Publisher: 
Sittin' On A Goldmine Productions LLC
Genre: 
Action-Adventure: 
Fiction: 
Rating: 
9
ISBN/ASIN: 

9780997311891

Sales Url: 
Description of Sales Url: 
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Review: 

Most of our magical stories tend to have their roots going back to the great Black Forest that now resides in Germany, or the Misty Isles of the United Kingdom and even some from the Icy Scandinavia of Northern Europe to the Southern Isles of Greece and Italy. There is however in this book, a new land largely ignored or rarely studied enough to include the ingenious people outside of colonial history and imposed languages. I introduce to you, the Maori people. Long unknown by English speaking people in terms of their indigenous cultures. In this story you will find many of the standard magic and myths among the mist. From there An Average Curse, Book 1 of The Chronicles of Hawthorn

A child, the ninth daughter of the ninth daughter is brought up in the prophesy of being the one who would heal the riff between their two great nations on the small Island that is cut off from the rest of the world by a mist. The Riff is great enough that one says these nations are not brought together, will foretell and cause the end off all. This is a great deal to put on the shoulders of a young girl who from birth has been unable to show even the skills of the most simple spells. As if her magic was totally mute. But is it? As things move along and the time comes for her to pass magic test to advance in her learning, things are not all what they seem.

Fantasy has been growing to include ingenious people and their language to give more authentic texture to the stories an the root of all magic which is in the people, the land, and the sacred names by the people who have long live in its mist. The only reason I have given it less than ten, is some more editing is needed to correct some typos and sentence structures.

Nancy Louise
April 8, 2016

bookcover: 
Solar-Powered Showdown
Author: 
Bob Pflugfelder
Series: 
Nick and Tesla
Publisher: 
Quirk Books
Genre: 
Action-Adventure: 
Fiction: 
Rating: 
5
ISBN/ASIN: 

978-1-59474-866-0

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Review: 

The only reason I am giving this a five is for two basic problems. My Kindle view for the iPad was badly formatted and very difficult to read, with foot notes being mixed in with the story instead of, well a footnote. Also the story looked like it was in mid-editing, with the edited items left rather than removed or changed. I loved the gadget making sections and plan to try the hot dog maker since we are not allowed in our compound to do honest fire based BBQ, this could be an environmental run around.

Now this was the FIRST book I read in the six volumed series. Normally it is perfectly all right, if it was written to be able to continue a series and as a stand alone. Hey, I read it with Nancy Drew books, and I worked my way back and forth over the series. In this case, it not working for me. You almost have to read all the other books in order. A well-written book can handle the stories being read out of joint. In fact. they would inspire in you the desire to find the rest of the story without feeling like you have no clue as to who these kids really are.

The story had some good strong points though. I loved the science gadget make it help (already said) and I like the quirky personalities the characters had. My major problem is the pacing and how the book feels really less than half finished, almost as if they needed a fat outline to get the book approved, but never got around to actually writing the whole thing.

Nancy Louise

bookcover: 
Cover of Mario: Coming of age
Author: 
George Hatcher
Series: 
Ambulance Chaser
Publisher: 
Casa Hatcher Press
Genre: 
Fiction: 
Rating: 
9
Description of Sales Url: 
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Review: 

Hatcher has a style all his own. In this book, Mario Coming Of Age, the author introduces us to ten year old Mario and his life in East Los Angeles. The story is a slow build, taking us to all the ins and outs of Mario and his everyday struggles to survive in his hard-beaten neighborhood.

Mario’s life is no bed of roses; he and his friends scrap for every morsel, and only the love of his aunt keeps him going. I found the journey a bit tedious at times, but in the end I had to conclude, the way the author approached the story gave me an opportunity to get to know Mario and his immediate circle of friends, almost intimately.

This is a story of love, responsibility, jealousy and finally, revenge that unfolds as the years fly by. We see the times change irrevocably, as do Mario’s good fortunes. Yet one thing stays the same—Mario’s determination to better his aunt’s lot in life. Everything he does is to provide for his aunt. He is obsessed with making her life better. The author’s style is as conversational as barber parlor gossip. His main characters ring true in their environment, and while one is empathetically human, the others may be hard to like, impossible to put down, impossible to forget.