Thursday, April 26, 2012

Drinking Life by Kevin George (YA Adventure - An old story with a new twist)

Drinking LifeDrinking Life by Kevin George
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Drinking Life: Keeper of the Water
Book one of a trilogy.
Such a pleasant surprise! This was a very fun story with a strong female lead and plenty of characters you enjoy one second and hate the next. It is filled with historical characters and anecdotes all warped into the fiction so they blend seamlessly with the tale.

I loved how the 'myth' included in this story isn't one found all that frequently in the YA genre. Yes it is found in some YA fiction, but it really isn't as common as many others (I can think of one 'everlasting' example immediately but that is a very different kind of story).

The story is told in first person by Nia, a very athletic, take no prisoners kind of girl. When she is forced to fend off armored soldiers in the middle of a high school field hockey game, she begins to suspect that she might not be all that average after all. The soldiers were clearly from another time and their attack did seem directed at her. When strange dreams and broken memories begin to tell Nia she really is something other than an average teenager - the reader gets caught up in an action filled adventure full of mysteries and unexpected discoveries.

The writing is smooth, easy to read and has a good amount of humour. All in all, I found it very enjoyable read. I think it would appeal to YA readers who simply like a good adventure.

Find it On Amazon
Drinking Life
On Smashwords
Drinking Life

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Monday, April 23, 2012

The Ultimate Game (Echo's Revenge Series, #1)The Ultimate Game by Sean Austin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Set for release in mid May, Echo’s Revenge is the first book in the YA adventure series Echo Hunt and an exciting introduction into what could potentially be some kind of cross-over book/gaming interactive genre. I say could be, because I don’t know the intent of the publisher. However, from a visit to the AAA Reality Games website there are a number of possible directions with interactive media this book series could take (beyond the videos and ‘reality’ of marketing).

The book is about two young brothers, both skilled gamers who get caught up in a reality game of Echo when the ultimate villain Echo-7 becomes part of real life. When the boys decide to flee their abusive home, they (like their fellow Echo gamers) are kidnapped, put to work underground and must find a way to defeat the monstrous Echo-7.

This is a well paced action rich book with plenty twists and surprises to keep the reader guessing at what was really going on. I thoroughly enjoyed the brother characters Reggie and Jeremy, particularly when they acted more like kids than heroes. Other characters also come across as fairly true to life. They forget or ignore important information, have individual personalities and don’t always make the best choices (like trapping their self in a room full of angry ‘shockers’ when attempting a stealthy escape). In those ways the characters come across as very realistic in a story where virtually nothing else is realistic. Of course the unreality isn’t a negative in my opinion. The book is fiction, great fun with plenty of unbelievable but thrilling action.

I think this book would appeal to the young adult reader who likes adventure with highly improbable scenarios and those who enjoy some online gaming. The story is gripping and makes me think the book might be a good choice for teen boys who don't read very much.

For me, the story did become a little thin and murky toward the end. Plus there was a bit of a confusing character name change. However, it was not enough to really detract from the overall tale.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Perigee - Patrick Chiles


Perigee is a science fiction thriller and the first of hopefully many offerings from new author Patrick Chiles. It is an eloquent work of near future science fiction. The writer's clarity and ability to present a fair amount of technical information without confusing the reader is commendable. In fact, I believe the quality of writing may be the novel's greatest strength.

Closer to hard science fiction than thriller, Perigee is the story of a potential disaster in the sub space air travel industry when passenger craft, the Austral Clipper, experiences technical failure and is marooned in orbit. When a daring rescue attempt fails, the crew is faced with dwindling options and desperate passengers, one of whom becomes problematic. In places, the story has elements of suspense particularly when building up the industrial espionage and sabotage aspects of it.

For me, the story was slow to develop but worth it in the end. In the final third of the book  the pace picked up and a few more connections could be made. I would have preferred more action in the story and less of the realistic sounding character interactions, as odd as that seems. Given the author's background I have no doubt the technical conversations and various government agency involvements make for an authentic reading experience. Unfortunately, I found that the jargon and feeling of being right in the middle of  planning and operation type discussions just didn't hold my interest. It's entirely a personal preference and readers of hard fiction, or those more familiar with the aeronautical field might find this a thoroughly enjoyable read. The technical descriptions were fascinating and the casual toned author's note at the end was almost as interesting as the story.

Throughout the novel the writing was superb and based on the quality, this book would easily rate between four and five stars. However, most book review ratings are based on personal preference and how much the reader liked the story. In that respect, for me it was less. I still think it would be a highly worthwhile read for technically inclined science fiction fans.

Where to Buy:
On Kindle:
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

A YA Apocalypse and a Dark Adventure

Eden's RootEden's Root by Rachel Fisher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eden's Root was a fascinating read. From the writing and detail alone I would give this four stars. Everywhere throughout the story the author's passion for research and attention to the subject matter was evident.

Eden's Root is the tale of a slowly unfolding apocalypse brought about by the arrogance of our science and culture. Civilization as we know it begins to crumble when the world is faced with starvation on an unheard of scale. Soon it's up to fourteen year old Fi to lead her 'Family' down a path of survival and hope that would lead them to a destination that ultimately may or may not exist.

Like many good science fiction novels,the reader can clearly imagine the global catastrophe as a plausible event. The ideas behind the story were well thought out and presented flawlessly. However, I'm not certain that I would classify the story as just science fiction. It had the science, action and tense situations - but it really was more of a story about the characters than anything else.

I recommend this book to readers of young adult novels - old and young - who enjoy a longer, well told story. It's worth the cover price (currently $1.99 as an e-book - which is a little under priced in my opinion).

Even though I did give the novel four stars based on the writing and details, there were some things that held me back. I found the characters to be unrealistic at times and, several conflict outcomes just felt unlikely. However, that's just my opinion as a reader. I think the author is very skilled and I look forward to her future works.
Amazon Link

View all my reviews The Speed of Darkness (Kindle Edition)
The Speed of Darkness by Sarah Baethge
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the first book in what could be an exciting series. Although it is more of a novella, it has a quick pace, interesting concepts and plenty of action. I liked it. In a way it's a classic adventure of the good organization (The Solar Flare) vs. the evil organization (Eclipse) with somewhat hapless characters - a werewolf (Eric), a shifter (Nigel) and a hacker (Hillary) - caught in between. There was a little humour injected in the story which is always a nice touch.

As I said, I liked it. However, there were a few places where I found it a little hard to follow, and I really felt strongly that it could be tweaked to improve the flow. I hope the author considers going back to edit a little more and uploads a new edition. It is good, but I think with a few changes it could be so much better.

I think this author has a lot of potential and I look forward to her next publication.
Amazon Link

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012


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