I've been a longtime reader of Frederick Brooke's adult detective series and I was very curious as to how the first book in his new Young Adult DystopI've been a longtime reader of Frederick Brooke's adult detective series and I was very curious as to how the first book in his new Young Adult Dystopian would come out. YA voice is tricky to pull off for the best of writers, but I've always thought his characters were so well painted and Saving Raine is no exception. I love that the main character is male for a change and Matt is easy to like. He's definitely flawed, but that makes him all the more believable. Brooke's wonderful cast of characters brought me back to the Doing Max Vinyl days - in fact two (I won't say who) actually make an appearance. He juggles their stories with ease and they're all intriguing, whatever their walk of life.
I was impressed with how Brooke handled the creation of his Dystopia. The picture he creates of our world in the year in 2021 is believable in terms of technology, the world order, etc. It was also filled with the kind of danger and excitement I crave with this kind of series. Of course I want Matt to get the girl. He's a fantastic hero! But first I want him to go through an agonizing bevy of trials and Brooke does not disappoint.
**spoiler alert** At first Nimrod Vale seems to be all prickles and stings, and for good reason. Forget bad luck. He seems downright cursed. Finding h**spoiler alert** At first Nimrod Vale seems to be all prickles and stings, and for good reason. Forget bad luck. He seems downright cursed. Finding himself alone in the world with the exception of his aunt and his writing (and then even his precious tablet breaks), he wants nothing more than to fend off the world and keep it from entering his lonely heart. Then he is introduced to the very thing that he can't ignore - another world that he himself has brought into existence with the stroke of a pen. His old stand-by of pushing away just about everyone can hardly help him now.
Nim, our reluctant hero, is so compelling as little by little he begins to let the world in again. The perfect symbol for this is the intriguing Pepper, whose name and manner show that she is clearly not someone to be ignored. She is a bit of a misfit herself, and yet she embraces life and encourages Nim to do the same. I loved their friendship - from their banter ('Crackerjack') to their teamwork.
All this tied up with one whopper of a surprise ending that's bound to leave you wanting more. Nimrod's tale is the most original and entertaining story I've read in a long time. Bravo! I eagerly await Brown's next installment in the series....more
Collateral Damage gave me exactly what I was craving from Frederick Brooke’s mystery series: more Annie. I wanted to know about her past with MichaelCollateral Damage gave me exactly what I was craving from Frederick Brooke’s mystery series: more Annie. I wanted to know about her past with Michael and what happened when she was on that fateful second tour in Iraq. Throughout the series, I think that was the greatest mystery of all. The twists and turns of this latest book take the reader deep inside Annie’s head and heart.
It’s very hard to review this book without any spoilers. There are moments when we learn things about Annie that are shocking, but they also make her seem so truly human that you think she might walk right off the page. In this book, Brooke continues to paint his characters brilliantly. The kind you can relate to. Totally but beautifully imperfect. She has met the challenges of being a female soldier at war. Now she must be courageous enough to take on her personal demons.
One of them being Michael. Throughout the series, Michael has been an enigma. We know Annie’s hurting and we know he is the cause. Finally, their story is told. I wanted to like Michael so badly. I confess I spent a few chapters angry with him. But when he is accused of murder, Annie takes on the case, even after all he has done. In that sense, Annie is the bravest she has ever been. She puts her personal feelings and her own safety aside to seek justice and fight for what she knows is right.
Collateral Damage is raw. It cuts to the bone. It’s an amazing thrill ride. I couldn't put it down until I was finished at 4 AM. The title says it all. It’s about the consequences of our decisions and who gets hurt in the wake. Collateral Damage gave me the closure I was looking for in Annie’s story. Brooke has created a true hero in Annie Ogden. ...more
In Book 2 of the Shapeshifter Chronicles, author Natasha Brown continues the warm, courageous love story o Beautifully written, refreshingly original!
In Book 2 of the Shapeshifter Chronicles, author Natasha Brown continues the warm, courageous love story of Ana and Chance, as well adds to the incredibly interesting shapeshifting lore she has created. At the end of Fledgling, I was so excited to see where the author would take her unique world building, and I was not disappointed. I was totally enthralled by the exciting action, new characters, and cultural nuances in Prodigy. It was especially refreshing to see Mayan culture woven into the plot, instead of the usual Greco-Roman mythology so often found in fantasy over the last few years.
In the first book of the series, Ana and Chance's shared secrets serve to make their relationship stronger and it's just in time. In fast paced Prodigy, they must face an unknown evil in the Mexican rainforest at the same time as they grapple with new powers. Once again, Natasha Brown's exquisite use of detail and description was ever present. I could feel the mist of the rainforest. I heard the sounds of the surrounding wilderness in all its beauty and peril. I felt the characters' exhilaration, confusion, fear, and hope as the action of the story careened forward. All of this was expertly wrapped up in delicious suspense with a great surprise ending.
Prodigy is a well-crafted sequel in the SC series that will thrill teens and adults alike. You can count me in for Book 3!
There were so many things I loved about Natasha Brown's Fledgling. The author has a true talent for prose. She included some of the most stunning descThere were so many things I loved about Natasha Brown's Fledgling. The author has a true talent for prose. She included some of the most stunning descriptions of setting I've ever read in a YA novel and I read a lot of YA. I was captivated by her lovely use of language. It added so much to an already enjoyable read.
The two main characters, Chance and Ana, truly fall in love the old fashioned way. I appreciated this because it's very unique for a YA Paranormal. Their romance is sweet. At first they are so unsure of themselves, but as the story moves forward, they forge a bond that will see them through some amazing challenges. And it's believable, because the author gives the romance time to bloom and flourish.
Halfway through the book, Natasha Brown makes a smooth transition into building the action of the story. Up until this point, the paranormal aspects of the book are only hinted at. But once the action builds, the reader is taken on a roller coaster ride that thrills and excites. The shapeshifter lore that the author creates is both unique and intriguing. I'm very interested in seeing where that will lead!
Fledgling is a beautifully crafted story and a fantastic read for any age. I eagerly await the second installment in the series! ...more
One of the most difficult things for YA writers to do is master the voice of their characters. From the very start of the Travelers series, Ms. LefeveOne of the most difficult things for YA writers to do is master the voice of their characters. From the very start of the Travelers series, Ms. Lefeve has handled it beautifully. I continue to love Etta just as much in Paradox as I did in Parallel. She sounds like a real teenager and she’s grappling with the same kinds of confusion and feelings that a typical teen would. Except in Etta’s case, they’re kicked up a notch. She has things to worry about that even many adults would find hard to take. She has a strong, real girl quality about her that I just love.
This particular book will become central to the series, as we are introduced to the rest of Etta’s future team that will help her change the future. Ms. Lefeve is very adept at characterization and introduces us to a colorful group of characters that I think will be interesting, dramatic and fun in the books to come. As she paints the picture of what the future is like, it also gives us an idea as to the enormity of Etta and her team’s task.
Paradox is aptly titled, as Ms. Lefeve begins to pull the puzzle together in this book. There are also a few twists, turns, and surprises in Paradox, as well as another cliffhanger that is sure to leave the reader wanting more. I was delighted with this book and will definitely be on the lookout for Book 3! ...more
Verliege by Micheal Rivers is an incredible read. I love a good ghost story, but Verliege is so much more. The book begins with the current owner of CVerliege by Micheal Rivers is an incredible read. I love a good ghost story, but Verliege is so much more. The book begins with the current owner of Castle Verliege recounting his tale to a psychiatrist. For me, just this section of the book alone was enthralling. River’s has a gift for description and writing in a smooth, fluid prose. I could imagine every inch of the castle and come to understand its complex and intriguing history as Adrian Bolt described it. It’s the rare writer who can accomplish this without leaving the reader feeling bogged down by too much detail.
The second part of the novel takes place at the castle itself. Instead of choosing one point of view from which to write, Rivers’ writes from several. He does this masterfully. Each character is well developed and has a strong voice, and that includes the ghosts! This adds to the twists and turns of the plot in Verliege, leaving the reader wondering who the protagonist is and who the real villains are. Everyone at the castle wants something, including its ghostly inhabitants, but just what is it they want and who’s willing to kill for it?
The combination of Rivers’ use of detail and excellent command of characterization allow the reader to suspend reality completely. I walked down every Castle passageway, felt the chill of every ghost’s approach, and saw sacred symbols in my head. Micheal Rivers’ Verliege is part history, part ghost story, and part whodunit. It will keep you on your toes, delight your senses and whisk you away into another world! ...more
There’s no doubt that if zombies are your thing, this is the book for you. There are plenty of guts, gore and detached limbs. But, there’s also more hThere’s no doubt that if zombies are your thing, this is the book for you. There are plenty of guts, gore and detached limbs. But, there’s also more here, much more. Bradey’s book is set up almost as a book of short stories, all linked together by a psychiatrist named Dr. Frenzel. Dr. Frenzel’s wife is murdered by a bunch of carnivorous zombie’s during the outbreak of a virus. This virus, which essentially causes humans to turn into zombies, is cured quickly by the government. Now Frenzel is counseling those who have been cured, and, believe me, they need it. They can remember everything that happened while they were infected, including everyone they ate.
As Dr. Frenzel asks each patient or couple to recount their tale, we learn more about the outbreak, as well as the patients themselves. The stories that his patients relay range from tragic to comedic and are wonderfully entertaining in and of themselves. It is here that we see Bradey at his best. His masterful use of flashback brings us into the lives of characters that are so very diverse and yet so much alike to Frenzel. To him, they are all murderers and nothing more. It doesn’t matter who they were before they became infected. And he sees it as his duty to rid the world of them all. The death of his wife at the hands of the group of zombies is his personal justification.
This adds another layer to this terrific story. As I read Aftereffects, one question came to my mind repeatedly. Who is worse - the people who had killed scores of innocents while infected by the virus or Dr. Frenzel himself? He too is a murderer, albeit one who has some psychological issues of his own. Frenzel continually asks his patients if they feel any responsibility for what they have done, even though I got the sense that he couldn’t care less. But, the question, I think, is really there for the reader.
There is something in Aftereffects for everyone. It is, at its heart, a zombie tale. But unlike many zombie books before it, it’s so much more. Don’t miss out on this entertaining read! ...more
Doing Max Vinyl is an environmental thriller disguised as a hilarious ride of mix-ups and who-done-its. Usually, I find that an author is skilled at wDoing Max Vinyl is an environmental thriller disguised as a hilarious ride of mix-ups and who-done-its. Usually, I find that an author is skilled at writing either description or dialogue, but rarely both. Brooke handles both deftly. He crafts each character’s backstory, painting a portrait of the characters’ lives while bringing each to life through engaging and entertaining dialogue. The combination creates uniquely compelling characters that become so real, you wonder if you won’t bump into one somewhere.
Brooke’s cast of characters is wonderfully diverse. The central character, Annie Ogden, is a veteran of the war in Iraq. She’s just come home after her third tour and is more than a bit lost when she finds herself back in a world of work, family and friends. She is juxtaposed against the character of Max Vinyl, whose very name bespeaks a certain kind of false front or cheap façade. Whereas Annie is trying to readjust to life in the “real world,” Max is determined create a world around himself that gives him a kind of false identity, one of legitimacy.
The supporting characters are numerous, but equally irresistible and multi-dimensional. I particularly enjoyed two of the male characters, Ike and Tranny, a couple of ex-cons that work for Max Vinyl. The way that they fought like an old married couple as they dealt with the plot’s unexpected twists had me in stitches throughout the book.
The action of the story is well-written and paced perfectly, as the reader wonders when the paths of the different characters will inevitably collide. Brooke’s prose could be compared to that of author T.C. Boyle. But, personally, I think Doing Max Vinyl is way more fun! I eagerly look forward to hearing more from this author! ...more
Jennifer M. Barry’s Side Effects is a superb offering. It’s been a very long time since I’ve read a Young Adult Realistic Fiction of its caliber. TheJennifer M. Barry’s Side Effects is a superb offering. It’s been a very long time since I’ve read a Young Adult Realistic Fiction of its caliber. The story of Isaac is that of the underdog, as he struggles through life with daily limitations caused by anxiety that most of us would be afraid to even imagine. Barry’s lovingly crafted characters allow the reader to empathize with their situations. Her thorough research makes the story credible. But her talent as a writer is what truly left me in awe. It’s not every day that you read a Young Adult novel that begins with the author paying homage to Edgar Allen Poe. Yet, Barry does it seemingly with ease. In fact, as I read it, the word “literature” came to mind several times. And I think that is a worthy description of this novel, because it is everything that a classic novel should be. ...more