Sunday, December 29, 2013

Jack: The Tale of Frost (Claus #2) by Tony Bertauski

Sura is sixteen years old when she meets Mr. Frost. He’s very short and very fat and he likes his room very, very cold. Some might say inhumanly cold. His first name isn’t Jack, she’s told. And that’s all she needed to know.

Mr. Frost’s love for Christmas is over-the-top and slightly psychotic. And why not? He’s made billions of dollars off the holiday he invented. Or so he claims. Rumor is he’s an elven, but that’s silly. Elven aren’t real. And if they were, they wouldn’t live in South Carolina. They wouldn’t hide in a tower and go to the basement to make…things.

Nonetheless, Sura will work for this odd little recluse. Frost Plantation is where she’ll meet the love of her life. It’s where she’ll finally feel like she belongs somewhere. And it’s where she’ll meet someone fatter, balder and stranger than Mr. Frost. It’s where she’ll meet Jack.                                                                                    3 STARS

Jack is the 4th book that I have read by Tony Bertauski and while not my favorite so far, I found it a very creative and full of imaginative twists. 

A novel that I went into thinking it a fantasy story soon turned into a combination of sci-fi as well. In what seems to be set in a  contemporary South Carolina mansion this house is much more behind it's doors. It gives us a deeper look at Jack and the Elven people, the living quarters not exactly something we usually pair with the variation of weather we get in  South Carolina vs the steady cold of the North Pole.

Sura really drives the story with her quiet demeanor, yet her curiosity and determination wins out in the end. She really develops and comes out of her shell throughout the story. There are several other perspectives as the story goes along, I especially appreciated the descriptions of the Elven people and the incredible wonderland that has been created. 

I think that this novel is a good addition to the Claus novels and would encourage you to begin with book 1. It will help set a clearer picture of the Elven people and how Jack's story fits in.  

I really loved his Foreverland books. Here is a link to his goodreads page to check all of them out!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Surfacing (Swans Landing #1) by Shana Norris

Sixteen-year-old Mara Westray has just lost her mother, and now, being shipped off to live with the father she doesn’t know is not how she imagined grieving. She’s already counting down the days until she turns eighteen and can leave the tiny island of Swans Landing.

But from the moment she steps off the ferry, nothing is as ordinary as it looks. Whispers of a haunting song on the wind make her see impossible things, and she isn’t sure she can trust her judgment about what is real and what isn’t anymore. Maybe she can’t even trust her judgment about quiet Josh Canavan, whose way of speaking in riddles and half-truths only confuses her more, luring her deeper into the secrets hidden beneath the ocean’s surface.

As she tries to unravel the events that led to her mom fleeing the island sixteen years ago, Mara finds that the biggest secret of all is only the beginning.


Throughout the story secrets have been kept from Mara. Beginning with her mother, than father and even to the residents of the island. She is left completely in the dark about why she has found such enemies on the island when she herself has just moved there. The kids at school despise her and even call her names. None of which she has any idea of what they are referring to. And to top it all off, her father is of no help. He will not tell, nor will any of the few friends that she is able to make. 

I did find that the extent of the secrets and how long it is kept from the reader/main character was a little unnecessary. And at times I did find it frustrating in scenes that just ended with no new information given to us about what was happening. I never have been a big fan of a lot of drama in books. This book does have drama, but I actually found myself wanting a bit more of a roller coaster feel to the emotions I was feeling.

What I did like about the story is that it does have a different twist to it than most of the mermaid books I have read in young adult books recently. I cannot say that I was completely shocked by the secrets that were finally revealed, but this connection that they had to both land and water was equally drawing to their desires which leaves them in this limbo of a life. 

Although my thoughts about the book come of rather strongly on the negative side.  I feel that this book was a good read. I did enjoy it and feel that I really did get invested into the characters stories. Which is why my observations have come off so strongly. 

 I would recommend this book to teen readers that enjoy mermaid stories.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fire Country (Country Saga #1) by David Estes

 In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer's even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely.

Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn sixteen and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers.

Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with.

As the desert sands run out on her life's hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.
ebook, 398 pages
Published January 29th 2013 

As the description reads this story places a large amount of focus on child bearing and The Call. The politics and men of this particular tribe are mostly relayed as brute, fighting force that must stand up to not only the weather but the outside groups that also randomly attack the tribe. Each loss to this tribe is an enormous detriment to the people. Especially the loss of a child bearing woman.

Siena stands up for herself and the rights she feels every woman should have. The top most importance, being able to choose her own husband. As it is, the men have more than one wife with the sole purpose of bearing children. Not all males in this tribe are respectful, if they show any niceties at all for their calls aka wives.

We are introduced to a Siena that is very stubborn, has a love interest and about to be of age for her Call. She and her father, the soon to be eldest of the tribe, have continual conflicts with of how she should behaving. When it comes down to it, she'd rather be out fighting than at home bearing children. These conflicts will lead to some very intense and deathly fights throughout the story.

The only thing that I had negative against this story was the length and some things I felt could have been edited out. The author does address this at the end of the book and I can see why and even agree with why everything was left in.

I have yet to read a book by David Estes that I have not liked. The characters, setting and plot to his books are all very interesting. Even though they read as something I find familiar and comfortable in my books. He always has a unique , gripping and fun twists that keeps me hooked. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cover Reveal! Blood Crown by Ali Cross

About BLOOD CROWN: Serantha is the daughter of the Emperor of the West, who rules over the remnant of humanity who escaped a dying Earth and took to the stars a thousand years ago. With no habitable planets found during their exile, the android Servants who were supposed to care for them rose up, took the name of Mind, and murdered her father. Now the androids amuse themselves by forcing humans like her into mindless drudgery. But flashes of memory hint that Sera is no ordinary human.

On the other side of the galaxy, Nicolai, Son of the East, has abandoned his crown and joined the rebel forces in the war against the Mind. Humans have no real chance... unless the enhanced DNA developed by the Blood Crown scientists can unlock mankind's potential. When Nic and Sera are united, they discover their true potential--and together, humanity just might have a chance. But there's a legion of androids and nine years of mistrust between East and West... and coming together will require more than they ever expected.

About Ali Cross: Ali Cross is the sensei of Novel Ninjutsu where she holds a black belt in awesome. She lives in Utah with her kickin' husband, two sparring sons, one ninja cat, one sumo dog and four zen turtles.

Ali is the award-winning author of young and new adult fiction and moonlights as Alex Cross when she can write wild middle grade adventures set in the faraway places of her imagination.

Social media links:
Indelibles (indie authors):
Emblazoners (middle grade authors):

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Twilight Swimmer by A.C. Kavich

One year after her beloved sister drowned while swimming in cold New England waters, sixteen-year-old Brandi Vine is still struggling to understand what happened. As she mourns on the rocky beach where her sister's lifeless body washed ashore, she is unaware that a pair of haunting gray eyes is watching her from beneath rolling ocean waves.

When Brandi attends a party that goes horribly awry, the mysterious owner of the gray eyes emerges from the ocean depths and comes to her rescue. She only sees him for a few brief moments, but that's all it takes to turn Brandi's world upside down. What were the strange markings on his neck that seemed to flutter with every breath? How did he possess such inhuman strength and grace? And why did he look at Brandi with such longing?

Brandi's fascination with the Swimmer grows. She makes it her mission to find him again and learn who - and what - he is. Meanwhile, the Swimmer’s fascination with Brandi compels him to leave the safety of the ocean behind, to be with her at all costs. They are from two different worlds, but neither of the star-crossed romantics can resist the pull of the other.

Ultimately, when her feelings for the Swimmer swell beyond her control, Brandi comes to realize that the strange young man from the sea can unlock the secret of her sister's final swim.

The story was not as much of a whirlwind romance as I was expecting from it. The attraction that the swimmer and Brandi find with each other is very much curiosity and interest before any of the romance begins. 

I felt that this story was a variation between parts that I really enjoyed and sections that I had to push myself to read through. I do believe that there could have been some editing and corrections that could really make this a faster and more gripping read. 

Perhaps the most interesting part of this story is The Swimmer himself. A more reality based merman that most stories I have read. When I read the descriptions of him, his skin and overall physical attributes I cannot say that I was tempted or attracted one little bit. I found him interesting and other-worldly but at the same time so close to human that he was very natural. In my opinion. 

One thing I can say is that this story is unique. It had a variation of ups and downs as far as the plot line and pacing of the story. Overall it's one that I would recommend because of it's originality when compared to the other teen mermaid books I have read throughout the years.   

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cover Reveal! Peacemaker @angryrobotbooks

Virgin Jackson is the senior ranger in Birrimun Park – the world’s last natural landscape, overshadowed though it is by a sprawling coastal megacity. She maintains public safety and order in the park, but her bosses have brought out a hotshot cowboy to help her catch some drug runners who are affecting tourism. She senses the company is holding something back from her, and she’s not keen on working with an outsider like Nate Sixkiller.
When an imaginary animal from her troubled teenage years reappears, Virgin takes it to mean one of two things: a breakdown (hers!) or a warning. When the dead bodies start piling up around her and Nate, she decides on the latter.
Something terrible is about to happen in the park and Virgin and her new partner are standing in its path…
The First Book in the Peacemaker Series

It will be release in UK and US in early May 2014, and available soon after in Australia.
Cover by Joey HiFi, published by Angry Robot.

 (From Goodreads Page)
About this author

Marianne de Pierres is the award winning author of the acclaimed Parrish Plessis and Sentients of Orion science fiction series. Marianne is an active supporter of genre fiction and has mentored many writers. She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, three sons and three galahs. Her newly released young adult dark fantasy novel, Burn Bright, is one of her most loved books. Burn Bright is the first in the trilogy and will be followed by Angel Arias and Shine Light. Marianne is also the Davitt award-winning author of the Tara Sharp humourous crime series under the pseudonym Marianne Delacourt. Visit her websites at and


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Urchin King by Katharina Gerlach

Urchin King
My rating:
 For fourteen years, street-urchin Paul's miserable existence has kept him safe from an ancient law that sentences all second-born twins to death. When he learns he is the younger twin of the mentally handicapped Crown Prince who's in danger of being killed for his disability, he agrees to play the role of the miraculously healed royal heir. Paul struggles to learn how to act like a born ruler, but finds that his greatest skill, getting by unnoticed, is now his greatest liability. He knows if he is discovered, he will be executed like all second-born twins
October 3, 2011
"Urchin King" was a semi-finalist for the "KBR Best Indie Book 2012" award. The 2012 Best Indie Book Contest was established and judged by the reviewers at The Kindle Book Review. They pre-screened hundreds of books and judged them on formatting, writing quality, and if the book “grabbed” them from the beginning.
I decided to add the amazon description of the book along with this post because I do agree with the statement and it includes all of the things that I liked about the book. 

The Urchin King is one that grabbed me from the first page and the formatting and writing was good quality for the age range of ~12 and up. The plot was interesting and had many twists. The addition of a powerful wizard and powers of others battling for the Kingdom both entertaining and had a lot of possibilities to build on as far as the storyline. 

As the story progressed I did find that Paul seemed to escape every situation a little too easily. There could have been a lot more of a struggle in each situation to help build the emotional ties with the reader to the story. When I sat and thought too much about the wizard and controlling powers I found a lot of loop holes. Paul shines through as a character that is generous and noble, open minded and caring.

This story is entertaining and I did enjoy a lot of the elements, I would recommend it to those that enjoy reading stories of Kings and Castles, Wizards and Princesses.