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Search tags: Author-Alliance
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review 2014-06-07 01:17
P.A.W.S.
P.A.W.S. - Debbie Manber Kupfer P.A.W.S. is a good example of why I love to read YA fantasy. I thought this was going to be a light and fluffy kid’s book about shape shifters but it turned out to be so much more. Miri, the protagonist, is only ten years old when her grandmother dies. Following the death of the only family she has ever known, Miri is forced to leave behind her home in New York, her only friend, and her two pet cats to go live with her estranged aunt and uncle in St. Louis. Shortly after arriving in St. Louis, Miri is sent to a boarding school where she is bullied and withdrawn. It is during this bullying that Miri discovers her ability to shape shift into a cat which I thought was a very clever way to incorporate fantasy into the story. The story itself was compelling and entertaining, the plot was well developed, and the characters were likable. Overall, I would say it was a great read but will only recommend for older kids and adults due to the violence in a few scenes. Originally posted at the Author Alliance
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review 2014-05-27 22:35
Fissure Free
Fissure Free (The Schasm Series) - Shari J. Ryan

Fissure Free is book 2 in the Schasm series by Shari J. Ryan. After reading Schasm, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book! It’s no secret how much I loved Schasm and I had very high expectations for Fissure Free. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I thought Fissure Free fell a little short. The majority of this book takes place in the dreamlike state referred to as The Drift. The fantasy elements in Schasm swept me up and took me along for the ride but in Fissure Free I felt more like I was reading a really fabulous fairy tale. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was beautiful—almost poetic. The power of love between Alex and Chloe couldn’t have been more expressive if Celine Dion was singing it herself. The realistic aspects of mental illness and the tricky nature of the mind that was so brilliantly shown in Schasm, however, were almost missing entirely in Fissure Free. I actually found the fantasy elements to be more believable in Fissure Free than the reality. Although the story didn’t go as I had hoped and there were some obvious plot holes, it was still a very enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to the next book and hoping to see more of the realistic aspects that I found so wonderfully perplexing in Schasm.

 

Originally posted at the Author Alliance.

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review 2014-03-21 22:00
Schasm
Schasm (Schasm Series) - Shari J. Ryan

This was possibly the most disturbing book I’ve ever read, but also incredibly thought provoking and compelling. I sat for a long time after I finished reading and just contemplated the possibilities of what I had read. This book left me with more questions than answers. I can’t say with any certainty which parts were reality and which were fantasy–the line between the two was a blur. Mental illness is a scary topic to explore. The human mind is a fragile thing and the author did a fabulous job of demonstrating this fragility through Chloe. The question of whether committing a normal person to a mental institution could actually cause psychosis or insanity is a plausible argument. Since the story was told from Chloe’s perspective, I didn’t really believe her “condition” was an illness. The people she should have been able to trust most–her mother and doctor–were manipulating and controlling her through mind altering drugs and sedatives. Couldn’t that happen to anyone? If a doctor says you’re mentally ill and you say you’re not–who is everyone going to believe? What a terrifying thought! After finishing the book though, I had to remind myself that the story was told from Chloe’s perspective. If it had been told from someone else’s perspective, I would probably have agreed that she was crazy. After all, she does “drift” in and out of alternate realities.  I will probably still be thinking about this book for weeks to come. I loved it–highly recommended!!

 

Originally posted at the Author Alliance

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review 2014-03-08 01:17
PsiCo
PsiCo - David Wardale

The genre description I received for this book was "YA paranormal thriller" and it was indeed a thriller. This is the first book I've read that involved psychokinesis so I had no idea what to expect. I really liked the main character, Danny--a teenage boy with supernatural abilities who was recruited by a government agency to work as a spy. Even with the paranormal aspect, Danny was still a really believable and likable character. I also liked the biological weapon conspiracy which seemed more relevant than bombs or guns and added depth to the suspense. Like all great thrillers, the pace quickened toward the end and my anticipation grew with every plot twist and surprise. I can't say the end was completely satisfying - as I still feel a little unresolved on some things - but I hope that means there is a sequel in the making.  The writing wasn't perfect but there wasn't really anything that I disliked about the book. There were a few plot holes and areas where I felt confused but not enough to lessen my enjoyment of the story.

 

Originally posted at the Author Alliance

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review 2014-02-05 18:18
Past's Prologue
Past's Prologue - Nova Mitchell

I’ve given much thought to this review over the past few days and still don’t know how to begin.  There are so many things I liked about this fantasy novel.  Ms. Mitchell’s storytelling ability captured my attention with the first sentence.  I really liked how the story unfolded from the alternating perspectives of a brother and sister and how her writing style created the perfect mood for reading fantasy.  There was also just enough intrigue to keep me wanting more.  The ending was definitely too soon for me, but it was a clever cliffhanger of an ending and I will be watching for the next installment.

 

Unfortunately, here comes the hard part.  The grammar was terrible.  I can overlook a sprinkling of misspelled words and punctuation errors, but this book didn’t appear to have been proofread at all.  When reading fantasy, I expect to stretch my imagination to grasp the ideas and concepts being written and depend on quality editing that doesn’t distract from the flow and meaning of the words written.  That was the biggest challenge for me with Past’s Prologue.  The consistent use of misspelled words, missing words, punctuation errors, fragmented sentences, etc. were so distracting, I would have given up on the book altogether had the story been any less compelling.  If this had been an audiobook with a decent narrator, my rating would be much higher.

 

Overall, I would say the story was excellent and would recommend to anyone not easily distracted by grammatical errors.  If this book fell into the hands of a good editor and was republished under a more fitting name, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on the shortlist for YA fantasy awards.

 

Originally posted at the Author Alliance

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