Review: The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

Review: The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:

One word. Different. I was looking for something fresh and I found it in ‘The Faerie Ring’ by Kiki Hamilton. The story was instantly engrossing and kept me waiting for more throughout the entire sequence of the plot. The characters were “fall in-lovable” and the mystery behind the plot was well executed. ‘The Faerie Ring’ was a pleasure to read and a great debut for author, Kiki Hamilton, I can’t wait for more of Ms. Hamilton’s writing.

REVIEW:

The setting is Victorian London and our heroine is Tiki, a gutter rat that picks pockets to stay alive and feed the other street kids that she calls family. They live together in an abandoned business, barely staying warm and fed. In an odd series of events Tiki steals something that will change her world, a ring. The ring is the property of Queen Victoria and besides its royal ownership there is much more at stake, because the ring signifies a pact — a pact between the faeries and England. Having lost the ring, it could mean war.

Another thief, the mysterious, Rieker suspects immediately it was Tiki that took the ring. Rieker seams to know more of what the ring means and about the fae but Tiki can’t trust anyone besides her family. There is a lot more at stake for her than just a dumb ring. She has to protect her family and get them off the streets and this ring just might be the answer. Rieker, while handsome and apparently eager to help – is not family…

A must read for fans of the fae, ‘The Faerie Ring’ blends historical with paranormal and paints a very compelling young adult fantasy. You’ll fall in love with Tiki immediately and believe that you are right there with her at Charing Cross Station in London. Hamilton paints an amazing picture with her words and I’m excited about this debut author’s gift. Don’t pass this book up, you won’t be disappointed.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Recommended for fans of young adult literature, fantasy and historical literature. This is an excellent cross over for those that like contemporary and would like to broaden your horizons. There is nothing inappropriate about the novel and I’m recommending for 12+, but still mature enough to be read and enjoyed by older teens and adults.


 

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Young Adult Novel

Review: Wildfire by Karsten Knight

Review: Wildfire by Karsten Knight

PJ’s QUICKIE REVIEW:

I was disheartened by not enjoying this book. It had great potential. An original plot, interesting characters, a spitfire of a protagonist and a very entertaining and easy on the eyes author, not to mention a male young adult author, which are a minority. Yet, I literally had to force myself to return to this book to finish it. While the plot was original it was disjointed and jumped from plot point to plot point, which had me completely confused half the time. While the main character was a spitfire and started out strong she quickly deflated and became almost two-dimensional by the middle of the book. Then with the whole paranormal reveal – the group was suddenly thrust into a very odd circumstance which revealed them to be paranormal beings and they were all just like, “Oh okay, cool.” It was so flat by that point that I felt I was reading an outline and not a flushed out book.

My overall view is that there was a good start to this book, yet by the middle it was as if the author hurried to finish and didn’t give it the attention that that beginning had. I believe it had great potential and the author has a great talent for dialogue writing and imagery – but his characters and plot just fizzled.

This is a DNF – I held on until I made it 3/4ths through, yet just couldn’t manage to finish it.

Did Not Finish


 

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Young Adult Novel
Review: The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter

Review: The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:

What can I say about THE GODDESS TEST? One of the hardest books to review is the one that gets a medium rating. You like the book, but nothing stands out and says, “Yeah this was great.” And to top it off it has problems, but you feel like you are picking on the book if you go into details of why this book just didn’t add up to be a Good or Great novel. It was okay. Would I run around and suggest to people to buy it, read it or pass on as a gift? No. There are so many great books out there, it’s hard to waste time on so-so literature. Which sounds terrible, but sometimes I would rather read a really bad book than a book that just makes me go “meh.” At least with a bad book I would have something to rant about.

REVIEW:

A retelling or really a revamping of the Hades and Persephone myth, THE GODDESS TEST is the story of Kate, whose mother is dying and has to move back to her mother’s home town, Eden. When arriving in the town she finds herself the target of some mean girl behavior which has consequences that might resonate into eternity as she attracts the attention of a reclusive but attractive young man named Henry. Henry finds Kate on the banks of a river that runs through his land with a dead popular girl named Ava on the shore from a prank gone wrong. Henry can fix the situation all Kate has to do — agree to live with him. Even though Kate watches him bring the girl back to life, she doesn’t quite believe that Henry is who he says he is, so she doesn’t show up at the appointed time. She finds out later that Ava is dead, passed away in her sleep as Kate avoided “moving in” with Henry. That being said, she quickly makes a deal, not to save Ava – but to be able to extend her mother’s life in exchange for living with Henry.

The plot, while original needed to be flushed out better, things were a bit convoluted. Puzzle pieces while close, just wouldn’t fit together. And above all else, we have Henry, which is supposed to be Hades — Hades, god of the Underworld, brother of Zeus, oldest male child of Cronus and subsequent master of death, portrayed like a melancholy underling, doing as he’s told with no real power, still pining over a woman that died a long time ago and later obsessing over an eighteen year old high school student. I guess it just didn’t mesh well with my imagery of the god of the underworld. But, this book did a lot of god bending, portraying them in odd circumstances and acting oddly and out of character from what we know. Personally, I guess I wanted them to be somewhat close to their myths but I understood that the author took license in this regards, picking and choosing what traits to keep and what to change. Original, yes, but it didn’t do it justice in my mind.

Then there was the ending and I won’t give any spoilers, but if I was Kate, I WOULD BE SEETHING!! Seething. I would be in severe hate of everyone. Just saying.

Overall opinion is in the so-so range, I think the book was entertaining, but lacked a romantic flavor because of the forced nature. I feel like Kate settled and in my mind that is not romantic at all. Breaking it down, this novel was supposed to be a semi-paranormal romance, so in my mind it failed miserably in that regard. Approached as an original story-line, I’ll give the author credit there. It was an original retelling, just sometimes original isn’t what people are looking for, which is probably why there are a lot of 3 star ratings for this one.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

for young adult paranormal fans. If you don’t mind a little non-sensical fluff, this one is for you. Fans of novels like GODDESS BOOT-CAMP and those sort might enjoy.


 

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Young Adult Novel
Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:

If you’ve followed this blog for a substantial time you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater. Well, at least most of her books. I think Stiefvater’s words are like music. She paints a picture with her tone and voice and it flows from the pages to take residence inside you. Having broken my heart with FOREVER (read review)
THE SCORPIO RACES was a redeemer for me. The book was poetic in the interaction of characters and the way the story played out. I was captivated, horrified and enlightened from one moment to another. I don’t know many authors that can accomplish this. If you haven’t had the honor of reading a Stiefvater piece — go out and buy THE SCORPIO RACES, you will not be disappointed, because while it is just a story about a girl, a boy and two horses – the writing in-between makes it resonate.

REVIEW:

On an island called Thisby water horses rise from the sea hungry and confused at the onset of winter. While their arrival is cause for terror as the horses feed on flesh, the islanders balance the fear of the horses with a race that they hold every year, called the Scorpio Race. The men of the island capture water horses and try to tame them, then they ride upon the shore in a bloody race that leaves a lot of people dead or seriously injured. This is the story of a girl named Kate and a boy named Sean. Both lost their parents to the horses and both are riding for very different reasons but in the end it breaks down to the same thing, they are chasing their dreams and trying to hold on to the unsteady life that is their island life.

Sean is the powerhouse, winner of four races, his horse Corr is a beast to be reckoned with. He is the races favorite, the horse whisperer that people call for him whenever the horses act up. Yet, even though he has won four races he is still indebted to his boss, who favors him, but not enough to give him the freedom he so desperately wants. To win this last race means freedom.

Kate Connelly is an orphan, her and her two brothers were left to fend for themselves on an unforgiving island. Her older brother has had enough and he is leaving her and her younger brother Finn. Without Gabe they will lose the house and be forced to work in the Mill or some other odd job that will mean overly hard work and bad living conditions. Kate signs up for the races to delay her brother’s departure and maybe save their house. She will be the first woman to ever enter the races and the other islanders are not taking kindly to her entry, especially when she decides to ride her own horse, an island pony, instead of a deadly water horse.

This is the story of a deadly race. People die, but in the midst of it all a boy and a girl find that they have more things to race for than just things like freedom and family. Just once they discover what they are truly racing for, will they survive?

Breathless, enchanting and horrific, Steifvater did not hold back anything. Stiefvater’s tales aren’t pretty little pieces; with candy and high schools and kisses… they are emotional and real. They sit in the pit of your stomach, sometimes hard to digest; yet the prose and lyrical writing makes it go down so easy. I would find myself fascinated with a description of a facial expression. I had never heard it described that way – but it made so much sense. Stiefvater sees the world in a different way and then expresses it in her writing, by the end of the story you’ll realize that you so desperately want to see the world how Maggie Stiefvater sees it…it would make life so much more interesting.

To be specific about this novel, the characters almost come to life. Kate (Puck) Connelly and Sean Kendrick are epic, they both have their little Idiosyncrasy which are so token Stiefvater. Their flaws and odd habits make them seem more real and relatable as opposed to some of the perfectly formed, über hotties with super powers that you see in other young adult novels. Then there is the setting of the novel…the cliffs of Thisby jump off the page with the wonderful descriptions, I could almost smell the sea as I turned the page. Then there was the story of the water horses, these great beasts that as the winter closed in on Thisby, would rise from the water and kill. They feasted on flesh, attacking humans, sheep and other domestic animals, even other horses. They are huge, menacing and fast, demons from the water that terrorized the island during a certain time each year. It seems so odd, but it was a wonderful story and definitely another PJV favorite. If you haven’t read any of Maggie Stiefvater’s writing you are really missing out. Why not start with THE SCORPIO RACES?

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Recommended for mature teens, there is violence and a bit of language. Nothing inappropriate. If you enjoyed her Wolves of Mercy Fall you will like this one. But, note there is more focus on the plot then there is on romance.


 

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Young Adult Novel

 

Review: Ashes by Ilsa Bick

Review: Ashes by Ilsa Bick

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:

ASHES by Ilsa Bick is a unique story of an apocalyptic event that will have your skin slithering and your heart pounding. Written in a militaristic style of attention to detail and precision writing I was instantly in love with the author’s style. I can’t wait to read more from this world and this author. ASHES if you love dystopian is a book you do not want to miss!

REVIEW:
Alex, our heroine is broken from the onset. Diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and battling the pain of the recent loss of her parents, she treks into the wilderness in what is a sort of abstract defining herself period. Intent on being alone she is slightly irritated when an older man and his very surly young granddaughter ask to join her camp. They have barely finished breakfast when something disastrous happens. Screaming pain, odd animal behavior and Alex’s world is suddenly much more complex than only five minutes earlier. Alex and the young girl, Ellie, must make their way out of the wilderness to what they believe is the safety of civilization. Yet, as they trek further towards what they believe to be safe territory a reality starts to unveil before them…and it is not comforting.

The first contact with other humans is the scariest thing you’ll read in ASHES as Bick describes in gruesome details how it would be to view a girl pop an eye out of someone’s socket. On top of the details there is the fact that Bick holds no punches, she lays everything out, gruesome, emotional and non-emotional. This isn’t a story of how the “most centered and perfect person” deals with an apocalypse – this is the story about someone real, someone that weighs out their own survival, deals with a new world where just the act of finding something to eat is a desperate search. Bick mixes apocalypse zombie fiction with dystopian political narratives and makes it into something that is a little more than the usual young adult fiction. This book will get you thinking, scare the crap out of you and have your heart-breaking all in one paragraph. DON’T MISS THIS ONE. I haven’t been this freaked out by a young adult novel in a long time.

One of the main things that stood out in this book was Bick’s voice. Where most female authors possess a, well, to put it bluntly female tone, with focus on love and internalizing emotional trauma, Bick almost had a man’s tone. I may be off at times, but I do believe there is a big difference in the writings of a man and woman. Men tend to take an outside in approach, females inside out. This I believe is why men tend to be so good at writing horror and mystery, women dramas and romance. Stereo typical, yes, but it is a majority, not across the board. There of course are great romantic male authors, just like there are some amazing mystery writers that are female. Now, let me bring it back to Bick. Bick parleyed both worlds. Alex while, very internalized also had a broad viewing, the best of both worlds. The narrative was almost militaristic, which would make sense with Bick’s military background. It led to a highly original tone and a book that shouldn’t be passed up.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
Dystopian and apocalypse fans run, don’t walk to get this book. You will not be disappointed. This has violence and some sexual undertones so it is recommended for mature teens.

 
 

Young Adult Novel
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