Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Guest Review by Jules: Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman

Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman

Summary from Goodreads:
What happens when you can’t do the one thing that matters most?

12-year-old Hope lives in White Rock, a town struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. The bombs destroyed almost everything that came before, so the skill that matters most in White Rock—sometimes it feels like the only thing that matters—is the ability to invent so that the world can regain some of what it’s lost.

But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb’s Breath—the deadly band of air that covers the crater the town lives in—than fail at yet another invention.

When bandits discover that White Rock has invented priceless antibiotics, they invade. The town must choose whether to hand over the medicine and die from disease in the coming months or to die fighting the bandits now. Hope and her friends, Aaren and Brock, might be the only ones who can escape through the Bomb’s Breath and make the dangerous trek over the snow-covered mountain to get help.

For once, inventing isn’t the answer, but the daring and risk-taking that usually gets Hope into trouble might just save them all.

Review by Jules

4.5 stars: Loved it - enthusiastically recommend (A)

YA Post-Apocalyptic, ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy) from Publisher

This book will be released September 24, 2013.

I am excited about middle-grade author Peggy Eddleman’s debut book Sky Jumpers.  Due out on September 24th, this post-apocalyptic story is refreshing among a sea of vampires and werewolves. 
There was a clear theme to this story of playing to your strengths, a theme with which every tween out there can definitely identify.  In this post World War III environment, there are no power plants or electricity and properties of metal have changed, so much of the technology current teens take for granted no longer exists.  The community of White Rock that Sky Jumpers focuses our attention on thrives on human ingenuity and invention.  In so doing, Eddleman spotlights humanity’s resiliency rather than dwelling on the struggle to survive. This is great in theory, but main character Hope is not a great inventor, it is not one of her strengths.  When her invention doesn’t even qualify for entry into the annual Harvest Festival, she feels defeated in every way possible.
  I would put Sky Jumpers squarely in the league of childhood favorites like Hatch, My Side of the Mountain, and A Wrinkle in Time.  It’s perfect for the fifth or sixth grade reader.  The vocabulary and tension are appropriate; there is no swearing or sexual innuendo of any kind.  Hope is a strong female lead without drawing attention to the fact that she’s a twelve year old girl.  Her character could have just as easily been male which I think makes her casting all the stronger. 
I liked that while the drama wasn’t unnecessarily frightening, it was still authentic.  The good guys were clearly good and the bad guys were clearly bad; the lines of demarcation were easy to identify.  The pacing was also excellent.  The story surged forward and paused in a natural flow which kept the story moving while still giving us time to invest.  Probably most significant to me is that it has a strong ending, pulling us full circle, as Hope learns what her strengths are and is recognized for her unique contributions to her community.

Warnings: None that aren't mentioned in the review above.

Jules recommends this for 5th or 6th grade and up.  Brooke will definitely recommend it to her 12 year old daughter.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt

Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt

Summary from Goodreads:
Mount Mellyn stood as proud and magnificent as she had envisioned...But what about its master--Connan TreMellyn? Was Martha Leigh's new employer as romantic as his name sounded? As she approached the sprawling mansion towering above the cliffs of Cornwall, an odd chill of apprehension overcame her. TreMellyn's young daugher, Alvean, proved as spoiled and difficult as the three governesses before Martha had discovered. But it was the girl's father whose cool, arrogant demeanor unleashed unfamiliar sensations and turmoil--even as whispers of past tragedy and present danger begin to insinuate themselves into Martha's life. Powerless against her growing desire for the enigmatic Connan, she is drawn deeper into family secrets--as passion overpowers reason, sending her head and heart spinning. But though evil lurks in the shadows, so does love--and the freedom to find a golden promise forever...

4 Stars

Read September 2013

Romantic Suspense/Historical, Library book

My Review:
When the cover says "The Classic Novel of Romantic Suspense", that is what it means!  Wow!  

The romantic side of this story reminded me a bit of Jane Eyre.  You have a governess in charge of a spoiled girl who has a brooding father that the governess falls in love with.  However, the mystery/suspense side of this story was very new to me.  I did not know who could be trusted throughout the entire book.  And, the ending was fantastic.  The suspense was definitely the star in this story.  

I found the romantic story line lacking.  I didn't believe the male lead when he said he was in love with the governess.  I didn't see their relationship grow.  And, I didn't understand why the governess loved him.  What did she see in this philandering, non-present father?

The setting of this book was a character as well.  It took place in Cornwall (I had to look it up on a map).  There were cliffs and waves crashing.  There were different customs and ways of speaking as well.  The setting added to the mystery and feel of the book.

Warnings: Philandering, murder, illegitimate children

I would let my 15 year old read this book.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Untethered by Marcia Lynn McClure

Untethered by Marcia Lynn McClure

Summary from Goodreads:
A man tethered by pain and guilt borne of past tragedy,
A young woman with the soul of a guardian angel,
And an unspeakable evil about to be unleashed.

As Cricket lay in the soft comfort of her bed, continuing to let her mind nest on thoughts of how truly wonderfully attractive Texas Ranger Thibodaux was, she giggled, thinking that looking at him was more refreshing than swimming naked on a summer Sunday afternoon. He was a tall drink of water—far taller than most of the other men in town—and his shoulders were as broad as the state of Texas itself. Sky-blue eyes, bronze skin, square jaw, and dark hair—and that smile! In truth, Cricket had only seen Heathro Thibodaux smile three or four times, but each incidence was something she’d never forget. His smile was bright and white, and the gold tooth he owned on the upper-right incisor of his smile only embellished the richness of it.

That one tooth. Cricket’s smile faded as she thought of it. Oh, no doubt the flash only added to the splendor of his smile. Yet it also served as a reminder to anyone who had ever read or heard of what had happened in Texas one year before. No doubt it was a powerful remembrance to Heathro Thibodaux himself—a visual indication of true barbarity, pain, and loss. 

In that moment, Cricket wondered—when Heathro looked in the mirror each morning and saw that tooth, did he think of eight dead girls buried in the bottom of a bleak and barren canyon? Did he think of the eight dead girls that he, for no fault of his own, had been unable to save?

4 Stars

Read September 2013

Historical Romance, Free e-book on Kindle (read on phone and tablet)

My Review:
This historical romance has some really wonderful aspects.  I loved the main character and her friends.  They were a great group of girls that would be fun to know.  

Between the conflict and the romance, there were situations in this book that were intense.  I would consider this book clean, but it had heavy kissing and discussion of "how babies are made" and white slavery.

Warnings: Heavy kissing, white slavery

I would not let my 15 year old daughter read this book at this time.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram

V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram

Summary from Goodreads:
When Val Jensen gets dumped for her decision to stay a virgin until marriage, the nasty breakup goes viral on YouTube, making her the latest internet sensation. 

After days of ridicule from her peers, Val starts a school-wide campaign to rally support for her cause. She meant to make a statement, but she never dreamed the entire nation would get caught up in the controversy. 

As if becoming nationally recognized as “Virgin Val” isn’t enough, Val’s already hectic life starts to spin wildly out of control when bad boy Kyle Hamilton, lead singer for the hit rock band Tralse, decides to take her abstinence as a personal challenge.

How can a girl stay true to herself when this year’s Sexiest Man Alive is doing everything in his power to win her over?

5 Stars

Read September 2013

Teen/Young Adult, e-book on Nook

My Review:
I have been thinking about this book for days.  It was not at all what I expected, and that is a good thing. 

What I was expecting:
A cute teen read about a girl who stays true to her decision to remain a virgin until marriage.  

What I got:
An in depth look at the decisions we each make, why we make them, and how we stay true to them.  

And, a look at standing up for something we truly believe in, not just for ourselves, but in front of the community, and for the people that live in it.

And, so much more.

I can't put in to words the thoughts I have had about this book.  But I'll try to put some of them down.  The characters felt real to me.  If I agreed or disagreed with their opinions, they still brought up valid questions.  The main decision questioned in this book is Val's decision to remain a virgin until marriage.  However, I was most struck by how that decision brought up questions about so many other topics.  One of the characters identifies with Val because he wants to make his own decision about a completely different issue.  I found myself questioning decisions I have made in my life and why I made them.  So many things to think about!

There were so many characters in this book which each had vital roles in the story.  They were each different and brought different perspectives to the situations in the book.  I appreciated getting all opinions and views on the subjects that were brought up.

Some issues I had with the writing/story...I wish Val's parents were more involved.  She has an adult "mentor" in the book, but she expresses a need to discuss things with her parents, but those scenes aren't in the book.  I think parents are MOST important and I wish we could have seen that relationship more.  There was too much eye rolling.  Pet peeve of mine. 

Warnings: Virginity/Sex is the main topic of this book.  So there is a lot of mature talk.  There is a lot of kissing (some fairly intense) and some attempted petting.

I would not allow my 15 year old daughter to read this book at this time.  However, that is because she is not even allowed to date at this time.  She is fairly innocent in this subject matter.  At this point in her life, she hasn't been on a date or kissed a boy, let alone explored her feelings and decisions about sex.  

I think this book would be appropriate for teens who are actively dating and potentially sexually active.  It brings up valid questions for teens and adults alike.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson is on SALE right now!

It can be yours for your NOOK or KINDLE for just $1.99!  What a steal for this fantastic book.  Enjoy!

And, I can't wait to read Blackmoore, coming soon!