Book Review: The Sapphire Legend, Part II by E. L. Tenenbaum

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The Sapphire Legend, Part II by E. L. Tenenbaum

A Fantasy Novel published by Melange Books – Fire and Ice Ya (01/09/16)

Summary:

“If you don’t go now, then you never had a right to sit with them to begin with,” (Kindle Location 1451).

Sapere’s tribe has finally settled into their new semi-stable home in the Wild when Sapere and Venatore find the Great Blue Waters and evidence of their sister tribe. They must warn the other tribe of the danger of the Pliz and maybe, just maybe, they will be offered refuge and a safe place to regrow their tribe. But after all the upheaval and strife they’ve been through, will the tribe follow Sapere once more?

Keywords:

Tradition, Tribes, Death, Fighting, Survival, Wild, Forest, Camp, Powers, Friendships, Family, Hunting, Loss, Training, New Beginnings

My Review:

Such a great read! This is a book that both boys and girls should read and would love to read! Sapere is a role model and the author shows how Sapere thinks in all sorts of trying situations. How does one become a leader? What is it like to have heavy responsibilities? Just read this series!

Sapere was strong and even when she doubted herself, she was able to step up and take her rightful place. The scene where Sapere wasn’t sure she should sit with the men of the new tribe, even though she’s earned it was such an amazing moment. Yes for women everywhere!

This world in the Sapphire Legend may not be perfect, but seeing what characters do when presented with tragedy and the chance to be better people is what kept me reading. This is a book and this is a series that will teach you something and leave you as a better person for having read it. A fantasy for everyone.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

This novel was published by Melange Books – Fire and Ice Ya on January 9th, 2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

E.L Tenenbaum’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

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Book Review: The Sapphire Legend, Part I by E. L. Tenenbaum

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The Sapphire Legend, Part I by E. L. Tenenbaum

A Fantasy Novel published by Melange Books – Fire and Ice Ya (08/27/15)

Summary:

“Kindness can make us weak, but it can also give us the strength to face another day.” (Kindle Location 3145).

In Sapere’s tribe, some families are gifted with supernatural abilities that pass from father to son. Sapere, a girl about to be married, has never told anybody that she inherited her father’s gift. On the day of her wedding, the tribe is attacked and she must use her abilities to help the survivors find refuge in the wild forest that borders her village. The Wild harbors its own dangers, but will the village’s traditions follow them into the wilderness or will they be able to forge a new life?

Keywords:

Tradition, Council, Tragedy, Death, Fighting, Fleeing, Wild, Survival, Forest, Predators, Camp, Injuries, Powers, Friendships, Family, Destruction, Gender Differences, Hunting, Loss

My Review:

This book is my favorite type of fantasy novel. I was in the mind and heart of the main character- living and breathing every catastrophe and every triumph with her. The story was strong and told well. The tale was fascinating and full of action and adventure. The world was new and intriguing, but still familiar. I couldn’t put down this story of destruction, hope, and new traditions.

Sapere was a relatable character, even though she has a power unlike others. She has a gift that, as a female, she’s not supposed to have. How Sapere uses her gift and how it sets her apart from the rest of her people, even those with other gifts, makes for a fascinating read. Sapere is not your average ‘chosen one.’ She is her own person.

This book even had romance and friendship. The story was realistic and kept me at the edge of my seat.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

This novel was published by Melange Books – Fire and Ice Ya on August 27th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

E.L Tenenbaum’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Hourglass by Pauline C. Harris

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Hourglass by Pauline C. Harris

A YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi Novel published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books (03/11/15)

 

Summary:

“A planet isn’t big enough for me. I need space and stars and nothing for light-years around.” (Kindle Locations 312-313).
“You know, it’s a shame. Growing up. I bet you regret it now.” (Kindle Location 1632).

Jude “Judy” Sprocket hates planets. She has to get off Earth. When her dad dies and wills her his ship “Hourglass” she decides to take it and get out of there. There is only one problem. She’s only 17 and without an adult present cannot legally take off. Her crew is full of underage and excited kids. Jacob Holden is her chief engineer at 16. Angelica Rivers is the Assistant Engineer and Salvager. Gregory Miller is a Salvager. Jacobson Keith is a salvager. Sylvia Smith is the medic. Judy is the Captain.

Nothing will stand in the way of the stubborn captain, they are pirates after all, and they don’t exactly follow the rules. Not far from Earth, though, they encounter an uncharted planet. There is no way a planet this close to Earth would remain unknown, but the crew disregards any common sense they might have regarding an unmarked planet, and set down to investigate. Then all nightmares break loose.

 

Keywords:

 Space, travel, teens, kids in charge, Captain, exploration, nightmares, unknown past, sinister planet, leadership, friendship, loyalty, pirates, salvagers, dangerous, haunting past, vague memories

 

My Review:

I loved the concept of this book. Harris cleverly disguised the connection of the book to a well-known children’s story, but brought this connection to light in her before chapter quotes. Her usage of elements of the well-known story was intriguing and kept me hooked and searching for more similarities. But, this story was unique and all its own, even with the comparison story and similarities present.

The idea that there are space pirates who steal unwanted floating space junk is cool, especially when it is considered illegal. Harris took the hilarity of regulation and ridiculous government rules into space. Harris basically extrapolated what we know about travel and Earth and regulations and applied it to space.

Harris kept up the tension and intrigue throughout the novel and kept her twists and turns within the realm of possibility. The story was exciting and the descriptions were great. Judy was a good, solid main character with her own set of flaws and fears, but she had backbone when it counted.

The book also had an uncanny ability to translate the sense of creepiness, horror and dread the characters felt at times.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this story in exchange for my honest review.

This novel was published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books March 11th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Roots Entwine by Victoria Bastedo

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Roots Entwine by Victoria Bastedo

A YA Fantasy novel published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books (08/21/2014)

Summary:

Joaquin was born unique, a blonde-haired blue-eyed boy with a powerful ability that some call a gift and others a curse. It is known as Phoshat. Kallum, on a king’s mission to find someone with Joaquin’s talents, describes the gift: “He’s capable of heightening his senses, to an amazing degree at times, whenever he chooses, and then calming his senses back into place until they are barely more perceptive than yours or mine.” (Location 2733).

This gift serves Joaquin during the mission by making him an asset in minute detection, but a liability in that the curse, if over-used, makes him ill and in extreme cases could cause death.

Joaquin learns to subdue his gift during the journey he makes with Kallum and their two companions Milte and Pearce, but will it be enough to triumph over the evil that has settled in Shenandya forest?

 

Keywords:

Fantasy, Action and Adventure, Coming of Age, Magical Abilities, Good Triumphing Over Evil, Nature

 

My Review:

This novel, like many great young adult novels, teaches the reader a lesson that Bastedo puts so eloquently in her book description, “A tree standing alone shades no one, but entwining his life with his team moves Joaquin towards the inevitable choice he must make for them. It’s up to him to decide what the sum of his life will be, and if his inborn ability will be a curse to him or the gift that saves his friends.”

This novel reminds me of one of Victoria Bastedo’s other novels, Sunrise Meets the Star, in that both contain a journey with a fantastic conclusion, having to overcome some essential characteristic to triumph, learning the power of friendship and loyalty, and being confident in one’s own abilities. Bastedo’s lessons are beautifully interwoven amidst the exciting plot and the quippy dialogue that make the novel flow from beginning to end. She has mastered the art of plot zigs, adding a depth to the tension that is the best combination of intrigue and of giving the characters room to make mistakes and grow.

One of my favorite things about the author is her character design. I fall for her main character every time. Bastedo gives me enough direct description and supporting action for me to know and understand the characters and follows through with just the right amount of perfection for me to be loyal to the character’s sympathies. Joaquin acknowledges his own choice in being a good or evil person with the opportunity Phoshat presents… “For no matter what, Phoshat is a part of me. It’s up to me to decide what the talent will become, a danger or a tool for good!” (Location 2958).

True to Fantasy as a genre, Bastedo gives me lovely character names that are fantastical, but no more difficult to pronounce than yours or mine so I’m able to read the story aloud in my head without the difficulty sometimes shoved upon the reader in fantasy novels. This is the beauty of a young adult novel and of a skilled author. Some of my favorite names were Malaya, Scarvus, Gridiron, and Shenandya. I was slightly hesitant whether Phoshat was the right word for Joaquin’s ability when I first picked up the novel, but I soon fell in love with that label as well.

Not once does Joaquin lament his birthright of Phoshat. I love a character that embraces who they are and with that embrace learns to control themselves and be confident in who they are and what they can accomplish. Joaquin only laments the fact that others can only see him for what the destruction and invasion of privacy the curse can cause. For most of those that are mistrustful of a Phoshat, Joaquin’s humility and politeness win them over. Don’t all parents wish their children as mindful of themselves as Joaquin!

Joaquin is not always on top of everything, because “…knwoing what was coming wouldn’t help him be ready to meet it.” (Location 776). He is, after all, still only a 15-year-old boy. He is not always the strongest. He is not always the most clever. He is just like any of us and that is why readers will love him.

As much as I loved the world Bastedo created, where she gives the reader a wide swath of land with many villages and not just one remote society, I thought she went a little over the top with the whole blonde-haired blue-eyed versus dark hair comparison. “But the worst combination of all was to be blond, blue-eyed, and the second son. Such was Joaquin’s fate.” (Location 104). The implications with blonde hair and blue eyes will never disappear and to invoke that in the opposite sense in a novel will always bring extra attention to the deliberateness of this choice. Being of dark hair myself, I did not dislike being a part of the in-group and when Joaquin proved that he would not live up to the rumors and legends of his own hair and eye color, I was also relieved.

I was let down by the lack of female characters. I know that not all books will be equal in every aspect of gender, race, etc but the females that did appear in this novel had very small parts and were almost completely unnecessary. I wanted to like Malaya, she has such a gorgeous name, but she kept acting small and childish and stubborn and rude. She was almost the exact opposite of Joaquin and I just kept getting annoyed whenever she showed up as the stereotypical girl. Perhaps she will grow out of her flat personality and into a warrior like a Shenandyan and Joaquin himself. I look forward to more by Victoria Bastedo.

 

I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys reality grounded fantasy, Sunrise Meets the Star, or easy reading fantasy novels.

This novel was published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books 08/21/2014 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TLDR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

on the web: http://freevalleypublishing.com/featured-authors/victoria-bastedo/

blog:http://snovalleyhobbit.wordpress.com/

blog: https://victoriabastedo.wordpress.com/