Book Review: Unchosen by Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins

Unchosen by Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins

A Dark Fantasy Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (10/10/17)

Summary:

“There’s no more ifs. There’s no more maybes.” (Page 104).

Everything went wrong when the chosen one died. Had they horribly misinterpreted the prophecy? Their world will now be under Xaramor’s rule for thousands of years, but there may still be hope for the chosen one’s four companions to still save the world.

Keywords:

Powerful Females, Diversity, Epic Fantasy, Fight, Prophecy, Tragedy, Death, Baba Yaga, Doom, Hope, Travel, Tower, Magic, Healing, Battle

My Review:

I noticed. The chosen one may have been your typical young male, but those left behind were the most diverse cast of characters. I appreciated so much this fact that two of the main four characters were powerful females with their own distinct personalities and abilities (Celeste and Noriko). The other two main characters were also diverse in their own ways as well (Nils and Hobie).

I liked how the chapters had their own POV and we got to see the unfolding of the world from different voices and get a little more inside the main characters’ heads.

I enjoyed the breadth of the world that the main characters traveled to accomplish their missions – the book had a definite Lord of the Rings vibe – even if for most of the action they didn’t really have one distinct mission. How to stop Xaramor? You can’t just stop him!

This book turned “the chosen one” trope upside down and showed how sometimes prophecies can be misinterpreted. Finally, a realistic plotline! They didn’t always get it right on the first guess – which is where mayhem and battles ensued. Although there’s lots of death and violence, this book isn’t bloody and gory.

I’ve never read such a good and well written middle – but I did sorely miss the traditional beginning, middle and end of a “chosen” one fantasy. This book was a deviation from the norm. It was fun and different. I loved the Baba Yaga scenes.

The book featured a truly epic final battle – worthy of the slow, slow buildup from the beginning of the end in the beginning to the end of the end at the end.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC 10/10/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Jeffrey Cook on FreeValley Publishing

Jeffrey Cook’s Facebook

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Book Review: Dissident (Forbidden Things Book 1) by Nikki McCormack

Dissident (Forbidden Things Book 1) by Nikki McCormack

A Fantasy Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (9/02/14)

Summary:

Indigo has always suppressed her Ascard power because society does not allow the use of powerful Ascard. She can use a limited amount as a healer but has worked all her life to hold in her inner aspect and connection to Ascard. Her power does not go completely unnoticed, as an exotic stranger contacts her through Ascard, seeking her help. Intrigued by him and ruffled by her rocky relationship with her fiancé, she follows the stranger into his prison. After she helps him escape, she thinks she will never see him again. Fate brings them together again, but he still needs her help.

Keywords:

Power, Control, Magic, Inner Strength, Inner Aspect, Travel, War, Fighting, Struggle, Talent, Healing, Abuse, Sex, Love, Creation, Lies, Slaves

My Review:

This novel had a great balance  between romance, fantasy and plot. I was pulled in by Indigo’s struggles to live up to others’ expectations in her restrictive society and her struggles with her fiancé. The intrigue and quick attraction between Indigo and Yiloch pulled me into the romantic aspect of the book and the plot kept the entire novel together as action wove through until the end.

Indigo is a role model for female characters. She’s strong, not in relation to man, but in relation to her enemies and her friends. She doesn’t have to stay in her relationship. She has control over her fiancé in a way he can’t even fathom. She isn’t smug about her skills and she doesn’t look down on others, even though she is stronger than everyone around her, even her teacher.

I enjoyed the writing style of this fantasy novel, just as much as the clean writing of McCormack’s steampunk series – Clockwork Enterprises.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 06/09/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Nikki McCormack’s Website

Book Review: The Girl and the Clockwork Crossfire (Clockwork Enterprises Book 3) by Nikki McCormack

The Girl and the Clockwork Crossfire (Clockwork Enterprises Book 3) by Nikki McCormack

A YA Steampunk Novel published by Elysium Books (6/01/17)

Summary:

Maeko must choose where her loyalties lie – with the Pirates or just those she loves. Can she betray her new friends to keep her loved ones safe? New information from the Lits’ secret prison isn’t good and Maeko won’t be able to ignore it.

Keywords:

Clockwork, Cat, Pirate, Friendship, Streets, Fleeing, Fighting, Stealing, Officers, Mystery, Death, Street Smarts, London, Teenager, Female Main Character, Love, Loyalty, Proper Society, Detective, Wealth

My Review:

Maeko only wants to do right by those she loves, but she can’t always save everyone. In fact, those around her seem to get into just as much trouble as she does! Maeko’s love and empathy for everyone around her, even the cat (and so much the cat) is quite endearing. She is a phenomenal person (even for a Rat and a Pickpocket) and a well-built main character. She is loyal to a fault and stubborn and brave.

Macak the cat even gets his own mini chapter in this third book and he’s more important than ever! He is one of my favorite literary ‘pets’ even though he’s more like a sidekick to Maeko. I wish I had a cat that sat on my shoulder and followed me into all sorts of danger!

The storyline continues to be amazing and the balance between action and storytelling is perfect. I do wish there was more to the Maeko and her mother storyline, but such is the way between parents and their children sometimes.

McCormack is a professional storyteller and I would read anything she writes.

This novel was published by Elysium Books on June 1st, 2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Nikki McCormack’s Website

Book Review: The Girl and the Clockwork Conspiracy: Clockwork Enterprises Book Two (Volume 2) by Nikki McCormack

The Girl and the Clockwork Conspiracy: Clockwork Enterprises Book Two (Volume 2) by Nikki McCormack

A YA Steampunk Novel published by Elysium Books (9/12/15)

Summary:

Maeko is recuperating from her injuries as a ward of Lucien Folesworth. She saved his life and now he feels compelled to save her from a life on the streets, but high society and propriety isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Maeko would rather live in poverty on the streets than have to conform to life following all the ridiculous rules as a woman in the ruling wealthy class. Will Maeko stay with Lucien or will something else tear them apart?

Keywords:

Clockwork, Cat, Pirate, Friendship, Streets, Fleeing, Fighting, Stealing, Officers, Mystery, Death, Street Smarts, London, Teenager, Female Main Character, Love, Loyalty, Proper Society, Detective, Wealth

My Review:

I have never read a steampunk series quite like The Clockwork Enterprises. The story is believable and gritty and full of plot and action and interesting characters.

Maeko is a loveable hero who doesn’t stop to think twice, even if her own life is in danger. She is now torn between her feelings for Chaff and the affection Ash feels for her, but she is almost too busy with other problems. Almost.

I loved seeing Em, the surly detective, more in this book.

The story is well put together and though the ending could have been a bit stronger, I’m glad that the third book is already available so I can start reading it immediately.

The steampunk elements were elegantly integrated. Again, like with the first book, McCormack is a genius with world building and writing a good story.

This novel was published by Elysium Books on September 12th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Nikki McCormack’s Website

Book Review: Numbers Raging (Numbers Game Saga Book 3) by Rebecca Rode

Numbers Raging (Numbers Game Saga Book 3) by Rebecca Rode

A YA Dystopian Novel published by Diamond Patch Press (02/19/17)

Summary:

Treena wants to save everyone, including citizens of NORA and the integrants and settlers of the desert. She will have to use all her political prowess to convince her hometown and those abroad to help with her cause. The enemy looms, but nobody will believe that the young teenagers Treena and Vance are telling the truth. It’s much easier to sweep it all under the rug and look the other way.

Keywords:

Futuristic, Water Shortage, Protection, Family, Loyalty, Number System, Ratings, Scores, Technology, Politics, Survival, Strict Society, Dystopian, Friendship, Desert, Travel, War, Weapons, Death

My Review:

The first half of this book was not as exciting as book 2, as it was full of political subterfuge and Treena trying to gain political support from the other Nations. I really enjoyed the Star Wars feel this book had, with the council and the underhanded politics that Treena was subjected to during her stay at the peace council meeting.

As I was reading I couldn’t help but wonder how it would end. There only seemed like two possibilities, but I was pleasantly surprised by the turn the story took. This book expertly wrapped up the series and the final climax was awesome! So much happened!

What would you do to save everything and everyone that you loved?

This novel was published by Diamond Patch Press on 02/19/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Rebecca Rode’s Website

Book Review: Numbers Ignite (Numbers Game Saga Book 2) by Rebecca Rode

Numbers Ignite (Numbers Game Saga Book 2) by Rebecca Rode

A YA Dystopian Novel published by Diamond Patch Press (01/26/16)

Summary:

Treena is ready to leave NORA behind forever, but NORA is far from done with her. With the hope of a life ahead with Vance, she pushes onward through the uninhabitable dessert. After losing all her gear, it seems like she’ll never make it, but is saved by a hidden underground settlement. Vance doesn’t know that Treena is on her way to join him, but he is up to his elbows in his own problems. After agreeing to be put on trial for his previous actions, he’s become a prisoner of his own people.

Keywords:

Futuristic, Water Shortage, Protection, Family, Loyalty, Number System, Ratings, Scores, Technology, Politics, Survival, Strict Society, Dystopian, Friendship, Desert, Travel, War, Weapons, Death

My Review:

Vance and Treena are creating their own paths in this second book. They want to be together, but first must overcome obstacles in their own lives and find each other again afterwards. I enjoyed seeing Treena and Vance in their own stories as they struggled with different problems.

Now that Treena can no longer turn her back on NORA, it’s citizens, and all the problems right in front of her, she will have to fight even harder for what she believes is right. For Vance it was never a question of if he should or should not help others, but without having the power to lead or change situations, he will have quite a difficult time of it!

This story picks up right where the first one leaves off and ends with quite the chaotic climax.

This novel was published by Diamond Patch Press on 01/26/2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Rebecca Rode’s Website

Book Review: Numbers Game (Numbers Game Saga Book 1) by Rebecca Rode

Numbers Game (Numbers Game Saga Book 1) by Rebecca Rode

A YA Dystopian Novel published by Diamond Patch Press (03/10/15)

Summary:

Treena has followed the rules her entire life and her rating should be high, as high as her boyfriend’s rating. She should be a green with a good job and a great life in NORA, the only thriving city in futuristic and devastated North America. They have technology and a water filtration system as well as a strict rating system to keep citizens in line. When Treena receives one of the lowest ratings of her entire class, there must be a mistake! Treena will do nearly anything to fix her low red number, even go undercover for the empress and find a military spy. What if her rating wasn’t an accident? What else is going on in the fringes of this perfect society?

Keywords:

Futuristic, Water Shortage, Protection, Family, Loyalty, Number System, Ratings, Scores, Technology, Politics, Survival, Strict Society, Dystopian, Friendship

My Review:

The Numbers Saga is a dystopian novel with an active female heroine. Treena has quite a bit thrown at her, but she doesn’t just react to her situations, she actively seeks out her story. She creates her own rules.

I wasn’t entirely convinced that a 16-year old who is referred to as ‘small’ would be able to defend and defeat a fully trained adult soldier after one week of training. There were other small plot conveniences – punishment mode was only triggered for important characters when it could be overcome. Important characters could escape when they needed and get to where they needed to be. I could see the plot twists coming.

That being said, I could not put this book down. The writing style, characters, and plot pulled me right in and I didn’t want to stop reading. This was a fun and engrossing book.

If you were a fan of Divergent and Hunger Games, you will enjoy this book.

This novel was published by Diamond Patch Press on 03/10/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Rebecca Rode’s Website

Book Review: Jump When Ready by David Pandolfe

Jump When Ready by David Pandolfe

A Young Adult Speculative Fiction Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (01/09/14)

Summary:

Henry didn’t mean to die. The afterlife is not how he imagined. He can still see the real world, but he can’t interact with anyone alive. Placed with a group of afterlifers, Henry must let go of life in order to move on. Henry might have been able to let go of his past life if he didn’t witness his sister getting kidnapped!

Keywords:

Death, Teenagers, Suicide, Kidnapping, Chase, Punks, Friendship, Family, Letting Go, Moving On, Rescue, Accident, Coming of Age

My Review:

This book was a bit boring in the beginning until Henry’s sister is kidnapped. The action involved in the kidnapping sparks Henry’s storyline as he was floundering in the beginning. The afterlife Henry is part of is a Between Lives state and therefore between any real action and it’s not until his goal is revealed (save his sister!) that his own story becomes exciting.

I enjoyed how Pandolfe described death. Given many names: afterlife, between, death, etc, this state of being and place was interesting and well-described. This semi-fantasy aspect of world building was intricate and with a set of rules that were fascinating to read about.

If this book had started closer to the kidnapping, it would have been a much more exciting, engaging, and higher-rated novel but as it is (if you don’t mind the slow and lengthy buildup), it was a fun and easy read.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on January 9th, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

David Pandolfe’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Wilderness Rim (Echo Falls Book 1) by Casondra Brewster

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Wilderness Rim (Echo Falls Book 1) by Casondra Brewster

A YA Fiction Novel published by Creative Word Lab (02/06/17)

Summary:

“But you have to realize that you don’t live in a vacuum. Everything you do will affect someone, or sometimes some thing.” (Kindle Locations 2840-2841).
CJ’s mother has been spending so much time at her café, that CJ feels ignored. She can’t find the time for their annual camping trip, but she can always find something for him to do at the café. Underappreciated, CJ decides to go camping by himself. His mother has, after all, taught him how to be independent, like herself. The wilderness isn’t just a fun camping experience when CJ has to use some of his survival skills to get by and he isn’t the only one out there. After stumbling upon a real live Bigfoot and some sketchy looking out of towners. It’ll be up to CJ to figure out what’s going on.

Keywords:

Sasquatch, Wilderness Rim, North Bend, Small Town, Locals, Friendly, Friends, Bigfoot, Wilderness, Camping, Survival, Skills, Family, Relationships, Illegal Operation

My Review:

I didn’t get into this book until halfway through and the real action had started. The mystery of Bigfoot was enough to keep me going, but it wasn’t until CJ left his house and went camping in the woods that the real intrigue of this story pulled me in.

I was super excited to read about Sasquatch and what an encounter with a Bigfoot might practically entail. This book delivered quite a bit of the hairy ape-like man and I’m ready to read on in this series and find out more about Bigfoot and how that will affect CJ’s life in the future.

I liked how realistic CJ was as a teenager and as a kid brought up by a good parent. He was polite and thoughtful, but also selfish and blunt. His survival more than 10 miles into the wilderness was fun to read about. I would have given up long before CJ. He isn’t afraid to be independent and that is so cool!

The cliffhanger at the end was well done and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

This novel was published by Creative Word Lab on 02/06/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.75

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Photos from the book launch party!

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Book Review: Reclaim (The Harvest Saga Book 3) by Casey L. Bond

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Reclaim (The Harvest Saga Book 3) by Casey L. Bond

A YA Dystopian Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (06/01/15)

Summary:

This ending to the Harvest Saga will take Abby through the greatest difficulties she’s ever faced. Can she overcome once and for all and help her fellow Lessers into freedom?

Keywords:

Strength, Dystopia, Orchard, Apples, Apple Picking, Castes, Poverty, Female protagonist, the Special One, Infertility, Trains, City, Technological Advances, Weapons, Fighting, Resiliency, Harvest, Oppression

My Review:

There are now more powers than just Olympus hovering over the Lessers and Orchard. What seemed an ally is just a power standing by and waiting for their opportunity to strike. Or were they waiting by? This book’s plot is much more complex than it at first seemed and it was so satisfying to plunge into its depths.

This was a fantastic ending to the Harvest Saga and worth the read. I finished the entire trilogy in less than a week. Thanks Casey L. Bond for a thrilling ride. I will definitely be reading more of your books.

Dystopian literature has saturated the market, especially books with strong female leads, but the Harvest Saga is so well written and fantastically engaging that it draws you right in and you don’t even notice that you’re reading another dystopian female-protagonist book, you’re too busy turning pages.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on June 1st, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Casey Bond’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter