Posts Tagged ‘YA’

The Keeper of Dragons: The Prince Returns by JA Culican

January 22, 2017 - 9:29 pm No Comments

The Keeper of Dragons: The Prince Returns by JA Culican

Published 21st June 2016

284 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Colt was your average Joe, liked to keep himself to himself, but just before his 18th birthday, his parents tell him something that would change his life for ever. Not only was he adopted but his real parents were coming to take him away. Meeting his biological parents were scary enough but to find out that they are both dragons and King and Queen of Ochana, and that he was as a dragon as well was nothing like he imagined.  However, when he landed in Ochana he was in for a bigger shock, he was the keeper of dragons and they needed him to save their race.

Everything that Colt had gone through, I was really surprised how quickly he accepted it all, and although he kept doubting himself, he did take his role serious. The involvement of his best friend, helped with his confidence and I hope to learn more about her life in future books.

If you love dragons, your imagination can go wild with this story. The way Ochana was described, I could picture the place especially the scenes in the market. The detail description of each dragon fraction helped explain the country’s history. With the addition of other fantasy creatures made this an enjoyable read. With the action building throughout the story, it was a quick read as I wanted to know if they survived. Although not finishing on a cliff-hanger, it did leave it open for further books

The Treemakers: Book 1 in The Treemakers Trilogy by Christina L Rozelle

January 21, 2017 - 12:25 pm No Comments

The Treemakers: Book 1 in The Treemakers Trilogy by Christina L Rozelle

Published by A Spark in the Dark Press on 3rd December 2014

288 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

The Earth is dying, trees are in high demand and a factory in Greenleigh are contracted to make them. The treemakers are mainly orphaned children, orphaned as the adults do not live past 30 years. Worked to the bone, fed slop and overseen by 4 evil Superiors, the children have no life at all. Trying to look after them is Joy or to the kids Momma Joy, a 16-year-old girl who lost her parents a couple of years before.  Sneaking out at night, Joy and her best friend Jax explore the unused areas to try and find items to make the children’s lives easier. On a regular nightly visit, they come across an open lift, and this discovery changes their lives for ever. From that moment, they knew that they had to get the children out. With help from Smudge, a girl with many secrets, Joy takes all the children on a dangerous adventure.

I took to Joy straightaway as I found her to be a caring selfless person. She was still a child herself but she knew that as the one of the eldest, she had to look after the younger children. Working hard all day she still took time to tell them bedtime stories and to look after the wellbeing. Never forgetting who her parents were, their words would get her through the toughest times.

Some of the scenes in the factory were distressing as these children had a horrendous life. When the children when in isolation, although not mentioned you could only imagine what evil depraved actions the Superiors were inflicting on them. I found Emmanuel Superior a very sick minded individual.

Whilst reading this book I was on an emotional rollercoaster, feeling sorry for the children and then willing them to escape. The action in the story intensified the further on I read. Not wanting to put this down it was a quick read. This is a great story for older teenager and adults alike as it does have some upsetting themes, but this is a dystopian world, and survival is the most important thing.  With some questions left unanswered at the end I am off to read book 2. A great exciting read

Snowed by Maria Alexander

December 26, 2016 - 7:44 am No Comments

Snowed by Maria Alexander

Published by Raw Dog Screaming Press on 2nd November 2016

259 Pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

 

511nz3llvzlCharity is a 16-year-old genius this has caused her to be an outcast at school. What hadn’t helped is she was the founder member of the Sceptics Club due to her non- religious ideas.  Aidan is a homeless boy that Charity’s mom bought home, talking like he has stepped out of a Jane Ayre novel, he will not tell anyone about his family and where he has come from. There is an instant attraction between them but when one of Charity’s bullies turn up dead, Charity and Sceptic club start to investigate and find out more about Aidan and his evil father than they expected. Adding to Charity’s problems is also her drug dealer, regular bad boy brother Charles, who blames everyone else for his wrong decisions.

I took to Charity straight away, even though she was constantly bullied, she stuck to her beliefs and didn’t change herself to fit in. It was a pleasant change to have a girl who was into robotics and science. All her history made her a natural born leader that was admired within her close nit of friends. Aidan character came across as a really sweet and you can understand why Charity’s mom took him in. I enjoyed how he took to modern technology and embraced the simple tasks of learning to ride a bike and to get a part time job. One of my favourite characters was Michael keeping himself to himself, I loved his one liners and I enjoyed how the author developed these characters throughout the book, telling us more about their stories

Even though, throughout the book there were hints of who Aidan’s dad was. The way the author wrote about this Jekyll and Hyde character, I ended up doubting my suspicions as I could not just believe it, so when Aidan’s story came out, it was still a surprise.

This book is tagged as a children’s story, but I would say that this story is great for adults and teenagers alike. I tend not to read books with a Christmas theme, but I am glad I read this. This story has everything for a YA fantasy read, action, with a touch of romance and you get the horror element from Aidan’s brother and sisters. I got so into the story that I could not believe that it ended on a cliff-hanger, but after I read the acknowledgements I was pleased to come across the epilogue which I thought would complete the story. How wrong I was, it just made me yearn for book 2. My first book from this author but will definitely not be the last. A good read Christmas or not

The Mansion’s Twins (At the Crossworlds Book 1) by Rose M Channing

September 14, 2016 - 8:10 pm No Comments

The Mansion’s Twins (At the Crossworlds Book 1) by Rose M Channing

Published on 22nd July 2014

428 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

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Ellie and Savannah are twins separated at birth, now 14 they both realise they have special powers. Ellie can levitate items and Savannah can see through walls. Both lived with horrendous families after a chance meeting in the park they realise they are twins and run off together. Ellie had made friends with Amber and her daughter Gabrielle and decides to take Savannah to Amber’s tree to go into hiding, not realising it was a passage to another world. Walking through the passage they enter in a world that had been devastated by a magical storm. Arriving at a mansion they find out that they are the infamous Senka twins and they are there to right the world by finding the centre of  magic. This is where their adventure begins, attending magic lessons, making new friends and learning to work together, but will they save their world.

As soon as the twins arrived at the mansion they were introduced to a lot of new people, at the start I thought I would get confused with a number of new characters but there was no need to worry as the way the author wrote the story, you could remember who’s who due to each character having their own personality. The author made the point that although the twins were identical they both had different characteristics. Ellie although a confident person, had self-doubt with her magic, whilst Savannah was the quiet one who was quick at learning new skills.

The story got better and better as you read it. The journey to find the centre of magic was set just in the mansion. I thought this was a great idea as each stage of the adventure had a different quest and it reminded me of going round a haunted house and not knowing what to expect when you opened a door.    

Not finishing on a cliffhanger this was a good reading and leads nicely into book 2    

THE HAUNTING by Alex Bell.

September 5, 2016 - 5:58 pm No Comments
THE HAUNTING by Alex Bell.
Red Eye, London, UK. £6.99 paperback.
340 pages. ISBN: 978-1-84715-458-3
Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.
9781847154583
 There is always some discussion as to when a book for teenage readers becomes a Young Adult book. In some cases this can be defined by the content. YA books tend to have a far more conscious relationship element which can turn sexual, especially as the protagonists tend to be older – above the age of consent. This age group also allows any horrific elements to be just a little bit nastier. What should not happen, is any simplification of language or plot over that of a book aimed at adult readership. Probably the most important thing for both teenage and YA books is that the protagonist should lose the adults. The characters need to be able to make their own decisions and mistakes without being nagged by parents.
In most respects, The Haunting qualifies as a YA novel. The main character, Emma, is seventeen and has just passed her driving test. She is also a wheelchair user and has an assistant dog, Bailey. When she receives news that her Gran is seriously ill and wants to see her, she goes, despite the fact that her mother doesn’t want her to. Her Gran used to run a small hotel in a Cornish seaside town. The Waterwitch was said to have been other than the historical built from the timbers of a ship of that name. It was also the place where Emma had her accident that put her in the wheelchair.  Gran tells Emma that the Waterwitch is haunted and that she is selling it. Once an idea like that has been put into someone’s mind, it tend to colour their experiences, so when Emma thinks she sees lights in the empty building she wants to believe it is squatters. Sensibly, she doesn’t go investigating but takes a room in the hotel opposite, where a childhood friend, Jem, is working. Jem and his sister, Shell, were with Emma when she had her accident, but no-one had told Jem how serious it had been.
Jem, it transpires, is living in the Waterwitch with his sister after their father’s drinking became violent. This might account for some of Emma’s ghostly sightings but when she goes to stay there as well, the situation gets decidedly spookier. They resolve to find out the exact history of the original ship in order to get to the bottom of the weird happenings.
The plot has a number of elements other than the historical haunting. Emma has to face the events that led to her accident. There is folk lore involved in the form of a witch bottle, and Shell herself sees things that others can’t, usually in the form of birds.
While it is good to have a disabled character as the focus, much more could be done to show the problems that she experienced, such as the process of getting in and out of her adapted car. I didn’t know of it had a hoist and the wheelchair was lifted and locked into the driving position, or whether she had to get out of it and manoeuvre the chair into the rear of the vehicle. Neither was I sure if this was a motorised or a physically propelled machine. The relationship between Emma and Jem could be stronger, developing the historical friendship to another level
Telling the story from the first person viewpoints of three different characters works well, as it allows for the immediacy of different perspectives. And although this is a well told, fast paced book, I felt that the writing style would appeal more to a younger audience. YA books should be able to lift the prose to a higher level. Having said that, it is enjoyable, though that is probably not the right word for a horror novel.