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Review of Just A Touch by Brittany DeLys

Just a Touch coverRating: 3/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“To the one that receives this letter. Protect it with all you have. In the hands of the Reformers it would mean even greater trouble for us. The Triad must be found and the Chosen brought together. The fate of our people rests on this.”

All Arianna Shae wants is to get out of Bakers Ridge and away from everyone who knows everything about her. Beginning her senior year, she sees her moment of escape getting closer and her spirits begin to rise, that is until he arrives and her life takes an unexpected turn.

As a Guardian, Chase Melina has always known what he was meant to do: protect the Chosen. Sent out on his first assignment, he’s struck with the feeling that all is not what it seems. As strange things begin to happen, he becomes even more determined to keep his protégée safe, especially after seeing what she can do.

When their worlds collide Chase and Arianna must fight for their lives. Through torture, escape, new relationships, legends, and even death they are determined to find out the answers to the questions revolving around their destiny and ultimately fulfill a prophecy that could save them all.

Series status: 1st in a trilogy

Review:

  • Characters: 3/5 – fairly well developed but none of them really stood out.
  • Premise: 4/5 – straightforward teenage magic and prophecy. Fairly well developed and everything made sense in the world created.
  • Plot: 4/5 – well done, well organized and developed in a sensible matter.
  • Pacing: 5/5 – very good, kept my interest throughout. Was never boring or too fast. Well balanced, made for a fun light read.
  • Dialogue: 3/5 – ok, no clunkers of awkward phrasing, but nothing really stood out. Some instances of not being sufficiently vernacular.
  • Imagery: 3/5 – descriptions of people were well done, I didn’t really notice one way or the other about imagery in general. Overall I was able to picture the scenes but didn’t get completely drawn into them.
  • World building: 3/5 – high rating for coherency. The backstory and magic elements were well crafted in terms of making sense and not having major gaps. Lower rating for originality – this is a very standard book for the genre.
  • Voice: 2/5 – the book was in the first person, switching between the points of view of the two main characters. I could tell who was who through their actions but they didn’t have a very developed voice, everything sounded the same.
  • Romance:
    • Amount: medium
    • Explicit scenes: kissing only, low intensity
    • Love triangle: none
    • Notes: the romance is very young adult, but the relationship is a fairly healthy one.
  • Overall comments: This book received 3/5 stars because while it is well crafted, it doesn’t really stand out. The only thing I would say is great in this book is the pacing. The next book in the series improves on several of the elements that aren’t great in Just A Touch, especially in character development. I would recommend reading Just A Touch as the first book in a steadily improving YA series, but don’t read it if you are looking for a literary book or something more than an entertaining light read.

Other books I’ve read like Just A Touch:

i am number four coverI Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

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Review of Dark Child Episode 1 by Adina West

coverRating: 2.5/5 stars

Series status: First of five episodes forming a stand-alone novel

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Kat can run a marathon without breaking a sweat. Catch anything you throw at her. Differentiate blood types by smell alone. And she’s spent years hiding the fact. But secrets from the past have a way of slipping out when least expected … and a simple blood test is enough to turn her quiet life in the shadow of the Appalachian Mountains upside down forever … 

Pathology technician Kat Chanter isn’t looking for trouble. On a good day, the most exciting thing in her life is the iridescent violet nail varnish on her housemate Tiffany’s manicured fingers. But lately, Kat’s been craving raw meat, and her dreams – always weird – are getting so realistic it’s scary. When she visits a psychic she’s told her life is about to change forever. Kat isn’t so sure change is a part of her plan, but a blood test at work raises more questions about her unique heritage she has no idea how to answer, so when a fabulous job offer comes her way – one that will give her the chance to research others just like her – she’s tempted to say yes and make the move to New York.

Will her dream job bring answers to all her questions or will it lead her into more trouble than she could ever imagine?

Review:

  • Characters: 3/5 – the characters were average; none fell completely flat but likewise none really stood out as unique or interesting. Mediocre but not bad.
  • Premise: 3/5 – an interesting take on vampires. Not extremely original but neither overly cliché, standard for a paranormal work dealing with mythological creatures. Kept a sufficient amount of original mythology with a few creative new ideas.
  • Plot: 3/5 – as it’s an episode forming part of a novel (46 pages in my .pdf file copy) the plot does not undergo huge development. This episode consists mainly of introduction, introducing characters with foreshadowing regarding mystical danger in later episodes.
  • Pacing: 3/5 – again, as the beginning section of a larger work it is mainly introduction, but it holds interest well.
  • Dialogue: 3/5 – nothing glaringly unrealistic but it never caught at my interest; it was there to support not shine and did an adequate job.
  • Imagery: 2/5 – again, average, some imagery, enough to place scenery and scenes but no standout descriptions or other imagery.
  • World building: 3/5 – In this first episode there is mainly foreshadowing of the paranormal world introduced in later episodes. The real-world setting is fairly detailed and believable.
  • Voice: 4/5 – written from the third person point of view in past tense. Mainly from the perspective of Kat, the main protagonist, with some scenes showing other characters to lend foreshadowing. Kat’s voice is believable, the other character, Amarok, has very well portrayed emotions. Not overtly noticeable voice, more action based descriptions.
  • Romance:
    • Amount: none
    • Explicit scenes: none
    • Love triangle: none
    • Notes: In the first episode there is no romance but from what I’ve read there promises to be romance in later episodes.
  • Other: This book is overall not bad. It is decently written and well paced and I had no trouble with reading it in one sitting. However there is something lacking, a certain intensity that would make it great rather than merely okay and as a result I wouldn’t really recommend it.

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Review of The Acadian Secret by Tammy Lowe

the acadian secret coverNote: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 2/5 stars

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Elisabeth London is keeping her new friends a secret from her parents. Not only do they live on the other side of the world in the Scottish Highlands, they lived more than three hundred and fifty years ago. Her mom and dad would never allow her to go gallivanting about seventeenth century Scotland. They won’t even let her go to the mall by herself yet.

Twelve-year-old Elisabeth is old enough to know there is no such thing as magic, but when her quartz crystal necklace has the power to transport her back and forth in time, she no longer knows what to think. The only thing she is certain of is that she loves spending carefree days with Quinton, the mischievous nephew of a highland warrior, and sassy little Fiona, a farmer’s daughter.

However, Elisabeth’s adventures take a deadly turn when she is charged with witchcraft. At a time and place in history when witch-hunts were common, those found guilty were executed, children included. Elisabeth must race to find her way back home, while trying to stay one step ahead of the witch-hunter determined to see her burned at the stake.

Series status: Stand-alone novel

Review:

Characters: 3/5 – some characterization but no strong characters to love or hate.
Premise: 5/5 – this was the best part of the book; the magic and science elements were well mixed and it has a slight twist on a typical theme.
Plot: 3/5 – there were some holes, but overall it was good and held interest.
Pacing: 3/5 – I never found myself wanting to put the book down but neither was I captivated at any point.
Dialogue: 1/5 – the children spoke believably but the adults sounded fake and all the dialogue felt forced and unreal. The Scottish dialect was badly done in some places.
Imagery: 2/5 – no real description of the Scottish Highlands, which should have been a high point in a time travel piece. There was more ‘tell’ than ‘show’, with a tendency to bash the reader over the head with description rather than demonstrate.
Voice: 1/5 – the point of view is third person past tense, but the writing is stiff and juvenile resulting in no clear voice from any of the characters or a narrator.
Romance:
• Amount:none
• Explicit scenes: none
• Love triangle: none
• Notes: The book is on the younger side of Young Adult, and I found it refreshing to read a story with no teenage angst and romance.
Other: Short (193 pages in my .pdf format copy) almost a novella in length.

Other books I’ve read like The Acadian Secret:

Outlander (Outlander, #1) With the time travel and Scottish Highlands it felt like a younger version of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series, with young protagonists and without the romance.

Time Cat Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander is similarly a time travel book for younger readers.

Final thoughts: this book was decent but not great. A simple read suitable for younger readers. I wanted to see more details, more imagery, and more interaction to make you love the characters.

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Review of Timebound (previously Time’s Twisted Arrow) by Rysa Walker

Cover of Timebound

Note: When I read this book it was called Time’s Twisted Arrow; the title has now been changed to Timebound.

Rating: an enthusiastic 5/5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes she’s delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when an assassination in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from ceasing to exist.

Kate learns that the 1893 murder is part of something much more sinister—the plans of a cult leader hell-bent on annihilating all dissenters—and Kate’s genetic ability to time-travel makes her the only one who can stop him. Risking everything, she travels to the Chicago World’s Fair to prevent the killing and bring down the cult.

Changing the time line comes with a personal cost: if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And she wonders—regardless of her motives, does she have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?

Series status: I believe this is going to be the first in a series, however it ends in an acceptable manner, no cliffhangers, to be read as a stand alone novel.

Short version review:

  • Characters: 5/5 – they were believable, quirky, and real; all the characters were three-dimensional.
  • Premise: 5/5 – fascinating, well defined, and well executed.
  • Plot: 5/5 – well executed and interesting; carried through premise to a logical conclusion; twists were foreseeable but brilliantly executed and fun.
  • Pacing: 5/5 – never slowed down, never went too fast, felt realistic.
  • Dialogue: 5/5 – clear, never felt forced, and each character had their own voice.
  • Imagery: 4/5 – The description of the World’s Fair: 5/5. for the rest of the book the imagery was clear and not confusing but didn’t catch my eye.
  • World building: 5/5 – the changes to the timeline were believable and felt real rather than forced; there was minimal description when in modern day, but the description of other eras was excellent – created a feel of being there rather than describing in a historical or scientific manner.
  • Voice: 5/5 – First person point of view; clear with a good sense of the character of the protagonist.
  • Romance:
    • Amount: medium
    • Explicit scenes: none
    • Love triangle: yes but not central figure in plot
    • Notes: I actually enjoyed the romance, it was believable, with strong characters and reasons, and it never became the central focus of the plot.

Review:

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

First, I would like to say thank you so much to Rysa Walker for giving me the opportunity to read this amazing book. It is one of the best books I have read in ages. It drew me in from page one right to the end, with an amazing premise, a plot that executed it well, and characters that I would love to meet.

Let’s start with the characters. They were believable, loveable, and actually thought things through in a way that normal people would. The main character, Kate, reacted believably when she was introduced to the world changing event, namely the possibility of time travel via a glowing blue medallion. All the characters were three dimensional, even those who were only in there for an instant. The eight year old boy, possibly one of my favorite characters, though it’s difficult to choose between so many awesome ones, actually talked an acted like a kid, which is hard to pull off. Walker’s characters jumped off the page and into my heart; I even dreamed with them. Sometimes the characters felt so real that when they spoke I heard their voices, in actual tones, in my head. Kiernan had me from his first line; I could hear his voice in my head, complete with a soft burr of an accent.

Both the boys, Trey and Kiernan, were so awesome. The romance aspect got five stars from me, which is hard to get; I don’t care for romance much, especially when the guy is an irritating ‘bad-boy’. Both the boys in Time’s Twisted Arrow, however, were awesome human beings. Trey is just an ordinary boy yet he is so special. His relationship with Kate is awesome, stable but with an edge of tension due to the fact that if Kate fixes the timeline, their relationship will disappear. Kiernan (his name is so perfect and awesome!) plays the darker role, but he is a nice person too, and there is a reason for there being a love triangle other than that the girl can’t decide. The love triangle is very inventive, using the premise of time travel and messing with the timeline to create a complex situation with no clear right answers. The love triangle also, very refreshingly, is not the center of the plot. Even when the romantic tension cranks up, the main plot of the book is still most important and never gets drowned in agonizing over boys. Rather than being a detracting factor the love triangle made me really care about the characters.

The dialogue in this book was good, it was clear and never felt forced and each of the characters had their own voice. The imagery was also clear; it was never confusing but it was never breathtaking or fascinating in the words used. The description of the World’s Fair was excellent, making me feel like I was walking there with her. It was written in first person from Kate’s point of view; the narration was clean and we learned things with her, she never knew things that she couldn’t have known. There were occasional moments of humor (like trying to find a tense to refer to people from the future who her grandmother had known in the past) but it was never over the top. Likewise, it never got dark, dreary, or depressed. Kate was a refreshingly normal, sensitive protagonist with a clear personality, unlike the protagonists in so many YA novels nowadays who seem to be just sleeves for the reader to experience the book through.

The premise was excellent: who wouldn’t like a world where you could travel back in time to see what things were really like, but with the downside of people and memories disappearing if the timeline got altered. It was an awesome and fascinating idea which was extremely well executed. The antagonist, Saul, is fascinating in that we don’t meet him, yet he comes across with believable motives and a plan that is actually possible in the book’s reality and just might work. The whole plot held up the premise, working not only within it but with it to create twists and scenarios that worked and made sense and felt real within the reality. The plot twists, while often foreseeable, were fun and brilliantly played out, and the conclusion never had a feel of deus ex machina. Best, everyone behaved like real human beings might in the difficult situation they ended up in.

As a side note, I really appreciated the lack of whining over the 19th century clothing. Kate complains, but doesn’t go on and on and whine about it. This was refreshing and realistic. Thank you!

As you can see, I really, really love Timebound; it has vaulted into my favorites shelf and I encourage others to read this amazing book.

Other books I’ve read like Timebound:

The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare

(I’m sure there are more but they’re not coming to mind at the moment)

P.S. Timebound is now the winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award!

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Hello to book lovers around the world!

Hi there!

I started this site as a place to put down my thoughts on all the books I love, all the books I hate, and any books in between!

I grew up in countries around the world with little to no access to English language books until I got my kindle e-reader, which is one of the best things that has happened to me in my life. That was when I discovered the powers of reviews. Reviews save you from sorting through a bunch of junk in order to find the good reads: someone else has done that for you! Reviews help me find the kind of books I like and steer me clear of the ones that just aren’t worth reading. So I decided to write reviews on all the books I read, in hopes that my reviews will help people choose which books to download and maybe help them find books they like.

The reviews on this site will be mostly fantasy and sci-fi, and any YA books, since that’s what I like to read.

So if you’re like me, in a foreign country with your reader your only connection to the wonderful world of fiction, or you just plain LOVE BOOKS, I hope this site will help you find books which are worth loving.

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