Young Adult July Reads Book Review: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer (Zac Brewer)

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Book Review

Book Title: Eighth Grade Bites (Vladimir Todd #1)
Book Author: Heather Brewer (now Zac Brewer)

This is a throwback review, since I read this book way back when I was in grade eight (which feels like a lifetime ago). At the time this was one of my favourite books, and it goes me into many more YA novels and into my current reading obsession. I even called one of my cats Meredith (many years later). This book was a great way to get me into reading, and I applaud Zac Brewer for all of his wonderful writing and work, because I wouldn’t be here in my reading and writing career without him.

Now onto my review:

Eighth Grade Bites is a great spin on the typical fish out of water story. Vladimir Todd is a vampire, and his life is quite the mystery. Not only does he have to try to survive being a teenager as a vampire, but he has to try to find out where his past comes from. Where are his parents? What happened to them? Why is he a vampire? Why must he hide this secret?

The book is incredibly light hearted and written for the correct audience. It doesn’t exactly translate into the adult scene unless you are interested in these types of books (in my opinion). Rereading it, I loved it but my friends who have moved on from the vampire scene did not enjoy it as much. The book is super fun and delightful and I hope more people get into this series.

Every minute of Vlad’s story is enjoyable to read. It will keep you on your toes and make you want to continue the story. The plot is well thought out over the series, and the characters are absolutely lovable. Alongside the steady pace, the random twists that occur make this book stand out among the many other vampire books I have read throughout the years. The fact that I can still pick this book up and get a good chuckle out of it proves to me that Zac is a truly incredible author.

Overall, I give this book four out of five stars. Wonderful story!!

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Book Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

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Book Review
Book Title: The Kiss of Deception
Book Author: Mary E. Pearson

Introduction: Indigo sent me this entire series after I won a Twitter contest. I’ve been trying to read it for quite a while but life has been busy. Finally I was able to sit down one Sunday afternoon and binge read it!

Book Review:

Synopsis: Princess Lia decides to run away from her potential marriage, and runs off with her friend Pauline. She meets Rafe and Kaden, and some mischief and adventure pursues on.

This novel follows your typical dystopia/YA novel trope storyline, but is quite beautifully written. As the title suggests, there is deception involved in this book, and some kisses of course (would it even be a YA without some teen angst and romance?!).

I enjoyed this novel, but it was not my favourite. I really had to force myself through the novel. Yes, Mary E. Pearson is absolutely fabulous as writing (every page was so beautiful) but it just wasn’t fast enough for my likes. There were so many terms and languages that flew over my head and made me super bored, but I had to finish this book. I desperately want to finish this series, because I’ve heard amazing reviews about it everywhere.

Our lead female is quite strong, she has her moments but is a quality female lead. I was impressed with the building of all the characters, but Lia was by far my fave. Rafe is so kind hearted and Kaden (our prince) is also quite charming. Pauline seems realistic, Berdi is pretty awesome, and overall I found all the characters to be on point. They were all written and built over time, which is a nice change compared to some YA novels.

This book does slow down quite a bit – so readers beware. The first quarter of the book is fast and incredible, but then the pace slows down as if gravity is trying to pull it back from its super high speed chase of it’s readers. If you love fast paced stories, this might not be the book for you. If you’re okay with the speed changing and just want a super awesome, well developed, fantasy novel – then this is for you!

What I got out of this novel, and what I think readers should take out of it:
The world building is absolutely fantastic! The scenes and descriptions will take you to a whole new world and will have you hooked.
This book has a big focus on love/relationships/babies and all those fancy tropes you get in YA, so be prepared for silly romance, boy obsessed girls, and lots of day dreaming about kisses.
The story takes a while to build up, it picks up speed quickly, then plummets into a cliffhanger.
If you get into this book, it will pull at your heart strings – be warned.
This book is probably rated PG-13, but is a fine book for any pre-teen or teen readers.

Overall, three stars. It was hard to continue reading this knowing there were other fast paced books on my shelf, but I do want to finish this series! It’s worth the read if you like a good fantasy novel and some fantastical descriptions.

Great job Mary. E Pearson!

Quick Book Review: Mania (The Night Walkers #3) by JR Johansson

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Mania is a great fantasy, young adult novel for any reader.

To start out with, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read the previous books before starting this one. I did not, since I got this as a review novel, and boy was I confused for 75% of this book. That’s not to say this book isn’t highly addicting and incredibly interesting as a “standalone”, but having the background information from the other novels would have made this book so much better!

As a standalone, (or as I call it, Bri-anna the reviewer couldn’t find the other novels and couldn’t afford to buy them), the book was great! The author does back track and explain some of the content of the previous novels to aid the readers. So, I had a basic understanding of what was going on throughout the book.

In short, this book follows some teenagers and young adults through a sort of post apocalyptic / dystopian world. There is a virus that is going around, that makes people similar to zombies – some of them can’t sleep and don’t read, which leads them to not living long. Our main characters, half brothers Jack and Parker, are trying to find the cure which their Father left behind (but is no longer with them). Together with their friends, they must face a rivaling group bent on evil and cure this disease to aid the world.

I wish I would have read the previous books so I would have more feelings towards the characters. These characters are beautifully written, but since I didn’t know their previous relationships and personalities, I felt like I was at a loss. JR Johansson did so great building these characters in just this book, that I can’t help but wonder what happened in the two previous!

Overall, this book was great! The plot was summed up, the characters were built well, and it was an original story and plot I hadn’t heard often – it was a great spin on what could have been a very typical plot.

Three out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Reviews: The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon by Lowell H. Press

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The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon was an interesting readb y Lowell H Press.

This book was clearly made for a much younger audience – perhaps middle grade? The story follows a group of mice (yes, first person animal…not my forte) and their adventures. It’s filled with courage, hope, action, adventure, talking animals, suspense and a beautifully woven tale.

I did enjoy this book, but it was not aimed for the adult audience. Younger readers would find this book way more interesting than I did. It did not have me hooked, despite the twists and turns within this. It simply didn’t move well with an adult audience, in my opinion. Lowell H Press is amazing! For a child’s book it’s great, but if I had to read this to a child I would probably get bored very quickly. I personally like stories that can sit well with both adults and children. That being said, it still had incredible benefits!

The book is visual and gives an enchanting set of descriptions as you go along. You can picture to world forming around you, which is very rare in the books I’ve read. The tale that’s woven would get kids excited – mice battles, brotherhood, friendship, courage! These are all types of topics kids are interested in! Read this to children, it’s a great read!!

Overall, I think this was a cute children’s novel. I would recommend it to schools and libraries to fill their shelves, because it’s definitely age appropriate for children.

Two out of five stars – great children’s read, did not work well for the adult audience (in my opinion).

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: Gone (Dream Catcher #3) by Lisa McMann

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** spoiler alert ** I initially loved this series, but when I got to this book I found myself severely bored with everything going on. I love Janie and Cabe, but most of the novel I had no clue what was going on and I didn’t understand why things happened and the background to why they happened.

Janie learning about her father was a wonderful plot twist, but she barely interacts with him or anything involving his life. It felt as if he was just thrown in for a plot twist and not used to the full potential.

There was no action, adventure or romance in this novel that made me feel like I should continue reading the book. Overall, it felt like a cheap final book in the series. I had high hopes for the book finale, and I was sadly let down.

I did love the first two books in the series and I hope Lisa continues to write books as good as the first two. This book was a let down for me.

I especially did not understand Janie getting handed an envelope near the end. I have so many questions about this book that were left unanswered, and without another book in the series, it’s very disappointing.

Lost Wolf by Stacy Claflin – Book Review

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Book Review
Book Title: Lost Wolf
Author: Stacy Claflin

Introduction: This book was a requested book review. Everything I say is honest – I have no obligation to make this a fluffy/nice review. I was given this book in return for an honest review.

Review:

Lost Wolf is the first novel in the Curse of the Moon series. It’s a fantasy, paranormal, romance-esque book.

Victoria is off at college – which I can definitely relate to. As someone who went to both University and College, I can relate to the major change. Of course, Victoria has a very different change in mind than your typical college student… She can’t remember anything – no memories, no family, nothing, na da! And for some reason, Jaguars are everywhere – in name, in physical form, and it’s just plain strange!

But what happens when someone recognizes her? Was there a kidnapping? Missing people? A death? So many questions, so many mysteries.

Starting off with this book, chapter 1 has me interested. It seems like a Young Adult-esque, kind of goofy, fun feel. I really enjoy the banter and female lead. Coming from someone who needs a fast, great start – this book has it at the beginning. After only reading the first chapter, this is definitely off to a great start.

This novel slowly reveals information to you. While I find it personally a not fitting part of the book, some readers may appreciate this. In my YA/Romance/Fantasy-esque books, I like the information up front if it’s not a mystery novel. But this novel does have a splash of mystery, so it can fit. It’s not a mark against this book, but some readers may not appreciate this aspect.

It moves at a slow pace – which for readers like me can be a major issue. I really like a fast moving story. Slow stories can be interesting, but personally it didn’t hit all the tempo notes for me. I love fast moving stories!

The voice and tone of this novel is not your typical writing voice. I liked this different writing style as someone who likes to write in this very tone. After reading other reviews, I find that this voice is what makes this book stand out. With all the fantasy/paranormal/romance books out there, having this tone made the book a little step up compared to all the other typical/mediocre novels out there.

That being said – this story has so much potential for a series. The plot itself is incredible, there are so many places this story can go! On top of that, as a reader I felt drawn towards these characters. I’m invested and I want to know more. Mixing all of that in with the lore, the backstory and fantastic voice this book has – I’m invested.

Overall, yes this story was slow. For me, that would have been a deal breaker if this story wasn’t so intriguing. Were there general issues with the plot or side comments? Yes, but there always are in all books these days. If you can look past the small, silly issues and you don’t typically get hung up on small plot holes/issues then this book will be great for you!

Four out of five stars.

Quick Book Review: Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

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This novel was a big let down for me.

I picked up this book at a clearance event for books. I had wanted to read the novel for years, but I could never remember the name. The book was the cheapest of the pile and on sale on top of the clearance, which should have been a warning.

I heard rave reviews from my friends that I should read this book, so I picked it up willing and ready to be wooed. Sadly, this book was one where I had to force myself to continue, and I did not see the point in the ending.

The ending to the book, without spoiling, made me question if it was randomly made up on the spot because a better ending couldn’t be found. The ending didn’t fit with the pace of the novel or make sense. While I did not read up on the Faust story itself, I felt that the ending could have been more dramatic and exciting instead of a lame ‘The End’ feeling. The conflict did not seem to be resolved and I felt more confused than ever as to what really happened.

The novel was very slow to start, and slowed down even more when I got into it. When I was about 4/5ths of the way through, I began to become really into the book and I couldn’t put it down, but the ending didn’t fit in with the pace that was built throughout the novel.

I had high hopes for this novel, and I will read Another Pan to see if it is any better, but it was a let down.

I wish the ending would have been better, because if it went out with a bang I would have found the book much more interesting. A slow build in pace would have been nice with a spectacular ending that made up for the slow build to the climax.

This book would be good for preteens or younger, since it isn’t as climactic as most Young Adult novels.

Overall, not impressed but I will keep it on my shelf