Category Archives: Young Adult

A Review of Inevitable Ascension by V. K. McAllister

Inevitable Ascension

by V. K. McAllister

Inevitable Ascension is all over the place. I mean it never stops moving. Violina and Lux hop across time and run into trouble no matter where or when they are. The whole book has nearly a video game feel to it. You don’t have any idea what is coming up next, because you don’t know whether this time and place is going to exist or not. Much of the plot is based on the idea that time travel to the past may change the present, but maybe not, because maybe the present already reflects the fact that time travel had already happened, or is going to happen. Try to get your brain around that idea. I was intrigued by this premise. It kept me interested.

Is Inevitable Ascension great literature? No, but is a very different book, and fun to read. Will you like it? I don’t know, I did. Sometimes I got a bit confused, but I always found my way back. I enjoyed the concept and the action. The writing was a bit hit and miss, at times, but it worked for me. Overall, a unique and fun book. Kind of a YA, Steampunk, Fantasy, Time Travel, Action Adventure. If that sounds like your kind of book, then I think that you will like it.

I give Inevitable Ascension 4 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up!

I received a Digital Review Copy from the author.

Book Description

1Violina, a girl polarized by love and loathing, finds herself thrown into a post-apocalyptic world with mankind on the brink of extinction. Discovering the means to travel back in time, she sets out to save the world by preventing the events leading up to the apocalypse. But as her quest advances, she becomes increasingly disgusted by the evil inherent to humanity and seeks lethal justice against all who wrong her—a list that grows exponentially until it encompasses all of mankind.

What was it that gave people the right to live?  Was it simply being born?  No. Everyone is born to no credit of their own. It’s the choices people make that determine whether they deserve their lives, and by that standard, everyone Violina knew deserved to die — everyone except for Lux.

Book Details

File Size: 706 KB
Print Length: 236 pages
Publisher: KZA, LLC (September 12, 2015)
Publication Date: September 12, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B015AS2FTA
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray: Not Enabled
Word Wise: Enabled
Lending: Enabled
Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Who is V. K. McAllister?

We’re a husband/wife duo with a unique approach to writing. We work simultaneously and in secret before combining what we come up with, resulting in dramatic and unexpected twists! Crazy? Yes, yes it is, but it’s surprisingly fun and effective. 🙂

A Review of Alive by Scott Sigler

Alive (The Generations Trilogy #1)

by Scott Sigler

A young woman awakes suddenly. She is trapped. She can’t see anything. Her hands are held at her sides by some kind of straps. Her feet can’t move either. Something is trying to bite her neck. She must get free. She struggles and is able to break one hand free. She grabs the snake and then bites its head off. But she is still trapped. She has to escape. She doesn’t know why she is here. She doesn’t know who she is. She just knows that she needs to be free.

That’s how Alive begins. You are seeing the panic and horror through her eyes. You will discover who you are and where you are, but before you can figure anything out, you need to escape. You have many more puzzles to figure out. The story is one of discovery. Everything is unknown.

Scott Sigler is beginning a new Young Adult series. This is a well written firsthand account of M. Savage. She is the person you see, and the story unfolds from her point of view. You get to know her as she gets to know herself, since she has no idea who she is, where she is, or why she is there. There are more people, but they are as lost as she is. The story is their story of discovery.

I enjoyed this book. It’s a very quick read, partially because it’s a short book, but also because the book is very hard to put down. It is definitely the first book in a series, but since there is some plot resolution, I’m not labeling it a serial, even though you will be anticipating book two. I hope it comes out soon.

I give Alive 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! You should read Alive, if you want to get in on a new, exciting young adult series.

If you would like to listen to the FREE audiobook of Alive, it’s available at Scott Sigler’s blog. Click here Alive, episode 1. Scott is podcasting the whole book. A new episode is out each week! Scott Sigler podcasts all of his books for free!

I received a Digital Reader’s Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Alive lFor fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Red Rising comes a gripping sci-fi adventure in which a group of teenagers wake up in a mysterious corridor with no knowledge of who they are or how they got trapped. Their only hope lies with an indomitable young woman who must lead them not only to answers but to survival.
 
“I open my eyes to darkness. Total darkness. I hear my own breathing, but nothing else. I lift my head . . . it thumps against something solid and unmoving. There is a board right in front of my face. No, not a board . . . a lid.”
 
A teenage girl awakens to find herself trapped in a coffin. She has no idea who she is, where she is, or how she got there. Fighting her way free brings little relief—she discovers only a room lined with caskets and a handful of equally mystified survivors. Beyond their room lies a corridor filled with bones and dust, but no people . . . and no answers.

She knows only one thing about herself—her name, M. Savage, which was engraved on the foot of her coffin—yet she finds herself in charge. She is not the biggest among them, or the boldest, but for some reason the others trust her. Now, if they’re to have any chance, she must get them to trust one another.

Whatever the truth is, she is determined to find it and confront it. If she has to lead, she will make sure they survive. Maybe there’s a way out, a rational explanation, and a fighting chance against the dangers to come. Or maybe a reality they cannot comprehend lies just beyond the next turn.

Book Details

Series: The Generations Trilogy (Book 1)
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (July 14, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553393103
ISBN-13: 978-0553393101
Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 1 pound

About the Author

ScottSiglerNew York Times best-selling novelist Scott Sigler is the author of the INFECTED trilogy (INFECTED, CONTAGIOUS and PANDEMIC), ANCESTOR and NOCTURNAL,  hardcover thrillers from Crown Publishing; and the co-founder of Empty Set Entertainment, which publishes his Galactic Football League series (THE ROOKIE, THE STARTER, THE ALL-PRO and THE MVP).

Before he was published, Scott built a large online following by giving away his self-recorded audiobooks as free, serialized podcasts. His loyal fans, who named themselves “Junkies,” have downloaded over eight million individual episodes of his stories and interact daily with Scott and each other in the social media space.

Scott reinvented book publishing when he released EARTHCORE as the world’s first “podcast-only” novel. Released in twenty weekly episodes, EARTHCORE harkened back to the days of serialized radio fiction. His innovative use of technology puts him at the forefront of modern-day publishing and has garnered brand-name exposure among hundreds of thousands of fiction fans and technology buffs.

He’s been covered in Time Magazine, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher’s Weekly, The Huffington Post, Business Week and Fangoria. He still records his own audiobooks and gives away every story – for free – to his Junkies at http://www.ScottSigler.com.

A Michigan native, Scott lives in San Francisco but still roots for his beloved Detroit Lions.

Amazon Button 2

 

Blog Tour: Gambit by C.L. Denault

About Gambit:

Gambit CoverIn Earth’s battle-ridden future, humans have evolved. Those with extraordinary skills rise to power and fame. Those without live in poverty.

Sixteen-year-old Willow Kent believed she was normal. But when a genetically-advanced military officer shows up in her village and questions her identity, long-buried secrets begin to emerge. With remarkable skills and a shocking genetic code the Core and its enemies will do anything to obtain, Willow suddenly finds the freedom she craves slipping through her fingers. Greed, corruption, and genetic tampering threaten every aspect of her existence as she’s thrust, unwilling, into the sophisticated culture of the elite Core city. To ensure peace, she must leave the past behind, marry a man she’s never met, and submit to the authority of a relentless officer with a hidden agenda of his own.

Her life has become a dangerous game. How much will she sacrifice in order to win?

Get Gambit in paperback or for your kindle today!

About the author:

cldenault_authorphotoC.L. Denault is a speculative fiction writer who loves dreaming up tales of adventure and intrigue. A former systems analyst, she gave up her nerdy code-writing skills to care for her family (including a son with special needs), and currently lives among the vast stretches of cornfields in Illinois.

Writing stories and posting on The INFJ Café are her biggest passions, along with drinking coffee and watching sci-fi. When she’s not hanging out with her husband and kids, she can usually be found at a library or tucked away in the shadowy corner of a hip coffeehouse. She’s also been glimpsed sneaking into her garage, late at night, to work on her time machine.

Her debut novel, Gambit, is the first in a Young Adult dystopian series.

Find out more at cldenault.com, twitter or facebook.

A Review of All Around Grace by Pennie Makela

All Around Grace

by Pennie Makela

All Around GraceI have to let you know right up front that I know the author, Pennie Makela. She is married to my cousin, but I will try to keep this review as objective as I can.

All Around Grace is not aimed at me. I’m not the target market for this book. I doubt that Ms. Makela ever planned that a 65 year-old retired male Steamfitter would be reading and reviewing her book. Her normal audience would be my granddaughters. This is much more their style. But I have read other YA books, so I have an open mind.

There is a definite religious angle to the story, since there are angels and demons, and even a cameo by God himself. But really the story has more to do with a young girl becoming an adult, and learning how to deal with the disappointments that life can bring. It’s all about making the right choices. All Around Grace uses angels and demons, but the basic moral is the same, as you grow up you have to find in the good in life, otherwise you will wallow in the bad.

All Around Grace is one of those indy books, and therefore can cause a reviewer some problems. I have accepted a number of indy books that I am going to be reviewing over the next couple of months, and thought that this would be a good time to bring up a few questions that I have in my mind.

I would like to think that I am going to ignore where a book comes from and just judge it on its merit. Well, that would be all good and fine, except for the fact that a lot of books that I get are Advanced Reader Copies. They state that they are NOT the final version, and any errors will be corrected before publication. Whether that is true or not, I tend to ignore spelling, grammar, and word usage errors in these ARCs. What about those errors in an indy book? That’s one problem. I think that I will ignore most of them, but may comment on it. If it’s too bad, then I will have to say something.

Then the next question comes up. Most indy authors don’t have the editing support that major publishers give their authors. They submit their final draft to the publisher and then spend many months making the rewrites that are requested, sending back the manuscript, getting more edits, making more changes, and so on. Most indy authors are on their own. They have to pay someone to be their editor, so this process is much more abbreviated. So the question is, do I hold them to the same level? Should the book be as polished? On this, I think the answer has to be yes, as much as possible. So I will make comments on the structure of the book.

The last question has to be, will I rate indy books the same, will a 4 Star indy book be as good as a 4 Star book from a major publisher, or do I use a different rating system? The only thing I can do is to rate them all the same. A 5 Star book has to be GREAT! no matter who publishes it.

So after all that, what do I think of All Around Grace? I give it 3 Stars out of 5. It has a few problems that extra editing could have helped, but the story was good. I would recommend it to my granddaughters who are in high school and middle school. I’m going to let them borrow my copy, I think that they will enjoy it. They might even want to have their Grandpa get them their own copy.

 Book Description

Have you ever felt truly alone?

After her family moved her away from everything she knew and loved, Grace did. The gray, dismal winter in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula made things worse. She didn’t know anyone, and no one seemed to care. She fell deeper and deeper into a dark state of solitude: she was truly alone.

Or so she thought. The sudden appearance of beautiful strangers into her life begins to change her mind about friendship, love, and the line between good and evil. As a series of unexplainable events unfold around her, she starts to uncover the hard truth that no one is ever truly alone.

Book Details

 

Paperback: 242 pages
Publisher:  Tate Publishing (2014)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1633674110
Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.0 x 0.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces

Book Description is from Tate Publishing  All Around Grace
You can also purchase the book at that page.

What Is YA? by Scott Westerfeld (Reblogged)

What Is YA? (How To Write YA 1) (Reblogged)

I went to Scott Westerfeld’s website after I reviewed Afterworlds. He is running a series that anyone who writes, wants to write, or even reads YA should check out. I put the first 2 paragraphs here, with a link to his page. Check it out. Quite interesting.

What Is YA? (HTWYA 1)

by Scott Westerfeld

Scott WesterfeldMy next novel, Afterworlds, is about a young writer reworking her first novel after NaNoWriMo. I thought a fun and useful promotion for it would be a series of writing advice posts. I got carried away.

So between now and November, this blog will host excerpts from a non-fiction book I’m releasing next year, called How to Write YA. You can’t buy it yet, because it’s not done, but you can preorder Afterworlds. It comes out September 23.

http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/2014/09/what-is-ya-htwya-pt-1/

A Review of Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Afterworlds

by Scott Weterfeld

Afterworlds was such an interesting concept. It is the story of a high school senior, Darcy Patel, who writes a book in one month, gets an agent, and has a big-time contract by the time she graduates. She has until September to do rewrites and then start on the second book. She has a year to finish that. She decides to postpone college and use her huge advance to fund her move to New York City, where she feels that she will be in a literary atmosphere, and will therefore be “A Real Writer”.

This, by itself,  would be an interesting story, but Mr. Westerfeld adds another story. He lets you read Darcy’s novel. This book’s two stories are told in alternating chapters. One chapter of the novel, then one chapter about the novelist. Most of the time this works, but sometimes it feels a bit forced. If I hadn’t read and enjoyed some of Mr. Westerfeld’s earlier YA novels, I might have put Afterworlds aside, but since I really did need to read it, I pushed forward, past the spots that annoyed me, and finally the last third became more engaging. The book ends strong, so I came out thinking, “Yeah, that was really pretty good.” There were some flaws, but worth reading.

Since half of the book is about the life and the craft of a novelist, there is a lot of discussion centering around writing a YA novel. Most of the people in the Darcy side of the novel are part of the publishing industry. So budding writers will be drawn to this book. They will imagine that they, too, could write the next great YA novel and get a huge advance. I think that Mr. Westerfeld has found a way to grab the interest of quite a few teens that I know.

The novel half of the book is what keeps the tension up, so it had better be worth that huge advance. Well, it’s OK, but I don’t think that it would make it as a standalone book. The same could be said about the novelist portion. This book really only works when both parts are working together. I think that is why the middle third of the book is problematical, and why the start and finish work so well.

Afterworlds isn’t perfect, but if you know, going in, that you may struggle in the middle of it, maybe you will plow right though and not be discouraged and quit before the end. There are some parts that may not appeal to the parents of younger reader. There are quite a few F-Bombs thrown into the conversations, and then there is Darcy’s female love interest. Not big problems, but I think that parents should read the book first, then they can decide if it’s OK for their kids.

I give Afterworlds 4 Stars out of 5. It’s a YA book, it’s told from the point of view of a teen, who just graduated from high school, but it isn’t only for teens. Everyone can read and enjoy this book.

I received this book for free from edelweiss and the publisher, Simon Pulse, in return for an honest review.

 

Book Description

Afterworlds coverFrom the #1 New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld comes a smart, thought-provoking novel-within-a-novel that you won’t be able to put down.

Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. But lucky for Darcy, she’s taken under the wings of other seasoned and fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing. Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love.

Woven into Darcy’s personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the “Afterworld” to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved—and terrifying—stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie too falls in love…until a new threat resurfaces, and her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.

 

Book Details

Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (September 23, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1481422340
ISBN-13: 978-1481422345
Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds

 

About the Author

Scott WesterfeldScott Westerfeld’s teen novels include the Uglies series, the Leviathan and Midnighters trilogies, and the so-called “NYC Trilogy”: So Yesterday, Peeps, and The Last Days. Scott was born in Texas, and alternates summers between Sydney, Australia, and New York City. His next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014.

The Book Description and Details are from Amazon. Afterworlds

 

A Review of Ready Player One (Audiobook) by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton

Ready Player One (Audiobook)Ready Player One (Audiobook)
by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton

If you know who Wil Wheaton is, don’t read Ready Player One. Go out and get the audiobook! Wil Wheaton is Parzival (The avatar for Wade Watts in the OASIS). He brings this first person narrative to life. This book is a real geekfest. All the 70s and 80s music, movies, TV shows, and video-games, that are featured throughout the book hit home as massive connections. Space Invaders, D&D, Zork, MUDs, Pacman, Defender, Trash 80, Atari, Video Arcades, Rush, John Hughes, do all of these bring back fond memories? If so then this book will knock your socks off, but Wil Wheaton will incinerate those socks right off your toes. All of the geekness that was the secret pleasures of a whole generation is part of this book at every turn.

Ready Player One has all the elements of a classic adventure book aimed at a young adult audience, but then adds so much stuff that their parents will connect to, that the parents will probably like the book better than their kids. There is the competition that is the book’s main storyline, with side issues of overcrowding, destroying the environment, living inside a video game and never going outside, relationships between people who never meet except inside the game and more. Mr. Cline has written a wonderful first novel. He grabs you and won’t let go. He mastered the first person style and really makes you feel like you are Parzival.

This is a great book and even a better audiobook. I give them both 5 Stars out of 5 and I give Wil Wheaton’s performance TWO Huge Thumbs Up! This is one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library.

Oh and one more thing, a special thanks to Sheila (Book Journey) for the great review of this audiobook Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Her review was the reason I got the audiobook. Thanks again Sheila.

 

Book Description
Release date: August 16, 2011

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

 

Product Details

Audio CD: 11 pages
Publisher: Random House Audio, Unabridged edition (October 8, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307913147
ISBN-13: 978-0307913142
Product Dimensions: 6 x 5.1 x 1.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces

About the Author

ERNEST CLINE has worked as a short-order cook, fish gutter, plasma donor, elitist video store clerk, and tech support drone. His primary occupation, however, has always been geeking out, and he eventually threw aside those other promising career paths to express his love of pop culture fulltime as a spoken word artist and screenwriter. His 2009 film Fanboys, much to his surprise, became a cult phenomenon. These days Ernie lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, their daughter, and a large collection of classic video games. READY PLAYER ONE is his first novel.

About the Reader

Richard William “Wil” Wheaton III (born July 29, 1972) is an American actor, blogger and writer, known for his portrayals of Wesley Crusher on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gordie Lachance in the film Stand by Me, Joey Trotta in Toy Soldiers, and for his recurring role as a fictionalized version of himself on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

The book description is from Amazon. Ready Player One (Audiobook)