#Review: Penryn & the End of Days Trilogy #paranormal #YA

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Title:  Angelfall

Series: Penryn & the End of Days #1

Author: Susan Ee

Genre: Paranormal, YA

Pages: 288

Reading Level: Teen

Content: PG-13 (adult situations and content, violence, some gore, doom, mature themes)

So the fact that I’m really into the whole angels and demons thing really helped me get passed my issues with YA fiction and really appreciate this story, which in many ways reads like a Dystopia. Penryan is, typically, nothing special to look at and small, but when she encounters a wounded angel, everything changes. Those who took the angel down have taken her younger sister. Her crazy mother, who may not be as crazy as we all think, remains hidden in the shadows, unable to offer aid. The simple human girl, Penryan, and the beautiful wounded angel, Raffe, must team up in order to survive.

I hope my tone doesn’t exude sarcasm. Despite my personal misdealings with YA fiction, this is a really good story. It even caught me off guard a few times, throwing in an element of terror I hadn’t expected and truly appreciated.  The whole idea of angel fall takes on a new meaning at the end of the story when a twist is thrown at you. Raffe kinda gets what he’s been after this whole time, but it’s a greater curse than he could have imagined … but then there’s still Penryan, the human girl who can wield his sword.

I have to read the next book.

This is definitely geared towards teen readers, but anyone who appreciates dark themes and or a non-religious take on angels and demons will enjoy this story.

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Get a print copy with free international shipping at this link: Book Depository.

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Title:  World After

Series: Penryn & the End of Days #2

Author: Susan Ee

Genre: Paranormal, YA

Pages: 320

Reading Level: Teen

Content: PG-13 (adult situations and content, violence, gore, doom, mature and dark themes)

Unlike most, I liked this one more than the first.

Yes, the pace of this book is slower, but that’s part of why I like it. We actually get to take some time to understand certain characters and connect more with Penryn. The only thing I wish there would have been more of this book was Raffe, but I accept the substitution of mother and sister. In the first book we really didn’t get to know Pen’s family and in this book we do. I like that.

In book one, I feel like we got to see inside the world of the angels, but in book two we get the see the human ‘world after’ the arrival of the angels much better. Plus, there are layers to the story of why the angels are really here and figuring that out is important.

Even though Pen keeps reminding us that she’s just a teenager, we all know her youth and innocents are gone. By the end of this book, I think she finally realizes it too. And for all those who want action in their books, let me just point out that in book one Pen picked up the angel sword and in book two she actually uses it. Yaaasss!

Family gets the spotlight in this book and romance is put on the back burner, but not too far away.

End of Days, here I come.

I give this book a 5.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Get a print copy with free international shipping at this link: Book Depository.

Goodreads

Title:  End of Days

Series: Penryn & the End of Days #3

Author: Susan Ee

Genre: Paranormal, YA

Pages: 344

Reading Level: Teen

Content: PG-13 (adult situations and content, violence, gore, doom, sensuality, mature and dark themes)

I sigh with relief at the finale of this series. It’s everything I wanted.

Pen and Raffe are united, and the kick-butt team they’ve been from the start. They are still battling against the world, and in some ways each other, but they never stop fighting. She is humanity and he is angel-kind. At some point they will have to choose “us” or “them” and the suspense is almost unbearable, especially since their relationship finally gets a bit physical. There’s really no turning back from that, and yet, they still have choices to make.

Poor Paige seems to be destined to suffer, but perhaps her destiny is more than pain. As I read this book, I kept wondering if the price of her life and her destiny was worth the cost. It’s not an easy question to answer, but rather or not I’d be willing to pay it, her mom would surely make sure her baby has what she needs. I really like that crazy lady, but wouldn’t want to be on her bad side.

The scene where the people realize their own injustices and accept their true humanity- it really gets to me.

Meeting the Watchers was nice. I almost felt sorry for Beliel, almost, but his role was critical to the whole struggle.

I thought the final battle would last longer, but I’m kinda glad it didn’t. The doctor ended up saving lives after all.

Oh and Pooky Bear. He’s so confused by the end, but remains safe in Penryn’s hands. Perhaps, that’s where he belongs now. Not a white lace and church bells happy ending, but a happy ending humanity can live with.

Man, was this a good series!

I give this book a 5.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Get a print copy with free international shipping at this link: Book Depository.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#Review: The Time Keeper #fiction #book

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Title:  The Time Keeper

Author: Mitch Albom

Genre: Inspirational Fiction, Time Travel

Pages: 224

Reading Level: Teen, Adult

Content: PG (adult situations and content)

This book was sweet. A fan of time travel stories, this take on the legend of Father Time takes you in a direction you wouldn’t expect. This story is less about time travel and more about man’s understanding of time and how we use it to define every moment of our existence. It all begins with the first man who dares to count the hours of the day and what happens when his desire to control time costs him what he thinks he loves more than anything else.

This story is told in two parts and the second of these parts is broken down into three points of view. Don’t let me confuse you. Basically, you have the story of how it all began and then you have the story of how it all ends as told from the point of view of: Father Time, a teenage girl, and a rich old man. The story is just as complex and fascinating as it sounds. You’ll definitely walk away from this story giving much thought to how you spend the moments of your life.

I won’t pretend that many of the aspects of the girl and old man’s life weren’t a bit cliché, but it worked well for the overall narrative. I don’t think this is a story you need to spend too much time thinking about. Once everything is cleared away and the story is concluded, the meaning and message behind it all is clear.

This is not a YA read, but I’d definitely recommend it to some young readers as well as many adults. It’s a short read too.

I listened to this book and it was a bargain buy on CD (glad I still have one of those in my car).

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon.

Get a print copy with free international shipping at this link: Book Depository.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#Review: Has Anyone Seen My Brain? #timetravel #kidlit #book

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Title: Has Anyone Seen My Brain?

Author: Dan Nimak

Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel

Pages: 150

Reading Level: Children, Teen

Content: PG (mild action, suspense, adult situations, mischief)

This was a delightful and surprising story. The premise enticed me from the start but seeing how it all unfolded was entertaining. It’s a very touching story with a coming-of-age significance and a “It’s a Wonderful Life” impact. When I started the story, it seemed all too simple, but it became pleasantly complex soon enough.

I do feel that this is best for a much younger reader. I think there is a certain level of enjoyment lost that, unfortunately is only inferred, once full maturity and the truths of life have set in. If I’d read this as a 10 – 13-year-old, I think it would have blown my mind. There were some issues that seemed juvenile, but then it is a story for and about kids. Still, overall it’s a very sophisticated and clever story.

There were a few sci-fi elements involving invisibility, space travel, and time travel that I wish had been better explained, but that’s only because I tend to overthink things.

This was an enjoyable read. I’m recommending it to all my teacher friends who like sci-fi and any preteens I think might like it.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this ebook in exchange for my honest opinion, which has in no way affected the rating of this piece.

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#Review: The Mongoliad: Book Two #historical #fiction

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 Title:  The Mongoliad: Book Two

Series: Foreworld #2

Author: Multiple

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 464

Reading Level: Adult

Content: R (language, violence, espionage, oppression, some gore)

While I did like this story, I liked the first one better. This is a good follow-up to the first story, but things get a little out of hand with this sequel. The Shield Brethren are still trying to stop the Mongol horde, but now there are so many factions involved in this power struggle, it’s tough to decide who you’re rooting for and what exactly is going on.

I complained in my last review that the book ended with a cliffhanger, which I find I’m further annoyed that the book didn’t start there. Yes, it eventually picks up where the first book left off, but by the time it does, you can’t really remember what happened to get them there in the first place. I’m not a super-fast reader, but I realized that I had to slow down and really pay attention to be able to keep up with what was happening. For the casual reader, this may be a turn-off, but I accepted the challenge and was glad I stuck with it.

As with my last review, I really do think the story is amazing. The mixing of fact and fiction is a blur, the story, once you understand what’s happening, feels so real. I have enjoyed the introduction of more female characters, but to be honest, if they introduce anymore characters in the next book, I may not be able to follow along.

I’d recommend this book for hardcore historical fiction readers and readers who really get into the whole Renaissance thing… This is not a light read, but still enjoyable.

I give this book a 3.

See my review of The Mongoliad Book One here.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Get a print copy with free international shipping at this link: Book Depository.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

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#Review: CassaFire #sci-fi #book

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Title:  Cassafire

Series: Cassastar #2

Author: Alex J. Cavanaugh

Genre: Space Opera

Pages: 240

Reading Level: Adult

Content: PG (military subject matter, some violence, & adult situations)

After reading book one in this series, I needed a break. The first book caught me off guard. I had no idea it would be so emotional. I fear I may have waited longer than necessary, but the wait was totally worth it. Like the first book in this series, this sequel has its action packed moments, psychologically challenging struggles, and of course, its gut wrenching moments of joy, sorrow, despair, and then hope.

In CassaFire, we find our hero, Byron exploring the known universe in the service of scientists. To put it plainly, the world’s greatest combat pilot is a taxi driver for smart people. Of course, we know he’s doing this to fulfill a promise he made to Bassa, from book one, but what we don’t know is just how exciting space exploration is about to become for the not-quite-middle-aged pilot.

This installment of the Cassa series does two things right away that as a fan of this world pleased me to no end. It brought in more galactic races and it uses more “special abilities” or powers. The geek in me loves that Cassians can’t live without their telepathic abilities and it’s interesting to see how these abilities are perceived by others in the universe.

Author Cavanaugh does an excellent job of touching on some very sensitive subject matters without bringing the story down or belittling the subjects’ importance. He touches on subjects such as: racism, superiority and right, colonization, choice vs duty, and more. There is even a slight, yet significant romance to keep you wondering what will come in the future.

I think this book is suitable for all readers, though younger children may not understand some of the deeper points and those averse to sci-fi themes may have trouble seeing beyond the setting to appreciate the true message of this piece, which I believe is love and loyalty grounded in personal experience and not simply tradition and duty.

See my review of CassaStar here.

I give this book a 5.

LoveIt

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Get a print copy with free international shipping at this link: Book Depository.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords