#Review: The Legends Saga #paranormal #ya

Sorry for the late post. Life happens its own way no matter how much you plan.

Goodreads

Title:  Crane

Series: The Legends Saga #1

Author: Stacey Rourke

Genre: Paranormal, Retelling

Pages: 298

Reading Level: Adult

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

This is two stories in one with a dark comical twist… Well, actually two twists.

Ireland Crane just moved to Sleepy Hollow because she couldn’t pass on the opportunity to be associated with the legend of Ichabod… No, not really. I just thought that was a silly coincidence that was going to ruin this book, but it didn’t. Actually, Ireland just broke up with her boyfriend and needed a change so when a job in Sleepy Hollow opened up, it was a chance to escape. Of course, once she gets there, people start dying and old men start waking up in her basement. Enter, Rip Van Winkle.

One thing I’ll say about this story is that it is refreshingly dark and funny. I fell in love with the humor of Stacey Rourke in her Gryphon Series, but this was an entirely different experience. This story is more New Adult than YA, but not filled with a lot of steam. That may be a deterrent for some who feel that New Adult exists only to add more steam to stories.

While I didn’t fall as hard for the first installment of the Legends Saga as I did the Gryphon Series, the story still won my heart. The paranormal elements of this story are right up my alley, and the comedy is just a bonus. The strong female lead, Ireland, is not what I expected which is always a plus for me. She doesn’t start off as a kick-butt character but develops a duality that lets her be the quintessential girly-girl and feme fatal all at once. Kudos to Rourke on the character.

Ireland isn’t the only likable character in this book, but I don’t want to give too much away. A sleepy Rip does steal the show a few times, and have I mentioned the dreamy Noah. Of course, there’s a love interest, but I like that the romance is not the major focus of this story. In fact, as twists go, romance and damsels get mashed up pretty good and I like it. The way the whole curse comes together was original and exciting. The rest of this series is a must read for me.

Recommended to fans of paranormal, myth and fairytale retellings, and dark humor.

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

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

Goodreads

Title:  Raven

Series: The Legends Saga #2

Author: Stacey Rourke

Genre: Paranormal, Retelling

Pages: 211

Reading Level: Adult

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

I don’t think it’s fair to compare the tale of Ichabod to the fictionalized story of Edgar Allan Poe, but that’s what we’re faced with comparing books 1 and 2 of The Legends Saga. Considering I am rating both books the same, it seems silly to say that I liked the second book more, but I did. However, I think that is mostly the fault of my enthusiasm for Poe. In any case, Rourke has thoroughly entertained me again with Raven, to which I will doubt her nevermore.

I honestly didn’t know where else this story could possibly go, and knowing who’s showing up for the third book, it’s all I can do not to speculate. I can’t wait to be surprised. To say that matters turned darker in this second book is an understatement, but there’s no denying that Ireland is still Ireland. She’s silly, and sweet, and a bit slow at times, but that’s just part of her charm.

As the Hessian, unfortunately, she gets put in her place when the scorned love of Poe turns out to be much more powerful. Let’s face it; while revenge and rage are powerful forces, love is the ruler of all. As if being the Hessian wasn’t enough to put a strain on Ireland and Noah’s relationship, the handsome Ridley shows up just having to be the missing key to resolving Poe’s century-old relationship issues.  Just as in the first book, life and death are a delicate balance held together or torn apart by love.

This story is much darker than the first, but it didn’t turn me away. Even through all the darkness and death in this book, there was room for quite a few laughs. An addition to the second book, not experience in the first, at least for me, was also a sense of sorrow. Rourke really dug deep and offered a gambit of emotions and experiences for her readers.

Recommended to teen and adult readers; fans of paranormal, Poe, and other twisted retellings.

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

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

Goodreads

 Title: Steam

Series: The Legends Saga #3

Author: Stacey Rourke

Genre: Paranormal, Retelling

Pages: 228

Reading Level: Adult

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

I’ll go ahead and admit that I enjoyed this story, but I didn’t like the way this series ended. I probably would have given this final installment of the Legends Saga a 5 rating, had the ending been more resolute. For me, having so many questions at the end leaves me wondering if these characters will pop up again down the road, just as other Rourke characters have. The uncertainty is agonizing… but still; you gotta read this for yourself. It’s totally worth it.

Aside from my issues with the ending, Rourke has managed to awe and amaze me yet again, adding extended depth to her characters and twisting ageless tales in unexpected ways. Steam takes everything to another level. If you snickered in the first two books, you’ll LOL in this one. If you whimpered a bit with the first two books, your heart will ache with this one. There is one scene in particular that actually made me feel a bit of terror, bordering this tale on the edge of horror, but it’s so much more than that.

Book one seemed to focus on conquering demons and finding purpose. Book two seemed to focus on the power and, even danger, of love. Book three is all about the choice to live with hope and the sacrifices one makes to keep hope, and perhaps even love, alive.

In this installment, Ireland and Ripley are joined with a new character who has ties to witchcraft and the story of “The Scarlet Letter”.  This oddball assortment of humans and their supernatural gifts have been gathered together by HG Wells to defeat the greatest evil any of them have ever seen. Even with Well’s ability to travel through time, he knows that even if they win, there will be a price to pay, he just doesn’t know what it is.

If you read the first two, you should definitely read the third and decide for yourself if the ending is or isn’t totally satisfying.

Recommended to teen and adult readers; fans of paranormal, and other twisted retellings.

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

Goodreads

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.

Goodreads

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

Goodreads

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

Goodreads

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

Goodreads

 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

banner

97Days 17Hours 51Minutes 43Seconds