Tag: adventure

Book Review: Above All Else, by Dana Alison Levy

Image belongs to Charlesbridge.

Title: Above All Else
Author: Dana Alison Levy    
Genre: YA
Rating: 4.0 out 0f 5

Rose Keller and Tate Russo have been climbing for years, training in harsh weather and traveling all over the world. The goal that kept them going? Summiting Mount Everest, the highest point on earth. Accompanied by Tate’s dad, the two will finally make the ultimate climb at the end of their senior year. But neither Rose nor Tate are fully in the game–not only is there a simmering romance between them, but Rose can’t get her mind off her mother’s illness, while Tate constantly fails to live up to his ambitious father’s standards.

Everyone on their expedition has something to prove, it seems. And not everyone is making the best decisions while short on oxygen and exhausted, body and mind. The farther up the mountain they go, the more their climbing plans unravel and the more isolated each team member becomes. Rose and Tate will have to dig deep within themselves to determine what–or who–they value above all else.

For someone with a fear of heights, parts of this were moderately terrifying. This was an intense read! I’ve hiked the Grand Canyon twice—third trip will be next year—but that’s more of a months-of-training thing, not years of training. And, while I’m fascinated by people who choose to hike Mt. Everest, I haven’t the faintest desire to actually climb any mountain.

I loved how we see this story from both Rose and Tate’s points-of-view. They’re such different people and their perspectives are so different, despite everyone thinking of them as RoseandTate. There are some intense scenes in this, but the author does an incredible job with the setting and letting us see what Rose and Tate experience on this once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Dana Alison Levy lives in New England. Above All Else is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Charlesbridge in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: What the Other Three Don’t Know, by Spencer Hyde

what the other 3 don't know
Image belongs to Shadow Mountain Publishing.

Title:  What the Other Three Don’t Know
Author:  Spencer Hyde
Genre:  YA
Rating:  3.8 out of 5

When Indie lost her mom to the river, her world crumbled around her. Now she’s the loner, the quiet one, the one no one else notices—living only for the day she can leave her small town behind and go where no one knows her. She never wants to set foot near the river that took her mom again.

But for her journalism class, that’s exactly what she must do:  take a rafting trip with three almost-strangers from her class. India would rather do anything else, but she has no choice. What she doesn’t realize is the other three have secrets just like she does. And this rafting trip will bring all of them to the surface.

I enjoyed What the Other Three Don’t Know, but it was fairly predictable. And…the “secrets” weren’t exactly earth-shattering. I thought the four teens bonded really quickly, so that felt a little off to me, but their banter alone made the book worth reading.

(Galley courtesy of Shadow Mountain Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Speed of Falling Objects, by Nancy Richardson Fischer

the speed of falling objects
Image belongs to Inkyard Press/Harlequin Press.

Title:  The Speed of Falling Objects
Author:    Nancy Richardson Fischer
Genre:  YA
Rating:  5 out of 5

Danger “Danny” Warren is nothing like her father, a popular survivalist TV star…but she used to be. And she wants to be again. Danny lost her eye in a childhood accident and had to re-learn how to move and relate to spatial relationships. Danny knows that if she’d just been enough, she’d have a relationship with her father now.

So when her dad calls with an offer to join him on the set of his next adventure in the Amazon, Danny is all for it. She’ll get to prove to her dad that she’s still the adventure-seeking girl she was—and getting to hang out with the hottest teen actor on the globe isn’t a bad thing, either. Until their plane crashes in the rainforest and Danny finds out a horrible secret about her father—while fighting to stay alive and find safety.

I enjoyed this book so much! Danny’s feeling of never being enough is something I think we can all relate to, so that made this book completely relatable. Her larger-than-life father is kind of a jerk, but Danny loves him anyway, although finding out who he really is was a tough experience. A movie star crush, a rainforest adventure, a strong female main character—this book had it all!

Nancy Richardson Fischer used to write sports biographs, but now she plans fun adventures and writes. The Speed of Falling Objects is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin Teen/Inkyard Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Two Like Me and You, by Chad Alan Gibbs

two like me and you
Image belongs to Borne Back Books.

Title:  Two Like Me and You
Author:  Chad Alan Gibbs
Genre:  YA
Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Edwin Green’s still not over his ex-girlfriend. She’s famous. Like, really famous, everyone-knows-her-name famous. They split up a year ago—on Black Saturday—and Edwin’s been plotting to get her back ever since. His plan:  to get famous, too. That’s not working out too well, so he’s stuck in high school, surrounded by idiots.

Until he ends up paired with mysterious new girl Parker Haddaway on a history project. She introduces him to Garland Lennox, a WWII veteran stuck in a nursing home. But Garland wants Edwin and Parker to sneak him out of the nursing home and to France, where he’s determined to find the love of his life, a girl he met during the war. Soon Edwin finds himself all over the news, but as the media is joined by the French police, he’s not sure being famous is all it’s cracked up to be.

I love the voice in this novel! Edwin grows a lot in this novel and realizes some things about himself—and his life—that he’s never considered before. He starts out as someone who lets life happen to him, but he learns to be an active participant in his own life along the way. He ends up in some hilarious predicaments, thanks to Garland and Parker, but it’s a thrilling, fun ride.

Chad Alan Gibbs lives in Alabama. Two Like Me and You is his first novel.

(Galley courtesy of Borne Back Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: I Do Not Trust You, by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

I do not trust you
Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

Title:  I Do Not Trust You
Author:   Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
Genre:   YA
Rating:   3 out 0f 5

Memphis grew up traveling the world with her father, visiting archeological digs and learning lost languages and cultures. But when her father died unexpectedly, her life changed to boring, normal school with people who think they know more than she does under the watchful eyes of her guardians, friends she never knew her father had.

Until one evening she realizes a shadowy figure is following her. When she catches him by surprise, Memphis meets Ash, sent by an ancient cult to discover the secret her father might have been able to solve. Memphis finds out her dad is still alive, held captive by another ancient cult also after the icons to be found if the secret is revealed.

There’s no way Ash can decipher the clues and find the icons himself. And Memphis doesn’t know where her father is being held. They’ll have to work together for them both to get what they want.

I Do Not Trust You had such an intriguing premise:  adventure, ancient cults, archeological mysteries…but the delivery was a bit short on the adventure front. Memphis was a great character, just a touch naïve, which makes sense, considering she hasn’t had much interaction with people her own age. I loved her intelligence, and her determination. Ash…was just kind of “meh” for me. He wasn’t horrible, just kind of wishy-washy. But this was still a fun, quick read.

Laura J. Burns grew up on Long Island. Melinda Metz grew up in San Jose, California. I Do Not Trust You is the duo’s newest novel.

(Galley provided by St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)

You Don’t Know My Name, by Kristin Orlando

you-dont-know-my-name
Image belongs to Swoon Reads.

Kristin Orlando has a degree in English literature and loves, words, bacon, and PJs. You Don’t Know My Name is her new novel.

Seventeen-year-old Reagan Hillis isn’t used to having friends and a normal life. She’s used to secrets, combat, and weaponry, having spent her life training to follow her parents’ footsteps in the top-secret Black Angels. Now she has a life, a group of friends, and feelings for the boy next door, Luke. Reagan isn’t even sure if she wants to be a Black Angel. Wouldn’t a normal life be so, well, nice?

When a rescue mission goes bad in South America, Reagan’s parents are right in the middle of it, and trouble follows them home, threatening to capsize Reagan’s normalcy and sink it without a trace. Reagan is tired of leaving her life in the middle of the night, and desperate for her parents to understand. But sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to, to save others, and Reagan finds herself on a mission with high stakes, a mission her normal life pales in comparison to.

I was expecting a fun type of story, like the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter. (I don’t know why I was expecting this, I just was.) That is not what I got. Instead, I got adventure, action, anxiety…and romance. Reagan has had a challenging life, and until recently, she’s been happy to follow her parents’ footsteps. But now she sees just how thrilling normal can be, and wants it more than anything. She’s so normal, so real, that I just loved her. Her relationship with Luke felt natural and charmed me. This is a fantastic read, but the ending was not what I expected. Looking forward to the next book in the series!

(Galley provided by Swoon Reads via NetGalley.)

 

Darcy Moon and the Aroona Frogs, by Catherine Carvell

 

darcy-moon
I do no own this image. Image belongs to Star Bright Books.

Catherine Carvell was born in England but moved to Australia at age 8. She loved nature and stories, so she studied biology and journalism. Now she lives in Singapore with her family and pet turtles. Darcy Moon and the Aroona Frogs is her first middle-grade book.

Darcy Moon has enough problems, her father’s wacky job and her mom’s hairy armpits are just the tip of the iceberg. When she wanders into the local swamp and an old turtle asks for her help, she is understandably freaked out. The Aroona frogs are disappearing, and Darcy is an Earth Guardian. She has to help, but she’s up against a local millionaire while she tries fix the food-chain and save the swamp. And that doesn’t count the talking frogs.

Darcy Moon and the Aroona Frogs is a unique, humorous middle-grade book dealing with environmental issues, greed, and quirky families. It’s totally worth reading…and I don’t even have kids!

(Galley provided by Star Bright Books via NetGalley.)

The Dragon Round, by Stephen S. Powers

The Dragon Round
(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Simon and Schuster.)

Stephen S. Powers lives in New Jersey and writes poetry and short fiction, in between playing video games and chess. The Dragon Round is his first novel.

Jeryon has been a sea captain for years. He counts on the rules to keep him—and his crew—safe and successful. But not all of his crew agrees. After a dragon attack, the crew takes matters into their own hands, and offer Jeryon and the apothecary who supports him the “captain’s chance”:  a small boat with no sails, no food or water, and only the clothes on their backs.

The island Jeryon and the apothecary land on isn’t as deserted as they thought, between the killer crabs and the dragon egg they find. Jeryon decides to raise the dragon in his quest for justice, but as he grows closer to the dragon, he realizes that the outside world has changed, and if he wants revenge, he’ll have to take it for himself.

The Dragon Round is set in a world far different from our own; a world of violence and mayhem (Okay, so maybe not that different from ours.). Revenge is the driving force of the novel, although Jeryon prefers to think of it as “justice.” But “justice” is rarely as bloody and cruel as seen in this novel. The world is very vivid, and the characters are well-realized, even if I found them mostly unlikeable. (Not going to lie, the dragon was the most likeable character for me.) I’ve seen this novel compared to the Temeraire books, which are currently sitting on my To-Be-Read pile. If so, I may have to give them a miss. Not because this was a bad book, but because I prefer my books with a bit less gratuitous violence and bloodthirsty revenge.

(Galley provided by Simon & Schuster via NetGalley.)

And I Darken, by Kiersten White

and I darken
I do not own this image. Image belongs to Delacorte Press.

Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy and Mind Games. Her newest novel, And I Darken, is the first in a new trilogy that asks “What if Vlad the Impaler had been female?”

Lada Dragwlya is a princess, but she’s far more interested in strength and survival than in finding a husband. When her father barters her and her gentle younger brother Radu away for safety, Lada learns that being ruthless is the key to true power. Trapped in the Ottoman Empire, far from her beloved Wallachia, Lada learns to hide her emotions so she and Radu will not become mere pawns in the hands of the sultan, and vows to fight her enemies to her dying breath.

Then they meet Mehmed, lonely son of the sultan, destined to rule the Empire, but friendless and at the mercy of those with real power. Radu feels that he’s made a true friend, and Lada wonders if Mehmed is someone she can finally show her emotions to. But Mehmed is the heir to the Ottoman Empire—which Lada has sworn to fight against, and the place that Radu now considers home. Will love and loyalty prove stronger than vows and vengeance?

And I Darken is a dark, brutal book about a fierce girl who must grow into her strength amidst war and intrigue. Lada is not an easy character to like, but her indomitable will and passion carry her through as she finds her true self. There is plenty of action in this story, but it is the characters themselves that the reader will truly find riveting.

(Galley provided by Delacorte Press.)

Fire Danger, by Claire Davon

Fire-Danger-Samhain-Cover-200x300
(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Samhain Publishing.)

 

Claire Davon began writing as a teenager, then life got in the way for a while. She has since shoved life out of the way and started writing urban fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Her newest novel, Fire Danger, is the first book in the Elements Challenge series.

Rachel Quinn doesn’t remember much of her early years, only vague memories of her parents and faint images of fire. Since her parents died years ago, Rachel has never been able to ask anyone about these visions of fire, and she withdraws into herself, afraid of her memories and the blackouts she has.

Then she finds herself cornered by a pack of werewolves—werewolves!—and rescued by a man with wings, and something comes to life inside of Rachel. She isn’t human, which she never knew was an option, but she doesn’t know what she is—or who—until the gorgeous Phoenix helps her find out. Phoenix is in the midst of his Challenge, the battle with his Demonos counterpart, but Rachel and her mystery add a deeper meaning to this Challenge than Phoenix has ever seen. Phoenix and Rachel must find out the truth about what she is, and stop the Demonos’ plot to destroy the human race.

Fire Danger begins with Rachel’s attack by werewolves and Phoenix’s rescue, and the pace never slows through the course of the novel. The many layers in this novel twist together with danger as the relationship between Phoenix and Rachel grows deeper.  An entertaining read set in an intriguing version of our own.