Monday, September 17, 2012

A Little Prince Will Come

Kristy Brown's "Kiera's Quest: Awakenings is a great YA fairytale/fantasy novel.  It is the first in a series of Kiera's Quest novels.

Kiera is a musically gifted high school student who has always had dreams of another world where she was protected by an unknown presence.  Zakk is the Prince of Zantar and the presence in Kiera's dreams.  The Witch Queen wants to take over the kingdom of Zantar and turns Zakk into a doll and sends him to earth.

Kiera discovers Zakk, the doll, and together they must get Zakk back to Zantar before his birthday so the spell can be broken and the Witch Queen thwarted.

There were some great characters in this story.  They were fun and provided many amusing moments.  I especially liked Googe, the Witch Queen's evil henchman.  Brown painted a good picture of the world of Zantar as well.  The story was well paced and held my interest.  And the ending definitely left me ready for more.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

YA Short with a Meaningful Message

Lada Ray's short story, "Catharsis (Legend of the Lemurians) is Book 1 of the Earth Keepers Chronicles.  It is a companion/prequel to The Earth Shifter, a full length novel.  The story is about a planet on the outskirts of the Andromeda Galaxy, Catharsis, populated by extraordinarily beautiful people.  The Catharsians have rounded up any ugly people and confined them to live behind an electric fence and fend for themselves.  They call them "Uglies".  The Uglies, who prefer the name Lemurians, are a peaceful and loving people.

However, beauty is only skin deep and the world around the Catharsians starts to crumble and tear apart.  The Lemurians seem immune to the disaster.  Who will perish?  And how will anyone survive?  There's only one way to find out!

This is a great short story and intro into The Earth Keepers Chronicles.  It is very imaginative and well plotted.  Even in such a short story Lada Ray packs a powerful message.  Beauty is only skin deep and karma can be either wonderful or deadly.

The Next Big Thing

"The World Clicks", by K.M. Breaky, is a novel about the power of the internet and game changing ideas.  Lane Craig is a 30 year-old software engineer living and playing in Vancouver.  He lives a fast paced lifestyle and parties with a circle of suave, brilliant and like-minded 30 year-olds.

He has an idea for the next breakout internet phenomenon.  He enlists his circle of friends to help him bring it to fruition. There's Johhny the social butterfly who can charm anyone.  Thomas is brilliant with his own ideas and a secret - he is only half "out of the closet".  Cat is Lane's love interest and a marketing pro.

Will the idea become an internet sensation?  Will it fizzle?  Or will it get stolen along the way.  Grab a copy and find out!

The novel was written in a fast pace/rapid fire manner which was in keeping with the nature of the book.  The language was a bit on the crude side, but in keeping with what I imagine 30 something guys would probably use amongst themselves.  I just put it out there for anyone who is put off by that.

The story was fascinating to me and really made me wish I knew more about software development.  Who doesn't want to come up with the next big internet sensation??

A Change of Heart

The novel, "The Whole World Over", by Julia Glass is about Greenie, a woman who has thrown her passion into her bakery in Greenwich Village and whose marriage seems to be stagnate.  Her husband, Alan, is a couples counselor who is in the grips of a mid-life crisis/depression and doesn't communicate with her anymore.

Greenie's dear friend Walter, who owns a nearby restaurant, recommend her culinary skills to the Governor of New Mexico.  The Governor asks her to cook a trial dinner for him which results in a job offer that is too good for Greenie to refuse.  As Greenie and their son George depart for New Mexico, Alan stays behind to wrap things up with his patients.  He is angry that she has made such a huge decision with no concern for his needs.

As they go about their lives separately they make personal discoveries about themselves.  They are both seeking happiness and fulfillment in their own ways.  As 9/11 unfolds they will discover where their hearts truly belong.

Glass weaves the lives of a considerably large cast of richly drawn characters together in this charming story.  Each voice is developed in its own time as she switches emphasis and characters with each chapter.  The message of changes and how choices can ripple widely is shown through both the main and secondary characters.

This was a selection of my book club and it was one of the most engaging novels we've read in a while.  It tugged at my heart and I cared about the characters, flaws and all.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Be Consumed...

The novel "Consumption", by G. S. Johnston just may consume you.  The story is about Sara Sexton and Martin Blake, who have been friends since grade school where they bonded over the loss of their fathers.  Through the years they've shared each others joys, sorrows and secrets.

When Sara breaks up with her lover and ends her year in Greece to return home to Australia, she stops in Hong Kong to see Martin and be consoled.  Martin is a much sought after designer in Hong Kong, while Sara is now adrift with no set focus.

As the years go by she meets a new love, Andy.  Once Martin realizes she is happy he works to make her miserable and break up her relationship.  Eventually Sara must choose between the old and the new.

Johnston has really brought the characters to life.  You can understand the dilemma Sara is in and how difficult it would be to break free.  Martin is diabolical.  Loving and sympathetic on the surface and manipulative and cunning beneath it all. The setting of Hong Kong is very vivid as well.  I almost felt like I was there wandering the city.

A great read!  It will linger with you after you've finished.