Skyborn by David Dalglish Review

“The last remnants of humanity live on six islands floating high above the Endless Ocean, fighting a brutal civil war in the skies. The Seraphim, elite soldiers trained for aerial combat, battle one another while wielding elements of ice, fire and lightning.

The lives of their parents claimed in combat, twins Kael and Breanna Skyborn enter the Seraphim Academy to follow in their footsteps. There they will learn to harness the elements as weapons and fight at break-neck speeds while soaring high above the waters. But they must learn quickly, for a nearby island has set its hungry eyes upon their home. When the invasion comes, the twins must don their wings and ready their blades to save those they love from annihilation.”

     Skyborn by David Dalglish was one of my favorite books from last year. While the main characters were not that well developed, the awesome world and visceral combat was certainly engaging.

Not every book has to be a masterpiece, sometimes I just want to be entertained. And for that reason, I loved Skyborn. Breanna and Kael were serviceable main characters. I found Breanna to be a badass, but she was not given much depth other than that. She just ended up being a Katniss-like character once again. Kael, on the other hand, was a bit whiny, but often keeps her sister under control providing a nice foil to Breanna. She’s hot-headed and impulsive, he’s calm and cautious. Still, they form a formidable pair and provide some nice brother-sister moments throughout. I wish Dalglish established him as a bit more stronger character and gives him more to do. The supporting characters were likeable in their own ways. Brad provides some laughs as the comic relief and you can’t help but just cheer him on. However, he is nothing remarkable. Saul is the typical rival, but by the end of the novel, he becomes one of the stronger characters in the book. Clara is a solid supporting character as the daughter of the archeon, but she seems to only be there as a love interest for Kael which does have its moments. The romance aspect of this novel is executed better than most young adult novels and it definitely has its moments.

The main reason I loved this book was the world Dalglish creates. This fantasy novel has some very interesting lore and provides a sweet backdrop as the novel takes place on fictional islands hovering over the Endless Ocean. They are several factions that vie for control over the islands. The aerial battles are just plain awesome! They are brutal and extremely visceral. Easily, one of the best parts of the books. I do wish Dalglish explored the history of the islands a bit more and the elements as well. The plot is a bit predictable and fairly standard, but it is executed fairly well and culminates in an amazing climax. It does take some time for the book to progress. While this is marketed is a fantasy novel, it leans a bit more towards the young adult-side, just an FYI.

Skyborn is not a masterpiece by any means. But it is definitely an entertaining book. The solid characters, fantastic world, and even better combat make it a joy to read.

Rating: Must Buy

*This is my 50th post. I can’t believe it went by so fast.

Lemons by Melissa Savage Review

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“What do you do when you lose everything that means anything?

Nine-year old Lemonade Liberty Witt doesn’t know the answer to that question, except what her mom taught her. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But what if those lemons are so big that you forget how?

How do you make lemonade out of having to leave everything you know in San Francisco to move to the small town of Willow Creek, California and live with a grandfather you’ve never even met? In a town that smells like grass and mud and bugs. With tall pines instead of skyscrapers and dirt instead of sidewalks. Not to mention one woolly beast lurking in the woods.

That’s right, Bigfoot.

A ginormous wooden statue of the ugly thing stands right at the center of town like he’s someone real important, like the mayor or something. And the people here actually believe he’s real and hiding somewhere out in the pine filled forests.

How can anyone possibly be expected to make lemonade out those rotten lemons?

Everything is different and Lem just wants to go back home. And then she meets Tobin Sky, the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives, Inc. and sole investigator for the town. He invites her to be his Assistant for the summer and she reluctantly agrees. At least until she can figure out her escape plan.

Together, Lem and Tobin try to capture a shot of the elusive beast on film and end up finding more than they ever could have even imagined.”

Lemons by Melissa Savage provides a surprisingly mature and emotional book with a heart that more than matches up the urban legend the kids are chasing.

Being a book meant for a much younger audience than me, I went into it with low expectations. I thought it would be nothing more than an average adventure book with some nice lesson of letting go at the end of the novel. But I was pleasantly surprised at how mature the novel was considering at the younger target audience. Honestly, there are some really good lessons here about loss and friendship that even adults can empathize with. Lemonade Liberty Witt, or Lem, was a charming protagonist. Savage did a good job of portraying her struggles with her mother’s death, not casting it off to the side until the very end when the novel calls for a lesson. You see her inner struggle as the novel goes on and how it affects her life in Willow Creek. Tobin is more of a comic relief and I was a bit annoyed by him at the beginning of the novel. However, as the book progresses he becomes a more developed character and complements Lemonade well. The supporting characters include the townspeople of Willow Creek. The main supporting character is Grandpa Charlie. He was a very sweet and caring character who often supports Lemonade as she struggles with her loss. The other townspeople were serviceable, but they were not given as much time to develop.

The plot, as I expected, was predictable as it is a book meant for a younger audience than me. Still, it was effective and developed at a nice place. There are some subplots that felt a bit abrupt, in terms of its conclusion. I will commend Savage for making the town of Willow Creek, a character of its own. The world feels fleshed out and takes on its own charm as the book progresses. The emotional moments were well done and felt organic considering Lemonade is an 11-year old girl.

In conclusion, Lemons provides an emotional and surprisingly mature novel for the young audience while also satisfying adults. Its likeable protagonist, solid supporting characters, and charming world allow the novel to stand out among its peers.

Rating: Must Buy (for younger readers or parents)

 

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

I was recently tagged by  Books and Co. and I am always up for doing a tag. As Summer draws close and the heat turns up, I hope to do these more often and post more often, in general. Let’s start.

1. Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2017:

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Easily, Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentmer. Emotional, brutal, and genuine, it is a fantastic book!

2. Best Sequel of 2017 So Far:

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I am not sure if this question means, book I’ve read in 2017 or released in 2017. I am going to go with the former and pick Fireborn which is the sequel to Skyborn. While I felt the first is still the better book, this serves as an excellent sequel. I will review the two within the next two weeks.

3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To:

There would be more, but as I am a recent book lover I am focusing more on past releases I have missed.

4. Most Anticipated Release of the Second Half of 2017:

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5. Biggest Disappointment of 2017:

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Still a solid book, but it does not do much to shake things up for the genre.

6. Biggest Surprise:

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This book genuinely surprised me. I was taken aback by its heart and some of its mature themes dealing with the loss of a loved one.

7. Favorite New Author (Debut or New To You):

Jeff Zentmer. Definitely, plan on reading The Serpent King.

8. Newest Fictional Crush:

No one really.

9. Newest Favorite Character:

  • Johan in Fireborn
  • Carter in Goodbye Days
  • Mercer in Flip the Bird

10. Book that Made You Cry:

Men don’t cry…pfffttt. Okay, fine this made me pretty emotional.

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11. Book that Made You Happy:

Can’t just choose one, so I didn’t.

12. Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation of 2017 You’ve Seen:

Well, I have only seen Beauty and the Beast so that one I guess. It was pretty solid though.

13. Favorite Review You’ve Written This Year:

Easily, my Goodbye Days one.

Here’s the link (shameless plug): Review

14. Most Beautiful Book You Bought Or Received This Year:

I can’t really choose between these two. Windfall is fairly simple, yet quite appealing. Fireborn just looks so badass.

15. Books You Need To Read By The End of This Year:

Can I just say all of them?

I nominate:

Sorry if you have already been tagged. 🙂

 

 

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith Review

32048554Let luck find you.

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.”

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith was a solid and satisfying novel, although it does nothing new to the genre.  While the novel has solid lead characters and nice, sweet moments throughout the book, the overly predictable and generic feel of the book keep the novel from standing out.

I am not a big fan of romance novels, so take my review with a grain of salt. Teddy and Alice were solid lead characters. Smith did a good job of establishing them as separate characters. Alice is a kind soul, yet struggles to cope with her parents’ deaths. Her inner turmoil was well done and you genuinely care for her. Teddy was a bit generic and at times, he can be a bit annoying, but for the most part, he is tolerable and competent as the love interest. Max was a solid supporting character, although, again, he was a bit generic as the gay best friend. Now, the actual romance between Alice and Teddy was ok. I had no problems with their romance, but it was not as developed or as believable as I hoped it would be. It definitely has its moments, but as Alice chases Teddy, it feels all the same.

The plot of the book was extremely predictable. It is probably the most generic and predictable book I have read all year. I knew what would happen, almost the entire time I was reading. It’s as if Smith was checking a checklist of romance tropes. Read the summary and hypothesize how the book will play out. Chances are you are right. It’s ok to be predictable, but not painfully predictable. To top it off, some of the subplots don’t really get developed. Sawyer, a guy who develops a crush on Alice, is painfully underdeveloped. Alice even admits that she might even like him, but that he will never be Teddy. After several pages scattered throughout the middle of the book, he is gone. Only mentioned briefly near the end of the book. While they did go on a date, it just proved to be another “Oh, he’s cool, but he will never be so and so.” That being said, there are some genuinely cute moments throughout the book and some emotional ones as well, but that does not excuse the plot and underdeveloped subplots.

Windfall does nothing new to the genre. It has some solid characters and some nice moments throughout, but the predictable plot is painfully predictable. Those who like this genre will be satisfied with this novel and those who don’t will not find anything that will convince them to look at this genre in a new light.

Rating: Check it out if you like the genre

 

Blogger Recognition Award

This was unexpected and an awesome surprise. I was nominated for this award by Diary of a Bookfiend or Norin.  As someone who has only been blogging since February, this was a nice achievement.

The Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 10 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created

How I Started This Blog

To be honest, I was never really into reading as I am now. I liked to read, but I never really found the time or made the time to do it. It was not until last year when I became an avid reader after listening to Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I just began to love books. The worlds they create, the well-written characters, and the many moments of various feelings that books can create is unparalleled.

I have always loved to write. I have a writing app on my phone that I constantly write stories on, but I still wanted to improve. Blogging was something I would have never thought I would be doing. I liked to write, but I am not too keen on making it public. But as my love for books grew and grew, I decided to combine two things I loved and create a blog. All the while helping people find books they might love or books they might hate.

So on February of this year, I decided to create Book Mojo. I had no real plans for it and I just wanted to see what would happen. Four months later and it has been an absolute joy. With summer coming up, I expect to be even more devoted to this blog (Let’s hope, my laziness will not take over). I’m just seeing where this road takes me.

My Advice

I do not think I’m really qualified for this, but I’ll try my best.

First of all, write about things that you want to write about. Blogging should be a personal hobby not a daily chore. It should be something you enjoy, not something you loathe. Do not worry about the numbers, they will eventually come as more and more people grow to appreciate what you have written. I have seen too many people who have grown to hate their job, endlessly stuck in a routine, moving through the day as if they were checking off a list. Your writing should reflect the type of person you are and writing about what you want to write about will only help display the passion and qualities that you possess.

Secondly, interact with others. I know talking with other was not really my expertise growing up. As I got older, I learned that people don’t really suck that much as others want you to believe. In fact, they might even be nice and even awesome! I have learned through the first several months of blogging that in order to gain an audience you have to interact with others. And in the process, you can meet some awesome new people that share the same passion and interests as you do. Once you start to grow out of your shell, you can meet and become a part of a loving community with others who are just their to help you.

I Tag:

This has been a fun time writing this as I got to share my personal experience of starting this blog. Sorry if you have already been tagged or have done it already!

 

June TBR

Time for another TBR. Got some good books that I can’t wait to read. Plus, my next post will be the blogger recognition award I was nominated and tagged which was awesome!

1. Sidekicks by Jack Ferraiolo

While it is a bit young for me, I love the author and always wanted to read this.

2. Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

I received a review copy and have not read a good romance book in a while.

3. Lemons by Melissa Savage

I won a copy for this novel and while it is a bit young for me, it looks to be a good adventure novel with some heart.

4. Champion by Marie Lu

Time to finish this series. Simple as that.

5. Fireborn by David Dalglish

Loved the first book, Skyborn, and have been waiting to get this novel.
I’m going to be busy in June, but I hope for a good month. 🙂

May Wrap Up

May was a really good month for me as a reader. Read more than my goal of 5 books and was able to purchase more books for low prices. Let’s hope it continues into June.

Total Books Read: 7

Books Read from TBR: 4/5

Some of the Books I Read:

1. Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

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Summary: 

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“Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances and rivals can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?”

My thoughts:

I just feel that the novel could have been a lot better and more fleshed, but it ended up turning into a solid, but run of the mill opening novel. While the twins were well-written, Carys fell a bit flat in terms of her arc. The supporting characters were fairly stock and the plot was quite predictable. The ending does leave the series at an interesting place and kept me interested for future books. Still, it is still worth reading, just not buying it.”

2. Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentmer

51zE2A3zS0L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Summary: 

What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all – three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he is not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he is unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or even worse than prison?”

My Thoughts:

 

Goodbye Days was a fantastic and moving book that tackles its subject with respect and sincerity. The characters elevate this book from other young adult novels and their experiences and interaction with one another was beautifully done. Just read this book.

3. BZRK by Michael Grant

15942745._UY200_Summary:

Love The Hunger Games?  Action-adventure thrillers with a dystopian twist? BZRK (Berserk) by Michael Grant, New York Times best-selling author of the GONE series, ramps up the action and suspense to a whole new level of excitement.


Set in the near future, BZRK is the story of a war for control of the human mind. Charles and Benjamin Armstrong, conjoined twins and owners of the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation, have a goal  to turn the world into their vision of utopia. No wars, no conflict, no hunger. And no free will.  Opposing them is a guerrilla group of teens, code name BZRK, who are fighting to protect the right to be messed up, to be human. This is no ordinary war, though. Weapons are deployed on the nano-level. The battleground is the human brain. And there are no stalemates here: It’s victory . . . or madness.
BZRK unfolds with hurricane force around core themes of conspiracy and mystery, insanity and changing realities, engagement and empowerment, and the larger impact of personal choice. Which side would you choose?  How far would you go to win?”

My Thoughts:

“Overall, BZRK was a solid, sci-fi novel that thrives due to its brutal world and badass characters only hampered by little character development from Noah and Sadie and terrible dialogue between Noah and Sadie as well.”