Sunday, June 21, 2015

Top Ten: Fiction Novels

I've read a lot of young adult books and keep a track of each and every one of them on my blog. There are some that made me cry, some that made me laugh and others that are just so fantastic that you can't forget them, no matter how long it's been since you read it.

Now, I'm primarily an Indie reader. Though I do read mainstream novels, I tend to read more obscure books. Books that no one knows about, that deserve to be shared. Books that you find by accident, which become your all time favourite.

Some of these are more NA than YA, so please check the blurb and reviews, before buying, if you're under 15.

In the case of series, I'll be posting the first book, so that you can start at the beginning. ;)

~

Ten


The Chronicles of the Secret Prince

Author: M.J. Bell

Blurb: "Deston Lespérance grew up believing faeries and monsters are just stories told to children at bedtime. However, when his mother mysteriously vanishes and he stumbles into the mystical realm of Tir na-nÓg, he discovers the shocking truth that these beings are not only real, they hold the key to his future. With a new friend, Margaux, and Excalibur’s twin brother sword, Caluvier, at his side, Deston races against time to find his mother and the Light Crystal before the full moon rises on the autumnal equinox. The odds are stacked against them and the obstacles they run into push the limit of what two teenagers can handle: an attack by gremlin-like creatures; captured by 6 foot tall vampire bats; hunted by a giant wolf, and almost lost forever in the mist of Avalon. Yet Deston doesn't give up, for he vowed to do whatever it takes to get his mother back—even if that means fighting the devil himself. The thing is … when he made that pledge he had no idea how close he would have to come to doing just that!"

★★★★

Review: I’m on the fence about this one and I can’t explain why. I’m somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4 star, but I’ve rounded up to the 4 because I think kids (between 10 and 15) will love it.
The fantasy aspect of the plot was good. There were a lot of creatures – Fae, bats, wolves, ogres – that kids will look for and love in a fantasy novel. They all play their part and some of them will be important in the following books.
There is a very small romance aspect to the book, but it’s enough for kids of 14 and enough to sprinkle on top of the action/adventure aspect that dominates the book.
Quotes: Time was running out, but this part of the escape plan was not one he could rush. Warily, he scooted a few inches away from the window and braved a glance at the lawn below. The dried yellow grass wavered before his eyes and his stomach pitched violently. As he scrambled backward to the safety of the window ledge, his face drained of all color.
~

Nine


Guardian of Souls

Author: Lee Appleby

Blurb: "Haunted by impossible dreams after waking from a coma, Leone Decker is torn from his dead end existence by a beautiful young woman and given everything he’d ever wished for. It can’t last. Soon his perfect reality is shattered and he finds himself dragged into a magical world he never knew existed. With two sides of questionable honesty battling to earn his loyalty, he enters into a desperate struggle to avoid becoming a puppet in an age old underground war he doesn't understand."

★★★★

Review: This book wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I saw the cover, read the blurb and assumed this was a YA/Fantasy style novel, for teens and younger. I was wrong and that’s not a bad thing.
This is actually a NA novel, due to the language and sex. But, saying that, the sex is not detailed. It’s fade to grey and that means it only makes a small impact on the story.
I will definitely be on the look out for the next book. I can’t wait to find out more about Leone/Luan’s journey and I’m sure there’s another character deep inside him that we’ll get to know better, in book 2. Leone has been left with room to grow, bonds still to be forged and memories that coincide with how his life has ended at the end of this book.
A job well done to Lee Appleby. I’ll be first in line for book two.
Quotes: Smouldering remains of wild grass crunched under his boot, despite great effort to keep his step light. Only the dying fires feeding off remnants of the vegetation kept absolute darkness at bay; the moonlight blocked by a foul combination of heavy smoke and abundant clouds. Oxygen had become difficult to obtain and the makeshift rag masks made from their torn clothes did little to help. His sight failed to extend much past the tip of his long, blue bladed sword held out in front. His pulse smashed into his rib cage at such a rate expected when dealing with fear and adrenaline. Decades of training all led to this day, this hour, this minute. Their fate, and the fate of the entire planet would be decided here. A lot of pressure.
~

Eight

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The Journeyman ~ The Commons: Book 1

Author: Michael J. Peck

Blurb: "Paul Reid died in the snow at seventeen. The day of his death, he told a lie—and for the rest of his life, he wondered if that was what killed him.” 
And so begins the battle for the afterlife, known as The Commons. It’s been taken over by a corporate raider who uses the energy of its souls to maintain his brutal control. The result is an imaginary landscape of a broken America—stuck in time and overrun by the heroes, monsters, dreams, and nightmares of the imprisoned dead. 
Three people board a bus to nowhere: a New York street kid, an Iraq War veteran, and her five-year-old special-needs son. After a horrific accident, they are the last, best hope for The Commons to free itself. Along for the ride are a shotgun-toting goth girl, a six-foot-six mummy, a mute Shaolin monk with anger-management issues, and the only guide left to lead them. 
Three Journeys: separate but joined. One mission: to save forever. 
But first they have to save themselves. "

★★★★

Review: Let me just say that Michael Alan Peck is a genius and I will be reading anything else he’s written or writes in the future. The writing style was just up my street, with enough hints and POV’s to let me know what was going on, without giving everything away.
Although I can’t wait to read the next part of The Commons series, I do have to remove 1 star for the confusion over the last 3 chapters and the bluntness that snapped me out of The Commons and rudely forced me back into the real world. I wasn’t ready to leave yet, but maybe that’s how I’m supposed to feel…

Quotes: “Beware the soft-spoken when secrets are kept, for they hear what the thunderers do not.”
“All-out heart of darkness, man.”

Seven

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Laika in Lisan

Author: Maron Anrow

Blurb: "Laika Roen has always been strangely attracted to Lisan, a mysterious and isolated country where the citizens worship their despotic leader. When Laika is invited to travel to Lisan as a visiting scholar, she jumps at the chance to experience Lisan’s unusual culture firsthand.

But Laika gets more than she bargained for when her trip is disrupted by violence and she’s forced to set out on her own. As she journeys through forbidden sections of the foreign country, Laika discovers horrible truths about the relationship between Lisan's leader and his people.
Can a simple scholar change the course of an entire country? And even if she can, should she? The distinction between right and wrong blurs as Laika explores not only Lisan, but her own conscience. "

★★★★

Review: I was intrigued by this book right from the start. This is an excellently paced mixture of mystery, suspense and action. I never knew who to trust or what would happen next. I love how honest Laika and Rodya are, especially when things get complicated. I love the academic slant we have, from reading in Laika’s POV and how I never felt out of my depth because even the things I wasn’t familiar with were explained just enough for me to keep up.
Quote: “I wish I could say this is a story of how I saved everyone and set the world to right. But it isn’t. This is a story of my failure.”

~

Six

sacred bloodlines cursed the prophecy 
the lost years guardian crown

The Sacred Guardians

Author: Wendy Owens

Blurb: "Tragedy has defined Gabe’s short existence in this world. An ominous darkness lurked on the edge of his existence until one day in a subway, strange things start happening. A series of events lead Gabe into a new and fascinating life filled with angels and demons, but he isn’t sure if he wants to be a part of it.
Gabe is thrust into the middle of this exciting world that is full of things he has longed for in his life but it comes with a price. This new life also promises constant terrifying dangers that Gabe fears he may not be able to survive."

★★★★

Review: Unputdownable. Funny and enticing. Exciting but not at too fast a pace. A great read for children and adults a like.
This book literally kept me up at night. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down and I didn’t want to even if I could. The characters are exciting, different to many I’ve read in this genre, and they suck you into their story by making you care for them. There really isn’t anything I didn’t like about this book. Even the things that niggled or grated on me added something to the reading of the story.
Quotes: “You feel like you're cursed. Death follows you wherever you go and you feel completely abandoned. You wish it would all end for you. You think that death would be a release, yet something compels you forward."
The blood drained from Gabe's face as he listened to Uri speak. "You're not alone, Gabe, there are many more like us and we want to help you.” 
Buy links: http://smarturl.it/SacredBloodlines

Book 1 'Sacred Bloodlines' is PERMA-FREE on Amazon!
~

Five

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The James Potter Series

Author: G. Norman Lippert

Blurb: "What’s it like to be the son of the most famous wizard of all time?

James Potter thinks he knows, but as he begins his own adventure at Hogwarts, he discovers just how much of a challenge it really is to live up to the legend of the great Harry Potter. As if it wasn’t enough dealing with the delegates from the American wizarding school and figuring out the mysteriously polite Slytherins, James and his new friends, Ralph and Zane, begin to uncover a secret plot that could pit the Muggle and the Magical worlds against each other in all-out war.
Now, with the help of Ted Lupin and his band of merry mischief makers (The Gremlins), James must race to stop a war that could change the world forever. His only hope is to learn the difference between being a hero and being the son of a hero."

★★★★

Review: We’re welcomed back to a world we already know and love, with old and new characters. Some are a little of both. You get to see what happened to Remus and Tonk’s son Ted and everyone else’s kids. Even though the mischief of Fred and George isn’t there, Ted and his ‘Gremlins’ make up for the loss.
If you read Harry Potter 1-7, saw the films and loved them, read this! If you were like me and read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages and the Harry Potter Encyclopaedia then you have to read this book! It draws you in like Harry Potter, and sucks you into a world you don’t want to leave. And you don’t have to, because there’s more!

Quotes: “The scariest people in the world are not always the ones who are bent on evil, James. Sometimes, the scariest person is the one who mistakes their own lies for truth.”
Buy links: http://www.jamespotterseries.com

The ENTIRE series is always free on the website. You can download in any format you want.
~

Four


Dragons in Our Midst

Author: Bryan Davis

Blurb: "A boy learns of his dragon past; a girl has known hers for years. They combine their faith, courage, and love to overcome an evil slayer who seeks to bring an end to dragon heritage, forever.

The kids at school call Billy "Dragon Breath" for good reason. His breath is bad! It isn't the normal, morning-mouth bad; it's the hot-as-fire, "don't-you-dare-get-near-me" bad. Trouble erupts when his hot breath sets off the fire sprinklers in the boys' restroom in school, and his parents learn that they've kept their secret for too long.

Billy finally discovers the secret. His father was once a dragon! Now that's a piece of news a guy doesn't deal with every day! Billy feels betrayed, alien, lost. When the dragon slayer traps him on a cold mountaintop in West Virginia, Billy learns to battle with weapons of steel and spirit while relying on a power he doesn't understand, a power that helps him learn to trust again.
Bonnie, an orphan, tries to find a home, someone to love her, even though she feels like a freak because of a body feature that she calls a deformity. But this unusual feature becomes a life-saving attribute as she discovers that her love for others and her faith in a creator hold the answers she's looking for."

★★★★

Review: I absolutely love this series.
Without having to falter, I can honestly say that this series is probably the best lot of books I've ever read. I love dragons, I love King Arthur stories and this has everything.
Quotes: “Dad just told me that I'm the son of a dragon!And then he leaves?”
~

Three

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The Dream Keeper Chronicles

Author: Mikey Brooks

Blurb: "Dreams: Dorothy called it Oz, Alice called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME.

When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world?"

★★★★

Review: Book 1 – We come into the story, in the middle of events, which I love. I really think Gladamyr is a brilliant character, who holds the others together. The very idea of the world of Dreams, and how it connects to the moral (human) world is so clever and original. I’ve never seen it done before.
Book 2 - This book was action-packed! From start to finish, there was always something going on, keeping me from putting it down.
Book 3 – Normally, when I write a review like this, I go into detail about the plot, the characters and the style of writing or what I loved or hated about the book. I can’t do that for this one. I literally just finished reading this book and my heart is broken.

Quotes: ““OMG!” Parker hooted. “You’re amazing!”
Shut up and think for me,” she snapped. “I’m getting all these images of Lara Croft from you – I need ice!”
Parker literally shook the thoughts out of his head and began to think of the icebergs in the arctic. He would ask Kaelyn later how she had known about the superhot character from this favourite video game.”
Buy links: Book 1 or you can buy the Trilogy in one book.

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Two

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The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky

Author: David Litwack

Blurb: "After centuries of religiously motivated war, the world has been split in two. Now the Blessed Lands are ruled by pure faith, while in the Republic, reason is the guiding light—two different realms, kept apart and at peace by a treaty and an ocean.

Children of the Republic, Helena and Jason were inseparable in their youth, until fate sent them down different paths. Grief and duty sidetracked Helena’s plans, and Jason came to detest the hollowness of his ambitions.

These two damaged souls are reunited when a tiny boat from the Blessed Lands crashes onto the rocks near Helena’s home after an impossible journey across the forbidden ocean. On board is a single passenger, a nine-year-old girl named Kailani, who calls herself “the Daughter of the Sea and the Sky.” A new and perilous purpose binds Jason and Helena together again, as they vow to protect the lost innocent from the wrath of the authorities, no matter the risk to their future and freedom.
But is the mysterious child simply a troubled little girl longing to return home? Or is she a powerful prophet sent to unravel the fabric of a godless Republic, as the outlaw leader of an illegal religious sect would have them believe? Whatever the answer, it will change them all forever… and perhaps their world as well."

★★★★

Review: First off, let me start by saying this book is something special. I don’t say that often, but there is something un-pinpoint-able and undefined that is wholly beautiful, endearing and magical about this book and the story. I’m going to lay this at the author’s feet. If this author bring out another book, you can bet I’ll snap it up as soon as it’s in print, because I can tell from this one alone that me and David’s books are going to be lifelong friends.
The ending is, in one word, perfect. I couldn’t imagine a better ending. Not everything is wrapped up in bright red ribbon, wrapped up for convenience and a nice tidy finish. But we get the story we want and asked for when we opened the book. And that’s pretty perfect to me.
Quotes: Many of our offices have windows. Mine does not.”
Why not?”
Because that's the way it is.” He wasn't about to explain seniority to a nine-year-old. “But we were talking about you, Kailani. Do your parents know you've come here?”
She pressed down on the chair's arms and lifted her head. The arc of her neck was perfect. “I am the daughter of the sea and the sky.”

~

One

fool's errand mystic's mayhem paryn's gold ebook

The Chaddash Chronicles

Author: David G. Johnson

Blurb: "“Welcome to Chadash; where the lives and adventures of mortals are the weapons wielded by angels in a war for the souls of men.”

What was to be a simple job for the unlikely team of a teenage thief, a holy warrior, a barbarian prince, a priest and an outcast necromancer soon transforms into a much greater adventure. These mismatched heroes find themselves caught up in a struggle threatening three decades of peace. The fate of nations is inseparably intertwined with the fate of this motley band of adventurers. Yet even greater forces are afoot as unbeknownst to the heroes they are pawns in a celestial struggle between two factions of angels on a new world the One Lord has created at the end of the universe. Come along to the world of Chadash where angels struggle for the souls of men in The Chadash Chronicles Book One: Fool’s Errand."

★★★★

Review: Book 1 – [...] just reading the Foreword of this book, I knew David and I were going to get on just fine. Rowling, Tolkien and Lewis are some of my all time favourite authors and I completely understand where he’s coming from in the Foreword. I’ve read a predominantly Christian book series before, in the fantasy genre, and loved it. It made me believe, it made me question and it made me cry. This book does the same.
Book 2 – Let me start by saying that Book 2 is just as good, if not better, than Book 1. I love the heartfelt, personal foreword and I find that the prologue answers a lot of questions I didn’t even know I had about Melizar’s history, from Book 1. [...] As usual, this book gets straight into the action right away. My boys are excellent, as always, and really grow during the course of this book.
Book 3 – Let me just admit, before I get too far, that I’m a massive fan of this series so far. When I was asked if I wanted to read and review an advanced copy of this book, I just about did a fangirl scream and said ‘Gimme! Gimme!’. I refrained, but it didn’t lessen my excitement for starting this story.
Quote: Book 3 - “Okay, step right up for your express doorway to the road to scenic Thalyia, where you can enjoy such varied activities as muggings, stabbings, poisonings and, for the truly adventurous, involuntary slavery. Don't miss out, step on through, folks; only ten gold pieces for the adventure of a lifetime.” 
BEST. QUOTE. EVER.

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This article is by Elaine White. All opinions are her own.


Elaine White is the author of YA paranormal romance Runaway Girl  and Reckless Abandon, books 1 and 2 in The Secrets of Avelina Chrinicles; MM Romance author of Decadent and The Other Side,  books 1 and 2 in The Decadent Series, both available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords; and her first nonfiction book An Unpredictable Life, detailing her teenage strugle with cancer, coming soon. She is also the author of The Alpha and the Oracle, in The Belesone Pack Trilogy, 
coming May 31. 

Visit Elaine White's author page on Amazon for more:

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