Review: Zaria Fierce and the Secret of the Gloomwood Forest, by Keira Gillett

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, by Keira Gillett

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of the Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett
Published by Keira Gillett on March 6, 2015
Series: Zaria Fierce, #1
Genre(s): fiction, adventure, fantasy, middle grade
Format & Pages: e-book, 208
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“Come here Princess, and let me eat you.”

On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.

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Review: Pacific Fire, by Greg Van Eekhout


Pacific Fire by Greg Van Eekhout
Published by Tor Books on January 27, 2015
Series: Daniel Blackland, #2
Genre(s): fiction, adventure, dystopia, fantasy, young adult
Format & Pages: hardcover, 336
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Pacific Fire: Another thrilling ride through Greg van Eekhout’s wildly imaginative world of California Bones, featuring entertaining new characters and a dangerous magical plot unfolding in Los Angeles.

I’m Sam. I’m just this guy.

Okay, yeah, I’m a golem created from the substance of his own magic by the late Hierarch of Southern California. With a lot of work, I might be able to wield magic myself. I kind of doubt it, though. Not like Daniel Blackland can.

Daniel’s the reason the Hierarch’s gone and I’m still alive. He’s also the reason I’ve lived my entire life on the run. Ten years of never, ever going back to Los Angeles. Daniel’s determined to protect me. To teach me.

But it gets old. I’ve got nobody but Daniel. I’ll never do anything normal. Like attend school. Or date a girl.

Now it’s worse. Because things are happening back in LA. Very bad people are building a Pacific firedrake, a kind of ultimate weapon of mass magical destruction. Daniel seemed to think only he could stop them. Now Daniel’s been hurt. I managed to get us to the place run by the Emmas. (Many of them. All named Emma. It’s a long story.) They seem to be healing him, but he isn’t going anyplace soon.

Do I even have a reason for existing, if it isn’t to prevent this firedrake from happening? I’m good at escaping from things. Now I’ve escaped from Daniel and the Emmas, and I’m on my way to LA.

This may be the worst idea I ever had.

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Review: Crypt of Bone, by J.F. Penn

Crypt of Bone, by J.F. Penn

Crypt of Bone by J.F. Penn
Published by The Creative Penn Limited on April 24, 2015 (previously published as Prophecy December 1, 2011)
Series: Arkane, #2
Genre(s): fiction, action, adventure, mystery, suspense, thriller
Format & Pages: e-book, 204
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The prophecy in Revelation declares that a quarter of the world must die.

Now a shadowy organization has the ability to fulfill these words. Can one woman stop the abomination before it’s too late?

ISRAEL. A victim of Jerusalem Syndrome jumps to his death from the top of the Western Wall, his body smashed on the ancient stones. Another disembowels himself under the scrawled figure of the Pale Horse of the Apocalypse with the chilling words, “God told me to do it.”

Dr Morgan Sierra travels to Israel to investigate the deaths and becomes embroiled in an international conspiracy that will use cutting-edge technology to carry an ancient curse to mankind, and threaten those she loves.

Morgan joins agent Jake Timber at ARKANE, a secret government agency investigating the supernatural. Together they must hunt down the Devil’s Bible, pursued all the way by the evil forces of Thanatos.

From the catacombs of Paris to the skeletal ossuaries of Sicily and the Czech Republic, Morgan and Jake must find the Devil’s Bible and stop the curse being released into the world before one in four are destroyed in the coming holocaust. Because in just seven days, the final curse will be spoken and the prophecy will be fulfilled.

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Review: Artemis, by Andy Weir

Artemis, by Andy Weir

Artemis by Andy Weir
Published by Crown/Archetype on November 14, 2017 (expected)
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, adventure, science fiction
Format & Pages: e-book, 384
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The bestselling author of The Martian returns with an irresistible new near-future thriller—a heist story set on the moon

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

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Review: Feel Me Fall, by James Morris

Feel Me Fall, by James Morris

Feel Me Fall by James Morris
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on May 6, 2017
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, adventure, mystery, suspense, thriller, young adult
Format & Pages: paperback, 227
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Secrets and survival in the Amazon

Emily Duran is the sole survivor of a plane crash that left her and her teenage friends stranded and alone in the jungles of the Amazon. Lost and losing hope, they struggle against the elements, and each other. With their familiar pecking order no longer in place, a new order emerges, filled with power struggles, betrayals, secrets and lies. Emily must explain why she’s the last left alive.

But can she carry the burden of the past?

Discover the gripping new adventure novel that explores who we are when no one is watching, and how far we’ll go in order to survive.

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Review: California Bones, by Greg Van Eekhout

California Bones, by Greg Van Eekhout

California Bones by Greg Van Eekhout
Published by Tor Books on June 10, 2014
Series: Daniel Blackland, #1
Genre(s): fiction, adventure, dystopia, fantasy, young adult
Format & Pages: hardcover, 304
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When Daniel Blackland was six, he ingested his first bone fragment, a bit of kraken spine plucked out of the sand during a visit with his demanding, brilliant, and powerful magician father, Sebastian.

When Daniel was twelve, he watched Sebastian die at the hands of the Hierarch of Southern California, devoured for the heightened magic layered deep within his bones.

Now, years later, Daniel is a petty thief with a forged identity. Hiding amid the crowds in Los Angeles—the capital of the Kingdom of Southern California—Daniel is trying to go straight. But his crime-boss uncle has a heist he wants Daniel to perform: break into the Hierarch’s storehouse of magical artifacts and retrieve Sebastian’s sword, an object of untold power.

For this dangerous mission, Daniel will need a team he can rely on, so he brings in his closest friends from his years in the criminal world. There’s Moth, who can take a bullet and heal in mere minutes. Jo Alverado, illusionist. The multitalented Cassandra, Daniel’s ex. And, new to them all, the enigmatic, knowledgeable Emma, with her British accent and her own grudge against the powers-that-be. The stakes are high, and the stage is set for a showdown that might just break the magic that protects a long-corrupt regime.

Extravagant and yet moving, Greg van Eekhout’s California Bonesis an epic adventure set in a city of canals and secrets and casual brutality–different from the world we know, yet familiar and true.

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Review: Cress, by Marissa Meyer

Cress, by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa Meyer
Published by Square Fish on January 27, 2015
Series: The Lunar Chronicles, #3
Genre(s): fiction, adventure, fantasy, science fiction, young adult
Format & Pages: paperback, 582
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Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker; unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

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Review: Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 20, 2015
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Genre(s): fiction, adventure, science fiction, young adult
Format & Pages: hardcover, 599
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This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

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Review: Ash and Quill, by Rachel Caine

Ash and Quill, by Rachel Caine

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine
Published by Berkley on July 11, 2017 (expected)
Series: The Great Library, #3
Genre(s): fiction, adventure, fantasy, science fiction, young adult
Format & Pages: e-book, 368
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The unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire unite to save the Great Library of Alexandria from itself in this electrifying adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealousy guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny….

Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.

Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library….

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Review: Paper and Fire, by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire, by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
Published by NAL on July 5, 2016
Series: The Great Library, #2
Genre(s): fiction, adventure, fantasy, science fiction, young adult
Format & Pages: e-book, 368
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In Ink and Bone, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine introduced a world where knowledge is power, and power corrupts absolutely. Now, she continues the story of those who dare to defy the Great Library—and rewrite history…

With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.

Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

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