Category Archives: Young Adult

Sage Alexander: The Dark Realm

Short Films – The short (10:41) first episode of the series “Sage Alexander: The Dark Realm” was released July 14 on the TigerBeat TV YouTube channel. This six-episode video series is based on the Young Adult “Sage Alexander” series of books written by Steve Copling. I haven’t read any of the books in the series myself, but a granddaughter has and says it was very good. That seems to be a common consensus as the book is rated 5/5 on Amazon and nearly as well on Goodreads for both books in the series. The synopsis for the video series:

All of Sage Alexander’s training with his guardian angel Leah has lead to this moment, but is he actually ready to enter the Dark Realm on his own? Meanwhile, five more young warriors-in-training discover a portal into the Dark Realm… 200 years earlier. Will this truly be one last adventure?

The video series certainly looks promising. The few special effects shown in the first episode are reasonable. In addition to this just looking like a good story, I have the added incentive for it to be successful and picked up as a series – I know one of the young actors, Ashlea Rae.

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Review of “Voices from the Second World War: Stories of War as Told to Children of Today”

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Book ReviewsWWIIWWII Timeline – “Voices from the Second World War: Stories of War as Told to Children of Today” eBook was published in 2018.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains a few scenes of Violence. The book is a collection of very short (mostly 2-3 pages each) stories about World War II experiences shared with today’s children. Views are recorded from the military and civilians, Allied and Axis. The accounts give a very different look at World War II and the lives of those who lived through it.

I thought that this was an interesting 7 hour read of this 320 page non-fiction book. I learned a few things while reading. I had never heard of the Land Girls. I did find that the stories began to get a little repetitive. I think that Young Adults would be interested in these accounts, but would have a difficult time reading the book cover-to-cover. I can see where teachers would want to share selections with their classes when the World War II era was being covered in history. I liked the cover art. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Hullmetal Girls”

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Book Reviews – “Hullmetal Girls” eBook was published in 2018 (July) and was written by Emily Skrutskie (http://skrutskie.com). Ms. Skrutskie has published three books.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in the far future. All that is left of the Human race is aboard a fleet of ships that have been looking for a new home for centuries. The primary characters are young Aisha Un-Haad and Key Tanaka.

Un-Haad is willing to do anything to save her family. Tanaka doesn’t remember how or why she is a Scela. Un-Haad, on the other hand, volunteered to become a Scela. The Scela are the fleet’s enhanced and mechanized soldiers, no longer merely human. Un-Haad sacrificed herself to try and save her little sister and brother. Being new Scela means that they must work hard to get a good assignment. That is the only way that Un-Haad will be able to help her family survive in the rigidly structured fleet society.

She and Tanaka soon find that there is much that has been hidden from them. Much that is hidden from the general population. Their loyalties to the Fleet government begin to waver. Will those in charge ever let a new homeworld be found?

I thought that this was an interesting read of 8.5 hours for this 320 page science fiction novel. All of the primary characters are young women in this story. I would say that it would be something appropriate for Young Adults. The author put together an unusual universe for the story to play out in. I liked the cover art. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “The Philosopher’s Flight”

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Book Reviews – “The Philosopher’s Flight” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Tom Miller. This is Mr. Miller’s first publication.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in an alternate history. An Earth where magic is both possible and common. The story is set in the time of World War I with the primary character being 18 year old Robert Weekes.

Weekes uses empirical philosophy, a branch of philosophy (magic) that is almost entirely dominated by women. His dream is to be part of the elite US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service. A group that is exclusively female. He has read and heard stories about the Sigilry Corps all of his life. His mother was a hero of the Corps during earlier military actions. Now he wants to find a way to join up and aid allied soldiers at war in Europe.

An attack by those opposed to the use of magic gives him the opportunity to show what he is capable of. That leads to a scholarship to study Philosophy at the almost all female Radcliffe College. He must overcome the bigotry of the women who surround him. He meets a young heroine of the war, Danielle Hardin, at Radcliffe. Soon they are more than simply friends, which brings a touch of romance to the story. Not only must Weekes overcome the resentment of his classmates, but he must survive further attacks by those that want to see magic outlawed.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 10 hours I spent reading this 433 page young adult alternate history fantasy. While this was another ‘young magician off to face the challenges of school’ story, I thought that it took a refreshingly different approach. I liked the characters created for this story and look forward to reading more in this series. I am not a fan of the cover art. I give this novel a 4.8 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Aspiria Rising”

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Book Reviews – “Apiria Rising” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Douglas Barton. This is Mr. Barton’s first publication.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. The story is set in the far future. Aspiria is the capital of a wide sprawling collection of human settlements across a section of space. It is also the location where the smartest of the collective are invited to come and learn, as well as compete. In this society, only the most competitive are allowed to stay at Aspiria. Those that fail are sent back to their homeworlds. The primary character is Dominy who has trained all his life to get to Aspiria. Once there he finds that all is not what he had expected.

I was disappointed with this 295 page young adult science fiction novel. I read about 23% of the way through before I gave up and called a Rule of 50 on it. It seemed to be trying to create a “Harry Potter” like world, only with intellect being the skill instead of magic. I think that the plot was very simple-minded, even for young adults. The cover art is OK. I give this novel a 2 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Trailer for the “Sage Alexander: Hall of Nightmares” Pilot

Trailers – I saw that this trailer for “Sage Alexander: Hall of Nightmares” had been posted on YouTube today. The synopsis of this Young Adult story:

A group of young Angelic Response Council members, each yearning to explore the boundaries of their angelic gifts, practically stumble into the Dark realm, the dominion of the Seven Princes of Hell. What started as a simple exploration quickly devolves into a fight for their lives. Inside a constantly changing structure that feeds off their growing terror, their only hope for survival rests in the hands of a missing Council member thought to be long dead.

This proposed TV series is based on the very popular Young Adult novel of the same name. I haven’t read it myself, but a granddaughter has and says it was very good. That seems to be a common consensus as the book is rated 5/5 on Amazon.

The pilot certainly looks promising. In addition to this just looking like a good story, I have the added incentive for it to be successful and picked up as a series – I know one of the young actors, Ashlea Rae.

What do you think after viewing this short trailer?

Trailer for “Perfect​”

Trailers – The movie “Perfect” premiered at SXSW a couple of days ago. The synopsis:

A boy in a cold and stark modern house, in a vaguely science fictional world, is seduced by advertisements of perfection to install implantable characteristics directly into his body. The implants heal his dark, twisted visions, but come with a corporeal cost. He persists on applying them, hoping to reach perfection, but ultimately he discovers that purity of mind is not exactly as he’s imagined.

This looks like it might be an interesting movie, but it certainly looks dark. The movie has only earned a 6.6/10 on IMDB, so I am not sure how good it really is.

Short Science Fiction Film “Prospect”

Short Films – The short (13:52) science fiction film “Prospect” was published to YouTube in February of 2016 by All In One Place 2016. The synopsis is:

Prospect is the coming-of-age story of a teenage girl on a toxic alien planet. She and her father hunt for precious materials, aiming to strike it rich. When the father is attacked by a roving bandit, the daughter must take control.

The short “Prospect” premiered at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival. This is a good young adult scifi film and was awarded a 7.0/10 on IMDB. This short is the basis for a full length film of the same name that premiers at SXSW 2018.

Review of “Children of the Dust”

Book ReviewShort Stories – The short story “Children of the Dust” is available from the Baen Books website. It was written by Catherine Asaro (http://www.catherineasaro.net). Ms. Asaro has published many works of both fiction and non-fiction. This short story is set in her “Saga of the Skolian Empire” universe. As pointed out at the end of this short story:

Two-time Nebula-award winner Catherine Asaro has an M.A. in physics and a Ph.D. in chemical physics from Harvard. A former ballet and jazz dancer, she founded the Mainly Jazz Dance program at Harvard and now teaches at the Caryl Maxwell Classical Ballet. “Children of the Dust” is a prequel to her Major Bhaajan series, which is set within her popular Skolian Empire, with Undercity and The Bronze Skies out now.

I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. The story is set on another world, one colonized by humanity it the far future. Young 15 year old Bhaajan is one of many who live in the derelict tunnels beneath the City of Cries, the Undercity. She and the other eek out a life of survival – stealing, dealing, fighting – with one another and with the civilization that lives on the surface of the planet Raylicon.

Bhaajan wants more for her future. It will be a struggle to leave her pseudo family in the Undercity, and an even bigger struggle to fit in, but she sees enlisting the Army as her way out.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 100 minutes I spent reading this young adult science fiction short story. I both enjoyed the plot and the rich characters that were created. I look forward to reading more stories set in this universe. I give this short story a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Invictus”

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Book Reviews – “Invictus” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Ryan Graudin (http://www.ryangraudin.com). Ms. Graudin has published seven novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’, though there are minor scenes of Violence. The setting spans the centuries. The primary character is Farway Gaius McCarthy.

McCarthy is in his late teens and is a student at the Corps of Central Time Travelers Academy. This has been his objective since he was young, since his mother, a time traveler, disappeared. He is about to graduate as valedictorian, when everything goes wrong. His final exam has been sabotaged, but unable to prove it, he is kicked out of the Academy.

That is when he is approached to become a Time Machine Captain operating outside the law and collecting artifacts for private sale. He, and his crew, are performing well and succeeding. Then they find out that their memories and their entire timeline is at risk. They must risk their very existence and all be willing to sacrifice much in an attempt to save their timeline and themselves.

I really enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 465 page science fiction young adult novel. I really liked the characters and the plot. I thought that the plot was very different (in a good way) from so many other novels I have read. There is a little action, a lot of creative problem solving and even a bit of romance. I don’t like the cover art as it relates to nothing. I give this novel a 4.4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).