Tag Archives: Young Adult

Review of “Does a Bear Shoot in the Woods?”

Book Reviews – “Does a Bear Shoot in the Woods?” is a free, Young Adult fantasy short story published on the Baen website.  It was written by Wen Spencer and published in 2017. Ms. Spencer has published four novels and several short stories.

In this story, Dugan Harman is a High School Junior with an odd past. All in the little town he has grown up in know about him and his family. They have a history of being odd . . . more like insane.

While in the woods experimenting with his camera, Dugan runs across a bear. Not just any bear, but a huge brown bear . . . that can talk. This begins a trip for Dugan where the world he has been told is his psychotic imagination, begins to become real.

While I am not much of a short story fan, I feel that the 90 minutes invested in this short story was well worth the time. I give this a 4 out of 5 evaluation.

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Review of “Burntown”

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Book Reviews – “Burntown” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Jennifer McMahon (http://jennifer-mcmahon.com). Ms. McMahon has published eight 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in a New England college town. The primary character is young Eva “Necco” Sandeski.

Sandeski and her mother have been living on the streets hiding from “Snake Eyes”. At first Sandeski didn’t believe in Snake Eyes, but now she knows that he is real and after her. If he finds her she will die like the others.

Her father was a college professor and inventor. Today we would call him a “Maker”. He had plans for a novel device, supposedly designed by Thomas Edison, which would allow communication with the dead. Once he built the device, he found that it worked, but he heard from more than just the one he wanted to hear from.

That device led to his death. Sandeski and her mother ran away from their home. Sandeski lost memories of the tragic day due to a bump on the head or the anguish of the event. Now her mother is gone too. The police think Sandeski is responsible for a murder, and Snake Eyes is on her trail. She is running for her life.

Drawn in to this is 17 year old Theo Sweeny. She has the reputation as a squeaky clean young lady, but she has been convinced to sell drugs at her High School by the college age woman she has become romantically involved with. But then she looses the drug money she had collected and the dealer is after her. Sweeny and Sandeski become allies through unexpected circumstances.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 304 page Mystery Thriller. I would also say that this is a Young Adult novel at least in part due to the age of the girls, but it deals with serious topics. While not quite as intense, this novel felt a bit like I was reading a Dean Koontz novel. I liked the characters involved with the story. They are a mix that you would not normally think of as being allied together. The cover art is OK as it depicts the shack where Sandeski lived for a time beneath the bridge while she hid out with her mother. A lot does happen there in the story. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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

Review of “Our Young Guardians: Seven & Two”

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Book Review – “Our Young Guardians: Seven & Two” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Rodi Szoke. This is Mr. Szoke’s first novel and the first in his planned “Our Young Guardians” series.

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 scenes of Violence. The story is set in a mythical land. We are reading the account of what happened set down in a first person ‘diary’ like tale. A young 13 year old boy, Jonek. is the primary character.

Jonek’s life has been as normal as one might expect growing up in a small village. He is suddenly thrust into the role of protector of both his family and strangers he encountered on the way home. This propels him into an epic quest where he faces many opponents with both sword and magic.

I enjoyed the 10 hours I spent reading this 329 page Young Adult Fantasy. While the challenges encountered on the quest are not unusual, some of the characters encountered and allies made are. This novel did arrive at a conclusion of sorts, but the way is prepared for sequels, which I look forward to reading. I think the cover art chosen could have been better. I give this novel a 4.5 (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 “Defy the Stars”

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Book Reviews – “Defy the Stars” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Claudia Gray (http://www.claudiagray.com). Ms. Gray has published 22 novels. This is the first in her “Constellation” series.

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 scenes of Violence. The story is set in the far future. The primary character is 17 year old Noemi Vidal, a fighter pilot for her home world of Genesis.

Genesis is in a war with Earth. During a battle around one of the gates that allows high speed travel between the settled worlds, Vidal’s best friend is injured. They are separated from help so Vidal takes her friend to the remains of an Earth ship left behind from an earlier battle.

Inadvertently Vidal frees an advanced robot left behind nearly 30 years earlier. At first they are adversaries, but the attachment between them grows over time. With her unexpected ally, Vidal travels between the civilized worlds to find a way to save her planet.

I enjoyed the nearly 10 hours I spent reading this Young Adult Science Fiction novel. There is a bit of romance and a bit of action. I liked the character of Vidal and of the robot. The cover art depicts the gateway which has a significant role in the story. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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

Review of “Alien busters”

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Book Reviews – “Alien busters” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Safa Shaqsy (http://safashaqsy.com). Ms. Shaqsy has published five novels. This is the first in a planned series surrounding the “Alien Busters”.

I received an ARC of this novella through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story is set on an Earth colony on a far away world. The primary character is young Nathalie, an Alien Buster.

As an Alien Buster, she and her colleagues, kill every alien that they can find. Her city on the colonized world believes them all to be a threat to humans. Then one day as she was on a mission to search and destroy aliens, she comes across a young alien and, instead of destroying it, smuggles it back to her home.

She soon involves her two best friends in her deception. They all think there is something that those in control of her city are hiding. They are trying to help Nathalie discover the hidden secrets and keep her ‘pet’ alien, Star, a secret.

I was glad that this was a 185 page read of less than three hours. I did not think this Young Adult Science Fiction novella was very good. The plot was simplistic and weak. I will not be reading any more in this series. The cover art is OK, but has little to do with the plot of the story. I give this novel a 2.9 (rounded up to a 3) out of 5.

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

Review of “Archangel”

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Book Reviews – “Archangel” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Margaret Fortune (https://margaretfortune.wordpress.com). Ms. Fortune has published two novels, both in her “Spectre War” series, this being the second book in the series.

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. Because of the age of the primary character, this might be considered a Young Adult novel, but the story content is pretty vivid. The story is set in the far future. Mankind has spread out through the stars and have finally encountered an extraterrestrial life form that seems bent on their destruction. The primary character is seventeen year old Celestial Expanse Guardian First Class Michael Sorenson.

The Celestial Expanse has been at war with the Tellurian Alliance. Suddenly they find themselves faced with a far deadlier enemy, the Spectres. The Spectres have wiped out the Tellurian Alliance and is now slowly gaining ground against the forces of the Celestial Expanse. They are invisible to the eye, drifting about but able to take over a human’s mind, then breed new Spectres to infect others.

Sorenson is recruited to a secret R&D facility within the Celestial Expanse. He and his colleagues are the front line in testing and evaluating new weapons to be used against the Spectres. Slowly Sorenson begins to find clues that there is a traitor at work within the R&D facility. No evidence is strong enough to involved his chain of command. As the R&D facility rushes towards testing a new weapon which they think will kill off the Spectres, there is also concern that the Spectres are about to mount some kind of offensive of their own.

Will Sorenson identify the traitor? Will the new weapon finally succeed in killing Spectres? Will humanity survive what ever the Spectres have planed?

I enjoyed the nearly 13 hours I spent reading this 461 page Science Fiction novel. While this is the second in the series, it read well as a stand-alone novel. I liked the way the characters were developed and the plot itself. The cover are is reasonable showing Sorenson in his battle armor. I give this novel a 4.4 (rounded down 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 “Lost Girls”

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Book Review – “Lost Girls” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Merrie Destefano (http://www.merriedestefano.com). Ms. Stefano 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the US. High School Junior Rachel wakes up in a ditch. She soon learns that she has been missing for two weeks. The worst part is that she can’t remember anything that has happened to her over the past year. The last thing she remembers is falling asleep in her room listening to music during her Sophomore year.

She discovers that over the past year, before the kidnapping, she had changed. She is astonished to find that she is romantically involved with a guy she would have been too timid to talk to before. She slowly investigates her own life, surprised at what she learns about herself. Slowly too, she begins to remember bits and pieces of the past year. She finds out that she is not the only lost girl, but she is the only one that has turned up alive.

The more she uncovers, she realizes that there has been a very dark side to her life over the past year. She also realizes that she has been involved with some very scary people. Will she remember how she was kidnapped and be able to save some of the other missing girls, or will her kidnappers find her again.

This was an interesting 6.5 hour read of a Young Adult Mystery. While there was romance, there was also a lot of dark, dangerous events in Rachel’s life. The plot certainly headed in unexpected directions as the story unfolds. The cover art is OK, but doesn’t really relate to the story being told. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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

Review of “Martians Abroad”

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Book Reviews – “Martians Abroad” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Carrie Vaughn (http://www.carrievaughn.com). Ms. Vaughn has published over 20 novels and numerous short stories.

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 scenes of mild Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in the far future when the Solar System has been colonized. A young Martian girl, Polly Newton, and her twin brother, Charles, are sent to Earth to attend the prestigious Galileo Academy.

They are the first Martians to attend the school. Students from other colonies are there as well. None of the off-world students fit in well, nor do the Earth students treat them as equals.

Dangerous accidents keep happening to Polly and her small circle of friends. She and her brother come to the conclusion that there is a conspiracy against them and they try to discover the source.

This was an OK 6 hour read of a Young Adult Science Fiction story. The story seems to be targeted at Middle School/High School girls since Polly is the primary character. I think it could have been better if there had been a little more meat to the story. The cover art is OK as certainly it gives the feeling of a young girl missing home, but I think something showing some action caused by one of the accidents would have been better. The way the story ends, there could easily be sequels, which I would reaed. I give this novel a 3.6 (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).

Austin Maker Faire

The Maker Faire is happening again in Austin this weekend (May 13-14) at the Palmer Event Center. I attended the first two held in Austin, but have missed the past 6 events. I do hope to drop in this weekend.

The article “Austin Is on a Mission to Keep Maker Faire Weird” gives you a little insight to what you might see there. If you have the free time, these are great events to visit. Kids who are interested in STEM careers or just tinkering will find the event fascinating. Likewise, us older ‘kids’ who like to create new gadgets or inventions will find the event equally interesting.

Trailer -“Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger”

Trailers – I don’t know much about this series yet, but since it is not scheduled to premier until 2018 we will all probably learn a lot more before it opens. This will be a 10-episode series on Freeform. The story is of two teenagers who discover that they have superpowers. The official synopsis is:

Cloak & Dagger is the story of Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph) – two teenagers from very different backgrounds, who find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers which are mysteriously linked to one another. Tandy can emit light daggers and Tyrone has the ability to engulf others in darkness. They quickly learn they are better together than apart, but their feelings for each other make their already complicated world even more challenging. 

Obviously there is a significant Young Adult Romance angle to this series. Will it be any good? I guess we will have to wait until next year to find out.