Tag Archives: Young Adult

Book Review – The Skylark’s Sacrifice

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – J. M. Frey https://jmfrey.net(AKA Peggy Barnett) is the author of more than a dozen books. The Skylark’s Sacrifice was published in 2019 and is the second book in her Skylark Saga series. This is the 4th book I completed in 2023.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence and mature situations, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character is 17-year-old Robin Arianhod.

Arianhod has escaped from the Coyote with the rocket pack and is on the run. She uses it to strike out against Klonn’s war efforts. She is surprised when the Coyote tracks her down. She is surprised and thrilled when he joins her anti-war efforts.

Soon it is not only the city guards that are after her. The Coyote is wounded in a struggle with the Night Watch. Arianhod struggles to get him and herself to the safety of Madam Rose. Rose is one of the leaders of the Klonn rebels. They seem to want the war to end as much as Arianhod does.

As the Coyote recovers and begins to assist Arianhod with her strikes against the Klonn war machine, they grow closer. Soon the two are married. Arianhod concludes that their efforts are having little effect on the war. There is only one option to bring the war to an end. The King of Klonn must die.

Arianhod and her allies devise a daring plan. For it to work, she must rely on Madam Rosa and the Coyote. But can she really trust them? A substantial reward is being offered for her capture. Her husband is an aristocrat. Will he be able to turn his back on the throne and support her plan to assassinate the King?

I enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this 356-page young adult, steampunk novel. I had the opportunity to read the first novel in the series, The Skylark’s Song in 2022. Both novels have been enjoyable reads. Before reading this novel, it would be best to have read The Skylark’s Song. The plot is a little slow, but there is an exciting ending with a twist. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5.

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

Book Review – The Island

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Natasha Preston https://www.natashapreston.com is the author of 20 novels. The Island will be released 28 February 2023. This is the 104th book I completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this book/novel as R. The primary character is 17-year-old Paisley.

Paisley isn’t the typical teenage girl. Her passion is her blog which focuses on stories of true crime. The blog has made her one of the top teen social media influencers. That is what earns her the invitation to Jagged Island.

Jagged Island is a private amusement park for the very rich. It is set to open soon, and the owner wants Paisley, and a handful of other influencers, to hype the park. The six selected teens will enjoy an exclusive weekend at the park. They will be treated as VIPs and are expected to post about their experience.

Liam, James, Will, Ava, Harper, and Paisley find the park even better than they had expected. The gothic theme of the park is particularly appealing to Paisley. Their VIP experience is hosted by the park owner Malcolm Wyatt and four employees. What could go wrong with only a dozen people on a gothic-themed island?

A storm sweeps in to disable communication with the mainland. People begin to die. The thrilling amusement park weekend turns into a brutal struggle for survival.

I enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent reading this 336-page young adult thriller. Much of the novel is written in the first person from Paisley’s point of view. The dark cover art is a perfect fit for this novel. I give this novel a rating of 3.8 (rounded to 4) out of 5.

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

Book Review – The Skylark’s Song

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – J. M. Frey https://jmfrey.net(AKA Peggy Barnett) is the author of more than a dozen books. The Skylark’s Songwas published in 2018 and is the first volume of her Skylark Saga series. This was the 101st book I completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this book/novel as R. The primary character is 17-year-old Robin Arianhod.

Sergeant Arianhod has grown up with the war raging between Saskwya and Klonn. As per the custom, she had begun her apprenticeship when she was only 11. She had finally earned her way to crew a glider. She was the flight mechanic responsible for aircraft maintenance. In combat, she rides behind the pilot and drops bombs when commanded. She also defends their ship with her gun.

That all changes the day that her pilot is confronted by the Coyote. The Coyote is a ruthless Klonn pilot that has brought many Saskwya down. After her pilot is wounded, Arianhod must take over. Amazingly she holds her own against the Coyote and lands their plane.

For that feat of courage, Arianhod is promoted to pilot, a mighty achievement for one of her class. Her exploits in the air against the Klonn grow, and she takes on the nickname of the Skylark. Eventually, she once again faces the Coyote. As good as she has become, her luck runs out, and she is shot down.

While Arianhod survives the resulting crash, her close friend and flight engineer Al does not. The Coyote makes her his captive. Instead of the treatment she feared, he treats her like an aristocrat. Their relationship develops, but as much as she is attracted to him, he is still the enemy.

When a strange, one-of-a-kind rocket pack falls into the Coyote’s possession, Arianhod decides she must escape. She has been repairing it, and now it is ready. If the Klonn can utilize the rocket pack, the war will swing in their favor.

Arianhod sees the rocket pack as her means of escape. She hopes she can then use it to bring the decade-long war to an end. But to do so, she must slip away. Once she has escaped, she will have to survive miles behind enemy lines. The odds are against her, but she always has been lucky.

I enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this 288-page young adult, steampunk novel. This novel mixes intrigue, romance, and courage in a teenage girl’s life. The plot is infused with steampunk tech to give it an interesting twist. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 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).

Book Review – Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Nancy Springer https://www.nancyspringer.com is the author of more than 50 novels. Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade was published in 2022 and is the second book in this series. This was the 89th book I completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! I categorize this novel as G.

As the title implies, Sherlock’s younger teen sister, Enola Holmes, is the primary character. She is now living on her own in London and has established herself as a scientific perditorian. She is the one to engage if you want persons or things found.

When she finds her good friend Lady Cecily Alastair is again in trouble, Enola acts to assist her. The poor young woman is dominated by her father. Even her mother is strictly kept under his control. While Cecily’s rescue is successful, the young woman soon leaves the safety of Enola’s office and disappears.

Being a young and relatively naive aristocrat, London is dangerous. Enola realizes the situation is more dire when she discovers that Cecily suffers from a split personality. Sometimes Cecily is confident and independent. At other times she is timid and naive.

Can Enola find her friend before she falls prey to the darker side of London?

I enjoyed the 4 hours I spent reading this 155-page young adult mystery. The book is short. More of a novella than a novel. I have read the first novel in the series, Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche. I actually thought that book was a little better than this one. Both books have a weak plot, most likely because they are targeted at young adults. The cover art is well chosen for this novel. I give this novel a rating of 3.3 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.

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

Book Review – Devastation Class

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – This is the first novel to be published by authors Glen Zipper and Elaine Mongeon. Devastation Class was released in 2020. This is the 78th book I have completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as R.

After nine years of war with the Kastazi, the Earth Alliance has won a troubled peace. Little is known about the Kastazi or why they withdrew from the conflict. Several 17–18-year-old Alliance cadets and civilian students are aboard the Alliance Devastation Class starship California as part of their education.

At this most inopportune time, the Kastazi launch a sneak attack. Two cadets, JD Marshall and Viv Nixon, must take command of California if those aboard are to be saved. They desperately search for any other survivors of the attack. They only hope they can survive long enough to find others. In an act of desperation, the cadets are forced to risk everything and use the Blink Reactor to escape.

I enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this 349-page young adult science fiction novel. As with many young adult novels, this one has a handful of gifted teens thrust into extreme situations. They must step up to the challenge to survive. The story is alternately told from the first-person perspective of Marshall and Nixon. I enjoyed this novel and will be looking for sequels. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 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).

Book Review – Academy Bound

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – J. C. Mastro https://jcmastroauthor.com is the author of two novels. Academy Bound was published in 2022. It is the 58th book I’ve completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence and mature language, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character is 16-year-old Zachariah ‘Zack’ Aurelion.

Aurelion’s mother was an officer in the Earth Alliance. She went MIA eight years earlier at the end of the war. Now he wants to follow her into the Earth Alliance Fleet Academy. He wants to become a Command Officer. He wants to travel out into the stars. He has always been told that his mother is dead. He believes she is still alive, and he intends to find her.

Aurelion is in his first year at the Academy. His best friend, Russell ‘Russ’ White, is one of his fellow students. On the first day at the Academy, they meet Samantha ‘Sam’ Harriman. The three become close friends.

Together they suffer through the trials of first-year Academy students. Towards the end of the term, they are thrown into danger when the ICW suddenly attacks the EAS Dreadnought, where the three are on a training mission.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 356-page young adult science fiction novel. The novel reminds me a bit of Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. It is one of the typical coming-of-age novels for young adults, but I enjoyed it a lot. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 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).

Book Review of Cyborg Assassin 1

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Rayner Ye https://www.rayneryeauthor.com is the author of around 15 novels. Cyborg Assassin 1 was published in 2021 and is the first book in her Military Space Opera series.

I received an ARC of this book from the author with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as R. The primary characters are the young teens Oshun Musa and Frankie, but they are not the only characters.

After Oshun is orphaned, she must attend a military school. Other orphans are there too, learning to be soldiers. Oshun becomes a Space Marine. When the Interstellar Military agrees to join the Space Marines, the illegal child soldiers like Oshun are sent home.

Frankie had been living in a slum until he was taken in by a terrorist. Frankie knows what the terrorists are doing is wrong, but he feels obligated toward him.

Both Oshun and Frankie are faced with breaking their loyalties.

I enjoyed the 4.5 hours I spent reading this 229-page young adult science fiction novel. This novel has a lot of action but is a little rough around the edges. It feels more like a detailed outline than a fully fleshed-out novel. I do like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 3.4 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.

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

Book Review – Wakers

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Orson Scott Card http://hatrack.com is the author of 70 novels. Wakers was published in 2022 and is the first book in his Side Step trilogy.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. I categorize this book/novel as G. The primary character is teen Lazarus ‘Laz’ Hayerian.

Hayerian wakes up in the Vivipartum cloning facility on Earth. At first, he is alone with just a few dogs for company. The only other humans he encounters have been long dead. There are many other humans in the cloning facility, but they are all dead. At least he thought so at first. That is when he found the girl. She was the only other living human he had encountered. But she was still asleep in her container.

Hayerian can remember his life before, or at least the life of his original. He hadn’t had the easiest life, but he did have an advantage. He can switch or side-step to a parallel universe. If he finds himself in danger or confronted with a problem, he just side-steps to another universe. He chooses one where the Hayerian’s circumstances there are different.

He survives with just the dogs for a while. Then he encounters another human and discovers why the town is deserted. At that point (about 30% into the novel) he attempts to wake the girl.

After that, they are both swept up in humanity’s attempt to save themselves. A rogue planet is on a collision course with Earth, and finding a friendly alternate dimension is their only hope.

I enjoyed the 11 hours I spent reading this 397-page science fiction young adult novel. I have read several novels by Mr. Card, and I have consistently enjoyed them. The others are Ender’s GameSpeaker of the DeadXenocideThe Worthing Chronicle, and Lost and Found. The cover art is plain but does relate to the story. I give this novel a rating of 5 out of 5.

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

Book Review: “The Agency”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Monica McGurk https://monicamcgurk.com published the novel The Agency earlier this month. This is the first book in her Norwood Nanny Chronicles series and her fourth novel.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence. The primary character is Briana B. ‘Bree’ Parrish.

Parrish has just arrived at Norwood College in the UK. She is an orphan from Alabama and is there on a full scholarship. Norwood is an elite school in the UK for young women to train as nannies. She is the first and only American to be admitted to Norwood. She and her assigned study group struggle to successfully complete their first half-year and be included in the exclusive certificate program.

They all knew that Norwood trained world-class nannies. To their surprise, they discover that it also trains spies for MI6. As they undertake their first training mission, it becomes apparent they may be a traitor in their midst. Parris is a suspect in the failure of their mission. She can trust no one and wants to uncover the traitor to clear her name. She also wants to find out more about her own past. Both of those goals lead to her being in life-threatening situations.

I enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 362-page young adult thriller. I was surprised that the book was labeled a Middle-Grade Mystery / Thriller. It contains violence and drinking, as well as implied mature situations. The plot was not very complex, but it is a young adult novel. I did enjoy it and will be looking for sequels to the series. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5.

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

Book Review: “Four-Fisted Tales: Animals in Combat”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Ben Towie http://www.benzilla.com published the graphic novel “Four-Fisted Tales: Animals in Combat” in 2021. He has published five works.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘G’. This book looks at the relationship between animals and the military over the ages. Some mentioned were service animals while others were mascots. Each of the animals has made its own impact on history.

I enjoyed the 0.5+ hours I spent reading this 120-page graphic novel. It is well drawn and I enjoyed each of the short stories. While I recognize that the work is targeted at a younger audience, it is very short. Too short in my opinion. I do like the selected over art. I give this graphic novel a 3.5 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

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