Monday, May 13, 2013

Defying Mars by Cidney Swanson

Jessamyn has escaped Earth with food for her starving world, but her troubles are just beginning. She must rebuild her life without Pavel, the Terran boy whose kiss haunts her. Her success is further tainted by the loss of her beloved brother. Ethan disabled the deadly lasers orbiting Mars, but this has created a fervor to re-open trade with Earth which Jess knows would be disastrous. Add into the mix a secret which could launch an interplanetary war, and Jess finds herself at the center of an intrigue where, in order to save the world she loves, she must defy it.

My review:

Not normally the type of book I would pick up, but by the time I got to the second half of the first book, Saving Mars, I was racing through the pages to see what happened. And by the end, I was DYING to read Defying Mars, the second book in the trilogy.

I love that Jess has faults. Some of them she overcomes, but mainly she just uses them to save the her world. Someone who was strictly obedient to official commands wouldn't have been able to do what Jess does. They wouldn't even dream of it. I love that by the second book, a bit of her naivety has worn off and she's not so raring to fly to Earth. But she does it anyway. She uses more reason to make her decisions, and basically we get to watch her grow up, which is TOTALLY what you want to see happen in a YA novel.

Imaginative, insightful writing make for a great second addition to Swanson's Saving Mars series.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell

Synopsis from Three-Time Christy Finalist Pens Another Winning Historical Romance
Lucy Kendall always assumed she'd help her father in his candy-making business, creating recipes and aiding him in their shared passion. But after a year traveling in Europe, Lucy returns to 1910 St. Louis to find her father unwell and her mother planning to sell the struggling candy company. Determined to help, Lucy vows to create a candy that will reverse their fortunes.
St. Louis newcomer Charlie Clarke is determined to help his father dominate the nation's candy industry. Compromise is not an option when the prize is a father's approval, and falling in love with a business rival is a recipe for disaster when only one company can win. Will these two star-crossed lovers let a competition that turns less than friendly sour their dreams?

Christina's Review: Since reading this blog I have ventured out from my comfort zone of reading just LDS fiction and a few YA novels. I have started reading some Christina fiction from the library. Some books I have read after reviews on this website and others from looking at I saw this one on Deseret Book's website. I immediately checked my library here in Indiana and was happy to see they had it. This is a new book, it was published at the beginning of March. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed reading a clean romance. I enjoyed the rivalry between Lucy and Charlie. I thought it was well written and it had a very engaging storyline. The book also talks about change and forgiveness. Both characters have to deal with forgiveness, forgiving others, themselves, and learn a great deal about the Lord's forgiveness. Lucy and Charlie learn to put the past behind them and move forward.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fields of Elysium by A. B. Whelan

How can love mend a heart full of hate?

Small town girl, Molly Bennett, moves to Los Angeles where she becomes an outsider while attending Beverly Hills High School. It seems life cannot be any more dreadful. Then one day after school, something magical happens. On a secluded hike in the Hollywood Hills, Molly chases her disobedient mutt and only friend into a hidden cavern. She stumbles upon a strange glimmering gateway that transports her to Arkana, a planet that is the cradle of an advanced human race. There, teenagers navigate amazing flying vehicles, compete in perilous games for glory, and possess supernatural powers.

While Molly tries to wrap her mind around this unbelievable discovery, she meets the alluring and mysterious Victor Sorren. He is a Sentinel Apprentice, whose hatred toward people from Earth is beyond understanding. Yet every time Victor unpredictably saves Molly’s life, his heart draws closer to hers, no matter how much he tries to fight against it. It further complicates things that their growing friendship is strictly forbidden. Earth people are prohibited in Arkana, yet Molly continues to cross through the portal to Arkana to see Victor. Torn between their double lives, they go down a dangerous path, from where there is no return and multiple endings.

Fields of Elysium is a suspenseful, romantic tale full of forbidden secrets, unimaginable danger, deception, and the never-ending fight for true love.

My review:
The Elysiam field is the concept of the afterlife for humans who were related to gods in Greek mythology. I had to look that up, to know more about it, but it totally made this book make sense in a different way for me, and I just loved the way it was used to create the story in this book.

While the teens in this book were a smidge unbelievable to me--something about the way they use language makes me think of an adult trying to sound like a teen--the writing was good, the characters were developed, and the overall experience was great. Definitely recommend to my YA readers.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 5:

“Earth?” A shock wave rippled across Weston’s face. He spun on his heels to view the majestic landscape of our grand city. His hands flew to his head and cupped his temples. “I don’t think I’m allowed to do this. The Almighty sees everything.”
“The Almighty? What are you talking about?”
“We’re prohibited from coming back. We don’t belong here.” Backing up, he tripped over a tumbleweed and landed on his butt. I squatted beside him, offering him my arm.
“I don’t understand you,” I said desperately.
With his face troubled, he looked at me, seized my arm and started to shake it. “I can’t be here! My father will kill me if he finds out about this.”
“Why? What do you know about Earth? Have you been here before?”
“Going back to Earth and mixing with earthlings is forbidden. I can lose everything just by being here.”
“Going back to Earth? Are you guys from here originally? Oh, no …” I trailed off, chewing on a nail as an idea started to develop. “It can’t be. Or maybe it can … are you living in the afterlife? I read it somewhere. I think it was in a book about ancient Greeks or something. Yeah, that’s it. The Fields of Elysium. The heaven for heroes. … Are you dead?”

Friday, May 3, 2013

Do Over by Shannon Guymon

Taken from  Who wouldn't be tired of dating after falling for the wrong woman over and over again? Trey has decided to take a much-needed break from the fairer sex, until Iris tumbles into his life. Their romance will either be a disaster waiting to happen or the best fairy tale since Sleeping Beauty. This final installment of the Alpine series will have you giving love another chance.

Christina's Review: I absolutely love Shannon Guymon's books. I have all of them and I have read all of them over and over again. I love the Alpine series and I am sad to see it end. This is her last book in the Alpine series. I LOVED it. I started it and couldn't put it down. It was so fun to read about the characters that are in the other books; to see Maggie, Sophie, Jacie, and Allison again. Trey and Iris are great characters and it is fun to read about the journey together as they move forward in life after both suffering heartbreak. . . although Trey's heartbreak in the book I think is a little overdone (if you read the Broken Road you will understand). But it is his heartbreak so who am I to judge? The writing is great, the story is great. You see a side of Sophie that you haven't seen before. You cheer for Iris as she confronts her past and lets herself be the person she wants to be. She is an independent woman and doesn't need to be the person her ex or her parents have molded her into. It is a great way to end the series of books about so many wonderful women who have to deal with different issues that have helped them learn and grow closer to each other. I highly recommend this book and the others she has written BUT I would recommend reading them in order: Makeover, Taking Chances, The Broken Road, and then Do Over. She is definitely one of my favorite authors!!!