Friday, January 27, 2017

EKO by Loren Walker

Goodreads Summary

Shortlisted for the 2016 Half the World Global Literari Award. 
2016 Shelf Unbound Best Indie "Notable 100" Pick
Select Pick by the Library Journal's Self-e Module. 

Midnight in Osha: an injured woman is left at the gates of a commune. Eighteen-year-old Sydel, an apprentice hungry to prove her worth, is certain that healing the blue-haired stranger will finally win the respect of her community. But tensions spike when two men appear in search of their sister: Phaira, the woman in the clinic. And when Sydel’s experimental medical treatments prove successful, instead of offering accolades, her elders make the sudden decision to banish her. 

Guilt-ridden, Phaira and her brothers, Renzo and Cohen, offer shelter to the bewildered girl, and take Sydel with them into the violent, industrial North. Then the reason behind the expulsion comes to light: Sydel is an Eko, a being that can read minds and accelerate healing. And when word of her talents goes public, Sydel becomes a valuable prize to possess, with the siblings as her only means of defense.

My Thoughts

First, let me just say that Eko is an extremely fascinating book.  It follows the story of a girl named Sydel.  She basically has a unique ability, called Eko, that allows her to hear people's thoughts and even send her thoughts to them.  Sydel isn't the only person with this special ability.

When I first started reading this book I had a little bit of a difficult time getting into it.  You're kind of thrown right in with no backstory so it is hard to keep up with what is happening.  It was about a third of the way through the book that everything finally clicked and it all made sense.  Don't get me wrong, it was all still very interesting even when I didn't fully understand exactly what was happening haha!  But when it clicked...Aha!  It went from good to great!

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes the YA Dystopian/sci-fi genre.  It's a good one!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Zola Flash and The Forgotten by T. Marie Alexander

Goodreads Summaries

Zola Flash


Zola is a Victian. And for as long as she’s been alive, her planet has been at war with the ruthless, demeaning Payohlini.

After witnessing the gruesome murder of her family, Zola Flash decides it is time to escape with the one person she was taught to hate before she meets the same fate. Earth seems to be the perfect place to hide out – to pretend her whole life didn’t come crashing down.

While on Earth, fitting in and making new friends are Zola’s main goal. It’s what she wants. A family to call her owns. But then, Zola uncovers family lies and the true reason behind this never ending war. 

Now it's up to Zola and the enemy, who is swiftly stealing her heart, to save her people and gain retribution for her family. But when revenge and protecting her people mean relinquishing her freedom, she's left with a difficult choice.

The Forgotten

Her family
Her home.
Her sense of self.

Another home.
And Pin, the Payohlini she loves above all else.

With Renz gone and no one to command the Payohlini army, Zola assumed everything would go back to normal. Well, as normal as life could be for someone like her. The war should be over and her planet and people should be safe. Having accomplished what she set out to do—getting revenge for her family’s murder, she even dares to dream of days spent as a normal girl, of dates with Pin without them looking over their shoulders for flying swords. No more hiding, but living the kind of life she always thought she’d have.
With new responsibilities come new problems, though—as well as a Flash from her past that she didn’t see coming. 
One that threatens to change everything.
Zola thought she had nothing else to lose. Unfortunately, she’s about to get a galactic awakening.
No one ever said being a princess would be easy.

My Thoughts

In the beginning I had a little trouble following Zola Flash.  The author's writing style took me a little while to follow.  However, once I was able to get used to the writing style, I started to enjoy the book more.  There were several twists and turns in the plot and I really enjoyed getting to know the characters.  I'm honestly not a huge fan of books that end with a cliffhanger but this one was well written.  All in all, Zola Flash turned out to be a pretty good read.

I do think that I enjoyed The Forgotten more than I enjoyed Zola Flash.  More than likely, it is because I was already familiar with the author's writing style and the characters.  Speaking of the characters, Zola certainly hasn't had an easy life!  She just wants to finally have a calm, normal life but that doesn't seem to be in the cards.  The Forgotten is a great continuing story of Zola's life and adventures.  Well done, T. Marie Alexander!  Thanks for the books!

*Note:  I received copies of these books from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Shaky Man by Mark S. Parker

Goodreads Summary

Stay away from Shaky Man. Every kid in the small town of Tonkaway, Texas, knows that.

He eats little kids, murdered his wife, and mistreats his dogs, to boot. That’s what they say, anyway. Top doesn’t entirely know what to think about the rumors. He’s too busy settling into his new home, playing baseball and making friends—like Mickey, a black boy who soon becomes his best friend of all.

Everything changes when a shocking murder turns the town, along with Top and Mickey’s lives, upside down. Neighbors show their true colors. Shaky Man’s secrets are revealed. Through it all, Top learns again and again just how confusing and unfair the world can be. A tale of childhood set in the 1960s, Shaky Man timelessly reaffirms the basic goodness of humanity and the importance of friendship and compassion in the face of prejudice.

My Thoughts

Here's a bit of honesty for you, I didn't have any expectations of liking this book very much.  Not that I thought I would 'dislike' necessarily, but I didn't think that it would stick in my mind.  I had no reason to feel this way.  The blurb actually sounds really interesting!  I don't know if it was the cover that made me think that I wouldn't love it, the fact that it's a middle grade book, or just me being weird.  Anyways, I said that to say this... I was wrong.

Shaky Man is a very interesting read, much more so than I initially expected!  It is definitely a middle grade book so it's not exactly "my kind of book" anymore but it is certainly one that I will be recommending to middle grade students.  This book teaches important life lessons while keeping a fun, lighthearted element with the baseball storyline.  Very enjoyable, great read!

*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.