Sunday, June 23, 2013

FML: By Shaun David Hutchinson



Tonight’s the night: Simon’s big chance to finally get with Cassie. Cassie, who he’s loved for ages. Cassie, who is newly boyfriend-free. Cassie, who just happens to be throwing the biggest party of the year. Simon’s plan is simple: He’ll go to the party, she’ll fall in love with him, they’ll make out like crazy, and the night will be a complete success.

But things don’t ever go as planned…especially when it comes to Cassie.

In two alternating plotlines, Simon goes after the girl of his dreams and stumbles toward his destiny. It’s one night, one party, and a thousand ways for things to go wrong…but a million ways for them to go right.


FML does something that I really haven’t read before in a non-science fiction/fantasy book, it takes the reader down two different alternative realities based on the single decision of the protagonist. What this split of realities does is allow readers to see the full story without characters seeming to spill their guts so that the readers know what’s going on. Not only that but the different realities play off each other switching right when the normal progression of a story would begin to fall flat. This energizes the story and keeps readers captivated until the very last page.

Of course, besides the split realities, which allowed the story arcs to be flushed out more than most books, FML also just has plain sensational characters. I would say that the split realities allowed Shaun David Hutchinson to make the characters more engaging and realistic, but Hutchison has already proven that he can and does create truly amazing characters. This was proven in Hutchinson’s previous book The Deathday Letter. It's hard to pin down exactly what makes Hutchinson's characters so likable, but they truly are. Perhaps it's how relatable they are. Perhaps it's the fact that Hutchinson is able to capture the real essence of teenage insecurity, hope, and recklessness. Or maybe it's just some unknown quality. Whatever it is, Hutchinson truly has a gift, and for this reason alone readers should buy FML.  

As for the story itself FML is just plain great. It's funny, filled to the brim with party hijinks, and still makes time to create very real and heartfelt moments that readers will be sure to commiserate with.

Between the story and the characters readers wont be able to put FML down until the last page is finished, making FML a must read for anyone looking for an engaging and well written book. A definite must buy.


Publisher: Simon Pulse

Published: June 25, 2013

Price: $9.99

Link to Buy:

The Feros: By Wesley King



James, Hayden, Sam, Emily and Lana are finally ready to join the League of Heroes. Their new powers have made them stronger than ever (Hayden has perfected some particularly useful tricks for doing housework from the sofa), and the friends even gave themselves a name: the Feros. But as their induction into the League approaches, they are ambushed and arrested by a group of rogue Heroes. The only one who can clear their name is the League’s leader, Thunderbolt—but he’s gone missing. The Feros manage to escape capture, but with Thunderbolt gone and several League members defecting, there is no one left to trust.

Confident they can overcome anything together, the group’s security is shaken when Emily is mysteriously abducted right out from under them. Have the Vindico somehow managed to escape the impenetrable Perch? Or are they fighting a new enemy that they can’t see? One thing they know for sure is that even Sam’s telepathic detection has proven useless against this unknown foe. Without their computer genius or their telepathic shield, how will the Feros ever find Emily and keep themselves—and their families—safe?


Awesome superpowers. Check.

Nonstop action. Check.

Fun characters with witty dialog. Check.

A must buy book that anyone looking for an entertaining super powered book. Check.

I’m usually a sucker for a superhero book, but even I have my limits. If it doesn’t have strong relatable characters, the plot has holes, or its just plain bad writing then even I wont like it.

Luckily, none of these problems happen in this book.

In fact besides the nonstop action (who doesn’t like to see Hayden and James smash things), the strong characters were probably my favorite part of the book. Hayden, Sam, James, Lana, and Emily are likable, relatable, and strong willed protagonists. They will stop at nothing to protect each other, even fighting the league itself. So when Emily is abducted, the team is put to the test, fighting norms and supers alike in order to get her back.

In case you haven’t realized yet, I really liked The Feros. The Feros is full of fun and relatable characters, nonstop action, and tons of super powers. Not only that, but The Feros answers and confirms some of the questions readers were left with in Vindico. Who actually started the League? Who else has the ability to give super powers? Who is behind the dissension in the ranks in the League? If you have no idea what I’m talking about at all (or don’t know what the League is) then I’d recommend reading the first book in the series, The Vindico, before reading The Feros. But on the plus side The Vindico is a fun book that readers will truly enjoy.

All in all I fully recommend The Feros. It has action, super powers, and great characters. If you’re looking for a good summer read, then look no further.


Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Published: June 27, 2013

Price: $16.99

Hunted: By Kevin Hearne



For a two-thousand-year-old Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan is a pretty fast runner. Good thing, because he’s being chased by not one but two goddesses of the hunt—Artemis and Diana—for messing with one of their own. Dodging their slings and arrows, Atticus, Granuaile, and his wolfhound Oberon are making a mad dash across modern-day Europe to seek help from a friend of the Tuatha Dé Danann. His usual magical option of shifting planes is blocked, so instead of playing hide-and-seek, the game plan is . . . run like hell.

Crashing the pantheon marathon is the Norse god Loki. Killing Atticus is the only loose end he needs to tie up before unleashing Ragnarok—AKA the Apocalypse. Atticus and Granuaile have to outfox the Olympians and contain the god of mischief if they want to go on living—and still have a world to live in.


As I’ve mentioned before I’m a big fan of Kevin Hearne’s The Iron Druid series. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I give this latest addition to the series top marks. What may surprise you are some of the events that take place in Hunted. To say I was shocked by the events that transpired is an understatement. I actually went back and reread the different shocking scenes, moments after reading them (just to make sure I had read the section correctly, and what I thought happened actually did happen.) In fact this literary double take is just my first reaction. Still having just finished the book I’m dumbfounded by the events that came to pass. I don’t want to give anything away but I will say this, Hunted is a game changer. I can’t wait for the next book in the series (Shattered) just to see what happens next.

As for the characters, as usual the characters are amazing. Atticus is one of my favorite protagonists in any book I’ve read, so I always love to read from his perspective. He is an amazing combination of kickass, zen master, and 15 year old boy all mixed into an awesome character who is smart, strong, and resourceful. But I think it’s this the fact that he also makes mistakes that makes him so perfect. He has millennia of experience and but because he's still a human he doesn't know everything. On top of all that he’s funny, he’s happy to run and joke around with Oberon, and he still gets flustered around Granuaile (all very much in line with the 15 year old boy element).  Of course, Atticus isn’t the only awesome character; Oberon and Granuaile are also awesome and provide some absolutely sidesplitting humor.

That said one of my only complaints about the book (and remember this is only a very minor complaint) is Granuaile’s POV that Hearne switched to in this book. I don’t have a problem with Granuaile as a character. In fact, I think she’s an awesome character. She’s fierce, strong, and fresh enough to all of this that readers are able to see a new side of druid life through her. What I had a problem with was that her thoughts just felt forced. She felt to meta at times, seeming to be an uber sentient being, rather than the character readers have gotten to know over the last few books.

That said, even with that one small issue this book is fantastic. Tons of action, great characters, shocking turns of events that will be sure to leave readers dumbfounded, and at $7.99 it's one of the best deals you're likely to see. Plus to top it all off, Hearne does a fantastic job integrating the different myths into the storyline. All in all I loved Hunted and can’t wait to read Shattered (the next book in the Iron Druid series). Perfect for fans of urban fantasy, myth based fantasy, or anyone looking for a good book.


Publisher: Del Rey

Published: June 25, 2013

Price: $7.99

Link to Buy:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Human Division: By John Scalzi



The people of Earth now know that the human Colonial Union has kept them ignorant of the dangerous universe around them. For generations the CU had defended humanity against hostile aliens, deliberately keeping Earth an ignorant backwater and a source of military recruits. Now the CU’s secrets are known to all. Other alien races have come on the scene and formed a new alliance—an alliance against the Colonial Union. And they’ve invited the people of Earth to join them. For a shaken and betrayed Earth, the choice isn't obvious or easy.

Against such possibilities, managing the survival of the Colonial Union won’t be easy, either. It will take diplomatic finesse, political cunning…and a brilliant “B Team,” centered on the resourceful Lieutenant Harry Wilson, that can be deployed to deal with the unpredictable and unexpected things the universe throws at you when you’re struggling to preserve the unity of the human race.


I listened to the Human Division and absolutely loved it.

Not only does Scalzi write each individual segment of this book like an old radio serial, keeping each segment filled with nonstop action that seem to conclude at the end of the chapter, but Scalzi also builds each of these segments off each other into something even greater. Scalzi takes each of these adventures and combines them into a great overarching story arc.

Fans of Scalzi’s Old Man War universe will love this book as it takes place after the events of The Last Colony, but at the same time new readers of this universe should have no problem diving right in and enjoying every moment of The Human Division.

The Human Division is filled with enjoyable characters. I especially loved Hart Schmidt and Harry Wilson, who treat readers to humorous banter, sarcasm, and strong leadership.

All in all The Human Division is a great book. I can’t wait for the next in the series to see what Scalzi has in store for these characters. And if you happen to listen to the audio book then know that William Dufris does an absolutely amazing job narrating.


Publisher: Tor

Published: May 14, 2013

Price: $25.99

Link to Buy:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Beautiful Land: By Alan Avrill



Takahiro O’Leary has a very special job…

…working for the Axon Corporation as an explorer of parallel timelines—as many and as varied as anyone could imagine. A great gig—until information he brought back gave Axon the means to maximize profits by changing the past, present, and future of this world.

If Axon succeeds, Tak will lose Samira Moheb, the woman he has loved since high school—because her future will cease to exist. A veteran of the Iraq War suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Samira can barely function in her everyday life, much less deal with Tak’s ravings of multiple realities. The only way to save her is for Tak to use the time travel device he “borrowed” to transport them both to an alternate timeline.

But what neither Tak nor Axon knows is that the actual inventor of the device is searching for a timeline called the Beautiful Land—and he intends to destroy every other possible present and future to find it.

The switch is thrown, and reality begins to warp—horribly. And Tak realizes that to save Sam, he must save the entire world…


The Beautiful Land starts off odd and only gets weirder from there. As Tak and Sam jump between realities readers will be both engrossed and confused, constantly waiting in eager anticipation to see what happens next. I found myself both unable to put it down and utterly shocked when I did manage to by how much of the book I had read in a single sitting. The action and suspense is infectious and readers if they are anything like me wont be able to put the book down once you start.

Of course while the action and never ending suspense are engrossing my personal belief is that The Beautiful Land’s best quality is its writing. I’ve read reality and time jumping based books before and most of them fall short in the simplicity in the writing, instead trying to confuse, adding layer upon layer of complexity and needless characters and situations just because they can. Averill does add random other characters but he uses them in interesting ways to show the effect and check on the realities, not just as a literary style technique. Not only that but the simplicity in the writing feeds the suspense that the story itself builds allowing readers to get more engrossed in the story and thus enjoying it more.

This book isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoy mind bending tales about mad scientists, survivalists reality stars, and reality jumping,  then this will certainly be your cup of tea. 


Publisher: Ace

Published: June 4, 2013

Price: $15.00

Link to Buy:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Far Far Away: By Tom McNeal



It says quite a lot about Jeremy Johnson Johnson that the strangest thing about him isn't even the fact his mother and father both had the same last name. Jeremy once admitted he's able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it's been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn't been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales have happy endings. . . 


The first thing I have to say about Far Far Away is that book is not for everyone. I don’t’ want to spoil anything, but at the same time I feel I should warn potential readers so they don’t come in expecting one thing and come out aghast at what they are reading. What I will say is this story follows the path of old school Grimm stories, in that there are some very graphic scenes late in the book. I hope I didn’t give to much away there, but I DID like this book, and I would hate people to buy it expecting one thing and get something completely different.

As I mentioned, even with its darkness I really liked Far Far Away. The most first thing to say about Far Far Away is that it is somewhat an homage to Grimm fairy tales. Yes, the ghost and narrator of the book is one of the Grimm brothers, and Jeremy reads fairy tales, but in truth there are deeper levels likening it to Grimm. As mentioned before, the story arc is very similar to a dark Grimm fairy tale, but the very dialog itself even reads like a fairy tale.

Of course besides being a beautiful homage to Grimm fairy tales, this book is just well written. The characters are both likable and broken. Even Jacob, the Grimm Brother ghost, is broken, and it is an essential part of the story in discovering how he is broken and why he is there. Yes, some of the characters appear two-dimensional, but instead of detracting from the story, these characters help support the homage sense to a fairy tale.

As for the story itself, it doesn’t have action scenes, no slaying of the dragon, instead it depends on the emotions of the characters. Readers will feel sad when something bad happens to Jeremy, the will be elated when Ginger helps him discover a possible way out of his troubles, and they will feel sick when the darker period comes, finally they will have tears in their eyes when they read the final pages of the book. Truly this book’s greatest asset is its ability to pull on the heart strings of its readers.

As I mentioned I really liked this book. I thought it was well written, had great characters and dialog, and made me feel for the characters. The only hesitation I have with it is that it is darker than it first appears. Know that and you will be prepared and will thoroughly enjoy this book.


Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers

Published: June 11, 2013

Price: $17.99

Link to Buy:

Planet Thieves: By Dan Krokos



Two weeks ago, thirteen-year-old Mason Stark and seventeen of his fellow cadets from the Academy for Earth Space Command boarded the SS Egypt. The trip was supposed to be a short routine voyage to log their required spacetime for summer quarter.

But routine goes out the airlock when they’re attacked by the Tremist, an alien race who have been at war with humanity for the last sixty years.

With the captain and crew dead, injured, or taken prisoner, Mason and the cadets are all that’s left to warn the ESC. And soon they find out exactly why the Tremist chose this ship to attack: the Egypt is carrying a weapon that could change the war forever.

Now Mason will have to lead the cadets in a daring assault to take back the ship, rescue the survivors, and recover the weapon. Before there isn’t a war left to fight.


Librarians or parents looking for a book for young boys should look no further than Dan Krokos’ The Planet Thieves. This doesn’t mean that girls wont enjoy the book as well, but because of its action, adventure, lasers, weapons of mass destruction, and warring aliens, it is sure to keep even the most hesitant middle grade reader captivated.

The plot itself will suck in reluctant readers; a space cadet must gather and arm his fellow cadets as they attempt to save the rest of their crew from the alien race that has captured their ship while looking for the human’s new weapon of mass destruction. This coupled with intrigue, lasers, and shocking reveals is sure to entertain.

But, while the plot pulls readers in, it’s the nonstop action that will keep them from putting the book down. Much like Eric Nylund’s The Resisters series, this new series never stops moving. Between laser battles, attacking “The King”, the head of the alien race which has captured the ship, and avoiding death by the closest margins, middle school readers won’t be able to put it down.

All in all The Planet Thieves is a fantastic middle grade book. It has action, adventure, likable characters, and a take charge protagonist that keeps the story moving and is sure to excite and enthrall young readers. Krokos has begun a new series that will have readers eagerly awaiting each new installment with baited breath.


Published: Mary 21, 2013

Publisher: Starscape 

Price: $15.99

Link to Buy: