Friday, April 15, 2016

All Of Wizardry Is A Never-Ending Game

This review is for those who have read or are familiar with the previous books, or don't mind knowing spoilers for them. Games Wizards Play, however, will remain spoiler-free.

Games Wizards Play
~Games Wizards Play~
Young Wizards
Book 10

By Diane Duane
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Every eleven years, Earth's senior wizards hold the Invitational: an intensive three-week event where the planet's newest, sharpest young wizards show off their best and hottest spells. Wizardly partners Kit Rodriguez and Nita Callahan, and Nita's sister, former wizard-prodigy Dairine Callahan, are drafted in to mentor two brilliant and difficult cases: for Nita and Kit, there’s Penn Shao-Feng, a would-be sun technician with a dangerous new take on managing solar weather; and for Dairine, there's shy young Mehrnaz Farrahi, an Iranian wizard-girl trying to specialize in defusing earthquakes while struggling with a toxic extended wizardly family that demands she perform to their expectations.

Together they're plunged into a whirlwind of cutthroat competition and ruthless judging. Penn's egotistical attitude toward his mentors complicates matters as the pair tries to negotiate their burgeoning romance. Meanwhile, Dairine struggles to stabilize her hero-worshiping, insecure protégée against the interference of powerful relatives using her to further their own tangled agendas.

Man, am I glad I didn't read that last (hidden) preview paragraph before I read the book. That would have taken away practically all of the tension! I mean, I guess you could/should see it coming if you look at it logically, but where's the fun if three quarters of the plot is spoiled before you even read the book? There had to be a better hook than that to sell your book.

But really, if you've read this far into the series, how could you not automatically pick up Book 10?

Monday, September 8, 2014

The First Three Wishes Are Free, But If You Need a Fourth...

This review is for those who have read or are familiar with the previous book, The Art of Wishing, or don't mind knowing some spoilers for it. The Fourth Wish, however, will remain spoiler-free.

The Fourth Wish
~The Fourth Wish~
The Art of Wishing
Book 2

By Lindsay Ribar
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Here's what Margo McKenna knows about genies:

She's seen Aladdin more times than she can count; she's made three wishes on a magic ring; she's even fallen head over heels in love with Oliver, the cute genie whose life she saved by fighting off his archenemy. But none of this prepared her for the shock of becoming a genie herself.

At a time when she's trying to figure out who she wants to be, Margo is forced to become whomever her master wants. Everything she's taken for granted—graduating high school, going to college, performing in the school musical, even being a girl—is called into question. But she's also coming into a power she never imagined she'd have.

How will Margo reconcile who she is with what she's becoming? And where will she and Oliver stand when she's done?

After that non-ending from the last book, I was excited to dive into this one. After all, we had a new genie on the loose and I had no clue where this book was going to take her, even after watching a slightly spoilery interview with the author. So, I guess if you're looking for a new big bad to show up and the genies having to work their magic to save the world, you're going to be kinda disappointed. But if you're interested in seeing how a teen deals with a life-changing, magical decision, then you'll probably want to continue reading. I mentioned the last book had no dénouement *. Well, get ready for 350 pages of dénouement, because it's time to deal with the consequences!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

I Can't Just Pull Wishes Out of Thin Air, You Know

The Art of Wishing
~The Art of Wishing~
The Art of Wishing
Book 1

By Lindsay Ribar
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie's ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn't know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else's hands?

But Oliver is more than just a genie—he's also a sophomore at Margo's high school, and he's on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.

Confession time. The sole reason I picked up this book was to read it for/with Booze Your Own Adventure's book club. A few weeks ago they mentioned that they were going to talk with author Lindsay Ribar (SPOILERS INCLUDED) about her debut, The Art of Wishing, and recently released sequel, The Fourth Wish. And, while I'm a bit late to the party, I figured I might as well dig in and see what this YA paranormal romance genie series had.

I kinda wish I had read this before Robin Williams' passing.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Not Just A Wild Wolf, But A Werewolf

Werewolf Rising
~Werewolf Rising~
By R.L. LaFevers
Amazon ~ Powell's

Luc Grayson is just like any other boy. He's about to turn thirteen and his body is changing. All too suddenly, he finds himself becoming faster, stronger, more aggressive. But unlike his classmates, Luc is increasingly troubled by nightmares and strange urges. Then a stranger appears in the home Luc has shared with his Aunt Jane and Uncle Stephen since his parents died when he was three. The mysterious man claims he has come to take Luc back to his father's people. Luc is about to learn a thrilling and terrifying truth: like his ancestors, he is a shape-shifter, and on his thirteenth birthday he will change form for the first time. Under the full moon, his bones and muscles with stretch, he'll drop to all fours, his mouth and nose will become a pointed muzzle with lethal fangs, and thick fur will sprout through his skin.

He will become a wolf.

Luc is dazzled by his new powers, and he realizes he has longed for the sense of family his new-found relatives—his pack—provide. But Luc has brought danger to his new community. His uncle Stephen hates and fears the shape-shifters, and how that they have taken Luc, he'll stop at nothing to see them wiped out. It will take all of Luc's abilities—wolf and human—to save his pack, and himself.

Once I heard that Robin LaFevers, the author of one of my new favorite series, had once penned a werewolf novel I knew I had to check it out as soon as possible. Published back in 2006 for a middle grade audience under the pseudonym R.L. LaFevers (no doubt because the main character was a boy and we wouldn't want to advertise that women could write boys' books), I didn't really expect much from it, but still was hopeful for an interesting take on werewolves from an author I greatly enjoyed.

Let's just say, there's a good reason you don't hear much about this book.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Today's Test Will Determine Which Field of Study You're Best Suited For

This review is for those who have read or are familiar with the previous book, The Testing, or don't mind knowing some spoilers for it. Independent Study, however, will remain spoiler-free.

Independent Study
~Independent Study~
The Testing
Book 2

By Joelle Charbonneau
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

With her brutal Testing experience forgotten thanks to a government-issued memory wipe, seventeen-year-old Cia Vale is eager to begin her studies at the Commonwealth's elite University, as is Tomas, the boy she loves.

Their bright futures are threatened by the past, however, when violent nightmares that feel more like memories force Cia to question reality and the true motives lurking behind the friendly faces of her classmates.

Embarking on a forbidden course of study that could get her killed, Cia delves into the Commonwealth's darkest secrets. What she learns changes everything...

The Testing was just the beginning.

From a familiar premise arose a story so nailbitingly gripping I literally could not put it down. Though I had my suspicions that this series could turn into a Hunger Games lite, I was pleasantly surprised to find a refreshing complexity and ingenuity in the sequel that has me even more excited for the conclusion. So if you prefer your dystopia with more subterfuge than battlefields, you'll definitely enjoy the unexpected turn this series took as much as I did.