Posts Tagged ‘young adult’

For my reviews on the previous books in the series go to:

Book 1: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/book-review-wednesday-virals-4-stars/

Book 2: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/book-review-we…rals-2-4-stars/

Book 2.5: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/book-review-we…ok-2-5-5-stars/

 

I feel like the series has grown up in this book. It’s a little more serious. As serious as a series can be when the main characters get infected with a virus that gives them superpowers, find pirate treasure, and stumble into a crazy murderer’s elaborate game all in less than a year!

So, Hi takes up geocaching, which is where people bury things for others to find. The cache contains a puzzle that they solve to get to the next cache. This is where things stop being a game. It contains a fake bomb, and a warning from the gamemaster that if they stop playing his game then he’ll explode a real one.

People die in this book. In the previous books there’ve been a lot of close calls, and we’ve had some mentioned murders, and a couple dead bodies that died long ago. In this one we see a recent death that the kids might’ve been able to stop, and that hits them hard.

This book is a lot darker than the previous two. The boys aren’t following around a head-strong Tory who’s determined to solve a mystery for whatever reason. They’re being dragged around by a madman who for once might be cleverer than them. It’s a nice change that adds some variety into the series.

It may just be me, but the characters seem to have more even roles in this book. Instead of Tory doing most of the work, everyone chips in to save the day. Tory’s dad even shows up to provide a heroic moment. I think that was one of my very favorite parts.

And for once there isn’t a picture perfect happy ending. Most things are wrapped up, but there’s a twist that I didn’t expect that really tugged at my heart strings and showed me how fond I’ve become of these characters.

I won’t lie to you. This isn’t the best written series, but they are addicting. The characters aren’t as fleshed out as they could be, but they’re funny and kindhearted. The puzzles are fun (though as with the previous book some are so simple I was wondering how they couldn’t get them.) The plots, while not deep, are enjoyable and filled with action. I’m definitely hanging around for the next book.

For more reviews on this book check out: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7744611-code

 

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For my reviews on the previous Virals books go to:

Book 1: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/book-review-wednesday-virals-4-stars/

Book 2: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/book-review-we…rals-2-4-stars/

This one is a short story. Only 80 pages. It took a while to get into for me, because the other books have only had Tory’s POV, and this one gets into all the Virals heads. This doesn’t mean it was bad. On the contrary, it was neat to see what they were thinking, especially Ben. It did take a few chapters to get used to it though.

We also get to see Temperance. She is one smart lady. All the adults in the previous books have been pretty clueless about what’s going on with the kids, but if anyone’s likely to work it out, it’ll be her. Good thing she’s not around often.

So, there’s been a break in at Loggerhead. Of course that means headstrong Tory HAS to sneak in and try to crack the case. She didn’t need to. Her Aunt Tempe is there for a visit and plans to do her own investigation. And it’s not like they can tell everyone they solved the case. Maybe it’s the thrill of solving the puzzle, or maybe she just wanted to be sure the thief wouldn’t get away with it. Either way, I wouldn’t want to be her friend and get dragged along on all these dangerous missions. They were in a crime scene that was just about to be searched! What if the wrong person noticed some evidence they left behind and accused them of the break in?

I enjoy these books, but sometimes they annoy me. It’s like part of me goes ‘cool, another law broken. Excitement!’ And another part of me wants to yell at them to ‘stop. Think about what they’re doing. Make a smart choice.’

Overall this book won me over. Five stars. It’s a fun little tale. The plot is simple, but with only 80 pages it had to be. I prefer sticking to Tory’s POV for the novels, but for this shorter story it was interesting to see how everyone’s thought processes worked. Tempe was a cool addition.

If you’ve enjoyed the other Viral books then check this one out. It’s worth a read. Word of warning though: if you haven’t read the previous books you’ll be hopelessly lost, so check out them first.

For more reviews on this book go to: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17472970-shift

My review of Virals 1: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/book-review-wednesday-virals-4-stars/

I’m a fan of Kathy Reichs Temperance Brennan series, which is how I got into these younger books. They’re a lot of fun, but they are definitely aimed at a younger age group, so be warned. They remind me a lot of the Famous Five series I used to love as a kid. Teenagers get involved in crazy adventures, and somehow make it out to save the day. Totally unrealistic, but fun!

While the book starts with a recap, you’re still going be pretty confused if you haven’t read the first book. Check out the above link if you want to read what I thought of that one. The characters are fun. The main character Tory is a bit of a Mary Sue at times. That can get a little annoying. But at least she has agency. Sure, she’s suspiciously good at a lot of stuff for a teenager, and seems too sure of herself at times, but she is definitely not a damsel in distress.

So I wouldn’t call her a total Mary Sure. Others will have different definitions, but to me a true Mary Sue is someone who everyone loves even when they don’t lift a finger or do anything worthwhile in the story. Of course if they had to diffuse a bomb they magically could because they’re perfect, but for most of the story they’re sitting around doing nothing and getting fawned over.

Tory just has a few minor traits of Mary Sue. Her skill set seems a bit too advanced, which wouldn’t bother me if she also had some weaknesses pointed out. She definitely isn’t fawned over by everyone, but has a couple boys besotted with her with little reason given.  Thankfully she does make occasional mistakes, and has earned the loyalty her friends show her. Overall she’s pretty badass, and I only point out this occasional annoyance I have with the character in case some of you coming from book one have noticed this and hoped she’d get better in book two. Nope, sorry. Not in book two. On the plus side, she keeps the cool parts of her personality as well as the annoying parts.

Book two can be summed up in five words: Totally awesome, and totally unrealistic.

We’re searching for pirate treasure in this book guys. Pirate treasure!!! There’s puzzles to work out. Some easy enough that I was shaking my head at the book going ‘seriously guys, use those genius brains,’ and some hard enough that I had to wait for the explanation like a good little reader.

Why pirate treasure, you ask? Well, if they don’t get serious money soon the logger institute is going to shut down, their parents will be out of jobs, and the virals will be strewn far and wide across america. Tory hears of a pirate treasure people have been searching for hundreds of years without any luck. She decides this is it. Instant pay day.

Oh Tory. If you came to live in the real world, you would be so disappointed.

Though, to be fair they do have their work cut out for them. Other people are after the treasure too, and those people have guns. It’s a fun ride if you don’t expect too much realism.

For more reviews on this book check out: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8709640-seizure

 

I’m a big fan of Bones the TV show. I know some of the people involved in the making of it have said she’s not autistic, but if she’s not, then she’s the most autistic non autistic TV character I know. In my mind she’s one hundred percent undiagnosed aspergers, and being diagnosed autistic myself I know what I’m talking about. Not that has anything to do with this book, but that connection with the character was what introduced me to Kathy Reichs books in the first place.

So of course when I heard she’d tried her hand at young adult science fiction with this series, I had to try it.

Here’s the blurb:

Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage “sci-philes” who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends. They’re a pack. They are Virals.

It took me a little while to get into the swing of this book. Something about the writing style rubbed me the wrong way, and the first real chapter (after the action packed flash forward) seemed heavy with infodump. I kind of wonder if she started this book in the right place. Instead of hearing about her mother’s death, and how she’d become friends with the other kids on the island and settled into an awkward but functional relationship with her father, we could see some of it. It could open with emotionally shook up Tory landing on her father’s doorstep after the death of her mother. Through the events of the book she could forge that relationship with her father, meet and form her pack with the other kids.

I think that would’ve added something else, gotten rid of some infodump and added another layer of plot. As it is, the kids seem a little too settled. They start off tight friends with each other, and that changes little over the book. The only thread of plot seems to be the big mystery – which is a cool and well plotted mystery – but I think the book might’ve gained from another more emotional layer that helps us delve into their personalities a little more. This book kind of reminds me of the old mystery books I used to read like famous five. The characters don’t really change or develop, but the winding plots are fun to follow.

That said, as enjoyablity goes this was a good book after my first jarring reaction to the writing style. I’d say it’s worth a read, just don’t expect anything really deep. The characters are entertaining, but this is a mystery first, everything else second kind of book. If you liked those old Enid Blyton mystery books then you might get a kick out of this one.

For more reviews on this book check out: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7800188-virals

Another zombie one. Yup, it’s a bit of a theme. I love a good zombie book.

This one is different to the usual zombie books I go for. It’s a zombie humor novel. Sounds a little odd, right? Humor is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of zombies. It’s a good one though, take a look at the blurb:

‘R’ is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows – warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can’t understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.

This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won’t be changed without a fight…

What you may or may not pick up from this is that this book is essentially a modern version of Romeo and Juliet (look at the names), except Romeo is a zombie, and Juliet is a girl he almost kills. I’m not sure whether I like that fact or not. I think it could cope without it.

Anyways, this one did have some major flaws. The plot was slow, and for a zombie book there wasn’t much action. This is definitely more of a humor / romance than a ‘die die zombie book.’ That’s not a bad thing, but there were a few areas where there could have been a bit more action before everything was wrapped up (like near the end). The plot points that were there were also rather convenient and fluffy.

What made this book 4 stars for me, instead of 3 or 2 was the humor. I chuckled way too much reading this to give it a low rating. And despite my logical mind wanting to poke at the plot holes caused by the rather fluffy reason why R is so changed (like why the heck this hasn’t happened before), I kind of liked the candy coated idea that *Spoilers* (love can conquer all, including death).

So my advise: read an extract and see if the humor appeals to you. If so, give this one a go. Link to more reviews for this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7619057-warm-bodies (more…)