Review: The Chess Queen Enigma by Colleen Gleason

23565495In the third book of the Clockwork Scarab series, Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker are asked to become bodyguards for Lurelia, the princess of Betrovia, who is carrying a letter that has important information about the whereabouts of a chess queen that has been lost for centuries. Later on, when the princess is attacked and kidnapped, she reveals that someone has been blackmailing for the letter about the chess queen. As part of a scheme to find out more about the blackmailer and Pix’s shady dealings, Mina and Evaline go to a men’s club. Although the girls do not find Pix, they learn that he has been kidnapped and make plans to find him. The girls find Pix strapped to a chair connected to electricity by the Ankh from book one of the series. Will the girls save Pix and discover the secret of the chess queen? Or will they fall into the trap that a devious enemy set for them with the help of someone who they considered their friend?

I would recommend this book to readers interested in fantasy and who enjoy plot twists. Before reading this book, check out the Clockwork Scarab and Spiritglass Charade, Book 1 and 2 of the series.The book has paranormal elements such as time travel and vampires, and parts of romance. Though the book is filled with many plot twists as people who were thought to be friends reveal their true image, the ending of the book is perhaps the biggest plot twist of all as it goes against the entire story. However, the identity of their enemy from Book 1 is still not revealed, despite Mina’s firm conclusions.

This reviewer rates the book 4.5/5

Cassandra’s review of The Reader by Traci Chee

25064648“If anything could be a book, there was no telling what you could learn, if you knew what to look for. Smooth river stones spelled out across a mossy floor. Lines drawn in the sand. Or inscribed on the side of a fallen log, half-obscured by twigs and mulch: This is a book.” The Reader by Traci Chee begins with Sefia, who escapes to the forest with her aunt Nin after her father is viciously murdered. The two of them are able to survive in the wilderness together until Nin gets kidnapped. Suddenly on her own, Sefia will do anything in her power to rescue Nin. Her only clue is a strange rectangular object left behind by her parents, something she comes to realize is a book. Sefia slowly learns how to read, unearthing the Book’s secrets, which could explain the cause of all of her misfortune. With the help of legendary pirates and a boy-soldier, Sefia sets out on a dangerous adventure to rescue her aunt. Through the journey, she learns more about the world around her and the power she has to change it.

I loved The Reader!!! It took me a while to get into it (especially when the point of view switched from Sefia to Lon), but after I got through a slight reading slump, I breezed through the book. The characters are wonderful! Sefia is a tough girl with a strong moral conscience. I loved how there are multiple story lines that run through The Reader, which eventually intertwine in a plot twisting way. The balance between character development (the “slow” moments) and action was perfect. Also, it is hard to pinpoint an evil character, because you get an idea of how everyone is thinking [omniscient narration]. I would recommend The Reader to anyone who likes fantasy. (The Reader kind of reminds me of Six of Crows.) I can’t wait till the second book comes out!!

Cassandra rates this book 5/5

Natalie’s Review of Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

24737347A slightly magical girl disguises herself as a man in order to reclaim her magical emerald. She turns out to be more resourceful than the men around her believe her to be, but her affection for a man she meets hinders her successful recovery of the gem.

I recommend this book for people who enjoy historical fiction involving magic and a sweet romance. However, those who enjoy mystery might be disappointed by the book’s anticlimactic resolution that’s atypical of mystery novels.

Natalie rates this book 3.5/5

 

Review: Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

41f0anc74bl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker are not as different as they seem. Although Mina possesses mind blowing powers of deduction and Evaline is constantly searching for new vampires to kill, both are committed to discovering the connection between the mysterious death of two girls and Egyptian scarabs even if it means putting their own lives at risk. As they reluctantly join forces to solve this mystery, both of them develop romantic interests in two extremely intriguing men. The plot of this story is filled with a few twists and can be interesting to the reader. I liked that the female characters had desirable traits such as courage, passion and even empathy. However, the ending did not reveal the true identity of the woman who had referred to herself as the Ankh and who had been highly involved with the mystery of the Egyptian Scarabs.

The Clockwork Scarab is the first in a series of four captivating books. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy mysteries with some elements of romance. Although some romance is involved, the mystery and the setting is the main focus of the novel. Details of Evaline’s encounters with a man named Pix and Mina’s encounters with Dylan are smoothly integrated into the plot of the story.

This reviewer rates the book 4.5/5

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

7766027This book is about a young teenager trying to make a name for himself in a world where many people are wary of him because his father was a serial killer. Jasper, or Jazz, as he is mostly called in the book, was a witness to most of the crimes his father committed and hence knows how to commit a murder. When a serial killer returns to their little town, Jazz is forced to solve the mystery – and prove his innocence to the town and himself.

I would recommend this book to people who enjoy murder mysteries or mysteries in general. It is a very thrilling book – I could not put the book down! If you are a Sherlock fan, this is a wonderful book to read with a healthy dose of emotion. If you are not a fan of violence or blood, this may not be the book for you.

This reviewer rates the book 4/5

Natalie’s Review of A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby

51elwm-u2nl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Evelyn is the nurse to Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man. Together, they hide from society, combat social prejudice, and try to solve a ghostly mystery.

This book is for people who enjoy reading about social issues and the supernatural. However, those who like mystery may be disappointed by the ending.

Natalie rates this book 3/5

Cassandra’s review of Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin

26114493Exile for Dreamers is the second book in the Stranje House series. The year is 1814, and Napoleon just escaped from his captivity on Elba. The story focuses on Tess Aubreyson, one of the five young ladies at Stranje House (a school for unusual girls that secretly prepares students for a world of spies, diplomacy, and war). Tess has the unique ability to dream of the future, but her “powers” have consequences. Every night, her dreams haunt her, and every morning, she runs to escape her dreams in order to stay sane. Tess wants nothing to do her dreams until they become the only means of saving Lord Ravencross, the man she loves, and her friends. Tess must overcome her pain to save England from Napoleon’s invasion. Welcome to another action-packed romance in the wonderful Stranje House series.

I really enjoyed Exile for Dreamers. I like how each book in the series is told in another student’s perspective. Tess is a very interesting character who is super strong (she is awesome at martial arts), but also amazingly fragile and scarred (mainly due to her nightmares and past). I would recommend everyone to read A School for Unusual Girls first, because Exile for Dreamers nicely picks up from the ending of the first book. Overall, I loved Exile for Dreamers, and I can’t wait for the next book.

Cassandra rates this book 5/5