Category Archives: Book Reviews

My personal views on books I pick up to read.

A Massacre of Literature | Review of ‘The Massacre of Mankind’ (War of the Worlds #2)


By Cynthia Ayala

The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter
Crown Publishing Group
Image Credit: Goodreads

“It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared. So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells’ book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat. He is right. Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist – sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins – must survive, escape and report on the war. The Massacre of Mankind has begun.” —Goodreads

Published August 22, 2017, by Crown Publishing Group, The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter is a sequel to the H.G. Wells classic The War of the Worlds.
Continue reading A Massacre of Literature | Review of ‘The Massacre of Mankind’ (War of the Worlds #2)

Dangerously Magical | Review of ‘Frozen Tides’ (Falling Kingdoms #4)


By Cynthia Ayala

Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes
Razorbill
Image Credit: Goodreads

Rebels, royals, and monsters wage war over the Mytican throne in the shocking fourth book of the Falling Kingdoms series, Cleo is still reeling from the showdown on Limeros and Amara’s betrayal. Magnus is coming to term with his role as king, deciding what kind of king he wants to be and if he wants to let Cleo inside his heart. Lucia, suffering from heartbreak has teamed up with the Fire Kindred to destroy those who would hurt her. Moreover, Jonas must decide if teaming up with his mortal enemy will hurt him or save him

Published December 15, 2015, by Razorbill Frozen Tides
by Morgan Rhodes is the fourth novel in her bestselling fantasy series, Falling Kingdoms.
Continue reading Dangerously Magical | Review of ‘Frozen Tides’ (Falling Kingdoms #4)

Captivating Historical Fiction with a Dash of Magic | Review of ‘Walk on Earth a Stranger’ (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)


Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
Greenwillow Books
Image Credit: Goodreads

“Leah Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more. She also has a secret. Leah can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it. When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.” —Goodreads

Published September 22, 2015, by Greenwillow Books, Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson is a young adult tale set in the historical context with just a dash of fantasy and magic. Continue reading Captivating Historical Fiction with a Dash of Magic | Review of ‘Walk on Earth a Stranger’ (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)

An Interesting Choice of Villainy | Review of ‘The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince’ (Villains #3)


By Cynthia Ayala

The Beast Within by Serena Valentino
Disney Press
Image Credit: Goodreads

“A cursed prince sits alone in a secluded castle. Few have seen him, but those who claim they have say his hair is wild and nails are sharp–like a beast’s! But how did this prince, once jovial and beloved by the people, come to be a reclusive and bitter monster? And is it possible that he can ever find true love and break the curse that has been placed upon him?” —Goodreads

Published July 22, 2014, by Disney Press, The Beast Within is the second novel in the Disney Villains series by Serena Valentino, exploring some of Disney’s famous villains and characters, with this one focusing on Beauty and Beast’s Beast himself.
Continue reading An Interesting Choice of Villainy | Review of ‘The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince’ (Villains #3)

Just Keeps Getting Better | Review of ‘Gathering Darkness’ (Falling Kingdoms #3)


By Cynthia Ayala

Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes
Razorbill
Image Credit: Goodreads

“In GATHERING DARKNESS, book three of the New York Times bestselling Falling Kingdoms series, the stakes have never been higher as three teams push forward on a race to find the Kindred, the four elemental crystals possessing ancient, all-powerful magic, first: Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces. Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred – the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, storied magic. The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica… but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.” —Goodreads

Published December 9, 2014, by Razorbill, Gathering Darkness is the third book in the riveting young adult fantasy series, Falling Kingdoms, by Morgan Rhodes.
Continue reading Just Keeps Getting Better | Review of ‘Gathering Darkness’ (Falling Kingdoms #3)

Thrilling and Addictive | Review of ‘Poison’s Kiss’ (Poisons Kiss #1)


By Cynthia Ayala

Poison’s Kiss by Breena Shields
Penguin Readers for Young Readers
Image Credit: Goodreads

“Miranda has kissed a dozen boys. They all die afterward. It’s a miserable death, but being a visha kanya, a poison maiden is what she was created to do. Miranda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon. Until now, the men she as ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she’s really working for. And that is a threat that once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose. This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based on Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.” —Goodreads

Published January 10, 2017, by Random House Books for Young Readers Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields combines folklore with fantasy young adults. Continue reading Thrilling and Addictive | Review of ‘Poison’s Kiss’ (Poisons Kiss #1)

An Amazing Sequel | Review of ‘Rebel Spring’ (Falling Kingdoms #2)


By Cynthia Ayala

“Auranos has been conquered and the three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now unwillingly united as one country called Mytica. But alluring, dangerous magic still beckons, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the world. And when Gaius announces that a road is to be built into the Forbidden Mountains, formally linking all of Mytica together, he sets off a chain of cataclysmic events that will forever change the face of this land.” —Goodreads

Published December 3, 2013, by Razorbill, Rebel Spring is the second in the bestselling series by Morgan Rhodes that combines political intrigue with magic and fantasy.

Continue reading An Amazing Sequel | Review of ‘Rebel Spring’ (Falling Kingdoms #2)

A Richly Told Long-Awaited Sequel | Review of ‘Passion of Cleopatra’ (Ramses the Damned #2)


By Cynthia Ayala

“Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra. Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old. This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life. She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe.” —Goodreads

To be published November 21, 2017, by Anchor The Passion of Cleopatra
is the joined effort of mother and son Anne 
Christopher Rice to bring to life the long-awaited sequel to Anne’s 1985 novel, The Mummy.
Continue reading A Richly Told Long-Awaited Sequel | Review of ‘Passion of Cleopatra’ (Ramses the Damned #2)

Interesting but Lacking Cohesion | Review of ‘Beasts Made of Night’


By Cynthia Ayala

Beasts Made of Night Tochi Oneybuchi
Razorbill
Image Credit: Goodreads

“In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts – lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt. Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family. When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life. A gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy.” — Goodreads

Expected publication is October 31, 2017, Beasts Made of Night is the debut novel of Tochi Onyebuchi that delves into fantasy within the young adult genre.
Continue reading Interesting but Lacking Cohesion | Review of ‘Beasts Made of Night’

Thoughtfully Representative of Hope and Wonder | Review of ‘The Wishing Heart’


By Cynthia Ayala

The Wishing Heart by J.C. Welker
Entangled Teen
Image Credit: Goodreads

With a book in her bag and a switchblade in her pocket, Rebel’s been thieving her way through life while hoping for a cure to fix her ailing heart. But when the bejeweled vase she just tried to hawk turns out to be a jinni’s vessel, Rebel gets lost to her world and dragged within another. Now every magical being in the city wants the vase for himself. Thrust into a game of cat and mouse in a world she never knew existed, Rebel must use her uncanny skills to find a way to free Anjeline the Wishmaker. But wishes have consequences. And contracts. Anjeline’s freedom could unravel a love like Rebel has never known, or it could come at the cost of Rebel’s heart… ” —Goodreads

Published May 1, 2017, by Entangled Teen, The Wishing Heart
by J.C. Welker is a young adult fantasy about wishes and finding a home where one least expects to.
Continue reading Thoughtfully Representative of Hope and Wonder | Review of ‘The Wishing Heart’