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Children of the Elements

Brenna and Adara are twins living in England that spend their days with tutors and fancy automated machines. When not working on their schooling they’re reading from the Grimoire. From the Grimoire they learn of the Elemental Gods and pretend they were them. It wasn’t until they moved to Massachusetts that they began to realize they were different. On their first day of school they meet twin boys, Dimitri and Wyndham that share their same last name, Devins, as well as strange white streaks of hair. From there they realize they all have over-sized pets, a toad, lizard, owl and rat that just found the children and attached themselves to them. Slowly as they get to know each other they develop strange powers, telepathy, the ability to control elements, and the mysterious Grimoire that each has a part of starts morphing before their eyes. What does it all mean? How are they connected? Why are strange things happening to them? What happens when the stories they read as children suddenly start coming to life?

Children of the Elements by Ora Wanders, is set in a steampunk reality of the semi modern world. There are parts that remind me of early frontier times, the one room school house, the simple country life, but then she adds in the steampunk elements of automated machinery and clothing choices. It is a mix of modern and old and blends together in a fascinating way that makes sense to the story line. Each set of twins have similar backgrounds, only one parent, both moving from homes with lots of machinery to a simpler life and only bringing a few things with them, the Grimoire that seems incomplete to each set. When they meet, it is literally like puzzle pieces fitting together. The story is exceptionally well written and everything flows naturally and story elements occur organically. I could picture the characters clearly, the bickering and playing around that you expect from young adults comes out. I found it all relatable, even in the magical setting.

This was a book that I didn’t want to put down. The plot moves quickly, the character development is integrated with the plot, so you’re not weighed down with back stories and character development early on. All that information comes out as you meet the characters and see them interacting with their pets, teacher, and each other. They are typical teenagers with attitudes and short tempers, but you see them grow from the early pages to the end. Without giving away key elements, I can say that all four children are able to grow and see their potential while still retaining a child like wonder of the world. It has all the elements a reader of fantasy could want; magic, conflict, family drama, growth, and an open ending to continue the saga.

One of the most amazing things about this novel is the author. Ora Wanders is only ten years old! I could not believe this when I finished the novel and wanted to learn more about the author because I loved the book that much. I am looking forward to the second book in the series and much more from this amazing young lady.

Pages: 310 | ISBN: 1797718002

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Chasing Ghosts

Chasing Ghosts: a Reckless Perfection by [Francois, Laura]3 Stars

When we’re young, life seems incredibly hard. Things don’t go the way we want, we can’t do the things we want and we don’t understand why things are the way they are. Laura Francois explores all the trappings of teenage angst with Chasing Ghosts, a novel centered on the lives of four teenage girls who are trying to navigate high school, relationships and the pressures of reality. These four girls haven’t had the easiest life as all of them deal with some sort of familial crisis. There’s the girl who is just dying to be seen by her parents as a real human being with feelings, the girl who tenderly wants to have a music career while navigating her father’s shortcomings, the girl who has suffered more heartache than most teenagers and finally the girl who can’t forgive herself for letting her anger control her. These four girls will find their lives woven together for what proves to be an eventful year of their lives.

When writing for young readers it’s important to use language they understand. Francois does this quite well. She uses vernacular that teenagers would be comfortable with and recognize. She uses brands and references that the generation reading this book will understand, but the journey these young women have embarked on is timeless.

Francois doesn’t pull punches with her characters, either. One character in particular has been through hell and back yet it doesn’t feel overwhelming or unrealistic. The lives these women lead are certainly dramatic, as all teenage lives are, but they don’t feel fake. This is a story other young women would feel inspired by, and it resonates with the reader. Francois understands this and crafts something that is dramatic without feeling like you’re watching an unrealistic movie. Everything that happens to these girls could occur in real life. This lends that much more power to the underlying message.

This book is definitely geared towards younger readers and it demonstrates an ability to connect with the generation it is meant to connect with. Chasing Ghosts is a perfect title because all of these young women are certainly chasing after something. Readers will want to follow the journey to the end to see who reaches their goal and who is laid to waste by the very thing they desire.

Pages: 608 | ASIN: B01KELBYU4

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Sprk.It

No Rest for the Wicked

No Rest for the Wicked5 Stars

When a rich gentleman finds a beautiful young woman lying in the snow, on the brink of death, he takes her back to his house and, when she has recovered, employs her as a maid.

It had magic, romance, family drama, and hot sex. Needless to say, this story was right up my alley! At first I found the relationship between Anthony and Elira a bit rushed, but the more I read the more I could see the beauty in it. When he asked her ‘What scares you the most?’ I was flooded with memories of when I first found out I was pregnant with our oldest when she responded with ‘getting pregnant’.

Inexplicably drawn together, they begin a tentative romance.

When he said he loved her and she didn’t have to say it back because her knowing how he felt was enough, my heart melted. He was so sure of their future that he would wait for her to be ready to say the words. From the moment he lifted her out of the snow and brought her to his home you knew there was something there. Every glance. Every touch. Every second they were in the same room together seemed to burn with the heat between them.

Elira did not make things easy for him nor for herself as she fought against falling for him. Although we all knew that it was a losing battle. Them both talking about their families was very touching. When she stopped him from killing his brother even though he had every right to do so showed her compassionate human nature. Even though she fought him at every turn, having her ask him to marry her was awesome. Her responding to him asking where she wanted to go by saying anywhere as long as it was with him was perfect.

Aside from those characters I also loved Moira. I want a cook or housekeeper exactly like her. She wasn’t afraid to tell them what she thought. Her and Han were a great addition to the story. She reminded me of an old babysitter of mine when I was younger. Very caring and loyal while still minding her own business when she had to. Han being a beginner magician and having Anthony there to help was cute.

In conclusion I give this story a 5 star rating. No way would I have given it anything less. I think I found my new favorite author. I’m going to have to look around for more books by M.L. Sparrow. What a very talented author. The characters and events were very relate-able and as realistic as characters and events in a story can be. I look forward to reading more from this author. Buy Now From Amazon.com

Pages: 249 | ISBN: B016SBJ9X8

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