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The Hunt for the Three Roses

The Hunt for the Three Roses (The Three Roses Trilogy Book 2) by [Hubbard, Jason]

Callie and Kane have escaped from the King Hugo’s realm but have been conscripted into the army. Here they hide, Kane posing as a common mage and Callie is put to work in the maid’s camps. With them is Jonas, one of the three roses that Master Cypher was searching for. While the war effort is continuing Jonas reveals to Callie he can see visions of the future, he tells her he must go save Kane or he will die. She rushes out to find Kane and they escape what turns out to be a massacre of all the mages in the camp. After this they find Master Cypher escaping the area with Jonas and he offers to let Kane and Callie join him on his journey to Lonsaran, the neighboring kingdom. Entering the new land, Kane changes his name to Sean McAlister and presents himself as a commoner / mage. Now Sean and Callie must look to make new lives in this land while keeping an eye on Jonas till he can be safely delivered to the king in Asturia. Along the way Callie’s past comes back to haunt her and they must figure out how to survive.

Jason Hubbard’s The Hunt for the Three Roses while a continuation of the previous novel is still able to stand alone and not confuse a new reader too much. It is a long book and some sections drag out and feel like page filler rather than moving the plot along. Aside from that, the actual story line is engaging and the character development, I feel, is enhanced from previous works by Hubbard. I enjoy the relationship dynamic between the characters. Sean’s caring nature is apparent, and you see him grow from a spoiled, selfish nineteen-year-old, into a mature father figure with Jonas. His relationship with Callie is back and forth as both can’t seem to figure out what they really want in life and what direction they want to go in. Both end up in the service of Count Guyver; and seem to fit well into their new rolls. But Rainer, an assassin from the prior novel, is still alive and determined to torment Callie. Even Rainer’s character development is well done, he is dark and calculating. His personality plays well against Sean’s more innocent and desire to be good personality. Callie falls in the middle always conflicted about if she wants to lead a life of good or descend into the underworld of crime again. This conflict makes her character so interesting and makes you want to keep reading to see how things will develop.

The world in which all this takes place is similar to Medieval times Europe. They have a strong religious belief in the life of Micah and the book of Micah. The principals are not all the different from our Bible and Jesus teachings. The difference is their religion includes magic and mages as part of the world of good. A lot of effort went into building the world Hubbard created and it shows in the details of the manor, the ways of the country men, and the secretes that the characters hold. This novel sets up things well for the next installment of the Three Roses and I look forward to seeing how this story line concludes.

Pages: 404 | ASIN: B07HHX5ZLP

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Goo of the Gods

Goo of the Gods: Rising Saints High4 StarsP. Joynes’s novel Goo of the Gods, part of the Rising Saints High series, centers around the life of teen prodigy Jonah Polopolus and his traumatic past. Under pressure to live up to his famous father’s reputation, Jonah joins the Sci-6 team and learns that Science Club is so much more than an after-school activity. Jonah must balance his “normal” teen responsibilities (if you call dangerous science projects normal) while also befriending a beautiful ghost who haunts him and seeks his help. Once Science Club turns into a battle of good versus evil, Jonah and Sci-6 must use their unique traits and scientific prowess to defeat demons, save their school, and solve the mysteries behind their hometown’s tragic history.

There’s something suspicious about the tragic accidents and missing people in Jonah Polopolus’s hometown, and Sci-6 plans to figure it out. D. P. Joynes’s Goo of the Gods, part of the Rising Saints High series, is a suspenseful YA science fiction novel with twists that keep you on your toes. With a dynamic plot and an intriguing protagonist, I found this novel quite compelling and hard to put down.

Jonah, a brilliant science student, returns to his hometown five years after the death of his parents and begins his junior year of high school. He’s constantly reminded of his famous father, Dr. Jeremiah Polopolus, and his brilliant discoveries. I loved how the novel jumps between flashbacks to Jonah’s childhood trauma and his present reality, while also interweaving Dr. Polopolus’s journal entries. While there were a few moments that needed more development, I thought that Joynes did an excellent job with transitioning between the past and the present. I liked that this format let me piece together Jonah’s puzzling life.

Even though the novel jumped between time periods, there was a consistent motif of good versus evil throughout the novel, like when Jonah faced situations where people’s actions didn’t easily fit into one idea. Urged by the suspicious, yet charming Dr. Ug, Jonah joins Science Club and is thrown into a competition against a team whose members have a demonic appearance. Jonah and his friends call themselves Sci-6, and they bond over their project on gray “goo.” I feel like the goo becomes a metaphor for something much deeper than its modest appearance, as Jonah is constantly trying to understand the “gray” areas of life.

While working on their “goo” project, Sci-6 encounters many strange occurrences and dangerous situations at CorPP, Dr. Ug’s laboratory. Jonah also faces a unique problem: he’s haunted by a ghost, named Ambriel, who seeks his help. These supernatural situations show how Joynes masterfully blurs the lines of science and faith. Major plot events combine these two typically opposing concepts, which is quite unique for a novel in this genre.

Ultimately, the discovery of old journals inspires them to figure out what, or who, is truly behind the tragedies in their lives. Sci-6 embarks on a mission to conduct risky experiments in order to uncover the truth, help Ambriel, and defeat demons. Even though I wished that Jonah’s friends, Gia and Naomi, had more consistent character development, Jonah’s dynamic characterization made the story that much more enjoyable. It was great to see how Jonah learns to think about the world in both scientific and supernatural ways. The novel ends on a captivating note, and I can’t wait to see what Jonah and his friends do next.

Pages: 183 | ASIN: B01NCNCL4M

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The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman

The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman4 StarsAfter reading Brady Stefani’s The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman you will find yourself questioning everything you ever thought was real. The story follows Courtney Hoffman, a fifteen-year-old girl who has undergone a trauma in her youth. For the eight years since her grandfather purportedly tried to kill her Courtney has suffered with strange dreams and apparent delusions of aliens standing over her bed while a strange apparition of a girl haunts her waking hours. Her mother definitely doesn’t win any awards as she dismisses her daughter’s plight with coldness and distaste. Courtney finds herself wrapped up in an event that will change the very universe in which she lives and sets out uncovering the truth of her past with unlikely friends. It becomes a fine line for Courtney, trying to separate the illusions from reality and she most certainly has to go about it the hard way.

For a young adult writer Stefani certainly knows his audience. Written in an easy-to-read way his tale is easily digested without seeming juvenile or mundane. While the page count is quite high the reader will find that it’s not a difficult read. Stefani writes in a way that any person, young or old, will be able to identify with.

This novel touches on different views of what is mentally healthy and it’s clear that that Stefani did his research. While the average person might have to use the internet to find out information, Stefani writes in a way that makes the reader believe he truly understands the aspects of the human mind. Our minds can be dangerous and difficult.

It can be said that the human mind undergoes a great transformation during our teenage years. The fact remains that many young adults will have their first brush with suffering a mental break at this age. Stefani uses this to his advantage and keep the reader guessing about the stability of Courtney’s mind.

It’s evident that Courtney needs help. She is suffering and she is confused. The one person who she could have connected with is dead. Her parents are divorced and her father, while seemingly nice, doesn’t seem to have time to spare on his daughter. Her mother, on the other hand, does not have her daughter’s best interests at heart. It’s written in such a gripping fashion that readers will undoubtedly recognize certain dismissive behavior that the mother displays in other adults. It’s an ugly world out there and our protagonist is not spared this. Where many young adult stories have protagonists living in a seemingly perfect world where they learn they are special, Courtney comes from a fractured world very much like the one we all live in. This makes her special status that much more gratifying.

The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman is a delightful read and can stand alone very well. The ending leaves the universe open for other books, with or without Courtney, but it also wraps up in such a fashion that if no other books were to follow, the reader is still satisfied. Stefani is a genius that is not often seen any more.

Pages: 328 | ISBN: 1940716349

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