Review

The Red Sun

The Legends of Orkney #1

by Alane Adams

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4.25 ★ – Fun, Exciting, and Magical Adventure
Published by Sparkpress August 4th 2015
Genre(s) Middle Grade, Fantasy, Mythology
Pages: Paperback 346
Buy Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Half.com, Indiebound

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

After meeting a strange dwarf in his garage and finding out his substitute English teacher is a witch, twelve-year-old Sam Baron travels through a stonefire to the magical realm of Orkney where he finally learns the truth about his past: his mother is a witch and his father is a descendant of the Norse god, Odin.

“The Red Sun” is the first book in The Legends of Orkney, the spellbinding series of adventure fantasy novels by Alane Adams. It follows Sam to the realm of Orkney where witches, wraiths, and other menacing creatures cause serious peril to the unsuspecting Sam. Now, it’s up to him to save his friends and all of Orkney from a cursed red sun. Can a young witch girl named Mavery help him?

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My cousin, Mellanie, who is an avid reader, booknerd and book revier, recommended this series to me. I don’t read Middle Grade books that often so I tend to be pickier when it comes to that genre, but Mellanie raved so much about The Red Sun I knew I had to read it. While it took me longer than I thought to finish reading, I thoroughly enjoyed The Red Sun.

Alane Adams is such a sweetheart and a great writer. I love that she wrote The Red Sun for her son and you can tell that she put her heart into the story. She lures you in with an intriguing premise and throws you in an exciting, enthralling, and fun-filled journey to a magical place. The world building is fantastic and imaginative filled with beautiful scenery and unique creatures that will have thinking about Harry Potter or LOTR. The story has plenty of action, suspense, and humorous dialogue that will keep you on the edge and entertained. Though a great book for children, I think The Red Sun is an amazing story for all ages who loves fantasy and adventure.

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I though the characters are all pretty great and relatable. Sam is a wonderful young hero and I felt for him. The constant struggle to choose between saving a kingdom you’ve never known or saving your friends is quite difficult for anyone let alone a 12 year old boy. Sam is given this big responsibility and he’s not even sure he wants it, but he’s still doing the best he can. I rooted for him throughout the story and wanted him to succeed. I loved that he showed vulnerabilities and flaws and eventually learned to become the hero he’s meant to be. Sam’s group of friends are just awesome and I loved them all. Howie made me laugh with his silliness but I loved that he’s actually really smart, very resourceful and brave. And Mavery… well that little mischief definitely stole my heart and my favorite out of all the characters. She’s so feisty and such a firecracker. She’s full of surprises and while she acts tough, deep down she’s a real softy with a big heart. She’s fiercely loyal to Sam and is willing to do anything to save Orkney.

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Overall, The Red Sun is a great Middle Grade fantasy book. Adams does a nice job weaving Norse Mythology in this fun adventurous tale of good vs. evil. I can’t wait to travel back into this magical world in Kalifus Rising and continue Sam’s journey.

Sincerely Karen Jo

Review

Paper Hearts

Ali Novak

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4.5 ★ Swoon Worth Stars
Published by Sourcebooks Fire July 4, 2017
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: Paperback 384
Buy Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Half.com

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Felicity has her entire future planned. Ever since her older sister ran away, she’s had the full weight of her mother’s expectations on her shoulders. So she works hard to get straight As and save for college.

Except sometimes the best things in life are unplanned-like when Felicity meets a handsome, masked stranger while she is volunteering at a charity masquerade ball. She never thought he’d flirt with her. And she certainly never thought he’d turn out to be a member of the world-famous Heartbreakers band, Alec.

Then Felicity uncovers a shocking family secret. Suddenly, she, Alec, and her two best friends are off on a road trip to find Felicity’s missing sister. And she’s about to discover that unexpected turns have a peculiar way of landing her right where she needs to be..

4.5 Swoon Worth Stars!!!

This book is just so darn cute and had me smiling the entire time. I started Friday evening and was instantly smitten with the story. I would have finished this in one sitting over the weekend, but adulting and doing errands had to come first.

I thought all the characters were pretty great and likable. They each had their own charm and quirks and that made reading much more fun and entertaining. The friendships were just awesome and I loved that Alec and Felicity both had great friends who supported them throughout all the drama and craziness. Also, can I just say that The Heartbreakers boys were all so cute — their bond was so endearing!!

Felicity frustrated me a bit, but I loved her simple and down to earth personality. She’s also smart, creative and very passionate. Alec… where do I even begin. HE IS JUST SO ADORABLE. There’s this mystery and sweetness about him that just lures you in and make you swoon. I certainly did and I wanted to know more about him.

I love romance stories with all the FEELS and I can honestly say that Paper Hearts definitely did not disappoint. There’s enough swooning to keep you turning the pages and have you daydreaming about first crushes and first loves. While Felicity and Alec’s relationship was the main focus (and they’re soooo cute together), I appreciated that you get a glimpse at the romance between the other characters too.

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Some aspect of the plot was obviously not very realistic, but the absurdity and cliches made it that much more amusing. Definitely the perfect escape that had teenage me doing a happy dance as I lived out my fangirl fantasies through Felicity. The mystery though was kind of a letdown for me. The revelation wasn’t all that shocking, the confession not really that intriguing and the confrontation not very emotional. This is probably very subjective, but I love love love drama. If there’s going to be some soap opera kind of drama, then you better make it damn crazy.

I’ve never read a book by Ali Novak, but after Paper Hearts, I can definitely see myself being a big fan. I’ll be checking out The Heartbreakers really soon because I already miss my boys and can’t wait to read about Oliver and Stella.

With swoon worthy guys, great friendships, fun antics, drama, and a cute love story, Paper Hearts is a fun delightful read. Take it with you on a road trip, to the park, at the beach or in bed before you sleep — if you have a weakness for a lighthearted YA contemporary romance, then this book is perfect for you.

Sincerely Karen Jo