Archive for the 'Adventure' Category



Kalahari by Jessica Khoury

kalahari

Genre:  Adventure/Survival

# of Pages:  354

RAC:  Yes

Sarah has lived in one exotic location after another her entire life since her parents are both scientists and often move to where they can conduct research.  After the recent passing of Sarah’s mother, they are still grieving but decide to carry on with a previously scheduled educational safari so that they can earn some extra money.  Shortly after the five teenagers arrive, Sarah’s dad is called away to stop some poachers and she is left to entertain them in the middle of a semi-desert.  Hours go by and Sarah’s dad does not return and finally she receives a very panicked call over the radio from a frantic man who sounds like her father claiming it was a setup and he was being chased.  The call cuts out with the sound of gunshots.  Sarah and the other five teenagers are alone, with little food, and no transportation.  They decide to go looking for help and must rely on Sarah’s survival skills in order to survive.  They eventually find a silver lion who tries to attack them and Sarah knows something unnatural is going on and more than likely whomever created that monstrosity would do anything to keep it quiet.  Can Sarah get the others to safety?  Will she ever find out what happened to her dad?  Where did the silver lion come from and is there some illegal experimenting going on?

Fans of survival books will enjoy this title.  There are multiple scenes in which one or more of the teens is in serious danger due to some natural wildlife threat, like snakes.  However, once they uncover the silver lion they face many dangers from humans as well as the people behind the altered animal want desperately to contain the situation at all costs.  The characters are sympathetic and relatable as they truly just try to just survive this very unexpected situation and in the process must face the many reasons they all wanted to escape to the Kalahari in the first place.

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All Fall Down by Ally Carter

all fall down

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  310

RAC:  Yes

Grace knows she saw a man with a scar on his face standing over her mother’s dead body three years ago.  Yet, everyone tells her that her mom died of an accidental fire in her antique shop.  For three years, Grace has seen countless doctors and retold her story to many well meaning people who think she’s simply going crazy from the trauma of losing her mother.  Grace’s father has been stationed overseas and so she is forced to go live with her grandfather where he works as the U.S. ambassador to the tiny country, Adria.  Returning to her mother’s childhood home brings back many feelings and fears for Grace, none of which are helped when she sees the man with the scar she saw that fateful night.  Will anyone believe her story now?  Can she prove her mother’s death wasn’t an accident and prove her sanity?

Fans of Ally Carter books will like this new series as well.  It’s fun, unique, and has some clever plot twists.  The characters are interesting, but will get more engaging with each installment.  Grace’s post traumatic stress is described vividly and helps the reader understand why everyone around her feels she’s an unreliable witness.  Recommended to readers looking for a quick read.

Veronica Mars Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

veronica mars

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  340

RAC:  Yes

In this sequel, Veronica learns of a case in which a young girl was last seen in the Neptune Grand Hotel and then turned up beaten almost to death and left in an abandoned field.  No one knows how she was taken from the hotel since she was not spotted on any of the security cameras.  The girl claims to have no knowledge of what happened to her.  Meanwhile, Eli Weevil Navarro is on trial for allegedly attacking Mrs. Kane with a gun when her car stalled.  He denies this and says the gun was planted on him by the police.  Logan Echolls is supposed to be on shore leave for several months, but Veronica always wonders when he’s going to be called to active duty again.  Can Veronica juggle all of these issues and still aim to end the corruption that has plagued Neptune for a long time?

This sequel is very engaging for readers familiar with the TV series.  Many references are made to the Manning family which featured heavily in the early seasons of the show.  The mystery itself is very interesting and difficult to predict, which is what all mystery lovers want to see.  Mixed in with all of this drama Veronica handles several personal issues, including dealing with her boyfriend and father over relationship expectations.  A fun, light read that any vacationer should have!

The Body Electric by Beth Revis

body electric

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  466

RAC:  Yes

Ella lives with her mother in the new city that was built after a major world war.  Her mother is famous for inventing the technology of reveries, which enable people to go into a sleep where they can relive their happiest memories.  Her father was also a brilliant scientist who worked on finding a cure for the terrible disease her mother had before he was suddenly and tragically killed in a lab accident.  Ella’s mom has lived longer than anyone else with this disease, but she’s getting weaker and Ella knows it is only a matter of time before she’s on her own.  Her mother’s childhood friend helps run the reverie spa and one day informs Ella that she needs to go meet with the president of their newly established government.  The President informs her that she feels rebellious rumblings and will do whatever it takes to stop another war, including altering the memories of the rebels.  Ella isn’t sure about using her mother’s technology that way and goes to her father’s grave to think it over when a teenage boy comes up and acts like she should know him.  He knows things about her family and seems genuinely hurt she doesn’t know him.  Is it possible someone is using her mother’s technology to alter her memories?  If that’s true, what else doesn’t she remember?

This thrilling sci-fi novel takes many plot twists to get to the final conclusion.  Some readers may find the constant revelations start to get a little confusing at times as they happen quickly near the end.  As Ella’s parents were both genius scientists there are numerous referrals to science and technology in the ultimate resolution of the plot.  The characters are very memorable and engaging, especially considering some of them aren’t in the story that much.  The romance between Ella and the boy is well described and a believable source of angst for Ella, but isn’t dwelled upon too much in a book that has a lot going on.  Fans of sci fi will devour this title.

The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

princess spy

Genre:  Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  293

RAC:  Yes

Margaretha lives on her father’s estate in Germany and knows she must choose a suitor to marry soon.  When a man named Claybrook comes and begins to woo her she thinks he might be the one, but then an injured man is brought to the healer’s cottage from England.  She is one of the few people around who knows English and she translates what he’s saying.  He followed a man named Claybrook from England in order to make him pay for murdering a young girl, but instead Claybrook’s men beat him and left him for dead in the street.  Margaretha is unsure who to believe, but decides to spy on Claybrook and learns he is plotting to murder her father and take over his estate.  Can she save her family and her family’s land without alerting the wrong people to the threat?  Does she know whom she can trust?  Is she equipped for such a venture?

This is a fun, fast paced adventure story in which Margaretha and her new companion from England try to save her family from a very miserable future in which they are pushed out of their own land by sheer force and violence.  There are many twists in the plot as Claybrook tends to be one step ahead of them at all times.  Many of the characters lack depth, but they do not need to be over developed since the plot rests mainly on Margaretha and her English gentleman.  Fans of other period stories like The Selection and The Queen of Someday will enjoy this title.

Atlantia by Ally Condie

atlantia

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  298

RAC:  Yes

Rio and her twin, Bay, were born in the underwater town of Atlantia and it is now their chosen time to decide if they wish to stay below or go up to the surface for the rest of their lives.  People in the underwater city believe that life above ground is dangerous, labor intensive, and fairly short while residents of Atlantia are believed to have an easy life where most people live a very long time.  Unfortunately, their mother, Oceana, was recently found dead and many suspect foul play.  Rio has always dreamed of going above, but now that their mother is gone she has promised Bay she will stay with her down below.  All decisions are final in this ceremony and there is no going back and forth allowed.  Rio is shocked when Bay ends up leaving her and choosing to live above the water, but she is ushered away before Rio has a chance to ask her why.  She does have time to utter one word that alerts those near to her of what she truly is, which is a siren.  Her mother has trained her to keep that truth a secret for reasons unbeknownst to Rio.  Can Rio survive in the one place she has wanted to leave her entire life without her mother or sister?  Why would her sister choose to leave after making her promise they would stay together forever?  Is it possible to bridge the two societies together?

This novel is fresh and interesting right from the beginning.  It feels like yet another futuristic story, but the setting and characters quickly help you to forget all of that as you cannot help but get immersed in the story.  Rio has many plot details to figure out in order to find out the truth of her family and Atlantia itself.  While many great characters are introduced, it does take Rio awhile to discern whom she can and cannot trust which makes the journey more interesting for the reader.  It also appears that this is going to be a stand alone novel which is refreshing in a world where every book seems to have three sequels.  Recommended for students who enjoy fantasy.

Meritropolis by Joel Ohman

Meritropolis-Cover

Genre:  Futuristic/Survival Fiction

# of Pages:  225

RAC:  Yes

Charley lives in Meritropolis where everyone is judged on their merit and given a score.  He has an unnaturally high score of 118. He loathes the system, however, because when he was 8 his only brother was taken away and put outside the gates to die simply because he had Down Syndrome and therefore had a low score.  He has been plotting his revenge since.  Every time a person is put outside the gates every adult is required to go to the gate ceremony to watch.  At Charley’s first one they led a little girl with a disability to the gates and he went crazy and started fighting the guards.  He was eventually overtaken, but due to his high number he was not sent outside the gates as punishment.  Instead, they put his best friend out there to remind him of who is really in charge.  At that point Charley started plotting how he can take down the system.

This book seems very simple at first, but touches on many important issues in any society.  For example, the sick and elderly are discussed quite often and how “valuable” they are in society.  There are different views on this throughout the book from different characters.  There are also hunger issues, which is a terrible problem in all societies.  Some people get a lot while others barely get by.  Finally, even abortion is touched on.  The main character is strong and not afraid to speak up and could be a great literary hero for reluctant boy readers.  The plot is full of unanswered questions, some interesting revelations, and lots of action.  Recommended for fans of survival fiction.


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