Tag Archives: YA

Review: Nyssa Glass and the Cutpurse Kid

Nyssa Glass and the Cutpurse Kid

by H.L. Burke

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Settled into their new life, Nyssa and Ellis have opened their own repair shop. They need this business to be successful as Ellis’s money is dwindling fast. But when they catch a pickpocket trying to steal Ellis’s possessions, Nyssa sees herself in the young boy, something Ellis recognizes. The couple adopts the boy, to give him a new life like Nyssa had from her dead mentor.

But the cutpurse entering their life couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Nyssa’s past has caught up. Her uncle, the man who turned her into a thief, appears. Not dead, like his criminal partners had claimed when they tried to use Nyssa, but in prison for the last decade. Thinking Nyssa must have quite the stash, he wants his cut.

And he’ll do anything to get it.

The theme of identity comes up over and over in these books, from the computer AI in the first novella, to the true identity of the young couple in the last book. Now Nyssa’s true identity as a thief is released to her new community by the man who made her into one. It’s a tense story as you watch all Nyssa and Ellis’s hard work to start over ruined by a greedy man who doesn’t understand the true meaning of family.

Like the other Nyssa Glass novellas, this one has heart that keeps you reading. Burke has really found magic with the characters of Nyssa and Ellis, and you want them to succeed against the obstacles laid out before them. Another excellent novella.

Fans of fantasy and steampunk need to check out this delightful young adult novella.

You can buy Nyssa Glass and the Cutpurse Kid from Amazon!

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Review: Nyssa Glass and the Juliet Dilemma

Nyssa Glass and the Juliet Dilemma

by H.L. Burke

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Nyssa Glass and Ellis Dallhart are trying to both leave their pasts behind and escape from their country. Nyssa, still wanted for murder, and Ellis stunned by his father’s work, just want a fresh start. The young couple have their opportunity, their new documents, and their tickets on an airship that will take them away from it all.

Only for another young couple to rob them and take their new identities.

Nyssa and Ellis will have to find a new way to escape the country as they become embroiled in a young couple fleeing the girl’s tyrannical uncle. Will this young Romeo and Juliet prove reliable allies, or will their own misdeeds cost Nyssa and Ellis everything?

What a great follow-up to Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors. Nyssa and Ellis make a cute couple, still in this awkward stage of their relationship, not sure what they really are to each other. More than friends, but not quite lovers. But they are in it together, dealing with the complication the young couple eloping have caused them. Ellis being in a wheelchair adds another dimension that allows Burke to come up with creative solutions to their problems. The pair compliment each other well. They’re both intelligent, but Ellis’s caution and Nyssa’s daring work well to balance each other and lead them to their success.

Another great young adult novella from Burke. Fans of fantasy and steampunk need to check out this delightful series!

You can buy Nyssa Glass and the Juliet Dilemma from Amazon!

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Review: Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors

Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors

by H.L. Burke

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Nyssa Glass is a young woman with a troubled past. Raised as a thief and a pickpocket by an abusive uncle, she found freedom when he died. With the sponsorship of Mr. Calloway, she received an education in engineering and a job in his repair shop. She just wants a peaceful life.

But everything changes when her past catches up to her. Someone needs her skills for a dangerous job. When she revuses, she finds herself on the run, framed for Mr. Calloway’s murder, and having no choice but to complete the job to salvage her own reputation.

She’ll have to enter the mansion of Mr. Dalhart, famed inventor of many of the steampunk technology of her world. No one has seen Mr. Dalhart, his crippled son Ellis, or the staff in three years. Everyone sent is has died.

Nysaa Glass will have to use all her skills to survive.

What a wonderful, young adult novella. Burke has created a very realistic steampunk world, blending Victorian England with devices that are almost like modern technology but are so different. Full of heart and warmth, as well as danger. Tackling such topics as identity and what it means to be human, Burke weaves a fast-paced tale that keeps your reading and rooting for her young heroine to uncover the truth of The House of Mirrors.

If you’re a fan of fantasy, young adult literature not steeped in vapid romance, or steampunk adventures, this is a story for you! Great for youths and adults.

You can buy Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors from Amazon!

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Review: Son of a Kitchen Witch

Son of a Kitchen Witch

by Tim Hemlin

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Bobby Hawthorne is the son of a witch. His mother, a chef who owns a restaurant, has a secret she hides from her Texan neighbors. She can whip up more than one kind of magic in the kitchen. But Bobby, he’s normal. Just another teenage boy, going to high school, crushing on the new girl Angelina, joining his own garage band.

Normal. Nothing out of the ordinary. His life no different than any other teenage boy even with a witch for a mother.

But all that changes when Skip Macintosh walks into his life. He’s the new business partner for his widowed mother’s restaurant and Bobby’s not happy. He’s sure Skip’s up to no good. With Angelina’s help, he’ll delve into the truth and discover just what happened to his father.

Oh, and stumble across a centuries old war between the fundamentalist Blackthornes and the witches they want to exterminate. Bobby and Angelina will have to learn fast about the hidden world of magic around them if they want any chance of surviving the darkness rising about them.

Son of a Kitchen Witch is a phenomenal YA story. Hemlin has crafted a rich world of colorful witches living beneath the noses of normal people. Magic and wonder lurks around every corner. The characters are fun and populated by personalties that will keep you reading. Bobby is a solid character and has great chemistry with Angelina. The pair work well together.

It was refreshing having the main character just no about his mother’s secret powers. It’s all so upfront in the beginning. I’m Bobby, my mom’s a chef, and she’s a witch sort of thing. To him, it’s nothing special.

This is a great, fun read that puts a very American spin on the story of witches living among us in the real world, blending Texan culture and Native American mythology together into something unique and enjoyable. If you’re a fan of fast-paced, YA stories, then you need to give Son of a Kitchen Witch a read!

Son of a Kitchen Witch is available from Amazon!

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Review: Leave Me Lost

Leave Me Lost

by Renee N. Meland

Reviewed by JMD Reid

In the wake of an economic collapse in the United States and a plague that devastated Europe, the world is a darker place. Riley and her mother have been leaving in exile in Cuba after fleeing the US in the wake of the disastrous Parental Morality Act, a bill sponsored and once embraced by Riley’s own mother. In the four years since arriving, the US Government has completely collapsed, leaving only chaos behind.

For the last four years, Riley has had no word from Cain, the young man that had rescued her and her mother from the US. He is a dangerous mercenary, hunted by the US government, a man with a mission to rescue and return all the children separated from their parents.

When things in Cuba grow tense as the locals want what Riley and her fellow US exiles, Cain returns with a job that could give Riley and her friends the money they need to relocate to a safer area. When the US Government was on the verge of collapse, the children taken from their parents were sold overseas into child slave labor. Now the parents of one of these children has located their son in Italy and have hired Cain to retrieve him. Cain needs Riley’s help. Riley agrees, but her real mission is to rescue Olivia, her best friend that had been taken and sold into slavery in Italy.

The pair leave for Italy, their relationship strained by Cain’s absence. Riley still has feelings for the man, but feels betrayed and abandoned. Feelings Olivia knows all to well. Riley’s reunion with her friend isn’t as happy as she had hoped. How can she save Olivia when Olivia wants to stay lost?

This story is an emotional rollercoaster. The guilt of not being able to help her best friend has never left Riley, and now that she has a chance to help her she finds her friend broken by the years. The story is action-pack, moving swiftly, and characterized by the harsh decisions and sudden violence that characterized the other two parts of the story.

Leave me Lost does not pull the emotional punches. This dystopia YA series confronts the uglier aspects of our world that we often wish to ignore. It’s great to see Riley and Cain, and the ending leaves you eager for what happens next in the series. Nothing is easy in the dystopic future, but our characters still try to make it a little brighter.

I hope they succeed.

Leave Me Lost is available from Amazon.

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Review: Burning Doors

Burning Doors

by Renee N. Meland

Reviewed by JMD Reid

B00W7GV018.01.LZZZZZZZIn the wake of an economic collapse in the United States and a plague that devastated Europe, the world is a darker place. Crime is rampant in the US, particularly juvenile crime. Cain lives in fear of his abusive father, waiting for the day that the Parental Morality Act is passed. But it doesn’t come fast enough, and he beats his father to death with a pipe.

Forced to flee to the streets, Cain is plunged into the underbelly of third-world America. His life is aimless until a priest takes pity on Cain and gives him shelter. When Cain wants to return the favor to a younger boy, he finds himself embroiled with a sixteen-year-old madam of a brothel/drug dealer.

Maureen is strong, ruthless, and beautiful. Cain can’t help his attraction to her even as he is repulsed by her business. But when one of Maureen’s johns gets violent, she’s forced to defend herself. The only problem, the dead man is a corrupt cop.

I wasn’t expecting Burning Doors to be a prequel to the Extraction List. It follows the life of Cain and shows how he becomes such a ruthless, yet caring, man. The man who would help a young girl and her mother escape to safety. It’s a tragic tale and while I had hoped for a continuation of the story, I found myself caught up in the story. This is a bleak look at society’s crumble.

Burning Doors is available from Amazon.

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Review: The Extraction List

The Extraction List

by Renee N. Meland

Reviewed by JMD Reid

 

B00V8KADEY.01.LZZZZZZZIn the wake of an economic collapse in the United States and a plague that devastated Europe, the world is a darker place. Crime is rampant in the US, particularly juvenile crime. When Riley’s brother is killed by gang violence, her mother goes on a Crusade to save the children. The Parental Morality Act is passed, and Riley’s mother is the face of this controversial legislature. If a parent is found unfit to raise their children for committing a crime, unemployment, alcoholism, or many other reasons, their children are placed in a boarding school run by the government.

Children live in fear of the day government agents will come and take them. When Riley’s name ends up on the extraction list, despite her mother’s prominence, she is forced to flee. Riley is plunged into danger as her mother and her mother’s friend Bo make contact with a guide, a man who sneaks children and their families out of the country. Cain is a dangerous man, but will he be enough to guide Riley to safety?

This young adult novel is a fast-paced read, thrusting you into the dark, dystopic future. What starts as a good idea, to save children, spirals so far out of control. Claire, Riley’s mother, is forced to confront the horrors she helped create when she championed the Parental Morality Act. The writing flows swiftly, leaving you wanting to keep turning the pages. This story is unflinching when tackling the world that Riley is put into.

The Extraction List is a great read, illuminating the problems of depending too much on the government to change behavior of its citizens. Change through force will never be lasting change. And force is the only tool the government has at its disposal. So be careful the power you give your government. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

The Extraction List is avalable from Amazon.

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