Tagged: Sam’s Teen Read Corner

Reign of Shadows – Review

About the book:

Brianna can see her future, but it’s the past that haunts her. Plans laid in place centuries ago are threatening not only her and her sister, but all of the Seven Lines. As the shadows plot their way to old rule, the visions shift again. Her power has led to some hard choices—and the occasional stab wound—but this set of futures holds nothing but darkness.

Unable to bear the idea of losing the footing they’ve so recently gained, she turns the soldiers of the Seven. But with shadows hidden among the ranks, can she overcome the path they’ve set in place, or is she blindly following their lead?

About the author:

Melissa is the author of the Frey Saga, Descendants Series, and KING OF ASH AND BONE. She is currently working on the next book, but when not writing can be spotted collecting the things she loves at Goodreads and Pinterest. Contact her through the web at www.melissa-wright.com

For info on contests and new releases, sign up for the newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/zbisj

THE FREY SAGA
Frey
Pieces of Eight
Molly (a short story)
Rise of the Seven
Venom and Steel

DESCENDANTS SERIES
Bound by Prophecy
Shifting Fate
Reign of Shadows

SHATTERED REALMS
King of Ash and Bone

Sam’s review:

Hey to all those who have seen a review by me, as well as those of you who have no idea who I am. It’s Sam, and I am back with another review, completing the Descendants series by Melissa Wright. The final book that ties the fates of Brianna, Logan, Emily and Aern together just so happens to be called Reign of Shadows and is told in the third person perspective of all of the characters, which I find is great way to tell the story whereas you are looking not only at one character, but at the villians, and the good guys. So, yeah, good story. I loved how Callan (the anti-hero, I guess you could call him) has a very important mission, given to him by the other, more supreme Shadows, to find and capture Brianna, and Brianna only. Should he fail, the consequences would not be in his favor.

However, unlike the other Shadows, who want shadow prophets dead, he seeks to create a bond with his prey in order to keep her safe. But Logan, Aern, Emily, and Brianna herself don’t want him anywhere near the Division or the Council. When the other Shadows attack, Callan uses his gifts in order to alert Brianna of attacks. The war might be far from over, but it all ends one way or another for our heroes in the final book of the Descendants series. Now, this is just my opinion, but I loved how heart pounding the story was. If you love alternate universes, prophecies, and magic, then read the Descendants series by Melissa Wright.

Please tune in next week for our next review. If you have a book that you want me to read that you think that I might like, please recommend it, check out the link to Thrice Read Books.com, an online bookstore that accepts indie authors, like this video, subscribe, and enable notifications. I’ll be seeing you guys again next week! Bye!

Buy the book:

You can buy this book on its own from Amazon in Kindle, paperback and audiobook format here. {affiliate link}

Or, buy the whole series here. {also affiliate link}

Read Sam’s other reviews for this series:

Bound by Prophecy

Shifting Fate

Bound by Prophecy – Review

About the book:

Aern’s only job is to protect the chosen. The trouble is, she’s the key to a prophecy and everyone wants her. Hiding a girl in the center of a secret war is tricky business, but when her sister shows up to take Aern hostage, all bets are off. 

A slim brunette in borrowed jeans should be the least of his problems, but there’s something about Emily he just can’t put to rights. And it’s not her penchant for using hand tools as weapons or the fact that she seems immune to his sway. 

Everything about her screams run. But when he discovers she’s working toward her own prophecy, he’s got no choice but to keep her safe. It might have been easy, if she didn’t think she was the chosen’s protector. When the opposition descends, their only hope is to stick together, but the truth unravels, and together might prove the biggest complication of them all.

About the author:

Melissa is the author of the Frey Saga, Descendants Series, and KING OF ASH AND BONE. She is currently working on the next book, but when not writing can be spotted collecting the things she loves at Goodreads and Pinterest. Contact her through the web at www.melissa-wright.com

For info on contests and new releases, sign up for the newsletter here.

THE FREY SAGA
Frey
Pieces of Eight
Molly (a short story)
Rise of the Seven
Venom and Steel

DESCENDANTS SERIES
Bound by Prophecy
Shifting Fate
Reign of Shadows

SHATTERED REALMS
King of Ash and Bone

Sam’s review:

Greetings, everyone! The bookish topic of today for this channel is Bound by Prophecy by Melissa Wright. One of three protagonists, Aern, brother of the antagonist, Morgan, hands the “chosen” too the Division, a choice that he believes will keep her safe from Morgan’s hands. Aern is caught by his evil brother, Morgan. Emily, the chosen’s sister, rescues him, only to hold him captive as she searches for Brianna, her sister. When they make it to the Division, he finds out that his chosen is a decoy, as well as a prophet. This is a quick paced adventure taking place on modern day Earth, but might as well be an alternate universe, plus it is captivating from the first paragraph to the last words. There is indeed a sequel to this, and I expect it to be done in the VERY near future, so keep an eye out for it. And I’ll be back. Sam out!

Buy the book:

You can purchase this book on its own from Amazon in Kindle, paperback or as an audio book here. [affiliate link]

Or…

You can buy the boxed set here. [affiliate link]

Stay tuned:

Book 2, Shifting Fates review

Book 3, Reign of Shadows

Shifting Fate – Review

About the Book:

According to prophecy, Brianna Drake was born to save the world. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the slightest idea how. Her visions should have given her the answer, but they’re beginning to shift, making the danger too unpredictable, even for a prophet.

If she can just help her sister restore their hidden powers, she might be able to stop what’s coming. But an old enemy returns, and he’s got plans for Brianna and her visions.

What neither of them knows is that fate has given a stranger one chance to find her. He was trained to protect the chosen—but if he fails, the future will crumble.

About the Author:

Melissa is the author of the Frey Saga, Descendants Series, and KING OF ASH AND BONE. She is currently working on the next book, but when not writing can be spotted collecting the things she loves at Goodreads and Pinterest. Contact her through the web at www.melissa-wright.com

For info on contests and new releases, sign up for the newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/zbisj

THE FREY SAGA
Frey
Pieces of Eight
Molly (a short story)
Rise of the Seven
Venom and Steel

DESCENDANTS SERIES
Bound by Prophecy
Shifting Fate
Reign of Shadows

SHATTERED REALMS
King of Ash and Bone

Sam’s Review:

 Hello, my name’s Sam, this is Sam’s Teen Reads Corner, but you should already know the name because it says so right on the video, and today our topic for the week is Shifting Fate, the second book in the Descendants series by Melissa Wright. I wouldn’t recommend watching this video unless you’ve seen the review for Bound by Prophecy, because this has some spoilers, as is the way with most of the reviews that I do. See, Brianna is the prophet, no longer the chosen. Of course, nobody else in the Division knows it, and she is attacked after Aern stabbed her, Morgan having place Aern under his sway. When her safety becomes vital, she is placed under the protection of Logan, whom she finds herself falling for, and hard. When she has a vision of their kiss, and alerts Logan of it, Logan uses that knowledge to know about whether or not they’ll die in troubling situations, because if the kiss doesn’t happen, then they can’t die; another useful reason to work with a prophet. Brianna goes searching for the place that Morgan held her mother.

From the notes that her mother hid, she learns that she is the Dragon Slayer, and a shade, a shadow, her powers bound by the broken bonds, the lines that run in the veins of the Seven Lines. Using what little she has, she connects the bonds, gives Emily her magic, and herself her abilities to see the present and the future. But Morgan, after being imprisoned, has escaped his prison. Will her powers be enough to stop him?

The second book in the series, it is captivating, just like its predecessor, filled to the brim with action and danger, as well as some parts of romance. Told in the view of Brianna, while the first was told in the view of Aern, Brianna’s story carried on the urban fantasy story. I loved how the intensity of the story makes it seem as if you are right there with the characters, there was subtle hints of romance, and how there is a dark secret behind Brianna and Emily’s family. It gets five stars, please don’t forget to subscribe, enable notifications, and like, and I’ll be back soon with the final book in the Descendants series. Bye!

Buy the book (or the series!)

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, paperback and audiobook formats here. [affiliate link] 

Or, you can buy the whole series in Kindle format here. [affiliate link]

The rest of the series:

Bound by Prophecy

Reign of Shadows

Three Dark Crowns – Review

About the book:

New York Times Bestseller * New York Public Library Best Book of 2016 Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2016 Kirkus Best Book of the Year

Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood will devour Three Dark Crowns, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen. And don’t miss the highly anticipated sequel, One Dark Throne!

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

Be sure to catch the stunning sequel to this New York Times bestseller, One Dark Throne.

About the Author:

Kendare Blake grew up in the small city of Cambridge, Minnesota. She is a graduate of Ithaca College, in Ithaca, New York and received a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Middlesex University in London, England. She loves to travel, is an advocate for animals, and cheats a lot when she plays Final Fantasy. Adopted from South Korea at the age of seven months, she arrived with the following instruction: “Feed her chocolate.” Though not medically advisable, she and her parents are eternally grateful for this advice.

Kendare is the author of six novels: the contemporary SLEEPWALK SOCIETY, YA horror duo ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD (2011 NPR Top 5, Kirkus Top Ten), and GIRL OF NIGHTMARES (2012 Kirkus Reviews Top Ten), and the Goddess War trilogy (ANTIGODDESS, MORTAL GODS, UNGODLY). 

Coming in September 2016: THREE DARK CROWNS, the first book in a fantasy series about warring triplet queens.

Sam’s Review

Hey, everyone, I hope your week has been going wonderfully, and our review will be about Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. On the island of Fennbirn, three queens are born, as is tradition. Each of then have a special gift: a naturalist, able to control the earth, a poisoner, able to withstand the harshest of poisons, and the elementalist, able to summon storms. Three queens, taken apart at six years old, and expected to kill each other for the crown. Sounds a little harsh, right? Well, one queen, the elementalist Mirabella, in the latest generation, refuses to kill her sisters, and hopes to bring peace to the three of them. Boy is she wrong. When Arsinoe, the proclaimed naturalist and trained to be cautious, takes Mirabella’s visit the wrong way, and her friend Jules loses control over Arsinoe’s fake familiar, hurting many at the start of the Ascension year, the year when the queens hunt each other, Mirabella and the poisoner queen, Katherine are both mislead about Arsinoe’s intentions.

Read the book to find out what is to come of the sisters. As the first book in a series, it will leave you begging for more. Luckily the second book is out, however we’ll be doing that book, next week. It gets two thumbs up and five stars for the amazing characters, really amazing places, and the airs of treachery and secrets, and I hope that you enjoy it too.Please subscribe, check out the little floaty link to the bookstore that’s to the right of my head, like, and enable notifications. I’ll see you next Friday! Bye!

Buy the book:

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, Hardcover, paperback, audiobook and MP3 CD formats here. [affiliate link]

Other Reviews in this series:

One Dark Throne (book 2) coming soon

Dead Rules – Review

dead rules twitter graphic

About the book:

Till death

Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were in love. They were destined to be together forever.

Do

But Jana’s destiny was fatally flawed. And now she’s in Dead School, where Mars Dreamcote lurks in the back of the classroom, with his beguiling blue eyes, mysterious smile, and irresistibly warm touch.

Us

Michael and Jana were incomplete without each other. There was no room for Mars in Jana’s life—or death—story. Jana was sure Michael would rush to her side soon.

Part

But things aren’t going according to Jana’s plan. So Jana decides to do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true—no matter what rules she has to break.

About the Author:

Randy Russell believes in ghosts. He conducts an annual ghost seminar for the State of North Carolina and can be found most summers sharing true ghost stories at visitor centers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He wrote Dead Rules because he believes ghosts should be allowed to share their stories of encounters with humans. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

Sam’s Review:

A good girl goes bad in a desperate attempt to get her boyfriend back in Randy Russell’s Dead Rules. Jana Webster has died. She’s now at Dead School, and one of the “risers”.

Risers are what dead people start as. You misbehave though, and you’re on your way to being a Slider, someone who’s a ghost, but at the same time they aren’t. In other words, they can materialize, be seen by the living, and interact with things in the living world, which Risers and Grays (suicidals) can’t do.

Jana needs to become a Slider if she wants to get her boyfriend, Michael Hynes, back. She has a plan to kill him so that he can be with her forever. She’s incomplete without him, and he’s incomplete without her, or so she thought.

I have several things to say about this book, the top one being, “Holy fudge! This girl’s crazier than I am!” Other than that, I enjoyed this. I even read it while playing Minecraft. That’s saying something considering how large my attention span is (probably about the length of my hand.). In fact, most of my Minecraft time was spent reading the book. There was very little swearing, but this is definitely for young adult readers.

The genre is paranormal, the characters are fun, and I enjoyed the plot.

Buy the Book:

Thrice Read Books has one hardback edition for sale here.

This book is also available on Amazon in Kindle, hardcover or paperback here. [Affiliate Link}

The Tchaikovsky Finale – Review

Sam's Teen Reads Corner book review of Darrin Kennedy's The Tchaikovsky Finale

About the book:Psychic Mira Tejedor lies comatose in the wake of her second battle with the devious Madame Versailles, but her sacrifice was not in vain. Though at great cost, her nemesis is no more, her love has returned to the land of the living, and twelve innocent girls are back with their families. Still, young Anthony Faircloth can’t escape the notion there must have been another way.

Obsessed with freeing Mira as Mira once freed him, Anthony works to rekindle their special link and soon meets with more success than he knows what to do with. Two distinct worlds, both forged in the imagination of Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, threaten to consume his life. By the still waters of Swan Lake, Anthony assumes the guise of a man named Benno and must help Prince Siegfried defend the Swan Princess, Odette, from the machinations of a dark sorcerer. In the Stahlbaum house, he takes on the role of a boy named Fritz who, under the command of the Nutcracker Prince, must save his sister Clara from the onslaught of the Mouse King and his army of rodent soldiers. At the intersection of the two disparate settings lies yet another mystery: both Odette and Clara wear Mira’s face. And these intertwining perils are but shadows of the real danger.

Back in the real world, a menacing figure from Mira’s past has escaped from prison and now stalks her on both sides of the veil of dream. Anthony must bring Mira out of her catatonic state so that she can fight one last time, or her life and the lives of all she loves will be lost.

Sam's Teen Reads Corner reviews Darrin Kennedy's paranormal suspense novel "The Tchaikovsky Finale"

About the author:

Darrin Kennedy - Author of the Fugue and Fable series

Darin Kennedy, born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine. After completing family medicine residency in the mountains of Virginia, he served eight years as a United States Army physician and wrote his first novel in 2003 in the sands of northern Iraq. His debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, was born from a fusion of two of his lifelong loves: classical music and world mythology. His short stories can be found in various publications and he is currently hard at work on his next novel. Doctor by day and novelist by night, he writes and practices medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina. When not engaged in either of the above activities, he has been known to strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion.Sam’s Review:

The Tchaikovsky Finale, by Darin Kennedy, is the last book in the series. Told in Anthony’s point of view, we learn that he remembers more about the Exhibition and the other mindscapes than he lets on. In order to repay Mira, he’ll be the one trying to find her in her comatose state.

This time dealing with The NutcrackerThe Swan Princess and Sleeping Beauty, he finds that Mira has no recollection nor knowledge of her life outside of her comatose state. Madame Versailles isn’t as defeated as believed, Mira’s ex and his fiancè show up to take care of Isabelle, Mira’s daughter, and the man that Mira busted big time is out for his revenge. All in all, helping Mira is harder than Anthony expected.

Heart pounding, with a couple of humorous breaks here and there to break the tension, this book is captivating, but an easy read at the same time. It is very interesting to hear things from Anthony’s point of view for once, and it gives me a greater vision as to what it’s like to share a dreamscape with another person, which is basically what’s going on between Anthony and Mira.

**Jenn’s note: This isn’t classified as middle grade or young adult. Since there isn’t much bad language or graphic violence in book 1, I let Sam tackle this series when she asked, because she is pretty good at knowing her own limits when it comes to lit. Buy the book:This book is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions here. [affiliate link]Other books in this series:The Mussorgsky Riddle (book 1)The Stravinsky Intrigue (book 2)

Ronaldo: The Phantom Carrot Snatcher – Review

Children's Fantasy Book Review by Sam - Ronaldo The Phantom Carrot Snatcher by Maxine Sylvester

About the book:

Ronaldo and Rudi discover friends come in all shapes and sizes as they embark on a superhero mission to help a lost wolf cub called Ernie find her pack.

Rudi comes up with a plan to find the pack and deliver a message during a speed test at flying school; but Ronaldo isn’t totally onboard with the idea. He desperately wants to break the speed record and the plan means jeopardising his chance of becoming champion.

Will Ronaldo go for glory… or will he discover the true meaning of friendship and sacrifice the race for Ernie?

Bumbling Wing Commander Blitsen, head of The Reindeer Flying Academy, and mischievous brothers, Dasher, Comet and Prancer also feature in this fun tale of bravery and friendship.

Published 23 November 2016.

About the Author:

Maxine Sylvester - Autho of the Ronaldo series, including Ronaldo: The Phantom Carrot Snatcher

Maxine Sylvester was born in London, England. She grew up with a passion for Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear. She also loved anything Disney and enjoyed drawing the characters. Maxine’s love of ‘fun’ art grew and she had the privilege of being mentored by cartoonist and caricaturist, Steve Chadburn. She completed further studies in children’s book illustration with talented artist and illustrator, Jan Nesbitt.

She is currently working on the fourth book in the Ronaldo series, due for release in Autumn 2018.Social media for Maxine:

Facebook    Twitter     Pinterest     Instagram    Website

Sam’s Review:

Ronaldo and the Phantom Carrot Snatcher by Maxine Sylvester is different from my usual teen read, but enjoyable nonetheless. Telling the tail of two reindeer and a wolf pup, I loved the story it told.

This book is the second in a series. Ronaldo (AKA Ronnie) and his best friend Rudolph (AKA Rudi) don’t know what to do when Ronnie finds a lost wolf pup named Ernie (just so you know, Ernie’s a girl) behind his house.

Rudi comes up with a brilliant plan to find Ernie’s pack, but Ronnie will need to go to the forbidden forest. Ronnie agrees to do so, but at the same time, he has plans to break the speed record. But he can’t do both at the same time. As it is, he’s taking a risk, and could get expelled from flight school if he’s seen at the forest.

Fun to read, easy to understand, and filled with good illustrations, this children’s book was a fun break from my usual teen read. It’s cute all the way through, and filled with humor.

Sam's Teen Reads Corner reviews Maxine Sylvester's Ronaldo The Phantom Carrot Snatcher - Children's Fantasy Fiction

Buy the Book:

This book is available in Kindle format from Amazon:

Amazon US [affiliate link]     Amazon UK 

Other books in the series:

Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy (rel Dec 2015) [affiliate link]

Ronaldo: Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza (rel Oct 2017) [affiliate link]

Check out all the reviews for Maxine Sylvester’s Ronaldo series here.

The Child Wound in Gold – Short Story Review

Thrice Read Books reviews Megan O'Russell's short story - Child Wound in Gold

About this story:

A little knock taps on the door,
A little girl hiding under the floor,
The safety of the dirt shall build her bed,
While the monster rammoc flies overhead.
For years, the rammocs have tormented the valley, stealing villagers from their homes, destroying crops and cattle so those left behind face the constant threat of starvation.
The only hope the villagers have is the magicians of the convocation. They alone have the power to stop the rammocs. But the magicians demand a price the villagers are unable to pay. Left with nothing but rubble and death, one young girl finds hope in the flames.

About the Author:

Megan O'Russell - Author of Child Wound in Gold, Girl of Glass, Girl without Magic

Megan is a native of Upstate New York who spends her time traveling the country as a professional actor. Megan’s current published works include the Girl of Glass series, How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days (The Tale of Bryant Adams, Book one), and The Girl Without Magic (The Chronicles of Maggie Trent, Book One).


When not on stage or working on her books, Megan can be found blogging on LifeBeyondExaggeration.com


For more information on Megan’s books, visit MeganORussell.com.

Sam’s Review:

The Child Wound in Gold, written by Megan O’Russell, author of Girl of Glass and Girl Without Magic, is a short story. Even though it was but several pages long and had a cliffhanger, it was still enjoyable. Rena’s village has been terrorized by a fearsome creature known as a rammoc.

The Rammoc always attacks, never killing everybody in the village. I guess it knows how to make sure that it’s meals stay plentiful. Magicians are supposed to protect the villagers, supposed to being the key words here. They don’t do their job, but one day, a magician from the convocation (the magician’s council, I’m guessing.) tells the rather close village that they shall kill the wicked beast, but the village must give them something in return. That something must be of value.

Rena, desperate to help, offers her mother’s magician made veil, only to be turned down. The magician attacks her for some weird reason (seriously, there wasn’t an explanation. Maybe he thought that she’d stolen the veil when she clearly said that it came from her mother’s family as a wedding gift.). She finds out that the threads in the veil are nearly indestructible. This gives her the idea of a lifetime.

This was very captivating, and fun to read. This is  a part of the Girl Without Magic series, but Maggie isn’t mentioned until you get to the author’s note. For as much as I liked the story, there wasn’t a whole lot of context, which left me scratching my head in places. I was able to put together some pieces of information, but still.

Thrice Read Books & Sam's Teen Reads Corner reviews Megan O'Russell's short story "The Child Wound in Gold", part of the Maggie Trent series on our blog.

Get this story free here from Instafreebie.

Other books we’ve reviewed by Megan O’Russell:

The Girl Without Magic (Maggie Trent book 1)

Girl of Glass (Nola Kent Book 1)

Boy of Blood (Nola Kent Book 2)

Ghost Hawk – Book Review

Brian’s Book Review:

Ghost Hawk is a great story of dedication devotion, love and hate.  You’ll be on the edge of your seat not wanting to put this book down.  A historical fiction told unlike any before.  A great story for anyone from young teen to adults.

Sam’s Book Review:

Little Hawk is the son of Flying Hawk. He is eleven now, and he must prepare for his three month long ordeal to become a man. But when he returns, he finds a nasty surprise in store for him, and the white man’s plans to settle on his people’s land.

When the time comes for him to take the test that will decide if he becomes a man and finds his manitou, or guardian spirit, or dies in the wilderness, he knows that he will survive. So he leaves with his father blindfolded. When they reach the spot, Flying Hawk removes Little Hawk’s blindfold and leaves him there to start the journey. The first thing Little Hawk needs to do is build a fire. Then he will be ready for his manitou to find him.

When his three months are over he returns home, only to find that most of the village died from a horrible plague, including one of his two sisters, his baby brother, his mother, and his father. When he goes to his tent, the only one left in the village is Grandmother Suncatcher. When she tells him about the plague, he feels like his world has been shattered. They take care of each other until Little Hawk’s friend Leaping Turtle comes, wondering what happened. Now there are three of them.

Soon afterwards, they receive a signal from another village, and they send one in return. Suncatcher tries to tell Little Hawk and Leaping Turtle to go to that other village, but they tell her that if she’s not going, they’re not going. Finally, they decide to build a litter to hold her. When three people from the other village, come to check on Little Hawk’s village, they take what survivors remain to a new village. After the visit, they arrive at the other village, and Little Hawk’s little sister, Quickbird, comes running up to him when she sees that Little Hawk has survived the plague. At least one of his siblings survived the epidemic.

They live in the village for a little while, then, the white men come. Little Hawk meets John, a little boy. When Little Hawk and Leaping Turtle go to deliver a message, Little Hawk is shot trying to save John’s father, and then tossed into the bushes. John picks up Little Hawk’s tomahawk for safe keeping, and then goes home, where his father dies with a broken leg. When one of Little Hawk’s killers, Daniel Smith, marries John’s mother, Margaret, John uses every opportunity he gets to try to make Daniel realize that he shot a man who was trying to help. This gets him apprenticed to a master cooper, where he meets Huldah, a young girl going, as her family promised to him, to work for the other murderer, Master Kelly.

When going to collect shoots so that he can make a barrel, he sees the ghost of little Hawk. Realizing that he can see Little Hawk, John decides to learn Little Hawk’s language. They have many meetings, where John and Little Hawk become fast friends. When John becomes an adult, he plans to marry Huldah, but Master Kelly forbids him to ever do so in Plymouth because of John’s love for the Native Americans, or, as the settlers call them, the heathens, causing John to become angry and spill the story of Little Hawk’s death, in public.

That’s not all that goes on in Ghost Hawk. There are many twists and turns throughout the story. This book was written by Susan Cooper, the author of The Dark is Rising. It was published by Margaret K. McElderry Books in 2013. The book I read was first edition. This book isn’t illustrated. I’d give it five stars for a plot that twists and turns, and for a gripping story and recommend this to young adults and middle schoolers.

Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper


From Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper, a story of adventure and friendship between a young Native American and a colonial New England settler.

On the winter day Little Hawk is sent into the woods alone, he can take only a bow and arrows, his handcrafted tomahawk, and the amazing metal knife his father traded for with the new white settlers. If Little Hawk survives three moons by himself, he will be a man.

John Wakely is only ten when his father dies, but he has already experienced the warmth and friendship of the nearby tribes. Yet his fellow colonists aren’t as accepting of the native people. When he is apprenticed to a barrel-maker, John sees how quickly the relationships between settlers and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger.

The intertwining stories of Little Hawk and John Wakely are a fascinating tale of friendship and an eye-opening look at the history of our nation. Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper also includes a timeline and an author’s note that discusses the historical context of this important and moving novel.

You can buy a used copy of this book from Thrice Read Books here.

The Other Side of Free – Book Review

About the Book:

In 1739, England and Spain are on the verge of war and former slaves are arriving in St. Augustine, where the Spanish will give them their freedom in exchange for their loyalty. Fourteen-year-old Jem has escaped a cruel master but is now in the custody of Phaedra, a difficult and angry woman. He thought he was free, he thought he was a man – but Phaedra controls his every move and takes every opportunity to remind him that he’s still a child. And as the threat of war becomes more real, Jem starts to understand the meaning of freedom and the complex connections that make a community.

Sam’s Review:

The year is 1739. Tons of slaves are running to Spain from England for freedom away from their cruel masters. In return, they are expected to help destroy the English. Jem sees this as a chance to get back at his master, and prove that he’s a man. However, there’s just one teeny, tiny problem. He’s under the custody of the bitter and angry Phaedra. And she won’t let him fight.

Jem and the others have lived in Fort Mose (say Moh-Zay) for almost as long as the war has been going on. Everybody else has taken the oath of allegiance to Spain, but Phaedra won’t let Jem take the oath. She believes that Jem’s too young to fight, to serve for the Spanish army. He’s looking for a sign that he’ll finally join the Spanish army. He believes that the sign he’s been waiting for all this time is the owlet Omen, the one he saved from crows. As Omen gets older, everyone at Fort Mose tells him to get rid of Omen because he might be bad luck, that he might harm their chickens, but Jem knows that Omens is his responsibility. And Jem will always protect Omen as best as he can.

The English begin to attack the fort, and the people living there are forced to move to the Castillo, where refugees are. There is little food, and a tension between the Spanish and the former slaves is growing. The English attack the Castillo, but their attack fails.

Jem learns that one of his friends, the trader Reynard, is a traitor, working for the English. When Reynard asks him to join the English, Jem knows that he’ll be sold back into slavery, and he turns down the offer. This gets hims burns when he’s forced to pay for his refusal. Then comes an attack by the Spanish on Fort Mose, where Jem is finally allowed to fight. When the battle is over Jem sees that he’s not the only one who’s lost kin…

This is only part of Jem’s tale. You can read the rest in the book The Other Side of Free by Krista Russell. This book was published by RR Donnelley & Sons in 2013. I’m giving this book four stars for a gripping tale, and would recommend it to preteens and juveniles. This book is historical-fiction, non-illustrated, and the book I read was first edition.

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle and hardcover editions here. [affiliate link]