Category Archives: Science Fiction

Jupiter Winds

jupiter-winds-300Book Review: Jupiter Winds

Author: C.J. Darlington

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Mountainview Books’ website description of Jupiter Winds:

In 2160, a teenager becomes the bait to capture her missing revolutionary parents she thinks are long dead.

Grey Alexander has one goal—to keep herself and her younger sister Orinda alive. Not an easy feat living unconnected in the North American Wildlife Preserve, where they survive by smuggling contraband into the Mazdaar government’s city zones. If the invisible electric border fence doesn’t kill them, a human-like patrol drone could.

When her worst fear comes true, Grey questions everything she she thought she knew about life, her missing parents, and God. Could another planet, whose sky swirls with orange vapors and where extinct-on-Earth creatures roam free, hold the key to reuniting her family?

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I really enjoyed this book. Quite a lot. Why? I’ll s’plain. 😉

I won Jupiter Winds in a Goodreads giveaway, and as soon as I got home on spring break, I started reading. And reading. C.J. had me hooked from page one. I loved the unique spin this book took on the dystopian world, keeping it from becoming trite and just like all the other books in its genre. What’s different? Well, Jupiter Winds has space travel. How cool is that? Pretty cool, actually. I have no idea how accurate this book would be to actual space travel (it’s fiction and futuristic, some slack can be cut), but for my unscientific mind, this book was fascinating. I also liked how C.J. was able to weave a faith element into this story without it coming across as forced, preachy, or lame, if I can use that word. The spiritual part wasn’t overdone or too sparse; she really struck a good balance. This story is told from both Grey and Rin’s (Orinda) point of view, which I really enjoyed, since the two sisters are so different. The tension in the story was great right up to the very end, even preserving some of the mystery until the last few pages. I found myself contemplating the characters and what would happen next in their story throughout the day when I was unable to read.

All in all, Jupiter Winds was a refreshing change for me from the Contemporaries and Historicals that I’d been reading. I highly recommend this young adult read for anyone who is looking for a change from their usual genres.

About the Author

Biography from Mountainview Books’ website: C. J. got her big break in publishing when her first novel Thicker than Blood won the Christian Writers Guild 2008 Operation First Novel contest. She hasn’t slowed down since and wrote and published her second and third contemporary novels Bound by Guilt and Ties that Bind. Her newest novel Jupiter Winds is a YA/dystopian/space adventure.In 2012 C. J. co-founded Mountainview Books, LLC, with her mom and sister. A homeschool graduate, C.J makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs and a paint horse named Sky.
Website: http://www.cjdarlington.com

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Five Glass Slippers

 

Five-Glass-Slippers-CoverBook Review: Five Glass Slippers

Authors: Elisabeth Brown, Emma Clifton, Rachel Heffington, Stephanie Ricker, and Clara Diane Thompson

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from the Goodreads description of Five Glass Slippers:

What happens when Cinderella is so painfully shy that she cannot bear the idea of attending the royal ball? Or when the slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl? What happens when Cinderella is determined to oust an imposter prince from her rightful throne? Or when she is a cendrillon miner working from a space station orbiting a cthonian planet? What happens when Cinderella, a humble housemaid, is sent with a message for a prisoner trapped in a frightening fairy circus?

Here is Cinderella as you have never met her before, wearing glass slippers and off on unforgettable adventures!

WHAT EYES CAN SEE: Elisabeth Brown
Painfully shy Arella begs her stepmother to let her stay home from the prince’s ball. But kindly Duchess Germaine is determined that her beautiful stepdaughter should be presented at court along with her own two daughters. So, dressed in a gorgeous gown and a pair of heirloom slippers, Arella catches the eye of the crown prince . . . and finds her life suddenly far more complicated than she ever desired.

BROKEN GLASS: Emma Clifton
The slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl! Rosalind never once danced with Prince Marius at the ball, for she is in love with his brother Henry. If only Rosalind and Marius would stop bickering long enough to invent a scheme, perhaps the three of them can find the real mystery lady. But they must work quickly, for dark deeds are afoot, and the kingdom is poised on the brink of disaster.

THE WINDY SIDE OF CARE: Rachel Heffington
Alisandra is determined to have her rights. She knows that she is the king’s secretly dispossessed daughter, the true heir to the throne. Prince Auguste is an imposter, and if she plays her cards right, Alis will prove it to the world! That is, if charming Auguste doesn’t succeed in winning her heart before she gets her chance . . .

A CINDER’S TALE: Stephanie Ricker
It’s a dangerous life, yet Elsa wouldn’t trade this opportunity to work at Tremaine Station, mining cendrillon from the seething surface of planet Aschen. Nevertheless, when a famous deep space explorer and his handsome son dock their starcraft at the space station, Elsa finds herself dreaming of far galaxies beyond Aschen’s blistering heat. There is no time for dreaming, however, when danger threatens the space station, and Elsa and her fellow miners are tested to the limits of their courage.

THE MOON MASTER’S BALL: Clara Diane Thompson
After her terrifying experience there several years ago, the one place young housemaid Tilly longs to avoid is Bromley’s Circus. But when kindly Lord Hollingberry begs her to deliver a message to the mysterious Moon Master hidden away among the circus dwellers, Tilly can’t refuse . . . and finds herself ensnared in a web of enchantment cast by the loathsome Mrs. Carlisle and her beautiful goddaughter.

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I have fallen in love with this Cinderella collection. I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I am not a fan of the Disney version of Cinderella. I should have realized that since this collection was headed up by Anne Elisabeth Stengl I would love what I’d find therein. The five leading ladies in this collection are anything but boring, and amazingly, none of the stories are even remotely alike.

What Eyes Can See:

This story put an interesting twist to Cinderella, taking the classic tale and sticking close enough to recognize it, yet standing just enough apart to establish its uniqueness. The characters in this story will surprise and endear, a great opening glass slipper!

Broken Glass:

Steam carriages, mistaken identities, misplaced love, this Cinderella retelling is not to be missed. The relationships of the characters in this story really stuck out to me. They each had their own faults, and no one was as they seemed.

The Windy Side of Care:

Finally, like a pair of elegant snails, we came to the throne.” That quote is the essence of this story and the author’s voice. This story was a joy to read, and had me chuckling more than once! From the unlikely love at first sight and the unusual fairy godmother figure, it was all fantastic.

A Cinder’s Tale:

I’m very picky about what sci-fi I’ll read, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with this story. I didn’t need to worry, though. I loved how the writer was able to transport us to a whole new world. When I realized the tie between Disney’s Cinderella and the names the writer used for her story, it made the reading all the more enjoyable. Love, love, loved it!

The Moon Master’s Ball:

This story was the biggest deviation from the original Cinderella. In its own way, though, it was a very good story, and I felt like it was well worth the read. The elements that finally tied in with Cinderella made it all the more enjoyable as I was able to discover how it could be considered a Cinderella retelling. A story of mystery and suspense, The Moon Master’s Ball is a great story to close the Five Glass Slippers collection.

 

What has been your experience with fairytale retellings? Do you tend to gravitate towards them? Or are they the novels you tend to skip?

 

About the Authors

To learn more about these fantastic authors, you can visit their respective websites. Elisabeth Brown: http://metaphoricalcello.wordpress.com/ Emma Clifton: http://peppermintandprose.wordpress.com/ Rachel Heffington: http://inkpenauthoress.blogspot.com/ Stephanie Ricker: http://quoththegirl.wordpress.com/ Clara Diane Thompson: http://www.claradianethompson.blogspot.com/

I was given a review copy of Five Glass Slippers from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was under no compulsion to write a favorable review and I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

 

Aquifer

aquifer-by-jonathan-friesen-676x1024Book Review: Aquifer

Author: Jonathan Friesen

Review by Grace Olson 

Aquifer was the first book of its genre that I’ve ever read. Dystopian fiction, for those who don’t have any clue what that word means (and how do you even say it?), is defined as an utterly horrible or degraded society, or dystopia according to Wikipedia. In other words, the opposite of utopia.

The Story

Taken from Zondervan Publisher’s website synopsis of Aquifer:

Only He Can Bring What They Need to Survive.

In the year 2250, water is scarce, and those who control it control everything. Sixteen-year-old Luca has struggled with this truth, and what it means, his entire life. As the son of the Deliverer, he will one day have to descend to the underground Aquifer each year and negotiate with the reportedly ratlike miners who harvest the world’s fresh water. But he has learned the true control rests with the Council aboveground, a group that has people following without hesitation, and which has forbidden all emotion and art in the name of keeping the peace. And this Council has broken his father’s spirit, while also forcing Luca to hide every feeling that rules his heart.

But when Luca’s father goes missing, everything shifts. Luca is forced underground, and discovers secrets, lies, and mysteries that cause him to reevaluate who he is and the world he serves. Together with his friends and a very alluring girl, Luca seeks to free his people and the Rats from the Council’s control. But Luca’s mission is not without struggle and loss, as his desire to uncover the truth could have greater consequences than he ever imagined.

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Aquifer is written in the first person from Luca’s point of view. As this was the first time I had ever read a dystopian novel, I was taken on an interesting journey. I believe I requested a review copy of Aquifer when I was working at a week long, overnight camp in a different state this summer, but forgot about it, so I was rather surprised to find a copy of the book waiting for me when I returned. Reading Aquifer was a challenge for me. I don’t usually venture into the world of science fiction. It doesn’t hold the appeal for me that fantasy or a good historical fiction novel does, but I believe it was good for me to undertake a new genre outside my usual reading line up.

The premise of the story was interesting. A parched, supposedly peaceful world where emotion is forbidden and people are ‘debriefed’ or worse if they do not follow the strict adherence to control. A world where nearly everything taught to the masses is a lie.

I am not a big fan of teen romances in novels. I hesitate to say that, however, because there are exceptions to this, but in Aquifer I found my former opinion was the case. Maybe because it happened so fast, maybe because it seemed more like infatuation than the love it was supposed to be, I’m not sure. It just did not seem authentic to me.

I did appreciate in Aquifer how Luca is not the normal hero. He isn’t confident all the time, he isn’t terribly good-looking or strong. He’s a flawed human being who is trying to make his way in an oppressed world that squashes any show of emotion or feeling.

The spiritual aspect of this novel was found in the form of a Voice and a prophecy. This Voice, presumably the God of the Bible, speaks inaudibly to Luca and whenever Luca obeys, events miraculously work out for a bigger purpose. And the prophecy? Well, if I told you about that, I would be spoiling the story. The end of the novel speaks of hope, a hope that is rooted in the Voice.

About the Author 

Biography from Zondervan Publisher’s website: Jonathan Friesen is an author, speaker, and youth writing coach from Mora, Minnesota. His first young adult novel, Jerk, California, received the ALA Schneider Award. When he’s not writing, speaking at schools, or teaching, Jonathan loves to travel and hang out with his wife and three kids. ~ To learn more about him and the other books he has written, visit his web page: http://www.jonathanfriesen.com/

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Aquifer was an unusual read for me, a stretch outside my normal reading repertoire, but I’m not so sure I’m ready to hop onto the science fiction band wagon yet. Overall, the book was entertaining and thought-provoking as I considered the fictional future of our world 240 years from now.

I was given a free copy of Aquifer from Zondervan Publisher’s new YA imprint, Blink, for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. Aquifer is © 2013.

Aquifer is available for download or paper copy.