The Tower (Psionic Pentalogy Book 2) by Adrian Howell

The Tower (Psionic Pentalogy Book 2) by Adrian Howell

The Tower Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of The Tower by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

At thirteen, Adrian Howell has already lived a full life as a wild-born telekinetic. He’s happy to be settling down in the heart of the new psionic city of New Haven. He freely joins the Guardians, hoping they’ll be able to help him rescue his sister from the Angels. But life as a Guardian means intense combat training of more than his telekinetic powers.

Terry is Adrian’s combat trainer, and she also becomes a friend—something Adrian doesn’t have many of. But the rigorous training makes Adrian uncomfortable. He has no interest in shooting a gun or being able to kill someone with his hands. Even more uncomfortable are his recurring nightmares, indicating something hiding inside his mind. Adrian will have to unlock his own secrets before someone he cares about gets hurt.

The Tower is book two in the Psionic Pentalogy series, and it starts right where book one left off. It’s a thrilling addition to the series, continuing on Adrian’s journey into the world of psionics as he learns how to use his powers and fights for what he believes in. While the main characters are young, the book deals with some death and killing, as Adrian lives in a world where he doesn’t get to be a regular kid.

Once again, I enjoyed watching Adrian’s struggle to make grown-up decisions when he was still just a kid. The author did a wonderful job of presenting Adrian’s attempt to be a normal thirteen-year-old and handle mature situations at the same time. He had to work through feelings for Terry in a normal young teen way while he was also struggling with his own identity. Adrian didn’t know who he really was, what he was capable of, or what normal was for him. He discovered all of this throughout the story. The addition of dealing with his feelings for Alia, his pseudo-sister, made for a wonderful emotional journey.

The plot was well thought-out, leaving little kernels throughout in a way that really made the reader think about the details. Although I knew who the betrayer was and why they betrayed the Guardians before it was revealed, the author did a good job keeping the suspense going. The story still came to a gripping climax, and it even had more issues to resolve and character growth beyond that.

This book is part of a series and best enjoyed when read in order, but enough background information was provided to be read as a standalone. The story had a satisfying conclusion while still leaving doors open for the next book in the series. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

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Commodity by Shay Savage

Commodity by Shay Savage

Commodity Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Commodity in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Hannah Savinski’s world was turned upside down when she dug into a discrepancy at work, and now her life is in danger. Falk Eckhart becomes her bodyguard, and he takes his job seriously. So when the world is attacked and he and Hannah are among the few survivors, Falk continues to protect her. But now the threats are different, and the two have to navigate this new world together. With so few women left, Hannah is a prized possession, and Falk will have to fight to save her.

Ms. Savage has created an interesting dystopia in Commodity. The story begins like a typical romance where we find out about the life of Hannah, and she meets her new bodyguard Falk. Disaster doesn’t strike until after they meet, and Falk vows to continue to protect her even though he’s no longer being paid for the job. He has a keen sense for when something isn’t right thanks to his years of military training.

I liked Falk and the buildup of the relationship between him and Hannah. It was paced nicely, on par with Hannah’s background and the new world they lived in. Falk was a typical alpha male, but even when he was barking orders there was an attractive quality about him.

I am typically a big fan of Ms. Savage’s work, but this book just didn’t hit home for me. It was told in first person point of view in two parts: the first part by Hannah and the second part by Falk. Unfortunately, this gave the book a very segmented feel. Because we don’t hear from Hannah again, there was no resolution provided for the background we were given in the first part of the book. Falk’s problems were barely hinted at in the first section, but they then became the focus of the second section. The resolution of the book was from Falk’s perspective, so there was no wrap-up of Hannah’s issues. It felt like the book would have been better served if it was written from only one perspective and focused on one character’s problems.

As much as I liked Hannah and Falk together, many times I rolled my eyes at Hannah’s clichéd actions. Every time she disregarded Falk’s directions, she ended up getting herself into trouble.

The book had a muddled feel to it as well. There were a large number of editing errors—things like quotation marks at the end of a paragraph when dialogue continued in the next paragraph, missing commas, missing punctuation, incorrect words—as well as quite a few discrepancies that drew me out of the story. For example, in one part Falk took off Hannah’s shoes, but she later asked what happened to them and he said they fell off. In another part, Hannah said the bag over her head had been taken off for a specific purpose, and shortly after she says she got the bag off her head while she was doing something else. All these issues combined gave the story a disorganized feel, as if it had been thrown together and not given the proper attention.

Unfortunately, this story wasn’t up to par with Ms. Savage’s other books.

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Wild-born (Psionic Pentalogy Book 1) by Adrian Howell

Wild-born (Psionic Pentalogy Book 1) by Adrian Howell

Wild-born Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

At twelve years old, Adrian Howell discovers he has telekinetic powers. He can move things with his mind and blast holes in stuff. But what starts as a fun way to entertain himself and his younger sister turns into a curse when his family is attacked and warring psionic factions want Adrian and his powers for their own.

Not knowing who to trust, Adrian spends time on his own before being found by another wild-born psionic and taken into her family. There he meets Alia, a wild-born healer who can speak directly into people’s minds and who becomes like a little sister to him. Adrian doesn’t give up on finding his real sister though, and he and Alia wind up in a lot more trouble than they bargained for. He’ll need to keep his promise to protect Alia while also finding a way to save them both.

Wild-born is a thrilling young adult paranormal fantasy that had me glued to my seat. Although it is book one in a series, it is a complete story on its own that will compel you to read the next book. I quickly became attached to the main characters and look forward to reading more about their lives.

The story is definitely geared toward the young teen audience, but that doesn’t mean adults won’t appreciate it also. The main character is only twelve at the start of the book, and I enjoyed watching him feel his way through situations he had no experience with. Several times he got himself into trouble by just being the kid that he was, but he realized his mistakes and was able to learn from them like any kid should. The problem was that Adrian’s world was more life-threatening than most kids’, resulting in more dangerous situations.

The various powers exhibited by the characters were interesting, and I loved learning about the psionic world along with Adrian. Watching him piece together the way each power could be used in the situation he was stuck in was fascinating.

The dialogue felt a bit stiff sometimes with repetition of the name of the character being spoken to, but overall this was a minor issue in an otherwise great story.

I read this book along with my middle school-aged child, and we both truly enjoyed it and are looking forward to reading more of the series.

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Unscheduled Departure by T.M. Franklin

Unscheduled Departure by T.M. Franklin

Unscheduled Departure Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

When Rowan’s boyfriend Finn has to move across the country to run the family business, she’s understandably unhappy. But after parting with him at the airport, he suddenly changes his mind—or does he? Rowan begins to notice differences in the Finn in front of her and “her Finn,” and strange phone calls from him make her question who he really is.

Rowan and her best friend figure out what’s really going on, but then they have to convince Finn … and the other Finn … and try to put things right again. When that doesn’t work, Rowan realizes that not everything is as it seems.

Unscheduled Departure is a short work of science fiction that will have you question what you know about your own life. It’s an interesting read, although it left me with a few more questions than answers. We don’t hear about how Finn figured out what was going on, and the fact that he figured everything out so quickly had me scratching my head. I never understood the phone calls either. Somehow Finn was able to call Rowan and speak to her, but I thought the phone calls should have been going to “other Rowan.” We know what was going on with both Finns, but there was this other Rowan hanging out somewhere in the universe and that’s not really addressed. I realize some of these things need to be left to the imagination in such a short story. I just wanted a little more of the information.

There was a fair amount of formatting errors in the book. Nothing too distracting, but I expected better quality so I was a little disappointed.

Overall this was a decent story with a little intrigue. The author did a good job of establishing the characters in a short amount of time. I only wish there were more to the story. I’d likely read more by this author.

Happy reading!


The Change (Unbounded Book 1) by Teyla Branton

The Change (Unbounded Book 1) by Teyla Branton

The Change Cover
4 out of 5 Stars

The Change is the action-packed supernatural story of Erin Radkey, who discovers she is part of a rare race called Unbounded. By a fluke of her genes, Erin and other Unbounded are near immortal. This “Change” doesn’t happen to many, and it usually doesn’t occur until the potential Unbounded is in their early thirties. After a fiery car accident should have left her dead, Erin finds herself very much alive, and in the protection of a group of Unbounded called Renegades.

But the Renegades aren’t the only Unbounded out there. The opposing Emporium want Erin just as much as the Renegades do, and even they aren’t the only threat. There’s also a group of mortals known as Hunters who are set on destroying all Unbounded.

Erin must decide which group of Unbounded her loyalty lies with, and she also must decide who she can trust. Her former best friend? Her almost fiancé? A fourth great-grandmother or her possible biological father? How about a Renegade who doesn’t stick around for long?

The Change is certainly intriguing and full of action. The concept of the Unbounded is interesting and makes for good battles when neither side is easily killed. Everyone has a talent, and it takes some time before Erin’s fully surfaces. When it does, it seems like a good idea for her to trust it, and she does so easily.

One of the drawbacks of this story is that everyone is quick to change sides based on a little discussion. And when they do, Erin is quick to believe them, which leads to disaster after disaster. As a reader, it’s difficult to trust anyone even when Erin “reads” them since she’s been fooled in the past. It also seems like no matter the danger, there’s time to stop for a discussion. It puts a bit of a damper on all the action when it’s interrupted by a chat about who’s a traitor and what they’re going to do next.

In addition to all of the action, there’s a bit of romance between Erin and Ritter, another Renegade. I wouldn’t call this story a romance, but it had enough to keep the reader longing for more of Ritter, even knowing he might not stick around.

The story held my interest from start to finish, and I would definitely read the next book in the series.

Happy reading!