Review: Far from Home ~ J.H. Zaynor

Far from Home

Mara Cross thought she was a fairly typical teenager. Sure, her father died six months ago in a car accident, she and her mother haven’t gotten along since, and she’s just moved to a new town and a new school where she knows no one. Still, pretty typical, right? Typical, until the day she sees a tennis ball moving in slow motion. Typical, until the day she finds herself in a dangerous medieval world where the magic is very real, the swords are very sharp, and everyone seems to have made plans for her future without even asking her first!

Though she’d like nothing more than to find a way home, Mara soon learns to fight, falls hard for a young nobleman she’s warned to keep away from, and discovers that when you’re the new girl in town, it can be hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys

3 Thumbs-UpThe beginning of this book really didn’t make me hold up too much hope for the rest of the novel.  However, not one to put aside a book unfinished, because if someone has invested their time and effort into writing a novel the least I can do is finish reading their hard work, I persevered on to the end.

For the YA reader at which this book is aimed, the persistent ‘chatter’ (too much dialogue) may be fine, but for this reader; I found it to be too much at times.

The main character was an angry and petulant teenage girl, a trait I put down to her being spoiled by her Father, as mentioned early in the novel.  However, she did begin to develop nicely, and by the end of the book I felt, given a few more chapters, I may have warmed to her.  Most of the back characters, including the bad guys, are nicely written and help make this story something more, adding a nice touch of humour to the book as a whole.

Some of the scenes could have been combined to make them more ‘meaty’ and helping the transitions run more smoothly, as the tale tends to drag in areas and may lose a reader’s interest.

All in all, Far from Home is a fun little read and, for anyone looking to get their YA back into reading, I would highly recommend this as a starting place; the ending of this novel could possibly be the beginning of more adventures for Mara.

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Review: The Delmar Shark Chronicles: Isola di Squalo (Book #1) ~ Heidi Peltier

Delmar Shark Chronicles #1

On the small Mediterranean island of Isola di Squalo, an ancient legend binds the fate of the royal Delmar family directly to the peace and protection of the island. The consequence of turmoil is the return of a giant shark who ultimately attacks one of the royal family.

Seventeen-year-old American Dylan Murphy is thrilled to learn that a life-long dream has been fulfilled when he is accepted to a local university’s shark study program on Isola di Squalo. He has hopes of diving in particular with the Great White shark, and learning from one of the leading scientists in the field. Unfortunately, an early run-in with the island’s princess, Terra Delmar whose greatest wish is to terminate the program, lands him with the unsavory task of befriending her and convincing her to allow the scientists to stay.

Dylan scoffs at the Delmar legend until he comes face-to-face with the shark. When a life-threatening injury sends him home, he realizes he has fallen in love with the island and its queen, Terra. The return of the shark can only mean that she and her island are in danger, and though he knows he and Terra can never be together, he feels he needs to return to save them both.

4 Thumbs-UpIt has been a very long time since I’ve read a YA (Young Adult) book of this quality.  I fact, I had to keep reminding myself that I was not in the target audience for the novel, as it flowed more coherently and consistently than most YA offerings out there.

Ms. Peltier’s knowledge and research into sharks and their study is apparent and, her passion for them shines through in her writing. It was a page turner, with plenty to keep you  just wanting to continue reading.

The characters are very well written and believable, with the main characters developing at a nice pace throughout the course of the novel, even though the outcome between them is apparent quite early on.  Possibly this is because I’m a more mature reader, and someone in the target audience may not reach the same conclusion as early in their reading.  This does not, however, detract from the book at all.  There is a bad guy, as in all good books, and let’s just say he gets what he deserves in the end.  No spoilers here.

I’m not sure if the Author has been to the area of the Mediterranean which she writes about, but this is really a moot point as her descriptions of the area are wonderful.  You can almost feel the sun beating down on you, and hear the waves lapping at the shore.  Even her description of italy and Sicily, in relation to one another, is spot on and one many Europeans use themselves.

My only complaint about the book was the cover art, it really did not do the content justice.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and will be eagerly waiting for the next instalments of ‘The Delmar Shark Chronicles’

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