Saturday, 10 December 2011

Mini Review Madness: Escape Under the Forever Sky, Glow, POD, The Orphan of Awkward Falls, The Emerald Atlas

Good morning all! For today's installment of mini review madness I'm going to be taking a look at the following books:

Escape Under the Forever Sky - Eve Yohalem
Glow - Amy Kathleen Ryan
POD - Stephen Wallenfels
The Orphan of Awkward Falls - Keith Graves
The Emerald Atlas - John Stephens

Escape Under the Forever Sky - Eve Yohalem

Summary (from Goodreads): Loosely based on real-life events, this suspenseful story, by a debut novelist, is also funny and touching and will have readers riveted from start to finish. Lucy's mother is the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, so Lucy's life must be one big adventure, right? Wrong. Lucy's worrywart mother keeps her locked up inside the ambassador's residence. All Lucy can do is read about the exotic and exciting world that lies beyond the compound walls and imagine what it would be like to be a part of it.

That is, until one day Lucy decides she has had enough and she and a friend sneak off for some fun. But to their horror, Lucy gets kidnapped! With only herself to rely upon, Lucy must use her knowledge of African animals, inventiveness, will, and courage to escape, and in the process embarks on an adventure beyond her wildest imagination.

Mini review: Under the Forever Sky is a lovely novel and a great read, I'd really recommend it to younger readers. The description of the landscape and wildlife was excellent and really helped plunge me into the middle of Lucy's world. I love that Lucy is such a strong character - shout out for well-rounded, likeable heroines!

Glow - Amy Kathleen Ryan

Summary (from Goodreads): What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

Mini review: Glow is definitely an interesting novel and I did enjoy parts of it, though I wasn't quite as blown away as I thought I'd be. I had huge hopes for this one but I thought the religious elements were a little too 'in your face', which isn't something I ever like. I don't like to feel as though I'm being preached to and, unfortunately, that's how I felt things came across in Glow.

POD - Stephen Wallenfels

Summary (from Goodreads): Surviving a massive alien siege is one thing-­surviving humanity is another.

I'm all cried out. I'm still alone. The sky is full of giant spinning black balls that kill anyone stupid enough to go outside. I've only been out of the car twice-once to pee and once to look at the sky. That one look was enough for me. Now I sit alone in the car, staring out the window like a rat in a cage. But I don't have anyone to look at. The parking garage is empty, except for twisted-up cars, broken glass, and the smell of leaking gasoline.

POD is the story of a global cataclysmic event, told from the viewpoints of Megs, a twelve-year-old streetwise girl trapped in a hotel parking garage in Los Angeles; and sixteen-year-old Josh, who is stuck in a house in Prosser, Washington, with his increasingly obsessive-compulsive father. Food and water and time are running out. Will Megs survive long enough to find her mother? Will Josh and his father survive each other?

Mini review: I loved POD, I really, truly did. It's a fascinating and terrifying story and Wallenfels uses the dual narratives to perfection. I was so impressed with this one - I'd love to see it as a movie!

The Orphan of Awkward Falls - Keith Graves

Summary (from Goodreads): When thirteen-year-old Josephine moves to Awkward Falls she can t help but snoop around the dilapidated mansion next door. Inevitably, she is captured by the house s strange inhabitants: an ancient automaton who serves as a butler, a cat patched together with a few odd parts, and most surprising of all, a boy named Thaddeus Hibble.

Meanwhile, Fetid Stenchley the most feared patient in the Asylum for the Dangerously Insane is on the loose after making a dramatic escape, and there is only one thing on his mind...revenge. Unfortunately for Josephine and Thaddeus, he s headed their way. Can these unlikely friends stop Stenchley before it s too late?

Mini review: This is such a fun story that I thoroughly enjoyed. Fetid Stenchley - what a character, what a name! This reminded me of the old school Paul Jennings short stories I used to devour when I was younger.

The Emerald Atlas - John Stephens

Summary (from Goodreads): Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.

Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.

Until now.

Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem. And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.

Mini review: What a brilliant story! The world building is wonderful in The Emerald Atlas but it's the storytelling that really sold me on this one. Awesome stuff, bring on more of John Stephens' books.


Disclaimer: All books were kindly received for review from the publisher


  1. Wow, some amazing reviews. But since I've been to Ethiopia, think I'll go there first, "Escape under the Forever Sky" - one doesn't see too many settings in that area.

  2. I could not get into Glow at all, so I've forwarded it on to one of my guest reviewers. Life is too short.

    But POD I thought was great, it definitely had a cinematic feel to it, I could see it being made into a film as well.


Thank you kindly for the comment, you sweet thing.