Ebook Review Blog Pages

The Sacred Artifact by Caldric Blackwell

middle grade book, middle grade fantasy, caldric, caldric blackwell, the sacred artifact
The Sacred Artifact (book 2 of the Young Alchemist series) is a middle grade fantasy novel that tweens and young teens who are fans of fantasy and adventure will devour. 

The story picks up where the first book left off. Craig Pike, the student alchemist, goes on an adventure with his teacher, Cornelius, and his friend, an archer named Audrey. Just like the first book, the plot is very fast-paced and doesn't waste time in getting things going. The protagonists are soon on a dangerous quest to uncover the secrets of a sacred artifact (the namesake of the book).

As one would expect, their journey isn’t easy. Within a day of setting out, things start getting tricky. Craig, Audrey, and Cornelius find themselves in a swamp region where they enter a competition reminiscent of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter. Eventually, they make it Tarvel, a mysterious place where alchemy was started, hoping they can find out more about the mysteries of the sacred artifact.

The book is divided into two parts, with the first part being the journey to Tarvel and the second part, without giving too much away, being a quest to keep a powerful object out of the hands of the story's antagonist. 

One of the greatest strengths of the book is the cast of characters. Readers get more of Craig and Audrey, who are familiar to fans of the first book, but also get some interesting new characters. Blackwell does a good job of making the characters feel real and their interactions interesting. Another strength of the book is the sense of adventure. The characters are travelling to exotic places, from swamps to barren tundra, with action around every turn and plenty of alchemy. There is certainly no shortage of action.

In terms of weaknesses, if you don’t like fast-paced books, you won’t like this book. There isn’t much “down time," so to speak. The plot is always moving forward, but that could just be a function of its aim at a younger audience (middle school and elementary school students are most likely to enjoy the book).

If you’re looking for a middle-grade novel with lots of action, adventure, and fantasy elements, you’ll enjoy “The Sacred Artifact.”

More Information
Buy a paperback copy of "The Sacred Artifact" on Amazon 
Buy the Kindle version of "The Sacred Artifact" 
Visit Caldric Blackwell's website 
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Blue Sun by Tracy Abrey

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“Blue Sun,” by Tracy Abrey, is a YA urban fantasy novel about a teenager whose world is turned upside down when she moves to the Isle of Man.

She expects challenges adjusting to the new environment, but she never could have imagined the adventure that awaits her, involving danger, mystery, and mysticism.

The main character, Genny, moves to the Isle of Man for her last year of high school, although she’s already been accepted to the nuclear science and engineering program at MIT.

Abrey employs powerful, first-person writing to put the reader in Genny’s head as she navigates the twists and turns of the plot. With lots of descriptive figurative language, Abrey draws the reader into a plot that builds dramatically all the way to its climax.

One of my favorite things about the book is Genny. She’s a well-rounded character who has her flaws but is able to rise to the occasion with determination.

If you’re a fan of YA fantasy, then “Blue Sun” is a recommended read!

More Information
Buy "Blue Sun" on Amazon
Visit Tracy Abrey's website

The Virgin of the Wind Rose by Glen Craney

glen craney, virgin of the wind rose, historical thriller, historical fiction, Christopher Columbus mystery, Christopher Columbus book
Glen Craney's "The Virgin of the Wind Rose" is a mystery-thriller that grips you from the beginning and doesn't let you go until the very end.

The story follows Jaqueline Quartermane (Jaq), a lawyer with the State Department, as she searches for answers after stumbling into a mystery that ultimately uncovers deep secrets about Christopher Columbus himself.

Having grown up on a farm in eastern Kentucky, the State Department is foreign to the recently hired Jaq, but with perseverance, she manages to catch herself up to speed, quickly learning the lingo and culture of her position. What she lacks in experience, she makes up for with a sharp wit and unyielding determination.

"The Virgin of the Wind Rose" opens with a boy exploring a subterranean church in Ethiopia and making a startling discovery related to the biblical Adam. Craney does an excellent job of pushing the story forward by shifting the plot between different time periods and regions, from Yemen to Portual to Washington D.C. and more.

Craney manages to weave together history, fiction, and religion with writing that is descriptive yet concise, pulling you deeper into the story with every page.

"The Virgin of the Wind Rose" is a must-read for any fan of historical thrillers!

More Information
Buy "The Virgin of the Wind Rose" on Amazon
Check out the author's website

The Secret of Sinbad's Cave by Brydie Walker Bain

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Brydie Walker Bain's "The Secret of Sinbad's Cave," book 1 in the Natnat adventure series, is a treasure-hunt adventure young readers are sure to love.

The main character is the adventurous young student Nat Sheppard. When she is informed that she'll have to leave the farm she loves, her sister Kathleen suggests they go on one last adventure. When Nat and her friends discover a secret room with maps holding clues to treasure, they go on an epic adventure ... with professional treasure hunters hot on their trail.

One of the things I like about this book is the large cast of characters, allowing all readers to find someone to relate to. The characters go to a number of whimsical, exciting locations, such as the unique Glowworm Caves.

I'd recommend this book to young readers (8 - 15) who enjoy adventure/action and interesting characters.

More Information
Buy "The Secret of Sinbad's Cave" on Amazon 
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Barbara Baker by Steven Hugh

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“Barbara Baker” by Steven Hugh is a novel about adjusting to life after an extraordinary event.

The story follows Barbara Baker, a nurse whose life is turned upside down after a vicious attack.

Hugh does an excellent job of letting the reader into Barbara’s mind, granting the reader insight into her decisions and thoughts.

One of the things I love about this book is the relationships are developed and nuanced. If family dynamics are important in your novels, you’ll like Hugh’s approach to writing characters.

Another area where the books shines is in the writing itself. Hugh incorporates subtle details in his writing that give his narration an authentic, real-world feel.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes character-driven novels with an emphasis on family and a dash of suspense.