Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Legend Of The Chupacabra by Michael Hebler

★★★ 
Six years have passed since Jessie last encountered the chupacabra. Now she's working at a saloon trying to save enough money to finish the trip to San Francisco her family initially set out on. Jessie begins noticing signs that the chupacabra's curse may have survived their last deadly encounter. Townspeople start to go missing but not all the disappearances can be blamed on the chupacabra. Legend of The Chupacabra is the third book in the Chupacabra series.

Legend Of The Chupacabra is a great addition to the Chupacabra series. It combines elements from the previous books while increasing the stakes and action. The world building gives a great western interpretation of Portland during 1878. I liked how the story incorporated seafaring details that affected the town such as shore leave, trade, and recruitment. I also liked the attention paid to weaponry from the era. The action scenes with the saber gave the story a fun and exciting swashbuckling quality.

Characters from previous books were reintroduced along with the inclusion of additional new characters. There was a secondary plot involving the monstrous acts of humans that was both independent and intertwined with the threat of the chupacabra. I liked that both storylines were equally intense in terms of conflict and action while later combining to create a suspenseful and dramatic outcome.

I'm always wary of any type of media that portrays Native Americans. This series is one of the few that I felt handled it well, components are concise but fleshed out to the point that it feels credible to the story it's trying to tell. I would have liked to have gotten to know Tree Cradle better but she felt more like an extension of the curse's back story. In this installment the chupacabra's origin mythos is further explored and the curse is revealed to have more perilous variables. The story introduces a frightening new manifestation of the chupacabra that further heightens the tension.

I enjoyed reading the Legend Of The Chupacabra. The viewpoint transitions are smoother and the increased suspense creates an engaging horror story where every character is in danger. The story ends with a dramatic conclusion that hints at an ominous future for everyone involved.

[Disclaimer: I won a copy of this book through a blog giveaway from FU Only Knew]

Related Posts: 
Night of the Chupacabra (Chupacabra, #1)
Curse of the Chupacabra (Chupacabra, #2)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Desperate Reflections by Shay West

★★★★★ 
Alexis Davenport has managed to prevent Drifter from altering history so far but every dangerous encounter has just been leading up to the unveiling of his true twisted ambition. Alexis makes a desperate attempt to stop Drifter in the modern era only to inadvertently reveal her identity and endanger the lives of everyone she loves. Alexis must now choose a course of action where saving one life could mean the death of millions. This is the final book in the Adventures Of Alexis Davenport trilogy.

Desperate Reflections is one of those rare books I've come across as a reader where I’m continually excited as it unfolds because of how beautifully it’s executed. I knew after the first few chapters that this was going to be an amazing story and it surpassed even those expectations. The story is wonderfully composed with great pacing, engaging narration, and continual suspense. Its portrayal of realistic issues and innovative approach to time travel are further enhanced by great characterization.

Similar to the previous books there are two interwoven storylines. There is the contemporary storyline that deals with Alexis’ everyday life as a teenager. The other storyline focuses on her time traveling adventures and the complications it presents. The storylines are interlaced nicely and support each other without disrupting the story's progression.

Alexis is a wholesome teenager that has gradually matured over the course of the series. Each adventure back in time has tested her resolve and she’s learned to emulate the positive qualities of the women she’s encountered. She’s gained better control over her emotions, become more assertive and eagerly grasps at opportunities for independence.  

A couple of years have passed since Alexis’ father walked out on the family leaving them in dire straits. When her mother enters into a new relationship, Alexis reacts with hostility. It’s a moment of great insight into Alexis’ anxieties and residual pain. At the same time it was able to illustrate that a parent is more than their parental role. I liked that the story was able to break down the situation into an understandable dialogue with a healthy perspective. Through the course of the story Alexis identifies the necessity of opening up to others while becoming mindful of the people she allows into her life. It’s an insightful perspective on a situation I rarely see represented in young adult books which makes me wish I had access to it as a teenager.

Overall, this story has a darker intensity then previous books but this adds to the tension further heightening the suspense. In prior books there has always been a slight sense of safety when Alexis and Drifter simultaneously time traveled because there was anonymity and a mirror offered a potential escape. Alexis’ abilities have strengthened to where she can travel to the immediate past, near present without being summoned. Though a versatile ability this enables Drifter to be at his full strength without the vulnerabilities time travel creates. Alexis soon realizes how dangerous her adversary truly is when his plans to alter history are revealed and her loved ones become targets of retribution. Desperate Reflections is an intense and dramatic story that incorporates elements from the previous books to create a satisfying conclusion to the series.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.] 

Related Posts: 
Dangerous Reflections (Adventures of Alexis Davenport, #1) 
Twisted Reflections (Adventures of Alexis Davenport, #2)