Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review: Uncovering Cobbogoth by Hannah L. Clark

Back Cover Blurb
genre: YA fantasy
Norah Lukens needs to uncover the truth about the fabled lost city of Cobbogoth. After her archaeologist uncle’s murder, Norah is asked to translate his old research journal for evidence and discovers that his murder was a cover-up for something far more sinister.

When she turns to neighbor and only friend James Riley for help, she realizes that not only is their bitter-sweet past haunting her every step, but James is keeping dangerous secrets. Can Norah discover what they are before its too late to share her own.

My Review
4 of 5 stars
Uncovering Cobbogoth was a fast-paced adventure that blended mythology and fantasy into a thrilling ride. 

I thought the author did some great world building in this tale. I am fascinated by the world of Cobbogoth and the Cobbogothians, and felt transported to their realm. One of my favorite parts of the world is how the Cobbogothians use stones for everything from healing to portals. I was always eager to see which stone would be introduced next!

I also loved the strong romantic subplot that the author carried throughout the story. I am always a fan of romance in books, and she handled the romance in this one well. I also loved Uncle Jack as a character. The author did a great job of making him feel like a fleshed-out interesting character, despite the fact he is not physically present at all in the book. 

I loved how mythology was used in this tale. I have no idea how much of the mythology was made-up or real, but she made me believe all of it. 

I also appreciated how the author handled the violence in the book. Some of the scenes had the potential to be very gruesome, but she kept her audience in mind while writing, which I'm thankful for. I would definitely feel comfortable recommending this book to a pre-teen or teen. 

I have a strong suspicion that there will be a sequel to this book, although I haven't been able to substantiate that belief. I think the author did a great job of tying up enough loose ends in this tale to leave me satisfied, while still leaving enough undone that I'm eager to read book two. This just can't be all there is to the story!

The plot was pretty predictable at times, and I wish Norah would've been a stronger character (although I still like her). But I have a feeling she's at the beginning of her character arc and it'll continue throughout book two (assuming there is a sequel). Overall I really enjoyed this book, and I'm excited to see what this author comes up with next!

Excerpt from Uncovering Cobbogoth
“Nor?” James rubbed the sleep from his eyes with the heel of his hand. One look at me, however, and he was wide awake. “What is it? Is it Gram?”

“No. No, not that,” I croaked, guilt rushing through me for causing him more worry.

The panic left his eyes, and he squinted at me.

I shuffled self-consciously. I knew I looked terrible. I’d been up crying half the night after my argument with Uncle Jack about James breaking my heart. Finally, I snuck out my window, climbed down my cherry tree, and headed to the fire station to see James.

“Hey, Riley! Cut the lights, man!”

James glanced back into the dark, communal bedroom where the rest of the night shift firefighters slept.

“Come here.” He took my hand, closed the bedroom door and, in stockinged feet, led me down the hall. A moment later, we were sitting side by side on the stairs. James still held my hand, and I hoped he’d never let go. I watched as he reached into his shirt pocket, fishing around until he found a piece of peppermint gum.

He offered me half. I shook my head, so he stuffed the whole thing in his mouth. Then he turned those kind, piercing eyes on me.

Growing warm under his gaze, I cleared my throat. “I-I’m so sorry to wake you up,” I started. “I hoped you’d still be awake. It’s just . . .”

James mindlessly ran his thumb in circles over my knuckles. I lost my train of thought. Blinking, I took a deep breath and plunged on. “My uncle . . . he wants me to stop spending time with you. I mean, I can still help with Gram and everything, he just doesn’t want us hanging out any other time.” I sucked in another unsteady breath. “But I—I can’t let that happen, James. You’re my only friend.”

James was quiet for what seemed like forever. I prayed he wouldn’t just shrug his broad shoulders and shuffle back to bed.

To my relief, he reached up, rumpling his chocolate curls with his free hand. “Did he give you a reason why?” he asked, avoiding my eyes. I shook my head. “I think he’s afraid you’ll end up hurting me—that you’ll break my heart. You know how protective he is.”

He was silent again, this time longer.

Stupid, Norah! Why had I come here? Why did I think James would even care about this—that it would upset him at all?

Finally, James let out his breath. And the next moment, he was pressing the back of my hand to his lips.

I swallowed my shock. I’d never imagined that his lips could be so warm and soft. The contact sent a shock straight to my heart.

“What do you think?” James mumbled a moment later, still contemplating my hand. “Do you think I could hurt you?”

I wanted to burst into tears all over again. “I don’t think, James, I know. But it would be worth it.”

James chuckled this time, resting his forehead against my temple. “Now that’s a compliment.”

I smiled. Having him so close—smelling the fresh peppermint on his breath—was a fierce mixture of agony and ecstasy. They were feelings I’d never imagined I could feel.

“I’d never hurt you, Nor,” James whispered at last, and his breath tickled my neck. “Not really.”

Author Bio
Hannah L. Clark lives with her husband and their son in the Rocky Mountains. She has always known she would be a storyteller. In 2006 she graduated from Utah Valley University with a bachelor’s degree in English, and immediately began writing Uncovering Cobbogoth. 
Hannah loves running, mythology, laughing, soulful bluegrass music, and growing things. Like her heroine, Norah, she is slightly inclined to believe that trees have souls.
To learn more about Hannah and the Cobbogoth series, visit www.cobbogoth.com.

Rebekah G. Shakespear lives with her husband and two sons in Texas. She received a double degree in Graphic-Web and Print Design from Henry Ford Community College in Michigan.
Bekah loves being a mom, photography, illustrating, refinishing furniture, organizing and being related to the author, for whom she has held a long abiding love and admiration for since before Hannah was even born. 

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