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This blog is managed by us two sisters, known to some as Ants and Epic. We're a pair of up-and-coming authors and avid readers. This blog is mainly full of honest, Christian book-reviews and an occasional update about our writing. We love hearing from you all so feel free to drop a comment anywhere to just say hi!
Also, got any book suggestions? Something you'd like to see reviewed? Leave the title in the comments and we'll try to get to it!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Book Review: The Wildcat of Braeton

  Summary: His term of service to Lord Rishdah now complete, Aiden returns to his home in Braeton. As he travels he hears rumors that trouble plagues Braeton. Clan Canich is being attacked from within. He arrives, determined to save his father, his brothers, and his Clan from the treachery of one man.
 A year has passed since the Calorins were driven from Aredor and Corin is struggling to rebuild his country. Despite the peace, a fear haunts him that the Calorins aren’t far away. The Hawk Flight takes to the forest again to defend the borders against a possible attack from the neighboring country of Durna and its Calorin ally. 
 As Aiden and Corin struggle to adapt to their new lives they know one thing for certain - war is coming to the North!

Thoughts: To be honest, this isn't exactly my favorite type of book. While the plot and settings were interesting, I just couldn't really get into the characters. Now, this is the sequel to Claire Banschbach's previous novel The Rise of Aredor, which I have not read yet, so maybe there was more to be had there. But I didn't feel like I missed too much that this book didn't recap for me and still felt the characters lacking much in the way of growth or development. So, not a bad book but not necessarily the best I've read either, and not a light read. I do look forward to seeing more from this author! 

Content: Mild violence is pretty much it, its a war but detail is usually bare minimum. This is Christian fantasy so its pretty much clean for all ages! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Book Review: Chasing Vermeer

Summary: When a book of unexplainable occurrences brings Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay together, strange things start to happen: seemingly unrelated events connect, an eccentric old woman seeks their company, and an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears. Before they know it, the two find themselves at the center of an international art scandal, where no one — neighbors, parents, teachers — is spared from suspicion. As Petra and Calder are drawn clue by clue into a mysterious labyrinth, they must draw on their powers of intuition, their problem-solving skills, and their knowledge of Vermeer. Can they decipher a crime that has left even the FBI baffled?

Thoughts: This is a very different and interesting book, I'll admit, I've never seen anything like it, definitely not a light read though! I picked this up expecting a story similar to The Clockwork Three and ready to enjoy a light read. Instead I got a strange, complex, and thought provoking, no, demanding, story. The author riddles the entire book with codes and secrets and hidden objects and forces the reader to decipher several to understand what was happening. So, to be honest, I found it a little annoying and the characters weren't well developed either. I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had really wanted something to work at and puzzle over, but I didn't. Overall its a good book, especially if you're looking for some brain food, but don't expect a quick, easy read.

Content: Nothing at all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Book Series Review: Julie of the Wolves

Summary:  JULIE OF TE WOLVES-Faced with the prospect of a disagreeable arranged marriage or a journey across the barren Alaskan tundra, 13-year-old Miyax chooses the tundra. She finds herself caught between the traditional Eskimo ways and the modern ways of the whites. Miyax, or Julie as her pen pal Amy calls her, sets out alone to visit Amy in San Francisco, a world far away from Eskimo culture and the frozen land of Alaska.
During her long and arduous journey, Miyax comes to appreciate the value of her Eskimo heritage, learns about herself, and wins the friendship of a pack of wolves. After learning the language of the wolves and slowly earning their trust, Julie becomes a member of the pack.
                  JULIE-Julie's decision to return home to her people is not an easy one. But after many months in the wilderness, living in harmony with the wolves that saved her life, she knows the time has come.

Julie is not prepared, however, for all the changes that she finds. Her father has forsaken many of the old Eskimo traditions. He has given up his sled dogs for a snowmobile, and now looks after the musk oxen that serve as the village's income. He will do anything to protect them -- even shoot any wolves that might threaten the herd. Julie knows that, like her father, she must find a way to reconcile the old ways with the new. But how can she do that without putting her beloved wolves in danger?

Thoughts: (Yes, I know there's a third in the series but I'm not sure I'll ever get around to reading it so I'm reviewing these two as a series.) 
I must have been around six when I fist picked up Julie of the Wolves at our local library. It was a small book and I might have read it all in one sitting...I don't remember though. All I know is that I didn't have it for very long. I didn't learn the name of the book, it was simply the book about the girl who lived with the wolves, but it was magic for me. An elusive book without a title that lurked on the edge of my memory and whose enchantment held me spellbound for a long time afterwards. Well, needless to say I've been searching for that book for many long years unsuccessfully until a few months back when it just sorta fell into my lap at a used bookstore. I recognized it immediately and reread it. While not as magical as I remembered, it was still an exciting and intriguing story. But I read it and that was that...until a few weeks ago when I discovered the sequel at our new library (we've moved a few times since my discovery of the first). Obviously I snatched it up gleefully and devoured it quickly. Julie, the sequel, was still a good story and was fascinating in its own way with its wonderful detail of life in Alaska, but it held less magic for me than the first. Julie of the Wolves tells a tale of survival on a bitter landscape with the help of those old time terrors, Wolves (and hungry wolves at that!). Into this story is woven stories, myths, beliefs and superstition as a way of life and the ancient Eskimo culture just flows off the pages. In Julie the culture is balanced between the old and the new and is far more real and believable than than its predecessor. Even so, both books are fun, easy and occasionally magical reads!

Content: In the first book Julie/Miyax is a thirteen year old girl who is in an arranged marriage and so, technically speaking, she was married. Nothing was supposed to happen until they were older but the boy who was her husband is crazy and at one point he attacks her and pins her to the floor. While it is a little unclear what exactly happens, by the time she escapes from him, she is pulling her dress back up on her shoulder and feeling ill. This scene is very short, not detailed and a little vague, I know it went over my head when I first read it. Aside from that there isn't really anything content wise as long as you understand that they openly discuss the Eskimo beliefs and religions as part of their culture. This really is a pretty clean series and the first can be easily ignored.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Book Review: Rise of Empire

Summary: The adventure continues as Royce and Hadrian aid the struggling kingdom of Melengar as it alone stands in defiance against the newly formed empire.

Thoughts: I'm sure we've already made it clear that we absolutely loved the first book in this series. Well let me just say that the second was no exception! From the hilarious and witty banter to the edge-of-your-seat action, world building and plot constructing, this series has it all and is definitely one of the best I've ever read!
  Continuing the story from the first book I was very happy to see several characters returning and glad to know their plot-lines weren't just dumped. Also, this book gives you new questions, answers and then turns right around and makes you question the answers! And no one is safe, from horrible deaths to betrayals you never really know what to expect. A surprising and intriguing part of this book was the glimpse we get into the rest of Sullivan's world, races, and culture which includes a fun high seas adventure! But I won't spoil it. Suffice to say this was a great book which, despite its volume, took me around four days to read!

Content: The violence is much greater than the first book though the worst is only mentioned and never actually 'seen' in the story. The sexual content is about the same as the first (men holding girls, a few instances of near rape that is always avoided, and talk of prostitutes) with a few variations (no one is seen in someone else's bed but we do find some scantily clad to no-clothes girls, the last of which wasn't mentioned in a sexual but rather cultural way, but is still offensive). And then the language which hosts quite a variety of colorful words with B******* and W**** usually being the worst while D**** is found often and profanity on occasion. These are not clean reads and, though good books, I would suggest them for a more mature audience.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Book Review: Awakening

Summary:  Kallie Andreas is a mystery, even to herself.
 Seven years ago Kallie woke up in a New York City museum, injured and traumatized. Alone and unclaimed. Despite her shattered memories, she's made a quiet life for herself as museum curator. But then the blackouts start. Lost time, stranded in terrifying danger, frantic visions that can't be real.
 And now Kallie's journal has morphed into something else... What began as a romantic fairy tale becomes the tale of a woman plunged into crisis in the ancient misty islands of Minoan Greece, home to myth and legend.
 When a mysterious billionaire invites Kallie to scour the black market with him for the most valuable of all Minoan treasures, Kallie can't resist. Dimitri is wealthy, charming and good-looking, but she's not interested--not in someone who's clearly hiding secrets of his own.
 Meanwhile, Kallie's memories are bleeding through and her journal has turned violent. She's teetering on the verge of a breakthrough, but what devastating truth has she been suppressing?

Thoughts: First off, let me just remind you all that I am not a big fan of romances. At all. Ever. So that is going to show in this review.
This is definitely a romance where the girl falls for the guy the moment he enters and yet there is some sort of talk about walls of the heart and  secrets and not wanting to be in a relationship...that happens anyways. (Sigh). It's not a bad book though. On the contrary I did find the parts about Greek myths fascinating and I loved the way the two different stories were woven together! While not much of a fan of ancient myths, I do love fairy-tales and give a nod of appreciation to their founders and roots and greatly enjoy a good retelling. Not to mention I loved the wonderful descriptions of the places they traveled to. I won't spoil it since a few caught me by surprise and made my day, but the second to last place was my favorite! So...I didn't like the romance (which was a large part of the of it...ok, just most) but I definitely appreciated the rest. A dash of adventure and plenty of thrilling travel with two separate stories slowly coming together for the big reveal! While not a favorite for me, I would undoubtedly suggest this for any Romance fan!

Content: Nothing really other than the fact that the main guy and girl start being touchy and kissy really early on. Not exactly in an offensive way, but the guy is constantly reaching for her to clasp her hands, hug, kiss, or even stroke her head and face. They are, obviously, meant to be together, but I was pretty surprised at his boldness and her lack of resistance. Aside from that there's a teensy bit of violence and another girl who's a bit of a flirt. Overall though, I would say this book is almost entirely clean.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Book Review: The Prince of Malorn

Summary: One major obstacle stands between seventeen-year-old Prince Korram and the throne that is his birthright: Regent Rampus. Temporary ruler of Malorn, Rampus has no intention of giving up his position when the crown prince comes of age – or of allowing the prince to live long enough to reach that age.
  Desperate to build an army of his own to stand against the regent, Korram treks into the Impassable Mountains to try to recruit the one segment of Malornian society not under Rampus’s control. But can he lead a band of untrained hunters and gatherers to victory against the full might of the Malornian military? Or will they all be crushed by the grasping hand of the regent before the prince can claim his rightful throne?

Thoughts: be honest I liked The Prince of Alasia better. It's probably because I was surprised by that first story and then developed expectations but it felt like the first book was written better (plus I had really been hoping for more with Korram's sister).
That being said, I did really enjoy the book. It moved slowly and the action wasn't very intense, but Annie Douglas Lima did a great job at developing her lands. She talks about economy, politics, lifestyles, and landscape in detail which can get a little boring during the long scope of things but that really helped create her world into a 'real' land instead of a setting for adventures. Overall I wouldn't suggest this if you're looking for an in-depth tale of Korram's back story or an action filled book, but it's a nice relaxing read of two separate cultures trying to come to an understanding.

Content: A little violence with no detail, a child is killed and Korram very nearly dies several times throughout the book. That's about it.