free Bio

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, August 31, 2015

Book Series Review: To Kill a Mockingbird & Go Set A Watchman

Summary: (Of the books without all the extras)
 To Kill A Mockingbird
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960.
Go Set A Watchman
Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past--a journey that can be guided only by one's conscience. 

Thoughts:  With all the hype for Go Set A Watchman recently we finally made our way around to listening to To Kill a Mockingbird on audio. It was a great book with plenty of character and intrigue. From the mystery of Boo Radley to the trial of Tom Robinson it's a classic through and through. After we finished that we sat down and read Go Set a Watchman. I, personally, think that this book is better seen as the origins of Scout and Atticus than a sequel for To Kill a Mockingbird. The characters and events are nearly the same, but not quite, and I feel that Harper Lee turned her characters in different directions for each book. Over all though, I did enjoy the book and it's final conclusion broke my heart.

Content: Pretty much any dirty word or racist word that comes to mind found a way into one or the other. If you're careful of language be aware that Harper Lee kept true to her Southern roots. The dialogue isn't meant to be offensive, just real. Rape is the theme of Tom's trial so it and several details are not shied away from and this topic is also mentioned in the sequel. In Go Set a Watchman there are several problematic scenes from Jean Louise getting her first 'woman's curse', a breeze over youth pregnancy, fake 'bosoms' that cause a lot of trouble and rumors that flit about town. These aren't exactly clean reads, neither are they intended to shock the reader. They are presented mostly in a cultural sort of way, simply telling how things were, what was and wasn't accepted. I skimmed over a few things but adults should be aware of these and a few more points before handing these books to immature readers.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Book Review: The Dalemark Quartet Vol. 1

Summary: It is a country divided by war. For centuries, the earldoms of the North and South have battled. Now, four young people from different times -- with the help of their mysterious gods, the Undying -- must unite to save their beloved land. 
 Traveling musician Moril has inherited a cwidder said to have belonged to one of the Undying. Can he learn to harness its strange powers in time to prevent an invasion?
 To avenge his father's death, Mitt has joined a plot to assassinate the tyrannical Earl Hadd. But when everything goes wrong, he finds himself on a storm-tossed sea in a boat with his enemies.

Thoughts: Ever since reading the Howl's Moving Castle series I've been meaning to get my hands on another Diana Wynne Jones novel and was very happy when this huge volume turned up at our used bookstore. And I definitely wasn't disappointed with this one! Full of near real and yet just barely fantastical adventures and wonderful characters...well, to quote Veggie tales "I cried, I laughed, it moved me Bob." Or something to that effect. The first story, The Cart and the Cwidder, was my favorite. Sleepy little Moril was a very endearing character and I loved my journey with him. Drowned Ammet had a coarser feel to it's tale that put me off a little. I understood this was the desired effect, rough and hardened characters in a tough and cruel world, but it made them a little hard to like. It was an interesting story nonetheless and I look forward to the next volume!

Content: D*** is used on occasion but I believe that the worst for the language. People are killed and there is violence, (one of the main characters tries to blow someone up with a bomb!) but it's handled well so that it's not offensive just making a point. One man is implied to have several wives at one point and there is a bit of flirtatious activity and talk of arranged marriages of young girls to older men, none of which is dwelt upon in an inappropriate way. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Review: Calling On Dragons

 Summary: Those wicked wizards are back--and they've become very smart. (Sort of.) They intend to take over the Enchanted Forest once and for all . . . unless Cimorene finds a way to stop them. And some people think being queen is easy.

Thoughts: Despite the summary this book focuses more on Morwen than Cimorene, which was a somewhat pleasant change. Another fun and romping tale with less to do with dragons and more to do with cats but still keeping with the nonsensical no-nonsense air of the series. Full of mishaps and adventure its a great addition though I'll admit, the end threw me for a loop. I began to suspect the happenings a chapter or so out but what really came about was pretty startliling and has me dying to read the last book!

Content: An exclamation or two, Dragons actually eat Wizards in this one, and SPOILER its mentioned that Cimorene is pregnant but this is a present fact and nothing inappropriate is mentioned. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Book Review: A Wish Made of Glass

Summary: Deep in a forest glade, the fey folk dance with Isidore, a young human child. Their kinship is the very fabric of her childhood. When her mother dies and her world darkens with sorrow, Isidore finds her belief in the fey folk wavering.
The love of her new step-sister, Blessing, proves an unexpected gift in her time of need. Yet even as their friendship blooms, Isidore begins to see that Blessing is everything she herself has always wanted to be, but is not. Jealousy grips Isidore as she watches this beautiful new sister steal away all she holds dear.
Driven to desperation, Isidore turns to the fey folk once more. She has only one wish to claim from them, one chance to make things right. But she must tread carefully. For wishes, like hearts, are easily broken. And obtaining the one thing she desires could mean destroying the one thing she truly needs.

Thoughts: Ever since we helped out with the cover reveal for this I've been dying to read this story! Isn't the cover just wonderful and eye grabbing? Very different, just like the tale it holds. Yes this is a Cinderella tale, no it is nothing like the original. Filled with a much more realistic take on selfishness, hurt, loneliness, loss; it had me writhing in agony over all the emotions spilling out of the pages! It was an enchanting, if short, read and a great (and sorely needed) retelling. Because I've always wondered, what if Cinderella wasn't perfect?

Content: None.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book Review: Dragon Slippers

Summary: Orphaned after a fever epidemic, Creel befriends a dragon and unknowingly inherits a simple pair of blue slippers that can either save or destroy her kingdom which is on the verge of war.

Thoughts: Welcome to one of the most unique retellings of Cinderella ever (right up there with Five Glass Slippers)! I had no clue what I was getting into when I first picked up this book, all i knew was that I liked the author. Well, I certainly wasn't disappointed. Filled with a bright and lively cast, overflowing with adventure and intrigue, this was a fantastical read of dragons and slippers and I am very happy that there are two other books in this series! I would recommend this to any Cinderella, dragon, or Castle Glower fan!

Content: There is a random D*** at one point and a mention of low cut dresses. It's mostly clean but parents or guardians might want to flip through first because of unnecessary language.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Book Review: The Serpent Never Sleeps

Summary: Serena Lynn, age seventeen, turns down an appointment to serve England's King, James I, at court in order to follow her beloved Anthony Foxcroft across the sea to the newly founded colony of Jamestown. ...

 Thoughts: I've read a lot of Scott O'Dell's works and this was one of his less inspiring books. While the majority of the stories I've read from him don't end well and this one does mostly (and no, that's not really a spoiler) it was still rather disappointing. The heroine was emotionless which was fine, I don't care much for weepy girls, but she had no reaction or even thoughts on seeing Indians for the first time or seeing the New World! I didn't expect her to be afraid, but at the very least curious, interested or surprised. Also this is NOT, despite how the front and cover advertise, a tale about, starring, or surrounding Pocahontas. She only features briefly as an important side character. While still a light read with some great pieces of history, I found it less focused on anything but the main character whose eyes were hard to see through. 

Content: Pocahontas swims naked at one point while three other women are around. That's it and it's brief and undetailed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Book Review: The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen

Summary: When Prince Jen volunteers to search for the legendary court of Tien-kuo, a mysterious old man chooses six gifts for him to bear in homage: a saddle, a sword, a paint box, a bowl, a kite, and a flute. Puzzled by the gifts but full of high spirits and pride, Jen sets off but stumbles almost immediately into a series of misfortunes. Only with the help of his faithful servant, Mafoo, and valiant flute-girl, Voyaging Moon, and only after a breathtakingly exciting string of adventures can Jen discover the real meaning of the gifts and face his true destiny. . . .

Thoughts: Told like an ancient tale of China, this story weaves in that wonderful fairytale feeling along with some humor and a dash of romance. Admittedly, one of Alexander's slower stories, it was still a fun and easy read and suggested to those who are looking for stories of Asia, retellings, or fans of Lloyd Alexander!

Content: Not much to mention. A man intended to marry a woman against her will twice but nothing comes of it and there are a few kisses. A clean read over all. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Book Review: The Little Prince

Summary: After the outbreak of the Second World War Saint-Exupéry was exiled to North America. In the midst of personal upheavals and failing health, he produced almost half of the writings for which he would be remembered, including a tender tale of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss, in the form of a young alien prince fallen to Earth. An earlier memoir by the author had recounted his aviation experiences in the Sahara Desert, and he is thought to have drawn on those same experiences in The Little Prince.

Thoughts: It is almost a crime the fact that this tiny book has been set down on children's shelves and ignored by a single adult! It is most definitely a crime that it took me this long to discover, purchase and read this novella.  Despite being a small, seemingly whimsical story, this tale is like no other and had me crying at the end which is not something I find myself doing much anymore. I cannot stress enough how much I loved this story! While I'm no saying this book isn't for children, I am saying no adult or teen should avoid it! Jam packed with a lesson and story for all ages it is a book to be read while young, then older and finally old. I fully intend to reread once my heart has healed!

Content: This story is perfectly clean!