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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!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Book Review: The Hive

A pregnant cyborg and a teenage boy fight against intergalactic governments to protect the unborn in this novel from a Christy Award-nominated author. Why is Zain pregnant? She belongs to the Hive, a collective of cyborgs who choose to live apart from the rest of human society. At times, the Hive rent out some of their females to produce tailor-made children for paying couples. But Zain is an engineer, not a breeder. When she finds herself separated from the Hive, she decides to find the person who she thinks ordered the baby. Surely they’ll help her find her way home.
Matthew “Scorn” Nelson has spent the better part of his teenage years cracking computer systems, causing mischief and havoc wherever he can. But the night of his greatest triumph turned into a painful memory, one he wants to erase. But that night was also his first step on a road to faith. When Zain arrives on his doorstep, Scorn is horrified. What’s he supposed to do with a pregnant teenage cyborg?
Unfortunately, he’ll have to answer that question on the run. Zain’s people want to reclaim her and terminate her pregnancy. And both the Ministrix and the Praesidium, two intergalactic governments in a constant state of cold war, want Zain’s baby for their own reasons. Will their enemies run them down? Or will Zain find a new Hive for both her and her child?

Thoughts: To be honest, I don't read a lot of sci-fi...I'm not sure why, I just don't. This book, among other things, convinced me that I ought to be reading more.  The setting was amazing! Detailed but in such a pass-by way that you felt more like you were walking the streets of a new city than traversing a universe of foreign technology! And the characters were easy to understand and follow along with. Each emotion and thought added to who they were and defined them each uniquely. The pacing never lagged, at times, it was calm but never boring; between each action packed scene of narrow escapes and deadly hacking, The Hive manages to keep readers on the edge of their seats and characters on their toes!
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Content: As far as language goes there was one C*** and that was about it. Violence is what you would expect from stories like this and not much of a problem. On the other hand, there was at least three near-rape situations and SPOILER Zain is nearly sold to a brothel at one point. There is another scene where Zain becomes confused in human traditions and ends up undressing in front of a boy. While it doesn't escalate into anything, its still there. And of course, Zain is pregnant and certain situations and discussions regarding her pregnancy may make certain readers uncomfortable. Overall I would say this is a great read for more mature readers.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Book Review: Gregor and the Prophecy of the Bane

Summary: Gregor swears he will never return to the Underland, that strange world below New York City. But he is a key player in another prophecy, this one about an ominous white rat called the Bane. The Underlanders know there is only one way to lure Gregor back to their world: by kidnapping his little sister, Boots.
Now Gregor's quest reunites him with his bat, Ares, and the rebellious princess Luxa. They descend into the dangerous Waterway in search of the Bane. If Gregor does not fulfill the prophecy, his life, and the Underland, will never be the same.

Thoughts: Can I start this off by stating that I'm very happy that this is a series and seems to focus almost solely on Gregor's relationship with Boots? Well, I did. I loved this book and thoroughly enjoyed all the action and suspense, the journey and the plot twist! That surprised me and...well, I won't tell you but I thought it was fantastic! And of, course, I loved Boots! Boots and Gregor together made my day (these are actually pretty light reads and I managed to read two in two days)! Now, I do have to say that this book became even more dark than its predecessor, there were shockingly sudden deaths and some fairly brutal fights, but over all I found it endearing and another great read!

Content: Again, violence and death are really the most problematic themes. Then of course there's the underlying trouble of Gregor's family being poor and their struggle to get by, but I wouldn't say this is a real problem so much as it might be eye opening for some children. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Book Review: Gregor the Overlander

Summary: In the first novel of the series young Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building and hurtles into the dark Underland. This strange world is on the brink of war, and Gregor's arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland's uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it -- until he realizes it's the only way to solve the mystery of his father's disappearance. Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.

Thoughts: As far as story goes, this is a brand new, spiffed up, action packed version of Alice in Wonderland. The characters and world building were great, fleshed out and thought through to the point where people had noticeable speech patterns that felt natural instead of cheesy. But what really sold on this story is that same factor that so many other people overlooked. Boots. That's right, Gregor's little two-year old sister that he goes through trial and terror to keep safe and get home! Their relationship is adorable! Gregor is a rather mature eleven year old due to his father's disappearance and has become used to stepping up to the plate for his mother's sake, which usually means watching over his two little sisters and grandmother. I'll try not to harp on this too much but I was unbearably happy to have found an amazing story of a good older brother and his little sister. Aside from that, I enjoyed the travel, not enough books have real travel. There was a quest, and a journey, a group of comrades and plenty of secrets. This is a dark series, full of bats, giant bugs and a bit of violence, but still a great read!

Content: Like I said, there's quite a bit of violence in here, some characters die and it's not exactly pleasant but neither is it overwhelming. Aside from that, it's a clean read!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Book Review: Into the Wild

Summary: For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their ancestors. But the warrior code is threatened, and the ThunderClan cats are in grave danger. The sinister ShadowClan grows stronger every day. Noble warriors are dying—and some deaths are more mysterious than others.
In the midst of this turmoil appears an ordinary house cat named Rusty…who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all.

Thoughts: I've always enjoyed series about noble talking animals so I'm not sure why it's taken me this long to get around to reading this book...but it did (shrug). Well, I have read it and to be honest I wasn't all that impressed. Don't get me wrong, the writing style was great and though the book was full of cliches, they were done well enough that I wasn't writhing in agony (which is saying something because I can't stand an overdose of cliches), in truth, I had even come to like it by the end. The problem was that Erin Hunter obviously meant this to be for children and didn't really care much about a more mature audience. For the most part, this is the type of story younger readers would enjoy before they've seen this a thousand time over; the prophecy, the underdog nobody, turned hero, the evil superior in their midst...yeah, before they've had all that in almost every other fantasy book. Again, I did enjoy it by the end, it wasn't a bad story, but I'm not sure if I'll be picking up any more of this series any time soon.

Content: I admit being kinda surprised at the violence in here for such a typical kids book, in fact I enjoyed it a little more because of it. After all, you feel a little more for the characters when they might actually die. So, violence and death were probably the biggest problem. Aside from that, a clean read.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Review: In The Enemy's Service

 Summary: When the Malornian army invaded Alasia and Prince Jaymin was forced to flee for his life, what happened to those left behind? In the Enemy’s Service tells the story of ten-year-old Anya, imprisoned among other survivors and forced to work for the occupying troops. While pretending to follow orders and serve diligently in the palace, Anya discovers ingenious ways to spy on enemy officers and slip valuable information to the Alasian resistance.
  But as she helps to craft plans that may eventually free Alasia, Anya accidentally uncovers a disturbing reference to her own family. Her fears are strengthened when she is confronted by a mysterious Malornian who seems somehow to know the truth behind the role she has been playing. Holding her life in his hands with that knowledge, he claims to bear information implicating her father in the betrayal that led to the Invasion itself.

Thoughts: I finally got around to reading this book that's been sitting forlornly on my Kindle and I'm glad I did! Well, to say first, out of the three of them, Prince of Alasia firmly remains my favorite, but this is a close second and I did, truly, enjoy the third. Anya was an interesting characters to follow around, with her quick mind and quicker acting skills  she managed to both create and nullify loads of trouble! I also really enjoyed seeing familiar characters cameo throughout the story. Over all, a fun adventure with a little girl this time! 

Content: A soldier bullies a little girl to the point of hitting her hard enough to make her nose bleed, and people are killed, there's a fair amount of violence but its not overwhelming. Anya does quite a bit of lying to keep herself and those around her safe and while this is often brought up as wrong and eventually gets her into some serious trouble, it's not the best of examples for children who often copy others. All in all though, it's another fun clean read for young and old alike!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Book Review: Water Princess, Fire Prince

Summary: When the Lady Dragon does come,
Hold fast, do not fear, do not run.
Your Water Princess will fight,
Fire Prince will set all to right.
Each shall come from a Fall,
Their union will save you all.

  Despite the fact that she's on track for competing in the Olympics, and he's practically raised his younger brothers since they lost their mom in a car accident, Clara Mandras and Andrew Stevenson are pretty much normal teens. They have normal hopes, normal dreams, and they live in a normal world.
All this is torn away from them when they are thrust into another world and declared Water Princess and Fire Prince. With no experience ruling a country, meeting each other for the first time, and being expected to fight the Lady Dragon – an evil sorceress plaguing the world of Rizkaland – Clara and Andrew are underprepared and inexperienced. Unless they learn to work together despite their standing opposition, Rizkaland's hope will be lost. 

  What is to come will change their lives forever.

Thoughts: This book. This book! Reading it I felt like Narnia had come to life again, new and unknown, meshing with my modern world! Full of classic adventure, plenty of fantastical elements and energetic characters, Water Princess, Fire Prince is a fun read for all fantasy lovers young or old. And can I just point out that there were children in here? Adorable little children! As an older sister and lover of all things childlike and cute, I really appreciate an author who feels the need to include children in their adventures! Now, this book is a romance and I wasn't too keen on all sweet-scenes but I think it was handled well and greatly respected the decision the characters reach concerning age appropriateness. Over all, an interesting new book with a familiarly old feel!

Content: Perfectly clean aside from some kissing and very mild violence. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Book Review: Of Nightingales That Weep

Summary: The daughter of a samurai never weeps. But Takiko, whose warrior father was killed in battle, finds this a hard rule, especially when her mother remarries a strange and ugly country potter. To get away from her miserable home, Takiko eagerly accepts a position at the imperial Japanese court. There, her beauty and nightingale voice captivate the handsome young warrior, Hideo -- who also turns out to be an enemy spy. As war breaks out, Takiko flees the court and is forced to choose between loyalty to her people and her love for Hideo. She painfully learns that whatever choice she makes, she cannot run away from her samurai honor.

Thoughts: I admit to being pretty fascinated with Japanese culture so when I saw this in a little used bookstore while on vacation, I snatched it up eagerly! As far as the history goes, I wasn't disappointed. Reading like a Scott O'Dell the story takes us through the war of the Genji vs the Heike and shows the various positions and trials of the times. At the end though, I had to admit I didn't like the book much. The characters were weak and simple, I really did not appreciate Takiko. Everyone else seemed a little a little thought out and human but she was entirely self centered and too childish for her time. And the end...well I saw part of it coming and enjoyed that, but the last two pages were surprising and not very pleasant. I understand cultural differences but the author isn't Japanese and I found it unnecessary to push that far.

Content: Takiko falls in love at a young age (fourteen or fifteen) and it might have been implied that she 'slept with' her lover at one time though this is not definite. She does however, in the end, SPOILER marry her step-father and bear him children. many wives are mentioned as a good thing in court life and there is plentiful talk of Buddhism and other Asian religions, going to far as to instigate a woman to commit suicide and kill her grandson while others attempt to follow her example. Most of this isn't touched upon in an overly offensive manor, skimming over this and changing the view on that, but it's still there. Over all though, I think most readers of history could handle it.