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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, December 24, 2015

Writerly Updates

So as I've mentioned previously in a few posts, me (Ants) and my sister (Epic) write...a lot.  And, as we've moved towards getting a few of our works actually published we've met several people who have inquired about our books. They've been kind and amazingly encouraging so I figured it was about time I started updating on our projects!

   From least ready to most ready for publishing we'll start with our Super Secret project that exists but will not see the light of a publisher for many years yet.

   Next is a work with the temporary title of The Guardian. We had actually gotten nearly halfway through the first draft with this one but had no idea where we were going with it so it's been on pause until recently. Around a month ago, inspiration fell a little past midnight and we're now editing all 30-something pages (which is kinda discouraging) and working towards our new and epic story!

  After that is a story with another temporary title, The Farthest Star, that I actually just finished the first draft ten minutes ago. It was one of my finishing-up-the-year goals to get the first draft for this story done and I'm rather proud since it's the first time I've ever finished a first draft in a year (it's also one of the few stories that is not a collaboration with my sister though she was still a major part in it's creation). Now, it's not very long and it needs A TON of editing, but I have the story so I'm happy!
  Next comes the story I'm most proud of. While still needing lots of editing, we're on the third or fourth draft and, though it's taken three years to get this far, it's coming along fantastically! I'm not going to give you a name until I can do a title reveal but, God willing, we will be looking into publishing it by the end of next year so I'll give you more info before then!

  And last, but far from least, is Mark My Soul which is a short story I wrote for an anthology contest awhile back. I actually won but the up-and-coming publishing company ran into some hard times so the story reverted back to me. I admit to being extremely fond of my weird little story (very different from what I intended or what I usually write) so I wanted to do something else with it. Right now I'm looking to publish it through Amazon's Kindle options which is free and supposedly easy and will hopefully have it out sometime in February. Depending on how many people are actually interested in it, I might look into other venues for it but for now, I simply want this little story out there instead of sitting forgotten in my documents! (If you're interested in reviewing leave a comment and I'll set something up.)

 Yes, I realize it's a lot. I firmly believe that having more than one project to work with helps keep creative juices flowing, I'm always in the mood for at least one of the stories! So, here they are, all the projects and I will be keeping you updated as things happen, for many I hope to post a synopsis or blurb fairly soon but with all the editing I'm doing...we'll see.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Book Review: Fire in the Blood

Summary: A princess in a dragon-guarded tower. The prince who is to rescue her. The prince’s ensorcelled dragon. And one enchanted keep that might just be enough to kill them all...
  It’s widely known that Princess Kayami Koto is held captive in the Enchanted Keep by a dragon of great ferocity and skill. So when the bold, daring and crafty Prince Akish attempts to rescue her, it seems only sensible to bring his own dragon, Rafiq.
But the Keep’s dragon is only the first Circle in the Keep’s Seven Circles of Challenge, and both Rafiq and the prince will have to keep their wits about them if they’re to survive and rescue the princess.
  There to help them is the princess’ serving maid, Kako. But why does Kako seem so familiar to Rafiq? Will she really help them, or does she have her own agenda? Rafiq isn’t sure, but he knows one thing: Kako may be the only person who can free him from his bondage to the prince, and that’s worth any amount of risk.

Thoughts: I really liked the characters in this book even more than its prequel. Funny, sarcastic and (does this count as a SPOILER? I don't think so...) a dragon that can turn human! I've used this several times in my own writing and enjoyed seeing someone else's spin on this trope! Then there's a fascinating maze/keep full to bursting with trails and tests. The perfect legendary setting! But here's a fun twist, the prince is borderline despicable (mostly he was just whining which made him more annoying than anything) and the serving girl is more than she seems (and maybe more than that)! I really loved the journey through the keep and certain bits with a character's family. I always really love seeing characters interact with their families and interact well at that! Overall, the first was great and this one was even better! I can't wait for the next Shards of a Broken Sword!

Content: Much less than the first, the girl's are said to dress a little skimpily. Something happens that is considered inappropriate but only to characters as a part of culture and would not be offensive to most readers. Things can get a little bloody and there's something of a shock (major plot twist!) at the end but nothing out of the ordinary for a fantasy. Mostly a clean story for (almost) all ages!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Book Review: Twelve Days of Faery

Summary: In Twelve Days Of Faery, King Markon of Montalier is at the end of his tether. His son, Prince Parrin, is afflicted with a rather nasty curse that slaughters, maims, or brutally attacks any woman with whom he so much as flirts. After the rumour that sweeps around the kingdom, promising that any woman breaking the ‘curse’ will be eligible to marry the prince, there is no shortage of willing volunteers. Unfortunately, there is also no shortage of bodies piling up.
   Markon needs to do something, but what? Can a visiting enchantress from Avernse help, or is she simply another accident waiting to happen? And will Markon be able to give her up to his son if she does break the curse?
  Twelve Days of Faery is the first novella in the Shards Of A Broken Sword novella trilogy.

Thoughts: This was one of the most unique modern fairytales I've read in awhile! Mary Poppins sleuthing around the castle for signs from Faery...all to stop a prince's mysterious curse! Peppered with fun and intriguing characters and with a wonderful plot that takes the reader back to the time when faeries weren't something to be trifled with. Overall this is a splendid short read for fairytale fans alike and an amazing new story with a wonderfully old sort of feel!
(I was provided with a free book in exchange for my honest opinion)

Content: While mostly clean, this books borderlines a few possibly offensive scenes. First off, there's (MINOR SPOILER) a bit of confusion as to whether or not the heroine will marry a father or his son, which was a little awkward at times. Then there was an expected, but semi-surprised kiss; a serious flirt without a shirt(his scene made me really uncomfortable but nothing happened so it's still clean!), and certain talks which parents might be uncomfortable with. Otherwise, this book is clean and a fun read!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Book Review: The Night Circus

Summary: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. 
 Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air. 
   Welcome to Le Cirque des RĂªves. 
 Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way--a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a "game" to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. 
 As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lvies of all those involved--the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them--are swept up in a wake of spells and charms. 
 But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 
 Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance. 
 Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern's spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages.

Thoughts: I have to admit, the title, the cover, the description, for once they are all entirely honest. I picked this book up hoping for something different, something mesmerizing. That is exactly what this book is. Slow, dreamy; the reader seems to float through certain parts and dance through others. Magic is mingled with mechanics and dreams are the most real part about it. I was truly spellbound to the very end. One thing I did notice with other readers and that didn't bother me was that there are so many characters that all come in at different times. It can easily get confusing. But over all, this was an amazing read.

Content: This is not a book for children. There are sexual scenes, mostly mentioned as a joke or in passing but one chapter held an actual scene which, while easily skipped, is still a problem. There is a miniscule amount of language, a few profanities and D***  but in the beginning there is one utterance of the F bomb that was both unnecessary and annoying. Thankfully this word did not appear again. Many of the themes are mature and the plot itself would be a little confusing for a younger reader. An enchanting read for an adult but not highly recommended.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Book Review: Isle of Swords

Summary: A young lad awakens on an island, alone and brutally injured, with no memory of his past.
Captain Declan Ross searched for riches that will free him and his headstrong daughter, Anne, from the piracy business forever . . . Bartholomew Thorne, an infamously ruthless pirate, seeks to destroy Ross and any who stand in his way of the legendary treasure hidden by a mysterious order of monks.  With these intriguing characters and many more, Wayne Thomas Batson weaves a spell-binding adventure filled with high-seas drama where battles rage, storms brew, a long-dormant volcano awakens, and a sea creature slithers in the deep as pirates race for a cliff-top fortress.

Thoughts: I was a little hesitant getting into this book after my less than pleasant experience with  The Door Within. But Isle of Swords surprised me. A well written, action packed, faith driven tale of the high seas, it swept me away almost immediately! Intriguing characters and a fantastic plot! Also, this book does not condone pirates. Our good guys are mostly good guys, but they are still pirates and this is shown as wrong if a little necessary. I appreciated the fact that there is a fairly honest portrayal of pirates in here despite the main characters partaking of such a trade, and they're still enjoyable even so!

Content: Violence, it gets a little bloody at times. Other than that, a clean read for all ages!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Book Review: A School For Sorcery

Summary: Welcome to the Leslie Simonton School for the Magically Gifted. A school where students can expect the unexpected. But be careful. At this school the final exam could be a real...killer.

Thoughts: While the summary tells you next to nothing about the book, readers will get the joke...which kinda defeats the point of a summary. In this book a young farm-girl named Tria  enters a school to further develop her previously oppressed magical gifts. Here she makes friends and enemies, mostly enemies, and starts focusing less on learning and more on surviving. All in all, this was a unique book. A different setting with rather ordinary characters made for a fun if not intriguing read. Without getting too spoilerish I will warn you that things got rather confusing by the end and there are some rather shocking events leading up the a big revelation, so brace yourself. The characters themselves were neither amazing nor repulsive, simply ordinary and a little boring. The plot, in my opinion, made this story the wonderfully intruging read that it is!

Content: Aside from lots of magic (and some rather dark bits of it too) I can't recall anything worth mentioning.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Book Review: 13 Treasures

Summary: No one else can see the evil fairies that rouse Tanya from her sleep, torturing her at the slightest mention of their existence, but they are as real to the 13-year-old as anything she's ever known. She cannot rid herself of them, nor can she ignore them. But it is her insistence on responding to them that has her banished to her grandmother's secluded countryside manor.
 There is much to explore and even more to fear in the woods surrounding the estate. But, the forest isn't the only source of dark secrets, and Tanya soon finds herself entangled in a mystery that could trap her in the fairy realm forever.

Thoughts: Hm...well, this book wasn't a favorite. I wasn't captivated by plot or characters (though Fabian was nice) but it did have one thing going for it. The use of fairies, actually the use of faeries to be exact. Not your sweet fun little Disney fairies but the old kind, the faeries that stole children, played pranks, gave strange gifts, and may or may not want the best for you. All to often in literature today (I'm not judging, I'm guilty of it too) we create the fun, light hearted sprite that goes around making everything better or at least frillier! In here we see, once again, the older darker side of faery tales. I greatly appreciated that, in fact I even learned a teensy bit of lore! So, if you're looking for your next favorite character or best plot I'd have to suggest looking elsewhere, but if you don't particularly mind either and are interested in a new take on old stories, this might be just for you!

Content: The fairies themselves can get a little frightening and there's plenty of magic. Other than that, perfectly clean.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Book Review: A Charmed Life

Summary: Cat doesn't mind living in the shadow of his sister, Gwendolen, the most promising young witch ever seen on Coven Street. But trouble starts brewing the moment the two orphans are summoned to live in Chrestomanci Castle. Frustrated that the witches of the castle refuse to acknowledge her talents, Gwendolen conjures up a scheme that could throw whole worlds out of whack.

Thoughts: First off, I'll just warn you. Two things: 1, I really like Dianna Wynne Jones' books. 2, I also love great siblings. Those two didn't mesh well here and I found that a little frustrating. Now don't get me wrong, this was a fun light read and I did enjoy it. I found the main character, Cat, a fun and adorable protagonist. The rest of the cast though...I wasn't amazingly fond of them and a certain twist at the end had me feeling both vindicated and at the same time betrayed. Over all, I do suggest this as a great read but not if you're looking for amazing siblings but rather an interesting romp through a strangely familiar world!

Content: Again, D*** once or twice but that's about it as far as language goes. The rest of the book is clean so long as you understand that it focuses heavily on magic and Cat's sister is a witch. If you find overkill of magic offensive this book may not be the best for you.

Book Review: The Thief

Summary: The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities. 
 What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

Thoughts: One of the best books I've read in a while! The Thief is full of rich wit and humor that I love! While, granted, the story drags a bit, the characters are what really make the book. Smart, crafty, loyal; they each have their goals, their purposes, their secrets, and they numerous twists and turns of the plot (not to mention the big reveal at the end!) make this book a fantastically unique experience! Needless to say I liked it, a lot, and fully intend to read the rest of the series as soon as I can get my hands on them!

Content: A tiny bit of language (D*** on occasion, I think that's all though). Half the plot revolves around ancients gods and goddesses and some people might find it offensive though they were more along the lines of the Greek myths.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Mark My Soul

Here's a brief blurb for a short story, MARK MY SOUL, I'm hoping to have available for free on Kindle sometime in the next month or so. And as I'm in need of a cover... here's also for the contest.

An age old tradition. A few offline cameras. Shadows in the alley. 

Lance works in a busy city, watching out for disturbances and things out of the ordinary. He has no idea just out strange things have gotten until he looks into a missing child case and discovers dark secrets in the shadows. Inhuman creatures seem to appear out of nowhere and are devouring the city. And the only way to stop a tradition no one believes in anymore.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Book Review: Keeper of the Lost Cities

Summary: Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.
 Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.
 Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.”
There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

 In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where one girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first.

Thoughts: I feel much the same way about this book as I did about The School for Good and Evil. In other words, I'm not sure what I think. I was bored out of my mind for the first half (or two-thirds) of the book and didn't like characters or plot. Things started to become semi-interesting and then I found two characters I liked. And then it ended. First off, let my say this: I'm pretty sick of modern romance. I mean, for goodness sake, the main character is twelve! But when it comes to boys she acts like a sixteen year old! I really wouldn't have disliked the main character so much if her heart didn't do that 'stupid fluttery thing' every time she meets a new 'cute' boy. many of us haven't already read the common trope of I-hate-my-life-Mr.-Perfect-has-come-to-take-me-to-where-I-belong-at-last? (Sigh) And then she just let's herself get bullied out of home and family...out of her own world! I would've asked a few more questions before running off to another world no matter how handsome the fellow whisking me off! And can I just say that I'm absolutely sick of people trying to claim mythological creatures as their own! Elves were not invented by the author for her story so she doesn't get to rewrite her culture and bash the commonly known tales where the elven folk came from! If you want a new species to work with, make up you're own! (I'm sorry, didn't mean to rant there, personal peeve, feel free to ignore). As things progressed I did come to almost enjoy the story...about ten chapters from the end things got interesting. I did my best to like it but this book just annoyed me mostly. Of course, because I found minute enjoyment my curiosity is piqued. I'll probably try to read the rest of the series to see where this goes. After all, a good ending can make even a bad beginning something to remember fondly. 

Content: Clean so long as you don't mind a twelve year old diving head first into a love triangle.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Book Review: Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstitskin

Summary: In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone's joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.
 To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.

Thoughts: This was an adorable retelling of the age-old fairytale Rumpelstiltskin! Thoughtful characters, a simple but original plot, and a handful of magic wound around to make a sweet and humorous story! While a little thought provoking on occasion, it's over all an easy light read and has something there for readers of all ages!

Content: I think there might have been the slightest bit of crude humor involving some trolls but nothing offensive. This is a clean read and fun story for younger readers!