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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!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Booke Review: The Unwanteds

Summary: When Alex finds out he is Unwanted, he expects to die. That is the way of the people of Quill. Each year, all the thirteen-year-olds are labeled as Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds get more schooling and train to join the Quillitary. Necessaries keep the farms running. Unwanteds are set for elimination.
It’s hard for Alex to leave behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted, but he makes peace with his fate—until he discovers that instead of a “death farm,” what awaits him is a magical place called Artimé. There, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds are encouraged to cultivate their creative abilities and use them magically. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.
But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be divided between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artim that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate magical battle.

Thoughts: This was a nice, easy read for me and a good mix of fantasy and dystopian. I honestly found it a little boring during the beginning, I mean, so much middle-grade fiction follows the same sort of plot. A child who is bullied/unwanted/dissatisfied with their life ends up in/meets someone who takes them too/discovers a magical land where they're special. 
 But this book was different. Beneath the surface there was a beating heart to this story that, by the eend, had taken me completely by surprise. 
 The plot was good, while following some cliqued routes it was still unique and the world building was really well done. 
 The writing style was good, easy to read and understand for most readers.
 The characters were what caught me off guard. They start off bland, regular, and boring. Then they grow, slowly but surely, into something more. I really feel that the first book was only a taste of what's to come, a prologue of sorts, to the bigger picture. And I'm really hoping to see some gret development there.

Content: Violence. Blood. A bit of death. Lots of magic. All in all though, a clean read for any age.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Book Review: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

Summary: Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change.
  Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Thoughts: New favorite series. Yep, Bam! Just like that.  It's not a classic (or very mature) read by any means. It's not a serious story and it doesn't try to be. But it was great!
 The plot was simple, and a little bland: evil people kidnap important people and the princes come to save them. Generic. But so mixed up I couldn't put the book down...or stop laughing. I tend to bring a book whenever the TV is turned on and I had to pause reading sometimes because I was laughing so hard everyone in the room was staring at me (Note, I don't often laugh out loud while reading. I grin, chuckle a little, and laugh on the inside. This book had me crying and laughing out loud.)
 The writing was great. The author was engaging and really wrote for the reader. He wasn't trying to impress, he was trying to engage, and he succeeded!
  The characters! Ah, the stars of the show. They were so mixed up and messed up and each had their own quirks, flaws, and strengths; that I loved them immediately! Duncan is, and always will be, my favorite. Even the villains were great! Evil, but oh so much fun! Especially Deeb Rauber. But I won't say anymore. I won't spoil a single thing. 

Content: Violence. Magic. A miniscule amount of crude humor. I was honestly expecting more but it was a thankfully clean book and a great read for all ages!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review: The Hollow Boy

Summary: As a massive outbreak of supernatural Visitors baffles Scotland Yard and causes protests throughout London, Lockwood & Co. continue to demonstrate their effectiveness in exterminating spirits. Anthony Lockwood is dashing, George insightful, and Lucy dynamic, while the skull in the jar utters sardonic advice from the sidelines. There is a new spirit of openness in the team now that Lockwood has shared some of his childhood secrets, and Lucy is feeling more and more as if her true home is at Portland Row. It comes as a great shock, then, when Lockwood and George introduce her to an annoyingly perky and hyper-efficient new assistant, Holly Munro.
  Meanwhile, there are reports of many new hauntings, including a house where bloody footprints are appearing, and a department store full of strange sounds and shadowy figures. But ghosts seem to be the least of Lockwood & Co.'s concerns when assassins attack during a carnival in the center of the city. Can the team get past their personal issues to save the day on all fronts, or will bad feelings attract yet more trouble?

Thoughts: Another well written, riveting installment in this fabulous series...but not my favorite. 
 Let's start with the pro's: the writing. Fabulous! This was by far the most terrifying and adventurous book so far! I was glued from first to last chapter!
 The plot was really well done. At first glance it almost looks like it was broken up into three different plot line, as though Stroud had simply combined a few short stories with a loose plot thread connecting them together. But by the end you start to see a bigger picture and how everything ties together! And, I'm sorry, the end was so satisfactory. I know it was supposed to be shocking and heartbreaking but all I could do was shout "Take that Lockwood!" I won't go into details but I was unnecessarily happy. 
 The characters. Well, here's where we get to my gripe. It's a perfectly relevant gripe. In fact, I dare say it's one author wanted to create. See, the characters develop, a lot, mostly well. Key word there being 'mostly'. I love Lucy to death, she's a great character, and what with the story all being told by her we see most things through her eyes. Of course, she's so openly biased we're not expected to take her word for everything but half way through the book I was on her side for just about everything. And Lockwood was...frustrating. Again, no spoilers and it's all perfectly relevant to plot and the only reason 'm even whining is because I want you to know it has nothing to do with poor quality in writing or content, it was the plot itself that got which is why, so far, the second is my favorite.  

Content: Language (B*****, H***, D***,) the usual from YA books. Ghosts and supernatural, otherworld phenomena. Violence, gore and death. Dark and mature scenarios along with all around horrifying encounters.  Definitely not a good read for the kiddies but for those brave of heart, a pretty clean read and much recommended for those looking for some good supernatural fun!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Book Review: Ward of the Philosopher

Summary: Deacon Shader is a child out of time, removed as a baby from his Ancient world parents and raised on the Isle of Maranore. 
 On his seventh birthday, the philosopher Aristodeus arrives to commence the boy’s training with sword and mind. Nothing short of excellence will suffice, if Deacon is to fulfill his destiny and avert the Unweaving of all things. 
 But as Aristodeus pushes him to the limits, reavers are spotted approaching the coast, and a cloud of horror descends upon the village. 
  For these are no ordinary pirates. They sail under the Impaled Man, the grisly flag of Verusia, land of the undead and realm of the Lich Lord. 

 Thoughts: This was a 52-page novella that prequels the Shader series featuring the young Shader as a child. This line is in literally every single other synopsis but I omitted it in mine because I was going to tell you anyways. I have not read the Shader series but this was another Lost-Files-From-My-Kindle book and a short read.
  The characters were good. Not really a long enough story to get a good grasp of them but there were some interesting concepts introduced that had me curious about the rest of the series.
 The story was alright. It was confusing to someone who'd never read (or even really heard) of the series before but I was able to keep up with everything that was going on.
 The writing was really great in here, carrying a strong classic feel with the wording, it made the story unique and stand out from others in it's genre.

Content: Violence, gore and the undead. There's a lot of talk about a religion that resembles (but has marked differences) Christianity that some people may be uncomfortable with. There is a passing reference to a married couple 'falling into bed' together. There's some sort of magical element though the existence of magic was denied in the story. 
 There's really very little and all the cursing uses substitutes (like "To the Abyss with that!")  so it wasn't problematic. The whole story was a little dark so I wouldn't recommend it for younger readers, but otherwise a good preview into an interesting and mostly clean look into this series for most ages.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Book Review: Stars Above

Summary: The enchantment continues....
 The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?
The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….
The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century...

Thoughts: I was so happy with this collection of short stories! All of the little children! They were so cute and some were fun but most were so sad. Winter and Jacin's was my favorite but the very last was beautiful, a perfect closing to an amazing series. In so many fairy-tale retellings  authors forget the very crucial ending "...and they lived happily ever after." I'm glad to say Marissa Meyer has not forgotten! The writing was just as great as the rest of the series. The cast, old and new, were lovable and perfect. and the many different plots, one for each story, were intriguing little peeks into the beginning (and conclusion) of each character's tale.

Content: A little bit of violence. Some steamy kisses. A suicide is attempted and later shown to have been carried out. There is also a bit of beating around the bush in mentioning a rape. Two unwed characters fall asleep together but clothes are kept on and nothing happens.
All in all, a great collection of stories for fans of the Lunar Chronicles and wonderful farewell to a great series!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Book Review: The Whispering Skull

 Summary: In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn't made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood's investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper.
 Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well-until George's curiosity attracts a horrible phantom. 
 Back home at Portland Row, Lockwood accuses George of making too many careless mistakes. Lucy is distracted by urgent whispers coming from the skull in the ghost jar. Then the team is summoned to DEPRAC headquarters. Kipps is there too, much to Lockwood's annoyance. Bickerstaff's coffin was raided and a strange glass object buried with the corpse has vanished. Inspector Barnes believes the relic to be highly dangerous, and he wants it found.
 Thoughts: As I've mentioned before, I don't really go in for ghost stories but Lockwood & Co. are quickly becoming favorites of mine. I just can't even begin to explain how much I love these characters! The development that each one goes through with each new twist and the depth they already have is captivating. And that teasing little plot-bomb at the end! But I'm not going to spoil it. Needless to say, A++ on character development and cast in general. Even the new characters or the minor ones that get featured more in here, are so well done!
  The plots can be predictable, but never all the way through, there's too much going on to ever truly understand the whole scope of things 'till the end but you can usually guess what's coming next. Even so, I love the winding road the plot takes that leads to a conclusion that is epic and hilarious and charming all at once. 
 The writing is great. Told by Lucy, the author writes her as a real person, with emotions, opinions, and biases. These are made clear enough that (for the most part) no matter what Lucy thinks of so-and-so we can still form our own opinions about the character. Because, and this is what makes her truly enjoyable, Lucy isn't always right about people.

Content: Supernatural stuff. Violence. Death (it's a story about ghosts and dead people, there's going to be a lot of talk and seeing death). And some language such as D***. All in all though, a mostly clean and truly thrilling read for teens and older readers (preferably those who don't scare too easily when reading ghost stories during the day)!

(Partial) Book Series Review: Divine Summons; Beyond Price

Summary for Divine Summons:When a dark plot to undermine the security of the elven nation emerges, Captain Vinyanel Ecleriast must decide. Will he allow his contentious relationship with his half-elven mentor, the Prophetess Veranna, to interfere with his sworn duty to protect his people and his homeland? 
 Newly ordained as the future High Commander of the First Airborne Division of the Elven Cavalry, Vinyanel sets off astride his new mount—a silver dragon—to intervene before the elves’ enemies disappear into the wilderness not only with priceless artifacts pivotal to the elves’ safety, but the life of the elven king in their hands. 
 Only if he can put aside his preconceptions and take full hold of Veranna’s teaching will Vinyanel find the strength to fulfill his Divine Summons.

Summary for Beyond Price: Trapped beneath the stifling leadership of an unscrupulous caravan master, a half-elf gypsy seeks the truth of her worth. Veranna’s path to freedom is fraught with painful revelations. Only if she can embrace the meaning behind her visions will she muster the bravery to break the bonds that tether her to a bleak future.

Thoughts: Two more lost tales from the almost-forgotten archives of my phone Kindle (I have a whole other list for my PC, different Kindle). I honestly didn't even realize these books were related until after I finished Divine Summons and then started Beyond Price. Had I known, I probably would have read Beyond Price first (it being a prequel and all).
  These were some fun, short stories with solid plots. 
 The writing was good but a little inconsistent. All the dialogue was written with a medieval flair, not hard to understand, but elegant and with a fair amount of "Thy's and 'Thou's. And then the author would get stuck, not know how to word a sentence, and a bit of modern wording would come in. Ex; the word pretty ought to be used in the form of "What a pretty trinket" in books like this but it was often used more like "I may take a pretty good guess..." or "Pretty much." These inconsistencies were annoying but not problematic. 
  The characters were alright, honestly they were kinda cliche and lacked depth. Beyond Price was interesting in being Veranna's backstory but even that lacked much feeling. Even so, they were enjoyable reads.

Content: Violence and gore in both but more in Divine Summons. In beyond Price a man leers over a girl and many sexually threatening scenes occur. Same girl has to dance in next to nothing in front of a crowd and many inappropriate things are said. Nothing actually happens though so I am pleased to announce that these are still mostly clean and good reads for teens and older!

Friday, November 25, 2016

2016 Christian Indie Author Black Friday Sale!

It’s that time of year. The time for buying presents, making wish lists, and planning New Year’s Resolutions. If any of those activities involve books for you, Indie Christian Authors has a perfect event for you.
From Nov 25 (that’s today!) through Nov 28th, more than 70 independent Christian books are on sale. You can find free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals, and more! And if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, they’ve got you covered with some freebies!
Think 70 books is overwhelming? Narrow it down and find the perfect books for you or someone on your Christmas list by using this quiz to generate a customized book list.
What awesome reads of 2016 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?
A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as "Sold Out." This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.Also, some of the authors this year chose to not sell their paperbacks directly through the site. Those books are also marked "Sold Out" but if you click them open, you'll find a link to the site where they are on sale and a discount code for you to use at check out.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Book Review: Legend

 Summary: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
  From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Thoughts: I think I've mentioned before that I don't really read dystopian. I'm more of a fairytale, happily-ever-after, kinda gal. And dystopian's all...
 Image result for mabel pines everything's terrible forever gif
 *Gravity Falls. Neither the gif nor the show belong to me.

And yet, Legend has been sitting on my to-read shelf for awhile because I read it had something to do with siblings. I never could find it easily though and my book-money tended to go toward more hopeful possibilities. Until the day I found it on the for-sale table at our library and got it for three bucks; it was a happy day for this book addict! 
 And it was great! A crime/drama/dystopian that never left anything to chance.
  First off, just to get this out of the way, I loved the plot being something of a murder/framing case yet set in this future-esque world. On the downside, it's a pretty common plot still and the general direction of the story was easy to predict. 
 Even so, it was really well written. Authors have a tendency to add meaningless little things in their books to drag a scene out or add quirks to their characters. Mary Lu uses this technique to carefully bring in clues and plot points and reveals them flawlessly. It was really fun to see where each little thing would lead!
 The characters though, blew me away. From the first page they are bursting with life and secrets and stories to tell. But it doesn't all spill out at once, to the very end the past is still being slowly unfolded to show who these people are and where they come from. Even the side characters seemed so real! Day was spectacular and June was amazing! And I loved the heavy emphasis on family in here! The only complaint here was that SPOILER it was another case of teen-love-at-first-sight. He thinks "She has beautiful eyes" she thinks "He's the most beautiful boy I've ever seen" and two days later they're kissing in an alley END SPOILER. Even with that though, I enjoyed their interactions (when not kissing) and the characters themselves were great.

Content: FULL OF SPOILERS because their are too many to keep mark so read at you're own risk. Kissing, they get pretty close but nothing else happens. Day bandages June around the waist at one point but nothing happens. Lots of violence. A tiny bit of's hardly there to the point where I can't really even remember the words used. 
All in all, a pretty clean read but maybe not for the kids. I recommend it for the characters if nothing else and I will definitely be reading the next in the series as soon as I can!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Book Review: The Faceless Ones

 Summary: If you’ve read the previous Skulduggery books then you know what the Faceless Ones are — and if you know what the Faceless Ones are, then you can probably take a wild guess that things in this book are going to get AWFULLY sticky for our skeletal hero and his young sidekick. If you haven’t read the previous Skulduggery books then what are you doing reading this? Go and read them right now, so that you know what all that stuff in the previous paragraph was about. Done? Good. So now you’re on tenterhooks too, desperately awaiting the answers to all your questions, and instead you’re going to have to wait to read the book. Sorry about that.

Thoughts: This summary is actually on the copy of the book I picked up from the library. Yup, it's very much written for the fans and I like it! 
  Also, fun point, despite being titled 'The Faceless Ones' the image inside the a face. Just thought I'd point that out.
  Anyways, this was another fantastic installment in this hilarious series! From beginning to end it's all action, humor and adventure and I loved every bit of it! You really can never get tired of well-meaning but totally snarky characters. And that's just about everyone in this book. Not to mention how unique and enjoyable they are.
  The plots are a little bit generic and can we refer to Tanith getting stabbed at some point in every book as a trope? Not yet? Oh well. Even so, they never get too predictable and boring doesn't stand a chance!
  The writing really carries everything through. i mean, writing such a fast paced series and still developing a plot and great characters is hard and yet, Landy does it with ease (and snark) and I love it!

Content: Language mostly: D***, H***, and a few others of about the same sort. Then there's plenty of violence and it gets a little gruesome. Magic. And an uncomfortable description of Tanith's chest not being fully covered; this insight comes from an older, and very disgusted, woman and is not necessarily offensive but it is an unnecessary description. It's only a brief scene though and doesn't come up again. All in all, another great and fun read for (almost) all ages.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Book Review: The Spindlers

 Summary: Looking across the breakfast table one morning, twelve-year-old Liza feels dread wash over her. Although her younger brother, Patrick, appears the same, Liza knows that he is actually quite different. She is certain that the spindlers—evil, spiderlike beings—came during the night and stole his soul. And Liza is also certain that she is the only one who can rescue him.
 Armed with little more than her wits and a huge talking rat for a guide, Liza descends into the dark and ominous underground to save Patrick's soul. Her quest is far from easy: she must brave tree-snakes, the Court of Stones, and shape-shifting scawgs before facing her greatest challenge in the spindlers' lair, where more than just Patrick's soul is at stake.

 Thoughts: This is a sweet tale very much reminiscent of  Gregor the Overlander, Alice in Wonderland, and Coraline. 
 The cast were cute. There was really only two who stuck through the book, Liza and the rat, and though well written I couldn't get into Liza very much. She never really became much of a living character, she just did things to get them done and this left her feeling a little flat. I did love the parts that talked about her relationship with her little brother though, well written and sweetly realistic they gave the book a deeper purpose.
 The writing was really good but I was sometimes confused. The author, for the most part, stays silent and simply relates the story but, maybe three times throughout the entire book, inserts a thought or statement (think Lewis's voice in Narnia). Since she did it so infrequently I was usually thrown off for a bit trying to figure out who had said/thought that sentence. Otherwise it was very poetically written and often had me feeling that I was reading a fairytale instead of middle-grade fantasy. 
 The plot was simply and well done, winding unhurriedly to the very ending which was very satisfying.

Content: This book gets a little dark and might scare some children. There's a tiny bit of violence and mention of magic. Otherwise, a clean read for all ages!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Book Review: Mister Monday

Summary: Arthur Penhaligon's first days at his new school don't go too well, particularly when a fiendish Mister Monday appears, gives Arthur a magical clock hand, and then orders his gang of dog-faced goons to chase Arthur around and get it back. But when the confused and curious boy discovers that a mysterious virus is spreading through town, he decides to enter an otherworldly house to stop it. After meeting Suzy Blue and the first part of "the Will" (a frog-looking entity that knows everything about the House), Arthur learns that he's been selected as Rightful Heir to the House and must get the other part of the clock hand in order to defeat Monday. That means getting past Monday's henchmen and journeying to the Dayroom itself. Thankfully, Arthur is up to the challenge, but as he finds out, his fight seems to be only one-seventh over.

Thoughts: This was one of those reads. You know the ones I'm talking about. The 'I-just-finished-Harry-Potter-what-do-I-even-read-now?' books. Yup, it was one of those and not the first. Was it good? Yes. Did it fill the gaping hole left by finishing amazing books like GregorArtemis, and Harry? No.
 This was another young tweens/teens read that copied the generic formula of basically every other book in it's genre (most of which stem off of Harry Potter). While it's story, characters and execution were unique and fun, I didn't sense the deeper things that makes the list above so exceptional. And that's about the only negative thing I have to say for the book.
 Anyways, the plot was one of the more fascinating aspects. If this were a standalone I would have been extremely disappointed with the way the House was explained in a such a slap-dash method. This being a series of seven books? Every scenery change is a teaser. Every explanation opens a thousand more questions! Each turn, twist, and step leads to a glimpse of some new, unexplainable, wonder. And it never took way from the actual plot that kept beating a steady and straight course from the beginning to the end. I especially loved the steampunk feel to the world.
 The writing was good and flowed through naturally, keeping a fairly steady pace until the very end where the climax ascended shockingly and perfectly.
 The characters were all very cute and well handled. And there's a surprise 'Mysterious Helper' I honestly didn't see coming but was really excited to discover. Suzy though was a particular favorite of mine. I rarely see the young girls that pop up during the story brought to life so well and never get annoying. But Suzy felt very real and I loved her for it. Arthur was a fairly well-written character but I found his drive to be more interesting than his reactions to happenings within the story. His adopted, blended family is very precious to him and it was nice to read about a sturdy and happy family that was drowning in debt and parents who weren't dumping their children for the summer. The family was involved as much as possible and I really liked them and their interactions!

Content: A tiny bit of violence, a little bit of blood. Some magic. All in all, a fun read for all ages and a nice bit of clean steampunk!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Book Review: Winter

 Summary: Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
  Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend--the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.
  Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Thoughts: Oh my goodness! I love Winter, both the book and the character! This has to be my favorite from the series which is a good indication, since it's the last and the last should (almost) always be the best! 
 The plot comes to a crescendo and keeps the reader clutching the book and  breathlessly reading even when they should be hurrying off to work...ahem, or something like know, intensive reading.
 The characters? Well, aside from the fabulous returning crew there were the new characters and it says something when characters can enter the end of a series and be your favorites while you still love the main cast. And yeah, no spoilers but Jacin and Winter and my favorite characters.
 The writing is great. I love the way each person is depicted and the way we see all of their thoughts. It could have been set in multiple first-person points of view and carried the same close feel that Meyer created. The way she writes though, creates plenty of opportunity to switch views and take in as much as possible, transporting the reader to each and every adventure as it occurs with a smooth transition. 

Content: A bit of language, mostly just D*** and some passionate kisses. Two scenes where couples are laying in bed one together, one of which was starting to get a little worrying but nothing more than kissing ever actually happened.Violence and gore and several mature themes.
All in all still a clean YA series that is also great!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Book Review: The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood and Co.)


 Summary: When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

  For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.
  Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.
  Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .

Thoughts: Happy Halloween! Here's a spooky read for you all!
     First things first: I don't read  supernatural/anything horror/even remotely intended to be scary as a general rule. Miss Peregrine's creeped me out, even Sherlock got to me on occasion. So, honestly I never thought I'd be reading a story about ghost hunting.
 Epic on the other hand (my sister who also helps run this blog) is made of tougher stuff than I am and has always been a little interested in the paranormal vein. The only problem for her was that it all usually leaned towards being scary and never really had any characters that she liked...which led to her reading more YA fantasy than supernatural (which we should all be thankful for since she introduced me to Artemis Fowl). Long story short, she found this at the library and picked it up for kicks. Two weeks later she had finished all that was out and it was her new favorite series.
 So I had to read it. Setting aside my qualms and fears I read three days. It was amazing! I was blown away by the cast! They are so unique, funny and full of life! It would have been an easy four-star just for that but then the book went and made me hang on every word, jump at every twist...and the ending was perfect! I gave it five stars on Goodreads for simply making me love a ghost story. But it's more than that. The writing is perfect, told in first person by the main protagonist, Lucy Carlyle, it's the perfect blend of horror, action, and those sweet glimpses of 'normal' life in-between. 
 The cast was beautifully done. I love them all, even George and especially Lockwood and Lucy's a darling! Every moment was a blast of action, horror and humor (usually all at once, I kid you not). The way their relationships are portrayed and grow is so good.
 The plot was horrifying. I'm not going to lie, I was scared. But I made sure to read it during daylight hours and usually surround people so I haven't lost any sleep over it yet. I started to guess a bit of the reveal shortly before it happened but I was still impressed with the conclusion. And even the terrifying parts were great.

Content: Well, like I said, it's scary. That's probably the worst of it all. Then there's a bit of language (D*** and H***). At one point Lucy is experience the emotions of a ghost's past life in relation to the ghost's lover and there are moments of 'intense passion'. They are just emotions and nothing more is described but that's there. 
 All in all though, it's a clean read but not for the overly faint of heart. I still recommend it though to anyone looking for a great new cast or some clean ghost reads (great for Halloween)!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Book Review: Skulduggary Pleasant: Playing with Fire

   Summary: Skulduggery and Valkyrie are facing a new enemy: Baron Vengeous, who is determined to bring back the terrifying Faceless Ones and is crafting an army of evil to help him. Added to that, Vengeous is about to enlist a new ally (if he can raise it from the dead): the horrible Grotesquery, a very unlikable monster of legend.
 Once Vengeous is on the loose, dead bodies and vampires start showing up all over Ireland. Now pretty much everybody is out to kill Valkyrie, and the daring detective duo faces its biggest challenge yet.
 But what if the greatest threat to Valkyrie is just a little closer to home?

  Thoughts: This is quickly becoming one of my new favorite series. The writing is hard to beat with it's hilarious back and forth banter between characters! 
 The characters themselves are great! You really can't beat a snappy Skeleton detective and his sassy thirteen year-old sidekick in levels of cool. Especially when they're both magic wielding, action-loving, crazy. 
 And the plot was a lot of fun too. A new villain, bigger and badder, and the beginnings of a steady plot lurking in the shadows. After all, someone has to be pulling the strings somewhere, right?

Content: Language such as H***, D***, and a few others, all about the same level. These are all pretty sparse and scattered but still there. Lots of violence. Vampires (the evil kind). And magic, lots of that. Really though, it's mostly clean, just maybe not great for small children, some of the scenes get a little intense and even creepy.  But a great, fun and easy read for all fantasy/action lovers!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Book Review: The Collar and the Cavvarach

 Summary: Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire's most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie's escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

Thoughts: It took me WAY too long to this book due to me putting it aside for awhile (which was no fault of the book, I just didn't have time for it for awhile). But I have FINALLY gotten around to finishing it! And it was great! The whole concept  of the plot was really well handled. A world just like ours with a few, little slavery.  The issue of slavery was really well written. It felt like a normal thing and yet still so very wrong. 
 The cast were great, all very much their own characters. Bensin and Ellie especially were well done and adorable. 
 The writing was fluid and perfectly grappled the difficulty of picturing every movement in an action sport. It was really well done!

Content: Violence and some mature topics. While it's never outright stated, many of Bensin's fears are due to his sister being hurt and abused in different ways because she was a girl...if you catch my meaning there. It's never put in any clearer tones but older readers will understand. 
All in all, a clean and exciting read for older readers who want a fantasy that asks some hard questions.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Book Review: Fablehaven

 Summary: For centuries mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite.
 Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken -- Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good -- powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.

Thoughts: This was a cute, albeit somewhat boring, story. The plot moves slowly, building and painting the setting more than anything. It created a good structure but, even when things really got moving, it felt slow and lacked the thrill of the adventure.
  The cast was really well done. I can't say Kendra and Seth were my favorite characters ever but they were amazingly real. They argued and squabbled and forgot about it before they finished. They were real siblings and real kids and real people. All of the cast was pretty realistic and I really appreciated that.
 The writing was solid and never broke it's rhythm. Mull is definitely a good writer when it comes to wording and painting a scene. 

Content: Violence. Magic. One chapter gets fairly scary and I suggest the timid readers (like me) don't read it at night (like I did). Two people are stated to be naked at one but it's not inappropriate, they were clothed quickly and there are no descriptions.
So, all in all, a very clean read and a pretty one too!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Book Review: Lady Dragon, Tela Du

  Guess what's finally here! That's right!

It's here! The sequel to Water Princess, Fire Prince!


  Amber, the Lady Dragon, has been promised a fifty-year reign over Rizkaland and nothing can stop her from claiming it. But when you've lived six thousand years, fifty is such a pitiful number. Only one person can keep her from making this reign permanent - the Tela Du, a girl who shall share Amber's face.

   The last thing Petra wants is a magical world interrupting her plans for a normal life, let alone an ultimate battle against the Lady Dragon with only one prophesied survivor. She has her childhood best friend, Reuben, at her side, but she's not sure if he's more of a help or a hindrance right now. Though she'd much prefer to just return home and forget about this whole crazy affair, things change when she discovers that the world has surprising connections to her own family - including her sister who disappeared without a trace two years before. Still, Rizkaland can't possibly expect her to risk her very life, can it?

Thoughts: Writing; yes I know I usually comment on this one last but I have to say that I really love watching (or reading) up-and-coming authors as their style develops and you start to see their quirks and strengths. This was a really fun part of this book. Kendra writes with an obviously great love for the characters and story that she is creating and that love moves off the page and to the reader, making it impossible to dislike the cast!
 The characters were quirky and fun! I admit, I thought that they accepted things too easily in the beginning, they just sort of went with whatever was happening, but this was smoothed out as the story progressed. They were all a great cast with a full range of emotions and thoughts that kept them from ever being 2D or shallow.
 The plot was well constructed and thought out and I was surprised by the twist in the ending.

Content: Violence (just a bit, no gore). Kissing. Sixteen year olds are married in here and there are suggestions of intimate relationships between married couples though nothing more than hugging and kissing are ever really shown. One of the couples (sixteen year olds) sleep together at one point and the boy doesn't wear a shirt but nothing happens. There is some talk about duties of a wife to her husband that, while not inappropriate might be a bit mature for kids.
Overall, mostly clean and a nice read for indie and fantasy fans alike!

Author Bio:
Kendra E. Ardnek is a homeschool graduate who picked up a pen at an early age and never put it down. The eldest of four, she makes her home in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her parents, younger siblings, giant herd of giraffes, and honor guard of nutcrackers. 


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Water Princess, Fire Prince will be free for the first five days of the tour (October 19-23)!