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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!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Book Review: The Winter Prince

 Summary: Medraut is the eldest son of Artos, high king of Britain; and, but for an accident of birth, would-be heir to the throne. Instead, his younger half-brother, Lleu, is chosen to be prince of Britain. Lleu is fragile, often ill, unskilled in weaponry and statesmanship, and childishly afraid of the dark. Even Lleu's twin sister, Goewin, seems more suited to rule the kingdom.
 Medraut cannot bear to be commanded and contradicted by this weakling brother who he feels has usurped his birthright and his father's favor. Torn and bitter, haunted by jealousy, self-doubt, and thwarted ambition, he joins Morgause, the high king's treacherous sister, in a plot to force Artos to forfeit his power and kingdom in exchange for Lleu's life. But this plot soon proves to be much more - a battlefield on which Medraut is forced to decide, for good or evil, where his own allegiance truly lies...

Thoughts: This was a good retelling of the classical tale of King Arthur. Or rather, the beginning of a retelling. Focusing on Arthur's (Artos's) children. I really did love this book, the relationship between the three siblings is actually really good, especially Medraut and Goewin. The story is simple with little action and a slow pace. It's written similar to to harder classics such as Earthsea or Lord of the Rings and first person as well. Despite the harder format of the story, the characters are developed really well and you get to know them intimately through Medraut's eyes. Overall I really enjoyed this small tale and plan to read at least the sequel.

Content: Ok, despite my actually really liking the story there are...problems. A tiny bit of language (just D*** if i remember correctly). Now, Artos, the king, ended up having a child with his sister. He did not know, at the time, who she was and she was hoping to gain power from his position through their child (while it never produced a child this is an original part of the King Arthur story). Medraut, the child, is also said to have spent 'nights' with his mother. None of this is shown, only mentioned and tactfully at that but it's still a big problem. During certain scenes, Medraut is trying to make a point to his sister and cups his hands under her breasts. And, another time, he kisses his brother on the mouth. This was not done romantically but as a form of torture. Even so, it wasn't right and isn't easily overlooked. This book has some major problems and comes with more warnings than recommendations but it was still a good story. The problems were handled discreetly for the most part and i will be trying to finish the series.

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

 Summary: All Harry Potter wants is to get away from the Dursleys and go back to Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby - who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.
 And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny. 
 But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone--or something--starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects... Harry Potter himself.

Thoughts: A great sequel! Diving further into the wizarding world we get to learn plenty of new and fascinating aspects of Hogwarts and wizard culture while following a brand new plot! 
 First off, I love these characters! They are all so darling, new and old. And the writing...still fabulous. So classic-feeling with just enough wordy descriptions to keep things interesting without dragging the story down.  The plot was well done, a mystery that wound it's way throughout the entire school over another school year. Every little clue, every piece falling into place, opened up more questions and drew the cast deeper into the darkness of Hogwarts's past! There were a lot of revelations in this book, questions I had been dying to know, and a few hints for future stories. Be warned though, this tale is a bit darker than the first. But it's executed in a way that shouldn't be more than mildly frightening to the sensitive reader (it's a mystery, it ought to get at least a little scary)!

Content: Aside from the darkening plot and tons of magic, a clean read!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

Summary: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
    A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

Thoughts: I know, I know, the cover is creepy. But the story is not. It really lives up to it's name in being...peculiar. But it was all about children! So many little cuties! 
 Ok, the writing was a really nice blend of poetic descriptions and modern slang. The flow of the book happened so naturally that the climax just sort of rolled into place and felt more like an adrenaline rush than a terrifying turn of events. The characters were fairly well fleshed but the book is only eleven chapters. Fairly long chapters, granted, but still, you can only stretch eleven chapters out so far. The whole book felt more like a prologue to the story. Just as I was getting to know everyone, to slide into the group and recognize names, it was over. Which was disappointing but a good way to get me to read the next book. And maybe prologue isn't right. You can skip a prologue. You can't skip this book so I guess it's better to call it the first chapter to a fantastically peculiar tale! 
 On another note, there was a large cast. Don't get me wrong, I love huge casts and millions of characters but it got a little confusing when you were just supposed to remember each character after one introduction. Granted, I'm terrible with names (real or fictional) and each character was usually given some sort of identifying factor. But not all of these factors were used/referred to often and many of the names were similar to others. 
 Also, though I know I assured you the story isn't creepy, the villains definitely are and I would not suggest reading too late into the night with this one!
 And, last but not least, the photography. I find it pretty neat that all those old photos you see in antique shops and flea markets have finally been used in such an awesome way. Granted some of the pictures are a little creepy but no worse than the cover usually. And they were pretty fun references!

Content: There was a fair amount of language in here the most prominent one being P*ss and other variants but there are a few others as well with P*ss being the worst. There are also a few rude jokes made that will probably go over a younger reader's head. And SPOILER (not really sure how much of a spoiler this is but...the children all have some sort of psychic power. There are a few gruesome death scenes as well. END SPOILER. And, like I said, some of the pictures and the villains of the story can be a little bit frightening but I am a very sensitive person when it comes to horror and was only mildly bothered so it's worth looking into. There's also kissing and teenagers swimming together but the girl is in an "old fashioned bathing suit" and probably won't be seen as inappropriate.Along with these scenes is a boy worried about the girl wanting "to kiss" and "jumping" him. Again, probably won't be seen as problematic and will go over younger reader's heads.
Overall, a fun and peculiar tale that's leading the way to a new adventure I can't wait to get started on!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Book Review: My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry


Summary: From the author of the internationally bestselling 'A Man Called Ove', a novel about a young girl whose grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters, sending her on a journey that brings to life the world of her grandmother's fairy tales.
 Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa's best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother's stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.
 When Elsa's grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa's greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother's letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

Thoughts: My mother read 'A Man Called Ove' and then she read this one. And, knowing me as well as she does, she made me read 'My Grandmother Asked Me' (I'm abbreviating because the title is way too long to type out every single time). And that was how I found my new favorite book.
 If you follow me on Goodreads you'll know I usually rate books with four out of five stars. It's the easiest way to mark a good book. But it takes a lot (and I mean a lot) to get five stars out of me. This book got five stars easily. 
 In the words of Larry the Cucumber "I laughed, I cried, it moved me Bob."
 This is the story of a lonely, bullied, confused little girl who's too smart to be a child but too young to be an adult. She's stuck between worlds and no one appreciates that. No one, except her Granny. The plot grabbed and held me from the beginning. Elsa is such a sassy, smart, sweet little thing! And the cast, from beginning to end, was a breathtaking conglomeration of human beings. Not characters, not just actors on the pages, but real humans in all the glory of their flaws, failures, and shortcomings...seen through the eyes of a seven year old.  
The writing is fabulous, stories about reality mesh seamlessly with fantasy leaving the reader feeling lost in a dream, never knowing what's real and what's not. but that didn't matter, because everything was real and none of it was, so it was good to be stuck somewhere in the middle.
 I nearly cried at the end, I didn't, but I did get a little misty eyed. This story is a beautiful tale of forgiveness, hurt, evil, courage, and love. It is fully human and very much fantasy and comes ever so highly recommended!

Content: SPOILERS! I'm just gonna throw that out now because everything except language is mostly a spoiler. The language, first and foremost, is AWFUL. The one major fallback of this book. This is no story for children or the sensitive reader! If you can think of it, it was probably in here at some point. The thing is, it made the story feel more real. It was not there, like many books, just for the shock factor. It was there because this book is filled with grumpy old people who spoke like that. I know many people of similar ages and attitudes and, well it's true. But yeah, language is something to be aware of. There is a bit of mature content in here such as an abusive husband, another man cheating on his wife, an affair, a woman pregnant and unmarried, and a stalker attacking children. Drug and alcohol abuse is also mentioned. These are all seen through the eyes of a small child though, many are just mentioned, so it takes a less-abrasive approach, brushing over the finer details. The Granny is known to run around naked on occasion and leaves the bathroom door open. There are a few rude and mature jokes made. Bullying and depression are also factors in this book. 
Basically, this book is not for children or any form of sensitive reader. it calls for a mature reader but, for those who do read, it was all so very, very worth it!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Book Review: Scarlet

 Summary: Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. 
    Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Thoughts: This was  a fantastic sequel to Cinder! Everything from the new characters to the world expansion just made this book even more vibrant than it's prequel! 
 The writing was still great, really holding you and never once pulling you away from the characters with overly wordy descriptions. Even so, the scenery and world-building never lacked. In fact, we get to see an entirely different side of this new place in Scarlet. 
 The characters were great, old and new, all were well thought out, three-dimensional, and fantastic! Scarlet was not very relatable for me but still a whole lot of fun! And don't even get me started on Thorne!
 The plot moved rapidly in the book compared to Cinder's slower pace. There's plenty of action and shocking new developments that will leave you feeling winded! 
Overall, a great installment in this series!

Content: There's a lot of bloody violence in here including SPOILER a few people who get their throats ripped out END SPOILER. At one point mention of rape is implied but never happens. Two characters sleep together in a romantic way but clothes stay on. There's a bit of kissing. There's a smattering of cussing including C***, D***, and H***. Porn is mentioned (as 'naughty pictures of women' and in the form of a naked woman painted on a ship's side) but never described. Aside from the violence everything is minor. Probably not the best read for children under age ten but a great read for mature fans of sci-fi and fantasy! 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Book Review: The Great Divorce

Summary: In "The Great Divorce, " C.S. Lewis's classic vision of the Afterworld, the narrator boards a bus on a drizzly English afternoon and embarks on an incredible voyage through Heaven and Hell. He meets a host of supernatural beings far removed from his expectations, and comes to some significant realizations about the nature of good and evil.

Thoughts: Another great allegory from one of my all-time favorite authors! I actually didn't realize this was fiction until I picked it up, I was expecting another book on theology such as Mere Christianity or The Problem with Pain (both amazing books I intend to write reviews on in the future). This takes on a different approach to it's main point and reads much like Pilgrim's Progress (another great read). The entire story is comprised of many different stories as seen through the eyes of the narrator and are often times sad or infuriating, some even managed to be funny though! With the quick wit and sharp mind he's known for, C. S. Lewis opens up and discusses many aspects of Heaven we are all lead to question. While saying nothing definite (for who can really explain Heaven while still of this earth?) he poses many possible and plausible answers to the questions he raised and urges the reader to think for themselves using the basis of the Bible itself.

Content: Many of the topics are mature though not inappropriate.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Book Review: Revived

Summary: The pieces of Roya’s life don’t fit together anymore. Nothing makes sense. Joseph could be to blame for the fall of the Lucidites’ society. Zhuang is back and more powerful than ever. Chase, a gorgeous psychopath, is demanding her love and commitment. And the Institute is swarming with lies, betrayals, and conflicts. Roya knows she needs to focus and reconnect with Joseph if she is to survive, but how can she find clarity when everything around her is unraveling? The final chapter in The Lucidites Series will take up residence in reader’s bones. All secrets will be revealed. All villains will be confronted. And the greatest obstacles will be that of the heart. Revived delivers, giving audiences what they want most from the last in a fast-paced, thrilling series.

Thoughts: Ok (deep sigh) honestly, I can' recommend this one. The action was fantastically done, things were wrapped up well, and the sibling relationship in here will forever remain fabulous. But there was too much wrong. Way too much sexual content coming from a story about seventeen year-olds. This kills me because the writing is amazing! Even when I was nothing but annoyed at these characters I couldn't put the book down because the writing pace, style, flow; kept me rooted to the page. I love the way Sarah Noffke writes and will end up reading more from her but I won't be recommending anything more than the first book from this series (because you can't stop after reading the second). 
 Now I did, actually, enjoy several things in this book. Namely there were a lot of family aspects that I loved to see being explored and nurtured. The action was amazing, an actual movie-worthy scene caught on page (which is really hard to do) and the ending was great! I really loved the way this book ended. Of course, it really all comes down to what you're comfortable dealing with content wise and I'm really not fond of the type of content this book is overflowing with.

Content: Oh boy! I'm going to try to keep this short without skipping anything important. There are a lot (a ton might be a better description) of near to actual sex scenes. Nothing more than shirts come off but...well they come off and more almost comes off too.MINOR SPOILER: Several of these scenes are practically rape too. END SPOILER. Another character tuns out to be gay. Plenty of rude to inappropriate jokes. More language than the previous two ranging from D*** to F***. The action is fairly brutal but not overwhelmingly so. All in all, not a clean read by any means and definitely intended for a mature audience, although, taking everything into consideration, I wouldn't suggest this even to a mature reader.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Book Review: Artemis Fowl

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of bedtime stories—they're dangerous! Full of unexpected twists and turns,Artemis Fowl is a riveting, magical adventure.

Thoughts: Not sure if anyone here has ever seen the anime Black Butler but it's main character is a rich twelve-year-old who runs an underground business that involves quite a bit of supernatural. When I first read the synopsis for Artemis Fowl I immediately thought of Black Butler's Ciel Phantomhive and knew I had to read this book.
The great Ciel Phantomhive!
I wasn't disappointed. 
Artemis is every bit what I expected him to be and more and I absolutely love this tiny, sassy genius! Despite being the villain of the story (he's kidnapping fairies!) I wanted him to come out on top so badly! This book was just too good! With a fun writing narrative that kept me smiling and many twists and turns I honestly didn't expect, capitulated by the tense do-or-don't at the end...I loved this book!
And, on a side note, for the more general audience, this is practically Judy Hop's continued career from Zootopia (if she was fairy of course). Either or, well worth the read!

Content: Aside from some rude humor concerning dwarves there were a few uses of the words D*** and H***. Being originally published in Ireland where these words are not seen as problematic it all boils down to a culture difference and whether or not the reader is comfortable with such language. Otherwise, a clean read for all ages and a brilliant adventure to boot!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Book Review: Cinder

Summary: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
 Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Thoughts: These books are everywhere and, being often times tagged in the romance genre, I was a little hesitant to pick them up. But many of my trusted friends on Goodreads had already read and absolutely loved them so Epic (my sister) and I went out on a wing. 
They're every bit as good as you've heard. One of the few times the raving isn't about nothing. It's fabulous! The writing is what I've come to refer to as 'hardcore character'. This simply means no fancy prose that has you wading through words that move like poetry. Nothing is wrong with the 'prose heavy' types but they don't make quick reads. This book was enormous (which I love, big books are great!) but I made quick work of it in four days. The character and plot based writing that never distracts or varies makes this almost a light read and definitely a quick one.
Despite the writing being so easy, the plot never suffers. It carries itself well and doesn't even pause when the book ends.
The world building was amazing. sci-fi books tend to lose me when they start trying to describe the many intricacies of their worlds, but Cinder is grounded. You're told enough to get a visual, to understand how things work, without being overwhelmed. And let me tell you, it really is well made! I love exploring new worlds that are so realistically put together!
 Characters are the driving force behind this novel. Each and every one, and I mean every one, is fleshed out, mastered and crafted into amazing people. And I loved them all! 
To summarize, I now have the rest of the series waiting to be read on my side table!

Content: A passionate kiss scene and semi-vivid descriptions of death by illness; but otherwise a clean and highly recommended read!