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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, 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!