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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.