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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!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Book Review: Escape Velocity


 Summary: Pupils and staff at HIVE are horrified to discover that Dr Nero has been captured by the forces of HOPE, the Hostile Operative Prosecution Executive, the world’s newest and most ruthlessly efficient security force. Three months pass without any news of his fate, and Number One has decided to appoint a sinister new headmistress for the school, somebody that the pupils and staff had thought that they’d seen the last of. Meanwhile Otto is also struggling to cope with new abilities that are starting to manifest themselves; can he really be unconsciously interfacing with computers without physical contact? And if he is, what exactly do these new powers really mean? The only way to find Nero and the truth behind the lies is to escape HIVE. Otto must get out, and take the risks which come with being a rogue agent. Then he just has to break into MI6…..

Thoughts: I really love these books and I'll never be able to say why. I can see most of the twists coming, the characters aren't as developed as they could be...but I really love these books! 
 The story is all very much what you would expect from a story of 'evil' real-world super-agents. Lots of action and cool gadgets (real and fictional). Plenty of shocking (if not completely unexpected) twists. And even a bit of sci-fi thrown in at the end! 
 The writing style keeps the story simple and easy to follow no matter how chaotic the situation is. The only problem is that it moves too fast. i think that because these books are marketed towards a younger audience the writing tends to focus more on what's going on than what the characters are really feeling...which leads to certain scenes feeling anti-climatic or underdeveloped.There was one scene in the end that I felt could have potentially left me in tears but was instead just sort of brushed over.
 Despite this flaw the characters are still so much fun! I see a lot of potential in them that I hope will become clearer as the series progresses. The returning characters are great, the newer characters feel a little bland and, due to the fact that most of them are actual villains, stereotypical; basically what you expect from a character who's ony purpose is to be a bad guy and not really add to the story.
 Despite all my nay-saying, the books really are a lot of fun and easy reads.

Content: D*** and C*** are used a few times. One of the girls makes some flirtatious remarks to one of the boys. A lot of violence and explosions but very little in the way of blood or death. 
 All in all, a clean read for a mature middle-grader or older, though a good read for anyone looking for an action-packed story with fun characters!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Book Review: Last Stand of Dead Men


Summary: War has finally come.
 But it's not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it's a war between Sanctuaries. For too long, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink of world-ending disaster, and the other Sanctuaries around the world have had enough. Allies turn to enemies, friends turn to foes, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie must team up with the rest of the Dead Men if they're going to have any chance at all of maintaining the balance of power and getting to the root of a vast conspiracy that has been years in the making.
 But while this war is only beginning, another war rages within Valkyrie herself. Her own dark side, the insanely powerful being known as Darquesse, is on the verge of rising to the surface. And if Valkyrie slips, even for a moment, then Darquesse will burn the world and everyone in it.

Thoughts: Ah! Everything went wrong! I mean, if it could go wrong, it did! So much happened! I don't even know where to begin! 
 Ok, deep breath; first off,  this is the eighth book in this series so if you haven' read the first seven books you'll be completely lost with this one, they're aren't stand-alone books. 
 On the other hand, if you're already up-to-date on the previous seven then this is a must read for any fan of this series. 
 The characters, old and new were great, just great. The dialogue was hilarious and had me laughing, sometimes even when the story had me crying. 
 The story was the best. So many twists and turns I never saw coming! It was awful and fabulous all at once!
 The writing never fails to hold my interest but the scenes of fighting and war were especially good. For being such a violent series, Landy never forgets to point out that violence, especially unnecessary violence, is never a good thing. He keeps a good perspective going throughout the entire book and usually left me fuming or crying. But, of course, only a good book can make you feel so much.

Content: Ok it's almost all there for language: D***, C***, and H*** are a few of the more noteworthy words used. There is a scene where many female witches are shown dressed like belly-dancers basically. In same scene same witches talk about 'breeding' with a male hostage of theirs. There are a few implications or rude comments made but these are usually let unclear as to whether or not anything inappropriate was intended. There is a lot of violence, natural and magical. Blood and gore in excess. There is also tons of magic being used and some of the more frowned upon magical creatures show up in here, vampires and witches mainly. SPOILER In the end, a female character attempts to save people by burning herself alive from the inside. This is attempted suicide (with heroic intentions but still) coupled with the fact that her clothes are burned off. There were some fairly graphic descriptions of her dying but EXTRA SPOILER she doesn't and is therefore left with nothing on for awhile.END ALL SPOILERS.
So, all in all, despite being marked as a children's book still (for reasons I will never understand or agree with) this is definitely one for the older crowd. It's not a clean read and I won't pretend that it is but it's not as horrible as the condensed Content has a tendency to make it sound. If you've enjoyed the last several books Last Stand of Dead Men will not disappoint!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book Review: The Color of Magic


 Summary: On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There's an avaricious but inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet...

Thoughts: This was a hilarious little book that I read in my break time at work. I was really hard put not to burst out laughing in front of my coworkers every time I picked it up.
 The setting was...unique, to say the least. I still have a hard time imagining a world on the back of a turtle on the back of a...well elephants were mentioned and something about space. The 'laws' of magic and the rules of this strange world were equally hard to wrap my mind around but it all worked together to make a really fascinating story with an in depth look at how magic can be used to the utmost without ever even trying to make it realistic.
  The two main characters were what really kept me interested. Rincewind (the inept wizard) and Twoflower (the tourist) were such a pair of bumbling fools that I couldn't help but hope that they made it safely somewhere by the end of their story. Everyone else that came in was a little iffy. I didn't dislike them but for how short the book was it felt like other characters simply passed through and never really left a lasting impression. There were too many problem characters though, scantily clad men and women being a large portion of them.
 The writing style was great and had me easily immersed in the story.

Content: The biggest and worst was, unfortunately, the nudity. While one is already more than is appropriate, there were way too many descriptions of women with little-to-no clothing on. The descriptions weren't graphic but they carried the point across. There were a few D***'s in language but I don't recall anything worse. Lots of fantasy violence. And magic, tons and tons of magic. There were also 'gods' of this Discworld who's purpose was a little lost on me but they made interesting characters, even so be warned that shrines to these gods and worshiping them are mentioned. All in all, this might be acceptable for a mature reader but, despite my enthusiasm above, I really can't recommend it as a clean read at all.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Book Review: Kingdom of Souls


Summary: Magic is a disease.
 Across the land, normal people are suddenly developing wild and unstable powers. Infected by a rare strain of magic, they are unwittingly endangering their own lives and the lives of the people around them. Terrified and confused, their only hope lies with the Sanctuary. Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain are needed now more than ever.
  And then there's the small matter of Kitana. A normal teenage girl who, along with her normal teenage friends, becomes infected. Becomes powerful. Becomes corrupted. Wielding the magic of gods, they're set to tear the city apart unless someone stands up against them.
 Looks like it's going to be another one of those days…

Thoughts: This was one of the few books in this series that actually seemed to touch on some more serious notes than normal. There's the concept of bad and good and good that's twisted into bad. Nice people are introduced and many are hurt. Valkyrie actually questions the way she and her partner do things and thinks about other people for a bit. I appreciated the new look in this otherwise dark and funny story. 
 The plot is, at its basic form, save the world again. But this time, the main villain isn't trying to destroy it. He's trying to make it a better place. The problem comes when bad people twist that intention and then you've got several highly powered psychos running around.  
 I will always love the main cast for this series. The side characters and the new ones are good but can sometimes feel like the last bunch of extra characters. Even so, it's hard to not enjoy the good ones when the bad guys are tearing up the place.
 The writing is still great. The back and forth between all the cast is usually quick, witty and absolutely hilarious! And the action is well written, it keeps tings interesting but is easy to keep up with. 

Content: My least favorite part of these books (posting about them and reading them). 
 Language is bad; D***, C***, H*** Bloody H***, and several others of the same level are present in here. There are also a few inappropriate comments on some female characters because of their lack of modest clothing. Kissing. Magic, lots of magic. And lots of dark creatures such as vampires and werewolves. Also plenty of frightening and violent scenes, the plot lines get really dark and mature. All in all, I would not suggest this book to anyone under sixteen to be honest and really can't recommend it to anyone sensitive to anything listed above. But it is still another fun and thrilling edition to this dark and hilarious series.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Book Revew: Library of Lost Souls

 
 Summary: A boy with extraordinary powers. An army of deadly monsters. An epic battle for the future of peculiardom. 
 The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.
 They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. 

Thoughts: I've finally gotten around to reading it! And it was so good!
 Okay, actually it dragged a little in the beginning. The majority of the series has a large group of children in it but the beginning of this book only has three of the cast for almost half the story. It therefore lacked some of the fun dynamics and quirks that I enjoyed seeing in the group. Even so, it was amazing and the end had me on the edge of my seat, gripping the book and holding my breath.
 The writing fir these stories is amazing. It's almost poetic and yet somehow remains a realistic-sounding point of view from a modern-day teenage boy.
 The cast were fabulous. New, old, and familiar; everyone was great. I love the kids in these books!

Content: Ok, well this might have the biggest list yet. In language we have D***, C***, and even one of two F***'s. There is a scene where a young couple sleep together but literally they just fall asleep while holding each other, they are fully clothed and there are other people in the room. And then there's the violence. They have just about every type from war, to child abuse, to things with needles and knives. Not pretty. There's also a bit more of a magical thread to this story than in the previous books though they all have supernatural trends (like the peculiar traits). 
 All in all, a great conclusion to the series but not suggested for readers of all ages.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Book Review: The Girl Who Could Fly

 Summary: When homeschooled farm girl Piper McCloud reveals her ability to fly, she is quickly taken to a secret government facility to be trained with other exceptional children, but she soon realizes that something is very wrong and begins working with brilliant and wealthy Conrad to escape.
 "Piper decided to jump off the roof. It wasn't a rash decision on her part. This was her plan: Climb to the top of the roof, pick up speed by running from one end all the way to the other. Jump off. Finally, and most importantly, don't fall. She didn't make plans in the event she did fall, because if you jump off the roof of your house and land on your head, you really don't need any plans from that point on. Even Piper knew that. So that's what she did. She jumped clean off her roof. But before we get to what happens next, you'll probably need to know a thing or two about a thing or two..."

Thoughts: I absolutely loved this book! This was one of my impulse buys while wandering around the bookstore one day. I loved the cover and it was less expensive than any other book I was looking at so I grabbed it.
From the first page they had my attention; I was interested in the sweet, simple setting of Piper's home life and then the government showed up and things really got interesting! It starts out really slow paced but picks up with a gradual pace and the next thing I knew I was deeply involved in the story. Every twist and turn held me captive and the ending really had me in a mess of emotions.
 The characters were all amazing. Piper especially is a lovable example of a great heroine. She's human and flawed but still perfect in her own unique way. And as for the rest of the kids...well, without spoiling anything I'll let you know I loved them all too. As for the adults of the book, I felt that they were well done. Piper's parents were especially great. They truly loved her and were good parents in their own, rough way.
 The writing is really nice and has this clean feeling to it. Everything is clearly explained and flipping character perspectives is fluent and obvious. I never felt confused or lost in the story and the gradual build of plot and excitement was really well handled.

Content: Ok, to be honest I went way too long between reading it and reviewing but if I remember correctly there might be one or two D***'s for language. Otherwise, clean there. On the other hand there is some serious child abuse SPOILER and torture SPOILER END that happens in here. It gets fairly violent and someone dies in the end. It's all written in a way that it shouldn't be very frightening or obvious to smaller children and really kept me turning the pages eagerly waiting for resolution. All in all a fairly clean and exciting read for almost any age.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Book Review: The Overlord Protocol


Summary: HOW FAR WILL OTTO GO TO PROTECT HIS FRIENDS?  
 Otto Malpense and his friends thought their first year at the Higher Institute of Villainous Education was the most adventurous and exciting that they would ever encounter. They were dead wrong. 
 When Otto and Wing are allowed off campus to attend Wing's father's funeral, they have no idea it's a trap, all part of a lethal plan organized by Cypher, the most ruthless supervillain any of them have ever known. He intends to use them to retrieve the Overlord Protocol, a device that has the capacity to help him take over the world. But when things go terribly wrong, Otto will stop at nothing to hunt him down and make him pay. 
 With the help of Laura, Shelby, Raven, and his former nemesis, Dr. Nero, Otto must find a way to defeat an enemy that has overcome some of the planet's most infamous villains without even breaking a sweat. Because if he doesn't, the world as they know it will be changed forever.

Thoughts: This was a fun sequel and really good way to dive into the series. 
 The story begins with a plot, an attack, and the death of a character. And it just gets better from there! Everything is all topsy-turvy with loads of edge-of-your-seat moments. Even though I kinda guessed at what was happening overall, the surprise at the end still caught me unawares.
 The writing is really easy, despite having something of a heavy story to tell it keeps everything light and easy to read. These books are pretty quick to get through because of that but no less enjoyable.
 The characters are loads of fun. As I mentioned in a previous post, I liked them all more than Epic did so there is the chance that they may come off as boring or childish to some readers. It all depends on your type of characters, what kinds you can put up with and how often you like your Main to actually be right. But this cast appealed to me and even though I feel that the girls don't have much presence (or character) yet, I don't dislike them and really look forward to seeing them flesh out later.

Content: An occasional D***, it's been a few weeks since I read it but I think there was a C*** used at least once possibly twice. Lots of violence but not much in the way of blood and gore, it really balances on a PG to PG-13 line. All in all, a fairly clean read and fun for the whole family if the language is edited out!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Book Review: The Hero's Guide To Being An Outlaw



Summary: Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You think you know those guys pretty well by now, don't you? Well, think again. Posters plastered across the thirteen kingdoms are saying that Briar Rose has been murdered—and the four Princes Charming are the prime suspects. Now they're on the run in a desperate attempt to clear their names. Along the way, however, they discover that Briar's murder is just one part of a nefarious plot to take control of all thirteen kingdoms—a plot that will lead to the doorstep of an eerily familiar fortress for a final showdown with an eerily familiar enemy.

Thoughts: First off, my apologies for being absent for so long. Have I been reading? Yes. Have I been reviewing? Unfortunately no. Do I have a good excuse? Nope. Life got busy, I was tired, lazy and very wrapped up in a game and, well, one thing led to another and I abandoned our poor little blog. 
 But! No longer! I am back and here to dish out some major reviews! 
      And here we get to the part you all are really waiting for.
   Okay, I snubbed my nose at this series for so long because of the covers. They just looked like some over-hyped, Dreamworks-rip-off, full of crude humor and bad jokes. So it took me forever to get around to picking them up. But then someone recommended this very book (despite it being the last in the series) to me on Goodreads. And then I found them at the library. And I thought "Hey, it's free, why not? If I don't like it maybe my brothers will. Or at least I'll know I was right to avoid them."
 So I picked up the first one...and promptly fell in love.
 Quirky characters, hilariously ridiculous adventures, great writing; all woven together to create a truly fantastic series. And, once I knew what it was all about, I really started to love those weird covers. 
 The first two books were great reads and this, the final installment, is no exception. 
 The plot gets pretty tangled and twisted so that I had absolutely no idea what was going on in the beginning but this quickly gets folded out and all things are made clear by the end. It's full of surprises, plenty of laughs, and fun for everyone!
 The writing is great and easy to follow. Readers of just about any age will find it easy to understand, funny, and enjoyable.
 The characters (always my favorite part to write about) are the stars. From their bumbling mishaps to the moments when things accidentally go perfectly to those in between moments when nothing really happens, they are a delightful bunch. Old and new alike, they were fun to revisit, meet, and adventure with. 
 All in all, this was a great ending to an exciting series and I'm sorry to see it go!

Content: A bit of magic, fantasy violence, and SPOILER a ghost END SPOILER, but all in all a pretty clean read and highly suggested for any age looking for some side-splitting fun!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Book Review: The Creeping Shadow


Summary: After leaving Lockwood & Co. at the end of The Hollow Boy, Lucy is a freelance operative, hiring herself out to agencies that value her ever-improving skills. One day she is pleasantly surprised by a visit from Lockwood, who tells her he needs a good Listener for a tough assignment. Penelope Fittes, the leader of the giant Fittes Agency wants them--and only them--to locate and remove the Source for the legendary Brixton Cannibal. They succeed in their very dangerous task, but tensions remain high between Lucy and the other agents. Even the skull in the jar talks to her like a jilted lover. What will it take to reunite the team? Black marketeers, an informant ghost, a Spirit Cape that transports the wearer, and mysteries involving Steve Rotwell and Penelope Fittes just may do the trick. But, in a shocking cliffhanger ending, the team learns that someone has been manipulating them all along. . . .

Thoughts: I'll just point out here that there are a few discrepancies in the summary up there in comparison with the actual book. But it's nothing too big.  
 This is the latest installment in the series Lockwood and Co. which has me and Epic very sad. So much happens in here! We need the next book! 
 The story follows the previous set up by having three different plot lines going at once. They start out separately but slowly weave together to create a mind blowing, action-packed, terrifying, tale of horror and perfection!
 The writing never fails to make me laugh. Some of the most frightening scenes have had me tearing up and choking on laughter because of the clever sentence structure and, best of all, the back and forth dialogue. 
 And of course, the characters are the best. Literally my favorite combination of people, they make this series truly great. I had a tough time getting started in this book simply because of where the last one had left all of the cast but as I got into I was unable to put it down!

Content: The usual amount of language for this series (D***, C***, etc). Lots of frightening scenes with ghosts. some violence and plenty of mentions of gore. Otherwise clean. 
 Not a suggested read for anyone who frightens easily or who hasn't read the previous three books but a highly recommended read for those wanting a mostly clean, character driven book that full of thrills!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Book Review: Arthur and the Forbidden City


 Summary: Arthur's backyard looked like an ordinary garden until he discovered the Minimoys and their vast world where fierce battles are fought, ferocious monsters are faced, and one evil wizard, Maltazard the Cursed, rules from his terrifying stronghold: Necropolis, the forbidden city. Now ten-year-old Arthur magically transformed into a Minimoy must help them find a way into this forbidden city in order to rescue Arthur's grandfather, recover a stolen treasure, and save the land of the Minimoys before it's too late. 

Thoughts: This is the sequel to the book Arthur and the Minimoys (which I have not read) that I found at a used bookstore. I really liked the movie, Arthur and the Invisibles as a kid and had always been curious about the series and so I went ahead and picked it up. 
 The story basically follows the second half of the movie. It's lighthearted and childish with a touch of darker plot lurking beneath. Having seen the movie countless times I admit I was a little bored. For once it was almost complete on target only with a little more humor mixed in. So the story was good and easy to follow without the first book so long as you at least have watched the movie. If not I do really suggest reading the prequel first.
 The characters were nice but a bit dry. They might have gotten lost in the translation (the book is originally written in French) but that didn't change the fact that they were hard to connect with. On the other hand this was a really small book so there wasn't a whole lot of time for major development or connection. Also, this might have been established better in the first book but the characters didn't feel strange or unfamiliar, just dry. They had a habit doing things without explanation and going from one mood to the next in the blink of an eye. That being said, I still did enjoy the story and I really think that younger kids would find this book amusing. Though I did mention darker undertones above, it's nothing a small reader would pick up on/be scared of.

Content: There is the fact that two ten-year-olds are considered married by a kiss but this is all that is considered appropriate and the two were hardly even supposed to touch again until several years had passed. Despite this, there are two kisses in the book. There is also a bit of violence and some dark, though not necessarily scary, plot points that are really only dark if you over think them like I do! ;)
 So, overall, a good kids book but without a lot of meat in the way of characters.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Book Review: Death Bringer

 Summary: The Necromancers no longer need Valkyrie to be their Death Bringer, and that’s a good thing.
  There’s just one catch. There’s a reason the Necromancers don’t need her any more. And that’s because they’ve found their Death Bringer already, the person who will dissolve the doors between life and death. 
  And that’s a very, very bad thing…

Thoughts: Well, you all probably know by now that I love this series so I'll save you the spew. 
 Writing, great and witty and always engaging. The dialogue is the best part of these books, the back and forth between characters is priceless. 
 Plot...okay, not my favorite book in the series for this. We finally get the culmination of Valkyrie's love triangle and that in and of itself is something I normally dislike (I'm not really much for complicated romances). This one was especially harsh in the way it affected (or didn't affect) characters and I actually didn't like Valkyrie for it. But this part mostly blows over in the first half of the book, leaving the second half full of engaging action, plot, mystery and humor. And I really liked the ending. 
 Characters are, as usual, the best part of this story. Fletcher especially goes through some developments that really brought out his character and made me like him even more! And of course the relationship between Skulduggery and Valkyrie is always fun.

Content: This series gets darker with each book and this one is no exception. There is excessive amounts of violence and gore ranging in scenarios like zombie attacks to a simple but brutal fight to an all out magical/super-powered battle. There's the usual language (H***, D***, and C***). And then a scene that included a forced kiss and threatened to push too far but it was brief and quickly turned into a brawl. All in all, definitely for an older audience but still a good installment into the series.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Book Review: Who's Body

 
Summary: The stark naked body was lying in the tub. Not unusual for a proper bath, but highly irregular for murder -- especially with a pair of gold pince-nez deliberately perched before the sightless eyes. What's more, the face appeared to have been shaved after death. The police assumed that the victim was a prominent financier, but Lord Peter Wimsey, who dabbled in mystery detection as a hobby, knew better. In this, his first murder case, Lord Peter untangles the ghastly mystery of the corpse in the bath.

Thoughts: I've been dying for some real good detective mysteries recently and found this little gem in my Lost Phone-Kindle Files. 
 The writing was great, classic. Full of sharp wit and deduction it easily draws the reader in. 
 The mystery was well thought out and absolutely boggling for awhile but it never dragged. And the end was truly climatic!
 I was really impressed with characters. Very few mysteries ever bother to make their great and brilliant detective truly human but Lord Percy ran up against fear and moral concerns as much as he did thrills and excitement. And his relationship with the policeman, Parker, who was his companion in the case was great. Too often the police are portrayed  as bumbling fools without a clue as to what's going on despite all their training while the amateur detective soars past them on the logical train of events. Here, Parker is very nearly Percy's wit and also has training and skills to rival his companion's. It was refreshing and interesting.

Content: A bit of language, mostly just D***. Violence and gore, it's a murder mystery after all and when the full tale comes out...I'll just say that it wasn't pleasant.  Some inappropriate implications but little was said for sure and nothing actually happened within the story. All in all though, a fun mystery for all fans of detectives and mind-stretching mysteries! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Book Review: H.I.V.E. Higher Institute of Villainous Education



Summery: HIGHER INSTITUTE OF VILLAINOUS EDUCATION
 Otto Malpense may only be thirteen years old, but so far he has managed to run the orphanage where he lives, and he has come up with a plan clever enough to trick the most powerful man in the country. He is the perfect candidate to become the world's next supervillain.
 That is why he ends up at H.I.V.E., handpicked to become a member of the incoming class. The students have been kidnapped and brought to a secluded island inside a seemingly active volcano, where the school has resided for decades. All the kids are elite; they are the most athletic, the most technically advanced, and the smartest in the country. Inside the cavernous marble rooms, floodlit hangars, and steel doors, the students are enrolled in Villainy Studies and Stealth and Evasion 101. But what Otto soon comes to realize is that this is a six-year program, and leaving is not an option.
 With the help of his new friends: an athletic martial-arts expert; a world-famous, beautiful diamond thief; and a spunky computer genius -- the only other people who seem to want to leave -- can Otto achieve what has never been done before and break out of H.I.V.E.?

Thoughts: This book was a thing of disagreement. Epic had many other more fascinating books on her plate when she read it and found it rather boring. Not to mention we had been hoping it would be something resembling Artemis Fowl. It wasn't Artemis at all and she found it boring.
 I, on the other hand, was just finishing up Magyk (which had really bored me) and was expecting this one to be little different in terms of enjoyment. I loved it.
 And with that note out of the way (and since I'm the one writing the post) I get to tell all reasons why I love it! 
  Let's start with the writing. It's really great, seamlessly moving from one point of view to the next, and carrying the story through from point to point.
 The plot was really interesting and fairly unique. I've read of stories where the characters going to the school expect or even want to become villains  or where they discover their drive to become a hero. But not here. In H.I.V.E. the kids don't want to be villains, despite their past exploits, and they'renot looking to save the world (yet, this could always come up later). They just want out. 
 And that bring me to the characters. I loved them all! The girls, Laura and Shelby come off a little flat at first but I think this is because they aren't given a lot of page time to develop much. Otto and Wing on the other hand really made my day. They've got stories and mysteries. Reading this book felt like I was just tapping into a , possibly, great opening for some really fantastic characters!

Contnt: Language was the biggest problem. D*** and B****ing were both used, the latter appearing only once but the other popping up a bit more often. There was also some crude humor: a person is made to moon an audience over TV. There's also violence and a possibility of superpowers/magic (though I doubt it will ever be termed as magic. Probably a more scientific explanation will be used). Though this was left open as a continuing mystery so I'm unsure if that will develop into anything or not.This aside, it was a really fun read for even preteens and older though I would hesitate to give it to a younger reader because of the language.

 
 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Book Review: Magyk



 Summary: The seventh son of the seventh son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby's father, Silas Heap, comes across a bundle in the snow containing a new born girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus?

Thoughts:  This was a cute, simple story about a lost child, mistaken identities and magic. 
 The plot was good, a mash and mix of well used fantasy elements combined with quirky twists, turns and people.
 The characters were fun and easy to read. They didn't quite jump out of the page but they lead through the story well and things were kept from getting confusing.
 The writing was good and clean though sometimes lacked descriptions as to who was doing what exactly which lead to momentary confusion as I tried to sort things out. All in all it was a good story if a little boring. While reading it I could get in and really enjoy it but once I paused I had a hard time picking it back up again (part of the reason I haven't been posting in awhile). 

Content: Magic. Some violence. Otherwise a clean read for all ages and I really think a younger audience (between 6 and 12) would really enjoy this one!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Book Review: King of the Trees


 Summary: What do an old wooden box, a jeweled pendant and some mysterious, green-garbed strangers share in common? When Rolin son of Gannon sets out to solve this riddle, his adventures take him worlds beyond the walls of his little log cabin in the mountains. With the help of some grumpy griffins and a long-lost prophecy, Rolin and his friends battle a fiendish foe and his underworld army; deadly snake-trees; a dragon, and other mythological creatures. On their perilous quest for the fabled Isle of Luralin and the Tree of Life, they must trust the King with their very lives. In the end, they learn that "The greatest help oft comes in harm's disguise to those with trusting hearts and open eyes."

Thoughts:  First off, sorry for being absent for so long. I honestly meant to get this post out three weeks ago but life got in the way. So anyways, here we are! 
 I've actually reread this book this year, it's a bit of a Superbowl tradition for me. I don't understand the first thing about football so I enjoy the snacks and the hype and read this book every year. I'm still trying to see if I can read it all in one day. In the three years I've been doing this i have gotten close but never succeeded.
 This is a great story that was one of the first few Indie Christian books I had ever read. The plot kept me entertained, the characters had me falling in love and the writing had me in awe. It's not spectacular or anything, in fact, half it's charm are in some of it's cheesier moments. But it's a great read, full of all the elements I've ever loved about fantasy all wrapped up in a Christian story. 
 Now, on a side note, I have to say I don't recommend the rest of the series. Something of a downward spiral takes place after this first book and the cheesiness grows unbearable until the last book which was just plain bad. I don't plan on doing full reviews of the rest of the series at any point in the near future so I'll let this suffice that this is the best of the bunch, it's the first and it wraps up wonderfully so it's not absolutely necessary to keep reading. Of course, I won't stop you if you do. My warning is there to beheaded or ignored at your own discretion.

Content: A bit of violence but otherwise a clean read for all ages and highly recommended!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Book Review: The Hero's Guide To Storming the Castle


 Summary: Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You remember them, don't you? They're the Princes Charming, who finally got some credit after they stepped out of the shadows of their princesses--Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Briar Rose--to defeat an evil witch bent on destroying all their kingdoms. 
 But alas, such fame and recognition only last so long. And when the princes discover that an object of great power might fall into any number of wrong hands, they are going to have to once again band together to stop it from happening--even if no one will ever know it was they who did it. 

Thoughts: This is one of the funniest series's I've ever read, hands down probably number one on the list. Brilliant characters are the real catch here. I love them all. Even the villains are wonderful. Some are typical-plain-ol'-villains.  And some are unique and layered. And, of course, there are the bumbling heroes that are the real stars of this book. I love this cast and their development had me spinning on my head by the end wondering where all this was going.
  The plot was great! So many twists and unbelievable topsy-turvy turns it was ridiculous and wonderful!
 And the writing is always great. I can't emphasize enough how hilarious this book was and it's all due to the brilliant wording that never ruins the moment but carries everything through smoothly. From the humor to the action to even the more tender moments, everything moves with a great flow.

Content: A little bit of rude humor. Some violence and non-bloody deaths. Otherwise, a clean and fun read for all ages!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Book Review: A Time To Die

 Summary: How would you live if you knew the day you'd die?
 Parvin Blackwater has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. 
 In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the crooked justice system. But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall -- her people's death sentence. 
 What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.

Thoughts: This is a book I've had sitting on my To-Read shelf for way too long. I've been following the author for over a year on her blog and newsletters and I knew I really needed to read her books and so, at long last, I've started!
 First off, A Time To Die has some fabulous writing. Emotional pulls and ups and downs all make for a wild ride.
 And then the plot, very unique and captivating. Never a pause in the action and suspense. We're kept biting our nails and shaking our heads through the every end.
 And the characters...well, I'll admit, I had a hard time connecting with Parvin. We just process things differently. But I really loved the majority of the cast I and understood even Parvin's motivations.

 Content: Violence. Death. Otherwise a clean read and great for all dystopian fans looking for some Christian influence in the genre!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Book Review: A Man Called Ove

 
Summary: Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
  Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

Thoughts: This is the the debut book of the author who is responsible for one the most heartwarming books I've ever read My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry. Ove was no different. 
 Filled to bursting with human emotion and trials, you can't help but love all of the quirky cast as they come in and integrate  themselves into the story. I laughed and I got teary-eyed, especially over the halves of the book that included Ove's past. 
  The writing really carries the reader through and weaves them into the tale as it unfolds unhurriedly yet without ever losing the reader's attention.
 And the story itself...is heartbreaking and fabulous. it is the extraordinary life of a man.

Content: There's a lot of bad words. I mean, a lot. If you can think it, it was probably in here. There's mention of domestic violence, death, a SPOILER homosexual relationship END SPOILER and attempted suicide. Nothing except the language is really offensive, it's just the things seen in the course of a man's life. All in all, a really great read for mature readers who want a moving story.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Book Review: Mortal Coil



Summary: The blonde girl with the black lips turned to Valkyrie. 'We know,' she said. 'We've seen the future. We know you're going to kill the world!' 
  Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain are back -- just in time to see their whole world get turned upside down! While they struggle to protect a known killer from an unstoppable assassin, Valkyrie is on a secret mission of her own. This quest, to prevent her dark and murderous destiny, threatens to take her to the brink of death and beyond. And then the body-snatching Remnants get loose, thousands of twisted souls who possess the living like puppets, and they begin their search for a being powerful enough to lead them. Facing such insurmountable odds, Skulduggery, Valkyrie, Ghastly and Tanith can trust no one. Not even each other!

Thoughts: Not sure if I've already mentioned this but I really love this series! Granted it gets darker with each installment but really that just leads to even greater character development. I mean, Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain's relationship is one of my favorites in any book I've ever read. 
 And the plot...well, like all previous books it includes the end of the world on many different levels. But somehow, Derek Landy never allows the plot to become mundane or predictable. 
 The writing is still fabulous. Such wonderful witty sarcasm floating around you're laughing no matter what's going on!

Content: Dark and a few mature themes. Violence. Gore. Magic. SPOILER There's a hinting of romance between a character and a vampire END SPOILER. Lots of kissing. I wouldn't suggest handing this one to the kids any time soon but it's another great installment for teen or older fans of the series!

We're back!

Yes! Internet is back and the manuscript has been sent out! Sorry, it's been back for a few days now but things got a little hectic so I'm only just now getting back to the blog. But anyways, here we are and the posts and reviews are to be forthcoming.

Monday, January 23, 2017

To Our Beta Readers and Blog Readers

Just wanted to let everyone know that I currently don't have internet in my house. I'm hoping this will be fixed by tomorrow but until then I won't be able to post more than small notes using my phone. I also won't be able to send out the story for you Beta-Readers until this is fixed. Really sorry everyone. Thanks for your patience.
Ants.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review: Destroy


Summary: Before the war, before the Blades, before the Leader…
 There was a boy and a scullery maid and a secret shame.
 One moonlit night of blood and knives destroyed their country and their lives forever.

 The Leader failed to die, but will he also fail to lead?

Thoughts: This was a great little addition to the Blades of Acktar series! A little insight into Keeven's past, present and hope for the future!
 Keeven and Addie are an adorable couple and they were amazingly wonderful characters for such a short book. The rest of the cast was also really well done and the story was excitingly well written. I was so happy to revisit the world of Acktar in this short story again. A must read for all fans!

Content: Violence. Gore. A little bit of mature content but it never actually became innapropriate. Otherwise clean and an exciting story!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Beta Readers

A note to everyone interested in signing/has already signed up here to beta-read for us.
 Firstly, I'm extremely grateful to you all, thanks so much!
 Secondly I plan on sending out the story next Monday and I'll provide more information on what we're looking for then.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Review: Dark Days

  Summary: Skulduggery Pleasant is lost on the other side of a portal, with only some evil gods for company. Can he possibly survive? (Yes, all right, he's already dead. But still.)  
 Meet Skulduggery Pleasant: detective, sorcerer, warrior.
 Oh yes. And dead.
 Skulduggery Pleasant is gone, sucked into a parallel dimension overrun by the Faceless Ones. If his bones haven’t already been turned to dust, chances are he’s insane, driven out of his mind by the horror of the ancient gods. There is no official, Sanctuary-approved rescue mission. There is no official plan to save him.
 But Valkyrie's never had much time for plans.
 The problem is, even if she can get Skulduggery back, there might not be much left for him to return to. There’s a gang of villains bent on destroying the Sanctuary, there are some very powerful people who want Valkyrie dead, and as if all that wasn’t enough it looks very likely that a sorcerer named Darquesse is going to kill the world and everyone on it.
 Skulduggery is gone. All our hopes rest with Valkyrie. The world’s weight is on her shoulders, and its fate is in her hands.
 These are dark days!
  
 Thoughts: Part two in the miniseries "Books I Read Last Year and Forgot to Tell You Guys About!"
 I love this series so much! While the beginning of the story seemed to move a little fast, the pacing evens out by the middle. The plot thickens and slowly things start coming together, secrets are revealed but only when more are unearthed.
 The characters develop, relationships change, so do people. We're left unsure of anything...which is a way I rather like the middle of my book series to be. 
 And the writing, always funny. Always great. Always fun! I was laughing at loud by chapter two...again. 

Content: This book lived up to it's name, Dark Days, it was dark and even creepy. There was quite a bit of violence and some gore. A little language (D***, C***). Lots of magic. Kissing. Some mature themes. Definitely not for younger readers but a riveting and exciting read for teens and older!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Book Review:

Summary: This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises. Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.

Thoughts: This the first in a two part blogging series titled "Books I Read Last Year and Forgot to Tell You Guys About!"
 Honestly, this book tops the first. We travel a bit, meet new characters and get more face time with already familiar side characters! I loved all the time we got with the other children (not just Emma or Jacob) and all the character development!
 And the plot twists! I can't even really touch on plot without giving anything away but basically, don't trust anything! Nothing is as it seems!
 The writing is amazing. Despite being told from the point of view of a teenage boy everything comes out with a certain poetic flow that is captivating and even beautiful.

Content: Things get even darker in here than the first book so I'm talking really dark and kind of scary. There's violence and gore. A bit of language (D***, Sh**, C***). Kissing. An adult man is seen completely naked for a brief time before he's given pants. Another man leers over a young girl. Nothing inappropriate actually ends up happening. all in all, not a good bok for the timid or young, but another great installment for older teens and up!

Monday, January 2, 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 Image result for happy new year 2017 gif



So I really meant for this post to happen yesterday but my break from all things during Christmas extended a little farther than I meant for it to. And so here it is a slightly late Happy New Year from us to you!

Just to recap 2016:
 I got my license (yes, driver's license).
 I got a car.
 I got a job.
 A wonderful new addition was born into our family.
 Epic and I finished writing a manuscript.
 I managed to make a small animatic I'm rather proud of.
 I took a CPR class.
 Epic started learning Korean.

Resolutions for 2017 are...well probably the biggest I've ever had.
 I'm joining a charity foundation that will let me work with kids and horses over the summer-fall months.
 I'm looking into getting a second job in the evenings babysitting.
 I want to read a hundred books! I know I can, I just need to keep track of my reading.
 I'm (deep breath) planning on moving later this year. Yup, officially moving out of the house and out on my own. Well, mostly on my own. I'll be moving in with my cousin but we'll be sharing rent and bills and such.
 And here's the nearest one: I want to get my manuscript published...this year if possible but at least to dive into the editing process. Do you know what that means? Beta-readers. I need beta-readers to look through our story and give us feedback from a reader's perspective. And we really need all the help we can get. Details are below and, if you're interested, you can fill out the form to sign up and have us forever grateful!

Working Title:  To Catch A Dragon (Subject to change and any suggestions would be welcome).
Authors: Abby and Erin C.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Chapters: 62 (Averege length of chapters being about 4 Word Doc pages).
Page Count: 259 (Word Document)
Word Count: 159,726
Blurb: A retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses.
            When Timothy Whillip's little sister is claimed as a sacrifice for the mysterious Dragon's Bane, he sets off on a quest to find a dragon to stop the bane before it's too late. Helping him is a group of strange princesses who all seem to be cursed...
Content: Some dark themes involving life and death. Some magic (as in fairies and wizards, fairly typical).

It's a really long book so to anyone gracious enough to be willing to devote time into reading and critiquing I'm thinking two months is a fair amount of time. And to everyone interested, Thank You!
To everyone else, thanks for reading our blog.
I wish all of you a Wonderful New Year!