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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!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Manga Review: Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea


 Summary: The young witch Wadanohara has just returned from a journey across the oceans, searching for a clue to her lost memories. Now that she has come home, along with her familiars Memoca, Dolphi and Fukami, Wadanohara must continue her quest while ensuring the safety of the ocean kingdom she hails from. But a mysterious figure from her past has appeared and demands that she leave her ocean home forever. What dark event transpired in Wadanohara's past and what does it portend for her future?


Thoughts: This might be a manga series but the copy I have is all one book so I'm titling it as a single manga. 
  I am so excited to see this in book form! I found it at Barnes and Noble and was instantly sending pictures of it to almost everyone I know. I played the games years ago and loved it so much and seeing it in a big store made me ridiculously happy!

                                  Image result for wadanohara game

 For those of you unfamiliar with the title Wadanohara is a Japanese RPG indie game created by Deep-Sea Prisoner (extra info here). It has been translated into English and several other languages and has become so popular that it now has a manga. As one of those fans, this made my week! 
 The story follows the first part of the game  introducing a young witch and her familiars. It then proceeds with several varying plot lines, only a few of which get resolved (for the finished story you'll have to play the game). This isn't to say you're left hanging or with an unfinished end. The main points wrap up well, and only a few side points are left open.
  Needless to say I love all of these characters, they are all so interesting and each one has their own story to tell.
The art was cute and the writing was good, keeping to the game and carrying the story through.
Image result for wadanohara manga  


Content: Despite the cute art and setting there were some rather violent and bloody deaths. most of the cast are some kind of sea animal and a few of them (such as a killer whale) are seeing in the background as possibly eating other animals. Wadanohara is a witch and four of the other characters are her familiars. There are also a few other witches and familiars shown throughout the manga. There are a pair of girls who are shown kissing while drunk and they might be a couple. 
 Most of the content is not obviously there or in your face but readers should be cautious. There's a tiny bit of language such as H*** or D*** but these don't appear more than three times. 
 All in all it's a really cute manga and story and a good read for fans of the game or who want to know more about it (note, the content rating for the game is different from the manga). It would also be a good first manga for anyone looking to get into manga.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Book Review: Failstate



Summary: Why did Robin Laughlin (aka. Failstate) think being a superhero on a reality show would be a good idea again? Things seemed so simple: win the show, become an official, licensed hero. But with his brother, Ben (aka. Gauntlet) stealing America's heart and his own powers proving too unwieldy even for the monitored studio challenges, Robin begins to wonder if his calling isn't to save the world after all.
 Until one of his competitors is murdered.
 Vowing to find the killer, Robin sets out on a very real quest to unmask the hidden villain. Can Robin find justice? Or will his lunk of a big brother ruin everything?

Thoughts: While I'm not really into superheros as a norm I always loved the thought of a Christ-following, action-packed, super-something. John Otte gives us that and so much more!
 I really liked the characters in here. They were all really great but Robin and Veritas particularly had some really likable growth and character. 
 There were so many cool and awesome plot twists they kept me guessing and wondering what was going on and how on earth all these things were connected. And then Otte wrapped them up superbly! Everything fell into place and concluded with a bang! I always feel like I know how things are gong to end in a trope like superheroes but Failstate surprised me! 
 The writing was good and kept my attention while also keeping things easy and light. From descriptions of fights, to the breakdown of how the powers work, to the simple day-to-day life, everything flowed well.

Content: Violence, death, some blood; nothing graphic, basic superhero stuff. There's kissing and a girl playing around with two different guys SPOILER there's a reason for this but it's not apparent at first END SPOILER. There's a brief description of how on female superhero's costumes "clings to her every curve" and some similar descriptions but it wasn't used in an inappropriate or offensive context.
 All in all a fairly clean read for middlegraders or above and a great book for any superhero fan! 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Book Review: The Girl From The Train


Summary: Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Auschwitz. Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks.
  As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They mean to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.
   Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her home. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.
   But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.
   Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

Thoughts: I don't normally like romances (too mushy), or World War 2 fiction (made-up tragedy for an already tragic time period = too much sadness), I made an accepting for this amazing story. I loved it so much!
 I was first interested in the book because of the premise,  small orphaned girl being taken care of by a big, tough army guy...my kind of story. And I wasn't disappointed, the two main characters were great but the supporting cast was amazing too. Even those few people that were only in for a few pages were so full of life and character!
  The plot was really good too, it's set in an area we don't hear a lot about during World War 2, Poland and then South Africa. And while the story was at the tail end of the actual war, the end results and consequences are still being dealt with at the end of the book. I was pleasantly surprised by how much Christianity featured in the story, I didn't even realized how prevalent faith and religion were to the plot until I started reading it. It was so great to see the historical background of the different views plus the contrast between Catholicism and Protestant beliefs. 
  The writing was key to everything, Joubert weaves seamlessly between the tragic horror of the war and the simple everyday life of a growing girl. She even had me really caring about the romance and I'm not ashamed to say I got teary eyed at the end of the book!

Content: War violence first off. Joubert never gets too graphic but people do die in here and there's mentions of the Auschwitz camp and ghettos that the Jews were kept in. There's some over-done descriptions on passionate kisses and SPOILER a couple with a thirteen year age difference END SPOILER. 
 Overall, while the war setting and mature way of writing might be a bit much for some younger readers, it's a clean book overall and I highly suggest it for anyone looking for a good historical read!
 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Book Review: The Fiend With Twenty Faces



Summary: When 1930s Tokyo is threatened by a master thief who can disguise himself to look like anyone, and laughs at the law, the people of the city have nowhere else to turn but Japan's greatest detective, Akechi Kogoro. Unfortunately for Tokyo, however, Akechi Kogoro is off on overseas business, so it becomes the job of his 12-year old assistant, Kobayashi Yoshio, to track down the thief and desperately keep him at bay until his mentor returns.

Thoughts: This is a first in a sequel series to The Early Cases of Akechi Kogoro, a series of adult mystery stories. The Fiend With Twenty Facees was written for a younger audience and therefore is much less frightening and disturbing than your average mystery. On the other hand it contains a really intriguing case and presents the Moriarty or Lupin of Japan, pitting him against the greatest detective in the East and his young assistant!
 I really loved this book, one of my favorites this year. It was a great mystery, almost completely clean, and a fun adventure! I loved seeing the great detective Akechi Kogoro working with a small boy and I really liked how the assistant, Kobayashi, while clever, was not one of those all-knowing child geniuses. I may like some kids with big brains (Artemis Fowl, H.I.V.E., The Mysterious Benedict Society) but I also really enjoy a kid who's not out of this world smart sometimes. 
 The entire cast was interesting and unique. They kept you on your toes always wondering who's who and what's real. 
 The plot was really well paced, well, handled and got me all excited for the end which was absolutely perfect in my opinion. 

Content: There were a few mild scares in here (scenes that might be frightening to sensitive/young children). A tiny bit of violence but no deaths. Two children are abducted but not harmed. 
Otherwise a clean and really all-age friendly story that I highly recommend for all mystery fans!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sleeping Beauty Blog Tour Book Review + Giveaway: Twisted Dreams


   Hey everyone! We're back with another blog tour today! This one is part of a three-way author collaboration with three different sleeping beauty tales. And I'm here today to give you a review on the one I got to read, Twisted Dreams by Morgan Elizabeth Huneke!



Summary:

“I, Calandra, of the Wingans, do bestow upon you, the Princess of Hanover, a gift. You have been given long life. I cannot interfere with that, but when you are sixteen years of age, you will prick your finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into an everlasting sleep.” She stepped closer so that she could be heard only by Liesel and her parents. “Then you will at last see the truth. Be wary. Be wise. Your fate rests upon yourself.”
   On her sixteenth birthday, Princess Liesel Rosanna falls victim to a sleeping curse—but wakens in another world, a prisoner of war. As the bait in a trap for her fiancé, the crown prince of Hanover, Liesel longs to escape back to the fairy tale world. The world where she is only wanting a true love’s kiss to set everything to rights.
   As situations quickly grow dire, Liesel must choose which story to live, which life is real. The fate of her country rests on her decision.   



Thoughts: Twisted dreams surprised out of the blue with a fairly complex plot. It starts off your typical, everyday Sleeping Beauty but there's something that's just a little...off about everything.  Next thing I know, everything has been flipped up on it's head. Nothing is at it seems and everything is moving quickly. The pace was fast but not rushed and while it took me a bit to figure out what was going on it was a really good story. I'm reading several other books at the same time and having to pace myself in my reads to keep up with everything but I finished this story in just a few days. It was short, sweet, has a strong Christian message, and was very enjoyable!

Content: A little bit of violence a mention of blood. Otherwise a good and clean read for all ages!






About the Author:


Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Books have always been a big part of her life, never more so than when working at the local library. Her other interests include reading, playing and teaching piano and violin, and politics. She is the author of Across the Stars and The Experiment as well as the Time Captives fantasy trilogy.

You can connect with Morgan on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.





 And here is a wonderful little snippet!


A gentle applause began, but before it could grow to fullness, a hush fell over the room. A figure rose out of the crowd, her commanding figure and large wings causing Eva to shrink back against her husband in intimidation.
“How is there a Wingan here? This cannot be.”
Henry placed his arm around Eva’s shoulders.
The Wingan stepped in front of the group of Cantileens. “I, Calandra, of the Wingans, do bestow upon you, the Princess of Hanover, a gift. You have been given long life. I cannot interfere with that, but when you are sixteen years of age, you will prick your finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into an everlasting sleep.” She stepped closer so that she could be heard only by Liesel and her parents. “Then you will at last see the truth. Be wary. Be wise. Your fate rests upon yourself.”
Liesel looked up into the face of Calandra and was not afraid. The fairy-like quality of the Wingan’s appearance, though unusual to Liesel’s infant eyes, spoke to her only genuine concern. Yet her parents drew back.
“Be gone from here,” her father ordered.
Calandra stepped back, a hard resolve overtaking her features. “I will do as you ask,” she acquiesced. “But remember, Liesel. Always remember.” Calandra turned from them and strode through the center of the crowd. With a wave of her hand, she opened the doors and exited the room. The doormen hurriedly closed the doors behind her.




I always get so excited to share pieces of books I liked! I hope this gets you interested in the story!

Also, don't forget to check out the two other books. You can find more information and a list of the blogs posting reviews, interviews and other wonderful topics over here!

There are several different giveaways going on with this tor as well!

1. Rafflcopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2. The person who leaves the most comments on the blog posts in the tour will win an early reading of two fantasy stories (you can learn more here). 

3. Kendra E. Ardnek is offering several of her books free for a limited time so check them out!
   
Sew, It's a Quest (Permafree): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/731321

Friday, August 11, 2017

Book Review + Author Interview + Giveaway: Exiles by Jaye L. Knight


 Hey everyone and welcome to the Exiles blog tour! I'm so excited to be reviewing this book for you today!


Summary: Exiled after their defeat in Samara, the Resistance struggles to find allies in their quest to restore King Balen to his throne and put an end to the emperor’s tyranny. When the crete people refuse to lend their aid, Balen leads a group to Dorland to reason with them and win their support. However, enemies prove to be everywhere, and they find themselves in a fight to keep Dorland from becoming Daican’s latest conquest.
   Back in Landale, the arrival of a new enemy forces Trask and Anne to tread more carefully than ever. Tensions are rising, and the enemy is determined to test Anne’s loyalty and root out the location of Trask and the Resistance once and for all. 
    Feeling trapped within the walls of Valcré, Prince Daniel must contend with an ever-eroding relationship with his father. As their clashes escalate, the situation becomes potentially life threatening when his loyalty is called into question. His sister seems bent on branding him a traitor and actively seeking to condemn him to the fate of those put to death in their father’s new arena. Daniel is certain his father would never execute his only son and heir but, with other forces at work, it might not be that simple. 
 One small misstep could prove fatal for all.
 Available now on Amazon!

Thoughts: Trying...to...not...gush... But honestly! This might be favorite book from the series so far! I mean each book just gets better and better and this one really had me by the heart! 
 The plot was great! Every twist and turn was something new and one in particular threw me for a loop. Every new advancement in story doesn't just further the book but the entire series and has me wondering what could possibly happen next. 
 The writing is so nice. Despite the many heavy topics, Jaye manages to keep the overall tone light and engaging. You just sort of fall into the story. The pacing is really smooth and never seems too fast or too slow.
  The cast, old and new, were great. I was excited to see new developments with the characters that were returning and very intrigued by those just entering. 

Content: Some war/battle violence and blood but no gore. Several inappropriate advances are made by certain men to some women throughout the story but these never reached a problimatic situation and were handled very well by the author.
 All in all, a clean and really absolutely great book! If you haven't read the first three I differently encourage you to give them a try, especially as they're all n sale right now through the 14th! Find them here on Amazon.



And I have her for you all a treat! An interview with the author herself!



Welcome to the blog! Here are my questions!


 Do you have a character that's your favorite/is easier to write than others?
Well, Jace is hands down my favorite. I think he always will be. I would also say that Daniel is one of the easiest characters to write. He is one of those characters who just takes over their scenes.
Is there one who is your least favorite/is harder to write than others (you can still love them and hate how hard they are to put into words)?
I can’t think of a specific character right now. After all this time, I think I know them pretty well, however, in the beginning, I had a lot of trouble writing Kyrin. It took a few rewrites before I was able to discover who she really was. It was frustrating at the time, but it all came together.
With Exiles on it's way to our bookshelves now to join the rest of it's series, can you tell us which Ilyon Chronicles book has been your favorite so far? I know all of us fans have our own preferences but do you have one that you're particularly fond of?
Actually, I lean toward Exiles being my favorite, at least at the moment. It was my “problem child” when I wrote it, but then it became my darling. One of the biggest reasons it might be my favorite is because I finally got to explore Daniel’s story in depth. I had been looking forward to that since the beginning.
And a bit about you:

Do you have a favorite cliche or trope you like to write and/or look for in other books?
Tortured heroes. Yeah. Can’t get enough of them. ;)
Coffee, tea, or cocoa (or alternative comfort drink)?
I actually drink all three. I used to hate coffee, and then changed my mind this summer. But tea is still my favorite. Irish Breakfast Tea with cream and sugar.
Favorite book quote (Bible counts too if you have a particular verse in mind)?

Oh, I could probably think of quite a few book quotes. I love character quotes (my youngest brother and I have quote wars). Since it would be hard to narrow it down to one, I’ll share my favorite verse instead, Ps. 46:10, Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! It’s basically the theme in most fiction I write—that God is in control no matter what happens and things will all work out in the end. We just need to be still and trust Him.



 I absolutely love that verse!
 Here's a bit more info about Jaye:


Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy.



Here's the giveaway where you can all share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Exiles, a pewter dragon necklace by treasurecast, and a sword letter opener! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't forget to check out the rest of the tour too:




Thursday, August 10
·         Book Spotlight at A Pinch of Faith

Friday, August 11
·         Character Interview at Reality Reflected
·         Review at Tricia Mingerink
·         Book Spotlight at She Hearts Fiction
·         Review and Excerpt at Literary Cafe
·         Character Interview and Excerpt at A Day In The Life
·         Author Interview at The World of the Writer
·         Review at WritingAnyone
·         Review and Character Interview at Meagan Davenport
·         Review and Special Post at R535 Blog
·         Review at Leah’s Bookshelf
·         Author Interview and Excerpt at Liv K. Fisher
·         Review, Character Interview, and Excerpt at The Elven Padawan
·         Review and Author Interview at Books and Arrows
·         Review and Author Interview at The Artful Author
·         Review and Character Interview at Red Lettering
·         Review and Author Interview at PageTurners
·         Review and Author Interview at Sutori no Hana
·         Review and Character Interview at Bookends

Saturday, August 12
·         Review and Excerpt at Thriving Hope
·         Book Spotlight at Today, by Bryn
·         Review at Honey Rock Hills
·         Excerpt at Rachel Rossano's Words
·         Excerpt at Tell Tale Book Reviews
·         Excerpt at The Overactive Imagination
·         Review and Author Interview at One Word At A Time
·         Author Interview at Marrok Macintyre
·         Review and Author Interview at Sarah, Plain & Average
·         Review at A Camera and a Dreamer
·         Review and Excerpt at Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections
·         Character Spotlight at God's Peculiar Treasure Rae
·         Review and Author Interview at Sarah Allerding
·         Author Interview and Excerpt at Dreams and Dragons
·         Review and Character Interview at Resting Life
·         Review and Character Interview at The Music of a Story
·         Review and Character Interview at Ruffles and Grace

Sunday, August 13
·         Review at Woman at the Well
·         Review at Lakeside Publications
·         Review at Ember's Reviews
·         Review and Author Interview The Ink Lizard
·         Excerpt at Lianne Taimenlore
·         Book Spotlight at Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

Monday, August 14
·         Review at Backing Books

Tuesday, August 15
·         Review at Morgan Elizabeth Huneke