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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.