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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!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Book Review: Zodiac


Summary: At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain…. 
 Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.
 When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.
 Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.
 But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Thoughts: I don't normally read Young Adult books if I can help it because they tend to sacrifice character and plot for romance but I decided to give this one a try because I've always liked the idea of using the zodiacs in a fictional story. Reading this book reminded me why I don't like YA.
 The characters, particularly the main character Rhoma, start out strong, determined, but believably scared. I liked everyone for the first third of the book. And then the love triangle asserted itself and drama took over and I couldn't really enjoy any character after that. And Rhoma became nothing more than a confused and besotted girl who was playing with two different guys with the excuse that she couldn't make up her mind so development was dropped there. 
 The writing was actually fairly good and kept me reading through even most of the painful romantic scenes (most not all, see Content below).
 If I was ever going to read another in this series it would purely be for the amazing world building I glimpsed in this story. The set-up of each zodiac from government to trade was perfect and every new piece I learned just made me want to know more! I was dazzled with this starry world of ships and planets. 

Content: Some common language such as D***, H*** and Sh**. War and mob violence. Magic-like supernatural abilities. A couple of kisses. SPOILER Rhoma has intimate relations with one of the characters on her seventeenth birthday. I skipped the scene so I can't say for sure how explicit it got but it left no doubt about what was happening END SPOILER.
 All in all I wouldn't really recommend this book to anyone but I would place it at a mature high-school level or above for those still interested.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Book Review: The Nine Pound Hammer


Summary: What if John Henry had a son? 
  Twelve-year-old Ray is haunted by the strangest memories of his father, whom Ray swears could speak to animals. Now an orphan, Ray jumps from a train going through the American South and falls in with a medicine show train and its stable of sideshow performers. The performers turn out to be heroes, defenders of the wild, including the son of John Henry. They are hiding the last of the mythical Swamp Sirens from an ancient evil known as the Gog. Why the Gog wants the Siren, they can’t be sure, but they know it has something to do with rebuilding a monstrous machine that John Henry gave his life destroying years before, a machine that will allow the Gog to control the will of men and spread darkness throughout the world.

 Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book! The whole premise of America's tall-tale heroes coupled with something reminiscent of King Arthur and his knights was enough to get my attention but this surpassed all expectations!
 The plot is unique and eye-catching but ensures to still appeal to audiences with familiar humor and the expected sort of action for the time period such as train chases and gun fights. 
 The cast are true gems and I quickly came to love all of them! They are easy to empathize with and believe in and you can't help cheering for them all.

Content: Magic, fantasy violence, a little blood, some mildly frightening scenes.
 All in all, I would say this is appropriate for almost every age!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Book Review: The Name of this Book is Secret

 Summary: Warning: this description has not been authorized by Pseudonymous Bosch.
As much as he'd love to sing the praises of his book (he is very vain), he wouldn't want you to hear about his brave 11-year old heroes, Cass and Max-Ernest. Or about how a mysterious box of vials, the Symphony of Smells, sends them on the trail of a magician who has vanished under strange (and stinky) circumstances. And he certainly wouldn't want you to know about the hair-raising adventures that follow and the nefarious villains they face. You see, not only is the name of this book secret, the story inside is, too. For it concerns a secret. A Big Secret.

 Thoughts: This was a really cute story  reminiscent of A Series of Unfortunate Events. The cast was interesting and the plot always kept me guessing to the very end. It was full of quirky humor and underplayed terror that really made the story for me. It was a little slow on occasion and I wasn't completely impressed with all the characters, it does have some intriguing potential that makes me curious to see where it goes.

 Content: The climax of the story and big are a little disturbing if you really think about them but are underplayed to the point of not being scary. Mildly scary or violent situations. 
 All in all a fairly clean book for just about any age.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Book Review: Dreadnought


Summary: A renegade faction of the world’s most powerful villains is intent on destroying G.L.O.V.E. (Global League Of Villainous Enterprises) and showing the world the true face of evil. The Disciples begin by hijacking Diabolus Darkdoom’s Airborne command post, then they kidnap his son and his son’s best friend. Unfortunately for them, Nigel Darkdoom (and Franz) also happen to be Otto’s friends. Heading out to America, Otto, Wing et al embark on a perilous and highly unauthorized rescue operation. Cut off from the support of H.I.V.E. and on the run from American security forces the hunt for their friends leads to one of the US military’s most secret facilities. It becomes clear that the Disciples are not all they appear and in a desperate race against time Otto must work out who his real friends are and prevent the Disciples from completing their true objective. Only Otto can save the world from domination by a sinister new world order but it might be that the price he has to pay is just too high. When it comes to the crunch will he be prepared to sacrifice himself?

Thoughts: A great continuation of a fascinating series! Dreadnought combines a lot more out-of-school action than previous books with some interesting plot twists.
 The returning cast was great and, though I don't have much to say about the rather clique villains,  one of the new cast did catch my attention. I'm not going to say who but, though they didn't have much of a presence here I see a lot of potential for this character!
The writing is the same as the previous books and while it sometimes lacks emotional depth, it never fails to make me laugh!

Content: Lots of violence and some bloody but never graphic or gory. Words suck as H*** and D*** are used infrequently but usually from one of the kids. 
 All in all, a relatively clean read for mature middle schoolers and a fun one for older readers!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Book Review: Serefina and the Black Cloak

 Summary: “Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.” 
 Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of the Biltmore estate. There’s plenty to explore in her grand home, although she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, have secretly lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember.
 But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is: a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of the Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity . . . before all of the children vanish one by one.
 Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.

Thoughts: This was a cute, if mildly terrifying, story set in a real-world backdrop. The Biltmore estate is an actual place in Asheville NC. If you've ever been or plan to go, I suggest you pick up this book. It'll will add a whole new layer to the story. On the other hand I wasn't overtly impressed. The story had a fun cast and interesting plot but most of the twists and secrets were predictable and I kept being surprised when something was revealed and no one else already knew it. Great for it's targeted age group, especially if they like ghost stories, but otherwise a pretty average read. It went from normal to scary and back again very quickly which just wasn't something I like in a book.
 On the other hand the writing was really good and the descriptions are great! It's like a fantasy tour of the estate but with several extremely curious tour guides.

Content: Like I said, the book got dark and scary on occasion and a little gory (skin peeling off, bloodied pieces of clothes, attacks from animals). There was a ghost like villain and a possessed item and children supernaturally disappearing. Also some folklore type magic. 
 All in all it's really a mostly clean book but not suitable for children who are easily scared.