Book Reviews

Book Review ~ Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Somehow, I never reviewed Cinder. No idea how THAT happened. So without further to-do, here is the review of the second book in The Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet. I really don’t know how it took me so long to actually read these books. I saw Cinder on Amazon often enough, but the cover sort of scared me out of reading it. Never judge a book by its cover, as the saying goes. It was Nadine speaking about it at the OYAN Winter Workshop that finally caused me to decide to bite the bullet and purchase a copy. Hats off to you Nadine. Thank you. 😊

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From the back of the book:

Cinder is back and trying to break out of prison―even though she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive if she does―in this second installment from Marissa Meyer.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother, or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana.

Quick Summary: The Lunar chronicles is Sci-fi, but earthy. Everything (so far) takes place on the Earth or Moon. And unlike Star Wars there are no galactic empires/weird planet names/alien planets to remember. Everything is down to earth (no pun intended!) and real. Marissa puts interesting twists on the fairy tales that are so familiar to us, but we can still see the original among her world—which is pretty cool.

Characters 5/5 ~ We see quite a few new characters, including Throne, Scarlet and Wolf. I loved how the new characters became interacted with the old (this is always super cool) While I liked getting to know and follow Scarlet, Cinder is by far my favorite. Even the most minor of characters feels like they belong, and are not flat. And even with their little page time, you feel like you know them, that’s how well they are written.

Plot 5/5 ~ Amazing plot structure, though it did feel a little slow towards the middle of the book, then picked up about the last hundred pages.  Marissa did a good job of tying things together with what we learned in Cinder. The amount of world building that went into this series is amazing. I can’t imagine how much thought and care went into it.

Writing/Dialogue ~ Oh, goodness. There is no good way to express Marissa Meyer’s writing. It’s so good. You will have to read it yourself. Don’t let the cover scare you. As for dialogue, Carswell Thorne’s humor and Cinder’s sarcasm add some much-needed comic relief to a tense time.

Bad Language: ~ None

Inappropriate Content: ~ There are some descriptive scenes involving wolves that might be uncomfortable for some people to read.

Overall rating: 5/5 

 

Have any of y’all read Scarlet? What did you think?

 

Book Reviews

Book Review of Shadows of The Hersweald & FREE Short Story

My friend Hope, over at Author Hope Ann, is releasing her third book March 28, entitled  Shadows of the Hersweald. I’ll be participating in the blog tour on April 1st, where I’ll be interviewing Hope, so be sure to swing by! You can pre-order your copy of Shadows of the Hersweald, here

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They would have to come that afternoon. Haydn glared at the rutted road twisted away from the gate beneath him, slithering into the shadows of the Harsweald. And what was the flaming idea behind leaving him in charge? Tregaron in the hands of a criminal… that would put them all in the good graces of the province governor, no questions asked.

A battered soldier from a defeated army, Haydn knows there is only one end to the arrival of the Prince’s governor. Except he hasn’t counted on the Prince himself. Or the pardon which his recent foe has declared to acquit all those who fought against him.

A pardon Haydn detests.

A pardon that refuses to punish the rebels now threatening his own village. And his sister.

Guilt-ridden from his own actions during the war, Haydn knows there are others who have no conscience at all. Others who are using the freedom of the pardon to forward their own desperate schemes.

With enemies closing in on all sides, a pardon that refuses punishment, and nightmares of murder and fire haunting his every thought, will Haydn recognize the truth or will his fear condemn everything he loves to destruction?

First Impression ~ Cool cover.

Characters  ~ Haydn. Great name, but equally was his character. He was a real piece of work, and it was great to see him grow and change through the story. His sister Gorawen seemed a little flat but I loved Haydn’s devotion to her. 

Writing/Plot ~  I loved this story, and Hope didn’t disappoint. Much like her other fairy-tale retellings (which I also loved) this book sucks you in with it’s theme, setting, and great writing. The plot seemed a little rushed at times to me, but it doesn’t take away from the story.

Bad language ~ None

Inappropriate Content ~ None

Overall Rating ~ 5/5

A little treat. Hope said on her blog, “This is Haydn’s song. I like finding songs to match my characters. Haydn was very difficult. I’d given up before I found it by accident. They lyrics aren’t perfectly him, but the spirit of the song very much is his own struggle.”

I can’t agree more. I love Casting Crowns, and this was my favorite when I was younger.

And I thought of this song, which is one of my favorites.

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I enjoyed this little bit of back story of Haydn’s we get to see. Backstory is what I always think of when I pick up a book, or start to write my own. It’s important, and drives me crazy for days if I don’t know. I’m very glad Hope wrote this and put it in there for us who love backstory. Want to claim your FREE copy? Click here to snag your copy of Mercy of Fate.

Book Reviews

For Love & Honor Book Review

This book has been out a week, so it’s high time I did my review. I pre-ordered the book, so I got it on release day and finished it a few days later.

 

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Wow. Just wow. I loved this book so much. It is definitely my favorite of the  An Uncertain Choice series.

First Impression ~ I want that dress. 🙂

Characters ~  My favorite character was Bennet, but they were all good. Everyone was authentic and strong with good character development.

Writing/Plot ~ Like Mrs. Hedlund’s other works in this series, we flip between the first person point of view of the main characters. It’s interesting and draws you into the story. The writing was so good, and in my opinion, the best of the series. The plot is well done–it’s well paced, not drawn out too long and not rushed. Just perfect.

Feels level ~ My heart is hurting and I want to cry and oh, my goodness I cannot handle it.

Bad language ~ None

Inappropriate Content ~ None

Overall Rating ~ 5/5

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From the back of the book:

Lady Sabine is harboring a skin blemish, one, that if revealed, could cause her to be branded as a witch, put her life in danger, and damage her chances of making a good marriage. After all, what nobleman would want to marry a woman so flawed?

Sir Bennet is returning home to protect his family from an imminent attack by neighboring lords who seek repayment of debts. Without fortune or means to pay those debts, Sir Bennet realizes his only option is to make a marriage match with a wealthy noblewoman. As a man of honor, he loathes the idea of courting a woman for her money, but with time running out for his family’s safety, what other choice does he have?

As Lady Sabine and Sir Bennet are thrust together under dangerous circumstances, will they both be able to learn to trust each other enough to share their deepest secrets? Or will those secrets ultimately lead to their demise?

 

 

Want to see more from Jody Hedlund? Find her here.

Image source.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Reviews

Book Review: Space Drifters: The Emerald Engima by Paul Regnier

It has been a busy time since I last posted. Lots of things going on, including losing a whole freezer and not realizing said freezer was gone till two weeks later. Yikes.  It was a fun four hours as I cleaned out the freezer with my family, and removed putrid packs of meat.

But hey, I know I have personal experience (for future books) now of what it feels like to smell rotten meat and the gagging that proceeds that. 😉 Wrong? That depends. But I also know what it feels like to faint, and stab one’s self in the hand (this was a rather unfortunate kitchen accident last year that I would rather not relive).

I’ve also been busy beta-reading a book for one of my favorite authors, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Not sure when that’ll be, but keep an eye out!

Okay, on to the review (which is the best part, cause you’re in for a treat on this one). I received this book as a birthday gift from my good friend Hope (a fellow blogger and author, whose work you should check out–it’s amazing.)

 

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From the back of the book:

Captain Glint Starcrost is not having the carefree, adventurous life the space academy brochures promised star pilots.

Broke, with an unreliable star freighter and a bounty on his head, Glint is desperate enough to try anything. Even set out on a quest to find a fabled good luck charm, the Emerald Enigma.

Now for a crew. A passive aggressive ship computer, a peaceable alien warrior, and time-traveling teen from the past aren’t what he had in mind. But they’ll have to do.

The Emerald Enigma won’t wait forever and neither will the bounty hunter tracking him.

 

First Impression ~ That is one gorgeous cover.  🙂  And one handsome space man. 😉

Plot 4/5 ~ The plot did seem to drag a little sometimes, but that could have just been me, because it never lasted long and you could still follow along and understand what was going on. 

Writing ~ 5/5  Goodness. It was amazing.

Characters 5/5 ~ I really enjoyed this book. Really, really enjoyed it. Books with sarcastic characters are always my favorite and this book was filled with it. The chemistry between Glint and Blix is spot on and humorous.

Bad language ~ None

Inappropriate Content ~ None

Overall Rating 5/5 ~ As soon as I finish reading my other current reads, I’ll definitely be reading book two.

Have you read Space Drifters?

Book Reviews

A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund Book Review

Robin Hood is cool.
So is archery.
And medieval castles.
Not to mention knights.

This gorgeous book has all four.

This book is part of a trilogy, but one that you could probably read as a stand alone. The one I’m reviewing today is book two, and I am eagerly awaiting the release of book three, For Love and Honor, which is releasing March 7th. The series follows three friends as they fall in love. Jody Hedlund wrote this for teens so it’s clean.

 

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From the back of the book:

In a reverse twist on the Robin Hood story, a young medieval maiden stands up for the rights of the mistreated, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. All the while, she fights against her cruel uncle who has taken over the land that is rightfully hers. Forced to live in the woods and hide with the poor people she’s grown to love, she works to save and protect them, but she never anticipates falling in love with the wealthy knight who represents all she’s come to despise.

 

 

 

Plot ~ 5/5 Gripping, fast, and intense; not slow at all. I practically read this all in one day. 

Writing ~ 5/5 Powerful and moving– it will bring you to tears. We flip between the first person point of view of Collin and Juliana (the main characters) It’s not something done very often, but I love it. It’s intersecting and draws you into the story.

Characters ~ 5/5 Really authentic characters. Collin was my favorite (besides Derrick) in An Uncertain Choice. The banter and chemistry between him and Juliana is humorous and real. And something I can totally relate to since I have a family member who is just like him in that. Juliana’s exasperation with him? Oh, yeah. I totally understood her and could sympathize.

Bad language ~ None

Inappropriate Content ~ Nothing inappropriate as far as the romance goes. Medieval torture methods are mentioned, but there is not much description.

Find Jody Hedlund here.

Find A Daring Sacrifice here.

Book Reviews

Unblemished by Sara Ella Book Review

Unblemished is one of those books that I probably would have never bought had I not heard Nadine speak of it so highly. So I took a plunge and purchased the book off Amazon.  I am so glad I did. Unblemished is a fantasy, with a touch of fairy tale that you will fall in love with. I am eagerly awaiting book two, which releases in July.

 


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  From the back of the book:

Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her like he does: normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved.

But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird. Now Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.

Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself?

 

Characters:  Unblemished was full of characters to cry for and that your heart aches for. I connected with Eliyana on so many levels and I loved following her through the book and watching her struggles. Ky was an interesting character, one that left you second guessing. 

Plot: I finished Unblemished Wednesday night, and oh, the feels; my poor heart—I almost cried.  There is some romance, but it isn’t soap opera type. It adds conflict to the plot, but nothing that’s dramatic. It’s real and solid. Team Ky all the way!

Writing:  Beautifully written–couldn’t get enough of it.  I’m eagerly awaiting book two.  Sara Ella’s writing is pure poetry.

Bad Language: Only some made up words for that world. Nothing bad.

Inappropriate Content: Some people have the gift to change from a human to an animal; when they change back from being an animal, they don’t have clothes on.

Over-all-rating 4.5/5  I will say that I did get confused sometimes about the Void and the Verity, and with all the characters and how they were all connected. I still feel slightly confused, but since it’s a trilogy, that may be the point. 😊 I think a second read will cement some important facts in my brain that I didn’t catch last time.

You can find Sara Ella here.

Find Unblemished here.

Author Interview, Blog Tours and Giveaways, Book Reviews

The Lost Girl of Astor Street Clue Hunt: Clue 13

Who can’t resist a good mystery? My mystery reading has been limited to Encyclopedia Brown when I was young, and now Agatha Christie, so when I signed up for an ARC of The Lost Girl of Astor Street, I was super excited.

This wasn’t an ordinary mystery. The story was set in 1920’s Chicago, a culture I was studying at the time (for the American History 2 CLEP test). I recognized things that I had learned, and at the same time, what was happening in the rest of the world was flying through my brain.

For the release, I am participating in a Clue Hunt. For details, visit Stephanie’s blog.

 

“It should concern you that Al Capone is our measuring stick.”

-Detective Cassano, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, by Stephanie Morrill

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From the back of the book:

When her best friend vanishes without so much as a good-bye, eighteen-year-old Piper Sail takes on the role of amateur sleuth in an attempt to solve the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance. Given that Piper’s tendency has always been to butt heads with high-society’s expectations of her, it’s no surprise that she doesn’t give a second thought to searching for answers to Lydia’s abduction from their privileged neighborhood.

As Piper discovers that those answers might stem from the corruption strangling 1924 Chicago—and quite possibly lead back to the doors of her affluent neighborhood—she must decide how deep she’s willing to dig, how much she should reveal, and if she’s willing to risk her life of privilege for the sake of the truth.

Perfect for fans of Libba Bray and Anna Godbersen, Stephanie Morrill’s atmospheric jazz-age mystery will take readers from the glitzy homes of the elite to the dark underbelly of 1920s Chicago.

I received a free copy of The Lost Girl of Astor Street via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 ~ Review ~

Characters: Good strong characters that I related to and enjoyed. I seriously loved Piper, who remained me of myself sometimes.

Plot: Fast paced and gripping, I read this book in two days, I just couldn’t put it down. I didn’t cry, but I came close to it once or twice.

Writing: The writing was beautiful. I loved it. I don’t know if melt is a good word, but it melted me. Stephanie has an amazing talent, and I hope we see more of Piper.

Bad Language: None

Inappropriate Content: A married man has a girlfriend; Piper goes to a speakeasy.

Over-all-rating: 5/5  I loved this book. Really, really loved it. Go buy yourself a copy of it here:

~ Interview ~

When did you first realize that you loved writing? I’ve wanted to be a writer since first grade. My elementary school encouraged writing time and we had freedom to write whatever kind of stories we desired. Then a parent volunteer would type our stories up for us, and we could pick the color for our cover and the binding. At the end we were supposed to illustrate it (I was awful) and then read it to the class. I loved it so much, and after that I always wanted to tell stories for a living.

When were you first published? My first book was Me, Just Different, which was the first in a contemporary YA series called The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt. It released in 2009, and then two more followed it. I have two other contemporary YA titles, the Ellie Sweet books, that came out in 2013. The Lost Girl of Astor Street is my first historical mystery.

Do you write by hand or on the computer? I write on the computer, unless I’m brainstorming. Then I find that nothing works as well as a notepad and pen.

Is your writing inspired by other authors? I’m sure every story I’ve ever enjoyed (or not enjoyed!) has found its way into my writing style in some sense, but there’s no one specific who I try to sound like.

Where did you first come up with the idea of The Lost Girl of Astor Street and what motivated and inspired you?  My initial idea for The Lost Girl of Astor Street came while I was putting away laundry, of all things. My mind was wandering (as it often does during chores), and I started thinking about different stories I like. I thought about Veronica Mars for a while, and then something triggered a thought about Downton Abbey, and I thought, “I wish there was something out there that was like Veronica Mars but in a Downton Abbey kind of setting. Oh, maybe I could do that!”

How long did it take you to write The Lost Girl of Astor Street?   After I spent about a month doing research, my first draft took me about three months. And then my edits seemed to take forever. I spent about a year trying to turn my lousy first draft into a book that I wanted to read. I had never written a historical or a mystery, so I had a lot to learn!

Do you have a favorite character? What is it that you like most about him/her?   It’s probably a bit silly to pick Piper as my favorite character, but I loved writing her. The way she saw the world was really interesting and enjoyable for me to write.

I just love author’s inspiration boards on Pinterest. Check out Stephanie’s here and here.

You can also find out more about Stephanie Morrill at her website, http://www.stephaniemorrill.com/

And if any on my lucky readers are near Gardner or Overland Park, Kansas, Stephanie will be there for book signings! 

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Clue 13: own

Links to the rest of the clues:

Clue 1: Stephanie’s Morrill’s Blog
Clue 2: Some Books Are
Clue 3: Gabriella Slade
Clue 4: Page by Page, Book by Book
Clue 5: Pens and Scrolls
Clue 6: Singing Librarian Books
Clue 7: Heather Manning
Clue 8: Annie Louise Twitchell
Clue 9: Noveling Novelties
Clue 10: Kaitee Hart
Clue 11: Classics and Craziness
Clue 12: Zerina Blossom
Clue 13: Rebecca Morgan
Clue 14: Keturah’s Korner
Clue 15: That Book Gal
Clue 16: Anna Schaeffer
Clue 17: Hadley Grace
Clue 18: Lydia Howe
Clue 19: Ramblings by Bethany
Clue 20: Matilda Sjöholm
Clue 21: Lydia Carns
Clue 22: Broken Birdsong
Clue 23 & Clue 24: The Ink Loft
Clue 25: Roseanna M. White