Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Avenged by Amy Tintera (Ruined Series - Bk 2)

By Amy Tintera
416 Pages
Publisher: Harper Teen

Plot: Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister, Olivia, from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory. But their fight has only begun. Olivia is determined to destroy everyone who acts against Ruina. Em isn’t as sure. Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. And now that Cas has taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.

Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, Em faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty. (2017, Amazon.com)

Review: Avenged continues right where book 1 left off and is full of action, drama, and romance! Em has her sister Olivia back, but she is full of rage and revenge. She is consumed by it and it makes it even harder for Em and Cas to even talk to each other.   And even though Cas has promised not to hunt her people, there are other enemies that threaten Em and Ruina's future. Book 2 has more romance between Em and Cas now that there are no more secrets between them.  But, even so they know they can't be together because their people still hate each other.  As Olivia's resolve for revenge becomes more intense, Em is caught between her people and the man she can't stop loving.  Can't wait for book 3!  Recommend for ages 15 and up!

*A DRC was given for an honest review.

            4 Hearts!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Bound To You By Alyssa Brandon

Bound To You
by Alyssa Brandon
288 Pages
Publisher: Swoon Reads

Plot: She's met her mate . . . and he's met his match.
Megan Ross has been waiting her whole life for her mate to come and sweep her off her feet. But the wolf she meets on the beach is NOT the sweet gentle boy she's been dreaming of. Instead, he's a warrior, one whose suffering has led him to lock his heart away in a prison as cold and hard as a diamond, who fights to resist the bond and their deep sexual attraction.
Far from home, with a soulmate who is still a stranger, Megan learns that the path to true love isn't quite as straight and easy as she thought . . . (2017, Amazon.com)

Review:  It's been a long time since I've read a werewolf romance book, but this caught my attention because it didn't seem like the ones I've read in the past.  Which is good - I wanted something different.  Being the daughter of an Alpha pack leader, Megan is given a party in hopes that she will find her "mate."  But, this werewolf story is not the happily ever after Megan was hoping for when she finds her mate in a Warrior Alpha named James.  When James realizes he and Megan are "True Mates," he practically wants to run away.  He loathes the idea of not being in control of his emotions (and life), and having Megan follow him around like a lost were-pup (so to speak), makes it even worse.  Megan doesn't understand why James is so distant, but she is determined to give their relationship a chance - even if James doesn't want to. 

The story is mainly centered on the relationship dynamics between Megan and James, which is fine if you purely want a romance story.  However, there is a part of the story line that was a bit confusing to me.  The enemy of the werewolves are these creepy creatures called Wraiths.  They apparently feed on people and werewolves, but only come out in the city and at night.  This is fine, but there was no background or solutions of any kind at the end regarding this threat.  They fought them and that was it.  There was no plot regarding these beings.  So, recommended if you like a werewolf romance that is not an obsessive love story, but an actual growth towards developing feelings.  So, more authentic then your average romance in this genre. 

*Received a DRC for an honest review.

Rating: πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–
            3 Hearts!

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen
by Roshani Chokshi
368 Pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Plot: Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...

But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself. (2017, Amazon.com)

Review:  I actually read A Crown of Wishes several months ago, which is the sequel to this series, and was just awed at such great storytelling. (See archives for review).  You don't have to read the books in order; however, I would recommend it since the main characters who appear in the second book are from the first.  Needless to say, I couldn't wait to read The Star-Touched Queen!  Ms. Chokshi does not disappoint in this book either.   Her writing is so poetic and the story so beautifully written you really can't put it down. 

Indian mythology is central to the characters and world building, which makes it a very interesting read!  In the beginning you don't know anything about Maya other than she is disliked very much because of her horoscope.  As rebellion threatens her father's kingdom, she ends up marrying Amar, who is the Raja of a kingdom she has never heard of.  But, the more she learns about Amar and her new home, the more she questions everything about herself and her past.  Chokshi does an excellent job with the delicate romance between Maya and Amar, and the complexity of their unique world.  Perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and The Wrath and the Dawn.  Recommended for ages 16 and up!  

Rating:  πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–
               5 Hearts!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Start Your Own Etsy Business by Entrepreneur Media

Start Your Own Etsy Business:
Handmade Goods, Crafts, Jewelry, and More
by The Staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. 
& Jason R. Rich
180 Pages
Published by Entrepreneur Press

Review: Sold how-to book if you want to start your own Etsy online shop!  Great resource if you make your own items and crafts and want to find an online platform besides Ebay or Amazon to sell them.  Lots of info and tips from set-up to marketing.  This book even talks about business plans, branding, Tax ID's, price points, your target audience and much, much, more!  If you are serious about starting your own Etsy shop, or maybe you started one but need some help, then this is a must have guide for you!  I definitely recommend this book in print.

*A DRC was given for an honest review.

Rating: πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Non-Fiction Review: I Should Be Writing by Mur Lafferty

I Should Be Writing: A Writer's Workshop
by Mur Lafferty
160 Pages
Publisher: Rock Point

Review:  I think the best thing about Lafferty's book is that it has all the advice you need in one place.  You probably heard some or maybe even all the advice in this book at some point in your life, but Lafferty has a way of delivering it that really hits home and make you stop and think.  I especially like the chapter where she talks about writers who want to write but just feel like they don't have the time.  As an aspiring writer myself, I found this chapter especially sobering because I make this excuse all the time.  She points out that if you have time to text, watch TV, play games on your phone, etc...you have time to write.  Lafferty also goes beyond motivation to talk about characters, plot, setting,  how to edit, and different publishing methods.  Filled with tons of motivation and practical advice about getting started as a writer or pushing through to the finish line, you will not be disappointed!

*A DRC was given for an honest review.  

Rating: πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Thursday, October 19, 2017

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

An Enchantment of Ravens 
by Margaret Rogerson
304 Pages
Published by 
Margaret K. McElderry Books

Summary: A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel. 

(2017, Amazon.com)

Review:  Enchantment of Ravens was enchanting to read! Isobel is a very talented human whom the Fae seek for her work as a portrait artist.  But, Isobel's Craft is a blessing and curse.  She unknowingly paints the weakness of human sorrow in the Autumn prince's eyes and it brings her into more danger than she could possibly understand.  But, Rook's resolve to bring Isobel to justice becomes even more complicated as his feelings for her deepen.  Isobel does not fair any better - she too has fallen for the mysterious yet kind fairy prince.  But, the Fae and humans are forbidden to fall in love.  Isobel and Rook have an impossible task ahead of them.  The only way out is for Isobel to become Fae.  But, by doing so she loses her human self and the skill of her Craft that defines her very soul.  Isobel and Rook have a sweet, clean romance throughout the book.  However, I did feel that Rook was a little childish as times, and for being so old he wasn't too familiar with common human customs. But, even so I really enjoyed it!  Filled with suspense, action, romance, and of course fairy intrigue -  you will love this book!  Seems to be a stand alone novel.  Recommended for ages 14 and up!

*A DRC was given for an honest review.

Rating: πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–
             4 Hearts!

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

by S. Jae-Jones
448 pages
Publisher: A Thomas Dunne book 
for St. Martin's Griffin

Summary: All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.
But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds―and the mysterious man who rules it―she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.  (2017, Amazon.com)

Review: Wintersong was a dark romance where a young girl named Liesl longs to be recognized by her musical talents and desired by her best friend Hans. But her younger brother is the one who is praised for his music and her sister is the beautiful one engaged to Hans.  Feeling as though no one appreciates her, it isn't a surprise when Liesl is drawn to the mysterious, yet familiar man who she knows to be the Goblin King.  She's heard of him before - the ancient one her grandmother use to tell her stories about as a child. But the Goblin King is more than what he seems, and Liesl must play the king's game in order to save her sister from becoming the next Goblin Queen.  But Liesl doesn't have much time, and if she doesn't figure out what the Goblin King really wants and beat him at his own game, she will fail to save her sister and be doomed to live in the Underworld until she withers away.  I really enjoyed the story and the complicated Underworld of the Goblin King.  You really feel for Liesl and the situation she is in.  Jae-Jones does a great job of creating a lot of emotion and drama!  Can't wait for book 2 - Shadowsong coming Feb. 6, 2018!

*A DRC was given for an honest review.

Rating: πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Manga Review: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Manga Classics:
The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas
Adapted by: Crystal S. Chan
404 Pages
Published by UDON Entertainment

Summary: On the very day of his wedding to the beautiful Mercedes, a young merchant sailor named Edmond DantΓ¨s is falsely imprisoned for life, laying to waste his plans of marriage and hard-earned fortune. Following several long years in prison he has managed to escape and reinvent himself as the mysterious Count of Monte Christo. It is the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Count has been plotting his revenge on the three men who had him falsely imprisoned. With a new identity, an incredible education abroad and a vast fortune, has returned completely unrecognizable to those who had committed their crimes against him. (2017, Amazon.com)

Review: Manga Classics has another great addition to their "Classics" series.  Here we have an adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.  I have only seen the movie, so I cannot compare the manga adaptation to Dumas' novel.  However, I have read other adaptations in the Manga Classics series (such as manga adaptations by Jane Austen), and I find them to be very accurate in the story line and characters.  So, although the movie and this manga adaptation are not very similar, I can safely assume that this manga follows closely to the actual novel.   Absolutely beautiful pictures done by Crystal Chan.  You won't be disappointed!  Recommended for ages 12 and up!

*DRC was given for an honest review.

Rating: πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–
             4 Hearts!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Non-Fiction Review: Kawaii Doodle Class by Zainab Khan

Kawaii Doodle Class
by Zainab Khan
144 Pages
Race Point Publishing

Review:  A fun and adorable book on how to draw 75 super cute characters. From food to animals to everyday items, Khan shows readers how to create these characters with step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow.  This drawing book not only shows you how to copy Khan's creations, but gives you plenty of ideas in how to create your own.  After you read this book and apply the technique's, you will be well on your way to creating your own "kawaii" characters!  Perfect for readers and artists of all ages! 

*A DRC was given for an honest review.

Rating: πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Non-Fiction Review: 3D Printing Projects by DK Publishing

3D Printing Projects
by DK Publishing

Review:  3D Printing Projects is a great resource for public/school libraries and classrooms to create either easy or complex 3D printing projects with students.  You can print everything from toys to stamps to even phone stands!  There are also techniques on smoothing and painting your 3D projects after your print them.  Students will be excited to create their own designs as well! Some of my favorites were the animal phone stands, the treasure box, and the desk caddy! Great reference book for Makerspace projects and the STEAM initiative.

*DRC was given for an honest review.

Rating: πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Flame in the Mist
by Renee Ahdieh
393 Pages
Published by G.P. Putman's Sons Books
for Young Readers

Plot: Mariko Hattori is the only daughter of a powerful Samurai leader, and like most young women in feudal Japan she knows her duty.  Against her will, Mariko is engaged to Prince Raiden in a political marriage that will bring honor and more power to her family.  Reluctantly, Mariko agrees to travel to the Emperor's palace where her new life will begin.  But on her journey, Mariko's carriage is attacked and everyone accompanying her is murdered.  Barely escaping, Mariko is convinced that the Black Clan, a ruthless ninja gang, is responsible.  So, instead of finding her way home, she cuts her hair and takes on the persona of a young boy looking to join their ranks.  Once she has infiltrated the clan, Mariko learns more than she bargained for and it makes her question everything she knew about her family and what the Black Clan actually fights for.  To make maters even more complicated, she finds herself falling for one of the clan's most skilled fighters, Okani.  But, the Black Clan's leader and his best fighter are keeping secrets of their own, and it's up to Mariko to find out the truth before she is discovered.  

Review:  Flame in the Mist was so much fun to read from start to finish. I couldn't wait to read this book and it certainly exceeded my expectations.  Set in Feudal Japan, Mariko is the beautiful yet cunning daughter of a powerful samurai lord.  When her carriage is attacked on her way to the Emperor's palace, Mariko wants answers more than she wants to go home.  She disguises herself as a boy and infiltrates the notorious gang of ninja rebels called the Black Clan. Knowing they will kill her if they find out she is a spy, Mariko tries her best to make the Clan's leader to trust her. But, the clan's best fighter, Okani, makes it clear that he doesn't trust her and there is something not quite right.  With her military brother looking for her, Mariko knows her time is short.  But as Mariko spends more and more time with the members of the Black Clan, the more she questions who they really are and what they stand for.  Loved the story and plot twists.  I don't want to reveal too much or what happens - no spoilers here!  Absolutely can not wait for book 2! Recommended for ages 14 and up!

Rating: 5 πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Hiding In Light by Rifqa Bary

Hiding in the Light
by Rifqa Bary
242 pages
Published by Waterbrook

Review: Hiding in the Light is the true story of Rifqa Bary.  Born and raised a Muslim, Rifqa felt there was more to life then being treated unfairly by her family and memorizing prayers of her religion in a language she didn't even understand.  After years of abuse, Rifqa was depressed and ready to give up.  Crying out to God, she asked for answers and for Him to reveal himself or she was ready to end it all.  Rifqa's prayer was answered and found Jesus.  However, her new found love and faith was strictly forbidden by her family and Muslim community.  Even though she tried to keep her conversion a secret, she was eventually found out and confronted by her father.  Fearing for her life, Rifqa sought refuge with Christian friends and connections and ran away from home at 16.  After her decision to leave her family, Rifqa's life was changed forever.  Through legal battles and threats to her life, Rifqa's journey was not an easy one.  But, by faith Rifqa knew the Lord was with her and would keep her safe.  Her story is one of extreme courage, faith, and an inspiration for all.  I was blown away by Rifqa's story and if there is one book you should read this year, it's this one!   

*Received a DRC by publisher for an honest review.

Rating: πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Monday, August 21, 2017

Frost Blood by Elly Blake

by Elly Blake
400 pages
Published by Little, Brown Books

Plot:  Desperate to avenge her mother's murder, seventeen-year-old Fireblood Ruby agrees to join a group of rebel Frostbloods on their mission to kill the Frost King.  But the Frostblood monks and their mysterious leader, Arcus, have a secret - and Ruby is not sure who to trust.  With time running out, Ruby is reluctantly trained by the insufferable Arcus and soon the enemy lines of flame and frost begin to blur.  But, before Ruby can complete her training she is captured by Frost King soldiers and forced to compete in a gladiator style arena against Frostblood champions.  Having caught the attention of the King, Ruby finally has a chance to destroy the tyrannical rule of the Frost King once and for all.  But the power of the throne has it's own secrets and she may not be strong enough to fight the darkness.

Review:  Frostblood by Elly Blake was a great fantasy read!  Ruby is a Fireblood and has the ability to create and wield fire at will.  Most of her kind have been hunted and killed by the Frost King.  When Ruby and her mother are found, her mother is killed while trying to protect her.  This leads Ruby on a path of revenge as she eventually joins a group of rebel Frostbloods living in an Abby.   Ruby is cared for and knows she is being used as a weapon to kill the Frost King.  But, a mysterious nobleman named Arcus is living with the monks and he agrees to help her train.  But Frost and Fire are not friends - at least not a first.  Slowly, their relationship begins to grow.  But, before they can fully embrace these new feelings, Ruby is taken away by Frost Blood soldiers and the Frost King forces her to fight Frostblood champions in an arena.  But something dark is helping Ruby and losing herself to it may be the only way to save the kingdom.  I really enjoyed Frostblood and can't wait to read Fireblood next! Elly Blake did a great job of slowly building the relationship of Arcus and Ruby.  Lots of suspense and you really can't stop reading once Ruby gets captured and sent to the arena!  If you are looking for a new fantasy series with some romance than I recommend starting the Frostblood saga. For ages 14 and up!

*Recieved a DRC from the publisher for an honest review.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Non-Fiction Review: Just For Fun Drawing by Lise Herzog

Just for Fun Drawing:  
More than 100 fun and simple step-by-step projects
for learning the art of basic drawing
by Lise Herzog
160 pages
Published by Walter Foster Publishing

Review: Just for Fun Drawing by Lise Herzog is part of the Just for Fun series, and is a great how-to book for aspiring artists or any beginner wanting to learn how to draw.  Most of the book focuses on animals, but there are also sections on how to draw nature and people.  At the beginning of the book, Herzog discusses the different materials and tools to use for drawing -which I found very helpful.  The instructions were easy to follow and short, which is perfect for young kids and beginners.  Overall, a great resource for kids and adults who are either just learning to draw or would like to improve their skill.  Recommended for ages 5 and up!

*Received a DRC for an honest review.

Rating: πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Non-Fiction Review: Writing Radar by Jack Gantos

Writng Radar
By Jack Gantos
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

 224 Pages
(Available August 29, 2017)

Review: As a writing professor and published author of over 50 books, bestselling author Jack Gantos knows what he's talking about when it come to writing.  In this newest book, Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories, Gantos really gives valuable information on the best way to use a journal to find and  keep track of all the quirky, weird, and wonderful events of daily life.  While geared towards young children to teens, Writing Radar can be adaptable for adult writers too!  With lots of examples, stories from his own personal writing journey, and a breakdown of the writing process in a simplistic way, Writing Radar is an essential guide for any aspiring writer.  Recommended for grades 4 and up!

*Received a DRC for an honest review.

Hearts: πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Friday, June 23, 2017

Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (Star-Touched Queen Series - Bk 2)

Crown of Wishes
by Roshani Chokshi
367 pages
Published by St. Martin's Griffin

Plot: After Guari, the princess of Bharata, is betrayed by her own brother, she is banished to Ujijain where she is a held prisoner and sentenced to death.  Refusing to give up, Guari accepts the offer of Prince Vikram of Ujijain to be his partner in the mysterious and magical Tournament of Wishes.  If Guari and Vikram win, they will each be granted a wish, which is what Guari desperately needs in order to save her kingdom from her brother and ensure the safety of her best friend Nalini.  She'll do whatever it takes, even it means working with the enemy.  But the trials of the Tournament of Wishes starts as soon as you accept the invitation, and at every turn Guari and Vikram are constantly challenged and running for their lives.  But obtaining victory in the tournament is nothing compared to the growing feelings they start to feel for each other.  And to Guari, that is more dangerous than anything she's ever faced before. With the unpredictable Lord of Treasures not guaranteeing that both of them will be able to leave after the tournament is over, Guari and Vikram come up with a backup plan.  But, taking the Serpent King's venom is not without it's consequences, and you can't win a wish if you are dead.

Review: Crown of Wishes has everything you could want in a story.  Suspense, action, romance, and absolutely gorgeous storytelling.  I am in awe of Roshani Chokshi.  Her writing is like poetry and you can't help but think what an amazing writer she is!  I loved the story, loved the characters, and just pretty much loved everything about this book.  It is actually book 2, in the Star-Touched series.  Book 1 is the Star-Touched Queen, which I must admit I have not read yet! But, I do have it now and will be reading it soon! I received a drc of Crown of Wishes and so I read it first.  You do not have to read them in order.  Each book is it's own story.  I loved the gradual romance between Guari and Vikram.  Both are strong characters with a lot of depth to them.  You can't help but love Guari's resilience and Vikram's charm.  Clean Y.A. Romance/Fantasy and recommended for ages 14 and up!

*Received a DRC for an honest review.

Rating:  πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan

Rise of Fire
by Sophie Jordan
294 pages
Published by Harper Teen

Plot: After Fowler is taken by the Dwellers, Luna goes down in the underground after him and what she finds is even more terrifying than anything she's ever heard before. Eager to save Fowler and escape back to the world above, Luna rescues Fowler, but he is gravely injured by Dweller poison.  Luna is sure she has lost Fowler forever.  Desperate to save him, Luna agrees to have Fowler taken to a neighboring kingdom for help. But, when Fowler and Luna's true identities are discovered by King Tebald of Lagonia, the calculating king has plans of his own.  Soon, Prince Fowler is required to complete his previous marriage betrothal to the King's daughter, Princess Maris. While, Luna is forced into an engagement with the King's only son, Prince Chasen.  Either way, King Tebald is determined to secure the uniting of Relhok and Legonia.  But Luna and Fowler have no plans to be apart of either of these weddings and must find a way to escape.  But, with enemies around every corner and Fowler's father, King Cullen, seeing Luna as a threat to his throne, leaving the protection of Lagonia is just as dangerous. Refusing to be pawns in the game of kings, Fowler and Luna are determined to make their own future no matter the cost. 

Review: Rise of Fire is the sequel to Reign of Shadows (review posted August 2016).  There is an epilogue at the end of this book, so it leads me to believe that this is a two-book series.  Reign of Shadows leaves with you a bit of a cliff hanger at the end, but I'm happy to say this book picks up right where the first book left off.  Great storytelling, although there are some questions left unanswered.  You never know why the eclipse happened or if/how it will ever stop.

Most of the story takes place in Lagonia and the threat to Fowler and Luna are no longer the Dwellers, but King Tebald and his political agenda.  He wants to secure his ties to Relhok to strengthen his throne and he figures that if both his children marry the true heir (Luna), or the current heir (Fowler), then he is set either way.  Lots of action, drama, romance and suspense!  I'm not sure what I would call this - a Y.A. romance/horror genre? The story continues with the POV of Fowler and Luna in first person, which I really enjoyed.  The ending felt a tiny bit rushed, but overall a great story.  If you liked/loved Reign of Shadows than you will not be disappointed with Rise of Fire. Clean romance. Recommended for 14 and up!

Rating: 4.5 Hearts!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Fate of Flames 
by Sarah Raughley
368 pages
Published by Simon Pulse

Plot: Sixteen-year old Maia Finley lives in a world where Phantom monsters terrorize humanity.  Thankfully, the world’s answer to this threat are the Effigies.  Four girls who are able to control the four elements - water, fire, wind, and earth.  Only four can be alive at any given time, so when one dies, another Effigy is chosen.  By what, Maia doesn’t know, but that still doesn’t stop ‘it’ from choosing her as the next Effigy of fire.  Maia grew up idolizing Effigies along with her twin sister June.  But, it wasn’t until she becomes one that she realizes it’s not all it’s been hyped up to be.  Soon, Maia is thrust into a world of monsters, conspiracies, and mortal danger.  She may be an Effigy, but unless she learns how to wield her power, she isn’t going to survive very long. With the help of the other Effigies, albeit reluctantly, and a sect agent names Rhys, Maia is somewhat able to adjust to her new life.  But, when a terrorist named Saul is discovered to be able to control the phantoms, everything anyone thought they knew about phantoms and Effigies is shattered.  It’s up to Maia and the other Effigies to stop Saul before he uses the phantoms to kill again.

Review: Fate of Flames was definitely action packed and fun to read.  The concept of the Effigies and their ability to control the four elements was pretty interesting. Maia’s character is very relatable and down to earth, but her character really doesn't change much towards the end.  She doesn't overcome the emotional anxiety she gets when she thinks about her family (who were killed in a house fire), nor does she really become any stronger or braver throughout the story.   This causes her to be sort of useless throughout the majority of the book when fighting the phantoms. 

It seems like this story was more a set-up for the next book in the series, since the backstory is weaved throughout the book - revealing a little more all the way to the end.  And, even at that there are still some questions left unanswered that should have been answered in the first book - like the origins of the phantoms and Effigies. The other Effigies (Belle, Chae Rin, and Lake) are diverse and have distinct personalities of their own, and Raughley does a good job in showing how different they are compared to the other.  Raughley also did a great job in humanizing these girls even though they have super powers.  Their emotions and actions really do show how a normal girl- turned superhero would react to her new life and duty to fight dangerous creatures. They each have their flaws and it’s what makes them so interesting to read about - even if they can be a little frustrating, annoying, or pitiful.  But, that's their character! They are suppose to make you feel that way.  Hopefully these characters can show "why" they were chosen to be Effigies in the next book.

If you are looking for a Fantasy/Romance, then this book is really not for you.  There is a light romance between Maia and agent Rhys, but you probably won’t see that develop into anything more until the next book.  The focus really is on the four girls and the relationship they have with each other and trying to work together as a team.  I’m not a big fan of cursing in dialogue, but I understand it’s used for that emotional punch.  But, I especially don’t like it when “Jesus” or “Christ” is used as a curse word.  I think there are plenty of curse words that could be used instead and still get the emotion across. That was something that offended/bothered me that happened more than once.  Overall, it was a fun and interesting story to read.  Recommended If you like Fantasy or manga/anime such as Sailor Moon that’s a little more dark.   For ages 14+up

*Recieved a DRC for an honest review.

Book 2 - Siege of Shadows to be released November 2017

Rating: 3.5 Hearts

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

The Book Jumper
by Mechthild Glaser
Published by Feiwel & Friends
371 Pages

Plot: When Amy Lennox visits her grandmother on an old ancestral estate in Scotland, she finds out that she is a Book Jumper - just like her mother.  And she is not the only one.  Betsy and Will are book jumpers that live on the island of Stormsay too.  And just like their ancestors, they have been helping to keep the book world safe for years. So, when a classic book character is murdered and ‘fundamental ideas’ start missing from some of Amy’s beloved books, it’s up to her and Will to find and stop the person responsible before the book worlds are destroyed forever.  

Review:  Let me start off by saying that this hardback cover edition is just beautiful. That was the first thing that caught my attention, and then of course the title!  I think I had different expectations for this book when I first started reading.  I originally thought it was more of a romance, but that really didn’t start until the latter end of the book.  So, for me It was a little slow to start and I found myself speed reading through several parts of the book. I think it was a good story overall, but I would have been more intrigued if Amy had jumped into more interesting books.  I was disappointed when the first books Amy jumped into were The Jungle Book and Oliver Twist. I was thinking a teenage girl would probably be jumping into fairy tales.  Or, at least I was kind of hoping she would.  She did jump into Pride and Prejudice, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz, which are much more interesting in my opinion -but her visits seemed brief. The story line did pick up towards the end as Amy and Will find out more in their quest to catch the thief.  Great plot twist towards the end which had me glued to the book until I finished.  So, overall it was a good read if you are not looking for a heavy romance themed story, but love a good mystery and enjoy classic literature. Recommended for ages 13 and up.

*Recieved a DRC for an honest review.
Rating: 3.5 Hearts!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

The Falconer
by Elizabeth May
392 pages
Published by Chronicle Books

Plot: In 1844, young Scottish aristocrat Aileana Kameron has everything she could possibly need - beauty, wealth, and a large dowry.  Unfortunately, all she wants to do is hunt and kill fairies.  With the help of a powerful fae named Kiaran, Aileana has spent the last year training in order to become strong enough to kill the fairy who murdered her mother when she was a child.  But, when Aileana finds out she is a Falconer, a line of female warriors with the ability to kill fairies, she soon becomes the only person in the world who can stop the fairies from destroying everything and everyone she loves.

Review: The cover of this book really drew me in to find out more.  Once I did and began reading, I couldn't put it down!  I loved the mix of steampunk in this story - as Aileana is an inventor and makes all types of weapons.  She also made some kind of flying vehicle which was a bit of a stretch for me to believe.  There wasn't much in regards to her Scottish heritage, nor was there much history mentioned.  However, that didn't matter to me as much as the story and how it progressed with the plot and the character relationships.  Which I enjoyed very much!

Strangely enough, my favorite character was Aileana's pixie named Derrick. Funny little thing! Aileana and Kiaran are both complex characters with their own imperfections, but we don't get to know too much about Kiaran other than he's a powerful Fae who managed to not get trapped in an underground prison like the rest of the fairies during an ancient war.  Also, we learn he used to be pretty evil until he fell in love with a Falconer a long time ago.  So, can't wait to learn more about this character!

My only frustration with this story was the abrupt ending.  Although the story itself doesn't end with book 1, finishing with a cliffhanger was a little disappointing.  I would have liked some closure even though there is a second book. I do plan to read book 2 though, so I am really looking forward to that!  Recommended for ages 14 and up!

*Recieved a DRC for an honest review.
Rating: 4 Hearts!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

The Lovely Reckless 
by Kami Garica
384 pages
Published by Imprint

Plot: After witnessing the brutal death of her boyfriend, seventeen year old Frankie Devereux's whole life changes.  She is no longer the girl she used to be and her new reckless attitude sends her from a privileged lifestyle in the Heights to a school on the bad side of town called the Downs. There she meets Marco Leone.  At first she's absolutely sure she wants nothing to do with Marco or his bad boy persona.  But, charismatic and sexy Marco isn't hard to ignore, especially when he doesn't ignore you.  But Frankie's growing feelings for Marco comes with dangerous, and possibly deadly price.

Review:  I've been waiting to read The Lovely Reckless for months! So glad I was able to pick up a copy from my local library!  This one is going to be a keeper and I'm going to buy my own copy.  I love way Garcia develops the relationships between all the characters in the story, not just Frankie and Marco. I especially liked Cruz, who is the epitome of a tough Latina teenager with heart. What I also loved about this story is that isn't just about two teens from different backgrounds falling in love.  There are some serious issues that come between Frankie and Marco, especially since Frankie's father is an undercover cop and Marco participates in illegal street racing.  To make matters worse, Marco has a secret that not only puts him in danger, but Frankie as well. On top of all this drama, Frankie suffers from PTSD after witnessing her former boyfriend's murder and has horrible flashbacks.  The result is a fast-paced, hard to put down, read in one night, star-crossed romance that shows what family, friendship, and forgiveness are all about.  Recommended for ages 17 and up due to language and sexual references.

Rating: 4.5 hearts!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Disney's Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Tale and The Beast's Tale

Belle's Tale and The Beast's Tale
 Adapted by Mallory Reeves
160 pages each
Published by TokyoPop

Review:  I decided to review Belle's Tale and The Beast's Tale together as it is basically the same story, just with different points of view in the separate volumes.  The story line is based on Disney's new live-action movie that was recently released in theaters. You really can't go wrong with TokyoPop.  Their art is beautiful!  Mallory Reeves does a great job in adapting this story in manga form.  If you enjoyed the movie, or if you just love Beauty and the Beast tales, you will not be disappointed with this version. If you saw the movie than there won't be anything new here. But, if you haven't then you will see some differences in the original Disney cartoon and this new 2016 version.  There is more backstory revealed for both Belle and The Beast. So, that was enlightening.  Reeves also gives us some insight as to what the characters are thinking during important parts of the story.  Overall, a great adaptation for Beauty and the Beast fans.

*Recieved a DRC for an honest review.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Manga Classics: Emma

Adapted by Stacy King
Art by Po Tse
308 pages
Udon Entertainment

Review: Jane Austen's Emma is one of my favorite stories, and reading the manga version by Stacy King and Po Ste was awesome!  Loved this adaptation!  Here we follow Emma Woodhouse and all her match-making schemes.  Filled with family dynamics, humor, friendships, and romance! You don't necessarily have to read the novel version first to enjoy the manga adaptation. This manga can be read on it's own as it follows the story-line, relationships, and plot pretty closely. Another favorite Austen classic of mine is Persuasion. I would love for King and Tse to create that story into a manga version. This is the last Austen adaptation in this manga series. I recommend this to anyone who loves Jane Austen and/or regency historical fiction romance.

*Recieved a DRC for an honest review.

Rating: πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’•

Friday, April 14, 2017

Manga Classics: Sense and Sensibility

Adapted by Stacy King
Art by Po Tse
308 pages
Udon Entertainment

Review: Another beautiful adaptation by Stacy King and Po Tse of the Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility. If you are looking for a manga version that is as close to the original novel as possible, then this is a must read.  It follows the story of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, as they navigate the complexity of English society and their ever evolving love lives.  All key points, plots, and relationships are included and wonderfully executed.  If you are new to manga, but love a good Austen classic (or regency period historical fiction), then you should give this manga and the other manga classics in this collection a try! 

*Recieved a DRC for an honest review.

Rating:  πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Heart Stone by Elle Katharine White

by Elle Katharine White
352 pages
Published by Harper Voyager

Review: I seem to be on some kind of Jane Austen kick as retellings and adaptations have been catching my attention lately.  If you love Pride and Prejudice then you will enjoy Heart Stone, since it has many similarities to Austen's classic in terms of names, relationships, and character personalities.  Aliza Bentaine and Alastair Daired don't really like each other at the beginning, but Aliza's sister and Daired's best friend are falling for each other from the start.  So, the main relationships are there, so it can be a little predictable in terms of that.  But, there are twists to this version, especially with the addition of dragons, dragon riders, hobgoblins, and trolls...just to name a few.  This retelling is heavy on the fantasy since even dragons talk and have a personality all their own.  If you've never read Pride and Prejudice, but enjoy a good fantasy, then you won't be disappointed. Although most of the story generally follows the P&P story line, it changes towards the end and you'll enjoy the exciting conclusion.

*Recieved a DRC for an honest review.
Rating: 3.5 Hearts!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice

Adapted by Stacy King
Art by Po Tse
377 pages
Udon Entertainment

Review: This Pride and Prejudice adaptation by Stacy King and Po Tse is perfect for all who love Jane Austen and Manga!  The dialogue and illustrations follow the story or Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy pretty closely and is great for any Austen fan, even if you don't normally read manga.  If you've never read manga before, this might just get you hooked!   I remember seeing this title at a local Barnes and Noble a while back, but I only got to scan through it.  I'm so glad I was able to get a copy and finally read it! The illustrations are beautifully done and the manga really captures the main parts of the story. 

Rating: 4 Hearts!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Room Love by Heather Wutschke

Room Love
by Heather Wutschke
Published by Capstone Young Readers
112 Pages

Review: Room Love by Heather Wutschke is such an adorable DIY book to make any young girls room from drab to fab! While some projects need parental supervision or permission, most are easy to do for any pre-teen to teen. This book is filled with great ideas that will not break the bank for the parents either! I just loved the stencil pattern ideas for plain wood doors and drawers!  With 50 projects to choose from, your teen will have plenty to do during her free time!  And friends or parents can have fun helping too! Filled with beautiful pictures and easy how-to instructions, Room Love will not disappoint!  Great for girls 10 and up!

*Recieved a DRC for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5 hearts!

Make Your Own Pure Mineral Makeup by Heather Anderson

Make Your Own Mineral Makeup
by Heather Anderson
Storey Publishing
256 pages

Review: This new book by Heather Anderson is a wonderful little gem that we should all have in own home libraries if you love mineral makeup.  Beautiful pictures with tons of useful information about identifying your own skin tone, undertone, etc..  You not only get recipes for your mineral makeup foundation, but also for your eyes and lips too!  You'll learn about ingredients, tools for use, and of course how to make pure mineral makeup that is good for your skin. Anderson also shows you how to get your color just right!  This book is like a manual, so make sure you take some time to read it through.  At first it seems a little complicated, but once your get the basics down and get all the right tools and ingredients together, you'll get the hang of it.

Rating: 5 Hearts!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Homegrown Pantry by Barbara Plesant

Homegrown Pantry
by Barbara Pleasant
Storey Publishing
328 pages

Review: Homegrown Pantry by Barbara Pleasant is a must buy for anyone who wants to start growing their own food at home and learn about food preservation.  This book is organized by chapter and is just filled with information on the different kinds of vegetables, fruits, and herbs that are perfect for your own home garden.  Ms. Pleasant also shows you how to dry, freeze, and can this produce for long lasting preservation and storage.  If you ever thought about starting or even learning more about home food growing, this is a perfect book for you! 

Rating: 5 hearts!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

A Torch Against the Night
(Book 2 in An Ember in the Ashes series)
by Sabaa Tahir
464 pages
Published by Razorbill

Plot: Elias and Laia are on the run and trying to reach Laia's brother in Kauf prison before it's too late.  He is the hope for the resistance and their only chance to bring down the Empire. However, now that Helene is Blood Shrike, she is ordered to hunt down Elias and bring him back to Marcus, the new Emperor.  With Elias being poisoned even before he and Laia escape into the desert, their plan is doomed right from the start.  Laia's only hope is to keep Elias alive long enough to rescue her brother; otherwise, all they have planned and risked will have been for nothing.

Review: This sequel to An Ember in the Ashes does not disappoint!  Before escaping into the desert, Elias is poisoned by the Commandant -which hinders their journey significantly. They have to take a dangerous detour to get some medicine that will help Elias stop passing out from the poison.  With Helene hot on their trail, their journey becomes more and more difficult and dangerous.  Laia and Keenan are later reunited and you get to see if their romance continues or fizzles out. All I will say is - I did not see that one coming!  You'll know what I mean after you read the book! No spoilers here!  Story is told in the POV of Elias, Laia, and Helene, which was a great way to see into the minds of each character and understand their own personal conflicts.  Some very interesting plot twists towards the end that will make you eager for the next book in the series.  Recommend for the Y.A. audience. A clean read other than an implied sexual encounter between two characters.  No graphic descriptions. 

Rating: 4.5 Hearts!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ready for 2017

Sorry for the short hiatus!  I have been super busy at work - the whole library at my school was tiled at the end of November and into December.  My assistant and I put the library back together and it took up a lot of my time. 

But, all is good now even though there is still much to weed and organize.  πŸ‘Š

I'm excited to restart my reading and just recently finished A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir! I will post my review soon! 😍 

I will also post my reading list so you know what reviews are on the way!