Book Reviews

Waterfall (River of Time #1) by Lisa Tawn Bergren

This was my second time reading Waterfall, but I still enjoyed every bit of it! 

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the decision that something is more important than fear.” 

The main character Gabriella was absolutely amazing. She was brave and intelligent and kind, but not perfect – I actually really enjoyed being inside her head and getting to know her. Bergren does an excellent job keeping things interesting and balancing between Gabi’s thoughts and actions. The love interest, Marcello, was definitely your chivalrous knight in shining armour. I did like him; although, I felt we didn’t get to know him super well. Also, their relationship wasn’t quite as developed as I would have liked. But, hey, there are two more books. So we have time for that.

Image result for waterfall river of time

“Sometimes the heart tells us to venture where the mind fears to tread.”

The setting was 14th-century Italy and Bergren made it feel quite authentic. It’s clear that she did her research. Her writing was also delightful. It was not flowery, but it was engaging. I felt drawn into the story from the very start and there was no point where I felt like skimming because I was getting bored.     

My greatest qualm, though, is the title. It’s beautiful and compelling, but while reading, I never made a connection. I get that the girls fell into a “river of time” and fell down a “waterfall” into the 14th century, but that was never brought up in the book. 

Lastly, this was a clean read.

“We all have freedom of choice. Over and over again, minute by minute. How will you live your life? For yourself? Or for others? For something good? For love?” 

I definitely recommend this book to those who love an adventure tinged history and romance.  

 

Book Reviews

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

“She walks with grace upon the clouds, and the stars know her by name.”

What a  stunning read! There were many things I expected and many did not come to pass. Which was wonderful. It just proved that this was not a novel I could predict and this made me enjoy it all the more.

Although some may say that the story began slowly, I found that this time which Brienna spent at the school, allowed for some wonderful world building and also allowed me to become well acquainted with Brienna. Who, by the way, was quite sweet and brave. She was so loyal as well – she risked her life for her country and for the people she cared about.

“There are many secret doors around us, in plain sight. We just don’t take the time to find and open them.”

The writing was lovely. It was colourful, but not in a pretentious way. It flowed naturally through the story and gave it a delightful flavour.

This was also a clean read. Which I honestly was not expecting, but it was a pleasant surprise. 38739550

But wait, I cannot go without vaguely mentioning the ending. I loved it! Not what I was expecting, but I’m glad it unfurled this way. Also, it ended with a neat closing. This could definitely be a stand-alone. Yet, there is a second book? I’m not convinced it’s necessary, so I suppose I will have to read it and find out.   

“Passion is wholehearted devotion; it is fervor and agony; it is temper and zeal.”

Ta ta for now!  

P.S. Aren’t they both beautiful covers?!? Simply gorgeous! ❤

 

 

Book Reviews

Traitor’s Masque by Kenley Davidson

34568425Last year, I read Shadow and Thorn by Kenley Davidson and I absolutely loved it! So when I found Book 1-3 of the Andari Chronicles on sale for ninety-nine cents, I swooped to pick them up.

This book is beautifully written. Davidson’s style is absolutely stunning and she uses a colorful vocabulary. It is not often that I read a book which strikes me like this one did; it left me wanting more. The pacing was fairly good as well, however, there was a lot of stuff in between. Often it was backstory or the character’s thought. Unfortunately, the large amount of this caused me, at times, to skim. As for the plot, I loved that Trystan’s role in her household was different than your typical Cinderella story; it gave this novel fresh taste to it.  

On a related note, the characters were charming. Trystan was smart; she thought through things instead of acting rashly. But she wasn’t perfect. She messed up, big time. Trystan’s banter with Ramsey was adorable and made me smile more than once. I just wish that there had been more development with their relationship. Up till about 85%, it felt like we were just skimming the surface and then all of a sudden they jumped in. Although he was a minor character, I loved Kyril. I hope he shows up again in a later book.36406189

Lastly, this reminded me of my own novel Ashes of Glass. It was really weird because this is the first time I’ve ever read this book, but there are a number of parallels.

Altogether, I definitely recommend this book. It is a beautifully written, captivating fairytale retelling.  Keep your eyes open for a review of book #2! 

34569607

Book Reviews

If I Live by Terri Blackstock

Image result for if i run terri blackstock

I read this book so fast I’m not even sure I’m qualified to write a review. But… I’m going to try anyway. Just let me catch my breath.

“This is all so tangled and so impossible, but God did the impossible tonight. He does it all the time. I’m so overcome by it that I can’t formulate an elaborate prayer. I simply whisper, “Thank you.”
― Terri Blackstock, If I Live

What a smashing ending to this series!

The plot of was gripping and fast-paced and I was completely engaged the entire time. Perhaps there could have been a little more development, but that might have dragged things out too long. The writing was similar – it was concise and said what needed to be said. I think this is a talent as much as elaborate, colourful writing is. It’s not easy to write such an impactful novel while keeping things simple.

I loved how realistic Casey’s character was. Over the series, she became stronger, but she also developed a weariness. It’s been weeks since she discovered Brent’s body and since that day, she’s been running for her life. She’s tired. Blackstock did a marvellous job with communicating these emotions. Again, Dylan was supportive and kind. What a sweetheart! However, in terms of the romance, things moved a little too quickly. No spoilers, though, so I’ll leave it at that.

Related image
Author Terri Blackstock

 

This was a clean read in terms of profanity and sex. But there was a lot of violence! At one point, I sat back and thought, “People are dropping like flies, no one’s going to be left at the end!” Thankfully, this wasn’t the case, but there was a significant number of murders.

Despite this, though, it was a well written, nail-biting, breath-stealing, ending to an amazing series. If you haven’t read it, I definitely recommend. If you have, what are your thoughts on the conclusion to If I Run?   

Image result for if i live terri black stock

Book Reviews

The Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown

 

WOW! Just WOW! I think this is my favorite book of 2018 so far! It was amazing, amazing, amazing.

Image result for gif amazing

Okaaay, sorry. I’ll get to the review.

Image result for the wendy erin michelle sky

I was captivated from the very beginning. The authors have a way of writing that enchants the readers and draws them into this colorful, exciting world. Their portrayal of the well-known characters from Peter Pan added to the charm one hundred fold. Wendy was fiery and independent and did not allow anyone to walk over her because she was a woman. Oh no, not Wendy. She showed them that she was not to be mistaken for a meek, powerless woman. Now Hook. What do I say? I don’t know, I loved and hated him at the same time. He was a bad guy, but there was another side to him too that I was not expecting to find. Finally, Peter. He was cocky and vain, but still had an air of innocence which made him totally loveable. Sometimes he annoyed me and sometimes I adored him.

As I already mentioned the writing was stellar! I felt like I was reading a classic novel. 🙂 The pacing was smooth and I was engaged the entire time. Honestly, I couldn’t tear myself away! It was also a clean read and I was actually surprised at the low content of romance. This doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any at all, but it didn’t take center stage. This was quite refreshing and the fact that Wendy didn’t need a man to save her, made me love her even more.

I highly recommend “The Wendy.” It is a must-read. I will certainly be keeping my eyes peeled for any news of a sequel.  

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?

Book Reviews

Shadow and Thorn by Kenley Davidson

34568425

I dove into this book not knowing what to expect, but it didn’t take long before I was wholly and utterly captivated. The first thing that caught me was the writing. To me, it had a certain grace about it which danced with elegant steps across the pages. And it took me by surprise, I had not anticipated such charm when first I turned to “Chapter 1.”

To put it bluntly, the characters were amazing! I think Zara has slipped into my top ten list of female heroines. She was strong and witty and smart enough not to fall for Rowan’s silky charade. Alexei was rather bitter at first, but as the book progressed, his faults allowed for some lovely character growth.

Now, this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast; however, it is twisted in many very appealing very innovative ways. Most retellings stick closely to the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast, but Davidson allowed her imagination to take different pathways along the journey and I loved this. It was new and exciting and wonderful.

Lastly, this was a clean read. I was waiting for that one part or that bad word, but it never came and so, I was able to fully enjoy this story. I definitely recommend “Shadow and Thorn” to all those who love a fairytale retelling or a clean YA fantasy.     

Ta ta for now,

E.J. Hill  

Book Reviews

The Twelve Dancing Princesses by KM Shea

Where do I start with this book? Do I start with the amazing characters? Or the gripping plot? K.M. Shea has never failed to captivate me and this time was no different.

I was drawn in at the very first paragraph – I loved that Shea just dropped me into the story. Yet, it wasn’t confusing, it began clearly with a simple action scene that introduced me to the characters and setting. The tight kinship within Band Gallant was admirable and I thought the members complimented each other. For some reason, groups like that always get me – the devotion but also playfulness makes me smile. Now to Quinn… She was fantastic. Probably one of my favorite heroines ever. Wait, what? 

Yes, one of my favorite heroines! She was brave and faithful and kind and, and… She was amazing. She made mistakes, she wasn’t always perfect, and that made me like her even more. Then there was Emerys. Often the male love interests are portrayed as rather flawless, but I think what made it different with this one, was the way he interacted with Quinn. He teased her in a down-to-earth sort of way and she fired right back at him. Plus, the animals he turned into were quite humbling. And actually, that surprised me because he was often in animal form and so there wasn’t a lot of, “His sculpted muscles were clear beneath his shirt,” or “I laid my hand on his rock hard chest,” or “his starry blue eyes stared down at me.” (cough, gag, cough) you get the picture. So ya that was a nice change.

Now that I’ve ranted about the characters forever, let’s move on to the plot. Umm YES.

What a twist on the Twelve Dancing Princesses! Not what I was expecting, but I definitely loved it. The only thing is that perhaps a tiny bit more complexity would have been nice. But maybe that would have taken away from the beauty of the story. I can’t entirely say for sure, but I am definitely hoping for a sequel.

Alright, so the writing. Can’t say too much, it was nice; although, I would have liked a little more figurative language. It was rather plain, which is fine, it made it easy to read, but I didn’t walk away thinking, “Wow, that was beautiful.”     

Finally, it was a clean read and I absolutely love that! I was able to thoroughly enjoy it and feel good about reading it. So, as with all of Shea’s writing, I definitely recommend it.

Have you read this book? If you have what are your thoughts?

That’s all I have to say for now.

Thanks for the read.

Emma

 

P.S. Check out my book Ashes of Glass. It’s now for sale on Amazon!

Book Reviews

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

17399160.jpg

Dear Citizens of the Blogging World,

 

“Someday we will be more than words in the dark.”

 

     Snow Like Ashes was on my to-read list ever since it was released, but like so many other books, I somehow never got around to reading it. That is, until last week. It was my day off so I was hunting for a book to read and this one caught my attention. There was maybe a sliver of guilt at letting it collect dust for so long involved too, but regardless, this was the one I decided to read.

 

    My very first thought was that I didn’t like Mather. He seemed full of himself and too sure that he was going to fix everything when he became king. So I was slightly worried that he would remain the only love interest in the story, but thank goodness Theron came along. Honestly, I immediately fell in love with him and now he’s probably one of my favorite male characters of all time (So far… I have yet to see what the next two books bring). He was sweet, kind, and gentle, but at the same time, he was fearless and brave. Oh, and he wasn’t rash like some characters who always get into arguments because they know the best way; no, he really portrayed the phrase, “strength and wisdom can be found in silence.” Anyways, moving on from my little rant about Theron… Miera’s character was also very likable. She was somewhat naive and childish which at first bothered me, but once I thought about it, I realized how realistic it was that she wasn’t exceptionally intelligent, brave, and mature. If she was all of those things from the beginning, then there would be no character growth.

    Now on to the writing… I loved Raasch’s writing style (it’s what I dream mine will be someday). It was colorful, but not overwhelmingly so and I barely did any skimming. In particular, I really liked her similes – they embellished the writing and didn’t weigh it down at all.  Similes can be difficult to come up with, I know because I fight with them some times. But done right, as in this book, they add beauty and interesting flourishes of color

    Altogether, I would definitely recommend this book! It is a clean read which I found surprising since that is rare in popular books these days. So I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m excited to continue with the series.  

 

“Even the strongest blizzards start with a single snowflake.”

 

Cheers,

Emma Hill

 

Book Reviews

Heart of Ice by KM Shea

28117720.jpg

“They already call you their Snow Queen. If you declared yourself the Empress of the Continent, they would ask what you wanted on your coat of arms.”

― K.M. Shea, Heart of Ice

I am never really sure what to write about a book directly after finishing it – it usually takes a few days of pondering the story before I am able to collect my thoughts and write something worthwhile. But even though it’s been less than twenty-four hours, I’m going to give it a go anyways.

This was a bit of an impulse read. I saw it on the Goodreads blog of one of the indie authors I follow, so I thought I would check it out. This led me to Amazon.ca where the e-book was being sold for only $5.49. I thought, why not? It’s only five dollars and the description promises an interesting story.

The first chapter or so was a bit boring; although, I was intrigued by Rakel’s snow powers. But as the story went on I became quite engrossed in it. I really liked that Rakel went from being hated to being loved by the people and how the author let this affect Rakel’s character. Too often I read books where the author seems to start and end the main character exactly the same and does not let the events of the story create the character. Furthermore, Farrin’s position as a colonel of the enemy was different – in a good way different, though. It created an exciting tension that had me wondering how in the world Rakel was going to fall in love with the enemy. Moving on, I enjoyed Rakel’s circle of trusted friends, they kept things interesting and their loyalty to Rakel is to be admired. However, I was not crazy about the way Phile was introduced into the story. It seemed a bit random and didn’t quite flow with the rest of the story (For the first half of the book, I convinced that Phile was a traitor). There just did not seem to be a concrete reason – like Rakel saving Phile’s life, or a desire to retaliate against the Chosen forces – for Phile to join Rakel’s group.

“Little Wolf, you are the most paranoid person I know—and I’m a thief.”

― K.M. Shea, Heart of Ice

Leaving behind the characters… At times I found myself skimming explanations, scenes, or dialogue that were perhaps unnecessary. Also, personally, I would have liked a little more description. I really like the expression, “Paint a picture with words,” and I thought sometimes there were some grey areas that if colored in, would have complimented the story. Last but absolutely not least – and I think I mention this more often in other book reviews – this was a clean story that I could read without being bothered by indecent words or scenes. I could read it with a good conscience and for me, this aspect alone instantly elevates a book. So in conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed Heart of Ice, so much so that I have already purchased the sequel and begun reading it.

“Fear is acceptable, as long as I don’t allow it to cripple me…”

― K.M. Shea, Heart of Ice

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Beauty by Robin McKinley

41424.jpg

“I said: “He cannot be so bad if he loves roses so much.””But he is a Beast,” said Father helplessly.

“But he is a Beast,” said Father helplessly.

I saw that he was weakening, and wishing only to comfort him I said, “Cannot a Beast be tamed?”

― Robin McKinley, Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast

When I was about eleven, I was looking through the ceiling tall bookshelf that sat in our basement. The books in it were books that my mom had bought for a few dollars and never read but didn’t have the heart to get rid of. Most of them were covered with a thin layer of dust so that when I pulled them from their tightly tucked positions my nose would tickle and threaten to sneeze. But all of that is beside the point…

One day I decided to ignore the bottom two shelves of thick encyclopaedias and read the book with the cover that had a girl in a yellow dress on it and was titled Beauty by Robin McKinley.

To say the least, I was hooked from the very beginning. I soaked up every word which I still sometimes find surprising since not everyone finds it an easy book to read, and I was only eleven.

Robin McKinley’s style of writing is quite different from most other books I’ve read. The paragraphs are long and detailed and with allot of books, I just skip those descriptions over. Why? Because they’re boring. I want to get to the exciting parts, where there is action. But McKinley’s descriptions are artistic, they are beautiful, and they are compelling. I mean, look at this:  “It was of grey stone, huge block set on block; but it caught the sunlight like a dolphin’s back at dawn.”

― Robin McKinley, Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast

That’s not just writing, that is art. That is painting a masterpiece with words.

The plot is also really well worked out. Maybe it’s a little slow at first; she doesn’t meet the beast till halfway through the novel. But maybe McKinley’s point was following the story of Beauty, not Beauty and the Beast. After all, the book is called Beauty.

Moving on, I simply love Beauty’s character. She is so honest and brave and she doesn’t pretend to be someone she isn’t.

The ending, is point blank, a happy ending. Every time it leaves me with a smile on my face and a feeling of satisfaction. Beauty grows out of her awkwardness and really is beautiful, not only on the outside but also on the inside.

I could probably go on and on about this book, but I’ll save you the pain and cut it short. I will say, though, that I’ve read this book over and over again till the cover has fallen off and I’ll probably keep reading it till it crumbles at my touch.