Book Reviews

Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman

This story began so beautifully! Sleiman painted an enchanting world and instantly dropped the reader into a suspenseful situation. Really, this prologue was stellar and simply crackled with energy.

The little thieves were adorable, but at the same time fierce and willing to fight for their freedom despite their young age. Even though she was also young, Merry bravely led them and loved them like a family. But Timothy… I wasn’t crazy about him. He obsessed over fame and fortune and although he mostly changed his tune, it still occasionally came up. Allan was a sweetheart! I think he was one of my favourite characters. In all of these characters, though, I found a great tendency to be attracted to others by their appearance. While this does play a part in romance, it took too great a foreground in this story. Also, Merry’s doe-eyes were emphasized waaay too much. I think the reader will get the drift after mentioning it twice.

The writing was good and the plot was interesting. Although, I found that it slowed down. This is the opposite of the last book I read, Hunted by Meagan Spooner, which began slowly but advanced as it went along. One of the things that bogged Dauntless down, was all of the thinking. The characters spent so much time in their own head that I began to skim.35098412

Lastly, this was a clean read!  

Keep an eye open for my next review:

The Queen’s Rising.

Book Reviews

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Going into this series, I was a little skeptical. I assumed that it was just like every other YA novel. Yes, it has similarities, but it also had beautiful little nuggets which captured me. If you’re interested, here is my review of Red Queen.

“If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.”

So Glass Sword…

Again, it had some beautiful pieces. And those plot twists. Wow, some of those really surprised me! A few were foreshadowed by little phrases here and there – some more obvious than others. In a few cases, I thought, “Seriously? Just leave that phrase out.” I actually love it when something happens that wasn’t predictable. (Within reason of course.)

A trope which is present in this series and that kind of bothered me, was the whole friend from childhood who is in love with heroine. This happens all the time (ie. Hunger Games, the Selection, and Immortal Instruments). It can be done well, but to me, it’s just been used too many times in the last ten years.

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So let’s move on to Mare. In this book, Mare’s character becomes quite dark. It was depressing, but at the same time realistic. Someone doesn’t just go through all of that without being affected. I liked this conflict because heroines are often presented as strong and invincible and good, but it was hard to read. I kept thinking, “No, Mare. Don’t do it.” Still, though, these flaws gave her a color that is not often seen.

“No one is born evil, just like no one is born alone. They become that way, through choice and circumstance.”

The writing was pretty good. It was rather boring, though. It was the facts with a few tiny flourishes here and there. This style did work since the focus was on the story and action. However, I like it when a book is a piece of art, when it is a tapestry of beautiful golden threads.

This was not a really a clean read. Although there are no explicit scenes, the characters do sleep together.30226723

As for book #3… I’m not sure I’ll read it. The ending of this one left me tired of meandering around. Also, the next book is pretty predictable. Mare spends her time with Maeven and sees that there is still a little bit of good in him. I feel like the plot is stuck in a rut and book 3 is going to make it worse. So we’ll see. There are other books on my shelf that I will read first.

“Anyone, anything, can betray anyone. Even your own heart.”

 

Book Reviews

Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay

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*Wipes away tears. Sniffs.*Image result for alice in wonderland crying gif

That ending, though. It was so depressing! I like that it was different and that it wasn’t your standard fluffy ending, but, man, it was heartbreaking.

Despite this, I really did enjoy this book. It was fun, but also beautiful and captivating. The whole atmosphere of Wonderland was magical and strange. Ramsay did a wonderful job with capturing that characteristic from the original Alice in Wonderland. Also, Ramsay came up with delightfully creative phrases such as:

“More than you can ever possibly count, times double, divided by half.”

Image result for alice in wonderland illustrationsAlice was a sweetheart and I very much sympathized with her. She didn’t at all get the kind of love that she deserved. Even her friends (can you call them friends) in Wonderland were not always caring.

“Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a thousand peanuts in my eyes.”Image result for off with his head gif

As for Rosamund. “Off with her head!” Yes, yes. The lovely Queen of Hearts. It was super interesting to get the story from her point of view. And honestly, I even ended up feeling kind of sorry for her. Really, she needed someone who would take care of her. Perhaps she would change if she was removed from her position of power and treated kindly?

“It’s a little too late to be splitting peas, Thomas,” Rosamund snapped. 

As for the plot… Well, I already mentioned that ending (I still don’t know what to think of it). Things started out at a good pace, moving from Alice in the asylum to Wonderland. However, about halfway through, things began to drag a bit. I felt that something important was going to happen, but I just kept waiting and waiting. And when it did happen, it was kind of a big deal, but I’m not sure it was emphasized as much as it could have been.

In the end, this was a clean story in terms of profanity and sex. However, there are a few beheadings. (Off with his head!)

I do recommend this one, though. It’s a creative and fun read.  

“A Cartographic Map and Illustrative Illustration of the Major Features of Wonderland, its Environs, Population Density, and Notable Shrubbery.”

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Book Reviews

The One Dollar Horse by Laura St John

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This was my horse Roxie. She was such a sweetheart, but university took over so I had to sell her. 😦 

I have discovered the library! Well, I knew that libraries existed, but because we lived out in the country, the nearest library was thirty minutes away. Now that I’m living in the city for school, there’s a library only five minutes down the street! So anyway, while I was browsing through one day, I stumbled across this book. It had me hooked right away. (Mostly because I love horses and miss my beautiful girl). Anyways, enough of my reminiscing.

This book is truly a brilliant, endearing, and inspirational read.

I loved being able to travel with Casey and Storm on their journey from nothingness to stardom. Casey was a sweet girl who, in the end, didn’t let things go to her head. Not to say that it was easy. No, it was a rough road, but she soldiered on and got her reward. I also really enjoyed Casey and Strom’s relationship and how they built it. I am definitely one who believes in building trust with your horse as a foundation for what you do. Mrs. Smith was such a dear. I loved her immediately.

St John’s writing voice was enjoyable and fit well with the story. It wasn’t heavily detailed, but that was okay; it matched well with the audience I think St John wrote this for. I wasn’t crazy about the grammar, though. Some of the sentences could have used a comma or had one too many commas. But that could just be me being picky.   

The pacing was great! It was steady and St John didn’t spend gobs of time on training and every other mishap. She kept things moving along, dwelling on what was important and skimming over what wasn’t. Also, St John wasn’t overly technical. Some horse books tend to contain so much “horse language” that it’s hard for people who are unfamiliar with this to read them. Another note on the plot… Yes, the end result was predictable. I’ll admit that. But I was expecting it to go that way so I wasn’t disappointed.17587000

Lastly, this was a clean read! There are one or two occasions when bad language is alluded to, but it isn’t blatant.

Altogether, I recommend this book. I especially think it would be perfect for younger teens. 

I’ve added book #2 to my to-read list!

 

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! 

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Book Reviews

A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee

Intrigue. Adventure. Mystery.

This was a captivating historical mystery set in London in 1858.

“It’s terrifying, to be on the verge of finally getting what you want.”  

                                                ― Y.S. Lee, A Spy in the House

The characters were quite good. One of my favorite aspects about Mary was her ethnicity. It was quite refreshing to have a non-white protagonist. Further, Mary was independent and fearless; although, she felt a little distant since she chiefly focused on her work. Also, I’m not sure I am a huge fan of how she interacted with James Easton. At first, her sassiness was amusing, but eventually, it became slightly annoying. That brings us to James. He was sweet and kind and his fondness for Alfred Quigley warmed my heart.7507889

The plot was engaging and the mystery had me stumped – I was not expecting it to work out the way it did. I do wish, though, that there were a few more scenes of Mary in action. She was trained to be an agent, but much of her time was spent haggling with James or observing the Thorolds. Further, the villain was pushed to the side. I wish there had been a little more development in that area. And also the villain’s little spiel in which he/she reveals everything… A touch unrealistic and cliche.

This was mostly a clean read, but there were mentions of mistresses, erotica books (a detail I’m still confused about), and a bit of mild language.

Altogether, I really liked the idea behind this one, but I don’t think it was executed super well. Will I read book #2? Maybe. If it’s on sale or I find it at a second-hand store, but I won’t go out of my way to buy it.   

Have you read this book or this series? If so, what are your thoughts?

Book Reviews

If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock

Wow! Just wow! I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do. This is just way, way too intense! But one thing I know: I am very thankful that I bought book #3 when I bought #2. (Yes, I’ve already started reading it….)Image result for mary poppins nannies gif

So I liked the first book, it was good, but it didn’t knock me off of my chair or anything. With this one, I was blown away!  

Okay, sorry. I’ll stop blabbering and get to the review.

“Every expression of gratitude is a prayer, which means the practice of intentional gratitude leads directly to a life lived in continual worship.” – If I’m Found

The plot for this book was well executed. I was engaged the entire time and I never felt bored, but I also didn’t feel left behind. Blackstock spent enough time on things to effectively develop them. It is interesting, though, that there isn’t a huge amount of description. This usually bugs me, but Blackstock was careful to mention just the right things in order to efficiently tell the story. She also progressed the events of book 1 or as I like to say, “ She ‘thickened’ the plot.” As a result, I was left hanging and completely overwhelmed by the suspense.      

I loved getting to know Casey and Dylan better. One of my favourite things was being able to see how Casey interacted with someone she wasn’t hiding from. Up to this point, a lot of Casey’s POV was her on her own, running and hiding from others. However, she is finally portrayed openly connecting with another person. Dylan… What a sweetheart. Even though he has been through some difficult times, he is still willing to risk his life if it means doing what’s right. Image result for if i live terri blackstock

I definitely recommend this book (and series!) if you enjoy a good thriller. You won’t be disappointed!

Keep your eyes open for a review of book #3! I assure you, it will be showing up soon.

P.S. I love these covers! So beautiful. They made my Top Ten Covers of 2018

 

Ramblings, Uncategorized

Top Ten Reads of 2018

Happy 2019!!

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Looking back at 2018, here are some of my favourite reads.

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The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

This was a magical read! I was completely captivated by each strand that Franklin wove to create this colourful tapestry.

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The Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown

I was captivated from the very beginning. The authors have a way of writing that enchants the readers and draws them into this colourful, exciting world.Image result for if i run series

If I Run Series by Terri Blackstock (If I Run by Terri Blackstock)

Oh my goodness, this series! So good! I was sitting at the edge of my chair the entire time. Review for books #2 and #3 are coming soon.

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The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

The world Wallwork immediately established was magical and intriguing.

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Changeling (Sorcery and Society #1) by Molly Harper

I loved this book! It was such a beautiful and captivating story. I can’t wait to read book #2!

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I was immediately sucked in by Morgenstern’s beautiful and descriptive writing style. There was something magical about it, something intricate like a delicate spider web glistening in the morning sun.

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Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

The first little bit had me wondering if the entire book was going to be so dark. I thought, “There is a good chance I won’t finish this book.” Then Rose escaped the Garden and met Rayce. That’s when I fell in love with the story and a certain character….

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The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

I definitely recommend this book. It was a lovely read and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series and discovering where Tiki’s journey will lead to next.

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Shadow and Thorn by Kenley Davidson

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.”

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Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

This book is a golden little nugget I found while digging through piles of dusty books at my local book fair.

And lastly, the honourable mention goes to…

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Bandaging the Blitz by Phyll Macdonald-Ross & I.D. Roberts

As a book co-written by someone who actually lived through these things, it had a beautiful authentic atmosphere. Each time I picked up this book, it was like I stepped through a portal into the 1940s.

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While I was writing this up, I kept thinking, “Oh, ya! That was such a good book! I should read it again.” Haha. I definitely recommend all of these books. They are amazing and very enjoyable.

Have you read any of these books? Are they on your favourites shelf?

Ramblings, Uncategorized

Top Ten Covers of 2018

Happy New Years Eve!!! 

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Out of all the books I’ve read this year, here are my ten favourite covers!

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The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

Isn’t it magical?!? The story is amazing too! I highly recommend!

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The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

This is the perfect read for Christmas break!

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Changeling (Sorcery and Society #1) by Molly Harper

This silhouette cover is not extremely elaborate and yet, it is still elegant.

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The Watcher of the Night Sky by Rachel Pudsey

I love the title artwork on this one!

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If I Run by Terri Blackstock

I love how the covers are like a puzzle and make up one picture. The spines do that too.

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Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, but I have to admit, the cover is pretty neat.

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The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

I love the detailing behind the text. It adds a unique and beautiful element to this one.

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Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

I quite like the black background. It gives this one a sense of mystery. (which fits perfectly with the story.)

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The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Again, not super elaborate, but the blood dripping from the crown… so chilling.

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Thief of Cahraman by Lucy Tempest

 

Wow! That was actually pretty hard! Have you read any of these books? Are any of these covers on your top ten?

Book Reviews

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

Going into this book, I was a little skeptical since I wasn’t a huge fan of Dickerson’s last book. (The Orphan’s Wish.) However, this one did pick things up a little.Image result for mulan gif

I’ll start with saying that I’m really, really, glad that Dickerson stayed true to Mulan’s ethnicity. It was nice that she was open to presenting a non-white female antagonist. I also loved Mulan’s character. She was fierce and independent, but still kind and gentle. I think of all the books by Dickerson that I have read so far, Mulan is my favourite female character. She was stronger than the others and didn’t let men do all the fighting for her. I can’t say I was a huge fan of Wolfgang… He was okay, but I felt that there wasn’t a great deal of development or depth. A lot of the time spent from his POV, was him obsessing over whether or not Mulan was in love with him. This was also the case for Mulan’s POV and combined, it made me rather bored. On that note… about 50% of the way, the action just died off and I wondered, “What is left to happen?” It picked up again at 70%, but I ended up skimming most of the stuff between 50% and 70% (the majority was simply Mulan and Wolfgang trying to decide whether or not they loved the other. A little speculation is fine, but after a bit, this became tedious).

Another thing that really bugged me, was the world building. This is a new area for Dickerson so she should set the stage, but I got very little. I was left with the skeleton of a picture in my mind. This was similar to other aspects of her writing too. There wasn’t quite enough description. It was simple and to the point. Which is sometimes fine, but Dickerson has written a great number of books already so I expected more colour.  

An enormous positive factor was that this was a clean read. There were some kisses (maybe more than other Dickerson novels?), but they weren’t overly graphic.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy fairytale retellings. Although I warn you, the romance is rather sappy (and a touch cliche?). But maybe you don’t mind?

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Thanks for reading!

Have you read A Warrior Maiden? What were your thoughts?