Book Reviews

Pawsitively Cursed by Melissa Erin Jackson

44161129. sy475 I could not put this book down! It was so good! Book #1 was amazing, but this one brought everything up to the next level.

Amber went from fearing and hiding her powers at all costs, to embracing them. She still had insecurities, but throughout this story, she became stronger and more confident. I loved the addition of Willow and Aunt Gretchen! It was really fun to see how Amber interacted with her family and other witches, and also to see what other witches are capable of. We didn’t get to see as much of Chief Brown as we did in the last book which was a little disappointing – I did end up liking that guy. But the tension with him that showed up at the end of book #1 was resolved. That was a huge relief! Ugh and Jack. At first, I thought he was sweet, but by the end, he was such a wimp. Poor Amber. I really hope she gets her happy ending. 

The plot was thrilling and the villain’s ability to change faces was so intriguing and nerve-wracking. For a while, I had this theory that Jack was a Penhollow and that Amber and him would fall in love and break the curse. Honestly, though, I’m glad it didn’t end up that way. Which brings us to… You guessed it! The ending. It was epic and satisfying but left enough room for development. There are so many directions book #3 could go!

Image result for cat silhouetteLastly, this was mostly a clean read, but there was some language. 

Altogether, I am super excited for book #3! I loved #1 and #2 and I can’t wait to see where Jackson will lead Amber next.  

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

Book Reviews

The Navigator by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown

Often I love the first book of the series, but then I’m not as crazy about the second one. The Navigator though… it was amazing! Related image

The story started out a little slow, but once the crew arrived in Neverland… I had to hold on to my hat because I got sprinkled with pixie dust and there was no way I could keep my feet on the ground. Neverland was a magical and beautiful place that held many marvellous things such as mermaids, dragons, imps, and of course, the much-feared Croc. This last one, the croc, was intelligently worked into the plot and I wonder if he’ll come up in the next book. I have a suspicion that he might…  

Now, of course, Wendy Darling. As usual, she was brave and daring and although she was looked down upon as a woman, she made a place for herself as the navigator. The naivety that she seemed to possess in the first book, dissipated as she experienced death and war. Really, her character development was phenomenal! Over the span of these two novels, she has grown so much. Now about Peter… In this book we learn a detail about Peter’s past that was so shocking, yet made complete sense. I did not see that one coming! And suddenly, I totally love Peter and I am desperate to know what will happen to him. Is there something between Wendy and Peter? I’m not sure… I suppose I will have to find out. Related imageYet, of course, I must mention Captain James Hook. I’m still not sure how I feel about him. He’s somewhere between villain and good guy, but it’s a little grey. I don’t like how he treats Wendy most of the time, but he does have his moments where he seems to have a heart. 

Once again, the writing was beautiful! It was neat, but at the same time colourful and exciting. 

“The gray veil now hung behind them, and before them lay the sun-bright shores of Neverland, its emerald green foliage and pearl white beaches stretched out upon a turquoise sea.” 

Lastly, this was a clean read. There was violence, but there were no sex scenes and the level of language is very low. Which makes me love this book even more! 35510314. sx318

I’m am so excited for book #3! And if you haven’t read either of these books yet, then you must! They are absolutely captivating and will keep you reading far into the night because you just need to know how this adventure will unfold. 

P.S. Book #1 only has 229 reviews! This is horrendous! Please, give it a read and write a review. Even if it’s only a few sentences, it will be helpful. 

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.

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“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

Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

8465337This book is a golden little nugget I found while digging through piles of dusty books at my local book fair.

“What caused the gods to fall upon my family like starved lions in a Roman arena?”

This was such a beautiful read! I was immediately drawn in by the vibrant world the author created. It was so colorful and full of life that I could imagine it all in detail. This was largely due to the writing style which had just the right amount of flourishes; yet, it was not weighed down by extravagant descriptions. It was precise and at the same time stunning!  

One thing I unexpectedly enjoyed, was the time span of the book. It began with Cleopatra Selene at age 7 and progressed till she was 16. This gave me a well-rounded understanding of the princess’s character as well as allowed for a great deal of character growth. Altogether, I found her very strong and determined. Even after she had been in Rome for a long while, she still did not give up on her dream of restoring Egypt’s glory. Now Selene’s brothers were adorable, especially Ptolly (although, he was a bit spoiled).

Lastly, it was a clean read. However, the worshipping of Isis and Egypt’s other gods takes a large place. Also, the characters often use the exclamatory expression, “gods.” I found that it became more prominent near the end of the book than it was at the beginning. An example… “Gods, Juba! I have been taking care of myself for a long time. I do not need your protection.”

Altogether, I definitely recommend this book. It’s gripping as well as elegantly written.

Happy summer

E.J. Hill

 

 

Book Reviews

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

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“Most people’s lives were stories with mysterious endings. Mine was a story with a beginning I could never make sense of. It was like fifty different unrelated strands I couldn’t weave into a solid crystal.”

First off, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the GORGEOUS cover!

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Like wow! I read this as an e-book; however, I will definitely be purchasing a paper copy. For reasons besides the cover, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Okay, ready to continue? I’m not, but I better get on with it anyways.

The story which Franklin spun was unique in so many ways. I mean, a story peddler who creates strands of color with her hands then crystalizes those into something solid? Just beautiful. Then there were also the names of animals; for example, fluff-hoppers. Obviously rabbits, but it made these mundanes creatures seem magical. Another interesting thing was the last names. Like En-Yestin and Bo-Bradwir. It took me a bit to get used to, but this was a unique twist as well. And finally, what about phrases like, “Mind your own onions?” Honestly, I had to reread that one the first time it came up. It’s too good to be true 🙂

Okay, enough rambling… The heroine, Tanwen, was very down to earth and I could easily relate to her. I had expected her to end up as some superhero who single-handedly saves the day; however, it wasn’t like that at all. Yes, she was brave, selfless, and kind, but – to put it simply – it was natural. The other characters in this novel were colorfully portrayed as well and I quickly fell in love with each of the Corsyth Weavers as well as Princess Braith.

“I turned back to the bruised, crumpled, lovely, broken creature who lay shattered on the forest floor. And I saw my future.”

Moving on to the plot. It ambled along at a nice pace, not boring me with details and not moving so quickly I was left behind in the dust. In addition, the ending was exquisite. It left me satisfied, yet at the same time wanting to read the next book.

One thing, though, which I found slightly confusing, was the essence of the story strands. I’m still not 100% sure what they are. Are they supposed to be some sort of gifting? Some sort of magic? Art that is in the form of color? The book began with Tanwen telling a story and I realized right away that the color thingies were coming from her fingers because that’s what the cover shows, but I didn’t know why or how?

Lastly, this was a wonderfully clean read and as a result, I was able to fully enjoy it.

I definitely recommend this book! As I mentioned before, I will be purchasing a paper copy and am also waiting expectantly for book two!

Ta ta for now,

E.J. Hill

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Book Reviews

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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One Saturday afternoon, I went to a concert which featured circus performers – an acrobat, a juggler, and a magician. It was a stunning show and afterward, I found myself thinking, “I wonder if there are any YA novels about circuses?” Inevitably, this led me to the “Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern.

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

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. And this, I think, can also be said about the entire novel, the plot, characters, setting etc.

“We lead strange lives, chasing our dreams around from place to place.”

It took me a while to figure out the way Morgenstern skipped about through time. At first, I found it rather annoying, but eventually, I discovered a rhyme and reason to it and it ended up being effective.
There were quite a few characters in this novel, so although Celia and Marco were the main characters, there were others who played major roles as well. The only downside to this, though, was that I felt like I didn’t get to know the characters personally. However, I thought that Celia was an admirable woman – she was intelligent, kind, and selfless. I also loved the mysteriousness which clung to her and how she often would just disappear because she felt like leaving. Now Marco… He was alright. I honestly didn’t adore him. He kind of came across as a lovesick boy and didn’t have an overly strong nature.

“Everything I have done, every change I have made to that circus, every impossible feat and astounding sight, I have done for her.”

Finally, I enjoyed the addition of Bailey. At first, I was like, “Who is this boy?” But by the end, I would have liked more scenes with him. Which leads to the thought that Morgenstern could have gone into more depth with other things as well. But perhaps making it more elaborate than it already was would have made it hard to follow?
Lastly, other than the F word at the beginning of the novel, there wasn’t much profanity. I mean, I know why the author put it there, but I don’t think it was super necessary. Also, even though it wasn’t graphic, Marco and Celia do have sex. And again, was it really necessary?
Despite these two things, I still recommend this book. It’s quite an enjoyable read. I even think that sometime in the future, I will be reading it again….

“We lead strange lives, chasing our dreams around from place to place.”

Thanks for reading!

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?

P.S. If you want music to listen to while you’re reading this book or even just music to listen to in general, I highly recommend the soundtrack for “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” I think it fits splendidly well with this novel.

P.P.S. Check out my novel….!

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Find Ashes of Glass on Amazon.com or read the Prologue and Chapter 2 for free. 🙂

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

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Soo Princess Academy.

     I’ll get it out there right away, this book was kept stuffed under my bed for a few months because I didn’t think I would like it. I hoped I would like it, but I thought that maybe it was a book for young teenagers (age 11-15). The answer? Hehe let me give you the review first 😉

 

“There you go…let it all slide out. Unhappiness can’t stick in a person’s soul when it’s slick with tears.” – Princess Academy

 

      First off, I really, really loved Miri’s character – she was sweet, brave, smart, and kind. Even though she was sad that her father wouldn’t let her work in the quarry, she didn’t let that fester and become ugly. Also, at the academy, she was diligent and dedicated. The other girls were distant which gave a nice tension to the plot, but as things went on they all realized it was a big misunderstanding and became fantastic friends. However… I would have really liked to get to know the other girls better, to really build a relationship with them. And this actually goes for the rest of the characters too. I caught snippets of intimate moments, but I definitely wish that there were more.

 

“Look no farther than your hand,

Make a choice and take a stand.” – Princess Academy

 

     The setting… I really loved the mountain, the ruggedness of it and the way the people were so connected to it. It really struck me as beautiful, but this could have been because Miri loved it so much. Which I think is super amazing. If a writer can communicate a character’s feelings so well that they become the reader’s feelings, she should get a gold star.


      Seriously, though, way to go Shannon Hale. Which then leads us into the writing style. It was well done and nicely written, not heavy with figurative language, but easy to read. So I definitely recommend it to young teenagers – it’s clean, easy to read, a nice story. But if you’re older, don’t let that stop you from reading. Do it, it’s a good book. I’m definitely going to keep my eyes open for Palace of Stone.

“Truth is when your mind and your gut agree.” – Princess Academy    

 

Ta ta for now!

Book Reviews

Cinderella and the Colonel by KM Shea

“A gentle word, a smile, an act of compassion, these are the things that can turn hate to love,”

    K.M. Shea did it again. I was totally and absolutely captivated by this Cinderella retelling. I had an hour-long car ride ahead of me and was looking for a book to read. Since I loved Shea’s other books, I decided to give Cinderella and the Colonel a try.  

    I was hooked from the beginning. Cinderella was a strong, independent, honorable, and brave character. It was so touching how much she cared about her servants. Sigh… she was a lovely character. Sometimes I feel like characters are too perfect like they don’t have any flaws, but Cinderella didn’t make me feel like this at all. However, one thing I didn’t care much for was her name… Yes, I know, it’s a Cinderella story, it’s not a terrible name, etc. But it felt kind of lame, like why Cinderella? Even Ella would have been better. Maybe it doesn’t bug other people, but I didn’t care for it. Another strong character was Friedrich. His introduction into the storyline was a bit creepy and I was like, “who is this weirdo?” But he ended up being really sweet and I kinda fell in love with him too…. 😏

    As usual, I really enjoyed Shea’s writing style. Beautiful, but not weighed down by figurative language and such.

“Hate cannot drive out hate.”

    Moving on to the plot. It was a nice pace, not too slow and too fast, until the ending – I wish that had been dragged out a bit more. You don’t want the ending to go on forever, but after the ball, it felt like someone hit fast forward. It could have been worse, for sure; however, I would have preferred another chapter or so.

    Altogether, though, I loved it. I definitely recommend it, it’s a clean read that is exciting and enjoyable all at once. Maybe I have a soft spot for Cinderella stories because I’m writing one (Ashes of Glass), but despite that, you should still read it.  

“Forgetting is not at all what forgiveness means.”