Book Reviews

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

26263487I was really excited about this book, not only because it was a paperback, but also because I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. And I wasn’t disappointed!

Blackstock didn’t waste any time getting into the action. She jumped right in by introducing us to Casey who had just discovered the body of her murdered friend. But even from the start, Casey proved herself to be a beautiful character. Despite what happened, she was still compassionate and sweet. She was also very brave and intelligent. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could avoid the cops for that long. And Dylan… My heart broke for him. He went through so much and had to make so many tough decisions. I wanted to wrap him up and give him a huge hug.

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The writing was good, I think it fit well with the genre of this book. However, I found that there were a lot of sentences that began with “I.” And at times there were two sentences in a row that started with “I.” Maybe I’m just being picky, but considering the number of books which Blackstock has written, I expected more. As far as the plot, it was engaging and well paced. The only thing I thought could have been better, was the incorporation of the missing girl. It was a brilliant addition, but it felt like just the outlines, it lacked detail. Perhaps with a little more explanation, especially concerning motive on the criminal’s part, things would have come together better.   

This was a clean read in terms of profanity and sex; however, there is of course murder and porn is mentioned as well.

Lastly, I must mention the cover… I really, really like it. It fits well with the story and is quite haunting. Hehe 🙂

Altogether, I highly recommend this book and I will certainly be reading the sequel, “If I’m Found.”   

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What are your thoughts on this book? Would you read it based on the cover?   

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.

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

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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

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 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.”

Book Reviews

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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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

Sacrifice by KM Shea

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 “Stand proud, Snow Queen. You have no equal.”

    Within two days of finishing Heart of Ice, I bought Sacrifice so I could continue the adventure of Rakel the Snow Queen. And let me say right away, I was not disappointed.

    There was a lot of character growth, which was amazing especially since it was the second book. Also, the love story was super sweet. At times, I found myself with a silly smile on my face as a result of the relationship between Farrin and Rakel. It wasn’t sappy or cringe-worthy, it was just really nice and beautiful. And unlike the first book, Farrin is featured quite often with Rakel as well as by himself which helped me get to know and understand his character better. Likewise, there is a closer view of Tenebris, the villain. A few scenes that showed how he treated his soldiers really made me dislike him and want Rakel to defeat him. Further, Rakel’s inner struggle of whether or not she was becoming like Tenebris, created some tension which was good – it kept her character interesting and humble.

 One small aspect that I didn’t enjoy, was the way the plot was laid out. It seemed like a continuous cycle of battle, rest, battle, rest, etc. Further, the dialogue between the fight scenes sometimes seemed a little unnecessary, but this had definitely improved since the first book.

 

    “It seems you didn’t understand me,” Rakel said, adjusting her grip on his hand. She had to spit the words out around the pain that tore through her. “When I say that love is pure, I mean it stands unrivaled in its power.”  

 

     And finally, the ending… I loved it! Way to go KM Shea, you nailed it. Rakel made an honorable decision that made me respect her immensely. It also proved more than anything else that she wasn’t like Tenebris.

         Overall, I highly recommend this book (and I suppose you can’t really read this book without reading the first one so I then recommend the first book too!). I really enjoyed this series by KM Shea and I am excited to discover other jewels she has created.   

 

Book Reviews

Heart of Ice by KM Shea

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“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