Book Reviews

June 2020 ~ Wrap-Up

I must say this has not been the most productive month in terms of reading (or maybe in terms of anything). With strawberry season, work has been crazy and I’ve basically been on the work, eat, sleep, repeat cycle for the past three weeks. Ah well, hopefully this month will be better.  Anyway, enough of the chit chat. What did I read this month?

Pawsitively Swindled by Melissa Erin Jackson

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Shadow in the Empire of Light by Jane Routley

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The No-Till Organic Vegetable Farm by Daniel Mays

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I also started reading The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, but I could not bring myself to finish it. I found that it was hard to follow and I could not connect with the main character.

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Ramblings

Cover Reveal – Tales of the Wendy #2!

Happy Thursday everyone,

It’s finally here! The cover for Tales of the Wendy book #2.

I read book #1, The Wendy, exactly a year ago and I absolutely loved it. The story captured me, the writing enchanted me, and of course, Wendy inspired me. She was fiery and independent and honourable, even when she had to make difficult choices.

But I will stop blabbing now and get on with the good stuff…

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NOT EVERY ADVENTURE GOES AS PLANNED …

In this eagerly awaited second volume of the acclaimed Tales of the Wendy series, Wendy’s troubles are far from over. Hook wants her in irons, the crew wants to throw her overboard, and Pan’s magical compass is the only thing standing in their way. But Pan himself is nowhere to be found.

When a new everlost captain appears on the horizon, it will take everything Wendy has to survive.

And a tiny red dragon will set events in motion that could save or doom them all. 

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Fans of Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Gena Showalter’s The Evil Queen, and Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone will love the rip-rollicking adventure, fantasy, and historical elements of the Tales of the Wendy series by Steven Brown and Erin Michelle Sky, Dragon Authors.

What other authors have said about The Wendy:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “All the markings of a classic … captivating and delightful.” ~ Lydia Sherrer, USA TODAY Bestselling author of Love, Lies & Hocus Pocus

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “What a fantastic take on a classic tale!” ~ Tyrolin Puxty, author of the Broken Dolls trilogy

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “I’m so grateful I found this book. It completely captivated me.” ~ T.A. Hernandez, author of the Secrets of PEACE series

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “Delightful and surprisingly hilarious … Sky and Brown bring fresh magic and wonder to a well-known story.” ~ C.L. Ogilvie, author of Some Assistance Required

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “Like Hook good. Except better.” ~ S. Shane Thomas, author of Rob Rogers Fights a Unicorn

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “The Wendy is a delight—beautifully written and funny.” ~ Steven Ramirez, author of Tell Me When I’m Dead

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “WOW! Just WOW!” ~ Emma Hill, author of Ashes of Glass

Cover Reveal date: August 8

Links:

iBooks | Kindle | Kobo | Nook

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Book details:

Title: The Navigator

Authors: Erin Michelle Sky & Steven Brown

Series: Tales of the Wendy, Book 2

Pub date: October 8, 2019

Publisher: Trash Dogs Media, LLC

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1946137036

Paperback ISBN: 978-1946137043

Ebook ISBN: 978-1946137098

Kindle ASIN: B07VNBPN1T

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And last, but absolutely not least… The cover!

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Isn’t it gorgeous?!?!Image result for love it gif

I am so excited! I can’t wait till the release!

If you haven’t read book #1, you must immediately add it to your to-read list.

 

 

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Ramblings

Beta Reading Service

For as long as I can remember, I have loved writing. It is such a joy to weave stories into colourful and complex tapestries. But over the past few months, I have discovered that I also enjoy helping other authors. I suppose much of it has to do with my experience which made me realize how important it is to have others read and critique your work. Sometimes it’s hard to accept what people say, but in the end, your story will shine all the more.

With all of that said, I decided to offer beta reading services. I wish I had lots of time and lots of money but as a student, things are a little tight. So to start out, I am going to ask for a small fee.

$0.0003/per word which works out to be around $27 for 90,000 words. I will read the first 2,000 words for free so you can get a sense of how I work and so I can assess whether or not I will be a good fit for your novel. I use google docs for beta reading which allows me to comment directly on things and which allows you to get my comments as soon as I make them.

Genres that I am interested in: young adult, Christian fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, and children’s literature.   

Genres that I am not interested in: erotica, non-fiction, and horror.

Here is the link to my read shelf on Goodreads so you can see the kind of books I like. https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/69093165-e-j-hill?shelf=read

Also, here is the link to a list of book reviews I have written. I encourage you to read one or two of those. https://letterstoyou312.wordpress.com/book-reviews/?frame-nonce=c1e7c6bca8

If I haven’t scared you away yet and you think I would be a good fit for your book, please send me an email: emmajoyhill20@gmail.com  

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Book Reviews

Dream a Little Dream by Kirsten Gier

A few years ago, I read the Precious Stone Trilogy and from what I remember, I really enjoyed them. So when I saw this one in the library, I thought I would give it a try. Plus it’s on my to-read list and I’m trying really hard to knock some books off of that shelf (there are 153 on there!).

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“Home is where your books are.”

Instantly, I was struck by Gier and Bell’s narrative voice. It was fun and light and I often found myself smiling. Liv, the main character, was also enjoyable – she was sweet and brave, but perhaps a bit reckless and naive. Although, this will allow for growth and I’m sure there will be more growth in the next two books. Liv’s sister Mia… She was super cute! And they’re relationship melted my heart. The boys… Hmm well. Why did they have to be soo gorgeous? Couldn’t they have some more flaws? Henry and Grayson were sweet but uninteresting, Jasper was a pervert, and Arthur had some serious shadows. So yeah, I wasn’t a huge fan of these guys.   

I loved, loved the dream concept. It was both intriguing and chilling! And added such a unique element to this story. The demon thingy, though, was a little weird and I didn’t feel that it was explained very clearly. This was similar to the villain of the story, who I thought was slightly underdeveloped. As for the plot, it was interesting to have it grow through dreams as well as through the real world. The dream parts almost added a taste of Alice in Wonderland. However, it was a little slow sometimes – there were bits of fluff that didn’t develop the plot.Image result for silver trilogy kerstin gier

Lastly, let’s talk about one key thing. The fact that this whole storyline revolves around the fact that Liv is a virgin. For goodness sakes, she’s fifteen and it’s totally okay for her to have sex?!? There were no explicit scenes, but there was a lot of talk about sex. Also, there was quite a bit of bad language – not obscenely so, but enough that it started to bug me after a while. 

I’m not sure if I’ll read book 2… I was reading some reviews of book 2 and 3 and they’re not super positive, so we’ll see.

 

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

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 Girl’s Tale by KM Shea

Synopsis

The ballads lie. Robin Hood, the Bold and Brave Outlaw of Sherwood Forest, is cowardly, spineless, and a girl.

Robyn unwittingly starts the Robin Hood farce when she is mistaken for a male while saving her friend, Marian, from two foresters. Forced into hiding, Robyn unwillingly collects “Merry Men” while grudgingly robbing from the rich fools that wander through Sherwood. What starts as small scale robbery blows up into complex heists when Little John and Will Scarlet join her team, and the idiotic Prince John and his legion of soldiers comes to town. However, Robyn can’t stop the theft—not when King Richard is being held ransom.

Cowardly Robyn’s best chance to raise money for King Richard’s release is to rob his brother, Prince John. Will she survive the heist, or swing in the gallows?

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This was a fun, light-hearted read. I enjoy Robin Hood retellings and I liked Shea’s twist to this one. It was also quite amusing and as with Shea’s other books, it was a clean read. However, it did not grasp my interest (DNF 62%). KM Shea is an excellent writer, but for me, this one didn’t quite hit the mark. I think, perhaps, it would be a fantastic read for younger girls around the age of 12.24752088

The plot starts out rather fast-paced but slows in the middle and there are a few unrealistic points; for example, the fact that everyone believed that Robyn was a man. Although the writing was at times witty, there were numerous typos and it wasn’t quite as developed as Shea’s other works.

Altogether, this book was okay, especially for a free e-book. However, I will not be reading book #2.  

Do you have a favorite Robin Hood retelling?

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?