Tag Archives: Book Review

Get your dragon on! A review of Fledgling by Nicole Conway

Fledgeling by Nicole Conway (Ebook) This is a fantasy adventure about a hybrid boy elf/human who kinda-accidentally binds himself to a wild dragon that no one else can tame.

While this book is middle grade, it did not suffer from all the juvenile mannerisms that would annoy the adult reader. Nope, no whining and sticking out their tongues in this one (thank goodness)

Our Half-Elf is in an interesting situation. As a dragonrider, he must train to be a flying soldier in an army bent on destroying the elves. That’s kind of a pickle, but this conflict isn’t touched on in book one. I hope they delve into it further in future books.

Anyway, this book deals with the prejudice that this boy faces in the world of men for being half elf, and you also see a hint that the elves don’t care for half breeds, either. Poor kid! The only ones who seem to like him are his roommate, his trainer, and his trainer’s daughter. (Yep, dangerous ground there, and the beginnings of what might be a love interest when these characters age-up a bit)

This book deals with the struggle of a middle grade boy who just wants to fit in, while he sets off on a pretty impressive (and almost believable) adventure to save one of the few people who’d ever shown him kindness. Throw in a couple of dragons, and this reader is totally sold. I wish I’d picked this book up sooner!

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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

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Don’t. Ever. Peek. A Review of Gravity by Melissa West

Gravity (Ebook) This book is about an alien race that has created portals between our worlds. They visit Earth every night, and by law from an interplanetary treaty, they are allowed to “suck” antibodies from humans while they sleep. They do this so someday they will be able to inhabit Earth.

(The humans are not harmed in any way)

I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed it, but I think it was the overall premise of “The Taking” at night and how the humans had to wear blindfolds that bothered me. While it was explained, I never really bought in to the overall premise, which left the story falling a bit flat and unbelievable to me.

Afterthought—The cover may have messed the book up for me as well.

“Don’t. Ever. Peek.”

While they are not supposed to “peek”, this sets itself up for something a little spookier than actually happens in the book. Maybe my issues had to do with expectations. I don’t know. I got nothing.


The human race also gets themselves into a little bit of a pickle when they rebel, and at the end, both their worlds are in some trouble. There was a lot of great action in this book, especially at the end, which is ten tons of readerly-fun.

I might pick up the next book someday, but it’s not going to be at the top of my TBR. Which makes me sad. In some ways, I wonder if it is really this book, or the fact that I have read so many five-star books this year, that anything that rates lower really stands out. You know what… maybe I’ll read the second book anyway. I’m wondering, now as I write this, if the author can work through my niggles in the next book. I’ll let you know.

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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

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Twelve Year Old Reviews “My Brother is a Super Hero” by David Solomons

This book is about two brothers who hang out together in a tree house. One day, while the younger brother goes into the house to go to the bathroom, aliens come down and make Zach, the older brother, a superhero.

There is a guy who always wanted super powers so he tries to kidnap Zach.

What I liked about this book was I really liked the action and the mystery since the little brother was trying to stop his friend from finding out that Zac had super powers.

The ending was also great. It was really intense and I liked the way it all worked out. There is a really good theme, but I can’t tell you or it would spoil the ending.

I would rate this book a four out of five Oreos because I really like action books and this is a really really good action book. So, yeah, I recommend this book for young readers who like action.

Oreo Four


Learn more about this book HERE


Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

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What happens next? A Review of Queen by Kiera Cass

Queen by Kiera Cass (Audiobook) This is a “prequel” novella in THE SELECTION series. Here, we find out how Queen Amberly becomes queen in her own Selection experience.

This novella really can’t stand on its own. The Selection process is not explained or defined, and situation and characters happen in this book that you would have no idea what is going on unless you’ve read the first book. Also, the writing and world-building is nowhere as deep and intricate as the full novel. But that isn’t really a problem, since its target audience would have read the first book.

QUEEN is an interesting look into the past of the king and queen, and we find out why the king does some of the “meaner” things he does in The Selection.

My real beef about this novella is that it suddenly just STOPPED. I mean, we go through general selection stuff, then the prince tells Amberly that he likes her, and introduces this whole new conflict that had me sitting upright, suddenly really interested and engaged and ready to take on this new part of the adventure.

Then… nothing.

Amberly is happy that he says he liked her, and we don’t get to take the journey with them through that conflict.

Yes, this is just a novella, and if they delved into that plotline, it could have been its own full-length book, but then why not just have him choose her and not act like that conflict existed? It just left me feeling a little unfinished, if that makes sense.

I’d give QUEEN two stars, because the ebook is listed at $2.99 which is really disappointing for what you get. This should be a freebee. I look at books like this as little gifts to readers. – just little tidbits to keep them excited about a series until the next book arrives. At $2.99 (maybe even at $.99) I’m not sure this really delivers.

If you can pick this up at the library, or as a free read (in a legal promotion) And you’ve read THE SELECTION already, I think you will really enjoy this. Just don’t expect the big whirlwind romance you experienced in the first novel.

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Plugging the Holes and Dragging out the Claws: A Review of Rogue by Julie Kagawa

Rogue by Julie Kagawa (Audiobook) This is book two of the Talon series, about a young dragon girl who gets mixed up with a rogue on the run from dragon law. She is also involved (unknowingly at first) with a human soldier assigned to kill her. Book On (Talon) was the first book I read in 2016 and for six months had remained my number one. Book two MAY have overtaken this position (I want to give it some time to simmer) The reason being that book one left on a cliffhanger, with no real resolution to the original story. In my review, I mentioned that Talon seemed to stop mid-chapter in an action scene. This left me feeling just a touch annoyed, because I prefer a “hint” of conflicts to tease me into a new book, but a satisfactory ending to my current read. TALON did not provide that.

But Rogue totally delivers

However ROGUE did deliver on a satisfactory ending to the current conflict, all the while introducing a totally new one that I can look forward to in the next book.

ROGUE totally delivered on giving me more action, adventure, intrigue, and backstory on Riley and Wes, that was missing in book one.

I am definitely a fan of this series, and look forward to the next book, SOLDIER.


Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

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Breathing Life into the Evil Twin: A Review of SPARK by @BrigidKemmerer

Spark by Brigid Kemmerer (Audiobook) This is book two of “The Elementals” series, which is about a family of brothers that can control the elements (Fire, water, earth, and air).

Book one, “Storm” was about the brother who can control water. Spark, if you hadn’t guessed already, is about the brother who can control Fire. I read book one as a free read last year (or maybe a discounted read. I don’t remember. It was a BookBub find), and I was really surprised how much I loved it. I am even more surprised how much I loved the second book.

Spark in no way suffers from “second book syndrome”. Instead of continuing the story of the two MCs in the first book, we now get a look into the life of the “evil twin”. Gabriel was a very unlikable character in the first book. At the start of the second book, I felt no different. But as the story moved on, and I fell deeper into his point of view, I discovered that this stuck-up *&**%&#* was actually a deeply troubled boy, and I found I could relate to his struggles on so many levels. And then we match up our guy who can control fire with a girl who has serious scars from being caught in a blaze as a child… It is perfect conflict that slowly lead up to chemistry and understanding.

If a year ago someone told me I would be rooting for Gabriel, I would have said “no way.” But Spark really brought this character to life for me. I think this is probably going to be one of my top five reads for this year. Maybe even in contention for number one. An easy five out of five stars for me. Really loved this one, and I’m holding myself back from grabbing book three right away, because I like to suffer like that.


Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

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Whoa Nellie, was this a fun ride! A review of Devil and the Deep by @JAWalkerAuthor

Devil and the Deep by Julie Ann Walker (Ebook)

(Adult content warning)

This is a book two in a series. I did not read the first book, but what I needed to know was covered flawlessly so I was not lost at all. This book can stand on its own.

Plot: Maddy, an oil heiress, is snatched for ransom on a tiny island she is camping on. Luckily for her, she told her hot Navy SEAL friend where she was camping, and asked him to meet her there. Boy, are those kidnappers sorry when Bran and his buddy show up!

Whoa Nellie was this a fun ride!

It reminded me of the hey-day of action hero movies (If Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger were turbo-hot Navy SEALS.) There was one small point where I rolled my eyes. It came when the two Navy SEALS and the heroine, Maddy, were trying to save three kidnapped girls. Maddy is very hot for ex-Navy SEAL Bran (after he apparently saved her life in the first book) and while they are in a very precarious situation, she starts making amorous advances on him. For a second, I thought this was going to be one of “those novels”, but that was the only ridiculous “overly romancy” scene. The rest is one fun thrill ride after another.

Note: This IS A ROMANCE so there is a lot of that “lovey dovey” stuff, but this is also an awesome high action thrill ride. I really loved the blend of the two, and I am interested in reading the first book in this series to find out how the characters met. I’d give this 4.5 stars, losing half a star for inserting a romantic scene where (in my opinion) it was unrealistic to have one.

Great fun!
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The dating game in a futuristic Utopian Society – MATCHED by Ally Conde

Matched by Ally Conde (Audiobook) This book takes place in a dystopian/Utopian society where everything is chosen and planned for every citizen to make sure that they have a happy, long, fulfilling life (Until they are 80, when everyone dies). But that’s not the conflict in the story.

In MATCHED, a teenage girl goes to her matching ceremony to find out who the society chose as her perfect husband. She ends up “accidentally” matched to two people, but only she knows about it.

Now she is publicly matched to someone who she sees every day, but she is also matched to another boy, who is forbidden to her.

This is a very interesting story that will leave the reader asking a lot of questions like, “What would I do?”

It would be hard for me, I think, to do anything when so much is deemed illegal. While I did enjoy this book, I was never really completely engaged. I think I had a problem believing that a world like that could actually exist. I mean, there were only 100 songs, 100 history lessons, 100 poems, etc. Everything else was destroyed so people didn’t have to be stressed by too many choices. I had trouble believing this world could exist.

However, if you are able to suspend disbelief in the society, this is a well written and engaging story.

CLIFFHANGER ALERT: A major character’s life is left in jeopardy at the end. Even though I’d like to know what happens to that character, I don’t think I’m worried enough about it to continue with the series. I would, however, pick up another of this author’s books. The world she created was very alive and vivid. I just couldn’t make myself believe in it’s plausibility.

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Survival of the fittest on an alien planet – A review of THESE BROKEN STARS

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman (Ebook) First of all, COVER LOVE! This is one of only a few cover buys I’ve ever made.  Take a moment to soak in the loveliness.  All good? Then let’s continue.

This book starts on a luxury cruise ship in space. Something catastrophic happens, sending all 50,000 passengers running to the escape pods.

We follow the story of two survivors who crash land on an uncharted planet where weird things start to happen (over and above them rooting through other escape pods and ship wreckage).

This is a combination of YA romance and a survival story. The first half disappointed me a bit. It seemed all they were doing is walking forever and thinking about how much they didn’t like each other (While wishing they were not attracted to each other – Typical YA) but there is a ghosty-like theme going on throughout. Is one of them crazy? Hmmmm…

I stuck with this book because we were reading in my book club, and I’m glad I did. There is a very interesting twist at the end, and I did end up liking the book. I think this is a three star for me. It loses one star for non engaging me for the first half of the book, and another one, because the reason the female lead was mean to the male lead was very weak. I mean, seriously… If you dad is going to kill the guy just for talking to her, just TELL THE DUDE THAT. Why keep that a secret?

So, yeah, three stars. Good, but this won’t be a favorite (By the way, I think the people in my book club all liked it more than I did, and it was my month to choose. Ha!)

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Fifteen year old reviewer talks about In the Shadow of the Dragon King by @jkellerford

My oldest son reviews In the Shadow of the Dragon King.

I Wish I had a tape recorder on while he was reading over the past few weeks to catch all his comments along the way… Very refreshing as my picky reader has DNF’ed half the books I’ve given him lately. 

Apparently, he’s very into knights and dragons … who knew?

This book is about a realm called Fallhollow in a parallel universe to earth where there is a dragon called Einar that attacks the good kingdom of Hirth.

Meanwhile, on Earth, the Paladin David is summoned, but his good friends Charlotte is accidentally taken also, sending them on their epic journey to fight the dragon.

There is also this “main” character Eric who is not used to his full potential, much to my chagrin. (Because I was team Eric for the first half of the book) He is an honorable, brave young man, squire to the Epic Knight Trog (because Trog was pretty cool).

Trog was the best character in the book by the way… by far. Well, maybe a tie between Trog and Mangus – The larger-than-life mage dude. – Who is also underused. He is only in a few scenes of the book, but manages to stand out as pretty awesome.

Back to Eric – I think he was underused because he seemed to be a main character in the book, but some of his chapters were a page long, where most of David’s chapters were 10-20 pages long. What’s up with that? Definitely wanted more Eric.

Charlotte, I felt for her. [Dude places his hand over his heart] I like how she was strong, and tried to reach for what she wanted, but kept going even when she was unjustly denied.

David at points annoyed me, especially when he was with Charlotte. Ugh. You like her, she likes you. Just get together already! [Dude shakes his chair enough to rattle the springs – I take that as being annoyed in a good way] What was awesome about David is that he can do spells! He can teleport and go invisible, which is everything I’ve ever wanted to do in my whole life, but he underutilized his abilities. I mean … there is a dragon chasing you. Don’t run. Just teleport!!!

The overall plotline was good, but there were a few forced plot points. But they were miniscule enough (like the teleporting things) to not degrade my reading experience.

And Dragons! Let’s talk about the dragon. I think that Einar was pretty, like, creepy and scary. He was Huge! Like, seriously, building size. You couldn’t even describe him because he was crazy huge. But then you also had this tiny dragon (Mirth) who could fight the big dragon with lightniiiiing! So cool. [Insert several rambling comments about how cool the dragons were – mom couldn’t type fast enough]

Shadow morphs were creepy. They scared me. And they were annoying because they would brush you with a sword and you had to have your flesh cut away. Trog was, like, cut up all over the place. Blahhhhh! That’s nasty.

In conclusion, this book had dragons and knights and parallel universes that made me contemplate my human existence.

I give it a four out of five stars losing one half star for under using some great characters and losing another half a star because freaking teleport already!

But yeah, I really liked it a lot. I mean, dragons and knights, you know?

Next book please!

Rock on! Here’s where you can pick up a copy of


Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

About the Book:

Seventeen-year-old, Eric, is a kick-butt squire to the most revered knight in Fallhollow. Well he would be if Sir Trogsdill allowed him to do anything even remotely awesome. Determined to prove his worth, Eric sets out to find the mythical paladin summoned to protect the realm from the evil lurking nearby.

Sixteen-year-old, David, spends his days collecting school honors, winning archery tournaments, and trying not to fall in love with his scrappy best friend, Charlotte.

Right when things start to get interesting, he is whisked away to the magical realm of Fallhollow where everyone thinks he’s some sort of paladin destined to fulfill a two-hundred-year-old prophecy. He’s supposed to help kill a dragon with some sort of magic key. The same key that happens to adorn the neck of an annoying squire who’s too wrapped up in proving himself to be much help to anyone.

With egos as big as the dragon they need to destroy, Eric and David must get over themselves, or watch everything they know and love, burn.

About the Author:

J. Keller Ford (known to all as Jenny) is a scribbler of Young Adult and New Adult speculative fiction. As a young Army brat, she traveled the world and wandered the halls of some of Germany’s most extraordinary castles in hopes of finding snarky dragons, chivalrous knights and wondrous magic that permeated her imagination. What she found remains etched in her topsy-turvy mind and oozes out in sweeping tales of courage, sacrifice, honor and everlasting love.

When not torturing her keyboard or trying to silence the voices in her head, Jenny spends time collecting seashells, bowling, swimming, screaming on roller coasters and traveling. Jenny is a mom to four magnificent and noble offspring, and currently lives in paradise on the west coast of Florida with a quirky knight who was silly enough to marry her, and a menagerie of royal pets. Published works include short stories, The Amulet of Ormisez, Dragon Flight, and The Passing of Millie Hudson. IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING is her debut novel and the first installment in the Chronicles of Fallhollow Trilogy.

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Giveaway Information: Contest ends June 17, 2016


  • One (1) winner will receive a scrabble tile book cover charm (US ONLY)
  • Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of In the Shadow of the Dragon King by J. Keller Ford (INT)