Tag Archives: Book

How to become a princess: A Review of Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (Audiobook) This book was the monthly selection for my book club. I expected this to be a YA novel, but in truth, while it does deal with YA issues, it reads more like a middle grade novel. (Which yes, I should have figured from the cover)

The characters for the most part, are 14 and up, put with all the teasing and really young behavior and actions, they all sounded more like nine year olds (Comparing them to my own kids who are 10, 12, and 15)

In this book, a mountain province has been selected as the place where the prince will choose his new bride. Since the people living there are peasants, they create an academy for all the girls to attend to make them “princess worthy”.  After a year, the prince will choose one of them.

This is a nice, light story about building friendships, love of country, family, and home, and finding out that what you dream of might be hidden right outside your front door.

I can’t say I loved this book, because I have trouble connecting to middle grade characters in any story, but this was an enjoyable read. It will probably never rank among my favorites, but if you enjoy a good story about growing up, this might be a great choice for you.


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

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The Unexpected Life of the Genie in the Bottle (Sort of): A Review of SUMMONED by Rainy Kaye

Summoned by Rainy Kaye (Ebook) I picked up this book on Netgalley. It centers on a male character who has to do whatever his master “wishes”. It is a genie/master relationship.

The only problem is, Dimitri has no magical powers. He has to figure out how to do what his master wants (Including murder) in a given amount of time, or he will experience intolerable pain.

Dimitri cannot afford relationships, instead living through a string of one-night-stands, until he meets the quirky Sid, who keeps coming back, no matter how hard he tries to push her away.

I really loved the premise of this book, and the unique take on Genie lore. This is what kept me reading. The characters seemed a little flat to me, although I can’t quite place why. They both have distinct personalities and backstories that should have hooked me. This may be due to the male POV character, who always scooted on the edge of his emotions (as I believe is realistic for his situation) We get a lot of thought from Dimitri, but for some reason I could not feel his pain (although I DID understand his pain)

I still gobbled up this book, though, really enjoying the whole idea. And when Dimitri’s master makes that last wish! Omigosh! Loved it… and then when things get even worse! (Can’t tell because of spoiler) I wish it were a little more fast paced in spots where the relationship was developing, but overall I really did enjoy this book – especially the roller coaster ride ending—and I am interested in seeing what the net book has to offer.


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

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The Tooth Fairy? Well, Kind Of: A Review Of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Audiobook) This was a very bizarre book. It deals with angels and demons. Well, sort of.

The main character is a girl that is raised by a family of demon-like people, and her job is to collect teeth for one of them.

NOW WAIT! Stay with me a minute.

When I read the “teeth” thing I almost didn’t read this book, because, yeah, it’s weird, but it works in the context of the story.

And no, she is not the tooth fairy. She collects teeth from dead things…

Anyway, she uses these portals to get all over the world collecting teeth. Little does she know there is a huge war going on, and that cute angel that almost killed her knows who she really is (or used to be).

This book is wildly imaginative. It is not told in sequential order, which confused me at first, but after a while I got used to it. It flip flops back and forth from past to present, so you are, in effect, reading two books at the same time. On a few occasions, this tripped me up and confused me, but it worked for the most part. I’d definitely recommend this one, and I will probably be reading the next book some time soon.

Definitely one of my top three reads this quarter.


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

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I don’t remember what this book is about – but who cares? A review of THE RAVEN BOYS

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stieveter (Audiobook) I’m a little conflicted on this book. The writing was great, and the character development of the side characters as well as the main characters is outstanding. I just wish I loved the story more.

Early in the book our heroine, Blue, daughter of a psychic, sees the death of a boy called Gansy. She soon meets him, and reluctantly joins him on a search for the “layline” which is a magical road powered by spirits.

It took me a very long time to start enjoying this book. I think what kept me going was the great characters. I wanted to know more about them, and to see how things panned out for each. All the characters were very different, and I thought it was great that we got to see their side lives intermingling within the main plotline without it becoming confusing. This is the part that I enjoyed. As far as not enjoying the story as a whole, I think that is a poor match of reader to book. The subject didn’t hook me. But I think that people into paranormal ghost stories with a little bit of mystery investigation would absolutely love this.

***Ha! I forgot I’d reviewed this already, so I wrote another review for this book two weeks later – this is what I said***

– I found this book to be quite a conundrum. I really didn’t enjoy the story. In fact, I couldn’t care less what happened in the plotline… but never once did I consider not finishing the book. And, oddly enough, when I made a few statements on social media noting this, quite a few people agreed that they had the same dilemma. This made me sit and ponder this for a while. I waited about two weeks between finishing the book and writing the review, just to see how I still felt about it after finishing some more novels. I also wanted to figure out WHY I felt this way. As the plot dwindled into a blur, almost forgotten, I realized I remembered a few things about this book. What I remembered was not what happened, and why, but instead, I remembered the characters. I then realized that I was so totally engaged with these characters that I didn’t care what was going on, I still wanted to read about them. For that reason, and that reason only, would I consider picking up the next book. Taylor is a master at creating characters that we will not only remember, but also that sink into our bones and become part of us. Someone told me that her other series what much better plot-wise. I will definitely be looking into this, because it is a rare day when I am totally engaged in both the plot AND the characters. I’d give this book a solid four star, dropping one because I probably won’t remember what this story was about in another few weeks.

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Just be glad you’re not #1! A review of I AM NUMBER FOUR

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (Audiobook) A teenage boy is one of nine aliens, the last of their kind, hidden on Earth. There is another alien race trying to destroy them. The kids wear a charm that makes it so they can only be killed in a certain order. When one dies, a ring burns into the skin of the others.

A third ring just burned into John’s ankle, and he is number four. No pressure. Try to live your life knowing there is an army of alien soldiers looking for you!

I enjoyed this book on many levels, because it is, you know, aliens. But this isn’t anything deep to make you think. In fact, they probably don’t want you to think much at all, because there is a huge plot hole that never got plugged for me (no matter how hard they tried to explain it away.)

The “hole” was this: The bad-guy aliens invaded #4’s planet and killed almost everyone. These 9 kids got away. The bad guys now have the planet, and have almost used up all the recourses. So, my question is: why send soldiers to kill the kids? Yes, they try to explain this away, but the plausibility never cemented for me. I just didn’t buy it. But while that particular hole screamed at me in almost every chapter, I was able, for the most part, to suspend disbelief and just enjoy a nice, fun ride.

Yes, I would recommend this, but don’t expect rocket science. Just enjoy an interesting and fun story.

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Deepening the story in a second book: A Review of Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Paperback) This is book two of the Red Queen series. It chronicles the search for more Red-blooded people with powers, hoping to find them before the new king, Maven, finds them first and kills them. We also see our Main character’s struggle between her feelings for Cal and old feelings for the “nice” Maven she knew.

Unfortunately, I did not like this as much as Red Queen. We are introduced to a TON of new characters, and it is very hard to keep them straight at times. And when these characters started dying, I had trouble feeling Mare’s pain because I didn’t have time to get to know them.

Also, near the end, the author sets us up for the fight of the century, then something else happens instead. What happens is HUGE, but then someone else has the promised epic battle, and we never see it because Mare is wrapped up in what happened to her. For those who read it, yes, I understand why Mare would not have even seen that battle, but it still left me feeling cheated. Also, I was confused when there were two characters lying dead next to each other on the plane: One, who I saw die, and one was a total shock because they were absolutely fine the last time I saw them. I even went back to re-read to make sure I hadn’t missed something.

Despite all these nits, I did enjoy the book. I just wish the ending battle didn’t feel cheated to me. Love the hook at the end as well. This made for great banter at our book club.

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Take me away to a new world! A review of Starflight by @Melissa_Landers

Starflight by Melissa Landers (Audiobook) In this science fiction adventure, Humans have inhabited worlds far beyond our galaxy. A young orphan girl, hoping to erase past mistakes, sells herself as a six-month indentured servant in exchange for passage to the outer realm, where she can work as a mechanic and start a new life. Things go wrong along the way, though, entangling her with a crew of smuggler-types who send her through a race through space from pirates, bounty hunters, and the police. This is a fun story about finding friends, and maybe even love, in the most unexpected places. Lots of action, a fantastic cast of well-rounded, believable characters, and an entertaining plot. (Right down to the sugar glider ship mascot).

I really like how the author had a complete backstory for every character, and each quirky personality stood on their own. Also, we had Solara, Doran (the guy who indentures her) and the crew, each with their own stories/personal/legal issues, and all these wove together to keep complicating each other’s problems, yet the group always bound together to get through it all. I really appreciated the complexity in this one. Tons going on, but it never got confusing. Great for science fiction adventure lovers.

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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)



Get you Kick-Butt Action on! A Review of Forever Dusk by Jocelyn Adams

Dive into the thrilling third novel in the Mortal Machine series by Jocelyn Adams…

Woohoo! I really loved the first two books in the Mortal Machine series, Darkside Sun and Midnight Dawn. This is a kick-butt action series with one of the most incredible paranormal worlds I’ve ever read.
When I heard that the long-awaited final installment, Forever Dusk was finally releasing I jumped at the chance to get an ARC, and I’m so glad I did.
Now, first things first, I’m not sure what’s up with the cover for Forever Dusk, but don’t let it turn you off if you haven’t read the series. This IS NOT an erotic romance novel. This is about nasty demons trying to break into our world and eat everyone … and a group of kick-butt soldiers fighting and dying under the radar to keep us all safe. This is first and foremost paranormal action/adventure and maybe yes, a little romance thrown in for good measure.

My feelings for the final installment in the series were a little mixed. To be honest, I wish I could review just the second half of the book, because here is where I saw all the elements of the Mortal Machine that kept me screaming for more in books one and two. For some reason Addy was in a very different place in the beginning of the book than I expected her to be. To an action junkie like me, I felt like she was hanging around and “thinking” too much. I suppose there were two books of backstory in there that needed to be covered, but I didn’t see the Addy that I loved on those pages, and I missed her.

HOWEVER at about 40% into the story (I read on an E-reader) Baku lights a fire under our girl’s butt and she is off and running again. The second 60% of Forever Dusk is jam-packed full of all the awesome Mortal Machine goodness that made me fall in love with the series a few years ago. We also see one of the greatest races against time that I’ve read in a very long time. You know the kind I mean: Do something completely insane up against incredible odds, and be back before sundown or the world will come to an end. (Literally)

Woo-hoo! Love it!

Being as non-spoilery as I can, Forever Dusk tied up all the loose ends, pulling at all my heart strings and leaving me a very happy camper.

As a series, I’d give this a clean and easy five stars. If you are looking for something you haven’t seen before, THIS IS IT. Get ready for a great ride!

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Forever Dusk (Book Three)
Since their last battle, life for the Mortal Machine—the secret-society that protects Earth and its inhabitants from dark outside forces—has become almost…normal. For everyone but Addison. The evil she’s imprisoned in her soul has begun eating away at her sanity, and despite her soul mate Asher’s efforts to hold her together, it’s causing painful and terrifying delusions.
Consequently, nobody believes Addison’s warnings that Marcus, their old enemy, has returned. When Marcus threatens Asher and the Machine, she agrees to find what he seeks—a treasure that, in his hands, could be deadly.
If she relies too much on Asher, she knows he’ll likely imprison her, if only to preserve what’s left of her deteriorating mind. But if she fails this final test, Earth will fall. So Addison is forced to distance herself from her love, to prevent the life she wants with Asher from being over before it truly begins.
Find your copy of FOREVER DUSK:
Previous Books in the Mortal Machine Series:


Darkside Sun (Book One)
Addison Beckett tries hard to pretend she’s normal, but she’s far from it. Since she was six years old, she’s seen the world around her unraveling, as if someone is pulling a thread from a sweater and it’s all slowly coming undone. When she ignores it, it goes away, so that’s what she does.
Enter her arrogant-but-hot professor Asher Green. He knows all about her special brand of crazy. In fact, he might be just as nuts as she is. Asher insists that the dead from a parallel dimension are trying to possess the living in this one. And since Addison seems to be the only one who can see these “wraiths,” she just might be the key to saving the world.
Addison wants nothing to do with Asher or his secret society, The Mortal Machine. But as their animosity grows, she finds it harder and harder to ignore the chemistry between them. And when she discovers that Machine laws forbid her from touching him, she realizes that’s all she wants to do.


Stop the wraiths. Break the rules. Save the world. All in a day’s work.
Normal was overrated, anyway.
Find your copy of DARKSIDE SUN:
Midnight Dawn (Book Two)
With only three days until the wraith king turns the earth into an all-you-can-eat buffet, Addison Beckett is forced to enlist brooding sentinel Asher Green’s help to unlock the Mortal Machine. According to the founder, all she has to do is find the sanctuary—the same sanctuary she can’t remember because Asher erased her memories.
Trying to save humanity while navigating Asher’s lies is a royal pain. But the more time she and Asher spend together, the harder her soul tries to remind her what else he’s made her forget—that he loves her, wants her, needs her.
When she’s trapped by the wraith king and forced to pick who will stand by her in the coming battle, Addison is faced with an impossible choice: the sentinel she loves who refuses to love her back, or a powerful stranger who insists they’re meant to be together. Her decision will determine the fate of humanity, and once decided, can’t be undone.
Find your copy of MIDNIGHT DAWN:


About the author: 
Jocelyn is an office grunt by day and creator of romance and adventure by night. Born a farmer’s daughter with a vivid imagination, she spent her childhood dreaming up stories that remained untold until 2010.


With no formal training, she relied on the honest feedback of her writing group to take her from that first short story all the way to THE END of her first novel. She now has eight published novels and has recently signed a 3-book deal with Entangled Publishing.


When she isn’t slinging words, you can find her shooting her bow or enjoying the serenity of family life in her little house in the woods.


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Falling for an Assassin: Throne of Glass by Sara J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. MaasWhat would happen if a prince hired a female assassin to be his champion in a strange tournament concocted by his father, an unloved king? And what if all of the sudden the champions started being gruesomely murdered one by one outside the ring?


Mayhem ensues!

This is book one in a series, and is extremely loosely marketed as a Cinderella story (The only equivalent I could find were a ball and pretty gown of unknown origin, but other than that the similarities stop.)

I read this with my son, (Formerly known as the Monomaniacal Middle-Grade Reviewer)


He’s 15 now. Can you believe it?

Anyway — he insisted I read it with him after he’d read the first 25 pages. We both enjoyed it immensely. Lots of action, intrigue, a mystery, and a love story.

Sorry, but there is a love triangle, but it is a pretty good one, as this triangle is a lot more believable than most. The Eaton family is team Chao (spelling?) But the prince is a pretty nice guy too.

I’d definitely recommend this book on many levels. Caution for younger readers on the violence, and my son (who has already read a few book ahead as I’m writing this) says that the violence only gets worse. (What can you expect? The main character is a trained killing machine.)

This is a smooth read with lots of potential for growth. It should be a great series!

Have you read Throne of Glass? What did you think?


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