Book Reviews

Chivalry’s Children Review

Hi everyone! I took a bit of a break for the holidays, but I’m back and will be posting again every week. Hope everyone had a great holiday season!

One of the last books I read in 2017 was Chivalry’s Children by Alexis P. Johnson. Set in medieval times, it follows four girls and their friends.

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From the back of the book:

Meridian the blacksmith, Keira the minstrel, Aurielle the alchemist, and Ivy the librarian, are four spirited and very different young women of Orion’s Court in the European nation of Laudeland. Knights, inventors, and even a prince share in their daily adventures from woodland hunts to masquerade balls. 

But their peaceful existence is shattered when a ruthless villain from their past lays siege to their country in vengeance, transforming their lives forever. The ladies and their comrades are then thrown into an even greater conflict that will test the strength and endurance of each of them, yet the inner trials of their hearts may prove to be even more challenging. As iron sharpens iron, the nation of Laudeland will need to unite in honor and chivalry as they face the storms of change.

Because there were so many primary characters, it took me a few pages to get into the story, but once I did, I flew through the book. The world building was great. I felt like I could have stepped into Laudeland through the pages, and I loved how the women were able to have the jobs they wanted without the stigma of something being “a man’s job”.

I could tell Alexis has a background in screenwriting, because this book would make a great movie. I could totally envision it as one while I read. I also really loved the spirit of camaraderie among the characters. It reminded me of the relationships I have with my siblings and a couple of my closest friends.

Overall, this was a great read. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy, medieval reads, or adventure.

You can find out more about Chivalry’s Children and Alexis P. Johnson here.

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Book Reviews

Three YA Books for Suspense Fans

After taking a short hiatus from my blog, I am back to posting every week.  I’ve been working on my novel, and will soon have some exciting news to share about it!

Today’s post is about a genre that often gets overlooked in the YA division – suspense. There are some really great YA suspense novels out there, and I have recently read three that I want to share.

The first is Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown.  This is the story of a girl who becomes a spy during WWI.  She is sent to the heart of the enemy – the German palace.  While posing as a governess for the the kaiser’s children, she must find another spy known as Velvet before they are both discovered and killed.

The second book is These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly.  The story takes place during the Victorian era (which I love to read about).  Jo is a rich young lady, who wants to become a reporter.  When her father dies, supposedly because his gun went off while cleaning it, Jo is suspicious.  She know her father knew better than to clean a loaded gun.  The more she discovers about his death, the more she is convinced there is more to the story.  With the help of a young reporter named Eddie, she searches for the truth.

The final book is Don’t Look Back  by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  This contemporary story is about Samantha, a popular girl who had it all. She disappeared with her best friend, Cassie.  When she is found, she has no memories, and is horrified to discover how mean she was.  The more she learns about herself the more secrets she uncovers, but someone doesn’t want her memories to come back.  Cassie is still missing, and Samantha knows that she was with Cassie the night she disappeared. If she can remember, she might know what happened to Cassie.  But will remembering cost her her life?

I highly enjoyed all three of these books.  They were page-turners that I couldn’t put down until the end.  If you like suspense, you should check out these books!

Book Reviews

A Book for St.Patrick’s Day

I just finished See Me by Wendy Higgins.  Though most famous for her Sweet series, this book was also exciting.  Set in Ireland with leprechauns and fairies, it is the perfect read for St. Patrick’s Day.

Robyn, an American girl, travels with her family to Ireland. Because her parents work for the fae, they have been instructed to marry Robyn to a man that lives in Ireland. His clan is about to die out, and the fairies believe this marriage can save it.

Robyn is shocked to find out that the man she is supposed to marry is a leprechaun.  She is relieved when she meets him. He is abnormally tall for a leprechaun, and thus, not shorter than her.

Though Robyn and McKale (her betrothed) get off to a rocky start, they do begin to care for one another.  Only an evil fairy stands in their way.  She wants McKale for herself and will stop at nothing to get him.

This book made me feel like I was there in Ireland.  Wendy Higgins created a wonderful place where leprechauns live hidden away from the rest of the world.  And I really want to go to Ireland now!  If you love St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish, you won’t want to miss this book.

And next week, I’ll be posting an interview with Wendy Higgins, so stay tuned!

Book Reviews

Three YA Books That Will Put You in the Christmas Spirit

I love the holiday season, and nothing is better than a good book to help get you into the Christmas spirit.  Here are four of my favorite holiday reads:

1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  This is such a Christmas classic, that I can’t leave it off the list.  Seeing the movie doesn’t count, this is a book you need to read!

2. Jingle Boy by Kieran Scott.  This book is funny.  It keeps your attention, because as you read, you don’t know what will happen next.  It is told in first person by a teen boy who has always loved Christmas, until now.  Mishaps abound and everything he does to try and make things better just makes things worse.

3. Top Ten Clues Your Clueless by Liz Czukas. This book is also quite funny.  It literally made me laugh out loud in places.  Six teens who work at a grocery store are accused of stealing money from a donation box on Christmas Eve.  Held in the break room until the police arrive, they have to work together to figure out who actually stole the money.

These are just a few great Christmas books, and I am still reading more, so I may have another book or two to add to this list before Christmas!  Are there any holiday books you love to read?  Feel free to share in the comment section.

 

Book Reviews

“Silver in the Blood”

I just finished reading Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George. It is the story about two cousins who travel to Romania and discover their family has a dark secret. A unique twist on Transylvania legend, the story was a page turner I could not put down until I had finished it. The Victorian era is brought to life, and the color and history of Romania made me want to go visit the country.

From the inside flap: As debutantes in 1890s New York City, cousins Dacia and Lou knew little about about their mysterious Romanian relatives, the Florescus. Now, upon turning seventeen, the girls must journey to Romania–a journey that seems to be both reward and punishment–to meet their cousins and their tyrant of a grandmother and to learn the secrets of their family. Secrets spoken of in whispers. Dangerous secrets known as the Claw, the Wing, and the Smoke.

But as dangerous as those family secrets might be, even more dangerous is the centuries-old bond between the Florescus and the royal Dracula family, and it seems that it’s time for Dacia and Lou to give up their life in New York society and take their place among the servants of the Draculas. When the devilish heir, Mihai Dracula, sets his sights on Dacia as part of his evil, power-hungry plan, the girls must accept or fight against this cruel inheritance. Do they have the courage to break the shackles of their upbringing and set the course of their own destiny?

I have read several of Jessica Day George’s novels and immensely enjoyed them all. I highly recommend her books. They will not disappoint. Also, next week’s post will be a special treat. I will be posting an interview with Jessica Day George, you won’t want to miss!

Book Reviews

Some Favorite Reads

One question I am often asked, “What is your favorite book?” For an avid reader, that is a difficult question to answer. There are so many wonderful books, that it is hard to choose just one or even two or three. After thinking about this for awhile, I finally chose five books that are not necessarily my only favorites, but are books that impacted me in some way. So here they are:

  1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I already talked about this book once in my “Why I Write” post here. This book was one of the first classics I ever read and is partially responsible for inspiring me to become a writer.
  2. Sinister Paradise by Carolyn Keene. This is a Nancy Drew Files mystery, a series which was written after the original mystery books. I enjoyed the original series as well, but the Files upped the game by involving murder and more romance. Nancy was also older. I could have picked any of these books, because I loved all of the Nancy Drew books, although I distinctly remember this book because it was one of the books that I owned, and thus read a few times. My love of mystery novels came from reading so many Nancy Drew books, and I always tried to figure out who the killer was before Nancy.
  3. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry. I was actually in college before I read this children’s classic, but it had such heart and wild horses, that I instantly loved it. In fact, once I read it, I knew I had to visit the islands (Chincoteague and Assateague) where the story takes place. The islands were so beautiful, that I had my wedding on the beach of Assateague.
  4. Vinegar Boy by Alberta Hawse. This is a story about the boy who brings vinegar to Jesus at his crucifixion, and his life is changed forever by the events he sees. It was a touching story, one I could not put down, and it was the first book I remember that made me cry.
  5. Beauty by Robin McKinley. This was the first fairytale retelling I ever read. A retelling of Beauty and the Beast, it captivated me and began my love of fairytale retellings. It’s a magical story that takes you to another time and place.

Hope you enjoyed reading about some of my favorite books. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite from the list!

Book Reviews

Three Fairytale Retellings Worth the Read

I know I had a book list last week, but I wanted to post another one with my favorite fairytale retellings.  I love fairytale retellings and that is the subgenre I most enjoy writing, so I thought it fitting to post a few of my favorites.  For right now, I am just posting a short list, but I will post a longer list later with all of my favorites.

1. Sisters Red  by Jackson Pearce. Loosely based on Red Riding Hood,  this the story of two sisters who fights the werewolves that kill young girls.  Full of action, suspense and romance, the sisters’ bond is tested as they each come to grips with who they are meant to be.

2. Beastly by Alex Flinn.  This is a modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  A sweet book full of heart, it was made into a movie a few years ago.  While the movie is cute, the book is definitely better!

3. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. A retelling of the Twleve Dancing Princesses, this story takes you to another time and place.  A magical story with humor and romance, it is a read you won’t forget.

There are so many good fairytale retellings, so be looking for my longer list within the next couple of weeks.