Book Review: Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams

Today is release for Gillian Bronte Adam’s Songkeeper!

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Genre: Christian, Fantasy.

Age Range: 15+ for violence.

Favorite Quote: “I’ve freed you once tonight, and I would rather not do it again. I prefer to commit treason as few times as possible.”

Series: Book two in the Songkeeper Chronicles, needs to be read in order.

Stars: 5 out of 5 stars.

I love this book and the characters. I was sucked into the story and everyone’s life. If you’re a lover of action packed fantasies, pick this series up!

I find it unique that the series isn’t just focused on two teenagers, but we get an adult as a main character, too! And Amos is a great main character at that! I love his humor, his lilt and his relationship with Birdie. I’m glad we get to know a little more about him in this book.

We finally get to see more of Ky and the underground! The underground is an organization of teens and kids who live underground, obviously, and steal to feed themselves. It’s quite an interesting network! Gillian did an amazing job of developing the personalities of all the minor characters, which were quite a few! Throughout the book, I wanted to squeeze Ky and fend off anyone who dared hurt him. I feel so bad for him… and I can’t say why because of spoilers. Ky has matured greatly because of his experiences, he is, a lot stronger and a great leader, . He was so protective of Meli, a young girl from the underground. He’s going to make a great father one day!

Birdie is an interesting protagonist. She’s so confused about the song and her family, and no one can answer her questions. I really felt for her and her struggles, and at the end I cried for her and was ready to hurt everyone who even looked at her wrong. I like her a lot more in this book, and she’s currently competing with Ky for my favorite character. She’s stronger, bolder and just plain out awesome.

I thought it was different that there were lions in this book! Riding horses is outdated, apparently. It was really unique and I wish they were there throughout the whole book.

I have to talk about Gundhrold, the griffin. He was quite an interesting character! He wants to help Birdie, but more often than not he isn’t around when she was in trouble. I love the conversations between Gundhrold and Amos! Amos wants “his girl” to stay safe and sound, and away from all the action. While Gundhrold thinks she is perfectly fine out there and no harm will come to her. So they clash often, which makes for some great conversations!

Highlight to read minor spoiler. Won’t effect you unless you’ve read the first book. I didn’t really like the betrayal that happened. It was almost identical to the one in the first book, and it was obvious (to me at least) that he wasn’t to be trusted. EEnd spoiler.

You Might Want to Know:
     There is a scene at the end that is scary/creepy, so I would caution young readers.

About the Author:

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I’m a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author! Blog and Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I received this book from the author, Gillian Bronte Adams, and the publisher, Enclave Publishing, in exchange for my honest review.

Review: A Time to Speak

A Time To Speak by Nadine Brandes

A Time to SpeakGenre: Dystopian, Christian.

Favorite Quote: “We have to become uncomfortable in our lives to become comfortable in our faith.”

Age Range: 15+

Stars: 5/5

Series: Second book in the Out Of Time Trilogy.

My Thoughts:
Oh my gosh, I am so happy I got the privilege to be on Nadine’s launch team for this book! I missed Parvin’s world so much, and A Time To Die ended at such a horrible cliffhanger!

Parvin has grown physically, mentally and spiritually since A Time to Die. In the first book, she barely survived, but in A Time to Speak she came back stronger than before, ready to tackle all of her problems! She is still nervous and feels like God is calling her to speak, though she isn’t sure about what or to whom. That really spoke to my heart because God tells us to speak and sometimes were aren’t sure what about or if to a specific person. Maybe we are just supposed to speak about our faith to everyone.

I love how strong Parvin’s faith is throughout the book. God is an important part of her life, and it shows. The theme of the first book is Shalom, or peace. Parvin finds her peace with God. She trusts God to bring her through the difficult times even if it takes her out of her comfort zone. That leads into the theme of the second book, boldness.

I am excited that Solomon Hawke is a main character in A Time to Speak. Solomon helps Parvin along throughout this book. I am pretty sure Solomon would do anything for Parvin. I like how he isn’t pulled into all of the technology of his world.  I am really looking forward to seeing Solomon and Parvin’s relationship grow in the third and final book.

Overall: I love A Time To Speak and all the characters! Nadine, you outdid yourself :)

I received this book from the author (Nadine Brandes) in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:

NadineJust got right to Nadine’s bio to learn about her! There is too much important stuff I can’t decide which to use!

Blog, Facebook and Goodreads.

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Review: The Hive

The Hive by John Otte

The HiveGenre: Sci-Fi, Christian, Romance.

Age Range: 16+ for romance.

Stars: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

Just finished this book and wow, that ending! I want the second book RIGHT NOW!!!

Okay, now onto my review :D

Zain is a girl who is telepathically connected to her home, the Hive. Her brain buzzes with chatter, and it fulfills her. Suddenly, she’s ripped away from the only home she knows and her thoughts are her own. The Hive controls it’s occupants and no one cares; Zain didn’t either until she realized there was more out there.

This book was very interesting! Zain had an electronic arm and that reminded me of Cinder from Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. I could tell John Otte took a lot of time on Zain, her characteristics and home. She was a well developed character who left you concerned for her.I am really curious about Mathew/Scorn. We didn’t get to dwell in his life much as most of the story is focused on Zain and her struggles. I hope the second book shows more of his life and trials. The author gave us little bits and pieces, but not enough to put together the whole puzzle.

Overall:
I loved The Hive, and I am looking forward to going back into Zain and Matthew’s world.Something you might want to know:
There is a part where Zain takes off her clothes for Matthew. She wear a special suit so that with a click of a button she can change her clothes and/or undress. She did it because of things she saw on the internet. This personally made me really uncomfortable, it was only about 2-3 paragraphs long and they didn’t mention it again.

I received this book from the author (John Otte) In exchange for my honest review.
About the Author:
JohnJohn is a PK, a pastor’s kid. He grew up in Columbia Heights, a suburb of Minneapolis, with his parents and younger sister and brother. They were the terror of their local library because, every few weeks, they would come and check out crates full of books, increasing the workload of the poor librarians. In high school, though, John worked at the same library, so it balanced out. He is a life-long writer. He started with badly drawn comic books in the fifth grade. When he realized that he was a lousy artist, he moved on to badly written novels in middle school. He’s tried his hand at screenplays (don’t ask), stage plays (a little better), fanfic, teen mysteries, and religious fiction. But his first love has always been speculative fiction.
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Book Review: Storm Siren by Mary Weber

book-storm-sirenTitle:  Storm Siren

Author: Mary Weber

Series?  Yes.  Book 1 of 3

Cliffhanger?  Yes!

POV: First person, present tense. One

Publisher: Thomas Nelson and Harper Collins

Author’s Website:
http://www.maryweber.com/

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

About the book
In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

 

My Review

I find this book really hard to review, partly because I really wanted to like this book, and partly because the things that bother me now would not have bothered me two or three years ago.

The Protagonist
Nym has been a slave since she was six, but she is really sassy and defiant.  Perhaps that is because she has changed owners basically every year, but it is still hard to find believable.  She is also guilt ridden and stand-offish.  While I can understand her position, Nym is not the easiest person to like.  This is especially true in the first half of the book.  I was wishing for another POV, some one who could provide a broader view of the story and hopefully be a more likable character.  Nym’s character did develop as the plot progressed, so it became easier to get into the flow of the story.  It just took some time.

The Love Interest
Thankfully, this book does not have a love triangle!  The first time we are introduced to Eogan, I thought he would be my favorite character.  He was very no nonsense, and did not put up with Nym’s sass.  I actually found their interactions comical.  What I didn’t understand was why they fell in love.  Nym and Eogan argued constantly.  The only reason Nym gives for liking him is the fact that he is the most hansom man alive.  It was impossible to forget that Eogan has dark skin and green eyes, because Nym mentioned them every time she saw him.  Every. Single. Time.

Other Characters
Side characters were well done, and most had a backstory of their own.  These are more developed during the second half of the book, and it keeps you guessing on who Nym can trust.  I only wished we saw more characters in the story.  The 3 or 4 that we got to know played a large part in the plot.  Anyone who didn’t was barely a part of the story.

Plot
The plot was well done and moved the book along.  I did feel this book was plot driven. For most of the book, the characters actions are solely as consequence of the plot.  I didn’t feel that they actually made any decisions on there own, but were bounced from one thing to the next because the plot was moving forward.  A few years ago this would not have bothered me at all.  Now, I much prefer character driven stories.

World Building
The world building is not the greatest, but I was never bothered by that.  We know what we need to as the time comes.  I do wish the political tensions between the waring countries had been explored more.  Nym and Colin were to attend parties to understand the political atmosphere of the time.  I never felt like they learned anything at these parties, other than supporting character’s backstories.

Nym’s Powers
This was by far the best part of the book!  Nym’s powers are a cross between Elsa and Scarlet Witch and something else entirely.  Nym is an Elemental, which means she can control the elements around her.  At first she cannot control this power, but unleashes deadly storms when she is angered.  She learns to control these as the story progresses.  She learns to use different elements such as wind, ice, rain, and lightning.  I thought the battle scene at the end of the book was one of the best, and Nym’s powers had a lot to do with that!!

Other
I think the story could have had an additional 100 pages or more.  There was definitely more that could have been explored in this story that wasn’t, particularly more about supporting characters and the political unrest.  Until the end, we never really know why Nym should be fighting on for Fealan.  Eogan mentioned other people who have switched sides, so why shouldn’t Nym?  This is subtly addressed at the very end, but it could have been explored sooner in the story.

Conclusion 
Despite the problems present, I liked the story.  Not as much as I would have a few years ago when these things would not have bothered me, but I still liked it.  And I will be reading the next book.  Hopefully we will understand more of the tension between the waring countries and see more of the side characters!  Oh, and I do really want to know what happens after that cliffhanger!!

 

Review: The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest

The Huntress Of thornbeck forest4The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest

About the book:

“Swan Lake” meets Robin Hood when the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant by day becomes the region’s most notorious poacher by night, and falls in love with the forester.

The one person Odette knows can help her could also find out her own secret and turn her over to the margrave, but she has no choice. Jorgen and Odette will band together to stop the dangerous poaching ring . . . and fall in love. But what will the margrave do when he discovers his forester is protecting a notorious poacher?

Genre(s): Christian, Romance.

Favorite Quote: Jorgen kissed her like a man dying of thirst and she was the only source of water.

Age Range: I would recommend this to ages 14+ due to hunting and romance.

POV: Switches between Odette and Jorgen.

Stars: 5/5

My thoughts:
I was super impressed by this book. Melanie’s other books are YA and she did a fantastic job of transitioning to an adult story. I enjoy Melanie’s characters and her writing.

I love Odette’s personality. She loves the orphans, and her goal is to care for them because she didn’t have anyone to love her when she was younger. When situations get hard she displays patience and kindness instead of anger.

The bickering between Odette and Brother Phillip had me laughing! They both used scripture to argue, and Brother Phillip took offense. It definitely had to be one of my favorite scenes.

I did not see the plot twist coming! It happened, and I was like “Wha-?!” This was great because I hate it when the storyline is predictable.

Thank you, Melanie Dickerson, for another fantastic read!

Author’s websites: Facebook and Blog

I received this book from the author (Melanie Dickerson) in exchange for my honest review

Book Review: Burning Sky by Lori Benton

BSCover_FINALfrontvsmTitle:  Burning Sky

Author: Lori Benton

Series?  No

Cliffhanger?  No

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Author’s blog: http://loribenton.blogspot.com/

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

About the book:
Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path. Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence—her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.

When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision. Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky? And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into in her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm? In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.

Willa is a woman caught between two worlds. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman called Burning Sky must find a new courage–the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow. Is she brave enough to love again?

 

My Review:
I feel that 3 stars might be a bit harsh for this book. I did enjoy it. Mostly. And I feel that the book is well written. And it started out really promising. But it lulled in the middle and I found myself quickly losing interest. It seems like a book that is suppose to be really good. It just did not click with me.

I love reading books about native americans and the settlers on the frontier. I was so looking forward to this one! The beginning was beautiful. The characters were well developed and vividly drawn. It was quite easy to place myself into the story.

But around the middle the book started feeling long. At first I kept reading hoping it would pick up again, then I started skimming.

I already knew what would happen between Neil, Willa, Joseph, and the children. I mean, it was pretty obvious! There did not seem to be much happening at all. Just the endless waiting. Waiting for a letter from Albany. Waiting for Willa to open up to Neil. Waiting for autumn and the auction.

I feel really mixed feeling for Joseph. I really liked his character! And even though he has a beautifully heartbreaking ending, I can’t help but feel like he got the short end of the stick. He lost nearly everything he had.  And what about his dreams? I kept waiting for something of that to come back up! I suppose I am to just accept that he was there for Willa when she needed him most, but there could have been more.

I wonder if I would have liked the book better if it was written in first person. Willa is the main character, but there were times where it was hard to connect with her. I found myself connecting better with Neil than Willa. I would have loved to ‘get inside’ Willa’s head. I know we saw some of her thoughts, but it was not written the way a book in first person would be written. I feel I could have connected with Willa better if I could see her better.

In the end I liked the book. It was beautiful and sad, but nothing startling or stunningly amazing. Just a good solid read.

Book Review: Golden: A Retelling of “Rapunzel” by Cameron Dokey


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Title:  Golden: A Retelling of Rapunzel

Author: Cameron Dokey

Series?  Part of the “Once Upon a Time” series.  As far as I can tell, they are unrelated fairy tale retellings.

Cliffhanger?  No.

Publisher: Simon Pulse

 

 

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

About the book:
Before Rapunzel’s birth, her mother made a dangerous deal with the sorceress Melisande: If she could not love newborn Rapunzel just as she appeared, she would surrender the child to Melisande. When Rapunzel was born completely bald and without hope of ever growing hair, her horrified mother sent her away with the sorceress to an uncertain future. 

After sixteen years of raising Rapunzel as her own child, Melisande reveals that she has another daughter, Rue, who was cursed by a wizard years ago and needs Rapunzel’s help. Rue and Rapunzel have precisely “two nights and the day that falls between” to break the enchantment. But bitterness and envy come between the girls, and if they fail to work together, Rue will remain cursed…forever.

 

My Review:

The premise of the story is interesting. We have a bald Rapunzel being raised like a daughter to a sorceress. For a while there is nothing about hair or a tower or a prince. And it quickly convinced me that Rapunzel would never grow hair. So how is this a retelling of the famous story?

I also found it very intriguing that the sorceress’s gift was to see into the hearts of others, and she could reflect that heart back to them. While at first this was only an interesting feature to the story, it plays a major roll later.

The book started out interesting, but slow. Cameron Dokey takes a lot of time to build the world that Rapunzel lives in. And as I said before, it is not recognizable as a world past Rapunzels lived.

It does work out in the end though. We get a tower, hair(not Rapunzel’s), and a prince, though none of them came about the way I thought they would. The only thing I did have figured out was Rapunzel was never to grow hair.

I really liked the ending. The sorceress’ gift foreshadows and leads the whole story. It is all about what is seen in the heart. It is about true motives, loyalty, and learning to love.  I don’t want to give anything away, but there was one particular scene at the end that was very sweet, and made of point of making room for others in your heart.

While the story line and premise was very interesting, I did have a few problems with the writing style. Cameron Dokey personified everything. And I mean everything! I don’t mind personification, but it was way over used.

Another writing device that was over used was telling something in the beginning of the chapter, then taking the whole chapter to explain it. Such as, “It was the cat who decided things in the end.” Then taking the whole chapter to explain how the cat even fits in. And it did not actually ‘decide’ things; it just created a diversion and a bond between two characters. Again, I don’t mind authors that do this, but it was overused in this story.

Overall, I liked the story, but the writing could have been better. I like that it was not the typical Rapunzel tale. Although it is not a favorite, it is a good little book.