Timey-wimey, Robin Hood, & All the Feels (Defying Shadows Review)

My review is below, but first I just wanted to mention something!

Defying Shadows HAS BEEN NOMINATED for the August edition of a thing called Clash of the Titles, which YOU can help with by popping over HERE to vote (through August 31) on one of four featured books — which one sounds most interesting to you.

So shoo! Go vote!! 😀 Hurry! Time’s a-wasting!

(Get it…? Time…? Ahem.)

Then come back here and read this review because you don’t want to miss out on hearing all about a timey-wimey Robin Hood-ish adventure, right? 😉

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My Review

defyingshadowsDefying Shadows

(book #3 in the Rising Shadows Trilogy)

by Ashley Townsend

Age range: YA

Genre: Christian / Romance / Time Travel / Historical Fiction / Contemporary

Bonus: Retelling / Robin Hood

5starrating

“I laughed, I cried . . . it moved me, Bob.”*

*(Sorry to go all VeggieTales on you but the quote seemed appropriate. Ahem.)

THIS BOOK, PEOPLE. This review is going to be one of the hardest ones I’ve ever written, because almost all of my favorite things about it are in major spoiler territory… But part of the fun is going on this plot-twisty journey of discovery yourself when you read the book, so I’ll try to keep my review spoiler-free! 🙂

The third book in the Rising Shadows trilogy by Ashley Townsend, Defying Shadows, finally wraps up the adventures of Sarah and her friends in Serimone—and what a wrap-up! *flailing*

This book had EVERYTHING. List, because lists are grand:

  • time travel and everything timey-wimey involved with that
  • historical fiction of a medieval variety
  • contemporary parts
  • sweet adorable romance
  • threads of Christian faith
  • a retelling-of-sorts involving Robin Hood (!!!)
  • mystery and intrigue
  • all sorts of different character arcs
  • PLOT TWISTS AND REVEALS GALORE
  • swashbuckling action
  • heartfelt parts
  • humor/banter/character relationships that are so fun to read
  • even a dash of nautical adventure!

It just has EVERYTHING, I tell you.

(I also feel like this series would make a stunningly gorgeous awesome movie or TV show. XD Somebody get on that.)

I loved the time-travel stuff—it was BRILLIANT and made me happy. 🙂 Just… everything time related was so cool. In the first two, it’s basically a “portal” method to get Sarah into Serimone, and doesn’t do much beyond that, which was fine. BUT IN THIS ONE IT WAS SO INVOLVED. So much timey-wimey going on. And I loved that. 😀

There were so many revelations and plot twists, which I so enjoyed! I guessed a few of them, but if anything that made me love it even MORE, simply because I was so excited to see them unfold the way I wanted them to. 😀 It blew my mind SO. MANY. TIMES. and made me so excited and I just loooooved that.

The romance element was so sweet. Really enjoyed it! It wasn’t the main focus of the plot, so there was a lot of other stuff going on, but it weaved in really well. Will and Sarah are ADORBZ and PERFECT together and I don’t know if I ever shipped anyone so hard. XD …Okay, I was really shipping a certain other spoilery side-couple there too. 😉 SO MUCH SPOILERS BUT SO WONDERFUL. ❤

And the retelling/Robin Hood stuff!!! It made me so happy and it was so unique and awesome, loose but still noticeable, and I just… ksldkjfalsdkjf I CANNOT BE COHERENT UPON THIS SUBJECT. I will try though. 😉 Okay, so I ADORED how the retelling stuff came out in this book. Between that and the characters and the time stuff, those three totally made Defying Shadows AMAZING for me!!! ❤ *hugs book* It was completely brilliant how the Robin Hood things were slipped in, kind of subtly sometimes, recognizable in their way and yet with such NEW twists. AWK IT WAS AMAZING. *flailing around* It’s killing me not to expound upon the subject because I loved SO many particular aspects of it, but I don’t want to give anything away. Needless to say, it’s AWESOME and everyone must read it just for the Robin Hood ish elements. Because Robin Hood things are awesome and that is all that needs to be said upon the subject. *nods* (BUT TWISTS THOUGH.)

Defying Shadows was definitely a feelsy book—the emotions run deep, y’all! It made me laugh and smile and get excited and get angry (in a good way) and feel torn and left me teary-eyed a couple times, which isn’t all that common for this here reader… It made my feels a bit of a mess (who am I kidding—a LARGE MESS AWK) and I normally get annoyed at books for doing that but this one was just right and I didn’t actually mind. ^_^ (For those who don’t know me: this is a MAJOR deal. Props to the author for pulling it off.)

I enjoyed the first two books (Rising Shadows and Chasing Shadows), but this one I really LOVED. I was daunted by its size, but while I was reading it, it didn’t seem long at all—it was just the right size and needed that length because of ALL the things that happen. I would also say the writing is AMAZING in this book. It’s improved a lot since the first two. (They were by no means bad! But with this one, the writing has grown by leaps and bounds!) It’s exciting to watch an author grow from book to book, and I’d say Ashley Townsend has definitely come into her own. This book was so well written. Huge thumbs-up on all of that!

Do I have any complaints? Honestly, hardly any. I had a couple minor nitpicks along the way about characters doing things where I was like “WHYYYY, GUYS??” or coming to odd-seeming conclusions, but otherwise the book held together and was amazing on the whole. 🙂 I am very much on the fence with mixed feelings over the epilogue, though… There’s a part of me that likes it because it was a brilliant epilogue, but there’s another part which would have rather had it end on the simply INCREDIBLE high note of the actual ending of the final chapter! ❤ The epilogue was bittersweet (to me at least) which is not my sort of cup of tea? But I’m probably weird and most people will probably love it, so. 😛

Okay, character time. 😉 I loved being back with these characters in Serimone—it was like coming home. ❤

  • Will is of course AWESOME and my favoritest of all. <333 His story-arc was the best. I so enjoyed reading about him in this book! I think he came really far and he’s just… I HAVEN’T WORDS. He’s just such a great guy, heroic and a little dark/sad sometimes, but still learning things, and he’ll do anything for those he loves, and just… WILL. Will Will Will. That is all. ❤
  • Sarah really grew on me in this one! She actually kind of annoyed me at times in the first two? But this time I liked her! I actually felt a lot of the things she was feeling, which is different for me. XD She’s a good heroine. *thumbs up*
  • Damien is… ACK MY FEELS FOR DAMIEN. In Chasing Shadows, he was funny and charming and all, but I spent so much time while I was reading that one, worrying that Sarah would fall for him instead of Will, so that Damien was very much the unwanted-corner-of-the-love-triangle/villain, for me. I didn’t totally dislike him, because his charm DID get to me and sometimes I felt bad for him, but I didn’t see what Sarah saw in him, because Will was so much more awesome. 😉 But in Defying Shadows, Damien had a lot of focus and character stuff involved, AND THE AUTHOR MADE ME LOVE HIM TOO. I’m super impressed. I went from hating this guy to feeling bad for him to really liking him, and his whole plot in this story just… salskdjldkj. I have many feelings that I can’t sort out. I will say nothing more because oh-so-many-spoilers, but wow. (And the yew tree! UGH MY FEELS. D:) But his story-arc was really well done and I liked how it fit in with the rest of the story, and I’m okay. Really. (FEELS THOUGH.)
  • And then there’s a character whose very NAME is a spoiler, so she shall remain nameless, but her story-arc was AMAZING and I loved it to pieces, which really surprised me. O_O This coming from a character I loathed for awhile but came to really like and just… I’m speechless. The talent from this author just blows me away. Not to mention how many times my mind was blown about revelations concerning this character. Speaking of mind-blowing…
  • Robert and Richard were both awesome, and my favorites. (I keep saying that, I know. WELL THEY’RE ALL MY FAVORITES.) I absolutely LOVED their roles in the story!! *bouncing up and down* You will have to read it, but suffice it to say they are awesome and the best and that is all. 😀
  • And Karen! She’s great. And I LOVED her friendship with Sarah, not to mention Karen and Seth together—just so much yes. Also Will’s friendship with Seth and Robert and Richard—I loved seeing those relationships! So much awesome bonding in this book. ^_^
  • We got new characters too, like Merek, who was cool. He’s one of those instantly  likeable characters, and all wise and everything too. He wasn’t in it for very long but I really liked him. He made me think of a Friar Tuck type character. 😀
  • Obviously I abhor the villains who shall also remain nameless and are all horrible which means they’re doing their job. XD They were just UGH. Really nefarious and well-written.

And just… SO MUCH STUFF GOING ON. I’m so amazed at how many character plot threads managed to fit in this story! So many characters had so much going on and it managed to weave together and just wow. Call me impressed.

ANYWAY. This review has gone on quite long enough (though I didn’t even flail and squeal over all the spoilery parts I loved! AWK! <3) so I shall wrap up now. In my defense, the book is long, so there’s a lot to talk about. 😉

Overall, Defying Shadows is an extremely enjoyable time-travel Christian YA romance with a dash of Robin Hood retelling, marvelous writing, lovable characters with deep story-arcs, many feels, and… overall just a lot of fun. It did a splendid job of tying up the threads of the whole series and just… it made me really happy. ^_^

I highly recommend trying Defying Shadows out! (Though you might want to read the first two books, Rising Shadows and Chasing Shadows, first so that you understand things… But hold out till the end, because Defying Shadows is the absolute BEST! ❤ )

Disclaimer and thanks: I was a beta-reader for this book before its publication, so I received a free copy of it for that, and the opinions in this review are entirely my own. Many thanks to the author, the lovely Ashley Townsend, for the chance to go on this journey through Serimone with Will and Sarah and the gang! I had a blast and I think a part of my heart will remain with them. ^_^

About the Book

defyingshadows

One choice can define your future.

At first, Sarah’s return to twelfth century Serimone is as wonderful as she could have hoped—reconnecting with Will and celebrating the union of her two friends—but things quickly fall to pieces when she uncovers something that could unsettle the new regime. Before she can share this information, Sarah is forcibly whisked away by the one man she thought she’d never see again: Damien Lisandro, the friend who betrayed her and the traitor who was supposed to spend his life behind bars. Even more unsettling is the revelation that the mystery they had solved is far from over as a dead man comes back to life with the intent of corrupting the future.

In Will’s desperate attempts to find Sarah, he uncovers the mystery that she left behind, putting into question the kingdom’s past and the motives of its current king. But the madman whose mission it is to change history will stop at nothing until he succeeds, and a team of ragtag time travelers are the only ones left who can stop him.

As this exciting chapter of her life nears its end, Sarah must finally choose between Serimone and her world–between the easy choice and the right one.

Defying Shadows released July, 2016.

Find it online:

Amazon | Goodreads


Check out the first two books in the series & my reviews for them:

Rising Shadows (#1)

risingshadowscovernew

My Review | Goodreads | Amazon

Chasing Shadows (#2)

chasingshadows

My Review | Goodreads | Amazon

About Ashley Townsend

ashleytownsendAshley is a young twenty-something who has been spinning tales since she discovered that her wild imagination and love of storytelling could make a career. Reading and writing are her way of experiencing grand adventures from home, and she hopes that others will join in her fantastical escapades! She is a native to bookstores, coffee shops, the beach, and San Diego, CA. She hopes that God will use her wild imagination and love of storytelling to further entertain and encourage readers in their walk with God.  She currently lives in Southern California with her parents and three sisters.

Follow her quirkiness at Ashley-Townsend.com.

So, what think ye, readers? Robin Hood + Time Travel = pretty awesome, huh? 😀 Do you enjoy retellings, and what’s the best time travel book you’ve read?

Kate’s Innocence by Sarah Holman – Audiobook Review

katesinnocenceaudioKate’s Innocence

(Kate’s Case Files, #1)

by Sarah Holman

Christian Fiction /  Contemporary / Mystery / Suspense / FBI

Audiobook version from Audible.com, narrated by Sheri Sheridan.

5 stars — Awesome!

My Review

I had been meaning to read this book for awhile, and was planning on getting to it soon… when the author asked if I’d like to be a reviewer for the audiobook version from Audible.com. I had never reviewed an audiobook before, or used Audible, but it sounded like fun, so I thought why not jump on this? I’m very glad I did!

The Story

I don’t read a lot of contemporary, mystery sort of stories, and agent-y stories even less, but I found this one intriguing for the most part.

The book as a whole kept my attention the whole time and was rather gripping — I was on the edge of my seat more than once, and let me tell you, I was pretty worried about some of the characters there for awhile! The mystery was interesting and kept me reading. I will say I made one early guess as to whodunnit which was incorrect but quickly moved on to the one which turned out right, so I’m pleased on that account. 😉

It had some action and tension tossed together with some fun (always a plus!) and varied characters. Occasional things bothered me but overall it seemed very well researched, and it’s quite clean. Also different since the heroine is at college and I don’t feel like I read a lot of that…

I think it took me a little while to fully connect with the characters and get to know them at a deeper level, but by the end they kind of wormed their way into my heart and I was sort of inwardly squealing over the final scene. Cuties. ^_^ They’re fun together. I always liked Patrick; Kate was all right and at least I was rooting for her; Kim wasn’t there much but was nice, and the same with Brian; Logan was interesting (I love her gun and skirt). Thomas was a little annoying at times but that may have been the narration turning him into a bit more of an antagonist? But I really liked him by the end. Like I said, it took awhile, but by now I’m looking forward to more adventures with this team. 🙂

The Christian messages were well done. I liked how Patrick used Bible verses to comfort Kate — great scene — and I really liked the themes of trusting God instead of doing it on your own, and how He is still there for us even when we feel we’ve abandoned Him and can’t imagine He would still want us — well, He does. Those were both good reminders. (It is the most Christian FBI team I’ve ever heard of; but there you go. ;)) Anyhow, I liked the message.

As far as downsides, a few things bugged me, including some things I can’t quite put my finger on. Why didn’t they think of security cameras way earlier on? Why was the murder hardly mentioned, as if a death was less serious than blown up buildings where no one was killed? Why were they so biased against Kate and then didn’t bat an eye at the suspiciousness of someone obviously suspicious to me? (Okay, that may have been for the plot, but still. ;)) Kate didn’t seem to always act like someone who had been in the military and a few of the attitudes of the characters felt narrow-minded or judgmental toward others.

Those are a few examples off the top of my head. But overall they were little things that didn’t detract too much from the story — I just absorbed and enjoyed it. 🙂

The Audio

The audiobook is narrated by Sheri Sheridan, and I really enjoyed getting to listen to it. She was a pleasant narrator and did some great voices and got some of the emotion and action down really well. Hearing it in audio form like this was almost like watching a movie or TV show! I was very immersed in the story and it was very fun. 🙂

My only problem with the audio version was that the “extras” (dedication, author’s notes, acknowledgements, etc.) at the beginning and end seemed like they repeated? Which was kind of annoying. Unless it was my own total lack of knowledge regarding Audible audiobooks (which I’d never used before), which is entirely possible. *shrug*

I do wonder what I would have thought of some of it if I had read instead of heard it… I speculate that I may have liked Kate less and Thomas more if I didn’t listen to the audio version. But that’s just speculation, so I’m not sure.

Anyways, I definitely recommend picking up an audio copy if you want to give this adventure a try! I’m sure the book is enjoyable to read as well, but there’s something special about absorbing it this way, and it was a nice way to pass the time while I was exercising or folding laundry. 🙂

Conclusion

Overall, it was an enjoyable read and I loved going along for the adventure with this cast. If you like mysteries, agents, FBI, contemporary, Christian stories, with possibly a dash of hints at a maybe-someday-romance (Maybe? 😀 *wriggles eyebrows*), then be sure to give a go at reading Kate’s Innocence! Or if you’d rather feel like you’re watching a TV show, let Sheri Sheridan read it to you. 😉 Either way, you’re in for an enjoyable ride. 🙂

(I received a free audiobook edition of this book from Audible.com from the author in exchange for my honest review.)

About the Book

katesinnocence

What would you do if you were accused of a crime you didn’t commit?

Kate watched as her campus was torn apart by bombs and now is being accused of perpetrating the crime. As the evidence quickly stacks up against her, she begins to lose hope that the truth will come to light. Even though the handsome FBI Agent, Patrick, has taken up her cause, will they be able to prove her innocence? Will God, who she neglected for so long, listen to her prayers for help?

Patrick is an agent with a very special team of agents. He wants to help Kate prove she is innocent, but as each new piece of evidence is revealed, that goal seems harder. He wonders why he feels so compelled to help her and so sure she is innocent despite the evidence. Will he be willing to put his job on the line to help her? Can he trust in God to make sure the truth will come out in the end?

Find it online:

Audible (Audiobook) | Amazon (book) | Goodreads (book) | Goodreads (Audiobook)

Giveaways! (Giveaway Ended)

Want to win a copy of the audiobook? Sarah Holman is holding a giveaway for it! Go check out this post where we’re introduced to Sheri Sheridan, who did the narration for Kate’s Innocence, and if you scroll down to the bottom there’s a giveaway for the Kate’s Innocence audiobook, running till the end of August, I believe. Anyways, check it out if you’re interested! (And if you read this review, I’m assuming you are. ;))

That’s just one of several giveaways that Sarah is holding on her blog during the month of August, so if you’ve been meaning to try some of Sarah’s stories, now’s your chance! So go on with you, check out her blog and enter the giveaways! ^_^

(Giveaways in August 2016 at www.thedestinyofone.com)

About Sarah Holman (Author)

sarahholmanauthorphotoSarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of many published books and short stories. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.

You can find her online at her author blog, www.TheDestinyOfOne.com. She is also the administrator at www.HomeschooledAuthors.com.

About Sheri Sheridan (narrator)

Audiobook narrator of Kate’s Innocence and other books. Check out Sheri Sheridan’s website, Facebook, and the very fun interview/intro with her that was posted on Sarah Holman’s blog! 🙂

What do you think? Do you ever listen to audiobooks and do you like them? Why or why not? How about FBI-type mystery books? Tell all in the comments!

Kidnappings, Siblings, & Ireland (The Silent Blade Review/Blogtour)

Blog Tour - the Silent Blade

Today I’m joining in on the blog tour for The Silent Blade by Jesseca Wheaton, which releases today! (Lookit that gorgeous cover! *internally shrieking* Ahem…)

Here’s the info about the book, the author, a giveaway, my review, and links to the rest of the tour. 🙂

About the Book:

The Silent Blade Kindle Front

Dromiskin, Ireland. 925 A.D.

Eira has no greater desire than to see her life returned to what it once was—before her older brother Kevin’s sudden disappearance four years earlier. But the simple life she hoped for seems unattainable; on the contrary, her life is about to get all the more complicated.

When she suddenly finds herself and Willem, her twin brother, taken captive by someone who claims to be Kevin’s enemy, things go from bad to worse. It soon becomes clear that she and Willem are to become bait in a trap set for Kevin, and Eira knows she must try to warn him. But how, when she herself is a captive?

As mysteries of the past are unveiled, and loyalties are revealed, Eira realizes how precious her friends truly are. And when mortal danger threatens those nearest to her, will she be able to trust God with the lives of her friends and family?

Find the book:

Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Goodreads


About the Author:

Author-pic

Jesseca is an 18-year old daughter, sister, and a child of God. Her days are spent reading, cooking, spending time with siblings, or playing piano.  And writing, of course! At an early age words fascinated her, and her love for the printed page has only grown. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the sunny state of Kansas, and she’s convinced there’s no place like home.

Visit her online at her blog, Whimsical Writings.

Giveaway:

Enter the awesome giveaway Jesseca’s holding as part of the tour, for a copy of The Silent Blade and a giftcard, here!

****Giveaway Link****

My Review

The Silent Blade Kindle FrontThe Silent Blade

by Jesseca Wheaton

YA / Juv. Fiction / Christian / Historical Fiction

I received a free Advance Reader e-Copy of this book from the author (thanks, Jesseca!) in exchange for my honest review, and these opinions are my own.

***

4 stars out of 5

I don’t read much historical fiction, but I love Ireland and this book sounded intriguing, so I decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did! I wish I’d read it when I was younger because I have a feeling I would have ADORED it then… As it was, I still enjoyed it rather. 🙂

I loved most of the characters! They were a definite highlight. 🙂 Kevin, the older brother, was so nice and cool. Willem, the heroine’s twin, was sweet and wonderful. ^_^ Great brothers! I enjoyed reading about them. Casimir was epic! (I wish I’d known he was the Chieftain’s son at the beginning… or even that there WAS a chieftain…? Instead of learning it at the end, because that would have made him even cooler. XD) A lot of other side characters were really interesting too. Rowen and Stace, for instance — they were great! As were Aeden and Diarmuid and Cian, especially when they were all mysterious early on… 😉 LOVED that. So much epic.

Along that note, can we take a moment to appreciate the amazing Celtic names in this book? Okay? Okay. LOVE THE NAMES.

There was a light thread of romance later, which was sweet. ^_^ (Though seriously, Eira: PAY ATTENTION. Ahem. XD)

I enjoyed the humor. 🙂 The character interactions and a lot of the banter made it fun to read, and I do love a bit of fun in my books. 😉

There was a strong Christian aspect, which I enjoyed. The characters quote scripture often and pray a lot and I liked how their prayers felt natural. Between the strong faith theme and one of family/sibling closeness threaded through the story, it had some good things to say. 🙂

I also loved how it ended! Especially since I read a book recently that disappointed me in the ending department, so I really appreciate this one’s ending… It left me feeling happy, at least! (I was curious what will happen to a certain character though. o.o)

As for things I didn’t love as much… I will say that I felt like some of it was historically inaccurate. I couldn’t understand why some of the characters did what they did, so some of the plot didn’t hold together for me, I guess. I also didn’t like the heroine, Eira, too much; which is probably just me, since I don’t tend to like her tough-girl, obsessed-with-swords, can’t-cook-to-save-her-life (literally) sort of type, so I’m sure many people will enjoy her. 🙂 I just didn’t get along with her, thought she acted beneath her age of sixteen, and found it odd that she didn’t seem to know how to do anything other than sword-fight? That was just weird to me. 😛 (Sometimes I liked her okay, and I do love her name. ;)) Like I said, I think I miiight be a little too old for it since a lot of it was on a smaller scale and felt like bullies versus kids instead of grown men versus older teens/other men, and I have a feeling at a younger age I wouldn’t have noticed the above complaints and would have just enjoyed the adventure and the action and all of that. But, again, could just be me!

Despite all of that, it kept my interest, was intriguing and at times exciting, and I couldn’t put it down. 🙂

I might’ve given it 3 and a half stars… but considering that I would have loved it a few years ago, and that it kept me addicted to turning pages and wrapped up nicely, I’m bumping it up to 4 stars.

An enjoyable light read for anyone who likes historical fiction, siblings-stories, a Christian message, and cool Irish names. 🙂

Check out the rest of the tour below!

Wednesday, July 20th

Thursday, July 21st

Friday, July 22nd (Publication Day!)

Saturday, July 23rd

Monday, July 25th

 So, what do you think, readers all? Don’t you LOVE those names? 😀 Do you like sibling stories and Ireland? ^_^

Superpowers, Cookies, & Penguins (Twinepathy Review/Blogtour)

TwinepathyBlogTour2

Today I’m joining in on the Blog Tour for the newly-released book Twinepathy by C.B. Cook! I’m very excited. 😀 SUPERPOWERS AND STUFF, Y’ALL. It’s awesome. ❤ (Okay, maybe there weren’t actual penguins, but there could have been, and they were discussed… *cough*)

I’ll be sharing my review further along in the post…

But firstly, a bit about the author (who’s an awesome person, FYI), the book, and the Book Tour schedule!

The tour will be running this whole week and will have bunches of fun involved, including book reviews, author interviews and even character interviews (YESSS)!

Author Bio:

C.B. Cook is just a girl trying to find out where her King is guiding her, while writing the stories of the people she creates, the worlds she wants to live in, and the adventures she dreams about. Also known as a mysterious creature called an “author”. She’s a Christian and a home school graduate dedicated to changing others’ lives through the power of the written word.

Visit her online at TheWorldOfTheWriter.Wordpress.com

About the Book:

twinepathycoverKINDLE

Albany York has a secret.

Albany and her twin sister, Brooklyn, have spent years successfully hiding their telepathic connection. But when a girl falls unconscious at their doorstep, the girls learn that they might not be the only people in the world with extraordinary powers and that a memory thief is on the loose. As the twins try to help the girl find her memories, they discover that the superhero world might be bigger—and more dangerous—than they ever imagined.

Find Twinepathy here:

Amazon | Goodreads


Tour Schedule

Sunday, July 17th
Depth of my Faith – Character and Author Interview
Beyond the Amethyst – Book Review
Monday, July 18th
Musings of an Elf – Author Interview
The Road of a Writer – Book Review (You are HERE. XD)
Tuesday, July 19th
Light and Shadows – Author Interview
Lilyorphaned – Book Review
Wednesday, July 20th
Breathing in the Pages – Book Review
WritingAnyone – Character Interview and Book Review
Writefury – Character Interview
Thursday, July 21st
Claire M. Banschbach – Author Interview
Sherwood Storyteller – Author Interview
Friday, July 22nd
Elvish Pen’s Fantastical Writings – Author Interview and Book Review
Saturday, July 23rd
Thoughts of a Word Collector – Author Interview
Thriving Hope – Book Review

My Review

twinepathycoverKINDLE

Twinepathy

(Series: IDIA, #1)

by C. B. Cook

YA / Contemporary / Fantasy/Sci-fi / Thriller/Suspense/Mystery / Superheroes/Superpowers

[I received a free Advance Reader e-Copy of this book from the author (thanks muchly, C.B.!) in exchange for my honest review, and these opinions are my own.]

5starrating

Things I don’t often read include contemporary novels, superhero tales (this may be my first? O_O), and first-person-present-tense (which normally I loathe but in this case I quickly got used to and forgot about). But while Twinepathy had all of those things, I greatly enjoyed it! 🙂

A few overall thoughts and then I’ll do the rest of the review in list form (because lists are obviously the best).

It was exciting, gripping, and I couldn’t put it down (I read the whole thing in two days). It’s a fairly quick read, and feels in a way sort of like the pilot episode of a TV show — an awesome, well-put-together intro, with more to come. Its own contained story, but also introducing a lot of things which will continue… I might have wished to get deeper into some of the characters and goings-on, but the quick feeling of the story lines up with the episodic feel, so that just makes me eager for more books. 😉

Okay, lists!

Things I LOVED:

  • Mostly, I really enjoyed how FUN this book was. There are obviously some more exciting/deep bits too, but overall the feel is very lighthearted and just a fun romp. The characters and banter were some of my favorites, and there’s jokes and camaraderie and fun dialog and bickering. I just ENJOYED this book a lot. FUNNN.
  • The superpowers, which were SO cool. Telepathy, teleportation… I won’t give them all away here, since part of the joy of the story is running into all these fun, awesome superpowers, but I really enjoyed all the superpowers. They were soooo enjoyable to read about and felt original and fresh to me. 🙂 (Admittedly I haven’t read anything like this before. But I loved them. :D)
  • The plot. It’s a mystery involving a MEMORY THIEF. Need I say more?
  • ALL THE HINTS. Seriously, I’m soooo curious about so many things! There were so many hints at different plot things and characters and their backstories… I’m just really curious to find out more about all of it! I NEEEED more books ASAP. 😀
  • The settings. America, a touch of London, and Antarctica! I mean, how cool is Antarctica? (Pretty cool, considering the temperature… but I digress.) Popping to a couple different places around the world a time or two was great fun and gave it an extra exciting aura.
  • COOKIES! That is all. (I need the recipe of a certain super-awesome agent’s cookies. *cough*) I mean seriously, it’s so fun that they’re running around doing superhero stuff and take time to make and/or eat cookies. Somebody has their priorities in order. *nods*
  • Real life + superpowers. I appreciate how Albany and Brooklyn had to work in their adventures around school and family and having to get home to eat dinner (props for actual meals happening!). They’re just normal teenagers (haha, okay, so not really; but you know what I mean) and have to fit life and crazy superpower stuff together, and that feels realistic. 😉
  • It felt really vivid and colorful. Like, I could see everything SO clearly. It just has this bright feel that I absolutely loved.
  • It’s clean and enjoyable and lacks the annoyances I have with many contemporary books.
  • The writing. The writing was quick and quippy and occasionally there would be some line that I giggled at the fun of it, or grinned over its cleverness.

Character run-down: (Yay! This cast is a rollick. :D)

  • Albany & Brooklyn are twins, which gives them automatic awesome-points. Albany is the “I” of the story, since she narrates it. She and I did not always get along, but overall I liked her. Brooklyn is so nice and sometimes ended up a little more in the background but I really liked her too. Twins, guys. TWINS. Yesss. These two are fun to read about, especially their telepathic connection. 😀
  • Maddie is cute and such a sweet thing, the poor darling. I love her muchly.
  • Jen is so intriguing… I occasionally felt unsure of her, since some of her authority-figure part of the story brought her dangerously close to the edge where I could have ended up disliking her… but that never happened because she’s super (haha, see what I did there?) interesting and I’m so curious about her! Jen’s basically really cool.
  • Denver was really grumpy at first but he grew on me. XD
  • Ezra‘s name startled me because I’m used to that being a boy’s name. Whoops. But she was neat, and I love seeing a girl hacker! That was new.
  • I’m not sure what I think of Keller… Hmm. She’s a tough cookie, that one.
  • Finch was cool too. I felt kinda bad for him… Poor lad.
  • Anvil. (Saving the best for last here…) ANVIL IS A PRECIOUS BURNT MARSHMALLOW AND THE BEST AND NEEDS HIS OWN BOOK. THAT IS ALL. (Seriously, Anvil is AWESOME and I wish he’d been in it more. I definitely want to see more of him. But I will say no more concerning this possible favorite or at least tying-for-favorite character of mine lest I spoil the story. *nods* I love Anvil though. ❤ )
  • Blaze gets to go last of all because oh boy, he’s going to get a long point on this list! He’s fun and charming and I LOVE his superpowers. As I said while I was reading it, a cocky teleporter bringing donuts? Yep, I like this guy. Not to mention his other superpower… >:D He has a generally cheerful nature, like an excitable puppy, but he also has a secret side which I’m verrry curious about. He’s hilarious and loyal and he seems to try to hide his more serious side and pretend he’s all fun and games but I think there’s more to him. I’m so CURIOUS about this guy — so many questions! *waits anxiously for a sequel or three* I definitely need more of him. 😀 He just brings such charm and mischief to the group, and the way he interacts with the twins (especially Albany) and everyone else was one of my favorite things about the book. Blaze is just awesome. ❤

Things I didn’t like as much: (Minor, unimportant things…)

  • I wish there’d been more with the twins and their telepathy. I liked it and them on the whole, I just felt like there could have been more?
  • There were a few things I wish had been explained better (why they didn’t use their connection much, or in school, for instance), especially when they were trying to “get out of” things and I wanted to see the entire conversation so I could know if it actually worked. XD Sometimes it seemed like there MIGHT be plotholes, but I wasn’t sure since there wasn’t enough info explained.
  • It was slightly irksome that things kept being Albany’s fault; I mean seriously, poor girl. 😛 She didn’t HAVE to be clumsy that time, and she didn’t have to singlehandedly… well… THAT thing near the end. Ahem.
  • They lied to poor Denver a lot, which I understand under the circumstances, but still, poor guy… (Their parents too. Possibly unavoidable under the circumstances, but still unfortunate. :P)
  • There seemed to be a contradiction where they acted like it was okay for one character to manipulate another’s emotions to get him to do what they wanted . . . and then a little later they got furious at another character for manipulating a couple of people’s minds to . . . also get what they wanted? It seemed really similar to me. I’m just confused, is all. 😛

As always with superpowers etc., ESPECIALLY with mind-reading ones, there were probably plot things that could have been solved quicker than the characters actually did… but if there was anything of the sort I ignored it and just had fun with the story. Because SUPERPOWERS, come on! 😀 All in all, it really only had minor problems (and they’re probably just my own opinion anyway!) and I don’t really care because I just enjoyed the book so much. ^_^

Overall, aside from a couple minor points, it was awesome and I loved it! It’s exciting and cool and fun and just a great light read. I’m verrry much looking forward to book 2 and I highly recommend this one! 🙂

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the book tour going on this week! 🙂

What do you think, readers mine? Sound like fun? (It IS.) Have you read any superpower books? (Recommendations, anyone?) What superpower is your favorite? 😀 Thanks for reading! ^_^

The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson (Review)

beautifulpretenderThe Beautiful Pretender

(Thornbeck/Medieval Fairy Tale Romance, #2)

by Melanie Dickerson

Adult Christian Romance / Fairy Tale Retelling / Beauty and the Beast & The Princess and the Pea

Published May 17, 2016 by Thomas Nelson


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My Review of The Beautiful Pretender

5starrating

5 stars

I loved this book so much! Definitely a favorite of Melanie Dickerson’s books, for me. Ever since meeting the Margrave of Thornbeck Forest in the first book in this series (THE HUNTRESS OF THORNBECK FOREST), I simply couldn’t wait to read THE BEAUTFUL PRETENDER to get his story. I liked this one even more than the first book!

Although THE BEAUTIFUL PRETENDER is a sequel, it can very easily be read alone (though readers of the first book will be delighted, as I was, to see Jorgen and Odette, the hero and heroine of the first book, throughout this one!). If you haven’t read the first book, no worries — just read this one right away because it’s even better! Adults and young adults alike would I think enjoy it. (I don’t recall anything about it that teens wouldn’t be okay reading. :))

I have a thing for fairy tales, so the retelling aspect was awesome. It was somewhat subtle at times, much like it was in the first book, but I could definitely see the hints of the Beauty and the Beast and Princess and the Pea plots. It was fabulous! I loved seeing them weave throughout the plot, so much a part of it but also so original. I was quite impressed with that.

It also got rather exciting, especially later in the book. So much excitement! Peril and plots and deception and wolves and fire and mystery and all of that thrilling stuff. I also absolutely LOVE how the book turned out at the end! Not to give anything away, but that ending was super satisfying! 😉

The setting was also splendid — a castle in medieval Germany, yay! I just want to live at Thornbeck Castle in Thornbeck Forest in the snow!

The characters in this book were splendid. Let me go through them:

Reinhart, the margrave, was incredibly awesome. He’s very much of the “Beast” type of character, gruff and stern and growly, but he’s also a fundamentally great guy, just embittered at the world about his injured ankle and having to choose a wife when he doesn’t want to. He was my favorite! I really felt for him, and his dark, grouchy, short-tempered, man-of-few-words personality was so fun to read about. Beneath it all he’s actually noble and awesome.

Avelina was a wonderful main character. Her struggles with having to impersonate a Lady when she’s only a servant, were really interesting to read about. I also love her name! She and Reinhart have the best romance story — I loved it so much! Melanie Dickerson pens another sweet love story which was so enormously enjoyable to read. Especially with how complicated their story is… 😉 I also really loved the alternating viewpoints between them!

Lady Magdalen, who befriends Avelina, was another character I really liked. She was fabulous and such a good friend to Avelina. Magdalen was so NICE. With all the people being nasty to poor Avelina, it was so refreshing to read about a really sweet character like her. 🙂 I haven’t read an adorable friendship like that in a long time. It was touching and wonderful. Magdalen was so lovely and I hope we’ll see more of her in the third book…

Jorgen and Odette are pretty much Reinhart’s right-hand people in this one, so they’re in the story a lot, which was great. They’re so helpful, nice, and awesome. Loved seeing them more in this book! They really added to it in a good way.

I don’t really have any complaints. I do wish there had been more with Reinhart, maybe him talking more; but he’s not a talkative sort of person, so that was in character, I suppose… But really, no major complaints. It was just so good! I’m very much looking forward to another Thornbeck tale from Mrs. Dickerson… Her novels are always so enjoyable and this was one of the best yet! Now what are you waiting for? Go read THE BEAUTIFUL PRETENDER! Go on! 🙂

Many thanks to the author for the Advance Reader’s Copy of this book which I received in exchange for my honest review. These opinions are my own.

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About the Book

What happens when a margrave realizes he’s fallen in love with a servant?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?

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About the Author

Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama.

She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine.

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

You can find her online at www.MelanieDickerson.com.