Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis

Narnia...the world of wicked dragons and magic spells, where the very best is brought out of even the worst people, where anything can happen (and most often does)...and where the adventure begins.

The Dawn Treader is the first ship Narnia has seen in centuries. King Caspian has built it for his voyage to find the seven lords, good men whom his evil uncle Mizaz banished when he usurped the throne. The journey takes Edmund, Lucy, and their cousin Eustace to the Eastern Islands, beyond the Silver Sea, toward Aslan's country at the End of the World.

Lucy, Edmund, and their cousin Eustace, are magically transported onto the ship, Dawn Treader, where King Caspian is searching for the seven lost friends of his father. On the voyage, the children meet many fantastical creatures, including the great Aslan himself.
Review by Patrick:

This is my favorite of the series, so far. (I haven't read the last book yet, or finished the sixth.) This has a great story, with fantastic characters, amazing places, and descriptions and details that will absolutely capture your imagination. I've read this book a few times, and every time, I love it.

This story is about a ship's journey, so there is much seafaring time, but also plenty of time on islands and places on the ground too. Edmund and Lucy are back for this book, along with their cousin, Eustace and new characters. My favorite is Reepicheep, who is a mouse (albeit, a foot-tall mouse) with the courage of a lion, and the heart of a true gentleman.

This book keep you on your toes. It moves quickly, but every chapter has something new and exciting to it. The adventure, challenges, character growth, and story is worth every page. Read this one. I think it is the best of the series, and there's nobody who can tell me any different.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: Violet's Story: The Faerie War by Rachel Morgan
Violet Fairdale is in big trouble. Her home is gone, her beloved forest lies in ruins, the guy she gave her heart to has deserted her—and she doesn’t remember any of it. The powerful Lord Draven is taking over, brainwashing guardians into fighting for him. No one is safe from the evil spreading throughout the fae world.

As alliances are forged between the remaining free fae, Vi struggles to reclaim her identity and figure out where she belongs in this new world. When someone from her past shows up, life gets more complicated. He brings with him a long-forgotten weapon and an ancient prophecy that places Vi at the center of the fight against Draven. With the future of the fae world at stake, can Vi carry out the prophecy’s instructions before it’s too late?
Review: Rating- 5
Read this series! Hands down, one of my all time favorite! I have loved every moment with these characters, from the horrible moments to the sweet ones.

This book is the final book in Violet's Story and it doesn't let you down. It picks up just after we left off in the second books, The Faerie Prince. You'll be taken on a journey with Violet to get her memories back and to stop the war, but it's never like it seems.

I don't want to give anything away because these books were so enjoyable that when I finished it and I couldn't turn another page on my Kindle I just sat there staring at it for 15 minutes.
I. Didn't. Want. It. To. End.

Violet and Ryn are still very much part of this book and you even get dual point of view. I love Ryn's humor, it helps give light in an otherwise bleak world.

Overall, I can't get enough. I want more of Violet and Ryn! Really this book is full of joy and heartache and hope, you will love them.

:::Spoiler::: Why did it have to end with their parents kind of having a thing for each other?! Why? I wanted a better happy ever after for Vi and Ryn! I didn't want the awkwardness of their parents being together.

I received a copy to read and review in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis


The Pevensie siblings travel back to Narnia to help a prince denied his rightful throne as he gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king. But in the end, it is a battle of honor between two men alone that will decide the fate of an entire world.
Prince Caspian is the fourth book in C. S. Lewis's classic fantasy series, which has been drawing readers of all ages into a magical land where animals talk and trees walk for over sixty years.
Review by Patrick:

 This is yet another installment in the Chronicles of Narnia, and another good magical book. The prince (Prince Caspian) grows up without his parents, under the rule of his uncle and tyrant King Miraz. With some help, he escaped and found the magic horn that belonged to Susan. Upon blowing the horn, the four Pevensie children are drawn into the world to help save Caspian and all the talking animals from annihilation.

This story seems to me mostly about trust. Caspian trusted his advisor and teacher, who helped save his life. He also trusted a dwarf, who he hadn't know well and heard bad things about. The dwarf trusted his leader and headed to a place that was suspected to be haunted. The children all trusted (eventually) Lucy, who knew where Aslan was trying to tell them to go. And ultimately the children had to trust Aslan himself, and the fact that (spoiler alert) Peter and Susan would never return to Narnia.

This was a good book. I liked how it all kind of came together. It wasn't your typical must-take-the-ring-to-Mount-Doom-or-the-world-will-be-destroyed kind of thriller, but it was exciting. You got to see what Caspian was like and how he learned, and even who he trusted. It wasn't all battles and gore, but it was more the real (or fantasy) journey to get there. And of course, the ending was the best. It wasn't just a simple decisive victory, but a lesson in humility.

Maybe not the best book in the series, but still good. This one gets four books out of five from me. Keep reading the series.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review: Violet's Story: The Faerie Prince by Rachel Morgan

Guardian trainee Violet Fairdale is just weeks away from one of the most important occasions of her life: graduation. After messing up big time by bringing a human into the fae realm, Vi needs to step up her game and forget about Nate if she hopes to graduate as the top guardian of her year. Everything would be fine if she wasn’t forced to partner with Ryn, her ex-friend, ex-enemy, current ‘sort of friend’. They might be trying to patch up their relationship, but does she really want to spend a week undercover with him for their final assignment? On top of that, the possibly insane Unseelie Prince is still on the loose, free to ‘collect’ as many specially talented faeries as he can find—and Vi is still at the top of his list. Add in faerie queens, enchanted storms, complicated not-just-friends feelings, and a murder within the Guild itself, and graduation is about to become the least of Vi’s problems.
Review: Rating- 5+
Yes! This is what I was waiting to read! It is a top favorite for me! It had it all: suspense, intrigue, action, friendship, family, wibbly-wobby-what-just-happened-twists, and scorching romance!

The Faerie Prince is book two in the Creepy Hollow series. It picks up right where we left on in The Faerie Guardian. I thought the first book was fairly predictable. I went into this book thinking the same thing, that it would be overly predictable until the end. Oh, how I was wrong. There are so many twists and turns and loop-the-loops with the plot that it's refreshing to have this blossoming hot romance taking place at the same time.

One more note for those of you that got attached to Nate for a bit, don't worry and just keep reading. Ryn makes Nate look like the wart on a trolls bum.

Beware of the cliffhanger. You're going to get to the last few pages and it's just going to

.... end. You will want to throw your book/kindle in frustration if you don't have book 3 ready. That ending is a doozy.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Review: Violet's Story: The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan

Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until a cute human boy who can somehow see through her faerie glamor follows her into the Fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion.

The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the Fae realm. Easy, right? Not when you factor in evil faeries, long-lost family members, and inconvenient feelings of the romantic kind. Vi is about to find herself tangled up in a dangerous plot—and it’ll take all her training to get out alive.
Review: Rating- 4.5
Wow! I wasn't really expecting to love this books as much as I do. I never read books about Fae or Halflings, but I was in the mood to branch out for once and I'm glad I did. If you're looking for a bit of romance, great ribbing remarks, and a huge twist at the end then get ready to read this series.

The book started off abruptly jumping right into the story, which I loved. I don't like taking the time to learn every tiny aspect when I'm reading an action adventure story. I was a bit disappointed with how childish Violet seemed. She's 17 so she shouldn't be as immature as she was acting. I looked past this as much as I could, but it still annoyed me.

I was worried about finishing the novel because I kept guessing every tiny twist in the plot until suddenly I was left screaming at the book. I honestly didn't see THAT twist happening. I probably should have, but I was too happy to see it coming. This is why I think you should read the book. You're going to read and you're going to guess so many things even a big plot twist with Nate. Then that terrible falling off the side of the mountain thing is going to happen and you're going to be left feeling exactly like Violet, broken and betrayed and angry. Keep reading because it only gets better.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis

Narnia...where horses talk and hermits like company, where evil men turn into donkeys, where boys go into battle...and where the adventure begins.

During the Golden Age of Narnia, when Peter is High King, a boy named Shasta discovers he is not the son of Arsheesh, the Calormene fisherman, and decides to run far away to the North--to Narnia. When he is mistaken for another runaway, Shasta is led to discover who he really is and even finds his real father.
Review by Patrick:
Finished estimated on July 13, 2015
Not as well known as The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, this book is third in the Chronicles of Narnia series. This book takes place while the Pevensies are ruling Narnia, at the very end of the prior book. It also doesn't have any human children as main characters. Instead, the story is about two native children and two Narnian horses.

I actually really liked this story. It wasn't quite as "epic" as some of the other stories, but it certainly kept you on the edge of your saddle. It also had new places outside of Narnia, but still within that world. It was quite interesting to see these new places and new adventures.

This story seemed to be vary linear. It was going from straight South, to due North, with occasional stops along the way. Several times, it was how fast could they make it to their next destination, and usually for a very important reason.

I think this is a fine addition to the series, and I'm glad to have read it again. 3.5 stars from me; it's a great book.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Into the Aether: Part One and Two by T. C. Pearce

A scared teenager, Lara must battle her own inner demons … while being stalked in her nightmares by an all-too-real monster. She has only two options: run or succumb.

A courageous woman, Cybil is doing her best to piece together a new life free of her abusive husband. She is cursed with confused glimpses into future events she may not be able to change—including her own death.

An honorable warrior, and the reluctant leader of her people, August must undertake the familial obligation of protecting a seemingly ordinary high school teacher. If she shirks her duty, then the world will fall to a preternatural tyrant in search of a long-lost weapon of immense power.

Their stories weave together to reveal a mysterious supernatural world that hides just beneath our own. As chaos swirls among and around them, the three women must put aside their differences and act together, or watch two worlds collide in a deluge of fire and blood.
Review by Patrick:

I was offered this book for free to review by the authors in the audio book format through This was my first experience with, but not with audio books. I like the site and system, but that's not for this review.

This genre is right up my alley. I like the fantasy, hidden society, magical aspects of Into the Aether. Every author's take on magic, it's source, and it's cost is slightly different. The Pearces' view on magic using Aether is unique. I'm curious if it is the aether that allows the Cubi to ... do some of the stuff they do. They also redefined the Cubi, or Incubi and Succubi. For those worried parents whose children are reading this book that contains these beings, there are no sex scenes in this book... not even close. Maybe some flirtation and some romantic thoughts, but no sex. I also particularly liked the Mares. They seemed to have an interesting ability, that we probably don't see their full capability in this book.

I will have to say, the way this book was written was quite interesting. Each chapter starts with one or more characters and the chapter is written from their viewpoint(s). For the first four chapters, you get three different view points. Then you get some consecutive story telling from one group. If you can bear through the confusion of the different characters, they will all tell the same story, eventually. It may feel like you are reading three books in one, but they are interconnected. I do say I feel the need to reread the books to catch all of the intricate weavings in the early chapters.

The plot twists and turns in this book are crazy. And just when you think you figured something out, something else happens to through you for a loop again. I started reading this in the car on my way to and from work, but I ended up listening to a few hours near the end of the book in my living room. That's a high testament to the intense pace and thrill of reading this book. It's definitely a book worth reading.

A note about the audio book: Suzanne Elise Freeman did an okay job at narrating this book. You can tell by my desire to finish this book that she certainly doesn't get in the way of the story. I do, however, have a few complaints. When she's not speaking in character, it's pretty monotone. It sounds dry and not from the point of view of the chapter. Even in nonspeaking narration, I expect some emotion and flow to accompany the words. And then there is her interpretation of August. She made August sound flat and boring, no matter what her mood or temperament was. I thought, when I first heard her, that somewhere later in the book there would be some clue as to this flatness, but no. She sounded like an oracle who was never human or didn't know how to speak to one, not the powerful CEO of a company and leader that she was. This really bothered me, and lasted for the whole book. She's blind, not mute. One more small thing: her Irish and Russian sound very similar. (I probably couldn't do any better, but it's not my voice being recorded.) It will be interesting if the authors/publisher choose to keep her for the next installment, or if they will rotate out the vocal readers.

All in all, I'm glad my wife, and the authors, made me read this book. Fantastic! It was a good read, something new in magic and fiction, great plot and story, interesting characters with power and flaws. If I complain about anything it would be about the last chapter before the epilogue. There was no connection to the story, at all. I'm sure it sets up the next book, but it didn't even pique my interest yet. There was a new character, going through an event caused by some other characters in the book, but that was it. In my opinion, if it was needed for the next book, then it should have been in the next book, not this one. Other than that, it was great. There are some unanswered questions that have to be resolved, but I'm looking forward to them and their story. It will be great, I'm sure. For my review, I'm giving this book 4.5 stars.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Behemoth by Scott Westerfield

The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.

Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.

Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.
Review by Patrick:

If you haven't read my review of Leviathan, please read it first. It gives some background about what is going on generally.

This book continues the greatness started in Leviathan. Alek and Deryn are noticeably coming closer together, although there is a slight "love drama" later in the book. Don't worry, I think it all turns out alright in the end.

The main part of this book stays in one location: Istanbul. As we learned from the first book, the British (and other Darwinists) are definately not happy with the Clanker Powers, but as further evidence is seen, not all the Clankers are on the same page either. Istanbul, in this book, is the meeting of everyone. There's the British, the Austrians, the Sultan, the Germans, and even the Americans have a role to play. Then to through a kink in everything, you have the revolution. It's not quite the political read of a Tom Clancy, but we have a different audience.

The fantasy presents new elements in this book. There's the Bovril that hatched and attached to Alek. There are the elephant walkers, the Sultan's automaton, several encounters with Tesla cannons, and of course, the Behemoth itself. The world created by Westerfeld is not neglected in the imagination department. Seriously, it's amazing he has come up with this stuff.

The book ends on another cliff hanger. I have no idea how the story is going to end, or even if the British are going to win the war. (Remember, this is an alternate history.) I do know that I really want to read it, and look forward to the last book of the series, Goliath. Another 5 stars from me for this book.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.
Review by Patrick:

This is one to the timeless classics of fantasy. When someone mentions fantasy, I think of Middle Earth, Krynn, and Narnia. The most popular and well known of The Chronicles of Narnia is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which in my mind, makes it one of the entry books into the fantasy world. I think this is a great book for young readers who want to get into fantasy fiction, or readers who want to try fiction for the first time.

This book follows after The Magician's Nephew, where the world of Narnia was created. Now we get to see what happened to Jadis who was left behind in Narnia. The four children get to explore and discover this magical land, ultimately attempting to reclaim the land back for good.

This book is definitely a kids story. It's main characters are quite young during most of the book, and the pace is very quick. Each chapter develops the story significantly. It's a good light book that will not take too much time to read.

There's so much to say about this book, and yet so much that doesn't need to be said. Just about everything in this book is wonderful, and it also makes you wonder what magic exists in our real world that we just have yet to find yet. I'm giving this classic 4.5 stars.

Up Next:

A Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis
Behemoth by Scott Westerfield

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Review: Jett by Dana Pratola

When a reclusive businessman takes an interest in Haven’s artwork, she knows it’s an answer to prayer. But Jett Cestone is an enigma with a disconcerting connection to the young women in his employ. He’s by far the most unusual man she’s ever met.
Haven is the most interesting woman to ever cross Jett’s path. But she’s too na├»ve and pure to learn what goes on in his home. Too bad he wants her more than he’s wanted anyone or anything in his life.
Review: Rating- 5
I had to take some time after reading this book so I could compose this review. I have never read a book that has made me feel the way this one did. I know I will not be able to do this review justice because this book is one you just have to read to understand why I have this massive book hangover.

It was a slow build that felt monotonous, but it really wasn't. It was slow and the climax was tame, but by the time it's over you realize Dana Pratola has made you feel. It was all too realistic and I think that's what made it feel monotonous. When I read I don't expect to read a book that feels like reality, yes I hope to be able to relate to the characters, but I always expect that little bit of unrealistic-ness to come through. The book does have a paranormal element to it, but Dana Pratola even made that feel normal.

The romance between Jett and Haven was phenomenal. This is a clean book, but it does talk about wanting to be with the other. The sexual tension was palpable!!! I was completely intrigued with Jett's paranormal side. I kept wanting to know more and more, which is what had me turning the pages. Plus, what he does with his gifts was interesting and tied in wonderfully with the book. I was surprised by the religious element to the book. I have never read a Dana Pratola novel so I didn't know she wrote Christian Fiction. I thought it was an interesting view and very tastefully done. If you don't like hearing about God then I advise you to read this novel with an open mind. It's too good to tell you not to read just take note that it is Christian Fiction.

This book has rocked me to my core. I don't know how I've never heard of Dana Pratola because she is fantastic. If you haven't read this series I highly, highly recommend you pick it up be on your way to your very own book hangover.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Review: Into the Aether: Part One and Two by T.C. Pearce

A scared teenager, Lara must battle her own inner demons … while being stalked in her nightmares by an all-too-real monster. She has only two options: run or succumb.

A courageous woman, Cybil is doing her best to piece together a new life free of her abusive husband. She is cursed with confused glimpses into future events she may not be able to change—including her own death.

An honorable warrior, and the reluctant leader of her people, August must undertake the familial obligation of protecting a seemingly ordinary high school teacher. If she shirks her duty, then the world will fall to a preternatural tyrant in search of a long-lost weapon of immense power.

Their stories weave together to reveal a mysterious supernatural world that hides just beneath our own. As chaos swirls among and around them, the three women must put aside their differences and act together, or watch two worlds collide in a deluge of fire and blood.

Review: Rating- 5
I cannot wait until this fall to have the next installment of this! Wow! This was a phenomenal novel!

I have to admit, the first half of the novel was a bit overwhelming, but I promise if you get through it you'll see what a beautiful piece of work this story is. Each chapter you're introduced to more characters which I kept thinking was too much to start with. I mean, we're introduced to Aaron, August, Phillip, Lara, Greg, Cybil, and Linda. That's a lot of characters! The only way this worked as well as it did is because each character was so unique, strong, and believable.

This story didn't fully capture my heart until chapter 10, which is when all the information about each of the characters finally begins to weave together. From there, as the chapters progress you're sitting there aching to find out what's going on. I greatly enjoyed how captivating and suspenseful this story is.

This is a hard review to write because the last half of this story has a lot of twists and turns that I can't spoil for you. I will say, I'm always skeptical about reading serials because they usually end at awful cliffhangers that have you wanting to hunt down the author and demand the next part... This story doesn't end in a cliffhanger. However, it does end with a few questions unanswered, especially that epilogue!

Overall, I enjoyed this story so much that I'm forcing my husband to read it next. I need someone to talk about how amazing everything wove together... it's really a piece of art!

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Review: The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson

Luke Carney has no idea what possessed him to move back to Shelter Springs, Colorado, to set up his veterinarian practice. His parents have long since left, the small farming community is on the brink of extinction, and only one close friend from his childhood remains--Taycee Emerson, his best friend’s little sister, who isn’t so little anymore.

Then there’s the matter of Shelter’s Bachelorette, an online reality dating show created to raise some much needed funds for the town.

Unwittingly cast as the bachelorette, Taycee wants out, especially when she discovers that Luke, her childhood crush, is back in town and will be one of the bachelors. To make matters worse, it's up to the viewers--not her--to decide which bachelors stay or go. And they all seem to like Luke.

Unwilling to let him break her heart again, Taycee launches a subtle attack on Luke’s good name with the hope of getting him voted off the show. But she’d forgotten that Luke's an eye-for-an-eye kind of guy, and when he discovers what she's up to, it means revenge.
Review: Rating- 5
Rachael Anderson delivers another great story with characters that are relatable, scenes that make you feel every emotion they're going through, and a couple you can't help but root for.

This book is about a small farm town going under. Taycee's best friend, Jessa, has organized a fundraiser called Shelter's Bachelorette. Taycee is the Bachelorette and she's in this game dating 21 guys, one of which is a guy she was in love with when she was a teenager, but he up and left and never thought to call and talk to her again. Over the past decade she's dated a lot of guys just to end it before it gets too serious.

When Luke becomes a contestant on the show Taycee knows she has to sabotage it so that she can protect her heart. As the game progresses there are a few guys who are promising candidates. Before long Taycee is mixed up in confused feelings and stuck in a game show with everyone watching her every move.

I really enjoyed the fun banter throughout, the sarcasm, and Luke's goading. I absolutely loved the epilogue! I wish there was a sequel where we see Taycee expand her florist business into her dream business.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.