Tagged: Part of a Series

Myths of Mish – Book Review

About the book:

Hansel and Gretel Herrscher survived the witch in the woods, but the experience has made Hansel paranoid for the past ten years. He sees dark magic at every turn. When Gretel has a marriage arranged to a much older man, and Hansel discovers he’s about to be sent halfway across the galaxy, he knows something sinister is afoot.

Wilhelmine Nordon has plenty of experience with Hansel’s quirkier side. So when she catches him and Gretel running away in the middle of the night, she follows to keep them from getting killed. The siblings have never left the capital of Mish on their own, so they need a babysitter. Except when she’s discovered, Hansel gives her his usual cold shoulder, and Gretel secretly begs her to take them back.

The problem is, Hansel’s paranoia turns out to be well founded, and they’re all being hunted.

About the Author:

Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush,” and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing. After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter, and their dog. She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. She is currently at school studying English and Creative Writing. Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

Jenn’s Review:

Myths wasn’t as good as Princess of Tyrone. 

Yeah, I know I don’t start reviews out like that, but it’s the honest truth. Not that Myths was a bad book; but the hero, Hansel, is a little over the top with the paranoia and his abusive treatment of Minna through almost 3/4 of the story.

And Minna falls in love with him anyway (before he stops acting like an a-hole).

The plot itself is fast paced, and while I could see the plot twists coming, I didn’t accurately predict where they were headed until each was upon me. Gretel tries desperately to play matchmaker between Hansel and Minna (again, why? He’s an absolute jerk to Minna – why would you try to hook your best friend up with someone who treats her like trash?).

Perhaps my issue with the relationship between hero and heroine in this story is my age. This is, of course, a YA sci fi romance, and here I am at 41, a survivor of abuse, trying to wrap my head around a young woman falling in love with an abusive male. Yes, Hansel mostly outgrows his perpetual jerkdom by the end of the book. The evil antagonist is vanguished, everyone gets married and has a happy-ever-after (Gretel meets someone on their adventure… if I tell you more, I’d have to put spoiler alerts all over this post!).

Sam’s reading this book, as well, and I should be adding her review in the near future. My final verdict, though? Mixed review, 3 stars. Great plot and character development; had a hard time accepting the love-the-abuser thing.

Sam’s Review:

Katie Hamstead is back with Myths of Mish, the prequel to Princess of Tyrone. While Princess of Tyrone told the story of Sleeping Beauty, Myths of Mish explained what happened to Hansel and Gretel after they defeated the witch, only with a interstellar twist. This book, along with the other books in the series, is for young adult audiences.

Even though it’s a prequel, the story blends right in to Princess of Tyrone.  I can almost see it happening while Apolline and the rest of the gang from the first book are doing their thing, while at the same time, I know that this is a prequel.

I loved how the characters’ personalities were well defined, and the places were well made. Filled with humor and tension where and when they were needed, I felt like I was part of the action.

Buy the Books:

This book is available in Kindle and paperback editions from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Other Books in the series:

Princess of Tyrone

Dwarves of Calcus

Dwarves of Calcus – Review

About the Book:

When she was thirteen, Snow Sabbia crash landed on the dwarves’ home planet of Calcus. After fleeing from her step-mother’s huntsman, seven brother dwarves took her in to hide and protect her. She has hidden for years on the peaceful planet, tinkering with old automobiles and pushing papers in the mine office.

Then, Timothy White shows up.

The shy, nervous, nerdy heir captivates Snow before she even knows who he is, and quickly she falls in love. But his high profile in society draws unwanted attention from her vengeful stepmother, who wants Snow dead.

Geneva believed Snow died years earlier and she had consumed her innocent heart. With her late husband’s wealth, Snow’s inheritance, in tow, she married a young lord, Conrad. Both are using each other—Geneva for his title and to have a child, Conrad for her money and beauty. But when Conrad lays eyes on his boyhood rival’s lovely fiance, Snow, his overwhelming desire for her reveals the truth to Geneva, that Snow lives.

Desperate to hold onto her wealth and power, Geneva seeks to kill Snow properly this time. Snow has the power to wield the one thing that can destroy her, so she cannot let the girl claim possession of the family heirloom, the Nevollo Sword.

Snow soon learns her step-mother knows she is alive. But she is a pacifist, so she must outwit Geneva and remain hidden… until Geneva, disguised as a child, presents her with an apple.

About the Author:

Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.

After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.

She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing.
When her debut novel, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, climbed into bestselling status, she believed she was onto something, and now has a slew of novels now available, and is published through Curiosity Quills Press, Soul Mate Publishing, and REUTS Publishing.

Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports, and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an Acquisitions Editor to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

Jenn’s Review:

Snow White has been one of my favorite fairy tales for as long as I can remember. In the third installment of Katie Hamstead’s Fairy Tale Galaxy series, we get a fresh retelling (that’s only been hinted at in the first two books), of the Snow White story.

As you probably know by now, book 2 in this series wasn’t a big fav of mine, however, book 3, Ms. Hamstead is back in business with wit, likable characters (minus the villianous Geneva, of course), and a fast-paced plot. 

I remember being young and awkward, especially in the social department – I could relate easily to both main characters. Snow is a capable, strong young woman, even if she has no grace when it comes to social situations (she’s grown up with dwarves, and NO humans), and Timothy isn’t the brave, dashing prince we’re used to seeing in this story – he’s a nerd and utterly socially inept (lest you believe he’s just a bumbling idiot, he’s not – the source of his social insecurity is laid out by the end of the book), but Snow is able to draw him out of his shell. And just when everything seems to be going well for them… Poof! Something comes up to keep them apart. Reminds me a bit of my own high school sweetheart (whom I eventually married, despite our own delays).

In the final analysis: Dwarves of Calcus is a winner in my book. Strong characters, well-defined conflicts and plot, and villains vanquished. 

And since I enjoyed two of the three books in the series, and Ms. Hamstead has plenty of other material she can work with (other potential plots are hinted at throughout the series as it stands now), I’m hoping to see more of this series in the future.

Sam’s Review:

Telling the story of Snow White this time, Dwarves of Calcus explains the peace between Oran and Tyrone. See, Oran and Tyrone weren’t always allies. They were enemies at one point. But when Snow Sabbia meets Timothy White, it’s love at first sight. Now long after, about a couple of weeks or so, they’re engaged. Talk about moving quickly.

But Snow and Timothy (let’s just call him Timmy.) have one person in the way: Snow’s siren of a stepmother, Geneva. Literally, she’s a siren. Snow and Timmy get married, and Geneva gives Snow a poisoned apple. The rest of the story that you are familiar with takes over, moving this fascinating story along its tracks.

With twists and turns at almost every angle, a nerdy prince charming, and seven funny dwarves, Dwarves of Calcus is fun to and easy to read. Its for young adult audiences, and is the third book in a series.

Buy the book:

This book is available in Kindle format from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Other Books in the series:

Princess of Tyrone

Myths of Mish

In the Assassin’s Arms – Review

Jenn reviews Katherine Hasting's debut novel, IN THE ASSASSINS ARMS - adult historical romance, assassin romance, action-adventure romance
Jenn reviews Katherine Hasting’s debut novel, In the Assassin’s Arms

About the book:

In the Assassin’s Arms by Katherine Hastings

Series: Dagger of Desire Historical Romance

Flyte Publishing, January 19, 2019

John Douglas may be a well-trained political assassin, but he has met his match in the woman he once called a friend. When his childhood playmate reenters his life, she’s not looking to rekindle their friendship… she’s out for blood.

With a vendetta to settle, Charlotte Cornewalle isn’t stopping until she finds the man who killed her father. All signs point to Robert Douglas, the leader of the opposing faction of assassins… and John’s father. To get her revenge, no one will stand in her way… not even the boy she once adored.

Fate forces them together as they fight to prove their innocence and right the wrongs they have suffered. Sparks fly from more than just their swords, but will they be able to put the past behind them? Will they be able to find the truth before it destroys them both?

About the Author:

Katherine Hastings, Author of Historical Romance "In the Assassin's Arms"

Katherine Hastings loves love. It’s why she writes romance novels. Getting lost writing a romantic adventure is one of her favorite pastimes. When she’s not on an adventure in her mind with her characters, she can be found at her home in Wisconsin snuggling her husband, two Boston Terriers, and the world’s naughtiest cat. Two things make Katherine want to leave her happy home these days… going for rides on her dressage pony or floating at the beach in her big inflatable raft. Writing her novels while floating in the lake is one of her ultimate pleasures… that and Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds, of course.

Katherine’s social follows: 

Facebook     Twitter     Instagram     Website/Email signup

Jenn’s Review:

Another awesome debut novel! Katherine Hastings’ historical romance, In the Assassin’s Arms is witty, fast-paced and engaging.

John and Charlie go back a long ways – to their childhoods, playing hide and seek and tag as they ran around John’s family estate. Their childhood friendship is shattered when Charlotte (“Charlie”) is ripped away, her father murdered in cold blood in John’s home. Charlie has always blamed John’s father, and the rival assassin organization that John and his father belong to, for her father’s death, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge his murder.

When these two meet up again in as adults, sparks fly. They are attracted to each other while struggling with the blame each places on the other for the deaths of those they love. Despite their mutual mistrust, they must work together to solve the riddles behind a growing number of murders – before they’re both added to the list!

The banter between these two characters had me giggling – each is quick-minded and they’ve picked up right where they left off, competing with each other to see whose skills are more finely honed. Ms. Hastings serves up some piping hot sexual chemistry as well, with a face-paced plot that had me turning the page for more.

While I immensely enjoyed the dialogue and narrative, I encountered a few spots where the conversation felt a little off; some lines felt too modern, or too casual for the setting and situation. It did not, however, affect my enjoyment of the book to give it any less than 4 stars.

In the Assassin’s Arms is the first book in a series, with book 2 expected to hit the shelves later in 2018. If Adult Historical Romance is your thing, then I would highly recommend checking out Katherine Hastings’ debut.

Jenn reviews Katherine Hasting's debut novel, IN THE ASSASSINS ARMS - adult historical romance, assassin romance, action-adventure romance

Jenn reviews Katherine Hasting’s debut novel, In the Assassin’s Arms

Buy the book:

This book is available in Kindle Format from Amazon in Kindle, and paperback here.

Jenn sat down with Katherine to talk a bit about In the Assassin’s Arms. You can read that interview here.

To Discover a Divine – New Release Review

new Release banner - To Discover a Divine

About the book:

By Tessa McFionn     Rise of the Stria Book 1

Fiery Seas Publishing     March 20, 2018

Sci-Fi Romance

When Kahlym cal Jhuen, freedom-fighting leader of the Chandar Stria, breaks into a prison ship controlled by the Rimmarian Thrall, he only expected to rescue two of his crew. But when he discovers a terrified female during his escape, he is immediately captivated by her unique beauty and makes a snap decision to take her with him. However, his good deed backfires when he learns he has stolen the Thrall Emperor’s prize.

Down to her last dollar, Evainne Wagner expected nothing out of the ordinary when she stepped out of her Boston apartment. Instead, she found herself in the middle of an intergalactic firefight, complete with strange soldiers with deadly weapons pointed directly at her. Salvation arrives in the nick of time in the form of a mysterious leather-clad warrior, skidding in and whisking her away. Trusting her heart, she follows, hoping to find answers as well as a way home.

Safely on board his ship, he learns more about her and her rare skills, triggering the memory of a half-forgotten prophecy spoken at the time of his cursed birth. Outcast because of a cruel twist of fate, he finds unexpected acceptance, even affection, from his new passenger.

Could she be the one who holds the future of his people, as well as his own heart, in her tender hands?

Buy Links:

Amazon     Kobo     Barnes & Noble     iTunes

About the author:

Tessa McFionn is a very native Californian and has called Southern California home for most of her life, growing up in San Diego and attending college in Northern California and Orange County, only to return to San Diego to work as a teacher. Insatiably curious and imaginative, she loves to learn and discover, making her wicked knowledge of trivial facts an unwelcomed guest at many Trivial Pursuit boards. 

When not writing, she can be found at the movies or at Disneyland with her husband, as well as family, friends or anyone who wants to play at the Happiest Place on Earth. She also finds her artistic soul fed through her passions for theatre, dance and music.

A proud parent of far too many high school seniors and two still living house plants, she also enjoys hockey, reading and playing Words With Friends to keep her vocabulary sharp. She is currently the treasurer of the San Diego chapter of Romance Writers of America and loves spending time working with such amazingly intelligent and creative writers.

Social Media: 

Facebook     Twitter      Website      Blog

Jenn’s Review:

Holy guacamole, Batman! Tessa McFionne smashed her debut novel out of the park. You might already know that I’m a huge fan of Science Fiction Romance, and I’ve been looking forward to reading this book since we did the cover reveal back in December.

I was not disappointed.

The book kicks off with a hefty dose of WTF, as the hero, Khallym tries to figure out why a woman, a civilian woman of all things, is in the middle of his planned jail break.

The woman in question? Yeah, she’s having a mighty big WTF moment, too.

Khallum has a lot on his plate already – the rejected, disowned son of a ruling family, he’s taken to working with the Rebellion to knock an emperor off the throne. And now, he owes a life-debt to a female; an utterly foreign concept to his ship full of battle hardened soldiers.

Evainne, for her part, is utterly lost. She woke up in Boston, went through her normal morning routine, and stepped out her front door for her morning run – and found herself in the middle of a battle zone. Something, somewhere, went horribly wrong.

Evainne and Khallum have to bridge their communication and cultural gaps as they try to unravel the mystery of her appearance on the other side of the universe, and as they do, Khallum’s initial duty to protect her  morphs into something deeper.

To Discover a Divine is a fast paced, action packed, steamy adventure. Ms. McFionne focuses more on the mysteries surrounding Evianne’s sudden appearance than she does on the developing relationship, but the quick plot pace and intense attraction between hero and heroine more than makes up for that. 

I will venture a guess (and will confirm this in my interview with Tessa), that this is book one of a series. Khallym and Evianne don’t exactly get a happy ever after in this book, and the ending definitely left me hungry for more of these two.

Check out our author interview in a recent edition of Between the Pages.

One Dark Throne – Review

About the book:

#1 New York Times bestseller!

The battle for the crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off.

Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

About the Author:

Kendare Blake grew up in the small city of Cambridge, Minnesota. She is a graduate of Ithaca College, in Ithaca, New York and received a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Middlesex University in London, England. She loves to travel, is an advocate for animals, and cheats a lot when she plays Final Fantasy. Adopted from South Korea at the age of seven months, she arrived with the following instruction: “Feed her chocolate.” Though not medically advisable, she and her parents are eternally grateful for this advice.

Kendare is the author of six novels: the contemporary SLEEPWALK SOCIETY, YA horror duo ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD (2011 NPR Top 5, Kirkus Top Ten), and GIRL OF NIGHTMARES (2012 Kirkus Reviews Top Ten), and the Goddess War trilogy (ANTIGODDESS, MORTAL GODS, UNGODLY). 

Coming in September 2016: THREE DARK CROWNS, the first book in a fantasy series about warring triplet queens.

Sam’s Review:

Hi and welcome to another review, whereas we’ll be reviewing One Dark Throne. Just like its predecessor, Three Dark Crowns, the Fennbirn queens instantly take control of the spotlight. When the truth about Katharine and Arsinoe, and how they were switched at birth (you read the first book, right?) reaches Jules ears, she can’t believe it. If Arsinoe wins, the poisoners will be in control for another generation. And Katharine, once killed, and then returned, has become more immune to poisons, testing them mercilessly on animals. Mirabella believes that Arsinoe tried to kill her, and now hates both of her sisters. Needless to say, it’s going great for tradition. Not so great for the priestesses and Jules, who’s Legion-cursed. Will all three queens kill each other in the end? I don’t know, because this isn’t the end of the series. Yep, there’s another book coming out. Read this book to continue the heart pounding adventure. Suspenseful, romantic in places, heartbreaking in the end, and just plain enjoyable, this book gets 5 stars and two thumbs up, and subscribe, check out the link, like and enable notifications. I’ll see you next week, with yet another book. See ya!

Buy the book:

You can also purchase this book from Amazon in Kindle, hardcover, paperback, audiobook and MP3 CD formats here. [affiliate link]

Runners & Riders – Review

About the Book:

RUNNERS AND RIDERS, by Jordan Elizabeth 

Series: Return to Amston Book One

Genre: steampunk, adventure

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Release: August 22, 2016

Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky   

Juliet loved growing up at the seaside, although it meant lonely hours chasing after the other beach rats while her mother worked as a seamstress. Juliet never expected her seaman father to inherit a fortune and move the family to New Addison City. Suddenly her mother is a socialite and Juliet is best friends with a strong-willed girl who actually likes her. When Juliet’s new friend welcomes her to the Runners, a gang that has plagued the East Coast for years, Juliet sees it as the opportunity to fit in, learn tricks, and make eyes at one of the hottest members. What the gang does isn’t really wrong…right? She’s used to being a pawn for the Runners, but she starts to question what she sees as harmless fun when the gang uses her to attack a young officer.

Jonathan Montgomery vowed to end the Runners after they murdered his family. He joined the Riders, an elite police force dedicated to stopping the Runners’ crime spree. They have put him in New Addison City, but rookie mistakes follow Jonathan as he struggles to accomplish his goal, until a young woman feeds him inside information to bring down the Runners.

Between murders and secrets, Juliet will need to find her strength to help Jonathan, before the founder of the Runners crawls up from the sewers amongst her inventions to burn down the city.

About the Author:

Jordan Elizabeth

Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, writes down her nightmares in order to live her dreams. With an eclectic job history of working as a college professor; historic costumed interpreter at Fort Stanwix, Victorian Leisure Fair, and Mayfaire on the Green; office specialist; sales clerk; election inspector; and trainer, she is now diving into the world of author.It happens to be her favorite one.

When she’s not creating art or searching for lost history in the woods, she’s updating her blog, Kissed by Literature. Jordan is the president of the Utica Writers Club and maintains JordanElizabethMierek.com.

She roams Central New York, but she loves to travel. A great deal of time has been spent in a rural town very similar to Arnn, the setting of her novel ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW.

Find the author Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Jenn’s Review:

My very first Steampunk novel… 

Admittedly, the first few chapters of this story were confusing as the author lays the groundwork and backstories for the major players in the plot (namely Juliet and Jonathan). Once past that point, however, the story unfolded and kept me turning pages late into the night, especially past the halfway point. I read the second half of this book in a few hours – it was that engrossing.

Ms. Elizabeth’s storytelling is superb, weaving clear descriptions that allow the reader a clear mental image of settings and characters, and the mysteries that flow just under the surface of the main plot unfold with surprising twists and turns.

That said, readers should be prepared for a few bumps in the road, especially if small inconsistent details throw you out of the “realm of belief”. I ran across a few scenes in the book where some small detail changed from paragraph to paragraph – minor editing misses that, for me anyway, were just enough that I had to work a little harder for a few pages to slip back into the realm of the story.

Overall, I loved this story, and will be reading the sequel, The Secrets of Bennett Hall, next.

Buy the Book:

 This book is available as a paperback or Kindle ebook from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

The Ghost Files – Review

About this book:

Cherry blossom lipstick: check 
Smokey eyes: check 
Skinny jeans: check
Dead kid in the mirror: check 

For sixteen year old Mattie Hathaway, this is her normal everyday routine. She’s been able to see ghosts since her mother tried to murder her when she was five years old. No way does she want anyone to know she can talk to spooks. Being a foster kid is hard enough without being labeled a freak too. 

Normally, she just ignores the ghosts and they go away. That is until she see’s the ghost of her foster sister… Sally. 

Everyone thinks Sally’s just another runaway, but Mattie knows the truth—she’s dead. Murdered. Mattie feels like she has to help Sally, but she can’t do it alone. Against her better judgment, she teams up with a young policeman, Officer Dan, and together they set out to discover the real truth behind Sally’s disappearance. 

Only to find out she’s dealing with a much bigger problem, a serial killer, and she may be the next victim… 

Will Mattie be able to find out the truth before the killer finds her?

About the author:

Apryl Baker uses Authorgraph to connect personally with readers.
Visit Authorgraph.com, click “Request Authorgraph” and include a message to Apryl to receive a personalized inscription that you can view in your favorite reading apps and devices!

Sam’s Review:

Hello again! How was your weekend? Today we’ll be talking about the Ghost Files by Apryl Baker. This is the first book in a series, and is becoming a major motion picture.

Matilda, or more commonly known as Mattie, has the ability to see ghosts, though everyone she tells that to thinks she’s crazy. Which is why she doesn’t tell anyone. But she may have to expose her secret in order to help rookie police officer Dan solve the missing persons cases of at least ten children, whose ghosts are the only clues she has, and bring a serial killer to justice. Can she avenge the deaths of the children, or will she join them and be the next victim? A true ghost story/murder mystery, Ghost Files was captivating for me, and left me ready for more. Plus, it has a great plot twist in the end, and Mattie tries not to curse. Now that is my kind of girl! I recommend this book to teenage and up ghost lovers, and teens and up only because it has some tense and violent scenes in it. Read the book for a good time, and a heroine unlike any I’ve seen. I don’t know about you guys watching at home, you might have read a book or watched a movie where the protagonist was like Mattie. Subscribe, leave a like, and enable notifications, and I’ll be back next week. Bye!

Buy the book:

This book is available on Amazon in Kindle, paperback and audiobook here. [affiliate link]

The White Pavilion – Review

About this book:

Five hundred years ago, Old Earth was facing certain destruction. In the country we know as Spain, a Clockmaker was visited by an Oracle, who told her that a new world must be created.

La Relojero, the Clockmaker, thus fashioned Tierra Mejor, a world governed by clockwork. Along with Seven Companions, she left the dying Earth behind.

But now, an illness is spreading across their world. Machines are failing, crops are diseased, and the Green-bands, led by a man known only as la Rebelde, the Rebel, are spreading discord.

Every year, the Daughters of the Pavilion dance to honour the myth is being performed by the Daughters of the Pavilion. Imre has been chosen to play the part of la Grulla. It is her task is to honour the Pattern by placing a white feather into the hand of a statue of la Oracula, the Oracle. At the last moment, she stumbles.

The Pattern has been disrupted, and Imre’s future is now in jeopardy. The Prince Regent, Thaniel, insists that she is brought to the Citadel. The Prince is young, easily distracted, and determined to bury his insecurities under a screen of drugs. Senor Grath, the Prince’s Advisor, is the effective governor. He dislikes Imre immensely – she is everything he despises. Then there is La Boca, leader of the mysterious Brotherhood, whose sinister plans seem to involve disposing of the Prince – and Imre is in his way.

Thrown from her old life into a world of politics and intrigue, lust and greed, tradition and romance, Imre must confront the Brotherhood and save her people. She will have to fight to ensure the final part of la Relojero’s plan is completed – and that the children of the Seven Companions can return home to Old Earth.

About the author:

Ruth has been an avid reader her entire life and, inspired by the books that engrossed her as she was growing up, she aims to create stories that can draw readers in and enthral them for days or weeks. She writes every day and lives in Ballarat, Victoria, with her husband, her cat, and an ever-expanding library of books.

Ruth completed a Bachelor of Arts/Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing and Editing in 2006. She has worked as an editor as well as an illustrator. She often illustrates her own work and hopes to publish many more books in the future.

Visit her website for more information.

Jenn’s Review:

I think that this is possibly the most challenging review I’ve ever written. The White Pavillion made me reach, as a reader; think differently, as a writer; and persevere, as a reviewer.

Ms. Fox’s work in White Pavillion is very different from what I normally chose to read. However, as Sam was dying to get her hands on this particular title, and we weren’t entirely sure of the book’s rating, I chose to push on.

I would not consider this a fast paced read. In fact, it rambles rather slowly until the climax, at which point it speeds up considerably. The setting was also unusual – while I could easily picture the place, I struggled to wrap my head around the sense of time. While I can easily accept other forms of telling time in created, fictional worlds, this book left me stumped in a number of places – Had Imre been held for what would amount to days? Weeks? Months? 

In terms of the “steampunk” element of this story, Ms. Fox takes the prize for world-building. Her creativity in building the world her characters inhabit excels, and while some elements are strange to our mundane world, she has managed to create an element of realism that is hard to find.

I mentioned earlier that the story was slow. Honestly, I don’t normally feel that I am dragging myself through the pages of a read, but this one felt supremely slow. However, that said… Patience is the reward in this novel. Without giving away spoilers, the plot twists near the end of the story blindsided me, while many of the plot twists earlier in the story were expected. 

As a parent, pre-reading this book for a 12 year old who frequently reads YA Fiction, this is not a book for younger teens. Imre is, after all, the equivalent of a high-class prostitute in training (in context, this isn’t as odd as you might think), and she is, first and foremost, a sensual being, a Dancer, an escort. She finds lust and love along her journey in this story, in the arms of both men and women, and the scenes are not “behind the bedroom door”. They are described, elegantly, but not subtly.

In the final tally, The White Pavilion was a worthy read. Reviews are, of course, subjective, and what I have trouble with in one book, another reader might love (and vice versa). If you are a fan of science fiction, speculative fiction and steam punk, you might give this plot a whirl.

Buy the book:

This book is available through Amazon in Kindle format here. [Affiliate link]

The Belgariad Vol 1- Review

About the book:

The Belgariad Vol 1 of the Belgariad Series

Millions of readers have discovered the magic of David Eddings’ New York Times bestselling series The Belgariad. Now the first three books in this monumental epic appear in a single volume. Here, long-time fans can rediscover the wonder—and the uninitiated can embark upon a thrilling new journey of fantasy and adventure.

It all begins with the theft of the Orb that for so long protected the West from an evil god. As long as the Orb was at Riva, the prophecy went, its people would be safe from this corrupting power. Garion, a simple farm boy, is familiar with the legend of the Orb, but skeptical in matters of magic. Until, through a twist of fate, he learns not only that the story of the Orb is true, but that he must set out on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger to help recover it. For Garion is a child of destiny, and fate itself is leading him far from his home, sweeping him irrevocably toward a distant tower—and a cataclysmic confrontation with a master of the darkest magic.

About the Author:

DAVID EDDINGS published his first novel, High Hunt, in 1973, before turning to the field of fantasy with The Belgariad. He now lives with his wife and collaborator, Leigh, in Nevada. As a writing team, David and Leigh are the authors of The Redemption of Althalus and Regina’s Song

On February 28, 2007, David Eddings’ wife, Leigh Eddings (born Judith Leigh Schall), whom he married in 1962, died following a series of strokes that left her unable to communicate. She was 69. Eddings cared for her at home with her mother after her first stroke, which occurred three years before he finished writing The Dreamers. Eddings resided in Carson City, Nevada, where he died of natural causes on June 2, 2009

Brian’s Review:

     Good day all.  I’m subbing in today for my wife, so you get a special treat.  Today we’re talking about one of my all time favorite stories by one of my all time favorite authors. Yes I know it’s an older series, and has been around for a very long time, but the best classics never die, and this series should and will live on forever, in my opinion.

     David Eddings starts The Belgariad series with a title which works perfectly for a book 1… The Belgariad… Eddings spins a mastery of words, that gives enough detail to know exactly what is going on, and how things look without going over board and boring a reader to death with details. 

     If you continue to read the series you’ll learn that Eddings didn’t write this series by himself but  with the help of his wife Leigh Eddings.  The two of them together wrote a series that was funny, daring, and all out wonderful.  One moment you could be laughing, and with Belgarath, you will be laughing, and the next on the edge of your seat with anticipation with what might happen next.

    I give this book, and this series the highest rating one can give, and recommend this story to anyone who has ever enjoyed, J.R. Tolkien. Magic, treasures, life and death.  If you love sitting on the edge of your seat at 2 a.m. cause you can’t put the book down, then you’ll love David Eddings’ The Belgariad.

Buy the book: 

This book is available in paperback form Amazon here

Evermore (Mer-Tales Book 4) – Review

About the book:

Mother knows best.

The underwater world of Natatoria is enjoying a long awaited period of peace — and with it, the merpeople’s very first chance to visit human civilization. Ash and Fin’s wedding marks the perfect opportunity for the mers to celebrate their newfound freedom. But when they return home to Tahoe to prepare, Ash’s absence from the human world has raised more than a few questions about where she’s been. When blaming fingers point to Ash and Fin as the culprits who burned down Fin’s home, even his mind-jacking mojo hasn’t stopped the authorities from issuing the happy couple an early wedding gift—a matching pair of arrest warrants. 

Instead of bringing their families together, Ash and Fin’s upcoming wedding drives a wedge between the very cultures they’re trying to bridge. And when their reality takes an unexpected twist, Ash realizes her dual existence comes with a hefty price. Neither her human nor her mer family understand the sacrifices they’re asking of her, and as much as she wants to please both her mer and human mothers, she knows she’s one misstep away from breaking two maternal hearts. 

But with humans becoming aware of the mer, Ash and Fin must scramble to save their families, their societies . . . and their love. The only thing they know for sure is that when it comes to Natatorians, old habits die hard. 

And a royal should never get too comfortable.

About the Author:

Author Brenda Pandos lives in California with her husband and two energetic boys. After her release of EVERMORE late 2015, she suffered from a stroke. While she’s had a miraculous recovery, the part of her brain she’d used to write fiction with hasn’t returned yet. 

At 18-months post-stroke, she’s decided to start working on her memoir to tell her story. It’s very tiring for her and slow going, but she’s determined to finish this project.

She’d love to hear your encouragement and well wishes. Feel free to email brendapandos@gmail.com or write on her facebook wall.

** Join my email list to find out about freebies, new releases, contests, and much more at brendapandos.com or email me at brendapandos@gmail.com **

Sam’s Review: 

Hello, all of my fellow readers, and the writers who watch my reviews. Today we finish up the Mer Tales series by Brenda Pandos with the book Evermore, starring all of your favorite characters from the series, of course, as well as some new ones. In case you’re new, my name is Sam, and this is Sam’s Teen Reads Corner! Let’s get started.

Fin and Ash are ready to tie the knot. All they need to do is get Ash’s, erm, “surrogate” father’s permission. I know what you’re thinking. “Why are you so nervous? It’s got to be great having two families!” You wish. Ash has to please both of her moms, deal with her snarky sister, keep Fin from mer-mojoing her family and friends, and stay away from a stalker. Oh, can’t forget that she has a merling on the way! Plot twist!

Anyways, Tatchi and her adopted daughter, Nicole, try their best to help Ash with the wedding, but the merling makes things a tad bit difficult. Again, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first two, for some odd reason, but in my opinion, it was a tiny bit better than Everlost, so it get four point five stars. I think that Ash kind of makes it better, and there’s so many new characters, so that might have something to do with the sudden four and a half star rating. There’s too much going on for me!

If you want to get more review like this, and become one of my fellow readers/writer (it depends on which one you are. Heck, you guys could be both if you want!), all you have to do is subscribe, enable notifications, and like the video. Oh, and if you guys have a book that you think that I’d enjoy, please, don’t hesitate to suggest said book. Stay bold, my readers and writers!

Buy this book:

This book is available on Amazon as a Kindle, paperback or audio book here. [affiliate link]

Check out Sam’s reviews for the other books in this series:

Everblue (book 1)

Evergreen (book 2) 

Everlost (book 3)