Sunday, September 11, 2016

Kirsten Fitcher - The Rose and the Balloon

The Rose and the Balloon
Once Upon a Twist #1

By Kirsten Fitcher

Available on Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)

In a kingdom where fauna and flora are held in higher esteem than breakfast, Dmitri is a prince who yearns for change and plans it in a single daring act that will alter his life forever. However, when his demented mother accidentally causes the destruction of a prized garden of roses, Dmitri is horrified when she proposes his hand in marriage to make up for it. Not only will a wife hamper his glorious plans, he doesn't even want one.

Janelle has spent her whole life on her father's rose farm, tending the roses and staying simple. But she really yearns for something greater than the flower beds. But now there's a wrench thrown in the works – the crazy Queen Maeva wants her to marry the prince, and all for ruining her father's beloved roses.

This is Beauty and the Beast with a twist like you've never seen it before.

About the Author (from Amazon)

No author description available

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

Have you ever watched Disney's Beauty and the Beast and thought to yourself, "This could use a bit less magic."? If so, then this is the book for you.

Anyone who has known me for any amount of time knows that I love fairy tales. However, Beauty and the Beast is that one fairy tale that's very hit and miss for me, and I've so far only found a handful of retellings of if that I actually liked, and one was a Hidden Object Adventure game.

However, having read a good deal of the author's unpublished work and absolutely loved it, when she told me that she wanted to publish her Beauty and the Beast story, I was willing to give it a try and encouraged her to publish it, and then signed up for the review.

Well, I didn't dislike it. And, perhaps, I would have liked it more had I not then followed it up by reading an absolutely amazing retelling of Rapunzel that very day. In fact, I highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys the story of Beauty and the Beast.

If this hadn't been labeled with Beauty and the Beast, I probably would have loved it, despite a slightly awkward rushing of the conflict's resolution and a slight lack in backstory setup - this author was made to write long books, and I would have loved to have seen this story been given a bit more space.

There was one glaring problem that I had with the story: It's not a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It's a reimagining of the Disney movie.

I don't dislike the Disney movie.  It's not my favorite, but it's not bad, either. However, it does bother me when people forget that it IS ITSELF A RETELLING. It's not the original fairy tale, in fact, it's VERY different from the original tale.

However, there were really only one or two moments where the similarities were very glaring, and they were only made obvious by the inclusion of "Beauty and the Beast" on the cover, so as I said, I don't dislike the story, and I do recommend it. If nothing else, read it for the antics of the prince's mother who's a bit ... touched in the head, and his twin younger siblings, Nicolas and Nicolette. Those younger two made the story, and I'd love to read a book all about them.

Genre/Theme: Fairy Tale Retelling, Steampunk

Reading Level: CHILD - children's literature 
TEEN - upper elementary to middle school 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language 
Sexuality: NONE - not even hinted at 
Violence and adult themes noted as necessary 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Hope Ann - Song of the Sword

Song of the Sword
Legends of Light

By Hope Ann

Available on Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)
A glittering sword.
An ancient oath.
A blackened rose.
And a melody which ties it all together.

Evrard and Roinette, twins separated at birth, are caught in a battle beyond their own limited powers. With their ability to walk in the melody realm, catching glimpses of the light and darkness underlying Aslaria, comes even more danger.

Deadly mistbenders. Writhing walls of blankness. Hateful drumbeats. As a warrior in the Melody, Evrard has seen it all. But his own ability in the melody realm pales in comparison to the Prince’s melody, the legendary prowess of past Wingmasters, and even the depth of his sister’s song.

To rescue Roinette and evade the trap almost certainly set for him by those who want his power, Evrard knows he’ll have to be careful. Even if he can find the Wingmaster’s sword, there’s no assurance he’ll be able to defeat a mistbender on his own. In the end, will his and Roinette’s efforts matter if the Prince brings an ancient oath to fulfillment, shaking the very foundation of Aslaria?

Perfect for those who love fantasy, but don’t have the time to sit down for a full-length novel, this second novella in the Legends of Light series presents the story of Rapunzel as you have never read it before. A fantasy saturated story, with mist covered Shadowfens, ancient oaths, and a legendary sword, this is more than a mere retelling of a favorite fairy tale.

Each novella focuses on one of the nine aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit while also following the conflict between the Prince and Tauscher and retelling popular fairy tales in a clean, exciting, and inspiring manner.

About the Author (from Amazon)
Hope Ann is a Christian wordsmith, avid reader, and dedicated authoress. With the help of her resident realm leapers, Kirin and Elena, she loves to research published legends, like Lord of the Rings, as well as recount her own tales of undiscovered lands.

Her time is taken up with writing, reading, archery, knife throwing, playing with inspirational photos, helping care for the house and eight younger siblings, and generally enjoying the adventures of life on a small farm at the crossroads of America.

You can follow Hope, find out more about her realm leapers and join their Legend Seekers Guild at

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

I love fantasy, but there are two facets of fantasy that, done well, rise above all the others in my humble little opinion. Fairy tale retellings and Christian Fantasy. So when the two genres are combined, of course I want to read them.

The Legends of Light is a series of fairy tale retellings based on the Fruits of the Spirit. I haven't read the first book yet even though it's sitting on my kindle. (It's Beauty and the Beast and ... I don't know why, but that's the one fairy tale that I don't enjoy having retold) However, when the author revealed that the second book was a retelling of Rapunzel and focused on joy, I volunteered to review it at once.

I read it in one afternoon. Sure, it's a short book, but I've also been in a reading slump.

It's a very loose retelling of Rapunzel, choosing to take the core themes of the tale - singing, the tower, long hair - and weave it into a beautiful allegory infused with the central theme of joy. This story isn't a romance, instead it's the story of twins separated at birth.

Evrard is a wingmaster, a hereditary position of great power - he's the one man who can enter the Melody, a realm of spiritual warfare, and communicate with the Messenger Falcons. Which are sentient birds who fully exist in both the tangible world and Melody at the same time. However, he lacks the power of the wingmasters before him. Andrinian, the head of the Messenger Falcons, thinks it's because he has a twin.

Which he does. Roinette has been hidden away in a swamp since her childhood. Not necessarily in a tower, she can come and go as she wishes, but there is one nearby that she can retreat to for safety. When she enters Melody one day to find the battle raging between the Prince and Tauscher, she rescues and heals Andrinian, thus alerting them to her presence - for such is a power only possessed by the wingmaster family.

Though Evard has been skeptical of the twin theory up until this point, now that it has been confirmed, he resolves to do everything he can to reunite with her.

What follows is a fast-passed, twisting adventure imbued with rich truths. There were more than a few plot twists, though none were wild enough to blow my mind. The characters were engaging. My favorite was Punzel, Roinette's ... well, pet isn't the right word ... companion fen-hopper, which is a sort of winged cat. Which also talks.

This is an allegory, which I didn't know going into the book, but I quite liked that aspect of the story. It wasn't the most powerful I've ever read, but the book's focus was more on joy rather than salvation, so I can forgive that.

The worldbuilding was intriguing, though due to the condensed size of the book, I did feel lost at times. Perhaps I would have had a better idea if I had read the prequel, but I do feel that this story should have been a bit longer - though that's my only complaint.

This was an excellent book and I highly recommend it.

Genre/Theme: Fairy Tale Retelling, Christian Fantasy, 

Reading Level: 
CHILD - children's literature 
TEEN - upper elementary to middle school 
NONE - no offensive language 
NONE - not even hinted at 
There is fighting on physical and spiritual levels, but there aren't any details that would leave you with nightmares. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Kendra E. Ardnek - Water Princess, Fire Prince

Water Princess, Fire Prince
The Rizkaland Legends

By Kendra E. Ardnek

Available on Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)

When the Lady Dragon does come,
Hold fast, do not fear, do not run.
Your Water Princess will fight
Fire Prince will set all to right
Each shall come from a fall
Their Union will save you all.

Despite the fact that she's on track for competing in the Olympics, and he's practically raised his younger brothers since they lost their mom in a car accident, Clara Mandras and Andrew Stevenson are pretty much normal teens. They have normal hopes, normal dreams, and they live in a normal world.

All this is torn away from them when they are thrust into another world and declared Water Princess and Fire Prince. With no experience ruling a country, meeting each other for the first time, and being expected to fight the Lady Dragon – an evil sorceress plaguing the world of Rizkaland – Clara and Andrew are underprepared and inexperienced. Unless they learn to work together despite their standing opposition, Rizkaland's hope will be lost.

What is to come will change their lives forever.

About the Author (from Amazon)

Kendra E. Ardnek has been writing her own stories since she was a toddler. She fell in love with books, drama, and fairy tales at a very young age - and has been filling notebooks with her stories for years. Joining NaNoWriMo gave her an opportunity to be a published author at 16.

She writes her own blog (, homeschools, cooks, knits, and crafts when she isn't writing stories and acting them out with her younger cousins and siblings.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Tenya

This is a well-crafted story by a maturing author about young people who are snatched from reality and thrust through a portal into a fantasy world which is dependent upon them for its very survival.  The book is full of spiritual allegory and symbolism which gives the tale another facet of meaning that goes deeper than the mere plot.  Miss Ardnek has created a truly unique and fantastical realm from the topography of the land and many colors of water to the somewhat frightening and fantastic wildlife and varied people groups which inhabit this place called Klarand, an island in Rizkaland.  This world is populated by magical creatures, elves, awesome flying and talking equines, and some particularly fascinating bug children, along with one curiously illusive time traveler.

The description of the land, animals, and people unfolds piece-by-piece throughout the story which prevents one from becoming bogged down with too much descriptive narrative all at once, a fault which makes some fantasy books difficult to wade through as a reader.  The main characters are also revealed layer-upon-layer by the author which is a good writing ploy to slowly introduce the reader to the strengths and weaknesses of each while naturally peeling back the surface to demonstrate the metamorphoses necessary for the main characters to become the Legends (what histories are called in Rizkaland) for which all the inhabitants of Rizka have been anxiously awaiting.  Experiencing the changes of each character, not just the main characters, but supporting cast as well, is one of the most enjoyable parts of the story because it gives a tangible human element to the book to which a reader can intimately relate.

Clara, the Water Princess, is a confident, sporty, and athletically talented young woman who is presented as no-nonsense and even arrogant at the beginning of the book.  The Fire Prince, Andrew, on the other hand, lacks a bit of confidence particularly in physical pursuits and with girls, but he has other talents, particularly on the practical and scientific side of things.  Together, Clara and Andrew must save Klarand from the evil Lady Dragon who has ravaged the land for years.  Therein lays the problem, this togetherness matter.  The Legends speak of it taking BOTH the Water Princess and Fire Prince to defeat the dragon, and Andrew and Clara must learn to work together as one to accomplish the daunting task and win the battle which lies ahead of them.

The romance between the main characters is handled beautifully by the author with just the right push and pull to keep drawing the reader into the mix.  The deep understanding of marriage and relationship is approached maturely by this young author.  There is nothing about the romance which could be embarrassing or inappropriate for any reader, but this reviewer would only recommend the book for middle school age through adult because some of the relationship issues are a bit complicated and may need a more mature understanding.  This differs from Kendra Ardnek’s Bookania series, which I would highly recommend as family reading.

It is true that by the fourth or fifth chapter of this book, I had difficulty putting it down.  There is a lot to be said for that as I have been known to give up on books because they ‘bore’ me.   If you like fantasy and symbolism, Water Princess, Fire Prince is a going to thrill you!

And, this is only Book 1 of the Rizkaland Legends!

Genre/Theme: Portal Fantasy, Christian

Reading Level: TEEN - upper elementary to middle school to
Mature TEEN - high school to college 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language 
Sexuality: MILD - descriptions of affection/desire - Handholding, hugging, kissing, discussion of holding off on more serious stuff.
There is some fighting, characters do get injured. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Jaye L. Knight - Samara's Peril

Samara's Peril
The Ilyon Chronicles 

By Jaye L. Knight

Available on Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)

When news arrives that Emperor Daican has been in contact with his chief war strategist, it signals potential doom for the country of Samara. Determined to intervene, the resistance in Landale, headed by Lady Anne, embark on a covert mission in hopes of unearthing further information. However, a shocking discovery leads to complications no one could have foreseen.

Armed with their newfound knowledge, they set out for Samara to warn the king. War is inevitable, and they must face two desperate battles—one on the walls of Samara’s great stronghold, and the other on the battlefield of Jace’s heart, where victory might only be achievable through great sacrifice.

About the Author (from Amazon)

Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Etsy.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

Ilyon. Have I talked about my love of Ilyon before?

Jaye has just released the third volume of her exciting series, so of course I signed up to review. And let me say up front: If you're not reading this series, what are you doing with your life????

The book begins with a ceremony based on the Jewish holidays, the Day of Atonement and Passover ... and with a return of Jace's insecurity over his soul. It doesn't help that one of the newcomers to their settlement lost his wife in a ryrik attack, and sees Jace as the epitome of everything he hates.

If you haven't read the previous books - ryriks are an extremely cruel and violent race, rumored to have been the first to rebel against Elom, and to not have souls, hence Jace's uncertainty.

Of course, in a world of persecution and political warfare, one doesn't have much time to sit around wondering if they have a soul or not, because war is brewing, and if they could just get their hands on the letters that the emperor has been sending... which sends our party to the home of Dacian's chief strategist in hopes that Kyrin might be able to get a good look at them - if only for a moment. Kyrin has a perfect memory and even a moment would be enough to implant the contents in her mind forever.

Of course, things never go as expected when it's a book, and when a Highly Anticipated Big Reveal occurs, we end up spending half the book at the knight's home. 

The second half of the book is the trip to Samara, a meeting with New Character who is Very Important, and then a bunch of battle scenes.

I loved the first half of the book. As in, completely and utterly adored it. So much fangirlly squealling occurred, and I could NOT put it down. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the second part quite as much, as it frequently felt like I was just rereading Truth and Courage - the first two books of her Makilien Trilogy she wrote as Molly Evangeline.

I can't say much because most of what disappointed me were spoilers, but basically, there were a lot of action sequences ... and call me a strange reader, but I don't like action scenes. Setting up for the action - fun and glorious. Reading the action - tedious. Also, there was a huge element involving the New Character who is Very Important that I'd hoped would be handled differently. Not that it was handled badly, and it was powerful for what it was, but I was hoping to see something different.

Still, there was also a TON of character development, and relationship development, and tension packed conversations, and awesome new characters in the second half (King Balam!!!!!!!!!!!), so I still loved the book.

Jace grew so much in this book. Sure, at times I was utterly frustrated with the rut he'd allowed himself to fall into (especially when he'd been doing so well in the previous book!), and his refusal to admit to himself that he liked Kyrin (seriously, he would have spared himself so much trouble if he'd just admitted it to her). Yet though it all he remained so sweet, devoted, and protective of those he loved.

Kyrin didn't grow much in this book, but I loved seeing her interacting with her brothers. Seriously, you can tell that the author grew up as an only girl in a household of boys. It was awesome. Kaden did some growing up, though, when he was given command over Landale's fleet of dragon riders, and it was awesome. Marcus and Liam got some development too, and I think I may have swapped my fictional crush from Kaden to Marcus.

Also, Holden. I don't remember him much from the previous books, but he was awesome in this one. Seriously awesome.

As for new characters, there were many awesome ones. Like Samara's young king, who's a sort of a David/Aragorn character. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Jaye does with his character in future books. Lady Rachel had such a tragic backstory, but she emerged such a beautiful, graceful woman because of it. And there were many other characters that you're just going to love to meet ... and some characters you probably will regret meeting, such as our new villain. Let me just say, I'm willing to see almost every other Ilyon character repent and be redeemed, but this fellow has to die.

There were so many great lines and popping dialogue, some of which tore at my heart, other's had me fangirling so wildly.

Why are you still here reading this review? Go buy the book! Unless, of course, you haven't read the previous books yet, in which case, buy them first, read them, and then read this one. You won't regret it.

Note: As this series goes, it is getting more mature. Most older teens should be able to handle it, but it's not a children's story.

Genre/Theme: Christian, Fantasy, Persecution

Reading Level: Mature TEEN - high school to college 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language 
Sexuality: SUBTLE - hinted, but not explicit - There are a few minimally-described kisses, and a few references to rape,  
Other: There's a nice bit of battle at the end, some torture scenes, and execution, and some other odd fights. Also, the opening scene involves the sacrifice of a lamb and its blood.   

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Morgan Huneke - Espionage

A companion to the Time Captives

By Morgan Huneke

Available on Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)

“Sir Roland has invited us to visit for the Autumn Feast.”

“Do we have to go, Papa? I couldn’t feast with the most crooked politician in all of Briznom.”

As the daughter of a Briznomian vassal lord, Vannie Cumberland has spent her childhood immersed in the world of politics. Relations between Briznom and the neighboring country of Calhortz are strained due to the tyrannical rule of the strytes. A proposed alliance could calm relations between the two countries, but would come at the cost of Briznom’s freedom.

When her father’s political archenemy invites them to the Autumn Feast, Vannie uncovers an evil scheme endangering the life of someone close to her. Personal enmity comes to a dangerous head as Vannie struggles to expose the corruption and stop the alliance. Time is running out.

Events are becoming too big for her to handle. Will Sir Roland’s son help or will things finally spiral out of control?

About the Author (from Amazon)

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Books have always been a big part of her life, never more so than when working at the local library. Her other interests include reading, playing the piano and violin, and politics.

You can connect with Morgan on her website, blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

Having read and loved the first two books in the Time Captives Trilogy, I eagerly awaited the final volume ... but then the author went and announced that first she had to publish a companion story set in the same world, but in the neighboring country.

Of course, I read it.

Espionage is a sweet little story, with a healthy dose of tension, centered around a very young heroine. Vannie has grown up surrounded by politics, as her father is one of her country's vassal lords (Their ruling system is something of an Oligarchy), and one of the few said lords who bothers to bring his children with him to court. When her father's arch-rival, Sir Roland, invites them for a friendly meeting at his castle, she smells a rat, but since she's only nine, and her father agrees to it, there's really nothing she can do to protest.

Once she reaches Sir Roland's estate, she meets Kyle, Sir Roland's son, who seems to be nothing like his father. Together they uncover a devious plot that involves a Stryte - which readers of the main Time Captives series would recognize as the invasive tyrannical ruling class Calhortz.

It was a good story, it really was, but I wasn't captivated by it like I was the main series. It was a nice addition to the world, but I didn't feel wowed by any high-concept ideas or great world-building. You meet a stryte and a few Merfolk, and that's it for the other races in the world, and there were only two or three mentions of the Time Captives. So while it was a good story, making it part of the Time Captives world almost felt forced.

It also had a very different feel from the rest of Morgan's work that I've read - instead of grand, sweeping tales with lots of characters and interspersed flashbacks, it's a very focused story, entirely from Vannie's point of view, since it's first person.

(It didn't help that I read this while reading another book which I found to be far more high-concept and kept me closer to the edge of my seat.)

This doesn't mean it wasn't a great book, it just wasn't quite the story I'd wanted.

Espionage is a story of faith, family, trust, forgiveness and resourcefulness. Vannie and Kyle are both great characters, as are their surrounding family and friends. The plot is tight and cohesive, and since there are fewer characters, they all seem far better developed. Things do get tense enough to keep you on the edge of your seat for a bit. It is a good addition  to the world, even if it isn't as spectacular as the main series, and I'm pretty sure you could read and love it even if you had no plans at all to read the main books. 

Note: I do recommend this story to younger children, as the cast itself is younger.

Genre/Theme: Fantasy, Christian

Reading Level: CHILD - children's literature 
TEEN - upper elementary to middle school 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language 
Sexuality: NONE - not even hinted at 
Other: There is some fighting and an attempt at murder. Nothing gory, though.

Monday, March 14, 2016

C. F. Fruzzetti and M. I. Pearshall - The Light Bringer's Way

The Light Bringer's Way
(The Light Bringer's Series)

By C. F. Fruzzetti and M. I. Pearshall

Available on Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)

In book two of the The Light Bringer series, THE LIGHT BRINGER’S WAY, Whitney and Reid arrive home after their first mission and Whitney is left wondering if and when her eyesight will return. More of Reid’s secrets are revealed and Whitney discovers together they can accomplish more than she ever imagined. THE LIGHT BRINGER’S WAY deftly weaves a physical journey of adventure through Africa rife with dangerous obstacles to obtain an ancient spear of pure energy with an emotional journey of love, trust and belief. The dark and deadly path she must travel down calls on Whitney to use her strengths to survive but will she once again be able to turn adversity into advantage? Each second counts in this young adult adventure as more truth comes to light and Whitney finally discovers Karen’s hold on Reid...or does she?

About the Author (from Amazon)

Best friends since childhood, Carolyn Fruzzetti and Meghan Pearsall always knew that they would work together on a creative endeavor. In 2011, they formed Pure Energy Books and released SUNDIAL, the first novel in a young adult series.
Originally from Alexandria, VA, Carolyn currently resides in Arlington, VA with her husband and two daughters. Carolyn has a B.S. in Public Administration from James Madison University and is a professional culinary graduate of L'Academie de Cuisine.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Rachel

Overall, I enjoyed book 2 of this series almost as much as the first one. The romance department rivets up a notch or so, and so does the action and adventure. The story picks up almost immediately at the closure of book one, so there is no interruption of the story line. In fact, the entire book takes place in very few weeks times and culminates on Halloween where the book ends with a bombshell of a discovery. The foreshadowing of this discovery is throughout both books, but believe me, you will probably miss it just like I did! Of course, the authors already have their third installment available, so no waiting to see how this will move the story along.

The story has the same setting, with another overseas adventure, this time stylized after Indiana Jones. There is even a mine train ride! The plot was excellent, speed without being too rushed, details without drowning in them, info dumps were kept to short clips in a fashion that made them seem natural. There were tons of new information that will thrill and amaze and keep you riveted at the edge of your seat for most of the story.

Basic Plot

The story opens with hours of the last books ending. The mission has been completed, but Whitney is now blind. Of course, she doesn't let that stop her. She may be blind, but she still has her intuition and she is perfectly healthy otherwise. She finds herself in a fight with Reid and manages to best him, proving to herself and others that she will manage life being blind if she needs to.

The group returns home and life resumes right where it picked up. Everyone in the high school believes Whitney was absent due to an allergic reaction to nuts, if only they knew the truth. But things don't really go back to normal, events have been set in motion, and nobody is safe, especially not the ever independent Whitney. Reid certainly has his hands full trying to keep her safe. Whitney isn't very sure she can trust Reid yet either, just what kind of hold does Karen have on him, rumors have it that she is his girlfriend and she wants him back.

But life is not going to drift back to "normal", by Chapter 3 there is a family emergency that has Reid whisking Whitney as well as her best friend Blair and Patrick off to the yacht. There they meet Reid's aunt, and she has a job for the 4 teens. The plane leaves in two weeks. She also drops some history and background into Whitney's lap and is shocked that she had no idea any of this was happening. Imagine discovering that most of what you thought was true about your life and the world around you was just a cover up for a whole sub world of people with special talents like Whitney and Reid.

The four teens arrive at their destination, where the adults will keep an eye on them as best they can, and begin to work their way toward the retrieval of a special artifact. Of course, the plans go awry almost as soon as they get settled. Que the Indiana Jones music, because shortly after they leave the plane in Chapter 8, the action will involve deep caves, molten rivers, poison darts, melting floors, mine trains, secret riddles and much more. Time is ticking. Nothing is as it seems. And everyone must face fears and learn to work together. The only other option is failure and death deep inside of the mountain puzzle.

As a whole, I enjoyed the "old world" explanations of history and how whole races of secret people with amazing talents have been manipulating legends and history from the earliest days of history. Peoples who hear more than others, see more than others, can predict time, and many more. Whitney was in for more than a few shocks and surprises.

The genre stayed true to the first book. A lot more kissing, but about the same as far as action, no gore - although their were bones. Language was mostly clean. Self Control was still a big theme, and so was learning to trust others and the importance of good communication. Whitney had a lot to learn about keeping secrets, and when it was important to share feelings rather than keeping them secret.

Genre/Theme:  Paranormal, CIA, Adventure, High School, 1980s, Sci-Fi
Reading Level:  TEEN - middle school and up
Profanity: Usually None .... but occasionally leans toward
 MODERATE - mild words & a few stronger expletives  (the text is really quite clean)
Sexuality:  MILD - descriptions of affection/desire   (lots of kissing)  some skimpy clothing and some wet clothing
there is a shower seen that is "interesting", it's an outdoor shower, so Whitney is fully dressed.  Quite a bit of snuggling and touching.  Also one accidental nude scene at the beginning - no descriptions - but to explain would be a plot spoiler, it involves a shared shower and accidentally walking in on the other person.
Other: The last several chapters are very intense – 
Indiana Jones adventure style, ESP and other skills

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Claire Banschbach - Adela's Curse

Adela's Curse 
Faeries of Myrnius

By Claire Banschbach

Available on Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)
A curse. A murderous scheme. A choice.

A witch and her master capture a young faery and command her to kill their enemy. Adela has no choice but to obey. If she does not, they will force the location of her people’s mountain home from her and kill her. To make matters even worse, the person she is to kill is only a man struggling to save his dying land and mend a broken heart.

Count Stefan is a man simply trying to forget the woman he loves and save a land crippled by drought. When a mysterious woman arrives at his castle claiming to be a seamstress, he knows she is more than she seems.

Adela enlists the help of Damian, another faery, to try and delay the inevitable. He insists she has a choice. But with the witch controlling her every move, does she?

About the Author (from Amazon)
Claire Banschbach was born and raised in Midland, TX, the fourth of eight children. She was homeschooled through high school and is now a proud member of the Texas A&M University class of 2014. An avid reader of Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and many other adventure novels, Claire was prompted to begin writing her own fantasy novel at seventeen after several years of daydreaming.

She continues to write in her spare time (and often when she doesn't have spare time). When not scratching out stories and homework with pen and pencil, Claire partakes in the joys of watching the Boston Red Sox, Aggie football, and playing volleyball. She hopes her strong foundation in God will continue to guide her writing.

She is currently working on her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Texas Tech Health Science Center.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

I love fairies, have always been fascinated by magical people with wings, so when when Claire asked me to review Adela's Curse, I naturally jumped at the opportunity to read a new spin on the magical, mysterious folk.

Admittedly, it wasn't until last night that I actually sat down and devoured the book, but it wasn't the story's fault that I delayed so long. I was looking for a block of time that I could fully devote to reading, since it was in PDF format, and I didn't want to loose my place.

Reading this story was like coming home. It wasn't a grand, epic adventure, but a sweet fairy tale that can almost trick your mind into thinking you've read it before, yet still remain completely original. It's not a long story, though longer than your average fairy tale. Personally, I think Claire's writing style suits this sort of story better than the epic.

Adela was a sweet heroine. Considered average at best among the fairies, she prefers to spend her time in the forest, caring for the plants, for that's where her talent lies. However, when an act of kindness traps her in a witch's power, she finds herself forced to act as no self-respecting fairy ever would - lies, schemes, murder even.

There is a bit of a love triangle in the story, but one that made sense. Adela is forced to win the heart of Stefan, but at the same time, she and Damian grow closer as he tries to help her out of the magical entanglement.

The worldbuilding was excellent. I loved Claire's take on fairies, and I just wish I could have seen more of the world.

I'd recommend this story to anyone who enjoys fairy tales and fantasy.

Genre/Theme: Fantasy, Christian

Reading Level: CHILD - children's literature to
TEEN - upper elementary to middle school 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language 
Sexuality: NONE - not even hinted at - a few kisses, but that's as far as it goes.
There's a lot of magic, of both the dark and light variety. Also, there's a nice battle scene at the end and people get hurt.

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