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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection: Beauty and the Beast

"A Prince by Day &
A Wolf by Night"
Bookworm's Ranking - 4 Worms
Storyline - Prince Alexander has been cursed by a witch to become a beastly wolf at night because of his arrogant behavior. With only one year to find someone who loves him as a wolf, he finds himself drawn to the one girl who has always detested him, Cecelia. But when he begins to see her with new eyes as a wolf, love begins to grew in both of their hearts. Cecelia has been disappointed and embarrassed too much in life yet finally feels loved by a strange wolf. If only Prince Alexander, who is suddenly being kind to her, would leave her alone. Will Cecelia choose the wolf or the prince and her choice will affect the prince forever.

Author - Jenni James

Publisher - StoneHouse Ink

Age Group - 14 and up

Content - *May Contain Spoilers* One man asks another if he did anything in appropriate with a maid when he was alone. The Prince got violent and strikes someone he is angry with. Someone becomes jealous and tries to kill the Prince and Cecelia. Cecelia is determined to help and see the good in others but feels foolish because others have betrayed her. Prince Alexander sees the wrong he once did and tries to be a better, more honorable man.

Personal Opinion - A charming, sweet, and enchanting read. From the first time we meet Cecelia, I totally got her spunky personality because I act like that. I just loved the interaction between her and the beast because the dialogue was so fun (it made me laugh at times) and sweet. Prince Alexander is a bit violent when he is angry at times but he learns that this can only get him in trouble. There were a couple of times I didn't buy the events in the story. SPOILER when Cecelia is told the prince made fun of her behind her back after she thought he changed, he visited and she was mad at first then just melted and kissed him END SPOILER. I think it made her a weak female character at times. besides a couple of spelling errors, there was one word that kept being used that didn't make sense which was "gel" where "girl" would have worked just fine. In fact, I had to go on the Oxford English Dictionary to discover it is a form of "girl." A bit confusing mixing modern language with old. Even with these errors scattered throughout, I think this was a great retelling which stuck to the original story and yet had a few unique qualities of its own to make it an enchanting read.

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Disney Frozen: The Cinestory

"Do You want to Build
a Snowman...?"
Bookworm's Ranking - 4 Worms

Storyline - Sisters Anna and Elsa have lived under the same roof but separated. Elsa hides away in her room and Anna doesn't understand why she's left her alone. What Anna doesn't know is that Elsa has powers to create snow and ice she can't control. When the king and queen, the girls' parents die, Elsa is to become queen. During the party, Elsa's powers are revealed and she runs away. Anna goes after her but it might be harder to convince her sister to come home than she thinks. With an array of characters assisting Anna, the two girls go on a discovery on what it means to truly love another.

Publisher - Joe Books Inc.; HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

Age Group - 10 and up

Content - *May Contain Spoilers* Elsa hides for most of her life and runs away when things go wrong. Anna is determined to help her sister, weather she wants it or not. Others are out to destroy Elsa because she is different and they are afraid of her.

Personal Opinion - This book was fun. I love the movie Frozen so, when I saw this book, I kept thinking about it and wanted to read it. Taking the cartoon and turning into a comic book was a fascinating idea and lets those who are older enjoy a tie-in book as well. Most of the pictures were nicely picked to include in the book and the adaption of most of the songs into speech was done well, keeping the original thoughts and feelings behind them in the new dialogue. It gave it a new insight into the characters and situations. Speaking of new insights, internal thoughts and fears where also conveyed in the comic book, letting readers read what Elsa and Anna might have been thinking at different events in the story.

Unfortunately, when it was night out in the story, some of the frames were too dark to really see much of the picture which made it irritating. There were a couple of changed I would have made personally. One, I would have tried to save space by adding dialogue to the same frame instead of the next one because the frames could take up a fourth of a page. There were also frames with no dialogue between spots when characters were talking which didn't seem necessary to me. Two, The beginning song with the ice harvesters didn't resemble the message at all but was just pointless conversation between the men. It took up too much space and I love that song so it was not a good beginning. Third, I would have liked to have seen some frames take up more space on the page, SPOILER like Elsa's ice palace at one point was contained in two to three frames and I would have liked to have seen it in one that took up half or two-thirds the page END SPOILER. It would have given a more dramatic effect.

Now, this adaption was good and fun, I had a hard time putting it down, I'm just thinking these changes would have made it better. Still, if you like Frozen, you would probably like this comic book of the movie where there are internal insights into the characters and lots of fun visuals from the movie.

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Because I enjoyed the comic version of Frozen, I'm giving away a paperback copy of Disney Princess Treasury, containing 800 pages of comic book stories of the a bunch of princesses we love (check out the Amazon page to learn more). Just enter using the Rafflecopter below.

P.S. If the winner would prefer the Frozen the Cinestory or the Pixar instead of the Disney Princess, making this alternative is welcome.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

The First Principle

"If Inalienable Rights Begin with Life Itself,
Will Vivica have the Courage to Defend them,
No Matter What it Takes?"
Bookworm's Ranking - 3 Worms
Storyline - Vivica is an average teenage girl whose mother is a governor of the accepting, reformed world, were population is managed, exclusory views in religion are eradicated, and teenage girls don't have to worry about being pregnant because they are required to terminate. But when Vivica sees a fellow classmate try to hide her pregnancy and, later, discovers she's pregnant herself, she begins to question if she truly wants to follow through with the law and if it is really killing as the father says. She also has to decide if the rebels who follow the old Christian traditions are dangerous and bigots as the government says they are, or if there is more to them than meets the eye. Will Vivica protect her child and discover if the rebels are who they say they are, not what the government claims?

Author - Marissa Shrock

Publisher - Kregel

Age Group - 15 and up

Content - *May Contain Spoilers* Teenage pregnancies happen. There is a shooting and bombing. Christianity is considered narrow minded and exclusory and promotes bigotry. Christians stand up for what they believe in. Vivica asks important questions to determine the truth, doesn't just accept a view point because the government says so.

Personal Opinion - While this novel did a fine job of presenting beliefs and ideas of pregnancy for teenagers and women who already have two children, it didn't display why Christianity and its beliefs are discouraged, bigotry, and exclusivist. Vivica asked good questions and her questioning the government vs. religion which were believable. Something that really secured why Vivica question having an abortion more than just the father didn't want her to was that she was one of three triplets.  Some advice she also received about how God works in answering prayers was right on and beautifully told. But, the negative attitude toward Christians and the Bible was almost too straight forward, bordering on preachy. Something just seemed to be missing in how this information and the governments feelings toward Christians was missing. Still, others might find this novel more enjoyable than me and the author did create a good world where Christian beliefs are regulated, controlled, even changed, and pregnancy and "termination" is the norm if not also required under certain guidelines.

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Disclaimer - In exchange for an honest review, I received this book for free from the publisher through Kregel Blog Tours.

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dreamtreaders Book 2: Search for the Shadow Key

"Some Doors Should Never be Opened"
Bookworm's Ranking - 4 Worms
Storyline - Archer is overwhelmed. More breaches are opening in the Dream than he can handle. While waiting for new Dreamtreaders to be chosen, Archer tries to stop those who are miss using the dream. But things are getting even worse. In the library, a door has happened and released creatures that are destroying the Dream faster and Rigby has terrible plans. As things get worse, Archer's family begins to fall apart and it a choice will have to be made; save the Dream or his family.

Author - Wayne Thomas Batson

Publisher - Thomas Nelson

Age Group - 12 and up

Content - *May Contain Spoilers* Archer struggles to hold to his convictions and duties to the Dream even though it might mean loosing his family forever. Rigby is more interested in accomplishing his goals than protecting the Dream yet he also claims that he is doing it to save his uncle so it is out of love. A school fight as well as a couple battles take place.

Personal Opinion - With an allegorical struggle between right and wrong and mysteries around every corner, Batson has created another fun, engaging fantasy novel. The messages and duties carried by the Dreamtreaders is something every person is called to and this novel gives it life with Archer's work in the Dream. Rigby's greed mixed with his desire to save someone he loves, gives the character a sympathetic feel even for all the evil and greed he enacts. The story struggles between Archer's family and his job as a Dreamtreader as he works between these two worlds. While the dream sequences were fun, I found them a bit confusing because of a lack of description. The real world didn't have that problem where I could imagine it clearly (not sure if this is because I can picture the real world easier because I live in it and could fill in the blanks or if it was just described more)  but I couldn't seem to form a picture of the Dream. Then again, I haven't read the first book yet (yes, that was stupid of me and no don't follow my example) but I want to. I look forward to book 1 and seeing what happens in book 3, how it all comes together and reveals its message in its story.

Buy - Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ChristianBook, Publisher,

Other Reviews for this Author - The Berinfell Prophesies - Review
                                               The Dark Sea Annals: Sword in the Stars and The Errant King - Review
                                               The Pirate Series: Isle of Swords - Review

Disclaimer - In exchange for an honest review, I received this book for free from the publisher through BookLook.

To read or comment on this and other reviews, stop by Bookworm
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Songkeeper Chronicles Book 1: Orphan's Song

"Who Will Keep the Song Alive?"
Bookworm's Ranking - 4 Worms
Storyline - Birdie has always been different and hears a mysterious song only she can hear keeps her company. Suddenly, her world is turned upside down because of this song, a curse as her closest friend calls it and is whisked away from the only life she has ever known. Now she is hunted by the Khelari, dark soldiers, meets new creatures, and fight for her life. Meanwhile, Ky, a street boy who is part of the Underground, a group of orphan children, becomes mixed up in a ploy by the leader to wage war on the Khelari. Will Birdie discover what the song really is and why it is so powerful?

Author - Gillian Bronte Adams

Publisher - Enclave Publishing

Age Group - 14 and up

Content - *May Contain Spoilers* Lots of fighting and bloodshed. Several characters seek vengeance and they also fight the desire to give in to evil ideas. Ky fights within himself to see what is the right thing to do for others. Birdie struggles weather to ignore the song or if there is something good to it. Amos struggles with his past and if he should reveal the truth.

Personal Opinion - Orphan's Song by Gillian Bronte Adams is a fun, adventure filled, mysterious book that takes some good twists and turns. There were a couple of long battle scenes yet they remained interesting and progress the story well. Ky was a fun character and I loved Amos's use of language, his strange words of exclamation and calling Birdie and Ky "lass" and "lad", giving the book a more Scottish feel then English like most fantasies. Birdie was a quiet, not tough, kind of girl yet was brave and determined. Wish there was more in of the Gryphon in the book but is seems like book 2 will have more of him. The beginning was a bit long and the breaking of the story between Birdie and Ky was confusing at first because I couldn't see how they would come together. When they did, it moved great, revealed some much craved for information, and ended with a cliffhanger. Looking forward to the next book and this is a good start to a new fantasy series.

Video -

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Monday, January 19, 2015

The Patmos Deception

"An Ancient Island Holds
an Ancient Secret..."
Bookworm's Ranking - 3.5 Worms

Storyline - Carey travels to Greece only to find the Institute that had offered her a job has closed, leaving her stranded. Thankfully, Nick, a journalist in Paris and an old friend of Carey's offers her a job. An under the radar job seeking stolen antiquities. Dimitri is a local for-hire tourist boat guide on Patmos struggling to make ends meet in the troublesome economy of Greece. So, to keep his family's legacy alive, he agrees to some illegal work. Yet the job requires more than he bargained for. They are all in danger and it will take their knowledge, skill, and determination to survive.

Author - Davis Bunn

Publisher - Bethany House

Age Group - 16 or 17 and up

Content - *May Contain Spoilers* Each character is encouraged to turn to God for direction in their current situations as well as dealing with their past such as Dimitri previously being a womanizer and then a smuggler and Carey with overcoming bad relationships.

Personal Opinion - I liked the idea of an ancient secret affecting modern day lives and thought this would be a good adventure novel. The characters were diverse and had detailed histories about how they became who they are and where they are now. There's a lot of information concerning various islands (mostly Ephesus and Patmos), their history, a legend, and how they tied in with Biblical times. The novel also gave an in depth image of the economic crisis in Greece. For all the work of creating characters with various personalities and histories, the book did not emphasis the mystery that much. This made it highly character centered and made me think on several occasions "What is this book about again? Oh, right." In fact, the story could go several chapters about the characters' present and past, were they were going, or the island's history without even touching on what the main plot was. I prefer books that are more evenly character and plot centered then heavily one way or the other. While it had great information and characters, I found this book slow and not my particular taste.

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Disclaimer - In exchange for an honest review, I received this book for free from the publisher through Bethany House Reviewers.

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Cover Reveal: Draven's Light

"Don't judge a book by its cover" does not happen. When I am looking at new books, trying to find something new, the cover is the first thing that makes me pick it up. From there, the title and synopsis influence my interest and then the book itself. Covers spark the imagination and hint at what the book is about.

ANNE ELISABETH STENGL makes her home in North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a kindle of kitties, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed Tales of Goldstone Wood. Her novel Starflower was awarded the 2013 Clive Staples Award, and her novels Heartless, Veiled Rose, and Dragonwitch have each been honored with a Christy Award.

To learn more about Anne Elisabeth Stengl and her books visit:
Anne Elizabeth Stengl's books have some of the most beautiful covers. And today is the reveal of the cover for her newest novel. So here is the cover of Draven's Light, releasing May 25, 2015.

In the Darkness of the Pit
The Light Shines Brightest

Drums summon the chieftain’s powerful son to slay a man in cold blood and thereby earn his place among the warriors. But instead of glory, he earns the name Draven, “Coward.” When the men of his tribe march off to war, Draven remains behind with the women and his shame. Only fearless but crippled Ita values her brother’s honor.

The warriors return from battle victorious yet trailing a curse in their wake. One by one the strong and the weak of the tribe fall prey to an illness of supernatural power. The secret source of this evil can be found and destroyed by only the bravest heart.
But when the curse attacks the one Draven loves most, can this coward find the courage he needs to face the darkness?
An excerpt is available here.

The author is also running a giveaway right now so enter the Rafflecopter.
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