Kitty Hawk And The Curse Of The Yukon Gold By Iain Reading [Book Review]

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Book Review | Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading | RachelPoli.com

I have received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada and as the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon, the harsh land made famous in the stories and poems of such writers as Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska’s inside passage and Canada’s Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I love this book cover. It perfectly sums up some major events of the book – the plane, Kitty climbing the mountain, the whale in the background – and the art style is just great. I love looking at it and it certainly enticed me in.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I was approached by the author’s publicist about this book. I love mysteries and was intrigued by the “historical fiction” part of this story. I’ll admit, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up on my own, but I decided to give it a try.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Kitty Hawk goes on an adventure flying off in her plane to Alaska in order to watch whales, observe, and study them. Then she runs into a group of gold thieves. She overhears their plan and they catch her before she can run away. Her mission is no longer whales, it’s the gold.

I felt as though this book was slow to start. I didn’t really get interested in it until Kitty ran into the thieves and that was around 100 pages or so into the story. When that happened, I got really into it. I felt as though the plot was cleverly crafted into the story making the history important, but not bombarding me with a history lesson.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed Kitty’s character. She was a strong protagonist and certainly knew how to take care of herself. However, a good chunk of her dialogue, especially in the beginning, was her talking to her internal self. It got confusion since her thoughts were in normal quotations and I also didn’t think it made any sense. She was having actual conversations with herself. It became annoying and I didn’t think it was needed.

Once I met Charlie, Buck, Will, and Jay, I enjoyed their characters a lot more. The four brothers were certainly a great addition to the cast. Though, I wonder if all four were needed. Their personalities were certainly different from each other.

However, Jay was the silent type. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it was almost as though he wasn’t even there. He didn’t start really speaking until the main part of their journey was halfway over. I had completely forgotten about him to the point that when his name was stated I had no idea who he was.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This story flowed well. As stated earlier, I felt as though the beginning was slow, but it did pick up when the adventure truly began. Once that happened it was smooth sailing. The history lessons were minimum but I learned a lot anyway.

I enjoyed all the description of their adventure, though a lot of the dialogue felt unrealistic to me. A lot of dialogue didn’t contain any contractions making the characters sound almost robotic. It just didn’t seem like something a person would say in real life.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

Overall, this was a great read. Once you get past the beginning it’s an enjoyable read. If you like a casual mystery and have a taste for adventure, give this one a try.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Apparently even in deadly serious situations boys simply can’t resist the urge to play like they are secret agents or something.” –Iain Reading, Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About The Series

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves.

There are currently five books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4), and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (book 5).

“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”

For more information, go to Kitty Hawk World

Check out the book trailer: YouTube

About the Author:

Iain Reading | Kitty Hawk and the Yukon Gold | Book Review | YA Mystery | Historical Fiction | RachelPoli.comIain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to his Amazon page.

Readers can connect with Iain on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to chat!

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Once And For All By Sarah Dessen [Book Review]

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Once and for All by Sarah Dessen | Book Review | Young adult romance | RachelPoli.com

I bought this book at Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

This book is all about weddings, so having a subtle person throwing flowers into the air was certainly a nice touch. It’s a simple cover, yet it tells a lot about what the book may entail. I especially love the background color and, like all of Dessen’s books, the title, and author name pop out nicely and are large enough to be seen.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

While I haven’t read all of Dessen’s books like most people, I’m trying to catch up. This is the author’s latest book and I grabbed it as soon as I could to keep up with the times. It didn’t disappoint.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

I felt as though this plot was a bit cliche. Louna works with her mother planning and working weddings but she doesn’t date herself. She doesn’t really believe in love. Then her mother hires Ambrose, an interesting character. Of course, Louna is distant toward him but Ambrose keeps trying. I’m sure you can already tell what’s going to happen.

Still, Dessen did it right. Louna carries baggage from a past boyfriend which heats things up a bit.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed all the characters. Louna made a great female lead and while Ambrose was annoying at first, he grew on me.

Louna’s mother was also a great character. She was the perfect mother figure but she and Louna had a good relationship with each other which made me feel good.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book is a decent length with some lengthy chapters. It all flows well and reads easily. It’s got a good pace and can be a quick read but you want to take your time with it.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

Dessen didn’t disappoint. If you enjoy a little romance, but not over-the-top romance, and like young adult, check out this book. Or any of Dessen’s books.

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Everyone’s always in their own world, when it’s still an option.” –Sarah Dessen, Once and for All

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to chat!

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Eliza And Her Monsters By Francesca Zappia [Book Review]

*This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia | Book Review | YA Fiction | Young Adult | RachelPoli.com

I bought this book myself at my local Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

The book cover is what caught my attention. It matches perfectly with the contents of the story. The cover shows a pair of hands, assuming to be Eliza’s, holding onto a pair of characters. The font of the title suggests something artsy as well. I love the design overall.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I had seen this book making its way around the WordPress book world. I had heard a lot of great things. I do enjoy storytellings and creating characters, of course, so when I went to Barnes & Noble I picked it up.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Eliza Mirk is a creative writer who publishes a comic online. She has created a brand new world with amazing characters and wonderful settings. Her username, Lady Constellation, is practically famous on the internet. However, she doesn’t want anyone to know it’s actually her.

This plot is unique as it relates so well to today. Everyone “knows” who everyone is on the internet and a lot of people make their living online now. Eliza was making money off of merch and that was going to help pay for her college. She was doing what she loved to do but didn’t want the fame attached to it. I found myself really into the plot, especially when she met a real-life fan because I knew what was coming.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed reading Eliza’s story. Eliza and Lady Constellation differ so much from each other which I thought was spot on. We’re all a little different on the internet. She made a great protagonist and developed well throughout the story.

Wallace was a great male lead. I was able to predict what was going to happen when he came into the picture, but I still enjoyed him and the dynamic between him and Eliza.

Eliza had two mods online, both varied in ages and they lived in different parts of the world. They only communicated online and through text but I loved their relationship with each other. They met through Monstruous Sea, but they were great friends.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The story flowed well overall. It bounced back and forth between narrative to text layout to brief drawings and blurbs of Monstrous Sea. I never felt jarred out of the story and it was easy to read. In fact, I read half the book late at night because I couldn’t stop reading.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was a wonderful story. I think most of us can relate to it. The storytelling overall is great and I would love to see more.

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com 4 out of 5 cups of coffee

Favorite Quote:

“It’s stupid because that’s what I like about the internet – that it gives you time to think about what you want to say before you say it.” –Francesca Zappia, Eliza And Her Monsters

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to chat!

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Turtles All The Way Down By John Green [Book Review]

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green | Book Review | Young Adult Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

The cover for Green’s latest novel is simple. I like the orange coloring of the spiral as it’s not too bright and doesn’t take away from the actual title. The title and Green’s name takes up a lot of space on the cover is in a semi-messy font which goes well with the premise of the story as well. I like it.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I’ve hopped on the John Green train late. Before picking this up, I’ve only ever read Paper Towns by him. His books have always been on my list so when this one was announced, I preordered it right away.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

This plot did not turn out the way I had expected it to. I expected more of a mystery, but it turned out to be more about finding yourself and being true to yourself and your friends. It was about being there for one another. While it wasn’t what I expected it to be, it was still a fun read with a cool mystery in the background.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

Part of the reason I enjoyed this novel so much was that Aza is just like me. She’s more extreme than me, but she has anxiety and some of the things she did and said are some things I can relate to. She made a great protagonist and was good fodder to through into a mystery.

Daisy, Aza’s best friend, was a good character to balance Aza out. She was supportive of her friend but got annoyed with her at times. Still, she was a fun character and I would love to see her in another story.

Davis, their other friend who wasn’t their friend in the beginning, was interesting. It was his father who went missing, his money that Aza and Daisy – mostly Daisy – wanted. Aza and Davis related to each other on so many levels and I found it to be a great dynamic.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

John Green’s writing is always phenomenal. The story was nicely paced and flowed well. There were no stones unturned. The plot was enjoyable enough that it was a quick read and kept me wanting more. While this is a standalone novel, I’d be interested to see these characters in a sequel.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

John Green didn’t disappoint. The plot was intriguing, I fell in love with the characters, and I couldn’t put it down. I would highly recommend this.

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com 5 out of 5

Favorite Quote:

“I wanted to tell her that I was getting better, because that was supposed to be the narrative of illness: It was a hurdle you jumped over, or a battled you won. Illness is a story told in the past.” –John Green, Turtles All The Way Down

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to chat!

 

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Eleanor And The Impossible By M. Miles [Book Review]

Title: Eleanor and the Impossible
Author: M. Miles
Published: 
October 30, 2017
Genre: Young adult
How I got the book: I received a free digital ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

Eleanor’s world is confined by the hedge around my guardian’s estate, but her imagination knows no boundaries.

Applying her scientific spirit to her favorite fairy tales, Eleanor devotes years to designing experiments that she hopes will attract fairies to her garden. But when a skeptical boy, instead of a fairy, appears in the garden, Eleanor’s concept of magic is shaken to the core.

The beauty of innocence, the perils of devotion, and the power of imagination are illuminated in a story that sings to the inner child: Eleanor’s story.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

When the author approached me about this book, I was happy to see the imaginative elements in the story. From the summary alone, I had a feeling the story would be magical. Needless to say, I was intrigued.

rp-plot

Eleanor is an orphan adopted by Lady Fitzopul, a mysterious woman. She hires a nanny, Clara Abbey, to care for the child in every way possible. Eleanor grows up happily, but isolated and unaware of the outside world. Mr. von Due, the man who took care of Eleanor’s adoption, forbids her to go out as she had speech delays and is a peculiar girl. However, he has another plan up his sleeve.

While I found the beginning of the novel to be a bit slow, the more I read the more I was intrigued. I was thrown into Eleanor’s magical world through her best friend, Maggie, who made up stories and lies to share with Eleanor, who naively thought they were real.

Along comes Theo, a boy Eleanor’s age who Mr. von Due adopted himself. Theo’s goal is to woo Eleanor to gain her fortune. Theo is naturally kind at heart and realizes pretty quickly what a bad idea it is.

In a way, this plot is like a real fairy tale. Eleanor is waiting for her prince to come, not knowing that he doesn’t exist – or, not in the way she thinks.

This plot was cleverly crafted and told a wonderful story. While I was confused by Maggie’s words at first (even I wasn’t sure what was real and what wasn’t), I was soon sucked in.

rp-characters

Eleanor is a naive, sweet young lady. She was adopted at a young age not knowing what happened to her parents or why until Maggie threw ideas into her head. She grew up believing in a magical world where fairies were hiding somewhere. She was the perfect protagonist for such a story and her character developed very nicely.

Maggie, however, was probably my favorite character. Eleanor took a liking to Maggie at a young age and Maggie found that as an opportunity. Maggie wasn’t happy with her life and, wanting to tell stories for a living, she spun a web of tales for Eleanor who believed every word. You could argue Maggie was an antagonist in some way, but she was lonely. I think it got to a point where she wanted to tell Eleanor the truth but was afraid to.

Theo was a wonderful character as well. All he wanted to do was make the others around him happy. He wanted to make his new father, Mr. von Due happy, but when he met Eleanor he realized there was much more to her. He was sweet even to Maggie.

Clara Abbey, Lady Fitozpul, Mr. von Due, Mrs. von Due, and Edward (Mr. and Mrs. von Due’s biological son) were all great supporting characters as well. I could go on about them, but for the sake of the length of this review, I won’t.

rp-writing-style

This book was written in third-person omniscient. This isn’t my favorite because I feel as though there’s more telling than showing. We see everyone’s points of views and thoughts and I don’t care to know about everyone. I’d rather know the protagonist and then infer about everyone else.

The author had such a way with words though that it didn’t bother me as much as it usually does. The description was spot on and the way Maggie told her stories, her voice, was mesmerizing.

rp-overall

I wasn’t too sure about the novel when I first started reading, but the author surprised me in more ways than one. This kind of plot isn’t something I would normally pick up myself if I found it at the bookstore, but I’m glad I gave it a chance. I look forward to any other work M. Miles puts out there.

Eleanor and the Impossible by M. Miles gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Maybe, then, magic is just the unexplained. And if you hang on to your curiosity, and you hang on to your sense of wonder, maybe there will always be magic in the world for you.” –M. Miles, Eleanor and the Impossible

About M. Miles

M. Miles is a young writer from the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Like Eleanor, she enjoys the beauty of the natural world and the grandeur of a story well told.

Despite having studied biology in college, Miles has gone on to work as an English teacher, a content writer, and a novel editor. Eleanor and the Impossible is her debut novel. To keep up with new works in progress, visit mmilesblog.wordpress.com.

Buy the book:

Amazon

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Keepers By Sacha de Black [Book Review]

Keepers by Sacha de Black Book Review

Title: Keepers (The Eden East #1)
Author: Sacha de Black
Published: 
November 17, 2017
Genre: Young adult, science fiction
How I got the book: I received a free digital review copy in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

Eden’s life is balanced…
…until her soul is bound to her enemy.

When her parents are murdered, the realm of Trutinor is threatened. Then a mysterious human arrives and changes everything.

As Eden’s world spirals out of control, she doesn’t need a charismatic Siren from her past returning to complicate life.

Now, saving Trutinor is the last thing on Eden’s mind.

Three boys.
Two murdered parents.
One deadly choice.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I have been following Sacha on her blog and social media for some time now. I’ve read and followed her through every update this book and I can’t believe the time has finally come – it is out in the world. Sacha approached me to advance read this book and I was more than happy to accept.

rp-plot

Keepers has the most unique plot I’ve seen in a while. The world is fleshed out to the max and the characters are super important in their own way.

We follow Eden East as she tries to do right in her world, Trutinor. Everything changes when her parents are murdered, her soul is bound to not one, but two boys. One of those boys being her enemy and neither of them being the man she truly loves. Then it’s a race against time to fix their binding and Balance their souls once more.

It’s hard to explain only because this world was so cleverly crafted and the rules are complicated (but they’re easy to understand within the pages). A lot of worldbuilding went into this book and it certainly shows. The plot revolves around Keepers, Fallons, Shifters, etc., with the occasional human sprinkled in. While I would not want to be in Eden’s shoes, the world of Trutinor seems like an interesting place.

There was a good amount of romance thrown in, as once you’re Bound your soulmates. You may not be Bound to who you love. That called for a perfect opportunity for a love triangle. I’m not a big fan of romance or love triangles, but it was well done in this story and I found rooting for one guy over the other.

rp-characters

I loved each and every character. They all fulfilled a certain role and no talent was wasted.

Eden made a great protagonist. I loved her voice and her strong will. I felt that she had a nice balance of being “tough” and “vulnerable” at the same time.

Victor made a nice antagonist. Though I have to admit, even though we were meant to hate him, I actually liked his character in the beginning… then I hated him.

Trey made a great supporting character as did Bo, Kato, and everyone else in the story. It was a great cast of characters.

rp-writing-style

This book was written in the third person limited through Eden. I felt that was a good choice for the narrator for this kind of novel.

The pace was smooth, yet it was action-packed. It sped up and slowed down at the right moments. I never got lost in the reading as it was easy to understand and it flowed well.

There’s a lot of learning as you read this novel. It’s a big world with many new terms, but it’s easy enough to stay caught up.

rp-overall

I don’t read a lot of science fiction or even this kind of fantasy for that matter, but I can very easily see myself getting sucked up in this world. The ending had a great twist. I’m really looking forward to the sequel.

Keepers (The Eden East #1) by Sacha de Black gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Scars are memories. They’re real. Moments we shouldn’t forget.” –Sacha de Black, Keepers

Buy the book:

Amazon

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Warcross by Marie Lu [Book Review]

Warcross by Marie Lu

Title: Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Published: 
September 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young adult, science fiction
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary:

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

If I remember correctly, this book was recommended to me by Nthato long before the book was released. It intrigued me and I put it on my Goodreads wish eventually forgetting about it. But I saw it in the bookstore the other day and I immediately remembered the book because of the cover. So I grabbed it. And I have to say, I haven’t read a book this fast in a while, it was that good.

rp-plot

Emika Chen is an 18-year-old bounty hunter. She is also an excellent hacker and certainly knows her way around computers and technology. So, when she accidentally hacks into one of the biggest virtual reality games, Warcross, during a live match, she assumes she’s in big trouble.

However, Hideo Tanaka, the 21-year-old creator of Warcross, offers her a job instead.

Emi is hired as a bounty hunter to go undercover in the games and hack into it to find and catch another hacker, only known as Zero. Between her skills and Hideo’s, they work together to catch the unknown man… or woman.

Books about hacking into video games are not uncommon. However, this plot was woven so intricately that it really made it its own. There’s hacking, there’s video game playing, there’s romance (eh), there’s humor, there are dangerous moments… it’s a roller coaster.

While I did figure out who Zero was fairly easily before Zero’s real identity was revealed, there was a twist at the end that I certainly didn’t see coming. And it was the best twist I’ve ever seen in a book.

But I’ll stop talking about the plot now. I could talk about it all day and I know I’ll spoil something…

rp-characters

I found all the characters to be likable in some way or another. Emi was a great protagonist and had a humorous personality. I could relate to her a lot.

Hideo was a great character as well. However, he was just okay for me. He was nice, smart, polite, but I don’t know. Something was off for me, but I did still enjoy him as a character. And I think he was the perfect fit to play the “21-year-old genius.”

The side characters, such as Emi’s Warcross team, Asher, Ren, Roshan, and Hammie, were cool as well. They each had their own unique personalities and contributed in one way or another. It showed their friendship with one another and they each had one goal in mind – to win Warcross. Still, they considered Emi a friend and was willing to help her own in any way they could.

Then there’s Keira. And here’s my only complaint about this book. Keira was Emi’s roommate back in New York, when they were poor and about to get evicted, before Emi accidentally hacked into the game. Once Emi is hired, she flies to Tokyo leaving Keira behind. She’s never heard from again.

I know she was a minor character, but I did like her, and I would assume that she would at least text Emi to see how things were going. Especially since Emi was blasted all over the news a couple of times. There seemed close enough friends that I was hoping they’d keep in touch. If Keira really wasn’t needed, she shouldn’t have been in the book at all.

rp-writing-style

The book is written in Emi’s first-person point of view. We see everything she sees and knows everything she knows, especially her thoughts. She had a humorous personality which definitely made her a fun character to follow around. It made the narration easier to read.

There was a lot of description in this book mostly of the Warcross game and overall world and all the technology that came with it. It was interesting and it honestly makes me wonder if we’re going to have something similar to that in real life at some point. It reminded me of VR Super Smash Brothers.

But it wasn’t just a came. It was a way people communicated with each other as well. It was very well done.

rp-overall

Can you tell I liked the book? I could gush about it all day if you’d let me. It was well written with a twisty plot and fun characters. I’m looking forward to book two.

Warcross by Marie Lu gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Death has a terrible habit of cutting straight through every careful line you’ve drawn between your present and your future.” –Marie Lu, Warcross

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Beauty’s Curse & Beauty’s Quest (Once Upon A Princess Books 1 & 2) by C.S. Johnson

Beauty's Curse(Once Upon A Princess book 1) by C.S. Johnson | Book Review

Title: Beauty’s Curse (Once Upon A Princess book 1)
Author: C.S. Johnson
Published: 
January 2016 by Dire Wolf Books
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, retelling
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the author for the blog tour in exchange for an honest review. However, the book was free on Amazon, so I downloaded it onto my Kindle.

Summary:

For four years, Princess Aurora of Rhone—Rose to her friends—has searched the world for a way to break the curse placed on her by Magdalina, the wicked ruler of the fairies at war with her kingdom. Under the curse, Rose is doomed to die on her eighteenth birthday after pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. And time is running out.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Rose makes the journey home with her friends—Theo, a priest with a penchant for revenge; Mary, a young and talented fairy; and Ethan and Sophia, siblings with a troubled past–as pressure from her father, King Stefanos, leaves her with two equally unsatisfying options: Abdicate the throne, or get married.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

When I was approached to read this book (and the three books that follow it), I was intrigued by the summary. If you know me, you know I love retellings and oddly enough, I have yet to read any Sleeping Beauty retellings.

rp-plot

Time is running out for Rose. Her 17th birthday is approaching which means she only has one year left before her curse of pricking her finger on the spinning wheel on her 18th birthday is fulfilled. On a journey with a few friends, Rose returns back to her kingdom as she spends every waking moment trying to find a way to break the curse.

And that’s about it.

Being the first book in a series of four this felt more like an introduction. Not too much happened as Rose and her companions made their way back to the kingdom before they set out on their next adventure. There seemed to be a lot of build-up, especially where the king wants Rose to get married, but not much came from it. While they came to an agreement, it was swift and a bit anti-climactic.

The book ended on a cliff-hanger setting up the second book, but nothing from the first book, other than introducing the characters, seemed to be a big deal.

rp-characters

I’m not sure how I feel about Rose as a protagonist. Yes, this is a Sleeping Beauty retelling so it’s only natural she would be the center of attention, but she just seemed a little flat to me.

Theo, Rose’s priest companion and friend, was a wonderful character. He seemed fleshed out and was kind putting Rose’s needs before his own and he really seemed to know what he was doing.

Mary, Sophia, Ethan, and later Prince Philip, were good characters as well. They all have good personalities which made them fun to read.

rp-writing-style

This seems to be told in third-person omniscient, which isn’t my favorite POV at all. There were times when a character would state the obvious or mention something that I wanted to figure out on my own or wait and see what happened.

Despite this, Rose is the main focus. Yet, sometimes we would switch to someone else for a moment just for the sake of them talking about Rose behind her back or thinking about her. I didn’t care too much for that.

rp-overall

I liked this book, though it’s not my favorite. I wish there were more high stakes against Rose and her friends. Still, it was enjoyable enough that I kept reading on.

Beauty’s Curse (Once Upon A Princess book 1) by C.S. Johnson gets…
3 Stars 3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“He was not fooled by the calm look on her face; there would be a battle in getting her to agree.” -C.S. Johnson, Beauty’s Curse

Buy the book – Beauty’s Curse is FREE on all platforms!

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Title: Beauty’s Quest (Once Upon A Princess book 2)
Author: C.S. Johnson
Published: 
June 2016 by Dire Wolf Books
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, retelling
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the author for the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

In order to defeat the sorceress Magdalina, and free herself from her curse, Rose, the Princess of Rhone, has set out to find dragon’s blood. As she travels toward the Romani territory, where the Serpent’s Garden resides, she is accompanied by her faithful group of friends, including their newest member, Prince Philip of Einish.

But when the group ends up shipwrecked on the small island of Maltia, they find themselves trapped without supplies and a way off the island. With time, money, and new enemies working against them, Rose remains determined despite her despair to rise to each challenge. But can she face the growing fear—and longing—inside herself?

Sweet, suspenseful, and full of surprises, Beauty’s Quest is the second book in the Once Upon a Princess series from C. S. Johnson.

My Review:

rp-plot

Rose, Philip, Theo, Mary, Sophia, and Ethan set out on another journey to slay a dragon for its blood. However, their adventure takes some twists and turns once they’re shipwrecked and they become stranded on an island. Now they have to get back their money and supplies in order to continue their quest.

There was more action in this book than the last as Rose enters a tournament. She ends up making rivals with the champion and that tends to be the forcing drive behind most things she does in this book. Rose has a temper and she’s not afraid to use it.

Still, they’re trying to make it to the dragon. Once they do make it, it’s the very end of the book (one or two chapters) and it’s anti-clamactic again.

rp-characters

I’m still enjoying all the characters. My respect for Theo and Philip have especially gone up. I don’t care much for love triangles, but this one between them and Rose is working quite nicely.

However, I don’t like Rose. She was mean in this book. She’s stressed and worried about her curse, but she doesn’t treat others well and nearly kills two men. This is okay some of the time, of course, but it was constant in this book. I no longer have any sympathy for her and it’s hard to root for her to overcome the curse.

rp-writing-style

The writing style is the same as the first book. It’s still not my favorite, but that’s just my preference and I’ve gotten used to it since that happens to just be the style of this series.

However, there were a few typos here and there and the “thoughts” weren’t consistent. Sometimes they were in italics and something they weren’t.

Other than that, it was pretty easy to read and flowed well.

rp-overall

I liked this book better than the first one. There was more of a plot to it, but I still felt the need to give it only three stars because I couldn’t care for Rose. And, for me, characters are everything in a book.

Beauty’s Quest (Once Upon A Princess book 2) by C.S. Johnson gets…
3 Stars 3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Your arguing skills are as sharp as ever.” -C.S. Johnson, Beauty’s Quest

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About the Author

C.S. Johnson authorC.S. Johnson is the author of several young adult novels, including sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles series, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me.

 

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Giveaway

Want to participate in a treasure hunt?

At the end of each book in this series is a special collectible clue. Collect all four books, and get all four special prizes, FREE!

Love reading fairytales? Enter to the world of C.S. Johnson’s Once Upon A Princess Saga by entering to win a paperback of Beauty’s Curse, the entire saga in ebook format, four specially designed t-shirts of a quote from the series, and two handy mugs for your favorite drink.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Calling all book readers! Join us as we celebrate C.S.Johnson’s ONCE UPON A PRINCESS SAGA on October 6th from 8:30PM to 10:30PM EST (7:30PM CDT and 5:30PM PST).

Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun night of chatting with the author and special guests, games, and giveaways.

Special guests Chandler Brett, Jeff Sartini, and Disney Princess Addict will also be sharing their books and joining in the fun.

As a note: The giveaways held on this event page are in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Any questions or comments regarding the party will be directed to the host (Laura A. Grace), not Facebook.

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Everland by Wendy Spinale

Everland by Wendy Spinale | Book Review

Title: Everland
Author: Wendy Spinale
Published: 
May 2016 by Scholastic Press
Genre: Young adult | Fantasy | Fairytale retelling
How I got the book: I downloaded it onto my Kindle

Summary:

The only way to grow up is to survive.

London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived the destruction and the outbreak of a deadly virus are children, among them sixteen-year-old Gwen Darling and her younger siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the deadly Marauders—the German army led by the cutthroat Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England’s borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook is on the hunt for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the surviving children. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return.

Until one day when they grab Joanna. Gwen will stop at nothing to get her sister back, but as she sets out, she crosses paths with a daredevil named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it might cost Gwen more than she bargained for. And are Gwen, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart the ruthless Captain Hook?

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I love a good fairy tale retelling and Peter Pan is my favorite. So, naturally, I have to read all the Peter Pan retellings there are out there.

rp-plot

This was by far the most unique Peter Pan twist I’ve read. Instead of a lost girl or boy finding their way into Neverland, children are all around England orphaned from the war and a deadly disease that took their parents.

We go back and forth between Gwen’s first-person and Hook’s first-person. Gwen is trying to keep her younger brother and sister safe and they’re all trying to survive. Meanwhile, Hook wants his hands on the “cure” for the disease for the Queen who started the war in the first place.

When Gwen’s sister is taken by Hook’s crew, she comes across Pete and the Lost Boys. After a rough start, they decide to help one another out and go after Gwen’s sister and Hook.

This was certainly a different kind of plot than I’m used to reading, especially for a Peter Pan retelling. I enjoyed it though.

rp-characters

I didn’t fall in love with any of the characters. I found Gwen to be annoying at times. She flip-flopped a lot on her decisions and feeling. For a 15-year-old who has parented her younger siblings all the while trying to stay alive, I get why she was iffy at times. Still, there were times when I felt like she played the “I’m only 15” card and sometimes she seemed to play the “I’m older, therefore I’m in charge” card.

Pete was okay. He had a sad backstory, but there wasn’t much feeling behind it. Doc, one of the lost boys, explains Pete’s backstory to Gwen, but that’s about it. It’s just an explanation. Peter mentioned it once or twice to Gwen later on, but again, I couldn’t feel anything for it.

The supporting characters weren’t much better. I didn’t feel like I had enough time with any of them to really feel sorry or happy for them. Due to spoilers, I won’t say much, but I didn’t feel sorry for what happened to Jack or Pyro. I barely knew either one of them, so I didn’t care too much about what happened to them.

Overall, the characters didn’t really do it for me. And, to me, the characters are what makes a story.

rp-writing-style

The actual story was easy to read and to follow along. Each chapter alternated (for the most part) between Gwen and Hook. So, we knew his motives as well as hers.

Other than that, there wasn’t too much special about the writing. I thought it was pretty simple and straight-forward.

rp-overall

This book was just okay for me. The plot was interesting, but I don’t know if it worked well as a Peter Pan retelling. The characters were a little too bland for me. Also, there’s a quote in the book that’s in the original Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. It’s a wonderful quote, but for some reason that didn’t sit well with me. I feel like if the author wanted to add that in, she should have changed it a bit and made it more her own.

This is the first of a series. I may read the next book, but I don’t know if it would be anytime soon.

Everland by Wendy Spinale gets…
3 Stars 3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Oh, aren’t you cute? It’s absolutely… darling.” –Wendy Spinale, Everland

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The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene

Title: The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew #2)
Author: Carolyn Keene
Published:
1959 by Grosset and Dunlap
Genre: Young adult mystery
How I got the book: It was being donated and I took it

Summary:

Nancy resolves to help Helen Corning’s relatives solve the mystery of the ghost haunting their old mansion. A mysterious man appears at the Drew home to warn Nancy that her father, Carson Drew is in danger. This warning prompts a search for the missing Willie Wharton, a land owner, who can prove he signed away his land to the railroad and save the railroad from a lawsuit. Meanwhile, the disappearance of Mr. Drew, thefts and mysterious goings on at Twin Elms, and the discovery of a hidden staircase lead Nancy to solve these baffling mysteries.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

This second mystery was back-to-back the first one. I enjoyed the first one, so I figured I’d read this second one right away.

 

rp-plot

Nancy’s father, a lawyer, is kidnapped due to real estate issues about the railroad. Meanwhile, there’s a ghost inside a mansion that Nancy has to get rid of.

I found this plot to be a lot more in depth and suspenseful than the first book and I enjoyed it more. Nancy stays at the haunted mansion to figure out the “ghost” in the house all the while trying to find her father and solve that mystery.

Between the two mysteries, the plot moved along nicely and kept my attention.

rp-characters

With the help of Helen, Nancy explores the haunted mansion which is inhabited by Miss Flora and Aunt Rosemary. The four of them wander the house and investigate any happenings. They were all a great help to Nancy and I enjoyed following the four of them on the investigation together.

There weren’t too many other characters involved up until the very end as Nancy got closer to the truth, but I enjoyed the four main girls.

rp-writing-style

As a children’s story, the writing is pretty simple. The POV breaks a couple of times and there’s a lot of inner monologue from Nancy in which she states the obvious a lot.

Still, it’s easy to read and it’s relaxing in a way because even though you’re trying to help solve the case, you don’t have to think too much.

rp-overall

This was a fun read. It’s a nice, simple mystery with a few twists here and there.

The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene gets…
4 stars book review4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“It sounded as if Helen had picked the squeakiest spot on each step!” –Carolyn Keene, The Hidden Staircase

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