Monday, October 17, 2016

The Watcher by Lisa Voisin


A fallen angel seeking redemption. A demon seeking revenge. The teenage girl caught between them.

Since the new guy, Michael Fontaine, came along, Mia Crawford is being hunted. Strange creatures appear out of nowhere. Visions of another time and place creep into her thoughts. 

Searching for answers, Mia discovers a past life of forbidden love, jealousy and revenge that tore an angel from Heaven and sent her to an early grave. Now that her soul has returned, does she have a chance at loving that angel again? Or will an age-old nemesis destroy them both?

Ancient history is only the beginning.

I'm struggling between 3 and 4 stars because of some things I didn't like, but it leans more toward 4.

Now, before you roll your eyes at the "fallen angel love story" and give up, just hear me out.

Gorgeous angel meets a beautiful girl, they fall in love, heaven finds out, the angel falls, and they end up together and happy forever. Maybe this happened today, maybe it happened 500000 years ago and they're reincarnated and reliving their love. Sound familiar?

Think again.

Michael fell from heaven thousands of years ago when he fell in love with a girl. Having broken one of the rules of Heaven for angels, Michael began his "descent" as he lusted after her. Captivated, he ignored the rules and married her, but she was met with an untimely death by a demon, and he was convinced everything was his fault. Now, he's in "rehab," trying to recover from falling and return to Heaven.

Mia starts seeing strange things right before two new boys start at her high school. Beautiful Michael and dark, mysterious Damiel are the focus of all the girls in the school, but Mia is wary of them. When she agrees to go on a date with Damiel, she discovers that he is actually a demon hunting her. Michael saves her and tells her some of their past.

Michael devotes his time to protecting Mia from Damiel, but being around him tempts him to his limits.

Lisa Voisin weaves a captivating story that is more than just your typical angel/mortal love story. With religious details and unexpected twists, The Watcher is much more than what you would expect.

Some personal thoughts on the book (SPOILERS INCLUDED):

Despite the originality, a part of me still hates the "fallen angel love story" cliche, so that was difficult to get past. And though the mating aspect was necessary for the context of the story,  it still made me uncomfortable.
At one point, Mia finds out that Michael cheated on her with another girl. She gets very upset, but not because of the fact that he slept with another girl. Honestly, it seemed like she couldn't care less about that. She cried merely because she couldn't have sex with Michael right then. How stupid is that? Or maybe that's just my opinion...
However, I loved the fact that despite Michael and Mia being super attracted to each other and Michael's sin being lust that he could hardly control, the two managed to stay together and "behave." I have no idea what the rest of the series will bring, but I really liked this aspect of the story and it was definitely a welcome change from all the other YA romance novels like this that are out there.

**I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for my review

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

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Young and gentle Dolssa is fearlessly and passionately devoted to her Beloved. When the inquisitors hear of her faith and popularity among the people in her village, they demand that she stop telling them about the love of Jesus, accusing her of blasphemy and heresy. Boldly refusing, she faces execution at the stake, but miraculously escapes. On the run, she is found by Botille, a young woman running a tavern with her sisters. Botille helps keep Dolssa hidden from the inquisitors and the two girls form a bond of friendship.

Based on true events, Julie Berry creates a beautiful story of devotion to one's beliefs and friends.

I loved this book. Julie Berry is my favourite author, and the story she wove for this novel is beautiful. I don't always enjoy historical novels, but of course Julie Berry did an amazing job.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Julie Berry's Website

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Marked in Ink by Megan Massacre

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Four Stars

Believe it or not, this is my first "adult" colouring book. I've seen them in the stores but never actually got the chance to try one. So when this book came up on the list of review books, I was really excited.

The images in the book for you to colour are really creative, with different patterns and styles of art to inspire just about anyone. The theme is tattoo designs, so there are many elaborate images as well as simple ones. As soon as I opened the package, I took out my special markers my dad gave me and started colouring.
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My only complaint is that with some of the images, there isn't much of a variety. We have a mermaid, a cat, a bat, a dog, and a set of daggers (along with many others), and then half of the selection is different versions of skulls. I get it - skulls are popular tattoo designs. But when every other page in the book is a full-page skull, it gets kind of old.

The design of the product itself is beautiful - full colour images on the cover, thick pages that tear out to make colouring easier, and even a special page to write your name and colour a design around it. There are maybe about 30-40 different things to colour, including the design on the front cover of the book (though I don't know if I can do that after seeing what the artist was able to do...).
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**I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Release Day Celebration: The Perilous Journey of The Much Too Spontaneous Girl by Leigh Statham

The Perilous Journey of the Much-Too-Spontaneous Girl by Leigh Statham

Presented by Month9Books

Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of the post!

Lady Marguerite Vadnay and her trusty automaton, Outil, have settled into life in New France rather well. Marguerite is top of the class at flight school and her future as an aerpilot is nearly secure. She has everything she wants— except a commission on the pirate hunting dirigible The Renegade. Using every card in her aristocratic arsenal, Marguerite wiggles her way onto the finest warship France has to offer. But as usual, Marguerite’s plans endanger the lives of those she holds dear— only this time no one else is going to save them. As Marguerite and Outil set off on a rescue mission they may not return from, she finally realizes it’s time to reorder her cogs.

This steampunk adventure is littered with facts from The Golden Age of Piracy and follows (not too closely) some of the lives and adventures of the brave men and women who sailed the seas as privateers, pirates and soldiers.

The Perilous Journey Of The Much Too Spontaneous Girl (The Perilous Journey of the Not So Innocuous Girl #2) by Leigh Statham

Publication Date: September 20, 2016

Publisher: Month9Books

Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo |TBD | iBooks

Don't forget to read the first book!

Lady Marguerite lives a life most 17th century French girls can only dream of: Money, designer dresses, suitors and a secure future. Except, she suspects her heart may be falling for her best friend Claude, a common smithie in the family’s steam forge. When Claude leaves for New France in search of a better life, Marguerite decides to follow him and test her suspicions of love. Only the trip proves to be more harrowing than she anticipated. Love, adventure and restitution await her, if she can survive the voyage.

Giveaway Information: Contest ends October 7, 2016
  • One (1) winner will receive a scrabble tile book cover charm (US ONLY)
  • Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of books 1 and 2 in the Perilous Journey of the Not So Innocuous Girl series by Leigh Statham (INT)

Author Leigh Statham

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Raft by S. A. Bodeen


I couldn't get past chapter 4...the writing was meh and Robie is so stupid.

She's staying with her aunt in Honolulu, but her aunt has to go somewhere for a while, so Robie stays at the apartment. A friend of the aunt is supposed to check in on her, but then something comes up and the lady can't. Robie decides not to tell her aunt that no one will look out for her, and then goes into near-hysterics later that night, convinced that a drunk man who grabbed her on the street has followed her home and is trying to break into the apartment. And before she gets inside, she realizes she lost the keys and breaks down crying in the hallway. Even after all this, she won't call her aunt or anyone in the city. She attempts to call her parents, but the phone line won't connect to the island they live on.
Tired of being alone and scared, she books a flight back home to Midway...without telling anyone. And it's not a professional passenger flight, either - it's a cargo flight, which means no one in the world knows but the pilot...
So when the plane goes down, no one knows to come rescue her...

And that's honestly all I know from what I read because it was just so...ugh

Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers

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Great fun for frequent punners...difficult for normal people

Puns are great. And annoying sometimes. But still pretty great. Everyone loves making dumb puns to make their friends groan, and everyone dreads hearing those dumb puns from said friends.

Like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity, Punderdome features two sets of cards - and all of those cards come with a Pun Question on the back (aka a bad joke). The first person to answer the question correctly receives points, and the best pun for the Apples to Apples-type cards gets to keep the card. First person to 10 cards wins.

Another weird feature that doesn't make much sense is that the "host" must put prizes in the mystery envelopes to give to the winner. The idea is that one is a good prize, and the other is a dumb joke - the winner hoping to pick the right envelope. (For example: A drink on me vs. a dirty napkin)

The idea of this game sounds really fun, but in reality, I found it very difficult to think of puns to go with the prompts. Like, who can think of a pun for "Outer Space" and "Farming" off the top of their head? And then continue to do that for a bunch of other random match-ups? Maybe I'm just really bad at making up puns, but I can't...

**I received this free for review from Blogging for Books

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Walking Dead, Vol. 01: Days Gone By

Last semester at my college, I took a Zombies honors course from my English department, and one of the requirements was to watch the first two seasons of The Walking Dead. Of course I couldn't stop there, so I watched the other seasons as well and am currently waiting for the next one to come out. (Comment your theories about the finale below!)

I've been interning at my town's library this summer and while there are lots of things to do, there are also many times when I have nothing really to do, so I have started going through the comic books.

This comic wasn't bad, but I think it went WAY too fast. Compared to the show, the first volume is basically all of Season 1, plus an event or two from later seasons that happen as well. There is not much time for character development, especially with three of the main characters already dead by the end of the book.
The entire series is told from Rick's point of view, so we won't get to see anything like Morgan almost shooting his dead wife or things like that. Rick is the only character we know anything about, really, and we don't know that much. Some facts, but personality-wise, we know next to nothing.
By the end of Volume 1, ***SPOILER*** Amy, Jim, and Shane are already dead. ***END SPOILER*** We don't really get to see much of Amy and Andrea's relationship, and we don't see Shane's character development and his decent into madness. In the comic, Carol's husband has died already and there are quite a few characters in the camp that were not in the show...and we still don't really know anything about them. Meryl isn't in the story causing problems, and, as most people know, neither is Daryl. Rick teaches everyone in the camp to use a gun right off the bat, so we don't see much of the fight between Rick and Lori about Carl learning to shoot, and we don't see Andrea's development into a stronger character.
One thing I do like about this version is that there aren't any characters playing the race card. In the show, we saw the conflict between Meryl and T-Dog mostly due to racism, but since neither of them are in the comics, and everyone in the camp is white (Glenn being Asian-American). Though the fact that there aren't any black characters in the camp might be another issue, we don't have the discrimination or superiority that we have to deal with in the show. While this can be an important issue to address, I think it can also detract from the story, and in this situation, I am glad it was not included.

As of right now, I do plan on continuing the series...when I can find volume 2...someone has it out from the library right now...

To watch AMC's The Walking Dead, visit their website or Netflix. Or check your local library or bookstore for the DVD collections.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Cover Reveal: Hear the Wolves by Victoria Scott and GIVEAWAY

Isn't it great? (Here's a little secret from the author: the entire thing--every snowflake, every wolf, every letter, and every detail that went inside this book--was hand-drawn by the cover designer)

It's survival of the strongest in a contemporary, girl-versus-wild middle-grade debut from Fire & Flood author Victoria Scott! 

Sloan is a hunter.

So she shouldn't be afraid of anything. But ever since her mom left the family and she lost hearing in one ear in a blizzard, it's been hard to talk to people, and near-impossible to go anywhere or do anything without her dad or big sister within eyesight -- it makes her too scared to be on her own.

When they leave her home alone for what should only be two nights, she's already panicked. Then the snow starts falling and doesn't stop. One of her neighbors is hurt in an accident. And the few people still left in Rusic need to make it to the river and the boat that's tied there -- their only way to get to a doctor from their isolated Alaska town.

But the woods are icy cold, and the wolves are hungry. Sloan and her group are running out of food, out of energy, and out of time. That's when the wolves start hunting them . . .

Hear the Wolves will be released from Scholastic on March 28, 2017. But you have a chance to read it before then! Just enter this rafflecopter giveaway to be entered to win one of 10 galleys. The contest ends Monday, August 8th at midnight. Good luck!

Meanwhile, check out Victoria Scott's website and her other books!

This post was made possible by Victoria Scott and her V Mafia, an exclusive club for her readers.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What is Anime and Manga?

Anime is Japanese animation. Like American animation, anime is used to tell a variety of different stories. Anime has a very distinct art style and is directed at all audiences. While American animation is generally aimed toward children, anime can be for anyone. But while not all of the selections are for young children, there are also some anime only for older teens and adults.

Manga often goes hand-in-hand with anime, as many manga stories are adapted into movies or shows in the anime tradition. Just as anime is compared to American animation or cartoon art, manga can be compared to American graphic novels. But graphic novels are usually short, colourful, and full of action, action, and more action. Manga is generally longer than a typical graphic novel and can be any genre. The black and white art style that is very similar to anime is used to depict action as well as romance, mystery, and science fiction. Like anime, manga is not only aimed at children, but towards adults as well.

Remember: one anime or manga series does not define the entire selection. Narato and Sailor Moon are not the only stories Japan has to offer, and just because one anime or manga does not fit your taste or approval does not rule out all of the others.

Here are some resource links to learn more:

· - Find anime titles, read reviews, see ratings, and watch shows for free. If you make an account, you can create lists of anime to watch. Manga is also included.
· - Believe it or not, Netflix offers a variety of anime shows. Though there is a small monthly fee for membership, the selection of shows and movies from every genre is worth it.

· - In addition to Netflix, Hulu also offers anime shows, many of which are free to watch without signing up for an account.
· – If all else fails, tons of fans have uploaded their favourite anime to the youtube channels. Just make sure to check the episode numbers to watch it in the correct order!

Google is your friend: If you’re not sure of something, ask Google!

Not sure where to start? Try one of the following:

  • Sword Art Online
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Howl's Moving Castle
  • Kiki's Delivery Service
  • Attack on Titan
  • Naruto
  • Sailor Moon

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton

Title: A Flight of Arrows
Author: Lori Benton
Genre: Historical Fiction

Hearts are Divided 
Loyalties Will Be Tested
The Fates of Two Families Hang in the Balance
Twenty years past, in 1757, a young Redcoat, Reginald Aubrey stole a newborn boy—the lighter-skinned of Oneida twins— during the devastating fall of Fort William Henry and raised him as his own. 
No one connected to Reginald escaped unscathed from this crime. Not his adopted daughter Anna. Not Stone Thrower, the Native American father determined to get his son back. Not Two Hawks, William’s twin brother separated since birth, living in the shadow of his absence and hoping to build a future with Anna. Nor Lydia, who longs for Reginald to be free from his self-imposed emotional prison and embrace God’s forgiveness— and her love. 
Now William, whose identity has been shattered after discovering the truth of his birth, hides in the ranks of an increasingly aggressive British army. The Redcoats prepare to attack frontier New York and the Continentals, aided by Oneida warriors including Two Hawks, rally to defend it. As the Revolutionary War penetrates the Mohawk Valley, two families separated by culture, united by love and faith, must find a way to reclaim the son marching toward them in the ranks of their enemies. 

    The first problem I had reading this book was that the publisher failed to inform me that it was book 2 in the series, a sequel to The Wood's Edge. Not realizing this until I got the book and started reading, it was difficult to understand what was going on because it was a continuation of another story. Not having read the first book, the characters in A Flight of Arrows seemed underdeveloped to me and the plot points were a bit random and unexplained.

    Since the book is set in the Revolutionary War era, it seems that Benton has attempted to recreate the conventions of speech in that day, writing some of the dialogue in a different style. But she doesn't do this for all of the dialogue, just bits and pieces, making it seem choppy and even more difficult to read. Sentences also seem over-complicated grammatically.

    Another more personal reason that I did not enjoy this book is the focus on Native Americans. I don't have anything against Natives or their stories, but I recently had a bad experience with Native American Literature.

    Despite this being a Christian book, there were quite a few references to sex, with Anna trying to get Two Hawks to stay in a cave with her for the night and kissing him passionately many times. I was not comfortable with this content.

    In a review, best-selling author Lauraine Snelling says "Lori Benton has written another stellar novel set during the Revolutionary War period. The well-drawn characters leap off the pages and take up residence in the reader's hearts, making history come alive." Despite this glowing review and others like it by many readers on Goodreads, I could not enjoy this book.

More information: