Review: The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

33791316The Cruelty is the first book from a groundbreaking new YA voice: an utterly compelling thriller.

When Gwendolyn Bloom realizes that her father has been kidnapped, she has to take matters into her own hands. She traces him from New York City across the dark underbelly of Europe, taking on a new identity to survive in a world of brutal criminal masterminds. As she slowly leaves behind her schoolgirl self, she realizes that she must learn the terrifying truth about herself. To overcome the cruelty she encounters, she must also embrace it.

Paperback, 448 pages
Published February 9th 2017 by Walker Books. Goodreads.

 Amazon AU | Amazon US | Booktopia | Bookdepository


I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review >>

“A woman who seeks to rise in this world must be crueller than even men.”

Yes! Kill them, kill them all Gwendolyn. Oops sorry, that wasn’t me, it was The Cruelty inside me.

We (the reader) follow 17-year-old Gwendolyn Bloom as she goes through the process of; finding out her dad is missing, finding out what her father did for work wasn’t what she thought it was, finding out who she can and cannot trust, and finding out what she is truly capable of.

We watch Gwendolyn harden and evolve as she unearths and follows clues about the whereabouts of her father and the real reason behind his disappearance. Her journey takes her from New York, to Paris, to Berlin, to Prague, to her own personal Hell and back again.

I really enjoyed this book. I am confident I could give this book to my 78-year-old crime thriller loving grandfather and he’d devourer it. I confident that even in my early teens I would have enjoyed this book. Scott Bergstrom has written a captivating story that I think teens and adults alike will eat up greedily.

I loved that Gwendolyn wasn’t instantly a super spy /ninja assassin extraordinaire. She wasn’t a natural born killer, she made mistakes, had regrets, got herself in and out of trouble, needed help and knew when and when not to use the help offered – but ultimately, I loved that she got the job done like a boss, like a badass bitch.

 “…if no one else is going to act for me, then I have a choice: remain a child and do nothing, or become an adult and do it myself. That, it seems to me, is the difference between the child and the adult, the difference between the girl hunted by wolves and the woman who hunts them.”

By the last page of the story Gwendolyn Bloom is dead and a force to be reckoned with lives on in her hard-won skin.

There is a sequel, The Greed, coming out in 2018 and I am interested to see what becomes of Gwendolyn, her crash course mentor Yael and what goes down with the organisation that now, as I see it, “owns” Gwendolyn and her father.

Four “I really Liked It” Stars.

The above is what I drafted before I went onto Goodreads to see what the masses thought. It is, what after much deliberation I ended up posting. I almost altered it, I started to, because of all that I ended up reading online started to sway me (reviews from people I respect, news articles about the author and tweets about the text).

People are calling the author out for comments made in the book by the protagonist. I remember that while reading the particular part of the book they refer to, that I just thought he was trying to make her come across a bit up herself, you know, as if she thought she was above it all. Then after reading all the banter online I thought, damn maybe I got it wrong, maybe he really believed what he was writing. Maybe I’m stupid.

Calling the author out for the story being too farfetched and a protagonist being to superficial in her transformation. Hello you’re reading the YA book version of a mission impossible action movie, of course it’s farfetched and shallow. Isn’t that the point. Again, maybe I’m stupid.

Calling the author out for some belittling comments he and his people made. To me they just came off as idiots not knowing what they were talking about. I’m sure their intention wasn’t to offend. I’m sure that they are just ignorant of the wonderfully diverse and complex world that is young adult literature. Again, maybe I’m stupid.

Once I realised that other people’s views were swaying me I stopped and went back to the copy that I had drafted immediately after finishing it. My honest review. Yes, it is a happy rah rah review where I only mention the good points, but that’s how I try to write all my reviews. There is enough negativity in the world without me adding to it and I want my reviews to make people read more books, not turn them off them.

Sorry, I had to say something. It really upset me how quickly I started to think my thoughts were wrong. Damn you internet.I really enjoyed reading this book. You blew my after book buzz.

Review: The Limbo Tree by T.N. Suarez

32452755An accident. A secret. The truth.

Something is wrong with Samantha McCallister. Her baby brother is dead, and she has only one memory of the accident: the canned version her parents impressed upon her. But piece by piece, Sam struggles to make sense of it.

Cast aside by her self-involved family, Sam seeks out a friendship with the next-door neighbor, Hazel, until Hazel inexplicably goes missing, leaving nothing but a note and a jar of jam.

Determined to uncover the truth about Hazel’s disappearance, Sam finds out more than she bargained for. Bizarre episodes and nightmares consume her, vicious and unstoppable.

Meanwhile, an adolescent muse moves into Hazel’s abandoned home. Sam is immediately drawn to him—discovering the beginnings of true love—when the unthinkable occurs. Sam is alienated to a world in which she no longer feels she belongs. Try as she might, Sam cannot escape these nightmares or the truth behind them—the truth that lies in the Limbo Tree.

Brilliantly crafted, shimmering with uncertainty, The Limbo Tree is as mystical as it is moving.

Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

My Thoughts: This book was nothing like I expected. It was spooky and made my skin crawl a little bit at times. If I had to sum the book up in one word I would say it was HAUNTING.

The first half of the book frustrated me. It all felt very creepy and I kept expecting something bad to happen. Early on I was confused as to whether Sam (Samantha, the fourteen-year-old main character) was dropping in and out of alternate realities or if she was hallucinating. The story irritated me and yet I couldn’t stop reading. With so much confusion and many unanswered questions I had to keep reading. I felt compelled to find out the truth behind Sam’s life.

I assumed early on that the story was set in the 1980’s with all the references to Madonna headbands, The Lost Boy’s, The Go-Go’s, KISS and The Cure. Indiana Jones the Last Crusade playing at a movie theatre later in the story verified it. I was born in the late 80’s and understood all the references, but I do worry that today’s teenagers won’t.

Sam spends nearly the entirety of the book not being able to remember what happened to her baby brother, just that her parents said his death was a tragic accident. Early in the story on one page she says she misses him and then the next she calls him a little beast. I found it very confusing and rather disturbing. Later, Sam even starts to suspect her mother of murdering her baby brother! We do finally learn the truth and the detail in which T.N. Suarez goes into is heart wrenching. I was internally screaming at the characters for the whole last chapter. Once I finished reading I went in and checked on both my boys, making sure they were both sleeping safe and sound.

Sam is an unreliable narrator and even she can’t trust her own version of events. You think you may have figured out what is going on and then everything twists again and you’re flailing around confused right alongside Sam.

The truth of Sam’s life and the ending of the book are rather sad and I think will continue to frustrate and haunt me for quite some time.star.3

Cover Reveal: The Cat’s Eye Chronicles

For 5 years running, The Cat’s Eye Chronicles has been a bestselling YA Fantasy Adventure series on Amazon, BN.com, iTunes and more. In those 5 years, the series has reached #1 in Kindle Fantasy 10 times and ranked #9 on the Amazon Top 100! It was recently picked up by Tantor, one of the largest audiobook producers in the world, and will be released as Audiobooks during 2017.

In celebration, The Cat’s Eye Chronicles is getting a brand new look, envisioned straight from author T. L. Shreffler! T. L. Shreffler creates all of the concept art and covers for the series. She imagined Epic Fantasy illustrations featuring the main characters in environments from the Cat’s Eye world. Enjoy!

Synopsis: Sora’s Quest (The Cat’s Eye Chronicles Book 1) by T. L. Shreffler

Sora Fallcrest always dreamed of adventure, but as a member of the nobility, she learned the ways of a Lady instead. Now seventeen, she is expected to choose a husband and marry. She plots to run away, but just as she is stepping out the door, she runs into a mysterious man–and is kidnapped.

Abducted from her manor, Sora is plunged into a world of magical races, arcane jewellery and forgotten lore. She finds herself at the mercy of a dangerous assassin, haunted by an even darker past. She yearns for freedom, but he won’t let her go–not when her Cat’s Eye necklace is the only thing that can save his life.

But the necklace itself presents a problem. It is an ancient device from the long-forgotten War of the Races, and its magic has the ability to steal souls. Can Sora learn to wield its power–or will the power wield her?

*Sora’s Quest is a YA Fantasy adventure written in the spirit of Tamora Pierce, Sarah J. Maas and Maria V. Snyder. Enjoy this first book in the series for free!

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Google Play

“An Epic Fantasy quest-lover’s dream come true. 5 stars!” ~Book Briefs

Cover Reveal: Fragile Chaos by Amber R. Duel


Fragile Chaos by Amber R. Duell
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Release Date: July 11th 2017
Radiant Crown Publishing
Summary:
A GOD OF WAR SEEKING RESTORATION.
AN UNWILLING SACRIFICIAL BRIDE.
BETRAYAL THAT COULD DESTROY THEM BOTH.
“[E]very fiber of my being is woven from the rage of mortals.”
Theodric, the young God of War, has a talent for inciting conflict and bloodshed. After being stripped of his powers by his older brother, King of Gods, he sets out to instigate a mortal war to prove himself worthy of being restored to power.
“I loved Kisk once; it was my home… But that was before. This is now.”
Sixteen-year-old Cassia, like many in the modern era, believes gods and goddesses to be just a myth. Enemy to her country and an orphan of the war, she has no time for fairy tales. That’s until religious zealots from Theo’s sect offer her up as a sacrifice.
Can Cassia and Theo end the mortal war and return balance to the earth and heavens? Or, will their game of fate lead down a path of destruction, betrayal, and romance neither of them saw coming?
 
About the Author
Amber R. Duell was born and raised in a small town in Central New York. While it will always be home, she’s spent the last six years living in Germany and Maine as a military wife where the next step is always an adventure.
When Amber isn’t writing, she’s wrangling her two young sons. She is a lover of history, a fan of snowboarding, and a travel enthusiast. In her downtime, she can be found curling up with a good book and a cat or two.
For more information, visit www.amberrduell.com.
Author Links:

Review: Fallen & Story Shorts by Lauren Kate

6487308What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours?

17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross . . . only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart.

Get ready to fall . . .

My Thoughts: Fallen Angels masquerading as teenagers oh my. 

Reading from Luce’s POV I struggled to connect with any of the characters or buy into her and Daniel’s love connection.

While I quite enjoyed that last few chapters, which were more action packed, I nearly gave up at the half way mark of this book. I read the story shorts at that point and it gave me an inside into Daniel’s side of the story, which led me to bother to read the rest of the book. Nothing really happens until later in the book when Luce, with the help of her new friend Penn, start to piece together who/what Daniel really is. Seriously so much nothing. The synopsis pretty much tells you everything that is going to happen in this book, other than an age old good Vs evil war flaring up again at the end.

Daniel’s First Sighting (Fallen Shorts 0.1) by Lauren Kate Four ‘I really liked it Stars (GOODREADS). In this short we get to see Daniel and Luce’s meeting for the first time (in Luce’s current life time) through Daniel’s eyes. It was actually quite amusing and It made me warm to Daniel.

Daniel in L.A. (Fallen Shorts 0.4) by Lauren Kate Three ‘I liked it’ Stars (GOODREADS). In this short we get to see what Daniel was doing with himself before he ended up at Sword & Cross.

Daniel and Gabbe’s Fight (Fallen Shorts 0.6) by Lauren Kate Three ‘I liked it’ Stars (GOODREADS). In this short we get to find out what was really being said in the conversation between Gabbe and Daniel that Luce partly over heard in the dorm room hallway.

Fallen (Fallen #1) by Lauren Kate Two ‘It was okay’ Stars (GOODREADS). I just didn’t connect with this story and that saddens me ’cause forbidden love is my thang’.

I enjoyed the shorts more then the actual Fallen novel. I think that maybe if Fallen had been told in duel POV with Daniel or maybe if it had just been Daniel telling it, it could have been a real winner for me. I went hunting for spoilers and read a bunch of reviews on the other books to find out how the rest of the series plays out and i’m satisfied with that. I’m not sorry I read Fallen, but I do not intend to read the rest of the series.

Mini Reviews: The Duff & Lucy’s Chance

25076514The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone. GOODREADS.

My Thoughts:  This book impressed me. I was expecting the overused and abused trope of the ugly nobody gets the hot jerk etc. And OK it was there, but there were some truly beautiful girl power, love thy self, don’t judge others moments in this book.
The main character of Bianca was easily likable as were her two besties. Experiencing them navigate boys, high school hierarchy and family drama was actually quite entertaining and heart warming.
Keplinger’s writing flowed smoothly and I can actually see myself re-reading this book again if i’m ever in need of a quick fun feel good pick me up. I gave it FOUR what a pleasant surprise STARS.

Also: I watched the movie adaptation straight after the finishing the book, in which they changed so much the story was barely recognizable. Sadly I felt that they left out all the girl power friendship moments that actually made the book worthwhile! 😦

21969488Lucy’s Chance (Red Rock Ranch #1) by Brittney Joy

Sixteen year old Lucy Rose is spending her first summer away from home and she has two things on her mind: an abandoned, violent horse and a blue-eyed cowboy. Only neither is hers. Lucy has never attracted much attention from boys, but she can’t seem to ignore her blue-eyed co-worker, Casey Parker. A true cowboy, Lucy is fascinated by his gentle way with the horses at Red Rock Ranch. However, she is very aware that Taylor Johnson, rodeo queen extraordinaire, already has her spurs in him. And, there’s no crossing Taylor. . . . Not until a mysterious horse appears on the ranch and pushes Lucy and Casey together. The two are willing to do anything to save the black gelding that doesn’t want a thing to do with them or the human race. But, every step forward with the broken animal makes Lucy fall harder – for him and for Casey. GOODREADS.
 
My Thoughts: An enjoyable read filled with wonderful horsey goodness 🙂 Perfect for any young horse lover. The writing was sweet and easy to read. The story had a nice balance of action riding scenes, a young girl out to prove herself, developing young love and an adorable horse getting a second chance at a better life. I gave it FOUR warm and fuzzy STARS.

Bookish Babble: 2016 Reading Round Up

I know what you’re thinking; Woman what are you doing the year ain’t over yet. But come on! I’ve got a baby due and I’m still not ready for its arrival. If I do manage to do any reading from now until after new-years it will be a miracle.

Here is a few of my favourite reads of 2016:medoran-collageLynette Noni’s The Medoran Chronicles. I am super keen for the April 2017 release of the third book (3rd out of 5) Draekora. This series has it all; a fantastic parallel fantasy world, show downs between good and evil, tested friendships, a strong female lead, great supporting cast and MAGIC! It follows teen Alex as she discovers this parallel world and the strength to be the hero that it needs. Oh yeah and It’s written by an Aussie, #LoveOzYA what more could you want. Goodreads.saga-collage

Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’s SAGA. If you haven’t heard of SAGA you must have been living under a rock for the past three years. This epic sci-fi/fantasy (for mature readers) follows new parents Marko and Alana (narrated by Hazel, their daughter) as they dodge those who don’t approve of their inter species family and seek to destroy them. Marko and Alana strive to create a loving family and figure out how parenthood works all while avoiding the battles going on around the universe due to a long running galactic war between their peoples. Goodreads.19547856

Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. The Homo sapiens Agenda. I finished this book with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. I actually just sat on the couch and hugged the book. Read it! It’s heartwarming and beautiful and you can’t help but fall in love with Simon as you experience him grow and learn to accept himself. Goodreads.

kostakis-collageWill Kostakis! Far out I love this fella’s writing. The Sidekicks & The First Third are two brilliant stand alone #LoveOzYA masterpieces. Both touch on family, friendship, sexually and growing up Aussie style – Ok, ok, Greek/Australian style when it comes to The First Third, but both are set in Sydney. Goodreads.

The Mother in me fell in love with Simon (Simon vs. The Homo sapiens Agenda) Bill (The First Third) and Thommo (The Sidekicks) I wanted hug them and make them feel better. Harley, bloody Harley (The Sidekicks) Harley is the boy I loved, the one that no matter how old I grow a part of me will always fall for. There of course were other wonderful characters in these books, but I am trying to keep this post brief LOL)

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Christopher Currie’s Clancy of the Undertow. I saw so much of my teenage self in Clancy. Clancy is a beautiful, truly connectable character. The story touches on family, friendship and sexually, as you get to experience Clancy grow and discover who she is meant to be. It is a powerful and heartwarming read. Beautiful #LoveOzYA all the way! Goodreads.

disruption-collageJessica Shirvington’s Disruption duology. This duology is brilliant. I read both books back to back in a few days. We get blackmail, bad guy bullshit and sassy bitch brilliance in 833 pages of utterly enthralling action. Lead character Maggie is a strong young woman that is not to be messed with and who you can’t help but fall for. #LoveOzYA Goodreads.

tribe-collageAmbelin Kwaymullina’s The Tribe series. I’ve still to read the last book in this series, I purchased it earlier in the year, but i’m too scared! I don’t want it to be over. This is a dystopian like no other I’ve read; for one thing it’s better then most other books I’ve read labeled dystopian. The series is fresh and exciting with strong leading female characters, a focus on friendship, connecting with the natural world around us, doing what you believe is right and protecting the ones you love. #LoveOzYA Goodreads.

grievers-mark-collageKatherine Hurley’s Griever’s Mark series. I’m not sure exactly what it is about the first two books in this series that captivated me so. I’m still to read the third, fear of endings and all. But from the moment I finished reading the first book I haven’t been able to get the two main characters Astarti and Logan out of my head. So that’s got to count for something. I also really loved the earth magic that Hurley created. Goodreads.

Bellow are some of books I had hoped to fit in before bub was born, but haven’t managed to and thus will be top of my to-read list next year!to-read-collage

I really should hurry up and read Georgie Spider and Unbound, as there are way too many fictional characters with unfinished story lines running around in my head at the moment.

Mini Reviews: a Summer Anthology + My Lady Jane + Fangirl

28817799Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins, Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev GrossmanNina LaCour, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, Jennifer E. Smith

Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love. Goodreads View. 
My Thoughts: Of course I found some stories more enjoyable than others, but that is to be expected in an anthology. Over all this book has a good mix of contemporary and paranormal stories, with a pleasantly diverse range of characters.
I would have to say that my favorite story was A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith and on it’s merit (and that fact that I didn’t dislike any of the stories) that I’m giving the anthology a FIVE STAR rating as a whole – yes it was that frigging adorable (and also the majority of the stories ranked high with me).

Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo – 4/5 Stars. The End of Love by Nina LaCour – 4/5 Stars. Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray – 2/5 Stars. Sick Pleasure for A and U by Francesca Lia Block – 2/5 Stars. In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins – 4/5 Stars. Souvenirs by Tim Federle – 3/5 Stars. Inertia by Veronica Roth – 5/5 Stars. Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron – 3/5 Stars. Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert – 5/5 Stars. Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare – 3/5 Stars. A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith – 5/5 Stars. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman – 3/5 Stars.

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My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England. Goodreads View. 

My Thoughts: This was a super fun romp, rewriting a much more enjoyable life story for some rather famous historic figures e.g. Edward VI of England and Lady Jane Grey. I’ve watched documentaries on Henry VIII of England, Edwards father, so I knew who he was, but I actually had to look up Lady Jane Grey. And yes I much prefer the life Hand, Ashton and Meadows have written for her.
I loved the whole the “Verities” verses “Edians” thing, filling the void for the ever present religious drama that’s always in the background of historic stories. Having the Edians (shapeshifters) added a comic element to this romantic romp that really made the story shine for me. FOUR I really liked it STARS.

16068905

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? Goodreads View.

My Thoughts: Oh how cute this was! Falling in love with Levi was a lovely distraction 😛 I was absorbed by Cath’s world and got to take a break from my life for a day. Reading this was like getting a soul warming hug. FOUR I really liked it STARS. Nawww book hugs!

Review: Immortal Writers by Jill Bowers

30423330Young up-and-coming author Liz McKinnen has no idea that her life is about to change forever when she comes home from her first book tour. When she’s kidnapped and told by her captors that she has to kill her fantasy book’s antagonist, she thinks that she’s fallen into the hands of crazy, dangerous fans… until her antagonist sends a real, fire-breathing dragon after her. Liz is quickly initiated into the Immortal Writers, a group of authors from throughout time whose words have given them eternal life, and whose prose is so powerful that it’s brought stories over from the Imagination Field into the Reality Field. As Liz meets authors such as William Shakespeare, JRR Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe, and Jane Austen, she has to learn how to control magic, fight dragons, and face her own troubled past before her power-hungry villain takes over the world. Will she survive the ultimate battle against the dragon lord whom she created?

Ebook, 296 pages. Expected publication: November 5th 2016 by Blue Moon Publishers
Thank You Netgalley and Blue Moon Publishers for allowing me a copy to read and review.

immortal-writers My Thoughts: The plot for this story is awesome. Writers who become immortal because of the power of their words. Sounds awesome, right?

As this is labelled as a young adult fantasy I was expecting a light-hearted humorous fantastical romp with William Shakespeare and Jane Austin riding off into the sunset on unicorns. Ok well not actually Shakespeare and Austen, but you catch my drift.

The story started strong and I was super excited, but as I got further into the book that excitement started to dwindle.

I found the lead character Liz’s serious and tortured back story detracted from what could have been a ridiculous light-hearted simple and fun read. And I mean ridiculous in a good way! Because the story was never going to be believable with Shakespeare, Tolkien, Austen, Plath, Hemingway, Twain, Poe and Wells hanging about a castle that’s being attacked by dragons in modern day America.

I found myself rolling my eyes at the romance. I mean it was so frigging cheesy at some points I could have used it to make a grilled sandwich. Yet Liz had this dark and abusive back story, which would be perfect for a modern contemporary, but was sending up red flags and contradicting everything in my mind. Liz the writer and Curtis the hero of her story get all loved up. She hooks up with her fictional creation. This isn’t sane or healthy. Hence why I think the story needed to stay light and funny so that it could pull it off. But that dark and abusive back story! Why Jill Bowers, why?

I don’t think the issue’s I had with this story would affect a younger audience, say 13-15. I think it would go over their heads and they would just see a young woman coming to terms with her past, standing up for herself and winning the battle over her inner and outer demons, while picking up a dragon battling hottie/spunk/fine-male-specimen along the way – which is what I think Bowers was going for.

All things considered the story ended quite strong with an action packed final showdown with the bad guy.

Conclusion: There were parts of the story I enjoyed but over all I’m feeling disappointed. As for a star rating, hmm somewhere between Two and Three stars.