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Book Review: 100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons

Self Published
TBP: August 7th 2019

Terrified that her vision might never return, Tessa feels like she has nothing left to be happy about. But when her grandparents place an ad in the local newspaper looking for a typist to help Tessa continue writing and blogging, an unlikely answer knocks at their door: Weston Ludovico, a boy her age with bright eyes, an optimistic smile…and no legs.

Knowing how angry and afraid Tessa is feeling, Weston thinks he can help her. But he has one condition — no one can tell Tessa about his disability. And because she can’t see him, she treats him with contempt: screaming at him to get out of her house and never come back. But for Weston, it’s the most amazing feeling: to be treated like a normal person, not just a sob story. So he comes back. Again and again and again.

Tessa spurns Weston’s “obnoxious optimism”, convinced that he has no idea what she’s going through. But Weston knows exactly how she feels and reaches into her darkness to show her that there is more than one way to experience the world. As Tessa grows closer to Weston, she finds it harder and harder to imagine life without him — and Weston can’t imagine life without her. But he still hasn’t told her the truth, and when Tessa’s sight returns he’ll have to make the hardest decision of his life: vanish from Tessa’s world…or overcome his fear of being seen.- Goodreads

I don’t really read contemporary especially contemporary romances. However, I won’t lie this cover and the title really caught my attention and let me just say this book was so freaking adorable.

Seriously adorable and I loved so much about this.

Tessa is feeling it; as she should. She is a hermit that doesn’t go out often and when she does unfortunately, she gets into an accident that makes her blind for a 100 days. The fact that she may get her sight back doesn’t exactly help because it is a big MIGHT and she doesn’t have much faith in things right now.

Enter Weston and he is determined to make sure Tessa doesn’t fall down a dark hole because he knows that it is a very easy thing.

One of the most important parts of this book that I loved is the fact that it is told in both of their point of views AND you also get to read about Weston’s past first hand. It was just raw honesty. I appreciate the author taking the time and care to dig into Weston as opposed to making this book only about Tessa.

Speaking about that. I strongly believe that this book favors Weston more than Tessa. Yes, she is a focal point but something about the way the author writes, the digging of Weston’s past nothing in me believes this book is about Tessa but about Weston and how he helps someone overcome the darkness growing inside him and how he pretty much does the same for himself.

But out of everything I read, the best part of the book was the ending. It broke my heart. It really broke my heart and Weston is perfect. He is such an adult for a 16 year old well actually all the surrounding characters appear to be older than they actually are.

Overall, this was a good book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

4 Pickles

Book Review: Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

Blackstone Publishing
TBP Oct. 1, 2019

When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields—though has yet to fully understand—Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed. 

To kill it.

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known.

That is… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.- Goodreads

I tried to give this book a try not once, not twice but three times. Eventually I was able to finish it but not without a sigh of relief.

If you didn’t notice, I did not like this book but it was not for lack of trying. Let’s talk about characters first. Asterin was a brat from beginning to end and she wasn’t as humble as she should have been given everything that had happened; especially at the end. Seriously . . .at the end of the novel she showed her true colors and she was just trash. How could anyone actually like her (in real life AND within the novel) I don’t know.

The surrounding characters were lack luster as well. ESPECIALLY, the romantic interest. There was no depth to any of them and although the author tried to give them a grand backstory and a huge plot twist, they were generic cookie cutter characters that was suppose to make Asterin’s story complicated but fruitful.

*rolls eyes*

I know that I seem to be a bit harsh with this review. But I cannot hide my disappointment and mostly because the ending was the best part of the book. Not because it ended but because Asterin’s true colors came out and how selfish and just not as great as everyone boosted about all book. Yes, the grit of the book comes full circle at the end, however, it came off that the author was throwing everything in at once. Too much information was being discovered last moment in the middle of a fight scene and again Asterin was pretty lame.

Overall, this book was a no for me. I kept giving it a chance because of how highly it was being rated. But when I first started the book I stopped at 20% in. The second time I stopped at 46% and the third time I finished it.

I am not a fan of this book OH! And that last page. . . nice try.

1 Pickle

Quick Five© with Joanna White

Courtesy of Joanna White

Name: Joanna White

Who is Joanna?  A lover of Stars Wars and a fan girl at heart.

Books: Hunter (Valiant #1), Forgotten (Valiant #0.5) and Shifter

Buy: Amazon and Barnes and Nobles

Sometimes great things just happen to fall into your hand. Such as an interview you didn’t know you wanted to do. Meet Joanna White, Christian author of the Valiant series. 

Joanna has been an author all her life and wrote her first book at 10 years old. Impressive work that only foreshadowed her career in writing.

When did you learned that language, specifically the written word had some

Ambassador International
Published April 30th, 2019
260 Pages

power?

I don’t know if there was ever one specific moment, really. I used to write as a hobby for fun, but other than a few friends here and there, I was the only one enjoying them, and then it was more fun writing than reading them. It wasn’t until after high school that I learned how important my writing could be, that I could use it to encourage, inspire, and uplift people and give them good, clean books to delve into without worrying about bad things being involved.

Shifter is your third book. How has your mind set and/or writing style evolved since your first book?

Technically, even though Shifter is second in the Valiant Series, I actually wrote a few books before that, ones that became prequels to the series, so it wasn’t my third written. Plus, I had been writing many novels before that, ever since I was ten. My first book, when I was ten, was really good for my age, but it’s cringe-worthy now. My writing has matured a lot (we hope so anyway, haha) and my stories have obviously gotten deeper and filled with more meaning. I started off writing what I called Modern Christian Dramas where God helped a character through a real life issue, but the Valiant Series was my first Christian Fantasy. Ever since then, I started world and race building and I loved it and from there, I decided to try to branch into other genres for experience. Just recently, I wrote a Christian Biblical fiction romance, and Biblical fiction and romance were two genres I had never really written before.

Ambassador International
Published Feb. 19th, 2019
37 Pages

What does success in the book industry look to you? With your definition, are you successful?

I think it has many definitions. First and foremost, success comes from God. As long as I rely on God and use this gift, talent, and passion He gave me for Him, then I’m successful. Second, there’s my dream which is to become a best selling author with a lot of fans who love my books and were inspired and encouraged by them and enjoyed them. I have a few, but I still have a ways to go before I achieve that one. Then there’s the human definition of success which is money—still a ways to go before I hit that one, haha. And lastly, there’s how much I’m actually writing. When I first started the Valiant Series, I was young but I wanted to make an epic franchise like Star Wars only in book form. I didn’t think I could do it. In the end, I wrote a 17 book series and that in itself was a huge accomplishment. If you take into account all the other books I’ve written since I started—55 I believe, according to my last count—then, I’m definitely successful with that definition.

This is a bit of a controversial topic, but do you read your book reviews? If so, how do you handle bad reviews?

Ugh, I read carefully and nervously. I’m always excited for more book reviews because it means someone read my book, but there’s always going to be negative ones. When Hunter, Book One of the Valiant Series was self published, I had a troll come on and rate it a one star. Hunter was the only book this person had reviewed and they had a bunch of one star ratings on a ton of other products. They said it was a piece of crap and not worth reading. Even though I knew it was a spammer/troll, it broke my heart. I think a bad review will always hurt a writer, but you have to learn to take it and appreciate the positive ones or the ones that are sincerely trying to help you improve as a writer.

Finally, other of all the genres, why did you choose to write fantasy?

Create Space
Published August 1st, 2017
126 Pages

It’s not as boring as real life, haha. Honestly, I love that you can make anything happen that you want to, and in fantasy in makes sense. Even with sci-fi, you have to come up with all this technical or scientific stuff that I don’t really know or understand, but with fantasy, boom, magical explanation. Even that does have to make sense and fit into its own rules, but most of the times, it’s rules you invent yourself, so it makes it so much easier to understand. I just love making up worlds of my own and that fits better into a fantasy context. I would love sci-fi and I do love the whole traveling the galaxy thing, but I had to invent magical spaceships so I knew how they worked. Which gave me an excuse to build my own galaxy.

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/joannamwhite

Website: https://joannamariewhite.wixsite.com/mywebsite

Book Review: A Grimm Legacy (Grimm Tales #1) by Janna Jennings

Patchwork Press
Published Jan 20th 2018
304 Pages

Enchanted castles and charming princes thought to exist only in stories come to life in this classically twisted fairy tale that combines the timeless quality of folktales with the challenges of the modern world. 

The woods of Elorium appear ordinary to Andi… until the birds start to talk and elves answer doors. Whisked out of her world along with three strangers, Andi finds herself the reluctant guest of Mr. Jackson, a perplexing millionaire who claims to be able to help them get home. The secrets he harbors, however, make it difficult to know just who to trust. 

When the group of teenagers discover that in this new world, fiction is anything but, and that they all have unexpected family ties to this fairy tale land, they must learn to rely on each other. The only way to survive evil fairies and giants intent on keeping them in Elorium is to rely on each other. 

Faced with characters short on whimsy and bent toward treachery, Andi, Quinn, Fredrick, and Dylan are forced to play their parts in unfinished fairy tales. But in Elorium, happily ever after is never guaranteed.- Goodreads

This was a wildly creative spin on the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and I am for it. Without giving too much away, because for whatever reason with this read it is so easy to do that, these teens are pulled into this world and are connected to each other and the world in some way. It isn’t as obvious as you think it is and I thought that it was really great that the author was able to hide that for so long.

Was there predictability? Absolutely. Did it take away from the book? Yes . . . I say that because without it, this would have been a stronger book.

The book is told in four points of view (each teen). However, some teens have a strong voice than the other. It is as if the author decided although they would all have a voice Andi and Fredrick would be the stronger ones. I felt that this was a weak point because it felt unbalanced. I enjoyed the heck out of reading each voice but it was clear who was favored within this story.

What I would have wanted from this book was more about the world. It wasn’t as detailed as I think it could have been and it was glossed over for the most part. I wanted something rich, bright and something that stands out in the setting. There wasn’t enough.

The author added a lot to the characters but didn’t follow through on those emotions and actions. I am hoping that in book two, she was able to do so. These kids are 16 ( I am pretty sure) so there was things that the author could have took the time to dig deeper on but again hoping that time was put in for book two.

Overall, I thought this was a solid story.

3 Pickles

 

Book Review: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Wednesday Books
TBP: April 2nd 2019
400 Pages

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. – Goodreads

I didn’t know what to expect when I began reading this. Was I going to get a love triangle that would piss me off? Would I get a character that does nothing until the last moment or in a fit of rage? Or most importantly, would I get a book that is so detailed its boring or not enough detail to make it feel lacking?

Here is what I thought of this book . . . it was good.

The best part of the book was Nadya and her ability to talk to Gods. This was the main focus of the novel and it was tastefully done. At first I thought Nadya would be naive and couldn’t hold her own. But very quickly the author shows you that isn’t the case. Nadya may have been sheltered to a certain extent but knows how to defend herself, she knows how to accept help and she is knowledgeable.

As much as I would love to tell you about the prince and the monster, I’m not because that would mean there would be spoilers and I am not about that life in this review. But what I can tell you is monsters come in different forms and even though people may not consider themselves a monster it doesn’t mean that they aren’t, no matter how good their intentions try to be.

But beyond the main characters, the surrounding characters brought the much needed smiles, laughs and valid points none of the main three were willing to see. The author did a really good job using these characters as fillers and connecting pieces to the story.

Beyond this, the book itself is a slow burn. What kept my attention was Nadya and the monster. The prince. . . well he is something that I can see why people love him but I don’t.

Nothing really major was wrong with this book. It brings a lot of things together such as religion, fantasy, romance, betrayal, war and history. So the author makes sure that she get readers at every end.

Overall, I am interested in seeing what happens next.

3 Pickles

Book Review: War of the Wilted (Garden of Thorns, #2) by Amber Mitchell

Entangled Teen Published Oct. 1, 2018 360 Pages

Rose will not rest until the Gardener is dead. But there are bigger battles to fight, and Rayce—leader of the rebellion and the only man Rose has ever loved—believes their best chance at winning the war is to join forces with her sworn enemy.

Saving innocent people is more important than her quest for revenge. But their new ally can’t be trusted—and he knows her darkest secret. One betrayal could leave the war and Rayce’s life hanging in the balance, and Rose will need to make the ultimate sacrifice to save them all.– Goodreads

I absolutely loved the first book. Something about Rose made me like her despite her lack of personality. In book two, things were different.

The author adds more to Rose. Although the fighting is still a huge part of her, revenge is what keeps her going. She isn’t short of drive but she is short of confidence, smarts and a voice. What I mean by voice is , Rose whines a lot. And purposely goes behind Rayce’s back, just to act surprise that he is hurt and upset at her when he finds out. She feels that she can have her cake and eat too and when it doesn’t work in her favor she’s a lost puppy. Unfortunately, Rose got annoying face.

But here is what I enjoyed about this book. There isn’t fluff when you start. You jump right back into the thick of things as if we didn’t wait months for book two. The beginning was strong and it held a lot of promise. This is not to say that the book was not enjoyable because it was. I loved that the author choose to focus on a battle within more than the outside battle. It made Rose and Rayce stronger. Their back and forth made a lot of sense throughout the book; It had to be one of the most realistic relationships in this type of setting I have seen a while.  Rose expected something from Rayce that she didn’t earn and I respected the fact that he was very honest not only with his feelings for her but his duty as leader of the rebellion.

However, I wanted more fightings and sneaking. I wanted Rose to be way more bad ass than she was along with those that pledge their loyalty to her. I wanted a bit more romance other than Rose talking in her head because Rayce was made at her most of the time. Also it would have been fantastic if there was more secrets. I wanted a thrill from the book and didn’t quite get.

Overall,

Not better than book one but not a bad second book.

3 Pickles 

Book Review: Nyxia Unleashed by Scott Reintgen

Crown Books for Young Readers
Published July 17th, 2018
400 Pages

Emmett Atwater thought Babel’s game sounded easy. Get points. Get paid. Go home. But it didn’t take long for him to learn that Babel’s competition was full of broken promises, none darker or more damaging than the last one.

Now Emmett and the rest of the Genesis survivors must rally and forge their own path through a new world. Their mission from Babel is simple: extract nyxia, the most valuable material in the universe, and play nice with the indigenous Adamite population.

But Emmett and the others quickly realize they are caught between two powerful forces—Babel and the Adamites—with clashing desires. Will the Genesis team make it out alive before it’s too late?– Goodreads

If you have not picked up this series, you really should. Emmett is everything you want in a main character. Emmett’s heart and perception is everything you want in a series.

However, despite my love of Emmett, I didn’t get sucked into this story as much as I did with the first book (read my hype here). This book is a build up to what will be an epic finale. The thing about this book is there is so much build up that my focus was going in an out at time. But let me explain.

Emmett is ready to take Babel out. After forcing him into a corner that now has him looking constantly over his shoulder, Emmett is done when he sees Babel’s disregard for the Adamite’s lifestyle & culture. It is a history being repeated. Although the author does not use the term “White people trying to take over things” colonization is used and that is exactly what it is. It pisses Emmett off, rightfully so. Babel is trying to loot the planet as much as possible for their own financial means.

But the Adamite are much more clever that Babel thinks so and its not surprising because colonizers have a tendency to belittle and underestimate the people they want to ruin. I slightly digress but it is hard not to compare real life history to what is happening  in the book. The author does a really good job of not blunting calling it what it is but making the reader as well as Emmett aware of what is happening.

The whole premise of this book is to show that nothing is what it seems and the author does a really good job hiding intentions. I was surprised at some points. My issue with this book was there was a lot of downtime. The downtime makes sense and it is completely appropriate to have considering what happens at the end but it didn’t excite me as much as the first book. Although the pace is really good and there is a lot of things to pay attention to, this read wasn’t as strong as the first book.

Overall, it is important to read this book and not skip because everything comes together at the end. Everything makes sense.

3 Pickles