Book Review: Dissident (Forbidden Things Book 1) by Nikki McCormack

Dissident (Forbidden Things Book 1) by Nikki McCormack

A Fantasy Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (9/02/14)

Summary:

Indigo has always suppressed her Ascard power because society does not allow the use of powerful Ascard. She can use a limited amount as a healer but has worked all her life to hold in her inner aspect and connection to Ascard. Her power does not go completely unnoticed, as an exotic stranger contacts her through Ascard, seeking her help. Intrigued by him and ruffled by her rocky relationship with her fiancé, she follows the stranger into his prison. After she helps him escape, she thinks she will never see him again. Fate brings them together again, but he still needs her help.

Keywords:

Power, Control, Magic, Inner Strength, Inner Aspect, Travel, War, Fighting, Struggle, Talent, Healing, Abuse, Sex, Love, Creation, Lies, Slaves

My Review:

This novel had a great balance  between romance, fantasy and plot. I was pulled in by Indigo’s struggles to live up to others’ expectations in her restrictive society and her struggles with her fiancé. The intrigue and quick attraction between Indigo and Yiloch pulled me into the romantic aspect of the book and the plot kept the entire novel together as action wove through until the end.

Indigo is a role model for female characters. She’s strong, not in relation to man, but in relation to her enemies and her friends. She doesn’t have to stay in her relationship. She has control over her fiancé in a way he can’t even fathom. She isn’t smug about her skills and she doesn’t look down on others, even though she is stronger than everyone around her, even her teacher.

I enjoyed the writing style of this fantasy novel, just as much as the clean writing of McCormack’s steampunk series – Clockwork Enterprises.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 06/09/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Nikki McCormack’s Website

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Book Review: First Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book Three) by Susan Kaye Quinn

First Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book Three) by Susan Kaye Quinn

A Fantasy Novel published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. (09/29/14)

Summary:

Aniri is ready to do anything to save her home kingdom and her future kingdom, but first daughter Nahali will be the new leader of Dharia soon and they don’t always agree. Nahali thinks war is the answer while Aniri still hopes that war can be evaded by stopping the second son of Samir and his deadly skyship from within.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Airship, Mountains, Barbarians, War, Threats, Royalty, Duty, Romance, Duels, Intrigue, Secrets, Love, Alternate Reality, East Indian, Arranged Marriage

My Review:

Twists and turns and adventure cover the pages of this last novel. Of the three Royals of Dharia books in this trilogy, First Daughter is the most exciting and filled with the most action! The book was very fast paced.

Aniri grew and changed so much in the course of these three books, coming into her own as a soon-to-be queen of her own kingdom. Each of the sisters of Dharia; Seledri, Nahali, and Aniri grew into their own by the end of this trilogy. I loved how their bond of sisterhood was the strongest in the end and seeing their love for each other as they fought for each other and their kingdoms was wonderful to behold. I loved how different each of the sisters were in their personalities, their actions and their political predicaments.

A great ending to a fantastic, steampunkian and historically-angled trilogy!

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. on 09/29/2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Susan Kaye Quinn’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Second Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book Two) by Susan Kaye Quinn

Second Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book Two) by Susan Kaye Quinn

A Fantasy Novel published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. (06/30/14)

Summary:

Does Samir have its own skyship? Aniri fears the worst but she has more pressing issues at the moment: her impending marriage. She questions her love for him. Was it only built on the adrenaline of adventure? She won’t have time to think about it because her sister, future Queen of Samir, is rumored to have been poisoned and Aniri is quick to rush to Seledri’s aid.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Airship, Mountains, Barbarians, War, Threats, Royalty, Duty, Romance, Duels, Intrigue, Secrets, Love, Alternate Reality, East Indian, Arranged Marriage

My Review:

The action in this book is tempered by the back and forth thoughts and feelings Aniri has for her marriage. If you have ever felt the butterflies and reservations of an engagement, you are sure to sympathize with Aniri. Or is she just being childish? It’s interesting to watch her try to push her personal troubles aside to help her sister, when those troubles follow her around everywhere she goes. She cannot escape her own fate, her own feelings, or the feelings of her soon-to-be-husband.

I really liked how the plot unfolded in Samir with Seledri’s husband, Aniri’s father, and the ever intrusive ex-courtesan. His re-introduction into this story made me roll my eyes, but he added so much more tension than Aniri could ever create just by herself.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. on June 30th, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Susan Kaye Quinn’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Mildred In Disguise: With Diamonds by Toni Kief

Mildred In Disguise: With Diamonds by Toni Kief

A Contemporary Fiction Novel published through Toni Kief/Writers Cooperative of the Pacific Northwest (03/28/17)

Summary:

Mildred knew that stepping into the casino would bring up memories of her late husband’s gambling debts, but at 71-years old, she needs a job. The casino is close and hiring. Instead of working as a cashier, she is chosen to work undercover. Her career as a meter maid has only prepared her for some of what she’s in store for with this new job.

Keywords:

Casino, 71-Year Old, Grandma, Theft, Retirement, Undercover, Danger, Disguise, Police

My Review:

What a whirlwind! I never expected to read a book where the main character was over 70 and still running around getting into trouble! It was neat reading a book with a character you don’t normally see as the main character. Mildred is a great blend of sarcastic, witty, humorous, and get-it-done undercover detective. Her disguises are hilarious.

The story was fully fledged and the mystery was layered. Mildred got her share of bruises during her investigations, but also stepped down when the big guys were needed to catch the bad guys.

I loved the insights into a large Casino and the life of an older and semi-retired lady.

This novel was published through Toni Kief/Writers Cooperative of the Pacific Northwest on 03/28/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Toni Kief’s Website

Book Review: Tempered Hearts (Hearts of Valentia Book 1) by Starla Huchton and S.A. Huchton

Tempered Hearts (Hearts of Valentia Book 1) by Starla Huchton and S.A. Huchton

A Fantasy Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (08/08/16)

Summary:

Darius, the crown prince, is in an arranged marriage to Arden. Arden is kind and compassionate, but Darius has already given away his heart. In this political match, Arden tries her best to win over Darius. She has an effect on all those around her, but cannot seem to find the way to Darius’s heart.

Keywords:

Monarchy, Rulers, Power, War, Destruction, Rebuilding, Heart, Love, Family, Passion, Peace, Chemistry, Race Relations, Kingdom

My Review:

Again, Huchton nails the dialogue and the speeches. This book feels like a good quality fantasy book with realistic yet easy to understand dialogue. This is a hard fantasy book that everyone, even readers who aren’t typically fantasy readers (like me) will enjoy.

Both the story and the plot were solid. They weren’t predictable, but they made sense. Huchton writes a character driven story and since her characters are perfectly defined, realistic, and interesting the story is also well defined, realistic and interesting.

What really keeps me picking up book after book by Huchton are the characters and their relationships with each other. But mostly the characters. Huchton writes the female main character I’ve always wanted. Strong but flawed, like any good protagonist! I love how much I get into the characters’ heads.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 08/08/2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Three-Point Shot by J.R. Nakken

Three-Point Shot by J.R. Nakken

A Middle Grade Sports/Coming of Age Novel published by 1st Book Library (3/23/04)

Summary:

Nathan Red Leggins worries that his background as an Assiniboine Indian will be the only thing kids at his new school know and care about. Nathan wants to fit in. He wants to play basketball even more.

Keywords:

Sports, Coming of Age, Classes, Basketball, Bullies, School, Family, Stepfather, Tryouts, Indian, Reservation, Sophomore, Suburbia, Spokane, Varsity, Point Guard, Three-Point Shots, Drama

My Review:

I don’t think teenagers are like this nowadays, but we wish they were. Red Leggins and his buddies and those who aren’t so nice to him are mild in comparison to what we’ve seen on the media in contemporary society, but I wish kids these days were logical and able to be nice and change their minds about others like in this book.

I wish more coming of age/middle grade books featured more female characters as their own persons. The only female characters in this book were the girl next door (next neighborhood over) that Nathan has a crush on and Nathan’s own mother. Most of the other characters were male.

This book shows a young boy learning how to interact with his peers and how to accept his new stepfather and his mother’s relationship with another man. Through this story, Nathan learns to be proud of his background and heritage while not letting it become his defining characteristic.

This novel was published by 1st Book Library on 3/23/04 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.5

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Book Review: The EvoAngel by Ellen King Rice

The EvoAngel by Ellen King Rice

A Mystery/Thriller Novel published by Undergrowth Publishing (02/16/16)

Summary:

Edna is known as the mushroom lady. She mostly keeps to herself, except when the community comes to her for help. That was years ago, but Edna is still affected by a ‘cure’ she used on local cows. Can mushrooms change your DNA? Edna’s feathers may be evidence, but her daughter and granddaughter are also special. It only takes one glance for an aggressive physician to want to investigate this phenomenon and she will stop at nothing to get her answers.

Keywords:

Mushrooms, Science, Biology, Genetics, Fungi, Thriller, Feathers, Clinic, Murder, Evolution, DNA, University, Field Trip, Ambition, Activation, Family History, Pacific Northwest

My Review:

I liked the POV’s chosen: Theodora, Grace, Edna, etc. I loved how the main story was interwoven throughout their individual stories and the paths they took intertwining with each other’s ambitions and desires. Dr. Band’s POV was especially intriguing as she’s unlike anyone you ever want to meet. I noticed a few chapters did not maintain POV consistency (head hopping), but this did not detract from my understanding of what was going on and though I noticed, I was not bothered by it.

Just like Ready Player One is stuffed to the gills with 80’s pop culture references, EvoAngel is chocked full of science – particularly biology and fungi knowledge. At times it became overwhelming and is not necessary for the understanding of the plot and so I skimmed a bit, but if you’re looking to further your knowledge, then you’ll absolutely be thrilled to read this book.

The quotes at the chapter beginnings were interesting and applicable and I read every word (I’m prone to skipping this kind of thing). I loved every quote that Rice chose.

I thought that the kids – Dylan especially – didn’t talk or act like kids. I understand he’s supposed to be a prodigy of sorts, but at 12 years old he shouldn’t be able to fend off a menacing adult.

This novel was published by Undergrowth Publishing on 02/16/2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Ellen King Rice’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Third Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book One) by Susan Kaye Quinn

Third Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book One) by Susan Kaye Quinn

A Fantasy Novel published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. (12/31/13)

Summary:

In a kingdom where the first daughter will inherit and the second daughter is a just-in-case replacement, the third daughter has more freedom to choose her life’s course. For Aniri, she’s ready to step away from the kingdom and marry for love, but fate and duty will not leave her alone. The threat of war and politics makes every daughter count and Aniri must consider a marriage proposal and alliance with the barbarian prince of the north.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Airship, Mountains, Barbarians, War, Threats, Royalty, Duty, Romance, Duels, Intrigue, Secrets, Love, Alternate Reality, East Indian, Arranged Marriage

My Review:

This book was easy to read. It had an intriguing and fun plot and the characters were full of personality. The book had a lot of action and kept me hooked!

I liked how this book was diverse – it featured an alternate world that is fantastical, but also is similar to an exotic India. The characters were also based off of people from India.

I liked how the main character, Princess and Third Daughter Aniri, was both active and passive in her story. She was pushed along by her environment and the elements of the story’s plot, but she was active in how she dealt with her fate. She was given a choice to marry the barbarian prince or not, even though she felt that selfishly choosing to marry her own lover was never a choice for her. She actively sought out knowledge about the prince and the so-called flying war machine. She was her own person with her own thoughts. Though at times she displays extreme good luck and perseverance where most of us would falter and fail, she is a larger than life character in a larger than life story.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. on December 31st, 2013 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Susan Kaye Quinn’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: The Witches of Dark Root (Daughters of Dark Root Book 1) by April Aasheim

The Witches of Dark Root (Daughters of Dark Root Book 1) by April Aasheim

A New Adult Science Fiction/Supernatural Novel published by Dark Root Press (05/31/13)

Summary:

“Love is the most powerful Magick of all, and sometimes, when misguided, the most destructive.” (Page 208).

Maggie left her hometown years ago. She was glad to be out of reach of her mother and to leave behind her town and her work in the family Magick Shoppe. But now her mother is sick and the town has lost its magic. When Maggie arrives, she is surprised by how different her childhood town of Dark Root is from how she remembered. She must find her roots and her family in order to bring it back to life.

Keywords:

Magic, Witches, Haunted, Warlock, Mystery, Secrets, Family, Love, Home, Sisters, Sibling Rivalry, Illness, Past, Bonds, Escape, Matriarch, Paranormal, Thriller

My Review:

I was very excited to find a paranormal book where the magic element didn’t overtake the book, but was integrated into the story and added to the novel.

I love character driven novels and Witches of Dark Root is a well-written character-driven book. The focus on the sisters and their personalities kept me interested, even though the plot moved a little slow. I rather enjoyed the fact that this book felt like a coming of age book for an adult. Throughout the move back to Dark Root and living through her past and finding new connections with her sisters, Maggie discovers who she is and what she wants out of life.

The hints of something else going on were intriguing and the ending tied up most of my questions.

This novel was published by Dark Root Press on 05/31/2013 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

April Aasheim’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Another Cinderella by Victoria Bastedo

Another Cinderella by Victoria Bastedo

A Fairy Tale Adaptation published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. (08/11/2017)

Summary:

Cinderella marries Prince Charming and gets her happily ever after. But what of her stepsisters and stepmother? Alexandria and Atlantia are left without their free laborer and while pockets grow emptier, the three women grow hungrier. It isn’t proper for any young lady of merit to work in the household, but Atlantia is too hungry to care. A pan of eggs turns into washing the windows and sweeping the floors. Too soon, Atlantia will feel like the new Cinderella. But she’s too stubborn to let her mother or sister boss her around!

Keywords:

True Self, Self-Journey, Brat, Privilege, Money, Wealth, Power, Kingdom, Cinderella, Stepsister, Orphans, God, Chores, Servants

My Review:

God is very present in this novel, as well as the journey toward Him, but religion is not the focus, nor is it ever really talked about in this book. It is refreshing to see God present without religion. Is it true that a transformation of soul and personality can take place without God or without a belief in God? I like to think that many other factors helped in Atlantia’s complete transformation and that anyone in her situation could have been transformed, but only with God could she endure. Those with true and sometimes blind faith in Him are able to stay calm in the face of chaos and kind in the face of evil and endure in the face of unending torture. This is an interesting explanation for how Cinderella endured so many years as the servant to her stepmother and stepsisters and endured their cruelty for so long. This is also an explanation as to how she was able to forgive them and wish them no ill will once she’d been taken out of that situation.

I absolutely love the bad guy’s perspective and especially love seeing the complete transformation of a character that is realistic. I wish all bad guys in real life or even people who make bad decisions or used to be mean can about-face and become good people. I like to believe we all have the potential to be good people and that we all want to be good people deep down. Bastedo’s book is a thought-provoking discovery into how a good person can bloom out of a spiteful and mean person.

I enjoyed the changing POV’s – from Frey to Atlantia to Theo and getting multiple little stories along the way. It was interesting to view Cinderella’s story from afar, through the eyes of those around her, especially as this story takes place after her well-known tale.

I absolutely adore fairy tales and fairy tale adaptations and this book was no exception. It was enjoyable to read, fast-paced, and fulfilling. It was exciting to watch the characters, especially Atalantia, grow and change and to get an up close and personal view of their thoughts and feelings.

I received an ARC from the author. This is my honest opinion.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. 08/11/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

On the web

Victoria Bastedo blog