Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review for Waking Beauty by Sarah E. Morin

Waking BeautyWaking Beauty by Sarah E. Morin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the story of what happens AFTER Sleeping Beauty wakes up. The only problem is, she's been dreaming for a hundred years and doesn't believe she is actually awake. Prince Arpien has his work cut out for him trying to convince her that she is in the waking world. Throw in tension between their two kingdoms, a dangerous fairy, hilarious dialogue, and you have an epic fantasy that will leave you with a major book hangover when you're done.

I read the five chapter preview on Amazon and knew I had to have this book because it was funny, original, and very different from other books I had read. Even so, I was not prepared for the roller coaster of a ride that ensued after I purchased this book. The story navigates the stormy waters of hilariously funny, deeply spiritual, and just plain weird, all while holding its readers captive and holding on for dear life. There is not much down time with this book. Though it starts off a tad bit slow, do not be deceived. Every time I thought I had figured out where the story was going, the author would completely throw me off guard.

The character development in this book is phenomenal! Brierly is totally convinced for the majority of the book that everyone and everything she sees are only figments of a dream. Arpien, though fully awake, continues to run into obstacles caused by his own delusions. I loved the fact that they were both very flawed and that the development of their individual characters took time. It made the ending all that more worth it.

I haven't even talked about the supporting characters, all of which were amazingly well-crafted. There was not a flat character in the bunch, no matter how minor their role. Nissa, though a supporting character, really deserves her own book someday. She provides a valuable outsider's perspective on Brierly's and Arpien's characters and their relationship.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves reimagined fairy tales, hilarious dialogue, quirky characters, and epic fantasy. You will not be disappointed!

View all my reviews

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Review for Dancing Up A Storm

Dancing Up A Storm: 9 Christian Short StoriesDancing Up A Storm: 9 Christian Short Stories by Angela K. Couch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for my honest review. Dancing Up a Storm is a sweet anthology of short stories. Each of the stories contained dancing as a major or minor part of the plot. It was interesting to see how the different authors included this theme in their stories. There is a lot of variety in the stories, which I appreciated. In addition to the varied genres, it contains stories with characters you don't normally see. Dancing Hands is about a couple getting to know each other through sign language. Fred and Ginger features a widower in his 70's learning to make friends again.

However, my favorites, the ones that made me wish there were more to the story, were two of the speculative fictions: The Confession by Kathrese McKee, and Night Dance by Gretchen E.K. Engel.

In The Confession, a reporter on a mission to Earth writes to her husband on Mars colony. Christine has been captured by members of "The Holy Religion" who try to get her to renounce her Christianity. This was a futuristic sci-fi story, which normally is not my cup of tea. However, the setting, where Mars is the new world and Earth is the old world and both are inhabited by humans, intrigued me. I liked the way the author illustrated the spiritual parallels between clinging to an old world and clinging to an old life. The character development was believable, and beautifully unfolded, which is difficult to do in a short story.

The Night Dance is about a gnomish nurse who helps an adopted son of elves find out about his true heritage. The setting is an industrial fantasy world, which I found intriguing. I enjoyed the two main characters, though I would have liked to get to know them better, as well as some of the supporting characters. I would love to see this turned into a full-length novel.

Overall, this is an enjoyable anthology of very creative short stories that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a fun read.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review for Heir War by Jill Williamson

Ladies and Gentleman, Part 2 of Jill Williamson's new book, King's Folly, is here and available on Kindle! If you haven't read Darkness Reigns yet, download it for free here, or read my review here. I am super blessed to be a part of Jill's launch team and to help introduce this series to the world. I received advanced copies of the books in exchange for my honest review of each individual part. Darkness Reigns, The Heir War, and The End of All Things (coming out March 29th) are all a part of Book 1 in her new series The Kinsman Chronicles, which is a prequel to the Blood of Kings trilogy. The worlds are very different, but if you loved Blood of Kings, you will love The Kinsman Chronicles. Read my review for Book 2 below. 

Have you ever been forced to take on a difficult responsibility to protect something that was important to you? Have you ever face a truth that was difficult to accept? Have you ever thought you were in control, only to realize you were under someone else’s control? These are the problems faced the characters in Heir War by Jill Williamson.
Wilek is captured by a Magonian Priestess with sinister designs on his future. She has been given the power of enchantment to control men, but why do her powers betray her at the most critical moments?  Wilek's shield Kal, unaware that his master is missing, searches for someone who can interpret the ruin found next to Wilek’s dead concubine. In his search he meets a prophet who claims to know the reason for the natural disasters which are tearing the world apart. Meanwhile, Trevn conducts his own search, hoping to find something that will help his brother.  When a priest is murdered, Trevn wonders if the ruin is somehow connected.
Part two of the King’s Folly story really picks up the action. More twists, more turns, more characters addin. I never wanted to leave one character's viewpoint until I read two or three lines into the next chapter. Then I would get sucked into the next story and would not want to leave that one. There are many viewpoints, but somehow it all fits together. I enjoyed watching Trevn's character develop more in this story and I would have liked to see more of him. Still, I enjoyed getting to learn more about the other “supporting” characters.  We also get to meet Wilek's sister in this episode. I look forward to seeing more of her in the next book.  Warning: if you thought Darkness Reigns ended on a cliffhanger, Heir War definitely does! I look forward with eager anticipation to The End of All Things.