Fantasy Book Review: The White Rose

The White Rose by Amy Ewing

Violet is on the run—away from the Jewel, away from a lifetime of servitude, away from the Duchess of the Lake, who bought her at auction. With Ash and Raven traveling with her, Violet will need all of her powers to get her friends, and herself, out of the Jewel alive.

But no matter how far Violet runs, she can’t escape the rebellion brewing just beneath the Jewel’s glittering surface, and her role in it. Violet must decide if she is strong enough to rise against the Jewel and everything she has ever known.

The first half of this novel is suspense-ridden as Violet and her friends flee from the Jewel. Then, Violet meets a woman who can help her fully explore her abilities. And the underground rebellion desperately needs all the help it can get to overthrow the oppressive hierarchy.

The White Rose is the sequel to The Jewel, a unique fantasy series geared towards young adults. The characters are engaging; and the story is just as captivating as before. After the initial escape, the story changes a bit to more even-paced with intrigue and a deeper look at magic and the history behind it. I thoroughly enjoyed the worldbuilding. And I look forward to the next in this exciting series.

Book Giveaway: How to Pass as Human

Courtesy of Dark Horse, I have a copy of How to Pass as Human by Nic Kelman for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends November 27. I’ll draw a name on November 28, and notify winner via email.


Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: How to Pass as Human

Fantasy Book Review: Shadows of Self

Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

When family obligations forced Waximillium Ladrian to forsake the frontier lands and return to the metropolis of his birth as the new head of a noble house, he little imagined that the crime-fighting skills acquired during twenty years in the dusty plains would be just as applicable in the big city. He soon learned that there too, just being a talented Twinborn – one who can use both Allomancy and Feruchemy, the dominant magical modes on Scadrial – would not suffice.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society will now face its first test by terrorism and assassination, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax, his eccentric sidekick Wayne, and the brilliant Marasi – now officially part of the constabulary – must unravel the conspiracy before civil unrest can stop Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Waximillium (Wax) and Wayne investigate a strange mass murder that leads them on a trail of intrigue to eventually the gods themselves. Years ago, Wax lost the love of his life, and suddenly he sees the man responsible for her death. But he’s supposed to be dead as well.

Shadows of Self is a solid, standalone story in Sanderson’s Mistborn universe. Sanderson does an incredible job of worldbuilding, and his novels never fail to impress. This latest Mistborn novel is full of suspense, mystery, magic, and mysticism. The story is riveting and the characters are vivid and engaging. And while there is a lot of story already set in this universe, this novel can still be fully appreciated if you’ve never read anything else in the saga. Though the magic/mysticism wont make as much sense. But there’s a nice, comprehensive glossary in the back, if you want to find out more about the laws of this unique fantasy world. Don’t miss this epic fantasy series.

Fantasy Book Review: Mirrored

Mirrored by Alex Flinn

Celine’s life is the stuff fairy tales are made of. She’s beautiful, talented, and brave. Unfortunately, her tale comes complete with a wicked stepmother! When Violet steps into Celine’s life, everything changes and weird things begin to happen to her—bizarre accidents, strange illnesses, and rabid animal attacks. Celine doesn’t feel safe anywhere. It’s almost as if some hateful witch is out to get her.

And there is. Violet has been waiting all her life to have Celine’s father to herself. Getting rid of his gorgeous daughter is child’s play for a witch as powerful as she is. Happy-ever-after isn’t enough for Violet. She wants to be the fairest of them all, and Celine is in the way . . . but not for long.

Forced to take refuge with her friend Goose and his family, Celine gives up everything she loves and goes deep undercover. But will it be enough to fool Violet, or will Celine’s fate be decided by a reflection in a magic mirror? And where do you find Prince Charming in Miami anyway?

Told from the point of view of Violet, Celine, and then Goose – Mirrored is a twist on the Snow White fairy tale. Violet was an ugly child, and bullied because of it. When she discovers she has the power to make herself beautiful, she thinks that she can win the love of the boy she’s been obsessing over. Celine was born beautiful, but would love nothing more than to just be loved by her stepmother. And finally, Goose is a little person who becomes friends with Celine and who will do anything to protect her.

Full of magic, captivating characters, suspense, and a bit of romance – this YA fantasy is enchanting. Watching Violet’s dreams turn to obsession was uncomfortable. And it only builds as we get to know Celine. But Celine and Goose have a wonderful friendship and chemistry. Flinn has written several of these retold fairy tales, and this may be my favorite so far.

SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: Lost Stars

Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

This thrilling Young Adult novel gives readers a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe, from the rise of the Rebellion to the fall of the Empire. Readers will experience these major moments through the eyes of two childhood friends-Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell-who have grown up to become an Imperial officer and a Rebel pilot. Now on opposite sides of the war, will these two star-crossed lovers reunite, or will duty tear them-and the galaxy-apart?

Ciena and Thane are children without much in common other than the dream of becoming pilots for the Empire. But as they get older and attend the academy, they begin to discover that the Empire isn’t exactly what they thought it was.

Star Wars: Lost Stars follows the youngsters from their dramas during school to the most exciting times of the rebellion as young adults. It’s a coming-of-age story for both of them, with romance and adventure. They both have high ideals, however misplaced. And the exciting finale doesn’t disappoint, though left me wanting more. I would love to see a sequel to this following The Force Awakens. And the epilogue gives us some hints for the upcoming, new movie. I was already a fan of Claudia Gray’s writing, so I was very excited to see that she wrote a YA Star Wars novel. And I loved every bit of it. I hope this is just the first of many more YA Star Wars novels to come.

Fantasy Book Review: The Poe Estate

The Poe Estate by Polly Shulman

Sukie’s been lonely since the death of her big sister, Kitty—but Kitty’s ghost is still with her. At first that was comforting, but now Kitty’s terrifying anyone who gets too close. Things get even weirder when Sukie moves into her family’s ancestral home, and an older, less familiar ghost challenges her to find a treasure. Her classmate Cole is also experiencing apparitions. Fortunately, an antique broom’s at hand to fly Sukie and Cole to the New-York Circulating Material Repository’s spooky Poe Annex. As they search for clues and untangle ancient secrets, they discover their histories intertwine and are as full of stories of love, revenge, and pirate hijinks as some of the most famous fiction.

When her family falls on hard times, they move in with Sukie’s older and strange cousin. Sukie begins to see and feel strange things, not to mention her sister’s ghost hanging around causing trouble. Clues to a long-lost treasure may mean security for her family, but someone else wants to lay claim to the treasure as well.

The Poe Estate is set in the same world as Shulman’s previous novels, The Grimm Legacy and The Wells Bequest. The collection and curation of fictional and magical items is much like Warehouse 13 and The Librarian(s). I love each of them. This story is full of mystery, magic, and humor. Middle grade readers on up will enjoy this fun and engaging novel. And while this is a standalone story, I recommend reading The Grimm Legacy just to learn more about the fantastic New York Circulating Material Repository.

Box Review: Powered Geek Box – September 2015

Powered Geek Box

Powered Geek Box (formerly Power Up Box) is a geek subscription box featuring epic gifts for nerds, geeks and gamers. Our subscription box service delivers great gear and novelty items from big names like DC Comics, Marvel, Nintendo, Star Wars and Capcom right to your doorstep every month. Treat yourself to our geek subscribe box service or send it as a gift.

Powered Geek Box has two subscription box options: Deluxe (4-6 items) for $19.95 plus s/h per month or Premium (6-9 items) for $29.95 plus s/h per month. Plans are cheaper if you buy more than one month at a time.

This box was sent to for review.

Powered Geek Box

September’s box that was sent to me for review purposes was the Deluxe box.

Powered Geek Box

Call of Duty T-shirt (Retail $10?) – I’m not a gamer, so this shirt is a miss for me, but I do like the design.

Powered Geek Box

Super Mario Bros. Wallet (Retail $18.38 on Amazon) – This is a cute bifold wallet that my nephew will love.

Superman Crew Socks (Retail $8.65 on Amazon) – These are large, crew socks and seemingly well-made. These don’t seem to fit the gaming/pixel theme, but are probably my favorite thing in the box this month.

Powered Geek Box

MugBoy GameBoy Coaster (Retail $?) – I couldn’t find this listed on Amazon. But it’s a large, rubber coaster. At first, I thought it was a large magnet by the weight and feel. It’s a clever, cute design, looking like a retro GameBoy. However, I’d recommend only wide cups or mugs used on this, as there is a bit of texture to it.

Twisted Lip Pops (Retail $5?) – This is filler, but my niece is a candy fiend and will love it.

Nintendo Keychain (Retail $8.53) – Again, fans of classic gaming will may enjoy this large, rubber Nintendo key chain, made to look like an old controller. See, even though I never played as a teen, I recognize this stuff!

Summary: While the theme was a bust for me, as I’m not (nor ever have been) into gaming, the value is definitely here for the right audience. I look forward to seeing what this new branding may bring. I’m hoping for a more definitive theme, and one that’s announced on the updated website each month.

What do you think of this month’s box?

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