Book Review: The Shadowmask

The Shadowmask

The Shadowmask, by R.A. and Geno Salvatore, is second in the Stone of Tymora trilogy.

Picking up where The Stowaway left off, young Maimun seeks the stone that was stolen from him. Crossing treacherous land, sea, and battling pirates are just a few of the obstacles Maimun must face. But the biggest surprise is what awaits when Maimun finds himself shipwrecked on a mysterious island.

It would have been helpful for me to have a short summary of the events from the past book before reading this second installment. I found it difficult to recall characters and events from The Stowaway. Though, it was still a fun and fast-paced, swash-buckling adventure. Maimun and his journey is a story that readers of all ages can enjoy. There is less of a cliffhanger at the end of this installment, but still left me eager for the next. The Stone of Tymora trilogy is a wonderful introduction to epic fantasy for young readers, full of adventure, danger, magic.

Book Review: How Not to Make a Wish

How Not to Make a Wish

How Not to Make a Wish, by Mindy Klasky

Kira Franklin is in a dead-end job and unsure about her future, when she comes across a magic lamp. And a genie, named Teel, appears and must grant her wishes. Told that larger wishes, such as world peace and ending hunger, would take too many years to resolve, Kira must focus on herself. Deciding her first need is a job, she quickly wishes for her dream job. Her next wishes soon follow, but what Kira thought she wanted doesn’t turn out to be so her ideal.

In true chick lit fashion, How Not to Make a Wish is more about Kira’s journey and learning about herself than it is romance or fantasy. Though there are strong elements of both romance and fantasy as well. The incredibly likeable and relatable Kira has gone through heartbreak and still makes unwise choices. But she learns from her mistakes. While, some of her choices surprised me – I assumed that she’d do the selfless thing and free the genie with one of her wishes. Instead, it seems to never enter her mind. Maybe this is so the series can continue, but for some reason it didn’t sit well with me. Teel was a main character and stated his case several times for wanting Kira to hurry her wishes so he could possibly enter his idyllic, Eden-like garden. But other than the selfish wishes, this was an incredibly fun and fast-paced read.

Klasky is a gifted author that pulled me into the story immediately. The narrative is charming, warm, and witty. This will appeal particularly to chick lit fans, which is a broad category in itself. It’s light-hearted and fun and will leave you wishing for more.

Book Review: My Soul to Take

My Soul to Take

My Soul to Take, by Rachel Vincent, is the first in a new fantasy series for teens.

Kaylee has the unfortunate ability to see when a person is about to die, and then an almost uncontrollable urge to scream. But Nash, a heartthrob from school, seems to have a calming affect on her. When several young girls just drop dead without a visible cause, Kaylee believes that the deaths may have something to do with her. The last thing Kaylee wants is for everyone to think she’s crazy, so choosing who to trust will be dangerous in more ways than one.

Vincent has created a unique and captivating world for the Soul Screamer series. Kaylee is a likeable and sympathetic character. The mystery that surrounds her heritage is fascinating. The story kept me on the edge of my seat and kept me guessing. I don’t want to get into too much detail and give away any spoilers. But the character of a young reaper was especially inspired.

With a surprising twist, the climactic ending was one of the highlights of the book. Teens and adults alike should enjoy this urban fantasy with romance, suspense, mystery, and more. I can’t recommend this series debut enough. Fast-paced and fun, it’s novels like this that keep me reading YA, even as an adult.

Book Giveaway: Draw Star Wars: Clone Wars

Five (5) winners will receive:
o a copy of Draw Star Wars: Clone Wars
o *one of the 5 winners will receive an autographed copy, signed by Bonnie Burton!

Books are valued at $16.95 each.

Shipping Guidelines:
The Draw Star Wars: Clone Wars book giveaway is open to participants with a United States mailing address only (international readers can enter if they have a friend in the States who can accept their prizes by mail.)

To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends December 4. I’ll draw names on December 5, and notify winners via email.

More details on the release:
Draw Star Wars: The Clone Wars is filled with tips, techniques, practice space, and translucent overlays to make you a master of drawing. Start with stick figures, move onto basic shapes, and finish up with the details. Use the included double-tipped metallic-colored pencils and black marker to make 20 Clone Wars characters come to life.

YouTube Video:

How to Draw Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Visit the product page:

Good luck!

Read moreBook Giveaway: Draw Star Wars: Clone Wars

Book Giveaway: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

On behalf of Quirk Books, I have a giveaway copy of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben Winters for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to everyone. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends December 4. I’ll draw names on December 5, and notify winners via email.

Good luck!

Read moreBook Giveaway: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Book Review: Ice


Ice, by Sarah Beth Durst

As 18-year-old Cassie tries to track an elusive polar bear, he seemingly escapes through solid ice. When she tells her father about the bear, he reacts strangely and tells her she’s leaving the Arctic research station. Unbeknownst to Cassie, the fairy tale that her grandmother recited to her each night as a child was true. A magical polar bear made a deal with Cassie’s mother that he would marry Gail’s daughter. Now, he has returned for Cassie.

A true modern-day fairy tale, Durst has created a world of wonder and magic. Cassie is an incredibly brave and remains true to herself and her family. Bear is also a wonderful character. He is mysterious and honorable. Their relationship is very much like “Beauty and the Beast.” But Cassie and Bear’s story is much more complex. And Cassie is forced to make difficult decisions and always makes the one that she thinks is right, following her heart no matter what the cost.

Ice is a fairy tale focused towards young adults, but is an ageless story. Durst is a talented storyteller, weaving a vibrant and beautiful tale of fantasy, love, and family. I will definitely be checking out Durst’s other works. Young adult fantasy fans, don’t miss this one.

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