What I’m reading: To Best The Boys by Mary Weber

This is not your grandmother’s kind of girl power.

 

To Best the Boys is one of those books that young girls, and young teen girls need today! It’s not some ridiculous novel that keeps shouting “girl power” at you. It’s the kind of story that SHOWS you girl power… and still shows human weakness and imperfection.

Mary mentioned on social media the other day that she struggled with this novel more than a little bit. I tend to think that is part of what makes this such a compelling read. That struggle is embedded in every word on the page, shining through the characters’ words and actions!

There’s also adventure, and danger, and MAGIC!

Don’t miss it!

 

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University.

Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.

 

 

Feature © JCMorrows 2019

What I’m reading: Evermore by Sara Holland

You know that meme that says…

Or, in this case, hardback…

Yeah. Evermore is one of those stories.

I actually read a few other reviews for this book, and the ones that said it was not as good as the first, I wondered at.

And then I read it, and WOW! I do not get those reviews! Because I thought Evermore was every bit as good as Everless… maybe even better. It pulled me in, and every time I had to put the book down, it was all I could do not to snap at whomever was the reason for it that time. It was AMAZING! The ending was not at all predictable. The story was so intriguing, I found myself racing ahead, just to find out what was going to happen. I actually had to make myself go back and read what I had rushed through several times because I was so excited, I missed things.

It was just that GOOD!

 

The highly anticipated sequel to New York Times bestseller, Everless!

Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one.

 

 

Feature © JCMorrows 2019

What I’m reading: Defiant Joy by Stasi Eldredge

TAKING HOLD OF HOPE, BEAUTY, AND LIFE IN A HURTING WORLD.

 

Bestselling author Stasi Eldredge shows readers how to choose a joy that stands against the tides of life’s real and often overwhelming pain.

We are called to live. And, miraculously, to live with joy.

We all spend a lot of energy reaching for happiness, but we are never quite able to hang on to it. Real life happens, and our circumstances take us on an emotional rollercoaster ride. So the Bible’s call to “be joyful always” sounds almost crazy—and out of reach. But it doesn’t have to be.

Joy is meant to be ours, a joy that is defiant in the face of this broken world. This joy is not simply happiness on steroids; it’s the unyielding belief that sorrow and loss do not have the final say. It’s the stubborn determination to be present to whatever may come and to interpret both goodness and grief by the light of heaven.

In Defiant Joy, Stasi Eldredge invites us with courage, candor, and tender vulnerability to a place beyond sadness or happiness. She shows us how to maintain a posture of holy defiance that neither denies nor diminishes our pain but dares to live with expectant, unwavering hope.

We are called to live.

And, miraculously, to live with joy.

Those are words written with the intention of changing lives!

 

Why defiant joy? Why not… simply joy?
… In this world where we find ourselves living, having joy often feels both crazy and out of reach.”

Those words say it all. This world is not one where any of us can find joy without being defiant… without “standing against the tide, going against the flow…” without making the tough decision to grab hold of joy and refuse to let go.

This is a book that everyone needs in this hopeless, miserable world we exist in, this world where joy is quickly sought out and squashed by the enemy on a daily basis.

 

 

Feature © JCMorrows 2019

What I’m reading: Everless by Sara Holland

I can see this is going to be a year of stunning reads!

Have you ever been so enthralled with a story, so immersed, so desperate to get to the conclusion that is dangling oh so tantalizingly out of reach… that you actually miss part of the story and have to go back and re-read?

THAT is precisely how intense the pull was for this reader at multiple points of the story. I literally had to put the book down, remind myself to breathe, and then pick it up and read again the story I had just read.

Everless is one of those stories that will pull you in and refuse to let go. Long after you release the last page, the haunting story will hold you in its grip and you’ll have to remind yourself that it’s not real… that the words are just a fictional creation that was given birth by a mere mortal from this little blue world we inhabit.

Yes. It’s that GOOD! And how fortuitous that we do not have to wait for book 2. Evermore is already here, released into the world to wreak a similar havoc among readers such as me.

 

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

 

 

Feature © JCMorrows 2019

What I’m reading: Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

WOW!

CJ Redwine was 100% spot on it when she said this book was “Brilliant, fascinating, and utterly impossible to put down.”  

I picked this book up at the library yesterday and only put it down early this morning, nearly breathless with the absolutely exceptional ending.

Whether you enjoy fairy-tale retellings or just refreshingly exciting fantasy, this is a book you should immerse yourself in immediately!

You won’t be sorry!

I picked it up at the library on the recommendation of a friend and now I will be buying not one, but two books, because I have to have both books in the series and I dearly hope Miss West will grace us with another!

Don’t miss the companion novella; Fields of Fire! That’s my next read. It will keep me enchanted until I get my hands on Realm of Ruins; book 2 in this incomparable new series!

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Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting.

An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two – now three – after centuries of bloody conflict in the realm. Their gifts are fraught with responsibility, and sixteen-year-old Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals? Or should she follow the strength of her power, even if it leads to unknown terrors?

She draws on her ability to disguise herself as a man to infiltrate a prince’s band of soldiers, and masquerades as a fairy godmother to shield a cursed princess, but time is running out. As an army of dark creatures grows closer, Bristal faces a supernatural war. To save the kingdoms, Bristal must find the courage to show her true form.

Building on homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jane Austen’s Emma and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a spectacular debut.

 

 

Feature © JCMorrows 2019

What I’m Reading: Belle by Cameron Dokey

 

 

The story of Beauty and the Beast finds new life in this magical and imaginative retelling that’s filled with romance and adventure.

By the time her sixteenth birthday comes around, Belle feels more convinced than ever that she is being called by the wrong name. Unlike her older sisters Celeste and April, whose names suit them perfectly, Belle knows that she is not beautiful. She begs to be called by her given name, Annabelle—or even Anna for short—but to no avail. Her solace is her wood-carving hobby, and she longs to find the Heartwood tree: Legend has it that, when carved by the right hands, it can reveal the face of one’s true love.

One day, during a fierce storm, Belle’s father stumbles upon the fabled tree—only to become ensnarled by it and come face-to-face with a terrifying and lonely Beast, who will set him free on one condition: that Belle carves the Heartwood. Belle agrees, never dreaming that she and the Beast have the same wish: to be seen not with the eyes of the mind, but of the heart.

 

There is nothing I like more than an intriguing fairy tale retelling that is fresh and original… even though the story holds more similarities to the original story than the most frequently told story these days.

One of the best parts about a retelling is how much more involved you get with the main characters. In the original fairy tales, the story focused on the middle and the end. With a retelling, you can explore the beginning.

Belle does that and it’s wonderful. We have a chance to become very attached to Belle and her family, get a look into who she really is and what makes her tick. It makes the middle of the story that much more exciting and intense.

I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of the books in this series, and I’m glad to discover that I’ve not started in the middle since most of the books seem to be stand-alones.

If you haven’t read them, you should check them out HERE.

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: The Orphan’s Wish by Melanie Dickerson

Hagenheim novel #8! Who else is excited!


From the streets to an orphanage in a faraway kingdom, Aladdin has grown up alone. Until he meets Kirstyn.

With a father who is the duke of Hagenheim and a mother who is the patroness of the orphanage where Aladdin lives, Kirstyn is a member of the most powerful family in the land . . . and way out of his league. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion for taking walks in the forest, and their childhood friendship grows along with them.

Through his scrappy skills, intelligence, and hard work, Aladdin earns a position serving in the duke’s house. But he knows it isn’t enough to grant him his one desire: Kirstyn’s hand in marriage. If he hopes to change his station in life and feel worthy of marrying Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim to seek his fortune.

But once Aladdin leaves, no one is around to protect Kirstyn, and the greedy men desperate to take advantage of her father’s wealth take notice. Now, more than Aladdin’s background stands in the way of the future he’s worked so hard to obtain. His only hope is to rescue Kirstyn and somehow manage to win her hand as well.

 

I fell in love with Melanie’s books years ago in an intriguing twist of fate that can only be described as a situation where truth is stranger than fiction.

This is just a mother in a long Line of amazing fairy tales written without magic or any actual fairies.

REAL people live out AMAZING adventures in these true-to-life Historical Happily Ever Afters!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Book 1 of the Waterfire Saga! YAY!


Serafina, daughter of Isabella, Queen of Miromara, has been raised with the expectation – and burden – that she will someday become ruler of the oldest civilization of the merfolk.

On the eve of the Dokimí ceremony, which will determine if she is worthy of the crown, Sera is haunted by a strange dream that foretells the return of an ancient evil. But her nightmare is forgotten the next day as she diligently practices her songspell; eagerly anticipates a reunion with her best friend, Neela; and anxiously worries about Mahdi, the crown prince of Matali, and whether his feelings toward her and their future betrothal have changed. Most of all, she worries about not living up to her mother’s hopes.

The Dokimí proceeds, a dazzling display of majesty and might, until a shocking turn of events interrupts it: an assassin’s arrow wounds Isabella. The realm falls into chaos, and Serafina’s darkest premonitions are confirmed. Now she and Neela must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the mer nations. Their search will lead them to other mermaid heriones scattered across the six seas. Together they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood as they uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world’s very existence.

 

Walking around Book Market a few weeks ago at my mother’s book signing led to [as usual] book buying! By the way, I’ll be at the Book Market for a Book Signing of my own on July 21st!

And I’ll likely find more books then to buy! No big surprise there! Me walking into a book store nearly always leads to me leaving with a stack/bag/arm/box-full of new books to stack. . . and read. . . and photograph. . . and then find a place for on one of the many shelves and bookcases in our home.

At any rate. . .

This series caught my eye because it had a Mermaid on the cover!

So, of course, it caught my attention and my daughter Macy‘s too!

Then we discovered that it was a 4-book series! WHAT!

Well, obviously we had to have all of them! Book Market had book 1 and book 3, but not 2 or 4. TRAGEDY! And thus began a three store journey to find ALL of the books! Spoiler alert: we found them all! YAY US!

Now to read them all! YES! the fun begins!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

A new and exciting novel from Nadine Brandes


Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

 

I am sad to say, I didn’t even hear the door when the UPS man arrived yesterday, but I am sure everyone in the house heard my shriek of excitement when I opened the box and found this book that I have been waiting for – for what feels like FOREVER!

It’s here! It’s here! It’s FINALLY HERE! And it’s SOOOOO pretty!

Seriously, the cover image above does NOT even begin to do justice to the breathtaking cover!

And THIS is why some of my books are steme-themed. I LOVE the historical aspects; balls and intrigue, fancy clothes and cool masks. Awesome to find other authors who enjoy the same elements I do in Fantasy fiction!

An exciting premise! A daring adventure! An intriguing story!

If you enjoy Nadine Brandes’ books, don’t miss this one!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m reading: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

OK… I finished with Marissa Meyer’s ASTONISHING Lunar Chronicles and I had to go back and reread her NEW triumph (that I’m still hoping someone talks her into expanding into a series) Heartless!

 

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

 

Feature © JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Continuing on my feature of Marissa Meyer’s incomparable Lunar Chronicles, this week’s feature is book 4: Winter! WAH!!! It’s over. . .

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mark her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.

 

It’s available in Paperback now so I can finally complete my collection! I’ve been waiting forever because I LOVE having all of my books matching (of course, I’ve had the eBook all this time so I could read it!)!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Continuing on my feature of Marissa Meyer’s incomparable Lunar Chronicles, this week’s feature is Fairest: the story of that most wretched of all evil queens!

 

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

 

I detest stories that try to excuse a villain’s abhorrent behavior–and I was thrilled to find that this is not one of those and that is all I’m going to say because I simply refuse to chance spoiling it for anyone!

But trust me… READ IT!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Continuing on my feature of Marissa Meyer’s incomparable Lunar Chronicles, this week’s feature is book 3: Cress! HELLO Thorne!!!

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

 

Thorne reminds me of the clever and inventive reluctant hero from a certain NEW movie about the long haired fairy tale Princess. . . and I am not the only one!

Oh my, Captain Thorne! Who doesn’t love a devious scoundrel!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m reading: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Last week I featured book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles series. This week, I want to talk about book 2.

 

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

 

Too often, a sequel just does not live up to the original. Not so with Scarlet. This is an exceptional second installment! BRAVO Marissa!

 

Feature © JCMorrows 2018

BOOK REVIEW | Unblemished by Sara Ella

“A breathtaking fantasy set in an extraordinary fairy-tale world, with deceptive twists and an addictively adorable cast who are illusory to the end. Just when I thought I’d figured each out, Sara Ella sent me for another ride. A wholly original story, Unblemished begins as a sweet melody and quickly becomes an anthem of the heart. And I’m singing my soul out. Fans of Once Upon a Time and Julie Kagawa, brace yourselves.” —Mary Weber, award-winning author of the Storm Siren Trilogy

Eliyana can’t bear to look at her own reflection. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world exists where her blemish could become her strength?

Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her like he does: normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved.

But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird. Now Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.

Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself?

“Lyrically written and achingly romantic—Unblemished will tug your heartstrings!” —Melissa Landers, author of Alienated, Invaded, and Starflight

“Self-worth and destiny collide in this twisty-turny fantasy full of surprise and heart. Propelled into a world she knows nothing about, Eliyana learns that the birthmark she despises is not quite the superficial curse she thought it was—it’s worse, and the mark comes with a heavy responsibility. Can she face her reflection long enough to be the hero her new friends need? With charm and wit, author Sara Ella delivers Unblemished, a magical story with a compelling message and a unique take on the perils of Central Park.” —Shannon Dittemore, author of the Angel Eyes trilogy

Unblemished is an enchanting, beautifully written adventure with a pitch-perfect blend of fantasy, realism, and romance. Move this one to the top of your TBR pile and clear your schedule—you won’t want to put it down!” —Lorie Langdon, author of the Amazon bestselling DOON series

Unblemished had me from the first chapter—mystery, romance, and mind-blowing twists and turns that I SO did not see coming! The worlds Sara Ella builds are complex and seamless; the characters she creates are beautifully flawed. Readers are sure to love this book and finish it, as I did, begging for more!” —Krista McGee, author of the ANOMALY trilogy


– MY THOUGHTS –

An intriguing concept and a fascinating cover (though I’m not certain the nature of the story truly comes across through the cover image) and a story our teenagers desperately need in this world that is obsessed with body image.

Weight, looks, fashion and style are things which should not define a person, and yet, the very people who extol the phrase “Never judge a book by its cover” certainly do – in so many more ways than one.

I am unsure if this topic was Sara’s aim or simply a by-product of the storyline, but I applaud her for staying true to such a delicate subject!

BRAVO!

Book Review | Remember to Forget by Ashley Royer

 


 

I can easily see where this book would appeal to fans of “The Fault in our Stars” or the book which I presume was the inspiration for the fan-fiction portion of this work; “If I Stay”…

It’s not the sort of experience I typically seek out. I tend to gravitate toward hopeful stories. Love and loss may be part of many of those stories, but I much prefer an underlying current of hope – rather than despair.

My teen son read a bit of the story as well and he said it was a shock to realize he was reading a male main character’s perspective – due to having a young lady’s picture on the cover . . . and the fact that Levi could easily be a feminine name as well.

Readers who enjoy this more EMO brand of fiction will find a story they can cling to with whatever equates as enjoyment for them. It’s just not for me.

I was given a copy of this book free in exchange for my honest review – which I have given.

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2016

 

Here is a brief synopsis from Publisher

In Remember to Forget from Watty Award-winning author Ashley Royer, Levi has refused to speak since the tragic death of his girlfriend, Delia, and can’t seem to come out of his depression and hindering self-doubt. Desperate to make some positive change in Levi’s life, his mother sends him to live with his father in Maine. Though the idea of moving from Australia to America seems completely daunting, Levi passively accepts his fate, but once he lands faces personal struggles and self-doubt at the same time he and his dad battle through resentment and misunderstanding. And then, while at therapy, Levi meets Delilah, a girl who eerily reminds him of someone he lost.

I received a  copy of this book free in exchange for an honest review.

GOD BLESS!

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

THE BEAUTIFUL PRETENDER BY MELANIE DICKERSON | BLOG TOUR AND FAIRY TALE PRIZE PACK

This is one contest I entered! 

I mean . . . have you noticed how AWESOME these prizes are!

Read on . . . You will!

Inheriting the new title of margrave means Reinhart has two weeks to find a noble bride. What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise? Find out in the new medieval fairy tale, The Beautiful Pretender, by Melanie Dickerson. Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?

Join Melanie in celebrating the release of The Beautiful Pretender by entering to win her Once Upon a Kindle giveaway!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of The Beautiful Pretender
  • A Kindle Fire tablet
  • A $25 Amazon gift card
  • The choice between a Funko POP Disney Beauty or Beast doll

beautiful pretender - prize collage

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 7th. The winner will be announced June 8th on Melanie’s blog.

beautiful pretender - enter banner

DISCLAIMER: This giveaway is sponsored by Litfuse Publicity Group. The only connection I have with them is that I occasionally review books they offer. I am in no way connected with this contest (other than I really hope I win! LOL)

~ JC

Book Review & a Look Back | A Chilling look at what may well – be our future… | The Liberation by Marissa Shrock

Can you hear the screams from there? Can you!!!

Marissa Shrock has finally given us the sequel to her stellar debut; The First Principle!

Do NOT miss this sequel!

Both books are a MUST-READ!

Marissa Shrock is an amazingly talented author!

Her words grab hold of you and absolutely will not let go until you reach the very end of the story! She illustrates the journey of her characters with such skill, you feel as if you ARE Vivica! (or rather… Fredrica)

I am so very excited to see this long-awaited sequel release. I devoured the first book of the series and have been patiently (not so much) waiting for the journey to continue!

The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, but I will be purchasing it anyway! Yes, It’s that good!

Review © JCMorrows 2016

5star

If you haven’t read the first book in this series, click HERE to check out the link to that review… Perhaps I can convince you…

 

“The First Principle is certainly what I would call a MUST READ! And I applaud Kregel Publishing for having the courage to stand up with women everywhere over a tremendously important issue!” – review by JC Morrows (2015)

 

Don’t miss this compelling look at what could very well be our future.Tweet this!

THERE IS NO PRICE you can put on a HUMAN LIFE!Tweet this!

“Without life, there can be no liberty or pursuit of happiness.” ~ Marissa ShrockTweet this!

 

More about The Liberation:

How far would you go in the fight for your country’s freedom when it’s crumbling from within?

In the near future, all seventeen-year-old Vivica Wilkins wants is a normal life. Time with her boyfriend, her computer, sports. But after becoming a fugitive, the only place she’ll be safe is among the enemies of the government. She has no choice but to join the Emancipation Warriors, the only hope for the United Regions of North America to return to the country it once was.

When her mother is taken as a political prisoner and slated for execution, the Emancipation Warriors change Vivica’s appearance, identity—everything. With her vaunted computer hacking skills, she’s able to infiltrate the government with a job that gives the Warriors a foothold in their fight for freedom and the chance to save her mother.

But soon Vivica is discovered, and her only chance of escape is to become allies with one of her greatest enemies. Together they must follow the government’s trail of evil to its highest levels, where they learn not only the future of their country is at stake, but the entire world.

From the cities of the United Regions of North America to the high-tech corridors of Asia, The Liberation is an international thriller with an all-too-possible scenario that will grab you by the throat and refuse to let go.

GOD BLESS!

AND

HAPPY READING!

 I was blessed to receive a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
All opinions are entirely my own.

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

Book Review | Blue Ribbon Trail Ride by Miralee Ferrell

 

I did not acquire this book for myself. I have a nine (almost ten) year-old daughter who is positively enamored with horses.

My only experience with horses was more than a little negative and I was never one of those girls who just loved horses.

. . . unicorns . . . dragons . . . griffins . . .

But not horses.

However, my daughter loves them, so I snagged this series for her. And I can only hope she will enjoy reading them as much as I have.

This is so much more than just a book for girls who love horses. There’s mystery. There’s intrigue. There’s a group of young teens who are determined to help out their friends (and younger brother).

I never knew that Miralee Ferrell wrote young adult books – much less such entertaining ones. It is so very refreshing to find such wonderful family-friendly stories that are not only suitable for all ages, but appealing as well.

I also believe these stories will be a tremendous help to those young adults who don’t really understand things like autism. We could all use some positive reinforcement that shows us that just because someone is a little different . . . doesn’t mean there is something wrong with them.

I highly suggest you start with book 1: A Horse For Kate, but I am someone who enjoys reading a series from the very beginning so that’s just my personal suggestion.

Happy Reading!

 

Review © JCMorrows 2016

More about Blue Ribbon Trail Ride:

Thirteen-year old Kate and her friends came up with the perfect way to raise money for her autistic younger brother and others to attend summer camp—a horse scavenger hunt!

As local businesses donate money and prizes, Kate keeps the entry fees in her mom’s antique jewelry box.

But when the box and the money disappear, Kate and her friends must unravel the clues, hold on to hope, and solve the mystery along the Blue Ribbon Trail Ride.

Miralee Ferrell

{MORE ABOUT MIRALEE FERRELL}

Miralee Ferrell is the award-winning author of more than a dozen novels. She and her husband live along the Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington State, where she enjoys riding the wooded trails and spending time with her grown children. In addition to horses and dogs, Miralee once owned two cougars.

Find out more about Miralee at http://miraleeferrell.com/main.

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

God Bless!

 

Finding Unauthorized Faith in Harry Potter by Nicole Rivera

WOW!

Before I begin, let me just say – I really really like this cover! The one that is wrapped around my advance paperback is pretty, sure, but the one I’ve used below really catches the eye!

OK . . .  now to what is between the covers.

I LOVE . . . LOVE LOVE LOVE . . . the Harry Potter series.

I even love the movies.

In my personal opinion, the 8 HP movies are a bright and shining example that once in a while . . . a long while . . . a movie (in this case, moviescan be made right!

Yes I know – I got distracted again. I do that.

OK . . . WOW!

And I really mean WOW!

Nicole Rivera has a gold mine in this wonderful devotional! This book has not only given me a  new appreciation for one of my all-time favorite book series, it has shown me a wonderful new look into the story behind the story!

I don’t know if I ever would have connected all of those dots. Of course, I never saw the Biblical significance in the Narnia stories either – until someone pointed them out to me. That is the brilliance of such stories (or rather – parables).

God has truly given Nicole a vision and I am thrilled she is sharing it with the world!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2015

Don’t miss Nicole’s further posts about finding faith in the fandoms – HERE!

And check out her awesome posts on MUGGLENET.COM too!

Here is a short synopsis of the book and the opening letter – which will give you some insight into Nicole’s vision.

Finding Unauthorized Faith in Harry Potter. Explore life’s deepest truths. Discover wisdom about friendship, courage, loyalty, and love from the Boy-Who-Lived and his magical friends.  Coming December 10, 2015 in ebook and trade paper.

Finding Unauthorized Faith in Harry Potter by Nicole L Rivera, is a Christian devotional especially suited for young adults and all fans of the remarkable series, and for use as in group Bible studies.

Nicole reveals the Harry Potter story as a guide to life’s deepest truths, offering inspiration about faith, friendship, courage, loyalty, love, and other wisdom of the Bible. She advises us about how to live like Christ and the Harry Potter heroes.

The book is not yet available everywhere but it is available for pre-order at the following retailers:  SMASHWORDS, B&N, ITUNES, and AMAZON.

Or preorder the trade paperback direct from Hickey’s Books.

PLUS – the individual e-books are still available at AMAZON, B&N & ITUNES until we can all get our hands on the paperback compilation.

THANK YOU Nicole for allowing me the honor of reading an advance copy of your amazing book! It has blessed me and given me renewed love of the Harry Potter series!

Really… it’s not what you think – and it’s not what they say either…

 

Just so you know what you're in for...
Just so you know what you’re in for…

WHOO HOO! I have officially gotten in on the ground floor this time!

It feels so good to be here for once in my life.

And YES! I am taking sides.

I LOVE IT!!!! LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

Haters are gonna have their say, but those of us who love it will too.

First a bit of back-story — because I am an author and we all love back-story — haven’t you noticed . . .

I did not discover twilight until it was already slated to become a movie. I literally (yes I know it sounds like I am comparing myself to a certain heroine, but I’m not – I’m really that way) stumbled across a discussion on a social site and was immediately intrigued.

I have always been a bit different from everyone else I know . . . slightly odd, slightly off, slightly obsessed with weird and unexplainable things (remember, I write speculative fiction) – and so the idea of non-evil vampires was too exciting to pass up.

So . . . anyway, I found a copy at a nearby bookstore and started reading.

And . . .  I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.

I don’t care what anyone says. Yes, it may have been rushed a bit. Yes, it was Stephenie’s first novel. Yes, there may have been some errors or spots where the writing lacked, but you know what – I am not a natural editor and I do not remember ANYTHING pulling me out of the magnificent story world . . . well, not anything from the book anyway.

I began pretty late in the day and read right through the night. Even though I knew my kiddos would get me up super early, I did not close my eyes until I’d finished the very last page of the book.

Actually, it was probably about a half hour after I finished that last page, because I sat there grinning like an idiot for at least five minutes and then it took a long time to get my brain to shut up so I could go to sleep. I kept going over my favorite scenes and stifling the ridiculous schoolgirl giggles that kept escaping.

Obviously, I went out the next day and hunted down copies of new moon and eclipse, and it’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure I had to wait for breaking dawn – which I’m certain was a special kind of torture, but somehow I survived.

You see, these books had done something for me that no trashy romance novel I had ever read could – they had given me a REAL fantasy about what love truly should be.

And it was amazing!

Speaking as someone who has not had good fortune in the romance department, I was thrilled to read about a young woman who made good choices where love was concerned.

Far too many people look at Bella Swan and pick at her because when everyone around her is doing their crazy superhero thing, she stands there and lets them handle things, but those are people who did not read the scene at the end of the book . . . clearly. Most of them probably never made it through half the first book, much less the second and third and last book – where Bella becomes the ultimate superhero . . . the one they all look at with this crazy awe, the one who most certainly does NOT stand behind anyone else, the one who . . .  literally . . .  saves. the. day.

Stop glaring at me. That is not a spoiler. Not at this late date.

 

And now for the painful part.

 

The movie killed it, absolutely destroyed that beautiful bubble of perfection for me.

When every other female in the theater screamed as “Edward” came on screen, I groaned – yes, out loud. I am quite certain no one heard me because they were too busy screaming and hyperventilating, but I did.

I groaned because that guy was not my Edward. The Edward in my mind was actually flawless – not stupid and awkward and wearing a stinking “members only” jacket – which, in case you aren’t my age – meant you were the ultimate dork . . . or at least it did when I was in school. No. Way. to make that cool for me. E. V. E. R.

Yes, I watched the movies – because in some crazed, desperate way, I kept hoping it would somehow get better enough to fix that horrible, agonizing death.

And in a way, it did . . . a little.

Rob’s makeup and wardrobe got better with the second movie. His acting even improved . . . slightly.

The second movie was done incredibly well and I quite enjoyed it, but . . . it really didn’t matter. The bubble had been decimated and there was no getting it back. All I could really do was hold on to the improvements and try to enjoy the ride.

And I do enjoy watching the movies. I enjoy – immensely – that last scene of the last movie. I enjoy the music . . . well, most of it, and I enjoy seeing Bella be the amazingly awesome superhero that saves everyone – everyone!

But it has never been the same.

 

 

until now!

OH. MY. WORD!

Stephenie Meyer - Life and Death - twilight reimaginedI refuse. REFUSE! to spoil the new story for anyone.

But I can say that my faith in the series has been restored!

Sitting there, reading about Beau and Edythe, I felt the same delirious, giggly, romantic high that I experienced when reading the original twilight for the very first time.

Somehow, Stephenie has healed the devastation – that movie #one caused in me – with this wildly perceptive idea of hers!

And regardless of what anyone says – ONLY an INCREDIBLY gifted author could have pulled this off!

Only an AMAZINGLY talented author could have had me hearing a guy’s voice in my head as I read Beau’s words . . . knowing many of those words as well as I do from the dozens of times I read the books before I watched the first movie.

WOW!

WOW!

WOW!

Impressive that Stephenie was able to accurately describe how differently a young man would react to things – because, let’s face it; boys do not react to things the same way girls do – not often anyway.

Doubly impressive to see how different Stephenie succeeded in making the few reactions that were essentially the same ones we had seen from Bella . . . feel . . . as if they were actually tailored for Beau, when we remembered that was not the case, because Bella had reacted just the same way.

However, the most impressive part was when I became so involved in the story, that I completely forgot I was reading a story that bore a strong resemblance to another I read nearly ten years ago.

It felt fresh and brand new.

It was amazing and exhilarating and exciting!

And I just may be able to go back and read the original twilight again and really enjoy it.

Thank you, Stephenie.

By the way . . . just for the record . . .  I finished the book on Wednesday. Just thought you should know. 😉

 

Gear Signature - JCM

©JCMorrows 2015

Soulmate (Teen Paranormal Romance Series) (The Soulmate Series: Paranormal Teen Romance Book 1) by Kellie McAllen

An intriguing supernatural story of life and love.

The premise for this story is one I’ve not seen before. Kudos Kellie for such an original idea! And it’s a series so the story doesn’t stop with book 1 – which is always great. I typically read Christian fiction, and while this is not, it is a clean read and even has the bonus of great moral lessons.

I love that Kellie isn’t afraid to tackle some serious issues and in a way that will not be too harsh for most readers – well done, Kellie! She brings to light the harsh realities of abortion, the ideas of what is “normal” in society, and the dangers of dating with no rules.

All in all, an entertaining and difficult to put down read! Excited for the next installment!

Review ©JCMorrows 2015

4 Stars

More about the book from Goodreads:

Most people search for decades to find their soulmate; Rachel Masterson was born with hers. Sharing her body with another soul has had its ups and downs for 15 year old Rachel, but there’s no one she’d rather share her life with than her soulmate, Rider. Fiercely devoted to him, Rachel has ostracized herself from most of her peers and gained a reputation as someone just a little too far gone on the wrong side of crazy.

Her family’s sudden move, however, gives her a chance at a fresh new life, without the stigma of her “imaginary friend.” Hit with the triple-whammy stress of trying to make new friends (and her first boyfriend) in a new school, in a new town, far away from the only other person who has ever understood her, Rachel’s relationship with Rider is strained by the choices that she makes, choices that ultimately lead to their separation.

When a tragic accident tears them apart, can Rachel learn to live and love again?

The Gifting Series by K. E. Ganshert | Looking back…

OK… yes, I did. I read through books 1, 2 and 3 AGAIN!

I can’t help myself. They’re SOOOO fantastic!

And now I have to figure out how to come back down to earth.

It is the worst sort of book hangover possible – being forced to deal with reality, when you’ve been enveloped in a world all its’ own… a world that is decidedly not your own.

Speculative and Supernatural story-lines are the most difficult because the writer truly does create a different world for you to visit when you pick up the book.

Coming back to reality is difficult – or at least, it is when the author is as amazingly talented as K.E. Ganshert!

 

“If science is right, then I am crazy. And crazy is dangerous.” – K.E. GanshertTweet this!

GOODREADS | AMAZON | ITUNES | K.E. GANSHERT’S WEBSITE
USA TODAY ARTICLE

As an author myself, I worry that my own worlds are nowhere near as fantastic as hers.

As a reader, I hope and pray to have many more amazing stories like this from K.E. Ganshert because…

While I enjoy being in my own imaginary worlds – it is a very different experience to be able to immerse yourself in someone else’s world.

It’s freeing because you don’t know the plot going in. It’s exciting because you don’t know what’s going to happen next.

It’s terrifying because you get attached to these people you did not make up – you have no control over what happens to them or where the story takes them… but YOU HAVE TO KNOW!

And like so many other series that I have fallen absolutely in love with… I bugged my mum until she read them. She was happy to have all three so she could read them sequentially.

And… after reading them, she is just as hooked as I am but for different reasons. The things about this series that appeal to me, that drew me in, that hooked me from the second chapter of book 1 – do not have the same effects on her… not in the same ways and not for the same reasons.

 

“I can’t go home. It’s not safe. Nowhere is.” – K.E. GanshertTweet this!

GOODREADSAMAZONITUNESK.E. GANSHERT’S WEBSITE

My mother and I do agree on one thing where these books are concerned though, but for totally different reasons… actually that’s not true. Once I explained my reasoning, she agreed 100% with me about it… but she’s still holding on to her reason too.

What am I talking about?

Well…

K.E. mentioned in her dedication – that her brother is holding on to the determination that this series of hers will be made into a movie.

After reading only two of the books in the series, my mum said the same thing.

What she said was something along the lines of – “Yeah, I can see them making a movie from these books.”

I agreed and then started to say why I would never watch it – but she presented her reasoning first and then I got distracted by one of the kiddos so I never got around to my reasoning until this morning.

My reasoning is this; no matter who the director is… no matter who the actors are… no matter who does the soundtrack (which could ONLY be truly epic if James Horner were still with us) – there is absolutely, positively NO WAY any movie could even begin to compare with the world in my head!

It’s simply not possible!

And we have both learned this lesson the hard way… many times. No movie is ever as fantastic as the world we build inside our imagination.

And sadly… the world loses a little something after we watch a less-than-perfect movie.

It is as if something precious has been taken from the vision we have in our mind. It’s a little less… real… to us, than it was before.

I DO NOT want that for this series!

I pray, fervently, that the series WILL be made into a movie – and when it is, I will encourage a lot of people to go and watch it… especially anyone who needs God in their life!

“Darkness is a tricky thing. Especially when it cloaks itself in light.” – K.E. GanshertTweet this!

GOODREADS | AMAZON | ITUNES | K.E. GANSHERT’S WEBSITE

BOOK or MOVIE – DO NOT MISS THIS SERIES!

 

And yes, I’m still laughing hysterically because there are probably a dozen traditional publishers still grinding their teeth in frustration that they missed the chance to make a TON of money off this series!

HA HA HA!

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©JCMorrows 2015

THE GATHERING | 3rd book in The Gifting Series by K. E. Ganshert (aka Katie Ganshert)

I am thrilled to have the final installment… but lamenting the fact that this AMAZING series is over! How will I go on…

How do I review this book without giving anything away…?

How can I go back and read it all over again – for the first time!

“How do I even begin to tell you what this book meant to me… what this series meant to me?”

K.E. Ganshert is an incredibly, amazingly, beautifully gifted author. She writes stories in a way that makes you feel as if you’re living them. She writes worlds as if there is no other. She writes characters in such a way that it feels as though you’re reading yourself – you slip into the character’s skin as easily as you slip into a pool of water. I fully expect to look up and see Rosie sitting across from me with those puppy-dog eyes, begging for the rest of my dinner.

But the best thing about this series… Unlike many YA dystopian, speculative and supernatural novels on the market today – it does not erase hope. It does not give us a bleak outlook of a world where we have to lose almost everything to win, or a world where only by stripping us down to almost nothing – can we survive.

The Gifting series GIVES us hope! It gives us hope for tomorrow… hope for today… hope for forever.

I do not recommend many of the YA series that are so popular today but I feel very strongly that this is a series EVERYONE should read!

 

And by the way… I receive a lot of books free in exchange for an honest review. Not this one – this was a book I purchased. Actually it was pre-ordered for me by my AWESOME mom, because I was so frantic to read it ASAP – which you can see… I have done!

And I had to share my opinion with you – my readers!

And also laugh hysterically because there are probably a dozen traditional publishers who are grinding their teeth in frustration that they missed the chance to make a TON of money off this series!

HA HA HA!

 

“How can I go back and read it all over again – for the first time!” – JC MorrowsTweet this!

 

Review © JCMorrows 2015

5star

GOODREADS | AMAZON | ITUNES | K.E. GANSHERT’S WEBSITE

USA TODAY ARTICLE

A bit more about The Gathering via Amazon:

Darkness is a tricky thing. Especially when it cloaks itself in light.

Luka isn’t dead. He’s not beyond saving. Tess knows because she saw him with her own eyes. After what she saw, she’s sure of one thing: If they don’t rescue him soon, Luka won’t be Luka anymore.

If only she could convince the other members of the hub. They’re not sure Tess saw what she claims she saw. And they’re preoccupied by the fact that their kind is being systematically eradicated. Answers lie in an ancient prophecy, one that revolves around a seventeen-year-old girl who never asked for any of this.

 

K.E. Ganshert’s final installment in The Gifting Series brings readers on an action-packed journey through loss, sacrifice, betrayal, and the impossible choice between what we want most and what we know is right.

 

Darkness is a tricky thing. Especially when it cloaks itself in light.Tweet this!

 

DO NOT MISS THIS SERIES!

 

 

The Looney Experiment by Luke Reynolds

Not what I was expecting… at… all.

And not a book my kiddos are interested in either unfortunately.

Not much of a surprise though – my daughter is much more interested in Princess stories and my son has such a high reading level, it’s difficult to find young adult books on a high enough level for him.

I do believe that many middle grade students will enjoy the story though. It highlights the type of things many kids deal with in their school career and amazingly enough, even I related (and I was in middle school… well more than a few years ago).

The irony is this; my son’s imagination is every bit as active as the main character’s… but he didn’t recognize it. Perhaps that’s normal for someone with an overactive imagination. It feels perfectly normal to them, so they don’t see where they’re different.

Of course, in Atticus’ case, his classmates have pointed out just how different he is so there’s no doubt in his mind. WHY it is acceptable to make someone feel like a freak when they’re clearly exceptional… I will NEVER understand. OK… OK… I won’t go off on that tangent now but you get the idea.

 

 

Here is a brief synopsis from Zondervan:

Atticus Hobart couldn’t feel lower. He’s in love with a girl who doesn’t know he exists, he is the class bully’s personal punching bag, and to top it all off, his dad has just left the family. Into this drama steps Mr. Looney, a 77-year-old substitute English teacher with uncanny insight and a most unconventional approach to teaching. But Atticus soon discovers there’s more to Mr. Looney’s methods than he’d first thought. And as Atticus begins to unlock the truths within his own name, he finds that his hyper-imagination can help him forge his own voice, and maybe—just maybe—discover that the power to face his problems was inside him all along.

In the meantime, you can click the links below to find more info about this book:

GOODREADS   ZONDERVAN   LUKE’S BLOG

AMAZON   BARNES & NOBLE   CHRISTIANBOOK

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.