Category Archives: Period Literature

Book Reviews
May 30, 2014 posted by Emma

Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen

Scarlet (Scarlet, #1)Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance. 

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.


The first thing that you need to know is that I’m obsessed with the story of Robin Hood. I’ve always loved any Robin Hood movie (but especially the Disney version), have read tons of books about him, and I even lived in Nottingham, England for 4 months (with plenty of hiking through Sherwood Forest). So obviously when I heard about Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen, I was over the moon. A Robin Hood retelling told through the eyes of a girl thief pretending to be a boy? Yes, please!

Unfortunately, while I did enjoy a lot of aspects of this novel, it didn’t live up to my expectations.

My biggest problem was with the heroine, Scarlet (or Will Scarlet as she’s known). At times I was totally in love with her, cause she was feisty, kick-ass, and didn’t take any crap from anyone. But at the same time, there were some very real moments when I wanted to throat-punch her. She was really, really mouthy and a little obnoxious sometimes. Her temper was through the roof for like 90% of the book, and she’d get set off for literally the tiniest things. And here’s the thing! I love my heroines feisty and bold. BUT Scarlet crossed the line from blunt into plain old annoying.

As for the love triangle (yes, there’s a love triangle, folks) between Scarlet, Robin, and Little John, I just wasn’t buying it. First off, Robin Hood was not the same Robin Hood that I love. He was quiet and angsty, with very little of the sass that is expected from Robin Hood, and it was honestly not very attractive. And then Little John was straight up an asshole. He was basically always rude to Scarlet, but then about halfway through a switch seems to flip in his head and all of a sudden he decides he wants her. I wasn’t believing a word of it, especially since through most of it he’s this notorious womanizer.

Finally, Scarlet’s accent/dialect drove me CRAZY. She talked like a back-country hick (except English), with sentences like “He were mighty attractive to me.” That’s how the entire book is written. But oddly enough, nobody else seems to talk this way…they all speak in proper English. Which makes NO sense, because Scarlet of all people should speak properly due to what you find out about her character at the end.

All in all, I enjoyed parts of this book. I liked the unique take on the story of Robin Hood and I liked the way that the author’s storytelling was very quick and full of suspense. There was tons of action and I loved reading about it, even if I wasn’t a fan of the characters. Some people may really enjoy this series and want to check it out, but it wasn’t for me.

Pages: 292

Date Published: February 14, 2012

Publisher: Walker Childrens

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Blog Things
May 20, 2014 posted by Nichole

The Lovely and the Lost (The Dispossessed #2) by Page Morgan

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About the Book


Author: Page Morgan

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pub. Date: May 13, 2014

Pages: 368

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

For readers of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series comes the sequel to The Beautiful and the Cursed, The Lovely and the Lost finds the Waverly sisters in mortal danger and able to trust no one.

Ingrid and Gabby Waverly moved to France expecting a quiet reprieve from London gossip, but the truth they face in their new home has a sharper—and deadlier—sting.

Paris is plagued by an underworld of demons and gargoyles who all seem to want something from the Waverly girls. Saving Ingrid’s twin, Grayson, from the fallen angel Axia nearly killed them. And they’re still being hunted—only this time, demons aren’t their only predators.

Ingrid’s blood is special: it bestows the power to command gargoyles. It’s an ability no other human has, and in the wrong hands, it could be used to send her cursed guardian, Luc, and his fellow Dispossessed to extinction. There are those who will do anything to get Ingrid’s blood—and they see no value in human life.

The Alliance has vowed to protect the Waverlys, and a new gargoyle has been assigned to guard their abbey home alongside Luc. But no one can watch over Ingrid, Gabby, and Grayson all the time—which means the three must learn to fight for themselves.

Because darkness follows the Waverlys. And sometimes darkness comes in the form you trust the most.


My Review:

My heart…I just…I don’t….I can’t….How do I explain this book in words? And that ending? THAT ENDING?! Oh my goodness.

The Lovely and the Lost is the sequel to The Beautiful and the Cursed. It occurs fairly soon after the ending of the first book, with Ingrid and Gabby both training for the Alliance and honing powers. There are also some new characters and relationships introduced, such as Gabby and Ingrid’s father.

Page Morgan’s writing is so exceptionally well done. I honestly think that’s what makes this series so amazing. I say that because I’m really not the biggest fan of historical fiction. I often find it stuffy and obviously outdated, but Page Morgan brings life to every aspect of these books. More specifically, Morgan creates characters with such life and such passion that it’s almost impossible to not fall in love with them. Honestly, her characters are some of my all time favorite characters.

Of course I have to give a major shout out to my favorite couple of all time, Gabby and Nolan. Oh how they stole my heart all over again in this book! However, I do wish that they had just a few more scenes to themselves in this book. I felt a little robbed ]= HOPEFULLY they have more face time in the third book. AND THAT ENDING? YOU BETTER FIX THAT, PAGE!

And then there was Ingrid and Luc and Grayson and Chelle. Seriously, I could just talk about these relationships for hours. I’m so invested in all of these characters. It honestly just feels like my heart is breaking over and over and over again because I want everything to be perfect for them. All of the characters were pure perfection.

The reason that I docked The Lovely and the Lost a star was because there were some moments that were teetering on the edge of boring. Now, I’m not saying that this book was boring, because it wasn’t. However, there were some moments that I wished things would speed up a bit. I also can see why some people might have trouble getting into it. Personally, I’m not one of those people. I love this series.

What I loved about this book was that there were so many things that happened that I didn’t expect to happen. This book is definitely not predictable or cliché. There were several times that my mouth just dropped open and I stared wide eyed at the page in front of me. For example, there’s this one scene toward the end that I was like HOLY SHIT. ARE YOU SERIOUS. I didn’t see it coming AT ALL. There were also a couple things that happened in this book where I was like NOOOOOOO. Sad moments ]=

The ending of The Lovely and the Lost was absolutely heart breaking for more than one reason. I’m going to be strong and not give away anything but be prepared for your heart to break into several hundred itty bitty pieces. And then be prepared to mourn for days. And THEN be prepared to be absolutely devastated when you realize that you probably have to wait about another year for the third book. That’s about the sequence that it will happen.

If you haven’t read the Dispossessed series by Page Morgan, then you’re seriously missing out. DO SO. READ THIS SERIES. You won’t be disappointed!


Pages: 368

Publication Date: May 13th, 2014

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Rating: : ★★★★☆


About Page:

Page Morgan

I’m the author of The Beautiful & The Cursed, a young adult novel about two sisters who, on their mission to find their missing brother, discover a veiled world of gargoyles and demons in the city of Paris. I’m currently writing the second and third novels in this series, which saps most of my brainpower. I live in New England with my husband and our three children, along with our ancient dog and arrogant cat, quickly sap the rest of it. I accept virtual gifts of coffee, chocolate, and cupcakes.
Website  |  Blog | Facebook  | Twitter  | Pinterest Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

1 signed paperback of THE BEAUTIFUL & THE CURSED and a signed hardcover of THE LOVELY & THE LOST plus signed swag (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule


Week One

5/12/2014– Dark Faerie Tales– Guest Post

5/13/2014– Alice Marvels – Guest Post

5/14/2014– Lili’s Reflections– Review

5/15/2014– Book Swoon– Review

5/16/2014– Fiktshun– Interview Luc

Week Two

5/19/2014– Bookhounds YA– Review

5/20/2014– YaReads– Review

5/21/2014– Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Interview

5/22/2014– Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post-Nolan

5/23/2014– Refracted Light Reviews– Interview



Book Reviews
March 19, 2014 posted by Emma

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) – Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.


Hopefully I don’t jinx myself, but I’ve honestly had the best luck with books lately. And I’m so happy to say that The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski was no exception!

This book was pretty hyped up on Goodreads and I was concerned going into it that it wasn’t going to measure up. But I was so wrong! The Winner’s Curse is absolutely phenomenal…a gorgeous blend of lyrical writing, well-fleshed out characters, a detailed fantasy world, and the most beautiful romance.

I’m not even sure that I could pick a favorite aspect, honestly. One thing that I particularly enjoyed though was the world building. Sometimes in fantasy novels I have trouble navigating through the unfamiliar terms and complex societal structures, but this was definitely not the case with this book. Everything is pretty clear from the beginning and Ms. Rutkoski does a great job of easing the reader gently into the world. It’s more historical fantasy than anything, which will appeal to readers who struggle with high fantasy and magical elements. The structure of the society was very much similar to that of ancient Greece and Rome, with the more barbaric Romans (aka the Valorians, in this book) conquering the more culturally refined Greeks (the Herrani).  It was really fascinating and utterly captivating at times…I loved living in it along with the characters!

And as for the characters…oh, I have so much love! The main heroine, Kestrel, is really truly wonderful. As the daughter of the highest-ranking Valorian general, she’s expected to be strong, ruthless, and kickass. And she definitely is…just not necessarily physically. She’s a brilliant strategist, and I loved watching her best the arrogant men in this novel again and again. She’s also sympathetic, sweet, and a genuinely good person. Gahhh, I loved her!

The main love interest, Arin, is just as great. As a Herrani slave to the Valorians, he’s so angry and so bitter, and it’s absolutely heartbreaking to read about his story. He’s just as smart as Kestrel, and the two of them prove to be quite the match. Their slow-growing attraction is forbidden, of course, but that just makes it all the more delicious!

The only thing some people might dislike is that it’s told from split perspectives (Kestrel and Arin). However, I didn’t mind…in fact, I thought it added a lot to the understanding of the characters and the story, and I really loved being in both of their heads. 

All in all, this book is definitely worth it. Although the plot doesn’t pick up until about halfway through, there’s enough character development and interesting world-building to hold your interest. And then once it does pick up…oh boy, hold on! It’s a wild ride. On top of that, Ms. Rutkoski’s writing is so poetic and lyrical. It practically sweeps you along from page to page.

The Winner’s Curse is a must-read! Go pick up your copy ASAP!

Pages: 355

Publication Date: March 4, 2014

Publisher: Farrar Strous Giroux

Rating: ★★★★★



adult books
February 21, 2014 posted by Nichole

Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard

16239655A prince with a quest. A commoner with mysterious powers. And dragons that demand to be freed—at any cost.

Prince Corin has been chosen to free the dragons from their bondage to the Empire, but dragons aren’t big on directions. They have given him some of their power, but none of their knowledge. No one, not the dragons nor their riders, is even sure what keeps the dragons in the Empire’s control.

Tam, sensible daughter of a well-respected doctor, had no idea before she arrived in the capital that she is a Seer, gifted with visions. When the two run into each other (quite literally) in the library, sparks fly and Corin impulsively asks Tam to dinner. But it’s not all happily ever after. Never mind that the prince isn’t allowed to marry a commoner: war is coming to Caithen.

Torn between Corin’s quest to free the dragons and his duty to his country, the lovers must both figure out how to master their powers in order to save Caithen. With a little help from a village of secret wizards and a rogue dragonrider, they just might pull it off.


My Review:

Moth and Spark is a difficult book for me to review because I wasn’t all that interested in the book, but I was able to recognize how powerful the writing itself was. The first couple chapters were a bit confusing. There was a lot of world building going on, and it just took me awhile to catch up and figure out what was all going on and who was who. But even after I figured all of that out, I was just bored out of my mind. I never really felt the connection to the book or the characters that I wanted to. So it just fell a little flat for me.

I would have liked to see a little bit more of the dragons in Moth and Spark. For most of the book, especially during the first half, I felt like they were really lacking from the story. Since that was initially what made me want to read the book, I was a little disappointed. I wanted to see powerful, fire crazed dragons and battles and fights to the death. The book itself is a little more relaxed that that.

Another thing that bothered me in Moth and Spark was that it read more as a historical fiction than a high fantasy book. Not that I don’t enjoy reading historical fiction every now and then, but I would have preferred more fantasy aspects in this one. Maybe more magic, sorcerers and dragons would have made this one a little more entertaining for me.

On a more positive note, the relationship between Corin and Tam was absolutely adorable. I loved watching that relationship progress. My only complaint was that it took a little bit for that relationship to even start up. By that point, I was already bored and their relationship wasn’t enough to save the book.

I’m looking at Goodreads, and I see that this book has a bunch of 4 and 5 star reviews. And you know what? I totally understand that. The writing itself in Moth and Spark is amazing. This is a book that I could totally see as a movie. And a damn good movie at that. I’m talking Lord of the Rings here. And for that reason, I am not going to rate this book. I do not believe that it deserves a poor rating. Was it for me? No. But will this be someone’s favorite book? Absolutely.


This book is out in stores TODAY. Go check it out!

Pages: 384

Publication Date: February 20th 2014

Publisher: Viking Adult

Rating: N/A


Read below for an interview with Anne Leonard:

Moth and Spark is your debut novel. Why did you set out to write a fantasy in your first go around? Are there particular aspects to the genre that you find inherently fascinating?

Moth and Spark is my debut, but not my first book – there’s a large manuscript stack of others. I’ve always written fantasy. It started because that was what I loved to read as a kid, and it continued because I like making up worlds and because I’m interested in the issues of societal power and justice that fantasy can engage with. Why do leaders make the choices that they do? What gets wars started? Does power corrupt? What about family dynamics in royal families? The unpublished book whose writing preceded Moth and Spark had a character trying to overcome his father’s legacy as a tyrant, and that’s certainly a question I want to explore more.

You have, to put it simply, a lot of degrees—a BA, an MFA, a PhD, and a Law degree. How has your background in higher education informed your writing? Is there one degree that influenced the conception of Moth and Spark? 

None influenced the conception of Moth and Spark directly, but certainly my education played into my writing. My BA at St. John’s gave me a broad awareness of ideas and concepts about the world, both philosophical and scientific, and the lit Ph.D. built upon this with a narrower, deeper focus into how readers engage with stories. My MFA is in fiction, so I learned a lot of my craft there, and when I was revising Moth and Spark I kept remembering things I’d been told in workshops 20 years earlier. As for the law degree, one of the reasons I went to law school was that I realized my fantasy fiction was starting to have legal arguments about power and justice in it, and I decided that if that was what I was going to write, I should be paid accordingly. I started Moth and Spark the summer before law school, and then worked on it while in school and then in practice. I had to keep legal concepts from contaminating it (especially medieval property law). Reading cases is great for any writer, though, because they are stories of conflict and resolution laid bare.

Dragons play a large role in the book and, in many ways, have become a powerful symbol for the fantasy genre. What is it about dragons and other medieval creatures that appeal to you? 

Well, everybody seems to love dragons! Sentient flying beasts that can breathe fire – how cool is that? I think the thing about dragons is that they seem more possible than other mythical creatures, such as hippogriffs, because we had the dinosaurs. When you go into a natural history museum and look at a T. rex skeleton, it’s scary and impressive and amazing, and it just seems like if that could exists dragons should too. (I suppose this thinking could apply to unicorns, but horses are just so ordinary and dinosaurs are not.) Also, dragons are bigger and smarter and more powerful than humans, but they have their dragonish ways that makes them different from humans, and it’s fun to play around with those differences.

From the visceral descriptions of Caithen to The Firekeepers, Seers, and the other magical characters inhabiting this book, the world you’ve created in Moth and Spark is lush with detail and wonderfully imaginative. How did you begin creating this world?

The book basically began as a book just for me – I’d thrown in the towel on trying to get published for a while and had decided to go to law school so I could make some money writing something more interesting than web copy.  I realized I had this fantasy romance Cinderella-type story that had been trying so hard to get out that it was hijacking all my other fiction, so I should just write it. Therefore I went with a fairly traditional European style fantasy setting – the conventions were all part of the story. But I updated it to more or less the early 1800s, and then I pulled a lot of details from 19th century novels and other materials. Some stuff is based on Greek mythology and literature. Some is from my own observations. My hobby is photography, and I have an eye pretty well-trained to see details and notice patterns. I looked at pictures of things online when I wanted to describe something I didn’t know well, and I spent a fair amount of time on Wikipedia finding out about poisons and medicines and weaponry and horses and . . .  The Internet definitely helped my research.

There are various magical powers or items in Moth and Spark that the characters wield or use. If you had to choose one magical power or item to have at your disposal, what would it be? 

For good or for evil? (Laughs maniacally.) The ability to cast illusions would be pretty great, and of course I’d like to play with fire, but I think the thing that I would really want is the ability to use visions to see the past. I’m a person who is more inclined toward finding things out than manipulating the world, so seeing the past, even just in snatches, would be amazing. This use of visions is more implied than spelled out in the book, because the characters are learning about it too, but that’s the underlying magic that could be tapped and used.

Name one fantasy writer and one non-fantasy writer that have influenced your own writing.

One fantasy writer is J.R.R. Tolkien, but not for the reasons most people have. When I go back to reread the Lord of the Rings, what I really pay attention to is his use of detail – it’s very plain language but extremely vivid, and I consciously used it as a model in writing this book. My favorite sentence in the Trilogy is this one from Fellowship: “The sky spoke of rain to come; but the light was broadening quickly, and the red flowers of the beans began to glow against the wet green leaves.” It’s so simple and vivid at the same time, and not bloated with adjectives at all. Without a really well-grounded normal world, strange and exotic things tend to just be confusing.

One non-fantasy writer would have to be W.B. Yeats, especially his earlier, more mythic poetry. Again, he is fabulous with detail and language. When I get stuck on something I’m writing, I pull out my Yeats and read through and usually it loosens a block. (I find that poetry does that generally, but Yeats is my favorite.) And there are some specific poems of his that I used for inspiration while writing Moth and Spark; one (“Byzantium”) is quoted at the beginning of the book.

Who would be in your dream book club?

This is actually a really tough question, because college and graduate school was like one long unending book club, and I’m not sure I want another one. But, dead people with whom it would be fun to talk books are E.B. White, Raymond Chandler, Mark Twain, George Eliot, and E. Nesbit.  Among the living let’s have A.S. Byatt, Stephen King, Toni Morrison, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Mary Doria Russell.

What are you working on now?

I don’t like to talk too much about anything I am currently writing, because there’s always the chance it will wither on the vine, but I am working on what is technically a sequel to Moth and Spark. Moth and Spark is a standalone, and lots of people seem thrilled by that (editors, are you listening?), and ideally this other book would be a standalone too, though chronologically about 6 months after the events of Moth and Spark. It’s a very different, darker story and I’m experimenting some with structure, so it’s not a carbon-copy by any means. After that I want to do an SF dystopia about drought, which I got the idea for in a California Water Law class. As a writer, I don’t want to keep telling the same story – I want to stretch and write as many different stories and worlds as I can.

Book Reviews
January 8, 2014 posted by Nichole

A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Legacy #1) – Alyxandra Harvey

16059442In 1814, three cousins-Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope-discover their unknown family lineage of witchcraft. Beyond the familiar manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, a dangerous, alluring new underworld visible only to those with power is now open to the cousins.
But unbeknownst to them, by claiming their power, the three cousins have inadvertently opened the gates to the Underworld.
Now the dead, ghouls, hellhounds-and the most terrifying of all: the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters-are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers.
And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies.
Can the cousins unravel the clues and mystery behind their heritage and power before their gifts are stripped away …or even worse, another witch is killed?


I read an early ARC of this book when it was still called Witching Season: Stormcaster. There may be changes and/or edits in the finished edition.


The first 100 pages of A Breath of Frost were absolutely amazing. I was instantly hooked to the 3 main characters, Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope and their magical ways. I thought that the beginning had a very similar feel to The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan, which is a HUGE compliment from me considering that that was one of my favorite books of the year.

I loved that A Breath of Frost was about witches. You don’t really see that a lot any more. I’m always dying to get my hands on a good witch book, so you can only imagine my excitement when this one came in the mail. For the most part, I really enjoyed the witchcraft in this book. However, I did think that it was a bit downplayed. I would have liked to see a little bit more magic, and I also would have liked the girls to have more power than they actually did.

I thought that A Breath of Frost had a few too many POV’s. It didn’t really give me a lot of time to connect with the characters and some of them honestly just confused me. I still don’t understand why Moira’s POV was even included in this book…nor did I understand why she was even a character. Moira’s character in the few parts that she actually appeared in seemed to take away from the story because it was so confusing why she was even there. She didn’t really fit in with the rest of the plot.

Another thing that was weird was that sometimes there would be large gaps between scenes or sometimes there would be an implied conversation that never appeared in the book and then all of a sudden a character who didn’t previously know something knew it. That happened quite a few times. Again, I read an early ARC of this book so that may not happen in the final printed edition.  But it was a little confusing at times to have things happen that I didn’t have a chance to read about.

There was a cute romance in this book between Emma and Cormac. It wasn’t quite as adorable as I wanted to be, but I liked how low key it was compared to the rest of the book. What I would have liked to see, though, is some side romances between some of the other characters. I feel that this was the type of book meant for a few different low key romances, and I was a little disappointed that I just had to settle for Emma and Cormac. There was a certain scene with Pen that made me thing a romance was about to happen for her…so maybe we will see that in the next book.

One of my biggest complaints with A Breath of Frost was that halfway through it started to slide out of the YA genre and reach MG ground. That’s middle grade for those of you who don’t know. It got a little boring, really cheesy, and somewhat exaggerated. I think that YA historical witch books need to be geared more for older audiences, and I was a bit disappointed with the different turn of events. While I did enjoy this book, I feel that it’s something geared more for my 5th graders. They would absolutely love it.

On a more positive note, I loved how snarky and funny this book could be at times. I laughed out loud so many times, you don’t even know. I really enjoyed how Harvey’s personality shown through at certain times, and then the characters voices covered the rest of it. I like to read books that make me feel emotion. I laughed at this one. I got angry. It made me feel stuff.

Unfortunately, I had to skim the very last 100 pages of this book because it got way too boring, cheesy, and predictable. I will see that there were some shocking turns of events, and the book went in directions I didn’t foresee, but I was just a little bored. I really loved it at first, but it just seemed to go a little downhill after that. So, while I WILL be reading more from Harvey, I don’t think this was my all time favorite witch book. But I did enjoy it, and I would recommend it!


Pages: 496

Publication Date: January 7th, 2014

Publisher: Walker Childrens

Rating: : ★★★☆☆

Book Reviews
January 2, 2014 posted by Nichole

No Surrender Soldier – Christine Kohler

17925536A young man, an old soldier , and a terrible injustice. Should the punishment be death?

Growing up on Guam in 1972, fifteen-year-old Kiko is beset by worries: He’s never kissed a girl, and he thinks it’s possible he never will. The popular guys get all the attention, but the worst part is that Kiko has serious problems at home. His older brother is missing in Vietnam; his grandfather is losing it to dementia; he just learned that his mother was raped in World War II by a Japanese soldier. It all comes together when he discovers an old man, a Japanese soldier, hiding in the jungle behind his house. It’s not the same man who raped his mother, but, in his rage, Kiko cares only about protecting his family and avenging his mom – no matter what it takes. And so, a shy, peaceable boy begins to plan a murder. But how far will Kiko go to prove to himself that he’s a man ? Based on a historical incident, No Surrender Soldier is the story of a boy grappling with ancient questions of courage and manhood before he can move on.


No Surrender Soldier is a powerful read, but I have to admit that I was pretty bored throughout the whole thing. It reads as a historical nonfiction book. I don’t know if that was the ultimate plan, but blah. I felt like I was reading an assigned book for class. I could tell that the writing itself was strong, but I just need more adventure and connection to the characters than this book offered.

I really enjoyed that the main character was not your typical white character. It offered diversity and insight to a whole other culture. No Surrender Soldier is a book that I will be quick to recommend to all student age children to immerse themselves in other cultures/religions/mind frames. However, it is not a book that I would recommend to a huge YA lover. It’s more of an educational read.

The characters in No Surrender Soldier were also spot on. Everyone had their own individual voices and personalities. In books like this one, I often worry that the characters will just sort of blend in to each other. That wasn’t the case at all. As I said before, the writing was very strong. It just…..fell a little flat for me.

Overall, I did enjoy reading this one, but I think this is a genre that I will be staying far away from. No Surrender Soldier is a book that I would recommend teachers and parents supply to their students/children, but it’s not a book I would offer up to the YA community.


Pages: 208

Publication Date: January 1st, 2014

Publisher: Merit Press

Rating: : ★★★☆☆

adult books
December 28, 2013 posted by Nichole

The Winter Witch – Paula Brackston

15702859Fledgling witch Morgana must defend her love, her home, and her life in this enthralling tale perfect for fans of Discovery of Witches

In her small Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana. She has never spoken, and her silence as well as the magic she can’t quite control make her a mystery. Concerned for her safety, her mother quickly arranges a marriage with Cai Bevan, the widower from the far hills who knows nothing of the rumours that swirl around her. After their wedding, Morgana is heartbroken at leaving, but she soon falls in love with Cai’s farm and the rugged mountains that surround it, while slowly Cai himself begins to win her heart. It’s not long, however, before her strangeness begins to be remarked upon in her new village. A dark force is at work there—a person who will stop at nothing to turn the townspeople against Morgana, even at the expense of those closest to her. Forced to defend her home, her love, and herself from all comers, Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything.

Paula Brackston’s debut novel, The Witch’s Daughter, was the little book that could—with a captivating story, remarkable heroine, and eye-catching package, it has now netted over 40,000 copies in all formats. Now Paula returns with The Winter Witch, another enchanting tale of love and magic, featuring her signature blend of gorgeous writing, a fabulous and intriguing historical backdrop, and a headstrong and relatable heroine readers will cheer for.


First things first, I want to talk about that cover. Is that not gorgeous? It looks even better when you actually have the paperback in your hand. I could see myself buying this book just for the cover. I’m such a cover whore…and oh my goodness…that one is beautiful!

The Winter Witch is not a YA book. It’s more of an adult/paranormal/historical that leans more toward historical fiction. This is not a book for people who like fast paced books or huge paranormal aspects in their books. It’s the kind of book that calls for a specific type of reader. The type of reader who loves historical fiction, sweet romances, and taking their time with a book. The Winter Witch isn’t the sort of book that you can just plow through. At least not for me. If you like a lot of action going on in your books, then this one probably isn’t for you. However, fans of classics and historical fiction are going to adore this book.

This is a little bit different of a review for me, because I’m not going to rate the book. I don’t think that that’s really fair with this one, because it’s not really my type of read. However, I can appreciate and acknowledge that Paula Brackston’s writing style is gorgeous and well executed. There was really nothing wrong with the book itself. I just don’t overly love historical fiction, and I was a little bored. I was hoping for more witchcraft and more paranormal aspects to the book. I didn’t quite get that. This one was a little more low key and soft. So again, that’s not quite for me. BUT there are going to be lots of people who adore this book.

I do have to address the one major complaint that I had with The Winter Witch. There were some big chapters, BIG paragraphs, and lots of description paragraphs with very little communication between the characters. That isn’t a new or a bad thing. There are several books like that, especially in the adult historical genre. Personally, I hate reading books like that. I need smaller paragraphs, stopping points, and lots of communication to keep myself engaged. I kind of felt that The Winter Witched droned on and on in several areas. Some people are going to like it…others won’t.

A couple other complaints were that some of the names and places were very difficult for me to pronounce. The only time I find that acceptable is with high fantasy. In any other genres it bugs the crap out of me. Also, I wasn’t the biggest fan of how Morgana didn’t say one single word until the very last page of the book. That was just a little too much for me. I was hoping that that would have been solved somewhere in the middle of the book.

In a way, The Winter Witch reminded me a lot of Pride and Prejudice. I’m not talking about the book, I’m more so referring to the movie with Keira Knightly. While they were different storylines, they had a very similar feel that I found to be engaging. As the biggest P&P movie fan, I can honestly say that The Winter Witch would make an amazing movie. While the book itself wasn’t so much for me, I think that I would fall head over heels in love with it if it was a movie. Fingers crossed!

One thing that is really going to draw in readers is the romance between Morgana and Cai. I thought that they were absolutely beautiful. I love myself a good romance. I truly think that this one is going to highly appeal to readers!

This really was a unique review to write. Normally when I get bored or what not, I usually just DNF if it and write a little bit about it. With this one, though, I feel like there’s a lot to say about it. My number one reason is probably because I feel that this really is a spectacular book! I know that there are going to be hugeeee fans! This one really just comes down to preference. Some people are going to love it and others aren’t. And that happens with every genre. But one thing is fore sure: Paula Brackston is one damn good writer.


This book is now out in stores. Go buy your copy today!


Pages: 340

Publication Date: January 29th, 2013

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Rating: N/A