Book Review: Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Pirate Princess’s Review

DESCRIPTION: ”

Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s talents for storytelling and creating strong female characters take a fresh turn in this spirited and sophisticated fairy tale.

Benevolence is not your typical princess.
With her parents lost to assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia. Starved and miserable, locked in the castle’s highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts: mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle pantries, setting her hair on fire . . . But Ben’s private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat to her kingdom. Can Ben save the country and herself from foul tyranny?”

Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Graphia; Reprint edition (May 4, 2009)

RATING 4 STARS

Princess Ben is one wicked awesome princess.

This book is about Princess Benevolence, a girl who soon finds out she’s different from the rest of the royal family. That’s basically the main conflict. Ben is not like the rest of the royal family. She is part of the magical arts. This book takes place in Ancienne, a fantasy land.

The book has four parts. Part one, to me, went slow, even though they were explaining the fantasy world, it was still slow. Part two kept me interest and made me love Ben so much! Part 3: the whole thing was an adventure that I would go on again. 🙂 Part four had awesome laughs, good adventure, and some funny but interesting scenes. Altogether, the book was good enough for me to keep reading. 🙂

The ending, has to be my favorite part of the book, because of the laughs, scenes, adventure, and how much it made me smile. The beginning was slow, but it made me realize, READ 100 PAGES BEFORE YOU GIVE UP ON A BOOK. I was on, like, page 76 when it finally got interesting. SO KEEP READING IT WHEN YA’ GET IT.

The character Ben was amazing. She has natural talent that shows more toward the end of the book. Prince Florian, I usually always wanted to punch his face, that annoying nuisance of a prince. Hmph.

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I recommend to people who enjoy fantasy, magic, and princesses. I mostly recommend for woman and girls, teen girls especially. Girls, 9-15 might like this. If you want to read this to your 9-year-old, make sure they can handle blood, otherwise wait until they are older, just to be safe. If you’ve read The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, you’ll enjoy this book. Miri and Ben kick butt. 😉

Grab Princess Ben now on Amazon:

Book Review: The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms #3) by Cinda Williams Chima

The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms #3) by Cinda Williams Chima

Description: “Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he’s concerned, the princess’s family killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen.

Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it—he’s saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive—and even that might not be enough.”

Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (August 30, 2011)

5 STARS–YOU GOTTA READ THIS!

The last book that’s out! I need the forth!!!!!! NOW!

This book takes place all over at the beginning sense they’re traveling. I’ll try to name all the places best I can, Fells, Tamron, Arden, Delphi, Marisa Pines. That all I can remember, but I’m guessing that is all of the locations.

The main characters, Han Alister and Raisa anna’Marianna are back. Raisa’s main conflict(What I think it is because it’s a conflict all throughout the book) is: Whom can Raisa trust? That is basically the main main conflict all through the book.

I liked the beginning(About 20, maybe 30% in). I can’t tell you why because otherwise it’ll be a spoiler. I ♥ Han’s character and attitude. I was amazed him and Amon got along(Read book 2 to find out why). Cat was awesome with her amazing attitude. Raisa with her mouth, backbone, and arguments were cool.

I didn’t really have any trouble during it, but the locations I always get mixed up because there as many and I can’t really spell them to tell you them.

I was a fan of the ending for a couple of reasons. 1.) It wasn’t a HUGE cliffhanger, but it still was one(Thank you Cinda! I love cliffhangers, but if it’s too big, I go insane waiting for the book!!!). 2.) Raisa was in it. Hehe, I lie Raisa. 3.) IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D☺:D☺:D☺

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Series order: #1-Demon King, #2-Exiled Queen, #3-Gray Wolf Throne, #4-Crimson Crown

Recommended for readers who enjoyed Harry PotterEragon, and Artemis Fowl Series.  This series has the feel of epic fantasy, but it moves faster than Eragon.  The core of the series is magic.  Despite the title of the 1st book, there are no demons running around, well not at this point anyway.

Grab the Gray Wolf Throne now for under $10 – Kindle Edition!

Book Review: The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms #2) by Cinda Williams Chima

The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms, #2)
by Cinda Williams Chima

The Pirate Princess

Description: “You can’t always run from danger… Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret. Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden’s Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen. The Exiled Queen is an epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction. EXCERPT: Han slid his fingers inside his shirt and absently touched the serpent amulet that sizzled against the skin of his chest. Power flowed out of him and into the jinxpiece, relieving the magical pressure that had been building all day. It had become a habit, this drawing off of power that might otherwise pinwheel out of control. He needed to constantly reassure himself the amulet was still there. Han had become strangely attached to it since he’d stolen it from Micah Bayar. The magical pendant had once belonged to his ancestor, Alger Waterlow, known by most people as the Demon King. Meanwhile, the Lone Hunter amulet made for him by the Clan Matriarch Elena Demonai languished in his saddlebag. He should hate the Waterlow jinxpiece. He’d paid for it with Mam’s and Mari’s lives. Some said the amulet was a black magic piece—capable of naught but evil. But it was all he had to show for his nearly seventeen years, save Mari’s charred storybook and Mam’s gold locket. It was all that remained of a season of disaster.”

Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; 1 edition (September 28, 2010)

5 STARS-YOU GOTTA READ THIS!

I ♥ this book~!

Raisa/Rebecca and Han/Cuffs/Hunts Alone(This guy has too many names) are back in this book! Raisa has run away from the castle to go into hiding from the High Wizard. She is on a journey to Oden’s Ford, where she wants to enroll to a soldier school.
Han Alister(I’m only calling him that now) is on a journey to Oden’s Ford, but for a different reason. He is going to Mystwork House with Fire Dancer to train(I’m not telling you for what, hahaha!!!)

The book takes place in Tamron, Arden, Oden’s Ford, and, err, not sure of the rest. Sorry folks!

Again, there are two conflicts in this book, one for each main character. Raisa’s is; What is happening back in the Fells and should she go back? Han Alister’s is; What are the Bayar’s up to? Both plots are amazing(So are the characters). Raisa’s may sound a bit boring, but I actually found it interesting.

I liked Han and his story a lot. Raisa on her trip to the Ford was awesome too. 😉 Amon…Eh. He just…isn’t my favorite character int he book. I like everyone’s attitude though. Fiona…Is a creep.

In this book I didn’t find many(Try none) typos. I’m now reading the third book in the series(Hehe, I got it straight).

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Series order: #1-Demon King, #2-Exiled Queen, #3-Gray Wolf Throne, #4-Crimson Crown

Recommended for readers who enjoyed Harry Potter, Eragon, and Artemis Fowl Series.  This series has the feel of epic fantasy, but it moves faster than Eragon.  The core of the series is magic.  Despite the title of the 1st book, there are no demons running around, well not at this point anyway.

Grab it now!  Kindle edition is on sale for $6.99!

Book Review: Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare

bestselling teen reads, ya paranormal romance, ya historical fiction, ya books that rockClockwork Prince (Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare

Marie’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.”

Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1ST edition (December 6, 2011)

RATING 3–STARS A GOOD READ

Clockwork Prince is the second book in the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.  The story takes place in London, England in the mid 1800’s.  There were many elements that drew me to this series.  I enjoy historical fiction and it’s not a dominant theme in YA.  Tying the two together gives the reader a faster HF read, since YA typically moves at a faster pace than adult novels.  I’ll get more to the pacing later.  I enjoy paranormal, and really like books that cross the paranormal worlds and smash them together.  This was that kind of book.

The characters grew in Clockwork Prince.  Tessa, Jem, and Will are all growing and changing.  Tessa is becoming more sure of herself, even though she isn’t sure what she is. I wish there wasn’t a love triangle, but there is.  The triangle doesn’t seem forced, but I think it portrays Tessa as a weaker character.  I like reading about Jem and Will.  They are both opposites, but that plays off of them nicely.  It makes them seem real, which is awesome.  And Will is such a hot mess, who couldn’t love him?

Tessa is the main character, and she doesn’t know what type of creature she is.  As the novel progresses, she gets more clues as to her heritage, while becoming more bold as the plot unfolds.  The Institute is under attack, and another Shadowhunter is trying to take it from Charlotte.  The world itself it beautifully woven together.  There are demons, ghosts, vampires, nephilim, and more mythical creatures that live together under the noses of the human population.

The steampunk thread that runs through these books is also interesting and well done.  It doesn’t feel out of place or shoved in there.  The mechanisms are an integral part of the story-line.  In short, this makes the series a prime candidate as a paranormal smorgasbord of all-time favorite creatures with mass appeal.  I should have loved it.  I really, really wanted to…

But, there was a major flaw with the pacing of this book (and the previous book). I felt bipolar while I was reading it.  Some days I loved it, and others I hated it.  I finally figured out why. The pacing throughout this novel was erratic.  It felt like the story was stuck in second gear.  The book progressed that way through both novels, without a serious climax.  Don’t get me wrong – the book did climax a little bit, but for the size of this 500+ page book, and the depth of the story, well the climax fell short.  Then the story for the third book started.  I don’t have issues with that.  It creates cliffhangers and I love cliffhanger endings.  It’s just that the characters and the world were so awesome, but the story itself seemed lackluster in comparison, which was disappointing.

The other issue that pulled this down to three stars was the fact-checking.  There were three oopsie facts, back to back toward the end of the  book.  One sentence was a string of words that should have described a gown, but meant nothing.  They strung together words that were meant to sound technical, but they were the wrong words.  The sentences immediately following were about cameras with incorrect period info. It may not bother other people, but having several issues in a row jerked me out of the story.

Clockwork Prince is proceeded by Clockwork Angel.

three star books, ya books 3 stars

This book is recommended for YA Paranormal readers, historical fiction fans, and Cassandra Clare fans.  Younger readers should be aware that this novel has a graphic scene about war spoils that some may find upsetting.

Grab CLOCKWORK PRINCE on Amazon by clicking here.

Book Review: The 13th Prophecy (Demon Kissed #5) by H.M. Ward

demon kissed #5, paranormal romance, fallen angel book, best YA booksTHE 13th PROPHECY (Demon Kissed #5) by H.M. Ward

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “The time has come for Ivy to face her dark fate.

There are no other options—she must destroy Kreterus. Failure to destroy him will result in the annihilation of the world we know and Ivy being doomed to reside in the Underworld for eternity.”

Reading level: Ages 16 & up
Paperback: 362 pages
Publisher: Laree Bailey Press (March 5, 2011)
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/demonkissed

REVIEW: 5 STARS–NOT TO BE MISSED

This series started out as solid Young Adult reading. I devoured them alongside my daughter… But, with this concluding volume the series has really graduated into a full-fledged adult paranormal romance – and it’s stronger for it.

All along we’ve seen Ivy Taylor struggle with the reality of who she believes herself to be versus who she is fated to become. With this book, the underlying theme that has been alluded to all along becomes much clearer – life comes in shades of gray. Good and evil, right and wrong, aren’t always clear cut. That’s what made me appreciate this series so much for younger readers. Can a likable, lovable, relatable character really by damned? Can true love be deeper than mere swooning, and complicated by less admirable feelings? Does someone always have to win?

This was a really great, satisfying, conclusion that avoided the typical Disneyification that we expect in modern stories. And, that’s also why my twelve year old won’t be reading this last book for a while… The sexual tension in the past books is ratcheted way up and allowed to play out more than it has before. The relationships are more complex – and at times twisted – than a young kid could be expected to follow. And, the ending leaves readers feeling as though the author was true to the story and characters, even if it meant taking us all on a wild ride and a very dark roller coaster.

If you’re an adult reader who hasn’t picked up this series yet, the Ivy-Eric relationship alone will be enough to keep you turning pages.

THE 13th PROPHECY is the 5th and final book in the Ivy Taylor/ Demon Kissed story.  H.M. Ward has announced that Demon Kissed will continue under a new series name FALL OF THE GOLDEN VALEFAR, and follow Eric’s story.  Anticipated release is Summer 2012.  See author’s website for more information.

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*Recommended book club read.  Due to the nature of this series, it is an easy book to discuss, with many talking points.

I would also recommend this series for teen or adult paranormal romance readers, dark paranormal readers, vampire fans, and readers who enjoy lots of fast-paced action.

The 13th Prophecy is the fifth book in the bestselling Demon Kissed series by H.M. Ward.

Grab THE 13th PROPHECY (Demon Kissed #5) on Amazon by clicking here.

Related Reviews: Demon Kissed, Stone Prison

Book Review: Stone Prison (Twisted Tales #1) by H.M. Ward

macabre short story, dark fairy tale, hm ward, demon kissedStone Prison (Twisted Tales #1) by H.M. Ward

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “Bestselling author of the DEMON KISSED series presents TWISTED TALES.

The Stone Prison is a macabre tale told in the spirit of Grimm. An evil enchantress, a stone tower, and a girl whose fate hangs in the balance as the clock approaches midnight make for a bone-chilling fairy tale.

Recommended for ages 15 & older. This series may be too gruesome for younger Demon Kissed fans. STONE PRISON is a novella (a short novel) and is meant to be read in one sitting. The print edition is 78 pages or 12,285 words.”

REVIEW: 5 STARS–NOT TO BE MISSED!

I picked STONE PRISON up after finishing the author’s Demon Kissed series without really knowing what to expect… Short stories can be hit or miss, and here the author was starting from scratch with a new world and new characters – and it worked beautifully.

As a short story, I’m reluctant to give much away. The author does a lot within the 10,000 words she’s given us, and it seems silly to write just as many in order to say how much I enjoyed it. This is a fairy tale. Not in the spirit of Disney, but of Grimm. And that’s probably the best comparison, since I can’t think of any other contemporary writer doing anything similar. In Grimm’s Cinderella there’s bloodshed and self-mutilation before you get to the happily ever after. Ward is easily as dark and twisted. And the reader will take a perverse pleasure in exploring the twists and turns that lead into the darkness.

A must read, but not for the light of heart and not before bed. I’ll look forward to the next “Twisted Tale.”

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I recommend this book for people who enjoy Grimm’s fairy tales, Once Upon A Time (the TV show on ABC), older teens, and adults who enjoy a hauntingly good tale.

Grab STONE PRISON (Twisted Tales #1) by H.M. Ward on Amazon now for $2.99.  This short story also comes in paperback.

Related Reviews: DEMON KISSED

Book Review: Amaretto Flame (Eagleton Coven #1) by Sammie Spencer

sammie spencer, book review eagleton coven, witches book reviewAmaretto Flame (Eagleton Coven #1) by Sammie Spencer

Marie’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “When Olivia Landry screams, people die. No wonder she’s been shunned by humans her whole life. When Olivia makes a huge mistake, she’s banished for a summer to a human town; forced to live as one of them. She’s out for revenge when she discovers the humans are different than she imagined, especially the rugged, sexy guitarist, Jackson Vance.

Pretending to be human isn’t as hard as she thought it would be…until the witch hunters attack. Now Olivia must somehow protect herself, her family, and her new human friends. There’s a problem with that. When you go around screaming, people are bound to learn your secret. Can love really conquer anything?”

  • Ages: 15 & up
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208

RATING: 4 STARS – YOU GOTTA READ THIS!

AMARETTO FLAME was a pleasant surprise.  One of my favorite author’s loved it, so I thought I’d give it a try and I am so glad I did!

This novel doesn’t fit squarely into the YA genre, because the heroine is older–nearly 20 years old.  But she still has some of the lingering situations of childhood, such as, she is in ‘school.’  Olivia gets tossed out of school (her coven) and starts working at a bar.  Since this novel straddles the YA/ Adult line, I think it will appeal to both groups.

The premise of the story is about a witch who can kill with a scream.  There’s a lot more to it, but that alone was something I found interesting.  The story unfolds at a great pace (slower in the beginning and speeding until the climax), and the story is beautifully told.  The pacing was perfect.  I thought it was a great paranormal novel.

And the romance was just right.  Jackson was an awesome character, and I found myself wanting to read more to see who he really was.  Ms. Spencer doesn’t disappoint.  Witches isn’t a paranormal fav, but this book made it onto my fav’s list.

AMARETTO FLAME was the kind of rewarding read that makes you grin.  And getting a grin out of me, while reading, isn’t easy.

4 star book review

Don’t let the cheap price fool you.  AMARETTO FLAME is on sale for only $0.99, but it’s easily as good, if not better than many of the best sellers currently out there for $10.

Recommended for paranormal romance readers, YA readers, readers wanting something different, or something a little dark with a great guy.