Readers' Favorite

June 27, 2015

"Perfect for Disney Fans" ~ The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz

Isle of the Lost
Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that's been left to rot and forgotten by the world.

But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon's eye: the key to true darkness and the villains' only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it...who will it be?

Maleficent, Mistress of the Dark: As the self-proclaimed ruler of the isle, Maleficent has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil. She has little time for her subjects, who have still not mastered life without magic. Her only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost.

Mal: At sixteen, Maleficent's daughter is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes. And when she hears about the dragon's eye, Mal thinks this could be her chance to prove herself as the cruelest of them all.

Evie: Having been castle-schooled for years, Evil Queen's daughter, Evie, doesn't know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall. But she's a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal's little tricks.

Jay: As the son of Jafar, Jay is a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few. Jay and Mal have been frenemies forever and he's not about to miss out on the hunt for the dragon's eye.

Carlos: Cruella de Vil's son may not be bravest, but he's certainly clever. Carlos's inventions may be the missing piece in locating the dragon's eye and ending the banishment for good.

Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon's eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She'll just need a little help from her "friends." In their quest for the dragon's eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain't so bad.

"Great summer read for kids book club" - Tony

"Perfect setup, but I want more!" - Jessie Potts

"Love this book" - Heather

Buy The Isle of the Lost at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

June 26, 2015

Pam Ferderbar: Interview with Character Charlotte Nightingale (@Charlotte_Pam)

Feng Shui & Charlotte Nightingale
PF Charlotte, hi. It’s nice to see you again, and thanks for sitting down with me. Those are nice shoes, by the way. Jimmy Choo?

CN What is it with people and shoes? I don’t know what my shoes are, all I know is that my sister gave them to me and told me I should wear them to interviews. They could be…Carlos Santanas for all I know.

PF You know Santana has a line of shoes, right?
PF Charlotte?

CN Is there any way we might discuss something interesting?

PF I understand you visited your old friend Phyllis Schlotzky in prison. How did that go?

CN Her lawyer was just leaving when I got there. (whispering) Her prison jumpsuit was inside out. I think they worked out some sort of conjugal arrangement. She was very relaxed, which worked out nicely for me. She can be high strung.

PF You worked with Phyllis for a year. Did you ever imagine she’d do something like…

CN Honestly, I envisioned her doing a lot worse.

PF Worse than…

CN She nearly ran me over the day she went to the beauty supply store sale. I always wondered if that was intentional.

PF I spoke with your sister earlier. She tells me if it weren’t for bad luck you’d have no luck at…are you okay?

CN Can you ask the waiter for some extra napkins? The glass didn’t break, but my blouse is soaked. I’m sorry. You were asking me…?

PF Moving on. I understand that Mr. Kwan has been doing a little Feng Shui in your apartment. Want to elaborate on that?

CN It’s Kwan. Just Kwan. And I have no idea what he’s doing half the time. First he brings Chinese food I didn’t even order, and then after I’ve found the money to pay him I catch him moving stuff around in the living room. Who does that? Between you and me, I think he’s a little nuts.

PF I understand he’s quite handsome.

CN Is he? I never noticed. Then again I’m usually putting out some kind of…

PF Waiter! Fire extinguisher!

CN Geez, their candles are tippy here. Do you smell that?

PF It’ll grow back. It’s really only a couple of inches on the right side. I wanted to chat a little about your boyfriend, Frank.

CN His real name is Joey, but he likes to think of himself as a large-living, blue-eyed reincarnation of Frank Sinatra.

PF Is there any similarity between them?

CN Did Sinatra “borrow” his girlfriend’s rent money, or “sleep” with every “dancer” Hollywood or…

PF I’m getting the idea that things aren’t going well in the relationship.

CN What? No, everything’s fine. Just the way it always is.

PF I mentioned your sister before, and I was wondering...

CN Ooof.

PF What is that face?

CN I have allergies.

PF Mmmhmm. Your sister has recently become engaged to a physician. Have you met him?

CN He’s a plastic surgeon! In Beverly Hills yet! And the ring is the size of Rhode Island!

PF Wow, you’re really excited for her.

CN I was quoting my mother. If he’s anything like my sister he’s a selfcentered, superficial idiot. I’m supposed to go to my parent’s Friday night for a small family dinner to celebrate the engagement. He’ll be there. Doctor Dirk Belmont. Big whoop.

PF Who will you be wearing?

CN I don’t even know what that means.

PF Have you decided what you’ll wear to the engagement dinner?

CN The rod fell down in my closet a few days ago, so whatever I can yank out of the pile is what, or whom I will be wearing.

PF You’re a stickler for grammar.

CN Once I pay back my undergrad student loans I’m going for my master’s in library science. I love books. So, yes. I am a stickler for grammar.

PF Good luck with that, Charlotte. I think you’d make a great librarian.

CN It’s my dream job. What could go wrong?

Buy Feng Shui & Charlotte Nightingale at Amazon

About the Author

Pam Ferderbar was born and raised in Wisconsin, the only child of two loving but quirky parents who fostered her creativity by setting a place at the table for Pam’s imaginary friend and cooking “Dokka” his own food. After graduating Marquette University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, Pam worked at Ferderbar Studios, the family advertising photography business where she honed
her skills as a TV commercials director and was paid to play with imaginary friends called actors.
In 1994, Ferderbar moved to Los Angeles where she directed commercials for Microsoft, Wells Fargo Bank, Bally’s, ITT and others, and in her spare time wrote screenplays such as Bob Dylan Stole My Wife, for which she is currently seeking financing for a Wisconsin-based production. In 1998 she wrote the novella Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale, sparking a bidding war for the movie rights. New Line Cinema purchased the rights in a record-breaking $800,000 deal, and a few
months later all the executives on the project were fired and Pam’s movie was shelved. Classic #CharlotteMoment. As Charlotte would say, “It wasn’t my fault!”
After completing a novel based on the novella Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale, Pam returned to Wisconsin in 2013. Pam’s father Tom Ferderbar, a student of the great Ansel Adams and a master photographer himself, tutors Pam in the art of photography. Pam is working on a second Charlotte Nightingale novel and a companion book with reader’s “Charlotte moments” complimented with illustrations and Pam’s own photographs. Pam and her friend Dokka continue to play.
Pam is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America, and the Coalition for Photographic Arts/Milwaukee.
website  *  Twitter  *  Facebook  *  Instagram

The views, opinions, and beliefs expressed by guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

June 25, 2015

The Digital Library is an Avid Readers Best Friend

by Donna Huber

From time to time you may have heard me mention that I got a book from my digital library and I wanted to make sure everyone knew what I was talking about and check out this resource if your library subscribes to.

The Digital Library that my public library subscribes to is ran by OverDrive (I think there is another option out there, but I think OverDrive is the more popular one). It is a great resource for the avid reader like me who doesn't always have time to make it by the brick and mortar library. Also if you prefer to audio books or ebooks, then a Digital Library is the go to place.

The selection offered at your Digital Library is dependent on what your library has chosen. For example, I have access to ebooks and audio books, but my parents who are in a different regional library system only has ebooks in their Digital Library. There are even a few videos offered through my Digital Library.

To access the Digital Library, I just select my regional library system then use my library card and pin numbers to log in. And now I have thousands of ebooks and audio books at my finger tips any time of the day or night.

There are some limitations, just like there are at the regular library. There are limited quantities of each particular title so if someone has already checked out the title then you have to put a hold on it. I love though, that I can see what number I am in the line. Also there is a wishlist option so if you see a title that you are interested in, but you don't want to check it out right now then you add it to your wishlist so you will remember it next time.

I mostly listen to audio books as I have way too many review ebooks to read and it is the reason I got hooked on the digital library. I LOVE digital audio books, but I'm too cheap for an Audible subscription (I'm also a feast or famine audio book listener - I'll go through 5 or 6 titles and then not listen to one for months). It used to be that you could get ebooks in WMA or MP3 files from the digital library. That kind of sucked because there were way more WMA books than MP3 and I wanted MP3 so I could download them to my phone.

Now I'm in an office all by myself. The laptop provided from my job does not have a CD (or DVD) player in it nor can I download the OverDrive app to the laptop. I was feeling pretty bummed because my cell phone was getting really old and the battery would overheat from the continuous play. Well, guess what? They now offer Listen in Browser. WooHoo! (I noticed that the WMA format has disappeared too).

I love digital audio books over CDs because it is so much easier to find your place when you get distracted and have to go back. I hated when I would be listening in the car and be in the middle of the CD when I got home. It was difficult to find my place when I started it up again in the house. Or how about ending a CD in the car and then fumbling around (while driving!) trying to get the next CD?

OverDrive has also teamed up with Amazon to provide expanded ebook options to Kindle users. So you get even more ebooks than your library is subscribed to. There's a book club and there are "unlimited" editions available for checkout for the featured book. My only real complaint is that the search function isn't very good, nor are books categorized very well so it can be difficult looking for a book.

And all the books aren't just for adults. My Digital Library has a TON of ebooks and audio books for young readers. So if you can't read "just one more" book with your preschooler, then check out a digital audio book for him or her. I listened to a bunch of YA books

Seriously, if you are an avid reader who also wants to trim their book buying budget, then going to the Digital Library is for you. Call your library today (or go to their website) to find out if you have access to a Digital Library and if not, tell your librarians how much you would love to have one.

If you live in Georgia, here is the link to the Georgia Download Destination (ie "Digital Library):

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June 24, 2015

New Who versus Old Who (@RossMKitson)

by Ross M. Kitson

The new season of the long running sci-fi series Dr Who is on the near horizon and the stars of the show have embarked on a world tour to promote this, much in the manner of nerd-ish rock stars. The concept of a ‘Dr Who world tour’ still fascinates me, as having watched the show as a child in the 1970s I can’t conceive it has a following beyond niche in anywhere beyond the shores of the tiny isle of Britain.

Yet it has all changed for Dr Who--the geek credence that comes with multiple references in the Big Bang Theory is a sure indicator of this. Yet all is not well in the Bigger on the Inside than the Outside Blue Box world of New Who. Having just celebrated its 50th anniversary, the show took a bold step of bucking the modern trend for diminishing age of Doctor (presumably to avoid a teen-Who, with EMO-hair and Skater-Boy hoodie) and re-install a mature actor in the role.

(Peter Capaldi. Image: BBC)
Peter Capaldi is a wonderful actor, but even a diehard ‘Whovian’ (still not sure about that term) like myself is struggling with him. And my own reservations are amplified a thousand fold in the Judge, Jury and Exterminator realm of social media. It’s started to become a bit of a new-Who (Whovian, I suppose) and old-Who battle, with crusty forty-somethings sneering at the fan-girl/fan-boy love of good looking young Doctors, and reminiscing of the good old days when stories stretched over two months and monsters were 100% latex and 0% CGI.

Capaldi has been ham-strung by a few factors. He follows a particularly good run of the show, with Matt Smith’s doctor being rightly popular. Smith’s Doctor was handsome in a lumpy sort of way, clownish, witty, charming and eccentric. He had his rubbish stories, sure, but generally the scope and ambition of the stories and series arcs were excellent, if a little bogged down in ‘timey-wimey’ trickery. Capaldi’s stories have been weaker—the last season had a few stand out moments (Mummy on the Oreint Express; Flatline; Listen; and the two part season finale, for me)—but generally the quality of script is worse. The persona of the Doctor is trickier. I’m not averse to the grittier Doctor, after all it’s the fashion in everything from fantasy to super-hero series, but that seems to equate with a callousness that is totally out of keeping with the ethos of the character. The companion, Clara, is very watchable, but has tended to dominate the storylines even moreso than the Pond roadshow in the early Matt Smith stories. In short, the show is struggling to engage old fans and new.

(Alex Kingston and Matt Smith. Image: BBC)
Despite those points the key focus in social media is more over the age and appearance of the Doctor, and it is this which has divided New from Old. To a certain age group I’m certain Capaldi is pleasing to the eye—and any lack of this is compensated for by Jenna Coleman’s stunning looks—but he is no Smith or Tennant. The arrival of David Tennant signalled a definite change in the vibe of the show. Not only was he a versatile actor, and brought a mesmerising interpretation of the Doctor to our screens, he’s also a gangly love-god. Even my wife and her anaphylactic reactions to Sci-Fi looked up at the TV when Who was on over those years.  And with the charm and smile came the inevitable companion-crush story arcs. We started with the pouty Billie Piper, then the trendy feistiness of Freeman Agyeman. We started having obligatory sexy Doctor references through stories and a snog or two at some points in the series. And the same with Matt Smith and Amy Pond—with a love triangle thrown in for good measure!

What? I mean, what in Gallifrey’s moons happened? Dr Who was no stranger to younger Doctors—after all Peter Davison, the Fifth Doctor, was thirty when he took the role. Nor are the good looking companions a rarity—from Victoria Waterfield (Debora Watling) in Troughton’s day, through Jo Grant and Leela, all the way through to Peri (Nicola Bryant) and the sixth doctor. Yet in those halcyon days of ‘classic’ Dr Who there was a line of innocence that was never crossed. The Doctor was a character beyond such mushiness, an eccentric and cranky father figure who conveyed security and safety in the confines of his TARDIS. If, as a teenage fan of the show, you suggested to me that Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant would have a good snog in one of the TARDIS’s infinite rooms, then I’d have snorted and advised you to go watch Star Trek. The Doctor was vitreous, and moral, like a rebellious celestial vicar, and such nonsense was never even implied.

(Leela (Louise Jameson). Image: BBC)
To my mind the change came from two directions. Firstly what we expect out of modern shows has changed. Maybe the audience now expects a bit of romance, superimposing their own fantasies onto the characters in the show. Maybe we now feel it has to be addressed for a sense of ‘realism’, as oxymoronic as that sounds for a Sci-fi TV show. Indeed, it was such an elephant in the room in Capaldi’s debut episode that there was a whole line of dialogue about not being Clara’s boyfriend!

Secondly, it’s one of the things that happens when you let fans write the show. Now I’m not grumbling—after all, it was a fan-boy in the form of Russel T Davies that got the show back on the TV, and Stephen Moffatt that helped define the Tennant-Smith years so memorably. But fans don’t approach scripts without ideas and agendas that were undoubtedly formulated during their years of watching classic Dr Who ( I suspect from Troughton onwards). Moffatt’s love of complex story arcs is welcome in many ways—it adds a layer of intelligence to the scripts and narrative—but his desire to develop the Doctor as a more complex character with a certain sex appeal falls down in places for me. It’s a shame, as the evolving back story of the Time War and the allegory to real conflicts and war crimes is a brave and interesting direction.

(Tom Baker and Lala Ward. Image: BBC)
So I’m crossing my fingers that the patchy scripts of the Twelth Doctor’s first season will be a thing of the past, and that this new season will flourish without need for smooching in the TARDIS on the basis of better stories. Capaldi needs that chance to properly flourish, and show that a New Who doesn’t have to be a young Who.

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June 23, 2015

Review: In the Blood of the Greeks by Mary D. Brooks

by Donna Huber

In the Blood of the Greeks

April 16, 1941Thunder boomed overhead and across the valley as the night sky was lit up with exploding artillery shells in the hills surrounding the small farming town of Larissa, Greece. This once sleepy town was the scarred battlefield between the Allies who were defending the town and the oncoming juggernaut that was the German army.

The Review

When the author pitch In the Blood of the Greeks to me, she sent this description:

In the Blood of the Greeks is set against the backdrop of World War II. The novel begins in a most troublesome period of human history, where subjugated by the might of Nazi Germany, two women meet under extraordinary circumstances. This is the story of Eva Muller, the daughter of a German Major, in command of the occupying force in Larissa, Greece in 1942. Through the intervention of the village priest she meets Zoe Lambros, a young Greek woman with vengeance in her heart and a faith in God that has been shattered by the death of her family. Eva and Zoe must work together and overcome their hatred for each other while facing down their own demons. Hatred turns to friendship as they find common ground while helping Jews escape from the Nazis.

I love WWII novels, and very pleased to find one that took a different look a the era. I had not read about the Greek Resistance and thought this would an interesting read. She mentioned that it was a historical romance, and perhaps I should have inquired more why there was not a male character in the summary. In stead I thought maybe the romance was a minor plot and something that impacted the friendship between Eva and Zoe (historical romance is a bit more popular than plain historical fiction).

Imagine my surprise when I went to Amazon when I couldn't remember if it had been published yet and saw in caps LESBIAN LOVE STORY. I was about a third of the way through the novel at this point and my only thought was "Someone's going to be disappointed" and I sincerely hoped it wasn't me. I clearly state in my review policy that I don't read LGBT fiction (I don't mind there being a gay character, but I don't want it to be a major plot point nor do I care to read a romance).

So what did I think? I loved the story when it was focused on the Greek resistance and life in occupied Greece. I loved a number of characters - Father H, Henri, Eva and Zoe. I didn't care much when the story focused on the growing attraction between Zoe and Eva.

So who was disappointed? I think readers who are expecting a lesbian love story will be disappointed. I think there was better chemistry between Zoe and Henri than Zoe and Eva. There was something stilted about the "romantic" thoughts and interactions between the two woman.

I think it would have been better if Brooks had stuck with an adventure story about friendship and loyalty. I would continue to read the series should that be all it was, but no matter how much I care for the characters I just don't think I can continue with the story line.

In the Blood of the Greeks was well written aside for the romantic interaction of Zoe and Eva. It was an interesting story about the occupation and state of Greece in the 1940s. I would have liked for there to have been more about the war and occupation.

Buy In the Blood of the Greeks at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook and paperback (418 pages)
published: March 2015 by AUSXIP Publishing
ISBN13: 9780994294500
genres: historical romance
source: author
read: May/June 2015

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June 22, 2015

Review: Supernatural - Deniable by Hugh Gouws

by Claire Rees

Supernatural Deniable

Based on the popular tv series Supernatural, the story follows two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester as they travel across America completing their very rare job. They are both ‘Hunters’. They hunt and destroy all different types of supernatural creatures  and demons. This time they are off to Louisville to investigate the strange deaths of several creative people. However, Dean starts to exhibit the same symptoms that the people had before they died. Now there is a race against the clock to find out who or what is infecting him and destroy it before it destroys him. Sam calls on some of his other hunter friends, Caleb, Pastor Jim and Bobby and asks them for help researching what it could be. He also gets help from Cleo, the lady he came to Louisville to meet and a doctor at the local hospital who tries to help Dean with medical treatments. They find out that they are fighting against a dark muse who turns an average creative person into a master at their talent. However she also drains the life out of people.

I enjoy the tv show and that's why I bought this book from Amazon. I read the whole book in a day, it was really good. Hugh Gouws captures the characters personalities very good and I could imagine the actors saying and doing the things in the story and this made the book much more enjoyable. You don't have to have seen the tv show to read the book though. If you like reading about different supernatural creatures and those that hunt them then you will really enjoy these books.

Buy Supernatural: The Deviation at Amazon

Book info
available formats: ebook
published: May 2015
genres: fantasy, paranormal
source: purchased
read: June 2015

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

June 21, 2015

The Six #Readalong: Chapters 5 - 10 @KBHoyle_author

by Donna Huber

If you missed week 1 or week 2 discussions, click on the links.

A photo posted by Donna (@girl_who_reads) on

Some strange things start happening to Darcy in these chapters.

Chapter 5:Night

The kids have just returned from skipping rocks and, though Darcy had a good time, she is itching to get away from Sam.

I had forgotten that Sam and Lewis had siblings. I don't know if they make an appearance in later books.

What are you realizing you had forgotten about the series as you read along with me?

I find it as strange as Darcy that Mrs. Acres (Lewis's mom) doesn't speak to Darcy. Maybe they are just a quiet family.

Chapter 6: Tales and Trails

In this chapter we get a proper look around the camp. In a lot of ways the camp reminds me of the 4H camp I liked best: Rock Eagle.

I like that we get to see a little of the brother-sister love between Darcy and Roger. Darcy's been annoyed with him and he has done the typical kid brother embarrassment. In this chapter we get a glimpse of how much Roger loves her by wanting to hang out with her.

We learn of the legend of Eleanor Stevenson. Did you think it was just an urban legend at this point, or that there was more to the story?

Did you go to a camp that had a "legend"? At Rock Eagle there was a rock pile in the shape of an Eagle. It was built by Native Americans, but for what reason? No one really knows.

And the second strange occurrence appears in this chapter: the red squirrel that follows the girls.

Did you think Darcy was imagining things?

Chapter 7: Colin Mackaby

We meet the "evil villain" or at least that is how Sam and Amelia feel about Colin Mackaby.

But first we have Dean playing a little trick on the girls. I really the camaraderie between the group. Even in the short time we have known Sam, Amelia, Perry, Dean and Lewis you can tell that they are good friends, at camp at least. (I still wonder what they are like the rest of the year). I also like how Sam acknowledges that Dean, Perry, and Lewis are really the most likely trio to be friends.

And now we are officially introduced to Colin Mackaby. What are your first impressions?

I don't remember how I felt when I first read the series, but reading this time I couldn't help feeling sad for him. I got the impression he is sad and misunderstood. Knowing what happens later in the series reinforces this feeling.

Darcy looked around a little longingly. She didn't fell hungry for a snack and really just wanted to be alone with her thoughts for a while. She was feeling sort of "people exhausted" (more like "Sam exhausted:) and wished that they would go inside and leave her alone for a while. 
I think this is the passage that had me more fully connecting with Darcy. Up to this point I identified more with Sam, but in the above passage I knew exactly how Darcy felt. People assume I'm an extrovert, but truly I'm an introvert that can parade around as an extrovert.

Do you think Sam would have understood if Darcy had been honest with her about wanting to be alone?

Do you think it served Darcy right to come face to face with Colin Mackaby after she ditched Sam and Amelia?

Suddenly his face turned very serious. "You're trying to pretend that you don't feel it, too, but you do," he hissed at her.
 I had forgotten about this conversation. And knowing what I know now, some of Colin's actions that Sam and Amelia mention makes more sense. While Colin is mean about it, he does kind of answer a question I always had. Did the others know about the magic, but because they couldn't make sense of it just chalked it up to Cedar Cove being special? Or was it the presence of Darcy that "activated" the magic?

We have the third odd occurrence: the presence of a very large brown bear.

Chapter 8: In Trouble

Is Darcy really being chased by a bear? Or does she have an overactive imagination?

It is probably a good thing that the first person she ran into (literally) was Roger. The gang already think she's a little odd after feeling tingles on the beach. And while he doesn't believe her, he doesn't make fun of her. So much.

Fourth odd occurrence: the bear is now a deer.

Poor Darcy. She hasn't been at the camp a whole day and she is already in trouble. And in typically little brother fashion, Roger is enjoying it.

This incident cements the fact that the gang really are friends and not just people that hang out together at camp. Perry is upset with Darcy because of what she did to Sam and Amelia. And while Perry probably a little annoyed by Sam's crush, he doesn't want her hurt.

We have a bit of foreshadowing by learning that Eleanor Stevenson alsp saw a bear. Were you getting more curious about her?

Chapter 9: Gnomes?

Darcy seems to have an odd preoccupation with food (or maybe the author does). There have been many mentions of food already in the book - about her being a picky eater, with her being a slow eater. Just an observation.

It is never fun overhearing the people who you are suppose to be making friends with talking about you. But again it is nice to see them all rally around Sam and being hurt on her behalf, though she is more than willing to forgive and forget.

Chapter 10: Gnomes!

And now maybe the strangest thing that happens occurs. Though the rest of the gang aren't happy about accepting Darcy into the fold, Sam is still trying hard to befriend her. And for Darcy's credit, she's trying a bit more to be friendly.

Sam and Darcy head out to Gnome's Haven and things really start to get weird for Darcy.

What did you think about Gnome's Haven? How do you imagine it looks like? It is a graffitied rock or more like a display case? 

I knew going into this story that it was a bit like The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter. And a part of me was waiting for Darcy to push through the coats or for a Hagrid type character to show up and reveal a secret world. I couldn't wait to see how Hoyle introduced us to her fantasy world.

Did you see it the first time? I'm not sure I did. I think I was, like Darcy, distracted by these suddenly come to life Gnomes to realize she had crossed a barrier.

I don't remember the leather clad man, but I remember the creature. Do you remember who they are?

And that is where we stop this week. On the cusp of discovering the wonderful world created by Hoyle.

What were your favorite parts? Did you "see" the odd occurrences for what they are or just overlooked them?

Remember to enter the giveaway:

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Review: Darkhaven by A.F.E. Smith

by Elisabeth Scherer


Short Summary:

Ayla Nightshade, accused of a crime she didn’t commit, escapes prison the same night her father is murdered by a shapeshifter. Ayla is the only known shapeshifter left in Mirrorvale and needs to find a way to prove her innocence while avoiding being found and taken back to prison for life.

The Characters:

Ayla is a strong female lead character with determination and grit. Her brother, Myrren, seems to be the quiet, more introverted child while Ayla would be consider the wild child. They are raised by their father Florentyn who is cold, distant, and very much the force behind how both children behave. The two don’t measure up to Florentyn’s expectations of an heir (neither having the ability to change into a “pure” form shapeshifter). Florentyn parents and rules through fear and an iron fist.

Captain Travers is the head of the military in the story called the Helm. He is a leader whose head is bloated with his rank and uses his rank to fulfill his personal agenda. He’s a tricky character to describe. I will leave you to your own opinion should you read this book.

Tom “Breakblade” Caraway is a former member of the helm who dereliction of duty has landed him a drunk in the outermost circle of the city. He drinks to forget until his true character of loyalty and honor require him to face his past and help Lady Ayla clear her name. His character development is one that will have the readers cheering as he dusts himself off and manages to find new meaning in life.

Sister Serenna, Priestess of the Altar of the Flame, becomes the Watson to Myrren’s Sherlock Holmes. She struggles with her own desires and the oaths she has taken at the temple. She is smart and is a great addition to Myrren’s plot of the story.

What I thought of the book:

Darkhaven is a fast reading, page turner of a fantasy that sucks you in right from the beginning scenes.

The city is broken down into 7 rings with Darkhaven being the centermost. Ayla makes her way to the furthermost ring to lay low and winds up finding an unlikely ally to help her clear her name. The structure of the city is a feudal system of sorts that is hyper-organized and segregated. It gives a variety of backgrounds for the main characters to move through which I think helps keep the reader in the story’s world as well as obstacles for Ayla to get through both on her escape and during her personal investigation.

The book is interesting and filled with enough detail to submerge you into the world but not overwhelm you with description. The plot moves at a good pace and as the story unfolds I was semi-surprised at how things wrapped up. You might look at the back cover and think you know how it will all work out, but A.F.E. Smith pulls some creativity out of her imagination that makes this story set apart from other similar plotlines.

Would I read it again? Yes I would and I have already recommended it to add to my husband’s list of to read books if that tells you anything.

If you like discovering a new world filled with a fantasy species and humans that has the setting of a medieval type of city with plenty of action and well developed characters, then you might just like this book. But as Levar Burton says, You don’t have to take my word for you.

Buy Darkhaven at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook
published: July 2015 by Harper Voyager
genres: fantasy
source: Netgalley
read: July 2015

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