Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog

17668473Author: Anne Blankman

Age: 13 and up

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

Released: 2014

Click here to read summary from Amazon.

Sequel: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke

First off, the cover is so perfect. Darling girl with a mysterious vibe!! My blood is rushing already with the anticipation…what is she running from??

I love reading books from other perspectives. In this book we read from the perspective of a young girl in Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. Many of her closest friends are Nazis. Of course, this changed through out the course of the novel as she began to realize life is not a simple as it seems. Secrets and hidden agendas lie all around her. She realizes her true friends and love can come from the most unlikely places.

Characters: It was interesting to read about Hitler from an admiring eye. Most definitely a change from normal. The main character is brave and darling. The Jewish reporter, who is the romantic figure, is adorable along with typical reporter gumption.

Why I want to read the sequel: Prisoner of Night and Fog happens before WWII. I want to know what happens during the war. Also, I need to see how the romance ends!

Content Advisory:

Language: 2/3 I honestly do not recall any, so if there was any…it was mild.

Sexual:  2 kissing perhaps. Girls argue about being loved by some psychopath.

Viloence: 4 May contain spoilers, highlight to read: Main character is beat-up badly by a supporting character who has problems. Early on in the book, Nazi boys beat-up a Jew. Lots of fights between political parties and gunfire.

Similar Books to enjoy: Code Name Verity and The Book Thief

Other Books by Author: Traitor Angels comes out May 2016.

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Science Ch. 4 Week 2 copy

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Review: Jackaby

20312462Author: William Ritter

Age: 12 and up

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Released: 2014

Click here to read summary from Amazon.

Jackaby does have a sequel I can’t wait to read called Beastly Bones.

It was the last phrase of the summary that grabbed my attention.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in a debut novel, the first in a series, brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock??? Yes please!! I loved seeing how the author combined these two ideas in old world America. It pulled from old tales such as screaming banshees and fairies too.

Characters:

Some of the British fans may be disappointed when they just read “old world America”, which is where our story takes place. Hold on British fans, the “companion” is a spunky British girl…Abigail Rook is very Clara Oswald-ish!

One of my favorite secondary characters in this novel, is the resident ghost of Jackaby’s eccentric home. She added a lot of wit and charm to the novel.

Plot:

The story line itself has a somewhat predictable villain, but overall very enjoyable. I loved seeing how Sherlock and Dr. Who quirks were combined to make a delightful read. I feel like adding the fantasy creatures made it different enough from the two TV shows to keep it interesting.

There is some slight romance between Abigail Rook and an understanding detective from the police force. I hope to see this play out in the sequel!

Content Advisory:

Language: 2 Not a lot in this book that I remember.

Sexual: 1 I don’t remember if there was a kiss, but there was a crush going on!

Violence: 3 Good guys fight bad guys!

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Review: Better Off Friends

Review of Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg from thegirlsinplaidskirts.comAuthor: Elizabeth Eulberg

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Released: February 25, 2014

Click here to read summary

Yes, hi, my name is JB and I have a new OTP, thank you very much.

So here’s the story behind how I became aquainted with Levi and Macallan. (You can skip this part if you want and scroll down for just the review. You’ll only hurt my feelings a little bit.)

Before Jules and I went to the North Texas Teen Book Festival, we both read lots of books by authors who were attending the festival. So I read books by Leigh Bardugo and A.G. Howard and Sarah Mlynowski while Jules read all these books. One of those books was Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg.

So Jules gets in my car (30 minutes late, mind you) and at some point once we were finally in an awake state of being (we had to meet at like, 5 so we could drive to Dallas and get to the festival on time), we began discussing the books we had read in preparation for the festival. And the reason Jules had shown up late that morning was because she overslept because she had stayed up all night reading Better Off Friends. She went on and on and on about it and how adorable it was and it was a clean read and I totally needed to read it.

Fast forward to the festival and Elizabeth Eulberg is in the first panel I go to. Now, at the time, I didn’t realize she was the author behind this fantastic book that Jules had been going on and on about. What I did know was that she was hilarious and I wanted to be her best friend. So I text Jules and told her she had to go to a panel that Elizabeth was in. And she did, and also decided that we should make Elizabeth our new bestie.

During the book signings, we pranced ourselves to our new BFF’s table (even though she was unaware of the fact that she was our new BFF—minor issue) and introduced ourselves even though we didn’t have any of her books. She gave us stickers and signed our bags and fangirled over Ally Carter with us. It wasn’t until after we had left her table that we put two and two together—this lady we’d fallen in love with was the author behind THE book. So we found her again and Jules told her how much she loved THE book while I stood there having no idea what was going on.

A week or so after the festival, I downloaded the ebook from my library and read it super fast. I was in love. So in love that I reread the book the next day. As far as I know, I have never done that before. A reread a week later? Yeah, I did that with The Selection. But the next day? That, my friends, is true love.

If you read my entire saga above, bless you. Now on to the actual review.

THE ACTUAL REVIEW

I’m a sucker for an adorable romance. We all know this already, but still.

Better Off Friends tells the story of how Levi and Macallan became best friends. And they’re the most adorable best friends ever. (Okay, second most adorable best friends ever, second only to us and our new BFF.) Their bantering is too cute and they are both obsessed with the British TV show Buggy and Floyd (I was so sad to find out it’s not a real show), and everyone thinks they’d make an adorable couple.  But, hey, they’re just friends.

I really think Macallan and Levi could be tossed into any situation and I’d read about it. Washing the car? Picking up stuff at Wal-Mart? I don’t care what they’re doing. They’re such a fun pair, and I love to read their dialog. Their banter makes the book.

The book takes place over several years, starting with the first time they met in 7th grade and telling the stories of their hardships and new experiences over the next few years. It’s fun to watch how their relationship grows and changes over time as they make new friends and drift away from old ones.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the interstitials. (I only know that word because it was on Elizabeth’s blog.) Between every chapter (which alternates POV between Macallan and Levi) is some banter as they reminisce on their relationship. (For an example of this, read the first page here.)

It’s adorable to see them looking back on old memories. Jules says she pictures them as old grandparents telling their grandkids the story of how they met.

If you’ve read any of my reviews for romance books, you know my big problem with them: the L word. And… this story has it. And… I’m okay with it. WHAT? I know, right? I think the reason it doesn’t bother me is because the story is told over a long period of time, and the reader can really see their love unfold, whether the two realize it or not. Now if their entire relationship were to take place over like, 2 weeks and then they were all I LOVE YOU, then I’d have a problem with it. But these two truly know each other and, I believe, truly love each other. (This is probably one of the few times I’m not going to hate on the use of the L word in a romance book, which is a big deal.)

Basically, you need to read this book. Especially if you love romances with fun characters and banter. Like, seriously. Go read this now. Five out of five stars!

Content Advisory:

Language: 2 I think there was one or two curse words. (For some reason, I didn’t take notes when I read this book, so I don’t have it marked!)

Sexual: 2 Some kissing, a few innuendos

Violence: 2 *minor spoiler alert* She punches a guy because he makes fun of her mentally retarded uncle. (In my opinion, the guy totally deserved it.)

>>>If you like fun couples with fantastic banter, you might also like

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West (read our review)

>>>Other books by this author

Prom and Prejudice

The Lonely Hearts Club

Take a Bow

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Review: I Love Him, I Love Him Not

23129506Author: Ella Martin

Age: YA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Released: September 29, 2015

Click here to read summary.

This is the second book in the Westgate Prep series. For the release of the first book, we held a super fun Westgate Spirit Week! Check out those posts here.

Review:

I’m still binging YA contemporary romance books like there’s no tomorrow, so I was super excited when Ella Martin emailed us an e-ARC of the newest Westgate Prep book! I had included it in my Top Ten Sequels I Want to Read, so I couldn’t help but read it immediately!

Here’s some things I love about Ella Martin’s books:

  1. They are CLEAN! Oh, how we love clean reads! The Westgate Prep series is published by Clean Reads (previously Astraea Press), and they have strict guidelines that authors must meet. This means there is no cursing and no sex. (I don’t know the guideline specifics, but Ella mentioned that they are fairly strict.)
  2. They are ADORABLE! All the warm fuzzies, all the cute boys, all the adorable romances that make you want to squee. (I will elaborate on this later.)
  3. They are RELATABLE! One of my favorite things about both Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? (book 1) and I Love Him, I Love Him Not is that there are some very serious, yet very real and relatable situations.

So onto why I loved I Love Him, I Love Him Not!

The “very real, very serious, relatable” issue in this book is the fact that Talia’s mom gets remarried! As a daughter of divorced parents, I feel like this is an issue that a lot of kids deal with, and Ella makes it incredibly realistic. It’s hard when someone new pops into your life and you aren’t sure if you want them to be a part of it. That’s how Talia feels about her mom’s new husband as she struggles with a new father-figure in her life.

Then, we have the adorable-ness. It was incredibly obvious to me by page five that Jake liked Talia because he programmed her phone to play “I Want You to Want Me” when he called. Isn’t that so cute? And aren’t teenage girls so oblivious? (The answer to both is “yes”, and I am entirely guilty of that last one.) Jake is a musician, and I’m a sucker for a cute guitarist, so I found myself all smiley when he was around.

Another thing I love about this series is how the characters appear in each others’ books. We met Talia in WTRPCPSU, but we really get to know her in ILHILHN since we’re seeing things from her perspective. She’s such a spunky, fun character. It’s really fun to see Bianca (the narrator of book one) from Talia’s view, and see how her story pans out after WTRPCPSU.

I Love Him, I Love Him Not has a fantastic cast of characters, an adorable romance story, and some twists and turns that hit me out of nowhere. If you’re a fan of cute romances, this is a must-read! Five out of five stars!

Content Advisory:

Language: 0 None!

Sexual: 2 Nothing more than basic kissing, but there are a few comments such as “What do you think would happen if a roach had sex with a lobster?” (All of these comments came from a stupid teenage boy, so.)

>>> OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR<<<

Will The Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up

>>>SIMILAR BOOKS<<<

If you’re in the mood for some adorable romance books, check out our Ultimate Guide to the Cutest YA Love Stories.

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Summer Reading recap

So you may remember that summer reading list I posted a few weeks ago… Well I’ve been working on it.  However it’s been a little harder than I thought.  I’ve been out of town a lot and I would put them on order.  They would get to the library, then I would run out of time before I would got back and I had to request them again!   And then I read Wish You Were Italian instead of Fool Me Twice.  They’re from the same collection so the covers are similar.  But WYWI was really good so I’m swapping it for FMT.

So here are the books I’ve gotten to so far!

(Click titles for links to goodreads summaries)

{CA = Content Advisory = Language, Sexual, Other}

My Faire Lady – Laura Wetterson

My Faire Lady coverCA: L- 3, S- 3, O-0

Overall Recommendation : 3

So the premise of the story is pretty cute and innocent, and you know it’s going to have it’s little adventures.  Rowena, aka Ro, is running from her broken heart, and lands in the welcoming arms of a Renaissance faire.  She’s looking for something to keep her hands busy and her mind off her cheating ex, and maybe a little fling thrown in for fun.  What she get is so much more than she expected or barganed for.

It’s hard to really get into the story and talk about it without spoiling the surprises!

There were a few loose ends that I would have liked to see tied, but the end wasn’t really the end, Wetterson left it open enough that this chapter of Ro’s life has enough closure, but the story keeps going.  Similarly, some of the characters I would have liked to see a little more of, but that’s just personal, IRL Ro wouldn’t have had much more interaction with them than what is written.

This book is a total bait-and-switch in the best way.  Up until about chapter 14 it was pretty much what, judging from the cover* and the premise, I thought it would be.  Cute, predictable, full of humor and charm.  And then along come chapter 15.  Oh my goodness you guys, things got real.  It was as if someone had turned the book on it’s end and shook all the feels all down to the bottom.  After setting everything up for the whole first portion of Ro’s summer, with about a week left of her time at the Faire, Wetterson brings it home, evoking all the feels, like not just the ones to do with the sweet guy, but the forgiveness ones and the friendship ones and the family ones, and yall.. I cried!!  Like, three times in the last 40 pages!

*I know we all say “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, but it’s like the guy we love to hate, it’s the rule we love to break.

Royally Lost – Angie Stanton

royally lost cover

CA: L- 3, S- 2, O-3

Overall Recommendation :2

All in all it’s pretty cute in an every girl’s fantasy kind of way. I mean who wouldn’t want to fall for a prince-in-hiding while on vacay?!?

About halfway through I was wishing he could have held onto his secret a little longer, that she could have fallen for him as an average guy.   Some of the situations were a bit cheesy and/or improbable, but adorable all the same.  Character-wise all the main players felt good interacted well with each other and the minor characters (which were just enough and well placed).

I’m rather a fan of the brother of the Becca (the MC), Darren.  They are comrades in rebellion, and although they constantly pick and tease, you can tell they actually care about each other.  After their mother’s death and being closed off by their father, they because each other’s solace and strength.

The relationship between Becca and Nikolai I feel developed nicely, not too fast, not boring, and without being too mushy. I really appreciated both of their personal sense of where their line is. There was kissing (of course) and spooning, and swimming, but nothing beyond that.  Both of them were very respectful of the other, and yes he’s a prince so he was trained that way, but he could have been “I’m free now, no boundaries!”

While I don’t recommend the scenario of swimming in your undies on a secluded beach, or really anywhere, a good point was made of the fact that her undies offered more coverage than her bikini would have.

As we may well suspect, there’s the problem of the ending, royal+commoner problem.  Stanton created really nice last chapter that is hopeful and happy. But I won’t give too much away 🙂

She is quite abrasive to her father and stepmother.  They patch things up in the end, but I don’t take kindly to disrespecting, and lying to, one’s parents.  And she did both often, and in very big ways.

Wish You Were Italian – Kristin Rae

Wish you were italian cover

CA: L- 1, S- 1, O-1

Overall Recommendation :3

Ah, tales of summer travel and romance, and how sometimes it’s better that things don’t go a planned.  Pippa started her summer trip to Italy headed to an elite art program, a journal with a list of challenges, and a heart full of wishes.  After ditching the art program (but keeping up the charade of being there) Pippa gets carried away, literally, by someone she wasn’t looking for, and puts her heart on the line for what she think she wants.  On the journey from unsure and haphazard, to still unsure but much more thoughtful of head and heart, Pippa finds fast friends, and that love and kindness are generously given in the ancient streets of Italy.

I was happy to see that the MC had an active hobby, photography, and that it actually was part of the story.  The fact that she lied to her parents ALL SUMMER was kind of a big deal, not a fan of that.  Because of that Pippa suffers some unfortunate consequences.

It’s full of adorable scenes, and a cute read, forgetting the totally unlikeliness of the entire story, but hey, a girl can dream!

Hope your summer is spectacular!

We’d love to have you join us in our Gallagher Girls Read-A-Thon!

Review: Since You’ve Been Gone

since you've been goneAuthor: Morgan Matson

Age: YA

Genre: Contemporary; Friendship-based; Contemporary Romance

Released: May 6, 2014

Click here to read summary

Friendship. Summer. Cute guys. Do I need to continue? I mean, don’t you already want to read this book?

Emily’s best friend Sloane disappears without a trace, leaving behind only a list of crazy things for Emily to do. Things like: Steal something, pick an apple at night, and… go skinny dipping. Thing is, Emily isn’t all that outgoing, and now she’s having to figure out who she is without Sloane by her side to encourage her to do these things. But if completing the list is the only way to find Sloane, Emily will muster up every ounce of courage she has.

Since You’ve Been Gone is a super adorable book and I love that it focuses on friendship. In some ways, Sloane reminds me of Jules—super confident in herself, fun style, master thrifter, and she sometimes disappears. But seriously, I can’t keep up with where Jules is most of the time. Texas? New York? London? Africa? All of those are possible answers. I can also see Jules breaking into her own house like Sloane. (In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s done it before.) So I immediately loved Sloane because of some of her similarities to my own best friend.

I also love Emily because I can relate to her. Not in the fact that she likes running (which I hate), but I understand what it’s like to feel uncomfortable being by myself when I’m used to having someone by my side. I’m a total introvert, so making myself talk to people is hard. However, if I have my husband or my best friend next to me, it boosts my confidence level and I can totally conquer the world (or at least the people in front of me). And that’s how Emily is. She’s gotten so used to Sloane taking charge and being there that she doesn’t really know how to be just Emily. Through the challenges that Sloane has given her, Emily learns who she is and meets new people along the way that help her realize she’s fun to be around, even if Sloane isn’t there.

“There were two types of people—they type who could talk to anyone and make friends with them, and they type who spent parties hiding and sitting against trees.”

There are lots of different types of relationships in this book: friendship, maybe a little more than friendship, siblings, marriages. Some good, some bad. Some being worked on, some failing miserably. It’s really real. Emily makes new friends, not necessarily forgetting Sloane, but making room in her heart for more people. She befriends a really cute boy. *insert smiley face* And he doesn’t like running. (I can totally relate!)

The details in Since You’ve Been Gone are always spot-on. I love the little things like how the sunroof in Emily’s car is missing, or the description of the sign at the apple orchard. I love how her little brother is basically a monkey who climbs everything, that her parents are eccentric playwriters. I love that Sloane always carries a disposable camera and the spot where she hides her special treasures. I love the flashbacks to Sloane and Emily’s friendship. These small things and small moments create an altogether beautiful book and story, sure to be enjoyed by anyone who loves a good friendship book.

“She was my heart, she was half of me, and nothing… was ever going to change that.”

Four out of five stars!

Content Advisory:

Language: 2 I counted one use of d and one of h

Sexual: 3 Some guy tries to feel her up; skinny dipping, and there are boys (nothing is described and no touchy-feely or anything); sleeping in a tent with a boy to “share a pillow” (nothing happens except for sleeping and eye-rolling) (the eye-rolling is mine)

Other:  drinking (at parties; she gets tipsy; she and Sloane drink wine at Sloane’s house and her parents don’t care)

>>> OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR <<<

morgan matson books

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Chance Summer

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

>>> OTHER GREAT SUMMER READS <<<

Young Adult summer reads

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones

Fool Me Twice by Mandy Hubbard

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Review: There You’ll Find Me

Review of There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones from thegirlsinplaidskirts.com; Christian YA book reviewAuthor: Jenny B. Jones

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Christian Romance, Contemporary Romance

Released: October 4, 2011

Click here to read summary.

There You’ll Find Me is a super sweet Christian YA book in which Finley goes to Ireland hoping to find a connection to her brother who was killed in Afghanistan. Finley is such a real character, struggling in not only her relationship with God but also in her relationships with those around her. She tries to find God in the same way her brother did, but eventually comes to terms with the fact that she will have to find Him in her own way.

Here’s the thing: I don’t like a lot of Christian books. I feel like so many of them are really blah with flat characters and religion is pushed like crazy. This book didn’t feel like that. The characters are awesome (I’ll expand further below), Finley has an interesting voice and is easy to connect to, and her relationship with God seems realistic. Finley feels like God abandoned her after her brother was killed in Afghanistan, so she takes her brother’s old journal and traces his steps to Ireland. That’s where he found God, so she hopes she will find Him again there as well. I feel like most of us have been at a point when we wonder where God is and why He’s not stepping in, stopping the horrible things that are happening to us, but that doesn’t mean we give up on Him completely. That’s what I love about Finley—she continues searching for Him and trusting that He is there, even if she can’t see Him and her world feels like it’s crashing down all around her.

As for the other, non-Finley characters: There is a really adorable famous Irish actor and I just really love him. He has his own problems to deal with, but keeps finding himself hanging around Finley, who wants nothing to do with him. (Don’t you just love that I-hate-you tension in a fictional relationship?) The two of them set out to explore the Ireland that Finley’s brother fell in love with.

I also want to give a shout-out to the secondary characters. Most of them are pretty awesome. I love the family that Finley stays with in Ireland, and also the old lady (I can’t remember her name at the moment, sorry) that she is assigned to spend time with as part of a community service project for school. It’s beautiful to see how all the characters’ stories are interwoven, and how they are all able to learn from those around them. Every single character makes their own mistakes, and some of them learn from them, while others don’t.

This book is about many things. Forgiveness. Love. Trust. There are a lot of deep, serious issues addressed while the overall tone of the book is pretty fun and adorable. I absolutely love the end, and I totally needed tissues for it.

Four out of five stars!

Content Advisory:

None! This book gets a star in our review archive for passing our content advisory guidelines!

>>> OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR<<<

Christian books by Jenny B. Jones

In Between (A Katie Parker Production, Book 1) (Currently free for Kindle!)

So Not Happening (The Charmed Life, Book 1)

Save the Date

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Review: Enchanted

EnchantedAuthor: Alethea Kontis

Age: YA

Genre: Fairy Re-tell

Released: May 2012

Click here to read summary from Goodreads.

Series: Woodcutter Sisters #1

You guys… this story… So spectacularly written.

You can read the blurb anywhere so I won’t say much,  this is the story of the youngest of the seven Woodcutter sisters, Sunday.  Yes, they are named for the days of the week, following the old rhyme about “Monday’s child is…” (it’s in the book).  Anyway, it’s a tale woven of many familiar stories, spiced with humor and family and kindness and love and sadness and Joy and Sorrow.

Having the sisters actually named by their days was mostly helpful in keeping them straight but i occasionally got Saturday and Sunday mixed up.  Each one of the array of characters, all of them delightfully complex, come with their merits and misgivings, and each is showcased and utilized with skill.  Only occasionally did it feel like there were 1 or 2 many people in the scene, but it was never distracting.

For the first few chapters I was a little annoyed by all the tales being mashed into one story.  Well, I say mashed, woven would be a better term.  Everything was well crafted, but there were just so many references, it almost felt silly.  However, once I got to the end I actually read the acknowledgements and about how putting all of those into a single story was an on-purpose challenge.  So that gave me a different view, so when you read it, don’t think she was just trying to rip off the classics.  The stories are actually very well pieced into a really lovely whole story.

When it comes to love stories I adore when it starts out with them being friends.  Relationships are stronger when built of mutual confidence and true appreciation of the other person and not just “You are beautiful and turn my brain to scrambled eggs… Let’s be in love and make babies!”  Sunday’s and Rumbold’s starts with sharing time and hearts and kindness, which of course grows, albeit quietly and softly, right in the squishy part of the feels.  Throughout the book, whenever they are together, it is so incredibly sweet and charming, and I love it so much.  I can see it it my head and it makes me so happy… *sigh*

Now, I am aware you can’t write a fairy tale without magic, but this one had just a little bit more than the glitter and fairy dust kind.  Some of the people being are referred to as fey or as having fey blood. The adjective fey is of Scottish origin meaning fated or doomed, but it is also as having the ability to see into the future (visionary), and marked by an otherworldly air. Here it is connected to having magic or a “fairy” in the bloodline, and those who are fey, or have fey blood in them (born or, um, otherwise), tap into the magic that comes with it. There was some, thought not a lot, of ‘hard magic’ (in this story: the use and teaching of runes, ceremonial bloodletting, and the use of taking lives to extend one’s own), it did, however, play a important part in the story line.  While things weren’t made out in detail (there is a “through the window” description of a ceremony scene), I’d rather not have any.  Because of this I would not recommend it for younger readers; magic is nice for stories, but it is not something to be trifled with.

Something that I appreciated that the Aunt/Godmother Joy said about Sunday’s magic is to be aware of the consequences and that everything you do affects the things around it.  This very much applies to real life.

Enchanted is the first book of four (possibly more to come) and I do think I would like to read the others, however I hope that the magic is a little less intimidating and the magnificent construction carries through.

Also, on a petty note, I want to talk about the cover…  With so many amazing dresses out there, what is she wearing?? It looks like she had a short dress and then they stuck a long petticoat underneath it.  I’m really confused because i can’t even tell if the black lace was actually on the dress or added digitally.   I’m much more into the dress on Saturday on the cover of the next book Hero (the grey dress where she’s sitting down, not the hooded one…).

In spite of the magic and swears, I find myself recommending this one to upper YA readers, because it is so well crafted and the love story is just so nice.  It both tugs on the feels and gives you the warm-n-fuzzies.

Following Enchanted is Heroand Dearest, and Trixter (The Trix Adventures #1)

Interested?  Find it here!

Content Advisory:

Language: 2 – A few well-deserved, and for the most part correctly used, D-s and someone get’s called a donkey (even thought that’s just really crass and quite rude).

Sexual: 0 – I saw another reader mention that allusions to sex were few and easily missed by younger readers, which I must be because I don’t remember any… 🙂

Other: 2 – Some use of “hard magic”

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Review: Developing the Leader Within You

Review of Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell from thegirlsinplaidskirts.comAuthor: John C. Maxwell

Age: Adult

Genre: Inspirational/Self-improvement

Click here to read summary

Rachel and I spend a week every summer volunteering at a kids’ camp/high school leadership training known as SALT (Student Action Leadership Team). (We blogged about it last year!) We’ve both been fortunate to be a part of it for several years and be used by God. SALT has pushed us beyond our comfort zone many times, causing us to grow and change. It’s an incredible experience every year, and we look forward to it every summer.

This year, our leader, Bro. Alan, asked us to read Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell in preparation for the leadership training. While I was grateful for the recommendation, I’m not a big fan of non-fiction. However, I’m trying to read more non-fic and self-improvement books (I hate the term “self-help”), so I did as he asked and read it.

First off, be warned. There are plenty of typos and grammatical errors in this book; however, it’s very well written. My highlighters got a lot of use! There are so many good quotes, and I’ll include some of my favorites below.

The style is interesting, because Maxwell uses a lot of stories to make his points. Sometimes, there will be a heading with a story, but no explanation about how to apply it to your life! Rachel and I discussed this and would like explanations, please! However, I know we’re probably supposed to reflect on the stories and try to figure out how they apply to our lives. But we were a bit rushed to read the book, so we’ve kind of been speed reading and not taking the proper time to reflect. (A reread is definitely in order!)

I’ve been able to use this book to pinpoint areas in my life where I could use some improvement, and I like Maxwell’s advice of trying to conquer one self-improvement project (or, as he says, self-discipline development) at a time. “The slow accumulation of disciplines will one day make a big difference.”

Perhaps you don’t view yourself as a leader and you think, “There’s no point in me reading that.” While not every point will apply to you, this book will convince you that you are a leader. Maxwell claims that leadership is influence, and “everyone is a leader because everyone influences someone.” So whether you think this book applies to you or not, it does, and I highly recommend you give it a shot.

Quotes:

The reason most major goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first.

Habits are not instincts. They are acquired reactions. They don’t just happen; they are caused.

The only problem you have is the one you allow to be a problem because of your wrong reaction to it.

A happy person is not a person with a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.

Begin to act the part of the person you would like to become.

The whole idea of motivation is a trap. Forget motivation. Just do it. Exercise, lose weight, test your blood sugar, or whatever. Do it without motivation. And then, guess what? After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it.

Success is learning from failure. Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. Failure only truly becomes failure when we do not learn from it.

Nothing would get done at all if a man waited until he could do something so well that no one could find fault with it.

When you do the things you ought to do when you ought to do them, the day will come when you will do the things you want to do when you want to do them.

Having it all doesn’t mean having it all at once.

Hours can be saved by making the best use of minutes.

Successful people are willing to do things unsuccessful people will not do.

Good character is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece—by thought, choice, courage, and determination. This will only be accomplished with a disciplined lifestyle.

Content Advisory:
None! It’s a clean read!

>>> SIMILAR BOOKS
If you like this review, you might also like Rachel’s review of Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley

>>> OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR
Today Matters: 12 daily practices to guarantee tomorrow’s success
Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently
Sometimes You Win–Sometimes You Learn: Life’s Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Review: Code Name Verity

code name verity

Title: Code Name Verity

Author: Elizabeth Wein

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Released: February 2012

Click here to read summary from Goodreads.

This is one of those books that I just don’t have the words to do it justice. I didn’t even want to read this book, because I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction. But Rachel and Jules made me. I finally read it when I felt left out after they walked off to fangirl without me. So I checked it out from the library.

Code Name Verity is one of the most beautiful friendship stories I’ve ever read. As Verity unfurls the story of how she and Maddie met, it’s impossible to not become absorbed. As they fight against the Nazis, these two best friends learn their strengths and balance out each other’s weaknesses. They experience the good during the bad. As Verity says, “It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”

The story isn’t always fast-paced. But it’s beautiful. And it sometimes is fast-paced and in those moments you’ll wish it weren’t. And in several moments you’ll cry. You’ll question your friendships and wonder if you are a good enough friend to those you love the most. You’ll probably admit that you aren’t, that no friendship of yours will ever compare to that of Verity and Maddie. But you’ll be inspired to be that good of a friend, because these two fierce girls will convict you.

You’ll want to hug your best friend close and tell her through your tears, “We are a sensational team.”

Content Advisory:

No official content advisory because I lost my notes, but there is quite a bit of cursing and some suggestive comments.

>>> OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR<<<

Rose Under Fire is the companion book to Code Name Verity

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.