The Season

The Season

by Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer

**** (4 out of 5)

Season

Amazon | Goodreads

Disclaimer: The above Amazon Link is an affiliate link. If you purchase any books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

The Season is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice.  That means that I am completely biased toward liking this book!  Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book, and I have a soft spot for retellings, even if they aren’t actually that good.

The Good

I love the “Elizabeth” of this story.  Her name is Megan and she has all the components needed to be a classic Elizabeth.  She always has the best intentions, and is fiercely loyal, but she is blinded and manipulated by her prejudices.  Plus she is extremely athletic.  She plays soccer for a D1 college and this makes up a huge part of her life.  Its what sets her apart from the other Debutantes.  As an athlete myself, I loved this take on the character!

Another awesome character is Ann Foster, Megan’s debutante mentor.  I love her no BS attitude.  At first you think she is going to be awful, but she grows on you.  And she calls it like it is.  When Megan tries to do the right thing but fails, Ann tells her what she did wrong and how she did it wrong.  But she also tells her what she should have done instead.  She doesn’t sugar coat it.  I am not exactly sure which Pride and Prejudice character she was supposed to be, but she was one of my favorites in this story!

The Bad

Megan’s “best friend” is one of her fellow soccer players named Cat, but she really didn’t serve any purpose in the story.  I didn’t mind having her in there, but they had a huge random fight that made no sense.  And the resolution was quick and hurriedly stuck in there.  Plus Megan didn’t learn anything from the fight.  Some of the early comedic scenes with Cat were fine, but the other scenes seemed incomplete and random.  They didn’t help the story and were just odd.  Maybe the author’s were trying to make her into Kitty? She didn’t seem anything like Kitty other than her name was Cat, and none of the other characters has names similar to their original counterparts?

I really liked the idea of an all-star athlete debutante, but it wasn’t written right.  Her school/sports/debut schedule wouldn’t have worked.  The soccer scenes were thrown in randomly and kind of glossed over.  It was like the authors wanted to make Megan well rounded but didn’t want to take the time to actually write about all the aspects that made her well rounded.  The soccer scenes had a lot of potential, but they just fell short.

The Ugly

Not only were the soccer parts not utilized to their full potential, but they way her parents handled her soccer career really pissed me off.  First, her mom asked her to “take a season off” like it was no big deal.  I don’t know if you have ever played college sports, but you can’t just take a year off! It doesn’t work that way! Especially in a D1 school! And throughout the book her mom kept going on about how much she will learn from being a debutante, which is fine, but its not like there is nothing to learn from sports! You learn soooo much being an athlete, and none of it was shown in the book! Plus asking her to quit the team not only effects her but would also effect her team! (because of course she is the best player on the team) Second her dad claimed to be a huge fan and she has flashbacks of him helping her learn and makes him sound like this great soccer dad and fan, but he didn’t go to any of her games!  He seemed to brush off her soccer skills when it suited him.  It was weird!

I red-shirted my freshmen year of college (that means I practiced with the team but wasn’t eligible to play in games) and my parents still came to almost every one of my games! I had zero chance of actually playing and they still came to watch!! In High School my sister was in the school play and my parents went to every single showing.  They watched the same play 4 times and my sister didn’t have any lines! I know not all parents are this awesome and supportive, but the parents in the book were said to be awesome and supportive and you are supposed to think they are good parents, but I didn’t see it in any of their actions? And it really really pissed me off!

The Conclusion

So even though I was really pissed off about the soccer thing, I still gave the book 4 stars.  If you ignore that issue, it was a fun read and I really liked all the characters! So if you are looking for a fun Pride and Prejudice retelling then you will probably like this book! If you are looking for a good Pride and Prejudice sports story or a profoundly written story, then this is not for you!

Season2

Reading Stats

Guys! Guuuuuysss! Guess what I just found?!?!?! You can export your books from Goodreads into an excel file!!!!

I know that might not seem super exciting , but it means that I can easily use excel to come up with reading stats!!!!

I know, I’m a nerd, deal with it!

Basic Stats:

  • Books Read: 475
  • Pages Read: 137,331

I only started tracking books in Goodreads in late 2016.  I went back and added as many books as I could, but I am sure I am missing a lot.  Obviously these are only stats on the books I have entered into Goodreads.

Stats Based on Dates:

 

DatePubHow many books that I read that were published in each century

 

DateRead

How many books I read every year.  Note – I didn’t start keeping track until late 2016 so most books I don’t know when I read them.

 

Stats based on Publisher

 

Publisher2

How many books I have read that were published by each company.

 

Stats based on Ratings

 

Stars

Of the books I rated on goodreads, what rating I gave them.

 

Avg Rating

The Average goodread ratings of the books I have read.

 

Stats Based on Titles

 

Title

The words that appear most in the titles of the books I have read.  I didn’t count small words like “The” or “a”

 

Stats Based on Series

 

Series2

How many books I have read that were part of a series vs stand alone.

 

Location

Of the books that are in a series, how many were the first book in the series, or the second book in the series, etc.

 

That was fun! I love numbers ❤ Haha I was a math major after all.  Do you keep stats of the books you have read? What are your numbers like?

 

The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids

The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids

by Michael McClung

***** (5 out of 5)

Thief2

Before I get into my review I want to shout out to Sigil Independent.  Sigil Independent is a writer’s guild for self-published fantasy authors.  Right now they have 11 authors and all of them were finalists or semi-finalists in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO).  I learned about Sigil through a guest post on Bibliosanctum’s blog.  Go check it out!  Seriously, go read it! I am not going to try and re-cap it for you!

I commented on the post that I had never read a self-published book, but that I had read books from small publishers that were pretty atrocious when it came to spelling and grammar. (Trust me, if I can notice a grammar error, then its bad!) My point was supposed to be that just because someone has a publisher doesn’t mean their work is good!  I don’t know how well I articulated that, but I received an e-mail from M.D. Presley (the author of the guest post and one of the co-founders of Sigil) asking if he “could tempt [me] to the dark side of self-publishing with one of [their] books for review.” He said “It’s our hope we can burnish off some of that self-publishing stigma with one of our 40+ novels.”

Of course I agreed! I LOVE fantasy books.  Plus he was the first person to ever contact ME asking for a review!! I know he probably e-mailed most, if not all, of the people who commented, but I don’t care! He asked me to review a book!!! AND I got to pick the book!!

I chose The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids by Michael McClung (which I later learned was the inaugural winner of SPFBO) and I was not disappointed!

I HATE when a book is left “unfinished.” By that, I mean I hate it when an author just cuts the book off in a random spot and calls it a “cliffhanger.” It feels like their only goal is to get you to read the next book. This is not one of those books! This book is the perfect example of how a cliffhanger should be written!  Every loose end and plot point is closed.  You aren’t left wondering what happened to anybody.  Everything is completed.  But yet, you still know there is more to the story and you want to keep reading to find out what happens next!!  Its a subtle difference and I am not explaining it very well, but this book hits the nail on the head! I felt no frustration or annoyance with the ending and I can’t wait to read the next book! The ending was perfect!  Does that make sense? Do you feel this way about “unfinished” endings too?

Amra is an awesome protagonist.  She is strong and skillful and has made a name for herself in a male dominated society.  And, she didn’t have to use her looks or “feminine charm” to get there! Her looks are mentioned a few times and you get the impression she is not pretty, but grizzled and tough (at least that is what I am picturing) It was refreshing to have a book where there was almost no focus on looks.  You just got a basic description and that was it.  What the book did focus on was personality, and that actions spoke louder than words.

I liked the grey area that most of the book lived in.  Amra is a thief.  Her moral compass spins around a lot, but she is still a good person.  Even one of the bad guys isn’t really so bad.  (I mean he is pure evil, but he is not motivated by evilness, its something else which I can’t say)  Throughout the book you see a lot of the lines blurred and at times you can’t tell who is friend and who is foe.  And again it comes back to actions speak louder than words.  Some characters might claim they are evil and don’t care about anyone, but through their actions you can see that deep down they do care.

The only bad thing I have to say about this book is that some of the names were really weird, and I had trouble remembering who was who.  Its funny because just two days ago I answered a poll asking if you would rather read “Keyboard-smash fantasy names or all names that start with the same letter”  I picked Keyboard-smash fantasy names, and then completely coincidentally I started this book, later the same day.  The names in this book aren’t “keyboard-smash” bad, but there were a couple that I struggled with.

I loved this book! It was awesome and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!! (There are 4 books published right now, and according to Michael McClung’s Blog the 5th book is tentatively scheduled to be released in September!)

If you are even semi interested in this book then go buy it right now!!! It is only $0.99!! I don’t know how long this price will last! (though in the interest of full disclosure, I also don’t know if it will change either, that could be the set price?) Check it out:

Amazon | Goodreads

Michael McClung has a second series, The Skin Walker War, the second book just came out a week ago! The first book is also only $0.99.  So maybe check that one out too!

Amazon | Goodreads

One last note before I go! (Sorry I know this is a long post!) if you are wondering why I used Felicia Day gifs its because she is in the web series called The Guild and because Sigil is a guild, it just felt right. (shhhh it doesn’t have to make sense just deal with it)

 

 

The Hazel Wood – Guest Review

If you follow my blog regularly you may have noticed me talking about my friend Phil.  He is one of my best friends and one of three people that I know in real life that know about my blog.  Plus, he is the only person, outside of my blog, that I talk about books with on a regular basis! He was the one that told/asked me to read the Hazel Wood, so its only fair that he has to write a guest review! So without further ado, here is

Phil’s Review of The Hazel Wood

Hazel

To give some context, I really love dark fairy tales. I love the idea of taking sweet, pleasant stories that we typically tell to children, and turning them on their head with murder and mystery. It’s why I love the the show Grimm, the graphic novel series Fables and its spin off game, The Wolf among us. Its probably why I have such a soft spot for this book.

First, let me get out of the way what me and Brittany both agree on. The pacing is terrible! The beginning was way too slow and the ending way too fast. It felt as if the author was trying to hold back the intriguing mysteries of the story and forgot about a compelling beginning. The only argument I can make for the fast dizzying pace towards the end, would be that it was made to match the setting of the later half of the book. I also agree, to a lesser extent, with her point on how relationships play out in the book.

So why did I still love this book? It’s hard to fully describe without spoilers but I will try. To me (pacing aside) it was a hauntingly beautiful book. The love her mother had for her and all the trouble she went through for Alice made the stakes compelling. Alice’s growth and struggle to fight a possibly tragic destiny was the biggest draw for me. I personally hate the idea of fate or destiny. Like all the best dark fairy tales, The Hazel Wood has a great mix of beauty and tragedy.

I completely understand why some people didn’t like this book, but to me it hit a soft spot with the emotional punches it landed. Overall I have to give the book 4 stars. It would have been higher with a more compelling start and better pacing throughout.

The Hazel Wood

The Hazel Wood

by Melissa Albert

*** (3 out of 5)

Hazel

Amazon | Goodreads

Disclaimer: The above Amazon Link is an affiliate link. If you purchase any books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

Have you ever tried to fast forward something on the TV but accidentally pushed the button too many times and then it was going too fast that you couldn’t stop it in time?Thats what this book felt like.

It starts out really really slow.  Then it speeds up and starts to get exciting.  Then it goes too fast and just blurs through everything.  It would have been much better if the pace stayed the same throughout the whole book.

Dash2.gif

Before I started reading I was worried about it being an Alice and Wonderland re-telling.  When I was halfway through I couldn’t tell why it was considered a re-telling, but in the last half it makes more sense.  She even mentions Alice and Wonderland in the book.  But the story overall was still good.  I liked the premise of it.

I liked the characters a lot but I wish we would have gotten to know more about some of them.  There were so many side characters that seemed super interesting, but you never really learned their stories.   A lot of them are alluded to as being stories from the Hinterland, but you don’t get to know anything about them,  just bits and pieces and random allusions that make no sense.  It was super frustrating!

Finally I didn’t really like the ending.  The relationships didn’t turn out the way I hoped (I can’t say more without spoilers) and there were new characters introduced right at the end.  This goes back to my last point! I want to know everyone’s stories!! Even if it is just a brief history!

Overall I thought the book was just “Meh” but I know a lot of people loved it.  My friend Phil really liked it and he is actually the one that convinced me to read it.  I will try to get him to write a review! But he is a butt so he probably won’t 😉 Help me convince him to write a guest review!!

Have you read The Hazel Wood? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! And tell Phil he needs to write a review since he made me read it!!

Faleena Hopkins is trying to Cock Block the word “Cocky” in romance novels

As you may or may not have heard there is a huge debacle going on right now surrounding the word “Cocky.”

Basically, author Faleena Hopkins has copyrighted the word “Cocky” in romance novel titles, and she is trying to get everyone to change the title of their books if it contains the word “Cocky.”  She is using scare tactics and threatening legal action if they don’t.  If this sound ridiculous to you, I can assure you it is!*

* Disclaimer: I have absolutely no background in either writing a novel or legal stuff, so everything I am writing here I learned from googling the issue for 20 minutes.

I first became aware of this issue through the Facebook page Beware, book boyfriends alert!.  One of the Admin’s posted a link to the petition so you could help try and get the copyright reversed.

When googling the issue I found this great article by Kayleigh @ Pajiba.  You should go check it out, she gathered a ton of information and it was really helpful!  You should also think about signing the petition!

I am going to keep this post short because I am not including any interesting pictures or anything, but this whole thing really pisses me off! Why does she get to copyright a word?!?! And why does she get to bully authors, whose books came out BEFORE hers, into changing their titles?!?! That is seriously messed up!  Go read Kayleigh’s article.  Or look up #cockygate on twitter.  The nerve of this lady is baffling and she sounds pretty awful! Please consider signing the petition!  We need to stop this! It is a slippery slope, for all genres and I really hope she doesn’t get away with it!

Urg! This makes me angry! What do you think? Am I missing something?

 

A Pirate at Pembroke Blast Post

 

A Pirate at Pembroke by Danielle Thorne

Keeping company with a reputed pirate is one thing, but falling in love with him could ruin the eccentric Crestwood family for good…

Sophie Crestwood is never going to catch a husband, and she isn’t even sure she wants one. Her father is a gossip, her mother has her nose in a book, and little Jack has shamefully been dismissed from boarding school. Worst of all, a pirate moves next door into Pembroke Hall.

When Sophie’s sent to a matchmaking party at a neighboring estate, the pirate from Pembroke arrives and distracts everyone from the summer festivities. Unguarded, her feelings about the mysterious Captain Murdock bloom into a trusted friendship that Sophie fears may come to mean more than anyone could ever suspect.

Praise

There have been only a handful of times when a book truly blows me away. This is one of those times. It’s full of emotions from laughter to tears and all in between. There are heroes and villains. There’s mystery, humor, danger, and romance all contained within its pages. As I read, I became fully engaged with the characters. ~D. Pearson

This sweet romance will give you all the feels and keep you turning pages. Romance, mystery and a little humor made this an engaging and satisfying read. ~F. Brown

Excerpt
She imagined the dark silhouette would take the shape of a specter, perhaps with a sickle in its grip; instead, the man appeared to be a gentleman, although not an altogether cheerful looking one. Other than his hat, he was rather too brown and rumpled.
The horse snorted and turned its head to look. The rider studied her, too. Sophie pushed off the wall and stepped forward.
”You are from Leatherbury?” he assumed in a flat tone.
”Miss Crestwood of Leatherbury,” she informed him, trying to maintain her poise. Her attempt was foiled by an examining gaze with eyes so pale she could not tell their color. She couldn’t look at him without glancing away and back again.
”Then, Miss Crestwood of Leatherbury, I recommend you and your family reacquaint yourselves with the boundaries of your estate.”
Her mouth dropped open at the ill-mannered admonition. Sophie stared up at the horseman from beneath the brim of her bonnet, aware she was mussed and the hem of her skirt damp with morning dew. One of her ribbons, frayed at the end, fluttered up in her face, but she did not shoo it away. ”I am looking for my brother,” she said, trying to gather up enough dismay to feel slighted. ”I assure you I am within the boundaries of my home.”
The man gazed off into the distance behind her. ”I beg your pardon,” he said with a slight apologetic cough, ”but your boundaries are the low-lying stream several yards beyond the grove, to where I suspect I’ve just chased your brother from my orchard.”
“Please accept my apologies then.” Sophie kept her tone stiff.
She whirled away toward the stile to escape his censure, wondering why she did not debate with him that the wall had been the boundary for ages. Everyone knew it, even the cows. She was a Crestwood from Leatherbury, and she knew it. Who was he to tell her differently?
She pivoted back on her heel. ”And you are?” She inclined her head and raised her chin, just like Lady Mary did when she questioned some poor, culpable soul.
The man shifted in his saddle like he might slide off the horse, and the animal whinnied and stamped its feet. ”Captain Edward Murdock of St. Kitts, and still you are trespassing on my property.”

 

Author Danielle Thorne

Danielle Thorne is the author of a dozen books, including five-star classic romance and adventure in several genres. A graduate of BYU-Idaho, she has edited for both Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing and participated in writing organizations and contests over the years picking up awards and recognition for her work. When not researching or writing fiction, Danielle freelances as a historical non-fiction author for young adults from her home in Atlanta, Georgia. She loves to hear from romance readers through her website and appreciates feedback and reviews. Her next adventure, The Story of Queen Victoria 200 Years After Her Birth, is coming 2018 with Atlantic Publishing.

Website * Twitter * Instagram

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