Shadows of the Forest Book Review

32060797Author: Emma Michaels

Publisher: CHBB Publishing

Publishing Date: Nov. 5th, 2016

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 144

“Everyone is dying to live in the Shadows of the Forest.
They gave me three rules to follow in exchange for my brother’s life:
1. Do not enter the West Wing;
2. Do not go outside after darkness falls; and
3. There is only one exit; The Gates.

This is what happened when I broke them…”


I realize that’s not a lot to go on but doesn’t it sound intriguing?! Let me tell you a little about the story.
There are two main characters. Lily and Cole, twins, whom from the very beginning have it quite rough. After a terrible accident Lily wakes up in the hospital while her brother remains in a coma. Sounds pretty normal right, sad but normal? Wrong! This is not your average hospital. Cole’s coma is actually part of a pact he made to save his sister. A life for a life. Once Lily discovers this she is hell bent on getting her brother back.
Lily is determined to do what it takes to keep her brother from dying. Even if it means taking his place. She goes on an incredible journey through the forest, which is basically the spirit world, with the help of those who run the hospital.

My Thoughts:

This is another one of those “almost had it,” kind of books for me. The potential was so palpable! Micheals did one heck of a job creating this world that we’re plummeted into right from the prologue. Her writing is almost poetic at times and the imagery is beautifully creative. She even designed that stunning cover! Though this book is very short it had a lot of strong messages inside of it. You won’t find petty things like sibling rivalry here. Instead we’re shown a sibling relationship where the two depend on one another so heavily to survive an all too real world full of cruelty, abuse and neglect. Not to mention fantasy, adventure, and the subtle ties to Japanese culture. Which I LOVED.

Unfortunately *cringes* there were just waaay too many mistakes. In grammar, in character, in the plot itself. It’s almost as though there are missing pieces to the story and we’re only getting maybe……a third of it. How are we supposed to enjoy the depth of the story if we can’t connect with it? I keep thinking that the story may have been rushed? For all the detail in the imagery there’s a serious lack of detail in the plot. There are things that are mentioned only once and then never elaborated on again. Some of those rules in the blurb for example.

giphyLily, our main character and “hero” of the story here was utterly boring. Although I will never understand what it’s like to be abused by a parent, her attitude toward herself leaves something to be desired. This is one of those serious messages the book touches on that I mentioned earlier. Due to Lily’s abuse she is seriously scarred inside. Afraid to have anyone touch her except her brother. Which I admit can sound a little creepy but not if you think about it. She’s obviously scared and trusts no one but Cole who has always been loving to her. Lily constantly drowns herself in her insecurity though, which makes me wonder how she even reached the end of the story. I don’t know how tough it is to deal with something like abuse but I do know that repetition makes for a very droll character. Seriously. It’s like 90% of the book has this “woe is me” vibe. Then you turn around and BAM! Lily see’s her self worth and finds inner strength. I’m happy for her, that she believes in herself, but it happened so fast it made no sense. It basically just left me confused. Where did this character growth even come from? Again that rush job feeling.
Cole I liked. Cole certainly had more personality. He’s very protective of his sister, especially because she’s been abused by their father. His love for her is beautiful. Yes he is in a coma throughout the book, so maybe that’s why I liked him the best. He wasn’t really there to annoy my socks off.

So sadly this book was just a no go for me. There just wasn’t enough. A few things needed to happen in order for this book to be better. One, someone seriously needs to take another look at the plots flow. Two, Lily needs more……..just more! Three, this story needed to be checked three or four more times for it’s grammar mistakes before it hit the shelves. Self publishing is really really hard. So take a little more time, ask a few more people for their eyes and you’re golden. Oh and four, add pages. Many many more pages because there’s too much that was trying to be done here with only 144 pages. It just needs a do-over. Movies do it all the time. Why can’t books?

So I’m sorry, but I didn’t like this book. The idea, yes. The actual book, no.



Mmmm, eh. If you’re looking for a quick Mental Health, Fantasy fix then yes. If you’re looking for a good story with depth and feel and umph to it? Something that grips you and plagues your thoughts while you’re at work? Then no.

*I received a copy of this book from the Publisher via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.*

My Rating:

                                    7c629b43d19c572bd68e7a74753d341a7c629b43d19c572bd68e7a74753d341a.Half Candy

emmaAuthor Bio:

Emma Michaels is the award winning author of the Society of Feathers series with over 15 publications under her belt. With a love for all things story-telling this bibliophile plans to take over the world one cup of coffee at a time. A rule breaker who isn’t afraid to have uncommon opinions she is an avid lover of mathematics and stand out fiction which transcends both its genre and format whether books, games, movies, or otherwise. A good story is a good story. When she isn’t online she is out dancing in the Washington rain or seeking new adventures.

Seasons Within Book Review

swAuthor: Lele Iturrioz

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

Publication Date: 12/15/16

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Get it here: Amazon

Add to Your Goodreads!

“Most teenage girls know their name, where they came from, who they are. Not G, a beautiful redhead with unusual markings on her wrist. She gets her name from a silver locket she keeps around her neck, unaware the engraved letter “G” on its front holds the secret to her past.

G’s life before the age of six has been a mystery to her. Each night for the last twelve years she’s been haunted by the same nightmare—a war. Horrendous beasts, warriors able to wield the four elements, and a boy who saves her by means of blue fire taunt her memory. But on her eighteenth birthday, G’s life begins to unravel. When she meets her new Chemistry professor, a man with an uncanny resemblance to the boy who saves her, she knows there must be more to her dreams.

It’s dangerous not knowing who you are, what you’re capable of, and what future awaits you. Especially when the darkness that slaughtered your entire world, just found you.”

My Thoughts: 

First can I just say ❤ that cover!!!! Seriously guys tell me this wouldn’t stop you in your tracks if you saw that at the book store? Look at how captivating those colors are, it’s so vibrant and incredibly creative.
Secondly, this world is amazing. It’s so clearly driven by inspiration, innovation and imagination (woops bunch of i words there). From the very beginning it’s hard not to picture everything exactly as the author describes it.

Iturrioz did a phenomenal job with her characters. G is an orphan and can’t remember anything about her life before the age of 12 (Does that remind anyone else of the movie Anastasia?). For as long as she know’s she has always had a locket with the letter “G” on it. Like the blurb says, things begin to change for her and fast around her birthday. That doesn’t scare off G though. No. She embraces it and jumps right in to her new responsibilities. Throughout the book we really see who she is as a person. She’s strong willed and has the best of intentions, she doesn’t hesitate to place herself in danger for her friends. Speaking of, there are quite a few of them.

Pryiam, Edan, Willow, Veter, Hunter, Shui, and Donovan. Including G that makes for a merry band of eight characters! I love a big group of friends as much as the next person but this was probably the only part about the book that I wasn’t fond of. Sometimes when there are too many characters it can turn you off because it’s so much to keep up with. It feels a little overwhelming. This bunch though wasn’t so bad. Their relationship made it a little easier. It didn’t take away from how good the book was. In fact their friendship made you feel as if you were a part of the group yourself.

This book was not only packed with fantastic creatures, magic and action but there was also a lot of humor. It gave this book so much balance! There’s no way anyone can read this and not feel a connection to everything. It’s gripping and compelling. The way it grabs your attention and refused to let go is surreal. Before you know it you’ve reached the end of the book. Pretty soon all you want to do is go back to page one!
I really can’t wait for the next one. That I will definitely put at the top of my TBR.

Recommend?  Yes! Yes yes yes. Get it, read it, and fall into one heck of an adventure.

My Rating:

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.*

Author Bio:


Major geek by day, hermit writer by night! Love books, sugar gliders and everything that comes in a delicious taco.
I’m the author of the YA fantasy  series, Seasons Within
I spend my time writing,  planning on  writing, reading, drinking coffee like there was no tomorrow, MMA and chilling with my friends and loved ones.

Connect with Lele!

Website/ Goodreads/ Facebook/ Twitter 

Follow the Rafflecopter link below for a chance to win;
one (1) signed copy of Seasons Within and (1) character’s handmade necklace.

Rafflecopter giveaway 

Don’t forget to follow the tour! Seasons Within BlogTour

Of Fire and Stars Book Review

25164304Author: Audrey Coulthurst

Publisher: Balzer + Bay

Genre: YA, LGBT, Fantasy

Pages: 389

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine—called Mare—the sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.”

This is the first OwlCrate book that I have read, yet it’s from the third box that I received. How did that happen? Well because of that plot line of course!!!! ❤ A Princess who falls in love with……….the Princess!? Uhm, yeess! In a previous post I said that it was my very first LGBT book. Well that may not have been accurate, I forgot I had read one before that in October. Pretty close though, it’s only my second 🙂

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed the idea behind this book. Princess Dennaleia who is sweet and very innocent, falls for the ever trouble making Princess Amaranthine (Mare) who’s attitude could use some serious readjusting. It’s your classic “opposite’s attract” type of romance.
Both characters undergo some serious personality changes by the end of the book. One finds her voice and strength while the other finds her heart is a little softer than she realized. There is also a very strong message about having to hide who you are in order to save face for those that you care about.

This story had some incredible potential. Unfortunately, it just didn’t utilize that. Everything is in the right place. The magic, the prejudice, the romance even the need for ones freedom to just be themselves. Oh and of course the action and mystery. Heck even the writing is great! The author made it really easy to read the book. It was just so…….predictable.

I literally had everything figured out by the time I got halfway through the book. Well all the major points of the story anyway. Which completely ruined any surprise for me.  There were minor details that slipped past me but mostly because I was already turned off of the book by then. I finished it, but only out of obligation. I had already dedicated my time to reading it so why not see it through you know?

It was all too easy to pin point who the antagonist was, where the romance was headed, who would and wouldn’t be on their side. There was a serious lack of “wow” to this book and it brought nothing new to the table at all.
I also didn’t feel the love between Denna and Mare. I wanted too. I was rooting for them the entire time! Unfortunately there was no connection to any of the characters or even the story itself.
When it ended I wasn’t sad. Am I interested in what happens next?

Sure why not. I don’t think I’ll be sitting at the edge of my seat, marking down the days or rushing out to the stores when the next one comes out though. I still have some high hopes though. Again there’s just SO MUCH POTENTIAL! It kills me to see it not realized.

Ya ok. Read it, try it out, see what you think for yourself. It’s really not a bad book or story line, it’s just not new. Hey some folks like that though. It’s comforting. Plus it has magic, magic is always a crowd pleaser 🙂

My Rating:


What Are You Reading Wednesday

Another week, another Wednesday. Oi, I just got home from work and took a very lovely shower ❤ it feels really good to finally sit down at my computer 🙂 oh how you have been on my mind all week.
Last week I finished Of Fire and Stars and this week I picked up…….

Seasons Within by Lele Iturrioz
32051457 Most teenage girls know their name, where they came from, who they are. Not G, a beautiful redhead with unusual markings on her wrist. She gets her name from a silver locket she keeps around her neck, unaware the engraved letter “G” on its front holds the secret to her past.

G’s life before the age of six has been a mystery to her. Each night for the last twelve years she’s been haunted by the same nightmare—a war. Horrendous beasts, warriors able to wield the four elements, and a boy who saves her by means of blue fire taunt her memory. But on her eighteenth birthday, G’s life begins to unravel. When she meets her new Chemistry professor, a man with an uncanny resemblance to the boy who saves her, she knows there must be more to her dreams.

It’s dangerous not knowing who you are, what you’re capable of, and what future awaits you. Especially when the darkness that slaughtered your entire world, just found you.

I’m so in love with this cover!!!! Not to mention that plot line! I think what got my attention the most (aside from the colorful cover) was the Chemistry professor. Who is this guy? Is it the boy from her dreams but in the future? Is he related to the boy somehow? Did he literally just pop out of her dreams?
So far this book is actually really good and I can’t wait to keep reading and get some answers!

What are you guys reading this week? 😉 leave a comment below and tell me all about your current read!

My Dream Loot Crate

SO, good and bad news. Don’t worry the good far out weighs the bad.
I will not be doing a What Are You Reading Wednesday post today. Though I will quickly say that I am 90% done with Of Fire and Stars. So keep your eyes peeled for a review this Thursday or next. I also already have lined up the next book I’m going to read sent by a publisher and an audio book! Also sent to me for review 🙂 so that should be fun!

loot-crate-service-delivery-nerd-geek-cultureNow the good news 😉 I have been asked to join in a really fun project from Loot Crate. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this, Loot Crate is a monthly Geek/Gaming subscription box. Each month has a different theme and 4-6 fantastically fun items inside. They literally have a Loot Crate for everyone. The Anime fanatics, the Halo fanatics, the Wizarding fanatics 😉 even one for Pets! So check it out. It’s pretty awesome. I’m actually planning to subscribe to their Halo Crate for my boyfriend 🙂 it’s a surprise so shhhh!

Also I just want to let you guys know because I love you, that I am in no way being sponsored or doing any sponsoring for this post. I was just asked if it sounded like something I would be interested in so I said “hell ya!” Just you know, more professionally of course. 

Currently they are running a project for fans to create their very own “Dream Crate.” If you had total and complete freedom to create your own Crate, what would it be? What would you put inside?
Want to know what I would put?……..

My Theme: Pieces of Magic

  1. Sailor Scout Transformation Pens ity-sailor-transformation-fatpack
    Sailor Moon and the Sailor Scouts were a huge influence on me when I was growing up and I still have a very special place in my heart for them today. And of course I wanted desperately to be one when I grew up 🙂
    In my Dream Crate I would have each one of the pens, from each season.
  2. Terriermon

    Like, the actual Digimon. Starting from an egg of course. Season 3 was hands down their best season. Henry and Terriermon were my favorite pair. We would have the best adventures! (The sweatshirt is also acceptable I guess.)
  3. Hedwig and Dobby Moving Portraits

    If Harry Potter can have moving pictures then by golly why can’t we!?
    I cried when they died in the movies, I wept when they died in the books. I just want them back guys! Seriously these would be perfect to hang in my library ❤
  4. Vulpeus Keyblade
    Kingdom Hearts is my FAVORITE game. I may or may not be satisfied with any Keyblade that would come in the box. This could be the one mystery item because there are so many keyblades. Although I do really really love this one.
  5. Ichigo’s Hollow Mask or Rukia’s Zanpakuto

    This may surprise you all because it’s a little dark but if you’ve ever thought about watching anime I highly recommend Bleach. It’s a really really action packed. Ichigo’s mask like this (it changes later) is freakin bad ass. Rukia is my favorite character so of course I would love to have her zanpakuto. “Bankai!”

  6. Last but honestly the most important one, Oswald and Ortensia Funko Pops

    Sadly it doesn’t look like there is an Ortensia Funko Pop, which is just a really big shame. I love Mickey and Minnie as much as the next Disney fanatic. BUT, I love Oswald and Ortensia so much more. When my boyfriend and I go to Disneyland we don’t get Mickey and Minnie ears 😉 we get Oswald and Ortensia ears! You see, they were the original Minnie and Mickey. Before they were stolen! 😦 Now they’re back at home in Disney World and Disneyland right where they belong

And that ladies and gentlemen is precisely what I would have in my Dream Look Crate. This was a lot of fun to put together. I put a lot of thought into what I wanted in here. I could have gone for socks, a throw blanket, more pops or some tea. Not that there is anything wrong with these, I love those items. It’s just, I had a hard time between choosing something realistic or something fanciful. With so much freedom I decided not to let it go to waste and throw in the impossible. So while I could definitely find realistic objects pertaining to these items I’d rather dream of having the truly magical ones.

What would you put in your crate? 😉

Rose Blood Release and Giveaway

I love Blitz posts 🙂 they are so much fun to participate in and it gives everyone a chance to win a free book!
This books sounds very exciting, it’s a retelling of Phantom Of The Opera, if you couldn’t tell by that stunning cover!

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed ROSEBLOOD poster and a mask courtesy of A.G. and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

rosebloodTitle: RoseBlood

Author: A.G. Howard

Pub. Date: 1/10/17

Publisher: Amulet Books

Pages: 432

Format: Hardcover, Paper Back, Ebook

Find It: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Audible, Goodreads

The Blurb That Will Hook You:

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known. 

The Spectacular Book Trailer: 


About The Magnificent Writer Herself:

61f3a-ag2bhowardA.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would’ve happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

When she’s not writing, A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads

Last But Not Least, The GIVEAWAY!
Just click on the click and enter your name for a chance to win that awesome mask and a signed poster by A.G. Howard herself!
The giveaway ends on the 17th of January by Midnight EST, so hurry while you can!


Imagine putting this up next to your books 😉 nice.

What Are You Reading Wednesday

Time to share this weeks current read with all of you 🙂 So last month in our Owlcrate boxes we received the book,

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

I was going to put the blurb here but I wanted a condensed version so as the save the full version for the review. Sadly I could not find one so I’ll just tell you guys what the book is mainly about.

Princess Dennaleia is betrothed to a Prince, in a kingdom where magic is seen as heresy. Their marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland Havemont. But from the time Denna was a child she could wield the power of Fire. Now, as her wedding day grows ever closer, threats are rising and her magic is growing increasingly harder to control.

With heretics making attacks on the royal family, Denna and Mare (Princess Amaranthine of Mynaria) join forces in hopes of finding the culprit. However what starts out as a reluctant partnership, quickly turns in to something more.

This is the first ever LGBT book I have read and I’m very excited to see how this story ends. I love the idea of the Princess falling for the equally beautiful Princess of another kingdom. It’s just as romantic as falling for this Prince don’t you think? 🙂 What’s more, it’s not just any other Princess but the Prince’s sister! She’s falling for her betrothed’s sibling.

So far I’m really enjoying the plot of this book. At times it seems to be moving a little slow, and just when it does……..bam! Something exciting, or kind of exciting, happens. I do wish the book was moving at a quicker pace. I’m not feeling a whole lot of connection yet with any of the main characters but I’m hoping that will change. Especially since I’m already halfway through!


What are you guys reading this week? Also if anyone has read this book yet I hope you’ll let me know how you liked it 🙂