Review: Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella by Megan Morrison

10th Oct 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Review: Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella by Megan MorrisonDisenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella by Megan Morrison
Series: Tyme #2
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books
Pub Date: October 11th 2016
Pages: 416
Format: ARC | Source: Author
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Retelling
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Ella Coach has one wish: revolution. Her mother died working in a sweatshop, and Ella wants every laborer in the Blue Kingdom to receive fairer treatment. But to make that happen, she'll need some high-level support . . .

Prince Dash Charming has one wish: evolution. The Charming Curse forced generations of Charming men to lie, cheat, and break hearts -- but with the witch Envearia's death, the curse has ended. Now Dash wants to be a better person, but he doesn't know where to start . . .

Serge can grant any wish -- and has: As an executive fairy godfather, he's catered to the wildest whims of spoiled teenagers from the richest, most entitled families in Blue. But now a new name has come up on his list, someone nobody's ever heard of . . . Ella Coach.

I loved this book SO much for many different reasons! And I’m going to try something new and format my review in bullet points to really drive home my thoughts on Disenchanted.

-This book has all of the adventure, humor, and heart of Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel but still manages to feel completely different, which I think is incredible; the land of Tyme is so huge that each land truly feels like a different kingdom! They have their own cultures, histories, and landscapes, and it’s exciting to get to experience various parts of Tyme. Plus there are two maps!

-There are three POVs (Ella, Dash, Serge) that alternate in various lengths instead of chapters, and it was satisfying to see them begin to interweave while also getting the full scope of the story.

-I loved Ella! She was an amazing, well-realized main character: passionate, brilliant, and while she sometimes spoke too quickly or out of anger, her heart was always in the right place.

-I loved what Megan Morrison did with Ella’s family- it’s not the typical evil stepmother and stepsisters. Ella’s dad is alive and remarried, and she has a stepbrother and stepsister. It’s also more a case of growing pains and misunderstandings rather than them being “evil”. I really loved watching the evolution of their relationships.

-I loved Prince Dash! He was handsome but awkward, and his relationship with Ella (and his kingdom) really grows and flourishes. He takes the time to listen to her, even if he doesn’t agree. Plus there are well earned swoons ;) I loved Dash’s mother too. And the fairy godfathers Serge and Jasper, who I TOTALLY SHIP (and yes, it’s a legit ship!). Also, the head godmother Jules reminded me of the fairy godmother from Shrek 2. What a piece of work.

-I loved everything about the Blue Kingdom: the boarding school, the castle, the Glass Slipper, and the focus on the workshops and business class. It was unexpected and very dark and Dickensian at times, including one particularly harrowing sequence. I really appreciate that Megan Morrison never talks down to her readers. These are mature (but not inappropriate) books and deal with tough subjects much like the Harry Potter books did- through a fantasy lens.

Disenchanted does a wonderful job of capturing a diverse group of characters within its pages, everything from race to culture to class. There are hints of an LGBT relationship too. The world feels multicultural and racially diverse, and the differences in custom and culture between each kingdom is illustrated nicely. Even the groups of fairies vary with regard to their own customs.

-At the crux of Disenchanted, however, is the issue of class and ethical dilemmas. Would you rather buy quality goods for cheap if the workers are treated abysmally or pay more for better goods if you know that the workers are treated fairly? This is what Ella is fighting for, for very personal reasons.

-The book made me emotional at different points- I laughed, I gasped, I almost cried- but last 60 pages are particularly fantastic. I love a good courtroom scene!

-Most of all, I loved all the small details. This world feels lived in, with a rich history that I’m dying to know more about. It’s timeless but modern and I love all the allusions and details from the first book and from fairy tales. I can’t wait to see what else is in store in the land of Tyme!

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman by Brady Stefani + Giveaway!

2nd Sep 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Giveaways, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman by Brady Stefani + Giveaway!The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman by Brady Stefani
Published by SparkPress
Pub Date: 7 June 2016
Pages: 282
Format: Paperback | Source: Author
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3 Stars

Fifteen year old Courtney wants to be normal like her friends. But there’s something frighteningly different about her—and it’s not just the mysterious tattoo her conspiracy-obsessed grandfather marked her with before he disappeared. She's being visited in her bedroom at night by aliens claiming to have shared an alliance with her grandfather. And imaginary or not, they're starting to to take over her mind. “Mental illness is a slippery slope,” her mother warns her.

The last thing Courtney wants to do is end up crazy and dead like her grandfather did. But what about the tattoo? And the aliens trying to recruit her? With her new alien-savvy friend Agatha and her apocalyptic visions, Courtney begins connecting the dots between the past, present and future—of her bloodline, and the ancient history that surrounds it. Is she going insane, like her family claims her grandfather did, or is she actually a "chosen one" with ancestral connections to another world? Either way, Courtney has a mission: untangle her past, discover the truth, and stop the apocalypse before it's too late for everyone.

The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman follows Courtney through some crazy and out of this world adventures. When Courtney was seven years old her grandfather tried to drown her in a bathtub. He always spoke of aliens and people being out to get him, and after he died Courtney’s mom wrote him off as crazy. Courtney wants to think her grandfather was crazy too, except she sees the aliens too. Strange things just keep on happening to her, the aliens are visiting her in her dreams at night. So, maybe Courtney and her grandfather aren’t crazy after all. Maybe the aliens are real and it’s up to Courtney to figure out what they want.

This is a sci fi, alien story with some secret society mystery thrown in. Courtney meets a lot of interesting characters along her journey. It’s hard to know who she can and can’t trust. I trusted no one in this story. I thought everyone had ulterior motives, and didn’t know what to believe. Agatha is one of the first people Courtney meets. The aliens also visit Agatha’s brother and she looks exactly like Courtney’s imaginary friend Astra. She is the first one to believe Courtney and not write her off as crazy. All of this can’t be a coincidence.

There is a lot going on in this story and I never knew who to believe or trust. Most of all I felt bad for Courtney, being 15 years old and having to deal with all of this on her own. She isn’t just visited by aliens; she’s also alienated from her family and friends. These events keep her very isolated and alone. It’s hard for her because no one believes her and everyone just wants her to act normal.

The major thing I disliked about this book was Courtney’s mother. I know she’s not supposed to be likable but she was awful to an extreme. She treats Courtney like a nuisance. She believes her daughter is mentally ill and she is constantly shaming her for it or threatening to lock her up in an asylum. She seems to have no desire to actually help Courtney; she just wants her to shut up and act normal. She drove me crazy!

The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman is a great sci fi adventure with some conspiracy thrown into the mix. The bad guys are easy to root against and I found myself rooting for Courtney to figure out this mystery and finally find her place in the world.

I was lucky enough to receive a signed finished copy of this book from the author to giveaway to one lucky reader!

Giveaway

Signed paperback of The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman by Brady Stefani

 

 

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Kings or Pawns by J.J. Sherwood + Giveaway!

8th Aug 2016 Lety @ Gone with the Words 2016, Giveaways, Reviews, Reviews by Lety

Review: Kings or Pawns by J.J. Sherwood + Giveaway!Kings or Pawns by J.J. Sherwood
Series: Steps of Power #1, The Kings #1
Published by Silver Helm
Pub Date: October 1st 2015
Pages: 383
Format: eBook | Source: Author
Genres: Fantasy
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

The first book in JJ Sherwood's Steps of Power epic fantasy series. The Kings, Book I: Kings or Pawns is a political intrigue that spirals into an action and adventure series as the final events unfold.

8,994 P.E.—The elven city of Elvorium has become corrupted to the core by politics. With his father dead and the Royal Schism at his back, Prince Hairem ascends the throne as king of the elven world on Sevrigel. Young and bold, Hairem is determined to undo the council’s power, but the brutal murders by an assassin loosed within the city threaten to undermine the king’s ambitions.

As corruption and death threaten to tear Elvorium apart from within, the warlord Saebellus threatens the city from without, laying siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem finds himself in a dangerous political balance between peace and all out war.

This was such an incredible story and start to this high fantasy series. This story had multiple narrators, each telling their story from their own perspective and sometimes taking you into a different part of the map (which is included in the book btw). The tale was gripping, emotional and sucked you into every character’s trials and tribulations. Each character was introduced to you in a way that didn’t have your head spinning like other epic fantasy novels I have read. The pacing of the story was just right, and the world building was one of my favorite parts of this first book. There were some clear good/bad guys from the start that you loved/hated and some plot twists towards the end that I didn’t foresee.

J.J. Sherwood has a great way of describing surroundings and characters that is rich but not overbearing. The images easily manifested in my mind so vividly. All the while I kept thinking what a great movie this would make! J.J. also has an interactive world map on her Steps of Power website that is pretty awesome, and character content coming soon ( I can’t wait! :D).

General Jikum and King Hariem were likeable characters from the start and are our main storytellers in the beginning. The city of Elvorium, which King Hairem has inherited, is being corrupted by those that sit on the council, each an appointed representative of a different elven race. The king soon finds that he holds no real power and the council holds the real control (those jerks!). Meanwhile, their city is at war with Saebellus, a relentless and extremely powerful warlord (with a scary, huge dragon/beast thing). And though General Jikum is a worthy opponent and has been successful in recent battles, there seems to be no end to the fighting and death toll. King Hariem schemes to try and take power back from the council but there is also an assassin loose who has been targeting the Council of Elves, and his efforts seem to only backfire. This story is full of back-stabbing, treachery, heartbreak and mysteries that have yet to unravel themselves. What is that thing in the ice?! Who is this Sellemar character really?! I MUST KNOW!

I enjoyed this book immensely and plan on continuing to read this series. If you are a fan of high fantasy novels go pick this one up immediately!

Giveaway

(This giveaway is run by the author. We are not responsible for choosing or notifying winners, or for the prizes you’re to receive.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Lety @ Gone with the Words

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Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

23rd May 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi MeadowsMy Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Published by HarperTeen
Pub Date: June 7th 2016
Pages: 512
Format: ARC | Source: Author
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.

Like that could go wrong.

This book was so unexpectedly delightful!!! My Lady Jane KNOWS that it’s twisting history and winks at that, which allowed me to get swept up in the story and the characters without constantly comparing it to actual historical events. Comical, fantastical, romantical really is the best way to describe it, like the blurb says. It was refreshing to know that you had no idea how the story would end and that a happily ever after of some sort might be possible.

I loved the three POV characters, and Jane’s obsession with books in particular! She’s a true book nerd like the rest of us. Edward, Gifford, and Jane were easy to tell apart while reading (I still don’t know which author wrote which POV though!!!), but the chapters are nicely labeled for you just in case.

 

Their stories twist and dovetail in ways I didn’t expect, and even though it’s a meaty book, the pacing is great. You really feel for Edward, and Jane and Gifford have the BEST bantery romance. It feels very Austen-y.

  

All three have strong character traits and personalities, and I also liked getting glimpses of other historical figures such as Edward’s half sisters Elizabeth and Mary.

 

I also loved how the fantasy element was woven into the story! Instead of religious factions, you have magic: shape shifters (Edians) vs non-shifters. Some people can shift into an animal form, while others can’t; furthermore, some can control their shifting, while it only happens to others in moments of emotional distress. It lent an air of absurdity and humor to a serious topic (prejudice), while still staying in the framework of the religious wars that swept across 16th century England.

 

My Lady Jane is very funny, very charming, and has some really excellent romances and action scenes, along with narrator asides (I loved the dry humor). It’s silly in a clever way. I had so much fun reading it! There were also quite a few wink wink pop culture references, including my favorite: “Frying pans, who knew?” :D It really is a book in the spirit of The Princess Bride. And it’s a Tudor book without being a Tudor book. I highly recommend it for fans of history and comedy and smiling while you read :)

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

14th Mar 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: Passenger by Alexandra BrackenPassenger by Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger #1
Published by Disney Hyperion
Pub Date: January 5th 2016
Pages: 486
Format: ARC | Source: Author
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever 

(Originally posted by Ashley on Must Love Books)

Let me start by saying I waited for this book for what seemed like forever! It was on my list of books to grab at BEA last year, and when I didn’t get it I was pretty sad. Then I heard Alexandra Bracken was going to be at Y’ALL Fest (which is a mere 8 hr drive) I knew I had to go in hopes of getting this ARC…and I GOT ONE! I only had to stand in line for four hours but it was totally worth it!

Ashley Passenger

I have to admit, the beginning moved more slowly than I usually like in a book. Etta is lives in current day New York as is preparing for a big concert, as she plays her piece, she is drawn to a noise only she can hear. When she investigates the noise, she is suddenly transported back in time. She finds herself onboard a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in 1776, she’s in strange clothing and dripping wet with no recollection of how she got there.

It is on the ship she meets Nicholas, a teen about her age but from a completely different time. When it comes to Nicholas though, I kept going back and forth: I like him, I hate him…nope I like him, he means well…uh no he doesn’t…back and forth. I’ve decided I like him. (I think).

While on the ship, Etta learns she comes from a magical family that can time travel. Can you imagine? How cool would that be!? She also learns that she’s been kidnapped by a man called Cyrus (who I think of as The Grandfather) an old man who is the head of the family, the leader if you will.

Now that Etta knows who she is and what she has to do, the adventure really begins! Together her and Nicholas must find the only remaining astrolabe, the magical object used to create new portals, if Etta doesn’t find the astrolabe and return it to Cyrus someone Etta loves will die.

I’m telling you…this is the good stuff! Etta travels from Bhutan 1910, New York in 1776, 1940’s London, 1685 Angkor, Paris 1880 and Damascus in 1599. Each place she visits she gets closer and closer to the astrolabe and each place she visits she encounters people who want the astrolabe for themselves.

Now this book is well over 400 pages so it’s not a quick read, and the beginning is slow to get started but don’t discount Passenger just yet. Once you get started and the time traveling really begins, you won’t want to put it down!

 

About Alexandra Bracken

Alexandra Bracken is the New York Times bestselling author of The Darkest Minds and Never Fade. Born and raised in Arizona, she moved east to study history and English at the College of William&Mary in Virginia. Alex now lives in New York City, where you can find her hard at work on her next novel in a charming little apartment that’s perpetually overflowing with books.

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

27th Jan 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke NijkampThis Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: January 5th 2016
Pages: 292
Format: ARC | Source: Author
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4.5 Stars

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

This is not an easy book to read, but it is also a very moving and powerful story. This is Where it Ends is a story about a school shooting, it takes place in the span of 54 minutes and it is nerve wracking. The students and teachers are trapped inside with the shooter and the reader gets to go on this terrifying journey with them. There are four different POV and while some people may not like this I think it added to the story. It allows the reader to see different sides of what’s going on during the shooting. Some of the characters are stuck inside with the shooter and others are on the outside worried for their friends and family. It lets you in on both sides of the story, the people who are experiencing the shooting first hand, and those on the outside scared for their friends and loved ones.

The writing in this book is really beautiful and heartbreaking. There were times when I just couldn’t put it down because I had to know what happened next and if the characters were safe. I really cared for the characters and felt their fear and pain while I was reading. This story just seemed very real to me, there are moment of bravery and utter terror from the characters and it easy to understand their actions and reasoning. All the the POV characters are connected to the shooter in some way and their reactions and interpretations to why he does this adds so much to the story. This isn’t a random person doing this horrible thing, it’s somebody they know, someone they dated, even someone one of them is related to. Going through the emotions with these characters is intense.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book were the tweets and blog posts shown in between chapters from the students and others about the shooting. I just didn’t think they were necessary. I understand that they were there to show the good that social media can do and how it can help to connect people, but the book would have been just fine without them.

This is Where it Ends may not be for everyone. It is violent and the different POV may not work for some readers, but I think everyone should give it a chance. It’s an important topic and a really gripping story.

 

About Marieke Nijkamp

Marieke Nijkamp

Marieke Nijkamp was born and raised in the Netherlands. A lifelong student of stories, language, and ideas, she is more or less proficient in about a dozen languages and holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies. She is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. Her debut young adult novel This Is Where It Ends, a contemporary story that follows four teens over the course of the fifty-four minutes of a school shooting, is published by Sourcebooks Fire.

She is the founder of DiversifYA as well as founding member and advisor of We Need Diverse Books.

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Virgin’s Daughter by Laura Andersen

26th Oct 2015 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Review: The Virgin’s Daughter by Laura AndersenThe Virgin's Daughter by Laura Andersen
Series: Tudor Legacy #1
Published by Ballantine Books
Pub Date: May 26th 2015
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback | Source: Author
Genres: Adult, Historical
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Since the death of her brother, William, Elizabeth I has ruled England. She’s made the necessary alliances, married Philip of Spain, and produced a successor: her only daughter, Anne Isabella, Princess of Wales. Elizabeth knows that her beloved Anabel will be a political pawn across Europe unless she can convince Philip to grant her a divorce, freeing him to remarry and give Spain its own heir. But the enemies of England have even greater plans for the princess, a plot that will put Anabel’s very life and the security of the nation in peril. Only those closest to Elizabeth—her longtime confidante Minuette, her advisor and friend Dominic, and the couple’s grown children—can be trusted to carry forth a most delicate and dangerous mission. Yet, all of the queen’s maneuverings may ultimately prove her undoing.

I won a finished copy of this book from the author’s website, though I would have purchased it in any case. This did not affect my review in any way.

The Virgin’s Daughter made me giddy for a multitude of reasons (in no particular order):

-It’s a sequel trilogy to the Boleyn King trilogy, so there are many favorite recurring characters that were such fun to catch up with. Definitely older, sometimes sneakier, sometimes wiser ;) For this reason (and despite the spoilers in the synopsis), I really recommend reading The Boleyn King– it’s EXCELLENT and you’ll get so much more out of Laura Andersen’s Tudor England.

-It’s alternate history that feels like real history. I was enmeshed in the Tudor court, the English countryside, the French manor homes. It feels familiar as a history buff for those reasons but because it’s an alternate timeline, you don’t know how events will actually transpire or turn out! Elizabeth never had a daughter in real life, so how am I to know if Anabel will become Queen one day or who she will marry? I don’t! It adds a delicious layer of tension and excitement to the story. Plus there are really good ships! ;)

-The spies and mystery: the rotating POVs gave the impression of an unreliable narrator, which was great- loyalty, betrayal, treachery,and murder abound. You don’t know who to trust or who is telling the truth. In the end the reader got to know the truth before the characters, or some of the truth anyway, and it made me so nervous and tense!!! I wanted everyone to uncover the secrets already!

-THE CHARACTERS! Both real (Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots) and imagined (Julien LeClerc, Princess Anabel). They are vivid, they are passionate, and they are vibrant. I absolutely loved Lucette Courtenay and her puzzle solving mind. I swooned over Julien, and I loved seeing how much of Anabel’s personality reflected her fiery mother, who in turn is as fully fleshed out as you could wish. Elizabeth is fierce, demanding, and powerful, but has softer moments as well. It humanizes her.

If you’re a history fan with Tudor fatigue, I highly recommend this book! Laura Andersen’s writing feels both familiar to fans of historical fiction and original in its subject matter and characterization. It’s a great twist on English history. The Virgin’s Daughter is compulsively readable, action-packed, descriptive, twisty, and romantic. I can’t wait for the next book.

gwtw-separate-line

And in case you love audiobooks, check out this clip from THE VIRGIN’S DAUGHTER:

 

Buy it at Audible.com!

 

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Review: My Fight / Your Fight by Ronda Rousey

21st Oct 2015 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: My Fight / Your Fight by Ronda RouseyMy Fight / Your Fight by Ronda Rousey
Published by Regan Arts
Pub Date: May 12th 2015
Pages: 301
Format: Hardcover | Source: Author
Genres: Non-fiction
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

“The fight is yours to win.”

In this inspiring and moving book, Ronda Rousey, the Olympic medalist in judo, reigning UFC women's bantamweight champion, and Hollywood star charts her difficult path to glory.

Marked by her signature charm, barbed wit, and undeniable power, Rousey’s account of the toughest fights of her life—in and outside the Octagon—reveals the painful loss of her father when she was eight years old, the intensity of her judo training, her battles with love, her meteoric rise to fame, the secret behind her undefeated UFC record, and what it takes to become the toughest woman on Earth. Rousey shares hard-won lessons on how to be the best at what you do, including how to find fulfillment in the sacrifices, how to turn limitations into opportunities, and how to be the best on your worst day.

Packed with raw emotion, drama, and wisdom this is an unforgettable book by one of the most remarkable women in the world.

I don’t read non-fiction books very much, I don’t read them at all really. But I love reading/hearing about women paving the way for other women. Especially when those women are kicking asses and taking names! I hadn’t heard of Ronda Rousey until a few years ago when my husband was raving about “this bad-ass boxer chick”. My husband is not a sports guy so I knew I had to check her out, and when her book came out, I knew I had to own it. Ronda’s pure determination and persistence paved the way for women fighters everywhere, especially in the UFC.

I had followed UFC fighting off and on for about 10 years, I called it my guilty pleasure because no one I know watches. I stopped watching in 2011 when Dana White, the president of the UFC, said on camera women will never have a place in the UFC.  Enter Rowdy Ronda Rousey. The forward in her book is by this very same man who says Ronda is “a game changer” and “I almost feel like Ronda is writing her book too soon, because she’s just getting started”.

From losing her father at an early age, living in her car, constant fighting with her mother, and hitting rock bottom, this book tells a story of a woman striving to be more, better, the best. Her inspirational story isn’t all roses and rainbows however, she veers off into some dark places, but in true Ronda Rousey fashion, she always ends up on the top. I don’t want to give too much of Ronda’s story away because I think its better to take it all in at once with the inspirational quotes, black and white photos not to mention her drive, determination and devotion.

I really enjoyed reading My Fight / Your Fight and I seriously think every young female athlete should read it.

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

8th Jun 2015 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Review: The Witch Hunter by Virginia BoeckerThe Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
Series: The Witch Hunter #1
Published by Little, Brown BfYR
Pub Date: June 2nd 2015
Pages: 368
Format: ARC | Source: Author
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4.5 Stars

The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.

Your greatest enemy isn't what you fight, but what you fear.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that's been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth's witch hunting past--if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she's thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.

Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.

Thank you so much to Virginia Boecker and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for the ARC! Receiving it/knowing the author in no way influenced my opinions or review.

You guys, I LOVED this book! The Witch Hunter was lots of fun to read. It’s fantastic historical fantasy for fans of both genres with a surprising amount of humor mixed in with the darkness and magic, and of course a bit of romance! The book was exciting and a little predictable, but not necessarily in a bad way. More in that “”I love books like this”” kind of way. It’s a fast paced, atmospheric story with awesome characters that I was easily sucked into. There isn’t a ton of romance but it looks like there will be more in book 2 (it’s a duology).

A lot of the dialogue was much more sassy and humorous that I expected, but it never took away from the fantastic tension or spooky setting. I loved the curses and magic, as well as watching Elizabeth realize that her absolute views on wizards and witch hunting might not be so absolute after all. The characters all have this fascinating dynamic; I particularly loved John, George, and Elizabeth herself. I also loved the mysterious tomb! I need to know more!!!!

It also has a great historical feel to it, with names and concepts familiar to fans of English and European history twisted to fit this alternate version of 16th century England. For example, a magical reformation instead of the Protestant Reformation, Anglia and Gaul instead of England and France. And there are hidden history jokes too! Whenever I spotted one I giggled to myself like the history nerd that I am.

The Witch Hunter is not an epic fantasy so the Game of Thrones comparison seems like yet another marketing ploy. BUT it is a fantastic historical fantasy for fans of both genres, and for reluctant fantasy readers as well. It has just the right amount of magic and fantasy mixed with the alternate historical setting. I could see the Graceling and Throne of Glass comparions, as well as comparisons to Chantress. It might be for fans of Grave Mercy too but I haven’t read that yet (I know, I know!). I read The Witch Hunter way back in January and I’m anxiously awaiting my pre-ordered finished copy so I can read it again!

Bottom line: with strong world building and an exciting set-up, fans of historical fantasy will be clamoring for more of Elizabeth’s adventures in this darkly magical alternate England.



 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Now and Forever by Susane Colasanti

24th Sep 2014 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2014, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: Now and Forever by Susane ColasantiNow and Forever by Susane Colasanti
Published by Viking Juvenile
Pub Date: May 20th 2014
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover | Source: Author
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3 Stars

What if your boyfriend was the world's biggest rockstar?

Sterling is crazy in love with Ethan. Not only is he the sweetest boy she's ever met, but he's an incredibly talented guitarist, singer, and songwriter. And since forever, he's believed he has what it takes to be a star.

When Ethan becomes an overnight sensation, he's thrown head-first into the glam world of celebrity-and so is Sterling. Before she knows it, she's attending red-carpet premieres, getting free designer clothes, and flying around the country to attend Ethan's monumental sold-out concerts.

It's a dream come true...but whose dream is Sterling living? And what do you do when "forever" comes to an end?

Now and Forever tells a story about Sterling and her boyfriend Ethan who’s on the road to becoming a rock star. Sterling is a supportive girlfriend and she does everything she can to help Ethan reach his goals. Ethan seems like the perfect boyfriend sweet, charming, talented and totally in love with Sterling. As Ethan gets more and more famous his relationship with Sterling starts to change, leaving Sterling wondering whether or not her relationship with Ethan is worth it.

For the most part I enjoyed this book. Sterling is a typical teenager going through her first love and trying to figure out what she wants. When Ethan makes it big her life starts to revolve around him. At first all the fame and success is a big thrill for both Ethan and Sterling, but then the shine starts to wear off. Ethan’s fans start to insult Sterling and Ethan has less and less time for her. It becomes pretty obvious in the middle of the book that Ethan doesn’t seem so perfect any more and Sterling needs to figure out what to do about it.

I liked that Sterling eventually realizes that Ethan isn’t the only important one in their relationship and that she deserves more. There is definitely some character growth, but I feel like Sterling is the only one who gets any development. No one else in the book seems to go through any changes.

One thing I really loved about this book was the ending. I think Sterling made the right choice and it was nice to see a girl not letting her relationship define her.

 

 

About Susane Colasanti

Susane Colasanti is the bestselling author of When It Happens, Take Me There, Waiting for You, Something Like Fate, So Much Closer, Keep Holding On, All I Need, and Now and Forever. Susane has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Astrophysics/Earth and Space Science with a minor in psychology. She has a master’s degree from New York University in Science Education 7-12, Teachers of Physics. Before becoming a full-time author in 2007, Susane was a high school science teacher for ten years.

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

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Guest Review: Ushers, Inc. by Rusty Fischer

21st Sep 2011 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2011, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Guest Review: Ushers, Inc. by Rusty FischerUshers, Inc. by Rusty Fischer
Published by Decadent Publishing
Pub Date: June 22nd 2011
Pages: 117
Format: eBook | Source: Author
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

When the streets are full of bloodsuckers, werewolves, zombies and ghouls, where will you turn? The cops don’t know how to stop them, the Army’s pretty much given up and even the Marines are stumped when their bullets and grenades fail to stop the onslaught.

Have no fear, Ushers, Inc. is here! Four high school movie ushers, who collectively have seen over 42,000 hours of B- and C-horror movies know just what to do.

Did you know copper pennies can stop a zombie in its tracks? Abby Cooper, Head Usher, does.

Did you know garlic paste is twice as effective on vampires as garlic cloves? Abby Cooper does.

Did you know werewolves are absolutely petrified of seeing a Hershey’s kiss? Abby Cooper does.

The girls at Cypress Cove High school—especially Rich Witch Mia Hopwood—call Abby an uber-geek; the victims she rescues from zombies, werewolves and vampires just call her one thing: Hero!

But Abby and her fearless crew of movie ushers-slash-superheroes face more than just bloodsuckers and brain-biters. There’s Wyatt Winters, for one; he’s the hot new PR guru Ushers, Inc. has had to hire to handle all their press – and with his smoldering good looks and air of confidence, he’s causing more than just tension between Abby and her old boy-crush—and fellow usher—Zach Nash.

And let’s not forget the monsters, who aren’t too happy about four geeky ushers beating their butts all over creation. Now the League of Associated Undead (LAD) is converging on Cypress Cove, determined to stop Ushers, Inc. once and for all.

When it’s the monsters versus the monster hunters, who you gonna call?

Ushers, Inc., that’s who!

Note from Jess

When I first read the synopsis of USHERS, INC, which you can find HERE, I instantly thought of my friend David. I thought to myself, “This book would be perfect for him and for my first guest review!”

See, he could totally be a character in this book, part of the Ushers, Inc crew. I don’t know how many cheesy horror flicks he’s watched, but it’s a lot! Especially if there are zombies in them.

I was right… :) And I’ll be reading this book soon myself now.

Ushers, Inc. tells a tale of four high school kids that work at Flicks Cinema. A small movie theater that plays all of the kids’ favorite B-Horror movies. Their love and knowledge of cheesy horror movies comes in handy when they have to fend off Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies that threaten where they work. They become local celebrities and gain popularity at school but also grab the attention of the League of Associated Undead. It’s up to Ushers, Inc. to stop them and put an end to their devious plan.

This book has the perfect blend of horror, comedy (with some sarcasm thrown in) and a bit of a love story as well. It reminds me a lot of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. The usual teen angst is present in this story and that’s what makes it so good. It’s something that people can relate to and identify with. The thing that’s so great about Ushers, Inc. is that the possibilities of where the author can take the story to are endless. The sky’s the limit with this team of kids and I’m glad Rusty left it open to that. It’s because of that, that I think this would it a perfect candidate to be a TV Show or Live Action Web Series (You should jump on that idea Rusty if you haven’t already). I was absolutely entertained with this book from start to finish. I can’t wait to read more adventures from the Ushers, Inc. crew and more from Rusty Fischer.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Torrent by Lisa T. Bergren

30th Aug 2011 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2011, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Torrent by Lisa T. BergrenTorrent by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Series: River of Time #3
Published by David C. Cook
Pub Date: September 1st 2011
Pages: 388
Format: eARC | Source: Author
Genres: Historical, Romance, Time Travel, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

When Gabi and Lia finally learn to surf the river of time, they realize they must make hard choices about life and love in the third and final book in the River of Time series.

Gabi and Lia Betarrini have learned to control their time travel, and they return from medieval Italy to save their father from his tragic death in modern times.

But love calls across the centuries, and the girls are determined to return forever—even though they know the Black Plague is advancing across Europe, claiming the lives of one-third of the population. In the suspenseful conclusion of the River of Time series, every decision is about life … and death.

This review of Torrent is about to get spoilery. You have been warned. :)

Let’s start with the part of the story that pained me most. My dearest Fortino. Still captured and repeatedly tortured at the hands of the enemy…for 15 months! It just broke my heart. I wish things had turned out differently for him, but I understand why they didn’t. It’s still very sad and unfair that it would happen to him of all people. My heart broke for Marcello at the end, during the funeral. I cried a little myself, but was comforted by Father Tomas’s words.

Lord Greco. *sigh* Even though in Cascade he was revealed as an ally and old, loyal friend of Marcello, I could not get past the way he treated Gabi. Yes, she might have survived only because of him but it wasn’t enough for me to soften towards him. So naturally when he appeared in this book, as I knew he would, I started out hating him. My feelings of hate for him slowly simmered as he revealed more of himself, his feelings toward Gabi, and his dreams of peace. By the end I was just sad for him. I really hope he gets his happy ending someday.

You know who I’m sure will have a happy ending together? Luca and Lia. It’s just a matter of time before Lia finally falls completely in love with Luca. I’ll say it again, I honestly don’t know how she’s been able to not fall in love with him yet! I’d be a goner by now. Gabi and Lia’s parents, too, who have been reunited after they saved him from death by traveling back in time. I was so happy they were able to get Ben, the dad, back to ancient Italy. It was so fun seeing Marcello squirm, lol. It was also refreshing to see parents able to recognize when their daughter has grown up and is ready to take on things they may not be ready for.

Marcello really grew up in the time Gabi was gone. He become even more assertive and confident, but his love for Gabi was constant, unwavering. I love that about him. I’ve suspected since Waterfall where one of Gabi and Marcello’s paths would lead…and that is to the altar. However, I never imagined everything they would go through to get to that point. I thought the actual ceremony was lovely, and I really appreciated how Lisa T. Bergren approached the wedding night.

It would not have been a true ending to this series had these dear characters not gone through a couple major battles. Literally and figuratively speaking. Be it physically or emotionally, everyone battled someone or something and came through on the other side a better person.

This series will always be on my favorites list. You get so immersed in it, you forget you’re not actually living it, just reading it. Thank you, Lisa, for creating this for us.

 

About Lisa Tawn Bergren

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 40 books, with more than 2.5 million copies sold. Her most recent works includes a YA series called River of Time (Waterfall, Cascade, Torrent, Bourne & Tributary), God Gave Us Easter, a devotional called Upside-Down Prayers for Parents and the Grand Tour Series (Glamorous Illusions, Grave Consequences, and Glittering Promises). She’s currently at work on a new YA series called Remnants, coming out in 2014.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren

15th Aug 2011 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2011, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Cascade by Lisa T. BergrenCascade by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Series: River of Time #2
Published by David C. Cook
Pub Date: June 1st 2011
Pages: 399
Format: Paperback | Source: Author
Genres: Historical, Romance, Time Travel, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Mom touched my underdress—a gown made six hundred years before—and her eyes widened as she rubbed the raw silk between thumb and forefinger. She turned and touched Lia’s gown. “Where did you get these clothes?”

Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead.

But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever.

Once the Betarrinis make it back to medieval Italy, this time with their mother in tow, you hold your breath in anticipation of Gabi and Marcello’s reunion. And, oh, what a sweet reunion it was. [Deep sigh] He’s just so dreamy!! It turns out they’ve been gone a month in Marcello’s time, and while everything seems to have a sense of peace and order, danger still lurks close by. Especially for Gabi and Lia, who are pretty much superstars in Siena. This only makes their enemies salivate to get their hands on them. The biggest change though, came for two other characters: Fortino and Romana. I’ll let you find that one out on your own. ;)

Unfortunately, Gabi does end up in the hands of the enemies, and I admired her even more during that time. She stood up to them for as long as she could and only became vulnerable when everything seemed lost for good. However, her loyalty to the people she cares about was never unwavering. Love her! Lord Greco, the guy in charge of capturing her, is a puzzling mystery. A hot one though, hehe. He’ll keep you guessing until the end of the book.

Luca and Lia. Nothing will make me happier than seeing these two end up together. I love how openly and grandly he shows his affections for her and she tries her hardest to rebuff him. It’s really fun to read. Oh, but she’s crumbling! Soon she’ll admit she loves him. I wouldn’t have been able to resist him as long as she has, that’s for sure.

The action in this book was nonstop. Battle after battle. Definitely a nail-biter! I have to say, there really isn’t any other series out there like this one. Cascade, book two of The River of Time Series, was just as amazing as Waterfall. The ending is bittersweet and left me so anxious!! I’m dying to read Torrent and see how it all ends!

And check out the awesome trailer for CASCADE!!

 

About Lisa Tawn Bergren

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 40 books, with more than 2.5 million copies sold. Her most recent works includes a YA series called River of Time (Waterfall, Cascade, Torrent, Bourne & Tributary), God Gave Us Easter, a devotional called Upside-Down Prayers for Parents and the Grand Tour Series (Glamorous Illusions, Grave Consequences, and Glittering Promises). She’s currently at work on a new YA series called Remnants, coming out in 2014.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Almost Perfect by Susan Mallery

9th Jul 2011 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2011, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Almost Perfect by Susan MalleryAlmost Perfect by Susan Mallery
Series: Fool's Gold #2
Published by HQN
Pub Date: June 29th 2010
Pages: 379
Format: Paperback | Source: Author
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Back in high school, Liz Sutton was the girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Then she’d stolen the heart of the most popular boy in town, and their secret romance helped her through the worst of times. Until Ethan Hendrix betrayed her and everything they’d ever meant to each other. Devastated and pregnant, Liz left Fool’s Gold, California forever, she thought…

Now Liz must return to town and face the man who doesn’t know of their son’s existence. And this time she won’t have the option of making a quick getaway. Ethan and Liz can’t deny their passionate attraction, even after all these years. But will their desire be enough to spark a second chance at love?

Almost Perfect had me Almost Crying throughout the whole book! This was such an emotional roller coaster for me! It made laugh, get angry, get sad…it literally had me on the verge of tears the whole time…until the end, when I finally cried happy tears.

To keep this review from getting too personal, lets just say that I’m mom and that may have led to this book resonating with me on so many levels. I agree that Liz should’ve tried harder to bring Ethan and Tyler together, but it was hard for me to get angry with her because I sympathized with her so much. I thought she was a GREAT mom to Tyler and I really loved her character.

Ethan, you idiot. This was a constant thought while I read this book. I loved him and thought he was sexy and funny, but he just couldn’t get it right! It was so hard to remain angry with him, though, because he never really realized just how much of an idiot he was being until the end. I thought that last (unintended) grand gesture was incredibly over due, but despite that, I LOVED it.

The town and its residents completely won me over once again. The Fool’s Gold books are great if you’re looking to get into a romantic Romance series with just the perfect amount of steaminess.

 

About Susan Mallery

With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.

Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived. Visit Susan online at www.SusanMallery.com.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Teaser Tuesday: Cascade

14th Jun 2011 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2011, Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday: Cascade

Teaser Tuesday: CascadeCascade by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Series: River of Time #2
Published by David C. Cook
Pub Date: June 1st 2011
Pages: 399
Format: Paperback | Source: Author
Buy the book! | Goodreads

Mom touched my underdress—a gown made six hundred years before—and her eyes widened as she rubbed the raw silk between thumb and forefinger. She turned and touched Lia’s gown. “Where did you get these clothes?”

Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead.

But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever.

 

“And you think that an easy task, then? Choosing to move to another era?”

“I can be quite charming,” he said smugly. His eyes narrowed. “Mayhap you’ve missed that.”

I laughed under my breath. Hardly. “Nay, m’lord. I have not.”

 

About Lisa Tawn Bergren

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 40 books, with more than 2.5 million copies sold. Her most recent works includes a YA series called River of Time (Waterfall, Cascade, Torrent, Bourne & Tributary), God Gave Us Easter, a devotional called Upside-Down Prayers for Parents and the Grand Tour Series (Glamorous Illusions, Grave Consequences, and Glittering Promises). She’s currently at work on a new YA series called Remnants, coming out in 2014.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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