Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Lost Knight (Lost Knight #1) by Candy Atkins | A Book Review

The Lost Knight (Lost Knight #1) by Candy Atkins | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got this from but I first knew of this book through one of many cover reveals I joined in. I am thankful that this got featured by Kathy of Now, I have the chance to read the book.

I love stories about knights. I have always been fascinated by the King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the Three Musketeers and the Knights of the Templars. Everything about knights always caught my fancy. So, it's no wonder why I wanted to read this book.

Unlike any other stories about knights, this one will surely shock you. I was, when I realized that unlike any knights I knew, this one happens to be a girl. Yes, a teenage girl. What in the world? You may ask. How could a girl be a knight? Well, this one is and she is the last one of her kind. Agatha Stone is the last knight.

Agatha is a foster child and bullied in school. Then, one night, a stranger came into her room telling her she is being rescued. Why does she needs rescuing? Is she a prisoner then? How can that be? All these questions were racing through Agatha's head but time is of the essence. Either she trusts and go with this stranger or get trapped in this room for the rest of her life. Does she have a choice? She went with the stranger who looked liked Grim Reaper yet being with him makes her safe and comfortable.

This is a coming of age story for an orphan whose existence has been so limited and inconsequential to other people. She doesn't matter to anyone except to an alternate world awaiting her return. A world where she is the only hope to save it. All of a sudden, Agatha turns from a nobody to a hero that everyone has been waiting. Will she be able to step up to the challenges and expectations? So little time and too much to learn.

I give this book 4/5 pegasus. I really enjoyed this story. It is a very enticing start to a very interesting and captivating adventure. The heart-stopping and cliffhanger ending is just so unexpected. I thought, Agatha's life would be safer now that she is where she's supposed to be but that is not true. Dangers are everywhere. Her presence and existence threatens someone. All I have are more questions. They make me want to go and grab the next book so I could continue my adventures with Agatha. 

Dyslexia is like having legs that can run a thousand miles, but not learning how to walk until you're thirty. It's a superpower. A very hard-to-control superpower.
- Candy Atkins, The Lost Knight - 

Thank you, Kathy of, for the copy. Sorry for the delayed posting of the review.

Fairy Ring: Shards of Janderelle (Fairy Ring #1) by Jacque Stevens | A Book Review

Fairy Ring: Shards of Janderelle (Fairy Ring #1) by Jacque Stevens | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got this from I have read a few books from the same author and I have enjoyed her stories. So, when I saw this up for review, I signed up.

This story reminds me of superstitious stories here in my country about people being taken by supernatural creatures. Once that person eats the food served by these creatures, s/he will never be able to go back to the human world. In this story, personal effects or belongings of that said person brought to the world of the fairies will grant her the privilege of staying with them forever. No more pains and aches of this human world.

This story is about a fourteen-year old girl named Livy who had to grew up being responsible for her mother. Her mother is a drug addict which resulted to her father leaving them, taking along with him Livy's brother. Livy grew up having two fairies for best friends. Livy was more comfortable fighting imaginary monsters and going off into fantastic adventures with her two best friends. Until, Child Protective Services took her and decided that she live with her father. 

This story tackles the borders between reality and the imagined. It mixes psychology and fantasy thereby blurring the lines separating the two. Like the two characters in this story--Livy and Kaito. These two teenagers seemed to be suffering from mental illness but to them there exist another reality. A world where Kaito is a prince and Livy is a princess, in a land where the human problems and worries do not exist. A place where these two could just be themselves. No one calls them weird or crazy. 

What I really liked about the story is the emphasis on family and love. Whatever mental illness or psychological issue anyone is going through, love and care from the family helps a lot in making that person overcome it. In this story, Livy came to realize that the person she hated the most was actually the one who was fighting so hard for her--her stepmother. Realizing she is getting all the concern, care, and love from that one person she thought who never even cared because they were not related. With that knowledge, Livy found the strength to fight the monsters that exist in her head and decided she wants to live in the real world instead of the imagined one. Life in the real world is not easy but as long as she got her dad, her brother and her step-mother, she will be alright. 

I think we all can relate to Livy and Kaito. At one point, especially when were younger, we have imaginary friends and a magical place we transport ourselves to when life confuses us and is not making any sense for our young minds. But escapism is like applying a band aid to a pestering wound. It never heals it. Unless we find the courage to face our problems and tackle them head on, that is the only time we can truly get rid of them.

I give the book 3.5/5 fairies. The story relates how it's so easy and comfortable to get lost into a fairy world just so we can escape from our problems. Like the Livy and Kaito, being in fairy land is much better because in the real world, they feel like outcasts and their problems were weighing them down with nobody to support them. Nobody cares about them. No one will miss them. And just like everything that ails in the world, friends and family make our burdens easier to bear. Just like the saying-- "a problem shared becomes lighter". When we share our worries, they do not really get solved but it makes us feel better knowing someone is there to hear us out. Sometimes, all we need is just a listening ear to boost our spirits. And like all psychological problems, unwavering support and love from the family helps a lot in giving someone suffering from these issues the motivation, strength and courage to face their demons.

Love so unconditional, it had never seemed real. 

I feared the real world, because all this time it was the only thing that ever mattered to me. The only thing I wanted. Whatever my shard was, it couldn't be confined to one person or object, even symbolically. I wanted all of it.
- Jacque Stevens, Fairy Ring: Shards of Janderelle - 

Thank you, Kathy of for the copy.

Other books by Jacque Stevens:
The Stone Bearers

Winter Falls

Fire in Frost (Crystal Frost #1) by Alicia Rades | A Book Review

Fire in Frost (Crystal Frost #1) by Alicia Rades | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I was listening to alternative music while I started to write this review. I have forgotten how it felt like to listen to them. It has been a while since I enjoyed their relaxing embrace. Listening to the music of Lifehouse, Daughtry, The Script, Alex Band, Counting Crows, etc. had always been my comfort. It's like they are giving me warmth and it's as if there is nothing that could go wrong with the world. 

So, Fire in Frost. I thought this was a fantasy. It looks like it from the title. Yes, I did not read the blurb for this story. I got a free copy from Amazon and this has been in residence in my TBR for quite a while. Finally, I have read it and it was actually a good story. It was far from what I thought it was. 

This is the first book of Alicia Rades that I read but the review for the second book after I read this one came out first. I know. I kind of have this mood when I write my reviews. It depends on what kind of mood I am in to review a book. So, some of the books I read stay for quite longer on my review drafts than the others. There are other times also that some stories are easier to review than others. Some emotions need to be processed and stewed over before they can be expressed into words. For this book, I am not sure why I was not able to write a review right away. It felt like my mood was wrong to come up with a satisfactory review for this story, until now.

This is a ghost story. Well, a girl who sees ghosts. Crystal Frost has special abilities. One of them is to see and talk to ghosts. Then, the ghost of a dead classmate started appearing to her asking for help. Will Crystal be able to uncover the truth about Olivia's death?

This is a coming of age story of Crystal trying to discover her special abilities and learning to accept and use them. In this story, Crystal was able to uncover the mystery relating to a friend's death. Olivia's ghost was asking Crystal for help and with her abilities coming in handy, Crystal was able to give eternal rest to Olivia. 

I enjoyed this story. Though this involved a ghost, it wasn't creepy at all. It was fun seeing Crystal trying to take hold of her abilities and use it to help people. Discovering also that she's not the only one endowed with special abilities made her seemed a little less crazy. She decided that her abilities are gifts and she should just embrace it instead of having to question it.

I give the book 4/5 halloween costumes. The ending hints of another adventure for Crystal. It seemed like another soul needs her help. Question is: is it dead or alive? I can't help but jump into the next book in the series. I am not sure if I have the next book though. This book is a very good start to a very interesting series of ghostly proportions. I can't believe I didn't read this sooner. Well, I better make sure I have all the books in the series so I would need not wonder what future awaits Crystal with her special abilities. 

Being psychic doesn't mean you're entitled to things other people aren't.
- Alicia Rades, Fire in Frost - 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Book of Shadows: Volume 1: Casting by Michael Beaulieu | A Book Review

Book of Shadows: Volume 1: Casting by Michael Beaulieu | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

The author reached out to me via the "contact us" form of my blog asking if I wanted to review two of his books. He gave me the blurb for each book and I agreed to review them. He suggested that I first read this book as it has generated a lot of positive reactions and then read the other one later. So, after about 6 months, the review is finally out. I read this about a month or two ago. 

I know I mentioned in my review policy that the latest for me to post a review would be 3 months after I got the book. Unfortunately, I have not adhered to that more often than being able to keep that promise. So, as a solution, I created another tracker to make sure I stay true to that promise. I lost my old tracker when the other laptop crashed and my list just haven't been recreated after about a month ago. So, moving forward, I really hope that I could post my reviews within three months after getting the book copies.

Book of Shadows: Casting is the first of the series. Book two is in the editing works when the author sent me this request. This a YA story. As the title would imply, Book of Shadows, (remember the TV series Charmed?) it's about witchcraft. While writing this review, I realized that this book had a few similarities with Charmed. Aside from the theme, of course. Like the Halliwell sisters, this story also involved the power of three young girls. And, the book of witchcraft also came from the grandmother of one of the three girls--Emma.

The three girls are Emma, Lia and Shar. Lia and Shar are Emma's best friends who are also gay and are a couple. When Emma found her grandmother's book of spells, she recruited Lia and Shar to join her and make a coven. They tried some of the spells in the book and even did a love spell on Emma's crush. Casting spells is fun until they have to face the effects of their spell-casting and even undo some of them. These three have to stand up to bullies and make things right before a disaster resulted as a byproduct of their spells.

One thing that fascinated me with this story was the setting. The girls live in Lowell, Massachusetts. Lowell also happens to be name of my brother-n-law. The place may not prompt anything special to you but it does ring a bell to me. While I was in the US for a training for work way back in 2013, one of the main offices of the company I worked for was in Andover, MA. Lowell is one of the places we pass by when we went sight-seeing in Boston or to some restaurant to eat dinner or lunch. I think, we might have passed by one of the schools in Lowell. In a way, I feel a connection to the story because of the place. I was actually driving around in the area and was on one of the streets. This story somehow reminded me of that trip and my experiences. One of the other places mentioned in the book was Newburyport and we had dinner one time there also. It's a scenic coastal and historical city. It was raining and chilly when were there. We didn't have a lot of time to visit historical sites because the places would have been closed already after we had dinner. I do remember there was a chocolate shop and the buildings were old just like in Boston. I also remember, some of my colleagues went to Salem to visit the witch museum while we were off to New York. Maybe next time, I will visit Salem when I have the chance to go back to the US. Hopefully, it would be soon.

This was actually a very fun story. The girls curious and in a way, heedless, wanted to find out if the book was really authentic and if it was really it--a book of spells that really works. Until, they realized that their spells have effects on other people and soon they have to undo or do another spell to counteract the first one. Then, more serious events happened not entirely direct effects from the spells but in a way, still can be traced back to witchcraft. So, from there, the story seemed to take on a dark turn. And the ending was just so curious that I can't help but want to read book two already.

I give the book 4/5 lavender candles. I enjoyed the book. The blunders and mishaps the girls had to go through and put out are reminders that witchcraft is a serious business and it can cause harm if not done properly. The girls learned some hard lessons from their experiences and even matured in a way witchcraft could only do. I loved watching Charmed and these three girls reminded me of how the Halliwell sisters were when they first discovered they were powerful witches. I am looking forward to the next book and I can't wait to discover what other blunders and fires the girls will have to contend with. And will they be able to keep their secret for long, now that a few had been let on it?

Honestly, I am not sure if I believe in witchcraft. As they all say, the Salem witch hunt was a farce. It sentenced innocent people to death needlessly. At the same time, it also reminds me about the books of Paulo Coelho that talks about Wicca. So, until I am actually shown evidence that it's real, I'll reserve judgement. I do believe that if there are witches like the three girls here or the Halliwell sister's power of three, then I think they are really cool. And if witches are true, then it's comforting to know that we have people who have the ability to fight evil like the Charmed Ones. The protector of the innocent. I feel safer having that in mind. 

I feel like a wife who's lost her husband. Like I should be one of those widows who only wear black after their husbands have died.
- Michael Beaulieu, Book of Shadows: Casting - 

Thank you, Michael Beaulieu for the copy. 

Soul City by Mon D. Rea | A Book Review

Soul City by Mon D. Rea | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got this book from Goodreads. I joined a book club for all Filipinos and the author is a member of the same book club. He was giving away paperback copies of his two books in exchange for review. I signed up to review this book and he included the other one which is just to my liking.

This is my first time to read a book by the author. I did not know what to expect but if the blurb were any basis, I was in for a trip to the underworld. 

The story is about Nate Cuervo who suffered from depression and committed suicide. Morbid and creepy, right? But like everything else, regret is always after the fact. Nate regretted what he did. He missed his girlfriend, Samantha. Just when he thought he is going to undergo endless torment as punishment for what he did, he was given an assignment by the Grim Reaper, Septhemus Rex. But it's not all that, Septhemus has a secret and he wanted Nate to help him.

The story reminds me a lot about the Greek mythology. The description of the underworld complete with the creatures that were in the Greek mythology like Kharon, the ferryman of the River Styx and Kerberos, the three-headed dog. It was nice, feeling a familiarity with a few characters of this story. And, I love mythology so this book just hit my weak spot. The story is very detailed and descriptive. I can easily picture out how the underworld looks like through Nate's eyes. If you are faint-hearted, better be careful because the vivid descriptions are gory and unpleasant. Make sure that you are not eating while reading this because I am pretty sure you will lose your appetite or you will likely puke. That's how disgusting yet appropriate the descriptions are. The story started with dark and sad thoughts which brought our character into the underworld. But it turns out, even in hell, there is a sliver of light or hope, if you prefer. It was not that grim for Nate, apparently.

The Grim Reaper falling in love with a mortal girl is not a very new idea. This same idea is even in a Korean tv novella. But what I liked about this is that Septhemus does not know how and what it is. Why it torments him and why he has this indescribable and illogical need to talk to the girl. So, Nate Cuervo to the rescue and gives Septhemus lessons in "how to court a girl 101". This amused me. I can imagine the Grim Reaper's face trying to figure out this alien feeling he is experiencing. This also reminds me how it was like falling in love for the first time. This feeling of being in love makes the Grim Reaper a little bit human. It's cute and at the same time, I feel sorry for him having to make sense of it all. Like it was beyond his comprehension and like an incurable disease that he wants to be rid of.

The revelation of Nate's history and birth, how he ended up in the orphanage and how different he is from all the other kids was a very brilliant background story. It was so incredible. Very creative yet not so outlandish. I really like the author's interpretation of the storks and the crows. It does make sense. It somehow fits nicely into the whole story.

I also like the ending. Redemption. And the message that LOVE is really a force to be reckoned with, even those purported to be heartless or those who have no feeling at all, are not even immune to it. No one escapes the power of love, even the Grim Reaper was helpless to it. Yes, though this story started out grim, dark, and sad, it ended beautifully. 

I give this book 4.5/5 crows. I did enjoy it, though it was a bit dark for my taste. The ending did make up for it. I keep saying that this is dark, because it honestly and truthfully laid out how depression could envelop a person and drive one to desperation. In a way, I can relate to Nate. I can feel what he is feeling and I understand how he ended up making that horrible choice. I know some people would wonder why a person would try to end his/her own life. You won't know what goes through inside a person's head. You can't judge that person just by the act. A lot of reasons could spur anyone. And admit it, each of us are not made the same way. Some of us are just not as strong as we try to make everyone believe. Sometimes, death is just the easiest way out. I am not advocating death as the answer to end everything. I am just trying to point out that depression is a serious concern. If you know someone who seems to be going through this, help him/her. And don't judge. Be thankful you are not going through a mid-life crisis, a major self-esteem breakdown or a severe case of being lost--loss of direction, inspiration and motivation. Some of us are just more broken than others and sometimes, it takes so much more to get all the pieces back together. Some just thought they don't have anything to live for. It's unfortunate that some can't seem to find the basic strength to even wake up each morning. It's a sad fact and the least we can do is be sensitive and to always be kind. You never know what the other persons is going through and how you treat him/her might actually just make a whole lot of difference.

Once in your life you'll find the perfect love and it'll be everything you imagined, whether or not you stayed a believer. You'll find it at the most unexpected time and in the most unassuming place. It masquerades as something commonplace, neither remarkable nor memorable. It just happens.
- Mon D. Rea, Soul City -

Thank you, Mon D. Rea, for the paperback copy.

Henrietta and the Battle of the Horse Mesa (Henrietta the Dragon Slayer #3) by Beth Barany | A Book Review

Henrietta and the Battle of the Horse Mesa (Henrietta the Dragon Slayer #3) by Beth Barany | A Book Review

Finally, I have finished this book and the series. This has been in my TBR for quite a while and I feel relieved that I can now cross this off my list.

This is the third and final book of the series. Henrietta is about to face the one person who has been taunting her. The magician who wanted to destroy the whole five kingdoms and rule it. Will she succeed?

This story wraps up the whole adventure of Henrietta and her friends--Jaxter who was not just a jester but rather an heir to a kingdom; Frank the knight who proved to be more than a loyal friend to Henri, and Paulette who was destined to become a powerful sorcerer who wields fire. These characters were present through the four books (including the prequel) and they have helped Henri throughout all her struggles and self-doubt. These friends had helped her find her self again and realize what she is destined to do. In this third and final installment, Henri met a few more friends who would help in her quest to finally end the evil and darkness that has gripped the Five Kingdoms for years. She will have to reunite the four kingdoms in order to beat this formidable enemy with magic.

I like the character of Rimah. She is a wise, brave and strong girl for her age. She complements Henri's character. And she proved to be a very good friend for Henri. She brings balance and eases the confusion and doubts running amok in Henri. These two would make a really good team. I also liked that she gives Henri new names.

What I was not comfortable with the story was how the events were relayed like they were separate events one after the other instead of being more cohesive. For example, the story started with Paulette and at first, it was confusing because I was pretty sure that scene was part of book two. It turned out, it was replaying or looking back to what happened previously. It seemed to me like it was not clearly done and I was under the impression that how the story should start was not properly outlined. I didn't like how the sequence of events were detailed. Instead of showing what Jaxter, Paulette, Franc and Henri were doing during one time, it seemed to be showing what happened to one character for a prolong period. And then, it goes back to that same period and then talks about another character. I just wished the flow was more fluid. Though, the chapters nearing the end were getting more connected and the flow of the story was a bit more solid. 

I give the book 4/5 horses with spots. So far, this is the best of the books in the series. I like how each character plays an important part in the whole story and is needed in order to defeat the sorcerer. The story is so detailed and felt like each character's adventure was a little story inside the story. I just wished the sequence of the chapters was done better. Nevertheless, this was a great ending to the trilogy. I would say, I liked Henri now. I liked how her character evolved through the stories and especially in this book, she has shown her full potential and what she is made of. Her strength and her natural ability to lead has fully manifested and she has become wiser and more mature as this story comes to a close. I also liked how the sorcerer was defeated and his final fate. It was fair, judging by the evils and deaths he has spread throughout the kingdom. I think the ending was done really well and each character's individual story was wrapped up properly. 

That is not the way to grow a warrior, with little worries and fears, nay.
- Beth Barany, Henrietta and the Battle of the Horse Mesa -  

Thank you, Beth Barany for the copy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Charm (A Cinderella Reverse Fairytale) (Reverse Fairytales #1) by J. A. Armitage | ARC | A Book Review

Charm (A Cinderella Reverse Fairytale) (Reverse Fairytales #1) by J. A. Armitage | ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I am also a member of J. A. Armitage's Facebook Group. I also get ARC's of her new books. I read this last month but was unable to post a review right away. This is another retelling of my favorite fairytale of all time--Cinderella. 

What kind of Cinderella story is this one? And what separates this from the other retellings done before? Well, this is totally different because it is a reverse-Cinderella story. Instead of Cinderella orphaned and left to the care of her step-mother and bullied and oppressed by her step-sisters, this Cinderella is a he. Yes, he is not some helpless damsel just waiting to be saved. Cynder instead is a kitchen servant and is attracted to the princess--Princess Charmaine.

I felt like the story is more focused on Princess Charmaine instead of Cynder. And I like it. Again, this retelling worked for me because it kept the spotlight on the heroine of the story which is the princess. I don't mind that Cynder is relegated to being a supporting role, though the love story would definitely not work without him. Just like in the original story of Cinderella, it narrated the story of Cinderella and less of the prince and as I have said, I liked that this one stayed on that track. This is a story of a girl.

So, this is a story of a princess who had to step in her dead sister's shoes to produce an heir for the kingdom. She had to choose from a line up of royalty, rich and honorable gentlemen to marry. But as the heart would have it, she falls in love with one who was never going to be in the list--a servant who washes dishes in the palace kitchen. And if that's not problem enough, an impending war is about to break out and threatens to throw the whole kingdom into chaos. Worst of all, Cynder, is found to be in the middle of all these things. Will this story have a happy ending?

This is probably the most suspenseful Cinderella story I have ever read. It's packed with action, politics and intrigue that added more color and spice to this retelling. I can't say this is the best retelling of Cinderella's story but it's definitely very interesting and engaging. I can't wait for the next book and what other problems and hurdles these two lovers will have to go through in order to keep and fight for their love. 

I give the book 4.5/5 fancy dinner plates. I love that the female character in this story is not some helpless damsel in distress. Princess Charm is indeed in distress here due to the responsibility and future of the kingdom being placed on her shoulders but she is one smart and daring lady. I am happy that in this story, she is not some meek person who just took all the beating. She is an empowered and intelligent woman and she is someone who is absolutely not going to just stand by and let things happen. I wished the original Cinderella was more like Princess Charm.

A mother's touch that could cure any ills, all except this one.
- J. A. Armitage, Charm - 

Thank you, J. A. Armitage, for the ARC.

The Blazing Glass (Sons of the Sand #2) by Kimberly Loth | ARC | A Book Review

The Blazing Glass (Sons of the Sand #2) by Kimberly Loth | ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

This is book 2 of the Sons of the Sand series. I am a member of Kimberly Loth's ARC group so I get all advance copies of her books. I really enjoyed all her stories and hopefully, I will have time to read all her other books. Like the Dragon Kings series which I only read the 4th and 5th book. I have not read the first three. And there is also another series which I have not even started yet. I haven't also read The Thorn Chronicles and the Omega Mu Alpha Brothers series. Yes, too many books, too little time.

This installment came with a lot of surprises. It was like my birthday. A lot of unexpected things and revelations were in this book. They came one after the other that I just can't help feeling bombarded by all these development. So, it was not so hard to get carried away by the events in this story. Gabe and Liv are finally together but the relationship does not promise to be all rainbows and roses. It comes with a lot of complications with Gabe being a genie and all that came with it. Liv, on the other hand, also has a secret of her own which she doesn't know at all. And, I was right on my suspicion that the bizarre fact of her grandmother not being able to talk is something. And it was. Wow! I felt like I was wiped out by a big wave and is still trying shake out the water that hit my face and head. The number of revelations and the implications that came with them are just so astounding and unbelievable. This story has just topped the ante. And it's not just about genies anymore. It's more and I love it!

Dangers and secrets. This story will make you crazy with the additional complexities poured into the mix. And the cliffhanger ending does not help, either. This story spells large O-M-G! Oh, my genie! Oh, my Goddess! I am so excited for the next book. I want to be surprised again as to how the story will go from here. I think, it can go anywhere from here and anything can happen. I think I should be prepared to be blown away, again. 

I give this book 5/5 sharp sickles. I can't wait for the next book. I have high expectations and I am sure, Miss Loth will never fail to make things absolutely even more amazing. I just can't help but say, Congratulations! This is unbelievable!

Never before had I had something that I could waste so much time on. It was a beautiful thing. Mindless yet satisfying.
- Kimberly Loth, The Blazing Glass - 

Thank you, Kimberly Loth for the ARC.

Other books in the series:
The Smoking Lamp (Sons of the Sand #1) 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Angoleth's Heir (Dragons of Angoleth #1) by Megan Poetschlag | A Book Review

Angoleth's Heir (Dragons of Angoleth #1) by Megan Poetschlag | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got this as an ARC but have not been able to read it right away. This has been sleeping on my TBR. Finally, I can cross this off the list.

This is a story about dragon's. At first, it's not really obvious. The hint of dragons only came when the protagonist, Soraya, was taken back to her home--Angoleth. Soraya was taken to the land of humans when she was just an infant to protect her. She was given to a human couple his father has seen on Central Park. Yes, his father literally handed her over to a couple to take care of and to keep her safe. Luckily, the couple was childless and the wife was instantly taken with Soraya. They loved and nurtured Soraya until she got the surprise of her life when she turned eighteen. A guy, named Ruinar, visited Soraya to take her back to her birth parents and her home. 

This is a coming of age story of a girl who was meant to be more. An heir to a kingdom and is the only person who can save her parents and the whole kingdom from falling fully into evil hands. But before she can do any saving, she has to accept and learn to be in her new skin. She has to train to be a warrior and defeat the evil that has poisoned and destroyed Angoleth. Aside from that, she has to know more about the kingdom that she is soon to inherit and its inhabitants that she will soon serve.

This story reminded me of Kimberly Loth's Dragon Kings series. The similarities lie in having a young person/creature to serve or rule a kingdom and of course, there are dragons in both stories. Both stories also tackle the age old idea of good versus evil. The difference of the two is that Dragon Kings have three kings while in this story, so far it only spoke of one heir to the kingdom.

The story is not new and having the main character of Soraya grew up in the human world, away from her birth parents and unaware of her true identity is also not unheard of. But the fact, that she is a powerful magnificent and mythical creature is what fascinates me and the story did not in any way gave a clue until Soraya was ready to go back home. That part of the story was what I really liked because I was so clueless as to what Soraya really is. I know that she is important, as described in the early part of the story but how vital she is to be in the affairs and fate of the kingdom of Angoleth was yet to be revealed.

Another thing I liked about the story was the sufficient background story of how Angoleth came to be and its characters. Ruinar and even the supporting characters like Almira, Tinnu and Cyra were also given enough information as how they are essential to the whole story to work.

I give this book 4/5 black books. As I have said, the story is not really extraordinary but I love how the unveiling of Soraya's identity was played out. It was done with finesse. The author made the readers comfortable first with the first few chapters of the book and then, out of nowhere, the curtains are raised and lo and behold, the real Soraya. It was done with absolute care and with the reader so clueless as to what is coming next. I know this book was about dragons but I was still surprised when the dragons came into the picture. For that, I praise the author's skill for handling that part of the story very cleverly. I am looking forward to the next installments of the series. Thank you, Megan Poetschlag for the copy.

Don't worry, I am even more afraid and confused than you, but I have to smile and pretend I know what's going on.
- Megan Poetschlag, Angoleth's Heir - 

Sprite by Anna B. Madrise | A Book Review

Sprite by Anna B. Madrise | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

The Holidays are coming and this book is just in time. This felt like a retelling of The Christmas Carol. Remember the story of Ebenezer Scrooge? This story reminded me of Scrooge but only with some twists that make this its own.

I got this from the author's giveaway on Instagram. Can you believe it? I won six paperbacks from the author. Yes, I felt so lucky. This is the third book of that 6-book prize. Thank you again, Anna B. Madrise.

Sprite, not the carbonated drink but a supernatural being. They are similar to fairies but a little bigger, more like a little child. Their most distinguishing feature is the ability to command snow or shower snowflakes. This supernatural creature is one of the major player in this story. Sprite, which is also her name is tasked to change Blaine Frost into a compassionate, giving, courageous and joyful person. Blaine's motivation is to be able to keep the love of his life--Noel.

Like the very popular Christmas story of Scrooge, Blaine's story also started on the eve of Christmas day. He was driving home with Noel on a snowy night when he lost control of his car because he drunk. Blaine woke up to an unconscious Noel on the passenger side and the appearance of a child-like character with white hair and pink lips sitting on his hood. The said character gave her an assignment to perform so he could have Noel back. Failure to do acts of compassion, charity, courage and joy in seven days will lose him Noel for good. 

This is a very modern twist to the classic Christmas story of all time. Blaine represents the modern-day Scrooge but with more good looks and a very nice girlfriend. Blaine is a workaholic and a person who never thought about anyone else but himself. He grew up in a family who never thought about money because it was never lacking. His only redeeming quality is he loves his girlfriend which makes him an upgraded version of Scrooge. At least Blaine is capable of loving someone other than himself.

The story ended with Blaine being able to perform all virtues required by Sprite. He got Noel back and got more friends who became like family to him because of his change of heart. A happy ending. Great! But what I really liked about the story is how it emphasized paying attention to our surroundings. Blaine, if you really look at him, is not a bad person. He never hurt anyone intentionally but he also never cared about anybody else's business. I think his faults were in his omissions. He did not care about his employees spending more hours at work thereby, missing out on family events. He never cared about the homeless person which turned out to be someone he knew in high school. All these minor details added up have major effects in other people's lives. How many of us are just like Blaine? We are all guilty. What I love about this story is it is so unassuming. It even comes as a cute and funny tale because of Sprite's character but it also poses a very heavy reminder of the very small things we try to not see. The things that we refuse to look and turn our heads away because it has no bearing to us in any way. 

I give this book 4/5 snowflakes. Though the story is done in a light way, with Sprite's character who is very playful, it holds a very important and relevant lesson. It reminds us all of doing a random act of kindness everyday. Just because we are so busy with our lives and our own problems, doesn't mean it gives us the license to forget about the rest of the world. A little random act of kindness goes a long way and this was what really hit me in this story. Though, in here, all the acts done by Blaine were not totally done to strangers, the meaning and essence is still the same. If you can't be compassionate and giving to the people you know, how much more to those who aren't? This book is really in time for the holidays but kindness should be practiced all the days of the year. Kindness is not only done during Christmas. It should be given any day. And let's not forget about love. After all, it was Blaine's love that moved him to be a better man.

Being homeless doesn't just strip somebody of the basic necessities, like shelter and food, it also strips away one's dignity. Somehow, maybe not monetarily, but somehow, I will pay you back for your help. Give me that-- my dignity, my self-worth.
- Anna B. Madrise, Sprite - 

Kiss Me in the Rain (Destined for Love: Mansions #2 ) by Lindzee Armstrong | ARC | A Book Review

Kiss Me in the Rain (Destined for Love: Mansions #2 ) by Lindzee Armstrong | ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

Kiss me in the rain. Sounds like a title of a song or a lyric. The fact that it sounds so romantic gives it an even more graceful ring to it. Have you imagined yourself being kissed in the rain? Or have you actually done it? And how was it?

I have not been kissed in the rain. I don't know if that is unfortunate but at least I know how it feels like because of this story. But then again, bridging the great divide between reality and imagination is an entirely different story.

This is a sequel to Kiss Me in the Moonlight. Another title for a song, right? Anyway, this story features two characters who were in Kiss Me in the Moonlight--Layla and Tyler. After spending their summer in Paris as tour guides, these two decided to go back to the US. Layla went back to her home--Cypress Grove. A mansion which is often a venue for parties of the elite. Tyler quit grad school and decided to follow Layla to her hometown.

This is my nth book from Lindzee Armstrong. I didn't realize that I was slowly becoming a fan of this author. It does help being a member of her ARC team. It was one of the first few groups that I signed up for. At first, I didn't know what it all entails but I just read her books which I get for free. No regrets there. I did enjoy her clean and sweet stories. They were easy to read and very relatable. Feel-good reads and very easy to finish in one sitting. Without me knowing, Armstrong's stories became my go-to when I feel like I need to feel good and they never fail me. To this day, I have almost read all of her stories and I am looking forward to reading more of them. I would just like to say my big thanks to the author for her invigorating stories of love.

Like all of the author's other stories, this is a clean read also. It speaks of how two people overcome the divide between economic status and family expectations. It speaks of following one's dream and passion in life. Like the rest of us, these two fictional characters have their own dreams. Tyler wants to build a business flipping houses. Layla wants to be able to do what she wants without feeling guilty about her family's expectations and requirements. Like all good stories, conflicts and antagonists add more spice and flair. In here, a little mystery and embezzling is added for good measure. And betrayal and disappointment packed the whole story into a neat little package. 

Like the first book, this is not a straight romance story but with a mix of a little mystery which leads to a major problem for our two main characters. How they manage and resolve this by helping each other is how this story leads to the kissing in the rain part. Yes, a happy ending. 

I give this book 4/5 umbrellas. I liked that this story or the stories in the Destined for Love series is mixed with mystery and suspense. It sort of brought the story to another level and still remain clean and fun and end with a very happy ending for the characters. If you are looking for clean, feel-good and inspirational love stories, read Lindzee Armstrong's books. You will never be disappointed. They are not too heavy but packed with enough spice here and there to give more life to the stories. 

Her hero, her idol, had fallen off his pedestal, and she'd never again view him the same.
- Lindzee Armstrong, Kiss Me in the Rain - 

By Light of Hidden Candles by Daniella Levy | A Book Review

By Light of Hidden Candles by Daniella Levy | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I have always been fascinated with historical fiction/thriller stories. Anything with a historical background or story that transports me back to the past, as far back as the age of the cavemen, is surely going to end up in my TBR. This book is one. Even more so, because it talks about faith--Jewish faith. Judaism. I am not Jewish but this story had me reeling because it hits my weakness. I love stories about conspiracies or theories or just about anything about faith, religion, and artifacts. This story just had a mix of all that.

This is my first time to read a book by this author and I am happy to admit that it was not a wasted effort. This book transported me to Spain--the modern and the old one. It brought me as far back as the time of the Spanish Inquisition. The time when Jews were exiled and persecuted by the Spanish authorities. This story also reminded me one of the books I just read last month about Christopher Columbus--The Virgin of the Wind Rose by Glen Craney. The same book spoke of the Spanish Inquisition and how Jews at that time hid their faith just so they could stay alive. 

Unlike Glen Craney's book which was more of conspiracies and plots and a likely theory of the real identity of Columbus, this book is more of a romantic genre. This book centers on two strong characters of opposing religion--Alma, a devout and practicing Jew; and Manuel, a Catholic Spaniard who wants to become a priest. These two crossed paths when Manuel, out of curiosity stopped at a Jewish shop of Alma's grandma. Both were oblivious to the fact that their lives are more entwined than they ever could imagine.

The story goes back a few generations where the ancestors of these two characters met. The beginning of the story which leads up to the current time where Alma is tasked to fulfill what her grandmother and her great-grandmothers before her were unable to accomplish. Alma, out of her love for her grandmother and for curiosity of the women in their family that came before her, gladly accepted the honor and the opportunity to get to know more about her family tree. 

At the same time, here is Manuel, obviously, taken with Alma when he first saw her. As fate would have it, Manuel and Alma get to partner with each other to do the research on their family tree in Spain. These two's  differences in faith would prove to be both an advantage and a hindrance to their slowly blossoming closeness. Manuel, by some inexplicable force or reason could not temper his curiosity for the Jewish religion. It seemed like an unknown hand is guiding him to probe deeper into the intricacies and ceremonies of the Jewish culture and Judaism. And it doesn't help that he is bound by his love and loyalty to a Catholic priest who was like a second father to him.

All these doubts and confusion going on both in Alma and in Manuel, added to the air of suspense to the whole story. Not to the mention, the quest for each of the stories of each ancestors. The daunting task of both being able to unravel their families history and background has been a really addicting ride. At first, the search proved to be hitting a dead end and then, the unlikely discoveries, one after the other, were leading up to the climax of both realizing they were a product of a long history of friendship, business partnership, and more.

And the best part of the story was when Manuel met his grandmother's sister. It was what I have been waiting all along. I had a suspicion that the little things his mother does for him, like being a vegetarian and all, weren't just nuisance details but a hint into something more. It was the grandmother of all revelations. I took a really deep breath after that part. Ah...a happy ending after all.

I give this book 5/5 lit candles. This story brought light to me as to the customs and intricacies of the Jewish religion and culture. It is a good insight into the religion that was purported to be the origin of the Catholic faith. The intricately planned and written historical background of the characters and the connection between Alma and Manuel just blew me away. I admit, at the start, I had an inkling that Manuel will prove to be a big part of Alma and her quest to fulfill her grandma's last wish. As to how the story was beautifully and artfully uncovered was just so beyond me. It was so exhilarating and fulfilling. It was like I was with Alma and Manuel in Spain, digging through the archives for some document that will contain some evidence as to lives of my descendant. This book had me thinking that maybe, since the Spaniards occupied my country for 333, I too may have a drop of Spanish blood in my veins. What an adventure it would be to go and research that lost family connection? That's just a thought. I am not actually sure if we have Spanish ancestors. Just the thought of undertaking the same endeavor as Alma and Manuel and then finding actual proof is just too hard to pass. I actually have a desire to trace my family tree, especially on my mother's side since they are a really big family and relatives are scattered all over. I have started with the project but have not been really giving a lot of thought to it. Who knows, because of this story, I might continue on reconstructing that family tree and eventually find I might be related to some important hero like Lapu-lapu. Again, just a thought.

But you know, our story is not only about exile and oppression and suffering. It is the story of thriving, of triumph, and of great faith. It is the story of a people that laughs in the face of deepest despair, that stubbornly clings to life and to joy even in the face of horror and death. We take our pain and turn it into poetry. We take our misfortune and transform it into opportunity.
- Daniella Levy, By Light of Hidden Candles -

Thank you, Netgalley and Daniella Levy, for the copy of this amazing story.

Sweet Sacrifice (The Soul Mate Tree) by L. D. Rose | ARC | A Book Review

Sweet Sacrifice (The Soul Mate Tree) by L. D. Rose | ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I read this last month. I have been unable to post any reviews for the past two weeks because I was feeling so down. To be honest, I have been feeling out of sorts for quite a while, I think, maybe for years. I just didn't realize it. It slowly built up through the years, slowly creeping on me. This same emotion is just very relevant to this story. Not that someone very close died. I just feel so broken.

The story...After reviewing two of the author's books, she asked me if I wanted to read another one of her stories. When she mentioned angels, I readily agreed.

Irene, is still mourning her husband's death after two years. Former Navy Seal Sebastian Lockhard died in Afghanistan when he leaped onto a grenade to save his comrades. To Irene, the lost and grief are still very alive and fresh. It seemed like it was just yesterday. The pain, sorrow and emptiness are still excruciatingly oozing out of her. It seemed like it will never end. Until, Bash suddenly appears to her. Has she truly gone mad with grief that her mind has finally reach its breaking point?

This is a story of angels, guardian angels, of archangels and the unending war between good and evil. This is also a story of undying love. Love that encompasses death. I love stories about angels. I have always been fascinated by these heavenly beings. I believe in guardian angels. I think there had been a lot of times where I truly felt that I have been under the protection of these beings. They have always been a very curious subject for me. Way back in college, I remember borrowing a few books about them and collecting those cute angel figurines. I even named one of my nephews, Uriel, from one of the archangels.

The story centers on Bash and Irene-- on Bash's life after death. How he came to become one of the archangels and his assignment as a soldier for heaven. His selfless sacrifice as a soldier earned him the honor to become one of God's elite army to maintain balance between good and evil. Bash gladly accepted the new life given to him but he still can't forget the love of his life. His undying love for his wife proved to be a more powerful force than any he has to face. Seeing his wife still tormented by his sudden death is crushing his heart to pieces. He just can't continue to stand and just watch his wife slowly and painstakingly consumed by grief and slowly losing her ardor for life.

The story is very heartbreaking but it ended with redemption and undying love. This story proved that love still rules above everything else. It also speaks of second chances. A chance to continue the life of service to humanity again and a chance to be with the person you love. The story posed a choice between these two things. In the end, love for that other person, the other half of your life, far exceeds the love for service and other things. I love how the story ended and what Bash chose. After all, isn't it what God's love is--unconditional love?

I give this book 4/5 pairs of angel's wings. The story is overflowing with raw and painful emotions. It's as if, I too felt the deep and the harrowing grief and loss that Irene felt. I can feel Bash's longing for Irene. Bash's confusion and doubt over choosing between being God's soldier or to reunite with the love of his life. It is indeed a sweet sacrifice to give up everything, just to be with the person who means more than life, itself.

Like a runaway train without brakes, Irene raced along the tracks of life on the verge of derailment. All she needed was the right push and it was all over.
- L. D. Rose, Sweet Sacrifice - 

Thank you, L. D. Rose for the ARC.

Other books by the same author:
Releasing the Demons (Order of the Senary #1)

Black Bullet (Order of the Senary #2)