Review 33: Song of Blood & Stone

First, what a beautiful cover! As far as book presentation, I am impressed. The little folktales before each chapter are fun and not distracting. I even like the size of the hardcover book, the way it fits in my hands, and the slightly and purposely jagged edges.

This is a New Adult book, a change of pace from the usual YA and middle-grade I read. There are adult situations (politics, sex, sense of duty, etc) present in the book as well as this review.


“…They battled forces much more powerful than themselves. She could only hope those forces wouldn’t win” (pg 244).

In Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles #1) by L. Penelope (372 pages), Jasminda is half-Lagrimari from her father and half-Elsiran from her mother, who was disowned by her family. Lagramari are treated like dirt with pronounced distaste. Jasminda, living a quiet farm life, manages to avoid most of the country people’s scrutiny until a fateful day. After going to the post office, a relatively-dying soldier in the enemy’s clothes, Jack, needs her help. This chance meeting sets many events into motion and unveils a powerful past.

Heads up. There’s an attempted sexual assault moment around pg 60. It’s really unnecessary and serves no purpose but to point out the bad guys. Also, it’s never mentioned again and has no long-lasting effects on the character who experienced it.

The story’s told through Jasminda and Jack’s alternating perspectives, which is fine. In the background, Jasminda can see visions of a past earthsong couple and her songless twin. Unfortunately, I wondered when did the visions become more compelling than the actual story. On a side note, you can notice some real-life parallels fairly easy.

Also, okay, there’s a teensy amount of cringe/ultra dramatic-ness in Jasminda and Jack’s first interaction.

“With great effort, she pulled away from the impossible temptation of his body” (pg 40).

“The intensity in his expression dissolved her creeping sorrow, bringing instead a pang of yearning.”

Concerning the romance, I’ll admit maybe Jack and Jasminda’s attraction happened rather quickly. But they’re not proclaiming their undying love, so it’s cool, right? They respect each other and think the other is very attractive. Also, some onesided dry- humping ensures until later.

“Molten longing pooled between her legs” (pg 211).

Lose his sanity? devoured his mouth? her scent driving him crazy? his hardness? is this a fanfiction!?!


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jk… Okay, I’m just poking harmless fun. I know I can’t write love scenes and it stops being cringy after a while. xD If the love scenes were hardcore with all the real names of the reproductive organs, I would be acting like a total shy kid.


“Do what you think you can’t” (pg 24).

I understand that Jasminda’s been pretty beaten up in life dealing with prejudiced country and city folk, but she’s a little bland. It’s like she just reacts to her surroundings but doesn’t have strong feelings about it. (ex: oh, I have to protect myself? pull out knife. we can’t be friends? cries…)

Jack is okay. Just okay.

My favorite characters had to be Yllis and Oola.

You know who was really interesting that I wanted to see more of? Grandad! Vanesse and the other Elsiran family members too. I also want to know more about Jasminda’s family, her daddy and the twins.


I don’t know.  Everything just wrapped together too nicely. Not a lot transpired in this book for the longest. The bulk of the story is world-building, Jack and Jasminda, and some visions. Of course, it’s understandable being the first book of a trilogy (?).

Yes, insta-love is present. He’s her whole heart after a week and two sex sessions? I’m assuming more relationship development happens offscreen since Jack knew about her aunt, and I don’t remember that conversation (possibly forgot or skimmed over it).

The entire earthsong story and power is my absolute favorite part, so I muddled through the star-crossed lovers drama and whatnot. The female deity and folklore are equally interesting parts as well. If you’re into fantasy in general, I recommend it. If you’re seeking action or slow-burn romance, look elsewhere.

STILL, I’mma rock with it to book 2. Somehow I think since all the expository, world-building writing’s out of the way, we can get into the real meat of the story. ^^

2.5 stars out of 5, but let’s round it up to 3!

Thanks for reading!


Book Review: #27 Reindeer Boy

Okay, this was silly but super cute. I believe it’s an OEL (Original English Language [manga]), and it read like a shoujo.


Reindeer Boy by Cassandra Jean (192 pages) is about Quincy, a normal girl who has nubs growing out of her head. The arrival of a mysterious boy, Cupid, who has full-blown antlers growing out of his head takes not only Quincy’s school by surprise, but Quincy herself begins to take an interest in him. Of course, Cupid’s had his eyes set on her for a while now, much longer than Quincy ever anticipated. She meets his array of fellow antlered-companions and learns something new.

I really liked the Christmas-y spin on this story because I’ve never read anything reindeer-centered before. But I don’t get the point of the story. Was it about Quincy’s heritage (which was never really explained) or the romance?



I have to say the characters are really flat even though Cupid’s pretty lovable in that celebrity I like but don’t know personally type of way. Okay, what was the deal with Conway, the childhood best friend (if you read shoujo, you know the childhood best friend almost never wins XD)? Why was Irena so flaky? Where was Quincy’s mom? Deceased? Divorced? Adopted?

Quincy is a cutie (especially, as a kid; yay, for her being a woc). I guess she was just a girl, curious and a lover of a photography. I couldn’t pinpoint her actual personality because I didn’t honestly see one. I supposed she was reserved.

Cupid, I liked the most. He was smug without being a flirty playboy. It’s really hard for some writers to have cocky characters that aren’t grating, and I’m glad Cupid’s one of the few likable ones.

I liked the Reindeer friends/family, but they weren’t too memorable though. Blitzen stood out to me since he so looked cool (reminded me of an action star).

Santa—Kris Kringle here— was very interesting, to say the least. He had like a one-page cameo.


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I adore the art! Everyone dresses like hipsters and the artwork’s done in the style of a generic shoujo manga or manwha. I think Cupid looks adorable and his hair is so fluffy.



I would most definitely read a sequel. I enjoyed reading this a lot, and it’s sure to make someone smile. Give it a chance!

Book Review #17: Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith

34808110Disclaimer: Received a free ebook copy in exchange for an honest review!


“Don’t let what your eyes tell you disrupt what your heart already knows” (pg 209).

In Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume (468 pages), the book opens with a girl named Betony and her non-talking animal sidekick, a blackbird called Ronan. One chapter later, our real main character is revealed (Guess who. Really, it’s easy. There’s an obvious hint in the book title). Ewan Pendle’s a normal boy with a not so normal ability. He’s being raised by non-affectionate foster parents, so unimportant that their names are John and Jane Doe, and bullied and ignored by his four brutish foster brothers. Ewan’s life has dragged on monotonously until the appearance of a strange lady who announces that he will be shipped to Firedrake Lyceum, a school with other children that see monsters just like Ewan. While there, an assassination attempt made on the Queen of England’s life (not the one you’re thinking of) fails, and it’s up to Ewan and his friends to prevent another one.

Reminiscent of HP’s four houses, Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith has five cliques, Witch (magic-users), Pyros (explosive-users), Stealth (in a sense, ninjas), Vanguard (think knights/swordsmen), and Martial (wrestlers/martial artists). I had assumed everyone would practice magic, but the cliques have their own unique twist. I would most def be in Stealth clique.

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I am not used to so many female characters in a novel centered around a boy hero. Usually, it’s just mom, sister, and female love interest. At one point, I wondered had Ewan been dropped off to an all-girls academy. I think it’s awesome and essential that the girls of this book each played a meaningful role.

“The man wasn’t just old, he looked ancient like his face and body had died a long time ago, but somehow there was still someone home” (pg 21).

There’s also a bunch of old people that aren’t relegated to only all-knowing wise roles.

I have mostly praises for this book, but I have to acknowledge that there were annoying tidbits for me. Way too many references to “coal black dreadlocks” and “liquid black eyes.” You could make a drinking game out of it whenever this character was mentioned. You can’t think for a minute that the girl’s gone bald or wonder what color her eyes were. Also, one of Ewan’s friends Carrie was sweet, but I can’t really stand sickly nice characters.


Ewan’s adorably a bit shy and awkward and definitely confused about his monster-seeing ability, lineage, and Firedrake Lyceum. He’s a little plain like white bread, but when you add his ingredients of cheese (courage), tomato (loyalty), and lettuce (cleverness) he makes an alright sandwich.

One of Ewan’s friends, Mathilde was fun! Bubbly and so optimistic, it’s no surprise her classmates were ignorant of the home life that she was glad to escape from.

Enid, the pirate girl, had a tough disposition and a major attitude in the beginning that stemmed from her upbringing. She hailed from a very large and poor pirate family. I didn’t like her much when she appeared, but she ended up as my favorite character. Little girl can pack a punch!

The Rosethorn twins, Sneath and Scarlett, were a nasty, demonic pair of kids. It was as if someone perpetually spat in their cereal each morning. Just awful!

Enola, the strange woman that brought Ewan to the academy is strange. Ewan could do no wrong in her sight, and I have no clue why. She was a cool lady with a strong air of authority around her with just enough kindness.


It’s a little long but once you get to know the characters you won’t be bored. I liked the twist at the ending too! Word of advice: If someone offers you a pirate kiss, say no and run away. You don’t need context but just remember that.

I have never read any Harry Potter books (I know the gist of the story though), so I’m not sure if this will excite or disappoint an HP fan. Just have an open mind! Also, I gotta raise my hand because I had no clue what a wraith was until now. Anyway, maybe it’s good I’ve never formally read HP. I was able to read this unbiased and thought it was a fun adventure. I give it four stars!

Mini Review #3: Off the Page

29358306So, I stayed up until 1 am last night (or day? I don’t know, man) because I just had to know what happened in the last book. Did the book redeem itself? Would I actually care about Deliah and Oliver’s love? How would Oliver be in the real world?

“The really crappy thing about being a teenager is that even if you have a legitimate, monumental problem– the sky is falling or the zombie apocalypse has begun or you’ve contracted the plague– you still have to do your geometry homework” (pg 295).

Well, Off the Pages by Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha van Leer (368 pages), got better and worst.

What did I like? I thought the death in the book was handled pretty good. I know it sounds morbid to like a fictional death, but I hadn’t expected it in such a cookie-cutter book. Thankfully, there were no do-overs either! Some of Oliver’s confusion of the real world was somewhat fun. The author (the real one) tried to add some last-minute depth to the mean girl, Allie but it was like trying to add pecans to an already cooked cookie. You know what I’m saying?

I thought some scenes in this book could have been condensed like Deliah helping Seraphima pick out a bra at Victoria Secrets because all her fat goes to her breast! Yeah, that was an actual line in the book.

The romance was dry. Oliver and Deliah are just too perfectly in love. I don’t feel anything for them.

The ending was going to be unsatisfying either way. I don’t want to say it, but the ending was a bit on the garbage end. It was so unrealistic… And I am someone that loves happy endings!

I still liked Edgar (and Jules) the most as they had the most personality out of everyone.  Chris was a cool one-note character!


Off the Page gets 2 stars from me. Should you read this book? I don’t think anyone over the age of ten would be amazed by this story. It’s a cliche book (but the premise is not) but some might find it fun and innocent!

Book Review #16: Between the Lines

12283261You guys already know I like fantasy books, so I had to read this one!


This was why there was music, he realized. There were some feelings that just didn’t have words big enough to describe them” (pg 230).

In Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and her daughter, Samantha Van Leer (352 pages), Deliah Mcphee is a total social outcast and only finds solace in her favorite kids’ fairytale Between the Lines. On the other side of reality, in that very book, Prince Oliver knows there’s more to life than rehearsing the lines of his book. Deliah wants a new life and Oliver wants to leave his book, and, of course, chaos ensues.

If I am to be perfectly honest, the book started off corny. However, the concept of self-aware fairytale characters was intriguing and managed to capture my interest early on.

“Brightening, I smile at her. ‘Look at how much we already have in common.’

“She smirks. ‘Yeah. Like, for example, I’m talking to a book, and you think you’re alive. We’re both insane’ (pg 53).

I wasn’t enthusiastic about Deliah’s narrative because she was so boring. I’ve just seen the “misunderstood high school girl” too many times to not have anything special added to her. Also, I don’t know why but I found the real life references cringy, like “Cinderella in Starbucks.”

“It hits me with the force of a blow: the understanding that I’d rather die than know I might never have a chance to truly, finally, kiss Deliah Mcphee” (pg 86).

This story had plenty of corny moments, like all fairytales, but they generally elicited the desired effects, an “aww” or an eye-roll.

But I loved the illustrations and the colorful fonts because it truly gave a storybook feel. I enjoyed the grueling process it took to get Oliver out the book. It definitely wasn’t easy, and something unexpected happened!

To me, the long-awaited kiss scene was pretty lackluster! I don’t know… Considering the book’s recommended for 12 and up (honestly, nothing in the book was bad enough to garner that rating; it was innocent), I expected the kiss to be more detailed. It had all the intensity of a grandma kiss.

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I like normal girl characters (everyone can’t have magic, superpowers, or super abilities) but Deliah was terribly boring. This is not to say I wasn’t sympathetic to her horrid school life.

There’s not much to say about Oliver. He’s just our male lead.

Jules was cool! I just wished Deliah hadn’t ignored her only friend so much, but it added need tension I guess. This was one chill girl and a decent female friend, which is sometimes lacking in YA fiction.

I liked Edgar the most even though he was only there for like five to six chapters.

All the kids at Deliah’s school fit the perfect American high school typecasts: jock, snobby popular girl, rebellious punk rocker, geek kids, etc. I didn’t like any of them.

Also, the mermaids in Oliver’s world were not what I would call feminists but that’s how they were labeled, which might ruffle some feathers.


Eh,  I found Between the Lines a bit lackluster (I give it 2 stars) yet I will definitely be reading the sequel. Hopefully, I will like the next book better because that’s when the real story starts.

Thanks for reading!

Book Review #14: The Name of the Blade: The Night Itself [Book One]

20819649 This book started off a little meh to me, and there are some cringy moments. Also, I think I glossed over the part where Mio starts calling her sword he/him, which is fine because that humanizes it.


“You will do what is necessary,” said Shinobu, not a trace of doubt in his voice. “You will do what must be done. And you will do what is right. You will always do what is right, Mio” (pg 297).

In The Name of the Blade by Zoë Marriott (368 pages), Mio takes her deceased grandfather’s katana (Japanese long sword; think samurai) to a costume party as a part of her Rukia cosplay. Guess what? It was not a good idea, as it births a bunch of evil.

Dreams play a big part in this story (I know the dreams trope is cliche but a little fantasy never hurt), and I like that because I generally enjoy stories where the character finds a connection between their dreams and the real world. Something that happened that was equally cliche and not really a spoiler was the arrival of the warrior, Shinobu. And yes, I enjoy the main character’s inanimate object turns into a human and becomes their partner or potential love interest trope as well.

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The entire Mio-Shinobu attraction happened very quickly, not necessarily a bad thing depending on what you like but just something that I noticed. Insta-love was present.

The ending did not shake me for one moment. Like, really? You want me to feel bad for a character I barely know? Well, barely care about, though I did not dislike that character.

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Mio was a big source of the mehness. I don’t really have a good grasp of her character, but I think she was sarcastic and bold. To be honest, she felt a bit like a reader-insert.

Shinobu came on a little strong and at times had an overly poetic/flowery speech, but I do like that he was a gentleman. I guess he was my favorite character or maybe Jack.

Jack was fine.

I actually found Mio and her relationship with her dad interesting, and I wanted to know why they were always at each other’s throats.


“We were death. Vengeance. Power.

We were the night itself” (pg 346).

The Name of the Blade is an okay book. Nothing that’s going to make you do cartwheels, but a good read for a lazy afternoon. If you are into Asian folklore, specifically Japanese, there are a lot yokai present like nine-tailed kitsunes (foxes) and Nekomata.

I am not super-inclined to read the sequels, but a small part of me wants to see if Mio and her dad’s relationship will get better/worse and what happens with Shinobu afterward.


Book Review #6: The Blazing Star


Black people in fantasy settings?

dj khaled another one and another one


“I peered up to him now, knowing my eyes were moons, swallowed in the reflection of his. I’d only kissed a boy named Benjamin in the sandbox in kindergarten, but this wouldn’t be a sandbox kiss” (pg 208).

In The Blazing Star by Imani Josey (286 pg), initially, everything starts normally. Portia White, the main character, is tired of coordinating her entire life to match her academic twin sister, Alex. She has a crush on a half Afro-Cuban boy, Jaden, who unfortunately only sees her as a friend. During a series of events and one persistent high school freshman, Portia, Alex, and Selene, the freshman, get transported to Ancient Egypt.

These girls took being transported to ancient Egypt too well with minimum to no freaking out, which is not very realistic but I am thankful for that. I would’ve just skipped the filler pages anyway. Okay, I’m going to be nit-picky. I always feel like characters ate stupid-flakes when it takes them forever to realize they are in the past/future.

This story confused me because so much happened. Honestly, I was lost 75% of the time. The barrage of characters throughout the story is a lot. Although the names are beautiful, they are hard to remember and referenced very little. I kept forgetting who was talking.

I cannot vouch for how accurate any of the Egyptian setting and info are in the book. If it’s not Pharaoh and Moses, Queen Cleopatra, or Anubis I don’t know.


Nothing about Portia sticks out to me. She’s sharp-tongued and wanted to be independent apart from her sister but not much else. Portia also irks me with her modern-day references. I guess it’s a running gag but I wish she would stop.

“The electric slide,” I said unable to contain the laughter anymore. “We like it for special occasions: weddings, birthdays, anytime Just Like Candy by Cameo plays” (pg 205).

Portia, what is this foolery!?! Why are you mentioning Cameo (I love their candy song by the way)? Girl, you not in 2017, so get your junk together. no never smh miss piggy

Concerning Alex, she doesn’t fare much better in making me actually care about her. She’s brainy and takes over too much. The end.

But, Selene I adore her! She’s cheeky, soft, and adorable albeit a little annoying like a sister. Maybe the book would’ve been better from her point of view with the White sisters as side characters.

I like Seti. He’s smug without being a jerk, which is not easily done. Even though Seti is handsome, funny, and laid back, he is a flat character. I want a little more character development centered on something besides his royalty. His feelings for Portia are insta-love. It would’ve been better for him to be intrigued by Portia and gradually begin to like her. It took THREE encounters for them to do intimate slow dancing. Don’t get me wrong. Again, I like Seti and his insta-love with Portia. I should not because neither he or his love is fleshed out enough but I do.

“I turned from him, disappearing as Cinderella would, but with both slippers in tow” (pg 209).

“All day I was light, feminine, as if whatever I touched would turn to sighing flowers” (pg 13).

I like those lines!


The Blazing Star was just okay, but I’m interested in reading the sequel. Hopefully, a lot of confusion and characters will respectively be made clear and developed. This book gets like a 2.5 out of 5 or 3 out of 5 from me.

Still, I absolutely adored the ending conversation Portia had with that boy. It made me stop to giggle.

Give this book a try. You won’t be blown away but you might enjoy yourself. Completely unrelated but the author is so pretty.