Monday, July 28, 2014

The Sun Jewel Contest (A Little Jenny Adventure)

Title: The Sun Jewel Contest

Series: A Little Jenny Adventure (#1; prequel to The Ankulen)

Year: 2014

Author: Kendra E. Ardnek

Summary: A prequel short story to THE ANKULEN.
Approximately 3,700 words.

Before Jen got mad at her imagination and abandoned it, she used to have lots of adventures there with her best friends, the Fair Maiden Letitia and Sir Christofer, the finest knight in the land. When another knight challenges his position, well, the natural thing to do is have a contest.
(from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Jenny
~ Tisha
~ Chris

Review: Having read, reviewed, and enjoyed Kendra's The Ankulen, I was naturally very excited when I heard she was working on sort stories to accompany the novel. The Sun Jewel Contest is the first Little Jenny Adventure in which we are treated to a glimpse of Jen's life before she lost her imagination.

Honestly, reading this was like having a mini Hobbit adventure. You've got a majestic and priceless jewel stolen from the dwarves who lost it in the first place due to their own greed. Then along comes an unlikely hero, who stands a lot shorter than everyone else, but in this case it's only because Chris is about eight years old. Pity. He'd have made a great Hobbit.

The adventure starts when Jenny's imagination brings in a not-so-charming knight called Sir Erran who doesn't think Chris deserves the title of finest knight in the land. He's willing to challenge that title, and Jenny suggests a contest to find a jewel no one knows existed. Well, of course, it exists -- Jenny just made it up!

I'd recommend this for anyone who loved The Ankulen, likes a quick adventure, or just enjoys a fun read. Share it with your best friend, your younger siblings, and your grandfather. Your dog might even enjoy hearing it read aloud. *winks*

Advisory: None

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Related Reviews: The Ankulen

Click here to buy The Sun Jewel Contest on Amazon!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Title: CinderEddy

Series: None

Year: 2014

Author: Kendra E. Ardnek

Summary: Edward, called CinderEddy by his stepbrothers, has been treated as little more than a servant ever since his mother died after her remarriage. When the Princess Elicia is kidnapped, however, his stepbrothers join the other knights attempting to rescue her, and Edward uses their absence to make his own attempt at her rescue. He doesn't expect to succeed, but somehow, he keeps finding himself on the right path. (from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Edward

Review: Fairytales of all kinds fascinate me, and for some odd reason, gender-swapped tales garner particular interest. In CinderEddy, authoress Kendra E. Ardnek presents us the tale of a young man who, like the famous Cinderella, is kind and clever, yet is thrust maliciously in the place of a servant. 

Edward's father, the late Sir Henry, was the king's favorite, and so it stands to reason that Edward himself would fall into his father's esteemed position, right? Wrong! After Sir Henry's death, Edward finds himself the recipient of a new stepfather, and all too soon -- two stepbrothers. And so begins the Cinderella tale of servanthood and mistreatment. But instead of a ball we get... a kidnapping! Princess Elicia is captured by a band of ruthless thugs and it's up to the noble men of the land to rescue her and, ultimately, win her hand in marriage. Edward's stepbrothers fly off at once to try to find her, and even Edward himself gets excited, not necessarily at the thought of rescuing a future bride, but of finally having an adventure out from under his stepbrothers' malicious thumbs.

Clean, fun, and Cinderella-esque, CinderEddy is a retelling that can trip your mind into thinking it's not a simple retelling at all. Kendra has taken the cherished tale of rags-to-riches and transformed it into a sweet tale of the importance of helping others and stopping to take advice. This short story will definitely be going on my favorite Cinderella retellings list, and I'd recommend it happily to readers of all ages. 

Advisory: Light fantasy action.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Click here to buy CinderEddy on Amazon!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company: Helium-3

Title: Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company

Series: Helium-3 (Book #3)

Year: 2014

Author: Homer Hickman

Summary: A kidnapped lunar heiress. A deranged-science syndicate. An imminent asteroid impact. Crater Trueblood has more to rescue than just his ex-girlfriend . . . namely the entire human race.

Maria Medaris is the 21-year-old matriarch of the most powerful family on the moon. She is gorgeous, she is powerful, and she is high maintenance. But when Maria is kidnapped by purple-faced, gene-splicing scientists in league with her father, her only hope is the very man she once spurned: Crater Trueblood.

Much more than Maria is at stake: the planet Earth, majestically rising over the lunar horizon, is in the crosshairs of an asteroid engineered by Maria's abductors. If Crater can't stop it, then Earth faces a dinosaur-style collision. And humanity faces an extinction-level event.

Along with Crescent, his fiercely loyal, bioengineered she-warrior, Crater and the Lunar Rescue Company must come to Maria's rescue--before she joins forces with the brainiac lunatics who have taken her hostage . . . and who want to make her queen.

Can Maria finally look beyond her own selfish love of power? Can Crescent overcome her jealous attachment to Crater? Can Crater rescue his former fiancee and divert the apocalyptic asteroid in a single day?
The fate of two worlds hangs in the balance . . . and the clock is ticking. (from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Crater Trueblood
~ Maria Medaris
~ Crescent

Review: Having just picked up an interest in any sci-fi, space-opera stories, I've been on the lookout for good ones I can add to my shelf. And Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company, as far as sci-fi and space-opera go, did not disappoint. It had all the action, flying, science, danger, and adventure a reader could want. Easy to read, intriguing plot... it definitely kept my interest. A few things confused me briefly, but considering this is the third book in a trilogy and the only one I've read, I s'pose everything would have clicked together for me if I read the first two books, so I really shouldn't complain there. *sheepish grin*

Personally, I found some of the characters a little more difficult to like than the plot. Since Crater and Maria broke up (in book 2, I'm assuming), most of what they did in the course of book three was mope about. They keep talking about how they love each other to everyone except each other, and if that doesn't drive you batty after two dozen chapters, nothing will. The different "races" (i.e. humans, Umlaps, crowhoppers, Trainers) were all set apart wonderfully, but I had some trouble trying to differentiate which came from which planet -- Earth or the moon. A bit more information on that would have been nice. It wasn't until the end of the book that I realized Crater himself was a citizen of the moon. *scratches head and shrugs* The best characters, hands down, were the gillies. Small, slime thingys with an unnatural ability to hack any technology, they are illegal, and they know it. Even though they "talked," I found myself likening them to Morph in Disney's Treasure Planet. Fun all around. And they're sarcastic, which is a plus.

There were a few inconsistencies that I noted that annoyed me, and I can't leave this review without pointing them out. Near the middle of the book, Crater and his brother tell a lie to purchase the fuser they badly need for their mission, and Crater says he doesn't like to tell lies. Yet, he easily makes no less than three lies throughout the rest of the book. Also... the character of the Colonel, Maria's grandfather, was confusing. The author made him out to be a hardened business man, semi-dedicated to family, but ruthless in his actions. He'd kill and fire people wherever it pleased him. [Highlight for spoilers] After Maria is rescued, a dangerous asteroid is fired at Earth to destroy the planet, and the Colonel pretty much turns kamikazee and places himself into the asteroid's path to blow it up before it strikes Earth. That action seemed a bit out of character for him, but they did kinda describe him as crazy, so... 

Oh, yeah... and the name bothered me. The first two books in the series are called Crater and Crescent. That's it. And then for book #3, you've got Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company. Mouthful, eh? I may not be an avid critic, but in series, please attempt to keep your titles somewhat similar. *shakes head*

Advisory: Oh, boy. This thing has a longer advisory than most novels I review. For one, there's a single, derogatory word that many characters use, and although I don't recognize it as a swear word, it's used in such a context that borders on that line. There are also a few "adult comments" (i.e. men and women coupling, mating, etc.). I wasn't impressed. No, sir.

Definitely violence. Things get blown up, people die, so don't expect a tame novel. One character has her foot/fingers brutally broken in a torture section, and although it's described lightly, that's just something to take a note of. Personally, I didn't mind the violence, nor did I think it overdone in any fashion.

Another thing that really bothered me was the character, Crescent. She's a crowhopper, destined to self-destruct when she turns 21, but she doesn't want to die. [Highlight for spoilers] Instead, she convinces a doctor to take cells from a human male and then scientifically impregnates herself. Nothing is talked about other than the fact that she's going to have a baby, but I found the whole situation highly uncomfortable. It was for this reason that I struggled with rating this book. The space action boosted my opinion almost to a three or four star review, yet this pushed it down to a 2 star.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

*Please note: I received a free copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.*

Click here to buy this book on Amazon!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Princess and the Sage

Title: The Princess and the Sage

Series: None

Year: 2013

Author: Anneliese Blakeney

Summary: The Princess is quite Put Out. The Young Sage, a personage her father has installed as her new tutor, is turning her life upside down. From trumpet lessons to lemonade stands and licking cake batter, life with the Sage is hair-raising to say the least. In a world of nonsense how can a proper princess survive? The Princess and the Sage, Anneliese Blakeney's debut novel, is a whimsical tale full of nonsense parenthetical statements and Capitals. Sensible readers must proceed at their own risk. Those wary of nonsense, remember, you have been warned! (from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ The Princess
~ The Young Sage

Review: I read this book cover to cover in one afternoon. Not because it was only 126 pages long, but because I couldn't put it down! This has got to be the best nonsense book since the infamous Alice and her adventures in Wonderland. Describing it doesn't do it justice. You must just read it. 

No, I suppose I need a slightly longer review than that. *adjusts librarian glasses and tries to act stern* For a debut novel, this is remarkable. Of course, you do have the occasional typos and editing errors, but they don't detract from the awesomeness of the story. The characters were superb -- always memorable. The Sage was amazing, the king and queen were hilarious... and the author even wrote herself in! There's a plot bunny, a lemonade stand, some mud, and so much more! 

The Princess wants to be a perfect princess, and of course that means being slightly snotty, girly, and refusing to do anything wild, messy, or obnoxious. When her father employs the Young Sage (yes, it's imperative that you used the capital letters) as her new tutor, she finds she doesn't quite like the Sage's teaching methods. Since when do princesses mingle with trumpets and climbing trees? She can't dismiss the Sage, so she's forced to go along with it all. And that's what starts all of their adventures.

There. Is that long enough? Now you can go read it. And no, that was not just a friendly suggestion. *grins*

Advisory: None, unless there's danger from dying laughing.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Click here to buy The Princess and the Sage on Amazon!