Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Review: Miss Mabel's School for Girls (Network Series #1) by Katie Cross


Media Type: Ebook
Title: Miss Mabel's School for Girls
*Series: The Network Series #1
Author: Katie Cross
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: Kindle; 316
Release Date: March 21, 2014
Source: Author/Xpresso Book Tours
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Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy stories about feisty girls and witch schools.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
Never underestimate the power of a determined witch.

Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.

Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.

Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave.

So I'm a sucker for all things related to witchy schools and tough female characters. When I read the synopsis of this, it reminded me of an all-girl cast of Harry Potter and, to be honest, that's exactly what hooked me! What's better than a group of tough girls learning magic? Nothing. Which is why I had such high hopes for Miss Mabel's School for Girls. I wanted to get lost in a new world, full of magic and mischief. I can happily say that this was a great introduction!

Things take off at a lightning pace. Bianca was a wonderful character, and one that I instantly saw myself in. A little less than a lady, but full of the type of fire that makes for a one strong protagonist. Watching her set off on a quest that she absolutely knew would be dangerous excited me. See, Bianca was cursed by the very person whose clutches she was now willingly walking into. Such a great premise. To try to prove yourself to the one person who holds your life in their hands.

Which brings me to the fact that there were a lot of things that I did like about this story. Bianca, for one. The fact that Miss Mabel's School for Girls was shrouded in mystery and magic. Even the fact that all of the characters were so strong. It's refreshing to see a book that features a female cast, that doesn't focus heavily on romance. Maybe that's coming in the next books, but in this moment I felt amazed that it wasn't there. No love triangles. Thank you Katie Cross.

What I wished for more than anything though, was more world building and less "telling" rather than showing. There were portions of this story that moved very slowly. A lot of travel was necessary, and those parts tended to drag on a bit. When Bianca was being tested, it was fabulous. When she was lost in her own head, it was a little slow. It wasn't anything overly exhausting, but I would have loved to see a bit more forward movement. I have a very strong feeling that it's coming in the books down the pipe though, so I'm excited about that.

Long story short, this was a book that I enjoyed. It didn't immediately jump to the top of my favorites list, but I also know that this is a series that I plan on continuing on with. I can't wait!





FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book Review & Tour: Welcome to Fat Chance Texas by Celia Bonaduce

Media Type: Kindle/Paperback
Title: Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas
Author: Celia Bonaduce
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Pages: paperback, 268
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Source: Author/PUYB
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Genre: Contemporary- Fiction/Humor
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy an eclectic group of characters in unusual circumstances.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes

“A fresh, heartwarming voice.” —Jodi Thomas, New York Times bestselling author

For champion professional knitter Dymphna Pearl, inheriting part of a sun-blasted ghost town in the Texas hill country isn’t just unexpected, it’s a little daunting. To earn a cash bequest that could change her life, she’ll have to leave California to live in tiny, run-down Fat Chance for six months—with seven strangers. Impossible! Or is it?

Trading her sandals for cowboy boots, Dymphna dives into her new life with equal parts anxiety and excitement. After all, she’s never felt quite at home in Santa Monica anyway. Maybe Fat Chance will be her second chance. But making it habitable is going take more than a lasso and Wild West spirit. With an opinionated buzzard overlooking the proceedings and mismatched strangers learning to become friends, Dymphna wonders if unlocking the secrets of her own heart is the way to strike real gold.
What a interesting dilemma, give up your current life for 6 months to live with a group of strangers in a ghost town or lose a generous inheritance (and cost the rest of the group theirs). I have to say that people do some strange things when they get a terminal illness, but this was one even I was surprised at. 

Aptly named "Fat Chance", this group of strangers must learn to live with each other and run a successful town for 6 months. Each character is unique in their background and reason for being there and things get off to a very rocky start. I have to admit, I was so enthralled with what was happening I did not want to put this book down. 

Sometimes a large group of characters gets to be too much to keep track of, but Celia Bonaduce does a wonderful job of keeping things interesting and consistent between them so I didn't have a hard time remembering who was who. Each character brought an interesting piece to the story and I really enjoyed all of them for their faults and quirkiness. 

Dymphna is the main storyteller and given her role as observer we get to know this rowdy group and really enjoy the scenery of this run down town. The descriptions of the town when they arrive drew me right in, I could feel the dust settling in my nose. Bonaduce does a wonderful job creating this place and giving the characters real reactions to the chaos that inevitably ensues. 

I really enjoyed everything about this book: strong characters with lots of growth, interesting story line, and of course a bit of romance. It wasn't what I expected when I picked it up, but it was a very fun read and I would highly recommend it. 

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

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