on Feb 19, 2018
She's been chosen to fight the elusive enemy among us...

Phoenix Germaine has been trying to earn back her mother's trust after going into rehab and kicking Onadyn—the drug of choice for New Chicago teens. But when a party in the woods turns into an all-out battle with the most ferocious aliens Phoenix has never seen, she's brought home in what appears to be an Onadyn-induced state. Hello, reform school.

Except, what her mother doesn't know is that Phoenix has just been recruited to join the elite Alien Investigation and Removal agency, where she'll to fight dirty, track hard, and destroy the enemy. Her professional training will be rigorous and dangerous, and the fact that one of her instructors is Ryan Stone—the drop-dead gorgeous, nineteen-year-old agent she met in the woods that night—doesn't make things any easier. Especially when dating him is totally against the rules...







5 out of 5 Stars

Review:


We're doing a little throwback-Monday here on the Runaway Pen today. This is a book I loved as a teen and it's one of only a handful of YA books that I can honestly say I love just as much now as I did then. :)

Once upon a time I was a huge fan of Gena Showalter adult books, her collection of short stories, Into the Dark was fourteen-year-old mes first introduction to romance novels and I subsequently devoured all of her writing. While I'm not as die-hard as I once was I still enjoy her writing and have several favorites, Red Handed being one of them. 

I like this book as an introduction to the Alien Huntress books, while there are two teen books, Showalter wrote an adult romance series set in the same Alien Huntress world. Phoenix is a good main character and I like that she is very level headed and wants to get her life back from drug addiction. Personally I wouldn't focus too much on the addiction since this is just fiction. Never the less i think it puts Phoenix in the perfect spot for A.I.R.

My favorite thing about this book is the romance, even though it's not heavy. Ryan is dreamy. 

I highly recommend this book and the sequel Blacklisted!
on Feb 12, 2018
In the snow-covered mountains, Odin's spear lies within a forgotten, slumbering city...

Maeja and her crew must find the relics of the gods before the Empire does, but acquiring Odin's spear will be no simple task. First they must escape from the Empire's capital city, then gain entrance into the long forgotten palace of Ostegrad deep in the icy mountains. There, Odin's spear remains securely hidden in a dangerous, trap-filled labyrinth beneath the fabled Shrine of Ages. Before the city will wake and yield its gates, Maeja must first prove her worth as a Valkyrie. Only then will she be able to lay her hands upon the spear.

With an army of walking corpses ravaging parts of the Midlands and the great serpent, Jormungand tormenting the seas, Maeja and crew are running out of time...




5 out of 5 Stars

Review:

I am incredibly excited to bring you my long awaited review of Opening of Lost Doors by Melissa Sasina! This is one of my all time favorite fantasy series and I loved this book so much!

Our story picks where Melody of the Dark left off. Maeja and Ril have escpaed Azrith and found their way to Ashylia, the capital city of the Empire. Their search for Odin's spear takes them to Ostengard, a fascinating city that has a lot of character. I really enjoyed seeing how this slumbering city comes back to life. All these different people coming together to stand against evil.

I love that this story is so extensive, and that we are able to watch it unfold from many different points of view. While we have our main group Maeja and friends, the story also follows Boss and several members of his Adventurer's Guild, as well as familiar faces from all over Midgard. Whenever an exciting event happens we are able to witness it through the eyes of someone close to the action. We even have a bit of the story from Severus' point of view. Severus is now the new emperor after the death of his father, as well as our main villain. It could just be my memory but it seems that we get a more in depth look into his mind and plans and I really enjoyed how surprisingly complex he is. We also get to see the inner workings of Azrith and several of Rils sisters make appearances throughout the story. They are always very interesting to read.

I think Maeja is a great main character, she has the quiet strength about her that I really like. While I  enjoy all the characters, it's no secret that my favorite character is Ril, the alluring and charismatic pirate. I love his sass. I was pleasantly surprised by the ample amount of time we spend with Ril in this novel, including learning much about his past. I like him even more now that I understand his history better. Also Maeja and Ril: I will ship it forever. <3 ;)

Norse Gods, speakstones, and exciting adventures can be found within! Highly recommend this series to fans of Game of Thrones and Forgotten Realms!





~Important Links~
on Feb 5, 2018
Janir Caersynn Argetallam wakes in Adasha with little memory and no certainty of what is real. The Argetallams around her claim to be family, yet feel like strangers. But with war approaching, she fears questioning her loyalties. 

When the Argetallams bring an arcane artifact into the war against the Brevains, Janir stands with them despite her reservations. Only when she meets Saoven and Karile, two spies for the Brevians, does it become clear her past holds secrets far more dangerous than she imagined. 

With invasion imminent and mere days to choose, the time comes to take a side. Faced with two versions of the truth, she must either betray the family she has come to love or a homeland she can't remember. 



Young Adult Fantasy


5 out of 5 Stars

Review: 

We're staying in the Argetallam Saga a bit longer with todays review...I hope that's okay with you all.^_^  In the future I'll try to avoid doing the same author two weeks in a row, so that way we have something for everyone. I've just been loving this series so much that I had to jump right into the next book. ;)

This third installment of the series brings a whole new layer to the world and characters that we've come to know and love. With Janir now in Argetallam territory with no memory of her Brevian adopted father, or her friends, the Lord Argetallam attempts to assimilate Janir back into the royal family.

This novel was actually a little hard to read at times. Not because it wasn't good, it was. It was just hard to read about Janirs struggles.  It made me so sad when Janir was lied to and manipulated by the people pretending to care about her. The same people that hunted and tortured Janir are now sitting at a table eating dinner with her. It was creepy to say the least. Also the moment when a certain elf shows up and Janir doesn't remember him. Can you hear that sound? It's my heart breaking. *sobbing*

Janir is one strong girl. Like for real. Honestly I don't think any of the previous books compare to how high the stakes were in this installment. Janir is fighting to remember, she can sense that something isn't quite right. I did feel a little bit like I was watching a horror movie at times, I wanted to yell out: stop talking to Kenistrith, she's a bat crap crazy loon!

My favorite part of the book was when Saoven shows up. His appearance makes the conflict within Janir even stronger, in a good way. He sparks something and I love that they have such a profound connection. I want to say more but I also don't want to give away any spoilers. Lets just say their scenes together hit me right in the feels.

While it's clear that some Argetallams are kind of pure evil *cough* Kenistrith *cough*, not all Argetallams are inherently evil. Janir is living proof of that. I love the amount of time that Wheatley spends humanizing all her characters. There is no simple evil. Everybody has the capacity for great evil or great good. In particular I enjoyed the character of Cyrulius, much like Lucan, we can see Cyrulius develop some doubts about the Argetallam agenda. And in quite moments he can be quite compassionate, and in others not so much. Never the less I hope to see more of him as the story progresses.

The story actually opens with a prologue from Lucans point-of-view. The person who at one point hated Janir more than anyone. This provides him with a unique perspective and he, like other Wheatley characters, have a complexity and depth that go beyond their first appearance.

I think it's pretty safe to say I'm hooked in this series. While I try to decide which book to read next I would love it if you would leave a comment and let me know what you think of this review. I hope you enjoyed it! Happy reading!








~Important Links~
Read my review of book #4 (coming soon!)
on Jan 29, 2018
Surviving exile and imprisonment should have been a victory, but the battle is just beginning. With a new awareness and tenuous control of her growing power, Janir returns home to find half the Brevian High Lords want her dead.

When Saoven is ordered by his king to remain close, it seems the elves suspect her as well. To make matters worse, whispered rumors claim that a Stlavish noble house, the Vanmars, are plotting to invade and Karile is sure the that Janir's childhood home is a part of it.

Ensnared in the machinations of kingdom, Janir must confront the power that is her heritage before everything she loves is destroyed.




Genre: Young Adult Fantasy


5 out 5 Stars

Review: 

Today we are heading back into the world of the Argetallam Saga by Elisabeth Wheatley! 

Some of you may remember my review of book #1, The Key of Amatahns that I posted last year. I loved it and had high hopes for the sequel. Hint: I was not disappointed! ^_^ 

After the intense, dangerous adventures that took place in book #1, we now find Janir and her friends returning to her home, Green Haven. Unfortunately home won't be quite as peaceful as they hope, nor will the journey be either.

This is only the second installment and I'm already hooked on this series! Wheatley has a great sense of pace. I really enjoy the bits of quiet rest amid the exciting adventures, it reminds me of the style of the Chronicles of Narnia. I also appreciate the pieces of history interspersed throughout the novel. All the different cultures and locations have a uniqueness that makes them feel as if they are real peoples and places.

Janir is fantastic to read. Wheatley does a great job of balancing her right on the edge of adulthood. Given that she turns sixteen during this book I think she has grown significantly. She has a good head on her shoulders and several times during the novel I was impressed by the compassion and wisdom that she shows. She's very good at listening to other peoples opinions while maintaining her own views. Even at her young age she is very good at self-analyzing and is already contemplating some big questions about the world around her.

The other characters are just as great. After Janir, Saoven is definitely my favorite character. He is just...*fangirl sigh* He is always interesting to read, very mysterious, and has a strong presence on the page. I love how Janirs adopted father, Armandius plays such a large role in the story. I like that Janir has a positive adult influence. One thing I'm not too crazy about is Karile. Don't get me wrong I like him as a character, but occasionally he's just a bit too annoying for me. We also come across more Argettallams in this book. I love how unique and different the Argetallams are. Although I wouldn't exactly call them a friendly bunch. ;)

I loved this book. As I write this review I am looking at book #3 sitting on my shelf and I'm dying to start reading so I'll see you guys back here next Monday for another review! Happy reading!




~Important Links~
Read my review of book #4 (Coming soon!)
on Jan 22, 2018
Gwen, Pete, and the others have escaped from Everland. Except the safe haven they hoped to find at Alnwick Castle doesn't exist. With the Queen of England on her deathbed, Duchess Alyssa has stepped in, but things have gotten worse as the cure Doc created for the Horologia virus has mutated into something even more deadly. The only possible solution he can think of is to go back to the virus's origin: an extinct poison apple.

Legend has it, though, that a tree bearing the apple might be found at the center of an impossible labyrinth hidden deep within Germany. A place no one in their right mind enters. With no other options, Alyssa sets out with only her sword, her wits, and the help of Maddox Hatter, a wild party boy who oversees the castle gardens. To get to the center of the maze, she'll be forced to battle monsters more terrifying than her darkest nightmares. 

But can anyone actually survive the madness of the maze? And what if there's no apple to be found there? 



3 out 5 Stars (I'm feeling generous)

Review:

After finishing Everland, I immediately dove into Umberland. Expecting to love it as much as I loved Everland. I was dead wrong. Remember all those warm fuzzy feelings I had about the characters, the plot, and well, everything about book #1? You don't? No problem 'cause they all went out the window with this book.

What a complete and utter disappointment this book turned out to be. As the story begins we learn that the cure isn't really a cure and everyone is still sick. I'm pretty sure some of them will end up being a flying monkey, I know this sounds stupid but given the ridiculous avenues that this book goes down I believe it to be entirely possible for book 3. The cure not working is fine, but it contradicts what was already set up and...just *sigh* Why bother making Gwen the special chosen one if she's not? Thats already an overused YA plot device. I don't understand the point. And, I'm sorry but the poison apple thing is dumb, it really is.

We need to talk about how this book successfully turns Gwen and Pete, both complex, enjoyable characters into predictable, whiny teens, making stupid decisions. That takes skill, ladies and gentleman. To continually interrupt life or death situations with their petty relationship drama. I absolutely hated Gwen and Pete in this book.

I most hated the fact that this book isn't really about Gwen and Peter (though they make bothersome appearances), contrary to how it's been set up, each book deals with different main characters but also follows the same story line. The first POV we start with is Alyssa (you know, like Alice *eye roll*) Alyssa is actually not too bad, probably the least annoying character of the whole book.

Alyssa has to work with the Maddox Hatter. Maddox is, of course the dangerous bad boy who for some reason will fall in love with Alyssa and also turn out to have a heart of gold. Bleh. The book skims over the fact that he assists children and teens in committing suicide. Which creeped me out to say the least. I'm having a real hard time fangirling on this weirdo. I could go into detail about the creepy ritual surrounding the death parties he throws but its honestly so sickening that I won't subject you to it.

My last hope lay with Hook, who had the potential to have a complex redemption storyline but nope. He's just going to be evil for the heck of it. Just because this book hates interesting characters.

As I'm sure its obvious I could never recommend this book to anyone. That being said one can easily read the first book, Everland as a stand alone novel. Do that and skip this horrid book all together.
on Jan 15, 2018
Find life.
Deep in a forest, Aileana Kameron claws her way out of the earth. Back from the dead with no memory of who she is or what has happened to her, the Falconer now possesses even greater otherworldly powers and a ruthless instinct to kill—and the one piece of knowledge that can change everything.

Find Kiaran.
Two fae monarchs, Aithinne and Kadamach, stand on the brink of war, and according to an ancient curse, one must die at the hand of the other or all the worlds will perish. Once, Kadamach was known as Kiaran, and he was mentor, protector, and lover to Aileana. Now, under the grip of the curse, his better nature seems lost forever.

Find the Book.
Aileana's only hope lies in the legendary Book of Remembrance, a book of spells so powerful it can break the fae curse and even turn back time. But the book has been lost for centuries, and many are looking for it, including its creator, the Morrigan—a faery of terrifying malevolence and cruelty. 

Sacrifice everything.
To obtain the book and defeat the Morrigan, Aileana must form an unthinkable alliance, one that challenges every vow she has made to herself—even as the powers that brought her to life are slowly but surely killing her. 



5 out of 5 Stars

Review: I am beyond excited to bring you my review of The Fallen Kingdom, book #3 in the Falconer Trilogy by Elizabeth May. If you've been a reader with us for awhile you may remember my reviews of books #1 and #2, which can be read here and here. It probably goes without saying but I recommend reading books #1 and #2 as my review may contain spoilers from both. 

This magical series blends elements of steampunk, historical adventure, romance, and fantasy together in a perfectly delightful mixture. 

The Vanishing Throne ended with Aileana's death and her re-awakening after receiving the Cailleach's power. As volume #3 begins Aileana no longer remembers anything, not even her name. She awakens to a world decimated by the battles between Seelie and Unseelie. Between Aithinne and Kadamach. 

As Aileana begins to piece together pieces of her past we meet up again with some old friends as the final quest to determine the fate of the world begins. 

Elizabeth May has outdone herself with Aileana. She is a complex, enthralling human being, during this book we share her fear, her hope, and her outstanding bravery in the face of utter darkness. A badass with a good heart. I'll also add my undying fangirl devotion for the love between her and Kiaran Mckay. I ship them so hard. I've enjoyed reading the evolution of their relationship throughout the trilogy. This book finds a very different Kiaran than readers have become familiar with. Since Aileana's death Kieran has reverted to his former self, Kadamach. A ruthless Unseelie King. Yet Kiaran fights valiantly against his darker nature and is as always, lovely to read. 

Aithinne is back and mad as ever. I love the spark of humor and fun that she brings to the story. Everyone's favorite pixie, Derrick, is the first to meet up again with Aileana and we are reminded of the intense bond of friendship between these two. <3

This final volume is a good deal darker than the previous titles. In these last moments each character will have to face their fears and demons, and stand against the evil that threatens to destroy their world. In fact in order to do this Aileana teams up with Sorcha, who fellow readers probably loathe as much as I do. Nevertheless after learning a bit of her history I do hate her slightly less and she surprises everyone by performing one final noble, self-less deed. (to the delight of all readers, I'm sure ;) 

While it's sad to say goodbye to these lovely characters I can honestly say I've had a truly fantastic time hunting faeries with Aileana and I look forward to re-reading her adventures in years to come! 



~Important Links~
on Jan 8, 2018
London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived the destruction and the outbreak of a deadly virus are children, among them sixteen-year-old Gwen Darling and her younger siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the deadly Marauders—the German army led by the cutthroat Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past English borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook is on the hunt for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the surviving children. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return.

Until one day when they grab Joanna. Gwen will stop at nothing to get her sister back, but as she sets out, she crosses paths with a daredevil named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharp shooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and ever promise is bound by blood, it might cost Gwen more than she bargained for. And are Gwen, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart the ruthless Captain Hook?






4 out of 5 Stars

I wasn't sure at first where this review was going to go since (against my better judgement) I jumped into book #2 and have already finished it, which left me with so many mixed feelings. However, I've decided to work with my original notes from before reading book #2 (the review of which will be posted late this month.:) Happy Monday!

Everland is an exciting and unique spin on the classic tale of Peter Ban by J. M. Barrie.

Our story begins in an alternate steampunk version of London, now called Everland. A deadly virus has been unleashed by the German army under the command of Captain hook. Now children scramble for life amid the falling ruins of a once beautiful city.

The beginning was quite slow, perhaps for the set up since this is the first in a trilogy. I will say in agreement with some other reviews that London definitely didn't feel like London. To be honest it almost could have been any city but for a few key landmarks. I've never been to London but it always seemed like a special place so it's a shame this book couldn't capture the magic, so to speak.

Gwen was a wonderfully flawed main character and great fun to read. I was worried that Pete, would be quit stereotypical but the author has given him a lot of heart and a lot of hope. Both main characters are pleasantly complex. I wasn't really feeling the romance between them at first but I actually think it works. I didn't find the Lost Boys or Bella to be that compelling, their personalities seemed very forced. Captain Hook seems quite interesting, if they redeem him. He has sooo much potential to switch sides and be good. I really hope they do that in the second book.

A popular complaint among reviewers is that Pete is sexist. I'm not sure where they're getting this but I didn't see any examples. There are several instances where Pete doesn't want Gwen to go into danger but it never seemed like he was saying it because she was female. To me he said it because he had feelings for her, you know he "liked liked" her. To me not wanting the person you like, or love, or whatever to be in pain or die isn't sexism...it's caring but whateves.

The elements of steampunk were awesome and creative, they really lent themselves well to this particular tale.

All in all I think this was a wicked cool concept and I quite enjoyed it!
on Jan 1, 2018
Happy New Year, runaway readers! The team here at Runaway Pen hopes you're all doing very well and looking forward to a healthy and happy 2018! Thank you so much for sharing in our bookish adventures, we hope to see you back here every Monday for new book reviews. Happy reading! <3



College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life. When her favorite character is killed off, Liv Just. Can't. Deal. She launches an online campaign to bring her hero back to life. Step one: Bribe her best friend, Xander, into helping by making costumes for his steampunk cosplay. Step two: Balance her booming fandom life with school, parental disapproval, and her (nonexistent) love life. Maybe a trip to Dragon Con with Xander would help?



Genre: Young Adult Contemporary 


5 out of 5 Stars 

Review:

I'm really excited to be starting 2018 with a review of one of my favorite books of 2017. 

All the Feels is a fun, fantastic, angsty, romantic trip of a novel and I loved every minute of it! 

Through Liv, the reader finds a fellow fangirl deeply embedded in the fandom life of her beloved Starveil. Danika Stone expertly conveys the passion that we fangirls (and fanboys) feel for our favorite characters. Liv is a perfectly flawed relate-able main character. I think many readers will be able to identify with her obsessions, anxieties and insecurities. She grows tremendously during the novel and I love how she finds her strengths among the things she already loves. 

What can I say about Xander? *dreamy fangirl sigh* Xander is a wonderful, confident, flamboyant cosplayer who dresses steampnk just about every day. During the book Xander is a loyal friend to the end, ever ready to support and encourage Liv. 

Filled my twitter conversations, blog posts and fanfiction All the Feels provides a very full and interesting story wrapped around the craziness of fandom life.

I hardly ever read contemporary fiction but I'm so glad I read outside my comfort zone for this awesome read! 





Reviews to expect this coming year: 
Everland by Wendy Spinale
The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May
The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause
      ....and many more! 
on Oct 12, 2017

It's that time of year: time for the Virtual FantasyCon facebook event where authors come together for a week of contests, games, and giveaways! This online fantasy convention is a fun way to meet and learn about authors without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home. 

The event runs from October 15th through 21st. Links to all the participating authors event pages can be found in the pinned post on the Virtual FantasyCon - Readers Corner page. Be sure to join the authors event pages that you don't want to miss out on and feel free to invite anyone who loves fantasy and free stuff!

Author Melissa Sasina will also be giving away ebook copies of her books, 
so be sure to join her event page!

on Sep 13, 2017
It's finally here! The cover reveal for Lies of Light, the first book in my new series, the Darker Shade of Light! This beautiful cover was made by the wonderful Kristina Bilota (http://kristinatoxicpanda.com/)

Skin black as pitch, nails like talons...

A mysterious illness creeps through Acantha's people--one that even the most powerful healers' magic cannot touch. When the affliction proves to be something far more sinister, Noora Duskbourne finds herself trapped.

Blamed by the King for the incident, Noora's only ally in her escape from the King's fury is Vaeros, a man whose identity is shrouded in mystery. However, safety is not quite at hand as she is pursued by a Warder as skilled in the hunt as he is with the deadly arts of arcane combat.

A path wrought with danger awaits Noora and Vaeros as they discover that something harrowing lingers in the light--an ancient darkness that refuses to remain forgotten.


  
 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36230837-lies-of-light
on Mar 13, 2017
It's London 1888, and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing the people of the city. Evelyn, a young woman disfigured by her dangerous work in a matchstick factory, who has nowhere to go, does not know what to make of her new position as a maid to the Elephant Man in the London Hospital.
Evelyn wants to be locked away from the world, like he is, shut in from the filth and dangers of the streets. But in Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, she finds a gentle kindred who does not recoil from her and who understands her pain.

When the murders begin, however, Joseph and Evelyn are haunted nightly by the ghosts of the Ripper's dead, setting Evelyn on a path to facing her fears and uncovering humanity's worst nightmare.



Genre: Young Adult Historical Mystery


5 out of 5 Stars

Review:

I am so excited to share this phenomenal book with you all today! 

I first noticed this book on display at the library a few months back, at the time I was reading several other books and wasn't ready for a new one just yet, so I set the book back down and went on my way. Cut to about a week ago when I suddenly remembered this book and became anxious waiting for someone to return it to the library. I checked it out as soon as it returned and read it over the span of two days. Seriously...it's that flippin' good. 

A Taste for Monsters is an exciting and thoughtful read. I am actually sorry I didn't read it sooner, which I guess is silly since I've read it now, but hopefully my fellow bookworms will understand. ;)

This book came at a perfect time for me, as I recently started watching Ripper Street, an exciting detective show set in—you guessed it—the time of Jack the Ripper, so I was already a bit more familiar with the main topics of this book: Ripper, the Elephant Man and matchstick girls.

The characters are so vivid and engaging. I loved Evelyn right from the start, she's strong and determined. It may seem odd but I really liked having a girls perspective of this time period in London. Most books and T.V. shows are from a male perspective and while they hint on the danger and peril that girls faced at that time, it was much more meaningful to have a female MC experiencing it. Joseph is also interesting, I must admit to not knowing very much about the Elephant Man but I love what the author has done with him, his gentle manner, innocent mind and hopeful spirit make a spectacular character. Together these two are a force to be reckoned with and a delight to read. The ending had me crying but in the good way, when you love characters so much that you're sad to leave them.

I can't say enough good things about this book and I'm already looking forward to re-reading it! 
on Feb 11, 2017
All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They've enraptured her mind and spirit and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family's inn, Liesl can't help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds—and the mysterious ma who rules it—she soon faces an impossible decision. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.


Genre: Young Adult Fantasy


3 out of 5 Stars

Review:

Just in case I haven't yet mentioned it on this site, I am a huge fan of Labyrinth. David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King is perfection! So as soon as I heard about this novel I knew I absolutely had to read it.

I can't stress enough how very different this book is from the Jim Henson movie. It takes the initial concept: a girl on the cusp of adulthood, whose sibling is stolen by a fascinating, enigmatic figure from the Underground. From there, however, we find ourselves in a much darker, more adult story.

This is one of those books that started off good, I was quite liking it. However, it goes down hill fast and even though I appreciate what I think the author was trying to do, the final product left much to be desired. That being said, every reference to Labyrinth had me fangirling like mad.

Our main character Elisabeth is set up as a typical fairy tale heroine, the hard working, plain, dutiful sibling to a beaufitul sister and an accompolished brother.

I think this novel will resonant more with musicians, I don't play an inststrument, therefore the many (seemingly endless) scenes of Liesl playing her instrument, of her talking about music and thinking about music were... boring to me. I understand that part of her connection with the Goblin King is through music but personally I don't think it helped their lack of chemistry at all.

The love scenes (and I'll add here that I'm still unsure how I feel about love scenes in YA books) in this story are awkward and painfully cringe-worthy, think Bella and Edward. Personally I don't think Liesl and the Goblin King have any chemistry so the drawn out love scenes were uncomfortable and unnecessary. Also can we just stop with the teen books where the girl wakes up with bruises, can we stop, please?

There was a strange religious aspect to the novel, the author and MC seemed quite unconcerned and unimpressed with religion, yet a significant amount of the novel is spent engaging with the Goblin Kings as he goes through "rituals" typical of the Christian faith. So the king of the underground prays... I don't really know where to go with that. And neither does this book.
on Feb 4, 2017
Rune Germain, whose voice has been compared to that of an angel, has a mysterious affliction linked to her talent that leaves her sick and drained after each performance. Convinced that creative direction will cure her, Rune's mother ships her off to a French boarding school for the arts at a renovated opera house, rumored to have ties to the Phantom of the Opera

Shortly after arriving at the RoseBlood conservatory, Rune starts to believe something otherworldly is indeed afoot. The masked boy she's seen frequenting the graveyard beside the opera house doesn't have any classes at the school, and vanishes almost as quickly as he appears. When Rune begins to develop a secret friendship with the elusive Thorn, who dresses in clothing straight out of the nineteenth century, she realizes that with his musical guidance she feels cured. Thorn may be falling for Rune, but the Phantom haunting RoseBlood wants her for a very specific and dangerous purpose. 

As friendship deepens to romance, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or save her and face the wrath of the Phantom, the only father he's ever known. 



Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance / Classic Re-tellings



3 out of 5 Stars


Review: I love the Phantom of the Opera so I was really excited when I heard about this book. I've been following the author since reading her Alice in Wonderland re-telling Spintered series. There has been quite the buzz made about this book, and much hype. 

This novel for me, did not live up to the hype at all. 

We start out with a stomach churning, information dump as our misunderstood lead, Rune, is sent away to boarding school in another country (are you choking on YA cliches, yet?) Rune's father is dead, she and her Mother have trouble communicating, yet they are magical best buddies when the plot demands it. Rune has the voice of an angel but when she sings opera she suffers. An interesting concept, a horrible execution of it. The story flips from Rune to Thorns perspective, Thorn is infinitely the more interesting of the two. The set up takes way too long and the reveal is ultimately lackluster. The story is really more of an imagined sequel, than a re-telling, something that I think should be made more obvious to the consumer. 

Rune is just so annoyingly predictable. She is for the most part every other YA heroine; smart, mature, a bit of loner, doesn't really fit in. Rune spends most of the novel having random epiphanies that don't really lead anywhere.  I really wanted to like her more, but I didn't. Also I didn't like how the first kids she meets magically become instant life-long friends who would risk their lives for her—only in a YA novel right? 

Thorn is fascinating right from the start. He has a tragic backstory that helps you to understand his complex relationship with Erik. But he also wears a mask when he doesn't have a deformity, which is just weird. 

Can I briefly mention how insane the "two halves of the same reincarnated soul thing" is? Because it's stupid, sooooooo stupid. 

The plan to lure Rune in is so far fetched, it's hard to imagine the Phantom coming up with such a faulty maneuver. It's actually sort of insulting to his character, I think. That is one of my biggest pet peeves of this book. That the seductive, powerful, magical figure of Leroux's novel (and several musical) is reduced to a haggard, boring old man clinging to the body of his dead love and prepared to blow up a school. I did not care for her version of Erik at all. 

The ending is abrupt and has little resolution, Howard just decides it's over, nearly everyone survives, and murderous Erik is sent away to live with others of his kind in Canada. Which I guess he's suddenly okay with??? 

My advice: Skip this awful novel entirely. 
on Jan 27, 2017
The Brontes have always been close. After all, nothing can unite four siblings like life in an 
isolated parsonage on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict,
 spartan upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering 
Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? 
As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives 
ebbing away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their 
characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go.


Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction

5 out of 5 Stars

Review: 

Worlds of Ink and Shadow is a beautiful, intricate adventure! 

I was so very curious about this novel because the premise is just too cool. The four Bronte siblings traveling to the fictional worlds they create...yes!

Perhaps my favorite part of this novel was the connections it made to the published works of the Bronte sisters. (I'm a huge Jane Eyre fan!) 

The Bronte siblings are bright and creative:

Branwell is the only son, and bears the pressure that comes with that. He enjoys escaping to Verdopolis and playing renowned thief with his criminal companions. He is stubborn, selfish, bold, and wicked. 

Charlotte is the Motherly figure, practical and serious. She keeps watch over he younger siblings and loves them dearly but within her heart she longs for romantic love as well. 

Emily is selfish, desperate and hopeful. She has fallen in love with one of the fictional characters and cares little for the real world. 

Anne is quiet, modest, humble, and brave. Though she feels invisible to her siblings, she is closest with Emily and is extremely resourceful when need be. 

The end of this adventure was heartbreaking and fulfilling, leaving the door to the future open to the talent of these great writers. 


on Jan 21, 2017
Willow Lamott's best friend is a convicted killer, and no one in the small town of Gilt Hollow will let her forget it. Over four long years, she's tried to fade into the background—but none of that matters when Ashton Keller comes striding into school, fresh out of juvie and fueled by revenge. The monent their eyes meet, Willow no longer feels invisible. Drawn to the vulnerability behind Ashton's mask of rage, she sinks deeper into his sinister world and begins to question whether he's a villian, a savior, or both.

Ashton thought he wanted vengeance, until Willow Lamott stepped back into his life. Now he longs to clear his name and become the person she sees in him. But the closer they get to uncovering the truth, the darker the secrets become, and Ashton wonders if his return to Gilt Hollow will destroy everyone he loves.


Genre: Young Adult Mystery

5 out of 5 Stars

Review:

Gilt Hollow is a thrilling, suspenseful adventure! 

I was drawn to the intriguing premise of this novel, despite it not being my usual pick. The alternaing perspectives between Ashton and Willow keep the reader turning pages. 

Like all the characters of this story, Willow pops off the page. She stays by herself mostly with the exception of her best friend. The stress of her situation leads to panic attacks, that make her stand out even more. Because of standing up for Ashton's innocence, she has lost jobs and friends. Willow has a strong heart, and contiues to help Ashton even after she is threatened. I will say that Willows abrupt relationship with Brayden didn't really make sense and felt very random. 

Ashton is tormented by the betrayal of his friends, and the resulting abandonment by his parents. It;s sort of adorable when he gets jealous. He ultimately chooses protecting the people he loves instead of revenge. 

The town of Gilt Hollow is quirky, full of open-minded artistic sorts. I love how the author tied in elements of faith without this being a religious novel.

The mystery is so beautifully woven, like an intricate puzzle. You don't know who to trust. There are many layers that slowly reveal who the true murderer was. 
on Jan 9, 2017
After a near-death escape from the chilling heart of Markus King's Hawkspear society, becca Hatcher is finally safe at home in Toronto. But her battle isn't over, because Markus is till after the Bronze Codex—and he's not the only one. Unseen magical forces wage war in a faraway world called Mytica, and Becca may be the only one who can stop it.

Crys Hatcher is growing more protective of her little sister, even going so far as to keep a major, life-changing secrets from Becca that might put her in harm's way. But she has her work cut out for her: a chance encounter with Farrell Grayson puts Crys back in his sights—and and puts Farrell one step closer to cornering the Hatcher family and bringing them as prey to his master, Markus.

Little does anyone in Toronto know that behind the scenes in Mytica, Maddox's necromancy magic has begun to influence the magic in the codex—and the fate of everyone involved.




Genre: Young Adult Fantasy 

3 out of 5 Stars

Review:

I like this series, in fact unlike most reviewers I prefer this series to Falling Kingdoms. Which started out good but in my opinion has gone on far too long and needs to just end. Seriously. 

This book was alright, but it wasn't as good as the first, which I really loved. The author repeats plot lines over and over. And while book 1 had exciting mystery and secret elements. They weren't really any big reveals in this novel that the reader didn't already know. 

I enjoyed the unique cast of characters, even if some seemed really out of character. I'm enjoying Crystal much more than book #1. Her personality has really turned around, almost in an unbelievable way. Farrell is so desperate for affection, you feel so much sympathy for him despite his misdeeds. That being said he became very tedious in this book. He also went a little too evil for me personally. Also I found it weird that the author set up potential romance between Farrell and Crystal, and then took it nowhere in this book.  

Maddox is my favorite character. He is so earnest, and brave, fighting to control his power. He wants so much to be useful and protect the people he cares about. Becca is really sweet, sassy, and curious. In this second installment she is becoming more confident and taking control of situations.

The first half of the book is quite full of arguing and back and forth. Most of the main characters were  keeping secrets from Becca. Which was a waste of time because the reader as well as most of the characters already knew who Becca's parents really were. The last few chapters picked up a bit in pace, if only the whole novel could have been like that. 

Ultimately I'm glad to hear that this series will only be a trilogy. I'm looking forward to the end.




~Important Links~
Read my review of book #1


Thanks for reading! Check back next week for a review of a book I LOVED! :)
on Jan 2, 2017
In a land where those with magic are esteemed and revered, Janir guards a secret that would
send her to a headman's block at a word. As one of the reviled Argetallams, she
has the power to destroy enchantments and steal others' magic—an ability
that has caused bloodshed for generations. 

Raised as the illegitimate daughter of an influential lord, she was determined to turn her back
on her heritage, but when her power manifests, leaving a nobleman dead, she has no choice
but to flee her adoptive home. In exile with the help of a fearless young enchanter
and an elf sworn to protect her, she finds herself entangled in a quest to
hide an ancient artifact from the kingdom's enemies.

But they are not the only ones after the relic and soon their paths cross with a rival from Janir's distant childhood. With no hope of help or rescue, the fate of nations will depend on
a fifteen year old girl and her mastery of powers she doesn't understand.



Young Adult Fantasy

5 out of 5 Stars

Review: The Key of Amatahns by Elizabeth Wheatley is a spellbinding fantasy adventure! 

The story starts off with a prologue, a very good one. I know prologues aren't to everyones taste, but when it comes to fantasy I think they add so much to a story. I feel like they're necessary in a way.  Wheatley's prologue is executed to near perfection, at establishing the story and introducing her world before the main action begins. 

There is something very special about this story. For starters it is very well-written, especially considering how young the author was (only 15 when the first edition was published, I believe.). It reminds me of older fantasy stories, such as the Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. It has the same sort of quirky, realistic, indirect path of the quest. It doesn't just jump from confrontation to confrontation, there's some stopping, some snacking, and some treasured restful moments. An occasional interruption to the quest. There's a realness to that, that makes the quest more believable and gives the characters more depth. 

Janir was a captivating main character, very contemplative and thoughtful. She has very strong heart, despite all the trials of her life so far. Like most teenagers she is trying to figure out who she is, although in her case this is made more difficult by her circumstances. However, my favorite trait that she possessed is mercy. Janir has the opportunity to abandon someone who has hurt her numerous times, but she makes sure he makes it out of danger and speaks up against killing him.

Janir's friends and allies are no less engaging. Her best friend, an elf called Saoven, is cool just for the simple fact of being an elf (elves are automatically awesome). But he is a good friend, especially considering the negative view that most of his people have of Argetallam. Janir's most unlikely ally is Karile, who is...unique. Okay, so he can be really annoying, but after while he grows on you. And he is a loyal friend, even if he doesn't seem like it at first. Armandius, Janir's adopted father is everything a dad should be, kind, and compassionate, and supportive. I love how he treats Janir with as much consideration as he would his own daughter. 

Now onto the villains of our story. Janir's brother, Lucan is a jerk. A big jerk. And yet despite the awful things he does, the reader (and Janir) still feel sympathy for him. After all, having the Lord Argetallam as your role model is bound to screw anyone up. Speaking of the Lord Argetallam, grrr...I really, reaallly don't like him. Dude is straight up evil. 

Wheatley's world is so enthralling, I love all the details and the intricate history of the different lands and peoples. Also the creatures, like the Mazag, who are scary. Nothing worse than a creature that wants to have a conversation before it kills you. That being said they are very interesting and I hope to see more of them as the series continues. A favorite scene of mine was the market, reminiscent of Hellboy, with all sorts of various creatures and wares, I loved it! 

This story has plenty of magic, loyal friends, and exciting quests to captivate fantasy fans! (Especially if you like Eragon or Merlin!) 


~ Important Links ~
Read my review of book #4 (coming soon!)



About your Reviewer:
Mallory Farnham is a bookworm, fangirl, and (during the day) page at a library. She has been reviewing books on The Runaway Pen since she was just sixteen. Mal is currently working on her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can follow her adventures on twitter and instagram @malloryfarnham ^_^
on Oct 13, 2016

 In celebration of the Virtual Fantasy Con, fantasy author Melissa Sasina is holding a giveaway for the three available ebooks in my Chronicles of Midgard series: Falls the Shadow, Melody of the Dark, and Opening of Lost Doors!
This giveaway will run from Thursday, October 13 until October 19th!
Three winners will be chosen on October 20th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
on Sep 30, 2016
Aileana Kameron, the Falconer, disappeared throught the Fae portal she was trying to close forever. Now she wakes in an alien world of mirrors, magic, and deception—a prisoner of  the evil Fae Lonnrach, who has a desperate and deadly plan for his new captive.

Time after agonizing time Lonnrach steals Aileana's memories, searching for knowledge to save his world. Just when she's about to lose all hope, Aileana is rescued by an unexpected ally and returns home, only to confront a terrifying truth. The city of Edinburgh is now an unrecogniable wasteland. And Aileana knows the devastation is all her fault.

The few human survivors are living in an underground colony, in an uneasy truce with a remnant of the fae. It is a fragile alliance, but an even greater dangter awaits: the human and fae words may disappear forever. Only Aileana can save both worlds, but in order to do so she must awaken her latent Falconer powers. And the price of doing so might be her life....

Genre: Young Adult / Historical / Fantasy / Steampunk






Review: After book #1, The Falconer, ended with a heart pounding cliff hanger, I was eager to read the next in the series. The Vanishing Throne is every bit as magical and exciting as book #1, if not more! 

After failing to stop the fae from invading her home, Aileana has to put the pieces of her shattered world back together. During the story she is nearly destroyed, first by the confines of Lonnrach's faery prison, then by her overwhelming guilt about the remnants of her world. This book deals more with the internal struggle, which is written wonderfully. We know that Aileana is strong and capable, but it's nice to see her vulnerable side, too. Despite the painful trials she goes through in this book Aileana keeps fighting and really grows as a character. I'm looking forward to seeing where she ends up in book #3. 

The first book in this series was amazing and book #2 does not disappint. The thrilling, exciting adventure continues as we venture to new cities of the fae. Each setting is masterfully described as well as extremely different and creative. From the scary to the beautiful, the homes of the fae are as unique as the creatures themselves. The author has a wonderful imagination.

We learn more about Kiaran Mackay, known in the faery realm as Kadamach. The biggest revelation about Kiaran blew me away. I was not expecting it. As we readers know from book #1 Kiaran did many awful deeds in his day, but honestly every time he revealed something bad he had done in the past  I just wanted to hug him. I don't want to give away his back story but he has come so far as a character. His feelings for Aileana , make him a better person, more human, and I just love him. His tenderness to Aileana is truly endearing. We know that he has a hard time with emotions so the fact that he is so sweet and caring towards her (and almost no one else) speaks to their deep connection. 

We are introduced to Kiaran's sister, Aithinne. A witty, mad-as-a-hatter, badass warrior. Her presence reveals a different side of Kiaran, and the history between the two is fascinating. Also, some familiar faces from Aileana's past, the human survivors fighting against an unrelenting enemy. 

In this installment of the series an abundance of faery secrets are revealed, as well as long held alliances, betrayals, and a fascinating history that brings to light the motivations of friends and enemies. 

At the end Elizabeth May hits us again with a rockin' cliffhanger. It's going to be a painful wait for book #3, however completely worth it because I can't wait to find out what happens next in this awesome story! 



~ Important Links ~ 





About the Reviewer: M. A. Bronson (aka PrincessMab) is a book reviewer, fangirl, bookworm, and writer. Since 2012, she has been reviewing indie and traditionally published books as 1/5 of the team behind the runawaypen.com. She spends her time reading, drinking tea, writing, and listening to ASMR Boyfriend roleplays on Youtube;)  She can most likely be found reading and fangirling about her current read on the various social media sites below. ^_^           Instagram & Twitter @theprincessmab 
on Sep 22, 2016
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. She's leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sithichean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them. 

Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her abilities and her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother. 

The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacaring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother's murder—but she'll have to save the world first. 

Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal / Fantasy






Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May is the best book I've read all year! I was so happy to spot this book at the library, what a perfect novel to get me out of my recent reading slump. 

The Falconer is a beautifully imagined story that combines faeries, history, a little romance, with steampunk wonder. The story starts off very quickly right in the middle of an average night of faery hunting for Aileana. As the plot unfolds Aileana is forced to face her destiny and fight with a motley group of friends to protect the world from the fae. 

Aileana is a resourceful inventor and warrior, hiding as a normal lady during the day. At night she hunts for the faery who murdered her mother. I like how Aileana is aware of some ridiculous customs of the day, and hates the part she plays. She has to hide who she is and how she feels and I think many readers can relate to that. During the novel she struggles with balancing the warrior parts of herself with the more feminine and that was interesting to read. 

He would probably hate my saying this but, Derrick is soooo adorable. I love that Aileana has a little fae friend that supports her and trades information for pots of honey. They bicker like siblings, and its good for Aileana to have a friend who knows her secrets. 

Kiaran MacKay is my new book boyfriend and I'm claiming him as mine. ;))) Seriously, he is a fascinating character, incredibly mysterious and intriguing. He teaches Ailenana to hunt his own kind (for reasons unknown). You're never sure of his motives, and neither is Aileana. I really enjoy his relationship with Aileana, even though he is kind of jerk, he seems to care about her, and she can be herself around him. I'm excited to learn more about him in the next book, especially his hidden past. 

The steampunk elements were so interesting, they really added an extra spark to the story and blended well with the fantasy side of the story. My favorite were the "stitchters" mechanical bug-like things that stitch a person up after injury. You don't often find too many books with fae and steampunk elements. That particular combination pleasantly reminded me of The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. 

The ending! Arggghhh! Right in the middle of a highly suspenseful situation, bam, cliffhanger! I'm not as upset as I usually would be because book #2 is available now and I have a copy in my possesion ready to devour immediately after finishing this review. ;) 



~ Important Links ~




About the Reviewer: M. A. Bronson (aka PrincessMab) is a book reviewer, fangirl, bookworm, and writer. Since 2012, she has been reviewing indie and traditionally published books as 1/5 of the team behind the runawaypen.com. She spends her time reading, drinking tea, writing, and listening to ASMR Boyfriend roleplays on Youtube;)  She can most likely be found reading and fangirling about her current read on the various social media sites below. ^_^           Instagram & Twitter @theprincessmab | Tumblr -  http://princessmabblr.tumblr.com/ | Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/princessmabwrites/