Infinity Dreams Award

So I got tagged by Shantelle Mary Hannu to do the Infinity Dreams Award! Thanks, Shantelle!

Tell us eleven facts about yourself.

  1. I play the piano.
  2. I know how to knit.
  3. I did ballet from age four to ten.
  4. I do not have a phone.
  5. Over two years ago I just about hated writing. *gasp* I know. Now I’m blogging and have written 50,000 words for a novel.
  6. I love to swim (breaststroke is my favorite).
  7. History is my favorite school subject.
  8. I love almost anything that includes some sort of bread.
  9. I like to bake (mostly breads and desserts).
  10. I’m a Whovian (the Tenth Doctor is my favorite).
  11. Many of my shirts are men’s t-shirts. That’s because they have all the cool MARVEL, STAR WARS, Doctor Who, etc. t-shirts.

Answer the eleven questions.

How many books do you hope to read this year?

I have set my Goodreads status for 150 books this year. But who knows if I’ll get that far…

What’s your favorite song?

Ooh, that’s hard. Recently, I have loved Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots and The Parting Glass by The High Kings.

What’s your least favorite holiday?

Halloween. Some of the history on the origins of Halloween are really just wrong. Many churches have uplifted the holiday and done some good through it, which is very nice.

Why do you blog?

To share my faith and tell people about all the wonderful books out there that people need to read! So go check out some of my book reviews and read my favorites. You won’t regret it!

Favorite dessert?

Ice cream. Mint, cookie dough, or cake batter flavored.

One movie coming out in 2016 you want to watch?

Captain America: Civil War. Oh my goodness. I’ve heard what happens to Captain America in the comics on the Civil War…I hope that the movie doesn’t follow it!

Some books set for 2016 releases you want to read?

  1. Samara’s Peril by Jaye L. Knight
  2. Siren’s Song by Mary Weber
  3. Rise of the Wolf by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  4. Lady Dragon, Tela Du by Kendra E. Ardnek

This is all that I can think of for now. But I’m so excited for all of them!

What historical era intrigues you most?

Ancient Greek and Roman times. I love all the history behind it. The gladiators are really interesting.

Where would you love to visit?

I’ve always wanted to go to Australia and New Zealand. To go see the waterfalls, kangaroos, and koalas. Besides that, New Zealand is where The Lord of the Rings was filmed. So…win, win!

Some of your favorite blogs?

Amanda at Scattered Journal Pages

Katie at A Writer’s Faith

Hope at Stitches of Freedom

I follow a lot of other amazing blogs, but I think that these are my top three.

What things inspire you to write/blog?

I think it is just so neat to see how just letters put together can create something amazing. All my blogging friends (especially you, Amanda, who helped me start a blog in the first place) are great inspirations. Also, there all these great homeschool authors (you know who you are) that I’ve met by way of Goodreads or blogs have really given me the courage to start writing my own novel.

Guidelines:

  • Use the Infinity Dreams Award picture
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Tell us 11 facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions
  • Tag 11 bloggers

Tagged:

To those I didn’t tag and you want to do it, go ahead and consider yourself tagged. Leave a link to your post in the comments!

Now, here are your eleven questions:

What do you like about blogging?

What is your favorite hobby?

What is your favorite genre of books that you like to read?

What is your favorite movie?

What is your favorite TV show?

Is there anything that you “fangurl” about? If so, what?

Do you have a favorite music artist that you listen to about every song of theirs? If so, who?

Is there anything new that you’re hoping to do this year?

What do you hope to be when you are “grown-up”?

What is your favorite way to travel?

If you had a TARDIS (time machine/spaceship), where would you go?

I hoped that you liked this post! Tell me what you think! Do we have anything in common?

-G. Paige

 

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Book Review: The Elfstones of Shannara (The Shannara Trilogy: Book 2)

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Rating: 4/5 stars.

Being the second book by this author that I’ve read, it really didn’t disappoint. It was a great tale that was quite different from the first book that was so much like The Lord of the Rings.

For a very long time has the magical tree, known as the Ellcrys, lived, cared for by the elves. The tales of the Ellcrys protecting the world from demons that would destroy it are believed to be myths. Until now. The Ellcrys is dying. Now the Forbidding is crumbling, the demons that were held in captivity for many years are breaking free. The elves must call on the other races to help fend off what could annihilate them all. Meanwhile, Wil Ohmsford and the Elven girl Amberle journey to a dangerous place where Amberle will make the Ellcrys’s seed into a force that will restore the Forbidding and save the world. But a demon who has never failed in a mission to kill someone, is after them and cannot be stopped by any physical means.

This book was great. The book was mainly told from the points of view of Ander Elessedil and Wil Ohmsford besides a few other instances. So I must say it didn’t jump around as much as the first book. Probably my favorite character was Ander, unless you take Allanon into the equation, in which case he is like my absolute favorite. I have a feeling that he will make an appearance in almost every book about Shannara. Anyways, Ander was such a great leader, when he didn’t even want to be one. Wil was pretty good too. He only wanted to be a Healer. Amberle was very stubborn and strong, but also felt very vulnerable. Eretria. I don’t know what to think of her. She was bold, stubborn, and definitely wouldn’t take no for an answer, while also very protective for those she cared about, if they gave her what she wanted. You did not want to get on her bad side. Oh, and I can’t leave out Stee Jans. He was awesome. Such a brave and courageous person who didn’t fear death one bit.

The book didn’t feel as much like The Lord of the Rings, as the first one did. But that doesn’t mean that it was any less good. I think the only problem with it was that I just wasn’t as interested in it for some reason. I’m not exactly sure why, but I wasn’t, though it was still very fast paced and filled with tons of action. Then that ending blew it out of the water. It was fantastic.

I recommend this to fantasy lovers who don’t mind some magic. I can’t wait to read more!

-G. Paige

What Does It Mean to Follow Christ?

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Yesterday I was just thinking about different stuff I could discuss in my blog post for today when a question popped into my mind (I know, it just does that sometimes). What does it mean to follow Christ? The more I thought about it, the more I thought of how deep a question it is. I mean, how can we be Christians if we’re not totally sure what being a Christian actually means? It is a needed discussion for many people and can definitely help all of us reassert our beliefs and make sure we’re pointed in the right direction.

I can’t say that I’ll do this question justice, but I’ll do my best to show what following Christ means.

Matthew‬ ‭16:24

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”

So what does it mean to take up his cross and follow him? It means a lot of things. But I think all of it fits under placing God first in your life and getting rid of all the idols that were in His place. I’m not talking about the wood or stone or gold statues that people worshiped thousands of years ago (Though there are still people who worship those, so it’s included.), but I’m talking of the more popular idols of today which can mean money, fame, alcohol, TV, movies, and even books. It could be anything. Just whatever makes you push away time you should be spending on God.

I don’t think that you necessarily have to get rid of your idols. You need money for food and clothing and all the other necessities. Also, we’re meant to enjoy this life God gave us. But you can’t let any of these material things take the place of God. That’s when it becomes an idol.

Then it follows that you believe (Or maybe a better word would be trust.) Him. If you trust in Him, you’ll want to follow His will. Notice how I said you’ll want to follow Him. I didn’t say that you’ll be forced into it. You’ll want to, out of your love and trust in Him. It will fill you with joy to please Him.

What coincides with following His will? Let’s start with this.
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Mark 12:29-31

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

These are vital commandments to our faith. If we don’t love God, why would we want to follow Him?

Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

When we love our neighbors as ourselves, how could it not produce this kind of “fruit” in our lives?

Following Christ includes all of this…and more. When we accept Christ and follow Him, we should expect to suffer. Maybe not physically, but there are many other ways besides that. Why?

1 Peter 2:21

For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.

‭This world is a fallen world. Our human nature doesn’t want to accept that there is a God who rules over us and orchestrates all things. We want to be our own god. Isn’t that why Adam and Eve sinned, to be like God?

So, as Christians, we are called to stand up for our beliefs no matter what. We are called to spread the Gospel. This will be carried out in different ways depending on the circumstances, but we’re all called to do it.

This is what is means to follow Christ.

-G. Paige
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Book Review: The Exiled Queen (The Seven Realm Series: Book 2)

imageRating: 2/5 stars.

So…this book wasn’t better than the one before it, but was worse. I had high hopes for it, and it totally did not live up to them.

Han Alister has made a bargain with the clans and is now headed to the Mystwerk House at Oden’s Ford with his friend Fire Dancer. There, they will train to be wizards. In exchange for the clans sponsoring his schooling, he will help them fight the Wizard Council. But can Han make it through a war-torn country on the way to Oden’s Ford without being recognized and captured? Princess Raisa ana’Marianna along with her friend Amon Bryne and his triple of cadets are headed to the Wein House at Oden’s Ford. She hopes to be safe from her mother and the High Wizard, while training as a cadet under the alias Rebecca Morley, but she struggles with her feelings for Amon Bryne.

I started this book with much anticipation and a little nervousness. I knew that there was some love situations in the last book and I hoped that it wouldn’t get more into that in the second book. I was more assured by the fact that the situation was very different from the previous book. It failed in that aspect. In the last quarter or so of the book there was a love scene that went beyond kissing. It made me uncomfortable and I was happy when it was abruptly stopped. Another thing was the mention once or twice of a girl and her “girlfriend”. I don’t think that is right. So these are the main reasons I’m not going to read anymore of the series.

Han seemed to repeat the same old decisions again and again. It didn’t feel too repetitive, but it went just over the top. He did something wrong, got found out, and then got in trouble. Han makes a lot of bad decisions, but I still like his streetlord personality. Though because of some decisions he makes later in the book, I’m starting to really not like him. Raisa learned new things and became more of a warrior princess. She got wiser about the world around her. Overall, there wasn’t much character development, unless you count the fact that they got more knowledgeable. But that doesn’t mean wisdom, especially in Han’s case.

Other than the one inappropriate romance scene, the book was pretty good. There wasn’t a lot of action or dangerous situations throughout the book except at the beginning. But there were plenty of interesting facts that kept up my interest and some new intriguing characters that are still left in mystery. Then that ending was a really good mild cliffhanger, but not too terribly exciting.

I’m not recommending this book to anyone. This wasn’t very enjoyable, most of all that last part. I think that it would be better to spend your time on better books than this.

-G. Paige 

Book Review: Ashburn (I.C.E. Agency Series: Book 1)

imageRating: 5/5 stars.

I haven’t read anything much like this and I loved it. The agent aspect of it reminded me much of the TV shows I watch, but in book form (which, by the way, is so much better)!

Special agent Bryce Reynolds is given a top-secret mission. One that involves a friend that he hasn’t seen in ten years…Cara Stephenson. Can he keep all these secrets from someone who knew him so well? Cara is just a talented graphic designer at Silver Strand technologies. Then suddenly her childhood best friend shows up into her life. Before much time has passed, they are both on a mission for a missing technology developer who has a priceless prototype that he may have been kidnapped for! Will they find him? Will they even survive their trek through Venice and other places?

Oh, the characters were so great. Bryce was my favorite. He was so cool. I loved all the top notch gadgets he pulled out for special occasions. He was so kind and protective. He knew how to stand his own ground. Also, I loved how he liked to tease Cara. It was hilarious! Cara was smart, creative, and great at improvising in tough situations. The little bit of romance between them was sweet and not at all inappropriate.

The plot was fast paced and filled with action. But it also had some scenes that felt…normal. I don’t get that a lot in books. It was nice. There was gunfights and street fights and a motorcycle chase! It was definitely exciting. I also loved reading about the different places they went to. Venice, Paris, and much more!!! It was really neat. I almost felt like I was there and knew what it was like.

I would recommend this to teens and up. The violence could be a little scary for younger people. Those who love spy and agent novels will really enjoy it.

-G. Paige

Book Review: A Dream Not Imagined

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Rating: 5/5 stars.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a short story, but was full of meaning. It’s a perfect light and fun read, while still having a great message embedded in it.

Ellie Abbington’s life is different from any other. She lives under a wealthy father and stepmother along with two stepsisters, serving them as their maid. Cast out from the regular servants because of her higher upbringing while also ignored by the rest of society because of her position as a maid, she is alone. So she dreams of falling in love with a prince and living happily ever after. Will this dream of hers come true? Or is there one that is even better than what she had ever imagined?

I loved the different characters, especially Ellie and Rowen. Rowen was so sweet and fun and such a gentleman all at the same time. Ellie was sweet and felt pretty realistic throughout the story. Oh, and her realization after that twist was really neat. It is something that we could all do to remember.

So…as I said earlier, I loved this book. It was a really start for a new author. At first, this may seem like an everyday Cinderella story. But about halfway through, everything goes array. It was a great plot twist. Even though I was expecting a twist, I still couldn’t very guess what it was or how it was going to be solved which made it so much more interesting. I do wish that it had been a bit longer between the plot twist and end, but it probably would’ve felt a bit out of place since it kept the same steady pace throughout the whole book.

I would recommend this to people of all ages, though it is more for younger kids. It is really fun and sweet with a great message.

-G. Paige 

Book Review: Storm Siren (The Storm Siren Trilogy: Book 1)

imageRating: 5/5 stars.

Somebody help me. I knew that there was going to be a cliffhanger ending, but I was still not prepared. Not at all prepared for that shocking and horrifyingly thrilling ending.

Nymia is a seventeen year slave surviving in a country ridden by war. She is an Elemental, which means she shouldn’t even exist for Elementals are always born male and slaughtered. She is sold the fifteenth time to a High Council member who is the king’s most trusted advisor. She gives Nym a choice: train to be used as a weapon to win the war or die. Nym makes her choice and is soon training hard alongside another Uathúil under Eogan while at the same time going to parties and pretending to be something she is not. But does she really want to help the country that keeps her enslaved and murders her kind? And how can Eogan calm her down and seemingly block her powers? What is he hiding?

Let me first say that the cover is georgous. Just look at it. I love the blue and the dark look it has to it. I just love the white hair too along with the lightning. So neat! Also, I got a hardback copy of this for Christmas and I love hardback!

I love the way this is told in first person. The similes were beautiful. The emotions felt raw and real. I felt for Nym like I was her. It was really amazing. I really loved Nym, she had done many terrible things in her past and was terribly ashamed of it and felt so guilty. But she wanted to make up for it even if she didn’t believe she could. She knew that she deserved die, but that didn’t mean she wanted to. Nym is a heartbroken character, and that is probably why I liked her so much. Because I’m really more for the male protagonist than the female protagonist.

I do feel like there maybe should have been a few more side characters or a few more names. But it was great with the side characters there were. I was interested in Eogan from the beginning. He has such a secretive side to him that intrigued me. Colin, man, he was so caring and funny. His past was sad, but he didn’t let that bring him down. He was very open about himself. Breck, Colin’s twin sister, felt a little flat. She needed to play more of a part in the book or more of a personality or something. Adora was crazy and a touch creepy, but very interesting. I would like to know how she came to be the way she was.

The book was dark, but didn’t feel at all depressing like a lot of dark books feel. It was definitely was a very intense and suspenseful book with a good bit of action. The romance was very prevalent too, at least in the case of feelings and emotions. Kissing only happened two or three times. There is quite a bit of sadness at the end, but then the ending gives you an overall feeling of shock.

I’d recommend this to people who love fantasy and powers. This is probably best for a older teenager and up, just because of the romance and the sporadic violence.

-G. Paige 

Why are We Even Here?

ahr2Do you ever feel…lost? I know the feeling. The feeling of not knowing where you are heading. Or, why you are even here? I think that sometimes we get so wrapped up in life that we forget the real point of life, of living. It is a very important thing to remember, but too easily we will take it for granted and, well…forget about it. I mean, we all got like a thousand things to be doing each day, right? But in doing all the thousands of things that need to get done, are you taking time to prioritize the right things in your life? Or, have you lost sight of the goal in the ruff and tumble of life? I know that I do.

So as the new year begins, as we start this year with a new perspective and new resolutions, let’s also make sure that our priorities are straight.

First off, a reminder of why we are living: to glorify God. That’s it. To glorify Him in any way possible.

Genesis 1:26-27

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

You know what is so neat about this? He created us out of dirt. That is about the lowest form of matter that He could have possibly used. But then He made us in His own image. His image. No other living being is created in His image. Only us.

Psalms 147:12

Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!

How can we glorify God? I believe that there are so many different to glorify Him. So I won’t go through them all. But there are some I want to briefly talk about.

One is by worshiping God. All that takes is to sing, maybe out loud or maybe in your heart.

Another is reading His Word. Through that we can grow closer to God. It is quite a simple thing to do, but I think that because most have the option of always available, we don’t do it. There are people around the world who don’t have Bibles but would love for the chance to read one like we can.

Prayer. That can be very powerful in glorifying God. Jesus taught us how to pray. I think that means that it is important to him, so it should be important to us.

One of the most important ways to glorify God is by following His commands, especially about spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth. That doesn’t have to mean going to a foreign country and teaching people (though that may be what some people are called to do), we can spread the Gospel right in our hometowns. By being kind and when the right opportunity presents itself, share the Gospel. It is amazing what kindness can do for a person.

As this new year starts, let’s remember why we’re here. A lot of time we do get lost and lose our way, but we just need to run back to God. He is the only one who can truly give you meaning to life.

This is a new year with fresh possibilities and hopes and dreams. Some may just come true. So through everything we do, may we do it for God’s glory.

-G. Paige

 

Monthly High Points: December

ahrWriting…

So…it is a bit sad to say, but I haven’t written one more word for that novel I started since November. Not. One. Single. Word. But hey, I’ve never written that much in my life. I needed a break.

I will strive to get to some writing this month, just at a slower pace. I really want to finish writing the novel so that I can go back and make some changes. I have a few ideas for some drastic changes. I mean, really drastic. Like I’m going to rewrite the story in a whole, new way! We’ll see how it goes.

Reading!!!

So I didn’t get to any writing (unless you count my schoolwork). But I got to a bunch of reading! So that was fabulous!!! Here are the books I read this month:

  1. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  2. The Sword of Shannara (The Shannara Trilogy: Book 1) by Terry Brooks
  3. Noble Imposter (The Cantral Chronicles: Book 2) by Amanda L. Davis
  4. Viral Execution (The Cantral Chronicles: Book 3) by Amanda L. Davis
  5. Co. Aytch by Samuel Rush Watkins
  6. Humorous Stories and Sketches by Mark Twain
  7. The Negotiator (The O’Malley Series: Book 1) by Dee Henderson
  8. Falling Kingdoms (A Falling Kingdoms Novel: Book 1) by Morgan Rhodes
  9. Water Princess, Fire Prince (The Rizkaland Legends: Book 1)
  10. Mark of the Thief (Mark of the Thief: Book 1) by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  11. Storm Siren (The Storm Siren Trilogy: Book 1) by Mary Weber
  12. A Dream Not Imagined by Shantelle Mary Hannu

 

Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Such a interesting and moving book. It was great to reread it.

The Sword of Shannara: Seriously. Just go read it. If you like The Lord of the Rings go read it now! If you like any sort of fantasy, read it! Click here for my review. It was amazing.

Noble Imposter: Good and very interesting. But I just wasn’t into it.

Viral Execution: Better than any of the others in this trilogy, but I still didn’t get into it sadly. I just don’t think that this trilogy was for me. But I think many people would love this!

Co. Aytch: This was an amazing true account of a Confederate soldier who served throughout the Civil War. I wouldn’t let kids read this for it was very bloody, but it was so good.

Humorous Stories and Sketches: This was quite funny, though I think there was some humor that I didn’t get. It also has some life lessons in it.

The Negotiator: Really cool adult mystery. I really enjoyed this. So much suspense and thrilling moments.

Falling Kingdoms: Not good in my opinion. But I still love that cover.

Water Princess, Fire Prince: So nice to reread this. Love it!

Mark of the Thief: Oh my goodness! Ancient Rome! Magic! Yes!!! *ahem* I really loved this! I need the next one!

Storm Siren: Another absolutely awesome book!!! It has a heart stopping cliffhanger too! *jaw drops* I. Did. Not. See. That. Coming.

A Dream Not Imagined: A sweet Cinderella retelling for all ages with quite a plot twist.

Many of these I have reviews for and as soon as I have a day available I will post it.

So I’m currently reading:

  • One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
  • Ashburn (I.C.E. Agency Series: Book 1) by Julia Erickson

One Thousand Gifts: Truly a great book about living life to the fullest.

Ashburn: I actually already finished this, but that happened in January and this is a post for what I was doing in December. Anyways, it is a great secret-agent-on-a-mission book.

As you can see, I got a lot of books read. It was fantastic!

Other Things…

In the days before Christmas, I scrambled to get halfway through all my schoolwork. I started school in October because of moving an ordering school stuff (which takes awhile to come). So I was did work on the weekends if I found the time (outside of reading). And during the weekdays, some days I did double or triple the work. It was crazy, but I finished on the 23rd of December. Then took off the whole next week.

I went and saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the 17th and got all the Star Wars feels. I was so afraid that Star Wars would be ruined, but it was epic. I couldn’t stop thinking about the movie for awhile afterwards.

How was your Christmas??? I’d love to hear about it. Mine was great. I got many books (you can see that from the pictures). Also, I got a LEGO Doctor Who set. I haven’t built it yet, but it looks really wonderful. I’m a total Whovian, if you don’t already know.


Do you see those two books on top?! They’re each about 1,200 pages!!! I can’t wait to read them!


These are both hardbacks (which are the best, mind you), and I just had to show you the beautiful covers!!! Aren’t they pretty?

Well, I hope your Christmas was amazing! Have an awesome day!

Allons-y!

-G. Paige

 

Book Review: Mark of the Thief (Mark of the Thief: Book 1)

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Rating: 5/5 stars.

I absolutely loved The Ascendance Trilogy by this author. So when I heard of this book, I was eager to get my hands on it. This book definitely lived up to the standards set by its predecessors.

During Emperor Tacitus’s reign of the Roman Empire, Nic, a slave, is forced down into a sealed cavern, a place full of Julius Caesar’s treasure. He is sent to steal a bulla, an amulet that is believed to be filled with magic given by the gods. Magic, that some people would kill to have. Stealing the bulla for himself, Nic is determined to free himself and his sister from slavery. But instead he gets caught in a power struggle as people race to get him and make him use the magic for their own purposes. Nic is on the run, and he doesn’t know who to trust. There is a conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and start the Praetor War which will tear the empire from the inside. Nic must learn to use the magic within himself to defeat the empire’s ruthless leaders if he is ever to be free and save Rome.

This book was awesome. The plot was was so good. There were so many twists and turns, betrayals, secrets revealed, and more twists that brought it to a very surprising conclusion. Just so you know, you’ll want the next book right away. It was that good. I could’ve read it in one day if I hadn’t started it so late in the day.

I love how this author tells the character’s story. The way she does first person point of view gives this kind of dry humor (that doesn’t sound childish) to the Nic’s personality, while also having this seriousness to it too. It is hard to explain, but I do love it.

Nic was fantastic. Oh my goodness! I loved his humor. The way he cared and worried about his sister was so sweet. Aurelia was a no nonsense type of girl that clashed with Nic’s personality. It was so fun to see Nic change from hating to loving her then back to hating her. She wouldn’t ever want to get on her bad side. General Radulf gives me shivers to think about. He was so twisted and evil.

Those who don’t like talk of Roman gods or the use of magic, probably wouldn’t like this much. It wasn’t anything major to me, so I was fine with it. The magic didn’t feel dark, but felt more like powers. It was really cool.

I’d recommend this to teenagers and older. It was a wonderful fantasy and historical fiction mix of a novel. The next one needs to come out sooner!

-G. Paige