Wednesday, April 29, 2015

After a Fashion

After a Fashion is a historical fiction novel by Jen Turano.

Though her dreams are to someday open a dress shop where she can refurbish gowns for working women like herself, Harriet Peabody currently spends her days in a hat shop in New York City 1882.

Beggars can’t be choosers, though – because once a millinery errand to a high-strung customer goes terribly wrong she finds herself without even that position.

Mr. Oliver Addleshaw witnesses the event in question – in fact, he has a role. The aforementioned high-strung lady was under the belief that they were soon to be wed, when in fact all he had been hoping for was a feminine companion on one of his biggest business deals yet.

Seeing Miss Peabody’s precarious situation, he decides to offer her that position – especially as he quickly realizes her personality is far different than most simpering, wedding-obsessed ladies he’s dealt with prior.

Unable to turn down such a lucrative offer, despite its oddness, Harriet decides to go through with it, if only because the funds could potentially help her dream come to pass. Yet she realizes soon enough that having an eye for fashion does not make her fashionable amidst this set – and just when she starts to think she should give up trying to act like something she’s not at sophisticated balls and extravagant feasts, a threat from her past shows up to damage everything…

Jen Turano is swiftly becoming another one of my preferred Christian historical fiction writers!

After a Fashion is amusing, clever and fun to read. Avoiding the romantic clichés that I can’t stand – such as numerous descriptions of the other party’s attractiveness – we get a refreshingly entertaining historical story.

Neither of our main characters are overly sentimental, emotional or romantically inclined. They just, quite simply, work! Their personalities bring out the best in each other and I enjoyed the generally straight forward plot that veered away from the overdramatic.

Keep in mind that I do feel that Harriet’s character was given some great backstory with a rather sad upbringing, yet it didn’t pull down the book or immerse her in self-pity at all. She’s a strong, faith-filled character that has principles. Yay!

With humor, romance and a little dose of drama and surprise, After a Fashion was a fast paced, truly pleasant diversion. I will definitely want to read the next book in this interweaved trio!

*I received a copy of After a Fashion from the Bethany House Book Reviewers program. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

Monday, April 27, 2015

How to Destroy the New Girl's Killer Robot Army

How to Destroy the New Girl’s Killer Robot Army is a middle grade, humor horror novel by Mick Bogerman and the third in the Slug Pie series.

Again, I think it’s not necessary to read these books in order but it could certainly enhance the fun!

After zombies and ugly mermaids, you wouldn’t think much would faze Mick Bogerman.

Until the new girl.

She gets on his nerves – using her Big Words and her Big Brain to mess with him. She’s even spending time at his Mr. Gee’s comic shop – pushing him out of his own territory!

So… maybe he does something about it.

But that doesn’t excuse her creating a robot army that is dead-set on terrorizing Mick and his friends and family!!!

Another strong entry in the Slug Pie series, this was a whole lot of FUN!

Again we get more of Mick’s personal life – all fairly quick as these books are so short they could practically be called novellas, but it’s effective nonetheless – and his mom, brother and friends. Score!

Truly an entertaining riot as we follow Mick’s battle against the dangerous, determined robots attempting to enact revenge on him!

I hope to see more Slug Pie stories coming out soon – they are a light-hearted, engaging pleasure to read and sure to utterly GOBBLED UP by young boys and girls.

Friday, April 24, 2015

How to Rid Your Swimming Pool of a Bloodthirsty Mermaid

How to Rid Your Swimming Pool of a Bloodthirsty Mermaid is a middle grade humorous horror novel by Mick Bogerman, and the second book in the Slug Pie Series.

Though I think you would enjoy reading these books in order, these are ones I can honestly say should be just fine not to – if needed.

All Mick wanted was to fulfill his promise to his little brother – teach him how to swim. To do so, he agreed to do wealthy PJ’s lawn moving in exchange for access to his pool.

But there’s a mermaid in there.

And not a gorgeous, sweet, innocent mermaid.

Oh, no.

A bloodthirsty, man-eating, red-scaled monstrosity!

Well, Mick is just going to have to figure out how to rid the pool of it.

After all, how else will his little brother learn to swim?

Now, I felt that How to Rid Your Swimming Pool of a Bloodthirsty Mermaid was a great improvement on the first book, How to Navigate Zombie Cave and Defeat Pirate Pete, for a few different reasons.

Reason One: Far more setup – thank you!!! Instead of jumping into the midst of action, we actually get to see Mick in a normal life for a little bit, get the build-up of how the heck he gets involved in mermaid eradication and get a chance to feel like we are learning along with Mick.

Reason Two: More of Finley, Mick’s little brother. He’s a great compliment to Mick’s more reckless character and a hilarious, clever little guy that acts way older than he is. He, I felt, was underutilized in the first book.

Reason Three: Humor!!! Not that How to Navigate Zombie Cave and Defeat Pirate Pete wasn’t funny – it was – but How to Rid Your Swimming Pool of a Bloodthirsty Mermaid felt far more that gross-out, gory humor and more clever, smart silliness – which I prefer.

This was a really fun story that I really enjoyed! The characters were more developed – in a comical way of course, but still – and the plot had some meat to it!

It’s appropriate for all ages with enough scare factor to not make it too wimpy of a read.

On to book three!

For National Poetry Month, I'd like to share a fun quiz with you, brought to you by the folks at Grammar Check! Who is your Poet BFF?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Infographic: Who Writes Better?

For your Hump Day bibliophile pleasure, here's an Grammarly's Grammar Checker infographic about just who writes better - men or women?!??

MenvsWomen Writers infographic

Monday, April 20, 2015

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover

Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover is the third book in the YA contemporary spy school series Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter.

If you haven’t read the first two books, I strongly recommend not reading this review to avoid inevitable spoilers.

Got it?!?

A visit to Boston to visit one of her best friends Macey during her summer vacation sounds like fun to Cammie.

After all, it’s not every girl that gets to watch their best friend’s father campaign to be the next vice president of the United States!

Yet what was believed to be a friendly visit turns deadly – not necessarily surprising considering the line of business Cammie and Macey are being groomed for.

But this time it is not a test. It’s not a practical exam.

It’s real.

When a kidnapping attempt leaves Cammie and Macey battered – their best friends Liz and Bex join them to try and figure out who is after Macey and why.

Even if the Secret Service wants them nowhere near the investigation…

Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover was yet another fun entry – but this one grew up a little, shall we say.

Instead of staying only in the romance/frothy fun genre, this third book provided more dramatic, twisty turns, giving the series more weight.

I have to admit that as much as I have enjoyed being entertained by the Gallagher Girls, I am more intrigued by things turning a bit more serious.

There were some truly life-threatening moments and some deeper character development here. Romance took a much smaller role – though I’m sure it’ll be back full-fledged soon – and the girls’ friendship and their spy training was just as great, but based in actual stakes.

All of this made me very much look forward to book four.

Sadly, I purchased the three book set and do not know when I’ll be able to grab up book four. But it’ll happen eventually!!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

How to Navigate Zombie Cave and Defeat Pirate Pete

How to Navigate Zombie Cave and Defeat Pirate Pete is a middle grade humorous horror novel by Mick Bogerman.

Mick Bogerman is a typical 12-year-old boy.

That is, the kind that is determined to fight off zombies with a pitchfork and locate long-lost pirate gold, all the while doing everything he can to avoid gagging on the smell.

And if this is an endeavor that interests you, Mick is happy to provide this “how to”, which regales his experience and the tips he’d provide.

Time to get some pirate gold!

How to Navigate Zombie Cave and Defeat Pirate Pete
is the first in Slug Pie Story series narrated by Mick Bogerman.

It’s a fast paced, gory, gross, funny debut that made me wince and laugh at the same time. I can see 12-year-old boys loving it, or anyone with a penchant for middle grade horror, such as the Goosebumps series.

This first outing is not as substantial or story driven as I prefer and ended up feeling a bit forgettable, but I am happy to say that I personally feel the next two books in the series improve greatly.

You’ll see those reviews in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, How to Navigate Zombie Cave and Defeat Pirate Pete is a fun, if insubstantial, diversion.

If you like description of zombies falling apart, dying in various manners or the search for pirate gold in general – this could be the perfect short novel for you!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy is the second book in the YA teen spies-in-training series Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter.

To avoid any spoilers, you’ll want to have read the first book I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You before you read this review.


Returning to school after having to give up her civilian boyfriend, Josh, Cammie is hoping to be fully distracted by her spy skills training to think of him – or that he is just outside the highly secure walls of the Gallagher Academy.

Alas, her troubles with the male gender have not ended it seems.

For a long time, there has been supposition that there must be a boy-version of the Gallagher Academy out there somewhere

Then the code name Blackthorne starts being thrown around – during some innocent eavesdropping on her mother the headmistress, ahem – and a wing of the Academy is being prepped for guests – determined after some just-as-innocent reconnaissance.

Blamed for security breaches that – this time – she did not cause, Cammie finds herself in a position where she needs to clear her name.

Well, she and her fellow spies-in-training best friends are more than up that challenge.

But mix in too many Y chromosomes and will Cammie’s skills still be victorious?

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy really won me over on the Gallagher Girls series.

Primarily because Ally Carter truly begins to flesh out this slightly realistic/slightly ridiculous world with more proof of it’s fun, eccentric, creative plot.

Venturing out of the Gallagher Academy a little more provides more opportunities to see this spy world beyond the training grounds and was really quite entertaining!

Then mixing in more romance, action and humor – it was another easy read!

And, in my opinion, even better than the first!

I will be continuing on to book three!!!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Shadow Scale

Shadow Scale is a YA fantasy novel, and the long awaited follow-up to Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman.

Though it is said you could read Shadow Scale without having read Seraphina, I strongly believe you will get far more impact from the sequel if you read the books in order. For my part, I actually re-read Seraphina before reading Shadow Scale – and I’m glad I did!

To read my review of Seraphina, click here. Consider avoiding the below review for inevitable spoilers of the first book.

Final warning!

Seraphina’s secret – that she is half-dragon, half-human – is now known to the kingdom of Goredd at large. It’s something she never expected – but has become an advantage now, as the potential victory in the brewing war may lie in her kind.

And she can find them.

Locating all of the grotesques from her mind garden appeals to Seraphina – she thinks of them as a family, wants to gather everyone together to be happy and free from the shame that has dogged them since birth.

Yet it is not a straightforward task – and her travels throughout the realms do not garner the reaction she expects. There are roadblocks, revelations and struggles that she had not foreseen.

And someone is working against her.

How can Seraphina broker peace if her own kind is not on her side?

I feel my re-read of Seraphina was necessary – as the wait for Shadow Scale was a long one, and I needed to get reacquainted with these characters. It was a wonderful re-read, reminding me of the superb writing!

Shadow Scale is an exquisite sequel – providing that same quiet intensity and nobility of characters that I love! We get intriguing depth in the dragon lore and the gripping psychological, character-driven fantasy that gets you invested.

With some truly chilling twists, I found Shadow Scale to be suspenseful and frightening on an intellectual level. Book Two really upped the scare factor and a character that I will not name – for fear of causing a spoiler – was honestly scary to me.

Spellbinding in an unusual manner, Shadow Scale is an epic fantasy with emotion, romance, strength and a unique, graceful voice.

Worth the wait!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas

Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas is the third entry in the sidesplitting contemporary YA series Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison.

As always with a series, it’s best to read the books in order and best not to read the reviews until you’ve read the prior book. Therefore… YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

After a rather disastrous attempt to make Sex God Robbie jealous after he broke things off between them due to her “being too young”, they are now officially an item.

But yet again her family of crazy people are determined to ruin everything.

Why not a sudden vacation in Scotland?!

Um, maybe because there’s nothing to do but look at old men in kilts and hang out with the young crowd in a GROCERY STORE?!?!?

But upon return home, Georgia is struck with an odd revelation.

Though she is in Snog Heaven with gorgeous Robbie, her prior only-dated-to-make-Robbie-jealous flame Dave the Laugh is looking marvelous.

Not to mention their attractive new French teacher.

Apparently, Georgia is becoming a brazen harlot!

Well, maybe that’s what Scotland does to you…

What can I say that I have not already?!?

Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas is yet again laugh-out-loud funny and entertaining from the first to last page without pause.

I love that we’re exploring other romantic interests (hellooooo Dave the Laugh!) and that Georgia is experiencing some mixed feelings – makes for more amusement and fun!

If you’ve already started this series, then I really don’t know what I can say that can convince you more to read Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas, as I figure you’re already hunting it down with a determined focus and don’t need me to convince you.

I’ll leave you with the single note I wrote when reading this third book:

“Awesome. Frickin’ HILARIOUS!”

Friday, April 3, 2015

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You is the first in the YA contemporary spy school series Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter.

As a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, Cammie has espionage in the blood. Her mother is the headmistress and her father’s life in the spy scene cost him his life.

Now she’s “the Chameleon”, great at blending in and utilizing the academic education she is receiving – which isn’t what the town’s impression of a snooty girl’s boarding school is.

Instead, Cammie and her friends are taught advanced martial arts, how to assimilate into various cultures, different languages and accents and so on and so forth. Essentially, a training ground for genius girls meant to be future spooks.

But despite knowing how to kill someone with her bare hands and what is the latest in chemical warfare science, Cammie has no idea what to do when an ordinary boy talks to her like she’s an ordinary girl.

Is it possible to enter into a relationship with a regular guy – when that regular guy can never know the truth about you?

I know I’m rather late to this Gallagher Girls series, but I’m glad I finally picked it up!

As the first book in the series, I’d Tell You I Loved You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You mixes a crazy teen espionage angle with some truly funny and relatable narration and dialogue.

Plus, there’s an appreciative level of seriousness and friendship to level out what can be a silly (but fun!) plot.

It was a fast, diverting read that presented the idea of teen girl spies in training – and how ill-equipped those skills make them to handle normal day-to-day activities.

With romance, humor and a healthy amount of world-building of this legendary – but hush hush – school, I really enjoyed reading I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You!

I’m looking forward to continuing the series and seeing where they go next.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Guest Post with YA Author Roselyn Jewell!

Hi everyone,

My name is Roselyn Jewell and I wanted to let you know about my newly released YA eBook! Its dystopian fiction, set in a world where a lot of the population was wiped out by a pandemic and of the people left, about 75% of them have what's called The Roving, which is similar to ADHD. People with The Roving have trouble focusing and short attention spans. The post pandemic society is completely government run; the government decides everything, from where you'll live once you turn 17 (the age they consider you an adult) to who you are paired with and expected to marry and produce children, and what career path you will be put on. You can request certain pairings or careers but ultimately you must take what you're given and once you have your assignments, you cannot even request a change for 5 years.

This book focuses on Hillary, the main character, who turns 17 and is not at all happy with any of her assignments. Not only that, she's seriously struggling with who she is as a person and with desires she has that are considered not normal by society. The book is basically the story of her trying to figure out who she is and along the way realizing that the so called "perfect" society is really far from it. There is friendship, romance, mystery, and lots more. I've included an excerpt below:


A blank screen on my tablet now glares back at me, my own face reflected on the black screen in the bright overhead light of my small, beige bedroom. I look into the scared blue eyes of a girl who’s been keeping a secret for several years now. A secret desire that—while it can’t exactly get me into trouble, per se — it can never, never, be fulfilled. But now the secret is wiped away. I have a clean, blank page to fill with new musings, new yearnings, and wishes—attainable ones—and I have a chance to start over, build a new me, sans secret desires. The Sorting is now less than two days away. I’m leaving all that kid stuff behind me.

Buy links:



Google Play:


If purchasing via Smashwords, code HR72V will get you a 50% discount ;)

I hope you all will enjoy it and if you'd like to contact me with any questions, feedback, or anything at all I can be reached at or on social media as jewellromance.