Review – The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes.
Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.
In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.
But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

The first thing i need to mention about this book is that there is self harm, not by the main character but it is by someone close to her.

I had been thinking about listening to the audio-book for months when i picked it up. I was bored and needed something to listen to while at work. When I started listening to it, I was iffy about it. Originally I was not a fan of any of the characters and I almost gave up about third of the way in, but i was told it would get better so i kept on reading.  The entire first half  of the book nothing made sense! It was getting very confusing in certain parts. There is very little to no explanation of anything in the first half but once the second half starts you figure out what exactly is happening and why. The first half of the book went really slow but once things started moving I could not stop listening to it

-Spoilers Ahead-
I was trying to not get attached to the characters but the more I read(well listened) the more I became attached to the characters.  I was intrigued as to why Nadia could remember but nobody else could. As the story goes on we find out that Canaan is actually not on Earth but on an entirely different planet. We find out that the people on the planet were supposed to be colonizing the it so that they could see if life was sustainable there. the farther in the story you get the more you find out about why Canaan is the way it is and who the original settlers were and why Grey is so important to Nadia.

Overall after you get to the second half of the book it is fantastic.  It improves ten fold which is nice. The story becomes much more fast paced and everything ties in. The person who does the voice for the characters does a great job at narrating each character and does them each justice.

3.5 Bards

Book Review: Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

hidden huntress coverBeneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…

Note: I “read” this novel via Audiobook on Audible (Pssshhhttt, I did it this way: Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks)

I couldn’t help but buy a credit to download Hidden Huntress as soon as I’d finished Stolen Songbird, because I had to know what was going to happen with Cecile, Tristan, and Trollus.

The narrative skips forward a few months, not really dwelling on Cecile’s time at her family farm or her healing, which is understandable considering the majority of that part of the story would just be her lying in bed.

We catch up with our heroine when she is the understudy to her mother in the opera, she’s reunited with her best friend, and has Chris to hang out with and talk about Tristan and the Trolls.  No one seems to question her unlikely story about being somewhere in the south, but she’s back and successful so who cares.

Hidden Huntress

Hidden Huntress Aesthetic

Not long into the narrative, Cecile is enticed back to the mouth of the River Road to Trollus where she makes a pretty terrible promise to the King of Trollus.  ***Promises made to Trolls gives them the power to influence you and almost torture you until your promise is kept*** Guess what it is: to find the witch Anushka and bring her to the trolls. Seems like it would be a rather daunting task…and it is.  The majority of the novel shows the different ways that Cecile has to risk her humanity in order to save the lives of those whom she loves under the mountain.

In a freakish display of power and to the surprise of the still living witch, Cecile manages to free a single troll from the limits of the curse, allowing him to travel to her in Trianon.  And thus was the reunion of Tristan and Cecile.  Much like Cecile mentions, their reunion is a bit lackluster due to Tristan being a bit hurt physically and emotionally from the implications of her “rescue.” However, they are reunited and are joined in their quest to find Anushka, if not to release the trolls, but to release Cecile from her promise to the King.

Random tangent about Tristan, readers will be pleased to know that this novel includes many more chapters from his point of view, so I think it is much easier to get to know him as a character in this novel.  You get to really understand his point of view on why he chose to keep certain secrets from Cecile, more about his past with his friends and in Trollus (so that way we hear it from HIM and not through him telling Cecile who then narrates it), and how his rescue from the curse affects him directly. I really think this added so much to the story and I really hope Warrior Witch continues to split the narrative duties in this way anushka tweetrather than it be dominated by Cecile.

There’s a lot of new characters introduced and we are finally given the opportunity to meet Cecile’s mother, who is just as sketchy and selfish as she appeared in the subtext of Stolen Songbird.  I mean, the reader is treated to a scene where Cecile is drugged by her mother and questioned…so yeah. (I’m also too lazy to type out Genevieve over and over, so she is either Ginny or Cecile’s Mother) She was so sketchy I just assumed she was in league with Anushka…which turned out to not be WRONG, per say, but I’d rather not say more so you can go read and discover for yourself!

I’ve already queued up Warrior Witch on my iPhone, so get hyped and pick up a copy of the Malediction trilogy!

4 Bards





Vlog 1: Introduction & a Cocktail

The vlog does have a brief cameo from Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles…as their faces are on my shirt and their eyes peak over the table fairly frequently…which is amusing.

Book Review: Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

25431123A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the gameknows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it’s exhilarating–Vee and Ian’s fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they’re directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they’re playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?

Since Nerve (the movie) came out on July 27, I decided that I wanted to check out the novel first, so I could get the full backstory before heading off to pay a ridiculous (okay, $12) amount to watch it in theaters.

I read this novel in a matter of 4 hours in one sitting.  Not only was it an easy, but entertaining read, but it has just the right amount of slow build up leading to the giant rock boulder that slides down the proverbial mountain that it reeled me in and kept me turning page after page.

The narrative really plays on the idea that most reality television is perceived as staged or scripted, and that in actual reality the dangerous stunts are just that: stunts. Thus, all of the watchers in Nerve have the misconception of how treacherous the events that Vee and Ian participate in throughout the course of the novel.  I mean, they face prostitutes and their pimp, a group of rather violent virgins, and a lot of other things that I’d rather not spoil for potential readers.

Vee is basically the everygirl that is described as the typical sidekick best friend, who harbors some pretty deep resentment of her perfect diva best friend which leads to her joining Nerve as a player and consequently getting in over her head.  Ian, the only other character to occupy as much page time as Vee, is almost a cardboard handsome male character, but Ryan does a good job of alluding to his past and slowly revealing parts of his personality that lead the reader to find him an excellent counterpart to Vee.

Sydney and Tommy, the two minor characters that play a decent size role, are somewhat unredeemable characters in my eyes.  One is the diva best friend and the other is the passive aggressive kid with a massive crush on Vee.  They both act pretty questionably throughout the story, but even when Ryan had their characters wrapped up at the end…I still didn’t like either of them.  But, maybe that was just me.

Based on what the movie trailer shows, it already seems that the movie will diverge pretty heavily from the different challenges/dares that are in the novel, but I’m still excited to see how the rest of the story is adapted.

For the book, I’m giving it 4 Bards.  Check out below for the movie trailer!







Book Review: The Girls by Emma Cline

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon.

Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted.

As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

There is something to be said about a debut novel that tackles some of the most difficult aspects of life in 1969 and the delicately fragile aspects of being a young and impressionable teenage girl.

First and foremost I’m going to address the absolute accuracy of some of the observations that Cline makes about the treatment of women that not only transcends from youth into adulthood, but serves as a commentary on how gender inequality isn’t just a thing of the past.

Specifically, there is one major quote that depicts this for me, “That was part of being a girl – you were resigned to whatever feedback you’d get.  If you got mad, you were crazy, and if you didn’t react, you were a bitch.  The only thing you could do was smile from the corner they’d backed you into.  Implicate yourself in the joke even if the joke was always on you.”  This is so true to the woman’s journey.  You are told how to act and how to look based on magazines and television shows (also touched on in the novel), and how you are perceived by society is something you have to accept for what it is.

Evie is a very insecure fourteen-year-old in the flashbacks, but let’s be honest, who wasn’t insecure and uncomfortable in their own skin at that age?  Who didn’t desperately seek the approval of their parents, their peers, or those they are romantically interested in?  It is a part of growing up, and for me I noticed that all of these portions of her personality were extremely realistic and I could relate to them.  This novel also explores the discovery of sexuality and sexual preference, which is something that you experience through Evie in an open way.

Not only did I enjoy how brutally honest Cline was about the experience of young teen girls and how their experiences affect them in later life, (through older Evie interjecting throughout the novel and serving as a frame story), but I did enjoy the point of view shifts.  I would argue that Young Evie and Older Evie do represent two entirely different narrators, since Young Evie is naive and desperate for any type of attention or approval, Older Evie is withdrawn and paranoid.  There are only minute differences in the writing style and word choice during these switches, but it was significant enough for it to make a major difference in my reading experience–in a positive way.

On to the other important aspect of the novel: the infamous cult factor.  Now, for anyone who knows me, I’ve read Helter Skelter by prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi and Manson by Jeff Guinn, so I’m aware of a lot of the details of the Manson Family and their abominable crimes, so when this book was announced to have been influenced heavily by their actions, I knew I had to pick it up.  So I won’t lie to you, this was the major selling point for me.

It’s pretty obvious that the three main girls that Evie deals with in the cult are based specifically on the three Manson women, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkle, and Leslie Van Houton (in that order in the picture).

The Susan character (named Suzanne in this tale) plays a much more significant role than the other two, who are relegated as outrageous background characters that flit around Evie and the rest of the cult.

***Side Note*** I did consider this interesting, since Susan Atkins is the only of the three that are no longer living, and that maybe Cline did this partially due to that fact, but it could just be a coincidence.

Anyway, Evie is absolutely entranced by these women from the very moment they appear in the narrative.  It’s absolutely imperative to her character development because she not only fancies herself as one of them but she falls in love with Suzanne, and spends much of her experience within the cult at her side.  Cline does such an excellent job at showcasing how these women could have devolved into the murderers they became, by showing Evie understand and comprehend how capable anyone could be.

It is important to remember where this novel is going, and there will be a lot of things that will make you squirm and make you uncomfortable.  This is not a novel for younger teens, but I would recommend it for anyone 16 and up.  Especially since the narrator spends a lot of time on her experiences as a young teen in this environment.

Parents: If you are concerned about some of the subject matter, then I encourage you to either read the novel first or read along with your teen and discuss. It could open a lot of important dialogues.

4 Bards for The Girls.


Book Review: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

queenofheartsAs Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life.

When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.

It has been a long time since I’ve read a novel where I genuinely dislike almost every character.  I understand why this was necessary in a novel like Queen of Hearts as it is the story of a villainess becoming who she is meant to be by the time Alice arrives in Wonderland.

However, I couldn’t quite get past the feeling that all these characters needed a good slap.

Seriously.  Not only is Dinah hardly likable until the events at the end of the novel, but she is a spoiled brat who has some serious daddy issues.  Now if this had been done in a way to make her more sympathetic as a character, then I would be fine with it.  But it is almost as if Dinah is all hard edges and no smooth curves.  The King of Hearts is just as bad, a petulant adult still steaming from a past transgression and taking it out on his oldest daughter and doting on his illegitimate offspring despite the traditional lineage of the throne.

(^^^Seriously, the cover is absolutely gorgeous and it really does look like it could be the companion to the limited edition Queen of Hearts doll by Disney.)

Speaking of Vittiore, she is about as flat as a cardboard cut out and it was fairly obvious from around halfway through that she was simply a plot device and another way for Dinah to be enraged.

I think the only characters that really redeemed anything about characterization in this novel was her younger brother, the Mad Hatter character, who suffers from a sort of mental illness rather than mercury induced mania that Victorian hatters were known to succumb to.  Harris, the white rabbit character, I also found endearing, but he was very simply the same embodiment of the follower that he would be in the original novel.

I think the world building was the strongest point in this novel, as I really enjoyed the different aspects of the Court of the Hearts and the different rankings of Cards (which served as Security, Torturers, Accountants, and Soldiers), and the Black Towers.  That was the only part I found to be significant to the plot, as the rest of the novel sometimes felt like Dinah was just complaining to her long-time crush, Wardley.  Who, by the way, is so obviously uninterested that it made Dinah seem more like a mooning preteen than a teenager and future Queen.

The entire novel really just felt like it could have been a prequel short story in a lot of ways, or maybe a short novella.  However, as I am a giant Alice in Wonderland fangirl, Oakes can count on me reading the next installment, out January 2017.

I’m going to give it around 3 Bards as I found it average but with potential.



The love for books is set in stone at Carlson Turner Books and Bookbindery in Portland, Maine.

Photo by @cestchristine


Maybe the princess can save herself.
That sounds like a pretty good story too.

I’ll pair just about any book with a good Shiraz, but this one especially. 

Bonus: Note the Midsummer Bookmark peaking out!



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