Book Review: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets – skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood’s band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet’s biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know…that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.

The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in a put innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. There is real honor among these thieves and so much more – making this a fight worth dying for.


The only tale I know of Robin Hood is the Disney movie. (It was never my favorite, I was more of a fan of Ariel.) When I started this book I was not expecting much, but I enjoy a story about a strong female. I was actually expecting to stop reading halfway through. While this is not my favorite book it did keep my interest enough for me to finish. The entire time I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

-Some Spoilers-

The thing I disliked most about Scarlet was the love triangle. As an avid romance novel reader I can get how it can get the story moving and keep the reader guessing.  In this book I didn’t want there to be a love triangle. I wanted to see Scarlet play with knives and be a strong female lead on her own with no help from anyone. Maybe the love triangle has some sort of purpose later in the series. Even though I didn’t like love triangle, I still went with it because I am trash for any type of romance story.


I was surprised when I found out Scarlet was actually a noble lady. It all made sense, why she was hiding with this band of thieves, why she was so freaked out when Lord Gisbourne came to Nottingham.  I was especially surprised she is engaged Lord Gisbourne. I guess that makes it a love square? When you find out some of the background as to why she is hiding you understand why she is doing what she is doing.

Overall I enjoyed the book, especially that she was strong and didn’t give up when things got hard and that she kept fighting.  It kept me guessing and interested enough to finish. – Liz
3.5 Bards

Book Review: Ensnared by A.G. Howard

After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world—-a parallel dimension filled with mutated and sadistic netherling outcasts.

In the final installment of the Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But even if everyone succeeds and comes out alive, can they all truly have their happily ever after?

Release Date: January 6, 2015

I finished Ensnared almost two months ago, but I am just now writing this review.  Why? Well, I am devastated that one of my favorite trilogies of all time has ended.  Not only have I always considered myself as an Alice in Wonderland fanatic, but I now consider myself a Splintered fanatic. This trilogy really was an immaculate reimagining of the Wonderland universe and its characters.  I don’t know if that really expresses how much I love this story, but I’ll try to get on with the review and stop gushing.

Ensnared Tweet

Ensnared does an excellent job of keeping the action up and continues to hold you in suspense for the first chapters on what exactly happened to Jeb and Morpheus when they were trapped in a dying and infected Wonderland after the envents in Unhinged.  In fact, I was kind of on the fence about which suitor I preferred when going into the final installment, but after seeing the changes in both Jeb and Morpheus in this novel, it was clear which one I preferred.  (*cough* MORPHEUS *cough*)

I’m not going to lie when I say I downright hated Jeb at the beginning of this novel.  He definitely had talked himself into a mood and rejected any feelings he had for Alyssa in the past, which made him bitter and hard.  Morpheus, on the other hand, was still the clever trickster and was just as in love with Alyssa as always.  One of my favorite characteristics of him is that he is so open about it, despite his joking tone.

Alyssa has really grown as a character since the first novel, and she is down right vicious with some of her gifts in this book.  It is really great to see her come into her own and really embrace the Wonderland side of herself.  I also really liked that her father got to get in on the action in this book instead of being left behind at home.  I like that Howard really connected and brought her parents respective stories together and showcased their relationship with one another as well.

Howard just did a fantastic job. I cannot go into more or I’ll likely give away some plot points that are vital and I’d hate to ruin your reading experience!

5 Bards


P.S. Howard informed me that there is a novella coming, so I don’t have to be too sad yet!



Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him–and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth. 

Wow! What a fun read.

As a southern girl who actually did go through cotillion, (yes I had to learn how to be a proper lady, learn how to correctly set a table for a dinner party, learn to ballroom dance, and had to have a big final dance where we showed off everything we learned to our parents), this book gave me a wonderful sense of nostalgia and a super enjoyable way to look at it and realize how ridiculous it all was.  Let it be known that I most definitely wasn’t as excited as Harper and her friends about it, but I liked that the novel showed both sides of the cotillion argument.

This story had a really interesting premise to me, and I honestly had no idea what a Paladin was or any specific knowledge concerning oracles.  To be honest, I still really don’t understand a whole lot of it, but the plot was a lot of fun and it was easy to follow.  This is definitely a book that would serve as an excellent beach read, and hey, maybe visit one of our southern beaches!

 Random side note: the main  character’s boyfriend’s name is Ryan  and he escorts her to cotillion where  there is a big fight. Coincidence?

Anywho, I really Hawkins employment of the vernacular sometimes used here in the south, and how important it is to show your emotions through baked goods.  It is definitely a code we southern women live by.

Also, while it might seem a little typical for the heroine’s love interest to be the complete opposite of her in every day, I really loved the development of David’s character.  Just Hawkins’ description of his wardrobe and his bedroom really painted a clear picture of him.  Extra points for the Doctor Who mention on page 184.

Oh, and Hummingbird Cake has many different names down here, but you can find a really good recipe for it here.

4.5 Bards for pure fun, originality, and appealing to the southern girl in me.




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