Review: The Wishing Spell

January 27, 2014

The Wishing Spell
The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This did keep my attention but I do think this is a children’s book. I read it to see if it would work for my 8 year old niece and I think it works well for her. She could not wait to read it when I have it to her. I am on to the next in the series to see if that is appropriate for her as well. Great look into the fairytale world and see what happens after happily ever after.

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Review: Open

January 2, 2014

Open by Andre Agassi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A friend sent this to me and I really enjoyed it. It was not a typical sports biography at all and was immensely readable. I would definitely suggest this to anyone who wants to know more about professional tennis and life behind the headlines.

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Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings
Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was great. I read half of it while waiting in line for a Xbox One and it distracted me from the crappy weather and the cold. Always great to read about princesses I may not be familiar with and see how they lived their lives. Usually we think of Diana or Grace but they learned to be poised and confident because of some of their predecessors. If you want to read about historical figures who had interesting lives and were royal to boot, check this out.

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Batman: Murder at Wayne Manor
Batman: Murder at Wayne Manor by Duane Swierczynski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this interactively with my husband. It was a great Batman story and while we guessed the ending before we finished, it was genuinely entertaining and very enjoyable. The clues in the book are great and I loved the Bat Computer “locking” the ending so you agree that you read the book and are ready for the solution.

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The Geek's Guide to Dating
The Geek’s Guide to Dating by Eric Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I magically got this book directly from Quirk and I just loved it. While I am married, I still got some great ideas for new things my husband and I can do together and determined what kind of geeks we are. I suggested it to a friend of mine and she went out to buy it on launch day for another friend of hers. I really enjoyed that Smith never talks down to you and doesn’t expect that this dating manual is one-size-fits-all. It is more of a recommendation to make sure you don’t fall into certain pitfalls. It also makes me happy knowing that Smith himself used these tips and is now engaged. All in all, yes it may be in the self-help section of the bookstore but it is worth your while to get.

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Daughters of the Nile

December 4, 2013

Daughters of the Nile slide

From critically acclaimed historical fantasy author, Stephanie Dray comes the long-awaited new tale based on the true story of Cleopatra’s daughter.

After years of abuse as the emperor’s captive in Rome, Cleopatra Selene has found a safe harbor. No longer the pitiful orphaned daughter of the despised Egyptian Whore, the twenty year old is now the most powerful queen in the empire, ruling over the kingdom of Mauretania—an exotic land of enchanting possibility where she intends to revive her dynasty. With her husband, King Juba II and the magic of Isis that is her birthright, Selene brings prosperity and peace to a kingdom thirsty for both. But when Augustus Caesar jealously demands that Selene’s children be given over to him to be fostered in Rome, she’s drawn back into the web of imperial plots and intrigues that she vowed to leave behind. Determined and resourceful, Selene must shield her loved ones from the emperor’s wrath, all while vying with ruthless rivals like King Herod. Can she find a way to overcome the threat to her marriage, her kingdom, her family, and her faith? Or will she be the last of her line?

Read the Reviews

“A stirring story of a proud, beautiful, intelligent woman whom a 21st century reader can empathize with. Dray’s crisp, lush prose brings Selene and her world to life.” ~RT Book Reviews

“The boldest, and most brilliant story arc Dray has penned…” ~Modge Podge Reviews

“If you love historical fiction and magical realism, these books are for you.” ~A Bookish Affair

Read an Excerpt

Below me, six black Egyptian cobras dance on their tails, swaying. I watch their scaled hoods spread wide like the uraeus on the crown of Egypt. Even from this height, I’m paralyzed by the sight of the asps, their forked tongues flickering out between deadly fangs. I don’t notice that I’m gripping the balustrade until my knuckles have gone white, all my effort concentrated upon not swooning and falling to my death.

And I would swoon if I were not so filled with rage. Someone has arranged for this. Someone who knows what haunts me. Someone who wants to send me a message and make this occasion a moment of dread. My husband, the king must know it, for he calls down, “That’s enough. We’ve seen enough of the snake charmer!”

There is commotion below, some upset at having displeased us. Then Chryssa hisses, “Who could think it a good idea to honor the daughter of Cleopatra by coaxing asps from baskets of figs?”

The story the world tells of my mother’s suicide is that she cheated the emperor of his conquest by plunging her hand into a basket where a venomous serpent lay in wait. A legend only, some say, for the serpent was never found. But I was there. I brought her that basket. She was the one bitten but the poison lingers in my blood to this day. I can still remember the scent of figs in my nostrils, lush and sweet. The dark god Anubis was embroidered into the woven reeds of the basket, the weight of death heavy in my arms. I can still see my mother reach her hand into that basket, surrendering her life so that her children might go on without her. And I have gone on without her.

I have survived too much to be terrorized by the emperor’s agents or whoever else is responsible for this.

If it is a message, a warning from my enemies, I have already allowed them too much of a victory by showing any reaction at all. So I adopt as serene a mask as possible. My daughter blinks her big blue eyes, seeing past my facade. “Are you frightened, Mother? They cannot bite us from there. The snakes are very far away.”

I get my legs under me, bitterness on my tongue. “Oh, but they’re never far enough away.”


Daughters of the Nile cover


Available now in print and e-book!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Powells | IndieBound | Goodreads

Available now in print and e-book!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Powells | IndieBound | Goodreads

Stephanie Dray Headshot

STEPHANIE DRAY is a bestselling, multi-published, award-winning author of historical women’s fiction and fantasy set in the ancient world. Her critically acclaimed historical series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into more than six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf. Her focus on Ptolemaic Egypt and Augustan Age Rome has given her a unique perspective on the consequences of Egypt’s ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion. Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the transformative power of magic realism to illuminate the stories of women in history and inspire the young women of today. She remains fascinated by all things Roman or Egyptian and has-to the consternation of her devoted husband-collected a house full of cats and ancient artifacts.

Review: Starling

October 4, 2012

Starling by Lesley Livingston
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this in a giveaway from a Goodreads first reads contest. I enjoyed this book and liked the idea of the different pantheon of gods being real and having pathways to Earth. The Norse mythology angle is a nice change too but I was hoping for a stronger novel. Too many books these days have the love triangle and I was hoping for more. I also realized I may have missed some of the background because I have not read Livingston’s previous Faerie series which has a major character crossover that I learned of when I Googled a character name. It was enjoyable and Mason was a great heroine with her fencing skills but something seemed to be missing. It could be resolved with subsequent books in this series but for now, I will put this on the shelf and possibly revisit in the future.

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Review: Grace Doll

September 29, 2012

Grace Doll
Grace Doll by Jennifer Laurens
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

I really thought this was going to turn into a vampire story but it did not. Which was not a bad thing as it did go against my expectations. This was a quick read that did not blow me away but did keep me entertained. The author did a great job of showing bits and pieces of the old Hollywood system and how stars were born and used by producers, directors, and studio heads. Unfortunately the characters never drew me in enough for me to have me become very invested in their fate. There was a twist I did not see coming that helped and the ending was really well done but this will not be on the top of my read-again list.

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Review: Bella Fortuna

September 27, 2012

Bella Fortuna
Bella Fortuna by Rosanna Chiofalo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

I read this book rather quickly and did enjoy it. The description and lead up to Valentina finding her bella fortuna took much longer than I expected- 200 pages of a 350 page book. I still enjoyed it but the blurb was misleading in that way. Also the switch of narrator from Valentina to Olivia was good but at times unnecessary. The story was well written and it was a predictable but good plot. I enjoyed hearing all about the wedding gowns and crazy bridezillas as I was one about a year ago so I remember that time quite well. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a quick read where you know what is going to happen but you want to go along anyways.

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Review: Redshirts

September 5, 2012

Redshirts by John Scalzi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was fantastic. Oh my gosh I did not want to put it down. This is definitely a book for any Star Trek fan, even those inevitable awful episodes. We are following ensigns who have been assigned to the Intrepid for duty. The contrasting thoughts of these ensigns and their actions lead to some of the best moments of the book. They act like brave idiots and over-dramatic when with the senior crew but they cannot reconcile their actions with what common sense is telling them to do. The book could have end at the 3/4th point but the continuation did give the novel a more bittersweet ending. I want everyone to find this novel and love it as much as I did. I think that the word “Redshirt” has achieved a certain connotation in pop culture and i love that Scalzi uses this concept and flips it around for the enjoyment of the reader. I may have to dress as one of these Redshirts for Halloween even if no one knows who I am. Just brilliant.

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