Mini Book Reviews

I’ll be sharing mini book reviews here on the blog.

(I borrowed each of these books from the library because I wanted to, all opinions are 100% honestly mine, and I’m not compensated in any way for writing them.)

My goal is to help you find books that you–or the young readers in your life–will love.

Jewels and Dragons

How far will Sabryn go to save the kingdom that won’t welcome her back?

Can the family Meri’s never met rescue her from the fairies who hold her captive?

Will Zia and her friends manage to destroy the sword that shouldn’t exist and appease the dragons before her family comes in the line of fire?

One family caught in the middle of a feud between fairies and dragons. Three young women who take life and magic into their own hands.

Jewels and Dragons was originally published in three separate volumes: Sabryn, Firstborn, and Undone.

Jewels and Dragons is available November 3, 2023, from Amazon, all other ebook retailers, and from your favorite bookstore or local library.

Ember and Twine

Knitting is magic.

Not ordinary magic, like two sticks and a ball of yarn becoming a sweater. Magic that can trap an enchantress, repair an invisibility cloak, or turn back time.

These stories contain werewolves, fairies, the Spindle of Destiny, and way too many cats. And the discovery that maybe yarn has more power than you think.

This collection of YA short stories and fairy tales includes a free bonus knitting pattern.

Ember and Twine is available June 30, 2021, from Amazon, all other ebook retailers, and from your favorite bookstore or local library.

Her Forgotten Sea

After saving the life of a handsome human, Arielle becomes fascinated with life on land, willing even to trade her mermaid fins for legs. To be human for more than a year and a day, she must marry her true love, and she must give up all memory of her past. Accepting this, she is stranded on the Brighton beach, where she is found and adopted by a pair of spinsters. She adapts to her new life, until one evening in a crowded ballroom she meets a handsome man she recognizes. She doesn’t know who he is or how she knows him, but she senses that at one time she loved him…

Lord Patrick Alexander loves his eldest brother, truly he does. But how can it be fair that the Duke of Marsham gets everything without asking, including the admiration of every young lady he meets? Lord Patrick wouldn’t begrudge him that if his brother’s admirers didn’t include Miss Arielle Farley, the most unexpected and charming girl he’s ever met.

Can Arielle unravel the duke’s connection to her past and marry her true love in time? And can Lord Patrick win over the girl of his dreams instead of coming in second place to his brother yet again?

Enjoy this YA retelling of “The Little Mermaid,” set in a Regency England where Faeries are real and magic is an acceptable accomplishment for young ladies.

Her Forgotten Sea is available October 10, 2023, from Amazon and your favorite bookstore or library!

The Beast’s Magician

With her father’s estate entailed, Isabelle Morton has but two options for securing her future: marriage or becoming a governess. Having no interest in her village’s most eligible bachelor, she’s prepared to choose the latter, until she receives an unexpected job offer involving magic, books, and best of all, no spoiled children.

Thomas Hughes, the reclusive Duke of Harborough, has an ulterior motive for hiring his beautiful new magician. To break the Faerie curse that stole his own magic and hideously transformed him, he needs to fall in love. But with claws and fangs, he can hardly look for a wife in a London ballroom.

Can Isabelle see past the fur and the fangs to save the man beneath? Is the monstrous duke even worth saving?

Enjoy this YA retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” set in a Regency England where Faeries are real and magic is an acceptable accomplishment for young ladies.

The Beast’s Magician is available July 18, 2023, from Amazon and your favorite bookstore or library!

Her Fae Secret

Eleanor Maybury and her sisters have spent the last five years secretly dancing in Faerie every Seventh Night. Now they’ve come to London for a debut Season in hopes of finding a good match. But the Faerie Queen’s invitation will end as soon as they get engaged. Could Eleanor possibly fall deeply enough in love to choose marriage over their precious visits to Faerie?

Due to the restoration of peace, James Weston has returned to England after seven years of service as a magician in the Royal Navy. He isn’t looking for a wife; he’s looking for a new career path. But he can’t deny that Eleanor is everything he’s ever wanted and more.

Can their love survive her family’s secret?

Enjoy this YA retelling of Grimm’s “Twelve Dancing Princesses,” set in a Regency London where Faeries are real and magic is an acceptable accomplishment for young ladies.

Her Fae Secret is available April 18, 2023, from Amazon and your favorite bookstore or library!

All Last Summer (YA)

by Stephanie J. Scott

When her boyfriend shows up to a party with another girl the day before they’re supposed to leave for a summer abroad program in Brazil, Lila Vaughn cancels her tickets and stays home. Now she needs a job to pay her parents back for the cost of the trip, and the only place that’s hiring is the golf range—Matt’s old job, working with Matt’s friends. Can their mutual enmity morph into respect—or more?

If you like geekery, from robotics to Ren Faires—which I do—you’ll love this sweet romance. The characters are absolutely “adorkable,” and there’s a strong emphasis on loyalty, responsibility, honesty, and being true to yourself.

Efren Divided (MG)

by Ernesto Cisneros

Efren is an American-born child of illegal Mexican immigrants living in Southern California. When his mother is caught by immigration officers and deported, Efren must balance caring for his younger twin siblings with his own school work and friendships, while also helping his father find a way to bring his mother back.

This story was beautiful and heartbreaking. The writing was excellent, though the consistent mix of Spanish and English words could be confusing at times. Despite the significant and heavy issues addressed in the story, there’s a strength, determination, and hope that runs through it. Definitely worth reading.

Semester Aboard (YA)

by Elizabeth Kirke

A semester abroad on a cruise ship. Magic that 21-year-old Jen didn’t know existed, let alone that she possessed. Stowaway vampires feeding on the passengers. And a group of new friends that have secrets and powers of their own.

I loved this book. There were some grammatical issues and a few bits I found boring, but I adored the characters and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. The descriptions of violence may not be appropriate for younger readers, so use caution. And if you need closure for all subplots at the end, be warned: a major subplot doesn’t get resolved until book 2, Snow Bound (which is also awesome and resolves nicely).

The Rose Legacy (MG)

by Jessica Day George

When Anthea is sent to live with her uncle beyond the wall, she discovers that he is raising illegal horses—and that she can communicate with them.

I wish this book had been out when I was in elementary school. Even as an adult I loved the characters and the horses.

The Thunderstone Theft

The Minister of the Treasuries has been brutally stabbed. Unfortunately for Miss Ella Highmoore’s godfather, the murder happened right on his doorstep, and now he’s the primary suspect. Ella knows her godfather is innocent, and she resolves to solve the crime and clear his name. A chance meeting with a young man named Charlie sets them both on the path to adventure and romance as they take on the challenge together. But Charlie has a secret, and when the truth comes out on the night of the prince’s ball, it looks like the end of their relationship. Ella is determined, however, that it won’t be the end of her investigation. She seeks the last few clues on her own, winding up in grave danger at the hands of the killer, and only Charlie knows enough about the case to rescue her.

Join the unstoppable Miss Ella Highmoore on the streets of Messene, a city based loosely on historical Regency London.

The Thunderstone Theft is available on January 10, 2023, from Amazon and from your favorite bookstore or library!