Hey there! What you'll find on this blog is a lot of book reviews, cover reveals for book covers I've designed, and book related products I make. Enjoy!

Giveaway!! Jane Austen Quotes Ceramic Magnets

Posted by Monika MacFarlane on 20 August 2014. Filed under: , , ,
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~Click the image to enlarge~

Here's a BRAND NEW magnet set!! Jane Austen quotes set against vintage-style backgrounds. Enter below to win this set for yourself or to give as a gift!!! These are great for memo boards, refrigerators, lockers, etc.

♥ Magnets measure 1.75" x 1.75"
♥ I use super strong Neodymium Rare Earth magnets; can hold up to 10 sheets of paper!!
♥ Sealed with several coats of satin finish sealant for durability.
They can be purchased in my shop here.

Winner will be chosen randomly and announced Friday, right here in this post! Once a winner is announced, I will contact them for shipping information.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Review: Mortal Danger (The Immortal Game #1)

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Mortal Danger by Anne Aguirre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:
Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn't imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She's not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he's impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly... bad things are happening. It's a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil's bargains, she isn't sure who—or what--she can trust. Not even her own mind...


My Thoughts:
Wow. Just wow. First off, this book was not at all what I thought it'd be. After reading the blurb, I went in expecting one thing and was completely surprised at what I got, as a reader. I knew I would read this book, regardless, because I love Ann Aguirre's writing and storytelling.

I saw a lot of reviewers not liking this book at all and that's fine. The fact that the main love interest was watching the main character for years before even meeting her didn't bother me in the least. It wasn't stalkery, he was doing his job, one which he can't get out of. 

I absolutely loved Edie! Loved her! And yes, she did the shallow thing with her first deal, but can you really blame her? She didn't go overboard with it, she just enhanced what was already there. And while her focus was revenge, I'm really glad that didn't remain her focus. 

I'll admit, thematically, it seemed a bit "everything and the kitchen sink". Maybe needs a bit of fine tuning in the rest of the series. And there seemed to be some stuff that wasn't really resolved, but I don't know if that's for later or what. It seemed as if it just wasn't resolved, period. 

While I wanted it to be perfect like her Razorland series (OMG), it was good enough and then some for me to want to finish the rest of the series. Again, I love her writing style! Ok, I'm done now :)

Format: Kindle Ebook

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Funko Pop: My 2nd Custom Pop

Posted by Monika MacFarlane on 16 August 2014. Filed under: , , ,
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So, I have an obsession with these adorable Funko Pop! Figures...it's a problem! I love them! I have an ever-growing collection of my favorite characters from TV & movies. But sometimes, my favorite characters, or writers in this case, don't have their own Pop. That's when I decide to make one of my own for my collection.

Which brings me to this: Jane Austen! I felt I needed my own little Jane for my collection, so I made her. This is only my second attempt at a custom Pop. I think she turned out really cute! We'll see what Eric Northman, Jax Teller and Jon Snow think of her when I put her on my shelf :)

My first custom Pop was Crowley from Supernatural, inspired by the fan-made one presented to the actor himself. He also turned out really good, for a first, that is! I'll put him in a separate post.

So, I'm thinking of making another one...what, or rather, who should I make? Any suggestions??
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Review: The Shadow Prince (Into The Dark #1)

Posted by Monika MacFarlane on 06 August 2014. Filed under: , , , , , , , , ,
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The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary:
Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.


My Thoughts:
I really wanted to love this, or at least like it more. I love modern re-imaginings of mythological stories we all know. And I did like a lot about this book. I liked the way the myths were retold, I enjoyed most of the characters. But, somehow, I didn't feel all that connected to the characters and, for me, that's a problem. You know how sometimes the characters don't jump off the page? That's what was happening for me. I feel bad saying that because the writing was very good and the story was too, but when I can't connect to the characters, I just can't feel anything for them.

But, I can see why so many people seem to be loving this series. The world building is very well done, the characters are, for the most part, fleshed out and develop throughout the book. I really enjoyed the politics and workings of the Underworld. And I've always loved the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, and Persephone and Hades.

All in all, it was a fun read, but for me, it fell a little flat. I think it's me and not the book. But, I think anyone who loves Greek Mythology and fated love stories should by all means give this a try.

Format: Kindle eARC provided by Netgalley

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Review: Dissonance (Dissonance #1)

Posted by Monika MacFarlane on 01 August 2014. Filed under: , , , , , , ,
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Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:
Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.

Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.

But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.


My Thoughts:
I absolutely LOVED this book!!! I already knew going in that I'd love the writing, having read some of her books before, and I wasn't disappointed.

It's about a girl named Delancey, Del for short. Del is a Walker (no, she's not a zombie). Walkers are people who are able to travel though parallel worlds that are created by choices. Walking is genetic. I love the idea of parallel universes, alternate realities, multiverses, etc. but reading about them in fiction can sometimes feel like slogging through a physics text book *double-yawn*

O'Rourke made the multiverse so accessible and readable, so thanks for that! The world she created, or rather worlds, in this book are so textured and layered, and she made the rules completely understandable. I loved the idea that the worlds are woven together with strings of frequencies, and Walkers have the ability to hear these frequencies. Because of this genetic ability, all Walkers have excellent musical talent. 

The parallel worlds created from choices are called Echoes. Every choice, whether it's tiny and insignificant, or huge and important, creates an Echo. A new path branching off from the original path. And every person, called Originals, has an Echo as well, from all of their different choices throughout their life. The main world, or our world, is called the Key World. And sometimes, Echo worlds become out of tune and can effect the Key World. That's where Walkers come in. They maintain the health and stability of the Key World. Sometimes, Echoes are just too far gone or "sick", which can hurt the Key world. Those need to be Cleaved, or cut off, from the Key world.

The Walkers are governed by the Consort, a shady organization that isn't at all transparent. There have been problems with some of the Echoes, and the Consort, along with Del's parents, are scrambling to fix them. Del is a bit of a delinquent and has a hard time following rules, whereas her sister, Addie, is the exact opposite. Del is passionate and sometimes very reckless. This gets her into trouble with the Consort. While she's placed on restriction, she has to work more closely with her sister, with whom she has never been close.

I enjoyed the sisters' relationship, although sometimes I wanted to smack Addie upside the head! But, there was more to her than I initially thought. I loved Del...and, yes, there were many times I was shaking my head at her and saying, "You know this won't end well."
She never listened to me though ;)

Del looks up to her addled Grandpa, Monty, who is quite the character. Her parents are usually too busy to be around very much, and both sisters are bitter about that in different ways.

And then there's Simon Lane...an abundance of Simons, if you will :) Simon is the guy at school Del has had a crush on forever, but doesn't know she exists. Until she meets one of Simons' Echoes in one of the Echo worlds. This Echo Simon most definitely notices her, along with many other Echo Simons in different worlds. This is fun stuff here, folks! When Original Simon finally notices she exists, the romance really starts. Oh Simon *swoons*.....if only I had my own Echo Simon ;)

I loved the budding relationship between Del & Simon. It felt real and not rushed or forced. They're both forces to be reckoned with, which made some of their dialogue very fun indeed!

I'm really excited to see where this story goes...I seriously need the next book now! I loved that the book ended with a tiny inkling of hope (please, please, please!!!) after what took place in the final act.

I'm keeping my eye out for an Echo Simon!

Format: Kindle Edition 

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Product: I Read YA Magnet Set

Posted by Monika MacFarlane Filed under: , , ,
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Like I said above, I make a lot of stuff. Some of the stuff I make is book themed, and here's an example. I'll be hosting a giveaway soon for a set of these.

But if you'd like a set now, you can purchase them in my Etsy shop here: Lemon Plum Designs for $10.50 a set.

These are ceramic tiles with super strong Neodymium Rare Earth magnets...these puppies are STRONG!! They can hold up to 10 sheets of paper!

They are sealed with multiple layers of matte acrylic sealant.



They're great for refrigerators, memo boards, lockers, etc. Perfect for the YA book fan in your life!!



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Review: Eversea

Posted by Monika MacFarlane on 23 July 2014. Filed under: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Eversea by Natasha Boyd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:
Keri Ann is a small town, independent girl, who has had quite a bit of tragedy in her life. She and her brother are just scraping by, trying to keep their historical family home in the family. She spends her free time trying to bring her home back to it's former glory, while also working as a waitress in the local diner. Everything seems to be going fine until an A-list movie star walks into the diner...and into her life, changing her forever.

My Thoughts:
First off, this book was a total guilty pleasure read for me, 100%. I read the sample on Amazon and liked the main character enough in the small amount provided. Also, I think it was $.99, so I figured what the hell! I wasn't disappointed.

I'll start out with some of the not so good stuff: it's very predictable (which I kinda figured it would be going into it), it has a lot of the typical romance tropes, and there wasn't really anything new or different about the overall story. Having said that, none of those things bothered me at all. Remember? Total guilty pleasure :)

Now, the good stuff...where do I begin?? How about Jack Eversea? I guess you could say Jack is your typical romance novel love interest, and you wouldn't be wrong. But somehow, Jack just worked for me. When it comes to book boyfriends, I'm typically not drawn to complete physical perfection, although there's nothing wrong with that! I like flaws, physical & character wise. But call it wish-fulfillment or whatever, Jack just did it for me. And can I just say, the first actor who came to mind when I pictured Jack when I started reading this was Henry Cavill...pre-Man of Steel, before he bulked up so much. Yum. My. Oh my.

Ok, I also really enjoyed Keri Ann. She was a little snarky, not as much as I usually like my female protagonists to be. But she also had a lot of heart. She was kind & she truly cared for the people she loved in her life, as was shown in her actions throughout the book. I appreciated that. There's nothing wrong with attitude & snark, but if there isn't any heart or goodness to back it up, it rubs me the wrong way. Her indecisiveness in regards to her relationship with Jack got on my nerves sometimes. She flip-flopped so much at times, I felt the whiplash from here! But, all-in-all, most of her decisions were sound.

Now, the steamy stuff! And boy there was some hot, steamy stuff here! The sex scenes were well-written and just how I like them. It's all about how it's worded for me, if the author is vulgar, it just doesn't do anything for me. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it just makes me want to skip it. But, here, the scenes were exactly how I like them :) And there were a lot of smexy scenes. I did roll my eyes quite a few times, namely because of how many times Keri Ann, who isn't the type of girl to fawn all over a guy because he's gorgeous, did exactly that. The amount of times she was speechless or tongue-tied because of his godly physique was a LOT. But then I thought, if Henry Cavill showed up at my door, I'd probably do the same thing, even though I'm not one of those girls either!

Ok, the secondary characters. I liked her best friend Jazz. Her brother Joey was ok. They served their purpose. Jazz was the most fleshed out of all of them. Look, this isn't a deep story, it's sweet & fun & sometimes sad, but it's not going to change your life or anything.

I also loved the setting...something about the South always gives me warm, happy feelings. This was set in South Carolina, a state I lurve to pieces! The whole feel of the book just made me want to curl up on a hammock in the shade, drinking lemonade, while reading.

All in all, it was a fun, romantic read, predictable, but still worth reading. And it highlights some of the ridiculousness of our celebrity-obsessed culture. I'd recommend this to anyone who needs a quick, guilty pleasure read for the summer :)

Book Format: Kindle Edition

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Review: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)

Posted by Monika MacFarlane on 21 July 2014. Filed under: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.


My Thoughts:
 There was so much hype about this book, I finally got around to reading it. Initially, Celaena came off as a spoiled brat. I was waiting for the apparent kick-ass, strong, & brave heroine I've heard so much about. Fortunately, I didn't have to wait too long to see a different side of her! 

Throughout the competition to become the king's champion, we learn just why she's infamously the best assassin in the land, although most people don't even know what this assassin looks like, or that she's just a girl. She's ruthless when it comes to her opponents, even though she has to hold back some. We get a few tidbits about her early life and why she is who she is today, but not everything is revealed...this is the first book in a series, after all. I'm very curious to find out more about Celaena. She has her flaws, some of them are a bit irritating, but overall, I liked her. At the time when I finished reading this, I couldn't purchase the next books...boo! But, I will soon.

Her two love interests, yes, there's a triangle, are very swoonworthy.  I was a little surprised by who she chose first. Although, it being a triangle, she can always change her mind down the line...I'm not giving anything away :) But, there were some really good swoony moments...*sigh* 
I really liked the way she thought, she still had her girly, romantic thoughts, but always kept her focus on her freedom and bettering the lives of her people.

The world building was very good. I love a good high/epic fantasy, but not so high & epic that I need to take notes to remember all the little details & people in the world. There are so many places in the land that can be explored and I hope to get to see more of them in the books to come. 

Oh! One thing that bugged me, but this is just me & my brain...I hate it when I'm not sure how to pronounce a name!! And that happens a lot in fantasy books. It frustrates me! And I know it's all on me, it's not anything bad about the book. But every time I read a name I'm not sure how to pronounce, I want to scream. Is it su-LAY-na or su-LEE-na??? And Chaol, don't even get me started with that one!! I just decided I'd call him Cole and be done with trying to figure it out :)

All in all, I love this book so hard! I cannot wait to read the rest and the prequel books to find out more about Sam...squee! Oh and I liked the original cover better than this new one...not that the new one isn't gorgeous.

Format: Kindle Edition

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Review: Mortal Enchantment

Posted by Monika on 27 May 2014. Filed under: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Mortal Enchantment by Stacey O'Neale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:
In Kalin Matthew's world, elementals control the forces of nature. They are divided into four courts: air, woodland, fire, and water. At sixteen she will leave the life she's built with her mortal mother. Kalin will move to Avalon to rule with her father—the elemental king of the air court. Along the way, she's attacked by a fire court assassin and saved by Rowan, a swoon-worthy elemental with a questionable past.And now, her father is missing. And she'll need help from Rowan to find out what happened to him.

My Thoughts:
Well that was a fun read :) I'm really glad I read the prequel novella first because it gave me more insight into Rowan. I understood his attitude in this book because of the novella. First, the positives. I really enjoyed the two main characters, Kalin & Rowan. Their interactions were fun and flirty and the dialogue was great, which is very important to me. If dialogue doesn't feel real or doesn't feel how people really talk to each other, then it doesn't work for me. I liked, not loved, their relationship. I found myself wanting more from it. I'm trying not to be too specific because I usually, unintentionally but inevitably, give something away ;)

I loved the premise of the book. I'm always up for anything Fae, and the elemental aspect was right up my alley. The world building was good (more on that later) and I could really picture most everything the author was describing. The politics and strife between the courts was well done.

I really liked the authors writing style, she knows how to make characters relatable & you could tell a lot of heart & soul was poured into this story and these characters. She made me want to know what happens next, so of course I can't wait for the next installment :)

Ok, now on to the less positive. I felt that the story, as a whole, was a bit rushed. Like I said above, the world building was good, but I would've liked even more detail. When they're on the beach, I want to feel the sand between my toes and the sun beating down on me. When the wind is blowing up a storm, I need to feel it. I felt like there needed to be more character development, as well. I would've loved to get to know Kalin even more. Most of the time, her reactions to this world that was totally new to her were spot on, but occasionally, it didn't ring true for me.

Kalin & Rowan's relationship also felt rushed. Getting from point A to point B in a relationship needs to be a curved and crooked path, not a straight line, and I felt it was a bit straight here. But it was still yummtastic ;)

Having said all that, I very much enjoyed this book, it was a fast, fun read and I'd recommend it to anyone who loves a good YA fantasy!

Format: Paperback ARC provided by the author for a fair & honest review

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