I am so excited to be reviewing a book by a friend of mine today! The Stone of Enchantments by Elise Mayor (and illustrated by Trinity Jade) is the first book in The Wayfarers series. Avid readers of the middle grade and fantasy genres will find this book to be a real treat. I sincerely enjoyed this novel, and I am sure that you will too. Read on to learn more about the book and what I thought of it.
My Rating: Five Enchanted Stones out of Five
About the Book…
The lives of the four Carrington children–Sylvester, Anne, Jeremy, and Jenny–are forever changed when they stumble into an extraordinary world–inhabited by elves, dwarves, and even griffons! The siblings are quickly thrust into a grand adventure, a wild quest for the Stone of Enchantments. Their only chance of returning home, they are forced to battle obstinate kings, savage creatures, and harsh conditions in order to bring back the Stone.
Click Here to Buy The Stone of Enchantments in Print or Kindle on Amazon
Griffons and dwarves and elves, oh my!
The Stone of Enchantments by Elise Mayor is a book that truly takes readers on an adventure with the characters. The characters themselves are interesting and fun to read about. However, I do have to admit, while I love all of the characters, my favorite character is Jenny Carrington (read the book and you’ll see why!).
The fantasy world, from the worlds of the elves and the dwarves to mountains and valleys, is truly fascinating and imaginative, and it makes for an even more exciting adventure. The illustrations by Trinity Jade add to the fantasy world and storytelling. I especially love the colorful cover illustration. The plot of The Stone of Enchantments itself is engaging and will keep you reading. It can be hard to put this book down!
If you love fantasy, beautiful illustrations, Narnia, or a book that will transport you to another world, then The Stone of Enchantments is the perfect book for you. I think that middle grade and fantasy readers will love this book, and that you will too. Go grab your copy, and let me know what you think! 🙂
Every Bright and Broken Thing by Brian McBride is a book that you won’t soon forget.
Full of beautiful prose, this book is sure to break your heart. The story will haunt you and leave you aching. Read on for more of my thoughts on Every Bright and Broken Thing.
My Rating: Three and a Half out of Five Astronaut Murals
About the Book…
Haunted by the last question their mother ever asked them, the Greyson brothers struggle to cope with their grief and adjust to life after tragedy.
Semi-popular sixteen-year-old Liam spends his nights performing as the lead singer of his high school indie pop/rock band, Liam and the Landmarks. But something happened to Liam four years ago at his friend’s house – a secret Liam will take to his grave. But in small towns like Summit, Colorado, secrets always seem to find their way out.
Twenty-four-year-old Ezra thought that he could cure his grief when he left Summit behind for a prestigious art school in Chicago, but things only got worse. Now a college dropout working at a gas station mini mart, he turns to alcohol, prescription painkillers, and meaningless one-night stands. But Ezra can’t run forever – life always catches up with you.
With abrasively honest dual-perspective narratives,Every Bright and Broken Thing illustrates the unbreakable bond between brothers and the power in coming home.
Click Here to View Every Bright and Broken Thing on Goodreads ~ Click Here to Buy Every Bright and Broken Thing on Amazon
What I Loved…
The friendships in this book are so good. All too often, friendships get snubbed in YA fiction and romance is put on center stage, but that’s not so here! Yes, there is romance. But I feel like the friendships are just as, if not even more, important.
The author has a beautiful writing style; it’s full of prose and almost sounds like poetry. Here’s a quote from Every Bright and Broken Thing just to prove it: “I try to see my life in color, but the colors fall flat. Dull. Muted. Completely and irrevocably unspectacular.”
I loved the author’s descriptions. From settings to characters to thoughts to actions, everything that the author wove together read like art.
Just seeing Christian fiction makes me happy okay? I love love love Christian fiction and it’s really important and exciting to see another YA Christian fiction writer share a story, which is one reason I was so excited to see this book!
THAT COVER. It looks so good and am I being shallow mentioning how much I love it here? I hope not because WOW that is a great cover. And speaking of the cover…
Everything about this book is really professional, which you don’t often see in indie books. I was very impressed with this. If you had just handed me a page and asked me if the book was indie or traditionally published, I would’ve said traditional (not because indie is bad but because indie books don’t exactly have a reputation for looking professional).
The Sanctuary was so good to see in fiction. I wish that I could go there and volunteer and that a place like that was real for all of the homeless people of Chicago.
The supporting cast of characters (including Mama Gracie!) MADE this book. The author poured so much personality into the supporting characters, and it showed! I loved this so much because too often side characters get pushed to, well, the side. Here the author did them justice.
I love seeing guy main characters in a Christian fiction book. In my opinion, there aren’t enough guys, or really enough diversity, in Christian fiction. I loved seeing it here.
What I Didn’t Love…
It seemed overly poetic and prose-y sometimes. While I LOVED the writing style, sometimes I felt like it was… Too much. At some points it felt like the author was leaning too heavily on prose to tell the story. I loved the prose, but felt that there was just a bit much of it.
I felt like Every Bright and Broken Thing didn’t focus as much on the question that the boys’ mom asked them as I thought it would. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but I kinda wished I saw a bit more of it.
The ending felt super abrupt. Everything sort of just happened and then the book was over. Although it was a good ending that had me wanting to know more about where Liam and Ezra would end up, I wished that there was a little more to it.
I felt like the characters’ arcs barely changed during the book and then all of the sudden drastically changed. One moment they are lost and completely broken, and then the next they realize what they need to do. I could be the only one, but I felt that this happened too suddenly.
There were vague mentions of the church hurting the family, but we didn’t get a good picture of how or why. I thought that this should have been expanded upon a bit since it was such a big part as to why Ezra and Liam left God and the church behind.
It felt like the tone almost never changed. Everything felt dramatic, dark, and gloomy. I wish that the tone had some more changes instead of just staying at one level.
A Note on the Content…
This book is probably one of the few Christian fiction books I’ve read that isn’t afraid to get into the dark, gritty parts of our world. These subjects are not handled comfortably, and, frankly, they shouldn’t be handled in a way that makes us feel comfortable because we should not feel comfortable with these subjects. However, these subjects do need to be handled with care. I feel that the author did an okay job of not getting into too much detail while still conveying reality. Some of the subjects dealt with include: Alcohol, drugs, sex, rape, and thoughts of suicide and self-harm, amongst some other things.
With that said, I understand that not everyone is okay with reading books that have such heavy themes and topics. Because of the heavy themes and topics that Every Bright and Broken Thing deals with, I would not recommend it to younger teens. I’d say that a good age range for this novel would be at least 16+.
I will be doing a blog post series on hard topics in Christian fiction soon, so stay tuned for that!
This was a very hard book to read because of the characters’ hurt and pain and because of the heavy topics it deals with. And that is not a bad thing. We need books that are hard to read, that illustrate the reality of our world and offer us hope and healing as this book does. Some other elements (not the “hard to read” aspect) kept me from falling as in love with this book as I wish I could have. However, it is a good book, and I’m sure that many others will enjoy this story and find hope within its pages.
About the Author…
A winner of the 2016 Wattys Award, Brian McBride published the award-winning Young Adult Contemporary debut, Love and the Sea and Everything in Between, in 2018.
Born and raised in Oregon, Brian moved to California at sixteen, where he has lived ever since. He’s been writing since he was thirteen-years-old and has been reading for longer. Brian is pursuing a degree in Social Work, which he hopes to use to aid children and families. A fourth generation pastor and founder of the Pioneer Movement, he is passionate about his faith and longs to see Christians become all that they are called to be. Among other things, he is also passionate about iced tea, animals, adoption, and the arts.
Find Brian McBride on Instagram @brianmcbrideauthor and click here to visit his website.
Note: I received a free ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Have you read Every Bright and Broken Thing? What are some indie books that you enjoy?
The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson sat on my TBR for much, much too long. Once I received it from my grandparents for my birthday, I was so excited to start reading. And once I started reading, I couldn’t put this book down!
My Rating: Four and a Half Imaginary Friends out of Five
About the Book
All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?
Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.
Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.
The whole concept of this book is brilliant. Imaginary friends, other worlds, Los Angeles, the FBI… Kara Swanson blended all of this and so much more into one fantastic story that had me daydreaming about Fern, Tristan, and their world for a long time. And speaking of Fern and Tristan…
The characters of this book are unforgettable. I’m sure that I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: Characters can either make or break a book for me. Fern, Tristan, and the rest of the cast of characters MADE this book for me. They’re so real and perfect and precious. I loved them all!
“If I’m not broken, then what am I?”
Tristan’s voice softens. “You’re the only one on this planet who is truly whole.”
-The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson
The adventure the story takes you on is one that you won’t want to walk away from. The plot of the story, combined with the characters, suck you into another world, or shall I say, Fern’s world. It was SO HARD for me to put this book down. So hard that I didn’t. 😉
The ending of The Girl Who Could See is perfection. But to find out just how perfect it is, you have to read it. So what are you doing? Go grab a copy!
The cover of this book…. THERE ARE NO WORDS.
What I Didn’t Love
I wish that it could’ve been longer. The Girl Who Could See is perfect in its novella-sized package, but I can’t help but wish that it could’ve been a little longer. I would’ve loved to see more of the amazing characters and their stories!
The Girl Who Could See captivates both the imagination and the emotions. This book is a real treat not just for fantasy and sci-fi fans, but for all bookworms who love a good story and a good adventure.
About the Author
As the daughter of missionaries, KARA SWANSON spent her childhood in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate to characters dropped into a unique new world, she fell in love with the fantasy genre and was soon penning stories herself. At seventeen, she released a fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. She received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer award in 2015.
Kara loves to hang out with other book nerds and chocolate enthusiasts on Instagram (@karaswansonauthor), Twitter (@kara_author), Facebook (Kara Swanson, Author) and on her website (karaswanson.com).
Have you read The Girl Who Could See? Did you ever have an imaginary friend?