Review: Jack Templar: Monster Hunter Academy, Jeff Gunhus


Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on the Jack Templar Monster Hunter Academy tour! Following my review, there are links to the rest of the tour, plus a great giveaway. 

Warning: Only proceed if you are absolutely sure you want to find out about Monster Hunters. Reading this book will almost certainly cause a load of monsters to descend on your house. There’s no backing out if you suddenly get scared of zombies or vampires! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Monster Hunter AcademyTitle: Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy 
Author:  Jeff Gunhus (@JTmonsterhunter)

Rating: ★★★½☆

After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions. Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far.


Series: The Templar Chronicles #2
Genre: Middle-grade/Teen Fantasy
Published: Seven Guns Press, April 3, 2013
Pages: 375

Paper copies: • 
E-copies:  Barnes & NobleIndieBound


Please note: This review is for the second in this series, and so may contain spoilers for the first book. You may prefer to read my review of Jack Templar Monster Hunter instead!

I’ve managed to deal with the Creach that find me from time to time after reading the first Jack Templar book – long enough to bring you this review of the second, anyway.

Jack is the son of Monster Hunters, who has just survived past his fourteenth birthday after being attacked by zombies, werewolves and worse. After surviving his encounter with the Creach Lord Ren Lucre, Jack and his friends go with Eva and travel to France to the Monster Hunter Academy. What they find there is not the warm welcome Jack had hoped for.

I had very high hopes for this second tale from Jack Templar, since I really enjoyed the first. I was let down a bit though- once the group reach the Academy, the story falls into the usual boarding school woes, a mysterious challenge that Jack mysteriously gets signed up for, and so on. With Jack also being the only one who can save the world from the forces of darkness it started to feel a bit Harry Potter-ish, and I think it’s for this reason that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first book. It’s almost as though Jeff Gunhus has tried to pack too much into this story – castles, dragons, werewolves, discovery of Jack’s power – that’s a lot to cover in a reasonably short book.

Despite these things, Jack Templar is still a funny storyteller. The action is fast-paced and quite unrelenting – I felt like I needed a rest by the end of it since Jack was so busy through the whole story. Not a dull moment to be seen, which is perfect for middle-grade and young teen readers.

Monster Hunter Academy is a well-written and enjoyable story, but it lacked a bit of the originality that made the first Jack Templar book stand out for me. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next instalment – the series promises to be an interesting journey after the recent events at the Academy!

Warnings: Some rather grisly violence.


About the Author:

Jeff Gunhus grew up in Cyprus, Greece, and Saudi Arabia where there was a distinct lack of television. He quickly found books were the gateway to incredible adventures, fascinating characters and unbelievable discoveries. Now, with five children of his own (all who watch too much television, in his opinion), he has enjoyed revisiting his old books and reliving those adventures all over again.


The Tour and Giveaway

Visit the tour site at Girl Who Reads to see the full tour information. The giveaway is at the bottom of this post!


April 4
Classic Children’s Books Excerpt
Larkin’s Book Bloggers Review
Brooke Blogs Excerpt

April 5
The Oaken Bookcase Review
Italian Brat’s Obsessions Featured Book

April 6 Lubs Book Chatter Review

April 7 My Devotional Thoughts Review

April 8 Here’s the Story Review

April 9 Library Girl Reads & Reviews Excerpt

April 11 What Shall We Blog About Today? Top Ten & Review

April 12
Paperback Princess  Review & Top Ten List
Girl Who Reads Excerpt

April 13 Alli’s World Excerpt

April 14 Ohana Day Academy Review & Excerpt

April 17 Keeping Up With The Rheinlanders Review & Top Ten List
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt: Between Dark and Light, DA Adams


Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on Between Dark and Light Blog Tour! This post includes an excerpt from Between Dark and Light, book four in the Brotherhood of Dwarves series. You can find links to the other blogs participating on the tour page at Seventh Star Press.

BDaL-Cover_FINALSmallerTitle: Between Dark and Light (Goodreads)
Author: flag_usa D. A. Adams (website) (twitter)

The stakes are higher than ever in the fourth installment of the popular dwarven saga!

The Great Empire has surrounded the Kiredurks and are preparing to conquer the kingdom, but unknown to them, Kwarck, the mysterious hermit of the plains, has his own plan in action. To the east, he has summoned an elven army and charged Crushaw with leading them into battle. To the south, Roskin will gather an army from the fractured Ghaldeon lands. But to the west, an ancient and powerful evil stirs.

The Great War is about to errupt, if Roskin can overcome the Dark One…


Series: Brotherhood of Dwarves #4
Genre: Fantasy
Published: Seventh Star Press, December 2012
Pages: 280

Paper copies: • 


Excerpt – from Chapter Three “The Life That Should Have Been”

BDal-Interior1Crushaw stood on a small rise beyond the farm, facing south and waiting for the elves.

He wore his full uniform, blood stains and all, and held his sword in his left hand. The tip of the blade rested on the ground so as not to weaken his arm. The wind blew from the west, whipping his gray hair across his face and shoulders. He stood motionless, staring into the distance and focusing on his plan. His scar-flecked face remained stationary, a mask of unquarried stone, and any sane person seeing him for the first time would’ve believed even the most outlandish rumor about his ruthlessness.

When the elves came into sight, a twinge of nervousness overcame him, but he pushed it aside and held his stoic gaze. They could see no hint of uncertainty or weakness in him. They marched across the open plains, ten thousand strong, in perfect unison, and their precision lifted his spirits. If they could march so fluidly already, they could learn all he had to teach. As long as his plan to gain their submission worked, they had a chance to become the army he needed to face the Great Empire.

They stopped a few yards from him, and the silence of their footsteps ending punctuated their arrival. Crushaw recognized many faces in the first two rows from the Battle for Hard Hope, and he called for them to come forward. Both lines moved ahead and followed his gesture to stand behind him. Then, he summoned the twenty-five leaders from the others, and half of the third row stepped forward. Raising his right hand, he halted them a few feet from his position.

“You have been chosen as the best of your kin, but before you can join me,” his voice boomed. “Send me your three best swordsmen.”

The twenty-five looked at each other, and then, three from their ranks moved forward one step. Each was at least half his age, their bodies long and lean with muscles like tight ropes.

“You will fight me one at a time,” he bellowed so all could hear him. “And if any of you can disarm me, I am not worthy to lead. But once I’ve defeated each, my word is law for as long
as the elves remain in my army.”

Behind him, the elves who had served with him remained silent, but a murmur ran through the mass in front of him.

“Do you all swear an oath to abide by this?”

“Yes,” the elves responded in harmony, the sound thunderous on the plains.

“Then, decide who faces me first.”

The other twenty-two rejoined the rest, and the three swordsmen moved back a few feet, whispering amongst themselves. Finally, the tallest and strongest one, a male roughly Roskin’s age drew his sword and approached. He was a Koorleine elf, with long blond hair and clear blue eyes. In one swift movement, Crushaw readied himself in middle guard, placing his feet and bending his knees for balance. His pulse and breathing slowed in anticipation. The elf also chose middle guard, his eyes studying Crushaw’s posture as he neared the old man. Crushaw held still, waiting for the elf to strike first.

With a flash of steel, the elf drove at him with a forward thrust. Crushaw slipped to the side, not moving his own blade. Agitated, the elf thrust again, faster and more powerfully this time, but again, the old man simply stepped away from the charge. Enraged, the elf slashed horizontally. This time, Crushaw stepped into the blow, blocked it with his sword, and with one twisting parry sent the young elf’s blade flying.

“Back in line,” Crushaw said, only audible to the disarmed elf.

The second soldier came forward, a female Loorish elf whose face seemed strangely familiar. Without hesitation, she attacked, swinging from high guard. He easily blocked that strike, but she spun around faster than seemed possible and slashed at his right leg. Instinctively, he used the mail cuisse on that leg to block the blow, but before he could counter, she spun the opposite direction and thrust at his left ribs. He moved just in time to avoid a fatal blow, but the blade sliced open his gambeson and raked his mail hauberk. Using his left arm, he trapped her sword against his body and placed his blade at her throat.

“Well played,” he hissed. “But back in line.”

His right thigh throbbed from blocking the second blow, and blood tickled his left arm from a gash opened when he pinned the sword, but the third swordsman stepped up, ready in high guard. He ignored the pain and stood in middle guard. The third elf, another Loorish, was the oldest and slowly circled him. This one had watched the first fail to overpower him and the second attempt to out-quick him, so Crushaw deduced this duel would be about endurance. The elf came with a downward strike, and the old man blocked it, but the elf withdrew his blade and retreated before he could parry.

The elf switched to low guard and reversed direction, circling back. Crushaw moved with him, minding his feet on the uneven ground. Suddenly, the elf brought his blade up, aiming for the taller man’s groin, and Crushaw stepped aside just in time. As the elf retreated again, the general glared at him for the attempt. The elf grinned, changing now to middle guard, and rushed forward with a torrent of slashes. Crushaw blocked each one, but the elf was too quick for any of his parries. Through each spar, the pain in his right leg grew, and the gash on his arm now screamed. For a moment, he feared this elf’s tactics might succeed.

Then, the elf came a fourth time, again from middle guard, but this time driving straight. The old man blocked the thrust with his sword, but released the grip of his left hand and struck the elf in the right forearm. As soon as his fist found the pressure point, the elf’s arm went dead, and Crushaw easily flipped the sword from his opponent’s left hand with one twist of his blade. Then, Crushaw dropped his own sword and grabbed the elf around the throat with both hands, lifting him from the ground. With all his strength, he flung the elf towards the main crowd and then stood, staring down at nearly ten thousand elves. He composed his face into the same stoic gaze as when they had approached and remained motionless, as if daring another approach.

About the Author

DAADAMS-SmallVersionD. A. Adams is a novelist, a farmer, a professor of English, and a true gentleman. His breakout fantasy series, The Brotherhood of Dwarves, transcends genre and illuminates the human soul in all its flashes of glory and innumerable failings.

He is active on the Con circuit and has contributed writing to literary as well as fine art publications, and maintains his active blog, “The Ramblings of D. A. Adams“. He lives and works in East Tennessee, and is the proud father of two boys, Collin and Finn.

His ability as a storyteller breathes life into every character, and his craftsmanship as a writer makes these stories about relationships; human or otherwise.

The Brotherhood of Dwarves series

Cover 1.indd1. The Brotherhood of Dwarves (Goodreads)

The dwarven saga begins… Roskin, heir to the throne of a remote, peaceful kingdom of dwarves, craves excitement and adventure. Outside his own kingdom, in search of fortune and glory, he finds a much different world, one divided by racial strife and overrun by war. The orcs to the south want to conquer all dwarves and sell them as slaves. The humans to the east want to control the world’s resources. Caught in the middle, Roskin finds himself chased by slave traders and soldiers alike as he discovers that friendship is the best fortune of all. Just when he thinks he has triumphed, an act of betrayal sends him into bondage. His only hope of escape is the faltering  courage of a disgraced warrior whose best days are behind him.

RedSkyAtDawnCover2. Red Sky at Dawn (Goodreads)

The dwarven saga grows… Crushaw, Molgheon, and Vishghu have liberated the Slithesythe Plantation. They must make their way to safe lands before being caught and returned to certain bondage. Across the orc lands, they and Roskin recruit and train an army of freed slaves, for between them and freedom are thousands of well-armed, well-trained orc warriors. Near the Pass of Hard Hope, in the shadows of the eastern mountains, they make their desperate stand. But even if they succeed, Roskin’s ordeal is far from finished, as he is haunted by visions of something awful back in Dorkhun…

TheFallofDorkhunCover3. The Fall of Dorkhun (Goodreads)

The dwarven saga continues…

The Fall of Dorkuhn, the third installment in The Brotherhood of Dwarves series, continues the adventures of the dwarf Roskin. Having escaped slavery, and survived the Battle for Hard Hope, Roskin returns home to a kingdom divided by war with the ogres.

On one side, his father desires to restore peace. On the other, Master Sondious, hungry for revenge after having been crippled, seeks to escalate the aggression. Roskin and his friends hasten to the capital, to make a desperate attempt to resolve the growing rift, but unknown to the dwarves, new and powerful menaces threaten to destroy the entire kingdom…

Review: Jack Templar: Monster Hunter, Jeff Gunhus


Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on the Jack Templar Monster Hunter tour! Following my review, there are links to a whole lot of other articles about this book. 

Warning: Only proceed if you are absolutely sure you want to find out about Monster Hunters. Reading this book will almost certainly cause a load of monsters to descend on your house. There’s no backing out if you suddenly get scared of zombies or vampires! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Jack TemplarTitle: Jack Templar Monster Hunter 
Author:  Jeff Gunhus (@JTmonsterhunter)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Orphan Jack Templar has no memory of his parents and only the smallest details from his Aunt Sophie about how they died. The day before Jack’s fourteenth birthday, things start to change for him.

At first it’s great: A sudden new strength helps him defend his nose-picking friend “T-Rex” from the school bully, and even his crush, Cindy Adams, takes notice. But then a mysterious girl named Eva arrives and tells him two facts that will change his life forever. First, that he’s the descendent of a long line of monster hunters and he’s destined to be in the family business. Second, that there’s a truce between man and monster that children are off-limits…until their fourteenth birthday! Jack has only one day before hundreds of monsters will descend on his little town of Sunnyvale and try to kill him.


Series: Jack Templar #1
Genre: Middle-grade/Teen Fantasy
Published: Seven Guns Press, October 2012
Pages: 196

Paper copies: • 
E-copies:  Barnes & NobleIndieBound


Jack is an ordinary thirteen-year-old with the usual problems at school, but a few days before his fourteenth birthday, things start getting really weird. He’s suddenly a bit taller, stronger and faster, people start looking strangely at him in the street and his teachers start to go slightly mad. Jack thinks he’s the one going crazy, but then Eva shows up and reveals the world of the monster hunters to Jack and his two friends, Will and T-Rex.

As it turns out, monsters leave Monster Hunters’ children like Jack alone until they’re fourteen years old, then they’ll all be trying to kill him. Since Jack never actually knew much about his parents or the details of how they died, this is all rather overwhelming. He deals with the whole situation remarkably well though, and is kicking Creach butt before you can say “hey, here comes a horde of zombies!”.

Jack’s first person telling of this story is funny and rather dry, and very enjoyable. There are some rather adult concepts in this book including losing one’s parents, sacrifice and overcoming the odds, but it’s written about in a very accessible way and I think any young teen would love reading it. There’s plenty of non-stop action and at less than 200 pages, it’s quite a quick read.

Just be warned, the first chapter tells in no uncertain terms that reading this book will bring a horde of the Creach down upon your house, so read at your own risk. (Seriously, what a brilliant first chapter, I loved it!). Also, if you haven’t checked out the website, there’s plenty more monster hunter info there!

I really enjoyed this introduction to Jack’s world and I’ll be keeping my eye out for future Templar Chronicles!

Warnings: Some violence.


About the Author:

Jeff Gunhus grew up in Cyprus, Greece, and Saudi Arabia where there was a distinct lack of television. He quickly found books were the gateway to incredible adventures, fascinating characters and unbelievable discoveries. Now, with five children of his own (all who watch too much television, in his opinion), he has enjoyed revisiting his old books and reliving those adventures all over again.


The Tour

Visit the tour site at Girl Who Reads to see the full tour information, including a Giveaway with some awesome swag.

There will also be a Twitter party hosted by Jeff on Friday, Dec. 21, 6 pm – 8 pm EST. If you have survived the numerous monster attacks that you will undoubtedly face, chat with us using the hashtag #JackTemplar. The easiest way to join the party is with

Dec. 3 Kid Lit Reviews Character Guest Post
Dec. 4 Breath of Life  ReviewCharacter guest post, and swag giveaway
Dec. 5 It’s About Time Mamaw Review, Character Guest Post and swag giveaway
Dec. 6 Double the Fun Day
Mrs Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews Author Guest Post and swag giveaway
Mom With A Kindle Character Interview 
Dec. 7 Tamara’s One Stop Indie Shop Guest Post and swag giveaway
Dec. 8 Loves 2 Read Review, Character Guest Post, and swag giveaway
Dec. 9 Italian Brat’s Obsessions ReviewCharacter Guest Post, and swag giveaway
Dec. 10 Alli’s World Character Guest Post and swag giveaway
Dec. 11 Book Him Danno Review, Character Guest Post, and swag giveaway
Dec. 12  Double the Fun Day
Fairday’s Blog! Review
The Preppy Girl in Pink Guest Post
Dec. 13 Here’s The Story Review, Author Guest Post, and swag giveaway
Dec. 14 Fairday’s Blog! Author Interview and swag giveaway
Dec. 15 Bunny’s Review Character Interview and swag giveaway
Dec. 16 The Oaken Bookcase Review!
Dec. 17 Larkin’s Book Bloggers Review, Author Guest Post, and Swag Giveaway
Dec. 18 Double the Fun Day
Keeping Up With The Rheinlander’s Author Interview and swag giveaway
Geo Librarian Review, Character Guest Post, and swag giveaway
Dec. 19 Double the Fun Day
Pulling Down Books Review
Girl Who Reads Author Guest Post
Dec. 20 Rumor Has It Review, Character Guest Post, Swag Giveaway
Dec. 21 Ali’s Bookshelf Author Guest Post and swag giveaway

Tour: Roots of Insight, Breeanna Putroff – Review and Giveaway

Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on the Roots of Insight blog tour! There’s a giveaway and links to the other stops on the tour below my review.

Title: Roots of Insight (Goodreads)
Author:  Breeanna Putroff (@BPuttroff)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Quinn Robbins has just returned from spending ten days in Eirentheos, a world she had never known existed. Trying to settle back into her familiar life and establish a relationship with her new boyfriend, Zander, is more of a challenge than she ever dreamed it would be.

Things are just beginning to feel normal again when Thomas shows up in her world, and invites her back to Eirentheos for a royal wedding. She’s excited at the chance to reconnect with the people and places she had begun to fall in love with.

What she doesn’t realize is just how deeply connected with this new world she might become … and just what old secrets might be beginning to unravel.


Series: The Dusk Gate Chronicles #2 of 3
Genre: Teen/YA Fantasy
Published: Musefish Press, January 2012
Pages: 306
My copy: From the author as part of a blog tour.

Paper copies: •
E-copies: • • Barnes & Noble


Please Note: This is my review for book 2 in this series. I’ve tried to avoid spoilers for the events of book 1, Seeds of Discovery, but you might like to go and read my review for that book instead if you haven’t read it already!

Quinn has just returned from her first trip to Eirentheos and things are starting to return to normal, more or less. The days pass with Quinn trying to concentrate on her school work and enjoy her new relationship with Zander, when Thomas shows up one Monday with William, inviting her to return to Eirentheos for their brother Simon’s wedding.

All is not as perfect in the other world as it was before – trouble is stirring in the neighbouring kingdom of Philotheum and Thomas tells Quinn he’s going to travel there to find his cousin Lily, who hasn’t been heard from in weeks. But when he doesn’t return, Quinn and William decide they must go to find him.

Roots of Insight is an exciting and quick read – if Seeds of Discovery was a little light plot-wise, Roots of Insight makes up for it. The story picks up from almost exactly where the first book finishes, and it takes a while to get back into action, but once it does it doesn’t let up.

Quinn is more vulnerable in this part of the story – she has panic attacks throughout the story and William isn’t always there to comfort her, but when they are together there is a lovely chemistry and slow-burning romance. He’s such a gentleman – we get to see more of his mature personality as parts of the story are told from his point of view. Poor Zander gets a bit of a raw deal in this book – he has really fallen for Quinn but she treats him terribly.

A cliffhanger ending means I’ll be trying to get my hands on the third book, Thorns of Decision, as soon as possible! There are still plenty of questions to be answered – there are continual hints that Quinn may be more than just a visitor to the other world, but nothing has been revealed just yet!

Roots of Insight is a more emotionally-charged and suspenseful read than the first book was, and I would certainly recommend it to those who enjoy teen fantasy.

Warnings: None, it’s squeaky clean.


The Dusk Gate Chronicles


Enter to win a print copy of Roots of Insight using the Rafflecopter form below! I’m assuming at this stage that it is open internationally. Good luck!

Please note: This giveaway is being run by Lightning Book Promotions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tour

September 28th Rola @ XO reads (review)
September 29th Jessica @ Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile (review)
September 30th Kate @ Literary R&R (review)
September 30th Kristy @ Kristy K. James (guest post only)
September 30th Kristin @ Better Read Than Dead
October 1st Paula @ Community Bookstop
October 2nd Phaedra @ Identity Discovery
October 2nd Lisa @ Just Another Rabid Reader
October 3rd Angelya @ The Oaken Bookcase 
October 4th Megan @ Paperbook Princess
October 5th McKenna @ Young at Heart
October 6th Sheila @ Sheila Deeth

Review: Seeds of Discovery, Breeanna Putroff

Title: Seeds of Discovery (Goodreads)
Author:  Breeanna Putroff (@BPuttroff)

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Quinn Robbins’ life was everything she thought a teenager’s should be. She has good friends, a family that she loves, good grades, and an after-school job she enjoys. And, she’s just been asked out by Zander Cunningham, a popular football player and great guy. But one day when driving home after picking up her little sister from the baby-sitter’s, she nearly hits a boy who, after running blindly into the street, mysteriously disappears.

The mystery only deepens as she figures out who the boy is; William Rose, a reclusive, awkward boy from school who always has his nose in a pile of books.

As she becomes more aware of his behavior it becomes more obvious how out of the ordinary William is and how hard he deliberately tries to blend into the background. This only intrigues her more and she finds herself working to find out more about him, and exactly where he keeps disappearing to.


Series: The Dusk Gate Chronicles #1 of 3
Genre: Teen/YA Fantasy
Published: Musefish Press, September 2011
Pages: 288
My copy: From the author as part of a blog tour.

Paper copies: •
E-copies: • • Barnes & Noble


Quinn is driving home after picking up her little sister from the babysitter when she nearly runs over a boy in the street, who then disappears. She later recognises him as William Rose, a shy, reclusive boy in the year above her at school. She starts following him around to see what he’s up to, and (eventually) accidentally follows him through a gate to a whole other world and the Kingdom of Eirentheos. As it turns out, William is not only a Prince in this world, but also a gifted healer. William has been gathering medical research to try to discover the cause of a mysterious illness affecting children in the Kingdom. Quinn meets all the Royal family, then spends ten days with William and his family as they care for sick children before she can get back through the gate to her own world.

Firstly let me just say that I really enjoyed the style of this book. The writing is descriptive, the story is enjoyable to read, and it’s well-structured for an Indie-published book. The story itself is imaginative and contains so many promising elements – the Royal children’s gifts, the potential love interests, the fact that things keep being “inexplicably familiar” and comfortable to Quinn (which is a little annoying come to think of it).

Unfortunately, I felt this first instalment in the series really felt like a first part, rather than a first book. The plot was fairly light-on, with only a mysterious illness among the kingdom’s children to get to the bottom of. Other than a hint of possible friction between the Kingdoms when Tolliver was around, everything was peachy and a journey of discovery for Quinn. The Royal family were almost painfully kind and friendly, welcoming Quinn into their family like she was actually a friend of William’s rather than some girl who stalked him and then followed him through the gate. The characters are all  just a little too perfect for me at the moment. I hope that will change as the story progresses.

Over all I quite enjoyed reading Seeds of Discovery. It’s quite a short and easy read and with its minimal conflict, adorable small children and pleasant descriptions of Eirentheos, it’s a nice comforting read if you need one. Grab a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy.

Warnings: One almost-abusive situation that may distress some readers.

Make sure you come back tomorrow for my review of the second book in the series, Roots of Insight!

The Dusk Gate Chronicles

What did others think of Seeds of Discovery?

  • “The book was very well written. I liked the world the author thought up. It’s fantasy, but not a lot of high fantasy elements, like magic and other races and such, but just a parallel world kind of different from our own, but still a world that caught my imagination”  – 4/5 – Reading By Kindle Fire
  • “Filled with adventure, danger, mystery and a touch of romance this tale is sure to delight.” – 3/5 – Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
  • “This book is a fun and quick read and when the reader is finished they will want more. They will want to know more about Quinn, more of her relationships with Zander, Thomas, and William..” – Jackie Anton Book Reviews


Tour: Flight, Alyssa Rose Ivy – Excerpt

Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on the Flight Blog Tour! Today I’m pleased to share with you an excerpt from Flight, the first book in the Crescent Chronicles series. 


Closing my eyes, I tried to block it all out. Convinced I was about to die, I was only partly aware of his arms around me.

“You said you wanted an adventure,” he said quietly, teasingly, as he tightened his hold.

My stomach dropped out as an intense and complete feeling of weightlessness engulfed me.

The wind stung my face as memories flooded my mind. I thought of my parents, of all the things I wanted to tell them but never did, my friends from home, and the experiences I longed for. Quickly my thoughts changed to more recent memories, to Levi.

“Open your eyes,” he whispered, somehow knowing my eyes were clenched shut.

Against my better judgment, I listened. The scream died in my throat as we hurtled toward the water that had seemed so beautiful from the roof above.


Title: Flight (Goodreads)
Author:  Alyssa Rose Ivy (@alyssaroseivy)

Series: The Crescent Chronicles #1
August 16, 2012
Genre: Young adult Paranormal Romance

Paper copies: •
E-copies: • Barnes & Noble

Sometimes you just have to take flight.

A summer in New Orleans is exactly what Allie needs before starting college. Accepting her dad’s invitation to work at his hotel offers an escape from her ex-boyfriend and the chance to spend the summer with her best friend. Meeting a guy is the last thing on her mind—until she sees Levi.

Unable to resist the infuriating yet alluring Levi, Allie finds herself at the center of a supernatural society and forced to decide between following the path she has always trusted or saving a city that might just save her.

The Tour

To enter to win a copy of Flight, and for more excerpts, reviews and guest posts, check out the other stops on the blog tour!


Tour: Traitor, Megan Curd – Excerpt and Giveaway

Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on the Traitor Blog Tour! Today I’m pleased to share with you an excerpt from Traitor, the second book in the Bridger series. 


The snarls of the Changelings filled the air, along with the acrid scent of their black magic. Electricity sizzled and made my hair stand on end from the amount of magic in the surrounding area. I wrestled the Changeling on top of me to the ground and pinned him. It struggled against my weight and it took every ounce of my strength to keep the faery down. We tumbled to the side and the Changeling scrabbled to get away, then clawed at me with its talon-like nails until I pinned it again. Just when I thought the Changeling might get the better of me, Aiden’s fist came down on the faery’s chest and it exploded beneath me. When Aiden pulled away, I saw something glinting in his hand.

He had iron.

Aiden seemed to know how to fight them off well. He grabbed another one by the arm, swung it wildly and launched it into the chest of another. Both of them exploded into dust, their expressions full of shock. Aiden definitely could hold his own with these things.


Title: Traitor (Goodreads)
Author: Megan Curd

Published: March 2012
Genre: Young adult Fantasy

Paper copies: • • Book Depository
E-copies: •

Ashlyn never believed in fairy tales until she was in one. 

They say ignorance is bliss, but not when you’re on a centuries old hit list…and there’s a traitor in your midst. 

Ashlyn must decide what’s most important: trusting the allies she has, or siding with those she thought were enemies. Ashlyn knows old friends can turn on her, and unlikely allies may be the best chance she has to piece her family back together. No matter what her choice, she could lose someone she loves. 

And when you don’t know who to trust, believe one thing: You can never trust a faerie. 



This is a tour-wide giveaway, hosted by AToMR Book Tours. Good luck!
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The Tour

For more excerpts, reviews and guest posts, check out the other stops on the blog tour!

Tour Launch and Giveaway: Kingdom, Anderson O’Donnell

Welcome to day one of Anderson O’Donnell’s “Kingdom” blog tour! Today we have a special guest post for you from Anderson O’Donnell to introduce the tour itself. My review will be coming later in the month! The full tour schedule can be found on Once Upon a Time.

First off, I want to thank each and every blogger who graciously agreed to join the tour. And a special thank you to Hannah Richardson for helping me organize this tour—she has been tremendous.

Now, about the tour itself: Beginning today, and running through July 3rd, the Kingdom blog tour will feature reviews, interviews, guest posts, giveaways, and a few other surprises—including an international contest to win a Kindle Fire.

The blog tour is being conduced to promote Kingdom, a dystopian, biopunk-thriller, and the first part of the Tiber City Trilogy.

Most people are familiar with the term “cyberpunk,” but “biopunk” is harder to nail down. In many ways, biopunk is similar to the cyberpunk genre, and shares many of the same themes and archetypes: the dystopian future; the overreliance on technology; mega-corporations; a constant and overwhelming flow of data; the anti-hero—these elements are integral parts of both genres. And both genres are fueled, to some extent, by the sense of rebellion and desire for individual freedom expressed by the original punk rock revolution. But the main difference—the most important difference—is that while cyberpunk focuses on invasive technological modification of the human body, biopunk explores the dehumanizing consequences of biological modification, of re-arranging our DNA in the pursuit of perfection.

And it’s these consequences that fuel the action in Kingdom.

Here’s a brief introduction to Kingdom:

In a secret laboratory hidden under the desert, a covert bioengineering project—codename “Exodus”—has discovered the gene responsible for the human soul.

Somewhere in the neon sprawl outside the nation’s collapsing economic core, a group of renegade monks are on the verge of uncovering a secret that has eluded mankind for centuries.

In a glittering tower high above the urban decay, an ascendant U.S. Senator is found dead—an apparent, yet inexplicable, suicide.

And in the streets below, a young man races through an ultra modern metropolis on the verge of a violent revolution…closing in on the terrible truth behind Exodus—and one man’s dark vision for the future of mankind.

Welcome to Tiber City.

If you’re intrigued, you can grab a copy of Kingdom over at (paperback or Kindle format) or (paperback or Kindle format). Or, if you’re still on the fence, check out the first four chapters at my website, Tiber City Noir.

And, if you’re interested in entering the Tiber City Kindle Fire Giveaway, you can enter the contest through the widget on the sites hosting this tour (see below).

Thanks again for checking out the Kingdom blog tour.




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Tour: Socialpunk, Monica Leonelle – Review and Giveaway

Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase stop on the Socialpunk Blog Tour! You can find links to the other blogs taking part on the site, but make sure you enter the giveaway below my review first!

Title: Socialpunk (Goodreads)
Author:  Monica Leonelle (@monicaleonelle)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.



Series: Socialpunk Trilogy (1 of 3)
Genre: YA Dystopia/Cyberpunk
Published: Spaulding House, March 27 2012
My copy: Review e-copy from the Author
Paper copies:
E-copies: • • Barnes & Noble


I really enjoyed reading this book – the action just keeps on rolling and I found it very difficult to stop reading!

At first, Socialpunk looks a lot like another YA dystopia I read recently, Divergent. Like Divergent, Socialpunk is set in a future Chicago, cut off from the rest of the world. There’s some jumping on trains and joining of social groups, here called a “hash” rather than a faction, but that’s really where the similarities ended.

Socialpunk is filled with interesting future tech – cybernetics, creative art directly from thoughts and food in pill form, to name but a few things. It’s a fascinating society as well, although we don’t get to hear as much about how it all works as I would have liked. What are the hashes for? Perhaps we’ll find out in the future books.

The story is action-packed and very compelling. I found the love polygon a little overdone for my tastes – it seems everyone is in love with someone else, but the relationships are all very sweet. Ima herself is a strong and determined girl with a past that makes her vulnerable. I do think that I’d put up a bit more of a fight if someone was trying to implant cybernetics in me, though!

Fans of high-tech dystopian stories will love Socialpunk. I know I’m looking forward to the next instalment, Socialmob, due for release in July 2012.


Monica Leonelle is holding a tour-wide giveaway to promote the launch of the Socialpunk Trilogy, open Internationally!

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What did others think of Socialpunk?

Tour: WiSpY, Rob Andrews: Review and Giveaway

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Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s second stop on the Double the Scifi Tour! Last week I reviewed Vitality by Tim Andrewartha. Today I’m happy to share a review and giveaway for WiSpY.


Title: WiSpY (Goodreads)

Author:   Rob Andrews (@wispyauthor)


Adam is a 19 year old blogger who lives in his mother’s basement. A simple reply to a blog fan e-mail begins a relationship with Pretoria, a beautiful and mysterious young woman. Pretoria guides him into ‘the Realm’, a spirit world where he discovers he is a powerful force for the protection and survival of human kind.



Series: Stand-alone
Genre: YA Paranormal/Sci-fi
Published: Dam Good Publishing, December 2011
Pages: 346

Paper copies: • • Book Depository
E-copies: • • Barnes & Noble


WiSpY is a fast-paced and exciting story. Right from the first chapter, I was drawn in by the strange things that started to happen to Adam and by the time he met Pretoria and things started to really get rolling, I couldn’t put it down.

I loved the way the story flowed – even with the twists and turns, each scene moved forward to the next very easily and I had to keep reading to find out what would happen next.

Adam is a likeable character although a little sleazy towards Pretoria. I’ll let him off because he’s only nineteen. Pretoria seems like such a caring person – it’s sweet the way she keeps checking to make sure Adam is alright with everything.

The only thing I can say against it is that the concepts surrounding the “Realm” are very complicated. There’s a section in the middle of the book where Pretoria explains everything to Adam in one day – it’s such a deluge of information that I’m still not sure I get it all after a second read-through. It isn’t essential to understanding the rest of the story though and there wouldn’t really have been an easier way to present the information to Adam and the reader.

From the little that we hear during WiSpY, it sounds as though there is a lot more to the story of the First Ones, New Ones, Straddlers and Protectors both in the past and coming in the future. I hope Rob Andrews decides to continue to write about this compelling world.



Dam Good Publishing are offering an e-book copy of WiSpY to give away. The competition is open internationally! The winner will be chosen next Friday, April 6 and notified by email.

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Good luck!


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