BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Steph's Review of The Network Series by Katie Cross


Publisher: Antebellum Publishing
Series: Network Series #1
Format Read: E-Book
Source: From the pr firm in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: March 21, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Smashwords*  | iTunes | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

Never underestimate the power of a determined witch.

Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.

Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.

Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave

Steph's Thoughts:

I am honestly not sure what I was expecting when I decided to review these books. There are a lot of “magic school” books these days and some are not very good. I am very happy to say that in the case of the Network series. This is NOT the case!

The action starts pretty fast in the story. Normally, I would like a bit of a build-up with some back story but this is a YA novel and to suck a youngster in you need action fast. Within minutes of entering school, Bianca enters the competition to become Miss Mabel’s apprentice. Obviously in this world witches begin their basic training at a young age however the teachers try and talk her out of entering but Bianca has to enter and become Miss Mabel’s apprentice. Miss Mabel put a curse on Bianca’s family and if she cannot convince Miss Mabel to remove the curse, she will die when she reaches her 17th birthday. Talk about some pressure to win.

Yes, this is a YA novel, but I am not sure I would recommend it to very young girls. It’s an all girls school so while a boy’s school is mentioned there is no romance at all in this book. Only a few mentions of boys among the 16 year old girls, which was a bit odd but I didn’t miss is. However, this book is a bit dark for young readers. Miss Mabel is no Dumbledore. She is a not a very nice witch and her plans for Bianca are not pretty and that is where the “not for younger readers” thought comes in.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the characters. Bianca and her friends, Camille and Leda, are not the popular girls in school. Leda is a bit weird and Camille is a tad flighty but they befriend Bianca immediately. Bianca stands up to the older girls that try and bully her, which is definitely a good thing. She is a strong female character, which is something I prefer when reading a YA novel. As an adult reading this book, I would have liked a bit more back story and world building but I am not sure it really matters to a teenage reader. What I LOVED is that this is a series but this part of the story was COMPLETED when we reached the end of the book. I hate it when authors leave you with a huge cliffhanger, like they got bored and quit writing in the middle of the story. I am very happy to say that lots of questions were answered at the end of this story and a few more were introduced and some not answered to entice you to read the next book in the series. I really hope that Miss Cross keeps this up as it is becoming a lost art these days. I am looking forward to grabbing the next book in the series.

Publisher: Antebellum Publishing
Series: Network Series #1.5
Format Read: E-Book
Source: From the pr firm in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: June 23, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Smashwords*  | iTunes | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

Isadora is a quiet, old witch living alone in the fog-strewn forest of Letum Wood. Her magical power is great, but her foresight is even greater.

As a Watcher, Isadora has the ability to see into the heart of every witch she meets, a talent that makes her the perfect guardian of the prestigious Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. Any girl that wants to enter the school must first pass an interview with Isadora. No secret insecurity or sinister motivation can be hidden from a Watcher, as four teenage girls will soon find out.

Join Leda, Camille, Michelle, and Priscilla as they each encounter Isadora in their quest to join Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. It’s a collection of short stories that fans of the compelling new young adult fantasy novel Miss Mabel’s School for Girls can’t afford to miss.

Steph's Thoughts:

This is a collection of shorts that show us how several of the characters wound up at Miss Mabel's School for Girls.

You get a little more of a background on some of the characters (Leda, Camille, Priscilla and Michelle). I enjoyed learning more on each of these characters and why they are at the school. Up until this time, we only got to see Bianca's interview with Isadora.

This collection also gave a little more insight into the Network series' world. There was no mention of tuition in Bianca's story. It wasn't until I read Leda's story that I learned Miss Mabel's school and the other Network schools are not free to those that can pass the interview process.

You do not have to read this collection to make sense of the second book in the series. It can be read before Miss Mabel's School for Girls or after Antebellum Awakening. Either way, it is a quick fun read that really adds to the characters in the books.


Publisher: Antebellum Publishing
Series: Network Series #2
Format Read: E-Book
Source: From the pr firm in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: October 15, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Smashwords*  | iTunes | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

Never underestimate the power of a volatile witch.

Still reeling in the wake of her mother’s death, sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe is forced to move to Chatham Castle. Not even the sudden appearance of ancient dragons in haunted Letum Wood nor her two best friends can distract her from the strength of her deep, dark rage.

Her grief puts her magical powers into chaos, endangering any witch around her. She has six months left to destroy the curse that will kill her and fulfill her contract with the most cunning enemy of all: her former teacher Miss Mabel.

Bianca must make a choice: learn to control her restless powers, or let the powers control her.

Antebellum Awakening is the second book in the thrilling new fantasy collection The Network Series. It’s a haunting tale about tragedy, loss, and the power of moving on.

Steph’s Thoughts:

This is the second full installment in the Network series. You have to read the first book in order to understand what is happening in this book.

Antebellum Awakening is different than its predecessor. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is still a darn good book. Bianca is dealing with a lot of loss over a short period of time and she is not handling things well. It is because of her grief that her magic is out of control.

Bianca makes some pretty bad decisions but who didn't at that age. What I really liked was that her friends stuck by her. Yes they were starting to make their own way in the world but they were still her friends and they were there for her when she needed them most. It is a lesson that teenage girls need in their lives.

I liked this installment of the Network series as much as the first book. Once again, we get a good solid story with a beginning, a middle and an end. We have some questions left unanswered to make us thirst for the next book but no huge cliffhanger which is one thing that makes me love this series. Again, it is probably best for more mature teens. There are some slight hints of romance but that part is really G-rated. There is some violence that might be best for those a little older.

I can not wait for the next book in this series. I am really hoping there will be more dragons in the next book.  I will be finding a spot on my bookshelves for physical copies of the books in this series.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katie Cross grew up in the mountains of Idaho, where she still loves to play when she gets the chance.If she’s not writing, you can find her traveling, working as a pediatric nurse, trail running with her husband and two dogs, or curled up with a book and a cup of chai.

Find Katie Online:

 Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter @kcrosswriting




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1 comment:

  1. I so want to try this! I don't usualy read YA anymore but I am loving the vibe of this series. It reminds me of Carriger's YA Steampunk books!

    ReplyDelete

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