Children's Fiction · J.D. Oldenburg · Magic

Book Review: Horatio And The Fear Of Dying by J.D. Oldenburg

Author: J.D. Oldenburg
Release Date: 4th October 2017
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Edition: Audiobook
Pages: 13 minutes
Publisher: J.D. Oldenburg Publishing

Blurb:

Once upon a time… a brave boy named Horatio challenged and conquered Death, dawning everlasting life over his Kingdom. But as life and death are in love, one without the other became joyless. Soon,

Horatio must mend the cycle he has broken. Horatio And The Fear Of Dying was inspired by Jim Henson’s adaptation of the famous 1850s Russian Folktale, The Soldier And Death.

Review

★★★★★

Horatio And The Fear Of Dying by J.D. Oldenburg is a coming of age children’s book which will absolutely blow your mind with its brilliant storyline, amazing narration and a beautiful message for children and adults alike.

This book not only teaches its readers how to get over their fear of death/dying or of anything that seems scary but it also successfully teaches the importance of relationships in one’s life. I had a chance to see some of the illustrations that’d be going in the illustrated edition of this book, and I must admit that they were beyond amazing!

I’d recommend this book to every parent and all the children who love reading or listening to stories as this can possibly be one of the best children’s book you might come across these days.

 

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Fantasy · Magic · Magic/Elementals · Olga Gutsol · Paranormal · Supernatural · Young Adult

Book Review: Stories From The Witch Store by Olga Gutsol

Author: Olga Gutsol
Release Date: 20th August 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal > Magic and Witches, Humour
Edition: e-book
Pages: 114
Publisher:

Blurb:

Funny and imaginative chronicles from the life of a hereditary witch Arelia who, along with her loyal companions Cat and house-ghost Puck, moved to the small town of Burnaville to open the Magic Potions store. Here she falls into a lifetime of boredom. How have her magical powers resulted in this? What is missing from the charming life she has built?

Review

Stories From The Witch Store is a delightful young adult read sprinkled with beautiful and heart-warming illustrations that’ll win your heart!

This book is written in the form of diary entries from the perspective of the main protagonist, Arelia, the town witch. It is a beautiful, beautiful book and I’m sure that it will steal your heart with the author’s clever writing and impressive imagination. It has been so long since I’ve read such a delightful book about witches. The wittiness of Arelia and her seemingly mundane life with Puck, the house spirit, and Cat, her familiar, is outstanding and very, very funny.

Each and every diary entry is a treat to read, whether short or long. Arelia is a very strong protagonist and I was able to connect to her instantly. I liked her from the first diary entry and was in love with her adorable character by the 2nd page itself. Even all the secondary characters are well-crafted and quite relatable, especially that of Puck and Cat – they’re my absolute favourites.

I’d recommend this book to each and everyone who loves reading, especially fantasy and paranormal (magic and witches) readers.

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Books Reviews (by Author) · Fantasy · High fantasy · Magic · Magic/Elementals · Podcasts · R.L. Martinez

Book Review: In The Blood by R.L. Martinez

27689746Author: R.L. Martinez
Release Date: March 21, 2016
Series: The Witchbreed Series
Genre: High Fantasy, Magic Realism
(Magic Elementals > Wizards, Witches & Shapeshifters)
Edition: E-book (mobi)
Pages: 356
Publisher: Lake Water Press
Source: Publicist (via NetGalley)
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

The Warrior
The war between Dosalyn and Roanaan has ended, but a new battle begins for prisoner-of-war, Ottilde Dominax. Dreams of her witchbreed twin sister are visions of death and betrayal. Driven by their grim warning, she escapes her captors and races across nations to save her sister.
But she may arrive too late…
The Witch
Oriabel Dominax has kept her healing magic secret while she cares for her family’s struggling estate. But the arrival of a new lord with secrets of his own, the discovery of a dark and addictive magic, and threats from a cruel blackmailer push Oriabel closer to disaster.
Through it all, the Witch’s Tree calls…

Review

I enjoyed this book through and through. I picked up this book in hopes of reading a decent fantasy novel, but this book pleasantly surprised the hell out of me! It is an epic book with a brilliant plot, stunning characterization, and beautiful writing – all weaved together into a fantastic work that I was lucky enough to read.

This book has everything a fantasy lover craves – A new world to get completely lost into, characters whom you can love and hate forming unbreakable emotional bonds and a story that’ll make you forget everything else.
I was completely blown by the simplicity of this book and I’m eagerly waiting for the next part in this wondrous series.

In this book, the author uses realism as her weapon. Not all tales of good witches and helping shapeshifters end happily, and I’m really glad to say, that this book made me realize that the world of magic is not something to play around with.

R.L. Martinez uses her dark imagination to plow the fields of her war-wrought world with realism. It really made the entire witch breed concept interesting and mesmerizing. Now, I’m actually afraid of witches (which is something that is always  missing in most of the fantasy novels.) The author’s writing was really smooth and the pacing was exceptional.

The romance in this book literally swept me off my feet because of its simplicity and subtlety.

At first, the timelines seemed a little jumbled, but once I got in sync with the story I was able to make out the timelines pretty clearly.

In spite of all the raves, there was only one significant negative that stood out while reading this book, and it was the fact that most of the names (both of places and people) were odd and difficult to pronounce. It made it a bit difficult for me to enjoy the first few pages, but once I let go of my obsession of pronouncing the word right, I was able to get into the book easily enough. (Though I’m pretty sure I’ve got more than half of the names wrong, and to be honest, this book is so great that I don’t even care about it anymore.)

As I said earlier, the characterization is brilliant! I felt a really strong  connection with the leading twin ladies of this book (I’m not gonna say the names as I’m sure I’ll pronounce them wrongly.) The other characters were so good that I felt a bond with each and every single character (secondary as well as not-so-important ones.)

This book ended on an excellent note with a smasher of a cliff hanger. After reading the last page I was literally pulling at my hair!

I loved this book and I think that everyone on this planet should read this series as I really think that everyone will love it!

Video Podcast

 

Bookstagram

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Other Stuff

Opening Line: With cold stiff fingers, Ottilde Dominax rubbed the prisoner number tattooed on the side of her neck.

Highlights: Storyline and magic realism.

Lowlights: Names with difficult and odd pronunciations.

Memorable Quotes:

The world is only so big and you can only run so far.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant high-fantasy read that you simply can’t afford to miss!


You can also read this review at Goodreads, Netgally and Amazon.

 

Book Reviews (by Genre) · Books Reviews (by Author) · Children's Fiction · Fantasy · Graphic-Novel · Magic · Mystery · Paranormal · Tania del R · Young Adult

Graphic Novel Review: Warren The 13th And The All-Seeing Eye

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Author: Tania del Rio
Illustrator: Will Staehle 

Release Date: November 24, 2015
Series: 
Genre:  Fantasy | Mystery | Paranormal | Children’s Fiction | Adventure | Sequential Arts > Graphic Novel
Edition: ASCM
Pages: 113
Publisher: Quirk Books
Distributer: –
Source: NetGalley

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb: 

Meet Warren the 13th, a cursed 12-year-old Victorian bellhop who’s terribly unlucky . . . yet perpetually optimistic, hard-working, and curious. Orphan Warren’s pride and joy is his family’s hotel, but he’s been miserable ever since his evil Aunt Anaconda took over the management. Anaconda believes a mysterious treasure known as the All-Seeing Eye is hidden somewhere on the grounds, and she’ll do anything to find it. If Warren wants to preserve his family’s legacy, he’ll need to find the treasure first—if the hotel’s many strange and wacky guests don’t beat him to it! This middle-grade adventure features gorgeous two-color illustrations on every page and a lavish two-column Victorian design that will pull young readers into a spooky and delightful mystery.

Review

Warren the 13th And The All-Seeing Eye is a delightful read not only for children but for adults as well (at least I enjoyed reading it and would love to read it again!)

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WT13ATASE is about Warren (the 13th), a toad-faced and unlucky 12-year-old orphan who stays with his uncle Rupert – a lazy dumb chap – and his wife, Annaconda – a clever witch who continuously troubles Warren to search The All-Seeing Eye (a legendary treasure about which no one seems to know.) Warren is a bright kid who tries to see the good in every situation and who dreams about growing up and restoring his forefather’s hotel to its full glory someday. He’s a good lad who tries to do everything at the same time and wanting nothing in return.

Paleface

Warren stole my heart in the first few pages of the book and, as I read ahead, I was totally spellbound by his cuteness and willingness to help everyone. It really broke my heart to see him trying to be the bellhop of the hotel, carrying all those heavy luggage alone, with no help from his lazy uncle. I also loved chef Bunion, and Mr. Friggs, Petulia and Paleface, but I hated aunt Annaconda and despised uncle Rupert, all to say that the characterization is terrific! The author made me feel like I know all these characters well enough to have such strong emotions and that’s where this book earned all the raves from me.

The illustrations are truly magical. I loved them and they managed to take the story to a whole new level.

This book is simply outstanding and I’d recommend it to all the children, and even to their parents and brothers and sisters. Everyone needs to read such an amazing book!

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You can also read this review at Goodreads, Amazon and NetGalley.

Book Reviews (by Genre) · Books Reviews (by Author) · Erin Rhew · Fantasy · High fantasy · Magic · Magic/Elementals · Romance · Young Adult

Book Review: The Prophecy (The Fulfilment #1)

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Author: Erin Rhew 
Release Date: September 29, 2014
Series: The Fulfilment Series
Genre: YA | High-Fantasy | Romance
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 381
Publisher: BookFish Books
Source: Author (Thanks, Erin!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Growing up on a small farm in the kingdom of Vanguard, seventeen-year-old Layla Givens lives a deceptively tranquil existence. But her carefully constructed life quickly falls apart when she’s abducted by a religious zealot who proclaims her The Fulfillment of an ancient peace prophecy and whisks her away to marry her greatest enemy.

Wilhelm, Prince of the Ethereals, is reluctant to meet his new bride. He’s grown up believing Vanguards are evil, an enemy to fight and fear…not love. Can he set aside his prejudices and work alongside Layla to bring lasting peace after centuries of war?

Nash, a loner who has never fit in, carries a huge secret, one big enough to destroy both kingdoms. When he accidently meets Layla, he’s no longer content to live in the shadows, but he must resist his growing attraction—for her safety and for the longevity of the two kingdoms.

When Nash’s secret is revealed, a firestorm sweeps through both realms, with Layla at the center. Now she must choose between duty and desire while the fate of two nations hangs in the balance.

Rating

TRB 4 half star

Review

Plot/Story:

I absolutely loved the plot line of The Prophecy. It’s entertaining as well as really emotionally involving. I really enjoyed the story and  it pulled me into the world of Vanguards, Ethereal and Outlanders right from the very beginning.

The world-building is superb and the author has really done a commendable job in detailing. The book is written in multiple POVs and takes us through the lives of all the three main characters in detail. The pace of the story is great and being an absorbing read and all it proved to be quite a fast read.

I’m really excited to read the next book in the series as I honestly want to explore the amazing world of this book.

Characters:

The characterization in this book is really impressive. I loved the main characters, Layla, Will and Nash and even the supporting characters of Vespa, Grant and Volton Holt (there were more but I’m just mentioning my favorites.) I was able to connect with them all and was able to feel all the emotions the characters were experiencing. I really wanted to cry when they cried and literally grin when something good happened (especially when Nash came in the picture.)

Romance:

This book is a romantic YA Fantasy, so what else do you expect!? It has tons and tons of romance and the author managed to pull off the love-triangle thing gracefully. Though at first I thought it to be a little weird, considering Layla’s nature, but it was all explained beautifully in the second half of the book. And yes, it all did make sense (which is really rare these days!)

Writing:

The writing is really powerful which I was expecting and which doesn’t come as a shock because the author is an editor and I’ve read quite a few books edited by there and they were really awesome! T

Begining:

The Prophecy pulled me in right from the start. I loved the Day Of Dawning was intrigued about all the cryptic thoughts Layla had about the First Ones and the Ecclesiastics. I mean that really, really made me curious and that was the point where I realised that I was in for a brilliant read.

Ending:

The ending surprised me, but I must say I did expect a little more (just a teeny bit.) I mean the ending was haw-inspiring but I kind of made my peace with it thinking that at least now Layla won’t have to choose between the two princes. Maybe it’ll be different in the second part but I really needed something more that would have made it a cliff-hanger of an ending.

Blurb:

The blurb is perfect and it totally managed to get me to read this book. So yeah, it’s as good as it can be.

Cover Art:

I absolutely cover the cover art of this book and it really makes me want to pick up a hardcover copy of the book.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Beware of gray skies; they can be an omen.

Highlights: The world-building.

Lowlights: None

Final Thoughts: An engaging fantasy read with brilliant world-building.


 

You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Adventure · Book Reviews (by Genre) · Books Reviews (by Author) · Contemporary Fiction · Fairytales · Fantasy · Magic · Romance · Shari Arnold · Young Adult

Book Review: Neverland

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Author: Shari Arnold
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Series: -
Genre: Retelling | Fairytale | Young Adult | Fantasy | Contemporary | Romance
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 359
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

It’s been four months since seventeen-year-old Livy Cloud lost her younger sister, but she isn’t quite ready to move on with her life — not even close. She’d rather spend her time at the Seattle Children’s hospital, reading to the patients and holding onto memories of the sister who was everything to her and more.
But when she meets the mysterious and illusive Meyer she is drawn into a world of adventure, a world where questions abound.
Is she ready to live life without her sister? Or more importantly, is she brave enough to love again?
In this modern-day reimagining of Peter Pan, will Livy lose herself to Neverland or will she find what she’s been searching for?

Rating

TRB 5 stars

Review

Plot/Story:

Neverland is a fairytale retelling of Peterpan and as far as I’m concerned this is the best book I’ve read so far in the fantasy genre. It has a dreamlike  imagery which will leave you craving and begging for more.

The pace of the story was perfect, not too fast, not too slow. I was able to not only read the story in front of me but was also able to live it forgetting everything around me.

This book is literally unputdownable and I love it so much that it has made its place at the top of my all-time favorites! I’ve already read it twice now and I’ll be re-reading it again soon.

Characters:

I absolutely adore the lead characters of Livy and Meyer, so much so that I guess I’m in love with Meyer! The relationship between Livy and Meyer developed slowly and beautifully. The vulnerability of Livy added more depth to each and every aspect of the story.

I wanted to cry when Livy felt hurt and wanted to do a happy dance whenever she got a positive response from Meyer. I even blushed a dozen times while reading about Livy and Meyer’s small interactions.

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Romance:

The beautiful budding romance between Livy and Meyer was nothing less than magical. It was slow and cute love that started as an odd friendship but developed into something more special. The thing that made their relationship so magical is the subtlety of feelings beautifully expressed by the author.

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Writing:

Shari Arnold’s writing style is so simple that it flows smoothly throughout the book. I enjoyed reading this book mainly because of the uncomplicated writing style. I didn’t just read this book, but I was really able to live it (and that’s something.)

Beginning:

The book started beautifully with Livy reading Peter Pan for children in a hospital. How can anyone not get emotionally involved right from the start with this kind of a start! I was swept right off my feet from the very first page. And as the story progressed I lost myself completely in the beautiful world of Livy and Meyer.

Ending:

Ahh… the ending. At first, I was like:

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But then after a few minutes, I thought about it and realized that it was for the best and that the ending couldn’t have been better. Yes, it wasn’t a straight out happy one, but it was realistic and, more importantly, acceptable. After being swept off by this story I really dreaded to know the end, but the author, Shari Arnold, really surprised me with a well-balanced ending.

Cover Art:

The cover art of this book is simply awesome. The colors are so pretty and subtle and the minimalistic design makes it a great cover.

Blurb:

The blurb is perfect and gives a fair idea of what to expect from the book. I picked it up from NetGalley after reading the blurb itself, so yeah, it totally worked for me, and I’m sure it’ll definitely get anyone else’s attention as well!

Other Stuff

Opening Line: It’s just before dinnertime at the Seatle Children’s Hospital.

Highlights: Storyline.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

Their eyes are wide and curious, and I love that. If I focus on their eyes I can forget the disease each one carries around like a nametag.

I’ve found that death makes people uncomfortable, while the death of a child clears the room altogether.

God doesn’t save children around here. Sometimes it feels as if he’s collecting them.

Memorable Paragraph:

Jenna slides up closer to me, her excitement a temperature that keeps me warm. She and Alice are spell-bound. They’re the reason I love to tell stories. It doesn’t matter how often they’ve heard it, or that they already know what will happen next. A story is a story. It takes you away from what you’re doing and how you’re living right then, and whisks you away into someone else’s world.

Final Thoughts: This book is pure AWESOMENESS!!!


 

Adventure · Axel Blackwell · Book Reviews (by Genre) · Books Reviews (by Author) · Fantasy · favourite · Magic · Mystery · Supernatural · Suspense · Thriller · Young Adult

Book Review: Sisters Of Sorrow

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Author:  Axel Blackwell
Release Date: 24th April, 2015
Series: February 17, 2015
Genre: Fantasy | Adventure | Young Adult | Magic | Supernatural | Mystery | Thriller | Suspense
Edition: mobi
Pages: 332
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Anna Dufresne lives in a factory that eats children. If the brutal machines don’t kill Anna, her guardians’ neglect and abuse probably will. The only thing this abandoned teen wants is out. But the factory is inside a stone fortress, on an island, where people are sent to be forgotten. It serves as a dumping ground — both for orphans who are not welcome at finer institutions, and for nuns who have disgraced the Church. The walls of Saint Frances du Chantal’s Orphan Asylum hum with secrets and buried scandal.

In the catacombs below the factory, something long dead, something almost forgotten, stirs. It offers Anna a key, and promises freedom, if she will seek it out when she escapes. She knows her plan will endanger the other children, but Anna cannot resist the call of freedom.

Her escape attempt triggers a chain reaction of chaos, shaking the orphanage to its foundation and laying bare its deadly secrets. As Anna flees into the night, she discovers that the evil nuns were the least of her worries. The swirling mist of the island hides terrors more dangerous than she could ever imagine.

Rating

5-stars

Review

Plot/Story:

Sisters Of Sorrow has an amazingly superb plot-line. It is a complete adventure-mystery package and this book is by far one of the best books I’ve read by an independent author. I enjoyed each and every chapter to the core and I literally had to drag myself away from the book to sleep at night.

This book is a masterpiece and I’ll recommend it to all the adventure and mystery fans. If you want to read a good book with an amazing story and superbly crafted characters, then this book is for YOU.

This book is about an orphan girl who tries her best to get away the cruel nuns of SFDCOA. She risks everything, even the life of her girls (sisters) and other orphans. But when she gets out, she discovers the ugly truths of the island and the asylum itself. The story shows her struggles and dilemmas beautifully and the of course highlights her choices which ultimately makes her a hero.

I enjoyed every ounce of this story and I’m going to re-read it soon, in fact I wanted to start it over again as soon as I finished it, but I have a lot of stuff to do right now to indulge in something so absorbing.

Axel Blackwell has beautifully proved that YA genre is so much more than Hunger Games, Divergent and Immortal Instruments.

Characters:

The author, Axel, did a fabulous job in creating, what I like to call as, the perfect characters. The characterisation is so strong that you’ll fall in love with each and every single character. I felt so bonded with Anna and Donny that I wanted to get in the book and help them out at tight places.

Even the characters of the evil nuns are so beautifully created that you’ll want to get stay away from McCain and Eustace.

Another character that I really enjoyed was that of Joey. The author really impressed me with such a unique character. I enjoyed having such a different being in a story like this.

Romance/Kills:

It’s a YA book and the main character is 14 years old, so there’s no romance but there’s a lot of love. Anna’s love for her girls (whom she lovingly calls her sisters of sorrow) is so heart-warming. Her attitude towards all her girls make me want to cry the tears of joy. She is such a brave little girl that I really, really love her.

Writing:

Writing style of Axel Blackwell compliments the story beautifully. He is an amazing story-teller. the writing is simple and perfect. I enjoyed reading the perfectly written third person throughout the book and based on this book I’m going to read all the books by him.

Beginning:

My heart clenched so bad when the story began. The nuns terrified me to no end and thinking about little girls and boys under their supervision gave me the willies.

The beginning was so powerful that as soon as I read the first page, I knew that I’m not going to be putting this book down anytime soon. I started to feel the bond with all the characters (that were mentioned from beginning) in the initial pages only and by the time I was half way through the book, I knew it’s going to be my new favourite.

Ending:

The ending of this book is perfect. It couldn’t have been better than what it is. I was so relieved and happy that the author maintained his level of brilliance throughout the book, till the very last word.

Blurb:

The blurb gives a fair idea about what to expect from the book. This book has so much to offer that it’s practically impossible to sum it up in a small blurb.

Cover Art:

Nice. I really like it and coupled with the blurb, it gives a really mysterious feel to the book. I love it.

You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Anna Dufresne sat on the edge of her cot in the predawn hour, staring down at her mummified pinky finger.

Highlights: Amazing plot and brilliant characterisation.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

When I’m dead, there’s nothing else they can take away. And that is it’s own kind of freedom.

No food and no blankets gets you dead little girls and boys.

If a child will not work, neither let him eat.

Being Anna’s friend is a bad idea.

They can only kill you once. After that, they can never hurt you again.

Memorable Quote:

A troop of broken orphans, shell shocked into doing the next thing that must be done. The only difference was that this time, the next thing that must be done involved sneaking through a storm while being chased by ax-weilding nuns and a Joseph-Thing. These girls have faced the stampers and needle machines on a daily basis, this wasn’t much worse.

“Lady!” Jane interrupted, in a voice that made Anna want to hide under a cot. “are you blind as well as stupid? Look around you. There used to be a fortress here. It stood here for a hundred years. It’s gone now. You know why? Because it made Anna it’s enemy. If anyone ought to be scared, lady, it’s you. There used to be a factory there, now it’s just a hole full of sand and seaweed, because it tried to keep Anna on this island.

“Anna fought off an entire order of evil nuns, an army of mercenary witch-hunters, a pack of wolves and a-a-a Joseph-Thing, to rescue her girls and get us off this island. And now you are going to just saunter up in your silly white dress and threaten her? I’ve seen a lot of moronic behaviour since I’ve lived here, lady, but you take the cake. You are one dumb-witch.”

Final Thoughts: You’ve GOT to read this book!!!


Review by:

pics-2 copyHeena Rathore P. aka The Reading Bud

My name is Heena and I’m a freelance writer, blogger and a book-reviewer (and soon-to-be author.) I’m an introvert, thinker, neat freak (cleanliness OCD), hardcore idealist, fitness junkie, music fanatic, compulsive reader, self-assertive, opinionated, dog lover and an atheist.

The Reading Bud is my brain-child and is a huge part of my life. I love reading and reviewing. What started as a hobby has become my passion.

Read more about me here.