Book Review: Δrakon by Wallace Knucker

Book Details:

Author: Wallace Knucker
Release Date: 
31st March 2022
Series:
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Format: E-book 
Pages: 392 pages
Publisher: Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd
Blurb:
Dragons were powerful and formidable warriors, they could use fire very differently than the warriors of the fire. It was like they could command the element, like fire was part of them. The scariest thing about them though, was their real form. Just a handful of people had seen it and survived long enough to tell the story.

The only thing I know about this form is that it was giving them tremendous speed and power beyond any imagination and that just a look at it was enough to make your blood freeze in your veins.
When war began among humans and dragons, our annihilation was certain. At the last battle, one hundred thousand humans, with the help of the elves, faced two thousand of those monsters. The magic of the elves combined with the sheer will and determination of the warriors led to victory. This was the battle in which dragons were wiped from existence. 

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Δrakon by Wallace Knucker is an enthralling new epic fantasy novel featuring **drumrolls** DRAGONS!!

I was sold on the D-word alone as I am a big-time fan of the creatures, but the fact that this book was based on the concept of their extinction, which is obviously re-imagined, had me by the throat! And I am so glad that this book did not disappoint. On the contrary, it proved to be a pretty great read!

The writing was great, the characterisation really good and the execution of the plot and the magic system was simply outstanding! The tension graph of the book had me sitting at the edge of my seat through most of the book. The story had a great flow and I was able to finish the book in one sitting – which says a lot about how good the book was.

I would strongly recommend this book to all fans of the fantasy genre and to those who especially love reading about dragons (with some elves and the elven magic system thrown in.)


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ARC Review: A Disappearance at the Bonne Nuit Hotel by Dominique Daoust

Book Details:

Author: Dominique Daoust
Release Date: 
31st March 2022
Series: The Deadly Exclusives Trilogy (Book #1)
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Historical Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 210 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Secret sources have a whole new meaning.
Newbie reporter Rita Larose is tired of getting assigned boring stories at one of Montreal’s most popular newspapers. It’s 1930 after all, women don’t need to only write about household chores anymore! But when a high hat socialite gossips about the New Year’s Eve party at the Bonne Nuit Hotel, a riveting mystery falls right into Rita’s lap. This is her chance to prove to herself and her underestimating colleagues that she has what it takes to write the hard-hitting articles.
While going undercover as a maid to get the scoop, Rita will soon discover unexpected friendships and an unusual gift of her own to contend with. Will she be able to juggle this newfound ability while not blowing her cover and jeopardizing her career-making article?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Disappearance At The Bonne Nuit Hotel by Domonique Daoust is a cleverly plotted and well-executed cozy mystery laced with historical elements and twists. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book right from the first page to the very last one and the ending, surprisingly, turned out to be satisfying. I am now looking forward to reading the next book in this trilogy as there are some answers that I still seek from the sequel (which I am sure will be answered in the next part or maybe the one after that, but I am patient.)

The characterisation was really well-developed and the writing felt very smooth, which was surprising as this is the author’s debut novel. I was impressed by the number of details and their impact on the overall plot. I would highly recommend this book to cozy mystery fans and to readers of light historical fiction brimming with light suspense.


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Book Review: The Rescue~ Book One of the Timestream Travelers Chronicles by Sher J. Stultz

Book Details:

Author: Sher J. Stultz
Release Date: 
10th January 2022
Series: The Timestream Travelers Chronicles (Book #1)
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, Time Travel, Adventure, Young Adult
Format: E-book 
Pages: 302 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
It all starts when the sheets go slack, and Aeneas vanishes! He and his two best friends, C.J. and Tabitha are spellbound as they watch the video feed of his disappearance and witness him climbing through his bedroom window an hour later, wearing different socks. Aeneas Entwistle, a slightly above average eighth grader is about to discover that the mystery of waking up with different socks is much more than just a prank.

Meanwhile, Aeneas’s twenty-something daughter, Cassie has traveled thirty-eight years from the future hoping to find any small detail that might help locate her missing father. Enlisting Harold, the Entwistle’s quirky housekeeper, Cassie works to rescue a middle-aged Aeneas, who vanishes into the timestream when a 7.2 earthquake strikes northwest Washington in May of 2053. But Cassie’s presence in the past might have unforeseen consequences for everyone in her circle. As she struggles to find her father, a carefully guarded family secret is revealed, and Cassie must choose between altering the past or violating the shamanic rules of time travel!

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rescue by Sher J. Stultz is the first book in The Timestream Travelers Chronicles. It is a fun and adventurous story with well-developed characters and a really good concept. I really liked reading this book because it felt very light and breezy.

The writing style of the author is simpl yet effective. It had a great flow and thus, made reading this book very easy and quick. I am looking forward to reading the next part in this series because I’ve come to care about the main characters and would love to know what happens next for them.

I would highly recommend this book to all teens and readers of YA and sci-fi-fantasy genres. Also, time-travel fans should also give it a read as they may find this book very interesting.


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Book Review: Into the Undercastle (The Shadow Arcanist Trilogy #1) by Alexander Dawnrider

Book Details:

Author: Alexander Dawnrider
Release Date: 
31st January 2022
Series: The Shadow Arcanist (Book #1)
Genre: Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy
Format: E-book 
Pages: 406 pages
Publisher: Dawnrider Press
Blurb:
A kingdom in peril. A forbidden stronghold. An unimaginable horror.
For centuries, the northern kingdom has faced constant attacks from hostile creatures in the surrounding wilderness. The population has dwindled to a few hundred, and an army of savage humanoids threatens to wipe Talidith out forever.

Their only hope is the Undercastle, a subterranean fortress built long ago to protect the people during an invasion. But it has been sealed by a mad king, and entry is punishable by death.
The young fisherman Aedan, along with his father, must retreat with the rest of the population to the Undercastle to wait out the invasion, hoping for help from the outside. But when their presence releases an evil from another realm, it threatens to destroy not only what is left of Talidith, but the entire world.

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Into The Undercastle by Alexander Dawnrider is the first book in the epic fantasy series, The Shadow Arcanist.

I absolutely loved this book; right from brilliant concept and great plotting to amazing characterisation and heart-thumping tension, this book had everything that I had expected from it and more! The storyline is superb and keeps one engaged with its various twists and turns the whole time. I am now eagerly awaiting the release of the second book in this series (and then the next one!) as I cannot wait to see what happens after the ending!

I will strongly recommend this book to all fantasy readers as this book has so much going for it. This amazing book will definitely entertain and engage you right from the beginning to the very end!


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Book Review: White Storks Of Mercy – Formation by  Joni Anderson Van Berkel 

Book Details:

Author: Joni Anderson Van Berkel 
Release Date: 
23rd November 2021
Series: White Storks Of Mercy trilogy (Book #1)
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Format: E-book 
Pages: 405 pages
Publisher: jponipress
Blurb:
The first book of this new trilogy is set in a world where reality and fantasy coexist. The story starts in ancient Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty and ends in twentieth century Portugal. A supernatural clairvoyant Sacred Stork of the Bach named Tara travels through time searching for a group of diverse women to join her on a mission to reset humanity’s moral compass.
Tara saves a pharaoh, a martyr, a warrior, a queen, and a Gypsy girl from death. She grants them eternal life and the ability to transform into the White Storks of Mercy. Her chosen companions must wear the magical talismans gifted by their leader or they will become mortal. The birds transform into human females called the Merciful Ones when their feet touch the earth. Tara manifests her own human body along the way.

Throughout the course of this epic journey Tara’s jealous sister, an ancient Egyptian Siamese cat named Reba, attempts to thwart the efforts of her moralistic twin. Reba possesses telepathic power and mind-controlling blue eyes. She conscripts a member of the White Storks of Mercy to spy on Tara. The cat also befriends a Druidess from the Iron Age and implores her to use Celtic magic in an effort to achieve a self-serving transformation of her own.
Will the White Storks of Mercy overcome perilous odds on their quest to inspire humans of diverse ethnicities, backgrounds and religions to live together in harmony? Or will the peacemakers be foiled by the schemes of the manipulative Siamese cat and her collaborators? Filled with magic, mystery, and mayhem, this novel promises to thrill and enchant its readers.

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

White Storks Of Mercy: Formation by

I enjoyed reading this book thoroughly because it had so much going on throughout the story. The multiple plot lines interspersed with the main story of the book kept me glued to the pages late in the night. I loved the story thoroughly and I’m now early awaiting the next book in this series. I loved the writing, the characterisation that brought this story to life and the pacing of the events.

Reading about the various exotic locations added a fun touch to the story as it made it all the more engaging and entertaining! I would highly recommend this book to all historical fantasy readers.


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Book Review: Children Of Maya by Christopher Vastag

Book Details:

Author: Christopher Vastag
Release Date: 
31st August 2021
Genre: New Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 406 pages
Publisher: Fenris Publishing
Purchase Link: https://www.fenrispublishing.com/maya
Blurb:
In the land of Kaskilia, a rabbit changeling slave named Maria sows plans for rebellion. To overthrow the murderous cult of Khaytan and the zealous king who spreads it teachings, Maria must rally predator and prey alike by reminding the people what true faith looks like. Brought together by the goddess Maya Herself, Maria finds an unlikely ally in the king’s son, Prince Reginald. Maria and Reginald must reconcile their differing visions of an ideal Kaskilia and their growing, forbidden attraction to one another while evading the bloodthirsty Absolvers of Khaytan’s Covenant. In a culture where she is seen as little more than food, can Maria find a way to lead her people to freedom without losing her humanity?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Children Of Maya by Christopher Vastag is a very engaging adventure new-adult fantasy novel that will take you on an adventurous rebellious trip.

This book was very easy to read as the writing was good had a really good flow which made the book a very quick read. I enjoyed reading this book as it had really good action and was full of twists and turns. The characterisation was good and so was the pacing and tension. The ending was good too and hopefully, there’ll be more books in this series.

I would recommend this book to all the readers of the new-adult fantasy genre and to those readers who enjoy reading magical adventurous books.


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Book Review: Gateworlds Earth – Athanator by Gillbert Troll

Book Details:

Author: Gillbert Troll
Release Date: 
6th December 2021
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Gateworlds Earth (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 335 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Earth is in (im)mortal danger. Only one man can help. One man and a chicken.
When a smug but mighty talking tree asks him to retrieve one of the rune crystals of the Multiverse Gate Earth, John Zelm “Athanator” decides against his better judgment that he will do as he is told and recover the guard rune to save the planet. As the balance of the multiverse itself might be at risk, he is helped by powerful allies such as a chicken and a platypusbear. 

Can John save us, or are we dead already? You must read the book NOW to find out! Otherwise, it might be too late! 
A book by Gillbert Troll, who is in the process of making the renowned multiverse bestseller: “How to start great and meaningful conversations with dark elves.”
If you buy the book now a troll will or will not be named after you somewhere in the multiverse! 

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Anthanator by Gillbert Troll is the first book in the urban fantasy series – Gateworlds Earth. I loved reading this book because it had an amazing characterisation and outstanding world-building. It was an extremely engaging read and I enjoyed every bit of it, right from the very start to the mind-blowing ending.

I was able to relate to all the characters in this book, primary as well as secondary, and I felt a real connection with the lead cast. I found myself rooting for them and cheering them on throughout the story. I am now really looking forward to reading the next part of this series.

I would highly recommend this book to all fantasy readers, especially to those readers who like reading urban and epic fantasies.


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ARC Review: Herrick’s End (The Neath #1) by T.M. Blanchet

Book Details:

Author: T.M. Blanchet
Release Date: 
10th May 2022
Genre: Young-Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Magic & Elementals
Series: The Neath Series (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 312 pages
Publisher: Tiny Fox Press LLC
Blurb:
You did nothing. You were nothing. And so, you shall remain here, until the end of your days. As nothing.
Ollie’s only friend disappeared a few days ago, and now, he’s frantic to find her. But he doesn’t have much to go on until a mysterious note arrives which reads:
“Still looking for your friend? I know where she is.”
Unfortunately for Ollie, the trail leads to the last place he’d ever expect.

Somewhere dark.
Somewhere deep.
The kind of place where magic spills like blood, vengeance is merciless, and escape seems all but impossible.

Worse still, it soon becomes clear that someone-or something-was expecting him.
Now, time is running out.
If Ollie has any hope of ever seeing home again, he’s going to have to summon every last scrap of courage, smarts, and tenacity he can find. And none of it will matter if he can’t get some help. Fast.
Because Ollie might not know much about the vast underworld that’s ensnared him, but he does know this:
He’ll never make it out alone.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Herrick’s End by T.M. Blanchet is the first book in the young-adult fantasy series, The Neath. This book is a fast-paced rollercoaster ride that’ll take you into the amazing and sometimes terrifying world of the vast underworld that will leave you wanting for more!

This book had an exceptional characterisation; I was able to connect so deeply with the main protagonist Ollie and even most of the secondary characters. I found myself cheering for Ollie throughout the book and I really hope the author comes up with more books in this world with Ollie as the main character! I am really forward to the next book in this series!!

The writing is immersive and had a great flow, the pacing was great and the tension was high in most parts of the book which made this book un-put-down-able!

I would highly recommend this book to all readers of Young-Adult Fantasy – this book will not disappoint you!


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Book Review: The Magicians Of Ysavar by Z.B. Lee 

Book Details:

Author: Z.B. Lee
Release Date: 
3rd January 2022
Genre: Young-Adult Fiction, High Fantasy, Magic-Elementals
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 167 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Johan Finley dreams of being a warrior for his home, Center City, but he is devastated when his own arrogance costs him his dream. When all seems lost, a cheery little fellow comes knocking on his door. Johan could never expect the fantastic journey that awaits.

There is one problem: Blazer, an enchanted sword, has fallen into the wrong hands. A shadowy enemy seeks to use this powerful weapon to turn the tides in a greater war of good versus evil. Johan must find the strength to face down this sinister foe and take back the sword before it’s too late. 
Under the tutelage of a wise magician and a battle-tested knight, along with the friendship of a courageous halfling, Johan is going to learn what it means to be a true hero in the Order of Ysavar. But when the fate of the world rests on his shoulders, will he crack under the pressure? Or will he rise to the occasion?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Magicians Of Ysavar by Z.B. Lee is a new young-adult magical coming-of-age book full of action-packed scenes that are brimming with conflict, both internal as well as external. I enjoyed reading this book from cover to cover and was not able to put it down once I started!

This book had an amazing pace throughout the book and the tension ran deep and tight right from the beginning to the very end. The book started off on a great note and the build-up was amazing – even better than I was expecting! The characterisation was good, the settings were well-executed and the entire plotting was well done. I thoroughly enjoyed this action-packed ride.

I would strongly recommend this book to all young-adult readers and fans of coming-of-age stories that have magic elements.


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Book Review: Villains (The Reeve #2) by Ian Lewis

Book Details:

Author: Ian Lewis 
Release Date: 
20th December 2021
Genre: Alternate History, Fantasy, Suspense, Mystery, Speculative Fiction
Series: The Reeve (Book #2)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 380 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Beldenridge—a city of aging grandeur adrift in complacency—is reeling in the wake of violence perpetrated by the Wojiin, a legendary foe once thought to be extinct. Now mutated horrors lurk by shadow of night, and opportunistic villains rise to fill the gap left by the perceived abandonment of Beldenridge by Logan Hale, the city’s highest peace officer. Though Logan knows the Wojiin will return, he’s beleaguered by the ignominy of failure and a loss of purpose. To recover, he must not only confront himself but the malevolence that runs like an insidious undercurrent beneath everything he fears.

Just when Lucy is feeling unworthy of happiness, a silver lining presents itself. She lands her dream job as a travel writer. Follow aspiring author Lucy as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery with her best friends by her side. Witness as she blissfully immerses herself in French culture while hitting all of Paris’ hot spots for her new job. Laugh along while she helps throw an epic murder mystery birthday bash. Most of all, join Lucy as she transforms her self-doubt to self-love, ending a tragic year with the surprise of her life.
Will Lucy finally leave David in the past or will he continue to haunt her dreams?

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Villains by Ian Lewis is the sequel to From Legend and the second book in The Reeve series. I absolutely loved this book! It was undoubtedly un-put-down-able!

I had been waiting on this book since I first read From Legends by the author and finally having read this book I am now looking forward to reading the next one! The characterisation in this book was great, and I loved Amelia, the main character. I think the settings in this book felt even better than in the last books and I loved the detailing. The monsters were big and scary and truly dreadful and I enjoyed reading every bit of this book.

I would recommend this book to all readers of Fantasy, Suspense and Alternate History mixed with Speculative Fiction, as I am sure they will definitely love this book and the series!


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Book Review: Rosetta Gnome by Ashley Parker Owens

Book Details:

Author: Ashley Parker Owens
Release Date: 
7th October 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopia, Speculative
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 334 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
In the fight for freedom, a reluctant and unprepared leader faces agonizing choices that will seal the fate of his family—and his heart—in this captivating fantasy adventure.
Simple gnome gardener Wil and his faithful rabbit companion Roddy flee the devastation of the village they once called home as it burns behind them. Still reeling from the loss, they stumble across a ragtag group of gnomes who have escaped from the slave fields of the terrifying ogres. Despite the small clan’s missions of theft and murder, Wil decides to stay. Like flowers huddled together through cracks in stone, Wil and his newfound family cling to each other, desperate for something to call their own.

A shocking and violent act of betrayal splits the clan and thrusts Wil into an unenviable leadership position. Now, tasked with the impossible, he must decide between consciousness and kin. Complicating things further, the newly married gnome is distracted by the choice between duty and desire as his heart yearns for another.
Each moment wasted with uncertainty brings Wil closer and closer to losing everything.
A fantasy adventure drama with a unique premise, Rosetta Gnome is an enthralling read for any fantasy lover. If you’re a fan of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, you’ll love Rosetta Gnome. – Pikasho Deka (Readers’ Favorite)

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rosetta Gnome by Ashley Parker Owens is an adventurous dystopian fantasy read that will take you on a perilous and emotional roller-coaster ride!

I was pulled into the story from the very first chapter till the last line. I loved reading this book because the concept was so unique! I liked the writing (for the most part – ignoring a couple of mistakes here and there) as it was simple and complimented the story on the whole. The characterisation was pretty good and I was able to feel a connection with all the characters.

I’d definitely recommend this book to all fantasy lovers and also to those readers who like reading about dystopia-laced adventurous journeys.


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ARC Review: Beneath the Veil (The Valor of Valhalla Book 1) by Martin Kearns

Book Details:

Author: Martin Kearns
Release Date: 11th October 2021
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Valor of Valhalla (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 322 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
In a battle between two ancient evils, can one naïve young man become the last hope against powerful creatures of legend?
David Dolan thinks he’s already got the world figured out. But when a collapsed bridge plunges him into the icy Hudson, he’s pulled deep into the deadly realm that exists between life and death. And with his earthly form trapped in a coma, he’s vulnerable to the horde of demons hell-bent on his utter destruction.
Traversing the road to the afterlife, David seeks the wisdom and skills he needs to fight the demonic forces reigning havoc on his allies above ground. But as one hellish threat closes in on his defenseless body, David must defeat another terrifying fiend waiting in the shadows to use him…
Can David escape the world beneath the veil in time to stop the bloodshed?
Beneath the Veil is the gripping first book in The Valor of Valhalla dark urban fantasy series. If you like reluctant heroes, infernal myths, and bloody epic clashes, then you’ll love Martin Kearns’s formidable foray into the unknown. 

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Beneath The Veil by Martin Kearns is a a unique urban fantasy book that has bucket loads of demons, epic battles and some old as well as new myths that makes it a very entertaining read.

I loved the world-building in this book and the writing was great and complimented the plot very well. The characters were solid and well-developed making it a very engaging and intriguing read, keeping me at the edge of my seat throughout the story. The ending was great and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

I’d definitely recommend this book to all urban fantasy readers as well readers who are looking to explore a new dark fantasy series by a new author.


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Book Review: Glimmer of The Other by Heather G. Harris

Book Details:

Author:  Heather G. Harris
Release Date: 1st September 2021
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Glimmer Of The Other (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 188 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
I can tell when you’re lying. Every. Single. Time. 
I’m Jinx. As a private investigator, being a walking, talking lie detector is a useful skill – but let’s face it, it’s not normal. You’d think it would make my job way too easy, but even with my weird skills, I still haven’t been able to track down my parent’s killers. 
When I’m hired to find a missing university student, I hope to find her propped up at a bar – yet my gut tells me there’s more to this case than a party girl gone wild. Firstly, she’s a bookish soul who’s as likely to go off the rails as Mother Theresa. Secondly, I’m not the only one on her trail; she’s also being tracked by the implacable and oh-so-sexy Inspector Stone. 
Stone and I team up, and he shoves me into a realm where magic is real – a place where there are vampyrs and werewolves, dragons and trolls. And where my skills are more than just detecting lies…
Oh, and my dog? He’s a freaking hellhound who can manipulate the magical realms themselves.
I need to find the girl.
I need to discover who killed my parents.
And I need to find out more about the attractive but mysterious Zachary Stone…

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Glimmer Of The Other by Heather G. Harris is a wonderful beginning – the first book, in the new urban fantasy series Glimmer Of The Other. I LOVED reading this book because it was thoroughly entertaining and very, very well-written.

This book has everything – I mean EVERYTHING, right from dragons to vampires, wizards to trolls & werewolves and all this on top of other paranormal beings and phenomenons. This book was one hell of a rollercoaster ride in well-developed and beautifully executed urban fantasy settings.

The characters were very strong and I was able to connect to all of them (even the secondary ones.) I loved reading this book and seeing how things turned out for the characters and I am really looking forward to reading the next book in this series (hopefully soon!)

I’d recommend this book to all fantasy readers.


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Book Review: The Essence of Magic by Michelle Ermens

Book Details:

Author: Michelle Ermens
Release Date: 30th March 2021
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Magic’s Source (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 285 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
Can the Magic’s Source help her protect the ones she loves most?
Thera has always known that she’s different from her wonderful, loving human family. However, that would mean that she’s one of the specials, beings of legends – but how could it be, when no human has seen them for hundreds of years?
A visit from a masked stranger who warns her of danger and an attack on her village shatter the life that she knew. Forced to flee with her mother and her younger siblings, Thera finds temporary shelter in special territory, in the home of a beautiful special named Raven.
She needs more than temporary shelter, though. She needs a way to keep her family truly safe. The Magic’s Source might help with protection, but will Thera dare to seek it out and try to get some magic of her own?
And if she does, what kind of magic will she receive, and what new dangers will she find herself in?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Essence of Magic by Michelle Ermens is a fantastic new fantasy read that will definitely blow your mind!

I loved reading this book from the first page to the last! This book had great characterisation, an amazing and very interesting plot, good world-building and brilliant execution of the story idea. I loved the ending and am totally looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

I enjoyed the writing style of the author – it was simple yet good and was easy which made reading this book a pleasure aside from making it a quick read. I would definitely recommend this book to all fantasy readers and lovers of YA genre.


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Book Review: From Legend (The Reeve #1) by Ian Lewis

Author: Ian Lewis
Release Date: 8th April 2019
Genre: Alternate history fiction, Fantasy, Suspense, Mystery
Series: The Reeve (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 252 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Sober, serious, and driven, Logan Hale is the highest peace officer in Beldenridge, and he knows his city better than anyone: the labyrinthine streets, the vaulted architecture, and all the dark corners where tales of mutations and a vicious enemy still linger like hushed secrets. Logan is quick to dismiss these accounts as part of a storied past with which he’d rather not contend, but when a suicide investigation leads him to believe there’s something more sinister at hand, he questions whether that near-forgotten lore isn’t the stuff of legend after all. 

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

From Legend by Ian Lewis is the first book in the alternate historical series The Reeve.

The first thing I loved about this book is the cover art! I absolutely loved it and once done with the book I was really happy (and grateful) that the high expectations set by the cover were fully delivered by the author in this book. I enjoyed this book tremendously and the many elements it had to offer to a speculative fiction lover like myself. I loved the writing, the world-building, the characterisation as well as the fast pacing and high tension throughout the story.

I liked how the author interweaved the alternate historical settings with fantastical elements and used old lores, legends and fables to build intrigue as well as the perfect atmosphere for keeping the reader on edge. I would highly recommend this book to all readers who like reading speculative fiction, fantasy as well as alternate history and also to those who are looking to explore a new author or a new series. This book would be a really good pick for most readers.

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Book Review: To The North by Evan L. Grove

Author: Evan L. Grove
Release Date: 4th December 2020
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Awakener Duology (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 390 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Emily Lee wants nothing more than to live her life in peace, safe in the comfort of home with her father. But when he falls prey to dark magic, trapping him and countless others in a foreign land, she is forced to take action. Compelled only by the desire to save him, Emily travels to the northern nation of Odelia in search of a means to free her father from his terrible curse.

Lehksi Olent works as a private investigator, helping those uncover the truth that is often shrouded by a world of magic and mystery. Together with her brother, Marty, she now travels the Odelian countryside in pursuit of the growing unrest taking place within the heart of a country torn asunder by unseen forces.
When their paths converge, Emily and Lehksi’s lives will be forever changed. Two paths, one future. Be it for the good of all, or for a singular desire, the fate of Odelia lies within their choices. And should they prove lacking, the world of Oul might never be the same.
To the North is the first novel in The Awakener Duology, an adult urban fantasy that explores what it means to discover the dark truths of an unforgiving land. It takes place in an alternate reality set in a pre-digital world, one that is governed by magic and corporate influence. Two young women must navigate numerous challenges in order to protect what is important to them, but in doing so they will make discoveries that may drive a wedge between them.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

To The North by Evan L. Grove is the first book in The Awakening urban fantasy duology. It is a very conceptually refreshing book and I really enjoyed reading it.

The characterisation was good, the world-building was great and the narration was good and complemented the story well. I love reading fantasy and thankfully this book met all my expectations. It is a good fantasy read, especially considering that this is the first book in a duology. I’m really looking forward to reading the sequel to this book.

I really liked this book and would recommend this book to all fantasy readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Warborn (Legends Of Heraldale #3) by Brian McNatt

Author: Brian McNatt 
Release Date: 22 October 2020
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
Series: Legends Of Heraldale (Book #3)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 435 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Beneath the sins of the past, some souls are broken, some rise stronger, but all are changed. Princess Galaxy is lost. The cruel machinations of Lord Mordred have robbed the hippogryph of faith in the past and all those she most trusted. With appeals to the grand leader of gryphonkind, Lady Quetzal, falling on deaf ears, Galaxy must journey to the eastern city-state of Gateway, the last of the great nations standing against the might of the Unicorn Empire.

There she contends with a bloodthirsty general grown wary of hope, a lone king grown weary of war, and a blind prophet knowing ever more than she’s telling. Meanwhile, Brynjar and Owain find themselves the prized captives of Empress Nova herself. Lost deep in the heart of Avalon and threatened on all sides by the mad Lord Mordred, the conniving Lord Thoth, and the eldritch Lord Beauty, they will need the most unlikely of allies if they want any hope of escape . . . or survival.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Warborn by Brian McNatt is the third book in the fantasy series Legends Of Heraldale.

You can read my review for the other books in this series here:

Legends of Heraldale by Brian McNatt
Past Sins (Legends of Heraldale #2) by Brian Natt

Having read this series from the start, I was really curious to read the 3rd book as I really liked the story so far. Needless to say, I had a lot of expectations from this book and thankfully, the book delivered everything it promised and I expected it. I really enjoyed reading about some familiar characters from the earlier two books as well as some new ones. The world-building was very intricate and the book helped me refresh my memory of some of the bits that I had forgotten.

The story was every bit as full of adrenaline as the last two books, and some more. There were some really good new concepts and creatures that kept me glued to the book. I really liked this book because it took steered the story into yet another, albeit perilous, new direction and I love where it is headed.

This book has a lot to offer to fantasy readers and therefore I highly recommend (not only this book but the entire series so far.)

You can also read my review on Amazon

Book Review: Donnybrook Good-Bye by Martin A. Cullen

Author: Martin A. Cullen
Release Date: 14th November 2020
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Longest Game
Format: E-book 
Pages: 200
Publisher: 
Blurb:
A demonic crusade.
A homesick god.
A merciless order.
A lonely gruffin.
And a crafty puca.
Trapped in the middle, Inara Caan is an embittered vestal to The Order of the Avenging Hand. She flies to Boston for her next mission. Like every other assignment, she expects more deaths to defile her soul…Not some happy family beaming up from the glossy photo of her targets.

To save the innocents, Inara defies The Order. On the run, she fights to keep everyone alive. As enemies close in from all sides, she finds unlikely allies who—dare she hope?—might even save her life as well.

She may evade her enemies but she can never escape the demon promised her soul.

Book Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Donnybrook Good-Bye by Martin A. Cullen is the first book in The Longest Game urban fantasy series. It is an action-packed adventure ride full of demons, monsters and greater forces. Overall, this book is a decent introduction to a new series and I am very much looking forward to reading more books in this series.

I loved the concept of the book. The story itself was well-developed with good characterisation. Being a series, I am expecting the characterisation to blossom more in the next book, though as an introduction I found it good enough. The writing was good enough but I did have a problem with too much “telling” in the entire book. Other than that, it was a good book and I enjoyed reading it a lot.

I’d recommend this series to fantasy lovers, especially fans of urban fantasy.

You can also read this review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Book Review: Strands of Existence 1: Island Girl by Aino Lahteva

Author: Aino Lahteva
Release Date: 26th August 2020
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: Strands Of Existence (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 272 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:

*New linguistically revised version*

As an opportunist, Istrae yearns to get off her home island and visit Kerth, the City of Light and Abundance. Her preferred method of travel, however, didn’t include drowning. And she didn’t expect the city to be so dirty. Her memories are as broken as her body. She begins to piece them together with the help of a spirit bound to a statue and an ambitious army captain called Rime she enjoys teasing.

As Rime guides Istrae in her new life, it becomes evident the rigid rules of society and the city’s Temple do not welcome those who seek to shake the established rules, which is something Istrae is incapable of resisting.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Island Girl by Aino Lahteva is the first book in the new epic fantasy series Strands Of Existence. It is a very fresh take on fantasy grounded in religious beliefs and I was really surprised by the realistic feel of this amazing fantasy world.

I enjoyed this book a lot. I loved the characterisation, the world-building was superb and the concept and plot were great too. The only problem that I can point out, and that too if I am being extremely picky, is that the dialogues felt a little different at some places. But that wasn’t a big issue because I am aware that this is a book by an author whose first language is not English, so for that alone, I’d like to compliment the author. Other than that the writing was pretty impressive and I was really enthralled by this amazing book.

I would definitely recommend this book to all fantasy lovers and to those who are looking to explore a fantasy series by a promising new author.

You can also read this review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Book Review: The Blazing Chief (The Deschembine #3) by Matt Spencer

Author: Matt Spencer
Release Date: 12th October 2020
Genre: Urban Fantasy | Post Apocaliptic Fiction
Series: The Deschembine Trilogy (Book #3)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 578 pages
Publisher: Back Roads Carnival Books 
Blurb:

For untold ages, the refugees from the land of Deschemb have lived secretly beneath the surface of human society. Now modern civilization crumbles as their ancient feud boils to the surface. As chaos and brutality engulf the world, strange alien forces reshape the lands for a new beginning…for whoever survives.

In the frozen Canadian wastes, the United Deschembines take shelter in an abandoned military base, under the leadership of Jesse Karn, Zane Rochester, and Sally Coscan.

In the Louisiana swamps, Rob and Remelea press towards the ruins of New Orleans, for a final confrontation with Talino.

In Brattleboro, Vermont, a long-forgotten doorway opens, to a land beyond living memory, where two lifelong enemies must journey as allies, to save two worlds, or destroy them.

You can find The Blazing Chief here: Amazon | Goodreads

Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Blazing Chief by Matt Spencer is the third and the last instalment in the Deschembine trilogy. The first book is The Night And The Land and the second one is The Trail Of The Beast.

This book brings this amazing apocalyptic trilogy to an end and what an end it is! I love how the author treated all the characters with an equal amount of respect giving them all (even the ones I did not expect) a well-rounded ending. I was so glad that the book lived up to all the anticipation that was built-up in the first two books and that it ended on a higher note than either fo the first two books!

I loved the ending because it wasn’t exactly how I had predicted it to be. So it did surprise me though not entirely, but that’s understandable because I was able to see the character arcs (which were very nicely done) in the first two books being a writer myself. The thing I loved best about this book (and event he earlier books) is that the author delivered on each and every promise that he had made at the start of the series and that makes it a very well-rounded story on the whole.

I loved the action-packed climax and the tension that was present throughout the book leading to a wonderful climax. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend this wonderful trilogy to all dystopian and apocalyptic (and post-apocalyptic fiction. I am sure you all will love this book!

You can also read this review on 

Author Interview: Matt Spencer

Welcome to TRB Lounge!

Today, we are featuring Matt Spencer, author of The Blazing Chief, the third book in the The Deschembine Trilogy, for our Author Interview feature.

About The Author

Matt Spencer

Matt Spencer is the author of five novels, two collections, and numerous novellas and short stories. He’s been a journalist, New Orleans restaurant cook, factory worker, radio DJ, and a no-good ramblin’ bum. He’s also a song lyricist, playwright, actor, and martial artist. He currently lives in Vermont. 

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Website | Twitter | Facebook



The Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

Well, my life has abruptly hit the reset button of late, to put it kindly, not under circumstances I’m happy about, but either way, here I am living on my own again for the first time in years, feeling kind of like a stranger to myself in some ways, like I’m catching up with this version of me. It’s been weird, especially in these Covid days, where getting out around people like I used to isn’t such a thing for the foreseeable future, but I’ve come to realize that ain’t such a bad thing either. I’ve been making the most of it in a lot of ways, eating/exercising/living healthier, to the point where the old saying “40 is the new 30” suddenly makes a lot more sense to me than I’d expected it to. I still work in a restaurant, which is only open to limited capacity, with reduced hours. I assist my best friend in teaching fencing, and we love to sword-fight and martial-arts spar. With a little luck and prudence, I’ll keep the positive things on track, continue to grow and change for the better, do what I can for other people, and keep writing crazy yarns that people get a kick out of reading.

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

As the final book in a trilogy, it’s the one where everything boils to a head for a giant blow-out go-for-broke finale, y’know? I’m proud to be able to say that a lot of people have been asking me for years, “So when the hell is the next book coming out?” [more on that later] and now that it’s finally officially on the way, I’m both thrilled and nervous about how it’s going to be received. All of the major characters – Rob, Sally, Sheldon, Janie, Remelea, Jesse, Zane, Puttergong, among others – wind up where they’ve been headed this whole time. Many of them change drastically, some for better, some for worse, some, well, in-between. And yes, some of them die.

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

I don’t typically write stories with didactic messages at the heart of my authorial intent/narrative. There are obviously themes I want to explore, regarding the human condition and my complicated feelings and opinions about where we’re all at, have been, and could go as a species. I find I explore those kinds of themes best when I discover them organically as I’m writing the story, through what the characters are going through and what they’re struggling with, which makes me more aware of what we’re all struggling with, so it sort of builds from there. Whenever I’ve tried to write a story with some thematic social-commentary axe to grind as my driving motive, the characters end up feeling like mouth-pieces for my argument or whatever, rather than living, breathing people, with their own perspectives and motivations that drive the story forward to its natural conclusion. If I lose sight of that, then the story starts to feel like a writing-exercise, and I’m too old for that shit, so it dies on me.

If there’s a “moral of the story” to The Blazing Chief, it’s probably “Hang onto your critical thinking skills, and don’t be a bootlicker.” There’s definitely a running theme throughout the entire series about the cycle of violence and cruelty self-perpetuates itself, and my perhaps naively idealistic belief that healing those cycles begins with small human connections of empathy and love, that can eventually snowball out and make a difference, with the ignorant growing and changing through self-education and better exposure. 

Who is your favourite character in this book and why? 

It’s a toss-up between Remelea and Balthazar, both of whom were characters who never honestly got their due in this book ’til the last couple drafts or so. In whipping this book into shape, they were the ones I really got to explore on the most fresh ground, so I pushed myself into new territory, and ultimately surprised myself, in ways that I think will make the overall tapestry of the larger narrative far richer and more rewarding to readers.

Remelea’s a character who’s introduced in the second book. She was a hit with a lot of readers. In a lot of ways, she’s the most morally gray character in a series full of morally gray characters. She starts out as this very formidable warrior woman, with a strong, brazen, irreverent sort of personality that readers get a kick out of, that I certainly got a kick out of writing. She likes to see herself as this outlaw rebel who plays by her own rules, except she ironically comes to realize that she’s always just been sort of going through the motions, living life according to how she’s been trained and conditioned, but hasn’t had a cause she’s felt truly passionate about fighting for, ’til she takes up with Rob, one of our central protagonists. She eventually hits a point where she’s forced to question whether this whole revolutionary rampage she’s gotten swept up into is what she really believes in, or if she’s been lying to herself because of her personal emotional connection to Rob. I think that’s a very relatable thing for a lot of people’s continuous journeys of self-discovery through life. A lot of us form deep emotional bonds with people with strong personalities that fire us up to their tune at the time, to where we fall in love more with the idea of them than who they actually are. Then we eventually come to realize later that the relationship was never a healthy one in the first place, and starting over from that place is scary and full of inner-conflict. Most of us aren’t, y’know, monstrous superhuman blade-wielding fighting-machines like Remelea, but still. In the third book, her path diverges from Rob’s, so she’s back to trying to figure out where she fits into this whole apocalyptic mess she’s caught in the middle of. By the end, she’s forced to make some painful decisions, with dire consequences for the big picture, that ultimately define who she truly is on a new, more solid level, as a truly rounded person. 

Then there’s Balthazar, who’s the new heavy-hitter villain who this book introduces. He’s one of the most broadly over-the-top major characters I’ve ever written, in ways that were a lot of fiendish fun to write. I treated him in earlier drafts like a sort of glorified red herring, but in the later drafts, I realized that I hadn’t explored him properly, or made the reader truly feel the threat he represents. In brainstorming from my editor Garrett Cooke’s suggestions, I found myself delving into Balthazar a lot deeper. He ultimately turned out to be a lot more psychologically interesting than I expected. On the one hand, he’s this grotesque, diabolical genetically crafted monstrosity, with superhuman abilities and a brain crammed since birth with all this strategic and tactical military prowess on how to use those powers to make him and those he commands a major threat to what’s left of civilization, yet he also has this childlike, naïve mentality about it all, because of the people who abused, twisted, and conditioned him from birth to be what he is. He’s sort of a pitiable Frankenstein-monster sort of figure in a way. There’s no redemption for him, and he has to be stopped, and he’s the center of some of the book’s most disgusting, nightmarish moments. Yet it’s ultimately not his fault that he is the way he is. The older I get, the more I’ve come to realize that a lot of the worst harm people are capable of doesn’t come from malice or what have you, but just from what people have been conditioned to see as normal behavior. With Balthazar I just took that to the most grotesque, deranged extreme I could think of within the context of these already extreme hypothetical circumstances. A lot of both Balthazar’s character-development and an up-close view of the destruction he’s causing and the threat he poses, comes from the point of view of this young human man who he’s tortured, mutilated, broken, and basically made his pet…who he now sees and treats with what he views as affection, like people raise livestock to eventually kill and eat, who they treat like a beloved pet right up to when they slit the animal’s throat, and don’t recognize the cognitive dissonance there. 

What inspired you to write this series?

At the time I started writing the first book, there were several ideas of books I wanted to write, then there was the book I started writing. I was playing around with all sorts of concepts, stumped on what to start next. My mind was a pretty big mess over a lot of recent trauma, including the death of a dear friend, and I wasn’t sure where to start processing that whenever I sat down at the keyboard. I felt like writing a straight-up horror novel, in the old-school Stephen King or Robert Bloch vein. I also wanted to write a giant epic adventure story, incorporating all the classical elements of heroic myth…all the intrigue, action, romance, friendship, betrayal, and epic stakes, like in all the great stories my dear departed friend and I used to geek out about…but to somehow make it all my own, to turn all those elements on their heads, say something about my own observations about life, so readers might not even realize that’s what they were reading at first, but by the end still feel something of that sublime rush that my buddy Dave had always gotten out of such tales at their best, hoping to honor his memory that way. I just didn’t know where to start, had to find some way in to make it my own, so I wouldn’t just regurgitate what had already been said in all those masterworks we’d read/watched/loved.

When I started writing The Night and the Land, that’s honestly not the story I thought I was getting myself into. I was more fascinated with the daily minutia of Brattleboro, Vermont, my adopted home town I was living in at the time and have since moved back to and settled in. I started tinkering with writing a quieter, semi-autobiographical magical-realism ensemble novel, about the various quirky characters in the community I was part of. Hell, if I’d continued in that vein, it may well have turned into something publishable under the label Literary Fiction, and wouldn’t that be a hoot? Then I wrote that scene in the bus station in Pittsburgh, where we meet Sally’s family while they’re looking for her, and the whole thing took on a life of its own from there. I sure as shit didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but here we are.

A lot of people these days in the speculative-fiction community will say that the trilogy is a played-out, over-used format. It’s one Tolkien pretty much accidentally invented when he wrote his giant War-and-Peace-sized epic which the publishers decided to split into three parts, but it’s a cool format, in my opinion. When it works, it works, particularly for a long, multibook story with a beginning, middle and end. I was never interested in writing one of those gargantuan 12-books-plus fantasy series that I saw cluttering the bookselves at the time, nor was I interested in making it feel like one continuous book split into three parts, or anything pretentious like that. Once I realized what I’d gotten myself into, it wasn’t long before I had an amorphous, general idea of where everything was headed, and a trilogy just felt like the story’s natural shape. The whole thing should tell a cohesive story, but I always approached each book as its own entity with its own beginning, middle, and end. The first book wound up being on some levels a small-town horror story in that aforementioned King/Bloch mode. There’s a love story driving the central narrative, but I wouldn’t call it a romance novel. The second one expands a great deal on the hidden-world mythos, through the perspective of a lot more characters in lots of different places all over North America. It’s probably the tightest and fasted-paced of the three, basically a chase/road-trip-through-hell story. Which brings us to the third and final book, which starts out like a post-apocalyptic story, then turns into a full-on psychedelic multi-dimensional fantasy tale, with hints of sci-fi, where certain characters, under circumstances I won’t spoil, actually travel through time and space to these other worlds and realities that through most of the series, we’ve only heard spoken of as vague lore and mythology among the people of this hidden society. 

What are your writing ambitions? 

Artistically, to keep stretching myself, to keep working with the various elements of storytelling that I love, keep making them my own in ways I haven’t even thought of yet, and overall to keep spinning good yarns driven by fascinating characters who hopefully more and more readers continue to discover and connect with. Professionally, I’m very proud to have beaten the odds to the point where my writing is legitimately a source of secondary income, so I figure if I keep my shit together and stay on track, five years from now I’d like to have made it my primary source of income…that’s all assuming, the way things are going in real life, that we’re not all fucked and living in a worse dystopian, apocalyptic nightmare than anything I could come up with. But hey, no one ever accomplished jack shit by succumbing to despair and futility, amIright?  

Are you working on any new projects presently? 


I’m in the process of re-writing a new novel set in the far future of the world of these stories, where the world is still in the process of rebuilding itself after an apocalypse or two, and many of the characters readers have come to know in the trilogy and the adjacent works have themselves become the stuff of distant, unreliable mythology. It’s been wild and challenging, in some ways like settling back on familiar ground, while at the same time in many ways building a whole new world, with its own new rules, from scratch, and dropping a whole new set of characters into the middle of it. I’ve also had a hankering of late to dive head-first back into contemporary horror, and I have several ideas kicking around about where I might go with that.  

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you work in multiple genre?

My first love, writing-wise, was really horror fiction, particularly the classic Gothic horror works from the likes of Poe, Stoker, Shelley, and Leroux. I really cut my teeth at a young age trying to emulate those styles, before maturing, reading more broadly, going through more life experiences, etc, and developing my own style. As an oddball, neurologically atypical misfit kid growing up, I was particularly drawn to the kinds of larger-than-life human-monsters who were really just misfit social outcasts at odds with mainstream society. I’ve also always been drawn to stories of high adventure, and there’s a fine line between a lot of the morally gray kinds of heroes from those kinds of stories (such as Indiana Jones, the Man With No Name, Conan the Barbarian, or Long John Silver) and Gothic horror villains/anti-heroes like Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, or the Phantom of the Opera. There’s also a very fine line, I think, between adventure stories and horror stories. Compelling fiction is driven by conflict, and both adventure and horror distill that to a primal level, where it’s about high stakes such as the struggle for survival – the stuff of a ripping good yarn that gets the reader’s blood pumping. I think what continues to fascinate me the most at this point, with those kinds of stories, is exploring the contrasting psychologies of different types of characters caught up in those kinds of situations, how different kinds of people will respond differently in any number of ways, depending on their background, temperament, etc, and how those kinds of experiences change people, for better, worse, or some combination of the two. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

When reading the kind of shit you want to write, take mental notes on what does/doesn’t work when perfecting your craft. Also, get out there and live a life that makes you feel alive. Take risks, make mistakes, get into trouble, get into adventures, whatever that means to you personally (if not on the scale of the kind of “adventure” yarns I write, well, that’s probably for the best 😉 ). Above all, follow your own inner creative voice. You never know where that’ll take you. You’re not so unique in your experiences and feelings as it often seems, but no one can write about it exactly like you can, and you never know whom your voice is exactly what they need. Shoot for the moon, you may or may not make it, but you’re still likely to hit something along the way that those who didn’t dare never would have dreamed of. 

Thank you, Matt, for all your insightful and fun answers!


About The Book

The Blazing Chief

For untold ages, the refugees from the land of Deschemb have lived secretly beneath the surface of human society. Now modern civilization crumbles as their ancient feud boils to the surface. As chaos and brutality engulf the world, strange alien forces reshape the lands for a new beginning…for whoever survives.

In the frozen Canadian wastes, the United Deschembines take shelter in an abandoned military base, under the leadership of Jesse Karn, Zane Rochester, and Sally Coscan.

In the Louisiana swamps, Rob and Remelea press towards the ruins of New Orleans, for a final confrontation with Talino.

In Brattleboro, Vermont, a long-forgotten doorway opens, to a land beyond living memory, where two lifelong enemies must journey as allies, to save two worlds, or destroy them.

You can find The Blazing Chief here:

Amazon | Goodreads


To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: The Trail Of The Beast (The Deschembine #2) by Matt Spencer

Author: Matt Spencer
Release Date: 13th May 2019
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Deschembine Trilogy (Book #2)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 362 pages
Publisher: Back Roads Carnival Books 
Blurb:

Five years ago, Rob and Sally fled Brattleboro, Vermont. Now married, they are hiding out in a Florida backwater, hunted by both sides of the ancient, otherworldly feud between the refugees of the realm of Deschemb. Meanwhile, Sheldon follows a series of disturbing visions back to Brattleboro. Jesse and Zane’s search for the High Natural lands them at the center of a web of secrets and poison magic in New Orleans.
Within the lands, ancient forces rise towards consciousness, threatening to reshape the world on a cataclysmic scale.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Trail Of The Beast by Matt Spencer is the second instalment in the Deschembine trilogy. It is the sequel to The Night And The Land.

This book surpassed my expectations on so many levels! I was not expecting the conflicts to go so completely out of control on such level (in an obviously good way.) I was expecting to see more of the inter-personal and relationship conflicts, but this book has so much more to offer than just that. The characterisation was a really good development too and the new characters as well as the old ones, especially the old ones, were a treat to read about. I guess it won’t be wrong to say that I enjoyed this book even more than the last one! And I love it when this happens in a series.

The book picks up 5 years after the events of the first book and we get a good glimpse into those years, albeit from a distance which felt perfect to me. The larger conflict was the heart of this book and the author did not fail, whatsoever, to execute it well. And on top of that, there were the brilliant gory action scenes which completely knocked me off! Wow, I really, really enjoyed this book.

This book, in fact, the series (so far), would be great for anyone who’d like to explore a new author or a new urban fantasy series (that leans a bit on the dystopian side.)

You can also read this review on 

RMFAO October’20 Buddy Read Book Selection

So we are planning to have a buddy-read over at RMFAO, my Goodreads Book Club.

It will be a month-long buddy read and we have some really great book options to select from. For the month of October, we’ve picked books released in 2020 that’ve been garnering the attention of the online book community. For this list of books, please see below. We have a poll on RMFAO’s homepage and anyone who is a member fo the group can vote there.

We will select the book with maximum votes and in case of a tie, we will have both the books with maximum votes as our BOOK OF THE MONTH and will read it (or them) in the month of October. As it is a month-long buddy read, you can join us anytime throughout October, the only requirement is to finish the book before the end of October.

We will be discussing the Book Of The Month throughout the month of October on a separate dedicated thread in the group itself but will be maintaining a spoiler-free policy till at least we reach the ‘more than half the month’ mark. After that even spoilers would be welcome as most of the readers tend to finish the book by then.

Here are the options to choose from:

  1. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet
  2. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
  3. Sisters by Daisy Johnson
  4. Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
  5. A Long Petal Of The Sea by Isabel Allende
  6. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
  7. Things In Jars by Jess Kidd
  8. If It Bleeds by Stephen King
  9. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

And here’s the RMFAO Goodreads Poll:

Poll
Which book would you like to read for the month of October?
(Please vote only if you plan to join the Buddy Read. Don’t worry about the book, we’ll be more than happy to provide you the ebook if you really want to participate in the read with us.)
https://www.goodreads.com/poll/widget/207332-which-book-would-you-like-to-read-for-the-month-of-october-please-vot

Everyone is welcome to join and anyone can participate at any time during the month of October.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Marilia, the Warlord (Chrysathamere Trilogy #1) by Morgan Cole

Author: Morgan Cole 
Release Date: March 2020
Genre: YA Fantays, Coming Of Age
Series: The Chrysthamere Trilogy: Book #1
Format: E-book 
Pages: 482 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:

Formerly published under the title “Marilia, the Bastard.”
Born the bastard daughter of a painted lady, Marilia was told she would live out her days within the walls of her mother’s brothel, a companion for the rich men of Tyrace. But after a terrible betrayal, Marilia’s world turns upside down. With the help of her twin brother, Annuweth, she flees the only home she’s ever known in search of the one man who can offer her a chance at a better life–the Emperor of Navessea’s greatest general, a friend of her deceased father.

What follows is a journey spanning years, from the streets of the desert city of Tyracium to the splendor of the emperor’s keep and the wind-swept, wild island of Svartennos. Along the way, Marilia discovers, for the first time, the gift she has for strategy and warfare—a world that is forbidden to girls like her

When the empire is threatened by a foreign invasion, the defense of Navessea is left in the hands of a cruel and arrogant general no match for the empire’s enemy. With the fate of her new home and her family hanging in the balance, Marilia swears to use all her courage and cunning to do whatever she can to help repel the invasion—if she can convince anyone to follow her.

The struggle that follows will test her to her core and lead her back to the past she thought she had escaped. Facing treachery within her own ranks as well as a devious enemy commander, Marilia will need all the help she can get, even if it means doing something her brother may never forgive—making a deal with the man who murdered her father.

Inspired by The Song of Achilles and Ender’s Game, Marilia, the Warlord is a blend of the epic and the personal, a story of romance, envy, the rivalry between brother and sister, and one woman’s painful discovery that her childhood dreams weren’t quite what she imagined.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Marilia: The Warlord by Morgan Cole is the 1st book in the series The Chrysthamere Trilogy and also my first book by author Morgan Cole (pen name.)

The first thing I’d like to mention about this amazing book is that it is full of life, willpower and strength! This book really got me out of my self-pitying reverie (related to some medical issues) and made me feel like myself again. And I am sure it was all possible only because of the main character, Marilia. She is just so full of life, courageous and willing to do anything in order to achieve her goals. Her relationship with her twin brother was not only portrayed well but felt very realistic as the author showed not only the good but also the bad that is an inevitable part of every relationship.

The secondary characters were all good too. But what I liked most after the characterisation was the world-building – it was brilliant! The writing is really good and presents the plot in a really good way, having a great flow to it which made this book an easy read.

If you are a fantasy lover than you must read this book! I highly recommend it to all YA and fantasy lovers.

You can also read this review on 

Author Interview: Morgan Cole

Welcome to TRB Lounge!

Today, we are featuring Morgan Cole , author of Marilia, the Warlord, the first book in the Chrysathamere Trilogy, for our Author Interview feature.

About The Author

Morgan Cole

Bureaucrat by day, fantasy author by night, I began my writing career with several highly questionable life choices, such as a major in history and creative writing that was meant to lead to a glorious career as a fantasy author but instead led to the world of unpaid internships, minimum wage jobs, and a dingy, lightless apartment in small-town Ohio.

I suppose I took all those motivational posters about shooting for the moon and landing among the stars far too seriously. After a rocky relationship with a literary agent that didn’t quite work out, I decided to pursue an alternative career path (that actually allows me to pay rent) and to write my books on the side.

Growing up, my father instilled in me a passion for ancient Greek and Roman history (especially all the battles!), while my brother helped immerse me in the imaginative worlds of Morrowind and Middle Earth. All those influences are very much present in my writing.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Author Website  | Goodreads | Instagram



The Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

I grew up in the American Midwest with my brother, where I spent most of my time pretending I was either in space battling stormtroopers or in some fantasy world battling orcs or demons or whatever the monster of the day happened to be. I was the quintessential quiet, shy, anxious kid—I hated school because it involved social interaction and even CROWDS, a more fearsome foe than any demon. All that self-doubt, fear, alienation—I tend to pour it into my characters. It’s a cathartic process. 

I made a number of poor life choices in the intervening years. One winner has to be signing a contract with a literary agent while in a particularly intensive school program. I soon learned that I had absolutely no time, while studying, to make the edits she sought in order to transform the book from an adult fantasy into the more marketable YA genre. I stalled, and the relationship fizzled out. Afterwards, I decided to go it alone, as I kind of preferred the book as an adult fantasy anyway!

Morgan Cole is my pen name. Why the secret identity? I wish it was because I was some kind of secret celebrity, but the truth is that a buried part of me hasn’t totally given up on trying to get “traditionally” published some day when I have more time to devote to agent-hunting (and a book that better fits the market). And I’ve heard it’s easier to do that if the powers that be don’t realize you’ve published books on your own—an act of rebellion many in Big Publishing seem to frown on.

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

Though Marilia, the Warlord is a fantasy, it’s written in the structural style of a historical biographical novel, following the protagonist over the course of many years. I love to explore how childhood shapes who we are, so I couldn’t just not have scenes of the characters as children! It’s also possibly one of the only fantasy books I’ve read without any magic. Sure, there’s some weird creatures here and there, and crystal swords and the like, but no powers or spells. I have nothing against magic in principle, though I do truly hate it when the final showdown comes down to a character using some newly-discovered magical ability to just up and destroy the villain (you hear me, Letter for the King on Netflix??). I’ll take a good old-fashioned sword duel any day.

Finally, each book in this series explores a different theme, and one of my main goals with the first novel was to examine the notion of the “strong female character.” For some reason, the media often seems to assume that it’s empowering when a female character beats people up or kills them. Why? Isn’t it interesting that violence—stereotypically a masculine pursuit—is considered strong, while being less martially gifted is considered weak? Marilia swings a sword around, but that’s not what makes her a strong character. 

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

Well, that kind of spoils the ending. But one thing I can say—despite this book being about a badass woman warrior, I did not want it to be about the generic kind of tough girl I see in a lot of recent Hollywood movies and bad novels—saucy, witty, always ready with a quip, always the most composed and unflappable person in the room, and strong by the virtue that she beats up/kills men. In fact, that was one of the very notions that I set out to question—that being a strong female character means engaging in the traditionally masculine, and kind of terrible pursuits of violently killing or beating people up. Why is that what is most respected by our society? How far have we really come if being a strong female hero means entirely rejecting traditionally feminine things in favor of violence? 

Who is your favourite character in this book and why? 

I feel like that’s an easy one. Marilia, of course—the protagonist. She’s the most developed character in the story. She’s also probably the character who changed the most from draft-to-draft, going from a religious zealot who actually believed she heard the voices of the gods to the more grounded, level-headed heroine she is today. I also have a soft spot for several side characters who are loosely inspired by real people I know…but to say who or why would spoil the sequels. 

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else? 

The Chrysathamere Trilogy was inspired by a conversation I had with my brother where we discussed the unrealized potential of the three Star Wars prequels (I was a shamelessly obsessed Star wars fan growing up; I had the Jedi hair going and everything) and how they were ripe for a remake with better dialogue. The story shifted and changed over time, and now only very loosely resembles its Clone Wars-in-fantasy-land origins.

There are certainly a lot of other influences. A song of Ice and Fire, obviously (I liked Game of Thrones before it was cool!), but also some lesser-known books and movies like Searching for Bobby Fischer, a rather excellent movie about chess and the harmful effects jealousy and cutthroat competition can have on children. When it comes to battle scenes and tactics, I tend to steal a bit here and there from real history. In this book, it was Alexander the Great’s epic battle at Gaugamela. 

How long did it take you to write this particular book? 

While I’m happy to finally have this book finished, it was a real struggle to get there! I began brainstorming and outlining this novel back when I was scarcely older than Marilia herself. The writing and re-writing took ten long years! At one point, a literary agent advised me to cut the book (which at that time had two protagonists) in half and focus only on Marilia. I did, and the story was stronger for it. 

What are your writing ambitions? Are you working on any new projects presently? 

When it comes to my writing goals, I’m just going to take things one step at a time. I’ll finish editing and fine-tuning the 4 books (The Chrysathamere Trilogy + 1 other adventure novel) I’ve been working on, and then we’ll see…if people respond to them, like them, I’ll probably feel the urge to make more!

As for the good ‘ol “where do you see yourself in 5 years” question…I don’t think I’ve given an accurate answer to that question thus far in my life. Especially with COVID-19 roiling the globe and political turmoil roiling my home city of Washington, DC, I find it best not to plan too far ahead. In 5 years I could be a victim of the coming apocalypse, who knows? I don’t want to jinx it.

Are you working on any new projects presently?

I’m still working on the third book in this trilogy. It’s the longest and the three, and the bloodiest, so it’s quite a bit of work. I ended up re-writing the last 150 pages from scratch because I wasn’t a fan of the climax. I wanted to be sure to get it right—I might have been inspired by A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones but I definitely wanted to make the same mistakes that series did when it came to (not) wrapping things up. After that, I have another nearly-finished project that’s sort of like if The Last of Us met the Princess Bride. 

Why have you chosen this genre? 

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with harrowing sword duels and magical worlds. Together, my brother and I killed many imaginary orcs. So it always felt natural to explore that in my writing. Plus, I’d always wanted to read more fantasy books where there was no magic and the main character was just a regular person, so I figured why not write one? 

When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you to follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way? 

I probably decided to “become a writer” around the time I was ten. I wrote my first novel in high school. It wasn’t totally terrible, but it certainly was pretentious, especially the scene where the villain stopped mid-fight to monologue to the hero for four pages straight about how charity and altruism is for the weak because we live in a society and something something laissez faire capitalism. Just as unnecessarily edgy as you’d expect an emo high schooler’s first novel to be, really. 

It wasn’t easy at all. In pursuing the dream of being a writer, I ended up making some foolish choices in college that cost me dearly when it came time to get a job. I feel, in retrospect, that it’s far better to major in something practical like computer science that allows you flexibility in employment (so as to have time to write on the side) then majoring in creative writing itself. For one thing, none of those classes teach you a whit about how to actually write and sell a novel, and the short story market isn’t exactly robust. I also sacrificed a lot of time I could have spent with friends—still a bit sad about that. 

Because I screwed college up so badly, I ended up struggling for a whole to find a long-term job. Eventually, an immigration lawyer was kind enough to take me in as an assistant after we met in the middle-of-nowhere Texas in a family detention center where we were both volunteering—him as a free lawyer for refugees seeking political asylum, me as an interpreter. Because of my experience working with him, I ended up going to law school, which is funny, because I never saw myself as any kind of lawyer (I always hated public speaking). Life takes you in strange directions, I guess!

I labored for a long time under the delusion that writing could pay my bills. It really doesn’t—the cost of a professional editor alone will easily be more than the yearly earnings of most self-published authors. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t value or beauty in the act of writing. 

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it? 

I have no real ritual. I like to do a lot of planning first—sometimes two months of brainstorming before I ever sit down to write. Even then, the story never goes 100% the way I planned. I write when I have time, which is usually on the weekends. Some of my favorite scenes got down on vacation, though. 

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

Certainly on a laptop. I tend to hold my pencil with a death-grip and my handwriting is terrible. I’m convinced I was born left-handed and raised right-handed by mistake. I tend to do a lot of editing as I go, so the laptop tends to make that easier. 

Your 5 favourite books?

A tough question, as they tend to change as I grow older. But they might be: Dark Age, by Pierce Brown; Circe by Madeline Miller; The Land Beyond the Sea by Sharon Kay Penman; Best Served Cold, by Joe Abercrombie; and Horns, by Joe Hill (what is it with Joes?) But I also like Gillian Flynn’s books a lot, and there’s this one book by Nick Cutter called the Troop that gave me nightmares and still gives me the shivers when I think about it, if you’re into that sort of thing…I guess maybe a part of me is still the edgy student I was in high school.  

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

By feverishly trying to brainstorm my way around a problem until I fail miserably, then talking to someone else—a friend, or a relative—until finally clarity strikes. Usually the answer to my plot hole is outside the box. For example, I once spent three weeks agonizing about how Marilia could break into a castle and assassinate a certain character. After devising twelve plans, each more preposterous than the last, I jettisoned the assassination plotline completely and completely re-did the ending of that book. But I really struggle with writer’s block sometimes. For reasons unknown to me, so many of my problems seem to revolve around boats/ships. That naval battle in Marilia, the Warlord? An absolute nightmare. Once this series is over, if I keep writing, I’m going to only write books set in landlocked countries. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

They always say to read in your genre, but I feel like I grew as much, if not more, reading outside it, finding new ideas, and then dragging them back into the fantasy genre. “Literary” fiction, historical fiction, horror—I tend to read those the most. Also, don’t do what I did—major in creative writing in college. They taught me nothing about the marketing side of being an author, and, while my professors gave me some useful teachings regarding writing short stories, I gained almost next to no information about writing novels, which are a very different beast. I wish I’d chosen a major that would have made it easier to get a day job to leave lots of time for writing—I learned best through constant practice. 

Thank you, Morgan, for all your honest and helpful (especially to new writers) answers!


About The Book

Marilia: The Warlord

Born the bastard daughter of a painted lady, Marilia was told she would live out her days within the walls of her mother’s brothel, a companion for the rich men of Tyrace. But after a terrible betrayal, Marilia’s world turns upside down. With the help of her twin brother, Annuweth, she flees the only home she’s ever known in search of the one man who can offer her a chance at a better life: one of her deceased father’s friends, the Emperor of Navessea’s greatest general. 

What follows is a journey spanning years, from the streets of the desert city of Tyracium to the splendor of the emperor’s keep and the wind-swept, wild island of Svartennos. Along the way, Marilia discovers, for the first time, the gift she has for strategy and warfare—a world that is forbidden to girls like her.

When the empire is threatened by a foreign invasion, the defense of Navessea is left in the hands of a cruel and arrogant general no match for the empire’s foes. With the fate of her new home and her family hanging in the balance, Marilia swears to use all her courage and cunning to help repel the enemy…if she can convince anyone to follow her.

The struggle that follows will test her to her core and lead her back to the past she thought she had escaped. Facing treachery within her own ranks as well as a devious enemy commander, Marilia will need all the help she can get, even if it means doing something her brother may never forgive—making a pact with the man who murdered her father. 

Inspired by The Song of Achilles and Ender’s GameMarilia, the Warlord is a blend of the epic and the personal, a story of war, romance, envy, the rivalry between brother and sister, and a young woman’s fight to find her place in the world. 

Get your copy of Marilia here:
Amazon | Kobo | B&N | Smashwords | iBooks


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Book Review: The Night and the Land (The Deschembine Trilogy Book 1) by Matt Spencer

Author: Matt Spencer
Release Date: 13th May 2019
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Deschembine Trilogy (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 362 pages
Publisher: Back Roads Carnival Books 
Blurb:
Among the local hippies and squatters of Brattleboro, Vermont, Sally Wildfire is on the run, hiding from her cruel, relentless family. She finds unexpected love with Rob, a bristly young man freshly awoken to alien sensations and ancestral memories of a long-forgotten realm…setting them both on a collision course with a brutal rite of passage, as the Wildfire family leaves a trail of mangled corpses on the road to Brattleboro. 

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Night and the Land by Matt Spencer is a brilliant urban fantasy read that hooked me right from the beginning and left me wanting for more in the end! It is a perfect start to a trilogy and I am definitely looking forward to reading the next 2 books in this series.

The best thing about this book, for me, was the world-building. The author has woven an intricate universe that merges seamlessly with ours and leaves you wondering about the story having some truth to it. It is the best kind of fantasy when it makes you question your reality and for me, that is where this book wins!

Other than that, the characterisation was good enough, the narration was superb and the plot was simply out of the world. I loved every bit of it, though I am holding back one start cause I have a feeling the sequel might be better as it will be developing the world and characterisation further (or at least I hope so.)

I’d definitely recommend it to all fantasy readers. It is worth all the time!

You can also read this review on 

Book Review: Twins Of Shadow by Abby Arthur

Author: Abby Arthur 
Release Date: 1st January 2020
Genre: High Fantasy, Novella
Series:
Format: E-book
Pages: 104
Publisher:
Blurb:
A crown prince and his twin brother are secretly skilled assassins…
…killing for a cause they both despise.
A crown prince and his twin brother are secretly skilled assassins…
…killing for a cause they both despise.

Bound to a dragon by a powerful spell, Tarrek and Albree are sent on their deadliest mission yet: Overcome an archangel, capture an innocent snake whisperer and smuggle him across foreign soil, alive. If they fail to comply with the spell’s demand, it will drive them to insanity. Yet a deadlier force commands their attention when an ice-wielding slave trader freezes several civilians in a local village, ensnaring Albree’s love interest in the process. Will the twins choose to complete their near-suicide mission or fight insanity to save innocent lives?

Book Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Twins Of Shadow by Abby Arthur is a fantasy novella about assassin twins. I was sold on the idea of the book as soon as saw the cover and read the sub-title as I am a big lover of assassins and the idea of twin brothers being that totally made me want to read it. And thankfully the book turned out to be good!

I appreciate the fact that it was a novella, which Is pretty rare for the genre where you get only these elaborate series. So you can get a taste fo the author’s writing in a comparatively short piece of work which was damn quick to read. Though obviously, it came with another set of problems – the world-building and the characterisation weren’t able to develop as well as they would have done in a full-length novel (there’s obviously a reason why fantasy books tend to be so long.) So it won’t be wrong to say that I really wished that the author would have explored the world further and given us some more character development making it a lengthier book, but well it is what it is.

Still, for a debut work, the book is pretty good, the writing decent, the characters were not overly relatable but I liked them enough to be happy to follow them on their journey and the plot was really good. So, given the length of the book, I’d definitely recommend it to all fantasy lovers.

Book Review: The Stark Divide (Liminal Sky #1) by J. Scott Coatsworth

Author: J. Scott Coatsworth 
Release Date: 10th October 2017
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, LGBTQ
Series: Liminal Sky (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 284 pages
Publisher: DSP Publications
Blurb:
Some stories are epic.
The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.
Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth is a dynamic beginning to a new sci-fi fantasy series Liminal Sky that turned out to be equal parts entertaining and equal parts adventure. I was pulled into the story right from the beginning and was blown away by the fantastic world the author has created. This proved to be an unputdownable book with great pacing and tension. I am really looking forward to reading the next part of this amazing series.

Along with the main story, I also enjoyed the side plots just as much. The characters were really likeable, the story was good, the narration felt good and made the book a fast read and the flow of the story was amazing! I’d recommend this book to all sci-fi lovers, especially to those who like reading about LGBTQ side-themes.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Shimmering: Dark Descent by A. K. Crook

Author: A. K. Crook
Release Date: 4th July 2020
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Romance, Visionary Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 104
Publisher: 
Blurb: A visionary fantasy about a young woman who stumbles upon the world of her creators, only to discover she holds the key that will open the doorway to return home… and set the forces of evil free.
In the city of Saint Anthony, there is a realm of existence unknown to most mortals. Far below this urban landscape, in the cavernous bowels of the Underworld, Sinda journeys to discover fantastical lands, strange cultures — and herself. 
When she is snatched from her homeland and thrust into the civilized world of humans, she comes face-to-face with the hardest quest she has ever encountered – find her way home or follow her heart. 

Is the choice even hers?

The clock is counting down for Sinda, but time is not her only adversary — Nefarious beings seek her for their own devious designs, the Elders want to exploit her in a power play over their rivals and the godlike Solari’i hold her fate in their hands. 

With each turn she takes, Sinda draws closer to her destiny — and the salvation of the entire Underworld.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Shimmering: Dark Descent by A. K. Crook is a very refreshing take on the urban fantasy genre with elements of high fantasy, amazing supernatural beings, underlined by visionary and psychological themes and a sub-plot of romance, lightly touching on the LGBTQ subject – this book has everything a book lover can ask for and more!

Wow, I was not expecting this book to be this awesome! I loved the cover and was intrigued by the blurb as it promised a lot, but I am always sceptical whenever the blurb is extremely promising because many times authors overstate while working on the blurbs and it is very disappointing to then read a book and find out it was nowhere close. But this book was one of those rare cases where it delivered what was promised! And even some more, which made it a pleasant surprise for me.

I love reading urban fantasies as I like the concept of our world co-existing with another one and this book was a real treat as it had good characterisation, sensible theories that were not unrealistically far-fetched, awesome beings and creatures and their insatiable lust for power and related motives. This book was full of conflicts and I enjoyed reading it a LOT!

To top it all of, the book was written well and the concepts were executed conscientiously making the prose flow smoothly. And I would definitely recommend this book, the author’s debut, to all fantasy lovers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Dream Chasers (Screamcatcher # 2) by Christy J. Breedlove

Author: Christy J. Breedlove
Release Date: 24th March 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Screamcatcher
Format: E-book
Pages: 240
Publisher: Melange Books, Fire & Ice
Blurb: Seventeen year-old Jory Pike knows a thing or two about Indian lore from her half-blood Chippewa ancestry. She can trap, hunt and fish with the best of them. She has a team of three other teens friends called The Badlands Paranormal Society. Instead of bagging groceries or playing on I-pods, they think they can excel at banishing evil spirits. They hope to cleanse houses and earn fat paychecks for their services.
Dream catchers aren’t just the chic hoops tourists buy at novelty shops–they work. And sometimes they clog up with nightmares until they collapse under their own evil weight, imploding and sending the dreamer into an alternate world.

Dream catchers aren’t just the chic hoops tourists buy at novelty shops–they work. And sometimes they clog up with nightmares until they collapse under their own evil weight, imploding and sending the dreamer into an alternate world. Jory uses her worst nightmare to enter the dream catcher world. She’s pulled her teammates in deliberately. Everything goes right on schedule but they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. Now Jory and her friends are there, trapped between the people who have confessed their sins to the Great Spirit and are seeking a way out, and the monsters and evil spirits, which are happy to keep them trapped in the web world forever. They were once considered Seekers in the dream world. Now they’ve become vigilantes and call themselves Pathfinders. Is it spiritual enlightenment they after? Or have they now become fatally reckless?

Book Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Dream Chasers by Christy J. Breedlove is the second book in the Screamcatcher series. I haven’t read the first book though I had the opportunity to interview the author and I was really intrigued by the idea then.

I really appreciated the fact that enough information was given in this book related tot he first book that I did not feel like I was lost or didn’t;t know about somethings. But that makes me wonder that had I read the first part would this information be too much for me. Anyhow, for me, it served well and I ended up enjoying the book more than I had expected.

The concept was unique and had layers of complexity that are expected from a good fantasy novel. The writing was good and smooth and made reading this book a pleasant experience. I liked the characterisation but only enough as I wasn’t able to relate to the main characters too much.

All in all, it made for an entertaining read and I’d recommend it to young-adult fantasy lovers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon