Book Review: Magicmals – The Beginning by April Enciso

Author: April Enciso
Release Date: 20th January 2019
Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction, Children’s Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy
SeriesMagicmals
Edition: E-book
Pages: 69
Publisher: 
Blurb:
When Eva and her brother Diego move to a new city, she expects the worst attending a new school. As she struggles to fit in at her new school, strange things begin to happen to animals in her neighborhood. She discovers a race of animals called Magicmals that possess powerful magical powers. When buildings start mysteriously disappearing in her town, they all go a hair-raising adventure to return their city to normal.

REVIEW

★★★★

Magicmals: The Beginning by April Enciso is an adventurous and very entertaining new children’s book that you simply cannot miss.

I am a cat person through and through. And coincidentally my very first furball’s name is Eva too! So I had to read this book and there was no way that I wouldn’t have liked it. But keeping my personal bias aside, this book has so much to offer its readers that it would make for a perfect read for kids. It is full of adventures, perils, drama, magic as well as beautifully portrayed friendships.

I personally feel that nowadays there should be more books like this in order to make children understand that even animals have feelings. This book would help make children not only considerate towards animals but will also teach them to empathise with animals.

Technically, I feel that the writing could have been a bit more polished but this is my first book by the author and hopefully, we’ll see improvement in the next instalment of this series. But to be honest the plot more than made up for it, therefore I loved every bit of this book and would recommend it to all middle-graders and also adults who love animals, especially cats.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Oddity Of The Magicus Eye: Patterns (Part #1) by Patrick Malum

Author: Patrick Malum
Release Date: 26th September 2019
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, Young Adult, Space Fantasy, Serials,
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 75
Publisher: WordBuzz Publishing
Blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Elenah Lockwood dreams of what lies beyond her boring world of Etheron. With a mind fuelled by amazing, fantastical stories of the vast and sprawling galaxy, she needs only one thing: an opportunity.
Her older brother, Teveran, is destined to go where she cannot and lead the greatest fleets of the revered and indomitable Forty-Ninth Council. But there’s war and unrest, and it frightens him more than anything.
And then there’s the kind and unassuming butler, Gilgan, who has seen the worst of what the galaxy has to offer and is now seeing signs of the very worst happening again. All is not well on Etheron — and in the galaxy — for a sickness swells in the murky galactic depths and it all begins with the Forty-Ninth Council.
The day the Council descends on Etheron begins like any other day . . .
PATTERNS is the first episode of ODDITY OF THE MAGICUS EYE, the monthly space fantasy from the emerging young author Patrick Malum. Prepare for a tale of war, galactic politics, and ancient magic told like nothing else before it.

REVIEW

★★★★

Oddity Of The Magicus Eye: Patterns by Patrick Malum is the first episode in the serialised fantasy series Oddity Of The Magicus Eye. This is a very quick read and proved to be a complete entertainer. I enjoyed each and every bit of it.

I enjoyed this book from start to end. It moved pretty fast and the tension was evident throughout all chapters making it a page-turner that I wanted to read in a single sitting. The plot was really good and the ending was perfect. I am now eagerly waiting to start with the next episode!

The writing was on point and complemented the plot well. The characterization wasn’t over-complicated and I really appreciated it because the characters were all pretty relatable and likeable (enough for me to have enjoyed reading and knowing more about them.)

Another thing I’d like to mention here is that I was really impressed by the author’s taste in designing this book, something that is always lacking in self-published books. The editing was also in place as was the proof-reading. The book looks gorgeous and compels the reader to pick it up because of how neat and professional it looks. It screams amazing things right from the cover and coupled with that intriguing blurb, the author has got the recipe for a really good book which is equally good on the outside as it is on the inside.

I’d recommend this book to all sci-fi and fantasy readers as it’ll appeal to everyone who loves adventure and action coupled with space and magic. And the fact that it is in the form of short monthly episodes makes it all the more appealing.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: A Time of Prophecy (The Outlands Pentalogy #5) by Rebecca Crunden

Author: Rebecca Crunden
Release Date: 
Genre: Dystopian, Science-Fiction Fantasy, Young Adult
SeriesThe Outlands Pentalogy (Book #5)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 330
Publisher:
Blurb:
In the years since Kitty, Nate and Thom escaped the Kingdom, the Plague has ravaged the population and the rebels have seized two of the northern countries. In an attempt to bring order to the chaos, the leader of the rebels, Nate’s old friend James, has agreed to hold trials for those responsible for intentionally leaking the Plague.
Unfortunately, the rumour in the Kingdom is that Kitty is responsible. To make matters worse, Blaise tells Kitty that the Council, who still count her father as one of their own, are once again experimenting on Radiants. It’s a horrifying realisation that hits too close to home, and for the first time in her life, Kitty thirsts for vengeance. It’s a thirst that’s matched by the one person who has always been her mirror — her Complement, Thom.
On the other side of the Wall in the Outlands, desperate to bring Kitty home and finish the Council once and for all, Thom begins plotting, using the skills he’s long honed to outsmart those with more power. But outsmarting his enemies might turn Thom into the very thing he’s always feared becoming, and war soon seems the only possible solution to stopping the Council and the Hangman. But with more than a few looking to the ancient prophecy of peace, Thom searches desperately for a way to circumvent more bloodshed.
Yet the weight of the years have taken their toll, and as Thom’s physical and mental health deteriorate, Nate struggles with the fallout of past crimes, both the ones he did commit, and the ones he didn’t …

REVIEW

★★★★+1/2

A Time Of Prophecy by Rebeca Crunden is the last instalment in The Outlands Pentalogy.

What a great end to a great series! OMG, what can I say? There are YA books which revolve around such petty conflicts that they are entirely cringe-worthy and go a long way in destroying the reader’s trust in the genre itself, but then there are some rare gems, like this series, that come out of nowhere and restore your faith in a genre you thought was on the verge of being lost.

This book served as a great end to the series as it answered all the questions I had and provided me with a satisfactory closure. Most of the times, series continue to be great until the last book where everything falls flat or at the least, you are left disappointed or unsatisfied because nothing can do justice to the awesomeness of the story. Many times writers simply don’t know how to end a series and that is what ruins it entirely. But when it comes to this series, we have a writer who not only knows how to begin something epic and but also knows how to end it with the same rigour and grace.

And this series deserved a good ending because it was such a thrilling, complicated, exciting and engaging story about gripping, strong, believable and well-developed characters in realistic and intricate settings. This dystopian series is a hundred times better than most of the “best-selling” series of today. I would happily place this series with the likes of Hunger Games and Six Of Crows because the characters in this series face bigger problems than teenage hormonal dilemmas and are relatable in an unbelievable way.

The writing in this book was on par with the other books so far and made the reading of this book a pleasant ride. The tension and pacing were apt and I finished this book in no more than 3 days, so it was a very quick read. I’d recommend this book to all dystopian and fantasy lovers and to those who want to explore a unique new series by a new author.

Check out the other parts in this pentalogy here: A Touch Of Death (The Outlands Pentalogy #1)A History Of Madness (The Outlands Pentalogy #2)A Promise Of Return (The Outlands Penology #3) and A Dance Of Lies (The Outlands Pentalogy #4)

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Author Interview: Melissa Lynn Herold

Welcome fellow bibliophiles. Today, we are featuring author Melissa Lynn Herold.

About The Author

Melissa Lynn Herold

Melissa Lynn Herold is artistically-talented, scientifically-minded, and magically-fascinated, something that manifests in both her fiction and nonfiction. Her debut into published fiction is the artistically immersive Heaven’s Silhouette, first book in the Iyarri Chronicles (September 17, 2019).

An herbal alchemist, Melissa owns and runs NightBlooming where she blends up herbs and oils that grow real-life fairytale hair, including ones lifted right off the pages of The Iyarri Chronicles. She has published two nonfiction books, Rehabilitating Damaged Hair Naturally and Coloring Hair Naturally with Henna & Other Herbs.

She lives with her husband in a sweeping river valley with their mutinous cats and garden dotted with honeybees.

You can connect with author Melissa here:

Author websitePatreon | Amazon | Goodreads | NightBlooming | Etsy | Instagram | Twitter


The Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself along with your writing ambitions before we begin with the actual interview

I’m Melissa, author and herbal alchemist, and I toggle between creating unique herbal blends for my store, NightBlooming, and writing. Although I’ve published two non-fiction books, Rehabilitating Damaged Hair Naturally and Coloring Hair Naturally with Henna & Other Herbs, my fiction writing has always been the second beating heart in my chest. I’ve been working on The Iyarri Chronicles for years, and Heaven’s Silhouette is both the series debut and my debut as a fiction writer. My goal is to see the entire series through (I’ve planned at least four books but the series can easily grow into more) and to complement it along the way with side projects that make use of my fine art skills (for an illustrated guide to the Iyarri) and my herbal alchemy (for character-inspired perfume blends).

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

My husband titled it in the sweetest way possible. I’d been working on Heaven’s Silhouette for a good while but didn’t have a title for it. I was away for a weekend and as a surprise he wanted to make me a book cover and set it as the wallpaper for my computer as a surprise. But a book cover rather needs a title, so he picked something he thought went with what he knew of it. It was a fantastic surprise and felt the title was perfect—years later, that was the title we went with in the end.

Who is your favourite character in this book and why?

I think authors that write first-person tend to favor their main character (which is why they ARE the main character), so if I went with that answer, I love that Aurelia’s strength draws from her artistic side—her eye for detail and visualization—rather than her becoming some sort of physical badass over the course of a few 1980s Training Montages. There’s a quiet strength to the art of creation, and I wanted that to be what Aurelia uses to come to terms with herself and, eventually, shape the world around her rather than physical prowess and ass-kicking. To give the non-first-person-POV answer, I love Cæl so much. He’s a character who is trying to get out of the morass that his past decisions have landed him in, but none of the choices in front of him are easy, either on him or those around him. He’s an immensely conflicted character and that makes him a joy for me to write.

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

While some authors have a “What if-?” idea for a world-threatening conflict or start with a societal issue they want to explore, I always start with an individual character and spin the story outwards from there. Aurelia is a character that exists in the grey spaces, in between the halves of her world. The larger inspiration for Heaven’s Silhouette, and the series of The Iyarri Chroniclesbecame an exploration in what happens when halves and pieces, real and perceived, get torn apart and pushed back together.

How long did it take you to write it?

This question is a little tricky because I didn’t write this book and then start the next. I actually wrote the first draft of Heaven’s Silhouette, then the first draft of book two Mourning’s Dawn(which is coming out next year), and then would go back and tinker on Heaven’s Silhouette, then start drafting the third book, etc. There was a lot of concurrent drafting and editing for the first three books over the better part of a decade, but I’d say Heaven’s Silhouettetook me about two years solid to write and then a year to work through the final editing and publishing process.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I’m working on more books in The Iyarri Chronicles. The second book, Mourning’s Dawn, should be out in a year or so and that’s in the editing process. The third book is being redrafted based on some revelations that came out of editing book two, and I’ve got the skeleton for the fourth book, which will be a prequel to the first three. As a Patreon goal, another big project I can’t wait to get my hands into is the illustrated Précis on Iyarri Society. I’m a visual artist as well, and this project would marry my writing and my drawing. I’ve also been making Iyarri-Chroniclesinspired essential oil/perfume blends for my herbal alchemy store, NightBlooming.

Why have you chosen this genre?

This is probably going to sound familiar to a lot of readers and writers of fantasy, but I fell in love with the genre, initially, because of the escapism it provided. I didn’t particularly enjoy middle school and high school (*cough* understatement *cough*) and wasn’t popular, so reading let me go to these other worlds instead of being stuck in reality. I’m also a huge gamer and started playing D&D and other RPGs in middle school, so fantasy settings where you can create your own characters and choose your own course of action have always been where I’m most at home. Being an avid reader in the genre, and then playing RPGs in the same genre lends itself naturally to writing (and being a Dungeon Master) in it.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I don’t think there was ever a decision to start writing, I just had these stories in my head that I wanted to pull out and put down. It kept up as a hobby until I was reading a particularly questionable book and went, I can do better than this. I think I’m already doing better than this. It was my husband who nudged me to take that final step from hobby writer into author with physical book in her hands.

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

The main thing is late at night, really late at night. While a lot of writers are night owls, I have a sleep disorder called Delayed Phase Sleep syndrome, which means that my internal clock doesn’t budge and can’t be trained into a new schedule. I’m hardwired to go to bed at 5am, which puts my best and most creative hours from about 11pm until 4am. There’s something wonderful about the rest of the world being hushed and asleep and while I’m working. So, late, lateat night, with a cup of green tea and a kitty is what I need to settle in and write.

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

In an ideal world, I’d write longhand, but the downside there is I can’t read it half the time. I’m naturally left-handed, but when we moved back in with my grandma she decided that was a no-go and I had to relearn to write right-handed when I was 9. The result is that I can write illegibly with either hand. Because of that, I do the bulk of my writing on my gaming computer while listening to music on my headset, but I will use a notebook for taking notes, and I have a special waterproof note-taking board in my shower (which is where I get all my best ideas). Something I love but don’t get to do often is writing on my laptop on the train. There’s a magic of being in that in-between space where you’re not one place or another, with the ticking of the tracks and the sway of the train.

Your 5 favourite books?

I’m a huge rereader and finally managed to answer this question by looking at which books I’ve reread the most. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (I’m going to cheat a bit and cite the series here because when I read them I binge on them back to back to back.)

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

There’s two parts to this answer.

1) I take a bath or a long, hot shower. I get all my best ideas there and keep a waterproof notepad in there for exactly this reason. The number of ideas I lost before I did that is kind of depressing.

2) I let the problem I’m grappling with stew in my brain for a while. I go work on something else, I read, tinker on character-inspired perfume blends, go for a walk, but what I don’t try to do is force it. After a couple days or a couple weeks of my subconscious gnawing on the problem, and the answer will present itself and it’s always the right It’s part of why I take a little umbrage at all the “You MUST write XXXX words a day!” advice out there. Yes, there’s immense value in getting into the habit of writing daily (or nightly, in my case), but there’s also knowing when you, as a writer, need to step back and give yourself breathing room to make the right decisions moving forward.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Realize that you are both a better writer than you think you are and a worse writer than you think you are. By that, I mean that I think most writers know what they’re good at and where they need to improve, but also need to be mindful of overusing the things you’re good at, and avoiding the things you’re bad at. For example, my favorite, and strongest, part of writing is the description— I love going into the insane amounts of detail I can see in my mind’s eye. Because I was so confident and comfortable with description, I didn’t notice that it manifested in my writing as me introducing a character or a setting with a Wall O’ Description that totally killed the forward momentum of the story. By contrast, I was told I used too many commas in school and this turned into me becoming immensely comma-shy in my writing. I had to learn to trust my judgement again when it came to punctuation. That’s a really long way of saying to be critical of your strengths and trusting of the improvements you make to your weak spots rather than declaring yourself ‘bad at XYZ’ forever.

Thank you, Melissa, for all the honest and inspiring answers! I love the way you deal with writer’s block and your advice on writing really strikes a chord.


About The Book

Heaven’s Silhouette

When I was little, other children called me a monster. A painting proved them right.

A lifetime of cruel taunts and heartbreak has taught Aurelia to hide, to not get too close to anyone. A painter and gallery docent, her only solace is in the art that can’t stare back. When a new piece arrives, depicting an angelic figure who shares the physical features she’s always thought of as monstrous, Aurelia searches for the artist, determined to get the answers her mother has long refused to provide.

But she isn’t the only one searching. There are others who want the artist—and the truth—silenced. Aurelia is attacked by figures from the painting, fierce warriors with wings and sharpened blades. Shaken and bloody, she manages to escape with her life but finds herself hunted by the Iyarri, who are anything but angels. As she comes to terms with her connection to them, Aurelia is drawn deeper into the heart of a millennia-old struggle. If she’s not careful, the consequences will tear her body, her heart, and the Iyarri in two.

You can buy Heaven’s Silhouette here:

Amazon and 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: Heaven’s Silhouette by Melissa Lynn Herold

Author: Melissa Lynn Herold
Release Date: 17th September 2019
Genre: High Fantasy, Magic Realism
SeriesIyarri Chronicles (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 400
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Blurb:
When I was little, other children called me a monster. A painting proved them right.

A lifetime of cruel taunts and heartbreak has taught Aurelia to hide, to not get too close to anyone. A painter and gallery docent, her only solace is in the art that can’t stare back. When a new piece arrives, depicting an angelic figure who shares the physical features she’s always thought of as monstrous, Aurelia searches for the artist, determined to get the answers her mother has long refused to provide.

But she isn’t the only one searching. There are others who want the artist—and the truth—silenced. Aurelia is attacked by figures from the painting, fierce warriors with wings and sharpened blades. Shaken and bloody, she manages to escape with her life but finds herself hunted by the Iyarri, who are anything but angels. As she comes to terms with her connection to them, Aurelia is drawn deeper into the heart of a millennia-old struggle. If she’s not careful, the consequences will tear her body, her heart, and the Iyarri in two.

REVIEW

★★★★

Heaven’s Silhouette by Melissa Lynn Herold is a new fantasy series about angels but with a twist. This book marks the beginning of the Iyarri series.

The story is well developed and was narrated nicely. I was drawn into the story right from the very start where we are introduced to Au \relia and the heart of the story, i.e., Aurelia is not like other kids; she is different. And it was after reading the prologue that I knew I was in for a good story. And after that, the book delivered as expected – an original fantasy world.

Even though the concept of angels has already been used many times in various books and series, like Penryn And The End Of Days series by Susan Ee (which BTW is my absolute favourite series when it comes to the fallen angel fantasy trope), I still enjoyed this book mostly because of the concept of Iyarri where they are winged beings who take cover in the angel-mythology. So although it might not initially feel that way, but this book’s concept is nothing like the other books with a similar theme. It is nothing like the books that I’ve read.

The world-building in this book is good, it wasn’t entirely fantastic but it wasn’t all bad either. Though we don’t get to explore the Iyarri world in any particular detail, I won’t be judging the entire series right now as that might be an intentional step by the author and this is just the first book, so we’ll see about it in the next books.

One thing needs a special mention here is the language. Now I know we have epic fantasy series like ASOIAF by GRRM with fully-fleshed out languages, but once in a while, I do appreciate not having to deal with a lot of newly-conceived-language jargon. I love it when fantasy authors add a sprinkling of a handful of words from a new language throughout the book in a way that it is easy for the reader to pick it up on their own. That’s exactly what author Melissa did in this book and I am very thankful to her for that.

So so moving on… the writing was simple and fluid. It made the book a very quick read in spite of it being 400 pages plus. The tension and conflicts in the story kept me engrossed into the book from start to end and I ended up finishing this book in only 3 days. And now I am eagerly waiting for the next book in this series to come out so that I can read more and explore this new and exciting world further.

If you are a fantasy fan then you should definitely give this book a read!

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Holy Sister (Book Of The Ancestor #3) by Mark Lawrence

Author: Mark Lawrence
Release Date: 3rd April 2018
Genre: High Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Dystopian
Series: Book Of The Ancestor (Book #3)
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 352
Publisher: Harper-Voyager
Blurb:
They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.

The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat.

Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep.

Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.

The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her.

A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.

REVIEW

★★★★

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence marks the end to the Book Of Ancestor trilogy and with a gaping emptiness that envelops me every time I finish a series, I have finally managed to review this book (somehow.)

This book served as a good end to this amazing series. It could have definitely done better, but that maybe my bias towards this series so don’t hold it against the series. Most of the questions were answered and the loose ends were tied up pretty well. The ending was apt even though a bit predictable. Just like the other two books in this series, Red Sister and Grey Sister, this book was thoroughly entertaining and full of crazy fighting sequences and intense emotional dramatics.

The characters evolved and the storyline wound its way through various ups and downs, keeping me interested throughout the book. Though, because of my own reluctance to finish this series, I took my own sweet time to finish this book.

Anyway, to know my thoughts further you can watch my YouTube video review for this book here:

Book Spotlight: Heaven’s Silhouette by Melissa Lynn Herold

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, we are featuring author Melissa Lynn Herold’s debut novel Heaven’s Silhouette.

Presenting… Heaven’s Silhouette by Melissa Lynn Herold

Book Name: Heaven’s Silhouette

Author: Melissa Lynn Herold

Series: Iyarri Chronicles – Book 1

Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Genre: High Fantasy

Page Count: 400

Release date: 17th September 2019


Synopsis

When I was little, other children called me a monster. A painting proved them right.

A lifetime of cruel taunts and heartbreak has taught Aurelia to hide, to not get too close to anyone. A painter and gallery docent, her only solace is in the art that can’t stare back. When a new piece arrives, depicting an angelic figure who shares the physical features she’s always thought of as monstrous, Aurelia searches for the artist, determined to get the answers her mother has long refused to provide.

But she isn’t the only one searching. There are others who want the artist—and the truth—silenced. Aurelia is attacked by figures from the painting, fierce warriors with wings and sharpened blades. Shaken and bloody, she manages to escape with her life but finds herself hunted by the Iyarri, who are anything but angels. As she comes to terms with her connection to them, Aurelia is drawn deeper into the heart of a millennia-old struggle. If she’s not careful, the consequences will tear her body, her heart, and the Iyarri in two.

You can buy Heaven’s Silhouette here:

Amazon and Goodreads


About The Author

Melissa Lynn Herold

Melissa Lynn Herold is artistically-talented, scientifically-minded, and magically-fascinated, something that manifests in both her fiction and nonfiction. Her debut into published fiction is the artistically immersive Heaven’s Silhouette, first book in the Iyarri Chronicles (September 17, 2019).

An herbal alchemist, Melissa owns and runs NightBlooming where she blends up herbs and oils that grow real-life fairytale hair, including ones lifted right off the pages of The Iyarri Chronicles. She has published two nonfiction books, Rehabilitating Damaged Hair Naturally and Coloring Hair Naturally with Henna & Other Herbs.

She lives with her husband in a sweeping river valley with their mutinous cats and garden dotted with honeybees.

You can follow author Melissa here:

Author websitePatreon | Amazon | Goodreads | NightBlooming | Etsy | Instagram | Twitter

If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Grey Sister (Book Of The Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence

Author: Mark Lawrence
Release Date: 3rd April 2018
Genre: High Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Dystopian
Series: Book Of The Ancestor (Book #2)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 409
Publisher: Harper-Voyager
Blurb:
Second novel in the brilliant series from the bestselling author of Prince of Thorns.

In Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of Sweet Mercy Nona must choose her path and take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service.

All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the ambition of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a blade, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord.

As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she has sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pull of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

And in all this only one thing is certain. There will be blood.

REVIEW

★★★★+1/2

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence is the sequel to Red Sister and the 2nd book in the trilogy Book Of The Ancestor. It was a great sequel to an amazing book with lots and lots of things that completely blew my mind to bits and many surprises. This was a much darker read as compared to the first one, so it won’t be wrong to say that this book is not for emotionally weak people. I got attached to some characters that were killed in this part and it haunted me for days.

Over all, the tension and pacing in this book were tighter and faster. The action was more and the perils felt more real. I really enjoyed this book and felt that it was a great sequel that took the story ahead in a way it deserved. But in spite of everything good, I still felt that somewhere this book was not the best one in this trilogy. I guess I just loved Red Sister so much that nothing can ever reach that level of awesomeness, not even its own sequels.

Anyway, overall it was a fantastic and well-written book and I enjoyed it a lot so I’d definitely recommend this trilogy to all fantasy readers, especially to those who’ve enjoyed other works by Mark Lawrence.

BookTube:

Book Review: Red Sister (The Book Of Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence

Author: Mark Lawrence
Release Date: 4th April 2017
Genre: High Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Dystopian
SeriesThe Book Of Ancestor (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 482
Publisher: Harper-Voyager
Blurb:
It’s not until you’re broken that you find your sharpest edge

“I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin”

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

REVIEW

★★★★★

Watch my review in this video to know how awesome this book is!

ARC Review: Simon Grey And The March Of A Hundred Ghosts by Charles Kowalski

Author: Charles Kowalski
Release Date: 1st August 2019
Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Historical, Travel
SeriesSimon Grey (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 192
Publisher: Excalibur Books
Blurb:
Alone and lost in haunted Japan…

Japan, 1620: A mysterious shipwreck has left cabin boy Simon Grey stranded in an unfamiliar, dangerous land.

He hoped that a long sea voyage would provide some relief from his “gift” of seeing ghosts everywhere on land. Instead, he finds that his ability draws him into the shadowy world of yokai, the spirits and monsters that roam Japan by night. Together with the mysterious Oyuki, daughter of an English sailor-turned-samurai, Simon must earn the yokai’s trust and help, while staying one step ahead of the Shogun’s guards and an evil sorcerer determined to discover the “secret” of Simon’s powers.

As they struggle to stay alive and find a way home, Simon and Oyuki deal with friends and foes from both sides of the grave.

Simon Grey and the March of a Hundred Ghosts is a gripping fantasy adventure that will appeal to fans of Percy Jackson and Young Samurai.

REVIEW

★★★★

Simon Grey And The March Of A Hundred Ghosts by Charles Kowalski is a beautiful historical story set in the backdrop of Japan, laced with unlimited adventure, which proved to be an absolute entertainer.  I enjoyed reading this book because it had the perfect characterization a solid and unique concept and good writing style. It had all the elements to make it a complete and fun read.

The writing style was simple yet effective and the story flowed pretty well from the beginning to end. The pacing was even and the tension created had a great graph. The book was culturally rich and provided keen insights into Japan’s history all the time carefully managing not to get too overly informative.

Overall it was a really enjoyable book and I’d recommend it to all readers who enjoy reading adventure stories in historical settings, especially the readers who like exploring new cultrues.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Graphic Novel Review: Plagued: The Devil Did It by Shakil Somani

Author: Shakil Somani
Illustrator: Mark Superales
Release Date: 4th June 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy, Graphic Novel
Series: 

Edition:
 PDF
Pages: 58
Publisher:
Blurb:
Lukas “Kas” Green, a successful British filmmaker and billionaire living in Los Angeles, takes the wrong girl home one night – she turns out to literally be the daughter of the Devil.The Devil punishes Kas by overrunning his brain with the creativity his film career has been built upon.
Consequently, anytime Kas even thinks about sex, his mind is overcome with sketches and hallucinations.Kas attempts to cure himself of this plague of ideas and distractions, whilst balancing his movie-making career, the overpowering sketch-like stories in his mind and of course, trying to rejoin the population of Bonetown.

Review

★★★★

Plagued: The Devil Did It by Shakil Somani is a new fantasy comic book which is equal parts engaging and entertaining. The book was really engrossing and I enjoyed reading it a lot! The story was good with a nice and smooth flow, the concept was unique and interesting and the characterization was pretty good complimented well with well-written dialogues throughout the book.

The illustrations were very detailed and visually very appealing. They made the book extremely enjoyable. I’d recommend this book to all comic books and graphic novel readers and to anyone who is interested in exploring works from a new author.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

You can read this book for free here: WebToons
Please note that this link was provided by the author himself and is in no way an illegal or pirated source.

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tehereh Mafi

Author: Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: 2nd October 2012
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Dystopian
SeriesShatter Me (Book #1)
Edition: Paperback
Pages:
Publisher:
Blurb:
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

REVIEW

★★★

Shatter Me by Tehereh Mafi is one the most popular YA series of recent years but despite the hype that surrounds this series, the first book failed to impress me. I enjoyed and appreciated the author’s world-making prowess, but the characterization completely ruined the book for me. The main character, Juliette, was not only annoying, but she also came off a bit as a narcissist as well. The entire time I feel that rather than showing the author was forcing the reader to feel sorry for how Juliette has been misunderstood her entire life which only made me resent her.

The romantic angle did absolutely nothing to make the book interesting, so that was another thing that disappointed me. I liked the settings and the world a lot though, so I’ll be reading the next book for these two things (and also to see what happened to Warner because, let’s face it, he was more interesting than Juliette and Adam combined.)

Anyway, here my video review for this book, hope this sums up my issues with the book!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to watch more videos.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: A Life Out There by Brian McNatt

Author: Brian McNatt
Release Date: 31st March 2019
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages:
Publisher:
Blurb:
It is the mark of every true Wolf-Lord to heal from the worst of wounds in a matter of minutes, to shapeshift into any fantastical form imagined, and to burn away at deadly silver’s touch.
Princess Candida, third child of Queen Celeste of Romulus, can’t. Hers is a quiet life of shame, secluded from the wider world and treated more as servant than family. All she has to get by are the twin sibling who embodies everything she could have been, the stories of her world she fills her heart with, and the dream of a life beyond cold castle walls.
The kitsune thief changes everything. Forced to flee before Celeste’s wrath, Candida finds her way to the beautiful yet dangerous port city of Brillant. There, amidst performers, alchemists, and refugees, Candida discovers the world is everything she hoped for, everything she feared, and so much more.

REVIEW

★★★★

A Life Out There by Brian McNatt is a quick and enjoyable read with some very interesting beings (which appears to be one of the author’s strengths) and a fresh concept.

I enjoyed reading this book even more than I did the first two books by the author which only goes on to prove that the writing of the author is constantly improving and growing on me as a reader. The concept was very different from that of his earlier books and the progression of the plot was really good. The pacing was even and tension fell and rose at the right places.

This book had well-developed characterization. Candida was a good character and, thankfully, I was able to connect with her. I was able to relate to her inner conflicts and felt empathetic towards her.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all fantasy readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Legends of Heraldale by Brian McNatt

Author: Brian McNatt
Release Date: 9th January 2017
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
SeriesLegends Of Heraldale (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 252
Publisher:
Blurb:
Here is the story of Galaxy the hippogryph, of Featheren Valley, who after great tragedy must go on a journey to reunite with her family and rekindle the fight against the Unicorn Empire and the dreaded Lord Mordred.

REVIEW

★★★+1/2

Legends Of Heraldale by Brian McNatt is a unique book about creatures long forgotten. The biggest selling point for me was that this book featured fantasy creatures that are very uncommon and it delivered exactly what it promised – a very uncommon plot and a fresh concept in the fantasy genre.

Though it took some time to get into the story, the plot was interesting and even gripping at many places. The settings very very unique and new and therefore pretty exciting, the characters were of a wide variety and pretty interesting in their own way. The plot progression was good and therefore the book made for a good quick read.

The writing was good, not overly impressive, but good enough as the book proved to be an easy read, especially given the hard names of some of the characters and beings which were difficult to remember at times. I think overall the book would have been much better with better editing.

My main problem in this book is with the characterization, it was okay in the sense that I was able to read the entire book, but not good enough that I was able to feel a connection to any of the main characters. The characters weren’t bad, but they just didn’t grow on me in this part. As this is a series, I am considerate of the fact that in some stories characters take time to grow on the readers. I desperately hope that I am right as I have just begun reading the second part in this series.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to hardcore fantasy readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

AuthorLeigh Bardugo
Release Date: 12th July 2016
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic & Elementals
Series: Six Of Crows (Book #1) & Grishaverse
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 495
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Blurb:
Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:
Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)
Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)
Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)
Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

Review

★★★★★

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, the first book in the Six Of Crows Duology (also a part of the Grishaverse), is DEVILISHLY GOOD!!

When I was starting with this book, I did not even have the slightest of ideas that it would turn out to be one of my all-time favourite fantasy books! I loved, LOVED, the world-building and felt like Ketterdam was indeed a real world of which I desperately wanted to be a part of! This book is like a dream come true for a fantasy reader because this book has so much to offer to its readers that you simply can’t fault it! The conflicts were ridiculously good and lent an air of authenticity to the characters, something that lacks in most of the fantasy books these days. It was pure bliss to have read this book as I was so fed up of reading books that were only hyped up and had literally next to nothing to offer Caraval.

description

This book is a mind-blowing and earth-shattering dark fantasy novel. The story is deliciously complex and suitably grounded and the characterisation very mature, gritty and intricate. The story and the concept are simply out of the world and the author’s meticulous detailing is spot-on. This is a book you’d want to get lost in forever.

It is like a beautiful piece of art that you want to collect and then visit and revisit it again and again and again… This book is so ridiculously good that I can re-read it right now (only after 10 days.) It is one of those books that you wish would never get over… like The Hobbit and the ASOIF series but in a totally different way.

description

THIS BOOK HAS IT ALL!!
✦ A badass anti-hero with gut-wrenching inner-conflicts and an extremely difficult background and who is dubbed by people as the demon or the devil – check ✔︎
✦ A deadly and dangerous heroine who uses her Wraith-like persona to find out everyone’s dark secrets in order to serve the devil himself – check ✔︎
✦ A super-funny, charming and dangerous sharp-shooter side-kick who also happens to have a crush on the devil – check ✔︎
✦ A super-sassy, bold and gifted enchantress with unmatched super-powers who can kill you with a snap of her finger – check ✔︎
✦ A badass warrior-hunter-soldier who cannot be matched for strength – check ✔︎
✦ A naive rich brat who has left all the comforts and riches behind in order to find himself – check ✔︎

And there’s even more…
☛ An impossible heist
☛ Harsh weather conditions
☛ Bitterness amongst some people in the crew
☛ Possibility of backstabbing
☛ The odds are completely against and the stakes are so high that the readers can’t help but get swept away by how things happen the twisty turns that greet them at each and every page turn!

This book is a legitimate un-put-down-able read and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy and/or books with a solid plot as well as characterization. I mean, What The Hell Are You Still Waiting For?! Go and get this book today and do yourselves a huge favour!!

this review is also posted on Goodreads

Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

AuthorStephanie Garber 
Release Date: 28th November 2018
Genre: Techno-Thriller, Action, Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic
Series: Written By Blood #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 238
Publisher: 
Blurb:
The Sunday Times bestseller WELCOME TO CARAVAL, WHERE NOTHING IS QUITE WHAT IT SEEMS . . . Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show. Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father. When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.

REVIEW

★★+1/2

Caraval by Stephanie Garber is one book that I had waited for a long time to read before, finally, I was able to read it for the buddy read of RMFAO‘s Buddy Read for December’s Fantasy Month. To say that I had monumental expectations from this book would be a complete understatement. I’ve always loved reading immersive and elaborate fantasy books, but after having read The Night Circus, I was completely enthralled to have discovered magic in such a conventional form – Circus. And that was the reason why I was so eager to read Caraval which, to me, seemed a lot like The Night Circus.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, comparing both these books would be an insult to The Night Circus as Caraval miserably and unapologetically failed on more fronts that I even care to count. The only reason I even completed the book was the plot because somehow (unbelievably) the plot managed to keep me interested and I wanted to find out how the book ended.

I was appalled to see that the characterisation was so lifeless that I don’t even remember the names of the leading heroine even though I finished the book only a couple of days ago! And this was not even the fault of my huge expectations because I really feel that if a book is a Sunday Times Bestseller, it has to have something going for it, shouldn’t it??

The descriptions were very forced and sounded repetitive, the characterization was weak and immature and the progression of the plot felt weak too. The pacing was not great as at some places it was so slow that I had to skim over portions. The world building was okay but not as it should have been and the dialogues were outright bad at some places.

I hate writing so much negative about this book as I do feel that this book had a lot of potentials but it failed miserably for me in almost every aspect. I won’t be recommending this book to anyone. Though if you love reading fantasy genre, you should really give The Night Circus a read because that book is simply MAGIC!

this review is also posted on Goodreads

Book Review: Braidy Von Althuis And The Dastardly Djinn By Cassidy Dwelis

Author: Cassidy DwelisRelease Date: 30th October 2018
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy, Supernatural
Series: Braidy Von Althuis #3
Edition: e-book
Pages: 228
Publisher: Precursor Publishing
Blurb:
“He should have known this would happen. Wishes in movies and books seemed to go bad, so why would this one be any different?” 
Ten-year-old Braidy von Althuis misses his family dearly. Ever since his father, his aunt, and his uncle went to look for Gran in Europe, the house has been quiet and lonely. Even worse, Braidy’s cousin Blockhead is miserable after a breakup. Braidy wishes more than anything that he could do something to make his cousin happy. His wish is granted by a mysterious djinni, but the wish does not solve all his problems. Something is wrong with Blockhead, and Braidy learns a dark secret about his family that changes everything he knew. Will Braidy and Blockhead be able to undo the djinni wish, or will Braidy spark a war that may change the world as he knows it? Braidy von Althuis and the Dastardly Djinn is a story about identity, self-worth, consent, and responsibility. 
This book is suitable for children aged 8 – 11.

Review

★★★★

Braidy Von Althuis And The Dastardly Djinn by Cassidy Dwelis is the sequel to Braidy Von Althuis And The Gullible Ghost Hunter. I had a bit of a complaint from the last part because of the absence of a character, but this book totally made up for everything because this part focused mainly on Braidy and Blockhead, Braidy’s cousin. So I really, really enjoyed this book (as much as I did the first one, Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller.) 

The story in this book starts where the last one left off and the plot progressed further featuring Braidy on yet another adventure, this one, again, a little bigger and better. Reading about the familiar characters felt so good and in no time I was there living the plot myself right beside Braidy. I loved this book and I’m looking forward to reading more books (especially in this series, if the author plans to continue) by the author.

I’d recommend this book to all middle-graders and to their parents and siblings and friends alike because this book has so much to offer that anyone could enjoy it.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller by Cassidy Dwelis

Author: Cassidy Dwelis
Release Date: 10th May 2017
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy, Supernatural
Series: Braidy Von Althuis #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 323
Publisher: Precursor Publishing
Blurb:
Ten-year-old Braidy von Althuis just wants one thing: to fit in. The other kids at school think he’s weird, and for good reason. Despite his oddities, Braidy wants more than anything for his dad to be able to come to Township Day, a fun-filled event at school, but Mr. von Althuis refuses. “It’s too dangerous,” he says. Things change for Braidy when Mr. von Althuis gets sick, and, even wose, this pesky pest controller won’t leave Braidy alone! Will Braidy be able to get his family to Township Day without his world falling apart? Braidy von Altuis and the Pesky Pest Controller is a tale of frienship, family, magic, and mayhem that takes a look at what it means to be bullied and how to rise above it. This book is suitable for children aged 8 – 11.

Review

★★★★

Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller by Cassidy Dwelis is an insanely enjoyable middle-grade fantasy book that will definitely warm your heart. This book is about a ten-year-old boy, Braidy, who lives with his odd family in an old palace and faces challenges in school in the form of bullying for being different. But in reality, Braidy is a brave boy who can go to any lengths in order to help his family and loved ones.

This is a beautiful story and I loved it to the core. The characterization is brilliant and the story progression is really, really good. The writing was mostly good but did feel a bit rough around the edges and in all honesty, seems to require a bit of a polish. Even the dialogues felt a bit crude and sometimes out of place, but these are minor flaws which can always be corrected by the author and seem minuscule in front of such a winning plot.

The best part about the book was that it had a lot going on which made the overall plot very interesting as well as very realistic. Each and every character’s internal conflicts were displayed beautifully and I really liked reading about each and every single person and incident.

I’m sure the kids would love to read this book (or listen to it as an elaborate bedtime story.) If you like reading books with honest characterization and concept then go ahead and grab yourself and/or your kids a copy of this amazing book.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Mermaids Are Real: The Mystiq Prong by Bo Wu

Author: Bo Wu
Release Date: 23rd July 2018
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 342
Publisher:
Blurb:
“’Crabs talk?’ asked Benji.
‘Everything in nature speaks. Not everything in nature listens,’ said Octavius nodding Topside.”
Benji Fisher has spent the first twelve years of his life growing up in a small fishing town, Topside. He’s gotten used to the gang of dolphins who follow him on his surfboard and the voices he hears under the water; odd things that have, in their repetition, become part of normal everyday life.

However, none of that prepares him for the recruitment speech he gets from an octopus named Octavius and three of the dolphins the night before his thirteenth birthday.
What would you do if your ‘calling’ in life required you to take a leap/dive of faith? Would you take the plunge?

Review

★★★★

Mermaids Are Real: The Mystiq Prong by Bo Wu is a pleasant new young adult fantasy book with a nice concept and a strong plot. I enjoyed reading this book, though initially, it took me some time to get into it. But once I was hooked, it was difficult to not read it in one sitting.

The concept of this book is not only beautiful but also very well-meaning and has a lot to teach its readers. The way the author executed the plot and the storyline, it came across beautifully and the message of the story gets highlighted but without being too obvious.

In spite of liking the story, I felt that somewhere something important was missing from the book. I feel that the overall story would have come across much better had the writing been a bit stronger; it wasn’t bad, just not very polished. I think what this book really needed was a very strong and firm editing as it would have solved most of the issues  I came across while reading the book. Nonetheless, the story itself has a lot of potential, so that is the biggest positive for this book. The characterization wasn’t spot on but it was good enough to make me care for the lead character.

Overall, it was a nice, cosy read which read more like a middle-grade fiction than a YA novel. I’d recommend it to teens and adults alike who have a special liking for mermaids/mermen and the aquatic life.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: TwoSpells by Mark Morrison

Author: Mark Morrison
Release Date: 21 February 2018
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy, Young Adult
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 316
Publisher:
Blurb:
Sarah and her twin brother Jon are heirs to an ancient magical realm and its most valuable treasure, an enchanted library. The library endows readers with the supernatural means of crossing into the uncharted inner-sanctum of the second dimension, inhabited with peculiar and sometimes perilous creatures.
The children are emboldened with a wondrous mystical gift that no other being has ever possessed. But fate intervenes and triggers a disastrous inter-dimensional war that disrupts the fabric of time and space spanning multiple universes, tearing destiny a new and savage pathway.
The two must rescue their world from a phantom hybrid alien race controlled by a demented dark-wizard, Jeremy Sermack. They will either assimilate or be exterminated.
Will they be the saviors the prophets spoke of, or will they retreat to the perceived safety of their distant homeland?

Review

★★★

TwoSpells by Mark Morrison was a delightful read with a very engaging plot and decent story-telling. I enjoyed reading this book from start to finish and even though the characterization wasn’t perfect, it was good enough to take the story further. It wasn’t an overly loaded read and proved to be a light and breezy read.

I liked the tension in the book and the build-up was also pretty good as was the ending. It suited the plot and I’m looking forward to exploring more titles by the author. The world-building was good, the pacing was decent and the writing okay and overall it made for an enjoyable read which I’d recommend to all fantasy lovers who don’t mind reading a story with very young protagonists.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Deadmarsh Fey by Melika Dannese Lux

Author: Melika Dannese Lux
Release Date: 2nd May 2018
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror,
Series: Dwellers Of Darkness, Children Of Light #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 674
Publisher: Books in my Belfry
Blurb:
Flesh and bone and hearts unknown, lead to the rath and your fate will be shown…
Deadmarsh. The name struck terror into the hearts of all who heard it. But to Roger Knightley, neither Deadmarsh the house, nor Deadmarsh the family, had ever been anything to fear. Nearly each summer of his young life had been spent in that manor on the moors, having wild adventures with his cousin, Lockie, the Deadmarsh heir. This year should have been no different, but when Roger arrives, he finds everything, and everyone, changed. The grounds are unkempt, the servants long gone. Kip, the family cat, has inexplicably grown and glares at Roger as if he is trying to read the boy’s mind. Roger’s eldest cousin, Travers, always treated as a servant, now dresses like a duchess and wears round her neck a strange moonstone given to her by someone known as Master Coffyn, who has taken over the teaching of Lockie at a school in Wales called Nethermarrow.
And soon after he crosses the threshold of Deadmarsh, Roger discovers that Coffyn has overtaken Lockie. The boy is deceitful, riddled with fear, and has returned bearing tales of creatures called Jagged Ones that claim to be of the Fey and can somehow conceal themselves while standing in the full light of the moon. What they want with Lockie, Roger cannot fathom, until the horror within his cousin lashes out, and it becomes savagely clear that these Jagged Ones and the Dark Wreaker they serve are not only after Lockie and Travers, but Roger, too.
Joining forces with an ally whose true nature remains hidden, Roger seeks to unravel the tapestry of lies woven round his family’s connection to the death-haunted world of Everl’aria—and the Dark Wreaker who calls it home. The deeper Roger delves into the past, the more he begins to suspect that the tales of dark deeds done in the forest behind Deadmarsh, deeds in which village children made sacrifice to an otherworldly beast and were never seen or heard from again, are true. And if there is truth in these outlandish stories, what of the rumor that it was not an earthquake which rocked the moors surrounding Deadmarsh sixteen years ago, but a winged nightmare attempting to break free of its underground prison? Enlisting the aid of a monster equipped with enough inborn firepower to blast his enemies into oblivion might be as suicidal as Roger’s friends insist, yet the boy knows he needs all the help he can get if there is to be any hope of defeating not only the Dark Wreaker and his servants, but an unholy trinity known as the Bear, the Wolf, and the Curse That Walks The Earth.
And then there is the foe named Blood Wood, who might be the deadliest of them all.
Racing against time, Roger must find a way to end the battle being waged across worlds before the night of Lockie’s eleventh birthday—two days hence. If he fails, blood will drown the earth. And Roger and his entire family will fulfill the prophecy of fey’s older, more lethal meaning…
Fated to die.

Review

When I first came across Deadmarsh Fey by Melika Dannese Lux, I was quickly convinced to read this title because it seemed very interesting but unfortunately, it turned out to be insanely lengthy and full of exhaustive exposition. There are a lot of details and an insane amount of wandering. It took me 3 days to complete the first 1% of the book and somehow I managed to plough on till 5%, not wanting to give up on the book, but it was for nought because same old exposition continued (even more so than before.)

The story idea seemed good, but it was thwarted by the descriptions and the wanderings, then same two elements that put down the characterization as well. Overall, it wasn’t for me.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Snowtiger’s Trail by Watson Davis

Author: Watson Davis
Release Date: 12th April 2018
Genre: Swords & Sorcery, High Fantasy
Series:  The Windhaven Chronicles (Book #9)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 315
Publisher:
Blurb:
Welcome to Windhaven and the Wrath of the Wizard-King!A deposed Wizard-king leads his ragged band of followers to the last town before the Far Waste and hides there from his vengeful queen while building an army to re-take his rightful kingdom. A regular army won’t do for the Wizard-king. He needs something deadlier, something magical, something demonic.When Wallak of the Bright Fox tribe wakes up from a night of carousing in Ancliff, he can’t find his nephew. He can’t return to his tribe alone, but if he discovers his nephew whereabouts, he may never return to his tribe at all.

This is a swords and sorcery tale of dark, soul-twisting magic where no-one is safe.

Review

★★★★★

The Snowtiger’s Trail by Watson Davis is a beautifully written and a very well thought-out high fantasy read that totally blew my mind!

I am a big fan of the fantasy genre but only if it is done right and that was something I was expecting from this book when I got a chance to read it, and this book did exactly that and so much more. It totally exceeded all my expectations and I was sucked into the story right from the very beginning.

The characterization is spot on, the writing style is brilliant, the world-building is simply amazing and the pacing is superb! All-in-all, this book had everything that I expect from a solid and meticulous fantasy book.

What is really amazing is that even though this was the 9th book in the Windhaven series, I did not feel, even for a second, that I wasn’t getting some part of the story or was missing out on some bits because of not having read any of the earlier parts. Initially, I had forgotten that this was a part of an ongoing series and realized it only when I was near the end (that too only when I was checking its cover on my kindle and happened to read the extra pages of the book which had a list of names of the other parts.) So this can be read as a stand alone without any reservations.

I loved this book and I’d recommend it to everyone who wants to read a nice story involving swords, sorcery and fascinating (and totally amazing) animals.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

Audiobook Review: Looking For Dei by David A. Wilson

Author: David A. Willson
Narrator: Tanya Eby
Release Date: 
30th March 2018
Genre: High Fantasy
Series: 

Length: 10 hours 7 hours 25 minutes
Publisher: Seeker Press
Blurb:
Join Nara and Mykel on a journey through the Great Land….
Fifteen-year-old Nara Dall has never been good at keeping secrets. Yet it seems that her life has been filled with them, from the ugly scar on her back to the strange powers she possesses. Her mysterious adoptive father refuses to say anything about her origins, and soon, she and her best friend must attend the announcement ceremony, in which youths are tested for a magical gift.
A gifted youth has not been announced in the poor village of Dimmitt for decades. When Nara uncovers the reason, she uses her own powers to make things right. The decision sets her and her friend on a path of danger, discovery, and a search for the divine. In the process, she learns the truth about herself and uncovers the biggest secret of all: the power of broken people.

Review

★★★+1/2

Looking For Dei by David A. Wilson is an interesting new high fantasy read with a believable storyline and an impressive world-setting. I was pulled into the story right from the start and was kept engaged till I hit the middle part of the story, and that was when I kind of hit a brick wall. After about 45% I started to struggle because of the pacing, which was pretty good until that point but then suddenly slacked and the story started to feel like a drag. Fortunately, after a while, the pacing picked up again (albeit a bit slowly) and I was happy to reach the end of the story without any further pacing issues. The story picked up in the ending again and overall I was glad that I picked this read.

I was fortunate enough to get this book in both the formats – e-book from NetGalley and audiobook from Audiobookworm. I started this with the e-book but when I got the audio, obviously I listened to the entire story because that just saved me a hell of a lot of time! Also, the narration was pretty good and I loved the different variation the narrator used especially of the old crone, Ann.

I’d recommend this book to all the fantasy lovers, and even to those who rarely read fantasy and are looking for a new fantasy series to explore.

 

this review is also posted on audible and Goodreads


Tour Schedule:

May 24th:

T’s Stuff

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

May 25th:

The Reading Bud
Blogger Nicole Reviews

May 26th:

Lilly’s Book World

May 27th:

Adventures Thru Wonderland

May 28th:

Bookworms Corner Blog Spot

May 29th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

May 30th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

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Book Review: From Wrath To Ruin by Justin Enos

Author: Justin Enos
Release Date: 26th April 2017
Genre: Dystopian, Speculative Fiction, Fantasy
Series: 

Edition:
 E-book (mobi)
Pages: 386
Publisher: Book Baby
Blurb:
In exile from his homeland…
As a mercenary, Tijodrin has wandered far and wide, and now his travels have
brought him to the great city of Hohvenlor, a city he knows well. He quickly finds
himself caught up in a fierce rivalry that threatens to destroy two powerful
merchant families and turn the streets of Hohvenlor into a battlefield.
Within the city walls, Tijodrin will find danger in many forms. Can he survive
the endless plots of the vengeful merchants and the swords of their bloodthirsty
henchmen, as well as the lurking daggers of the shadowy assassin’s guild??

Review

★★★+1/2

From Wrath To Ruin by Justin Enos is an action-packed dystopian fantasy book with a unique plot.

I’ve read a lot of speculative and dystopian books, but this is the first time I’m reading a mix of in a fast-paced fantasy setting, and I must say it was a very unique and a quite enjoyable experience. I wasn’t able to overly relate or connect to the main protagonist, but I cared enough for him and the other characters to read till the end and was happy with the way it ended.

The best about this book was the element of surprise and unpredictable action. The tension and pacing were high and fast respectively and the overall plot progression was good too. I had a bit of a trouble getting into the flow of the writing initially, but after a couple of pages, I was in for good.

I’d recommend this book to readers who like fast paced stories packed with lots of heady action.

Review also posted on: Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Author: Ernest Cline
Release Date: 5th June 2012
Genre: Science-Fiction, Science-Fantasy, Dystopian, Young Adult
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 374
Publisher: Broadway Books
Blurb:
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

REVIEW

★★★★★

“The Hallidays looked like an ordinary American family. There was no hint that the stoic man in the brown leisure suit was an abusive alcoholic, that the smiling woman in the floral pantsuit was bipolar or that the young boy in the faded Asteroids T-shirt would one day create an entirely new universe.”

This book is EPIC! And that too on SO MANY LEVELS!!
First off, I loved the settings! For a hardcore dystopian lover like myself, it was a pure treat! The setting in the book was dystopian in the real sense and filled me with absolute and total dread – I’d hate to be in a world that is described in this book. So the settings are perfect and it is quite self-explanatory why a person would prefer the utopian OASIS to spend their every waking moment. And that’s why the entire thing seems so real and relatable.

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The Concept of this book is so F**king genius that I was completely stoked!
Who doesn’t like the 80s? The people born in 80s love 80s for obvious reasons, the people born before 80s love 80s and the people born after 80s seriously obsess over the 80s because 80s was the most amazing era whether it was in movies, video games, books, music, or anything whatsoever. I’ve been obsessed with the 80s since my teen years and now we have a book that is an EPIC testament to the era we love, adore and long!

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Video Games, you say? Bloody f**king yes!!
This book mentions so many classics that you’d feel so nostalgic that you will end up searching the old games and downloading them to play them all again. At least that’s what I did (or am doing while writing this review.) I loved reading the loving and notable mentions of some of my childhood favs – GALAGA(!!) Contra, Donkey Kong, Pac Man (who doesn’t love them) and other games that I played on my home console game (sadly I was born in 1990 and not in America so I never got to play games on the arcade machines :/)

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But the majority of the games I played weren’t mentioned in the book as they were popular in the 90s and not 80s. But anyway, I still loved reading about the games and it was an absolute surreal experience to read about characters that were so obsessed with gaming!

I loved Art3mis and felt connected to her on so many levels. I’m a girl game nerd so it made me super happy to read about another girl game nerd. She’s like my soul sister!!

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Virtual Reality
I’m SO glad the book didn’t dwell on the sad and boring topic of perks of the real world over a virtual one. Because I’m an antisocial geek who does not prefer the real world. I even met my husband online! And we’re happy and so much in love even after 7 years of marriage!! So everyone who believes you can’t find honest, good or “real” people online go ahead and read this book and LEARN something! Otherwise just go back to living your sad little lives in the sad little shell that you’ve created for yourself.

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Hail Halliday!!
Yes, I know Halliday is a… ahem… fictional character, but after reading this book, I’ve come to think of him as a Geek God. He’s the man… the real deal… the real geek. So only two words for him – Hail, Halliday!
Even Morrow was the real deal. I really liked him too and his avatar as well. Other characters were good too, though I loved Art3mis and Halliday the best ❤

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The ending is satisfactory – it was very fair and I loved it more than anything. And even though Halliday was not the main character, I still felt a longing when Halliday’s avatar, Anorak, left in the end.

If you still haven’t read this book, GO and READ IT NOW! It is an abso-f**king-lutely and total-effing-badass book!

PS: I really wish someday Ernest Cline writes about modern games and Play Stations and Xbox as that is what I (and the later generations) are well aware of. I’m really hoping to see something on God Of War series – it is my absolute favourite game ever!

PPS: I read this book for RMFAO Buddy Read.

Goodreads

Book Review: Beneath The Skin by R.L. Martinez

Author: R.L. Martinez
Release Date: 21st July 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Elementals > Magic, Witches, Shape-shifter
Series: The Witchbreed Series – #2
Edition:
 E-book
Pages: 365
Publisher: Lakewater Press
Blurb:
Abandoned, betrayed, and wanted for murder, Lady Oriabel Dominax is a witch on the run. The deadly magic now awakened inside her is hungry, and it is all Oriabel can do to control it. With no choice but to trust strangers as her guardians, she quickly discovers not everyone is who they say they are and the very magic she fears might be her only weapon to protect those she loves.
Since rescuing her sister from certain death, Lady Ottilde Dominax’s only goal is to keep Oriabel safe and alive. Not an easy task when both the enemy and their so-called allies are hunting them. Placing all her trust in the very man who held her prisoner, Ottilde must open her heart and mind to a future she could never have predicted, a future guided only by love and survival.
Life, death, and tragedy lie ahead as the Dominax twins set out on a perilous journey to safety. But knowing they are mere pawns in someone else’s game means fighting for family is all they have left.

REVIEW

★★

Beneath The Skin by R.L. Martinez is the second instalment of The Witchbreed series and a sequel to one of my favourite fantasy books, In The Blood.

The first book in this series was so good that when I was offered to review the second one, I was beyond myself and agreed immediately, though I started to feel sceptical about the series as a whole the moment I laid eyes on the cover of this one. Still, I went ahead and read the book because I was sure the story had to be good because… you know… it was the sequel to In The Blood! However, things did not go as per my expectations and this part ended up disappointing me.

I was expecting to see a lot of action and was looking forward to learning more about the characters of whom I was already a fan, but the book proved to be a slog and I was struggling only after a couple of pages. The characters seemed to annoy me for some reason and the pace fo the story was extremely slow in the first half the story. To be honest after about 30% of the book I was literally skimming over the pages not wanting to DNF this book. The story picked up pace after 50% though by that time I was not even interested in knowing whatever was happening.

This is the first time (after DIvergent) that I did not like a particular part of a book series, so I’m not even sure if I’ll be reading the next part.

Goodreads and Amazon

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RMFAO Buddy Read: On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers

This month for RMFAO we’re having a buddy read for On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers. So far we have 4 people reading the book and the reading is going great. I’m presently halfway through the book and enjoying it so far.

One of the main reasons why I was so eager to start reading this book was that it is the inspiration behind the 4th instalment of Pirates Of The Caribbean movie series – Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The other reason was that I have never read any book with pirates at the heart of it, so I was quite intrigued when a fellow member and one of the RMFAO’s moderators, Cheryl, suggested this book for December’s buddy read. Also, this book fits in the adventure-fantasy genre so it makes it easy for all who are participating in RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge – December – Adventure/Fantasy to count it in.

If you like pirate novels or want to explore one then come along and join us. This is a month-long buddy read so you can join in anytime as long as you finish the book by the end of the month.

Here’s the discussion thread for On Stranger Tides buddy read: Buddy Read: On Stranger Tides

My next reads are going to be Beneath the Skin (The Witchbreed Series #2) by R.L. Martinez and A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin.

What are you reading for this month?

Hope you guys are having a great bookish festive season!

Ciao


Book Review: The Blue Curtain by L.G. Metcalf

Author: L G Metcalf
Release Date: 24th May 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal > Vampire, Mystery, Suspense
Edition: e-book
Pages: 
Publisher: Moleyco Press

Blurb:

Devastated by her father’s brutal murder, seventeen-year-old Emily Bliss is determined to find his killers, even after everyone else has given up. As Emily attempts to follow their trail, she encounters a mysterious stranger at a party. Beneath his handsome looks, physical prowess, vast wealth, intimidating presence and hypnotizing eyes, she can sense that he is tormented by demons that she cannot yet fathom. Soon Emily is shocked yet thrilled to realize that she is falling uncontrollably in love with him to the point of obsession and that she is willing say or do anything to make him stay. But an early birthday gift Emily’s father left for her has revealed secrets about her life, buried centuries ago, that will hurl her into a dark underworld that she never dreamed existed and point to a great destiny awaiting her, if only she can survive long
enough to seize it..

Review

★★★

The Blue Curtain by L.G. Metcalf is a paranormal YA romance novel that is quite like the others on the same theme but not too bad to read if you want to read a YA book with a mystery twist.

The writing is good, in fact, it is one of the positives in the book that made me read the entire story. The story was simple but it was made interesting with the use of alternating POVs in two very different timelines. The POV hopping was easy and smooth and made this an interesting read.

The plot was good but predictable and the storyline was not too different from other books in these genres. I liked the characters but wasn’t able to connect with them individually on any level. Though I did like them and cared enough to read about them through the end.

I’d recommend this book to the genre readers and to anyone who likes mystery reads and wouldn’t mind the paranormal or the YA angle.

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Book Review: Pangaea: The End Of Days, Revelations by Bolivar Beato

Author: Bolivar Beato
Release Date: 11th July 2017
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Pangaea
Edition: 
e-book
Pages: 226
Publisher: Self-Published

Blurb:

At the dawn of humankind came the end of all that stood before.
This story is one such fairytale. Except it is not truly a fairytale. It is the story of Giants and Immortals, and of Earth’s greatest legend, Pangaea.
The great continent and the ocean Panthalassa were more than just the earth and the sea—they were the future. They were more than the children that ran across their playgrounds, the farmers that plowed their fields, and the sailors that travelled their waters. More than the hopes and fears of their inhabitants. And much more than the myths and legends who walked the Earth three hundred million years ago. They were a dream, a covenant made long before this universe ever took shape.
This is the tale of an end of an Age.
These are its tragic last days.
Pangaea is being torn apart by magic, and an old evil is set to return. Its greatest champions are blinded by ambition, choked by politics, and crippled by pain.
Brought together by fate, seven young heroes set out to save the world.
But what can children do against living gods?

Review

★★★

Pangaea: The End Of Days, Revelations by Bolivar Beto is a unique new fantasy read written in a different way that is sure to entertain you.

The story is written in the form of various short stories being told of the same world and ultimately coming together in the larger picture. The book was easy to read and quite quick which was a big plus. The writing was mostly simple and understandable, though I had to re-read some sections to understand the meanings of the lines. Maybe it was because of the intricately woven tale of the cosmic world which was not easy to comprehend on the first reading or maybe it was the sentence formation, I’m not quite sure. Though, I did enjoy reading the book.

It was good to read about Indian Gods in one of the stories of the Caldroun and I must say, as different as it might be from Indian myths, it was sure interesting to see them in a fantasy read from a foreign perspective.

I’d recommend this book to Fantasy readers and readers and enthusiasts of cosmic stuff. This book would highly appeal to you if you have a liking for the whole good and evil concept.


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Stories From The Witch Store by Olga Gutsol

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

Blurb:

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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