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: 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: 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 

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 

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: 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: The Inheritants By K.M. Mackmurdie

Author: K.M Mackmurdie
Release Date: 30th April 2018
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series:  
Edition: E-book
Pages: 402
Publisher: Burton Brown Enterprises Publisher
Blurb:
Many moons ago, the Gods funnelled their gifts into mortals, and the Inheritant Families were born…London 2018
Meredith Earl is an Inheritant orphan with no one left to trust. Her lover Sloane is dead and his corpse missing – now Meredith must find out who took him, and why.
After the tragic death of her parents she vowed never to use her powers again, but to find Sloane Meredith must enter the shrouded world of the Inheritant Families once more, and rediscover who she really is.
Meredith embarks on a voyage rife with love, loss, sacrifice and despair to face an enemy more cruel and vengeful than she could have ever imagined.The Inheritant is K. M. Mackmurdie’s literary debut, a thrilling urban fantasy that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Review

★★★★

Inheritants by K.M. Mackmurdie is a new urban fantasy read that is thoroughly fast-paced, engaging and enjoyable.

A well-written book for a first-time author with a strong main character, relatable secondary characters, good pacing, great story progression and a fascinating new plot – this book ticks off all the major check-boxes for a great read. It was very enjoyable and I am glad that I read this book.

Heavy with twists and turns and magical themes that were not only entertaining but dark too this book kept my mind engaged throughout, something which is missing from a lot of other books in this genre. I appreciated the simple yet powerful writing and the thought that went into crafting each and every single character.

This book is kind of a stand-alone consisting of all three parts of the series. So it’s one book with an entire 3-part story which is always a treat for readers like me who like to finish series they start but can hardly find the time to do so every time.

If you’re looking to discover a new author in the urban fantasy genre or want to read a book that’ll give you the satisfaction of having read a full trilogy in one go then go for this one, I’m sure you’ll like it.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

Book Review: Nightlife by Matthew Quinn Martin

17672505Author: Matthew Quinn Martin
Release Date: October 21, 2013
Series: Nightlife
Genre: Horror, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Edition: e-book (Kindle)
Pages: 384
Publisher: Pocket Star

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

For centuries an ancient evil has slept beneath the streets of New Harbor. This Halloween, it wakes up.
An action-packed debut horror novel from talented new writer Matthew Quinn Martin, Nightlife pits a feisty bartender and a mysterious loner against bloodthirsty terrors as alluring as they are deadly.

Nightclub bartender and serial heartbreaker Beth Becker might be a cynic. But when her best friend goes missing Halloween night, Beth knows it’s up to her to find out what happened.

Her quest will take her on an odyssey through the crumbling city of New Harbor, Connecticut. Along the way she meets a homeless prophet warning of something he calls the “Night Angel”-a bloodthirsty creature that feeds on the forgotten. And she will form an unlikely bond with a hunted stranger who knows all too well what stalks the streets at night.

REVIEW

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Nightlife by Mathew Quinn Martin. This book is a real page-turner from start to end. It was literally un-put-down-able!

The best part about this book and also the most impressive one was that this book showed Vampires in completely different light. I guess this is the first time someone has successfully pulled off portraying Vampires as really scary creatures. The concept behind the whole vampire mythology was explored beautifully and I was captivated by the author’s imagination. For the first time in my life, the Vampires actually creeped me out! I’m glad that finally, someone wrote a book that didn’t show vampires as the lovey-dovey pets people want to fall in love with.

Author Mathew Quinn Martin showed them for what they are really are – blood sucking nightmares.

Apart from this, the writing was great too, and the pacing was superb. The alternating POVs kept me on on my toes the entire time and I enjoyed the POV shifts mostly because the transition was really smooth.

The characterisation is also brilliant. I loved all the characters, especially that of Jack and Beth. I even liked Beth’s jackass boyfriend. The reason why I liked Ryan is because all his faults and stupidity made him come out as a really believable character. I was able to connect to all the characters.

The book began with an intriguing prologue which threw me right into the story’s heart and was a complete winner for me. I was so engrossed in it that I wasn’t able to put down this book once I started it.

The ending was good and quite practical. I loved it and thought that it was perfect and in tune with the story.

I’m really looking forward to reading more by the author. I’d recommend this book to all the paranormal and horror lovers and especially to all the Vampires fanatics.


Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review: Monsterland

26835271

Author: Michael Phillip Cash 
Release Date: April 6, 2016
Series: None
Genre: YA | Adventure | Urban Fantasy | Post-Apocalyptic | Horror>Zombies |
Paranormal>Vampires | Shapeshifter>Werewolves | Post-Apocalyptic
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 336
Publisher: Create Space
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.
Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and life-long movie buff is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves and zombies, what could possibly go wrong?

Rating

TRB 5 stars

Review

It was the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

http://blewzen.deviantart.com/art/Werewolf-vampire-zombie-sketches-450864569
http://blewzen.deviantart.com/art/Werewolf-vampire-zombie-sketches-450864569

The story line of Monsterland is really unique, fresh and, I must admit, quite chilling (esp. the werewolf part.)

It’s not scary in the literal sense as such but it does gives the chills at more than one occasion. The descriptions are wildly realistic and the images they paint is worth all the time and money spent on this book. I felt that I was the one visiting the Monsterland with my friends and not the fictional characters. The story is beautifully crafted and the detailing is commendable. Being a paranormal/shapeshifter/horror storyline, the author successfully captured the character backgrounds and successfully added layers to the overall concept.

I enjoyed the book right from the first line right till the very last one. The overlapping of the paranormal and horror genres is commendable because, despite my initial reservations, the author managed to woo me with his amazing story and its execution. It is a job well done on the author’s part.

I felt a connection with each and every character of this book. What seemed to be pointless discussions of monster-obsessed teenagers in the initial pages of the book, made more and more sense as the story progressed and finally when it reached the last act.

I also enjoyed the last connection that the author made between the characters. It’s a well thought out storyline with 3-dimensional characters and layers and layers of different elements.

All the elements blended perfectly well together (except for one little thing- why was Raoul the vamp scared of the zombies!?!? Well, this crossed my mind only for a second before I got caught in the thrill of the moment and my mind moved on to other characters who were literally fighting for their lives (when the story is as good as this, who cares?)

I love myself some badass zombies but this is the first time I actually saw them sympathetically as “victims” and poor sick people who are not someone to be shot or bashed in the head by any/everyone, but a sad bunch of unfortunate people who caught the plague.

http://weknowyourdreams.com/zombies.html
http://weknowyourdreams.com/images/zombies/zombies-07.jpg

By the starting of the end, I was actually feeling sad for all the three creatures- the zombies, the vamps and the werewolves- but by the end, all the other things faded from my mind and I experienced what I really wanted to (and why I really picked this book in the first place)  – a complete monster massacre.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: The sky was a sparkling, power blue, mosquitoes droned lazily over the tepid water, frogs croaked messages while they sunbathed on waxy lilypads.

Memorable Quotes: 

Wyatt looked back at the main area of the park, feeling uneasy he was being led somewhere he shouldn’t be going.

Memorable Paragraphs: 

Wyatt glanced back in his rearview mirror and shifted uncomfortable in his seat, remembering why the sign unnerved him. It bore a stricking resemblance to a picture he has seen in his history book. The words were in German and read Arbeit Macht Frei– Work Makes You Free. It was the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

Highlights: Superb concept and amazing execution of all the elements.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A must read for paranormal and post-apocalyptic readers.


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

 

Book Review: Demon Dance (A Sundancer Novel #1)

17856048

AuthorBrian Freyermuth
Release Date: November 17, 2013
Series: Sundancer
Genre: Urban Fantasy | Paranormal | Thriller
Edition: mobi
Pages: 4159
Publisher: Middark Press
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Nick St. James was born different. His extraordinary gifts have saved him time and time again, but they couldn’t save the one thing he loved most: his wife.

Now he just wants to forget his old life, but more importantly, he wants to forget the magical underworld that lives beneath the “real” world. A place where a man’s faith can determine the very fabric of reality. Where ancient forgotten gods walk hidden among us, and angels and demons fight for our very souls.

But nothing stays hidden forever. Nick’s peaceful world is ripped apart when a demon slaughters his ex-partner and marks him for death. Now he must use all his gifts to find the one who summoned the nightmarish creature, but more importantly, he needs to find the one thing he lost long ago.

Himself.

Rating

5-stars

Review

Plot/Story:

After the death of Nick’s wife and her sister, nick start to plan and start to realize that he can no longer hide from what he is. This story is one big ups and down and tons of action, with lots of emotions. This book has everything you might want from a book in this genre and much more.

Characters:

Nick is a wonderful and surprising main character. All he really wants is normal life, after all “he’s just a writer” but life always seems to interrupt with his plans. Soon he learns that he can no longer hide from his paranormal world, but he also learns how he fits in the normal world. I loved the inner battles Nick faces and see how he faces them.

Romance/Kills:

The constant battle against demons is not pretty, lol, but the author details of these violent battles are not too revolting (for my taste) but they are not pretty 😉
From bizarre friendships and surprising characters along the way, I loved that this book ends with the best happy ending that can be for Nick, at least for the first book.

Writing:

This is a first person told story and it’s full of sarcastic humor and emotions. The author truly has a great writing style that keeps you flipping those pages fast and wanting to know more. I love how took this wonderful and harsh world of the paranormal and yet still kept our normal world and the humanity more dominant and more important to the story.
There are big, big names in this book that you might already know and Nick and his friends battle them all.

Beginning:

The beginning of the book was very fast pace, exciting to read and the author’s writing of the paranormal really grabs your attention from the start. For the first few lines you get to know the author’s humor and writing style and you are hooked 😉

Ending:

There were a few things, that remained unexplained, but I guess the author leaves some for next book. With that being said, the ending was still very satisfying and I am sure to read the next book.

Cover Art:

I loved the cover art a lot. It’s simple yet very pretty and hints nicely of the book’s plot.

Blurb:

The blurb on Goodreads was really intriguing and I am happy it didn’t disappoint me, as sometime this happens. It’s a short blurb, written with hints and clues and overall very interesting.

You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “Leave it to an ancient god to ruin a perfectly good afternoon.”

Highlights: Everything! I love the characters, the paranormal world and I love Brian’s writing style a lot.

Lowlights: None!

Memorable Quotes:

Leave it to an ancient god to ruin a perfectly good afternoon.

Ann used to say that life is a constant battle between faith and chance. That by giving us free will, the creator also gave us chance.

It will never be you, Nick. The game is in your blood. It’s what made you…you. It’s what Ann fell in love with.

Oh, and Nick?” “Yeah?” “Don’t be so dumb either. You really do have a hard time staying in one piece.

Final Thoughts: This is a bizarre, entertaining and fantastic book to read, I truly enjoyed reading it.


Review contributor:

pics copy 2Galit Balli

I am an avid reader, coffee addict, a writer and a blogger. I am a bit of agoraphobic (people scare me, lol). Me and my hubby love to spend every moment together, we even game together.

I live mostly in my own imaginary world full of dragons, magic and vampires and from time to time I pull myself away to deal with the real world.

Read more about Galit here.