The Kinshield Legacy follow the story of Gavin a warrant knight (kind of like a bounty hunter) who is destined to be king. I found Gavin to be a very well developed character with a strong supporting cast. There are characters that are extremely likable (the blacksmith) and I personally despised the villain and spent the whole book waiting for terrible things to happen to him. The book moves along at a great speed and will keep you trying to finish just one more chapter.
The story is completed at the end, but it leaved things wide open for a sequel (first half of 2011 according to her website) which I will get for sure. If you have a kindle download the sample, if you enjoy fantasy you will most likely be hooked and end up buying the whole book. This book was a great find and I hope that K.C. May continues to write so I can continue to enjoy her wonderful stories.
Torc of Moonlight is not the kind of book I normally read. That being said I still found it to be a fairly enjoyable read with detailed descriptions of the English countryside and an appreciation for the local history. The story centers around two college kids that fall in love, but are both touched by a magic from long long ago. Alice has an obsession with finding a special site that contained a water goddess. Nick is obsessed with Alice. They are both haunted by a man trapped between the realm of the living and the dead who just wants to use them to cross back to the land of the living.
This book kept me interested right up to the end trying to figure out what was going to happen. There were some parts that I found confusing, but that could very well be because a lot of British terminology is used and I am not familiar with it. I was actually a little surprised that I enjoyed the book at all seeing as it differs greatly from my normal fantasy read, but the passion of the author for the story was obvious and that is always a good thing.
Hemlock and the Wizard Tower follow Hemlock a former thief with a certain sensitivity to magic who has turned vigilante. The story takes place in a magical city that actually moves from realm to realm having only a few regions permanently attached to it. Hemlock lives in the Warrens, which is the run down part of town. She spent most of her life being a thief until she tried to steal from Safreon, the original vigilante. These two team up to help keep the Warrens safe for normal people to live.
Magic permeates the city all of it rigorously controlled by the Wizards Guild (headquartered in the Wizards Tower). Hemlock's sister is sick and will die without magical aid. However the magic of the Warrens is on the decline very quickly. Thinking that the wizards are somehow siphoning off the power from the Warrens for their own terrible plots Hemlock decides to break into their tower and do something about it. Using her special power she actually manages to succeed where no one has and penetrates the terrible defenses of the tower. Once inside she meed Merit (who for some reason is my favorite) a mechanical and magical blend clockwork gnome. Merit gives her some information and she uses it to get further into the tower. I will leave off saying that thing do not go as planned at all.
If you check out the sample of this book it almost seems like the story is finished when the sample ends. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was surprised and pleased with the way the book developed especially how italicized flashbacks were used to really explain where the characters came from. The only thing I did not really enjoy was Falignus head of the Wizards Guild. His personality jumped from compassionate and understanding to crazy power hungry derangement several times and I never really understood why. That being a minor issue in what is a very good story overall.
This book is well worth the .99 that it is selling for, and there is a second book planned for sometime in 2012. A great story with some fantastic characters well done all around.
Demon Gates primarily follows young Valderion the son of a simple farmer and horse breeder. Vald lives a simple life helping on his family farm and occasionally going into town to meet up with his friends. When tragedy strikes his small town he is given a token from his long dead mother and has to make his own way in the world. In the beginning he learns that this token is much more than it appears and can help him achieve a destiny that he would never have been able to conceive. At the same time that all this is happening the seals that shut portals to a demonic realm begin to weaken and break. Demons are beginning to invade the world and plan on wiping it out as vengeance for being sealed away thousands of years ago.
I will say that the book really did not have me struggling to put it down until about a third of the way through. Up until then it was a good story and I was enjoying it, but at some point it became extremely difficult for me to stop reading to get anything done. The introduction of some new characters along the way really help to advance the story and help Vald achieve more of his potential. My personal favorite had to be Llewellyn an elven bard of some renown and an overall nice guy. These two form a strong friendship and a close bond. If I say anymore I will begin to give spoilers and I would like to avoid that.
The end of the first novel wraps up very well, but not much has been done about the demon problem or the quest that Vald has embarked upon. The second book promises to be filled with a lot of action and enjoyment. The fighting scenes are written in a way that reminds me of R. A. Salvatore with the detail and complexity of the melee battles. For .99 the first book is a must and if you enjoy it like I did I'm sure you will find yourself getting the second as well.
The Bakkian Chronicles follow Steve and his wife Sarah as they find out that Steve's grandparents died and they inherit everything. They take a trip to their new house and find some strange things. There is a journal filled withed references to people and places they have never heard of, a safe filled strange items and an even stranger key. That key opens a portal to Lentari that they enter without understanding what they are really doing.
Their journey begins as a simple quest to find out how to get home. They learn that everyone in Lentari has a magical power called jhorun. They are then kidnapped to be sold as slaves and must discover their own hidden powers to escape. Next stop is the palace where they meet the kind and queen and find out that they are prophesied protectors of the prince. That is the point where their adventure truly begins...
This is an extremely well written story with great dialogue that had me engaged with the character and even laughing a few times. The pace of the story moves very well with lots of action, but does not sacrifice character development. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good fantasy read at a totally reasonable price. I am looking forward to the second in the series a great deal.
Picture Perfect is a novella introducing David's new young adult (high school) fantasy series. It uses the same universe as his Black Earth series with a new set of characters.
Jonathan Huxley is a homeless orphan struggling to survive on the streets. One day a man shows up promising him the world if he will only marry someone he has never met. Before he can even meet the woman that he is supposed to marry he falls in love with Rebecca Soft. Jonathan must struggle to decide between a life of luxury and being true to himself. Going into anymore would be spoiling things a bit so I'll leave off there.
The purpose of this book is just to get people ready and excited about the new series and he has done that. I am looking forward to the first full length book (due out this summer).
Ashar'an Rising is the sequel to Demon Gates. The story continues following Vald on his quest to stop the demons horde from destroying the world. Through the book he continues to learn through the magic of the Dragon's Tear pendant left to him by his mother.
I don't want to get into the plot much since I will most likely let spoilers of the first book slip if I try to go into any detail. This book differs from the first book in that it focuses a lot more on some characters other than just Vald. The adventure follows Prince Andrak on the mission that he and his sister set out upon. We also see more from Kyle and Thorgast as they attempt to help Thorgast's people.
Personally I would have to say that I did enjoy the first book a little bit more, but I think that is because I really enjoy Vald as a character (not that there is anything wrong with the others, but I do play favorites) and this book did not feature him quite as much. Robert continues to write wonderful action scenes and describes his massive world in the right amount of detail. You do not spend pages reading about each mountain in a huge range, but visual images are made clear by his descriptions. His webpage is also an excellent tool having all kinds of extra information including some excellent maps to help you see the journey everyone is taking.
The only downfall of the book is that since this one just came out I'm sure there will be a decent wait for the next book in the series. Excellent work again Mr. Day.
Love Immortal is the story of Jewell, a young trauma nurse and Collin a young man with a surprising secret that not even he knows. When Collin is brought into the hospital one night having been hit by a drunk driver Jewell is in the room helping to try to save him. Unfortunately it seems that the effort is for nothing and Collin dies. Jewell feeling a strange connection to the young man stays in the room with him reflecting on the tragedy of his lost life when an amazing thing happens. His heart begins to beat again. As Collin recovers Jewell begins to visit him and they start to develop strong feelings for each other. His miraculous recovery also brings him to the attention of two very different groups, one sworn to protect him, and the other sworn to destroy him.
The story develops with Jewell and Collin learning more about each other and Collin beginning to learn some secrets about himself as well. Now to be honest this book is not something that I normally would read, but it is something that I can very easily see sharing with my daughter when she gets a little bit older. The book is well written with an excellent flow that made it difficult to put the book down at times. I was very impressed with how I did get pulled into the story even though it is far outside my normal comfort zone. This is an author I will keep an eye on for further releases.
Frozen Prospects follows Va'del in his quest to find acceptance. It is set high in the mountains where all the communities are based in large cave systems and it is death to wander outside unprepared. Born from a lowlander mother and orphaned at a young age is enough to make him an outcast and a target for the bullies in his community. Constantly beaten by the headman's son Jas'per he once again awakens to find himself in the healing area being taken care of by Sara. While in recovery he learns that some of the mysterious Guadel have arrived to test the youngsters of his community to see if they will be taken away to the Capital. When Va'del is tested he is given the choice to stay where he is and continue his miserable existence of getting beaten up and not having anyone willing to take him as an apprentice, or he can accompany the Guadel for training and possibly become one of them.
Getting into anymore of the story would start to give spoilers so I'll just say that when he arrives at the Capital under less than ideal circumstances his life becomes just as miserable as it was and he is constantly thinking about suicide to end it all. There were times that I really was not a big fan of Va'del as a character, but he really grows as the story develops and at the end I was left wanting to see more books about him. I really enjoyed a lot of the support characters, especially I'rone.
I look forward to the next book in the series, but in the meantime I will check out the other work by Dean Murray.
Sunrise by Arshad Ahsanuddin is the second book of the Pact Arcanum series. It is actually a prequel to the first book Sunset. This book goes more in depth into how Ana, Rory, Take, Nick, and Scott become meta humans. There are some passages that will be very familiar to anyone who has read the first book as the flashbacks from Sunset are done again in much greater depth. There is also much more detail into the history of the world and the creation of the meta human species (Daywalker, Nightwalker, and Sentinel). We are also shown what the Pact Arcanum is and how the ritual was used to to build the story. Another aspect of the meta humans that is revealed is an in depth look into the creation of the Alliance and the Triumvirate.
This books helps the readers to gain a much deeper understanding of the characters and their motivations and interactions. I was again sucked in by the great storytelling of Arshad, in a literary world that is overflowing with vampire nonsense these books stand out as unique and worthwhile reads. The third book Moonlight is in the last stages of editing before release and I cannot wait to see what else is in store for Nick and all the rest of the characters in this series.
Sunset is an amazingly detailed look into the society of meta-humans living hidden in North America. I usually don't enjoy vampire books, but this one is an exception. There are three races in the hidden society Nightwalkers, Daywalkers, and Sentinels. Nightwalkers are the typical vampires, Daywalkers are vampires that have been cleansed of their demonic taint and reclaimed their souls, and Sentinels are the soldiers that are genetically designed to kill vampires. Daywalkers are a fairly new race, but Nightwalkers and Sentinels have been at war for thousands and thousands of years. In North America however there has been a truce reached between the three races and they now live in relative harmony.
When a terrorist threatens to nuke L.A. Nick, a Daywalker, reveals himself and exposes the hidden society to the world. Arshad Ahsanuddin has created an intricate political structure involving all three races. The vampire society is divided into houses that all have alliances and enemies as well as Nightwalkers hating Daywalkers and Sentinels killing all vampires regardless (outside of the alliance). The story is action filled and intense. This book is fantastic and I cannot wait to read book two and book three (this summer hopefully).
Moonlight by Arshad Ahsanuddin is the third book in the Pact Arcanum series. Chronologically following Sunset all of the usual characters are present, but focus has switched from Nick to Toby. There is also a new political group that gets introduced into the mix and it surprised me a lot when it was introduced. This book sets up a lot of changes to the political balance with ramifications that will be felt in the rest of the series for certain.
Arshad continues to write masterful plot twists and imaginative characters. In all honesty I enjoyed books 1 and 2 a little bit more, but that is because I like Nick as a character a little bit better than Toby. This is still a great book and I can't wait for the next installment to be released!
Doodling by Jonathan Gould is the story of Neville Landsdowne, a man who falls off the world. When the world begins to move to fast for Neville he loses his grip and ends up wandering around an asteroid field trying to find a place that will make him happy. On his journey he meets a lot of people who were also thrown off the world and have adapted to it in various, mostly crazy, ways. As he tries to find somewhere to belong he discovers that the world will soon destroy the asteroid field he is wandering through killing everyone he has just met. Even though when he fell off the world he wanted nothing more than a nice slow paced life, he finds himself rushing to enlist the aid of everyone he can to save to asteroid field.
The characters Neville meets have a wide variety of personalities and seem to show various methods of escapism that people utilize when their world becomes too much for them. This story is a quick fun read that seems to be hiding a deeper meaning and may be able to make you look at your life a little closer. Remember to always make time for Doodling.
Toonopolis: Gemini by Jeremy Rodden is a unique book with a lot of appeal. When Gemini first comes to the city of Toonopolis I pictured it kind of like the toon world from Roger Rabbit with the bright colors and craziness everywhere. The city is organized into sections by genre (ex Animetown) and there are some great refrences to video games, comics, cartoons, and some general pop culture refrences. The story is a lighthearted tale following Gemini in his travels with Jimbob (the talking eggplant), his travel guide.
The story is written from two perspectives: that of Gemini on his journey through Toonopolis, and that of Agent Mimic in the form of correspondence where you learn the reason that Gemini is in Toonopolis. The segments with Agent Mimic then to remind you that the story does have a basis in the real world when it would be very easy to forget and lose yourself in the cartoon world. The journey of Gemini and Jimbob takes a lot of strange turns, with some very humorous references to a wide variety of topics (my favorite was the turn based video game).
This book qualifies as young adult, but can be read and enjoyed by anyone. At some point I will be reading this book to my daughter and I'm sure when she is able to read she will read it to herself as well. I look forward to seeing what else Jeremy Rodden has to offer.
Basement Blues by J H Sked has 3 short stories: Basement Blues, Dim, and Pushing Janey. Dim and Pushing Janey both fit into the horror/thriller genres, while Basement Blues is a paranormal detective story with a good bit of comedy mixed in. Both Dim and Pushing Janey feature men who are haunted by their pasts. In Dim a man is terrified by the memory of what happened to him while serving overseas. Pushing Janey is a bit too hard to explain without giving something away.
The title story Basement Blues is a short intro into a whole new series that J H will be starting sometime fairly soon. I very much enjoyed the story of the strange group of detectives and their unusual client. This is yet another series from J H Sked that I will be looking forward to.
WolfSong is a tale about an area called the Crescent. The primary three races are the hawk, werewolves, and humans (there are also fey, but in this book they play a smaller role). The story for the most part follows around a squad of hawks as they hunt down a rogue werewolf that led to the deaths of two of their own. There is also a young werewolf man who is with the squad helping to track down the fugitive.
This is actually a pretty decent sized book especially for .99 and it only took me two days to finish. The story is very solid and the characters are, for the most part, very well developed. The only real issue I had was there were a few times that a character was introduced with very little introduction and I will admit to some confusion trying to remember if I should know that name or if it was someone new. I am really hoping that in the next book we get a little more background into the world and the interactions between the races.
I for one will be sure to pick up a copy of the second book as soon as its available to see what new adventures await this band of warriors.
The Trouble With Spells by Lacey Weatherford is the story of Portia and Vance. Portia seems to be a normal girl approaching her 16th birthday. Vance is the unknown around school, he keeps to himself and the rumors about him are pretty wild. He also seems to be the guy that most of the girls secretly dream of dating.
On Portia's 16th birthday she learns that she is a witch. She learns that her father and grandmother are both magically inclined as well. Her biggest surprise is finding out that Vance is a member of the same coven that she will be joining. They begin to become romantically involved and the relationship moves extremely quickly from an emotional standpoint, with them having a joining ceremony and promising marriage.
The action of the story comes from Vance's family. His father is an evil warlock who has been following Vance to corrupt him. Living life on the run has made it difficult for Vance to get close to those around him as he has spent his life moving. Finding his soulmate in Portia has made him want to stand up to his father so he no longer has to run.
The story flowed pretty smoothly it was just a bit too much teenage romance for my taste. At the end of the story the action really begins to pick up and I am interested in reading the second book in the series. If you enjoy paranormal romance then this is a series you should check out for sure.
Review written for the Menage a Blog blog tour.
The Other Side of Life (TOSL) by Jess C Scott tells the story about a group of elves that grew tired of their races withdrawal from the world and two human thieves that do not like the direction the world is heading. When the two groups meet they decide to work together to steal something that could be a key to changing the way both of their peoples look at the world.
First off I will say that TOSL shows the views of the author very clearly through the story. Jess does not like the way that a lot of things currently work in the world and you can tell through the book. That being said the book is not just her preaching her views thinly veiled behind a cyber punk story. The book is actually a very good read. It has a lot of different elements that can appeal to a wide variety of people. There are very cool tech toys, lots of thrilling scenes during the theft, action, intrigue, romance, friendship, loyalty, and redemption. Even with all of the different themes the book does not get bogged down and keeps a fairly decent pace.
This is a good read for ages 15 and up with no real loss of appeal to the older audience. If you enjoy a good spy thriller this book could also be a good one to check out as the theft has some excellent action sequences.
Copy provided by author for review.
Midnight Men and Other Stories by Lee Moan is a collection of supernatural short stories. The shorts cover a fairly wide variety of topic including: aliens, voodoo, replicants, the Devil's bones, gypsy magic, precognition, and more.
In a lot of the stories Lee uses more mind games with suspense and surprise rather than just blood and gore to get a reaction out of the reader. I am not overly familiar with the supernatural/horror genre, but I did enjoy most of these stories. I think they give a pretty good taste of what Lee is capable of and that is enough to make me take a look at his other books in the future.
Review copy provided by the author.
The story begins on Earth where Lucifer and his companions are confronted by Michael and set on a path that takes them to their home the Chaos Pattern. Upon arriving they learn that terrible things have happened and all of the people blame Lucifer's father who sits upon the throne. With conflict between the clans being imminent Lucifer must flee to seek help from an old goblin friend in order to ensure his proper place on the throne.
Rex Jameson does a wonderful job telling this story in a completely unexpected way. Lucifer is a good character and while I didn't really relate to him much (he is still a bit of a sociopath at times) there are parts where it is easy to sympathize with his problems. There only real issue I had with the book was the magic system. Pattern magic is spoken of and used throughout the story, but I never really understood much about it. One of the things I love about fantasy novels is the unique twists that so many people bring to magic, and I would have liked to understand this one a little bit better. That really doesn't affect they story however it is more of a personal preference in a book.
Review based on ARC from author.
The Heartstone Chronicles: Windchaser by Michael Fraser takes place in a large and complex world. The Windchasers are a group of specially trained elite combat specialists who chase down demons that are let into the world through temporary rifts. One of these men, Darkmalian, is a darkling. He does his job with ruthless efficiency regardless of the consequences. It is suspected that he is a renegade and does not follow the laws working more his own benefit than for the good of the realm. However when an ancient prophecy that can save or doom the world begins to come true Darkmalian is the one that will decide what happens.
In any book where a world that is filled with complex religions, political ideologies, intense characters, and a lot of geographical regions there is a struggle to provide the proper information without slowing the story down. In some places of Windchaser I think the story did get bogged down a bit by the amount of information given. The information was important to truly understanding the world and motivations of some of the characters, but there was a lot of it at times.
That being said there were some very good characters including Darkmalian. While it is hard to empathize with him because of the things that he does we are given enough information to understand a bit of why he is the way he is. The training that windchasers go through is intense and Darkmalian's made most others seem like a walk in a park. There are also scenes of epic warfare of the good and not so good allied against seemingly overwhelming odds. The story has some familiarity to it, with a prophecy that can save the world coming to a head. This familiarity is minimized by the unique circumstances in the world and some of the beasts and technology truly shine. I seriously loved the idea of the windcannons.
I recommend giving this book a shot and sticking with it through a rough beginning as it comes into it's own in the second half for sure. For .99 you have nothing to lose and a very impressive world to immerse yourself in.
Copy provided for review.
Liberator's Ruin by P.J. Johns was a wonderful book. It takes place in a world of interesting technology. It has a bit of a steampunk feel to it, but there is not the steam driven technology that is required for that genre to truly fit. The truly unique feature of the world is a mineral that is used in what are basically anti-gravity engines. That is what allows the giant airships to rule the skies and even enables floating island colonies.
There are some wonderful characters in the book, my favorites being Nathaniel, Fran, Grekhis, and even Thomas. There are several story lines active through the book following the different characters and no surprise I enjoyed Nathaniel's crew the most by far. They have some great interactions and all seem to be good people despite the morally gray area that many of their jobs fall in.
I despised the character Anna. Now that seems bad, but in reality I think it reflects very well on how she was written. If I was apathetic to her it would show much less depth to her character, however I wanted terrible things to happen to her.
Liberator's Ruin is an extremely enjoyable read and well worth the .99 that it costs for a copy.
Review copy provided by the author.
Death Speaks is the second book in the Death Series by Tamara Rose Blodgett. The story continues to follow Caleb and his group of friends with their special powers. The group of friends (minus Jonesy) have moved on to the Paranormal Highschool and are getting some instruction on their various abilities. In Caleb's case however it is not really helping since he is only the second person to ever have level 5 AFTD (affinity for the dead). Carson and Brett are back to their old game of being being jerks with Jade and Caleb's relationship being a serious issue.
The story develops nicely in this sequel, building on the first book while still leaving some questions to be answered in the future. I really like how the kids are slowly learning how to use their powers and we are gradually shown what potential each one of them has. Caleb brings some new zombies into play in this and some of them are entertaining in their own way. This story also has a bit of a thriller/mystery aspect that is done very well. The true culprit is hidden until the shocking revelation of the true bad guy. I am fully invested in this series now and will be following it until the end for certain. I will also most likely be looking into other works by Tamara to see if her other stuff lives up to the standards set by this series.
on Oct. 20, 2011
First Chosen by M. Todd Gallowglas follows the birth and life of Julianna Taraen. At birth she is imbued with the faith of the Saent of Grandfather Shadow as a hidden gift that will come into play at a point later in her life. Because of this unwanted gift her life is visited by tragedy on a regular basis as the Goddess of Lies Yrgaeshkil seeks to manipulate Julianna into using the gift at a time and in a way that will be to her own benefit. The plot is woven very skillfully and I can't really say anything else for fear of spoiling anything for the reader.
The book starts out a little confusing as there are a lot of unique races and gods to learn about, but as the story unfolds everything is cleared up very nicely. The magical system is very well done with the power of faith being the basis for the magic that people can use. The story also has a couple of clues to what may be coming in the rest of the series. The character Maxian introduced at the end of the story really made me eager to see what would be coming in the next book. I have a theory about who he is and I am very curious to see if I am right.
This book is filled with vivid characters engaging in some fantastic fight sequences. If you are a fan of fantasy with a bit of a darker side this book will suck you in and leave you wanting more.
Vampires Rule by K.C. Blake has several things going for it. First off it takes the pretty stale YA vampire theme and puts enough of a twist on it to make it interesting. Jack (AKA Jackpot) has been a vampire for about 10 years. As per his yearly ritual he returns home to check on his "little" brother. In his hometown he runs gets into a fight with a werewolf and is saved by a hunter that should be trying to kill him as well. When he wakes up he has been changed back into a mortal. He and the hunter that saved him (Silver) are prophesied to bring an end to the epidemic of supernatural threats. That basis for the story has a lot of potential and leads to some interesting places. The origin story for the vampires and werewolves was also a pretty good one.
The romance angle of the story between Jack and Silver really did not add anything to the appeal of the book for me. It seemed more awkward than was really necessary and seemed to fit into the Twilight mold a little too much for me. Overall this story is actually probably not bad for younger teens and the pros outweigh the cons. I will most likely check out the second book in the series to see what new surprises there are in store.
Fornax Rising by Nicole Ross is the story of Cassandra Fornax. Her father is a shipping tycoon and her Uncle Philip is a brilliant engineer and inventor. When visiting her uncle one summer she is bitten by a poisonous snake and has to have her hand amputated to save her life. Feeling responsible her uncle designs her an amazing prosthesis to replace what she has lost. When she returns to her normal life at home she is shunned by the deformity, many people claiming that God was punishing her for a horrible sin. This causes her become a bit isolated from her peers and get a private tutor. Luckily her tutor does not judge her and provides her with a top notch education to go with her already brilliant mind.
The story was well done and as the book was described to me as steampunk I was very excited by the engineering possibilities that Philip presented. Unfortunately after the original creation of the hand there is really not much of the wonderful technology to be found. There are mentions of some special engines and such, but nothing really concrete and fun. Towards the end of the book the steampunk aspect does start to make a comeback in a very exciting and entertaining way however. The middle of the book really goes into the development of the personality of Cassandra. Even with a little disappointment with the lack of gadgets the story still moved along fairly well.
Overall I will be checking back fairly regularly to see if Nicole has written any other books and especially to see what is coming in this story.
Bakkian Chronicles, Book II - Insurrection by Jeffrey Poole is the second book taking place in the world of Lentari. When Steve gets a message from the world of Lentari he and Sarah know something is drastically wrong. The Queen has been kidnapped! They decide to head back to lend their powerful jhorun's to the chase. Leaving Mikal with Sarah's sister Annie and Trisan, his bodyguard from Lentari they hop through the portal and return to the magical land.
The action in this book picks up much faster than it did in the first of the series. Since almost of the characters have been introduced you are dumped straight into an exciting chase as Steve and Sarah try to stop the kidnappers before they reach the border. The second in the series keeps all the strengths of the first and Jeffrey has grown a bit as a writer leading to a more polished book.
This book appeals to the same audience as book I although I believe there was a little bit more profanity this time. No f-bombs or anything just a few more swear words used. I am going to be looking forward to the third book in the series with a great deal of interest. Jeffrey has created a truly wonderful world populated with interesting and believable characters. If you have even the smallest interest in fantasy pick up the first book in the series and you will get sucked in.
Anchihiiroo by Jeremy Rodden tells the in depth story of one of the "rogue" toons from Toonopolis: Gemini. I was happy to see this short, as Animetown was possibly my favorite section of Toonopolis from Gemini. With that in mind this could be a stand alone story to help you decide to read the full length book, but I really feel that it works much better after reading Gemini and having an understanding of the world Jeremy has created.
Anchihiiroo was born Yoshi in a simple fishing village. One day his village is attacked by pirates during the ninja pirate war. He escapes the destruction and is found and taken in by some kind people in the next town over. Unfortunately that town is also destroyed leaving him once again as the lone survivor. When Yoshi is taken in by the monks at the Suzaku temple, where a phoenix egg is awaiting a hero of legend to hatch.
The story tells of a young man with a tragic past who feels his life is totally outside of his control. This book is a wonderful supplement to fans of the Toonopolis universe and serves very well as an appetizer to hold you over until the next volume of the main story is released. While a bit more serious than Gemini there is still a good amount of humor. Anyone from the age of 8 and above can enjoy the world that Jeremy Rodden has created and I recommend picking this up for anyone in the family.
Smite Me, Oh Dark One is a very quick, hilarious read. When the God of Darkness doesn't want to be the one to destroy the world what happens? He becomes an Evil Overlord with a legion of goblin defenders of course! The story Steve has written was original and amusing and I truly hope to see more work of this nature from him.
It's free! Give it a read and enjoy.
Earth by Shauna Granger tells the story of Shayna and her two friends Jodi and Steven. The three friends have some power of the basic elements with Shayna being the most powerful by far. When evidence starts to appear of someone doing some heinous black magic rituals. These rituals coincide with the arrival of a set of twin brothers to their town the friends have to figure out if they are behind the dark magic. The fact that there may be a spark between Shayna and one of the brothers adds another layer to the plot.
All three of the main characters are well developed, with a good dynamic between them. They have a very real relationship with emotional depth and humor. There is a bit of a romantic element to the story, but it didn't strike me as what has become the typical pining misery that is often found in books aimed at a similar age group. That is one of the best things about this book in my opinion. I enjoy young adult books and enjoy the genre, but it is very hard to find something that doesn't having a brooding male part and a pining female character. Very well done book and I will continue to follow this series.
Review copy provided by author.
The Sword and the Dragon by M.R. Mathias is the first book in The Wardstone Trilogy. The story centers around the brothers Gerard and Hyden two young men of the Skyler clan. The clan is famous for being the only people who know the location to harvest the eggs of a certain hawkling that they sell for very high prices during trade fairs. This year with Hyden being the clans greatest hope for a win over the elves in the annual archery competition he is forbidden to undertake the dangerous climb to earn his honor by getting a good harvest of eggs. Gerard offers to do the climb twice once for himself and once for his brother in order to ensure his brother has eggs for himself at the trade fair. Climbing the massive peak to reach the eggs is a dangerous and grueling affair and no one has done it two days in a row before. While Gerard is on his second trip to the top he notices an item shining from one of the nests and discovers a ring.
He keeps the ring for himself, but lives up to his agreement and gives the second harvest of eggs to his brother. In that batch of eggs packed in a special moss to protect them and prevent them from hatching an unthinkable thing occurs. One of the eggs hatches beginning the events of a prophecy of the Skyler clan. After the trade gathering the brothers go in separate directions and the story follows their journeys.
M.R. Mathias has a talent for world building. This story takes place on a truly epic scale with wonderful locations, cultures, and characters. There is one specific location where a character encounter a very unique version of local wildlife and I was impressed with the ingenuity of it.
There is a lot of stuff going on in this book so it's not a casual read. It is definitely worth the time and effort though. This is an author to keep an eye out on, I already have the second book in this series as well as several others he has written.
Review copy provided by the author.
The Assassin's Curse by Lindsay Buroker is a short story set in the world of her Emperor's Edge series. This story only features Amaranthe and Sicarius out of the team and I missed the other characters a bit myself. This is a very quick read, but if you are a fan of the series like I am you look forward to everything you can get your hands on. The story follows a similar theme to the rest of the books with Amaranthe spotting something out of the ordinary and wanting to investigate to hopefully get some positive attention and get her team cleared of all crimes.
This story starts with the Sicarius and Amaranthe doing some training in the lake when they spot a lot of smoke in the air. They find an army transport that has been looted of new experimental weaponry and decide to check a nearby island for the thieves. Unfortunately that island is supposed to be cursed to help people who are looking to overthrow the empire.
As with all of Lindsay's work this is written using her wonderful characters and a great skill with description. A must have for fans of the series.
The Lost Concerto by Sandra Miller is the second book in the Alexis Brooks Series. It follow the same format as the first book with the parts of the book being broken down into concert terminology. I'll skip the plot line as I really can't think of a way to express anything without spoiling book I in the series.
This book had a bit less of the thriller aspect than the first book, it was staged a bit more like an action/espionage book with kidnappings and international settings. I enjoyed this book quite a bit, but there was one major thing that bothered me. It involved a certain character maintaining contract through a cell phone when the easiest thing in the world would have been to monitor it or just take it away. Even with that bothering me a little bit as the story progressed it was still a very entertaining story. There was a bit more resolution of issues discovered in the first book and if there are more books to come in the series I will be sure to check them out as well.
The Shadowed Path takes place in a Roman like world starting out with a gladiatorial scene that unveils the most unique race of the book, the inhumanii. This race specializes in guiding people through the horribly dark forest that separates the Parsian Empire from the rest of the world. The warriors are called waystalkers and they are completely unable to raise their arms against the empire ensuring their continuing slavery.
The story follows a group of merchants travelling through the forest in order to make their fortunes. When their inhumanii guides turn out to be fake the caravan gets attacked and almost wiped out. There are only three survivors who have bonded for life after making it through the trials in the forest.
I really enjoyed the book as the similarity to Roman times has always intrigued me. The characters were well done although towards the end I really didn't like the way that Tyacles started to act. The special armor that the waystalkers used was also a very cool idea that I would like to see some more info on as the series progresses. This is one that I will be following this series for certain.
Review copy provided by the author.
This review will contain some spoilers if you are unfamiliar with the series.
Starlight is the fourth book in the Pact Arcanum series by Arshad Ahsanuddin. Since this series deals with a lot of immortal characters mixed in with humans and Sentinels with normal lifespans by this point in the series there are some new characters that are becoming featured as the original characters age and die off.
This series is still going strong and keeping me entertained. I know that it is almost ready to be wrapped up and this is one series that I'm sure to miss. Honestly this series is fantastic for anyone who enjoys urban fantasy or modern paranormal. Honestly I'm not sure I can heap any praise on this book that hasn't already been said in my review for the other book in this series. Arshad has gotten a fan for life in me and I'm excited to see where he goes with his writing when he completes this series.