Category Archives: Fantasy

Book Review: ‘Aaru’ by David Meredith

Title: Aaru (The Aaru Cycle Book 1)

Published: 10th July 2017

Author: David Meredith

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DavidMeredithWriting

 

Synopsis:

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear.

She is sixteen years old.

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure.

A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model. Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale.

What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book by a male author. A book about death, childhood loss and finding new ways of coping with changes happening around you. What if you didn’t need to say goodbye? Would you like your mind to live forever in nothing more than a computer world you can create things in if it meant you could stay – in a way – with the ones you loved?

Rose is sixteen and has almost come to terms with the fact that her time is almost up. She has leukemia and with time running out she needs a miracle of some sort. Her younger sister Koren, just a child herself at thirteen, isn’t ready to let her go, let alone their parents. The miracle they have been looking for comes in the form of Mr. Adams. He wants to help Rose in a way others haven’t managed before. She is reluctant at first but agrees to try one last thing. If it fails then she’s ready to let go, as she is just so tired of fighting and wants some peace. He starts with scanning her brain and then having sensors put on her head while she’s asked to think of happy thoughts. Her emotional output is key for this to work. She’s not sure what this will do but gives it a try hoping he will explain later. It’s not long before she feels herself left in the dark, quite literally, her fight with her body might be lost but what comes next?

When Rose’s mind wakes up she is in a virtual world and is greeted by Lady Hana of Tenkoku, who calls Rose her Veda. Within this world she soon sees that if they think of something it happens – like clothes to change into, buildings or plants to grow. The kingdom is a blank canvas for them to create a world to live in. There are ten kingdoms within Aaru, each with a Lord and Lady. Lord Mikoto of Tenkoku deals with security in their kingdom. His new Veda Franco seems to have been forgotten a little by him so he gets Hana to train him alongside Rose. It’s not long before other Vedas start to appear, all creating more within their kingdoms waiting for residents to arrive when the system goes live. Is all really happy in this make believe world though?

The Aaru world seems unbelievable to most outsiders and none more so than Rose’s family, especially her sister Koren who hasn’t been handling her sisters death very well. They are brought to the facility to be shown that they did “save” Rose. Her mind was essentially downloaded – memories, thoughts, emotions etc – into Aaru as a way to cheat death. Will it really be her though? Koren is asked to go towards a computer and call out her sister’s name. When Rose comes to the screen it’s enough to knock them all over, this is the proof that Elysian Industries needed them to see. Now that they have they want to use Koren to help sell the idea of Aaru to the US market. A young pretty face that they can doll up to their own means to get the job done. But how far are they willing to go to sexualize this child for their product? What will be the consequences for when they do?

Aaru seems like the perfect place to live in but there are those that are troubled by what it means to be there. They are told to be happy and most seem to be but when they have thoughts or memories that turn darker they seem to be stopped. You can think of them like a story but not really feel the emotions that go with them. Almost like the system won’t allow you. With this being a programme you have to wonder what fail safes are in place, not only to protect its residents mental wellbeing but also their safety. Computer programmes can always be hacked, dangers are out there that can’t always be seen.

These dangers come in the form of Magic Man, a character used to create a darker side to the story. He is an online predator who takes an unhealthy obsession with Koren. Hacking into systems to get videos and images of her to feed his needs. That’s just the start with his plans. If he can hack a live feed how long before he tries to get into Aaru? The system might have many fail safes in place but is anyone really safe when predators are at bay?

There was an interesting twist with a character at the end that you won’t see coming. Setting it up for what’s to come and how both worlds will collide are an interesting concept. The story was well written with interesting ideas but I felt that some of the content turned me off the story. Had I been more aware of the darker theme content to begin with then I might have been better prepared. I do feel because of this that there should really be a content warning due to sensitive subjects within like stalking, paedophilia, child pornography and exploitation.

3 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Realm of Mindweavers’ by Marianne Ratcliffe

Title: Realm of Mindweavers (Book One – Tales of Golmeira)

Published: 16th January 2017

Author: Marianne Ratcliffe

 

Synopsis:

A ruler is betrayed and his young daughter is forced to flee or die. 

Teenage Zastra is a big disappointment to her father, Leodra, ruler of Golmeira, because she hasn’t got what it takes to become a mindweaver, one of the highly valued few who can manipulate the thoughts of others. Things get much worse for Zastra when she is roused from her bed to find that Leodra has been betrayed and her beloved Golmer Castle overrun with enemy soldiers. She escapes via the castle’s ancient underground tunnels, only to be faced with a terrible choice. Hunted across the turbulent landscape of Golmeira, Zastra must rely on her wits and the help of strangers as she tries to outrun the powerful forces set upon her trail.

 

Realm of Mindweavers is the first book in the Tales of Golmeira series. If you enjoy page-turning adventure stories with strong female protagonists such as Trudy Canavan’s Black Magician series or Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, you’ll love these books.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book by an author new to you.

Zastra is the daughter of the Leodra, Grand Marl of Golmeria, and he hopes that she has the mindweaver power, one needed to protect their realm. She was young to be tested at 13 and first thought is that she doesn’t have any powers. She might not have mindweaver power but she does have the ability to resist the power being used on her. A new power that could be of some use in times of need but not so good from her fathers point of view as he needs more mindweavers to be able to protect them against their enemies. He may look down on her a little after this but its not like he has any powers, her mother Anara on the other hand can sense the fears and emotions of others. His hopes might have to be saved for his baby twin’s Kastara and Findar.

Zastra has people on her side to help her. Dobery a mindweaver was the first to sense something different with her mind. Could help her develop her abilities to be able to detect and block other mindweavers. Could she help others too? Martek the master at arms fighting skills teacher and mindweaver could come in handy with what he might teach her. There is also Teona, a high master, teacher and mindweaver. She seems intrigued that Zastra’s skill is different, wanting her to train it. Zastra might be wary of her as a teacher to begin with but she is a great help in a time of need.

Enemies are what her father is worried of but maybe he should look closer to home. All the Marls are coming to Golmeria for a summit, her father wants to pass new laws but others seem apposed to them. Could this be the start to a coup from dangers unseen? He thinks that by having his brother Thorlberd Marl of Bractaris, along with his young son Rastran, stay for months that they can figure out what his enemies, the Kyrg who fight for coin, plans are. Will he figure things out too late?

Figuring out the dangers the Kyrg cause brings together one of Leodra laws he wants to change. It seems that old wars between two sets of land have caused nothing but trouble for years. To try to find a way of peace he invites Mendoraz, Lord of Sendor, and his children Kylen and Zadorax to talks about how to move forward. With troubles brewing it looks like blame is being focused on them rather than who is really at the helm. Especially after a Caralyx creature gets within the castle grounds heading for an attack on the children. Good job that Zastra is handy with a bow. Slow on the uptake on seeing things clearly and it might be too late with what comes next.

Zastra is going to need to be strong for her siblings when dangers come calling. Can she keep both of them and herself safe? She just needs to be careful whom she puts her trust in. Sometimes strangers might actually be best to help get somewhere safe. She needs to find people who are still loyal to her father to create a resistance. To do that she first has to outrun her enemies chasing her. To do this she has to make a difficult decision to keep them all safe. Hiding in plain sight might work for a while but she vows to return to put things right. Trouble and danger follow her on her journey, she must always stay on the move to keep everyone safe.

Interesting start to the series, sets things up nicely for how the world might evolve around them. War and battles are coming so she needs to look further afield to find those that will help. She always has those true to her father that will step in when needed. Can they be pulled together to overthrow the evil powers that have taken control? Continue the story to find out.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author via Instafreebie for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Blood Moon – Part 1’ by S. Yurvati

Title: Blood Moon – Part 1 (Chroma Crossing Chronicles Book 1)

Published: 15th February 2016

Author: S. Yurvati

 

Synopsis:

Hunky pheromone-laden-man meets pretty accident-prone female—it should have been a love story with a happy ever after ending.

However, when the bored deities choose Candy and Thorne for an amusing game, the gods/goddesses put forth sets of circumstances that can tear the couple apart and wound them deep within their human souls.

City girl, Candy wanted to become a successful artist and maybe someday find a man who would make her feel loved and valued, a feeling she’d never known while growing up. However, with a name like ‘Candy Cane’, males never failed to remind her with a wink and snicker, how it sounded like she was a ‘professional’. And ‘professional’ held so many connotations, none of which she had in mind regarding relationships with men.

With her father’s sudden demise, Candy finds she’s inherited funds and a carriage house in beautiful historic Savannah. Not only can she now afford to go to SCAD, her future as an artist looks promising. Unfortunately her step-mom (and her disturbing son Todd) resides in the main house. When Candy gets her first commission for a life-sized portrait of a beautiful woman from a rather unsettling man, she soon questions what had seemed coincidental.

Candy is a modest female who has always found solace in her artwork, whereas her widowed step-mom, Cherry Ann, considers physical pleasure and money as her measures of worth. And as Candy pursues her art, Cherry Ann pursues a new lover who expands her world of sexual gratifications far beyond past parameters. Cherry Ann finds her new risqué sex life to be addictive and doesn’t recognize the danger of the man she’s invited into her life.

After surviving a couple of ‘accidents’, Candy realizes someone apparently wishes her harm. When she’s chased (by the one thing she fears most) Candy accidentally, or so it seems, crosses into a new dimension, land or whatever. She finds herself in an unknown wilderness without resources, let alone a map, or GPS, plus she left her cell phone at home—again. Looking around she sees a curious terrain that is void of color, thus leaving the landscape looking like an old sepia photograph, hardly the Savannah spring day she’d left behind.

The artist in her wants to understand how primary colors could disappear to leave a land so colorless . . . so entirely beige-ish. How could such a phenomenal occurrence come about? A land without modern conveniences—almost as though she’d stepped into a time past, yet that wasn’t quite accurate either.

As Candy literally stumbles through the wild terrain, an intriguing hunter comes upon her. His presence makes her girlie parts beg to become ill behaved, and before she knows it, her hormones are arguing with her strict moral compass.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with a tree on the cover.

So this story starts with a bit of a fantasy vibe with a God and Goddesses coming together seemingly to cause a bit of trouble for some unsuspecting people from different realms. You have the Moon Goddess Luna, Mother Earth Em and Sol the Sun God. They meet every few centuries perhaps to play a game because they are bored and wish to be amused. The game this year is to pit a mundane human from the techno-plane against one from the mystica-plane and then choosing the season and realm they will meet on. Luna knows how the others can be cruel so needs to be the one to pick the season and realm so she can keep measure of the rules. Spring on mystica realm in Ky-Portus, where the techno guy is from. Sol picks a guy from techno and Em picks a girl from mystica, Savannah. Let the games begin, even if it does take a little while to get there that is.

We first meet Candy at her father’s funeral along with her step-mom number two Cherry-Ann and her son Todd – who is a little on the creepy side for with how much he clings to his mother’s side. Always there, always watching. The funeral happens to be a fiasco right from the start. Let’s just say that the man of the hour makes a bit of a talking point. It’s at the wake that Candy meets Mark, someone who makes her feel a little uneasy but she doesn’t know why just yet. When you find out more you will understand why she would get those kinds of vibes from him.

Candy is an artist; she likes the clean, white, blank sheet that has possibilities attached to it with what can be drawn. Look forward, never back. A comfort blanket of sorts as it’s something within her control that she can look after. A coping mechanism as no-one ever really looked after her as a child. This is the skill that Mark wants her for by requesting she does a portrait for a historic home renovation. He has a photo of a woman, Rebecca, from around 1874 and thinks it is the perfect choice for her to paint. The money is good and so is the challenge to paint her, but is there more to the deal than meets the eye. For reasons unknown he feels like she might be a threat to him. Could it because of a secret he holds about who, or maybe what, he really is?

Candy might be a bit of a loner but when she clicks with someone you know that there are good vibes flowing. This goes without saying for her new tenant Liam, who is renting the apartment in the carriage house, which her father left her. Doesn’t take long for a friendship to be formed or for him to get her to go out on ghost tours that he guides. Good to find out fun interesting facts about Savannah but not so good to have strange accidents occur. Stones falling from buildings are one thing but a hit and run might just be the start of what is to come. He might have just met her but feels very protect and close to his friend. One lovely thing he does is getting her a kitten for her birthday. Seems this little kitten has a story to tell all of her own – even gets her own POV. Coco is on her ninth life and this time round has a mission to accomplish. Protect Candy at all costs, though that might be easier after they fall into another realm. What have they got themselves into?

Now at times I did feel like there were just too many POV’s going on, with some not really being that relevant to the story at all. I was fine with the God and Goddesses at the beginning as they set the scene for what’s to come. The pirate ghosts made for interesting reading as you are left wondering where they might fit in and how they knew what game might be being played on Candy. I also liked the introduction of Rebecca through her diary, which shows just what certain characters are really like. The thing is you then had POV’s from Candy, Liam, Mark, Joe, Cherry-Ann, Todd, the cat Coco, and then finally Thorne. Joe the good Samaritan wasn’t really needed at all and even Cherry-Ann and Todd could have just been left as characters within either Candy, Liam, Mark, or even Coco’s, POV’s. Cutting it down might have got the story flowing quicker to get to the part where Candy finally meets Thorne – which isn’t until the end of the book. Lot’s of crazy, creepy, disturbing things happen before getting to that point so hold on for the ride.

Candy getting to Thorne though is where the story picks up a bit and gets a little more interesting. She just happens to meet him after being chased by dogs and then falling into another realm, one that happens to be devoid of any colour at all. Leaves on a bit of a cliff hanger with the hint of what might be to come. With cutting everything down though the blurb would make a bit more sense as it talks about Candy and Thorne being together but it takes a while before they meet. Everything might make a bit more sense in part two as it might show how all the characters are needed or not. Questions are left unanswered but it does leave you wanting more to see how the game plays out.

Note: I do think the book should have a trigger warning on it due to abuse, gang rape, incest story line and anxiety featuring high throughout.

3 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Wildcat’ by JP Harker

Title: Wildcat (Caledon Book 1)

Published: 5th September 2016

Author: JP Harker

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jpharkerwriter

Twitter: @JP_Harker

Instagram: www.instagram.com/jpharker_writer

 

Synopsis:

Rhianwyn of the Caderyn is conflicted about giving up a warrior’s life to become a wife and mother, but her love for her new husband is enough to at least make her consider it. However, with the conquering Gaians moving ever closer to her homeland a peaceful life may no longer be an option, for Rhia or for any of her people. With rival tribes, old suitors, and the dangerous General Lepidus to contend with, Rhia soon finds her new family in unprecedented danger, and her choices now must be about more than just herself…

Wildcat takes place in a fantasy land inspired by Iron Age Britain and follows Rhianwyn’s story as she encounters a civilisation unlike any she could imagine, and is constantly forced to learn and adapt through trial after deadly trial.

 

Review:

Review might be late but this still goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book set in an era you would love to see. To observe only though as I think it would be a bit intense to be involved when the battles start up.

This seems to be a book of many parts following the journey, happy and sad in equal measure, of our warrior Rhia of Caderyn. We start almost as we mean to go on with a battle taking place between her people and the Gorvic. A battle won would put anyone in a good mood and as a result it seems that her father sees fit to declare that Bevan can have her hand in marriage. The gods that have spoken and the druids say it is a good match but have they really understood what the gods were saying in the first place? From what happens next maybe not. It seems that this first love was always fated to perish.

The Gorvic are on the rise again but this time they have brought the Gaians with them – much more specialist fighters. As a result the outcome is not what they would have hoped for. It seems Gaians have a way of making a clan crumble to almost nothing before making a deal to create a harmony of sorts – one that always seems to be in their favour. A treaty is signed and with it Rhia and her sister Gwen are sent off to live with the enemy by marring two of the rulers sons. With everything that has happened to Rhia – battle lost, Bevan’s death, and being attacked – she is almost just a shell of her former warrior self. This new husband of hers, Marius, is in for a bit of a struggle with his new bride.

Living with the enemy for many years you can see how Rhia would get lost in their ways and almost forget who she really is. A shock reminder of this and how Gaians see her people soon starts to put things in perspective. She hasn’t just got herself to worry about though. Along with wanting to protect her son she also has her sister Gwen to think about. She can tell that she is scared and you get the clear impression that it might be from her own husband. There is something not quite right about him. Whether he really is mad or just being manipulated by others remains to be seen but one thing is for sure, another battle is on the horizon and this time spells and sorcery are playing a part. Can Rhia and Marius bring the other tribes and warriors together to fight what’s coming?

Warriors are good but the Gadarim elite are better. The gods watch over them and they are the ones all aspire to become – even Rhia, though no woman has ever become one before. They fight and die with honour no matter the tribe they fight for. They will honour those that are the same. Side note – don’t get in their way and don’t be a coward. Now Gawan, aka Leaping Wolf and Gadarim for Gorvic, was an interesting character. He has a hate/hate relationship with Rhia from the first battle they were a part of. He might not like her but will soon come to respect her as a warrior – Fearless Wildcat is coming.

An interesting story but very long. I did feel at times there was just too much description of what was going on rather than dialogue between characters. Being cut down a bit could give it a quicker pace when things start rolling towards a final battle. The main focus in these battles is to do with honour among soldiers and warriors. Lose that and you might just lose your war. A battle might be won but I fear more could be on the horizon for our wildcat Rhia.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Rogue’ by Tonya Coffey

Title: Rogue (A Valkyrie Tale Book 1)

Published: 29th January 2017

Author: Tonya Coffey

Facebook: www.facebook.com/coffeytonya

Twitter: @coffeytonya1

 

Synopsis:

Clytie, a Valkyrie, finds herself questioning Odin’s orders when Psyche comes for a shape-shifting panther, Storm. He rescues Clytie from a giant and something inside of her changes. A spark ignites; triggering an emotion Valkyries are forbidden to experience. Following her new feelings, she turns her back on all she knows to be with Storm. However, she knows it’s only a matter of time before Odin puts a price on their heads.

Odin furious with his Valkyrie for disobeying him, and proving the Well right, accepts the War is coming and Clytie will be the goddess who dethrones him, unless her sister stops her first.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with a beautiful cover. Well it is purple and that’s my favourite colour so kind of gives it an edge. Warriors, wolves, shifters, gods of war and Valkyrie’s alike must come together to fight the battle that’s brewing. Odin must be stopped and it looks like they are just the ones to do it.

Clytie seems to have gotten herself in a bit of a tricky situation right from the get go. Luckily it seems that a black panther shifter, Storm, is there to help, seemingly having an overwhelming urge to protect her. Thing is he gets hurt and is near death, near enough for Psyche, Clytie’s sister, to come to take him to be a part of Odin’s army, something Clytie feels compelled to stop. Seems they both want to protect the other but have no idea why. Fate has pulled them together but will it keep them together? Odin might have a few words to say about that.

Clytie knows the moment her sister tells Odin of what she has done the whole of Asgard will come for them. Her sister included, the one she will need to watch out for the most. She might now be a rogue but she’s one with a panther shifter on her side so that has to count for something, right? He’s saved her life in a battle so it’s only fair she save his. Almost like ‘tag you’re it’, next time you save me.

The connection between them is so strong and neither can deny it for long. When the running danger comes too close the heat rises to the surface. A kiss to connect but in the process brings a storm in itself. Clytie was once told of a story about the Valkyrie of the earth – the ultimate Valkyrie. Fearing she is part of it, and not knowing the whole story, she runs from the one person she needs most. She is their goddess, their savior and it’s something she can’t run from.

Seems Psyche has her own protector in Borea, who inadvertently gets himself in hot water so feels the need to protect her from what’s coming. He knows she will follow Odin’s orders but will her love for her sister stop her from completing the mission? Seems when you go out of your way to stop a prophecy from coming true you end up creating the reason for why its meant to happen in the first place. Something Odin should think on with what’s to come. Those who serve must follow orders but what happens when they know they shouldn’t? A battle is coming but which side will come out on top?

Two prophecies for the price of one. Not only was an ultimate Valkyrie promised but also the shifters were told of a great Alpha from Storm’s pride that would lead them. Two prophecies coming together to create the ultimate power couple? A storm is brewing, quite literally, and it’s my favourite colour – purple! What’s not to love?

Interesting mystical world you are thrown into with this one. A journey like none other that is full force forward right from the get go. Fate and prophecies will not be denied and those that go against them will soon see the error of their ways. A battle might be won but the war is still to play for. With Storm by Clytie’s side they can do anything. Let the journey continue.

4.5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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