Category Archives: Fantasy

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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Book Review: ‘DarkSkull Hall’ by Lisa Cassidy

Title: DarkSkull Hall (The Mage Chronicles Book 1)

Published: 4th December 2016

Publisher: Tate House

Author: Lisa Cassidy

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Lisa-Cassidy

Twitter: @LCass_writes

Instagram: www.instagram.com/lcasswrites

 

Synopsis:

Dive into the first book of epic young adult fantasy series The Mage Chronicles…

DarkSkull Hall. Secretive, gloomy and wreathed in magic. A place where young men and women with magic are turned into mages… if they survive the training.

When Alyx Egalion is sent there just after her sixteenth birthday, she despairs. Nobody at DarkSkull cares that she’s the daughter of Rionn’s most powerful and wealthy lord, or that she’s practically betrothed to the future king, her best friend Cayr.

Trapped there by her father’s order for a full year, all she wants is to get back home to Cayr and her friends. Yet surviving DarkSkull is no easy task, and unable to access her magic, Alyx has nothing but her growing friendship with a handful of DarkSkull’s other misfits and her own wits to rely on.

And the longer she spends at DarkSkull, the more she discovers about the terrible secrets that hide her true past—secrets that challenge everything she’s ever believed in. Outside DarkSkull, the shadows are gathering and a long held peace begins to crack… could Alyx’s long-buried magic be the one thing that saves them all?

Book 2 of The Mage Chronicles – Taliath – is available at thbooks.press/TaliathUS.

Book 3 of The Mage Chronicles – Darkmage – is available at thbooks.press/DarkmageUS

 

Review:

Mystery and magic coming together to create an interesting adventure for Alyx – not that she really wants it. Just give her time though, she’ll soon show everyone just what she can do.

Alyx was separated from her brother and mother at the age of five all in the name of protecting her. From what she has no idea, she just has to trust that her father and his powerful friends (Astor her godfather and the kings lord-mage along with the king himself to name a few) will keep her safe from dangers that circle. The thing is she has no memory of any of this, so it could come back to haunt her and her father. Safe for a time in Rionn maybe but you know is soon to change.

Alyx seems to have had a life of luxury with growing up in Rionn. Doesn’t hurt that her best friend Cayr just happens to be the Prince. Things are changing between them though, playing alone at five is one thing but now they are older people are going to talk. Stolen kisses from newfound declarations should have been the start of something great but when the new lord-mage Casovar comes to town he causes her world to be turned upside down. And that’s not the only thing to worry about with the uneasy truce between Rionn and Shivasa on thin ice. The only way to protect Rionn is to have powerful mages keeping a watchful eye, but new mages have been few and far between.

Seems Alyx has always had the potential to become a mage – not that she knew – as her mother was one and when Casovar sees her he sees potential. To become a mage she needs to be sent to DarkSkull Hall and well if the king has ordered it there is nothing her father can do to stop it. The trip to get there is over land near enemy borders and even with 20 warrior bluecoat guards you know trouble to going to follow them. She’ll give them a year to see if her magic comes out, if not then she can come home, but she needs to at least try. So Alyx, along with a set of twins, Finn and Dawn, are off to DarkSkull Hall. Dawn’s power has awakened so its good odds Finn’s will too, whether they want their gifts is another matter entirely.

The journey there might at first seem to create the most trouble and danger when they get into the disputed area but that will soon be a thing of the past. They get a bit too close to comfort to the Lord of Widow Falls – claimed to be a mad old man – but instead encounter his son Ladan. His men might have got them out of a sticky spot but he has a mysterious air about him. The fact he wishes to go to DarkSkull Hall with them to train causes a bit of concern. What are his true motives? Is he really just trying to protect her? Didn’t take me too long to figure out who he might be, well written all the same.

Now this is a school where titles mean nothing so Alyx is going to have to learn things the hard way. Let’s see how she gets on – not well I’m thinking. Alyx, Dawn and Finn are the new kids on the block and will have to work together to make it through. Let’s see if they can make some new friends, and not enemies, along the way. Master Howell, Brynn and Tarrick would be a good start. Fengel and Galien on the other hand would be a no. Starts to get going a bit more when they are actually at DarkSkull starting their training. Alyx may not think she has magic but I’m guessing it’s going to come out in a big way just in the nick of time. Bullies are one thing but are they the only threat that’s coming her way? Who is really on her side and who is looking out for themselves? With memories taken I wonder if she can create a spell to get them back. They could fill in a lot of blanks.

Funny how much she changed but didn’t realize until she went home. What she liked to do and talk/gossip about now bores her. She just wanted her friends from school. Expect a big blow out with her father when she demands some answers. A little slow to start but picks up more when Alyx has been at the school a while. Twists and turns along the way. Secrets and lies mixed with mage magic. The place she doesn’t want to be at might just be the place she’s meant to be to find her true self.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Tate House Books for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘The Killing Grounds’ by Simon Corn

Title: The Killing Grounds (The Assassin Series Book 1)

Published: 1st April 2016

Author: Simon Corn

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SimonCornAuthor

Twitter: @si_corn_author

 

Synopsis:

Alara has only one choice to make, kill or be killed. Assassins are waiting in every shadow and she needs to finish in the top five in her class or she will be retired to the mines with the rest of the failures. Lord Osari, the most deadly assassin in city has chosen her as his apprentice and she intends to live up to his standards, no matter the cost. But when Lord Osari goes missing in action, Alara finds herself alone in a nest of young assassins, and with no one to trust she will have to retire them all and rescue her Lord by herself. After all, assassins have no friends. Her story takes her on a roller-coaster journey where she finds both good and evil lurking in the hallways of the rich and powerful families and three mythical dragon statues that hold everything together. But where there’s power there’s politics and with politics there’s greed and in the middle of it all stands the Assassin’s Guild, The Killing Grounds!

 

Review:

An interesting fantasy thriller read that is going to keep you guessing throughout, especially when it throws in a few twists and turns along the way.

The world changed after the ABC wars, which affected the Poles, shifting them so it changed how the world, and everything in it, worked. Holes in ozone layers appeared, magnetic waves started altering satellites, TV, Internet, radio and even animal populations who used them to survive suffered. Everything was thrown into chaos. These changes however brought with them gifts, something happened to the people who survived – they started to get powers, magic – they became Artists. A gift or a curse? There are always two sides to everything.

Now in this new world if you do something wrong you are retired to the mines. Retired as in dead to be brought back to work. Well for some anyway, others I’m guessing would just stay dead. This would be the job of an Assassin. Osari, a high level Guild Assassin, knows trouble is brewing and it starts with the arrival of Alara, his new spotter – someone who has to see the kill so he can get paid. She might have gone to him to be his new spotter but it seems he wants her to be his apprentice instead. Something to do with a tale long told to him about how he may have to rely on a stranger with certain gifts. Training begins at the Killing Grounds, where not everything is as it seems.

Now the Quartermaster at the Killing Grounds is someone you don’t want to mess with. He is the person that bounties of people to be taken out go to, all having committed a crime of some sort. He also seems to be a powerful Artist – side note mind tricks can be painful so Alara better watch out. He has some sound advice for when she starts training, inside the walls she’s safe but out she’s fair game. Every other apprentice in the Killing Grounds is an enemy and would try to kill her first chance they get. She needs to watch her back with the path she has chosen. This training school is a bit different with how you pass. It’s large at 32 and with the instructors wanting it to be cut down quick things are about to get dicey. Only top 5 will go into the Guild to become Assassins, so to get there a lot of others are going to need to go and by go I mean gone for good.

Now this is one class you don’t really want to be making friends. Gideon seems pleasant enough but whether he’s friend or foe only time will tell. He is the A1 for the group, top of the class. Black, A2, is very standoffish but could come in handy when trouble arises. They definitely have a bit of a rivalry complex with each other. There are only 3 other girls for Alara to contend with, Lucinda being the only one of note to worry about.

Training is hard enough but when word comes of Lord Osari’s early retirement Alara she knows she needs to watch her back, as danger might be coming from more than just her classmates. She might be catching up in the credits to go up in rankings but still has a way to go. When the council send members to ask questions about who could have retired Lord Osari, as it might be someone from her class, she knows she needs to find out too. She starts by finding his death stone within the Assassins vault. Each apprentice gets one, half to stay with you and the other for the vault, and only when you have been retired will it die. When she sees his still have life in it she knows he has been taken. She just needs to figure out by whom, how to get him back and how it’s linked to her. Is there anyone she can trust to help? Something has been set in motion; she just needs to figure out what before the danger gets too close.

Alara, Black and Lucinda are a team to be reckoned with. But are they really ready? Graduation is deadly but what follows is about to get worse. A twist at the end you won’t see coming. Whose side will our 3 assassins fall on and who really has Lord Osari? Answers entwined in this fast paced thriller read.

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: ‘The Time Bender’ by Debra Chapoton

Title: The Time Bender: An Alien Teen Fantasy Adventure

Published: 13th September 2017

Author: Debra Chapoton

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BigPineLodgeBooks

Twitter: @Debra_Chapoton

 

Synopsis:

Humor, charm, romance and intriguing characters fill this first book of THE TIME BENDER series.

Marcum arrives on an alien spaceship to search Earth for a girl he’s learned can manipulate Time itself. During a sudden snowstorm he finds Selina. Their connection is immediate, delicate and elusive. This shy and strange girl can slow time to a crawl and make his awkward advances both painful and wondrous. Marcum must abduct her for the good of his side of the galaxy, but he falls for Selina.  Now he’s caught between duty and compassion … or maybe it’s love.

 

Review:

A quirky, humorous, teen love rival, sci-fi mixed read with some aliens on a secret mission in the middle of a war searching for a time bender to help them thrown in for good measure.

Selina has always felt different but it isn’t until two mysterious exchange students come onto the scene that she starts to see things in a different light. Maybe she isn’t as strange as she first thought. Or more to the point maybe it’s just that she needed to go somewhere where she really belongs.

Selina suffers from social anxiety a lot and seems to rely on her best friend Alex just to get through the day. The only person – other than her brother Buddy – who can get her to smile and not feel like such an outcast. He has always been there for her and continues to be her guardian no matter what, or who, comes their way. Her journey starts with her wanting to wish on a star for something new. An adventure would be fun but getting a boyfriend is getting to be the top of the list. She should be careful what she wishes for because it might just come true.

On a dark night, when the lights have cut out, Selina notices someone wondering around her garden in the snow. Thinking its Alex – as he is her neighbour – she calls him over to get out of the snow. She gets a little surprise when Marcum comes through the door instead. No coat so freezing he tries to explain who he is. Really it’s more her saying ‘are you this’ and him saying yes. Thinking he’s just an exchange student – a hot one mind you – she helps him stay warm until the lights come on. When they do however she all but pushes him out the door. Seems she was bold in the dark but as soon as the lights are on reality sets in and her anxiety comes full force. Now one hot exchange student stranger is unusual but two would be unheard of in her little town. So when Coreg makes an appearance at school and tries to get her attention she doesn’t quite know how to act. These two strangers seem to take a liking for Selina and want her to come with them for something. Warning bells for Alex as he doesn’t really trust their motives. Good job too as they both came with the objection of taking her back to their home planet Klaqin to help fight a deadly war with her skill set – not that she knows this yet.

Seems Selina has a gift, one she never noticed before but can seem to use without trying. She can slow down time and not just in her head. She only learns this after Marcum comes to her house again to try to explain things. ‘Do you want to see my spaceship?’ A video game this is not. A trip to space but was it real or not? The fact she was missing for hours would suggest the later. Can she trust either guy with what they tell her? They seem to only have their own interests at heart, not hers, not like Alex always has. Could he be her knight in shining armour when trouble arises? He could lend a hand after finding out a secret of his own. She may not be the only one special in this town.

Now this picks up a bit more at the end when you get a space battle thrown in. What good space battle would be complete without a little romantic drama thrown in for good measure? Where does Selina’s heart truly lie and who will step up to help? A battle may be over but the war is about to begin. Fight to save their planet is key, but which planet will they be on to help.

Interesting story but could have developed the characters a bit more, rest of the series should see to this. Easy to read but I did find that this book is really aimed at a young adult audience though as parts did feel a bit childish to me. The whole ‘cue the blush’, ‘drop head, shrink to nothing’ or ‘hear the crickets’ side comments Selina always seems to add can get a bit annoying at times. I guess it’s sort of a way to see what’s going on in her head but not always needed. The start of a quirky story though where much is still to be explored. Not just with the war coming but emotions too.

3 out of 5 stars

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

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