Category Archives: Fantasy

Book Review: ‘A Girl Named Calamity’ by Danielle Lori

Title: A Girl Named Calamity (Alyria Book 1)

Published: 12th July 2016

Author: Danielle Lori

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authordaniellelori

Twitter: @daniellelori2

Instagram: www.instagram.com/danielleloriwrites

 

Blurb:

*This is a New Adult Fantasy Romance*

I was a simple farm girl living in the magical land, Alyria, where men ruled and women only existed.

Call me sheltered. Call me naive. I was probably both. I never expected to be the key to Alyria’s destruction.

The journey I was on wasn’t only one to save me. But one where I had a lot of learning to do. With men. With magic. And with myself.

But I wasn’t alone. I had an escort. One I wasn’t so sure about. But one I couldn’t afford to lose and one I wasn’t so sure I could even leave.

I had many hopes. But the most important one was that my name wouldn’t become my fate.

WARNING: This novel contains blood, violence, profanity, and some sexual content.
It does end on a cliffhanger.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book that features supernatural powers. Magic used to flow around more freely within many people, but now just a few. Those with it will always seek more power. It is locked into the world around them. If someone has a key to unlock it think of the magic they could posses. A fantasy adventure to be taken along on but be warned it does leave on a cliffhanger!

So even though Calamity’s Grandmother is only in the very begin she does make an impact. Pop off to town and come back with a horse, well of course you did Grandmother lol. Seems she foresaw Cal would soon be of need of it, more to her than meets the eye, for one thing she has healing magic in her. Something Cal always wished that she would have too but was always told she didn’t. She has a pair of silver cuffs that she must never take off. Something of value or something holding in magic so she is left unaware? Could they be hiding her from those that could cause her harm? The truth in that is about to be revealed.

Trouble arrives at their door in the middle of the night when Reina – Cal’s mother who she doesn’t remember – comes to steal one of the cuffs. The moment it is off her Grandmother knows Cal has to run, as she will no longer be safe in Alger. The shock of finding out who, or rather what, her mother is has to be pushed aside for the journey she is about to take, one without her Grandmother.

Escape and run away as fast as possible from dangers that are soon to follow. That’s the only thought running through her head at her Grandmother’s warning, not that she completely believes what she was told. A route through the red forest is the path chosen – let’s just say it’s called that for a reason! Scary place to travel but better than the darkness coming for her and her ‘unknown to her’ magic just waiting to be released. She must get through to the next town to find herself an escort to guide her across Alyria to Undaley to where she will be safe. An escort needed but having extra skills as an assassin might come in handy. Hello Weston, warrior ex-Titan turned assassin with enough raw malice vibe energy around him to make you tremble in your boots with a stare, fancy helping our girl? What can be said with no words, a lot it seems. He might be her guide but that doesn’t mean they need to talk. Funny how she didn’t realise how much she liked to talk until she couldn’t.

Stopping at towns along the way can make for interesting interludes. Going for a bath in one with, to her, bad smelling soap from a stranger has a strange affect on some men, Weston being one of them. He doesn’t want the temptation so throwing her into a pool of water for her to wash it off is one way to solve it. Not that she really understood why he wanted her to wash it off, I mean she knew she stank but thought he wouldn’t care. Oh how wrong you were! Small shops along the way have a pull towards them for Cal as well. Magic inside that might help her out of her predicament. Some – if not all – are surely to back fire and she may or may not like the results.

Funny how she keeps thinking Weston might have magic, as he can always tell what she is thinking. True or not it might have more to do with her thoughts being written all over her face. As the journey continues she’s going to need to work on that to stay safe. Does her guide have ulterior motives for helping her? Something about him is different and Cal has to figure out how safe she really is, with or without him. He does keep saving her from danger – the Untouchables and Mages being top of that list – but for what purpose. Out of the frying pan and into the fire on more than one occasion. No matter how hard she tries she just can’t catch a break.

Red haze or blue haze – come on girl which one do you want most? Love (or maybe rather lust) and hate are two sides of the same coin in regards to Cal and Weston. They know just the right buttons to push to get a rise out of the other but there is chemistry and denied passion just waiting to find a release. She may not trust her assassin guide but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want him or feel a perverse sense of safeness in his presence. She just needs to figure out his true motives. The seal for all magic is what those chasing her want her to open and she is the only one who can do it. So far she has no faith in that and thinks they have the wrong girl.

Interesting read that had me hooked right from the start. The chemistry between Calamity and Weston is great. Fighting each other along the way but also feeling a need to stay close at the same time as wanting to escape. At war with her own feelings she has for him and the weight of the world on her shoulders for fear of letting Alyria down and causing death and destruction by opening the seal. No pressure then! Now we do end on a cliffhanger, but that just leaves you wanting more. Where do we go from here? Book 2 and 3 I think.

5 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: ‘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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