Category Archives: Fantasy

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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Book Review: ‘Harkworth Hall’ by L.S. Johnson

Title: Harkworth Hall

Published: 1st August 2017

Author: L.S. Johnson

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lsjauthor

Twitter: @ls_johnson

 

Synopsis:

Caroline Daniels must marry, and marry well. But in her remote corner of England eligible suitors are few and far between, and none hold a candle to her closest friend, Diana Fitzroy.

When Sir Edward Masterson arrives, he seems the answer to Caroline’s financial worries, though she instinctively dislikes the reticent, older merchant. Soon Sir Edward has set his sights on acquiring both Caroline and the decaying Harkworth Hall.

Caroline’s future seems secure, save that Sir Edward’s enigmatic secretary hints at a dark secret, and Sir Edward shows an unusual interest in the nearby bay. To discover Sir Edward’s true purpose, Caroline will have to face the horror beneath Harkworth Hall—and the woman who will change her life.

 

Review:

This is a gothic mystery story with a twist, so hold on for an intriguing ride with this one. Just when you think this could be a romance story when a mystery man comes on the scene it turns on its head with a bit of a paranormal mystery. Be wary of birds leaving in hoards as it would mean danger, or evil, is on its way.

Caroline is in for a mysterious journey when a stranger comes to town to take up residence in the equally mysterious Harkworth Hall. Sir Edward Masterson seems quite charismatic and charms most he meets – Caroline’s father being top of that list. So much so that he wants to go into business with him. Well her father also wants something else that could help Caroline, that in the form of a marriage to someone seemingly respectable. Caroline has never really been that focused on marriage, not like her friend Diana, but seems willing to do more if it will help her father in anyway. She knows he needs funds so this would help but isn’t going out of her way to meet Sir Edward Masterson just yet. Seems her father knows her well so brings him and his secretary Mr Jonathan Chase to her – someone else who seems to hold a secret close to their chest. Dinner guests make the house go a little crazy with trying to get everything ready. There is only so much that Caroline and the housekeepers Mr. and Mrs. Simmons can do. Dinner is one thing to get through but her father has invited Edward to stay with them until Harkworth Hall is ready for him. The house has been empty for years and just the looks of it would put the chills in you. Let alone the chills Caroline gets whenever Edward is near. There is something about him she just doesn’t trust but is she the only one?

Maybe not as Mr Chase gives off the impression that she should stay clear of Edward and Harkworth Hall altogether – not that she really wants to get close to either anyway. Mr Chase is a mystery too, Caroline knows there is more than meets the eye and it won’t take her long to uncover secrets hidden. Whether Mr Chase is there to help or hinder her in figuring out what darkness may be upon them is unclear but it’s something she needs to figure out fast with the disappearance of a local girl who was on route to Harkworth Hall.

Caroline is the kind of person that once she has her mind set on something she won’t stop until she figures it all out. She was told to stay away from Edward, something she is fine with really, but knows she needs to go to the house to figure out more of a mystery. It doesn’t help that she has been having bad dreams of late – a clue to what’s coming perhaps? An eye in the sea calling to her and needing something only she can give. Some paper clippings of women going missing and being murdered draws a dark picture on what may be coming and who might be involved. Is Edward who he says he is? Can she trust those she has known for years? Will a stranger be there to lend a hand in times of need? One thing is clear and that’s that she should always trust her first instincts, as they don’t seem to lead her wrong. Just maybe into dangerous situations first before trying to get back out again.

Interesting mystery mixed with a paranormal twist and intrigued with what is really happening at Harkworth Hall. Who you can really trust will be tested and what lies beneath might not be the only danger that draws near.

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: ‘Deity’s Soulmate’ by Angelina Kerner

Title: Deity’s Soulmate (The Goddess Training Trilogy Book 1)

Published: 3rd April 2017

Author: Angelina Kerner

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AngelinaKernerFiction

Twitter: @kernerangelina

Instagram: www.instagram.com/angelinakerner

 

Synopsis:

From author Angelina Kerner (Seven Hours: Challenge Accepted) comes an all-new fantasy series about Gardenia, a daughter of Athena, and her 100 years of coursework on how to create whole new worlds and subjects of her own.

A sheltered schoolchild in a realm of condescending gods and goddesses, Gardenia goes to Earth on a dare to witness the unsavory side of mankind for herself. Believing she can do better, she undertakes the formation of an entire galaxy, but without permission from Zeus.

Zeus disciplines her by assigning an epic 13-fold creational lesson destined to take her a century to complete. But he is taken aback once more when she makes an odd choice. She vows to fulfill this knowledge quest by tracking down a lost race of dragons, and discovering the secrets they’ve kept since time began.

Searching the universe to meet even one dragon may be a fool’s errand, but that’s the least of her worries. For ancient wartime resentments linger between the nations of dragons and deities, and some dragons would attack Gardenia on sight!

Yet she ventures out undaunted, learning unexpected things about nomadic life, tender love, and mortal peril along the way. The biggest surprise of all, though, goes by the name of Ri. Ri may be the man of her dreams, the voice in her head, the dragon she’s seeking, or all these things and more…

Meanwhile, the Fates brew sordid plans of their own and Hera jealously sets traps and trials for Gardenia at every chance. What’s a young goddess to do? Flight or fight?

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book that made you laugh out loud. Closer to the end that is when pranks start to play a part in the training. Seems karma has a way of coming back around as Gardenia gets a taste of her own medicine.

Gardenia is the youngest goddess at 18 and is soon to start her training in creating worlds, something her mother is Athena is proud of. She always thought Apollo was her father but due to the Fates being able to see more – and because they like to meddle – she finds out that Zeus is really her father. She is none too happy about that fact; neither is her mother. With her training about to start, and thinking her own family now corrupt, she wants different teachers, dragons to be specific. The dragons came first so she thinks they will give her a better view on creation. She just needs to find some to teach her the 13 days of creation – a different dragon for each day. Finding one is hard enough but 13 might be asking for trouble. Lets see how her plan plays out and 100 years of training begins.

So the task has begun to find a dragon and she has multiple universes to search. She just needs to go to one where people have at least heard of them. Her search isn’t in vain as she comes across a human who knows where a dragon might be hiding on his planet. Villam is an Earth dragon who likes to take things at a relaxed pace. Note to self, a dragon’s nap is a lot longer than you might think, but hey at least you would be rested. Seems when the lessons start for day one she figures out how useful wings could be. Time for some creative magic it seems.

Gardenia has the handy ability to be able to change her appearance no matter the planets race – the better to blend in. After completing day one she sets off for another planet, one her aunt created. It’s just going to take six months to get there so she might as well make some friends and more along the way. But a silver headed man with green eyes keeps popping into her mind and dreams. Someone she is destined to meet perhaps?

New planet and new teacher called Wind. It seems they like getting her to recite the 13 days of creation. Unlike Villiam, Wind just needs to say certain words to create the stages in a mini galaxy display for her. Villiam gave her knowledge but it seems Wind wants her to work things out herself as day two is about creating life. So he’s just going to watch so she doesn’t die – nice cheery teacher then! Learning by sleeping seems like an interesting idea but be weary of what you learn. Her family really doesn’t have her best interests at heart – Hera being top of that list! A lesson learned and as a reward it seems dragon racing is the event of the day. Racing round Saturn’s rings sure sounds like fun.

Years seem to pass by quickly with each days training but with only two down she needs to pick up the pace. Having a set of dragon twins, silver this time, Ri and Ra helping her out for days three and four seems just the ticket. Love the back and forth conversations they have, almost as if Gardenia isn’t there. She might be learning more than just the days with these two, her history and Fates plans coming into play. She also learns something new in that dragons have the ability to shift to human state. Once Ri does she gets the feeling she has met him before. Before the day training begins it seems her physical training needs to improve first – hello bootcamp. It also seems that living with these two while training brings pranks coming in thick and fast, karma is a bitch but amusing to see. Trouble is that the longer she views Ri in his human form the more she forgets what he truly is – a dragon. Does she follow her heart or hide it?

Ra’s training isn’t much of a walk in the park either but that’s going to be the least of Gardenia’s problems when the Fates start sticking their ore in. Them and the Gods don’t mix. They seem to have an end game but are they really a step ahead? Trouble might be brewing with her family but it seems dragons were always meant to be apart of her life. Can they help in the days to come? Could a war be brewing? Will she ever get to finish her training? Those, and many more, questions hopefully will be answered in the books to come. It definitely picked up more when she aged as a character. It was good to see the distinction between naive teenager to a more knowledgeable adult. I like the drawings throughout, gives a little visual idea of what everyone is talking about. Fun fantasy read that keeps you hooked till the end. Will be interesting to see where things go from here on out.

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: ‘Spellcaster’ by George Bachman

Title: Spellcaster

Published: 3rd April 2017

Publisher: Sublime Ltd

Author: George Bachman

Facebook: www.facebook.com/OfficialBachman

Twitter: @OfficialBachman

 

Synopsis:

In a turn-of-the century England steeped in steampunk and magic, Christine learns her life-threatening illness stems from her paranormal visions. During the London Season, Allie, her beloved sister and the family heir, seeks a noble match while she searches the occult underground for answers. But the only witch who can help will not do so unless Allie marries her beau, an impoverished aristocrat, so that the illicit pair can share Allie’s wealth.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book involving time travel. Well in a way it does as you have reincarnated souls needing to travel back to their past lives to finish a quest they were on to stop a great evil.

Christine has always felt different, mainly with the things she can do – a witch’s craft growing perhaps? Right from the start she feels the need to search for two people – Rodham and Valerie – though she doesn’t really know why, just that she needs to. She keeps calling on different spirits to help her quest, each stronger than the last, to try to find them. Seems in a way she is also connected to someone Rodham knows. Spirits reincarnates perhaps? So whom have they really gone into? Seems this is where Sir Thomas comes into play – her past life. Seems these past lives have merged with the present ones and might even be able to manipulate them into doing things to help their cause – no matter the trouble it causes.

She also seems to get weird feelings about certain people or situations but doesn’t really know what to do about them when they come about. Could this really be her or is it more to do with Sir Thomas? In his time magic is around more openly and this could be what she is drawing her feelings from. Could bad feelings be because the people she meets have past souls she, or more precisely Sir Thomas, knew.

One of the things that might be more her past self’s doing than her own is helping Lord Serton woo her close friend Allie. The reason isn’t for true love but more to do with what Lady Kinloss can gain and help her with if the match is set. From this moment on Christine has almost been charged with seeing all those close to her wed by her friends and Allie’s sisters. A job she may wish she never agreed to help with. Might get a lot of matches but are they happy ones? Allie’s it seems might not be. Whether she can find a way out of it though only time will tell.

This is where the story becomes a two in one, with reincarnation playing a part and time going forward and back. I found at times though that I was never quite sure whose head I was in. So it might have benefited with names at the top of chapters so you could understand quicker whether you were inside Christine’s head or Sir Thomas’s. The story shifts to focus more on Sir Thomas near the end than Christine. She was almost a means to an end to get him back to where it all started so he could defeat a great evil.

The great evil to be defeated in the past before the future is lost is Hane, a Spellcaster who seems to be ruling by an evil hand. His actions saw a turn of events lead those around into a darker future. His followers seem to have gone into their future selves to try to stop Sir Thomas – aka Christine – and Rodham – aka Edmund – from getting the key back to their time along with an urn. Both needed in taking the spellcaster and his followers down. Once the master fails his kingdom soon crumbles. Let’s see if our time travelling souls can get the job done.

I found this book a bit hard to get into to begin with. Mainly due to the amount of characters being introduced that surrounded Christine. Just when you think the story is going one way it changes course. Now this is actually where the story picked up a bit better. When you go back to the past lives and see how they fair in their quest. Can they save the day to take down an evil ruler? Only time will tell. I feel it could have been split into two books with the first half being closed off a bit better when the stories focus shifts. One had closure but the other is left open. Seems once a mind has merged it’s hard to break completely as they are still plague by what they had to do to get the job done.

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: ‘The Magicians Workshop Volume One’ by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr

Title: The Magicians Workshop Volume One

Published: 8th November 2016

Authors: Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Magiciansworkshop

Twitter: @HansenFehr

 

Synopsis:

Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is granted the title of magician and is given fame, power, riches, and glory. This volume of books follows the journey of a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.

Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.

Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with a number in the title. Seems some have gifts stronger than others but if you don’t have a colour pulled at the ceremony it will be for nothing. Each tale is different from the last but you know that eventually all players will be pulled into the same place. To what end is unclear, only time will tell.

We start with Layauna, a young magician coming into her very powerful powers. Hers seem to be haunting monstrous projection spells though, ones she can’t control yet. It’s a good thing that her grandfather, a very powerful magician, is taking her to the magician’s workshop to train then. Takes a while before we come back to her story and when we do it seems she’s in a loop of how she started, a dome that creates it. Trying to change what happened and control what she creates instead of them being too powerful after she’s created them. With how things pan out it’s not going too well to begin with and she’s been at it a while. Seems her creations might be able to become solid. A dream gift to others but a nightmare to her with what they can do. Nightmare is right; as that’s the kind of things she creates. Just needs longer to control them.

We then start to follow Kai and his friends Talia, Snap, Weston and Luge. Something that draws Kia apart from his friends is that he has a finger of a flame on his hand that won’t ever go out. They all seem to be good at projection spells with knowing what they want to create and being able to control them. Well to a point anyway. Creating a monster for a game is one thing but when it gets out of hand trouble is on its way. Could it affect his flame? People on the island think he’s trouble and after a game gone wrong, could they be right? Seems punishment was cast all round with a projection that got out of hand. Shouldn’t punish too harshly though as it seems the island is suffering due to a lack of a magician and these kids might be the future. So lets see if these creative kids have some colours on the day.

Thought Snaps dad Limmick was a right laugh. His reaction to the kids projecting something they shouldn’t have isn’t anger its ore, as he is so impressed with what they can do. Jade, Kai’s grandmother was interesting too. The fall of her husband and son, Kai’s father, put a dark mark on the family. Kai knows if he doesn’t become a magician he can’t pull them out of their misfortune. Something tourists pay good money to see so silver lining in a little way until time changes their fate.

Kaso has magic inside him too but because he’s an orphan he can’t take part in the colour ceremony until he’s 19, 3 years away. He has the ability to create warmth, which seems handy when the cold comes in. He has a younger brother he longs to protect, Coby. If he goes to region 2 he can go in the ceremony where everyone is already convinced he will have a colour and become a magician. Should he really trust strangers to get him and his brother there though? Eccentric poozers they may be but lets hope they keep their word.

Kalaya and her boyfriend Jaremon seem to be in training mode for her. He’s a mage already, his colour being green. She’s about to go to the ceremony to see the puller. Now she may be able to create things its just the colour of them that’s causing her trouble. Funny thing is that none of them really touch anyone else. You may project the feeling of touch but not many do and to physically touch is unheard of. Join later to see her in the testing stages to receive coins. More coins you have the more freedom you have to practice projections. Also helps with chances at the ceremony with getting a colour.

Let the ceremony begin. Looks like a lot of interesting young characters are about to start training at the magicians’ workshop. Time for a new era of magicians it seems. Emotions seem to play a part in what these kids can do when the time comes to test at 16. An interesting read that does draw you in but there are quite a few main and side characters to try to follow. Maybe when more are linked together it will be a little easier to follow where they might be going and how their lives are going to change forever after the colour ceremony starts. Volume 2 it seems holds all the clues.

4 out of 5 stars

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

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