Category Archives: Fantasy

Book Review: ‘Scavenger Girl: Season of Atchem’ by Jennifer Arnston

Title: Scavenger Girl: Season of Atchem

Published: 20th October 2017

Author: Jennifer Arnston

Facebook: www.facebook.com/scavengergirl

Twitter: @JennArntson and @Una_of_Ashlund

Instagram: www.instagram.com/scavenger_girl_series

 

Synopsis:

Stripped of their birthright and shunned by the people of Ashlund, Una and her family are forced to live on the fringe of society as Scavengers. There is no question that her family’s bond is strong, but the law of the Authority is stronger…and soon it will come to collect her. After all, the family is on borrowed time already.

When a night of torment and truth reveals well kept secrets, Una takes new freedoms – free from the Authority, her family, and possibly her fate. Pulled between the life she’s always known and a world where status and rituals are everything, Una struggles to understand a culture that has rejected all she holds dear. As Atchem comes to an end and she learns who she really is, will Una find the courage to do what it takes to ensure her family’s survival, or will she find the faith to follow her heart?

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book set on another planet. Now this world is similar to our own but different in others. More moons for one so I’m counting it as another planet. An interesting one to delve into anyway so enjoy.

Delve into a fantasy world with a family full of secrets and mystery. When these secrets come out they could turn their world up side down in a moment. Dreams could be clues and if you get a weird feeling about someone you should really listen to it.

Una, Calish, Marsh’s parents have been stripped of their birthright as Citizens, which branded them and their future children as Scavengers. They survive by picking up what others too easily discard without really being seen. Scavengers have much to be fearful of with the Authority. The first being that any daughters they have are sold at the first sign of womanhood at the festival, said festival coming up with Una soon to be attending. The other being the Talium Hunt where if her family aren’t safe behind their barriers it seems they are fair game in the hunt. All Una really wants is a way to protect her family from what’s coming. Seems a vision put everything in motion from the moment she was born. She’s different and is only now starting to figure out the world around her and her place in it.

A way for Una to save her family and get security for herself comes in the form of Blue. Now don’t get too blown over with his soft charm to begin with, as he seems to have an entitled feel to him the more you get to know him. He gets what he wants when he wants and right know he wants Una. He might want to shower her with gifts but the luxuries of the Citizens grow old when you see how twisted they have become with the gods they worship. Seems a lesson has been lost along the way. Blue says he will give her time to win her heart but that’s going to be hard to do as it belongs to another.

Una has a lot of thinking to do and it’s not helped when she is almost thrown into the deep end with what the festival is really like. Her family only has to by law attend the last evening and you can see why they would have shielded her from the other days. This is not a festival to be celebrated as some really despicable things happen there in the name of their “gods”. Things Una wishes she could unsee. Seems her mother might have the right idea to just worship the Great One. Seems we might be seeing a bit more of this in future books.

Now one brother’s story I didn’t see coming but the others and hers you could see a mile off. But that was from snippets of conversations people were either having to Una or around her when they thought she wasn’t listening. It’s giving you breadcrumb clues to try and see if you can figure it out before she does.

A good setup for the fantasy world created, very imaginative. Good at interlinking the story around the world and leading you on a journey with Una. Who she chooses and where her journey goes from here on out will be interesting to see. Is she to follow her heart for herself or her head to protect her family? Lets hope we find out soon.

4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘The Heart of Stone’ by Ben Galley

Published: 30th March 2017

Author: Ben Galley

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bengalleyauthor

Twitter: @bengalley

 

Synopsis:

Merciless. Murderer. Monster. He has been called many names in his time.

Built for war and nothing else, he has witnessed every shade of violence humans know, and he has wrought his own masterpieces with their colours. He cared once, perhaps, but far too long ago. He is bound to his task, dead to the chaos he wreaks for his masters.

Now, he has a new master to serve and a new war to endure. In the far reaches of the Realm, Hartlund tears itself in two over coin and crown. This time he will fight for a boy king and a general bent on victory.

Beneath it all he longs for change. For something to surprise him. For an end to this cycle of warfare.

Every fighter has a last fight. Even one made of stone.

 

Review:

This is an intricate story linking together a multitude of players from many sides of the same war fighting for Hartlund. You have the Truehards and the Fadings battling it out, along with the Treyarch who use old magic and a few others who seem to be crossing sides many times over. Are some people playing two sides, three or more because many have their own views on how they want this war to end? How it ends has a lot to do with how everything started. You just need to fill in the blanks about who the players are and what their end game is.

We start with Lesky, a street-smart girl, who sees all, taking everything in. Well you never know what bit of knowledge might come in handy later on. She is also the first person that quickly befriends Task. Her mum always says that you just need five things in common with someone to become best friends. She’s well on her way with Task, especially with a chance of magic being one of those five. He may be a monster to some but she sees something more and with a little help he soon starts to see that too.

Task is the stone Wind-Cut golem – lots of magic, very powerful and best of his kind – that is brought in to help win the war for the Truehards. His master gives him an order and he must obey, but this golem feels and it’s his emotions that they need to watch out for. He has a connection with water and if he touches someone he can feel and see their memories. Not so good when he has to clean up some of the battlefields dead with reliving their final moments. His creator might have thought there was something wrong with him but I think that his emotions make him stronger. He has values and honour in the battlefield and once he starts making friends with the Dregs he almost becomes more human and feels his heart. It seems the moment Task finds his heart its the moment all things come together. Seems Lesky is the key to that too.

Alabast, the Knight of Dawn, is a fighter somewhat down on his luck that seems to catch a break when the Fading hires him to take down Task. Well only after paying off some of his many debts. Taking him down might be easier said than down as whatever you might remove off him in a fight just gets pulled right back to him. Seems a different plan of action needs to be put in play, one where Task’s loyalty to his master would be put in question. This soon entails a road trip of sorts between the two. One I have to say I really liked, it was just one question after another from Alasbast so Task get ready to have your ears talked off.

An interesting character throughout, one that created a lot of questions for me, was Lady Auger aka Baroness Frayne aka Ellia. Seriously love what bloody side are you on and who the hell are you. What is a zealot because I think that plays a part in who/what she is? Does she truly work for the Treyarch or have her own agenda for the good of people and land or herself? She clearly wants revenge for something and is using the war as a means to put a plan in motion to get the result she wants. You won’t get your answers about her true agenda until the end so keep reading.

Seems the story comes full circle as the ending has a lot to do with how the story starts. Its not so much about a world of people double crossing others but creating a spiders web of lies for one purpose. When people are good at lies it’s the truths that will give them away. Truths Lesky, Task and Alabast seem to slowly be figuring 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: ‘Tompkin’s School: For the Dearly Departed’ by Tabi Slick

Title: Tompkin’s School: For the Dearly Departed (Tompkin’s School Trilogy Book Two)

Published: 2nd August 2017

Publisher: Crane & Company Press

Author: Tabi Slick

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tabislick

Twitter: @tabislick

 

Synopsis:

Visions of the past, powers beyond belief, and a school that has been waiting for them for over a hundred years. Kain and Izara’s abilities have advanced far greater than they ever imagined possible and it’s all due to their new friend that has joined them…or is it?

This year will bring the Torvik twins closer to solving the mystery of who they are, why they have these powers, and even closer to unveiling the school’s most haunting secret.

I shivered at the sight of the wolf-man killing one of the intruders that night they had chained Bart to the ground.
“Destiny of beings is about to come to fruition,” the voice of the being’s human companion rang in my ear.
The scene turned to liquid and then I saw Izzy standing in front of me.
“You know his face,” a voice that didn’t belong to my sister bellowed from within her.
I will return…. I will return to my children.

My whole body writhed in pain as the voice filled my head.

 

Review:

Intriguing characters that grab your attention quickly with the curse and powers that have fallen upon them. Ones they do not want. The pull of the moon is strong but the pull of powers once untied is stronger. Lets see how they all cope with continually having to feed on their prey. The choice of these victims it seems is out of their control. When they become the monster they lose a bit of themselves.

The Torvik twins, Izara ‘Izzy’ and Kain, seem to be cursed with the monsters they become. They have no control over them at first but that seems to be changing. The pressures of just being in school can be hard enough but when you throw in what they do when the moon comes out you can see their lives getting turned upside down. They have certain ideas of what they get up to when they no longer have control but when people start to hunt them down for what they are they know they need to be more careful. Everything seems to be interlinked from the past and present with what has happened and what will be. They are developing with their powers and soon getting ready for more craziness to appear. It seems that Tompkin’s School has a mystery of its own, one linked to everything.

Choyce seems to be a key link for the twins as he is the only one who knows what they are going through with being the same. His past plays a part in the future. You can see him getting closer to Izara and you are never quite sure what his motives are going to be but it seems its others that they need to worry about. Chaos is surely going to continue with many people playing a key part. Lee being one of them I feel. He is going to go a bit dark in the next one so will be interesting to see how he copes, or doesn’t as the case may be.

Structure and pacing was good and even though I haven’t read the first book I didn’t feel lost. Mainly because you get a few recaps with the visions and dreams Izzy and Kain have. Will be interesting to see how their powers develop further, whether they discover the mystery surrounding their school and how they are going to deal with what’s coming their way.

4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author to proof and for my honest review.

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Book Review: The Everlast by Jack Kavanagh

Title: The Everlast (The Everlast Series Book One)

Published: 29th January 2017

Author: Jack Kavanugh

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Author-Jack-Kavanagh

 

Synopsis:

“You may act for yourself, do as you please, but listen well; act on behalf of others—attempt this and I shall make you pay dearly for it”.

Karakia hears a voice in her head calling her down to the shore. An eight foot angel is waiting for her by the rocks. The angel tells her that the world is about to be overcome by the Mastery—a group of people who have allied themselves with a dark spirit and wish to bring the world into a permanent state of war. Karakia has a difficult decision to make; stay at home with her family or set out against the very people behind this attack. Karakia knows that by confronting the Mastery she is putting her own life in danger, a risk she is willing to take— but will her family be safe? After the fog lifts on the day of the attack, it becomes clear that nothing has changed in the world, except for the people themselves; they can no longer communicate with their angels, they can no longer fly, and there are others coming forward, speaking of a vengeful God and chastisements from heaven.

A thrilling fantasy adventure, full of mystery and suspense—enter the world of angels and dark spirits, where the smallest choice could bring peace or war, life or death.

 

Review:

Interesting world of angels and evil dark spirits you are thrown into with this one. Throughout the book you have a presence of this overall evil and what the angels want to do about it. They seem to guide everyone but evil has a plan to get more to turn away from the light into the darkness. A plan that was set in motion years before and the journey to stop it has only just begun.

We follow Karakia who has recently been told – though she sort of already knew – that she is to become an Aurora. An Aurora is someone who is blessed to see, and then take, the pain and darkness from those around her. Guided always it seems by angels, specifically her Guardian Angel Jophel. Becoming an Aurora means leaving her family behind and going on a journey to help others. It might just be when her family need her most though as darkness is coming and peoples’ souls are on the line. She may have been able to help a friend before leaving (seriously though how are people so old here?) by pulling the darkness out but can she keep it at bay? Dangers follow her on her path but it is the one she must take.

Its clear that this is setting the ground work for a series to follow on from as a lot of people are mentioned that will take the story on different paths. You will have a focus on Tober with his dark deeds back where Karakia was from. He has a lot of darkness within him – of his choosing – and it seems he is following a Master of sorts but its never quite clear how many there are or whether there is a head Master of sorts. A soul the angels want Karakia to help belongs to Herrodile but his would be a tricky one to get to as he has had darkness fill his soul for years. Healing it would help slow down – but I’m thinking not stop – the Mastery from gaining more darkness.

It’s never really explained though how people can some how fly, live a lot longer or have the abilities to heal others. Who or what is the weasel that is causing trouble in the upstairs of house. A wolf that has darkness all around it could soon be knocking at your door so make sure you don’t open. Felt a bit more back-story could have helped with this but it was still an interesting fantasy read. Lots going on from multiple characters and you just have to hold onto the ride to see where it might take you next. Did think we would be gearing up for a bigger battle of sorts near the end but maybe its just sowing the seeds for what’s to come next. The biggest battle for darkness and light has only just begun.

Side note: Definitely could have done with another proof read as found a few grammar and spelling mistakes that didn’t make sense. Also switched a few times from first person to third.

3 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Broken Ties’ by Kenechi Udogu

Title: Broken Ties (The Mentalist Series Prequel)

Published: 13th May 2014

Author: Kenechi Udogu

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KenechiUdogu

Twitter: @KenechiUdogu

 

Synopsis:

“There was nothing unusual about the night everything changed. No flashing lights in the sky, no searing fire in my belly; no sign whatsoever to suggest the shift which was to come… Nora Brice did strange things to me. Strange and awful things…”

Paul Colt has a problem, and it is not one most teenage boys face. Yes, he likes a girl; one he’s pretty certain he’ll do foolish things for, given the chance. But he can’t go after her, or any other girl for that matter. That’s what he gets for being an Averter; forced to toe the line for the propagation of the collective. He knows some rules are okay to trifle with, and there are some which should never be broken. The gravest of them all?

Don’t fall in love.

Ever.

This is the story of how Paul breaks that rule.

This prequel novella to the Mentalist Series can be read before or after Aversion, Book One of The Mentalist Series.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – The last book in a series. It is a prequel to show how Gemma’s parents first got together so can be read alone but to get best feel for it I would read after the trilogy and so I’m casting it as the last book in the series. A tale of how young love came about. One you know will lead down another path but one that may have been destined to begin with. Only time will tell.

Paul has followed his fathers’ rules all his life and never really questioned what he would eventually have to do to continue the line of Averters for his family. It’s only after a chance meeting with Nora that everything changes. Hiding out having a smoke he hears her voice before seeing her coming closer. She is getting hassled by another guy and it seems Nora sees Paul as her knight in armour to get the other guy to leave. Seems he won’t take no for an answer and its up to Paul to do something that is forbidden. He does as aversion on him to make him stay away from her from then on. It’s the first time he’s done one for personal gain. Well not his but for Nora anyway. Seems its not the only thing he is willing to do to get closer to her. He may seem reluctant to begin with, as he isn’t allowed to date. He was always told it was for a very good reason so that their kind knows their place in the world and what they have to do. Seems that’s one thing he has in common with Nora, she can’t date either and has never really wanted to until Paul.

From reading the trilogy you know why they are drawn to each other and how they will always find each other no matter what. They might not have had as strong a sentient twin connection as Gemma and Russ but its still there. Sneaking around isn’t something they’d thought they would do but the need to be with the other is too strong to deny. Its like they know they have a ticking clock counting down their time together so they try to make every moment count throughout the summer. Seems time is not on their side as it might soon be running out for them when a fellow averter – Nora’s to be exact – shows up.

You know how the story will eventually end but it’s just the start of the bigger adventure waiting further down the line. They were fated to meet and nothing could have stopped them from going down the path they were on. If they hadn’t then change wouldn’t have started to happen. Things happen for a reason and the story of their young love is what started the journey as a whole.

4 out of 5 stars

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

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