Tag Archives: fantasy book review

Death’s Intern (The Intern Diaries Book One) by D.C. Gomez Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman and retired army vet must decide whether she can take over a job working for Death herself in order to save a sea of lost souls (literally) in author D.C. Gomez’s “Death’s Intern”, the first book in the Intern Diaries series.

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The Synopsis

Discover the magic in this AMAZON BESTSELLER and see why thousands of readers love Isis.

Retired Army vet, Isis Black, lives in a small Texas town, a tiny dot on the map. The only friends she has are her coworkers at a Tex-Mex restaurant, the locals she serves, and a homeless man named Bob.

One evening after work, Death knocks at Isis’s apartment door. Death wears an expensive designer suit and four-inch heels. She has a curvaceous body, long, silky brown hair and mischief in her voice.

Isis is sure that she’s dreaming or has gone to hell for accidentally killing a man by knocking him off a crowded fire escape at a wild party. Death informs Isis that the man she killed was Death’s intern, and now Death needs Isis to take his place for the North American territory.

Somebody is stealing the souls that Death needs to transport to the afterlife. The intern’s job is to find out who is sabotaging Death’s efforts. Who better for the job than Isis – she’s lonely, bored and perfect – right down to her name. Death gives Isis three days to decide if she’ll take the job.

When her friend, Bob, goes missing, Isis is enraged. But is she willing to work with Death, a talking cat, and a boy-genius as her teammates to find Bob?
If she doesn’t help Death, will Bob, and homeless people across the country, die?

This is a story of courage and a chase to save humanity.

The Review

This was such a fun and exhilarating urban fantasy read! The author did a fantastic job of capturing the balance of action-packed drama and humorous wit that the character exuded. The action picks up immediately, setting the stage for a powerful narrative that explores the concept of death and the ways in which humanity tries to control our destinies. The rich mythology and world-building the author developed played out on the page in a very cinematic way, the writing kind of reflecting imagery that would bring any modern streaming series to life.

Yet it was the diverse and captivating character development that really caught my eye. The intense action was equally elevated and balanced with the humor and charm of the main cast of characters. While the protagonist was a truly well-rounded and strong new hero in an urban fantasy setting, it was the strong supporting cast that was really amazing to read. From Death herself to a talking cat named Constantine and a young tech whiz named Bartholomew, the author created characters that offered humor, wit, and emotional depth to keep us invested in the narrative. 

The Verdict

Haunting, action-packed, and entertaining, author D.C. Gomez’s “Death’s Intern” is a must-read urban fantasy novel and a brilliant start to the Intern Diaries series. The rich mythos and fast-paced action mixed with the heartfelt characters and a very engaging sense of imagery brought this incredible story to life, so be sure to grab your copy of this novel today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

D. C. Gomez is a USA Today Bestselling Author, born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. She study film and television at New York University. After college she joined the US Army, and proudly served for four years.

Those experiences shaped her quirky sense of humor. D.C. has a love for those who served and the families that support them. She currently lives in the quaint city of Wake Village, Texas, with her furry roommate, Chincha.

Interview with Author Ethan Avery

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing? 

Hi, I’m Ethan Avery, a Young Adult Fantasy writer, amongst other things, and I’ve been writing for so long now I can’t remember how it all began. Reading and watching my favorite stories as a kid and wanting to create something as imaginative and amazing I’m sure was the start. Fast forward to now and I’ve written so much that it’s hard to keep track of it all. I suppose my love for the art of the craft is what keeps me coming back. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book? 

Sword and Sorcery: Frostfire my debut novel started as an idea about 15 years ago as I, unknowingly at the time in my youth, discovered my love for worldbuilding alongside my good friend Lamont Turner. It was just a bunch of random fantasy stuff at first, that over time was refined into an actual story. Worldbuilding is tricky like that for fantasy writers, it can be easy to delve so deep into lore that you need to make sure you’re staying focused on actually telling a story.  

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book? 

I’m big on the idea of artists not telling people how to view their work. I’m sure that for some people it’ll have a bigger impact for them than others and there’s nothing wrong with that. I believe there’s a story out there for everyone that’ll speak to exactly what they’re going through right now. Sword and Sorcery: Frostfire might be that for someone today. Which is the real treat of being an artist. Someone else might connect with what we’ve done in a way we never expected or imagined, and it might only be that one person. But to me, that’s still more than worth it. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre? 

The books and movies my father passed onto me. He loves stories as much as anyone I’ve ever known and I can’t thank him enough for sharing his passion. Without him, this book would’ve never came to be. 

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why? 

I’d ask them all what they thought of each other. There’d be some clever responses for sure. 

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6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership? 

Hmm, I’m not actually sure. YouTube maybe? 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there? 

Stop editing, stop starting over, and just FINISH IT. It will be bad. That’s ok. You can edit it afterwards. But you have to finish it first. 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon? 

Plenty! I have an upcoming film, then it’s onto writing more books! 

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About the Author

Ethan Avery believes in the power of stories. As a child growing up in Ohio, they gave him a chance to see a bigger world, and to hear what life was like for people that didn’t look like him or believe what he did. And now, years later, he hopes to do the same for others. When he’s not writing novels, directing movies, or wasting other people’s time with his YouTube channel, Ethan plays video games (poorly), basketball (painfully), and D&D (problematically with praiseworthy peers). For more information on Sword and Sorcery and what Ethan’s writing next, please visit www.storiesbyethan.com

Social Media Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22259098.Ethan_Avery

Twitter: https://twitter.com/storiesbyethan

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3Lfr4HtLE4fN-T7-EugUaA

In the Midst of Magic by Christian Cura Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A woman mourning the death of her brother finds herself forced to embrace her gifts when an old foe breaks out of prison to destroy her life in author Christian Cura’s “In the Midst of Magic”.

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The Synopsis

Meet Kara Hartman, a photojournalist who is hiding her magic from the world. Traumatized by her brother’s death, she wants nothing more to do with magic. But just when she thought she could neglect her gift, it becomes apparent that the universe has other plans for Kara. When she discovers that an old foe has broken out of prison, hellbent on destroying her new life, Kara has no choice but to embrace the only power that can stop her.

The Review

This was a powerful story. The author did an amazing job of finding the right ratio of fantasy-driven world-building and emotional and captivating character development. The mythos and action of this narrative keep readers engaged from the start, showing the dangers and threats that keep the protagonists working to stop the destruction of all they hold dear. 

I was so fascinated by the character growth and perspectives from which this story was told. The theme of loss played heavily into this narrative for so many of the characters, from the way loss drives us to retreat from the world, while others are driven to take their pain out on others, and so much more. Getting to see the perspectives of so many different characters made the story feel so much more vibrant and alive on the page, and added to the depth of the emotional journey that this story provided the characters. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, magical, and entertaining, author Christian Cura’s “In the Midst of Magic” is a must-read LGBTQ Fantasy read! The themes and emotional character growth that developed throughout this narrative will connect readers to the story greatly, while the action and twists and turns this narrative takes will have readers eager for more from this incredible author. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Christian Cura is a new author who just recently published his debut novel Dreams of Fire. Ever since he read Lord of the Rings as a teenager, it has been his dream to write and publish a novel of his own. His favorite authors include J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and Robert Jordan.

Christian lives in Northern Virginia where he lifts weights and creates artwork. He is a Gryffindor, an Earth-bender, and a loyal follower of Optimus Prime. When he is not writing, he can be found drawing or getting beaten up at his MMA gym.

https://www.authorchriscura.com/

To Render a Raven (Hollystone Mysteries Book 3) by W.L. Hawkin Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A vengeful vampire steals a powerful High Priest’s daughter and forces a coven to work together to bring the child home in author W.L. Hawkin’s “To Render a Raven”, the third book in the Hollystone Mysteries series. 

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The Synopsis

Estrada is High Priest of Hollystone Coven, a shaman and magician. But is he a match for a vengeful vampire? When Diego steals his daughter from her crib on the eve of her first birthday, the Hollystone witches converge. The same night, a woman is murdered and another abducted. All three scenes are marked by roses that point to Michael Stryker, Estrada’s lover and best friend—a man with a strange dark “virus” brewing inside him. As the witches journey up the Pacific coast, emotions run raw as the close confines of a yacht heighten the tension between his jealous lovers. And then they meet the ravens . . .

Diego wants blood. Estrada wants his baby back. What will the high priest sacrifice to bring his daughter home?

A sexy Hitchcockian thriller that demystifies Vampire and illustrates the power of Love.

The Review

By far the most action-packed and yet most emotional of the Hollystone Mysteries series. The author did such an incredible job of building upon the mythos and cultures of the supernatural and paranormal. From unique changes to the vampire mythos and lore to the infusion of Celtic practices and explorations of high strangeness, the author brilliantly captures the magic and wonder of the world in which these characters inhabit.

Yet what stands out to me is the way the author was able to bring real human connection and emotion into this very supernatural world. The emotional connection the protagonist Estrada has with both the mother of his child and his current love interest really pulls at the heartstrings, and the heart-pounding terror that the abduction of Estrada’s child brings to mind is sure to play on the frayed nerves of any parent reading this story. The theme of facing our own inner darkness and learning to sacrifice our needs to protect those we love came through strongly thanks to these relationships and helped elevate the overall dangers the narrative brought to life.

The Verdict

Harrowing, engaging, and captivating, author W.L. Hawkin’s “To Render a Raven” is a must-read contemporary romance and fantasy novel and the perfect addition to the Hollystone Mysteries series. The intensity and passion the characters hold onto one another and the elevated danger that that intensity brings to the narrative were an instant draw for readers, and the heartbreaking twists and turns will have readers hanging off of the author’s every word until the climactic final chapter. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

W. L. Hawkin writes edgy urban fantasy with a twist of murder. Described as “intoxicating, lush, magically-edgy, page-turners,” her Hollystone Mysteries series features a coven of local witches who solve murders using their wits and ritual magic with a little help from the gods. Wendy is also a published blogger, a regular reviewer with the Ottawa Review of Books, Indie publisher and poet, with a background in Indigenous Studies and English literature. She loves myth and magic, so when she’s not writing, she’s studying Druidry, shamanism, and mediumship. Although she is an introvert, in each book, her characters go on a journey where she has traveled herself. Wendy completed a BA in Indigenous Studies at Trent University, and later, Post-Baccalaureate Diplomas in Humanities and a Teaching Certificate at Simon Fraser University, Canada. Fascinated by her Celtic and Tuscarora ancestry, she explores history, myth, and spirituality in her work. Born in Toronto, Canada, she currently lives in British Columbia.

Destiny of Avalon (Awakenings Book 3) by J. Lynn Else Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young group of heroes faces their most challenging journey yet when their parents and a close ally are taken by a vengeful djinn who plans to unleash a powerful djinn army in author J. Lynn Else’s “Destiny of Avalon”, the third book in the Awakenings series. 

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The Synopsis

A djinn banished long ago has found his way back into Avalon, and he’s taken Genie’s, Whit’s, Mei’s, and Beth’s parents hostage. In exchange for their lives, he wants an ancient artifact. With it, he’ll conjure a spell that will destroy all of time as we know it in order to restore something that was taken from him centuries in the past. Then, before anyone knows what’s happening, he snatches Mei, whose ancestral ties can help him unlock his palace and its sinister secrets on Bottle Isle.

With the lives of their parents and Mei on the line, Beth, Whit, and Genie will need to split up in hopes of retrieving the artifact while also finding a way to set a trap for the evil djinn. Queens Guinevere and Nimue, along with Whit and Beth, will travel to the land of the dead on an ancient Egyptian solar barge. Meanwhile at the Library of Ancients, as Genie is investigating ways to foil the djinn’s plans, something strange begins to happen to her. She’s aging rapidly and losing strength with each passing day. While Morgana searches for a cure for Genie, Viviane must try to unlock the djinn’s final secret: his true name. If they can discover that, they can destroy his power.

However, there’s one final task that only Genie can complete. If they’re to stand a chance against the djinn army to free their parents and Mei from captivity, Genie must find a way to awaken the land of Avalon.

The Review

This was such a thrilling and heart-pounding conclusion to a multi-mythological baring fantasy series! The deep-seated lore the author has crafted from both original storytelling and existing mythos from various cultures was incredible to see. The addition of Egyptian mythology in particular in this story, from the Egyptian afterlife to gods and goddesses, was so creatively inspiring, especially considering the overall Arthurian mythos that has defined this narrative for so long.

The emotional and captivating journey this main cast of characters goes through is so investing to behold as a reader and fan of this series. Mei and Genie in particular have truly powerful stories unfold, both enduring the most challenging aspects of this magical adventure yet as they both attack the new threat from two very different places. The expansion of this world and the connection that it has to Earth’s own mythology and connection to magic was perfectly brought to life by these characters and made for a truly entertaining read.

The Verdict

Engaging, captivating, and brilliantly written, author J. Lynn Else’s “Destiny of Avalon” is the brilliant final chapter of the Awakenings series. While the world-building and mythos the author introduces leave plenty of room for the author to revisit in future stories, the main tale and its conclusion felt so satisfying and did the characters justice in the end. The climactic final battle with this ancient evil and the emotional final chapter that shows the path these four friends end up taking made this such a beautiful story to behold and captured the magic that defined the narrative for so long. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

J. LYNN ELSE is an award-winning author from Minnesota who’s self-published two historical fiction novels set in ancient Egypt, “The Forgotten: Aten’s Last Queen (2013),” which was named an Indie Editor’s Choice book for 2016 by the Historical Novel Society, and “The Forgotten: Heir of the Heretic (2016)” as well as a sci fi novella “Strangely Constructed Souls (2018).” Through Inklings Publishing, she’s authored an Arthurian-influenced, female-driven fantasy trilogy, “Descendants of Avalon” (2018), “Lost Daughters of Avalon” (2019), and “Prophecy of Avalon” (2021).” Her short story “The Girl from the Haunted Woods,” won 2nd place in the “Journey into the Fantastical” Anthology contest. In 2021, she became the Indie Reviews Editor for the Historical Novel Society. She believes in unicorns and practicing random acts of awesome.

https://www.teasippinnerdymom.com/

Dragon Sect: Highcliff Guardians Epic Fantasy Series (Soul Forge Universe Book 2) by Richard H. Stephens Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

As the Queen of the Elves fights to protect her daughter, the growing threat of a powerful and ancient enemy forces a princess to find an ancient dragon in an attempt to thwart a dangerous plot in author Richard H. Stephens’s “Dragon Sect: Highcliff Guardians Epic Fantasy Series”, the latest book in the Soul Forge Universe series.

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The Synopsis 

The Dragon Witch Wraith has returned.

With the Grim Duke in his place, and a tentative pact with the wizard’s guild, the Queen of the Elves’ only real concern is for her rebellious daughter. Or so she is led to believe.

Buoyed by the news of unrest in the land’s largest city of Urdanya, Duke Orlythe’s new wizard attempts to convince him that a path to the coveted Willow Throne lies within reach of someone bold enough to seize the opportunity.

The return of the Dragon Witch Wraith prompts the ailing high wizard to find a way to thwart his arch nemesis before everything South March has fought for is lost.

Oblivious to the dangers of the world, Princess Ouderling sets out on a quest to locate an ancient dragon, in a desperate attempt to save her mother from an inevitable fate.

Should she fail, the Grim Duke will ascend the throne.

The Review

The author did a fantastic job of continuing the amazing world-building that he established in the first book of this epic fantasy series. The almost artistic approach to the writing and imagery the author conjures through this storytelling does a great job of playing to the reader’s imagination. The action felt very balanced with the storytelling itself and made for a well-rounded read.

The thing that really was great to see in this book was the author’s ability to capture the magic and epic fantasy elements of the story, (elves, dwarves, dragons, etc), with the more gritty and heartfelt emotional character development that was found in George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones” series. The mythos and gravitas of the dangers faced in this novel were so captivating because of the creativity of the fantasy genre elements and the emotional pull the characters had on the readers.

The Verdict

Engaging, heart-pounding, and brilliant in its approach, author Richard H. Stephens’s “Dragon Sect: Highcliff Guardians Epic Fantasy Series” is a must-read epic fantasy novel and the perfect next chapter in the Soul Forge Universe series. The entertaining story and mythos of this world and the emotional pull of the characters will have readers invested, as will the shocking final pages that will have readers hanging off of the author’s every word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in Simcoe, Ontario, in 1965, I began writing circa 1974; a bored child looking for something to while away the long, summertime days. My penchant for reading The Hardy Boys led to an inspiration one sweltering summer afternoon when my best friend and I thought, “Hey, we could write one of those.” And so, I did.

As my reading horizons broadened, so did my writing. Star Wars inspired me to write a 600-page novel about outer space that caught the attention of a special teacher, Mr. Woodley, who encouraged me to keep writing.

A trip to a local book store saw the proprietor introduce me to Stephen R. Donaldson and Terry Brooks. My writing life was forever changed.

At 17, I left high school to join the working world to support my first son. For the next twenty-two years I worked as a shipper at a local bakery. At the age of 36, I went back to high school to complete my education. After graduating with honours at the age of thirty-nine, I became a member of our local Police Service, and worked for 12 years in the provincial court system.

In early 2017, I resigned from the Police Service to pursue my love of writing full-time. With the help and support of my lovely wife Caroline and our 5 children, I have now realized my boyhood dream.

https://www.richardhstephens.com/

Dagmar of the Northlands (Gortah van Murkar Book 2) by John C. Adams Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A new heroine arises in the north as the stepdaughter of the Northland’s Jarl is slain, and his killer, her half-brother, takes his place, leading an attack on the kingdom of Gortah while he seeks to rekindle his relationship with his Queen Dextra of Aspatria after a year apart in the epic fantasy, “Dagmar of the Northlands”, the second book in the Gortah van Murkar series from author John C. Adams

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The Synopsis

From Albedo One Magazine Contributing Editor and double Aeon Award Longlister John C Adams comes a delightful fantasy romance featuring brand new heroine Dagmar Strongarm of the Northlands in the thrilling sequel to Aspatria.

Dagmar of the Northlands is edited by professional editor E S Wynn-Rubsam and features a powerfully evocative cover from Fiona Jayde Media.

When her stepfather Konung Thorlak of the Northlands dies, the jarls rally round Dagmar’s half brother Njal and make him their new ruler. Dagmar is disturbed by their ability to do so, when Thorlak fell at Njal’s own hand.

The new konung orders a raid on Gortah van Murkar’s island territory of Orkna to deflect attention from criticism of his rise to power and his treatment of his sister Yeen. Dagmar puts her yearning for romance with close friend Frakkok Warmhearth to one side long enough to join the raiding party, but her sister Ragnhild’s pregnancy from their mysterious house guest Jon, rumoured to be the human form of the Northlands’ Sea God Grunn, is also weighing heavily on her mind. Dagmar’s thoughts often drift back to her homestead, Barnahus, the aptly named House of the Women.

It isn’t long before Njal is proving himself unfit to lead, and the Men of the North are running amok. Dagmar and her cousin Magnus Broadchest step up, leading the raid on the crofters of Orkna to plunder whatever pitiful treasure the islanders have hidden away. They also do their best to rally the Men of the North’s allies to attack the island’s capital, the towering stronghold of Castle Longhope, before Gortah can get wind of their arrival and send reinforcements to hold this distant outpost of his massive empire.

Dagmar longs to return home and begin a relationship with Frakkok and to ensure that Ragnhild comes safely through the birth of her son. First, she must stiffen the resolve of the Men of the North to fight as a disciplined band within the coalition of forces the Gods have amassed to assist the Northlanders in taking Castle Longhope. With Magnus injured in the earlier raid, and his wound festering, returning home to Barnahus seems further away than ever for Dagmar.

Meanwhile, in his opulent capital Zwaarstad, Gortah awaits the return of his wife Queen Dextra of Aspatria and her much younger other husband Lord Ludwig Berg. The king and queen have been apart for a year following the death of Dextra’s baby son, Crown Prince Aelred of Aspatria, but Gortah has formally demanded her attendance at his fiftieth birthday celebrations, amid continuing speculation in Murkar and Aspatria about the stability of the royal marriage.

Just as Gortah hopes to celebrate Dextra’s return in peace, the Eirans gather an immense warhost and ride for the border with South Eira, Gortah’s possession across the Silent Sea. The commander at Fort Belshan sends urgent word that reinforcements are needed, and Gortah’s youngest son Prince Eugene leads those forces into battle. However, Eugene’s thoughts are clouded on and off the battlefield by tempting visions of the King of Eira’s youngest daughter, Princess Emer o’Eira.

Is the delightful and playful spirit who visits Eugene in the night hours at Belshan a true likeness of Emer in beauty and good nature? Eugene becomes more determined than ever to meet the princess in person and find out. But Emer’s father Domhnall o’Eira is determined that any match with the Murkan prince will be with his eldest daughter, Briana, even if it means breaking her betrothal to childhood sweetheart Chieftain Jarlath o’Cruach.

The return of Benedict Dartelend gives Gortah the thrill of seeing his old lover again after thirty years, but it is tinged with sadness and regret that Benedict has come home to Murkar after decades of ill health to say goodbye. 

The Review

Author John C. Adams has outdone themselves with this truly incredible novel. The author managed to capture the magic and intensity of the epic fantasy genre that fans of Game of Thrones have come to know. The narrative felt like equal parts Game of Thrones and equal parts The Last Kingdom, infusing some Viking-esque story elements and settings that made the world the author created in book one so much larger. The balance struck between the fantasy action found in the grand battles and invasions amongst the kingdoms with the conflicts in politics and how each kingdom differs in its practices and means of ruling made this story so engaging.

The character growth was phenomenal to read. The author was able to create equal parts of new characters and heroes to root for such as Dagmar herself with existing characters like Gortah and Dextra. The romance element of the narrative took these characters in so many different directions, from the LGBTQ romance looked at through Dagmar and Frakkak to the existing marriage of Dextra to both Gortah and the younger and more vile Ludwig was so interesting and heartfelt (and heart-wrenching). The twists and turns in these relationships were only elevated by the growing conflicts within their respective kingdoms.

The Verdict

Larger than life, haunting, and truly entertaining, author John C. Adams’s “Dagmar of the Northlands” is a must-read epic fantasy novel! The author’s ability to world-build and craft powerful and meaningful characters that fuel some truly grand storylines is truly staggering to behold, and this is one epic fantasy series that readers do not want to miss out on if they are missing their epic fantasy fix. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I’m a non-binary proofreader, editor, reviewer and author.

You can find out more about my proofreading and editing services here:

https://www.johncadamsreviews.com/about

I review for the British Fantasy Society as well as placing reviews and articles across a wide range of blogs and magazines.

I have a Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Newcastle University.

You can subscribe to my blog here: https://www.johncadamsreviews.com/

My horror novel, ‘Souls for the Master’, my fantasy romance novel ‘Aspatria’ and my fantasy and horror anthology ‘The Red Dawn and Other Stories’ are all free on Smashwords retailers. ‘Dagmar of the Northlands’, the sequel to ‘Aspatria’, and ‘Blackacre Rising’, the sequel to ‘Souls for the Master’ are also available from Smashwords retailers.

Although I write mostly long fiction, since 2015 I have had stories published in anthologies from Horrified Press, Lycan Valley Press, Fantasia Divinity and Jersey Pines Ink. My short stories have also been published in the Horror Zine, Swords & Sorcery, Sirens Call, Blood Moon Rising, Lovecraftiana and various other magazines.

Every emerging writer needs plenty of encouragement right at the start, and entering lots of competitions early on made a real difference to my confidence to press on with writing longer fiction and think about submitting short fiction to magazines and anthologies in due course. In 2012, I was longlisted for the International Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest for ‘The Visitors’ and again in 2013 for ‘We Can Finish Your Baby’s Brain For You’. My writing was also recognised by the Enrico Charles Literary Award (runner up in 2012) and by the University of Winchester Writers’ Conference in both 2012 and 2013, including a Commendation in the First Three Pages of a Novel category, and other nominations in poetry and short fiction.

I read PPE at Somerville College, and I am a non-practising solicitor. I live in rural Northumberland, UK, and I combine my career as an reviewer and critic with raising my kids and caring for a severely disabled relative. I’m always busy!

https://www.johncadamsreviews.com/

smashwords.com/books/view/944686

Sword & Sorcery: Frostfire (Sword & Sorcery Book One) by Ethan Avery Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young warrior growing up on the streets must find a way to save his friend from the jails meant for him, while a young woman studying magic struggles when she has no magic of her own in this fantasy-driven narrative studying class systems and destiny in author Ethan Avery’s “Sword & Sorcery: Frostfire”, the first book in the Sword & Sorcery series. 

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The Synopsis

Who’s right and who’s wrong is all a matter of perspective.

Erevan has a problem. He grew up on the unforgiving streets of Bogudos and has the scars to prove it. His friend, however, is stuck in jail because of his mistake. But when a suspicious courier offers him a chance to fix things, should he lift his sword to aid her cause?

Meanwhile, Aireyal has been accepted into the wealthiest and most prestigious magical school in all the land. There’s just one problem. She can’t do magic. But that’s far from the only secret within the walls of Darr-Kamo. And what she discovers might just change the world.

The Review

First and foremost, I absolutely loved the world building in this novel. The classic fantasy and magical elements that one hopes to find in these epic stories was paired so perfectly with the more in-depth and honest approach to class systems and how everyone brings a different and unique perspective to the same situation. I love the exploration of what “good and evil” truly means, which in epic fantasy stories can often be pretty cut and dry. Yet the author elevated this narrative to new heights, and created the right amount of tension and atmosphere to keep the story flowing smoothly and the action feeling intense while creating thought-provoking conversations on how people approach everyday topics of discussion.

The world-building was equally on par with the author’s amazing character development as well. Having not only multiple POVs but storylines running adjacent to one another helped showcase just how vast the world the author crafted was, and allowed the two main protagonists to shine brightly in their own stories. What was also so unique early on was seeing how each protagonist was like a mirror image of the other, with Erevan being more of an act first, think later kind of warrior, whereas Aireyal was more of the bookworm who would often get lost in her own mind. That allowed their individual metamorphosis throughout their narratives to feel equally powerful and great to read. 

The Verdict

Masterful, gripping, and entertaining, author Ethan Avery’s “Sword & Sorcery: Frostfire” is a must-read epic fantasy novel and the first in a brand new series readers won’t be able to get enough of. One of my top picks so far in 2022 for fantasy reads, the author found a great harmony between the world building without sacrificing character growth, and the ability to craft characters that reflected the dynamic and diverse nature of our own world and create new heroes that readers can become engaged with was just truly amazing to read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy on April 22nd, 2022, or preorder your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Ethan Avery believes in the power of stories. As a child growing up in Ohio, they gave him a chance to see a bigger world, and to hear what life was like for people that didn’t look like him or believe what he did. And now years later, he hopes to do the same for others. For more information on Sword and Sorcery and what Ethan’s writing next, please visit www.storiesbyethan.com 

Rython Legacy by Mandy Eve-Barnett Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A newborn child in a magical kingdom promises to be the powerful protector the people have been waiting for in author Mandy Eve-Barnett’s “Rython Legacy”, the sequel to the author’s first book, The Rython Kingdom. 

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The Synopsis 

Juliana held her granddaughter in her arms; it was a bittersweet moment. The child was a delight but also her replacement; she was the new sorceress who would protect the kingdom if called upon. At that precise moment, Maralynn opened her golden eyes – there was such intensity in them that her observers were taken aback at the obvious power the new little being held. A thin thread of cyan mist floated and twisted above the happy group… unobserved., a portent of things to come. Maralynn’s reign as Eldenma would be fraught with challenges, but could her exceptional power ultimately overcome?

The Review

The author did such an incredible job of crafting a story that felt both new and familiar all at once. The way the story was able to delve further into this magical world and the mythos it contained was inspired, and the amount of story the author was able to fit into such a short read was truly creative. The overall narrative felt very much like a fairy tale, embedding the classic themes of romance, the hero’s journey, and a child who grew up to become a powerful force of nature facing an ancient evil all into one story. 

The rich character development within this narrative was spectacular. The evolution of the protagonist from her youth spent as a curious child with great power to a beautiful young woman seeking to heal a broken-hearted king and finding love in the process was beautiful to watch unfold, while the villain hiding in plain sight aspect of the narrative really elevated the tension and shock as the story’s climax arrived. 

The Verdict

Hauntingly beautiful, magical, and entertaining, author Mandy Eve-Barnett’s “Rython Legacy” is a must-read sequel to The Rython Kingdom! The fast-paced tempo of the narrative and captivating characters helped elevate the magic and wonder of this kingdom and world and made the story shine brightly. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Mandy currently lives in Alberta, Canada but is originally from England. Her background is diverse and gives her rich experience to utilize in her writing. Mandy has been a nursing professional, a business owner, and a sort after administration expert. She has traveled throughout Europe, parts of America and Canada and was born in Africa.

Mandy is passionate about writing to the point of obsession and she succeeded in becoming a published author in record time. Mandy’s venture into freelance writing has been successful and she regularly contributes to Strathcona Connect, an e-zine and the Never Been Better page in the Sherwood Park newspaper as well as well as holding the position of Secretary for her local writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. She is also Secretary of Alberta Authors Cooperative.

Writing in various genres, Mandy has been published in anthologies, on numerous web sites as well as regularly blogging about her writing journey.

https://mandyevebarnett.com/