Posted in reviews

Never Never by Liz Butcher

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

A seasoned detective haunted by her past finds herself drawn into the search for a missing teenage girl, and soon discovers the case has haunting connections to her in author Liz Butcher’s “Never Never”. 

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The Synopsis

More than 20 years after her abduction at the hands of the elusive Pan, Wendy Darling is all grown up and a successful detective. But when a local girl vanishes in the middle of the night, her past comes rushing back.

Grieving the death of her mother, Detective Darling wants nothing more than to throw herself back into work. When the Lord Mayor’s daughter, Rosalie, vanishes, she insists on taking the case, triggering memories of her own past abduction. For years, Wendy struggled with her nonsensical memories of her captor, who she only knows as Pan. Yet the more she uncovers about Rosalie’s disappearance, the more Wendy is convinced her worst nightmare has come true—Pan’s back. Her fears are confirmed when the girl suddenly reappears and Wendy realises she’s walked straight into Pan’s trap…

The Review

One of the best reads of 2021 so far! Liz Butcher has worked her magic once more, bringing a chilling retelling of the classic Peter Pan mythos and putting a series of twists and turns into the narrative to keep the reader invested heavily. The novel does an excellent job of pacing the story, slowly building a relationship between Wendy the protagonist, and the audience as the history of the Darling Family is revealed. 

The character development was some of the best work to emerge thus far this year. Wendy is a force to be reckoned with, fighting her past trauma while trying to find this young girl before it’s too late. Yet the revelation of the girl’s abductor and their ties to Wendy’s own case decades earlier make for some interesting developments. The author has managed to craft a new legacy for Pan himself, marking a dark and villainous turn that will shock and amaze readers. His connection to an ancient mythological being will add an entirely new depth to this rich story, making this something fans of fantasy and horror will not be able to put down.

The Verdict

A mesmerizing, haunting, and highly entertaining read, author Liz Butcher’s horror retelling of the fantasy classic in her novel “Never Never” makes this a must-read novel and a contender for novel of the year of 2021. A book that readers will flock to over and over again, a twist ending that leaves readers hanging off the author’s every word makes this reader eager to see if the author will tackle the narrative again in a sequel. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Liz Butcher resides in Australia, with her husband, daughter, and their two cats. She’s a self-confessed nerd with a BA in psychology and an insatiable fascination for learning. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, Liz enjoys road trips, astronomy, music and knitting.

https://www.lizbutcher.com.au/

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay (Narrated by Caroline Holmes) Audiobook Tour and Review

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

A now 15-year old Alice finds herself desperate to escape an asylum her tales of Wonderland landed her in, but upon deciding against an experimental experiment at the last minute, Alice escapes back into Wonderland, only to land in the court of the Queen of Hearts in author H.J. Ramsay’s “Ever Alice”. 

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The Synopsis

Alice’s stories of Wonderland did more than raise a few eyebrows – it landed her in an asylum. Now at 15 years of age, she’s willing to do anything to leave, which includes agreeing to an experimental procedure. When Alice decides at the last minute not to go through with it, she escapes with the White Rabbit to Wonderland and trades one mad house for another: The court of the Queen of Hearts. Only this time, she is under orders to take out the Queen. When love, scandal, and intrigue begin to muddle her mission, Alice finds herself on the wrong side of the chopping block.

The Review

A fantastic deep dive into the aftermath of author Lewis Carrols classic tale, Ever Alice does an amazing job of standing on its own feet while still paying tribute to such an iconic story. The narrator brought a sense of classic English literature to the retelling of this novel, capturing the elegance and grace that the themes of royalty and the setting of the 1800s in her delivery. 

The thing that really stood out to me while reading this book was the way the author mirrored real-life tales of royalty and betrayal. The spiraling nature of the Queen of Hearts and her capturing of the Queen of Spades reminded me of Mary, Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I, which as a history buff was a great addition to the fantasy element of the narrative. The way the author delves into both Alice and the Queen of Hearts stories was interesting to see, the complexity of their journeys layered perfectly.

The Verdict

A fascinating, entertaining and engaging journey through Wonderland, author H.J. Ramsay’s “Ever Alice” is a fantastic audiobook. The story is magical and the characters both old and new highly complex and thrilling in their depictions. The surprise ending has me as a reader hooked on this particular fantasy world, and everyone should check out this book for themselves. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Author: H.J. Ramsay

Narrator: Caroline Holmes

Length: 11 hours 2 minutes

Publisher: Red Rogue Press

Released: January 19, 2021

Genre: Fantasy; YA

Continue reading “Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay (Narrated by Caroline Holmes) Audiobook Tour and Review”
Posted in reviews

Victorian Songlight: The Birthings of Magic & Mystery by Kathy Martone 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 goes on a journey of enlightenment as a legend of the Ozarks known as Grandfather emerges to fulfill a destiny for the woman that dates back to her birth in author Kathy Martone’s “Victorian Songlight: The Birthings of Magic & Mystery”. 

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The Synopsis

The birth of a magical child at the time of the Devil Moon sets the stage for heartache and misery, magic and supernatural love. Beset by unrelenting obstacles and bestowed with remarkable psychic gifts, Kate is often accompanied by fantastical black ravens who carry her through time and space. A well known legend in the Ozark Mountain countryside where Kate lives, Grandfather is a ghost with large golden eyes who frequently rides on the back of Pegasus, another Ozarkian legend. Victorian Songlight is a tale of redemption and renewal, death and rebirth, triumph over darkness. But most importantly, it is a love story. Alone and utterly forsaken, adrift on treacherous waters, Kate meets Grandfather for the second time in her life and they become lovers fulfilling a prophecy at the moment of her birth.

The Review

What a powerful and insightful read. The author’s ability to weave in New Age spirituality and practices into the characters and the main plot overall was great to see as someone with a fascination with this subject, as well as the “real world” magic that often goes unnoticed by humanity. The more fantastic elements do a great job of bringing the fantasy genre to life in this tale, while the author’s writing adds an element of powerful imagery that brings the scenes to life with ease. 

The highlight of the novel however is the protagonist and the themes explored through her journey. Kate must deal with a family history that speaks of tragic events that she had to endure as a child, and the fantasy journey she undergoes seems to be a mental and emotional journey as well to understand the trauma she endured. It is a powerful motivator for her character arc and an emotional side to Kate’s story that readers will instantly feel for. 

The Verdict

A powerful, engaging and thought-provoking fantasy read, author Kathy Martone’s “Victorian Songlight” is a must-read novel. The author expertly crafts a narrative that is both heartbreaking and therapeutic at once and handles the more triggering subjects in this narrative with grace. The reader will instantly be hooked by the author’s writing, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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http://www.dreamagik.com/

https://www.facebook.com/KateBlackRaven/

Goodreads link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51054900-victorian-songlight

Barnes & Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/victorian-songlight-kathy-martone-phd/1134222514;jsessionid=55ACE2AF79811832054FE012FFDB1A27.prodny_store01-atgap14?ean=9781947381162

Posted in reviews

Juniper Forest by Rory Elliot Review

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

Two young women find themselves on the adventure of a lifetime as they land in a new and uncharted world in author Rory Elliot’s “Juniper Forest”.

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The Synopsis

Best friend Melody convinces Isobelle to leave her reality to embark upon the most unusual and inconvenient journey of her life. From getting drunk with an unknown tribe to being captured by moronic creatures, Melody and Isobelle face all that Juniper Forest has to offer as they pursue their desperate mission to find their way back to normalcy.

The Review

This was a fun and engaging short story. The author brilliantly dives into the New Adult Fantasy genre, and creates an excellent balance of world building and character growth within a short read. The relationship between Isobelle and Melody instantly stands out for the reader, while the fantasy element takes readers into a rich and entertaining world of magic and wonder. 

The amount of intrigue and suspense the author is able to incorporate into the narrative really stands out. From early on the reader is treated to fantastic characters that both delight and frighten the protagonists, and the narrative overall is richly layered, creating a powerful read that readers can instantly devour within one sitting.

The Verdict

A must-read short story, author Rory Elliot’s “Juniper Forest” is a brilliant world within the fantasy genre. Fast-paced and entertaining throughout, the story does a great job of incorporating a lot of mythology and fantasy creatures into the narrative, making this a marvelous journey for fans of the genre. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Writing stories is something I do to escape for a bit. It is so unbelievably fun to write, I’ve spent hours engulfed by the possibilities of where the story could lead and the experiences my characters could have during their adventure. Juniper Forest is inspired by all of the stories and comical figures that I’ve personally enjoyed.

To those that have shown support for the books, I’d like to say a huge thank you!

Official Website

Goodreads

Amazon

Youtube

Posted in reviews

James Clyde and the Tomb of Salvation (James Clyde, #2) by Colm McElwain Review

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

Three young children must continue a journey of ancient prophecies, faraway lands and dangerous enemies in author Colm McElwain’s “James Clyde and the Tomb of Salvation”, the second in the James Clyde series. 

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The Synopsis

Picking up shortly after the events of the first adventure, James Clyde returns with his best friends Ben and Mary Forester to his grandfather’s house in search of a map that will lead them to the Tomb of Salvation – an ancient shrine, where the three diamonds of Orchestra must be returned with the promise of immortality.

James and his company of adventurers journey through treacherous lands fraught with danger and meet many obstacles along the way – dangerous assassins on board a train, the dastardly Gilbert, also known as the ‘man in black’, and even an unlikely encounter with a fabled lake monster.

If they reach the Tomb of Salvation, James knows they will then face their greatest threat, for the tomb is said to be home to a terrifying demon – an entity that has shown no mercy to anyone who has ever entered its lair.

The second novel in the James Clyde series will lead you on an action-packed adventure full of mystery, suspense, danger, hope – and, yes, salvation.

The Review

While notably a newcomer to this series, I found myself thoroughly entertained and invested in this story from the first page. In a complex fantasy world, the author does a fantastic job of crafting layered and addicting mythology for fans of the genre to gravitate towards.

The author has an excellent balance hereof world-building and character growth, each one complimenting the other to create an engaging story. The friendship between James, Ben, and Mary is a heartwarming one, and the overall message of the novel of love winning out over fear and hatred was inspiring to see incorporated into such a rich mythos. I even had moments of connection with some of the newer character’s backgrounds, such as Professor Shaw and his paranormal researcher status, something I myself have become invested in. 

The Verdict

Overall, this was a powerful story. Engaging, entertaining, and magical in its approach, author Colm McElwain’s “James Clyde and the Tomb of Salvation” is a powerful modern YA-level fantasy novel. Action-packed, full of mystery, and an overall whirlwind tale, this is one book you won’t want to miss, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Colm was raised and educated in Monaghan, Ireland. He is a Physical Education and Business teacher and likes reading books, watching films and playing sport. He has always loved storytelling, whether through literature or film. James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra is his first novel and brings a very fulfilling creative experience spanning a number of years to an end.

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

The Iron Raven (The Iron Fey: Evenfall #1) by Julie Kagawa Review

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

The true origins of the infamous Puck come to life as a dangerous threat to the worlds of humanity and Faeries alike rises in author Julie Kagawa’s “The Iron Rave”, the first in “The Iron Fey: Evenfall” series. 

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The Synopsis

You may have heard of me…

Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Prankster, joker, raven, fool… King Oberon’s right-hand jester from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The legends are many, but the truth will now be known as never before, as Puck finally tells his own story and faces a threat to the lands of Faery and the human world unlike any before.

With the Iron Queen Meghan Chase and her prince consort, Puck’s longtime rival Ash, and allies old and new by his side, Puck begins a fantastical and dangerous adventure not to be missed or forgotten.

The Review

An action-packed, entertaining deep dive into the world of fantasy, this novel is a fantastic start to a new series within the world of the Iron Fey. Fans of the original series by author Julie Kagawa and newcomers will be able to pick this book up with ease and quickly fall into the lore and magic of this narrative. 

The author’s focus on Puck was an inspired choice, as the infamous trickster and longtime ally of the original protagonists of the series got a much-needed look into his past and character arc overall. The emotional and physical journey he takes in this narrative are nail-biting, to say the least, and his new relationships with characters like the assassin Nyx are engaging to read. 

Fans of the fantasy genre as a whole will absolutely love the amount of mythos that went into this book. As a newcomer to the series myself, it was great to see not only the Fae represented, but so many other magical creatures, from the goblins and redcaps found in the Goblin Market early on in the book to the powerful threat introduced into this narrative with this shadowy creature, this book’s core rests within the fantasy realm the author has crafted, making the setting as much of a character as Puck himself.

The Verdict

A beautifully written, entertaining, and magical new chapter in the world of the Iron Fey, author Julie Kagawa’s “The Iron Raven” is a fantastic start to this spinoff series. With a heart-pounding and almost cinematically written final few chapters that see this massive battle unfold and a cast of characters that readers are going to be able to invest in easily, this is a must-read fantasy book of 2021. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

JULIE KAGAWA is the New York Times, USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author of The Iron Fey, Blood of Eden, The Talon Saga and the Shadow of the Fox series. Born in Sacramento, she has been a bookseller and an animal trainer and enjoys reading, painting, playing in her garden and training in martial arts. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and a plethora of pets. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Social Links:

Author website: http://juliekagawa.com/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jkagawa 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juliekagawaauthor/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100045094913658 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/52735443-the-iron-raven 

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2995873.Julie_Kagawa

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Iron-Raven-Fey-Evenfall/dp/1335091769 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-iron-raven-julie-kagawa/1136599840?ean=9781335091765 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335091765?aff=novelknight 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Iron-Raven/Julie-Kagawa/9781335091765 

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-iron-raven/id1501522621?id=1501522621&ign-mpt=uo%3D4    

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/

details/Julie_Kagawa_The_Iron_Raven?id=km3UDwAAQBAJ

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An Exclusive Excerpt From “The Iron Raven”

The human world

A long, long time ago

It was almost time

I peeked out of the bushes and grinned.  The stage was nearly set.  In the tiny, sun-dappled clearing beyond the trees, the crystal-clear pool glimmered, attracting all manner of life to its sparkling waters.  A herd of spotted deer bent graceful necks to the surface under the watchful eye of a great stag, standing tall at the edge of the pond.  A few rabbits hopped through the bracken scattered through the clearing, and a family of squirrels scolded each other in the branches of a large gnarled oak.  Birds sang, wildlife meandered, and the wind gently rustled the leaves overhead.  It was a blissful, picturesque woodland scene, a perfectly peaceful day in the human realm.

Boring, boring, boring.

I smiled, reached into my shirt, and pulled the pan flute into the light.  It was my own design; I’d spent several days gathering hollow reeds, cutting them, binding them together and making sure the tone was perfect.  Now, I was going to see what it could do.  

Drawing glamour from the forest around me, I raised the flute to my lips and blew out a single note.

The clear, high sound cut through the stillness of the woods, arcing over the grove, and all the animals clustered around the pond jerked up, eyes wide and nostrils flaring.  The rabbits sat up, ears twitching back and forth.  The deer raised their heads, dark eyes huge as they gazed around, ready to flee.  The squirrels’ tails flicked back and forth as they clung to the branches, their chittering voices silenced.    

In the sudden stillness, I took a deep breath, gathering my magic, and began playing.

The melody rose into the air, cheerful and face paced.  It swirled around the pond, into the ears of every living creature.  For a moment, none of them moved,

Then, one of the rabbits began tapping its foot.  The others followed, thumping their hind legs in tune to the rhythm, and the deer began tossing their heads to the music.  In the branches, the squirrels bobbed, tails flicking back and forth, keeping time, and the birds added their voices to the song.  I bit down a smile and played louder, faster, drawing in more glamour and releasing it into the notes trilling through the forest.  

With a bugle, the ancient stag reared up, tossing his huge antlers, and gave a graceful bound to the center of the clearing.  His sharp hooves pawed the grass, raking gouges in the earth, as he began stepping and leaping with the music.  As one, his herd joined him, bouncing and cavorting to his side, and the rabbits began flinging themselves in wild arcs around the stomping deer.  My glee soared; this was working better than I had hoped. It was all I could do to keep playing and not let the song drop because of the enormous grin wanting to stretch my face.  

Rising from the bushes, I walked toward the grove, the pan flute moving rapidly under my lips, the song rising and the magic soaring in response.  My feet itched, and I started to move them, stepping and dancing to the center of the clearing.  Filling my lungs, I played as loudly as I could, my body moving almost on its own, leaping and twirling and spinning through the air.  And all around me, the forest creatures danced as well, hooves and horns and furry bodies barely missing me as they bounced and cavorted in a frantic circle, hurling themselves around the grove with wild abandon. I lost myself in the music, in the excitement and ecstasy, as I danced with the forest.

I didn’t know how long the melody went on; half the time my eyes were closed and I was moving on pure instinct.  But at last, as the song reached a crescendo, I sensed it was time to bring it to a close.  With one final, soaring note, the melody died away, the wild emotions faded, and the whirlwind of magic swirling through the grove fluttered out, returning to the earth.   

Panting, I lowered my arms.  Around me, my fellow dancers also came to shuddering stops, breathing hard.  The great stag stood a few feet away, antlered head bowed, legs and flanks trembling.  As I watched, he quivered and collapsed, white foam bubbling from his mouth and nostrils as his head struck the ground.  One by one, the rest of the herd crumpled as well, some gasping wide-eyed for breath, some lying motionless in the dirt.  Scattered around them, furry lumps of rabbits lay in the churned mud.  I looked at the trees and saw the squirrels and birds lying at the bases of the trunks, having fallen from their perches once the music ceased.  

I blinked.  Well, that was unexpected.  How long had I been playing anyway?  I looked at the sky through the branches and saw clouds streaked with orange, the sun hovering low on the horizon.  I’d come to this grove and played the very first note early this morning.  It seemed our wild revel had lasted the entire day.

Huh.  I scratched the back of my head.  Well, that’s disappointing.  I guess I can’t push these mortal beasts too aggressively, or they just collapse.  Hmm.  Tapping the fingers of one hand against my arm, I gazed at the pan flute in the other.  I wonder if humans would do any better? 

“Boy.” 

The deep, lyrical voice came from behind me, and a ripple of magic shivered through the air. I felt a stab of annoyance that someone had been watching my revel; that was why I’d chosen to do this in the human world, after all—so I could worry less about curious eavesdroppers.   I turned and saw a procession of horses at the edge of the clearing, watching me from the trees.  The mounts were fey creatures, lighter and much more graceful than their mortal counterparts, their hooves barely touching the ground.  The riders atop them were sidhe knights, clad in armor of leaves, vines and branches woven together.  Part of the Summer Court, I realized.  I’d seen them before, as well as the knights of the Winter Court.  I’d even played with a few of them in the wyldwood, though they never realized the cause of all their small, annoying mishaps was a forest boy too insignificant to notice. 

But the rider at the front of the procession had definitely noticed me, and he was impossible to miss, too.  His mount was bright gold, brighter than any mortal steed, but the noble atop it outshone even his mount.  He was dressed in armor of green and gold, with a cloak made of blooming vines that left flowers where he passed.  Long silver hair flowed from under the huge antlered crown that rested on his brow, and the piercing green eyes beneath it were fixed solely on me. 

Why was he here?  Had he heard my music and been drawn to the sound? That was unfortunate. I tried to avoid catching the eye of the Summer Court, particularly this faery.  I hadn’t been doing anything wrong; the fey cared little to what happened in the mortal world. The deaths of a few forest creatures meant nothing to them. But attracting the attention of one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever was a dangerous game. Depending on his mood, he might demand that I “gift” him the thing I’d worked so hard on, play the pipes for him and his knights by for as long as he was amused, or entertain them all by becoming the next hunt. The fey lords were notoriously unpredictable, and I treated them as I would a sleeping dragon: it was okay to tiptoe around and steal their gold, as long as they didn’t see you.

But now, the dragon had spotted me.

The sidhe gentry nudged his mount, and the horse stepped into the clearing, striding across the grass until beast and rider loomed before me.  I stood my ground and gazed up defiantly at the noble, who was watching me with appraising eyes.

“So young,” he mused.  “And such an impressive use of glamour.  What is your name, boy?”

“Robin.”

“And where are your parents, Robin?”

I shrugged.  “I live by myself.  In the wyldwood.”  I couldn’t remember my parents, if I’d even had them.  My earliest memory was the tangle of the wyldwood, foraging for food and shelter, learning the skills I needed to survive.  But, even though I was alone, I’d never felt like I didn’t belong.  The forest, the wyldwood, was my home.  That was how it always had been. 

“Hm.”  The tall noble didn’t press the question.  He observed me in silence for another moment, his face giving nothing away.  “Do you know who I am, boy?” he asked instead. 

This time, I nodded.  “You’re King Oberon.” It was obvious; everyone knew who the Summer King was, though I’d never seen him in person.  It didn’t matter.  I had never seen Queen Mab, ruler of the Winter Court, either, but I was certain I would know her if I did.

“Yes,” the Seelie King agreed.  “I am indeed.  And I could use someone of your talents in Seelie territory.” He raised a hand, indicating me with long, elegant fingers.  “You have power; raw, unfettered Summer magic rivaling some of my strongest allies in the court. Such a gift should not go to waste in the wyldwood.  You should not be living in the forest like a beast, singing to birds and squirrels.  You should be part of the greatest court in the Nevernever. What say you, Robin?”  The king regarded me with eyes like pale green frost.  “Would you like to become part of the Seelie Court?”

Part of the Seelie Court?  

Curiosity battled defiance.  I was intrigued, of course.  Living by myself in the wyldwood meant I could come and go as I pleased, but it was getting a bit lonely.  I wanted to talk to people, others of my kind, not just forest creatures and the occasional scatterbrained piskie.  And of the two courts, Summer territory sounded much more pleasant than the frozen, hostile land of Winter.

       Still, it was never a good idea to take the first offer.  Even I, with my limited knowledge of bargains and deals, knew that much.

“I like it in the forest.”  I crossed my arms and smiled at the king.  “Why should I go live at the Summer Court?”

The Seelie King smiled, as if he’d expected that answer.  “Because, Robin, I am king.”  He spoke the phrase like it was the most important fact in the world.  “And as king of the Seelie, I can give you whatever your heart desires. I can grant you power, wealth, the love of as many hearts as you wish.” He paused, as I wrinkled my nose. “But I can see you are not interested in these things. Perhaps, then, this would be of note.  I have many enemies, Robin.  Both within the court and without. From time to time, these enemies need to realize that they cannot underestimate the sovereignty of Summer.  If you join me…well, let us say you will have plenty of opportunities to practice your magic on things other than common forest beasts.”

Now that sounded interesting. I glanced back at the pond, at the motionless bodies surrounding it.  Poor dumb animals. I hadn’t meant to harm them, but it seemed normal creatures were very fragile.  I would love to try some of my ideas on sturdier creatures, maybe even a few fey, and Oberon was dangling that big, bright carrot in front of me.  He seemed to know exactly what I wanted.  The only question was, did I care?  

“So, Robin of the Wyldwood,” King Oberon went on, peering down at me from his horse.  “What is your decision?  Will you join my court?  I will name you court jester, and you can play your tricks and practice your magic without boundaries.  All I ask is that you do me a small service from time to time.  Do we have a deal?”

Something nagged at me, a feeling that this agreement wasn’t quite what I thought it was. I’d made deals before, but they were with piskies and sprites and a couple local dryads. Never with someone as important as the ruler of the Seelie Court. Was I missing something? This did seem a little too good to be true. 

I hesitated a moment more, then shrugged.  Then again, why not join the Summer Court?  What was the worst that could happen? I was aching for something new, and if I was under the protection of King Oberon himself, think of all the pranks and tricks I could play without fear of retribution.  

This was going to be fun.

“All right,” I agreed, grinning up at Oberon, who raised a thin silver brow in return.  “You have a deal, king.  I’ll join the Summer Court, as long as I get to practice my magic and play as many tricks as I want.”  

“Excellent.”  Oberon nodded and raised both hands.  “Then I name you Robin Goodfellow, jester of the Summer Court,” he announced in sudden, booming tones, and the branches of the trees shook, as if acknowledging his declaration.  Lowering his arms, the Summer lord gazed down at me with a sudden, almost proud smile.  “Welcome to the Seelie Court, Robin Goodfellow.  Wear your name proudly.  Perhaps someday the world will come to know it, as well.”

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Q&A With Author Julie Kagawa

Q: What was the hardest scene to write in The Iron Raven? What was the easiest?

A: I can’t say too much without giving away spoilers, but the hardest scene in The Iron Raven was near the very end of the book when they’re fighting the final Big Bad, and Puck does a completely Puck-ish thing to give them a fighting chance. It was random and irreverent and completely ridiculous, so I had to get it just right to avoid making it cheesy. The easiest scene was one where Puck and Ash were semi-seriously threatening each other, because I know those two so well and it was all rather familiar.

Q: Did you hide any secrets in your book? (names of friends, little jokes, references to things only some people will get)?

A: Lol, well I’m going to reveal my absolute geekiness and say that the name of the newest character, Nyx, is actually my D&D character, a dragon-hating elven assassin. There were a few tweaks, of course, but Nyx is…well, me in a D&D campaign. 😛

Q: What do you hope people remember about The Iron Raven?

A: I hope The Iron Raven brings back the feel of the first Iron Fey novels, where everything was new and surreal and exciting. I hope readers will experience the same wonder and belief in magic, friendship, love and heroism that I tried to present in the first series.

Q: Did The Iron Raven have a certain soundtrack you listened to while writing?

A: My music tastes are eclectic, but I do listen to a lot of Two Steps From Hell while writing, because its mostly instrumental and they have some epic soundtracks.

Q: What is your dream cast for The Iron Raven?

A: I am so bad at this question I don’t even think I can answer it. Apologies, but I really am terrible at remembering actors and actresses. This is a great question for fans, though. Who would your dream cast be for an Iron Fey series?

Posted in reviews

Secret Sky (The Gift Legacy #1) by J.P. McLean 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 finds her life literally taking flight as she must contend with shocking abilities and a secret society that challenges her to question whose side they are on in author J.P. McLean’s fantasy romance novel, “Secret Sky”. 

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The Synopsis

An intrepid young woman. An incredible gift. A terrible price to pay.

Emelynn Taylor’s gift didn’t come wrapped in pretty paper and tied with a bow, nor can it ever be returned. Now, it’s taken over her life. It strikes without warning, strips her of gravity and sends her airborne, unchecked.

Haunted by terrifying flights she can’t control, Emelynn vows to take command of her dangerous gift. She returns to the seaside cottage where it all began. Here, she discovers an underground society whose members share her hidden ability, and a man who sends her heart soaring.

But the deeper Emelynn gets pulled into this secret society, the more she questions their motives. Are they using the gift for good or for evil? Unravelling the truth will plunge Emelynn into a fight for her freedom—and her life.

The first book in The Gift Legacy series, Secret Sky is a thriller that skirts the edges of reality in a world within our own. Buckle up and escape the ordinary: take flight with Emelynn Taylor.

(Secret Sky was previously published as The Gift: Awakening)

The Review

One of the more unique fantasy-driven narratives I’ve read in a long time, this was a remarkable opening chapter in a new fantasy series. In the first of six books, the author introduces readers to quite a unique world, where the gift many people around the world have always said they’d want is a reality for a select few, but it isn’t always the “gift” people assume it would be. 

The core of this novel resides in the protagonist, Emelynn. Her journey hits instantly when readers find her being transported to a hospital, and only gets stranger and stronger as time goes on. The mysterious circumstances of how she got her power, her wild introduction to the Fliers, and the complex web of emotions as she is introduced to new friends, new romance, and freedom she never knew before make her an engaging protagonist.

It was an especially inspired choice to set this story within the real world, and not an original land or world like many fantasy stories like to do. It made the inclusion of thriller and suspense elements in the narrative feel more natural and dynamic. The action and shocking twists and turns as the final pages came made this one of the best reads in the fantasy genre in years. 

The Verdict

A powerful, character-driven narrative like no other, author J.P. McLean’s “Secret Sky” is a must-read. The suspense and thrills that this book produces are equally balanced with the more fantastic and romantic genres this book inhabits, while the mythology and protagonist the author crafted help not only draw the reader in but keep them invested throughout the entirety of the novel. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this amazing read today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

JP (Jo-Anne) McLean writes contemporary fantasy thrillers with a provocative edge. She is best known for The Gift Legacy series. The

first book of the series received Honorable Mention at the WhistlerIndependent Book Awards. Reviewers call the series addictive, smart and fun.

Her books include endorsements from Ethel Wilson fiction prize winner, Jennifer Manuel, and Globe and Mail bestselling author,Elinor Florence, among others. The series has been described as fantasy light and is a good introduction to the genre for the uninitiated.

Jo-Anne neglects the gardens and housework to write full time from her home on Denman Island, off of Canada’s west coast. She writes best when she’s within sight and sound of water, even if it’s just a fountain, and hopes never to stop reading, writing or imagining the impossible.

Posted in reviews

The Hunt of the Unicorn by C.C. Humphreys 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 finds her world turned upside down as the family story she dismissed as a fantasy becomes her new reality in author C.C. Humphreys’ “The Hunt of the Unicorn”. 

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The Synopsis

Elayne thinks the old family story that one of her ancestors stepped through a tapestry into a world of mythical beasts makes a great fireside tale. But she lives in the real world. In New York City. And she’s outgrown that kind of fantasy.

Until she finds herself in front of a unicorn tapestry at the Cloisters museum and sees her initials woven into the fabric. And hears a unicorn calling to her. And slips and falls—into that other world.

Suddenly the line between fantasy and reality isn’t so clear. But the danger is real enough. Almost before she can think, Elayne is attacked by a ferocious beast, rescued by a unicorn, and taken prisoner by a tyrant king. Each of them seems to have an idea about her—that she’s a hero, a villain, dinner!

But Elayne has a few ideas of her own. She wants to overthrow the king; she wants to tame the unicorn. She wants to go home! And she’s willing to become both hero and villain to do it.

The Review

A rich and storied mythology comes to life in author C.C. Humphreys’s latest novel. The author does a great job of creating a healthy blend of new fantasy-driven mythology with a rich cast of characters and mythical beasts that give both a magical and human element of danger and adventure to the narrative. 

The author does an amazing job of crafting not only a wholly original story, but does a wonderful job of creating memorable characters. Protagonist Alice is a fantastic character to follow, as her story is complex and intricately tied into this magical world known as Goloth. Her journey takes her down roads that could either save a world, destroy it, or possibly both. 

The emotional core of her father’s illness with cancer and her reading the story of their family legacy to him to start the story was an inspired way of bringing this mythology into the story early on, and the concept of parallel worlds bringing our reality into the world of Goloth was a great way of pairing that emotional storyline to the adventure she experiences later on.

The Verdict

An action-packed, wildly creative and evenly-paced read, author C.C. Humphreys’s “The Hunt of the Unicorn” was a fantastic start to a new fantasy-driven series. The protagonist was someone readers could identify with and rally behind, while the large mythos the author built was engaging and entertaining to dive into. A must-read for fantasy fans out there, be sure to grab your copy of this awesome novel today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys was born in Toronto, lived till he was seven in Los Angeles, then grew up in the UK. All four grandparents were actors, and since his father was an actor as well, it was inevitable he would follow the bloodline.

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys has played Hamlet in Calgary, a gladiator in Tunisia, waltzed in London’s West End, conned the landlord of the Rovers Return in Coronation Street, commanded a starfleet in Andromeda, voiced Salem the cat in the original Sabrina, and is a dead immortal in Highlander. He has written eleven adult novels including The French Executioner, runner-up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers; Chasing the Wind; The Jack Absolute Trilogy; Vlad – The Last Confession; A Place Called Armageddon and Shakespeare’s Rebel – which he adapted into a play and which premiered at Bard on the Beach, Vancouver, in 2015. Plague won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel in Canada in 2015. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. He is now writing epic fantasy with the Immortals’ Blood Trilogy, for Gollancz. The first book, Smoke in the Glass was published in 2019 and The Coming of the Dark is, well, coming, Summer 2020. He is also publishing his other new fantasy series, The Tapestry Trilogy, beginning in August 2020 with ‘The Hunt of the Unicorn’.

Several of his novels are available as Audiobooks – read by himself! Find him here:

https://www.authorchrishumphreys.com/…

He is translated into thirteen languages. In 2015 he earned his Masters in Fine Arts (Creative Writing) from the University of British Columbia.

Chris now lives on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada, with Dickon the cat (who keeps making it into his books!)

Check out his website: http://authorchrishumphreys.com

Posted in reviews

Water Sight (Last of the Gifted Book 2) by Marie Powell Review

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

As the Kingdom of England threatens to take over Wales, two siblings must use their magic gifts to save their home. Yet one must choose to save their sibling, or the love of their life, in author Marie Powell’s “Water Sight”, the second book in the Last of the Gifted series. 

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The Synopsis

Wales, 1283: A world at war

Catrin can see the future in a drop of water.

Her brother Hyw can take the shape of any bird or animal.

Only their magic can thwart the invading English forces determined to bring down the country.

The Prince of Wales needs three magical relics to rally the straggling Welsh forces. Catrin’s gift of Second Sight may be the only hope for success—if she can outwit the English lord who wants to use her gift to capture the prince.

Her brother Hyw is on the run with the prince and the dwindling Welsh army. To escape the betrayal dogging their heels, Hyw takes refuge in his evolving gift—until shifting shapes puts his humanity in jeopardy.

With Hyw trapped in his magic and her betrothed in an English jail, Catrin faces an impossible choice: save her brother, or save the man she loves.

The Review

An incredible read, author Marie Powell showcases a strong mastery of the fantasy/historical fiction style storytelling that has become so popular over the years. The protagonists, brother and sister Hyw and Cat, are well rounded, and the author does an amazing job of highlighting the well-rounded nature of each hero, flaws and all. 

The emotional core of the story is Cat’s struggle to not only save her people but protect her brother and the man she loves all at the same time while helping to fight off the English invaders led by King Edward. The amount of history the author was able to incorporate into the narrative was amazing. As a history buff, it was incredible to learn more about the era before Wales officially became part of England, when revolts were fought to maintain their independence and kingdom. The fantasy elements feel natural as the story progresses, as each hero’s power leads to difficult choices that many readers will be able to identify with. 

The Verdict

An amazingly written, emotionally driven, and fantasy-fueled read, author Marie Powell’s second entry into the Last of the Gifted series, “Water Sight”, is a must-read for fans of the historical fiction/fantasy genres. Action-packed and evenly paced, this is the perfect end of 2020 fantasy book for all readers, but especially fans of the YA genre. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Marie Powell’s castle-hopping across North Wales to explore her family roots resulted in her YA historical fantasy Spirit Sight (Last of the Gifted Book 1). Book 2, Water sight, will be released in fall 2020. Among other degrees, she holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing from the University of BC. Marie lives on Treaty 4 land in Regina, Saskatchewan, and her writing workshops are popular across the region.