Posted in reviews

Stolen Enchantress (Forbidden Forest #1) by Amber Argyle Audiobook Tour

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 herself in a dangerous game of magic, death and possibly love in author Amber Argyle’s YA Fantasy, “Stolen Enchantress”, the first in the Forbidden Forest series.

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The Synopsis

A beast. An enchantress. An unbreakable curse . . .

When her little sister is taken by the beast of the Forbidden Forest, Larkin does the unthinkable: she goes in after her.

Deep within the sentient woods, Larkin uncovers a secret that puts her in dreadful danger. Worse, now that the beast has had his taste, he’ll never stop hunting her. But the forest has woken something inside Larkin; something that gives her the power to fight back.

Magic.

Using forbidden magic will get Larkin hanged. Not using it will leave her at the mercy of the beast’s enchantment. But there’s a third option; one that scares her more than anything.

She could fall in love with the beast.

Fans of A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY and A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES will be spellbound by the fairytale retelling of Beauty and the Beast and The Pied Piper in Stolen Enchantress. One-click now to find out why readers around the world are getting lost in the Forbidden Forest!

The Review

A powerful, enchanting combination of engaging and entertaining writing with clear, concise, and magical narration, the audiobook of Stolen Enchantress is a welcome delight. The reader is instantly transported into a world that feels part Brothers Grimm, part Mortal Instruments with a mature and dark Disney spin. 

Larkin is a strong and memorable protagonist, who showcases her courage and heart from the book’s early pages as she ventures into the dark forest in search of her sister. A multi-layered world and danger present itself as not only are fans treated to the amazing twist on the Pied Piper story that places him in the role of the Beast but the twists and turns the story take to create a complex and memorable mythos that fans of the series like A Court of Thorns and Roses will find themselves falling deeper and deeper into. While there are some serious topics utilized in the story (abuse being one of them), the author does a good job of layering these topics naturally into the more fantastical aspects of this world.

The Verdict

A must-read and must-listen audiobook, author Amber Argyle’s “Stolen Enchantress” is a memorable and fun YA Fantasy read. With a great balance of emotional storytelling, engaging mythology building, and amazing character relationships both good and bad, fans will not be able to stop listening to this amazing tale. Be sure to grab your copy of this audiobook today!

Rating: 10/10

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Author: Amber Argyle

Narrator: Lynn Bradford

Length: 14 hour 5 minutes

Series: Forbidden Forest, Book 1

Publisher: Starling Publishing

Released: Nov. 11, 2020

Genre: Romantic Fantasy; YA

Add on Goodreads   Continue reading “Stolen Enchantress (Forbidden Forest #1) by Amber Argyle Audiobook Tour”
Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Marie Powell

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

Well, I wrote my first story for a neighbour when I was six years old — self-published with crayon and staples! But seriously, I had a lot of encouragement from my high school English teachers, especially Gary Hyland, a Moose Jaw poet I was fortunate to have as my English teacher twice (Grades 10 and 12). He got me interested in the Sage Hill Writing Experience and the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild (SWG). I started writing poetry initially. In university I switched to Theatre Studies, as a dramaturge working on new play development, and then I began writing plays and filmscripts. Then I morphed to journalism, then freelance magazine writing, and eventually short stories and children’s writing. About 15 years ago, I went to the Sage Hill Writing Experience for a 10-day fiction workshop, followed up with the incredible opportunity of doing an MFA degree in Creative Writing at UBC. That started me writing novels. So it’s been a long and winding path.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

This series is the result of my trips to Wales. I went to visit the big English castles like Conwy and Caernarfon and Beaumaris, but they were actually built by Edward I to subjugate the Welsh. So I also went to the smaller castles of the Welsh princes, like Dolwyddelan and Castell-y-Bere. These are very different. There’s no gate, no ticket taker, no little shop selling souvenirs, no tour guide, and really, no people around when we visited. Just signs with pictures that showed people falling off rocks: enter at your own risk. But there were placards at Dolwyddelan with the history of the Welsh princes and all that was lost in the 1282-3 invasion. And I felt that history in some strange way, walking through that ruined castle. It’s my ancestry. I didn’t know much about it then, but I just got hooked. I had just done a story about a man who trained hawks, and one day I tried free-writing about what it would be like to have a connection with a hawk. That — after a lot of rewriting — is still the opening scene of Spirit Sight, the first book in the series. This been my heart-project, and I’ve been working away at it ever since.

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

This is really a book about friendship and working together to overcome extreme odds. Friendship is like magic: only limited by our imagination. Magic evolves and grows, just like we do, and it can connect unlikely people in unusual ways. But we can survive anything if we pull together — young and old, Gifted and not — and stretch our natural abilities to help each other.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’m naturally drawn to speculative fiction and fantasy. We carry so much with us, the people we’ve known and the places we’ve been and the things we’ve seen, sometimes without really being aware of it. Things seen and half-seen and unseen influence us, and our personal past has an effect on our present just as history affects the future. As a kid, I read about a Welsh bard who saw an animal transform from one shape to another and another. I still have that image in my head, the subtle connections between things that might not seem connected. That’s the kind of magic I want to capture in my stories. Go on a walk and there are birds flying overhead or calling from the trees, insects that pass in and out of our field of vision, and even the wind pushing the leaves around. We don’t consciously notice much of it, but it might be enough to make us walk one direction instead of another, or have a dream or a nightmare two weeks later. I once had a colleague who felt that buildings hold the impressions of people who pass through them, and if you listen you can still hear their voices crying in the walls. That could either make you crazy or make you pick up a pen.

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

The characters in my books tend to answer questions before I ask them. It’s difficult to slow them down long enough for me to catch up. Right now, I’m working on short stories to provide some of the backstory that I couldn’t put in the novel, like the main characters’ backstories and adventures of the secondary characters between the scenes. I’d love to hear what questions readers would like to ask!

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

I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media, but I would have to say my website is the most helpful (https://mariepowell.ca/young-adult/last-of-the-gifted/). That’s where people can find my books, series videos, and information. I try to keep it up to date on my workshops, conference panels, and other activities. It’s the best way to contact me because it links to my email. I’m also starting a mailing list and the link is available on my website.

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

Read everything, especially the genres you would like to write, and write a lot. Challenge yourself. Almost anyone can write, but we owe it to our readers to write well. Take classes and courses, join feedback groups, and learn as much about writing as you can. Seriously. And be persistent. Writers evolve, so make it a long-term commitment.

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

I’m working on quite a few projects. As well as short stories, Book 3 in the Last of the Gifted series is high on my list. Also, I have some published short stories that are more contemporary speculative fiction, and I’d like to compile them into a book. And I’m working on a more contemporary SF novel that’s totally unrelated. I could use a few extra hours a day!

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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.

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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.

Posted in reviews

The Witching Vault by Kathrin Hutson Review

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

A woman seeking any job she can get after being released from a magical prison finds herself the unwitting new owner of a spellbound bank and faces untold danger in author Kathrin Hutson’s urban fantasy novel, “The Witching Vault”, the first in the Accessory to Magic series.

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The Synopsis

Run the witching vault. Protect the Gateway. Say please. And don’t get killed.

After her release from magical prison, Jessica Northwood can’t hold a job to save her life. So when an apprenticeship opens up at a spellbound bank, no questions asked, she can’t exactly say no… But she definitely should have.

Her new boss is an eccentric scryer witch who can read Jessica’s mind but can’t remember her name. Winthrop & Dirledge Security Banking can think for itself and has a serious attitude problem. But after Jessica’s previous line of work, this should be a piece of cake—until a murder in the bank takes things to a whole new level. Now her contract says she’s the new owner, Jessica has no idea what she’s doing, and the bank won’t let her leave.

For centuries, the bank’s owners have stood between the Gateway in the upstairs hall and the occult syndicate who want it for themselves. As she deals with magical clientele who know the stakes far better than she does, Jessica must decide just how far she’s willing to go to keep this job. Because if she doesn’t, she’ll end up as dead as the body in the lobby. Or worse.

Illona Andrews’ Inkeeper Chronicles meets The Magicians in this snarky, fast-paced Urban Fantasy Adventure from International Bestselling Author Kathrin Hutson.

The Review

A fantastic start to a new fantasy series, author Kathrin Hutson does an incredible job of crafting a larger than life, fantastic world. What stands out immediately is how the author writes in an authoritative voice that showcases how the world around the protagonist is already well-established. It gives the sense that this world is already fully lived in and allows the story to flow more smoothly. 

The tone and character growth shine brightly in this book. Typically this type of novel approaches the narrative with a very dark tone with light or almost non-existent humor, but the author flips the script wonderfully by crafting an atmosphere and fantasy world where magic is not only the norm, but witches, necromancers, and more all interact with one another. 

The protagonist is by far the true star of this novel, however, as Jessica brings the charm, the wit, and the mystery to this novel. Jessica’s backstory is hinted at, but the author does a great job of keeping most of it a mystery, allowing the character and story to speak for themselves while hinting at the larger world the author is crafting. What makes her interactions so humorous is when the established witch finds herself interacting with forces even she has trouble comprehending, including a sentient building and so much more. 

The Verdict

A compelling, engaging, and evenly-paced read, author Kathrin Hutson’s “The Witch Vault” is a must-read urban fantasy novel. A fresh adult spin on the fantasy genre reminiscent of the acclaimed series The Magicians, the author perfectly cements this larger than life world with charming and relatable characters, action, and magic that all fantasy fans won’t want to miss. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

International Bestselling Author Kathrin Hutson has been writing Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and LGBTQ Speculative Fiction since 2000. With her wildly messed-up heroes, excruciating circumstances, impossible decisions, and Happily Never Afters, she’s a firm believer in piling on the intense action, showing a little character skin, and never skimping on violent means to bloody ends. Kathrin is an active member of SFWA and HWA and lives in Vermont with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

For updates on new releases, exclusive deals, and dark surprises you won’t find anywhere else, sign up to Kathrin’s newsletter at kathrinhutsonfiction.com/subscribe.

https://www.instagram.com/kathrinhutsonfiction/

https://www.facebook.com/KathrinHutsonFiction/

Posted in reviews

Soraia, Child of the Sea by Leen Lefebre Review

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

A young girl who dreams of life outside of her castle walls finds solace with a new friend whom she hides her true identity from, but soon discovers another adventure awaits her in Leen Lefebre’s “Soraia, Child of the Sea”. 

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The Synopsis 

On an island in the Atlantic Sea lives Soraia, Princess of the Azores. Father cleaves through the waves with his war fleet but she is never allowed to go along. From her balcony, she dreams of one day sailing those waters herself. Out of sheer necessity, she now finds joy in a book with hero stories.

Soraia soon falls ill with a desire for adventure. The lady-in-waiting and jester agree that she may go explore. A chance to be free presents itself. In the dale, she meets a shepherd boy. After a day together in the mountains, they are in love. But then, totally unexpectedly, King Netuno returns home.

The Review

This was a beautiful and memorable new fantasy tale like no other. The author does an incredible job of crafting a wholly unique story with a classic fairy tale vibe and memorable characters that keep the reader invested throughout the narrative.

Soraia is a fantastic protagonist, who portrays the classic princess stuck in her castle who dreams of a life beyond the home she’s forced to live in. Readers can instantly sympathize with the protagonist as she dreams of adventure and finding her place in the world. The irony of her journey and how it brings her to her dream of life beyond her island and castle, but comes at the cost of losing the relationships she has built over the long years isolated on the island, showcasing that destiny and life often come at the cost of the past we all hold dear to us. 

The Verdict

A short yet beautifully written fairy tale come to life, this Norse-driven mythological story is a must-read for middle graders and up. The characters are wonderfully written, and the theme of isolation, dreams and destiny are explored in-depth and honestly in this tale, making for a truly incredible reading experience. If you haven’t yet grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Leen Lefebre grew up in West Flanders where she works at the Local Heritage Service. As a kid, she threw herself upon each book that was available. Later, she turned around and settled on the worldwide web. She then emerged as a true explorer of literature, music, and sports. Leen is a dreamer and a doer – and this is how her stories rose up as charming and lively fairy tales for adventurers of all ages.

Posted in reviews

Possessed President by Amo Sulaiman Review

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

Two outsiders must traverse a self-destructive America in order to rescue a Possessed President in author Amo Sulaiman’s “Possessed President”. 

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The Synopsis

Full of thought-provoking symbolism leavened with both crazy antics and danger, Possessed President, Resman—the responsibility man—and his bodyguard Osray.

The pair descend from the celestial city of Atlantis to travel across America, teaching its citizens to take responsibility for not only their own actions, but the effects their actions have on everything around them.

Their goal: confront the president of the United States about the federalist policies that are driving America and Americans to self-destruction.

Resman quickly develops a following, and soon “Resmanism” is sweeping across America and around the world. 

The Review

A truly unique blend of political drama, science fiction, and fantasy, “Possessed President” is a powerful read that explores the divisiveness and lack of responsibility that has plagued the United States for years. Exploring the impact of policies similar to the ones we see being implemented now in the United States, the novel fuses this political unrest with a one-of-a-kind sci-fi epic storyline.

The use of beings from another world as the protagonists and bringing an outsider’s perspective to the situation in the United States was an inspired choice. The inclusion of mythological settings like Atlantis, as well as the unique chemistry and growing relationship between Earl-Dylan and Osray, made the story shine and the pace smooth.

The Verdict

Action-packed, thoughtful and creative, “Possessed President” by Amo Sulaiman is a must-read sci-fi and political drama. The pacing of the novel is lengthy yet engaging throughout and makes for the perfect read for the upcoming U.S. Election looming over us all and the deep, philosophical, and moral questions the narrative poses to the reader. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Ignored Tags: $0118, $0119

Born in Guyana and continuing his education in Canada, AmoSulaiman received a B.A. degree in philosophy and psychology at the University of Guelph in Ontario. He then completed his Master s degree in philosophy in Montreal. Shortly after this, he went to Switzerland where he did his Doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Bern and a BA in English and American Literature. He has been living in Switzerland ever since.

He is the author of two books on philosophy, one on English literature, and several other novels, including Proud City. This is also followed by Destroyer and El Nobis.

https://www.amoinfo.info/index.html

Posted in reviews

Scarlet Reign: Call For Independence by R.D. Crist 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 herself embroiled in a gritty, magical war and surrounded by a sisterhood she doesn’t know if she can trust in author R.D. Crist’s “Scarlet Reign: Call For independence”, the second in the Scarlet Reign series. 

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The Synopsis

War is brewing amongst the orders, and the Sisterhood has lost its infamous protector to the dark witch. Tough decisions are on the horizon for Natalie, the renowned teen leader who saved the Sisterhood, and is expected by some to do so again. The council, however, bears no respect for Natalie’s opinion in choosing a side, or declaring independence: a state that requires more than she is willing to sacrifice.

Meanwhile, old flames and foes vie for Natalie’s attention as she expresses desires to leave the order altogether. Natalie will need all that she has learned, her natural talents, and more, including new gifts of light bequeathed to her by her mentor. But all will be for naught if she cannot learn to materialize her powers in time. Will she move on from her sisters in what will be seen as an act of betrayal, or will she stay and fight?

The Review

A fantastic sequel to an already amazing fantasy series, this YA adventure takes place a couple of years after the shocking first book in the developing fantasy series. Highlighting the various politics and structural struggles that the Coalition (or group of various witches and covens), has, the story sees protagonist Natalie facing new struggles. 

The first half of the novel takes readers right into the action, as another coven attacks ruthlessly Natalie and her sisters, forcing Natalie to fight to tap into her full power set. The battle leaves Natalie with several losses, revelations, and questions that need answers. Later the sisterhood is forced to compete in a competition of battles in an effort to gain independence from the Coalition altogether, in an effort to avoid all-out war.

The author really does an amazing job of weaving personal character growth for characters like Natalie with a larger overall plot that grows the evolving mythology of this fantasy world. Capturing the tone and imagery that makes the YA genre stand out from other genres, this novel does a great job of setting up future installments in the series.

The Verdict

Action-packed, emotional, and evenly paced, author R.D. Crist’s “Scarlet Reign: Call For Independence” is a must-read YA Fantasy. The protagonist is relatable, the mythology layered and complex, and the book ends on another shocking cliffhanger that will have major implications for the rest of the series. This is a read that is not to be missed, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

R.D. Crist is a psychotherapist who generates creativity via long walks and majestic views of nature. True inspiration to write, however, derives from personal hardships that have sparked a desire to help others manage life’s various struggles.

Although R.D. Crist has only released one book, three have been written and several more begun, which span a variety of genres.  The focus of these stories are intended to center on Crist’s favorite dynamics of a story – personal conflict, relationship development, inner growth, and social revelation.  Each story is created with a greater purpose to stimulate a person to reflect on common challenges, be they personal, interactive, or in principle.

Childhood influences include Ray Bradbury stories and character conflict movies like Twelve Angry Men.

Socializing, listening to people’s stories, spending time with family, and relentlessly exercising (as if those last ten pounds cared) are some of Crist’s favorite ways to pass the day.

Here is the book website: www.scarletreignbooks.com

Posted in reviews

Allaigna’s Song: Overture (Allaigna’s Song #1) by J.M. Landels 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 with a fascinating yet deadly power must decide what her place in the nations of Ilmar and what kind of person she wants to be in author J.M. Landels’ “Allaigna’s Song: Overture”, the first in the Allaigna’s Song series. 

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The Synopsis

You can’t hide from magic when it’s in your blood …

When Allaigna was seven she almost sang her baby brother to sleep — forever. She may be heir to neither her mother’s titles nor her secrets, but she has inherited her grandmother’s dangerous talent for singing music into magic. As her education proceeds from nursery to weapons ground to the rank of royal page, it becomes increasingly hard to keep her heritage and abilities hidden.

Secrets, it seems, are stock-in-trade for her family, and as Allaigna works to keep her own, she uncovers two that will affect both her life and the unstable peace of the Ilmar nations. One is the fate of her grandmother, who married a prince, turning the gift of the Sight into a double-edged weapon of state. The other is the truth behind her mother’s two-week disappearance following an ambush by outlaws en route to her wedding.

As she discovers who she is, Allaigna must decide what to become: the skilled courtier her mother wants her to be, the political chess piece her father bargained on, or the hero her grandmother foresaw.

Allaigna’s Song: Overture is a love story, a family saga, and a coming-of-age novel that braids together the stories of daughter, mother, and grandmother into a rich and deftly woven narrative.

Readers are saying

“Beautiful writing and gripping storytelling throughout.”

“Allaigna, Lauresa, and Irdaign are tough, flawed, and appealing heroines.”

“Great tension, big world, perfect pacing, intriguing politics and lovely magic.”

“Magically unputdownable!”

The Review

This was a truly fascinating read. Immediately what stands out is how the author’s tale takes readers into an already established world from author Scott Fitzgerald Gray, set within the nations of Ilmar within the larger world of the Endlands. However, despite the author’s deep dive into this richly established fantasy world, this original story stands out on its own feet. 

The core of this story is the amazing character development of three generations of women. Between protagonist Allaigna, her mother Lauresa, and her grandmother, the characters showcase a powerful, women-driven narrative that becomes the foundation of this new chapter in the fantasy realm. A healthy blend of magic, adventure and emotional storytelling set against the backdrop of family and political drama allow this story to be elevated to all new heights as well. 

The Verdict

Powerfully written and lengthy yet engaging throughout the entirety of the novel, author J.M. Landels’ “Allaigna’s Song: Overture” is a must-read epic fantasy. The story is entertaining and driven by strong emotions, allowing the reader to become invested in the characters throughout this tale. By the book’s end, an open-ended final chapter allows readers to hang on the author’s every word and promises a strong sequel in the process. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of this fascinating book today. 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

For the full series of sword fighter portraits, please visit http://www.markfeenstra.com/swordplay

JM Landels divides her professional time between writing, editing, drawing, and teaching people to swordfight from horseback. She has no hobbies, since they all tend to turn into professions.