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REVIEW: Raven’s Heart: A tale from the world of Secramore by M.S. Verish

Raven's Heart Cover Best copyAn exiled man wonders if he should forsake his new life and risk returning to his homeland. A troubled girl seeks redemption for a terrible crime she has committed. A solitary tracker breaks an oath in order to communicate with an infamous, supernatural criminal. A vagabond thief chances leaving behind the world he knew for an unknown destiny.

An unlikely cast of characters, they are thrown together by chance, or perhaps by fate, willingly embarking upon an eccentric wizard’s mission to recover a magical stone: Raven’s Heart.

A piece of the “Stone of Undoing”, Raven’s Heart is deadly. Though the stone has the ability to unravel the very essence of magic, it brings Arcturus, Kariayla, Hawkwing, and Jinx together in a mission beyond individual ambition that could determine the fate of the world in which they live.

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Well it took me several months to read but I’m happy to say I finally made it to the end! Raven’s Heart is a humongous undertaking into the extremely well developed world of Secramore. It was slow in the beginning as there are many characters and before really getting to know everyone I found it complicated to keep everything straight. Once, the merry band of travelers all met up (Arcturus, Kariayla, Jinx and Hawkwing) it was easy and fun reading from there, up to a point.

I really got into their journey and rooted for all of them. Arcturus was pretty straightforward, you knew what he wanted and there weren’t really very many surprises. Kariayla’s past was hinted at numerous times throughout the book and left you wondering and intrigued throughout constantly waiting to find out the mystery behind her. Jinx again was a straightforward easy going character with little surprises. Hawkwing was another character built upon by intrigue and a dark past. He was another character that you constantly wanted to know more about and at times thought you knew what was going on with him and were either pleasantly surprised you were right or perhaps mildly shocked that you were wrong and it was something else altogether.

The character’s themselves were extremely well written as was the journey itself from the start until the end of part one. At the end of part one I really felt as though it could have been the end of “Book One” with the rest to follow in a sequel. Part Two was much more disjointed as the band of travelers broke up and most went their separate ways, either by choice or by force, and the rest of the part two, the majority actually followed two new characters whom I didn’t care as much for and just wanted to get past their bit and find out what was happening with the original main characters. Of the original main characters one of them is barely in the second half as he is taken against his will and the rest then commence trying to find him and rescue him, yet he was one of my favorite characters so that was a big disappointment. Another character who plays a large role is the white demon, he comes in during part one and is very mysterious and intriguing yet once you find out more about him you genuinely care for him and wish for him to succeed in his endeavors. Yet, once he goes off on his own way you never hear from him or about him again, there isn’t even any summary of he is alive or perhaps captured at the end of conclusion of the book. I was extremely disappointed by this as I figured maybe there would be a few lines in an epilogue about him or something else small to summarize where he was and what he had been doing during the rest of the characters adventures.

I thoroughly enjoyed part one, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy, however I cannot say the same for part two of the book. While part two did hold my interest I just did not find it as enjoyable as part one. Also, as far as the writing style goes one thing that drove me crazy while reading this was the author’s use of quotation marks during large speaking parts, and there were many large speaking parts throughout this book. If one character was speaking and they broke it into paragraphs they would not end the first paragraph with quotations marks but they would start the next paragraph with them. I have never seen this before when reading and it drove me nuts! Also, the characters come across elves in part two of their journey. I have nothing against elves or the flowery language the elves used, but if you are going to employ flowery language then use the word “yes” instead of “yea”. The use of “yea” when the elves spoke seemed so out of place and really ruined reading their eloquent way of speaking, in my opinion.

Available on Amazon: Raven’s Heart (A Tale from Secramore – Epic Fantasy)


Book received from author in exchange for an honest review.

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REVIEW: WOOL by Hugh Howey

Thousands of them have lived underground. They’ve lived there so long, there are only legends about people living anywhere else. Such a life requires rules. Strict rules. There are things that must not be discussed. Like going outside. Never mention you might like going outside.

Or you’ll get what you wish for.

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I had heard a ton of good things about Wool before deciding to pick it up and read it myself.

It is a very well written story that carries you through from page one until the end and keeps you engaged wondering the same questions as Holston, the Sheriff who no longer wants to be Sheriff because he wants to leave the silo and see what’s outside. In Holston’s world saying you want to go outside is like a death sentence because outside the air is toxic and everything is dead. Children in Holston’s world are taught this from a very young age because it doesn’t matter who speaks the treason the end result is the same for everyone.

The book flashes back and forth between present day and Holston’s ordeal of saying he wants to go outside to the final act of him being sent outside, to the past of when Holston’s wife was still alive and spoke those same treason words three years prior. The flash backs bring up a lot of doubts about their society and the possibility of the outside being a a death sentence a lie perpetrated by those in charge to keep the rest in line.

This is only book 1 out of 5 and i’m not really sure where the other 4 books will go because this one seemed to have so much closure. My only guess is the end of book 1 is not what it seems and that I would have to read the others to find out for sure. I probably will eventually read the rest of Wool however with so much seemingly being finished it doesn’t make me want to rush out and read the second one immediately.

Available on Amazon: Wool

Available on Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wool-hugh-howey/1104684912?ean=2940013196292&itm=1&usri=wool

4 inkpots

This book was purchased by me

 

 

FREE and CHEAP fantasy: Winter Escapes

winter escapes

NEW RELEASE: Rise of the Retics by T.J. Lantz

Are you a Harry Potter fan or perhaps a Percy Jackson fan and looking for a new book fix? Try Rise of the Retics, T.J. Lantz’s newest release.

It has tons of adventure and the reason why there are no more fantastical creatures living in our world today, at least not that we know of. . .

ebook cover

 

Book Description: For almost a millennia humanity has been making a concerted effort to eradicate the world’s retics, an eclectic collection of non-human, intelligent species. Recently, those efforts have been strengthened and far more successful than ever, though the Council of Rosehaven, the retic’s hidden sanctuary city, cannot figure out why.

No one realizes the danger of this this more than eleven-year-old Tyranna Wolfskin, who is ripped from her boring, everyday life in the middle of the night by a vicious group of retic hunters. Thrust into a struggle for her own survival, Tyranna must find a way to accept what she is and learn to acclimate herself to a world she never knew existed.

Author Bio: Though new to the world of professional writing, T.J. Lantz has been a world class storyteller (a.k.a. liar) for many years. Originally forging his craft by creating backstories for each of the lawn gnomes he managed to liberate from the prisons his neighbors called the “front yard”, he now uses that ability to entertain his wife and six four-legged furry children. Prior to writing the Gnit-Wit Gnipper series and Rosehaven: The Hidden City, T.J. worked as an elementary school teacher in York, Pa., where he happily resides.

REVIEW: The Immortals of Myrdwyer: A Mages of Bloodmyr Novel: Book #3 by Brian Kittrell

Laedron hasn’t been able to sleep for a week, yet he feels fresh and invigorated. He heals at an extraordinary rate, and finds that his hunger is satisfied by only a few morsels of food each day. Enhanced by the use of a soulstone, a vicar’s restoration spell has done much more than cure Laedron’s wounds, and a book with no name might be the key to discovering why. Unfamiliar with the deep implications of the magic behind his newfound abilities, he feels like his life is spinning out of control, and he must know the truth.

Laedron leads his companions to a land of vast pine forests to learn more of his condition, for the book mentions some of his symptoms and hints at the oldest secrets of mages. When he arrives in Lasoron, a strange old woman points him in the direction of the ancient ruins of Myrdwyer to uncover the answers he so desperately seeks.

An old feud, a host of soul-sucking enemies, and a madman bent on revenge stand between him and the answers he hopes to find, but he soon learns that some secrets are better left unknown to mortals.

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The third installment of the Bloodmyr Trilogy is by far the best and serves as an excellent ending to the story. I had some doubts going into the third book because I only thought the second one was so-so but it was one of the most captivating reads with great character advancement and much more relationship building than the first and second books had to offer. In this book Laedron and his friends venture to another unknown land seeking the Uxidin and the Bloodmyr Tome in hopes of learning if the healing “miracle” cast on him by Jurgen is permanent or if he will die when the spell finally does end.

Laedron finds far more than he bargains for upon finding the Uxidin and instead of a proud people he finds a sorry lot hiding underground from gigantic crystal monsters who suck the essence out of all living things. Laedron and his friends also come upon many moral dilemmas during this adventure, whereas the problems in the other books were more straight forward – this person is evil and must be stopped – no questions and no reservations were had, yet this time they must decide what is right, not just for them but for a race of ancient immortals. I very much enjoyed the moral dilemmas and the conversations had between party members in trying to solve these problems. I thought they were handled much better and much more in character than certain problems brought up in book two. I also really enjoyed the way this book was ended. A separate mini-chapter was written for each character upon returning home so that closure could be given to each chapter and not just to Laedron.

Overall, this was a riveting read and I found the crystal creatures to be fascinating, perhaps one day a short story will be written about them and how they fared after Laedron and his party left Myrdwyer? I’m not sure if I’d recommend reading these books out of order but it certainly seems as though the final installment gives you most of what you would need to know upon just picking up this book.

Available on Amazon:The Immortals of Myrdwyer: A Mages of Bloodmyr Novel: Book #3


Book received from author in exchange for an honest review.

REVIEW: The Consuls of the Vicariate: A Mages of Bloodmyr Novel: Book 2 by Brian Kittrell

Having arrived in the Holy Land, Laedron Telpist continues his journey to halt a war provoked by the Heraldan church. He discovers that the war he so desperately wants to stop is merely a prelude to something much older than he could have imagined. With the aid of his allies, Laedron must uncover hidden plots, bring justice to the rampant corruption, and end a conflict before it claims more victims. Laedron, his friends, and the Shimmering Dawn knights face off against new foes, some willing to trade their loyalty for power and the ancient secrets of spellcraft and others more dangerous than outward appearances would suggest.

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The second book in the Mages of Bloodmyr series starts out very exciting and is a continuation of Laedron and his group’s quest to end the war between Sorbia and the theocracy.  I was happy I had decided to continue with the plot however I was not as happy with the character development in this book. I felt as though most of the characters remained the same and that Marac and Jurgen made huge life changing choices with little thought. They appeared to make choices that go against what their characters had believed in throughout the first book and for most of the second. I felt as though these choices could have been made more believable with extra conversation or thought, for me the change from “I can’t do that” to “fine I’ll do it” just seemed to sudden and without a lot of thought.

The last quarter or so of the book was mainly build up based on this huge decision made by Jurgen and Marac that will continue the last leg of their journey in the third book. I felt the end of the book was rather slow compared to the beginning and probably could have been either summed up faster or left as a prologue for the third book.  However, the characters are left with a gigantic conundrum in which to solve and if the problem cannot be fixed then it leaves huge life changes for Laedron to deal with.

Leaving the third book with the group headed off to a new country and more unchartered territory for them along with a new problem to solve does make the third book a desirable read so one can gain closure for the story.

Available on Amazon:The Consuls of the Vicariate: A Mages of Bloodmyr Novel: Book #2

Book received from author in exchange for an honest review.

REVIEW: The Circle of Sorcerers: A Mages of Bloodmyr Novel: Book 1 by Brian Kittrell

When Laedron Telpist’s sorcery training is interrupted by a knock on the door, what once seemed a proper profession must now be hidden. In a world where priests and mages vie for the limitless power of the elements and a new Grand Vicar has sworn death to all sorcerers, Laedron is tossed into a nightmare which would see his destruction at every turn.

From the home shores in western Sorbia, through the Cael’Brilland heartlands, and even across the seas to the great city of Azura, Laedron finds himself embracing old friends, consorting with unlikely allies, and confronting potent enemies. As he struggles to train himself in spellcraft, Laedron must face that he lives in a time when the utterance of a simple spell could be the signature on his death warrant.

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This book was a little slow to start, beginning with a long introduction of the main character Laedron and his choices on where to attend school to become a mage. The first three chapters or so spend quite a bit of time developing Laedron’s character and depict him as an extremely naïve person ready to trust most people without a moment’s hesitation. As the book progresses Laedron runs in to a bit of trouble and finds out that he must make it on his own and is no longer living in a sheltered world but one soon to be at war. Laedron was known as a “neonate” mage before going off to school and was only at school for about a week before things went south, yet in that time he apparently learned an enormous amount of spells. The longer Laedron is alone the more power hungry, sadistic and vengeful he starts to become yet he never quite loses his naivety. I felt Laedron’s character was the best developed which makes sense seeing as the story is centered around him, however his ability to use spells so effectively with little training and little practice seems out of place – but I’m thinking that might be explained in another book seeing as this is the first of a trilogy.

Once I got about three or four chapters into it the story started to pull me in further. It becomes much faster paced and exciting only slowing down again in few spots. It also ends on a bit of a cliff hanger making the reader want more. Another thing I must give this story credit for is not being overly predictable. Obviously some things need to happen for there to be a story but at several points I assumed one thing would happen only to be fooled with something entirely different and I love stories with good twists.

Overall I would say this was a really good read, but I also would not have been put off with more character development surrounding the characters travelling with Laedron for the majority of the story. Also, I would love to have more background on Ismerelda, but again I feel as though that might pop up in one of the other books, if not I think a short story or novella dedicated to her could be interesting. I found her to be one of the most interesting characters in the book so far, but I am connected enough with Laedron to be rooting for him.

Available on Amazon: The Circle of Sorcerers: A Mages of Bloodmyr Novel: Book #1

Book received from author in exchange for an honest review.

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REVIEW: Self-Made Scoundrel by Tristan J. Tarwater

Dershik Cartaskin is the heir to the Cartaskin Barony, a distinguished and ambitious household in the Valley of Ten Crescents. When his father sets his sights higher than the Sword and the Seat, Dershik refuses to take on a legacy of unquestioned power, abandoning those he loves for their benefit and his personal desires.

Taking on the name ‘Derk’ and a life of thievery, he strives to transform his world. The Holy Church, a cunning streetswoman, a peculiar guide, a beautiful priestess and a secret organization; Derk must face them all and forge his own legacy within the Valley of Ten Crescents.

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I went into Self Made Scoundrel with ideas of what it would be about already in my head. Upon reading the blurb and beginning the book I realized it was not going to be a continuation of the first and I would have to wait even longer to find out what would become of Derk and Tavi. I was very excited for this book when I thought it would be an extension of the first and a bit disappointed when I found it was not. Let me not dwell on what I thought it would be and what it really was. . .

This book does a fantastic job at further developing Derk’s character and explaining the background on how he came to be a member of the Cup and even how he acquired Tavi. In this book we learn that Derk chose his life of thievery because he finds it enjoyable and that in reality he could have had a cushy life living as a baron. Even though Derk chose a life many probably would not the author still makes it possible to feel bad for him when things go wrong, instead of saying “well you chose this life, so it’s your fault”.  Overall, this is a very well written book (though it could use a second edit) and provides a lot of insight on Derk making him a character that you care about even more than the first book, or perhaps hate now that you know his history.

If you’ve read the first book, I would recommend this one as it compliments it very well. This still leaves me really wanting to find out what happens after the ending of the first book!

Self-Made Scoundrel is available at Amazon: Self-Made Scoundrel (The Valley of Ten Crescents #2)

Author’s website: www.backthatelfup.com

Book received from author in exchange for an honest review.