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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.

REVIEW: Mark of the Dragon Queen by Katie W. Stewart

Kira has led a sheltered life, brought up by her widowed father, whom she adores. When he is arrested and imprisoned for a murder he allegedly committed 18 years before, she is devastated. So when she overhears an ex-student of her father’s planning to visit the prison, Kira decides to go, too. However, the student – Arun – is not who she thinks he is, and she soon learns that her father has not always been the man of integrity she has known for fifteen years.

Caught in a rebellion against the Lord High Councillor who would return the country to Wizard Rule, Kira finds that there is one more lesson she has to learn – about herself. Success depends on her, but is she willing to make the sacrifice it will require?

A book for Young Adults, but suitable for all ages.

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Mark of the Dragon Queen is a highly riveting and original novel. It follows a young girl named Kira as she discovers many hidden secrets her father and others have been keeping over the years. These family secrets drive Kira to embark on a dangerous journey filled with dragons, prophecies and enemies that force these dark family secrets to bubble to the surface.  This book is full of action and a real nail biter. Many twists and turns keep you guessing and fearful for the lives of these characters as they learn more about themselves in the present, their pasts that are not what they seemed and coming to terms with their futures and what they must do.

Katie Stewart develops many original and unique concepts in the book. In this fantastical world a crystal grows for each wizard as they come into their magic. A crystal reader can tell when each person has used magic and what they have done which is how Kira’s father, Ifor gets in trouble many years before this book takes place. I found this idea of wizards having crystals tied to their magic to be highly unique and would have loved to read more about how the concept works. I think this is a standalone book but I feel like more stories could be told centered in this world.

This is a very well written novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it and could hardly put it down, once I picked it up. The excitement starts on page one and doesn’t stop until the last page.

Available on Amazon:Mark of the Dragon Queen

For more about the author visit: www.katiewstewart.com

Book received from author in exchange for an honest review.