Book Review: People of the Sun by Ben Gartner

About the Book:

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The explosive reveal about who John and Sarah really are and why they’re traveling through time, with their most gut-wrenching challenge yet. In the time of the Aztec, a scoundrel named Cortés arrives and the kids are forced to make an extremely difficult decision: If you could change history, should you?

For more twists, more danger, and more fun, read the third book in The Eye of Ra series, People of the Sun!

My Thoughts:

People of the Sun is a wonderful and epic conclusion to the Eye of Ra series. Once again the reader is pulled into an adventure with John and Sarah, this time to the time of the Aztec. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it brings more clarity to the characters and the timeline of events. The author also ensures to bring out the effects of the previous time travel experiences.

This book goes into some technical detail while talking about time travel and the concepts behind it. As readers, we are also in for a wonderful surprise with the turn of events and the decisions to be made. The book is indeed interactive, giving the reader enough information to get them thinking.

In this book, John and Sarah travel to Mexico during the time of the Aztecs. They end up in the middle of a war which shapes the course of history as we know it today. The most important question is then raised that I think is one to really think: If you could change history, should you? This was perhaps the most intriguing concept behind the book and I love how the author tackled the question. The characters find themselves in this dilemma and it was quite a learning experience for me as a reader to watch them on their journey of learning.

This is indeed quite a roller coaster adventure filled with historical facts, people from history, essential lessons, some science and a whole lot of fun! This series is definitely worth the read not just for middle graders but for every age group!

Book Review: My Best Friend’s Wedding by Tilly Tennant

About the Book:

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Falling snow, sparkling champagne, and an ex that Libby would rather forget…

As chief bridesmaid, Libby knows she should be having the time of her life at her best friend’s snowy Christmas Eve wedding. But she’s at the mercy of three bossy little flower girls and she’s not looking her best in an enormous fuchsia dress. Which is a shame, as it is the first time she’s going to see her ex Rufus. The man she was supposed to marry. The man who left her alone at the altar…

As the dancing begins, and Libby does her best to avoid her ex, the snow outside falls faster and faster, making it impossible for the guests to leave. Snowed in at Lovage Hall, Libby is charmed by American Noah with his dark cropped hair and dimpled cheeks, and the two of them share their dreams and a very passionate kiss.

But when the morning comes, and the snow melts, a shocking revelation about Noah comes to light and Rufus reveals the desperately sad reason he ended their relationship. As Rufus begs for another chance, Libby’s head tells her to trust the man she’s known for years, but her heart can’t quite let go of the spark she had with Noah. Will she make the right decision for her own happy ending?

A gorgeous, romantic heart-warming read with characters that will find their way into your heart and stay there. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Shari Low and Jenny Colgan.

My Thoughts:

My Best Friend’s Wedding follows Libby as she navigates her role as chief bridesmaid at her best friend’s wedding while trying to maintain her calm among all the chaos. The story is light and set in a single place covering three whole days. The main focus is the wedding and Libby’s interactions with the various characters.

The reader is also introduced to Noah, a potential love interest with whom Libby feels an instant attraction and ends up spending time overnight while snowed in. We also meet Libby’s ex, the one who cheated on her and now wants her back. I felt that some of the character development fell flat and I did not connect with the characters as much as I would have liked.

The entire setting was monotonous with a lot of focus on the three younger bridesmaids and their behavior. Libby, though kind and endearing, is not easy to relate to, though I did enjoy how adept she was at handling most of the situations.

Overall this is a pleasant one time read that the reader can sail through without having to think too much. It has a good mix of fun and romance and some of the character bonding is definitely worth reading about. This does read like a light rom-com with just enough in the plot to keep the reader going until the end. Though not one of my favorites by this author, I did enjoy the book.

Book Review: Jesper Jinx Gets Famous (Book #8) by Marko Kitti

About the Book:

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Jesper Jinx is eleven, and probably the unluckiest person in all of Puffington Hill. Everything he touches seems to end up in sweet disaster. Hence his nickname ‘Jinx’.

Are you ready for the Puffington Hill International Children’s Book Fair? That is where Jesper and the Silly Old Scribbler are heading in this hilarious and wonderfully chaotic tale of secrets and devious revenge plots.

Can Jesper save the day with another Boredom Breaker or will a vengeful group of peace-loving animals get to him first?

 

My Thoughts:

Jesper Jinx is back and for once he is not the one making devious plans initially! Jesper Jinx Gets Famous is the 8th Book in the series that will leave the reader rolling on the floor with laughter. I loved this new book in the series as it brings a different perspective to the series with the Silly Old Scribbler narrowly escaping being caught for something he should not be doing. Oops, I cannot say more than that since I am sworn to secrecy too! 😉

The story starts off with Jesper realizing that it is once again the holidays and he can spend time working on new pranks with his nest friend Oliver. What follows next are a series of unexpected events that leave Jesper baffled. As desperate as he is to find out why everyone seems to know him, his brush with the media turns his few moments of fame into quite something else! This entire story is more engaging with the author talking to the reader directly and of course sharing secrets with us. We also have a whole lot of animals wreaking havoc or hatching a plan, I cannot say, but it is worth the wait! 😉

The book is inclusive and more evolved showing us how much the series and characters have grown. It has been an interesting journey to get here and I have enjoyed following Jesper’s adventures so far! We can always trust that he has something up his sleeve and even though we have many new heroes in this book, I think the author has brought it all together very well! The overall plot is funny and just what young readers need to have lots and lots of fun!

Once again, I highly recommend this book and of course the entire series! The books can be read by readers of all ages and serve to provide a good break from normal routines! Do give Jesper and his friends a chance. Be sure to talk to the Silly Old Scribbler if you happen to meet him! I’m sure he has something up his sleeve just like Jesper! 😉

Release Blitz: Dawn’s Desire by Shilpa Suraj

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One night of passion, a stolen moment of joy and six years of pain…

Rishi Khatri cannot forget the beautiful woman who swept into his life for one incredible night and then disappeared…with the contents of his wallet and large chunks of his heart.
Until the day, he meets Sehar again and he realises that he cannot forgive her. For, Rishi has made a cardinal mistake. He’s fallen in love with his one night stand.
Sehar Mirza’s one night of rebellion destroyed any chance of a normal future. But her heart cannot regret her choice. For in that one night, she laughed, she loved and she lost. She lived an entire lifetime.
When their paths cross again, Sehar and Rishi find their feelings for each other haven’t dimmed. All they want in life is another chance, a second chance.

But Sehar has a secret. One that will destroy their tentative happiness.

Can they learn to look beyond their past mistakes and hope for a shared future? Can Rishi forgive a betrayal so large that it leaves his already battered heart in pieces at Sehar’s feet?

Can love win? Or will loss claim their destiny for its own again?

Book Links:

Read an Excerpt from Dawn’s Desire

His home looked exactly as I’d expected it to. Meticulously curated, tastefully furnished and anally maintained.
“You live alone?” I asked, as he handed me fresh towels and herded me towards the guest bedroom.
“Did you think I had a secret wife stashed away in my cupboard or something?”
I shrugged. “Stranger things have happened.”
He came to an abrupt halt in front of me. “Really? Like what?”
I gave him what I hoped was an enigmatic smile but what was, in reality, probably more constipated.
With one last weirded-out look, he pushed the door of a room open and stepped back. “This is the guest bedroom. It has an attached toilet. If you need anything, let me know.”
With that, he was gone before I could thank him or say any of the hundred other things bubbling through me. I dropped the duffel bag I’d carried along on the beautifully made bed and took in my surroundings.
The entire room was done in shades of pastel green and cream and had a soothing effect on my otherwise frazzled nerves. My finger trailed over a summery yellow porcelain bowl on the bedside table with potpourri in it.
Who kept his home so immaculate for him? Jealousy speared through me as I took in the many feminine touches to the room. I shook it off and marched into the bathroom to wash the day’s dirt and grief off of me.
The hot spray of water from the shower boiled my skin and cleansed my soul. I took a deep breath as I wrapped my hair in a towel, changed into a comfortable pair of shorts and a t-shirt and followed my nose to the drawing room.
Rishi held out a bowl of steaming hot deliciousness. “Chicken Pad Thai okay?” he asked.
I nodded, taking the bowl from him. “Thank you.”
He gave me a brief smile before picking up his own bowl and digging in. He had a copy of the latest book by Lee Child beside him.
“How are you enjoying that?” I asked, pointing with my fork to the book.
He moved his hand in a so-so gesture saying, “Not sure if it is the book or my mood though.”
I bit my tongue. I really did. But it wagged anyway.
“Is there something wrong with your mood?” I asked.
His fork froze on the way to his mouth. “Nothing that concerns you,” he answered, quietly.
It stung but I forced myself to look serene as I dug into my dinner.
“You haven’t asked me yet,” I pushed my food around. “Why my parents threw me out of the house? Don’t you want to know?”
“I haven’t asked you about many things, Sehar.” He reached casually for the television remote and turned it on. “Why would I start now?”
This time it hurt to breathe. I sucked in a harsh gasp but it did nothing but burn its way through me.
“I tried to explain my behaviour that night to you in Goa.”
“And I told you I wasn’t interested in your explanation.” He kept his gaze on the television even as he increased the volume to drown me out.
“Rishi, I never meant to-“
The television clicked off, the silence that fell in the room as abrupt as it was complete.
He turned towards me, finally, fury burning in his gaze, his knuckles turning white from his grip on his bowl.
“Is it so hard for you to understand that I am not interested in discussing that night with you? Ever? You lied to me, you slept with me, you used me and you stole from me…whatever your so-called justifications are, Sehar…I don’t care!”
My throat locked, my apology crumbling and dying inside me.
“Are we clear?” he asked, softly.
“Crystal,” I forced out.
“Good.” He turned the television on again, letting the sound wash over us.
Silently, I ate every last bite in my bowl before walking to the kitchen to wash and stack it on the drying tray.
I stopped at the entrance to the living room and watched him eat and stare at the television as if my presence in his home made no difference to him.
We both knew better. We were both experts at pretending differently though.
“I’ll be gone in the morning,” I told the back of his head.
“You always are.” He increased the volume again until I thought the windows would shatter.
Or maybe I would.
About the Author:

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Contact the Author:
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Book Review: When We Were Sisters by Cynthia Ellingsen

About the Book:

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Two sisters who haven’t spoken for twenty years. One summer to bring a family back together.

Jayne Winters hasn’t seen her sister Charlotte since that last childhood holiday at their grandmother’s North Carolina beach house. Separated after that summer by their parents in a bitter divorce, Charlotte has never forgiven Jayne for not fighting to stay together.

So when Jayne discovers that they have both inherited the beach house, and that their grandmother’s last wish was for them to renovate it together, it feels like a miracle: one last chance to win her sister back.

At first Charlotte will barely speak to her. But slowly the memories of swimming races and storytelling in their attic bedroom looking over the sea start to break down the wall between them. With the help of photographs and letters left by their grandmother for them to find, the two women begin to restore not just the creaking mahogany staircase and the faded antique wallpaper, but their own relationship.

But then Jayne discovers that Charlotte has kept a heart-stopping secret from their past from her. Can she find it in her heart to forgive her sister and keep their grandmother’s dream of reuniting them alive—or are some wounds too big to heal?

An emotional and uplifting read about sisters, secrets and the family bonds that hold us together no matter how complicated they are, from the bestselling author of The Lighthouse Keeper. Fans of Mary Ellen Taylor, Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe will love this.

My Thoughts:

When We Were Sisters is a heart-warming story that follows sisters Jayne and Charlotte as they come together to honor their Grandmother’s last wishes. As per her will, the sisters have to stay together at their grandmother’s house and work on it’s renovations. Separated from each other as a result of their parents divorce, the sisters have a lot to work through, if they give each other a chance.

I loved how this book takes you on a roller coaster of emotions with a strong focus on the bond between the sisters. The love for a sibling is one of the most basic and the author captures the yearning to connect and be a family, very well. At first reluctant, the sisters are forced to confront their feelings and try to talk to one another. As the story progresses, the reader will find out more and more about their past, the circumstances behind their parents decisions and some hidden truths which have the strength to break a person.

In the midst of all this, we see stability in Charlotte’s life, not without it’s own problems but those which  can be worked out together. Jayne deals with the beginnings of a new romance as well as the chance to finally connect with her sister and her family. As their lives mix, Jayne tries to form bonds with her nephews and bring back some light into her sister’s eyes reminiscent of their childhood.

This is a story of love, loss, summer fun and a second chance at a relationship that could help to heal old wounds and even some new ones. Secrets are never good and they have the power to destroy everything. However, I think that the strength of the characters and perseverance bring this story together with a conclusion that is tearful and full of joy. I definitely recommend this book that is filled with all kinds of emotions and is beautifully written until the end!

Book Tour: In Conversation with M. L. Rayner

Book Blurb:

Amongst the Mists Book Cover

It was the most anticipated summer break of their young lives.
For Bran Lampshire, that summer of 1986 would be far different. The lure of a wilderness adventure sends him and his friends on a troublesome journey that would see them far from home and into the isolated shadows of the Sleathton Estate. In a forgotten land where nature thrives, an unexplained mist settles upon the shaded grounds. And stories were told of events so chilling, they were forcibly buried over time.
Lose yourself beneath the endless trees. And discover that legends are sometimes so much more than ghost stories.

About the Author:

ML Rayner Author Photo

Born and bred in the county of Staffordshire. Matt is a keen reader of classical, horror and fantasy literature and enjoys writing in the style of traditional ghost stories. During his working life, Matt joined the ambulance service in 2009, transporting critically ill patients all over the UK. After writing his first novel, Matt was welcomed into the family of Question Mark Press publishing and now dedicates his time on future releases. His hobbies include genealogy and hiking, and he enjoys spending time with his wife, Emma, his children, and his family.

Follow him at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MLRayner/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/m.l.rayner/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/M_L_Rayner
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M.-L.-Rayner/e/B08LTXNSH4
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20902655.M_L_Rayner

Pre Order Links
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09DHQDYG1
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09DHQDYG1

Author Q&A:

Tell us a little about yourself.
33 years old, married with two children. My hobbies involve hiking/reading and of course, writing.

What prompted you to start writing?
It had been on my list to try for some years. I just didn’t know what to write about. When I finally started writing I had no idea I would get it published.

How did the book “Among the Mists” happen?

I wanted to write a more coming of age story. Very much like some of the books I had read in the past. 😊

Why this specific genre? Ie. What interests you the most about this book’s genre?
It’s the unknown that interests me. Anything can happen and you’re not restricted on what to write. I’m not a big believer in ghosts, but it’s the trill of this genre I enjoy as a reader and writer.

How much research went into the writing of this book?
I always try and research for accuracy. However, this book is somewhat different in terms of my research process in comparison to my last book.

How easy/difficult was it to write this book and create the characters for it?

I found this book flowed much smoother when writing it. With it being a coming-of-age book, I felt I put some my own experiences into the story.

How much does your day to day life inspire your characters?

Not much. I don’t tend to think of people I know when writing characters.

What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I try and catch up on as much reading as I can 😊

How much time do you spend on your writing on average per day?
Maybe 2-3 hours

What do you like best about writing a story?
Being able to create something that people can relate to.

What kind of impact do your stories have on you?
I’m very pleased with the outcome of my stories so far. All authors put so much time and effort into their books that you can’t help but feel a little proud of what you have created.

How much inspiration do you draw on from real life experiences, with respect to plot, characters etc?
I mainly get inspiration from locations rather than people. If I come across a place that captures the imagination its going in a book.

Who is your favourite author and which is your favorite book?
That’s a difficult one! I suppose I would have to go with my first love of horror, Misery by Stephen king.

Which book did you recently finish reading and what did you like about it?
It was actually the YA horror series by Jim Ody and Zoe O’Farrell. Both great books and the concept to get their books into school is very inspiring.

Finally, what message do you want to share with us readers?
Just a big thank you to anyone who has supported me and left reviews for my books so far. Your feedback and kind comments are a joy to read.

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Book Review: Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

About the Book:

57764672._SY475_A spark of rebellion is all it takes to DEFY THE NIGHT.

In a kingdom where sickness stalks the streets and only the richest can afford a cure, King Harristan and his brother Prince Corrick are forced to rule with an iron fist.

Tessa Cade is a masked outlaw marked for death, but she likes it that way. Together with the mysterious, handsome Weston, she robs from the rich to help the poor, distributing food and medicine to those who need it most.

As it becomes clear that the only way to save her people is to assassinate the King, Tessa must face a deadly mission that will take her to the dark heart of the kingdom … and force her to work with the very people she intended to destroy.

From New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer comes a brand-new blockbuster fantasy series about a corrupt kingdom, a star-crossed romance and a girl who will do anything for justice.

My Thoughts:

Defy the Night is the first book in a new series by Brigid Kemmerer, author of the Cursebreakers series. This book follows Tessa, a masked outlaw as she steals moonflower petals, converting them into medicine to distribute to those in need. Only the rich can afford to buy the cure and take it regularly. This gave me quite the Robin Hood vibe as Tessa embarks on her journey along with a friend, the mysterious Weston.

On the other side, we have King Harristan and his brother Prince Corrick. They are not very well-liked but do their best to serve the people. They are weary of everyone around them due to the circumstances behind their parents death. The author does a good job in touching upon the impact of this and how it shaped the characters and their personalities thereafter.

I enjoyed reading about Tessa, though I felt that her story was just a little cliché. She is a force to reckon with and handles herself quite well throughout the book keeping a level head most of the time. Weston on the other hand is shrouded in mystery, but I guess I kind of saw where the story was going with this character before the big reveal.

The story is well-written and fast paced, thus keeping the reader hooked until the end. I enjoyed reading about the issues raised and how the various council members had differing opinions. This was handled well. The author also brought out the contrast in thinking among the people and showed us quite subtly how one strategically uttered comment can turn into something quite big. In addition to this, I quite enjoyed reading about Kandala. The author has done a great job with the world building and the map included at the beginning was quite helpful.

This is a story filled with adventure, romance and the quest for justice. Though the book had it’s ups and downs for me, I enjoyed it overall and am definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

Book Review: A Lesson in Murder (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery Book 7) by Verity Bright

About the Book:

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When Lady Swift is invited to her old school, she walks through familiar classrooms, finds her favourite books in the library… and surely that’s not a body? Time for a lesson in murder!

Autumn, 1921. Lady Eleanor Swift is invited to her old school, St Mary’s, as a guest speaker. Her favourite teacher, Mrs Wadsworth, has asked that Eleanor talk about her intrepid travels around the globe – travelling the Silk Road by bicycle, crossing the Himalayas and even befriending the Maharaja of India. But in the circumstances, perhaps it would have been a good idea to talk about her career as a daring detective…

Because no sooner has Eleanor brushed up on her times tables then she is greeted by terrible news: Mrs Wadsworth has been murdered. Eleanor is utterly devastated but she owes it to her dearest teacher to find out who killed her and why. So, alongside Gladstone the bulldog, it’s best paw forward to track down a villain.

But when the art teacher is also found dead, Eleanor is sure someone is trying to do away with the people who taught her everything. As Eleanor delves into possible motives, she discovers a clue in the most unlikely place: her mother’s old school diary. Does the route to the murderer lie within a secret passageway her mother uncovered? Can Eleanor nail the culprit in time or is the killer coming for her next?

A totally gripping and glamorous 1920s cozy! Fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and Rhys Bowen are in for a treat.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book by author Verity Bright that I am reading and once again I must admit that I loved it. I first met Lady Eleanor Swift in ‘Murder in the Snow’, Book 4 of the series. Surprisingly or maybe not, I was able to dive right in and connect with all the characters in the story. Having missed some of the books in between, the current one is no different. I was instantly transported back to the 1920s along with Eleanor, Clifford the Butler and Hugh the Police Inspector.

I quite liked how the author shows us a different aspect of Eleanor’s life in this book, bringing to us a glimpse of her past while also showing how she could be an inspiration to the younger generations. For the time period in which the story is set in, Eleanor’s ways were indeed quite progressive and it was heartening to read about her ability to share some of her experiences with the children at the school and with us too!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the strong bond between Eleanor and her butler, Clifford. This is unique and endearing. The hint of romance in the background with the Police Inspector made the story all the more interesting. Even though the death of an old teacher was quite saddening, I enjoyed reading about how Eleanor conducts her investigation and tries to bring the killer to justice. Sometimes the reader is torn between exasperation and laughter at the main characters and this just adds to the appeal of the plot. The other characters in the book including the children under Eleanor’s temporary care were engaging and made me feel a part of them as the story progressed.

This book is definitely a must read for fans of cozy mysteries or any mystery in general! I highly recommend the author’s books and this entire series (even though I have not read most of the books in the series! I hope to rectify this very soon)

A huge thank you to Bookouture and netgalley for the advance copy of the book. The review is my honest opinion.

Release Promotion: A Small Hotel by Suanne Laqueur

A Small Hotel

A new novel from Suanne Laqueur, author of the Fish Tales Series

Release Date: September 28, 2021

SYNOPSIS

It’s the summer of 1941. Europe is at war, but New York’s Thousand Islands are at the height of the tourist season. Kennet Fiskare, son of a hotel proprietor, is having the summer of a lifetime, having fallen deeply in love with a Swedish-Brazilian guest named Astrid Virtanen. But the affair is cut short and the young lovers permanently parted, first by Astrid’s family obligations, then by America’s entry into the war.

The rigors of military life help dull his heartache, but when Kennet’s battalion reaches France, he is thrown into the crucible of front line combat. As his unit crosses Europe, from the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium to Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, Kennet falls into a different kind of love: the intense camaraderie between soldiers. It’s a bond fierce yet fragile, vital yet expendable, here today and gone tomorrow. Sustained by his friendships, Kennet both witnesses and commits the unthinkable atrocities of warfare, altering his view of the world and himself. To the point where a second chance with Astrid in peacetime might be the most terrifying and consequential battle he’s ever fought.

With her signature blend of soul-stirring prose and emotional complexity, Laqueur takes readers on a journey through events that shape an American family’s weakest moments and finest hours. A Small Hotel illuminates the experience of ordinary people thrown into extraordinary circumstances, and their once-in-a-generation camaraderie, courage and resiliency. It’s a novel for the world, a heartbreaking, uplifting story of family, love and human endurance.


RELEASE WEEK GIVEAWAY

Grand prize: signed HARDCOVER copy of Small Hotel, $25 Amazon gift card and swag.
Three winners will receive signed HARDCOVER copies of A Small Hotel


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AUTHOR BIO

suanne-laqueur

A former professional dancer and teacher, Suanne Laqueur went from choreographing music to choreographing words, writing stories that appeal to the passions of all readers, crossing gender, age and genre. As a devoted mental health advocate, her novels focus both romantic and familial relationships, as well as psychology, PTSD and generational trauma.

Suanne Laqueur’s An Exaltation of Larks won the Grand Prize in the 2017 Writer’s Digest Book Awards. Her debut novel The Man I Love and its follow-up, Give Me Your Answer True, won gold medals in the 2015 and 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Both were finalists in the 2015 and 2016 Kindle Book Awards, and Laqueur was named a gold medal Debut Author with Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater, and taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children. Visit her at http://suannelaqueurwrites.com. All feels welcome. And she always has coffee.

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Book Review: The Forest of Allund by Wilbur Arron

About the Book:

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Young Mage Alexio Sopholus has returned home after ten years away at the Mage Academy. Although short and slight of build due to childhood sickness, he has found academic acclaim through his studies. Upon arrival in his home of Korpolis, he reacquaints himself with his old human friends and his former home. His only desire is to take up the position of forest caretaker left to him by his deceased master. The Forest of Allund is a place filled with equal parts myth, mystery, and fear. There he meets a wandering Amazon, but most importantly, his large and intelligent animal friends reside there. They all help him guard the forest against outside intruders. Soon the nature of the forces that govern and protect this place is made evident to him as he finds new sources of knowledge and power.

Although he only seeks peace and quiet, he is soon thrust into a war with a new barbarian tribe, the Zilar. They seek total domination of all the lands and are not above using slavery, genocide, and brutal repression to get their way. Alexio is forced to fight them directly using all the powers at his command. Initially successful in his efforts he finds his victories have only made him the object of intrigue by his leaders who fear his power and his popularity. His efforts at protecting the land are met with suspicion, fear, and betrayal by his own leaders.

Seeing the destruction, deceit, and betrayal around him, Alexio is forced to conclude that all his most cherished beliefs, principles, ethics, and morality are all but useless against the foes arrayed against him. To protect himself and his friends he must wage war. It will be a war without pity, mercy, and against the laws of Gods and Men. It may also make him an outcast in his own land.

My Thoughts:

I was provided with a complimentary copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first book in the series and follows the journey of a young mage named Alexio Sopholus. Alexio has spent ten years at the Mage Academy and has now returned to his previous home. As the story unfolds, we meet various characters both from his past and those who belong to his life as a mage.

The story follows Alexio as he faces many different enemies and formulates different battle strategies. Sometimes he fights alone, sometimes he has help. I found the use of Greek words at times to be quite confusing as the meaning or references were provided only at the end. I enjoyed the way the author interspersed Greek Mythology and used it as a backbone for the plot. However, a caution to readers, be sure to have some background knowledge of Greek Mythology otherwise it can be difficult to understand the book.

The writing is average with a lot of unnecessary description that didn’t catch my attention as much as I had hoped. However, I did enjoy reading about Alexio’s plans and strategies. I also enjoyed meeting his “friends” in the forest though their names were a little hard to remember. The dialogue between him and his “friends” and the ways in which they helped him out were interesting and very well portrayed during the course of the book. I also liked the fact that Alexio lived by a very specific code and he tried to follow it as much as he could. This was a good addition to the character development of the MC.

On the whole, the book was a good one time read and there were quite a few sections that I enjoyed! I think this book and the author have much more potential. I will definitely look out for more books by the author.