Book Review: Oath Taker (Kingdom of Runes #1) by Audrey Grey

About the Book:

Oath Taker (Kingdom of Runes, #1)

Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Emily R. King, this first book in a dark and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Light magic is forbidden.
Dark magic spells death.
Haven has both.


After the Prince of Penryth saved her from captivity, seventeen-year-old Haven Ashwood spends her days protecting the kind prince and her nights secretly fighting the monsters outside the castle walls.

When one of those monsters kidnaps Prince Bell, Haven must ally with Archeron Halfbane and his band of immortals to rescue her friend.

Her quest takes her deep into the domain of a warped and vicious queen where the rules are simple: break her curse or die.

Lost in a land of twisted magic and fabled creatures, Haven finds herself unprepared, not just for the feelings she develops for Archeron, but for the warring powers raging inside her.

Her rare and forbidden type of magic may be their only hope . . . but mixing light and dark comes with a steep price.

Haven’s soul.

Faced with impossible love, heartbreaking betrayals, and a queen intent on destroying the realm, only one thing remains certain.

Haven must shatter the curse or it will devour everything she loves.

Welcome to the Kingdom of Runes where immortals and humans clash, light and dark magic reign, and mythical creatures lurk in the shadows. If you like fierce heroines, enemies-to-lovers romance, wild plot twists, and endearing characters that stay with you long after you reach the end, you need to discover the book readers are calling dark fantasy at its best. Just make sure to clear out some space on your calendar first!

My Thoughts:

I came across this book as a suggestion and decided to give it a try. I do enjoy good fantasy fiction with magic and adventure! This first book in the series follows Haven as she sets out to save Prince Bell who has been kidnapped under the assumption that he can do magic.

Haven sets out on a journey reluctantly aligning herself with Archeron Halfbane as a means to an end. All this leads to unlikely alliances, bonds being forged and a fast-paced adventure as they set out to fulfil some quests and break a curse. I enjoyed various aspects of the story and the concept. However, the character development was lacking for some of the characters and this felt like a let down to the overall plot. Even Haven is a little confusing at times and it took me some time to get into the story. Some of the lands were well described and easy to imagine. This was the fun part of the book, trying to put the words into pictures and see how the story unfolds.

But, putting this aside, I enjoyed the overall adventure, the plot twists, the magic and the strength and togetherness that some of the characters show. This is definitely an entertaining read that once I got into, kept me hooked until the end.

Book Review: The Awakening (The Immortal Wizards, Book 1) by Andreas Suchanek

About the Book:

The Awakening (The Immortal Wizards, Book 1)

The world as you know it is a lie.
For over a century, the mystic Wall has kept the magical society hidden from human eyes, guaranteeing peace and equality between humans and wizards. But in the shadows a war for supremacy rages.
Jennifer Danvers is a wizard. When her friend and comrade-in-arms dies, a new heir to magic awakens in Alexander Kent, whom she must introduce to the world of magic.
Neither of them suspects that the balance of light and darkness is out of control. An ancient evil is rising. Its only goal: to shatter the mystic Wall and bring darkness upon the wizards and immortals.

Powerful spells, dangerous artifacts, ancient catacombs and secret archives. Fight aside Joan of Arc, Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein and other immortals.

My Thoughts:

The Awakening is the first book in The Immortal Wizards series by author Andreas Suchanek. I came across this book on NetGalley and found the blurb to be interesting. I was definitely not disappointed. The book takes us into a world of magic, powers and characters from history who are immortal and magical! I would never have imagined getting the chance to be around Joan of Arc, Leonardo da Vinci or even Albert Einstein, but this book brings them to life.

The story introduces us to many characters and explains how they get their power, how it works and how to use it. With a threat looming over the magical world, the author dives right in to the plot interspersing the action with background information and details. This was an interesting way to handle the story and trust me, there is a lot of action and adventure! An old prophecy is introduced and some of the key players in the plot to bring down the Magical Wall.

Some aspects of the plot feel like a repetition, considering that there is only so much one can do with this genre, but putting it aside, the story flows well and remains original for the most part. My suggestion is to persevere through, it is worth it! The characters are well thought out and though we do not interact with them as much as we would like, the reader will still enjoy the interactions.

I truly enjoyed this story and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

Book Review: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

About the Book:

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

Nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017, this fantasy epic from the No. 1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of the Grisha trilogy is gripping, sweeping and memorable – p erfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Laini Taylor and Kristin Cashore.

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams – but he can’t pull it off alone.

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist.

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction – if they don’t kill each other first.

An epic new exploration of the Grisha universe from the writer of SHADOW AND BONE, SIEGE AND STORM and RUIN AND RISING, totally consuming for both old fans and new.

My Thoughts:

This book is my first 5* read of 2021.

Wow! Just Wow! That was and is my reaction after finishing this book! I must say that in spite of all the hype around it, the book lives up to everything! I am glad that I read it and I cannot wait to read the next book!

Six of Crows follows six outcasts as they set out on a journey to pull of an impossible heist. However, impossible is a loose term, I am not sure that there isn’t anything this group cannot do when they set their mind to it! We are introduced one by one to the various characters and given an overview of who they are along with the progress in the story. I enjoyed this way of handling a story!

The characters we meet have been through a lot or have a lot of secrets, but with each revelation, we come to understand them much better. I also enjoyed the fact that the entire plan for the heist was not fully revealed to us and the reader discovers the plan along with the other people on the team. Considering that they are all in their late teens, none of the characters behave in that way, but sometimes we are reminded of their age and it makes them more real to the reader! Nina is delightful and turned out to the opposite of what I assumed. I also loved Inej and Kaz. Each one different but finally everyone comes together by some common thread.

The setting at Ketterdam reminded me of Amsterdam, but is very well described. So is the journey and the place of the heist. I quite enjoyed reading about their journey and how these six people learn to accept each other and maybe trust one another. With the threat of the jurda parem and it’s affect on the Grisha, there is indeed a lot happening and a good precedent is set for Book 2.

This is a very unconventional review from me considering that I have focused more on how I feel and on raving about the book. But, I cannot help it!

The author has done a brilliant job and the story is gripping until the very end! There are so many twists and turns that it is impossible to stop reading once you start! This book is a must read!

Book Blitz: FREAK by Leslie Georgeson

Book Blurb:

Jealousy. Betrayal. Family secrets.

Appearances are everything in my family. We are the Strongs. Fame is our birthright. Music flows through our veins in a continuous harmony. Flaws are unacceptable.

When my parents got a good look at the freak they’d created, I was hidden away, my existence wiped out.

Until they discovered my secret.

Now I had something they wanted.

Taking it from me didn’t faze them. They believed they were entitled.

I was just a boy, unable to fight back.

So I did the only thing I could.

I vanished.

That was nine years ago.

Now they are back, and they want something from me again.

They send the sexy and oh-so-tempting Mia Bennett to persuade me, and I’m helpless to resist her.

Mia seems innocent in my family feud, but is she really?

I can’t be sure.

All I know is she makes me feel alive again. She gives me the courage to just be me. She’s the new inspiration behind my music, my heart’s own melody.

But something dark and twisted lurks close to home, and leaves me questioning who is friend and who is foe.

Now I am forced to make a decision that could well break me.

How far am I willing to go for the woman I love?

Freak book links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08NGNQ84W

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/freak-something-real-1/id1540613481

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940164730635

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/freak-something-real-1

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1054242

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50977985-freak

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/freak-romantic-suspense-something-real-book-1-by-leslie-georgeson

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Read an Excerpt:

I eyed the nearest “no trespassing” sign mounted on the fence about ten feet away. With all the surveillance cameras, he had to know I was out here. I was probably lucky the guy hadn’t had me arrested yet.

Another hour passed.

The sun was disappearing over the horizon now, darkness settling in. It didn’t look like I was going to be successful today.

With a heavy sigh, I gathered up my bag and rose to my feet, deciding to call it a day.

My skin prickled as something moved on the other side the fence.

I spun around, my heart smacking into my ribs.

The heavily-treed yard now deep in shadows, it took a moment for my eyes to take in what had appeared before me. Even then, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking at in the low light. He stood as still as the tree trunks surrounding him.

My hand flew to my throat, my eyes widening.

Gasping, I stumbled back, tripping over my own feet and falling into the underbrush, my bag landing beside me.

I tilted my head back, unable to tear my gaze away.

Ohmigod. Ohmigod. Oh. My. God.

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Author bio:

Leslie Georgeson writes a blend of romance and suspense, sometimes tossing in a dash of sci-fi or paranormal to make things more interesting. From genetically-altered super soldiers (The Dregs) to deceptive, daredevil rescuers (The Pact), her stories are laced with danger, action, and plenty of steam. Music and the mafia combine in her newly released romantic suspense series, Something Real. Book one, FREAK, is now available at all retailers. Look for the next book, SNITCH, in the spring of 2021.

Leslie is an avid reader, a nature and animal lover, a plant enthusiast, and enjoys spending time with her amazing family. She lives with her husband of 25+ years and her teenage daughter on a quiet country acreage in Idaho.

Author links:

Webpage: https://lesliegeorgeson.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlesliegeorgeson/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lesliegeorgeson

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7827259.Leslie_Georgeson

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Leslie-Georgeson/e/B00I2T6QFO/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/leslie-georgeson

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Book Blitz organized by:

Book Review: Summer of L.U.C.K. by Laura Segal Stegman

I was provided with a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review. Read on to know more about the books and my thoughts.

Summer of L.U.C.K.

 

Summer of L.U.C.K., a magical middle grade fantasy novel for ages 8 to 12 by Laura Segal Stegman, was released by INtense Publications on September 15, 2020, and will be followed by a sequel in 2021. Stegman is a Los Angeles-based arts publicist and author. Summer of L.U.C.K. is her debut, and it is available wherever books are sold.

THE STORY

Summer of L.U.C.K. is about three kids finding their way to self-acceptance with the help of a ghost who haunts a magical carnival.

View Book Trailer on YouTube HERE

Stuttering Darby is never perfect enough for her mother. Justin’s been silent since his dad died. Naz is struggling to learn English. But after they meet at summer camp, mysterious calliope music from an abandoned warehouse grants them power to communicate without words. When they sneak inside, the dark, empty space bursts into a magical carnival. They’re greeted by the ghost of Leroy Usher, who asks for their help convincing his family to restore the carnival to its former glory. In return, he promises to teach the kids how to find their voices.

As Darby, Justin, and Naz are swept off on a series of midnight adventures via Mr. Usher’s carnival rides, they discover they’re capable of more than they ever imagined. With each challenge, their confidence in communicating – and in themselves – grows. Meanwhile, they scheme to persuade the Usher family to revive the carnival. But when Darby’s bunkmates trick her into starring in the camp talent show, her budding confidence falters. Can she risk being less than perfect by performing in the show and speaking up to Mr. Usher’s resistant son? If not, she’ll put the carnival in danger and sabotage her most important quest: to believe in herself, stutter and all.

CONTACT:

INtense Publications
Laura Segal Stegman
Twitter: @LauraStegman
Instagram: @laura_stegman
Facebook: LauraSegalStegmanAuthor

My Thoughts:

Summer of L.U.C.K. is a wonderful story that focuses on three children and their problems. Darby speaks with a stutter and has a low self-esteem. Naz moves to America from Morocco and is trying to learn to speak English and mingle with children his age while dealing with missing his father. Justin is dealing with the loss of his father and his inability to voice his feelings or talk about his situation.

The three of them meet at summer camp, brought together by mysterious music that only the three of them seem to hear. On investigating, they end up at the adjoining property which used to be a carnival. The author brings to us a mix of magic and delight in this book as the children meet with the ghost of Mr. Leroy Usher, the owner of the carnival. Spurred into trying to save him and reunite him with his wife, the children are forced to confront their problems and try to come out of them, try to move forward and grow.

This is a story with a strong message which is woven very well into the story. The focus is on self-discovery and healing as well as forging friendships and creating bonds. A story of learning, the author brings to us a delightful set of characters who overcome their fears and inhibitions to help a whole lot of people including themselves! The story also pushes the reader to imagine a world of magic and all possibilities as anything can happen if you just believe.

This book is a great read not just for children, but for adults too! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I hope everyone else does too!

Book Review: The Case of the Smuggler’s Curse by F.S. Dawson

The Case of the Smuggler’s Curse (The After School Detective Club Book 1)

My Thoughts:

This book, written for children by author Mark Dawson under a pseudonym, is a fast-paced fun read! The story focuses on 4 children and a dog who initially don’t know each other very well, but form a special bond eventually. The children are inquisitive and get caught up in solving a mystery. This book reminds me of Enid Blyton’s Mystery series, but where the children have access to modern amenities and gadgets! A well-written book, this is definitely a series that children will enjoy reading!

Book Review: The Eye of Ra by Ben Gartner

About the Book:

The Eye of Ra (The Eye of Ra, #1)

 

Exploring a mysterious cave in the mountains behind their house, John and his sister Sarah are shocked to discover they’ve time traveled to ancient Egypt!

Now they must work together to find a way back home from an ancient civilization of golden desert sand and a towering new pyramid, without parents to save them. The adventures abound—cobras, scorpions, a tomb robber, and more! The two kids have to trust each other, make friends who can help, and survive the challenges thrown at them . . . or be stuck in ancient Egypt forever.

For readers graduating from the Magic Treehouse series and ready for intense action, dive into this middle grade novel rich with meticulous historical detail.

 

 

My Thoughts:

The Eye of Ra is a fun-filled adventure that will take the readers into Ancient Egypt through a mysterious cave. The story is well-written and the characters are realistic and inquisitive. I thoroughly enjoyed this story as it took me back to the days when I would read Enid Blyton’s adventure series.

The author keeps the story light while giving us a glimpse into Ancient Egypt and the way of life, a history lesson without being obvious and preaching. This first book in the series introduces us to some wonderful kids and their thoughts related to friendship and family. As the story progresses, through shared experiences and support, they find their way back to the present day, having learnt a great deal out of the experience!

I highly recommend this book for everyone, no matter their age, as everyone has a child waiting to explore and let their imagination run loose!

Look out for Book 2, SOL INVICTUS, which will release in February 2021!

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

About the Book:

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

THIS IS A WORLD DIVIDED BY BLOOD – RED OR SILVER.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart . . .

My Thoughts:

The Red Queen is another first in a series of fantasy fiction that caught my attention. This book has garnered a lot of attention and it talked about a lot. The story follows Mare as she navigates life in the poverty-stricken Stilts. The author has created an interesting Dystopian world, divided based on the color of a person’s blood. As a result we have the elites and the commoners, who only exist to serve and follow the rules. Mare ends up being different, having powers inspite of her red blood. Some would say she is an anomaly in the otherwise distinct class divisions.

The plot follows Mare as she ends up working in the Silver Palace and once her powers are discovered, she is betrothed to the younger prince. The readers are introduced to many characters, a lot of whom are predictable if you have read any other dystopian fantasy fiction series. There is a prince, his family, someone out to get them, the rebels and so on.

However, one thing about this book is that even though some aspects are predictable, the author keeps throwing some curve balls as us. This brings some intrigue into the mix and thus makes the book an enjoyable read.

Book Review: The Guardians of the Halahala by Shatrujeet Nath

About the Book:

The Guardians of the Halahala (Vikramaditya Veergatha, #1)

 

THE PRICE OF A PROMISE. PAID IN BLOOD.

The deadly Halahala, the all-devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction.
But was the Halahala truly destroyed?
A small portion still remains – a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possesses it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for supremacy, will stop at nothing to claim it.
As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to possess the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes – and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos!
A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The Guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.

 

My Thoughts:

A truly fascinating story set during the rule of Samrat Vikramaditya, this book is the first in a series of four books. In this book, the author has taken a tiny part of mythology and merged it with a historical setting to bring us this entertaining plot. The reader is introduced to a myriad of characters, each part of Vikramaditya’s council and his immediate family. We are also introduced to Devas and Asuras, ensuring the perfect mix of mythology and historical characters on the Earthen plane. The concept of the story is simple, but the plot progresses in an interesting manner.

Even though the book is initially a little slow, the pace is understandable as the author sets the context and brings the kingdom, it’s neighbouring lands and the other kings into focus. Alliances are made and some are lost as the story progresses, teasing of wars on different fronts, both human and supernatural. The bonds between the principal characters and the understanding they have is wonderful to read about. The story starts to gain pace once Vikramaditya is entrusted with keeping safe the last remaining portion of the Halahala, coveted by the Devas and Asuras alike. The author’s style of writing is poetic and flows so well, that I was not able to stop reading! The description of the settings are amazing and so deatiled that it is easy for the reader to picture the scenes as they happen. The book pulls you in until the very end as each character’s personality unravels and their dynamics together are established and later shift.

This book is truly a wonderful start to a great series and I cannot wait to read further!

Book Review: Vampire Royals (Books 1-3) by Leigh Walker

About the Books:

Book 1: The Pageant

The Pageant (Vampire Royals #1)

Who’s the fairest of them all?
Young women from every settlement in the land are being handpicked to enter The Pageant, a beauty contest reminiscent of Miss Universe from the old days. Gwyneth West’s social-climbing mother wants her to compete, by Gwyn isn’t so sure…
The Pageant is government-sponsored. If you’re lucky enough to be chosen, participation is mandatory. Aggressive competition is allowed, even encouraged.

And then there’s the prize…
The winner of The Pageant gets a marriage proposal from Dallas Black, otherwise known as The Dark Prince. Dallas is the son of King Black, who won the last world war and now governs the new settlements. The Royal Family is mysterious. Rumor has it they don’t sleep. Rumor has it they eschew the sun.
Rumor has it they’re immortal.
When Gwyn is thrust into The Pageant, she fights to survive the competitive nature of the other contestants.
But even if wins…can she survive a vampire fiancé?

 

Book 2: The Gala

The Gala (Vampire Royals #2)

 

FOUR WEEKS. TWENTY CONTESTANTS. ONE PRINCE.

The Pageant is almost over, and Gwyneth West knows she can win—except the prince is a vampire, and some of the other contestants are turning out to be quite beastly.

What do you do when the person you love…might want to eat you alive?

Struggling to hold onto her position in the palace, Gwyn knows her vampire prince could slip through her fingers in an instant. And when human rebels threaten to storm the vampire royals once more, Gwyn finds herself caught between two worlds: her people, and the vampire she loves.

Leigh Walker writes action packed futuristic sci-fi, sweet romantic vampire novels, and stories that capture your heart and then make it race.

 

Book 3: The Finale

The Finale (Vampire Royals #3)

A ROYAL WEDDING IS COMING…BUT WHICH CONTESTANT WILL BE THE BRIDE?

Gwyneth West’s a finalist in The Pageant, the dating competition that’s gripping the settlements. Down to the final week, the dashing Prince Dallas Black will choose one young woman as his fiancé.
One small issue: Gwyneth’s a human and the prince is a vampire. What’s worse? Gwyneth’s family are sworn rebels, out to take back the settlements and overthrow the crown. What’s worse than that? Gwyn’s own rebel brother is a prisoner in the castle dungeons, but the king and queen don’t know his true identity.
Gwyneth and Dallas want to show the settlements that vampires and humans can live together in peace. But as their differences threaten to tear them apart, Gwyneth discovers her love puts the prince at risk.
How do you choose between love and duty?

 

My Thoughts:

This series is very similar to ‘The Selection’ series. However, there are some differences including the fact that the Prince and his family are Vampires. The author starts this off as rumors which are later shown as the truth. The concept of vampires and humans living side by side and co-existing is a strong idea that both the Prince and Gwyn, the heroine of the story, share. The story is indeed fun to read, following the very cliched concept of a competition to find the best suitor for the Prince. However, the idea behind this is to find a way to unite all the settlements and to bring peace while trying to keep the rebel groups at bay.

The synopsis of the story promises aggressive competition, but nothing about the story is aggressive. The story centers on the chemistry between the Prince and Gwyn, giving us only minor glimpses of the interactions with the other contestants. To keep in line with the contest, there are some sections of the story devoted to etiquette training and history of the kingdom and the settlements. However, there is not a lot of character development for the other girls in the story and this takes away from the main theme of the contest.

The story then continues into the two other books, focusing on the Prince’s interaction with the girls, bringing it down to the top four contestants and his relationship with his parents. Each girl is unique in her own way and it is wonderful to read about their rivalries but also about how they come together in the end. We are also provided some insight into Gwyn’s background and her family and her relationship with the King and Queen. The love and understanding that develops between her and the prince is beautiful to read about.

Overall, this series is fun and enjoyable especially for those who love the idea of vampires and human’s together, though there is not a lot of focus on the supernatural aspect of the characters. The books are short and easy to read. They can each be read in one sitting and are a good stress free read!