Book Review: Rebellion (Warlord of Ayodhya, #1) by Shatrujeet Nath

About the Book:

Bharat. Son of Kaikeyi. Brother of Rama. Reluctant king of Kosala.

Bharat’s carefree life in Kekeya is turned upside down by the death of his father Raja Dashratha and the exile of his brother and crown prince Rama. Untrained in statecraft and unsure of himself, Bharat begins his rule over Kosala by tackling an audacious rakshasa attack on Ayodhya.

There’s more trouble brewing. As the magic that sustains the kingdom starts weakening and a drought looms over Kosala, Ayodhya’s citizens begin to disappear mysteriously. Ambitious aristocrats manipulate the inexperienced king to their ends, while fickle allies seize the opportunity to assert their independence. And unknown to Bharat, the Lord of Lanka has put a cunning plan into action that will break the back of Ayodhya’s resistance.

Beset by challenges, will Bharat lose Ayodhya so early in his reign?

Crackling with characters overlooked and forgotten by the Ramayana, Warlord of Ayodhya is a thrilling spinoff by bestselling fantasy author Shatrujeet Nath.

My Thoughts:

This book was my most anticipated read at the beginning of the year and it is definitely a favourite! Having read Shatrujeet’s Vikramaditya Veeragatha series, it was a no-brainer to pick this up and I knew in advance that I would love it! There was no doubt about it and I was not disappointed.

Everyone knows the epic Ramayana, but how many of us actually stopped to think about the other people and the lives of the Ayodhyan’s during Rama’s 14 year exile? How many of us stopped to think about Bharat and his struggles to rule in the absence of his brother? Well, Shatrujeet Nath thought of this! He imagined how the life of Bharat could have been as he took over the rule of the kingdom and thus this series was born.

This is the first book in the series and sets the stage for what comes next as the title aptly suggests. As is usual with Shatrujeet’s style of writing, there are a variety of characters, each with an agenda of their own. What was interesting to read about was Bharat’s relationship with his mother and his feelings towards her. It is clear that a lot of planning and research went into crafting the plot. Additionally, with a threat to Ayodhya’s magic and the hint of the Lord of Lanka’s interest in Ayodhya, the reader’s interest is certainly piqued.

While the Ramayan focuses on Rama and Sita’s journey, their exile, Sita’s kidnapping and finally their return to Ayodhya, this series seeks to bring out the other side of the story. A little known side with characters who were never in focus and who now have a chance to have their story told! Shatrujeet Nath is indeed a master storyteller and a genius to create and write this story. In my opinion, this book and all books by the author are a must read!

Book Review: Fable by Adrienne Young

About the Book:

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Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely adored this book and couldn’t put it down once I started reading it! Fable is one of the most talked about books this year and I must admit to being quite intrigued by it. So many people were reading it and talking about it and I finally decided that I had to know why. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked the book and the plot and the characters.

Fable is strong willed and with a unique set of skills that sets her apart. We follow her as she tries to navigate the island where her father left her after her mother died and their ship sank. No-one knows who she really is and she has made a promise to keep it that way. As she works for a chance to get off the island, we are given a glimpse into her life and the world around her.

With a plan to get off the island and reach her father’s place, Fable enlists the help of West and by extension his crew on the ship. This leads to a fast paced adventure filled with secrets, villains, dangers of the sea, trust issues and eventually fast friendships that mean more than anything. I would also like to mention the budding romance that adds more flavor to the plot making it worth reading.

All the characters have their own story to tell and their own agenda, but when brought together, it feels as though the story is complete. The author has a wonderful way with words painting a picture of the seas and islands that the characters visit. It is also easy to imagine the scenes as they unfold and this is the kind of story telling that reminds me of reading Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings all over again. The story is rich in detail and brings to us a new plot and world that any reader would be pulled into.

I was invested in the book and highly recommend it for all fans of fantasy fiction out there! This is worth it! I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on the second book too!

Book Review: Running from the Pack by A J Connor

About the Book:

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What would you do if the wolves came for you?

A month ago, all I cared about was finding my next party, but then a werewolf bite changed me. Now I’m being hunted by the wolf queen of the south, the fate of the city hangs in the balance, and the hot guy in the local coffee shop is teaching me to fight naked (it’s a wolf thing).

Learning that there are werewolves in the world is amazing, and all I want is to find out more, but it’s hard to relax and enjoy your new body when a tyrant’s out to get your friends. Sure, I could give up on nights out to focus on mastering my powers, but what’s the point in winning if you can’t have fun along the way?

The world’s weirder than I thought, and a lot more dangerous. The question is, do I run from the danger the wolf pack presents, or is it time I learned to stand my ground?

A brand new British urban fantasy series, full of power, politics, and passion, set in the bustling streets of Leeds.

My Thoughts:

Running from the Pack is an urban fantasy fiction story set in the time where werewolves live among humans (in secret) and still thrive. The protagonist is new to the city and only wants to have fun. Little does she know how her life is going to change with just one bite. The story follows her as she discovers and navigates life as a new werewolf and establishes new relationships with people.

I found the writing to be average and the characters pretty one dimensional. I was not able to fully relate to them and the plot. However, I think that the author had a good idea and it could have been executed much better. The tensions between packs and the bonds of friendship that develop are something to note in the book.

Overall I think that this is a one time read for fans of the paranormal fantasy fiction genre. I think that it was not my cup of tea but I am sure it would still be worth reading for many readers out there!

Note: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Granted by Kendra Thomas

About the Book:

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Sabeara Aigoviel, princess of Aveladon, wants nothing more than for her heart to glow. The Stone-Hearted power that is received at the age of eighteen is her ultimate wish. With a grim curse looming over the realm and a neighboring kingdoms conspiring plans, contentions arise. Moments of danger summon evil forces, sending Sabeara into a whirlwind of adventure, captivity, and even love.
Rescued by a handsome stranger in a brown cloak, they navigate the kingdoms to bring her safely home. When her rescuer arrives betrothed to her beloved older sister weeks later, it is all she can do to erase their memories. Will Sabeara be able to defeat the curse on the Stone-Hearted race? And will she be able to forget the memories of her epic ventures with her cloaked rescuer?

Book Review:

Granted is Book 1 in a refreshing new tale that follows Sabeara, princess of Aveladon as she navigates her life in the Kingdom and outside it. A rebel at heart and wanting nothing more than to be Stone-Hearted, Sabeara has a restless need to escape and do more than what she does inside the Castle. She wants to restore peace to the Kingdom. Her father, the King is barely there, dealing with the grief of her mother’s death and a lot of the decisions to take fall on her older sister Jasper.

I love how the sisters have a very strong bond and are supportive of each other. In this first book, we follow Sabeara’s journey as she gets kidnapped by Obscurum soldiers and is then rescued by a very handsome stranger, Mid. As they navigate their way back to Aveladon, we follow along on an adventure filled with obstacles, new friends, new enemies and a budding romance, the reader is in for a treat! Little do they know that there would be further obstacles to their romance and secrets that reveal who they are which changes a lot of things the readers initially thought they knew.

I liked the concept of the Stone-Hearted, having different kinds of powers, reading about a supposed curse and how to end it. The author has brought to us a whole new fantasy world that is well thought out. The story is rich in descriptions and character building with likeable characters who add a lot of new dimensions to the plot.

I loved this book and am definitely looking forward to reading more of this series! This is definitely worth the read!

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: 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.

Book Review: Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding

About the Book:

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Jane Austen turns detective in this spooky historical adventure by award-winning author Julia Golding!

It’s 1789 and a young Jane Austen turns detective as she seeks to solve the mysterious happenings at Southmoor Abbey. When a carriage accident forces a change of plans, 13-year-old Jane is sent to be a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week as the household prepares to celebrate the eldest son’s coming-of-age party. While there, Jane vows to solve the mystery of the ghostly monk in the Abbey grounds – for she does not believe in such stories!

But this is not the only strange occurrence for the adventurous young Jane to investigate. There are shivery night-time investigations, an Indian girl with secret talents, a library fire, two prize horses in danger, and friends to save from false accusations.

With notebook in hand and her faithful dog Grandison by her side, will Jane overcome the continuous obstacles and find out the truth?

My Thoughts:

Note: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley. The below review reflects my honest opinion!

This is a delightful book for young readers and fans of mystery and adventure! The reader meets a young and spunky Jane Austen who is thirteen years old. She is sent to Southmoor Abbey as a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week in place of her sister. Jane is drawn to the mystery surrounding the Abbey and the so called ghost who haunts the place. On a dare from one of her brother’s she decides to investigate and find out the truth since she does not believe that ghosts exist.

The story introduces us to a myriad of characters, including a father-daughter duo from India and Jane’s “lap” dog Grandison. There are many secrets and mysteries to be solved that eventually end up being connected. I enjoyed reading about Jane’s thoughts and experiences which the author described quite well. We are able to see some of the famous author in this young girl with her strong imagination and opinions. We also see how supportive her family is of her, encouraging her to write and share her thoughts and stories. Jane’s letters to her sister were a delight to read about and some of them had me in splits.

Though the focus moved away from the mystery of the ghost in between, the overall plot is well done and will ensure that the target audience of middle graders (as well as adults) will be hooked. The story and main character remind me of Nancy Drew and other such heroines who seek out and solve mysteries. The author has done a great job in bringing a young Jane Austen to life and I am indeed looking forward to join them on further adventures along with all the friends Jane (and enemies) Jane makes along the way! I do hope you all join the adventure too.

Book Review: Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

About the Book:

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A nobleman’s daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods. Empire of Sand is Tasha Suri’s captivating, Mughal India-inspired debut fantasy.

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.

When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.

Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

Empire of Sand is a lush, dazzling fantasy novel perfect for readers of City of Brass and The Wrath & the Dawn.

My Thoughts:

This debut novel by Tasha Suri is well written and gripping. Set in a world inspired by Mughal India, Tasha creates a captivating world of politics, intrigue and of course magic. Her characters are refreshing as is the concept for the plot.

The book follows Mehr as she tries to survive in her father’s household under her very watchful stepmother. Born of mixed heritage, Mehr is forbidden from talking about or openly following the customs of her mother’s people. She practices and learns in secret and is always careful to not be seen doing anything she should not. However, one foolish action leads to a series of events that define Mehr and her life thereafter. When her power is finally noticed, the Emperor’s mystics come for her with an offer of marriage.

As the story progresses, we learn a lot more about the ways of the Amrithi people, their culture and magic. They are a dying race and few have the kind of power that Mehr possesses. The author weaves an intriguing tale around this concept, taking us deep into a world of deceit and a thirst for power. With few people on her side, Mehr has to save not only herself but the entire world and set things right by the Gods.

I loved reading about the journey through the desert and the experiences of our characters. The setting is exotic and pulls the reader into a different world entirely. Overall this is a good read in the fantasy fiction genre and I recommend this for all fans!

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

About the Book:

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It begins with absence and desire. It begins with blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches.

Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew in the stunning first volume of the No.1 internationally bestselling ALL SOULS trilogy.

A world of witches, daemons and vampires.

A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future.

Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it.

When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires.

Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire geneticist.

Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels…

My Thoughts:

I discovered the series on one of the online streaming channels and realized that it is actually based on a book series. I watched one episode and then decided to read the book first. I honestly prefer to read books more than watch the series/movies.

This book drew me in instantly. Diana is a strong independent woman who is trying to keep away from the one thing that defines who she is, magic. She is a witch, the last in the line of the strongest witches and she has her own internal demons to fight. A historian, Diana unknowingly opens an alchemical manuscript that alerts all creatures to her presence and draws them to her. Everyone wants the book. Everyone has an agenda.

Matthew, a vampire, is drawn to Diana for reasons he does not understand. It starts off with the manuscript like all other creatures, but then protective instincts kick in and suddenly he wants to keep the others away from her, keep her safe. As they start to work together, there is so much chemistry and passion that builds between them, both professionally and personally.

This is a tale of forbidden love, of loving outside your community, crossing boundaries and of enduring love. Wow. That is a lot of love talk! But this book is so well written with it’s technical descriptions that will not put the reader off. It does the opposite, it will draw you in until you are a part of the world of these characters.

At first the story takes time to build and then slowly builds pace which is then held steady. We follow Diana and Matthew as they navigate a world of creatures where there are rules and of course people who are out to get them. With the support of family and loved ones, they try to find out the truth of the manuscript and keep everyone safe. Diana starts to learn about her magic, her legacy and who she is. She starts to unravel the mystery behind her parents death and come into her own all with the strong support of one truly handsome vampire!

This is a wonderful story that is told in a manner that will leave the reader spellbound. The author casts a wonderful web of magic on reader that carries them along until the end. I loved reading this book and am looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

Book Review: The Frights of Fiji (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions #1) by Sunayna Prasad

About the Book:

A world of magic and adventure awaits for 12-year-old Alyssa McCarthy. A sorcerer kidnaps her to an enchanted island, filled with magical creatures and technology, but also danger. It is up to Alyssa to defeat the peril and overcome the warlock.

My Thoughts:

I read and am reviewing this book as a part of the blog tour by iRead Book Tours.

I truly love reading middle grade and YA fiction! I love the feeling of adventure and the various scrapes the characters get into. This is what drove me to sign up for the blog tour and start reading this new series by Sunayna Prasad.

The Frights of Fiji is Book 1 in the Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions series. In this book, we are introduced to Alyssa, a 12-year old who lives with her uncle and cousin ever since her parents passed away. Right from the beginning we are introduced to the existence of magic as Alyssa meets Simon, a talking bust and then discovers a plot that involves kidnapping her. Initially it felt weird as Alyssa tries to convince her uncle of the existence of magic. As the story progresses, we are introduced to a world of magic and magical technology, chronicled along the lines of what we have and use in general. We are introduced to various characters and the evil warlock who is plotting to capture Alyssa.

The writing is amateurish and abrupt in sections, jumping from one thought to another. The characters are not well developed and I was not able to connect with any of them, though I did like Simon a little. I also found the level of explanation into the technology used to be unnecessary and somewhat repetitive. All this made for a difficult read.

However, there are elements to the plot that have potential and make for an interesting story. There is travel to a new place, magical locations and rules that are not known to normal people and so on. I like how Alyssa and her friends work together to foil the plan of the warlock and find a solution to their predicament. Overall, this would be a one time read at best, but I am definitely going to read on to see what happens!