Book Review: Once Upon A [Broken] Time by Samreen Ahsan

Books in the series:

Book 1: Once Upon A [Stolen] Time

Book 2: Once Upon A [Fallen] Time

Book 3: Once Upon A [Broken] Time (Releasing March 31, 2021)

Book 4: Once Upon A [Hidden] Time (Upcoming)

Book 5: Once Upon A [Chosen] Time (Upcoming)

 

About the Book:

Once Upon A [Broken] Time (Stolen #3)

2015…
All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castle-and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. When Steve Bernard, a wealthy videogame designer offers her to model for a princess character in his new game, Myra can’t resist his offer to enter the mysterious, colourless, and cursed Hue Castle. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to it by blood and sorcery. When she enters the castle’s doors, she awakens dark powers, time travelling through a cursed mirror, torturing her present, and rewriting her future, leaving Steve Bernard with millions of questions.

1415…
Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine, nor felt the rain, or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father King Stefan, who will not rest until he shatters Edward’s soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward’s one hope is the mysterious woman, who walks into his life through a cursed mirror, out of his dreams, and introduces him: love.

Will Myra break Edward’s curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly? Will Steve ever be able to finish his game without Myra? Past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.

This is book 3 of [STOLEN] SERIES

My Thoughts:

‘Love doesn’t need someone’s consent or approval. It is as inevitable as life and death…. But never in my wildest dreams had I imagined loving someone so deeply and immeasurably.’ – Myra

This book picks up where the previous one left off. Now that Myra has come back and decided to stay, she is forced to deal with both Prince Edward, the man she loves and the King, his father. Torn between her loyalty towards Edward and her need to be careful in front of the King, Myra is walking a very fine line towards trouble. The story follows her journey as she navigates this world, her scenes with Edward are heart-warming and filled with love.

The author shows us different perspectives, brining the various characters to life. We follow the story from Edward’s point of view as he struggles to hide his true feeling towards Myra from his father. He tries to protect her and also handle the fact that she has travelled through time to be with him. We also learn about steve, Myra’s fiance in 2015 and the one behind the company Excalibur that is coming out with the game: Once Upon A [Stolen] Time, purely based on Myra’s experiences and narration.

It was a pleasure to read about so many characters and their different perspectives which bring Hue castle to life, both in 1415 and 2015. This story is well-written and gripping. It is a must read for fans of this series and romance in general! Readers are in for a treat with this continuation of the [Stolen] series, filled with the right amount of intrigue and romance to keep them hooked until the end.

I truly enjoyed this book and as a fan of the series and Samreen Ahsan’s writing, I must admit that I am now eagerly looking forward to the next book! I do hope Myra breaks the curse and they find their happy ever after in this intriguing Beauty and the Beast retelling!

WWW WEDNESDAY – 10/03/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

 ——————————————————————————————————————

What are you currently reading?

Once Upon A [Broken] Time (Stolen #3)  Murder at the Mela

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

       There are too many books on the TBR. This is my usual statement, but I am planning to see where my mood takes me! I will pick my next reads based on that! 😀

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

Book Review: Yearn to Fear by Chas Murrell

Book Blurb:

The greatest scientific invention of modern times…
Capable of curing humanity…
But more adept at controlling it…

Sydney scientist, Marcus Hall, is developing a radical 5G Wi-Fi receiver for CSIRO. With access to secretive Lamarr computer chips – this technology promises billions to repair Australia’s ravaged economy. On a caffeine boosted whim, he inadvertently discovers a therapeutic breakthrough in neuroscience. Or so he thinks…

His seemingly trustworthy lab partner, Henry, is an unlikely Australian spy. His official duty is keeping tabs on the project and their Lamarr chips. But the whole project is now classified top-secret.
Marcus remains blissfully unaware of the many secrets surrounding him, until he witnesses the graphic murder of a colleague. Could this event reveal Henry as a master deceiver and ruthless double agent? Will the scientific discovery be fatal for Marcus, those he loves, and the one he yearns for? Marcus faces a soul tearing dilemma: is the only means of stopping the carnage to weaponise his prototype?

Foreign intelligence agencies realise the top-secret breakthrough is priceless. One particular spy leads the race to seize the invention. A psychological master of the long game, espionage, and extortion, his only rule according to Kung Fu: Win.

Friend and foe alike confront this psychotic mastermind. All will FEAR him, but is their FEAR real? Only the next six minutes will tell…

About Chas Murrell:

Chas Murrell has been a Police Officer, Senior Fire Commander, Customs Coastwatch surveillance mission co-ordinator, heavy machinery mechanic, emergency medical technician/ instructor, film extra, and General Manager of an event company. He has published academic papers on liquid hydrogen and held a worldwide provisional patent for a nonlinear mathematical calculation. He survived Australia’s largest gas BLEVE in 1987, and has provided operational support to some of Australia’s largest natural disasters in North Queensland.

On a personal level he has suffered from relentless and debilitating migraines all his life, is father to four and pop to two. He and his artistically entrepreneurial wife live in Tasmania, which looks very much like Scotland and they wouldn’t have it any other way. A direct descendant of Robert the Bruce (King of Scots), history runs deep in Chas’s veins, along with a profound knowledge of both World Wars. You may even come across him online playing World of Tanks.

In his Australian spy thriller books you will get to know Chas’s knowledge of technology, intrigue, crime, espionage, weaponry, banter, romance and even whisky… yet above all, there is believability and no loose ends.

Social Media:

Website: https://www.chasmurrell.com.au/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Chas-Murrell-Author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/murrellchas

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chasmurrellauthor/

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2MWoPj4

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2ZcuCDF

Waterstones: http://bit.ly/3ahwrFG

Publishing Information:

Published in paperback and digital formats on 18th November 2020

My Thoughts:

This is a very well written spy thriller that will hold the readers attention until the very end. The story is written in a conversational manner and I felt that this was an interesting way to portray it. The story follows Marcus Hall, an electronics engineer working for CSIRO on the Lamarr chips project. We follow Marcus’s interactions with his team member Henry and project manager Sarah. Adding to the mystery surrounding the characters is the shady way in which each one behaves. This is obviously visible only to the reader but holds our attention until all the parts come together. This keeps us guessing always.

It is quite evident that Chas Murrell has drawn on his experience and expertise to weave intricate sequences, giving us the right amount of information without sounding too descriptive. I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative and the glimpse into Australian culture. This is an area previously unexplored for me and this book took me on a wonderfully informative journey.

Overall, I enjoyed the plot, the style of writing and even the characters, both positive and negative who had specific roles to play in this fast-paced thriller!

 

Book Review: The Watchmaker of Dachau by Carly Schabowski

About the Book:

The Watchmaker of Dachau

An unforgettable novel of human kindness, inspired by an incredible true story.

Snow falls and a woman prepares for a funeral she has long expected, yet hoped would never come. As she pats her hair and straightens her skirt, she tells herself this isn’t the first time she’s lost someone. Lifting a delicate, battered wristwatch from a little box on her dresser, she presses it to her cheek. Suddenly, she’s lost in memory…

January 1945. Dachau, Germany. As the train rattles through the bright, snowy Bavarian countryside, the still beauty outside the window hides the terrible scenes inside the train, where men and women are packed together, cold and terrified. Jewish watchmaker Isaac Schüller can’t understand how he came to be here, and is certain he won’t be leaving alive.

When the prisoners arrive at Dachau concentration camp, Isaac is unexpectedly pulled from the crowd and installed in the nearby household of Senior Officer Becher and his young, pretty, spoiled wife. With his talent for watchmaking, Isaac can be of use to Becher, but he knows his life is only worth something here as long as Becher needs his skills.

Anna Reznick waits table and washes linens for the Bechers, who dine and socialise and carry on as if they don’t constantly have death all around them. When she meets Isaac she knows she’s found a true friend, and maybe more. But Dachau is a dangerous place where you can never take love for granted, and when Isaac discovers a heartbreaking secret hidden in the depths of Becher’s workshop, it will put Anna and Issac in terrible danger…

 

My Thoughts:

The Watchmaker of Dachau is another WWII based novel that adds to my love for Historical Fiction. I requested for a copy of this book from NetGalley and I am ever grateful to the publisher and author for getting approved to read it!

The story is told from different points of view but caries on from where the previous chapter leaves off. Initially, we are introduced to Isaac, a Jewish watchmaker who has been taken to the concentration camp at Dachau. Having arrived without any belongings, he immediately surprises the Officers who are checking the prisoners. The only things he has with him are his tiny tools for fixing and making watches. This creates an interest in him that leads to his working for Senior Officer Becher at his house a little way off from the camp. Through this, we meet Anna, who is brought from the camp everyday to work at the house as a maid. Thirdly, we meet the Becher’s ever curious eleven year old son who does not understand why he was pulled away from school to come home and live in a confined manner.

With the ever growing horrors of the camp, Isaac and Anna try to find ways to cling to hope. The author focuses on the different perspectives to give us glimpses into how these characters think and react to their situations and surroundings. We observe the stark contrast between life in the camp and then at Officer Becher’s house just outside. Isaac forms a few bonds with people around him but also with Anna and Friedrich. Anna on the other hand meets Nina, her constant companion and support at the camp. Having to constantly fix things, Isaac works diligently in the shed in the garden, trying to keep his head down and not be thrown out. Through this, we follow him as he discovers letters from someone detailing their life before and during their time in the concentration camp. This is a story of love for another, love for family and of hope.

The beauty of this story lies in the hope of being saved and finding love in the midst of all the sadness and death. The story is heart wrenching and at times difficult to read, but it is definitely worth the read. The bonds formed and those which endure are amazing and borne out of shared experiences. These kinds of bonds do not break easily and in the end, the reader will be satisfied with the story. All the smaller story lines in the book come together in the end like a thread woven through fabric forming a tapestry of horrors lived and left behind. This is indeed a well-written tear-jerker of a book based on a true story that must be known to all! I highly recommend this read!

WWW WEDNESDAY – 17/02/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

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What are you currently reading?

The Watchmaker of Dachau

What did you recently finish reading?

  We're Moving Where?!

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Adventure

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Far Away Girl       Enchantée

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

Book Review: We’re Moving Where?! by Glen Blackwell

About the Book:

We're Moving Where?!

When Harry’s mum and dad tell him that they will be moving to a cabin in the Canadian wilderness, his first thought is about leaving his friends behind. He then finds out that there will be NO INTERNET!!! Join Harry on the adventure of a lifetime and find out how he adapts when everything he is used to changes overnight…

 

Connect with the Author:

Twitter – @gblackwellbooks
Instagram – @gblackwellbooks

 

My Thoughts:

We’re Moving Where? follows Harry as he moves to Canada with his parents to live somewhere in the forest! Imagine a situation where there are no other people around, no internet, no school etc., just trees and animals all around. On top of this, you have to build your own Cabin to live in.

Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed this book which took us on an adventure with Harry. The author touches upon interesting and very pertinent topics of moving away, anxiety at not seeing ones friends, living in the wilderness and little access to technology. However, as the story progresses, the reader is introduced to the joys of exploring, camping and even learning how to do things by ourselves. There is so much joy in learning and this is shown to us in a lovely way through this book.

Even though the focus is on Middle Grade learners, this book can be read and enjoyed by all age groups. However, it is best when read together as a family.

WWW WEDNESDAY – 10/02/2021

Hey guys!

I missed my WWW – Wednesday post due to travel. I decided to post it today anyway, even though it is a day late!

                  ——————————————————————————————————————

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

 ——————————————————————————————————————

What are you currently reading?

 Chaturanga (Baahubali: Before the Beginning Book 2)

What did you recently finish reading?

Oath Taker (Kingdom of Runes, #1)  Curse Breaker (Kingdom of Runes, #2)

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Once again I have a lot of books on my TBR list that look very interesting. I am going to try to catch up on a few books that I missed in January and then focus on those which will be releasing soon in February and onwards!

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

Book Review: Curse Breaker (Kingdom of Runes #2) by Audrey Grey

About the Book:

Curse Breaker (Kingdom of Runes, #2)

Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Holly Black, this enemies-to-lovers adventure romance should come with a book hangover warning.

All magic has a price.

Haven survived the Devourers, but she isn’t any closer to breaking the curse. Meanwhile, her forbidden magic rages brighter and more dangerous every day.

To control her powers and stand a chance against the Shade Queen, Haven made a bargain with two enemy immortals. Now her waking hours are spent fighting alongside the Sun Lord, but her dreams belong to the Shade Lord.

Only the closer she ventures into the wicked Shadow Kingdom the more her magic shows itself—and the more she struggles with whom to trust. The golden but wounded Sun Lord or the darkly charismatic Shade Lord.

Both are off-limits.

And both have the ability to save her . . . or destroy her.

With the Shade Queen closing in and Bell’s time nearly up, Haven will sacrifice everything to break the curse—but will it be enough to stop the mortal realm from falling into darkness forever?

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!

**Curse Breaker was previously published in the boxed set Shattered Worlds. This is a revised second edition. The Kingdom of Runes series is upper/mature YA and contains mild cursing and adult situations, including romance.**

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Kingdom of Runes series by Audrey Grey. Teeming with both dark and light magic, Haven is struggling to find a way to control her magic, learn to use it and at the same time break the curse to get back her best friend, Prince Bell. In addition to this, she makes deals that she is not sure she can keep up, considering that they are with two enemy immortals.

In this book, Haven is drawn into a love triangle between the Sun Lord and the Shade Lord. She knows that both of them have feelings for her and she is conflicted in her emotions towards each of them. I love how charismatic each character comes off as and it is quite entertaining to read about these budding romances. However, there are some things that irked me during these sections, especially how Archeron’s feelings suddenly changed and then the whole group dynamics.

On the other side, we see some of Prince Bell and what he is going through. A wonderful human being, he brings out different sides of people including the creature who saves him from being ripped apart. This is an interesting dynamic to say the least. A lot of the characters are shrouded in darkness and have a ton of secrets which take a lot of time to actually be revealed.

The pace of this book picked up and was quite gripping. It was better than the first and focused more on the adventure and action. I enjoyed this second book in the series and am looking forward to reading the next one.

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!