Review: Kogitsune (Takamagahara Monogatari #1) by Xia Xia Lake

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Kogitsune (Takamagahara Monogatari #1)

by Xia Xia Lake

A coming of age story set in medieval Japan. A friendship between a young fox god and his human childhood friend is built on deception, but grows stronger and purer as it’s driven by common purpose. However, the vast differences of the worlds they live in can’t be ignored, as their relationship is frowned upon by both humans and spirits.

As Kogitsune’s feelings for his human friend turn from friendship to something deeper, he will learn that love can be all consuming and heartbreaking.

‘Kogitsune’ is a retelling of the famous Noh theater play ‘Kokaji’, a story about a swordsmith who requests the help of the Inari god to build a sword for emperor Ichijo (980-1011).

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Kogitsune on Goodreads


Review

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 4 stars

Kogitsune is a short story and is the first in the Takamagahara Monogatari series. It is a romantic retelling of the play Kokaji, which tells the story of a swordsmith who is tasked with forging a sword for the Emperor Ichijo, and his quest to seek help from the Inari God to do this.

Kogitsune is a short yet beautiful read focusing on the young God Kogitsune’s life and his growing friendship with the human Kokaji. Growing up under the tutelage of his father, the God Inari, Kogitsune is warned of the dangers of humans and that his friendship with Kokaji will only bring him pain. To begin with, Kogitsune sees any heartache as another lesson in life but when Kokaji does seemingly betray their friendship he understands the depth of his feelings.

This story is extremely well-written. It is steeped in the detail of Japanese folklore, which the author has managed to combine beautifully into a tender love story between the two main characters. I enjoyed the use of Japanese words and phrases, most of which I was familiar with already but there are meanings there too for readers who are not. The romance aspect is subtle and almost bitter-sweet as the story reaches its conclusion. I am looking forward to reading further books in the series.

Review: Ash and Steel (Soul Stones 0.3) by T.L. Branson

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Ash and Steel (Soul Stones 0.3) by T.L. Branson

Alexander Drygo, king of Sunbury, is reeling from the loss of his wife. Despite his best efforts using an incredible power, she is no longer among the living.

When a rival kingdom seeks to take advantage of this delicate time in Drygo’s life, he is thrust into a battle for the future of his kingdom.

Can he save his people where he could not save his queen?

 

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Ash and Steel on Goodreads


Review

Rating: 4 stars

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review*

Still mourning the death of his wife, King Alexander Drygo faces a new battle. A battle to save his kingdom and retrieve a stone with more power than it appears.

Ash and Steel serves as an introduction to the Soul Stones series. It is a short, action-packed read giving the reader some insight into the motivations of King Drygo as well as setting up the series. This short-story is very well-written and gripping, and does a great job of encouraging the reader to pick up the main series. A quick and very enjoyable fantasy read.

 

 

 

Blog Tour and Review: The Scarecrow and George C by Mia Kerick

The Scarecrow & George C
Mia Kerick
Publication date: June 3rd 2019
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance

High school senior Van Liss is barely human. He thinks of himself as a scarecrow—ragged and unnerving, stuck, and destined to spend his life cold and alone. If he ever had feelings, they were stomped out long ago by his selfish mother and her lecherous boyfriend. All he’s been left with is bitter contempt, to which he clings.

With a rough exterior long used to keep the world at bay, Van spooks George Curaco, the handsome new frycook at the diner where he works. But George C senses there is more to the untouchable Van and refuses to stop staring, fascinated by his eccentricity. When Van learns that George C is even more cold, alone, and frightened than himself, Van welcomes him to his empty home. And ends up finding his heart.

Their road to trust is rocky and, at times, even dangerous. And looming evil threatens to keep them apart forever.

Fair warning: You may want to strap in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

*All proceeds of this book go to charity: True Colors United.
“True Colors United implements innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focus on the unique experiences of LGBTQ young people.”

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Review: Orchestra of Treacheries (The Dragon Songs Saga #2) by J.C. Kang

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Orchestra of Treacheries (The Dragon Songs Saga #2) by J.C. Kang

Kaiya’s voice could charm a dragon.

It’s been two years since she put down a rebellion with the magic of the Dragon Scale Lute. With the instrument destroyed, her musical talents are inconsequential compared to her value as the last unmarried child of the ailing emperor.

Potential suitors see her as a stepping stone. One ruthless cousin would rather step on her gravestone. Not one to get walked over or buried, Kaiya is holding out for the exiled foreign prince who inspired her to sing. The only one who appreciates her abilities more is the world’s last dragon, Avarax, and it’s not because he enjoys a good song.

Conspiracies eat away at the empire from the inside, while aggressive neighbors wait to consume what’s left. Raw and unproven, Kaiya faces tasks worthy of an imperial princess: defuse escalating conflicts between rival lords. Negotiate peace with foreign powers. Vanquish a dragon.

The magic of her voice is untrained. However, as crisis jolts her from a pampered palace life into an adventure of court intrigue and international diplomacy, Kaiya finds mentors in unlikely places. An elf courtier. An ancient healer. A martial arts master. And an evil sorcerer. She’ll need their guidance to survive the final showdown between a girl finding her voice, and a dragon who has no intention of being fooled a second time.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Orchestra of Treacheries on Goodreads


Review

Rating: 4 stars

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review*

Two years after the events of Dragon Scale Lute, Princess Kaiya has grown in both wisdom and beauty. With potential suitors and threats around every corner, Kaiya finds herself being relied on more and more by her father to try and keep the diplomatic peace between nations. Her father also presses her to choose a husband, not knowing that his daughter is in love with the exiled Prince Hardeep.

An Orchestra of Treacheries delves deeper into the intricate games of the court and the minds of the many different lords vying for power. Sensing the kingdom is weakening, they betray not only the royal family, but each other in order to ascent to the throne themselves. I enjoyed reading from different points of view and how the plots weaved together to shape the direction of the second novel in the series. Kaiya is as strong as ever and what I like most about her character is her resilience and that she very much knows her own mind. She is determined to make her own way but still remaining sensitive to her ailing father’s wishes and her duties.

Book two paves the way for things to come and I really look forward to reading further novels in the series.

Blog Tour and Review: August Prather is Not Dead Yet By Danielle Roux

August Prather is Not Dead Yet
Danielle Roux
Publication date: August 7th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance

Katherine Garnet is a writer who has never cared much about much, making it awfully difficult to create new content. Despite the fact she has the “edge” of being trans (according to her cis male editor) she is not looking to capitalize on her own personal story. Garnet tries to sneak a peek at her rival, August Prather’s, latest fantasy manuscript about a quest for the elixir of life. While reading, Garnet gets accidentally dragged into a bizarre cross-country road trip that may or may not have a purpose and begins to see parallels in the story of the manuscript and the reality of their journey. Along the way, they encounter a parade of equally troubled individuals, including ghost-hunting priests, a robot magician, a discarded piece of furniture, a runaway teenager, and a Japanese rock star. As Garnet confronts her past, she begins to understand why someone might want to live forever.

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Review: At the Cemetery Gates: Year One by John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan

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At the Cemetery Gates: Year One

by John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan

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A young woman sees an approaching figure in her time-lapse photo project. A small town’s strange illness seems to stem from the local cemetery. Two boys make a grim discovery about death and decay when they sneak into a funeral parlor. AT THE CEMETERY GATES: YEAR ONE is an entertaining and eerie short story collection for fans of the strange, macabre, and supernatural.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: At the Cemetery Gates: Year One by John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan

 


Review

Rating: 4 stars

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review*

At The Cemetery Gates: Year One is a collection of short stories. I love reading horror shorts and this collection did not disappoint. They are very well-written and each very different with their own twists and chills.

It was hard for me to pick favourites as I enjoyed reading them all so much but stand-out ones for me were:

A Dark and Desolate Reoccurrence – seeking shelter from a deadly snowstorm, husband and wife Teddy and Margo inadvertently stumble upon a haunted cabin. Trapped until the storm is over they soon realise that surviving the night is the least of their worries.

A Tale of Palpable Violence – a couple on an isolated road are disturbed by reports of killers on the loose, but their fears are not what you might expect!

An Epistle from the Dead – grieving wife Regina discovers a diary written by her late-husband. Giving into temptation she reads it and learns more about him than perhaps she wanted to know. I don’t want to say too much about this one and risk giving away the brilliant twist at the end!

At the Cemetery Gates: Year One is a dark, quick read that I recommend horror lovers checking out!

Review: A Mighty Rolling Thunder by Kerry Alan Denney

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A Mighty Rolling Thunder by Kerry Alan Denney

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The end of the world is just the beginning of the terror…

Spring, 2024: Two spirit hordes break through from another dimension, and make half the world’s population vanish. The spirits possess the survivors, dividing them into two groups: those who fight to retain their humanity, and marauders who destroy everything in their paths.

Artist Livi DeSilva is fleeing from possessed killers when she meets Conor McLain, a man suffering from amnesia. Outnumbered and outgunned, Livi and Conor team up and fight off homicidal lunatics and ruthless gangs, only to end up cornered by their deadliest foe: billionaire Victor van Danz, a psychopath who commands the new world’s dark forces. Victor craves immortality, and kidnaps Livi. He believes that when he kills Livi in front of her collection of canvases and absorbs her life energy, he will transform into a god.

With only Conor, two amazing dogs, and a band of plucky children to aid her, Livi must harness the power of the spirits inside her and use it to defeat Victor — or die in the clutches of a madman.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: A Mighty Rolling Thunder by Kerry Alan Denney


Review

Rating: 4 stars

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review*

When a mysterious event causes half of the world’s population to vanish and others to become violent due to delusions, artist Livi DeSilva goes on the run with her dog Beauty. Suddenly gifted with the ability to communicate with each other, Livi and Beauty meet Connor and his dog T-Rex as well as a group of orphaned children. Then Livi finds herself the target of power-crazed billionaire Victor van Danz who believes that Livi is the key him achieving immortality.

I really enjoyed reading A Mighty Rolling Thunder. It’s a very well-written novel with immensely likeable main characters and supporting cast. I loved how Livi and Connor could communicate with their dogs. I would love to be able to have that ability with my cat! And that they could deepened the already close bond between them. The villain Victor van Danz was chilling to read. The conclusions that he had come to that were feeding his own power trip and ego were clearly the thoughts of a mad man, but he found them completely logical and acted on them without a thought or care for the consequences.

The mystery behind the disappearances of the population was never fully explained but that added to the read as you were left to make up your own minds. I really like reads like that, which allow you to draw your own conclusions.
I definitely recommend this novel as once you pick up A Mighty Rolling Thunder you won’t want to put it down.

Blog Tour & Review: Painless by Marty Thornley

Painless
Marty Thornley
Publication date: January 12th 2018
Genres: Adult, Horror, Psychological Thriller

The debut psychological-horror novel from author Marty Thornley is a page-turning ride, a front row seat to a clinical trial gone horribly wrong.

For Greg Owens, this was supposed to be a chance to end years of back pain and escape his reliance on pain pills. If it all worked out, he could maybe even get back the life he left behind as the pills took control.

Instead, as the patients are cured of their physical pain, they encounter a different sort of pain building inside them – obsessive thoughts, depression, self-destruction. The side-effects grow worse, and the suspense ratchets tighter. The patients want answers and violent revenge, setting them on a collision course with a crazed doctor, determined to protect his life’s obsession.

What readers are saying…

“…most definitely a recommended read, though it’s probably not the best choice for those with a weak stomach.”

Gruesome and twisted. Awesome!!!”

“OMG this book. Holy heck the gruesome descriptions of blood and gore and guts was SO RAD. I found myself cringing and fidgeting and yes, even feeling a bit nauseous in some spots – but totally in a GOOD WAY! Painless was exactly what I wanted in a super-unique, creepy, shocking horror-thriller.”

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Review: Trolled (Trolled Saga #1) by D.K Bussell

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Review: Trolled (Trolled Saga #1) by D.K Bussell

33271719Seventeen-year-old student Nat Lawler doesn’t know her orc from her elf bow. She’s never swung a sword before, never ridden a unicorn, or fought a troll outside of the internet. And yet here she is, trapped in a fantasy world and tasked with defeating its evil queen, Drensila the Black. Thankfully, some of Nat’s roleplayer friends were thrown into the mix too, and join her on her epic quest. They’ve spent their lives preparing for this moment, but now it’s time for action, because this fantasy just got real!

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Trolled by D.K Bussell

 


Review

Rating: 4 stars

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review*

Trolled is the first novel in the Trolled saga and follows the exploits of Nat Lawler, her boyfriend and his roleplaying friends when they are transported into the middle of a real life fantasy adventure.

When Nat is talked into joining her boyfriend Terry and his friends LARP-ing (Live Action Roleplaying) she never imagined that they would end up being transported to another realm and aligning herself with Elves and Dwarves to fight against the evil Drensila the Black. Taking things in her stride, Nat embraces her new-found destiny as the chosen one, but her new path soon drives a wedge between her and Terry. Nat realises that this isn’t just a fight to save the inhabitants of this other world, but to protect her friends. If she fails then they might never get home.

Trolled is a really fun read. The style of writing is upbeat and filled with British slang and pop culture references that made me smile on many occasions. Nat is a flawed but very likeable heroine whose stubbornness and determination gets her into trouble on more than one occasion. The supporting cast develop as the novel progresses and whilst at first they seem a little bland they quickly come into their own.

There are some darker moments, but overall this is a light-hearted and entertaining read and I am looking forward to reading the second novel in the series.

Review: Rune of the Apprentice (The Rune Chronicles #1) by Jamison Stone

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Rune of the Apprentice (The Rune Chronicles #1)
by Jamison Stone

In a world where magic, technology, and nature have merged, the few who can control Runes hold dominance over all of creation. All believe that Aleksi, a sixteen-year-old orphan, was blessed to be born with a Rune embedded in his palm, but that’s only because they don’t know the truth―Aleksi’s Rune is so powerful it’s killing him.

Asura, a brutal emperor who uses Runes to conquer entire continents, will stop at nothing to kill Aleksi and claim the boy’s power for his own. With Aleksi’s Rune burning its way through his body and assassins hunting his every step, his survival depends on discerning ally from enemy and learning to tame the competing forces of light and dark within.

With the burden of his rune haunting his days and the prophetic whispers of a young captive priestess illuminating his nights, Aleksi will be able to unravel the mysteries of his past, rescue the girl in his dreams, and challenge the most powerful warlord the world has ever known only if the one thing keeping him alive―his Rune―does not kill him first.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Rune of the Apprentice on Goodreads


 

Review

Rating: 4 stars

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review*

I really enjoyed reading Rune of the Apprentice which is the first novel in The Rune Chronicles series. The story follows young apprentice Aleksi who was born with a rune on his palm; a rune that will grant him with a vast power, if it doesn’t end up killing him first.

The world building in Rune of the Apprentice is excellent. The author has gone to a lot of trouble and taken much time to craft his universe and all the characters within it. Page by page you are immediately drawn into the world of Terra. Aleksi’s development as a character was subtle and natural as the novel progressed. I liked the supporting cast a lot and the friendships that were forged between the characters. The action scenes flow well and keep you on the edge of your seat.

To sum up, Rune of the Apprentice is a wonderfully descriptive and well-crafted read with many carefully thought-out and developed characters. The plot itself is very engaging and a natural page-turner. I look forward to reading the second novel in the series.