Review: Saints and Curses by Alexis Lantgen

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Saints and Curses by Alexis Lantgen

The short stories in Saints and Curses explore fantasy and magic from a wide variety of perspectives and settings. The stories range in tone from lighthearted modern fantasy in stories like Elven Carols, to the dark and ominous stories like Erlkonig, and in time from the late antiquity to the modern day. Magic, like all forms of power and like human nature, has two sides, light and dark. Whether we find (or become) a saint or a curse depends on our circumstances. And, of course, our choices.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Saints and Curses on Goodreads


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

Saints and Curses is an extremely well-written collection of short stories with magic and curses as the theme running throughout them. I really enjoyed the mix of modern and historic fantasy tales, each with plenty of twists to keep the reader guessing as to how they will end.

My favourites in the collection are:
Grackle – a poignant tale with a lovely ending.
Cinnamon Ultra Pumpkinator – an amusing tale of the perils of addiction with a fun and very relatable main character
The Rats – An excellent and original retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin

The collection has an outstanding array of very different tales with something for everyone. I highly recommend checking them out!

Review: Rising from Dust (Light from Aphelion 1) by Martine Carlsson

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Rising from Dust (Light from Aphelion 1) by Martine Carlsson

FIGHT FOR JUSTICE. DIE FOR LOVE.

War is raging in the kingdom of Trevalden. Up north in the Frozen Mountains, the amnesic hermit Selen survives as the pariah in his community. Drawn by a mysterious call, he travels to Trevalden and meets Louis, an enigmatic archivist. Together, as Selen remembers his past, they face the desolation of war with a group of misfits. For the sake of the people, they fight back the king’s armies, prepared to meet death…or a new dawn. As Selen and Louis understand that their feelings for each other may be their undoing, they are torn between their emotions and the greater good. But in the end, what is the greater good?

While they try to find their place in an unknown world, they carry a secret that will shatter the society and make them realize that the hardest fights are not against dragons but within oneself.

Rising from Dust is an epic journey where gritty fantasy and history cross paths. A graphic story of loyalty, violence, magic, court plots, and unwavering love where no one is what they seem.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Rising from Dust on Goodreads


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

When strangers Louis, Selen and Lissandro are mysteriously drawn together they find themselves not only fighting for the land that they have been re-born into but also piecing together their former lives. Each is terrified that the tragedies that befell them the first time will repeat themselves once more.

Louis is a heroic warrior who does not hesitate to put his friends’ lives above his own. Driven by his strong ideals and desire to make the world a better place, his determination sometimes prevents him from seeing the truth in how things are vs how he wishes to see it.

Selen, whilst also a warrior, is a gentler character and his sense of compassion is also a positive influence on Louis. He is fiercely loyal to his friends and shares Louis vision for the future of their world.

Selen and Louis are in a relationship which, if discovered, would get them both killed. Their relationship is one of my favourite aspects of the novel. It is beautifully written and you can really feel just how much they care for each other.

Lissandro’s character has a more accepting and practical view of the world that they now live in. His advice and guidance to Louis is more practical and he’s not afraid to speak out if he feels his friend is making a mistake. I feel that perhaps his character was not explored fully in book 1 and look forward to seeing much more of him in book 2.

I absolutely loved this first novel in the Light from Aphelion series. It combines two of my favourite genres; fantasy and history. The immersive world and wonderful main characters draws you in right from the beginning and I just didn’t want to put this book down. I enjoyed slowly uncovering the details of the characters previous lives and how they were linked to world-history. The detail in the battle scenes, whilst quite graphic in places, was brilliantly written and I really could imagine that I was right there along with them.

There is never a dull moment in this novel and there are plenty of twists and turns that I did not see coming. The finale of book 1 is beautiful and couldn’t be more perfect.
I can’t recommend Rising from Dust (Light from Aphelion 1) enough and cannot wait to read book 2 in the series.

 

Release Blitz: Repeat Offence by Jackie Keswick

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Repeat Offence

Author: Jackie Keswick

Publisher: Jackie Keswick

Cover Artist: Pavelle Art

Release Date: August 14, 2019

Genre/s: Fantasy/metaphysical, fantasy/paranormal

Trope/s: abiding love, defeating death,

Themes: actions have consequences, paying the price for compassion, perseverance, triumph over adversity

Heat Rating: 0 flames. No sexual content. (It’s a love story, but not a romance)

Repeat Offence is a fantasy story, told in first person POV. It’s NOT a romance, and there’s no sex, but I consider it a love story. Apart from the first and last scene, the two MCs are apart. Readers can infer that it’s m/m, but Taz’s (the narrator’s) gender is never mentioned in any way. It fits into general fantasy as much as into LGBT+.

Length: 20 000 words/66 pages

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon It

Blurb

It should have ended with their deaths.

But dying in a wash of blood was just the beginning.

Sentenced to eternal life for sacrificing themselves in battle, warriors Taz and Hiro must take turns living as human and Guardian on opposing sides of the veil with only a chance to catch a glance of each other in the moment of death.

Until an attack forces Taz and Hiro to make a choice. Should they cling to what little solace they’ve carved out for themselves? Or should they sacrifice their lives to save countless others and risk the wrath of the Judges for a second time?

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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.

 

 

 

Review: The Everlast (Book #1 of The Everlast Series) by Jack Kavanagh

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The Everlast (Book #1 of The Everlast Series) by Jack Kavanagh

“You may act for yourself, do as you please, but listen well; act on behalf of others—attempt this and I shall make you pay dearly for it”.

Karakia hears a voice in her head calling her down to the shore. An eight foot angel is waiting for her by the rocks. The angel tells her that the world is about to be overcome by the Mastery—a group of people who have allied themselves with a dark spirit and wish to bring the world into a permanent state of war. Karakia has a difficult decision to make; stay at home with her family or set out against the very people behind this attack. Karakia knows that by confronting the Mastery she is putting her own life in danger, a risk she is willing to take— but will her family be safe? After the fog lifts on the day of the attack, it becomes clear that nothing has changed in the world, except for the people themselves; they can no longer communicate with their angels, they can no longer fly, and there are others coming forward, speaking of a vengeful God and chastisements from heaven.

A thrilling fantasy adventure, full of mystery and suspense—enter the world of angels and dark spirits, where the smallest choice could bring peace or war, life or death.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

The Everlast on Goodreads


Review

Rating: 2.5 stars

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

Karakia is an Aurora, chosen by the angels to confront a dark spirit that is determined to plunge all of humanity into a war. Torn between her love for her family and her desire to fulfil her destiny, Karakia sets out on a dangerous journey to confront the humans whose souls have been poisoned by demons.

I really struggled to rate this novel. The premise I liked and I did enjoy the themes running throughout the story. The novel had a dark tone but scattered within there were glimmers of lightness and hope. Karakia is a likeable protagonist and is an ever-developing character as she embarks on her journey and destiny.

However, the structure of the novel I found very confusing. It was separated into parts narrated by different characters but there was no real consistency or order to them. I struggled to follow it in places and there was also some very strange sentences and phrasing. I couldn’t decide if this was deliberate in an attempt to give the characters a regional dialect, but it only added to my confusion and there were parts I really struggled with.

Taking this into account I can really only give The Everlast 2.5 stars as for me it was somewhat of a laboured read for me.

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.”

Goodreads / Amazon / iBooks

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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.