Category Archives: Fantasy

The Dragon Blood Collection – Lindsay Buroker

hatWell. Here I am. It’s been awhile! 8 months have passed since I last wrote and so much has happened! I now have an MA in publishing and seem to be getting a book published next year. I’ve had three jobs and am looking for the next as my temporary position winds down at the end of the year. A lot has happened. Have I stopped reading hence why no posts? Nope, but having 2 jobs and trying to complete an MA at the same time can leave one with very little downtime to not only read a book but to then review it!

Ah well. I am back. Just in time for Christmas. And this new book series I am about to review I would recommend to get someone for Christmas.

Plot21797289

We start of this series with Balanced on the Blade’s Edge. Here we meet Colonel Ridge Zirkander and he is in trouble. So much so that he is shipped off from his flight crew and sent to manage a prison in the middle of the snowy mountains.

Below this prison, Sardelle Terushan awakens after 300 years in a magic coma. She awakens to world where Dragons no longer exist and their dragon blood has weakened in humans, meaning no more sorcerers.  In fact, anyone with magic (or accused of magic) is so greatly feared that they are often sentenced to horrific deaths. No longer physically attached to her soulblade, Jaxi, Sardelle has to face this new world alone without magic.

Ridge and Sardelle must battle their own issues to trust one another and leave this hell-hole.

22307971The next in the series is Deathmaker and here we meet two new characters. Cas is the youngest in Zirkander’s flight crew. She has an uncanny ability to always shoot her target and loves to be part of the wolf flight crew.

Deathmaker is a scientist/warrior who was kicked out by his army and now lives as a notorious pirate with a grudge against Zirkander. When captured and placed within a cell, his luck changes as he finds himself with Cas, his enemy’s lieutenant. They need each other to escape but can they trust each other.

Opinion

These are just the first two of the six book collection. So far I am hooked. Ironically, I had bought the first three as a set and had never gotten round to them, then BookBub offered me the first one for free and having read it, tried to get the 2nd one on Amazon to then be told I already had it. Whilst this suggests the blurb was good enough for me to download the books, it clearly didn’t entice me enough to want to read it. However, I am glad I did.

Fast paced, witty and enjoyable are what I would use to describe this collection thus far. The characters have depth and by making the 5 main characters known through the first two books separately means we have a deeper understanding and knowledge of them and can now move on to the rest of the series with this greater understanding instead of having just 2 dimensional characters but having them in all of the books all of the time.

The setting seems a mix between modern day and medieval. There are flying machines similar to our fighter planes and airships yet magic is tolerated as much as it was during the Pendle Witches or Salem trials and is believed to have died out. Guns are used but so are swords. Buroker has used the best of all fantasy worlds and merged them together to enable primitive mindsets to live alongside mechanical evolution with magic.

If you are not a fan of independent authors due to the utter rubbish that can be out there then I suggest you have a go at these books to alter your mindset. Buroker has managed to create a very complete and accurate book that flows and feels like traditionally published book without actually being one. For fans of the Inheritance Cycle or the Lord of the Rings Trilogy this should be on your “to read list”.

All in all a great read so far and I am excited to have a complete book series to get my teeth into once more. My verdict a solid 7.5/10. 

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Lindsay Buroker

Richelle Mead

All I ever seem to do on this blog is apologise for the delay in writing a new post but as it is has been the festive period I won’t this time. Christmas and New Year are the busiest time to be working in any form of customer service and working in a nightclub just adds to this. So yes, I have been busy working and studying (*cough* relaxing *cough*).

So as the perceptive of you would have noticed, there is no book title above. Just “Richelle Mead”. No I haven’t forgotten to put one up there, I just don’t see the need to with Mead. So far I have read 20/23 of her books and I cannot give any a lesser mark than the other. If you have read my Vampire Academy review, you can see how much I gushed over that and the following series’ have been the same. You may be wondering why I haven’t just written about an author before but the answer is simple. Richelle Mead is the first author since Enid Blyton that I can honestly say I will read any of their work. I kid you not. I love Rizzoli and Isles but haven’t read any of Gerritsen’s others; Harry Potter is one of the greatest series’ ever written but I am not enthralled by Rowling’s other narratives; I could perhaps say they same thing about Stephanie Mayer later if she writes any more but only due to my love of The HostTwilight never really putting itself into the ‘must read every year’ category on my shelves.  From this we can surmise that I love characters. I will follow them to the ends of the earth and back. Their relationships, quests and challenges enthral and amuse but I often find authors to be disappointing in other areas. Take Garci and Stohl from Beautiful CreaturesTogether they have created these characters and world that mesmerises and amazes, yet separately and on separate stories, I found them uninteresting.

Back to Mead. It started with Vampire Academy which lead onto the spin off series of Bloodlines. From there I decided to give the Georgina Kincaid series a go and then The Age of X and now, finally, The Dark Swan series. I am literally devouring every one of her novels as quickly as she can produce them and have even accepted the £5+ charge for the e-book editions (something I usual avoid doing – you don’t get the physical book so why pay more than £3?) Every single one has had a developed plot line, interesting main AND support characters and twists that are sometimes completely out of the blue (I’m looking at you Dimitri from VA!) The first two mentioned are YA books but this doesn’t take away from a developed Adult writer. All Mead did was tone down the sex scenes (which are quite detailed in some of the books – when you write about a succubus who feeds off of sex that tends to happen) and take out the swear words. The essence of Mead’s work stays the same, excellent dialogue and believable stories.

In conclusion; if you are struggling for a book to read, a friend to buy for or just want to explore a new author give Richelle Mead a go. Every one of her books are easily a 10/10. Trust me, you wont be disappointed!

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy, YA

The Girl in the Box Series – Robert J Crane

I have decided after this week that I really like Indie authors. Any of you who follow this blog on twitter will know that I have been doing my usual tweeting and tweeting to the authors of the books I am currently reading. Now, when you do a mainstream author, chances of getting a reply or a re-tweet are very small. Tweet an Indie author and you shall see miracles! Both Lily Zante of A Perfect Match series and now Robert J Crane have tweeted back to this little blog and indeed re-tweeted certain posts. This is obviously beneficial for both parties involved, getting my blog out to new people and the same for them. Obviously being nice does tend to help in one’s review of a book. You might not say it is a good book but you can say the author is nice!

Back to the series in hand. Again, through Kindle, the first three books of this series was offered to me. After reading Caged I was slightly apprehensive of reading another free paranormal book, especially one that gave me three new books. Luckily I was hooked on these from the first chapter!

Plot

We meet Sienna, a girl who seems to have spent her whole life inside her house. Her mother has her rules, Rule #1 being no going outside, as well as no talking about outside, always wear a full set of clothes including gloves and to basically listen to her mother all the time. Two men break into her house with guns and surprisingly, Sienna is able to defend herself extremely well with a great sense of wit to boot. Escaping her house, she runs into another man and he helps her to escape. Reed turns out later to be a great friend (watch for the twist) but for the mean time he ends up being knocked out by a hulk of a man named Wolfe. This guy is out for Sienna (another one?!) and nearly captures her at the local mall. However, a few tranquillisers later and the two previous men intervening, Sienna manages to escape. The men take her unconscious body to an institute called the Directorate and here she learns about herself and that she is part of a species called metas. These are humans who have extra strength, speed, agility, intelligence (sometimes) and their own individual power. Sienna learns she is a Succubus, a person who can dream-walk and steal people’s souls/essence from them. This obviously kills them and causes great distress to Sienna in more ways than one.

Throughout the series we have questions raised, such as where her mother has gone too, can the Directorate be trusted, who is Reed and many more resulting in a hair raising, emotional and sometimes funny quest that we venture on with Sienna.

Opinion

I love this book series. The plot isn’t fully complete as I am currently on book #7 out of 10. I have read the previous 6 in about 2 days. This is how enthralling a storyline it is. I have always been a bit of a geek and these books play on this extremely well. Very large geek references are throughout, from the comic books (Iron Man and Thor) to Star Wars and more. I am sure there are some that go over even my head.

Sienna is a great character. Unlike in Caged where the leading lady was just annoying, Sienna has an Orissa feel about her (from the Contagium Series). Her tongue in cheek wit is great and I wish I had the ability to dish out some of her comebacks. She is so mature in some ways and then in a blink you are reminded she is only 18. For a man writing about a woman, Crane did an excellent job of getting an 18 year old girl insecurities down pat. Her feelings and emotions are some that I can remember from my later teenage years so well played Crane!

Like I said, I haven’t finished the series yet so I do not know what is going to happen and I am finding the directions the books are going in at the moment to be interesting. I hope we get a good ending and I’m trying not to rush them to find out as I am prone to do because I like them so much I don’t want them to end! For me they are as good as Emily Goodwin’s Contagium Series (another Indie author and the next one isn’t out until September this year!!!) and as I loved them this is high praise indeed!

My verdict is 9/10. The same mark as I gave Goodwin’s and an excellent read. I just hope the remaining books stick to the same level of entertainment! Give them a go, especially as the first three are currently free.

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Robert J Crane, The Girl in the Box

Caged – Amber Lynn Natusch

Have you ever read a book where you had forgotten the blurb? It is a very confusing/interesting experience. On KindleCaged was recommended to me so I checked it out and obviously liked what I saw and then downloaded it. However, I didn’t read it straight away. I left it for a few months. I tend to do that. I buy books in bulk and then it means I have a few to get through. However, I totally forgot what the blurb said about this book. I figured it was probably a crime book as that is what I tend to read and as I had chosen to download it, it must have seemed ok so I began to read it with no clue of its premises. I can tell you now that this is not a crime book!

Plot

We meet out leading lady, Ruby, under some dire straits. She seems to be able to see after a long time of not being able to but is attacked by a gang of men. We see she is saved by an ‘angel’. We have no idea who this man is but we see Ruby again a year later. She is now running her own shop selling jewellery and appears to be quite successful in this venture. However, she is completely cut off from the world. Perhaps due to the fact she was born blind and is now a medical marvel as she has regained full use of her eyes, she feels slightly in awe of human interaction. Fuelled by her desire to be social, Ruby sets forth to a club. Here she is once again caught in the terror of a man and is rescued by Sean who she recognises as the ‘angel’ who rescued her before. Shocked by this turn of events, Ruby runs from Sean.

Later, Sean finds Ruby and they embark into a rough friendship. However, on a night out, Ruby is inexplicably drawn to Eric. A man Sean seems to know and loathe. Ruby goes out with Eric and lands herself into a whole heap of trouble. She is exchanged by Eric for some goods into the hands of a (SPOILER ALERT) pack of werewolves who want to ‘mate’ with her. Here she meets Cooper who helps her escape from the pack and back into Sean’s world.

Opinion

I’d recommend reading a book when you have no idea what is supposed to happen. It makes for an interesting ride! However, I thought this book was mediocre.

I have read quite a few Werewolves, Vampire, Magical books as seen through my reviews so you can see that I do like this genre. Natusch just seems to want to prolong your knowledge of this fact. You don’t discover that Ruby is a werewolf until about 60% of the way through. You don’t find out why she was born blind and now isn’t. Nor why Sean is following her around, even before he knows what kind of ‘special’ werewolf she is. Why does she have such attraction to Eric? This is a first in a series so maybe these will be explained later but I don’t really have an interest in reading them after this one.

Ruby as the main character is awful. She is the most stupid, naive little girl I have ever met and she is meant to be 28… She should have more sense than she does. Especially with the level of intelligence she shows to have through her Uni degree and excellent wit. Perhaps Natusch is trying to go with the anti-heroine type character like Orissa from the Contagium Series but it is never fully successful as Ruby is just annoying.

Natusch also seems to brush over anything sexual. Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with there being no sex or nothing overtly sexual happening in books. The Host is a love story yet doesn’t really broach the subject of sex. This book has strong sexual themes running through it but seems to be embarrassed to show them and this creates confusion. Is Ruby raped? Is she gang raped? Is she just ‘pawed’ at? As this is quite a pivotal point in the storyline it needs to be explained fully. Natusch either needs to tell us what happened or just not put it in. Either is fine, what she does do isn’t it.

Overall, a mediocre read. I finished it but aspects of the plot need to be explained better so a 5/10 for me I’m afraid. Very average.

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, kindle, Urban fantasy

Deathly Contagious – Emily Goodwin

What is this? Two posts in one month? The shock! The horror! And ney! Two posts in one month by the same author? Well dear readers, I am officially back from working abroad (again) and can now have downtime to review! Yey! So many exclamations marks…

Well, after reading “Contagious” and loving it, I had to carry on with the story so here we are with book number two in the Contagium Series. This was originally meant to be a trilogy. Goodwin obviously had this so much in her head that the book covers say Contagium trilogy. However, like many supposed trilogies, a series was born. Whether this be Goodwin’s idea or her new publishers idea I do not know but I am intrigued as to how she can make this into four book as I feel that this one has set it up perfectly for three.

Plot

We start off where the first one left. Orissa is having to race back to the compound to save Hayden. She gets him back and is sent out straight away with a different team to normal to try and get some vital medical equipment and drugs for the compound (and Hayden). During this mission, she is left behind (something that her normal team would never do) and she is forced to try and survive alone in a Zombie infested world. She ends up falling sick and landing in the sick and incestuous hands of a hill-billy family who have taken it upon themselves to re-populate the earth. She escapes and saves a young girl, returning to the compound and her friends. Her and Hayden finally acknowledge their growing attraction to one another and consummate their love, several times. The compound is attacked meaning all the ‘A’s have to go and defend. A few soldiers are lost in the fight but the compound is saved! Yey!

Orissa and her team are sent out again and this time they check out the weird symbols that lead up to Hayden being shot. The guys recognise a car and crew driving as to be the ones who shot Hayden so obviously they follow to see where they lead. We are left on another cliff hanger, this time I have to wait a year for the conclusion!

Opinion

This is as good as the first. The danger is still real, Hayden being shot, Orissa being kidnapped by a mentally ill family, rescuing civilians and killing Zombies. The end is another cliff-hanger and I am fine with that as long as the final book is not a cliff-hanger. I want closure from this world. The characters are truley your friends and I do wish we saw more of Ray, especially if her and Ivan become an item that would really be interesting. Orissa isn’t the usual heroine type. She is reckless, abrasive and very direct. I love her for all those things though and I believe that it is this which makes this book not just another Zombie apocalypse story.

My verdict: Another solid 9/10. Well worth a read. The next one is out Summer 2014 so if you can’t handle cliff-hangers, wait until that is out before reading these two!

 

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Filed under Book Review, Emily Goodwin, Fantasy, The Contagium Series

Contagious – Emily Goodwin

This book was first privately published, this meant that Emily Goodwin used the internet and e-books to get her story out. It has since been picked up by a publishing company but only after the success she has managed to achieve on her own. Full credit must go to Ms. Goodwin for not giving up on her story and still getting it out there to the public.

I am not usually one for Zombie stories. I’ve never seen “21 days” later or “Dawn of the Dead” and the “Walking Dead” tv show has never appealed. So why did I chose this story? Simply, it was recommended by Amazon for my Kindle. The reviews were promising and I never judge a book by its cover. Plus, due to either books now being free or ridiculously cheap, my reading horizons have broadened.

Plot

We start with Orissa drunkenly stumbling home to her Aunt’s house. We see she has been in trouble recently and seems to be some sort of party trouble maker. She develops appendicitis and has to go to hospital for surgery. Cut to her returning to the hospital for a check-up and all hell breaks loose. It seems that some sort of military control is exercised with gas bombs exploding and we next find Orissa in the basement of the hospital with many sick patients, one doctor and a few nurses.  We find out that there has been a virus epidemic and that this virus has made people into ‘Monsters’. Orissa unwittingly becomes in charge of this little band of sick people as she seems to have some sort of background enabling her to understand danger and to overcome that danger. Escaping with the few remaining able bodied people, Orissa goes on a journey to rescue her best-friend, save her new comrades and find a quarantine compound.

The little group is saved from a Zombie attack by a group of soldiers who tell them of a compound with a few hundred survivors. Orissa is given the high title of A1 (soldier who goes on raids and looks for supplies and survivors) due to her impressive skills such as hunting, tracking and shooting any type of weapon (including a bow and arrow). She develops an easy friendship with her room-mate, Hayden, and we are left with a shocking ending that cliff-hangs until the next instalment.

Opinion

For a Zombie apocalypse book this is good. As I said before, I am not usually into this genre but this series has converted me slightly, as in I will now be more willing to read past Zombie in the blurb before putting it back on the shelf. The characters are beautifully crafted and you believe in their relationships, losses and victories. Ray is a great best friend to Orissa and is one anybody would be lucky to have. Padraic is the guy next door who just happens to be a doctor. And Hayden? Well Hayden is just drool worthy and a nice guy – only books right?

The scariest part of this series is how true it could be. This Zombie disease is literally that, a disease that no one knew how to stop. Not so far-fetched as first appears.

All in all a great start to the series and big congratulations to Emily Goodwin for persevering to get her books read through the internet and finally getting picked up by Permuted Press. My verdict 9/10. I hope the others in the series are just as good!

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Filed under Book Review, Emily Goodwin, Fantasy, The Contagium Series