Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy YA’

Willow Woods Academy for Witches: Blood Moon Coven by RL Weeks and Skylar McKinzie

November 12, 2017 - 6:48 am No Comments

Willow Woods Academy for Witches: Blood Moon Coven by RL Weeks and Skylar McKinzie
Published 12th November 2017
171 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Willow Woods Academy, Harvest Moon Coven’s institute of education has known its problems. 10 years before it was attacked by students of the Blood Moon Coven. Not aware of the history, Katarina(Kat) and Angelina(Angie) defy their parents and run away to enrol at Willow Woods Academy. Now trouble is brewing, will history repeat itself.
Kat and Angelina were BFFs and in most friendships, you always get the one who knows best. Angie was the headstrong one, the friend who knows what’s best. Kat went with the flow, not wanting to upset anyone and would see the good in people. But this relationship worked, you could feel the love for each other. Whilst they had a strong friendship, there was the odd disagreement, and whilst reading this story, I had the sense that there will be more major disagreements as the series continues.
Just like any school, Willow Woods had all the same group of students, “It” girls, smart ones and even the slightly strange and I hope I get to know these characters more as the series continues. Having 4 houses with a magical theme, helps you distinguish what powers the students have.
The story is descriptively written, and scenes can be instantly imagined. Knowing both author’s work, I could not tell who wrote what as the story flowed seamlessly. The school and the student’s past were explained in detail, which helped tell the story.
This is a book for any age group who love magical stories. A good start to the series

The Last Namsara Kristen Ciccarelli

October 9, 2017 - 12:03 pm No Comments

The Last Namsara (Iskari Book One)

Author: Kristen Ciccarelli

Publisher: Gollancz

Page Count: 432pp

Release Date: 5th Oct 2017
Review by Michael R. Brush

This is a young adult fantasy book, probably more ‘female friendly’ than normal. So what do I, as a long in the tooth bloke with a penchant for Tolkien, Goerge R. R. Martin (nevermind my love of Tolstoy and Dostoyevski) have to say about this first time outing of Kristen Ciccarelli? On the whole, I loved it. It deserves to go in the main section of fantasy and to slug it out with the best of them.
The first line gets you straight in and tells you that this voice is fresh and bold. It’s what we need from up and coming authors. It starts off following a youngster in a way that reminded me of Raymond E. Feist’s Magician, and if it had continued that well I would have given this book 5 out of 5. If you want to think about how hard it is to be that good – Raymond E. Feist can’t always stay at that level of the game. While the first line is a corker and so is the first encounter, we soon find Asha having feelings for a young slave. It seemed a bit obvious to me and a bit strained to start with, but with time and space, Ciccarelli dusts herself down and lets the characters develop.
The result is a grand endeavour where prejudice and abuse are faced with passion and loyalty creating a tale where you care about the characters and the world they live in. And fear for them – and that’s not easy. I admit I’m a harsh critic, and I’m giving this 4 out of five because sometimes it felt a bit shaky and (being somewhat long in the tooth) not everything was new to me as it might be to a younger audience – but to get 4 stars is still an achievement. If I was marking out of ten, maybe I would have given a nine…
Maybe…
4 out of 5

 

 

Children Shouldn’t play with Dead Things (Dead Things Series Book 1) by Martina McAtee

August 24, 2017 - 12:03 pm No Comments

Children Shouldn’t play with Dead Things (Dead Things Series Book 1) by Martina McAtee

Published 31st August 2015

510 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Ember a young girl who loved being surrounded by the dead, whether it was hanging out at the cemetery or working in the local undertakers. Having a drunk as a dad made her into a bit of a loner, after her dad died she thought she was by herself, how wrong she was. Living in a veiled town are Tristin and Kai, twins with special powers. Rescuing Ember from a mysterious man (Mace) they realise that there is something bigger going on and to get through it, they will need a lot more help.

Even though related, Ember, Kai and Tristin were completely different. Ember was so used to being by herself, she lapped up any interest in her wellbeing. When she was introduced to the people Kai and Tristin lived with, she was really overwhelmed and when she started learning what she was she didn’t know who to trust. Kai was the joker in the family, on the outside he made a joke about most things, but this was more of a defence mechanism. Tristin was completely opposite to her brother, a moody teenager, was happier to punch the stuffing out of a punchbag and had an instant disliking to Ember.  Whilst the story revolves around these three, the story relies on other characters as well. Mace, the mysterious man who attacked Ember, with his cocky attitude, and his bad boy image he reminded me of Spike (Buffy) and was the anti-hero of the story. Quinn, a human born to a magical family, he was the only one that understood Tristan and was the brains. Isa the Alpha and Rhys her brother were werewolves had always played an important role in Kai and Tristin’s lives and Isa really showed her authority when she found out about all the deceit in the pack.

This book had a lot going on, however as the author wrote it in 1st person POV and each chapter was clearly labelled with that 1st person, it was not confusing and helped the story flow. There were some great one liners usually from Kai and this just showed how comfortable he was with his family and his sexuality, the scenes between him and Rhys were sweet and you could feel their love for each other, even when they were at each other’s throats. As Ember became more comfortable with her powers, you get to find out more about the history of the town and the tragic circumstances that happened there. With Reapers, Banshees, Witches, Shifters and not just wolves and many more different supernatural beings this book has it all for paranormal lovers. A long book but as this is fast paced it was a quick read. An unexpected ending leads nicely into Dark Dreams and Dead Things.  

 

Black Forest Ruins by Karen DuBose

August 12, 2017 - 5:06 pm No Comments

Black Forest Ruins (The Elders Series Book 1) by Karen DuBose

Published by Zombie Cupcake Press on 12th August 2017

256 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

All Darlya wanted to do was graduate, find out what creature she would shift into and hope that Kiernan, a guy in school who she has been crushing on forever would notice her.  However, Daryla is a daydreamer and when she finds herself in trouble with the elders, there are only a few people she can trust. Can she escape with the ones she loves?

Darlya was a nice girl, even though she was pretty it was not important to her. She was constantly being bullied by the Gossip girls, especially Nessa who had a vendetta out for her for years. She was loyal friend and would protect anyone she cared for. She wasn’t perfect by any means, she struggled in school and had to learn to control her temper, but the one thing that made her different was that she was a daydreamer, it didn’t matter where she was or who she was talking too, her mind would just wander. Luckily for Darlya, her best friend, Kira was always watching out for her, making sure she did not draw attention to herself with her daydreaming and Kira being the fashion guru and party girl always made sure Darlya dressed for the occasion. Kira was feisty and her mouth did not have a filter, not afraid to speak her mind, she always said what she thought and did not care who she offended.

From the beginning the author set the scene and although I found it a slow start, the further I read, I soon came to realise that it was necessary to the story.  The story’s pace mirrored Darlya’s journey which made feel as I was following her on journey. It was a pleasant change to read a shifter story that was not about wolves. The shifter’s involved were strong and dedicated. The descriptive way the author described these beings, you could imagine their vibrant colours and their size. The romance element running through this story was innocent and sweet, but played an important part to the story.

For a first book, this a good start to the author’s journey and whilst it ends on a slight cliff-hanger, I hope it won’t be long before I can carry on Darlya’s journey

 

Black Ruins Forest by Karen DuBose is live!

*Every decision and every move can either mean her death, or ultimate power.*

Get it now on Amazon and Kindle – hyperurl.co/0v1loj

The Aurora Stone by Alana Greig

June 20, 2017 - 6:57 pm No Comments

The Aurora Stone by Alana Greig

Published on 9th June 2017

324 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

On her 18th birthday Eve was expecting to receive her powers and go on with her life. What she did not anticipate was to be the receiver of a prophecy, find out she is adopted and has a missing twin brother. As she starts her journey she has to find 3 companions who can help her achieve her mission to defeat the evil Nimayaorin.

Eve had a lot to take in on her 18th birthday and handled it like any other teenager, she threw a tantrum but after having time to think about it knew that she had to do the right thing and begin her journey. At the start of the journey she was quite naïve and did not know how to act around other mystical creatures, but when there was an accident in the witches’ quarter, her caring nature came out and she began to believe in herself.

The author takes us on a magical journey as we follow Eve on her quest. As each companion is found we learn about them in detail and although they have all got their own strong personalities, as a group they are a formidable force and really work well together. The only one I thought let them down was Eli, but that was due to his lifestyle, however after a bumpy start even he became an important member of the group. One of my favourite characters was Jericho as he reminded me of Reepicheep from Prince Caspian, a brave rat like creature with a heart of gold.

This story has an even balance of action and adventure. The scenes involving Nimayaorin are quite dark which shows how evil he is. However; the further you read this story you get an understanding why he is evil and the reason for the Aurora Stone. For a lover of fantasy this story has so many mystical creatures, including a Unicorn. This book is perfect for all ages and I hope there are more books in the series.