ARIEL: THE FIRST GUARDIAN by Sydney Scrogham #Fantasy #Bookreview

Ariel: The First Guardian (Guardians of Agalrae #2)Ariel: The First Guardian by Sydney Scrogham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ariel: The First Guardian is book #2 of this fantasy series, it begins 5 years later and opens with Guardians removing signs of human civilisation from Agalraen, a place where human genetic testing had previously taken place.

Ariel has her own Alicorn, a talking horse which resembles a unicorn and she calls Fish. Others have Alicorns too. Her partner is Ryan, but he is about to leave and return to earth. After he leaves a being from the underworld attacks Ariel and Fish infecting them with a dark shadow. Ariel’s chance to save Fish lies in her finding “The Pillar” or forming a mind link with another human.

In Ariel’s human life she was abused and so believes she is unable to completely let go, and forgive the past so that she can move into the future. Hope comes when Ryan returns and they find themselves in Farscape, but the Destroyer has an army of helpers. Perhaps there is one more chance to save Fish? A dance called “The Night” must be learnt and performed spiritually and physically, but will Ariel be able to slay her personal demons before it is too late?

I chose to read this book after I won a copy. I recommend reading book #1 first as I was pretty lost much of the time, not understanding the fantasy world or the creatures within it. The author uses a chatty style of writing often breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to the reader, for me I found the style tending towards “telling” rather than “showing” me the story-line. I found action jumped and characters arrived with little explanation and left me on the outside wanting to know lots more about it all. Always a gamble with a sequel as to know how much scene needs setting again, for me I would have enjoyed more from book #1 to get me settled into the fantasy world.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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Rosie’s #BookReview team #RBRT THE SAPPHIRE LEGEND Book #2 by @ELTenenbaum #Fantasy

Today’s team review is from Suraya, find her at http://www.thestorymint.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Suraya has been reading The Sapphire Legend by E.L. Tenenbaum

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Sapphire II

By E L Tenebaum

The reader escapes to another world constructed by E L Tenebaum’s imagination.

I enjoyed the first book and was happy to read the second. In this story I joined Sapere’s tribe as they realised they had to move to greater safety than the Wild afforded them. They sense an impending attack by the Pliz and begin the daunting journey to find a safer place. They discover the Great Blue Waters and this is like a miracle, as they have never seen water like this before.

When they leave the Wild, a like-minded village takes her tribe in and hosts them. There is never any talk of assimilation and over time, Sapere discovers cultural differences that shock her. She has always known an egalitarian society rather than one that has layers of hierarchy.

The author uses foreshadowing to great effect. This foreshadowing of a pending disaster aroused my curiosity and made me want to keep reading, like entering a voyage of discovery and I was sharing the journey with all the wonderful character, E L Tenebaum has created.

This is a story about a young girl’s evolution as she accepts her special gifts, breaks with convention and assumes or rather accepts a leadership role in a world dominated by men.

She is thoughtful, courageous and grows in wisdom as she learns how to use her gifts to help those around her confront a pending attack. Her friends become her allies and her enemy’s learn to respect her.

Sapere’s hawkling travels with her and Tenebaum describes the beauty of this bird as it flies to warn Sapere of danger. The hawkling signals a change. It ferociously protects Sapere and she feels safe whenever it is near. In a sense the hawkling’s arrival, although welcomed, also signals a change in Sapere’s circumstances.

The story ducks and dives like Sapere’s hawkling and we follow its fluid movements as the group shift their thinking from underground fortifications to conquering their enemy from the sky.

If you enjoy fantasy then this is a great novel to read. The themes are universal but the setting is purely the writer’s imaginative creation.

I will give the writer the last word: “A book maybe a writer’s baby, but it takes a village to raise a child.”

Four stars

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

VISIONS OF ZARUA by Suzanne Rogerson @rogersonsm #Fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

Visions of ZaruaVisions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Visions of Zarua is a fantasy tale in a medieval style setting with wizards and a quest to end a war which began 350 years ago. In the land of Paltria a wizard called Paddren has been having visions. His master, Kalesh has been encouraging him to fully describe all that he can remember, but before he can reveal his secrets Kalesh is murdered by a dark presence.

Paddren is left to solve the mystery. Together with friends Varnia, a witch with latent magical skills and Leyoch, they must seek out the killer and stop the darkness rising to power. Their journey is peppered with visions which help to bring the 350 year gap closer and Paddren must seek out those who can help him and discover who cannot be trusted.

This is a slow paced book allowing a build up of the fantasy world and an understanding of the current situation. Paddren’s visions and meditation take the reader into the spirit realms and beyond which I found interesting.

A good book for those new to fantasy to begin their reading adventure with.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Visions of Zarua Blog Tour Banner

Suzanne Rogerson

Author Profile

2015 author photo 2015

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

To buy links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Kobo

Social Media links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Visions of Zarua 2016 Blog Tour Schedule

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE SAPPHIRE LEGEND by @ELTenenbaum #Fantasy

Today’s Team Review is from Suzanne, she blogs here https://suzannerogersonfantasyauthor.wordpress.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Suzanne has been reading The Sapphire Legend by E.L Tenenbaum

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Title – The Sapphire Legend Part 1
Author – E.L Tenenbaum
Genre – YA Fantasy
I received a free copy from the author in exchange of an honest review – via Rose Amber’s Book Review team.
Blurb
Sapere has always been different. In her tribe, select families are blessed with a gift that is passed through the generations from father to son. But something went wrong when Sapere was born, because she has her family’s gift and she shouldn’t.
When Saphere’s village is attacked the night of her wedding, the survivors flee to the Wild in hopes of finding refuge in a dangerous place stalked by deadly predators. There they struggle to protect what little remains of their tribe and their traditions, many of which don’t seem to fit into their new life. Out here, Sapere feels like an outsider on the precipice of two worlds unable to fit into the old way, unaccepted by the new, and terrified of being shunned by both.
Through the survivors’ fight for survival, Sapere learns that she can be a victim of circumstances or master of fate. Can she rise above the nature of her birth and mold her own future? Can she be herself and earn the villagers’ respect? Or will she forever be shackled by the anomaly that makes her different?
First Thoughts
I loved the cover of the book and the title was intriguing. I also felt like trying something a bit different to the standard fantasy format. This world of tribal life was just what I was looking for.
Summary
The first few chapters are read with anticaption as you know from the blurb that something terrible is about to happen. But the author allows you to get to know the main character, Sapere and understand her situation before throwing her life into turmoil. I like how the tribal world and their beliefs are put across. There is no info dump, you learn as you go along.
Characters
Sapere was a good main character in a difficult situation. At points I did find her a little naïve with regards to the other characters feelings, but overall I really liked her. I liked the supporting cast of Reo and Venatore and wanted them all to find happiness after everything they had been through.
Writing Style
It is very unusual for me to read a book in first person present tense. It worked well for this story and I really enjoyed the change of style.
Issues with the book
The only fault I could point out with this book would be the description of some of the animals in the Wild. They sounded suspiciously like snakes and elephants. I understand that the characters may not have known the animal names, but it seemed unlikely and pulled me out of the story. As I read these passages, I was reminded of a famous piece of writing advice,  though I’ve no idea who said it. ‘If it looks and sounds like a rabbit, call it a rabbit.’ Or something along those lines.
Final Thoughts
Although at points I thought the story might be a bit too small and insular, I really came to love the world the author created. I couldn’t believe the story ended where it did and was desperate to find out more. I’ve already bought the second book and look forward to reading and reviewing it in the future.
Recommend to
I would happily recommend this to those who enjoy YA Fantasy and fantasy in general.
Rating: 5 stars (for a while it was a 4 star book, but it certainly grew on me and by the end it was definitely a 5 star read).
To buy links Amazon UK  Amazon com

#NewRelease NEVERLAND EVERMORE by @sarahjpepper Dark #Fantasy #fridayreads #amreading

Neverland EvermoreNeverland Evermore by Sarah J. Pepper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Neverland Evermore is a quick read. A dark fantasy, this is a Peter Pan tale for grown-ups. It takes the characters we all know so well and tips them upside down. The book opens with a mutiny on the Jolly Roger, egged on by Peter. The pirates want Bell to grant them immortality and to return to Neverland. But Bell refuses, because the real Neverland is an evil place and a collector of lost souls.

In a fearful skirmish Bell is stripped of most of her magical powers, the Captain’s hand is cut off and Bell fears her beloved Captain has been sent below the seas to Davy Jones’ Locker. With her love lost, her life under threat and her future bleak, Bell must travel to hell and back in the first book of this new series.

This is a clever idea for a new twist on a popular story. The use of differing POV chapters and time-slips between present day and earlier action scenes make this a fast paced and intricate read. There were enough familiar characters and common dialogue for those who’ve read the original book or seen the film adaptions to nod along knowingly, yet they can also enjoy this new darker take.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

#FridayBookShare – ARC peak at NEVERLAND EVERMORE by @sarahjpepper #amreading #Fantasy

 

#FridayBookShare created by Shelley Wilson , you can join in too.

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With the weekend approaching it’s the perfect time to seek out new books to read, so Shelley has created a Friday Book Share game to help search for that ideal read.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on the book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

This week I’m reading an ARC of Neverland Evermore by S.J Pepper ready for it’s release shortly.

First line of the book.

Captain James – Present Day. Nothing was a important as memorizing her face.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Neverland has a way of breaking people. It corrupts souls. It destroys hope. The evil festering inside it brings out the darkness in our hearts and leaves us worse than dead. No good has ever come from it. Ever.

It is where I was born.

Therefore, darkness is all I know. Corruption is in my bones. So when I see him, I mean to win his heart and then break him. I mean to lure him to my arms and then destroy him. But it is his intentions and his wicked smile that deter me…at least until a lost soul from my past catches up with us.

My world ignites into flames. My love’s sinks to the depths of the sea. We are from two different worlds that overlap for a brief moment in time. But it is that moment which carries me forward. It is that moment in which he lives in the past. It is that moment in which I embrace my true nature and seek vengeance against those responsible for feeding his hand to that godforsaken crocodile.

Introduce the main character using only three words. Bell: Dangerous, vulnerable, brave.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

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Goodreads

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Sarah’s books are dark twists on fairy tales and popular fantasy tales, they often include the paranormal and a little romance to shake it all up.

Your favourite line/scene.

“You’ll never be any more than a boy who couldn’t man up.”

 

If you want to join in, then answer the F.R.I.D.A.Y questions and use the Friday Book Share meme. Tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72) and myself (@rosieamber1) in so we can read what you have added too.

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT KEY OF MYSTERY #YA #Fantasy #AmReading @karenalainehunt

Today’s Team Review is from Shelley, she blogs at http://shelleywilsonauthor.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Shelley has been reading Key Of Mystery by K. H. Mezek

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Author: K.H.Mezek

Category: YA Urban Fantasy

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Review:

Sera and her family are thrown into turmoil following the death of her father, but after the family receive an odd black box containing a key as part of his last will and testament, strange occurrences lead Sera to investigate the ‘accident’ that took her father’s life.

Alienated by her so-called friends she has to learn to adapt to her new social standing and downgraded home life. Sera’s mother is of no help to her, nor is her brother, so it falls to her to seek help from a group of otherworldly strangers.

I found the first half of the book to be quite slow with a huge amount of information about the funeral of Sera’s father, her unstable emotions over the sudden demise of a much loved parental figure, and the introduction to the ‘Key of Mystery’. I would have liked to have been thrown into the story from the beginning but it didn’t really start to pick up pace until I was just over half way through.

As with most YA fantasy books, the main character often falls for the bad boy above all others, and it’s no different in this novel, however, I didn’t feel any real connection between Sera and Peter at all. He wasn’t the charismatic bad lad that would attract our attention, instead he was cold and two dimensional. We are told by the author that Sera is attracted to him but there was no real depth to the relationship.

I couldn’t really warm to any of the characters. At times I felt as though certain figures had been added to cover all possible teen dynamics and it became disjointed.

The idea of hidden cities, lost treasure and mysterious keys is a fabulous one and the author’s description of the denizen and dream scenes is very visual. I would have liked fewer characters with more depth to them and a much faster start. The second half of the book seemed far too rushed and the complex scenes weren’t given enough time to fully develop.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE PLAYGROUND by C.S Boyack @virgilante #Fantasy #Thriller

Today’s Team Review is from Babus, she blogs at http://ajoobacatsblog.wordpress.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Babus has been reading The Playground by C.S Boyack

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This supernatural fantasy thriller essentially describes three different vignettes: a six year old girl, Chloe, who wants the hottest toy out, a Playground Doll. A doctor who works with terminal patients and a muscle man who is for hire to criminals as an enforcer. These three different parties eventually merge into the main plot which is about a ruthless businessman, Tommy Fazio, who has created the Playground Dolls and their network, which works via WiFi for dark, dangerous and mysterious means.

However, for Tommy to achieve his ultimate goal he needs to get his hands on some software which will take the Network Dolls to the next level, but his programmer has gone missing and has taken the software with him so he hires Clovis to track him down.

Dr Grace Greybill, is happily taking care of terminal patients, when she is engaged to look after an old man, who seems fit and resides in a grand mansion. However, nothing is as it seems with her new patient and she finds herself taking on more than just the role of his physician.

I am not a huge fantasy reader and thrillers which incorporate fantasy are rather hit or miss with me, but I found this one easy to get on board with, mainly due to the fact Chloe and Clovis’ stories were easy to get on-board with. The real leap in faith came when I was reading about Dr Greybill and the grey-haired professor who passes on his vocation to her. I found this aspect of the story more challenging but ultimately, despite some vague details, easy to meld into the story as a whole.

This thriller is chilling in part and reads very much like a horror, so it kept me entertained overall, however, it felt like I was reading the prequel to a much more involved novel that is yet to come.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE SAPPHIRE LEGEND- PART 1 by @ELTenenbaum #wwwblogs

Today’s Team review is from Suraya, find her at http://www.thestorymint.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Suraya has been reading The Sapphire Legend by E.L Tenenbaum

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The Sapphire Legend, Part I

By E.L. Tenenbaum

A review by Suraya Dewing

Although I am not a fantasy reader, and I approached this with that prejudice, I soon changed my mind. Within the first five pages realised that the elements of good storytelling can belong to any genre….that is strong characterisation, good pace, tension (rising and falling) and description. The Sapphire Legend had me wanting to get back to it whenever other priorities called me away and this is what caused my change of perspective.

The Sapphire Legend opens to the heroine, Sapere’s wedding. There is great celebration in the village and the prospect of being a wife excites Sapere whose arranged marriage to Nashere follows all the traditions of one of the five tribes of Oro. Although she is happy, she is also anxious about how her husband will react when he discovers she has ‘the gift’. The ‘gift’ normally passes from father to son, so it is unusual that it has passed to a girl.

Her ‘gift’ has led to her being an accomplished hunter with knife skills that surpass anyone else’s. This is a secret as are the marks that signify she has the ‘gift’.

A sudden attack by an invading tribe ends the nuptials and Sapere leads the survivors into the Wild. We learn how they go about re-establishing their community despite loss of loved ones and the comforts of their former homes. We watch as they come to terms with tragedy and loss. Perhaps this narrowly opened door allows Sapere to shine and establish herself as a leader despite being a woman.

As I stated in my opening paragraph, the elements of good storytelling apply to all genre and I found myself enjoying this novel because of its strong characterisation, clear narrative and description. However, the lack of foreshadowing of Neshek’s betrayal was an opportunity missed. The author could have hinted at his impending treachery by raising questions in the reader’s mind about his loyalty and suitability to win Sapere’s affection.

Nevertheless, The Sapphire Legend opens up a door to an imaginary world that has all elements of human frailty and greatness. I thought the main character shows humanity, inner strength as well as moments of weakness so that she is a leader rather than a super hero.

It is a well written story and a tremendous adventure played out on a realistic, well imagined landscape.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

SCHOOL OF DEATHS by Christopher Mannino @Ctmannino #YA #Fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

School of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder's Secret, #1)School of Deaths by Christopher Mannino
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

School of Deaths is book 1 of the Scythe Wielder’s Secret series aimed at middle grade/ YA readers. The plot involves 13 year old Suzie taken from her home to a world filled with men, where she will be trained as a soul reaper. Heralded as the only female in a million years to be chosen, she faces prejudice, danger and adventure as she battles “Deaths”, befriends elementals and finds a strength within inherited from a long lost relative.

I liked the idea of a school of Deaths and was interested to see the direction the author would take the storyline in what is a very popular storyline arc in this genre. For me this teetered too much on the edge of the Harry Potter/ Percy Jackson books and I found myself comparing characters and points, particularly with HP, too often. However if it is meant to be Fan-Fiction then there is a different spin on it.

Here are a few examples; Cronk – bumbling kidnapper/ rescuer who is a teacher (Hagrid).
Wire rimmed glasses (mentioned only once) but, felt unnecessarily like Harry’s glasses.
School of Deaths, confusingly called a college throughout the book – Hogwarts.
Hann could easily have been Snape.
The Elemental slaves were like House-elfs.
Luc was like Malfoy.
Suzie had loads of visions (Theme from much of Harry Potter)
Game of Boskery – Quidditch
Travelling back to the mortal world was like apparating in HP or travelling by Floo Powder.

The writing style could also use a good edit and some of the content needs checking for suitability in this reading age group, dialogue is clunky and often overlong with too much use of the very basic dialogue tags. Readers of any age deserve the very best in writing, for instance there were 1060 uses of the word “said”, there are so many better ways to make dialogue vivid to the reader rather than using an empty word such as this, it will also give characters much needed elements to make them all sound individual and different. Slimming the book by stripping it down to short sharp sentences where every part takes the story forward, would allow for more elements that make the story unique and give it a chance to shine through in a very popular genre marketplace.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

I was given a free copy of this book by Book Publicity Services

View all my reviews on Goodreads