The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

Summary

Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin. And a cold-blooded killer. His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good… and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

Characters

Geralt is kind of a jerk. However, he is a clever jerk with a moral code. He is tough and unforgiving. I adore him. Even when he is being…frustrating. Yennifer and Dandelion are both excellent secondary character. I know they will be reoccurring characters. Dandelion is hilarious and is such a contrast to Geralt that they make an excellent team.

Plot

As a series of anthologies they are stories—reminiscent of twisted fairy tales. Ones like Beauty and the Beast for example but with a different take. Where the focus is on the monsters and are changed in very distinct ways. They are all moving towards the crowning story at the end.

Overall

It was a very good fantasy anthology. The author has a tendency to info dump. It isn’t so bad if you’ve played the video games but if you come in it is likely overwhelming. It has gritty feel that is refreshing. The action scenes are well done and easy to follow. There were a few places where the stories lulled but overall were very enjoyable. I would say I enjoyed more stories than I didn’t.

Rating

4 stars

Very enjoyable fantasy anthology with a striking main character. I am looking forward to reading the next anthology!

Where did I get it?

I bought a paperback.

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Lady of Justice by Cyana Scriptora

Summary

Anna can’t stop thinking about Prince Audax. She feels like she knows him in a way that no one else does. She spends way too much time staring at his portrait and she’s even read his most intimate thoughts.
No, Anna isn’t a creepy stalker.
She’s a historian and her future career depends on discovering the truth. Her best friend Liz is convinced that Anna has brought her obsession to an unhealthy level, but she refuses to give up. She is convinced that the answers to the mystery of Audax’s death are still out there, and the clues lie somewhere in that dusty room.
Anna is willing to do just about anything to understand what happened, but to solve this enigma she will have to travel a lot further than just her university library.
As she delves deeper into the past, the twisted plot is unraveled and it’s worse than anyone ever thought.

Characters

Anna is a wide-eyed, hopeful. She feels more comfortable with a picture of a long dead prince, Audax, and stacks of old books than with people. Liz is trying to push her friend ahead, to finish her dissertation, and join their (her and Alex’s) teaching ranks. I feel like Liz did some growing in this book but she needed more. I was starting to get impatient with her and Alex’s relationship. While Anna grew in confidence. Audex on the other hand finally was drug out of his shell. Anna and Audex were a good match actually, and that helped. The supporting characters were all great and the ‘darker’ entities were portrayed in a gripping manner. Very little head hopping but there were at least two chapters where I had to go back because halfway through the POV shifted. There was also a ‘love triangle’ but it was very one sided and, therefore, palatable.

Plot

This story followed two main veins: Anna being sucked back into time to try and stop the death of Prince Audax and Liz working to find out what happened to Anna with Alex in the ‘present time.’ Liz and Alex searching for Anna took its own twists, but I felt that the characters in both timelines came to conclusions that were accurate too easily. Their leaps into the unknown were just too convenient.

I didn’t like the fact that the author had created this whole big world, but didn’t take the time to make the modern ‘Terra‘ any different than Earth. I assume this was because the author wanted to potentially drawn a parallel between the pieces of Terra being another dimension of Earth. It wasn’t clear if this was the intent and so the present time period world was disappointing. However, the world building in the past Terra was expertly done.

Overall

Despite Anna being in her 20s, this felt like a YA novel. Not all of the scenes and themes were but overall that was the feel. The flow of this book was consistent. It was easy to get wrapped up in and turn chapter after chapter. This was the author’s greatest strength. The book never really lulled, even with the occasional info dumping. The writing was straight forward and easy to read. The story engaging. The one thing this book sorely needed was transitions—between chapters when they jumped between time and breaks when there were changes within a chapter. It was the only hiccup in the writing. The flow was easy and the climax was created to no doubt flow right into the second book.

There are multiple pieces moving. It took me until about halfway through before I put it all together. Usually I figure it out faster, so this was excellently done. Putting the pieces, and there were many, together into a big woven web. I don’t want to say much more for fear to giving anything away.

Rating

4.5 stars (rounded down)

What an enjoyable fantasy read. If you like YA fantasy reads with time travel, romance,  and interesting twists and turns, this is a must read.

Where did I get it?

I received a copy from the author for a review. This is a voluntary review.

Logres (The Future King #1) by M.L. Mackworth-Praed

Summary

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

Characters

I had a really hard time connecting with Gwen. I think if I was a teenager this might have been easier but I am not. There is a lot of teenage angst in this book. Trouble and high emotions. The two love interests of Gwen aren’t that much better—Arthur is self-righteous and Lancelot overly jerkish. However, they both have redeeming qualities, just like Gwen. There are a lot of supporting characters but the author does an excellent job not overburdening the reader right at the beginning and doesn’t make every character super cookie cutter. There was some head hoping throughout the book – so be warned.

Plot

This is where a lot of my dislike but also like, comes in. I disliked all of the high school nonsense. Some was good, like a spoonful of sugar, but this was chock full of it. I believe it was more to develop the characters than the plot which caused drag in more than a few areas. Not to mention the sheer length of the book. However, that was broken up by the dystopian aspect of the novel which was the real winner. Especially how the author pulled in aspects that are truly happening today and warping them into the darker side of what our nations can become. Thought provoking for sure! Then of course there was the overshadowing of the Arthur/Gwen/Lancelot story. I’m going to be honest that I actually really dislike the original King Arthur stories and there are very few remakes that are good. This one was a little more on the nose than was necessary. I would have enjoyed it more if it had been more subtle.

Overall

This book was longer than it needed to be. There were some interesting conflicts and points of excitement but there was a lot of hum-drum high school days that left this adult wanting. Just when those began to drone on too far, there was a moment of action or some more world building on the dystopian side that sucked me back in. It was even worse because there is a huge cliffhanger ending.

This is for sure a YA novel. There is way too much teenage angst for it to be anything else. However, I do see high schoolers who enjoy King Arthur stories and dystopian novels, gobbling this up. This is for a specific target audience, but those that love teenage dystopian’s should still give this a shot. One big win in my book for Gwen was that even though there was the predictable love triangle, she so far hasn’t given in…but this is only book 1…

Rating

3 Stars

This is a dark read that reveals a future that could be – drawing from what is currently happening. I appreciated that message. If you love all the drama of high school, plus the overshadowing of a dystopian setting, this novel is a must read. It just wasn’t for me.

Where did I get it?

I received a copy from the author. This is a voluntary review.

The Nowhere Gate – Cover Reveal

Hello everyone! Here is the cover reveal of The Nowhere Gate – book 2 of the The Gate Trilogy. I am so excited to share this with you and announce that The Nowhere Gate will be released one month from now – on August 8th. Keep an eye open, I’ll be putting it on pre-order a few weeks before the release.

Here is a glimpse at the back of the book:

The interplanetary gates originated from somewhere and nowhere.

Ki is lost on an unknown planet with no memories or body. Worse, an entity came through with him, something dark. It can’t hurt him, but no one else is safe. He doesn’t know how they arrived, but he knows one thing for certain—they don’t belong.

Elisabeth isn’t willing to leave a man behind, even if that man is lost among infinite possibilities. When Morhaven holds the answers to rescuing Ki, she takes Nanette with her to serve her term in the Netherworld. In turn Nanette must take a chance and trust a man she barely knows. 

How far is Elisabeth prepared to go to save Ki?

What do you think of the cover? Are you excited to find out the next step in Elisabeth and Ki’s story?

To celebrate this day, The Sixth Gate is #free on Amazon! Make sure to check it out: The Sixth Gate on Amazon.

Mosaic by Chris Keaton and Rick Taubold

Summary

Twin girls discover a mystical world contained within a crumbling mosaic, and they must restore it before an evil witch seizes its power, even if doing so could tear their family apart.

Secrets. It all started while looking for secret passages. Chloe Tozier’s impulsive twin, Zoe, insisted that all old mansions had them. Grandma denied the existence of any here. Except for the boarded-up service elevator that she conveniently forgot to mention before the girls discovered it, the elevator that didn’t seem to go anywhere. They had been living in this private museum with their grandparents since the death of their parents during an archaeology trip to Egypt.

Mysteries. Why have a museum in a tiny town in the middle of Kansas when what’s on display is nothing unusual? Sometimes packages arrived wrapped in plain brown paper that the girls never saw again. Grandpa disappeared overnight and they haven’t heard from him since. And before going to Egypt their parents had mentioned something about a mysterious mosaic. Maybe Zoe was right about family secrets. Maybe it was time to dig further.

Characters

Chloe and Zoe are super cute but very much cookie cutter characters. I never felt like they really broke out of their shell and were very two dimensional characters for most of the book. I also struggled with the story being primarily from Chloe’s perspective and almost not at all from her sister’s. That being said as the book progressed they grew on me. There are a plethora of supporting characters but most of them are amazing! Favorite character by far was Severin. He saved this book in the character department for me! I would read an entire book with just his story! The villain was a little flat, but decently evil.

Plot

This is for sure a YA plot. I loved the back story and was totally engaged in those chapters. Totally swept up in them and transported to a land before magic was taken. The plot was wrapped around a big baddie escaping and two twin teens being the only ones who can set everything right. After a wonderful opening chapter the rest started off a little slow but that was because it felt like the origin story to a series. Once you get past that introductory piece the plot focuses on the Mosaic and that is when the real fun begins. I consumed the last 40% of this book in one sitting because I JUST HAD TO KNOW!

Overall

The world building and originality of the plot behind the mosaic was this book’s strength. It is a whirl wind adventure for the second half of the book and you won’t want to put this book down once you reach that part. The writing was easy to follow and written for a YA crowd but adults who enjoy YA would enjoy as well. Vivid fantasy characters/creatures were woven throughout the book that were awesome! There were scenes that I could see playing as a movie in my head.

I was totally sucked in for the second half of the book! I’d get excited every flash back or Severin chapter showed up. They were by far the highlights of the book. The history of the Mosaic and their guardians is well with the rest of the book. If you’d like a fun adventure with a YA feel, but sure to pick this up!

My personal opinion was this would have made for an epic adult book and was actually limited by its YA characters. Although cute and fun it could have easily competed with other wonderful books had it shed its YA skin. Its YA main characters and YA friendly villain drained some of the excitement and originality of the story.

Rating

4.5 Stars

This is a solid 4 star book and well worth the time, particularly if you love YA books and characters that are tried and true. Overall a fantastically original plot/idea, but not very original heroines so I just couldn’t give it 5 stars.

This is a voluntary review.

Living Dead Girl by Chris Keaton

Sumamry:

Amanda Bock can see ghosts. She can communicate with the dead and has grown used to helping them move on. Amanda’s finally ready to take a shot at having a normal life like a regular sixteen-year-old. But when a mysterious stranger rips his way into her life and threatens Amanda’s loved ones, she’s propelled on a journey to discover the true strength of her own will and the power she has inherited.

Characters

Amanda is what I’d consider an average high school girl (angst and all) with extraordinary abilities. Her mother and aunt don’t seem like much of parents to her, but there are reasons for that (albeit shaky ones). Where the aunt and mother didn’t grow on me, or Adam (the shaky love interest), Amanda did. She grew a bit, but she was still true to her character – foolish and impulsive.

The villain by contrast was the shakiness character. Although vicious and going after revenge (that I get) his bigger game plan was completely lost on me. We do get to go into his head and see what he is doing, so getting some insight would have strengthened the character and their motives. The loose “world domination” is thrown around but undermined the characters villainy rather than building it up.

Plot

This is a Young Adult without question. It starts off painfully familiar without anything interesting: Girl with ability to see the dead is an outcast at school and at home. It isn’t until Amanda has a life and death situation that the book really started to shine. After that I was gripped, the author brought new aspects and revealed some clever twists that they had lulled you into with a familiar start to a paranormal novel. This was the turning point.

Overall

The writing was easy to follow and enjoyable. It was brief and to the point without any embellishments, which meant a fast tempo. It is a shorter story (novella) so you could theoretically read it in one sitting. For sure a young adult, so beware of teenage angst and impulsive decisions. I’d hope to see Amanda grow, but that’s for future novellas. In the end it was the subtle strings of unsolved pieces that really got its hooks in me. Like what’s up with Cass? If you pay attention you’ll know right away. There are more but I don’t want to give them away!

Rating

3.5 Stars (one up and one down)

‘I liked it’ accurately reflects how I feel about this book. Get past the all to familiar start, ignore the weak characterization of the villain, and this novella really rocks! If you like Young Adult Paranormal books, this novella is a good one!

I received this book for a free and voluntarily review.