Blood and Stars (Legend of Rhyme Series Volume 1 Book 5 ) by Jaime Lee Mann

“Sibley sucks in her breath as the statue disappears. And Elora— in the flesh, in a long black gown— blinks her eyes, stretches her arms, and smiles. “Mother.””

Once again I read Jaime Lee Mann in one day, in one sitting. The stories she writes are so engaging!
This one covers the continuing adventures of the Caine children.
It is usual with this series to flick back and forth between the main characters to keep the time line development in sync for the reader, as this book is no exception.
I liked that the story of Teagan continues in an undersea world of mer folk, that Asher is still susceptible to the Darkness in the world. There are some new characters introduced to give depth to the story and these have back story to describe how they fit in.
Jaime Lee Mann manages to write such good stories, they are enjoyable for adults and children alike. Do give her Legend of Rhyme stories a read and then share them with your friends and family.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
Thirteen-year-old Ariana Caine has woken in Coraira, and is torn between finding her brother Asher and learning how to rule the magic realm while Calla is under a protection spell.
Beneath the sea, Starla the mer-queen is bringing her apprentice, Teagan, to the Chamber of Memories to learn more about her parents. But when Starla is beckoned by one of the Ancients, Teagan is approached by a stranger, who promises to lead her to her mother and father. Meanwhile, the sea witch and her sisters are poised and ready to usurp the queen’s reign, and will stop at nothing to gain her powers.
On top of it all, Elora, the infamous witch who has caused so much heartache, is now asking for trust one last time.
Will Ariana choose Coraira over her brother?
Will the sea witch have her wish?
What are Elora’s true intentions?

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Night Draws In By C.H. Alexander

“They only tell stories about the people who save the world and survive. A lot of people get ‘chosen,’ “He repeated Barnum’s gesture of air quotes around the word “chosen.” “but most of them don’t live to tell about it.”

This story tells of a changeling returned and the trials she goes through on returning to the human landscape. It isn’t easy for her and there is no let up as she is immediately sent away by her natural mother.

When Angela joins her sister she starts at a new school immediately, and her new classmates are involved, as strange things start to happen in the area. Angela believes she has been trained to be a hero, so stands up for her new found friends. The rest is for you to read!

A good book, I read it in one sitting. I think this is worth reading if you like supernatural and fae. The story continues into another book and I would really like to know what happens next. A fairy story with a difference!

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
“You three need to understand, you’re being drawn into things a lot bigger than yourselves.”

Dark things. Things that should only live in fantasy. The Nain Rouge was recently sighted in Detroit and Black Eyed Children haunt Washtenaw County.

“If the Dark holds sway, all the more reason I am needed.”

Angela is a changeling, fostered by the Fae and recently returned from the Twilight Realm. Raised to be a champion and still healing from the passage to the human world, she struggles to catch up to the life she never lived.

“You have a Destiny? Well, I didn’t sign up for this.”

Lydia is underestimated by many because of her deformity. She scoffs at the paranormal but her innate skepticism cannot prevent her hobby of stage magic evolving into something more real.

“Listen to me very carefully, Mr. Bailey. You are aware that this is not just a dream, correct?”

Bailey is a queer teenager trying to keep a low profile until he can escape high school. He is haunted by dreams and premonitions of a menacing evil.

Skeptical mage, queer seer, and brain injured warrior. Destined to save us.

Hunted by supernatural predators that want to end them before they reach their heroic potential, these teenagers will have to travel to Fairy and back if they want to survive long enough to save the world.

Second Twin (Legend of Rhyme Series Volume 1 Book 4) by Jaime Lee Mann

“Please, Father!” she begs. “Please stop now. Ple—” But her head is back below the water before she has time to hold her breath.”

What I expected:
This is book 4 in the series, based around the Caine family. The last book in the series ended with Ariana and Asher being transported to another time. It seemed like a trick played on them by Grimblerod, who had his own agenda. I was anticipating that I’d read more about Asher, Arian and Teagan; and the developments in their adventures. The previous books have all been reasonably short books, so I anticipated a reasonably quick read too.

What it was:
Of all the books in the series, this one is the longest. I liked the added element that Teagan brings to the book, from quite a different slant than the other characters. There is a great deal going on, across multiple environments and timelines; with switching back and forth between them. Jaime Lee Mann does flag up where you are each time very clearly though, so it does help a great deal with keeping up (plus I have one of those brains which leaps from one topic to another and back again, so I was at a tiny bit of an advantage there!).
I think that JLM has really done her best work with this book, it was more engaging and ‘grown up’ in its style. The characters are ‘growing’ and there seems to be more going on. The storyline does seem to be moving on slowly though, I felt that Teagan’s story had only just been touched on, as the book ended. I guess I’ll be waiting on the next book then!

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
Grimblerod has led twins Asher and Ariana Caine back to ancient Rhyme, a time when Calla and Elora were the same age the twins are now. Though the Kingdom of Falmoor is rich with magic, the twins are unable to use their powers. They don’t know whom to trust, where to turn, or how to avoid doing something in the past that may alter the future forever.

Meanwhile, young Teagan Rogers must decide if she is ready to leave behind everything and everyone she knows to follow her mysterious destiny beneath the waves.

Will Teagan choose to become a mermaid?
Will Asher and Ariana get home before changing the course of history forever?
And can enemies truly become friends?

Teagan of Tomorrow (Legend of Rhyme Series Volume 1 Book 3) by Jaime Lee Mann

What I expected:
I was expecting the life of the twins, since Elora’s banishment, to continue in this follow-up story. As I had had a taster of what was to come, at the end of the second book, I was anticipating learning something about Teagan too. 

What it was:
The story starts with Teagan and her wretched life in a foster home. It wouldn’t be giving much away to say that she hates it. What we don’t know to start with is where the twins, Asher and Ariana, are. We do find out of course.
We meet Starla who I think may turn out to be quite important in the future (but we’ll all have to wait and see on that – but remember that I said it here first!).
Oh and Asher and Ariana actually meet someone they know (wherever it is they are), but that person is not quite how the twins expect them to be.
It is a short story and I felt it ended too soon. So I guess I’m waiting on the next book coming out. I just hope it is a little longer than this one was!
I will score this based on its target audience, ie children, so don’t expect grandiose things from an adult perspective. 

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

Official description:-
The powerful sorcerer Asgall has been banished from the magic realm of Coraira, but not before throwing twins Asher and Ariana Caine into the future. In a place and time without magic, the two are on their own, unable to use their powers to get back home. 

Meanwhile, a new darkness has entered Coraira, threatening all of the world’s magic and all of those who practice it. Only the combined power of Asher, Ariana, and a mysterious girl named Teagan can protect the realms.

Will the twins find Teagan in time?
Could this new darkness strangle all of the world’s light?
What if the twins never get back to the people and place they love? 

Check out the bestselling first book in the “Legend of Rhyme” series, Elora of Stone:
Elora of Stone: The Legend of Rhyme Series (Volume 1, Book 1)
as well as the hit second instalment, Into Coraira:
Into Coraira: The Legend of Rhyme Series (Volume 1, Book 2)

Get your copy:
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Into Coraira (Legend of Rhyme Series Volume 1 Book 2) by Jamie Lee Mann

What I expected:
I know that this book is directed at children, so I am expecting the language of the tale to be simplistic, though not necessarily the plot. Having read the first book in the series I know the main characters are the twins Ariana and Asher. The last book left them having just saved Rhyme from the evil wizard, but some questions remained about Asher’s welfare and all the missing twins. 

What it was:
A continuation of the tale started in Elora of Stone, it follows Ariana and Asher as they learn more of their abilities and as events unfold around them. Most of the characters are family members with a few peripheral persons adding to the mix. To me it seems obvious who the ‘baddies’ are; the heroes are a bit of of mix though.
The writing is aimed at younger readers, so be aware of this if you decide to read this novel. It doesn’t detract from a good storyline though. I would recommend this to parents who want to read bedtime stories to their young ones.
I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

3/5 Stars

Official description:-
The Kingdom of Falmoor has been freed of its curse. The evil one, banished to the dark realm.
Finally reunited after an eight year separation, Asher and Ariana Caine learn they possess magic—a magic more powerful when they’re together.
But the Caine twins don’t have much time to discover their powers before they face a new threat. This time, it’s not just Rhyme that’s at risk, but also the magical realm of Coraira, as the evil sorcerer Asgall plans to takeover all the world’s magic. And he wants the twins’ powers to help him do it.
Can the twins defeat Asgall before he destroys everything and everyone they love?

Get your copy:
Into Coraira: The Legend of Rhyme Series (Volume 1, Book 2)

Elora of Stone (Legend of Rhyme Series Volume 1 Book 1)

What I expected:

The book was for a much younger age group than I had anticipated, so once I started reading it I had to adjust my expectations somewhat. The story was written for very young children, possibly as bedtime reading material. Not something that I would ever choose to read normally. 

What it was:

In the end I enjoyed the story, as long as I remembered to ignore the level the book was written at.

The story is based in the land of Rhyme and opens with the goblin Grimblerod setting out on a task for his master. This sets the backdrop to the story and introduces magic to the listener.

It is quite a short tale, but introduces quite a lot a characters along the way, as it covers a number of generations of the families in the story. A good way of introducing the concept of hereditary attributes to young children I think.

And there is a twist in the tale at the end – this is telegraphed quite early in the story, but for the age group the story is aimed at, I doubt they would pick up on it.

All in all a nice little story for young children. I’ve given it a 3 because I wouldn’t have read it if I’d realised the age group it was aimed at and found it too immature for me. But for little ones it is probably nearer a 4. Having said all that, I am tempted to read the next book, just to find out what happens next! 

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley.
The reviewer received this electronic galley from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

3/5 Stars

Official description:-

Four-year-old Asher Caine vanishes while playing near the woods one day with his sister Ariana. Eventually, his family believes him to be dead.
In the Kingdom of Falmoor, twins are cursed. Ever since the evil sorcerer Larque turned the good witch Elora to stone, all twins in the Kingdom are doomed to separate, either through death or mysterious disappearances.

Now about to turn thirteen, Ariana learns that her brother is alive, and she must find him in order to save Falmoor. With their magic blood and powerful bond, the Caine twins must release Elora from her stone imprisonment. Only then will Larque be stopped from spreading darkness throughout the kingdom.

Will the twins find each other in time? Can they save Falmoor from evil and remove the curse of the twins forever?

The books is available here:-

Elora of Stone: The Legend of Rhyme Series (Volume 1, Book 1)

The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin

What I expected:

A fantastic tale similar to George’s other books that I have read, with convoluted intrique and plot. Roaring dragons spouting ice and frost. But then, I hadn’t realised that this was a childrens tale when I decided to read it. Even for a childrens tale,it is dark though. But I think that children like a dark tale, I certainly did when I was younger, as an avid devourer of books.

What it was:

An old style tale of a relationship between a small child and a dragon and how the child relates to the world around her. 

How it made me feel:

Sad at at the outcome, but appreciating at such a delightful, yet simple short story. I cannot think of anything that I disliked about the story.

4/5 Stars

Official synopsis:

The ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.
Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child–and the ice dragon who loved her–could save her world from utter destruction.
The Ice Dragon marks the highly anticipated children’s book debut of George R.R. Martin, the award-winning author of the New York Timesbest-selling series A Song of Ice and Fire and is set in the same world. Illustrated with lush, exquisitely detailed pencil drawings by acclaimed artist Yvonne Gilbert, The Ice Dragon is an unforgettable tale of courage, love, and sacrifice by one of the most honored fantasists of all time.