Curse Breaker: Enchanted [The More Epic Version] by Melinda Kucsera

Sarn is indentured to Lord Joranth, the Lord of the Mountain, who had found him half dead in a snow bank 6 years ago and had taken him back to the mountain. Sarn’s indenture is paying for his brother, Mirren’s education, so that he can rise up to find a better life. Mirren looks after Sarn’s son, Ran, every night, while Sarn works for the Rangers.

But Sarn is different to other citizens and must take care to hide this fact. If found out it could cost him his life. Sarn carries a green magic within himself and must keep his eyes closed to avoid the magic shining from them being detected. Thankfully his magic provides a map in his head that helps him avoid people and other objects – a bit like a heads-up display.

The Queen of All Trees wants Sarn and he feels her call so strongly, but the promises that bind him from his indenture, bind him tightly, and he cannot disobey them.

Then the Ranger’s take Sarn to investigate a disturbance and he is kidnapped and taken to where something vile had happened. From there Sarn struggles to work out what has happened and how things can be put right.

Before he can resolve things, he is found and taken back to the Mountain and then violently kidnapped again. His life is continually in danger and it seems that Sarn is the only one who fathoms that there is a situation that needs to be put right and indeed he is the only one who is likely to be able to do just that.

And of course besides all that, he has to see to the safety of his brother and his son.

This is a children’s or young adults book I think, rather than an adult one. The language is appropriate for these groups, so I don’t have any issues with suggesting it for them.

I liked that the story was not solely focused on the viewpoint of one character. There were times when Ran (Sarn’s son) or Jerlo (the Ranger’s Commander) or others were the focal point and this added depth and completeness to the telling.

At times, I found the writing style a little too simplistic, which is why I have suggested that it is mainly aimed at children or young adults.

It is a good book with a good story. Well written and enjoyable to read. Recommended to readers of the genre.

“Beads clicked together on the bracelet Nolo always wore, as they descended the mountain trail. Ten agates, three Jaspers—supplied the magic before Sarn cut it off. His magic liked rocks, even if they were part of someone else’s jewelry.”

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
Start No Fires. Carry No Weapons. Do No Harm.

Or risk the enchanted forest’s ire.

Three rules safeguarded travelers through the enchanted forest, but not a child. His death robbed Shayari’s silent sentinels of their power to lay his innocent soul to rest and to repel the evil stalking its shadows.

Lured into the forest by its mythic Queen, an untested mage must right a deadly wrong before its dark power corrupts his dearest son.

In a land where mages are hunted and despised, a single father must serve his masters and save a soul without revealing his gifted son. Or he risks losing everything he holds dear.

Get Curse Breaker: Enchanted: [The More Epic Version]. Fans of Anthony Ryan, Julliet Marillier, Michael J. Sullivan, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman will enjoy Sarn’s struggle to save those he loves and find peace for a troubled ghost and himself.

Start this fantastic adventure today. Don’t keep the characters waiting.

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WaR: Wizards and Robots by & Brian David Johnson

“‘The Mechanical Men, The Mechanical Men, They came one day And stole life away. Beneath the sun We went underground To the heart of the ankh Where hope is found.’”

This is a children’s book therefore it is short. The concept is one of a world (our world effectively) in which there is magic (wielded by Wizards) and also Robots (who have come from the future).

The main characters are a schoolgirl named Ada Luring (and her mum Sara) and a boy wizard named Geller (son of the Wizard Elder).

Geller has been asleep for 500 years and his nightmares have awoken him. His father sends him on a mission with a group of Wizards aiming to destroy the ‘first robot’. Things don’t go to plan and Geller is left behind by the other wizards. He escapes, with help, and returns to the underground hideaway of the wizards. He discovers the existence of Ada and is drawn to her.

Ada is a ‘techno-nerd’ and doesn’t fit in at school. Her mum is trying to build the first intelligent robot to win a competition, which means Ada doesn’t get much attention from her, so has ‘free reign’ on how she goes about her daily routine.

The robots need to save the world in which they exist, in the future. They need the help of Ada and ultimately Geller. Somehow the book contrives to get them all together to give them this chance.

The story is quite fast paced, so although it is short, you do get your story’s worth. I would certainly recommend it to young school children. It may even encourage some weaker readers that enjoy wizard or robot stories, particularly as it has as one of the authors.

The only off putting thing I found was the numbers at the start of EVERY line, even if mid-sentence. It may well be that it was because it was a proof copy, in which case, it shouldn’t affect anyone reading the final version. With the numbers I give this book the stars indicated below. Should they be removed for the final edition, then you can add half to a full star to it, for the improved readability.

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 (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
An explosive action-adventure novel created by and renowned futurist Brian David Johnson. Wizards are real, robots from the future are here, and the fate of our world rests in the hands of one unsuspecting teenager. When a young man breaks into her home claiming her life is in danger, Ada Luring’s world changes forever. Geller is a wizard, on the run from his father’s hidden clan who want to kill Ada and her mother. Sara Luring is the scientist who will create the first robot, the wizards’ age-old foes. But a robot has travelled back in time to find Ada, and will lay everything on the line to protect her, as she may just be the key to preventing the earth’s destruction in the future. Ada, Geller and the robots must learn to work together to change the past and secure the future. But they don’t have much time before a mysterious enemy launches its attack on Earth…

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Sorcery for Beginners A Simple Help Guide to a Challenging & Arcane Art by Matt Harry

“It may seem cruel, but young people who endure traumatic moments such as this one often make better spell casters. Perhaps it’s because a happy and content existence leaves little motivation to improve oneself.”

This is a book that tells you how to do sorcery. It is also the story of Owen MacCready, whose mother has left him, and whose father has relocated him to Las Vegas.

Owen is being chased by bullies when he comes across a special bookstore and ends up with a special book, one that will teach him magic!

However, the book may teach him magic, but it comes with conditions, the most important one being that he must not let the Euclideans get their hands on it.

Of course the Euclideans want that book more than anything, so Owen has a huge battle ahead of him, without any other problems that may occur along the way.

Throughout the Tale, you ‘learn’ the same spells as Owen, so if you fulfil the sorcery requirements you should be able to cast spells like him (maybe better).

The book is very visual and includes diagrams and text boxes to supplement the story and spell casting instructions, you may see sections similar to these…

It was a good story and although it could be interpreted as a bit predictable in places, in the main it was interesting and innovative in its telling. I enjoyed the story. It will definitely suit young readers and those who have an open mind about magical stories. Try it, you may be surprised.

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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Five-hundred years ago, sorcery began to fade from the world. As technology prevailed, combustion engines and computers replaced enchanted plows and spell books. Real magicians were hunted almost to extinction. Science became the primary system of belief, and the secrets of spell-casting were forgotten. That is … until now.

Sorcery for Beginners is no fantasy or fairy tale. Written by arcane arts preservationist and elite mage Euphemia Whitmore (along with her ordinary civilian aide Matt Harry), this book is a how-to manual for returning magic to an uninspired world. It’s also the story of Owen Macready, a seemingly average 13-year-old who finds himself drawn into a centuries-long war when he uses sorcery to take on a school bully. Owen’s spell casting attracts the attention of a ruthless millionaire and a secret society of anti-magic mercenaries, all of whom wish to use Sorcery for Beginners to alter the course of world history forever.

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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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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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“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:

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.