The Denounced by SJ Sherwood

Ned Hunter is to be hanged, he is Denounced and therefore cannot be allowed to live. But things go awry and he finds himself bundled up and moved to a different location where he undergoes training as a leader of 5 others. It is a harsh environment and survival is not guaranteed, as they learn on the first night when one of the other pods is punished for trying to escape.

Determined not to suffer the same fate as the other pod, Ned needs to form his own bonded pod that can win their place at the top of the leader board in order to survive. And then what? No-one knows, but those who are training them. And what is their goal?

Ned needs his wits about him and cannot afford to relax for a moment. Everyone has it in for him.

A fast paced story, full of twists and tricks. Compulsive reading due to its different approach. I enjoyed it as a book aimed at Young Adults.

“I’m wondering if being dead may have been my better option. I’ve no idea where I am and what is going to be expected of me, but if I understand this correctly, I’m now responsible for five other people.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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

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The Denounced: Book 1 A Grey Sun

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Official description:
A convicted Denounced. Sentenced to Death. In a future divided into Secular and Non-Secular Quadrants, a crime punishable by death is to cross Quadrants and become a Denounced. When sixteen-year-old Ned is wrongly convicted and kidnapped to a secret location, he meets ninety Denounced, and a terrifying truth begins to unfold — one that will change the world forever. Forced to lead a Pod of five, Ned begins to realise thousands of lives could depend upon him. A survivor by nature, he now has to face his past, confront his destiny, and fight a System that has never lost.

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Bone Realm by D N Erikson

Ruby has inherited her father’s business and her first customer turns out to be the one person that her father said that she must not do business with. She offers her services anyway and as a consequence her life is set on a path of death, magic and immortality. What will she end up with?
This is a short novella to introduce Ruby before she appears in Lightning Blade and it isn’t required reading, but it is really good to read this if you want to know all the details of who, how and why about Ruby. I certainly recommend it, if you can lay your hands on it.
The author actually suggests the following order for reading the Ruby Callaway books, in the frontispiece:
• Bone Realm
• Lightning Blade (Book 1)
• “Silver Tempest” Shadow Flare (Book 2)
• “Kentucky Clear” Blood River (Book 3)
• Going Home

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)
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Official description:
When a gravely wounded half-demon stumbles into Ruby Callaway’s print shop seeking medical assistance for a werewolf bite, Ruby quickly finds herself assuming an unfamiliar mantle: werewolf huntress. But killing a 1,300 year-old alpha werewolf as the full moon approaches might be the least of her problems… Bone Realm is a standalone prequel novella to the upcoming Ruby Callaway urban fantasy series.

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Lightning Blade by D N Erikson

Ruby Callaway is in prison, in a time loop. She keeps re-living the same day, where an FBI agent releases her from prison in order for her to assist with the removal of a Necromancer. But Ruby and the Necromancer are the only ones that know about the time loop and every time she relives the day she has to convince the FBI agent that she is the one who can do this, but that they need to work together.

Despite being in a time loop, Ruby is in a race against time. The longer the time loop exists, the harder it is to break out. So she must find a way before she is stuck forever. She needs to break out of the time loop, in order to break out of her prison.

A really enjoyable story, it grabbed my attention from the opening lines. There were no blocks to the reading and I did find myself reading late into the night because I didn’t want to put it down. On finishing this book I went straight on to reading the short Novella which gave the prequel information on Ruby’s life prior to ending up in prison. I look forward to reading the next story in the series very soon.

“Words from two hundred years past echoed in my mind as the completed form streamed into the data cube. You’re a hunter, Rebecca Callaway. A killer.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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

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Lightning Blade (The Ruby Callaway Trilogy Book 1)

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When the FBI releases supernatural bounty hunter Ruby Callaway after 20 years, the terms are simple: kill the necromancer killing public officials in return for amnesty. But then the necromancer plunges a blade through her heart, and Ruby reawakens at midnight, back in jail. Alive.

Which means one thing: the necromancer has thrust the world into an endless time loop that only he and Ruby can see. And Ruby is the only one capable of stopping him before the world burns. But as she unravels the necromancer’s sinister plan, two questions repeat in Ruby’s mind: Just how dangerous is a vengeful serial killer with nothing but time?

And what if the necromancer isn’t the worst thing lurking in the shadows of this brave new world?

Lightning Blade is the first book in the Ruby Callaway Trilogy, mixing dark, gritty urban fantasy with a sprinkling of futuristic sci-fi & cyberpunk. Not your typical bounty hunter. Not your typical urban fantasy.

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Endohuman Love vs Duty by Nick Dream

I was asked to read and review this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
I read the book fairly quickly and found it to be an interesting plot. I am not interested in werewolves and the like, so in places where it was moving towards that style of book I lost a bit of interest. Mind you, if I had seen the cover before I had read the book, I wouldn’t have even started reading it.
Adam is being brought up by his grandfather in a very strict and restrictive manner. His explanation is that Adam needs to be trained for something very important and that Adam must not break any of the ancient rules or he will lose his powers.
One of the rules is that he must not fall in love, so his grandfather tries to instil in Adam the need to avoid girls.
Of course Adam rebels and rails against this rule, while at the same time trying to honour his grandfather’s wishes.
Overall as a story I liked this book. In parts I really got fed up with it due to the afore-mentioned werewolves and vampires affliction. I think the story could go further in future books, and if the affliction is omitted I may well be a reader.

“I put my hands in my pockets to conceal my fingernails. They have involuntarily begun expanding into mini claws.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully) I was going to give 2.5, but I’ve rounded up rather than down, so it’s ended up with a 3.

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ENDOHUMAN: Love Vs Duty: Book 1 (A Paranormal Superhero Romance Series)

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Official description:
A page-turning debut, ENDOHUMAN is perhaps what Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight would look like in “Stranger Thing’s” upside down world with its X-Files mystery, Da-Vinci-Code-like style quest, Hitchcock suspense and countless plot twists and cliff-hangers that will keep you guessing. And you’ll still be wrong!
*Currently being adapted into Movie Screenplay

One of Wattpad’s top read books in 2016, making it to Top 10 Charts in “Paranormal” and “Romance” Categories with over 300k reads!

Book Synopsis:
Endohumans are not destined for love. It is against the Ancient Rules. Eighteen- year – old Adam Vanolf is about to be one of the last known Endohumans left on Earth as his dying grandfather rushes to complete his training. These superhuman hybrids descended from the ancient Greeks and Romans live concealed among us, sworn to protect mankind and safeguard an almost forgotten secret that is rooted back to the creation of man and the universe. Alas, the life and path an Endohuman must follow is lonely and dangerous , especially for a teenager trying to unravel the mystery that his ancestry hides. Gods? Vampires? Werewolves? Fallen Angels? Or just the creation of an unstable mind? An ancient evil is awakening and even though he doesn’t know it, the world needs Adam now more than ever. Yet Adam also needs love, so when he meets Evie, the girl of his dreams, a difficult choice must be made…

About the Author
Nick was born in London but now lives in Nicosia, Cyprus. He graduated from Lancaster University in the UK with a BA in Accounting and Finance with a focus on banking and financial services.

Despite being an accountant, in his free time he loves reading, watching science fiction movies and spending quality time with his family as well as writing poetry, short science fiction stories and children’s books.

In March 2014 he was admitted as a Member of Torr, one of the world’s most selective high IQ societies. Torr is a modern micro social network intended to stimulate original ideas, awaken and develop talent throughout the world, provide fellowship, and ensure a better appreciation of the arts and sciences.

Endohuman began life on Wattpad, where it climbed to the Global Top 10 Paranormal Romance Stories for its original, multifaceted and highly entertaining plot. Critics comment that even though the style of the book is Young Adult Fiction, the love story spans a multitude of genres including paranormal, suspense, romance, mystery, werewolf, vampire, sci fi, action and adventure. Nick likes to play with multiple twists in the story clearly influenced by his favourite author, Ray Bradbury, and creates a memorable protagonist in Adam, with a storyline that could go, frankly, anywhere!

Nick is currently working on the second and third instalments of the Endohuman trilogy.

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Curse Breaker: Falls by Melinda Kucsera

I get the feeling that I just had a sampler of this book, as it was very short and didn’t take long to read at all, which makes it awfully difficult to review.

So, all I can do is say that it was intense from the start of the ‘book’ and engaged very quickly with action in the tale. It is book 4 in a series (of which I have only read book 1) and something that I would normally enjoy reading.

I have seen that it has a stronger christian influence than previous books, which didn’t occur in the sampler that I read, so I am unable to comment on that! Also giving a score for the stars system is difficult for a ‘book’ which isn’t the complete article, but I will do my best.

In this instance I am not going to summarise my view of the story, as I don’t think I have read it all. I also won’t be giving a ‘go for it’ or ‘avoid it’ guide, as I don’t think that would be fair on the author, under the circumstances.

I received an e-ARC of this ‘book’ in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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

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Curse Breaker: Falls: Volume 4

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Official description:
Can an untrained mage and his son stop an ancient evil or will they be lost in its darkness?
Something evil is loose in Mount Eredren, and it’s determined to keep Sarn away from the enchanted forest and the menace destroying it.

This time, Ghost Bear can’t save him. Neither can the Queen of All Trees because she’s locked in a deadly duel with a foe that’s beyond her power to stop.

With his son by his side, Sarn must face down a legendary evil with only a ragtag bunch of reluctant magical constructs at his side. If he fails, Shayari will fall, and the Adversary will add an unstoppable monster to his ranks.

Find out what happens when the lights go out in Curse Breaker: Falls.

Curse Breaker: Falls is the action-packed sequel to Curse Breaker: Faceted. Christian Fantasy meets epic fantasy in this fast-paced narrative pitting Sarn and his son against monsters both mundane and magical.

Fans of Nicholas Eames, Julliet Marillier, Michael J. Sullivan, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman will enjoy Sarn’s struggle against dark forces to save his son and himself. Get Curse Breaker: Falls today!

From Curse Breaker: Falls: Volume 4

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Wyntertide Rotherweird Book II by Andrew Caldecott

To my thinking this book is best read by those who have already read the first book “Rotherweird“, as there are many characters. And those characters have many aliases. It can become confusing, however, there is a list of people at the front of the book to help those who become lost in Rotherweird.

Nonetheless, although I found myself becoming engrossed in the world of Rotherweird, I did find myself thrown back to the present day and place when a character was inexplicable to me, not the author’s fault I anticipate, as I have NOT read “Rotherweird“.

Despite this it is an engaging story and it does even include line drawings from time to time to illustrate the clever writing. And check out the fantastic cover, it is so detailed! I liked the uniqueness of the story and its telling. Set in the past yet modern in style, with crafty machinations and clever intrigue. The only thing that set me back on my reading was, as I said, when I couldn’t grasp who was who in the tale.

I feel mean giving this book a 3, but I did find that the confusion over who was who in the characters was very off-putting and I kept being ‘thrown out of the story’ when that happened. As I was reading on a Kindle it was not so simple to flick to the front of the book to see who was who.

“Isolated by enveloping hills, Rotherweird will be kept from the rest of England but at a price. Here the study of history will be forbidden.”

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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Wyntertide: Rotherweird Book II

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Official description:
Welcome back to Rotherweird.

The town of Rotherweird has been independent from the rest of England for four hundred years, to protect a deadly secret.

Sir Veronal Slickstone is dead, his bid to exploit that secret consigned to dust, leaving Rotherweird to resume its abnormal normality after the travails of the summer . . . but someone is playing a very long game.

Disturbing omens multiply: a funeral delivers a cryptic warning; an ancient portrait speaks; the Herald disappears – and democracy threatens the uneasy covenant between town and countryside.

Geryon Wynter’s intricate plot, centuries in the making, is on the move.

Everything points to one objective: the resurrection of Rotherweird’s dark Elizabethan past – and to one date: the Winter Solstice.

Wynter is coming . . .

Get Wyntertide: Rotherweird Book II for yourself.

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Eve of Man: Eve of Man Trilogy, Book 1 by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher

I think this book would be a really good read for all those romantics out there who need to see a damsel rescued. But it isn’t quite a romance, it is science fiction! And it is good futuristic post-apocalyptic science fiction. And I don’t think there were any out and out swear words in there either (well maybe one)!

Eve was the first female child born in fifty years and those that helped her mum and dad ensure that she was born into the world, created a tower for her to grow up in. She gets to see the sun rise above the clouds every morning and beautiful sunsets before she sleeps. She is being educated and trained in ballet and other physical forms. They have thought of everything, there is even a female companion of her own age to keep her company as she grows. She shares her feelings and thoughts with her companion and feels like she is her best friend.

Eve reaches 16 years and then she is scheduled to meet her potential future mate. Three potentials have been selected and meetings have been arranged so that she can chose one for herself. Eve starts to have doubts about the whole process when things don’t quite go as planned. That’s when she meets Bram, one of the team that looks after her. She can’t get him out of her mind, but he isn’t one of the potentials, could he become one?

Bram’s experience is a lot different than Eve’s. He has his own issues to resolve and they take him far away from Eve for a time. He experiences the world created by man, it isn’t that nice a place, not at all.

I did read this rather quickly for me, I had a couple of late night sessions, hence reading it in two days. I enjoyed it, there was variety in the environment and some clever ideas in there. I really like the way a memorial was held for one of the characters and how it gave everyone peace afterwards, it is a good way to remember someone with joy.

It is a good book, give it a go.

“Against all odds, she survived. She was the first girl born in fifty years. They called her Eve. She represented the rebirth of the human race. She was the answer to their prayers. She was all they cared about, their final hope. Eve was the saviour of humanity.”

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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Eve of Man: Eve of Man Trilogy, Book 1

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Official description:
***PRE-ORDER EVE OF MAN: Eve of Man Trilogy, Book 1, THE FIRST BOOK IN A BRAND-NEW TRILOGY, JOINTLY WRITTEN BY BESTSELLING AUTHORS GIOVANNA & TOM FLETCHER***
AGAINST ALL ODDS, SHE SURVIVED. THE FIRST GIRL BORN IN FIFTY YEARS. THEY CALLED HER EVE.
All her life Eve has been kept away from the opposite sex. Kept from the truth of her past. But at sixteen it’s time for Eve to face her destiny. Three potential males have been selected for her. The future of humanity is in her hands. She’s always accepted her fate. Until she meets Bram. Eve wants control over her life. She wants freedom. But how do you choose between love and the future of the human race?
Eve of Man: Eve of Man Trilogy, Book 1 is the first in an explosive new trilogy by bestselling authors Giovanna & Tom Fletcher.

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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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Curse Breaker: Enchanted: [The More Epic Version]

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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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The Wolf (The Under The Northern Sky Series, Book 1) by Leo Carew

It starts with a clandestine meeting in the dark and the rain, which results in a battle where a boy loses his father. Ambition of two separate people fuels their joint desires and a race is at risk of being annihilated.

This book would most likely suit someone who likes comprehensive world stories which include the battle systems, politics and lifestyles of the people populating the world.

The book is written mostly in the first person of Bellamus from the South and Roper in the North. They each have their ambitions for battling the other. Roper an untested boy lately on the throne and Bellamus an upstart with a secret supporter who has the kings ear. They clash in battle against one another, each trying to come up with the greater strategy to beat the might of the other. Strength of numbers is not enough in this battle, cunning and planning are essential. Especially when those who should be your allies may be your greatest foe.

I enjoyed the whole structure of the story, it was engagingly written, even the battles and usually I tend to get bored with those! The politics didn’t go rambling on and make me lose track of the story. The characters were well crafted and believable. I anticipate the next book and look forward to reading it.

“‘You are a butterfly in a tempest. But still so calm. Still unbowed. Still curious enough to play with my bloody possessions. I could gamble with you. What about you, Keturah? Will you gamble with me? Is this a man you could follow?’”

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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The Wolf (The UNDER THE NORTHERN SKY Series, Book 1) (Under the Northern Sky 1)

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Official description:
Leo Carew’s debut novel The Wolf, the first book in the Under the Northern Sky series, is a masterpiece in epic historical fantasy – a new voice to rival David Gemmell or George RR Martin.

A great war has come to the land under the Northern Sky.
Beyond the Black River, among the forests and mountains of the north, lives an ancient race of people. Their lives are measured in centuries, not decades; they revel in wilderness and resilience, and they scorn wealth and comfort.
By contrast, those in the south live in the moment, their lives more fleeting. They crave wealth and power, their ambition is limitless, and their cunning unmatched.
When the armies of the south flood across the Black River, the fragile peace between the two races is shattered. On a lightning-struck battlefield, the two sides will fight – for their people, for their land, for their very survival.
Two sides. One victor.The Wolf is a thrilling, savagely visceral, politically nuanced and unexpectedly wry exploration of power and identity – and how far one will go to defend them.

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Spellsmith & Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry by H. L. Burke

An appealing and fun book about two young men who both want more or less the same thing – an inheritance of great worth, from the same man. They are not brothers, but each hopes for the prize.

This is a great read for young and old alike, a book about magic and fantasy. Set in the countryside, where a young man, Auric, returns from the city after 4 years away in the Capital being trained by the Magicians of the Republic. Jericho, a local boy, has been apprenticed to Auric’s father in his absence and is busy helping with the production of magical wards, these particular ones against frost for the surrounding farms.

They immediately take against each other, seeing the other as a threat to their own future as the inheritor of the business. Auric’s father seems to perceive Jericho as a better spell caster, and Auric as a clumsy fool. Rill, Auric’s sister, is very pleased to have him back, but she too has a fondness for Jericho, which Auric doesn’t like.

Then Hedward, father to Rill and Auric, disappears, just disappears and Auric and Jericho must work together to find him and bring him back. They really must work together or it will be an impossible task.

I really liked the way magic is constructed using quires (of wood or paper) on which to craft the spell and then the energy is drawn from that available in the environment to fulfil the spell once the final activation symbol is inserted. Of course if there isn’t enough magic in the environment, then the spell won’t work, but that doesn’t seem to matter as the Magicians at the Capital have found a way of creating rifts to pull more magic in for their spell crafting. And they use wax tablets so that they don’t run out of quires.

I read it fairly quickly, it wasn’t a massive tome, and I found it engaging for it’s subject matter and tone. I would recommend it to people who like fantasy stories and also would mention that it is suitable for children and adults alike.

“I remember you treating her like a lovely ornament, some sort of fragile treasure you feared would be stolen or broken… and I remember it stifling her, just like it is now stifling Rill.”

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

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Spellsmith & Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry: Volume 1

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An estranged son. An adopted heir. A magical attack that forces them to work together.

The disappearance of Auric Spellsmith’s mother has strained his relationship with his father to the breaking point. Now, after five years away at the Magicians’ Academy, Auric returns home, determined to prove himself to his father and claim his birthright.

Apprentice Jericho Carver has held Spellsmith Manor together in Auric’s absence. Now his master’s son is back, and if he can’t get rid of Auric, Jericho will forfeit his career and lose all hope of wooing the master’s enchanting daughter.

Neither man intends to back down.

But then Master Spellsmith vanishes into the mysterious Fey Lands. With Fey magic threatening the mortal realm, Auric and Jericho must work together to save the man they both see as father.

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