Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Epic Fantasy Review: The Ghosts of Rathalla by Matthew K. Perkins

This morning, I have an epic fantasy adventure novel to share! Check out The Ghosts of Rathalla, read my thoughts on the novel, learn about author Matthew K. Perkins, and be sure to check out the other tour stops and enter the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.



​Book Title:  The Ghosts of Rathalla by Matthew K. Perkins
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  200 pages
GenreEpic fantasy
PublisherResource Publications
Release date:  February 2024
Content Rating:  PG-13: Some swearing and violence. 

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Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
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About the Book

Set in a world that is dominated by a vast desert, two friends are caught in the middle of a civil war. She’s a warrior. He’s a musician. When they discover that the crux of the war is a prophesied newborn baby that one side will do anything to destroy, they become the only people capable of saving the child’s life—all that stands in their way is an active volcano, a barbarian army, and a cunning assassin with motives of his own.
 
My Review
 

Perkins Creates an Intricate Epic Fantasy World with Amazing Characters in The Ghosts of Rathalla. I often shy away from "epic fantasy" novels. I love fantasy plots, but when I see the words "epic fantasy," I think of an overwhelming book with a thousand pages filled with supplemental information like maps, glossaries, family trees, etc.,  necessary for the epic fantasy to make any sense. This novel is absolutely perfect. The author makes incredible use of every single word in this novel to create an intricate fantasy world, develop strong, inspiring characters, and weave together various tribes, histories, relationships, beliefs, and points of view. The novel is action-packed, the dialogue is well-placed, and the flow of the scenes is realistic. In less than 200 pages, the author creates a unique fantasy world, wonderful characters, and a suspenseful storyline that (hopefully) sets the stage for a series I was sad to leave.

 

Expect Heroes. In a world where I expect to be disappointed in people, I generally find that the heroes and heroines in fantasies often also disappoint.  The author does a wonderful job creating heroic characters that follow their own moral compasses--but also feel natural and human.  Watching the characters learn and grow together and through the scenes to accomplish their goals allowed me to become quite attached to the story's outcomes.

 

Would I Recommend The Ghosts of Rathalla by Matthew K. Perkins? It took me several pages to fall into the author's world-building and characters--but once the pieces began to click together, I couldn't put the book down until the end. I will definitely pick up another book from the author without hesitation.  If you enjoy well written, thoroughly developed fantasy worlds with strong engaging characters, this novel is a must read. You will find some resolution to the immediate story--but you will also want to follow the story and the characters in more adventures.


Buy the Book
 
Amazon B&N
​add to goodreads
 
Meet the Author

Matthew K. Perkins is a proud Wyoming native, where he completed an MA in English Literature from the state’s lone university. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife, three sons, and two dogs. He is the author of two novels, 'Saint in Vain' (2018) and 'The Ghosts of Rathalla' (2024).
 

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THE GHOSTS OF RATHALLA by Matthew K. Perkins Book Tour Giveaway 

 




Friday, June 14, 2024

Dystopian Fiction Review: R - A Novel by Eli Wellington

This morning, I have a dystopian novel in our book review spotlight! Mysteries and dsytopian fiction are may favorite genre and this one combines a little of both as the author maneuvers his characters through his storyline.  Check out R-A Novel, learn about author Eli Wellington, read my thoughts on the book & enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.



​Book TitleR: A NOVEL by Eli Wellington
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  340 pages
Genre: Dystopian , Science Fiction
Publisher:  Dystopian Publishing
Release date:  April 2024
Content RatingPG-13 + M to R. The book includes violence, sex, white supremacy, adult language


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Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
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About the Book


From the author of The Compound, this gripping dystopian novel explores the delicate lines between truth and propaganda. As the president focuses all efforts on securing his position of power, employing tactics that blur the lines between lawful governance and autocracy, a variety of individuals must confront their own beliefs, biases, and fears. R is a riveting exploration of the American psyche, examining the themes of racism, white supremacy, and the steadfast quest for power.

Each character, rooting in their own beliefs and experiences, provides a unique lens examining the fabric of America. As misinformation and conspiracy theories flood the internet colliding with legitimate news sources, the characters' paths intersect in unexpected ways, challenging their convictions. R isn't just a story; it's a wake-up call to the resilience of the human spirit, with a mirror reflecting our highest hopes and deepest fears.

​As the clock counts down to the election, the question remains: can democracy survive the storm, or will it crumble under the weight of its ideals betrayed?
 
My Review

 

R: A Novel Brings Readers a Fictional World That Feels a Little Too Real. I love thought-provoking fiction that bridges a fine line between fantasy world-building and modern-day reality. I am not always a fan of political thrillers, but the world created by Eli Wellington in this novel offers fans of political dramas and government manipulation a lot to love while also satisfying fans of futuristic, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it novels and those of us interested in fictional adventures with real-world social commentary and psychological views. This novel may be classified as dystopian fiction, but the various characters' views, political manipulation, lies, deception, and perspectives feel quite realistic and relevant to our world.

 

Readers will follow a Varied Cast of Characters as They Navigate the Story. I enjoyed the character perspectives created by the author as the story progresses.  While each character shares in the primary plot, each brings their beliefs, fears, and agendas to the scenes. The writing style flawlessly moves the storyline from character to character, keeping a fast-paced flow and connecting dots for readers from the beginning to the last pages.  The plot feels realistic enough to be troubling but unique enough to engage readers hoping for positive outcomes. I enjoyed the characters and was quite invested in many--continuing to hold some hope for several as the novel ended.

 

Would I Recommend R-A Novel by Eli Wellington? I had expected the novel to be more of a political thriller--but it was more of a thought-provoking look at society, power, and deception.  While the novel is not a series, I would read more books focused on the characters from the book and would certainly seek out more stories from the author. The plot moves along nicely with well-written dialogue and realistic scenes and behaviors. If you are looking for a thought-provoking, adult dystopian novel with a well-developed plot and characters to love and hate, this is an excellent addition to your reading list. I enjoyed the author's writing style and idea development and will definitely read more novels from him in the future.

 
Buy the Book
 
Meet the Author

R is Eli Wellington's second novel. The author believes that fiction provides the perfect platform to make social commentary on the world around us and is influenced by authors such as George Orwell, Ayn Rand, and Arthur Koestler. Eli writes on an island in Greece.
 
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R: A NOVEL Book Tour Giveaway




Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Middle Grade Fiction Review: The New Enchantress by Sunayna Prasad

This week, I have been sharing books from the Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions series by Sunayna Prasad! Check out The New Enchantress, read my thoughts on the book, and learn about author Sunayna Prasad! Later this week, I will be sharing some reviews of books from this series, so be sure to stop back for those too!


Many of our posts contain affiliate links.
Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
affiliate partner.  
 

Book Title:  The New Enchantress (Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions, Book 3) by Sunayna Prasad
Category:  Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12),  175 pages
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Amazon KDP
Release date:   March 2021
Content Rating:  PG: Some intense scenes and mild language.

About the Book

The point of no return has come!

It’s the summer before high school and life is about to change for fourteen-year-old Alyssa McCarthy. A sorcerer hexes her with everlasting powers, requiring her to become an enchantress. If she cannot learn to control her magic pronto, she will forget her loved ones and serve as the warlock’s eternal slave.

In order to control her powers, Alyssa must gain control of her emotions. With the struggles of adolescence and disasters everywhere, catastrophes are bound to happen! It’s only a matter of time before Alyssa’s world changes, for better or worse...
 
My Review

 

The New Enchantress is Geared Toward Middle School Readers. The books in this series can be read as stand alone stories. This one seems a little abrupt in launching readers into Alyssa's latest story--so, it may benefit you to read the previous books to feel a little more connected to the main character and her magical past. In this series, the characters are middle school aged children. Their dialogue and actions may not be very relatable for older teens or adult parent readers. Some of the behavior and conversations are disappointing for adult readers--but, it is emotional and filled with tween coming of age style dramatics. Readers, ages 8-11 or so, will likely find the friendship dynamics and the main character's emotions more relatable and acceptable.

  

Fast Paced and Engaging--But, Maybe a Little Long for the Intended Audience.  The books in this series are action packed and fast paced. This book is a little more emotional and abrupt than the others. While the storyline is interesting and engaging for tweens, it is a pretty simple novel that doesn't hold much depth for adults and older teens and may be a little too long for the younger range of the middle school audience. Having said that, there are many tween, middle school-aged behaviors and learning opportunities for younger readers in this series as they face their transitioning from middle school to high school and learn to navigate mistakes and friendships.


Would I recommend The New Enchantress? This is an engaging fantasy story for older elementary-aged readers and younger middle-school children. As a parent, I didn't love Alyssa's character and the simplistic plot was generally more unrealistic than I would like. However, younger readers should enjoy the modern fantasy elements of the series and relate well to Alyssa and her transition to older teen/high school. 

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Kobo
Apple
Add to Goodreads

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Middle School Fantasy Review: A Curse of Mayhem by Sunayna Prasad

This morning, I have a middle grade fiction book to share! Check out A Curse of Mayhem, read my thoughts on the book and learn about author Sunayna Prasad!  You can also visit this book series spotlight post to learn more about the other books in the series.




Book Title:  A Curse of Mayhem (Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions, Book 2) by Sunayna Prasad
Category:  Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12),  173 pages
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Amazon KDP
Release date:   July 2019
Format available for review:  ebook (mobi (for Kindle), EPUB, PDF)
Will send print books out:  USA
Tour datesJune 10 to Jun 28, 2024
Content Rating:  G: There is no mature language or adult content whatsoever.

About the Book

History, like magic, has a habit of repeating itself.

It’s been six months since thirteen-year-old Alyssa McCarthy left magic behind for good. Or so she thought…

Then the enchanted objects that protected her disappear. Now a skeleton named Errol has cursed her with magical powers that keep getting her in trouble. Suddenly strange things are happening with disastrous effects, and if Alyssa can’t remove the magic, she will lose everything she holds dear. In order to get rid of her unwanted wizardry, Alyssa will have to boost her bravery and confidence and determine who Errol really is. But every time Alyssa uses an enchantment, Errol is one step closer to getting his flesh back and becoming alive, and he will do anything to achieve his goals…even if it means destroying Alyssa’s happiness.

Originally published in 2016 as “Wizardry Goes Wild” and “The Unruly Curse” in 2019, “A Curse of Mayhem” is book two in the exciting and suspenseful “Magical Missions” series.

My Review

A Curse of Mayhem is Written for Middle School Readers. If you read the first book in the series, the writing style, character dialogues, and behaviors are very similar to those in this book. If you didn't read the first book in the series, there are some slight attempts to help new series readers catch up, but the book can still be read as a stand-alone without missing much detail from the first book. The dialogue and characters are immature and may not be very relatable for older teens or adult parent readers. However, the novel is written for middle school ages, and younger readers, ages 8-11 or so, will likely find the magic more entertaining and the dialogue and middle school dramas more relatable.  

  

Don't Expect Much Realism in A Curse of Mayhem.  The story is fast-paced, with many character introductions, fast-paced dialogue, and little time for character growth and development. While the storyline is interesting and engaging, and the author does create an updated magical adventure more suited to today's tech-driven tweens, there are many scenes that adults and older teens will find pretty unrealistic. Having said that, there are many tween, middle school-aged behaviors and learning opportunities for younger readers in this series as they face their differences from middle school peers and learn to find their place in groups of friends and adults.


Would I recommend A Curse of Mayhem? This is a fun, magical story for older elementary-aged readers and younger middle-school children. Alyssa McCarthy is still a bit immature, but she accomplishes a little bit of growth and self-discovery in this book. Parents and older teens who enjoy reading along with younger readers will not find a realistically deep, thought-provoking fantasy, but younger readers should relate well to Alyssa and her middle school dramas.


Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Kobo
Add to Goodreads

Monday, June 10, 2024

Middle Grade Fantasy Spotlight: The Frights of Fiji by Sunayna Prasad

This morning, I have a middle grade fiction book to share! Check out The Frights of Fiji and learn about author Sunayna Prasad! Later this week, I will be sharing some reviews of books from this series, so be sure to stop back for those too!



Book Title:  The Frights of Fiji (Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions, Book 1) by Sunayna Prasad
Category:  Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12),  136 pages
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Amazon KDP
Release date:   October 2018
Content Rating:  G: There is no mature language or adult content whatsoever.
Many of our posts contain affiliate links.
Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
affiliate partner.  
 

About the Book


A world of magic and adventure awaits…

Sent to live with her strict, aloof, and uncaring uncle after her parents are killed in a car accident, twelve-year-old orphan Alyssa McCarthy longs for the life she used to have—one filled with fun and love. Then one stormy night, a message appears in the raindrops on the window that will change everything.

"Your life will never be the same again, as magic will interfere."

​Before long, Alyssa is kidnapped by Master Beau, a banished sorcerer with a mysterious connection to her who can only regain his power by weakening hers. Suddenly hurled into a world of wizardry filled with fantastical beasts and marvelous technology beyond her wildest imagination, Alyssa must defeat Master Beau if she ever wants to get home again. But Master Beau will stop at nothing, including using Alyssa’s friends, to ensure he is triumphant.
Buy the Book:
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Add to Goodreads

Continue the Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions Series:


Book Title:  A Curse of Mayhem (Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions, Book 2) by Sunayna Prasad
Category:  Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12),  173 pages
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Amazon KDP
Release date:   July 2019
Format available for review:  ebook (mobi (for Kindle), EPUB, PDF)
Will send print books out:  USA
Tour datesJune 10 to Jun 28, 2024
Content Rating:  G: There is no mature language or adult content whatsoever.

About the Book

History, like magic, has a habit of repeating itself.

It’s been six months since thirteen-year-old Alyssa McCarthy left magic behind for good. Or so she thought…

Then the enchanted objects that protected her disappear. Now a skeleton named Errol has cursed her with magical powers that keep getting her in trouble. Suddenly strange things are happening with disastrous effects, and if Alyssa can’t remove the magic, she will lose everything she holds dear. In order to get rid of her unwanted wizardry, Alyssa will have to boost her bravery and confidence and determine who Errol really is. But every time Alyssa uses an enchantment, Errol is one step closer to getting his flesh back and becoming alive, and he will do anything to achieve his goals…even if it means destroying Alyssa’s happiness.

Originally published in 2016 as “Wizardry Goes Wild” and “The Unruly Curse” in 2019, “A Curse of Mayhem” is book two in the exciting and suspenseful “Magical Missions” series.
Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Kobo
Add to Goodreads

Monday, June 3, 2024

Young Adult Dystopian Fiction Review: Deception is our Remedy by Alexandra Gavranovic

When my daughters were teens, we loved reading young adult fiction together. Dystopian, post-apocalyptic thrillers and series were our favorites. I always enjoy finding new novels and authors in this genre. Today, I am sharing my review of Deception is Our Remedy. Check out the novel, read my thoughts on the book, learn about author Alexandra Gavranovic and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.


 

​Book Title:  DECEPTION IS OUR REMEDY by Alexandra Gavranovic
Category:  YA Fiction (Ages 13-17),  412 pages
GenreYA dystopian; YA survival stories; Sci-fi Fantasy
PublisherDumetella Press
Release date:  March 2024
Content Rating:  PG: Some minimal fight scenes and acts of violence
Many of our posts contain affiliate links.
Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
affiliate partner.  
 

About the Book

What if everything you thought you knew about the world - and yourself - was a lie? What would you do?

For 17-year-old Callista, growing up in a world stripped of all its color after the great climate crisis, every day looks the same in her Neighborhood. There are no other kids her age except for her best friend, Reggie. There are no events or activities. And there is no leaving. Cal rarely even steps outside her house except to pick up the month’s worth of dry, rationed food courtesy of the Government or for her routine trip to the doctor, which always leaves her feeling groggy and depleted.

And while she knows that she should just accept this life, she can’t help but wonder if there is something she isn’t being told. From whispered conversations she overhears of her parents to nightmares that feel more like memories jarring her awake in the middle of the night, Cal finally decides to find out for herself if there is something beyond the towering gates of her Neighborhood. Something that can provide answers.

But what she finds is more shocking than she could have imagined. When a giant floating object of immense light transports her to an abandoned city, Cal meets more people her age who also grew up in Neighborhoods. And, like the orb of light she can suddenly summon with her mind, these other people are also gifted with special abilities.

Before she can determine what is going on, they are all herded to a special Academy for the gifted, where they will learn to hone their abilities with other students just like them.

​But as Cal unravels her nightmares, everything she thought she knew about her former life starts to rip at the seams. And, as she spends more time with her fellow students in the Academy, she begins to wonder if she really escaped the Neighborhood at all.

Deception is Our Remedy is a fast-paced, dystopian adventure that will leave you guessing at every turn.
 
My Review

 

Deception is our Remedy Builds a Dystopian World. This book is long, filled with character introductions, world-building, and a series of twists and turns that move the characters through an action-packed plot. The novel blends elements from various fantasy and dystopian ideas to create a well-done world for the author's characters and, presumably, a related series. While teens coming to terms with abilities to fight injustice isn't unique, the author still creates interesting characters and engaging storylines while keeping the novel young adult-friendly.

 

Great Read for younger young adults. I enjoyed the characters but found some of their thoughts and actions immature. This book is intended for young adult readers/teens, so it actually fits the genre well—it just didn't pull older adult me in completely at times. I did like that the action scenes were realistically action-packed without being overly graphic or presented unnecessarily to the plot. The romance elements were also well suited to a teen audience.

 

Would I Recommend Deception in our Remedy? I enjoyed the characters in this novel and would follow them further into a series. The book is geared toward teen/young adult readers, so older adults may find some elements of the book a little overdone as the immature characters come to similar, almost repetitive teen-age realizations at times. I did become attached to the characters and enjoyed the book. I would recommend it to fans of young adult dystopian novels with engaging teen-leading characters.

 
BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon 
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Meet the Author

Alexandra Gavranovic lives in Georgia where she is studying Public Relations. She has been writing and crafting stories since she was a young girl, and enjoys the process of being creative. When she’s not studying for her college classes, Alix enjoys spending time with her two cats and her dog, reading dystopian novels, and playing video games. She is also an avid pianist with 12 years of experience. Deception Is Our Remedy is her first published novel.

connect with the author: website instagram tiktok goodreads
 

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DECEPTION IS OUR REMEDY by Alexandra Gavranovic (a novel) Book Tour Giveaway

 




Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Thriller Review Spotlight: The Heaven Spot by Mary Frances Hill

Today, I have a thriller in our book review spotlight! Check out The Heaven Spot, read my thoughts on the book, learn about author Mary Frances Hill and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.


 

​Book Title:  The Heaven Spot (A Novel) by Mary Frances Hill
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  296 pages
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
PublisherMary Frances Hill
Release date:  February 2024
Content Rating:  PG-13 + M:
The story is about a recovering opioid addict (previously a soccer mom from Virginia) who travels to Florida to solve her estranged daughter's (a runaway's) murder and to learn about the life her daughter was leading.
Many of our posts contain affiliate links.
Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
affiliate partner.  
 

About the Book

The Heaven Spot is a modern-day mystery set in Palm Beach, Florida, that depicts opioid addict Maggie Robert’s desperate attempt to come to terms with her estranged daughter, Lilly’s, murder.

When divorcée Maggie Roberts stumbles into her Virginia bookstore for the last time to close up shop, she expects the morning to be rough. The business failure is hers alone. She took all those opioids. She relapsed. She vows to stay clean and regroup. But as she packs up her books, two cops appear and inform her that her estranged daughter, Lilly, has died in West Palm Beach.

Heartbroken, Maggie heads to Florida to find out why Lilly passed and how she lived. But when she arrives in the Sunshine State, she barely recognizes the young woman in the morgue.

​Maggie doubts she’ll ever forgive herself for her past mistakes with Lilly but believes that if she remains local, she can push the detective to focus on Lilly’s case and learn about her daughter. But as she connects the dots, Maggie wonders the unthinkable—could she have played a part in Lilly’s death while relapsing and blackout-high? Can she live with herself if she did?
 
My Review

 

The Heaven Spot is a character-driven, emotional thriller. I love mysteries and thrillers--but I especially enjoy novels that combine strong characters and real-world relationships with those mystery elements. This novel is a well-done blend of thrilling mystery solving, the darker aspects of damaged relationships, fragmented pasts pieced together to move the plot along, and emotional character development. Readers piece some of the thriller together along with the main characters and navigate the revelations and realizations along the way.  

The Characters Create a Must-Read Novel.  While Maggie's character didn't resonate with me, I couldn't help but yearn for a peaceful resolution for her. The mystery was well-coordinated, but it was the characters and their realistic, real-world dramatic storylines that truly made the novel a must-readThe authentic portrayal of the impact of addiction on a person and their relationships, the moments of self-reflection, guilt, and redemption, all serve to keep readers engrossed from start to finish. 

Would I Recommend The Heaven Spot by Mary Frances Hill? If you enjoy thrillers with real, human factors driving the scenes--this is a well-done novel for your reading list. If you tend to ask "Why would she..." types of questions, you may find minor faults with some of the mystery development of the novel--but you will find the human nature exploration side of the story more than you could hope for.  The book is emotional and will immediately catch your interest and keep you reading through to the end.

 
Buy the Book
Amazon 
​add to goodreads

Meet the Author

Mary Frances Hill was born in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. The daughter of a music professor and an elementary school teacher, Mary obtained a master's degree in counseling psychology and worked as a therapist before raising two children. Though Mary currently lives in Southern California with her Russian Blue and Scottish Straight cats, her Pyredoodle puppy, her golfer husband, and her adult son and daughter, she spent many happy vacations at her house on Palm Beach Island—the setting of her most recent novel, The Heaven Spot. Mary is an avid dog walker and home renovator and loves binge-watching true crime documentaries and mysteries. Mary’s debut novel, The Worm Man, was published in 2022.

Connect with the author:  
 Website  ~  Goodreads 

Enter the Giveaway

THE HEAVEN SPOT (a novel) Book Tour Giveaway



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