Book Review: The Watch & Wand: The difference between science and magic is a matter of perspective (Project Gene Assist Book 2) by Allie Potts

The Watch & Wand: The difference between science and magic is a matter of perspective (Project Gene Assist Book 2) by Allie Potts

A Science Fiction/Cyberpunk/Dystopian Novel published by Axil Hammer Publishing (12/5/17)

Summary:

A worldwide economic collapse has left society in shambles with only basic technology. Stephen is able to connect to what’s left of the grid to play a video game with a stranger. What’s left of tech is easy for Stephen to manipulate. It’s not enough to sneak off to play games online and Stephen longs for excitement. That’s exactly what he gets when he has to go to town to get parts. He meets a girl on the run from the new government enforcers – the Watch.

Keywords:

Genetic Engineering, Science and Technology, Rivals, Technology,  Future, Dystopian, Survival, Dark Ages, War, New Government, Towers, Grit, Magic, Evolution, Economic Collapse, New Order, Salvation, Friendship, Romance

My Review:

I was immediately immersed in this post-apocalyptic world. First the focus was just in Stephen’s barn as he connects with a stranger through an online video game. Then the world expands as we see Stephen’s home life “off-the-grid” on the farm. We don’t linger there long before Stephen is off to find parts to fix the grid and our world expands a bit more as we see what a typical town looks like. The world continues to expand as Stephen’s adventure continues and his problems increase.

Stephen was a great character. He underwent a significant change throughout the story. He was willing to take a chance on the strange girl and help her, not expecting anything in return. She, Bean, was also a character I immediately took a liking to in this story. She had many secrets and I liked the mystery that surrounded her. Stephen and Bean together made for a great team and the romance that built between them felt very natural and sweet. Their romance was not the focus of the story, which I appreciated. The story remained focused on Stephen and his goal and the overarching plot that kept sweeping Stephen up in its grasp.

The world felt full. The technology and world building were explained adequately. The only parts that was harder to understand and appreciate fully were the magical element, but I thought the author did a good job integrating the fantasy element into the story and the world.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this novel. This is my honest review.

This novel was published by Axil Hammer Publishing on 12/5/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Allie Potts’ Website

Goodreads

Twitter

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Book Review: Unchosen by Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins

Unchosen by Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins

A Dark Fantasy Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (10/10/17)

Summary:

“There’s no more ifs. There’s no more maybes.” (Page 104).

Everything went wrong when the chosen one died. Had they horribly misinterpreted the prophecy? Their world will now be under Xaramor’s rule for thousands of years, but there may still be hope for the chosen one’s four companions to still save the world.

Keywords:

Powerful Females, Diversity, Epic Fantasy, Fight, Prophecy, Tragedy, Death, Baba Yaga, Doom, Hope, Travel, Tower, Magic, Healing, Battle

My Review:

I noticed. The chosen one may have been your typical young male, but those left behind were the most diverse cast of characters. I appreciated so much this fact that two of the main four characters were powerful females with their own distinct personalities and abilities (Celeste and Noriko). The other two main characters were also diverse in their own ways as well (Nils and Hobie).

I liked how the chapters had their own POV and we got to see the unfolding of the world from different voices and get a little more inside the main characters’ heads.

I enjoyed the breadth of the world that the main characters traveled to accomplish their missions – the book had a definite Lord of the Rings vibe – even if for most of the action they didn’t really have one distinct mission. How to stop Xaramor? You can’t just stop him!

This book turned “the chosen one” trope upside down and showed how sometimes prophecies can be misinterpreted. Finally, a realistic plotline! They didn’t always get it right on the first guess – which is where mayhem and battles ensued. Although there’s lots of death and violence, this book isn’t bloody and gory.

I’ve never read such a good and well written middle – but I did sorely miss the traditional beginning, middle and end of a “chosen” one fantasy. This book was a deviation from the norm. It was fun and different. I loved the Baba Yaga scenes.

The book featured a truly epic final battle – worthy of the slow, slow buildup from the beginning of the end in the beginning to the end of the end at the end.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC 10/10/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Jeffrey Cook on FreeValley Publishing

Jeffrey Cook’s Facebook

Book Review: Dragons of Frost and Fire by Susan Brown

Dragons of Frost and Fire by Susan Brown

A Fantasy Novel published by Susan Brown (05/23/15)

Summary:

Kit is relentless in her search to find her mother. She KNOWS that her mother is still alive. She will do anything – brave the cold death-dealing wilderness of Alaska by herself – to find her mother. It’s been a year since her mother disappeared, but Kit won’t give up. The magical knife tells her that she still has time to save her mother, she just has to figure out what the small town of Silver Claw is hiding and how the secret of the town is related to her mother’s disappearance.

Keywords:

Magic, Sorcery, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Family, Small Town, Secrets, Dragons, Genetic Mutation, Alaska, Wilderness, Survival, Blizzard, Storm, Magical Object, Friendship

My Review:

Kit is a larger-than-life character. Her need to find her mother is so all consuming in her mind. She believes with all her being that her mother, even after a year lost in the Alaskan wilderness, is still alive. That amount of conviction blows my mind. Her passion and devotion to her search is very endearing. She cares so much about her family and her mother. I wanted her to succeed!

The mystery of Silver Claw kept drawing me in. As much as Kit, and I as the reader, wanted to like some of the townsfolk, the suspicion was ever present on the surface. What did the town do to Kit’s mother? What were they hiding about her disappearance? Why did her lab notes disappear? What did she find out? The mystery is well paced in this story and the clues were gradually revealed and well placed.

The fantasy elements didn’t play a major part in the plot of the story. A magical knife did help Kit and was evidence to the fact that her mother was still alive. The ending did contain quite the fantasy reveal. This book appealed to me quite a bit because it focused on the characters and the secret that Silver Claw kept hidden within its residents. This is a fantasy book for non-fantasy readers as well as fantasy readers.

This novel was published by Susan Brown on 05/23/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Susan Brown’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Falling Into Flight by Linda Jordan

Falling Into Flight by Linda Jordan

A Science Fantasy Novel published through Metamorphosis Press (3/27/15)

Summary:

Caer was the first person born into the post-apocalyptic Seattle with wings. In a world where buildings are grown and ballets are performed in the air, Caer fits right in with her dance company. She only wants to dance, but fate has other plans.

Keywords:

Wings, Evolution, Arts, Dancing, Air Dancing, Flying Ballet, Creativity, Building, Architecture, Family, Future, Apocalyptic, Romance, Soul Mate, Dreaming, Corporate, Corruption

My Review:

A new take on post-apocalyptic fiction! I absolutely love the crossover that happens when science fiction meets fantasy and this book was a wonderful example. Buildings can magically grow and people can be born with wings in this society. These two aspects are uniquely distinct for this world, but they both grew out of the post-apocalyptic history of the world.

I love books set in Seattle and it was interesting to see which parts were ‘underwater’ and which parts were ‘new.’ In this world, there are still high-rises (because buildings grow). I would have liked to see more detail (science) into how they grew buildings, how they killed buildings, and everything in between for this new technology.

The details of the air ballet were incredible and I felt like I was right there in that building watching that performance. I wish air ballet existed today.

The storytelling was smooth and the world building was unique. I wouldn’t mind reading more fantasy by Linda Jordan.

This novel was published through Metamorphosis Press on 3/27/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Linda Jordan’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Dissident (Forbidden Things Book 1) by Nikki McCormack

Dissident (Forbidden Things Book 1) by Nikki McCormack

A Fantasy Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (9/02/14)

Summary:

Indigo has always suppressed her Ascard power because society does not allow the use of powerful Ascard. She can use a limited amount as a healer but has worked all her life to hold in her inner aspect and connection to Ascard. Her power does not go completely unnoticed, as an exotic stranger contacts her through Ascard, seeking her help. Intrigued by him and ruffled by her rocky relationship with her fiancé, she follows the stranger into his prison. After she helps him escape, she thinks she will never see him again. Fate brings them together again, but he still needs her help.

Keywords:

Power, Control, Magic, Inner Strength, Inner Aspect, Travel, War, Fighting, Struggle, Talent, Healing, Abuse, Sex, Love, Creation, Lies, Slaves

My Review:

This novel had a great balance  between romance, fantasy and plot. I was pulled in by Indigo’s struggles to live up to others’ expectations in her restrictive society and her struggles with her fiancé. The intrigue and quick attraction between Indigo and Yiloch pulled me into the romantic aspect of the book and the plot kept the entire novel together as action wove through until the end.

Indigo is a role model for female characters. She’s strong, not in relation to man, but in relation to her enemies and her friends. She doesn’t have to stay in her relationship. She has control over her fiancé in a way he can’t even fathom. She isn’t smug about her skills and she doesn’t look down on others, even though she is stronger than everyone around her, even her teacher.

I enjoyed the writing style of this fantasy novel, just as much as the clean writing of McCormack’s steampunk series – Clockwork Enterprises.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 06/09/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Nikki McCormack’s Website

Book Review: First Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book Three) by Susan Kaye Quinn

First Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book Three) by Susan Kaye Quinn

A Fantasy Novel published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. (09/29/14)

Summary:

Aniri is ready to do anything to save her home kingdom and her future kingdom, but first daughter Nahali will be the new leader of Dharia soon and they don’t always agree. Nahali thinks war is the answer while Aniri still hopes that war can be evaded by stopping the second son of Samir and his deadly skyship from within.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Airship, Mountains, Barbarians, War, Threats, Royalty, Duty, Romance, Duels, Intrigue, Secrets, Love, Alternate Reality, East Indian, Arranged Marriage

My Review:

Twists and turns and adventure cover the pages of this last novel. Of the three Royals of Dharia books in this trilogy, First Daughter is the most exciting and filled with the most action! The book was very fast paced.

Aniri grew and changed so much in the course of these three books, coming into her own as a soon-to-be queen of her own kingdom. Each of the sisters of Dharia; Seledri, Nahali, and Aniri grew into their own by the end of this trilogy. I loved how their bond of sisterhood was the strongest in the end and seeing their love for each other as they fought for each other and their kingdoms was wonderful to behold. I loved how different each of the sisters were in their personalities, their actions and their political predicaments.

A great ending to a fantastic, steampunkian and historically-angled trilogy!

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. on 09/29/2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Susan Kaye Quinn’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Second Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book Two) by Susan Kaye Quinn

Second Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book Two) by Susan Kaye Quinn

A Fantasy Novel published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. (06/30/14)

Summary:

Does Samir have its own skyship? Aniri fears the worst but she has more pressing issues at the moment: her impending marriage. She questions her love for him. Was it only built on the adrenaline of adventure? She won’t have time to think about it because her sister, future Queen of Samir, is rumored to have been poisoned and Aniri is quick to rush to Seledri’s aid.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Airship, Mountains, Barbarians, War, Threats, Royalty, Duty, Romance, Duels, Intrigue, Secrets, Love, Alternate Reality, East Indian, Arranged Marriage

My Review:

The action in this book is tempered by the back and forth thoughts and feelings Aniri has for her marriage. If you have ever felt the butterflies and reservations of an engagement, you are sure to sympathize with Aniri. Or is she just being childish? It’s interesting to watch her try to push her personal troubles aside to help her sister, when those troubles follow her around everywhere she goes. She cannot escape her own fate, her own feelings, or the feelings of her soon-to-be-husband.

I really liked how the plot unfolded in Samir with Seledri’s husband, Aniri’s father, and the ever intrusive ex-courtesan. His re-introduction into this story made me roll my eyes, but he added so much more tension than Aniri could ever create just by herself.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. on June 30th, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Susan Kaye Quinn’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Tempered Hearts (Hearts of Valentia Book 1) by Starla Huchton and S.A. Huchton

Tempered Hearts (Hearts of Valentia Book 1) by Starla Huchton and S.A. Huchton

A Fantasy Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (08/08/16)

Summary:

Darius, the crown prince, is in an arranged marriage to Arden. Arden is kind and compassionate, but Darius has already given away his heart. In this political match, Arden tries her best to win over Darius. She has an effect on all those around her, but cannot seem to find the way to Darius’s heart.

Keywords:

Monarchy, Rulers, Power, War, Destruction, Rebuilding, Heart, Love, Family, Passion, Peace, Chemistry, Race Relations, Kingdom

My Review:

Again, Huchton nails the dialogue and the speeches. This book feels like a good quality fantasy book with realistic yet easy to understand dialogue. This is a hard fantasy book that everyone, even readers who aren’t typically fantasy readers (like me) will enjoy.

Both the story and the plot were solid. They weren’t predictable, but they made sense. Huchton writes a character driven story and since her characters are perfectly defined, realistic, and interesting the story is also well defined, realistic and interesting.

What really keeps me picking up book after book by Huchton are the characters and their relationships with each other. But mostly the characters. Huchton writes the female main character I’ve always wanted. Strong but flawed, like any good protagonist! I love how much I get into the characters’ heads.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 08/08/2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Third Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book One) by Susan Kaye Quinn

Third Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book One) by Susan Kaye Quinn

A Fantasy Novel published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. (12/31/13)

Summary:

In a kingdom where the first daughter will inherit and the second daughter is a just-in-case replacement, the third daughter has more freedom to choose her life’s course. For Aniri, she’s ready to step away from the kingdom and marry for love, but fate and duty will not leave her alone. The threat of war and politics makes every daughter count and Aniri must consider a marriage proposal and alliance with the barbarian prince of the north.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Airship, Mountains, Barbarians, War, Threats, Royalty, Duty, Romance, Duels, Intrigue, Secrets, Love, Alternate Reality, East Indian, Arranged Marriage

My Review:

This book was easy to read. It had an intriguing and fun plot and the characters were full of personality. The book had a lot of action and kept me hooked!

I liked how this book was diverse – it featured an alternate world that is fantastical, but also is similar to an exotic India. The characters were also based off of people from India.

I liked how the main character, Princess and Third Daughter Aniri, was both active and passive in her story. She was pushed along by her environment and the elements of the story’s plot, but she was active in how she dealt with her fate. She was given a choice to marry the barbarian prince or not, even though she felt that selfishly choosing to marry her own lover was never a choice for her. She actively sought out knowledge about the prince and the so-called flying war machine. She was her own person with her own thoughts. Though at times she displays extreme good luck and perseverance where most of us would falter and fail, she is a larger than life character in a larger than life story.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. on December 31st, 2013 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Susan Kaye Quinn’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Spilt Milk: A Collection of Stories by D.K. Cassidy

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Spilt Milk: A Collection of Stories by D.K. Cassidy

A Short Story Collection published by Pluvio Press (08/15/14)

Summary:

This short collection of flash fiction contains 12 pieces with a variety of characters, some of them appearing in each other’s lives.

Keywords:

Magical Realism, Fantasy, Short Stories, Anthology, Children, Different POV, Different Characters, Twisted

My Review:

I prefer longer form reading material, but I very much enjoyed the writing style of these short fictional pieces. My favorite part of this collection was the minimalist sentence structure that contained beautiful descriptive language that resonated out loud. I would have liked even more connections between the characters and situations of all the stories, but I enjoyed the clever connections that were there. I really liked the diversity of the characters and their thoughts.

This novel was published by Pluvio Press on August 15th, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

D.K Cassidy’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter