Tag Archives: mages

Review – The Spirit Mage by Layton Green

Book & Author Details:

The Spirit Mage by Layton Green
Publication date: September 15th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Fantasy

Valjean thought about how impossible it seemed that there was another world out there from which he had narrowly escaped. A world of manticores and cave fiends, magic swords and potions, spirit mages and necromancers. Wizard-monks who could shatter walls with their fists, a city of colored spires so beautiful it took his breath away . . . and a world in which Val’s brothers were still trapped.

Desperate to help his brothers, high-powered attorney Val Blackwood manages to find a way to return to the world of Urfe. After landing in the dangerous underbelly of New Victoria, he concludes that the only way to find Will and Caleb is to enroll in the Abbey—the school for wizards—and somehow gain access to a portal called the Pool of Souls. Yet to succeed, he not only has to pass the entrance exam and survive the rigors of the school, considered the most demanding in all the Realm, but also avoid a lethal assassin targeting students.

As Val struggles to survive, his brothers undergo an even deadlier trial. Reeling from the loss of Mala, an adventuress lost in the mysterious Place Between Worlds, Will and Caleb and Yasmina are captured by slavers and taken to the mines beneath Fellengard Mountain. Even if they manage to escape, a feat no one has ever accomplished, they must still find their way out of the vast and untamed caverns of the Darklands. A place even the wizards fear.

Trapped in a land of dreams and nightmares, the brothers must somehow stay alive and learn to adapt to their new surroundings—or risk losing their home world forever.


This was, for me at least, a better book than the first.  With much of the back story, world building and character introductions dealt with in the first book, the author was able to develop the story arc further.

This volume is told from multiple points of view, and for the most part, I think that works well to drive the story forwards.  There are a couple of characters that felt like they were unnecessary to the overall story, but it may be that their importance is to be revealed in future books.

The pacing of the narrative was better too.  I felt engaged throughout the story,  and although there were points where the timing slowed a little, it was never to the point of bogging down.

A decent follow up.  I wonder what happens next…

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.



purchase links

Amazon (universal link)

About the author

Layton Green writes in multiple genres and is the author of the bestselling Dominic Grey series, as well as other works of fiction. His novels have been nominated for multiple awards (including a finalist for a prestigious International Thriller Writers award), optioned for film, and have reached #1 on numerous genre lists in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The fourth Dominic Grey novel, The Shadow Cartel was a #2 overall bestseller on Amazon UK.

In addition to writing, Layton attended law school in New Orleans and was a practicing attorney for ten very long years. He has also been an intern for the United Nations, an ESL teacher in Central America, a bartender in London, a seller of cheap knives on the streets of Brixton, a door to door phone book deliverer in Florida, and the list goes downhill from there.

Layton lives with his wife and children in North Carolina. You can visit him on Facebook, Goodreads, or on his website (www.laytongreen.com)

author links

Website | Facebook | Goodreads


Review – Rotten Magic by Jeffrey Bardwell @twigboat

Book & Author Details:

Rotten Magic by Jeffrey Bardwell
Publication date: August 9th 2017
Genres: Steampunk, Dark Fantasy

Rotten MagicDevin will do anything to win. Even resort to magic.

Devin competes to become the best artificer in the mage phobic Iron Empire. Who needs magic when you can master the art of machinery? The other apprentices envy his genius and skills . . . especially Benson. Every apprentice hones their craft building and fighting in crude prototypes of powered armor. Some add frills, others barbs or horns. When Devin transforms himself into a mechanical dragon to slaughter the competition, Benson steps into the role of dragon slayer.

But Devin harbors a secret as he claws his way to the top of the Artificer’s Guild: he’s a mage. These new abilities are thrilling and frightening, and the voices more so. How long can Devin be content wearing a steel dragon mask when the seductive promise of true arcane power whispers in his ear?

Experience the novella prequel to the Artifice Mage Saga: a fantasy steampunk brawl of metal vs. magic where sorcery is bloody, science is greasy, and nobody’s hands are clean.


Although this is described as a novella prequel to the Artifice Mage series, I didn’t find it particularly illuminating  as the start to a series.  And, as it appears that this addition to the series was released after Book 1, I’m not entirely sure that it was intended to be the series starter.

I confess that I found myself confused for much of this book.  There wasn’t much in the way of back story or explanation for the voices or the game or, well, anything.  As a result, it was a slow read and felt longer than 126 pages.

I didn’t particularly connect with any of the characters, and found some of their behaviours and reactions to be somewhat inconsistent.

Sadly, although I can see the promise in the plot line, I’m afraid that the delivery didn’t sell it for me.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.



purchase links

Amazon (Universal Link)

About the author

Jeffrey Bardwell is an ecologist with a Ph.D. who loves fantasy, amphibians, and reptiles. The author devours fantasy and science fiction novels, is most comfortable basking near a warm wood stove, and has eaten a bug or two. The author populates his own novels with realistic, fire breathing lizards. These dragons are affected by the self-inflicted charred remains of their environment, must contend with the paradox of allometric scaling, and can actually get eaten themselves.

The author lives on a farm, is perhaps overfond of puns and alliterations, and is a gigantic ham. When not in use, he keeps his degrees skinned and mounted on the back wall of his office. Email at: jhbardwell@gmail.com

author links

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review – Torn by Fury by S M Reine @smreine

The Blurb

Elise Kavanagh is marching on New Eden, the city angels have built from the bones of human victims. She’s hellbent on making them atone for their sins–no matter the cost.

Rylie Gresham has realized that werewolves are the key to defeating angels. They’re apex predators, designed to bring powerful, immortal beings to heel. She has no choice but to follow Elise into war against Heaven…especially since it’s the only way to protect her family from complete annihilation.

The angels are prepared to fight. Their magic will tear the universe apart. And if they have their way, there will soon be no Earth left to save…


The Review

Wow.  Now, I know that’s not a very wordy, or descriptive review, but just, wow.

With this book is the indelible sense that all the threads are being pulled together towards the conclusion, but there are still those pesky mysteries fluttering at the edge of my senses. Benjamin, Nathaniel, Marion, James, Rylie, Seth.  

Elise is one of the most kick ass heroines I’ve read in a while.  And finally, it seems as though James might be stepping away from his modest worlds domination plan.  

As always, Sara has written a fast paced rampage through Dis, New Eden and Northgate.  There were literally parts of this story where my jaw dropped.  If you’ve read it, you know what I mean.  If you haven’t, well, I’m not going to spoil it for you.  But I think I took up talking to my kindle again.  It’s OK – no one was watching.  

And the ending?  Well, I’m not entirely sure that the term cliffhanger is sufficient to describe the position the author leaves us in.  Just…..evil. But… she’s a best seller for a reason, and this book demonstrates why.  

The score?  A- no messing.  

You can find Sara on Facebook (www.facebook.com/authorsmreine) or on twitter (twitter.com/smreine)