Tag Archives: magic

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.

review

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.

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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

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Review – The Witches of Ravencrest @tamarathorne @crossalistair

Book & Author Details:

The Witches of Ravencrest by Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross
Publication date: July 15th 2017
Genres: Horror, Paranormal

Witches of Ravencrest.jpgThe Witches of Ravencrest

Dark and Unnatural Powers
In a remote part of California just above the coastal town of Devilswood, Ravencrest Manor, imported stone-by-stone from England more than two centuries ago, looms tall and terrifying, gathering its dark and unnatural powers, and drawing those it wants as its own.

Murder Lurks in the Shadows
Governess Belinda Moorland has settled into life at Ravencrest and, as summer gives way to autumn, romance is in the air. She and multi-millionaire Eric Manning are falling in love … but powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart. And as the annual Harvest Ball is set to begin, evil abounds at Ravencrest. Murder lurks in the shadows, evil spirits freely roam the halls, a phantom baby cries, signaling a death in the mansion, and in the notoriously haunted east wing, three blood-soaked nuns, Sisters Faith, Hope, and Charity, tend to the demented needs of a maid gone mad.

Vengeful Spirits
Ravencrest has come to life. In the gardens below, granite statues dance by moonlight, and a scarecrow goes on a killing rampage, collecting a gruesome assortment of body parts from unwilling donors … But Belinda’s greatest danger is the vengeful spirit of Rebecca Dane. Once the mistress of Ravencrest, Rebecca Dane has a centuries-old ax to grind with the powerful witch, Cordelia Heller – and Belinda becomes her weapon of choice.

“The Witches of Ravencrest” is a gleefully gruesome wild ride, revealing ghostly bleeding nuns, moving statues, zombies with a difference, and scarecrows with tell-tale hearts. All this is delightfully themed by a sense of gargantuan hunger as if Jonathan Swift met a Professor of Gothic Literature, turned her inside out, and started feeding on the remains. A guilty-pleasure you’ll brag about.” – Michael Aronovitz, author of Phantom Effect and Alice Walks.

review

Right, let’s get the PSA out of the way – this is the second in a series, and whilst you can read this without having read the first (as I did), I suspect your enjoyment of this volume will be enhanced if you read book 1 first.

That said, I dived straight into the saga with this book, and thoroughly enjoyed it – what a fun read this is – and for fun read thrillingly tense.

Although this is a horror story, it is a kind of subtle one, with layers that individually perhaps wouldn’t do the job, but when combined really just have that edge.

Shot through with darkly humorous moments, which prevented the narrative from becoming too serious, this is pitched just right.

Loved it.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.

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purchase links

Amazon (Universal Link)

About the author

*** Tamara Thorne ***

Tamara Thorne has collected ghost stories, true and fictional, since she saw her first Twilight Zone as a tot, and continues to this day. In addition to writing novels and stories of the paranormal, she also writes non-fiction and is an active ghost hunter. She makes her home in southern California with her husband and their feline family and when she’s not writing, can be found haunting ghost towns, phantom-filled hotel rooms, and other spooky places. Tamara loves to hear from her readers. Whether you have questions or comments or would like to share your own ghostly experience,come visit her at her website www.tamarathorne.com.

 

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*** Alistair Cross ***

Alistair Cross’ debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write – among other things – the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was a bestseller. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

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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.

review

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.

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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

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