Tag Archives: fantasy

The Search for Synergy by Brett Salter – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Search for Synergy by Brett Salter to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

The Search for Synergy by Brett Salter

Here is the book blurb.

“The Search for Synergy” is the story of two young men who are brought together by design to help save the world from the evil that lurks in The Void. Rome and Julian will have to join their fledgling powers and become a fighting duo of knight and dragon, working to fulfill a primordial destiny. This will be especially hard for Rome who, up until now, thought he was merely human.

This is the first title in the Talisman series, but works perfectly well as a stand-alone read, although you can tell towards the end that it is setting the scene for a follow-up to be set in England.

The story starts by introducing us to 13 year old Rome, who whilst messing around, accidentally sets a tree on fire, just looking at it. Meanwhile another boy Julian has seen this and recognising Rome’s abilities, takes him to meet elderly Mr Jones.

The pair try to convince Rome that he is not a human, but a dragon, explaining that Julian is a knight and that the two boys need to train for the Great Synergy to combine their powers. But Rome initially doesn’t believe them.

Weaving in myths from King Arthur’s time, there is a destiny to fulfil.

Portals, monsters, magic all abound in this tale. The roll of the die is crucial.

However I did  have to look up Hackey sack which I discovered to be rather like playing football but using a bean bag instead of a ball. Sounds a fun game that Rome and friends enjoyed.

The Search for Synergy is available on Amazon in paperback, hardback and Kindle format. An entertaining fantasy read, targeted at young adult readers. Suitable from age 11 upwards in my opinion.

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Dragon’s Future by Kandi J Wyatt – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I downloaded for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Dragon’s Future by Kandi J Wyatt to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

Dragon's Future by Kandi J Wyatt

Here is the book blurb.

Trapped in a boring life, Carryl longs for something different. With the death of a dragon rider, she realizes her dream of becoming a rider herself. But first she must save the despondent dragon’s life.

Ruskya has settled into his new role as a dragon rider. A sinister rider has attacked the colony. The fate of all that Ruskya holds dear lies in his hands.

Ruskya and Carryl step into leadership roles to defend the colony and their village. Now they battle dragons and their own insecurities. They’ll need the courage of a dragon to defeat their enemies or die trying.

Dragon’s Future is the fabulous first book in the coming of age fantasy series Dragon Courage. If you like enticing worlds, captivating stories, and a new twist on dragon lore, you’ll love Kandi J Wyatt’s fantastic series.

This is the first title in the Dragon Courage series.

The story begins with a prologue set 15 years earlier when twins Duskya and Ruskya, then aged 10 were both selected at the annual procession by the dragons Wryn and Wyeth to become their respective riders. They leave their mother Meredyth and village home to go live at the Three Spans Canyon dragon colony where Glendyn will train them as riders.

Now it is Ruskya’s turn to train Kyn, the latest youngling to join. At the same time he is also developing his mental control, mind reading and communication powers, plus learning what his father’s role with the dragons was.

Meanwhile riders from another colony attack both them and the village. Why are they under attack? One of their group is killed. Can Carryl, a healer save the grieving dragon? More deaths of villagers follow. As they try to defend, one of them is kidnapped along with a dragon. How will this all end?

A good story, but I did find it difficult to remember whose dragon was who’s as all the dragon names are fairly similar. And I did feel that the way the riders continually addressed each other was just superfluous padding to the book, eg “Honoured Rider, may your dragon fly straight and true”.

Dragon’s Future is available on Amazon free in Kindle format, or alternatively may be purchased in paperback or audiobook. A fantastical adventure read for older children and teens.

I’ve also previously read the Myth Coast Adventures trilogy by this author and here are the links to my reviews of those titles.
An Unexpected Adventure
An Unexpected Escapade
An Unexpected Exploit

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My Three Warlocks by Robert H Cherny – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book My Three Warlocks by Robert H Cherny to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

My Three Warlocks by Robert H Cherny

Here is the book blurb.

Three Warlocks, brothers, triplets, run a ranch where they train horses for cowboys and cattle ranchers. They use their special powers to keep their ranch solvent and, despite the recent death of their adoptive mother, are content with their lives. All that changes when a pre-teen equestrian shows up with her father to buy a horse. On the same day, triplet witches and their mother are directed to the ranch by a mysterious stranger.

The witch’s mother and the girl’s father have a history, and only he knows that none of this is a coincidence. Within two days, the warlocks, the witches, their mother, the girl, her father, and some friends and family use their powers to fight a forest fire. They are then recruited by the mysterious stranger, an ancient wizard, to protect a rape victim. The woman was raped by a magical being who intends to steal the baby and kill her. This wholesale rape of indigenous populations has been going on for a long time, and the wizard believes he finally has the team to stop it. The wizard quickly loses control of the team, and it completes the mission without him.

The team takes on missions without the wizard, relegating him to advisor status. After several missions on their own, the team emerges far more powerful than anything the wizard could have imagined. Even though he created the team, he does not control them, and, in some ways, the “battle group” he created controls him.

I read all of this story but I really struggled with it. Set in modern day American ranching / rodeo with plenty of fantasy elements thrown in, it just did nothing for me. I liked the characters and a few bits of the storyline, but certainly not enough overall to draw me in. Even the cover is off-putting.

It also mentioned a legend of Paul Bunyan with a blue ox who I had never heard of, so I looked him up on Wikipedia. Apparently he is a giant lumberjack who features in American and Canadian folklore.

My Three Warlocks is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. An unusual fantasy read, targeted at young adult readers. Not a book for me, but maybe others will enjoy more.

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The Power of the Pearl by William Edmonds – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Power of the Pearl by William Edmonds to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

The Power of the Pearl by William Edmonds

Here is the book blurb.

Thirteen-year-old Alaric Swift lives a tough, lonely life. He’s never known his parents, nor had any friends.
However, everything changes after his adoptive parents attempt to eat him, and he’s taken to live on the magical island of Harramore. The reason? Alaric is the son of the most powerful being to have ever existed—the King Guardian, Rei.
So begins a magical adventure as Alaric learns to master hidden extraordinary powers, meets creatures beyond his imagination, and gets caught up in a plot to steal the world’s most dangerous object, the Golden Pearl.
The Power of the Pearl is a captivating opening to the Miracle Prince series and a page-turning debut..

This debut novel by William Edmonds is the first title in The Miracle Prince series.

The story starts with Mr Solomon taking 13 year old Alaric to John and Sue, another set of foster parents in a long line. Alaric always seems to end up doing something which makes things go wrong with each foster family, but this time it is the other way round. John and Sue transform and try to eat him. Alaric is rescued in the nick of time by Mr Solomon and magically transported to Harramore, Land of the Nephilim.

Turns out Alaric is one of the Nephilim, in fact he is the Miracle Prince, son of assassinated King Guardian Rei. He fits in much better with his next foster family, the Trolleys and soon is on the Rei basketball team at school, which in Harramore is a totally different experience to what Alaric and you and I are used to.

Lots of magical mythical adventures then follow for Alaric, along with his friends Laurence and Lucy.

The Power of the Pearl is available on Amazon, in paperback and Kindle formats. A great adventure which will certainly appeal to fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Suitable for older children and teens.

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An Unexpected Exploit by Kandi J Wyatt – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book An Unexpected Exploit by Kandi J Wyatt to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

An Unexpected Exploit by Kandi J Wyatt

Here is the book blurb.

Protect a mythical realm or his family? Sixteen-year-old Franklin follows a Sasquatch through a portal to the realm of Shinwano and discovers a world full of mythical creatures he never expected to actually exist. Upon returning to Myrtle Beach, Oregon, he vows to protect the land, not realizing how difficult it will be to keep his promise, especially when a poacher, a NSA agent, and his friends are interested in the portal—and all for different reasons. When the poacher threatens his family, Franklin must reconsider his vow to protect this new world to keep his family safe. The consequences of his decision reach further than just a rift in the space-time continuum. Can Franklin live up to the trust placed on him and save this new world from an even greater danger?

This is the third title in the Myth Coast Adventures trilogy, set in the small town of Myrtle Beach in Oregon. They can be read as stand alone reads, but I found them better to read in sequence as they do refer to happenings in earlier books. However the main protagonist Franklin is a new character.

Here are the links to my reviews of the first two titles.
An Unexpected Adventure
An Unexpected Escapade

The story starts with Franklin out hunting in the forest when he spots a creature larger than a bear but with a human-like face, which almost immediately disappears. Could it be a sasquatch, bigfoot or yeti? Franklin investigates and discovers a portal. Throwing caution to the wind, he steps through but Ladaku is waiting and knocks him out. When he awakes he finds he is in an alternate world Shinwano full of mythological creatures.

Whilst the dhoka (portal) is closed, Franklin agrees to train as a keta-manisa to protect the dhoka from other humans. Meanwhile back in our world he has been declared missing and teams including Will, Ana, Harley, Cherise and Winston from earlier books, are out searching for him, worried because bad guy poacher Jack Collins is hanging round town again.

When the dhoka finally reopens, Franklin reluctantly leaves his new friends to come back home. But soon he faces a difficult situation when he discovers Jack Collins has tied up his mum and brother Jeremy and is giving them electric shocks.

How will Franklin react and what will ensue? Certainly a page turner and my only small complaint is that the series titles are too similar.

The book also contains a glossary of Shinwano words.

An Unexpected Exploit is available on Amazon in Kindle format or paperback. A great adventure fantasy read for older children and teens.

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Screamcatcher: Web World by Christy Breedlove – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Screamcatcher: Web World by Christy J Breedlove to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

Screamcatcher Web World by Christy J Breedlove

Here is the book blurb.

When seventeen-year-old Jory Pike cannot shake the hellish nightmares of her parent’s deaths, she turns to an old family heirloom, a dream catcher. Even though she’s half blood Chippewa, Jory thinks old Indian lore is so yesterday, but she’s willing to give it a try. However, the dream catcher has had its fill of nightmares from an ancient and violent past. After a sleepover party, and during one of Jory’s most horrific dream episodes, the dream catcher implodes, sucking Jory and her three friends into its own world of trapped nightmares. They’re in an alternate universe-locked inside of an insane web world. How can they find the center of the web, where all good things are allowed to pass?

I’m doing things in reverse here, as last year I read and reviewed book 2 in the Screamcatcher YA series. Having enjoyed that, I’ve now gone back to read the first title.

The story starts in the normal everyday world where we are introduced to four teenage friends Jory, Choice, Lander and Darcy, all aged 16-18, along with Jory’s Chippewa grandfather Albert. Choice has purchased the most ancient dreamcatcher from Albert’s shop as a gift for Jory. This is believed to have been passed down the generations since the dawn of time filtering good dreams from nightmares which get caught in it.

Jory’s parents had died a few months earlier in a car crash and her friends are staying for a sleepover so she is not alone overnight, but her inevitable nightmare of the car falling into the canyon causes the dreamcatcher to implode and the four teens are dragged into the web world which is full of trapped nightmares that they have to navigate.

Are they able to work as a team to reach the centre to escape? Can Jory draw on her Chippewa folklore to help? Will they all make it? Many challenges, scary creatures and a riddle.

A gripping read indeed, which you never know may include your own worst nightmare too.

Screamcatcher: Web World is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. A good dystopian fantasy read, targeted at young adult readers. Highly recommended.

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Malamander by Thomas Taylor – book review

My latest personal choice of read, rather than a requested book review is Malamander by Thomas Taylor. To find out more about the author you may visit his website. I discovered there that he illustrated the original cover for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Here is the book blurb.

Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep…

Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy – especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl. No one knows what happened to Violet Parma’s parents twelve years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander. Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. And it just got stranger…

This is the first book in the Eerie-on-Sea series.

When you open the book, there is a map of Eerie-on-Sea, a seaside town, which I kept referring back to as I read the story. I do love a map to illustrate a tale.

The story draws you in with fabulous descriptive language right from the start as we get introduced to young Herbie, who is the Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel. His usual remit is lost luggage but the mysterious girl Violet Parma comes especially to see him, declaring she is lost and wants to be found, although obviously not by the scary Boathook Man from whom she hides.

Mystery, adventure detective story, myth, legend, monster, fantasy – this book has it all. The characters and settings are all portrayed wonderfully.

Malamander is a great book, targeted at readers from about age 9-12. A captivating read. I’m certainly looking forward to finding out what happens in Gargantis, book 2 at Eerie-on-Sea. And the author is currently writing the third title Shadowghast, which will be published later this year.

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An Unexpected Escapade by Kandi J Wyatt – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book An Unexpected Escapade by Kandi J Wyatt to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

An Unexpected Escapade by Kandi J Wyatt

Here is the book blurb.

A greedy poacher threatens a unicorn Daisy finds hiding among her horses. Daisy will do anything to protect the magical creature, even if it means losing her best friend.

The only ones who understand Daisy’s struggles at school are her horses and Kajri, the unicorn that appeared out of nowhere. Kajri wants to go home, but Daisy doesn’t know how to help.

Ana wants to help Daisy, but her parents are sick. The unicorn horn could be the key to saving them. Yet her actions could be the death of both the unicorn and her friendship with Daisy.

An Unexpected Escapade is a refreshing middle grade fantasy in the Myth Coast Adventures trilogy. If you like fun kid fantasy, amazing characters and realistic endings, you’ll love Kandi J Wyatt’s stunning continuation of the Myth Coast Adventures. Explore An Unexpected Escapade to allow your dreams to fly!

This is the second title in the Myth Coast Adventures trilogy, set in the small town of Myrtle Beach in Oregon. You may wish to read my review of the first book An Unexpected Adventure before this.

The prologue introduces us to Kajri the unicorn who mysteriously passes from her world to ours. She wants to go back home.

8th grader (Yr9) Daisy, who lives with her mum and two horses Ginger and Root, is the first to see Kajri. She tells her best friend Ana and the next time they see her together in the forest. Ana then tells Will who helps her Dad out on the boats. Will (from book 1) warns Ana to keep it secret, especially from Professor Raleigh.

Meanwhile NSA agent Winston Raleigh whose sensors have detected a rift, traces a signal from beyond Daisy’s home. Will he be able to capture the mythical creature to take to the sanctuary?

But Winston is not the only one tracking the unicorn. Nasty cruel poacher Jack Collins wants the unicorn’s horn and tears.

What will happen? Plenty more events to unfold in this story. Who should the girls turn to for help?

An Unexpected Escapade is available on Amazon in Kindle format or paperback. A great book for older children and teens with lots to engage with.

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How to be a Hero by Cat Weldon – book review

Disclosure. This post is a review of a book I was sent for free.. All opinions are my own.

I received a free proof copy of the book How to be a Hero by Cat Weldon to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

How to be a Hero by Cat Weldon

Here is the book blurb.

A no-good viking thief. The worst-ever trainee valkyrie. An ungodly case of mistaken identity.

When failing trainee valkyrie Lotta mistakes an unconscious viking thief, Whetstone, for a fallen hero and takes him triumphantly to Valhalla, things are definitely not turning out to be epic or glorious. Having lost a precious talking cup, Whetstone is also desperate to cover up his mistake and the two embark on a quarrelsome journey to find it and regain their heroic status. But Loki the trickster God is desperate to get his hands on the cup with a plan to unleash chaos across the nine worlds. Can Whetstone prove himself a hero after all when it matters most?

The first in a hilarious and fast-paced trilogy about how to be brave, what it means to be a hero and just how confusing the Norse Gods really are. Fully illustrated throughout, Cat Weldon’s How to Be a Hero is perfect for fans of How to Train Your Dragon and Who Let the Gods Out.

I was hoping to get a review from my younger son for this book, as he is very interested in Norse  mythology. However as we have reached the publication date and he still hasn’t started reading the book, you’ll have to make do with just a review from me.

The book draws you in with a couple of double page illustrations at the front. We have the nine worlds all hanging from the huge Yggdrasil tree with Asgard at the top. And then a map of Krud in Midgard, where the story opens, featuring signs like “Ivor the Nose Grinder, Gerroff My Land! Travelling Minstrels will be force fed Cabbage till they burst!” Just the sort of humour that will particularly appeal to young readers. The book has been illustrated by Katie Kear brilliantly.

I’m not very knowledgeable on Norse Mythology but the story all tied in with what I do know of Norse gods and worlds. Loki the trickster god and his son Vali certainly cause havoc in this tale.

The story begins with Whetstone, an orphan aged about 12, stealing a magical golden talking cup from Awfulrick, the Viking chief of Krud, on behalf of Light Finger, the greatest thief in all the known world. We then swap to Asgard to introduce Lotta who is of a similar age, and is training to be a Valkyrie in class 3 but not doing too well. Class 3’s next mission will be the first time they leave Asgard and they will be travelling to Midgard to collect fallen warriors to fill Valhalla.

Whetstone then hides the cup before taking cover himself. But things don’t go quite to plan. He is attacked and left unconscious. Lotta, finds him and assumes he is dead, so takes him back to Asgard as a “fallen hero”, Whoops.

The two have to then pair up to sort out the mess they are in. Lots of fun. Plus throw a dragon into the mix. The book finished leaving me tantalising clues ready for books 2 and 3 in the trilogy, but I’ll have to wait as book 2 doesn’t publish until the summer.

How to be a Hero is a great fun fantasy mythological adventure read, which I highly recommend to children age 9-12. Newly published today.

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Over Sea Under Stone by Susan Cooper – book review

My latest personal choice of read, rather than a requested book review is Over Sea Under Stone by Susan Cooper. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Over Sea Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Here is the book blurb.

On holiday in Cornwall, Simon, Jane and Barney Drew discover an ancient map in the attic of the Grey House, where they are staying with their mysterious Great-Uncle Merry. They know immediately that it is special. But it is much more than just a map. It is the start of a quest to find a grail, a source of great power that could contain – or resurrect – the powerful, age-old forces of evil in the world. And the Drews are not the only ones searching for it.

This is the first book in the award-winning Dark Is Rising Sequence. It is a classic written in the 1960’s, but remains a thrilling read today. I was an avid reader as a child, so I am surprised that I never read any of Susan Cooper’s books back then.

It starts with Mr and Mrs Drew and their three children, Simon, Jane and Barney arriving on the train in Cornwall. Their Great-Uncle Merry (Professor Lyon) has rented an old holiday home in Trewissick from Captain Toms, whilst he is abroad. Rufus the dog and Mrs Palk the housekeeper both come with the house. Simon, Jane and Barney discover an ancient Arthurian treasure map, written in medieval Latin, whilst exploring in the attic. But Mr and Miss Withers from the yacht in the bay who initially try to befriend the Drews are also after the treasure, along with other bad people.

Danger, decoys, burglary, chases, night time adventures, snooping and kidnapping ensue whilst the children with Great Uncle Merry’s help try to follow the quest for the grail.

Over Sea Under Stone is a fabulous book for older children and teens. A great page turner which weaves Arthurian legend into the story.

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