Tag Archives: young adult

Riders of Fire and Ice 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 Riders of Fire and Ice by Brett Salter to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

Riders of Fire and Ice by Brett Salter

Here is the book blurb.

They’re back! Julian and Rome are taking their show on the road. This time to lovely, old England in search of Camelot. While there, the Knight and Dragon will be trying to solve the mystery of the Talismans, the mystery of their shadowy stalker, and the mystery of sibling rivalry. Prepare to meet some new faces and, of course, some new Darkbrands as the two further their adventures across the pond.

This is the second title in the Talisman series. It works okay as a stand-alone read due to the initial recap, but it is better in my opinion if you have read the first title The Search For Synergy in advance, as then you will have better knowledge of Julian and Rome bonding as knight and fire dragon to defend Earth.

The story begins with boys Julian and Rome flying to England on a school trip to Bridgewater in Somerset. However their main reason for going is to try to find clues about Camelot, to see if they can find a link to the dark monsters who are trying to take over the world. Coincidentally Julian’s hated younger sister Camela is at the same boarding school where they will be staying.

Also why does principal Mrs Case seem to be staring at them so much? Does she know something about their secret? Could she be an ally or an enemy?

The author has chosen to assume that Bridgewater is the location of mythical Camelot. I’ve heard of a few possible sites for Camelot previously, but first time I’ve come across the idea of it being Bridgewater. He also describes the town centre as covering 15 square miles, but it is only a small market town really!

So the boys go to meet Camela and her best friend Krysta in the school library and then start their research for clues. Rome is surprised to see how anti-dragon Camela is. She and Julian are like chalk and cheese. Camela talks in Olde English, with phrases like methinks and silly knave.

They get a shock when they try to phone their elderly mentor Mr Jones. He hangs up on them and transports himself there to hear about the clues. Will the boys get to try that trick?

And who is the shadowy figure stalking them? Not everyone is quite as they seem?

Once again lots of magic, talismans, monsters and portals. Throw in some sibling rivaltry plus a nutcase and plenty of mystery and danger. Can they prevail?

Riders of Fire and Ice is available on Amazon in paperback, hardback and Kindle format, targeted at young adult readers. A great follow-up read to The Search for Synergy. Suitable from age 11 upwards in my opinion.

However I did feel the author could have done more research on Somerset. He had made it sound very American.

And am I reading too much into how similar Camela’s name is to Camelot? Possibly since Julian’s middle name is Pellinore, another character from Arthurian legend.

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Cover Reveal – Talisman Series volume 5 by Brett Salter

I’ve posted over 400 book reviews on my blog, but this is the first time I’ve done a cover reveal. Author Brett Salter is gearing up to publication of his fifth title in the Talisman series. You may find out more about the author on his website.

So far, I’ve only read the first book, The Search for Synergy, and you may see my review of that title here. An entertaining fantasy read, targeted at young adult readers. Suitable from age 11 upwards in my opinion.

The fifth book in the series will be called Desperate Tides, Desperate Measures and here is the book blurb.

After a few minutes, Julian and his friends walked to the portal. In the middle of a large standing pond, there was an area of overgrown swamp plants and a few strewn rock piles. Immediately, the group saw the oval-shaped portal, which had been activated by the returning Nocturn, however, no dark energy seeped out of it. Rome, the fire dragon from Volcana stood atop Scarabadon peering down. His giant claws pinned the fragile Nocturn to the soggy ground. A deathblow imminent.

Looks like our heroes can finally put an end to the nightmare that was Scarabadon, The Juggernaut. And it seems everyone’s favorite Synergist Knight and Master Dragon have fixed their Talisman issue too. Having thwarted every attack The Tyrant King has thrown at them to this point, The Alliance believes that they can endure any challenge as long as they remain together. Now, having the upper hand seems like the perfect opportunity to seek out more allies and even more of the realm’s mystical Talismans. Could this be a “happily ever after” for our ensemble of motley heroes? Or is this peace just a fool’s hope and just as temporary as the changing tides?

The Talisman series will reveal the clandestine workings of the dragons and their knights who embrace the role of protecting our world from The Tyrant King and his evil minions. Whichever side controls the Talismans and their magic will determine the destiny of the world. The question is, what are these Talismans, and how can they be used for the good of humanity and the dragon dens?

Without further ado, here is the cover.

Desperate Tides, Desperate Measures by Brett Salter

This image conveys a sense of fantasy and mystery to me. Do you like it? Would you pick it from the shelf to read?

You can find Brett Salter on social media as follows:-
Facebook | Instagram

Plus you may find out more about the series and characters on the The Talisman Series Wiki Fandom website.

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Beyond Invisible by Marjorie Jackson – 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 Beyond Invisible by Marjorie Jackson to review.

Beyond Invisible by Marjorie Jackson

Here is the book blurb.

After tragedy and illness brought Amber and Missy together in Being is Better, the girls, now in high school, continue their journey to unravel the mystery behind Missy’s brother Frankie’s Army enlistment and the cause of his death.

Meanwhile, both girls experience first love, and Amber supports Missy, who continues to resent her father and struggles to accept his new girlfriend.

Will they be able to discover the reason for Frankie’s sudden enlistment, and when misunderstandings loom, will their still-new friendship survive?

This is the second and final title in the Better Together series. I was really looking forward to reading this as I thoroughly enjoyed the first book Being is Better.

Once again the format follows alternating chapters between Amber and Missy, who having ony met in book 1 are now firmly best friends. The book works as a stand-alone read but best read as a series in my opinion. For those who haven’t read the first title, the background is that Amber suffers from epilepsy and Missy has struggled to come to terms with her brother dieing in Afganistan.

The girls have now just started high school. The story begins with Missy’s hated father asking her to fly for a visit this weekend. She only agrees if Amber can go too. However there is a but – the purpose of the visit was to meet her father’s girlfriend Mona. This really winds Missy up, but meanwhile Amber spots a cute guy Dev working in a cafe.

The girls initially start to bond with Mona but on their next trip some big bomb-shells are discovered. How will they deal with these?

Beyond Invisble is available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle format. A fantastic sequel as the girls deal with emotional situations. Sadly there won’t be any more books in this series as the author succumbed to her battle with cancer last year.

About the Author
Somewhat of a late blooming author, Marjorie “Marji” Jackson wrote her Better Together Duology in her fifties. In addition to being a devoted wife and mother, she was a passionate crafter and volunteer.

She lived with her family in beautiful, rural Colorado amongst the deer and the antelope, before succumbing to a rare breast cancer in January 2021, which she had fought for two years with grace.

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Being Is Better by Marjorie Jackson – 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 Being Is Better by Marjorie Jackson to review.

Being Is Better by Marjorie Jackson

Here is the book blurb.

Fourteen-year-old Amber has battled medical challenges – specifically epilepsy – her whole life. Due to her physical limitations, she has no friends, but does her best to trudge through each day with a smile.

Fellow “middle-school senior” Missy has struggles of her own. Following her brother’s death in Afghanistan, her father uprooted them from everything familiar, only to divorce Missy’s mother and move away, leaving Missy friendless and angry, forced to care for her deeply depressed mother.

Two girls with different pasts, both fighting loneliness.

Can they learn to overcome life’s struggles and tragedies? Can they find each other and battle teen awkwardness together?

This is the first title in the Better Together series. In the introduction, we hear how this book was inspired by the author’s daughter who has epilepsy.

The story begins by introducing us to Amber, a teenager who suffers with epilepsy. She lives with her parents and elder brother Mase. Life is a struggle as the seizures exhaust her. Can the new doctor help her? Why has he given her a rock?

Then in chapter 2 we meet Missy who is going through a really bad time. She hates her absent father who she blames for her brother Frankie’s death. She has a lot on her shoulders for someone so young having to shop and cook, as her mother is too depressed to even communicate with Missy.

The chapters alternate between Amber and Missy, sensitively written drawing you into their lonely worlds. Hospital for Amber, counselling for Missy.

What will happen when their lives collide?

Being is Better is available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle format. An amazing emotional story of true friendship.

About the Author
Somewhat of a late blooming author, Marjorie “Marji” Jackson wrote her Better Together Duology in her fifties. In addition to being a devoted wife and mother, she was a passionate crafter and volunteer.

She lived with her family in beautiful, rural Colorado amongst the deer and the antelope, before succumbing to a rare breast cancer in January 2021, which she had fought for two years with grace.

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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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Crusade by Elizabeth Laird – book review

My latest personal choice of read, rather than a requested book review is Crusade by Elizabeth Laird. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Crusade by Elizabeth Laird

Here is the book blurb.

Two boys. Two faiths. One unholy war . . .

When Adam’s mother dies unconfessed, he pledges to save her soul with dust from the Holy Land. Employed as a dog-boy for the local knight, Adam grabs the chance to join the Crusade to reclaim Jerusalem. He burns with determination to strike down the infidel enemy . . .

Salim, a merchant’s son, is leading an uneventful life in the port of Acre – until news arrives that a Crusader attack is imminent. To keep Salim safe, his father buys him an apprenticeship with an esteemed, travelling doctor. But Salim’s employment leads him to the heart of Sultan Saladin’s camp – and into battle against the barbaric and unholy invaders . . .

This adventure story is set about 1000 years ago in the times of the Crusaders.

Chapters alternate between the stories of two boys starting with 13 year old Salim, a Muslim boy in Acre. He is upset because his father is sending him away from home to be apprenticed to Jewish Dr Musa, as the Frankish army is expected to arrive imminently. The plan is to travel to Damascus, but instead they end up in Saladin’s camp, outside the walls of Acre.

In chapter two we are introduced to 14 year old English peasant boy Adam on the day his mother is buried. He is saved from destitution by Lord Guy, who employs him to help look after his hounds. But Adam also wants to save his mother’s soul, as she died unconfessed. He needs dust from Jerusalem, so he leaps at the chance to go too when Lord Guy joins the Holy Crusade.

We follow the tales of the two boys until eventually their paths cross.

Crusade is an excellent book, targeted at YA readers from about age 11+. A great historical read.

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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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