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Review: ‘The Felix Chronicles: Freshmen’ by R.T Lowe

Genre: Urban / Fantasy
Length: 500 pages (approx.)

I have awarded this book 4 stars.

Synopsis: Reeling from a terrible accident that claimed the lives of his parents, Felix arrives at Portland College hoping only to survive the experience. In time, however, his reality star roommate shows him there is more to higher education than just classes, shared bathrooms and bad dorm food, and Felix gradually dares to believe he can put his past behind him. But a fateful storm looms on the horizon: In the nearby woods, two hikers become the latest victims in a series of gruesome murders; a disfigured giant embarks on a vicious cross-country rampage, killing teenagers who fail his ‘test’; and an ancient society of assassins tasked with eradicating the wielders of a mysterious source of power awakens after a long silence. Only one man–the school’s groundskeeper–knows that the seemingly unrelated events are connected, and that an eighteen-year-old boy stands in the center of the storm.

Review: I have not read a book by this author before, but I am glad that I did. This is definitely a promising start to the series!

To begin with, I found this book a little difficult to get into and a bit confusing. I’m not sure if this is because I don’t usually read this genre, but I found the prologue and it’s relevance a little confusing. However, when I started getting into the main part of the book, the prologue started to make sense and I found myself really enjoying the story. I was also finding it quite difficult to put down! R.T Lowe’s writing style flowed nicely and I found it very engaging.

This book is very fast-paced and interesting, with a great plot and likeable characters. I really enjoyed the way that Lowe wove the past and the present together.

I liked the character of Felix, and found him well-developed, if a little quirky. However, in terms of interest, I felt myself leaning more towards his best friend, Allison, who was loyal, fun and strong. I also loved the character of ‘The Faceman’, who really creeped me out! I’d love to see more of him! Maybe his own spin-off book?

The reason that I have given this book four stars instead of five is the way that the author sometimes included information that felt irrelevant, especially in terms of descriptions. While this wasn’t a big issue for me, it did impact on my enjoyment a little and I often felt that the book could be shortened by removing these unneeded pieces of information. I also felt that some scenes either happened to fast for me to follow properly or jumped around a little too much, meaning that I had to go back and re-read sections.

I felt a little disappointed when the book ended as I was just starting to get proper answers, so the ending felt a little abrupt. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, though! R.T Lowe has written a complex and puzzling story which I’m eager to learn more about! Very highly recommended.

★★★★ – A brilliant start to the series. Complex and puzzling, I found this book impossible to put down. The prologue was confusing to begin with and I sometimes felt that the author included irrelevant information and the story jumped around a lot in parts. Eager to read more! Highly recommended!

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)
Amazon UK (Paperback)
Amazon US (Paperback)

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Review: ‘Spearwood Academy: Volume 1’ by A. S Oren

Genre: Fantasy / Young Adult (YA) 
Length: 140 pages (approx.)

I have awarded this volume 2 stars.

Summary: Avalon Clementine, the first female of her kind, is painfully cursed to turn into her dragon form every night.
When her adoptive father, Edgar, is contacted by a school in Tibet claiming to have others of her kind enrolled there, though not female, Avalon jumps at the chance to find the answers that she has been seeking.

Review: This is the first piece of work that I have read by this author. I got this while it was free after seeing numerous bloggers rave about it and all of the amazing reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Unfortunately, I just didn’t feel the same way about it.  

The concept was brilliant; I haven’t come across many books where the characters turn into dragons. I couldn’t wait to get started! I also thought that the detail that Oren went into about Avalon’s change was brilliant. I just wish that the same detail was applied to the rest of the book.

For a collection of ‘episodes’, it is quite short and therefore missing depth, and there were a few typing and formatting errors (which I’d usually be fine with, but this collection is so short that it bothered me). Also, there wasn’t nearly enough background information or detail to make the world that Oren had created feel believable, and the characters often blended together. There are constant references to other works, such as Harry Potter and Doctor Who, which made me feel that the author was using these references instead of having to give details.

I found the writing to be a little simplistic at times and didn’t feel that it suited the characters or the world that Oren had created; in a world where everyone is incredibly gifted, the simplistic way that they spoke or acted really didn’t work for me.  As well as this, all of the male characters seemed to accept Avalon instantly; while I would expect a fair bit of interest, as she’s the only female with the same abilities as them and the only female in the school, I would also expect a degree of caution or for them to want to test her or shun her once the interest had died down. I was also left very confused about the encounter with the ‘Royal’ as there was no explanation at all.

For a lot of the volume, not much happens and i often found myself drifting. Also, the phone calls between Avalon and Edgar, her adoptive father, felt very much like an afterthought and very abrupt. By the end of the volume, the reader is still left knowing no more really than when the story started. While I understand that cliffhangers make the reader purchase the next instalment, there was no attempt at giving answers, which made me feel disappointed rather than excited to read the next instalment.

★★ – an interesting concept, but simplistic writing and no answers given. I don’t think that I will be progressing with this series, unfortunately.

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)

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Review: ‘The Man from U.N.D.E.A.D – Frights and Fireworks’ by Darren Humphries

Genre: Fantasy / Humour / Satire
Length: 70 pages (approx.)

I have given this collection 5 stars.

Summary: This is a collection of two short stories from The Man from U.N.D.E.A.D series, featuring Agent Ward. The first, titled THE HAUNTING OF THE MAN FROM U.N.D.E.A.D, is a Halloween adventure that involves Agent Ward visiting Hillock House, which is apparently haunted. The second, titled REMEMBER, REMEMBER, THE MAN FROM U.N.D.E.A.D.’s NOVEMBER, involves Agent Ward trying to save London (in particular, Parliament!).

Review: I have read work by Darren Humphries before, but nothing from the Man from U.N.D.E.A.D series. Having read The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Doomsday Tour,  I was expecting these stories to be along the same lines – funny but strange. I wasn’t disappointed! I really enjoyed reading these two short stories and thought they were very cleverly written. I will definitely be reading more from the series!

★★★★★ – Funny, strange and cleverly written. A perfect Halloween / Bonfire night read! Highly recommended.

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)

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Review: ‘Crossfire’ by Andrea Domanski

Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Paranormal
Length: 280 pages (approx.)

I have awarded this book 3 stars.

Summary: Mirissa Colson hasn’t seen her mum since she walked out on her and her father. So, when her mum sends her a birthday present on her eighteenth birthday, she is, understandably, confused. However, she wasn’t prepared for this present to turn her life upside down. Thrown into a world that most people think exists only in stories, Mirissa quickly has to learn how to defend herself. What is this family secret? Why did her mum leave? Who does she have to fight?

Review: I found this book to be a largely enjoyable read. There was plenty of action and the plot was interesting. I enjoyed reading about the world that Mirissa had been thrown into. I also found Mirissa’s father, Steve, to be a greatly lovable character. However, I felt that the main character, Mirissa, was too accepting of the situations she found herself in. As this book is the first book in the Omega Group series, the story was, for the most part, set up well.  Also, I felt that some things could have been explained better. I did think that the writing flowed nicely, though, so I would recommend this book.

★★★ – an interesting idea that I found largely enjoyable to read. I found the main character to be too accepting of situations and thought some things could have been explained a little more. The writing flowed nicely, so I would still recommend it.

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)

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Review: ‘Elemental Cascade’ by David Staniforth

Genre: Fantasy.
Length: 315 pages.

I have awarded this book 5 stars.

Summary: This book is the final instalment in the Fuel to the Fire series. In this book, Davran not only has to face her biggest and most dangerous enemy yet (which, by the way, is the most disgusting character I have ever read about), she also has to witness the prophecy, which names her Fuel to the Fire, come true. Will she survive? Will she be able to protect her friends and family? Will she defeat her biggest enemy? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Review: Wow. What an end to the trilogy! Beautifully written and very descriptive, Staniforth, as in the previous two books, transports the reader to the wonderful (and the not so wonderful) places that Davran visits, effortlessly.  The places that Davran visits, particularly the Onktor Valley, really came to life on the page and made me feel like I was experiencing it for myself. I found this book impossible to put this book down as I wanted to continue my journey with Davran and her friends and family.

We really see Davran grow as a person in this book. At just 16 years old, the fate of the world and all that she loves rests on her shoulders. Despite this burden, Davran remains a strong female character that is loyal to her friends and family, but willing to do the right thing, no matter how difficult. I really felt like I was taking the journey with her; I was happy when she was, sad when she was, and fearful when she was.

I also loved that my favourite characters (particularly Khalil!),as well as some new faces, appeared again. Every character in this book is beautifully constructed and believable; yes, they have flaws, but it makes them seem real. Avoiding spoilers, there was one event with Ronyn that had me screaming at the book and wanting to hunt down the author, but after further reading (that involved staying up wayyy too late), that event was resolved.

Without giving too much away, I thought that the ending was extremely fitting, and a perfect place to say goodbye to my favourite characters. While Davran lived in a world that I would definitely not want to be a part of, I really felt that I knew her and the other characters. I’ve been with her when she had to dress as a boy to survive, I’ve been with her as she faced up against Saurian, I’ve been with her as she fell in love, and I’ve been with her as the prophecy finally unravels. If I’m honest, I am sad that my time with this series is over.

★★★★★ – An extremely fitting end to a beautifully written trilogy. Descriptive with believable characters, I cannot recommend this trilogy highly enough. 

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)

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Review: ‘Ruler’s Desire’ by David Staniforth

FttF2 front small rgbLength: 154 pages
Genre: Fantasy / Young Adult

I have awarded this book 5 stars.

Summary: In the second instalment in the Fuel to the Fire series, Davran returns to her world, along with Ronyn, in an attempt to overthrow the evil ruler, Saurian and save her world, while fulfilling the prophecy. Davran and Ronyn accept that this may mean their death, but continue anyway. Davran only has one wish – to die as herself, without the disguise that she had been wearing her whole life. Will Ronyn and Davran succeed? What will the prophecy bring about?

Review: Wow, there is so much that I want to say about this book, it’s difficult to know where to start! Just like Fuel to the Fire, this book was really well written, with believable and well rounded characters, but just… wow!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, even more so than the first! We really see Davran find herself in this book, which was lovely. Rather than accepting the prophecy as it is, she takes control of it (I wont spoil it, but there is one moment in particular that had me cheering her on). I also enjoyed the interactions she had with Ronyn in this book; one scene was particularly heart felt and beautifully written. It was great to see my favourite characters again, though I didn’t realise when reading the first book just how small Khalil is! We were told of him fitting in Davran’s bag, but he is so much smaller than I imagined!

The descriptions in Ruler’s Desire were really well written, creating a vivid picture in my mind (sometimes too vivid!) which really brought the story to life. I felt like I was learning about everything right alongside Davran, which made me cheer her on and feel sorry for her. I was desperate to know what was going to happen next, and found it impossible to put the book down. Every time I thought I knew what was going to happen, I was proven wrong. The ending is proof of that! It really blew me away. Not only did I not see it coming, but it explained so much! It was very clever.

I can’t wait to read the final book! However, while I am dying to know what happens, I am sad to no longer be apart of the world that David Staniforth has created (though I am very glad that I am not literally living in Davran’s world!). I would definitely recommend this book!

★★★★★ – Well written, believable characters and vivid descriptions. Impossible to put down! Very highly recommended. 

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)

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Review: ‘Fuel to the Fire’ by David Staniforth

Genre: Fantasy.
Length: 166 pages.

I have awarded this book 5 stars.

Summary: This is the first instalment in the ‘Fuel to the Fire’ series. Fuel to the Fire belongs to the fantasy genre, and tells the story of Davran, a 15 year old girl who has spent her life pretending to be a boy, in an attempt to avoid becoming a sexual toy to a ruler interested in torture. Having been transported into another world, she quickly finds herself living as part of a family, who used to be dragon trainers, but are now millers. It is up to Davran, with the help of this new family, to prevent evil from taking over not only the world they are in, but Davran’s world as well.

Review: I actually read this when I was staying overnight in hospital, and it definitely kept me entertained! Written in a very engaging way, something that this author seems to have a knack for, with some good descriptions, I found it quite difficult to put down (I wanted to tell the nurses and doctors to leave me alone because my book was just too gripping!). I loved how the author introduced us to a lot of information, without it feeling overwhelming, and left no stone unturned. While the story did switch between different perspectives, I did not find this at all difficult to follow, and thought it was a very effective way of introducing the reader to new information.

Davran was a beautifully crafted character. From the very start of the book, it was extremely difficult not to feel sorry for her. I loved how the character grew throughout the book, and the innocent way she saw the world only added to this need to protect her. The interactions between her and Ronyn were also really well written, and were a beautiful addition to the new way that Davran was seeing the world. I found that as well as the characters that it was impossible not to love, there were also characters that made me want to jump into the book and deal with them myself!

★★★★★ – Really creative and engaging fantasy novel. Beautifully written characters and hard to put down. Highly recommended!

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)