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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

THE NOVICE (SUMMONER Book 1)


The Novice by Taran Matharu
Book 1 of the Summoner series
Read by Dominic Thorburn
Genre: epic fantasy
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook


About The Novice:
When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.
Source: Info in the About The Novice was taken from GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22297138-the-novice on 13/02/2017.

Ignatius
My Thoughts:
This book is a very slow start for me. I wanted to read this book because I like the premise. I also like the cover art, it entices me to read, however, once I start reading it I find myself needing breaks from it so I put it down and then pick it up again on a later date. Another contributing factor for this book being a slow start is reading about the bully. I just get so angry that I just have to have a break from it. If I was Fletcher, I would have shot Didric a long time ago... several times... However, once it got going it went relatively quick for me.

This is the first Dominic Thorburn book I've ever listened to and I like the way he reads. I specially like his interpretation of the Orc incantation! However, I don't know why he would give the Dwarves a Scottish accent though...

Ignatius quickly became my favouritest sidekick right from the start. He is the red Salamander with the arrowhead-tipped tail!

I like the story telling quality of this book. Although the genre is very congested with "coming of age" epic fantasies which is what this book is, the author still managed to stand out from the crowd. Kudos to Taran Matharu!

But here is the kicker, it ended with a huge cliffhanger which did not endear this series to me at all!

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4.5
Character development = 4.5
Story itself = 3.5
Writing Style = 4
Ending = 2
World building = 4.5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 3
Plot = 4
Narration = 4

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 cherries


Other Books In The Summoner Series
Summoner 0.5: ORIGINSSummoner 0.6: A FINE WELCOME: OTHELLO'S JOURNEYSummoner 1: THE NOVICESummoner 2: THE INQUISITIONSummoner 3: THE BATTLEMAGE

The Author
Taran Matharu
Taran Matharu is a New York Times bestselling author. He was born in London in 1990 and found a passion for reading at a very early age. His love for stories developed into a desire to create his own during early adolescence, beginning his first book at 9 years old.

Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013.

Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’.

Thanks to Wattpad.com and updating daily, its popularity dramatically increased, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months.

After being featured by NBC News, Taran decided to launch his professional writing career and has never looked back.

His SUMMONER series is published by Hodder Children’s (Hachette) in the UK, Australia and Commonwealth, Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) in the US and Canada, Hachette Jeunesse in France, Heyne in Germany, Planeta in Spain, Crown in Taiwan, Record in Brazil, EKSMO in Russia, Jaguar in Poland, Ecliptic in Bulgaria, Alpress in the Czech Republic, Ithaki in Turkey and Unieboek in the Netherlands.



FTC Disclosure:
This book was purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

ECHOES IN DEATH


ECHOES IN DEATH by JD Robb
Echoes In Death by JD Robb
Book 44 of the In Death series
Narrated by Susan Ericksen
Genre: scifi crime fiction
Format: ebook & audiobookAudible Books


About Echoes In Death:
This chilling new suspense novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb is the perfect entry point into the compelling In Death police procedural series featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”...

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked, this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:

What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?
Source: Info in the "About Echoes In Death" was taken from GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31384635-echoes-in-death on 10/02/2017.

BROTHERHOOD IN DEATH by JD Robb audiobook
My Thoughts:
By now, Susan Ericksen's voice is firmly entrenched in my head as Eve Dallas' voice, just as Johanna Parker's is Sookie Stackhouse's. Flaws and all. So it no longer matter what previous dislikes I might have for the narration, it is all good now.

The plot is just a little on the side of fantastical rather than crime fiction this time. Or maybe it has always been like that and this is just the first time that I really let myself see it. I do have the tendency to want to keep my fantasy bubble and be obstinately blind. Or maybe I am becoming less enamoured by this series and start getting cynical (I hope not). Anyway, it is still a flipping good read.


Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 4
Writing Style = 5
Ending = 5
World building = 5
Cover art = 4
Pace = (13 hrs & 43 mins listening time)
Plot = 4.5
Narration = 4

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 cherries



FTC Disclosure:
Ebook and audiobook copies of the book were purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

DAWN OF WONDER: THE WAKENING


Dawn Of Wonder: The Awakening by Jonathan Renshaw
Book 1 of The Wakening series
Read by Tim Gerard Reynolds
Genre: epic fantasy
Format: ebook & audiobook


About Dawn Of Wonder: The Wakening:
When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer with veins full of fire and a head full of ideas, this officer is not what he seems.

The events that follow propel Aedan on a journey that only the foolhardy or desperate would risk, leading him to the gates of the nation’s royal academy – a whole world of secrets in itself.

But this is only the beginning of his discoveries. Something is stirring in the land, something more ominous than the rising threat of hostile nations. Fearful travellers whisper of an ancient power breathing over Thirna, changing it, waking it. In the very heart of these stirrings, Aedan encounters that which defies belief, leaving him speechless with terror – and wonder.
Source: Info in the About Dawn Of Wonder: The Wakening was taken from GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25451852-dawn-of-wonder on 06/02/2017.

My Thoughts:
This is a fantastic epic fantasy! And maybe the most that I have come across in a long time. I couldn't wait to read book2! Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be coming soon. Maybe in a few years time. I hope it is still coming though... Anyway, Jonathan Renshaw gained a new fan in me with this book!

This is the first time I have ever listened to Tim Gerard Reynolds and I'm not a fan of his reading style. Maybe it'll grow on me with book 2... maybe. Anyway, I consequently and mostly "read" this book as oppose to "listen" to it. I feel that reading it is more satisfying than listening to it.

And on to my nitpicking issues: I am just glad that the author did not call the being in the lightning a "god" but the "Ancient" instead, because it was just a little bit overdramatic already as it was. But other than that, I really love the story!

But here is the bummer, it ends in a cliffhanger :( And this is primarily the reason why this book gained a 4.5 rating instead of a 5. Otherwise, I would have given this book a 6.

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4.5
Character development = 4.5
Story itself = 5
Writing Style = 4.5
Ending = 3.5
World building = 5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 4.5
Plot = 4.5
Narration = 3

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 cherries


The Author
Jonathan Renshaw author pic
Jonathan Renshaw is a former high school English teacher and music producer who now writes full time. He is currently working on the epic fantasy series, The Wakening, launched in May 2015. Connect with him at www.jrenshaw.com.
www.jorenshaw.com | facebook | twitter | goodreads | amazon | google+


FTC Disclosure:
This book was purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

THE HARVESTING by Melanie Karsak


THE HARVESTING by Melanie Karsak
The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak
Book 1 of The Harvesting series
Read by Kristin James
Genre: urban fantasy | zombie apocalyptic
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook


About The Harvesting:
It's all fun and games until someone ends up undead.

Layla Petrovich has spent her whole life running away from her hometown of Hamletville. Raised by the town's medium, and dubbed the "weird" girl for her fascination with swords, the last thing Layla wants is to go home.

But when she receives a desperate call to return just as a mysterious outbreak sweeps the country, Layla's instincts urge her to go. Good thing, because the dead are rising.

Layla, however, isn't entirely on her own. With her psychic powers growing, surely everything will turn out okay, right?

Not so fast. Just when Layla believes she might survive the apocalypse, a sinister and ancient force rises from the shadows to finish mankind for good.

Because the truth is, we were never alone in this world.
Source: Info in the About The Harvesting was taken from GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31675361-the-harvesting on 05/02/2017.

THE HARVESTING by Melanie Karsak audiobook
My Thoughts:
Zombie apocalypse. The theme been around the block a few times. Despite being in a congested genre this book managed to be an enjoyable read.

The first thing that attracted me to this book is the kick-ass cover. However it seems too dark though that the beautiful details are lost in the darkness. That is a shame! But, it still did it's job as a marketing tool... it attracted a reader. It lured me in.

This book is a slow start for me. But once it got going, it picked up the pace. So worth it , plodding through, the first volley.

The best thing about this book though is the world building. It stays with you long after you have read the book. That, to me is a great kudos!

I have a tiny, tiny issue with the "details" though. For a knowable kick-ass heroine, Layla never cleaned her sword! I mean we all know that if you slice something with a knife in the kitchen, the knife always retain a little bit of a debris from whatever it is you are slicing. But the narrative never mentioned her cleaning her weapons. Once, it mentioned that Jamie cleaned her knife for her before handing it back to her but Layla never did. However I like to keep my fantasy, so I did what any prudent fantasy reader does, I added it to the story in my head whether or not it is in book. It just makes the character of Layla a bit more real to me.

This is the first time that I have listened to a Kristin James audiobook. And it was interesting. I like her reading style even though I disagree with a point or two with her interpretation. Lovely narration!

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4
Character development = 4
Story itself = 4
Writing Style = 4.5
Ending = 3.5
World building = 5
Cover art = 4
Pace = 4
Plot = 3.5
Narration = 4

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 cherries


Other Books In The Harvesting series:
Book 1.5: MIDWAY   Book 2: THE SHADOW ASPECT   Book 2.5: WITCH WOOD   Book 3: THE TORN WORLD

The Author
Melanie Karsak author pic
Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, and The Celtic Blood Series. A steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.
www.melaniekarsak.com | facebook | facebook author page | twitter | goodreads | amazon | instagram | pinterest | google+


The Narrator
Kirstin James
Kristin James aka Candace Pauline Camp was born on May 23, 1949 in Amarillo, Texas, U.S.A.. The youngest of three children born into a newspaper family -- her mother, Lula Mae (Irons) Camp, had been a reporter and her father, Grady Camp, was the business manager of the Amarillo, Texas, newspaper -- some of Candace's earliest memories are of making up stories which she played out on the floor of their den with whatever objects were handy. She cannot remember a time when she was not interested in creating stories. She began writing down her stories when she was about 10, and from then on writing was her favorite form of relaxation. Explains Candace: "I was always very shy and did not talk much. However, in written form, I could express all my thoughts and feelings."

Writing remained only a hobby, though, as Candace attended college at the University of Texas at Austin and West Texas State University, then became a secondary teacher in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. She later moved to North Carolina, where she worked in the trust department of a bank. It was there that she discovered the romance novel in modern form and started to write her first romance. She also began law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and while she was there, she finished her first novel, entitled Bonds of Love, that was published by Jove Publishing in 1978, under the pseudonym Lisa Gregory. Candace credits the rigorous training of law school with teaching her the discipline necessary to finish a book. She gave up the practice of law to devote her time to writing. Two pseudonyms later (Kristin James and Sharon Stephens), Candace writes under her own name Candace Camp -- and still loves creating stories.

Candace is married since 1980 with Pete Hopcus, and they had a daughter Anastasia Hopcus in 1982, who had started on her own career path in the field of acting and now also writes young adult novels.



FTC Disclosure:
This book was purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

 
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