Angel Leya

Author, Blogger, Dreamer

The Last Trollid (The Sunset of Magic #1)

The Last Trollid (The Sunset of Magic #1) - Alistair Potter We join a group of individuals as they set out for the battlefield from one sector of the kingdom in the wake of a new enemy. The lizard-like beings with blood red eyes are fierce and ruthless, and after a firm routing sends the troops into retreat, they seem to have the upper hand.

But these enemies aren’t exactly new to this world, and as our group breaks apart from the main forces for various reasons, they find a world of history long forgotten. Now they must preserve and defend this knowledge in order to save their world.

I thought the story was interesting. I loved all the different characters and the rich history. I loved that Bort was more than he seemed, and played a much larger role in the overall story than the beginning would suggest.

There were only two things that hindered my enjoyment. The first was that we start as the troops are marching into battle. I think a step earlier would have been appropriate. A little more of their normal life, a little more of their interactions and such, would have helped me gain greater sympathy for the characters going into the story. Just a step before all the rallying is all it would have taken, I believe.

The second is that two characters chose to ignore obvious signs based on their own stubborn need to cling to their beliefs. While one character doing so would have been understandable, if perhaps a tad annoying, two characters doing the same thing over the same subject seemed a bit much. I would have liked to see the full spectrum of reactions to the same thing, as I think that would have been more appropriate for the different characters and their personalities.

But those problems are small in the overall scope of the story. I thought it was a fun fantasy, and I can sense the depths that the whole series will take readers to. A solid book one in The Sunset of Magic series, and an enjoyable read for those who love a bit of sword and sorcery in a fantasy world.

The Marriage of Gryphons

The Marriage of Gryphons - Chrys Cymri Penny White is at it again. Her longing for full-time vicarage in Daear makes life on Earth seem dull. Fortunately, some opportunities to spend more time over there are the perfect opportunity to continue to explore and revel in this world where fantasy creatures exist.

But her handsome dragon friend, Raven, is missing, and her associate's marriage proposal comes with a great many challenges to overcome. With so much fracturing around her, can she keep her loved ones safe? And what of her own heart?

The action in this novel is amazing. Penny goes on some rather dangerous journeys, and finds some surprises along the way. Her snail shark, Clyde, takes on a new and interesting dimension, the dragon, Raven, has to struggle through some issues presented by [b:The Cult of Unicorns|33253585|The Cult of Unicorns (Penny White #2)|Chrys Cymri||53972318] (Penny White Book 2), her brother, James, won't be allowed to stay comfortable, and things between Penny and Peter are getting serious.

But the struggle is real. I found my heart diving and soaring along with Penny as she dives deeper into the world of Daear and finds herself facing some rather uncomfortable truths.

I received a free ARC copy of the book with no obligation to review. This is my honest opinion.

A Gathering of Dwarfs: Dead Dragons Gold - Book 1

A Gathering of Dwarfs: Dead Dragons Gold - Book 1 - Ben Hammott In A Gathering of Dwarfs, Snow White's seven dwarves--having fulfilled their duty to keep her safe until she had awaken and cursed the Evil Queen to do no harm--disband to set off on their own adventures.

Meanwhile, Kane, a young man with a taste for adventure and an idea to make himself wildly rich, becomes entangled in the story as the dwarves are called to a meeting place, one by one. It's a tale of hijinx and adventure, where the characters are far from pure and wholesome and their motives are just as muddy.

There were a few things I enjoyed. I thought it was an interesting take on the tale, showing the dwarves and Crudith (the Evil Queen) after Snow White. We find each of the dwarves mid-adventure, taking on pygmies and demons and sorcerers. I liked how the stories of the dwarves were woven in with the story of Kane and his quest, and how that all tied together. And I also felt the world was well built and vivid, and the characters unique.

There were a few things that didn't work for me. Like the prologue, which details Snow White's rescue by Prince Charming. I love my fairy tales, but this was so irreverent to the original that I was borderline offended. Charming was crude and unappealing, the focus on the females in the scene were all about sex appeal, and apparently, Charming's awful behavior could be forgotten with a single kiss. And Snow White willingly pranced off with that. Oh yeah, and it's implied that most of the dwarves had fondled Snow White at one point or another. Just ugh.

There were a few more typos and mistakes than I prefer to see - the one on the first page sets a sort of precedent for the entire novel ("Evident from the sword held ready to strike and the cautious manner in which the owner of the horse approaches the cottage, is he suspects danger may lie in wait for him.").

Those issues aside, we delve into the main plot, which is far more entertaining and far less offensive. Still, I had difficulty fully enjoying the story.

The humor is the crude kind (though not so much in language as in body humor and such), which always fails to amuse me.

The author tends to favor backing into sentences, as well as long and winding thoughts. A few more periods and a little more getting to the point would have greatly improved the experience.
(i.e. "Except for the barking of a small pack of dogs roaming the streets looking for scraps of food dropped or discarded by the stallholders from the market held in the town square earlier, I neither hear or glimpse any other sign of life. The dimness of the night and my dark grey clothing, chosen to blend in with the similar coloured stonework I climb, renders me almost invisible to anyone who might raise their eyes towards the tower.")

There was a minor inconsistency, in which Kane is promised a new face by a magic mirror, but never appears to have received it.

I think there are those who will enjoy this story, and it's well enough written, for the most part. Unfortunately, it wasn't a good fit for me. A shame, too, because the story held so many appealing elements.

The Island Deception

The Island Deception - Dan Koboldt Quinn's back in the real world, with an incredible opportunity on the Vegas Strip he's long strived for. But even the glimmer of Vegas lights can't compare to what he's experienced in Alissia.

When Case Global asks him to return, he practically jumps at the chance. Because Alissia holds magic--real magic. But the mission holds many dangers, and Case Global is playing their cards close to the chest. There's more at stake than ever, both for the company's team, and for the Alissian people.

I found the dive back into the story a little slow. The opening scene lacked some of the pizazz I've come to expect from Quinn, but once we dip into Alissia, the fun is on. The stakes are much higher this time, and the mood is decidedly more serious. Relationships delve deeper, and a series of mysteries and secrets pulls you along in a race for the finish, that, while leaving you satisfied, also leaves a slaking thirst for the next book.

I have to say, the author is excellent at creating stunning worlds. He paints the culture in such broad and vibrant strokes, and the many nuances that makes each region unique, and the people that inhabit each area just as varied.

And the magic. I yelled at Quinn a few times for being such a cheater at times. But he pulls through in the end, like always. A true illusionist and man of charisma.

If you loved [b:The Rogue Retrieval|28595063|The Rogue Retrieval (Gateways to Alissia, #1)|Dan Koboldt||45843275], you'll want to continue the journey in the Island of Deception. The anticipation is on for book 3 of the Gateways to Alissia trilogy. I can hardly wait to see how the author paints his way out of this corner. :)

The Syndicate (Timewaves Book 1)

The Syndicate (Timewaves Book 1) - Sophie  Davis Holy freaking cow!

Stassi is incredibly grateful for the life she lives with the Syndicate--a time travel artifact procurement company--but she still wonders about her parents. A picture with a woman wearing her necklace points her to 1920's Paris, and when an assignment for that period turns up, she jumps on the chance. But this job, while more detail-oriented than others she's taken (stealing an unpublished manuscript from a famous and paranoid writer), has a lot more going on than she expected. Time has a hiccup, and she finds that her and her partners' lives are in danger--as well as the present time they left behind.

Oh, my goodness. Where do I start?

Let's talk about mystery. As if stealing a manuscript and trying to find more about the family you don't remember and the locket they left behind wasn't enough, there's danger on the loose in Paris that doesn't match up to the timeline. Pile on a healthy dose of romance and a load of Paris 1920's glamour, and a goofy partner that is equal parts entertaining and heartwarming, and you have a story that is equal parts entertaining and engrossing. I didn't want to put it down, and I find myself still thinking about it and wondering what all the future of the series has in store.

This book goes on my must-read-the-whole-series list, which I only reserve for the absolute best stories. If I could give this book 10 stars, I would. Seriously, it is THAT GOOD!!!


Gazore! - William Hallewell Gremlins meets Build-A-Bear in this whimsical tale of two teens taking care of younger kids who both want to build creatures at the new store at the mall. As you might expect, everything goes awry.

I felt the narrative had a lot of voice, which was engaging at first. And the concept was certainly interesting. While written and edited decently, there were several things that I felt weren't very strong.

The book switched from narrative to prose, which kind of created a bit of whiplash for me. I found myself trying to read the narrative parts in verse, and the rhyming followed me even when I put the book down.

The book switched between three different view points, from Doug to Elly to Stan. While the voices change some between the characters, the overall switch between poems and narrative stuck through each voice, which made them all seem more alike than different. Also, it tended to backtrack each time it changed view point, so you basically got the entire story about 2-3 times by the time you were finished. Yes, some of the information was different, but not enough most of the time to warrant a complete backtrack, in my opinion.

At one point the teenagers leave the youngsters to help with a disastrous situation, but they leave them with no guidance, and no worry about their safety, which (as a mother) I found upsetting.

Stan is a rather different view point, being from a government agency, and he does interviews of the owners of the different creatures involved in the story. Here, again, the interviews seemed to be of roughly the same type of person. Over and over we see stupid, distracted, and basically exasperating individuals testing Stan's patience (mostly in verse).

Finally, I was frustrated by the ending. Doug assures us the entire way through the book that we'll get all of our answers, but at the end I didn't really feel satisfied with what I found out. And the final scene just served to frustrate me more, as it seemed to undo pretty much everything the book had just done (not like a dream sequence or anything like that, but still a bit disappointing, in my opinion).

It's a shame, because it had an interesting start, and if executed differently, I think the plot could have been stellar, but it just didn't end up being my cup of tea.

I received this book for free with no obligation to review. This is my honest opinion.

The Bennett Series (Books #1-3)

The Bennett Series (Books #1-3) - Olivia Folmar Ard I've read all of these books separately, and am thrilled to see them in a box set with such a cute cover! The stories are heartwarming contemporary tales about the lives of three women whose separate lives intertwine throughout the books. Each young woman faces her own heartbreaking dilemma, and their stories center around the college town of Bennett. Each story will challenge you in ways you never thought possible through fiction, and I even found one akin to a therapy session without the awkward, "and how do you feel about that?"

A lovely series that's well worth your time.

Shining Ones: Legacy of the Sidhe

Shining Ones: Legacy of the Sidhe - Sanna Hines One girl's disappearance sends a group of people on a journey to save the secret Dannan world from being destroyed. The Irish legends are true, and the Dannan, a race of super beings have powers untold, but their ancient enemies, the Formorians, are trying to break their cycle of renewal and bring the world into the order they so crave.

I loved the premise. When I started reading, I got excited, recognizing the Tuatha de Dannan from another book loosely based on their legends ([book:Shearwater|28628533] by [author:Derek Murphy|4590842]). What starts as a search and rescue party turns into a quest to save Dannan-kind, and quickly escalates the stakes as they're swept from America to Ireland.

I love the feel of the book (one complaint I had of Shearwater was that it was set in Ireland but it didn't feel like any of the characters were Irish). There are plenty of colorful characters to fill the pages, and the way the stories intertwine is quite interesting.

I ended up with the 4-star review because I couldn't put my full excitement behind the book. Between the vast cast of characters, each with two or three names apiece (or so it seemed), and the intense legendary reliance, I got lost a few times along the way. I kept going, "who?" and "what happened?". While the main story line was relatively straightforward, I found those extra elements a little much for my poor sleep-addled brain to process.

That being said, I do recommend the book, and think others should give it a try. It's a good story line with a lot of intrigue, a splash of romance, and plenty of mystery to uncover.

2446-89: Stassi's Diary

2446-89: Stassi's Diary - Sophie  Davis In a dystopic future, orphan Stassi (2446-89 as designated by the state) has just turned 17 and is finally eligible for work. Not highly educated and with few prospects, her only determination is to make it off the state-run orphan camp and try to make something of her life. Except the day is interrupted by someone very different and very important, and things just may be looking up - if she can find a way to gain the attention of an employer she knows nothing about.

This is an engaging beginning to the series, and I enjoyed it so much, when I got to the free book link for the next in the series, I went ahead and snagged it. And the next book gets even better. This particular novella is a bit of a Cinderella story as Stassi fights her way out of a bad situation.

So get this book, try it out, and see if you're not pulled into the next book. I dare you. :)

The Rising (Supernaturals Book 1)

The Rising (Supernaturals Book 1) - Ryan Troske Ethan's life is pretty normal until an accident one night nearly kills him - but also gives him incredible powers. With his powers taking over his life and putting everyone in danger, he fears he needs help controlling them, but where would that help come from? It ends up coming from an unlikely source, who pulls him into a world of supernaturals that he never knew existed.

It's an exciting first part of the series that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I loved the voice of the book (save for the very beginning, which initially broke the wall between narrator and audience in a way that I just didn't think was engaging enough, and the voice seemed older, not really belonging to a 16-year-old, until about halfway through, though that may be because he announced that he was 16).

The romance aspect was sweet, and Ethan was kind of adorably oblivious to the trail of broken hearts he seemed to leave behind. I'll be interested to see how the author develops that further throughout the series.

The supernatural powers are awesome! It was interesting, though that Ethan seemed to be the only one that ever struggled with control (likely because of the chunk of metal still stuck in his brain from the accident).

My biggest complaints were that the action scenes were hard to follow with all the names (each time we meet a group of people, there's about 6-12 of them, all named and unique, and thereafter they're only referred to by name. We go through about 3 groups of names, so you can imagine trying to figure out who is who and which side everyone is on.).

My other problem with the story was Donovan's role. I'm pretty sure I know how he fits into the story, but why the adults in the situation wouldn't explain his relation (refusing to use it to manipulate or warn) seemed like an oversight. I understand why the author would want to drag out that mystery, but it didn't really make sense for the story, in my opinion.

Only other complaint is that the cover, while cool, does little to draw me into the story, which is unfortunate, because the story is awesome. I'd love to see something that focused more on the main characters and their powers than one that depicted a scene (no matter how dramatic).

I think young adult readers who enjoy fantasy, light sci-fi, and superhero tales will enjoy this story. The "emergence of a superhero: theme reminds me of another book I read, [book:Beginnings: Family Heritage Volume 1|22784054] by Andrew M. Ferrell, which is another great plot.

I received a free copy from the author with no obligation to review. This is my honest opinion.

Strange Magic

Strange Magic - Catherine Jordan This eclectic collection of stories was certainly an entertaining read. Some stories I enjoyed more than others, as with any anthology, but overall they each contained a certain level of magic to them, as the title suggests. My favorites were:

Paint by Numbers by Maria V. Snyder: A girl with synesthesia learns where her gifts for math and color come from.
On of Full Moon Night by Rachel Sink: A woman wanting to escape a terrible home life finds the swamp waiting to fulfill her wish.
The Light of Night by Mark Boerma: Two drunks experience something strange in the desert on their way home from a Halloween party.
Scent and Scentability by Angela Binner: Half a bottle of perfume may have the ability to give one woman her heart's desire.
Little Whirlpools by Carrie Jacobs: I'll use the author's words for this - Don't go near the water! :)
Angel in the Mist by Laurie J. Edwards: A young Irish woman bound for the new world will do nearly anything to save the family she has to leave behind.
Aphrodite by J.A. Thomas: A magical boat makes one couple's day.

Definitely worth a read!

Thanks to author Carrie Jacobs, from whom I won the book. I received this book for free with no obligation to review, and this is my honest opinion.

Shearwater, Part One: An Ocean Depths Mermaid Romance

Shearwater, Part One: An Ocean Depths Mermaid Romance - James D. Murphy Clara's just been uprooted from her home and friends in America, and forced to live with a Grandfather she didn't know existed. Grieving the loss of her parents and adjusting to life in Portballintrae, Ireland, Clara and her new group of friends keep running into two mysterious young men. One seems to have the answers to the growing list of questions about her mother and herself, the other may be just as steeped in the mystery. One thing's for sure - there's magic in Portballintrae, and if she doesn't figure out what's going on in time, she might just lose her life.

This is not your typical mermaid story - there is much about the mermaids anatomy that is unique, as well as the background stories, which makes it very interesting. The beginning has a very Twilight-ish vibe to it, with its love triangle and irresistible romantic draw, but the second half takes a major deviation.

The second half was perhaps better than the first, bringing together some new information, shuffling characters around, and deepening the plot. Not sure how the author is going to dig his way out of this mermaid apocalypse thing, but it certainly caught my attention. And I love the development of Clara's position in the story. It's kind of incredible.

My biggest complaint was that, although set in Ireland, there's very little indication of that. None of the Irish accent comes through the dialog. The setting is beautiful and seems authentic, but without the dialog, it failed to transport me. I also found the characters to be very much like Americans (although I don't have any experience to compare what Irish kids would act like). Regardless, I found the story interesting and I would say it's worth a read if you're into mermaid stories.

And if you like mermaid stories, you should also check out [book:Skye's Lure|31692319] and [book:Water So Deep|24224363].

Instruments of the Angels

Instruments of the Angels - Monica Leonelle I loved this story!

Brie has just moved to Honolulu, following her mother's death. But a whole new world is at her fingertips, because she's a Hallow, and she's just coming into her power. Her brother, who seems to have no powers, is clueless to what's really going on.

His best friend Rykken has caught her attention, as well as a blond girl who looks just like a younger version of her mom. With the help of fellow Hallows, Brie must learn about this new world and who she can trust.

Only complaint is the first chapter - I found it a little heavy on backstory and similies. But that chapter was short, and the next plunged us into Brie's existence, which really drew me in.

The characters are interesting, the story goes so much deeper than you first see (the whole second half is a repeat of the first, but takes you deeper into the story and characters), and the world feels fully formed. I'll be checking a lot of the extra content out next. :)

And yay for book 2! It's on my tbr list.

Island of Magic: The Adventures of the Power Girls

Island of Magic: The Adventures of the Power Girls - R a P Smolen, Aurora Smolen An excellent follow up to the first book.

Emma and her friends have magic powers and colorful streaks in their hair to match. They return to the Isla de Magia, the Island of Magic, only to find that the magic of the island is failing for some unknown reason, and the students who patrol the island are experiencing dizziness and the occasional loss of powers. Plus there are some new recruits to deal with, and one doesn't even like chocolate, a main ingredient on the island. But Emma and her friends are determined to help wherever they can. After all, Emma is the only one with water magic.

I loved how this deepened the story, but there were a couple of things that would have helped round it out. Like understanding why the queen was so unwilling to believe Emma, or where their new enemy came from.

For future books, I'm also curious as to why boys don't get elemental powers.

But overall a delightful tale for young girls.

Keepers of Magic: The Adventures of the Power Girls

Keepers of Magic: The Adventures of the Power Girls - R.A.P. Smolen I thought this book was adorable.

Emma and her friends got enveloped by fog, and the next morning they woke up with colored streaks in their hair--and magic. When Emma's big sister figures out what's going on, she freaks, because she's seen this happen before, and lost her twin sister as a result. Emma and her friends will travel to find out what really happened to the missing sister, as well as where the magic came from and why.

I read this book aloud to my toddler son, and he seemed to enjoy the bits of magic. I love that though it's a short story and intended for younger audiences, it doesn't skimp on plot. The authors have a way of creating endearing characters in very limited space.

I think this is a great series for young girls who love magic and adventures.

Oh, and there's a new cover, and if you haven't seen it, it's gorgeous!

Curse of the Sphinx

Curse of the Sphinx - Raye Wagner This was an intriguing story. Hope has just lost her mom, and is feeling a little lost. Bearing the curse of the Sphinx has kept them on the run for most of her life, isolating themselves for fear of being hunted by demigods or forced into a relationship with Apollo or his sons in order to avoid the cost of being the sphinx. When her aunt, last known connection, goes searching for answers to her mother's death, she must set off on her own. Except she's still a teen and must attend high school. Her new life in Goldendale is supposed to follow the same prescribed path as the rest of her life, but without the watchful eyes of her mother, Hope may be tempted to break her isolation, especially if Athan, the cute guy who keeps bumping into her, has anything to say about it.

I enjoyed many aspects of this. I loved that the Greek gods were an acknowledged part of humanity, so much so that they even had a class on the subject, much like a history class. The writing and emotional draw were also well done.

Where the story fell flat for me was Hope and Athan's actions. We get a glimpse from Athan's point of view at the beginning of the story before switching over to Hope's. What Athan learned in that first scene should have left him much better informed. It took him longer to realize what was going on than it should have, and in fact, I kept wondering how he didn't know. I mean, seriously.

And the struggle of the book was more in Hope finding her way out of isolation to start really living than in anything else, which didn't make for the most compelling plot, in my opinion. Hope was also dense, denying her intuition about Athan and totally ignoring a "coincidence" at the end. For both Hope and Athan being "smart" characters, they really didn't act so bright most of the time.

But the writing is solid and the other books may be more enjoyable, I just couldn't quite get into this one.

Currently reading

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