Review of Strain of Resistance by Michelle Bryan

I was 12 years old when the world ended. For eight years I’ve survived in this crap-hole once known as earth. Fighting the alien parasite that mutated most of the population into blood-thirsty freaks, while the rest of us became the lunch special on their alien menu.
Now things are changing and not for the better. The parasite is evolving. Becoming smarter, stronger, and deadlier.
They’ve already stolen everything from me. My home. My family. Even the man I loved. It’s time for this bullshit to end once and for all.
My name is Bixby, and I’m the resistance.
Mature themes. 17+ Rating

In a genre that is flooded with tons of books, it’s wonderfully refreshing to find one that is unique!

Bixby is orphaned at the age of 12 when the world as we know it comes to an end. Are the people becoming zombies or victims of an alien race of parasites? Whatever is happening, it ain’t good!

Bixby is rescued by a group of survivors and she becomes part of the resistance, tasked with killing the “leeches” that are threatening our world. I love the character of Bixby….foul-mouthed, irreverent but with a good heart.

She is still mourning the disappearance of her boyfriend, Sam, but has a new man in her life. Luke truly cares for her, but she won’t let him in. In her heart, she thinks Sam is dead, but a small part of her expects to find him somewhere.

The book has plenty of action, plenty of snark and plenty of pathos. Just the right blend for a post-apocalyptic book. The characters are well-developed, there are plenty of low-lifes out for their own agenda and a touch of romance.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable book. I look forward to continuing this series!


Strain of Resistance is currently available through Amazon

Review of Seekers by R.A. Denny

“Bring the seals together in Tzoladia and you will learn their secrets.” An intriguing, yet simple quest. But nothing is ever that easy. 
Killer monkeys lurk in the woods. Treacherous watchers skulk the underground tunnels. An evil emperor’s minions control the archipelago city. 
Brina is proficient in archery. Moshoi skillfully wields the swords he crafts. Amanki has mastered sailing. But those skills aren’t enough. The three young adventurers must make choices. Choices that mean life or death. Choices with no safe answer. 
The Society of the Word has given them tools: wise sayings, moral stories, mysterious prophecies. But their faith will be tested. Will the star guide them to their destiny or lead them to their doom? Who will survive?

Last month I became completely drawn in by this world when I read book 1, Refugees.  I felt that book 1 was very much a set up for things to come and the payoff in book 2, Seekers, was definitely there!  This book felt more evenly spread over the journeys of the 3, Amanaki, Brina and Moshoi.  I really enjoyed this as I wasn’t left for a long time wondering what was happening with the others as often each of their chapters end on a small cliffhanger. It also really brought home to me that no matter what bad choices they think they are making from one time or another, their journey is actually the same even though they are miles from one another.  I found myself noting the same issues of loss, joy and peril and although manifesting itself differently in each case it really brings home the sense of destiny in their journey and that they are truly on the same path. I also really felt endeared by their naivety, they have all led very sheltered lives but then are thrust upon this journey which leaves them vulnerable because of their trusting nature.  Prominent in this story also was the theme of guidance, either by way of the star or their travelling companions who are their compasses it seems to keep them on the right track when the travellers find themselves being pushed to choose between morality and their journey.

The one thing that this books has in spades is excitement, the first part is non stop in picking up where book 1 finished and it continues to be an amazing page turner.  The world building and attention to all the little details in each of the cultures remains a pleasure to read and never feels overwhelming or like an info dump.

There are some shocking scenes in this book, which I have to say I wasn’t expecting, given it’s coming of age nature. Quite vivid mental images and also some which are left to the imagination seemed out of place.  I understand that a sense of fear and horror had to be built but unfortunately it left me feeling a little uncomfortable.  There does seem to be an underlying sinister tone building under the surface though, with the feet of the webbies being removed in book 1, similar happens here and it’s got me wondering what will be coming next!

I am finding this an immensely enjoyable journey bringing to together many facets of what makes us who we are and exploring areas of humanity and theology, whilst remaining a wonderful and entertaining read.


Kiatana’s Journey Freebie Book Blitz with Erin Natalie

Title: Kiatana’s Journey
Author: Natalie Erin
Genre: Young Adult High Epic Fantasy (fae, dragons, magic)
Cover Designers: Clarissa Yocla and Molly Phipps
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
In the Lands, animals can speak, elves battle mythical beasts, and shifter-vampire hybrids hunt mortals. Princess Kiatana rules over this realm– until a dark force rises and threatens to steal her throne.
A dragon and his rider have brought war to her world. Magic will save the realm, but a traitor hides in plain sight. A quest to defeat the evil that has possessed the land has begun.
The undead will rise. Friends will fail– and Kia will find herself falling for the man she least expected.
This is her kingdom. It’s time to fight back.
Readers love Kiatana’s Journey, a book that has been classified by fans as Game of Thrones meets Narnia. Sarah J. Maas readers are obsessed with this bestselling series!
One-click to start this enchanting fantasy saga that’s heartfelt, romantic, and full of friendship today!
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR Megan Linski and renowned poet Krisen Lison join under the penname of Natalie Erin to bring readers the Creatures of the Lands series. A high fantasy series adored by readers all around the globe.
Get the Creatures of the Lands: The Complete Series box set for 70% off! Limited time offer!
“Intriguing, funny, and fresh. Kiatana’s Journey was a fantasy story I couldn’t get enough of.” – Hayley’s Reviews★★★★★
“This is a fantastic read, keeps you intrigued to the very end. This will be a Journey to remember.” – Brandy’s Book Review★★★★★

 Natalie Erin is the pen name for the writing team of Megan Linski and Krisen Lison (also known as Krystyl Lisoh).

Krisen Lison (pen name Krystyl Lisoh) was an author and poet. She is known for her bestselling Creatures of the Lands series, as well as her poetry collections Memoirs of a Teenage Poet and Living as Me, and her short story collections Death, Life and Other Things and Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall. Her work has been featured in multiple magazines and public forums. She passed away from suicide in 2013.
Megan Linski is the owner of Gryfyn Publishing. She is best known for her popular series The Shifter Prophecy, The Kingdom Saga, and The Rhodi Saga, as well as recognized for her work on the Creatures of the Lands series. In 2014, Linski published the Creatures of the Lands series in Lison’s honor.
Linski is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and is an active fighter against common variable immune deficiency disorder.
Author Links:
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Kiatana’s Journey:
Vera’s Song:
Wyntier’s Rise:
Vixen’s Fate:
Angel’s Rebellion:
Inside the castle in a room far away from the exit, the pack of wolves watched the group with hunger in their eyes. Ionan looked around nervously, eyeing the clothes that were scattered along the floor.
“The big one’s a Changer,” a large black male whispered to a silver colored female at his side.
“So he is,” the female replied, licking her paw clean. “I’ve never had Changer before.”
“Wonderful catch, Carmilla. I knew we could count on you for dinner,” a white and black female said softly, wagging her tail.
“It was nothing Iris,” Carmilla responded proudly.
“Darling, why don’t you ever call me Mother anymore? It breaks my heart,” Iris said with a voice that was sickly sweet.
“You may have made me, Iris, but you will never be my mother,” Carmilla said, eyeing Kia.
“What’s going on here?” Kia asked, her voice cracking nervously.
The wolves around them snickered as the head female grinned. “I’m surprised you haven’t figured it out yet,” Iris said, snatching a purple velvet dress from the floor and throwing it into air.
Her body twisted and contorted into that of a human and the dress slipped easily over her head as she transformed. Her hair was black with streaks of white running through it, her eyes a sharp gold color. “We’re the predators and you’re the prey,” she smiled.
“Wait, you’re…” Kia choked on her own words.
“Ortusans,” Iris said, her voice dripping with poison. The group watched in horror as the twenty or so wolves changed, tossing on their clothes as easily as Iris and staring at the group eagerly.
The Ortusan called Iris smiled at them devilishly. “Get them.”

Review of Blue Bottle Tree by Beaird Glover

There’s no such thing as Voodoo. At least, that’s what most of the Baptists in Bellin tell themselves. But Seven LaVey knows better. 
In a small rural town just outside of Nashville, Voodoo conjures and curses simmer and seethe under the noses of the many who will never know. Seventeen-year-old Seven romanticizes about the meaning of life while held captive as a zombie under the shell of a kiddie pool. He’s counting on the strength – and maybe even love – of a certain redheaded clarinet player to save him. But will she?
Filled with betrayal and revenge, two families struggle with a curse that stretches back to Queen of the Voodoos Marie Laveau in this contemporary Southern Gothic adventure. Prepare for a wildly original twist on the paranormal. 

Before I write this review, I must say that I have long been intrigued by all things Voodoo. So, after reading the blurb of this book and being given the opportunity to read a copy by a book review group, I jumped at the chance!

The book started out in an interesting way, from the viewpoint of Seven, so named because he is a seventh generation descendant of the famous Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau. Seven is infatuated with Penelope Langston (but he calls her Longstocking because she wears black stockings). In fact, he watches her as she practices clarinet from the vantage point of a cave.

The book held a lot of promise, but several things about it made it less than a 4 or 5 star read. First of all, the chapters are told from the viewpoint of many different characters, but you only know that after you have read a paragraph or so. It would have been helpful if the author had titled the chapters with the character speaking.

Also, the book started out reminding me of a YA book, then evolved into the violent torment of Seven and twisted sexual perversions between some of the characters. Without spoiling some of the story, I also found that the few adult characters wavered between all seeing and all knowing and totally clueless.

The best parts of the book were the extensive histories of Voodoo practices and Marie Laveau’s family. The author obviously spent a lot of time researching and it shows throughout the book. I read a book many years ago called “The Serpent and the Rainbow” and later saw the movie based on this book. This book reminded me a lot of that book/movie. That in itself is a recommendation since I read that book over 30 years ago.

If you like twisted tales that involve Voodoo or enjoy reading about YA characters who obviously need a mental evaluation, check out this book. The author is a very good writer and I enjoyed a lot of the book, but I just can’t recommend it as one of my favorites.

BTW, the cover is wonderful!


Blue Bottle Tree is currently available through Amazon and other outlets through Parliament House Publishing

Uprising Pre-Order Blitz with Kate L. Mary

Title: Uprising (Outliers Saga, 2)
Author: Kate L Mary
Genre: Adult Dystopian
Publisher: Twisted Press
Editor: Lori Whitwam
Publication Date: May 21st, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
I stood by and let it happen for too long, but I will not do it anymore. I will not be the person who watches others get hurt and does nothing to stop it. Not anymore.
Returning to Sovereign City after everything that was stolen from her is something Indra never thought she would do. Despite the scars she wears both inside and out, left there at the hands of the Sovereign and the Fortis, she is determined to save her people from oppression, even if it means putting her own safety at risk. But it isn’t long before she once again finds her world shattering around her. As the dust settles, Indra manages to find strength among the ruins, and she sets out on a quest to unite the four Outlier tribes, hoping to take their enemies down once and for all.
Readers agree that Outliers is a “A brilliantly beautiful soul trembling story that has left me pining for more,” and that “Indra is the kind of dystopian protagonist I’m always searching for, but rarely find.”
Kate L. Mary is an award-winning author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, ranging from Post-apocalyptic tales of the undead, to Speculative Fiction and Contemporary Romance. Her YA book, When We Were Human, was the 2015 Children’s Moonbeam Book Awards Silver Medal Winner for Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fiction, and the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner for Young Adult Science Fiction.
Author Links:
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Uprising (Pre-Order):

The Sphinx Release Blitz with USA Today Bestselling Author, Jessica Cage

Title: The Sphinx
Author: Jessica Cage
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Cover By Design
Publicher: Caged Fantasies Publications
Publication Date: April 20th, 2018
Some stories are told, others are not, the best ones are rewritten.
Stories are told of the sphinx—a monster with the head of a woman, the body of a lioness, the wings of an eagle, and a tail tipped with the head of a serpent. This beast was told to have been made to guard the entrance to the Greek city of Thebes. For each traveler to cross her path, a riddle was presented. If they could answer it correctly, access would be granted. What was her riddle?
“What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three in the evening?” The price to pay for answering the riddle incorrectly, which of course they all did, was not a simple denial of entry to Thebes. Instead of turning them away, the sphinx, monster that was, strangled them with her tail and devoured them whole.
The story goes that when it finally came to pass that someone could answer her riddle and the consecutive ones to follow, she committed suicide. What else was a girl to do? Some say she threw herself down from the high rocks and fell to her death, while others say that she devoured herself, subjecting herself to the same punishment she dished out to all those who had failed before, a talented feat.
However, the question remains … what really happened to her?
Award winning and USA Today Bestselling author, Jessica Cage was born and raised in Chicago, IL. Writing has always been a passion for her. She dabbles in artistic creations of all sorts but at the end of the day, it’s the pen that her hand itches to hold. Jessica had never considered following her dream to be a writer because she was told far too often “There is no money in writing.” So she chose the path most often traveled. During pregnancy, she asked herself an important question. How would she be able to inspire her unborn son to follow his dreams and reach for the stars, if she never had the guts to do it herself? Jessica decided to take a risk and unleash the plethora of characters and their crazy adventurous worlds that had previously existed only in her mind, into the realm of readers. She did this with hopes to inspire not only her son but herself. Inviting the world to tag along on her journey to become the writer she has always wanted to be. She hopes to continue writing and bringing her signature Caged Fantasies to readers everywhere.
Author Links:
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A back door sitting to the right off a dark alley gave them access to the training center. Once a thriving boxing facility, it now was used mostly for moms in yoga pants attempting their best at CrossFit. The gym was owned by the man who ran the orphanage Carter frequented. The allotment of free time, after hours, was his way of thanking Carter for his work at the orphanage.
“You want to box?” Asa asked as she watched Carter head for the relic of the past that sat in the back corner. The ring obviously wasn’t used often.
“I want to fight. Trust me, our enemies will not be in boxers’ stances.”
“That’s true enough, but then again, they won’t exactly be trying to have hand-to-hand sparring matches either. These are powerful beings. What makes you think they would limit themselves in such a way?”
“I have no doubt that they will use every advantage available to them. That doesn’t negate the fact that we will need to protect ourselves in every possible way that we can.” He jumped in the ring. “Our hands, our bodies, are one of those ways.”
“Great, so show me your master plan to fend off a god when he comes at you.” She stood outside watching him warm up. Shadow boxing imaginary demons. His form was exact, his body strong, but then again, she already knew that.
“How about you try me and see?” He stopped and held the ropes open, inviting her to join him.
“Try you? You think you can take me?” Carter was strong, but he had no idea what he was really up against. She climbed in the ring, refusing his assistance, and stood to face him. “Where was all that back in Oikos?” she teased him.
“I was caught off guard. But please, tell me something.” He leaned in close, taunting her. “Do I look worried?”
“Let’s see what you got!” She pushed him and jumped back, landing in a crouched position.
“Bring it.”
Asa held back on her first attack. She pulled her punches and moved just fast enough to test his reflexes. The man was good, matching her move for move. She punched, he blocked. She kicked, he dodged. When she retreated from him, he kept on her. To give her space would be to give her momentum for a stronger attack.
“Good, you’re a quick study,” she complimented him, but before he could thank her, she quickened her speed, dropped to one knee and swept her leg out, and knocked his feet from under him. His back slammed against the floor of the ring. Quickly she was on top of him, but he’d recovered, blocked her, and knocked her away. Their fight grew with intensity as both tested the other and then challenged with more power, more force.
The energy changed when Asa ran for Carter who surprised her. On his wrist, what looked like a normal accessory, a poor choice for fashion, was a band. He tapped the side and it lit up and emitted a white light that wrapped around her legs lasso style and tripped her.
“What the hell was that? You have magic?” Asa pulled herself up. The fight was long from over, but the rules had definitely changed.
“All of the hunters have these little accessories, talisman that transfer power to us. They were given to us to protect us. We want to keep the gods out, but we are no fools. Not every run is going to be a smooth one. Sometimes we have to fight to survive. And as you said, gods, even the weak ones, have no consideration for what is a fair game.”
“You’re right. They don’t. And neither do I!” She attacked again, this time she dodged the whip and landed a blow to his jaw. He bounced back, barely fazed, and came at her. This time it was her to issue the surprise as she used the magic of a forest nymph she’d taken out and forced a blow of air into his chest. He fell into the corner of the ring gasping for air.
“I knew there was more to you than you let on,” he grunted as the pressure against his chest ceased.
“A girl has to have her secrets.”
The sparring continued, each switching between physical fighting and magical. The gym rang out with echoes of their fight. Unfortunately, Asa got swept away with energy from the fight. It had been a long time since she’d fought a suitable opponent and Carter continued to prove himself as just that. She ducked back to dodge another blow from the whip and released a blow of her own that knocked him to the ground.
“Ha!” She jumped around the ring, celebrating. “Come on, get up. I know you got more than that.” She danced around more, mimicking his earlier shadow boxing, but Carter didn’t respond.
 “Carter?” she called, sweat pouring from her brow. When he still didn’t move, she ran to him and fell to her knees at his side. “Oh, shit, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. I just … I just …”
His breaths were there, barely, shallow and struggling. She lifted his head and listened. “Please, don’t die. You can’t.” There was no one around, no one to help and he was slipping. How could she have been so reckless? There was no choice. She couldn’t let Carter die. Knowing full well the risk that she would take in preventing his death, she laid him flat on the ground. On her knees, next to his body she began the chant, one learned a long time ago, one that would drain her, but she would survive, and she couldn’t let him die. Milíste sti zoí, ypochoríste apó to thánato. Epistrépste sto fos, antikroúste ti nýchta. She repeated the words again and again until she could feel the life returning to his body.
Carter opened his eyes. The center of his chest stung as his lungs filled with air, but the sensation was not long lasting. What the hell happened? he thought to himself. The familiar odor of sweat infused wood and the worn leather of boxing bags registered with him; the gym, they’d gone to the gym. He remembered what happened. The sparring, the excitement, the look in her eyes as she finally let herself go. He had gotten through to her, and she let her guard down. Yeah, it took trying to kill each other, but it had worked. The action of combat was exactly what she needed, complete abandonment of logic and fear. She’d almost killed him. He lifted his hand to his chest. Hell, he thought she’d succeeded, but the pain continued to subside with each breath.
Movement to lift his head from the ground caused a wave of dizziness, and he paused, waiting for it to pass for fear of fainting. He felt better, but apparently, he wasn’t at 100% quite yet. To steady himself he leaned on his elbow and turned his head just enough to get a view of Asa. She was laying just a few feet away from him. Did he manage to get a shot off?
“Okay, I didn’t mean for us to literally try to kill one another, or to come so close to succeeding.” He chuckled as he started to shift from the floor. “How bad did I get you? I don’t even remember getting a shot off.” Sitting upright, he rested his elbows on his knees. A wave of motion sickness passed slowly as he waited for her response, but it didn’t come. “Asa?”
Asa’s body remained motionless, unresponsive to the sound of her name echoing through the gym. He shook off the remaining effects of his vertigo and made it over to her. “Asa?” He lifted her head and examined her. She was okay, breathing steady, but for whatever reason, she was completely out of it. “What the hell happened? What did you do?”

Unlocked Cover Reveal with Casey L. Bond

Title: Unlocked
Author: Casey L. Bond
Genre: YA Epic Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Editor: Stacy Sanford/ The Girl with the Red Pen
Cover Designer: Melissa Stevens/ The Illustrated Author Design Services
Publication Date: May 17th, 2018
Princess Raya of Paruth lived alone on a deserted island in a towering lighthouse, forgotten by time. With only a loyal albatross as a friend, she had little hope or joy in her life until he washed up on her shore in the middle of a raging winter storm.
Prince Trevor of Galder left his father and kingdom behind to travel north in search of a wife. It was time to settle down and forget Ella Carina, the woman who chose to love a peasant and follow her heart instead of choosing Trevor and fulfilling her duty to her people. He didn’t heed the warnings about the North Sea in winter, and his ship, crew, and captain paid the price.
Raya and Trevor must work together to find a way off the island, or risk being trapped there for the rest of their lives. But sometimes the simplest lessons are the hardest, and each will have to learn that the only thing that can truly set you free is love.

Award-winning author Casey L. Bond resides in Milton, West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction.You can find more information about Bond’s books via the following links:

Review of Echo Among Stars by Joanna S Morris

Would you risk everything you thought you knew about yourself if it meant saving everyone you love?
Sixteen-year-old Eden Huntleigh and her family live within the district of Empyrean. Under the rule of The Renegades, and their tyrant leader Cesar, every aspect of life is controlled. Streets are patrolled by humanoid Enforcers. Necessities are rationed. Disobedience is not tolerated.
When Eden receives an omen, and joins a group of Rebels led by the alluring Leo Dillon, her life begins to unravel.
Just as the Rebels are beginning to understand what they are capable of Cesar has kidnapped their families forcing them to strike before they are ready. Once inside the Empyrean palace they discover the horror of what they are truly facing. Does Eden have what it takes to be the legend she was destined to be? Ready or not she’s about to find out..

The first thing I want to say about this is don’t judge a book by it’s cover. I think that the cover choice isn’t great for the content – it’s not a criticism of the cover at all, it just didn’t match in particularly with the dystopian premise of the book!

It’s fair to say that this book is fairly short at just over 200 pages but it is such an easy and enjoyable read. Whilst in this book we are left fairly in the dark with the causes of the dystopia our protagonist Eden and her friends find herself in, it’s quickly paced in getting you up to speed. I think it’s fair to say that there is no padding at all in this book which is actually really refreshing. That being said, it gives little time to become fully involved with the characters. This is a clear YA read and I can’t criticise the characters for behaving like teenagers, yes there are a lot of instacrushes but we are talking about teens who have led pretty dire lives of near starvation so I think a little instalust is allowed!

Eden’s world is controlled by the mysterious Renegades, who enjoy the spoils in their ivory tower whilst the proletariat obey and serve. However, on a still night where the stars themselves seem to disappear so do Edens family and the families of her friends. Eden finds herself caught up with a rebel gang of teens who all share the same necklace apparently passed down from earlier generations which marks them with skills an abilities. They proceed on a daring and desperate rescue plan and with trust being handed out a bit too freely, what could possibly go wrong?

This is book one in a trilogy and ends on a cliffhanger of epic proportions. There is a lot to be told in this tale and I am excited to know more about how the skills attached to the necklaces will develop alongside of how the group will find their way out of the ending predicament. I found this to be a light and fun read which has been a real antidote to more long winded fantasy. I’m going to definitely continue with the series, and hope that the characters develop a bit more and the story gathers a bit more depth to really lock in groundwork laid in this first book in the series!

Bookish Ramblings: Banishing the blogger blues

I’m fast approaching the 2 year anniversary of starting this blog.  It’s fair to say that it has evolved significantly in that time and branched out into facets I wouldn’t have imagined when I started up what was, at the time, mainly a facebook based promo wagon. I wanted my blog to be something different and had delusions of grandeur about what my following would be.  That has really come home for me this week and whilst I have been lamenting my perceived lack of following I decided earlier against a wine induced pity post and decided to focus actually on what has made blogging great for me so far this year.

At the start of the year I decided to change everything up a gear, I’m committed to my vision and set up this website rather that the blogger mess that I had before, I also set up my review team.  Now setting up a review team is actually really hard.  Not only did I have to find reviewers but also find reviewers who shared my ethos.  Whilst I had lots apply I found it easy to whittle out those who didn’t have my mindset and I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have found my team of 4 fabulous readers and reviewers.  They have made the website launch all the better, for they are helping me fill the page with amazing content by way of their truly fantastic reviews.  Fleur, Katrina, Beverly, and Stephanie – you are all fabulous!  I’m also humbled to be offering reviews for a large indie PR company and also to have been approached to officially bookstagram for an indie small press publishing house, these achievements still blow my mind.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a tweet to authors to let them know not to underestimate how much a comment or like by them on a post will make a readers day – I have been blessed this year to have authors of both traditionally published and indie works comment on and like my bookstagram pictures and tweets about their books, to have that endorsement makes me ecstatic and sets my fangirl to overload!  It’s not just authors, but bookish crafters too – to have my favourite merchandise companies comment is such a joy and i’m working hard to build up a following worthy of becoming a rep for some of these companies.

The main thing for me this year though that has made me feel so utterly humbled as a reader, is to have been asked to become critique partners for 2 amazing friends and authors.  These are authors who I have met whilst on their indie journey through their books which I have adored and I now have been asked to take part in their journey to become traditionally published. They have both written mind blowing retelling’s and are both totally deserving to follow the next step. I feel so strongly about this endorsement of me as a reader and I love them both so hard for taking on board my thoughts.

It’s these things that make me realise that whilst, no, I don’t have a huge following, I have built up some solid friendships that have helped me keep this blog the place I want it to be.  A place to find great reviews which are thoughtful and kind, a place to discover your next great read and a place for me to ramble away to anyone who wants to listen. Yes blogging is tough and sometimes really quite lonely – (I love you Bibliogal blog for always being there, though) but each time I fret I just need to remind myself that really it’s actually all good and I have a lot to be thankful for!

Review of The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

Tessa Gratton’s debut epic adult fantasy, The Queens of Innis Lear, brings to life a world that hums with ancient magic, and characters as ruthless as the tides.
The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes.
The king’s three daughters – battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia – know the realm’s only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted.
Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war – but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided

This is really hard review for me to write, The Queens of Innis Lear is epic in its storytelling and so much thought has gone into the world building, characters and history I feel like I should love it – it’s a high fantasy King Lear retelling with ancient magics, twisty plot and underhandedness, pretty much ticking all my boxes (and all of Shakespears!), but it sadly fell short.  It’s because I appreciate all that must have gone into writing this that I feel so torn with what to put in my review, so I think i’m going to a good old fashioned list of pro’s and con’s

Pro’s – As I said before, this book is epic in it’s story telling, 3 sisters each vying for the crown of the island of Innis Lear when their father passes.  Geala, the warrior, Regan the good wife and Elia (the youngest and favourite of the King) the Star Priest.  What follows is a richly woven tale of court intrigue, old scores to be settled and simmering vengeance.  The sisters must suffer through banishment, loss, grief and anger in order to decide who should rightfully wear the crown, all have different motives and ideas for the Island, but the old magic of an Island ruled by the stars has its own ideas too…..  Whilst I found many of the characters hard to get on with (see cons) my favourite character by far was Regan.  Her journey was one that I found solace in and her character development was off the scale.  There were many moments of brilliance interspersed in the story and at times I felt like I didn’t want to put it down.  I adored the sections about the old root magic and the language of the trees, these magics were beautifully written as were the magics of the stars and made a deserving focal point in the tale.

Con’s – there are no chapters in this book, it shifts around MANY different points of view in a rolling format and whilst it is separated into parts these are sparse. The book is also just far too long, I found myself skimming some parts and then having to go back because a tiny nugget of important information was nestled in the pages and pages of unnecessary explanations of things that had already been explained.  I felt that it was in need of a lot of editing as at times reading it was a was a real endurance – I knew the payoff was coming but it was just so hard to get there.  I wasn’t particularly taken with many of the characters either, there was so much going on and so much subterfuge and double dealing amongst them that it was hard to really build up a relationship with them as many of them had little opportunity to build up much depth.  There is one huge question that I had throughout which never got answered either which was a real failing in continuity.

So in fairness, this is 3* from me.