fantasy

Book Review: The Cracked Altar by Timothy J. R. Rains

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The Cracked AltarThe Cracked Altar by Timothy J. R. Rains
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Cracked Altar, a fantasy novel by Timothy J. R. Rains, first interested me because of its intriguing title. Would it have a religious theme? What dastardly action would happen, as when something says cracked, it usually has a clever twist. As soon as I dove in, Hinkle’s near-capture captivated me. I’m not typically a reader in this genre, but the more I sample some works, I find myself becoming a fan.

Hinkle’s family tree is complex. We immediately learn that her mother is gone. She’s been living with a grandmother in a world where her family has suffered. There’s an uncle who’s a mystery and aunt who’s either a pious nun or a nefarious witch. Which will it be? Hinkle is rescued by her own special brand of knight, and her grandmother engineers a solution that will benefit them all in the future. It’s a powerful scene and sets a fantastic tone for the book. We follow Hinkle’s path with her new protector only to learn nothing we’ve thought true is indeed accurate. In this world, what’s gray is more important than what’s black and white.

Rains builds a fascinating and well-developed world where the rich are rich, and the poor are poor. Part-fairy tale and part mystical quest, the novel will engage your visual senses as each scene and action are vividly described. The battle scenes were strong but not over-the-top. The secrets were revealed at timely moments. And the clues were in abundance. The story is gripping, and I’m hopeful there will be a sequel. Kudos to the author for gaining a new fan in the fantasy genre.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are three books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, and Flower Power Trip. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Endgame by Patrick Hodges

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Endgame (Wielders of Arantha, #3)

Endgame by Patrick Hodges

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Endgame is the third book in the Wielders of Arantha trilogy written by Patrick Hodges. I read the first two book in late 2018 and had to finish the conclusion while every little detail was fresh in my mind, as these books pack in a tremendous amount of story, characters, and settings. Each is a fantastic component, but when woven together, the series is a definite stand-out with the makings of potential major fandom. And that comes from a non-frequent fantasy reader who’s mostly familiar with works like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings — I got the same feels reading Hodges’ work as I did the others!

Think of it as a cosmic chess game. Two unknown players (until the end, of course) battling for control over millennia, tossing curveballs and misery at one another, until the game concludes. But it’s much more than that… Hodges has created a bevy of memorable characters and intense passions for survival that will keep you glued to the book for hours at end. While the focus is on epic battles to conquer other lands or obtain your freedom, within each major conflict exists the fundamental emotions and goals we all experience in life — love, pain, embarrassment, lust, anger, revenge, friendship, shock, judgment…

At times, I wasn’t sure who would end up winning the war. It could be the good or the bad guys. Then again, I had moments where I was no longer sure which side was good or bad. There is a middle ground where Hodges forces readers to question our loyalty and our connection to certain characters. People make mistakes, can they be forgiven? Others betray you for a necessary reason, can it be forgotten? Power is thrust upon those not ready, should they be punished for inexperience or immaturity? Mothers are forced to abandon, but what if they had the best interests at heart? These are only the basic level of questions readers will evaluate while reading this trilogy. It gets deeper from there.

As a conclusion, it’s strong. There were a few characters I wish had different endings, but that’s only because I feel different things than other readers will. The entire story is wrapped up, but it is not perfect and happy. Just like life. There are losses in war. The bad guys / girls sometimes win a few battles. People will die. Sin will persist. Hodges covers all the remnants of a long-lasting war that will never be forgotten. I found happy endings for some couples and families, but it was a wonderful balance of humility, acceptance, and tolerance.

If you’re a fantasy fan, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy this trilogy. While you could just read this last book, as Hodges does an excellent job of briefly summarizing pertinent history, you’d lose out on all the beautiful emotions and relationships that lead us to this final epic ending. It’s a quick read despite being either ~400 or ~500 pages for each book, which makes it highly worth it, and then even a little sad when it ends! With over 20 key characters, all easily identifiable and visualized, I couldn’t possibly describe everyone here… but I’ll definitely share my favorite: Maeve is a the strongest, the type of person you’d want to be on your side in any battle. She has the nurturing and loving side to make her appeal even more, but it’s her honesty that is the best.

Definitely give this one a chance if you love complex and multi-generational tales that have surprise connections between characters and history you learn as the story unfolds. Congrats on a superb finish, Hodges!



View all my reviews

About Me

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Launch Day Book Blitz: Clouded by Envy by Candace Robinson

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Today is extra special because it’s LAUNCH DAY for CLOUDED BY ENVY, the next amazing young adult fantasy book written by Candace Robinson. I’m thrilled to share my review and key links for readers everywhere to dive into this wonderful story. Isn’t that cover TRULY spectacular! Don’t wait… check out my review below, add it to Goodreads, and visit Amazon today!

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*** MY REVIEW ***

Clouded by EnvyClouded by Envy by Candace Robinson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In my quest to become a more well-read and genre-diverse connoisseur of great literature, I often pick up a book that I think will be one thing yet turns out to be something quite different in a wonderfully shocking and engaging way. I’ve read several novels written or co-written by Candace Robinson in the past, but when the opportunity to read her upcoming release, Clouded by Envy, arose, I had to jump on it — initially from the cover alone. What is that!?! I bet you want to know… it’s gorgeous and captivating and peculiar and oddly sensual, don’t you think? Throw in the always-intriguing concept and deadly sin of envy (I’m Roman Catholic, so my repression requires me to love it) and you’ve got all the makings of a fine book. Guess what? It totally lives up to that hype!

I’d classify it as science-fiction, fantasy, young adult, re-appropriation of a few fairy tales, and life advice. There are two worlds. There are twins who were abandoned by their parents. When they’re magically transported to a human environment, and they only look human at certain points in their lives, there’s bound to be a plethora of page-turning scenes, intense thrills, heart-stopping emotions, and a few eye squints — at least for me because I kept finding myself trying to guess how it could possibly end given the different themes encircling this complex story.

Robinson excels at capturing the young adult voice of someone yearning to escape and find whatever’s missing in their heart or mind. She draws you in based on the sadness of what’s happening to a seemingly kind and lovable character, then tosses you to the wolves with a scene so crazy or shocking, you no longer know what to believe. After being tossed around a bit, you develop your own sense of connection and wait for the next shoe to drop. In this case, the characters often forget to wear shoes, so it’s kinda fun to see how that eventually plays out (just including a little side humor so after you read the book, you’ll get what I am saying here).

If you like something different, or something you know well but that’s been turned upside and written from the perspective of a non-human creature, you’ll enjoy this novel. It’s on the shorter side in page count which makes it easy to get through in a few hours one afternoon or evening. It’s also something you can put down and pick up again without feeling lost. The story is told in alternating perspectives from the twin protagonists, but there’s a few other character POV’s sprinkled from time to time so you see what’s happening in totality. What a ride! I look forward to seeing everyone’s thoughts and reactions when it’s officially released in early 2019. I got lucky and received an ARC (thank you) which made me quite happy… this is the 4th or 5th book I’ve read by the author… always leaves me thirsting for the next one.

***

If you’re unfamiliar with Candace Robinson, you should check out the other books I’ve read of hers. I’ve created a dedicated page on my blog where you can see them all!

Candace

***

Title: CLOUDED BY ENVY

Author: Candace Robinson

Pub. Date: February 19, 2019

Publisher: The Parliament House

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 215

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooks

OVERVIEW

Brenik has always been envious of his twin sister, Bray. Growing up as fairy-like creatures, known as bats, everything came easier to Bray. While Brenik spent his time in her shadows, never feeling he was enough. After escaping their world of Laith, and living on Earth for ten years, Brenik attempts to strike a deal with the Stone of Desire to become human. Though true humanity is not an option, he will accept the curse that will alter him to get as close as he can.

Living in a tree trunk for the past year hasn’t been easy for Bray, more so after her brother disappears again. When a human boy and his brother, Wes, find her, a new friendship is struck. Through Wes, Bray learns there can be more to life than waiting within a tree. But worrying over where Brenik has vanished to always remains in the back of her mind.

When Bray reunites with Brenik, she realizes she must help him break the curse after she discovers the need for blood is beginning to overpower him. The curse not only damages those who get close to Brenik, but it could also destroy whatever is blooming between Bray and Wes.

***

Book Trailer:

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Link:

https://youtu.be/Xk7Rrpz5VYs

 ***

Exclusive Excerpt!

Bray wasn’t sure how long she had drifted off for, but there was a puddle of wetness against her cheek when she woke up—okay, so it was only drool from herself. Lifting a hand up toward her cheek, she swiped the saliva away and rubbed it on to the hammock. Classy, she thought, but there was already some gathered there anyway.

Remembering the events from earlier, Bray headed straight to the hole and peeked out. She shifted her head from left to right. Nothing. Bray looked up and down—she could see a few bushes had already been planted in the dirt.

Then she saw it: a circular stone bowl filled with water sitting on top of a long thick stem, attached to a circular bottom. A birdbath! Almost giddily, Bray stepped on the ledge of the hole and leaped off, flapping her wings hurriedly to the nearest pink and yellow peach. Opening her jaw wide, she bit into the thin skin. A juicy one. The fruit filled her mouth with delicious pleasure, and she took one more long bite before diving down to the birdbath.

The top of her newfound treasure was a perfect circle with tiny mounds around it resembling hills. Bray landed on the ceramic and bent down to take a seat, before placing her bare feet into the warm water that had been perfectly heated from the shining sun.

Peering down at the clear water, Bray saw no sign of intrusion from other creatures yet. She rotated her head in every direction, as if she would be caught just by thinking about slipping into the water—still no sign of life.

Flicking her braid over her shoulder, Bray pursed her lips together to hide the smile aching to shine against her face and jumped into the water. The splash echoed. Her bare feet scraped the rough bottom, while her dress inflated and then clung to her body as she shot to the surface. She let out a small giggle to herself. It was sad that the only highlight of the past year was hopping into a shallow pool of water with no one around except for her.

She leaned back into the liquid, letting herself float and moving her arms slowly up and down, while swimming in figure-eight circles.

Bray closed her eyes and let the water cover her ears, so it felt like nothing in the world existed, except for the muffled vibrations from the liquid.

A loud booming sounded from above, and her eyelids thrust open, meeting dark brown eyes, light brown skin, and that black bowl hair. Tiny human. Luca.

Freeze, Bray thought to herself, not even blinking her eyes. She held them wide open, thinking he wouldn’t notice her, or maybe he would just assume she was a bird. Even though he was staring at her and had spoken something she didn’t hear clearly.

Nope. That isn’t going to work. He hovered closer, his eyes scrunched halfway closed to examine her more thoroughly. Unable to hold her eyes open any longer, Bray blinked several times.

“What are you?” he asked, genuine amazement creeping into his words, lips slightly parted.

“A bat!” Bray yelled, and she jumped up from the warmth of the water, darting straight for the tree hole.

Breathing heavily, Bray landed inside and collided with the floor. She rolled to her back, running both hands down her face. “Why did I come out without paying attention? I know not to!” Ruth had always told her this.

A quake trembled through the tree, causing shivers to run up and down her spine. What is the little beast doing? Oh no, what if he is trying to chop down the tree? My home—the peaches! Bray didn’t know why she was thinking about stupid peaches when there was another fruit tree directly next door.

Despite the thunderous rumbling, Bray grabbed the needle from underneath her hammock and dodged toward the window. If the little beast thought he could take her down, then he had another thing coming. She would prick his eye—actually, she would poke both of his eyes to protect her and Brenik’s home.

When Bray reached the edge of the window, the sound stopped. She peeped her head out of the hole, right as a face met hers, his black hair falling forward over a hazel eye—an eye she was going to poke. Startled, she jumped back instead of toward him.

A broad smile crossed the little beast’s face. “Hello.”

Freezing once again, until she remembered that the staying-still-as-a-statue strategy didn’t work in the birdbath, she meekly said, “Hi.”

Bray brought the needle up toward his smiling face, just in case.

“Are you planning on sewing something?” He tilted his head at the needle.

“Yeah, your eyeball.” She gave him a hard glare.

“What?” he asked while laughing hysterically.

He was laughing? Not scared? Bray brought the needle closer. “Yeah, you need to leave and never come back. This is my home.”

“No. Technically, it’s my brother’s home,” he said, still smiling.

“What brother? You mean your dad out there who was planting this morning?”

Luca shook his head, and she didn’t miss the wince before he spoke. “No, that’s my brother, Wes. I don’t have a mom or dad.”

Crestfallen, Bray lowered the needle. “Oh. Me neither. I only have a brother, but he will be gone for a while.” She paused and glanced at the note Brenik had left behind, her chest tightening. Then she shrugged it off and shifted her gaze back to the boy. “By the way, my name is Brayora, but you can call me Bray.” For some reason, she wasn’t worried anymore about the human.

“I’m Luca Duran.” He plopped his thin fingers on the edge of the hole.

“Yeah, I heard your name this morning, little beast. I mean, Luca.” She thought little beast suited him better than Luca.

 ***

About Candace:

My name is Candace Robinson. I’m just your average hemiplegic migraine sufferer. My days are spent writing, book reviewing and traveling through books for my blog, Literary Dust. I live just outside of Houston, Texas, where it feels like the hottest place on Earth with the crazy weather. No, seriously, one day it’s 30 degrees and the next it’s 70 degrees! I live with my husband and awesome daughter!

You can also follow her on her review blog Literary Dust

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads

Giveaway Details: All International

1 winner will receive an 10 Amazon Gift Card, International.

Ends on February 28th at Midnight EST!

Giveaway Link:

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http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2895/?

CLOUDED BY ENVY

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Queens by Patrick Hodges

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Queens (Wielders of Arantha, #2)Queens by Patrick Hodges

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When you read the blurb about ‘Queens’ by Patrick Hodges, it tells you the book is a “cosmic game of chess” — which is a perfect one-liner about the second book in this fantasy / sci-fi series, Wielders of Arantha, published by Creativia. Although this isn’t my typical genre, I took a chance on the first book and enjoyed it so much, I took on the second this month. I didn’t want to forget anything about the characters, plot, or imaginary world Hodges has created, so it was necessary!

The series focuses on 5 or 6 different groups of people some 700 years in the future on a planet, Elystra, that is most definitely not Earth. Earth, as we know it, really doesn’t exist anymore due to an alien species, the Jegg. Each of the groups has their own culture, and they’re battling one another to secure their own safety and to stay true to their god, Arantha, who goes by a few different names. The key storyline that connects everyone besides the quest for freedom or protection is how a tribe of women keep any female children born to them but return male children to the father who helped created them. The women go on a sojourn from time to time to ensure the future of their race, but this time, there’s a lot more at stake.

After I finished the first book, I new I was a fan of Hodges writing style and storytelling abilities. Although it’s definitely a fantasy novel ripe with primary characters ranging in age from 13 to 50, there are major components leaning toward the mysterious, romance, and young adult realms. At the same time, although there are a few somewhat intimate scenes (minor in my opinion), the love is seen through character interactions, voice, and dialog. Women bond to protect their race and a few trustworthy newcomers. Men bond because they know they need to stick together to fight a common enemy. Children rely on strangers to play parental roles when their own have been killed in battle. Friendship crosses species lines. There’s a lot at play in this novel, and in the series as a whole, which make it intense, captivating, and tragic. It has everything I expect in the normal genres I read which makes it a complete surprise and welcome addition to my reading list.

Between the quest to locate all the stones, learning the history of how wielding (ability to cast lightning from your hands — okay, it’s more than that, but you have to read to understand it all) developed in different cultures, and genealogical research to discover all the connections between the different tribes or lands, it’s a very well-crafted plot full of secrets, surprises, and scary drama. I usually take a week to read books like this, but I devoured it in two days this time. For the most part, it doesn’t get technical or very sci-fi, which was probably good for me; however, there are definitely those moments which will appeal to mega fans of the genre. I see it as a cross between Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, The Hunger Games, and any contemporary fiction / modern family drama novel. It should appeal to a wide variety, and if you’re not a fantasy fan, I wouldn’t say no just because this is in that genre. You might be surprised by how quickly the series draws you in.

I will definitely read the third and final installment in the trilogy, probably in January, as I don’t want to go too long and forget some of the details in the relationships and alliances. Although it wraps up a big piece of the storyline, a clever cliffhanger closes out this second book… hence why I must read the next one soon. The chess board has changed, and the game is now being played in a different way. I can’t wait to find out who is behind the scenes… I’m thinking it’s gonna go down like it did in Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. There’s more to this chess board than we know, I’m quite confident. Bring it on, Hodges, where’s the next installment!? Oh, that’s right… available on Amazon right now: Endgame.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Clouded by Envy by Candace Robinson

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Clouded by EnvyClouded by Envy by Candace Robinson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In my quest to become a more well-read and genre-diverse connoisseur of great literature, I often pick up a book that I think will be one thing yet turns out to be something quite different in a wonderfully shocking and engaging way. I’ve read several novels written or co-written by Candace Robinson in the past, but when the opportunity to read her upcoming release, Clouded by Envy, arose, I had to jump on it — initially from the cover alone. What is that!?! I bet you want to know… it’s gorgeous and captivating and peculiar and oddly sensual, don’t you think? Throw in the always-intriguing concept and deadly sin of envy (I’m Roman Catholic, so my repression requires me to love it) and you’ve got all the makings of a fine book. Guess what? It totally lives up to that hype!

I’d classify it as science-fiction, fantasy, young adult, re-appropriation of a few fairy tales, and life advice. There are two worlds. There are twins who were abandoned by their parents. When they’re magically transported to a human environment, and they only look human at certain points in their lives, there’s bound to be a plethora of page-turning scenes, intense thrills, heart-stopping emotions, and a few eye squints — at least for me because I kept finding myself trying to guess how it could possibly end given the different themes encircling this complex story.

Robinson excels at capturing the young adult voice of someone yearning to escape and find whatever’s missing in their heart or mind. She draws you in based on the sadness of what’s happening to a seemingly kind and lovable character, then tosses you to the wolves with a scene so crazy or shocking, you no longer know what to believe. After being tossed around a bit, you develop your own sense of connection and wait for the next shoe to drop. In this case, the characters often forget to wear shoes, so it’s kinda fun to see how that eventually plays out (just including a little side humor so after you read the book, you’ll get what I am saying here).

If you like something different, or something you know well but that’s been turned upside and written from the perspective of a non-human creature, you’ll enjoy this novel. It’s on the shorter side in page count which makes it easy to get through in a few hours one afternoon or evening. It’s also something you can put down and pick up again without feeling lost. The story is told in alternating perspectives from the twin protagonists, but there’s a few other character POV’s sprinkled from time to time so you see what’s happening in totality. What a ride! I look forward to seeing everyone’s thoughts and reactions when it’s officially released in early 2019. I got lucky and received an ARC (thank you) which made me quite happy… this is the 4th or 5th book I’ve read by the author… always leaves me thirsting for the next one.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Pawns by Patrick Hodges

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Pawns (Wielders of Arantha, #1)Pawns by Patrick Hodges

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Creativia, a publisher with a vast range of fantastic authors, is a go-to stop for me each month. I choose at least one new author and often a minimally-read genre (for me) to expand my knowledge and literary exposure. This month, I went with the first book, Pawns, in a three-book fantasy series called The Wielders of Arantha written in 2016 by Patrick Hodges. For those who follow my reviews, I rarely read science-fiction or fantasy because I tend to want to know all the rules of what can and what cannot happen. I’ve picked up a few popular ones, a few non-popular ones, and now I’m reading recommendations from others I trust… maybe one day I’ll actually be a mega fan!

Hodges kicks off the ~400 page book with a prologue from a dying woman who knows she has only a few breaths left. She hopes she’s done enough to protect her race and train the new protectress of her kind, but sadly she will never know as she breathes her last moment forever. Immediately, readers are thrust into a spaceship crash where we learn a woman has recently lost her husband to ‘the cause’ and she’s working with his protegee to navigate the ship as well as protect her teenage son. But there’s an accident, the protegee dies, and she is stuck trying to figure out how to fulfill her husband’s last wish to protect their kind. Who are they and are they related to the woman in the prologue? Then we meet a brother and a sister who at first seem like angry, vengeful people…. then we meet the daughter from the prologue… and then… it goes on switching character perspectives and story-lines. I’ll leave out the rest of the plot because there are 3 books and so much I could cover… suffice to say, this is quite a book and saga.

After the first 10%, we’ve met most of the major characters and understand enough of their plight and history. We don’t know how they connect to one another nor how all the planets or worlds function. In many ways, this is no different than a novel where you’ve got a bunch of characters who are somehow connected, but you don’t find out until midway thru — just there’s science fiction and fantasy holding it together. That’s when I realized I had immersed myself in the various stories. I worried less about the rules and began to care about each protagonist or supporting character. A mother fighting for her son… siblings with a tortured past… a daughter hoping to live up to her mother’s expectations while raising her own daughter who’s rebellious and likely to cause a major issue for their society. It’s a captivating story. I definitely found myself anxious to know who knew who… and when you realize there are different names/beliefs for people depending on the world you come from, it’s even more of a thriller and suspense ride.

Hodges has created a wonderful saga in Arantha full of human (and not so human) emotions that speak to readers of all kinds. His writing style is smooth and easy, but descriptive and intriguing. I found myself following along quite well for the most part, and the only times I pulled away from the story were when it got deeper into the fantasy and science-fiction elements. BUT… that’s only due to my reading style and genre preferences. The book is full of traditional fantasy and science fiction components that I’ve experienced in Star Trek or Lord of the Rings or The Hunger Games. Hodges is adept at keeping a good balance to satisfy a hard-core genre fan but also bring in a new set of readers who aren’t ready to commit to something so different. That’s a good writer!

I will read book two in early 2019 after I finish some commitments already set for this year. I’m curious to find out how some of the action sequences and cliffhanger revelations at the end of this first book will play out. A surprise genealogical connection (which I love), a potential death (traumatic but necessary), a potential pregnancy, and a fit of rage… who’s gonna win? Who’s gonna suffer more? Throw in the beginnings of a romance between different species (I think), and the book has a bit of everything built inside its pages. A definite recommend for all sorts of readers but definitely those who love trilogies (with a prequel novella too) and fantasy. Don’t miss out on this one.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Tales of the River Vine – The Boy Who Carried a Forest in His Pocket by Jean Lee

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Tales of the River Vine: The Boy Who Carried a Forest in His PocketTales of the River Vine: The Boy Who Carried a Forest in His Pocket by Jean Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I stumbled across this author through her blog and enjoyed her writing and comments. When an opportunity to read a short story / prequel of her upcoming novel, I was interested in giving it a chance. I’m not normally a fantasy reader, so I wasn’t sure how it would end up. I can now say it went extremely well and based on the short story, I’m looking forward to reading the book in the coming months. It launches at the end of October 2018, but for now, I wanted to share my thoughts on the story about the boy who carried a forest in his pocket. HMMM… that sounds very cool!

The story itself is under 15 pages, but it’s a fantastic introduction to the type of book her full-length novel (See Below) will be when it’s released on Halloween 2018. And she’s giving away 1000 copies — how awesome is that? So… a small town… a religious woman… a kind woman on a farm with a few kids… which is the better mom? Their interaction and dialog is very telling. Then… the kids meet a stranger, and this stranger performs a magic trick. Add in a squirrel, some very unusual children, and a curious mind, then you’ve got quite the beginning to what seems to be a very well-thought out universe of characters and stories. I’m curious to read more beyond this one, and with a title about a forest in a pocket, how could it not be awesome. I can’t wait to see all the imagery and graphics that appear in my mind from the author’s creativity.

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Fallen Princeborn: Stolen. Coming Halloween 2018

In rural Wisconsin, an old stone wall is all that separates the world of magic from the world of man—a wall that keeps the shifters inside. When something gets out, people disappear. Completely.

Escaping from an abusive uncle, eighteen-year-old Charlotte is running away with her younger sister Anna. Together they board a bus. Little do they know that they’re bound for River Vine—a shrouded hinterland where dark magic devours and ancient shapeshifters feed, and where the seed of love sets root among the ashes of the dying.

Fallen Princeborn: Stolen is the first in a series of young-adult dark-fantasy novels by Jean Lee. Watch for book 2 in March 2019. Read Tales of the River Vine, a collection of FREE short stories based on the characters in the Fallen Princeborn omnibus.

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Links for Stories

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HHCDJVW/

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/tales+of+the+river+vine/_/N-8qa?_requestid=2147697

Other outlets: https://www.books2read.com/b/mBPXQR

Channillo: https://channillo.com/series/middler-s-pride/

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Middler's Pride

Who is Jean Lee?

Jean Lee is a Wisconsin born and bred writer excited to share her young adult fiction with those who love to find other worlds hidden in the humdrum of everyday life. Lee’s short story collection Tales of the River Vine is currently available for free download on Amazon, Nook, and other markets. Her serialized fantasy Middler’s Pride is available via the Indie E-magazine Channillo. Lee’s first novel, Fallen Princeborn: Stolen, debuts Halloween 2018 from Aionios Books. She currently lives in the Madison area with her husband and three children.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012373211758

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeanleesworld

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jean-Lee/e/B07DPP2RV6/

Website: https://jeanleesworld.com/

Publisher Site: https://aioniosbooks.com/jean-lee

Instagram: @jeanleesworld

Email: jeanleesworld@gmail.com

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.