#BookReview by @LRWLee of Queen of Tomorrow

Queen of TomorrowThis series is a fantastical telling of the life of Catherine the Great of Russia. Queen of Tomorrow by Sherry Ficklin is book two in the Stolen Empire series.

SUMMARY (from back): Sophie—now Catherine, Grand Duchess of Russia—had a tough first year at Imperial Court. Married at sixteen to Grand Duke Peter, heir to the throne, and settled in their own palace, things start to look up. As a new day dawns, Catherine thinks only of securing her future, and the future of their country, during one of the greatest political upheavals of her time. Fighting desperately against forces that try to depose the Empress Elizabeth and put the young Prince Ivan on her throne, Catherine soon finds herself in the middle of a war brewing between her beloved Prussia and her new empire. While navigating the fragile political landscape, she quickly realizes that she has only begun to discover the tangled web of deceit and infidelity woven over the lavish court of Oranienbaum Palace.

When a strange and delicate alliance forms between the young couple, Catherine glimpses a future of happiness, only to see it vanish at the hands of those who still seek to end her life—and prevent her reign. Out of favor with the empress and running out of options, Catherine must sacrifice her own innocence on the altar of Russia if she is to save the nation and herself. To survive, she will have to do the unthinkable, betray those closest to her and become something greater and more dangerous than she ever imagined she could be… a queen.

WHAT I THOUGHT: Conspiracy, deceit and intrigue… Life in the Russian court was anything but dull. While I understand Ficklin took literary license with many of the specifics, I think the overall story arc was probably close to reality. Certainly one place I would not want to be. I will definitely be reading the next installment in this gripping saga. And again, the author added lots of interactive videos throughout the book which gave historical perspective on the time and served to ground the author’s speculations of what really happened upon which she built this tale.

Get Queen of Tomorrow (Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

 

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Queen of Someday

Queen of SomedayThis series is a fantastical telling of the life of Catherine the Great of Russia.

SUMMARY (from cover): Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia–at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family–and herself–Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.

In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?

WHAT I THOUGHT: I did not realize this was a historical fantasy loosely based on historical events when I picked it up, but I have to say, Sherry did a great job at bringing to life plausible scenarios about what could have made Catherine the Great the person she became. The author added interactive content throughout the book to give the reader more background of what was happening during that historical period. I’ve never seen that done before but it added an extra dimension to support her speculations and story. Well done. I’ll definitely be reading the next installment.

Get Queen of Someday (Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of The Master Magician

MasterMagicianIf you love origami and magic, The Paper Magician series by Charlie N. Holmberg is definitely for you! Let your expectations go and just enjoy this whimsical, imaginative, and sweet story.

SUMMARY (from back): Throughout her studies, Ceony Twill has harbored a secret, one she’s kept from even her mentor, Emery Thane. She’s discovered how to practice forms of magic other than her own—an ability long thought impossible.

While all seems set for Ceony to complete her apprenticeship and pass her upcoming final magician’s exam, life quickly becomes complicated. To avoid favoritism, Emery sends her to another paper magician for testing, a Folder who despises Emery and cares even less for his apprentice. To make matters worse, a murderous criminal from Ceony’s past escapes imprisonment. Now she must track the power-hungry convict across England before he can take his revenge. With her life and loved ones hanging in the balance, Ceony must face a criminal who wields the one magic that she does not, and it may prove more powerful than all her skills combined.

WHAT I THOUGHT: What a great ending to this very creative story arc. While Ceony again falls into a very predictable trap based on her naivety (which you can see coming a mile away) I enjoyed the sweet romantic tension that the author took time to develop rather than the all-too-common hormonal lust/sex that fills many books these days. I loved the outcome of the adventure and especially the very end of the book including the epilogue. Well done 🙂

Get The Master Magician (at Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of The Glass Magician

GlassMagicianIf you love origami and magic, The Paper Magician series by Charlie N. Holmberg is definitely for you! Let your expectations go and just enjoy this whimsical, imaginative, and sweet story.

SUMMARY (from back): Three months after returning Magician Emery Thane’s heart to his body, Ceony Twill is well on her way to becoming a Folder. Unfortunately, not all of Ceony’s thoughts have been focused on paper magic. Though she was promised romance by a fortuity box, Ceony still hasn’t broken the teacher-student barrier with Emery, despite their growing closeness.

When a magician with a penchant for revenge believes that Ceony possesses a secret, he vows to discover it…even if it tears apart the very fabric of their magical world. After a series of attacks target Ceony and catch those she holds most dear in the crossfire, Ceony knows she must find the true limits of her powers…and keep her knowledge from falling into wayward hands.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I enjoyed the Paper Magician, but this book is even better. In book two we get more background in the other types of materials that one can “bond” to, to do magic. I thought the author’s creativity shone as she went in depth to give color with other characters and their trials with these other materials. While the plot felt somewhat contrived at times, the execution of the various plot twists, vilians and the possibility of a budding romance made the resolution very satisfying.

Get The Glass Magician (at Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of The Paper Magician

PaperMagicianIf you love origami and magic, The Paper Magician series by Charlie N. Holmberg is definitely for you! Let your expectations go and just enjoy this whimsical, imaginative, and sweet story.

Summary from Backcover: Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

WHAT I THOUGHT: This was a good adventure to start a series. A coming-of-age plot has us begin with disappointment which we can all relate to followed immediately by discovery that disproves our ungrounded, and preconceived notions, to introduce a world of possibilities. The author certainly has a vivid imagination–not only does she go deep in inventing a whole world of magic possible with paper folding, but also having a good portion of this book take place within the heart of Magician Emery Thane. What a great way to weave in backstory to set up the rest of the books. Very ingenious and instructive. I’m looking forward to book 2.

Get The Paper Magician (at Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee by The Duality Bridge

Duality Bridge 1) Will the blending of man and machine that’s happening today ever obsolete humanity as we know it? 2) If we reach singularity, what will the next step to our advancement be? If these questions have ever crossed your neurons The Singularity series by Susan Kaye Quinn might well tickle your synapses further.

SUMMARY Bk 2 (from back): What does it mean to be human? Elijah Brighton is the face of the Human Resistance Movement. He’s the Olympic-level painter who refused an offer of immortality from the ascenders—the human/machine hybrids who run the world—in solidarity with the legacy humans who will never get a chance to live forever.

Too bad it’s all a complicated web of lies.

Worse, Eli’s not even entirely human. Few know about the ascenders’ genetic experiments that left him… different. Fewer know about the unearthly fugue state that creates his transcendent art—as well as a bridge that lets him speak to the dead. But the Resistance is the one place he can hide from the ascender who knows everything the fugue can do. Because if Marcus finds him, he’ll either use Eli for his own nefarious purposes… or destroy him once and for all.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I just finished reading book two in the series and it is as good as the first, examining not only what does it mean to be human, but what does it mean to access God. This book had me think of the ancient Hebrews constructing the tower of Babel to reach god. In this future reality, those who call themselves believers have their faith challenged and find their preconceived and most times unexamined narratives may be baseless. What does it mean to go beyond the bounds of human cognition? To access another dimension of existence and reality? This installment in the planned five book series had me thinking beyond my average read. Well done!

Get The Duality Bridge (Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

 

#BookReview by @LRWLee of The Legacy Human

Legacy Human 1) Will the blending of man and machine that’s happening today ever obsolete humanity as we know it? 2) If we reach singularity, what will the next step to our advancement be? If these questions have ever crossed your neurons The Singularity series by Susan Kaye Quinn might well tickle your synapses further.

SUMMARY (from back): What would you give to live forever? Seventeen-year-old Elijah Brighton wants to become an ascender—a post-Singularity human/machine hybrid—after all, they’re smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and above all, achingly beautiful. But Eli is a legacy human, preserved and cherished for his unaltered genetic code, just like the rainforest he paints. When a fugue state possesses him and creates great art, Eli miraculously lands a sponsor for the creative Olympics. If he could just master the fugue, he could take the gold and win the right to ascend, bringing everything he’s yearned for within reach… including his beautiful ascender patron. But once Eli arrives at the Games, he finds the ascenders are playing games of their own. Everything he knows about the ascenders and the legacies they keep starts to unravel… until he’s running for his life and wondering who he truly is.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I found this to be a very thought-provoking book. What does it mean to be human in a world filled with ascended humans who will live forever like the alchemists envisioned and legacy, unascended humans. I loved how when we meet Eli, he is drifting in unexamined narratives that ascending is the goal of legacy humans. Ascending is best. But as he hears a new, and opposite narrative for the first time, he is forced to consider it. I won’t give away what he chooses or why, but the author does an amazing job working the question of what it means to be human in the form of a YA novel with action and intrigue. Well done. I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series!

Get The Legacy Human (Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of The Art of Racing in the Rain

RacingintheRainI know I’ve read a great book when I reflect on it after I close the cover, and even the day after. I believe I have a book hangover from The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein…

Summary from back cover: Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny’s wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.

WHAT I THOUGHT: A friend recommended this book to me when I told her about a YA fantasy book I’m currently writing. So while I began reading from a perspective to examine how the author constructed the book, I found myself completely absorbed with the stroyline in not-to-long. Stein does a masterful job at weaving in crap we face in life from the perspective of the family dog. And he does it in such a way that you can’t help but have your heartstrings drawn taut to the point of breaking several times. While there are many sad parts, just like in life, the reflections of mans best friend help convey what it truly means to be a friend and love another unconditionally…warts and all.

Stein mixes in just the right measure of humor to keep the story moving along lest we get too depressed with what’s actually happening to Denny, the dog’s master. Some of this shows in Enzo’s analysis of life using racing as the analogy–You can’t keep your hands too tightly grasping the steering wheel of you can’t react to new concerns, always act for what you anticipate will happen so when it does, you’re still in control and not taken unawares and more. All in all a great read that I recommend to anyone who loves a good tear jerker every once in a while.

Out of popular demand, Stein also created a kids version of this book known as Racing in the Rain, so if you have middle graders, this would be content appropriate for them.

Review: 5 stars

Get The Art of Racing in the Rain (Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Queen of Shadows

QueenofShadowsQueen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, Book 4) by Sarah J. Maas

Wow! How’d she do that? These seem the only words befitting this book…It’s that good. A true ride for the emotions…

SUMMARY FROM BACK: Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire-for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

WHAT I THOUGHT: The first three books in the series have been excellent, but in this fourth installment of six, Sarah J. Maas steps up her character-development game for the characters grow and develop throughout the 600+ pages of this adventure in a masterful, believable way. The world-building that existed in the first three books continued and I was blown away as the characters became even more real, grappling with real problems in ways that are so human.

Aelin’s storyline revisits her painful past as she must once more face her master, Abromyn, the king of thieves, who has inflicted so much pain in her life. While I despised him for his cunning and scheming, he stoops to new lows. I have to say though that the very fact that I have such negative emotion for this man, speaks volumes to the artistry with which this character developed. Aelin confronts him once more and comes away stronger for it.

We again see Manon, the Blackbeak witch, whose character is forced to question militant authority and come to terms with the conflict between that and what she believes. While situations differ, her story is so relatable for most readers.

We also see Lysandra and Kaltain reappear, each woman coming to terms with and finally acting out of the inner strength we suspected they held. And a new female is introduced, Elide, who I suspect will be pivotal in the final book.

Love is also a central theme in this book.

Romantic passions ebb and flow between Aelan and Rowan, her fae prince, in such a way that I found myself routing for love to triumph and overwhelm as they resist and struggle at points. Oh, what a great romance continues.

Aelin’s relationships with both Chaol and Dorian change and grow as well, but way beyond passion. I loved how it deepened into strong and enduring friendships – friendships that are ‘to the death.’

One point I thought particularly well written: Love causes Aelin to save the life of a mortal enemy – What? Yes. It was a pivotal plot point and while I would not have thought it possible, it happened in a believable way. Because so many of Aelin’s loved ones have been killed (her family, Sam, Nemeniah) and because she has felt the irreparable pain of those losses, she has come to believe she must spare the life of someone, even an enemy, who is deeply loved by another. We see this when Aelin hears the gut-wrenching cry and sees the pain in the friend of her enemy, and without a second thought, Aelin throws herself in harms way so the friend of her enemy never has to know the pain of losing the one they so deeply love. So moving…

Setup to the next book – I loved the long denouement of this book for I wasn’t ready to be done and Maas didn’t make me. Longer than many, I appreciated the length for it allowed me to recover from so many emotionally charged experiences.The resolution for all the various characters was well done and set up the next book without giving anything away.

Overall, I found myself experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions. I shrieked at a few of the the plot twists, oohed at the play between Aelin and Rowen, and find myself a bit exhausted in the end. Well done!

Get Queen of Shadows (Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of The Heart of Betrayal

HeartofBetrayalIf you enjoy books that challenge notions of love, loyalty and truth, and then make you grapple with how to harmonize them, this series, The Remnant Chronicles, is for you! The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson is book two.

SUMMARY FROM BACK: Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape . . . and even less of being together.

Desperate to save her life, Lia’s erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komisar that she has a magical gift, and the Komisar’s interest in Lia is greater than either Kaden or Lia foresaw.

Meanwhile, the foundations of Lia’s deeply-held beliefs are crumbling beneath her. Nothing is straightforward: there’s Rafe, who lied to her, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom she always believed to be barbarians but whom she now realizes are people who have been terribly brutalized by the kingdoms of Dalbreck and Morrighan. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her very sense of self, Lia will have to make powerful choices that affect her country, her people . . . and her own destiny.

WHAT I THOUGHT: In book two, we see Rafe and Lia’s love deepen as they share in their imprisonment by the Vendans. They have a lot of time to think about their situations and each other. Rafe’s character is deepened considerably in this book and through it we see how much he really loves Lia to the point of sacrificing himself for her.

The author did a great job of world building as the imagery comes to life in a way that brings to story along.

I love how Lia is forced to confront long held, but unexamined beliefs about another culture. She had been taught the Vendans were nothing but low-lifes and assassins, but as she spends time in their prison, she discovers all she believes may not be true. I love how the author plants the idea of examining areas of our own lives, unexamined beliefs that may or may not help us produce the future we seek.

I also enjoyed Pearson’s treatment of Kaden who must find his way between his love for Lia and his loyalty for the Komizar, his boss. It’s an issue we must all face at some point in our lives and the struggle that played out did this conflict justice.

I will definitely be getting the third book in the series when it’s available…not soon enough 🙂

Buy Heart of Betrayal (Book Two) (Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of The Kiss of Deception

KissofDeceptionIf you enjoy books that challenge notions of love, loyalty, and truth, and then make you grapple with how to harmonize them, The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson is for you!

SUMMARY FROM BACK: In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight–but she doesn’t–and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom–to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive–and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets–even as she finds herself falling in love.

WHAT I THOUGHT: If you’re a hopeless romantic like me who believes one should marry for love and not obligation, this book is definitely for you! Bless her heart, Lia is a princess born into a life of obligation. Rather than settle for the life laid out for her, on her wedding day she disobeys tradition for the sake of finding true love. She disguises herself and becomes a barmaid for a tavern in a town far away from her responsibilities.

Hoping never to be found out, two strangers arrive in the tavern and she waits on both. Little does she know they have both sought her out for reasons of their own. One is the crown prince of the neighboring kingdom she unknowingly was to be wed to. The other is a paid assassin come to eliminate her by a warring kingdom. Needless to say, she falls for both of them forming a love triangle, for neither admit who they truly are. This was a fun read because it kept me guessing the whole time, trying to figure out which character was the assassin and which, the prince. The plot was different than so many for it twisted and turned in unexpected, but engaging and believable ways. Well done!

Buy Kiss of Deception (Book One) (Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

 

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Red Queen

RedQueen_coverImaginative world building. Dynamic characters. Unexpected twists.

These snippets summarize Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Book One in the Red Queen series.

SUMMARY from back: Graceling meetsThe Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I have to begin by mentioning the imaginative world invented by Aveyard. She takes us from the Stilts, slums where red blood folks live in abject poverty, to a castle made with unbreakable, diamondglass walls that is the captial of Silver life. The contract couldn’t be clearer. While Reds have seen the amazing powers demonstrated by a few Silvers, what Reds don’t know is that Silvers with powers they could never fathom exist–fireburners, telkies, folks who can become invisible, beings who take the form of shadows and can bend light, Oblivions who can explode things with a touch, Storms who control the weather, others who can bend metal to their will, and more. The variety of powers adds an interesting dynamic to the world and I’ll be very curious to see how Aveyard develops this in the next book in the series.

I thought the author brought forth the three main characters with a lot of depth. The central protaginist, Mare Barrow, demonstrated herself to be a strong heroine. It’s clear she will do whatever it takes, including sacrifice her own life, to upset the uneasy imbalance of power between Red and Silver. She has a conflict before her that is significant and had me cheering her success! And then there’s the two princes, Cal and Maven who have different mothers, setting up conflict, not only with the pecking order, but inner conflict as well. Cal, while the eldest, is the dutiful son, groomed for the monarchy who also holds a role as general, commanding the armies of the nation. Maven, the younger, is his mother, the queen’s, favorite and must navigate this family dynamic…and boy does he. I won’t give away any spoilers, but let’s just say this produces a huge plot twist that you won’t want to miss.

Having said all that, it was clear from the get go that this is the first book in a multi-book series (at least three). For all the positives, I found the first half of the book dragged for me with so much background on Mare. While I suppose it’s important to understand her life history, I felt as though the narrative could have begun at a different place and much of this material could have been woven throughout the storyline in a different, more engaging manner. The next installment in the series, Glass Sword, is coming Feb 9, 2016 and is available for preorder on Amazon

All told, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Get Red Queen (on Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Rider of the Crown

RideroftheCrown I have a wonderful book hangover after reading this thought-filled, inspiring, and romantic tale: Rider of the Crown (Crown of Tremontaine Book Two) by Melissa McShane.

SUMMARY (from back): Imogen, warrior of the Kirkellan tribes, has never wanted to be anything else. But when the long war between the Kirkellan and the country of Ruskald ends, the terms of the peace treaty require Imogen to be married to the vicious King of Ruskald for five years. Confined to his freezing city, forbidden to fight, Imogen sees nothing but darkness in her future—until the arrival of Elspeth North, heir to the Crown of Tremontane, brings three countries to the brink of war and sets Imogen free.

Now, sent to be the ambassador of her people to Tremontane, Imogen faces new challenges as she struggles to maintain her warrior’s identity in a world of glittering ballrooms and foreign customs. As a diplomat, Imogen discovers skills she never knew she had—as well as a forbidden attraction to the handsome and charismatic King Jeffrey North. But when war once again threatens not only Tremontane but her own people, Imogen must decide: is she the warrior, the diplomat—or something greater?

WHAT I THOUGHT: Rider of the Crown picks up about twenty years after Servant of the Crown (The Crown of Tremontaine Book One) and includes only cameos of Allison North, the Royal Librarian, that I came to love. I was a bit disappointed initially that this book did not add the next installment of the Royal Librarian’s adventures, but it was nice to see a slice of Tremontaine from other character’s perspectives.

By this time in the story, King Anthony and Allison have had two children, Jeffrey and Elspeth, and Anthony has died, making Jeffrey an unmarried and very eligible King. I won’t go into what all happens for you can read that yourself, but I loved the theme the author weaves throughout the book: who am I really? Am I what I’m good at? Am I what I am passionate about? Am I who I love or who loves me? Something else, or all of the above?

We follow the strong heroine, Imogen, through three phases of her life during which she keeps asking herself this question. The first phase is living as “wife” to an enemy for five years as part of a peace treaty her mother signs as ruler of Kirkellan. She finds herself, a Kirkellan warrior, among the enemy who despise her and her people and she wonders how she will endure for five years in that hostile environment with an arrogant, power-hungry ruler for a husband, temporary though it may be. She grows and learns about herself over a year until the ruler makes a choice that betrays the ethics she believes in and she annuls the peace treaty to stand for what she believes is right.

The second phase of the story, and her life, is as an ambassador of Kirkellan to Tremontaine at the request of her mother. In this foreign nation, she encouters all manner of different cultural norms and must learn how to become an ambassador, moving effectively with norms and practices not her own, all the while holding to who she believes she is, a Kirkellan warrior. She learns and grows through the experience and comes to meet the King who she falls in love with. Nothing like love to tempt one throw away what they care about. But she stays true to herself until…

In part three, Tremontaine finds itself at war with the country who Imogen was initially wed to, and she sheds her ambassador status to retake her Kirkellian warrior heritage to lead her warriors and those of Tremontaine into battle. Clearly a good leader of soldiers, Imogen must, in the end, come to grips with whether pursuing love or the path she had always envisioned, will be her future.

As an author, I appreciate a well-crafted, engaging storyline. And this one lives up to that and adds more by challenging the reader to ask the question of ourselves…Who am I really? I give this book 5 stars.

Get Rider of the Crown (Crown of Tremontaine Book Two) from Amazon

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#Interview by @LRWLee of YA Fantasy Author Michelle Madow

Meet YA Fantasy author Michelle Madow and watch as she reads from ELEMENTALS 1: THE PROPHECY OF SHADOWS. Then get to know her as she poses a fun trivia question. Be sure to leave a comment to enter the giveaway for a signed paperback of the same.

https://youtu.be/_cQ_jq1J85o

Summary: Witches are real. They’re descendants of the Olympian gods. And now, five witches gifted with elemental powers must fight to stop a war against the Titans.

When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly… she’s apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers — and, to her dismay, by Blake — the school’s notorious bad-boy.

Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle’s wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious elemental powers. But the comet has another effect — it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town… and possibly the world.

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Book Nerd ParadiseInterview by Book Nerd Paradise
Twitter: @BookNerdParadis
FB: bit.ly/BookNerdParadiseFB

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let us know what you thought.

ALSO, BE SURE TO follow our host YA Fantasy author L. R. W Lee at:
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

DOWNLOAD the FREE ebooks of the award winning Prequel andBook one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Servant of the Crown

ServantoftheCrownIf you loved Seraphina for the fantasy mixed with political intrigue, I recommend Servant of the Crown by Melissa McShane (The Crown of Tremontane Book 1)! While there are no dragons, the mix of a strong heroine, dynamic characters, and excellent writing is sure to satisfy.

SUMMARY from Back: Alison Quinn, Countess of Waxwold, is content with her bookish life—until she’s summoned to be a lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Tremontane’s mother for six months. Even the prospect of access to the Royal Library doesn’t seem enough to make up for her sacrifice, but Alison is prepared to do her service to the Crown. What she’s not prepared for is Prince Anthony North, Queen Zara’s playboy brother, who’s accustomed to getting what he wants—including the Countess of Waxwold.

When the fallout from an unfortunate public encounter throws the two of them together, Alison has no interest in becoming the Prince’s next conquest. But as the weeks pass, Alison discovers there’s more to Anthony than she—or he—realized, and their dislike becomes friendship, and then something more—until disaster drives Alison away, swearing never to return.

Then Alison is summoned by the Queen again, this time to serve as Royal Librarian. A threat to Tremontane’s government, with her treasured Library at stake, draws Alison into the conflict…and into contact with Anthony once more. Can they work together to save the Royal Library and Tremontane? And can she open her heart to love again?

WHAT I THOUGHT: Allison Quinn, Countess of Waxwold, is a smart, savvy business woman, working for her father’s publishing house. When she is summoned to be a lady in waiting for the Dowager (mother of the queen) for six months, loyal citizen that she is, she presents herself for duty. But it doesn’t take long to see her true bookworm-self revealed, for true to form, she insists on seeing the Royal Library and is frustrated by the Librarian who refuses to permit it–heresy!

Men had treated her as an object to possess rather than recognizing who she was so when she encounters the prince, Anthony, an arrogant chovanist, she dresses him down publically leading to all manner of wonderful plot twist.

I so enjoyed her enthusiasm when she is appointed Royal Librarian. Be still my heart (LOL!). But I knew we were in for a treat when by a third of the way through the book, Allison had already fallen in love and betrayal reared its ugly head.

The queen, Zara, daughter of the Dowager and sister of prince Anthony appears as another strong female character with political obstacles she must navigate to retain the power necessary for the crown to effectively manage society. I was impressed that the author fully developed her allowing us to see the complex struggles force and giving in to frustration would thwart.

What a sweet interplay between these three. A masterful job of weaving in so many emotional threads and giving the reader a satisfying conclusion.

The only thing not well developed in my opinion was the healing magic that society apparently shunned. This came more into play with the short story that followed the novel, but that detail was never expanded upon and it appears it becomes a significant plot element, at least going forward.

I recommend the sequel, RIDER OF THE CROWN!

Get Servant of the Crown (at Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of The White Rose

TheWhiteRoseSuspense-filled. Unique World. Engaging heroine. If you loved Rosamund Hodge’s Crimson Bound, you’ll love The White Rose (Jewel series Book Two) by Amy Ewing!

SUMMARY (from back): Violet is on the run—away from the Jewel, away from a lifetime of servitude, away from the Duchess of the Lake, who bought her at auction. With Ash and Raven traveling with her, Violet will need all of her powers to get her friends, and herself, out of the Jewel alive.

But no matter how far Violet runs, she can’t escape the rebellion brewing just beneath the Jewel’s glittering surface, and her role in it. Violet must decide if she is strong enough to rise against the Jewel and everything she has ever known.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I thoroughly enjoyed Ewing’s first book, The Jewel, which is why I preordered The White Rose as soon as I finished it. That said, this book lived up to my expectations and then some.

The world of the Jewel expands dramatically in this installment for Violet, Ash and Raven are on the run and must navigate the four rings in order to find safety in the outermost, The Farm. Page-turning suspense built as they continually had to overcome obstacles to a safe passage through each ring. While book one gave a glimpse of the rings, book two gives more depth and richness (or impoverishedness as the case is) of each as Violet and her companions navigate each. We come to appreciate, all the more, the unfairness thrust upon all who exist to serve the needs of The Jewel. We also come to learn that this world is actually an island that has been abused for centuries–we learn it seeks to restore itself to harmony and balance and will assist all who work to that end. How this manifests is a very imaginative take on the world that is well done and believable.

Violet also grows in Book Two. We knew she had strength as a surrogate, but together reader and character begin to understand more about that strength as she attempts numerous quests to save friends, endure the unknown, and even help those she loves realize their deepest needs even when it seems foolhearty. One such example is when Ash must see his little sister who is dying. Ewing stacks the situation with everything you, as the omnicient reader, know is crazy to even attempt the effort, but she uses it to reveal more of both Violet’s and Ash’s characters.

As an author, I always have a character’s name represent their role or give some hint about what we can expect from him/her. Ewing clearly utilizes this tool as we see Lucien live up to his name, which means bright light or leader, as we find he is the leader of the black key resistance that is giving inhabitants of every ring of the Jewel hope for a different future.

The one very minor issue I had was with the character of Garnet, the son of the Duchess of the Lake. Somehow he just always shows up at just the right moment to save the day. The thought kept running through my mind, wouldn’t the Duchess know if he stayed out all night, etc? He seemed too convenient at times. But as I said, that was a very minor issue and based upon Garnet’s minor supporting role for now, it’s not a big deal. I will enjoy seeing how he develops in Book Three.

The book is clearly the middle of a series as throughout, the next installment is set up. We see this as three new surrogates join the cast and questions are planted re: how they will behave relative to the mission–will they help or hinder the cause, Violet’s sister, Hazel, is taken to be a surrogate, and Violet finds her little brother has joined the resistance. It is clear Violent has much to lose and much to gain as we move forward.

I know I’ve discovered a great book when I find myself genuinely worried about what happens to the characters. This was one such book! Well done. I’m giving it 5 stars.

Get The White Rose (at Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Etiquette and Espionage

EtiquetteandespionagePink Panther meets Monty Python–that’s how I describe this fun YA steampunk novel, Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School Series Book 1) by Gail Carriger

SUMMARY (from back): It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

 Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

WHAT I THOUGHT: Steampunk is always a fun read for me because authors invent so many steam-powered gadgets that folks back in Victorian times only wished they had, for all the time and effort they would have saved. But Carriger displayed more creativity than many as she built this world starting with her mechanimals (mechanical animals), a finishing school that floats as a dirigible, mechanical servants on tracks that keep students in line, and more.

The first hint I had that I was in for a treat was the character names–Sophronia, Mrs. Barnaclegoose, Mrs. Temminnick, Diminty Ann Plumleigh-Teignmott, Pillover, Monique Pelouse, Bumbersnoot, Soap, and more. She also included flywaymen (airbourne bandits) to add conflict.

I also fell in love with the language the author employed–long, sophisticated words retired from common usage with much gratitude–some examples: a private conveyance (car), deportment, articulated hassock, affronted, flabbergasted, and so many more I’d love to expound but lack the space. A steampunk novel requires language such as this to effectively carry the genre and Carriger did a splendid job (LOL, I couldn’t resist). But my use of “splendid” brings up another point that I loved about this story: the fact that as I kept reading, I almost wanted to start speaking like the characters…too fun 🙂

The story begins with Sophronia’s misadventure with a dumbwaiter to evesdrop on a conversation and continues through a variety of jaunts as she comes to understand one of the students possesses a valuable object the bad guys (flywaymen) are willing to go to great lengths to steal. As an author, I weave in humor. for I know readers love to laugh. Well, clearly Carriger recognizes that as well, for much humor ensues as the author has her characters observe the absurd decorum of Victorian times. Imagine, a prop-per lady in prop-perapparal, fighting bandits with all manner of propriety, fainting properly (always backward, never forward), or fluttering ones eyes in a correct manner so as to distract the opposite sex.

This was a fun tale and worth continuing on to book 2, Curtsies & Conspiracies, in the Finishing School Series. I give this 4.5 stars.

Get Etiquette & Espionage (at Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Earth’s End

Earths EndThis book touched my emotions in so many ways! Earth’s End by Elise Kova made my emotions soar, just to turn them raw. Rarely have I felt a book so deeply.

SUMMARY (from back): A woman awoken in air, a soldier forged by fire, a weapon risen from blood.

Vhalla Yarl has made it to the warfront in the North. Forged by blood and fire, she has steeled her heart for the final battle of the Solaris Empire’s conquest. The choices before Vhalla are no longer servitude or freedom, they are servitude or death. The stakes have never been higher as the Emperor maintains his iron grip on her fate, holding everything Vhalla still has left to lose in the balance.

WHAT I THOUGHT (WARNING THERE ARE SPOILERS!): Elise Kova is proving to be a master storyteller! I wanted to believe in the fairy tale relationship of Vhalla and Aldrick. I longed to.  At the beginning of the book the narrative picks up resolving the angst left at the end of Fire Falling where we didn’t know if Prince Aldrick perished in his fall or not. I sweated three long months refusing to believe he could have died. And I was right- woohoot!! This discovery shortly into book three eased my heart’s trepidation and I was off on another adventure, happy as a lark.

Vhalla and Aldrick grow much closer and even intimate during the middle of the book, causing my skin to tingle and sending my heart a thumpin’ . I saw the trust they shared and rejoiced for them – could life get any better for the pair??? Yet Kova couldn’t let us live in a fantasy realm, for there is a deeper narrative to be told and she began sprinkling hints that Vhalla was glossing over Aldrick’s faults…starting with his drinking. I will admit I, too, glossed over the prince’s faults in my hunger to view him as Prince Charming.

But even after Vhalla fulfills her vow to the Emperor, gaining the respect of everyone in camp in the process, things come to a head. Oh how I loathed the power-hungry dictator. Very few authors have created villians that get under my skin like this man, but when the emperor asserts himself, we are clear that he controls everything and the lives of everyone within his domain–I cringed. We in America take our freedom SOOO for granted–I was not made to live in subjegation to anyone but the Law, but everyone in the Solaris empire knows a very different truth. Kova did a brilliant job of revealing more of this antagonist throughout the book.

And then the end, the last third of the book, arrived. The first time I read it I kept saying “No! No! This can’t be happening!” I wanted to plug my ears and squeeze my eyes tight and make the upheval stop! I mourned what unfolded and found myself devastated and nearly screaming out in anguish alongside Aldrick.

So I read the book a second time after a day of decompressing…yes it was that good…and found more perspective as I was less emotionally charged. Amidst the chaos, Kova shows us that Vhalla and Aldrick’s relationship is toxic for they are the world of the other and neither has formed a foundation upon which to build something lasting…yet.  Vhalla comes to this realization first and it is only her courage that plunges the pair into a time of learning and personal growth.

This end to the book is very different to the panic from book two. It is a sober recognition that we must each become our own person before we can truly love another. While I resisted “going here,” I’m thrilled Kova is leading the way and I’m anxious to see what the pair learn about themselves in book four.

I gave this 5 stars with no reservations!

Buy Earth’s End on Amazon

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#Interview by @LRWLee of YA Fantasy Author Lindsay Brambles

Meet YA Fantasy author Lindsay Brambles and watch as he reads from BECOMING DARKNESS. Then get to know him as he poses a fun trivia question. Be sure to leave a comment to enter the giveaway for a signed hardback of the same.

https://youtu.be/bEpehryNnCw

Summary: Like everyone else living in Haven, seventeen-year-old Sophie Harkness is an Immune – a carrier of the genetic mutation that protects her from the virus Hitler unleashed upon the world more than half a century ago. A virus that wiped out most of humanity and turned two-hundred million people into vamps. But after her best friend is brutally murdered and several attempts are made on her own life, Sophie becomes determined to find answers to what seems to be a conspiracy running generations deep. And when she questions the peace treaty that keeps her small community protected, Sophie begins to discover terrible truths about herself and what it means to be human in a world ruled by darkness.

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Book Nerd ParadiseInterview by Book Nerd Paradise
Twitter: @BookNerdParadis
FB: bit.ly/BookNerdParadiseFB

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let us know what you thought.

ALSO, BE SURE TO follow our host YA Fantasy author L. R. W Lee at:
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

DOWNLOAD the FREE ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Fire Falling

FireFalling1 Ooo la la… What can I say to this deeply vulnerable and sweetly romantic second installment in the Air Awakens series, Fire Falling, by Elise Kova.

If you love Sarah J. Maas, you’re sure to enjoy Elise Kova!!

SUMMARY (from book): Soldier… Sorcerer… Savior… Who is Vhalla Yarl?

Vhalla Yarl marches to war as property of the Solaris Empire. The Emperor counts on her to bring victory, the Senate counts on her death, and the only thing Vhalla can count on is the fight of her life. As she grapples with the ghosts of her past, new challenges in the present threaten to shatter the remnants of her fragile sanity. Will she maintain her humanity? Or will she truly become the Empire’s monster?

WHAT I THOUGHT: In this installment, Vhalla leaves the protection of the castle to fulfill the sentence the Senate decreed, for her involvement in the events of the night of wind and fire that threatened the life of Prince Aldrick. She marches to war under the command of the Emperor who plans to exploit her talents to conquer the North. To him, she is a lowly, worthless commoner who has become a distraction to his son and he makes no attempt to hide his feelings.

While most of the book covers the 3 month march north, the author takes what could be a rather boring and monotonous trek and makes it anything but. We see so much more of the deep love Vhalla has for Aldrick, a love she has desperately tried to deny, for she knows acknowledging it would set in motion changes she’s frightened to confront.

For Aldrick’s part, we watch his affections for Vhalla mature and discover he, too, has tried to deny his feelings for not only is a relationship with a commoner taboo for royalty, but he believes his past struggles, murders, and uncertainties make him someone to be shunned rather than loved.

SPOILER: I particularly loved the scene where Aldrick comes to Baldair looking for Vhalla in his brother’s section of the camp. After being apart from Aldrick for a time for her own safety, Vhalla hears Aldrick asking his brother about her. She sneaks out of her tent and in little more than a whisper, calls his name, drawing his attention. The conversation/events that ensue cement for both of them their true and undeniable feelings for each other. Whew… What a beautifully moving scene Kova wove together.

While this is only Kova’s second novel, she touches on vulnerabilities and insecurities we all deal with and feelings and emotions we long for. Seeing the host of passionate fans who have responded to these themes, I know she will do very well as an indie author. Well done. I can’t wait for book three!

I gave this book 5 stars!

You can watch Elise read from Fire Falling on Book Nerd Paradise’s YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/ptocpKE3VxI

Buy Fire Falling, Book Two in Air Awakens (at Amazon)
Buy Air Awakens, Book One (at Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

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