Welcome Award Winning Author L.R.W. Lee to LitWorldInterviews. @lrwlee

LRW Lee AuthorWelcome to author L. R. W. Lee to the fold. If you’ve been visiting the site lately, you already know she’s become a big part of the crowd. She’s here to share her interviews and reviews to give authors a bit more coverage in the world of the web.

Lee is the author of two series. Let’s take a look at them.

First up is the Epic Fantasy genre Andy Smithson series.

Andy Smithson by LRW LeeCurrently FREE. Book 1 Andy Smithson-Blast of the Dragon’s Fury

Book Description

“Ten-year-old Andy Smithson believes he is merely a kid too often in trouble with his overambitious parents–until his destiny as the Chosen One to break a 500-year-old curse is revealed. Swept away to the land of Oomaldee of medieval times, he discovers he must collect several ingredients for a magic potion to defeat the oppressive curse that plagues the land, the first of which is the scale of a red dragon, the fiercest of all dragon species. There’s just one tiny problem, he’s never battled dragons, except in his Dragon Slayer video game. Armed with only his wits, an ancient sword and a magic key, he must overcome grave peril at every turn before he can even attempt the feat. No pressure, but it’s his skill alone that will save – or condemn – the kingdom forever. ”

5-star-transparent
“From a 13-year-old’s perspective, I really enjoyed “Blast of the Dragon’s Fury.” It was fun, exciting, and mysterious. I enjoyed everything from the ominous vulture men, to the foggy, cursed land of Oomaldee (maybe it’s just me, but I love cool names for places and things, and this book is full of great names!). The characters were interesting, and the plot intriguing. The beginning was a bit slow, but after a little while, I felt like it really took off. I also loved the dragons, as these mythical creatures are a personal favorite of mine. The plot was thick, the characters great, and I really enjoyed reading this book!”

Andy Smithson Series by LRW Lee

Next we have the Grumpy Dragons series. Written with author Brian Rathbone.

Stories that help early readers learn life lessons is a fun and imaginative way.

Grumpy Dragon Series by LRW Lee

Not only is Lee an award winning author but she also does book reviews and has her own creation, a youtube channel where she interviews authors. You may have heard of her, Book Nerd Paradise.

Book Nerd ParadiseWhere can you contact this awesome person in regards to her blog, author site and more?  Click HERE for her LitWordInterviews.com Page with her links to know.

OR

I’ll be nice and give you the info here.

Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

Author Site: LRWLee.com

Twitter: @lrwlee

Facebook: LRWLee Author

Contact: Author Site

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

© Copyright-All rights reserved by LitWorldInterviews.com 2015

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Air Awakens

AirAwakensAn engaging storyline. A strong heroine. A complicated future.

Air Awakens is the first in the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova.

SUMMARY (from back): A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond… The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all–the Crown Prince Aldrik–she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.
.

WHAT I THOUGHT: To the commoner, magic is a misunderstood and scary phenomenon. To those gifted with it, it’s a weapon to be wielded. From the four corners of the kingdom, different magical affinities originate: Firebearers from the West, Waterrunners from the South, and Groundbreakers from the North.

But what of the East? For more than a century a societal prejudice has existed against Windwalkers, magicians from the East. For something happened that had the race exterminated. While hints are offered as to why, there’s much more to understand as we meet Vhalla Yarl, a commoner who works in the royal library. Impossibly and unbeknownst to her, she is a Windwalker and her powers are about to be manifest despite her efforts to deny them. Imagine yourself holding to cultural narratives that magic is ‘bad’ just to find it is part of you. But confront it she must.

Aldrick, the eldest Prince of the kingdom (a powerful Firebearer in his own right), deduces her affinity when she saves him from a mortal wound when he is injured in battle–her research produces the cure the Royal healers are unaware of, as well as a magical Bond between them that begins to heat up in a forbidden relationship.

Through Vhalla’s trials, we see her emerge as the strong heroine she is as she grapples with the choice before her to embrace her Affinty and begin a new and unfamiliar future, or have it removed and follow a familiar and comfortable path. As you would imagine, forces are at work to prevent the latter, not the least of which is a trial at the hands of the Senate over her actions that threatened the prince.

All that said, a professional editor should have gotten hold of this work before it hit the shelves. I found numerous missing words, words used incorrectly and the like that a professional set of eyes would have quickly fixed. It just drives me crazy when such a good work is compromised for such a simple thing. As a reader, I don’t want to think about the mechanics. I want to get lost in the story. I would have given this 5 stars but for that, for which I deduct 10% and give this 4.5 stars.

 Despite the poor editing issue, the engaging storyline had me hooked and book two left me begging for more.

Get Air Awakens Book One (at Amazon)

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

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 Magnus Chase

Magnus-ChaseI always love reading Rick Riordan and his writing in this novel was up to the standard I’ve come to expect!

SUMMARY: Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he barely knows-a man his mother claimed was dangerous. Uncle Randolph tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

WHAT I THOUGHT: As an author, Riordan’s metaphors always leave me in awe for their creativity. A few examples from the beginning of Magnus Chase include:
.  His only dash of color was a striped red-and-white scarf wrapped around his neck and spilling off his shoulders like a melted candy cane
.  Like he’d been running through a dirty hurricane
.  The bare tree branches looked like they’d been dipped in glass
.  His baffled expression reminded me of a substitute teacher’s: I know I was hit by a spit wad, but I have no idea where it came from.
.  His tie looked like it had been tied while he spun in total darkness.
.  Something tugged at the back of my skull…like a magnet trying to pull out an old memory
.  A scab was ripped off my brain, exposing raw memories
.  Statues silhouetted in the upstairs windows like petrified ghosts
.  My skin crawled with invisible beetles
.  Old maps looked like maps a school kid in medieval times had made for social studies
.  His nose wrinkled as if he detected a mildly unpleasant odor
.  Memories from that night spun through my head like a sickening kaleidoscope
.  A punch in the face would have been less painful
.  “You missed a pedestrian, you want to go back and hit her?”

That said, I found myself disappointed at how the book flowed. The first 25% is Magnus before he dies and it moved quickly and we get a good understanding of Magnus’ life for the last two years as Riordan reveals snippets through various interactions and sarcasm. This was brilliant.

But as soon as Magnus dies, I found the pace dragging and I grew bored as we acclimated to Valhalla with too much description and considerably less action. It just did not feel as brilliant as the beginning. I saw Riordan’s imagination at work, but it felt disjointed and as if he was just throwing out wild and crazy situations.

Magnus must go on a quest to save the 9 worlds of the Norse afterlife from destruction. Having ventured through Hades with Percy and Annabeth, the quest theme felt stale. I think we’ve been spoiled, for while this book was a different vein from Greek and Roman mythology, it felt like the same plot used once more. I have no suggestions how to shift it, but I felt like I knew how everything would turn out before I got there. Also, I felt like the ending conflict resolved way too easily for Magnus. It was clear he had a major problem on his hands, but when friends show up to save the day, for me it ruined what could have been.

Overall, I give this book 4 stars – the writing was brilliant, but the plot felt overused.

Get Magnus Chase at Amazon

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

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 Black Mage Series

TheBlackMageIntrigue. Magic. A Dark Prince.

This is how I summarize a series I did not want to see end… I highly recommend The Dark Mage series by Rachel Carter.

SUMMARY (from back cover): Before the age of seventeen the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice –follow tradition, or pursue a trial year in one of the realm’s three war schools to study as a soldier, knight or mage…

For 15-year-old Ryiah the choice has always been easy. Become a warrior and leave the boring confines of her lowborn life behind. Set to enroll in the School of Knighthood on the eve of her next birthday, plans suddenly shift when her twin brother discovers powers. Hoping that hers will soon follow, she enrolls with Alex at the Academy instead –the realm’s most notorious war school for those with magic.

Yet when she arrives Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Every “first-year” is given a trial year to prove their worth –and no amount of hard work and drive will guarantee them a spot. It seems like everyone is rooting for her to fail –and first and foremost among them Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived.
When an accidental encounter leads Ryiah and Darren to an unlikely friendship she is convinced nothing good will come of it. But the lines become blurred when she begins to improve –and soon she is a key competitor for the faction of Combat… Still, nothing is ever as it seems –and when the world comes crashing down around her, Ry is forced to place faith in the one thing she can believe in –herself. Will it be enough?

WHAT I THOUGHT: You’ll notice I am doing a review of all three books at once. There’s a reason for that, namely, once I got going in the series, I didn’t want to stop to think about the first book, or even the second as I finished it…I wanted to keep reading! I was hooked.

Book One started out a bit slow for my taste, but I kept thinking I’d give it a chance and see where the author took me. Obviously, I was not disappointed. I thought each book built nicely on the next and the storyline compelled me forward.

I loved the protagonist, Ryiah. She began as a regular girl of 15 and through her first year studies at the school, was torn down by a prejudiced instructor as well as her own insecurities as well as second guessing about a certain boy prince. But she grows stronger and in book two, we see her continue to evolve in her magic as well as personally. SPOILER ALERT – I absolutely loved Darren’s marriage proposal at the end of book 2. What a guy! Then in book 3, coming to understand the king, his expectations, and how he raised his sons, Ryiah grows stronger still. I can’t imagine fighting all out against the love of your life, regardless of the circumstance. It truly took a lot of courage on both her and the prince’s part.

That said, I did not appreciate the lack of editing. I found several places where the wrong word was used. I always hate it when that happens for it draws attention to the craft and distracts from the narrative. For this, I always deduct 10% from the rating. That aside, I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a good plot and dynamic characters.

Overall, I give book one 4 stars, books 2 – 4.5 stars and book 3 – 4 stars.

Buy The Black Mage book one (at Amazon)

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

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 Endure

Endure_Cover Friendship. Conflict. Love’s Triumph. This is how I summarize Endure, book three in the Defy trilogy by Sara B. Larson.

SUMMARY (from back): At last, Alexa and King Damian are engaged to be married. But their lives are far from safe. The kingdom of Antion is under siege, and Rylan is a prisoner of the enemy. Even worse, Alexa remains at the mercy of the evil Dansiian Rafe, who controls her mind and can force Alexa to kill or harm Damian at any moment. Despite this, Alexa is determined to rescue Rylan, which soon leads her far from Damian and deep into enemy territory.

When she arrives, what awaits her is deadlier than anything she could have ever imagined: an army of black sorcerers, and a horrifying plot to destroy the world as Alexa knows it. Will she be able to gather the strength to free herself, protect the love of her life, and save the land? Will there ever be true peace?

Acclaimed author Sara B. Larson has woven a stunning, romantic, and evocative finale to the Defy trilogy, that is sure to leave readers breathless until the very last page.

WHAT I THOUGHT: Wow. A lot happened in this final book of the series. We start at the problem of how to defeat Rafe, an evil sorcerer, who controls Rylan’s mind while holding him prisoner to get to Alexa, and Damian begging Alexa to never leave him again. We end at peace and happily ever after with the world safe from evil and a new dawn for Antion and the neighboring nations.

While I understand why Larson has Damian act as he does at the beginning, it felt like he became juvenile and lacking the dignity his role demands. I hate whiny kings and he became one. Like I said, I understand why and it worked out in the end, but still…

It came as no surprise that Alexa decides, against Damian’s wishes to go rescue Rylan. As a reader I knew the plot would go that way…it was too obvious. So then it became only a question of how the resulting conflict would go down.

I was left wondering, if I had been Damian, how would I have felt when the woman I love goes off and tries to free her friend. I guess that’s what a true friend does…but the author basically trades Eljin’s life for Rylan’s with her struggling for survival.

I thought the wrap up was only “okay”, as we never hear about most of the other characters like Ajax and Lisbet ever again other than brief mentions.

Overall, I like this book was a fitting conclusion to the series, but I liked it less than book two, based upon the seemingly overused plot line and lack of satisfying wrap up. I give this 4 stars.

Buy Endure at Amazon

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

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 Cheryl Carpinello

Meet YA Fantasy author Cheryl Carpinello and watch as she reads from SONS OF THE SPHINX. Then get to know her as she poses a fun trivia question. Be sure to leave a comment to enter the giveaway for one of two prizes: (1) eBook copy of Sons of teh Sphinx for an international winner AND (1) a paperback of the same for a US-based winner.

https://youtu.be/mcYNXbbnCSE

Synopsis: Travel back to 1330 BC Egypt

When 15-year-old Rosa agrees to help the ghost of King Tut find his lost queen Hesena, she doesn’t count on falling for him. Once back in Ancient Egypt, Rosa discovers that finding Hesena is not all she must do and is not as easy as she thought it would be, even though she carries part of that lost queen in her soul. She must also keep out of the reach of the living Horemheb–who crosses mortal boundaries using Seth’s evil magic–if she is to stay alive to make it back home.

 

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Ignite

Ignite CoverAction. Vulnerability. Suspense. This is how I summarize Ignite (Book 2 in the Defy series) by Sara B. Larson, the sequel to Defy.

SUMMARY (From back): Murder, kidnapping, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson’s acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.

Alexa continues to harbor a secret love for the newly crowned King Damian, yet she remains by his side as his guard and ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion’s people. However, when a new threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on the once friendly nation of Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. Once again the fate of her country hangs in the balance. Will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy — before it’s too late?

WHAT I THOUGHT: Larson expands what she began in book one in this engaging tale. Prince Damian is as charming and beautiful as ever and the love triangle with Rylan gets no easier for Alexa. She vascilates between the two men she loves, knowing Rylan is the “sensible” choice for her husband for she is “just” a member of the king’s guard without privilege or honor as befitting the queen of a nation. Yet her heart knows better…

Meanwhile, a band of strange sorcerers visits Antion–sorcerers undetectible by Damian–and begin a campaign to overwhelm the monarchy and citizens, with mind control. Larson did a good job of painting a very bleak situation that I couldn’t easily see how it would resolve. And what’s more, she put the characters through their paces and did not make it resolve easily (good job)! I hate books where an author backs the characters into a corner, then makes the conflict resolve so easily as to make it annoying. Larson did not commit that sin 🙂

In fact, I LOVED how the author used the climax of the central conflict to force Alexa to at last confess her deep, deep love of Damian, getting her logic out of the way and laying bare, in a very vulnerable way, her heart for the man. I still remember the scene…Damian asks, “Did you mean what you said?” and Alexa confesses, “Yes.” Oh, be still my heart…

One thing I still don’t understand…why was Alexa chosen? And why does a nation want her so badly that they send a sorcerer to apprehend her? I guess this is to be explored in the next book in the series…hope…hope.

Which brings me to my one complaint. Larson leaves you hanging at the end. So much is left open and while I understand she wants us to buy the next book to see how it all works out, I felt dissatisfied and empty at how she left us after such a gripping rollercoaster ride. Nonetheless, I plan to read the next installment 🙂

Overall, I give Ignite 4.5 stars.

Buy Ignite at Amazon

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

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 Defy

DefyCoverRomance. Mystery. Twists. This is how I summarize Defy by Sara B. Larson.

Summary from back: Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king’s army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince’s guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can’t prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she’s sworn to protect?

WHAT I THOUGHT: I will say up front I’m a sucker for a messy love story set against a fantasy world. I enjoy love sprouting in a barren wasteland, or though the cracks in the sidewalk where it’s impossible for it to thrive, but it does–it persists and refuses to give up. You kinda have to be this way to fully enjoy this book because a love triangle is a central theme throughout. If you despise this type of conflict, this book is probably not for you.

The book starts with an intriguing premise–there are breeding houses established by the maniacal king to produce warriors to support his long-term and unending war efforts. They are painted in sufficient depth as to create revulsion and disgust and set up a central part of the conflict, namely that Alexa Holden masquerades as a boy (aided by her twin brother) to avoid said houses and their abuse.

Of course Alexa can’t just be an ordinary “boy”…that would never do in a fantasy story. She discovers she has traces of a gift for sword-fighting passed down from her father who we find out was a sorcerer, in a land where sorcerery is frowned upon and made to be a crime punishable by death.

I liked the setting Larson situated the book in, a jungle, which added creepy crawlies and jaguars that aren’t in most YA fantasy. It was a nice change.

A few issues I had with the plot: We never understand why King Hector, the maniacal monarch, is the way he is. We also don’t understand why he is at war. He trumped up a bogus reason to get the people to fight against a neighboring kingdom, but we never understand why. We also don’t come to understand why certain people are sorcerers. What’s the background narrative about how sorcerers came to be in the land. We also never understand how so many folks knew Alexa was a girl masquerading as a boy. Perhaps that is yet to come in book two, but it’s certainly a question.

One other thing, Larson needs to expand her repetoire of ways to describe a character’s “inscrutible” look. She mixed in a few but way too many “inscrutible”s for my liking.

Overall, I enjoyed the read and give it 4 stars. I’m curious to see what book 2 has in store.

Buy Defy at Amazon

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

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 Ice Like Fire

Ice Like FireDynamic characters. A destiny unfolds. Who will win as the pace accelerates and motivations and power are revealed?

SUMMARY (from back): It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron is hopeful and excited—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira knows that the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Jannuari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception is woven tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter but for the world.

WHAT I THOUGHT: All I can say is I don’t ever want to be involved in a game of political cat and mouse with Sara Raasch. Wow… I just finished the book and my head is still spinning with all the plots and counter plots and counter-counter plots that are revealed near the end as the pace nears break neck speed. As an author it’s hard to keep everyone’s motivation straight in your head as you write. Raasch masterfully weaves no less than eight plots together simultaneously and manages to keep them coherent and logical. Well, well done.

As with Snow Like Ashes, Sara again writes beautiful prose. Her descriptions of the world of Primoria as well as her creative metaphors, while certainly not humorous and juvenile like his, remind me of the craft of Rick Riordan. And this is one domain of story-telling that engages or turns me away from a book like nothing else. Perhaps I’m overflowing with praise here because I understand how hard it is to write well–it’s an area I’m constantly working on for my own books. Anyone can throw words on a page, but very few can make those words serve art as well as function.

I also have to commend the way the author pursued “the quest” plot which is much of what happens in this book as Meira goes after three keys. So many times that theme gets so old for me after reading so many high fantasy stories that I roll my eyes and grown when I see it pop its head up. But Raasch keeps it as a spine for the novel upon which to hang all the plots and motivations rather than as a central theme where we pick up our walking sticks and strike out on our journey. She makes the destinations so vivid and different that I found myself drawn along without protest.

The theme that emerges in this book is one of Meira now declaring she will try to save not just Winter, but the whole of that world-a rather ambitious goal to be sure. One might call her naive, but this strong, purposeful girl will surely make it happen. That said, I appreciate how the author helps Meira learn and grow through all she faces in this book. She begins to have her naive view of people and the world stripped from her, replaced by experience and new observations of what motivates those around her. This makes her an interesting character who is beginning to anticipate and plan rather than being caught off-guard.

Theron wants everyone to have equal power which is idealistic at its best and essentially socialism at its worst. Meira, on the other hand, seeks the end of magic so everyone can begin at the same place with all their strengths and weaknesses and make a world that is “honest” and “authentic,” that will stand the test of time. At the moment this may be a naive goal as power will always exist no matter the situation.

For the first time we also see the story from Mather’s point of view which allows the plot to develop re: what Winter is experiencing at the hands of its “savior” Cerellian. We see him develop as he stops sulking about not being king to accepting his role as not-king and mobilizing a small band of troops to fight. SPOILER: I loved the exchange between him and Allyson, his mother, just before she is killed. That discussion after her death certainly spurs him on to aide Meira as he runs toward Ventralia and into danger to protect his love and Queen.

The character of Ceridwen, Summer’s princess, new to this book is an awesome character in her own right. She gives Meira perspective on the situation with her brother, the king of Summer, and allies with Meira in her fight. I loved this brash girl who stands up for what she believes. I’m looking forward to her role in the next book for I’m sure she won’t disappoint.

I can’t wait to see where Raasch takes us in the third book of the series. I give this 5 stars!

Buy Ice Like Fire at Amazon

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

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 Snow Like Ashes

Snow Like AshesFrom the well-constructed prose to the riveting storyline to the examination of how to always remain “yourself”, no matter the situation, I loved Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch!

SUMMARY (from the back): Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics—and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I must begin my critique with the world Raasch built. At the beginning there seemed to be so many kingdoms that it felt overwhelming, but the author sorted out how they came to be. While this first book fleshed out only three of them, I presume Raasch will bring the others in to play in defeating the major conflict as we move into book two.

Another thing I love about this book is where the story picks up…not with defeat looming, not with an enemy attacking, but completely and utterly defeated with only impossible hope spurring on the Winterians. And after hopes have been dashed so many times, few dare to hope again. How many world’s have been built thusly? Not many that I can remember. I love the author daring to rise up, daring to consider the possibility, daring to hope again…awesome…

Raasch also did a masterful job of unveiling a major plot twist three quarters of the way through that made so much sense but took me completely by surprise. I’ve read a lot of epic fantasy and it takes a lot to “pull one over on me” but she did it and thrilled me. Well done.

The main heroine, Meira, is a believable 16-year-old complete down to her impulsiveness and lack of confidence. I admire that she loves her country so much that she is willing to act for what she believes even if it means her own life is forfeit. That commitment makes her someone I could support and root for. The other theme I appreciated for Meira is her wrestling with how she can remain true to herself when those in authority over her dictate so much of her life. I enjoyed her search for answers that work for her. How true that is for each of us…we must seek to always be ourselves despite peer pressure or those in authority over us.

As for a budding love triangle, we definitely have one between Mather and Theron, but I appreciate how Raasch constructed it…not whiny, but testosterone driven guys who will clearly come to blows at some point. Personally, I’m rooting for Theron as he seems deeper and able to appreciate more deeply. Will that relationship be possible though? Hard to say.

I gave this 5 stars.

Buy Snow Like Ashes at Amazon

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

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 Girl of Fire and Thorns

GirlofFireandThornsCoverHow do we really know what to believe? This summarizes The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.

Summary: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king–a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs her to be the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies, seething with dark magic, are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior, and he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I have to say I don’t usually like reads that focus on a religious belief system, but I’m glad I stayed the course because this is a well written series.

In the first book of the trilogy, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, we meet Elisa, second in line to the throne, and in her mind, second in everything–she’s overweight, politically inept and expendable, therefore she’s married off to a foreign magistrate to strengthen the bonds of peace with that land.

What Elisa doesn’t fully appreciate, however, is the godstone that appeared in her navel as an infant on her naming day, something that occurs only every 100 years. She’s confused and frustrated by what it means for her and her life and she struggles to invent an identity for herself that satisfies her.

But other nations have plans for her as the Bearer and they kidnap her. Through her ordeal trekking through barren dessert, the soft girl begins to toughen up and question what she has always been taught. The questioning is where Carson’s brilliance shines, for we all question what we believe from time to time and that questioning usually changes us…at times significantly.

I won’t offer any spoilers but suffice it to say, if you love a good mystery that changes and grows the main protagonist, you’ll love this first book in the series.

I give this 4.5 stars.

Get Girl of Fire and Thorns at Amazon

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

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.

%d bloggers like this: