The Summoned Ones – Darryl A. Woods

Welcome back everyone, I’m continuing the fantasy/sci-fi feel this week with a young adult fantasy novel by debut author Darryl A. Woods.

My first thought once I got far enough in to form an opinion of the book was that it was a great story, engaging and interesting. For a debut author this is impressive and needed! How else do they get fans to come back for more?

After I got involved in the story and the fantasy element kicked in, I started to notice a few flaws in the writing. Not enough to say the writing was bad, or the story suffered enough to dislike it. Just little things I’ve picked up on over time being a writer for online learning and an avid reader.

The first was the way the story was written, the technical writing element. I found myself needing to read a sentence multiple times to understand what it was meant to say because it wasn’t succinct. I’m not saying I’m any better, but it’s something that takes practice, distance and often an editor or second set of eyes to pick up and fine tune.

The second was the distribution of the story, how long we focused on a group of characters. This might be a personal feeling, but it felt like each chapter spent on a group of characters should have been shorter, with more changes between the groups. That way you don’t get so involved in one group you forget about the rest and what’s happened to them.

With shorter chapters and more frequent changes between the groups, I think I would’ve spent less time trying to remember what had happened and more time being actively involved in the story. By actively involved I mean me wondering what was happening with the others and wanting to read more.

By the end I still wanted more. I still want to know what happens. I just think improvements in those areas could have made it even more engaging for me.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Dirty, Reckless Love by Lexi Ryan. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Darryl Woods has a passion for telling stories, an appetite for reading fantasy, and a love of old movies. He remembers things in scenes, picturing the background, the clothing of the characters, small details like, wrist bands, jewelry, dogs crossing the street, but most of all the emotions and actions of the each participant in the scene. He would spend time, usually as he waited for sleep, thinking through those scenes, fleshing out details the book didn’t add, or recreating the scenes with differing outcomes. So, as the story of The Flight to Bericea developed the scenes that make up the story easily flowed from his vivid imagination.

Darryl’s favorite authors include Raymond Feist, Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, Brian Jacques, David Eddings, Christopher Paolini, Terry Goodkind, and Piers Anthony. With this collection of epic fantasy authors, Darryl’s chosen genre had to include epic adventures, swordplay and magic.

Darryl’s childhood in rural Ohio, three miles from a small town, gave him plenty material for stories. Tales of his father’s many contraptions, fabricated from old parts, angle iron, and square tubing. These were lawnmowers powered by car engines, minibikes, and various types of cobbled together go-carts, including one with a bicycle front end, a car’s steering wheel and seat, and the backend of a cousin’s wrecked go-cart. His stories also included rural life; gardening, playing in the creek, helping neighbors with livestock, numerous family pets, and farm animals, or playing high school football.

As an adult Darryl graduated college with a degree in Systems Analysis, while at school he met his wife who he married shortly after graduation. Inspired by his father who never once used a repairman, and who built his own house, Darryl developed a passion for remodeling houses. He and his wife have remodeled four houses to date, after each one swearing to never start another.  While working as a computer consultant designing database, Darryl spent his evenings, weekends, and days off helping his father-in-law with his family business cutting timber, sawing lumber in his mill, and making pallets. All these activities gave Darryl an endless supply of stories. Telling and re-telling these stories over the years honed Darryl’s skills as a storyteller.

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Promises Forged – Devri Walls

Welcome back everyone, I read the first book in this series a few months ago and I’ve just found out the third book is coming out soon. After reading this review, I’m sure you’ll understand why I can’t wait for that one!

I wasn’t sure where this one would pick up, or how fast paced it would be. The first book spanned barely 2 days, this one ended up covering almost a week. A little bit longer, but in a way just as fast paced as the first.

I learnt more about Beltran. Although I now have more theories and questions about him, his past, his motives and so many other things about him. The same goes for Tate.

What surprised me was how focussed the book was on Feena, while still having time to show us about Ryker and the general politics of the Council. Some of Susan’s comments (or repeated, exclamations) about how you “don’t mess with the fae!” make total sense. Like I already knew that, but this puts it to a whole new level!

Secrets, dark magic, illegal nefarious activities, plotting, missing families, stretching/twisting of the truth and yet romance still finds its way into the story in a way that just felt right. What all of our characters go through in this book is a prime example of a great emotional roller coaster.

I mean, even some characters that I thought might be just “side” characters are slowly having their own development. Which could even put them in line to be a main character as the series continues. I BELIEVE we might be having the tour for the third book in September, so make sure you come back then to find out what I think of the next one!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing Crossing in Time by D.L. Orton. Continue to read further down to find out about the.

Author Bio

Devri Walls is a US and international bestselling author. Having released five novels to date, she specialises in all things fantasy and paranormal. She is best known for her uncanny world-building skills and her intricate stroylines, and her ability to present this all in an easy-to-digest voice.

Now gearing up for her first national release, Devri is excited to introduce her sixth novel, book one in the Venators series. She loves to engage with her loyal following through social media and online sessions she organises for her readers.

Devri lives in Meridian, Idaho with her husband and two kids. When not writing she can be found teaching voice lessons, reading, cooking or binge watching whatever show catches her fancy.

Melting Stones – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, we’re finally up to the final review for the Circle of Magic universe!

There’s one more book planned to make this a quartet rather than a trilogy. And I seriously hope that book is better than this one. This is the one book I actually didn’t enjoy. So much so that I’m not re-reading it.

I just can’t.

It feels so different to all the other books and I don’t like that none of the original four aren’t in it. Potentially my dislike for this book is because Evvy is still quite young and the book is aimed at that younger age group. Compared to the other four who’ve grown up therefore making the books geared that little bit closer to my age.

Maybe because Evvy is younger I no longer connect to her, whereas I’ve grown up with Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar. Either way the writing FELT different to me and in a way the overall story felt too dramatic and over the top compared to Tamora’s other works.

In terms of whether you should read this one or not, personally. I’d say skip it. From what I can tell it adds no benefit to the overall universe’s story and so won’t impact your reading of anything else.

On the flip side. This is the second last book published in this world. So it stands to reason Tamora’s writing will have changed over time. I’m sure everyone’s does.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing The Boundary Fence by Alissa Callen.

Battle Magic – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, although this book is set before the other two in this quartet it was published after them.

And it shows.

I had to re-read this because I’ve only read it once so couldn’t remember it well enough to write this review. Since I know Will of the Empress so well (I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve read that one) some of the phrases, scenes etc were expected. Yet it didn’t feel as dramatic or intense as Briar made it out to be in Will of the Empress.

Given how much time was spent focussing on the lead up to the war, there really wasn’t enough time left to devote to proper descriptions of the war. By the time we got to the main war we were lucky to get one chapter to a battle that raged days. And then the Emperor wasn’t even there for the war to end!

Since I’d forgotten what happened I thought we were going to miss out on finding out how the war would end. Then in the space of what felt like a few pages it was all over. It was definitely an unsatisfying ending. I felt jibbed by that ended.

When the magic and development of the people was done so well throughout the book, I can’t believe how badly it was finished. At the same time, quite a few of the magical moments were so similar to ones in the Will of the Empress that I now want to re-read that again. While also hating on the fact that Tamora so easily “copied and pasted” those aspects. I think more effort could have been put in to make them more different so each book is unique.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Just Another Silly Love Song by Rich Amooi.

The Will of the Empress – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, after finishing the second quartet in the Emelen world I’m on to the final quartet. Even though there’s only 3 books published… And the 4th is an unknown as to whether it’ll ever get written and published…

I love coming back to this book. I think it’s probably my all time favourite book by Tamora Pierce. Even if the writing isn’t technically great and there’s some moments that feel clumsy and almost contradictory.

Throughout this book Tamora has woven a sense of female empowerment. From the ruler of the largest nation being a woman who doesn’t need to be married, right down to a victim of domestic violence doing what she needs to do to get out of that situation.

Every step of the way we see women showing it’s OK to be who you are and to make the most of your life without a man holding you back. Reading this for the first time when I was 16 and just starting to get a sense of my place in the world and where I wanted to go. This was amazing. It was so liberating to know that I could do anything, and be anything I wanted if I worked hard and didn’t let others hold me back.

Although it’s 14 years later, and I’m almost 30, it’s still great to be reminded of this empowerment. Especially when I’m feeling a bit down or like I’m struggling to achieve what I want. Reading this and getting that reminder that I can make it happen is such a great feeling.

Thank you for reading, tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Worth Fighting For by Lasairiona E. McMaster.

Shatterglass – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, there’s been a lot of contemporary romances lately so it’s good to get back to a fantasy briefly.

The last book in the quartet follows Tris as she makes her mark in a new city. In so many ways this city makes me feel ashamed that I’m human. In a world where slavery is almost gone, this city essentially lives with it as it’s entire eco-system.

Tris’s ability to see past this cities ambivalence and see the people, what they’re going through and how broken the structure is, is amazing. As a teenager reading this for the first time, I was inspired to do better, be better and fight for what’s right.

I can’t say I’m as good as Tris at this. But the inspiration is there, and I’m reminded of it every time I read this book.

Tris goes even further by taking in an orphan, giving a hurt man a new lease on life, fixing a man-made drought, showing people that different is ok and changing a whole cities way of life. How could I ever measure up to that given how much ill will there is in the world? How could I possibly find my way of making a difference like Tris does?

I honestly don’t know any other book that’s touched me in the same way that this book did and continues to touch me. I think this inspiration is something that every young person should read to get, remember and take with them through all their journeys throughout the rest of their lives.

It’s such an important message that everyone needs in their heart to remind them to be better.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman.

Cold Fire – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, continuing on with Tamora Pierce’s book’s I’m up to Daja.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Daja because she was ostracised and banished from her culture yet rose above that to make something of herself in a way that goes against her culture’s traditions and beliefs. By staying true to herself and her magic.

What more could you ask of anyone?

The fact that Daja finds not one, but two students with vastly different personalities, skill sets and desires for their lives was great. She finds herself navigating not only the magical world in an unknown city and country, but she also needs to navigate the political and aristocratic marriage mart scenes.

Some of my favourite moments in this book involve Oakborn, the wood master mage, and Potcracker, the cook master mage. Some of Daja’s interactions with them are amusing, even after the 10th or more read of them. How often can you say that about books?

Growing up, I thought Daja was having a bit of a romance situation going on. However, looking back now I can see that it was never going to be a romance. But 16-year-old me didn’t know enough about romance to know this. And I was idealistic that maybe one of them would get lucky.

Whenever I go back to re-read this book I look forward to the balance of humour and action that is woven brilliantly throughout the book.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Game Changer by Lasairiona E. McMaster.

Magic Unleashed – Devri Walls

Welcome back everyone, from a fantasy romance heavily steeped in Greek mythology we’re moving on to a review that is entirely fantasy. Including a whole new world.

This is the first book in a series (there are only 2 books?) about a world that is parallel to our own. There are doorways that connect the two, except these have been cursed to open at random times and there’s no set time the door will be open for. This makes it super hard for anyone to move between the two worlds.

Given all the fantasy creatures like werewolves, dragons, vampires, elves, faeries etc are all in this alternate world and many of them aren’t that friendly that’s probably a good thing! Except the only people capable to enforcing laws in this world are Venators. Bred from humans and modified to be especially invulnerable to the supernatural (for example, a werewolf bite won’t turn them).

Due to their bloodlust and hatred of all things supernatural they got banished from Eon back to Earth. I think, a few hundred years later we get to follow the first two Venators to enter Eon and their struggles as they come to grips with their new lives, roles, powers and their own moral conscience.

Reading the blurb and checking it out on Goodreads I was a little unsure about this because it sounded like it would be a YA novel. After chatting to Dave, he assured me it was closer to a New Adult read than YA, so I agreed to read it. And I’m glad I did.

Contrary to what Goodreads suggests, the writing style to me screams New Adult. The focus is on the world building, one’s conscience, politics and espionage. Those silly niggly things I don’t like about YA novels wasn’t evident in this book at all. The two Venators (both 19) are aware that they don’t know everything, they seek advice and they learn from their mistakes. Something most YA seem to miss out on.

The first couple of chapters were a little boring, but they are necessary to set the scene and the Venators personalities. Once Tate join’s them though, everything changes. It becomes full of action, so full that the whole 416 pages only spans like 3 days. There’s so much depth to each character, the locations, the sights and the politics that it’s impossible to be bored.

By the time you get towards the end you feel like you’re exhausted from all the adrenaline pumping through your body. Every description had me on edge and feeling like I was there right with the characters, experiencing both physically and emotionally what they were going through.

And then I was suckered in by people’s motives so much that when the book ended on a short chapter from one of the side characters where you get a hint of those motives. All I could think was “No! Why is he thinking that? What does that mean? What is he? What’s he mean to this world? Why did you have to end like THAT?!”

Suffice it to say, I’m going to need to get the second book to find out what happens coz I need more.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Cold Fire by Tamora Pierce. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Devri Walls is a US and international bestselling author. Having released five novels to date, she specialises in all things fantasy and paranormal. She is best known for her uncanny world-building skills and her intricate stroylines, and her ability to present this all in an easy-to-digest voice.

Now gearing up for her first national release, Devri is excited to introduce her sixth novel, book one in the Venators series. She loves to engage with her loyal following through social media and online sessions she organises for her readers.

Devri lives in Meridian, Idaho with her husband and two kids. When not writing she can be found teaching voice lessons, reading, cooking or binge watching whatever show catches her fancy.

Street Magic – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, I’m picking up where I left off with Tamora Pierce’s books. Today we get to see how Briar goes as an adult.

Briar is probably my favourite of the four so I was always going to have a soft spot for his books, but Tamora write his books in a way that I just can’t resist. Like with his book in the first series, The Healing in the Vine from The Circle of Magic, Briar’s story revolves around those in the slums. Specifically, those in gangs.

The way Briar has really accepted his magic, and his connection to plants is amazing. Every time I read this, I have certain moments, like the jasmine vine, that I just smile at. I can’t help it! It’s so sweet and touching to see a manly man so in touch with his green thumb.

However, the growth we see in his maturity as he accepts that he needs to teach Evvy about her magic, how to control it and even how to use it for good, is amazing. He’s only just finding his own place in the world, yet he accepts (grudgingly, like any teenager) his responsibility as a qualified mage and takes Evvy under his wing.

The fact that he cares for her in more ways than his magical responsibility is amazing. He fights for her in ways I feel like he’d only fight for his sisters. As a young teenager when I first read this when I didn’t have many close friends, this was amazing, and I wished I had someone who’d fight for me like this.

The lengths he goes to protecting Evvy is amazing. He doesn’t seem to care about his own health or life so long as he can save his student and friend. The fact that they have a friendship is easy to see, even if it took a while to get there.

When I’m re-reading Tamora’s books, this is one I always look forward to reading. It gives me the warm and fuzzies every time.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Breathe of Passion by Lisa Kessler.