Book Review: The Sentinel’s Alliance by Suzanne Rogerson #tuesdaybookblog #fantasy #bookreview

I’m excited to share this wonderful review of The Sentinel’s Alliance, the final book in Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy. Please take a look.

The Strawberry Post

Title: The Sentinel’s Alliance (Silent Sea Chronicles #3)
Author: Suzanne Rogerson
Publisher: Independently published
Genre: Fantasy
Book format: Paperback

Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberryDescription:  Can new alliances save the islands of the Silent Sea from the murderers stalking their shores?
As the island of Kalaya and its people recover from civil war, a new threat surfaces. Invaders from the island of Elkena hunt the seas, butchering those who possess magic. Their scar-faced captain seeks the Fire Mage who it has been foretold will kill him and Tei and her people are in his warpath.
Tei and a band of Kalayans travel to Stone Haven, the home of their new allies, planning to restore magic to the dead island. But the Stone Haven Council have abhorred magic since their people were massacred by Elkenan invaders twenty years before. Commander Farrell must persuade his people to accept magic again, but his plans expose…

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#Bookreview Escape to the French Farmhouse by Jo Thomas #romance #tuesdaybookblog

This is another great read from Jo Thomas. She is one of my favourite romance writers and her books never fails to make me feel emotional!

Blurb

Can Del find her recipe for happiness?

Del and her husband Ollie moved to a beautiful village in Provence for a fresh start after years of infertility struggles. But six weeks after they arrive, they’re packing the removal van once more. As Del watches the van leave for England, she suddenly realises exactly what will make her happier…a new life in France – without Ollie.

Now alone, all Del has is a crumbling farmhouse, a mortgage to pay and a few lavender plants. What on earth is she going to do? After discovering an old recipe book at the market run by the rather attractive Fabian, Del starts to bake. But can her new-found passion really help her let go of the past and lead to true happiness?

A heart-warming tale about reclaiming your life, set amongst the lavender fields of Provence. Perfect escapism from the author of Late Summer in the Vineyard and The Honey Farm on the Hill.

My review

The story starts as Del prepares to leave France with her husband but she realises their relationship is broken and she decides to stay on alone. It’s a very brave thing to do, especially where all her stuff is already on its way back to England!

Del is a strong character even if she doesn’t always see that about herself. I love being in her world, watching as she learns to trust herself and be self reliant.

The people in the nearby town make her feel welcome and she settles into her new life, finding friendship and possibly more in the process. She helps others, in particular a young mum along the way. These growing friendships really make the story something special.

The details of the farmhouse and the lavender are so immersive. I also love the details of the cooking. Del uses her love of baking to start providing for herself, incorporating the lavender from her farm into everything she cooks. Be warned, this book can make you hungry. Helpfully there are a few recipes at the back of the book, which is a nice little touch.

The chapters are very short and always draw you into the next. Many times I said to myself I’ll just read one more chapter only to find another half and hour had passed without me even realising.

If you like to be transported to beautiful places and enjoy heart-warming and feel good stories, then give Escape to the French Farmhouse a try.

My rating – 5 lavender scented stars!

Also see my reviews of Late Summer in the Vineyards and The Olive Grove.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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#Tuesdaybookblog #Bookreview Fallible Justice by Laura Laakso #urbanfantasy #paranormalcrime @LLaaksoWriter

I really enjoyed my first visit to Old London and meeting with so many interesting characters.

Blurb

In Old London, where paranormal races co-exist with ordinary humans, criminal verdicts delivered by the all-seeing Heralds of Justice are infallible. After a man is declared guilty of murder and sentenced to death, his daughter turns to private investigator Yannia Wilde to do the impossible and prove the Heralds wrong.
Yannia has escaped a restrictive life in the Wild Folk conclave where she was raised, but her origins mark her as an outsider in the city. Those origins lend her the sensory abilities of all of nature. Yet Yannia is lonely and struggling to adapt to life in the city. The case could be the break she needs. She enlists the help of her only friend, a Bird Shaman named Karrion, and together they accept the challenge of proving a guilty man innocent.
So begins a breathless race against time and against all conceivable odds. Can Yannia and Karrion save a man who has been judged infallibly guilty?

Firstly I’d just like to admire the cover, it’s so well designed and even though its dark it really stands out and draws the eye.

This book has some of my favourite elements, magic and mystery, in a modern day setting with a difference. There is so much depth to the character, her past, and the magic system in this world that it draws you in. I love the peppering of details that help you understand Yannia and her past, and I can’t wait to discover more about in the books to come.

I loved the magic in this book, in particular how Yannia can call up the senses of other animals and use them to see the world around her. There is also her daily struggle to live away from the natural magic, her pain is very well portrayed and makes you care for the character even more. There are lots of colourful yet mysterious characters that help Yannia along the way and I hope they will feature more in future books.

The crime itself is an interesting one. P.I’s are a personal favourite of mine and I just loved investigating this impossible crime with Yannia. The whodunit moment was great and the realisation of how the crime was committed completely surprised me.

It’s a great first book of what I’m sure will be an entertaining series with characters and a magic system I can’t wait to discover more about. So far there are 3 books in the series but I believe there are more to come.

I noticed it’s currently only 99p on Amazon. I recommend picking up a copy now. Let me know what you think.

Check out Fallible Justice on ; Amazon and Goodreads.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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Writer Get Noticed! by Colleen. M. Story #tuesdaybookblog #bookreview #howtoguide #writers

Do you sometimes feel that you are getting lost in the sea of books and authors out there? Then Writer Get Noticed! is the book for you! Before I share my review, here’s the blurb…

Blurb

Stop feeling invisible and start attracting the attention you deserve.

Have you been writing for years, but feel like no one notices? Have you published your stories, only to gain a handful of readers? Do your marketing efforts feel like shouting into a void?

Veteran writer and motivational coach Colleen M. Story helps you break the spell of invisibility to reveal the author platform that will finally draw readers your way.

There are more books out there than ever before, and readers have many other things vying for their attention. A writer can feel like a needle in a haystack, and throwing money at the problem rarely helps. What does work is creating a platform that stands out, but in a sea of a million platforms, how is one to do that?

Writer Get Noticed! takes a new approach, dispelling the notion that fixing your writing flaws and expanding your social media reach will get you the readers you deserve. Instead, discover a myriad of strengths you didn’t know you had, then use them to find your author theme, power up your platform, and create a new author business blueprint, all while gaining insight into what sets you apart as a writer and creative artist.

Writers need readers to achieve their highest potential. Find your way to stand out, and let it lead you to the writing career that fulfills all your expectations and more. 

In this motivational and inspiring book, you’ll learn:

•Why improving your writing skills isn’t enough.
•Why it’s critical you discover your strengths…and how to do so.
•What’s stopping you from finding the readers who love your work.
•What you really want from writing and why that matters.
•Easy methods to help you build a more successful author platform.
•What truly motivates you and how to use that to succeed.
•The author theme that unites your creative work and fits your style.
•How imposter syndrome can stall your progress, and how to overcome it.
•How to make better decisions about your writing career as a whole.

When you find the treasure that’s been inside you all along, don’t be surprised if it opens new doors you never thought possible.

colleen story

My Review

This is an intense book that helps you discover a lot about yourself as a writer and makes you think about your goals. Armed with this knowledge you can focus on your author platform and work towards your strengths. The book helps you discover those strengths and use them to come up with your author theme and mission statement. It uses questionnaires and journalling to help you reach deep and discover not just what motivates you, but also your decision making processes and how you can use them to your advantage.

It’s a book to take time over. You need to sit quietly and answer the questions honestly to get the most out of the tasks the book sets you. I really enjoyed the opportunity to focus on my goals, something that often gets lost with so many looming deadlines. Another highlight of the book was making me focus on my strengths and achievements so far.

The questions are backed up by research and well presented facts. As well as the soul searching questionnaires, and multiple choice questions in this book, there are also many examples of other writers’ stories, which are often touching and always inspirational.

Writer Get Noticed! is an in-depth book I think many writers can learn from.

Check it out on Goodreads and Amazon

I also highly recommend Colleen’s book Overwhelmed Writer Rescue, here’s my review.

Note – I received an arc copy of Writer Get Noticed. A big apology to Colleen Story as I have been meaning to review this great book much sooner, but writing and editing deadlines got in the way. I hope to put all I have learnt about myself and the direction I want to take my career into action very soon.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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#Tuesdaybookblog City of Lies by Sam Hawke #bookreview #fantasy @samhawkewrites

I was so lucky to have won a signed hardback edition of City of Lies last year. It’s taken me too long to get around to reading it, but now I’m really happy to share my review of this debut book, which is bloody brilliant!

First here is the blurb…

I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me… 

Outwardly, Jovan is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible Heir. Quiet. Forgettable. In secret, he’s a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from treachery. When the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect the Heir and save their city-state.

But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising…and angry.

city of lies

My mini review

From the very first line, I knew I would like this book, and I did. I really liked it! It had everything I could want in a book; mystery, intrigue, murder, assassins, love, relatable characters… I could go on.

I loved both the main characters, Jovan and Kalina, and enjoyed how the story was told from their POV in alternating chapters. I also loved the short notes on poisons, the affects and the proofing tells at the start of each chapter. That was a master touch.

The world Sam Hawke created was fascinating, especially the different rules that shaped every aspect of the characters lives and drove the plot of the story. I loved how the reader is often as in the dark as the characters about who to trust, constantly thinking you’ve solved who the big enemy is only to be led in another direction completely.

Towards the end the stakes were so high, the characters in such peril it felt like it couldn’t get any worse, but it did, again and again. This book felt like a masterclass on how to ramp up the tension and hook your reader, and I loved it.

I can’t believe this was a debut book; it was just so well told. This is definitely a book I wish I had written and I cannot wait for the next book to come out later in the year.

5 stars all the way for this book.

Check it out on Goodreads

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of heroically epic fantasy

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#Bookreview The Lost and the Chosen by Ivy Asher #tuesdaybookblog #urbanfantasy

I stumbled on The Lost and the Chosen as the series title is the same as my fantasy book The Lost Sentinel – book 1. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but even after reading the blurb, I knew I had to read it, and I’m so pleased I did. First the blurb…

Blurb

My name is Vinna, and I’ve been keeping a lot of secrets.

You would too if you’d experienced some of the weird shit I have: red-eyed monsters chasing me, markings on my body appearing out of nowhere, a strange power that crackles colorfully over my skin from time to time, and don’t get me started on the weapons I can conjure up almost out of nowhere.

Lucky for me, I have yet to meet someone whose ass I couldn’t kick, inside the ring or out. I put that to the test when I run headfirst into a fight that brings all my secrets, and reality as I know it, crashing down around me.

Now, I’m looking for answers and trying to piece together what the hell is going on. Paranormal is my new way of life. It’s not going to be easy, and I’m not exactly welcome.

That is, until I meet the boys, and trust me, they are anything but boyish.

I’m up against elders who think I’m too powerful, a family who views me as a threat, and something lurking in the shadows that’s been coming for me my whole life.

There’s not a chance in hell I’m going down without a fight. I’m not lost anymore, and I’m about to show this world exactly what I can do.

Author’s Note: This is the first book in The Lost Sentinel Series and ends with a cliffhanger. This book is a medium burn reverse harem story, intended for ages 18 years and older. This story contains strong language, sexual situations, and violence.

the lost and the chosen

My Review

First off, this is a very attractive cover and sets up a picture in your mind of Vinna and the story to come.

This is very different to anything I have read before. I see it as Urban fantasy, though the author classes it as Paranormal Romance. I think readers of most genres would enjoy this book, so don’t be put off by classification.

Vinna is a likable, kick-ass heroine right from page 1 when we meet her preparing for a fight. We learn she’s earned quite a sum of money in these arranged fights, besting opponents much bigger than she is. After the battle, she stumbles on a fight outside, between Casters and shifters.

From here the story gets even more interesting as she joins the Casters in their secret town, Solace. The community of Casters and shifters live under a magical barrier hiding them from the normal human (nons) world.

I found Vinna’s immediate friendship and attraction to a group of young Casters difficult to accept at the beginning, but stick with it; everything is explained and makes perfect sense. Especially now as I re-read the blurb and see the mention of a reverse harem! The title of the book also becomes clear.

There is a lot of swearing, but it fits with Vinna’s personality and feels natural. There are also a lot of sexual references and steamy moments, thus the 18+ warning.

I loved the magic and action running through the book and especially Vinna’s ability to conjure weapons from nothing. The last few chapters flew by as I raced through to find out what was going on. The half unexpected twist at the end choked me and I shed quite a few tears before being disappointed that the story was over and I would have to wait for the next book.

This was a fun and entertaining 5 star read. I recommend if you like modern day fantasy settings and stories with shifters, vampires and witches.

Check out The Lost and the Chosen now on Goodreads and Amazon .

Have you read this book? What do you think of urban vs paranormal fantasy?

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Note – The author states the second book is due out in January 2019 so we shouldn’t have long to wait to continue Vinna’s story. I can’t find any reference to it yet, but I’ve followed her on Amazon so that should inform me when the new book is released.

I’ve had a search around for a website / twitter for Ivy Asher but cannot find anything. If you know when the next book is coming out, please let me know!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this review. As I stated in my post yesterday, I won’t be posting many this year unless I read tons of books I love of course!

 

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Not Like Everyone Else by Jennifer Leigh @boundtowriting #bookreview #ya #mystery #tuesdaybookblog

This book really gripped my attention. I had to keep reading to find out was happening to Ryan and if she was as innocent as she thinks she is.

not like everyone else

Blurb

Ryan can’t seem to get her memories in order. When she breaks it off with her long-term boyfriend, Corey, she can’t help but feel free. But mysterious events keep Ryan asking “just what happened?” After her family moved to Ryton, after Carter goes missing, after Jacob is in the hospital. All of these afters, but Ryan can’t remember the befores. With Harper and Elliot by her side, Ryan can only hope that she does not forget… again. Will Ryan be able to recover her memory to figure out what happened when it all went dark?

 

My review

I love how you never know quite what’s going on in this book. Ryan is an unreliable narrator because she keeps losing her memory and as readers we are in the dark just as much as she is. Can we trust her to give us the correct information or is something more sinister happening in her head? The constant questions raised as the story goes along were a great driving force that kept me turning the pages. I was shocked by some of the revelations that I didn’t see coming and really enjoyed the suspense of trying to guess what would happen next.

It was a very fast read and one I recommend to those who love a mystery. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

I received an ARC from the author and chose to read and review the book.

Check it for yourself on Goodreads

 

#Tuesdaybookblog #bookreview The Game Bird by Aidan R Walsh #fantasy

I found The Game Bird during SPFBO 2018 promo sale. The cover initially attracted my attention.

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The blurb from Amazon;

An evil is growing. The Realm is under attack. A leviathan has risen from the depths and is destroying the fleets that feed Stormhaven.

Stuck ashore and drowning in debt, Captain James Faulkner resolves to hunt the sea monster and claim the enormous bounty on the beast.

Sophia Blake’s life looks effortless. But she carries a secret, an occult curse that is capable of destroying both her and her nation. Sophia knows her time is running out.

The Tallowman is a slowly decaying melding of demon and man. This monstrous assassin is desperate to capture Sophia and will let nothing stand between it and its prey.

Since his wife died, the sober lawyer Uriah Blake has wanted nothing more than to live a quiet life and enjoy what time he has left with his daughter, Sophia. When he learns that the Tallowman is pursuing her, he is forced to cast aside his books and his ink and join a shadowy war against a terrible foe.

As these hunts build to their shattering conclusion, Faulkner, Sophia and Uriah will be thrown together and forced to confront malevolent forces beyond their imagining.

The Game Bird is a swashbuckling black powder fantasy, wrapped around a spine of darkness.
Goodreads link

My Review

The story starts with immediate action and thrusts you straight into Captain Faulker’s life as he attempts to escape bailiffs. Stormhaven comes alive as a place I wouldn’t particularly like to live and I enjoyed the adventure right from the first page. The scenes on the ships are especially well written.

The ‘swashbuckling black powder fantasy’ was quite a new and unique reading experience. I got swept along with the tale and liked all the characters especially James Faulkner and Sophia. The mention of their childhood lives together and hints of a possible romance were a big plus for me. There are also creatures of legend – a leviathan and pegasus to add plenty of excitement.

I have to mention the Tallowman who is evil and gruesome, everything you want from an antagonist. I admit that I love an assassin story, but the Tallowman is genuinely terrifying.

I’m really pleased the self published fantasy blog off led me to this story, and I hope it goes far in the competition.

I rate The Game Bird 4 stars and urge you to read it.

#TuesdayBookBlog #Bookreview Poison Study by Maria V Snyder #YAFantasy

Poison Study is a brilliant, compelling read. Here’s the blurb…

Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

poison study

My Review

This was my book groups choice and I am so, so happy they chose it!

It is such a compelling book. I took it on holiday and I just couldn’t stop reading it. The beauty of reading an old paperback copy is that you can take it everywhere with you and sneak in a few pages when no one is looking! I had some very late nights with this book as well, and it’s one of those that if you had the next book handy, there’s no way you could resist picking it up and diving straight into the next adventure. I have now brought the next two books – Magic Study and Fire Study and I’m itching to find the time to read them. I have another holiday coming up so I might have to sneak them in the suitcase.

Why I loved this YA Fantasy.

In one word – Yelena. She is a brilliant character to follow and I liked her instantly. The first person viewpoint helps you build a bond with her and her story. At the start she is in prison for a murder that she never denies committing, but you have no idea of the details surrounding it. That’s just a small part of the intrigue that keeps you reading. On the day of her planned execution she is given the chance to escape death by becoming the Commander’s food taster. Of course she accepts but quickly realises this isn’t to be an easy life. Her master, Valek, turns out to be a harsh and sometime cruel master – but he really grows on you. Both Valek and Yelena are my favourite characters and I can’t wait to see what happens in book 2.

I loved the little details in this book, in particular the lessons on poison tasting. I’m informed this is all well researched and that really comes across. I would have liked more focus on this aspect in the plot, just because I love herbs, potions and assassins, but it was still a highly addictive read. Every chapter forced you to read the next. It is a masterclass for authors on how to craft a pager-turner.

There are some darker elements to the story that as adults you will pick up on, but I hope younger YA readers just take what’s on the page and not think too deeply about what’s happened. I am looking forward to my (nearly) 14-year-old son reading these books and I think in a couple of years my daughter will love them too. It is certainly a book I wish I had discovered in my teens, and I don’t say that about many books.

Highly recommended – 5 very big fat stars from me!

Have you read it?

Here’s the Goodreads link if my review has enticed you to find out more. With almost 120K ratings, 10k reviews and an overall star rating of 4.15, you can see this books has been loved by many people!

#Tuesdaybookblog #bookreview The Exercise of Vital Powers Ian Gregoire @lonelyboy1977 #selfpubfantasymonth #fantasy

Here’s my short review of The Exercise of Vital Powers by Ian Gregoire. But first the all important blurb;

Some Lessons Must Be Learned The Hard Way

Since its inception, The Order has been dedicated to the prevention of the misuse and abuse of magic. For seven decades this mandate has guaranteed peace and stability throughout The Nine Kingdoms. But a potential threat to the peace has emerged, and its source is much closer to home than the leadership of The Order may realise.

Arrogant, manipulative, confrontational and angry. Undesirable qualities in a person at the best of times, but more so in a young woman born with the power to bring kingdoms to their knees. Kayden Jayta, precocious apprentice of The Order, is all these things and more, yet wholly unwilling to acknowledge and rectify her many troubling traits.

Unbeknown to anyone, Kayden’s resolute determination to join the ranks of The Order is born of a secret that puts her priorities at odds with the precepts of the organisation, setting her inexorably on a collision course with the most powerful institution in The Nine Kingdoms.

If Kayden is to be dissuaded from walking the path she has chosen, averting tragic consequences in the process, two unanswered questions must be answered: What is the dark secret guiding Kayden’s actions? And, why has a legendary figure within The Order, with a secret of her own, taken undue interest in Kayden’s future?

***

The Exercise of Vital Powers was entered into SPFBO in 2017 and was a semi finalist in it’s group, which is a very big deal in my opinion. Having followed the author for a while (and appearing on his blog last year) I know he made the brave decision to unpublish the book in order to re-edit it and source a professional cover.

It was re-released in July 2018 and I was quick to snap up a copy. If the cover is anything to go by, I’d say Mr Gregoire made the right choice. I adore this cover and having just finished the book I feel it depicts the main character, Kayden, perfectly.

cover-artwork

I enjoyed this novel very much. It takes place over a few days in Kayden’s life when so many things change and she learns much about herself. The Order and the magic system are well thought out, and the world brought to life with descriptive writing. I really liked Kayden’s mentors Fay and Ari, and Kayden is pretty cool once you get past her arrogant front. At points I just couldn’t stop reading and stayed up way past bedtime because I had to know what happened next.

I felt there was a little too much information at times, which slowed the story down. However, there was a lot of historical battles and background to get across, and you need these slower passages to understand the current situation in the Nine Kingdoms. I think it also sets up possible ideas of the troubles to come in future books.

I can’t believe the author managed to fit so much in over so little time. I feel this is the start of a great adventure and I am very much looking forward to the second instalment of what I believe will be a 5 part series.

I give this book 4 stars and recommend to those who love detailed world building and love being transported into magical worlds.

Why not check it out for yourself on Goodreads.