This first book in the Elmwick Academy series delivers a refreshing change to the “you’re a witch, here’s a wand, there’s a school of magic” trope that has become so popular. It’s an excellent and highly original YA paranormal story that is engaging and interesting for YA and older readers alike.
‘Newcomer’ introduces Cami O’Brien, a 16 year old who faces a unique challenge: she already knows what her legacy and powers are, but she must learn to control and use them before they destroy her and everyone she cares about.
This is not just a story of challenge and magic, but also one of friendship and loyalty among unlikely allies.
Elmwick seems to be a town like any other, yet it is populated by a unique mix of people who reflect both their individual qualities and their family histories in their actions and motivations.
The writing is excellent and the story moves at a good pace. The story is unpredictable and exciting, delivering some most intriguing twists. The book finishes with sufficient resolution to be satisfying while leaving some questions to be answered in the next book in the series.
The first book in the Witches of Runesbury series featuring Scarlett Oliver, this is an excellent read.
This book offers a fresh and highly original combination of elements that are very popular among readers, yet have been made the author’s own with a unique setting, characters and storyline that are most intriguing and entertaining.
The book is very well written, and hard to put down once started. The narrative develops steadily and delivers some great twists that ensure the story is unpredictable and exciting.
Runesbury is populated by a variety of well-developed and complex character, some of whom the reader is clearly meant to love, and others who are obviously meant to be disliked and distrusted. There are some cleverly tailored red herrings amongst them for good measure, and they certainly help to keep the reader guessing.
All in all, this is a most enjoyable book and I look forward to reading more in the series.
When I started book three of Rue Volley’s ‘13 Ways To Midnight’, I was in no way expecting the reality shift that this book delivered.
While Echo struggles with her perceptions and choices, the reader shares her sense that something is not quite right. As the truth unfolds, the reader realises just how cleverly this story is designed and crafted. Even so, nothing prepares the reader for the body slam of the ending.
Yet another great instalment in this spellbinding series.
‘Foul is Fair’ is a story that transports the reader from suburban normality deep into the land of the Fae, drawing them into a quest full of challenge, trials and very old magic. That these two worlds coexist and interact is a given, and any imbalance between them could be disastrous.
Well paced and full of action and adventure, this story is very engaging. The plot is original and unpredictable, delivering twists and challenges that build tension and drama but also call upon the protagonists to demonstrate both loyalty and ingenuity, and the ability to work together to achieve particular outcomes.
The characters are interesting and varied, each one having specific qualities that help their allies and hinder their opponents, so that every battle or challenge could, in fact, go either way. The two lead characters are not only engaging individuals, they also provide good role models for young readers, each exhibiting positive attitudes such as acceptance, inclusion, helpfulness, endurance and resilience.
Suitable for young adult and older readers, this is a ripping read that is really hard to put down.
Set in Victorian London, this is a novella length paranormal adventure story in which the mystery is not so much who did what, but rather what the nature and powers of the main protagonist are. This was quite intriguing, although not the whodunnit kind of mystery that readers might anticipate from the title.
The story is filled with tension and suspense that have been well crafted to build toward the conclusion and keep the reader engaged throughout. The exciting plot is enhanced by the varied nature of the characters and the vivid settings in which they live and operate.
The book finishes with a strong sense of anticipation for further adventures. This reader hopes that the next instalment delivers more adventure and intrigue, but also more of a mystery that needs to be solved.
In this sequel to ‘13Ways To Midnight’, Echo’s story continues as she tries to realign her priorities and build her life in Port Royal.
Readers will find Echo to be realistically flawed and conflicted, but also admirable in the way she seeks to maintain her personal ethics and integrity. She is a character who challenges readers to consider right from wrong, and to understand that ones actions, even the ones considered to be minor, can have unexpected consequences that still need to be reconciled.
The story is original and unpredictable, keeping the reader guessing and building a sense of anticipation. The story is very appealing for Young Adult readers, with sufficient complexity and interest to engage wider audiences, too.
’13 Ways to Midnight’ is proving to be an excellent series.
‘Kennedy Awakens’ is a quick-paced urban fantasy that blurs the lines between truth and lies, good and evil, magic and non-magic, while pitching them against one another to measure their integrity.
The action unfolds dramatically and Kennedy is forced to form unlikely alliances in her quest for peace and for the truth, all the while doubting if either one is actually achievable.
A story that celebrates friendship and truth, this is a most entertaining read that will be appreciated not only by readers of urban fantasy, but also by anyone who enjoys paranormal suspense, magical adventure and regular fantasy books.
Echo Navarri thought she was exchanging an unusual life with her parents for a more settled life with her aunt in Port Royal. She also thought that paranormal creatures were fictional. She was wrong on both counts.
Echo is a teenager with whom the reader quickly develops empathy, developing the understanding that one can be flawed and ideal, weak and strong, and perfectly imperfect all at the same time. Her experiences of family, love, loss, friendship and self-esteem are relatable for readers, while her determination, confidence, loyalty and honesty about herself and others make her a character that readers can admire and respect. Her introversion, awkwardness and bookishness make a refreshing change from the ‘social butterfly’ or ‘fairy tale princess’ style heroines who seem so popular.
Supported by her friends and her aunt, Echo navigates her way through a story that is engaging and interesting, full of challenges and change, punctuated by failures and victories along the way.
The story is well crafted and well-written, with some great surprises and unpredictable twists. The characters, settings, and plot combine to deliver a book that holds strong appeal to Young Adult and paranormal romance readers.
13 Ways to Midnight’ is an excellent opening to a four book series which this reader is keen to enjoy.
In this excellent sequel to ‘Highland Raven’, Karsak continues the magical, mystical story of Gruoch as she continues to learn of her destiny amid the complexity of both worlds to which she belongs.
As with the first book in this series, Gruoch’s story is so beautifully written and expertly crafted that the reader becomes deeply invested in the events and characters of the story, sharing Gruoch’s fears, pain, and hopes as her life takes compelling twists and unpredictable turns. She is a complex and powerful woman, strong and admirable, and steadfast in the face of conflict and danger. Yet, she is never portrayed as perfect, never unrealistically good, and never so contrived as to not be believable.
There are some lovely references to Shakespeare’s ’Macbeth’, woven seamlessly into the narrative. This establishes close ties between that story and this one, even though the events of this series thus far happen before those in the famous play.
The story delivers a fascinating blend of history, mystery, fantasy, romance, and adventure in an deeply engaging read that, once started, demands to be consumed.
The second novel in DalRae’s Fallen Cross Legion Series is an excellent blend of paranormal romance, tragedy and thriller.
‘Fallen Captive’ explores the backstory of Nox and his experiences before coming to Fallen Cross, providing both compelling reading and a powerful contrast to the future Nox has begun to build for himself. All of this takes place in the context of the development of the narrative of the Fallen Cross Legion and the stories of its individual members.
The end result is a complex and well-crafted story that immerses the reader in the world of these Vampires and causes them to invest deeply in the survival and the futures of the central characters.