Book Review: Orphan’s Price

In this novel, the Pearl Nation has relegated itself to devoting its resources and people to scientific endeavors, as it has not produced a magic-user strong enough to pass the tests to become a full-fledged sorcerer in over 300 years—much to the country’s embarrassment. However, all that may be about to change with the unlikely character of Ren, a 16-year-old Orphan with nothing to his name. When he gets in a tussle with a classmate, his powers activate themselves as they never have before, which he admits to two diplomats from the Amethyst Nation—the country where sorcerers are trained. Now, Ren has to find a way to get himself to the Amethyst Nation to be tested and see if he can begin training to be a sorcerer, avoiding the various bullies in his life who would prefer to see him fail.

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Book Review: Adventures in Amarant

In this fantastically written collection of epic fantasy short stories by J.D. Bowens, we readers embark on several exciting--if quite brief--adventures with the Edderick brothers. We travel with them as two work as hired swords to protect a false priest, we follow two other brothers into dank sewers to rid a tavern of a rat infestation (and maybe more!), and we finally see all four brothers together as they save a group of halflings from bandits. In this prequel to the The Adventures of Amarant trilogy, we get a good feel for both the world that the Edderick brothers occupy, as well as the brothers themselves!

Book Review: The Childless Ones

In this novel of intermixing stories of reality and fantasy, Jack is our guy. He is the man whose life we follow in the reality version along with his wife's (soon-to-be-ex) life. We see both struggling in their different relationships, while also steadily overcoming their respective pasts. As for the fantasy side of the novel, we meet a variety of characters, almost as a short-story anthology, all connected at the end. We go on various journeys with different races, different magic, different purposes in mind. But all seem to bear some similarity to the real world that Jack is suffering through currently. He uses this fantasy world to cope with his reality, and it creates a surreal narrative that is an ultimate pleasure to read. 

Book Review: Legion of Mono

In this short fantasy story, Mono must leave his husband and daughter in their home of Lethotar, while he--the last commanding officer alive of their army--must lead the final battle against the Holy Empire. If Mono's force falls, all of Lethotar and its people will be subjected to the mercy (or lack thereof) of the paleskins of the Holy Empire. They have already shown their true colors by breaking the treaty forged in good faith between the two nations... Will the Lord of Light's, Lethotar's people manage to hold off the overwhelming force advancing towards them? Or will the paleskin's tyrannical religion sweep them away?

Book Review: Catching Hell Part One

In this novel, best friends Aryu and Johan embark on a journey of revenge. They have sworn to destroy the mechanical army that devastated their village of Tan Torna Qu-ay, leaving only them--and their childhood enemy Esgona--the last living remnants of the peaceful village. Technology has been long-gone from this corner of the world, after destroying mankind twice, but now it seems that it is back, and more destructive than ever. Even worse, it seems to be led by a man with wings... Someone akin to Aryu. The friends split ways, Johan (and Esgona, unfortunately) to travel with various refugees to a different part of the world; one that is rumored to have the advanced weaponry necessary to fight off the mechanical army. Aryu travels with Nixon, the phoenix tasked by God to kill the bearer of the fabled sword Shi Kaze--the one currently in Aryu's protection--to find Crystal, the oldest and most powerful human alive. She is an Embracer, one who controls the Power, which broke the world once before. With all of these questions and various forms of power and hatred, what will become of Johan and Aryu's world? Can they beat the mechanical army back? And why is it here in the first place?

Book Review: Clay Tongue

In this short novelette, a 10-year-old Jewish girl named Katie loves her grandfather. But his once story-telling brain is now all jumbled up after he suffered a stroke 2 years ago and now lives with aphasia, unable to talk or write. Even so, Katie is able to communicate with him just as well as before, as she herself is not much of a talker. In fact, her parents and other adults are constantly pushing her to talk more... When Katie catches a glimpse of her grandfather's half-finished story of his younger years and reads about his dalliance with a Golem just through their backyard in the woods, Katie decides to set off and see if it's true. Because if it is, the Golem will be able to grant her grandfather his voice back. 

Book Review: The Cruel Prince

Jude and Taryn are mortal twin sisters, bastards born to the Fae General Madoc's wife. Their half sister Vivienne is Madoc's real daughter and as such, carries within her Fae blood, which takes the form of cat eyes and tufted fur on her pointed ears. They are all three raised in Madoc's household as his own daughters, alongside his new wife and child, Oak. In this world of Faerie, Jude and Taryn constantly need to be wary--as mortals are easily deceived and magicked. As such, they have both learned various ways to combat the magic of Faerie; salting their food, wearing Rowan berry necklaces, wearing their stockings inside-out, rubbing their eyes with a potion to gain True Sight. But even so, they are vulnerable... As Jude finds out when she begins antagonizing the Noble kids of the court. 

Book Review: Solace Lost

With the multiple POVs strewn throughout the book of main and secondary characters alike, the reader gets several different views of this magical world of Ardia, each with a unique perspective. All of the main characters come from extremely different circumstances, and yet all share a history of trauma and ostracism, further creating conflict and emotion throughout the story. In essence, the Little Duke is creating a war with his nobles, attempting to unite Ardia under one rule, and at the same time, The House and Recherche Oletta (perhaps the real powers in Ardia) wage a secret war, each attempting to undermine the power of the other. Our main characters are simply pawns in these two wars, trussed up and strung to move one war or the other on a whim of one of the 4 separate powers. That is, unless they decide to go against orders and take their lives into their own hands

Book Review: Happy Holiday Homicides!: Special Edition

On an island populated by the children of the Gods, the people are born with something akin to Banshee screams. The women use the vocal cords in their mouths, whereas the men use slits in their hands to direct the native scream. Anuaka and her family live in destitution, in the poorest city of Wabaton on the island of Serenium. They have fallen far, lost their parents, and now Anuaka is putting the rest of her family in danger. Anuaka must complete one last job for the most dangerous gang in the city, and then she will be out for good. Will she be able to lift her family out of the ashes of its former glory?

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