Dragon’s Shadow by Allison Morse

Dragon's Shadow

3.5 Stars

Publisher: RABT Book Tours

Date of publication: September 24th, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Where you can find Dragon’s Shadow: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Royal twins ripped apart at birth become reluctant champions of good and evil.

Kylie, a teenage science geek, has no faith in people. Instead, she relies on what she trusts the most, the facts––what she can see, touch, and hear but never feel. With enough pain to deal with in her own world, she is thrust into another––a kingdom at war whose strange inhabitants fear one thing the most––the return of the dragon. All of this is illogical to Kylie, but even more so, when she discovers she belongs there.

Her brother, Prince Jarlon, journeys to kill the dragon who has laid waste to his kingdom. His only hope for destroying the beast is help from his sister, whom he has never met. Will their paths cross before the beast’s malevolence infects Kylie and turns her into his creature or will Jarlon have to destroy her, too?

My review:

Kylie is home on a temporary leave from the asylum that her stepfather sent her to after the death of her mother. She is doing her best to fit into the mold that her school and stepfather wants her to be in. All Kylie wants is to be left alone and study science. Gifted an amulet shortly before her mother died, Kylie cannot figure out what it is. What she finds out exceeds her wildest imagination.

Prince Jarlon is the heir to the Hamadriad kingdom. Jarlon was raised by his uncle, the King after his father was murdered and mother disappeared. Jarlon is part of a prophecy that will start when he turns 18. He is content with learning to be the best swordsman and ambassador at his uncle’s side. Keeping peace between the shinwar, humans, and cortali is a balancing act and Jarlon is becoming good at it. But life has a funny way of throwing curveballs at you. His uncle was killed in an attack on the kingdom and everything that Jarlon had been told has been turned upside down. He learns that he had a twin sister and that she might be the downfall of his kingdom and The Order.  He also learns that if she cannot fight against the dragon’s influence, he will have to kill her. Jarlon sets out on a quest to kill the dragon and save his sister.

I liked Kylie and felt awful that she was hurting so bad after Leora died. Her anger and distrust at Richard came off the pages in waves. I also understood why she had a problem trusting people. How those kids treated her in school was awful. The only one who stood up for her was Matt. I could see why she believed what the Dragon was telling her.

Jarlon annoyed me. He decides to intervene with Tryffin when the crowd was going to send him to jail. He didn’t listen to his cousin when he was told to come with him. Instead, he ran to the King and saw his death. When the Lady of the Eyes decided to show him his past, he fought against it. I thought his ruse to get to Richard by posing as a slaver, with Tryffin as his slave, was good. But he gave the rouge shinwar the directions to the southern cortalis hidden village. I, along with Tryffin,  did a “WTF“. I know he thought he was helping but still. I did think that he was brave when he confronted the Dragon.

The main plotline with Kylie, her amulet and the Dragon was well written. There were some plot inconsistencies that I picked up on that made me go “EH” and scratch my head. I enjoyed the plotline and rooted for Kylie.

The plotline with Jarlon, Tryffin and the quest to find and kill the Dragon was wonderful as well. Again, there were some inconsistencies that made me scratch my head. But they were nothing that took away from my enjoyment of reading the book.

The end of the book was amazing. What Jarlon and Kylie were able to do together was not something I expected. While the main fight ended the way I thought it would, I wasn’t expecting Kylie’s decision. Also, the end of the book, made me wonder if there was going to be a sequel.

I gave Dragon’s Shadow a 3.5-star rating. This book was vividly written with a fantastic plotline. I did find some plot and character consistencies. Other than that, this was a book that I enjoyed reading.

I would give Dragon’s Shadow an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is no language. There is violence. There are some triggers. They are mental illness and bullying. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Dragon’s Shadow. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. I would give a warning about the triggers.

I would like to thank RABT Book Tours for allowing me to read and review Dragon’s Shadow.

All opinions stated in this review of Dragon’s Shadow are mine.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

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Pandenonium by Sean Farley


3.5 Stars

Publisher: RABT Book Tours

Date of publication: September 9th, 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Where you can find Pandemonium: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

Jackson Armstrong is blessed with an extraordinary memory and a young son who loves him. He is also cursed with a compulsion to gamble that has cost him nearly everything. While chasing another big win, Jackson is killed in a car theft gone wrong and finds himself trapped in Pandemonium, a hellish, urban netherworld where demons rule over man.

Before long, Jackson begins having visions of a mysterious portal. Convinced his visions are the key to escaping Pandemonium and returning home to his son, Jackson forms an unlikely alliance with Lilith, a mysterious demon who has an agenda all her own. As the two are relentlessly pursued by an evil older than time itself, they must navigate their way across a brutal, fantastical landscape and find the portal before it closes forever.

Pandemonium is a dark fantasy adventure that will take readers to the depths of a richly imagined hell unlike any they have experienced before.

My review:

When I started reading Pandemonium, I wasn’t sure exactly how I would like the book. From the blurb, I assumed that this was going to be a retelling of Dante’s Inferno. Yeah, about that. It isn’t. Instead, I read a book about Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, demons and one man who wants to go back to Earth. I did like the book but there were some parts that made me go “WTH“.

Pandemonium is the story of Jackson Armstrong. Jackson is a felon with an amazing memory and a gambling problem. He is sent to Pandemonium when he dies in a car crash. Pandemonium is the place you go before Hell. A type of Purgatory. Shortly after arriving, he starts to have visions of a door. A portal where he can escape Pandemonium and reunite with his son. But, he isn’t the only one who wants to leave. A demon named Lilith wants to go back to the Garden. The two must form an uneasy alliance if they are to find the portal and escape. Can they do it? Can they escape Pandemonium?

Jackson was not a likable man. From the minute he was introduced in the book, I found him distasteful. I like that the author wrote him as not being likable, though. It made reading the book more interesting. Because I didn’t know if I should want him to reach the portal or not. The author did put a neat spin on his character when Jackson’s father appeared in the book. I got to see how Charlie shaped Jackson into what he was alive. By the end of the book, I was feeling a little sorry for him. Only because of his father. Other than that, I didn’t like it.

I loved what the author did with Lilith. He didn’t bother to touch the lore behind her. Instead, he made her into her own person. Loved it. He did reference who/what Lilith was but stopped it at that. I liked that Lilith did have some humanity in her. She could see how Charlie treated Jackson. She saw how Jackson was shaped by his father into what he was. It made her more relatable.

I do have to mention Jackson’s memory. It was amazing. The things he remembered. When I realized exactly what his father stole from him, I was angry. Jackson could have gone places with that memory of his. Instead, he was held back. Made me want to reach through the book and smack his father.

The plotlines in Pandemonium were ok. The main one definitely kept my attention. I needed to see what would happen to Lilith and Jackson. I needed to see if they made it. I did have an issue with the plotlines involving Mr. Cloot and the Pecado. Both of them creeped me out. The Pecado more than Mr. Cloot. I do wish more depth had been given to the Pecado storyline. Where did it come from? Why was it sent to Pandemonium? Where there more of it?

I do want to mention that this book is very violent and there is a descriptive scene of attempted rape. Normally, I am not bothered by violence but in this book, I was. The things that the demons did to the humans were awful. The things that the people did to each other and themselves were even worse.

The end of Pandemonium wasn’t what I expected. I was surprised by what happened. It was out of character for that person to do what they did. I was left asking more questions, though. What was going to happen to that person?

I gave Pandemonium a 3.5-star rating. I did like the book. But I felt that it was almost too violent at times. It was well written with a fast plot line and well-developed characters.

I would give Pandemonium an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is extreme violence. There is language. There are triggers. They are attempted rape. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread this book. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank RABT Book Tours for allowing me to read and review Pandemonium.

All opinions stated in this review of Pandemonium are mine.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Have you read Pandemonium?

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The Wizard’s Gift by Michael Waller

The Wizard's Gift

4 Stars

Publisher:  RABT Book Tours

Date of publication: June 29th, 2012

Genre: Fantasy

Where you can find The Wizard’s Gift: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

The last of an ancient group of wizards leave a gift to the newly arrived race of men. It is revered and cared for by a line of priests until it is stolen, and the high priest and his sovereign murdered by a king who believes himself destined to be a great wizard. But from ancient writings, the high priest had discovered that the gift is not benevolent as was thought. This forces the son of the high priest unexpectedly elevated to his father’s position, and the young prince who is equally suddenly king, into a race to find the gift before it can be used as that may cause the destruction of the world. Accompanied by the retired captain of the palace guard they hope to speed their journey by crossing the Wasteland, a seeming desert, which is fabled to be populated by monsters, and from which no visitor has ever returned. In the course of their adventures, they are hunted by dog-faced men and captured by slavers, but the young prince truly becomes a king, and the priest discovers that he has a destiny that goes beyond the bounds of his world.

My review:

The Wizard’s Gift starts off with an ancient wizard leaving a gift to the men (and women) of the region where he lived. Telling the King of the area that the battle-ax was a good luck talisman, the wizard goes off to die in an enchanted land. The people with whom the battle-ax (and a few books) were left with came to revere and worship the gift. All was well for centuries until one of the priests of The Wizard’s Gift decides to sell out his people to a wizard king. It is there where the story begins. 4 men set off on a quest. One on his own and three together. The single man is determined to find the wizard king. He wants to make him pay for killing his King and razing his city. The other 3 men are also in pursuit of the wizard king. They want The Wizard’s Gift back in their city. It is their quest that is chronicled. A newly minted King, a retired Captain of the Palace Guard, and the High Priest of Bianmares. One of those three men has the destiny to fulfill. Can he survive to fulfill it?

I am going to warn you all, this book starts off slow. There were a few times where I almost DNF’d it because I was getting frustrated at how slow the plot goes. If you read this book, keep soldiering on. The plot gains speed after Caran Tuith buries his father. This is also a longer book, about 321 pages. Usually, I can read a book that length within a couple of days. But, I have been sick and couldn’t concentrate on the book long enough to read it. So, it took me 3-4 days to read it.

My only complaint about the book was that the formatting was wonky. I went from a larger font type to small font type. Also, at one point in the book, there were lines between each paragraph. Which stopped after a couple of chapters. It did get annoying after a while. That did affect how I rated the book.

Other than my complaint about the formatting, I loved the book. The characters were complex and well fleshed out. The author did a fantastic job of character building with them. I connected with everyone but King Premendis and Strantor. I didn’t like him. What they did to Caran Tuith’s father and people were unforgivable.

The world building was awesome in this book. The author took his time building up each area. I had no problem seeing The Wastelands and its inhabitants. Or Bianmares. Or where the mountain men lived.

The plotlines were the same way. Vivid and descriptive. I did have an issue with some of the bigger words but it was nothing that a highlight on my Kindle could solve. I loved that there were no storylines left up in the air. The author also did a great job at bringing all the storylines together at the end of the book.

Speaking of the ending, it was insane!! From the escape from The Wastelands to what Bataan did. I am hoping that the author is going to write a sequel to this book. Because I would 100% read it.

I gave The Wizard’s Gift a 4-star rating. This was a fantastic read. The character and world building were amazing. I did have an issue with the formatting and that did affect my review.

I would give The Wizard’s Gift an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is mild violence. There is no language. There are no triggers. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Wizard’s Gift. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank RABT Book Tours for allowing me to read and review The Wizard’s Gift.

All opinions stated in this review of The Wizard’s Gift are mine.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Have you read The Wizard’s Gift?

Love it? 

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Meh about it?

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Days of Reign by Elisa Hansen

Days of Reign

4 Stars

Publisher: RABT Book Tours

Date of publication: June 29th, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia

Where you can find Days of Reign: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads Synopsis:

Zelenka is an outcast. Tormented by the harsh rules and punishments of Eldon, she will soon be imprisoned in the horrifying government factories. Her lover, the charismatic Fraco, may be her one chance to escape. But Zelenka is drawn to the dangerous and elusive world of the Amaryllians. Only through them can she triumph in her two dreams: freedom, and survival.

My review: 

I was intrigued when I got the invite to review Days of Reign. The whole plotline of a girl trying to escape an oppressive regime caught my attention. I know that books like this in the dystopia genre are a dime a dozen but Days of Reign stood out from that crowd. This book had relatable characters and touched upon some real-life issues that we are facing today.

Eldon is a planet that is dying. Zelenka is a girl who has two choices in life. Either she marries by her 19th birthday or she risks going into a government-run factory. There, she will birth children until she dies. Zelenka is desperate to avoid that fate but she also wants to marry for love. Zelenka is also different from other girls her age. Zelenka has been taught to read and write, beyond what the government mandates for girls. Zelenka dreams of escaping Eldon. Her chance comes when she meets an intriguing woman named Fianna from Eldon’s sister planet, Amaryllis. After suffering a heartbreaking loss and enduring an attack by someone she thought she loved, Zelenka is ready to go. But, is Amaryllis all that it is cracked up to be? Will Zelenka find the freedom that she has craved?

I liked Zelenka. I also felt bad for her. The oppression that she lived under was stifling. But, somehow, she managed to thrive under it. She could read and write beyond what a woman in that society was allowed too. I felt that was amazing because her parents (and grandfather) took such a risk in educating her. She was hoping for a love match with Fraco to avoid being placed in the factories. I liked how she questioned her faith and wondered about Amaryllis. I was a little confused about exactly how she met Fianna. But that connection helped her when she needed to escape Eldon. Her wonder and amazement when she arrived in Amaryllis were exactly how I would have reacted. Considering the oppression that she left, Amaryllis was heaven to her.

I liked Fianna but I didn’t understand her role in the book for about half the book. Everything became clear after she and Zelenka landed in Amaryllis. What she was destined to do and who she was going to help. I do wish that it was revealed a bit earlier in the book. There were hints but still.

I didn’t like Fraco. I did pity him towards the end of the book but I didn’t like him. The things he did were heinous. But, he was a product of the male-dominated society of Eldon. He did what he thought was in his right.

As with every book, the secondary characters made the book. And with Days of Reign, they definitely added some much-needed depth to the storyline.

There were 2 plotlines in Days of Reign. Both plotlines were wonderfully written. They were also compelling. What got me was how some of the issues on both Eldon and Amaryllis reflected issues today. It actually scared me a little.

The first plotline centered around Zelenka in Eldon. It showed how awful her life was on Eldon. It showed how awful conditions were there. Take for instance her best friend, Sara. Her father sold her to a family as a communal bride (I know, right!!). When Zelenka went to visit Sara, she finds out that Sara committed suicide. It was one of two events that pushed Zelenka into leaving with Fianna. The other event, well, you will need to read the book to find out.

The second plotline is also centered around Zelenka. But she is in Amaryllis and discovering that living in Amaryllis is not what she thought. I shared Zelenka’s awe over everything that she saw and learned on Amaryllis. I wish I had a shower like she had.

There were a few secondary storylines that added to the story. Such as Zelenka’s writing and the storyline with Maeve. Those storylines added much-needed depth to the book.

Days of Reign fits in perfectly in the dystopian genre. It also fits in with the science fiction angle of the book.

I will warn that there are triggers in this book. They are rape, female circumcision and suicide. Not to mention that women are only looked at for sexual gratification and considered non-people. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the book, some of these follow different issues in real life.

The end of Days of Reign was confusing for me. Is there going to be another book? Because if there isn’t, a lot of storylines were left up in the air. If there is another book, it was brilliant of the author to end the book the way she did.

I gave Days of Reign a 4-star rating. This is a well-written book that I enjoyed reading. The characters were relatable and well-rounded. I did have an issue with how the book ended. Hopefully, there will be a book 2.

I would give Days of Reign an Adult rating. There is sex, but it isn’t graphic. There is violence. There is mild language. There are triggers (see above). I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Days of Reign. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. I would include a warning about the triggers.

I would like to thank RABT Book Tours for allowing me to read and review Days of Reign.

All opinions stated in this review of Days of Reign are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Have you read Days of Reign?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!