Desperate Tides, Desperate Measures (The Talisman Series: Volume 5) by Brett Salter

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Publisher:

Date of Publication: February 25th, 2022

Series: The Talisman Series

The Search For Synergy—Book 1 (review here)

Riders of Fire and Ice—Book 2 (review here)

Windy City Ruins—Book 3 (review here)

The Battle for Verdana—Book 4 (review here)

Desperate Tides, Desperate Measures—Book 5

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

Looks like our heroes can finally put an end to the nightmare that was Scarabadon, The Juggernaut. And it seems everyone’s favorite Synergist Knight and Master Dragon have fixed their Talisman issue too. Having thwarted every attack The Tyrant King has thrown at them to this point, The Alliance believes that they can endure any challenge as long as they remain together. Now, having the upper hand seems like the perfect opportunity to seek out more allies and even more of the realm’s mystical Talismans. Could this be a “happily ever after” for our ensemble of motley heroes? Or is this peace just a fool’s hope and just as temporary as the changing tides?


First Line:

Mr. Jones smiled widely as he saw his team reappearing before his eyes.

desperate tides, desperate measures by brett salter

Desperate Tides, Desperate Measures has been on my radar for a while (well, ever since December/January). So, when the author emailed me with the request, I jumped on it and planned on reading it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, life happens. I hurt my arm, and then medical stuff started happening with my 8-year-old. So this book, along with many other books, got pushed to the backburner. Instead of reading it in March, as I planned, I ended up reading it the first week of April. But, it didn’t affect how much I enjoyed this book. This book lived up to my internal hype!!

Desperate Tides, Desperate Measures begins almost immediately after the ending of The Battle for Verdana. Julian and Rome have not only performed The Great Synergy (the right way), but they have also brought along Mander, the Fire Elemental who lived in the Fire Talisman. But they don’t have long to rest because there is a villain who wears a familiar face and wants the Water Talisman. Who is the villain? Can they be defeated? Have Rome and company met their match?

Desperate Tides, Desperate Measures is the 5th book in The Talisman Series. Readers cannot read this book as a standalone. I strongly suggest that you read the books in order.

Rome and Julian are still my favorite characters in Desperate Tides, Desperate Measures. They were not afraid to tackle anything and would defend their friends with everything they got. Plus, they were good friends (even if Julian annoyed Rome at times).

The lore that the author has created for this series is impressive. I love that he has taken different myths/legends and incorporated them into the series. It made for some great reading.

I did guess what dragon was going to be introduced in this book, and I was pretty excited to see how the author would portray them. I wasn’t disappointed!! But, what I loved was that the author introduced hybrids. I wondered if hybrids were going to make an appearance and one did in this book. I wonder what other hybrids are out there and how the author will introduce them.

I guessed what was going on with Mr. Rider. I kept saying, “No one’s father is that big of a jerk.” Whelp, when the author dropped his mini bombshell, I said, “I knew it!!” Of course, I felt terrible for Julian and his sister. I also felt that Jericho let Mr. Rider off too quickly.

The introduction of The Elementals was massive. I wasn’t expecting to like them so much. The Water Elemental had me crying with his answer to the Alliance’s question. And the Air Elemental was precisely what I thought it would be like.

The end of Desperate Tides, Desperate Measures was excellent. The author didn’t wrap up the storylines. Instead, he added to them and made me wonder what would happen next.

I would recommend Desperate Tides, Desperate Measures to anyone over 13. There is mild violence, no language, and a clean book.

Cover Reveal: Desperate Tides, Desperate Measures (The Talisman Series: Book 5) by Brett Salter

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I am so excited everyone!! I am a huge fan of The Talisman Series and I have been impatiently waiting for any sign of book 5. Well, the author contacted me and asked me to do a cover reveal!!! I seriously danced around my living room (with 4 very confused cats and one confused 8 year old) in happiness. I can’t wait to read this book!!!

So, here it is!!!

Synopsis:

Looks like our heroes can finally put an end to the nightmare that was Scarabadon, The Juggernaut.  And it seems everyone’s favorite Synergist Knight and Master Dragon have fixed their Talisman issue too.  Having thwarted every attack The Tyrant King has thrown at them to this point, The Alliance believes that they can endure any challenge as long as they remain together.  Now, having the upper hand seems like the perfect opportunity to seek out more allies and even more of the realm’s mystical Talismans.   Could this be a “happily ever after” for our ensemble of motley heroes?  Or is this peace just a fool’s hope and just as temporary as the changing tides?    

The Talisman series will reveal the clandestine workings of the dragons and their knights who embrace the role of protecting our world from The Tyrant King and his evil minions. Whichever side controls the Talismans and their magic will determine the destiny of the world. The question is, what are these Talismans, and how can they be used for the good of humanity and the dragon dens?

The Battle For Verdana (The Talisman Series: Book 4) by Brett Salter

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Publisher:

Date of publication: July 19th, 2020

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Series: The Talisman Series

The Search for Synergy—Book 1 (review here)

Riders of Fire and Ice—Book 2 (review here)

Windy City Ruins—Book 3 (review here)

The Battle for Verdana—Book 4

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

Goodreads Synopsis:

What’s REALLY hiding in the forests of the Pacific Northwest? Could it be The Tyrant King’s army of Darkbrands? Could it be more of Mr. Jones’s liaisons? Or could it be the solution to the problem vexing our favorite heroes? Whatever mystery it is, you can guarantee the boys from Georgia are sure to find themselves deep in the thick of it.


Could it really be possible that Rome found himself stuck in his human form, with his dragonic powers completely stripped of him, and trapped on another arduous airplane flight?

the battle for verdana by brett salter

I couldn’t wait to read The Battle for Verdana. I wasn’t disappointed!! With the way that Windy City Ruins ended, I needed to know what would happen to Rome and Julian.

The Battle For Verdana is the 4th book in The Talisman series. As with the other books in this series, readers cannot read this book as a standalone. It would be best if you read books 1-3 first. I can’t stress this enough. If you do decide to read this book as a standalone, be prepared to be confused. Trust me on this!!

The Battle For Verdana takes place immediately after the ending of Windy City Ruins. Rome, Julian, Jericho, and Clay are traveling to Chicago to meet with Beacon and Mrs. Case. They are looking for another talisman to replace the one that Julian had. While there, they get a clue where another talisman could be….in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Not sure what they will find, the boys set out there. Will they find what they are looking for? Or will the Darkbrands beat them to it?

Rome was still my favorite character, with Julian being a close second. I loved seeing how his character grew throughout the books and how that growth continued in The Battle For Verdana. He went from a hacky-sack-loving typical teenage boy to this young man wise beyond his years.

Julian did annoy me during parts of the book, but I could understand why he was acting the way he acted. Not only was he a teenager, but he wasn’t in control. I wish I could say more, but it would be giving away a considerable part of the plot. I did like how he handled his father (even though the old-fashioned speech did give me a headache). Their interactions pained me and made me laugh.

I liked that Jericho and Clay were a big part of this book. I was still a little iffy about them after Windy City Ruins but got over that. Jericho showed over and over that he was to be trusted. Plus, I liked how he could get rid of Nocturne throughout the book. That was a pretty handy spell to have (even though it did mess with the talisman).

I enjoyed the discovery of the forest dragons towards the middle of the book, and I empathized with them. I understood why Larkspur was so angry (of course, there was a twist to that which made sense afterward), and I also understood why the other dragons were on the fence.

Of course, the end of the book was the best part!! There was a huge battle sequence that the author amazingly wrote. I was holding my breath during several parts of the battle. I did think, at one point, that the Darkbrands would finally beat the group, but that was put to rest when a particular something happened.

I am looking forward to reading book 5 (yes, there will be a book 5). I can’t wait to see if my feelings about Julian’s father are true, what will happen now that “it” happened, and if there are other dragons that the boys will meet.

I would recommend Windy City Ruins to anyone over the age of 13. It is a clean book (no sex, no kissing). There is mild violence and very mild language.

Windy City Ruins (The Talisman Series: Book 3) by Brett Salter

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First Line:

Rome could feel his stomach jumping around as the plane touched down at La Guardia airport in New York City.

windy city ruins by brett salter

Windy City Ruins is the 3rd book in The Talisman Series. While the author gives a quick rundown of the previous books at the beginning of this one, I would strongly recommend reading the previous books first.

Windy City Ruins takes place immediately after the events of Riders of Fire and Ice. Rome, Julian, and Mr. Jones are in New York City to meet with Mr. Jones’s mysterious friend, Beacon. Beacon has some intel, but they are not easy to find. Beacon tasks the boys (and Mrs. Case and Mr. Jones) with a riddle and a time to meet them. Their journey takes them to the closed-off torch of The Statue of Liberty and a big surprise. But, Beacon’s identity is the least of their problems. Something dangerous is stalking them, and it will take everyone (Beacon, Camela, Krysta, Mr. Jones, Mrs. Case, and the boys) to face the danger. Will they be able to beat that threat, and what will it cost them??

I was very excited to read Windy City Ruins. Why? Well, I have become invested in the series. I need to know what will happen to Rome, Julian, and their allies/friends. Plus, I find the worldbuilding and lore fascinating in this book. The author mixes different mythologies seamlessly.

Rome and Julian are still learning about their bonding. But, since they didn’t perform the Synergy correctly, they can’t use their bond to their advantage. I found that fascinating. Seeing Camela and Krysta’s bond (as well as the mark that it left on Krysta) made me wonder how the boys would be if/when they bond correctly.

As in the other books, dragons and talismans figure hugely in the plot. Wind dragons and earth dragons are discovered. I will admit that I wasn’t sure about the wind dragons. But as the book went on, they proved just how loyal and brave they were. The earth dragon scared me. Nothing could shake that thing. It was a freaking tank!

I liked that the author gave the Darkfiends more exposure in the book. I play ESO, and while I was reading this book, I was in Blackwood. One boss fight was a minotaur with firepower (it was more of a shaman, but still). That is how I imagined the minotaur from the main battle scene. I called my SO over to show/tell him about the minotaur that came out of the portal and how it looked like the one in my game. He could have cared less….lol.

I was a little irritated with Julian’s father. Especially when certain things came out at the end of the book (with the fight between the boys and Jericho/Clay). I was very frustrated with him. He caused too much harm that has reverberated throughout the book, and I feel that it will continue into the next one.

I was shocked at the events at the end of the book. Mainly by what happened with Nocturne and the boys. I was not expecting what happened to happen. But in a way, I was also happy that it did. It meant that the boys could do things right and hopefully take down the Tyrant King.


I would recommend Windy City Ruins to anyone over the age of 13. It is a clean book (no sex, no kissing). There is mild violence and very mild language.

Riders of Fire and Ice (The Talisman Series: Book 2) by Brett Salter

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Publisher:

Date of publication: October 6th, 2017

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Paranormal

Series: The Talisman Series

The Search for Synergy—Book 1 (Review here)

Riders of Fire and Ice—Book 2

Windy City Ruins—Book 3

The Battle for Verdana—Book 4

Purchase Links: Amazon |B&N

Format Read: ARC

Received From: Author


Goodreads Synopsis:

Their back! Julian and Rome are taking their show on the road. This time it is to lovely old England in search of Camelot. While there the Knight and Dragon will be trying to solve the mystery of the Talismans, the mystery of their shadowy stalker and the mystery of sibling rivalry. Prepare to meet some new faces and, of course, some new Darkbrands as the two further their adventures across the pond.


Rome hadn’t even set foot on the plane and Julian was already making plenty of complaining comments

Riders of Fire and Ice by Brett Salter

I was pretty psyched to read Riders of Fire and Ice. I had enjoyed The Search for Synergy a lot and couldn’t wait to see what would occur with Rome and Julian in this book. Plus, the author introduced Julian’s younger sister, and I couldn’t wait to see how she was. I wasn’t disappointed at all by anything in this book!!

Riders of Fire and Ice is the second book in The Talisman series. Readers cannot read this book as a standalone. You need to read The Search for Synergy to understand everything that is going on. But, if you are a rebel and decide not to do it, the author did include a short recap of book one at the beginning of this book. But still, read book 1. It is worth it!!

Riders of Fire and Ice was a fast-paced book with a well-written storyline. There was zero lag, which I was surprised by and delighted in.

Rome is one of my favorite characters. He delights in hackeysack and is starting to get interested in girls (the whole I love you line to his crush had me in tears laughing). But, he is also brave and was willing to put his life on the line when he and Julian fought the Minotaur. And his view on Julian’s younger sister, Camela, was spot on.

Julian was my other favorite character in this book. He was focused on looking for portals and battling the Darkfiends that came out of them. He was also brave and delighted in each piece of armor that was revealed to him. I loved his relationship with Camela, though. I have two teenagers, close in age, and they fight similarly to how Camela and Julian did. Talk about true to life.

Again, the fight scenes were terrific. That whole battle with the Minotaur was incredible. I loved how allies were revealed, and I loved who they were. I wasn’t surprised at how came to Julian and Rome’s defense. Some hints were leading up to it that I caught onto. There was a lesser battle with Mr. Jones that was also fantastic. Mainly because it wasn’t about brawn. Instead, Mr. Jones got to show off his abilities.

The end of Riders of Fire and Ice was interesting. I am curious how things will be in book 3 with everything the author revealed about the talismans.


I would recommend Riders of Fire and Ice for anyone over the age of 10 (in the Tween range). There is mild violence.

The Search For Synergy (The Talisman Series: Book 1) by Brett Salter

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Publisher:

Date of publication: May 31st, 2017

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Series: The Talisman Series

The Search for Synergy—Book 1

Riders of Ice and Fire—Book 2

Windy City Ruins—Book 3

The Battle For Verdana—Book 4

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

Format Read: Published Book

Received From: Author


Goodreads Synopsis:

“The Search For Synergy” is the story of two young men who are brought together by design to help save the world from the evil that lurks in the void. Rome and Julian will have to join their fledgling powers and become a fighting duo as knight and dragon working to fulfill a primordial destiny. This will be especially hard for Rome, who up until now, thought he was merely human.


First Line:

School…yuck! School was not always yuck.

The Search for Synergy by Brett Salter

The Search For Synergy is the first book in The Talisman series. The book does start a little slow, but that only lasts for the first two chapters. Then it takes off and doesn’t slow down until the end. That made the book more enjoyable to read.

I liked Rome. His reactions to everything going on were realistic. He had every right not to believe Julian and Mr. Jones when they explained what was happening to him. Instead, he gave them a chance, and it ended up changing his life. I also loved the way he talked to Julian’s father. I know it was rude, but I was laughing my butt off during those interactions.

I liked Julian and connected with him. He was passionate about what he was training for, and he was willing to face ridicule from Rome to tell him the truth. Plus, the kid was beyond brave.

The fantasy angle of the book was well written. I loved that the author used the King Arthur myth and built a fantastic storyline around it. Plus, he dabbled a bit of Greek mythology in too. It made the book so much enjoyable to read.

The fights scenes in The Search For Synergy were terrific!! I did think it was funny that the first one took place in the school (as did Rome’s first transformation). I cheered (internally) when Julian and Rome sent the Garns back to where they came from. I also loved seeing Rome turn to his more animalistic side during the second fight. He saved Julian’s life.

The end of The Search For Synergy was interesting. I have a few questions that I hope will be answered in the next book. Plus, I can’t wait to see how Julian’s younger sister is (seeing that she will be going with the boys to England).


The Search For Synergy was a great middle-grade read. The characters were fleshed out, and the plotline was terrific.

I would recommend The Search For Synergy to anyone over the age of 13. Younger readers can read it, but I suggest that a parent read with them, as some of the fight scenes can be a little scary. There is mild violence.

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