Category Archives: 4-Good

Darklands: Requiem by Lyn I. Kelley

Good versus evil is just the beginning for this purgatory-like novel.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title: Darklands: Requiem
Author: Lyn I. Kelley
Series: Darklands, Book 1 
Publish Date: August 26, 2015
Publisher: Lulu Publishing Services
Genre: YA Dark Fantasy
Source: Provided by the author & Wordslinger

Publisher’s Description:
Webb Thompson awakes, disoriented and fearful. He sees green grass and a black, boiling sky spread out before him. He finds his little sister nearby, unconscious. When he reaches her side, Sundown is alive. But now they have other problems: where are they, how did they get there, and what is that growling noise? Webb and Sundown have awakened in the Dark Lands-a world between life and death where sacred souls battle malevolent evil for control of the living realm, a battle of which mere mortals know nothing. How did Webb and Sundown come to this place? Are they living? Are they dead? Or are they something else? Webb and Sundown will soon discover mystical abilities within themselves, abilities they will need to practice and perfect because evil is growing. His name is the Dark Man, an ancient evil, but one new to the Dark Lands. His very presence threatens to destroy the fabric of the Dark Lands, the living world and of time itself. The battle lines have been drawn. The war is soon to begin. . .


Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: There was something truly unique about this book but at the same time there was something familiar about it. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but I truly enjoyed this book. The characters are diverse and believable. Sundown and Webb must deal with not only the fact they are now in a purgatory like world but also that they are part of some big good versus evil plot.  The world building is fantastic. Many interesting characters/creatures/and features that are unique to this story.

Dislikes: There is very little back story to the characters and it leaves some questions – like why does Webb have so much pent up anger? Granted he has just found out that he has died but the anger seems deeper than that. While the world building is amazing; there is a lot of information that make the majority of the book an information dump while the reader gets acquainted with the surroundings. Some of the elements were predictable and some of the names for the evil creatures comical.

Overall this a good start to a YA series and I give it 4 Maurdians. 

 

Other recommendations…

Recommendations: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, The Uncommitted by Margaret Goss, and Wizard Bound by Christian Boustead.

A Dream of Ashes by Orlando A. Sanchez

Ava James has been framed for murder – and the real culprit behind the Mystic deaths is drawing closer to home with every kill.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

TitleA Dream of Ashes 
Author: Orlando A. Sanchez
Series: Chronicles of the Modern Mystics 
Publish Date: April 27, 2016
Publisher: OM Publishing
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Provided by the author & Wordslinger.

Publisher’s Description:

Mystics. Magic. Murder.

A Rogue Mystic. A Ruthless Killer. A Dark Secret.

Ava James is a fire mystic with the Mystic Investigative Division. As a branch of the Enclave, a worldwide mystic organization, the MID is feared, respected and reviled. When the half-charred body of a Mystic is found, the Enclave sends her to investigate the strange death. Ava finds that all the clues point to the killer being a fire mystic, one of her own. Accused by the Enclave of working with the killer she must solve the case before a secret buried in her past is revealed and destroys her world.

Can she save herself? Will she find the murderer?

If you like hardcore, fast-moving action, complex mystical powers and an unstoppable heroine, then you’ll love Orlando A. Sanchez’ thrilling new series: Chronicles of the Modern Mystics. Buy A Dream of Ashes and join Ava on her adventure today!


Kat Mandu says…

In A Dream of Ashes, readers are introduced to Ava, a mystic with the ability to create and manipulate fire. Right from the beginning of the book, she’s been framed for several vicious murders she didn’t commit, not to mention she’s being hunted by a group of obviously wicked mystics trying to kill her. As she tries to navigate her way through a unique New York City without getting caught or killed, she’s gotta figure out where her uncle is and just who he was taken by. But getting mixed up in the affairs of mystics much more powerful than her is not what she intended, so she’ll need every ally and skill she can get.

Likes: This really is full of action and cool visuals, so it reads like a fast-paced movie with lots of awesome graphics. Plus, you know, the majority of the characters are Japanese, so ninjas. Either way, I really loved the easy-to-read flow of the book and I was quite fond of the quirky one-liners Ava gets to dish out.

What didn’t grab me: Like my fellow reviewer, this book was lacking in that really strong world-building that really would have made this a five for me. I had the feeling that the more the author wrote, the more ideas he came up with, which is nice but makes the beginning lackluster compared to the final moments. I would get caught up in the action but was left wondering just what Enclaves were and what Enforcers did and how everything worked out. Even if the info isn’t dumped at the beginning and spread out in hints throughout the book, it would have improved that clear structure of Ava’s New York/Japan aka “Mystic world.” I just didn’t get much that would help me really understand how everything works.

The only other thing is that there is quite a few organizations that come into play, plus numerous allies. I wish I could have gotten some more details on them as well, so I didn’t have to go back and ask myself “Okay, what did these guys do again?”

I just think this needs a clearer focus, but overall, I was impressed and give this three stars.

Luna Lovebooks says… 

“Go lick your wounds. When I see you next I will erase your existence.’ He turned and walked away as the sphere turned opaque and shifted us away from Nezu. We are going to die.”

Likes: This book is fast paced and action packed! Much like poor Ava, the reader doesn’t get to stop and rest. The characters and world are interesting, if not fully developed. Ava was resilient, but still vulnerable and had moments of weakness.  I love the fact that she is strong but not super woman. The mysterious Ghost and his daughter are two characters I’d like to get to know better. I would also love to know more about warders and mystics in general. This may slow down the book a bit, but it would also back up the world building.

Dislikes: I feel there are too many unanswered questions, even if this is the first book in the series. The cover is part of what drew me to pick up this book. But when I received my copy the cover is very pixilated and loses some of its beauty. I’m am sure that as a writer Sanchez knows the world he is creating. It feels solid, but as a reader I was lost.  There isn’t much information given about enclaves, mystics, or those special sticks. I feel that the plot should have slowed down to give some more world building to the readers.

Over all I give this book 4 mystics. 

 

Other recommendations…

If you like magic with unique systems and spins, we’d recommend Brandon Sanderson, J. F. Lewis, and M.K. Hobson. 

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Heaven Help Us by John G. Hartness

He’s the immortal magic-wielding child of Jonathan Harker and Mina Murray from the classic novel Dracula. But to him it’s not a story, it’s family history. Quincy Harker is what you’d get if Constantine were renewed by HBO and taken to the darkest of dark sides. When things go bump in the night, he bumps right back.

TitleHeaven Help Us
Author: John G. Hartness
Series: Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter
Publish Date: October 18, 2016
Genre:  Urban Fantasy/Horror
Source:  Purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description: On the run and reeling from his bloody battle with the demon Orobas, all Harker wants to do is lie low in Lockton, Ohio for a few months and let his physical and spiritual wounds heal. But there are werewolves in the diner, and magically-talented teenagers disappearing all over town. Now Harker’s hip-deep in demons again, but this time he’s got no backup.

Meanwhile. Detective Rebecca Gayle Flynn and the rest of Harker’s team are back home in Charlotte, NC, trying to prove his innocence and figure out Orobas’ next move. But no one knows how corrupt Homeland Security or the police department are, or how high the scandal runs. And now some guy shows up claiming to be the great-great-grandson of Doctor Watson (yeah, that Dr. Watson) offering to help?

Will Harker survive a battle with Hell in a small town all on his own?

Can Flynn and Uncle Luke find the proof they need to bring Harker home?

Will they stop Orobas’ master plan before he unleashes Hell on Earth?

Who is this mysterious Shadow Council, and what do they want?

When all else fails on Earth, will Heaven Help Us?

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


 

Nervous Nellie says…

I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life. Some of them have gotten good people hurt, even killed. Many of them have caused immense property damage, and one was responsible for the extinction of an entire species of South American monkey.

Warning to all that I never guessed who was the bad guy this time around. Serious betrayal to Becks and Quincy. The story is just warming up, so jump on the roller coaster – it’ll be a bumpy ride.

Something hinky is going on and even Dracula is losing his composure.  He’s lost his house and his friend.  Homeland Security is after Quincy Harker and Rebecca Flynn is trying to get him out of the hip deep trouble he’s in.   *SPOILER*  Quincy (I’m stunned) takes his relationship to Becks the next step which is totally uncharacteristic for the tough 100 year old plus cantankerous hero.  The trip to the small town in hiding doesn’t last for long and Quincy ends up making friends with the wolves.  We get to meet Jo Henry, the main character in Calling All Angels and she is a force to be reckoned with that makes me glad she’s on the human’s side.  She’s also practically polar opposite of Quincy.  A mom.  Does not cuss.  Is not supernaturally powerful.  She rocks.*END SPOILER*

I am a fan of this series and I’ll keep reading as long as John G. Hartness keeps rolling them out.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

…you might try

 

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Heaven’s Door by John G. Hartness

He’s the immortal magic-wielding child of Jonathan Harker and Mina Murray from the classic novel Dracula. But to him it’s not a story, it’s family history. Quincy Harker is what you’d get if Constantine were renewed by HBO and taken to the darkest of dark sides. When things go bump in the night, he bumps right back.

TitleHeaven’s Door
Author: John G. Hartness
Series: Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter
Publish Date: October 18, 2016
Genre:  Urban Fantasy/Horror
Source:  Purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s DescriptionHe’s finally found something to care about after a century of searching, but will he lose it all at the hands of his most dangerous foe yet?

Seven years ago, Quincy Harker vanquished the demon Orobas and saved the city of Charlotte, NC from his evil plans. Or so he thought. Now the half-divine Nephilim are turning up dead in the Queen City, and it looks like Orobas is back to finish the job.

Can Harker stop Orobas, or will the bloodthirsty demon unleash Hell on Earth?

Who is behind these horrible murders, and why do they seem to be calling Harker out?

Will this be the battle that finally ends the long life of Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter?

Find out when Harker, his girlfriend Detective Rebecca Flynn, his guardian angel Glory, and his uncle, the legendary Count Dracula bring the battle of the diving and demonic right to HEAVEN’S DOOR.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


 

Nervous Nellie says…

I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life. Some of them have gotten good people hurt, even killed. Many of them have caused immense property damage, and one was responsible for the extinction of an entire species of South American monkey.

Warning that I never guessed who was the bad guy this time around. Serious betrayal to Becks and Quincy. The story is just warming up, so jump on the roller coaster – it’ll be a bumpy ride.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

…you might try

 

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Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen

Kidnapped by trolls, Cecily must unravel a series of secrets about her captors while planning an escape. But falling in love might change all her plans…

TitleStolen Songbird 
Author: Danielle L. Jensen 
Series: The Malediction Trilogy
Publish Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Genre: YA High fantasy
Source: Purchased.

Publisher’s Description: For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…

But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for…


Kat Mandu says…

Hello readers! We’re catching up on some reviews from our high-fantasy read-along. In Stolen Songbird, Cecily is taken by a man named Luc, who’s only interested in trading her to the trolls for some gold and other treasures. Thrown into the the dark world of Trollus, Cecily discovers that her kidnapping was no mere coincidence as she finds herself betrothed to the prince of the trolls and “bonded” through magical means. In a mix of terror, luck, and curiosity, Cecily slowly unravels the details of her captivity, the politics of Trollus, and even her strange attraction to Prince Tristan. As Trollus becomes dangerous in all sorts of ways – even for her – she knows her only hope at survival is to escape forever. But leaving Tristan, the “monster” she steadily falls for, may be harder than ever.

This has an interesting premise – for one, not many YAs have trolls. Especially good looking and intelligent ones (not that they’re “trolls” per se, a secret you read farther on in the book). I love the political games that the king, the queen, other key players, and even Tristan play and that Cecily doesn’t really have a say in any of it, though she quickly learns her role in them. She’s the one prophesied to break the witch’s curse that holds all the trolls beneath the mountain. So with a little magic, adventure, and romance mixed in, it makes for a great read.

I love that this series doesn’t have a love triangle. For me, it didn’t really even have romance at all until much later in the book when Cecily and Tristan learn they both have need of each other’s company. I mean, at the beginning, they hated each other. They were forced to marry just to fulfill the prophecy. Of course, when that doesn’t work, she becomes a prisoner. I like that Tristan realizes that she’s there against her will and wants to protect her (after all, he didn’t particularly love the arrangement either), but that doesn’t mean he insta-loves her. Hell, they spend the majority of the book pretending to hate each other (and actually doing so at times).

Cecily isn’t the bravest or strongest, but she knows how to manipulate and she does what she can to learn how to get around Trollus. She makes frenimies along the way and it’s interesting to see that after all she’s been through, she can still learn to care for the people who have about as little control as she does over her life.

I’m fascinated by the plot and eager to see where this magical story line takes Cecily and Tristan in the next book, Hidden Huntress. Until then, four stars from me! 

Other recommendations…

…you might try  Strange, Sweet Song by Adi Rule, Gates of Thread & Stone by Lori M. Lee, and ….