Review: Marked by Stuart Park

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Marked by Stuart Park

Venus and her sister planet concludes their 3,000 year cycle. Stargazers amass to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event, but not Mark, his life is about to change.

Mark’s chance encounter with the cold but intangibly-carnal Kiko sets him plummeting into free-fall. Kim, his emphatic but emotionally-charged wife moonlights with a shadowy organisation whose intentions are far from transparent. She needs to blame someone for the disappearance of their daughter twenty years ago. No solace is offered by her egocentric therapist who’s engrossed in his own agenda.

Plagued by visions, Mark struggles to maintain his grip on reality and descends into a vividly-violent web of darkness. As Mark’s world spirals beyond his control, it’s quite possible this cycle will not end smoothly.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Marked on Goodreads


Review

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review *

Rating: 2 stars

Marked follows a family who are dealing with the unsolved disappearance of their daughter 20 years ago. As the story unfolds the planet Venus and her sister conclude a 3,000 year cycle and this is woven into the plot.

To be honest I didn’t really enjoy this book. It started off well, explaining the events that led to Mark and Kim’s daughter’s disappearance and then how they both dealt with the loss in their different ways. After this it seemed to get lost somehow. I found that the plot wasn’t really making sense and nor were the characters actions. I’m not too sure how the Venus cycle fitted in at all either. It was just too confusing and I ended up reading it twice to try and make sense of it all, but to no avail. Overall this made for a frustrating read so I can only give it 2 stars.

Review: Soul Searcher: The Reckoning Part 1

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Soul Searcher: The Reckoning Part 1 by Stephen S Arend

Soul Searcher: The Reckoning details the journey of one man, Rork, as he strives to find his past and answers to the strange memories and images which have plagued him for the past ten years. In making this journey, he will discover who he really is…and was.

Along the way, Rork gathers to his side an enigmatic forester with ties to a long-forgotten race, that young man’s secret protector, and a boisterous islander with pride as large as the open canyon country.

In the end, Rork finds himself torn between what he must do for himself and what he can do for others around him, for he learns of friendship and caring, and that it hard for a man with only half a soul. The past cannot be changed, and for some, the reality of that may prove too much to accept.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

The Reckoning Part 1 on Goodreads


Review

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review *

Rating: 2.5 stars

Soul Searcher: The Reckoning Part 1 is a fantasy novel telling the story of one man’s journey to find out the truth about his past and discovering just who he really is on the way.

I wanted to enjoy this novel. The plot really drew me and I was looking forward to reading it, however, I just couldn’t get into it. There was a lot of description, which usually I don’t mind at all but the way it was written made the story feel disjointed and broken up so it was really hard to follow what was going on. The dialogue suffered the same problem and the words spoken between the two main characters seemed almost forced.

This considered I really can’t give The Reckoning Part 1 more than 2.5 stars. The author clearly has talent and has taken a lot of time to world build, but unfortunately in its current form this novel just didn’t read well for me.

Review: Blade of the Destroyer (The Last Bucelarii #1) by Andy Peloquin

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Blade of the Destroyer (The Last Bucelarii #1) by Andy Peloquin

The Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin: ruthless, unrelenting, immortal. Haunted by lost memories, he is bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power but denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.
When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Blade of the Destroyer on Goodreads


Review

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review *

Rating: 4 stars

Blade of the Destroyer is a dark fantasy novel set in the fictional city of Voramis. The assassin for hire known only as the Hunter knows nothing of his past and the secrets behind his ability to heal and longevity. His cursed blade known as Soulhunger hands down a fate worse than death to all those whose lives it takes. However, the Hunter isn’t as invulnerable as he seems and when a seemingly ordinary contract takes his path in a completely different direction, the Hunter discovers not only his missing past but strong enemies that seek to use it, and him, for their own purposes.

The world building in Blade of the Destroyer – complete with religion mythology – is excellent and provides the perfect setting for the story. The Hunter is a well-developed and complex character displaying a wide range of emotions – from cold, detached killer to showing compassion to those weaker than him – reminding the reader that underneath the façade he is just as human as the rest of the characters. I really enjoyed reading Blade of the Destroyer. The only thing I would say is I felt the finale dragged somewhat and took a little longer than was necessary.

Overall this is a very well-written, dark and gritty fantasy and is an excellent start to the series.

Review: Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop by John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan

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Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop

By John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan

Retired stage magician Dr. Marvelry prefers to stock his antique store with strange and occult items. He has always enjoyed meeting odd people and hearing their stories, the legends attached to mysterious objects. A phonograph that seemingly replays a tragedy. Fertility dolls that are more than decoration. A bedeviled mannequin. These are just some of the relics this eccentric shopkeeper has collected over the years.

No two customers will have the same experience in his curiosity shop — some walk away satisfied, others are never heard from again. But one thing is certain – when you purchase an item at this store, you often get more than what you paid for.

Follow Marvelry and his hexed objects through twelve tales of suspense, magic, terror, and transformation. Meet his new assistant, fellow illusionists, and some irregular characters along the way. Whatever macabre artifact of the human psyche you’re seeking – you’ll find something special in Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop on Goodreads


Review

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review *

Rating: 5 stars

This novel is a collection of 12 short stories which centre around Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop which is a second hand store unlike no other – in that your purchase could kill you! The short stories are either unsuspecting customers dealing with the consequences of their purchases, being connected to a customer in some way or Marvelry’s own experiences.

This is very well thought-out and put together collection of tales. Short story telling is an art that the two authors have clearly mastered. Each tale was wonderfully imaginative and a fun read, with an unexpected twist at each end.

Marvelry himself was…well as curious as his shop! I couldn’t decide whether he knew just what the object he was selling could do or whether he really didn’t know at all. Either way, I found him to be rather likeable and endearing in a quaint old-fashioned way. I also liked that some of the stories were about Marvelry himself so I gained some more insight into the character.

Overall Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop is an excellent read and one that I recommend to lovers of short stories and spooky tales.

Review: Songs of Insurrection (Daughter of the Dragon Throne #1) by J.C Kang

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Songs of Insurrection (Daughter of the Dragon Throne #1)

by J.C Kang

Princess Kaiya’s voice could charm a dragon.

Had she lived when the power of music could still summon typhoons and rout armies, perhaps Cathay’s imperial court would see her as more than a singing fool. With alliances to build and ambitious lords to placate, they care more about her marriage prospects than her voice.

Only the handsome Prince Hardeep, a foreign martial mystic, recognizes her potential. Convinced Kaiya will rediscover the legendary but perilous art of invoking magic through music, he suggests her voice, not her marriage, might better serve the realm.

When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan– Kaiya’s childhood friend Tian and his half-elf sidekick (or maybe he’s her sidekick?)– discover mere discontent boiling over into full-scale rebellion, Kaiya must choose. Obediently wedding the depraved ringleader means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.

Purchase Link: amazon.com

Songs of Insurrection on Goodreads


Review

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review *

Rating: 4 stars

Songs of Insurrection is the first novel in the Daughter of the Dragon Throne series. Its main protagonist, Princess Kaiya, is the somewhat naïve daughter of the Emperor who wants to do more for her country than simply marry an arranged suitor as is expected of her. When she meets a foreign visitor to the palace, Prince Hardeep, he convinces Kaiya that she could use her gift of music to help her nation and together they set off in search of the dragon scale lute in the hopes that Kaiya alone can harness its power.

I loved rich blend of Chinese art and culture, together with a heroine who clearly finds her feet and gets stronger in character as the story progresses. The author took great care in their world-building which quickly immerses the reader with imaginative description and well-crafted dialogue.  The political aspect was very engaging and it would be easy to pity Princess Kaiya’s position, as she herself might, but instead she uses it to her advantage when trying to do her best for her country.

The only thing I would say, which is why I couldn’t give it a full five stars, was that there were a lot of characters and I found myself somewhat confused in places at the switching viewpoints and trying to sort out who everyone was and where their allegiances lay.

However, this aside, Songs of Insurrection is a very well-written and enjoyable fantasy and I would love to read book 2 in the series.