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: 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.

Review: Divulgence (H Narratives #1) by S.J Romero

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Divulgence (H Narratives #1)

by S.J Romero

What if Hell was real? What if it was divided into regions and could be manipulated at the blink of an eye? What if Hell was survival for some and entertainment for others?

Six people wake to find themselves in strange surroundings without food, water, or explanation. Unable to escape, patience is lost and tempers flare as impossible things happen far too often, leading to the only conclusion that makes sense—they must be dead.

H narratives: Divulgence, is the mind-altering epic introduction to an afterlife never imagined, a journey like no other and a disturbing truth—death is not what we thought.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Divulgence (H Narratives #1) on Goodreads


Review

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

Rating: 3.5 stars

Six complete strangers awaken in a bizarre and frightening place, only to be told that not only are they dead but they are in hell. They are all put through terrifying ordeals at the hands of the torturer Sunesis before being told that they must work together to complete missions for Sunesis and journey through hell.

I have mixed feelings about this novel. The first half I did not enjoy at all and struggled to get through it. There was a lot of graphic violence that I questioned the need for. Reading it made me very uncomfortable and I was very tempted to skip pages in places. However, I persevered with it and once the six protagonists had been dispatched into the lands of hell I found myself starting to enjoy the novel. There was still quite a lot of violence but you also learned more about each character and started to see them forming bonds with each other. I liked how each of them was flawed in some way – it made them much more relatable. The banter between them was amusing and provided a lot of much need comic relief to the horrifying situation that they found themselves in.

I have given Divulgence 3.5 stars because whilst I enjoyed the second part of the novel, the first part made for some very uncomfortable reading. That being said this is a very original novel with a different take on what we imagine hell to be like and I would like to find out what happens to Toby and the others.

Review: The Heaviness of Knowing (The Conscious Dreamer Series #1)

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The Heaviness of Knowing (The Conscious Dreamer Series Book #1)

by Sharolyn G Brown

You can’t unknow the truth.

Roxal has spent her life using her Dream Traveler ability in service to Trebor’s gods, The Keepers. Even after she learns they aren’t all powerful like she was taught, she dutifully continues to manipulate an Earth woman named Lauren to do their bidding. Roxal’s content pretending to be a loyal follower, until her mate’s activities with a rebel faction put both of their lives in jeopardy.

Meanwhile on Earth, Lauren is struggling to find balance at work and at home. To make matters worse, she develops an acute case of insomnia which disrupts her life. While trying to cure her condition, Lauren discovers that not only do aliens exist, but that she’s been in contact with one for most of her life. And that’s just for starters.

Now Lauren’s world is turned upside down. And Roxal has to figure out if she can harness the survival instincts which before told her to hide and use it to now fight for her survival.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

The Heaviness of Knowing on Goodreads


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

The Heaviness of Knowing is the first novel in The Conscious Dreamer Series which centres around two main characters. The first, Roxal, is an alien from the planet Trebor who has spent her entire life serving Trebor’s Gods, the Keepers. Roxal is a traveller which means that her task is to connect with a human from Earth and assist her in creating technology that will aid Earth’s development and prevent it befalling the same fate as Trebor. However, Roxal soon learns that everything that she has been brought up to believe is a lie and with her mate, Edo and other resistors, they defy the Keepers and are branded as traitors.

Roxal’s human connection is a girl called Lauren who is under pressure from her Boss to finish the microchip that Roxal has been helping her with in her dreams. Due to their connection, Lauren develops life-threatening insomnia and when seeking help she learns the truth about the company she is working for, her childhood ‘imaginary’ friend Roxy and Trebor’s true intensions towards Earth.

The Heaviness of Knowing is a fantastic science fiction novel. The world-building is excellent, as are the main characters and I struggle to pick a favourite between the two of them. I had wondered if the switching between the two of them might be distracting but it’s certainly not the case at all as the changing perspectives are crucial to the story development and I really enjoyed getting to know the both of them better. There is just the right balance of action and the pace is steady, making this a real page turning. I was disappointed when it end and am really looking forward to reading book 2!

Review: The Least (Zombie Ocean #3)

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The Least (Zombie Ocean #3) by Michael John Grist

The zombie apocalypse like you’ve never seen it before.

When the zombie ocean crushes humanity, ex-Olympic athlete Robert ‘Cerulean’ doesn’t stand a chance.
His spine is broken. His mind is broken. He lives in his mother’s basement playing video games all day and all night.
He will save the world.

‘Born on the 4th of July’ meets the zombie apocalypse, packed with gore, twists and a whole lotta love.

A standalone novel that also continues and expands the story begun in The Last and The Lost, Books 1 and 2 of the Zombie Ocean. Burning questions from The Lost will be answered, like:

– Who took Cerulean?
– Where are they going?
– Why?


Purchase Link: amazon.com

The Least on Goodreads


Review

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

Rating: 4 stars

The Least is the third novel in Michael John Grist’s Zombie Ocean series and tells Robert ‘Cerulean’s’ story; his life before the zombie apocalypse, the aftermath and his journey to find Amo and the other survivors.

After a diving accident leaves him in a wheelchair, Robert has all but given up on life until he meets Amo. Together they help each other heal their mental and physical scars in a virtual world until the zombie apocalypse wipes out most of humanity.  When Robert realises the true nature of the zombie ocean, he starts a journey across America to find Amo and other survivors.

I really enjoyed reading Robert’s story. It fits in well with the zombie ocean universe and provides much anticipated details about Robert’s life before the apocalypse. It also adds a lot to the over-arching story and Robert’s relationships with the other characters, in particular Anna and Amo and I can’t wait to read the next instalment of the series.