Ranger of Kings by C. J. R. Isely

Ranger of Kings (William of Alamore Series Book 1) by [C. J. R. Isely]

Ranger of Kings is the debut novel of C. J. R. Isely and is the first book in the “William of Alamore” series.

About the Book

Will, a common village boy, has always dreamed of becoming a knight. When he is suddenly, and unexpectedly, called to train as a squire in the castle of Alamore, he cannot believe it is real. He faces the challenge with the great determination to succeed, but soon finds out there is more to becoming a knight than he ever imagined.

Even at the beginning level as a squire, Will is suddenly thrust into action, danger, and battles he isn’t ready for but meets with determination and perseverance. He makes friends among the squires and finds that one of his friends has a knack for finding trouble.

Then one night, Will discovers something disturbing about his father, and the more he learns the more danger Will faces. Not only is Will suddenly thrust into a war, but is faced with mysteries about his father, about the Ranger, and about what lies beneath the castle of Alamore.

My Review

C. J. R. Isely is a talented writer. She has woven a tale filled with mystery and intrigue, action, danger, and adventure.

I was drawn into the story from the very first page and stayed up late several nights turning the pages because I just couldn’t put the book down.

C. J. R. Isely created delightful characters, each with his very own personality, character qualities, and unique voice. I found it to be fun to read the interactions between Will and his two closest friends. Their courage was inspiring and their banter made me laugh.

It was also quite clear that C. J. R. Isely possesses a lot of horse knowledge, as horses play a major role in this story as well. Each horse was also unique, and it was clear that C. J. R. knows what it takes to properly care for horses, how to ride horses, and how to train horses.

There were some small technical mistakes scattered throughout the books as far as wording is concerned, which I always find to be a distraction. However, in this book, as I was fully engaged in the action, mystery, and battles, they were more easily overlooked and less of a distraction.

Another thing I really liked about the story is that C. J. R. Isely gave me a satisfying ending. Though Ranger of Kings is the first book in a series, Ms. Isely wrapped up the ending with just enough resolution and a change that gave the story the feel of an ending even though I know there is more to come.

I really enjoyed Ranger of Kings by C. J. R. Isely and highly recommend it to those who enjoy action, adventure, mystery, danger, and fantasy. There are a few profane words within the story, but they are few and far between. There are also some bloody descriptions of those who were in battle, but I didn’t feel that they were gory or overdone. I would recommend this book for YA and adult readers, and, possibly, some middle grade readers.

I look forward to the next book in the “William of Alamore” series.

I give this book 5 stars.

Crystal Shadows: Gripping New Blood by R. J. Parker

Crystal Shadows: Gripping New Blood Kindle Edition

About the Book:

Crystal Shadows: Gripping New Blood by R. J. Parker is a middle grade fantasy story.  Sarah Field lives alone with her father, until she and her friends make a shocking discovery in Sarah’s attic — her grandfather, whom she thought was dead! He reveals an amulet — the Tellum Deos. He wants to know if Sarah can give it life so that they can use it to fight the powers of darkness.

My Review:

R. J. Parker did an excellent job creating interesting middle grade characters. Sarah and her friends are fun to read about, even though sometimes the things they say are quite random and don’t seem to fit what is going on in the story. Their curiosity helps them to discover Sarah’s grandfather, but also gets them into some interesting predicaments. The four friends have a close relationship.

Sarah also has a close relationship with her father, until she and her friends discover her grandfather. This causes her father to come a bit unhinged and creates stress, tension, and conflict between Sarah and her father.

The characters and the story line kept me turning pages. I kept waiting to see what the powers of darkness were going to unleash and what Sarah and her friends might have to fight against.

There were some disappointing things in the book: first, R. J. Parker used a lot of pronouns, especially when characters spoke, and sometimes the pronouns were mixed up or it was confusing as to which character the pronoun was being used for; second, the powers of darkness only unleashed one problem near the end of the book, but Sarah and her friends never used the Tellum Deos against it and the ending didn’t feel complete and didn’t offer a resolution to any part of the story. Therefore, it seems like this may be the first book of a series, though that isn’t mentioned anywhere; and finally, there are one or two characters introduced as “Sarah’s friends” at the end of the book that were never part of the story up until that point.

Despite these disappointments, I must say that I enjoyed the story and it kept me turning pages. I finished this book in just four days. The characters are definitely what kept me turning pages, even though the story line was also intriguing. I don’t think most adults would enjoy this story, but I would highly recommend it for middle grade children and even some YA. I hope that R. J. Parker does write, at least, a sequel to this book. I would like to read more about Sarah and her friends and actually see them use the Tellum Deos against the powers of darkness.

It was a difficult decision for me to come to a star rating for this book. But, based on how well it kept my attention, how quickly I read through it, and how much I liked the characters, I have decided to give it four stars.

 

Special Saturday Post: The Falcon and the Stag by C.J.R. Isley

The Falcon and The Stag: A Tale of Alamore by [C. J. R. Isely]

The Falcon and the Stag by C.J.R. Isley is a short story that introduces her “William of Alamore” series. It is a story of kingdoms and knights, and two brothers, the oldest who had been prepared to take the throne, and the youngest who wanted it.

This short story is filled with tension, suspense, conspiracy, and sibling rivalry. C.J.R. Isley does a fine job introducing the characters and showing their personalities and character, drawing the reader into the story and encouraging them to choose sides.

C.J.R. Isley captures and holds the reader’s attention from the first to last page, writing strong dialogue and tense scenes of confrontation and sword-fighting. C.J.R. even manages to throw in an unexpected twist or two.

This story is acceptable for young adults and adults. It may also be acceptable for middle grade readers, though there is some violence — nothing too graphic.

This short story is well worth the read, but be warned — after reading it, you’ll want to pick up the first book in the series, Ranger of Kings, which is exactly what I plan to do.

I give The Falcon and the Stag by C.J.R. Isley 5 stars.

Lander’s Legacy by C.S. Wachter

Lander's Legacy by C.S. Wachter

When Pop-pop Ian dies, Lander is left alone, not fully understanding the unusual powers he has. He quickly realizes that he is being pursued and he needs to find Castor Elm, the only person Pop-pop said he could trust. To find Castor, Lander has to outsmart his pursuers to travel to Castor’s home.

On his way to Castor’s home, Lander finds friends in a city who help out at a mission. As any normal teen, Lander feels out of place in his unusual clothes and he wants to impress Becky. Becky and one of the other teen boys take Lander shopping. He feels comfortable with these teens and enjoys helping at the mission. He wishes he could stay here indefinitely. However, an unexpected and unfortunate event makes it clear that Lander needs to continue on the quest for which Pop-pop Ian has instructed him.

Upon arriving at Castor’s home, Lander is not welcomed with the open arms he expected. Frustration fills Lander because he has no where else to turn. When he accidentally reveals his ability to cause certain stones to glow, Castor suddenly becomes interested in Lander. When Lander explains what Pop-pop Ian has told him and that Pop-pop is dead, Castor informs his family that Lander will be staying.

“Lander’s Legacy” by C.S. Wachter is the first book in a new series from a writer who has already proven she can deliver good fantasy stories with her 4-book series and sequel, “The Seven Words” series.

Once again, she holds her readers’ attention as she spins a tale of suspense and adventure as Lander must learn more about his special powers. “Lander’s Legacy” is an enjoyable, easy read. Lander and the other teen characters are well written and it’s obvious C.S. Wachter knows some teenagers, as her characters are very much like the teenagers I know.

“Lander’s Legacy” is a coming-of-age fantasy novel that follows Lander on his journey to find his place in this world or maybe in another. It is a story that is fitting for middle grade readers as well as Young Adults and Adults.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fantasy story of suspense and adventure. I look forward to the next book in this series.

A Step Through the Empty by H.E. Salian

A Step Through The Empty (The Vis Remaining Trilogy Book 1) by [H. E. Salian]

A Step Through the Empty by H. E. Salian is a debut novel. It is a fantasy story.

King Brynte has not been king very long and he faces many challenges, one of which is gaining the trust of his people. He is also faced with an arranged marriage he is unsure of.

Princess Istoria leaves her home to marry a king she is certain will make her life miserable, and soon finds herself thrust into a position where she must determine whom she can trust and whom she cannot trust.

In another world, an assassin has no loyalty to his master, which puts his life in danger, and could jeopardize other secrets he keeps.

Also, on earth, someone has sent information to a man who works in cyber security, information that is important for those in another world.

I found A Step Through the Empty a very unique story, in that it is a fantasy story that includes a king and princess in a castle that, at first, seems to be set in medieval times, but quickly proves otherwise as computer type technological devices are used. This led my mind to consider the possibility of “steampunk”. However, that idea was also put to rest as one very interesting character was introduced — a fantastical character. Then there are the different worlds, not to mention the Empty.

The most unique thing I found was how the author incorporated earth and some humans, like me, into the story, and how most of the characters from the other worlds were also normal humans.

Most of the characters in this story are endearing and I found myself rooting for quite a few of them and hoping they would survive until the end of the book. Many of the characters have become favorites, and their relationships with one another varied from delightful, witty, fun, and endearing.

Then there were the few characters I disliked and couldn’t wait to see them get what I thought they deserved.

A Step Through the Empty kept me turning pages from start to finish, and now I cannot wait for the next book in the series. I cannot wait to reconnect with these characters and see what happens to those I have come to dearly love.

This is definitely a book deserving of 5 stars and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy or any great story.

I received an ARC of this story. I was not obligated to write a review, and this review is my honest personal opinion of this book.

A Weight of Reckoning by C.S. Wachter

A Weight of Reckoning: Sequel to The Seven Words by [C. S. Wachter]

A Weight of Reckoning by C.S. Wachter is the sequel to “The Seven Words” series. This series and sequel are a fantasy series that follows the life of Prince Rayne through many difficulties and hardships even as he serves as the Chosen Light Bringer of the One.

A Weight of Reckoning, as all of the books in this series, is very much a good vs. evil story. In A Weight of Reckoning, Rayne must face evil before his long-awaited wedding can take place. The question is, “will he survive this time?”

As in all of “The Seven Words” series, A Weight of Reckoning grabbed my attention right from the start and held my attention until the very end. The characters have become like friends as I have read this series. When you follow a group of characters through five books, if the author has done their job, you feel like you really know these people and they will have become people you care about. That is what C.S. Wachter has accomplished.

A Weight of Reckoning is also full of adventure and suspense, along with a touch of romance. There are unexpected twists that will surprise you. C.S. Wachter even manages to find a way to include some humor and wit, a welcome reprieve from the struggles Prince Rayne endures.

C.S. Wachter has a way of painting pictures with words, so that the worlds in A Weight of Reckoning, and “The Seven Words” series seem real, and the character descriptions bring the characters to life, not just physically, but their personalities are all distinct as well, making them leap off the page.

I have written reviews for the previous books in the series as well. To find them simply click on the “Categories” arrow in the side bar, select “Book Reviews” and scroll until you find them.

If you enjoy Fantasy stories, good vs. evil stories, and stories with adventure and a bit of romance, you’re sure to enjoy A Weight of Reckoning and the entire “Seven Words” series by C.S. Wachter. This was C.S. Wachter’s debut series and I look forward to more to come.

 

Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater

Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater is a very unique story. It is Fantasy. It is a Regency Faerie Tale with a bit of satire. I have never read another book quite like it. This book was released on March 29, 2020 and is Olivia Atwater’s debut novel.

The story’s main character is Dora, who has been cursed by a faerie and cannot feel fear, embarrassment, or even happiness. This condition gets her into trouble more often than not until she meets Lord Elias Wilder an outspoken magician, whom most people detest but still invite him to their elegant parties and balls.

This book is very well written. The characters and plot line are well developed and interesting. The story held my interest from start to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed Dora’s verbal interactions with the other characters, and her interactions with Lord Wilder were unique and delightful.

I fully enjoyed watching Dora discover things about herself that brought her comfort. It was also touching to watch the effect she had upon the other characters throughout the story. The other character’s reactions to Dora evoked many different feelings as I read as well.

The story had some interesting twists and surprises. At times, I found the story reminiscent of a Charles Dickens tale. The story isn’t just an enjoyable, entertaining read. It made me think about people and the way they think, act, react, and treat each other.

After finishing my reading of Half a Soul, I found and read an interview that Ms. Atwater gave to a blogger. In that interview, Ms. Atwater said, “I think a good story either makes you think or else makes you feel. I think a truly fantastic story makes you do both.”

Based on that statement, I have to say that Half a Soul is a truly fantastic story.

This story will be one of my favorites for a long time to come and I look forward to reading more from Olivia Atwater. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good story, as well as to Fantasy fans, Regency fans, and Dickens’ fans. I rarely take time to reread books because there are always so many new books that keep my To Be Read List always growing, but I think that I should like to revisit this book in the future.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

King’s City by Jessica Marinos

   

King’s City is the long-awaited and highly anticipated second book of the “Trimont Trilogy” by Jessica Marinos. I first read the first book of this series, Traiven’s Pass, and wrote a review for it in March of 2019. You can read my review of that book here. I reread Traiven’s Pass before reading King’s City.

This is a debut series for Jessica Marinos and, in my opinion, Jessica is destined to become a great writer. The quality of the writing of both Traiven’s Pass and King’s City is outstanding. The descriptions are rich and the character’s very well developed. In addition, she draws you into the story and keeps you there.

King’s City is the continuing story of the Tavish family who live in Traiven’s Pass and the reign of the Steward King, Lord Breemore, who began his rule when King Cordell vanished twenty-six years ago. Lord Breemore resides in King’s City. Lord Breemore appears to rule with kindness and peace, but rumors of war begin to increase throughout the kingdom.

Lydia Tavish’s father was loyal to King Cordell continued to search for King Cordell throughout the first book of this trilogy. He attempted to turn the people in the kingdom back to the Book of Truth.

As King’s City begins, Lydia is a penniless outcast and is sought after as many in the kingdom seek her punishment for her recent choice. However, Lydia is bold and strong and believes what her father taught her. She faces many challenges and dangers but finds her strength in the truth.

Galen, who left his home in Dresden to participate in a tournament in the King’s City becomes renowned in his sword skills. Then a long kept secret is revealed and it turns Galen’s life upside down. He has much to consider in deciding the course of his life.

King’s City, the second book in the “Trimont Trilogy” by Jessica Marinos was just as good, if not better, than Traiven’s Pass. These two books are part of my “Favorites” list and Jessica is at the top of my list of “Favorite New Authors”. I excitedly await the third and final book of the series.

If you’d like to learn more about Jessica — her life and her writing, I had the honor of interviewing her last month. You can read that interview here.

If you enjoy books that grab you from the start and keep you turning pages; books with rich descriptions, well-developed characters, and a story line filled with tension, shocking surprises, and a bit of romance, you will not want to miss the “Trimont Trilogy” by Jessica Marinos. If you haven’t read Traiven’s Pass, I suggest you get your copy today, and if you have read it, don’t miss “King’s City”.

The Spirit of Things by Ben McQueeney

the spriit of things final .jpg

Ben McQueeney’s debut novel will release on Amazon on April 8th. I have had the pleasure of receiving an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for my honest review.

I have only begun reading more of the Fantasy genre in the past year, but for those of you whose favorite genre is Fantasy, I think you’re going to like “The Spirit of Things”.

“The Spirit of Things” is a unique tale of Fulco, a Hume, living in the Elphen village of Tellusm. He is a young adult who is bullied by the local thug, and who finds it difficult to fit into the Elphen village. He gets into one scrape after another, not all through his own choices.

He feels a bit awkward as he takes an interest in an Elphen girl, but a romance begins to bud between them.

When he attends a sporting event with his brother, an event his mother has tried to keep him from for years, he discovers the power of Sapience. He is fascinated by this power and begins asking questions about it. His brother helps him get a horse and he realizes he has a special way with animals as he makes a special connection with this horse. Could he have Sapience that gives him control over beasts?

Then a stranger comes to town and Fulco’s life begins to change.

Fulco’s story is exciting!

There are also three gods who watch and fight over the land of Tellusm.

Ben McQueeney has created a world that is unusual and fascinating. He has also created some very unique fantastical creatures. His characters are realistic and believable. I found it easy to relate to Fulco, and I believe most readers will find they have something in common with Fulco as well.

“The Spirit of Things” is written for young adults and adults alike. If you enjoy the Fantasy genre or have thought about checking out a Fantasy novel to see why it’s such a popular genre, I recommend you read “The Spirit of Things”. I’m sure you will enjoy it.

“The Spirit of Things” drew me in and kept me turning pages to the very end. The end promises more to come and I eagerly await Ben McQueeney’s next book.

 

The Treasure Map by Tyler Scott Hess

Book Blurb:

Jack is a 10-year-old boy ready for a joyous Christmas vacation, but as punishment for a poor report card, he is tasked with cleaning out his family’s long-forgotten attic. Inside, he finds a chest with a treasure map and a letter that transports him to another time, place, and existence.

Jack finds himself living the life of a young man named Niko, an enemy of the State of Ariel, a martyr of the Faithful, sentenced to die during the Independence Day celebrations. When an earthquake strikes, Niko finds the opportunity to escape, discovers a guide known only as the Elder, and teams up with a group of the Faithful to change history.

My Review:

I agreed to write this honest objective review and received a complimentary pre-release copy to do so. It is the first Tyler Scott Hess book I have read.

The story changes time and place every few chapters, some chapters revealing 10-year-old Jack’s life working on cleaning up the attic while missing out on some of his family’s Christmas activities and being fascinated by the treasure map and letter. Other chapters take us into the time and place of the treasure map and letter where the Faithful are in trouble, in prison. Then an earthquake strikes and Niko finds the opportunity to escape. He discovers a guide known only as the Elder and finds a small group of the Faithful who also escaped during the earthquake. They concoct a plan to change history.

I enjoyed this story. Jack is a delightful, typical 10-year-old boy, and the story of Niko’s struggle is believabe and a little frightening.

The story grabbed my attention from the beginning and kept my attention until the end. Jack learned a lesson and learned more about his family. Tyler Scott Hess did a good job of tying Jack and Niko’s stories together as well.

This would be a great story to read aloud to your children. It’s a good story that is suitable for elementary age children through adult, although there is one murder/death near the end, but it is not dwelt upon and it is not graphic.

I recommend this book to families and to those who enjoy stories that include Christmas. I look forward to reading more of Mr. Hess’s books.