The Orphan and the Thief

The Orphan and the Thief  by  M. L. LeGette  description:

A middle-grade adventure that will keep you and your kids spellbound.

Toad thought it’d be easy to steal from Mr. Edward P. Owl. Unfortunately for Toad, he isn’t the best of thieves. Caught in the act, he’s in more trouble than ever before. Now to save his hide, Toad must track down five rare potion ingredients for Mr. Owl. Or else.

All Melena Snead wants is her family back, but after the Miggens Street Fire, that isn’t very likely. Orphaned and miserable, forced to work in an apothecary, she’s determined to find Milo, her missing brother. No matter what.

When Melena finds Toad ransacking her apothecary, Toad gets a nasty shock: apothecaries don’t carry Mr. Owl’s ingredients. Luckily, Melena’s willing to help, for a price.

With Melena’s pet Spit-Fire dragon and Toad’s enchanted talking beer mug, they embark on a fantastical journey, traveling the country in search of the potion ingredients. But can they gather all of them in time, what with monsters, pirates, and axe-wielding thieves? And if they do, is there an even greater danger waiting for them at the end?

The Orphan and the Thief   4 STARS

Talk about a jolly good adventure. I loved that while this is a good clean young readers book, LeGette doesn’t shy away from how evil some people can be. The threat Owl presents isn’t some silliness to be laughed off, but a real villain that would strike fear into any other supposed bad guy, such as the Ramblers. But Owl is just the beginning, the real story is the growth that Toad goes through. He goes from being a boy that just wants to impress the Ramblers on what a good thief he is, to being a guy that wants to be someone that Melena can rely on, because she’s the first real friend he’s ever had. The same goes for her, she gets to discover the world and how to be strong in her own way. And it is an amazing world, full of magic, dragons, and pirates. Each ingredient they go for is a new adventure filled with monsters and endless discoveries. Now all I can ask for is more. I want to know where Joe really came from, what’s Izzie’s back story, what is the rest of this incredible world like? A wonderful story altogether.


Crystal Kingdom

BOOK 1: Frostfire  by  Amanda Hocking

BOOK 2: Ice Kissed

Crystal Kingdom   description:

The kingdom she loves has turned against her. Can she save it before it’s too late?

Bryn Aven—unjustly charged with murder and treason—is on the run. The one person who can help is her greatest enemy, the gorgeous and enigmatic Konstantin Black. Konstantin is her only ally against those who have taken over her kingdom and threaten to destroy everything she holds dear. But can she trust him?

As Bryn fights to clear her name, the Kanin rulers’ darkest secrets are coming to light…and now the entire troll world is on the brink of war. Will it tear Bryn from Ridley Dresden, the only guy she’s ever loved? And can she join forces with Finn Holms and the Trylle kingdom? Nothing is as it seems, but one thing is certain: an epic battle is under way—and when it’s over, nothing will ever be the same…

BOOK 3: Crystal Kingdom  4 STARS

Hocking definitely knows how to end a trilogy. I was very excited when we got to see the other tribes more. It’s the first time really going to the Omte tribe, and they’re definitely a different sort, but I was happy getting to see the Trylle and Vittra more, and knowing how the characters we came to know in the Trylle series are doing now. There was a fair amount of surprises, and it was interesting to see how they came to really knowing the truth of the plots that had been against the Kanin kingdom this whole time. The only thing that bothered me was Bryn. She’s intelligent and well trained in defending herself, and has now gone through so much, but obviously she was never really a soldier so I get her not exactly having been used to dealing with the things that were coming about in having to bring down Mina. Yet, even as no one would want war, and no one would want to hurt people who are simply being manipulated, I also think Bryn was just a bit too naive about a lot of things. As well as being very reactive, constantly trying to go on what would’ve amounted to suicide missions, which repeatedly led to Konstantine having to talk her down. That part got a bit old at times, but the rest of it was really well done. The war and dealing with those just trying to serve their kingdom, and those that are simply dealing with greed, and sadly the innocents who are caught in the crossfire. She didn’t wash over the bad side, and it made for a heart wrenching but realistic and worthy ending to the story.

Steven Drake has been INTERVIEWED!!!

  1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook? 

My name is Steven Drake. I have a free blog, where I post short articles on whatever catches my interest. I don’t post as much as I used to since I spend most of my time on my book series, but I enjoy a change of pace now and then. I do not have a Facebook Page but my book series has one. It’s not very popular yet, but I hope that changes eventually. No twitter. With my writing style, there’s not much worthwhile I can say in fewer than 140 characters.

  1. Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing. 

I work for a small business that sells remanufactured printer cartridges, essential oils, microroast coffee, and a few other wildly unrelated things. My employers have several business ventures and I run their computers, help with spreadsheets, make deliveries, basically whatever needs doing. They tolerate my eccentric nature and have inspired me with their entrepreneurial spirit.

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published. 

I actually started with my blog, which started as mostly something for my friends and family to read. I wrote a couple of short stories which I got a lot of positive feedback on and decided to try writing a fantasy novel. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing. I’ve now written the first four installments, so I’m still early in my writing career. I’m always eager for any feedback that will help me improve as a writer.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc. 

J.R.R. Tolkien is easily the single greatest influence on my writing. That’s a pretty standard answer among fantasy authors I imagine. I must have read those a half dozen times as a teen.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I’m working on Book 5 of the Demon’s Blade saga. Hope to release that sometime in 2018. I’ve always got a couple possible blog entries bouncing around in my head. When those will ripen, I couldn’t say. Beyond the Demon’s Blade saga, I have the concept idea for a YA series, but that one will be a while away.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I do some outlining, but it’s all in my head. I don’t write it down or anything. I know more or less how I want the story to go

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I think the strongest aspect of my writing is my characters. I really take a lot of care as I write to put myself in the mind of each character. When I’m going through doing revisions, I’m constantly asking myself whether the characters thoughts, words, and actions are the best reflection of the person I consider them to be. In my mind, they’re all real people, and I care about them. I also have watched a lot of movies, television, video games, and anime that are centered on combat, whether it’s in space with lasers and giant mechs or in some medieval fantasy setting with demons, monsters, swords, and magic. I’ve seen so many different kinds of fights between characters with so many different abilities, I’m usually able to make my battles and action scenes more interesting than clanging swords and throwing fireballs.

My greatest weakness is probably my inexperience and lack of formal education in the arts. I’m sure anyone who’s an experienced professional writer could point out some amateurish mistakes I’m making. I hope eventually some of them will leave reviews or contact me so I can improve my style. I’m sure my grammar isn’t always perfect and my sentence structure could improve a lot. Hopefully that will come with time and practice.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share? 

I’m woefully awful at marketing. I suffer from a few disorders, most notably Asperger’s, that make socialization tiring and difficult. I don’t do it very much or very well. I’m terrible at any form of social networking and largely clueless when it comes to forming relationships with actual flesh and blood human beings. So marketing is a challenge, and usually comes down to budget. There’s very little I’m comfortable or skilled enough to do on my own, so I pay for advertising when I can. I hired a publicity firm for the release of Fallen Star, and it’s produced some good marketing opportunities. If I can afford it in the future, I’ll do more.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Ha, I feel like I should be the one asking. Really, I don’t have enough experience myself to give any advice. I’ve still got a long way to go.


Seahaven: an Underwater Fantasy Adventure

Seahaven  by  Raymond Cain   description:

He’s reckless, impulsive, and barely eighteen, but Flynn Arcturus is the best damn pilot on the ocean floor. In his short lifetime, he’s dealt with angry sea dragons and seductive mermaids, but nothing could have prepared him for the death of his parents.

Flynn’s parents aren’t the first to die under mysterious circumstances. Many residents of Seahaven, the domed underwater city where he lives, are getting killed by seemingly random acts of misfortune. When he investigates, he discovers an ancient threat, imprisoned for centuries, once again endangers Seahaven.

Equipped with superb piloting skills and an extraordinary ship built by his genius brother, Flynn may be the only one who can save Seahaven. But when he discovers what he’s up against, he realizes he’s out of his depth.

BOOK 1: Seahaven  3 STARS

I’m not sure I should even give it 3 STARS, but the writing was well done and the idea was an interesting one. An underwater city that apparently has no idea about the world above, though evidence of wrecked ships and other bits show that it’s obviously taking place in our world. It seems they’ve lost a lot of their history and perhaps that’s why they don’t know how they ended up where they are. It’s an interesting mix of magic and advanced technology that allow them to live and function in their city, and yet oddly they’re not allowed to go beyond what is deemed the Safe Zone. From the beginning you get this hint at mystery and things that Flynn is trying to understand. Flynn being the main character is the focus of the story even though it’s in 3rd person. However, while he starts out as a hero type, saving a whale from bullies hurting it, and even feeling sorry for a mermaid who he believes may have gotten hurt while he was chasing it trying to get answers about his family, he quickly goes down hill. Yes he gets bullied, but he also does a lot to antagonize the bullies himself. More so, he can be just as cruel. He basically attempts to murder a water golem because it suits his own needs. And at first it may seem like water golems are nothing but magic used to make water beings to carry out undesirable tasks, it becomes obvious they’re more than that. Any being that can refuse to do what a person asks, and fight them off while trying to protect themselves, and screams (albeit silently) in pain is clearly not just some mindless drone but something that if killed should count as murder. Even though clearly none of the people there seem to care too much for them. Worse still, was the mention of stuffed merfolk on display, and those are definitely beings on the level with humans, and while any stuffed creature is creepy, that is downright traumatizing to think of. Plus while at first it seems he wants to go to what equates to a military academy to honor his parents, the thoughtful and loving act gets destroyed by his further adding that he really just wants to go to college in order to get a ring that’ll allow him into bars because he really wants to be able to get drunk like the guys he sees in them. So much of what started out to be a decent hero character becomes as unlikeable as everyone else in this book. He isn’t even set up to be a good anti-hero. So much of this book reads like a fun adventure for young readers, but then there’s parts that seem out of place and a bit too mature for such. Altogether, while it wasn’t horrible, it definitely had its issues that makes it hard to really care about what happens next.

The Last Days of Lady Cordelia

The Last Days of Lady Cordelia  by  Kyle Robert Schultz  description:

Lady Cordelia Beaumont is dying.

That’s what her mysterious nurse tells her, at least. Even worse, her magic powers have abandoned her, her friends are missing, and her whole world has completely changed. Everyone around her is insisting that magic and fairy tales aren’t real. Even the name of her city is different. She’s not in Talesend any more—she’s in a place called London.

Cordelia is determined to return to her own reality, but dark forces are working against her. An old friend may be able to help—but he doesn’t remember who she is.

Who are the Neverwolves? What is the secret of the Shadow Parallel? And how can Cordelia use magic to escape from a world where magic doesn’t exist?

BOOK 1: The Last Days of Lady Cordelia   4 STARS

Honestly this shouldn’t really be considered a series all on its’ own. It’s really just part of the regular Beaumont and Beasley series, like maybe BOOK 2.5, because it seems to pick up where The Tomb of the Sea Witch left off. Although it is taking place in a sort of other world, it wouldn’t really make sense without reading the other 2 books. However, it is a rather short story, but an interesting one that does promise a more intricate plot later on. I really loved the idea of the Neverwolves, and how this isn’t just some throwaway short story that can be easily done without. It’s a really good tale, and one that didn’t need to be a full book, but definitely makes me want more. The only thing is that it did need better editing. There were typos that could’ve been easily fixed with another read through. Regardless, worth the read and can’t wait for the next one.

Lauren’s Barbarian

While this is a spin-off series of The Ice Planet Barbarians, it’s still rather tied to the series and I disagree that it can stand alone. At the very least you should read the first book of IPB.

Lauren’s Barbarian  by  Ruby Dixon  description:

A lush, tropical island on an icy planet makes no sense.

Then again, not much makes sense anymore after waking up and finding myself not in bed but on a strange world populated by aliens. Since that moment, I’ve learned that nothing is normal anymore and I’ve got to roll with the punches. I can handle this, though. I’m strong and capable.

So… washed up on a tropical island? Got it handled.
Separated from the others in my group? Handled.
Stranded alone with a brutal but delicious alien man that can’t speak English but has great…ahem…body language? Yup, handled.

Add in the fact that my cootie – a symbiont I need to survive – has chosen my big, hulking alien friend as my fated mate? Let’s just say that the situation isn’t the only thing that’s going to be handled.

But it isn’t long before I learn that the tropical island paradise is a death trap and we’re all in grave danger, aliens and humans alike. To survive this, I’ll need my tempting guy to give me a hand with the situation…good thing he’s got four of them.

BOOK 1: Lauren’s Barbarian   4 STARS

This book starts when they’re finally letting the captives out of the pods, and how they all reacted, and what exactly happened while Taushen and Brooke were away. First off, I’m so glad we finally discovered the secret of the island Josey saw way out at sea. It also does tie into events that happened earlier in the IPB series, and so it was nice that even as it’s breaking off into a rather new story line, it’s still staying consistent with the previous books of this world. Though at first I was a little miffed that we finally find the 4 armed natives that was hinted at previously in the carvings of Croatoan, and it turns out they also are blue with tails and horns, and also calling themselves Sakh. But honestly it was rather clever of Dixon to think about the different species mixing together, and who knows how other Sakh ended up on the island, but it’s not really that far-fetched. Once I realized that it made me like it all the more. And again we’re dealing with a human and alien overcoming a language barrier, and having to work together to save the tribe. It was developed nicely, and of course it sets up for so many more stories with the new Icehome tribe, and learning how they’re going to come together and survive this new world they’ve all suddenly been tossed on. Lauren is likeable and practical. She’s a little unsure of resonance at first but she doesn’t put up a big fight with it, which was nice to be able to have someone just happy to have a man that’s completely devoted to them. The set up of the island and the tribes was interesting, and of course leaves me wondering about the mysterious 4th tribe that no one meets. But altogether it was a fun addition to the series whether Dixon wants to call in the same series or not.

The Tomb of the Sea Witch

BOOK 1: The Beast of Talesend  by  Kyle Robert Shultz

The Tomb of the Sea Witch   description:

Private detective Nick Beasley used to be a debunker of magic–and a human being. Then he found out magic is real. The hard way. Now he’s on the run from a powerful council of enchanters who want him dead, along with his little brother Crispin and the renegade enchantress Lady Cordelia Beaumont.

So when Cordelia suggests going undercover at a stronghold of the Council’s power–the Warrengate Academy of Advanced Magic–Nick isn’t exactly thrilled with the idea. Cordelia insists that the school may hold the key to Nick regaining his humanity: an ancient spell created by the Sea Witch from the tale of the Little Mermaid.

But the mission proves to be more complicated than Beaumont and Beasley had expected. An ancient threat is rising from the deep, bringing an army of the dead along with it. Shocking revelations send Nick, Cordelia, and Crispin on a harrowing journey under the sea.

The Sea Witch is not quite as dead as everyone believes…and her secrets will change everything.

BOOK 2: The Tomb of the Sea Witch   5 STARS

At this point I just need Shultz to go back and write a book for every fairy tale, and the truth of how it all actually went down, because his versions seem far better than the way we’ve been told them. Now if you liked the first book even just a little bit, you definitely have to read this one. We’re really delving into the world of magic, and all the beings that have been in hiding in the Afterlands. I rather liked that they ended up at a school of magic (not for villains but anti-heroes), because it was an instant view into everything that’s been hidden from the rest of the world, and a look at their history and how they interact with others. More so, Nick, Crispin, and Cordelia felt more balanced in this book. They’re more of a team, and the humor flows really well in contrast to all the insanity that’s going on around them. Plus it’s just adorable how every animal Crispin comes across loves him, which is understandable considering how much he cares for every new thing he finds. Yet, it’s not just them that you love, it’s all the new characters being added and really filling out the story and giving us an exciting plot on their journey to uncurse Nick. I particularly liked the class of Mythfits, and even the show of their own fear of having to survive without magic, and why they’re so terrified of mermaids. There’s endless reasons to enjoy this story, and the world that’s being created here, you can’t help but dive right in. I only hope the next book comes out quickly, especially with those interesting tidbits Shultz left at the end.


Barbarian’s Rescue

Due to the number of books in this series I’m just going to add the link to the list of books I’ve reviewed by Ruby Dixon.

Barbarian’s Rescue  by  Ruby Dixon  description:

Bad day? Try mine on for size.
Rogue slavers have landed on the ice planet and captured the tribe. The only ones not snatched? Me, a walking human motormouth with no skill except that of incoherent babbling, and Warrek, who’s as silent as he is attractive. Two more unlikely people have never been paired together.
And now we’re supposed to form a rescue team.

Saving the others is either going to bring us closer together – or drive us completely apart. I’m pretty sure the feelings I’m having for my alien companion are as unrequited as they are inappropriate, but since we aren’t going to make it out alive, what harm is one teeny, tiny kiss?
Who knew that one kiss could change everything?

BOOK 15: Barbarian’s Rescue   5 STARS

There are so many reasons to love this book. I love Summer, and her inability to shut up and her need to fill the silence makes her a rather amusing character, but she isn’t just some silly girl. With the need to rescue her new tribe, it’s her ability to strategize and think of every angle that ends up saving the day. Yes, she needs Warrec and he’s definitely no slouch in the saving-the-day department, but I love that she’s not just some helpless female. She plays the biggest role in all of it, and the twist near the end in their relationship (you’ll know what I’m talking about) was hilariously perfect. Got to love a woman that knows what she wants and goes for it. Lets not forget how sweet and good Warrec is, and bless his heart for being so quiet he struggles to know what’s the right thing to say or how to express himself. He’s a good balance for Summer, and I do like that it’s delving more into the worry and possibility of resonating with someone other than the one you actually love. While in some ways I fear that ever happening, it is a possibility in this world, and I like that it’s not something the characters are just ignoring or willing to just say the khui will decide like the Sa-Khui tend to be willing to do. Though in past books it shows not all of them were so willing to go along with such either.

Spoiler Alert: While it’s not a real complaint, since it wasn’t enough to knock it from 5 stars, it does kind of bother me that in those crates while all the men were aliens all the women were human. I understand obviously for the readers a human woman may be easier to relate too, but I enjoyed the books about Farli and Asha as much as I did about any of the humans, and so it would’ve been nice to throw in perhaps an alien woman too just considering that this is a huge galaxy and if they’re trading in alien men why wouldn’t they trade in alien women. Or perhaps even have thrown in a human man. Something to kind of mix things up a bit more. Once again it wasn’t that big of a deal, and I’m sure I’ll love all the books to come dealing with these new comers, but it’s just a thought.

The Beast of Talesend

The Beast of Talesend  by  Kyle Robert Shultz  description:

Private eye Nick Beasley lives in a world where fairy tales ended a long time ago – where zeppelins now soar the skies instead of dragons, and where the first automobiles have taken the place of flying carpets. He’s made a name for himself across the Afterlands by debunking fake magicians and exposing fraudulent monsters. This is the modern age, after all. Magic and monsters are long gone.

At least, that’s what Nick believes. Until he gets magically transformed into a monster, that is.

The only person who may be able to help Nick is Lady Cordelia Beaumont, one of the last enchantresses in the Afterlands. But in order for her to cure him, they’ll have to retrieve a powerful artifact from a ruthless crime lord – who is also Cordelia’s father.

The fate of the Afterlands lies in the hands of a runaway enchantress and a monstrous ex-detective. What could possibly go wrong?

BOOK 1: The Beast of Talesend  4 STARS

This is like a hard boiled detective got tossed into the darkest and bloodest of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, then made it darker and more horrifying, and then someone decided it should be a comedy. Surprisingly it works. Honestly the twists Shultz has taken on the fairy tales was rather surprising and far different than anything I’ve read before, and I’ve read my fair share of retellings. I would love it if he would go back and write books on the stories they talk about in here as their history. Because while this is obviously a Beauty and the Beast retelling, since it’s a land of fairy tales, they’re all mixed in in varying ways, and the truth about Snow White honestly made a lot more sense than a lot of the other reasons for why the step mom would want her heart. Like I said, it’s dark, but the humor brought to it by the characters going through this, and Nick and Cordelia’s banter help really lighten it over all, even while they’re fighting evil and saving the world from darkness and destruction. Though it did start out a bit overly goofy in the beginning, once you really get into it, the tale does find a good balance and you get taken on quite an adventure. I even rather enjoyed Crispin’s involvement, as Nick’s little brother, there’s a lot going on there that I’d love to see developed and to find out more about their past. But it was the last line of this book that sealed the deal on me snatching up the next as soon as I can. I don’t want to spoil it, but I liked how Shultz got there and then left you hanging with that OMG moment. There’s just so many ways this series can go from here, and I look forward to the journey ahead.

Bride of the Dragons

Bride of the Dragons  by  Selina Coffey  description:

Elokon and Siron have yet to find a mate.
Elokon became the alpha of his tribe three months ago, and since then, the human towns nearby have sent a dozen women in tribute, and even the women of nearby dragon tribes have sought them out. Elokon’s tribe is powerful and any dragon would be pleased to bear a child of his bloodline.

But neither he nor Siron has seen a single woman that awakens the mating instinct. At long last, the High Dragon has passed down an edict: find a mate, or Elokon will be stripped of his power and banished. There is no place in the Dragonlands for an alpha who will not carry on the old bloodlines.

As the third daughter of an impoverished Earl, Adelina has no dowry and no prospects.
Desperate not to become a priestess, she makes a plan: when the High Dragon’s court comes for their historic meeting with the human king, she will be so alluring that she can steal the heart of one of the richest noblemen at court. She has worked late into the night, sewing herself a dress that will catch anyone’s eye.

During the festivities, she knows she can tempt someone into an indiscretion…
But much to her shock, that someone isn’t human. Furthermore, it’s not one someone, but two. And now that they’ve found their mate, Elokon and Siron aren’t planning to let her go.

Bride of the Dragons   3 STARS

It was like Coffey wasn’t sure if she was writing a novel or a short story. This is more than just a fluff story about Elokon, Siron, and Adelina, but even with a whole world of dragons, Naga, and a war brewing between the 2, this story was very underdeveloped. Everything was rushed and just happened in the style that short stories like these do, but for how much you invest into the story and all that’s going on it just ends up leaving you wanting more, and not in a good way. With the 3 you get them meeting, marrying, and Adelina having a baby before you’re more than a few chapters in. While I get the rush of the marriage due to Adelina’s situation and the dragons traditions, but afterwards it would’ve been nice to see how they got to actually know each other, and Adelina learning how to fit in with the dragons once she’s in their kingdom. Even the war was rushed, regardless of what a formidable foe the Naga were built up as. She had this whole world that we’re introduced too, but we never really see the full breadth of it. Honestly this is the sort of story that could go on into a series, which would be helpful to then see where this all leads too, not just with these characters, but other dragons and dragonflights. If so I’d definitely be willing to check it out.

Also I hate it when the covers don’t even try to represent the characters. Not that that affected this review, it’s just a side note.