Category Archives: Review

99 Days (Red Proxy #2): Review

99 Days (Red Proxy #2)
by Keith Ward
341 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Release date: June 2017Book Reviews - Loved It

Synopsis:

Kertram is a contented man with a simple life. He likes the dangerous, but rewarding work of shepherding baby dragons. He loves his wife. The day his children are born makes him happier than he ever thought he could be.

But life betrays Kertram in a horrifying way when his village is attacked in a raid between warring regions. His wife is murdered and his babies kidnapped. He knows his newborns will be ritually sacrificed on the 99th day of their lives to satisfy the monstrous appetites of others — unless he can get there first.

He’s not alone. Joining him are a powerful witch who questions her powers; a remarkable soldier with a fatal secret; and a mountain guide with a mind so warped he can’t remember his own name.

His quest to save them may cost Kertram his life. But he doesn’t care; he only knows he has to go on, and each sunrise brings his newborns closer to death. Day 99 is coming.

His Wife: Murdered
His Children: Kidnapped
Their Sentence: Ritual Sacrifice in 99 Days
His Mission: Save them
His Chances: Hopeless
His Determination: Unstoppable

The countdown to life and death has begun.

Review:

I’ve put off this review because I just didn’t know if I could do the book justice. Have you ever read a book that you just enjoyed so much it was hard to put words to? That was 99 Days for me. It was the best book I read in 2017 and here I am 3 years later still trying to review it.

The world building of this book is an utterly unique idea. That life, the days and years left to a person can be transferred to another person via a ritual done by someone called a Span Seer.  The Span Seers can not only transfer life they can see the days allotted to a person, thus each newborn’s days are read and entered into a ledger.

This sets up a economy, of sorts, based of life, quality of life and privilege. This economy is accepted by most of the world, even our main character has had some Transfers. However after the kidnapping of his newborns he begins to question the practice and so does the Span Seer Danak who journeys with him to save his children.

The action and twists keep the book a fast read, and it left me thinking for a long time. Few books really get down to the nitty gritty of the meaning and worth of life (Unwind is the other book that comes to mind.)

Bottom Line:

I loved the idea of the world in 99 Days, and it was well done all around. I highly recommend it.

Goodreads / Amazon

“If you live forever, with the only goal to continue living, are you really living at all?”

Angst: Review

Angst
by David J. Pedersen
378 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Humor
Release date: April 5th 2012

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It

Synopsis:

When Angst turned 40, he knew it was over. Angst had longed to be a knight of Unsel, to make his mark in history, to be remembered for heroic deeds and wondrous acts. He grew up knowing he was destined for something great, but now it is too late. Not only is 40 far too old to become a knight, Angst is one of the few able to wield “the magics.” For 2,000 years magic has been outlawed, repressed, even outright destroyed throughout the world of Ehrde.

By law, Angst is reduced to using his great power only to file papers. His marriage is on the rocks, his friends are bored with him, and he hates his job.

The one person that makes him happy is the young Princess Victoria who seems to adore him. Unfortunately, that makes his boss, the Queen, hate him.

Without warning, Unsel is besieged with dangerous monsters – birds with metallic beaks, monkey creatures that can dive through solid ground, mindless horse-eating giants. The world that shunned magic now turns to Angst for help, and he is happy to listen once his back stops hurting.

On the edge of a mid-life crisis, Angst drags his reluctant friends along with him on an adventure into the heart of magic. He’s not sure where they’re going, what they’ll find, or even if they’ll survive. But he knows this is his one chance to be a hero because the only way to fight magic is with magic.

Review:

  • Note I received this book from the author as a gift, because he enjoyed my review of his other book Clod Makes a Friend so much. Which makes me smile every time I think about it. 😊

Ah 40… while it’s not what it used to be, I like to think the hill has moved to 50, but it represents a milestone most of us aren’t looking forward to. In fact…

I TURN 40 THIS FALL! 😲

So I figure it was the perfect time to read this book.

Angst is an unusual hero in an unusual story.  I read quite a bit of fantasy and have never come across anything like it. Angst is like the Dilbert of the fantasy world. Except he is a Dilbert with dreams of being a knight.

Often fantasy stories feature a self-assured hero, or a chosen one, or someone  who is still learning the ropes, pretty much all of these hero-types are given quests that have pretty clear goals. Frodo must take the ring to Mordor. Roland has to reach the Dark Tower.  Matthias needs to protect Redwall. Thomas needs to solve the maze. Alina has to defeat the Darkling. That sort of thing. In Angst David threw all of those norms aside to create a self assured (sometimes) man on a quest to do (something) he doesn’t really know what. The end goal of the quest being somewhat in flux drives his friends nuts. It was a fun twist on the fantasy quest troupe.

The world building is unique too. Unsel is a place both familiar and new to fantasy readers. It has it’s castles, knights, giants, magic etc. But so many new things were added… I wish I could tell you about them all but that would be spoiling it. I want you to go into the story and be as pleasantly surprised as I was at each new element.

I loved this book (though probably not as much as I loved Clod.) As one reviewer on Goodeads put it, “Angst isn’t a breath of fresh air, it’s a whole gust,” Dusty Craine. I absolutely agree.

Bottom Line:

The perfect read for someone just about to turn 40, or who recently turned 40, or just wants to read something with a character going through a mid-life crisis and contemporary fiction isn’t your thing. Angst is a funny and quick witted fantasy romp.

Goodreads / Amazon

Roar: Review

Roar (Stormheart #1)
by Cora Carmack
380 pages
Genre:  Fantasy, Young Adult, Magical Fantasy
Release date: June 13th 2017

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It

Synopsis:

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

Review:

I had to wait for months to get my hands on Roar simply because I wanted the paperback copy. I was seeing this beautiful book EVERYWHERE, and hearing rave reviews about it. Once I got a hold of my copy I was not disappointed.

Roar is a rich fantasy story with great world building. I love being able to sink into the world and feel like I’m living in it while I’m reading.

The elemental magic troupe has been all over in fantasy stories. It’s been imagined and reimagined countless times. The storm magic in Roar manages feels fresh and interesting. Without spoiling it, there are some interesting reveals about the storms that I really didn’t see coming.

Aurora’s journey from protected princess burdened with a B-I-G secret to a woman of her own was really great. It did seem at first that she was going to be the princess who needed saving, the fish out of water who was helpless, I’m so glad it ended up being so much more complicated than that. People are complicated and I’m enjoy it when authors are able to write complicated characters.

Speaking of complicated characters, Cassius. Again, it’s hard to write without spoilers. During the first part of the book I kept rolling my eyes at him, it seemed like he was going to be so pompous, selfish and evil but he ended up with so much more depth to him.

Locke is the character everyone likes to swoon over. I’m not the type to swoon and I did find the romance end of the relationship a little convenient. It seemed to be rushed, an instant romance. But then again this Aurora’s first real relationship, she’s been so sheltered that she doesn’t have any experience. In a way that does make it real, we all probably know a  girl like that who went head over heels for the first guy to give her any attention. This being a YA book I shouldn’t be surprised that the romance is, well immature.

That aside, I loved the story with it’s rich world building, complicated characters and deft plot.

Bottom Line:

There was so much good stuff in this book! I can’t wait to see where this series goes.

Goodreads / Amazon

Tales of the Not Forgotten: Review

Tales of the Not ForgottenTales of the Not Forgotten
by Beth Guckenberger
208 pages
Genre: Christian Nonfiction, Middle Grade
Release date: May 1st 2012

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It

Synopsis:

Follow these real-life stories as they take you on a journey to faraway lands and unknown faces. Travel through their challenges and see the hand of the great Storyweaver writing endings you’d never imagine!

Joel dares to ask for what he can’t have. Seraphina sacrifices what she can’t afford to give. Ibrahim looks for an answer buried out of reach. Christiana, saved by a mission, searches for her own.

These are the tales of the ones the world doesn’t see . . . the tales of the not forgotten.

In this collection of four real-life stories written for preteens, a compelling storyteller paints a picture of God’s dynamic movement in four foreign cultures, inspiring children to trust that God is weaving a story in their lives as well.

This resource will shrink the macro picture down to approachable, individual stories of real children and teach about fundamental survival issues. The stories address some of the challenging questions that kids have and weave God’s promises to orphans into each one.

Review:

This book was assigned reading for one month of my course at KidMin academy, but I wanted to review it here because it was just such a great book. In fact I have only had it since April and already I’ve read it, my mother read it and my Grandmother read it twice.

It’s a very easy read and we all practically sat down and read it in one sitting. Besides that you’ll be sucked into the stories and WANT to finish them.

The stories are engaging, engrossing and well written. Although they tell of hardships and struggles they will just charm your socks off. I fell in love with Joel in the first story (also it got me kinda teary eyed.)  I was heartbroken for Seraphina. I was charmed by Ibrahim.  I was encouraged by Christiana.

These four stories are filled with such hope and faith and love that they are bound to both encourage and challenge you.

Bottom Line:

This book is part of the storyweavers series and I can understand why it’s called that. The stories are artfully crafted and a real treat to read. I highly recommend this book.

Goodreads / Amazon