Category Archives: Adventure

Blog Tour: The Immortal Game by Talia Rothschild & A.C. Harvey



The Immortal Game
Talia Rothschild & A.C. Harvey
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 25th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

An exiled goddess goes on a quest to clear her name and save Mount Olympus in Talia Rothschild & A C Harvey’s action-packed young adult debut, The Immortal Game!

Galene, daughter of Poseidon, desperately wants to earn her place among the gods. But when a violent attack leaves Mount Olympus in chaos and ruins, she is accused of the crime. Banished from Olympus, Galene sets out to prove her innocence and discovers a more deadly plot—one that threatens even the oldest of Immortals.

Fortunately, she has allies who willingly join her in exile:

A lifelong friend who commands the wind.
A defiant warrior with deadly skill.
A fire-wielder with a hero’s heart.
A mastermind who plays life like a game.

All-out war is knocking at the gates. Galene and her friends are the only ones who can tip the scales toward justice, but their choices could save Olympus from total annihilation, or be the doom of them all.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

I’m not actually a fan of Greek mythology so I don’t read very much of books related to it. However, I did have a lot of fun with the Percy Jackson series and The Immortal Game sounds a bit more like the series in that protagonist plus friends are going on an adventurous quest which I thought could be fun; it did not disappoint.

The novel opens with Galene, main protagonist, about to face her trial to earn her place among the gods. It’s a pretty exciting start to the novel with more exciting action to come in the second half of the story. I must admit I felt that it dragged a bit during the actual quest journey but that may also be because of the love triangle. This is my pet peeve so unfortunately, that’s taken off 1 star but I have to confess that it could’ve been worse. The fact that I finished reading this novel does mean that the love triangle is only just slightly annoying; just have to persevere ’til just after halfway and it gets better.

There are 4 POVs in this novel but there are 5 in the quest… that in itself is a bit too cluey! I don’t know if it was meant to be a twist but it was definitely not at all surprising. While I do like all characters especially the girls as they appear to have grown the most in this story, I think we could do with 1 or 2 less POVs. The girls, Galene & her BFF, Iyana, grew stronger & stronger throughout and in the end, truly came into themselves which I really loved to see in my female protagonists.

Overall, I enjoyed The Immortal Game especially the latter half which is love-triangle-less and action-packed. It’s an easy read to relax & unwind with.

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY (INT)

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a print copy of this book (ends Jun-03)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the authors

Author Bio:

Talia Rothschild, Italian American, is passionate about stories in many forms—music, dance, photography, film and, of course, great novels. She believes in thick hot chocolate and creamer in your tea. When she’s not happily writing, she’s mothering the sweetest baby girl and making memories with her husband. Her debut book The Immortal Game, coauthored with A. C. Harvey, hits the shelves May 2021.

Ashleigh Harvey is teaching high school physics and bringing her writing dreams to life. English-born and world-traveled, she loves filling her life with new adventures, such as visiting a new country or exploring the Wild West with her husband. She also finds escape in movies, music, literature, and yearly comic conventions. The Immortal Game is her debut novel, created alongside Talia Rothschild, her close friend.

Hosted by:
XBTBanner1

 

Review: Lightning Tracks by A. A. Kinsela

Lightning Tracks (Song Gate #1) by A.A. Kinsela

The rider angled the blade so Nick could see the oily residue on the metal.

‘All that’s needed to kill you, boy, is a single cut. A scratch. The poison will do the rest.’ His mask shifted, and Nick could’ve sworn he was smiling. ‘But that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?’

Nick gulped. ‘Why are you doing this?’

The rider leaned closer and hissed, ‘Because you exist.’

Nick isn’t a warrior. He knows some basic karate, but that’s it.

So when an assassin turns up to settle a blood debt, Nick narrowly escapes with his life. In his haste, he unwittingly flees to Korelios, a place he thought existed only in his eccentric aunt’s ancient legends.

All too soon, he finds himself caught in the middle of a war, and he must make an impossible choice: do his duty or follow his heart.

His choice will decide the fate of an entire civilisation.

Published 1 November 2018 |  Publisher: Plainspeak Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$4.99 (ebook) 

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N Nook | iBooks  |  kobo  

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I was approached by the author with a review request and I was very intrigued by the (loose) premise: “What if the Roman Empire had made it all the way to Australia?” The book basically is set in the present times, as such, if the Roman Empire made it to Australia. Such a fascinating proposition! What do you think Australia would be like if the Roman Empire conquered Australia at the height of its power?

Lightning Tracks also contained one of my favourite tropes, world within a world; specifically a gateway from our present-times Australia to another world (albeit hidden) where Empires rule over the world. There isn’t a Roman Empire as such, in fact, all the empires and/or races in the story are made up though loosely based on Romans, Greek, etc. I thought there was also an Indigenous spin but it appears I was wrong (see tomorrow’s Q&A post with the author).

The novel opens with Nick getting into trouble at school on his sixteenth birthday. When he got home that day, he found himself fighting for his life and having to flee, found himself in a part of Australia he didn’t know existed but yet some things felt familiar. A very exciting start to the story, for sure! Nick has to quickly find out all he can about this world and his position in it as there is a war brewing; hostilities escalating on both sides and atrocities abound.

There is actually a second perspective to this story, Cal, a highlander boy kidnapped to be a soldier of the Empire. He has been very obedient so far (even in committing a most atrocious act) due to the threat to his family’s lives but event transpired which had him running for his life. For both Cal & Nick, the answer lies in the city Auremos, the rebellion centre of strength.

I liked both characters & perspectives. Nick, a troublesome teen, is not actually aggressive but is rather thoughtful & kind. He’s got a temper which he has to learn to control. Cal, on the other hand, has been trained to be calculated in his moves and he kicks ass!

Lightning Tracks takes the readers on an adventure in Australia’s hidden depth. However, it reads more like a fantasy novel with a couple jarring mentions of Australia. With betrayals, tragedies, secrets, and battles, Lightning Tracks is an exciting & fascinating read for all teens especially for those who feel they are different (like Nick).

Thanks to the author, A.A. Kinsella, for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 

About the author

A. A. Kinsela is a pseudonym for Alethea Kinsela

I’m a writer/teacher/archaeologist/jack-of-all-trades. My latest book Lightning Tracks is a dark YA alternative history/fantasy novel set in Australia. You can read an extract on my website. I’ve also got a little educational textbook about Australian archaeology, Ancient Australia Unearthed.

I’m halfway through a Creative Writing PhD, and I sometimes teach in the School of Education at La Trobe University and host writing and archaeology workshops for kids and teachers.

Find Thea on:  goodreads  |  twitter   |  instagram

Review: Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) by Jessica Townsend

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Born on an unlucky day, she is blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks – and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on Eventide.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s there that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organisation: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart. Except for Morrigan, who doesn’t seem to have any special talent at all.

To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

My Blurb (5 stars)

I bought this book as a gift for my 8yo. I don’t particularly know what an advance reader is for his age but he’s in the top reading group in his class so I thought this might be readable for him. Nevertheless, he was intimidated by all the words and NO illustrations which makes it a monster of a book for him. I wanted to read it too so we read it together aloud. Honestly, I would probably inhale this book in a single sitting (or two) because it was really so much fun! A light-hearted read filled with incredible characters and magical world, Nevermoor is an absolute gem of a book.

I love that nothing is as it seems in Nevermoor just like there is always 2 sides to every story. And there is all sorts of creatures too; a talking giant cat, a vampire, a dwarf, zombies, dragons, unicorns… you name it! The funny bits and the magic especially excite us. Nevermoor is the bright star at the end of our day.

We took the whole of February to read this aloud. He has to read 4-5 pages per night and I read 20ish… My voicebox is feeling a little overused atm. It has been a pretty good month though because the promise of reading this book helps him get ready for bed without too much nagging/shouting from me! That’s a smasher of a praise for this book, I tell you. It’s been amazing and now I’ve got to find another with, hopefully, the same impact on him.

He says: (4.5/5 stars)

The book is actually pretty good. I rate 4 and a half at the because at the end its sort of scary. But the rest of the book is awesome my favourite character is Fenestra and my least favourite character is Ezra squall. My favourite place in Nevermore is the Gossamer Line because you can travel to a different place and you are sort of like a ghost.

About the author

JESSICA TOWNSEND lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. She was a copywriter for eight years, and was once the editor of a children’s wildlife magazine for Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow is her first novel.

Find her on: goodreads  |  twitter  | instagram

 

Review: Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster

Esme’s Wish (Esme Series #1) by Elizabeth Foster

This was her last chance.
Her hand twisted high in the air.

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the actions of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

My Blurb (4 stars)

I do love stories which takes us from our mundane world into another magical one. Doesn’t it just give us hope that maybe one day it’ll happen to li’l normal me? lol

Esme’s Wish is one such story. Esme herself grew up on an island where everybody knows everyone. In the opening scene, she’s attending a wedding… her father’s. Of course, she couldn’t accept this and made her objection known (wowser! It took some guts to stand up in front of everyone you know!). Unfortunately, she wasn’t taken seriously… Still, this image is totally imprinted in my mind!

Esme finally decided to take matters into her own hand and to investigate her mother’s disappearance especially after some strange things were happening to her. In following her mother’s footsteps, she suddenly found herself somewhere beyond this world. A world where magic is strong though it appears to be faltering. A world where her mother has been and disappeared into. The more she finds out about her mother, the more determined she is to find her & fix things.

I have really enjoyed the reading of Esme’s Wish. I must admit it may not be to everyone’s cup of tea as the language is quite flowery & descriptive but I did find it mesmerisingly magical. The magic system is very interesting though not quite yet fleshed out (I am looking forward to book 2!) so this book is very much a world-building one. And what a beaut! It’s just like Venice (canals etc) with hints of Greek gods and magical creatures (dragons and sirens). Yep, if you like your world to be filled with magic, I’d highly recommend Esme’s Wish.

I won this book in a giveaway via another book blog; review is my own honest thought.

About the author

Elizabeth Foster read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago, when reading to her own kids reminded her of how much she missed getting lost in other worlds. Once she started writing, she never looked back. She’s at her happiest when immersed in stories, plotting new conflicts and adventures for her characters. Elizabeth lives in Sydney, where she can be found scribbling in cafés, indulging her love of both words and coffee.

Find Elizabeth on: goodreads  |  website  | twitter  |  facebook  | instagram  | pinterest

Come back tomorrow for Q&A with Elizabeth! 😀

Review: Draekora by Lynette Noni

Draekora (The Medoran Chronicles #3) by Lynette Noni

“I swear by the stars that you and the others slain tonight will be the first of many. Of that you have my word.”

With Aven Dalmarta now hiding in the shadows of Meya, Alex is desperate to save Jordan and keep the Rebel Prince from taking more lives.

Training day and night to master the enhanced immortal blood in her veins, Alex undertakes a dangerous Meyarin warrior trial that separates her from those she loves and leaves her stranded in a place where nothing is as it should be.

As friends become enemies and enemies become friends, Alex must decide who to trust as powerful new allies—and adversaries—push her towards a future of either light… or darkness.

One way or another, the world will change…

My Blurb

The future was a terrifying thing… But she did have a choice. 

Woah, a fantastic installment of The Medoran Chronicles especially since it’s got one of my fave bits in books (possible (view spoiler) – I won’t specify though it probably won’t be hard to find, I’m sure someone will have mentioned it somewhere). I’m just going to state some points of what I love in this book:

💗 New Mayeran character (a real toughie!)
💗 Different perspectives to some familiar characters
💗 Alex consistently being funny, kind, and generous
💗 Oh, that heartache!!!
💗 A very good conclusion to that problem from book 2

I don’t want to give anything away so this is oh so very vague. Despite the missing ‘romance’, Draekora will not disappoint you because all of the above points. It has fantastic setting with some literally awesome characters (*wink wink*) and great plotting. The best book in the series yet! I cannot wait for Graevale! *Is it February yet?*

About the author

Lynette Noni grew up on a farm in outback Australia until she moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast and swapped her mud-stained boots for sand-splashed flip-flops. She has always been an avid reader and most of her childhood was spent lost in daydreams of far-off places and magical worlds. She was devastated when her Hogwarts letter didn’t arrive, but she consoled herself by looking inside every wardrobe she could find, and she’s still determined to find her way to Narnia one day. While waiting for that to happen, she creates her own fantasy worlds and enjoys spending time with the characters she meets along the way.

Find her on: goodreads  |  website  | twitter  | facebook  |  instagram

 

Review: The Silent Invasion by James Bradley

The Silent Invasion (The Change #1) by James Bradley

The Earth is dying.

Plants, animals and humans are being infected by spores from space and becoming part of a vast alien intelligence.

When 16-year-old Callie discovers her little sister Gracie is Changing, she flees with Gracie to the Zone to escape termination by the ruthless officers of quarantine.

What Callie finds in the Zone will alter her forever and send her on a journey to the stars, and beyond.

The first book in an heart-stopping trilogy from award-winning author James Bradley.

My Blurb

There aren’t many post-apocalyptic / dystopian novels set in Australia. I can think of 2 others besides this one and only this one is YA. That is one of the main reason I was interested in this book.

We were told that people disappear. They disappear because they’re sick and will have to be quarantined. Callie’s dad ‘disappeared’ a long time ago but now her little sister, Gracie, seems to be falling sick. Gracie is basically the only family Callie has left and she wasn’t going to let Gracie go just like that despite what everyone says and so began her journey to find sanctuary for them both.

Callie is one amazing character. She was so strong and courageous yet very gentle with Gracie. The landscape was frightening as people are losing hopes and yet, there are still pockets of humanity. I’m still conflicted about the love interest though despite liking Matt and enjoying the romance, I think this story can stand on its own. I think Callie can stand on her own. The ending was tense but I’m surprised that I wasn’t actually surprised with that last word…

Despite being un-surprised, I’d love to get onto the next book as The Silent Invasion was quite an adventure and I’d like some closure too! In the meantime, if you know & liked any other post-apocalyptic / dystopian set in Australia, I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

James Bradley was born in 1967. He is the author of three novels, Wrack, The Deep Field and his most recent, The Resurrectionist; a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus; and the editor of Blur, a collection of stories by young Australian writers. He is a well-respected critic and regularly reviews for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. He lives in Sydney with his partner, novelist Mardi McConnochie.

Find her on: goodreads  |  website |  twitter  

Review: The Unremembered

unrememberedThe Unremembered by Peter Orullian
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher via NetGalley

It has been quite a while since I immersed myself in epic fantasy when once upon a time, it was all I’d read. The cover looks fantastic and the blurb sounds like it could just be a story I’d like. I was excited to start reading and, at the same time, anxious because I really wanted to love this read. The Unremembered was a journey full of choices, self-discovery, and magic.’

The story began well enough with a little story on the eve of the new world beginning then an event to indicate an unravelling of this new world. It was tragic. It was full of sorrow. And these reeled me in… to find out how the world is falling apart and what new threat it is now facing which will utterly destroy humanity.

I found that I struggled a little bit with all the jargons… my eARC didn’t seem to come with a glossary so I’m not sure if there is one. However, as I got used to this new-found world, I became invested in its wellbeing, in these characters as they strive to save their world. I’ve joined in their quest, vicariously, to protect humanity; rejoiced at their triumphs and dismayed at their setbacks.

This reminds me, somewhat, of David Drake’s Lord of the Isles or Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time: a young man leaving the little village, his best friend and sister came along too, and then no one turns out to be whoever they were supposed to be. I’m not that widely read in fantasy so am not sure whether this is a typical trope?

The Unremembered is a dark fantasy novel with magic that drains you of life, terrifying creatures with no conscience, and of many broken promises. Yet, in the midst of this darkness, a tiny spark of hope… This world is complex and richly layered, the characters weren’t unique but with a good plot and unexpected twists, this turned out to be an enjoyable read.

Thanks to Tor Books via NetGalley for copy of eARC in exchange of honest review

View all my reviews

Review: Paper Planes

paper planesPaper Planes by Steve Worland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: paperback copy courtesy of publisher

Most readers would be keen to read a book before seeing the movie and usually, I’m quite particular about it too. However, seeing that this is rather movie to book, I’d opted to watch it first before reading. I really enjoyed the movie (especially, at the end, when I caught hubby trying to hide a tear or two he is not going to live this one down, lol). It was a fun movie with excellent casting.

As the book is adapted from the movie, it’s no surprise that it’s faithful to the movie. All through the reading, I have a vivid memory of the scenes from the movie. I really can’t complain having David Wenham & Sam Worthington in my head 😉 Reading it as adult though, you really need to suspend your scepticism and just allow yourself to dream the impossible. Let yourself to be beguiled by Dylan’s hopes and follow his journey to get his father back.

The language is quite simple and definitely aimed at children. I would recommend readers from year 3 onwards though only if your child is an advanced reader in year 3. There were a lot of Aussie slang noting that this was mostly set in a small Aussie town. If you could read together with your child then I’d suggest you do so as there can be quite a number of good discussions ranging from bereavement, grief, bullying, etc. Unfortunately, the issues aren’t dealt in depth or at least, not as in-depth as I’d like it to be. Therefore, it is mostly a fun read but your discussions could be as deep as you like by your guidance as parents / teachers.

Thanks to Penguin Books Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

View all my reviews

Review: The Dagger in the Desk

the dagger in the deskThe Dagger in the Desk by Jonathan Stroud
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher

I’m not usually one who reads short stories that are in between series. I got overexcited when I saw this title on NetGalley and automatically, requested it as I thought it to be the 3rd book. In any case, I still read it and it was still a very fun read.

This li’l book basically is about a case taken on by Lockwood & Co. It is basically an adventure/horror tale with a moral lesson. If you’re after something fun to read to squeeze in whilst waiting for the doctor or during lunchtime, this is a good one to pick up as it really doesn’t require too much brain power but will amuse greatly. If you’ve not read the series yet, you could read this as a sample that’s still a full story with an ending. If you’ve read the series, you don’t really have to pick this up as it doesn’t have any bearing on the continuity of the series.

I just wish, though, that if Stroud is writing a short story that there’d be an #0.5 –a story about Anthony Lockwood or about Lockwood & Cubbins Before Lucy.

Thank you, RHCP Digital for copy of eARC via NetGalley

View all my reviews

Review: Betrayal

betrayalBetrayal by Lara Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher

Note: this review is in relation to book 2 of The Twins of Saranthium and may contain spoilers to book 1, Awakening (my review of Awakening)

I picked up Betrayal because I remembered the promise of Awakening. I wanted to find out the answers to some of the questions from Awakening. Plus the lure of an adventure in a world of Serpents and old gods was too exciting to ignore.

Betrayal was an exciting read: magical powers are unfurled, secrets revealed, more interesting characters, etc. A fast-paced read with suspense built up right to the end. I also like my fantasy to be imbued with some romance and Betrayal really just hit that sweet spot. All in all, a very comfortable read for me.

I have enjoyed Betrayal more than Awakening because as the world is firmly set-up in Awakening, there is plenty of development in terms of characters and plot. It was an easy and enjoyable read that I read in pretty much a single sitting. I cannot wait for the next book! Please hurry, Ms Morgan!

Thanks, Escape Publishing, for copy or eARC via NetGalley

View all my reviews