'Writing for me is not about speeling, grammar or punctuation – that’s why we have editors.... No, writing for me is the ability to capture a story and put it in words.' - Fantasy Muse

Thursday 27 June 2013

Fire and Ice (The Sword And The Rose)

Ok, the latest book that I’ve just finished is Fire and Ice by Wayne Krabbenhoft III.

Front Cover


The Alliance of Summerhall has stood for a thousand years. Forged out of the blood and fire of the last Great War it has brought a level of peace and prosperity to the kingdoms of Midia never before seen. Now that peace is being threatened. Ambitions, old hatreds and suspicions seek to weaken it from within just as rumors abound of the return of the ancient enemy.

My Opinion

I'll admit the front cover isn't awe inspiring but I was intrigued by the blurb. The book is quite expensive, costing £4.66 but you certainly get your money's worth in terms of the sheer amount of pages you get, 666 pages in total (I'm not sure if the author intended to have that certain number). 

The book is told through two principal characters, Coran, a young knight, and Katelyn, a princess. There is other POV's mixed in as well but the main focus is on those two.
The beginning of the book is slow, with not a lot going on. Instead the author has taken his time in setting up the foundation for his characters and world building.

In terms of the storyline, the book is not unique and it's your typical fantasy novel with a young knight acting as the hero and a princess (who can use a sword of course) as the romantic interest. I could guess within the first few chapters at what was going to happen next, although saying that there was the odd twist that I didn't see coming. 
The book is clearly aimed at young adults to teens but does switch to more mature scenes. 

The author has a clear talent at character and world building and it was pretty easy to picture in my mind what was happening, however the book is at times described too well. I felt the author, at the detriment to the story, went into too much depth. So much so that I started to gloss over parts that described how a bed was made or how the furniture were arranged in a particular room. 

As I mentioned at the start, the book is long, and personally I felt it was too long and the author could have easily shaved off at least 100 pages without it impacting the storyline.

Some other points I made whilst reading the book:

*Brilliant at describing emotions. Felt at times that the author was a female and I’m not saying that in derogatory terms but in praise as I find women authors connect/empathise better with their characters.

*There was the odd typo, e.g missing a " or a letter. Nothing too major and I’m probably being pedantic.

*A bit abrupt in that all of a sudden the main character is special. No real hint of it until WHAM! there’s a prophecy about him and he's the chosen one.


All in all this is a well written book and would definitely appeal to readers who are looking for the standard, run-of-the-mill fantasy where good triumphs over evil.
If you’re looking for something edgy, more contempory or something a bit more distinctive, then this book probably isn’t for you.

My rating out of 10 stars:

6 Stars - Not a bad book but nothing spectacular either.

Buy it here

Amazon UK                                                                                                                             Amazon US

Saturday 15 June 2013

God Touched - The Demon Accords

The next book I’m going to write about is called God Touched (The Demon Accords) by John Conroe and it’s the first instalment of a series that’s extended just recently to number 5, with more coming soon.

Front Cover

The others in the series



Chris Gordon is a rookie with the NYPD - one with a secret. In his spare time Chris is an exorcist without equal with a gift from God.
But when he saves a beautiful girl from a demonic attack, he discovers there is more to fear than just demons. Finding himself surrounded by vampires, were weasels, and facing a giant short-faced bear, Chris struggles to stay alive, all while protecting his deadly new girlfriend. And then there's her over protective vampire mother!

My Opinion

This isn’t a fantasy book. Well, technically you can call it fantasy but not fantasy (I hope you know what I mean). It’s more urban/horror fantasy, the type in which vampires, demons and witches are involved. I'm not usually one to read that type of genre as it's mostly littered with half naked men (try walking up to a cashier with that type of book!), but this book felt different with a male protagonist.

The main character is called Chris Gordon, and is told through his voice. One of the key benefits of having a book told through a single point of view is that it's easier to form a deep connection to him/her. I instantly came to like Chris from the start. This is a guy who doesn’t back down when he’s supposed to, who doesn’t endlessly ask that annoying question, ‘why me?’ He’s not arrogant and he’s not whiny but a guy who realises the position he’s in and gets on with it.  John Conroe has done a wonderful job in creating such a believable and likable guy in Chris. I got to the stage where I was bored of reading about immature characters that couldn’t see the obvious until it slapped them in the face and so it felt like a breath of fresh air when I came across Chris.

Simply put - He's my type of action hero.

The storyline is also fantastic. It hooked me in from the start and without giving too much away, the book is about Chris Gordon, a rookie New York police officer, who not only fights criminals but demons as well. While he was young his whole family was murdered by demons save for his grandfather. And from there on his army-veteran grandpa trained him so that he could fight demons and not become a victim himself.

The story only truly begins when he saves Tatiana, a vampire princess, from a demon attack.

What I loved about the book was the dialogue, the interaction between the characters. It felt natural and in no way awkward or cumbersome. I could just picture myself in those scenes and that is how I would respond.

It is a self published book and as I highlighted in my last post - Revelyn, it's difficult to completely erase typos, but while flying through this book and the others in the series I hardly noticed any errors, apart from the odd one.


The book combines action, mystery and romance superbly and at no time while reading this book and the others did I put my kindle down. I think I must have read the first book within a few hours, closely followed by the next three. I was then stuck in that endless waiting game for book five until it had been recently released a month ago.

John Conroe has created something special here. I hope this post has shown you at least a glimpse of the excitement/enjoyment/appreciation I have for these books.

I cannot recommend this book and the others highly enough. I’m lucky enough to have stumbled upon them and I hope you don’t miss out. 

I’m not going to review the next four books in the series as I feel I’ll only be repeating myself. They're all as fantastic as the first so I hope you get the hint.

My rating out of 10 stars:

8 stars - Awesome book. You might be wondering why I haven’t given it a higher rating but for me 8 is close to perfect and there was the odd typo. 

Buy it here

Saturday 8 June 2013


Nowadays it seems like I spend half my day on Amazon prowling through the site looking for a decent book and that’s how I came across Revelyn - When the last arrow falls by Chris Ward.

Front Cover


This is an Epic story. The time of the ancient sorcery and magic in the vast land of Revelyn has almost passed; the greatness of the Mountain Dwarves remains only in the tunnels and caverns which, with unmatched skill they fashioned in a past age, and the majestic Edenwhood, a race apart now dwell in lofty AlGiron high above, almost forgotten and lost in legend. Great gifts however still persist with men; but all that is good in valour and love in Revelyn is confronted by an evil which rises from a dark and different realm. Rema Bowman the mighty archer from the Highlands is caught in a web of evil intrigue which seeks his death and that of his love Sylvion Greyfeld for reasons deeply hidden. Zelfos the evil advisor to the royal usurper Lord Petros manipulates all things to his own end, opening a door to vile creatures from the evil realm which spawned him. Abducted, Sylvion is used in a terrible and desperate plan to trap Rema and defeat the Prophecy of the last arrow. Rema is torn by his longing to free his love Sylvion, and the knowledge that his cousin Serenna is in danger close by, and he cannot ignore her need. Unwittingly he finds himself caught in a web of violence fuelled by a return of sorcery to the land. Throughout his long quest, Rema’s love for Sylvion is challenged by many other competing needs, which reveal that he himself is not the person he thought he was. From the simple life in the Highlands, to Gymble’s river barge, to the raging seas in a foundering ship, to the final battle below Mt Vaudim, where the mighty Equin seem invincible, the action never ceases and many twists in emotion and relationship are revealed. The final truth in the desperate quest to save Revelyn takes all by surprise, but when revealed seems right, just as does the presence of the god-like figure of El-Arathor who seems forever entwined in the lives of men. This is a story of love and romance, magic and valour, great gifts and deep loss, in a vast land were the very creatures which roam free hark back to an ancient time where the imagination was less fettered than it has become. The power of the lost Shadow Blade and the amazing featherless arrows of Rema Bowman, finally combine to make a stand against the impossible power of evil, when the last arrow falls.

My opinion

The book starts okay. Not great but intriguing nonetheless. There was a rather blatant typo in the first sentence of the book and did had me thinking - 'what I'm I getting into?' - But I'm glad to say that mistake was more of an anomaly than a common occurrence. There are still mistakes in grammar and sentence structuring but all-in-all the book is well written and those mistakes are hardly noticeable unless of course you're really picky about those things. I know some people are rather critical when it comes to spelling and grammar, but I'm not one of those. Of course I can understand why they would be annoyed; if you're going to spend money on a book, then you can at least expect an author to have ironed out all its mistakes. However, that's easier said than done when you're a published author who has an editor behind you inspecting every word, every sentence and making sure it looks as professional as possible.
That isn't possible with self-published authors, who in most cases are the ones proofreading themselves - which I say is always a recipe for disaster - or manage to rein in help from family and friends. As a result it would be foolish or optomistic to expect a book to be completely and utterly free of mistakes. Of course that doesn't mean published books are free from errors, I've read some noticeable books in the past that have had a spelling mistake or two.

What I'm trying to say is that I've learned to be more forgiving when it comes to spelling and grammar. As my saying at the top of the page implies, what I'm more interested in when I read a book is the storyline and the characters that convey it. I can overlook everything else but those two qualities.

It seems like I've strayed away from my review, so getting back to the book...

Whilst I was reading the book I jotted down a list of what I liked and didn't like:

* It got a bit annoying to read the word 'evilly', for instance – ‘he said evilly,’ ‘he whispered evilly’, 'he looked evilly', etc. It’s a case of telling rather than showing and it’s a trap most indie authors fall into.

* Romantic aspect disappointing. The two main characters are already in love and we miss out on their courting of each other, which can be good thing, sometimes, but we also miss out on the connection between the two and so when you read about how madly in love they are for each other, it feels a bit hollow and superfluous. Which was the case for this particular book.

* I liked the how the author described the characters and settings. I got a clear and vivid picture in my mind when a character or place was introduced.

* The book is long (622 pages or 1340 KB). Normally I appreciate a long book. Not this one however. Every page felt like a chapter and every chapter felt like a book.

I didn't particularly like the ending, it was bland and felt a bit drab.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I can forgive a book its grammatical errors as long as the storyline and characters are great. Well, as you can probably guess by my points above, the story wasn’t good let alone great and I felt disconnected with the characters. So much so that at the end of it I didn't care if any of the characters died in gruesome deaths or if the bad guys triumphed. And I'm guessing that isn't a good sign when reading a book. To be honest, I struggled to finish the book and let out a weary sign when I finished.

I bought the book when it was being offered for free, so I have no complaint against the price but if I had bought it at anything greater than say, £1/$2, then without question I would have been more regretful.

Glancing at the book's Amazon page, it's received only two reviews and they're both 5 stars. I’m not going to question the reviews. As I mentioned in my last post, we are all entitled to our opinions and we each interpret a book in our own way. Having said that, it’s not uncommon for friends and families of authors to give favourable reviews.


Not for me, and I’m glad I bought the book while it was going free. I’m not going to tell you to steer clear of it as I’m only giving you my own opinion and that is the key word here - opinion - not yours but mine. I know in my previous posts I’ve suggested you to buy books that I’ve felt were good but I’m not going to dissuade someone from reading a book just because I didn't like it. I have a lot of respect for authors who put a lot of effort into writing books and it wouldn’t be fair of me to say, for example - “I hated the book! Do not buy it!” - and in doing so denying them potential readers.

I’m positive that while I didn't enjoy the book, there will be others who will (case in point those two 5 star reviews).

My rating out of 10 stars:

4 stars - I was tempted to give it 5 stars (i.e average mark) but for me the book was so long that it felt unending. Condensing the book to even half its original length would have instantly raised it to 5 stars.


Saturday 1 June 2013

The Red Pavilions

The next book or series I’m going to talk about (I mean write about) is one of my all time favourites. I've already talked about my favourite book - Kelvins Riddle -  but this series runs it pretty close. Its a trilogy written by Kim Hunter, called The Red Pavilions. I read the first book ‘Knight’s Dawn’ when I was about 13, and I still remember quite vividly the endless nights I spent hunched over with my torch reading until the first ray of dawn.

From a quick browse through Amazon reviews, I can see that the books hasn't been as well received as I’d imagined

One reviewer called it ‘disappointing..’, another said ’I hated it...’, and one, rather amusingly, said ‘Most definitely would not recommend....Appallingly bad book that went in the bin’.

I don't think I've read a book yet that was so bad that it ended up in the bin.

However, it wasn't all bad, there was plenty of positive reviews as well. I guess its one of those books (trilogy included) you come across in which you either love it or hate it.

I'm not writing this post with the aim of getting you to buy it, no, instead I thought I'd just share one of my all time favourite books with you and let you know why I've re-read them more times than I can count.

The first book, as I mentioned, is called Knights Dawn, followed by Wizards Funeral and finally concludes with Scabbard's Song.

The book follows the storyline of an amnesiac warrior who is thrust into a world he doesn't understand. It follows his adventures and the adversity he faces along the way. The trilogy is rather linear in the sense that its a typical fantasy book. It’s not groundbreaking in originality. There's a hero, a princess, some evil guys and wizards.

For my young, impressionable self, it was everything I wanted to read in fantasy (and still do). It had action, romance, an unbeatable hero and did I mention wizards. What more could a young boy want?

One of the main reasons why I got hooked into fantasy was so that I could escape to another world during the bad times or dream during the good, and that’s exactly what these books did for me. Whilst reading them, I eagerly went to bed every night imagining myself as the hero in the book who fought against evil monsters and eventually got the girl in the end.

To this very day I still continue to dream about different worlds and imagine myself in them, and while my passion for fantasy started with LOTR, it was still at its infant stage and it was only until I had finished reading 'The Red Pavilions', that it had nurtured into a raging inferno, a fire so bright and hungry that it has led me to read hundreds (if not into the thousand) of fantasy books since - for that reason, these books will stay with me forever.

I could carry on and write a long-winded post about why these books are so fantastic and why you should buy them but its important to realise that books are subjective to each individual person. We all have our own favourite books that may not be liked by others, but that shouldn't be a reason to dampen our own enjoyment of them or try and convince others to see the error of their ways. Seeing those negative reviews for a book that I cherish so much only brought a smile to my face and further reinforced my belief that books are meant to be instinctive.

Writing this post has just reminded me its about time I read those books again, and I hope after reading this your thinking about re-reading your favourite book(s).

Before I finish I'd like to leave you with this quote-

No two persons ever read the same book.

– Edmund Wilson