Uncategorized, Zahra

Zahra: The Book of the Dead

My writing goal for June 2017 was 50k for my zombie fantasy story.
I’m excited to announce:
DRAFT 1 is COMPLETE!! FINALLY!!

I’m taking a break this month to work on a new WIP for CampNaNoWriMo,
but look forward to diving back into revisions in August!
Thanks for all your encouragement! I couldn’t have done it without you! ♥

 

ARC, Beta Read, Book Review, Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal Romance

Water Spell by Lizzy Ford

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My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

ARC: Kindle Unlimited Version

My Short Summary: 

Sela, a powerful water mage, wants to be free. Free of the overwhelming pull of her magic, demanding she submit to the depths of an ancient ocean. Free of her savage protector, Tieran, who she’s bonded to. And, free of the kingdoms and those who would abuse her powers. If she is to survive, to be free, she and Tieran must learn to trust each other, or risk drowning in her magic and the rage of war.

My Review:

Lizzy Ford’s excitement over this book is palpable, and now I know why. Water Spell is an exciting fantasy adventure full of well-rounded characters. I didn’t want this book to end, and I was giddy to read the titles of the next books to come in this series. You’re going to want to add the beautiful hard-copy to your fantasy collection. Lizzy Ford is one of my favorite authors, and her characters are so memorable

I wasn’t sure I’d like Sela or Tieran, but I anticipated a deeper connection between them from the start. Their external display of tension masks their individual internal desires. Both have a clear goal, which becomes harder to reach as magic bonds them together. By the end, I was on the edge of my seat, wondering if their relationship would come together or break apart.
Sela’s need for freedom, to reach the water, made me thirsty. I ached to be in her world, reaching for the seas, the wells, the streams, etc. It made me want to go to the beach! I want to be her, controlling water with magic. This part of the book reminded me so much of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and I loved it.
 
For Lizzy ♥ 
My only critique of this book is on the first chapter. As much as Sela’s previous mage-warrior influences her, I wasn’t captivated by his pov as much as hers. For me, the story didn’t start until Tieran took his oath and Karav left. I liked the tension caused when Tieran finds out his new ward is a woman. But, I didn’t feel Karav’s thoughts and worries over Sela aided me in feeling the bond between mage and warrior.
There is a lot of redundant thoughts from Karav on the Inlanders being barbarians. These descriptions and examples through his pov didn’t help develop Tieran. Tieran’s reactions and behavior toward Sela is enough, as well as her reaction to the people in his land. Experiencing this through Sela is more gripping without Karav’s scene set-up.
The world-building and back-story was overwhelming in chapter one, almost info-dumped. This flows well enough throughout the rest of the book through Sela’s pov, though, and I loved the map!
Thanks for letting me review the ARC of Water Spell! I enjoy reading, reviewing and promoting all of your books.
Book Review, Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult

The Waterfall Traveler by S.J.Lem

34468319._UY200_.jpgMy rating: 5/5 stars

ARC version — release date April 17th, 2017 (available for pre-order)

Summary via Amazon:

All eighteen-year-old Ri wants is to cure her adoptive father Samuel from his hallucination-inducing illness. Everyone in her village tells her it’s impossible. But when she meets two newcomers in the forest—a gruff rogue with a vendetta against the gods and a charming fugitive with the power to travel through water—she’ll be torn away from Samuel and swept across the sea to an oppressed city governed by a ruthless tyrant. Once there, she’ll not only have to confront Samuel’s unlawful past, but a vicious evil that threatens all mankind.

My Review: 

Engaging YA fantasy with a beautiful cover. This book exceeded my expectations. I was thinking this would be in the younger spectrum of the YA genre, so I was pleasantly surprised.

Ri is driven by emotion, for sure, which means logic sometimes takes a back seat when she makes decisions. This can be a little irritating for some readers, but it’s why I like her character. That’s not to say she isn’t strong, though. She takes charge and makes quick decisions, even if they are impulsive at times.

My only real complaint is of Bryce and Ri’s relationship. It’s a slow build up; almost too slow. I don’t mind love triangles, and the fun humor thrown in from Carter too, but I wanted to see more between Bryce and Ri. Would have loved more conversations, flirt, jokes, or playful bickering. I saw pieces of jealousy here and there, but nothing came of it. Ri relates and responds to every other character well, but something is missing between her and Bryce, so by the end, I wasn’t jumping up and down, cheering for their relationship as much as I hoped. I was actually cheering on Carter, if you can believe it. I felt his frustration, flirt, and protective nature way more than I felt anything emotionally moving from Bryce. And, I LOVED what happens in the end, as it relates to Carter.

I was on the fence about how the story turns in the end, and I’m interested to see where it goes from here.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s a fun fantasy for all ages, not just YA. Readability is great, with minimal to no errors, and the pace is perfect!

I was asked to read and review this advance copy before the release date.

Book Review, Book Series, Fantasy, Fiction, Magic, Uncategorized

Curse Breaker: Enchanted by Melinda Kucsera


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*unfinished book*

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Short Summary via Amazon

Secrets threaten, but magic kills. All Sarn wanted was to get to work on time, do his job and go home to his secret son. Instead, he’s kidnapped by an enchanted tree and embroiled in a mystery so bizarre, it causes him to question everything he’s ever believed in.

My Review:

This is a hard review to write because I’m unsure if I will be finishing this book. It has the potential to be a great story, and I really do like the author’s writing in some places, but there are a few areas I think need some heavy revisions and editing. There are a lot of paragraphs that are redundant and repetitive. There’s also a lot of story-telling going on, instead of showing, which for me is sometimes long-winded and unnecessary. I’m more and more aware of the need for these edits as I read a variety of authors’ books, as well as while I’m revising my own.

Example: instead of a telling us that a character walked in and surprised everyone in the room, have another character show their shock by speaking up. Instead of a character stopping to allow people to pass, have the character extend their arm and say, “no, you first.” These are just minor examples, but hopefully you get my point. There are a lot of these little moments in just about every chapter, where Sarn could think or talk out-loud to himself, or the characters could be conversing instead of just acting it out.

After reading the sample, I’m torn between shelving this one or continuing, especially since realizing there are over 100 chapters in the actual book. The book does have some positive reviews though. I might have to come back to it when I have more time to spend in this world. For now, I’m shelving it as an unfinished book, which could use some revisions.

Book Review, Book Series, Fae, Fairy, Magic, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Uncategorized, Young Adult

UnEnchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale #1) by Chanda Hahn

13402447My Rating: 5/5 Stars

“Not every tale has a happy ending. In fact, many of them are grim.”

Short Summary: Mina Grimes inherits the curse of the Brothers Grimm, in which she has to survive and complete dangerous fairy tale stories in order to save her family from impending doom.

My Review: This book was actually pretty enchanting, and sucked me in from the beginning. I really enjoyed the pace of of it. The book was easy for me to quickly read it in a day. And, I especially like the idea that the plot revolves around the “unfortunate” side of fairy tales, instead of always ending with “happily ever after.”

Lately I’ve been avoiding YA books because I don’t feel like I’m able to relate to the characters much anymore. Most often than not, the setting is in a high-school, with the same types of story plots and types of characters. However, I was pretty impressed with how this book is organized and laid out, as it twisted the norms of a fairy tale story. The build up from a normal high-school life to the extraordinary was steadily paced, with just enough details and information to give me a full picture of what was happening without giving away too much.

I really loved the ending of this story; such a bummer, and then SURPRISE! Something else happens to ease your heartbreak, but also leave you wanting more.

I will be continuing this series soon!
This was free on Amazon

Note to author: I swear, I thought that I was contacted to do a book review for this one, but for some reason I can’t find the request in my email. So, if I didn’t respond to a certain email about this one, I’m sorry! ♥  Thanks for your request. I will be posting my review on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as sharing on Facebook and Twitter.