Fantasy Book Review: Witches with the Enemy

Witches with the Enemy by Barb Hendee

Synopsis:
When seers Céline and Amelie Fawe fled Shetâna under threat of death, they vowed never to return. Yet, less than a year later, they are summoned back—to aid the man who once tried to kill them.

The cruel prince Damek is on the verge of closing marriage negotiations with the powerful family of a young noblewoman when his intended’s sister is murdered. To keep the engagement from falling through, Damek must expose the killer quickly—and he needs the seers’ powers to do so. Though the Fawes’ patron, Prince Anton, fears that bringing Céline and Amelie to Shetâna places them in grave danger, he is honor-bound to help his brother Damek.

Only none of them is prepared for the peril that awaits them at Castle Kimovesk—for someone in the court is determined to prevent the marriage from happening, no matter how deadly the cost.

Review:
Céline and Amelie are needed to solve a murder at prince Damek’s castle. Damek is a psychopath, often referred to as something is “broken inside of him.” It’s very surprising that Anton would agree to Damek’s request, knowing that the sisters may be in danger. But, to both princes, their future as ruler comes first in all decisions.

Witches with the Enemy is the third installment in the Mist-Torn Witches series. Though, each can be read as a standalone mystery. There is character development throughout the series, but no embedded story arc that prevents them from being read out of order. I absolutely love Hendee’s characters, especially Céline and Amelie – two very different sisters. They each have some romantic interests too, though that is only touched upon briefly at times. Full of suspense, drama, intrigue, and eccentric characters – this mystery is inventive and captivating. And as always, I look forward to the next in this highly enjoyable fantasy series.

Book Giveaway: The Liar’s Key

Courtesy of Ace, I have a copy of The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence for one (1) lucky winner!

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Book Giveaway: Doctor Who: Engines of War

Courtesy of BBC Books, I have a copy of Doctor Who: Engines of War by George Mann for one (1) lucky winner!

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Fantasy Book Review: Summoner: The Novice

Summoner: The Novice by Taran Matharu

Synopsis:
He can summon demons. But can he win a war?

Fletcher is working as a blacksmith’s apprentice when he discovers he has the rare ability to summon demons from another world. Chased from his village for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must travel with his demon, Ignatius, to an academy for adepts, where the gifted are taught the art of summoning.

Along with nobles and commoners, Fletcher endures grueling lessons that will prepare him to serve as a Battlemage in the Empire’s war against the savage Orcs. But sinister forces infect new friendships and rivalries grow. With no one but Ignatius by his side, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of the Empire is in his hands

Review:
Fletcher is an orphan with a rare gift. He’s a Summoner, able to summon a powerful creature on his first attempt, untrained. Though, most Summoners are nobility, and Fletcher is looked down upon from many fellow students.

The Novice is first book in The Summoner series. This fantasy debut was engaging from the start was nearly impossible to put down. It reminded me of a cross between The Golden Compass meets a Role Playing Game. The addition of mana (energy) levels is a nice take on a familiar fantasy genre with elves, dwarves, and orcs. Though, there is plenty of unique and fascinating worldbuilding. The story was well-paced with suspense, intrigue, drama, and (of course) plenty of magic. I look forward to the next in this impressive new series.

Science Fiction Book Review: The Trials

The Trials by Stacey Kade

Synopsis:
After being on the run, Ariane Tucker finds herself back where she started-under Dr. Jacobs’s cruel control. Now she must participate in the upcoming trials: a deadly competition pitting her against other alien hybrids, each representing a rival corporation.

But Ariane is no one’s weapon, and she is prepared to die if it means taking down those involved in Project Paper Doll. They destroyed all that she holds dear, including Zane Bradshaw, the one person she trusted and cared for the most. The person she was forced to leave behind, bleeding and alone.

As her plan takes shape, Ariane will need now more than ever to depend on the other side of her heritage-the cold, calculating instincts born from her alien DNA. With Zane gone, she has nothing left to lose.

Heart-pounding action and thrilling twists will lead Ariane down a dangerous path, where shocking truths and the chance for revenge await.

Review:
The Trials is the third installment in the Paper Dolls trilogy. Ariane must participate in “trials” against other hybrids to see which corporation will win the funding. But the trials themselves are a mystery. Meanwhile, Ariane doesn’t trust anyone, and rightly so. Every choice presented to her seems too good to be true. The pacing slowed down a bit in the middle, during the actual “trials” when Ariane tries to figure out which path to take. But their missions are stirring and dramatic. I wish the alien aspect of the story was explored more, it felt like just an afterthought, but it’s half of what Ariane is. Events lead to a big finale. With several twists along the way, this fast-paced, thrilling finale was satisfying and an exciting ride.

SciFi Book Review: Unexpected Rain

Unexpected Rain by Jason Lapier

Synopsis:
In a domed city on a planet orbiting Barnard’s Star, a recently hired maintenance man named Kane has just committed murder. Minutes later, the airlocks on the neighbourhood block are opened and the murderer is asphyxiated along with thirty-one innocent residents.

Jax, the lowly dome operator on duty at the time, is accused of mass homicide and faced with a mound of impossible evidence against him. His only ally is Runstom, the rogue police officer charged with transporting him to a secure off-world facility. The pair must risk everything to prove Jax didn’t commit the atrocity and uncover the truth before they both wind up dead.

Review:
A mass murder is unusual, especially in this city. And the police are quick to place blame on Jax. And Runstom seems to be the only one who thinks the investigation was rushed and botched. When Runstom is visiting Jax in a remote prison, they are attacked and the two have the opportunity to escape and track the real killer.

Unexpected Rain is an unexpectedly unique, science fiction, mystery novel. Techies will enjoy the attention to detail in the science and technology described. And mystery buffs like me will enjoy the intrigue and fun, plot twists. There is strong character development in this solid debut novel. And the engaging plot kept me pulled in to the very end.

Book Giveaway: The Darkling Child: The Defenders of Shannara

Courtesy of Del Rey, I have a copy of The Darkling Child: The Defenders of Shannara by Terry Brooks for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 10. I’ll draw a name on July 11, and notify winner via email.

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Book Giveaway: Dawn of the Dead

Courtesy of Gallery Books, I have a copy of Dawn of the Dead by George A. Romero for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 10. I’ll draw a name on July 11, and notify winner via email.

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