Allure of the Gypsies (Legends of Windemere Book 3) by Charles E. Yallowitz

Cover by Jason PedersenBlurb

 

Reeling from broken trust and a battered spirit, Luke leads his surviving friends to the town of Haven where his past will catch up with him.

While Luke faces his family and the woman he abandoned at the altar, his enemies have recruited a deadly ally. Kalam the vampire marches on Haven with an army of undead that will leave a hero at death’s door. To revive the fallen warrior, Luke and Nyx must plunge into the mountain lair of Kalam and steal his spellbook. Exhausted and lost within enemy territory, the pair are going to need the help of a gypsy girl named Sari who may be more trouble than her new friends expected.

Against a strong and experienced adversary, what will Luke and Nyx need to claim victory on the charred battlefield?

My Perspective

Allure of the Gypsies follows Luke, Nyx and Aedyn as they make their way to Luke’s home town of Haven, which he left in disgrace a year earlier. However there is more waiting for him at home than he bargained for.

The story follows pretty much straight on from where it left off in Prodigy of Rainbow Tower.

Apart from old favourites Luke, Nyx and Aedyn, we are introduced to a new character, Sari. I honestly found it extremely hard to like Sari. I found her to be a bit of an idiot however I’m not sure if that’s just an act so we will see. I really enjoyed the Lich and Trinity in this book and the banter between them.

I enjoyed the adventure and storyline of this book immensely however i felt that it was a bit all over the place. It didn’t flow as well as the previous two and sort of rambled a bit towards the end before ending very abruptly. I also felt there was a lot of unnecessary dialogue that could have been scrapped to make the book tighter and more interesting. I also found that there wasn’t a lot of mystery or twists and turns. Even though i enjoyed reading the book, i didn’t really keep me guessing or on my toes.

I really enjoyed the action scenes and even wished there was a bit more action – there seemed to be less in this book than the other two.

Overall this book was an enjoyable read however i felt it fell a bit flat and almost felt like simply a filler book to tie up some loose ends, introduce a crucial new character and get to the beginning of the next book. If you’re interested in an enjoyable fantasy series then i would definitely recommend Legends of Windemere however you really need to start with the first book in the series, Beginning Of A Hero.

Draekora (The Medoran Chronicles #3) by Lynette Noni

Draekora (The Medoran Chronicles #3) by Lynette NoniBlurb

“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 Perspective

I was hanging out for the release of this on April 1! I bought it as soon as it was available and i couldn’t put it down.

Draekora follows Alex as she begins her training in Meya, specifically the Varranguard, to test her abilities and where her strengths and weaknesses lie. However fate has a different course of action for her and Alex soon finds herself caught in something she never could have imagined.

Draekora is the sequel to Raelia and is the third instalment in The Medoran Chronicles. I was slightly disappointed in Raelia however i can say for sure i did not feel the same about Draekora!

The story continues on pretty much from the end of Raelia. It jumps right into the action and i was almost immediately immersed in the story. It is fairly even paced yet still keeps you on your toes.

I liked Alex again in Draekora however i still find her a bit naive. I feel like some things are so obvious and she takes forever to “get them”. I enjoyed meeting the new characters, who were really likeable and also getting to know familiar characters even more. It was also interesting to get to know them in a different way. You certainly feel a bit torn by the end of the story.

I have to say that the main plot of the story was super predictable however all the smaller storylines throughout weren’t and despite knowing where it was all leading, i still really, really enjoyed reading the book. Like I’ve mentioned before, although it’s not a Nobel Prize winning novel, i love reading them. They are interesting, hold my attention and i can’t wait for the next one to be released. Also i definitely noticed a significant improvement in the author’s writing throughout Draekora.

Without spoiling the ending…it really tears you apart. Even though i knew what was going to happen, the way that it happened was heartbreaking. WHY IS IT ANOTHER WHOLE YEAR FOR THE NEXT BOOK TO COME OUT?

Overall i would definitely recommend this series to those who like YA fantasy, however you obviously should start at the beginning with Akarnae.

Prodigy of Rainbow Tower (Legends of Windemere Book 2) by Charles E. Yallowitz

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Blurb

Luke Callindor and his friends are about to learn that the life of an adventurer can be brutally unforgiving.

Hungering for another adventure, Luke agrees to escort the heir of Serab along the L’dandrin River and into the safety of Gods’ Voice. A deadly gauntlet of cunning traps and savage creatures lay before the young warrior and his companions. Lacking the powerful magic needed to combat his enemies, Luke’s survival and victory may be in the hands of his newest ally. That’s if the temperamental Nyx doesn’t set him on fire first.

Luke will bravely face everything that is thrown at him, but how can he defend himself when he’s ignorant of the truth behind his mission?

My Perspective

I’ve been meaning to read this book pretty much straight after I read the first book in the series, Beginning Of A Hero (Legends of Windemere Book 1) by Charles E. Yallowitz. I bought it ages ago however I don’t have a Kindle so I have to read it on the computer, which I find annoying. Anyway a few months ago I was lying in bed holding my sick, (then) eight month old son who was only sleeping if he was in my arms, and all that was in reach was my phone. I’d already been through heaps of emails and it was doing my head in, I’m really quite sick of social media at the moment, what I felt like was digging into a really great fantasy book. Aha! I thought to myself. I will download the Kindle app onto my iPhone.

I usually wouldn’t be interested in reading on my phone because it’s small and I’m not a fan of reading on a backlit screen however it was the best choice I had! So I go to download the Kindle app and lo and behold, my iPhone 4 is too old to support the latest version. Bugger. I researched how I could get around it however it requires your computer (you download the app through iTunes and then when you go to download it on your iPhone as you’ve already “bought” it, it asks if you want to download an older version that is compatible with your iPhone. Very sneaky). Anyway after he woke up, I got onto the computer and worked my magic and soon I had the Kindle app on my iPhone with this book ready to read in preparation for his next sleep.

Prodigy of Rainbow Tower follows Luke and his new friends; Nimby, Fritz, Aedyn and Fizzle as they make their way to the city of Gaia to collect the apprentice of Rainbow Tower and board the River Scout to protect Kellia, heir of Duke Solomon on her journey home to Gods’ Voice. However now Luke has major enemies – not just the Lich but his demon servant, the Hellfire Elf who has sworn revenge. Although Luke and his friends expect trouble on their journey, little do they realise just how much trouble they will get – and that those two aren’t the only enemies that they are up against.

As it has been two years since I read Beginning Of A Hero, I really should have read it again to refresh my memory as I vaguely remember some details but it’s very hazy and I was a little bit lost with some things. Surprisingly the author doesn’t waste any time doing the “big recap” that so many books do where they basically give a summary of the previous book at the beginning of the next book. I found this both good and bad. It’s great because if you’ve just read the previous book, it really is a waste of time and it’s almost like it’s bringing up to speed any readers who haven’t read the previous book (which unless it’s by accident, why wouldn’t you start at the beginning?) however it’s also bad because if it’s been a bit of time between books, it’s nice to have a bit of recapping to help jog your memory. However in my case, it’s been long enough that I really should have reread Beginning Of A Hero.

Again, I really loved the characters. Luke continues to grow and mature and although he can be stubborn and reckless, he’s definitely not as annoying as the first book. It was interesting to read and learn more about Nimby, Fritz and Aedyn. Without spoiling anything, I was surprised at who I started to like more and the flaws that appeared in some of the others. Fizzle was as adorable as ever and I really enjoyed getting to know the new characters.

There were a lot of action scenes and sequences throughout this book involving both sword play and casting of spells. I really enjoyed reading how the characters interacted with one another while fighting and using their strengths together to help defeat their enemies.

There were quite a few twists throughout and I really didn’t see any of them coming! It was quite refreshing to be able to read a book and really go along for the ride without knowing what was coming next.

There was a lot going on in this book, not too much that it felt too busy, just a lot that it kept you absorbed in the story and keeping up really kept you on your toes. Interestingly enough, the book is fairly medium paced so although there is a heck of a lot going on, it doesn’t feel rushed at all and isn’t too slow that it bores you.

I’d also like to point out that in my review of Beginning Of A Hero, I mentioned there were quite a few grammatical errors throughout and the book could have been edited a bit more closely. I’m happy to say that this book was not like that at all. On that note, the author has definitely improved and this book was really well written (not that the first book was terrible, however it was the author’s debut and it’s good to see improvement – it gives credit to the author and the series). I’m really looking forward to reading the next book.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book, and this series. You really need to start with the first book in the  series though, Beginning Of A Hero. Like I said in my previous review, it has all the things a great fantasy should have: strong characters, both good and evil; a quest; mythical creatures; battle scenes; and even some romance. I am really looking forward to continuing the series!

Raelia (The Medoran Chronicles #2) by Lynette Noni

26077971Blurb

“Life is full of crossroads, Alex. Full of choices.”

Returning for a second year at Akarnae Academy with her gifted friends, Alexandra Jennings steps back through a doorway into Medora, the fantasy world that is full of impossibilities.

Despite the magical wonder of Medora, Alex’s life remains threatened by Aven Dalmarta, the banished prince from the Lost City of Meya who is out for her blood.

To protect the Medorans from Aven’s quest to reclaim his birthright, Alex and her friends seek out the Meyarin city and what remains of its ancient race.

Not sure who—or perhaps what—she is anymore, all Alex knows is that if she fails to keep Aven from reaching Meya, the lives of countless Medorans will be in danger. Can she protect them, or will all be lost?

My Perspective

Raelia sees Alex back at the Academy for another year and this time she’s got a lot more experience under her belt. However it’s no where near enough to protect herself against Aven Dalmarta, the disinherited Elven Prince of Meya. Too much trouble comes looking for Alex so with a promise to the headmaster, Alex must find The Lost City of Meya, home of the Elves, to seek their help and to warn them of Aven’s plans.

Raelia is the sequel to Akarnae and follows on about two to three months after the end of Akarnae, starting at the beginning of the new school year.

There was a lot of fill in story at the beginning to tie the two books together, which I could see was necessary to some extent however there was quite a lot of information and it was a bit of a case where the author needed to “show and not tell”. I also found it quite hard to believe that Alex’s parents would have reacted the way they did. Certainly mine wouldn’t have!

I enjoyed getting to know the familiar characters a bit more and meeting the new characters. I didn’t find Alex as likeable as before though, and the brotherly affection she seems to have with almost every single male character started to irk me a bit. Also there’s a bit more sexual tension in this book and I’m sure it would appeal to YA female readers however it made me roll my eyes.

There was more adventure in this book and it really kept you on edge with the perilous situations they found themselves in. It was lighthearted and comedic however with a dark twist, and like the previous book, isn’t an epic – albeit still very interesting and full of fantasy adventure.

I found that I didn’t enjoy Raelia as much as I did Akarnae. There were quite a few corny moments however I understand it’s aimed at YA so I will let that slide. It was more that I found I had to suspend my disbelief even more than the previous book and without spoiling it, some things were just a bit too easy.

I have to say though that it kept me interested and I couldn’t put it down! Also I totally didn’t see the ending coming (I did before it happened but not like half way through or anything). I was quite surprised. I did feel like a part of the way the ending happened was so obvious and I was cringing the entire time however I didn’t see the twist that went with it.

Again, although it’s not the best written novel, it certainly takes you captive and I’m looking forward to reading the next installment in the series. This time I have to wait a bit longer though!

 

Akarnae (The Medoran Chronicles #1) by Lynette Noni

23569787Blurb

With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes—literally.

Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities.

Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.

While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.

An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?

Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora?

My Perspective

I follow Lynette Noni’s blog and I’ve been wanting to read her debut novel for some time now. I got my hands on a copy and I’ve finally been able to read it!

Akarnae follows Alexandra (Alex) Jennings as she is transported to another world, Medora and the Akarnae Academy for the gifted. Much to her surprise, her arrival is expected and the only person who can help her get home again is Akarnae’s headmaster – who happens to be absent. In the meantime, she is enrolled into the academy, makes two best friends, and is discovering all that this new world has to offer.

A common description for this book is a mix of Harry Potter, Narnia, and The X-Men. While that may make it unoriginal, to me if you enjoyed the story and can’t wait to read the next book, well the author has done her job.

At first the writing felt unnatural, like the author was trying too hard however it soon started to flow a lot better and settled in to a great YA story.

Alex was easy to like. She was down to earth, a bit of a klutz and really put a solid effort in. Her acceptance of being thrown into another world was a little bit unbelievable however the overall tone of the book feels more lighthearted and fun than major epic so I’m not sure whether the author is going for that so isn’t too concerned about it being too believable (this goes for all the technology too, which wasn’t so much far fetched – just the way it was explained was a bit simplistic). The other characters were fun and likeable – Jordan and Bear are definitely the kind of guys a teenage girl wants as her best friends. The villain wasn’t as strong as he could have been, he was the only character who I was disappointed in. He fell a bit flat. In turn, the whole “complication” of the story fell a bit flat. That was probably my only major qualm with the story.

The story is interesting, holds mystery and adventure, is super fun and really goes all out with the imagination. I really loved that even though Alex obviously is attracted to some of the fellows in the book, it’s completely not a focus at all. That part felt very realistic and gains a huge thumbs up for me (so many YA are bogged down in ridiculous romance).

Overall I really enjoyed the story and I found it hard to put down. I was pulled into Medora along with Alex and although it’s not the most original text, it’s fun and lighthearted and full of adventure. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series – Raelia – it comes out on March 23rd!

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale by Rachel HartmanBlurb

As Seraphina travels the Southlands in search of the other half-breeds to help in the war effort, the dragon General Comonot and his Loyalists fight against the upstart Old Guard – with the fate of Goredd and the other human countries hanging in the balance.

My Perspective

Shadow Scale is the sequel to Seraphina and follows Seraphina as she makes her way to Ninys, Samsam, and Porphyry to find her fellow ityasaari and convince them to come back to Goredd to help in the war effort. However she soon attracts the attention of someone else wanting to use the ityasaari and things begin spiraling out of Seraphina’s control.

The story pretty much seamlessly flows on from the previous one and there are little tidbits of information throughout that help you remember any of the important details you may have forgotten.

Seraphina seemed to have lost some of her nerve in this book and I found her attitude a bit galling. She wasn’t as brave and she harboured so much guilt over Jannoula and what had been done to her (even though she had nothing to do with it) that I felt she was a bit submissive in regards to Jannoula’s actions. I really liked Abdo and I enjoyed getting to know him a bit more. I absolutely abhorred Jannoula and was like, please, someone kill her already! What she went through was horrific however instead of turning her life around, the way she dealt with it was so cruel and manipulative. It was fun to meet all the other ityasaari.

The story was interesting and kept you on your toes and I enjoyed reading about the different places that they traveled to.

I have to admit I was a little disappointed in the ending though. I found it a tad lame.

Overall the book was enjoyable and a must read if you’ve read Seraphina to complete the story however it definitely wasn’t as good as the first book.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina by Rachel HartmanBlurb

The kingdom of Goredd is populated by humans and by dragons who fold themselves into a human form. Though they live alongside each other, the peace between them is uneasy.

But when a member of the royal family is murdered, and the crime appears to have been committed by a dragon the peace and treaty between both worlds is seriously threatened . . .

Into this comes Seraphina, a gifted musician who joins the royal court as the assistant to the court composer. She is soon drawn into the murder investigation and, as she uncovers hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace in Goredd for good, finds herself caught desperately in the middle of the tension.

For Seraphina hides a secret – the secret behind her musical gift – and if she is found out, her life is in serious danger . . .

My Perspective

This is the fifteenth book I read from my post Credit Where Credit’s Due. I read about Seraphina by Rachel Hartman from Sarah at The Last Book I Read. You can read her thoughts on the book here.

Seraphina is about Seraphina Dombegh, assistant to Viridius, court composer for Castle Goredd. Seraphina is busy preparing for the fortieth anniversary of the peace treaty between Goreddi and dragons. Relations between humans and dragons have become somewhat tensioned though due to the murder of Prince Rufus. Through Orma, Seraphina’s tutor who is also a dragon, Seraphina becomes involved in matters and sets in motion things that cannot be undone.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I found the concept really fresh and interesting. It was well written and kept me on my toes. It was medium paced with a good balance of both action and character building. One thing I think would have made it even better was if the author had spent a little more time on “world building”. I found it a bit simplistic and unoriginal.

Seraphina was easy to like although not super easy to relate to. This didn’t stop me from caring for her and rooting for her. She was smart, brave and extremely talented. I really liked Kiggs and Selda, which made a certain circumstance really hard and I was so torn. Orma was thoroughly likeable despite his quirks.

I found it so refreshing that the romance in the book was quite muted and didn’t take away from the overall story.

I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

Overall I really enjoyed this book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy.