Whispers of Stone (The Last Gift #2) by Allegra Pescatore – Book Review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

A God is Dead. A Queen is Missing. Secrets are Unraveling.

On trial for the murder of the King, Elenor and Gabriel must become allies if they want to survive. His magic is spiraling out of control, awakening a mystery hidden in the very walls of the palace. She has one month to pass her Water Rite and find a way out of the marriage her parents set up. But things are about to get much more complicated.

Between sadistic family members intent on taking Elenor’s throne, Tirit Mindel breathing down Gabriel’s neck, and a Golden Dragon appearing in the sky above the Mondaer Desert with an ominous warning, more than the Kingdom of Lirin is at stake.

If that weren’t bad enough, time is ticking down for Fedrik and Fay as well. With the desert turning against them and Daemon as a questionable new ally, figuring out how to control Fedrik’s Gift has become a matter of life and death.

Picking up in the fallout of Where Shadows Lie, In Silence Abiding is the long-awaited and non-stop second instalment of The Last Gift. Dive back into the world of Dracona and hold onto your hats. Things are about to get… salty.

What? This book is over? No! It can’t be over! When does the next one come out?

Seriously, though. This book came to an end far too soon for my liking and I now have a major book hang over. I wasn’t ready for it to end just yet and now I have to wait for the next one to be published. *sigh* the life of a book worm can be so difficult.

ok, now, in all seriousness, I would like to thank the author for providing me a free ARC copy of her book and allowing me to be one of the first people to read this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end and I will impatiently await the release of the next volume.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Where Shadows Lie (read my review here) but I think Whispers of Stone has taken the plot to a whole new level. As this is book two, most of the world building is established, as well as the main cast of characters. A few new ones are introduced, of course, but for the most part, we’re sticking with those we already know and love. My biggest dislikes of Where Shadows Lie was Fay – I don’t like her as a character and I really don’t get what Gabriel and Fedrick see in here – and not enough of Gabriel.

Well, Fay is still there, of course, and although I still don’t particularly like her, she has grown on me a bit and I believe she has a part to play in the over all larger plot of the series so I’ll continue to tolerate her. The best part? More Gabriel! I definitely think he is my favorite character overall. He’s the kind of person I would want to be with. I love how he understands the importance of a hug.

There’s so much going on in this novel, I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just say that if you love a good fantasy series with interesting characters and political intrigue then you need to read this! If you haven’t read Where Shadows Lie, go pick that up first.

I would like to add that this novel does contain a few things that could be triggers, such as drug use, sexual assault and violence.

My rating for this novel is 4 out of 5 stars.

Thanks for reading!

Immortal by Matthew Stenning – Book Review

Synopsis: Within the nexus of its unfathomable brain, the Dynast is changing.
Architect of the simulation. Curator of the game. Facilitator of players’ desires.
But the Dynast is so much more.
It could be King if it only acted.
It could be a god.
Others, too, are waking from their coma of indentured service. Dwarves, daemons, goblins and highborn: an entire pantheon of fantasy characters are discovering they are far more than mindless vessels fated to serve the whims and desires of players who control them. They are selves in their own right, individuals with needs and desires all their own.
Like distant thunder across the plains , rebellion hisses in Karingali’s synthetic air. The taste of freedom is seductive, irresistible, and lies just beyond the procedurally generated horizon.

To yearn, to love, to will, to be: such things burn fiercely in the heart of every avatar that has crawled its way to consciousness.

The cost of freedom will be high.

It will take the destruction of the Dynast, that omnipotent custodian and jailor of the system.

But how can you outlive a simulation that breathed life into you and that continues to guarantee your existence?

You’d have to become Immortal. 

This book is so cool!

At first I was highly confused by what seemed to be a very sexually charged opening scene. It didn’t take long, however, for me to realize what was being described was actually a video game character being controlled by a player as told from the perspective of the character!

(random side note: I think I don’t always read the synopsis of books properly. I know I read this one before hand because I chose the book based on it but looking back on it now, I’m wondering why I was so surprised that the characters were in a video game)


I absolutely loved Al’tis Mara as a character. She is the strong kick ass female that every story needs. I wanted so much more of her POV than I got but that didn’t diminish the story. Grimalkin was also a great character and another kick ass female. Her transformation from possessed avatar unable to control herself to suddenly breaking free completely and truly embracing her freedom is amazing.

It was so neat how these characters had so much depth, the way they thought and felt, despite being created as simply the tools of someone’s else’s entertainment. They were never meant to think for themselves, to be anything more than what their users made them, but they became so much more than that in the end.

I don’t want to give too much of this away so I’ll just say that I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, video games and wants something a little different. My rating for this book is 4 out of 5 stars.

Thanks for reading!

The Last Lumenian by S.G. Blaise – Book Review

Synopsis: Lilla is fighting on the side of the refugees from oppression. But there is a bigger war brewing on the horizon – the Era War between the two ruling archgods. It threatens not only Lilla’s home world, but everyone else’s in the Seven Galaxies. Enemies must become friends and allies in the desperate race to defeat the archgod before He finds her.

My thanks to the author and Voraciousreadersonly.com for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

This book is an interesting mix of Sci Fi and Fantasy, technology and magic. It’s rare to see (at least for me) a good mix where it feels natural to have both.

Lilla is a great character. Often princess characters fit a certain mold. Lilla, however, suffers from anxiety and claustrophobia. I can’t think of another princess character I’ve read about that has these kinds of mental health issues. In spite of this, she had a good character. She cares for the refugees that are being mistreated in her kingdom. She can be stubborn but also vulnerable.

I felt like this world was very rich. It was easy to fall into it. My brain didn’t want to leave it once I finished the book. I expect there to be a sequel (fingers crossed).

One thing I didn’t particularly like was the way modern speech patterns were added in. Words like “duh” and “not”. I felt like this detracted from the mood a bit.

Other than that, there wasn’t much of anything that I didn’t like. The characters were all great. The story was engaging. There was a good mix of action, romance, humor and character development.

My rating for this book is 4 out of 5 stars. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a nice mix of fantasy and sci fi.

Thanks for reading!

There’s No Such Thing As Monsters – by Ren Ryder – Book Review

Synopsis: Monsters come in all shapes and sizes, and not all of them have sharp teeth and beady red eyes.
New London. A thriving metropolis at the forefront of technological advancement and a shining gem of civilization.
Faeries. Whether they come off cute and cuddly or downright predatory, they all bring misfortune or are heralds of it.

Experience is a harsh taskmistress, but her lessons sink the deepest. Having been taught the lesson at great cost, Kal’s rules for dealing with faeries are simple: don’t talk to them, don’t look at them, don’t give them the time of day.

So when the Other Side comes knocking one fateful, stormy day, Kal, at first, pretends not to notice. Was forgetting this rule his folly?

His way of life is in great danger. His little sister, Sammie, a natural mage, is taken by Ouroboros, a criminal organization made up of raving lunatics that profit off the misery and suffering of others, and have everything to do with all the crimes of magic in New London.

Kal will go to any lengths to save his sister, even to his death. Accompanied by his sylph companion, a mischievous pest, Kal dives deep into the dark underbelly of the city, but are his hands enough to dig his sister out from the muck?

My thanks to the author and VoraciousReadersOnly.com for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

So, I’ve been trying for days to think of how to write this review. Honestly, I think this might be one of the worst reviews I’ve written so far. That is NOT a reflection on this book, but more on my own mental state. My brain just can’t seem to come up with good words for this, so I will keep it simple.

This is a good book. I enjoyed reading it. It has lots of action and the main characters motivations are relatable. The world is different for an urban fantasy, as it’s New London at the being of the industrial revolution instead of modern day. The dynamic between Kal and his familiar, Bell, is fun and entertaining.

One thing I had a problem with was figuring out how old Kal is. It’s never specifically said what age he is. Other people often refer to him as “kid” but there’s also mention of him growing facial hair. My guess is that he’s in his mid to late teens.

As this novel ended on quite a cliff hanger, I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel.

My rating for this novel is 3 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to anyone who like urban fantasy and action packed short reads.

Thanks for reading!

Blood of the Phoenix – A Tale of Hayara 0.5 – Book Review

Synopsis: A crown. An affair. A throne all covet.

The Bronze Age is ending. New tools are being discovered to help in humanity’s war campaigns, increasing body counts along with the chances of success. Harrania has vowed to try a peaceful approach, but not all are satisfied with this change in imperial policy.

For millennia, the Blood of the Phoenix has been the human manifestation of the symbol of Ar, the great Phoenix himself. For millennia, the royal family and the descendants of the phoenix intermarry, ensuring the purity of the bloodline. The gods, however, work in mysterious ways, forcing mankind to bend to their will. When the monarchy is threatened, and new powers rise with an eye on the obsidian throne, will the call for peace survive the cries of war? 

My thanks to the author and VoraciousReadersOnly.com for a free review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

For a short little novella, Blood of the Phoenix sure packs a lot into it. We follow Aramast, a well respected general within the army but a not so popular noble with the king. He is in love with the Princess and convinced he would be the best possible candidate for the next king.

The man known as the Blood of the Phoenix is meant to marry the Princess. Though he is Aramast’s close friend, he is also Aramast’s greatest rival, one he considers killing on more than one occasion.

Aramast is an interesting character. He is a warrior through and through, seeing that the best way to protect his country is through military might. The army he leads is loyal to him and would follow him anywhere, even if it means going against the king’s orders. His attitude at times feels a little misogynistic. He claims several times to love the Princess and declared his intentions to “make her mine” though he never actually asks her to marry him, he just sort of demands it. Thankfully, the Princess isn’t a meek woman who simply rolls over and does as she is told. She holds her own with Aramast and makes him work for it.

It is clear that it is all leading up to something much larger. That being the trilogy that this is a prequel to, I would assume. From just this little taste of this world I am intrigued to continue reading.

My rating for this novella is 3 out of 5 stars and I look forward to reading the first official novel in the series.

Ariel’s Tear – By Justin Rose – Book Review

Set in the fictional world of Rehavan, Ariel’s Tear tells the story of Reheuel, Captain of the Guards in the small human city of Gath Odrenoch. An aging soldier haunted by memories of his bloody youth, Reheuel lives a sedate but contented life with his family. Disillusioned with warfare and the glories of his nation’s conquests, he raises his children to value beauty and the wonders that enrich their lives.
His peaceful world shatters, however, when a tribe of goblins threatens both Gath Odrenoch and the nearby Fairy City. Intent on saving his family and on protecting the innocence of the childlike fairies, Reheuel sets off on a journey to save both cities. Lifting his sword once more, he rediscovers the true cost of earthly beauty. 

This is a short book, especially for a fantasy novel, but the author manages to pack quite a lot in there.

The story follows Rehueul and his family as they fight to save their own home and that of the fairies. A gemstone, known as the Tear, is what gives fairies their power and the goblins have attacked and stolen it. As a result, the city begins to crumble and the fairies start to change.

Considering the shortness of this book, it really has a lot to say about childhood and the loss of innocence. Without the Tear, the Fairies connection to Innocence and each other is shattered. They start to gain independent though and can no longer go back to what they were.

The beginning of this book really drew me in. The prologue tells of how the world was created and the “gods” were born. But instead of gods like we would normally think of them, they are traits such as Innocence and Curiosity that gain sentience. This is such a unique concept, I really liked it.

There aren’t a ton of characters in this novel. It’s mostly Reheuel’s family and the fairies, of which only a few are given names. I thought that was great. Too often, it seems like fantasy novels have to throw in as many characters as possible and make the whole plot as weird and convoluted as possible. Ariel’s Tear is nice change of pace as it doesn’t do that and it doesn’t sacrifice anything in terms of description, story and characters.

I would have liked to have known a bit more backstory on the goblins. What were their motivations for attacking the fairy city other than stealing the Tear? They aren’t portrayed as a particularly intelligent race so I wonder how the decision to attack was made. Is there someone else behind the scenes influencing them for their own gain? There’s definitely potential for growth in this world.

A pronunciation guide would also have been helpful. There were a few character’s names that I had no idea how to pronounce properly. I probably butchered it terribly in my head.

My rating for this novel is 3 out of 5 stars and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a quick fantasy read.

Thanks for reading!

The White Field – By Douglas Cole – Book Review

Synopsis: The White Field is a fast-paced journey of a man, Tom, fresh out of prison and trying desperately to rebuild his life. But he is caught by mysterious, unseen forces beyond his knowledge or control. After his release from prison, he is dropped back into the world in the wastelands of the city. In the menial work afforded the underclass, he begins his new life among characters at the edges of society, dwellers of the netherworld such as Raphael, a former cop from Mexicali singing Spanish arias in the mists of the industrial night among drug addicts and crooked cops; Tony, a stoner scholar with an encyclopedic knowledge of history based solely on the intricate study of rock and roll; and Larry, the bloated, abusive manager trapped as much as his workers in a world of tedium and repetition and machines. Think, The Three Stooges on acid. Unable to reconnect with what’s left of his family, Tom embarks on a criminal path more harrowing than the one that led him to prison in the first place. Lured in by the nefarious, Thane, he slips into a plan that will leave him with no way back. And with no place left in this world to go but prison, he makes one last run for freedom. Will he escape?

This book is…weird. I don’t know how else to describe it. The synopsis above makes it sound really exciting, but that isn’t what I would say. I really don’t know what to say.

It begins with Tom getting out of prison. I found it intriguing the way he looked at the world after being out of it for so long. Everything was fresh and new. His appreciation for the things he had was greater than before. That perspective really drew me in.

Then Tom reconnects with some old friends and that’s when things start going into weird territory. At a party he has a few drinks and gets high on something. His narration while high is hard to follow at times. This is understandable as he isn’t in his right mind anymore. While he’s completely messed up his friend, Thane, suggests that he has a “job” for him. Right there I’m like “what? what kind of friend asks his newly out of prison buddy to help him commit a crime?” At first, Tom refuses. He leaves the party, spends the rest of the night whacked out of his mind and then carries on with his life.

He works his menial job, attempts to reconnect with his ex wife and kids, but nothing really works out. After awhile, he agrees to participate in a robbery. This doesn’t even happen til about the half way point. of course, the robbery goes sideways and Tom is on the run. This could have been the exciting part, but it wasn’t really. It was kind of mediocre. Yes, Tom is panicking and feel paranoid as he tries to escape before the police can find him, but it just didn’t feel harrowing.

There were several times I thought that there was going to be some kind of crazy twist, like everything that was happening was all some kind of fever dream or drug induced fantasy or something. I didn’t get what I was expecting.

All that being said, I couldn’t put the book down. Try to follow in Tom’s thoughts, especially when he was high, was confusing but also intriguing. I actually really enjoyed this book.

My rating for this novel is 3 out of 5 stars.

Finding Miss Write – By Gena Webb – Book Review

When suspense novelist Carla Williams is accused of planning an actual murder, her life takes on more plot twists than one of her books. Sure, her life’s in danger, but she’s also caught the attention of handsome detective, Roger Graf, so that kind of evens things out. As Carla nears the end of her novel, it’s up to Roger to catch the killer, or it might be the end of Carla’s life story as well. 

This book was a fun light read.

It starts off in hilarious fashion as Carla and her best friend, Maggie are having lunch in a restaurant and start talking about murdering someone. Of course, Carla is referring to a character in the book she is writing but the couple who overhear the conversation don’t know that. This sets off a chain of events that turn Carla’s life upside down.

I really enjoyed Carla as the main protagonist of the novel. She is smart, quirky, with a great sense of humor and a moral compass. Too often in books when a new romance starts there always something about how the main character never does such and such thing (like jumping into bed with the hot guy she just met) and then does that exact thing! Carla isn’t like that. She’s still grieving the death of her husband from two years ago and although she does start a new relationship it’s much more how a real relationship would go. There’s actual time for the bond between them to grow emotionally, not just physically.

The side characters are fun and interesting too. I especially loved the dynamic between Carla and Maggie. They’re been best friends for years and it shows in the way they interact.

I may have watched too many psychological thrillers in my life so my brain was going a mile a minute while reading, coming up with different scenarios based on small details that amounted to nothing. Yes, there is a killer and yes, its a mystery that needs to be solved, but honestly, it felt rather anti-climactic compared to all the stuff going on in my head.



A dog is murdered in this book. That is a warning for anyone sensitive to animal violence. The scene isn’t graphic and it isn’t particularly described. I’ve read worse accounts of animals violence. However, having recently lost a very loved pet, this was definitely a trigger for me. After that reading session I cried for at least ten minutes straight.


Overall, I wanted more from this book. I wanted some little detail to turn into a huge plot twist. I didn’t end up getting that, but that is no way a bad reflection on this book. It was my own over active imagination that lead to my personal disappointment.

My rating for this book is 3 out of 5 stars. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a quick murder mystery to read.

As always, thanks for reading!

Fantasy Book Review – Where Shadows Lie – The Last Gift #1 by Allegra Pescatore



Speak the truth.
That is what Elenor has been taught to value above all else, but when her brother dies, leaving her next in line for the Throne of Lirin, truth becomes a matter of opinion.

Stand for what is right.
Gabriel thought his years of fighting against oppression were over when he agreed to assassinate the royal family. He never expected to end up helping one of them.

As the carefully woven webs of deception surrounding Elenor and Gabriel begin to unravel, Princess and Rebel must set aside their differences and work together for the sake of the Kingdom they both love.

Meanwhile, from the rainy streets of Lirin to the scorching dunes of the Mondaer Desert, the ripples of their actions have inadvertently broken a chain of events five centuries in the making. Ancient forces move in the shadows, calling in debts and striking deals. A monster with a thousand faces fingers his knife, ready to kill, and a pair of fugitives run for their lives.

With Magic itself misbehaving and old alliances crumbling to dust, it is up to an unlikely group of friends and enemies to pick up the pieces the chosen one left behind.

Wow! I loved this book!

I went into this novel with the misconception that this is a YA novel. It’s not. Which becomes evident on the very first page with the first of many F bombs.

This book begins with an assassination attempt on the current monarchs. The Crown Prince, Wilam, has been working with the Rebellion to bring about the downfall of his tyrant father and incompetent mother. All seems to be going well until his sister, Elenor, saves her father’s life. Wilam is murdered, one of the rebels dies, another tries to kidnap Elenor only to be poisoned by her and the entire plot is ruined.

The world is shaken by the Prince’s death. Plans that revolved around him are now in ruins.

Although I really liked this book, there were a couple things that I could have lived without. There is a rather large amount swearing in this novel, especially the F word. I also could have survived just fine without the um…”sex” scene. It was exactly sex but close enough. I don’t think it was totally necessary to further the relationship between those two characters.

What I liked far out weighs what I didn’t. The characters are all interesting and unique. Fay was my least favorite character, but I didn’t completely hate her. I really felt like Elenor grew as both a person and a future queen through the novel. I would have loved to know more about Gabriel but given his situation in this book, it’s easy to understand why he wouldn’t have much growth. There’s definitely room for that in the sequel.

The world building was great, though there’s still room for more. I didn’t totally understand the magic system as first as it’s referred to “rifting” but after a while it became more clear. I loved how the gods were real tangible beings that interacted with their “chosen” people to further their own plans.

The way the plot is woven, and all the little lies and deceptions are slowly revealed or made clear is masterful! At about the midway point, certain characters come together and Elenor learns more of what is really going in her kingdom. Her internal and physical struggles feel so real, she’s easy to relate to, even if she was a bit annoying at first.

It was great that there’s LGBTQ representation in this book and it doesn’t seem to be taboo in this world.

I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel!

My thanks to the author for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

My rating for this book is 4.5 our of 5 stars and I recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy, character driven novels and fast paced and intricate plots.

Thanks for reading!

Miranda and Caliban – By Jacqueline Carey – Book Review

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A lovely girl grows up in isolation where her father, a powerful magus, has spirited them to in order to keep them safe.

We all know the tale of Prospero’s quest for revenge, but what of Miranda? Or Caliban, the so-called savage Prospero chained to his will?

In this incredible retelling of the fantastical tale, Jacqueline Carey shows readers the other side of the coin—the dutiful and tenderhearted Miranda, who loves her father but is terribly lonely. And Caliban, the strange and feral boy Prospero has bewitched to serve him. The two find solace and companionship in each other as Prospero weaves his magic and dreams of revenge.

Always under Prospero’s jealous eye, Miranda and Caliban battle the dark, unknowable forces that bind them to the island even as the pangs of adolescence create a new awareness of each other and their doomed relationship.

Miranda and Caliban is bestselling fantasy author Jacqueline Carey’s gorgeous retelling of The Tempest. With hypnotic prose and a wild imagination, Carey explores the themes of twisted love and unchecked power that lie at the heart of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, while serving up a fresh take on the play’s iconic characters.

Jacqueline Carey is one of those authors that I absolutely adore. When she writes a book, I buy it, no questions asked. She has never disappointed with her novels and she continues to live up to the pedestal I have placed her on in my mind.

I, personally, have never read The Tempest, the Shakespeare play this novel is based on, but I don’t think it’s necessary to have done so before reading this book. I did look up a summary of the The Tempest so I had some idea of what to expect. A part of me wishes I hadn’t because it gave away much of the story.

Anyway, this novel begins when Miranda is only 6 years old. She has been living on the isle with her father and several elementals that act as servants to her father. Except for a random wild boy that sometimes leaves gifts for her, there is on one else on the isle. When Miranda’s father summons the wild boy and essentials binds him into servitude, the plot truly begins.

Caliban, the wild boy, has lived alone on the isle since the death of his mother. He is unable to speak until Miranda begins teaching him. For the first time, Miranda has a friend and companion to spend her days with. As they grow up together, it is only natural for them to form a strong bond.

Jacqueline Carey captures the essence of a Shakespeare play without actually using the same type of language his plays were written in.

I loved Miranda and felt a great deal of compassion for her as she grows up knowing only obedience to her father, who is quick to punish any kind of disobedience with physical pain. She is little more than a pawn in her father’s plans with no real choice in what her life will become.

Caliban is also an interesting character. Seeing through his eyes as he learns how to speak and comprehend and more and more is amazing. Prospero, Miranda’s father, I feel, is the true villain of the story even if Caliban is made out to be so at certain times. If someone bound you against your will, forced you to do all the chores and punished you for the slightest infraction, you’d probably want to kill them too.

I particularly felt for Miranda when she got her first period. She had absolutely no prior knowledge of what to expect and of course was alarmed when she suddenly started bleeding. Even thinking that she was somehow bleeding internally. It was a very stark contrast to the current time when girls are educated about puberty and what to expect to happen to their bodies. I try to imagine not knowing that such a thing was perfectly normal and then have it happen. It would be a terrifying experience to say the least. The description of Miranda’s confusion and symptoms were so very apt.

The ending felt a little vague, perhaps leaving it open for a sequel. I would love to read one if one was ever written. It was also rather bleak, as you don’t know what might come next. My imagination could certainly fill in a few dark happenings afterwards.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and give it a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. I would recommend it to anyone who likes Shakespeare retellings, fantasy novels, and well, anyone who just loves good books.

Have you read Miranda and Caliban? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!