Review: Luminous by Ingrid Seymour and Katie French

About the book:

Lila McCarty used to see dragons.

That was before they killed her mother, before she told everyone what happened and people stamped the “crazy” label on her head. Now, as a senior in high school, she has no time for dragon legends or the tourists who putter around her lighthouse. She just wants to graduate and get the hell out.

But when twelve of Lila’s classmates, including her best friend, mysteriously vanish during the town’s dragon festivities, she tracks down the three mysterious guys who seem to know more than they let on. They’re sexy and infuriatingly charming, though that has nothing to do with why she’s enlisting their help.

It turns out Lila wasn’t crazy. Dragons are real. Not only that, the three dragon shifters have answers: her past, her role in their hidden world. It’s Lila’s duty to save her friends, whether she likes it or not.

When her classmates start turning up dead, she’s on a race against the clock–find the killer, or lose them all.

Cover of Luminous by Ingrid Seymour and Katie French

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Review by Katy Haye:

Luminous was thoroughly enjoyable. Lila was a great character and I adored the relationship with her father.

There was plenty of drama and adventure (Lila was perhaps a little bit too eager to leap into dangerous situations without planning or thinking them through, but then it wouldn’t be much of a book if she stayed home by the fire from beginning to end!), and it snapped along at a smashing pace.

The romance was good, although for a reverse harem, I thought it was perhaps a little uneven: she seemed to be genuinely attracted to one of the guys, with the other two relegated to crushes. But I’ll be interested to see how this pans out in the next book or two.

If you like a nice, handsome dragon shifter (and who doesn’t?), this is highly recommended!

Katy Haye writes speculative fiction for young adults. Contemporary fantasy, The Last Gatekeeper, is available now.

 

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Review: Chosen by Grace by Alicia Rades

About the book:

She thought the demons were in her head… until the night they attacked.

Ryn Tyler didn’t intend to kill a demon when she moved to Eagle Valley—or to become the hero of a divine race of angels. She just wants to be a normal teenager, but fate has other plans.

While discovering the secrets of the supernatural, Ryn navigates a complicated relationship with Marek, the guy who can’t stop saving her life. But Marek knows more about Ryn’s magic than he’s letting on.

Only Ryn has the power to stop the coming apocalypse. But there’s a demon in Eagle Valley who wants that power for himself—and if Ryn wants to survive, she’ll have to fight back.

Cover of Chosen by Grace by Alicia RadesReview by Katy Haye:

This was a lovely supernatural read featuring a strong heroine, a highly-fanciable hero and a great supporting cast of characters and friends.

I loved the twists on genre staples – like the way Ryn and her best friend Allie deal with the party creep on their own rather than needing a boy to save them. And I also liked the way Ryn sought for other solutions, instead of violence being the first and only step to take against someone threatening you.

The action sequences were great, with lots of drama and peril.

My only niggle was that by contrast, the development of the romantic relationship didn’t quite chime for me. It felt a little like, “Oh, I’m in such dreadful danger and about to die … my, what lovely blue eyes you have.” But then, I’m a cynical old so and so – what better than to look at a lovely pair of eyes if you are facing death?

If you like strong, principled heroines and heroes with secrets, you’ll love this one.

Katy Haye writes speculative fiction for young adults. Contemporary fantasy, The Last Gatekeeper, is available now.

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Review: Dragon School series by Sarah K Wilson

About the series:

A disabled teen, an empathetic dragon, and a bond that will save the world.

Sixteen-year-old Amel arrived at Dragon School just like everyone else – with a dream to ride dragons and join the Dominion Dragon Riders. But Amel has a crippled leg and Dragon School training is grueling.

And that’s before treachery and betrayal get thrown into the mix.

Sarah K Wilson's Dragon School series

Review by Katy Haye:

Now, a story with a different presentation today. The Dragon School is a series of novellas told in serial form. That means short, snappy (pun intended!) episodes and glorious cliffhangers.

I’m loving this series so much. The novellas (about 20k words each) are compact enough that I can read them in an afternoon or evening. And they are gloriously episodic, like watching a TV series – there’s drama, character development and progress towards the overall goal, ending with a dramatic cliffhanger that leaves me desperate for the next episode.

Cliffhangers, of course, are Marmite cubed – readers either love or hate them. I love them so long as they’re well done. And they are well done here.

The story is a delight, too. Amel is a great character, and the relationship between Amel and her dragon, Raolcan is a joy to read – full of humour and solid as a rock underneath. Around that there’s more twists and turns than you could shake Amel’s crutch at, a great cast of supporting (and opposing) characters, and a romance is brewing up beautifully.

I’ve just finished book 8 and can’t wait to read more (9’s just been released and there will, I believe, be 20 in all, with a book released every 18 days until the series is done).

If you like fantasy, dragon school has it all. Start with First Flight today.

Katy Haye writes speculative fiction for young adults. Contemporary fantasy, The Last Gatekeeper, is available now.

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Review: Rising Silver Mist by Olivia Wildenstein

About the book:

THERE WERE THREE THINGS I WAS CERTAIN ABOUT.

First, I would never kill another person. But when a family friend murdered my father, I destroyed her with a power I didn’t even know I possessed.

Second, I would never strike another bargain. But faeries could bring the dead back, so when Cruz offered to revive my father, I accepted.

Third, I would never marry an enemy, but every bargain comes at a price. The price of mine: I had to marry Cruz and move to the faerie isle.

For the first time in my life, I wondered if death wouldn’t be a kinder end.

Cover of Olivia Wildenstein's Rising Silver Mist

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Review by Katy Haye:

I enjoyed Rising Silver Mist, but not quite as much as I did the earlier books in the Lost Clan series. Cat was glorious as ever. I loved her dilemma as she tried to come to terms with all the different elements of herself – and what she was capable of. And the folklore of hunters and faeries was sumptuous. We got to see Nevarra in this book, and that’s where my problems started.

I want the fantasy worlds I read about to be places I’d want to go and visit, and Nevarra I’d run a mile from. Maybe it’s just an unfortunate coincidence that I’ve read several fae books lately, and all of them were worlds presented as being thoroughly sexist and misogynistic. We didn’t get to see it (thank goodness), but in Nevarra rape is perfectly acceptable, so long as it’s a higher-status male attacking a lower-status female. I’m a woman, and of course I know that sexism and gender inequality are important issues, and exploring sexism and its effects in literature is a good thing to do. But I really don’t like reading about it. I’d much rather be uplifted in fiction. I’d rather stories gave us patterns of places where sex and gender and other human inequalities aren’t an issue – show me worlds where we can get on without demeaning people based purely on a chance difference in chromosomes.

But I’m getting a little adrift. Sexist world aside, Rising Silver Mist was a solid and satisfying end to Ace and Catori’s story. I’m delighted Cat got to understand and use her abilities, I just wish she hadn’t needed to go to Nevarra to do so.

Katy Haye writes speculative fiction for young adults. Fantasy, The Last Gatekeeper, is available now.

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Review: Tracing Shadows by Alex Lidell

About the book:

To protect the throne, seventeen-year-old spy Kali must play a male guardsman trainee by day and royal lady by night.

Orphaned and trained on a spymaster’s remote estate, Kali is a scout who works alone in the shadows. But when a terror group threatens the Dansil throne, the king forces Kali to accept a mission at the palace or forfeit her sister’s life.

Suddenly thrust into the light, Kali must infiltrate high society as the royal Lady Lianna while penetrating the servant ranks as Kal, a male guardsman trainee. It doesn’t help that Trace, the harsh and enigmatic captain of the king’s guard, is soon assigned as both Lady Lianna’s palace escort and Kal’s commanding officer.

As Kali edges closer to the truth behind the violent group’s identity, she uncovers dangerous secrets that could bring her mission to a brutal end. A scout’s job is to observe and report, never to engage . . . but if it means saving her sister and kingdom, Kali may have no choice.

Cover of Alex Lidell's Tracing Shadows

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Review by Katy Haye:

If you’re doing anything right now that’s not reading an Alex Lidell book, you are wasting your time. Really, her books are that good. Click on the cover and see if you don’t love Kali within a sentence or two.

I fell in love with the Tides series, but Tracing Shadows has achieved the impossible and is even better. I fell into the story and didn’t want to leave.

All the characters are excellent, and the dynamics between Trace and Kali were fabulously drawn – and with several twists I didn’t see coming. Violet is entirely heartbreaking and all their stories and character trajectories collided in a finale that left me breathless.

I can’t wait to read the next and discover how it all works out for all the characters.

Read it now!

Katy Haye writes speculative YA fiction. Katy’s The Clockwork War, set in an alternate, war-torn 1840s England with a mechanical genius for a heroine, a dastardly duke and a hero who isn’t what he appears, is the first novel in her complete steampunk series.

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Review: The Necromancer’s Apprentice by Icy Sedgwick

About the book:

Though Jyximus Faire lives in a crumbling tenement in the Underground City, he escapes the squalor daily to attend lessons in magic and sorcery at the prestigious Academy in the City Above. But the pace isn’t fast enough for Jyx. He wants to learn everything – and he wants to learn it now.

Then the dread necromancer general Eufame Delsenza sets her sights on Jyx; she needs a new apprentice, and Jyx fits the bill. When she tasks him with helping to prepare royal mummies for an all-important procession, he realises this might be a chance of a lifetime.

Will Jyx’s impatience lead to him taking his education into his own inexperienced hands, and can a necromancer’s apprentice really learn to raise the dead – and control them?

Review by Katy Haye:

The Necromancer’s Apprentice is a delightful fantasy. Icy Sedgwick has created a glorious world that I felt immediately at home in. It was rich and realistic, with plenty going on and strong social divides giving plenty of scope for tensions. The language was a joy, and I particularly liked the nod to this world’s culture in Jyx’s pulp fiction reads.

Jyx was a great character. As a bookwormy, nerdy swot myself, I could completely identify with how he felt. Being a more cautious sort than him, on the other hand, I was entertained to see exactly how he was going to trip himself up.

Suffice to say, I didn’t really have a clue. Jyx is way too clever for his own good – and if you’re going to mess up, clearly you might as well mess up big time!

I loved every word of The Necromancer’s Apprentice and I immediately added next in the series, The Necromancer’s Rogue, to my Kindle. Highly recommended.

Katy Haye writes speculative YA fiction. Katy’s The Clockwork War, set in an alternate, war-torn 1840s England with a mechanical genius for a heroine, a dastardly duke and a hero who isn’t at all as he appears, is the first novel in her complete steampunk series.

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The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan

About the book:

Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale has one job: protect humans from dangerous magical creatures

It’s a job she’s good at—until her latest assignment, the cute human guy whose life she just saved, follows her into the fae realm.

This is against faerie law, meaning Vi’s future at the Guild of Guardians is now at stake. The last thing she wants to do is spend more time with the guy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the fae realm.

Easy, right?

Not when you factor in evil faeries, long-lost family members, and inconvenient feelings of the romantic kind. Vi is about to find herself tangled up in a dangerous plot—and it’ll take all her training to get out alive.

Cover of Rachel Morgan's The Faerie Guardian

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Review by Katy Haye:

This was another fabulous chance find. It took some fairly well-worn tropes: faeries, supernatural school, fae protecting humans, and wove them into something new and refreshing. Violet was fabulous, a kickass and delightfully witty heroine.

The relationships were depicted in a deft and convincing manner. Nothing was too glib and Vi is clearly going to have to work if she wants a happy ending (I’m shipping her, but there are no guarantees it’s going to work out the way I want!).

There were plenty of twists and turns and I was pleased when things didn’t end up the way they’d seemed they might at the start. I always like being taken satisfactorily by surprise, and The Faerie Guardian undermined my expectations in the best way.

Highly recommended!

Katy Haye writes speculative YA fiction. Katy’s The Clockwork War, set in an alternate, war-torn 1840s England with a mechanical genius for a heroine, a dastardly duke and a hero who isn’t at all as he appears, is the first novel in her complete steampunk series.

 

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