The Khehemni Chronicles: Book 1 – Dragon of the Desert by Jean Lowe Carlson (ARC Review)

Dragon of the Desert marks the beginning of a prequel trilogy in the same fantasy realm as Jean Lowe Carlson’s earlier Kingsmen Chronicles trilogy, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Set 1,000 years before events in Blackmark book 1 of the Kingsmen Chronicles, this book tells the story of the Khehemni.

With the King deemed unfit to rule and the nation gearing up for battle, it is up to the Heir Leith Alodwine, to pass his trials of kingship in order to take his rightful place as successor to the throne. Will Leith survive, or is the royal line in jeopardy? Read Dragon of the Desert now to find out.

I like that there is an appendix attached to the book with a pronunciation guide for the names and phrases, as it can be difficult to work out how to pronounce them properly otherwise. However, as usual with digital books, any maps attached – no matter how pretty they are – are almost impossible to read.

This action-packed epic fantasy from Jean Lowe Carlson will leave you breathless and wanting more, with its fast pace and thrilling story, this is everything you could ask for. Written in similar style to George R.R. Martin’s Ice and Fire Series (Game of Thrones) this is definitely a book fantasy fans don’t want to miss. It blends war and strife, with hope and magic. Gives us characters to root for, and inspires emotion as we travel on their journeys across the desert with them, fighting for their homes and families. With great descriptive details, you almost feel like you are right there in the desert with them, so immersed in the story it’s almost like you’re playing a part, side-by-side with your favourite characters.

At 5 out of 5 stars, I’m eagerly anticipating the release of book 2 in this trilogy, Wolf of the Resistance. While you’re waiting though, if you haven’t already, I recommend catching up on the other series and reading the Kingsmen Chronicles trilogy: Blackmark, Bloodmark and Goldenmark.

Also, for the record, I received a complimentary copy of Dragon of the Desert directly from Ms. Carlson herself and have voluntarily chosen to write this review.

See also:

Kingsmen Chronicles: Book 1 – Blackmark

Kingsmen Chronicles: Book 2 – Bloodmark

Kingsmen Chronicles: Book 3 – Goldenmark

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (Book Review)

For my first book review of 2022 I’ve chosen Anansi Boys, the sequel, or rather companion novel to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. You can read my review of American Gods here.

…beware of possible spoilers…

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Supernatural: The Roads Not Taken by Tim Waggoner (Book Review)

The Roads Not Taken is a fantasy novel based on the cult TV series Supernatural which was created by Eric Kripke.

Tim Waggoner’s idea behind this TV tie-in novel, coupled with illustrations from Zachary Baldus, is to allow ‘YOU’ the reader a rare opportunity to decide the fate of your favourite characters, Sam and Dean Winchester. This interactive book provides four different inter-connected tales of supernatural terror and during each story there are numerous hunter style decisions that the brothers must make: Use a gun or a knife? Holy water or salt? Go in alone or wait for backup?

Each tiny decision can seal the fate for our heroes. Now ‘YOU’ the reader can make those choices and decide for yourself how you want them to end, as you travel across the back roads of America as a passenger in the Impala, during the following four adventures:

  • Here Kitty, Kitty
  • Shulman’s Model
  • Hollow Town
  • Let Us Prey
Favourite Quotes:

 “Crazy cat ladies, there’s at least one in every town.” – Dean. (pg19)

“Cat, you have five seconds to get off my car before I start shooting. And so help me, if you scratched the paint with your claws…” – Dean. (pg24)

Sam: “Heart attacks in otherwise healthy people. And the victims were found with expressions of sheer terror on their faces.”

Dean: “So? Dying is scary. We ought to know; we’ve done it enough times.”

(pg63)

“It’s cold out today, even homicidal maniacs need to stay inside and keep warm.” – Dean. (pg100)

“Crazy in life, crazy in death.” – Sam. (pg126)

Ever wondered how you would fare if you lived the life of a hunter like Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural? You ever wish the brothers had made a different choice? Well here’s your chance to seal their fate, based on your own decisions.

During The Road Not Taken, ‘YOU’ the reader have the opportunity to make each difficult choice, when you reach the pivotal moments in the story. Will the good guys win? Should you save the life of the innocent victim? Can you wait until the cavalry arrives or blunder on and hope for the best? You decide!

At 4 out of 5 stars, I’m sure the supernatural hunter inside you will love this fun little book of four short novellas and its rather unique and delightful premise. I only wish this book was a little longer.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Carved In Flesh

Supernatural: Mythmaker

Supernatural: Children of Anubis

Supernatural: Joyride by John Passarella (Book Review)

Joyride is book sixteen in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is the fourth to have been written by John Passarella. It takes place during season twelve between episodes 19 (The Future) and 20 (Twigs & Twine & Tasha Banes).

…major spoiler warning for this review, as well as for those not familiar and up-to-date with the TV series…

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Supernatural: Children of Anubis by Tim Waggoner (Book Review)

Children of Anubis is book seventeen in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is the third to have been written by Tim Waggoner. It takes place during season twelve between episodes 5 (The One You’ve Been Waiting For) and 6 (Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox).

…major spoiler warning for this review, as well as for those not familiar and up-to-date with the TV series…

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Supernatural: The Usual Sacrifices by Yvonne Navarro (Book Review)

The Usual Sacrifices is book fifteen in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is written by Yvonne Navarro. It takes place during season ten between episodes 10 (The Hunter Games) and 13 (Halt & Catch Fire).

…possible spoiler warning for those not familiar and up-to-date with the TV series…

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Supernatural: Cold Fire by John Passarella (Book Review)

Cold Fire is book thirteen in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is written by John Passarella. It takes place during season ten between episodes 12 (About a Boy) and 13 (Halt & Catch Fire).

…spoiler warning for those not familiar and up-to-date with the TV series…

Continue reading “Supernatural: Cold Fire by John Passarella (Book Review)”

Supernatural: Mythmaker by Tim Waggoner (Book Review)

Mythmaker is another Supernatural TV Tie-in novel from Tim Waggoner. It’s actually the fourteenth book in the series, but takes place before book 13, Cold Fire, chronologically. With the events occurring during season ten between episodes 8 (Hibbing 911) and 9 (The Things We Left Behind).

In Corinth, Illinois a young artist called Renee Mendez is unknowingly summoning a host of ancient Gods to her hometown. They manifest as she paints them onto canvas, seeking out allies for a coming war. Drawn to the strange occurrences, Sam and Dean Winchester head to Illinois posing as FBI Agents, in order to infiltrate and eliminate the god infestation.

…spoiler warning for those not familiar and up-to-date with the TV series…

Continue reading “Supernatural: Mythmaker by Tim Waggoner (Book Review)”

The Hunger Games: Book 0 – The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Book Review)

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel novel in the Hunger Games series from Suzanne Collins. The story takes place many years before the main trilogy, during the 10th Annual Hunger Games event and is told through the eyes of a young Coriolanus Snow.

Coriolanus is better known as President Snow in the later books – and portrayed on-screen by Donald Sutherland in the film trilogy. However, during Songbirds and Snakes Coriolanus is a young student seeking extra credit and a University Scholarship, by taking part in a new Mentorship scheme for the Hunger Games.

In order to make his dreams a reality, Coriolanus must mentor a winning tribute in the Annual Games. However, he’s paired with sixteen year old Lucy Gray Baird from District 12, a musical performer unlikely to survive the trials that lie ahead of her. But will the odds turn out to be in Lucy’s favour? 

I debated whether or not to write this review, as I wasn’t all that keen on the main trilogy. My major gripe that I had with those novels was the amount of time dedicated to the build-up of the Games, as opposed to the Hunger Games themselves. At first Songbirds and Snakes appears no different in composition, however what time we do have within the Games this time is much more detailed. We’re given descriptions of the death of each tribute, provided with a list of tribute’s names, as well as those of the Mentors assigned to them, and regular check-ins telling us which tributes are still in play within the arena. This makes it easier to keep track of events.

I wish Suzanne had chosen a different district to focus on in this story though, rather than just sticking with the overused district 12, as I’d have enjoyed learning more about the other districts and their ways of life, rather than a rehashing of familiar places.

Having spent some time deliberating why President Snow was chosen to feature in this prequel story, I realised that this was probably because Snow was the only character that made sense. There were no other major players – at least none that currently spring to mind – from the main trilogy, whose backstory would have even been remotely interesting to read. So choosing Snow was the logical choice. The obvious question being, how did he become President?

Despite having now learned more about Coriolanus Snow and his tough upbringing I’m still not sure I’m warming to this particular character. Still don’t like him, he’s not endearing enough or interesting enough to warrant such a long book. The story becomes extremely stretched out and unengaging as it crawls along towards the end, and as a result I can only rate The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes at 2 out of 5 stars.

It has a somewhat enjoyable start, which peters out into pointless drivel, dotted with the hints of the obligatory romance now common to most young adult novels these days. It still leaves a number of questions unanswered, and I suspect that that means there will be another book to come.

See also:

Book 1 – The Hunger Games

Book 2 – Catching Fire

Book 3 – Mockingjay

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K Rowling (Book Review)

The famous young wizard, Harry Potter and his closest friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, begin their 6th year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, with its increased security measures in light of the now public return of the Dark Wizard, Voldemort. 

Their fellow student, Draco Malfoy, high profile son of recently imprisoned Death Eater, Lucius Malfoy, begins acting in a rather strange and un-Draco like manner, even before their return to Hogwarts, making Harry inclined to believe that Draco is treading in the footsteps of his father as a servant to the Dark Lord. However, Harry has trouble convincing those around him that Lord Voldemort would be in league with an untrained, sixteen year old wizard.

Meanwhile, Harry’s least favourite Professor, Severus Snape has finally achieved his dream of becoming the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts, a position that seems to be jinxed, but which side is the ex-Death Eater loyal to these days: Dumbledore or Voldemort?

Can Harry discover what Draco Malfoy is up to and prevent him from causing trouble? Is his theory about Malfoy joining the dark Lord correct, or will Ron and Hermione prove Harry wrong?

 

The Half-Blood Prince is the first Harry Potter novel not to begin by discussing Harry’s present circumstances at the Dursley family home, instead setting the stage from the enemy’s perspective.

Despite being much shorter than its predecessor, the Half-Blood Prince is not really the most engrossing of stories and I feel that at 3.5 out of 5 stars it may be one of the weakest novels in the series. Most of the book is mundane and positively dull with all of the excitement appearing near the end.

Also the fact that House-Elf’s can ‘apparate’ inside Hogwarts really bothered me, and distracted me a little, as apparition shouldn’t be possible considering all of the additional enchantments that have been put in place to ensure the safety of the students. I know Elf magic is different to Wizard magic, but I feel that it is a tremendous flaw in the storyline which throws up a number of plot holes.

 

See also:

Book 1: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Book 2: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Book 3: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Book 4: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Book 5: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Book 7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows