Tales from Ara: Into The Unknown by Irena de Wardin and Isabella de Wardin


Tales From Ara: Into the Unknown

Title: Tales from Ara: Into The Unknown

Author: Isabella and Irena De Wardin

Publisher: AFNIL- ISBN (International Standard Book Number)

Date of publication: March 9th, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Number of pages: 451

Where you can find Tales from Ara: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Single and hopelessly romantic, Harlette is your everyday girl who dreams only of two things: falling in love and finding her place in the world.
Her relatively uneventful life takes an unexpected turn when she is transported into another world, Ara, without so much as an explanation or even a decent pair of trousers.
Wearing nothing but underwear and stilettos, she finds herself in Nimrod’s forest, just to be captured by the elven king Karayan and his guard. Nimrod is Ara’s strongest kingdom, and Karayan is the most powerful of elves.
Despite developing a keen interest in her, humans are a rare sighting in Ara and usually a bad omen; this makes Karayan suspicious of Harlette and even, disagreeable…
Thrown into the middle of a rising interdimensional war, marked as a trespasser and with no way of returning home, Harlette is dragged into a series of adventures and soon finds out that this fairy tale – no matter how cruel or beautiful – is no longer the fruit of her imagination. Love is not as easy as it is in romance novels and she will need to harden her heart and mind if she wishes to survive the upcoming whirlwind of events that will befall her.
Will Harlette discover the purpose behind her sudden arrival in Ara, and will she be strong enough to face the challenges thrown at her?

My Review

I enjoyed reading Tales from Ara. The overall plot, which reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, was great at first. Young, innocent girl falls through a mirror into a strange land and ends up having the adventure of a lifetime while trying to figure out why she ended up in Ara. I loved it and couldn’t read those chapters fast enough. Then Karayan found her and the plot started to get a little less great. By the end of the book, I was a confused mess because the plotline did so many switches that my head was spinning.

While Harlette was one of my favorite characters in the book, she also kind of annoyed me. She came across, in some scenes, as amazingly immature and she kept getting herself into situations that made me go “Seriously why didn’t you listen!!”. She was also very naïve and didn’t heed the advice of Karayan or Bernard, her cat. But, like I said, I did enjoy her character. She was kind and she believed the best in people. She also brought out the best in her companions….mainly Karayan.

Oh, let’s talk about Karayan. Honestly, I thought he was a controlling jerk who kept jerking Harlette around by her emotions. But there were some glimmers of a decent elf underneath all of that. He cared about his people/kingdom and would do anything to keep them safe and I also think that he did care for Harlette, even though she was a human. Again, glimmers and if the author could extract those out, I think the next book would be 100% better.

The whole storyline with Christine was well weird and I couldn’t get into it. I wish that more was given into Christine’s background, other than being Harlette’s foster-sister. I mean, it is revealed that she is a witch, that has almost no powers, and she is the one who sent Harlette into Ara. When I say that the storyline is weird, it is almost like it was put in there to fill in space because, to be very blunt, other than revealing the identity or Harlette’s mother and father, it added nothing to the storyline. Also, she and Harlette’s parents kept referring to Harlette as “The Daughter” but no explanation was given, which drove me absolutely nuts.

The main storyline with Harlette and Karayan really threw me for a loop. I loved it up until they stumbled upon the beanstalk. Harlette and Karayan were actually getting along until she decided to take the giant queens challenge to defeat the spirit and had to get Karayan out of the chains. Which they did by sharing an amazing kiss. It was after that when Karayan decided to teach Harlette what she was missing, that the book kind of went sideways and backward. Not going to get into it but I didn’t like the total idiot Karayan became to Harlette. It bothered me on so many levels.

The ending of the book was a cliffhanger and you all know how I feel about that.

I do have some questions and a repeat of one already asked above that I hope will be answered in book 2:

*Why are the mantises so bad? I know that it was touched upon in the book but I am beginning to think that there is a more personal reason that Karayan doesn’t like them

*Why did Harlette’s parents leave her on Earth? Just saying, because now, my opinion of them isn’t that great.

*Who is Christine, really?

and the burning question that I really wanted to be answered:

*Why is Harlette called The Daughter!!

How many stars will I give Tales from Ara: 3

Why: While I did say that I liked the story (I did), what brought my rating down from the 4 that would have given it to a 3 is this: I couldn’t relate to Harlette or Karayan. Also, I was left very confused by the end of the book. Not because of the cliffhanger but because of the 180 Karayan did with Harlette. It confused the heck out of me.

Will I reread: Maybe

Will I recommend to family and friends: Maybe

Age range: Adult

Why: Violence and one very explicit sexual scene

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light by Jaimie Engel


Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light

Title: Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light

Author: Jaimie M. Engle

Publisher: JME Books

Date of publication, September 24th, 2013

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Clifton Chase is the latest target for bully Ryan Rivales. But after he finds a mysterious arrow in his closet, he takes Ryan’s bet to see who can hit the target. Ryan nails the bull’s-eye, but Clifton’s piece of junk arrow sails out of sight and when he finally finds it, something isn’t right. Somehow, Clifton has been magically transported back to 1485 England, where he meets two princes bullied by their tyrant uncle who locked them in prison to steal their throne. Only after Clifton learns the true meaning of friendship, bravery, and sacrifice can he help the princes escape and find the courage to face his own bully. Befriended by a dwarf, a mythical bird called Simurgh, and a cast of comical characters, Clifton’s fantasy adventure through medieval times is perfect for boys and girls of all ages, and the young at heart. For those who like fantasy kids books like Percy Jackson and Harry Potter.

My review:

I was setting up to review Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light and my 11-year-old happened to wander over and was looking over my shoulder. She was very excited after reading the blurb and begged me to buy the book for her once I was done reading it. I asked her what made her want to read it and she said “Mom, just read the blurb. A bullied boy gets transported back in time and help other bullied boys. Sounds like something I would love to read.

I would have to agree with her about that. Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light was a book that I loved reading. Wonderfully written, I was taken on a journey of self-discovery and courage and Clifton realizes his worth and gets the courage to do what is right.

I will admit that Clifton was a little bratty in the beginning of the book. To be honest, I thought his first interactions with Ryan were more about jealousy than being bullied and he started to annoy me….big time. But the more I read, the more I started to understand that Ryan was being a bully and my annoyance with Clifton started to fade. By the time I got to the part of the book where Clifton’s parents were making him write an apology letter to the coach and Ryan, my annoyance faded and I felt bad for him.

I thought that the historical fantasy part of the book was fantastic. From the minute Clifton landed in 1485 England and met Dane, I was entranced. There were dwarves, dragons, sea monsters, mermaids, a magical arrow and a magical bird who has a human face. Add in that it takes place in 1485 England with real historical people, places, and events and I couldn’t get enough of it.

I did have a small complaint about the modern language that Clifton used with talking to Prince Edward, Prince Richard, and Lady Elizabeth. But, then I thought about it a bit and how was he supposed to talk. He was a visitor sent back in time….how was he supposed to talk? So my little complaint ended shortly after I had that thought.

The growth of Clifton in the book was great. He went from being an insecure little boy who didn’t know how to deal with a bully to a confident young man who had the wisdom to know when to walk away from his bully. While the transformation was gradual, it really showed at the end of the book with the choices that Clifton made both in his life in Melbourne, Florida and in 1485 England.

Speaking of the end of the book, I really liked it and I also liked that the author chose to leave it with the possibility that there could be a book 2. Which I hope there is because I can’t wait to see what adventures Clifton will go on next.

How many stars will I give Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light: 4

Why: This is a book that I would feel very comfortable letting both my 9-year-old and 11-year-old read. It has a great plot line with relatable characters.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Tween

Why: mild violence but otherwise a very clean book.  I will add a trigger warning because of the bullying scenes.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Roses (Golden: Book 2) by Melinda Michaels


Roses (Golden #2)

Title: Roses

Author: Melinda Michaels

Publisher: REUTS Publications

Date of publication: May 16th, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Number of pages: Unknown

POV: 3rd person

Series: Golden

Golden – Book 1

Roses – Book 2

Where you can find Roses: Amazon (will update once it appears on Amazon)

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

When Poppy Pruette comes home for the summer after her first year at college, she expects it to be just like every summer before it: filled with cookouts, nosy neighbors, town hall meetings and long, hot days.

She never expects a murder. Not in Miner’s Way, Virginia.

But the sanctity of her small town is shattered when Poppy’s widely beloved grandmother, Rose, is brutally killed the night of a neighborhood barbecue. No one knows what to make of it or who might be responsible, least of all Poppy—until Detective Owen Peirce arrives from out-of-town with strange questions and a family history far more sinister than Poppy ever imagined.

Owen believes Poppy was the intended target, not Rose. Now, to save herself, Poppy must go into hiding and learn the truth about her family legacy. What she uncovers will change her life forever.

A grim and delightfully plausible fairy tale retelling, Roses is the story of a young woman contending with the question: what do we owe to our ancestors?

My review:

I enjoyed reading Roses but I had issues with following some of the content. See, Roses is book 2 in the Golden series by the same author and the characters and storylines from the first book are heavily involved in the latter part of the book. Which made it very hard to follow at times because the characters (mainly Owen) would talk about events from the last book. If I had read Golden first and then read Roses, then I would have a better grip on the storyline.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the book. The original retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with shades of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and 1001 Nights thrown in really kept my attention. I also liked the distinctions between the Good,  the Others and the Storytellers(basically the fairy tale characters descendants, the villain descendants and the fairy tale writers descendants). I never gave thought to what happens after the fairy tale ends and there are children on both sides. Also, that both the fairy tale descendants and the villain’s descendants are destined to relive the fairy tale is pretty interesting too.

I felt bad for Poppy but that girl got on my one last nerve. She came across as a childish, spoiled brat who defied Owen at every turn. I mean, someone is out to kill her and she just takes off for New York City to go see her best friend. Doesn’t answer her phone and then acts like a brat when Owen tracks her down. Made me want to tear my hair out or reach through the book and give her a shake. She did grow on me after New York City and I actually liked her at the end of the book.

Owen, I liked and I felt bad for him. He had such a tragic backstory and what happened to him when he was younger did shape him into the person he became as an adult. I also liked, really liked, that he didn’t want to follow his story. He wanted to make his own story and in a way, he did. He did go to California to rescue his princess but came back for Poppy. If I had any doubt about his feelings for her, they were definitely cleared up when they reunited.

The end of the book really had me on my toes. The author did a great job keeping the killer’s identity hidden up until the end of the book. I was a little surprised by who the killer was but it fit perfectly with the book.

How many stars will I give Roses: 3.5 (rounded up to 4 on Goodreads and Amazon)

Why: Roses definitely kept my attention while reading. From the complex characters to a great plot, Roses is on my keeper list. Now, why I gave it a 3.5 rating: It is not a stand-alone book.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Older Teen

Why: This is a very clean book. Some mild violence and language and one kissing scene.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

When The Gods War (Chronicles of Meldinar: Book 2) by S.C. Stokes


When The Gods War (Chronicles of Meldinar, #2)

Title: When The Gods War

Author: S.C. Stokes

Publisher: Unknown

Date of publication: February 13th, 2017

Genre: Fantasy

Number of pages: 243

POV: 3rd person

Series: Chronicles of Meldinar

A Coronation of Kings – Book 1 (review here)

When The Gods War – Book 2

Where you can find When The Gods War: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Drought, desperation, deliverance.

Yaneera is the youngest Empress in the history of Andara. With her land in turmoil, she must use her wit and cunning just to stay alive. Severe drought has brought with it famine, starvation, and death. As her people waver on the verge of open rebellion, Yaneera must deliver them or perish at their hand.

Andara’s struggles have not gone unnoticed. Neighboring kingdoms stand ready to deliver the killing blow.

As chaos erupts across the land a stranger appears in the Empress’ court. Preaching the presence of a new God, Mythos, the newcomer promises deliverance for Yaneera and her people.

Mythos power is not without a price, and Yaneera soon finds herself facing a crisis of conscience. . .

Will she sell her soul to save her people?

If you enjoy action-packed adventure and frantic fantasy you will love S.C. Stokes’ When The Gods War. Grab your copy and enter this exciting new world today.

When the Gods War is the exciting sequel to A Coronation of Kings. It can be read as a stand-alone novel or as book two in the Chronicles of Meldinar Series.

My review:

When I started reading When The Gods War, I was a little confused but a little intrigued. What confused me was that the author chose not include the characters from the first book until about halfway through. Instead, he built up the nations and people of the Sevalorn, who were briefly mentioned in the first book. I am actually glad that he did that because there was so much back story to the nation of Andara, The Plains of Kairon, the kingdoms of Vitaem,  Tres Cidea, and Khashish, the forests of Diadri and the Dwarven Kingdom of the Everpeak. The confusion was because that was a move that I didn’t expect. Honestly, I thought that we would be seeing Syrion, Tristan, and Elaina sooner in the book…not later.

What I also liked was that there were no really bad guys. Yaneera did have a hand in all the drama and war that was started but, in her defense, she did it because she was backed into a corner by Vitaem and she would have done anything to save her people. Even if that meant aligning herself with a newcomer who promises her that he will save her. Just reading Yaneera’s thoughts and how she really didn’t like Jonas but needed him was fascinating. It made for a great read and made me alternately feel bad for her and not like her.

The storyline with Syrion and Elaina was interesting. Interesting because Elaina was trying to restore Marcus back to life (she had his soul that was entrapped in a stone) and Syrion was on a mission to find out who these Disciples are and to stop them from taking over his world. I will say that Elaina’s storyline surprised me the most because I wasn’t expecting for certain people to show themselves. There is a small clue in the beginning of the book that I overlooked but other than that, nothing was mentioned about this person. So yeah, I was surprised

Syrion’s storyline did have its surprises too but I am not going to get into his storyline too much without revealing anything. Let’s just say that it was a very bloody battle and there are certain deaths that surprised me. Like really surprised me to the point where I said “Oh no you didn’t” out loud at 11 pm

The end of the book was very anticlimactic and it ended suddenly. But, with the way it ended, I could see a book 3. The reason I say that is because there were certain storylines there was not wrapped up and I need to know what is going to happen.

How many stars will I give When The Gods War: 4

Why: Like the first book, this book was very engrossing. It was also very fast paced and the characters were 3D.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Older Teen

Why: Violence

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Satan’s Son by Simone Elise


Satan's Son

Title: Satan’s Son

Author: Simone Elise

Publisher: Inkitt

Date of publication: May 10th 2017

Genre: Romance, fantasy, Young Adult

Number of pages: 134

Where you can find Satan’s Son: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

You never expect to meet your soulmate after you die. And you definitely never expect your soulmate not to have a soul at all.

But that’s what happened to Addison. One minute she’s walking along in her average life, worrying about curfew, and the next minute she’s in hell.

Addison was living a typical teenager’s life before being dragged down to hell to atone for her sins on Earth. She must now make up for her bad behavior but is not expecting to meet her match in Ethan. Devilish good looks, charming smirk, an attitude to match, oh, and he’s Satan’s Son. Addison must now navigate the channels of hell with the reluctant guidance of Ethan as he atones for his own error. But could his mistake be closer linked to Addison’s death than she knows? Neither Addison or Ethan were planning to find love but now that they’re here, which will it be: Heaven or Hell?

My review:

I think that books about Hell/Heaven?Purgatory is a dime a dozen. But I was intrigued by the cover, the title, and the blurb. The first couple of chapters were really good. Like insanely good and I thought to myself “This book is going to be awesome”. Then the book fell flat and it became a chore to even finish it. Saying that I was disappointed is an understatement.

I mean, I loved the idea behind the book. Where Addison went after she died wasn’t Purgatory but it was kind of like a pre-Hell where people who straddled the line between good and evil were sent to atone for their crimes and then possibly gain access into Heaven or Hell. I do think that if more time was spent in developing that part of the book, then the book would have gotten a higher rating from me.

I couldn’t stand Addison. Listen, I get that there is a market for young adult women who don’t take anything from anyone and I like that. But there is a fine line between headstrong/sassy and being reckless/a witch with a b. Unfortunately, Addison crossed the line early in the book. She just came across as an immature spoiled brat who didn’t care who she ticked off and was used to people catering to her. I mean, even her explanation of her crimes when she was alive (arson, defacing public property) were horrible. Nothing was her fault and that attitude, unfortunately, stayed the entire book.

Ethan, however, seemed to be an OK guy. Well OK for being the son of Satan. He has a think for Addison, which I really couldn’t even begin to understand why he liked her. I understood where he felt responsible for her and I understood the reasons why Satan put him in charge of training Addison. But everything else, nope, couldn’t even come close to even understanding it. I wish more was put into his relationship with is parents and sister. Again, which blew my mind because who would think that Satan would be a family man. Not this chick.

The romance between Ethan and Addison seemed forced. Addison didn’t even like him for half the book and then, bam, Instalove on her part. I kinda went “Eh” when I read that part. As much as I thought Ethan was an OK guy, he did come across as stalkerish. Actually, the song Every Breath You Take by The Police is a perfect song for him when he was watching her when she was alive.

 

Even when they had sex, it seemed off. I am thankful that the author chose to not detail that because it really wasn’t something that I want to think about.

I do wish that the author went through with Satan’s plan to restore Addison to being alive sooner in the book. I think that it would have been a great twist in the plot to have her alive and gradually remember her time in Hell (well, pre-Hell) and then realize her feelings for Ethan than to drag it out for chapters.

There were a couple of loose ends that never got picked back up. Did Addison meet back up with Alex? And more importantly…..why was Satan never given a scene? He was mentioned a ton of times and Ethan actually met with him when he brought Addison to his house for dinner. But no Satan. I was a little disappointed.

The end of the book was technically an HEA with everything turning out alright.

How many stars will I give Satan’s Son: 3

Why: Now, I know most of you are like why a 3 if you didn’t like the main characters. Here’s my explanation: I think that this book could be something if the author took the time to do more world building, character building, fix up some of the dialogue and do an overhaul of Addison’s character. I see the potential in this book and what I see, I like.

Will I reread: Maybe

Will I recommend to family and friends: Maybe

Age range: Older Teen

Why: Language and some mild violence

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Dragon Court (Dragon Highlands: Book 2)by Jennifer Amriss


Dragon Court (An M/M Gay Fantasy Romance)

Title: Dragon Court

Author: Jennifer Amriss

Publisher: Magelight Press

Date of publication: May 3rd, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, Romance

Number of pages: 379

POV: 3rd person

Series: Dragon Highlands

Mage of Legend (review here)

Dragon Court

Where you can find Dragon Court: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

The Dragon King Returns.
But his reign may be at an end.

Xastrian and Velithor return to the Dragon Highlands expecting a celebratory welcome. Instead, his assassin is still at large, and the court is in an uproar. Xastrian may lose his right to rule, if not his life.

A kingdom at war.

A long-exiled warrior race is invading through a rip in the veil between worlds, and the court lays the fault at Xastrian’s feet. Faced with this new threat, the court wants to see a new elf on the throne.

A reluctant new co-ruler.

Velithor has kept away from crowds all his life, but his love for Xastrian is stronger. But when his father-in-law raises him as the new Dragon King, serving beside Xastrian, it might be too much. Especially when an old enemy emerges, this time with Velithor in his sights.

My review:

I can’t tell you guys how excited I was to read this book. I had read book 1 (Mage of Legend) and fell in love with Xastrian (Xastri) and Velithor (Veli). So when Jennifer was sending out the ARC’s for Dragon Court, I pounced on it. It exceeded my expectations and I was literally glued to the page.

The romance between Xastrian and Velithor was what made the book.  Their love for each other couldn’t be broken. Not by anyone or anything. I loved reading a book where such a love was put on display. Sure, the relationship was majorly tested, but they overcame it by talking about their issues (gasp). Amazing that fictional characters can do what real life people don’t do….talk about things.

I liked how Xastrian’s grandfather and father were portrayed in the book. I feel into Instalove with his grandfather, Va’asdrian. He was so accepting of Velithor and went out of his way to make sure that Velithor was comfortable. Now, Xastrian’s father, Mivikial, was a jerk when he first met Velithor and to be honest, I didn’t care for him. But the more he showed up in the story, the more he grew on me and I will say, that after a certain scene…..I loved him. If you want to know what that scene is, read the book.

The invasion storyline was very interesting because the invaders were coming through a rift caused by Xastri in the first book. I did wish that we were taken to that world by the author. That way I could have understood how they had magic nulling powers. Maybe another book because I find it is a race that I am fascinated with.

The Red Dragon storyline was very interesting. I say that because of what is revealed when Veli is taken there. I’m not going to go into it much because doing that will kinda ruin a part of the book. I will just leave it at this: Red Dragons are not what you think they are. Read the book to find out more about them.

Now, the assassin storyline. I will say that I did figure out part of it pretty early in the book. I figured it out right before Asseisal called for Xastri to be dethroned for his actions. I was a little shocked, though, at what happened afterward. Actually, a little shocked doesn’t cover what I felt. Again, something that I don’t want to show because it is a big part of the latter half of the book. You really need to read the book to find out what I am talking about.

I have to mention Velithor’s father. He was such an idiot (keeping that Amazon PC) and I was honestly surprised that Xastrian didn’t beat him down. But, when Velithor was stabbed, his father was there for him and took over his healing. It was during that healing that Velithor’s father reveals why he said was he said and expressed remorse for his past and present behavior. He also admitted a ton of guilt for the way Velithor was conceived and the miscarriages that followed his wife’s blood ritual. I was glad to see that Velithor and his father were working things out.

The sex scenes were hot. The last sex scene, though, speared my heart. Talk about an awesome way to heal and it made me love Veli and Xastri even more.

The end of the book had a twist in it that I didn’t see coming. Nothing was mentioned up until it was revealed and I was pretty shocked. But what also shocked me was what happened afterward. But, it was very fitting for all the mischief and mayhem that was caused in the book. There is a hint of an HEA in the book too….which makes me very happy.

How many stars will I give Dragon Court: 5

Why: This book exceeded everything I hoped for it. Amazing, well-written characters, storylines that were intense and kept me on my toes and a love that couldn’t be kept on the pages.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Violence, sex, and language. There are some scenes that could easy trigger people so I would read with caution

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Excalibur Rising: Book One by Eileen Enwright Hodgetts


Excalibur Rising: Book One

Title: Excalibur Rising

Author: Eileen Enwright Hodgetts

Publisher: Self-published

Date of publication: September 1st, 2016

Genre: Fantasy

Number of pages: 326

POV: Alternating 3rd person

Series: Excalibur Rising

Excalibur Rising: Book 1

Excalibur Rising: Book 2

Excalibur Rising: Book 3

Where can you find Excalibur Rising: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In a villa in Florida, a woman with violet eyes dreams of an ancient document. In a hotel room in Las Vegas, a renowned historian who claims to have found the sword Excalibur dies a violent death at the hands of one-eyed man. In London, a treasure hunter sets out to find the sword that cannot be and the resting place of the king who could not exist.
Powerful forces are at work breathing life into the legend.
At long last Excalibur is rising.

My review:

Now I know that I have mentioned my love for all things King Arthur/Camelot in past blogs. I can’t read enough about it and when Eileen approached me to review Excalibur Rising, I pounced on it after reading the blurb. I am glad I did because this book is not what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be a love story with some action mixed in. Instead, what I got was a book that was definitely not a romance. If I had to classify it, I would say that it was more like Angels and Demons except thrown in a whole fantasy element and a dash of romance along with the intrigue and adventure.

The book starts off with Marcus Ryan, a professor of archeology who used to be a star on his own syndicated TV show. He is now a has been and is working for a mob boss verifying different artifacts that come through his hotel. Honestly, I didn’t like him at first. He just rubbed me the wrong way. He came off as an irresponsible, selfish man who only cared for himself. The scene where he justified to himself why he did certain things (like not having a relationship with or supporting his wife and daughters) made me dislike him even more. He also could not stick up for himself and if he did, people ignored him when he did stick up for himself and he just went along with what people planned. Which is how he ended up with a chalice, a paper and a piece of crystal that was given to him by his mentor before the mentor died. The chalice, paper and the piece of crystal were clues to finding Excalibur.

Violet Chambray was a very interesting character to read. When she was first introduced into the story, she was somewhat of a con artist. I say somewhat because she can see images from objects that she touch and she has visions but she chooses to use her gifts for her own gain. She knows nothing of her past….except that she was left at an orphanage in France and at an early age. She saw something on that piece of paper that made Ryan’s mobster boss take her with them. What she saw, though, revealed clues to her past and to where Excalibur could be.

What I really liked about this story is that the author chose to explore the myth that Arthur was sleeping instead of waiting to be resurrected by Merlin. Every angle of the Arthurian myth discussed and basically disproved…..except for the Arthur is sleeping myth.

I also liked how the two main storylines (the dam being built along with Ryan’s search for Excalibur) were woven together pretty early in the story. The sense of urgency that showed up when Ryan and company were in England became even more pronounced once the sluice gates to the dam opened up.

The one-eyed killer was a pretty evil dude and he left a wake of mayhem behind him wherever he went. At first, I couldn’t understand why he was so vested in finding Excalibur but the explanation was later in the book. That’s when I went “Ahhhh, ok. Makes sense.”

The end of the book was very anticlimactic and it definitely left an opening for book 2. Which I can’t wait to read because I need to find out what happens to certain characters!!

How many stars will I give Excalibur Rising: 4

Why: A great take on the King Arthur myth. The plot was fast and the characters were engaging. I couldn’t read this book fast enough.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Older Teen

Why: Mild language and violence

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**