Thomas never imagined that, at only seventeen, he’d end up on his own and traveling an unfamiliar path. But, of course, he never imagined a plague coming and killing nearly his entire village, including his parents, either. Striking out in a different direction than the other survivors, Thomas soon comes across trouble and a group of adventurers needing guidance. But, as he and his new friends find themselves formulating a plan in the hopes of finding untold riches, they all realize that there is a lot to learn about themselves and the world.
The Keep in the Marsh: Escaping Dragons Book 1 is the first in a planned series of fantasy adventure books by Neil O’Donnell. O’Donnell’s worldbuilding is well-thought-out, with the various intricately detailed villages, an eclectic assortment of inhabitants, and a group of heroes that will instantly be familiar to anyone who has ever played a DnD campaign.
Much of the book is dedicated to the introduction and character development of its five main characters, with the occasional fight scene to help create conflict. Despite following a well-traveled road, the story stays fresh and keeps the characters interesting, doing well to avoid obvious tropes with some of them.
For the most part, the adventure faced by Thomas, Haley, Sully, Siegfried, and Jeffrey is relatively tame, falling in line with what one could expect to deal with in such a situation. By the end, however, things have escalated quickly, setting up a second book that promises to hit the ground running.
In line with the general adventuring themes, this novel explores the ideas of friendship, trust, and finding yourself. As the book goes on, each character grows up and pushes themselves beyond any previous experience, at times out of necessity. As their “leader,” Thomas seems at times much older than his years with his knowledge and ability to survive. However, he realizes that there are things even he can learn along the way.
I enjoyed every bit of this book! The familiar narrative was comforting, and nothing about it felt repetitive or overdone. The last part of the book is exciting and will shock readers, leaving them waiting for the next installment of the series.
The Keep in the Marsh is a rousing epic fantasy that is sure to capture readers’ attention with an exciting adventure and memorable cast of characters. This thrilling novel takes readers on an epic journey into a new fantasy world where they might just end up fighting a dragon.
Pages: 147 | ASIN : B09VK75V3D
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Wrath of Justice by author Denna Holm dives into a bleak future where many people sacrifice nearly everything they have just to survive. It’s a world where food is limited, and raising a family isn’t an option for most people in a global wasteland. As a result, many parents make the difficult decision to sell one or more children, or make a deal with demons, to secure a better chance in life. For some, an adventurous, dangerous path is the ticket to salvation.
If you’re looking for an exciting indulgence, Wrath of Justice will keep you engaged from the very start. The story centers around Justice, who finds himself sold to a run-down brothel, where he’s destined to exist among the most brutal layer of society. His only chance of escape is an offer from a hunter, where he faces a new level of darkness. However, he finds a glimmer of hope and love throughout his journey between demons and debauchery.
This story weaves through the layers of a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world that offers more beneath the surface, with more significant risks, facing demons, and a thirst for basic survival. Justice learns more than he bargains for, and his life takes unexpected turns when he joins forces with Michael Santos. The characters are well developed and captivating, weaving a thrilling narrative through a dark future with a few plots twists. I enjoyed the pace and vibrant contrast of witches, demons, and brave characters weaving through a dreary landscape with lots of surprises.
Wrath of Justice is a thrilling novel that combines paranormal romance with action and suspense. This engaging book moves along quickly, with lots of steamy tension and unexpected turns, so readers will want to keep going to see what happens next. Overall this is a well-crafted and exciting story.
Pages: 379 | ASIN : B09PWLCMC8
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There is something mysterious going on, and Chris and Bea can’t quite pinpoint what it is. They know very little, but they work hard to put all the pieces together. They know this trip to their cousins’ house is sudden, and their father acts very suspiciously. Their mother is distracted–more than is typical for her. Nothing is adding up, and the two of them know one thing–this plan to stay with cousins they don’t actually remember meeting is the last thing they had on their agenda. Something is waiting for Chris and his sister, Bea, but what?
The Adventurers and the Treasure Cave, by Isabel Ricardo, follows the relationship between young cousins forced to spend time together despite their differences. However, when suspicious circumstances send Chris and Bea to stay with Tony and Daniel, things become heated before they have a chance to begin their adventure together. Between the differences in the way they are being raised and the distraction of Chris and Bea’s pet crow, Jack, it seems these four will never be able to come to an understanding, much less get to the bottom of the mystery before them.
Jack keeps the story light and brings something new to every page. Ricardo does a beautiful job of writing the family dynamic–the family unit is a strong part of Ricardo’s overall theme. We don’t all have perfect families where everyone always gets along and actually wants to be together. Her description of the altercations between cousins is dead-on and adds an element of reality to her tale. The little quirks she includes make her characters believable, and their exchanges are relatable. As a teacher, I love incorporating history into this fiction story. I appreciate the opportunity to bring history and geography into lessons whenever possible. I will state that there is mild cursing, so it’s not a book I would choose to read aloud with students. Ricardo gives readers reasons to explore outside the book once they are done reading and encourages the study of historical events and the origins of legends.
The Adventurers and the Treasure Cave is a wonderful mystery for younger readers who enjoy historical accuracy mixed in with their fiction. With vivid imagery and relatable characters, this exciting novel will quickly win over fans.
Pages: 199 | ISBN : 1949868354
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The Quest for the Lost Map by Isabel Ricardo starts by taking you back to 1307. A secret order has just been given by King Philip IV to capture, imprison, torture, and kill all Knights Templar in France. However, Grand Master Jacques de Molay discovered word of the plan. He calls upon Templar Jean-Luc to escape before the captures begin, entrusting him with the safekeeping and safety of a very important map. Jean-Luc flees for safe land in Portugal where he cannot be captured, with the map tucked safely away. There, he lives the remainder of his life with other Knights Templar, safe from King Philip IV’s harsh sentence.
Fast forward to the present day. Gabrielle and her kids, Andy and Kelly, have just been given the opportunity to vacation in Sesimbra. The only catch is that they have to take on Mike, the troubled son of a family friend. On vacation, they meet the mysterious Sarah, a teenager with a dark secret.
At the same time, a group of men has been hired to seek out the secret map from so long ago. Through misfortune and a lot of adventure, the teenagers and the dangerous men all end up with the same mission; finding the map that will lead them to the Holy Grail.
The author writes in a way that draws you into the story immediately. From the first line to the last, readers will be fully immersed and wondering what was going to happen next. The backstory of Jean-Luc and the Templars is based on factual events in history that will entice historical fiction readers. The author does an excellent job of describing the scene without becoming redundant. She tied up the backstory of the Kings Templar nicely without a lot of unneeded fluff.
The Quest for the Lost Map really started to pick up speed when it flips to the present time. Readers will laugh and relate to the relationship between siblings Andy and Kelly. Kelly is the typical sister, annoyed at everything her brother does. When it counts, though, they are there for one another. It was nice to see them grow in maturity, too, through lessons learned from Mike and Sarah. Sarah’s rough past made her grow up quickly, but she certainly taught her new friends some important life lessons.
This novel shows the strong bond of friendship among the teens, everybody comes together to help a girl in need. Sarah has not had an easy life, she is not use to anyone being willing to help her. Although they have only just met her, everybody really comes together to help get her out of her situation. The unity and close bonds remind you that there are good people out there. Of course, that isn’t to say that the kids don’t try to take matters into their own hands when things aren’t moving quickly enough for their liking.
When it comes to the group of men searching for the secret map, they are supposed to be dangerous. Instead, they seem more grumpy and irritated but not threatening. Isabel Ricardo does a great job inserting humor as the teens outsmart the men on more than one occasion.
The Quest for the Lost Map: The Port of the Grail Trilogy Book 1 will entertain historical fiction lovers, especially those that have a passion for the Knights Templar. Readers that enjoy young adult fiction will find enjoyment following the teens adventures and antics. This is a great start to the series.
Pages: 335 | ISBN: 1949868427
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