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Marvels of the Underworld

Marvels of the Underworld, by Hermione Lee, is a fantasy novel that follows the adventures of four teenage girls. Alexandria and her three friends, Eileen, Clarissa, and Daphne, discovered something remarkable about themselves the year before. It turns out that these seemingly ordinary girls were the descendants of the four gods that created the dimension known as the Otherworld. As a result, they become caught up in a magical adventure that completely changes their lives. Now, the four girls get to return to the Otherworld after spending the year attending school and honing their powers. This time, however, the Elders have called upon the girls to help them overcome the newest threat to the Otherworld. Alexandria’s parents, King Patrick and Queen Marianne appear to blindly trust that their kingdom is no longer in danger… but this is not the case. 

Lee is a master of suspense and intrigue. Good vs. evil stories are tales as old as time, but the battle between good and evil that Lee has created with her fascinating cast of characters is particularly unique. There is nothing like reading a fantasy novel in which an entire group of characters is suspect, and the course of the story could ultimately change at the drop of a hat. Lee brings readers just that kind of tale, and it is a most welcome addition to the adventure and fantasy genres.

Marvels of the Underworld, by Hermione Lee, adds a certain magic found in Alexandria’s adventure–a magic that comes from a place far outside the plot of the story. I found the genuine tone and nature of Lee’s writing to be comforting–something that is not often found in many adventure and fantasy novels. The story brings up those strong emotions that I love so much about teen and young adult fiction. Impactful books in this genre create the feeling within readers that they are meant for something greater, and Lee’s work certainly strikes a similar chord.

Marvels of the Underworld will captivate fans of science fiction and teen and young adult novels. In addition, those interested in exploring a novel with high-quality writing and an exceptionally well-thought-out storyline will find this a pleasure to read.

Pages: 322 | ASIN : B09TRTR8NM

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A Person Can Choose to be Good or Bad

Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait Author Interview

Stone Dragons Kingdom follows a city of people that are dragon riders as they try and protect their city and world from destruction. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for this story was to create a situation where a villain can have a change of heart. It shows, I think in a dramatic way, how allowing other people to help you can lead down a wrong path, as indicated by the Stone Dragons Kingdom, but also on a human level, we have Belinda who focuses on all she doesn’t have, rather than what she does have. If she could only reach that light inside her, what would change?

Learning she has strong and deep powers changes Belinda. What were some driving ideals behind Belinda’s character’s development?

Belinda is a very interesting character. She stems from a person consumed with being the best, but when she isn’t, she’ll go to the extreme to show that she is the best. In her development, I wanted to show, no matter what, a person has a choice of what they want to be, either for bad or good. With Belinda, I chose to show that she was only one choice away from changing her life.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Yes, but as always, they only come to light after I’ve written a story. I think the main theme of this one is redemption. The story starts out harshly for Belinda, even though others believed her to have changed, it took her a long time before she could shake her demons to find the person she wanted so much to become.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Thank you for asking! Well, The Stone Dragons Kingdom was supposed to be the last for this series, but… one of my characters had something else in mind! I’m currently writing The Spires of Dasny: 5 ~ The Northern Kingdom. It’s on pre-order now and will be released by Fall 2022.

It may not be the last of the series, either ~ the same character has been given knowledge of how their current kingdom will undergo change, and he’ll be instrumental to this change.

Author Links: GoodReads

Continue the saga of the award winning young adult bestselling series, The Spires of Dasny as Book 4 takes you on a journey to another kingdom. Belinda, an ambassador from the Spires of Dasny is now living amogst the Stone dragons and teaching the ways of the Spires to them, including the bonds made between dragon and rider. She stays with them after they healed her beloved dragon, Sezalor… or so those in the Spires believe.
It’s only after Seyra hears from the Truth Speaker, that she learns the truth behind Belinda. What she learns could not only destroy the Spires, but every other kingdom in their world. Belinda holds a magic so powerful, so destructive, there may be no way of stopping her.
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Belinda

Returning to Sezalor’s lair, I pause to connect to the Rocks. Splaying my hand open, I lay my palm flat against the wall immediately feeling the surge of power enter me.

“Time is short. As promised, you will have your own kingdom as long as you carry the Rock and Water energy for us to expand. We have been locked in one place for too long. Agola grew old and set in his ways, this is why you have this opportunity to expand with us. Use the energy we absorbed by the stone-encased Xi to bring our Stone dragons under control.”
A blinding flash cracks through the wall. I feel like I’m hit by lightning, my head screams in pain with an ache like it’s being crushed by an enormous hand. Behind me, the roar of Sezalor adds to the unbearable pain. Clasping both hands over my head, I beg for it to stop. Anything, please take this pain from me! Briefly, I smell burning. In my horror I look down to find myself being burnt alive before I’m hit by a wall of Water. Darkness.
Rebirth. I suck in First Breath. Expelled from the womb of Rock and Water, I stand on shaky legs and return to my chamber to dry. As my hands move the drying cloth over my body, I discover more scales covering me from my shoulders to the biceps. I grin. Large, stone scales. Who needs armor when I have these?

Stone Dragons Kingdom

With the stone dragons as its new allies, peace returns to the Spires, but not for long. An enemy seeking the Spires’ destruction rises from within under the influence of the Xi’s mind-controlling magic and the Rock and Water gods. Seyra, Queen of the Spires, finds herself in mortal danger due to the actions of this enemy but escapes in a dramatic turn of events. The Spires Kingdom makes it out of this sticky situation only to face old enemies in the form of the Xi people again, but the brave dragon riders and their beasts secure victory for the kingdom. Elated by the destruction of the persistent Xi sorcerers, the Spires make a startling discovery that would pit them against their most brutal opponents yet in their battle for survival.

Author Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait (C.R.C.) returns with her captivating tale of dragons, humans, and magic in this fourth book in the Spires of Dasny series, Stone Dragons Kingdom. With just enough backstory and new challenges, you don’t have to worry about not having enough context to understand what’s going on. The book starts with a bang. There’s a high-tension and high-stakes scenario threatening to unravel right from the get-go. But Cowperthwait is also proficient in building anticipation as she thrusts readers right into the thick of things. She knows how to set the stage and slowly dial up the tension in anticipation for what happens next.

Cowperthwait also shows impressive control over her story as she swings from one story gap to the next but keeps things cohesive and engaging. The storytelling is also compelling as Cowperthwait expertly humanizes her characters, thus making them relatable and memorable. With a simple yet beautiful and expressive writing style, the Stone Dragons Kingdom makes for a breezy and entertaining read from start to finish.

The Spires of Dasny: 4 Stone Dragons Kingdom is a riveting young adult fantasy novel. With plenty of action and thrilling suspense, readers will be drawn into the battles and feel connected to the characters while following their saga.

Pages: 211 | ASIN : B09BTG9DLR

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Ghost Flower

Ghost Flower by Kathryn A. Broderick is a fantasy tale of romance and the fight for justice. It follows plucky young Sophia on her journey of self-actualization. At the outset, Sophia discovers her small but immensely effective power to intercept magical spells cast by the more powerful mages. One of these mages, her fiancé Aiden, is the catalyst for Sophia’s rampage of revenge against the magical elite when he mercilessly rejects her. Sophia inadvertently sparks a battle between the Tower, representing the mages and good, kind King Solen. With Sophia’s help as the anonymous Ghost Flower, the Crown fights it out for power and fairness. Throughout it all, Sophia must battle with her conflicted emotions for Casimir. He is the king’s right-hand man and pursues her relentlessly. Her past relationship and a deeper part of her that has been hidden since childhood weigh heavily on her mind.

Broderick’s richly descriptive language paints a vivid picture of the kingdom of Arcadia and all its fascinating characters. This enchanting story explores themes like the power of the people against oppression, manipulative relationships and their tragic consequences, and the importance of being your own hero.

This beautifully written book will inspire readers to find greatness within themselves rather than gravitating towards others’ greatness. With a slow burn style to draw the readers in, Broderick reveals vital story elements gradually so as not to overwhelm young adult readers with too much information all at once. Sophia is like most teenagers; she seems to do things haphazardly, giving readers a chance to speculate on her motivation at times. Ultimately Sophia is a complex character who will gain readers’ sympathy and support.

Readers will be surprised and delighted with this imaginative novel’s rich and magical world. The way the author describes being under someone’s spell, and the difficulty of breaking this, is something that many readers will relate to. Sophia’s discovery and mastery of her own shortcomings are superbly developed.

Ghost Flower is a spellbinding young adult novel that will capture the attention of teens and middle-grade students that have a love of fantasy and magic.

Pages: 302 | ASIN : B09PJX5H6Z

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Noki

Noki lives an unassuming life with his father, Jip, as they struggle to make ends meet with a failing boxing gym. Noki doesn’t speak much with the other boxers or even with his father, but when Bug shows up one late rainy evening, Noki takes a shine to him and talks more than he ever has before.

At first, they are allowed to build their friendship and trust. However, everything changes for them after the gym’s main fighter and moneymaker leaves unexpectedly, causing Jip to have a stroke. Together, Noki and Bug discover ways of making money with Noki’s boxing talent, but their lies and dealings with the shady business of boxing soon threaten more than their abilities to save Jip and the gym. They must work together with those they trust, or they may lose everything they love and care about.

This exciting book written by Douglas Farrago has some fantastic commentary on the business of boxing. Readers can tell that the author knows what he’s talking about with boxing in how he describes each match, which makes those scenes especially interesting to read. It’s interesting to see a little more about what goes on behind those matches. This is a great way to expose some of the shady things boxers have to deal with and how easy it is for boxers to get sucked into financially abusive situations.

I thought the characters started out a little flat, with the focus on Noki and Bug because they were different, Noki with his autism and Bug with his small stature. For at least the first half of the book, it felt like everyone thought Noki couldn’t really understand things and only knew how to follow instructions. Bug and Jip, especially would make comments to this effect quite often. It wasn’t until Bug started getting threatened for using Noki that changed, and he started treating Noki more like a normal person. Eventually, Noki as a character-filled out as Bug began treating him as an average person.

Noki while being a work of fiction, is a great resource to learn more about the boxing system and how it makes it easy to take advantage of boxers. Young adults and teen readers will find this coming-of-age novel entertaining as it explores the life of an autistic person in the world of sports.

Pages: 172 | ASIN : B08YFDTQB5

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Ever Alice

Ever Alice by [H.J. Ramsay]

H.J Ramsay’s reinvention of Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland is as beautiful as it is eerie. Her book, Ever Alice delves deeper into what Wonderland truly is. Through the eyes of both Alice and Rosamund, the Queen of Hearts, she gives two perspectives of a powerful tale. In many ways, Ever Alice reads like a sequel to the original Lewis Carrol classic.

While this book starts with Alice trying to recover from her first Wonderland visit and trying to fit in to her family, it ends with her finally finding her place. Throughout the story, she continues to follow and look up to the White Rabbit in the pursuit of her true destiny. On the other hand, the Queen of Hearts continues with her fits of paranoid rage which unexpectedly lead her down a path to more destruction than she had ever imagined.

Ever Alice is undeniably creative, but I felt that the first part of the novel wasn’t as eventful and compelling as the rest of the novel certainly is. However, the author more than makes up for this. It almost feels like this transition marks a quick-paced race to the biggest plot twists of all time. Even with this I still felt like the first few pages captured the original feel of Wonderland and how things are just a bit absurd.

The ending of this book leaves you with as many questions as it does answers. In some ways, it makes you think deeper about what Lewis Carroll was trying to convey in the original classic.

In this book, we get to interact with many beloved characters but some of them have been written in different and unexpected ways. For instance, our beloved Mad Hatter is no longer close to Alice in any way; sad in my opinion, but I see how the author uses such unexpected occurrences to give the story more depth .

The running theme of this book is family and the need to belong. It is a book for the misfits and the characters are a representation of this. Ultimately, it is evident that the plot of this book was extremely thought out and meticulously planned. I also love the whimsical writing style used by H.J. Ramsay. A wonderful continuation of a literary classic that adds a unique layer to a much beloved fantasy story.

Pages: 351 | ASIN: B07TNHCZG8

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