#Review by Lou of Evergreen – A New Fantasy Audio Serial by Sam Russell Narrated by Catherine Russell @SamRussellComic @catherinerusse2 @evergreenbook1 #fantasy #podcast #podcastandchill #audioserial

Evergreen – Book 1 of Everman Trilogy –
A New Fantasy Audio Serial

Written By Sam Russell
Narrated By Catherine Russell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Reviewing Evergreen came about because I was approached by Catherine Russell to do some retweets about this fantasy serial that I had started to listen to. Catherine Russell is known for Holby City and more… Sam Russell for improv comedy… There’s more about them at the end of my review.
I am enjoying Evergreen so much, that I though it worth the time on writing a blog review too, so just maybe people not on Twitter etc could get to know about it. I have provided their links below so you can find where to listen to Evergreen. It is FREE to tune in. It’s broadcast fortnightly, but all the episodes recorded so far are there, so it doesn’t matter whether you’re up to date or just starting out in listening to it.

Thanks to Sam Russell for providing the artwork, which I must admit, is very cool. Take a look for yourselves, and also find out a bit more…

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EVERGREEN – Book 1 in the Everman trilogy 

THE NUTSHELL

Adam, the first man and his wife, the first woman, Eve, were punished by God with separation and immortality.

Adam spends his long life searching for her, inadvertently becoming the catalyst for many of humanity’s myths and legends.

Now, after 200 years searching other realms, Adam lands, a fish out of water, in present-day London with a fresh lead on his wife’s location…

THE PROJECT

Evergreen is an audio fantasy serial released just like a podcast, a new chapter every two weeks. The vibe of the project is to create that same atmosphere of when you used to listen to a tape at bedtime as a kid. 
 

THE REVIEW

Evergreen image 2Evergreen is set between Sherwood Forest and Nottingham Castle; with so many myths, legends and history, it is a great setting for this audio podcast/graphic novel, which in itself is also an ingenious idea for storytelling as it allows readers to listen from many places. Please see the link to show you how and where.

Evergreen image 1From the outset, this is an intriguing story about Norman who suddenly finds himself in a castle in a precarious position. Norman is a character who is quite ordinary as his work in in the bakery, but extraordinary things happen as he becomes a castle guard. 

Evergreen image 6There are twists and turns, some humour and a quest.  Norman changes career from the bakery to castle guard, big difference in career, but to Norman the shift makes sense, but he is far from your typical guard in personality and this makes it even more intriguing to see what happens.. Action ensues and there’s a lot for Norman to learn in this fast-paced, curious and absolutely enthralling fantasy story that has its characters on edge and ready for any siege on the castle.

The way characters make appearance is absolutely wonderful, especially for readers who perhaps are not too familiar with Sherwood Forest and its people, for those who are, nothing is lost either. This is skillfully thought-out and somehow still adds intrigue and excitement, especially to see what happens to Norman.

There is a clever mystique about this story and there is a quest. A quest to find a mysterious man’s wife.

There is the weaving into Brian’s life in very modern times, which injects some romantic times of his past, however awkward from this business man, into the tale. He’s a very particular man and there it shows how society has changed and how times have moved onwards for better or worse. It is most observant and it is bittersweet and intriguing as something unexpected happens when he is on a patch of land he likes so much in London.

Evergreen reels you in and makes you want to know more and more until you’re so immersed that there is a need to listen to more episodes and then there’s that sweet anticipation when waiting until the next episode.

The descriptions are rich. The weaving of intrigue, social aspects, illness, sadness, kindness, romance, bittersweet and a terrific dose of humour makes Evergreen a most entertaining and poignant tale to listen to.

There’s an amazingly long friendship who are kindred spirits in Evelyn and Faye. When younger, their imaginations were funny that bring back childhood memories. Listeners also get to know about their adult-lives and then something happens with a man in a nearby boat…

It shows London through new eyes, in a way that perhaps in a new appreciation of what is there, yet often taken for granted.

This is a story that is also about being in places you may not quite feel like you belong in and so much more…. It’s also philisophical, especially where life, love and romance is concerned.

The time changes give depth and much interest.

Peter “Pete” Smith at the UCL brings something more political to the story. Amongst the wit is something deeper and  thought-provoking and which brings a truth of today’s world. It also brings a certain reunion so, just as you wonder where this fits in, it really does and the two people end up on a quest…

The writing is fantastic, every word counts and matters, with every scene painting a picture of what is happening. The narration is easy to listen to. Catherine Russell is excellent at narrating/reading this. It would be easy to listen to all day. She really brings the story to life, as though many people are playing the parts. She uses a lot of her acting skills with aplomb!

The Links

Click linktr.ee/evergreen_book for options where to listen.

The Author and Narrator

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Sam Russell is perhaps best known for his comedy and being part of Improv Comedy group – Shoot from the Hip. Click Here for more info.
Follow on Twitter – @SamRussellComic

Catherine Russell is best known for acting on stage and screen. She has starred in many tv shows from Chandler and Co. to The Inspector Lynley Mysteries to Holby City and more… and in films such as Bridget Jone’s Diary – The Edge of Reason.
On stage she has appeared in many theatre plays, such as What the Butler Saw, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and more. She is also Patron of Streatham Hill Theatre.
Follow on Twitter @catherinerusse2

#BookReview by Lou – Remnants of Magic By Alicia R. Chapin @ChapinAlicia @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #Fantasy #Ad #Gifted

Remnants of Magic
By Alicia R. Chapin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Time to enter Etharum and meet all sorts of characters and explore this new and exciting, richly imagined, fantasy land. Thanks to Love Books Tours for gifting me the book. Discover more about this fantastical adventure that is Book 1 in the blurb and what I thought about it in the review.

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Blurb

The Master Sword Bryan is an elite warrior on the Prince of Shelkite’s council. When Shelkite is threatened by Ret, a wizard-king, the Master Sword is ready to fight. However, his plans are spoiled when he discovers his assignment is as the personal guard to the young half-blood witch sent to their aid—Alexandra.

Alexandra is determined to prove herself to the skeptical Master Sword. Though her powers haven’t fully manifested, she’s ready for anything, as long as she has her faithful mount, Zhan, and her trusty bow. As the quest deepens, she knows she must press on. For whether she does or not, she’s the key—for either good or evil.

Review

RoM-V1-EBOOK (1)Remnants of Magic welcomes readers into Etharum, a place where the Haiprian Mountains rise majestically up and holds an ice palace, and Charad Forest grows below. There are many places inbetween, with Kaltraz split between east and west by a stream and its tributories borne out of the mountains and finishes in the Faded Sea in the east side of the forest. 

Bryan is the first character to stumble upon and is Prince Alkin’s personal guard, who meets Lady Evelyn – ‘The Goddess of Chaos’ each week. Bryan also hangs out with the friendly folk of Fordorn. Pretty pictures of happy folk and a unicorn is painted well in writing. He can’t stay long though as debate of adventure with Keavin Sword ensues and whether a nymph in the Faded Sea of Carthorn can be trusted or not. The pace mounts up and readers learn of other people in this kingdom, including a wizard masquerading as an innkeeper and many more. 

This is a book that is rich and has a good drive in plot to keep readers invested and a whole fantastical world is soon built up, with the assistance of a map at the very beginning and a world full of characters ranging from a wizard, a stallion called Dragon, a unicorn, a prince, half-bloods, a witch, a warrior and more…
There is high adventure and missions and a slow-burn romance in this mystical land that uses its powers to suck you into its mysterious depths, of which there is much to travel through and tread carefully into parts of trepidation and danger.

Readers who enjoy Lord of The Rings and fantastical creatures and grownups are now searching for whole new land to explore, will enjoy this.

About the Author

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I enjoy the outdoors, reading, spending time with my family (that includes pets!), hanging out with horses, and archery. I graduated from Michigan State University in Equine Management and love to incorporate my love of horses into my stories. I’m a huge Star Wars fan (original trilogy), Lord of the Rings fan, Harry Potter fan….and Jane Austen fan. A couple of nerdy facts, I love John Wayne movies and collect the vintage My Little Ponies from the 80s. 

 

 

Amari and The Night Brothers by B.B. Alston @bb_alston @egmontbooksuk #TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour #AmariPeters #NominationDetected

Amari and the Night Brothers
By B.B. Alston
Illustrated by Brittany Jackson
Rated: 5 stars *****

It is my pleasure to be closing the Write Reads Ultimate Blog Tour for Amari and the Night Brothers, which is such a magical book for older middle-grade and young YA (teens) readers. It is great for aged 8 plus. If you like Percy Jackson, youll like this.  I thank Egmont for providing me with a physical proof copy of this outstandingly irresistable page-turner of a book. Read on to discover more in the blurb and my review.

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Blurb

Amari Peters knows three things.

Her big brother Quinton has gone missing.

No one will talk about it.

His mysterious job holds the secret . . .

So when  Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s  certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get  her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and  magicians are real, and her roommate is a weredragon.

Amari must compete against kids who’ve known about the supernatural world  their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special  supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent – one that the  Bureau views as dangerous.

With an evil magician threatening the  whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the  enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the  three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton . . .

An epic middle grade supernatural adventure series, soon to be a major movie starring Marsai Martin. Perfect for readers aged 8+ and fans of  Percy Jackson, Nevermoor and Men in Black!

B. Alston lives in Lexington, SC. Amari and the Night Brothers  is his debut middle grade novel. When not writing, he can be found  eating too many sweets and exploring country roads to see where they  lead.

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Review

The blurb is incredibly eye-catching as it asks readers if you can handle it? It’s a fantastically ingenious way of using wit and reverse psychology. It works a treat and of course you can handle it and will want to pick the book up and read it. It has an explosive beginning, more in terms of Amari Peters being in trouble at the principle’s office at school, than anything else.
This book has so much going for it and is fun and so relevant to children and young teens in the plot right to what children see on collectable cards to technology.

Then comes an odd email with a message about it going to self-destruct and a mysterious package suddenly turns up for Amari on the doorstep.

Quinton is a bit older than Amari and likes Stephen Hawking and Martin Luther King. He isn’t any normal kid though. He has some sort of mysterious powers and suddenly the two brothers end up on a huge ship and off on an adventure. The book is at a pace that induces excitement and is enthralling. Quinton works for the Bureau. He is on a list of noteworthy agents for the Department of Supernatural Agents. There is an intriguing nomination form too and a “Wakeful Dream”. All of which readers can be captured within and explore in what is an excellently written book. All genders can find enjoyment out of this book.

Elsie is also an interesting character and readers find out how magicians are different in the supernatural world to those on-stage in the world readers live in. There are creatures, objects like a crystal ball and other characters to meet and, this I think is cleverly thought out and makes me think of collectable cards: there are Talent Enhanced to Supernatural Ability and underneath what that talent is. It creates for some fun. So, I recommend you read this book (unless you really do find it too hot to handle), and discover all of these enhanced abilities. Discover what the plan of action is and how to become a Junior Agent Trainee at Summercamp. The layout of the book and of the world keeps interest going and will take any reader in further as it feels involving. It also is modern and not always other-worldy in its referencing to apps, friend requests, messaging and this works well and keeps it all grounded.

Find out who passes, who fails and what happens in what is an irresistable page-turner of a book.

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#BookReview by Lou of #YA book – The Witches of Vegas by Michael Rosendorf @MarRosendorf

The Witches of Vegas
By Mark Rosendorf
Rated: 4 stars ****

This is a Young Adult (YA) book that combines glitz, theatrics and magic and young adults in a rather unique and splendiferous way that will lead young adults into a spell-binding story like no other in what is the first of a new series. Book Two is called “Journey to New Salem” and will be coming soon. A third is also being written. So, Isis, Zack and The Witches of Vegas will be back for further adventures.

Thank you to Mark Rosendorf for getting in contact with me to review The Witches of Vegas.
Discover more below…

About the Author

MarkMark Rosendorf is a High School Guidance Counselor for students in the New York City Department of Education’s special education district. He is also a former professional magician. Mark shares his knowledge of magic with his students as part of the school’s Performing Arts program.

Mark is also credited with published novels in various genres including The Rasner Effect series. He eventually decided on an early retirement from writing. When asked why, Mark’s usual answer was because he lost his favorite pen.

Then, one night, at two a.m., a new and unique story shot into his brain like a lightning bolt, screaming for him to write it.  Suddenly, despite the decision to never write again, Mark found himself spending several nights taking notes on the characters and their stories. That is how The Witches of Vegas, Mark’s first young adult story, was born.

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Blurb

Where can Witches and their vampire mentor practice their powers without being discovered or persecuted?

By using their magic, the Witches of Vegas become the number one act performing on the Las Vegas Strip—a great achievement for them, but not so much for the magicians—who can’t possibly keep pace.

Isis Rivera is the adopted fifteen-year old daughter of The Witches of Vegas. Zack Galloway is the teenage nephew and assistant to the last magician left in the city. Although they should be rivals, when Valeria, a four-hundred-year-old witch with a long-seeded grudge against humanity arrives in Sin-City, both teens act to bring their families together to stop the evil hag in her tracks.

But can the combined witches’ powers and the ingenuity of the magicians be enough to stop Valeria from taking over the city and possibly the world?

The Witches of Vegas

Review

There’s glitz and glam and magic with the theatre act – The Witches of Vegas at the Sapphire Resort and Casino’s main theatre, where Isis, Sebastian and Luther also are. There’s defying acts of magic, which is surprisingly described well, with the thrills conveyed within the writing.

Zack takes readers away from his Uncle Herb who taught him a lot of what he knows, to the Witches show as he becomes hungry for more ambition in the magc world and to see bigger tricks and defying feats of gravity. He then also stumbles across Victoria Hunter who is a debunker who exposes magic tricks.

Selena is one of The Witches of Vegas who almost hides behind doing magic shows and doesn’t want to tell the world that she a bonafide witch in-case there is a backlash of consequences because they are so different. In someways, in a subtle way this is about identity and being different and the fear of people being scared of something that they do not know, even when shown through more of a supernatural way. It also shows a bit of, perhaps, a second chance at life through Isis, who was It’s also about witches and vampires doing what they do best and putting on a show. There are however some twists and turns when Valerie, a rather more wicked character, comes into it and Isis is in a bit of trouble and elements of action and trepidation that become quite page-turning, come into play.