Thursday, December 31, 2020

#Review - Shatter the Earth by Karen Chance #Paranormal #Fantasy #Urban

Series: Cassandra Palmer # 10
Format: Kindle, 431 pages
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Karen Chance
Source: Library
Genre: Paranormal / Urban Fantasy

Ironically for the time traveling, chief seer of the supernatural world, time has never been on Cassie Palmer’s side. There has always seemed to be too much to learn, too much to master, and never enough hours in a day. But the tables have now turned, and the fluctuating timelines of Earth and Faerie are diverging, slowing time in Faerie relative to Earth, and giving humans an advantage for the first time in their war with the fey. It is one they desperately need, for a literal war of the worlds is about to take place. To win, or even to survive, Cassie and her allies, the powerful vampire senator Mircea Basarab and the formidable war mage John Pritkin, will have to pull off their greatest feat yet. And find a way to become more than the sum of their parts.


Shatter the Earth is the Tenth installment in author Karen Chance's Cassandra Palmer series. **Slight Series Spoilers** 24-year-old Cassie Palmer is the time traveling, ghost whispering, chief seer of the supernatural world, a job description that sounds way more fun than it actually is. It's hard to forget that Cassie’s only been the Pythia for 5 months. It seems like 14 years. Oh, wait! Especially when she has to deal with so many issues that take up all of her time. There’s Rhea, Chief acolyte, and heir apparent, who can’t shift through time which is what an acolyte of a Pythia is supposed to be able to do.

Rhea needs a swift kick in the pants, and the only person who might challenge her is her deceased mother. Mircea’s obsession with finding his wife Elena, mother of Dorina, ends up dragging Cassie along with him to Romania of the past which isn’t as fun as it might sound like. Especially when you are being chased by Svaresti Fae who kidnap human women. An entire line of Pythia’s told Mircea that he can’t get her back no matter what he does because it violates time travel and messes with the past. Let’s not forget that by vampire law, Mircea and Cassie are married. Doesn’t help that they are magically bound by the over’s Knot.

It also doesn’t help that he tends to steal her powers when it’s most inconvenient for Cassie. It doesn’t help that if he dies, she dies as well. As a member of the Vampire Senate, and the leader of the Vampire army, if Mircea dies, all is lost. To make matters more interesting, there’s ½ incubus demon war mage Pritkin, allegedly Cassie’s boyfriend who she spent an abundance of time going back in time over and over and over again to try to save him only to be chased all over the place by Gertie, has been wholly unavailable to her as a bodyguard/boyfriend while he prepares to lead the Silver Circle Mages invasion into Faerie.

Cassie and her allies the vampires, the mages of the Silver Circle, and Caedmon, King of the light Fae, have been preparing to battle the Dark Fae and the Dark mages for months. While the time for the invasion is approaching fast, Cassie has to deal with all issues that I’ve previously mentioned, including, someone trying to assassinate her and her apparent ability to save herself by borrowing powers from Mircea. Then there's the fun fact that she's never been trained until a Pythia from the past offers to help her. While she’s gotten much, much better, she’s also been doing stupid things like stealing time.

I have to say, I’ve been reading this series from the beginning. Haven’t skipped one book, not even when the author chose to self-publish. In fact, my library decided to purchase this copy for me which I am once again grateful for all they do. It’s always the last part of the book that is the most interesting to me. The action takes place throughout the book as Cassie deals with issue after issue, and with a sick, twisted, bastard named Jonathan who ups Cassie’s game when the war finally makes the pages of the book.  Overall, this story was fast-paced, which was to be expected of this author’s style when it involved Cassie.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

#Review - Horsemen's War by Steve McHugh #Fantasy #Urban

Series: The Rebellion Chronicles # 3
Format: Kindle, 396 pages
Release Date: December 3, 2020
Publisher: 47North
Source: Publisher
Genre: Fantasy / Urban

It’s a dark day for the Earth realms. Will it be the last?

Sorcerer Nate Garrett lost much in the battle that devastated Asgard, but the war against darkness is far from over. He’s spent a year searching for Arthur, hell-bent on stopping the evil leader of Avalon and rescuing his friend Tommy from his clutches. Nate’s investigation brings him to Washington, DC, where he finds the city under siege. Just when all hope seems lost, Layla Cassidy and her team arrive to join the fight, but Avalon’s deadly plan to conquer the Earth realm is underway.

Meanwhile, Mordred is on a quest to find allies in the upcoming war against Avalon, hoping to find Arthur and stop him before it’s too late.

As the rebellion forces close in on Arthur, each of them know this could be their last fight. But with Arthur massing an unstoppable army of his own, will Nate’s fury be enough to defeat him once and for all?


 Horseman's War is the third and final installment in author Steve McHugh's The Rebellion Chronicles. This book also wraps up the authors long string of series going back to the Hellequin Chronicles and the Avalon Chronicles. Let me just reiterate that for readers who haven't started these series. This is not a standalone. This is book 3 in the Rebellion Chronicles. There are 7 books in the Hellequin Chronicles and 3 books in the Avalon Chronicles which is mostly Layla’s series. So, this is the 13th and FINAL book in the fight of Nate and his gang against Arthur and the evil Avalon who is close to claiming all the known worlds. 

The book starts with a heartfelt moment between Nate and Tommy, in 1798 Virginia, USA 16 years after Nate’s wife was murdered. You can tell why Tommy and Nate have been friends for so long. Same goes later for Nate and Mordred who were once sworn enemies and now brothers in arms. This book revolves around three characters Nate Garrett, Mordred, Layla Cassidy, along with a plethora of secondary characters. Nate Garrett is a sorcerer and necromancer once called the Hellequin. He was created to be the Horseman of Death. He’s in a relationship with Selene and has a newborn daughter who is being protected by his mother Brynhildr.

Mordred is a sorcerer created to be Horseman of Conquest. He’s a video game enthusiast who is often heard humming theme songs from popular games. He’s now reluctant King Mordred, holder of Excalibur, in a relationship with Hel. Layla Cassidy is an Umber able to manipulate metal. She’s team leader of a group that includes Chloe, Piper, Tego, Jinayca, and others as they are needed. She’s the youngest of the primary characters at 26 and has no idea what she will do once the war is won, which she is hoping is soon. Layla has a robotic arm thanks to losing her real arm to her own mother.  

Nate is still the primary narrator, with Mordred and Layla narrating smaller sections as McHugh juggles battles across different realms, on multiple fronts including Earth, Olympus, Avalon, Camelot, Atlantis, and Shadow Falls Realm. The story is full blown action from the start to finish. Mordred and his team end up encountering Poseidon, they later arrive in Olympus where they beg for an army to help defeat Arthur and his allies. Nate and his team try to find Tommy and will eventually end up in Atlantis as well as and Camelot. In between, Nate and Mordred have established a base in the City of Solomon, Shadow Falls Realm. A large part of this story takes place in what’s called the Human realm mostly around Washington, D.C.

Arthur has very nearly established himself as the sovereign ruler of all realms and anyone who shows even slightest bit of resistance is ruthlessly executed. In D.C alone, his Knights of Avalon are murdering people by the thousands. Tommy Carpenter was kidnapped by Merlin at the end of the last installment and hasn’t been seen or heard from in a year. The author combines characters straight out of Arthurian legend with Greek mythology and even a bit of Sumerian god's for good measure.

I think the ending of this book was well thought out. As I said before, Layla needs some time away from everyone to decide what she wants to do with her life. She’s got no romantic possibilities. She’s got a Saber tooth tiger as a companion. She could literally backpack across all know realms and still have time to decide what’s within her possibilities. Some really didn’t like Layla and I can understand that. She’s not a legend like Nate or Mordred. She’s a young woman who was thrust into an impossible situation thanks to her own parents. I haven’t read the first 7 installments in the Hellequin Chronicles. I am thinking that one day in the near future I will try to add them into my reading schedule. Since I met my reading challenge for 2020, I might return to switching between older releases and newer releases to keep things fresh.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

#Review - Fate of the Fallen by Lindsey Fairleigh #Fantasy #Mythology

Series: Atlantis Legacy # 2
Format: Kindle, 300 pages
Release Date: February 28, 2020
Publisher: Lindsey Fairleigh
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genre: Fantasy / Mythology

Fate of the Fallen is the sequel to the exhilarating treasure-hunting adventure, Legacy of the Lost.

Some myths hold a seed of truth. She must uncover the truth behind the myth of Hades, god of the underworld...before it destroys her.

Using wit and gumption—along with a hearty dose of her newfound psychic gifts—Cora Blackthorn has narrowly escaped the clutches of the Custodes Veritatis. With the help of her closest friend and strongest ally, Raiden Cross, as well as her mental hitchhiker, Persephone, Cora must outrun the sinister secret order long enough to uncover the mysteries left behind by Hades, the last of the Olympians. But when an ancient treasure hunt turns into a wild goose chase, Cora fears the worst—the quest is hopeless.

Until an unexpected discovery sets Cora on a new path. A hidden civilization thrives deep underground beneath the Amazon rainforest, and they have been waiting for Persephone's return. With their help, Cora discovers that the greatest danger to her life isn't the Order; it is Persephone, herself…


Fate of the Fallen is the second installment in author Lindsey Fairleigh's Atlantic Legacy series. Now that Cora Blackthorn knows she's sharing a consciousness with Peri (Persephone) a reincarnated Amazon warrior, she is determined to find Hades before her brain fractures. Her first stop in this story is the Amazon Rainforest along with Raiden Cross. Armed with Peri's Doru, her hoplon suit, and regulator, as well as a Hades memory sphere, Cora is desperate to find Hades. 

Unlike the myths, he is also an Olympian from Planet Olympus and apparently has been in cryo slumber off and on for thousands of years hoping to resurrect the Olympian's which he apparently has thousands in storage. Of course it's not an easy journey to find Hades when there is another group, the Custodes Veritatis, determined to get there first at any and all costs. Cora and Raiden's discovery of a remarkable people called Zari led by Ilyana, who has apparently been waiting for Peri or Hades to return, throws them for a loop. 

Ilyana knows all about the Custodes Veritatis since they once arrived and took all the priceless artifacts back to the Vatican with them. The same place where Cora and Raiden recently escaped from after solving Hades labyrinth. Hades created underground tunnels that look remarkably like the Tartarus  ship that brought Peri and the Olympians to Atlantis on. Atlantis is what the Olympias call Earth. Ilyana is technically an Atlantean not like Hades and Peri. Cora's issues are just beginning.

It doesn't help that the Primicerius of the Custodes Veritatis demands that Cora declare her loyalty to them and their mission which she has no intention of doing. I think I've said this before, but I'll say it again. If you liked Lara Croft Tomb Raider or Stargate, this series is right up your comfort zone. There is plenty of action as the author takes readers from the Amazon Rainforest to Ireland to Egypt in search of answers and of course, Hades who may have to intercede in saving Cora from losing her self entirely. Cora's connection with Peri gives her a grab bag of psychic gifts, but it may also end up killing her unless she can find Hades. 

The cast of this story actually expands a bit when a girl named Meg tries to kidnap her at her mother's urging and ends up becoming bound to Cora which means if one of them dies, both of them dies. Meg is a good addition since there are things she knows that actually help, not hinder, Cora's search for Hades.  We also get the return of Diana Blackthorn who stole Peri from the Custodes, Emi Cross who is Raiden's mother, and Fiona, a game researcher who is best friends with Cora and owns her own castle in Ireland.  

This series is all about ancient mysteries, Greek mythology, treasure-hunting adventurers, and dynamic characters. What is Hades really hiding? Eternal life? Priceless treasures or knowledge of the ages? What happened to the rest of the Olympians on Earth?