Book Review: ‘Malevolent Manifestation’ by Lucretia Stanhope

Another excellent instalment in an outstanding paranormal book series.

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Must happiness always come at a price? 
In the world reigned by Gwen and Brac, the answer is most definitely “yes”.

In this ninth book in Stanhope’s Elemenhtal Witch Trials series, the members of Gwen’s family find themselves enmeshed in a web of consequences of alliances and liaisons of the past, while fighting a new and unknown opponent, and regret becomes a constant reminder that the past cannot be separated from the present and the future.

While Gwen’s family must work together to solve the mystery of their new antagonist, Destiny comes to the forefront of the storyline as she has not done before, demonstrating her strength and maturity as never before. It is refreshing to see her owning her gifts and demanding to be allowed to use them, rather than remaining the helpful wallflower she has been thus far.  

Although fraught with challenge and pain, this story is balanced by moments of beauty and joy, and by the celebration of achievements and triumphs, captured by the author to give the reader a sense of hope and anticipation of what is yet to come. 

This series continues to evolve and captivate the reader, demonstrating both the depth and complexityof the characters and story lines, and the skill of the author who has created them. 

‘Malevolent Manifestations’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here.

 

Book Review: ‘Sweet Suffering’ by Lucretia Stanhope

Another excellent part of a series I have really been enjoying.

Book eight in Stanhope’s Elemental Witch Trials series continues Rose’s story with some powerful and compelling developments.

This instalment explores the balance of power and strength not just between key characters, but also within some of them more personally and individually. It also pays deeper attention to issues of heredity and consequence at a deeper level than previous books in the series. Some episodes of this novel are confronting, while others are devastating for the characters and the reader alike.

As with every other part of this excellent series thus far, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. 

‘Sweet Suffering’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Audiobook Review: ‘The Rite of Wands’ by Mackenzie Flohr.

‘The Rite of Wands’ audiobook is excellent.

I read and reviewed ‘The Rite of Wands’ over a year ago, but only just picked up the audiobook. I’ve really only started listening to audiobooks in the last couple of months, and knowing how much I enjoyed reading the book, I was keen to add this to my collection. 

I was delighted to find the story to be just as fresh and exciting, and to be able to immerse myself in  the world of Mierta McKinnon once again. 

This audiobook is excellent. The narration is clear and expressive, and the use of voice, tone and accent to develop the individual qualities of different characters is wonderful. 

It is a pleasure to award ‘The Rite of Wands’ another Gold Acorn. 

The audiobook is available on both Audible and Kobo. 

Book Review: ‘Thorns‘ by Lucretia Stanhope

Another great read in an excellent paranormal series.

This seventh book in the Elemental Witch Trials series focuses on Rose, Brac’s daughter, take over as the main character, Brac still features prominently in the story, while Gwen and other family members continue to take supporting roles. Once again, the author achieves a natural and smooth progression that enriches the series without losing continuity or cutting off the stories of other family members.

Rose is a formidable character, not afraid to use both her physical and inner strengths to achieve her goals. She is complex and conflicted, which adds a very relatable layer of depth to her story.

As with every other instalment of this excellent series, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Thorns has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Tempered Fury‘ by Lucretia Stanhope

Another brilliant read in an excellent paranormal series.

The sixth book in the Elemental Witch Trials series sees Brac take over as the central character, with his mother Gwen and other family members in supporting roles. This is quite a natural and smooth progression, and one that I felt was timely in the overall story of the series. It’s interesting and exciting for the reader to see this generational change and to learn how Gwen’s qualities and powers have been passed on in her children and grandchildren.

The evolution of Brac is both fascinating and satisfying, as the reader begins to see beneath his impulsive and superficial exterior to what is really underneath. The development of the next generation is also very interesting, and the reader can only begin to guess what challenges and exploits await these new characters.

The story still has sufficient continuity with the previous books in the series to maintain the flow of the overall series, but this book is also sufficiently detailed in terms of back story so that a reader unfamiliar with the series could still enjoy it and understand enough of the context to fully enjoy the book.

It is an excellent series though, and I have thoroughly enjoyed each instalment so far, so I really do encourage readers to start at the beginning.

Tempered Fury has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Dragon School: First Flight’ by Sarah K.L. Wilson

Compelling YA fantasy that captivates the imagination.

Sarah KL‘Dragon School: First Flight’ is a compelling YA fantasy adventure story. Filled with danger, excitement and discovery, this book introduces Amel Leafbrought, a teenage girl embarking on life as a trainee dragon rider.

Amel does not see herself as heroic, yet she is. She does not allow her disability to limit either her dreams or her determination, nor does she give in to the taunts from those who cannot see past it. She does, however, allow herself to express the fear and misery that is all-too-familiar to those who bear the brunt of discrimination and bullying. The reader develops empathy with Amel not because of the way in which others treat her, rather than because of her disability, purely because while her physical limitations are challenging, they are not the greatest cause of distress to her. The ways in which she responds to both kinds of challenge are generally positive and proactive, and allow her individual qualities to shine. The realisation that she has abilities others do not is a source of encouragement to both Amel and the reader.

The author has portrayed the best and the worst qualities of humanity in the characters that make up the cast of the story. Some are kind, some are hateful, while others are indifferent for various reasons. In this, a fact of life is portrayed quite realistically: each of us has to work out who we can trust, who we cannot, and who are our allies if we are to find our path in life and navigate it successfully.

‘Dragon School’ captivated my imagination as powerfully as I remember Harry Potter doing when I first read it, but it is most definitely not a “copycat” concept.

There are so many elements of this book that work really well. The world building is unique and interesting, the social systems are complex and fascinating at the same time, the complications and challenges are dangerous, and the things for which Amel and her peers must strive are important.

I am excited to see this narrative develop and expand, and to see Dragon School and Amel become the enormous success that it deserves to be.

This series is now on my “one-click”list, and all who love YA fantasy, magic, and dragons should ensure it is on theirs, too.  Acorn Award I Golden

While ‘Dragon School: First Flight’ is only a short book, it is a most excellent one, and most worthy of a Golden Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Alterations’ by Lucretia Stanhope

Another great novel in Stanhope’s ‘Elemental Witch Trials’ series.

Lucretia Stanhope EWT 5‘Alterations’ is the fifth novel in the Elemental Witch Trials series by Lucretia Stanhope. It resumes Gwen’s story some time after the events of ‘Familiar Betrayal’, as she finds herself pursuing new and dangerous directions. There seems to be so much at stake for Gwen in this book – but perhaps that is an issue of scale, for every mother perceives that there are threats to her children that she must overcome in order to protect them, and all individuals understand that there are many people who would be willing to take us down and few who would truly defend us if it meant putting themselves in danger.

One of the qualities I really admire about Gwen is her refusal to be passive and just let things happen around her. She is not only a strong woman, she is confident in using her strengths to achieve her aims. She may not have everything in control, but she definitely strives to do what she can and to respond to situations with positive outcomes in mind.

I really enjoyed this book, and I’m also really glad to see that the author is determined to make this series varied and complex. This instalment is full of tension and twists, and I’m definitely keen to read more of this series.

Acorn Award II Silver

‘Alterations’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find ‘Alterations’ here.

If this series is new to you, click here to read my review of the first book in the series, Blessedly Bound.