Book Review: The Five Shields: The Lost Souls

Title: The Five Shields: The Lost Souls
Author: Ilan Dvir
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Rating: 3,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Imagine discovering a baby with a mysterious gem on your doorstep!

A sharp knock in the middle of the night awakens Henri and Aline. They discover on their doorstep a swaddled baby with only a mysterious ring wrapped in her blankets. They decide to keep their find a secret and tell the world she is theirs, not knowing that every secret comes at a price. They name her Rose.

Five teens from across the world discover shared hidden powers and a deadly mission

On their thirteen birthdays, Rose and four other teenagers from across the globe discover that they are The Five Shields, tasked with protecting the world’s fate and the balance of good and evil. All they have in common is a mysterious, powerful gem. On a life-changing journey, they discover untold powers hidden within them.

Can the Five Shields save a world threatened by total darkness?

The Five Shields must fight to free the lost souls before it is too late. But first they must defeat sinister, dark forces hell-bent on their total destruction. If the Shields succeed, light will triumph; if they fail, darkness will reign. Who will prevail?

In The Five Shields: The Lost Souls, Henri and Aline discover a swaddled baby on their doorstep with a mysterious ring wrapped in her blankets. They decide to pretend the baby is theirs, and name her Rose. On her thirteenth birthday, Rose realizes she’s one of the Five Shields, tasked with protectin the balance of good and evil. Along with four others, she has to save the world.

The plot is very fast-paced and although not that original (in parts similar to a variety of other young hero / chosen ones stories out there) it is entertaining, and we dive into the action right away. It’s ideal for middle graders and young adults, but even adults will enjoy the imaginative tale.

Book Review: The Peacock Door by Wanda Kay Knight

Title: The Peacock Door
Author: Wanda Kay Knight
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Age Group: Middle Grade
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon

In a magical tale of adventure, eight cousins sneak through forbidden treehouse doors, only to find themselves separated from each other and lost in strange worlds. In their quests to return home, they must unravel mysteries, escape snares and villains, find one another, and search for the elusive Oracle. The Peacock Door is a rich story of camaraderie, loyalty, love, and determination with a bit whimsy sprinkled throughout.

The Peacock Door is a magical, imaginative adventure about eight cousins who find themselves lost in strange worlds, and who have to rely on their own wit, intelligence and determination to return home. Each of the cousins is unique and different and although eight characters is a lot to keep track of, I could easily keep them apart. The story reminded me of the classics I loved to read back when I was a kid, like The Neverending Story or The Wizard of Oz.

The scenes are so vivid they seem to come to live, and the writing is on par for the targeted age group, yet adults will be able to enjoy it too. I also really loved the cover, it fit the book well. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, and I hope the author makes a series out of this.

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Book Tours: Starter Day Party The Peacock Door

I’m hosting the starter day party today for the book tour for “The Peacock Door”. The tour runs from September 2 to October 2. Stay tuned for my review!

Tour Schedule

September 2nd: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

September 4th: Book Excerpt @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

September 6th: Promo Post @ Domestic Chanteuse

September 7th: Promo Post @ Nesie’s Place

September 9th: Book Excerpt @ Indy Book Fairy

September 10th: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

September 11th: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ YA Book Divas

September 12th: Book Excerpt @ Author C.A. Milson’s Blog

September 13th: Book Excerpt, Guest Post and Giveaway @ Books, Authors & Publishing

September 15th: Book Excerpt @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

September 17th: Book Excerpt @ Nesie’s Place

September 18th: Promo Post @ Lisa Queen of Random

September 19th: Promo Post @ Bedazzled Reading

September 20th: Book Review and Giveaway @ I Heart Reading

September 21st:  Book Excerpt @ Bookish Madness

September 23rd: Book Excerpt @ Books, Dreams, Life

September 25th: Promo Post @ Books are Forever

September 27th: Author Interview and Giveaway @ Majanka’s Blog

September 29th: Guest Post @ Editor Charlene’s Blog

September 29th: Book Excerpt @ Just Books

September 30th: Book Review @ Pop’s Blog

October 1st: Book Review @ The Resistance

October 1st: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ Silver Dagger Scriptorium

October 1st: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ T’s Stuff

October 2nd: Promo Post @ Bookworm for Kids


About the Book

Title: The Peacock Door

Author: Wanda Kay Knight

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

In a magical tale of adventure, eight cousins sneak through forbidden treehouse doors, only to find themselves separated from each other and lost in strange worlds. In their quests to return home, they must unravel mysteries, escape snares and villains, find one another, and search for the elusive Oracle. The Peacock Door is a rich story of camaraderie, loyalty, love, and determination with a bit whimsy sprinkled throughout.

Author Bio

Wanda Kay Knight lives in the Pacific Northwest, teaches literature, strives really hard to keep up with her adventurous/competitive family, makes things out of yarn (mainly unique hats), enjoys collecting pretty rocks, and writes a lot.



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Book Review: One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn

Title: One for Sorrow
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Genre: Historical, Middle Grade, Ghosts
Age Group: Middle Grade
Rating: 3 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Against the ominous backdrop of the influenza epidemic of 1918, Annie, a new girl at school, is claimed as best friend by Elsie, a classmate who is a tattletale, a liar, and a thief. Soon Annie makes other friends and finds herself joining them in teasing and tormenting Elsie. Elsie dies from influenza, but then she returns to reclaim Annie’s friendship and punish all the girls who bullied her. Young readers who revel in spooky stories will relish this chilling tale of a girl haunted by a vengeful ghost.

One for Sorrow is an another addition to Mary Downing Hahn’s ever-growing oeuvre, and it’s a solid one, although perhaps not as refreshing or as creepy as I had hoped.

Against the influenza epidemic of 1918, Annie is a new girl at school. She’s immediately claimed as best friend by Elsie, a bossy tattletale classmate who Annie somewhat sympathizes with because of her horrible situation at home. Yet Elsie easily distances Annie from the other classmates, destroys her favorite doll, and soon turns out to be the worst friend in history. When Elsie is ill for a week, Annie makes new friends, much to Elsie’s dismay.

Then, the influenza epidemic strikes, and Elsie grows ill and dies. She returns from the dead to haunt Annie and her new friends, and to make Annie believes she’s responsible for Elsie dying. She makes Annie’s life a miserable, going so far as to get her locked up in an insane asylum. Annie must find a way to fight back against her unwanted ghostly companion.

It’s old school horror, but doesn’t have any of the delicious eeriness that usually accompanies those stories. The historical setting works, the writing is excellent, the children are cruel and wicked, but it’s still missing something. Elsie’s ghost isn’t particularly scary. She lets Annie do wicked things, but it’s not scary, not creepy, not eerie.

Also, all the characters are horrible. Even Annie. She decides to hate Elsie right away when it’s obvious and should be obvious to her that Elsie has a horrible childhood and could really use a friend. Maybe Elsie should temper it down somewhat, but she could still use a friend. I found it downright cruel how even the adults were mean to Elsie. That’s terrible. All the girl characters were nasty and spoiled, and the adults weren’t much better.

I was also rather annoyed by Annie not being able to do anything on her own. She wanted to get rid of Elsie’s ghost, but she didn’t really do anything about it. She didn’t try research, or try to contact anyone who could help her. She was very passive, and just let things happen to her.

Anyway, it’s a good story for middle graders, but not the best, although I did enjoy the writing and pacing, and the historical setting. The characters just weren’t very likeable, and the story wasn’t creepy enough.

Book Review Laura Monster Crusher

31147002Title: Laura Monster Crusher

Author: Wesley King

Genre: Children’s Books

Age Group: Children / Middle Grade

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Lord of the Rings meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Duff in this funny, fast-paced tale of middle-school monsters, self-image, and, oh yeah, actual monsters that want to kill everyone.
Laura Ledwick is… well… large. The kids at school don’t let her forget it, and call her by various names: Laura Largebottom, Laura Lardo, Lots of Laura–you get the idea. When Laura’s family moves to the next town over before eighth grade, she expects more of the same. What she doesn’t expect are the snake-like yellow eyes watching her from the forest. Or the mysterious rattling in her closet. Or finally making real friends for the first time. Or handsome uber-nerd Liam R. Kelp, who might just be the cutest boy to ever wear a Science Is Cool T-shirt. But when Laura finally discovers the source of the rattling, things take on a whole new level of weird. It turns out Laura has just been given the most important job in the world: Monster Crusher. Her role is simple: protect the earth from the horrors beneath their feet. Eighth grade is about to get a lot more interesting.

In Laura Monster Crusher, Laura struggles with being bullied at school because of her weight. When her parents move to another town before eighth grade, she expects she’ll just get bullied again in her new high school. But what she doesn’t expect is she might actually make some friends. On the downside, though, she actually makes some enemies, of the supernatural kind. She discovers a portal to another world, where she will be trained as a Monster Crusher, and learn to protect the earth from the horrors underground – the monsters. No, eighth grade will be a lot more interesting than she ever could’ve imagined.

I absolutely loved Laura. Her struggles made her sound all the more realistic, especially how she struggles with her weight and being bullied. I also loved her sweet crush on Liam R. Kelp, who is nerdy but lovely, cute and respectful too. Laura sure knows how to pick them! Laura also doesn’t really lose weight – her training might help her shape up a little, but she doesn’t magically transform into a skinny girl. In a way, the book is all about fat acceptance and positive body image, and I totally support that. Laura gains independence and self-confidence as the book progresses, and I felt so proud for her.

The writing was good, and although some parts of the book dragged (especially in the middle), I really enjoyed it. It’s a wonderful, positive, imaginative middle grade book.


Book Review: The Journey to Magmatic by Ya’akov Halevy

Title: The Journey to Magmatic
Author: Ya’akov Halevy
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

An adventure beneath the earth’s surface

An ancient legend tells of a long-gone continent called Magmatic, buried in a volcanic eruption due to human greed and environmental destruction. Tulip and her little brother Noonie heard the fable from their father, a scientist who anticipates earthquakes. They’ll soon find out that the legend is real.

An adventure packed with thrills, humor and surprise

On a field-trip to an advanced scientific pod, Tulip and Noonie find themselves beneath the earth’s surface. Deep underground, they slowly uncover the true source of earthquakes, and how the ancient legend is linked to the real environmental dangers facing the planet.

A fantastic voyage into the earth’s belly

In their journey they encounter mythical animals, magnificent sights, great dangers and a world that blends imagination and reality. Together with their companions – a kind-hearted crustacean and a humanoid mindreading computer – they must learn to cooperate and rely on each other if they want to survive… and save the world.

Two children on a mission to save the planet

Will Tulip and Noonie overcome the dangers lurking in the Magma Sea, deep in the belly of the Earth? Will they escape the Monster Crab and the cruel mutants? How will they decipher the ancient prophecy and silence the deadly drill? And will their love for each other survive the voyage? A fantastic adventure about friendship, courage and environmental responsibility. You’ll read it with bated breath.

Get your copy of The Journey to Magmatic now!

The Journey to Magmatic reminded me of a movie I’d seen when I was a kid, about scientists having to travel to the earth’s core. In this book, two kids, Tulip and Noonie, finds themselves beneath the earth’s surface on a field trip to an advanced scientific pod. Underground, they uncover th true source of earthquakes, a long-lost continent called Magmatic and mythical creatures they never knew existed.

This book is a delight for middle graders and young adults. The author has a vivid imagination, mixing myth and legend with science fiction-like mutant creatures, and combining technology and the legends of old in an exciting tale. Tulip and Noonie are two intriguing protagonists as well. They’re siblings, and their love and friendship is at the core of this book.

Young teens and middle graders will love this amazing adventure beneath the earth’s surface.

Author Interview with Fred Holmes

  • How long have you been writing?

51r4987wb1l-_uy250_Forever! Before you’re born it’s very difficult to network, so the first thing I did when I popped out was ask my doctor, “Know any good literary agents?” Just kidding! —sort of.  Truth is, I started writing in school and never stopped. After college I started out as a director of television and films, but grew so tired of the quality of scripts I was being asked to direct that I started writing my own. This led to me writing and/or directing over 250 episodes of TV, which led to me writing spec screenplays for movies in Hollywood. One of these screenplays was optioned by Gerald R. Molen who’d won the Academy Award for producing SCHINDLER’S LIST. Jerry was never able to get it made into a movie, so one day a friend of mine at Disney suggested I turn it into a novel, and voila! THE UGLY TEAPOT was born! Boy, don’t you just love all of these metaphors about birth…?

  • What is your favorite genre to write?


  • Which genre have you never tried before, but would like to try?

I’m still trying to get fantasy right, but if I was going to try something else it would be a biography. I’ve traveled a good portion of this earth directing TV documentaries, and some of those places no sane human being would ever want to go. My wife has suggested I title my bio, “Dysentery From India to Africa.”

  • Please tell us about your book.

THE UGLY TEAPOT is the story of a fourteen-year-old girl who leaves home on an amazing adventure with her father. There is just one problem. Her father died a month ago.

  • Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why?

Favorite: My protagonist, Hannah. She’s brave and resourceful, yet vulnerable and oh so dedicated to doing the right thing regardless of the consequences.  Least favorite: My antagonist, the Magician, because he’s everything Hannah is not.

  • What was the hardest part about writing your book?

I began my professional writing career writing teleplays and screenplays so making the transition to writing prose was a challenge. It still is! In screenplays you only write what the audience will see and hear, consequently you don’t get inside your character’s heads to experience what they’re thinking or feeling. That is left to the actor to portray. So when it came time for me to write THE UGLY TEAPOT, I not only had to teach myself how to get inside my characters, I also had to relearn grammar. Good grammar isn’t highly prized in writing screenplays. Your goal is to create an emotional blueprint for a movie.

  • What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing?

I pretty much write seven days a week, about fifty weeks a year, and depending on whether or not I’m directing something, I write for about eight hours a day. I read once that Charles Dickens only wrote four hours a day, and I don’t know how he did it—especially writing long hand! What do I need to start writing? A computer, an idea, and some privacy.

  • How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish?

The short answer—a decade or more—because it started as a screenplay, then went through several incarnations as a novel. Interestingly enough, the sequel only took me six months.

  • Can you tell us about your editing process?

Unlike what they tell you to do, I go back and edit while I’m writing. Perhaps it’s the perfectionist in me, but I have a hard time moving forward unless I’m at least somewhat pleased with what I’ve written. Then once I’m done, I do multiple passes to clean it up.

  • Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned?

Yes, it is part of a series and there will be three installments.

  • Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write. What are you waiting for? Life is short and very unpredictable. So don’t wait. Start writing today. Start this very moment—this very second! Stop reading this and go write! –okay, well, it would be nice if you finished reading this first, but ignore those who tell you you can’t do it. No one—and I’m talking no one in the entire freaking universe—can write your story. So quit hesitating and get to work. And once you start, I want you to realize something extremely important. Stories are meant to be shared. They’re not meant to be put in a drawer and forgotten. They’re your gift to the future, so get them out there by hook or crook! And make them a good gift. Tell stories that lift people up and make their lives better. There’s already enough hatred and meanness in the world. Be someone who tells stories that make the world a better place. Then who knows. A thousand years from now someone just like you might read your story and be touched by it and be inspired to write their own story. Can you think of a better legacy?

  • Why should everyone read your book?

Why should anyone read any story? First, a good story teaches you empathy. You get to walk in someone else’s shoes for awhile. Second, a good story broadens your horizons. You learn that it’s a great big world out there with diverse ways of living and thinking, and learning about this diversity makes you a better, more well-rounded human being. And third, a good story teaches you to dream. It makes you realize you can accomplish so much more than you ever thought you could. Does THE UGLY TEAPOT embody all of these objectives? I sure hope so. I tried my best to portray them. And I would be honored if folks would give it a chance.

  • If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which three would you choose?

First, Ray Bradbury; he wrote my favorite novel of all time, DANDELION WINE. Why I connect with that book so viscerally, I have no idea, because it is about a time in which I did not live, and a place I’ve never been, and yet I absolutely adore it. A big reason is Ray’s use of language. His writing is about as close to poetry as one can get. As a side note: Years ago, before Ray died, he was working with my friend, Jerry Molen, on the movie version of THE MARTIAN CHRONOCLES for Universal. Jerry was telling me about working with Ray, and I told Jerry what a huge fan I was of DANDELION WINE. Sure enough, when I showed up in Jerry’s office at DreamWorks the next day, he handed me an autographed copy of DANDELION WINE. On the inside of the cover, Ray had drawn a picture of a dandelion and written, “Fred, this dandelion is for you!” It remains one of my most prized possessions. As far as living authors are concerned, my next choice would be Patrick Rothfuss. I would love to talk to him about THE SLOW REGARD OF SILENT THINGS. It’s so subtle and wonderful and is the finest portrayal of mental illness I’ve ever read. And I would love to meet J. K. Rowling. Perhaps buy her lots of drinks, loosen up her tongue a little, and get her to tell me where all of those magnificent characters came from!

  • What inspired you to write your book?

THE UGLY TEAPOT is my emotional reaction to the death of my brother, Jim. He died at a very young age from cancer and it took seven years to kill him because he tried so hard to live. It was an absolutely horrible time, I was with him through it all, and I’m still struggling to deal with it. My goal in writing TEAPOT was to create an action/adventure story that would help kids deal with trauma so, hopefully, they will be able to deal with life’s heartbreaks better than I did.

  • Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it?

I’m finishing up the sequel to THE UGLY TEAPOT. I can’t tell you too much about it without a bunch of spoiler alerts, but I can say that Aladdin’s Lamp has taken up residence in a small village in the Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, and the townspeople will never be the same. Some will live, some will die, and some…well…you’ll just have to read it.

Book: The Ugly Teapot

Fourteen-year-old Hannah Bradbury loved her father so much that she worried about him constantly. After all, he was a photographer who traveled to the most dangerous places in the world. To allay her fears, each time he came home he brought her silly gifts, each one with supposed magical powers: the Seal of Solomon, the Ring of Gyges, even Aladdin’s Lamp. It was that lamp that Hannah found most unbelievable, for it looked like an ugly teapot. Nevertheless, her father assured her it was real, and made her promise to save her three wishes for something very special. Then . . . six months later . . . the unthinkable happened. Her father was killed while on assignment to Baghdad. And so on the day of his funeral Hannah did something she never thought she would ever do. She took out that teapot and gave it a rub . . .

Buy on Amazon (Paperback) or Amazon (eBook).

Author Bio

51xakuez4zl-_ux250_THE UGLY TEAPOT is Fred Holmes’s first fiction novel, having previously ghost written a nonfiction book, LETTERS FROM DAD. He is known primarily as a writer and director of films and television, working primarily in family films and children’s television. His work can be seen on Mary Lou Retton’s FLIP FLOP SHOP, BARNEY & FRIENDS, WISHBONE, HORSELAND, IN SEARCH OF THE HEROES, and many other shows, for which he has won two Emmys and three CINE Golden Eagles, among numerous other awards. He has also directed three feature films, including DAKOTA, starring Lou Diamond Phillips, distributed by Miramax, and HEART LAND, a Bollywood feature film shot on location in India. He lives with his wife and son in the southwest United States, and can be found online at


Mini-Reviews: The Lonely Ones, City of Shadows, The Spirit Chaser


Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

The Lonely Ones

Tite: The Lonely Ones

Author: Kelsey Sutton

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

When your only friend is your own endless imagination, how do you escape your mind and connect to the world around you?

With parents too busy to pay her attention, an older brother and sister who would rather spend their time with friends, and peers who oscillate between picking on her and simply ignoring her, it’s no wonder that Fain spends most of her time in a world of her own making. During the day, Fain takes solace in crafting her own fantastical adventures in writing, but in the darkness of night, these adventures come to life as Fain lives and breathes alongside a legion of imaginary creatures. Whether floating through space or under the sea, climbing mountains or traipsing through forests, Fain becomes queen beyond – and in spite of – the walls of her bedroom.

In time, Fain begins to see possibilities and friendships emerge in her day-to-day reality. . . yet when she is let down by the one relationship she thought she could trust, Fain must decide: remain queen of the imaginary creatures, or risk the pain that comes with opening herself up to the fragile connections that exist only in the real world?

Told in breathless and visual verse, THE LONELY ONES takes readers through the intricate inner workings of a girl who struggles to navigate isolation and finds friendship where she least expects it.

Review: Fain knows what loneliness looks like. What it feels like. But when a group of monsters befriends her, she is no longer lonely: now she has friends to go on adventures with. This is a beautiful story of a girl’s journey of self-discovery through her imagination.

City of Shadows

Title: City of Shadows

Author: Pippa DaCosta

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Alina knows she is not real – the fae queen spun an evil web to create her – but she wants more than to spend her days feeding off humans’ energy to survive. She isn’t content to lose herself in the dangerously attractive Reign. She wants a life of her own making.

Desperate to help the man who saved her life, Alina vows to find his missing sister. Alina is convinced that the general of the Fae Authority plays a part in her disappearance. She infiltrates the organisation and gets close to their strongest fighter. But while Samuel’s tormented soul and masterful touch stirs in Alina a feeling of being human again, her loyalty to Reign makes her Samuel’s enemy. Who should she trust?

This New Adult urban fantasy is packed with action and suspense and will have you yearning for more forbidden fae romance.

Review: I absolutely loved this book. Alina is a construct, something made by the fae queen, and she only has limited time left. All the characters were amazing, especially Reign and Alina! This was the second book in a series, and I didn’t read the first book, but I wanted to ever since I finished this one. An excellent read.

The Spirit Chaser

Title: The Spirit Chaser

Author: Kat Mayor

Genre: Fantasy, Horror

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Some places are too evil. Some places should be left alone.

Austin Cole has it made. Star of the hit television show Spirit Chaser Investigations, he has become the world’s most famous paranormal investigator. Although hard work, a talented investigation team, and favorable genetics have something to do with it, it’s his lack of fear and willingness to take risks no one else will that make Spirit Chaser Investigations cable’s number-one show. When a ghost-hunt-gone-wrong seriously injures his best friend and lead psychic, Austin is forced to find a replacement for a team member he considers irreplaceable.

Casey Lawson can’t catch a break. She’s been on her own since she turned eighteen and is scraping by as a part-time psychic and cashier at a New Age store. When a desperate Austin Cole calls her up and offers her a position on his team, has her fortune finally changed?

He’s a control freak; she’s stubborn and opinionated. It takes time, but when they finally realize they’re working on the same side, everything clicks, both on and off screen.

Just when things are looking up, a new threat emerges. Over the years, Austin has angered plenty of demons, and one of them has set her sights on him. Now he’s the one in danger, and it’s up to the team to rescue him from the riskiest investigation of their lives.

Review: This book had everything I loved: ghosts, a paranormal show, romance. Unfortunately, it all felt rather bland, mostly due to the writing style, which was mechanical and boring. The first few spooky scenes were creepy, but it went downhill from there.

Book Review The Sailweaver’s Son

front-coverTitle: The Sailweaver’s Son
Author: Jeff Minerd
Genre: MG/YA Fantasy
Age Group: Middle Grade and Up
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

The Sailweaver’s Son combines traditional fantasy with a dash of steampunk and takes young readers to a unique world—Etherium. A world where mountains rise like islands above a sea of clouds and adventurers travel the sky in sail-driven airships.

When fifteen year-old Tak rescues the survivor of an airship destroyed by one of the giant flammable gas bubbles mysteriously appearing in the sky of Etherium, the authorities react like a flock of startled grekks.

Admiral Scud accuses Tak of sabotage and treason. Tak’s father grounds him for reckless airmanship. Rumors spread that the bubbles are weapons devised by the Gublins, a race of loathsome but ingenious underground creatures. The King’s advisors call for war, hoping to win much-needed Gublin coal.

To clear his name, solve the mystery, and prevent a misguided war, Tak must do what anyone knows is suicide—visit the Gublins and find out what they’re up to. When the wizard’s adopted daughter, an oddly beautiful and irksomely intelligent girl from the Eastern kingdoms, asks Tak to help her do just that, he can’t say no.

The adventure will take Tak from the deepest underground caves to a desperate battle on Etherium’s highest mountaintop. It will force him to face his worst fears, and to grow up faster than he expected.

When I was a child, I once read a fantasy book about airships. It was amazing, and for years afterward, I fantasized about a vast world where people could travel in airships, and cities existed in the clouds. The Sailweaver’s Son brought those memories back to me, and reminded me of that fantasy world I had once imagined – except this time around, it has some steampunk elements, and it’s called Etherium.

World building is one of the toughest aspects about writing fantasy novels. The sky is the limit, but if you provide no science as to why suddenly ships would be able to sail on the air, or why empires in the clouds exist, that will leave a void in your book. The author handles this well here – the reasons are explained without being too scientific. It’s kept simple and understandable, and gives the world, despite being a fantasy world, a certain sense of realism. The author also provided sufficient background on the history of Etherium without straying too far from the story.

Tak is an intriguing character. He’s accused of sabotage after an airship gets destroyed. If he wants to clear his name, Tak will need to visit the Gublins, ingenious creatures who dwell underground, find out how they’re involved in the air crash he got accused of, and what their ultimate plan is. Luckily, Tak isn’t alone on his journey, but it will force him to face who he truly is, and what choices he’s capable of making.

I liked Tak, but I also enjoyed the secondary characters, in particular Brieze. The writing was fluent, the story creative and imaginative, and I would definitely recommend this book to all middle graders, young adults, and even adults who enjoy fantasy fiction.

Release Blitz: Hero High: Figure in the Flames


Book Excerpt

In the year 1930 the world experienced strange lights in the sky; a comet, gone rogue, fell into Earth’s orbit and pounded our blue planet with bright, shooting stars. In the same year ordinary men and women began to exhibit super powers and by 1939 the connection was clear. In the moments before death the Comet gave powers to those with an overwhelming desire to live. Object D/1930 X1 was given a name: the Heroic Comet.

In the war years that followed those affected by the comet saved thousands, but life in peacetime wasn’t easy. One hero, Stronghold, found the solution; he designed and built Icon City, an island homeland for heroes.

By the year 1950 the world knew comet given powers could be used for evil as well as good, some of the heroes turned to crime and this sent the world into panic, so in 1959, as the first group of heroes prepared to retire, the International Heroes Group was formed with a simple mission: recruit and train new heroes.

The group did well. New villains and heroes arose and in 1979 Captain Fantastic joined their ranks where he battled the most desperate villain of all: Dr. Dangerous. They clashed for many years until the Doctor’s plans grew more and more gruesome and the public demanded action. In 1986, Captain Fantastic took the lead; he killed Dr. Dangerous on live television and surrendered to the police.

One year later, his plea of self-defense was upheld and Captain Fantastic, now even more popular, was released. He spent the next five years urging the world to keep a close eye on superheroes through a dedicated television channel, and as part of his efforts he opened a school where the next generation of super powered heroes could be trained.

He called it Hero High.

I grew up with stories of that school and the heroes who passed through its doors.

Now I get to write one about my hero.

About the Book

SMALL_COVERTitle: Hero High: The Figure in the Flames

Author: Mina Chara

Genre: YA Mystery Romance

Reality TV meets Superhero High School in this intriguing story about friendship, fame, and what it means to be a hero.

In Icon City superheroes save the day every day on the quarter hour. Lead by Captain Fantastic, scores of super celebrities do their best to train the next generation; seventeen year old Friday Fitzsimmons and Jake her childhood friend, are their latest starstruck recruits. When Doctor Dangerous returns from the dead and the Figure in Flames decimates the city, Captain Fantastic is betrayed by one of his own.

Torn between Jake, Ashley and her feelings for Doctor Dangerous, Friday must decide if her childhood friend is worth fighting for, and if the world’s most famous super-villain is worth saving, all while learning how to be a hero.

Author Bio

Mina Chara likes superheroes, chinese food and spending time with her dog. She dislikes dark, gritty superhero movies and tales of the dystopian future. Generally optimistic she writes stories that reflect her love of color (especially blue) as well as her sense of humor.

Born in London Mina enjoyed story telling as a child, but was diagnosed as severely dyslexic aged eight. Advised to stick to art and forget writing, Mina decided to do both and her paintings have so far been featured in two exhibitions. She still struggles with her dyslexia and finds writing a challenge, but refuses to be limited. Hero High: Figure in the Flames is the third book she has written, but the first to be published. Mina is currently studying for a bachelor’s degree in creative writing.


Hero High: Figure in the Flames on Kindle

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