Wyshea Shadows by Geoffrey Saign


Wyshea Shadows by Geoffrey Saign
– Divided Draghons Book One

Publisher: KiraKu Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: Full (307 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Age:  16+
Rating: Best Book
Review by: Orchid

A hundred-year-war that won’t end…

Three young women sworn to kill each other…

Famere, the wyshea butcher, seeks vengeance with loyal mythic beasts called shadows, Jennelle, commander of the Northerners, fights for her people’s survival using brilliant strategies, Camette, a wild divided draghon, searches for her kidnapped lover…Famere, Jennelle, and Camette must discover who is friend or enemy, who is responsible for the hundred-year dark sky and death mists, and if the men they adore will still love them.

From the award-winning author of WhipEye Chronicles comes the new epic fantasy series, Divided Draghons—an action-packed thriller with mystery, romance, and battles set in a world as beautiful, dangerous, and mysterious as the three heroic women—Famere, Jennelle, and Camette—who must fight for their people’s survival and the men they love.

The debut fantasy book from Geoffrey Saign, Wyshea Shadows, is a new addition to the great epic fantasy tradition of Dean Murray, Marc Secchia, and Ava Richardson.

When Famere unexpectedly becomes the Wyshea Guide instead of her proposed bond mate, she also bonds with the shadows who have returned after many decades away. With their help she leads her people to war, earning herself the nickname of Wyshea Butcher.

Jenelle becomes the leader of the Northerners after her father is killed by Famere. These two very intelligent women are the main pivot of the story, each a leader of her people, neither willing to allow the other races of the world to overrun their domains.

There are good books and there are great books, Wyshea Shadows is a great book. It’s too long to read all in one go, but I would have done this if it had been possible. There are male characters in this story, and they play strong roles, but the females are not overshadowed by them. The weaving together of males and females, the different races, magicians and wyshea is skilfully done. This is well crafted with a good flow between the different races and a strong story which is a pleasure to read. Excellent.

Not Her Baby by Cassandra Jamison


Not Her Baby by Cassandra Jamison
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (232 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 5 stars
Review by Orchid

When eighteen-year-old Aubrey Dale’s cousin is diagnosed with leukemia, Aubrey volunteers to in-vitro fertilization in order to become a vessel for the donor that will save her life. Now this clean-cut high school student must learn to adapt to life as a pregnant teenager, despite still being a virgin. Things only get more complicated when she falls in love with her best friend, Eli Calhoun, who has just returned from the penitentiary. Rumors soon spread that the insemination story is only a cover up. That’s when the anonymous threats begin. Someone in her small town disapproves of this so-called abomination. The psychological games soon take a twisted turn, putting Aubrey and her unborn child’s lives in danger. Aubrey and Eli race to uncover the horrible truth before it destroys everything.

Aubrey lives with her father and sister. Her mainstay in life is Kailee, her cousin, who has been there for her in all the years since her mother left. This summer a lot happens to Aubrey. Eli, a friend who has been in prison for several years, returns to the town and the friendship threatens to become a deeper relationship . Kailee arrives for the summer, and Brey finds out her cousin has leukemia. Brey offers to be a bone marrow transplant donor but unfortunately she isn’t a perfect fit. She takes the next best option and agrees to have a child with a donor to provide the stem cells needed for Kailee’s recovery.

At first I thought this eighteen year old was being brave in her wish to help her cousin. As the story progresses it becomes apparent she hasn’t really thought things through. One major result will be what to do with the baby when it’s born. At least one lady at her church has definite, but unwelcome, ideas about what will happen to the child.

The attitude of her fellow students at high school make her life more insulated. New students at the school, demean her for their own pleasure, and danger and intrigue from an unexpected source make her life scary and hazardous.

There are several sub-plots to this story which make it all the more intriguing and fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Separation by Stormy Corrin Russell


The Separation by Stormy Corrin Russell
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full (206 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by Orchid

In a world where men and women live on separate sides of a massive wall, seventeen-year-old misfit Eroyn Fairchild has always been too busy with her broken family to wonder why they live the way they do. When a man from the other side breaks through, Ero holds him hostage, hoping for a ransom large enough to pay for her Elder Grace’s treatment. Things get more complicated as the man is followed by two others who make Ero question everything she’s ever known about her life. As Ero searches for the truth, the lines between right and wrong blur, leaving her to choose between saving her city and saving herself.

After the war between the sexes, men and women live in separate conclaves. Ero works as security on the fence between the male and female compounds and one night discovers two men have broken through to the female side. One of these men is her brother and together they find out all they have been told is a lie.

It was interesting to read the author’s concept of this world with men and women living separately and babies being conceived by IVF although it appears records are kept of the fathers of each child. It’s amazing how different history to the truth can evolve when the descendants are not told the truth. This world is well built with rules, ceremonies and procedures which must be obeyed and apparently the only contact between the to halves of the compound are through special liaison people.

This is really Ero’s voyage of discovery finding out about her world, the men’s world and the true history of the past. There is a budding romance, but this has not developed by the end of the book. I liked how the original horror of males – instilled in her by her upbringing – is gradually replaced by acceptance that they are not the monsters she’s always believed. A good, different, book with a lot of tension throughout.

The Coterie Declaration by Richard C McClain II


The Coterie Declaration by Richard C McClain II
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (161 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Arrested for hacking, socially awkward and speech-impaired sixteen-year-old Dakarai Holt is sentenced to two years at Sheffield Academy, an exclusive juvenile rehabilitation facility. Within the first two hours, Dak is subjected to mandatory brainwashing. The academy’s enforcers, the R.A.T. SQUADS, patrol Sheffield to ensure each student’s full compliance. Gacheru, Dak’s roommate, pressures him to drink a tonic that conspicuously counteracts Sheffield’s indoctrination. This places Dak in the middle of many adversarial and explosive situations. Additionally, Dak becomes knotted in a clandestine plot involving the Secretary of State and a mysterious group who goes by the name, The Coterie. While at Sheffield, Dak must find a way to survive the R.A.T. SQUADS’ terror, the annexation of a remote island, and battle his own inner demons.

Dak is the son of a wealthy man but this can’t help him with his anthropophobia which developed at the age of 5. In fact he hasn’t spoken since then. His world consists of hacking large amounts of money in a Robin Hood style of theft. He is eventually caught and sent to Sheffield, a weird place of detention which seems to be run by ex prisoners trained as guards. All the inmates wear headphones which are meant to brainwash them. Dak becomes aware that something is going on in the background, something illegal and possibly highly dangerous.

This is a science fiction book with a deep down mystery woven into the story. For a sixteen year old Dak is very computer savvy and it’s only when he’s set up by the FBI that he gets caught. Most of the book consists of Dak’s internal thoughts and how he interacts with the world and those around him. This sounds as if it would be boring, but it’s definitely not. The plots and sub-plots took me to many different scenarios and each time I thought I’d discovered what the end would be, another sub plot came along to drag me in another direction. I’m normally a fantasy addict but this science fiction book certainly intrigued me.

An Aching Kind of Growing by Brittany Rowland


An Aching Kind of Growing by Brittany Rowland
Publisher: Self
Genre: Contemporary Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (341 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 4 stars
Review by: Orchid

When tensions with her parents reach a breaking point, fifteen-year-old Natalie flees into the night with a bike, some cash, and a backpack full of clothes. With no plan and nowhere to go, she won’t last long as a runaway. Life has taught Natalie not to count on anyone’s help, but she can’t keep running forever. The only person who sees her plight is a young boy, an unlikely friend. To finally stand up to the family that betrayed her, she’ll need to learn to trust again, even if it risks exposing the secrets she has fought hard to protect.

Most parents discipline their children, especially when they reach teenage years, but Natalie’s parents overstep the mark into torture and violence. Natalie leaves home and lives on the streets as a runaway. She still attends school and surprisingly her parents do not visit the school to demand she return home. This is another form of torture for Natalie.

Natalie spends time at the playground and meets Max and his mother Linnie, but does not let them get close to her for fear they will return her to her abusive parents.

This book is a “what could have been” for a lot of teenagers. The majority have comfortable homes and parents who discipline with firmness and authority tempered with love. Natalie’s story is what could happen to any child. Abused and ill treated, she is afraid to report her parents to the authorities. She knows this will lead to foster care and her one experience of this is enough to make her prefer the streets.

The book is well written with a touch of suspense as in “will she/won’t she” both for her and her parents. I liked the way the author gave Linnie and Max their own problems to solve, which had to be weighed up against whether they should help Natalie. Definitely a look into how things could have been for many teens and well worth reading.

Lavalieres by Nicholas Milano


Lavalieres by Nicholas Milano
Gem Haven Volume 1
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full – 151 pages
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 stars
Review by: Orchid

Amid the drama of high school exams, social cliques, and personal relationships, Milo Sylph prepares himself for the biggest test of all. Lavaliere testing has begun and at the end of the day, only a select few will bond with a gem to harness their hidden potential. Each bond bestows a unique set of abilities on the user. Milo wants nothing more than to be one of those select few, a Lavaliere. However, desires often come with a price, and the true test will be far more difficult. His friendships, willpower and sense of self hang in the balance. As he strives to stand out from the crowd, will he lose himself along the way?

Milo gets into a fight immediately before the Lavaliere testing. He is unaware that this will change his life. His test goes off the scale and he bonds with a bloodstone, a rare bonding gem. Milo is unable to control the stone and this leads to him alienating his friends.

The successful Lavaliere candidates are taken to Gem Haven where strange things begin to happen.

There a few continuity problems, but they don’t detract from the story as a whole.

This book is magic with a twist. There is good and evil and all revolves around the Lavaliere gems. The new wielders of the gems must learn how to control them, but poor Milo finds his gem is controlling him. Hidden rooms, magic gems, battles, this book has it all. A good read.

Discord by Katy Haye


Discord by Katy Haye
Echoes of Earth Book 1

Publisher: Self
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, Young Adult
Length: Full (360 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by Orchid

Beth forgot her past. What if there’s nothing to remember?

Seventeen-year-old Beth has brain damage. That’s why she lives in a hospital in the middle of the English countryside filled with therapeutic music and medical tests. Some days she feels well enough to go home, but other days – the days filled with shadows and ghosts, and a strong sense of déjà vu – she fears she’ll never get better.

Toby’s arrival signals a turning point. Beth faces her fears instead of hiding from them. But even with Toby’s help, is she strong enough to face a truth that is stranger than anything Beth could imagine?

Steptoe House is a convalescent home for teenagers who are recovering from accidents to the head. The main therapy is music and the teenagers are expected to take part in concerts. Most of the patients have vague memories of their past, but Beth doesn’t. Her time before Steptoe House is blank. Several of the teenagers have paired off, and when a new boy, Toby, arrives Beth’s life takes a turn for the better emotionally.

The characters in this book are exceptionally well crafted, each with a personality which fits their place in the story. The setting with doctors, a teacher and country surroundings are exactly what I would expect of a convalescent home for teenagers. Although budding romance took place, it was only a sideline to the main plot and didn’t detract from the mystery and suspense areas. My only query originally was why the number of patients was restricted to a small amount, but this was revealed in the latter part of the book.

I did feel the story dragged out a bit, maybe a bit too long for the concept, but the final part was well thought out, making me want to read more about Beth and her friends.

Gargoyle Redemption by Isabel Castruita

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Gargoyle Redemption by Isabel Castruita
Gargoyle Redemption Trilogy – Book 1
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (163 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 4 stars
Review by: Orchid

BoM LASR YA copy

18 year old, Shinka Fox moved to California to pursue her music career, her mother Bru Fox is a famous artist traveling the world. Infatuated with a boy named Abel Lapis at her new school Shinka is surprised when the young man always seems to be around when she’s in trouble. A group called the Hunters is out to kill Shinka. But Abel has a secret, he’s a gargoyle. Will Abel rescue Shinka in time or will the Hunters reach her first?

Shinka Fox is about to launch her music career and also attend the private school called Fusion Academy. From day one things go wrong and she has to rely on fellow student Abel Lapis for support and protection. Her faith in him is shaken when she discovers he is half gargoyle and the statues on his balcony are his family. The Hunt is after the gargoyles and Shinka becomes involved in the conflict.

Both main characters are captivating although Abel seems to be a bit “on again” and “off again” with his interaction with Shinka. Danger comes in the form of the hunt whose members are the most unlikely people. A third paranormal element is also introduced which adds spice to the tale.

The only problem I had was with the continuity of the story. At times there seemed to be no depth to the characters. At one stage Shinka is captured by people who want an item which is in her possession. Despite the fact the object is with her, the captors don’t take it and return her with the item still in her possession. Very unsettling and made me question the reasoning behind the story.

A wonderful idea and fairly well executed. The book marries gargoyles with modern day teenage life and this makes it all seem believable.

Curse of the Moon by Beth Trissel

curse-of-the-moon-by-beth-trissel
Curse of the Moon by Beth Trissel
Secret Warrior Series
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (182 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by: Orchid

BoM LASR YA copy

The bad news? Morgan Daniel’s wolf is out of control. The good news? There’s a treatment. She just has to get a potion from a lizard shifter witch–without looking into the witch’s eyes. Easy, right? But when the witch puts a spell on her younger brother, Morgan has to do the witch’s bidding to save him.

Fortunately Morgan isn’t alone. She has Jackson to lean on, a few witches coming into their powers, a secret warlock, and the always mysterious Chief Okema. What could possibly go wrong?

Morgan is a teenager with a young brother but she’s horrified when she discovers she is also part werewolf. Help is offered by Jackson and his Native American tribe. Morgan’s transformation is particularly strong and painful and a potion is needed to calm things down. Unfortunately the only person with the potion is Lilith, the Lizard lady and when they go to her for help she puts a spell on Morgan’s brother.

Werewolves, shape-changing panthers… this book has it all, and just when you think you’ve got it sorted, another unexpected shape changer arrives on the scene. The budding romance between Morgan and Jackson, plus the danger not only to Morgan’s brother, but the tribe as a whole gives the tension and flow to make this a good book.

The story weaves between modern day and myths and legends, providing an exciting and compelling read.

Evelyn Dear Fender by Rodney Jones

evelyn-dear-fender-by-rodney-jones
Evelyn Dear Fender by Rodney Jones
Publisher: Self
Genre: Adventure Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: Full (232 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by: Orchid

Isn’t believing you have a chance, even when you don’t, better than knowing you don’t when you don’t?

Evelyn Hatfield sets out to be the first to reach the mythological land of Methania. But before her epic journey can begin, she must first suffer high school jealousies, the apathy of conformity, and a pair of clueless parents–all while learning to sail.

Through chance, and a few innocent manipulations and half-truths, Evelyn finally sets sail for the distant horizon where she and her stowaway monkey, Bobo, do battle with their most fearsome enemy, the weather… and lose. Shipwrecked on a tiny island, 4,000 miles from home, she meets Fender Spigot, an equally shipwrecked explorer from Methania who, having never heard a language other than his own, gibber-jabbers his way into her heart.

Regardless of their communication handicap, they manage to help each other escape the island–Evelyn, sailing east, and Fender, west–only to discover that absence makes the heart grow insufferably fonder. But how can they, again, find each other with such a monstrous ocean and a thousand misunderstandings between them?

Evelyn lives in Fraidland in the seaside town of Bartonville. In her last year at school Evelyn learns to sail with the aim of buying a boat and sailing to find Methania, the mystical land of legends. Those who have searched for Methania in the past have not returned, and they are presumed to have perished at sea.

After working hard for years and not spending any money on fripperies, Evelyn’s dream is about to come true when her Grandpa helps her to buy a boat. Will her dream of finding Methania, and being swept of her feet by a young handsome man from Methania also come true?

The basis of this story is well thought out and grips the attention. The idea of a teenage girl sailing solo across uncharted waters adds excitement to the storyline.

The ‘made up’ language I found very distracting. I can understand the author wished the land and people to appear different to the world as it is today, but there didn’t seem to be any continuity in the new language and toward the end of the book when a second language was introduced, it really spoiled the flow of the story. I believe I would have enjoyed this more if the vocabulary had been simpler and not so intrusive in the story.

I loved the fact that Evelyn learnt to sail and set off across the ocean and of course the meant the story had to include sailing terms, but these were part of the story and fitted in perfectly.  A wonderful idea for a plot and a decent story.