Archive for January 1st, 2019

Phoenix Unbound


Phoenix Unbound (Fallen Empire – 1) by Grace Draven

A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire’s capital–her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village’s tithe has been the same woman. Gilene’s sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire’s most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion–and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire–and burn once more.

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Grace Draven

Author’s Bio

I’m an author and Louisiana native living in Texas with my husband, three smalls and a big doofus dog. I have lived in Spain, hiked the Teton Mountains, honeymooned in Scotland, ridden in competition rodeo and am the great great granddaughter of a Nicaraguan president. I also hate doing laundry and refuse to iron anything.

I’ve loved storytelling since forever. I published my first short story with Amber Quill Press and have since written several other tales. A love of the bad boy in fiction always inspires me.

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My Review

5 Stars

Every year each of the villages in the Empire must chose a young girl for tribute. The girls are brought to the Empire’s capital where they are taken by the gladiators then burned alive the next morning. For the last several years Gilene is her village’s tribute. She is a fire witch and can change her appearance. The villagers threaten her family to keep her in this charade.

Azarion is the most famous gladiator the Empire has. He has survived in the ring and in the empress’s bedroom and has suffered both physically and mentally. Since he is the top gladiator he gets first pick of the girls and has come to realize that the one girl is the same person he has seen for the last couple years. He comes up with a plan to make her help him reclaim his birthright in his clan.

This is a dark story but amazing. Gilene is a strong woman and has to be with what she puts herself through. She is willing to play this charade just to keep her family safe. When Azarion figures out who she is he doesn’t really give her the chance to argue, he essentially makes her help him.

Beside that portion of the story, what was really amazing was the romance that developed between Gilene and Azarion. It was sweet, caring, and perfect for what the two of them has gone through.

This is an amazing romantic fantasy that will draw you in to this brutal world, fill you with hope, and leave you wanting more. I can’t wait to read more about this world.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review of this book.

Penguin Random House

I would like to thank Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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Jake, Lucid Dreamer


Jake, Lucid Dreamer by David J. Naiman

12-year-old Jake has been suppressing his heartbreak over the loss of his mother for the past four years. But his emotions have a way of haunting his dreams and bubbling to the surface when he least expects it. When Jake learns how to take control in his dreams, he becomes a lucid dreamer, and that’s when the battle really heats up.

Using his wits to dodge bullies by day and a nefarious kangaroo hopping ever closer by night, Jake learns about loss, bravery, the power of love, and how you cannot fully heal until you face your greatest fear. This uncompromising novel is a magical yet honest exploration of emotional healing after a devastating loss.

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Praise for Jake, Lucid Dreamer

“A fantastical tale with a powerful message” raves SPR.

Described as a “poignant coming-of-age novel (that) offers a sensitive and honest examination of a child’s spiritual and emotional battles” by The BookLife Prize.

2018 Purple Dragonfly Book Award First Place winner for Middle Grade fiction

2018 International Book Award Silver Medal Winner Readers’ Favorite for Coming of Age

David J. Naiman

Author’s Bio

After graduating from Wesleyan University, David J. Naiman obtained his medical degree at New York University School of Medicine and trained in the primary care internal medicine program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Writing nights and weekends, he published the award-winning #1 Amazon bestselling novel Didn’t Get Frazzled, a work of humorous medical fiction for adults, under the pen name David Z Hirsch.

From there, David turned to children’s literature to pursue the themes of family, friendship and the magic of childhood that continue to inspire him. Jake, Lucid Dreamer is his first middle grade novel.

When he’s not writing, David toils in the front lines of primary care, battling scourges like diabetes, heart disease, and insurance companies, although probably not in that order. He lives in Maryland with his wife and two sons.


My Review

5 Stars

Jake is having a hard time processing the sudden loss of his mother four years ago. The twelve year old has anger issues, vivid dreams, the stress of dealing with his home life, and he is getting bullied at school. The dreams seem to be an extension of the events that he is going through in real life. But then he figures out a way to affect the dreams and change the outcomes. As he starts working through his dreams we find that he is finding solutions to his waking problems too.

This is a great story that will appeal to kids and adults. Jake is having a hard time working through his grief over his mother. The loss of someone close is very hard and this is well written. There is no simple way to deal with this and Jake is clearly lost. I feel that dreams are an extension of our waking life and in this story they play a huge role with Jake to start processing his loss.

This is a quick yet powerful read. It’s hard to try and help someone that has gone through such a tough loss. We can listen to them, relate, and be there when they need help but we can’t really help them simply get over it. This books is a great example of this and I think a wonderful read for all ages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank the Author for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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