Monthly Archives: December 2021

Kilmer’s Ghost – Book 2 of Astar’s Blade

Once again, Joe Lyon produces a fascinating and interesting in-depth fantasy novel in the second installment of his Astar’s Blade series. As with the first book in the series, The Provenance, Kilmer’s Ghost does not skimp on the details, making it feel like a fantastical history reading mixed with high fantasy story telling and an absolutely glorious world building. 

Many of the characters of this second installment are carried over from the first book, though more detail is given to their lives as we find out what happened to them in later years. We also get to experience with them a few prophetic experiences that continue to keep the story interesting. 

I had thought the first Astar’s Blade book had ended rather abruptly but seeing how the second novel picks up; I have to state that I am dazzled with the series as it stands now and am looking forward to more installments. Lyon does a perfect job of answering questions that were left unanswered in the first book, in fact this whole second novel is just a delight if you are the curious type who just needs to know as much about a world’s history as you can.

Now while this is a perfectly amazing high fantasy novel, there are a couple scenes that may have some more sensitive readers uncomfortable. These being instances of suicide and a bit of non-consent on the side of a man with the involvement of a female demon. While these aspects may make some people uncomfortable, they fit well in the world and are parts of the story, not simply placed there for the shock value many writers try to drag people in with. Beyond these possible triggering aspects for some people, the story has only the usual fantasy violence you expect to find in a fantasy novel.

In short, the answer to what you are really looking at reviews to answer though is that this book is very much worth reading, though make sure you read the first book in this series so you do not get lost! Joe Lyon’s work is certainly worth paying attention to, keep an eye on him.

I found this book on Reedsy Discovery https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/kilmer-s-ghost-joe-lyon?utm_medium=email&utm_source=transactional&utm_campaign=mandrill#review

Galaxy Bound – Book Review

Sovereign Earth book 2 of the Galaxy Bound series by Vidar Hokstad is yet another display of a fantastic sci-fi novel. Much like the first book which I reviewed some months ago, the story, characters and world building of alien worlds and people are fantastic. Each chapter leaves you wanting to pick the book back up for more information.

Given this is the second book in a series, you may worry if this sequel is as good as the first. In fact, I thought it was better. Perhaps this is because I had to wait between books to finally learn more about the Centuri but I have to say I was more than pleased with the aliens when they made their appearance. I was particularly pleased with the fact that their male and female roles are opposite of those on Earth, allowing for some rather humorous interactions.

This was another fantastic addition to the series and, as I am sure I have said before, I am sincerely looking forward to reading more of Vidar Hokstad’s series. Galaxy Bound books are a must pick up for fans of the sci-fi genre!

Champagne Widows – Book Review

A truly entertaining historical fiction novel can be difficult to pull off. Making sure a story fits comfortably sandwiched between fact and fiction to create a wonderful read for fans of the genre can be trying. How much fact do you spread over the fictional story, and how much do you bend to make it entertaining? You will find the perfect balance in Champagne Widows.

This story follows a particularly intriguing heroine who desperately clings to the few rights a woman can have in Napoleon’s France. Despite the difficulties for women at the time, she found love, and herself in her dream, to create a memorable champagne company. 

Admittedly, I am no expert in champagne, but I am good at spotting an amazing novel when I read one. Whether you are pulled in to this tale for the bubbly liquid, the story of self-discovery, the fight for a woman’s rights, or you are just a fan of historical fiction in general, you will love Champaign Widows.

I received a free copy of this book via The History Quill Book Club

Night Warrior – Audiobook Review

I just finished Night Warrior by Jordan J. Scavone and narrated by Elizabeth Elieson. It is a fascinating tale about a young writer whose creations somehow manage to come to her own reality. An honestly terrifying concept to some, I know I would never want some of my writing creations to show up. This fascinating tale drags all the usual fantasy tropes, heros, werewolves, magical swords and the like in to the real world, leading to some interesting interactions.

As stated before Night Warrior is an interesting tale of fantasy well written with characters who are certainly interesting enough that you want to stay invested in the story to see what happens to them. There is humor, heartbreak, and adventure that will make this an exciting story for any fan of the fantasy genre.

Now I listened to Night Warrior, as the author sent me a copy of the audiobook some time ago and I just dragged myself through my backlog enough to finally sit down and enjoy the tale. The narration was excellent. Elizabeth Elieson’s attempt at giving us voices that fit each character is well done. It is always good to enjoy an audiobook read by someone who allows you to feel the characters as you hear them.

Night Warrior is a must read. I also suggest listening to it!

Population Zero – Short Story Review

Population Zero was a thinker of a short story. Several worlds with out the life of people are explained. Be those reasons ranging from a lack of sunlight to pandemic, each world is described in outstanding, and slightly horrifying, detail about how life ended or could end and what, if anything, was still lingering and nibbling on the meatless skeleton of human civilization. 

At first, I was not sure what to think of the story. We currently live in a world where people are terrified of one thing or another, be it COVID-19 or some other dreadful issue we are still dealing with as a society, so when the narration of the story aimed in the COVID-19 direction I wanted to just put it down, but I decided to continue to read. I found myself amazingly satisfied with the ending of the tale and I was glad that I kept going.

The book is well written. The worlds described are fascinating in their darkness, both literal and metaphorical. The narration of the story is from a point of view that is painfully relatable in our world these days. I wish I could explain this more without actually ruining the story, however, I strongly suggest everyone pick up this short story for a quick read.

The 13th Zodiac

The 13th Zodiac by Lacey Krauch is an entertaining novel of exciting fantasy and political intrigue. Young Liya is apparently doomed from birth as her future is tied closely to the god like Titans that created the world, as well as those of twelve zodiac symbol bearing people. A prophecy has been told and it will eventually be filled. Though how and when it will complete itself is anyone’s guess.

The 13th Zodiac is exciting characters, many of which bear similar personalities to those told of the Zodiac symbols they wear. The characters are realistic for a fantasy setting and entertaining, making it easy to feel for them as they go through their journey.

The world the story takes place in is creatively made. And while I had a few complaints about some very modern sounding aspects, such as the use of jeans, the rest of the modern aspects of the story, such as firearms, are explained in a way that makes sense for the setting. My complaint only stems from teh fact that I read a lot of fantasy and I found myself pulled out of the story a bit when they were mentioned, however I quickly found myself drawn back in by the story itself.

So, is the 13th Zodiac worth reading? Yes, yes, yes! Pick it up if you are looking for an exciting fantastical tale! I know I am looking forward to reading more of Lacey Krauch’s work!

Readability – Helping Kids Read

This blog post has an affiliate link which if you use and make a purchase will supply me, the owner of Books-and-Games.com a percentage of sales which will go to continuing to pay for the use of this website.  You can find further information on my affiliate usage here: https://books-and-games.com/affiliate-disclosure/

As someone who grew up coping with dyslexia I can say for sure, that reading, or learning to read can be pretty difficult for a child. Thankfully there are plenty of tools to help with that these days. One of those is Readability. 

Readability is a fantastic application that turns your phone or tablet in to an amazing way to increase your child’s reading skills and comprehension. Your child will learn with interactive questions and answers as well as real time tracking to help you keep an eye on your child’s ever growing skills. The application also helps your child with pacing and pronunciation. 

Now these are just a few of the benefits you can take advantage of using Readability with your kids. Check out the link here for full details! Readability

The Amber Crane – Book Review

The Amber Crane by Malve von Hassell wonderfully combines historical fiction and fantasy. A curious combination, but one that settles comfortably when you read the book. The story follows a young amber artisan apprentice as he does his best to balance his work and life, as well as discover the seemingly magical properties of the amber he works so closely with.

Hassell’s use of well studied historical facts carefully researched alongside the dreamy time travel aspects fit comfortably. The main character’s ability to follow the future of his workmanship through his dreams to the dark days of World War II is well done. The characters fit the settings and are realistic, even given the fantastical aspects of the story.

Given the story takes place in war times, there are some dark but very real aspects, they are presented with care and not simply dropped in to the story for the sake of drama. 

Is The Amber Crane worth reading? For both fans of historical fiction and fantasy, I would suggest you pick this up. Yes, I know that seems like a strange combination, but you will enjoy it! I had a hard time putting the book down.

Alejandro’s Lie – Book Review

Alejandro’s Lie by Bob van Laerhoven is a novel following a man who recently was released from prison in a country held firmly in the grasp of a dictatorship. He and people who would use his musical skills to fight against the tyranny suffer through a strenuous life, coping with their own issues as they try to help the country they live in.

Alejandro’s Lie is a fantastic, though very dark, tale. Following the characters through their difficulties as they try to live under a dictatorship and convince the people to push for a new form a leadership is a potent reminder that not every country is comfortably settled in a cozy democracy. As well as how comfortable people can become in ignoring the issues of a country.

The characters of Alejandro’s Lie are well written and realistically tortured and tormented souls that are relatable to any reader who has taken more than a few moments to consider how imperfect people are. They fit the story and setting so well that their painful journey leaves you wanting to root for them even as they continue to display how damaged they are.

Is Alejandro’s Lie worth reading? If you can handle a dark tale with damaged characters, I would strongly suggest this wonderful book.

Dead No More – Book Review

Dead No More by Pete Adams is a crime novel about a Detective seeking details on an old undercover case from some years ago. On the way to figuring out what kind of cover up she’s dealing with, she seems to collect a group of allies, including other cops, former cops, and a few lovers. The story is an interesting tale with characters who have real, if not bizarre personalities, and a story that keeps you dialed in.

The characters of Dead No More are realistic. They have colorful personalities and lusts that make them feel like real people. Leaving you to actually become invested in their stories, as well as their growth and how they handle the world around them. A well written character always makes a good story even better. And Dead No More certainly has a fantastic story.

It was fun following through the story as the characters each work their way through the hidden information regarding operation Rhubarb. I will not detail about the operation, to avoid ruining some key points to the story. However, reading of the characters navigating the complicated undercover history is an entertaining way to spend your day.

So, is Dead No More worth the read? If you are a fan of rough edged cop stories, pick it up. You will not be disappointed.

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