A Lair of Bones Review by Helen Scheuerer

Title: A Lair of Bones
Author: Helen Scheuerer
Publisher Info / Release: Alchemy | July 15, 2021
Source: ARC
Rating:  5/5 *’s

A deadly contest. A vaulting ambition. How far will one cyren go to win?

Mighty cyrens have ruled the ancient lair of Saddoriel for centuries. A cavernous fortress, a subterranean labyrinth of tunnels and levels, powered by magic and music…

From the moment she was born, Roh, the daughter of an infamous criminal, has been despised by her own kind. Restricted to the Lower Sector and forced to work as a common bone cleaner, she has always believed she belongs above: where lies adventure… and power.

Opportunity arises in the form of the Queen’s Tournament, a treacherous set of trials that could see the victor crowned ruler of the entire lair. Up against the most cunning, dangerous cyrens in all the realms, does Roh stand a chance?

A Lair of Bones is the first gripping book in the dark fantasy quartet, Curse of the Cyren Queen.

Thank you to Helen for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

**photo to be updated**

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Rising by Bronwyn Eley |Review

Title: Rising
Author: Bronwyn Eley
Publisher Info / Release: Talem Press | May 13, 2021
Source: ARC
Rating:  4.5/5 *’s

Time is running out.

With two Relics now in her possession, Kaylan must claim the final three before rebel leader Bellamy De Winter does. Then she must find a way to destroy the stones, once and for all.

But the magic is different now… and so is Kaylan.

After losing so much, she has forged a new bond with the Relic. It is more than mere magic, more than just a stone. Kaylan sees the dead Lord of Edriast, the man she killed to save herself, standing by her side.

The Relic is the only one who understands her now. But every word it whispers in her ear could be a lie. Every chance she gives it could be her final error.

As Kaylan pits her power against the men who seek to take it from her, she finds herself – and those she cares for – in more danger than ever before. And through it all, the Relic claims to be her ally… But as the perils of magic become clearer, Kaylan begins to wonder: will trusting the Relic lead to victory – or to death?

Rising is the gripping final volume in Bronwyn Eley’s dark YA fantasy series, The Relic Trilogy.

Thank you to Talem Press for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

**Photo will be updated!**

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A Wind From The Rift by Bonnie Wynne Review

Title: A Wind From The Rift
Author: Bonnie Wynne
Publisher Info / Release: Talem Press | November 19, 2020
Source: ARC
Rating:  4/5 *’s – did not finish BUT explained in review

The sorceress has broken free of her shackles.

Months of imprisonment have forged Gwyn into something new; something dangerous. Eight dead sorceresses whisper in her ear, hungry for blood and vengeance – and after unleashing the red magic to make her escape, she fears she won’t be able to stop.

All Gwyn really wants is to go home. But as she soon discovers, escaping the Clockwork City may prove an impossible task. The wizards of the Syndicate wage a silent, bloody war over her fate, and to survive, she must play their deadly game.

As strange storms ravage the city and wizards start turning up dead, Gwyn finds herself in more danger than ever. With enemies on every side, the immortal Scions massing their armies, and the dark power inside her growing stronger, she must make a choice… To save everything she loves, is she willing to become the monster the Syndicate fears?

A Wind from the Rift is the electrifying second volume in Bonnie Wynne’s spellbinding fantasy series, The Price of Magic.

Thank you to Talem Press for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Riven by Bronwyn Eley Review

screenshot_20200806-16445043150341431859631.pngTitle: Riven
Author: Bronwyn Eley
Publisher Info / Release: Talem Press | August 13, 2020
Source: E-ARC
Rating: 4.5  / 5 *’s

Thank you to Talem Press for sending me an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Synopsis:

Kaylan’s life as she knew it is over. Again.

Hunted by the guards of Edriast and their ruthless captain, Kaylan is forced to flee into a world she’s never seen, armed with a power she never wanted. With her brother Elias by her side, she escapes to the distant city of Stynos, where rumour has it a possible ally is waiting… An ally who might help Kaylan control the violent magic that’s become her burden to bear.

But Kaylan can’t hide forever – not from the forces that surround her, or from the darkness inside herself. Rebel leader Bellamy seeks her help to destroy a regime; Captain Thorn pursues her with a vengeance; and as her power grows, her inner demons begin to seep through the cracks…

Kaylan may be strong, but is she strong enough to resist the Relic?

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Q&A with Dawn of Mist’s Helen Scheuerer

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of Helen’s YA fantasy series The Oremere Chronicles and I have been lucky enough to get to interview Helen once again for her new book that is releasing this week – Dawn of Mist.

I recently reviewed the book, which you can find here (I highly recommend picking it up after it launches!). In this interview, I got to ask a few questions that were plaguing my mind and a few curiosity questions as well. I hope you all enjoy it and there are links to find both Helen and Dawn of Mist below!

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Dawn of Mist by Helen Scheuerer Review

Screenshot_20200326-171251

Title: Dawn of Mist
Author: Helen Scheuerer
Publisher Info / Release: Talem Press | April 16, 2020
Source: ARC from Helen Scheuerer
Rating: 5 / 5 *’s
Synopsis:
Discover where The Oremere Chronicles journey began in this epic bind-up of all 16 prequel short stories from bestselling author, Helen Scheuerer.

Before their fight to save the realm from mad tyrants and toxic mist, Bleak, Henri and Swinton led separate lives.

Delve into the secrets, the triumphs and tragedies of their earlier years, and the defining moments that made these much-loved characters who they are.

Teenage Bleak sails across the seas, seeking adventure with her best friend, Bren, and guardian, Senior – only to discover that trouble often finds her first.

Fiercely loyal Henri and her sister, Sahara, train relentlessly to become elite warriors, but soon learn that the Valian Way can be crueller than they ever thought.

A young and ambitious Commander Swinton struggles to prove himself worthy of knighthood, but an encounter with a beautiful stranger shows him that there are things in life more important than titles.

Thank you to Helen for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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The Ninth Sorceress by Bonnie Wynne | Review and Q&A

screenshot_20200122-1659503258787069764566847.pngTitle: The Ninth Sorceress
Author: Bonnie Wynne
Publisher Info / Release: Talem Press | February 20, 2020
Source: ARC
Rating:  4/5 *’s

Synopsis:
In the blackest dungeon of the Clockwork City, a prisoner lies bound in silver shackles. Who is she? And why are the wizards so afraid of her?

Seventeen-year-old Gwyn has no family and no past. Apprenticed to a half-mad herbalist, she travels the snow-blasted High Country, hawking potions in a peddler’s wagon. Her guardian hides her from the world like a dark secret, and she knows better than to push for answers.

But when she discovers she is hunted by the goddess Beheret, Gwyn is drawn into a deep and ancient tale: of chained gods and lost magic, of truths long buried and the rising of a war she never could have imagined.

Wizards and their magic-sniffing hounds pursue her – as does a stranger in a smiling mask, who calls her by an unfamiliar name…

But what really terrify her are the dangerous gifts she’s spent her life suppressing. Now, Gwyn must step out of the shadows and take charge of her destiny – even if the price is her own soul.

The Ninth Sorceress is the breathtaking first installment of The Price of Magic, a sweeping fantasy saga full of rich storytelling and tangible magic.

I was given an ARC by Talem Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you again for the opportunity!

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Vow of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson Review

screenshot_20190704-1844424074577087030507279.pngTitle: Vow of Thieves
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher Info / Release: Henry Holt and Co. | August 6, 2019
Source: ARC
Rating:  5/5 *’s

Synopsis:

Kazi and Jase have survived, stronger and more in love than ever. Their new life now lies before them—the Ballengers will be outlaws no longer, Tor’s Watch will be a kingdom, and Kazi and Jase will meet all challenges side by side, together at last.

But an ominous warning mars their journey back, and they soon find themselves captured in a tangled web of deceit woven by their greatest enemies and unlikeliest allies, a place where betrayals run deeper and more deadly than either had thought possible, and where timeless ambitions threaten to destroy them both.

If you have not read Dance of Thieves or The Remnant Chronicles, you will be spoiled.

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Dance of Thieves-Mary E. Pearson Review

screenshot_20190704-1843208995428301406303102.pngTitle: Dance of Thieves
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher Info / Release: Henry Holt and Co| August 7, 2018
Source: Purchased Finished Copy
Rating:  5/5 *’s

Synopsis:

A formidable outlaw family that claims to be the first among nations.

A son destined to lead, thrust suddenly into power.

Three fierce young women of the Rahtan, the queen’s premier guard.

A legendary street thief leading a mission, determined to prove herself.

A dark secret that is a threat to the entire continent.

When outlaw leader meets reformed thief, a cat-and-mouse game of false moves ensues, bringing them intimately together in a battle that may cost them their lives—and their hearts.

The Remnant Chronicles
The Beauty of Darkness
The Heart of Betrayal
The Kiss of Deception

—If you have not read The Remnant Chronicles, there will be slight spoilers in this duology.–

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Guest Post: Bronwyn Eley

Topic: How travel consistently inspires ideas for you.

Answer:

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen something or experienced something while travelling that made me stop and pocket an idea for a future story. More accurately, my mind would stop and take note. 

Sometimes it’s a place… 

Like this time I was at the Mezquita in Cordoba, Spain, and literally spent the whole time there taking photos of the incredible interior because I knew I had to use it as inspiration for the setting of a future series. I just knew. In my gut. The whole place spoke to me. I felt like the dorkiest tourist, taking ‘happy snaps’ of every single thing… but that wasn’t the reason! I wish I could have worn a sign that said ‘I’m a writer; everything I do is in the name of research’. 

 

Sometimes it’s a moment…

When I was in Mongolia, our tour group emerged from the wild and isolated Steppes into ‘civilisation’ in order to witness the Naadam Festival, an incredible spectacle that celebrates and presents ‘the three games of men’. In Mongolia that is Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery. Driving around in our seatbelt-less Russian vans, we were a little lost. I mean… it’s not like here where there are signs everywhere and people to direct you. There isn’t some grand stadium where the events are held. No, the first event – horse racing, which consisted of tiny, tiny children racing bareback across the plains – was out in the middle of nowhere.

There was no one in sight. But then we spotted it: a single vehicle parked in all its loneliness in the creeping fog that blanketed the plains. So we drove up to it and were excited when we realised it was, in fact, a police car! Huzzah! Surely, this kind officer would direct us to where we needed to go.

The morning of Naadam - photo by Bronwyn Eley

How wrong we were. The first thing we saw was a large boot dangling out of the passenger window. Asleep? Dead? Murdered in the night by a faceless fiend? Who knows!? One of our guides, Tsenkhee, approached the car and spoke with the – clearly alive, phew – man. When Tsenkhee returned he explained that the policeman had absolutely no idea and absolutely no interest in helping us find our way. 

All at once it hit me – like the dramatic opening to a movie at the cinema, with a screen so large it utterly dominates your entire vision. What hit me? The opening to another story I want to eventually write. This one was very different to what I write now, it wasn’t fantasy when it came to me but I would love to rework it somehow. 

The point is… travel opens doors for writers because of one simple fact: we experience things out of our ‘norm’. This has a very powerful effect – it amazes us, shocks us, confuses us, humours us… and these are key ingredients to writing. You need to be amazed, shocked, confused and humoured by what you write. Travelling makes me feel alive and so does my writing. One feeds into the other. Travelling inspires new ideas and writing inspires me to look at the world and see endless possibilities. Endless ideas. Endless chances to learn and experience something new.

All I can say is this: travel, my friends, travel.

RELIC, Bronwyn Eley’s debut fantasy novel, is slated for release September 12.

About the author

Bronwyn joined the military right out of high school, where she learnt (among other things) to disassemble and reassemble a rifle blindfolded. After that she spent a lot of her time travelling around the world. Her favourite places (so far) are Scotland, Mongolia, Iceland and Ireland.

Bronwyn finally found her natural habitat when she landed her first job in the publishing industry. While she has always been a writer, it was only when surrounding herself with books that she realised her life’s dream was to become an author. Relic is her first novel.

Bronwyn lives in Sydney and spends her time eating chocolate, reading and practising her martial arts.

Author Links!

 

 To Purchase:

  • For those in Australia & New Zealand:
    Talem Press
    Booktopia (signed edition!)
    -Better Read than Dead – Bronwyn & Talem are having a release party, check out their socials for more information
  • Amazon (will link once available!)