Book Review: The Warded Man

I decided to pick up this book because one of the prompts for the NEWTS Magical Readathon was to “read a friend’s favorite book”. In this case, I chose Markus and his favorite book is The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett.

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Synopsis: As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

This was one of the first epic fantasy books that I have read and I really enjoyed it! The world building was great and the way it instilled fear in the reader for the characters and there lives that were at stake was phenomenal.

It was such a cool concept to have demons rise every night when the sun goes down. The people are only able to protect themselves with magic wards. The book definitely gets very dark in some areas and I thought that this added to its great storytelling ability because not everything is always rainbows and butterflies. People will live or die based upon the intense decisions they make each day and that is the feeling you get for the 3 main characters of the book.

I also quite enjoyed this it was split into 3 story arcs and unveiled little bits of each character as it kept switching perspectives each chapter. It gives you more insight into the different areas of this massive world the author has created while staying relevant to the plot.

The demons described in the book sound very cool (and very terrifying). I would not want to be up close and personal with any of them because they would probably be the last thing I see.

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone that wants to start a great epic fantasy series (there are 5 in total). I know I will be picking up the next one soon!

Book Rating: 4.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: I borrowed this book in physical format to read and give an honest review.


I finally finished unpacking and getting settled and decided to do a massive unhaul of the books I have already read and probably won’t pick up again. Plus there is a GIVEAWAY at the end of the video so check it out!

Also for all you fantasy lovers out there, my friend Moud Adel (author of the War Remnants which I reviewed in July) has created this new game called Majority Rules where you get to decide what happens in his fantasy story. You will read the story and then vote in a poll for what you want the next scene to be. YOU take control and YOU make the decisions. Every Thursday, there will be new scene options so it is a continuous game! Check it out by clicking on the image below!

Join the game:

https://mastoperia.com/majority-rules/

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Book Review: Rise And Run

I have started my NEWTS for the Magical Readathon and this book was one that I read for the prompt of the first book that came to mind on my TBR. This one was called Rise And Run by RJ Plant.

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Synopsis: Felix and Conor Quinn are brothers at odds. After starting life as a less-than-ethical government experiment, the brothers now share the same body. When their adoptive father, illegal trades mogul Rian Connell, receives a tip that his niece is in danger, he sends Felix to track her down. The assignment brings up bad memories for Felix. It also threatens to bring Conor’s dark secrets to light—secrets that necessitate the manufacture of a drug to suppress his genome.

More pressing problems arise once Felix finds Kaitlyn. He soon realizes that Government Directive International (GDI)—one of the last governments of post-War 2042—has disturbing plans for him. By the time Felix realizes that Kaitlyn was only bait to lure him in, it’s already too late. GDI’s Agent-in-Charge doses Felix with a lethal, fast-acting virus, bringing Conor to the surface.

Immune to Felix’s virus thanks to his genomic difference, Conor must take up the mantle of uncovering the secrets of his past … before they get everyone around him killed. Every instinct tells Conor to run like hell, but in the end, his only choice may be to outsmart GDI. Or bring the organization crashing down.

This book was a new twist on SciFi/dystopian that I was not expecting. I found it to be a little choppy in that it jumped from scene to scene very quickly but it was interesting none the less with the two brothers fighting each other for control of the one body they shared.

The backstory was slowly revealed as time went on and I kept switching my feelings on which brother I was rooting for. I believe that it could have used a little bit more development for the cast of side characters so that they had more depth to them.

There was a decent amount of action that pushed the plot forward and kept it fun. I will say that there was a lot of Irish slang in it since a lot of it was based in Ireland (which is a cool point since I find it rare that books are set here) so be prepared to learn some fun terminology if you pick up the book.

This was a good starting novel for a series and I would continue the series based on what this book had to offer.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in physical format by the author to read and give an honest review.


August has arrived and with it the Magical Readathon!! It is time to take my N.E.W.T.S! Watch this video to see which books I will be reading for my exams!

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Book Highlight: Good Writing Is Like Good Sex

Welcome to the blog tour for Good Writing is Like Good Sex: Sort of Sexy Thoughts on Writing. This cheeky and handy writing guide is by C.S. Johnson, and if you read through to the end, you can try to win a copy of your very own!

Good Writing

Good Writing is Like Good Sex: Sort of Sexy Thoughts on Writing

Publication Date: March 31st, 2019

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Writing Guide

What makes a book sexy?

I’m not talking about erotica, per say, but what is the difference between a book you eagerly devour and a book you slum your way through?

While there are individual exceptions, the most objective difference between a good story and a downright terrible one is simple—it all comes down to the writing.

It’s either good writing, and we can forgive the technical flaws a little more easily, or it’s bad writing, and bad writing is just bad.

Good writing is more than just good writing.
Good writing is sexy.

If you’re a fiction writer looking to improve your writing skills, this is the perfect, provocative read to encourage you to get down to business and write your story.

Inside Good Writing is Like Good Sex, you will find:

• A titillating perspective on the writing process
• The secret to why your story is special, and how you can make it sexier
• Tips on romancing your readers
• How to write irresistible characters
• Basic writing and story concepts with advanced insights

… and all in a non-gratuitous fashion with a lot of innuendos.

Add to Goodreads

Available on Amazon!

Click the link below for your chance to win a print copy of the book (U.S. Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author

Author-CS-Johnson

C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

CS Johnson | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Blog Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours


I finally got around to doing the Mid Year Book Freakout tag and talk about the best and worst books I have read in the first half of 2019.

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Book Review: Jamie James And The Curse Of The Ancestors

I have been reading a lot lately and managed to get another book on my July TBR completed! This one was called Jamie James And The Curse Of The Ancestors by Roy Aronson.

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Synopsis: Jamie wants to become a veterinarian. He travels to Nelspruit near the Kruger National Park in order to gain work experience with a wildlife vet. He has a secret mission that is, in fact, his primary mission. Two hundred years ago an ancestor of his whipped a black slave to death. The slave’s mother placed a curse on the family whereby all the male descendants will die violently before their fiftieth birthday.

Jamie endeavors to try and have his family released from the curse. In the process, he meets Samantha, the love interest in the story, and Shadrak, who becomes his friend and who is also the son of a Sangoma.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this book because ….*intense build up*…. I judged this book on its cover *audience gasping*. I had an earlier version of the book and the cover is not what the current one is now. All covers aside, the book was really good! I really enjoyed the adventures that Jamie James embarks on in Africa and all the relationships he creates with the people around his father’s Vet office.

I believe that this book would be an amazing read for the middle grade level. It is not quite advanced enough for YA or Adults but would be great for ages 9 to 14. It reminded me of these books I used to read as a kid (don’t’ remember the names now but they were about a Vet’s daughter and her rescuing a bunch of animals). With proper marketing, I think this book could be great and I think it should be read by more people.

It is very vanilla (and by that, I mean there is no swearing in it). Another great thing about it is that it has a diverse range of characters. And I learned a little about the geography of Africa.

I do believe that the name Jamie James was a little odd. This may just be my personal preference but for some reason, when I hear this name, I picture a white rapper. Yep, this is definitely just a “me” thing.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and would pass this on to my little cousins to read because I believe that they would enjoy it.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and Book Depository or find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in physical format by the author to read and give an honest review.


Watch my reactions to people’s assumptions about me!

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Book Review: The Fourth Courier

Hey bookworms! I have another review! It has been a while but I have been working on reading, making videos and planning a trip so that is why. This time, I read an advanced reader’s copy of The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith.

The Fourth Courier (Arcade)

Synopsis: It is 1992 in Warsaw, Poland, and the communist era has just ended. A series of grisly murders suddenly becomes an international case when it’s feared that the victims may have been couriers smuggling nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends an agent to help with the investigation. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

I quite enjoyed this book. It is a nice feeling when an author sends you a book to read and you have no idea what you are going in to but then find yourself caught up in this web of mystery and intrigue.

The characters were well fleshed out and they had just enough backstory to let the reader know all the details they needed to for the story to progress.

There is a heavy influence of LGBTQ+ in this book which I wasn’t expecting from this type of genre but I must say I am happy in the way it was used and glad that genres are branching out and including this type of representation.

I felt myself wanting to know what would happen next and kept myself up late at night to just get through the next chapter…..and then the next one…..and so on. This made me pretty tired at work for a couple days as it was a recurring situation :P.

Polish is also a part of my ancestry so it was interesting to read a book that was set in Poland. I had never really thought about the country or what it looks like over there but the book gave me a pretty good visual image of the economy and what it takes to survive day to day in such a place.

Overall, it wasn’t perfect. It had its little flaws where I would questions a character’s decisions sometimes but it was a solid novel with an intense sequence of events and I would be happy to read more by this author in the future.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author to read and give an honest review.

The author also provided us with an interview he conducted. Check it out below to get to know about him a little bit more.

Timothy Jay Smith (S#1)

THE FOURTH COURIER: AN INTERVIEW WITH TIMOTHY JAY SMITH

You have a new novel coming out, The Fourth Courier, set in Poland. What’s it about?

The Fourth Courier opens in the spring of 1992, only four months after the collapse of the Soviet Union. A series of grisly murders in Warsaw suddenly becomes an international concern when radiation is detected on the third victim’s hands, raising fears that all the victims might have smuggled nuclear material out of Russia.

Poland’s new Solidarity government asks for help and the FBI sends Special Agent Jay Porter to assist in the investigation. He teams up with a gay CIA agent. When they learn that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb is missing, the race is on to find him and the bomb before it ends up in the wrong hands.

My novels have been called literary thrillers because I use an event or threat—a thriller plot—to examine what the situation means to ordinary people. In The Fourth Courier, Jay becomes intimately involved with a Polish family, giving the reader a chance to see how the Poles coped with their collective hangover from the communist era.

How did you come up with the story for The Fourth Courier?

The Fourth Courier book goes back a long way for me. In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and Solidarity won the first free election in Poland in over sixty years. In the same year, Mikhail Gorbachev introduced new cooperative laws in the Soviet Union, which was an area of my expertise. I was invited to the Soviet Union as a consultant, which led to my consulting throughout the former Soviet bloc, eventually living for over two years in Poland.

At the time, there was a lot of smuggling across the border between Russia and Poland, giving rise to fears that nuclear material, too, might be slipping across. While on assignment in Latvia, I met with a very unhappy decommissioned Soviet general, who completely misunderstood my purpose for being there. When an official meeting concluded, he suggested we go for a walk where we could talk without being overheard.

I followed him deep into a forest. I couldn’t imagine what he wanted. Finally we stopped, and he said, “I can get you anything you want.” I must have looked puzzled because he added, “Atomic.”

Then I understood. In an earlier conversation, there had been some passing remarks about the Soviets’ nuclear arsenal in Latvia, for which he had had some responsibility, and apparently still some access. While my real purpose for being there was to design a volunteer program for business specialists, he assumed that was a front and I was really a spy. Or perhaps he thought, I really did want to buy an atomic bomb!

Have you always been a writer?

In the sense of enjoying to write, yes. I actually wrote my first stage play in fourth grade and started a novel in sixth grade, but I didn’t become a full-time fiction writer until twenty years ago. The first half of my adult life I spent working on projects to help low income people all over the world. I always enjoyed the writing aspects of my work—reports, proposals, even two credit manuals—but I reached a point where I’d accomplished my career goals, I was only forty-six years old, and I had a story I wanted to tell.

What was the story?

For over two years, I managed the U.S. Government’s first significant project to assist Palestinians following the 1993 Oslo Accords. One thing I learned was that everyone needed to be at the negotiating table to achieve an enduring peace. So I wrote a story of reconciliation—A Vision of Angels—that weaves together the lives of four characters and their families.

If anybody had ever hoped that a book might change the world, I did. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to bring about peace in the Middle East, but I’ve continued writing nevertheless.

The Fourth Courier has a strong sense of place. It’s obvious that you know Warsaw well. Other than living there, what special research did you do?

Warsaw is a city with a very distinctive character. It’s always atmospheric, verging on gloomy in winter, and the perfect location for a noir-ish thriller.

I had left Warsaw several years before I decided to write a novel set there, so I went back to refresh my memory. I looked at it entirely differently. What worked dramatically? Where would I set scenes in my story?

It was on that research trip when all the events along the Vistula River came together for me. There was a houseboat. There was Billy’s shack, and Billy himself whose “jaundiced features appeared pinched from a rotting apple.” There were sandbars reached by narrow concrete jetties and a derelict white building with a sign simply saying Nightclub. Fortunately, Billy’s dogs were tethered or I wouldn’t be here to answer your questions.

My main character is an FBI agent, and I didn’t know much about it. A friend, who was an assistant to Attorney General Janet Reno, arranged a private tour of the FBI’s training facility in Quantico. That was before 9/11. I don’t think that could be done now. Maybe for James Bond himself but not for a wannabe writer.

If I was going to write a novel about smuggling a portable atomic bomb, I needed to know what a bomb entailed. Weight, seize, basic design, fuel? How would a miniature bomb be detonated? So I blindly contacted the Department of Energy. I explained what I wanted and was soon connected to an atomic expert who agreed to meet with me.

We met on the weekend at a Starbucks-like coffee shop in Rockville, MD. We met in line and were already talking about atomic bombs before we ordered our coffees. He had brought basic drawings of them. He was an expert and eager to share his knowledge.

Can you imagine having that conversation in a café today, openly looking at how-to schematics for building an atomic bomb while sipping skinny lattés?

You’ve mentioned ‘scenes’ a couple of times. I know you also write screenplays. Do you find it difficult to go between the different formats or styles?

The sense of scene is crucial to my writing. It’s how I think about a story. Before I start new work, I always have the opening and closing scenes in my head, and then I ask myself what scenes do I need to get from start to finish.

I think it comes from growing up in a house where the television was never turned off. My sisters and I were even allowed to watch TV while doing homework if we kept our grades up. Sometimes I joke that canned laughter was the soundtrack of my childhood. I haven’t owned a television for many years, but growing up with it exposed me to telling stories in scenes, and it’s why my readers often say they can see my stories as they read them.

For me, it’s not difficult to go between prose and screenplays. In fact, I use the process of adapting a novel to a screenplay as an editing tool for the novel. It helps me sharpen the dialogue and tighten the story.

In your bio, you mention traveling the world to find your characters and stories, and doing things like smuggling out plays from behind the Iron Curtain. Was it all as exciting as it sounds?

It was only one play, and yes, I confess to having an exciting life. I’ve done some crazy things, too, and occasionally managed to put myself in dangerous situations. Frankly, when I recall some of the things I’ve done, I scare myself! By comparison, smuggling a play out of Czechoslovakia in 1974 seems tame. But I’ve always had a travel bug and wanted to go almost everywhere, so I took some chances, often traveled alone, and went to places where I could have been made to disappear without a trace.

It sounds like you have a whole library full of books you could write. How do you decide what story to tell and who will be your characters?

I came of age in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, so I developed a strong sense of social justice. That guided my career choice more than anything, and when I quit working to write full-time, it was natural that I wanted my books to reflect my concerns. Not in a “big message” way, but more in terms of raising awareness about things that concern me.

For example, take Cooper’s Promise, my novel about a gay deserter from the war in Iraq who ends up adrift in a fictional African country. It was 2003, and in a few days, I was headed to Antwerp to research blood diamonds for a new novel. I was running errands when NPR’s Neal Conan (Talk of the Nation) came on the radio with an interview of National Geographic photographer Jodi Cobb about a project on modern-day slavery. It was the first time I heard details about human trafficking, and was so shocked by its enormity that I pulled my car off the road to listen.

I decided on the spot that I needed to find a story that touched on both blood diamonds and trafficking. When I went to Antwerp a few days later, I visited the Diamond District as planned, but also visited a safe house for women who had been rescued from traffickers.

In The Fourth Courier, you team up a white straight FBI agent with a black gay CIA agent. Even Publishers Weeklycommented that it seemed like an ideal set-up for a sequel. Do you plan to write one?

Probably not. My to-be-written list is already too long.

I’m close to finishing the final edits on a book set in Greek island village, which is more of a mystery about an arsonist than a thriller. I’ve already started a new novel set in Istanbul about a young refugee who’s recruited by the CIA to go deep undercover with ISIS. I’ve never written a novel set in the States but I have the idea for one.

To date, my books have been stand-alones with totally different settings, characters, and plots. I try to write what I like to read: smart mysteries/thrillers with strong plots and colorful characters set in interesting places. I suppose like me, I want my stories to travel around and meet new people.

You’ve had gay protagonists or important characters since your first novel over twenty years ago when gay literature had not yet become mainstream. How would you say that affected your choices as a writer, or did it?

Friends warned me that I shouldn’t become known as a gay writer because it would pigeonhole me and sideline me from consideration as a serious writer. At the time, I think the general public thought gay books were all about sex and more sex. Of course, already there were many emerging gay literary writers; it was more stigma than reality.

The world of thrillers and mysteries is still largely uninhabited by gays. Hopefully I am helping to change that. I also hope that my novels expand my readers’ understanding of homosexuality in the places where I set them. In The Fourth Courier, the gay angle is key to solving the case. In my other novels, too, the plot turns on something gay, and the way it does is always something that couldn’t have happened in the same way anywhere else because of the cultural context.

What do you want your readers to take away from The Fourth Courier?

What motivated me to write The Fourth Courier was a desire to portray what happened to ordinary Polish people at an exciting albeit unsettling moment in their country’s history. I hope my readers like my characters as much as I do—at least the good guys. The people are what made Poland such a great experience.

The Fourth Courier is my thank-you note to them.


I also released a new video onto book tube recently so feel free to watch it here and make sure to like and subscribe if you like it!

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Shared Post: BEGINNER BLOGGER: HOW I PLAN MY BLOGPOSTS + MAKING A SCHEDULE! — RABIA RAMBLES

Hey Loves! Today I’m back with another post in my Beginner Blogger series; you can read my other posts in this series here. I want to talk about scheduling and planning blogposts today. I always get questions on how I plan my posts and on my blog schedule so I thought it’d be easier to […]

via BEGINNER BLOGGER: HOW I PLAN MY BLOGPOSTS + MAKING A SCHEDULE! — RABIA RAMBLES

Hey there Bookworms!

Check out this really great article by Rabia Rambles about planning out your blog posts. And check out her other Beginner Blogger posts! They are all very useful and have helped me with my post planning.

Still moving to a new apartment, well in the process of it, but will keep you updated.

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