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Book Review: Aofie’s Quest + Giveaway

This is my stop during the bookstagram blitz for Aofie’s Quest by Angela J. Ford. Aofie’s Quest is a New Adult Fantasy Adventure book with Celtic mythology, strong heroines, magical weapons, mythical beasts, gods & goddesses and a slow burn romance.

This bookstagram blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. This bookstagram blitz runs from 15 till 19 March. See the tour schedule here.

Don’t miss the tour wide giveaway! One lucky winner will win digital copies of Angela J. Ford’s Night of the Dark Fae series. You can enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post.

Aofie's Quest coverAofie’s Quest
Gods & Goddesses of Labraid #1
By Angela J. Ford
Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Age category: New Adult
Release Date: March 26, 2021

A warrior princess with a dire future embarks on a perilous quest to regain her fallen kingdom.

Eighteen-year-old Aofie’s Mor is an outcast princess, hiding in the sacred forest of the centaurs. She’s spent her life training for one purpose: to take back her kingdom from the angel of death.

When she comes of age, the centaurs prepare her to reunite with the humans. However, on the morning of her departure, she learns a horrific truth that leaves her questioning her true identity.

Frustrated, but taught not to question the will of the gods, Aofie travels deep into perilous lands in search of her birth mother. Along the way she accidentally frees a dangerous goddess, befriends a mysterious iceman, and meets a magic-wielding nymph.

But threads of betrayal and corruption run deeper than Aofie imagined. As she faces trials and tribulations, she begins to question everything she’s assumed to be true. Caught in the ultimate war between good and evil, Aofie must make a choice about her future.

Will she have the strength and courage to take back her kingdom? Or will she turn her back on fate and choose her own destiny?

Welcome to the land of Labraid, a war-torn world where demons rise and the gods and goddesses toy with the desires of humans.

Aofie’s Quest is a dark and exciting fantasy adventure. If you like fierce heroines, treacherous royals, mischievous immortals, wild plot twists and Celtic Mythology, buy Aofie’s Quest today.

Links:
Goodreads
Bookbub
Amazon

Aeofie's Quest

Review:
What first attracted me to Aofie’s Quest was the cover, or more specifically the illustration of Aofie on it. She looks like the warrior she’s supposed to bebroad shoulders, muscular arms, leather armor (but not useless sexy leather armor), even one forearm that maybe looks bigger than the other, as I’d expect for an archer (though that may just be the angle of the picture). I thought, “Here is a author/illustrator who made an effort to genuinely depict a physically strong woman” and I very much appreciated that.

I’m uncertain if that carried through into the actual book though. Aofie does not come off as physically strong for a lot of the book. I don’t think she shoots a single arrow (losing her bow very early on) and she barely fights, which is only an issue since her being a warrior princess is emphasized several times. But she does survive quite a lot and undergoes a lot of emotional growth. One strongly senses that this was just the beginning of a longer journey for her. I feel this is the book in which she grew into the warrior princess title, rather that the one in which she actually is a warrior princess. I’m a bit disappointed by that, as I’m a little burned out on such Young Adult books. But I can’t penalize the book for being what it isa YA book.

The writing is quite readable, though there are a few anachronistic phrases tossed around on occasion and I thought the editing a little rough in patches. Though I’ll state for the record that I got my physical copy directly from the author and it might be an ARC, which wouldn’t have had it’s final edit yet. It’s not labeled as such (which is why I’m mentioning the editing), but I happen to know that e-copies that went out at roughly the same time were labeled as ARCs. So, there’s a chance this was meant to be. And if that’s the case, this whole editing comment can be disregard.

Romance is a strong subplot here, not the main brunt of the story. But I felt cheated by it. I appreciate that the man filling the possible love interest role for most of the book is a bit more gray than we’re used to. But the sudden departure from the established path that the romance took at the VERY END made me feel like every previous romantic hint should have just been left out entirely. I got a bit of whiplash from it; though I admit to liking the individual at the end better. (I hope I managed to write that sentence in a suitably vague and non-spoilerish way, but also convey my meaning. It’s often a challenge.)

All in all, I didn’t dislike Aofie’s Quest by any means. But I feel I’d probably like future books more than I did this one. It’s strong in the YA and that’s not my bread an jam. But for those for whom it is, I think Aofie will steal hearts.

Aongela J. FordAbout the Author:
Angela J. Ford is a bestselling author who writes epic fantasy and steamy fantasy romance with vivid worlds, gray characters and endings you just can’t guess. She has published 14 novels, 6 short stories, and sold over 32,000 copies.

Angela is also a Co-Founder of Booksniffer. A new app for book lovers, plus an effective way for authors to market their books to new readers.

She enjoys traveling, hiking, and playing World of Warcraft with her husband. First and foremost, Angela is a reader and can often be found with her nose in a book.

Aside from writing, she enjoys the challenge of working with marketing technology and builds websites for authors.

Angela is passionate about helping indie authors succeed and co-hosts a podcast called Indie Author Lifestyle.

If you happen to be in Nashville, you’ll most likely find her enjoying a white chocolate mocha and daydreaming about her next book.

Author links:
Website
Indie Author Lifestyle podcast
Marketing for Authors website
Booksniffer
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon
Instagram
Newsletter

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the bookstagram blitz for Aofie’s Quest. One winner will win digital copies of the Night of the Dark Fae series by Angela J. Ford. You can enter the giveaway here. Or use the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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awakening sc mitchell

Book Review: Awakening, by S.C. Mitchell

I picked up a freebie copy of S.C. Mitchell‘s Awakening (Demon Gate Chronicles, #1) from Amazon. I read it as part of my March Awakening Challenge, where I set out to read eight books titled Awakening.

awakening by sc mitchell

Demons among us…

Thousands of years ago, a portal opened between Earth and the demon dimension of Ballor. Since that time, demons have been crossing over to hide among us cloaked in illusion.

Jack Hughes is cursed. Each full moon, his body is taken over by a demonic force. He’s learned to cope by locking himself in a cell each night to keep the demon from breaking free. It’s a dark secret he’s not willing to share with anyone, until one night when the demon breaks out.

Sorceress Anna Brown is one of the leading experts on demons for the Arcanists. She knows Jack’s secret and how to help him, if he’ll let her. The local demons are after Anna. She has a power they want to control. Does she have enough magic to save Jack and keep the local Demon Lord at bay?

my review

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this is super bad, though I might say it’s bad. Either way it’s far too simple and uni-dimensional to be called good. There is no depth here, not of characters, plot, mystery, world, anything. It makes for a predictable and uninteresting read.

On a personal note, I work assiduously to avoid rape in the books I read for entertainment. Despite that, it creeps in pretty regularly. It always annoys me. But it is especially annoying when authors use it as a short-hand for evil. Want a character to be an obvious villain? Make him a rapist, no further development needed apparently. But it’s even worse still when authors do this and don’t have the decency to call it rape. Mitchell has a horde of demons who keep harems to breed lesser demons and he references it repeatedly. But the sanitized language hides the horror of what he’s actually suggesting. The word rape isn’t once used in this context, despite rape being referenced multiple times. If you’re going to base a large portion of your plot on rapists raping, then have the decency to use the language.

Speaking of demons, it was painfully obvious that almost no real thought or creativity went into them. Mitchell held in his hands the chance to create something new and interesting, and I thought he might when one of the first demons was mentioned to be sexless. But as soon as we meet the rest of the demons we run right into patriarchal, no-thought plotting. The male thinks about his female mate as a good mate because she knows her place (below him), but he’s ready to trade her for someone younger and fresher. He leers and threatens rape (by any other name), etc. He’s a blunt instrument of a villain and the demons in general are cardboard cutouts.

All in all, disappoint but readable.

The Lowest Realm Amy-Alex Campbell

Book Review: The Lowest Realm, by Amy-Alex Campbell

I received a$5 Amazon credit for completing the New Year Kindle Challenge. I posted on Twitter that I was going to use the money to buy books written by my followers. As you can see from the subsequent tweets, that didn’t garner very much attention…any at all really. But I still did as promised and bought two books, Through the Black Mirror, which you can find reviewed here, and The Lowest Realm, by Amy-Alex Campbell.

about the bookthe lowest realm

Life on an offshore oil rig is grueling hard work. For Nika the hard work, isolation and discipline is ideal.

On the eve of flying back to the mainland for a two week break, disaster strikes, and Nika is thrown into darkness.

When he awakes in a strange world, with no memory of his past, he finds himself in the presence of monks, who offer to help, on one condition. Nika must deliver an urgent message to the king, and in return, the mysterious monks will help him recall his memories and find a way home.

Instead, Nika is sent on a long journey with his new friend Freyne, and the spoilt Princess Iryna, to fulfill a prophecy that will restore balance to the world.

Nika must adjust to more than just a new world; as his body undergoes a transformation he does not understand, he must also deal with being hunted, forbidden love, mancery, and gods he’s never heard of.

This wasn’t horrible, but it was just exceptionally tedious. It’s almost 400 pages long and very very little ever actually happens. But I can tell you what every building in every town looks like, what color the napkins at the dinners are, about every single bath and change of clothing the characters make as they travel, and travel, and travel. Plus, the author really missed their chance to make a ‘it’s bigger on the inside’ joke about Freyne’s pack. He pulled everything from a spit and small mortar and pestle, to towels and changes of clothing out of that thing.

So little happens, in fact, that the author had to add some casually institutionalized homophobia (with threats of castration and dismemberment) and near-rapes of female characters AS FILLER. Both could be removed from the book without making any changes to the plot. ZERO. It was 100% unneeded, and for me at least, unappreciated.

Additionally, I found many of the characters shallow and poorly drafted. The female characters were especially cliched, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, even random women met along the way. CLICHED.

Having said all that, Campbell had a sweet story to tell about found family and sacrifice. As I said, not horrid, I’m I’m awful glad to be done with it.