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The Lost Branch


Here, Learn some more about this book:


The 1-line Review:

What can I say, I loved this book just as much as the first. The magic gets even better, the plot lines are deep and woven, and we get a great story line into the history preceding the main trilogy story line.

The longer review

Marcellus, Nicolai, and Corren have to handle new roles as King, Prince, and Head of the order. The Norther magical guild, The Osiris Colony threatens the balance of the realm with a claim to the powers of the Phoenix. The earth faeries face a challenge that will challenge their way of life. Can the new king and his brothers safeguard the realm of humans and fairies before the land they know is destroyed?  (you should read and see)

The magic continues to impress from the first book. The book dives into the history of the  Mapmaker and the earth fairies that added a great depth of knowledge to the character of Salerno as well as the origins of The Order.  There is still much to learn about the order, leaving mysteries for the next installment.

The Lost Branch matches the great depth the first book, Gift of the Phoenix, contained . Again the layers of major and minor plot lines are woven together so intricately, and feel separate but connected at the same time  I felt like there were several “mini ending” throughout the story that gave me a satisfying sense as each perspective plot line came to a close.

The main character of each chapter rotates among Marcellus, Nicolai, and Corren, with occasional chapters and excerpts centered around pro and antagonists. Each chapters grips and pulls you into a story line, only to be switched back into another characters story pages after. It ends up creating quite the page turner as you constantly are reading to get back to each character to see what happens next.

Bottom Line:

 I can’t wait for the next! this series is truly one of the great ones.

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The Dragon boy is back!


Here, Learn some more about this book:


(You can read the beginning of the book in that blog link up there!)

The 1-line Review:

Action and adventure are abound in a book even better than the first.

The longer review:

The Watcher of Zargon built upon the strong foundation built by Ben the Dragonborn. It was hard to put this book down, reading one chapters became eight as I tried to stretch my lunch breaks to get more reading in. Much less takes place at the school as Ben, Allison, and new student Mack are quickly dropped into Zargon. The rest of the story became a back and forth of

Zargonian war, family feuds, and diplomacy written in a way that is understandable and appropriate for the  intended reader (juvenile) while still being very entertaining for an adult reader.


I think the greatest improvements from book one stem from the growth of the author. Ben and Allison’s feelings and actions more accurately portray their age (14-15 years old) in this book. I felt they, particularly Ben, acted a bit younger than 13-14 year olds in the previous book. The Watcher of Zargon also has much better chapter to chapter flow than its predecessor; it sheds some of the episodic feel of the last book.


By the end of this book, readers of the six world series have journeyed with ben through 3 worlds, with the promise of an adventure on an unexplored world in the next installment. I certainly hope we get a story into each of the remaining worlds that have not been traversed by Ben and Allison.

Where the book lost half a star:

I’d say my only wish for for a bit more length to the stories. A little more dialogue and a interpersonal development will go a long way for the  coming stories. I think any youngins’ reading the next installment will already be invested in the series and be able to take a little more complexity without losing interest.

Bottom Line:

A series that is picking up speed and worth coming back to again!


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The Land of Dragor: The Gift of Charms by Julia Suzuki – Review

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The Gift of Charms is the debut novel in The Land of Dragor. Head over to The Land of Dragor and explore the interactive map of Dragor and discover which dragon clan you come from!

Julia Suzuki’s first novel will be out later this year. Connect with Julia  @JuliaSuzuki_uk in the mean time check back here for an interview closer to the release date.  Learn a little more about Julia from her Goodreads profile.

The Quick Review:

The Gift of Charms is a heartwarming adventure.  I loved this read from start to finish. Reading this book was like watching a kid’s television program like Arthur, Curious George, or Thomas and Friends. This is a perfect story for children of all ages, especially boys from 6-10.  The Land of Dragor is a great, dragon filled adventure that is very educational and will send a great message to kids.

The Longer Review:

The land of Dragor is a magical land, yet incredibly human.  Dragor is a land filled with Dragon Clans, each with special skills and gifts. The reader follows Yoshiko, a young red dragon in the Nephan clan, who is different from other dragons.  Yoshiko’s journey constantly reminded me of times from my childhood, and made me feel very reminiscent. So many children face the same problems Yoshiko faced in his story. This story is so easy to connect with and understand on a personal level.

This story has the potential to go anywhere. Suzuki can take it in any number of exciting directions. The story involves humans, a mysterious race to the dragons, at the very end. Adding humans as the mythical race is a rare concept. I am eager to see what direction the story will go in the next Dragor adventure.

The Writing:

Julia Suzuki’s writing is perfect for The Gift of Charms intended age group.  It is a written in a way that is fun and exciting for all ages, but written so a young audience can understand and connect with the story.

The Characters:

Julia Suzuki refreshes the YA fantasy genre by creating a story and character cast made entirely of dragons. The closes I have read to Dragons as main characters is the Inheritance (Eragon) Cycle.   Eragon still fits in with many Dragon based story lines.  The land of Dragor brings on a great new perspective; making dragons the characters and giving them a day to day life that is entirely human, rather than primitive or magical.


I loved it! The book of charms is a quick read and a good story for all ages. It is a wonderful start to a series that could be great. This would be a great story to read aloud with your kids (or read yourself if you don’t have any!)


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Interview With Dianne Astle- Author of Ben the Dragonborn

19015246Dianne Astle is one of the newest authors to hit the eBook market. Her new YA fiction, Ben the Dragonborn hit the internet shelves November, 2013. It is the first of many adventures in The Six Worlds Series. Ben the Dragonborn is an exciting read for  adventurous boys and the young at heart. I am certainty looking forward to the next Six Worlds story.

Dianne Astle has the first 3 chapters, available for free, on the Ben the Dragonborn website. Head over and jump into the adventure and explore all the extras.

I had the pleasure of asking Dianne a few questions about her first book. Check out the interview below and connect with Dianne on twitter to tell her how much you loved the book when you are finished reading!

You say you stopped reading fiction for a long time. How long? And how did you start again and create the idea of Ben the Dragonborn?

Dianne Astle

Author Diane Astle

I read very little fiction for over 10 years.  Then I came close to crashing and burning during a year when I was home schooling my son as well as working at a challenging job.  There was far too much pressure in my life, and it was made worse by rarely taking time to play.  In an attempt to maintain sanity I started to read fiction.   Sometimes I would read aloud to my son.  We went through the entire Narnia and Lord of the Rings series.

What books are you reading now, or what type of books do you typically read?

My favorite author is Stephen Lawhead.  I loved his Endless Knot trilogy.  I am also a great fan of Terry Brooks, particularly his Children of Armageddon Series.   I liked Narnia, Harry Potter and of course Lord of the Rings.  My favorite books are generally fantasy, but I also enjoy mysteries and historical fiction.  At the moment I am discovering and reading the Indie authors that I am meeting on line.

What is your favorite scene from Ben the Dragonborn?

I think my favorite scene comes near the end of the book. It is when Charla the mermaid picks up the Mer king’s crown and hands it to a human.   Returning the crown herself would have brought the recognition she longed for.  Giving the crown away to humans to return to the Mer king was an act of grace.

Are any of your characters similar to you or people you know?

I love the characters in Ben the Dragonborn.  I enjoy spending time in their company and introducing them to others.  I can’t say that any of them are patterned after someone I know.  They are likely composites.  And I think that a little bit of myself lives in each of the characters.

What was your biggest take-away from your first experience writing a novel?

To tell you the truth my biggest take-away is amazement that I could write something so fabulous (at least in my biased opinion).  I sometimes fear that this is a one-time event and I will never be able to repeat it.

Is there anything you wish you did differently in the story or while writing Ben the Dragonborn?

I worked really hard to produce a book free of spelling and grammatical errors.   When I thought it was perfect and print published the first draft a retired teacher bought it.  She gave it back to me with corrections. I was mortified, but also very grateful that she had the courage to draw the mistakes to my attention.   So I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that any future books need to have an editor.  I feel strongly that anything we publish needs to be the best it can be.  We should not expect people to celebrate books that are full of spelling mistakes and grammatical problems.

What was the first character or scene that came into form when writing Ben the Dragonborn?

I had the basic idea of six worlds bound together by portals under the care of a Guardian with watchers on each world.  The first character to come into being  was Ben and his ability to transform into a dragon.

Do you have a process or routine when writing or generating ideas?

I don’t think anyone would ever hire me to teach a course on how to write a novel.  I did not start with a plan laid out from beginning to end.  I often found myself going back to add scenes.  I added the episode in the library after the rough draft was complete.  At one point Ben was in the clutches of a person eating plant.  The plant episode did not make the final draft.  I was afraid the book was getting too episodic.  I wanted to give character development more attention.

Are you currently working on a sequel to Ben the Dragonborn? Or working on a new idea?

I started writing a sequel.  Once I get Ben the Dragonborn well and truly launched I will return to it.  In the sequel Ben goes to his mother’s home world to learn how to safely transform into a dragon.  Ben must go to his grandfather who will not be happy to learn that he has a half-breed grandson.

Do you have plan for more in the Six Worlds Series?

I do plan to keep writing and have every intention of writing more Six Worlds books.  I think there may be some stories featuring other students from Fairhaven. Perhaps Ben and Denzel will go off world together.  There also could be stories of the Chosen who come from other world to Earth.  The possibilities are endless.

Original Review Here

Thank you again to Dianne for taking the time to share with us! Everyone comeback for more reviews and interviews with Dianne Astle, and other new authors.

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Ben the Dragonborn by Dianne Astle- Review


The Quick Review:

Boys between 8 and 12 will absolutely love this book; it is written perfectly for this age group. Ben the Dragonborn is a fun and exciting read that fiction-fantasy fans of any age will be able to get into. The story reads very quickly and is easy to follow.  This is the kind of story you will want your children to read if you want to show them that reading can be fun; and not like all the awful books teachers make you read in grade school.

The Longer Review:

Ben the Dragon born is a great new fantasy series. The book has a recipe of successful concepts and ideas that are familiar to a YA fantasy reader, but in no way does this book seem like a copy. It is unique and original in every way.

Portals to unknown worlds; gifted children chosen for quests; an array of imaginative creatures; and a school that is magical and secretive.  Fans of the 100 Cupboards series, Fablehaven, Percy Jackson, and Harry Potter will find something to love in this book.

The Story:

Ben is a regular student at a not so regular school. He knows the school is different, but he and his friend cannot figure out why.  A meeting with his principle turns into a quest to another world. Ben has to decide if all this is real, and if he really has what it takes to save another world from a disaster that the natives cannot fix themselves.

The Writing: 

Astle’s writing is very easy to read and follow. Her story is not bogged down with too much detail or unnecessary back-story. Ben the Dragon born felt like a fun, bight adventure that is perfectly suited for the “Juvenile Fiction” genre.

The story reads very quickly, and the characters move very fast through the story. My only critique is a budding romance between 2 characters. They go from despising each other to putting up with each other in a few chapters. Then you turn the page and one is saying she loves the other.  This happened over the course of a day, maybe two, in the story. It was just way too fast for those feelings to develop like that. That said it did not detract from or get in the way of the story, and is probably a believable progression of feeling for a very young reader.

The Characters:

The story follows the POV of Ben, a student at Fairhaven. He goes through most of the story with 2 companions around his age, Jared and Charla. Ben and Jared seem very average, no over the top emotions or character flaws. It is nice to see main characters who are normal, rather than super nerdy or over defiant. Charla is over confident and a little arrogant, which plays well into the adventure.


This is a must read for boys. Books like this are what get you into reading at a young age. I wish I had more stories like this when I was in grade school. It is an exciting story, full of adventure, and easy to read. I look forward to the next one.

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