5 Stars to “MYTHICAL DOORWAYS” by Fellowship of Fantasy

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Eleven Tales of Magical, Mysterious, Mythical Doorways!

Step through portals and into adventure as the authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy take you on another journey into fantastic worlds. Travel through time, space, and realities to encounter monsters, mechanical foxes, and the Fates themselves. You’ll fly with dragons, save implausible beasts, and perhaps find your true home. Choose your path wisely, for dangers lurk in the lands beyond.

In the third anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy, eleven authors promise you journeys into fairy lands hidden within the modern world, futuristic universities, and lands of ancient myth. So what are you waiting for? Cross through our Doorways for the adventure of a lifetime!

 

With an anthology by multiple authors, there are always winners and … not-so-greats … but this collection had more winners than most. I loved the variety of stories all surrounding a single themed element–the mythical doorway. For specifics, see below:

“Everwild”

The excellent writing style grabbed y attention immediately. I’m afraid to give too many details due to spoilers, but this a gripping start to the anthology. If this is a prequel, I want to see the series!

“Well of Fate”
You can’t go wrong when the here is a squirrel. I loved the little adventurer. I’m pretty sure this is a prequel to a series about Yggdrasil.

“Jericho and the Magician’s Daughter”
This is a prequel to a series I’ve already started. I enjoyed seeing the unique magical system up close and watching the beginning of Jericho and Rill’s relationship. Good, exciting installment that stands on its own.

“Dragon’s Oath”
This is a prequel to a series I’ve started. I loved seeing the village up close and how Ethan got his start. Good installment that stands on its own.

“The Hallway of Three Doors”
This is by an author whom I have enjoyed in the past. Early in the story, we get a message: “I can only help you understand yourself, and then you can use that understanding to make your choices.” Overall, this story lacked a feeling of real connection and understanding of the main characters (unusual for this author).

“Door Number Four”
This sample quote shows the quality of writing: “He knew it right down to the magic in his bone marrow, but his footsteps still ate away the distance between his parents’ home and the school.” I loved this story, the main character, the vivid imagery, and the message of not giving up even when you’re sure you’ve lost. My favorite one in the anthology so far.

“Threshold”
It took me a little while to get into this story because there wasn’t any sense of urgency, but once the conflict came, it was a sweet little love story with just the right ending.

“Idiot’s Graveyard”
This story had a great premise, but it dragged a bit with stilted and info-dumpy dialogue.

“Cosmic Cravings”
The opening with the twist drew me in immediately. It’s a humorous tale about a vital quest for chocolate (I can relate!). The take on fairies and mages was very imaginative.

“Dragon Ward”
There was so much energy and characterization in the first two paragraphs! Nice story of dragons and the healing power of understanding one another.

“What Lies Ahead”
This had a lovely premise reminiscent of the Mirror of Erised. The message of letting go of the past to change our hearts was well-expressed.

5 Stars to “BAIT” by Kasi Blake

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What’s more dangerous? Hunting monsters or falling in love? Bay-Lee is about to find out.

The youngest Van Helsing joins her father’s secret school, a training camp for hunters. Bay-Lee quickly learns survival is more important than good grades. She gets kidnapped on her first night, kicked in the face by another student, and labeled as Bait. If she wants to rank-up to Hunter, she’ll have to prove herself. There are plenty of opportunities, especially now that someone or some ‘thing’ is killing students on their birthdays.

Bay-Lee, along with a few new friends and an angry hunter with the most amazing eyes she’s ever seen, will have to follow the clues to find the supernatural killer before it’s her turn. Her birthday is coming up fast.

Nick Gallos has lived two separate identities: a vampire hunter and an infamous rock star. He has toured the world, but now he’s back at Van Helsing’s school in time to see the man’s daughter start her training. Nick hates her on sight. She ruined his life… now it’s time to ruin hers.

 

In a Hogwarts-esque school in New Zealand, Bay-Lee starts school at the lowest rank: Bait. This would normally mean she’s deemed of little use more than to lure monsters (werewolves, vampires, and a large host of new creatures). But Bay-Lee is also Van Helsing’s daughter, trained by the best and destined for greatness. Step one, advance to the rank of Hunter. Step two, exact revenge on the werewolves that killed her mother. Somewhere in between, she reluctantly falls in love with exactly the wrong young man.

This book was totally addictive. I loved the elements of suspense, mystery, action, and romance. Bay-Lee and Nick are both well-layered, deep characters, and the world Kasi Blake has created for them will definitely provide a lot of room for even more growth. No spoilers … so I can’t say too much … but I immediately got book 2.

Note: This is YA, and thus is pretty “clean”. That said, some might object to the use of alcohol and the age difference between the two main characters. There are no sex scenes, but there is definitely a strong sensual connection.