‘Mere Enchantment’ & ‘Rings of Enchantment’ by Alicia Rivoli

Mere Enchantment

A modern-day magical, fun and adventurous fairytale

Recommended for readers 8 yrs and over

Mere Enchantment and Rings of Enchantment are Alicia Rivoli‘s Enchantment series books that have one epic adventure flowing through them as though they are a Part One and Part Two. Part Two continues the story beautifully. Personally, I couldn’t read one book without the other and therefore would recommend to any reader to obtain both copies. Aside from not feeling myself, this was also another reason for my belated review, as I had to read the sequel as soon as I finished Mere Enchantment!

The Enchantment series takes you into another world. The world of Mere. Under attack from the dark traitor, Jacan, and his army of Umbra, the Kingdom of Mere is struggling to survive. Jacan and his army have already taken over the city of Nebula and if nobody stops him, Jacan will strive to take over the whole Kingdom! It is therefore up to the five main characters, Preston, Chloe, Jason, Megan and Zach to prevent Jacan with the use of magic and their new-founded abilities in Mere to defeat Jacan and his army.

Mere Enchantment (Book 1) begins with Preston living in a cabin with his parents overlooking Mirror Lake. When Preston’s parents rent out their second cabin, across the other side of the lake, to two families, each with two teenagers, Chloe, Jason, Megan and Zach, Preston seems happy to have kids of a similar age visit. He quickly builds up a bond with them, in particular Chloe. Preston takes them to a cave nearby and little do they realise at the time that this cave is where the magic really begins for them!

There were a couple of instances in the very beginning that made me question why Preston’s parents treated him like a younger child, when he was an older teenager. I couldn’t quite connect to all of the characters, especially Preston’s parents, as I didn’t understand their behaviour. However, as this magical epic tale unfolds this question was answered very clearly, especially once the main characters entered the cave! One example of this is Preston’s father reading him what appears to be bedtime stories and yet, once he is in the Kingdom of Mere, Preston realises that those stories are most likely to be true and his father had been preparing him for his new journey to help the Kingdom of Mere as his new-found self, along with his magic and friends.

When they first enter the Kingdom of Mere they notice changes with one another, such as changes of appearance, age, clothes and later their powers. It is great how they all have these underlying magical abilities but it is only through entering the cave/kingdom that these skills naturally blossom. I particularly like the way in which they discover their powers in an instinctive manner as opposed to having be taught them through magic. The characters adapt to their new surroundings very quickly and, with the help of some wizards, they soon become aware of what they need to do save the Kingdom of Mere!

The group find themselves separated once they arrive in Mere, as Preston is with Megan and Zach, and Chloe is with her brother, Jason. I become a little lost when main characters are separated as I like to keep everyone together, however it adds the tension as the reader constantly pushes for them to reunite. But with Jacan and the Umbra taking over, controling the weather and using shadows for cover it becomes quite eventful. War is taking place and it doesn’t seem to be too long before Jacan will completely take over the Kingdom of Mere.

Rings of Enchantment  (The Enchantment Series, #2)In Rings of Enchantment (Book 2) I found the story to be slightly more action-packed as by now the reader is familiar with the characters, some of their abilities and the Kingdom of Mere. I also found the sequel to be a quicker read, with more dialogue and more magic being used and more involvement with the dragons. Jacan and his army are really beginning to close in on Mere, destroying the underwater kingdom of Rill and using everything he possibly can to win the Kingdom for himself. This sequel is darker and most certainly more intense.

Towards the end I found myself tensing as Alicia Rivoli leaves the reader on tenterhooks between chapters as she visits the different characters and picks up their story from a chapter or two before! This definitely teases the reader and makes you feel like you have to know more, encouraging the reader to quicken their speed, along with the action of the book!

I also found the glossary in Book 2 to be useful as the reader follows so many different characters in different cities and, as the main characters are slightly different people in Mere than they are in Oklahoma, it was nice to be able to check up on the characters and places once I finished.

I really enjoyed reading this fun series and I would recommend it for readers of the age 8 years and over. Kids would absolutely love the magic, the dragons, princes and princesses in secret kingdoms, the wizards and the whole adventure. Not forgetting the main plot to save the Kingdom from this terrible, dark traitor! There are cities in the sky/clouds and underwater. I actually had my own daughter (age 8) read a chapter as she had forgotten to bring home her school book. I was delighted when she read a whole chapter really well and was able to tell me afterwards what had happened. Even though I had her read from the middle of the sequel she was still able to tell me in her own words what had happened and what type of characters she had been reading about!

My hat goes off to Alicia Rivoli for writing a fantastic modern-day magical, fun and adventurous fairytale! It is clear to the reader that the author has spent a great deal of time creating the wonderful world of Mere, as well as beautiful characters with princes, princesses, wizards, dragons, merpeople and an army of darkness with a traitor as their leader.

At the same time as being in a strange, magical  land with dragons and wizards and trying to learn their own abilities, Preston, Chloe, Jason, Megan and Zach fight to be reunited again and to free the Kingdom of Mere!

I received both books from the author, Alicia Rivoli in return for an honest and fair review.

Please check out Alicia’s author post for A Reader’s Review Blog, along with her blog and Facebook page below. There is a fantastic trailer on Alicia’s BlogSpot that really catches the eye and adds great visuals for her Enchantment series.

www.aliciarivoli.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/aliciarivoli

Cover art by Danijel Firak, his website is www.danijelfirak.com

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Enchanted Immortals 3: The Vampyre by C.J. Pinard

Enchanted Immortals 3: The Vampyre

For those of you that love a great fantasy/paranormal novel to read,  ‘Enchanted Immortals 3: The Vampyre’ is a must-read! It is absolutely full, from beginning to end, of great characters with meaningful stories, action and adventure, romance, horror and flashbacks. I love the different types of species here; the Immortals, the vampires, the shapeshifters, the sylphs and the humans. The chemistry between the Immortals and the sylphs is beautiful, whilst the vampires and the shapeshifters are troublesome and dark.

In the first book of the series, ‘Enchanted Immortals’, we are introduced to Thomas O’Malley – a human until turned into an Immortal. In the sequel, ‘Enchanted Immortals 2: The Vortex’, we follow the story of Jonathan Murphy, also an Immortal, partner and close friend to Thomas. In book 3, ‘The Vampyre’, we follow the history of vampire Pascal Theroux, how he was as a human, how he became a vampire and his life since. The reader also has little insights into Angel’s mind –  Angel being Pascal’s mate for the past thirty years.

I was amazed at how I found Pascal’s story to be quite touching in parts and there were times when I really liked him. C.J. Pinard has a way of allowing the reader to take in all aspects of the character and the reader can connect to Pascal as we follow him from his human form right through to when he becomes a vampire. However, there was a turning point in which the reader meets a different side to Pascal – the cold, evil side. I felt that it was a shame for someone likeable to have such a bad streak in him.

Throughout his vampire life, Pascal has tried to find a mate. He is charming and generous and over time he does turn several women into a vampire, thinking they could be his long term mate. However, these women soon realised the other side to Pascal and left. Until Angel came along, he probably felt that no woman would be the one.

Pascal also wanted to find a way to walk in the sun and over time he found a way to make sun-resistant vampires. He would then use these as his ‘foot-soldiers’ during the day to carry out the tasks that he wanted doing. But with Pascal’s attention focusing on his bigger plans, does he lose touch with his new vampires and his mate, Angel?

I feel for Angel in many ways. She has had quite a lonely life as a human, with little family, and Pascal did change that. He provides for her, he is her mate and the one she has belonged to for so long. She remains by his side after all this time, however there are moments, quite understandably when Pascal’s cold side is showing, when she needs out. I am looking forward to reading more on Angel as the series progresses.

Meanwhile, romance is in the air with Thomas and Malina about to marry and some lust (or is it love?) igniting again between Jonathan and Kathryn. There are some really nice sexy and romantic scenes in this novel and we realise how deeply these characters really care about each other. I find it fascinating as regardless of their physical relationship they are always so close in all other aspects of their life.

Shapeshifters, Seth and Malachi, are still imprisoned on The Island, awaiting trial for the crimes they committed in abducting the sylph, Serina, and extortion. And although they are not the focus of this novel they do bring up a shocking and powerful revelation!

Also, the BSI are back. Jason Swift from the Bureau of Supernatural Investigations turns up to speak to Jonathan and Thomas with some news and throughout the novel they work very closely together. I absolutely love the BSI, as you may know from reading my previous reviews of the series. They are like the X-File section of the FBI in ‘The X-Files’ and there is even a reference to this in ‘Enchanted Immortals 3: The Vampire’. This is excellent stuff!

I am a big fan of supporting characters and this novel does not disappoint. I love the character of Aiden, a boss and friend to Sebastian. Without revealing too much, he cares for Sebastian, taking him in and providing for him, with his lovely wife, Elaine. In my minds eye, I imagine Aiden to be a larger than life character, burly and funny with plenty of charisma but also a heart of gold. I really have no idea where C.J. finds all of these great characters.

All characters have been cleverly incorporated into this series in such a way that they all have their own tale to tell – linked to the past as well as the present day. (This is when the flashbacks take place. It is a fun read and quick-paced as it never loses momentum. The series weaves through the different characters’ past and present and yet it is written in such a way that it is easy to follow the story. Each book is a great stand-alone read, however for the details of each characters’ story I would read the series as a whole, beginning with ‘Enchanted Immortals‘ which is now available at Amazon UK for 77p or Amazon US for $1.15.

Enchanted Immortals 4: The Vixen‘ is due out in May 2013 so not too long to wait for another enchanting read!!!

Please note that ‘Enchanted Immortals 3: The Vampyre’ was received gratefully from the author, C.J. Pinard, in return for an honest and fair review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Enchanted Immortals 2: The Vortex by C.J. Pinard

Enchanted Immortals 2: The VortexAs an Immortal, it is Jonathan Murphy’s responsibility to ensure the safety of the sylph and humans; to protect them from other Fae, such as the vampires and shapeshifters. His closest companions (also Immortals), Thomas and Kathryn, are always by his side as they work together to police these dangerous Fae.

‘Enchanted Immortals 2: The Vortex’ focuses on Jonathan Murphy’s character; the man he once was to the Immortal he is now. As a human he was living a humble family life as a carpenter and his story is full of love, romance, wonder, action and heartache. He is a strong man, making plans for his future. However, that future was not to be. Well, at least not the way he thought it would be.

From early on in the novel there are very exciting action scenes which open up the readers’ eyes. These action scenes, and those throughout the novel, are very dark, dramatic, quick-paced, detailed and intense. At the same time they are violent and gorey in parts. We can imagine how dangerous the vampires and shapeshifters are, at the same time as being completely shocked at their very existence. This enables the reader to empathise with Jonathan’s character from the beginnning as he becomes involved with events that are otherwise unbelievable.

Whilst certain shapeshifters are being searched for by Jonathan and his friends, the vampires are planning their next venture. And it was reading this scene that my heart began to race, as one vampire asks about what they are to do next and the reply is, “We’re going back to the Oregon Vortex”. The reader stops in their tracks at this point, knowing that there is a great deal of trouble to come.

There are so many areas of the ‘Enchanted Immortals’ series that I love, one of them being the flashbacks. In this novel, we follow the journey of Jonathan in the present day, we are taken back to the early 1800’s when he is human and in-between we find out more about Kathryn and Thomas’ relationship with him. The reader also has an insight into what happened when Thomas became an Immortal and Thomas’ relationship with Malina, a sylph Queen.

I, personally, find the sylphs adorable. They all seem very beautiful and feminine. They are caring and loving towards the Immortals, humans and each other. However, they still have to be realistic when bearing the vampires and shapeshifters in mind. Therefore, at times when protecting their allies and friends they have no choice but to harm their enemy.

It was the sylph’s that began the existence of the Immortals with a potion they call ‘Enchantment’. This potion allows the Immortals to be very strong and each Immortal to have their own ability. In ‘The Vortex’ the reader discovers the history and origin of this magical potion.

The whole novel has a great storyline, with really likeable characters, action and adventure. ‘Enchanted Immortals 2: The Vortex’ has simply everything that you would want to read in a fantasy/paranormal novel. As mentioned in my review of C.J. Pinard’s debut novel, ‘Enchanted Immortals’, the style of writing is somewhere in-between that of Laurell K. Hamilton (Meredith Gentry series) and J.R. Ward (Fallen Angels), leaning more towards the J.R. Ward style. I am looking forward to reading the next instalment.

Please click on the link to view my review on C.J. Pinards’s ‘Enchanted Immortals’:- https://areadersreviewblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/201/

If you would like to contact C.J. Pinard you can reach her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CJPinardAuthor or you can e-mail her at cjpinardauthor@gmail.com.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Enchanted Immortals by C.J. Pinard

Enchanted Immortals‘Enchanted Immortals’ is C.J. Pinard’s debut novel. This is a great book that put me in the mind-set of authors like J.R. Ward and Laurell K. Hamilton. As well as being a fantasy/paranormal it is also a good cop thriller. The novel is full of action, adventure, emotion, great characters and great storyline.

There are many characters and different groups of people. Each of them adding their own layer to the story. There are the Immortals, the sylphs, humans, vampires and shapeshifters. For a debut novel this is a splendid introduction to many of the characters, enabling the reader to connect instantly and thus, making it easier to follow them should there be more books in the series.

The main focus of the story is on Thomas O’Malley. Thomas O’Malley endured a life-changing ordeal and ultimately became an Immortal. It is an Immortal’s job to protect the sylph and humans from vampires and shapeshifters. To remain an Immortal they need doses of ‘Enchantment’ provided by the sylph. The vampires want to steal the ‘Enchantment in the hope that it will allow them to daywalk. But will they succeed in obtaining it? If they do, will it work? Thomas works with Jonathan and Kathryn and at times they find themselves in some predicaments with the vampires and shapeshifters.

One of my favourite elements of the story are the flashbacks throughout the separate era’s. The reader is taken on a journey through Thomas’ past and how his disappearance affected his parents. Joseph O’Malley, Thomas’ dad, is one of my favourite characters. His story is heartbreaking, sorrowful but completely full of unconditional love. He works as a cop for the San Francisco Police Department and tries to do everything within his power to try and find out what happened to Thomas. As Thomas is an Immortal he is not supposed to be known to man, and therefore Thomas must not contact his father in any way. This is beautifully written and I was very touched by these characters and this particular storyline.

The magic element of ‘Enchanted Immortals’ along with the ‘Enchantment’ and the fae people holds a similar imagery in my mind as that in the ‘Meredith Gentry’ novels by Laurell K. Hamilton. However, this novel has more realism, with the San Francisco Police Department, the Bureau of Supernatural Investigations (BSI) and Thomas’ parents and past. The combination of the two, fantasy and realism, remind me of J.R. Ward’s ‘Fallen Angel’ series.

In ‘Enchanted Immortals’ the government have set up a new body, the Bureau of Supernatural Investigations (BSI), to investigate the strange happenings of missing people, mutilated bodies, anything that seems to have no explanation. This set up brought back memories of watching ‘The X-Files’, although instead of ‘Dana Scully’ and ‘Fox Mulder’, C.J. Pinard has Agent Adam Swift and Agent Anthony Bianchi. These are another pair of my favourite characters. I love the thriller side of this novel, the investigations, the mysteries that these agents need to try and unfold.

There is also some romance in parts but I am sure this will become more intense during the follow-up novels. I was excited to hear that there would be a follow-up as the reader is left needing to know so much more even though this book is wrapped up beautifully. Thank you C.J. Pinard!

If you would like to contact C.J. Pinard you can reach her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CJPinardAuthor or you can e-mail her at cjpinardauthor@gmail.com.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker