Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Tour ~ Saskia Trilogy by Aoife Marie Sheridan ~ Reviews Book 1 and 2 ~ Excerpts ~

Eden Forest
Book One of the Saskia Trilogy
Aoife Marie Sheridan

Four banished Angels,
A world created by the hands of God,
A Kingdom on its knees,
A secret protected for centuries,
And one mortal can save them all.

Step into Saskia.

My Review of Eden Forest

I will start saying I absolutely loved this book. It was amazing, and was written so well, I felt I was in this world.

Eden Forest is a fun fantasy story that actually takes place on the parallel world of Saskia, which is a repressive kingdom, where descendants of four banished angles live. Mortal twenty one year old SaraJane is the key to the survival of this other world. She is kidnapped and brought to this world where her journey begins.

I will say the concept and the plot are very new to me; it’s not like any other fantasy or paranormal books I have read. I was really pulled in right from the start. I really loved watching SaraJane grow, and I really liked Tristin. He is a hottie.

I think the characters were very well developed and likable. I liked how she made friends quick with some of these people, and was saddened by what happens with one of them. She truly cares for them.

I think it’s always really interesting when an author will combine magic, action and some romance in a book, and this has all of that.

I really am anxious to get my hands on book 2, as I want to see where it goes from here.
I highly recommend, and give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

I was provided a copy of this book by the author for my honest opinion.

This review is also at Amazon, and At Goodreads as well as many other places.

We walk through long grass that brushes our knees. There are trees every fifty feet. It’s not like a forest, as the trees are too spaced out. As the sun shines, it gives a golden light to our surroundings. It is beautiful. The colours are so bright and strong and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. We start to climb uphill and when we reach the top, the view takes my breath away with the sheer beauty of it. No painting or picture could do it justice.
There are loads of trees, but they have thick brown trunks about the width of five men. They shoot up into the air at a magnificent height. All the leaves are snow white; they flutter to the ground, giving the illusion of falling snowflakes, yet the trees never go bare. Under the trees sit snowwhite wolves. You wouldn’t notice them if not for their bright blue eyes. “Will they harm us?”
My mum glances at me. She’s in awe of what she sees too.
“No. As long as you do not harm them.” I have to laugh at the stupidity of attacking a wolf.
We walk down the hill and as we come to a slight bend, a spring comes into view, set into the side of a large red bank.
Water pours from above and sparkles, crystal clear. I stand there and just admire it.
“I’ve never seen anything so beautiful,” I say, mostly to myself.
“Our world is full of beauty. One day you will see it all.”
We turn back to the wolves and make our way across the grass. As we get closer, the wolves become very alert. Theyall rise, their blue eyes fixated on me. It’s a terrifying and amazing moment, to capture the attention of such creatures.
Mum seems taken aback also as she stops in her tracks. “I have never seen them behave this way.”
“Maybe they know I’m a stranger?” It sounds like a weak excuse. Maybe they’re hungry. The thought sends a chill down my spine. I start to get nervous, fiddling with my hands.
Mum notices and reassures me. “It is all right. I would not let anything happen to you.”
We move slowly under the trees. Mum sits down, pulling me gently with her.
The wolves are huge up close. Their coats look so soft and shiny. They all fall on their front legs as if in a bowing gesture and their eyes are all set on me. One by one, the wolves rise.
It’s the most unnerving moment of my life. They gather around me and one of the wolves reaches me and lies down, placing his head in my lap. I hold my breath.
“It is all right; you can touch him.” Mum assures me, yet her face says something else. She looks confused. “I have never seen them like this. It makes no sense.”
I reach out with a trembling hand and let my fingers sink into the wolf’s fur. “Wow.” He doesn’t even move. I let out a sigh of relief. “This is amazing. I’ve never seen a wolf before, let alone touched one.”
I look all around me. There are wolves under every tree, their blue eyes staring at us. This all feels so surreal. “Why do they sit under the trees?” I ask Mum.
“They protect them. The trees are known as weeping willows… The story goes that a man named Willow lived out here on the outskirts by himself. He didn’t want to live amongst us. To the villagers, he was odd as he always had a pack of wolves with him. He was known to have a very powerful earth affinity. They say he created the spring you just saw by reshaping the landscape.”
“Wow, that seems hard to believe.”
“Willow was intrigued by the mortal world, but he felt very sorry for them, as their lifespans were so short, so he started planting trees in their memory.” Mum moves her hand around us, motioning to all the trees. “So for every leaf that falls, a soul has passed from the mortal world, but the trees will never go bare, as mortals will always reproduce and exist. So when Willow died, they say he whispered into the wolves’ souls and made them promise they would always guard his trees. They have never left the trees unguarded since Willow died. They are friendly as long as you mean them no harm, but they would kill in an instant if you posed a threat to them.”
I sit there thinking about Willow speaking to wolves, whispering into their souls. It all seems like something from a fairy tale. This world was so full of magic and beauty. “Why did Willow feel sorry for us?” I ask.
“Because an average mortal lives between seventy and one hundred years.”
I roll my eyes and point at myself. “I know. I’m a mortal, but everyone dies, right?”
Mum begins to look uncomfortable. “Yes, of course everybody dies, Sarajane, but you are just like us, part immortal.” She rises abruptly, startling the wolf that looks up at her with sharp eyes but then just strolls away sensing no danger. “We must return.”
I pat the wolf on my lap and say my good-byes before leaving.
I follow Mum. She’s walking very fast now, making it hard to keep up with her. “What’s wrong? What did I say, Mum?”
She stops. ”You are saying nothing. That’s the problem.
It… it’s just not like you.” She walks back to the caves. I don’t understand what she means, yet a voice in the back of my mind tells me I understand her perfectly well.
By the time we arrive, it’s getting dark. The main room is alive with laughter. Kiar, Neve and Alana lounge on the chairs.
When Alana notices us, she jumps to her feet. My mother stops her. “Stay, Alana. I am going to lie down for a while.”
“Are you all right here?” she asks me.
“Yes, I’m fine.”
Neve pipes up. “I will mind her.” He winks at me playfully.
I roll my eyes.
Kiar and Neve become my friends over the next couple of days. My mother is never around, always off with Morrick.
Tristan and Legis are off on a secret mission nobody will tell me about, and Alana avoids me like the plague. When she’s around, she’s just plain nasty.
I explore the caves with Neve and Kiar whenever we’re left alone, which seems like always lately. The cave tunnels are a maze and I would get lost if I were on my own.
One of the days, I ask Neve about his fire affinity. “Could you show me?”
Neve and Kiar exchange looks and both of them answer in unison with a big grinning yes. We find a small room and place our torches in holders on the walls. Neve takes centre stage and tells Kiar and me to stand back, which deserves an eye roll.
Neve and drama go hand in hand.
“Welcome, all.”
The annoyed look on our faces makes him less dramatic.
“Fine. Fine. Okay.” He holds out his hand, palm up, and spreads his fingers. “Lux,” he says. A small ball of fire hovers above his hand. I stumble back in astonishment. Kiar steadies me. Neve is delighted with himself. “I can’t believe I did it on the first go.”
Kiar answers my confused look. “He is not very powerful with fire. Air is his main affinity.”
“I can be good with fire. Watch,” Neve says, self-assured.
“Neve, don’t,” Kiar warns. But it’s too late. The room becomes engulfed with flames. The flames cling to the walls and ceiling, sweeping through the room.
Just before it hits us, Kiar grabs my hand and pulls me into his chest. “Aeirus,” he roars, and then the heat is gone. I stand out of Kiar’s arms but still hold his hand. We are in an air bubble. I can see Neve in his own bubble of air, but sweat soaks his clothes.
“He is hurt,” Kiar says while pushing our air bubble through the flames as we make our way towards Neve.
The fire is circling around the room. It reminds me of our log fire at home. Dad would have it roaring on cold winter nights.
The doors of the fireplace have glass so you can see inside. The flames cling to the roof of the log fire, but that’s because no air can get to it. When Dad opens a little vent, the air rushes in, and the flames return to normal.
“Why are the flames not leaving the room?” I ask Kiar as we continue to make our way over to Neve.
“Because Neve called it here.” Kiar is sweating by the time he reaches Neve and encapsulates him in our bubble.
Neve collapses to the ground; his hands are badly burnt.
I drop to my knees. “Neve, can you hear me?” No reply.
I check for a heartbeat. It flutters under my fingertips. He is unconscious. “We need to get help, Kiar,” I shout up at him, starting to panic.
“Hold my hand and try to help me.”
I start to feel frantic. “Help you how, Kiar? Shall I fly us out of here?” My voice has reached a hysterical pitch, making me sound unrecognisable. Kiar is panting now. “Neve is the one with the strong air affinity, not me . So please just take my hand.” He’s as frightened as I am. I grab his hand. “Close your eyes and picture our bubble expanding into the room until all the flames are out.”
Kiar’s hand is slick with sweat. I try so hard, but when I open my eyes, I see our bubble is getting smaller.
Kiar collapses to his knees. “I can’t hold it much longer.” The strain is visible on his face.
I pull Neve’s heavy body closer with a serious amount of effort and it drains all my energy. I have to lie down as the bubble is caving in, making it hard to breathe. Oh God, we’re going to die, I think. Kiar’s breath is becoming shallow and Neve is still unconscious. “Kiar… do… something.” My own breath is hard to catch. The air is so hot now.
Kiar lies beside me, still trying to hold the air around us, but it’s starting to shimmer. Dots appear in front of my eyes. The heat is intense. My own body is covered in sweat. I lick my dry lips. Water, sweet water, I think.
Cracking noise erupts above us. I look at the ceiling and can see small cracks appearing. A drop of water trickles from the first crack. Am I seeing what I want to see, or is this real? Then more cracks start to appear, getting wider; water starts to sprinkle from the cracks, dousing the roaring fire slightly. Then I hear a thunderous crack just before a part of the roof collapses.
I grab Kiar’s hand as a wave of water pours out, rushing towards us. The impact bursts our tiny bubble and sweeps us against the wall. My back bashes against the rock, taking my breath away and filling my lungs with water. I’m too weak to react. Darkness sweeps in.
I wake to Kiar screaming at me. He rolls me on my side and I painfully cough up water. My back is in agony. We’re still sitting in water, but it’s reduced to small puddles. Kiar shakes Neve awake. I sit up carefully.
My eyes fall on Morrick standing in the entryway. Neve grunts with pain from his hands as he examines them, but when his eyes fall on Morrick, he turns as white as a ghost. None of us move.
“What the hell happened here?” Morrick’s anger at this moment reminds me of Tristan’s. Deadly. I don’t want Neve or Kiar to get into trouble. This was my idea, after all. “The roof collapsed,” I say while standing on wobbly legs.
“We’re lucky to be alive.” My voice quivers, not with fear, but the cold. Morrick doesn’t reply.
“Get up and go back to the main room,” he says to Neve and Kiar. As Neve passes, Morrick touches his shoulder. “Get your hands looked at.”
Neve’s face pales even further. “Yes, sir.”
Damn, I forgot about his hands. How to explain that one away?
Morrick doesn’t seem interested in further explanation. He turns and leaves, calling back to me over his shoulder. “Come on, Sarajane.”
I follow him back to the main room. My mother is rubbing ointment into Neve’s burnt hands. When I arrive, she throws me a worried glance. “Are you all right?”
“Yes. Fine. Just need to change.” I lie and make my way to my room. I can hear my mother telling Alana to help me. The last thing I need or want is her help. Slamming the door of my room, I hope Alana gets the message that she isn’t welcome, but it doesn’t stop her.
“So did you have fun?” Her words are laced with mockery.
I ignore her and start to remove my tunic. The ache in my back is torture. Alana goes to throw me another smart comment, but the sight of my back silences her. Turning to the mirror, I glance over my shoulder. My back is a mass of colours. It looks like someone has splattered colourful paint all over an easel. Jesus, it looks bad.
Alana starts filling the bath quietly as I examine myself.
“The bath will ease the pain and the lavender will relax you.”
I have to look at her twice, but she seems genuine. She’s right.
The lavender soothes me.

If you want to read Chapter 7 of book one, go here to my original post for it.

City of Secrets
Book Two of the Saskia Trilogy 
Aoife Marie Sheridan

A war awaits her arrival,
A warrant for her arrest.
She must rise as a princess,
And Darkness shall fall.
But will their love survive this battle?
For Tristan and Sarajane?

Step back into Saskia.

My Review for City of Secrets

I loved the first book in this series, and was a bit upset at the time that I had to wait so long for the 2nd, as I was impatient to wait, as I really needed to know what happened next. I just love Tristen, and still do in this book.

This book didn’t disappoint at all, I really loved it. There was some action and suspense too. It was a very entertaining fantasy with a gripping and unpredictable plot.
I loved all the surprising twist and turns. It kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.

The biggest shock is the ending, which makes me really wish I had the 3rd book now.

I highly recommend to fantasy lovers out there. It’s a great series.

5 out of 5 stars for me.

I was provided a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

This review is also posted at Goodreads and Amazon

Excerpt Book 2, City of Secrets
After what felt like two hours of hanging on for dear life, but more than likely was only a few minutes, my arms trembled with exhaustion, sweat coated my body and my eyes were half-closed in concentration. I could feel my hands starting to slip. I tried to tighten my grip around the swords but my hands felt numb and they slowly slid away. There was nothing I could do as the air whizzed past me. Panic fueled my body. I reached out with my hands blindly, trying to grab onto the wall. The stone ripped into my flesh and wetness filled my palms. My pulse drummed in my neck, the air ripped at my hair and clothes… I pulled my hands in just as my feet sank into something cold, and then water covered my head. The shock made my eyes shoot open, but the water was turning red around me… I soon realized it was from my hands.
A movement in the water caused a wave to come rushing toward me. Whatever was behind it was huge. I only caught flashes of silver scales, teeth, and black eyes with yellow slits. I frantically tried to swim out of its way, but the more I flapped, the more blood filled my vision. Then it collided with me, sending me up onto the bank of the chamber along with a crashing wave of water. It took me a few moments to come fully around and I started to gag, bringing up lots of water.
When I settled, I crawled on my hands to sit up, but froze as a set of huge black eyes with yellow slits watched me closely. I stayed frozen with fear. I didn’t even know what it was; it looked like a lizard that was blown up to the size of a dinosaur. Fear kept me frozen as it sniffed me, its sharp teeth inches from my face. Its whole body seemed to be covered in a silver scale that dripped with water. As it breathed on me, gills opened at the side of its neck. I dropped my eyes to the ground and focused on breathing. All I could see was webbed feet.
As my eyes fell on the creature’s feet, dizziness washed over me. My hair was blown off my face as the creature let out a heavy breath again. I looked up, and the creature started to back away, but kept its black eyes on me. Then, to my own amazement, it started to transform. While it did, its cries were ear-piercing, I could hear its bones crack, its spine arched high into the air, and a mist swirled with it. Soon the cries turned into a woman’s moans of pain and then she fell silent.
All I could do was stare at her in awe. She was naked but her skin was covered in a silver scale, and long hair covered her breasts. I couldn’t see her face, as she was breathing heavily, but I caught the movement at the side of her face. Gills opened and closed as she breathed and then those same eyes looked at me – black with yellow slits – and gold swirls framed her eyes. The woman was about seven feet tall and started to walk toward me.
“What brings you to my domain?” she asked in broken English. I couldn’t place the accent.
“I’m sorry I... I fell down a hole.”
She silenced me. “Do you know what I am?” Her head tilted to the side and she studied me with curiosity.
“You’re… you’re.. I don’t know.” I was going to say a woman but with the gills and webbed feet and weird looking eyes. I thought differently.
“I am Suraga, the Keeper of Lost Souls.” She reached me and knelt down so we were at eye level, which sent shivers all over my body.
“Lost souls?” I questioned.
“Lost souls, yes. Souls that have parted from a body, yet the body still lives. I protect them until they are joined together in re-birth… or death. Are you lost?” she asked with a hint of mischief in her voice. That scared me, and I realized I must choose my words carefully.
“No, I’m not lost. I just want to get back to camp.”
She looked at me with disappointment and rose to her full height. “Stand!” she commanded.
I stood, but my whole body shook and I couldn’t stop it. I looked around the cavern that I was standing in; the platform that I stood on was about twenty feet wide and circled around the pool of crystal clear water. Large boulders where placed every few feet apart and stood at the edge of the platform… their purpose seemed to be holding up the roof… and there were three different routes out of the large cavern… water made a small path in each, but it didn’t seem deep.
She raised her hand, getting my attention “Your soul would serve well in my domain,” she said while her eyes turned to complete slits, eliminating all the yellow.
I swallowed but tried to stand taller. “My soul is fine where it is…or was.”
She studied me. “Very well, but one day it will be mine.”
Before I could reply, she waved her hand in front the pool of water, causing the water to part in two directions. At the end of each side stood golden doors, both doors shining as if they were on fire. “Now I will give you a choice. I see you have two different paths and two different men play a large role in each one. But the choice is yours, as it always will be. The left will bring you to your prince and the right to your warrior.” I moved to the left straight away, knowing it was Tristan.
Suraga looked annoyed. But I moved quickly. A rock that seemed to appear out of nowhere caused me to stumble and I landed on the other path, the path that led to Carew. I watched in horror as the path to Tristan closed in with water. I turned to Suraga. “Wait, no!” but she shook her head, a smile on her face.
“You are the difference between his rebirth and his death.” She approached me and handed me a silver dagger, which appeared out of mid-air. The handle was designed in unusual gold swirls, matching the ones that Suraga had on her face. “To protect yourself with.”

About the Author:

Aoife Marie Sheridan is twenty eight years of age. She lives in Kells, Co. Meath, a small town just outside Navan.  Aoife was raised in Navan but left with her family at the age of sixteen. Aoife has always had a passion for writing but mostly poetry. This is her first time to write a novel. 

Aoife Marie Sheridan studied Accountancy and qualified as an accountant technician. She worked in this profession for several years but with the economic downturn she was made redundant. 

Aoife Marie Sheridan now spends endless hours reading and writing. 

Aoife Marie Sheridan’s first novel Eden Forest placed first in writers got talent.

 This book tour is brought to you by Bewitching Book Tours, you can find the rest of the blogs on this tour, Here


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