Draekora by Lynette Noni

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Title: Draekora (Medoran Chronicles #3)

Author: Lynette Noni

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Publisher: Pantera Press

Published: 1st April 2017

Format: Paperback

Pages: 448

Price: $19.99

Synopsis: “I swear by the stars that you and the others slain tonight will be the first of many. Of that you have my word.”

With Aven Dalmarta now hiding in the shadows of Meya, Alex is desperate to save Jordan and keep the Rebel Prince from taking more lives.

Training day and night to master the enhanced immortal blood in her veins, Alex undertakes a dangerous Meyarin warrior trial that separates her from those she loves and leaves her stranded in a place where nothing is as it should be.

As friends become enemies and enemies become friends, Alex must decide who to trust as powerful new allies—and adversaries—push her towards a future of either light… or darkness.

One way or another, the world will change…

~*~

The third book in the Medoran Chronciles series picks up soon after the devastating events of Raelia, where Bear, D.C. and Alex find themselves spending their Kaldoras holidays without their friend, Jordan, who has been Claimed by Aven. Transported to Meya during this trip, Alex is sent on a varranguard test to see how she deals with the Meyarin abilities she acquired in battle with Aven. Soon, Alex encounters Xiraxus, a draekon trapped in her time, and is ripped two thousand years into the past, where she must wait for Xiraxus to be strong enough to transport her back to her own time, whilst using the time she has to learn about Meya and how Aven of the past becomes the Aven of the future, her future. Carefully trying to keep her secret of mortality from Aven, and the other Meya, Alex goes by Aeylia, and begins her education and interaction with tose she knows in the future, but not in the past. It is up to Alex to survive this time in the past, whilst her friends in the future are stuck in time. She must make hard decision that will see tragedy come down upon those she cares about, Meya and human. In the third book, Alex is tested in ways that she could never have imagined since stepping through the doors to Medora and Akarnae in book one, and where she must find a way to get back to her world to prevent the Aven of the future from destroying the world and everyone she cares about.

aww2017-badgeIn this third instalment, I didn’t know what to expect. Alex and her friends, D.C. and Bear, are still trying to find a way to free Jordan from the clutches of Aven and keep Medora and Akarnae safe from his destruction. It kept up a good pace, like the first two, where Alex, though out of her depth at first, finds a way to settle into her new surroundings whilst staying true to her character and adapting what she knows and can do to ensure she is not discovered, though it may only be a matter of time before her secret is revealed, and Aven wreaks havoc on his family and Meya.

I enjoyed the draekons in this book. Xiraxus was adorable and a great asset to the story. Being away from Akarnae was refreshing, as readers get to experience Meya, and Draekora, two other regions of Medora, and begin to put the pieces of Aven’s rebellion and other hints dropped in the first two novels together. I enjoyed reading this one, and it kept me awake late a couple of nights hoping to get to the end, but at the same time, wanting to savour it and enjoy it – whilst anticipating the lengthy wait for book four, hopefully next year. Another great instalment from Lynette Noni, and a tick in my Australian Women Writer’s Challenge, and in another reading challenge for the fantasy category.

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Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017

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Six years ago, in an attempt to read and review more books by Australian Women Writers, the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge came about to encourage readers to read and review more books, and it runs from the first of January to the 31st of December each year.

Within the challenge, there are four challenge levels. The first three are named after prominent Australian Women Writers who have had an impact on Australian writing. They are:

  • Stella: read 4 – if reviewing, review at least 3
  • Miles: read 6 – if reviewing, review at least 4
  • Franklin: read 10 – if reviewing, review at least 6
  • Create your own challenge: nominate your own goal e.g. “Classics Challenge”.

As this is my first year, I have decided to go with the Miles level, and read six, and review at least four of those – with any luck, I will have some nice options in the coming months from review books and purchases by some favourite authors such as Lynette Noni, Kate Forsyth and Sulari Gentill. Most of my books are likely to be fiction, and I may do a few re-reads if I need to.

In general, I read and review books by women writers not just in Australia, but from other countries too. As the books I intend to read are not out yet, I do not have covers for them yet, and these will be included in my reviews when I post them. I am aiming for mainly new releases but just in case, here are the other options I will go to if I necessary.

The Good People by Hannah Kent

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The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Steadman

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The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

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There may be others but these are the ones that I am the most keen to read, alongside any new releases that come my way from publishers for reviewing purposes.

Best of luck to everyone participating in the challenge.

Raelia by Lynette Noni

RaeliaTitle: Raelia (The Medoran Chronicles #2)
Author: Lynette Noni
Publisher: Pantera Press
Category: Fantasy/YA
Pages: 454
Available formats: Print
Publication Date: 23/3/16
Synopsis: Returning for a second year at Akarnae Academy with her gifted friends, Alexandra Jennings steps back through a doorway into Medora, the fantasy world that is full of impossibilities.

Despite the magical wonder of Medora, Alex’s life remains threatened by Aven Dalmarta, the banished prince from the Lost City of Meya who is out for her blood.

To protect the Medorans from Aven’s quest to reclaim his birthright, Alex and her friends seek out the Meyarin city and what remains of its ancient race.

Not sure who — or perhaps what — she is anymore, all Alex knows is that if she fails to keep Aven from reaching Meya, the lives of countless Medorans will be in danger. Can she protect them, or will all be lost?

~*~

The epic follow up to 2015’s Akarnae, Lynette Noni has delivered another fantastic Medoran adventure. Alex, a year older, returns to Akarnae and Medora to continue her education. This year, Stealth and Subterfuge (SAS) has been added to her punishing course load, and she must still conquer Combat classes with Karter and her intense PE classes whilst trying to stay out of the Med Ward, and alive. But her punishing and cruel class schedule will soon become the least of her worries with Aven reppearing and plotting to use her to get to Meya and take over his kingdom.
As a reader, returning with Alex to Akarnae and Medora, I felt her frustration, her pain, and joined her, D.C., Jordan and Bear on the ongoing journey and path that they have been put on to get through the Academy alive, and get rid of Aven. The bond between the four friends has a strength that must constantly be tested throughout the book and possibly across the series. Even in book two, the exhausting trials Alex and her friends must go through just to learn at the academy are ramped up a notch, and I felt the exhaustion and triumphs in their classes just as the characters did – a sign that Lynette Noni has created a world and characters her readers can bond with and feel as though they are a part of the world and what is going on.
In a world where the food is delivered at the press of a button, Bubble Doors act as transport between places, and a sentient Library lobs you into the middle of a class try out you had never intended on taking part in, keeping your wits about in in Medora and Akarnae has never been more essential or exhilarating.
The story continued in Raelia has brought more of Medora and Akarnae to light, and I hope this continues throughout the series. This is the kind of series that one wants to find out what happens, but at the same time, finishing it results in a book hangover, where as a reader, wanting to know what happens next and the waiting is both frustrating and rewarding when the time comes.

Author interview: Lynette Noni, creator of Akarnae

akarnaeWelcome to my very first author interview on my blog with debut Australian author, Lynette Noni, who penned the fabulous Akarnae.. So welcome, Lynette, to The Book Muse!

1. Hi Lynette, and welcome to The Book Muse. How are you today?

I’m amazing, thank you! And thanks so much for ‘having me’ here!

2. Can you tell us what your childhood was like, where you grew up and if any of it inspired your desire to write?

I grew up on a farm in outback Australia and then moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast when I was seven. I’ve been fortunate to have been raised by an incredibly loving family who have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams, even when those dreams have seemed impossible. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without them constantly reminding me that ‘anything is possible’ and ‘the best is still to come.’

3. Did anything in your life growing up inspire Akarnae and The Medoran Chronicles? The series is slated as a combination of Harry Potter, Narnia and X-Men – do you have a favourite of the three?

I’ve always been a bit of a daydreamer, wandering the fantasy worlds of my overactive imagination. Unfortunately, I never found my own doorway to Medora (… or did I?) so the series hasn’t been inspired by real life events, per se. But it has been inspired by wishful thinking and many “wouldn’t it be cool if…” moments of indulgence.

As to picking my favourite between HP, Narnia and X-Men—eeek! What a tough decision! I probably have to answer Harry Potter, since I spent over a decade of my younger years waiting impatiently for each new release (and wishing for my own owl invitation to Hogwarts).

4. Congratulations on being the youngest author to be represented by Pantera Press. What a remarkable achievement. What made you decide to send your manuscript to Alison and her team?

I didn’t know very much about Pantera Press when I sent off my submission, but everything I had heard or read was complimentary. I also loved that they were committed to giving new authors a chance, when so many of the other publishing houses weren’t willing to take risks on untried and untested authors. Pantera’s website claims that they are all about ‘discovering and nurturing talented new authors’—and that is exactly what they have done for me. They have gone over and above anything I could have ever imagined to help make my dreams come true.

5. What inspired the character of Alexandra Jennings? I found her very intriguing, and look forward to more of her adventures.

Nothing specifically inspired Alex other than me having a vague idea of how I wanted her character to be presented. She is strong and courageous, smart and witty. But she also has her flaws. Most of all, Alex is real. She’s just like any other teenager trying to find her way in the world—even if her new world is just a little more fantastical than most. Alex is someone I think many of us all aspire to be like, but she’s also someone many of us can already relate to, possibly because we can see a little bit of her in each of us. That makes her journey just that much more real to us, since we can almost imagine ourselves in her place—or at least walking along beside her and her friends.

6. Like you, I am of the Harry Potter generation and never received my Hogwarts letter. If you were to attend Hogwarts, which house would have hoped to be in? I think I’d be a Ravenclaw.

Ooooh! This is SUCH a great question! I’m going to have to go with my Gryffindor pride here, I think! Yay, Gryffindor!!

7. In Akarnae, I loved the mystery surrounding everything in the characters and Medora, and I am looking forward to finding out if Alex’s parents find out that she attends Akarnae rather than the school they enrolled her in. How do you think they might react to her abilities?

Haha, to semi-quote the Weasley twins (I think), all I’ll say is, “Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies.”


8. When you aren’t writing, what do you enjoy doing the most?

That’s easy—reading!! Anything I can get my hands on, but especially YA books!

9. I’d like to ask a bit of advice for potential writers and authors reading my blog, as they, along with readers, make up my audience. What do you do when you get stuck? I know many authors have different ways to deal with this, and I always find it interesting to hear their different methods.

When I get stuck, it’s usually because I’m at a dragging scene that doesn’t excite me but it’s necessary for world building (or some other valid reason). I find action scenes easy to write because I’m so ‘in the moment’, but some of the most important stuff happens in the quiet times—that’s where the mystery can be cultivated, along with the potential setting up of plot twists. But those parts can be gritty and frustrating to write, especially if I want them to be perfect. My rule of thumb is, if it’s boring me, then it’s probably going to bore the reader. So, to combat that, I try and spruce it up, reignite a passion, make something happen amongst all the quiet. Even if it’s only a single sentence of surprise or a well-placed witticism in dialogue—just something to keep my (and the reader’s) attention. And if I have enough of those targeted bursts of excitement, it usually gets me through the grit and out the other side to more of the easier to write action scenes. Thus, unstuck!

10. Finally, is there any chance you can give us a hint as to when book two will be published? Or at least a title?

Book two is called ‘Raelia’—and the good news is that it’s already written! I just have to go through the professional editing and proofreading stages before we have a better idea of a release date. But it will be out sometime within the next 12 months—woohoo!

Thank you for answering my questions, Lynette, and good luck with the next book and the rest of the series.

Book Review: Akarnae by Lynette Noni

akarnaeBook Title: AKARNAE, the first book in Medoran Chronicles
Author: Lynette Noni
Publisher: Pantera Press
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: February 1st 2015
Book Synopsis: With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes–literally.

Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.

While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.

An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?

Will Alex risk her entire world–and maybe even her life–to save Medora?

~*~

The world of Alex Jennings and Medora beckoned to me from the first page. I wanted to know more about her, and her family and why her parents were sending her away, my questions of her family and why her parents were sending her away answered in a nice, efficient way, but also kept me intrigued about her life whilst her parents moved her around the world following their archaeological digs. The effortless switch from Alex’s world, Freya, into Medora, a place that mirrors our world is beautifully done, as her escape from the bullying of the children at the International Exchange Academy heralds her arrival into Medora.
Her first encounter with Aven made me sit up and pay attention: though he came across as kind and helpful, a part of me thought he was questionable, and with each encounter my suspicion grew. I read on, wanting to know who this mysterious and suspicious person was and what he wanted with Alex.
Her new friends, Jordan and Bear, guide her through her new world, claiming friendship as soon as they meet her, bringing a smile to my face, and helping her through classes, but she soon gains respect of other classmates at the academy, but taking a much longer time to connect with her room-mate, D.C., so the development of their friendship by the climax and conclusion of the novel is heart-warming.
Alex’s relationships with the teachers develop over the novel too, perhaps more so with Karter, her Combat instructor, who is seen as crazy by the students and the image I had in my mind was one of a raging drill instructor barking at army recruits on their first day, only Alex’s first day seemed endless. I felt her pain as she struggled through classes, and was ignored by students at first until she fell into a rhythm at Akarnae. The climax in the Library kept my heart pumping and I hated leaving Alex and D.C. to Aven’s evil desires towards the end. Yet I knew that it would not be easy for him to succeed, and I hope it only gets harder for him. The history of Medora is interspersed in a wonderful and suspenseful way throughout the novel, to keep one reading to find out why the Meyarin metal is so significant, and to discover just how well Lynette Noni has integrated all the elements into her novel. I loved her relationship with Fletch, he is definitely a great doctor, perhaps one that we all wish we could have. Tayla, the Equestrian instructor, was also a favourite of mine – I look forward to meeting her again. I felt my journey in Medora too short. I wanted to see what happened and didn’t want to stop reading at times, but at the same time, I didn’t want the book to end. As a debut novel, I think it is a job well done by Lynette Noni, and I am anticipating the subsequent books in the series to find out what happens to Alex and her friends at Akarnae and in Medora.

I received an early copy from the publisher to review for my blog