There is no better way to thank an author for writing a great story than to write a positive review of the book and post it on Amazon and Goodreads. Yes, we love to hear what you thought about our stories. Sometimes a great review can save an author’s bad day, sometimes it helps whilst writing a sequel. Be that as it may, know that we care that you made the effort and wrote the review.
Here are some great reviews of Jan Raymond’s books and as you can see, these are from other authors because, yes, we read books, too 🙂
The first lesson learned from Circle of Five is that we are never too old for magic. From the opening page Jan Raymond engaged me by weaving a spell using plot, imagery and character development as main ingredients. We are presented with five students who discover their special powers after an electrical storm. Super powers may be endowed but there is definitely a cost in learning how to use them. The author’s realistic touches (such as the importance of a healthy diet, exercise and wholesome habits) enhance the story with good advice for the super and not-so-super among us readers. However, there are several lip-biting action scenes that made me forget I was reading a book instead of watching a film, due to the wonderfully descriptive language. Because this is Part 1 of a series, Ms. Raymond meticulously built upon each character while slowly developing their powers. From the promise of the prologue’s mysterious crumpled piece of paper to the hint of other groups of five—somewhere in a Tibetan community–our imagination can anticipate the potential for future conflicts and exciting plot twists in the sequels. A cannotputdownable book!
Clarissa Simmons, author of Madame Sostrosis
A brilliant start to a series, which I received as a prize in a giveaway. I found it on my Kindle and didn’t want to stop reading until it was done.
There are shades of Harry Potter, Pittacus Lore and X-Men in this, but only because it’s about a group of teenagers who find themselves with unusual, superhuman powers that set them apart from their peers. Circle of Five is very much its own, original story.
Instead of following just one character, the story follows the perspectives of all five of them, which is quite refreshing, as each has plenty to offer both their group and the reader. My favourite would have to be Maya, who I hope has a chance with the boy of her dreams.
Well worth a read and I’ll be definitely checking out the rest of the series.
Demelza Carlton author of The Ocean series
“Circle of Five” by Jan Raymond is an exquisite magical adventure story that should please young adults and adults alike. Five unlikely partners in crime find themselves as the circle of five from the title when an electric storm during their detention gives them superpowers.
The dislikes and tensions between the five are really well written and are as good as Enid Blyton to me. I enjoyed their struggles and their ‘being stuck with each other’ very much, particularly the brother-sister team that have their own problems.
The teacher from detention helps the youngsters develop their skills and how to use them.
But there is the matter of the mystical beginning, a message, a death and its unknown consequences that carries a lingering promise of something bigger.
To me, the biggest strength of the novel lies in the great characterisation of the circle as they learn to overcome their differences and become friends. You rarely find such heart-warming story telling any more. It is beautifully plotted and unfolds cleverly. The story stops at a good point but leaves enough to be continued.
I look forward to the next part of the adventure. Highly recommended.
Christoph Fisher, author of Luck of the Weissensteiners
This story is quite unique. The story is about five kids, with very different personalities, who were thrown together for a common cause. One was the athletic one, the other was the nerd, another was the pretty boy, another was the popular girl, and finally, the last one was the odd, awkward fellow.
In the Circle of Five, the kids have to come together and learn to work together as a team. It was interesting how in the beginning the kids really did not want anything to do with another. But as time passed, they actually begin to care about one another.
The story has a bit of everything. It has friendship, suspense, adventure, the good vs evil, loyalty, and action. Each of the main characters in the book grows up in the story and learns their own strengths and weaknesses.
This young adult novel is a fun read. I recommend it to all who enjoy a good read and like to escape in a world full of action and suspense.
Jalpa Williby author of Chayzing Dreams
This will have you wanting to know what happens next from the first page until near the end. That the five teenagers do not entirely get along at the beginning only helps build the tension you will feel as the five slowly discover what has happened to them and practise using their new found, and still developing, powers.
You are introduced to Pha Yul fairly early in the story but will be wondering just what it is well into the tale, by which time you will also be wondering whether the friendly Mt Harris is all that he seems.
Like me, you will look forward to the next book in the trilogy, though ‘Circle of Five’ is complete in itself. I gave it a well-deserved five stars.
***Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official***
Derek White, publisher of Sleeping Fish and Calamari Press
Jan Raymond’s first book in her Pha Yul trilogy, CIRCLE OF FIVE, introduces the reader to five young teens (Cassie, Sam, Maya, Ryan and Sebastian) who come from diverse backgrounds and attend the same school. Stuck in detention together during a strange electrical storm, they are frightened and perplexed when they begin to exhibit super powers. A teacher (their coach), brings them together and transports them briefly to a meeting with a mysterious secret society high in the mountains of Tibet. Once back at home, he acts as the children’s “guide”, helping them learn how to harness and control their new abilities.
Ms. Raymond’s novel draws you in right from the start! The characters are well written, engaging and complex. The plot moves along at an exciting pace and, at the end, the reader is left with many questions and hungry for the next entry in this series. While targeted for young adults, like the Harry Potter books, this is an enjoyable read for people of all ages. I highly recommend this novel to all who enjoy paranormal fantasy and a suspenseful read. Can’t wait for the next installment!
Linda Watkins, author of Mateguas Island
A novel for young audiences, this was a surprisingly entertaining read, considering I am well past that age.
Refreshingly original and recounted with a good dose of wit and humor, the adventures these five youngsters were drawn into are full of heart and useful life lessons
The issues of friendship and trust are at its core, resourcefulness and confidence in one’s abilities, as well as social interactions – all these were well observed and used throughout the book in a down-to-earth manner sure to appeal to today’s young readership.
A smooth writing style did justice to all descriptions, but for me, the characters really stood out. Genuine, normal kids who had incredible powers thrust upon them. It was the way they dealt with this, the way they saw it – blessing or curse – the emotion, and the way they came together as a team to conquer evil, that made me really enjoy this book.
Full of action, a rollercoaster of adventure and fun, the Circle of Five fully deserves its shiny five stars. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Ella Medler, author of Not Juliet
What readers say about Gran-sdur: The Games:
The author really knows how to write a sequel. This book could be a stand alone and that’s important to note. Not a lot of authors know how to write a second book in a series that doesn’t feel like it’s a continuation of a single story line. This book has a true beginning middle and end, yet leaves room at the end for the story to continue. I felt that this book had more detail and description that the first book had and I appreciate that. For instance, I didn’t know that Cassie had red hair (Or I missed it the first book). I love the action scenes. It kept me turning pages swiftly.
Rebecca Nolen, author of The Dry
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
I read book 1 and it was a joy to continue this story. The five young people, Sam, Cassie, Ryan, Sebastian and Maya are growing, not only in their powers, but also in maturity, although there is enough kid in them to have pure fun moments at times. Aside from anything else, they are part alien and this is something that made them different before, but now it doesn’t, for they are competing in games with peers and getting training in their skills with experts as well as Mr. Harris. Suddenly the competition is serious for it is a fight for their lives.
Aside from the vibrant characters and thrilling story, the setting was so well-drawn that it came alive. What Rowlings did for young fantasy, I think Raymond has done for sci fi. This has all the hallmarks of a great series and one can hope there are many books to come.
Elizabeth Hull author of Shadow over Avalon
Gran-sdur: The Games picks up where Circle of Five left off. Seb, Sam, Cassie, Ryan and Maya are learning to come to terms with their powers as well as finding ways to control and strengthen them. Mr. Harris is pushing them more than ever with the Gran-Sdur approaching, of which they have been selected to take part in. They are in for a shock, when during a month’s stay in Tibet, they meet the other teams and realise how much they have to learn. Once again this is an excellent YA book that hooks you from the start and pulls you to the edge of your seat as you delve further into the pages. Jan Raymond has written a page turner with the characters we have grown to love. It doesn’t end there though and I, for one, will be looking forward to the third instalment to find out whether the cliffhangers are dealt with, and if good will triumph over evil! Highly recommended!
Joey Paul, author of Dying thoughts
“Gran-sdur: The Games (The Pha-yul trilogy Book 2)”, by Jan Raymond, the second in her wonderful series will keep you turning pages to the very end and have you eagerly awaiting Book Three. I read Book One a while back but had no trouble jumping right into Book Two. The story and the characters came right back to me, which speaks to how well the plot and the characters were developed by the author. As the Circle of Five train and refine their gifts and abilities, each evolves and grows stronger. This is balanced well with the need for teamwork required to be successful at the games in which they participate.
I was struck by how well Raymond portrays the emotions of her characters. There are plenty of scenes filled with action, but we really get a feel for the characters and how they evolve and progress by seeing how they respond and handle the different situations with which they are faced.
Book One was good. Book Two is even better. The story flows well between the two offerings. Raymond’s descriptions and attention to details are amazing and the lead up to the thrilling ending will leave you wanting more!
I’m waiting on Book Three.
Highly recommended. Five well-deserved stars.
John Carter, author of the Eli Arnold series
I read the first book “Circle of Five’ by Jan Raymond and enjoyed it. I have been waiting for the release of the second book, eagerly but warily. Sometimes the first book gets off to a good start, but second doesn’t live up to your expectations. But “Gran-sdur: The Games” is even better than the first.
The first book introduced you to the characters and therefore was a bit slow in some places. But the second is action packed from the first page. The characters have changed and become more complex, the relationships between the characters have changed and the Games make you hold your breath.
A well deserved five stars and will definitely pick up the last book of the trilogy!
Martin Adil-Smith author of Gathering of Twine
We meet again in this splendid sequel the five teenagers, Cassandra, Sam, Maya, Sebastian and Ryan, who possess supernatural powers, plus their teacher Mr Harris, all part of special communities the world over with superior powers. With those powers, however, comes responsibility in using them. They are being prepared for the Gran-sdur Games, perfecting their horse-riding and orienteering skills, amongst others. The book is deftly written, with well-crafted descriptions and background details on the quintet’s home lives and the group-dynamics and relationships between each other. We follow them to the Games, where they will face stiff opposition from other teams. But the Games are not just a series of competitions, they become a life and death struggle for survival. Jan Raymond brilliantly develops the story, adding detail here, outlining themes there, and gradually and masterfully builds up tension and environment, leading the reader to the novel’s thrilling climax. Not to be missed.
Alan Hardy author of BRITT
“Gran-sdur: The Games” by Jan Raymond has an enduring storyline. It is the second book in the Pha-yul trilogy. Circle of five, the first book touched me and this one did not disappoint. After reading Circle of Five, it was nice to see Sam, Cassie, Seb, Maya and Ryan again. I loved this title just as much as the first, if not more. Had a difficult time walking away from this story as it flowed so well and captivated my interest. I throughly enjoyed this saga and was sad when it came to an end though I do have another book to look forward to.
Gran-sdur is about loyalty, strength and growing. These characters are gifted, each having their own special traits. I loved the author’s writing style and how she weaved together such an intriguing colorful tale. I was moved and at the same time entertained. This story has great depth and heart. Things I look for when picking out a book.
“His control over the elements had been slow, but steady. He could manipulate water, fire and wind reasonably well now. He particularly enjoyed making a hovering ball out of a mass of water. He’d gleefully move it over one of his friends and let it break, drenching them.”
Brenda Perlin, author of Brooklyn and Bo chronicles
P.S. If you want your own copy of Jan Raymond’s books, all you have to do is click the cover pics and they will take you straight to Amazon 🙂