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A Leaf and Pebble

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Two friends. A few airships. One shadowy group. A phenomenal ride through a new world rich in action and adventure.

In a land of elemental magic and Learner Skill, a gripping tale of two friends who narrowly avoid death while attending the school under the mountain takes place. As both are forced to flee before finishing their studies, they must unravel and attempt to thwart a plot to plunge their homeland into war after ages of peace.

Balteris is an enormous peninsula with an impassable causeway leading to an unknown land. The seas around it are filled with mysterious and deadly creatures keeping the inhabitants penned into the region. Naturals, people who have an inborn talent for elemental manipulation make up a portion of the otherwise regular population. But an even smaller percent of the people study Skill, and are therefore called Learners. This study allows the Learner to manipulate raw willpower into a powerful energy force.

Two of these people, Nil a Learner and Volant a Natural, are forced to abandon their respective studies to save their own lives and uncover a mysterious group that has been slowly plotting to turn Balteris' five city-states into war-mongering kingdoms. Along the way, they must learn to survive, grow in their powers, and fight back against the government who thinks they helped murder their classmates.

687 pages, Kindle Edition

First published December 5, 2019

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Andrew Monroe

5 books21 followers

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5 stars
41 (46%)
4 stars
28 (31%)
3 stars
15 (16%)
2 stars
3 (3%)
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2 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 53 reviews
Profile Image for Belinda.
1,331 reviews177 followers
February 8, 2020
5 stars - English Ebook 🦋🦋🦋
Epic fantasy. Epic quest. A lot of danger and friendship. Two young friends who do not know what their in for. A new world with Naturals and learners. Check it yourself. I recomment it. 🌹🌹🌹
Profile Image for Andrew Monroe.
Author 5 books21 followers
December 16, 2019
Well, I can't really offer an impartial review or guarantee you'll like this book, but I had a blast writing it, and I'm pretty proud of what's come out of the effort. Hope A Leaf and Pebble matches your expectations and leaves you better off than before you read it.
Profile Image for Amanda at Bookish Brews.
270 reviews161 followers
November 14, 2020
Ugh, I actually feel pretty bad about reviewing this low - I just want to say that the author is super cool, and I really wanted to like this book. He seems really open to growing as a writer, and he was very responsive when I needed a different format in order to read. Thank you so much Andrew Monroe, for being responsive and giving me a free ARC so I can leave a review voluntarily. I really appreciate it!! :)

The idea of elemental magic?? Love it. Something about the bad guys looking for magical stones of power? I'm intrigued. An adventure bounding across different places in a country, and seeing how different those places are? GREAT! There are some good ideas and concepts here that I could have loved.

That being said, I cannot for the life of me understand why in a book with two main characters, it was written in first person??? And writing in first person, I'd expect more personality out of the non-verbals. Every person is different, and we pick up on different things. One person walking down a sunny beach could say it was a beautifully nice day at a stunning location, where another walking down the same beach could say it was too hot and too crowded. Characters are no different, it's how we really get to know them. The combination of making it first person, and barely characterizing in non-verbals was just... off puting at it's best and at it's worst, it was so confusing I lost track of what was happening.

Speaking of, the action scenes were so thrown out of nowhere, at one moment I'd be confused about what was happening, because of the whole POV thing, the next they're in a knife fight, but don't worry, 2 sentences later, it was like it didn't even happen. The action scenes were thrown in with no building action, and no chance to recover at the end with the characters. But then board game action lasted for paragraphs on end. It was... a confusing decision.

Also... regarding the women in this book? I hated when we met Johanna, and Nil was completely surprised that she could be clever and kind. Give me a break, that isn't what I want to read about. I hated when the triplets introduced themselves and this is how they introduce themselves as "the one wearing the gaudy black necklace" and "the gimpy one." When they introduce Volant's mom, a ship captain,
I shook her hand and was surprised to feel such a strong grip in a woman somewhere in her middle years. Personal paradigm shifts were going to be occurring on a regular basis in Wydvis, it seemed.
I'm sorry, but I'm just not interested in reading about a boy who is on a quest to realize women are impressive, or hearing women introducing themseles by negative characteristics? It just wasn't for me.

One star reviews for me are reserved for DNF, and I DNF at 78% because by then I was just confused about what was happening because of the POV shifts & random action that did or didn't matter?
Profile Image for Brittany.
1 review1 follower
December 5, 2019
If you are reading this, then go ahead and click that order now button, baby. You could already be one sentence deep into A Leaf and Pebble.

Whatever you are searching for, it's in this book:

Bromance? Check.
Potential love interest? Check.
Sharp, stabby stuff? Check.
Magic? Double Check.
Suspense and tragedy? Check.
Good times? All around, Check.

Do yourself and others the favor of reading this book and sharing it. You'll benefit, they'll benefit, and doesn't it feel good to support new authors and stories!?
Profile Image for Belinda Vlasbaard.
3,261 reviews50 followers
June 3, 2022
Lord of the ring meets Bad boys? That was was going true my minder when I read rhis book . For sure it paints a beautiful picture of a new world to explore.
The opening chapter to this book hooked me. It's an immediately intriguing premise that begs to be followed to an exciting end.

Nil and Volant are well thought out characters with great motivations and clever dialog. Even humorfull. The places they visit are vividly imagined and absolutely everything that a good fantasy world should be.

The epic journey allows for some very cool magic systems setup around the heroes. It never feels too heavy or dry but rather furthers the interest in the bigger part of this world.
Profile Image for Samantha Wood.
79 reviews2 followers
August 25, 2021
Disclaimer - I was given a free copy of this book through Voracious Readers Only in exchange for a honest review

I can't even put into words how much I love this book. Andrew's world building is absolutely amazing. His characters have such a solid foundation and you really get drawn into their quest and want them to succeed.
There was lots of action and a great amount of humour which I really like in an adventure book like this.
Both the main characters Nil and Volant are what you want in a hero and I can see them being people's book crushes.

I'm really really looking forward to reading the second book and seeing what happens to them.
Profile Image for Derek Porterfield.
Author 5 books19 followers
May 17, 2020
Fans of fantasy will be immediately caught by this incredibly crafted world and the two lead characters traipsing through it. Each locale is full of vibrance and life, begging to be explored. The magic system is clever and very much akin to the systems in Avatar the Last Airbender. Volant and Rook were my favorite characters, the dialogue is full of wit and humor between bouts of florid action. Cannot recommend highly enough. Without spoiling anything, this looks to be a series, and I'm eager for a second book and more time exploring with Nil and Volant.
1 review
December 5, 2019
Read this book, and get ready to be transported to a new world of magic and friendship. It’s the perfect story for anyone who loves swords and magic and a dash of shenanigans. Incredibly well written and entertaining book that had me on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happened next. Check this book out and fall in love with a new world.
1 review1 follower
December 5, 2019
Perfect read for a large scope of bookworms! The fantasy world he has artfully fabricated, pulls you in with ease and once you’re in, it’s hard to put the book down!! Intriguing plot, relatable characters, & beautifully written. Highly recommend!
28 reviews1 follower
November 3, 2020
Amazing story!! My attention was capture straight from the beginning! Extremely fascinating plot and characters. I was absolutely absorbed in the world that the author created, and the imagery was astounding! The magic is sensational and the friendship is incredible. I enjoyed reading this! It was a remarkable fantasy and epic story!
233 reviews2 followers
November 9, 2020
Great world building! Really enjoying the characters, and I’m excited to see what happens next. Two reluctant heroes are dragged into an epic journey to save their world.

I received a copy through Voracious Readers Only.
Profile Image for Leslie.
1,445 reviews17 followers
November 20, 2020

I received this book free as an ARC reader for review.

The version I received needs a substantial amount of editing. There are numerous missing words, duplicated words, sentences that don’t make sense, or incomplete thoughts. However, I really think this novel is a good beginning to an interesting series.

Honestly, given the way it’s written, I expected a romance to form between the two main characters. They’re the right age for a little sexual experimentation. I don’t know if this book is intended as a young adult... it’s certainly full of blood and violence, but there is no sex.

The story is long and winding, with lots of back stabbing and plot twists. After a while the constant pummeling gets old. Seriously, there’s no way a pair of teenage boys could withstand that much punishment. Although in true teenage boy fashion, they do spend the majority of the story sleeping or eating.

There is no resolution to any of the plot points in this book, in fact a whole new subplot opens up at the very end that will lead to the next book. All in all, it’s a adequate, although a bit run-of-the-mill, adventure tail.
Profile Image for S.P. Dawes.
Author 6 books52 followers
December 17, 2019
Very well written

I enjoyed this book immensely, it was very engaging and held lots of action. I'll be reading more from this author.
25 reviews1 follower
February 4, 2022
I received a copy of this book from Voracious Readers Only in exchange for an honest review.

"A Leaf and Pebble" is a for the most part engaging fantasy novel that follows the adventures of Nil and his friend Volant as they try to stay two steps ahead of the authorities who believe they have stolen a Toron stone which wields immense power.

The good: Nil and Volant are wonderfully drawn characters, and by the time I was finished reading, I felt like I was rejoining old friends every time I cracked open the book. The world of Balteris is huge and they seem to travel everywhere; for the most part each section of the world is clearly defined, although I did get a bit confused in some instances. Monroe has done a really good job creating this world out of his imagination, from the topography and geography to the different "tribes" as it were, to the monsters inhabiting it and the magical powers some yield. Great detail is given and all of it is appreciated.

The not so good: It doesn't work as a stand-alone book. I realise that it is the first part in what is probably a trilogy or multi-book series, but for me it ended very abruptly, and one of the main characters seems to fall off the face of the earth over the last couple of chapters. There were quite a few spelling and punctuation errors, but those are easily rectified.

Bottom line: "A Leaf and Pebble" is a long-ish book, at about 450 pages. Ignore the fact that it took me two months to read, as I've not been in the mood for reading much lately; something like this could easily be read in a week or two. Fantasy has always been difficult for me to get into, but when I did open this book I immediately was brought back into the new yet familiar world Monroe has created.

Seven Skills out of ten.
10 reviews
August 25, 2022
While I really think that this book would have benefitted from some better editing, I am definitely a fan of the author's writing! Having been given a complimentary copy from the author to review, via Voracious Readers Only, I persisted through my initial misgivings - and boy am I glad I did.

Better sentence structure, grammatical errors, missed typos, etc. can be easily rectified in the editing process, but a flair for world building, story structure and character development is hard to teach, and what a gifted writer brings to the table. You either have it or you don't, and Andrew Monroe has it!!

I went from a relatively mild interest to being really pulled in, and found myself reaching for the book at every opportunity. I really want to know what happens next!!

I really loved this story. I connected with the characters, I was interested in their journey the whole way through. There was never a lapse or a weak point in the action. The knowledge of a bigger story at play was enticing, not distracting. I enjoy stories of bravery, enduring friendship and loyalty, epic drama and magical worlds, romance, loss, growth and above all, hope. A Leaf and Pebble ticks all the boxes. And the over-arching themes are insightfully reflective of issues in our own world. Handled with humour, sensitivity and just enough groundedness - I feel like I'm in very safe hands to wait for the next instalment.
27 reviews
December 1, 2020
My experience with this book was mixed. I received a free copy in return for an Amazon review. Firstly, thanks to the author for this copy but he was too keen for the review. Started receiving emails quite quickly after receiving the book and had several whilst reading it and posted my review on Amazon too early. On to the review as I have now almost finished the book. I like the characters, idea behind the plot and magic system. The overall story is however a little confused. There are too many mixed fantasy tropes in this story for me, we switch from a sort of hero's journey to mentor and apprentice with others thrown in for good measure. I was fairly sure up until the latter stage of the story that I would read future books in the series but some of the later writing made me wonder. I found some of the relationships between the main protagonists and other characters in the later chapters strained and difficult to read and the writing when entering the battle phase of the book just did not work for me, it became too descriptive and I found myself skipping several pages. Marked this 4 stars on Amazon originally and have now changed this to 3. Might look up the next book as the journey was interesting enough to want to know what happened and it isn't a bad start but it would need a more overall direction for me to up my rating.
Profile Image for Andrew Bell.
17 reviews27 followers
March 24, 2022
A leaf and a pebble
Andrew Monroe

The Book Dragon was given a copy of this directly from the author through the Voracious Readers website in exchange for a free and honest review.
Balteris, a city of the Naturals and the Learners, those with a natural ability to harness and marshal the elements, and those that strive to reach such a plateau, has a school under its mountain. A place where magic is learned, a world where lifetime friendships flourish. Of beauty and peace.
But lying beneath that veil of serenity and bliss stirs a dark soul of war and bloodthirst. An entity of the seas, squirming with poisonous and ungodly beings that threaten to cut off the land dweller's path to freedom. And only two souls can stop their world from drowning.
Now is a time to learn true survival in existence they never thought possible. Abandoning their past and pushing towards an uncertain and dangerous future, Nil and Volant, wage war against the government that helped destroy their classmates…
A very engrossing tale, expertly narrated, comprising diverse accents such as Irish, Scottish, and English. I enjoyed listening to it, and so will fans of fantasy.
I award this book 4 stars.
Thank you, Andrew Monroe, for sharing your work with the Book Dragon.

Andrew Bell, Official Reviewer of Audio Fiction.
Profile Image for Robin Raymond.
34 reviews
August 27, 2022
I love, love, love this book, this world, this adventure! I can't recommend it enough. The characters are fun and hopeful, even in the darkest times. The adventure is non-stop with thrilling moments spread thickly throughout. The world is truly rich with interesting geography, history, mythology, politics, and a complex and layered magic system that is nearly it's own character. The people are varied and have traditions and cultures. The glimpses of the past told through the landscape and the campfire tales make the world mysterious and magical. I really enjoyed it.

Caveats: Although it doesn't say it, this is the first book in a series. I got that sinking felling when there is only one chapter left, and nothing has been resolved.
Also, it needed a harsher editor. It would be much better if were about 50 pages shorter, (the middle goes on a bit of a grand tour), and there were a few minor proofreading errors.
Being the first in a series, it doesn't end solidly. There are so many loose threads, and in the last chapter he adds a dozen more. Not a stand alone book, especially if you need answers in order to sleep at night.

And I don't care! It was so much fun, and so beautifully crafted none of that matters. I loved it.

I received a free copy of this book through Voracious Readers Only.
Author 1 book1 follower
August 28, 2022
The part that I liked the most was Nil and Volant's unusual friendship. There was a lot of thrilling moments and tension ongoing, but the way the author balanced it with moments of comedic relief (thanks to Nil) was awesome. The action was brilliant too.
The world-building is just so wonderful.
And the most important part- adventure. The plot kept me on the edge of my seat. Whether it was the assassin's attack (spoiler alert) or even the beginning of the story; everything kept me hooked.
The characters were dynamic too, the way Volant changed after the attack was something that developed the character more and made him look realistic.
What do you need in a fantasy book?
1) Magic- It's there of-course. Bonus points because it's elemental magic.
2) Friendship- Yup. And that's actually why I loved this story from the start.
3) Love Interests- Sure. But I won't say much about that.
4) Adventure- Tick that off, NOW!
5) Action- Where there's adventure, there's going to be action. But the action here was just high-level.
6) Thrilling- Twists and Turns? Yo!
7) Tragedy- Yes.
8) Comedic Relief- Oh yes!
And more...
I recommend this book to all fantasy lovers.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Emma Mitchell.
19 reviews1 follower
April 14, 2021
Read this book!!! I was completely hooked on this book and couldn't put it down. If you like epic fantasy, a quest to complete, characters you will fall in love with and a great magic system then this is the book for you.
The story follows two best friends, Nil and Volant as they run for their lives and the danger they face. I love the bromance between them, it's endearingly sweet how much they care for each other. They are also very funny and I've laughed out loud so much reading this book.
The world building is good and definitely improves as the story goes on. I can't wait to see how it develops in the books to come.
In a world with thievery, best friends and lots and lots of action and danger you just couldn't ask for more.
I got this novel in ebook format and will not only be continuing with the series, I will also now be buying a physical copy for my own shelves. I love it. Please, please pick this book up and take a chance. You won't be disappointed.
Profile Image for Elena Cristina.
25 reviews2 followers
October 7, 2020
What a run!
I fell in love with Nil and Volant from the first pages. They have a strong friendship, they are clever and motivated and they don’t lack humour. Nil and Volant are different as characters and even if they know that they’re coming from two different worlds they have put that aside and they’re working as one, completing each other.
Nil is very lovable, funny, motivated and talkative and on the other hand Volant is strong, handsome, sarcastic and he loves to sleep.
From the very first page I connected emotionally with them, which I find very important in a book.
The fantasy world was built excellent, with a lot of weird and beautiful places, unique characters and situations.
This book starts strong and it finishes even stronger with a promise of new adventures, secrets and characters.
I can’t wait for the next book.
Profile Image for Rachel.
163 reviews7 followers
December 22, 2020
I had a hard time putting this book down! The main heroes are two lovable, and sometimes borderline ridiculous, young fellows named Nil and Volant. Their skills and personalities are very different, but they make a wonderful team that is fun to follow along with. They are constantly getting themselves into and out of trouble in some rather ingenious ways. The story is only told from Nil's point of view; I found it to be a unique way of telling a story with two main characters, and liked reading it that way. There is a lot of action in this book, tempered with more relaxed moments. I loved the author's writing style! Many times his original metaphors and turns of phrase made me laugh. There is, of course, still room for growth and improvement, but overall this is a very enjoyable read.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via Voracious Readers Only*
Profile Image for Mycal Stewart.
29 reviews3 followers
September 11, 2020
I overall loved the story and the world presented in this book! The characters are the perfect mix of sarcastic and entertaining that make this book full of life. The world crafted in this story was incredible as well; every area visited felt super unique and fascinating while also complementing each other wonderfully. I was always sad to have to move on from the different areas of the book because I wanted to read more from that place. Amazingly well written for an author's first book. There are some flaws in the book, such as grammatical errors sprinkled throughout, but they are very infrequent and don't make it difficult to read (only occasionally having to reread the sentence). Very excited to read more from this author!
Profile Image for Cait❣️.
521 reviews55 followers
September 19, 2022
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3.75

This was an epic high fantasy of huge magnitude.

I loved the bromance between the two main characters and the adventures they get into.
This is an amazing debut entry for an indie author.

This is a sprawling book with many new characters we meet along the way. In this vein, I do wish we spent more with the characters the do meet.

For the first 50% of the book, this was definitely a 4.25 star read, but then I felt it became to battle focused and too many characters were introduced too quickly to become properly invested in them.

And then, in the last 10% everything changes all of a sudden and a new story seems to be taken place which is out of step with the rest of the story.
I know this is to set up for the next book, but it just felt very sudden and disjointed.
127 reviews4 followers
November 15, 2020
An epic fantasy with all the right things to make Iva wonderful read: a perilous journey, mystery & intrigue, romance, wonder world building with relatable characters, and magic - those who have and those who do not!
Fast paced, engaging read that leaves you anxious to read the next book....hopefully we won’t have to wait very long.
Not only does this book have all the right things to make it a successful story, it does all the right things, further cementing it in “winner” arena! This is a 5***** read!!
4 reviews
February 3, 2021
As my very first epic fantasy book, I have to say I chose the right one! The story of these two friends on a truly epic adventure takes the reader to many different lands and people groups. I love the idea of that you can not only be born with magic capabilities, but they can be learned as well. The pace of this book is really good, but at the end you must hold on to your hat because there is a plethora of activity. I have quite a few questions unanswered and am hopeful the next book will relieve my questioning mind. This is a great book to get your hands on.
50 reviews2 followers
April 11, 2021
I have enjoyed reading this book. A Leaf and Pebble is set in a land of elemental magic and Learner Skill, a gripping tale of two friends who narrowly avoid death while attending the school under the mountain takes place. As both are forced to flee before finishing their studies, they must unravel and attempt to thwart a plot to plunge their homeland into war after ages of peace. If you enjoy reading about magic and mystery this is the book for you. I received this book as a complementary copy from The Voracious Readers Only.
March 5, 2020
Really great first book from an up and coming author! The world building is done with great attention to detail and the humor is well placed and well received. The magic mechanic is new and intriguing. The main duo is well written and has a true sense of brotherly love and brotherly shenanigans. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the Lies of Locke Lamora trilogy and the Name of the Wind saga.
2 reviews
October 20, 2020
I will start by saying my friend wrote this which was a new experience for me. I had a very difficult time separating the main character from the author and not drifting off into thought, but I finally managed to just picture him as the main character and move on.

The story itself is wild. I love the idea of Naturals and Learners. The intense friendship. The girls (who were of course gingers 😂). It’s creative and a fun new world to escape to.

Congratulations Andrew, I am super proud of you!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 53 reviews

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