Review & Giveaway: Power Play & Storm Clouds by M.E. Sutton


Power Play
by M.E. Sutton
Series: Hero’s Sword Vol. 1
Publication: November 20th 2012
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
eBook, 62 pages
Source: ebook provided by author
in exchange for an honest review

My Rating:

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All Jaycee Hiller wants to do is survive eighth grade. Mostly that means hanging with her friend, Stu, avoiding the cheerleading squad, secretly crushing on Nate Fletcher, and playing her favorite video game, Hero’s Sword.

When she receives a new video game controller, Jaycee finds herself magically transported into the Hero’s Sword video game world. Survival takes on a whole new meaning. No longer battling with a plastic joystick, Jaycee picks up a real sword and bow & arrow and readies herself for battle.

Can she save Lady Starla’s rule in Mallory, keep herself in one piece, and maybe even learn something about surviving middle school?

Kids will love this fast-paced adventure novel and will cheer along with Jaycee’s thrilling adventures. What kid hasn’t dreamed of actually fighting and battling the villains in their favorite video games? Jaycee finds out if she has what it takes – and what she learns in the fantasy realm of Mallory impacts her mundane, middle school life in unexpected ways.

My Thoughts

As soon as I learned that these books were about a thirteen-year-old girl getting pulled into her favorite video game, I knew I had to read them. I am a gamer at heart and although I may not be a fierce fighter in real life, I certainly transform into one when I’m gaming!


The story begins with Jaycee, a nerdy 8th grader, anxiously awaiting the end of the school day so she can get home. She’s certain her new controller, the Controllix 500, has arrived, and she is dying to play her favorite game, Hero’s Sword, with it. Jaycee is your typical 8th grade nerd, crushing on a popular boy that is out of her league, and trying to steer clear of the cheerleaders that seem to exist just to make fun of her. She has a best friend, Stu, equally geeky and also a huge fan of the game. They make a promise to find each other online later that evening, but in the meantime, Jaycee races through her homework and fires up the game. While she notices that her new controller lights up before she’s even turned the power on, she pays no attention because her excitement has taken precedence over logic. She accepts a challenge that flashes on screen and the next thing she knows, she’s magically transported into the game. Oh, how I would love for that to happen to me! Jaycee has to prove herself as the character she’s created, Lyla Stormbringer — a cool, strong, and beautiful master of her sword, and Daryl Dixon with her bow — everything she’s not in real life.

Let me say again that I would LOVE to be transported into any one of my favorite video games. This series is my fantasy come true. I would become Alice from Resident Evil and obliterate every darn zombie in Raccoon City!


Power Play is a tale of fantasy and adventure, and perfect for middle grade and up — obviously, since I enjoyed it so much. This first book may only be 62 pages, but it was chock-full of action with Jaycee finding herself in one predicament after another. Though the world-building isn’t what one would expect in an adult novel, it’s perfect for the middle grade demographic, especially those familiar with gaming. I had to fist pump the air at the end of the story when… oh, snap… no spoilers here. 😉

MBA underline


Storm Clouds
by M.E. Sutton
Series: Hero’s Sword Vol. 2
Publication: April 25th 2013
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: ebook provided by author
in exchange for an honest review

My Rating:

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Eighth-grader Jaycee Hiller is beginning to fear she only imagined her trip to Mallory. But when a rainy afternoon leaves her with hours of playing Hero’s Sword, her favorite video game, she finds herself drawn back into the game – literally.

STORM CLOUDS is the exciting second volume of the HERO’S SWORD saga – chronicling Jaycee Hiller’s trials in eighth grade, and her exciting adventures in Mallory, the setting of her favorite video game. Jaycee enters the video game realm via a special controller and is caught up in the action of this fantasy realm.

In STORM CLOUDS, a valuable jewel belonging to the neighboring estate of Devin, the Sapphire Star, is missing, stolen at the Fall Consortium. Lady Starla stands accused of the theft. Devin’s demands are clear: return the Star or they will take it back by force.

Now it’s up to Lyla Stormbringer to find the Star and the thief before Mallory finds itself at war.

Storm Clouds Banner 450 x 169

My Thoughts

At the end of Power Play we were left with the feeling that Jaycee might have gained some courage going back into her real life from her adventure in the fantasy realm of her game, but maybe that was a bit premature. Getting picked on in school once again, she can’t wait for the weekend to arrive so she can lose herself in her favorite video game, Hero’s Sword. When she turns on her game console and finds that she can’t slip into the game as she did before, she wonders if she’s lost her mind. Had she been dreaming the last time?

At last, the next day while stuck in the house, there is a quest worthy of her presence and she is once again transported into the game. Lyla Stormbringer meets back up with Lady Starla of Mallory and her trusty chief steward, Roger. Jaycee is more comfortable in the fantasy world of Hero’s Sword this time around, as she and Roger became quite close during their last adventure — like father and daughter. Remember, this is a middle grade book, folks. There is a new mystery afoot and Lyla Stormbringer has been called to action! Devin, a neighboring estate has been robbed of their precious Sapphire Star necklace, and have accused Mallory’s own Lady Starla. *Gasp* Lyla must solve this mystery and set things straight before the estate of Mallory is under siege. Will Lyla be victorious?

Lyla Stormbringer reminds me a lot of Arya Stark from Game of Thrones, but on a much more kid-friendly scale. hehe.

This second installment is even better than the first. The storyline has more depth, and more imagery to go along with this tale of adventure, drama, and even a little bit of fairy tale romance. I became more fascinated by the main cast of characters, cementing my interest in this awesome series. The writing style is spot-on for a middle grade adventure, and there is enough action, suspense, and mystery to keep the reader flipping the pages to find out what happens next. I highly recommend this series to fans of middle grade fantasy and video games. I definitely look forward to reading more by this author.

About the Author


A software technical writer by day, Mary Sutton has been making her living with words for over a decade. She writes the Hero’s Sword middle-grade fantasy series as M.E. Sutton, and The Laurel Highlands Mysteries series as Liz Milliron. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two children.

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Wife, homeschooling mom, YA author of paranormal, dark fantasy, and horror, huge fan of the Oxford comma, book blogger, crafter, baker of sweet things, lover of the culinary arts, self-appointed zombie slayer.