First, I would kill my parents for naming my Hallelujah. Can you imagine the teasing she got? But there is a very cool reason for naming her that so sFirst, I would kill my parents for naming my Hallelujah. Can you imagine the teasing she got? But there is a very cool reason for naming her that so she wears the name proudly. And she should. Hallie, as her friends call her, is probably one of the most resourceful, quirky, self critical, reflective characters I have ever fallen for in YA. I call Hallie quirky because of her religion. I am not one that reads books with any kind of religion in them, in fact, I run the other way. Probably due to my own questions about religion. But Kathryn Holmes introduces a very religious group without being preachy in the least. The camping trip Hallie and the others are on is a church youth group retreat. And who is the bad boy? The preacher's kid. I so wished a bear had gotten him but no such luck. Anyway, when Hallie and Rachel and Jonah are separated from the rest of the group there are a lot of questions that come up about God. Did God plan their harrowing experience as a test? Does God just sit back and watch them suffer? How can God let bad things happen to good people? You might have asked these things yourself. I know I have. I liked the way the teens approached them and especially how Hallie answered them. Again, it DID NOT come across as "You have to believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior!!!!" It was refreshing to see these questions asked by the teens in some very difficult situations and even coming from a religious upbringing have them not have all the answers.
Okay, why else did I like Hallie. At first she is very self critical because of the situation she let herself get caught in and then didn't correct the mistake. It was a mistake, but everyone believed the preacher's son over her. Because why? She'd never done anything like that before. Why was everyone so quick to believe something so bad of her? Even her parents? Hallie has everything bottled up inside of her and she judges everything she does. She puts herself down in her own mind before anyone new can. She even pushes the new girl, Rachel, away before she can get hurt by Hallie's reputation. But, later, the self criticism turns reflective after she talks to Jonah and she realizes her mistake. And with that one talk, the criticism becomes a powerful tool in motivating her. It's gentler, not harsh, nudging, not judging, urging her forward.
You will have to read about her resourcefulness for yourself, but the way she uses the forest, the things she finds in their backpacks, her inner strength, it all makes for an incredible story of survival. I promise this is not a religious story though it is thoughtful and mindful of God's plan. It just raises questions, looks for answers. It's a story of forgiving yourself and others. Starting over and finding the strength to go on when all you want to do is quit. I think there is something in it for all of us.
It's a YA story. Realistic fiction about survival in the wilderness. There is some drinking, mean girl situations and some suggestive talk. Very PG-13. I highly recommend this novel. It's going on my favorites shelf! ...more
So, would you believe a dream where you could feel the touch of someone's hand? Where you saw dark magic rituals and felt the breath of something siniSo, would you believe a dream where you could feel the touch of someone's hand? Where you saw dark magic rituals and felt the breath of something sinister lurking in the shadows? What if you woke up and found out you had the same dream as four other boys. And they believed in a demon, even the one with the dreamy eyes who you can't stop thinking about.....No, neither does Liv. Everything has a reasonable, logical explanation. So says Sherlock Holmes. And she and her sister Mia have always solved problems with logic.
Mia and Liv have traveled the world with their mother from one job to another with their au pair, Lottie, who they are much too old for now but can't bare to part with now. So they find themselves in London with their dog Buttercup and a new family, her mother's boyfriend Ernest and his twin's just a year older than Liv, Grayson and Florence. And while Florence tries to make everyone miserable, Grayson tries to keep Liv from joining his friends in their nefarious game with a book of shadows and seals and a demon demanding loyalty.
I loved Kerstin Gier's Ruby Red Trilogy, a big favorite of mine. As you can tell by the size of the cover I felt it was something you should all see. I think it's beautiful and I can't wait for my own copy. I loved this story! Liv is just one of those characters that cannot be shaken from thinking rationally. She doesn't get scared by obvious innuendos and veiled threats. She's almost one of the boys. There is absolutely NO LOVE TRIANGLE. It is quite obvious who she likes and the romance is done quite well, developing over time. This one is a little more grown up than the Ruby Red Trilogy and it flies by. There is a fabulous picnic in Hyde Park described that made me so jealous. You have to read it for that alone. But the dream sequence are great as well. It's a great start to the trilogy though I'm not sure why it's called the Silver Trilogy. The translation, as always, is impeccable.
I highly recommend the novel! And Kerstin Gier's other trilogy as well. It's creative and descriptive and unique. There is some drinking involved and some talk about sex. Nothing graphic. The ending gave me chills.
Thanks to Henry Holt and Co and NetGalley for an eARC of the novel. My review reflects my opinions only and was not influenced by this at all....more
I really enjoyed the first novel in this series, THE SHADOWS OF ASPHODEL, so much so that I helped a tiny bit with Karen Kincy's Kickstarter for thisI really enjoyed the first novel in this series, THE SHADOWS OF ASPHODEL, so much so that I helped a tiny bit with Karen Kincy's Kickstarter for this novel, STORMS OF LAZARUS. While I think things were a little murky about archmages and the technomancy in the first novel, it is pretty straight forward in this novel. There is a war brewing and Wendel is needed for his necromancy powers to run the automaton army that the archmages have built. Several new characters are added to this novel but I really loved that we got to meet Wendel's family.
Wendel's family....I now understand why Wendel is so skittish and jokes about everything to do with them as if they mean nothing to him. Those scenes must have been so hard to write because they were very hard to read. I was choking people with my hands as I read. I wanted a weapon to knock someone out. And I felt like Ardis should have done so, but Ardis is much cooler headed than I am. Wendel is lucky to have her instead of me. He'd have no family left.
The funny thing about the war is that it is right on Wendel's ancestral home's doorstep. And he is asked to help the very people that have hurt him so much. But then his consolation is Ardis. The relationship is much more a forefront in this novel and a little more explicit. The banter back and forth between Ardis and Wendel is so frank during their lovemaking it makes me smirk and a little jealous at the same time. I wish I could be so direct and honest all the time. Though I am uncomfortable with love scenes with detail, I found these enjoyable because of the honesty and lack of drama. The banter continued out of the bedroom as well and made the relationship between Ardis and Wendel feel real rather than contrived for a plot device.
So now I will say, I loved this second novel in the series! I think it is completed though there is always room for more adventure. It has a definite ending which I need as a reader. The story moves quickly and happens over only a few days. The dieselpunk machines and magic are never over my head and really clever. I loved one in particular though I can't say. I highly recommend this novel if you read the first one and liked it, even it you thought it was so/so. If you are into steampunk, New Adult, (not too much explicit sex but some), alternate history, magic or just need to try something new, I highly recommend this series! And don't forget to enter to win a $25 Gift Card to Amazon! Then you can buy the series for yourself! ...more
This is a story about the darker faeries. It reminds me of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely faeries. Capable of love and goodness, but tending toward theiThis is a story about the darker faeries. It reminds me of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely faeries. Capable of love and goodness, but tending toward their dark side, manipulating people and doing truly awful things. It's dark, almost gothic, but not set in a house rather a town, and the darkest part of the forest. It is a place that can be familiar and foreign in an instant and both Hazel and her brother Ben have spent their childhood there fighting the evil creatures that do evil things. But then they left.
The story starts with grown versions of Hazel and Ben and winds itself back to their childhood. It isn't a pretty journey, in the woods, nor at home. But Hazel and Ben make the best of things and find their happiness in the stories they weave about the boy in the glass coffin, the boy they both love. I can understand escaping into stories, especially fantasy. But their faeries are real.
Fairfold is interesting, reminding me of a Southern town that sweeps the ugly bits behind closed doors. Keeps it's secrets so that the tourists don't hear the stories, or if they do, they don't seem to care enough to stop visiting the boy in the forest. The town makes a lot of business off of the tourists. The faeries are good for business so they never say a word about the changeling boy that lives with his brother, the one the faeries tried to steal. They never mind leaving milk and other gifts out for the faeries until someone breaks the boy out of the coffin. Until the attacks on the locals begin.
I love the way Holly Black takes a simple story, a family story, and explores it on several different levels. The relationship between siblings, brother and sister, brother and brother, the relationship between parent and child- mother and children, father and children, and family.
Hazel is the narrator and she is no girl to be rescued. She is smart, brave, and loyal. Hazel loves her brother and Fairfold enough to sacrifice herself if need be. She reminded me very much of the character in BEWARE THE WILD BY NATALIE PARKER, another girl that loved her brother so much, she went into a swamp to save her brother. This novel was just as atmospheric and held me spellbound as I read.
It was refreshing to see a LGBT character or more that were just characters, complete characters, no stereotyping. So don't think of this as an issue book. It isn't. Imagine, a book with diverse characters and it isn't an issue book. How lovely!
I highly recommend this novel to lovers of faerie tales, romances, family stories, This is a great story with a lot of action, a lot of unique fae, and some interesting retellings of old stories. Holly Black includes some of her sources in the back and an interesting list of authors in her acknowledgements. There is some violence in the novel, not gratuitous but this is the fae in what some would call their truer form. They are teens so the usual teen shenanigans happening as far as drinking and thoughts about sex. ...more