This is Erick Setiawan's first novel. I was so impressed that I can't wait to see what else he's got to offer in the future.
At the core of the story i...moreThis is Erick Setiawan's first novel. I was so impressed that I can't wait to see what else he's got to offer in the future.
At the core of the story is the life of Meridia and the people who come in and out of her life as she grows from an insecure child, into a very clever and strong woman. It all starts with her very strange parents and the cold house with ghosts in the mirrors and shadows on the walls. Then follows her life with the family she becomes a part of after she marries the love of her life, Daniel. Growing up in a home where her mother often forgot her, and her father disappeared in a cloud of mist every night, living with Daniel's family should be a change for the better, right?
Unfortunately, with a mother-in-law that uses bees to enrage the members of her family - as well as plays them agaisnt one another - Meridia soon discovers that her new home is as full of secrets as the one she grew up in.
I loved this book so much that I couldn't wait to get back to it every time I had to put it down, and had to read it in long stretches. I just couldn't put it down! It was well written, unique, lyrical, and so filled with emotion that I found some scenes overwhelming. The antagonist does such horrible things and puts her family through so much that I kept hoping she would fade away, like other characters did.
This is an outstanding book, a total keeper that is very hard to categorise because of it's unique, atmospheric, and very touching story about the trials of family, spun in a remarkable web of fantasy.
Of Bees and Mist is a captivating book that'll sweep you up into a cloud of mystical wonder and keep you glued from start to finish by the vivid imagery, interesting characters, the magic of every word, and the constant heartbreak of the central character.(less)
I gotta say, Lisa totally sucked me in from the first chapter. Of course, I've read and really enjoyed the first book, so I couldn't wait to see what...moreI gotta say, Lisa totally sucked me in from the first chapter. Of course, I've read and really enjoyed the first book, so I couldn't wait to see what would happen to Raine this time... especially since we were going to be shown a completely different island. Wow. It didn't disappoint, that's for sure. I love Raine's voice. It's so casual and witty. She's very stubborn too, even if she knows that a situation might be a little too hard for her to deal with, she's willing to do whatever she can. I have to say that I really enjoyed my stay in the Isle of Mid, even if a bunch of not-so-great things were happening to our heroine and others.
And you know what else? It's just SO much fun! I simply LOVED it and now can't wait for the next adventure. Oh, and did I mention the two possible guys for Raine are simply delish? Tam or Mychael... which one will she ultimately end up with? It's such a hard choice, because... well, they both sound great. ;)
Lisa's created a refreshing fantasy world with awesome characters. (less)
This is a fantasy tale with a very strong heroine who has quite an attitude on her, too. Raine Benares is an elf in a place filled with necromancers,...moreThis is a fantasy tale with a very strong heroine who has quite an attitude on her, too. Raine Benares is an elf in a place filled with necromancers, sorcerers, goblins, and a whole bunch of other races.
When she accidentally gets her hands on an amulet, her whole life is turned upside down. She has no idea what it is, but the amulet doesn't want to let her go. As the story moves along, she finds out more than she bargains for about herself. As well as getting into some pretty bleak situations, and involving her friends along the way. It was quite a ride.
The world building is very extensive, as you have to be when creating a world from scratch. But I didn't mind, I enjoyed reading about it. It helped to get familiar with it because this is a series. Looks like we're headed somewhere else in the next book. (less)
This is the first book of The Necromancer Chronicles. When this cover first caught my eye, I decided to read a little more about the story. And once I...moreThis is the first book of The Necromancer Chronicles. When this cover first caught my eye, I decided to read a little more about the story. And once I found out the main character was a necromancer, I just had to read it.
The story is set in the city of Symir and features Isyllt Iskaldur, a necromancer and spy sent on a secret mission to find and finance the revolutionaries. But as soon as she gets to Symir things start to happen. Bad things. So much that the book is told in three different points of view -- Isyllt, Zhirin and Xinai -- to get the full scope of what's going on. Zhirin is a young apprentice caught up in the revolution. Xinai is a mercenary sent to help Isyllt, but she gets caught up on the wrong side because she's a native.
I really enjoyed the exotic and often dark locale and could literally see, taste, and feel every detail because of Amanda Downum's wonderful narrative. Her voice is crisp, different for each of the women, and so vivid that I felt like I was temporarily transported to this beautiful, yet dangerous and unstable location. It sounded so lovely, yet volatile, with a live river, angry but contained volcano, and sticky jungle. The attention to detail was amazing, and the separate stories weaved in and around each other so well that when I got to the end, everything fit in and was tied together perfectly.
Of course, the destiny of Isyllt, Zhirin, and Xinai take them to different and even sad places. The three of them suffer immense heartache, physical pain, and betrayal along the way, and aren't all on the same side either. But each woman's journey was honest, raw and true. I loved this book!
There are so many things that could've gone wrong in this book -- competing narrators, confusing loyalties, intricate politics, huge idea without substance, strange names jarring the story, too much mythology involving ghosts, spirits, and water creatures... but you know what? That didn't happen. Everything made sense. Everything clicked together to form a terrific, complex story that I enjoyed so much I know I'll be thinking about it for weeks to come. It's a fantasy that breaks into a new barrier.
The Drowning City is an amazing, interesting and very well written story that blends a variety of weird and wonderful creatures. It's what a fantasy book should be: riveting, ambitious, and succesful in it's delivery and execution. The main characters are deep, and so is the supporting cast. I can't wait to read the next one.
I've been seduced by this world, and I'm looking forward to visiting again. Only this time, it'll be in a different city. (less)
Kate Winters lives in Morvane with her uncle. They have a small bookstore that does okay, and are left alone to do their business. Kate has a best fri...moreKate Winters lives in Morvane with her uncle. They have a small bookstore that does okay, and are left alone to do their business. Kate has a best friend called Edgar. He's shy, loyal, and helps out at the bookstore. Everything in her life is peaceful, even if she did lose her parents the last time wardens stormed the town.
And now, the wardens have returned. The day they storm into Morvane, Kate's peaceful life gets thrown into chaos. While hiding in the basement with her uncle and Edgar, she revives a dead bird by holding it in her hands. This gets the attention of Silas Dane. A man who isn't exactly alive, but wants one of the most powerful Skilled to help him out of his undead existence. And when he eventually gets his hands on Kate, the game of cat and mouse begins. Every time she gets away from him, Silas seems to be one step behind her. Until he gets her on the Night Train, and takes her to the graveyard city of Fume. Which is now being used by the High Council.
In Fume, Kate starts to realise that her life isn't as simple as she thought it was. She also comes to terms with the fact that her uncle has lied to her for years, in order to keep her safe. Although she doesn't know it, she's one of the Skilled and becomes a sought-after weapon. Because when the cunning Da'ru gets her hands on her, she wants Kate to find Wintercraft--a book that will give Da'ru the power she craves. But not if Silas gets to it first.
I really enjoyed this story. There seemed to be a new discovery at the turn of every chapter. The mythology, customs, and way of life was intriguing. I couldn't wait to find out what Silas wanted from Kate. I also thought that the interaction between Silas and Kate was unexpected. Her friendship with Edgar is only strengthened, even though he's got his own secrets and a past he wanted to escape. And she never gives up on her uncle, Artemis. Also, the scenes featuring the Veil are amazing.
Wintercraft is a refreshing, exciting, and very well written fantasy tale that takes the reader to a very unique place. The imagery was vivid, the characters interesting, and the story so intoxicating that even though Fume was so dangerous, I couldn't wait to return.
Yeah, I loved this book. It's packed with a whole lot of dangerous fun.(less)
Isn't the cover for this book absolutely stunning? I love the colours, the font, the dress Ash is wearing... it's all beautiful. This is a story that...moreIsn't the cover for this book absolutely stunning? I love the colours, the font, the dress Ash is wearing... it's all beautiful. This is a story that I've been wanting to read for a while now, so when I picked it up on Friday night, I was hooked in right away.
Ash is a 12-year-old girl mourning the loss of her mother, and shortly after finds herself doing the same for her father. By that time, he's remarried and Lady Isobel has taken over the household. But as soon as Ash's father dies, Isobel moves back to Quinn House, isolating Ash from her life in Rook Hill. Gradually, her stepmother turns Ash into the maid's helper. Until she figures it would be easier and cheaper to make Ash do all of the chores. And if Ash refuses, she gets locked away in the cellar.
The years pass and Ash is treated like a slave. Expected to do everything for her stepsisters, as well as take care of the house on her own. She's very lonely, and never quite gets over the loss of her parents. Especially her mother, who believed in things that everyone else has forgotten or disregards. But Ash was always intrigued by old stories, and when she meets the mysterious, Sidhean, he becomes her only, constant friend. Even if he is keeping a secret from her.
When the very alluring huntress, Kaisa enters her life, Ash is fascinated by her. Kaisa is strong and independent, beautiful and headstrong. After meeting by chance several times, they slowly build a friendship. Ash loves spending time with Kaisa, and with Sidhean's help is able to partake in the events that bring her closer to the huntress. But using fairy magic means that she owes a debt. Still, it all seems worth it, to spend more time with Kaisa.
This is a magical and enchanting story about a girl growing up all alone and finding comfort in fairy tales.
Ash is a magical and enchanting story. It's a beautiful, unique retelling of the Cinderella story, with a lot of new elements that I really enjoyed. And the object of Ash's affection isn't the prince, but the King's Huntress. I found the growing frienship between the two girls touching. It was so sweet to see how it slowly, but mutually became so much more.
This is a love story with a difference. It's also a story of how magic affects someone in a time when most doubt it even exists. But above all, this is one fantastic story!(less)
For once, I'm actually reading a book after watching the movie. Of course, the first time I watched this movie was a while ago, but still. I loved it...moreFor once, I'm actually reading a book after watching the movie. Of course, the first time I watched this movie was a while ago, but still. I loved it so much that every now and then I think about it. Besides, Hayao Miyazaki rocks, and we've pretty much seen every movie he's ever made. He has an awesome imagination, and is able to sweep me off my feet with every one of his movies. Love 'em!
Anyway, let's get on with the book...
I expected the book to be different to the movie, and it is. Still, it has the same enchanted feel as the movie. Howl is still alluring, mysterious and kept me guessing, wanting to know more about him. Sophie is still innocent, lovely and kind-hearted. Michael's still loyal. Calcifer the fire demon was an amazing creation who keeps the castle moving. Actually, he also keeps it together.
Sophie Hatter lives in the land of Ingary and makes the most wonderful hats in the town of Market Chipping. She's also the eldest and has two sisters. After her father dies, her step-mother takes over the store and soon sends the two youngest sisters away to apprentice with other people (one in a bakery, the other with a witch) so there's no financial strain, but keeps Sophie in the hat shop. After all, she makes the best hats in town and the business is soon booming. But neither of Sophie's sisters are happy with their chosen fortunes and devise a plan in which they will be able to do what they really want to do, while encouraging Sophie to do the same.
Yet, it's not until the Witch of the Waste pays Sophie a visit and places a curse on her that Sophie's forced to find her own fortune. She might not know why the witch singled her out, but she's no longer a young girl. She's been transformed into an old woman who seeks out a place to belong. She just never expected that Howl's Moving Castle would be that place. Everyone knows Howl chases young girls to steal their hearts and souls. There are many other horrible tales about what the wizard does to young girls, but the more time she spends in the castle, the more she realises that he's something else.
She wants to stay a while and then move on, but with Michael and Calcifer--she made a deal with the fire demon in hopes of ending her curse--around, she soon finds herself a place in the world. Especially since Howl doesn't seem to mind either way if she lives there or not. Though her constant cleaning drives him crazy and makes for some really funny and entertaining scenes.
As the days go by, Sophie gets more involved in Howl's affairs, and much more connected to him than she ever expect to be... I loved the Castle and the interwoven story. I loved how both of Sophie's sisters are included in the story, and how everything comes undone for the wicked Witch.
I absolutely adored this book! This story is wonderful, exciting, and told in a way that totally hooked me from the very beginning. What an awesome story!
Oh, and because I enjoyed it so much, we also watched the movie afterwards. :)(less)
I was looking forward to reading this book, because I've always loved the Red Riding Hood story and was looking forward to reading a retelling with a...moreI was looking forward to reading this book, because I've always loved the Red Riding Hood story and was looking forward to reading a retelling with a new twist.
Valerie lives in the town of Daggorhorn with her sister and her parents. They live within a fortress to keep the Wolf from entering their town, and instead offer him a 'sacrifice' every month. Valerie's strong and different, doesn't care as much about boys as her sister and friends. Well, not until a boy from her past--Peter--appears again. She's pretty much tempted by him right away, but is soon betrothed to Henry.
When her sister is killed by the Wolf, a dangerous cycle begins and Father Solomon--a determined werewolf hunter--pops in to help them out. Slowly a very dark and hidden secret is revealed...and Valerie gets caught in the middle of it.
I really enjoyed the beginning of this book, and got swept up in the story. I liked Valerie right away and also the mystery. I couldn't wait to find out who the Wolf really was, and kept suspecting one person, and then another. However, as soon as Peter entered the scene, I found my interest waver. All of a sudden, Valerie seems to make strange decisions that I found a little out of character, even considering what falling in love can do to someone, it just didn't seem to fit.
After that, I lost interest and couldn't follow any of the characters. Also, although the story was well written, the unexpected head-hopping kept pulling me out of the story's flow. Oh, and the fact that the book ends but there's mention of a 'bonus chapter available on the website' made the experience even less fulfilling. I didn't like that without reading this 'bonus chapter' you don't even find out who the Wolf is.
Red Riding Hood is a tension-filled thriller with a lot of twists and turns, but ultimately, I wasn't as bewitched by it as I'd hoped I'd be. (less)
I've had this story for a while and decided to finally read it. I'm glad I did.
Bounty is half-hobgoblin and when her flighty mother leaves her, she ge...moreI've had this story for a while and decided to finally read it. I'm glad I did.
Bounty is half-hobgoblin and when her flighty mother leaves her, she gets adopted by the kind Ma Fortuna. She becomes part of the big family, and when she's seventeen takes off with one of the Fortuna kids to find their own way.
Since Bounty is full of ideas and mischief, she convinces Luc to steal from a hero so that he can become one. Although their adventure starts together, it doesn't take long for them to find separate paths.
I really enjoyed this quirky, well-written fairy-talesque story. It was a lot of fun and Bounty turned out to be a very interesting character.(less)