Publication Date: January 12th, 2012 Publisher: Carina Press ASIN: B00699QQ5Y Age Group: Adult Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction Source: NetGalley Lootabil...morePublication Date: January 12th, 2012 Publisher: Carina Press ASIN: B00699QQ5Y Age Group: Adult Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction Source: NetGalley Lootability: *** The Viking's Sacrifice is the romance of Einar and Wilda, kept apart by warring cultures and a terrible curse that hides the truth of Einar's brothers death. Wilda is a young Saxon girl when Vikings attack her village and Einar saves her when she is attacked for witnessing a devastating betrayal. Eight years later the Vikings return for Wilda and she is taken to a Viking village as a thrall where she meets Einar again. Only Einar is now Toki, a pariah in his village, who has been cursed to silence.
What I Liked: Einar/Toki was cute; he began with all the brightness of youth and the way he was stripped of hope and colour made it very easy to feel for him. His reactions to Wilda were beautifully passionate as well. He was quite an endearing protagonist considering Wilda's point of view depicted him (initially), and his people, as violent heathens. The story was great, I liked the idea behind Einar's curse of silence, and the inclusion of the blood runes. I would have liked a bit more information on them though.
What I Didn't Like: Wilda. She had this strange cross between being wide eyed and innocent, and cold and practical. She, and the other female thralls, almost had multiple personalities working for them. Everyone was crotchety, angry or completely despondent. While I enjoyed the story, and the plot's progression, I wanted more background. It wound up being all about characterisations without any of the benefits of writing a historical fantasy.
The Viking's Sacrifice was published on January 12th by Carina Press. It's a good first step into historical viking fiction. For more Norse fiction I suggest Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier.(less)
Publication Date: December 1st, 2010 Publisher: Allen & Unwin Country: U.S.A ISBN: 9781742374666 Original Language: English Age Group:Preteen/Young Adu...morePublication Date: December 1st, 2010 Publisher: Allen & Unwin Country: U.S.A ISBN: 9781742374666 Original Language: English Age Group:Preteen/Young Adult Genre: Romance Source: Library Buy the Book: Amazon Lootability: There's room but keep looking.
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is the third collaboration between young adult authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, who co-wrote Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. It is the quest of two sixteen year olds looking for love on the inside of a red moleskin notebook.
Publication Date: 30th September, 2003 Publisher: Miramax Country: UK ISBN: 078681859X Original Language: English Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Adventure/Fantasy Source: NetGalley Buy the Book: Amazon Lootability: There's room but look for more.
The Amulet of Samarkand is the sweet, witty and extraordinary story of a young apprentice magician's quest for revenge after being humiliated. Of course, the story takes on much darker tones as Nathaniel finds himself in over his head.
What I Liked: Bartimaeus was amazing. Everyone kept telling me that I would love his wry humour and obnoxious sarcasm (is there any other kind?) and they were right. He is snarky, selfish, smary and just a little too smart for his own good. His inner monologuing had me giggling and occasionally gasping at his audacity. The complexity of the plot Nathaniel stumbles into is quite cunning, and was just twisted enough to prove its evil roots. The villains, Simon Lovelace, Rufus Lime and Master Shyler, are sufficiently devious and nasty. Poor Nathaniel's humiliation at the hands of Lovelace had me thinking of him like he was the gunk that gets stuck under my shoes.
What I Didn't Like: The story was in third person, so there wasn't much change between the chapters despite alternating between Nathaniel and Bartimaeus. But because there was a slight change in who was leading the story, I kept hoping the narration would change a little.
The Amulet of Samarkand is the first instalment of Jonathon Strouds Bartimaeus Trilogy. I'll be picking up the sequel Ptolemy's Gate at some point in the future.(less)
Website | Goodreads | | Facebook Publication Date: 1st March, 1987 Publisher: Ace Books Country: United States ISBN: 0441760066 Original Language: English Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Adventure/Romance/Fantasy Source: Amazon Buy the Book: Amazon Lootability: Needs more booty.
Caught in Crystal has been reworked and refurbished for its ebook release. A prequel to the Lyra novels, Caught in Crystal introduces the wizards of Varna, the Silver Sisters and the controversy of Lyra's history. Kayl, along with her two young children Dara and Mark, run the inn of a small village after the death of Kayl's husband, Kevran. Everything was going well for the small family, until Kayl's past comes back to haunt her.
What I liked: The story was fabulous, the idea behind the Tower was well thought out and a whole lot of history. There are a series of myths behind the story; they're all well presented and thought out. It helped that all the characters were a lot of fun, especially Kayl and her children. Mark and Dara were realistically written, especially for children.
What I didn't like: The one problem I have with Wrede is the progression of time in her stories. Weeks, and sometimes months, flick passed and the little moments that can build a story are lost. The moments that create relationships are skipped over and there isnt enough development.
Needs more booty. Wrede's Lyra series are being slowly released as ebooks, and I look forward to discovering more about the world of Lyra.
The publishers have provided me with some fun extra material, including a few videos with Wrede and a Winter Escape Reading List for our Northern Hemisphere friends.
Look here extracts of some of Patricia C Wredes books, or you can find Ace Books Winter escape reading list here.
Look here extracts of some of Patricia C Wredes books, or you can find Ace Books Winter escape reading list here.(less)
Publication Date: 1st July, 2012 Publisher: Pan McMillian ISBN: 0375969543 Age Group: Young Adult / Adult Genre: Epic Fantasy / Adventure / Historical Fantasy Source: ARC Lootability: *****
Award-winning author, Juliet Marillier, best known for her Sevenwaters books will be releasing a new young adult novel in July. Shadowfell is the first book in a trilogy following the adventures of fifteen year old Neryn, gifted with the ability to speak with the Good Folk in a time where such gifts are feared and destroyed. She must travel to the mysterious Shadowfell where it is said a group of rebels are waiting for the right moment to over throw the cruel King of Alban.
What I Liked: Neryn had a level of mature resourcefulness that I have come to expect from Marillier, whether she is writing for teenagers or for adults. On her own after a life of hardship, Neryn knows better than to trust anyone but always, ultimately, listens to her heart. She is a dynamic character with more depth than most YA protagonists but she still maintains the level of innocence and confusion that something inside us recognises from our time as an adolescent, making her ideal for a YA fantasy heroine. Other than Neryn, I also enjoyed any interactions with the Good Folk. Note: Do not going in expecting fairies - the Good Folk and fairies are different! They possess similar qualities to Neryn, innocent wisdom, fear of the unknown and a steadfast, almost stubborn loyalty. I prefer Marillier's flexible interpretation of the Good folk - as both ageless, immortal beings and waif like children. I think it suits their mysterious nature. The last think I'd like to applaud is Marillier's skill for telling tales within her tale. Although it's not as obvious in Shadowfell as it has been in her adult novels, Marillier has a clear knowledge of what makes a story. Shadowfell presented us with a series of nursery rhymes and songs or through her interactions with fey characters like the Brollochan (a personal favourite of mine) and the Shadowman.
The Wedding Gift is a thrilling murder mystery turned ghost story by Kathleen McKenna. Southern belle Leanne Worthier is the girl everyone in Dalton,...moreThe Wedding Gift is a thrilling murder mystery turned ghost story by Kathleen McKenna. Southern belle Leanne Worthier is the girl everyone in Dalton, Oklahoma wants to be. George Willets Jr. is the heir to the Willet petroleum business. So when the two hook up and Leanne gets knocked up, no one is surprised to be invited to the wedding of the year. Unfortunately, Mummy Willets doesn't approve of the pretty new Mrs Willets and the newly wed couple are sent to live in the Willet ancestral home, where George's uncle Roger and his five children were brutually murdered. Leanne's brother died sneaking in there almost twenty years before she moves in, and no one is happy to see her heading through those doors.
What I Liked: This is definitely a ghost story, Robina Willets is twelve kinds of creepy and she definitely has a story that needs to be told. Leanne is a genuine southern belle with a heart of gold...or is that made of gold? She might be a greedy little snob, but when it comes to the people she loves Leanne is made of strong stuff. Jessie was probably the best character in the book. She's the only one who can be sassy, emotional and terrified out of her brains without seeming out of character. The twist was pretty good, though I found it a mite predictable. However, the way McKenna described Roger's degeneration through the diaries was superb.
What I Didn't Like: Leanne annoyed the bejeevies out of me. Her selfishness, her language and her outlook on life seemed so out of place with how I remember being 18, and with anyone I know. She was a sweet character and I genuinely liked her in the end but her language annoyed me. The newspaper articles were awful! As a journalism student I take offence at the way they were written. We had a newsworthy triangle where the important things go first, and the meaningless rubbish (the point of the triangle) is thrown in on the bottom where it can be edited out. The language used and the quotes picked didn't suit the tone of the stories. It's probably nitpicking, especially since I sit and watch the news picking out faults, but it's the kind of thing that bugs me.
Kindling Unfortunately, because so many things annoyed me about the writing, I only gave it two stars. It was a decent ghost story but a lot of the extraneous stuff distracted me from what I wanted: a thrilling ghost story.(less)
Publication Date: 31st January, 2012 Publisher: Grand Central Publishing ISBN: 1455508594 Original Language: English Age Group: Young Adult/Adult Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Paranormal/Fairytale Source: NetGalley Buy the Book: Amazon Lootability: Grab it and go!
Firelight is the debut novel from supernatural romance author Kristen Callihan and, oh boy, this book certainly gets as hot as the cover suggests. Most definitely based on Beauty and the Beast or, for those of you with a more extensive fairytale knowledge, the Norwegian fairytale East of the Sun and West of the Moon. If you aren't familiar with the tale, Jessica Day George's Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow is a good introductory novel. Miranda is the beautiful daughter of a failed, and destitute merchant, with a deadly secret. Lord Archer faces the scorn of his aristocratic peers because of the mask he hides his face behind, and his violent temper. When Archer approaches Miranda's father for her hand in marriage, Miranda knows she has no other choice than to accept her mysterious suitor.
What I liked: I adored both Miranda and Archer; they're both dynamic characters who blossom into a lovely couple. They both have some frightening trust issues (not surprisingly considering their situations) and none of their friends are especially reliable. The banter between the two was funny and kept me interested in their dialogue. The development of their feelings was natural, unlike a lot of paranormal romances I've read recently.
What I didn't like: I found most of the secondary characters were a little lacking. Miranda's sisters Poppy and Daisy were darlings but they weren't very interesting, nor were any of the fella's from the West Moon Club. They were sculpted into interesting shapes but out of a boring material. The sequel will have Daisy and Ian McKinnon in the lead roles so I'll be interested to see how they develop then. Mostly, I would have liked things to be a little less complicated. I was a little overwhelmed by Archer's 'infliction', and the eventual explanation for it.
Firelight was a fun way to recreate an old story in 17th London, and I'm looking forward to the sequel Moonglow due out in August.(less)
Publication Date: 1st February, 2012 Publisher: Zondervan Publishing Country: United States of America ISBN: 9780310728184 Original Language: English Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Supernatural/Paranormal, Romance, Mystery Source: ARC recieved through NetGalley Lootability: Grab it and go
Halflings is the debut novel of author Heather Burch who has spent the last few years teaching writers how to relax. As an ordained minister, motivational speaker and a licensed esthetician, Burch has a wide knowledge base to influence her writing; and it's obvious she utilises that background. Halflings is the story of three 'Lost Boys', sons of Fallen Angels working for Heaven, sent to Earth to protect Nikki Youngblood from a complicated and mysterious evil. What I Liked: The story was innovative. I haven't read much angel fiction so it was interesting to see how it differed from vampires, werewolves and faeries. Nikki was a fun and strong character who worked hard to live by her beliefs while the Lost Boys, Raven, Mace and Vine were the usual sexy supernatural characters. Vessler was an interesting character. He made me think of a strong, overwhelming perfume; you like the scent but you can't take it in such strong doses. He also left me feeling sufficiently suspicious and confused, without giving away too much or going for a silly plot twist like some YA stories. What I didn't like: Some of the language was too floral - "You are safe now child of Man" - and almost everything Will says went right over my head. I'm not a religious person, and only really know the mythology behind the bible; I've never read it. I knew the story behind Queen Esther, but couldn't quite grasp the significance of her mention. It might be easier for other readers. I also wanted a little more characterisation from the Lost Boys, and despite not being one of the love interests, I think I liked Vine (or Bloom) best. One other problem I had, which I have with all YA Supernatural fiction is this overwhelming set of senses, skills and seduction these supernatural creatures seem to posses. Isn't enough that these creatures have wings, fangs, claws and venom? Do they need to be irresistible too? Are there ugly Supernatural creatures? I'll give Burch some credit here because she introduced a Halfling who was pale, and...not quite weak, but not as overtly strong as the others. It's nice to see some weakness (beyond falling for human girls) in supernatural fiction. For all that I'm getting sick of the re-occurrence of sexy supernaturals, I can't seem to stop myself reading about them. Halflings especially, drew me in more than any other supernatural YA since The Discovery of Witches. I found myself wanting more and I was devastated to find it ended before anything was revealed. Halflings will be released February 1st, and it's sequel Guardian is due out in September. In the meantime, try and get your hands on 11:15: The Making of Halflings; a short illustrated story set before Halflings.(less)
Publication Date: March 6th, 2012 Publisher: Harcourt's Children Books ISBN: 0547626142 Original Language: English Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Supernatur...morePublication Date: March 6th, 2012 Publisher: Harcourt's Children Books ISBN: 0547626142 Original Language: English Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Supernatural/Thriller/Romance Source: From the publisher via NetGalley Buy the Book: Amazon Lootability: Grab it and go! Illuminate is the coming of age story of Haven Terra who is granted her first taste of independence in the form of a sophisticated and illustrious internship at the Al Capone Lexington Hotel in Chicago. This supernatural thriller follows Haven as she discovers powers and strengths she didn't know she had, all while taking her first dip into love, lust and dangerous attractions.
Publication Date: February 8th, 2012 Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Country: United States ISBN: 1455503061 Original Language: English Age Group: You...morePublication Date: February 8th, 2012 Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Country: United States ISBN: 1455503061 Original Language: English Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic/Romance Source: NetGalley ARC Buy the Book: Amazon Lootability: Grab it and Go!
Pure is the new dystopian novel, and the first book in a new series by Julianna Baggott. Set in northern America after an event known as the 'Detonations', the world has been decimated and the survivors have had to adapt to their world in strange and terrifying ways. Many people were fused to strange objects thanks to the radioactive effects of the Detonations, while others have been changed into strange creatures of stone and dirt known as Dusts. There are, however, a number of those who survived the detonations untouched. Protected by the dome, is an entire civilisation is safe from the poisoned earth, and undamaged by the detonations, they are known as Pures.
What I liked: I was fascinated by the fusings. It was confusing to begin with; I didn't really understand that these objects had fused into their skins and become a part of them. It is eventually explained and when it is...mind blown. It's the most amazing consequence of an apocalyptic world I've ever come across. Pressia and Partidge both grow exponentially as characters; they start off quite naive, and let their experiences mature them. The plot is confusing in some parts, but begins making sense as things go along. It is complex and engaging story that kept me desperate to read more (and distracted me during work!)
What I didn't like: As I've said, there were a lot of confusing aspects of the story that almost had me giving up. Fortunately, the characters were so engaging that I couldn't help myself. A lot of the talk of the Detonations and the evil plans of the Pures got a little too overbearing, and much too technical for me. Especially with all the talk of engineering, genetics and coding. I know there needs to be a history to the story but sometimes they get a little confusing.
Grab it and go! Pure will be released next month, and the sequel Fuse is expected to be released later this year. (less)