The Kings of Samora have always had one great weapon to protect the royal line. The Shifter is an ancient creature of unknown power that resides in th...moreThe Kings of Samora have always had one great weapon to protect the royal line. The Shifter is an ancient creature of unknown power that resides in the Mistwood. An ancient spell keeps the Shifter loyal to the royal family after it has been summoned to protect them. When Prince Royan summons Isabella to be his Shifter he unleashes a series of evens that may do more harm to his Kingdom than good.
What I Liked: Isabella's exploration of herself through her discovery of her abilities as a shapeshifter and the recovery of her unwanted history. As she discovers new things about herself and her powers, Isabella finds her loyalties are being twisted in a way the Shifter has never been before. The characters are complicated, determined to hide 'unnecessary truths' and manipulative to the point of forcefulness and more resourceful than I could have imagined. Isabella's memories and history remained an intriguing mystery until the moment of revelation. I wholeheartedly enjoyed the surprise and was able to understand the clues retrospectively. I appreciated Cypess' imaginative writing.
What I Didn't Like: Sometimes, to keep secrets hidden and mysterious, it felt like Cypess just made the narrative confusing. Particularly when sorting through Isabella's thoughts. It was almost as though she was trying to stop anyone guessing the twist.
Publication Date: Publisher: Putnam Juvenile ISBN: 0399246770 Age Group: Young Adult Genre:Fantasy Source: Library Lootability:***
What I Liked: McKinley mad...morePublication Date: Publisher: Putnam Juvenile ISBN: 0399246770 Age Group: Young Adult Genre:Fantasy Source: Library Lootability:***
What I Liked: McKinley made the Pegasi her own. She created an image of them, beyond the stock white and blue Disney character, and made them real for me. I was able to appreciate the fragile beauty of their wing fingers and the soft tapering of their long faces. Each Pegasi had its own personality, and though the focus was on the relationship between Sylvi and Ebon, there were obvious efforts to create characters out of the other Pegasi and the bonds with their human counterparts. The world building is great! The human lands are extensive with a focus on Sylvi's castle home, but the best part if her trip to the Pegasi home lands and the Caves. There is an etherealism created by McKinley that makes their lands seem magically possible and that's what I appreciate in a fantasy novel.
What I didn't Like: The plot was interesting but it had some issues. It was, at times, hard to follow, and a little dry, and I found myself looking for something else to read. It kept me coming back eventually but the flow of the narrative didn't feel smooth. The biggest issue was Pegasus as part of a series! It set itself up for a big plot and ended on a huge cliff hanger, only for me to pop onto Goodreads and see that Ebon (Book Two) isn't expected until 2014 (after being pushed back by two years), after Pegasus was published in 2010. It was very disappointing.
Publication Date: August 1st, 2008 Publisher: Harlequin Books ISBN: 0373772998 Age Group: Adult Genre: Romance Lootability: ***
Journalist, and one of the g...morePublication Date: August 1st, 2008 Publisher: Harlequin Books ISBN: 0373772998 Age Group: Adult Genre: Romance Lootability: ***
Journalist, and one of the guys, Chastity O'Neill is the only daughter in a family of four boys (and mostly firefighters) with the body of an Amazon. Meaning, if she doesn't intimidate men, then her family will. Great. Except now she's moved back home and is dating a hunky doctor, everything is looking just ...wrong. Her first love, Trevor, is handing around looking sexy and completely unaffected by her new bf, her parents are temporarily separated and moving towards divorce, and My Hunky is starting to lose his shine.
What I Liked: Chastity is a young woman, in her prime, who is ready to make something of herself and her life. She moves back home, tackles a new job and is ready to start looking for love. Not only that, but Chastity is doing her best to live up to her heroic fire-fighting family by training as a paramedic despite her crippling fear of blood. She's strong, she's determined and she's flawed. That's what I want from a character in a romance novel. Beautiful imperfections. And a sexy, smoldering and silent romantic lead like Trevor.
What I Didn't Like: The whole time Chastity was letting herself be blinded by her Hunky Doctor, I was yelling at her. The guy obviously never had a chance - he was smarmy, selfish and self-involved. He wasn't a really competitor for her heart and this part of the story seemed to drag on endlessly, and I was left impatient for the juicy bits of interaction between Chastity and Trevor.
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook Publication Date: April 14th, 1986 Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books Country: USA
ISBN: 0007299265 Original Language: English Age Group: Any Genre: Fantasy/Adventure/Fairytale Source: My bookshelf! Buy the Book: Amazon Lootability: The book that set off a thousand raiders!
Howl's Moving Castle was Diana Wynne Jone's way of meshing together myriad fairytale themes into a world of her very own. Over 22 years, Wynne Jones added Castle In The Air (1990) and House of Many Ways (2008) to her very own fairytale.
Howl's Moving Castle is the story of Sophie, the seemingly unremarkable eldest of three girls (the magical fairytale number), who is apprenticed to her stepmother to work in a hat shop after her fathers death. Unfortunately for Sophie, she gets in the way of the Witch of the Waste and gets cursed - now she looks and feels like an old lady!
What I Liked: Howl's Moving Castle is a wonderful and funny contemporary fairytale that manages to hold itself up without the frippery of glowing eyes and supernaturally good looking love interests - though Howl is notoriously good looking. Wynne Jones includes many of the best aspects of fairytales; from seven-league boots to a door with four exits. Her imagination is boundless but well grounded, I didn't get that sense of being completely disconnected from my own world in order to experience Ingary. The characters are great, especially Sophie and Calcifer. I saw the animated Studio Ghibli production with Christian Bale as Howl and Billy Crystal as Calcifer so I still hear their voices as I'm reading. It's fantastic!
What I Didn't Like: There were a lot of clues leading up to the end, but as I often do, I found it all a bit rushed. I think part of the problem is that the rest of the story develops to gradually, then all of a sudden there are three or four revelations and confrontations.
For anyone who loves the book, the movie is wonderful! Think of it as an abridged version of the book. Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki have created some beautiful animated films together.(less)
Touted as a cross between the Bachelor and The Hunger Games, the release of Kiera Cass' The Selection was ripe with controversy on Goodreads and Twitt...moreTouted as a cross between the Bachelor and The Hunger Games, the release of Kiera Cass' The Selection was ripe with controversy on Goodreads and Twitter (twitter commentary and the attack on Wendy Darling's review). However, despite rumours of bad reviews and mass 'likes' of positive reviews, I still wanted to give it a try.
What I Liked: The idea of the Selection, a lottery of 'local' girls who the Prince can marry. He can take time to get to know them, and the lottery allows for girls of all social backgrounds a chance to become Queen. The Caste system - a system of numbers (One through Eight) regulating what types of job is available to you, how you live and ect. Mentions were thrown in to catch my attention and then the topic changed. Some of the information about the rebellion was interesting too, but it was vague. It almost would have been better to tackle just the rebellion.
What I Didn't Like: As I mentioned the world substance is lacking. There are mentions of it in one history lesson and America (interesting name, eh?) forces one or two sentences out of Maxon but it wasn't enough. It needed to become real to me and it didn't. Another issue I had was the stilted dialogue and interactions - mostly between America and Maxon - that are nothing like the way teenagers talk. However, the relationship between America and Aspen was worse. It felt lifeless and irrational despite the way they threw themselves at each other.
Putting all that aside, I might have given a better rating if not for one giant misstep.
**Immediate Review May 2nd** Real Review to come Real review to come but I'm not happy. I was really enjoying this book until its ridiculously abrupt ending. I get the feeling that The Selection series could easily have been put together into one book. It was the last few pages that really caught my interest and it ended. Quite bluntly. I'm getting sick of YA novels splitting their stories up three ways when it's entirely unnecessary.
That said, if I read the sequel(s) and find a reasonable excuse for the split I will take back my complaint.(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.
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook Publication Date: November 10, 1995 Publisher: MacMillian Country: United States of America ISBN: 0333637704 Origi...moreWebsite | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook Publication Date: November 10, 1995 Publisher: MacMillian Country: United States of America ISBN: 0333637704 Original Language: English Age Group: Adult Genre: Historical, Thriller Buy the Book: Amazon Lootability: Grab it and go
The Seventh Scroll is Wilbur Smith's 25th book and the second in his popular Egyptian series featuring the enigmatic slave Taita. A modern look at the events of River God, The Seventh Scroll follows the archaeological rediscovery of Pharaoh Mamose's tomb.
What I liked: Taita was such an enthralling protagonist in River God and it was a pleasure to revisit him. It was cleverly designed for us to see the results of Taita's work instead of hearing him boast about his genius - and we get to delight and despair with Nicholas and Royan as they play his game and struggle to discover the location of Mamose's tomb. I also like the way that Smith teases himself as writing books full of "sex and violence" who takes liberties with history. Like in River God, Smith creates a believable world of Egyptian archeology and, from what I remember of my ancient history lessons, seems to recreate the culture beautifully.
What I didn't like: There really is a lot of sex and violence in Wilbur Smith's books. It's for that reason that I can't reread the third book in series, Warlock. Sometimes it just becomes overwhelming - too many people are tortured, injured or killed carelessly for my tastes. Some of the phrasing seems odd to me, a lot of extra justs and verys.
There are another two books in the series, featuring Taita and returning to ancient times. However, from memory I found the story-lines rather violent and far-fetched. (less)
Publication Date: 20th December, 2012 Publisher: Mira Ink Books ISBN: 0778313077 Original Language: English Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Fantasy/Romance/Adventure Source: Library Buy the Book: Amazon Lootability: Grab it and go.
Was everyone else as excited as I was for another Maria V Snyder novel? I've been in love with her since I first picked up Poison Study early last year. Luckily for me, as I read through her collection, everything so far had been published and completed. It's already killing me that Touch of Power is the start of a new series and I can't immediately start reading the next book!
Touch of Power is the story of Avry, the last surviving healer of the Fifteen Realms, a world in pieces after its population has been decimated by a magically resistant plague. Living on the run hasn't been easy for Avry who is itching to heal those in need, and when she reveals her powers by saving the life of a two year old girl, Avry is sent to the gallows...only to be abducted to cure their Prince of the plague.
What I Liked: Snyder's characters want to be my best friends, and I want to be theirs. I think Avry rivals Yelena for my favourite Snyder heroine. Unlike Yelena, she was plucky from the beginning, and she was serious about using her magic to help. The story was unique. I kept getting a familiar vibe from it though that drove me crazy for awhile. When I started reading I kept thinking that the idea of healers being victimised for their power was strangely similar to her other book, but when I tried to work out which one, I couldn't. Finally I realised it reminded me of Janice Hardy's Healing Wars! The idea of healers being reviled for their power and blamed for spreading disease. Otherwise, the plot was completely new to me and I loved it! Snyder has a beautiful imagination and I wished I could have looked at the rows of Peace and Death Lilies. I even want to be friends with her abductors!
What I Didn't Like: I felt like a few of the revelations at the end, and Avry's decision about Ryne, were quite rushed. I missed one or two of them and had to scan backwards to find them.
Grab it and go! The sequel Scent of Magic is expected out next year (a whole year!) and I look forward to running with the gang again soon.(less)