Blood for Blood – Ryan Graudin

blood-for-bloodYael’s story continues in this alternate history with Germany and Japan the victors of WWII.  Yael was the subject of medical experiments as a young girl in the Nazi concentration camps.  As a result, she can skin-shift, physically change her appearance.  In Wolf by Wolf, Yael joined the Resistance and trained to assassinate Hitler that would lead to a second Valkyrie.

The story opens with Yael attempting to flee Japan after killing a Hitler double.  A double!  So this is why Hitler has “survived” so many assassination attempts.  Felix is tortured and betrays Yael leading to her capture.  And Victor Luka manages to get himself caught up in the whole thing and falling in love with the real Yael.  The three make a daring escape while being flown back to Germania and struggle to meet up with the Resistance.  The killing of Hitler, double or not, began a worldwide insurgency as Valkyrie intended.

Strength, hope, survival and an overwhelming goal of correcting injustice drive Yael and eventually, Luka, to pursue Hitler and attempt another assassination.  The sequel is every bit as excellent and perhaps better than the first book.  Brilliantly drawn characters include highly skilled and focused Yael, troubled Felix and Luka who always has some glib remark.  There is not a single flaw in the plot or pacing.   It is war, there is violence so not for the squeamish.  Highly recommend!

eGalley review                                          Publication date 11.1.16

Posted in highly recommend, suspense, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales – Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe (Editors)

starlit-woodThe little match girl goes pyrotechnic, while the princess on the glass hill has a female companion, and don’t even ask about the big, bad, wolf.  This is another out-of-the-box collection of reimagined fairy tales written by multiple award winning authors.  Garth Nix, Charlie Jane Anders, Margo Lanagan, and Jeffrey Ford, are among the long and impressive list of contributing authors.  The eighteen tales range from hilarious to horrific, from sci-fi to fantasy to western to traditional fairy tale, most of which are definitely for adults. Even if I didn’t quite understand some of them, I enjoyed all.

eGalley review                                    Publication date 10.18.16

Posted in adult, folklore

StarChaser: TodHunter Moon #3 – Angie Sage

starchaserThis third adventure in the TodHunter Moon series opens with the reveal of a huge problem because the world’s magic source is drying, turning to powder, and poof – gone.  Magyk comes from lapis lazuli beneath the wizard tower and other parts of the world and begins to disintegrate after the removal of the Orm Egg that was the keystone holding the Magyk together.  After the Orm Egg was rescued from Oraton Marr, the egg hatched and has become a rather wild pet of sorts.  Tod has plans to find a new Keystone (more eggs) and discovers the mystery surrounding the Pathfinders and their Ancestors.  To further complicate matters, Tod must dodge the murderous intentions of her Aunt Mitza. Excellent adventure and brilliant characters.  My all-time favorite series!

Star Chaser is another adventure with my book friends, that I have followed since receiving a galley of Magyk back in 2005.  I hope it is not the last adventure set in this charming world.

eGalley review                                        Publication date 10.11.16

Posted in adventure, fantasy, highly recommend

Nemesis – Anna Banks

nemesisImprisoned by her father, the King of Serubel, Sepora escapes with the intention of hiding among the laborers in the nearby kingdom of Theoria.  She is the last of the Forgers and has a skill sometimes inherited through the royal line that produces a buildup of energy and is expelled as spectorium.  It is so rare, that Serubel has built their economy around the trade of spectorium.  Her father has been forcing her to produce spectorium and plans to use this to conquer neighboring countries.  By escaping, she hopes to prevent war.  Soon after fleeing the lush and mountainous Serubel, Sepora is captured in the arid desert of Theoria and sold in the slave market.  She is bought as a gift to the new king of Theoria, Tarik, to be the most recent addition to his harem.  This does not sit well with Sepora, who gains the attention of Tarik.  The late king of Theoria died quite suddenly of a strange plague that is beginning to spread and Tarik enlists Sepora’s help without knowing her royal lineage.  Healers have determined that injecting victims with a bit of spectorium will fight the plague, but there is a massive shortage of spectorium.

We all see where this is heading.  And that’s okay!  Following the familiar plot line of enemies falling in love, there is nothing spectacularly new here.  However, Nemesis is quite good.  The characters, setting, action and romance all move along briskly to make for a good young adult political fantasy.  The chapters alternate between Sepora and Tarik, but it seems awkward because Sepora’s chapters are in first person while Tarik’s chapters are in third person.  I’d rather read in first person for both main characters.  Ignore the cover that looks rather alien and not at all what I envision Sepora looking like and plunge right into the story.  I eagerly await the sequel.

eGalley review                                                Publication date 10.4.2016

Posted in fantasy, highly recommend | Tagged

Napolean’s Last Island – Thomas Keneally

napoleons-last-islandOne day when Betsy Balcombe was thirteen, her accustomed life changed forever. That was the day she learned that the Great Ogre of Europe, England’s enemy, Napoleon himself, would be residing on their island, St. Helena, forever. And in the immediate future he would be residing in their summer house while his house was being built. Thus began the friendship between Betsy and the Emperor.  Betsy was a headstrong girl, not one to be in awe of anyone and they developed a playful, childlike relationship that showed a side of Napoleon rarely seen.

Keneally’s discovery of Betsy’s journal in an Australian museum led him to use history to tell an imaginary tale based on an ordinary British family’s encounter with Napoleon. As is usual with Keneally, it’s a lively, enjoyable story with strong characters, beautiful descriptions of the island, a feeling of being there. The story is told in Betsy’s voice, and is done very well. Just don’t count on historical accuracy.

eGalley review                       Publication date 10.4.16

Posted in adult | Tagged

Enter a Glossy Web – McKenna Ruebush

enter-a-glossy-webGeorge, short for Georgina, is left hurriedly with relatives when her parents must resume the search for her missing brother.  Her uncle, Constantine, tells her a curious bedtime story about a catastrophic meteor shower and The Council of Seven that was created to prevent the destruction of the world.  George barely gets to know these kind but eccentric relations when Constantine departs on an urgent business and her aunt is abducted.  This is after a skeleton delivers George a cryptic message from Constantine that sends her on a mission.  Following hasty instructions from her aunt to always turn left at decision points, she meets two boys busy digging a grave in a cemetery.  They decide to join her on her adventure that turns into a quest to save the world.  The trio travel to quirky worlds and meet a talking map, a distraught monster, a flameless dragon, and much more.  Students new to this genre and looking for a book that takes them on an imaginative journey should enjoy this adventure that is filled with heart.

eGalley review                                                  Publication date 9.27.16

Posted in fantasy, Uncategorized

Three Dark Crowns -Kendare Blake

three-dark-crownsA strange, mystical island is torn by three rival factions: Elementalists, Naturalists, Poisoners.  For generations, the queen gives birth to triplets.  Each child has the abilities of one of the three factions.  The queen mother leaves the island and her daughters to fight for the throne.  Around age 6, the triplets are taken from each other and sent to the faction of their ability and raised until they come of age and are expected to fight to the death for the crown.  Only one will rule.  The triplets, once close in childhood, are now expected to kill each other. The Poisoners have been the ruling faction for many years, but triplet, Katherine does not appear to be very strong and capable of withstanding poisons.  Naturalists have a familiar, an animal to share their bond.  But triplet, Arsinoe, has not been successful in calling a familiar.  This generation, it appears the strongest triplet is  Mirabella.  Mirabella is an Elementalist controlling fire, wind and water.  However, Mirabella is kind-hearted and remembers her sisters with such love that she could never kill them.  This tenderness does not sit well with the powers that be, so they come up with another plan to kill the weaker queens.

The story jumps from one triplet to another so that many characters are introduced.  Perhaps advisable to read in big chunks of time to better keep the characters straight.  The romantic entanglements are excellent.  The winning triplet will need to be married and the suitors arrive to meet the girls.  This story has action, adventure, and an interesting plot, however the characters are the shining star.  Each triplet is so different and has traits to admire.  The ending confirmed what I was suspecting and sets it all up for the next installment .  I think I am rooting for Arsinoe.  I eagerly await the next book in the series, before I forget the characters.  Highly recommend.

eGalley review                                            Publication date 9.20.16

Posted in fantasy, highly recommend, Uncategorized