Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell

“Some seek justice even in the absence of proof…”

An epic heroic fantasy fiction that meets the wild, wild west!!!

Kellen’s dreams of becoming a powerful mage like his father are shattered after he failed a magical duel which confirmed the complete loss of his abilities. When other young mages begin to suffer the same fate, Kellen is accused of unleashing a magical curse on his own clan and is forced to flee.

On the run and unsure of who to trust, Kellen struggles to learn how to survive in a dangerous world without his magical ability and even tries to find the source of the curse but as Kellen uncovers a conspiracy involving members of his own clan who are planning to take power, he tries to go back to his city in a desperate bid to get them before they get him or destroy his family.

I found this to be an adventurous, magical read with captivating world building that doesn’t bore you. I also enjoyed the unique spin on the wielding of magic/non magic.. I loved the deck of cards concept however I wont go into it to avoid spoilers. There was always something happening with the storyline and the characters and I am really looking forward to seeing what happens next with the main character Kellen.. (I hate his sister btw and felt that very early on lol) you will understand why when you read this. I highly recommend this to fans of fantasy fiction with a hint of the wild, west!!

Many thanks to Allen & Unwin for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.

-Annie

Kidz Korner Round Up

A child who reads will become an adult who thinks…

Read3r’z Re-Vu is a Network of Readers that strives to bring readers, bloggers, small business owners, authors and illustrators together as one community to embrace what we are most passionate about – books – and to endorse wide reading in the broader community. One of the things that are most important to us is children who read. As part of a community initiative, Read3r’z Re-Vu Founder, Annie McCann has teamed up with Re-Vu Newz Editor, Crystal Oros and Intel Researcher, Meredith Thomas for the “Kidz Korner Round Up” blog. This is a space where we select top recommendations for younger readers.. we endeavour to blog a selection of children’s books at least once a month….

Here are our recommendations…

Anzac Ted by Belinda Landsberry
A charming read. This is a real heart warming picture book. About a treasured teddy bear, that’s been with one family for three generations. This teddy bear made it through a war and became mascot for the squad that he was in. This tale also shows us not to judge a person or any object by what they look like.
-Meredith

Paddington and the busy day: By Michael Bond
Paddington was one of my favourites growing up and I’ll be honest I wasn’t expecting my three year ld to have the patience for this book but she was captivated by the illustrations and talking about all the thing she could see happening so this is a great book for developing your toddlers language skills.
-Crystal

Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey
This story is beautiful, funny and even a little bit sad. It’s about a pony called Thelma who isn’t happy with being a pony so she decides she wants to be a unicorn. This story is about self acceptance and being happy with being exactly as you are and our favourite message was about the special friendships when friends will love you even if Your not a unicorn.
-Crystal

Piranhas don’t eat bananas: By Aaron Blabey 
As a parent this is a fun read with lots of humour and the best part is it teaches your little one about healthy eating, the only downside is the number of bum jokes it promotes but is a good tool if your also at the toilet training stage.
-Crystal

I couldn’t stop laughing when I first read this book. So I had to do a few re-reads insterntly. The word rhymes between the fruit and vegitables with the body parts, that with anyone of any age will smile or laugh over. Piranhas also shows us that it’s alright to be your self. To me Piranhas is a feel good book that will always make me smile happily.
-Meredith

Moo and Moo and the Little Calf Too by Jane Milton
Based on a true story that was on these three cows and the adventure that they go on after an earthquake.  The story is told by rhyming sentences. The story is told from the cows point of view. The illustrations are beautifully done in water colours. Special thanks to Allen & Unwin Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Meredith

Check on me: By Andrew Daddo & Jonathan Bentley
This one is my favourite! I love checking on my little one during the night to fix her blankets and just like the boy in the book I get to joke and talk to my child about how I find her sleeping and how we read books just like they do and yes you wake me up like that too. Again a great book for developing language and to open up conversations that are fun and loving.
-Crystal

Harvey the Hero by Hrefna Bragadottir
Harvey dreams of being a hero. Stopping thieves! Putting out fires! Saving lives! Little does he know that his dream is about to come true! This picture book was so cute, I absolutely loved the underlying message in this book that teaches kids that you don’t need a cape to save the day. I love how Harvey is clumsy but in his clumsiness he actually is a hero lol this is a great picture book for kids aged between 4 and 6 years old. Many thanks to Allen and Unwin Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy on behalf of Nosy Crow Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie

Gary by Leila Rudge
A lovely picture book that’s wonderful to read to young children. This story is about a pigeon called Gary who spends most of his time eating and sleeping and dreaming of adventure because he’s the one pigeon who cannot fly. When his friends set off in their travel basket, Gary expects to stay at home, organizing his scrapbook of travel mementos and imagining far-off places but when he accidentally falls into the travel basket and ends up a very long way from home, he discovers that flying might not be the only way to have adventures. Such a creative story and the illustrations that depict a wondrous adventure were amazing. I highly recommend this to young readers in kindy or year 1. Noted on the CBCA list of reads for kids
Special thanks to Walker Books Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.

A Letter from Italy by Pamela Hart

 War is a terrible part of the worlds history but it’s a story that needed to be told. 
A beautiful heartbreaking story about the heroes of the war, the men and women who supported behind the scenes and the brave who reported it.
During a time when women’s rights were still a foreign concept in Italy Rebecca Quinn faced it all and all without her husband (who left her with little to no notice to go off chasing a story). I felt for her and cringed while she faced judgement from the men who still believed that women should just go tend their houses, my heart cried out for Sandro who I loved right until the final pages, my anger at Jack for leaving Rebecca to become so incredibly independent in a world that rejected such independence didn’t sit well with me and his betrayal of her trust was just the last straw. Rebecca showed that despite the fear and rejection she faced that she could still hold it together when it counted and could be courageous in the face of dangers that most women today wouldn’t imagine leaving themselves in a position to experience.
 An incredibly inspiring character and a story that melted my heart and gave me a new opinion of war themed books.
Many thanks to Hachette Publishers for the opportunity to read this Advanced Review Copy.
-Crystal

The Silent Invasion by James Bradley

“Heart-Poundingly-Un-Put-Downable!!!” (if there never was such a phrase, there is now after reading this book!!)

The Silent Invasion: Futuristic.. and.. Possible!!

Set approx. 10-20 years from today in real world Land Down Under (Australia), where Australia has fallen victim to the silent invasion of a bacteria.. or spores from space that has choked the earth killing plants and living things and has taken over mankind. In response to this invasion, cities are now in lockdown under martial law and Quarantine officers are authorised to capture those who have been infected and are going through the “Change”.

Callie is the protagonist in this story who will stop at nothing to save her little sister from being captured by Quarantine once she was in contact with the spores and has been on the run ever since. Their journey is a heart pounding one that really keeps you turning the page as they are fugitives of Quarantine, in hiding from their own family trying to get to a safe zone and have no idea who to trust. They are running through places that were once known as suburbia, but now known as “zones” facing walls and blockages upon every turn and having to throw themselves into hiding every time they see a drone hover nearby.

While reading this, I had a “Tomorrow when the war Began” meets “The Hunger Games” vibe and like the time I read John Marsden’s Tomorrow series, I couldn’t help but keep thinking “what if???” Yes.. I was thinking.. this sort of silent invasion is actually possible but as in a silent invasion of strains of flu getting worse/stronger each year or new diseases that appear out of nowhere as though someone has re-opened Pandora’s box. Who knows if Australia will end up like that and be subject to this sort of Quarantine. 

The book is written very well and keeps you hanging for more especially with the twist right at the end!!! This book is suitable to readers young and old alike and I highly recommend it to those who enjoy YA dystopia – or like me, who are a fan of the Tomorrow Series too!!! I really hope the sequel wont take too long to be released now…

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan Publishers for approaching me to be part of this reading/review tour and for sending me an advanced review copy in exchange for my review.

-Annie

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

“Existence is the gift. Life is a choice.”

Lyrical writing, incredible characters, intricate world-building and diverse themes!

As NJ and Annie embark on international travels, they embraced an international read along – special thanks to Netgalley for approving our Advanced Reader Copy request. This was one interesting read along from different parts of the world!!!

“The Lord of Wealth and Treasures Cordially Invites you to The Tournament of Wishes”… reading this novel is like being invited to a fairyland; it guarantees to be a magical, magnificent and awe-inspiring experience with lyrical writing that sparks your imagination. A Crown of Wishes follows the adventures of warrior princess Gauri and the cunning fox prince Vikram in the Tournament of Wishes to win their deepest hearts’ desires. This story is about so many things from self-discovery to the pursuit of power; vengeance and fear; choices and identity, desires and control, as well as love and sacrifice.  It’s an exciting premise for a YA fantasy novel and pays tributes to Chokshi’s previous novel The Star-Touched Queen. This book can be read as a stand-alone irrespective of whether you have or have not read The Star-Touched Queen. A Crown of Wishes has an otherworldliness feel to it and almost anything can happen in the magical, intriguing world of Alaka – at times, the story can be a little disorientating because of all the intricate stories interwoven into the larger story. The magical world of Alaka also follows a different set of rules than traditional fantasy worlds but adds new dimensions to the story. There’s just so much going on and so much to discover! In terms of characters, I enjoyed the hilarious banter between Gauri and Vikram, and Aasha’s story, they’re all characters that you can fall in love with. Overall it’s a great story worth reading.  I recommend this book for readers who loves books like Daughter of Smoke and Bones, Caraval and The Crown’s Game.

Other interesting quotes:

“Here’s how you kill: You stay silent, you make bargains that peel the layers off your soul one by one, you build a scaffolding of flimsy excuses and live your life on them. I may have killed to save, but I killed all the same.” – Roshani Chokshi, A Crown of Wishes

“The quest for power and treasure is a solitary one. Who else is the true enemy in such a quest but ourselves?” – Roshani Chokshi, A Crown of Wishes

“Humanity has nothing to do with what runs withough your veins or shows up on your skin.” – Roshani Chokshi, A Crown of Wishes

– NJ

NJ really sums this up nicely, to be honest I am not a fan of iBooks however I enjoyed this story during my plane ride and during extensive road travels. “A Crown of Wishes” is an intricately written, magnificent story that follows the journey of the heroine, Gauri who is in a world full of magical wonders and creatures of the deep. Lush world building and very imaginative, I was excited to read this after reading this author’s debut novel “The Star Touched Queen”. I found you can still read this as a stand alone regardless of some of the referencing to the first book. This book takes you into a whole new world with a very unique story line.. This is a really enjoyable and intriguing read that I recommend to all fans of YA Fantasy Fiction.

-Annie