Release by Patrick Ness

A book of one day in the life of Adam Thorn, aged 17 and it’s a big day… Things go wrong, it’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches..

Annie and Bert team up for a “Release” read along!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed the read along I did with my friend, Bert.. a unique story in the sense that there were 2 storylines, one that follows Adam who is struggling to be true to himself due to his family’s beliefs and the other of a ghost – yet I’m not quite sure of the connection between the two, my theory is it’s somehow a metaphor for Adam’s inner struggle.. I found the book to be very conversational which contributed to how quick I read this book. There are parts of this story that make you laugh and cringe at the same time. I felt mixed emotions for the characters – you know it’s a good book when you have that sort of emotional reaction!!!
-Annie

I am oh so happy to have read this book! I read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and really didn’t like it, I just didn’t get the appeal of it. After having read that I thought that Mr. Ness and his books had no place in my life, this book however, was beautiful. Adam Thorn is one of the most interesting male characters I’ve read in a long time, usually I find books with a male lead character to be tiresome as I like reading books with females as the centre but Adam was really quite charming… Oh and Linus was completely GORGE with his “dancer butt.” The parts dealing with the ghost really confused me, while they are beautifully written I found them to be a little too vague, I don’t really know how they connect to the story of Adam. For me the book has redeemed Patrick Ness as a storyteller, I just might try some of his other books now. A great story, beautifully told that is reminiscent of some of the great 80s teen movies. Shout out to my friend Annie for giving me the reading copy and suggesting we do a read-a-long… Fun fun fun!!!
-Bert

Special thanks to Walker Books Publishers for sending us an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for our Honest Reviews.

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

“It’s easy to poke fun at the world and think yourself clever but it’s much harder to stand silent and endure…”

This story is about Henrietta Howel… The first female sorcerer… The prophesied one… Or is she?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her and as Henrietta “Nettie” discovers the secrets hiding behind the sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s truly the prophesied one.

A magical story of identity and wielding some awesome magic through the elements.

I Loved this read and I recommend this to fans of Harry Potter, magic and fantasy fiction.

Told in first person by the protagonist, “Nettie”, what I liked most about this book was the use of magic to control the elements in a world where magical talent wasn’t just with the wave of a wand (or stave)characters could wield power of the elements through your palms. What I also liked was the journey Nettie has had to take to discover herself and her talent, meanwhile learning of her true heritage and a prophecy that can set her on the trajectory to save the world – or destroy her. I really cannot wait for the sequel now as I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the character development, world building, style of writing and the storyline with twists and turns!!

-Annie

Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet

These are 2 books I read one after another – a new personal favourite, I am looking forward to book 3!!!

A Promise of Fire: Book 1
Catalia “Cat” Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. A smart-mouthed soothsayer, she has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar but when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice but to tap in to her power. Griffin, another character you meet, is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm and when he discovers Cat’s identity, he abducts her…
An addictive read, one that I couldn’t put down!!! A Promise of Fire is a beautiful way to start a series.
The characters know how to handle themselves and I wanted to know what happens to them next. The characters had the feelings that I’ve known them for a few years and that they were friends.

Breath of Fire: Book 2
Catalia “Cat” Fisa’s story continues as she’s been on the run from her destiny ever since she could crawl but now she’s caught between the shadow of her tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future..

As soon as I started to read Breath of Fire, I was immersed. The only put this book down once and that was to get a couple hours of sleep before I went to work. As soon as I was walking to the train station my nose was straight back into this world. I was ecstatic to be with Cat and Griffin and the other members of the Beta team, again. The relationships between all the characters have been growing. Their pasts are also coming out slowly coming to light. Magic, adventure, action, and the Greek Gods are all part of the fun.

Many thanks to Hachette Publishers for sending me a Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Meredith

Dragonkeeper by Carole Wilkinson

Dragonkeeper is the first book of a series that is set to be released as a big budget feature film animation!!!!

Dragonkeeper: The Book
Set in Ancient China (Han Dynasty), this story is about a slave girl who saves the life of an ageing dragon and escapes her brutal master. An adventurous read that can be enjoyed by children as young as 8 years old and even among adults such as myself, I find this to be a great family friendly read. The adventure continues as the slave girl and the dragon are pursued by a ruthless dragon hunter and they begin an epic journey across China full of magical and wondrous adventure, meanwhile carrying a mysterious stone that must be protected.

What I loved most about this book is the references to Chinese Mythology and a girl who defies her brutal master and does not accept life the way it is – she breaks down the barriers and finds strength within herself to make this perilous journey which I believe is sending a positive message to girls. Not to mention the adventure is a lot of fun!!

Dragonkeeper: The Movie
The movie is being produced by Dragoia Media, Movistar+, Atresmedia Cine and China Film Animation – a member of China Film Group which is the largest and most influential state owned film company in China.

The script has been written by Ignacio Ferreras, Rosanna Checchini, Pablo Castrillo, Carole Wilkinson (author of Dragonkeeper) and Xiamping Wang.

The film will be directed by Ignacio Ferraras and co-ordinated by Zhang Bo.

Scheduled for release: late 2019/early 2020.

Many thanks to Walker Books for providing me with an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest 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

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

“If you don’t believe in the world, and if there is no love in it, then everything is phony.” – Murakami 1Q84

A mysterious, strange but intriguing read … 4 Stars!

Books 1-3 review:

When they say that Murakami writes profoundly complex novels, I think I’ve got a glimpse of this reading 1Q84.  This was a long read and it has left me contemplating the meaning behind the story and how to decipher the various elements in the story like the Air Chrysalis, the Maza and Dohta, and the insistent NHK collector symbolism (just to name a few). It’s intriguing and unique compared to anything I’ve read before and leaves me wanting more explanations behind the story. It actually feels like you’re a part of the story and similarly to the characters, you end up having more questions than answers about the world of 1Q84. The writing is very matter of fact (like reading non-fiction) but strangely creative because of the world within a world, story within a story premise. I would say that reading this novel is like going on a strange roller coaster ride in the dark, you don’t know where it’s taking you, it’s intriguing enough for you to stay for the ride. I think this novel defies traditional categorisation; it can be seen as a dystopian sci-fi since it’s set in a parallel universe, and fantasy because the world has two moons with supernatural Little People coming out of a dead goat, a thriller because one of the main characters is an assassin and is getting hunted by a cult. There’s also a major romance angle… This book has so much going on, yet leaves very little explanation on why it happens, you must simply accept the story for what it is. The one thing that screams loud and clear however from the novel is the exploration of loneliness experienced by all the characters. I really felt for the characters because they live in such a lonely world, perhaps not so different to ours. There are a few nuggets of wisdom to be discovered in the story if you have the patience to read it. I recommend this book for curious readers who likes complex, thought-provoking and nuanced reads. This is not a read for the faint-hearted or for readers who likes a fast-paced plot.

Some other interesting quotes from the book:

“Unless you die once, you won’t be reborn.” Tengo confirmed. “But people face death while they’re still alive.”

“Where there is light, there must be shadow, and where there is shadow there must be light. There is no shadow without light and no light without shadow…It is as evil as we are positive… the more desperately we try to be good and wonderful and perfect, the more the Shadow descends to hell and becomes the devil. For it is just as sinful from the standpoint of nature and of truth to be above oneself as to be below oneself.”

– NJ

 

 

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

“When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?” – Graceling, Kristin Cashore

5 stars! Heart pounding and heart warming read! 

Graceling is a dynamic, action-packed read. I liked the concept of a medieval fantasy world containing individuals born with special abilities known as Graces, which is both deadly and exploited. I feel that the author has put a lot of thought into the world and the main character Katsa, who had to come to terms with her grace (the grace of killing) and her identity. I loved all the elements in the story from world building, the quests, characters, dialogue, plot and themes about individualism and independent choices. The story had the right mix of pace, interesting abilities and unforgettable characters that stays with you until the last page. I enjoyed the coming-of-age aspects of Katsa’s character, the highlight for me was seeing her character grow and confidence in making her own choices. For the romantics, the romance element was endearing, heartwarming and memorable – Po is a charming, incredibly caring and courageous character deserving of our protagonist’s love, read it and tell me if you feel the same! I also didn’t see all the twists and turns, but for the few that I did see – I had to read on and see if my theory held. I want to thank Jacky who told me about this marvellous novel. 

– NJ

Click here to read the book blurb on Goodreads

Other interesting quotes:

“Katsa sat in the darkness of the Sunderan forest and understood three truths. She loved Po. She wanted Po. And she could never be anyone’s but her own.”

“How absurd it was that in all seven kingdoms, the weakest and most vulnerable of people – girls, women – went unarmed and were taught nothing of fighting, while the strong were trained to the highest reaches of their skill.”

“It seems better to me for a child to have these skills and never use them, than not have them and one day need them,” she said.