Longbourn: Dragon Entail: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Maria Grace

This is the sequel to Book 1: Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon

In this story, Darcy thought his problems were over when Pemberley hatched and successfully imprinted on humans. But baby dragons prove far more difficult than any dragon lore prepared him for. Only Elizabeth Bennet’s notes offer him any help. Elizabeth, though, has problems of her own. After the Bennet family dragon sent Pemberley away, life at Longbourn was supposed to return to normal… or so they thought..

Dragons.. Dragons and more Dragons..

Misunderstandings got cleared up – Collins got threatened by quite a few dragons in “Longbourn: Dragon Entail”. I am so hoping that they follow through in the next book. Collins is still a massive pain in the arse – please let him get eaten.

Meanwhile, Pemberley is growing up, she’s even started throwing a couple of tantrums.

A great Jane Austen meets Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern.  A must read for fans of Pride and Prejudice and those who love alternate stories and retellings..

-Meredith

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The Wonderling by Mira Bartok

A beautiful middle grade steampunk fantasy adventure story…

This story is set in the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. An institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music.

For the innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like eleven-year-old with only the number 13 etched on a medallion around his neck and does not have a name, this place is the only home he has ever known but unexpected courage leads him to an unexpected friendship and the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives him two amazing gifts: a real name “Arthur” like the good king in the old stories and friendship. From here, they embark on an excitingly scary adventure that will take them out into the wider world and down the path of Arthur’s true destiny.

This was such a wonderful book to read. So beautifully written and just so heartwarming. It brought back memories of my childhood when I embraced The Chronicles of Narnia – the friendships formed in the “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” as well as the characters and adventure. This is a middle grade fantasy fiction story however an adult can really enjoy this. A fantastic tale of courage, friendship and adventure with amazing illustrations that really brings the story to life. It’s one collectable you will want to keep on your shelf forever and a story you will want to read over and over again.

Special thanks to Walker Books Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie

 

It Came from the Deep by Maria Lewis: Exclusive Blog Tour

Best selling Australian Author, Maria Lewis – author of the Who’s Afraid? series is back with an epic novel “It Came from the Deep” due for release as an e-book by the end of October 2017!!!

“It Came From the Deep” Synopsis
An elderly professor is murdered, leaving a puzzling crime scene for police to unravel and a laboratory housing all kinds of marine life. But something is missing … something huge. Recent highschool graduate Kaia Craig has problems of her own, with her career as an ironwoman on the Gold Coast in jeopardy after a horrific accident. Yet someone wants to hold her accountable. After nearly drowning in Lake Pelutz and her attackers on the run, Kaia is left with more than just physical injuries. She’s convinced she saw something in the depths of the lake: something that choose to spare her. Uncertain whether she’s running towards the discovery of a friend or foe, Kaia begins digging into a mystery that may have bigger ramifications than she or any of her friends can fathom. It Came From The Deep is a thrilling combination of young adult and science fiction from the author of the critically acclaimed Who’s Afraid? series, Maria Lewis

Maria has also created a whole song list for “It Came From The Deep” Here is the playlist on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/1242659949/playlist/2vymlNzXCwFoOGjsvXoqI1

Exclusive Q&A with author Maria Lewis

What was your inspiration to write “It Came From the Deep?”
In the same way my first book Who’s Afraid? is a flip on the Universal movie monster classic The Wolf Man, I have always wanted to do a spin on the Creature From The Black Lagoon meets The Little Mermaid. That is to say, switching up the gender roles and having a woman discover a merman. The idea of a male ‘mermaid’ is always played for laughs (Zoolander, the upcoming Splash remake with Channing Tatum) so I was intrigued to see if I could do it as a proper sci-fi mystery targeted at a YA audience. I’ve never written a YA book before, but I’m a massive fan of the genre and wanted to see if I could contribute something.

How did you come up with the characters for this story?
For over a decade I was an iron woman competitor and raced in surf sports across events like board, surf ski, iron woman, surf race etc. It’s a world I spent a lot of time in and one that several of my close friends are still submerged in on a professional level. It’s such a classically Australian pastime, yet it’s also something that has a burgeoning global community. It just seemed like an interesting, untapped world to try and set a story within – especially a YA story. The characters are a product of that lifestyle and very different from the ones readers have met in my previous works. I’m keen to see how people respond to them, as I had a blast getting to live with Kaia Craig and her posse for as long as I have been.  

Did you apply the same writing process as you did for your “Who’s Afraid?” Series?
My process for Who’s Afraid? was all around building a world for the central protagonist – Tommi Grayson – as she’s what I had first. She very stubbornly wouldn’t jump out of my head until I gave her something to play with. Whereas It Came From The Deep was based an idea that I had, so in this case it was about fleshing out the concept and seeing if I could execute it. The latter rather than the former is usually how I work, as I have a clear idea or set of themes that I want to communicate going in to it. The stories are written in a way to facilitate that. 

While you were writing this story, did anything specific or crazy happen while you were writing that resonates with you as part of your writing journey experience? For example you’re hanging out with friends suddenly an idea hits you and you’re scrambling for a notepad til you bump into the waiter spilling the drinks?
Ha, no nothing like that happened – my life is not a Kate Hudson rom-com where I’m tripping over hunks while trying to chase my professional pursuits.

Will this be a stand alone or a series?
I’ve been getting asked that question a lot and I always intended It Came From The Deep to be a standalone story – just one novel. However, the more this question has come up the more ideas I’ve had for how the adventure can continue and where it might go. It honestly depends if people like what I’ve done first time round and whether there’s an audiences for it. 

Who’s Afraid? Is turning into a TV series (kudos) do you see this one hitting the screens?
Firstly, thank you! I’m super excited about the Who’s Afraid? TV series and we’ve been working really hard on it. As for an It Came From The Deep screen adaptation … I don’t know, that decision is honestly out of my hands. It all depends on who reads it and how they respond to the book. With Who’s Afraid? we were approached by some serious people very quickly who saw the potential for a television version, so it would all come down to whether someone with the power and the resources read It Came From The Deep and was like ‘heck yeah, I want to see that’. Hypothetically it would be a lot easier show or movie to shoot than Who’s Afraid? as it’s a much more self-contained story. But again, I guess we’ll see what happens.  

Connect with Maria Lewis!!!
Twitter: @MovieMazz
Email: maria@marialewis.com.au
Website: marialewis.com.au (for further info on obtaining your copy of “It Came From the Deep”)

Many thanks Maria for chatting to Read3r’z Re-Vu again, we love your work and always love catching up with you.. Also, congrats on the release of “It Came From The Deep” we are all looking forward to reading it!!!

-Watch this space.. review for “It Came From The Deep” to come-

Blog Tour post and Interview compiled by Annie

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix

The Last Thing She Needs Is a Prince – The First Thing She Needs Is Some Magic

Advanced Review Copy Blog Duet with Annie and Sarah S. rating this book 4.5 Stars!!

Frogkisser!
Princess Anya is forced to live with her evil stepmother’s new husband, her evil stepstepfather. Plagued with an unfortunate ability to break curses with a magic-assisted kiss and forced to go on the run when her stepstepfather decides to make the kingdom entirely his own. Aided by a loyal talking dog, a boy thief trapped in the body of a newt, and some extraordinarily mischievous wizards, Princess Anya sets off on a Quest to hopefully free her land and teach her a thing or two about the use of power.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this fun retelling of “The Tale of the Frog Prince”. The story was full of fun adventure that would instigate the fright, magic and humour of readers of all ages. Frogkisser! starts out with detailed world building that really shapes your understanding of the protagonist, Princess Anya, rightful heiress to the throne, who, like me, would rather spend her days in the library reading and expanding her knowledge however she is approached by her sister, Morven, who begs Anya to help her get her beloved prince back once he was transformed into a frog by their evil stepstepfather who is attempting to usurp the throne. Reluctantly, Princess Anya agrees and what do you know – Princess Anya must embark on a Quest in an attempt to create a lip balm that will give Princess Anya’s lips the strength to kiss frogs back to human life. I loved the imagination the author put into creating such interesting human and non human animals and the way the land was built and told to the reader was so intricate, it really places you there. I also enjoyed the amusing quest Princess Anya had to endure – when focusing on one goal, she’s roped into several.  I also found the story brought back fond memories of my childhood and my love for Fairytales and elements of “The Wizard of Oz”. Frogkisser! is very well written, very imaginative with such innocent adventure, I would most probably read this again. I recommend this to fans of fairytales of all ages!!!
-Annie

Frogkisser covers familiar fantasy ground: an evil step-parent, a princess in a tower, a frog transformed into a prince, a fearsome creature in the castle moat and a threat to the rightful succession of the throne. Fortunately, Garth Nix takes these basic ingredients and transforms them into a surprising and whimsical tale, which thwarts readers’ expectations in nearly every respect. Our protagonist is Anya, the second-oldest princess of Trallonia, who is much concerned with her burgeoning education in sorcery and would like nothing more than some quality time in the library. Anya’s studies are sadly interrupted by a request from her sister (Morven, the crown princess on the cusp of coronation) to turn a frog back into a handsome prince, the result of their evil stepfather’s interference. What should have been the work of an afternoon unfolds into a much larger quest to reunite a divided kingdom and return civil rights to the people. The book offers strong growth of its protagonist as well as welcome and necessary representation of women in traditionally male roles, such as wise wizards, knights, leaders and heralds. Frogkisser is appropriate for audiences from 8-88 years, providing all of the magic, friendship, excitement and charming animal companions any child could ask for. The prose style also has shades of Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynn Jones, and with its many subversions of classic fantasy tropes adult readers will find much to enjoy here.
-Sarah S.

Special thanks to Allen & Unwin Publishers for sending us an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for our honest review.

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

4.5 stars – A riveting and imaginative story of enchantments, love and death duel.
Special Blog Trio: NJ, Annie and Amanda

Just finished this book, my first thoughts were: it’s so imaginative and I wish magic actually exists in our world. When I picked up this book, I was pondering what could be more badass than an enchanter and an enchantress battling an ancient magical duel (to the death) for the position of Imperial Enchanter? It did not disappoint. With a heart pounding love story thrown in, it was the perfect concoction and intoxicating mix of magic, illusions, passion, betrayals and enchantments. Let’s face it, the battle is not simply one of magic, but of each characters’ internal battle for what they meant to do versus what is right for them. I loved all the creative elements, the otherworldliness of alternate Russia. I also liked Vika, Nicholas and Pasha’s internal conflict and choices. The story has just enough foreshadowing for it make sense and stay unpredictable, setting up for the next book. The ending was unexpected but kept me at the edge of my seat. It’s an unputdownable, enchanting read.
– NJ

This book was amazing from start to finish I really could not put this book down!!! Such a magical read and very well written, this book is set in alternate Russia where there is only room for one enchanter, as such, The Crown’s Game was founded in order for eligible enchanters to engage in a magical duel to the death where only one enchanter remains and victorious, becomes the Crown’s magical advisor. However, it wasn’t all about casting spells to kill the other, I loved how enchantments could be cast to develop an island and give the opponent illusions you wouldn’t think possible. Yes, there was a bit of romance thrown in there however it was so cleverly weaved into the story line that didn’t have me rolling my eyes.. This book was bombshells galore, just when you thought you were onto something – bam – something else is thrown at you.. This had me on the edge of my seat – a real page turner – by the end it was all “the feels”… I still have unanswered questions and I look forward to the next instalment!!! 5 stars.. 10/10.. such a GREAT read!!!
-Annie

The Crown’s Game is a magical duel between two enchanters set in an alternate historical Russia. The magic and the premise of the duel and the premise of the duel had me intrigued from the beginning. Waiting to see how the enchanters would one-up each other by displaying their magical skill was the highlight for me. I also really enjoyed the two main characters: Vika and Nikolai. I found they were both interesting and I wasn’t sure who I want to win the duel. I didn’t really enjoy the romantic storylines in this novel though as I am not a fan of insta-love – where characters fall in love too soon and you don’t buy it because there wasn’t enough development. I found all of the romantic relationships in this story were insta-love – some like insta-love, some like me aren’t big fans of it. However, overall, I highly recommend this story due to the intriguing magical duel. The alternate Russia created was a really fun world to escape into.
-Amanda

Special thanks to Harper Collins Publishers for sending us an Advance Review Copy in exchange for our honest review

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

An elegant story I rate 4 stars

The year is 1241, set in a place, Provensa, which is now known as Provence, France – a place recovering from bloody crusades between the Catholic Church and northern French armies and a time where women are expected to be compliant and quiet. An interesting approach, this story follows a young lady by the name of Dolssa whose unusual gift of having a special connection with a biblical prophet sees her try to remain righteous and carry out her work to bring people to ‘believe’. Her work however, is seen as challenging status quo, as such, she is on the run from an obsessed friar who is determined to burn her as a heretic for the passion she refuses let go.

A very well written and witty story, the story starts off with careful and intricate world building then continues to the main plot. Quite interesting and thrilling as you follow the ‘chase’ that winds up in a village full of murderers.

Special thanks to Harper Collins Publishers for sending me an advance review copy in exchange for my review.

-Annie

The Wave in the Mind: Talks & Essays on the Writer, the Reader & the Imagination by Ursula K. Le Guin

 5 stars!  A book that changes the way you think.

“We will not know our own injustice if we cannot imagine justice. We will not be free if we do not imagine freedom. We cannot demand that anyone try to attain justice and freedom who has not had a chance to imagine them as attainable.” – Le Guin

Thoughtful, profound and inspiring. I found Le Guin’s voice to be refreshing, present and ever so relevant in today’s society for authors and readers alike. Topics explored include (but not limited to): imagination, family life, beauty, society, oppression, feminism, reading and writing. Le Guin’s progressive and well thought-out perspectives and critiques are insightful, honest, delightful and empowering to read. I absolutely loved “Being taken for granite”, “Unquestioned assumptions”, “The question I get asked most often”, “My libraries” and “All happy families.” Highly recommended if you’re after an interesting, inspiring and provocative read.

Another interesting quote:

“…And why? In order to imply that happiness is easy, shallow, ordinary; a common thing not worth writing a novel about? Whereas unhappiness is complex, deep, difficult to attain, usual; unique indeed; and so a worthy subject for a great, a unique novelist? Surely that’s a silly idea. But silly or not, it has been imposingly influential among novelists and critics for decades.” – Le Guin

Click here for the book blurb on Goodreads.

– NJ