Monday, January 26, 2015

The Darkest Part of The Forest by Holly Black

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Available Now
YA/ Faerie/ Dark Fantasy/
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Hardback 336 pages
Personal Copy
To Buy Links- Amazon/ Kindle/ Audio CD/ Audible
BN/ BookDepository/ Indiebound/ Kobo

Goodreads Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

REVIEW
This is a story about the darker faeries. It reminds me of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely faeries. Capable of love and goodness, but tending toward their dark side, manipulating people and doing truly awful things. It's dark, almost gothic, but not set in a house rather a town, and the darkest part of the forest. It is a place that can be familiar and foreign in an instant and both Hazel and her brother Ben have spent their childhood there fighting the evil creatures that do evil things. But then they left.

The story starts with grown versions of Hazel and Ben and winds itself back to their childhood. It isn't a pretty journey, in the woods, nor at home. But Hazel and Ben make the best of things and find their happiness in the stories they weave about the boy in the glass coffin, the boy they both love. I can understand escaping into stories, especially fantasy. But their faeries are real.

Fairfold is interesting, reminding me of a Southern town that sweeps the ugly bits behind closed doors. Keeps it's secrets so that the tourists don't hear the stories, or if they do, they don't seem to care enough to stop visiting the boy in the forest. The town makes a lot of business off of the tourists. The faeries are good for business so they never say a word about the changeling boy that lives with his brother, the one the faeries tried to steal. They never mind leaving milk and other gifts out for the faeries until someone breaks the boy out of the coffin. Until the attacks on the locals begin. 

I love the way Holly Black takes a simple story, a family story, and explores it on several different levels.  The relationship between siblings, brother and sister, brother and brother, the relationship between parent and child- mother and children, father and children, and family. 

Hazel is the narrator and she is no girl to be rescued. She is smart, brave, and loyal. Hazel loves her brother and Fairfold enough to sacrifice herself if need be. She reminded me very much of the character in BEWARE THE WILD BY NATALIE PARKER, another girl that loved her brother so much, she went into a swamp to save her brother. This novel was just as atmospheric and held me spellbound as I read. 

It was refreshing to see a LGBT character or more that were just characters, complete characters, no stereotyping. So don't think of this as an issue book. It isn't. Imagine, a book with diverse characters and it isn't an issue book. How lovely! 

I highly recommend this novel to lovers of faerie tales, romances, family stories,  This is a great story with a lot of action, a lot of unique fae, and some interesting retellings of old stories. Holly Black includes some of her sources in the back and an interesting list of authors in her acknowledgements. There is some violence in the novel, not gratuitous but this is the fae in what some would call their truer form. They are teens so the usual teen shenanigans happening as far as drinking and thoughts about sex.

FIND HOLLY BLACK HERE



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Beware The Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Beware The Wild by Natalie C. Parker
Available Now
Harper Teen YA/Supernatural/Gothic
Hardback 327 pages
To buy links: Amazon/ Kindle/ BN/ Book Depository/
Indiebound/ Kobo

From Goodreads- It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed. Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her. 

There is a free PREVIEW of the first few chapters of this novel on the Goodreads page. It's what hooked me. Just the first page.


REVIEW

I am such a sucker for a story set in the South. One that just drips with Southern humidity and Spanish moss. That's what reminds me of home. I grew up in the South, swamps are as familiar to me as sunshine. Don't get me wrong, I don't go around stomping through them, but salt marshes precede the beaches I played on and you can hardly throw a rock without hitting a gator. So when I read the first page of this novel, pure poetry and so atmospheric, painting a picture and a warning all at once, I went on a hunt to find this book in a book store immediately.  This is a book I savored, reading bits of it at a time instead of devouring it. I just didn't want it to end. I was trapped in the story just as much as the characters were.

Sterling Saucier, what a name, right? And she lives in Sticks, Louisiana. Oh the alliteration.  The story begins with Sterling sizzling on her brother's car he lovingly restored. It is a week before school is out and her brother has disappeared after a fight with Sterling and their stepfather. One in which he got violent. It's all so hazy. Did he run away? Did he leave because of Sterling? Did he go into the swamp willingly? Does he want to stay there? Sterling starts feeling guilty. She's been starving herself over worry that Phin is going to leave her for college. He's always  been there to protect her. It sounds flimsy at first. A poor excuse for what at first sounds like the beginning of anorexia. But it isn't that. Not at all. I don't want to say much though I will assure you this is not an issue book. There is a romance, slow going, very sweet. The kind that happens in a small town between a boy and girl where everyone knows everyone else. 

This story is about the power of where you come from, how your roots never really leave you.  It's about the power of words, as a reader, you already know words have power. And I have to say that Natalie C. Parker is magical in the way she weaves words. The swamp is as much of a character as the people are playing a big role in the story. It's a mystery, something to be afraid of, beautiful, and fearsome. Books are written about the swamp, it's held back by a fence, the people of Sticks decorate the fence, and burn candles at the fence. 

Sterling is honest to a fault. I like her. Her view of the world is unclouded by judgement or jealousy. She is the epitome of the word love. She loves her family. She loves her friends. And she loves her brother.  She is flanked by her very logical friend Candy, her maybe boyfriend Heath and her sorta sister Lenora May. They make an interesting group whether together or apart.

I'm not doing a great job selling this book, so let me just say this, the language in this novel pulled me in and I found myself understanding so well what the character was saying. Here is one of my favorite passages. If you've ever lost someone, had a breakup, lost touch with someone, you'll understand.

Maybe it's easier to not know the little things. They're what hurts the most when they're gone. What does it matter that Phin loves old cars and painted that '68 Chevelle red because it's my favorite color? It doesn't matter a damn, but looking at that car in the driveway is a knife in the stomach; the guts of my relationship with Phin all cut open and rotting in the sun. I don't want to feel this way about someone else. I don't want to get so close that losing them means losing a piece of myself. (pp. 206-207)
I know what you mean Sterling. I know exactly what you mean.

 Find Natalie C. Parker 
Blog~ Tumblr~FB~Twitter-@nataliecparker

Thursday, January 8, 2015

ARRGH! by Stacey Campbell Blog Tour



arrghbanner
Thank you for stopping by my tour stop for ARRGH! by Stacey Campbell. This is a middle grade fantasy adventure and the tour runs January 5-9 with reviews, interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule!

About the Book:

ARRGH!  by Stacey Campbell, 270 pages

Forced to remain silent after being kidnapped by pirates Christopher must find a way to save an innocent merchant ship’s captain and his daughter from the evil grasp of Captain Redblade proving that friendship and family are worth fighting for no matter the costs.




Amazon | Goodreads | B&N | Book Depository | IndieBound




REVIEW
You know when you agree to do a tour book you never know what you are going to get. ARRGH is a true hidden gem! I loved this story! It's a quick easy read and perfect for young readers. But parents will enjoy reading it too. And you know, if you are a parent, that is sometimes hard to find, a book that is interesting to both you and your chapter reader. 

The story starts out with a young orphan, Christopher, escaping from his situation and finding himself in an even worse situation. He overhears the plans of some traitorous pirates and is discovered by them, dragged onto a ship and sets sail for the Caribbean from London. Even though he has to scrub the decks with sand and water and sleep on the hard floor in the cabin with one of these pirates, he makes the best of his situation. Soon he's friends with the captain's daughter even though he has to pretend to be mute. He has help from a talking mouse and monkey as he uncovers the plans of the pirates he overheard on the docks. The author doesn't waste words or time with unnecessary information. Descriptions are brief, we all can imagine a pirate just from the word. But what scrubbing the decks is, that is explained. The plot is good, an air of danger is always there, with a slight twist at the end. I'd love to see more adventures with Christopher and Lucy. But the story is completely resolved at the end so it is a stand alone. Still, the kids are great together and I'd love to see them again!

This novel is one I highly recommend for middle grade readers. The chapters are good size so a confident reader could read it on their own or a beginner reader could read it with someone else. It's a great story for boys, but there is nothing that makes it specifically a boy's story.

I received a copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:

Stacey R. CampbellStacey R. Campbell lives in the Pacific North West with her husband, three daughters, three dogs, and a pet turtle named Todd. She is a graduate of the University of Washington. At the age of seven Stacey was told that she would never be the writer she dreamed of being because she is dyslexic. Finally Stacey found that she could not look her children in the eyes and tell them that they could be what ever they wanted to be if she did not do the same. Now Stacey can’t stop writing and loves to help children pursue their own dreams. Stacey is the young adult author of Hush, A Lakeview Novel and Whisper, A Lakeview Novel. ARRGH! is Stacey’s first middle grade book.
For more books from this author, visiting information, and author events please visit Stacey at:

www.Staceyrcampbell.com


You can also learn more about Stacey R. Campbell on
Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest  | Goodreads



Giveaway:
$20 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
2 paperbacks of ARRGH! (US)
ebooks of ARRGH! (INT)
Ends Jan. 21, 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.







Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Golden Son by Pierce Brown (Red Rising Trilogy 2)

Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy 2) by Pierce Brown
Available Now
Random House/Del Rey
Hardcover 464 pages, Ebook 464 pages
YA/NA/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/
Received from publisher through NetGalley
First Book in the series- Red Rising

To buy links- Amazon/Kindle/BN/ Book Depository/ Indiebound/ Kobo
Goodreads- With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones,debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within. A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Songuarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.


REVIEW

**************YOU MUST READ RED RISING BEFORE YOU READ GOLDEN SON**********
***************THERE MAY BE SPOILERS FOR RED RISING, BUT NOT GOLDEN SON****

WELL THAT WAS A GORYDAMN GOOD WAY TO SPEND MY NEW YEAR'S EVE!!! Yes, I know how to live it up don't I!!! Tell me you aren't jealous (grin). After finishing GOLDEN SON, I felt like I had partied hard in Times Square. I definitely had a book hangover. Still have it. I cannot stop thinking about this book. So much, so, so much!!! How it only took a year for Pierce Brown to come up with THAT BOOK???

Okay, I'll try to say something coherent. Um...pride goeth before a fall. That is one big theme in this novel. But it isn't boring to see it played out. I'm not sure my adrenaline charged nerves could take much more. Oh and secrets. Yeah, do not tell your secrets to anyone, they will bite you in the backside. Oh, betrayal. Yes, there is a lot of betrayal. It's like the best, juicy, soap opera but with lots of violence and cool machines and weapons. I really don't go in for all the Sci-Fi gadgetry, but this stuff is so awesome. 

This is a series that gets better every time you read it. RED RISING broke my reading slump last year. I didn't have one this year since I started this year with GOLDEN SON! This is the type of book that you want to discuss with other people. You want to jump up and down and just say, "Yes and that part where..." and have someone else nod their head in agreement because they so get it even before you finish saying it. So someone, please tell me you've read this series and let's talk. Because that ending, did he really do that? I read it twice to make sure what happened really did happen. How could Pierce Brown do that? How? And then we have to wait another year? But oh, it was oh so sweet to have that ending. I mean, did I want that to happen? No, but the way Pierce Brown weaves his story back and forth in and out and through again. To lead to that ending. I can only end with, can I have the next one please?


Thanks to the publishers at Random House for an e-arc of this novel that I received through NetGalley. I received no compensation for this review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Find Pierce Brown On the Web here- BLOG~ FACEBOOK~  TWITTERINSTAGRAM

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!!




I have been very absent this last half of the year and I have missed you. I know I'm not the only one that has been cutting back or disappeared. Things happen. A lot of things have happened. My mom is 89 years old. She has dementia. Probably Alzheimer's but she hasn't had a formal diagnosis of it yet. Since July, she has had several bad falls, the last being the day before I left for Christmas. She broke her nose, had numerous stitches in her left arm and they glued her skin back together on her right arm. Her skin is very thin. No broken bones. For a woman of 89, you would never guess she is that old. She is very strong in body and determination. If you'd seen her last Tuesday and compared her to today you wouldn't believe she was the same woman. My mom has a powerful will to live. But it has taken it's toll on our family. I'm trying to see her as much as I can. It's hard as you can imagine. She lives in Florida, I live in North Carolina. The rest of my family including my sister live in Florida where my mom is, so she's lucky there. And so am I.

I am also trying to get into Grad School. Have I ever told you how much I hate math?? Yes, the GRE is kicking my butt right now. I have left everything to the last minute. I work well under pressure. Good thing!

But for you guys, anyone that reads this and might be going through a rough time, it's okay. Just stop, breathe, and keep on going. I have made new friends at Hope House where I volunteer. I have to say that if you don't volunteer anywhere and you need a lift up, it's the best thing you can do. I get more from helping people than they will ever get from me. I feel great joy and happiness these days, despite the declining health of my mom.

It's almost the New Year and time to share a toast with my husband. I hope you can find something inspiring in the words above as I do. And I want you to know that from the very tips of my toes to the top of my head, and whole heartedly, I wish you all bright and happy things, health and enough of everything to bring you peace through the coming year.

DFTBA

Happy New Year!!!


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