Saturday, 30 July 2016

Launch: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff



On Friday night I was fortunate enough to attend the Melbourne launch of Nevernight, the newest offering from Jay Kristoff.

I'll be posting a review on Reading Lark next week, so I won't go into details but briefly, this is the story of Mia Corvere, whose family was destroyed for political reasons, leading to her vowing revenge. Mia trains as an assassin at the Red Church, the fiercest killers in the world, in order to take down those who executed her father and imprisoned her mother. First, she just has to survive the training.

Let's start with the cover. This is a thing of beauty. Those three coloured circles are more than that, they're the three suns that circle Mia's world.

If you look closely, the crow is not just a crow, you can see a cat, a noose, a phial of poison, a barrel, a dagger and so many other elements of the story. It really is magnificently done and represents the story beautifully. Well done to the cover artist and designer.



The Moonlight Dreamers by Siobhan Curham

Title: The Moonlight Dreamers
Author: Siobhan Curham
Publisher: Walker Books
Date of Publication: July 7th 2016
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Synopsis:


A inspirational, heart-warming book about four girls trying to find their place in the world. Siobhan Curham celebrates very different but like-minded friends in this captivating novel. 

Amber craves excitement and adventure. Instead, she’s being bullied at school for having two dads, and life at home isn’t much better. Inspired by Oscar Wilde, Amber realizes that among the millions of people in London, there must be others who feel the same as she does; other dreamers – moonlight dreamers. After chance encounters with Maali, Sky and Rose, Amber soon recruits the three girls to the Moonlight Dreamers. It’s high time they started pursuing their dreams, and how better than with the support of friends?


Review:

Four London girls come together at the invitation of Amber, who responds to her feelings of isolation by reaching out to others she thinks might be potential friends.

Monday, 18 July 2016

The Crown's Game

Title: The Crown's Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/Harper Teen
Date of Publication: May 17th 2016
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Synopsis:

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love... or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear... the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.




Review:



My first thought was that this book is reminiscent of The Night Circus - two magicians raised to compete with each other, who find themselves developing feelings for their competitor.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Monthly Round-Up - June


June wasn't a great month on a personal level, so not much blogging got done, and I only read 10 books for the month. I did post some reviews and features over on Reading Lark, but this little blog got neglected, something I'm going to try and remedy this month.

Here are the books I've read this month with ratings and mini-reviews.


Books read (with mini-reviews):



AliveAlive by Vanessa Garden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this and reviewed it over on Reading Lark. I'm looking forward to the second book to see what happens next.






Breathing Under WaterBreathing Under Water by Sophie Hardcastle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So beautiful. An exploration of grief and loss, self destruction and finding a way to move on. Full review to follow closer to release.






Looking for AlibrandiLooking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This completely passed me by when it came out, which is a great shame. I was 17 when it was published and really could have done with reading it then.

Now, I've spent the last few chapters sobbing.

This book should be a rite of passage for Australian teenagers, no matter their cultural background. It is as applicable today as it was 20 years ago. My full review is here.



Take You ApartTake You Apart by T.J. Spade
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a police procedural with a dash of the supernatural and a whole lot of romance. I found some of the violence a little much to deal with, but I really enjoyed the story and although it's the first of a series, the ending is wrapped up nicely and doesn't leave you hanging. The sequel is out now, keep an eye out for it.





The Blood in the Beginning (Ava Sykes, #1)The Blood in the Beginning by Kim Falconer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was really different. Ava Sykes is a bouncer living in post-earthquake LA. Much of the city as we know it is underwater, and those who survived are coping with a lack of resources and housing. Ava discovers that there is an underworld run by vampiric merpeople, and she's much more closely connected to them than she'd like. Trusting the wrong people could get her killed, and there's a serial killer on the loose who wants her to be his next target.




Saving FrancescaSaving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another wonderful book from Melina Marchetta, and another one I should have read years ago. Francesca is one of a group of girls who has started at a formerly all boys' school in Sydney. The girls' reception isn't as warm as they might like, and Francesca resents being separated from her friends, who have all gone to a different school. Her mother is suffering from depression, and how the family deals with this is a big part of the story. Francesca finds friends in unlikely places and learns to see herself without her friends acting as a mirror.



Ruined (Ruined, #1)Ruined by Amy Tintera
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyed this. Em poses as Mary, bride to Casimir, in order to exact revenge for the destruction of her family and her kingdom. The full review is on Reading Lark.





Whisper to MeWhisper to Me by Nick Lake


I don't know what I feel about this book yet. I need to process it a bit. A full review will follow. I don't even know how many stars to give it yet.







You Know Me WellYou Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two people run into each other on the first night of Pride in San Francisco and become firm friends. The week that follows binds them together as best friends. This is a celebration of being young and free to love, and eventually marry, whoever you want.




Girl Out of WaterGirl Out of Water by Nat Luurtsema
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a delight. Funny and original. A full review will follow.







Non-Review Posts on Reading Lark:

The reviews are linked to above but there was also Waiting on Wednesday: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Book Events:

My 5 year old went to her very first book launch, attending the launch of the delightful series for emerging readers, Ginger Green, Playdate Queen by Kim Kane.

The Crazy Friend was her favourite.