Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

The jacket blurb says it all: “the soul’s ability to connect outside the bounds of reason.”

subway loveIn the mind and time-bending novel about love, Laura boards a subway in the 1970s and ends up in a parallel New York City years in the heyday of the graffiti bedlam when authorities scrubbed away subway car art almost as fast as it was painted. She meets Jonas and an instant connection snaps between them. What I appreciate is that Baskin never editorializes on the bizarre connection through time and space. It just is. Laura endures a bizarre hippy mother, her abusing boyfriend, a mean brother and a distant father. The connection with Jonas is really the only positive connection in her life. He convinces her to confide all her hurts to her father. Their effervescent love story continues while their tagger friend, Zan, an artist of the subways, is planning the most expansive tag of the city: decorating an entire train with his art in one night. Laura and Jonas and Zan all seem to understand the almost reverent experiences they are enveloped in.  Read it!  Romance readers will adore it. Quirky story readers will love it.

(Having just attended a seminar on tagging, I now wonder if Zan contracted cancer later on. The toxic cleanser used by the city killed many of the taggers of the 80s).

Nora’s Website  baskin

“The Ascendance Trilogy” Book One is a winner!  A disgruntled baron of a faraway land is plotting an ingenious coup.  He is gathering four orphan boys, training them, choosing the best, and killing the rest, to impersonate the king and queen’s missing son.  Sage, our narrator and witty protagonist, is one of the orphans, with the cheek of Disney’s Aladdin.  He is also extremely disinterested, even bored with the baron’s tutelage.  But the three surviving boys keep training, some driven with malice and ambition. A warring baron attacks the training castle, knowing that something is afoot.   The story heats up as they all arrive at the castle to reveal that the long lost son is alive!  As good as the Ranger’s Apprentice series, and cannot wait for Book Two!

Jennifer’s Website

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Posted: June 2, 2012 in abuse, Fantasy

Bitterblue is a young and naive queen who gradually learns about the horrors of her father’s reign.  Bored by the endless paperwork piled on by her father’s four advisors, there is little time left in each day.  Bitterblue’s nocturnal escapes into the underbelly of her oppressed city gives her the strength to learn her role as queen and to uncover the pain shared by her advisors and kingdom.  Po and Kai from the previous novels of Graceling and Fire join her in the creepy castle.  The horrors inflicted by King Leek even scars the reader.  If there is ever a novel that shows the effects of a powerful and evil leader on an entire nation, Bitterblue is it.  Though disturbing, this book can be devoured by itself, but I am sure you will want to read all three novels.
Kristin’s Blog

Once again in pursuit of the Outsiders, Halt, Will and Horace become the hunted by the assassins. Halt is in peril as he is hit by an arrow. It is only a small wound and he begins to mend until riding the next day when everyone discovers that the arrow is tipped with poison. They are in the middle of a wilderness, away from any help. Will and Tug race to bring the healer Malcolm to create a concoction to save him. The only problem is that one cure will heal, one will kill. The key is the assassin. Great adventure! Waiting for the tenth episode!

ENDERS’ Rating: *****

Ranger’s Apprentice Website (takes a while to load)

Tiffany the witch: when I read about her I really want to be one! She has all the great attributes of someone who really loves and serves the people around her. She is tolerant and forgiving of little blue warriors nudging into her affairs, privacy and banquets. She is loyal to old friends even when they are not loyal to her. She faces her enemies head-on. I like this 16 year old girl/witch! In the fourth and last novel about Tiffany and her wee blue men and kenda, she attacks dark acts of violence at home and faces the ultimate darkness that is searching to destroy her. Luckily the Wee Free Men lighten the heaviness of the dangers for the readers. They know that they have to watch out for their “wee big hag o’ the hills.” As Tiffany prepares for the ultimate showdown with the darkness closing in on her, she discovers secrets about Roland’s bride to be and her mother. She administers to his father, the Baron. In a strange turn of events involving fire and a hare she saves the day for herself, Roland, and her hills. I wish there were a fifth novel!

Terry was just awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from AASL and he has received numerous honors in the UK.

Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. He spoke to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust Conference in the UK earlier this year, where he donated $1 million to aid Alzheimer’s research.

ENDERS’ Rating: *****

Terry’s website

This is indeed a “Wicked Lovely” book, fourth in the series. I must admit that it is the first one I have read, and that crippled my reading for the first few chapters. Once I allowed myself entry into this fantastical world, I was hooked. This novel spotlights Ani, hound daughter of Gabriel, and a halfling who is becoming more and more fey all the time. I was confused as to her age, as at the beginning of the story she appears to be a tween, the she suddenly is passionately involved with Devlin, who has been instructed to kill her. But Devlin is smitten and decides to protect Ani instead. Marr fans know that the cast of characters consist of some nasty scary-fairies, Sorcha and Bananach. The latter is never satisfied unless there is war in the worlds, and she is out to create the biggest in this novel. I would love to sketch her. What fairy’s wings drip with blood? How is that for a visual? Ani becomes a strong female lead and with Devlin the “Bloodied Hands” of the fey, saves the fairy world and all its inhabitants from vaporizing from the lack of opposition balance between the queens. Devlin and Ani (with Rea inside of Ani) become the new king and queen to restore balance to the kingdom. There are lots of avenues for the plot of Darkest Mercy released spring of 2011. The Devlin/Ani/Rae triangle will be interesting to see played out as well as the outcome of the new power structures. And what will Bananach do to those humans?

ENDERS’ Rating: ****

melissa marr’s website

This alphabetical almanac will certainly find its niche with Inheritance readers! I like the personal facts about Chris and his family interspersed throughout. It is easy on the reader’s eyes. The book is a great resource to keep the names of characters straight, particularly if it has been a while since the reader has actually read the trilogy. And now is the time to complain that my Eragon readers are very sad that no fourth novel in the series has appeared! They were promised a fourth novel at the end of Brisingr and it is time to bring it on! But wait dragon fans! Chris is releasing sneaky hints about book four on Hurray!

ENDERS’ Rating: ****

Chris’ Website

Here is a Sherlock-Holmes-ish steampuck novel that needs another episode right now. Mr. Socrates rescued a hunchback infant from a traveling side show, raises and educates him, names him Modo, and trains him to be a shape-shifting super spy. Then he dumps Modo out onto the streets of London at age fourteen for an assignment. Modo is to discover the reason behind the disappearances of street children, and others, including Prince Albert (but not in a can). Modo teams up with another Socrates protégé, Octavia Milkweed and they descend into the murky underground of London to discover the horror that Dr Hyde has created. The array of evil are vivid characters. The evil Dr Hyde disappears to surface another day. Can Modo morph into his princely figure long enough to enchant Olivia? We shall see. The Dark Deeps, second in the series, was just released, just when we thought Victorian London was safe.

ENDERS’ Rating: *****

Arthur’s Website

A titch of a spoiler…

Lily has a major crush on the swim team phenom, Brody, and conspires with a questionable ally, Quince, to set up a rendezvous with Brody to declare her love that she has suffered with for the three years since living with her Aunt Rachel in Seaview.

What is a mermaid to do when her magical kiss goes astray? Lily is like many girls, not realizing that some boys show their love by being irritating. Quince, the great irritating one, ends up with more of an adventure than he bargained for with so-not-into-you Lily. Once back in the kingdom of Thalassinia, Lily ends up making a choice that she had not bargained for. I must admit that I entered the story a “been there, done that” attitude, foreseeing a YA novel remake of Splash. But I was pleasantly surprised and entertained. I think this will be as popular as Oh My Gods and Goddess Boot Camp. There is a sequel coming in 2011, Fins are Forever. Pun intended.

ENDERS’ Rating: ****

Tera’s Website

Book eight’s exploits of Halt, Will and Horace kept me reading long after “lights out.” In this novel a power-hunger cult slides into villages of Clonmel warning the people of marauding bands of murderers whom their god, made of gold with the villagers’ riches, will expel from the land. Of course the hooligans and the head priest and his henchmen are in kahoots. But their performances are quite terrifying and convincing. Halt sees through the scam and leads the Will and HOrace to his homeland of Clonmel to restore the kingdom one local king at a time. With battles, stratagems and stealth they face their enemies. A logical and smooth ending is a perfect segue to book nine of this Gallic-style fantasy series. And who doesn’t love horses who telepathically communicate with their riders?

ENDERS’ Rating: ****

Ranger’s Apprentice Website (takes a while to load)