Book Review: The Wolf by K.R. Thompson.


Title: The Wolf
Author: K. R. Thompson
Published: July 24th 2014
Publisher:
Disclosure: I was sent this for review.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Before the legend of the Keepers, came the story of the Wolf.

Once upon a time, there lived a man whose fate would rest with two sisters. One will hold his heart. With her, he will find a love that will last forever, though it will come with a price.

From the other sister, he will learn fortitude as he discovers that she holds the power to destroy all he holds dear. For as easily as one sister captures his heart, the other will trap his soul.

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Captivating and enticing from the first word, I was instantly hooked, and swept away in this story. There is a beautiful and authentic narration within this short and I really loved how it kept true to the Native American voice. The characters were well developed, their love and attraction real. I really fell for their love story, and the pain was so real when they were ripped apart. The Wolf is a prequel to Ms. Thompson’s upcoming Keepers series, and I have to say I’m really intrigued. Being a prequel it is a short read, but there’s romance, mystery, revenge, and one of my all time favorite things, shifters. Each page is worth it, and it doesn’t drag or linger too long on one thing. The history of the shifters is presented here, and it’s so neat to to see the world building so carefully tended.

Overall: pink5 A brilliant introduction to what will be an amazing series. Chock full of history and captivating details. It read more like an old folk story told around a campfire.

Book Review: Every Breath by Ellie Marney


Title: Every Breath
Author: Ellie Marney
Published: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Tundra Books.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
When James Mycroft drags Rachel Watts off on a night mission to the Melbourne Zoo, the last thing she expects to find is the mutilated body of Homeless Dave, one of Mycroft’s numerous eccentric friends. But Mycroft’s passion for forensics leads him to realize that something about the scene isn’t right–and he wants Watts to help him investigate the murder.

While Watts battles her attraction to bad-boy Mycroft, he’s busy getting himself expelled and clashing with the police, becoming murder suspect number one. When Watts and Mycroft unknowingly reveal too much to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion’s den–literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning to Rachel Watts again…

picadillypink Where to begin? I am undeniably, head over heels for this book. It’s not fair for me to review it, because my review is going to be filled with lots of squeeing and whining that I need the second in my hands right.this.instant. And the fact that there’s a third book in the works? Sign me up for more please.

Okay, down to business. Every Breath is a strong, brilliantly crafted character driven novel. There is mystery, action, intrigue and good old fashioned sleuthing involved but the thing that drew me into this novel, and has me going crazy for the sequels? The characters. Mycroft and Watts are two of the most tangibly written characters I’ve come across, and it’s damn near perfect. They’ve been friends for a few months, and we’re dropped right into the middle of their friendship. It’s real, believable–not forced, nothing strained. There’s no in-jokes that we’re supposed to somehow figure out on our own. Their friendship is real. Watts bringing Mycroft supper because she knows he forgets to eat is something that stuck with me early on in the book. They take care of each other in the only ways that they know how to. There is a spark between them, that is more than friendship, but doesn’t detract from the original relationship that they have with each other. Speaking of chemistry, these two have it in spades, and I very much want to smoosh them together and declare everything happy and sunshine and kittens.

The plot is carefully constructed, unfolding as the story progresses nicely. The pacing is really great, not too slow, and not giving everything away all at once. It’s subtle storytelling at it’s best and it’s something that I really love in a mystery book. Coming back to the characters, I really love what Ms. Marney did, in keeping the teenage aspect to it. They’re disturbed and rattled by the murder of Mycroft’s friend. They make mistakes, they have nightmares, they’re shaken and rattled by things that they discover. They’re smart kids, but the base of it is, they are kids. Their investigation is their own, and they figure things out without it coming off as contrived or handed to them.

There are parallels to Sherlock Holmes-don’t let that deter you from reading this book/series. Every Breath is that good. It’s quickly become one of my favorite books that I’ve read, and it’s one that I’m going to have a very hard time restraining myself from literally throwing it at people and going “READ THIS”. (Yes, I have done this before, and it’s more common than I’d like to admit.) These characters are their own beasts, and their story is beautifully written and unique.

Overall If I could give this more than five umbrellas I could. If I could read the next two books in the series right this instant I would. Read this book. Read it and come and talk to me about it. *Thank you Tundra Books for gifting me a copy of Every Breath.

Book review: Snow in July by Kim Iverson Headlee


Title: Snow in July
Author: Kim Iverson Headlee
Published: July 7, 2014
Publisher: Pendragon Cove Press

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate’s Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people’s lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady.

Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother. Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman…unless it snows in July.

Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman “squire.” But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.

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I am so very much in love with this story. The author weaves a tight, complex story full of details and lovely images. The narration makes this so believable and it really transported me into the story. Robert is one of my favorite male characters I’ve read in a while. Kendra holds her own in the story against Robert and as her own character. The story is tightly woven, full of mystery and intrigue. It’s fast paced and kept my attention throughout, and I found myself wanting more–not that the story was unfinished, but I didn’t want it to end.

There’s magic, fantastical beasts, great characters, amazing story telling and a pair of star-crossed lovers, who so desperately need to be together. There’s something for everyone in this book, and I cannot recommend it enough. I’m really glad I took a chance on it, I’ve fallen in love with it.

Book Review: Displaced Persons by Derek McCulloch


Title: Displaced Persons
Author: Derek McCulloch
Published: February 15, 2009
Publisher: Image Comics

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
From the Eisner-nominated creators behind Tori Amos’ Comic Book Tattoo comes Displaced Persons, the story of a uniquely twisted and tragic family history spanning the most turbulent hundred years in the history of mankind – the twentieth century saw 99 wars, 19 pandemics, 14 genocides, and one family lost hopelessly in time!

Courtesy of banners04

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I wanted to like this, with splashy art and an interesting story line. I couldn’t get past the bad narrative, slurs and random inconsistencies. I figured there would be a bit of offensive tone to this story considering the blurb, but it’s tasteless and really not something anyone should read. I can’t recommend this at all. Frankly I’m disappointed that I finished it.

Book Review: Bleach Volume 60 by Tite Kubo


Title: Bleach Vol. 60 Everything but the Rain.
Author/Artist: Tite Kubo
Published: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Viz

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Ichigo Kurosaki never asked for the ability to see ghosts—he was born with the gift. When his family is attacked by a Hollow—a malevolent lost soul—Ichigo becomes a Soul Reaper, dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping the tortured spirits themselves find peace. Find out why Tite Kubo’s Bleach has become an international manga smash-hit!

With the training not going as planned, Ichigo returns to the World of the Living to reevaluate himself. But when he runs into his father, Isshin, he discovers he has a lot to learn about his mother—and the way she died!

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Oh Bleach. I love you so very much. I’m so sorry that I spent so much time away from you (distracted by teenage basketball prodigies and other series). I recently went on a massive Bleach binge read–I was at volume 27 of 59 at the time. I got massive stacks of volumes from the library and settled in to get caught up (I rarely read scans, because I hate waiting for them), and instantly I was back in love with this series.

Kubo has entered into the final arc of his massive series, which has claimed the coveted title of one of the big three manga. With this arc, I’m drawn back to what initially got me into the series. A slick story line, great action, and great characters. In this volume the history between Isshin (Ichigo’s father), Ryuuken (Uryuu’s father) and Masaki (Ichigo’s mother) that was hinted at long before the reveal. My suspicions about Isshin were confirmed and the story between Isshin, Ryuuken and Masaki is heartbreaking and gives insight to the man that Ryuuken became. Other loose ends are tied up, and we are presented with a massive plot twist about something very important to Ichigo’s fighting style.

Not to mention the reader is also set up with the fight that’s been hinted at since the introduction of the character of Uryuu. And I know the conclusion of this manga is going to break my heart. It’s going to be a long drawn out heartbreak, but I can just see it coming.

Overall: pink4 Bleach is one of my favorite series, and this volume didn’t disappoint. I cannot wait for the next.

Book Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson


Title: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Published: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins Children

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

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Peter Pan is not one of my favorite stories from childhood. Which surprises me considering how much I was drawn to, and loved this book. I picked this up from the library, intrigued and focused on it because I’ve seen it pop up on a couple of people’s blogs. I’m really glad I took a chance on this book. It’s a beautiful interpretation of the Peter Pan story that we all know.

I am so very much in love with Anderson’s writing. It’s dreamy and ethereal, almost effortless in its descriptiveness and pacing. I adore the way the characters are presented, and the story they tell. There’s a darkness to the characters, secondary motivations.

Tiger Lily is presented as a wild child who lives on the fringes of her own people, an orphan raised by the shaman on the tribe. She has one true friend within the tribe, the misunderstood Pine Sap. She’s ostracized and mistrusted. Betrothed to the tribe bully, she’s forced to yield to Giant’s whims, and the whims of his mother. It’s heartbreaking to see the shift in Tiger Lily as she momentarily gives in.

Anderson’s choice to have Tinkerbell narrate this story at first seemed strange, but the more I read and the further the story progressed the more sense it made. Tinkerbell is an observer, who watches Tiger Lily and eventually Peter Pan when the three interact together. The love story between Tiger Lily and Peter Pan is heartbreaking and real. It’s a slow build both unsure of themselves, and the darkness they harbor. The characters are so great, so engaging and complex. The villains are villains fro a reason, and they’re much more twisted than anything Disney has come up with. Smee will give me nightmares for a few nights to come. The Lost Boys are brilliantly introduced and written. Each has a distinctive voice and way of interacting with Pan, Tiger Lily and eventually Wendy. Peter and Wendy follow in their path, falling in love with each other. Tiger Lily left behind, along with Tinkerbell as Wendy becomes such an integral part of Peter’s life.

This is a re-imagination of the story of Peter Pan rather than a retelling. I love the characters, and the almost tangible loneliness, despite all of them being surrounded by others. Darkness of character is a strong theme in this story, and it’s refreshing to see such human qualities to characters from fairy tales. Anderson creates such lush characterizations that I found it so easy to fall in love with them all. There’s real emotion written into the pages, and I need to own this book. I like the idea of Neverland being an island that’s nearly impossible to reach by the normal people. The ending is fitting and tragically beautiful.

I think this quote sums the book up rather perfectly: “”Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you’ve heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn’t win. In some places, there is something ultimately good about endings. In Neverland, that is not the case.”

Overall: pink4 A wonderful re-imagination of a childhood classic. Worth picking up, I highly recommend this.

Book Review: Les Miserables The Fall of Fantine by Crystal Silvermoon


Title: Les Miserables the Fall of Fantine
Author/Artist:Victor Hugo, Crystal Silvermoon, Stacy King, SunNeko Lee
Published: August 1, 2014
Publisher: Diamond Book Distributers.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Adapted for stage and screen, loved by millions, Victor Hugo’s classic novel of love & tragedy during the French Revolution is reborn in this fantastic new manga edition!

The gorgeous art of TseMei Lee brings to life the tragic stories of Jean Valjean, Inspector Javert, and the beautiful Fantine, in this epic adaptation of Les Miserables!

Courtesy of banners04

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The classic epic, Les Miserables is retold here with classic manga art. I’m not fond of this art style, the wide eyed, sparkly shoujo-kawaii style art. The art aside it’s a wonderful re-telling staying true to the classic, but presenting it in a way that’s easily understood. Some of the more delicate nuances of the source material are lost in translation, but it’s still a strong story. This volume focuses on Fantine and her story within Les Mis. I found that she was even more sympathetic in this version, causing me to feel really sorry for her.

Some of the narration is repeated throughout the pages, creating a double exposition effect. I wasn’t too bothered by this, as it happens in other volumes and series. If you’re interested in reading this, and you haven’t read manga, please be sure to read from right to left (so start at what would typically be the end of the book). The art style takes a little while to get used to, and the text is a bit overblown, but at it’s core it’s a great presentation of an iconic piece of literature.

Overall: pink3 Classic literature gets the manga touch, with overblown text and pretty illustrations. I’d present this to younger readers, or those intimidated by the massive tome.