teens

Review: The Scroll, K.B. Hoyle

The ScrollThe Scroll (Goodreads)
Author:   K.B. Hoyle (website)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Darcy Pennington may once have been an average teenager, but not anymore. Living each year twice, once in her world and once in Alitheia, has made her into someone who cares little for normal teenage activities. She’s got more important things to do, like save the mythical, magical world of Alitheia. But this time, Darcy can’t save Alitheia until she saves Tellius, the love of her life.

A window between the worlds allows Darcy to see Tellius from her home in Chicago. But, far from being reassured, she plunges into despair when she sees Tellius captured, imprisoned, and tortured. All her plans for her future life in Alitheia are put on hold as Darcy faces a singular goal: save Tellius, even if it means giving Tselloch something in return.

Details

Series: The Gateway Chronicles #5
Genre: Teen/YA Fantasy
Published: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House, October 17, 2013
My copy: From the publisher via Netgalley

Paper copies: Writer’s Coffee Shop
E-copies: Writer’s Coffee Shop

Review

Please note: The Scroll is the fifth in this series so this review may contain spoilers for earlier books. You’re welcome to check out my reviews for The Six,  The Oracle, The White Thread and The Enchanted first, if you’re interested!


It has been almost a whole year since the last time I visited the world of Alitheia with Darcy and her friends, but I was very pleased to rejoin them in this, the penultimate book in the Gateway Chronicles series.

A while before Darcy and her friends are due to travel to summer camp and then back to the parallel world of Alitheia, Darcy is missing Tellius dreadfully. A magic mirror from Alitheia allows her to catch glimpses of her love from time to time, but when one day she looks in the mirror and sees Tellius captured and later tortured, she is desperate to get back to Alitheia as soon as possible. But there are more secrets, lies and adventures waiting for them in that other world than there ever have been before.

Some stories are told with events taking place over a few days. Not so in the Gateway Chronicles, where each instalment covers a whole year in Alitheia, as well as whatever portions of real-world events happen on either side of that. For this reason, great sections of the story (and in this book in particular) involve down-time – the six companions from our world spend a lot of time training or sitting around studying in the library, and the actual action parts are kind of spaced out. It was rather frustrating, for the characters as well as the reader – they know that Tellius is being tortured, why can’t they do something about it sooner?!

If there’s one thing that disappointed me slightly about this book in the series is that the characters are still repeating the same mistakes as they have previously. Secrets are being kept from Darcy and she doesn’t like it, so she takes things into her own hands and wanders off into trouble again. I don’t blame her, really, but I’d be more inclined (in my imagination, at least) to demand answers from someone before I went running off into danger. In any case, she manages to uncover some secrets on her own and eventually the reason for the lack of information is revealed.

Despite Darcy’s (and my) impatience, the interactions between characters in these books are really very well written and make the story really enjoyable. Darcy is essentially now an early-twenty-year-old living in a seventeen year old’s body, and her maturity shines through. It was really nice to see her come into her own as a mage, even if Rubidius wouldn’t help with training. The other characters have matured nicely as well, except for Percy, perhaps. I did want to slap him occasionally! Tellius, as usual, is adorable and wasn’t in this one enough.

The Scroll‘s cliffhanger ending really sets things up for the finale – I’m really looking forward to seeing what KB Hoyle could possibly have left to throw at her long-suffering characters!

Once again, I’d recommend the Gateway Chronicles series to those who enjoy fantasy aimed at a young-YA crowd.

Warnings: Violence

The Gateway Chronicles

The Scroll Book 6: ?2014

 

Review: Jack Templar: Monster Hunter Academy, Jeff Gunhus

JT2banner

Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on the Jack Templar Monster Hunter Academy tour! Following my review, there are links to the rest of the tour, plus a great giveaway. 

Warning: Only proceed if you are absolutely sure you want to find out about Monster Hunters. Reading this book will almost certainly cause a load of monsters to descend on your house. There’s no backing out if you suddenly get scared of zombies or vampires! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.



Monster Hunter AcademyTitle: Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy 
(Goodreads)
Author:  Jeff Gunhus (@JTmonsterhunter)

Rating: ★★★½☆

After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions. Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far.

Details

Series: The Templar Chronicles #2
Genre: Middle-grade/Teen Fantasy
Published: Seven Guns Press, April 3, 2013
Pages: 375

Paper copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk 
E-copies: Amazon.com  Amazon.co.uk  Barnes & NobleIndieBound

Review

Please note: This review is for the second in this series, and so may contain spoilers for the first book. You may prefer to read my review of Jack Templar Monster Hunter instead!


I’ve managed to deal with the Creach that find me from time to time after reading the first Jack Templar book – long enough to bring you this review of the second, anyway.

Jack is the son of Monster Hunters, who has just survived past his fourteenth birthday after being attacked by zombies, werewolves and worse. After surviving his encounter with the Creach Lord Ren Lucre, Jack and his friends go with Eva and travel to France to the Monster Hunter Academy. What they find there is not the warm welcome Jack had hoped for.

I had very high hopes for this second tale from Jack Templar, since I really enjoyed the first. I was let down a bit though- once the group reach the Academy, the story falls into the usual boarding school woes, a mysterious challenge that Jack mysteriously gets signed up for, and so on. With Jack also being the only one who can save the world from the forces of darkness it started to feel a bit Harry Potter-ish, and I think it’s for this reason that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first book. It’s almost as though Jeff Gunhus has tried to pack too much into this story – castles, dragons, werewolves, discovery of Jack’s power – that’s a lot to cover in a reasonably short book.

Despite these things, Jack Templar is still a funny storyteller. The action is fast-paced and quite unrelenting – I felt like I needed a rest by the end of it since Jack was so busy through the whole story. Not a dull moment to be seen, which is perfect for middle-grade and young teen readers.

Monster Hunter Academy is a well-written and enjoyable story, but it lacked a bit of the originality that made the first Jack Templar book stand out for me. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next instalment – the series promises to be an interesting journey after the recent events at the Academy!

Warnings: Some rather grisly violence.

 

About the Author:

Jeff Gunhus grew up in Cyprus, Greece, and Saudi Arabia where there was a distinct lack of television. He quickly found books were the gateway to incredible adventures, fascinating characters and unbelievable discoveries. Now, with five children of his own (all who watch too much television, in his opinion), he has enjoyed revisiting his old books and reliving those adventures all over again.

 

The Tour and Giveaway

Visit the tour site at Girl Who Reads to see the full tour information. The giveaway is at the bottom of this post!

 

April 4
Classic Children’s Books Excerpt
Larkin’s Book Bloggers Review
Brooke Blogs Excerpt

April 5
The Oaken Bookcase Review
Italian Brat’s Obsessions Featured Book

April 6 Lubs Book Chatter Review

April 7 My Devotional Thoughts Review

April 8 Here’s the Story Review

April 9 Library Girl Reads & Reviews Excerpt

April 11 What Shall We Blog About Today? Top Ten & Review

April 12
Paperback Princess  Review & Top Ten List
Girl Who Reads Excerpt

April 13 Alli’s World Excerpt

April 14 Ohana Day Academy Review & Excerpt

April 17 Keeping Up With The Rheinlanders Review & Top Ten List
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Jack Templar: Monster Hunter, Jeff Gunhus

JackTemplarbanner

Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on the Jack Templar Monster Hunter tour! Following my review, there are links to a whole lot of other articles about this book. 

Warning: Only proceed if you are absolutely sure you want to find out about Monster Hunters. Reading this book will almost certainly cause a load of monsters to descend on your house. There’s no backing out if you suddenly get scared of zombies or vampires! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.



Jack TemplarTitle: Jack Templar Monster Hunter 
(Goodreads)
Author:  Jeff Gunhus (@JTmonsterhunter)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Orphan Jack Templar has no memory of his parents and only the smallest details from his Aunt Sophie about how they died. The day before Jack’s fourteenth birthday, things start to change for him.

At first it’s great: A sudden new strength helps him defend his nose-picking friend “T-Rex” from the school bully, and even his crush, Cindy Adams, takes notice. But then a mysterious girl named Eva arrives and tells him two facts that will change his life forever. First, that he’s the descendent of a long line of monster hunters and he’s destined to be in the family business. Second, that there’s a truce between man and monster that children are off-limits…until their fourteenth birthday! Jack has only one day before hundreds of monsters will descend on his little town of Sunnyvale and try to kill him.

Details

Series: Jack Templar #1
Genre: Middle-grade/Teen Fantasy
Published: Seven Guns Press, October 2012
Pages: 196

Paper copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk 
E-copies: Amazon.com  Amazon.co.uk  Barnes & NobleIndieBound

Review

Jack is an ordinary thirteen-year-old with the usual problems at school, but a few days before his fourteenth birthday, things start getting really weird. He’s suddenly a bit taller, stronger and faster, people start looking strangely at him in the street and his teachers start to go slightly mad. Jack thinks he’s the one going crazy, but then Eva shows up and reveals the world of the monster hunters to Jack and his two friends, Will and T-Rex.

As it turns out, monsters leave Monster Hunters’ children like Jack alone until they’re fourteen years old, then they’ll all be trying to kill him. Since Jack never actually knew much about his parents or the details of how they died, this is all rather overwhelming. He deals with the whole situation remarkably well though, and is kicking Creach butt before you can say “hey, here comes a horde of zombies!”.

Jack’s first person telling of this story is funny and rather dry, and very enjoyable. There are some rather adult concepts in this book including losing one’s parents, sacrifice and overcoming the odds, but it’s written about in a very accessible way and I think any young teen would love reading it. There’s plenty of non-stop action and at less than 200 pages, it’s quite a quick read.

Just be warned, the first chapter tells in no uncertain terms that reading this book will bring a horde of the Creach down upon your house, so read at your own risk. (Seriously, what a brilliant first chapter, I loved it!). Also, if you haven’t checked out the website, there’s plenty more monster hunter info there!

I really enjoyed this introduction to Jack’s world and I’ll be keeping my eye out for future Templar Chronicles!

Warnings: Some violence.

 

About the Author:

Jeff Gunhus grew up in Cyprus, Greece, and Saudi Arabia where there was a distinct lack of television. He quickly found books were the gateway to incredible adventures, fascinating characters and unbelievable discoveries. Now, with five children of his own (all who watch too much television, in his opinion), he has enjoyed revisiting his old books and reliving those adventures all over again.

 

The Tour

Visit the tour site at Girl Who Reads to see the full tour information, including a Giveaway with some awesome swag.

There will also be a Twitter party hosted by Jeff on Friday, Dec. 21, 6 pm – 8 pm EST. If you have survived the numerous monster attacks that you will undoubtedly face, chat with us using the hashtag #JackTemplar. The easiest way to join the party is with http://tweetchat.com/

Dec. 3 Kid Lit Reviews Character Guest Post
Dec. 4 Breath of Life  ReviewCharacter guest post, and swag giveaway
Dec. 5 It’s About Time Mamaw Review, Character Guest Post and swag giveaway
Dec. 6 Double the Fun Day
Mrs Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews Author Guest Post and swag giveaway
Mom With A Kindle Character Interview 
Dec. 7 Tamara’s One Stop Indie Shop Guest Post and swag giveaway
Dec. 8 Loves 2 Read Review, Character Guest Post, and swag giveaway
Dec. 9 Italian Brat’s Obsessions ReviewCharacter Guest Post, and swag giveaway
Dec. 10 Alli’s World Character Guest Post and swag giveaway
Dec. 11 Book Him Danno Review, Character Guest Post, and swag giveaway
Dec. 12  Double the Fun Day
Fairday’s Blog! Review
The Preppy Girl in Pink Guest Post
Dec. 13 Here’s The Story Review, Author Guest Post, and swag giveaway
Dec. 14 Fairday’s Blog! Author Interview and swag giveaway
Dec. 15 Bunny’s Review Character Interview and swag giveaway
Dec. 16 The Oaken Bookcase Review!
Dec. 17 Larkin’s Book Bloggers Review, Author Guest Post, and Swag Giveaway
Dec. 18 Double the Fun Day
Keeping Up With The Rheinlander’s Author Interview and swag giveaway
Geo Librarian Review, Character Guest Post, and swag giveaway
Dec. 19 Double the Fun Day
Pulling Down Books Review
Girl Who Reads Author Guest Post
Dec. 20 Rumor Has It Review, Character Guest Post, Swag Giveaway
Dec. 21 Ali’s Bookshelf Author Guest Post and swag giveaway

Tour: Review: The Enchanted, K.B. Hoyle

Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on The Enchanted blog tour! You can find the links to many more opinions and features on the book below my review.


Title: The Enchanted (Goodreads)
Author:   K.B. Hoyle (@kbhoyle_author)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Darcy Pennington’s course was plotted out for her long before she ever stepped foot in Alitheia. Finally willing to go along with her prophesied path, Darcy returns to the magical realm to find everything spiralling out of control.

A painful rejection almost pushes her to breaking, and when she and her friends finally confront one of Tselloch’s gateways, nothing turns out as expected. Darcy wonders, in the end, if there is any hope at all for her, or for Alitheia.

 

Details

Series: The Gateway Chronicles #4
Genre: Teen/YA Fantasy
Published: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House, October 18, 2012
My copy: From the publisher via Netgalley

Paper copies: Amazon.com • Writer’s Coffee Shop
E-copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk • Writer’s Coffee Shop

Review

Please note: The Enchanted is the fourth in the series so this review may contain spoilers for earlier books. You’re welcome to check out my reviews for The Six,  The Oracle and The White Thread first, if you’re interested!

It’s time for Darcy and the rest of the Six to head back to camp with their families. They head to Alitheia full of hope, ready for a year involving a coronation, but events unfold almost immediately that change the plans for the year completely. Darcy must remain strong and support her friends as she faces the greatest threat yet.

I’ve really enjoyed reading this series as each book has been released this year and The Enchanted was no exception! The chosen Six are sixteen now, although they’ve lived the last three years twice. Their maturity is really starting to show in this book in the way they react to events and each other. They have all begun to rely on each other more, but apart from Darcy, we’re still not seeing a lot of the Six’s magic or special abilities yet.

Tellius is really starting to show what an amazing ruler he will be, now that he’s maturing and starting to take on the heavy burden of responsibility. The poor guy has been through so much trauma through his life that he believes himself cursed and won’t acknowledge his feelings for Darcy for fear that she’ll be taken from him next. Those feelings really set the scene for a tragic romance in this book.

The Enchanted is a very well-crafted episode in this series – with just the right amount of action, story development and changes in relationships, it was a pleasure to read. There’s a real sense of building up towards a larger event, and with only two books remaining in the series, it’ll be coming soon!

Once again, I’d recommend the Gateway Chronicles series to those who enjoy fantasy aimed at a young-YA crowd.

Warnings: Violence, but not graphic.

The Gateway Chronicles

 

About the Author

K. B. Hoyle is a wife to a wonderful husband, a mother to two rambunctious little boys, an expectant mother to baby number three, and has been a classical educator for five years. She always knew from a young age that she wanted to write stories that would inspire people. Her favorite genre to read and write is Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction, so that is where her journey began. K. B. Hoyle began writing her first fantasy novel at the age of eleven, which proved to be valuable experience and practice for the novels she would publish as an adult.

K. B. Hoyle is currently writing the Young Adult Fantasy series The Gateway Chronicles, but she never stops brainstorming and planning for all the stories she hopes to write in the future.

 

The Tour

Check out these other stops on the tour!

13 October – sherrygomes.com

14 Oct – Kid Who Reads (on Girl Who Reads)

15 Oct – Ms. Book Queen

16 Oct – Paperbook Princess

17 Oct – Girl Who Reads (excerpt)

18 Oct – The Oaken Bookcase!

19 Oct – Ja citam, a ti?

Tour: Roots of Insight, Breeanna Putroff – Review and Giveaway

Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on the Roots of Insight blog tour! There’s a giveaway and links to the other stops on the tour below my review.


Title: Roots of Insight (Goodreads)
Author:  Breeanna Putroff (@BPuttroff)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Quinn Robbins has just returned from spending ten days in Eirentheos, a world she had never known existed. Trying to settle back into her familiar life and establish a relationship with her new boyfriend, Zander, is more of a challenge than she ever dreamed it would be.

Things are just beginning to feel normal again when Thomas shows up in her world, and invites her back to Eirentheos for a royal wedding. She’s excited at the chance to reconnect with the people and places she had begun to fall in love with.

What she doesn’t realize is just how deeply connected with this new world she might become … and just what old secrets might be beginning to unravel.

Details

Series: The Dusk Gate Chronicles #2 of 3
Genre: Teen/YA Fantasy
Published: Musefish Press, January 2012
Pages: 306
My copy: From the author as part of a blog tour.

Paper copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk
E-copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk • Barnes & Noble

Review

Please Note: This is my review for book 2 in this series. I’ve tried to avoid spoilers for the events of book 1, Seeds of Discovery, but you might like to go and read my review for that book instead if you haven’t read it already!

Quinn has just returned from her first trip to Eirentheos and things are starting to return to normal, more or less. The days pass with Quinn trying to concentrate on her school work and enjoy her new relationship with Zander, when Thomas shows up one Monday with William, inviting her to return to Eirentheos for their brother Simon’s wedding.

All is not as perfect in the other world as it was before – trouble is stirring in the neighbouring kingdom of Philotheum and Thomas tells Quinn he’s going to travel there to find his cousin Lily, who hasn’t been heard from in weeks. But when he doesn’t return, Quinn and William decide they must go to find him.

Roots of Insight is an exciting and quick read – if Seeds of Discovery was a little light plot-wise, Roots of Insight makes up for it. The story picks up from almost exactly where the first book finishes, and it takes a while to get back into action, but once it does it doesn’t let up.

Quinn is more vulnerable in this part of the story – she has panic attacks throughout the story and William isn’t always there to comfort her, but when they are together there is a lovely chemistry and slow-burning romance. He’s such a gentleman – we get to see more of his mature personality as parts of the story are told from his point of view. Poor Zander gets a bit of a raw deal in this book – he has really fallen for Quinn but she treats him terribly.

A cliffhanger ending means I’ll be trying to get my hands on the third book, Thorns of Decision, as soon as possible! There are still plenty of questions to be answered – there are continual hints that Quinn may be more than just a visitor to the other world, but nothing has been revealed just yet!

Roots of Insight is a more emotionally-charged and suspenseful read than the first book was, and I would certainly recommend it to those who enjoy teen fantasy.

Warnings: None, it’s squeaky clean.

 

The Dusk Gate Chronicles

Giveaway

Enter to win a print copy of Roots of Insight using the Rafflecopter form below! I’m assuming at this stage that it is open internationally. Good luck!

Please note: This giveaway is being run by Lightning Book Promotions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tour

September 28th Rola @ XO reads (review)
September 29th Jessica @ Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile (review)
September 30th Kate @ Literary R&R (review)
September 30th Kristy @ Kristy K. James (guest post only)
September 30th Kristin @ Better Read Than Dead
October 1st Paula @ Community Bookstop
October 2nd Phaedra @ Identity Discovery
October 2nd Lisa @ Just Another Rabid Reader
October 3rd Angelya @ The Oaken Bookcase 
October 4th Megan @ Paperbook Princess
October 5th McKenna @ Young at Heart
October 6th Sheila @ Sheila Deeth

Review: Seeds of Discovery, Breeanna Putroff

Title: Seeds of Discovery (Goodreads)
Author:  Breeanna Putroff (@BPuttroff)

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Quinn Robbins’ life was everything she thought a teenager’s should be. She has good friends, a family that she loves, good grades, and an after-school job she enjoys. And, she’s just been asked out by Zander Cunningham, a popular football player and great guy. But one day when driving home after picking up her little sister from the baby-sitter’s, she nearly hits a boy who, after running blindly into the street, mysteriously disappears.

The mystery only deepens as she figures out who the boy is; William Rose, a reclusive, awkward boy from school who always has his nose in a pile of books.

As she becomes more aware of his behavior it becomes more obvious how out of the ordinary William is and how hard he deliberately tries to blend into the background. This only intrigues her more and she finds herself working to find out more about him, and exactly where he keeps disappearing to.

Details

Series: The Dusk Gate Chronicles #1 of 3
Genre: Teen/YA Fantasy
Published: Musefish Press, September 2011
Pages: 288
My copy: From the author as part of a blog tour.

Paper copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk
E-copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk • Barnes & Noble

Review

Quinn is driving home after picking up her little sister from the babysitter when she nearly runs over a boy in the street, who then disappears. She later recognises him as William Rose, a shy, reclusive boy in the year above her at school. She starts following him around to see what he’s up to, and (eventually) accidentally follows him through a gate to a whole other world and the Kingdom of Eirentheos. As it turns out, William is not only a Prince in this world, but also a gifted healer. William has been gathering medical research to try to discover the cause of a mysterious illness affecting children in the Kingdom. Quinn meets all the Royal family, then spends ten days with William and his family as they care for sick children before she can get back through the gate to her own world.

Firstly let me just say that I really enjoyed the style of this book. The writing is descriptive, the story is enjoyable to read, and it’s well-structured for an Indie-published book. The story itself is imaginative and contains so many promising elements – the Royal children’s gifts, the potential love interests, the fact that things keep being “inexplicably familiar” and comfortable to Quinn (which is a little annoying come to think of it).

Unfortunately, I felt this first instalment in the series really felt like a first part, rather than a first book. The plot was fairly light-on, with only a mysterious illness among the kingdom’s children to get to the bottom of. Other than a hint of possible friction between the Kingdoms when Tolliver was around, everything was peachy and a journey of discovery for Quinn. The Royal family were almost painfully kind and friendly, welcoming Quinn into their family like she was actually a friend of William’s rather than some girl who stalked him and then followed him through the gate. The characters are all  just a little too perfect for me at the moment. I hope that will change as the story progresses.

Over all I quite enjoyed reading Seeds of Discovery. It’s quite a short and easy read and with its minimal conflict, adorable small children and pleasant descriptions of Eirentheos, it’s a nice comforting read if you need one. Grab a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy.

Warnings: One almost-abusive situation that may distress some readers.

Make sure you come back tomorrow for my review of the second book in the series, Roots of Insight!

The Dusk Gate Chronicles

What did others think of Seeds of Discovery?

  • “The book was very well written. I liked the world the author thought up. It’s fantasy, but not a lot of high fantasy elements, like magic and other races and such, but just a parallel world kind of different from our own, but still a world that caught my imagination”  – 4/5 – Reading By Kindle Fire
  • “Filled with adventure, danger, mystery and a touch of romance this tale is sure to delight.” – 3/5 – Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
  • “This book is a fun and quick read and when the reader is finished they will want more. They will want to know more about Quinn, more of her relationships with Zander, Thomas, and William..” – Jackie Anton Book Reviews

 

Review: A Corner of White, Jaclyn Moriarty

Title: A Corner of White (Goodreads)
Author:  Jaclyn Moriarty

Rating: ★★★★★

Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World – a city of spires, Isaac Newton and Auntie’s Tea Shop.

Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello – where seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of attacks from dangerous Colours.

They are worlds apart – until a crack opens up between them; a corner of white – the slim seam of a letter.

 

Details

Series: The Colours of Madeleine #1
Genre: YA Fantasy/Sci-fi
Published: Pan Macmillan, October 1, 2012
Pages: 412
My copy: The publisher in exchange for a review, thanks!

Paper copies: Amazon.com (pre-order for 2013) • Amazon.co.uk (pre-order for 2013) • Book Depository • Booktopia.com.au
E-copies: Amazon.com • Bookworld

Review

Madeleine and her mother live in Cambridge, England, after running away from her father and a life of luxury. She has started home schooling with other teenagers Jack and Belle but is worried about her mother, who is starting to forget things and has strange headaches, and the world of Cambridge seems terribly colourless after her previous life. That is, until she sees a corner of a strange note sticking out of a parking meter.

In the Kingdom of Cello, on the other side of the crack in the parking meter, Elliot has just got back after searching for his missing father. His father went missing a year ago after a mysterious attack from a Purple, along with the village physics teacher. He’s all set to head off searching again when a new family moves to the town of Bonfire to take over his father’s empty electronics repair shop.

A Corner of White is the story of the parallels between events in our World and the Kingdom of Cello, about relationships, responsibility and growing up. The story is rather gentle at first and chapters pass between the two worlds, telling each story separately. The pace picks up considerably though and by the end of the book I found myself unable to put it down.

The Kingdom of Cello is an interesting world, very similar to our own but with Colours that manifest as substances that wash across the world, affecting the population in different ways. A wave of Reds, for example, makes people behave strangely, while a Purple or Yellow attack can be deadly. The Colours weren’t explained all that well, they just arrived and departed again with little fanfare, but they were a rather interesting danger to take into account.

Apart from the events of the story, there’s also a thread running throughout about the famous scientists who attended Cambridge University and their contemparies, including Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron and most importantly for the story, Isaac Newton. If you’re interested in these figures and their interesting ways and discoveries then you’ll find this book very informative.

Jaclyn Moriarty writes in a foreword that she originally started writing a children’s book about Cello, and later changed it to involve teenagers. It certainly reads like a children’s book to start with – the characters are quirky and larger than life, but as the story develops more adult themes are introduced. The eccentricity of the characters never quite disappears – those in the World or in Cello. At first this was a little strange and even though I loved the characters, especially those in Cello, I wasn’t sure if they were meant to be taken seriously or if it was all just a bit of a parody. Either way, I was often delighted with the way they all interact and the often whimsical nature of the story.

A Corner of White was a very different but excellent addition to YA Fantasy. I can’t wait to read more about Madeleine and Elliot and their worlds!

Warnings: None, it’s squeaky clean

What did others think of A Corner of White?

  • “Imaginative, original and Colourful, A Corner of White is a magical story that leaves “a trail of light” for the reader to follow..”  – 4/5 – Shelleyrae of Book’d Out (there’s a giveaway there as well, ending Sept 30!)
  • “I loved the imaginative way that Moriarty was able to develop the connection between the two worlds and between the two main characters.” – Marg of The Adventures of a Intrepid Reader
  • “A promising start to an exceptional fantasy series with fascinating, multi-layered characters and solid world-building by our very own Jaclyn Moriarty.” – 4/5 – The Australian Bookshelf

 

Review and Giveaway: Rua, Miranda Kavi

Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on the Rua book tour! You’ll find my review below, but at the end of the post there is a tour-wide giveaway to enter for a chance to win a copy of the book.


Title: Rua (Goodreads)

Author:  Miranda Kavi (@miranda00writes)

Rating: ★★★★☆

A girl with an unknown destiny.

A boy from a hidden world.When Celeste starts at a new school in a small, Kansas town, she hears whispering voices, has vivid nightmares, and swarms of blackbirds follow her every move. She is oddly drawn to aloof Rylan, the other new student who has his own secrets. The exact moment she turns seventeen, she wakes to a bedroom full of strange creatures, purple light emanating from her hands, and Rylan breaking in through her bedroom window.

He knows what she is . . .

Details

Series: Stand Alone (for now?)
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Published: Self-published, September 2, 2012
Pages: 265
My copy: From BB Book Tours

Paper copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk
E-copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk 

Review

Celeste has always felt like an outsider – moved around by her loving adoptive parents to new towns and schools frequently. This latest move is different though – as she approaches her seventeenth birthday, Celeste begins having nightmares and hearing voices in the night, and why does the gorgeous boy Rylan keep staring at her like that?

On her birthday, it is finally revealed that Celeste is one of the Tuatha de Danaan, gatekeepers between the worlds and controllers of the Sidhe. Things only get more strange as she discovers more about who she is and what she is capable of.

Rua is quite different to other stories of the Fae that I’ve read. I think it was the American small-town setting rather than a Celtic-inspired fantasy world that felt so different. The characters were quite detailed and had realistic reactions to the supernatural events. I especially loved Celeste’s new bestie, Tink. What’s not to love about a gay witch with a big heart?

The supernatural elements were introduced fairly gradually which created some fantastic suspense throughout the story. The romance between Celeste and Rylan was very swoony but moved a little fast for me – I felt it was bordering on insta-love which is a bit of a shame considering how much I loved the rest of the story. We also never really find out the extent of Rylan’s powers or hear much of his back story.

The only major problem I had with Rua was that it was too short! I really hope Miranda Kevi intends to expand more on this world – this promising debut has laid a great foundation for more tales of the Tuatha de Danaan and the other supernatural beings mentioned. I’d recommend Rua to anyone who enjoys YA paranormal romances, and I’ll be looking out for Miranda Kavi’s future work with great interest.

Warnings: Fairly squeaky clean, just a little scary.

 

About the Author

Miranda Kavi is a YA and Urban Fantasy author. She has worked as an attorney, an executive recruiter, and an assistant in a biological anthropology lab. She loves scary movies, museums, and is hopelessly addicted to  chocolate. She lives in the Houston area with her husband and daughter.

Get in touch with Miranda via her website, Twitter, Facebook or Goodreads.

 


Giveaway

BB Book Tours has arranged a great giveaway for those in the US (sorry Internationals 🙁  )

Details:

  • US only
  • Win a paperback copy of RUA
  • Also win a cute little stuffed blackbird (complete with an authentic crow call recorded when you squeeze it) and other swag!
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below. Please note, I am not organising this giveaway – it is tour-wide.

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Shift, Kim Curran

Title: Shift (Goodreads)

Author:  Kim Curran (@KimeCurran)

Rating: ★★★★☆

When your average, 16-year old loser, Scott Tyler, meets the beautiful and mysterious Aubrey Jones, he learns he’s not so average after all. He’s a ‘Shifter’. And that means he has the power to undo any decision he’s ever made. At first, he thinks the power to shift is pretty cool. But as his world starts to unravel around him he realises that each time he uses his power, it has consequences; terrible unforeseen consequences. Shifting is going to get him killed. In a world where everything can change with a thought, Scott has to decide where he stands.

Details

Series: Stand Alone (for now?)
Genre: YA Paranormal Thriller
Published: Strange Chemistry, September 4, 2012
Pages: 416
My copy: The publisher via Netgalley

Paper copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.ukBook Depository
E-copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk • Barnes & Noble

Review

Scott is busily going about his teenage life with his dysfunctional family, when he accidentally Shifts for the first time. The rather abrupt but very mysterious Aubrey Jones drags him away from a confrontation with the government organisation in charge of regulating Shifters, ARES. Scott soon finds himself deep in a strange new world, where every choice could have dramatic consequences.

Shift is one of two titles debuting not just for their authors, but for the Strange Chemistry imprint. Kim Curran has a engaging writing style, writing with a very British voice. Much of the character interaction seems quite cartoonish, written a little tongue-in-cheek and I found it quite entertaining.

The premise of this story is fascinating – Shifters can undo their past decisions, changing their own reality to a different path. The ability to Shift fades out at about twenty (a phenomenon called “entropy”), so almost all of the Shifters are teenagers going through training to control their abilities at the ARES headquarters in East London. ARES itself aims to encourage Shifters to only shift to improve reality, to make only decisions that will make reality better.

There’s also an underground movement working against ARES, the SLF. These teenagers are convinced that entropy is not certain and that ARES are manipulating Shifters for their own uses.

Unfortunately the whole Shifting phenomenon wasn’t explained all that well – we only get glimpses here and there of the theories as Scott discovers them and I was left with questions at the end. Is entropy real? Why is it so hard to Shift some decisions while the Shifts made while fighting are quick and easy? What was with that strange power the machine gave to Scott at the end? There were a lot of things that weren’t explained and it got a little baffling at times.

The character of Scott was the star of the show here, just keeping his sanity together as he discovered all the horrors of the Shifting world. The romance with Aubrey was gentle – any more would have been overpowering but I feel Kim Curran got it just right. There’s also plenty of action and some pretty horrific scenes in this story.

On the whole, Shift was quite an exciting read and I’ll look forward to the next instalment in this story, hopefully to find out some more about my unanswered questions.

Warnings: Horror themes.

 

What did others think of Shift?

  • Shift is like a British, young adult version of The Butterfly Effect with just as chilling effects and served with a side order of humour. ” – 4/5 – Ellie of Curiosity Killed the Bookworm
  • “The writing was good, clearly conveying Scott’s attitude to things. I love how Kim doesn’t shy away from graphic descriptions” – 4/5 – Nina of Death Books and Tea
  • “I just kept waiting for the moment where I would start to feel, well anything for the characters, but it never came. That being said, I do think Kim Curran is talented as the overall concept and writing style were impressive, enough so that I would be interested in checking out her future works as her imagination definitely isn’t lacking.” – 2/5 – A Book Obsession

 

Review and Giveaway: The White Thread, K.B. Hoyle

Title: The White Thread (Goodreads)

Author:  K.B. Hoyle (@kbhoyle_author)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Darcy’s return to Cedar Cove Family Camp is marked by a mysterious disappearance, and in Alitheia a new message from the Oracle adds to the riddles that must be deciphered if they are to expel the dark evil that hovers over the land. The six friends and the alchemist Rubidius plan a sea journey that will take them beyond the borders of Alitheia, and into the realm of a legendary archipelago. Tellius winds up joining them as well and the foes they meet along the way are both deceptive and charming, while the Oracle’s riddles seem to dog them at every turn. 

Darcy is also hiding a secret from her best friend Sam that could test their friendship beyond the breaking point, and there’s an unexpected development in her relationship with Tellius that changes everything and makes her understand that the deepest scars sometimes cannot be seen.

Darcy isn’t sure if she’s prepared for another meeting with the Oracle, but if she wants to have any chance of saving her friend, she must try. To complicate matters, the evil they left behind in Alitheia has not remained dormant.


Details

Series: The Gateway Chronicles #3
Genre: Teen/YA Fantasy
Published: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House, August 16, 2012
My copy: From Netgalley

Paper copies: Amazon.com • Writer’s Coffee Shop
E-copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk • Writer’s Coffee Shop

Review

Please note: The White Thread is the third in the series so this review may contain spoilers for earlier books. You’re welcome to check out my reviews for The Six and The Oracle first, if you’re interested! These two books are on sale for Kindle during August – just $1.99 each!

The Six teenagers are now fifteen and head back to Cedar Cove for summer camp. This year things are slightly more tense in Alitheia as the population start becoming displeased with the lack of progress against the dark forces of Tselloch. The group doesn’t get to do anything about it though, as they are all swept off on a rescue mission to liberate the Nark, Yahto Veli, from the Oracle. A sea journey, mysterious islands and evil gods are just some of the obstacles to content with, not to mention new riddles from the Oracle itself.

I am a little conflicted with this book. You know how sometimes, in big fantasy series, you read a whole book and feel that nothing much has happened with the main storyline? I felt a little that way with The White Thread. I’ve loved the three books in this series so far and I’ve loved the character and relationship developments in each story, but I was a little disappointed that there was no actual visible progress against Tselloch’s forces during this year.

That’s not to say this isn’t a great instalment in the tale! The adventures are still exciting and very well told, and I enjoyed the budding romances within the group of teenagers. I really love the interactions between characters – they seem very realistic to me which makes the story very enjoyable to read. K.B. Hoyle has continued to write what she started with The Six and The Oracle – an action-packed story with plenty of fantasy elements both familiar and imaginatively new.

The White Thread is the Darcy Show – she solves all the riddles herself and saves the group’s lives on more than one occasion, occasionally with a bit of help from Tellius. I suppose this is part of her growing sense of responsibility and of settling into her role in Alitheria but I hope that in coming stories we get to see the rest of the Six taking a greater part.

The ending felt a little rushed and then left on a cliff-hanger – I really hope the next book isn’t far away because I’m anxious to find out what has happened now!

Overall, The White Thread is a solid and enjoyable addition to the Gateway Chronicles, even if the main storyline was not visibly progressed. Fans of teen Fantasy, get a hold of this series! You won’t regret it!

Warnings: Some grisly scenes but otherwise squeaky clean.

Giveaway

The Writer’s Coffee Shop is offering an e-book copy of The White Thread to give away. You can enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

Don’t forget, books one and two of the Gateway Chronicles series, The Six and The Oracle, are on sale for Kindle during August!

Details:

  • The giveaway is open internationally, as long as you can accept an e-book (there are apps for Kindle available for most devices so don’t worry if you don’t have one at all!)
  • The giveaway will run until August 22.
  • The winner will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond.

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