Throwback Thursday #9

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books.

It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

In middle school I stumbled across a book series that I immediately fell in love with. The Young Wizard Series by Diane Duane is an amazing children’s book that is fun for kids of all ages. One of the things I adore about these books is the long run of publication. The first one, So You Want to Be a Wizard, was published in 1983 and the newest one, A Wizard of Mars, was published in 2010. So as I grew up these books were able to keep my company, much like Harry Potter did. My personal favorite of the series is the eighth book, published in 2007, Wizards at War. That is the book where emotions were laid flat on the table for all to see and you could really get the feeling that this was in fact a war of epic proportions.

When reading these books it is really easy to forget that the characters are young kids. I kept thinking that they were all teenagers and capable of feeling with those types of emotions. So then of course, the moment I realize that Dairine is still too young to be in love with Roshaun I was slightly disturbed and then instantly wished they were older. Seriously, they are the cutest duo! **Spoiler** Then when Roshaun goes missing I was destroyed!! I have only read the beginning of A Wizard of Mars so I am not sure whether or not Dairine finds Roshaun or not but I seriously love that guy so if she could get on that stat, that would be amazing.

The 10th book in the series, Games Wizards Play, coming out in 2013. I’ve got to jump on the 9th book to get ready for this next one!
Diane Duane has also released a “New Millenium Edition” of So You Want to Be a Wizard that includes more modern references.

Paul Reviews- Through the Door by Jodi McIsaac

Title: Through the Door
Author: Jodi McIsaac
Published by: Inkwood Publishing.
Publication Date: June 19, 2012
Source: Purchased

As a rule I steer away from Celtic fantasy books. Not that I have anything against the Celts, or the Irish, or leprechauns, but I find them hard to read.

An bhfuil pian ort?

Which is Gaelic for ‘Are You In Pain’, which is usually yes when trying to read things like that.

…bhf… Really??

Then there are the names.

Ceibhfhionn, Eimhear, Righnach, Oengus.

In self-defense I call them Bob, Larry, Joe and Ralph.

So, it was with a bit of trepidation that I picked up Through the Door. The tag on Amazon said Celtic mythology and the modern world collide in Through the Door’.

When Celtic mythology and the modern world collide you get consonant groupings like ‘bhf’ and I end up with a bottle of Advil and a copy of the Caighdeán Oifigiúil with me trying to make sense of it all.

But I liked the cover, and the main characters name is Cedar, which I liked, so into my Kindle it went.

Much to my delight there was no Advil needed, no Caighdeán Oifigiúil either, which is a good things since I don’t think I could have found one in Tennessee.

The Story.

Woman meets the man of her dreams, woman gets pregnant, man-of-dreams takes off, baby grows, something bad happens, estranged parents are forced back together. Now, add in a few Mermaids, a leprechaun, shape shifters and a few pairs of Thousand League Boots and you have Through the Door.

I liked the way Ms. McIsaac treated her readers as if we were all Cedar (our heroine). She gives us the lore in little bites, feeding it to us in manageable bites. I was neither overwhelmed by the lore or the language. She conveniently gave us pronounceable versions of all of the Gaelic names by way of her character introductions. This is not to say that the lore was weak in any way. I am not an expert, or even a functioning idiot when it comes to Celtic Lore, but what was in this book seemed solid to me and I got the impression that there was much more going on than was presented, which I also liked.

In the end this was much less a collision of Celtic and Modern than it was a very clever merge of the two.

This book came in light at 309 pages. I felt like the original character development was rushed, I didn’t get a good feel for the relationship between Cedar and her mother, at least not enough to really understand the decisions that Cedar makes later in the book. This extended to some of the other critical moments in the book; I was really lost when it came some of Cedar’s motivations. I was particularly disappointed with Nuala. There was so much that could have been done that wasn’t. Usually I find myself complaining about books that are too long but I think this book could have easily fit another 50,000 words.

Overall I thought the story was good, the integration of the lore suited me just fine and any fantasy fan that tends to shy off of Celtic mythos books should give this one a try. This was Book I of the Thin Veil and I hope that in book two Ms. McIsaac takes all the room she needs to lay the story out and give all of these great characters the attention they deserve.

I have every intention of buying the next book. I give this book Three Stars.

Paul

Review: Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Title: Shadowfell
Author: Juliet Marillier
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Publication Date: September 11, 2012

From Goodreads

Its name is spoken only in whispers, if the people of Alban dare to speak it at all: Shadowfell. The training ground for rebels seeking to free their land from the grip of the tyrannical king is so shrouded in mystery that most believe it to be a myth.

But for Neryn, Shadowfell’s existence is her only hope. She is penniless, orphaned, and utterly alone – and concealing a treacherous magical power that will warrant her immediate enslavement should it be revealed. She finds hope of allies in the Good Folk, fey beings whom she must pretend she cannot see and who taunt her with chatter of prophecies and tests, and in a striking, mysterious stranger, who saves her from certain death but whose motives remain unclear. She knows she should not trust anyone with her plans, but something within her longs to confide in him.

Will Neryn be forced to make the dangerous journey alone? She must reach Shadowfell, not only to avenge her family and salvage her own life, but to rescue Alban itself.

This first novel in a new trilogy from enchanting fantasy author Juliet Marillier is a captivating tale of peril, courage, romance, and survival

When tragedy strikes Neryn at the start of Shadowfell she is forced to strike out on her own. Unsure of who to trust in a world where nothing is as it seems she begins a journey to a place she isn’t even sure exists. Neryn finds herself delving deep into plot to save the world she never thought she would be part of. Neryn goes from nobody to extraordinary throughout the pages of Shadowfell.

What I thought:

I loved this book so much! It connected me to a high fantasy element of childhood that I missed so much! I adored following Neryn on her journey and as the twists and turns came in full forth I was just as confused as Neryn was. Wanting to believe in certain things just as much as she did and hoping that it all turned out the way she wanted. The entrance of Flint was such a wonderful addition to the story. I think it is fantastic to have him with his strengths and weaknesses into the story.

Aragon from Lord of the RIngs

I fell in love with Flint from the beginning. When we first get to meet Flint he is in the corner of the room watching the men gamble and drink. Does this remind anyone else of a certain character from The Fellowship of the Ring? Like Aragorn, Flint has a past he is hiding. He is strong and bold yet caring and passionate. His mission is to save the Kingdom from the current ruler, King Keldec, who is using people that have abilities for corrupt purposes. Flint is the kind of guy that I love to read about in YA books. Marillier got so much right by including Flint and his personality into this novel!

If Flint is the type of guy I want then Neryn is the type of girl that I want to be. Kindhearted and fierce she has the kind of strength I can be envious of. When life throws horrible situations at Neryn she continues on. She has witnessed horrible things including the destruction of her family but she faces every situation with strength and composure.

One thing I can say, is that I trusted no one in the book except for Neryn. She was the only character who I knew I could rely on and that’s a quality I love in this book. Marillier builds Neryn up wonderfully and put’s the reader so squarely into her head that I don’t know who to trust at some moments. There was another book I read recently that tried to achieve this effect but failed miserably and so it was so amazing to get to really enjoy it here.

I have become an instant fan of Marillier and cannot wait to read the next installment in this series!

Happy Reading!

Throwback Thursday #8

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books.

It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

Usually I am the one in the family to find all the awesome books, but once in a while my sister, Tessa, discovers an amazing one. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray is one of those books! I remember reading this book and immediately falling in love but pretending not to like it because I didn’t want my sister to know she was right about it.

From Goodreads

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy–jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.

Every single thing about this book (and the rest of the serious) is absolutely amazing! The world building is fantastic and Libba Bray creates a rich, vibrant world that will immediately draw you in. The characters are amazing and Gemma Doyle, the namesake of the trilogy, is such a strong girl. She goes through so much during this series. It is hard to explain just how much happens in these novels, they are completely jammed packed.

Libba Bray effortlessly combines fantasy elements with the real life issues that young woman faced in English society at the time.
Libba Bray combines the fantasy elements with the real life issues that young woman faced in society at the time and she has so fantastically combined them so that they flow effortlessly.

I will have to say that the ending of this book series (aka the ending of The Sweet Far Thing) let me blinded, shocked, and crying. Oh my goodness. The ending to these series was amazing. It was amazingly beautiful and amazingly emotional. The entire series all comes down to one moment. One moment that will change everything in Gemma Doyle’s world. A moment that will be seared into my brain as one of the best shocking sad memorable endings to a book series.

Another interesting thing about this series? When I went to the hair stylist to get my hair dyed red I took The Sweet Far Thing with me to show them the exact hair color I wanted.

This is a fan made trailer that Ganlynde uploaded. It’s my favorite. Check it out!