Finding Fire – Reviews!

Yesterday’s Launch Day Blog Tour produced some brilliant reviews for Finding Fire and Other Stories, Book Seven of the Battle Ground Series! Find out what all our bloggers thought of the book:

AyJayPageFarer

Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog

Mai’s Musings

Fany Reads English

Jessica Belmont

Don’t forget – if you’ve missed out on the rest of the series, you can download the FREE no-spoiler prequel, and pick up the bargain Books 1-3 Kindle box set – 3 books for the price of 2!

Launch Day!

Finding Fire and Other Stories, Book Seven of the Battle Ground Series, is LIVE on Amazon!

Check out our Launch Day Blog Tour, with reviews and highlights from these fantastic book bloggers:

AyJayPageFarer

Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog

Mai’s Musings

Fany Reads English

Jessica Belmont

Don’t forget – if you’ve missed out on the rest of the series, you can download the FREE no-spoiler prequel, and pick up the bargain Books 1-3 Kindle box set – 3 books for the price of 2!

Happy Reading!

Book Launch Countdown! 2 days …

Only two days until the launch of  Finding Fire and Other Stories, Book Seven of the Battle Ground Series!

Don’t miss our launch-day blog tour. Five bloggers will be posting their reviews and highlights – and we’ll be featuring their comments here!

If you’ve missed out on the rest of the series, you can download the FREE no-spoiler prequel, and pick up the bargain Books 1-3 Kindle box set – 3 books for the price of 2!

YA Review: Good Girl, Bad Blood

Title: Good Girl, Bad Blood
Author: Holly Jackson
Edition:
Paperback
Rating:
4/5

I’ve been looking forward to reading the sequel to ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’. More Pip Fitz-Amobi – the brave, intelligent schoolgirl and accidental detective. More of her wonderful family and friends. More of Ravi, her ally in the first book, and more of the residents of Little Kilton. And most importantly, a new mystery for Pip to solve.

When the brother of one of Pip’s friends goes missing, the police refuse to investigate. He’s twenty four, old enough to disappear on purpose, and he’s not regarded as being vulnerable. He’s at the bottom of the police priority list, but Pip is certain that his disappearance and his recent behaviour are out of character, and she’s determined to find him.

Things have changed for Pip since her experiences in the first book. After her investigation into Andie’s death, she had to promise her family she would not put herself in danger again, so she’s going to have to run this investigation in secret. But this time she has an audience for her discoveries – the podcast she is using to tell Andie’s story, and to cover the trials associated with the case. Pip the detective is back, and this time she can crowdsource evidence from all the residents of Little Kilton, and beyond.

The story unfolds gradually, with new evidence coming to light throughout the book. We meet new neighbours and familiar residents of the town, and they all contribute pieces of the puzzle. Some of the evidence is presented in the form of transcripts of her podcast, and of the interviews she conducts with the people involved with the case, and some comes from Pip’s investigations. Her conversations with Ravi help her to clarify her thoughts, and together they pick up on details Pip might have missed if she worked alone.

There are suspect lists and twists and unexpected encounters. There is danger and bravery and evidence that doesn’t make sense until the end. There are links back to events in the first book, and to the people Pip suspected in her previous investigation. And there’s a nail-biting ending with a resolution that kept me guessing, even though the evidence, and the puzzle pieces, were all in front of me.

It’s a great story, and Pip continues to be a brilliant protagonist. Intelligent, brave, and a more than a little reckless in her pursuit of the truth. Her persistence and determination make this an exciting, page-turning read, and a worthy second outing for the schoolgirl detective.

Have you read Good Girl, Bad Blood? What did you think of Pip’s second investigation? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


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YA Review: Burn

Title: Burn
Author: Patrick Ness
Edition:
Paperback
Rating:
5/5

How could I turn down the chance to read a book that brings together dragons, prophecies, and assassins in 1950s America? I was very excited to read the new novel from Patrick Ness, and I’m delighted to say that he didn’t let me down.

Sarah Dewhurst lives with her father on the family farm. Since her mother’s death, her father has been struggling. If he doesn’t take drastic action before the summer, the bank will call in his debt and take the farm, so he hires a dragon to help him clear two fields for cultivation. It’s not illegal to hire dragons, but relations between dragons and humans are tense, and he knows the neighbours will be uneasy with his decision.

Sarah is no stranger to harassment from local people and law enforcement. She’s a mixed-race teenager in 1957, and her best friend is a Japanese-American boy who spent his early childhood in an internment camp. The dragon is just one more excuse for discrimination, and he understands how it feels to be discriminated against. As Sarah gets to know the dragon, he begins to share his reasons for being on the farm. Sarah finds herself at the centre of an ancient prophecy, and the target of a highly trained assassin.

The first part of the book follows this storyline. The Soviet Union is about to launch a satellite that could be used to spy on the US, and while the prophecy is vague, it centres on Sarah, the dragon, the satellite, and the assassin. The tension builds as the assassin, trailed by two FBI agents, makes his way to the farm. Just over half-way through, the plot twists, and the rest of the story plays out in an entirely unexpected way. Throughout the second part of the novel, idle sayings and superstition from the first part shift into reality, and the balance of power changes completely. It’s a very clever plot twist, and from that point on I couldn’t put the book down.

Sarah is a confident protagonist, used to dealing with people who don’t like her family, her poverty, or the colour of her skin. Her relationship with her father feels completely real. His trust in her abilities, his anger when she is hurt, and his frustration when he discovers she has been lying to him demonstrate his love for his only child, and the support they have provided to each other since the loss of his wife. The dragon is frustratingly alien and arrogant at the start of the book, but as Sarah discovers who he is and why he is on her farm, his attitude becomes more understandable and his relationships with the humans around him develop towards genuine friendship. Even the assassin has a human side, and his developing relationship with another boy helps to highlight his vulnerabilities.

It’s a clever, engaging book with some amazing world building – by the end of the first chapter the reader is completely immersed in this version of 1950s America, where dragons coexist with Chevron gas stations and pickup trucks and farmers in need of labour. It captures the paranoia of the Cold War, and the feeling of being on the outside of a society that would prefer you didn’t exist – dragon, mixed-race girl, Japanese-American, or gay man. There’s a cult of dragon-worshippers, a legend of a dragon goddess, a plot to kill Sarah’s dragon, and an exciting, dramatic conclusion to the story. Highly recommended!

Have you read Burn? What did you think of the story? Did you find yourself believing in dragons? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


Please keep your comments YA appropriate. Be patient! We want to hear from you, but comments are moderated, and may take some time to appear.

YA Review: How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories

Title: How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories
Author: Holly Black and Rovina Cai
Edition:
Hardback
Rating:
4/5

There is something extraordinarily exciting about turning the first page of a story book with pictures. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an illustrated children’s story, or this gorgeous collection of tales from Elfhame – beautiful artwork with beautiful words will always cast a spell. If the artist and the writer share a clear vision, the result can be magical.

I loved this book. Are the stories about Cardan’s past a necessary addition to the Folk of the Air series? No. Do they add to the reader’s understanding of his character and motivations? Definitely. Are they a pleasure to read, and to look at? Absolutely.

The stories in the collection include glimpses into the events of the Folk of the Air books from Cardan’s point of view. We see his relationship with Nicasia, the abuse at the hands of his older brother, and the moment when he realises he is haunted by thoughts of Jude. We follow him as he visits the mortal world (with and without his queen), and there’s a thread of stories exchanged between Cardan and a mysterious old woman, which change a little every time they are told. Each section adds a small insight into Cardan’s life and upbringing, without revisiting everything in the original novels. At the start the stories feel unrelated, but by the end it is clear that they have been very cleverly woven into the book. Cardan’s journey is mapped out in these pages, and revealed with a deceptively light touch.

The illustrations by Rovina Cai add a touch of magic to the words on the page. The images are dreamlike when they relate to Cardan’s childhood, but more realistic where they involve Jude. Where Cardan and the old woman exchange their tales, the illustrations resemble woodcuts or shadow puppets, perfect for a story within a story. The artwork is beautiful, occasionally straying across pages of text and interacting with the words.

This collection might not be an essential addition to the series, but it is a magical glimpse into the world of the Folk of the Air. It’s a quick read, and I’ll definitely pick it up and read it again, if only to experience the thrill of reading such a beautiful book.

Have you read How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories? What did you think of the book? And what about the illustrations? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


Please keep your comments YA appropriate. Be patient! We want to hear from you, but comments are moderated, and may take some time to appear.