What I’m Reading: Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

Young Adult Book Review: Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

I picked up Anna and the Swallow Man from my local library on audiobook when I was browsing for a new listen. The story is about Anna, a young girl orphaned during the second World War, and her subsequent journey through Poland. I loved this book. The audiobook was only five hours long, but excellently narrated. The touch of fantasy in the novel was just right, and all of the characters were well developed.

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Books about the great wars can be depressing, this is heavy stuff, but it’s something I think is important to know about so that it never happens again. My heart ached for Anna through most of this book, but the narrative gave me cause to hope. The prose was lyrical, and the language delightful, I found it very easy to fall into this book and to keep listening.

5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Leia Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray

Young Adult book review: Leia Princess of Alderaan, by Claudia Gray.

Not only am I a Star Wars fan, I’m a huge Princess Leia fan. I absolutely adore this book cover, and had to have the book. This book provides a good background to Princess Leia’s character, and was much like I expected.

This book also had a tie-in to the Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie, so I rushed to see it before going out to see the film. I liked that I possessed a bit more background regarding one of the on screen characters. But it wasn’t that interesting of news. Since I don’t want to ruin the book or movie for anyone, I won’t say anymore than that.

Of all the Star Wars reading I’ve been doing lately, I would definitely put Lost Stars at the top, followed by Leia, which wasn’t quite as full of detail but still a fun read.

Have you read it?

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Young Adult Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The Darkest Part of the Forest is a beautifully written (and I mean pink-sunset beautiful) novel about a young girl, her brother, a sword, and a forest full of dark faerie folk.

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Probably my favourite part of this book was that it is a standalone novel. After reading a bunch of trilogies or series, sometimes it is so nice to read a book that is just that, a book. Nothing more expected, no more cliff hangers. Hazel, the main character, is strong and headstrong, and contrast nicely to her gifted brother Ben, who is gay. It was really great to see the loves and lives of Hazel and Ben intertwine. The relationship between the two characters is fully explored and deep with complication, just like sibling relationships often are.

The only thing that sometimes wore on me with this book, was the slow, backstory which cropped up here and there. Sometimes it felt like a bit too much of the story took place in the past, but mostly I did see a place for it. And the writing was so good that it made all of the reading worthwhile.

A solid 4.5/5 Stars.

JEH

What I’m Reading: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Young Adult Book Review: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep (Mythos Academy #1)

I recently had the privilege of attending a writing conference, where Jennifer Estep was one of the Key Notes. I had never read anything from her before, and I wanted to be familiar with her work before the conference, so I picked up Touch of Frost, the first book in Estep’s Paranormal Young Adult series, Mythos Academy.

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Now, the Mythos Academy name tells you almost everything you need to know to get started reading Touch of Frost. First, it relies heavily on world mythology; Second, the Gods are back (bad and good), and Third, you’re in for a whole lot of fun. The main character in Touch of Frost is Gwen, who’s a gypsy newly arrived to a school full of warriors, most of which are also blessed with some sort of bonus magical power. Of course, as always happens, things go wrong and Gwen ends up attempting to sort things out.

Touch of Frost was a quick, easy read, set in a world that I would love to live in. There were a few weak elements with the plot, but I could overlook them because the pace was quick, and there was never a slow moment. There are currently six books in the series (apparently #7 is currently only going to be release in Germany. But six books is plenty to keep me reading for a while.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Star Wars Aftermath Life Debt by Chuck Wendig

Okay, first off I’m going to admit that it’s been a while, a long while, since I’ve blogged about anything. Somehow, I fell into a blogging summer vacation. I imagine it was all the sun and the hot weather that pulled me away. The good news is I have a lot of catching up to do, and I’ll start with a review of a book I finished reading just yesterday: Star Wars Aftermath Life Debt by Chuck Wendig.

Prior to the new Star Wars reboots, I had almost all of the old Star Wars fiction, which is now Legend. Between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, there is a large gap of time, and I’m the kind of Star Wars fan that needs to know what happened, and this new trilogy, written by Chuck Wendig is how to find out. Life Debt is the second book of the trilogy, and while the first book was fairly slow and a bit too meandering, the plot of the second book is much tighter, and has more of a purpose, so it seems. It also has much more Han, Leia, and Chewy.

The ending was a bit of a cliffhanger, so I’m hoping to get the third book sooner rather than later, but I have a few books that I need to get through first for an upcoming writing conference.

Overall, this trilogy has been satisfactory. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

4/5 Stars

JEH

My 2017 GoodReads Reading Challenge Update – Halfway There!

I love GoodReads, and I love the Annual Reading Challenge. This year, I’ve set my goal at 60 books. Well, June 30th is approaching and I’ve now completed 31 books, which puts me 2 books ahead of schedule.

So far, my favourite read of 2017 has been The Girl Who Drank The Moon. I seriously love this book and it is now on my absolute favourites list along with books like The Lord of the Rings, Pride and Predjudice, The Princess Bride, Harry Potter, and The Historian. Yeah, I know, my list is a complete mish-mash of genres. I could also go on listing my absolute favourite books, but I think I’ll save that for another time.

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In the past couple weeks, I’ve finished reading a few books I haven’t blogged about, mostly because I try to only blog about middle-grade and Young Adult books, though my reading preference is much more broad than that. I finished Career of Evil on audiobook (loved it!) and And The Birds Rained Down (a 2015 Canada Reads pick). I’m into reading Canadian Fiction as Canada’s 150th birthday is coming up July 1st!

Currently, I’m reading a few different books (I very rarely read one at a time). I have a bunch of half-read books, and I’m hoping that by the end of the year I’ll have surpassed my 60 book goal (70 would be lovely). But I have a lot of hefty picks waiting on my TBR shelf.

Here’s hoping! What are you reading?

JEH

 

What I’m Reading: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I’m almost ashamed of admitting how long it took me to finish reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I made a pact with myself a while back to read more classics. I know and love Pride and Predjudice very well, but I haven’t read all that many classics other than everything by Jane Austen. Since I’ve begun reading more of the old famous books, I’ve found a few that I love, Dracula and Frankenstein, and a few that I’ve hated, Lolita and Madame Bovary. Jane Eyre fit somewhere in between those two ends.

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Jane Eyre wasn’t quite as romantic as Pride and Predjudice, and it wasn’t quite as gothic as Frankenstein and Dracula. I’ve noticed the obvious pattern that even amongst the classics I mostly prefer those with a fantastical twist. Part of the reason I picked up this particular copy of Jane Eyre was because of the cover. Isn’t it gorgeous? Here’s a better look.

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Previous to reading the novel, I’d seen a couple different remakes of Jane Eyre in cinema format, and I’ve never particularly loved any of those either. Part of the reason, I think, is that the pieces of the novel I found more interesting always seemed to be wiped out of the movie. For instance, i really enjoyed the beginning of Jane Eyre when Jane’s at school. This took up at least a good quarter of the book, but I’ve never seen a movie dedicate that much time to it.

All in all, reading Jane Eyre was a pleasant experience, so pleasant in fact that I kept falling asleep when reading it, which is part of why it took me over six months to get around to finishing it. But I’m glad I’m done, and that I can now add it to my GoodReads count.

4/5 Stars.

JEH