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

What I’m Reading: The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Young Adult Book Review: The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

First off, I’m going to be honest and specify that I listened to this book on audiobook. But I loved it so much I went out an bought a hardcover copy after I finished. It isn’t often I rave about a book and say that everyone should read it, but I will with this one. The Girl Who Drank The Moon should be on everyone’s reading list, and I do mean everyone, young, old, and those in the middle.

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The Girl Who Drank The Moon is about a mottled assortment of characters (also young, old, and in between), in a fantastical world full of sorrow and magic. The book centers on the character’s inward journey’s and their interactions.

When I went to pick up my hard copy at the bookstore, i found this book shelved in Young Readers (9-12), which I think was a mistake on part of the publisher. I think this is really an all ages tale. It is beautifully written, poetic, and well themed. While there are children in the book, a lot of the story is told from Xan’s point of view, and Xan being an ancient witch, I wasn’t sure the book would have captured my attention as a young child, though Luna, also a protagonist, is 12 at the end of the story.

In all honesty, this book is hard to categorize. But that really doesn’t matter, because it is just a beautiful book. I heard about it from a woman in my writing group who raved about it, and I will say that she was definitely not wrong. If you haven’t hard about The Girl Who Drank The Moon, you should have, and if you haven’t read it yet, you should start. Now.

5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Young Adult Book Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Like this first two books in this series, I listened to Dreams of Gods and Monsters on audiobook. If you like audiobooks, I highly recommend these ones. Or you could just read the books, because the story is fantastic.

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Dreams of Gods and Monsters begins right where Days of Blood and Starlight ends. Karu is deep in battle with her foes, and her heart is deep in battle with itself. Laini Taylor’s world is so well thought out and rich with detail, and it’s super easy to get lost in it for a while.

I didn’t find the last book of this series as strong as the first two. The end felt a bit protracted, as the main action ended well before the end of the story. It was that kind of slow winding down feel, which I’m not a particular fan of (such as J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Return of the King). The audiobook is over 15 hours long, and it took me a long time to get through it. I think I had to borrow it from the library three or four times, mostly because I didn’t have any long road trips during this period. But if you’ve got in your future, pick up this book to keep you well occupied.

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy is now new the top of my favorite Young Adult series. What’s at the top of yours?

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

 

Books I’ve Read: Castle Waiting Volume 2 by Linda Medley

I stayed up late last night finishing the second volume of Castle Waiting. It was good. Once I finished I Googled whether or not there would be a third volume, and read that the author is working on it. Supposedly the third volume would be in colour, and I’m not sure I’d like that. I love that volumes 1 and 2 are in black and white, I honestly think black and white is underrated. And yes, I also have a thing for black and white movies.

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Castle Waiting Volume 2 continues where volume one left off, and follows the inhabitants of the castle during they regular day, which is never regular. There are over four hundred pages of beautiful drawings and lovely story in this hardcover volume. It’s a lovely view of a fairy tale life, and definitely a castle I wish I could visit.

5/5 Stars

JEH

 

What I’m Reading: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

Young Adult Book Review: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

This week I was pretty obsessed with finishing the last book in Brandon Sanderson’s Young Adult Reckoners Trilogy. If you haven’t read the review of the first book, Steelheart, you can find it here. Now that I’ve finished the trilogy, I can admit a few things: Steelheart was my favourite book of the Reckoners, I wish I could write as well as Brandon Sanderson, and I’m sad that I never got to go back to Newcago. While the setting of every book was unique and interesting, Newcago was my favourite by far. I would definitely go visit it if I could, if the Reckoners wasn’t a dystopian-Marvel-esque- Fantasy.

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Brandon Sanderson has already announced that his next Young Adult series will be called the Apocolypse Guard and will be set in the same world as Reckoners. I will definitely pick it up. The ending of Calamity definitely left me thinking, and there are still a couple things I’m trying to figure out (like most of Sanderson’s books, I’m not sure I’m supposed to understand everything). You can read more about his next series on his blog if you’re interested.

Calamity of course was  full of action, fairly quick paced (though I thought it dragged slightly more than the other two books, though I would hardly call it dragging). There were lots of laughs and lots of tension.

A solid 4.5/5 Stars.

NOTE: Finishing this book puts me at 16/60 books on my Goodreads goal, 2 books ahead of  schedule!

JEH