ARC Review: In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne

9780062428134_98a84Title : In the Shadow of the Gods

Author : Rachel Dunne

Publisher : Harper Voyager

Release date : June 21st, 2016

Rating : 1.5/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

Eons ago, a pair of gods known as the “Twins” grew powerful in the world of Fiatera, until the Divine Mother and Almighty Father exiled them, binding them deep in the earth. But the price of keeping the fire-lands safe is steep. To prevent these young gods from rising again, all twins in the land must be killed at birth, a safeguard that has worked, until now.

Trapped for centuries, the Twins are gathering their latent powers to break free and destroy the Parents for their tyranny—a fight between two generations of gods for control of the world and the mortals who dwell in it.

When the gods make war, only one side can be victorious. Joros, a mysterious and cunning priest, has devised a dangerous plan to win. Over eight years, he gathers a team of disparate fighters—Scal, a lost and damaged swordsman from the North; Vatri, a scarred priestess who claims to see the future in her fires; Anddyr, a drug-addled mage wandering between sanity and madness; and Rora and Aro, a pair of twins who have secretly survived beyond the reach of the law.

These warriors must learn to stand together against the unfathomable power of vengeful gods, to stop them from tearing down the sun . . . and plunging their world into darkness.

Review :

I love fantasy, I really do! I have read many fantasy books in my life, and I must say… In the Shadow of the Gods was disappointing.

You know what aspect of epic fantasy I absolutely admire? The writing!! I already described it in other reviews of mine, but I’ll say it again: elegant and polished prose is my kryptonite, in fantasy. Think Tolkien, or Martin. Their writing is absolutely riveting, and draws us in their world, and manipulates our emotions and perspectives at every page.

Now, what kind of writing did Dunne offer in her book? YA prose, that’s what. I’m not saying YA authors write badly; oh no, most of them have pretty decent writing and it’s actually enjoyable. What I’m saying is that Dunne’s composition doesn’t belong in the Fantasy genre. It felt so out of place, that I was immediately turned off. Actually, my turn-off was so definite and complete, that I couldn’t find it in myself to even try to like the book. There was nothing epic about it. What would actually put this novel in Fantasy would be the world (we’ll talk about this later) and the excessive violence.

About what Dunne actually wrote, again, it left to be desired. Each chapter relates events set some years apart, but the author spends so much time referencing what has already happened in previous chapters, that really, I don’t see why I even bothered to read every chapter. The reading is redundant, as she repeats the same information over and over again. And the world. Gosh, such an underdeveloped world. The premise isn’t bad, okay? The gods, and the missing ones, the Twins, and the religion. I really liked the concept of how all of this affected their world. But, it seems like this myth and its impact are the only thing that ever happened in this universe, which is otherwise lacking a history, or culture, or politics. Everything, from the writing to the world, is just…empty. Nothing to keep my interest, apart from the inexplicable magic.

Joros’ character was okay. I didn’t really know where I stood regarding him, as I sometimes liked him, sometimes disliked him entirely. I really liked Scal, though. His story is filled with loss and loneliness and revenge, but it is so rich that Dunne could write an entire book about him. But apart from him, I could’ve used some other interesting characters, some that would spark up some life in this otherwise miserable world.

All in all, In the Shadow of the Gods is an okay book for fantasy beginners, as it lacks many things that would make up a great fantasy read.

** Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Voyager for providing me with an e-copy of this book!

Picture sources : 1, 2

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Wednesday’s Headline: Rachel Caine & Ellery A. Kane

Wednesday’s Headline is a series/feature on my blog where I will share with you my current read and my thoughts and expectations for them!

This Wednesday, I’m alternating again between a print book and an eBook. Respectively, I’m reading Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine, and Legacy by Ellery A. Kane!

I’m actually reading Ink and Bone in order to cover the release of Paper and Fire, the second installment in The Great Library series, which will be published on the 5th of July, 2016. So be sure to check out this series!

[Pictures+summaries from Goodreads]

  1. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

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Summary:

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

So, I just read The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (review here), that also features a powerful and mystic Library. It was good, no more, no less. So, since Ink and Bone is YA, my expectations are lower, which would mean that it would be easier for me to like it! I’m hoping for a mystic atmosphere surrounding the Library, mysterious characters and lots of references to other literary works!

2. Legacy by Ellery A. Kane

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Summary:

How do you want to feel today?

In 2041, the choice is yours.

San Francisco is deserted, the Bay Bridge bombed, and the BART subway trains grounded. The Guardians, members of an elite and mysterious government-appointed military police force, are maintaining order at all costs—thanks to emotion-altering drugs like Emovere that suppress fear and anxiety. Lex Knightley, daughter of a prominent forensic psychiatrist, risks entering the devastated city to partner with the Resistance, a group of rebels intent upon exposing the dangers of Emovere. Lex discovers an ally in Quin McAllister, a magnetic Guardian Force recruit with a haunting past that binds them together. As she uncovers the secrets of the Guardian Force and confronts the truth about her family, Lex begins to realize that even those closest to her are not quite who they seem.

Legacy is the first in a trilogy but can also be enjoyed as a stand-alone.

Dannng, this one gives me intense Matched and Delirium memories. I think it’s because of the emotions thingy. I’m obviously hoping it won’t fall in the same boring, monotonous dystopia. But it probably will. So, let’s hope for amazing characters and mind-blowing prose.

I really REALLY like the concept of “choosing” how to feel. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought it would be nicer to choose our feelings, eh? It must be pretty awesome, but at the same time, inhumane. Um…

Thanks for reading!

Book Review : Saving Abby by Steena Holmes

Title: Saving Abby

Author : Steena Holmes

Publisher : lake union publishing

Release date : May 31st, 2016

Rating : 4.5/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

All children’s book illustrator Claire Turner ever wanted was to be a mother. After six years of trying to conceive, she and her husband, Josh, have finally accepted that she will never be pregnant with a child of their own.

Yet once they give up hope, the couple gets the miracle they’ve been waiting for. For the first few months of her pregnancy, Claire and Josh are living on cloud nine. But when she begins to experience debilitating headaches, blurred vision, and even fainting spells, the soon-to-be mother goes to the doctor and receives a terrifying diagnosis. Since any treatment could put their unborn baby’s life at risk, the Turners must carefully weigh their limited options. And as her symptoms worsen, Claire will have to make an impossible decision: Save her own life, or save her child’s?

Review :

Saving Abby is a soft and heart-gripping story, for when you seek vulnerable strength and ferocious love.

I don’t personally know Holmes, but I’m assuming she has soft hands. Why do I think that? It’s because her writing is sublimely delicate. Think of soft blankets, or calm waters. Comfort wraps its hands around me when I read her book. It’s a very good writing style for such a story about loss, love and struggles. Holmes manages to convey every thought and emotion she strives to re-create in Claire’s story. A strong maturity for a delicate subject, that’s what I faced in this novel… and it fit perfectly. The pacing is good: a bit slow, but always constant.

The chapters alternate between her last travel and the present, between the mourning of her lost dream and her pregnancy. While they were on vacation, Josh and Claire had to say goodbye to her dream of having a child, so they travelled wherever they wanted. The scenery and foreign places were so well described that I felt I was there with them. I’m not talking about actual descriptions. I’m talking about the local experience, you know? Little shops and bookstores and all the little things that give a place its uniqueness, all of those contributed to the feeling that I travelled with them.

Josh’s and Claire’s relationship was adorable. They take care of, worry about and strengthen each other. Their dynamics, as a couple, is dreamy: it’s the kind of marriage anyone would want. Their life is also great together, having successful careers and enough money to enjoy life at their leisure. Everything is good… except for their failed dream of being parents. Sometimes Claire or Abby acted in ways I couldn’t understand, and yes it did get me frustrated, but at the end of the day, you realize that redemption is also part of Holmes’ story.

Saving Abby is an emotional novel, and Holmes created such wonderful characters that we can’t help but feel their joy and their heartache.

Picture sources : 1, 2

Connect with Steena Holmes

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Interview with Genevieve Cogman, author of The Invisible Library

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Hi there! I had the pleasure to interview Genevieve Cogman, author of The Invisible Library, the review of which you can find here! Please read along, and don’t forget to take a look at the book also 🙂

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Genevieve Cogman got started on Tolkien and Sherlock Holmes at an early age, and has never looked back. But on a perhaps more prosaic note, she has an MSC in Statistics with Medical Applications and has wielded this in an assortment of jobs: clinical coder, data analyst and classifications specialist. Although The Invisible Library is her debut novel, she has also previously worked as a freelance roleplaying game writer. Genevieve Cogman’s hobbies include patchwork, beading, knitting and gaming, and she lives in the north of England.

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1.       Hi, Mrs. Cogman! Thank you for agreeing to this interview! I would like to start with an all-time classic : Could you enlighten us a little bit about yourself?
 
I’m a clinical classifications specialist (it has to do with recording medical data) and I work for the NHS. I live and work in the north of England, a couple of hours north of London. My hobbies include patchwork, knitting, beading, role-playing games, and reading far too much.
 
2.       How did your passion for books start?
 
As far back as I can remember, I’ve been reading, and losing myself in a good story. I remember my parents reading me The Hobbit as a bedtime story when I was five or six. I started on The Lord of the Rings at seven, even if I didn’t properly appreciate large parts of it at the time. I was always reading anything I got my hands on from the family bookshelves, and the school library, and the local library…
 
3.       What made you want to mash up spies and libraries?
 
It started as just the concept of a librarian who was “collecting” books from alternate universes, rather than as a deliberate plan to mix the two genres, but when I started writing it, I found out that in practice Irene had to use quite a number of spy (or heist) techniques to succeed. All that early reading of Modesty Blaise novels and various “How To Be A Spy” handbooks for children must have had more influence on me than I realized.
 
4.       Did you have to do any research while writing The Invisible Library? If so, what did you research about?
 
The main area of research was the geography of various points in London. Though there were other points, such as “famous lost works of fiction”, “vocal patterns of Sherlock Holmes”, “types of alligator”, “curare and antidotes”, and “how to spell Liechtenstein”…
 
5.       How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
 
Heroine has to obtain rare text while hunted by arch-enemy of Library and coping with an unwanted mentorship role, and finds out that famous detectives are more complex in real life than they are in fiction.
 
6.       What was your favorite element to write about? (a character, an event, a description,…)
 
Silver is my favourite character to write about. He’s just so gloriously melodramatic and tacky. My favourite event was the alligator attack. (I’d probably better not say where or how, in case people haven’t read that scene yet.)
 
7.       What do you notice most when reading a book? (Characters, characters’ development, plot holes, etc.)
 
I think it would be characters, but it really does depend on the book.
 
8.        What would you like people to notice most while reading your book?
 
I wouldn’t want them necessarily to “notice” things. I’d just like them to enjoy reading it, and to come out the far end with a headful of cool images and some entertaining new daydreams. And maybe to want to know what happens next.
 
9.       Could you give us 3 book recommendations?
 
Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch.
A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula Le Guin
The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
 
10.  Thank you for your time, and good luck for the future!
 
Thank you very much!

Book Review: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Invisible Library Cover ArtTitle : The Invisible Library

Author : Genevieve Cogman

Publisher : Roc Trade Paperback Original

Release date : June 14th, 2016

Rating : 3.5/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

Review :

The Invisible Library’s world isn’t perfect, but in my bookworm’s opinion, it has so much potential that I could drown in it!

This trilogy (yep, already two books are out in Europe) bathes in a pool of possibilities; possibility to go deeper into each character, possibility to expand this series and generate spin-offs à la Mortal Instruments, possibility to explore all the alternate worlds mentioned throughout the book. I am positively amazed at the potential of this world Cogman created! However, all this potential had me realizing that there was, in my opinion, too much action and not enough substance; all my unanswered questions and some loose ends left me unsatisfied. But still I cannot wait to read the second book!

From the summary, I thought this would be a classic fantasy read, you know? It would have meant an elegant and solemn prose, precise and extended vocabulary, but that’s not what I encountered when I turned on the first page. It remains, after all, a YA series. It was, first of all, pretty clear that this was Cogman’s debut novel, as the writing is a bit inconsistent and disorganized. But just a bit, though, no more. The protagonist Irene’s voice dominated the novel, and considering how “young” she is, Cogman felt the need to add those YA-typical unnecessary bits of thoughts and “attitude” or, like we call it these days, sassiness. Unfortunately, Irene’s voice took away the mystery and the foreignness of what this book could have been, considering the highly intriguing concept of an out-of-this-world Library, alternate worlds and espionage.

After I got over my disappointment, though, I was quickly drawn in by the spy thing. The author demonstrates many spy reflexes and techniques, while not being too heavy on the stuff, but just enough to make it exciting and feel like you could pull off those tricks and look totally badass. What also drew me in was the world. Can you imagine? Alternate worlds, an Invisible Library existing between them, Library agents going in those worlds to take precious books and encountering fictional creatures, like werewolves and vampires and faes. However, the way Cogman presented her world left to be desired. “Slowly but surely” would apply here; I could even add a “too slowly”. It was so slow, even, that I got confused many times at the beginning, and even nearing the middle. Needless to say, my frustration flared up quite a few times.

For the characters themselves, what I liked most was their imperfection. Kai got my heart beating on his first appearance, not because he’s good-looking, but because he’s a novice: he’s inexperienced, curious, eager to learn, eager to come up with smart ideas and solutions to please his mentor. Just a little puppy wagging his tail! Irene is a spy, but a junior spy, prone to mistakes, and not always the best. She’s not a Bond or a Bourne, she’s still learning, and sometimes lets her emotions have the better of her. Most importantly, she learns to trust herself and to tackle difficult questions about her circumstances and the Library. Their imperfection creates perfect moments of laughter, moments to enjoy and cherish because their situation is quite dark indeed. The tension between Kay and Irene was unnecessary, but very entertaining and helped to add some lightness in their mission.

The Invisible Library’s was a thrilling adventure, where dragons and faes and other creatures mingle, and anything can happen at the turn of a page!

Picture sources : 1, 2

ARC Review: Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet by H. P. Wood

27015411Title : Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet

Author : H. P. Wood

Publisher : Sourcebooks Landmark

Release date : June 7th, 2016

Rating : 4.1/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

May 1904. Coney Island’s newest amusement park, Dreamland, has just opened. Its many spectacles are expected to attract crowds by the thousands, paying back investors many times over.

Kitty Hayward and her mother arrive by steamer from South Africa. When Kitty’s mother takes ill, the hotel doctor sends Kitty to Manhattan to fetch some special medicine. But when she returns, Kitty’s mother has vanished. The desk clerk tells Kitty she is at the wrong hotel. The doctor says he’s never seen her although, she notices, he is unable to look her in the eye.

Alone in a strange country, Kitty meets the denizens of Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet. A relic of a darker, dirtier era, Magruder’s is home to a forlorn flea circus, a handful of disgruntled Unusuals, and a mad Uzbek scientist. Magruder’s Unusuals take Kitty under their wing and resolve to find out what happened to her mother.

But as a plague spreads, Coney Island is placed under quarantine. The gang at Magruder’s finds that a missing mother is the least of their problems, as the once-glamorous resort town is abandoned to the freaks, anarchists, and madmen.

 

Review :

Ok so, you know when you decide to taste a dish, and it tastes completely different from what you expected, but it was still very good, so you end up pleasantly surprised? That’s how I felt about Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet!

From the deep corners of my mind, I managed to find a comparison for Wood’s writing style: you’re watching someone you respect walk away from you, but suddenly, they realize they have a last thing to say, and so they toss behind them the words you’ve been waiting to hear. It’s that kind of careless, yet thoughtful prose that you can expect to find in Magruder’s. At every page, I found myself smiling a little, intrigued and charmed by the wittiness of Wood’s writing! It’s elegant, and polished, like something you’d find in the early 1900s, which is the era in which the novel takes place. Think of the way they speak in Downton Abbey. The early 1900s being the turn of the century, it is a period of wonder over technology, electricity and electronic gadgets. As far as I learnt in my history and economics classes, Magruder’s is historically accurate. Not only in the technology domain, but also about the illness, the locations, and other little things, while still managing to remain in the Fiction section.

The build up to the catastrophic plague is very good; it would be considered slow for some people, but it was well paced for me, and realistic, considering the fact that we follow the lives of freaks and outcasts, who have no quick way to learn anything except by figuring out everything by themselves. However, as my reading progressed, I realized I had yet to read anything truly exciting. If you’re looking for a Night Circus kind of feel, you’ll be disappointed: Magruder’s was a rather depressing story, coated in chocolate. Like in Night Circus, I expected a dreamy, foreign-like, mystical and strange atmosphere, and wonderful descriptions of the Unusuals and their oddities. But nothing really sparked up my imagination or made me dream… which was enormously disappointing. But the ending itself was suspenseful and fast paced, magnificently written. Throughout the book, Wood handled well the themes of gender roles and discrimination. It was direct and powerful, and sent a strong message of solidarity and self-esteem.

In every chapter, points of views alternate between characters, and it creates an intricate and complete painting of the events, from one person to the other. Through the story, you get a real sense of the Unusuals’ closeness and intimacy. There are heart-warming relationships, bonding together enchanting characters, like the gender fluid Rosalind, or the mute boy P-Ray. Each character is quite real, “three-dimensional”. They are complete, down to their background and quirks and way of speaking. Even when a conversation occurs among many characters, everything is said in each and every one’s particular tone. It was an amazing arabesque of personalities. We encounter the strong, the resilient, the lost, the determined, the confused, the selfish, the practical, and many more colorful figures throughout the story. Even though, as I’ve said, it’s a depressing story, they don’t let it get them down, and they bounce back.

In conclusion, Magruder’s was a delightful story, written by a master’s hand, touching many delicate subjects, but managing to make me root for all the characters.

** Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me with an e-copy of this book!

Picture sources : 1, 2

Book Review + GIVEAWAY: Race Girl by Leigh Hutton

Title : Race Girl

Author : Leigh Hutton

Publisher : Port Campbell Press

Release date : April 3rd, 2016

Rating : 4/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

Tully Athens has always dreamed of following in the footsteps of her hero Michelle Payne. Of living up to the Athens name and becoming the third generation of women from her family to rule the track. But Tully’s never been sure she’s got the nerve, and when her mother is killed in a horse racing accident, her whole world is shattered.

Six months later, in the heat of a Queensland summer, sixteen-year-old Tully is ready to face her fears. But getting back in the saddle leads to a whole lot more than she bargained for, with an out of control crush on the boy from their rival thoroughbred farm – the gorgeous but cocky larrikin Brandon Weston – and a forgotten filly with stardom in her eyes . . .

When faced with the most difficult decision of her life, will Tully choose to train and race her new filly in Melbourne? Or will she sacrifice it all to fight for love on the land that feeds her soul?

It’s only when tragedy rips everything from her that Tully finds a strength and courage she never knew she had, in this action-packed novel of passion, adventure and determination.

Review :

Can I get a hell yeah for this amazing story of victory, determination, adventure, love and loss?!

Ok, so I’ll start with the negative, and end with the positive, alright? I didn’t expect much from this book, but one of the things I did hope to have was fast-paced, heart-racing action, horse races that would shatter my mere reading experience and turn me into a witness to the Melbourne Cup!!! Unfortunately, as you probably guessed, it wasn’t so. Even the beginning was dull, and if I wasn’t reading this book for a purpose, I would have started reading it diagonally. I found Race Girl to be slower paced than what I would have liked from this book, but I do understand why: it’s not a novel about horse racing, it’s a novel about a horseback rider who has to overcome obstacles. And yet, even though I know that already, I’m still just a tiny bit disappointed. However, Hutton has a great way of writing that makes readers feel like they’re in the action. During the races, I could have sworn that I was on a horse! So that was a real winner!

The main character, Tully, didn’t appeal to me, at first. She literally cried in every chapter. LITERALLY. Seriously, I couldn’t stand her! But, the book spans over 2 years, and we get to see an amazing character development. Tully becomes a mature young woman, caring and strong, forged through hard struggles. I really liked her at the end, as she finally became worthy of being the protagonist. I didn’t have much thought about Brandon, but their relationship was quite charming. The romance was cute, but thankfully, it didn’t take up too much space. It stayed in the background, and just added to the sweetness of the story.

As usual, I love it when an author does research for their novel!! Hutton was obviously a connoisseur about horseback riding, and horse races, and, from what I garnered about her other works, adventure sports in general. The bits that actually taught me anything about horseback riding were a joy to read, along with the bits about the riders themselves. I expected to learn about horses, and I did!

All in all, Race Girl is a very sweet story about a horse rider who overcomes difficulties and fights for what she loves. Although it struck me more as a young reader’s story, I still recommend it if you are looking for a simple but feel-good book!

۞ GIVEAWAY

Ends June 23rd – RACE GIRL GIVEAWAY

Picture sources : 1

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Quote of the day

I love books. I like that the moment you open one and sink into it you can escape from the world, into a story that’s way more interesting that yours will ever be.

– Elizabeth Scott, Bloom

Wednesday’s Headline: Genevieve Cogman & Leigh Hutton

Wednesday’s Headline is a series/feature on my blog where I will share with you my current read and my thoughts and expectations for them!

(Yep, I know. A few minutes late, I’m sorry.)

This Wednesday, I’m reading The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman and Race Girl by Leigh Hutton! Two books, again, because *sigh* my deadlines are lurking in the shadows of Next Week. Anyway, meet my current reads:

[Pictures+summaries from Goodreads]

  1. The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

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Summary:

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

Such.A.Beautiful.Cover! The cover AND the title had me at hello, and the summary had me at how are you. I am so in love with this book; my heart fills with pride whenever I take it out! However, my first disappointment came not a page in: the writing style. When I read the summary, I expected a classic, elegant and polished writing. Not a YA cliché of a narrator. It is, after all, fantasy before YA. And seriously? From the premise, I would have expected the author to handle the novel with care. But nah. But, I am hoping for mind-blowing worlds, and relatable (bookworms, people!) characters!

2. Race Girl by Leigh Hutton

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Summary:

Tully Athens has always dreamed of following in the footsteps of her hero Michelle Payne. Of living up to the Athens name and becoming the third generation of women from her family to rule the track. But Tully’s never been sure she’s got the nerve, and when her mother is killed in a horse racing accident, her whole world is shattered.

Six months later, in the heat of a Queensland summer, sixteen-year-old Tully is ready to face her fears. But getting back in the saddle leads to a whole lot more than she bargained for, with an out of control crush on the boy from their rival thoroughbred farm – the gorgeous but cocky larrikin Brandon Weston – and a forgotten filly with stardom in her eyes . . .

When faced with the most difficult decision of her life, will Tully choose to train and race her new filly in Melbourne? Or will she sacrifice it all to fight for love on the land that feeds her soul?

It’s only when tragedy rips everything from her that Tully finds a strength and courage she never knew she had, in this action-packed novel of passion, adventure and determination.

My love for horses is the sole reason I accepted to read this book, hahahah! So of course, my only expectation: to learn more about those exquisite creatures and about horseback riding! I hope Hutton won’t disappoint me there…

Thanks for reading this!

Book Review + GIVEAWAY : Incarnation by Laura Davis Hays

Title : Incarnation

Author : Laura Davis Hays

Publisher : Terra Nova Books

Release date : February 29th, 2016

Rating : 4.3/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

 

Kelsey Depuis, Santa Fe scientist, and Iriel, betrothed on Atlantis to a man she cannot love two young women bound by a single soul. In Kelsey s everyday world, three men shape her life: Myron Crouch, the boss of BioVenture Enterprises; Harrison Stillman, a brilliant colleague of hers there; and Stan Dresser, who twists her feelings with his kisses and lies. But gradually, growingly, Iriel is shaping her life too. Through dreams and visions, she draws Kelsey into the ancient realm where refusal to marry Gewil has driven her to daring flight with fantastic creatures across a strange and terrible land. As Kelsey joins other BioVenture researchers testing a new organism on a remote Caribbean island, turmoil and violence darken her fate and Iriel s presence grows stronger. Worlds shift and merge, danger grows. Past and present, vengeance and love swirl together as the seas rise up, the seas that once swallowed Atlantis. Tested in life-or-death struggle, Kelsey must face an ordeal she can survive only through great courage and deep karmic understanding.”

Review :

A smashing novel by Laura Davis Hays, intertwining science, culture and spirituality!

I must admit it, when I read the summary, I was intrigued but mostly perplexed as to how Hays would pull off such a story. It’s a very unusual mash-up of biology and mythology! Therefore, I approached Incarnation with care and curiosity, but boy, am I glad I did! Laura Davis Hays apparently doesn’t have any trouble blending our modern era with the lost world of Atlantis. She manipulates words like an expert chess player with his pawns, with precision and grace.

At the beginning, I struggled a little bit with the complexity of the novel, with the back and forth between the times, and all the characters I met. Incarnation is not a book you read lightly; it’s a book that requires thinking, and open-mindedness. The science aspect was easy enough for me, as I studied science for the biggest part of my life. But, as my reading progressed and my understanding of the events as well, I started to appreciate the pace and the suspense! Man, the suspense glued me to the book, having me anticipating Kelsey’s and Iriel’s long-awaited collision! The suspense-building was also formidably done.

The main characters, Kelsey and Iriel, were well-developed. They are strong and resilient women, realistic as you would find in every day life, and worthy of all of my praise. I particularly noticed Kelsey’s character development, as she started a bit…unfocused, and then became more mature and made better decisions. Their alternating points of view (and therefore, their era differences) drew me in the conflict at heart and engaged me in their extraordinary adventure.

Hays writes beautifully. She especially has a master’s hand for descriptions! Those were incredibly imaginative and rich, so much I had no trouble imagining the spaces she was describing. Atlantis was so well detailed; I was completely engrossed whenever I was reading Iriel’s parts, as if her world was an actual, real place, but at the same time so out of reach for us, mere mortals.

All in all, the author expertly delivered a complex and haunting story, set in a modern scientific world but shaken by a lost and ancient civilization. I highly recommend this book!

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