Bones of Fairy by Janni Lee Simmer

Bones of Faerie

Bones of Faerie

Liza lives with her father in a village surrounded by restless and often deadly forest. The corn can turn viscous. Vines and trees can capture and imprison you and shadows are no longer safe. Life in the village is lived by very strict rules – all things magic are destroyed – even her own baby sister, born with faerie-pale hair, is left out on a hillside to die. Then Liza’s mother disappears and she is at the mercy of her cruel and rigid father as her own gifts and magic begin to manifest. She cannot stay – but can she survive to find her mother and a chance to heal not only her own world, but Faerie as well?

With help from Matthew, who shape shifts into a wolf, Allie, a young healer and Tallow her old cat, Liza travels the dangerous wilds and battles her gifts and a world gone crazy.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Great for middle to older Primary aged children, even younger Secondary students would find the story very readable and relate to the themes and ideas of friendship, family, trust and loyalty.

Short Story Collections edited by Ellen Datlow

Teeth; Vampire Tales

Teeth

Teeth

A collection of short stories by some very amazing authors, including Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Neil Gaiman and Melissa Marr – all with the theme of Vampires…

Some stories I enjoyed, but I think most of the stories struggled to give a new view of vampires, explaining the history and culture behind the stories and have credible and empathetic characters that the reader can relate to. Short stories are not easy, but when the author is trying to breath new life into an otherwise over exposed theme – their job is even harder!

Some stories were great, and some of my favourite fantasy and young adult authors are represented, but not all of the stories held my attention, or captured my imagination.

Naked City; Tales of Urban Fantasy

Naked City

Naked City

Urban Fantasy is just another name for paranormal or supernatural fantasy. Vampires. Werewolves. Witches…

Some great authors with a few favourite characters/worlds revisited… Jim Butcher (Harry Dresden – Wizard for Hire), Patricia Briggs, Melissa Marr, Holly Black…

Not quite what I expected, this collection of short stories mostly hit the mark! Again, short stories can be hard to sell – not enough time to fully explore the themes and concepts behind the worlds or assumptions, let alone the characters involved. You know that the story is good when you want to know more!

Lonesome Howl by Steven Herrick

Lonesome Howl

Lonesome Howl

Two Aussie bush kids. One legend. Two very different families. One adventure. Told in verse, this is the story of two young teens, Lucy and Jake. Lucy is caught in an unhappy home with a violent and cruel father. Jake lives in a happy home where his father is obsessed with the wolf he saw as a young man.

Then the night time howls begin, unsettling the fragile balance of the two families. Jake and Lucy set out to find the ‘wolf’ – Lucy as a means to escape and Jake to end the obsession one way or the other. Of course in the Australian bush, nothing ever goes as planned and Jake and Lucy find themselves having to change their personal plans for the sake of the other – finding unexpected allies and a growing friendship that neither had considered.

I love Steven Herrick’s work – and this no exception. No werewolves – nothing overtly supernatural, except perhaps the presence of the ghost of a wolf in the Australian bush – just a good story about friendship, family, loss and love.

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

forever

forever

I loved the first two books and I loved this one!!! Being a human in wolf skin is not easy and Grace shows us as she struggles to become and remain human long enough to find Sam. As a wolf she has found the pack and established a place under the protection of it’s leader, however she does not have any control over her form and often finds herself naked and shivering in strange places as the pack travels and she follows.

Eventually the changes stay for longer and Sam manages to find her and bring her home. But the problems they face are not that simple. Isabel’s father, the rich and influential Thomas Culpepper, is trying to get a new bill through allowing them to hunt and destroy the wolves using helicopters and any other means he can lay his hands on. Cole is still experimenting on ways to trigger the change , reverse the change and generally stop the change. Sam is feeling less and less sure of himself and after another encounter with the police, at a loss of how best to proceed, to rescue the wolves and save Grace and make a future for them!

I know this is the end of the series… but…

Witches of the East by Melissa de la Cruz

Witches of the East

Witches of the East

The Beauchamp women, Joanna and her daughters, Freya and Ingrid, loosely represent the three faces of witches or wise-women through the ages – the the hag with warts kind, but the different realms of power – love, healing and motherhood. They have lived among us for centuries, hiding their gifts and slowly diminishing as our beliefs and practices strayed further from their origins.

After becoming engaged to one brother only to stray into the arms of the other, Freya begins to use her magic to assist the lovelorn of the small Hampshire town the family lives in, creating cocktails with an extra kick! When no harm seems to arise, Ingrid and finally Joanna begin to also use their magic with often amazing results… amid rumours of witchcraft, people go missing and bodies turn up, leading to threatened exposure and persecution…

I bought and read this book because I had so enjoyed Melissa de la Cruz’ earlier books in the Blue Bloods series. Although one of the characters from that series does make a brief appearance int his book, I did not enjoy the book as much as the others. More of an adult offering than the other books, I did not find the main characters as endearing and struggled to finish the book.

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards

The Other Countess

The Other Countess

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the young Earl of Dorset had no choice but to court an heiress to be his wife, given the ruin bought to his family by his father’s unfortunate love of Alchemy and patronage of Sir Arthur Hutton. Upon his father’s death, Will Lacey sent the alchemist and his daughter packing. Lady Eleanor Rodriguez of San Jaime had little choice but to follow her father from lodging to barn until four years later when he found patronage in the person of Lord Mountjoy.

Will Lacey has come to Windsor in search of an heiress. Instead he meets Ellie, the Lady Eleanor and begins a mild flirtation, never expecting that she would be the daughter of his arch nemesis, or that he would fall in love with her bravery and wit. Many trials stand in their way, not least of which is his betrothal to Lady Jane, the capturing of a Catholic Priest which throws doubt onto Ellie and her father’s loyalty to the crown, her father’s explosive death…

The path to true love is strewn with obstacles – and Will and Ellie’s journey is no exception!!!

A very entertaining tale. Well written and an interesting take on the characters and customs of Elizabethan England. Quite a few well known figures cross the paths of our main characters, adding extra interest when viewed from the perspective of star crossed love!

Suitable for teens with some hints at not so chaste behaviour, but no explicit scenes beyond the occasional kiss! Girls who like historical fiction will love this! Very enjoyable.