Anticipated Reads (Summer-Autumn) 2015

2015In the past week and a half I’ve brought you my Anticipated Books for Summer/Autumn 2015 and today I bring you the fifteen books I anticipate reading the most in the coming six months. As usual it’s a list of fifteen, as there are just too many good books to choose from and I always have a hard time getting the list down to the more usual ten books. Also as per usual, I’ve excluded many books I’m really looking forward to reading right out of the gate, for example all the new instalments in series I’ve been reading. If I loved the previous book in the series, it’s a good bet I’ll want to read the next one. Some examples of these are Claire McGowan’s The Silent Dead, Edward Cox’s second book The Cathedral of Known Things, Stephanie Saulter’s Regeneration, Rebecca Levene’s The Hunter’s Kind, and the final book in Snorri Kristjansson’s Valhalla series Path of Gods.

So below in alphabetical order by author is my list, with a little explanation of why I really can’t wait to read these books. Do you agree or would you have chosen differently from the lists I posted recently?  Read More …

Anticipated Books (Summer-Autumn) 2015: Middle Grade

2015Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2015. Today it’s time to look at books for a younger set of readers: middle grade books. I’ve mixed the different genres together for this one, so there should be something for everyone. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Read More …

Oskar Jensen – The Yelling Stones

oskarjensen-theyellingstones“It was the first day of spring. The Yelling Stones, snow-swaddled, loomed before the great hall that bore their name and waited for something to happen. It would not take long…”

Astrid Gormsdottir cannot wait for the snow to melt so that she can ride freely through field and forest. But on her first spring ride she is attacked by wolves, only to be saved by a newcomer, a boy named Leif. And as winter ends there are whispers of a terrifying beast, trolls being attacked and witches on the move.

Astrid and Leif must join forces to face an unknown danger that threatens their very way of life.

The tagline to Oskar Jensen’s The Yelling Stones is ‘A Viking tale of myth and magic.’ Of course, this is catnip to my inner nine-year-old—who am I kidding? This is catnip to thirty-five-year-old me! To add to the must-read-this-now factor of the book, The Yelling Stones has a heroine and a hero who doesn’t fit the traditional Viking mould. The story was every bit as fun and adventurous as its cover indicates, yet it isn’t as straight-forward an adventure romp as it would seem either; there is some true tragedy in the book and some quite serious themes.  Read More …

Dawn McNiff – Worry Magic

dawnmcniff-worrymagicCourtney is a worrier – she’s worried about EVERYTHING, from her parents arguing to her gran being in hospital.

Then, when her mum and dad start arguing AGAIN, Courtney begins to feel a bit funny… a bit woozy … a bit like a dream is coming on … and then afterwards, everything has been magicked better!

But what is causing the magic?

And is it really magic at all?

The title for Dawn McNiff’s latest offering immediately caught my attention as I’m very much a worrier by nature and I’ve had to learn to curb the tendency to be able to function. So the idea that worrying might have a magical application was intriguing. But while Courtney’s worry magic is never discounted outright, at least not all elements of it are explained, Worry Magic is very much a contemporary middle grade novel, not a fantasy.  Read More …

Henry Herz – Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes [Blog Tour]

henryherz-monstergoosenurseryrhymesEnter an enchanted land of mythical creatures where manticores reign and ogres roar—a land of mystery and fright. A unique twist on traditional rhymes of everyone’s youth, Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes presents a more sinister approach to these childhood classics, and yet the sing-song nature of the poems renders them playful and jovial at the same time. […]If you enjoy mischief and have a penchant for the morbidly hilarious, the Herzs’ rhymes will satisfy your mythological curiosities.

Larson’s illustrations give new life to these ancient figures, and her artistic style employs the bold lines and colorful movement of an action-packed comic book. The author also includes a “bestiary” with information about the book’s legendary creatures, which hail from Scotland, Germany, Italy, Persia, Haiti, and Scandinavia.

This is a first on A Fantastical Librarian: a picture book review. Henry Herz’s Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes contains fourteen rhymes all playing off well-known nursery rhymes. Since we’ve been reading lots of picture books with the girls, I thought this one would be fun to review as it is not just a children’s picture book but also heavily indebted to D&D’s monster manual for its monsters. This means that all geeky parents who at one time or another have slung the dice, be they tangible or virtual, will be entertained by Herz’s reimagined children’s ditties.  Read More …

Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2015: Middle Grade

2015Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2015. Today it’s time to look at books for a younger set of readers: middle grade books. I’ve mixed the different genres together for this one, so there should be something for everyone. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Read More …

Kelly Barnhill – The Witch’s Boy

kellybarnhill-thewitchsboyWhen Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. But when the Bandit King comes to steal the magic that Ned’s mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it’s Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.

Meanwhile, across the forest lives Áine, the daughter of the Bandit King. She is haunted by her mother’s last words to her: “The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his.” When Áine’s and Ned’s paths cross, can they trust each other long enough to make their way through the treacherous woods and stop the war about to boil over between their two kingdoms?

First of all before I start talking about this book, I just want to say: That cover, you guys! I really love that cover and if anything, it was that cover that first drew me to give Kelly Barnhill’s The Witch’s Boy a closer look. I loved the play with the big shadows and those tiny little figures, and the sense that they were at the edge of the world. It is very fitting to the setting of the book and the villagers’ belief that there is nothing beyond the forest-clad mountains. But mostly it just made for an arresting visual. And all this was even before I read the blurb. When I opened the book and started reading I was sold, as Kelly Barnhill managed to break my heart twice in the span of two chapters, which meant I was in for a treat.  Read More …

Linda Coggin – The Boy with the Tiger’s Heart

lindacoggin-boywiththetigersheartA girl raised in the wild, a desperate race for freedom and a boy with a fiercely guarded secret…

When Nona’s guardian kills himself, she is immediately suspected of murdering him. In a world where nature and darkness are feared, where wild animals are held captive and cities are illuminated by permanent light, who will believe her innocence? Nona must flee with her only friend – a bear who is strangely human.

In their desperate attempt to escape capture, Nona and her bear encounter two strange boys, Caius and Jay. Together, the four of them will hide, and fight, and make the deadliest of enemies in their desperate race to a forbidden place called The Edge – where nature is unrestrained, where there is light and shade, forest and mountain, and where there are no shackles or boundaries.

A poetic, haunting and unforgettable modern fable about nature, society, and what it is that makes us human.

The Boy with the Tiger’s Heart immediately caught my attention with its intriguing title and that beautiful cover. Yet from the synopsis I wasn’t really clear on what to expect from the story. Together with the title it was somewhat suggestive of a fairytale, which might be correct but it’s a tale more of the level of an original Grimm story than that of a Disney film. Yet despite its somewhat bleak and sad narrative, overall the novel evokes a sense of escape and hope of a better future and it left me optimistic about Nona, Caius, and Jay’s futures.   Read More …

Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz – The Foundry’s Edge

baityzelkowicz-thefoundrysedgeTwo kids on a rescue mission.
A mysterious realm of living metal.
One secret that will change the world.

For Phoebe Plumm, life in affluent Meridian revolves around trading pranks with irksome servant Micah Tanner and waiting for her world-renowned father, Dr. Jules Plumm, to return home. Chief Surveyor for The Foundry, a global corporation with an absolute monopoly on technology, Phoebe’s father is often absent for months at a time. But when a sudden and unexpected reunion leads to father and daughter being abducted, Phoebe and would-be rescuer Micah find themselves stranded in a stunning yet volatile world of living metal, one that has been ruthlessly plundered by The Foundry for centuries and is the secret source of every comfort and innovation the two refugees have ever known.

The Foundry’s Edge is the first instalment in The Book of Ore and is aimed at the middle grade market. As such it is a bit younger than I usually read, but in my opinion it’s very much at the upper range and there will be plenty young adult readers who will get a kick out of this story. It’s a very fun romp with a lot of action and very cool characters. I enjoyed the book tremendously, not least because of the wonderfully inventive world of Mehk and the cool characters that inhabit it.   Read More …

Anticipated Books (Summer-Fall) 2014: Middle Grade

2014Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2014. Today it’s time to look at books for a younger set of readers: middle grade books. I’ve mixed the different genres together for this one, so there should be something for everyone. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Read More …