Quick Review: Tansy Rayner Roberts – Kid Dark Against the Machine

tansyraynerroberts-kiddarkagainstthemachineBack when he was called something else, Griff knew everything about superheroes, sidekicks and the mysterious machine responsible for creating them. Now, Griff is just an average guy, minding his own business. A volunteer handyman at the Boys Home—his former home—Griff spends his days clearing out gutters and building clubhouses for the orphans at the Home. Nothing heroic or remarkable about that, right?

But all of that changes when one of the Home kids starts having weird dreams about another Machine—an evil version that churns out supervillains. Griff remembers the call of the Machine, and reluctantly decides to help the kid on his mission.

And then they waltz back into Griff’s life. Those bloody heroes. Including him—The Dark—one of Australia’s mightiest and longest-running superheroes.

What’s a retired secret superhero sidekick to do?

In 2014 I read the YA anthology Kaleidoscope, which I loved. One of my absolute favourite stories in the book was Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Cookie Cutter Superhero. My first reaction on finishing it was to take to Twitter and ask whether Roberts was planning more in this world. She answered in the affirmative, and Kid Dark Against The Machine is her making good on that promise. And it was everything I could have hoped for.  Read More …

Ripley Patton – Ghost Hope

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00039]Olivia Black does not feel safe. Nightmares plague her sleep and haunt her days. If she has to endure one more minute stuck in a safe house in rainy Portland, she’s going to lose it. When Mike Palmer sneaks off to find her sister Kaylee without her, it’s the last straw. She has to do something.

Then Palmer’s hackers find the Dome on a satellite feed: dark, abandoned and smack in the middle of the Oregon desert three hundred miles from where it started. If they can reach it before anyone else, they can crack the computer systems and access every piece of information on PSS the CAMFers and The Hold have ever collected.

But in order to do that, Olivia must return to the origin of her fears in a race against all the forces that have ever pitted themselves against her. She must unravel decades of deceit to reveal the true origins of Psyche Sans Soma to the world at last.

With Ghost Hope Ripley Patton brings her PSS Chronicles to a close. Patton’s series is one that has to be read in order to really get the entirety of it and discussing the last book of the series without giving any spoilers for prior books is impossible. So take this as your spoiler warning.  Read More …

Corinne Duyvis – On the Edge of Gone

corinneduyvis-ontheedgeofgoneJanuary 29, 2035

That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter near their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

Then a last-minute encounter leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship that’s scheduled to leave Earth behind and colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But each passenger must have a practical skill to contribute. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?

When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

To start with full disclosure: I know the author personally, which is one of the reasons I was excited to read the book. Also I loved Corinne Duyvis’ debut Otherbound and I couldn’t wait to see her take on apocalyptic SF. So to be honest, I was already primed to like this book. But that aside, even if I hadn’t been, On the Edge of Gone blew me away and gave me insight into things that went far beyond the scope of the story.  Read More …

Alex Bell – The Haunting

alexbell-thehauntingSome curses grow stronger with time…

People say that all Cornish inns are haunted, but the Waterwitch’s history is particularly chilling. Built from the salvaged timber of a cursed ship, the guest house’s dark secrets go further back than anyone can remember.

Emma is permanently confined to a wheelchair after an accident at the Waterwitch which took place when she was ten. Seven years later, she decides to return to the place where the awful event occurred. But the ancient inn still has its ghosts, and one particular spirit is more vengeful than ever…

A chilling new title in the Red Eye horror series from the author of Frozen Charlotte.

Last year Stripes Publishing launched a new series called Red Eye. The books published in this series were all YA horror novels and while I loved some of them more than others, overall the series had a successful launch year in my opinion. One of my favourites in the series last year was Alex Bell’s Frozen Charlotte, so I was quite excited to get stuck into her latest offering, The Haunting. Set in Cornwall and featuring a purportedly haunted inn, Bell captured my attention with the setting alone, but it was further piqued by the fact that one of its main characters is in a wheelchair, as I’ve been wanting to read more books featuring disabled characters as part of my more diverse reading diet.  Read More …

Bryony Pearce – Phoenix Burning

bryonypearce-phoenixburningAs they sail the junk-filled seas, the crew of the Phoenix have just one thing on their mind — the search for the island where they can settle. But their ship is missing a crucial component, so when Ayla appears from enemy ship the Banshee offering to cut a deal, they accept.

Toby and Ayla must infiltrate a sect of sun worshippers, steal the parts they need and get out. But once they’re inside the cult it becomes clear that the price of failure is high … and leaving is far from easy.

Their only chance of survival is to work together. But can Toby trust Ayla?

Phoenix Burning is the second entry in Bryony Pearce’s Phoenix duology, following after last year’s Phoenix Rising. I really enjoyed Phoenix Rising and I remained firmly #BansheeCrew after finishing it, much to my own surprise really. As such I was really looking forward to Phoenix Burning to see whether what came next would change my stance and of course to see what would be next for Toby and Ayla.  Read More …

Guest Post: Bryony Pearce on Anti-heroism in the Phoenix Series [Blog Tour]

bryonypearce-phoenixburningToday I’m welcoming Bryony Pearce back to the blog with a guest post that is part of her tour for her latest novel Phoenix Burning. Last year I really enjoyed the first book in the Phoenix duology, Phoenix Rising, and I was really looking forward to the sequel. I finished the book this morning and it was awesome, so look for a review later today. In the interview I did with Bryony last year she mentioned she wrote about pirates because she loves a good anti-hero and it made me wonder about the anti-hero in the Phoenix series. I asked Bryony whether she could elaborate a little on that and the post below was the result. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  Read More …

Why you should read the Earth Girl Series

JanetEdwards-EarthGirlTwo of the books that ended up not getting reviewed last year due to the hiatus were actually books that I’d read as a deal with Wiebe. If he’d finish Stephanie Saulter’s Regeneration series, then I’d finish the Earth Girl series. Not that I didn’t want to read the books, but they kept being pushed aside in favour of review copies and Wiebe wanted me to read them already. And it has to be said, I tore through them in two days. And since Wiebe has raved at me about the books since forever and I was looking for a way to get through my backlog, I decided to turn my review for Earth Star and Earth Flight into a series appreciation post for the entire series co-written with Wiebe.  Read More …

Review Amnesty: YA Edition

reviewamnestyMy second post in my Review Amnesty series is all about YA. What is a review amnesty you might wonder? Well, it is a phrase I coined for the books that stacked up in a review back log when I had my blogging hiatus last year. They became a stumbling block to getting back into the swing of things, so I decided to give myself an out and call a review amnesty, meaning I’d only review the books with the most basic of reviews, so I could share my thoughts without having to reread the books, some of which I’d read over six months ago. So, two down, one to come!  Read More …

Author Query – Lou Morgan

redeyeIn the run up to Halloween, Stripes Publishing is celebrating the conclusion of their first year of the Red Eye series with a blog tour. I’ve read and enjoyed all of the Red Eye books this year and I was really stoked to get the chance to interview the wonderful Lou Morgan. I adored Lou’s first series Blood and Feathers from Solaris and her Red Eye title Sleepless was my favourite of the run. And in addition to being a fabulous writer, she’s also just a really good egg, so it is always great to have her visit A Fantastical Librarian. If you haven’t checked out Sleepless or the other Red Eye titles I highly recommend you do so. In the meantime, enjoy this interview!  Read More …

C.J. Daugherty & Carina Rozenfeld – The Secret Fire

daughertyrozenfeld-thesecretfireFrench teen Sacha Winters can’t die. He can throw himself off a roof, be stabbed, even shot, and he will always survive. Until the day when history and ancient enmities dictate that he must die. Worse still, his death will trigger something awful. Something deadly. And that day is closing in.

Taylor Montclair is a normal English girl, hanging out with her friends and studying for exams, until she starts shorting out the lights with her brain. She’s also the only person on earth who can save Sacha.

There’s only one problem: the two of them have never met. They live hundreds of miles apart and powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

They have eight weeks to find each other.

Will they survive long enough to save the world?

The Secret Fire came as a bit of a surprise to me. When I was offered a review copy I hadn’t really registered that the book would be out and while I’d heard of C.J. Daugherty before, her writing partner Carina Rozenfeld was unknown to me. Yet when looking at the synopsis and reading about how the book came about, I was intrigued enough to say yes and I’m glad I did. The Secret Fire was an engrossing adventure, which I tore through only taking a break to sleep.  Read More …