Archive for March, 2014

Forever

Karen Ann Hopkins

foreverAll I want is my happily-ever-after. That’s all I’ve wanted since meeting Noah Miller. From the day we met, the world has tried to keep Noah and me from being together, but now that I’m carrying his child, no one will be able to tear us apart. Or so I hope. But Noah and I have made some mistakes along the way, and the consequences are impacting the people we love. Worse, there’s a storm on the horizon, and it’s sure to cause serious devastation.
If we can get through this, we’ll finally be Rose & Noah – a family, forever. But first we have to survive the road ahead. And happily-ever-after is a long way off.

I was thrilled when Karen Ann Hopkin’s package arrived in the post with a copy of ‘Forever’ in. I hurriedly finished off the book I was reading and got started. I had thoroughly enjoyed reading Karen’s previous two books in this Trilogy of complicated and forbidden love between Noah an Amish guy and Rose an ‘English’ girl. ‘Temptation’ and ‘Belonging’ had drawn me in and roused my curiosity in a world that is often hidden from the rest of us. We got to see inside the Amish community, see their rules and customs and follow Noah and Rose’s story as they fall hard and fast in love and seek to continue their relationship despite family and community opposition.

Part of the challenge for Noah and Rose is to remain committed to each other despite the odds and even though they are so young. I couldn’t help but root for them as I’d grown to very much like each of them as they dealt with so much along the way including their own doubts from time to time. It’s been good to see them mature as well, from being a bit selfish and childish in their attitudes at the beginning, to growing as people. Karen has developed their characters well and I enjoyed seeing that growth.
‘Forever’ brings a lot of change for Noah and Rose. I don’t want to give too much away but we do already know that Rose is pregnant and that these will be further testing times ahead for them. This is not going to be an easy time for Noah and Rose and yet it’s good to watch them remain steadfastly committed to each other.

There is heartbreak in this story and I want to warn you so you are prepared with the tissues. I wasn’t prepared for what happened and honestly this is the first time in a long time a story has made me sob into my pyjama sleeve! Tragedy changes everyone and often that tragedy causes others to think about their choices and what’s important. I’m glad to say that that having been through a bit of an emotional rollercoaster with this story, there are changes that bring happiness… Whilst the ending is maybe a bit predictable, I’m not sure I’d have coped had it been too different!

I’m glad to have followed Noah and Rose’s story and think that although this is the end of the trilogy, there is enough potential storyline for them that it wouldn’t surprise me to see them pop up again one day…

Verdict: If you like your romance intense and emotional then this will not disappoint!

Publisher:Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Genre: Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Provided by author
Challenge:None
Posted on:

Bookish Brits Buddy Review: Fearsome Dreamer

Laure Eve

fearsome dreamerThere is a world where gods you’ve never heard of have wound themselves into hearts, and choice has led its history down a different path.
This is a world where France made a small, downtrodden island called England part of its vast and bloated empire.
There are people here who can cross a thousand miles with their minds. There are rarer people still who can move between continents in the blink of an eye.
These people are dangerous.
And wanted. Desperately wanted.
Apprentice hedgewitch Vela Rue knows that she is destined for more. She knows being whisked off from a dull country life to a city full of mystery and intrigue is meant to be. She knows she has something her government wants, a talent so rare and precious and new that they will do anything to train her in it.
But she doesn’t know that she is being lied to. She doesn’t know that the man teaching her about her talent is becoming obsessed by her, and considered by some to be the most dangerous man alive

Posted by Faye and Caroline

Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: October 2013
Format: Hardback
Pages: 384
Genre: Dystopian, Speculative Fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye and Caroline
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British book
Posted on:

Hog In The Fog

Julia Copus and Eunyoung Seo(illustrator)

hog in the fogThe tale of a hog in the fog.
This is the story of Candy Stripe Lil
and Harry the Hog who lived over the hill.
…and a foggy March day, roundabout three,
when Lil had invited Harry for tea.
Lil is expecting Harry the Hog for tea, but there’s a swirling fog outside and Harry is nowhere to be seen.
Lil sets off to find her friend. Luckily she meets Deer, Sheep and Crow along the way, who all join in the hunt to find the hog in the fog.

My four year old and I absolutely love this rhyming tale of friendship and identity.
Instead of reading about why we love Hog in the Fog, you can try the story out for yourself.
The team at Faber and Faber have teamed up with, Strictly star, Russell Grant to create this fantastic unabridged video.

Posted by Caroline

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: March 2014
Format: Hardback
Pages: 32
Genre: Animals, Friendship
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
Posted on:

Cover Reveal: Fragile Line

Today we are sharing the cover for Brooklyn Skye‘s Fragile Line

FragileLineIt can happen in a flash. One minute she’s kissing her boyfriend, the next she’s lost in the woods. Sixteen-year-old Ellie Cox is losing time. It started out small…forgetting a drive home or a conversation with a friend. But her blackouts are getting worse, more difficult to disguise as forgetfulness. When Ellie goes missing for three days, waking up in the apartment of a mysterious guy—a guy who is definitely not her boyfriend, her life starts to spiral out of control.
Perched on the edge of insanity, with horrific memories of her childhood leaking in, Ellie struggles to put together the pieces of what she’s lost—starting with the name haunting her, Gwen. Heartbreakingly beautiful, this poignant story follows one girl’s harrowing journey to finding out who she really is.

Fragile Line will be published on the 21st of April by Entangled Teen. . For more information about Fragile Line, author Brooklyn Sky and to add it to your reading list, visit the Fragile Line Goodreads page(here)

Brooklyn Skye grew up in a small town where she quickly realized writing was an escape from small town life. Really, she’s just your average awkward girl who’s obsessed with words. Her Best-Selling New Adult debut, STRIPPED, is out NOW! Represented by Bree Ogden of D4EO Literary Agency. http://brooklynskye.wordpress.com/

Cover Reveal Organized by:
YA Bound Book Tours

Posted on:

Cross My Heart

Carmen Reid

cross my heartBrussels, 1940. Fifteen-year-old Nicole watches as the Nazis invade Belgium. Determined not to stand by as her country is brought to its knees, Nicole vows to fight back and joins the Belgian Resistance. Under her new alias – Coco – Nicole embarks on a dangerous new life as a spy, where the only question is not if you’ll be caught, but when…

As the Germans walk into Belgium in May 1940 Nicole’s world is turned upside down. Despite the danger, the warnings and the fear Nicole can’t help herself and joins the Resistance as her world is torn apart. Nicole shows herself to be a brave and resourceful member of the team. She is flung into more and more hazardous situations and has to make difficult and even life threatening decisions. Nicole is an inspiring heroine.

As people disappear, Jews are marked, food diminishes and everyone lives in fear as they witness the viciousness of Nazi rule, Nicole’s determination to help only gets stronger. Nicole’s involvement in the Resistance causes her to see the worst of the Nazi’s in action and as the story develops, Nicole sees more and more of the worst of the Nazi regime. The atrocities she sees and experiences are familiar to anyone with some knowledge of World War Two but I found that seeing them through the eyes of this teenager was a bit like hearing about it for the first time. There is a freshness and immediacy in the writing.

There is also a little romance in the tale as Nicole grows closer to Anton, a childhood friend who she joins the resistance with and comes to mean a lot to her. There is added poignancy in the situation the young lovers are in, knowing they are putting themselves in danger and could be ripped away from each other at any time.

Verdict: This was a great read; there is action, tension, fear, love , courage and inspiration in its pages. Whether you have read lots about WW2 or this is your first attempt at reading anything about that time it will draw you in and keep you there until the last turn of the page.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Corgi Children’s
Publication Date: August 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Genre: Historical fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
Posted on:

Interview With Danielle L. Jensen

If you follow Big Book Little Book you will already know that I loved Stolen Songbird ( read my review here), the debut novel by authorDanielle L. Jensen. You will therefore understand how excited I was to be given the opportunity to interview Danielle as part of her blog tour!

stolen songbirdFor five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.
Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.
But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.
As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

Congratulations on the publication of your debut novel, Stolen Songbird. I absolutely loved meeting Cecile and Co and I cannot wait to read the rest of the Malediction Trilogy. What have been the high and low points of your journey to publish author?
Thank you! I’m so glad you connected with the Trollus crew!!
High points of the journey have been signing with my agent, getting offered a book deal by Strange Chemistry, seeing my cover for the first time, and hearing positive reactions from readers. Low points were the many, many query/partial/full rejections I received over the years.

With her stunning singing voice and her unfortunate predicament of being kidnapped, Cecile is the aforementioned “stolen songbird”. Which animal best represents your personality?
Probably a donkey or a mule. I work hard, but I am known for occasionally being a stubborn a$$. Heehaw!!

During her incarceration in Trollus, Cecile empowers herself through the pursuit of knowledge, trying out many different activities in the process. Are there any activities that you have always wanted to try, but have yet to attempt?
I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano. I have zero musical talent.

I really loved the detailed and absorbing world building- the aesthetics, the social structure, the mythology- you created in Stolen Songbird. Can you tell us about some of your inspirations for Trollus?
I pilfered quite a bit of it from 18th century French culture, although by no means should anyone try to hold me to the standards of accuracy expected of a historical novel, especially since I know I’ve plucked bits of inspiration from 19th century France for the second book, the Paris Opera being a big one. It would be fair to say that France is a huge inspiration: the excesses of the monarchy, the focus on fine arts, and the revolutionary spirit of the people – I don’t think anyone reading the novel could miss it. I’m slowly building a Pinterest board with images, but it’s not done yet.
As far as the setting goes, that is a strange and unexplainable product of my mind palace. Yes, I’ve been dying to use that phrase – it’s so gloriously pretentious.

I was really impressed with the attention you paid to the secondary characters, fleshing them out and explaining some of their motivations. I also felt as though the friendships were treated with as much importance as the romantic elements of the story. If you had to choose to befriend one of your own secondary characters, who would you pick and why?
Thank you! I adore Marc, but I’d probably choose to be friends with the twins because they’d be the most fun to hang out with.

I absolutely loved Tristan and Cecile’s chemistry and how the differences in their personalities complement each other. Tristan is a meticulous planner, and a bit of a control freak, while Cecile is much more impulsive. When it comes to your writing are you a plotter or a panther?
They are foils for each other, that is for certain!
I am a pantser at heart, but I had to provide synopses for book 2 and 3, which was very tough for me. I like to have certain key scenes outlined in my head and then to make up the rest on the fly.

Who are your favourite literary couples/friendships?
Tessa and Will from The Infernal Devices
Cole and Isabel from Shiver Trilogy (and the upcoming Sinner – so excited for that!!)
Gansey and Ronan in The Raven Cycle
Verity and Kittyhawk in Code Name Verity

I loved the pacing and tone of their relationship and was beyond delighted that Stolen Songbird didn’t contain even a hint of “insta love”. What is your least favourite romantic cliche?
Clichés don’t bother me if they are well executed, but obviously they can be a bit lame when done poorly. I have lots of pet-peeves, but almost all of them are related to crappy character development or lackluster world-building.

As I have already mentioned, I am already excitedly anticipating the 2015 release of book two in the trilogy. Are you able to give us any hints about what to expect?
I’m really excited to finish writing it – there will be champagne when I finally hand that one in. As it stands (pre-editorial), there are substantially more chapters from Tristan’s POV in the second book. You’ll also find out a lot more about the world outside of Trollus.

Thank you so much for popping by and answering my questions.
Thank you for having me!

Questions by Caroline

dannielle jensenDanielle was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. At the insistence of the left side of her brain, she graduated in 2003 from the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in finance. But the right side of her brain has ever been mutinous; and in 2010, it sent her back to school to complete an entirely impractical English literature degree at Mount Royal University and to pursue publication. Much to her satisfaction, the right side shows no sign of relinquishing its domination.

Posted on:

Blog Tour: Harvester

Today with have an excerpt from Rachel Russell‘s debut novel, Harvester.
Harvester coverSixteen-year-old Catalina has never seen the sky. As a mage, it’s illegal for her to leave the underground city she lives in. The sun and moon are only fantastical stories of a land far away. So when Catalina stumbles upon a tunnel leading to the surface, she can’t resist the temptation to see the surface world.
But instead of enjoying a night beneath the stars for the first time, Catalina emerges upon the scene of a savage murderer harvesting faery body parts. She’s nearly his next victim, but is rescued by a grim boy named Will who has a troubling connection to the killer.
Even more disquieting is Catalina’s criminal status upon returning home. Someone with political clout has framed her for the vicious slayings. Now on the run from the law, Catalina must uncover Will’s tie to the serial killing of faeries, as well as stop a bloodthirsty murderer to prove her innocence, or face a death sentence.

Excerpt
The last person caught smuggling medicine had disappeared, never to be heard from again, after Marshals whisked him away for interrogation. It wasn’t a reassuring thought to have as Catalina stood in line and gnawed on the inside of her cheek. With each step she took toward the Arch, the glass vial hidden within the inside pocket of her vest grew heavier. She’d trafficked medicine into the city before, but it always felt like the first time. She supposed there were just some things you never got used to. Knowing the Arch wasn’t designed to detect her precious cargo didn’t stop her palms from sweating or her stomach from flip-flopping.

“Next.” A scowling guard dressed in a black trench coat with a stiff, upturned collar waved her through with an exaggerated wave of his arm, as if she’d been dawdling.

Catalina sucked in a breath and stepped beneath the Arch. It wailed, shrill and loud, like a cat in pain. She startled, her eyes widening.

“Hands in the air!”

Oh no. No, no, no, Catalina thought. She held up shaking hands. My luck cannot be this crappy. She’d passed through the Arch dozens of times with the medicine on her and the alarm had never gone off before. Maybe it was a malfunction.
Another guard stepped over and passed a plain, black rod over her, starting at her head and traveling down. It glowed white when it neared her vest pocket.

Catalina’s stomach bottomed out. They’d updated their equipment. For once, the law was a step ahead of her.
The guard flipped open her vest and reached into the inside pocket, plucking out the vial. He held it up before his face, arching an eyebrow. Within the glass vial swirled clear liquid filled with glittering particles. The guard pulled out the stopper and sniffed.

Catalina caught a faint waft of honeysuckle flowers.

“It’s faery elixir, all right.” The guard put the stopper back on. “Take her to the interrogation room. The Marshal will want to speak with her.”

The other guard stepped behind Catalina and twisted her arms behind her back. She needed to get out of there. If she could buck her head back hard enough to break the guard’s nose, maybe—

Then metal pinched the tender skin of her wrists. She tried to wriggle her fingers. Her knuckles hit cool iron. He’d encased her hands in mitten handcuffs, the only sure way to keep a mage from weaving a spell. Catalina sighed. Now it really was too late.
“Come on.” The guard grabbed Catalina by the elbow and led her through a blue door off to the right.

Their booted steps echoed down a hallway with overhead lights so bright they whitewashed the walls and floor. Catalina squinted beneath the harsh glare. The guard led her to the end of the hallway and stopped in front of a dull door with black paint curling at the edges. Again, she was struck with the near-overpowering drive to bolt. She’d heard horror stories of Marshals using magic to strangle hearts near to bursting point till they got what information they wanted.

The hinges on the door whined as the guard opened it. An empty room with a table and two chairs lay beyond. A cold chill rushed down Catalina’s spine. Odd how such a sparse room could feel so menacing.

The guard shoved her into the room. “A Marshal will be with you shortly.”

Catalina stumbled into the room and whirled to face the guard, only to be met by the door slamming shut. A click came from the other side of the door as he locked it.

She turned and strode to the table. “Great. What the hell am I supposed to do now?”

Rachel Russel PictureRachel is a YA author who likes dirty martinis and pickles on her pizza. Her stories tend to be either horror or fantasy, or a strange amalgamation of both genres. She works at Month9Books, LLC as both the Submissions Coordinator and an Editorial Assistant. When not reading or writing, Rachel is marathoning anime, becoming one with Twitter (@RachelxRussell), or playing make-believe with her two daughters.
You can find and contact Rachel via her website (here), Facebook (here), Twitter (here) or Goodreads (here)

You can find more about Harvester on the Entranced site (here),where you will also be able to purchase Harvester following publication.

There is a tour wide giveaway for the chance to win One white leather infinity bracelet and One e-copy of Harvester check out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted on:

A Room Full Of Chocolate

Jane Elson

a room full of chocolateGrace’s fun loving Mum has found a lump. Her north London world of sleepovers, tap dancing and playing the clarinet fall apart when she is sent to live with her grumpy old granddad on his farm in Yorkshire while her mother goes into hospital to get better.
Grace misses her mother so much it hurts, and doesn’t quite understand what is happening to her. And things go from bad to worse when she starts school and becomes the bullies newest target.
But Grace is no longer alone when she meets the wild Megan and her pig, Claude – when she’s with them she feels as if she can confront anything. At Easter time when Grace misses her mum the most, she knows she must find a way to get to London. With Megan’s help, she hatches a plan to run away that involves Claude, chocolate Easter eggs and a risky ID swap. But it’s all worth it if it means that she finally gets to see her mum.

I started reading A Room Full Of Chocolate with the expectation that I was going to love it. The synopsis had caught my attention the first time I come across it, while the extremely positive reviews of bloggers I respect had me moving it swiftly to the top of my TBR. While there was so much that I loved about this debut middle grade novel my biggest issue was that I was unable to disengage my adult, or more correctly parental brain.

I was immediately drawn to Grace and her seemly contradictory story. Her innocent, artless voice, filled with imagination and fuelled by love felt completely genuine.

I was blown away with the author’s exploration of Grace’s emotions. There was a really authentic quality to the experience and I found that I was able to fully empathise with Grace’s feelings of bewilderment, frustration and at times, anger. The descriptions used to express Graces emotions were simple enough for the target audience to comprehend and yet fully encapsulated the experience and the emotion, I couldn’t help thinking, “yes, that’s exactly how that feels”.

Megan, the rainbow girl, was a fantastic character. She really was a refreshing splash of colour in Grace’s otherwise gloomy grey world. She was unique, confident in herself and a fast but loyal friend.

However, this story created such conflict within me. On the one hand, I felt my heart break a little each time Grace attempted to deny to herself what was really happening to her mother. I just wanted to wrap her up and protect her from ever having to find out the hurtful truth. Yet I also felt her frustration at the adults around her for doing just that.

While I enjoyed the journey Grace and Megan undertook to get to Graces mother in London, willing them to succeed and feeling tension at the obstacles they encountered, as a parent I couldn’t help feeling disappointed at the absence of repercussions for such a journey. While I could probably overlook this issue had the book been a fantasy, as a contemporary book grounded in realism, I felt that more reference should have been made to the safety issues associated with a 10 and 11 year old taking off on their own for hundreds of miles.

The bullying storyline escalated quickly and resolved violently. I found the bullying scenes difficult to read as they really engaged my emotions. The use of technology to aid the bullies was an interesting and modern twist. Although I would have preferred Grace to have dealt with the situation differently – by confiding in a trusted adult – I am content that through her mishandling of the situation the message, to talk to someone and to not keep harmful secrets, will be received by the reader.

I felt uncomfortable with the way adults were generally portrayed within the book. The teachers came across as incompetent and far too shouty with very little regard to Grace’s situation as a new student or her family circumstances, and completely oblivious to the bullying she was experiencing.

Though her behaviour occurred through her attempts to protect Grace, Grace’s mother was secretive and dishonest. Grace’s father was completely selfish and her grandfather cold, strict and judgmental against Megan’s family – the only “nice adults”. Considering they plied Grace with chocolate, smoked “funny cigarettes” and encouraged Grace to be deceitful to her grandfather (sneaking out at night) I really don’t blame his misgivings.
My conflicted feelings persist. There is so much to love and treasure about this book; the friendship, the voice, the emotional expression, that I would never deny my child the opportunity of reading it. However, the middle grade category covers such a broad spectrum developmentally that I would be more comfortable recommending this book to an 11+ year old experienced reader than I would a nine year old.

Regardless of the personal nit picks I have expressed A Room Full Of Chocolate addresses some very serious themes; parental illness, honesty between parent and child, bullying and personal safety, which I would be reluctant for my (hypothetical) nine year old to explore on their own. Subsequently, I think that this would be a fantastic book for parents to share with their child, sparking dialogue about the issues and emotions raised and allowing the family unit to explore alternative courses of action.

Verdict: Unlike chocolate, this one is for sharing.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Hodder
Publication Date: February 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
Genre: Contemporary
Age: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge:
Posted on:

Cover Reveal: Don’t Fall-Kind Of!

We have something a little different for you this week. Swoon Romance wants you to help them decide the cover for Don’t Fall! by Rachel Schieffelbein. They have three lovely cover options for you to choose from.

In which a teenage girl endures the over-protective love of her adoptive mother until she falls for a boy who has her wanting to spread her wings, pitched as a contemporary retelling of RAPUNZEL
Seventeen-year-old Anya leads a very secluded life in a house on the edge of town with her adopted mother. She doesn’t go to school, but instead has a private tutor. Her over-protective mom keeps her so sheltered that she doesn’t even have a best friend.
But Anya doesn’t seem to mind. She has her books, her photography, and her daydreams, and would do anything to please her mom. Until one day at the library, the only place she’s allowed to go, she takes a picture of a beautiful boy.
Before long she’s lying to her mom, and sneaking out late at night to meet Zander. But Zander wants more than a secret romance. If Anya wants to be with the boy of her dreams, she will have to risk her relationship with the only other person she’s ever cared about.

Option #1: Designed by Taylor.ink, photograph by Beth Mitchell
Option #2: Photographed and designed by Laura Lanning
Option #3: Designed by Anna Zaffke, photo from Shutterstock.by Aleshyn_Andrei

Dont Fall Cover Reveal Options

Which cover do you like better?
Option #1
Option #2
Option #3

Poll Maker

rachel run for rosesRachel grew up in a tiny town in Minnesota. She still lives there, with her husband and their four kids. She coaches high school speech and theater, rides Arabian horses, reads as much as she can, and writes stories. To learn more about Rachel and her work visit her website (here),
, her Goodreads page, Facebook page (here) or alternatively converse with her on Twitter (here).

Cover Reveal Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours

Posted on:

Stolen Songbird

Danielle L. Jensen

stolen songbirdFor five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.
Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.
But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.
As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

What is it that first attracts you to a book? For me it can be an eye catching cover, a favorite authors latest release, or the recommendation of bloggers I trust, and at other times, as was the case with Stolen Songbird, it is a synopsis which promises something unique, which sparks my curiosity and heightens my anticipation, causing me to re arrange my TBR pile, abandon my plans for a goodnights sleep and dive straight in.

Even better when that attention is not just caught, but is wrestled in to submission and then, meeting my expectations, holds me captive for the duration of the book. Before I had reached the end of the first chapter of Stolen Songbird, I knew that I had found something special and, despite the rather precarious situation our heroine had found herself in, I couldn’t help a big goofy grin.

Cecile was a fantastic protagonist. Yes, she was a talented singer who had been foretold as the breaker of a centuries old curse (wait until you read how well that turns out!) and yet there is something quintessentially normal about her. She is prideful, strong headed and inquisitive- but with good reason- She empowers herself through the acquisition of knowledge. She recognized that things must change, and that she has a role to play, but doesn’t jump in without some trepidation and consideration.

Cecile’s first person account was peppered with Tristan’s ( the aforementioned troll prince) observations and thoughts. Tristan with his complicated, contradictory behavior, has his meticulous eye on the long game, the question is, which Tristan- the sarcastic, bored, egotistical prince or the garden stalking, peacekeeper, revolutionary- is the real Tristan?

I really enjoyed how Cecile and Tristan’s personalities collided and complemented each other. I loved that there wasn’t a single hint of insta love and that each increment of trust, of friendship, of affection was hard, if not amusingly, won.

While I adored our protagonists Cecile and Tristan, I was most impressed with the amount of time the author dedicated to fleshing our secondary characters. Each was allowed to express their personalities, to exist independent of our main protagonists- a very likeable male character with a tragic backstory a heart of gold who offers the hand of friendship without a hint of love triangle, a admirable female rival, a despicable villain with questionable but clear motivations. I am as excited to learn the fates of the supporting cast as I am that of the main protagonists.

I really loved the world building in Stolen Songbird. From the stunning aesthetics, the political intrigue, and complex social structure, through to how Trollus was grounded in familiar but uniquely interpreted history and mythology. All of which combined to make a really absorbing world.

I found it particularly interesting to experience the juxtaposition of the ugly cruelty and maliciousness of the Trollus society in contrast to those elements that were beautiful and commendable.

I started the book with the expectation that I would read a few chapters before bed, unfortunately the story had other ideas. I was held ransom by the beautiful story telling, the wonderful world building, the likeable, flawed characters and a slow burning relationship, which kept me on my toes.

I was unable to put the book down until I had reached the final page. Even then, despite the late (or should I say very early) hour and after more than 400 pages, the book felt far too short.

Thankfully Stolen Songbird is the first book in the Malediction trilogy, and so I know that there is plenty more to come. Has the author made it easy for me to wait out the next installment? What do you think?! Stolen Songbird is a book that ends on the kind of cliffhanger that has you madly searching for more pages. Just like that I found my self fully invested in another trilogy.

Verdict: Trolls, magic, rebellion, a hidden kingdom, a complicated Prince and an inquisitive heroine – this gorgeous grownup fairytale ticked all of my boxes.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: April 2014
Format: eARC
Pages: 324
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut author
Posted on: