Posts Tagged ‘Zoe Marriott’

Barefoot On The Wind

Zoe Marriott
29235197There is a monster in the forest…
Everyone in Hana’s remote village on the mountain knows that straying too far into the woods is a death sentence. When Hana’s father goes missing, she is the only one who dares try to save him. Taking up her hunting gear, she goes in search of the beast, determined to kill it – or be killed herself. But the forest contains more secrets, more magic and more darkness than Hana could ever have imagined, and the beast is not at all what she expects…

Before I begin to tell you my thoughts and feelings about this lovely book I have a big fat and horrible secret to admit to you all…. this is my first Zoe Marriott read.
Yes I know shock horror and I should probably be burned at the stake for this treachery and massive YA offence; but before you get your pitchforks let me tell you what I thought, and let me solemnly promise that I will be making amends to right this terrible wrong!

Barefoot on the Wind is a wonderful and clever retelling of one of the best (in my humble opinion) fairy tales: Beauty and the Beast.
As with many retellings Zoe Marriott put her own imprint on this story. The transposition and adaptation of the original story line to a Japanese environment, lay out and way of life was incredibly faithfully done. The village, the villagers, the rules and regulations of that period in time down to the Japanese denominations for each member of society and status were respected, making me feel like I’d actually stepped into a Japanese mountain village that was being plagued by a beast and I was about to witness the unfurling of this story.
I was all geared up with my cup of green tea to sit back and enjoy what I thought was merely a transcribed and slightly altered fairy tale to suit the new set up, when Zoe decided that actually she hadn’t quite finished with her adaptation.
It soon became clear that from the original tale, all that was taken were the bare bones, in a manner of speaking.
Now before I go any further I should tell you all that I am a massive fairy tale fan, and will happily read any retelling and any new story that comes my way, but what I came across here was pretty wonderful and a very original take on fairy tales with a pinch of modern thinking.
Although you will catch a glimpse of Belle in Hana-San’s kindness and love for her family, and you will perceive some of the Beast’s hard earned humility in Itsuki, these two sets of characters are as different as they are alike. Zoe Marriott’s Belle is a fighter, a hunter and does not fear the dangerous dark woods that have claimed many a life. She is proud and strong and although her hierarchical society does not approve, she holds her ground steadfast and fights for what she believes is right even if that means going into the beast’s lair alone. Zoe’s Beast, that Hana dubs Itsuki, is the gentlest creature you will ever meet. He cares for all those that are harmed regardless of by whom and why. He has a big heart and has worked hard to learn what patience, humility, true love and respect mean.
Although initially perplexed I soon came to love these two characters and how their interactions were so similar and yet so different from those that I have loved and grown up with.

As I mentioned before Zoe merely used the bare bones of the classic and then built her own story giving it flesh and thoughts to shape it differently and make us readers reflect.

As per all fairy tales there is a lesson to be learned, and whilst deconstructing and recreating her tale our lovely author did not forget this vital part. Whilst the Disney we all know and love focused on romance and the signature happily ever after, Zoe Marriott decided to centre her story around Hana-San, her journey to self discovery, forgiveness and its ripple effect on the surrounding characters and, indeed, the story. Although romance and love is undoubtedly a main thread to it, Zoe Marriott reminds us that the types of love that can change someone also include the love between a family, siblings and friends. She reminds us that love’s close counterpart and partner in crime is hate and the line between these two at times has been known to be thin, thin and full of its own emotions ranging from anger to sorrow.

You might ask be asking yourself what else is different aside from the characters, the set up, the nature of the beast, the strength of the belle and the society whose rules they live by?

Well I will let you figure that one out for yourself, but what I will tell you is that this is a very cleverly constructed Japanese fairy tale retelling, and that like Hana-San you will have to walk into the dark woods and tread lightly on the dark magic that has cursed more than just a man, and you will have to heed the advice of the trees and the wind that blows through them because a monster, a beast roams the woods but the two are not always one and the same and every individual is capable of monstrous things.

Barefoot on the Wind proved to be more than just a simple fairy tale with a different back drop. Zoe Marriott brought with it her own set of characters and morales to teach us. Despite the simplistic story, she managed to build into it new thoughts and feelings giving it a new dimension and complexity that I had not previously appreciated.

Verdict: I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this tale and will happily be getting lost in these dark woods again with Hana-San and Itsuki.

Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: September 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 313
Genre: Retelling, Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Pruedence
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Five Fabulous… Auto Buy Authors

fab-five-logo-e1397403514389Five Fabulous Books is an original feature here at Big Book Little Book. The aim of the feature is to showcase fabulous books and bookish things, with connecting themes, there by promoting reads we have enjoyed and sharing recommendations for similar books. We love to share contributions from fellow bibliophiles, bloggers, vloggers and twitter users. We love to hear from you too, so don’t forget to comment with your favourite themed books. You are very welcome to use the Five Fabulous feature on your own blog just be sure to link back to Big Book Little Book and leave your link in the comments below so we can check out your recommendations! Feel free to copy and paste our Fabulou5 graphic or create one of your own.

Every bibliophile has as least one.

An author who’s work is a automatic must buy.

One author who’s work inspires joy and excitement, WANT and NEED. MY PRECIOUS.

We don’t need a cover image or even a blurb.

We only need the the promise of hours of escapism and guaranteed reading satisfaction to reach for the preorder button.

In no particular order I present to you my top five must buy authors.

Zoe Marriott
Zoe is one of the most reliable authors on my bookcase. Now I realize that on the surface referring to Zoe’s work as reliable might seem like a luke warm complement. For me reliable is that friend you can call day or night, who will be there without fail, laugh with you until you need to pee and hold your hand, or your hair back, through the tough times.

I honestly don’t think that you can underestimate the pure joy of finding an author who’s work you just click with, who’s work that is guaranteed to enthrall, entertain, and even educate. I have loved every single Zoe Marriot book I’ve read and I cant wait read her next book Barefoot On The Wind (due for publication in September).

Check out Zoe’s Goodreads author page (here) to learn more about her work, including Barefoot on the wind.

Maggie Stiefvater
Maggie writes one of my favorite genres Speculative Fiction (read about it on Wikipedia here), unapologetically and seamlessly combining magical, fantastical, historical and horrific elements with complex characters and beautifully, poetic prose.

I credit Maggie with being one of the authors that got me completely hooked on the Young adult storytelling as a not so young adult. Maggie is one of my favorite authors and as such I’ve written about Maggie’s work many times (here) but you don’t even need to take my word for it, you can read some of her work for yourself, for free ,over at the Merry Sisters of Fates site (here)

V E Schwab
ARRRGGGG I can’t tell you how much I love Victoria’s characterisation. Not that her plotting and world building isn’t also first class, but she creates such three dimensional, interesting and at time surprising characters that I can’t help but squee at the thought that I have her new book sat on my shelf right now with at least two wonderful new beings to meet and two interesting new lives to explore.

Stephanie Perkins
Not only is Stephanie a talented writer, who’s contemporary romances are guaranteed to put a smile on your face, she is also a fantastic editor. Her My True Love Gave To Me, Christmas anthology has already become a part of my seasonal ritual, I re read it last year and have every intention to re read it again this year. I enjoyed the collection so much that when I saw that she had edited a Summer anthology, Summer Days and Summer Nights, I one clicked and ordered the hardback without even looking to see who else was involved in the project.
Click here to visit Stephanie’s Goodreads authors page to learn more

Melinda Sailsbury
I don’t think that it is premature to add Melinda to my must buy list. She may have only published two books, but I was so completely blown away by both of them that I don’t have any doubts that I will immediately buy whatever she publishes, particularly if it is the third installment in the Sin Eaters Daughter trilogy. If I enjoy it as much as the second instalment I will be a very happy book worm.
You can read about how much I and my fellow Big Book Little Book team members love her work here. If that isn’t enough of a recommendation you can learn even more about Melinda and her work by clicking here to visit her Goodreads authors page

Posted by Caroline

Who are your auto buy authors?

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TTT: The Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the wonderful, list making gurus, The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they publish a new Top Ten list and invite their fellow book bloggers, vloggers and bookworms to join in.

As you can probably surmise form the reduced number of post from me over the last few months ( well year really), things are pretty busy here at Big Book Little Book HQ. Who knew that a newborn and her big siblings, a large labrador and house renovations took up so much time 😉 As a result of not being able to commit as much time to the blog, or indeed to reading in general, I have made a concerted effort to not acquire many new books. I hate to call it a ban, for me that is as effective as saying no to chocolate because you are on a diet, it just makes me want it MORE. No matter how hard I try, every now and then i’ll come across a book that I simply can’t say no to, that I simply HAVE to say YES PLEASE, SIGN ME UP, TAKE MY MONEY and occasionally there are those gorgeous little little unsolicited, bubble wrapped, surprises that land on your doormat.

In no particular order (because I am so disorganised and have no idea as and when these beauties came in to my possession )

1. Colour Me Mindful: Underwater by Anastasia Catris
When the lovelies at Orion offered me the opportunity to take a look at the latest thing in relaxation and mindfulness I couldn’t resist finding out what all of the fuss was about. I think that it is safe to say that I am totally hooked. I started out using my children’s colouring pencils but quickly found myself frustrated at the limited colour selection. Now my obsession is such that I have had to order my very own set of fine line colouring pens. The only thing not relaxing about this book and its Birds and Tropical counterparts, is keeping them away from my seven year old.

2. The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke
Cat Clarke is one of those authors who’s work caught me attention early on, when I devoured entangled, and who’s subsequent works I have collected but not gotten around to reading. When the Bookish Brits ( view our channel here) were offered the opportunity to read Cat’s latest book for June’s book club I jumped at the chance to take part.

3. Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
I know, I know, I know and this being a blog which prides itself on reading books from all age categories! I’m almost embarrassed to have not yet read this hugely hyped middle grade book. Because I have only heard good things, from peoples who’s book recommendations I trust implicitly, I couldn’t resist snapping this up at a recent ebook sale.

4. Fail Human Heart by Zoe Marriott
The final book in the Name of the Blade trilogy. I love this series so much and I can’t wait to get suck back in to this urban fantasy.

5. The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
It’s Ness, enough said.

6.Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
I absolutely loved Seraphina, so much so that I listed its sequel as one of my most anticipated reads of 2014. Oppps I think some one was a little over excited! Shadow Scale was actually released in March of this year and not only did I preorder the hardback I also preordered the audiobook too.

7. The Almost King by Lucy Saxon
One of those bubble wrapped surprises. Lucy is a UKYA author about which I have heard only good things. I am ashamed to have not discovered her work for myself yet.

8. One by Sarah Crossan
A YA book written in verse! I can’t wait to give it a try.

9. The Curious Tale Of The Lady Of Caraboo by Catherine Johnson
Pruedence raved about Catherine’s previous book Sawbones (click here to read her review)when she read it last year. Once again Catherine delves in to history, this time to share her version of the events surrounding real life Mary Wilcox. #WeNeedDiverseBooks

10.The Amazing Human Body Detectives by Maggie Li
Non fiction books are like busses. You don’t see any on Big Book Little book for ages and then two crop up in one post! When the lovely people at Pavilion offered me the opportunity to take a look at this gorgeous fact book I just couldn’t resist. I find human biology absolutely fascinating and I am attracted to anything that allows me to share this fascination with my own children. It’s been a hit so far with the seven and five year old fighting over who got to use the magnifying glass!

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Posted by Caroline

What was the last book you bought, borrowed or requested?

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The Night Itself

Zoe Marriott

the night itselfA breathtaking new urban fantasy trilogy from the critically acclaimed, award winning author of The Swan Kingdom and Shadows on the Moon.
When fifteen year old Mio Yamato furtively sneaks the katana – an ancestral Japanese sword – out of its hiding place in her parent’s attic to help liven up her Christmas party costume, she has no idea of the darkness she is about to unleash on modern day London, or the family secrets that she is going to uncover.

I don’t travel well. If my mode of transportation doesn’t consist of my own two feet, or a vehicle I am steering then there is a good chance it will inspire nausea. In the case of flying it will also inspire a racing pulse, breathlessness, fidgeting and sweaty palms. It’s not that I have an irrational fear of flying (well, not really) it’s just that I take no pleasure from spending hours in an uncomfortable enclosed space, traveling at hundreds of miles an hour, miles off of the ground in a tin can (see I’m completely rational).

This spring, in order to spend time with my gorgeous niece on her first birthday, I had to undertake my first unaccompanied flight. Prior to now I have always had friends, my husband and/or my children as travel companions to distract, entertain and soothe me. Knowing my travel weakness I prepared to endure the experience and counteract my bodies ‘fight or flight’ response with fiction. As a result I have spent the last couple of weeks considering the pros and cons of The Night Itself as an inanimate travel companion.

1. OCCUPYING A RESTLESS MIND

PRO
Time suck.

Having arrived at the airport earlier than the compulsory one hour prior to my flight, I settled down in a coffee shop with a large latte and my gorgeous ARC in the hope of occupying myself until it was time to board my flight. Zoe immediately grabbed my attention with Mio’s distinctive voice and the foreshadowing of trouble. Once captured, my attention was retained by the humorous dialogue, the realistic relationships, an action packed pacey plot, original world building and the compelling mystery of the Katana.

CON
Running.

Unfortunately for me, I got a little too involved in the storyline and I missed the initial publication of my boarding gate number. This resulted in me having to run (an activity that does not come naturally) for my gate in order to make my flight.

2. COUNTERACTING MY URGE TO FIGHT, FREEZE OR FLEE.

PRO
Laughing, smirking, swooning

One way I’ve found to reduce my anxiety is through the experience of other emotions, I can’t panic if I’m laughing (unless it’s the nervous or hysterical variety of course!).

I identified with Mio’s distinctively British voice. Her humour, observations and turn of phrase, had me smirking along with her and I couldn’t help but love the banter between Mio and her feisty BFF Jack. In fact while I loved the action, the character development and the world building of The Night Itself, what I enjoyed the most were the relationships. Whether functional and supportive or estranged, established or developing, past or present, familial, platonic or romantic, it was the relationships, which grounded the story in realism, and elicited my emotional connection to the book.

CON
Giggling like a loon in a public place;

Snorting with laughter,
Knowingly smirking,
Gasping, breath holding and squirming with tension,
and, crying snot bubble accompanied tears…
Whether you consider this to be a con, of course will all depend on how you feel about public displays of emotion.

3. DISTRACTING ME FROM MY IRRATIONAL FEAR.

PRO
Books not drugs!

I found The Night Itself to be the perfect distraction to my inflight anxieties. Having spent the duration of the flight sat next to a fellow reluctant flyer, who had resorted to prescription drugs to get her through the experience, I can say that the adventures of Mio and Co were much better at inducing calm than valium (ok so it’s not exactly the most scientific of tests, a randomized control trial it is not, but it worked for me).

Prior to reading The Night Itself, my knowledge of and exposure to Japanese culture was pretty much limited to sushi (pass the salmon sashimi). Zoe’s obvious passion for Japanese culture was contagious, and she presented the cultural references in such an non elitist way that instead of feeling intimidated by my lack of experience I found the topic refreshing, and I fascinatedly gobbling up every tit bit and reference. I have subsequently found myself Googling elements, like the Kitsune (fox spirits) to satisfy my newly inspired curiosity.

CON
Errrr

Nope, sorry I can’t see any cons for this one.

Verdict: I adored The Night Itself, the first book in Zoe Marriott’s London based urban fantasy trilogy, and I will be adding future installments to my travel essentials.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: July 2013
Format: ARC
Pages: 368
Genre: Urban fantasy
Age: YA/Teen
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Love Books Will Travel: Upcoming Book Events

If you have spent any time visiting us here at Big Book Little Book it couldn’t have escaped your notice that we love attending book events. If you are lucky enough to live in the south, or don’t mind traveling, there are some absolutely fantastic opportunities coming up over the next few months.


Who: Michelle Harrison, Zoe Marriott, L.A.Weatherly, Karen Mahoney, Laura Powell, Ruth Warburton and Thomas Taylor
What: YA Panel Event
What the hosts say: “Roll up! Roll up! Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls, for one day only Foyles will once again be hosting a circus of literary delights to spook even the bravest amongst you.”
Where: The Gallery at Foyles,Charing Cross Road, London
When: Saturday the 4th of August 2-6pm
Tickets: Free, but need to be reserved by emailing [email protected]

I am so excited to be attending Foyles Summer Scream event this Saturday. Where else can you find this much YA talent, not to mention dozens of salivating book bloggers, all in one room?
I’ve just checked Foyles events page and there are still tickets available!!


Who: Philippa Gregory
What: Book Talk and Signing
What the hosts say: “Join us on the day that The Kingmaker’s Daughter is published as historian and internationally bestselling author Philippa Gregory discusses her books, the history that has inspired them and her prestigious career as a novelist. Philippa will also be reading from her new book and signing copies of it afterwards. We are thrilled that such a well-known and popular author is choosing to spend her publication evening with us and anticipate that this will be a popular and fascinating evening.”
Where: Hosted at Holy Trinity Church, High Street, Guildford, GU1 3RR
When: Thursday 16th August at 7pm
Tickets: £5 / £3 for Waterstones loyalty cardholder, available by calling or visiting the bookshop: Waterstones 171-73 High Street, Guildford, Surrey.
Tel(01483)536366
Email [email protected]

I shall be taking my copy of Changeling along when I meet the queen of historical fiction (do you see what I did there!)

Who: Derek Landy
What: Book talk and Signing
What the hosts say: “This is a brilliant chance for Skullduggery fans to meet this fabulous author. Derek will be talking about his novels, answering questions and signing copies of all of his books”
Where: Hosted at Holy Trinity Church, High Street, Guildford, GU1 3RR
When: Thursday 13th of September 7pm
Tickets: £3 available by calling or visiting the bookshop: Waterstones 171-73 High Street, Guildford, Surrey.
Tel(01483)536366
Email [email protected]

I haven’t read any of Derek’s Skullduggery series yet, but it certainly looks like it would be a fantastic addition to my middle grade collection.


Who: John Boyne
What: Book talk and Signing
What the hosts say: “Acclaimed author John Boyne will be talking about his internationally best selling novel, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas…”
Where: Hosted at the Guildford store, 171-173 High Street, Guildford, GU1 3RR
When: Tuesday 30th October 7pm
Tickets: £3 available by calling or visiting the bookshop: Waterstones 171-73 High Street, Guildford, Surrey.
Tel(01483)536366
Email [email protected]

I can’t believe that I still haven’t read The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas. A situation I plan to rectify soon.

Hopefully we will meet some of you at one or more of these amazing events.
Post by Caroline

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