BOOK REVIEW | THE LAST NAMSARA, BY KRISTEN CICCARELLI

Title: The Last Namsara

Author: Kristen Ciccarelli

Series Number: 1

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from Hachette NZ in exchange for a honest review.

Star rating:★★★☆

Summary: In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

WHITCOULLS | MIGHTYAPE

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BOOK REVIEW | HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA BY KERRI MANISCALCO

Title: Hunting Prince Dracula

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Series Number: 2

Publication Date: October 10, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Historical

Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from Hachette NZ in exchange for a honest review.

Star rating:★★★★★

Summary: Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

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BOOK REVIEW | STALKING JACK THE RIPPER BY KERRI MANISCALCO

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Series Number: 1

Publication Date: October 10, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Historical

Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from Hachette NZ in exchange for a honest review.

Star rating:★★★★

Summary: Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

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BOOK REVIEW | GOTHIC TALES OF HAUNTED LOVE

Title: Gothic Tales of Haunted Love

Author: Edited by  Hope Nicholson and S.M. Beiko. Various authors.

Series Number: 1

Publication Date: January 23, 2018

Genres: Graphic Novels

Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from the publishers via netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

Star rating:★★★★

Summary: Gothic Tales of Haunted Love is a new comics anthology curated by Hope Nicholson (The Secret Loves of Geek Girls) and S.M. Beiko (Scion of the Fox).

In 1950s Vietnam, a lost soul comes to the aid of his lover’s field under attack by American troops.

In Victorian Boston, a new governess comes to care for the rogueish widower of a stately manor and his charming brood of children.

A fashion journalist lands the interview of her dreams – but it unearths the deadly secrets of Taiwan’s most popular fashion designer.

A Sioux elder revives a recently deceased woman who sets out to recover her lost love.

A Jamaican slave faces the horrors of her hateful mistress, on the eve of her liberation.

A Brazilian writer-in-exile discovers the dark history of an abandoned mansion inhabited by a charming and sensual ghost.

And a young bride spins a story of murder and deceit that paints her husband as a killer . . . but is there any truth to her tale?

Featuring 19 original stories from some of modern comics’ finest talent, Gothic Tales of Haunted Love collects fragments of lovers torn apart, romantic liasons with the unliving, ghostly revenge, and horrific deeds, in the vein of the short-lived 1970s gothic romance comics.

A foreword on gothic romance comics is provided by historian Jacque Nodell, and the collection also features a reprint of the 1970s Korean horror-romance comic “The Promise” by Sanho Kim.

BOOKDEPOSITORY | AMAZON | BEDSIDE PRESS

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BOOK REVIEW | A SEMI-DEFINITIVE LIST OF WORST NIGHTMARES, BY KRYSTAL SUTHERLAND

Title: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

Author: Lauren James

Series Number: 1

Publication Date: August 28, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from Penguin NZ in exchange for a honest review.

Star rating:★★★★

Summary: Ever since Esther Solar’s grandfather met Death, her entire family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime—a fear that will eventually lead each and every one of them to their graves. Take Esther’s father, for instance: He’s an agoraphobe who hasn’t left the basement in six years. Then there’s her twin brother, Eugene, whose fear of the dark goes far beyond the things that go bump in the night. And her mother, Rosemary, is absolutely terrified of bad luck.

As for Esther, she’s managed to escape the curse…so far. She doesn’t yet have a great fear because she avoids pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, crowds—anything that might trigger a phobia is off-limits and is meticulously recorded in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.

Esther thinks she has it all figured out, until she’s reunited with an old elementary school classmate—and first crush—Jonah Smallwood. The encounter leaves her stranded at a bus stop and swindled out of her phone, all her cash, a Fruit Roll-Up she’d been saving, and her list—not to mention her dignity. But the theft is also the beginning of an unexpected friendship between the two, one that sends the pair on a journey of self-discovery as they try to break the curse that’s consumed Esther’s family. Together they face their greatest fears, one debilitating phobia at a time, only to discover the one fear they hadn’t counted on: love.

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BOOK REVIEW | THE LONELIEST GIRL IN THE UNIVERSE, BY LAUREN JAMES

Title: the Loneliest Girl in the Universe

Author: Lauren James

Series Number: 1

Publication Date: September 1, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from Walker Books Aus in exchange for a honest review.

Star rating:★★★★

Summary: Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

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BOOK REIVEW | MAGNUS CHASE AND THE SHIP OF THE DEAD, BY RICK RIORDAN

Title: Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead

Author: Rick Riordan

Series Number: 1

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Genres: Young Adult

Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from Penguin NZ in exchange for a honest review.

Star rating:★★★★

Summary: In the third book in Rick Riordan’s epic Norse mythology series, Magnus and his friends take a boat trip to the farthest borders of Jotunheim and Niflheim in pursuit of Asgard’s greatest threat. Life preservers are mandatory for this wet, wild, and wondrous adventure.

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BOOK REVIEW | WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER, BY LEIGH BARDUGO

Title: Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Series Number: 1

Publication Date: August 28, 2017

Genres: Young Adult Fantasy

Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from Penguin NZ in exchange for a honest review.

Star rating:★★★☆

Summary: Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.

Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

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BOOK REVIEW | THE HALF DROWNED KING, BY LINNEA HARTSUYKER

Title: the Half Drowned King

Author: Linnea Hartsuyker

Series Number: 1

Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from Hachette NZ in exchange for a honest review.

Star rating:★★★★

Summary: 

Since the death of Ragnvald Eysteinsson’s father in battle, he has worked hard to protect his sister Svanhild and planned to inherit his family’s land when he comes of age. But when the captain of his ship tries to kill him on the way home from a raiding excursion, he must confront his stepfather’s betrayal, and find a way to protect his birthright. It is no easy feat in Viking-Age Norway, where a hundred petty rulers kill over parcels of land, and a prophesied high king is rising.

But where Ragnvald is expected to bleed, and even die, for his honour, Svanhild is simply expected to marry well. It’s not a fate she relishes, and when the chance to leave her stepfather’s cruelty comes at the hand of her brother’s arch-rival, Svanhild is forced to make the ultimate choice: family or freedom.

Drawing from the Icelandic Sagas, The Half-Drowned King takes inspiration from the true story of Ragnvald of Maer, the right hand man of King Harald Fairhair, first king of all Norway, and his sister, Svanhild, as she tries to find freedom in a society where the higher her brother rises, the greater her worth as a political pawn.

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BOOK REVIEW | GATHER THE DAUGHTERS, BY JENNIE MELAMED

Title: Gather the Daughters

Author: Jennie Melamed

Series Number: 1

Publication Date: July 25, 2017

Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopia

Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from Hachette NZ in exchange for a honest review.

Star rating:★★★☆

Summary: GATHER THE DAUGHTERS tells the story of an end-of-the-world cult founded years ago when ten men colonised an island. It’s a society in which men reign supreme, breeding is controlled, and knowledge of the outside world is kept to a minimum. Girls are wives-in-training: at the first sign of puberty, they must marry and have children. But until that point, every summer, island tradition dictates that the children live wildly: running free, making camps, sleeping on the beach. And it is at the end of one such summer that one of the youngest girls sees something so horrifying that life on the island can never be the same again.

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