Dangerous Creatures is coming! Beautiful Creatures Look-Back

I’m so pleased to part of the group of bloggers invited to give you a preview of the new series coming from Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Every Friday over the next few weeks, I’ll be looking back and bringing you my reviews of the Beautiful Creatures series, to whet our appetites, and then, on Friday 16th May, I’ll be reviewing Dangerous Creatures.
So, without further ado, here is my review of Beautiful Creatures – keep reading for a preview of Dangerous Creatures‘ blurb after the review… Continue reading “Dangerous Creatures is coming! Beautiful Creatures Look-Back”

Podcast: Penguins and Book Fairs

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Rob and Kate head off to London to visit the Book Fair and Penguin HQ. Continue reading “Podcast: Penguins and Book Fairs”

Review: The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by G W Dahlquist

In The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, three most unlikely but nevertheless extraordinary heroes become inadvertently involved in the diabolical machinations of a cabal bent on enslaving thousands through a devilish ‘process’:
Miss Temple is a feisty young woman with corkscrew curls who wishes only to learn why her fiance Roger broke off their engagement…
Cardinal Chang was asked to kill a man, but finding his quarry already dead he is determined to learn who beat him to it and why…
And Dr Svenson is chaperone to a dissolute Prince who has become involved with some most unsavoury individuals…
An adventure like no other, in a mysterious city few have travelled to, featuring a heroine and two heroes you will never forget. Continue reading “Review: The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by G W Dahlquist”

Joanna Rossiter chats to Adventures With Words

Yesterday we published our review of The Sea Change by Joanna Rossiter, the Appetite Book Club choice for July and a Richard and Judy Summer Read 2013.

Joanna came along to Appetite, and chatted to us about the book, her writing process and what she’s got lined up in the future.  Afterwards, she kindly agreed to do the same for Adventures With Words, in a little more depth… Continue reading “Joanna Rossiter chats to Adventures With Words”

Review: The Sea Change by Joanna Rossiter

Things that perhaps would have drifted apart or never even touched have found themselves thrown together inseparably.
Yesterday was Alice’s wedding day.  She is thousands of miles away from the home she is so desperate to leave, on the southernmost tip of INdia, when she wakes int he morning to see a wave on the horizon, taller than the height of her guest house on Kanyakumari beach.  Her husband is nowhere to be seen.
On the other side of the world, unhappily estranged from her daughter, is Alice’s mother, Violet.  Forced to leave the idyllic Wiltshire village, Imber, in which she grew up, after it was requisitioned by the army during the Second World War, Violet is haunted by the shadow of the man she loved and the wilderness of a home that lies in ruins.
As Alice searches for her husband in the debris of the wave, she is forced to face up to some truths about herself she has been hiding from.  Meanwhile Violet is compelled to return to Imber to discover why she abandoned her great love… Continue reading “Review: The Sea Change by Joanna Rossiter”

Our new bookish adventures – 1st August

There’s lots happening behind the scenes at Adventures With Words at the moment, and there’ll be more reviews coming soon, but in the meantime, I’d like to share some of our lovely new arrivals with you.  No, not another royal baby but some fantastic reads that Rob and I have bought, received and even won!

Time Riders, The Last BanquetI try to take part in The Readers’ Book Club when I can, and I recently had a really strong recommendation from WDW Kate (@wetdarkandwild) to try the Time Riders series, so Rob kindly bought the first Time Riders book by Alex Scarrow (Penguin) and The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood (Canongate), for The Readers’ Bookclub, for me from Waterstones. Continue reading “Our new bookish adventures – 1st August”

Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

In Ethan Wate’s hometown there lies the darkest of secrets…
There is a girl.  Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head…green eyes, black hair.  Lena Duchannes.
There is a curse.  On the Sixteenth Moon, of the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it’s been promised.  And nothing can stop it.
In the end, there is a grave.
Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep and powerful love.  But Lena is cursed and, on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided.  Ethan never even saw it coming. Continue reading “Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl”

Review: Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

The year is 1348 and the first plague victim has reached English shores. Panic erupts around the country and a small band of travellers comes together to outrun the deadly disease, unaware that something far more deadly is – in fact – travelling with them.
The ill-assorted company – a scarred trader in holy relics, a conjurer, two musicians, a healer and a deformed storyteller – are all concealing secrets and lies. And at their heart is the strange, cold child – Narigorm – who reads the runes.
But as law and order breaks down across the country and the battle for survival becomes ever more fierce, Narigorm mercilessly compels each of her fellow travellers to reveal the truth … and each in turn is driven to a cruel and unnatural death.

This is the second book I’ve read by Karen Maitland – The Owl Killers kept me occupied for about a week over a summer holiday a few years ago – and I was looking forward to another installment of historical intrigue.  Company of Liars was every bit as compelling, and, if possible, even more spooky and unsettling.

Our narrator is called Camelot, a seller of relics, trinkets, lotions and potions; I really enjoyed the first person narrative voice, and the way in which we view events.  The narration is mostly objective but occasionally you feel there is more to Camelot than meets the eye, some past which is deliberately being avoided.  This fits in with the theme of the book, that each member of the company has something to hide.  The travellers join together through necessity; I found this very natural where it could have seemed a contrived device.  I think this was helped by Camelot’s misgivings at each stage.  Also, though, there was a sense of fate at work, that there was an inevitability about the way that things unfolded as if the characters were playthings at the mercy of a higher force.  This really was quite creepy at times.

Throughout the novel, Camelot’s unease with the child Narigorm becomes more and more apparent as events become more and more strange.  We’re invited to share the mix of superstition and cynicism; can Narigorm’s prophecies really be true? Could it just be coincedence or is some other more primal force at work in the tragedies befalling the characters on their journey?  Maitland keeps us guessing right until the final page.

I was really impressed by the historical setting of the book, as I was with The Owl Killers.  The names, places, religious and cultural references all seemed spot-on and completely believable.  Maitland must have done an extraordinary amount of research to create such flawless backgrounds, not to mention the attitudes of the characters.  I loved the idea that, despite the first beginnings of the Renaissance in Europe, England was still a place of magic as much as religious belief where folk law could be as powerful as any physical evidence.

I don’t often read historical fiction but I’ve said before it’s something I’d like to read more; this was definitely a great way in to the genre. I’m very much looking to reading more of Maitland’s novels and immersing myself in the Middle Ages again.

Kate Neilan