Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Cobweb Empire" by Vera Nazarian

The Recommender was so excited about the sequel to Vera Nazarian's The Cobweb Bride that when I saw there was an indigogo campaign  to get it published, I had to kick something in (wish it was more!) and now I have just finished Cobweb Empire and it is epic! Ms. Nazarian is a truly magical writer. We pick up where Cobweb Bride ended and Percy, the smart and brave peasant girl, has become (sorry, spoilers for any who haven't read the first book!) Death's Champion and one of her first acts is to give her beloved grandmother the gift of final rest by uniting her death shadow with her body. She also ends the suffering of a pig who had been unsuccessfully butchered. Now, she is on a quest to find Death's intended along with a last few Cobweb Brides, the dead Infanta of the Realm, Grand Princess Claere Liguon and her murderer Vlau Fiomarre. They are accompanied by Lord Beltain Chidair, the dashing Black Knight and son of the nasty, undead ruler the Duke Ian Chidair (or Hoarfrost, as he's known). We also get an inside look at a kingdom, or, perhaps Queendom is a better description... which is ruled by a woman, Rumanar Avalais, who is so all powerful and so beautiful she is called by her subjects "Your Brilliance"! Is she as benevolent as she seems? And, she has taken Vlau Fiomarre's disgraced brother and father under her protection. To what end? We also get the POV of two aristocrats who had gone on a lark to Death's Kingdom along with their so called friend who, when they've been captured by Duke Hoarfrost's undead soldiers and thrown into a dungeon, seems to have allied herself with the dead duke! These are just a few of the events and characters you'll encounter on Percy's journey to find Death's lost love (and...perhaps find one of her own!). This is just a beautifully written and detailed series and highly recommended! I, for one, will be ready to join another indigogo campaign to get Cobweb Forest finished!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dragonheart: "Made of Stars" by Kelley York

The Recommender is pretty picky. Usually, if a book doesn't grab me in the first couple of sentences... I move on. There are a LOT of books out there that do grab me... and I'll find myself wanting to keep reading even though there are cartoons to write and draw and working at the library and making Phantom jewelry and numerous other things, so, when I was approved by NetGalley for a recent title, I thought I'd check out the first couple of sentences. Next thing...I was half finished!  Made of Stars by Kelley York is a book that grabs you! It's the intriguing story of a half brother and sister whose father, a policeman, was basically involved with two women, one a long time girlfriend he had sort of broken up with, and the other, the woman he saw briefly after that. As Hunter says, their Dad ended up with neither woman and had two kids, instead.  From the time Ashlin and  Hunter were kids they've both spent the summer with each other at their father's home. They are very close and their alternating voices tell the story of their lives and of their friendship with Chance, a kid from the neighborhood in the Maine town where their father lives, who is around their age when they first meet him and seems like a cross between Huckleberry Finn and Peter Pan. He is charming and funny and insightful and a bit mysterious. He never seems to want to go home and they've never met his parents who are supposed to travel a lot. As a result, he becomes part of their family. Year after year, every summer,  the three are inseparable. Then, their dad is shot in the line of duty and needs time to recover. Two years go by before Hunter and Ashlin, now high school graduates, finally make it back to  spend time with their Dad and also to take a year off and decide what to do about college and ... they both want to reconnect with Chance. It's winter, now, instead of summer, and Chance doesn't just show up at the front door like in the past, seemingly psychically knowing when they've arrived. Too much time has gone by, and finding Chance isn't going to be easy. When they do finally find him...they realize there is something about their best friend that isn't quite right. As the story comes together, we learn about Chance's past along with Ash and Hunter. There are other secrets to uncover, things Hunter may have to face that he's been avoiding. Things even Ash doesn't suspect. Or does she? I won't give away any more of this moving coming-of-age story. Ms. York creates real characters you'll care about and Chance, himself, will break your heart. The Recommender says "Check this one out!" Try the first couple of sentences...