The Salt Path by Raynor Winn


The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Rating: 5 stars
Review by Snowdrop

The true story of a couple who lost everything and embarked on a transformative journey walking the South West Coast Path in England

Just days after Raynor Winn learns that Moth, her husband of thirty-two years, is terminally ill, their house and farm are taken away, along with their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, through Devon and Cornwall.

Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea, and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter, and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable and life-affirming journey. Powerfully written and unflinchingly honest, The Salt Path is ultimately a portrayal of home—how it can be lost, rebuilt, and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.

Do you think you could come to a point in your life where you lose your home? Could that happen? How could it be possible? Was it irresponsible? Could you just take off and wild camp with very few plans? For that matter is hiking and wild camping along the 630 mile coastal path near Cornwall even a plan?

Each of these thoughts were a few of those running through my mind when I began this memoir by Raynor Winn. The story seemed far-fetched to me. What couple, at fifty years of age, would decide to take off to hike a trail with very little money and backpacks on their backs. Packs that I’m sure I couldn’t even carry. Just take off and leave the area they had lived in, the familiarity of their surroundings, and their family.

But all the while this fog of questions was swirling around my head, the author snuck up on me. She snatched up my interest, and I was off and running with a book I couldn’t put down. I’m not even sure how to explain it to you. It’s well written and the reading flows well. It is not a descriptive account of the beautiful coastal path of Wales. There isn’t even a map in the book to give you an idea of the beautiful, rugged places and the quaint villages this National Trail passes. It is more the bare bones story of two people trying to hike a 630 mile path while knowing one of them is very sick and both hoping that a plan will come to them in the end. At times it seemed as if it couldn’t be non-fiction. I was on the edge of my seat, hanging on at every twist and turn. As sad as could be that they couldn’t afford a lovely cream tea in a small village. Horrified that they had to walk wet for days or couldn’t shower for weeks at a time.

This is an extraordinary book. It is an honest accounting of a search for “what’s next.” Sometimes we fall into trouble, and we aren’t sure what step to take. That’s what this book is about. It most certainly isn’t something I would decide to do, but I loved reading about the experience.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow


Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Non-fiction, history
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.Historians have long told the story of America’s birth as the triumph of Jefferson’s democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.
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Chernow’s biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America’s birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.

There are many books out about Alexander Hamilton, and Ron Chernow’s is an engaging and informative one. It is a thick book, but it is an easy read, not a dry textbook. Readers follow Hamilton’s life from the beginning and learn about his humble beginnings. That puts his achievements in an even brighter light than one may have done before.

The settings are well drawn, and readers will be able to picture those places, from an island to New York etc. Details not only help us to see and feel the surroundings but also play a part in shaping Hamilton’s views. What he saw impacted him, and this would play a role in his activities later on.

Readers get to see other famous historical figures through Hamilton’s eyes, and this is particularly interesting if one has read about Hamilton’s opponents. The comparison is enlightening. Though the book is written with obvious admiration for Hamilton by the author, it is done fairly, as would be expected of such a respected historian. Readers will learn more than just Hamilton’s past; they will discover or review important events in the nation’s history. Some of those things will be familiar, but others will be new. This book is well worth the read whether or not you are a fan of Hamilton.

The Queen’s Man by Sharon Penman


The Queen’s Man by Sharon Penman
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Epiphany, 1193: the road out of Winchester was hidden by snow, and Justin de Quincy was making slow progress when he heard the first faint shout. It came again, louder and clearer, a cry for help. Spurring his stallion, de Quincy raced toward the source.

But he was already too late. As the two assailants fled, de Quincy cradled the dying man, straining to make out his whispered words. “They did not get it,” he rasped. “Promise me. You must deliver this letter to her. To the queen.”

Eleanor of Aquitaine sits on England’s throne. At seventy, she has outlived the husband with whom she had once scandalized the world. But has she also outlived her favorite, her first-born son? Richard Lionheart, England’s king, has been missing these last months. It is rumored that he is dead. Many think his youngest brother plots to steal the crown. Only Eleanor’s fierce will can keep John from acting on his greed. Only a letter, splattered with the blood of a dying man murdered on the Winchester road, can tell her if Richard still lives.

With the same sure touch she has brought to her historical fiction, Sharon Kay Penman turns to the mystery form. Setting her story in a period she captured brilliantly in earlier novels, she introduces Justin de Quincy. Bastard-born, de Quincy is the son of a high cleric who never acknowledged him, bestowing on the boy–in lieu of name or fortune–only an education. As it happens, it is a gift that will take young de Quincy into the very centers of power–and into the heart of danger, making him the Queen’s man.
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Moving from the royal chambers in the Tower of London to the alehouses and stews of Southwark, from the horrors of Newgate Gaol to the bustling streets of Winchester, de Quincy proves his mettle as he tracks a brutal and cunning murderer and uncovers the sinister intrigues of Eleanor’s court.

It’s Epiphany of 1193 and after learning some recent truths that shake up his whole life, Justin De Quincy is at a loss what to do. On the road, he is witness to a brutal killing in what he first assumes is a random robbery. Justin offers the dying man solace and aid – and is given a blood-soaked letter destined for Eleanor of Aquitaine, a missive that will change the course of Justin’s life forever. Now on a highly secret mission for the Queen, with no knowledge of who can be trusted or what path is safest to tread, Justin’s life careens onto a completely different course.

I need to admit up front I’m not a massive reader of Historical stories. Sure, I love some Regency romance (particularly Amanda Quick) when I’m in the mood, and I’ll dabble occasionally in other styles of historical fiction. But I’m usually not keen and find they miss the mark with me. The only other author I generally find an exception to this rule is Sharon Penman. Her epics (particularly the Plantagenet series and the Welsh Princes series) are enormous tomes and well, well worth the time and effort to read them through carefully. Here Be Dragons is still one of my favorite books ever.

All that gushing aside, Penman tends to write enormous books that take a large effort to read. Her Queen’s Man series (four regular sized novels) are a marked difference and in some instances a welcome relief. These stories are much more digestible, they’re a regular paperback length and best of all they are basically a regular Medieval Mystery style of story. For readers just wanting a spot of historical fiction they are ideal and an excellent way to be introduced to Penman’s excellent characterizations and writing style.

The historical setting and accuracy are still very strongly woven through the stories – readers wanting a clean, wholesome and “whitewashed” style of history setting won’t find that here. There are public hangings, lepers and beggars and plenty of treachery and political intrigue. Penman does not tone down her style or historical details just to make the story more palatable for readers wanting a sweet and happy reading escape – but neither does she dwell or give too much gruesome detail to this harsh and often uninviting time period. I feel she makes an excellent balance between what were the realities of the time and a reader wanting a good read.

The plot itself is fairly standard. The Queen charges Justin after reading the missive into investigating the death he witnessed and seeing if there was deeper treachery lurking behind the seemingly simple murder-robbery. The real joy – aside from the exceptional detail to history and day-to-day life and realities that the book shares – is in the vibrant cast of characters and how they all slot together. Penman has managed to condense the joy and addictive qualities of her enormous epics into a bite-sized regular paperback sized story and I love this series simply because it’s so much easier to access.

Readers looking for a realistic and exceptionally researched and detailed historical novel with a solid mystery and a slew of royal and political shenanigans should find this story exceptional. I also adored the strong cast of characters and found the plot – while not overly taxing – to be engaging and well paced. Recommended.

Dark Promises by Christine Feehan

DARK
Dark Promises by Christine Feehan
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (316 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Gabrielle has had enough of battles, of wars, of seeing the man she’s engaged to nearly lose his life when it isn’t even his fight. Once Gary was a gentle and very human researcher. Now he’s a fearless and lethal Carpathian warrior with the blood of an ancient lineage coursing through his veins—a man Gabrielle still needs and dreams of with every breath she takes. All she wants is a life far away from the Carpathian mountains, far from vampires and the shadows cast by the crumbling monastery that hides so many terrible secrets. But Gabrielle soon learns that promises made in the dark can pierce the heart like a dagger.

And she isn’t the only one in search of answers in the corners of the unknown….

Trixie Joanes has come to the Carpathian mountains in search of her wayward granddaughter, fearing that she has been lured there by something unspeakable. Instead, Trixie has stumbled onto the path of a desperate woman on the run. And they’re all fated for the lair of a mysterious ancient with revenge in his soul and the undying power to make bad dreams come true.

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Aleksei is an ancient Carpathian and Ms. Feehan created her hero to be as deadly, dark and commanding as any she’s introduced readers to yet. The one element that is insidiously sensual is his dominance. All Carpathian men are control freaks due to their living in the time when men were warriors, but the author takes the hero to a new level. At first it is an extremely uncomfortable level especially when Gabrielle and Aleksei first meet. He’s wild, untamed, violent and uncontrollable. Fans of the series will understand what drives him and will more than probably accept his behavior with the understanding that he’s overwhelmed emotionally by all the feelings that bombard him all at once. Much of it comes from his misinterpretation of the situation. New readers might be turned off because his initial brutality is shocking; it was even for me, a longtime fan. Once the hero calms down and is able to listen, he slowly starts to figure out he was partly wrong. Never totally wrong, mind you, but certainly some.

Gabrielle is a hard heroine to completely like. She has her moments and I believe and agree with Aleksei’s understanding of her; she’s a submissive. How that revelation comes about needs to be read to understand why I agree. Submissive doesn’t mean ‘doormat’, it means she needs someone to lean on when she needs it and needs–here’s the big thing–to trust that the person will deliver, will be there for her and will understand her needs. When the heroine’s strength has to be counted upon, she comes through. Her character flowers under Aleksei’s care because he truly does ‘get’ her. One scene even dabbles with a little bit of light BDSM hence the mention of Gabrielle’s being submissive. I just didn’t like all the crying she did.

The flowering, so-to-speak comes from sex; lots of sex. I think Ms. Feehan basically shows how Gabrielle and Aleksei fall in love, come to terms with and learn about each other, through all the sex scenes that populate the book. In fact there is so much of it, page after page, that I was hard pressed to find an external conflict. There are a few token suspenseful moments but it goes right back to sex. Dark Promise is basically a hot, sexy romance with light paranormal drama to enhance the love story.

For me, what stole the limelight and the show away from the emotional drama that is the Gabrielle and Aleksei show was Trixie. When Trixie meets Fane, it was pure magic. I’m not sure how to describe their meeting but it was more romantic, fun and enjoyable than the main hero and heroine. I adored Trixie. I liked her sass, her moral compass and her dedication to family. I was thrilled with how Fane treated her, thought of her and talked with her. I felt happy, completely happy when they were on stage. As secondary characters finding their HEA, Ms. Feehan presented a winning combo. Fane and Trixie rock!

The book winds down with hooks for new books, new characters and Carpathian men to save. Certainly I want to read them because I never know just how the author is going to save the hero and what kind of woman is up to the job of taming her caveman Carpathian. That’s half the fun of this series – old fashioned warrior men versus strong-willed modern women.

Dark Promises does have a satisfying happy ever after and tells a good romance story. Many fans will enjoy it and for those that just love the sexy side of a Carpathian romance, those readers are probably going to be extremely happy.

The Ex-Factor by Laura Greaves

EX
The Ex-Factor by Laura Greaves
Publisher: Destiny (Penguin)
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (285 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Talented, gorgeous and hopelessly in love, American movie star Mitchell Pyke and Brazilian supermodel Vida Torres were Hollywood’s most talked-about couple. They seemed destined for ‘happily ever after’ – until Vida left Mitchell for his best friend, and Mitchell publicly vowed he would never love again.

Sydney dog trainer Kitty Hayden has never even heard of Mitchell Pyke. Still reeling from the loss of her mother, Kitty is too busy cleaning up the various messes made by her indolent younger sister, Frankie, and trying to find a girlfriend for her terminally single best friend, Adam, to keep up with celebrity gossip.

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But as Kitty quickly discovers, when someone as famous as Mitchell Pyke tells the world he’ll never love again, the world listens. And the vindictive Vida is never far away. With constant reminders that she’s merely a consolation prize, how can Kitty compete with such a tenacious adversary – especially when she starts to suspect that Mitchell isn’t over Vida after all?

Ever since I saw Notting Hill, I like books, movies, and TV shows featuring romances between a celebrity and a non-celebrity. For that particular reason, I decided to read The Ex-Factor. It turns out The Ex-Factor is not so much a romance novel, but chick lit; which wouldn’t be a problem if the blurb indicated that (it sounded very much like a romance) or if more emphasis had been put on the relationship between hero and heroine.

The Ex-Factor is an interesting story about finding yourself and making the peace with your past. In some parts the story was very predictable, and the romantic part is too superficial for my taste, but taking everything into account i.e. characters, development of the story, writing, I enjoyed reading it.

The story started strong, with a slap on the movie set where hero and heroine met and in no time heroine was moving from Australia to the USA. Wow, talk about fast love. But what I missed from this fast love is how and why they fell in love. I didn’t feel the connection between Mitchell and Kitty. I think that a few more scenes and more dialogue between the two of them and the story would be perfect.

Speaking of Mitchell, he’s somewhere in the back of the story and not fully developed. I couldn’t say that he is the main character. The author did much better characterization of Kitty’s best friend Adam and her sister Frances; they are such great secondary characters. Also Kitty, oh Kitty, she is sweet and strong, and life has thrown her some serious punches. Once she got rid of the ghosts from the past she was able to live and love again. I was so happy that everything turned out just fine for her.

Readers who like chick lit that focuses more on a heroine’s trials and not so much on the romance should give this one a try.

Sisters Fate by Jessica Spotswood

FATE
Sisters Fate by Jessica Spotswood
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Alternate Reality
Length: Full Length (368 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rated: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

A fever ravages New London, but with the Brotherhood sending suspected witches straight to the gallows, the Sisters are powerless against the disease. They can’t help without revealing their powers—as Cate learns when a potent display of magic turns her into the most wanted witch in all of New England.

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In an alternate 1900s New England, suspected witches are sent to the gallows–although they are hardly the witches of olden days. No, these are gorgeous contemporary girls with lives, loves, and special powers. They’d use the power for good, if they could–like curing disease–but they are in a world where helping someone means putting themselves at risk.

Spotswood’s characters simply shine. The good in their hearts speaks louder than any special magic skills, readers can’t help admiring them and sympathizing with their plight. These are not the dark characters found in some tales: no, in fact, Cate’s specialty is healing magic. Tess, who can foretell, seems always the sweetest and most vulnerable of the sisters, Maura… oh, dear, Maura. Sisters can be sisters! In a family of remarkable closeness Cate and Maura have their differences – different approaches to try to achieve the same thing, only here, those differences might lead to disaster.

Cate struggles not to lose boyfriend Finn, who has no memory of her, while being true to her sisters. Finn is a simply wonderful, real, heartfelt character; readers will adore him.

Spotswood’s New England is both familiar and entirely strange: geographically the same and yet, a magical world that is scene to the struggles between powers.

Although part of a series, this can be read and understood as a stand-alone. Reading this makes me regret not starting at the beginning! Although a ‘paranormal,’ Sister’s Fate, so character-driven, will have a wide general appeal and might well draft a few new readers to the genre! Beautifully written.

Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville

GRETL
Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville
Publisher: Penguin Imprint – Hamish Hamilton
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (358 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Daisy

A dark, distinctive and addictively compelling novel set in fin-de-siècle Vienna and Nazi Germany—with a dizzying final twist.

Vienna, 1899. Josef Breuer—celebrated psychoanalyst—is about to encounter his strangest case yet. Found by the lunatic asylum, thin, head shaved, she claims to have no name, no feelings—to be, in fact, not even human. Intrigued, Breuer determines to fathom the roots of her disturbance.

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Gretel and the Dark is a strange mixture of genres. Historical, fantastical and sometimes sadly romantic, it keeps the reader yearning for more details of its protagonist’s life, right up until the end. There are three distinct time periods which make up the narrative of the book. One is in the past, one the assumed present and one becomes the new, later, present towards the end of the book. It becomes apparent as the pages go by that these narratives are intertwined. Fairytale links help to support this, as well as the similarities in characters.

The protagonist in this book does not have an easy ride and this is not a traditional romance by any means. There are some romantic elements but these are often sad, seemingly impossible, or darkly one-sided. The main character faces paedophilia and cases where men much older are keen to be intimate with her. However, these implications are subtly done and not too graphic to read. They are along the lines of saying the man placed his hand on her bum and forgot to remove it or that he touched under her skirt where the woman said no man should. These instances are by no means present throughout the whole book but it is a recurring theme in light of the historical time period the main character experienced.

The novel covers the time period of Hitler, pre-Hitler and post genocide. The protagonist and her love interest are the main sweet romantic thread. They make it through horrific scenarios together and come out stronger but this is not a tale which ends in marriage and kids. The ending reminded me of the bitter-sweet movie PS I love you; even though it didn’t end in death, it made me tear up. This is not a feel-good novel.

The fantastical elements consist of the protagonist’s imaginings and fairytales or old wive’s tales remembered from her youth and threaded into the narrative. In one case this was used repetitively to imply the rape of the protagonist as a child by older men to avoid any graphic descriptions. However, this is also used to show the child’s shaky grip on reality and their need to escape it for a better world, where she can make a difference to the outcome of her life. The fairytales may be dark but they hold the determination of a strong woman, prepared to battle the monster behind her misfortunes.

I gave this book 4.5 stars because, despite all the strong thematical links and historical references, the beginning of the book was too full on. Too many fantastical references were thrown at the reader at once. I would have preferred a slower opening. I also found that I did not pick up on the historical links until much later in the book. Someone thinking along more historical lines would have made the connection a lot earlier but because nothing like this was mentioned in the prologue, I assumed this was merely a dark tale based upon a fairytale, with no real life, historical links.

However, I believe a reader will feel the emotional pulls of history through this book, following in the footsteps of a character full of hope, obstinance and determination to survive and have her own way. She can be too stroppy, as most children can, but she makes it through terrible times off her own back and, through her, I had a peep hole into history I could never have experienced first hand.

A Wanted Woman by Eric Jerome Dickey

WOMAN
A Wanted Woman by Eric Jerome Dickey
Publisher: Penguin Group (Dutton)
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (428 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Ginger

She is a woman of a thousand faces, an assassin who could be anyone, anywhere.

The Trinidad contract was supposed to be simple: to make a living man become a dead man. When the job goes bad under the watchful eye of a bank security camera, there is nowhere for agent MX-401, known as Reaper, to hide from the fearsome local warlords, the Laventille Killers.

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While she trawls for low-profile assignments to keep her skills sharp and a few dollars in her pocket, Reaper discovers that family ties run deep, on both sides of the fight. Will the woman everyone wants, who has lived countless lives in the service of others, finally discover who she really is?

Have you ever walked in on a movie during the middle of the action scene? You probably were puzzled, didn’t have a clue as to what was going on but you were trying your best to catch on to what was happening? Well this was the feeling I got when I started reading A Wanted Woman.

The main heroine who is faceless and nameless, is stationed in Trinidad. She is there to complete a mission that is suppose to be simple, but finds herself on the run and in hiding after she killed her assigned target plus several other people whose family and associates are now wanting revenge. In a strange land, no money and trying to stay under the radar, MX-401 is on a mission now to survive and get away from the members of the Laventille Killers (LK), who are seeking revenge.

Taking time to call a past lover, and reflect on her also assassin father, Old Man Reaper and coming to know new family members, the author has a lot going on in this action filled 400 plus page novel. Believe me, I am an avid reader and love to escape within the confides of a novel, but with this Dickey novel I am sure I missed a lot because I couldn’t put myself into this story. This is a novel that requires patience, time and also you will have to pay attention so that you will not get lost and confused. The characters have odd names. I didn’t get a feel for any of the characters. They just weren’t believable or developed enough. For a novel of this size I feel like I should know the characters in-depth and still have a connection after spending so much time with them. There is a lot of insignificant small talk in the dialogue that took away from the thrills and action of the book.

True to his pattern in writing style, Dickey did do his research and history on the islands of Trinidad. His detail and description of the geographical location is full of depth and colour. Another one of Dickey’s talents is to write such a long loquacious novel. Dickey has a creative talent and his own personal flare of word play and writing style to a rhythm that his work flows to. Reading his novel will stimulate your mind from a world of action, to sensual love scenes. In this novel you will find graphic and explosive gun fire confrontations, cursing, violence and even a rape scene.

I have read the majority of Dickey’s books prior novels; and love his earlier works that didn’t require so much time and thought to unravel. If you are a fan of his most recent work you may enjoy this one as well. If you have never read Dickey’s work and you are into super novels and you can keep focus on the centered plot even when the author gives a lot more, this will be a novel you would like to give a try.

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

GRIMM
The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
Publisher: Puffin (Penguin Group)
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Full Length (338 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rated: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lupine

Elizabeth has a new job at an unusual library – a lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection. That’s where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales; seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White’s stepmother’s sinister mirror that talks in riddles.

When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth embarks on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before she can be accused of the crime or captured by the thief.
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Polly Shulman has created a contemporary fantasy with a fascinating setting and premise, starring an ordinary girl whose after-school job is far from ordinary and leads to a world of excitement, romance and magical intrigue.

Elizabeth is new at her school, and she wants to make some new friends. Her social studies teacher recommends that she take a job at the Repository, where they store ancient and even magical items that people can borrow.

It also houses the Grimm Collection, a room that holds things like Cinderella’s glass slippers or the seven league boots or even a magical tablecloth…but someone starts to steal things out of the collection and Elizabeth and her newest friends decide to find out who it is.

This novel is not for the faint of heart, as it holds many surprises and is perfect for those who like a mystery around every corner. It even deals with real world problems, along with the magical ones.

I enjoyed it a lot, and it had a good plot. I got quite attached to the characters and enjoyed how the author mixed realistic things with magical. The Grimm Legacy is perfect for people who like a little fantasy that takes place in the real world.

Atlantis Rising by T. A. Barron

RISING
Atlantis Rising by T. A. Barron
Publisher: Philomel (Penguin Books)
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Full Length (384 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rated 5 stars
Reviewed by Lupine

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

In a magical land called Ellegandia, a young boy named Promi scrapes by, stealing pies, cakes and sweets to survive. But little does he know that his country is a pawn in an ages-old war between good and evil, battled both in the spirit realm and in the human world. Harboring secrets of his own, Promi teams up with a courageous girl named Atlanta and the two vow to save their land—and each other—no matter the cost. But their vow has greater repercussions than they ever could imagine—in fact, it may just bring about the creation of Atlantis, an island cut off from the rest of the world, where magic reigns supreme.

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Promi steals food, clothes and anything else he needs to survive. But little does he know that when he attempts to steal a pie from the Divine monk that he would be caught, thrown in a dismal dungeon and his life would change forever. Soon, he learns that his country is a battleground for a war between the spirit realm and human kind. Hiding a birthmark that has been written about in multiple prophecies, Promi tries to ignore the imminent battle that will come. But when he meets a smart girl named Atlanta, the two of them, and a kermuncle named Kermi, try to save their land—and each other—no matter what happens. But their actions reap a much bigger surprise…

This book was a total page turner. There was never a dull moment, and there were plenty of surprises hidden around the corners. I was frantically flipping through the pages, anxious to see what would happen next and frequently surprised by what did occur.

The characters were what really made the book great, though. Though they started out as perhaps less than admirable, I was pleased with the changes of heart that the characters went through while they journeyed together. It was, overall, one of the best stories about Atlantis that I have read yet.

It’s perfect for fans of Mythology, folklore and fantasy of all ages.