Review: My Neighbor Totoro The Novel

My Neighbor Totoro: The Novel

Title: My Neighbor Totoro The Novel
Author: Tsugiko Kubo
Illustrator and Original Concept: Hayao Miyazaki
Translator: Jim Hubbert
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult
Publisher: Viz Media (7th November 2013)
Blurb:

The beloved animation classic by legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, My Neighbor Totoro, is now a novel. This edition features original illustrations by Miyazaki himself, accompanying a story by veteran children’s author Tsugiko Kubo.

Eleven-year-old Satsuki and her sassy little sister Mei have moved to the country to be closer to their ailing mother. Soon, in the woods behind the spooky old house, Satsuki and Mei discover a forest spirit named Totoro. When Mei goes missing, it’s up to Satsuki to find her sister, and she’ll need help from some new, and magical, friends.

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO THE NOVEL by Tsugiko Kubo is literally what it says it is: the novel version of Hayao Miyazaki’s film of the same name. The book tells the story of eleven-year-old Satsuki and her four-year-old sister Mei. The sisters move with their father to the country so they can be closer to their mother, who is ill and resides in Shichikokuyama Hospital.

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Review: Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong

Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong (UK edition)

Title: Empire of Night (Age of Legends, 2)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Atom (1st April 2015)
Blurb:

TWO SISTERS. AN EMPIRE ON THE BRINK OF WAR. AND A RUTHLESS TRAITOR PREPARED TO UNLEASH HELL UPON THE WORLD.

Moira and Ashyn have lost everything except each other. Betrayed, orphaned and kept under close guard at court, they are desperate to find help for the children of their village, kidnapped by a terrifying enemy.

But their quest is tangled in a much greater battle – for the fate of the empire itself. Torn apart by violence and intrigue, the sisters will learn a great deal about their powers and their potential. But they will also learn the heartbreak of betrayal and loss, as those they love reveal their dark secrets . . .

The second volume in the Age of Legends trilogy, Empire of Night is a breathtaking dark fantasy from international bestselling author Kelley Armstrong.

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

EMPIRE OF NIGHT by Kelley Armstrong is the second book in her Age of Legends trilogy. The book continues the tale of twins Moira and Ashyn – Keeper and Seeker. After the events of SEA OF SHADOWS (review) Moira and Ashyn are kept at court, but they long to know the fate of the children from their village. Both sisters feel trapped, and want to help the children but war is brewing.

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Review: Circles of Stone by Ian Johnstone

Circles of Stone by Ian Johnstone

Title: Circles of Stone (The Mirror Chronicles, 2)
Author: Ian Johnstone
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: HarperCollins (2nd July 2015)
Source: Publisher
Blurb:

Two halves of the same soul, forced to seperate again . . .

Two worlds that must be saved . . .

Sylas has made two monumental discoveries: his lost mother is alive, and he has found Naeo, his Glimmer – the other half of his soul living in the mirror world of the Other. As his magical powers grown, Sylas is desperate to return to his own world and find his mother. Naeo is also searching for her father, captured by the dark lord, Thoth, who is raising an army of unspeakable monstrosity.

As they are pursued by creatures of darkness, Sylas an Naeo must seperate to survive. But to defeat Thoth they will need to come together again . . .

Rating: ***** (5 stars)
Review:

CIRCLES OF STONE by Ian Johnstone is the second book in his impressive series The Mirror Chronicles. The book continues the adventures of Sylas as he attempts to be reunited with his mother, and of Naeo who longs to be reunited with her father. Events set in motion in the previous book, THE BELL BETWEEN WORLDS (review), start to reach a head as Thoth begins to make his move.

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Review: The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams

The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams

Title: The Iron Ghost (The Copper Promise, 2)
Author: Jen Williams
Genre: Fantasy, Swords & Sorcery
Publisher: Headline (26th February 2015)
Source: Bookbridgr/the Publisher
Blurb:

Wydrin of Crosshaven, Sir Sebastian and Lord Aaron Frith are experienced in the perils of stirring up the old gods. They are also familiar with defeating them, and the heroes of Baneswatch are now enjoying the perks of being very much in demand for their services.

When a job comes up in the distant city of Skaldshollow, it looks like easy coin – retrieve a stolen item, admire the views, get paid. But in a place twisted and haunted by acient magic, with the most infamous mage of them all, Joah Demonsworn, getting ready to return, our heroes soon find themselves threatened by enemies on all sides, old and new. And in the frozen mountains, the stones are walking . . .

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

THE IRON GHOST by Jen Williams is the second book in The Copper Promise series. It continues the adventures of Wydrin of Crosshaven, Sir Sebastian and Lord Aaron Frith – the Black Feather Three. When they decide to take a job returning a stolen artefact, things rapidly become more complicated.

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Review: Lover Unbound by J. R. Ward

Lover Unbound by J. R. Ward

Title: Lover Unbound (A Black Dagger Brotherhood Novel, 5)
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (7th October 2010)
Blurb:

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war ragin between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Now, the cold heart of a cunning predator will be warmed against its will . . .

Ruthless and brilliant, Vishous, a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, possesses a destructive curse and the frightening ability to see th future. Tormented and abused while growing up in his father’s war camp, he now has no interest in love or emotion, only in the battle with the Lessening Society.

But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of a human surgeon, Dr Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time – until a destiny he didn’t choose takes him towards a future that cannot include her . . .

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

LOVER UNBOUND by J. R. Ward is the fifth instalment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. It tells the story of Vishous, a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood who played a large part in the previous book in the series, LOVER REVEALED, as he formed a close bond with Butch. In LOVER UNBOUND Vishous has to deal with a few issues that have been building-up in the last book, he also has a chance encounter with a Dr Jane Whitcomb.

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Review: Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong by Kelley Armstrong

Led Astray by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Fantasy, Short Stories, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tachyon Publications (15th September 2015)
Souce: Publisher
Blurb:

With her signature twists and turns, New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong (Otherworld, Cainsville, Darkest Powers, Age of Legends) always gives a fresh spin on city-dwelling vampires, werewolves, and zombies. She is equally exciting when traveling further afield, to a post-apocalyptic fortress, a superstitious village, a supernatural brothel, and even feudal Japan.

Here is the first time that urban fantasy, young adult, mystery, and crime author Kelley Armstrong has had her stories collected from Otherworld and beyond. From humorous to heart-stopping, and including two original tales, Led Astray showcases Armstrong at her versatile best.

Rating: ***** (5 stars)
Review:

LED ASTRAY by Kelley Armstrong is a new collection of twenty-three short stories. The stories feature new and familiar characters, as well as new and familiar worlds. This collection brings together some favourite short stories from previous volumes, as well as two new pieces.

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Review: Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen

Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen

Title: Breaking Nova (Nova #1)
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Sphere (3rd September 2013)
Blurb:

Nova Reed used to have dreams about becoming a famous drummer, of marrying her true love. But all of that was taken away in an instant. Now she’s getting by as best she can, though sometimes that means doing things the old Nova would never do. Things that are slowly eating away at her spirit. Every day blends into the next, until she meets Quinton Carter.

Quinton once got a second chance at life, but he doesn’t want it. The tattoos on his chest are a constant reminder of what he’s done, what he’s lost. He’s sworn never to allow happiness into his life, but then beautiful, sweet Nova makes him smile. He knows he’s too damaged to get close to her, yet she’s the only one who can make him feel alive again. Quinton will have to decide: does he deserve to start over? Or should he pay for his past forever?

Rating: ** (2 stars)
Review:

BREAKING NOVA is the first book in a new New Adult series by Jessica Sorensen. The book follows the stories of Nova Reed and Quinton Carter; both are struggling to deal with tragedies that have affected their lives, and the summer that their paths cross.

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Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab (UK edition)

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, 1)
Author: V. E. Schwab
Genre: Alternate Universes, Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Titan Books (27 February 2015)
Blurb:

Kell is one of the last travellers – magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city. There’s Grey London, without magic and ruled by the mad King George III. Red London – where magic is revered, and where Kell was raised alongside the heir to the empire. White London – where people fight to control the remaining magic and magic fights back. And once there was Black London . . .

Officially Kell is the Red traveller, carrying letters between the monarchs of each London. Unofficially he is a smuggler, a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences. His escape to Grey London leads to a run-in with Delilah, a cutpurse with lofty aspirations, who forces Kell to take her on a proper adventure. But perilous magic is afoot, and an adventure becomes a mission to save all the worlds.

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC is the first book in a new series by V. E. Schwab. It follows the stories of Kell, a magician who is powerful enough to travel between worlds, and Delilah, a thief who wants to see the world. Kell is delivering a letter from his home court when he is forced to flee to Grey London where his path crosses that of Delilah.

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Review: Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh (UK edition)

Title: Shards of Hope (A Psy-Changeling Novel, 14)
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Gollancz (4th June 2015)
Blurb:

The smoldering heat, epic romance, and awesome action of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as two Arrows find themselves caught in a chilling conspiracy that spans all three races . . .

Awakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

And they must survive. A shadowy enemy has put a target on the back of the Arrow squad, an enemy that cannot be permitted to succeed in its deadly campaign. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.

This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough – because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken . . . like Zaira.

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

SHARDS OF HOPE is the fourteenth addition to the Psy-Changeling novel series by Nalini Singh. This time Singh tells the story of Aden – the head of the Arrow squad – and Zaira, a fellow Arrow. They start the story having been kidnapped by a mysterious organisation, and must escape from the remote facility. Zaira will not let Aden die, because she believes he will be important for the future of the Arrow squad in a post-Silence world.

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Review: Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton

Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton (UK edition)

Title: Dead Ice (An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Novel, #24)
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Genre: Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Headlines (4th June 2015)
Blurb:

MY NAME IS ANITA BLAKE AND I HAVE THE HIGHEST KILL COUNT OF ANY VAMPIRE EXECUTIONER IN THE COUNTRY.

I’m a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since master vampire Jean-Claude and I went public with out engagement, all I am to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancée.

It’s wreaking havoc with my reputation as a hard ass – to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, I’m still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.

Someone is producing zombie porn. I’ve seen my share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother me. But the women being victimised aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signalling voodoo of the blackest kind.

It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And my own soul may not survive unscathed . . .

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

DEAD ICE is the twenty-fourth instalment of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels. Anita is dealing with the chauvinistic attitudes of those around her, since her engagement to Jean-Claude. This book also has Anita trying to track down someone who is raising zombies for porn, as well as the return of characters we haven’t seen on the page in a while.

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