A Hero’s Curse by P.S. Broaddus

A Hero’s Curse by P.S. Broaddus

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A hero’s curse
Posted on Goodreads.com – copied onto my blog
Download free from Kindle Amazon.

This story is a middle grade novel aimed at children 8-12 years plus, it’s not a book I would usually pick for myself, however, I received an email on one of the good read groups I am in looking for readers to review a few books. Being a lover of books, I thought why not. I am so pleased I did otherwise I would have never found this little gem of a story.

The story starts off in a fictitious land, the Kingdom of Mar; from the very first page the story tells us of Essies hardship as she loses her mum and dad to a labour camp. They don’t sound pleasant and I can only imagine that they must be like the old Victorian work houses buzzing with the poor, in the cities of Britain way back when. We find out in the first chapter Essie is blind; she has been blind from a young age ever since her father, who was the kings champion, came back from a quest; instantly giving the hint there is more to her blindness.

Essie has a cat Tig or Tigrabum (don’t you just love that name? It rolls off the tongue and is really fun to say), though I suspect Tig would not enjoy being called hers. Tig can speak to Essie in a common language called lingua comma; Essie is the only one who knows Tig can speak and the two of them are the best of friends and have been since Essie found him as a kitten. Tig’s personality made me giggle a few times, he is rather a critical cat but I think the author has used his experience with cats and got it right. Every time I see a cat watching me I always think he / she is sat criticizing what I am doing. Tig has been Essies eyes while the pair grow up together, he has taught Essie how to hunt and use all of her other senses extremely well and while critical he clearly loves Essie.

The real adventure starts when the two are being chased by bandits who have come to kill Essie and her Uncle Cagney; it is here we find out the real reason why her parents have gone to the labour camps (not going to tell you, no spoilers here). Uncle Cagney tells Essie to run and hide and he’ll come find her when it’s safe. Essie and Tig find themselves running into The Valley of Fire to hide, a landscape made by a volcano that houses all sorts of scary creatures including rock basilisks; I can only imagine these to be huge snake like creatures with terrifying large pointy teeth.
The pair navigate themselves around the dangerous terrine trying to find a safe passage home. After a few encounters with other creatures in different Kingdoms, their end destination and purpose changes (again no spoilers). Essie has no faith in herself at the beginning of the story but she starts to realise she has a bigger purpose that just getting home. Going on in the back ground of their journey, a dark army is being built by a dark creature who plans to take over the kingdoms that surround and include the Kingdom of Mar.

I couldn’t help but wonder if the author used this as a metaphor for materialism and the darkness that hides within us all, especially the part where the darkness can cast illusions.
The pair end up, after an eventful journey, a few twists and a change in purpose, having to choose a door to go through to get to a kingdom called The Kingdom Above the Sun. They have five to choose from and while Tig is distracted by his ability to see, being tempted by all the things our lower selves desire; Essie’s lack of sight is actually her strength in the next part of the adventure. She has the ability to use her other senses and guide Tig down the right path into the Kingdom Above the Sun.

I love the description of this kingdom where cloud weavers use air to make things and then use music to strengthen the bonds that hold things together. I feel it describes the universe perfectly, everything is energy moving & flowing in a rhythm, music we can’t hear, though in this kingdom Essie can hear the music.

Illiana in the story says “…because music is more powerful that almost any magic.” Yes! This is how I feel about music.

I really want to tell you what happens but I don’t want to spoil anything for you. It is a beautiful and inspirational story of overcoming challenges, helping others, friendship and good overcoming evil. Friends are found in the most unexpected of places and Essie discovers her inner strength. The story portrays many important lessons young people need to learn today, I think this would make a great pixar animation. A must read for all children, especially those suffering with conditions that make them feel they can’t do the things that others can.

There is no other rating to give this story than 5 out of 5.

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“I think it is, Tig.” The ember deep inside glows as if something is blowing on it. This is a hero’s door. Heros don’t seek wealth or honor or even insist on healing or family. Those are the things they sacrifice. Uncle Cagney’s voice echos through my head: “That’s what makes a hero.”

“In fact, I know this is the door Tig.” I speak with such confidence even I’m surprised. “This is what we’re supposed to do. This is why I’m here.”

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Trial by Fire – by Josephine Angelini

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The reason I bought this book in the first place is because of the cover; I know, I know, I can hear you all gasp; we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but lets face it, if it’s not appealing how many of us pick up the book to read the back blurb to see if we want to read the story or not?

As I mooched down the book isle in my local Asdas the cover of this book caught my eye

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‘I am a witch and witches burn’

“ooooooooo,” instantly I’m hooked and pulled to the shelves by, what felt like, some magnetic force; my inner witch screaming ‘you have to read this book!’ I pick the book up and read the back blurb…

‘Two versions of the same world.

Two versions of the same girl.

 A love that pulls them together.

 A war that tears them apart.’

The front cover made me want this book, the back blurb ignited my excitement, ‘eeeeeeek! I can’t wait till it’s Tinks bedtime so I can start reading this book!’

Being a lover of all things weird & wonderful, of course I had to buy the book, and do you know what?

My inner witch wasn’t wrong.

I LOVED it.

It is well written; it covers some witch history, explores the theory of parallel universes, travels the tangled borders of magic and science and pulls the reader into a new realm along with the main character, Lily.  I instantly love Lily, she’s awkward and very self-conscious at first, but the reader watches her grow and develop into herself and her strength throughout the story.

“She was still in Salem….She just wasn’t in her Salem anymore.”

Lily is a teenage girl at high school in Salem USA; unfortunately for Lily she suffers with life threatening allergies and seems to be allergic to almost everything. Her life-long best friend, Tristan, is high schools’ Mr Popular. Tristan is a typical Mr Popular, a guy’s guy, a heart throb, a Mr Cool. Lily obviously loves him but he’s her bestie and vice versa, he understands her and her crazy family so she’s confused, can they take their relationship to another level? At an eventful party, one that changes Lilys perspective on a few things, she hears a voice whilst having a seizure. Taken straight home in the midst of her seizure; her sister Juliet, with Tristan’s help, get her symptoms under control. Lily wakes the next morning next to Tristan, whom she now dislikes greatly (I won’t tell you why, no spoilers here, but I’d feel the same as Lily does if it were me).

Straight after an argument with Tristan, Lily is left alone; it is in this solitude that she hears the voice from the night before calling to her, asking her if she wants to leave. Of course, after what she has experienced, Lily certainly wants to go and agrees to the following ritual.

Lily now finds herself in a parallel universe; in another Salem where another version of herself, in this universe she is called Lillian, and other versions of some of her friends live. This is where the story comes into its own. The imagination and creativity of Josephine, the author, is brilliant; she nails the paranormal aspect as she navigates Lily around a strange and terrifying new world controlled by powerful witches called the crucibles. Lily scrambles through the challenges of her situation; she starts being trained as a witch by a man who she is falling for and harnessing her strength of witch power she innately has; what made her weak in the other world makes her strong in this world. While Lily is struggling to deal with all this a war is brewing in the back ground and Lily has to decide what side she is on.

The ending is a great cliff hanger and abruptly ends leaving the reader with more questions and an urgent sense of…. I need to know what happens next! Luckily I have the second book right here, watch this space for the review on what happens to Lily.

I’m giving this story 5 out of 5!

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Josephine Angelini

‘The fire was high, the cauldron bubbled and steamed, and the sun blazed through all of the windows and skylights in Rowan’s apartment. The great room was already sweltering when Lily joined Tristan and Rowan on the black square of silk in front of the hearth.

“It’s a sauna in here,” Lily complained. She flapped her hands, trying to wave a breeze into the robe Rowan had told her to wear to this afternoon’s ritual instead of the silk slip. “What are we making today? Deep-fried witch?”

Rowan and Tristan smiled at her joke, but neither of them laughed. Their eyes were hazy and breathing slow. Their will-stones heaved with sluggish light, indicating that they were in a half trance. Lily had seen Rowan and Tristan in a trance-like state before. Every day at dawn, they did a series of exercises that Lily insisted was a form of yoga, even though they’d never heard the word. At the end of their exercises, they both sat cross-legged and meditated deeply. But this was different. They’d never put themselves in a trance for a ritual before.’

See www.josephineangelini.com for more books by Josephine.

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Book Review – Bad Blood by Nicky Peacock

Nicky 3      I am kick starting my blog off with a review of a young adult book I read recently, Bad Blood by Nicky Peacock. This is the first book in a series, so far Evernight Teen Publishing has published three books in this series and I will review all of them.

Loving the book cover; I’m assuming the female on the front is Brit, she looks hardcore and that’s just how she comes across in the story. The cover has an eerie feel to it portraying what you can expect; the zombie apocalypse wouldn’t have an uplifting feel to it now would it?

Bad Blood

Britannia (previously known as Brianna) is a 450 year old vampire living in London. Brit is a product of Nicholas’s desire for love, passion and companionship; he created her to be his forever partner on their eternal journey as vampires. Unfortunately for Nicholas his selfish need rebounded and instead of everlasting love he got a strong-powerful-ass-kicking female vampire who hates his guts. To be fair, what self-respecting female wouldn’t hate Nicholas’s guts for turning her into a blood sucking monster against her will, right?

Bad blood is the gruesome and hilarious story of two vampire enemies, although Nicholas still holds dreams of being Brit’s one and only, who are faced with a zombie apocalypse. Because zombie blood is Bad Blood it means vampires can’t drink it; Brit, Nicholas and Phillipe are given the task, by the elder vampires (they sound freaky right? If Brits 450 years old how old are they!?!), to collect as many non-infected humans and bring them to a safe haven in the Scottish highlands.

Brit’s attitude towards human life is quite nonchalant to begin with; although she has tasted human blood before she doesn’t tend to hunt innocent humans and enjoys being a thorn in Nicholas’s side by feeding on and killing all his vampire creations; if she has to live a lonely forever as a vampire she’s making sure that Nicholas has the same fate and to be quite honest I want to high five her for that attitude! Girl power and all that. Though as the story develops Brit starts to develop more of a connection towards the humans and part of her heart she wasn’t aware of grows.

The first part of the story follows Brit, who adopts her neighbour’s dog Satan, fighting and killing many zombies armed with her trusty two scythes, collecting survivors and bringing them to the Dead Hare pub (great name for a pub right?). Here they meet with the survivors Nicholas has collected and make their way north to the safe haven. The group includes: Brit, Nicholas, Tracey (one of Brit’s Neighbours) and her two young children who suss out what Brit is on meeting her, not that they are frightened by her they are more awed they know a vampire (personally I’d be freaked out, unless it was Edward Cullen or Damien & Stephen Salvator of course), two soldiers Greens and Rollins and a terminally ill boy Danny.

The rest of the story is about their journey northwards and the problems they have to overcome as a group. One problem including Brit’s mental dilemma having to work with Nicholas rather than against him, while I understand Brit’s hatred of Nicholas I can’t help liking him and the way he handles Brit’s venom; I must admit I was routing for the two to forget their differences, work it out and get together, by the end of the book.

Brit’s thought processes throughout the story are a laugh out loud comedy, many moments and one liners had me sniggering into my coffee; Brit is a character I can relate with, after you get over the blood lust that is.

The fast pace movement of the story keeps you wanting more; what else can happen to this bizarre group on their journey to safety? A couple of twists made me shout out ‘No way! I was not expecting that!’ and of course with any great series the story ends with a cliff hanger…can’t wait for the next book.

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I’m rating it 5 out 5.

You can find Nicky here:

https://nickypeacockauthor.wordpress.com/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nicky-Peacock/e/B007UH2ACW

https://twitter.com/nickyp_author

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4958833.Nicky_Peacock

Excerpt from Bad Blood:

We ran to the hospital. On the way, we encountered hardly anyone, alive or dead. Where were they all? When we arrived at the hospital car park, I understood. Zombies were pack animals. A massive crowd of them were crammed in and around the main building like they were waiting for a concert to start, all barely paying attention to their surroundings and seemingly swaying against the force of gravity. The other thing was the smell. When watching horror films filled with shuffling zombies, the horror came from their ghastly looks—the reminder that death has a tight grip on us all, well, most of us. But what the filmmakers should focus on—if they could—was the acidic rank odor zombies gave off. They had been dead barely twenty-four hours. It took a normal human body at least thirty-six hours to really start to smell, and that was with a vampire’s heightened senses. These guys smelled like they’d been out in the sun for three weeks covered in rubbish and besieged by wily maggots. They were mostly intact, though. Maybe this hospital had been Zombie Ground Zero. Most had turned so quickly their comrades hadn’t had time to feed.

“Maybe we should try a less populated target.” Nicholas twitched his nose and turned away from me to dry retch.

“Maybe you should grow a pair.”

“Maybe you should act like a lady.” He now had his hands on his hips, squaring up for yet another argument.

“Acting like a lady isn’t going to help now, is it? What do you want me to do? Drop my handkerchief in front of the zombies and watch them fight one another to scoop it up for me? Moron!”

“Always to the ‘nth degree with you, isn’t it?”

“Shut up. Look, the doors are holding, and they’re outside, not inside, which means there must be some people left in there alive to have barricaded this place so tight.”

“Or maybe there are just more zombies in there.”

“Well, there’s definitely a blood bank in there, and that’ll help matters no end!”

Nicholas looked thoughtful then nodded. He of course didn’t want to actually say aloud that I’d had a good idea. “So, how do we get past them?”

I assumed it was a rhetorical question, so I started down to the car park entrance, where most of the zombies were mobbing. I opened the outer door as quietly as possible.

“Ladies first,” Nicholas whispered in my ear.

“I thought we’d agreed I wasn’t a lady.” And with that, I shoved him as hard as I could into the throbbing throng of zombies.

First blog post

Because of my idealistic outlook and viewpoint on the world around me, I have always been asked,

‘What colour is the sky in your world today, Lynne?’

I am always drifting off into a cloudy abyss, mentally creating other worlds and dimensions; I realise that makes me sound slightly nuts and I probably am to some extent but day dreaming isn’t just a hobby of mine it’s a way of life. Sometimes I write down these creations, other times I lose track of time and realise with a jolt of reality that I should be somewhere, instantly losing the link to the world I had just created; leaving the idea hanging mid-air with the hope I’ll be able to pick it back up again at another time.

I’m setting this blog up to review some of the current young adult books I am reading at the moment but I would also like to share with you some snippets of the worlds and stories I mentally create.

I hope you enjoy reading my reviews and stories as much as I enjoy writing them.

Lots a love

Lynne

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