Category Archives: Book Reviews

Sun Catcher and Storm Chaser by Sheila Rance – Book Reviews #CountdownYA

I was lucky enough to receive copies of Sun Catcher and Storm Chaser, the first two books in Sheila Rance’s Sun Catcher trilogy in preparation for today’s Countdown to 7th May post (Thanks to Jim Dean @Yayeahyeah for organising the blog tour and inviting me to join in).

Later on I’ll share with you an interview with Maia the books’ protagonist, but first, to whet your appetite for the last book in the trilogy, here are my thoughts on the first two books.

Sun Catcher cover Storm Chaser Cover

Firstly let’s talk about the covers (Images from Goodreads), if these don’t draw you in then I’d be pretty surprised. Vivid Colours, Fantasy Clothing, Raging Sun and Surging Storms as a backdrop. “Flame-Headed Witch or Long Lost Princess?” “Silk Tells Stories. It Sings of Secrets Long Forgotten. It Sings of Fire.” “Catching the Sun Was Not Enough…” “Silk Whispers. Clouds Gather. A Storm is Coming.” “Game of Thrones for a Younger Audience”

Like Game of Thrones this fantasy (or magical reality as Sheila terms it) story looks at different groups of people but really our focus is on Maia. We learn that Maia and her father Tareth were shipwrecked and although they were saved by and live among the Cliff-Dwellers Maia feels and looks an outcast. In Sun Catcher she begins to find out the truth of her heritage and her destiny. On her naming day the Watcher names her Sun Catcher and so begins her journey to discover who she is expected to be, and who she wants to be. This struggle to forge an identity is shared by the other teen characters in the books. What role you play in society is a common theme in Young Adult literature but with the unusual roles in this world it gives more scope to play with the underlying feelings about responsibility, meaning and so on.

At the beginning of the books, before the story starts, is a page dedicated to the main players in the stories. Here Kodo, the lizard boy and Razek the weed master and storm chaser are introduced. Two boys that fight for Maia’s attention. I wouldn’t call this a love triangle though – it’s far more complex than that and I’m really interested to see how these relationships develop in the final book.

I love the importance of animals to the story, the silk moths, lizards, eagles, horses, bees and a cheetah all play integral parts in the plot, showing how humans can rely on animals. They become more than creatures and are true characters in the books. The silk moths and the silk weaved from them produce much of the magic – silk sings and whispers leading characters astray and sharing information with them (but is it false or truth). I’d love to see how these scenes are portrayed in a filmed adaptation.

At the back of the books we get an insight into the research Sheila did into the Bronze Age that inspired the story, and you can see how that influenced but hasn’t limited the story.

The books are beautifully illustrated throughout by Geoff Taylor – I particularly love the one from Storm Chaser where Kodo is cradling Zena’s (Maia’s young sidekick) tattooed head.

The young adult characters work with the older characters and it is pleasant to see a mutual respect between them, something that I think we can learn from.

Story Singer Cover

Overall I really enjoyed the books and am looking forward to reading the concluding part in Story Singer on 7th May. I’m also looking forward to sharing my interview with Maia with you later which will pick up on some of themes mentioned above.

Countdown to 7th May Banner Header designed by Daphne @WingedReviews

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett – Book Review – #TerryPratchettBlogTour

Terry Pratchett is the name of a man, nay a wizard, who wrote books.

I have come to his books later than most, mainly because I knew that once there I’d get hooked in. Like the post in the story I’ve arrived… Better late than never.

I’m therefore perhaps more familiar with Terry’s tireless campaign for death with dignity, after his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s than his books, so when Serendipity Viv suggested hosting a blog tour to commemorate his life and writing I jumped at the chance to finally get stuck in.

Going Postal seems to be the book that was written for me to read at this time; after two Sundays spent with dogs barking as I posted leaflets through doors, a character called Stanley and even a comic mention of Occupational Therapy in Chapter One.

OT

Moist vin Lipwig is a con man, who gets caught and faces the gallows… but if he puts his belief in angels he gets a second chance. His is tasked with taking over the ailing postal service of Ankh-Morpork, which is suffering after the introduction of the Clacks Towers run by Reacher Gilt – eye patched and even shadier than Moist. This culminates in a competition to deliver a message between the Clacks and a coach and horses but can Moist perform a miracle… after all everyone believes he has the gods on his side.

It’s easy to see why the character of Moist made it onto Jim Den’s top ten characters list – he is exceptionally witty and clever, and, although he doesn’t seem to recognise it himself, does have a heart that is only shifted just to the right of where it should be.

The post office is filled with a whole host of special supporting characters – Stanley the pin collector who gets very excited at the introduction of stamps… and occasionally very very angry! Mr Groat, an ageing Junior Postman, and Mr Pump – a clay Golem and Moist’s parole officer.

And there’s a love interest, Miss Adora Belle Dearheart. An independent, chain-smoking, Golem activist who isn’t easily conned and is pretty handy with weapons.

I think my face had a permanent smile whilst reading this book, and now I want to watch the Sky production again.

GP

Enjoyable character names, witty banter, the usual made unique and just a little bit batty, and some sly social commentary tucked into an entertaining story. I loved it…and I’ve got just a few more to catch up on.

But now Terry Pratchett, the man, has been welcomed by Death, one of his most beloved characters , and they are having a jolly good catch up. But he has left us his words… and as he writes in Going Postal, ‘Words have power’ and his books, like the library are a ‘gevaisa, a tomb of living words.’

Please check out the blog tour’s opening post where people shared their thoughts about Terry and follow the hashtag on twitter to find the other posts. But, if like me you hadn’t delved into Discworld please pick up a book – I’d say Going Postal isn’t a bad place to start.

farewell terry pratchett tour

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – Book Review – #LiarsLiveRead

I decided to storify my live reaction as I was reading as my review – enjoy. I have tried sooooo hard to lie and remain spoiler free. Looks like wordpress.com doesn’t let you fully embed so please click on the link to enjoy.

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