About the Book
Fern King is about to uncover a place that she could not have imagined in all her wildest dreams. Annwn is the dream mirror of our world, a place where Dreamers walk in their slumber, their dreams playing out all around them. An enchanted, mysterious place that feeds our own world – as without dreams, without a place where our imaginations and minds can be nourished, what kind of humans would we be?
But Annwn is a place as full of dangers as it is wonders: it is a place where dreams can kill you. Annwn and its Dreamers are protected by an ancient order known as the Knights – and when Fern’s hated twin Ollie is chosen to join their ranks, Fern will have to do whatever she can to prove she is one of them too.
But the world Fern discovers in Annwn, in this dream mirror of her London, is a fragile one, threatened by vicious nightmares. Nightmares that are harder and harder for the Knights to defeat. Something dark is jeopardising the peace and stability of Annwn, something that must be rooted out at all costs. And gradually, Fern realises that the danger lurking inside our sleep is more insidious and terrifying than any nightmare. Because if you can influence someone’s dreams, you can control their thoughts …
About the Author
Holly Race works as a development executive in the film and TV industry, most recently with Aardman Animations. Holly is a Faber Academy graduate, and Midnight’s Twins is her debut novel and the first in a trilogy. After spending several happy years in East London, a few streets away from where Fern lives, she now resides in Cambridge with her husband, their daughter and a large black poodle called Nymeria.
What I Thought
First up, I know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but 💙. How much does this make you see this book as an animated film because of it?! The artist who deserves the props for this is Gavin Reese.
The story starts with a Prologue which takes place around 15 years before the main story starts. In it we meet our protagonist’s mother in a mysterious place called Annwn, full of nightmarish creatures and where it’s clearly not wise to wish that all your dreams come true.
Then we shoot to the present and into the point of view of Fern King. Living in London, clearly not having a great relationship with her twin brother Ollie, at a new school where she feels like she doesn’t fit in, and suddenly receiving a mysterious text message that throws her life into turmoil.
Think of this as a cross between Nightmare on Elm Street meets The Call meets Shadowhunters meets Neverwhere. If you like portal or urban fantasy, subverting the chosen one trope, witches, knights, dysfunctional families or are a vivid dreamer then definitely pick this up.
The language used itself is often dreamlike, and Holly Race paints a picture of that murky space in between sleep and waking. I also like the metaphor of our inspiration and creativity being what makes us human but what can also challenge us. As a writer myself that spoke to me.
Will Fern become a Knight? What will come true, her dreams or her nightmares? This is the first in a trilogy to be prepared for not all your questions to be answered. And when you go to sleep after reading this – sweet dreams.
Thanks to Faye Rogers and HotKey for the gifted ARC for the purposes of an honest review. The book out tomorrow – do check out the rest of the tour stops too. And you can read the beginning here – http://bit.ly/DangerousDreams.
About the Book
In this novel full of surprises from the New York Times bestselling author of WE WERE LIARS and GENUINE FRAUD, E. Lockhart ups the ante with an inventive and romantic story about human connection, forgiveness, self discovery and possibility.
When Adelaide Buchman’s younger brother succumbs to a drug overdose, she saves his life. In the aftermath, looking for distraction, she becomes a stylish, bright charmer who blows off school and falls madly in love – even though her heart is shattered.
Adelaide is catapulted into a summer of wild possibility, during which she will fall in and out of love a thousand times while finally confronting her brother, their history, and her own strength.
A raw and funny story that will surprise you over and over, Adelaide is an indelible heroine grappling with the terrible and wonderful problem of loving other people.
About the Author
E Lockhart is the author of many novels including the bestselling WE WERE LIARS, a New York Times bestseller, and GENUINE FRAUD; also THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS, a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book, a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Cybils Award for Best Young Adult Novel; FLY ON THE WALL, DRAMARAMA, and the Ruby Oliver quartet: THE BOYFRIEND LIST, THE BOY BOOK, THE TREASURE MAP OF BOYS, and REAL LIVE BOYFRIENDS. She co-authored HOW TO BE BAD with Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski. Her latest book is AGAIN AGAIN. Visit her online at:
What I Thought
Unfortunately due to what’s going on I’m the world I only got my copy yesterday but I’ve already read the first 20% and it has reminded me how much I love E Lockhart’s writing. It’s both lyrical and accessible. I loved We Were Liars and I can see this being the case with Again Again too. Adelaide already has such a powerful voice, and you aren’t really sure how much to believe her. What is she hiding from herself?
The style of the different conversations, presumably in the different multiverses, is interesting. Check out the extract to see how it’s laid out (which isn’t quite coming across on the netgalley ARC I am reading) but I think when reading the finished copy you’ll know which conversation is the one in the current reality though it will be exciting to see how the different options interact as we move forward. I suspect it will be similar to Sliding Doors.
At the moment the love seems very instalove on Adelaide’s side at least but because of the other things going on I’m her life with school, her brother etc I can see how love is being used as an escape. And bonus points go to this book if you love dogs because there’s lots of them running round this tale. I think one of them is only talking to Adelaide metaphorically rather than literally but with E Lockhart who knows!
I’ll come back later when I’ve finished and add some more thoughts but for now I’m intrigued, drawn in and want to see how this all plays out.
On finishing here are my additional thoughts. I like how the focus on the sibling relationship becomes more prominent and the characterisation stays strong throughout. I’m not sure the multiverse element fully paid off for me but I suspect that this will be one that you’ll spot more on subsequent readings.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour stops here. Thanks to Faye Rogers PR and the publishers for the gifted review copy. All opinions are my own.
Fierce, Fearless and Free by Lari Don (Illustrated by Eilidh Muldoon) – International Women’s Day Blog Tour Book Review
Happy International Women’s Day everyone.
Today I have a review of Lari Don’s collection of fierce, fearless and free girls from myths and legends around the world.
About the Book
A brilliant, inclusive collection of traditional tales from around the world featuring amazing women and girls. Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince who – no, that’s not right! Once upon a time, there were strong, fierce women who plotted, schemed, took action, showed kindness, used magic and trickery, and made their own destiny. From the long-haired Petrosinella who escaped the tower and broke the spell that the ogress had cast over her and Nana Miriam who beat a hippo using politeness and magic, to Kate Crackernuts who tried to save her stepsister from her mother’s curse, these are stories of girls doing it for themselves! With stories drawn from all over the world, including China, Scotland, Armenia, Italy and Nigeria, Lari Don presents heroine stories that don’t leave girls sitting around waiting to be saved by the handsome prince.
About the Author
Lari Don is an award-winning writer for young people of all ages. She loved Scottish traditional tales as a child, and now loves gathering myths, legends and folktales from all over the world to inspire her novels. Since becoming a full-time author, she has written more than 30 children’s books, from picture books and early readers to middle-grade adventure novels and a teen thriller. Lari is passionate about visiting schools and libraries to share the traditional tales she loves, to show how those old stories can be used to inspire new stories, and to encourage young people to create their own adventures. Fierce, Fearless and Free is her fifth collection of traditional tales for Bloomsbury, returning to the theme of her first, the bestselling Girls, Goddesses and Giants. She lives in Edinburgh with her husband and two fierce, fearless and free daughters.
About the Illustrator
When Eilidh Muldoon isn’t drawing she’s thinking about drawing and she loves nothing in no more than to immerse herself in the world of traditional stories. Her sketch books are packed with detailed drawings and plots and plans. An illustrator and designer, she loves the variety of working one day on one of her popular colouring books or city-scape prints, and the next on one of Lari’s extraordinary heroines. This is her first book for Bloomsbury.
What I Thought
I really enjoyed the fact that there were tales inspired by local and international myths and seeing how fairytales such as Rapunzel and Red Riding Hood have a different spin in different areas.
Each story opens with a beautiful black and white illustration, with title and locality of the stories inspiration. Then comes Lari’s version of the tale. They are perfectly bite sized for a bedtime story or for readers to read independently.
At the back of the book Lari also briefly looks at the tale’s origins and I love how she highlights how and if she has adapted the stories. Each one has always been about the girls taking things into their own hands though – and the only thing Lari has usually changed is removing the trite “and she married a prince and lived happily ever after” endings. They aren’t needed – the resourcefulness and determination shown by the girls is the end goal.
My favourites were Neringa and the Sea Dragon (Lithuania – where you can visit the peninsula inspired by the tale), Bridget and the Witches (don’t leave your feet water out!), The Lace Dragon (even lace dragons breathe fire) and Medea and the Metal Man and now I’m just wondering how to slip that latter tale into my own Medea retelling.
I have one criticism and that is we needed a gorgeous hardback edition with full colour illustrations by Eilidh. After all girls deserve the best.
Fierce, Fearless and Free also has the well deserved title of hive’s Children’s Book of The Month – https://twitter.com/hivestores/status/1235572450647146496?s=21
Thanks to @fayerogerspr and @bloomsburyed for the #gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review and to @laridonwriter and @EilidhMuldoon for giving us some fabulous #FierceFearlessAndFree tales for #IWD. Do check out the rest of the stops on the tour.