George_edgoe fo waterYou may remember we reviewed The Edge of Nowhere for the book club last year, and I was thrilled to see book two, The Edge of the Water, on the shelves recently.

We head back to Whidbey Island but not only do we spend time in Becca’s point of view, we also follow Jenn, the most unexpected character. Glimpsing Jenn through Becca’s eyes in book one made us all cringe just a little. However, Elizabeth George manages to create a sympathetic character from someone I had pretty much written off as a bully and a complete bitch.

We’re introduced to a few more characters and the situations they are all put through are enough to pull you out of your comfort zone. Not everyone is as they appear, and mythology is tied into the storyline beautifully. George has a knack for suspense and keeping you well and truly hooked.

If you haven’t had enough of the community of Whidbey Island you are in luck as the next book, The Edge of the Shadows, looks to be due out late next month. I know for sure I’ll be picking this one up the moment I see it.

A perfect read for those cooler afternoons. Curl up with a blanket and a warm drink, and immerse yourself into this thrilling book.

http://www.elizabethgeorgeonline.com/

The Edge of the Water

Paperback, 400 pages

Published April 10th 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published January 1st 2014)

ISBN 1444720015 (ISBN13: 9781444720013)

 

 

 

 



Meet one of our awesome new reviewers, Sarah Todman.

Sarah Todman is a contemporary fiction writer who lives in Brisbane. She loves books that deliver a gritty punch of realism. And ones that make her cry. Sarah blogs atsayanythingsare.

 



Butler_before the fireMeet 17-year-old Stick, so called because of his stick-like frame. Having grown up within the grim confines of estate life in North Manchester, Stick is on the cusp of manhood and looking for adventure. He and his best mate Mac have pooled their cash, bought a dodgy car on eBay and now they’re going to drive it to Spain. The route is mapped out. Sun, sand, and girls await.

Then, the night before they are due to leave, something terrible happens. Suddenly, the trip is off, and Stick is stuck in Manchester where the life he was so desperate to escape has fractured further than he could ever have imagined.

Sarah Butler’s Before The Fire packs a punch. It’s a Young Adult novel that feels very, very real. Learning that the author also runs a consultancy which ‘develops literature and arts projects that explore and question our relationship to place’ explains why the book’s setting comes through so strongly – in different ways it seems to shape the personalities of each and every character.

The character of Stick is someone who is going to stay with me. Though I finished Before The Fire in just two days, for the time I was reading I was right inside the head of this 18-year-old boy as he tried to make sense of life, and of loss as he tried to get his head around the process of growing up.

You don’t let go of characters like that easily. You don’t want to. In fact, there was a moment about two thirds of the way through the book, that I thought to myself: every single one of these characters has managed to get to me in some way. They all came alive for me.

It’s important to note that the story occurs in 2011 and that it interconnects with the riots which caused chaos and looting in cities and towns across England. This strand of the story is both strong and important but the real journey the reader is taken on is a personal one: it’s Sticks.

Before The Fire is Sarah Butler’s second novel. Now I’m keen to read her first.



Marney_Every BreathLife hasn’t been the same since Rachel Watts moved to Melbourne. Having spent her whole life working her family’s property in Five Mile, the city is a loud and unwelcoming stranger. The one saving grace is James Mycroft, her neighbour. He is at home in the city that she hates, but he can also see a different side to it than most people can. While most people are caught up in the busyness of the city, Mycroft befriends the tram drivers and homeless.

When Watts and Mycroft find their homeless friend, Dave’s, body with the throat slit open, they are thrown into a mystery that may well be their last.

A lot of people have touted Every Breath as a modern Sherlock Holmes with teenage protagonists and a female Watson. This is not the best mindset to have when delving into this novel. There are some nods to Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, and it’s fun to see how many you can pick out. Even Mycroft and Watts allude to the similarities; but that’s all it is. Mycroft is no Sherlock and Watts is no Watson.

The mystery doesn’t have the same feel as a Sherlock Holmes novel either. It’s more involved, with Watts and Mycroft risking themselves to hunt down clues rather than drawing conclusions from the minute pieces information available. This approach is more suited to the YA market, leaving more room for action.

The characters in Every Breath are largely well drawn. Though it occurred years before, Mycroft is still reeling from the car accident that caused his parents’ deaths. He puts on a good show, but has trouble coping with stressful situations. He lives with an aunt who provides the physical things he needs, without emotional attachment. Watts is similarly lost. While she has the support of a loving family, the move to the city has unsettled her. Going back to the country isn’t optional, but she doesn’t want to accept the city as her new home.

Some parts of the relationships in Every Breath work well, while others leave me baffled. It’s weird that Watts’s parents basically force her to kill their dogs but they’re so strict that they won’t let her spend the night with Mycroft. It might just be me, but if she’s old enough to do one then she’s old enough to do the other – and, of the two, the former would scar me for life.

On the other side of that, Watts’s family are loving. They’re often tired from long shifts at work, but they all pull together to get the house-work and cooking done, and they take the time at the end of their day to see how everyone is. Mycroft and his aunt are evidently not close, but there are enough hints there to show that the strain in their relationship might be due to the unexpectedness of his parents’ deaths and of the sudden responsibility that has fallen on the aunt.

Every Breath is a good start to a new series. While it could stand on its own, there are a lot of characters arcs here that are nowhere near finished, and I’m looking forward to revisiting Watts and Mycroft in the next instalment.

 

Every Breath – Ellie Marney

Allen & Unwin (September 1, 2013)

ISBN: 9781743316429



Graudin_growsEmrys—a fiery, red-headed Fae—always embraced her life in the Highlands, far from the city’s draining technology, until she’s sent to London to rejoin the Faery Guard. But this isn’t any normal assignment—she’s sent to guard Prince Richard: Britain’s notorious, partying bad boy and soon-to-be King. The prince’s careless ways and royal blood make him the irresistible for the dark spirits that feed on mortals. Sweet, disheveled, and alive with adventure—Richard is one charge who will put Emrys’s magic and heart to the test.

When an ancient force begins preying on the monarchy, Emrys must hunt through the London’s magical underworld, facing down Banshees, Black Dogs and Green Women to find the one who threatens Richard’s life. In this chaos of dark magic, palace murders and paparazzi, Emrys finds herself facing an impossible choice. For despite all her powers, Emrys has discovered a force that burns brighter than magic: love. 

Paperback, 463 pages  Published February 11th 2014 by HarperTeen  ISBN 0062187414 (ISBN13: 9780062187413)

 

Emrys is assigned to guard Prince Richard, but soon finds that her veiling spell has malfunctioned and he can see her. She introduces herself to him as his fairy godmother and explains that nobody else can see her. This causes problems because she is never supposed to reveal herself to any human. Plus, now that Richard can see her..he begins to fall for her. When the birds send the warning that trouble is coming, Emrys must help gather beings of all forms to fight against it.

Set in a modern day England, Richard is next to take the throne. Richard and Emrys begin to fall in love, but right away their differences seem to separate them. The royal blood line has dormant powers of its own and it’s the Frithemag who have sworn to protect them from creatures wishing to shed their blood. The message that danger is coming, sends all of the Faery Guard into a frenzy and soon nobody will know who to trust.

This story is very much a modern day fairy tale with supernatural creatures of all kinds. There is a focus on the environment as the technology and iron of today have an affect on the faery guard and their magic. Emrys battles constantly with her heart and her head. Richard is her soft spot and she struggles to control her actions when he is involved.

It is a very fun, light read that took me back to the fairytale stories like Cinderella. Castles, magic, dancing, beautiful clothing and woodland creatures. I felt that it was very well put together with a lot of twists and beautiful ideas of love and happily ever afters. I recommend this story to lovers of fairytales and elaborate romance escapades. I was very happy to have picked up this book because it is a very sweet read and great for sunny weather reading.


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