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    Sunday
    Mar282010

    New Juicy Review: Fire & Rayne by Kate Cann

    Book:               Fire & Rayne

    Author:             Kate Cann

    Publisher:         Scholastic

    ISBN/ASIN:      9781407107035

    Rating:             5 Stars

    Buy:    | Amazon |         

    “Six cursed acts, the horror spreads free, six fires to contain, to circle the bane, saved are we.”

    One of the things I love about Kate Cann is the way both Possessed and Fire & Rayne invoke the mixed serenity and severity of nature rather than with “paranormal” elements. Cann embraces all nature’s powers and the worship of the Green Lady as her literary mysticism. Her lead has no telepathic powers, no vampire or werewolf friends but simply, a burgeoning affinity for the natural world.

    With her mixed heritage, Rayne Peters is a child of the earth, and a favorite of the Green Lady. This reverence to nature, the cosmos, and the natural order that is present in Cann’s novels make it inherent to simply take her pages in stride, surrender to the enveloping mood that creeps over you, page after page like a mist rolling in from the moors. In many ways, Cann’s take ends up being more believable than the most complicated paranormal plot and what makes her story, mood, and voice so distinctive.

    This time for Rayne and her small band of friends, the evil of Simeon Lingwall’s legacy has started up again and this time the whole town of Marcle Lees is involved. If they are not careful, the miasma will not come creeping from under the flagstones of Morton’s Keep, but through the front door and endanger everyone in the vicinity. The good towns folk must dig into the history and rituals of the fire festivals in order to combat this lethal threat. (That means Rayne will be working closely with Ethan!) Within that history and their local religion, they must seek out and protect the six sacred goddess sites before the cult of Simeon Lingwall’s followers desecrate them.  It is said that on the 6th cursed act, the evil buried beneath the keep will be freed.

    Is the ghost of Simeon Lingwall acting through St. John and his followers again, or is it some new threat? Since the arrival of Mr. Stuart’s new estate manager, Louisa Skelton, the house has been slowly coming back to life as it was in Lingwall’s time. Capitalizing on the keep’s past history, Skelton has launched a website, has been staging elaborate gothic dinners and concerts. She has forced out the old protectors like Mrs. Barton, Mrs. Driver and even Rayne. And the keep’s haunts can’t help but eagerly wait for the evil to flourish once again. Rayne can feel its oppressive presence slinking ever closer to her and the ones she loves.

    Cann has deliciously upped the ante in many ways. Possessed's scintillating sequel is full of chilling action, romance (YES!), contemplation, murder, mayhem, magic, and a sinister moodiness that is pervasive throughout the book. Rayne has finally embraced who she is with one minor setback. Cramphurst Estate is no longer home for her. Rayne must look forward. She’s still crushed about St. John, but well rid of him, and it’s cleared a path for Ethan. But will she take that step? Will Ethan prove himself different from St. John? Why is she so drawn to him? Will she also admit that she is part of the community, and the necessary force behind the fight? The village cannot combat the threat without her. With the most recent murder and attacks, they need her.

    Fire & Rayne is all about her taking on the mantle of her responsibilities and readers will find that all their questions will be answered within its delicious pages. Deeply suspenseful, meshed with romantic elements, and simply unique, Cann is fast becoming one of my new favorite YA authors!

    Read More about Kate Cann here.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review

    Thursday
    Mar182010

    New Juicy Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

    Book:              The Iron King

    Author:           Julie Kagawa

    Publisher:       Harlequin Teen

    ISBN/ASIN:     9780373210084

    Rating:           4.5 Stars

    Buy:  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Border’s |Indiebound

    Read an Excerpt

    When the origins of the fey are forged from the dreams of mankind what will happen to Nevernever when all magic disappears? When it is supplanted by technology? Kagawa successfully and brilliantly poses this idea throughout The Iron King as she skillfully portrays the realms of the Light (Seelie) and the Dark (Unseelie) colliding with a third.  

    Under this threat Meghan Chase, once an ordinary girl finds she must cross the chasm between the worlds and dive deep into the world of faery to save her brother Ethan.  With the aid of some extraordinary characters along the way, Meghan’s quest is not without its sacrifices as the deeper she delves into who and what she is…all along the way casting remnants of her humanity behind her.

    Kagawa’s world is visually stunning. From the blighted land of Machina’s domain to the twisted wyldwood of the Summer king’s realm to the streets of New Orleans, and the wintery landscape of Mab’s Unseelie kingdom, readers will be enchanted, transported, and riveted. Will the old bloods be vanquished by iron once and for all?

    In all the books I’ve read of faery, Kagawa is the first (in my experience) to illuminate how mankind’s technological bent has had a physical affect in faery by manifesting itself into a mechanical kingdom all its own, replete with steam, acid rain, machines and cogs. Bravo for this insightful twisting of faery lore. Readers of Holly Black’s Tithe series will find some similarities but Kagawa has surely cut a path for herself. And readers will smile (as I did) as our heroine is trapped between the wiles of Puck and Ash as they vie relentlessly for her attention. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place!

    Kagawa’s next installment in the series is set for August 2010 entitled “The Iron Daughter”.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review

    Friday
    Feb192010

    New Juicy Review: Possessed by Kate Cann

    Book:               Possessed

    Author:            Kate Cann

    Publisher:        Point/Scholastic

    ISBN/ASIN:      9780545128124

    Rating:           Four Stars

    Buy:    | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders | Indiebound |

    Read An Excerpt

    Rayne Peters doesn’t know what she is getting herself into when she accepts a position at an ancient estate far from home. Desperate to get out of her East London council estate, escape her life, boyfriend, and family, Rayne thinks she’ll be able to buy some time to decide about college…her future and what she wants from life. But Morton’s Keep is no ordinary estate. Within its dense forests, and beneath its ancient flagstones, brick, mortar and timber lies a primordial evil just waiting to be released.

    Possessed has great presence, of that there is no doubt. It is what Kate Cann intended and achieved.  The most elemental of conflicts occurs within its pages, with those who would unleash the spectre of Morton’s Keep and its hideous past, fighting against those armed by the Green Man and Lady, and those whose allegiance are in question. Similar echoes of Dashwood’s infamous Hellfire Club (a favorite subject of mine) makes the plot line very gripping, Crowley-like and ominous.

    At first read, I think I was expecting more “flash”, more abrasive conflict, but I found that as I read further, Cann beautifully and lyrically drew out the action. The main points of conflict are dual: internal for Rayne as she flourishes in the country and in her own skin as well as being favored by the Green Lady, and external as she stumbles over her choice of intimates, and the mushrooming evil that threatens to explode at the Keep. Who is her enemy? Her ally? There is no need for more than that  but to just soak up the incredible atmosphere that Cann has created.

    Possessed has none of the campy traits that some other YA paranormal novels have owned at one time or another. It is simply a thrilling read for both young adults and adults. It is very well written, steeped in a slumberous mystery and an underlying sinister milieu that will make you thirst for more. In fact, I wanted more of the story. Disappointment when I reached the last page, turned to surprise when I found out that Cann released the sequel to Possessed (Possessing Rayne) in the UK in 2009. It is entitled Fire and Rayne and will most likely show its face here probably next year (or earlier I hope).

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review

    Saturday
    Jan162010

    New Juicy Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

    Book:              Fallen

    Author:           Lauren Kate

    ISBN/ASIN:   0385738935

    Publisher:       Delacorte Press

    Rating:            Four Stars

     A war is quietly being waged in the heavens and on earth, a war that has been repeated over and over again always in stalemate. A war of the Fallen. And its balance hinges on the love between a Fallen and mortal. With its failure, hell will reign on earth and if it succeeds…well that outcome is unknown.

    But the unearthly battle hits perilously close to home or at least home for the time being for Lucinda. Shuffled off to a reform school, to the mysterious Swords and Cross, Lucinda finds the staff and even the students slightly unnerving. Even the school is not what it seems to be and that could very well be her undoing-because the knowledge that Luce needs might actually save her life…this time. Fate is shifting at Swords and Cross…with unknown enemies choosing sides, and insidious danger lurking in every corner.

    Lauren Kate paints a moody and atmospheric young adult drama that is tensely surreal. She divulges very little of the secret that holds fate in its balance, from the reader, as well as from her protagonist.  It’s as if you cannot quite figure out what is going on…barely grasping onto the ether of a very good dream, or a seductive nightmare. The burgeoning relationship between Lucinda and Daniel is strangely appealing, subdued, even when all the facts are obscured, and yet I couldn’t find fault with Kate’s technique. Her style, her choice of plot is extremely provocative. As Anne Rice has been quoted, “Angels are the new vampires.” And this tempestuous drama kept me reading non-stop.  I can only hope that Kate reveals more about the Fallen battle in Torment when it is released in September.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review

    Wednesday
    Oct142009

    New Juicy Review: Book of Shadows by Cate Tiernan

     

    Book:         Book of Shadows (Sweep #1)

    Author:      Cate Tiernan

    ISBN:          0141310464

    Publisher:   Puffin

    Rating:        Four Stars

    Enter into the world of the Seven Great Clans of Witches, where young Morgan Rowlands finds out in a blink of an eye that (1) She's adopted and (2) She's a "blood witch". Is she a Leapvaughn, Woodbane, Rowanwand, Wyndenkell, Vikroth, Brightendale, or Burnhide?

    Last week she was just an ordinary teenager, but ever since sexy Cal Blair showed up at Widows Vale High, nothing has been the same. Invited to her first coven "circle" with Cal, Morgan's introduction to Wicca is "to the manner born". She is able to conjure great power, cast her senses, make dead flowers bloom again and shoot out "witch fire". How is she able to do this?

    What Morgan does not know is that while she is discovering herself and her powers, someone is closely watching her progress. For before her lies a bright future, but behind her trails a legacy of black majick and death, that she is only now unraveling. Who were her parents? Why were they murdered? Who created the "dark wave" which wiped out the tiny Irish hamlet of Ballynigel?

    Morgan learns that with great power comes great responsibility and danger from those who would do just about anything to take it away from her.

    Cunningly written, this first installment by Cate Tiernan is near blindingly perfect, with all the treats you would expect from a great read: plausible history of the Wiccan religion, the intracacies of ritual, and the palpable suspense that unwinds to the tune of the most basic of all conflicts, good versus evil, and a heroine who could effectively wield both. These situations keeps the reader turning and wondering where Morgan will land next. Excellent!

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review