The Many Worlds of Albie Bright: A GSQ Review

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It’s time to look at all that’s good, sad and quirky about The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge, a new release middle grade romp that features science fiction, science fact and lots of sciencey faffing about with bananas and wayward cats.  We received a copy of this one from Allen & Unwin for review after eyeing it covetously on various “coming soon” lists of middle grade fiction.  Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

When Albie’s mum dies, it’s natural he should wonder where she’s gone. His parents are both scientists and they usually have all the answers. Dad mutters something about Albie’s mum being alive and with them in a parallel universe. So Albie finds a box, his mum’s computer and a rotting banana, and sends himself through time and space to find her…

the many worlds of albie bright

The Good

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As UK middle grade reads go, this one is quite original.  If you discount the oft-used “child coping with the death of a parent” storyline, there is plenty here that goes beyond the usual bounds of middle-grade fare.  We’ll discuss those bits more in the “quirky” section though.

Albie is a character who will resonate with many readers; a young man trying hard to honour his mother’s memory, while his father just works to forget.  There are a number of competing themes going on here including family realignment after the loss of a parent, dealing with grief, finding one’s purpose and challenging accepted boundaries of thought.  The pace of the book is even, with an episodic plot that follows Albie as he hops from one world to another.  I particularly enjoyed the character of Alba and her interaction with Albie and would have loved to have seen more interactions like this throughout the book.

The Sad

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There was something missing throughout this book for me and I suspect that the missing something was a strong supporting character.  For much of the book Albie goes it on his own, so the narration comprises a lot of Albie telling us what’s going on or relating his thoughts without much to break this up.  A bit more banter between Albie and …someone…would have made the book a bit pacier and more engaging in my opinion, and allowed for a bit of unexpectedness in a plot where the reader suspects everything will turn out in the end.

I also had a problem with the straightforward way in which Albie manages to solve all the problems of inter-dimensional travel without much effort. The plot is full of complex, nebulous scientific ideas that even proper scientists have trouble with, but Albie’s scientific problems – such as getting from one world to another and how to get home again – are solved by accident or dumb luck.  I felt that the author couldn’t quite decide whether this was supposed to be first and foremost a book about science and parallel universes, or a book about grief and personal growth, so left both plotlines a little underdeveloped in order to manage such big ideas in a book for young readers.

The Quirky

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I can safely say that this is the first time I have encountered such a focus on science in a middle grade fiction offering.  Throughout the story many theories, experiments and facts are brought up – including, but not limited to, the Large Hadron Collider and Shrodinger’s Cat – and this will really appeal to those young readers who can’t get enough of science fact and how it might be imagined as science fiction.  I can imagine that after reading this book at least one kid (or adult!) will grab a bunch of balloons and their younger sibling’s favourite toy and attempt to launch the two into space.

Overall I enjoyed this book but not nearly as much as I expected I would.  I was hoping for a little more challenge and struggle in Albie’s journey toward healing, and a little more zany danger in his romp through the unknown universe.  It is certainly an ambitious undertaking to attempt to blend high level scientific concepts with the enormity of a child’s grief, but for me it didn’t quite hit the mark.  I certainly enjoyed it while I was reading, but I don’t think it will be one of those books that makes it into the regular rotation of books I recommend to others.

Unless they’re looking for a middle grade read featuring cats that are simultaneously dead and alive.

Until next time,

Bruce

 

Shouty Doris interjects during….Lily and the Octopus!

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Shouty Doris interjects

Doris and I are with you today to discuss a new release contemporary novel that features some major elements of magical realism and at least one characterful dog.  As we all know, Shouty Doris is a big mouth  a blabberchops free with her opinions, so I’m warning you now, this review may contain SPOILERS.  You have been warned.

We received a copy of Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley from the publisher via Netgalley and here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Combining the emotional depth of The Art of Racing in the Rain with the magical spirit of The Life of Pi, Lily and the Octopus is an epic adventure of the heart.

When you sit down with Lily and the Octopus, you will be taken on an unforgettable ride.

The magic of this novel is in the read, and we don’t want to spoil it by giving away too many details. We can tell you that this is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without.

For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog. Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.

Remember the last book you told someone they had to read? Lily and the Octopus is the next one.

lily and the octopus

So Lily and the Octopus centres around young man and his relationship with his aging dachshund, Lily.  Things are going mediocre-ly for Ted, when he discovers an … octopus… on Lily’s head.

Shouty Doris interjects

Octopus indeed. He’s not fooling anyone.

Yes, well, I’d have to agree with you there, and I don’t think it’s particularly a spoiler to say that the octopus is not a literal octopus but a figurative one, indicative of the fact that Lily is sick.  Possibly life-threateningly sick, as frequently happens with pets of a certain age.  The point is, Ted refers to this …thing.. as an octopus for almost the whole book and even ends up having conversations with it.  Therein lies the magical realism in the story.

Shouty Doris interjects

Therein lies the lunacy more like.  That Ted needs to get out more.  He’s far too co-dependent on that dog if you ask me.  A grown man, too.  

Ted is indeed very invested in his relationship with his dog.  He is in between romantic relationships and on discovering the cephalopodic threat to Lily, begins to withdraw from his friends even more.  As the book continues, we discover more about the back story as to how Ted came to be Lily’s owner, and a previous life-threatening illness that Lily overcame.  We are even privy to his weekly battles with his therapist, Jenny.

Shouty Doris interjects

Why on earth would you waste money on a therapist for whose opinion you are indifferent?  He has more money than sense, that Ted.    Anyone who spends money on inflatable sharks needs their head examined if you ask me.

You’ve brought up a good point there, Doris –

Shouty Doris interjects

All my points are good points. 

– because up until about two-thirds into the story, the only bizarre thing about the book is Ted’s unwillingness to address Lily’s octopus for what it really is.  Once the book hits the two-thirds mark however, the magical realism is ratcheted up a notch and a number of chapters go full allegorical mode as Ted battles his inner demons on a very strange stage indeed.  I shan’t spoil any of that bit for you –

Shouty Doris interjects

Can I, though?

– no – but I found it to be a bit much for my tastes.  It is certainly the most action-packed part of the book and an important turning point for Ted, but by that stage, I knew what the outcome was likely to be, had accepted it, and was just waiting for Ted to do the same.

Shouty Doris interjects

He was very slow on the uptake, wasn’t he?  Everyone knows that any time a cute, cuddly animal appears in a book or film, it’s one hundred per cent certain that it will end up – 

THANKS DORIS!  I think I hear The Bold and the Beautiful starting! I’ll shut the door so we don’t disturb you!

Shouty Doris interjects

*Shuffle, shuffle, creak*  

Alright, Ridge-y boy, come and tell Doris all about it.

Right, now she’s gone, we don’t have to worry about major spoilers.  Although…I have to say that overall, I didn’t particularly connect with Ted as a character, despite his everyman status, apart from the shared experience of pet ownership and the inevitable existential angst – for ourselves or by proxy – with which many of us grapple.  I did find this to be an interesting, if not riveting, read and enjoyed how the author at least took a risk on the magical realism aspects to explore the more depressing parts of human existence and its inevitable finality.  The ending is hopeful and quite charming really, so if you are a fan of subtly humorous ponderings about the looming demise of each of us as individuals, and you love a cute dog story (for Lily truly is a little cutey, with a distinctive voice) then this would be a great pick.

Until next time,

Bruce (and Doris)

 

TBR Friday: Hester and Harriet

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TBR Friday

I’m slowly edging my way up that mountain and this month I’ve knocked over another one of those books that I just had to have the second it was published, only to leave it languishing on the shelf for months.  Hester and Harriet by Hilary Spiers was touted as a feel-good hit at the end of 2015 and I did everything in my power to obtain a copy for free on or before the release date – through competitions, requesting from the publisher, you name it! – before I gave in and just bought it.  Let’s check it out.

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Ten Second Synopsis:

Hester and Harriet, geriatric sisters, offer refuge to a young woman and her baby in an attempt to get out of having Christmas lunch with odious relatives. When their young nephew Ben turns up also requesting sanctuary, the term “silly season” comes into play, as the ladies and their charges grapple with international migration laws, ridiculously named private detectives and cleaning up after oneself in the kitchen.

Time on the TBR Shelf:

I can’t trace this exactly because I can’t remember where I bought it, but I suspect since late December 2015.

Acquired:

Purchased, either from the BD or possibly Booktopia or maybe Boomerang Books

Reason I haven’t read it yet:

  1. Laziness
  2. Fear that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations

Best Bits:

  • The young nephew character, Ben.  He is comic relief, a breath of fresh air and his growth through the novel is enjoyable to witness
  • The plot is perfect for an extended holiday or beach read.  Nothing too untoward happens and there are lots of quirky characters to get behind.
  • Finbar, the homeless classics master.  He was quite refreshing in his scenes and a handy source of new information.

Less Impressive Bits:

  • It’s slow.  There are lots of discussions between the two sisters that really slow down the action, and this, coupled with the fact that Daria is unnecessarily furtive about her past, means that new information must be wrung from the pages by clawing hands
  • I couldn’t tell the difference between Hester and Harriet.  One is good at cooking and one gets quite shirty about Ben using the kitchen (this is possibly the same sister), but given the two “H” names and not much of a difference in personality or manner between them, I just thought of them as a conglomerate old person spread over two bodies.
  • Finbar, the homeless classics master.  As well as being refreshing, he was also excessively verbose and a great candidate to have “GET ON WITH IT!” shouted at him.

On reflection, was this worth buying?

The more prudent part of my brain says that we would have enjoyed this just as well had we borrowed it from the library.  The generous part of my brain says that at least we can now make someone else happy by passing this impressively large and attractive paperback on.

Where to now for this tome?

It has already been passed along to someone who should enjoy it.

This is another chink off the Mount TBR Reading Challenge hosted by My Reader’s Block.

Mount TBR 2016

 

Until next time,

Bruce

 

 

 

A YA Double Dip: Lurking Monsters and Hidden Treasures

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You might want to select a snack that can be eaten on the run for today’s Double Dip review, because one of these books might have you dashing for safety.  Or perhaps you’d like to choose a snack that reminds you of home; some comfort food to ease you into the mood for today’s second YA offering.   We received both of these titles from their respective publishers via Netgalley.

First up we have Nightfall by Jake Halpern and and Peter Kujawinski.  Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.

Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.

Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.

Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.

And it may already be too late.

Dip into it for…  nightfall

…a broody, moody atmosphere that invites the reader to satiate their curiosity over what happens during Night on the island of Bliss.  There are a lot of questions raised during the early parts of the book – why do the villagers have to rush to leave the island? What’s so important about leaving the houses “without stain”?  What is this year’s worth of isolation for Marin all about? – and not all of these are fully answered by the end.  I didn’t feel bereft by the fact that some of the questions I had were left hanging, and I’m not sure if this is a standalone or a series opener, but the ambiguous ending worked effectively here either way.  I really felt drawn in by the writing in the first half of the book as I struggled, along with the protagonists Marin, Kana and Line, to make sense of the tension and odd ritual behaviour of the islanders before the fall of Night.

Don’t dip if…

…you’re expecting a full on horror experience.  This definitely wasn’t scary in the traditional sense, but there are a few twists that I didn’t see coming.  I actually felt slightly less interested in the book once the secret of the Night was revealed, but for three quarters of the story I was deeply engaged.

Also, there is at least one gaping plot-hole that is never addressed, namely, why on earth would this group of people live on an island that they have to move away from every fourteen years, when there are clearly other places they could live?  I found this issue a niggling annoyance throughout the book, particularly when the frenzy of leaving is going on.

Overall Dip Factor

For the first three-quarters of this story, I would allocate 4 stars.  For the remaining quarter, 2.5 stars.  So overall, I did enjoy this book greatly, but my level of excitement and curiosity dipped considerably before the end.  The set up to the story was fantastic in that it really does make you want to find out what is behind the odd behaviour of the islanders, and as Night rolls in and the tide rolls out, the author has included some super cool twists that will ignite the imagination.  All in all, this was an unusual story and an engaging read for the most part.

Next up we have historical fiction novel The Search for the Homestead Treasure: A Mystery by Ann Treacy.  Here’s the blurb fom Goodreads:

Aunt Ida would boil him in the laundry cauldron if she knew where he was. On the long wagon ride to the old homestead, she warned them about the Gypsies they’d encountered, and now here he was, ducking into a colorful caravan with Samson, a Gypsy boy he had met . . . underwater. And it was the best thing to happen since they’d moved from Stillwater to this lonely, hard place to try to reclaim the decrepit family farm.

Missing his friends and life as it was before his brother’s accident and his mother’s silent grief, fourteen-year-old Martin Gunnarsson is trying to hold his family together on the homestead where his ancestors died of diphtheria in 1865. The only one who had survived was his father, a baby found in the arms of his older sister Cora. But somehow rumors of a treasure on the farm survived, too, and when Martin discovers Aunt Cora’s journal in a musty trunk in the hayloft, he thinks it might give him a clue. But what exactly is he looking for?

Reading Cora’s diary in secret, and just as stealthily becoming fast friends with Samson and his Roma family, Martin slowly begins to see his new surroundings, and himself, a little differently. But only when he recognizes that his small sister, for so long a mere pest, holds the true key does Martin start to understand where the real treasure might be found.

Dip into it for…  cover4

…an engaging family drama and historical fiction piece featuring friendship, hardship and one boy trying to connect to his past in order to secure his future.  The book opens at the close, so to speak, as we are privy to the final chapter of the life of Martin’s aunt Cora, and the events that lead to Martin’s father being raised by another family.  Soon enough we are introduced to Samson, a traveller boy and the first friend Martin makes in his ancestral home.  The story revolves around Martin’s efforts to save the family farm from foreclosure on behalf of his father, who has met with an accident.  The book flicks between Martin’s actions in the present and the nuggets of information that Martin can glean from Cora’s diary, which may offer the key to solving Martin’s problems.

Don’t dip if…

…you are hoping that the titular mystery and homestead treasure are going to play a big part in the story.   Rather than chasing after the elusive family treasure that may or may not be hidden on the farm, Martin devotes most of his time to doing more sensible things to save the farm, like engaging in hard work and asking for help from his new friends.  I couldn’t help but feel that this book was deliberately misleading in the title, to make it sound a bit more adventurous than it actually turned out to be.  This doesn’t mean it was a bad book, just not what I was expecting from the title.

Overall Dip Factor

I found this to be an engaging and interesting historical story featuring strong themes of friendship, the benefits of effort, loyalty and teamwork and the links between families that run through generations.  If you ignore the homestead treasure part, this is still a solid story that stands on its own merits, with characters that are well developed and a storyline that will appeal to young readers interested in tales of history and friendship.  Overall, while not exactly what I expected, I still found this to be a worthwhile read.

I will leave you at that, replete, as you are, with a repast of absorbing stories to digest.

Until next time,

Bruce

 

 

The Maniacal Book Club Reviews…Captain Pug!

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I hope you’re ready for cuteness overload today because the Maniacal Book Club is pleased to introduce you to an adorable (and hardy!) little protagonist who will likely steal your heart, as well as your jam tarts.  I speak of Captain Pug: The Dog Who Sailed the Seas, who is making his debut in a delightfully illustrated early chapter book by Laura James and Eglantine Ceulemans.  We received a review copy of Captain Pug from Bloomsbury Australia and he has immediately become a favourite of the eldest mini-fleshling in the dwelling.  But let’s find out more about this intrepid Pug!  Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Pug is going on a seafaring adventure. He’s had jam tarts for breakfast. He’s wearing a smart sailor suit. There’s just one problem. Pug is afraid of the water!

Captain Pug is the first book in a glorious new illustrated series for fans of Claude and Squishy McFluff.

Captain Pug

How could you not love that sweet little puggy face?  Here’s what the Book Club think:

Guru Dave

maniacal book club guru dave

What does it take to follow one’s dreams? Courage, persistence and a sense of adventure.  What does it take to follow the dreams of one’s owner? All of the above plus a fancy hat.  We can learn much from the tenacity of young Captain Pug, who presses on despite a fear of water, to fulfill the hopes of his fine Lady Owner.  We can also learn much from Pug’s experiences in the gastronomic field – namely, the truth of that old piece of household wisdom about refraining from swimming (or indeed sailing) immediately after eating.

To0thless

maniacal book club toothless

There were no dragons in this book.  There is a cool little dog who tries to be the captain of a boat but he keeps getting seasick because he eats everything he sees.  I liked the two Footmen who had to carry the dog’s owner around in a chair.  I can imagine Bruce in a chair like that.

The ending is pretty exciting, with helicopters and a big ship and I really liked all the pictures.

Pug is pretty funny but I hope there’s going to be a Pug book with a dragon in it soon.

Mad Martha

maniacal book club martha

Captain Pug, oh Captain Pug!

Cute as a little red ladybug.

He keeps up his morale as he sails the canals!

Hits the right note while in a rowboat!

Proves no pug is finer while on a cruise liner!

Captain Pug, oh Captain Pug!

There’s no other dog we would more like to hug.

Bruce

While I’m not entirely smaniacal book club bruceure about the technique involved in Mad Martha’s poem, I do have to agree with her sentiment about just how charming Captain Pug is in this attractively presented little tome.  I am always a little skeptical of advertising material that insinuates that a reader will love this new book if they are a fan of an already published author or work, particularly when all the stories have in common is the fact that a dog is the main character.  The media release that came with this book indicated that it would be lapped up by fans of Aaron Blabey’s morally bankrupt picture book hero, Pig the Pug, presumably due to the pugginess of Captain Pug.  The eldest mini-fleshing in the dwelling, at five years old, is a massive fan of the aforementioned Pig, but I wasn’t sure he was going to enjoy this one simply because it had a pug on the cover.  Allow me to be the first to admit my ill-placed skepticism however, because after watching the read-aloud of this book (which took only two sittings) the mini-fleshling was already asking how long he would have to wait before the second book (Cowboy Pug) comes out. *January 2017, for those who are interested!*

So after a slightly apprehensive start, I freely confess to being won over by the fun, charming, humorous adventures of this cute little pug (who of course looks even cuter in a sailor hat).   One of the best things about the book is that it is illustrated throughout, with pictures placed strategically around the text.  This was an enormous boon to the mini-fleshling, as he is not quite ready for pictureless read-alouds but can handle listening to longer bits of text when there are pictures to help him keep up with the story.  The book also makes clever use of fonts and text enlargements to aid the newly confident reader.

The first few chapters moved a bit more slowly than I would have liked, setting up Lady Miranda (Pug’s owner), her life of luxury, and her dreams for Pug to achieve glory as a charmingly attired sea captain.  The second half of the book moved a lot quicker as Lady Miranda and Pug inadvertently become separated and Pug must face the trials of overcoming his fear of water in ever more precarious (and amusing) situations.

I would heartily recommend Pug’s first outing as an engaging read-aloud or read-together for those taking their first steps into longer books or for more confident readers who love a bit of silliness and a whole lot of beguiling illustration.

The Book Club gives this book:

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Eight thumbs up!

Until next time,

Bruce

WIN the first FOUR books in MG Fantasy Monster Odyssey Series!

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Welcome to giveaway number two on Giveaway Tuesday!  This is a biggie: one winner will receive the first FOUR books in Jon Mayhew’s Monster Odyssey series.

Yep, you heard correctly: ONE winner will receive FOUR books!

So after reviewing the fourth book in this series, The Venom of the Scorpion, earlier this year, Bloomsbury burst a generosity valve and kindly sent me the first three books in the series to go with it!  For that reason, one winner is going to receive the following (all blurbs from Goodreads):

The Eye of Neptune

eye of neptune

Prince Dakkar, son of an Indian rajah, has issues with authority. Expelled from the world’s finest schools, he is sent to an unconventional educator, Count Oginski. Dakkar plans his escape immediately. But something about the Count intrigues him, including a top-secret project which he shares with Dakkar – a submarine. But others are interested in the Count’s invention and what it might achieve and, when masked men kidnap the Count, leaving Dakkar for dead, he doesn’t know who was responsible. It could have been British Intelligence, or perhaps a sinister figure known only as Cryptos. Either way, Dakkar is determined to rescue the Count. Taking the prototype submarine, he sets off for adventure.

Cue shark attack, giant sea creatures, spies and an evil megalomaniac. From his undersea refuge, Dakkar plans to take them all on . . . with a bit of help from a Girl.

The Wrath of the Lizard Lord

wrath of the lizard lord 

Prince Dakkar and his mentor Count Oginski discover a plot by arch-enemy Cryptos to kill Napoleon. Arriving on their revolutionary submersible to intercept Cryptos, they glimpse a terrifying monster that seems to escape back into the bowels of the Earth. It leads them to discover an amazing underground world, and a plan more nefarious than they could ever have believed – even from Cryptos.

The stage is set for an epic showdown complete with a giant reptilian cavalry and the Battle of Waterloo, in another breathlessly paced and endlessly inventive adventure for fans of Percy Jackson.

The Curse of the Ice Serpent

curse of the ice serpent

Having stopped two of the six evil Oginski brothers, Dakkar now faces double danger from the Oginski twins – possibly the most cunning and devious of the brothers yet.

Set in the icy wastes of Greenland, Dakkar must battle giant bears, vicious arctic sharks and a sabretooth tiger as he hunts for the fabled Thermolith, a source of great heat energy which the Oginskis also seek, in order to complete their preparations for a new world order with themselves at the helm.

An action-packed adventure with hot-air balloon combat and a dramatic race across the arctic. Perfect for fans of Percy Jackson, Indiana Jones and monsters! Readers ready to move on fromBeast Quest will love this!

The Venom of the Scorpion

venom of the scorpion  A new and dangerous mission awaits in the fantastic Monster Odyssey series, in which our hero Dakkar must defeat a clan of evil brothers intent on ruling the world, while battling terrifying monsters. Inspired by Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Dakkar is a young Captain Nemo and these books are the most thrilling of adventures.

After being framed for murder, Dakkar must escape from prison and follow the only clue he has – a scorpion-handled dagger – in order to clear his name. Knowing this must be work of an evil Oginski brother, Dakkar soon finds himself in Algiers facing the deadliest crawling monster ever! But even if Dakkar can defeat this beast, he will face the ultimate betrayal – his enemy has been closer than he thought, all along.

Will there be anyone left who Dakkar can trust?

Pretty sweet deal, hey?  From reading the first and last of the books in this series, I can guarantee that they are action-packed, super pacey and perfectly pitched at confident readers in the upper primary and lower secondary year levels.  As well as monsters and steampunk submarines, there are strong friendships and themes of loyalty and justice threaded throughout the stories.

Because this is such a BIG prize, I’m afraid to say that this one is open to Australian residents only.  Sorry internationals (but you can enter my other giveaway for YA fantasy/romance Ruined by Amy Tintera here!).

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter link below.  The giveaway is open from the moment this post goes live (NOW!) and closes on May 24th at midnight (Brisbane Time).  Other Ts & Cs are in the Rafflecopter form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again to Bloomsbury Australia for sending us the whole series!

Good luck😀

Bruce

WIN a Copy of New Release YA Ruined by Amy Tintera!

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ruined

It’s Giveaway Tuesday here at the Bookshelf Gargoyle, so named because I have two giveaways starting today (which is, in fact, a Tuesday).  Giveaway number one is for a print copy of new release YA fantasy romance tale Ruined by Amy Tintera.  I received a copy of this one from Allen & Unwin, to whom all thanks for their generosity must go, but I knew straight away that this wasn’t going to be my kind of YA.  I did have a crack at the first chapter, which confirmed my initial impression, so there is nothing to do but offer it as a giveaway to the hordes of readers who DO like this kind of YA.  Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war; her parents were killed and her sister was kidnapped. Even though Em is only a useless Ruined – completely lacking any magic – she is determined to get revenge.

Her plan is simple: She will infiltrate the enemy’s kingdom, posing as the crown prince’s betrothed. She will lead an ambush. She will kill the king and everyone he holds dear, including his son.

The closer Em gets to the prince, though, the more she questions her mission. Her rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life – and her family – on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

Sound like your kind of thing?

Excellent!

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter link below.  This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY and will run from the moment this post goes live (NOW!) until midnight on the 24th of May (Brisbane time).  Other Ts & Cs are in the rafflecopter form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Bruce

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