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THE ABC BOOK CHALLENGE – T

A baby reared in the jungle, cunning thieves in “La Serenissima”, and false queens.

FAVORITES

Tarzan of the Apes, Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Yes, I know I’m going way back for this one, but it’s an engrossing story about the Viscount Greystoke, raised by primates in Africa after his parents are shipwrecked and die. Imaginative, exotic, suspenseful, and packed with adventure. Burroughs really knows how to write cliffhangers. A pulp classic, with many sequels and the basis for a slew of movies. My favorite? I liked the intelligence and  simmering sensuality Christopher Lambert brought to the role, even though Alexander Skarsgard’s physique was a pure pleasure to watch. 😉

The Thief Lord, Cornelia Funke.

Prosper and Bo, two orphaned brothers, run away from a cruel aunt to Venice, where they’re taken in by a community of young thieves who live in an abandoned movie theater. They willingly do the bidding of their leader, but it turns out he has a dark secret that involves a supernatural treasure with the power to spin time itself. Reminiscent of Oliver Twist in some ways but with an enchantment that comes from an exquisite rendering of a city with its own magic.

The Tower at Stony Wood, Patricia A. McKillip.

I know, I know, I’m hopelessly addicted to McKillip’s work. This one isn’t her absolute best, but it’s still far superior to a lot of other fantasy works. It’s the tale of Cyan Dag, a knight of Gloinmere, who learns that his king has married a counterfeit queen, and undertakes a dangerous quest to rescue the real bride from her tower prison. Sounds simple enough, but the plot becomes more complex as the story progresses, so you really need to pay attention. Based on “The Lady of Shallot” ballad by Lord Tennyson.

WANT TO READ

Tiger’s Curse (The Tiger Sage #1), Colleen Houck.

From Goodreads: The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

I’m very curious about this book, as the reviews on Goodreads are all over the place. Seems like you either really like it or absolutely loathe it.

Thief of Cahraman: A Retelling of Aladdin (Fairytales of Folkshore Book 1), Lucy Tempest.

From Goodreads: After years on the run, Adelaide thinks her lonely and dangerous life as a thief is finally over. But her world is upended when a witch steals her away to a faraway kingdom, to perform an impossible heist. If Adelaide fails, her newfound family would be sacrificed to a beast.
To complete her mission, she’s forced to assume the role of a noblewoman and enter a royal competition. The prize is the hand of the elusive Crown Prince. Elimination means certain death.
As the witch’s literal deadline approaches, Adelaide has one last gamble to save the day, and to escape to a new life with Cyrus, the handsome and mysterious fellow thief who stole her heart.
But everything falls apart when the prince finally reveals himself…

This caught my eye because I don’t recall a fairy-tale retelling about Aladdin. Hmm, another book with thieves. Do I detect a theme here?

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading and be sure to send along any suggestions.

 

 

 

THE ABC BOOK CHALLENGE – S

Supernatural killer horses, a musician with a deadly secret, beautifully written Irish myth, and a pair of English ladies battling magic.

FAVORITES

The Scorpio Races, Maggie Stiefvater.

This was on my to-read list for a long time, and I’m happy I finally got around to it. The titular races happen every November and involve vicious water horses who would just as soon kill their riders than reach the finish line.  All the contestants have been men, until Puck Connolly enters in a desperate to win the prize money and  keep her home. Along the way she has a low-key romance with the returning champion, a rather moody young man. Fast-paced and involving. A strong YA read.

Seraphina, Rachel Hartman.

An outstanding debut about humans and dragons that fold themselves into human shape in the kingdom of Goredd. Tensions run high as the anniversary of a peace treaty nears. The plot revolves around Seraphina Dombegh, an unusually gifted musician, who joins with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, Prince Lucian Kiggs, to investigate a murder at court. But Seraphina has a secret that explains her musical genius–and it’s a secret so awful  she’ll be destroyed if it’s revealed. A wonderful read, especially if you think you don’t like dragon stories.

The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Juliet Marillier.

Marillier is a New Zealand author who writes delicious fantasy, although sometimes the pace is a bit slow. This trilogy covers three generations of a family and its struggle to save magic in Ireland. The series: Daughter of the Forest, in which Sorcha must save her brothers from a spell that turned them into swans; Son of the Shadows follows Sorcha’s daughter, Liadan, a healer and seeress whose quest to keep her family safe leads to unexpected love; and Child of the Prophecy, the tale of Fianne, a Druid’s daughter who is blackmailed by her sorceress grandmother into taking vengeance on the clan that thwarted her initial enchantment of the six brothers.

Sorcery & Cecelia: The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, Patricia Wrede, Carolyn Stevermer.

An absolutely delightful romp through Regency-era England, told through letters between the title characters. The ladies, one in the country, one in London, get caught up in a magical plot. Clever, witty, a quick read. Written by the two authors who actually sent letters in character, neither knowing how the other would respond. First of a trilogy.

WANT TO READ

Sapphique, Catherine Fisher.

This is a sequel to the wildly inventive and engrossing Incarceron, the story of a living prison. In this follow-up Finn has escaped from Incarceron, but his brother Keiro is still inside. Outside, Claudia insists he must be king, but Finn doubts his identity. Is he the lost prince Giles? Or are his memories no more than another construct of his imprisonment? Meanwhile, the crazy sorcerer Rix may have found the Glove of Sapphique, the only man the Prison ever loved. I’ll be sure to re-read the first one before tackling this.

The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi.

With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, May is scorned and feared in her father’s kingdom until he  arranges a wedding of political convenience, making Maya queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. As a queen, she finds her voice and power. As a wife, she discovers desire. But Akaran has secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree bearing memories instead of fruit. Maya suspects her life is in danger and doesn’t know who to trust. Features Indian myth.

Strange the Dreamer, Laini Taylor.

Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has a been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but won’t cross half the world to find it. Then a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors offers him a chance to do so. Will he learn why Weep was severed from the rest of the world 200 years ago? Discover what the Godslayer slew that went by the name of god? Suss out the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving? The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries. Taylor is a strong writer, so this looks promising. First of a duology.

That’s it for now. Any suggestions? Thanks for reading.

 

THE ABC BOOK CHALLENGE – R

Romance, rodents, and witchcraft, oh my!

FAVORITES

Radiance (Wraith Kings #1), Grace Draven.

I love, love, love this book! And the cover–so perfect! It’s a sexy romantic thriller about two people who wed for political purposes. Brishen is a prince of Kai, a race of dark-skinned, sharp-toothed, white-eyed (no pupils) people who flourish in the dark and considers all humans ugly. Ildiko is a noblewoman whose value to the king of Gauri rests in her ability to make a strategic marriage, even if it’s to someone humans consider monsters. It sounds like your typical “opposites attract” trope, but Draven has created two wonderful characters and completely pulls you into the story of how they come to respect and love each other. NOTE: includes fairly graphic sexual scenes. First of a duology.

Redwall, Brian Jacques.

Like The Nightshade Chronicles by Hilary Wagner, this is another wonderful book that features a heroic mouse. Jacques’s book tells the tale of peace-loving mice of Redwall Abbey, who must defend themselves against an army of rats. They need the legendary sword of Martin the Warrior to win, a forgotten weapon that falls into the hands of a bumbling young apprentice, Matthias. Great adventure, a bit simplistic in how it presents characters, but still endearing and fun. First of a series.

Rosemary’s Baby, Ira Levin.

Yes, I’m going way back for this one, but it’s a classic for a reason. Levin is a master at creating a seemingly ordinary world that simmers with tension. The story follows Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, who move into a building with a reputation for witchcraft and murder. They’re befriended, obsessively so in Rosemary’s opinion, by neighbors who, it turns out, worship the Devil. When Rosemary becomes pregnant after a very disturbing “dream” she starts to believe she’s carrying Satan’s son. Eerie, chilling, best read in a well-lit room.

WANT TO READ

Relic (Pendergast, #1), Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

From Goodreads: Visitors are being savagely murdered in the New York Museum of Natural History’s dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human… But the museum’s directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate a new exhibition in spite of the murders. Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who–or what–is doing the killing. But can she do it in time to stop a massacre? Sounds dark but intriguing.

Ruthless Magic (Conspiracy of Magic #1), Megan Crewe.

From Goodreads: Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages’ Exam… Okay, this has the tang of fanfiction, with two teens who fight to keep their magic, become unlikely allies, and begin a poignant romance. Reviewers have noted similarities to Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. Still, it looks promising, if only to see how Crewe makes it all work. First of a series.

That’s it for now. Any you’d recommend?

Thanks for reading.