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YA Book Review and Giveaway: Cogling

cogling

Jordan Elizabeth is not only a great YA author, she is one cool lady.  In Cogling, Edna’s little brother, Harrison is stolen by Hags-replaced with a construct made of his breath, magic, and a pocketwatch: a cogling.  Edna will stop at nothing to get her real brother back.  Teaming up with an unlikely accomplice, Edna leaves the only place she has ever known and heads for the swamp where the Hags live, intent on rescuing her brother.  Along the way, she discovers conspiracies and secrets all around her.  Monsters help and hinder her.   Her greatest ally reveals that he is not what he first seemed.  Amidst all this intrigue, can Edna save her brother and, perhaps, the kingdom?

Cogling is filled with Elizabeth’s trademark kindness to animals and tolerance of others themes.  Though the creatures in this steampunk glory are fantastical (think scurrying soot demons instead of mice and foxkins who are hunted like foxes even though they wear clothes and can speak), Elizabeth leaves no doubt that cruelty and intolerance are not her cup of tea.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t heavy-handed stuff.  You pick it up from Edna’s thoughts and reactions, and you can’t help but feel the same way.  Which is a really good way to sneak in a lesson against prejudice on your littles.  Yeah yeah.

One of the things I love about Elizabeth’s books is that she never quite ends them where you expect them to end.  She always has something else to say.  The poetically cryptic chapter headings intrigued me just as much as the story did.  The lavishly built world through which Edna and Ike fight their way to truth and tolerance is never boring, and the perils our heroes face are many and varied.  Listen, this book is one harrowing adventure after another.  Edna grows from a meek, uncertain thing into a heroine with real backbone.  Ike forgives himself for a past over which he had no control anyway.  And the kingdom… Well, I’ll let you read it and find out for yourself.

I would caution that while there is no sex in the book, there are some allusions to it that you might feel are too much for your tween or early teen.  I’ll leave that up to you–every parent has her own threshold.  Regardless, Cogling is a wonderful fantasy adventure with believable characters set in a rich world that rivals any invented.  It’s an excellent read.

Because I loved it so much, and because Jordan is just cool like that, I’m offering a free e-copy to a winning reader.  Jordan has said she can provide a mobi, epub, or pdf copy directly to the winner.  So make sure you enter, and you can read this excellent novel for yourself.  You have until midnight on  Monday, February 15, to enter , and I will announce the winner during next Tuesday’s YA Book Review.  Good luck!

If you want to learn more about Jordan and her other books, you can visit her website.

Cogling Giveaway

 

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YA Book Review: Lastland

02-02-16

Lastland by A.R. Ivanovich
This final installment of The War of Princes cracked straight open full of action and kept you pretty much on the edge of your seat from that point on.  The tightly-woven tale of Katelyn Kestrel draws to a close with quite a bang.  Prince Raserion and Prince Varion have reached Haven despite all of Katelyn’s previous attempts to keep them out.  With her sidekicks, Rune and Dylan, Katelyn hurries back to Haven to try to stop it from being destroyed.

But Rune is still struggling with the shadows.  And Dylan is still struggling to be good.

It’s a perfect recipe for all hell to break loose, and it does–with vigor.  Ivanovich’s writing transports once again.  Lastland delivers just as well as its predecessors, if not better.  I wasn’t really surprised by the ending, but it was so beautifully wrought I freely admit to tearing up as I read the last page.  And the epilogue?  The story was so action-packed and fast-paced that I had completely forgotten the loose end addressed in it, but that made me smile all the more as I read the final words.

As ever with these books, if I tell you too much, I’m giving too much away.  Just believe that this is one of the finest fantasy series I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.  It has settled into place beside The Hunger Games, Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky, and Scott Westerfield’s Uglies on my heart shelf of YA Books I’ll Never Forget.  There is nothing like an invented world that makes you Believe.  And this one did.

Putting down the final book in The War of Princes was like saying goodbye to an old friend.  Or, well, more like ‘so long.’  I’ll be reading them again soon.

I hope you will, too.

Love wins,

KT

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YA Book Review: Monarch

01-26-15

Monarch by A.R. Ivanovich

Okay, so Ivanovich completely took my breath with this one.  I had settled in to third installment of the War of Princes series with the expectation of a certain story–a certain kind of story–and she went and turned it on its head.  Remember last week in my review of Paperglass when I said these books get better as they go?  I did not then realize the enormous truth of that statement.  So let me say it again.  So far, each of these books has been better than the last.

I mean… I thought the Prince of Shadows was bad.  The hints the reader is given in the first half Monarch about Prince Varion are even more shudder-worthy than his shadowy brother.  I found myself biting my nails (no, literally) as I read about him.

It did not prepare me for the reality.  Let me just tell you without giving away too much that there are a couple of twists here that shocked, amazed, inspired me, blew me a-freakin’-way!  And the great part is I never even suspected them, which made them all the more gratifying.  Have I said Ivanovich has the stuff?  Because she does, in spades.  The growth of each character in this series is exquisitely thought out and paced to keep the reader glued to the pages.  And I was.  Am, because I’m reading the final installment now an I Cannot Put These Books down.

My favorite line in this book is this:

Just a couple of kids from Haven.  We weren’t meant for this.

The honesty of that statement, the reality of a character even having that thought, is one of the things about Ivanovich that sweeps me away.  You don’t often find an author who is both a superb writer and an excellent storyteller, especially in this genre.

I can’t wait to see how Katelyn’s story ends.

Love wins,

KT

YA Book Review: Paperglass by A.R. Ivanovich

01-19-2016

Paperglass by A.R. Ivanovich

Paperglass is the second installment of The War of Princes series by Ivanovich.  Yeah, I reviewed the first one last week, but I am binge-reading this shit, so you’re going to hear all about it.  These books are incredible.  You know how sometimes you read the first book in the series and then the next one isn’t quite as good and it just gets worse from there?  These are so not those books.  They actually get better as you go, like The Hunger Games (books, not films-the reverse is true with the films) or the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield.  Paperglass is even faster-paced than Haven, and the danger was more palpable since I already knew the dangers of the Outside world.  Can I just say my heart pounded nearly the entire time I was reading because I was well aware the whole time of the tightrope Katelyn was walking?  How often do you get that from a book?!  Only when it is done extremely well, and Ivanovich has the stuff.

In this chapter of Katelyn’s story, Haven has been threatened and Katelyn has no choice but to venture back Outside in order to prevent a catastrophe.  Rune and Dylan are both back to make her life complicated, albeit in different ways.  I love Dylan’s character–the reader is never any more sure about him than Katelyn is.  He’s superbly imagined and written.  You couldn’t ask for a better herring.  Katelyn’s love life follows an obvious but important thread, too, and you have to cheer about it because it never gets trite.  Her mission to protect Haven is tangled by meeting the Margrave (a high power in the Outside army) and brushes with the Prince of Shadows.  Ivanovich’s world is believable, lush, and complex, and her characters are the same.  You can’t ask for more than that in a fantasy for any age.

Like last week, if I give you too much I’m giving away the story.  Buy these books.  They’re relatively cheap for your Kindle, and you will not regret it.  I’m in the middle of the third installment now, so I’ll let you know next week if the series continues to rock.  (Here’s a hint–Hell yeah, it does.)

Love wins,

KT

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