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review 2018-08-14 13:09
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
The Girl Who Drank the Moon - Kelly Barnhill

This is a wonderful little book. I loved the main characters and the setting. There were just a few things I didn’t like. If I’d written this book I wouldn’t have let any animals die. Just saying...

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review 2018-08-14 09:19
Munteres Geschichten-Stapeln
Girl of Nightmares - Kendare Blake

Im Frühling 2016 wurde bekannt, dass Kendare Blake die Filmrechte von „Anna Dressed in Blood“ an Stephenie Meyer verkaufte. Die Produktionsfirma der „Twilight“-Autorin legte sofort los, benannte Regisseurin, Drehbuchautorin und einen Teil des Casts. Seitdem wurde es still um das Projekt. Vielleicht wurde „Anna Dressed in Blood“ einfach nur hinter Meyers Serien-Realisierung ihres Romans „The Chemist“ zurückgestellt – vielleicht wurde die Verfilmung aber auch gecancelt. Wir haben ja schon oft erlebt, dass solche Projekte im Sande verlaufen. Für mich hat der Film allerdings ohnehin keine Priorität, obwohl ich mir vorstellen könnte, ihn mir anzusehen. Die Fortsetzung „Girl of Nightmares“ war definitiv wichtiger.

 

Cas, Carmel und Thomas verdanken ihre Leben einem Geist: Anna Korlov, besser bekannt als Anna Dressed in Blood. Sie opferte sich, um die drei zu schützen und zog den schrecklichen Obeahman hinab in die Hölle. Cas weiß, dass Carmel und Thomas die beängstigenden Ereignisse dieser Nacht hinter sich lassen möchten, doch er kann nicht vergessen, was Anna für sie getan hat. Er kann nicht aufhören, an sie zu denken. Er träumt oft von ihr – blutige, unheimliche Albträume. Als er beginnt, Anna auch tagsüber zu sehen, zweifelt er an seinem Verstand. Die Visionen sind verstörend; sie wirkt gequält, gehetzt und verzweifelt. Ist es möglich, dass es sich gar nicht um Halluzinationen handelt? Versucht Anna, um Hilfe zu rufen? Sofort ist Cas fest entschlossen, Anna zu retten. Die einzigen, die ihm einen Weg in die Hölle weisen können, sind die Mitglieder des mysteriösen Ordens, der sein Athame erschuf. Diese verfolgen allerdings ganz eigene Pläne, für die Cas nicht unbedingt überleben muss. Und in der Hölle wartet schon der Obeahman auf ihn…

 

Überflüssig. Hätte man auch sein lassen können. Ich hatte keine hohen Erwartungen an „Girl of Nightmares“, weil mich bereits der erste Band „Anna Dressed in Blood“ nicht vom Hocker riss. Aber ich habe schon angenommen, dass sich einige Fragen, die der Vorgänger offengelassen hatte, klären würden. Beispielsweise, welch merkwürdige Beziehung Cas‘ Familie zu dem Athame hat und ob sie die einzigen Jäger auf der Welt sind. Gibt es nur Geister und Hexen, oder auch Monster? Vampire, Werwölfe, Banshees? Und wie kann es eigentlich sein, dass Cas‘ Mutter einverstanden ist, ihren minderjährigen Sohn auf Geisterjagd zu schicken und ihn ihr Leben bestimmen zu lassen? „Girl of Nightmares“ beantwortet keine dieser Fragen zufriedenstellend. Es fügt der Geschichte nichts hinzu, was ich hätte wissen müssen, beleuchtet keine Hintergründe und fühlte sich irritierend losgelöst vom ersten Band an. Obwohl die Handlung an „Anna Dressed in Blood“ anknüpft, hatte ich den Eindruck, Kendare Blake hätte einfach nur eine weitere Geschichte auf die erste gestapelt, statt erläuternde Verbindungen zwischen den Bänden herzustellen, die das Verständnis erweitern. Vielleicht wollte sie das gar nicht, vielleicht wollte sie zwei weitgehend eigenständige Geschichten erzählen, doch ich hatte mit unter der Fortsetzung eben etwas anderes vorgestellt. Unsere Prioritäten liegen offenbar recht weit auseinander. Während ich Hintergrundwissen als deutlich wichtiger als Action einstufe, scheint Blake handfeste Szenen zu lieben und schreibt lieber übernatürliche Prügeleien, anstatt Details in einen Kontext zu setzen. Trotz dessen bemühte sie sich, die Horroraspekte der Fortsetzung eher aus der psychischen, als aus der physischen Perspektive anzugehen. Es gelang ihr, eine ansatzweise gruselige Atmosphäre heraufzubeschwören, die meine Vorstellungkraft allerdings nicht auf eine Achterbahnfahrt des Grauens schickte. Für meinen Geschmack ging sie definitiv zu zaghaft vor. Als Cas beginnt, Visionen von Anna zu haben, besucht sie ihn eines Nachts. Ein gequälter, gefolterter Geist steht plötzlich an seinem Bett. Doch statt das unheimliche Potential der Situation voll auszuspielen, lässt Kendare Blake die beiden reden. Sie reden! Schnarch. Ich fand „Girl of Nightmares“ aufgrund solcher Szenen ziemlich langweilig und war enttäuscht, dass sich meine Schwierigkeiten mit Cas, die ich im ersten Band kritisiert hatte, leider nicht legten. Ich halte ihn noch immer für einen arroganten Kotzbrocken. Es ist ja ganz toll, dass er mittlerweile erkannte, dass Freunde eine praktische Sache sind, aber sein Mangel an Demut stieß mir weiterhin sauer auf. Er interessiert sich nur für Anna, die Schicksale anderer Geister sind ihm so gut wie gleichgültig. Außerdem verstehe ich einfach nicht, was an ihm so besonders ist. Er hat keine speziellen Kräfte, sein einziges Ass im Ärmel ist das Athame, das jeder andere Mensch ebenfalls führen könnte. Was qualifiziert ausgerechnet ihn als Geisterjäger? Kendare Blake schaffte es nicht, mich von seinem Sonderstatus zu überzeugen, weshalb ich das gesamte Buch in Frage stellte. Nicht einmal der finale Showdown, für den die Autorin wieder den Obeahman als Endgegner hervorzerrte, vermochte die Lektüre für mich zu retten. Das offene Ende war schlicht unbefriedigend, weil es die Geschichte nicht wirklich abschließt. Wir erfahren nicht, was aus Cas und seinem Familienauftrag wird. Kendare Blake dreht sich einfach um und geht.

 

Wenn ihr „Girl of Nightmares“ mit der Erwartungshaltung lest, lediglich ein weiteres Abenteuer mit dem Geisterjäger Cas zu erleben zu wollen, kann euch diese Fortsetzung sicher glücklich stimmen. Erwartet ihr hingegen Erklärungen, wie es bei mir der Fall war, wird euch das Buch enttäuschen. Die Handlung bietet zwar durchaus neue Informationen, aber ein Erkenntniszuwachs blieb aus. Es fühlte sich an, als hätte Kendare Blake Neues begonnen, bevor das Alte abgearbeitet war, was dadurch unter den Tisch fallen musste. Ich mochte diese Herangehensweise nicht. Daher verabschiede ich mich jetzt kurz, schmerzlos und unzeremoniell von der „Anna“-Dilogie und widme mich wieder dem Original. Supernatural, ich komme.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/14/kendare-blake-girl-of-nightmares
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-08-13 20:39
The Girl in the Tower - Katherine Arden
The Girl in the Tower - Katherine Arden

I don't pre-order a lot of books but for The Girl in the Tower, I was prepared to make an exception - I'd first read (and very much enjoyed) the previous book in the trilogy, The Bear and the Nightingale, last November and was keen to see if the author could manage to follow up such a great debut. I'm pleased to say that this book is, in my opinion, as good as its predecessor and it sets up the final volume of the series well. Fortunately that's due out in January next year and I hope the publishers keep to that timetable, as I'm keen to see how everything works out!

 

The Girl in the Tower follows pretty much immediately on from the events in the previous book, with Vasya taking her horse and heading off to travel the world after the untimely death of her father. The priest Konstantin, who has to carry a significant amount of blame for helping set in motion matters in relation to Vasya, has gone back to Moscow telling tales of witches. Vasya's older sister is there, a virtual prisoner as she awaits the birth of her third child in the claustrophobic terem, and Olga is horrified to hear what has happened in her much-missed home. 

 

Just as their brother Sasha is advocating for military action to protect the local villagers from bandits who are torching their homes and stealing some of their girl children, Vasya turns up with three of those children in tow. She has, of course, rescued them from the bandits and, dressed as a boy, puts Sasha in the position of having to lie to protect her reputation - after all, what virtuous woman would wear breeches and ride about the countryside unchaperoned? 

 

Eventually, however, everything unravels and the truth comes out. Not just the truth about Vasya being a girl but also what connects her to the Winter King and also some tantalising hints about Vasya's own heritage, as the main antagonist in The Girl in the Tower proves to have a link to Vasya's mother. Once again, it's a richly-described world inhabited by the creatures of Russian mythology and, for me at least, a real page-turner. It's going to be very interesting to see how the final book in the trilogy, The Winter of the Witch, turns out and I'm hoping for a positive ending for more than one character I've come to know along the way...

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text 2018-08-12 20:36
Reading progress update: I've read 41 out of 400 pages.
Wilde About The Girl - Louise Pentland

Good god, I love being back with Robin and Lyla!!!

 
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text 2018-08-08 12:35
Blog Tour: A Girl and Her Elephant by Zoey Gong with Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for Zoey Gong’s A Girl and Her Elephant . We will have info about the book and author, a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

 

Happy Reading :) 


 

 
All of the elephants wept as one of their own lay dying in childbirth. But Kanita, the daughter of the royal elephant trainer, refused to give up. With her own hands, she helped bring the baby elephant, Safi, into the world, beginning a lifelong friendship between a girl and her elephant.
 
But many of the villagers worried about the curse of the white elephant with the red birthmark across her face.
 
Raised in the mountains of northern Siam, Kanita’s idyllic life is shattered when she is ordered to marry a much older man and leave her beloved yet cursed elephant behind. But Kanita’s stubborn nature refuses to bow to her parents’ wishes.
 
Kanita and Safi flee their village with the goal of redeeming Safi from her cursed reputation and cementing their bond, vowing to never be separated.
 
But the jungle is more dangerous than Kanita or Safi could have imagined.
 
From new author Zoey Gong, follow Kanita and Safi through the jungles of ancient Siam in a story of friendship, hope, and redemption.
 
A Girl and her Elephant is the first book in the Animal Companion series, but each book is a stand-alone novel with new characters and adventures.
 
Buy Links
 
 

The cries of the elephant could be heard throughout the jungle.

Kanita could no longer ignore the elephant’s suffering. Even though her father—the king’s mahout—had warned her to stay away, she had to see what was happening for herself. She snuck out of her bedroom window and ran through the village to the royal stables where the white elephant was in heavy labor.

Even though it was late at night, the stables and yard were lit with torches, and mahouts were running here and there, trying to calm the rest of the elephant herd. But they seemed incapable of being consoled, and each one trumpeted in distress.

“Bring more hot water!” Kanita heard her father call to one of his men. “And my kris. I will have to cut the baby loose.”

Her father had asked for his dagger! The poor elephant, Kanita thought. If the elephant—one of the sacred white elephants—died, the king would be displeased. She moved a bale of hay to a stable window and climbed on top of it to get a better view.

On the floor of the stables was the large white elephant. She was straining to birth her calf into the world and tears seeped from her eyes.

She looked at Kanita, and Kanita’s heart froze in her chest. It was as though she could hear the elephant begging her for help.

The elephant’s wet eyes found Kanita’s, and she raised her trunk toward her.

Kanita jumped down from the hay bale and ran into the stables. She had to do something to help. As she entered the building, she saw her father walk behind the elephant with his kris.

“Por! No!” Kanita cried as she ran to him, pulling on his arm. “You’ll kill her.”

“Kanita!” he said sternly. “I told you to stay in the house with your mother. Get out of here.”

“No, I can help,” she said. She went to the elephant and looked at where the baby was supposed to come out. The area was red and swollen, but she thought she could see a trunk trying to wiggle out.

She had never helped birth a baby elephant before. As a girl, she was forbidden from becoming a mahout. But she had helped her mother bring a woman’s baby into the world just a few days before. It didn’t look so different to her. She just needed to reach inside and pull the baby out. And with her small hands and arms, she thought she was just the right size to do it.

She slid her hands inside the mother elephant.

“Be careful,” her father cautioned. “Can you feel the calf’s legs?”

She wasn’t sure what she was feeling. It was like nothing in the world she had touched before. She closed her eyes and let her hands do the seeing for her.

She felt it. The trunk. She could feel the length of it and the ridges up to the baby elephant’s face. She felt the trunk wrap around her arm.

“I feel its face!” Kanita cried.

“Keep going,” her father said.

She pushed further into the elephant, all the way to her shoulders. She slid her hands down the side of the baby elephant and gripped it under its front leg.

“I have it!” she said. “I have the leg!” She tried to pull it out, but she was not strong enough. “Help me!” she cried.

Her father wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled. “Don’t let go!” he ordered.

She could feel her hands start to slip, but she refused to release her grip. The baby elephant’s trunk wrapped even more tightly around her arm. She started to feel the baby elephant’s mass give way.

“It’s coming!” she yelled, and the mother elephant trumpeted again, forcing the baby out.

Kanita and her father fell backward as the baby elephant plopped out of her mother on top of them covered in birthing goo. The baby struggled, still partially trapped in her amniotic sack. Kanita’s father used his kris to cut the sack away.

The baby elephant took her first full gasp of air, and Kanita wrapped her arms around the baby, a baby that was probably ten times the weight of eight-year-old Kanita. A baby girl elephant.

“You did it,” her father said, patting her on the back.

Kanita breathed a sigh of relief, happy to have saved the baby elephant and her mother.

But then the mother elephant trumpeted again and let out a horrifying moan. Blood and other fluids poured out of the mother elephant, soaking the stable floor.

“Oh no!” Kanita cried as she stood, her chong kraben drenched with blood. Her feet slipped on the floor as she made her way to the mother elephant’s face.

The mother elephant groaned as Kanita stroked her face.

“I’m so sorry,” Kanita said. “I’ll take care of her. I promise.”

The mother elephant sighed one last time, her eyes focusing softly on Kanita as though she understood before closing them forever.

Kanita stood back and then kneeled, kowtowing to the white elephant, thanking her for her service to the king and honoring her as his representative. All of the mahouts in the stables—including Kanita’s father—did the same, as was proper. The rest of the elephants in the king’s stables—white and gray—let out a mournful trumpet, as though they all suffered from the loss of one of their own.

Kanita was the first to raise her head, as her thoughts were now with the baby elephant left behind. The baby elephant was sitting up, its eyes wide, apparently confused about what was going on. Kanita raised the baby’s trunk and coaxed her to follow. She led her to her mother so she could nurse. Even though the mother was dead, the milk she made in preparation for her baby should still be good for the baby’s first drink.

As the men discussed what to do next with the deceased royal elephant—they would have to inform the king and then hold a royal procession for her.

Kanita grabbed a bucket of water and started washing the baby. As she did so, she was greeted with an incredible sight.

“Por!” she called to her father. “Look!”

Her father and some of the other mahouts came to see what she was excited about.

“Well, I’ll be…” her father trailed off as he sunk to his knees.

The baby—like her mother—was a white elephant.

Once again, everyone in the stables—including Kanita—prostrated themselves before an auspicious elephant.

“Is this the first time a white elephant has been born in captivity?” Kanita asked after they all were standing again.

“King Sakda is truly a blessed monarch,” her father said.

“Hey, boss,” one of the mahouts said, calling her father to him. He went to him, and the two talked quietly for a moment, frowning at the baby elephant.

“What is it?” Kanita asked. She went to her father’s side and realized what they were looking at.

The baby elephant had a long red birthmark down one side of her face. On her pale pink skin—white elephants were not really white, but only a pale gray or pink in color—the mark showed dramatically.

“It’s nothing,” Kanita said, remembering that her friend Boonsri had a red birthmark on her back. “She’s still a white elephant. We will still honor her.”

“It’s a bad omen elephant, boss,” the other mahout mumbled.

“Don’t say that!” Kanita yelled.

“Enough,” her father said firmly. “I will send an urgent message to the king, telling him what happened and about the new white elephant. In all his wisdom, he will know what to do.”

“We should take good care of her,” Kanita said. “The king will want to know his auspicious elephant is well cared for.”

Kanita went over to the little elephant, who had now finished drinking her mother’s milk, and led her to a clean area of the stables. She finished washing and drying the elephant and laid her on a fresh bed of straw.

“Don’t worry,” Kanita said as she laid down with the elephant, wrapping her arms around her. “I won’t let anything happen to you, Safi, my sweet little friend.”

But in her heart, she worried about the mahout calling the baby elephant a “bad omen.”

 
ZOEY GONG was born and raised in rural Hunan Province, China. She has been studying English and working as a translator since she was sixteen years old. Now in her early twenties, Zoey loves traveling and eating noodles for every meal. She lives in Shenzhen with her cat, Jello, and dreams of one day disappointing her parents by being a Leftover Woman (剩女).
 
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Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/08/08/blog-tour-a-girl-and-her-elephant-by-zoey-gong-with-excerpt-and-giveaway
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