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Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Title: They Found a Cave

Author: Nan Chauncy

Genre: Children’s Adventure

Opens: Hollow Tree was a fine mark on the landscape…

My Thoughts: Written in 1947 THEY FOUND A CAVE is a story of four children, Nigel, Cherry, Brickenden (Brick) and Anthony (Nippy) who have been sent from war-torn England by their parents to live in safety with their Aunt Jandie in rural Tasmania in 1939. Their arrival is greeted with enthusiasm by young farm boy Tas, whose mother (Ma Pinner) and step-father (Pa Pinner) work on Aunt Jandie’s property as the housekeeper and general hand. Tas is not well treated and he loves having kids near his age to interact with. While the children all have chores to do on the farm there is plenty of time to explore the surrounding bush and enjoy themselves. The four siblings get upset over the way the Pinner’s ill-treat Tas, and them if their aunt is not around, and soon learn to keep out of their way

Then Aunt Jandie has to go into goes to hospital, and leave the children in the care of the despised Pinner’s. It only takes a day or so for the children’s lives to be made unbearable so Tas help them move to a nearby cave up in the hills overlooking the farm and they set up a home away from home there while they wait for their aunt to return. They all thrive in the rough conditions; complimented by raids on the farm for extra supplies, then they discover the Pinner’s are out to swindle their aunt the kids decide to expose them.

This is a really good adventure story and I loved the old fashioned fun the kids had, and how they managed to thwart evil adults.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

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Title: The Bellamy Bird

Author: Clare Havens

Genre: Adventure/Children’s/Mystery

Opening line: Nina Bellamy carried the heavily laden laundry basket down the narrow stairs.

Blurb: Almbury Manor is the ancestral home of the Bellamy family who own a priceless heirloom, a golden statue known as the Bellamy Bird, a gift from an Indian Prince – solid gold and encrusted with precious stones, the Bird is quite priceless. On Midsummer’s Eve in 1931 the statue is stolen, causing the downfall of the Bellamy family and the loss of Almbury Manor. Modern day siblings, Freddie and Jamie, descendants of the Bellamy family, go back in time to try to prevent the robbery and secure their family’s future with the help of some mischievous schoolboys, a group of sailing-mad children and boat called Lapwing.

My Thoughts: I first heard about THE BELLAMY BIRD when a group of online buddies were discussing it avidly – words being used to describe it such as Famous Five, Hercule Poirot and the Swallows and the Amazons were being bandied about in very positive ways. When author Clare Havens offered the book for a review I jumped at the chance. The story opens in contemporary times where Nina and Tom Bellamy along with their two children Freddie and Jamie all live in London in a tall thin house with many staircases. The family are struggling financially and when Tom comes home to say he is going to be laid off the conversation turns to cost cutting. Great-grandma Violet also lives with them and this night she tells them how the family fortune had been lost in 1931 when the Bellamy Bird was stolen. The same night some family jewels belonging to a guest was also stolen. The next morning they all wake up and find themselves in 1931 – not together but all in and around Almbury Manor. They each know who they are and they recognise each other. They also all recognise Great-grandma Violet, only she is now 8 years old. The family realises they have a chance to stop the theft and change the family fortunes. What follows is a fun adventure with children exploring, sailing and camping while playing make-believe (pretending to be pirates) instead of video’s, then the grown-ups join in and traps are laid, sleuthing happens and secrets searched for, culminating in an edge of the seat sail in a storm.

Such a fast paced and fun read that certainly brought back memories of my own childhood play in the 60s and some of my favourite books. When my friends and I went for walks they were NEVER just walks – they were adventures. We’d agree on some imaginary foe be they Pirates, Gypsies, Indians, Kidnappers or bank robbers and off we’d go. I’m not sure kids do this anymore. Shame really. But at least they have access to books like THE BELLAMY BIRD to show them the way of they want to. The mystery of who stole what, why and how lasted until the very last page – and the big reveal with all the suspects gathered in one spot. There were twists and turns, scuffles and accusations but all in all I really recommend this book. While aimed at the middle school level – I think anyone would enjoy the story.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

With thanks to the author for my copy to read and review

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Title: Frontier Incursion

Author: Leonie Rogers

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Opening lines: ‘…Shanna tapped one foot as she waited outside the records precinct…’

Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Shanna has followed her dreams and joined the Scout Corps. The Scouts were charged with expanding their knowledge of Frontier, a planet their ancestors had crash-landed on 300 years before. Frontier has some very hostile flora and fauna and it is the Scouts who go out into the wilderness to explore. Shanna is the youngest ever recruit and it takes her a while to be accepted by the older kids. Scouts are all bonded with a Starcat a huge panther like creature that has beautiful glowing coloured tidemarks on their fur and some amazing powers. The Starcats chose their human and Shanna ends up bonded to two, Twister and Storm. Starcats and Scouts are bonded for life and work as a team. On a routine training patrol, Shanna and the other cadets are swept up in the greatest challenge yet to be faced by the settlers of Frontier. Now they find themselves on the very frontline of a war they knew nothing about, and suddenly their world has changed, and in ways never dreamed of by Shanna and her fellow scouts.

My thoughts: I loved FRONTIER INCURSION and I want a blue Starcat of my very own that will purr and hum to me! The story opens with Shanna being accepted into the Scouts the youngest person ever. Her family breeds Starcats so she is very familiar with living with them and training them. This knowledge of Starcats means that she is asked to train the rest of the new cadet intake into bonding and working with their own Starcats chosen just after Shanna arrives at the training school. Life on Frontier is routine and early on the reader is introduced to how the humans arrived, survived and then adapted to the environment, and there are three small settlements on the high plateau. Down ‘Below’ the planet is pretty much as it was when the humans first arrived. There was a long term goal to one day leave the planet but in reality most of the people are happy with the way things are. Then at the end of the chapter the reader gets a glimpse of an incursion of nasty, nasty critters called Garsal that have been slowly enslaving the universe and have their eyes set on Frontier. The Garsal mothership has landed unnoticed by the humans and have started to set up a new hive with the help of human slaves. However, despite their advanced technology they seem to be no match for the native flora and fauna. The Garsal send out two reconnaissance aircraft just as a huge storm hits the planet. The people of Frontier know how to batten down the hatches when these huge storms hit, but the Garsal aircraft crash and the noise is reported back to Scout headquarters. Shanna and the other recruits are subsequently sent out to investigate the noise in the care of a more advanced unit. What they didn’t expect to find was a crashed spaceship, neither did they expect to see the body of a giant insect at the controls. From this point the whole story moves towards the inevitable first contact between the two species, and I found myself torn between wanting to sit down and read the book in one sitting or savouring it – reading a little at a time as I did not want to leave this wonderful world. Author Leonie Rogers was very clever in how she introduced the Garsal’s – little snippets of information and what they were up to, at the end of each chapter.

The pacing of the story was great, starting off slow then gradually the tension built until the action packed climax. The descriptions were terrific, the strange animals and killer plants just came alive on the pages. As did the characters who all grew in experience as the story progressed, Shanna especially grows as a person through the book. Starting off as a simple farm girl living dependently with her parents she becomes an independent master at wilderness survival, learns how to deal with difficult people and never lose her sense of heart. As for her two Starcats, Twister and Storm, I want them – if I couldn’t have them then I would have any of the others if the truth be told. Taya is another character that shows great growth in her character and I feel there is more to her story that maybe will be followed up on in the next books.

The relationships between, and feelings of, the various humans contrasted with the impersonal interactions between the Garsal. The writing was wonderful and Leonie Rogers’ words pulled me into her planetary world, with its laughter; arguments; adventure; interaction between humans, between humans and their Starcats, and between Starcats and Starcats (Starcat romances are something to behold) and as all good space adventures should there is even sadness, yes I was moved to tears and this was the point that the tears fell:

“…There was something totally heartbreaking about a Scout sitting in the midst of the carnage, slowly stroking the silky fur of a companion who would never pace by their side again, whose tidemark will never flicker and glow, or a living starcat curled by the unmoving form of their Scout partner, those same tidemarks dimmed to the dullness of grief. The now bereft halves of loving partnerships were left to grieve in quiet peace…”

FRONTIER INCURSION is the first in a planned trilogy – ‘Frontier Resistance’ is not too far away from release which is good because I am already turning blue (as blue as a Starcat) as I hold my breath in anticipation. A truly wonderful reading experience

Rating: A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.

For more about the author – Click Here

Frontier Incursion by Leonie Rogers is book # 12 for AWW2014

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Title: These Broken Stars

Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Genre: YA Science Fiction/Romance

Opening lines: ‘…Nothing about this room was real…’

THESE BROKEN STARS is Book 1 of ‘The Starbound Trilogy’ which promoted as “Three worlds – three love stories – one enemy” and if the first is anything to go by, then I am SO hanging out for the next two! I was sucked in from page one and totally absorbed me until it spat me out weak and happy at the other end. And I am not a huge fan of Sci-Fi so that is quite an achievement! Authors Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner have done a brilliant job and the story is seamless.

Lilac and Tarver meet on board a massive luxury spaceliner called the Icarus. The very name should have been a hint to what follows because like Icarus’s flight the spaceliner falls apart (melts) when it is yanked out of hyperspace and crashes onto a nearby planet. Lilac and Tarver survive the crash – but they are the only ones to survive. As the spaceliner begins to crack up and fall Tarver and Lilac mange to get into an escape pod and Lilac shows she has a hidden side when she hotwires the escape pod and they are able to successfully launch off the ship. The landing is not gentle and all the communications are ripped off the little pod and the two occupants are banged about. Tarver decides to trek towards the main crash site to see if there are any other survivors and/or send out a distress signal. Tarver and Lilac need to learn to trust each other and work together because something is not quite right on this planet, Lilac hears voices speaking in whispers, sees people who aren’t there and has visions. Soon Tarver fears Lilac is going mad – until he succumbs. Eventually they find out the truth behind the whispers and it is quite horrific I can assure you.

Tarver is a real hero, in fact he is a highly decorated war hero; he is strong, handsome, intelligent and knows a thing or two about survival. Lilac is a cashed up member of the beautiful people, attractive but pretty useless; unless it comes to electronics. But there is real growth in her as a character as she evolves from a spoilt complaining socialite trying to walk across rugged terrain in high heels and her tattered ball gown at the beginning to being a brave, useful and self-sacrificing woman who wears sensible shoes by the end. The story switches point of view between Tarver and Lilac, each chapter alternating between the two. Teasingly, between each chapter there are a few snippets of conversation as Tarver is obviously being grilled by military types after the events on the planet. The gist of the interrogation seem to point to the military wanting to know just what information Tarver is hiding – or trying to discover how much he may have seen that the military wants hidden. But nothing is revealed during these snippets to spoil the story and it is not until the end that you understand what they are trying to discover and why Tarver is remaining quiet. The actual survival part is very good, the romance is not in your face it is merely there simmering behind the survival part. When they first regain consciousness after their crash landing they have no knowledge of what the planet is like. Are their people living here, what life forms are there and can they be eaten – or eat you! Then there are tall pine forests, flat prairies, torrential rain, and chilling snow in the mountains. All have to be overcome with a minimum survival kit.

Quite frankly, THESE BROKEN STARS has it all – action, romance, suspense, pathos and twists and turns that leave you gasping. I can’t wait for the next book in the trilogy, THIS SHATTERED WORLD, to be released sometime in 2014.

Rating: A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.

For more about the author Amie Kaufman Click Here and then Click here for Meagan Spooner.

With thanks to Disney-Hyperion publishers and the authors via Netgalley.

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Title: Curse of the Scarab (Big Honey Dog Mysteries #1)

Author: H.Y. Hanna

Genre: Young Adult/Mystery

Blurb: Honey the Great Dane enjoys a pretty peaceful life: walking her human, checking Peemail at the park until the arrival of a puppy named Bean turns her life upside down. But when Bean goes missing – together with other neighbourhood pups – Honey sets out on a dangerous quest to find them. Joined by her canine friends, Honey tackles mysterious paw prints and sinister hieroglyphics as clues lead them to a deserted cemetery. But an ancient Egyptian curse has awakened and time is running out … Can Honey solve a cryptic riddle in time to save the puppies? And should she trust Max, a Pit Bull with a murky past, who is hiding secrets of his own?

My Thoughts: CURSE OF THE SCARAB has it all, a rollicking adventure with friendship, danger, laughter, bravery and dog treats. The story is told from the point of view of the dogs in the story – with a few other assorted beasties helping along the way. It is a very good mystery quest but does have some quite scary bits towards the end so definitely for the older reader. Honey is wonderful, a friend of mine use to show and breed Great Danes so I know author H.Y. Hanna has got the quirks of the breed down to a tee, and she must have come across the odd Beagle as well because I am sure she based Biscuit on my food driven Beagle!!! Honourable mentions have to go to Suka, Tyson and the battered old warhorse Max. Their foe is sssssssuitably insane – a delicious baddie who would raise the hackles of any dog hero or heroine. There were lots of lovely touches, I particularly liked the use of the word ‘peemail’ to describe when dogs do their thing as they pass bushes, trees and interesting clumps of grass. CURSE OF THE SCARAB is the first of a proposed series and I would have no hesitation in reading any further adventures that Honey and her friends are drawn into.

Rating: B – Great. I really enjoyed reading it.

For more about the author – Click Here

With thanks to the author via Netgalley

Curse of the Scarab by H.Y. Hanna is book # 34 for AWW2013

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Title: The Traitor in the Tunnel

Author: YS Lee

Genre: Historical Mystery

Blurb: Get steeped in suspense, romance, and high Victorian intrigue as Mary goes undercover at Buckingham Palace — and learns a startling secret at the Tower of London. Queen Victoria has a little problem: there’s a petty thief at work in Buckingham Palace. Charged with discretion, the Agency puts quick witted Mary Quinn on the case, where she must pose as a domestic while fending off the attentions of a feckless Prince of Wales. But when the prince witnesses the murder of one of his friends in an opium den, the potential for scandal looms large. And Mary faces an even more unsettling possibility: the accused killer, a Chinese sailor imprisoned in the Tower of London, shares a name with her long-lost father. Meanwhile, engineer James Easton, Mary’s onetime paramour, is at work shoring up the sewers beneath the palace, where an unexpected tunnel seems to be very much in use. Can Mary and James trust each other (and put their simmering feelings aside) long enough to solve the mystery and protect the Royal Family?

My Thoughts: THE TRAITOR IN THE TUNNEL is the third book of the ‘Agency Series’ but, as it has just been revealed, not the last! The story of Mary Quinn continues and she has come a long way since we were first introduced to her at age 12 when she was rescued from the gallows by the head teacher at Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for young girls. Special girls as it turns out, girls who are clever, brave and able to think on their feet. Scrimshaw’s Academy is a training ground for ‘The Agency’ a secret organisation dedicated to training female spies and detectives. Mary has had two assignments and now she is working undercover as a maid at Buckingham palace.

Even though Mary is working in the rarefied world of royalty the reader still gets glimpses of the gritty dirty London and the sewers which surprisingly to Mary, and this reader, apparently don’t smell! This is good, because Mary spends quite some time with the love of her life down there – no they are investigating the secret tunnel and why it is there, not lovey dovey stuff. That happens elsewhere. THE TRAITOR IN THE TUNNEL has action, melodrama, romance, and suspense and the various subplots all simmer along until one by one they are all brought to a satisfactory conclusion. I did find one scene with Queen Victoria towards the end to be very far-fetched, it was one of those “yeah as if” moments, but it actually did fit the whole tone of the book and it made me chuckle at the thought – trying to imagine our present Queen doing the same thing!!

A fourth book ‘Rivals in the City’ is coming out soon and I shall be getting it as soon as it comes out. The last little bit of THE TRAITOR IN THE TUNNEL alluded to who the rivals might me and I am really looking forwards to seeing how it all works out.

Rating: B – Great. I really enjoyed reading it.

For more about the author – Click Here

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Title: A Spear of Summer Grass

Author: Deanna Raybourne

Genre: Historical/Mystery/Romance

Blurb: The daughter of a scandalous mother, Delilah Drummond is already notorious, even among Paris society. But her latest scandal is big enough to make even her oft-married mother blanch. Delilah is exiled to Kenya and her favourite stepfather’s savannah manor house until gossip subsides. Fairlight is the crumbling, sun-bleached skeleton of a faded African dream, a world where dissolute expats are bolstered by gin and jazz records, cigarettes and safaris. As mistress of this wasted estate, Delilah falls into the decadent pleasures of society. Against the frivolity of her peers, Ryder White stands in sharp contrast. As foreign to Delilah as Africa, Ryder becomes her guide to the complex beauty of this unknown world. Giraffes, buffalo, lions and elephants roam the shores of Lake Wanyama amid swirls of red dust. Here, life is lush and teeming—yet fleeting and often cheap. Amidst the wonders—and dangers—of Africa, Delilah awakes to a land out of all proportion: extremes of heat, darkness, beauty and joy that cut to her very heart. Only when this sacred place is profaned by bloodshed does Delilah discover what is truly worth fighting for—and what she can no longer live without.

My Thoughts: Wow! I honestly have to say that from now on I would truly read Deanna Raybourne’s shopping list! I have been a fan of hers for a long time now, following her Victorian mysteries that are set around the activities of Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane. I also have read her previous stand-alone novel ‘The Dead Travel Fast’ which also has Victorian setting. There is not one that I didn’t adore. So when I first heard that she was working on a new book, set in Africa in the 1920’s and called A SPEAR OF SUMMER GRASS I was a little apprehensive – why change what she does so well? I wasn’t in the slightest bit bored yet! But I needn’t have worried. Delilah is a wonderful addition to the existing stable of characters. The reader is presented with an initial perception of Delilah, which was that of a typical flapper of the day. Flappers were the new generation of women found after WWI flaunted their disdain for what was considered acceptable behaviour; wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking, driving automobiles, and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms. This is Delilah to the T. But as the story progresses the reader soon realises what a wonderful multi-layered character she is, there is a vulnerability and kindness in her that is not at first apparent. Delilah cares! A SPEAR OF SUMMER GRASS is not a fluffy read, there is humour all the way through, however the actual plot has a violent edge, there are a couple of mysteries going on, including arson, assault and battery, then a murder. There are also sexual shenanigans and romance; but it is Africa that is front and centre, almost a character in its own right. The descriptions are so good that as you read you are transported to the time and the place. Loved the story and wish that there is a sequel someday because I would love to spend more time in Africa with Delilah. Encore! Encore!

Rating: A – Excellent. I could not put it down

For more about the author – Click Here

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