Of Blood and Bone (Chronicles of the One #2) by Nora Roberts

Book Description:

Published: December 4, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

hey look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.

Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.

In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.

Review –

In this sequel to the apocalyptic Year One, which released in 2017, the world settles into its new normal after The Doom, a sickness that killed off just about everyone and caused new powers to be realized. The girl who will be The One reaches her thirteenth birthday, makes the choice to train with her magical mentor, and steps into her many gifts, then must find allies to prepare for the war to come.

Survivors of The Doom have aligned themselves into different factions, with various priorities. Many have discovered magical abilities; many who don’t have them hunt those who do. Governments have failed, electricity is scarce, industrial production is practically nonexistent, so in order to survive, people must produce or scavenge food and goods.

Thirteen years later, New Hope is thriving, magicks and normals banding together for protection and community. Meanwhile, Fallon Swift, raised on a remote farm with her mother, stepfather, and three younger brothers, has learned the basics of survival but knows that when she turns thirteen, she’s expected to leave with the mysterious Mallick and train for two years, preparing to step into her role as The One, destined to save the world. When the time comes, she goes with him into a mystical forest populated with elves and faeries, where she studies spells, trains with swords, and spars with ghostly figures in order to build her strength and abilities.

On the way she finds allies of every variety, including three spirit animals who represent aspects of her powers and humanity that enhance her ability to lead. She also meets a shadowy figure in her dreams who becomes more real once she’s able to travel across spaces in a flash. She realizes he’s a son of New Hope and guesses that their destinies are tied closely together along with his twin sister’s. Change is coming, and it’s up to them to create a new, better world—or die trying.

The author continues her apocalyptic Chronicles of The One with a mesmerizing follow-up that is bold and breathtaking. Focusing mainly on Fallon’s rise, the plot offers details and vignettes that glimpse the horror and trauma of the past fifteen years and introduces the characters who presumably will frame the future.

This installment feels a bit like a rest between the trauma of The Doom and the war to come except for an explosive end battle; however, meeting the next generation and watching the heroine grow into her powers and leadership is enthralling. 

I thought the first book would be hard to top but Nora Roberts has done it and I now look forward to reading/listening to the final chapter of The One saga and have no doubt that it will too will hit the mark.

 

 

A Boy Called Christmas(Christmas #1) by Matt Haig

Book Description:

Published: November 16, 2015

Format: Audio

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas.
It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.
If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you.
Because this book is FULL of impossible things.

Are you still reading?

Good.

Then let us begin . . .

A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.

Review –

Eleven-year-old Nikolas—nicknamed “Christmas”, because he was born on Christmas Day,—has received only one toy in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip. But he’s happy with his turnip doll, because it came from his parents, who love him.

But his mother has died, and his father, Joel is an impoverished woodcutter. Desperate for money, Joel joins a group of men on a quest to prove the existence of elves, leaving Nikolas with his ill-tempered aunt, Carlotta. Nikolas runs away to find his father, but trudging months through the woods, he faces starvation, freezing, and hopelessness. Then he comes across a reindeer with an arrow stuck in his leg. Nikolas helps him and names him Blitzen, and they continue their journey to the elf village together. Unfortunately, once located, the elves do not offer a warm welcome but instead lock Nikolas in the tower. It’s there that Nikolas discovers, with the help of a drimwick, or hope spell, that he’s become more than just the simple boy he used to be. 

In many ways it’s a coming of age story for Nikolas who has had a hard life and learns who he truly is and what the value of family and love really mean. It’s a story of unlikely friendships between a poor boy, a mouse, a reindeer named Blitzen and a village of downtrodden elves who are struggling to find their Christmas Spirit. But perhaps most importantly it’s a story about the unexpected and impossibility of life and the true meaning of Christmas and the Christmas Spirit. It’s heart warming and a fantastic read.

One feature I particularly loved about this book was the cameos made by well known Christmas figures (i.e. the reindeer etc) and the way we get little glimpses at how today’s much loved traditions came to be what they are. For example, How Father Christmas’ name came to be, where the idea for presents delivered by Santa came from and where the suit itself came from. This feature of the book actually made me take a step back and reevaluate everything I took for granted about Christmas and question it’s origins and it’s made this Christmas in turn all that much more special.

This book came into my possession over two years ago and I don’t know why I let it sit on the shelf for so long. I had the audio and narrator did a fantastic job, but I hear that the book has excellent illustrations and that it would make a great read-aloud.

 

 

 

Vanquished (The Blood Trail Chronicles #2) by Tara Brown

Book Description

March 21, 2015
In the port city of a neighbouring kingdom, an assassin moves through the streets, killing people of importance.
He is said to wear a red cloak and fight with skills only ever seen in the Southern Isles.
But unbeknownst to the whispers in the alleys, he is a she, and she is on a path headed for home.
She used to dream of freedom.
She used to dream of a simple life.
Now all she dreams about is the blood trail she has carved, leading back to her burnt out castle.
Revenge is the business of hate, and where it is taking Amillia Morgentstein is a dark place where even love can’t save her.
Because love is a thing of the past for her and vengeance is all she can see.
How far would you let yourself go to save everyone but yourself?Mature Readers Recommended

Review –
 First of all, I really don’t understand the need for the “Mature Readers” warning.  I haven’t found anything that would warrant that. If any one else reads this series let me know what you think.
Millia is fated to be the queen of the seven kingdoms and unite all the peoples, but she really does want to do that.  Grayson is the one she loves and can not have. Neither can she have Maddox.  
If you thought she killed  a lot of people in Vengeance, it was nothing to the killing spree she goes on in this installment of The Blood Trail Chronicles.
I thought this was the end of the series but when I got to the end I discovered there is another book which hasn’t been published yet, so that means it will be a years or so before I read it.
While this book was good, i enjoyed the first one better.
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A Perfect Blood(The Hollows, Book 10) by Kim Harrison

Book Description

Publication Date: February 21, 2012 | Series: The Hollows (Book 10)

New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison returns to the Hollows with the electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed Pale Demon!

Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the I.S. and the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth: a human hate group is trying to create its own demons to destroy all Inderlanders, and to do so, it needs her blood.

She’s faced vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more, but humanity itself might be her toughest challenge yet.

Review –
I’ve read all the books in The Hollows series and this ranks as one of the best for a number of reasons.  First, I found it very hard to put down, second, Rachel’s character, though obnoxious in the beginning  grows to maturity by the end(leading up to something special in the next installment, I hope.) and third Kim Harrison’s book are always entertaining and each plot gets better and better.  If you are looking for a new series to start, I HIGHLY recommend you start The Hollows.