The Great Hunt (The Eurona Duology #1)

The Great Hunt

By Wendy Higgins

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eARC -I received this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

This title was published March 8, 2016 and is available in Hardcover, Kindle, and Audible formats

Goodreads synopsis:
““Aerity…” Her father paused as if the words he was forming pained him. “I must ask you to sacrifice the promise of love for the sake of our kingdom.”

She could only stare back, frozen.

When a strange beast terrorizes the kingdom of Lochlanach, fear stirs revolt. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity knows her duty to the kingdom but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger…until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. There’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the perilous secrets he’s buried begin to surface.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.”

I have read Wendy’s Sweet Evil series and was happy to devour some more of her words. As a fan of Disney’s Brave with an Outlander obsession, this book immediately caught my attention. A strong princess of the Highlands with archery skills and a love of acrobatics is exactly the kind of character I would dream of being.

When a horrendous beast starts killing off the inhabitants of the kingdom of Lochlanach, the king declares a hunt to bring down the beast and return the kingdom to safety. As you can imagine, people require an incentive for risking their lives. In exchange for killing the beast, the king offers the hand of his eldest daughter, Princess Aerity. Hunters come from near and far for the princess and to search for the monster of course. However, it is one of the local hunters that catches Princess Aerity’s attention, whether he wants it or not. The handsome and brooding lad keeps the strong willed princess on her toes.

In a land where magic is forbidden, strange things start happening and it isn’t long before everyone starts to realize that the beast lurking in the night may not be the only enemy. This tale of magic, secrets, and far away places definitely stirred my appetite for fantasy and I can’t wait to read the sequel!

Are you a fan of Brave? Have you read any of Wendy’s other books?

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The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia

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Fleming, C. (2014). The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia. New York, NY: Schwartz & Wade.

978-0375867828

Hardcover-$18.99 (Barnes & Noble)

This title is also available in Kindle, Audible, and CD formats

Awards: Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, Robert F. Siebert Honor Book, YALSA-ALA Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction Finalist

 

Honestly, I prefer to read non-fiction. I like knowing what is going on in the world. Eventually I’d like to be a chaplain in the military so I read a lot of books about religion and history. -Chris L., age 18

A true story of the Romanov family and the struggles of Imperial Russia.

Tsar Nicholas Romanov was the leader of Imperial Russia during the 1900s. Nicholas spent most of his time cloistered away with his family (a wife, four daughters, and a son), completely ignoring the needs and suffering of his people. While the author discusses the turmoil of society leading to a revolution, we are drawn to the eccentricity of this family. The Tsar’s young son battled hemophilia with the aid of the notably evil and mysterious monk, Rasputin, who also provided counsel to the Tsarina. The lack of an adequate leader pushed the country toward civil unrest and the Romanov family met their untimely demise.

If you enjoy history and conspiracies, or just loved the movie Anastasia, this book is for you. Fleming’s book is an award-winning account of the Romanov family and it provides a great way to build on the information learned about the Romanovs in World History classes. It has a lot of mystery and intrigue, and while still being factual, it does not read like a textbook. It artfully illustrates the decline of the family, as well as the hardships faced by society. School Library Journal lists the book as being for grades 9 and up, but I feel that it would be easy enough for a mature 7th grader to read it if it was a subject that he or she were interested in.

Watch this National Geographic documentary to find out more about the Romanov family

The Alchemist’s Daughter (Bianca Goddard Mysteries #1)

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Lawrence, M. (2015). The Alchemist’s Daughter. New York, NY: Kensington.

978-1617737107

Paperback-Per FTC guidelines, I received this book free of charge as part of a giveaway. All opinions are my own.

This title is also available in Kindle format

A young woman in 16th Century London attempts to solve a murder while trying to clear her own name.

Bianca Goddard is the daughter of a lowly alchemist in Tudor London. She owns an alchemy shop selling various medicinal tonics and rat poison that she creates using her knowledge of herbs and plants. When a companion suddenly turns up dead, Bianca becomes the Constable’s lead suspect. With the help of some unlikely friends, Bianca works hard to solve the mysterious murder and clear her name while dodging local law enforcement before she becomes the next victim.

Mary Lawrence did a great job depicting the poorer side of 16th century London. I enjoyed this book because it focused on the dingy slums of London, rather than most books that spend more time highlighting the royal family. It is dramatic, intriguing, and who can resist a good murder mystery? I would recommend this book because it has a strong, intelligent female lead with a cadre of interesting sidekicks and Lawrence does an excellent job of portraying the time period. It is more suited for a high school audience or older and would be appropriate for a high school library or historical fiction section of a public library. This book is going to be part of a series about Bianca Goddard, so look out for the sequel!

Watch this interview that Mary Lawrence did with WCSH6 Portland

Lord of the Flies

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Golding, W., & Epstein, E. L. (1954). Lord of the flies: A novel. New York, NY: Perigee.

ISBN-13: 978-0399501487

Mass Market Paperback-$6.49 (Amazon)

This title is also available in Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audible, CD

Awards: 1983 Nobel Prize in Literature

 

A group of young boys try to survive after being stranded on an island with no adults.

Lord of the Flies is a classic tale of a group of schoolboys that get stuck on a remote island when their plane gets shot down while trying to evacuate them from Britain during a war. Ralph is voted the leader of the group and tries to maintain some organization while waiting to get rescued. He assigns Jack to be in charge of the team to hunt and gather food for the boys. The boys become divided and create their own groups. Jack’s need for power drives him to manipulate the other boys and eventually takes over leadership while encouraging their cruelty toward the weaker characters. The boys start out with a shaky moral compass and quickly give in to their savage nature and descend into anarchy.

Lord of the Flies is often considered a cult classic. Golding wrote the book after being heavily influenced by his time in the Royal Navy during WWII. The book is actually a great analogy for navigating high school because the boys represent different groups or cliques and how they interact with each other. I would highly recommend this book because it is a great depiction of society. Lord of the Flies signifies the importance of standing up for yourself, your morals, and those who can’t stand up for themselves. It also teaches people not to give into peer pressure. This novel would fit well in junior high or high school academic libraries, as well as the Fiction or Young Adult sections of a public library. Although it primarily appeals to a Young Adult audience, it is a novel that can be enjoyed by adults as well.