September 14, 2017

Off the Page by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

Title:  Off the Page
Author:  Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
Pages:  359
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Series:  Between the Lines, Book 2

Synopsis:  Meet Oliver, a prince literally taken from the pages of a fairy tale and transported into the real world. Meet Delilah, the girl who wished Oliver into being. It’s a miracle that seems perfect at first. Sure, Oliver doesn’t know that you shouldn’t try to open your locker with a dagger or that there’s no such thing as “the ruler” of the local mall. But he also looks at Delilah as if she’s the only girl in the world --- the only girl in any world --- and Delilah can’t help feeling that being with him is a dream come to life.

But not every story can have a happy ending. Because the book wants Oliver back. And it will turn both worlds upside down to get him.

Oliver and Delilah will have to decide what --- and who --- they’re willing to risk for love and what it really means for a fairy tale to come true.

Review:  This book was a nice, happy ending to a fun YA series.  I can't say I'll be keeping these books, but I am glad I read them.

Rating:  6.5 / 10

September 7, 2017

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

Title:  Between the Lines
Author:  Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
Pages:  352
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Series:  Between the Lines, Book 1

Synopsis:  What happens when happily ever after ... isn't?

Delilah hates school as much as she loves books. In fact, there's one book in particular she can't get enough of. If anyone knew how many times she has read and re-read the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially the popular kids, she'd be sent to social Siberia forever.

To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there's a handsome (well, okay, hot) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there's something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they're from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?
"And how do you know that you're not part of a story book?  That someone's not reading your story right now?"
Review:  A book where the characters are real.  This is like The NeverEnding Story set in modern times and with a twist.  The prince from the fairy tale wants to come to the real world.  How much fun is that?  It's a whole lot of fun and the story has plenty of memorable characters.

While this is not my favorite of Ms. Picoult's books, it is a good read and it's very nice that she co-wrote it with her daughter.

Rating:  7 / 10

September 5, 2017

The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Title:  Firebrand
Author:  Marion Zimmer Bradley
Pages:  605
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Series:  None

Synopsis:  Blending archaeological fact and legend, the myths of the gods and the feats of heroes, Marion Zimmer Bradley breathes new life into the classic tale of the Trojan War - reinventing larger-than-life figures as living people engaged in a desperate struggle that dooms both the victors and the vanquished, their fate seen through the eyes of Kassandra - priestess, princess, and passionate woman with the spirit of a warrior.

Review:  Ms. Bradley is at her best in a novel like this one.  From King Priam to Helen of Troy, from Agamemnon to Odysseus, all of the characters are so life-like and so realistic.  It's like you are there in Troy when the Gods and men brought down the greatest city of the time.

Akhilles is no hero.  He is a spoiled, rotten, horrible person.  Helen of Troy is a women whose fate had been decreed by the Gods.  She is their pawn in the great game to destroy Troy.  Kassandra, the main character, has had visions of blood, fire and death from the time she was a very young girl.  Her 'gift of sight' was tempered with a curse -- no one who heard her prophecies would believe them.

The novel does not end in Troy.  It continues on into Mycenae and beyond, following Kassandra and her story.

Exciting and enchanting, with plenty of gory war scenes, this book is nearly impossible to put down.  In the author's postscript, she mentions that The Iliad makes no mention of Kassandra's fate.  She goes on to say:

"However, tablet #803 in the Archaeological Museum in Athens reads as follows:

ZEUS OF DODONA, GIVE HEED TO THIS GIFT
I SEND YOU FROM ME AND MY FAMILY -
AGATHON SON OF EKHEPHYLOS,
THE ZAKYNTHIAN FAMILY,
CONSULS OF THE MOLOSSIANS AND THEIR ALLIES,
DESCENDED FOR 30 GENERATIONS
FROM KASSANDRA OF TROY"

I do not know if the tablet actually exists or not.  After reading this novel, I hope that Kassandra did indeed survive to have a family after the fall of Troy.

Rating:  10 / 10
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