Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Nightborn (Thrones & Bones #2)

 Two weeks until Nightborn releases on July 14th! That's enough time to check out the first book, Frostborn, before picking up the sequel. Check out my review of the book below.

About the book:
From the author of "Frostborn" comes Book 2 in the acclaimed Thrones and Bones fantasy-adventure trilogy for fans of Lloyd Alexander and Brandon Mull. 

Karn Korlundsson is a gamer. "Not" a riddle solver. But in order to rescue his best friend, Thianna Frostborn, he will need to travel to the faraway city of Castlebriar (by wyvern), learn how to play a new board game called Charioteers (not a problem), decipher the Riddle of the Horn, and tangle with mysterious elves. 


Meet Desstra. She's in training to join the Underhand--the elite agents of the dark elves. When she crosses paths with Karn, she is not all that she appears to be. 


Everyone is chasing after the horn of Osius, an ancient artifact with the power to change the world. The lengths to which Karn will go in the name of friendship will be sorely tested. Who knew that solving a riddle could be so deadly? 


The novel includes instructions for playing the board game Charioteers. Visit ThronesandBones.com for additional games, maps, character profiles, and more!


Find it on:   Goodreads  Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Review:
I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

After reading Frostborn, the first Thrones and Bones book, I knew that I had to read Nightborn, the second book in the series. Lou Anders' world intrigued me, and I wanted to see where he would take readers next. Luckily for me, the publisher sent me a copy to review. (Click here to see my thoughts about Frostborn)

Readers can enjoy the second book in the series without reading the first book, but I wouldn't recommend it. Lou Anders sets the foundation of Karn and Thianna's friendship in the first book, and it is the main reason Karn is so adamant about saving his friend, especially since Thianna is very different from Karn.

Nightborn takes readers further away from Karn's home. We discover more of Anders' world, and see different cultures incorporated into the storyline. Readers also learn more of the world's history. There is even a timeline in the back of the book that breaks down the history.

The story opens up with new characters, and an interesting twist to the capture the flag game. Readers learn that this is the "final exam" for the characters, and Dessetra is not going to lose! When graduation comes, she is forced to go on a special mission before truly graduating and joining the Underhand. Karn, on the other hand, is adjusting to his new normal. He's now a local celebrity after the events that happened in Frostborn, and he is stepping up to be hauld of the farm. Too bad he is taken and forced on a mission to retrieve a special item and find his friend Thianna.

Just like in the first book, Karn and Thianna have "bad guys" that they have to defend themselves from. Anders again incorporates mythical characters, this time elves, as key characters in the story. But this time, the dark elves are going after the same horn that Karn and Thianna are.
  
Desstra was my favorite character in the story. She is cunning, and the way she thinks is similar to Karn's way of thinking. Unlike her counterpart, Tanthal who uses the people around him and isn't afraid to hurt or kill them, Desstra shows compassion and mercy. Desstra isn't perfect though. She befriends and then betrays Karn. But when Tanthal tells her that she has to kill him, she finally does what is right, even if it means giving up on her lifelong dream. I look forward to reading about her in the third book and seeing how Anders continues to shape her character.

The story is wrapped up completely by the end of the book, just like in the first book. It ends with the characters setting out to explore more of the world. Thianna hasn't found out the history of her mother, after all. Now she has a worthy travel companion. I am interested to see how important Karn's role will be in the third installment.

Anders created another board game, Charioteers, for Nightborn. Just as he did in Frostborn, instructions, pictures, and rules are included in the back of the book. Readers can create their own board and play just as the characters do.

All in all, Nightborn is an adventurous story that is fun to read. It is perfect for middle graders, teens, and even adults. There is action and mystery.  It shows how true friendship is meant to be.

About author Lou Anders:
Lou Anders's research on Norse mythology while writing Frostborn turned into a love affair with Viking culture and a first visit to Norway. He hopes the series will appeal to boys and girls equally.

Anders is the recipient of a Hugo Award for editing and a Chesley Award for art direction. He has published over 500 articles and stories on science fiction and fantasy television and literature.

Frostborn, which Publishers Weekly described as “thoroughly enjoyable” (starred review), is his first middle grade novel. A prolific speaker, Anders regularly attends writing conventions around the country. He and his family reside in Birmingham, Alabama. 

You can visit Anders online at louanders.com and ThronesandBones.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @ThronesandBones



 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Frostborn (Thrones & Bones #1) review



About the book:
Meet Karn. He is destined to take over the family farm in Norr√łngard. His only problem? He’d rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones.

Enter Thianna. Half human, half frost giantess. She’s too tall to blend in with other humans but too short to be taken seriously as a giant.

When family intrigues force Karn and Thianna to flee into the wilderness, they have to keep their sense of humor and their wits about them. But survival can be challenging when you’re being chased by a 1,500-year-old dragon, Helltoppr the undead warrior and his undead minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, and an assortment of trolls and giants.


Review:
A couple of weeks ago Lou Anders was on the blog discussing the many elements that are incorporated in his book Frostborn. Now it's time to reveal my thoughts about the book...

My first thought before starting the book was, "A middle grade adventure book? O yes, I'm up for it!"

Kids (or adults) who claim that reading is boring should pick up the Thrones & Bones series. The opening chapter has readers riding with Talaria on the back of a wyvern. But not just riding, trying to escape. With pursuers right on their tail, Talaria and the wyvern must dodge projectiles being shot at them. Will they come out of it alive?!

After the action packed first chapter, Lou Anders, calms the story down and introduces Karn, one of the main characters of the story. Readers soon discover that this boy has brains. After Karn, we meet Thianna who is brave. Since she is only half frost giant, she has a thirst to prove herself to the other full blooded frost giants.

Thianna and Karn meet when each of their dads take them along for a gathering between the Norr√łngard people and the frost giants. The two realize they don't have a lot in common, but are forced to survive together when  both run into each other while eascaping from separate evil foes. 

The story has multiple points of view. It is mostly told through Karn's and Thianna's viewpoints. I love how distinct each character's personality is. As they encounter obstacles on their journey, each one chooses to handle the situation their distinct way. For Thianna, it is physical, hands on, with a show of force. Karn, on the other hand, analyzes the situation and sees ways to outmaneuver an opponent to best him or her. You have brains and brawn with this duo!

The way both characters' situations are resolved are ingenious. Karn knows he won't be able to win in a physical fight, so he devises a plan to win another way. Thianna might be able to match her foes' physicality, but her enemies don't want her specifically, but rather something she has. With help from another character, the item won't be able to fall into her enemy's hands. 

By the end of the book, the plot line is wrapped up. Then Thianna decides to explore more of Lou Anders' world and takes off. Want to see what happens next, you have to pick up book two of the Thrones and Bones series, Nightborn.

All of the fantasy elements Anders incorporated in this book, made it fascinating. (You'll definitely check out his thoughts on creating Frostborn by checking out his post: Trolls, Dragons, and Draug... Oh My!) The book has no foul language and only very mild violence, so it is perfect for the middle grade target audience. It can also be enjoyed by boys and girls. I highly recommend it.

As an added bonus, Anders breaks down the Thrones and Bones game rules in the back of the book. There are illustrated examples of the game board and the moves each piece can make.  Readers can create their own game and actually play it with another player. 

But if you want a more digital gaming experience to go along with the story, check out the Knattleikr game!

About author Lou Anders:

Lou Anders's research on Norse mythology while writing Frostborn turned into a love affair with Viking culture and a first visit to Norway. He hopes the series will appeal to boys and girls equally.

Anders is the recipient of a Hugo Award for editing and a Chesley Award for art direction. He has published over 500 articles and stories on science fiction and fantasy television and literature.

Frostborn, which Publishers Weekly described as “thoroughly enjoyable” (starred review), is his first middle grade novel. A prolific speaker, Anders regularly attends writing conventions around the country. He and his family reside in Birmingham, Alabama. 

You can visit Anders online at louanders.com and ThronesandBones.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @ThronesandBones

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Tale of Willaby Creek releases today!

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Welcome to the release event for The Tale of Willaby Creek by Victoria Lindstrom! This is a middle grade adventure fantasy that has just released! 

About the Book: 

A magical tale of amazing sacrifice...

When a violent windstorm strikes an enchanted rain forest many of the woodland creatures of Willaby Creek are stranded, injured, or lost forever to the frenzied force of the tempest. Basil, a black bear full of doubt and fear, becomes the unlikely leader to head the woodland creatures' rescue. He is joined by Daphne, a spunky blue dryad; Oliver, a wise horned owl; Elbert, a noble elk; and a host of other creatures that inhabit the enchanted rain forest.

Dangerous twists and turns in this animal adventure fantasy cause Basil to discover a courage, and a conviction, he never knew he had. The answers to the ancient mysteries in this magical tale emerge in an extraordinary finale under the tall timbers of the hidden hinterland.

Add to your Goodreads shelf
Buy from Amazon Hardcover   Amazon Kindle   Nook  
A note from author Victoria Lundstrom:
For seven years my husband and I owned a cabin on the shore of Lake Quinault, near Willaby Creek. We spent many weekends enjoying the beauty and tranquility of the Olympic National Forest. While there, we saw: Black bears, Roosevelt elk, eagles, herons, river otter, raccoons, one bobcat, and a host of other little critters.

In December 2006 the Hanukkah Eve Windstorm hit the Pacific Northwest causing severe damage to parts of the Olympic National Forest. One afternoon following the windstorm I wondered: What happened to all the animals? After that, a seed of the story that was to become The Tale of Willaby Creek tumbled into my mind.

As writers, we are told to write what we know; the setting for The Tale of Willaby Creek is definitely a familiar place to me!
Willaby Creek Falls


About the author:
VICTORIA LINDSTROM is a full-time writer, a voracious reader, and the author of the children's picture book, The Scandinavian Santa. She loves to wander through the woods, capture the beauty of Nature in photographs, and visit museums and fine art galleries. She and her husband, Michael, live near the shore of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest. You may visit Victoria at: www.victorialindstrom.com


Giveaway:
Enter to win one $50 Amazon gift card (INT), one hardcover copy of The Tale of Willaby Creek (US) and an ebook of The Tale of Willaby Creek (INT) as well as 3 bookmarks (US)





This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.