REVIEW | Ryan GRAUDIN: Wolf by Wolf

wolf ryan graudin

Little, Brown Books | 9780316405126
Amazon
My rating: Rating: ★★★★½

WOLF BY WOLF
Ryan Graudin

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Code Name Verity meets Inglourious Basterds in this fast-paced novel from the author of The Walled City.
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball.
Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele’s twin brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

review
When I heard about this novel, read the blurb, I immediately thought “this can be a flop to-kill-all-the flops-of-this-world or a great, one-of-a-kind, novel”. The historical period in which it is set, the Second World War, is one of those I always struggles with because of the atrocities done under the Third Reich. I don’t tend to search for books, movie, etc. that have that period as a subject. I always try to keep in mind the pain that has been inflicted in those years, because it is right to remember and not forget, but I don’t want to read or watch something that can only scratch the surface of what people suffered then. They can only fall short, you know. I am not saing that some book or film hasn’t done them some justice but I feel it isn’t enought, you know? How can anything be enought? Anyway…returning to Wolf by Wolf.
This novel has the right amount of fantasy elements and aims primarily on the adventurous part to allow me to detach from the realistic events described. Not only that but it was able to keep me engaged from start to end. This book, in fact, is a kind of dystopian novel because, although based on a world that is ours, thanks to something that happened differently from the history we know, things have changed drastically. What’s different from a common dystopian book is that the story of Wolf by Wolf does not happen in an hypothetical future but in the past of 1944-56. The author manages to imagine a what-if that terrifies me at the sole thought… the victory of Hitler and the establishment of its ideologies in the majority of the world, with the USA that keeps apart for fear that Hitler may turn his gaze on its conquest.
The author manages a story that takes the reader on an adventure that can be compared to the one in Hidalgo (a movie with Viggo Mortensen if the name of the movie doesn’t sound any bell to you), Balto (again see movie), Kevin of the North and so on … stories of life and death, full of twists, extreme situations, fights for life and so on. It is a motorcycle race the focal point of the adventure in Wolf by Wolf, one the MC has to win…

The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler.

Yael is the MC and a jewish girl who barely survived the death camp where she and her mother where imprisoned when she was six. During that time she became Experiment 85 and was subjected to painful injections that had the purpose of altering her appearance (like changing the color of her eyes from brown to blue and such). They never could have expected the experiment to be so successful. Yael, in fact, learns to change completely her look and, after having lost all that she held dear, she manages to excape from the camp assuming the aspect of the commander’s doughter. After that, Yael finds herself alone in a world that she is not prepared to confront. Fortunately, it is in that moment that she stumbles upon the resistance, people who are trying to subvert Hitler’s rule and that bring her in providing a new, albeit undercover, home.

Yael becomes the secret weapon they were waiting for. The last hope of the revolutionary group. Indeed, thanks to the unexpected victory of a girl, Adele Wolfe, in the previous edition of the Axis Tour -this motorcycle race where the best German and Japanese young males compete for supremacy (a race born to show the superiority of the Aryan race)- Yael has the possibility to replace her in the new race that will be held. By winning the Tour she can have the opportunity to approach and kill the Führer, putting an end to his dictatorship. Obviously, the job is not so easy. In addition to all the other participants, who will try to maim her if not kill (yeah, it is that bad), there is Adele’s twin brother to keep away as much as possible. And the memories. All the wolves she has to avenge, and that keep her company during the journey, will add to what Yael has to face to win the most important challenge of her life.

wolf-by-wolf-graudin

REVIEW | Christy CARLYLE: One Scandalous Kiss (Accidental Heirs #1)

 One Scandalous Kiss (Accidental Heirs #1) by Christy Carlyle
Rating: ★★★½☆
Publisher Avon Impulse
ISBN/ASIN 9780062428004
B00V3MGEOA
Prezzo € 1.99 ebook
€ 6.99 paperback
Pagine 432
Uscita 8 september 2015 ebook
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One Scandalous Kiss
Christy Carlyle

Accidental Heirs #1

When a scheming marquess’ daughter offers her one hundred pounds to publicly kiss a nobleman, a desperate Jessamin Wright agrees. She believes the money will save her failing bookstore and finally free her from her father’s debts. But when Jess bursts into an aristocratic party and shocks the entire ton, she never expects to enjoy the outrageous embrace she shares with a grim viscount.

Lucius Crawford, Viscount Grimsby, has never met, or kissed, anyone like the beautiful suffragette who unsettles him with a single touch. He has always strived for control and avoided passion at all costs. Lucius is determined to protect his title and restore the estate he’s unexpectedly inherited, but Jess’ appearance in his life poses a threat to his plans and his heart. After a country house party brings them together once more, neither can resist temptation, and both find that one scandalous kiss just isn’t enough.

review
Because of a kiss started for the wrongest of motives, Jess and Lucius find a true and profound love. (I cannot say I wouldn’t want a Lucius for myself…I do love the brooding types that smile only for me. 😉 )

This book is one of those you need to savor. It is slow paced and full of feelings. It’s also set in a period of which authors don’t write enough. Jessamin, in fact, is a suffragette who writes speeches for meetings and, at the same times, tries to make ends meet with a bookshop that her father has left heavily indebted because of his gambling addiction. When a Lady offers a hundred pounds for a stolen kiss to a Lord Grim(sby) because she feels rejected by him (in a childish and seflish way if you ask me) Jess, desperate to save the shop, rashly accepts… and in so doing starts a series of events to which no one would have thought.
I really enjoyed Christy Carlyle’s style of writing. I found it perfect for the time she is speaking about, “fluent” and rich. I liked all her characters too, the likeable ones and the ones not so much (I couldn’t stand his sister and I would have slapped her a time or two…or three XD). Even if the story is not perfect, many can say it is too slow, for me it was a very good “first read” from this new author. The perfect book to read when you want something that can soothe your mind and engage your feelings.

REVIEW | Tiffany CLARE: Desire Me Now (Desire Me, #1)

 Desire Me Now by Tiffany Clare - Avon Impulse
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Rating: ★★★½☆
Publisher Avon Impulse
ISBN 9780062380425
B00MMG18XI
Price $ 1.99 ebook
$ 4.99 paperback
Pages 288
Out 09 june 2015
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He charged out of the darkness to her rescue . . .
Amelia Grant has just escaped her lecherous employer with nothing but the clothes on her back. In the predawn hours of London, a horse and carriage come barreling down on her, and a stranger rushes to her aid, sweeping her off her feet . . .
There is something dark and dangerous about Nicholas Riley. With eyes gray like flint and hard as steel, he’s unusual … beautiful. The intensity behind his gaze makes her feel like the only person in the world. And then he whispers . . .
“I want your complete surrender.”

review
When I decided to read Desire Me Now I was expecting something more…errr…different (ok, kinky). Something that would go beyond the boundaries of the classic historical romance book. The cover made me think it would be more daring, an erotic romance with, maybe, some BDSM in the mix. Instead I found a classic historical romance set in 1881. I’m not saying that it’s boring or bad written or insipid. Desire Me Now is a well written, interesting and probably more sexy than the average story but there isn’t really much difference from other books of the same genre. That said, in the whole I really enjoied the book.
Speaking of the MCs. I liked Nick, he is a very good male character for a romance book. He is sexy and with that bit of dark past and rough appearance that makes your heart bit faster. However, sometimes I felt like he went from rascal to committed too fast. Amelia too is a good character, she was more in line with her behavior but for me she too surrendered to his seduction without putting up much of a fight (ok, I wouldn’t make him work too much for it too…he could well be everyones dream man, you know). Anyway.
The book ends with a bit of a cliffhanger because Amelia and Nick story is far from closed. Many things are still open and if you don’t like to read a book without a proper ending maybe it is better if you wait november when the third and (I hope…because I want to know how it ends not because it’s not good) last part of this series will be out.

The next books in the series:
 Desire Me More (Desire Me #2) by Tiffany Clare  Desire Me Always (Desire Me #3) by Tiffany Clare

R: The Paper Magician di Charlie N. Holmberg – The Paper Magician Trilogy 1

Paper Magician Charlie Holmberg
Rating: ★★★½☆
Editore 47North
ISBN 9781477823835 paperback
Pagine 224
Prezzo $ 10.99/ € 7.50 paperback
$ 5.14/ € 4.10 kindle ebook
Uscita 1 settembre 2014
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Paper Magician
Charlie N. Holmberg

The Paper Magician Trilogy #1

Ceony Twill arriva al cottage del Mago Emery Thane con il cuore spezzato. Dopo aver conseguito la laurea al top della sua classe alla Scuola Praff Tagis per i Magicamente Inclinati, Ceony viene assegnata ad un periodo di apprendistato in magia della carta  nonostante il suo sogno sia quello di padroneggiare il fast-review-mediummetallo. Ma una volta che sarà legata alla magia della carta quella sarà la sua unica magia … per sempre.

Eppure gli incantesimi che Ceony impara sotto la guida dello strano ma gentile Thane risultano essere più meravigliosi di quanto avrebbe mai immaginato -animare creature di carta, portare storie alla vita attraverso immagini spettrali e anche leggere la fortuna. Ma mentre scopre queste meraviglie, Ceony impara anche che esistono straordinari pericoli legati alla magia proibita.

Un Asportatore -un praticante di magia oscura della carne- invade il cottege in cui Ceony vive con il suo maestro e strappa il cuore del Mago Thane dal suo petto. Per salvare la vita del suo insegnante, Ceony deve affrontare il mago malvagio e imbarcarsi in un’avventura incredibile che la porterà nelle camere del cuore ancora pulsante di Thane -e rivelarne l’anima.

review
Bene bene bene…che romanzo davvero carino! Mi ha messo di buon umore, non posso che dargliene merito. The Paper Magician (Il Mago della Carta) è originale, divertente e leggero. Mi ha ricordato un pò quei vecchi film della Disney che amavo guardare da piccola e che ancora oggi torno a guardare volentieri quando mi capita l’occasione (vedete Pomi d’ottone e manici di scopa di cui vi ho parlato non tanto tempo fa, guarda caso ;)) misto ad un romanzo dei Piccoli Brividi. Non è un romanzo per bambini, attenzione, la storia è per ragazzi/adulti ma ha elementi che portano un pò indietro nel tempo…ecco.
ranaLa magia di carta è, a mio parere, una genialata dell’autrice. Ceony deve imparare cosa questo comporti e il lettore con lei. Mentre quindi seguiamo le lezioni di Thane, sembra di vedere un maestro di origami che insegna al proprio pupillo l’arte delle pieghe della carta…ma con in più il potere di animare le sue creazioni, favoloso! Una bellissima creazione che accompagnerà la protagonista nella sua avventura e un cagnolino che Thane le regala al suo arrivo per farla sentire meno sola. Un cagnolino che si ripiega all’occorrenza e può essere infilato in borsetta. Comodo no?! 🙂
Nonostante una piccola scivolata dell’autrice, quando fa scontrare la protagonista con la sua nemesi…decisamente una scena forzata per gli scopi della storia, tutto il romanzo riesce a mantenere il lettore incuriosito e divertito.colomba
E non mancano scene un pò macabre che lo potrebbero far essere una buona lettura per Hallowen, dato che quando la trama dice che il mago oscuro strappa il cuore di Thane dal suo petto e Ceony tenta di salvarlo, iniziando per questo un viaggio piuttosto avventuroso all’interno delle sue cavità…bè, è letteralmente vero.
C’è infine una parte romantica che al momento è solo agli albori e si svolgerà meglio, credo, nel secondo romanzo, The Glass Magician.

Quote dal romanzo:
“Breathe” Ceony told the glider. It bucked beneath her like a wild bull. Ceony shrieked. Fennel (the paper dog) jumped onto the glider and growled. Ceony gripped the handholds and pulled them toward her. The glider arched its pointed nose upward and took off through the gap in the roof.”

English review:

Well well well…ok, sorry for the Maleficent introduction but, you know, with magic and all this stuff XD… anyway, what a really nice story! Today (and it’s monday) I started in a really good mood because of it. So thanks thanks thanks to the author. 😉
The Paper Magician is original and funny, with dark moods but light at the end of the tunnel. It reminded me a bit of those old Disney movies I loved watching as a child and still look when I get the chance (see Bedknobs and Broomsticks) mixed with a Goosebumps short novel, you know. It’s not a children’s novel, it’s for adults (and maybe YA) which has some good elements that bring you a little in the past.
The magic of paper is, in my opinion, the great idea of this author. Ceony must learn what this entails and the reader with her. Therefore, while we follow Thane’s lessons it seem to see an origami master at work, teaching his protege the art of paper folds… but with the power to animate his creations. Simply fabulous!
A beautiful creation that will accompany the hero in her adventure is a little dog that Thane gives her when she arrives at his home, to make her feel less alone. A dog that folds out when needed and can be tucked in your purse. Convenient, isn’t it?! 🙂
Despite a small slip of the author when Ceony first clash with her nemesis …it seemed to me a forced scene for the purposes of the story… the book manages to keep the reader intrigued and amused.
And there are also some gruesome scenes that might make a good read for Halloween, because when the story says that “the dark magician rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man” well, it’s literally true. Ceony’s journey will unfold in the very heart of Thane with really great description and a really good imagination from the author.
Finally, there is also a romantic side that is only at the beginning and will develope in the second novel “The Glass Magician”.