Can’t-Wait Wednesday: The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier

Series: Warrior Bards #1

Published by Ace

Publishing date: September 3

Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis: A young woman is both a bard–and a warrior–in this thrilling historical fantasy from the author of the Sevenwaters novels.

Eighteen-year-old Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart, and a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan’s burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. She and her brother train there to compete for places, and find themselves joining a mission while still candidates. Their unusual blend of skills makes them ideal for this particular job, which requires going undercover as traveling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies.

Their mission: to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship, which has gone mysteriously missing. If the instrument is not played at the upcoming coronation, the candidate will not be accepted and the people could revolt. Faced with plotting courtiers and tight-lipped druids, an insightful storyteller, and a boorish Crown Prince, Liobhan soon realizes an Otherworld power may be meddling in the affairs of the kingdom. When ambition clashes with conscience, Liobhan must make a bold decision and is faced with a heartbreaking choice. . . .

……………………………

I’ve read a number of Juliet Marillier’s books and am excited she’s started a new series!

WWW Wednesday: May 3

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Taking on a World of Words. The idea is to answer the three questions below. For more information check out the Taking on a World of Words blog.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi (Science Fiction, Space Opera) — I’m listening to the audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton. I’ve just started it and I’m loving it!

Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier (Fantasy) — Another book I’ve barely started, but I loved the first two books in this series. Blackthorn and Grim are such good characters.

Recently finished

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #1) Science Fiction, Time Travel — Lots of action. So fun to read.

Watching the Detectives by Julie Mulhern (Country Club Mysteries #5) Historical Mystery, Cozy [NetGalley–publishing date, May 23] — This is one of my favorite mystery series and the series just gets better and better.

Reading next (perhaps–I’m very much a mood reader!)

Hunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima (Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #3) Mystery, Police Procedural

A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #2) Science Fiction, Time Travel

What books are you reading, want to read or have read?

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Waiting on Wednesday: March 30

I’m participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m looking forward to in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.

 

den-of-wolvesDen of Wolves by Juliet Marillier

Series: Blackthorn & Grim series #3

Publication Date: November 1

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Feather bright and feather fine, None shall harm this child of mine…

Healer Blackthorn knows all too well the rules of her bond to the fey: seek no vengeance, help any who ask, do only good. But after the recent ordeal she and her companion, Grim, have suffered, she knows she cannot let go of her quest to bring justice to the man who ruined her life.

Despite her personal struggles, Blackthorn agrees to help the princess of Dalriada in taking care of a troubled young girl who has recently been brought to court, while Grim is sent to the girl’s home at Wolf Glen to aid her wealthy father with a strange task—repairing a broken-down house deep in the woods. It doesn’t take Grim long to realize that everything in Wolf Glen is not as it seems—the place is full of perilous secrets and deadly lies…

Back at Winterfalls, the evil touch of Blackthorn’s sworn enemy reopens old wounds and fuels her long-simmering passion for justice. With danger on two fronts, Blackthorn and Grim are faced with a heartbreaking choice—to stand once again by each other’s side or to fight their battles alone…

………………………………………

Why I want this book

  • This sounds really interesting. The synopsis reminded me a little of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe–probably because of the WWII setting.
  • Beautiful cover
  • I’ve read the first two books in this series and am very excited to read this book.

What about you? Is there some book you are waiting impatiently for?

Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier

tower-of-thornsTower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier
Series: Blackthorn & Grim #2
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Setting: Ancient Ireland
Published by Roc, 2015
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: Nov 3, 2015)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
448 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Disillusioned healer Blackthorn and her companion, Grim, have settled in Dalriada to wait out the seven years of Blackthorn’s bond to her fey mentor, hoping to avoid any dire challenges. But trouble has a way of seeking out Blackthorn and Grim.

Lady Geiléis, a noblewoman from the northern border, has asked for the prince of Dalriada’s help in expelling a howling creature from an old tower on her land—one surrounded by an impenetrable hedge of thorns. Casting a blight over the entire district, and impossible to drive out by ordinary means, it threatens both the safety and the sanity of all who live nearby. With no ready solutions to offer, the prince consults Blackthorn and Grim.

As Blackthorn and Grim begin to put the pieces of this puzzle together, it’s apparent that a powerful adversary is working behind the scenes. Their quest is about to become a life and death struggle—a conflict in which even the closest of friends can find themselves on opposite sides.

Initial impressions

  • I love this series! So happy to read more about Blackthorn and Grim.

Cheers

  • When I first heard about the thorns around the tower I thought of Sleeping Beauty. And the book has a little of that vibe.
  • We find out a lot more about Grim in this book. I really like him. He’s steadfast and loyal and smart–though he and many others don’t think so. He’s used to himself and others thinking he’s stupid.
  • Blackthorn is very troubled through much of this book. Both Blackthorn and Grim still have a long journey before they are healed–if they can heal. During a lot of the book they keep secrets from each other.
  • As the book opens Blackthorn and Grim are quite content with their lives in Winterfalls, but, of course, that changes quickly.
  • First, Blackthorn and Grim travel to court to spend the summer with Prince Oran and his wife. Flidais is pregnant with her first child and wants Blackthorn there to make sure all goes well.
  • Then, Lady Geiléis comes to court and requests help. A monster is creating havoc in her land–constantly crying and howling everyday from a tower on an island in the middle of a river. This causes a blight on the land and the people. She has tried to drive the monster away, but the tower is surrounded by an impassable barrier of thorns.
  • Lady Geiléis wants someone–Blackthorn–to travel back to her home with her to help break the curse which apparently can only be broken at Midsummer.
  • We know pretty much from the beginning Lady Geiléis isn’t entirely truthful, but it’s not until the end of the book we find out exactly what she withholds.
  • Blackthorn doesn’t want to go at first, but ultimately decides to.
  • Blackthorn has also met an old friend from her childhood who had introduced her to her husband. They were all rebels and had similar beliefs. She thought he was dead so is overjoyed to see him again and talk about old times.
  • I like that the characters are well-rounded. They have good and bad in them. That makes for a more complex story.
  • There’s a hint of romance in this book and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Jeers

  • I never got a real idea who Lady Geiléis is. Blackthorn questions some of her actions, but we never get any real answers about some of her actions and character.

And a few thoughts . . .

  •  So happy to read the second book in the series. Even though I had questions about Lady Geiléis I still enjoyed this book a lot and look forward to the next book.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Juliet Marillier has been a full-time writer for about twelve years, after working as a music teacher and public servant. She was born in Dunedin, New Zealand – the most Scottish city outside Scotland itself – but now lives in Western Australia. Juliet’s novels combine historical fiction, folkloric fantasy, romance and family drama. The strong elements of history and folklore in her work reflect her lifelong interest in both fields. However, her stories focus above all on human relationships and the personal journeys of the characters.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge