Honeyflower And Pansy, by Esmé James

honeyflowerHoneyflower And Pansy is the debut novel of Esmé James.  The story is billed as a teenage romance, but it is really so very much more. Despite the fact that the story’s author is only 18 years old, Honeyflower And Pansy is an emotional and satisfying read.  Perhaps some of the story problems come to a much more satisfying and tidy end then similar problems would in real life, but that is the nature of young adult fiction.

Amanda Daryl is an engaging and proactive character.  She is concerned with the welfare of her family, her friends, and her autistic little sister Sage. As such, Amanda takes steps to help each of them with their various predicaments.  She helps her friends plan a dance; she helps a drunk reclaim his life and his business; she helps her father raise her little sister Sage; she helps the community get a new school; and she helps the mysterious Tristan with a difficult good-bye.

Sage Daryl is presented very realistically in the story, the triumphs and challenges of being autistic shine with authenticity because Esmé James has an autistic sibling.  Clearly writing from her heart, James details the complex communication, fixation, and aversion/avoidance issues that face autistic children and their families, but she does so with a very deft touch, enlightening the reader without detracting from the main story.

Honeyflower And Pansy is a love story, but the primary focus of the story isn’t on Amanda and Tristan’s budding relationship, or on Amanda’s drive to secure a school for autistic children like Sage.  This is a love story about love, and how it can change a life, save a soul, and rebuild a community.

I rate this book a 4 on my 1 to 5 scale.  It looses one point only because from time to time Ms. James gets so caught up in “writing” that she forgets she is also storytelling.  Some of her lovely, lovely prose is actually too artistic, and interferes with comprehension.  I suspect several of her words were swept from a Thesaurus and used based on their formal definition rather than their colloquial meaning — or perhaps the occasional stiltedness is merely differing shades of connotation between Australian and American word usages.

Honeyflower And Pansy, by Esmé James is well worth the $2.99 Amazon purchase price.  I look forward to more offerings from this talented, young storyteller.

I was given a free copy of this novel in exchange for an unbiased review.

Attention Sherrilyn Kenyon Fans!

Right here on this blog you’ve read about, Born of Night, Born of Fire and Born of Ice, the three books in the League Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Now you can win a free audio copy of each!  Put Sherrilyn Kenyon in your iPod and carry her around in your pocket.

Not just one book, but audio downloads of all three books in the League Series, will be given to 20 lucky winners! Visit Audio Download Sweepstakes to enter.  No purchase is necessary and a purchase will not increase your chance of winning.

Born of Night

Command Assassin Nykyrian Quikiades once turned his back on the League—and has been hunted by them ever since. Though many have tried, none can kill him or stop him from completing his current mission: to protect Kiara Zamir, a woman whose father’s political alliance has made her a target.

As her world becomes even deadlier, Kiara must entrust her life to the same kind of beast who once killed her mother and left her for dead. Old enemies and new threaten them both and the only way they can survive is to overcome their suspicions and learn to trust in the very ones who threaten them the most: each other.

Born of Fire

Syn was raised as a tech-thief until his livelihood uncovered a truth that could end his life. He tried to destroy the evidence, and has been on the run ever since. Now trained as an assassin, he allows no one to threaten him. Ever. He is the darkness that swallows his enemies whole.

Shahara Dagan is the best bounty hunter in the universe. When Syn comes back on the radar, she’s the only one who can bring him to justice. There’s only one problem: Syn is a close family friend who’s helped out the Dagans countless times. But if she saves him, both of their lives will be on the line. Is Syn’s protection worth the risk? The only hope Shahara has is to find the evidence he buried long ago. Now it’s kill or be killed—and they, the predators, have just become the hunted…

Born of Ice

Devyn Kell spent his life in service to the League until he learned of the double dealing and backstabbing that was costing innocent people their lives. Refusing to play those politics, he became a Runner—someone who makes sure planets get the weapons, medicine and supplies they need to survive. May the gods have mercy on any who get in his way, because he definitely won’t.

Alix Garran is a woman on the run from a past she can’t escape. Signing on to work for Devyn as a System’s Engineer, she finds a cause she can fight for—and a man she can respect. But as Alix’s past catches up to her, and Devyn’s old enemies turn lethal, they have to fight together…or fall alone.

Sherrilyn Kenyon, Author of “The League”

Sherrilyn Kenyon is a talented author with an incredible imagination. She creates compelling characters in complex worlds and writes stories that keep readers on the edge of their seats.  Sherrilyn Kenyon earned her first recognition as a writer in third grade when she penned an essay in honor of her mother; she made her first professional sale at age 14; and  is credited for being one of the pioneers of Urban Fantasy.  Writing was her only career choice and she pursued it relentlessly while working many other jobs to help support her family.

From her website:
#1 New York Times bestselling author, Sherrilyn Kenyon lives a life of extraordinary danger… as does any woman with three sons, a husband, a menagerie of pets and a collection of swords that all of the above have a major fixation with. But when not running interference (or dashing off to the emergency room), she’s found chained to her computer where she likes to play with all her imaginary friends. With more than twenty million copies of her books in print, in over thirty countries, she certainly has a lot of friends to play with too. [more]

With over 20 million copies of her books in print in 30+ countries, I think it is safe to say that Sherrilyn Kenyon’s childhood dream has become reality, however it wasn’t easily achieved.  You can find Sherrilyn’s biography on her website.  Reading it will give you a glimpse into the psyche that created the complex worlds and characters of “The League.”

Born of Ice, Sherrilyn Kenyon

on sale
December 1st, 2009

Born of Ice is the third and final book in The League series.  I don’t know about you, but I am liking these so much I wish they wouldn’t end.  Still, whatever is next on the Kenyon horizon, I am positive it will be a good read.

You may also know Sherrilyn Kenyon as Kinley MacGregor.  You can follow Sherrilyn on Twitter, Facebook, and My Space.  Links to these sites and her fan club & newsletter can be found below the “author” tab on her website: Sherrilyn Kenyon.  You can also read an excerpt of Born of Ice there.  So what are you still doing here?  Go check it out!

Born of Fire, by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Born Of Fire,
the second book of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s, 
The League series,
debuts November 3rd, 2009.

What happens when the universe’s deadliest assassins find out that the government they’re working for is more heinous than any target they’ve ever been assigned? They band together and fight to see that justice is served. Syn, described as “the darkness that swallows his enemies whole”, has angered the powers-that-be and now they want him dead. Shahara is the bounty hunter set to bring Syn in, but his long standing friendship with her family gets in the way. Now Shahara is wanted, too, and it’s up to Syn to protect them both. If you liked, Born of Night, I know you’re waiting impatiently for Sherrilyn Kenyon’s, Born Of Fire. Sherrilyn Kenyon was the “reining queen of the paranormal genre” long before it ever went mainstream. Her stories are rough, gritty and emotional.

Read an excerpt from, Born of Fire.


Enter to Win a Free Book!

In celebration of the Born of Fire release, St. Martin’s press is holding a book sweepstakes!
Fifty (50) winners will receive a free copy of Born Of Fire! No purchase is necessary to win and making a purchase will not increase your chances of winning.

Tempted, by P.C. & Kristin Cast

Vampire lovers take note, St. Martin’s announces the newest release of the NYT’s best-selling author duo P.C. & Kristin Cast, Tempted from the House of Night Series. This mother-daughter writing team are a a major force in teen fiction, have over 3 million copies of their books in print and have a movie deal in the works.

Since I have not yet read this series, I went looking for reviews. They all rave:

“Move over, Stephenie Meyer.” –People on Hunted

“Zoey Redbird’s first-person adventures take on added danger and importance in the latest House of Night release. Forced by circumstance to grow up quickly, Zoey’s emotional and spiritual evolution is fascinating. The Cast duo breathes life and vibrancy into the characters and makes each one an integral part of the saga. Awesome and unforgettable as always!” —Romantic Times (4.5 stars) on Hunted

“The Cast duo has done it again! These ladies appear to be an unstoppable force within the world of YA literature… Teenage readers will be drawn to Zoey’s everyday, angst-riddled life. Not only does she need to save the world, Zoey needs to solve some major vampyre/human boy drama. These stories are surreal, yet shockingly accurate when it comes to teenagers and their lives.” –TeensReadToo.com (5 stars) on Hunted

“Teenage issues can seem like life or death, but in this haunting series, House of Night, that’s really the case. Through Zoey’s eyes readers are led into a world that’s getting more complicated by the minute, where friends and enemies can switch positions in a heartbeat. The remarkable Cast duo continues to build a world that you won’t soon forget!” –Romantic Times (4.5 stars) on Chosen

“This highly addicting series offers a unique twist on the standard vampyre story….These books will have the reader laughing hysterically and sobbing unreservedly –sometimes all at once.” –VOYA on both Marked and Betrayed

“Marked is one of the best coming of age stories to come out of Oklahoma since S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. It teaches about the beauty of being a social outcast, friendship, and finding your own inner spirituality.” –The Beltane Papers

“Readers will identify with many of the characters, especially the protagonist.” –Library Journal on Marked

Listen to Chapter One of, Tempted, on Audio.

Follow the House of Night Series on Facebook.