Book talk: Entertaining recent releases

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This week, Michael Popple reviews three entertaining recent releases to read by the heater this winter. You can find more of Michael’s book reviews on his blog: unseenlibrary.com

The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence

Harper Voyager, $32.99

On Abeth, tribes scrape a living on the ice that has frozen much of the planet. There is little room for variation on the ice, and those who stand out are thrown into the Pit. When Yaz, a young girl with power, ends up down the Pit, she discovers a vast new world under the ice, which is both beautiful and extremely dangerous. This an outstanding and complex fantasy/science fiction hybrid, that serves as the first book in an intriguing new series. Lawrence crafts together an intense and captivating tale, which takes place in an elaborate setting. A very impressive read.

The Viennese Girl by Jenny Lecoat

Allen & Unwin, $29.99

June 1940. The German army takes the Channel Island of Jersey unopposed. Jewish refugee Hedy finds herself trapped on the island with no option of escape. Forced to work for the Nazis, Hedy does all she can to hide her status and survive. But will the relationship she forms with German officer Kurt Neumann be her salvation, or her downfall? This is a powerful debut by Jenny Lecoat, which is based on a remarkable true story. Filled with drama, romance, tragedy, great characters and a fascinating historical setting, The Viennese Girl is a fantastic book that comes highly recommended.

Lionheart by Ben Kane

Orion, $32.99

Ferdia is the son of an Irish lord, who was taken hostage by King Henry II of England. Raised at an English castle, one day he saves the life of the King’s son Richard, becoming his squire. Drawn to Richard’s charisma and bravery, he follows him into war. However, when Richard’s brothers plot against him, Ferdia finds himself in the midst of a bitter conflict for the throne. This is a compelling read that weaves an action-packed narrative around the early life of King Richard the Lionheart. An incredible novel from one of the world’s best historical fiction authors.

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