The cover of the e-book The Ganga Shift on a mobile phone next to a grey vase and a read burning candle

The Ganga Shift

Title: The Ganga Shift

Author: Mary Bernsen

Published: Parliament House Press, 2018

The Ganga Shift

Isabella hasn’t had an easy life and this has led her to jail. Because of her background and her limited ties to the outside world, she is chosen for a government funded experiment on gene mutation. Her body however doesn’t react on this treatment as expected and in order to provoke the correct response out of her body she is tossed into a dome together with a group of shifters, whose only goal is to make Isabella shift too – even if they kill her in the process.

My Thoughts

One of the first things I often do when starting a new book is consider the title. In some cases I research it. This was one of those cases. The Ganga Shift. I didn’t know what to put in the word Ganga. And I was also somewhat unsure about Shift. Maybe this stems from me not being a native English speaker, or maybe I am just unschooled in this topic. My research however quikly led me to Hinduism, which I found odd, and I actually sort of dismissed it and instead accepted that I would find out during my read. And I did. And I hadn’t been far off. This amazed me and at the same time it made me so happy! I found it very refreshing to have a different cultural background to this kind of story and I loved that Hinduism played a role in this story.

Throughout the story Isabella grows to face the challenge she is met with and her change is evident. She is a very headstrong character, who is not afraid of asking for help, when she needs it. She is genuine and stubborn, and I found her to be very different from anyone I have ever met/read about before.

Chase and Brayden – her cell mates – are a couple of fun types too. Chase is this calm and controlled being, who meditates and who is very independent. Brayden is anything but. He is a young man with practically no manners (according to Chase) and he is very animalistic. The book changes POV between these three characters which gives a very dynamic reading experience, and also muliple POVs are just brilliant, because it broadens the view of each character, since we both get to follow their own mindset, but we also know what others think about them, despite what comes out of their mouth.

I really loved the Ganga Shift

It was so different, and so spectacular and I seriously loved the Hindu approach. I loved that the main character was a vegetarian, and even though it didn’t play a major role, but were more a character treat, it mattered, because I like when authors challenge conservative tropes.

I loved the love triangle between our main characters, although I am not quite sure I buy into it. The ending was fresh and concise, and despite the fact that I felt there were a few situations that moved by quite fast, it was an altogether marvellous, enthralling and refreshing read that I highly recommend you read!

Should you read it?

My feeling is, that if you enjoyed stories like Twilight, The Hunger Games, Song of Blood and Stone etc. then you will probably also enjoy this one. If you enjoy a headstrong female lead, a small love triangle, sci-fi books on DNA-alteration and paranormal shifting stories, then this could very well be a story you would also enjoy! And if you on top of that also like a book filled with cultural references, then I am sure you will love this!

Thanks

I would like to thank Parliament Hous Press for letting me review a copy of this book! I have been eyeing it since they announced the cover reveal of this book in January and I am so glad that I finally got to read it, and that it was such an amazing experience!

The Kindle verison of Wildwood's cover in black and white

Wildwood

Author: Jadie Jones

Published: Parliament House, 2017

Series: The Hightower Trilogy

Wildwood

Tanzy is a young girl at around 18 years who lives with her mum, who prefers to stay indoors at home, and dad, who owns a horse farm named Wildwood, where he fully invests his time outside of the family. One day however, something terrible happens; Tanzy loses her father and is dragged in to a long period of sorrow where her mother retreats and leaves Tanzy to fight on her own. This is very tough to read about and Jones has written this exceptionally well! We feel the despair that Tanzy goes through and it is hard to see how she will ever pull through.

My Thoughts

Wildwood was an amazing page-turner and I was thoroughly consumed by Jones’ incredible story!

Tanzy is in many ways a very relatable character, I do however think, that she turns a little more than slightly annoying towards the end of the book. She misses vital and obvious clues that could help her on her way, and she sometimes act a lot younger than her age in that she reacts on pure emotion rather than rationally. This I felt was quite disturbing to my liking of her character. Despite this fact, I really loved the story! The ending left me a little deflated, since a lot of new things and characters were suddenly introduced, but I guess that is to be expected when there are more books in the series.

Jadie Jones has written a marvellous fantasy story that can appeal to a lot of different people. It is hard to know what will happen next, and Jones has created the feeling that the reader is just as lost as Tanzy is, when she is introduced to the bigger picture. It is hard to know who to believe. The story unfolds so deliberately that parts of it reminded me of how J.K. Rowling managed to weave in hints and plot twists in the Harry Potter series. Again, the only regrettable thing about this is how slow Tanzy is to pick up on these clues.
But I for one will be moving quickly on to the next in the series!

Should You Read It?

If you enjoy a good fantasy story that at the same time deals with universally human topics such as grief, this will probably be a good read for you. If you at the same time enjoy a book that leaves little hints to figure out the plot every now and then, then this book would be a good one for you to get your hands on. The story flows from page to page and I sincerely had a hard time putting it down, whenever I had to stop reading (you know, when life gets in the way and you have to go to work or eat dinner or sleep). More than once the book reminded me of the Harry Potter series – not in its use of magic at all, but in the way that Jadie Jones has built up her world and her story.

Thanks

I was kindly send this copy by the Parliament House in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

If you have become interested in this book, you can read more about Wildwood on Goodreads by clicking here.

Four books, here amongst A WIld and Unremarkable Thing, on a green background.

A Wild and Unremarkable Thing

Author: Jen Castleberry

Published: Parliament House, 2017

A WIld and Unremarkable Thing

A Wild and Unremarkable Thing is truly a remarkable story. My biggest fear while reading was that the book would not be long enough. And it wasn’t!

We follow Cody/Cayda, who has been trained by her father for the past fifteen years to be able to kill a Fire Scale; one of the dragons that come out every fifteenth year to mate. She has lived her life like a boy for just as long, because no girl could ever hope to claim the winning prize for slaying a Fire Scale.

The time finally comes for Cody/Cayda to begin her journey. Her father, who has been quite hard on her, lies injured at home, so she has to go alone. On her way to the town of Yurka she meets Penn, who accompanies her.

Meanwhile we also follow Fares, the crown prince, and Wolfe, his best friend, who decides that he will become a champion and slay a Fire Scale.

My Thoughts

The story is an incredible page-turner and from the moment you turn the first page you will have entered the spectacular world of A Wild and Unremarkable Thing, where you will find yourself until you turn the very last page.

I really found this story enthralling and I love the way Castleberry has woven her sentences together. It creates a dynamic read and keeps the story fast paced. Moreover, I enjoyed the multiple point of views that add a certain “layeredness” to the story, since we follow different people’s thoughts and actions.

Cody/Cayda is very easily loved and really brings a lot of character to the story. I hope there will be more to read about her some day. Despite being raised as a boy for the majority of her life, it seems that deep down she has no doubt that she is a girl, but she also knows that she will live her entire life as a boy/man if it means her family will be saved from poverty and her sisters can refrain from selling themselves to the men in town.

Penn is a mysterious character, but also easily liked. He is beyond fascinated with Cody/Cayda and it is very interesting to see the impact she has on him. Moreover, it is amazing to see his character unfold.

Wolfe is a silly character, but I really liked him too! He is the stereotypical “academic”, who doesn’t see that the world is different from how it seems to be in the books he always reads. He is persistent in his decision to become a champion even when his friends laugh at him. He doesn’t take any advice from others, but fully believes that the answer is in his book. Despite his stubborness, which could at times really annoy me, I really enjoyed his passages. Maybe this has partly to do with Fares, his friend, who was such a goof.

The characters were often quite superficial and normally that would bother me, but A Wild and Unremarkable Thing has this “fairytale”-like sense, which made it completely okay. I think.

My only complaint is that the book ended when it did. It felt too rushed, and I could have easily read an entire new book about what would happen next.

Should You Read It?

Well, yes. I would very much suggest that you read it if you enjoy a good fairytale or fantasy story. If you enjoy a good laugh while also being quite serious. It isn’t just this magical story about slaying dragons. It is also a powerful story, however slightly underplayed, about gender identity, family and friendship. And it is the story of doing the right thing no matter the costs and a story about proving one’s worth.

Furthermore, Castleberry writes marvelously and the various points of views make the story flow incredibly fast and easy. I loved this story and I will definitely read it again some day!

I sincerely hope this is not the last I will hear from Jen Castleberry!