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Showing posts from October, 2014


I started reading Forbidden  by Kimberly Griffiths Little a half hour before I was planning to go to bed thinking I could get several chapters read. After just one chapter, I had to stop because I knew if I kept reading there would be no be sleeping. It seemed like a book I wouldn't be able to put down. This was true. Not that I'm throughly in love with it, but it was hard to put down. Jayden is a young girl in a desert tribe, betrothed to the son of her tribe's King. She is destined to be a princess, but is repulsed by her future husband, Horeb. On the day the tribe is to move for the last time of the year, Jayden's mother goes into labor dying in the process. Her family is left to bury her mother and try to catch up to the rest of the tribe. After the burial a young man named Kadesh approaches Jayden and begs assistance. Injured and alone, Kadesh is taken in by Jayden's father and assists in the journey across the desert. The journey is full of hardship and hear

TTT: Books to Get Into the Halloween Spirit

Top Ten Tuesday  is a Meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish This week's TTT topic: Books to Get Into the Halloween Spirit My two FAVORITE Halloween reads, both Tam Lin retellings so the climax takes place on Halloween night: Books That Make Me Feel all Fall Like (Some creepy, others not):     And an extra one, because no one can forget their first experience of a Hogwart's Halloween Feast: What are some of your favorite reads this time of year?

Thrones and Bones: Frostborn

Fans of Norse legends and fantasy that incorporates that, Frostborn  by Lou Anders, the first book in the Thrones and Bones series, is for you. It is a fun, adventurous MG fantasy with wyverns, frost giants, barrows, and one very large dragon. Karn is the youngest child but only son of a hauld. One day all the responsibilities of the family farm will be his to be bear including the bothersome and boring art of trading. All Karn wants to do is work on his Thrones and Bones game, a strategy game similar to chess. He often plays himself working out new and inventive ways to win. Unfortunately, Karn isn't paying enough attention what is going on around him and doesn't realize that real life is a strategy game all its own, where someone has marked him as a pawn to be moved off the board. Tricked into awakening an old dead king trapped in a barrow, Karn is forced to flee for his life into the mountains. Thianna is half human and half frost giant. She is at constant war with herself

WoW: Crimson Bound

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill of  Breaking the Spine , that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat. Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on un

Empire of Shadows

Empire of Shadows  by Miriam Forster was a highly anticipated read of mine. I really enjoyed City of a Thousand Dolls  when I read it and could not wait for the companion novel which goes back about 20 years into the past of the Bihnian Empire and tells the story of an attempted with all sorts of intrigue. Mara is a Tiger Sune (yes, A TIGER) who is trained as a highly elite bodyguard. As a way to redeem herself after she commits a tragic crime, Mara dedicates her life to the protection of others. She must pledge herself to one specific person and protect that person's life with her own. She makes her way to the capital and meets many people along the way including a charming fabric seller named Emil. She also meets Revathi, a noblewoman, and her  fiancĂ©. Mara agrees to be Revathi's bodyguard until she decides to whom she will pledge her life of protection. Mara never transfers into her tiger form anymore and is, indeed, afraid to. She suddenly finds herself in the palace wher

Shorter Musings: MG Fantasy Series Starters

Here are some shorter musings reviews of several first books in new MG fantasy series that started this year. Ummm....most of them I'm not too excited about-two I outright hated. The Blood Guard  by Carter Roy The Blood Guard  will certainly have a vast amount of kid appeal, and I can see why. It is fast-paced, adventure packed, has both male and female protagonists, and a lot of twists that are going to take child readers by surprise. There wasn't much in it that set it apart from a lot of series starters I've read lately. It has a very video game type feel to it. There is quite a bit of violence, but none of it really matters because of plot twists. There is a dehumanizing factor to that I didn't like personally. Also the whole concept of the novel had me rolling my eyes quite a bit. 36 "pure" people who are just deep down good hearted and don't know it keep the world in balance and God from destroying it? What even. ETA: The what even is that this

Love and Other Foreign Words

Erin McCahan's Love and Other Foreign Words  is a novel I was excited to read. I had heard good things and I enjoyed most parts of her previous YA,   I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, particularly the writing and character development. Love and Other Foreign Words  had those aspects plus a storyline I as able to love more so I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  Synopsis: Can anyone be truly herself--or truly in love--in a language that's not her own? Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue -- the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancĂ© up. As battles are waged

TTT: Places Books Made Me Want to Visit

Top Ten Tuesday  is a Meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish This week's TTT topic: Places Books Made Me Want to Visit (Real or Fictional) Eddis and Attolia from The Queen's Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner I'm not saying I want to hang out in the court of the King and Queen of Attolia because that would be scary. But I would love to see the mountains and the dystopia. Also I like olives and wine quite a lot so YUM! And I wouldn't mind seeing the greatest monarch couple ever from a distance. A very very far distance. All the Restaurants, Patisseries, and Chocolatiers in Laura Florand's Amour et Chocolate Series If you haven't read these books, you can not quite comprehend the level of want in this. Florand's description of desserts is absolutely sinful and will have you weeping for the lack of artisan pastry and chocolate in regular town America. A trip to France to visit all these wonderful places would be the best trip ever. (The shop I

Tesla's Attic

One reason I really love being a Cybils panelist is that I am prompted to read so many books I might otherwise not choose to read. And many of them I end up liking. Tesla's Attic  by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman is one of these. While nothing ground-breaking or amazing, it is a good solid MG science-fiction novel, just the sort I love being able to recommend to kids.  Synopsis: After their home burns down, fourteen-year-old Nick, his younger brother, and their father move into a ramshackle Victorian house they've inherited. When Nick opens the door to his attic room, he's hit in the head by a toaster. That's just the beginning of his weird experiences with the old junk stored up there. After getting rid of the odd antiques in a garage sale, Nick befriends some local kids-Mitch, Caitlin, and Vincent-and they discover that all of the objects have extraordinary properties. What's more, Nick figures out that the attic is a strange magnetic vortex, which attracts a

Maid of Secrets

I probably would have skipped Maid of Secrets  by Jennifer McGowan completely if it weren't for Shae singing its praises so loudly. And that would have been so sad because this is a fun and exciting beginning to what I hope is a five book sequence. (I know that it has a sequel and another book scheduled for 2015. But that will still leave my TWO FAVORITES without books. They better get books.) Synopsis: Orphan Meg Fellowes makes her living picking pockets—until she steals from the wrong nobleman. Instead of rotting in prison like she expected, she’s whisked away to the court of Queen Elizabeth and pressed into royal service, where she joins four other remarkable girls in the Maids of Honor, the Queen’s secret society of protectors. Meg’s natural abilities as a spy prove useful in this time of unrest. The Spanish Court is visiting, and with them come devious plots and hidden political motives. As threats to the kingdom begin to mount, Meg can’t deny her growing attraction to on

Cybils Nominations

Nominations for the Cybils has been open for a week. There is still a week left to nominate. If you haven't nominated yet, here are some books that haven't been nominated yet in the category for which I'm a panelist. Links to Goodreads. *Eligible Books Published Between October 16, 2013 and October 15, 2014 in US and Canada Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction: Dreamwood  by Heather McKay Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma Trevayne Game Over Pete Watson  by Joe Schreiber Horizon  by Jenn Reese Mindscape  by M.M. Vaughan Moonkind  by Sarah Prineas Nightmares!  by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller Pennyroyal Academy  by M.A. Larson Rose and the Lost Princess  by Holly Webb Rose and the Magician's Mask  by Holly Webb Shipwreck Island  by S.A. Bodeen The Dyerville Tales  by M.P. Kozlowsky The Forbidden Library   by Django Wexler The Nethergrim  by Matthew Jobin The Swap  by Megan Shull The Twistrose Key  by Tome Almhjell The Quantum Le

TTT: Character Driven Novels

Top Ten Tuesday  is a Meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish This week's TTT topic: Books for Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels  I love all the characters in the Queen's Thief   but the titular character of The Queen of Attolia is my favorite character of all time . And even though all these books have quite a lot of action, it is the characters that drive the story. Briony is one of the most complex and fascinating characters to read about. Being inside her head while reading Chime  is like wandering through a maze blindfolded, but man is every wall you smack into worth it. Fire and Hemlock  is probably the novel Diana Wynne Jones wrote that is the most difficult to recommend. It has to go to the right sort of reader, and a reader who loves character is certainly the right sort.  I love all of Melina Marchetta's contemporaries, but Saving Francesca is my favorite. This book is wholly driven by Francesca's character arc and her relationsh

The Glass Sentence

The Glass Sentenc e  by S.E. Grove is an ambitious fantasy with an intriguing concept. Synopsis: She has only seen the world through maps. She had no idea they were so dangerous. Boston, 1891. Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers who, for generations, have been traveling and mapping the New World—a world changed by the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were flung into different time periods.  Eight years ago, her parents left her with her uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, and went on an urgent mission. They never returned. Life with her brilliant, absent-minded, adored uncle has taught Sophia to take care of herself. Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Together with Theo, a refugee from the West, she travels over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounters pirates and traders, and relies on a combination of Shadrack’s maps, common sense, and h

Exquisite Captive

I really wanted to love  Exquisite Captive .   I would like to read a book about a jinni that I can fall completely into. Since I read and absolutely adored Heather Demetrios's Something Real   earlier this year, I thought this might be the one. Alas, no such luck. Synopsis: Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle. Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearab

Thursdays with the Crown

Am I the only one who reached the end of Wednesdays in the Tower  and was outraged by where it ended? I doubt it. (I actually know I'm not because I saw the look on my daughter's face when she got there.) Well, for all of us who have been waiting to know what on earth was going on and how that was going to resolve itself, the wait is finally over. Thursdays with the Crown  is here.  If you haven't read   the first two Castle Glower books , read those before reading this.  Synopsis: Castle Glower has been acting weird, so it’s no surprise when two towers transport Celie and her siblings to an unknown land. When they realize that no one from home is coming to get them, the kids – along with Celie’s pet griffin Rufus – set out through the forest to figure out where they are and what’s happened to their beloved Castle. Instead, they discover two wizards and an entire lost people, the oldest inhabitants of Castle Glower. And it seems they may know more of the Castle’s secre

Cybils Nominations Open!

Today is the day! Nominations for the 2014 Cybils is now open. Go here for instructions on how to nominate. It's super easy. If you want your favorite books of 2014 to be considered, make sure they are nominated.