Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Memes: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
Sit down, kiddies. Let me tell you a story.
Friday 56:
Cranes traditionally represent a wish for peace. I closed my eyes and wished. Uselessly. Hard.
This week I am reading The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow. It has been on my Kindle since November of 2015. Here is the description from Amazon:
The children of world leaders are held hostage in an attempt to keep the peace in this “slyly humorous, starkly thought-provoking” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) novel.

Greta is a Duchess and a Crown Princess. She is also a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Start a war and your hostage dies.

The system has worked for centuries. Parents don’t want to see their children murdered.

Greta will be free if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday. Until then she is prepared to die with dignity, if necessary. But everything changes when Elian arrives at the Precepture. He’s a hostage from a new American alliance, and he defies the machines that control every part of their lives—and is severely punished for it. His rebellion opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the rules they live under, and to the subtle resistance of her companions. And Greta discovers her own quiet power.

Then Elian’s country declares war on Greta’s and invades the prefecture, taking the hostages hostage. Now the great Talis is furious, and coming himself to deliver punishment. Which surely means that Greta and Elian will be killed...unless Greta can think of a way to break all the rules.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

ARC Review: The Cold Eye by Laura Anne Gilman

The Cold Eye
Author: Laura Anne Gilman
Series: The Devil's West (Book 2)
Publication: Saga Press (January 10, 2017)

Description: In the anticipated sequel to Silver on the Road, Isobel is riding circuit through the Territory as the Devil's Left Hand. But when she responds to a natural disaster, she learns the limits of her power and the growing danger of something mysterious that is threatening not just her life, but the whole Territory.

Isobel is the left hand of the old man of the Territory, the Boss—better known as the Devil. Along with her mentor, Gabriel, she is traveling circuit through Flood to represent the power of the Devil and uphold the agreement he made with the people to protect them. Here in the Territory, magic exists—sometimes wild and perilous.

But there is a growing danger in the bones of the land that is killing livestock, threatening souls, and weakening the power of magic. In the next installment of the Devil’s West series, Isobel and Gabriel are in over their heads as they find what’s happening and try to stop the people behind it before it unravels the Territory.

My Thoughts: Isobel and her mentor Gideon are traveling the far reaches of the Territory when they come upon a problem that seems too big to solve. Beginning with a buffalo slaughter, then earthquakes, and then an area devoid of animal life, Isobel and Gideon move further and further into the unknown.

Isobel is the Devil's Left Hand. She is responsible for making decisions for the good of the Territory in the areas far from the Devil's home base. It is an awesome responsibility for a girl who is just sixteen and new to the job. What is she to do with an entity raised by magicians and then trapped?

Isobel gets advice, often conflicting advice, from a variety of spirit animals but she is the one who needs to make the final decision. This book is about her struggle to decide what she can do and what she should do. Isobel grows throughout this book as she learns more about herself, her job, and her place in the Territory.

Gideon also learns about himself as he tries to balance his education out in the United States east of the Mississippi and his life as a child of the Territory. Jefferson is president and he has turned his very curious eyes toward the Territory without understanding it at all. Jefferson's efforts, in the person of a Marshall and a scout, are a lot like hitting a hive of angry wasps with a stick.

This is a book about choices, decisions, and trying to do the right thing when you aren't really sure what the right thing is. I loved the setting - the American West - and loved the way Gilman adding the paranormal seamlessly into the rich traditions of the Natives and the settlers.

I can't wait to read more about the Devil's West.

Favorite Quote (from the ARC and subject to change):
"If I am the cold eye and the final word...what is there to stop me?"

"Nothing, save your own sense of where to stop."
I got this eARC for review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

WoW: Wait for Me by Caroline Leech

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. She has a linky widget at her site each week for your post and to make it easy to find posts by other people.

The purpose of the meme is to spotlight books that we are eagerly anticipating. It is fun to take a look at what others are waiting for. I have noticed that it has expanded my wishlist though. Be warned!
Caroline Leech 
Jan. 31, 2017

The perfect blend of sweet romance and historical flavor, Wait for Me, from debut author Caroline Leech, brings a fresh new voice to a much-loved genre.

It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?

But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The Cold Eye by Laura Anne Gilman

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
Isobel thought that the ground shaking needed no more reason than that to upset them, but simply nodded. "Three quakes, one after another. How long apart?"
This week I am reading The Cold Eye by Laura Anne Gilman. I got this eARC from NetGalley. I really enjoyed Silver on the Road and can't wait to dig into this one. Here is the description from Amazon:
In the anticipated sequel to Silver on the Road, Isobel is riding circuit through the Territory as the Devil's Left Hand. But when she responds to a natural disaster, she learns the limits of her power and the growing danger of something mysterious that is threatening not just her life, but the whole Territory.

Isobel is the left hand of the old man of the Territory, the Boss—better known as the Devil. Along with her mentor, Gabriel, she is traveling circuit through Flood to represent the power of the Devil and uphold the agreement he made with the people to protect them. Here in the Territory, magic exists—sometimes wild and perilous.

But there is a growing danger in the bones of the land that is killing livestock, threatening souls, and weakening the power of magic. In the next installment of the Devil’s West series, Isobel and Gabriel are in over their heads as they find what’s happening and try to stop the people behind it before it unravels the Territory.

Monday, January 16, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Jan. 16. 2017)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme begun by Sheila at Book Journey. Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts have given it a kidlit focus.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Other Than Reading...

I have felt like a prophet of doom all week as I have been constantly reminding my students that the end of the semester is coming and they have missing work. Our semester ends this Friday. Monday is a work day/inservice day and then the second semester begins. I will be seeing a whole new bunch of students. I'm saying goodbye to my fifth, third and second graders and hello to Kindergartners, first graders, fourth graders and sixth graders. I'm also saying goodbye to my half-time schedule and going to full time for the first time since the 2014-2015 school year. This week will be filled with meetings and report cards (upwards of 240 of them).

After a (relatively) warm and sunny weekend, we are supposed to begin the coming week with a "wintry mix." We still haven't lost the ice from the last time. Freezing rain on Monday and Tuesday ought to make the driving miserable. I'm forever grateful that my longest commute is 3/4 of a mile.

I bought myself a present this week - a paper shredder- and have gleefully been going through my file drawers in my quest to be more organized and have less stuff in 2017. I searched online to see how long I should be keeping papers. I was pretty sure I didn't need my first pay stub from 1976 but didn't want to get rid of it prematurely.

Read Last Week
A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White is about a new high school graduate who is the first woman drafted into Major League Baseball. This tells about the troubles she faces being a pioneer. The main characters is smart, thoughtful, and articulate. It was an excellent story which I will review on February 11.

The Wish Granter by C. J. Redwine was an entertaining fantasy with well-developed characters. It tells what happened next for Rumpelstiltskin. It features a determined, intelligent, and relentless princess who will do anything to save her brother and a poor, abused weapons master who knows more than he wants to about the Wish Granter and falls in love with the princess. My review will be posted on February 18.

Currently
Also from my review stack, I am reading The Dragon's Price by Bethany Wiggins.

Next Week
  • Freedom's Slave by Heather Demetrios is the third and final book in her Dark Caravan Cycle. It will be release Feb. 28.
  • This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills is from my TBR mountain. I met the author and bought this book October 8, 2016.
  • The Swan Riders by Erin Bow in a new addition to TBR mountain. I want to read it before I forget all the details in the first book in this series (The Scorpion Rules).
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
  • Windwitch by Susan Dennard (Print - This is another to read soon before the details in Truthwitch are forgotten.)
  • Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Print)
  • After Everyone Died by Sean Patrick Little - I bought a Kindle copy of this book by a man I taught with some years ago.
You can check Inside of a Dog (my other blog) to see what adult books I read, reviewed, and plan to read. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Book Review: Blood Passage by Heather Demetrios

Blood Passage
Author: Heather Demetrios
Series: Dark Caravan Cycle (Book 2)
Publication: Balzer + Bray (March 1, 2016)

Description: Blood Passage is the electrifying second book in the Dark Caravan Cycle—a modern jinni fantasy-adventure trilogy from author Heather Demetrios, perfect for fans of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.

When Nalia arrives in Morocco to fulfill Malek's third and final wish, she's not expecting it to be easy. Especially because Malek isn't the only one after Solomon's sigil, an ancient magical ring that gives its wearer the power to control the entire jinn race. Nalia has also promised to take Raif, leader of the jinn revolution, to its remote location. Though Nalia is free of the bottle and shackles that once bound her to Malek as his slave, she's in more danger than ever before and no closer to rescuing her imprisoned brother.

Meanwhile, Malek's past returns with a vengeance, and his well-manicured facade crumbles as he confronts the darkness within himself; and Raif must decide what's more important: his love for Nalia or his devotion to the cause of Arjinnan freedom.

My Thoughts: This is the second book in a trilogy. Nalia has been freed from her bottle and is no longer Malek's slave. But she has one more of his wishes to fulfill before she is finished with him. Unfortunately, he wishes for the Sigil of Solomon which would allow him to control all jinn. Raif, who is the leader of the jinn revolution and Nalia's love interest, also wants the sigil to help him win the revolution on Arjinna.

The three of them, along with Raif's sister Zanari, travel to Morocco following clues that will lead to the Sigil. The Ifrit who are commanded by Calar want to prevent Nalia and the others from finding the sigil which would lead to her defeat.

Besides the external threat posed by Calar, each of the characters are facing internal struggles. Even though Nalia is the last surviving member of the highest caste of jinn, she has no interest in being the next empress. She wants to rescue her little brother and then live a quiet life. Malek wants Nalia to return his love for her. Raif wants her love and her help in winning his revolution. Zanari is torn between her love for her brother and her love for a new friend who doesn't want to leave Earth. Malek and Raif are sort of rivals for Nalia's love except that Nalia hates Malek and will never love the man who made her a slave and kept her in a bottle.

This story has sad parts, adventurous parts, and romantic parts. I enjoyed the world building and the trials they had to face to get to the Sigil of Solomon. Since it is the middle book in a trilogy, the ending is a cliffhanger.

Favorite Quote:
In the darkness of the tunnel, in that place without light or hope, Nalia realized that she didn't want to fight. She wanted to build. To plant and grow and nurture. She wanted long, uneventful days. She wanted time. But to get any of those things, she'd have to fight and fight hard.

And she wasn't sure how much fight was left in her.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Memes: Blood Passage by Heather Demetrios

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
She'd buried him alive.

The surrounding darkness was a black, writhing worm -- hungry.
Friday 56 (56%):
As he took her hand, Nalia felt the rush of his chiaan and their eyes locked. For a moment they were the only two people in the cave.
This week I am reading Blood Passage by Heather Demetrios. It is from my TBR mountain. Here is the description from Amazon:
Blood Passage is the electrifying second book in the Dark Caravan Cycle—a modern jinni fantasy-adventure trilogy from author Heather Demetrios, perfect for fans of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.

When Nalia arrives in Morocco to fulfill Malek's third and final wish, she's not expecting it to be easy. Especially because Malek isn't the only one after Solomon's sigil, an ancient magical ring that gives its wearer the power to control the entire jinn race. Nalia has also promised to take Raif, leader of the jinn revolution, to its remote location. Though Nalia is free of the bottle and shackles that once bound her to Malek as his slave, she's in more danger than ever before and no closer to rescuing her imprisoned brother.

Meanwhile, Malek's past returns with a vengeance, and his well-manicured facade crumbles as he confronts the darkness within himself; and Raif must decide what's more important: his love for Nalia or his devotion to the cause of Arjinnan freedom.