Saturday, February 13, 2016

ARC Review: The Rule of Mirrors by Caragh O'Brien

The Rule of Mirrors
Author: Caragh O'Brien
Series: The Vault of Dreamers (Book 2)
Publication: Roaring Brook Press (February 16, 2016)

Description: The fast-paced, psychologically thrilling sequel to The Vault of Dreamers follows Rosie after her consciousness has been split in two.

The entire country was watching when Rosie Sinclair was expelled from Forge, the prestigious arts school that doubles as a reality TV show. But few know how Dean Berg was mining students' dreams in laboratories deep below the school. And no one, least of all the Dean himself, knows that when Rosie's dreams were seeded into the mind of another patient, Rosie's consciousness woke up in that body--a girl far from Forge, a girl with a completely different life from Rosie, a girl who is pregnant.

Told from alternating points of view between Rosie as she makes sense of her new identity and the shattered subconscious that still exists in her old body, The Rule of Mirrors will keep readers on the edge of their seats and leave them hungry for more.

My Thoughts: This is the second book in the Vault of the Dreamers trilogy. It is told from two points of view. Rosie who was left behind in her body and the Rosie who became a dream seed and was reseeded into the body of a brain dead pregnant girl in a clinic in Iceland. Both have harrowing adventures.

The Rosie who is still in a vault and being mined of her dreams is let awaken periodically by a creepy attendant who is fixated on her. She uses that fixation to engineer her escape from the hidden clinic outside Denver. Then, bent on revenge, she contacts Burnham who sends a car to bring her to him in Atlanta. She and Burnham have a complicated relationship and her current situation doesn't make it easier.

Meanwhile, the Rosie who was seeded into Althea wakes up surrounded by loving parents, only they are Althea's parents and they don't believe that Rosie is now living in Althea's body. They begin by thinking that the doctor who seeded her can tweak things and get their Althea back. Now calling herself Thea, this Rosie feels trapped inside a body not her own and, no matter what she tries, she can't convince anyone who knew her that she is really Rosie. Her main support is Althea's boyfriend Tom who wishes she was still Althea but is convinced she is not.

Both Rosies contact Linus at different times and both love him in their own way. The only problem with that is that Linus might not be as free of Dr. Berg as he thinks he is. And Dr. Berg is still lurking in the background and has evil designs on Rosie - both Rosies.

Has anyone else noticed a trend to have evil scientists as villains in YA literature lately? Maybe I'm seeing something that isn't there because I read a lot of science fiction. Anyway, Dr. Berg really fits the pattern of an unethical scientist who justifies his actions because of his desire for some greater good.

This was an entertaining and thought-provoking middle book in a trilogy which will leave the reader longing for the next book.

Favorite Quote:
Any last, lingering, irrational idea that I'd ever be able to get back into Rosie's body vanished, which left me with the question: why did I want to find her?

For her sake. Because she needed to be found. Berg had the other Rosie captive, and I couldn't just forget and neglect her because I had new problems of my own. Besides, it went deeper than that. I owed it to myself to find Rosie. My nightmarish memories of lying helpless in the vault still haunted me, and no matter how safe I was in Althea's pretty room, I knew I wasn't safe inside. 
I got this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Memes: The Rule of Mirrors by Caragh O'Brien

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:
When I feel soft, breathy pressure on my lips, I open my eyes and grab the guy's throat.
Friday 56:
It was easy to find clips of Linus and me together on The Forge Show. He'd stepped on stage to be with me often enough.
This week I am spotlighting The Rule of Mirrors by Caragh O'Brien which is the sequel to The Vault of Dreamers and the second book in a trilogy. Here is the description from Amazon:
The fast-paced, psychologically thrilling sequel to The Vault of Dreamers follows Rosie after her consciousness has been split in two.

The entire country was watching when Rosie Sinclair was expelled from Forge, the prestigious arts school that doubles as a reality TV show. But few know how Dean Berg was mining students' dreams in laboratories deep below the school. And no one, least of all the Dean himself, knows that when Rosie's dreams were seeded into the mind of another patient, Rosie's consciousness woke up in that body--a girl far from Forge, a girl with a completely different life from Rosie, a girl who is pregnant.

Told from alternating points of view between Rosie as she makes sense of her new identity and the shattered subconscious that still exists in her old body, The Rule of Mirrors will keep readers on the edge of their seats and leave them hungry for more.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

ARC Review: These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker

These Vicious Masks
Author: Tarun Shanker
Publication: Swoon Reads (February 9, 2016)

Description: Evelyn has no interest in marriage and even the dashing Mr. Kent can’t make her want to live up to society’s expectations. She’d much rather assist her beloved sister Rose in achieving her radical dream of becoming a doctor. But everything changes the night she meets Sebastian Braddock –- not only is the reclusive gentleman both vexing and annoyingly attractive, he’s also quite possibly mad, and his interest in Rose is galling. So when Evelyn wakes up to discover that Rose has disappeared, she immediately suspects Sebastian.

But then she discovers that Sebastian’s strange tales of special powers are actually true, and that Rose’s kidnappers have worse in mind for her than simply ruining her reputation. Surrounded by secrets, lies, and unprecedented danger, Evelyn has no choice but to trust Sebastian, yet she can’t help but worry that Sebastian’s secrets are the most dangerous of all…

Jane Austen meets X-Men in this thrilling Victorian adventure!

My Thoughts: This story begins like a historical romance. Our heroine Evelyn is bored with the Season and wishes she could travel instead. She is stubborn and snarky. She and her younger sister Rose also do some nursing which appalls here society conscious mother. In fact, they have quite a reputation in the area where they live for their success in treating illness and injury.

They are attending a ball one evening when introduced to the nephew of the host. Mr. Sebastian Braddock who is a regular Byronic hero. This annoys Evelyn who believes that he is only playing a role to attract women. They also meet a very large Frenchman who wants Rose to come cure his ailing sister. Also in attendance is Mr. Nicholas Kent who is a persistent suitor and co-conspirator of Evelyn's.

When Rose is disappears leaving a note that seems false to Evelyn and packing an odd assortment of clothing, Evelyn is certain that she has been kidnapped. Her parents are more concerned about their family reputation than finding Rose which leaves headstrong Evelyn to do it.

She heads off to London to find and rescue her sister where the story takes a turn to the magical. It seems that there are people who have fantastic talents and at least one mad scientist who wants to study them. This scientist has taken Rose because he sees her as having a talent for healing. In fact, it is Evelyn who has that talent though she doesn't know it at first. Mr. Braddock offers to assist her in finding her sister if she will use her talent to heal a friend. Mr. Kent is also eager to be of assistance to Evelyn.

As the exciting story goes on, we learn that both Sebastian and Nicholas has talents of their own and what could be a typical historical romance quickly becomes something quite different. Fans of strong heroines, adventure, and mystery will enjoy this excellent story.

Favorite Quote:
"But what if tonight, in my sheltered naivete, I accept a proposal from a pitiless rogue who takes all my money and confines me to an attic?"

"Then better it happen here than on the Continent."
I got this ARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Spotlight: Golden by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I have decided that 2016 is the year when I take a look at books on my TBR mountain and read them or donate them. I'm starting with the books that have been on the stack the longest.

Hopefully by the end of 2016, my TBR mountain will be only a foothill.

This week I am spotlighting Golden by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I added this one to my stack on February 5, 2010. This book was first released in 2006. 

Here is the description from Amazon:
When Lissy James moves from California to Oklahoma, she finds herself in the middle of a teenage nightmare: a social scene to rival a Hollywood movie. And if understanding the hierarchy of the Goldens vs. the Nons isn’t hard enough, Lissy’s ever growing Aura Vision is getting harder and harder to hide, and if she’s not careful, she’s going to become a Non faster than you can say “freak.”

But it’s becoming clear that Emory High has a few secrets of its own. Around the halls, the term “special powers” goes way beyond one’s ability to attract the opposite sex, and there may be something more evil than the A-crowd lurking in the classrooms. Lissy can see a lot more than the average girl, but she’s about to learn the hard way that things aren’t always as they appear and you can’t always judge a girl by her lip gloss.
I have read quite a few books by Jennifer Lynn Barnes but I started with Raised by Wolves. I really have enjoyed all the books that I have read by the author. I added her backlist to my stack but haven't had a chance to read them yet.

Have you read this one? Should I move it to the top of my stack?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. 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:
"Ca—yo—hear m—?" her voice called out. My head absently nodded to my disembodied teacher's question. I stared around the dreamscape wildly, wondering why I was still asleep and not jolting awake with fear.
This week my teaser comes from These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker. I got this historical fantasy from NetGalley. Here is the description from Amazon:
Evelyn has no interest in marriage and even the dashing Mr. Kent can’t make her want to live up to society’s expectations. She’d much rather assist her beloved sister Rose in achieving her radical dream of becoming a doctor. But everything changes the night she meets Sebastian Braddock –- not only is the reclusive gentleman both vexing and annoyingly attractive, he’s also quite possibly mad, and his interest in Rose is galling. So when Evelyn wakes up to discover that Rose has disappeared, she immediately suspects Sebastian.

But then she discovers that Sebastian’s strange tales of special powers are actually true, and that Rose’s kidnappers have worse in mind for her than simply ruining her reputation. Surrounded by secrets, lies, and unprecedented danger, Evelyn has no choice but to trust Sebastian, yet she can’t help but worry that Sebastian’s secrets are the most dangerous of all…

Jane Austen meets X-Men in this thrilling Victorian adventure!

Monday, February 8, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Feb. 8, 2016)

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...

This week was consumed by the "cold that defies description." I finally went to Fast Care after school on Friday to find out it is bronchitis. I was prescribed some strong pills to mute my cough, which I expected, and steroids for the infection, which is new to me. I don't think I've ever gotten steroids for bronchitis.

We also had two snow days this past week. I was delighted to nurse my cold on my couch on Tuesday and Wednesday and watch the snow fall and the wind blow without having to go out in it. Our teaching contract requires that teachers make up the hours missed. Half of those hours can be done at home; the rest need to be at school. I made up about 4 of my 11 hours rearranging my calendars and lesson plans. I also set up the next two lessons in Google Classroom for my 4th and 5th graders.

I also spent a fair amount of time trying to reschedule our Continuing Education committee meeting. It is really hard to find a day when a majority of our seven members are available to meet. After trying to find a date next week, I gave up and asked about the week after. Hopefully, we'll be meeting on February 18, weather permitting.

This coming Monday night I have to be at an Open House for the Middle School/High School. Our school is on the block schedule and teachers got whole new groups of kids on January 26. It is going to be a similar event to our Open House in September. The elementary keeps the same kids all year and does not have this Open House. They do have two evenings of conferences in March.

Read Last Week
The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins begins an epic fantasy series. It was enjoyable and I'll be looking forward to the next book. My review will be posted on March 5.

Where You'll Find Me by Natasha Friend was an entertaining middle grade contemporary story filled with problems for the young heroine. My review will be posted on March 3.

Currently

Nothing. I'm finishing up an adult book right now.

Next Week
The next two books on my stack are review books.
After the review books, I plan to read a couple 2015 arrivals on TBR mountain.
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

I got one book for TBR mountain and three books for my review stack this week.
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys was a Kindle Deal. I have been curious about this one.

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan is a fantasy/dystopia that will be released on April 5. I got the eARC from NetGalley.
The Secret Fire by Whitaker Ringwald concludes the trilogy that began with The Secret Box. I got this one from Edelweiss and it will be released on June 21.

What the Dead Want by Norah Olson will be released on July 12. I got this one from Edelweiss too.

You can check Inside of a Dog (my other blog) to see what adult books I read, reviewed, and plan to read. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

ARC Review: Jockey Girl by Shelley Peterson

Jockey Girl
Author: Shelley Peterson
Publication: Dundurn (March 1, 2016)

Description: A teen girl’s quest to find her mother leads her to the big city, and gives her the courage to fulfill her dream of becoming a jockey.

Evangeline “Evie” Gibb lives a seemingly charmed life on a thoroughbred racehorse farm. But in reality, Evie feels alone in the world, cheered only by the affection of a racehorse named No Justice.

She’s always been told that her mother, Angela Parson, is dead. Then, on her sixteenth birthday, a card arrives from her great aunt Mary with the suggestion that Angela might still be alive ― and Evie’s life is turned upside down.

In hopes of winning enough money to leave her hateful father and find her mother, Evie enters the Caledon Horse Race. But something she overhears her father say changes everything, and Evie steals the racehorse in the night and runs away. With a stray dog named Magpie at her side and help from Aunt Mary, Evie unearths long-hidden family secrets, finds unexpected love, and takes the racing world by storm.

My Thoughts: Evie has quite a week going. She is humiliated by her "best friend" on Facebook, throws her phone into a river, receives a birthday card from a great aunt she's never met which indicates that the mother her father told her was dead isn't, steals a horse from her dad and wins a prestigious horse race.

Evie is the oldest daughter of a well-known horse trainer. But her outwardly charming father hides a monster who displays rages that frighten Evie. She never knows how her father will react. He has beaten her pony and killed her little brother's pet rat in his rages. Evie is also verbally abused by her father and step-mother and her step-mother's perfect daughter. The only person who seems to like her at all is her younger half-brother.

I'm surprised that thirteen years of abuse didn't damage her more. But Evie is a kind-hearted girl who has a special understanding with a race horse no one else can deal with. No Justice, called Kazzam by Evie, is an extremely fast horse but has a nasty habit of bucking off his jockey. He's been banned from racing in Ontario. Evie's father has threatened (while Evie was hiding in Kazzam's stall) to have the horse killed for the insurance money.

Evie and Kazzam run away trying to get to Greataunt Mary's place because she really wants to find her mother. She hopes to live with her and finally get away from her father. Spending the night in an abandoned farm, Evie is joined by a dog she calls Magpie. Magpie is also abused by cruel owners.

This story has quite a lot of wish fulfillment going on as a young girl rescues a horse and then rides him to victory in a million dollar race. Along the way there is also a lot about abuse and addiction as Evie learns the mother she longs for isn't the mother she's got. The book was also filled with enough information about horses to satisfy any young horse lover's heart.

I enjoyed the story and found it very readable. In fact, I couldn't put it down and read it in one day. 

Favorite Quote:
"What did you say to him?"

Mary put a hand on her shoulder. "That this week you rescued a dog, a horse, and your little brother. That you located me to help you find your sick and presumed-dead mother. That you are a remarkable young lady who deserves a second chance."

Evie was not sure that she could live up to this new image. "I'm glad you're in my corner. Thanks."
I got this ARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.