Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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:
Now, finally my eyes burn and panic balloons in my throat. Of all the stories we keep in Sticks about the dangers of the swamp, there's not one in which someone who went inside it returns unchanged.
This week my teaser comes from Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker. I got this eARC from Edelweiss. Here is the description of this October 21 release debut novel:
Southern Gothic gets a whole new twist in this debut novel, sure to appeal to fans of the New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures series.

The swamp in Sterling's small Louisiana town proves to have a power over its inhabitants when her brother disappears and no one but Sterling even remembers that he existed. Now Sterling, with the help of brooding loner Heath, who's had his own creepy experience with the swamp, must fight back and reclaim what—and who—the swamp has taken.

Beware the Wild is a riveting and atmospheric page-turner readers won't want to miss.

Monday, October 20, 2014

ARC Review: Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst

Chasing Power
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (October 14, 2014)

Description: Sixteen-year-old Kayla was born with the ability to move things with her mind—things like credit cards and buttons on cash registers—and she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again . . . which would mean grave danger for them both.

When she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel—a boy with the ability to teleport—he needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family—and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive . . . or survive.

My Thoughts: CHASING POWER was an excellent story with a wonderful main character. Kayla and her mother fled from her father when she was eight. After a time of flight, homelessness, and uncertainty, they found their way to Santa Barbara. Kayla's mother told her they ran because her father had killed her older sister Amanda and her mother was afraid that he would kill Kayla next. Kayla was born being able to use telekinesis and she has honed her skills by becoming a great shoplifter. She is eager to add some money to the family pot and to build up a hidden reserve in case they have to run again.

She is caught by a young man named David who has a power of his own. He's able to teleport to any place that he has seen a picture of. He blackmails Kayla to help him rescue his kidnapped mother. They visit a voodoo queen in New Orleans who tells them a story about three magical stones and a spell that can make the wielder invincible. She sets them on the path of finding those stones because that would help them find Daniel's mother.

Kayla and Daniel learn lots of secrets about their parents' pasts and both Kayla and Daniel suffer betrayals along the way. Kayla is strong and smart and not very trusting. Nonetheless, she and Daniel do become good friends and maybe even fall in love.

I liked Kayla's relationship with her mother and with her best friend Selena. I thought Kayla's psychic gift was cool. But, if I could have any psychic power, Daniel's teleportation is the one I would choose. He takes them to so many wonderful and exotic places as they search for the three stones. Of course they encounter lots of danger in their search too. From being trapped in a Mayan pyramid to being buried in bones in a crypt in Spain, the action is fast and furious.

This is a story that will appeal to adventure lovers and romance lovers. I can't wait to share it with my students.

Favorite Quote:
As he looked away toward the unseen ocean, his expression was as forlorn as a homeless cat's. But he didn't give her a chance to decide whether to punch him or comfort him. He vanished, leaving her wanting to scream.She shouldn't be wrapped up in this. It wasn't her problem!
I was approached by the author and got this book from NetGalley. You can get your copy here.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stacking the YA Shelves (Oct. 19, 2014)

Tynga of  Team Tynga's Reviews hosts this meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets.

More 2015 review books arrived this week and I added a couple of books for an upcoming signing too.
I'll be attending a signing on October 26 at the Red Balloon. Brain Farrey will be signing his latest book. I thought I should get the first two books in the trilogy for my school library too. I got The Vengekeep Prophecies and The Shadowhand Covenant but I doubt I'll have time to read them before the event.
Friday I got an envelope from Macmillan containing these three books.

Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt (April 21)
Beastkeeper by Cat Hellison (Feb. 3)
The Stolen Moon by Rachel Searles (Jan. 27)
Earlier in the week I got Cut Me Free by J. R. Johansson from Macmillan. It will be released on Jan. 27.

I got The Pretty App by Katie Sise at Edelweiss. It will be released on April 14.

What did you add to your stack this week?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

ARC Review: Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen

Centaur Rising
Author: Jane Yolen
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (October 21, 2014)

Description: One night during the Perseid meteor shower, Arianne thinks she sees a shooting star land in the fields surrounding her family’s horse farm. About a year later, one of their horses gives birth to a baby centaur. The family has enough attention already as Arianne’s six-year-old brother was born with birth defects caused by an experimental drug—the last thing they need is more scrutiny. But their clients soon start growing suspicious. Just how long is it possible to keep a secret? And what will happen if the world finds out?

At a time when so many novels are set in other worlds, Jane Yolen imagines what it would be like if a creature from another world came to ours in this thoughtfully written, imaginative novel, Centaur Rising.

My Thoughts: CENTAUR RISING was a sweet story that combined historical fiction with fantasy and a very engaging way. Thirteen-year-old Arianne lives on a horse farm with her mother and her younger brother Robbie. Robbie is six and a thalidomide baby who was born with grave physical deformities. He doesn't have a pelvis his hands which are fused together grow out of his elbows. There is nothing wrong with his brains, though. He is full of six-year-old jokes.

They get up in the night one August to watch the Perseid meteor showers and Arianne sees an unusual flash of light. Some time later they learn that their elderly pony Agora is pregnant. When she gives birth almost a year later, her baby is a centaur. The family and their vet Dr. Herks immediately decide to keep the birth a secret. But secrets have a way of getting out.

In the quiet before they do, the family watches the centaur they've named Chiron, but call Kai, grow and learn and bond with them all. Kai quickly grows through the stages of babyhood and toddlerhood. Then he is discovered and many, including the rock star father who abandoned the family after Robbie was born, are eager to exploit him. It takes good planning and lots of love and luck to come up with a way to protect Kai but still give him a purpose.

Yolen interweaves information about therapy horses and information about Greek gods into this engaging story. But the core of the story is about love. Fans of horses and fantasies will enjoy this delightful story.

Favorite Quote:
By the time Kai was in his stall, the house and barn lights were blazing. Martha was there with her pitchfork, her nightgown flapping about her boots. Mom had taken up guard duty in front of Kai's stall, holding on to a rolling pin I didn't even know we owned. 
I got this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Memes: Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen

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.


This week I am spotlighting Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen. I got this ARC from Macmillan. Here is the description of this October 21 release:
One night during the Perseid meteor shower, Arianne thinks she sees a shooting star land in the fields surrounding her family’s horse farm. About a year later, one of their horses gives birth to a baby centaur. The family has enough attention already as Arianne’s six-year-old brother was born with birth defects caused by an experimental drug—the last thing they need is more scrutiny. But their clients soon start growing suspicious. Just how long is it possible to keep a secret? And what will happen if the world finds out?

At a time when so many novels are set in other worlds, Jane Yolen imagines what it would be like if a creature from another world came to ours in this thoughtfully written, imaginative novel, Centaur Rising.
Beginning:
In the middle of the night, Mom and I got out of bed, picked up Robbie from his room, put sweaters o over our pajamas, and grabbed a horse blanket from the barn. As soon as we were ready, we went out to the paddock to watch the Perseid meteor showers and count the shooting stars.
Friday 56:
Later in the house, because he had to eat and read his next assignment, Robbie complained about not being allowed back in the barn to see his "new brother."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

ARC Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes (Book 1)
Publication: Balzer + Bray (October 14, 2014)

Description: Game of Thrones meets Graceling in this striking fantasy tale of dark magic, dangerous politics, and discovering your true self.  Sara Raasch’s debut fantasy is a lightning-fast story of loyalty, love, and controlling one’s destiny.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of half of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

My Thoughts: SNOW LIKE ASHES was an engaging epic fantasy about a young woman who was orphaned as an infant when her country was being invaded and who has lived as a refugee for the past sixteen years. She has been training as a soldier along with the sixteen-year-old king under the supervision of one of Winter's generals. She calls him Sir and would do anything to make him proud of her.

Meira and the other seven survivors of the fall of Winter are trying to locate the locket that is the conduit for Winter's magic despite the fact that the only heir is male and the power can only be used by a female. When the attempt to regain half the locket is successful, Meira thinks the problem is near a solution. But the Spring soldiers have managed to track them back to their camp. The only solution is flight to one of the other kingdoms. But the King of Cordell wants more than the survivors of Winter can give.

Meira finds herself engaged to Prince Theron of Cordell despite her lifelong love for the Winter King - a love she knows is hopeless because of their differing social statuses. And when the King of Cordell betrays Winter to the evil Spring King, Meira finds herself captive and in Angra, the king of Spring's, control.

There are all sorts of secrets, lots of political maneuvering and even romance in this fast-paced epic fantasy story that will appeal to a wide range of readers.

Favorite Quote:
"I brought your half of the locket!" I shout. "What else do I have to do?"

Please, tell me what I have to do to feel like I belong.
I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ARC Review: Stitching Snow by R. C. Lewis

Stitching Snow
Author: R. C. Lewis
Publication: Disney-Hyperion (October 14, 2014)

Description: Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back-but that's assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane's arrival was far from accidental, and she's pulled into the heart of a war she's risked everything to avoid.

In her enthralling debut, R.C. Lewis weaves the tale of a princess on the run from painful secrets . . . and a poisonous queen. With the galaxy's future-and her own-in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

My Thoughts: STITCHING SNOW was an exciting and engaging science fiction story. It begins on a cold mining planet with our heroine Essie doing cage fighting to make extra credits, repairing mining droids and generally trying to stay under the radar. Her attempt is foiled when a ship crash lands near her and she rescues the pilot Dane.

While helping Dane repair his ship, she gets to know him and consider him a friend. Things change when he kidnaps her. It turns out that he came to the planet looking for her and that she is the daughter of the King of Windsong. Everyone thinks that she was kidnapped by the Exiles but Essie knows that she escaped from the palace to keep from being killed by her stepmother.

Dane is an Exile who wanted to use Essie to trade for the Exile prisoners who were taken after Essie disappeared. One of the Exiles who were imprisoned is his father. Together Essie and Dane come up with a plan for them to defeat the evil king and the even more evil queen. Essie has no desire to be queen but she does have the memories of her mother telling her to do what she can to help the people of Windsong.

The story is also a romance but not a trouble-free romance. Essie has no experience with love except the love she shared with her dead mother. She had been abused by her father the king in the name of love. Then, the fact that Dane kidnapped her didn't make her very sympathetic to him. She goes from friendship to hatred to love. Dane doesn't have it easy either. He had some misconceptions about Essie that he had to get over.

I especially liked that Essie had made friends of the mine droids that she worked on. Dimwit was the one who managed to accompany them when they began their quest to overthrow the king and queen. I liked watching Essie use her skill with computers to make her plans work. I like the way Essie reconciled herself to her new role and I loved the way her relationship with Dane developed.

Fans of science fiction and romance will enjoy this epic fantasy.

Favorite Quote:
I was terrified Dane would kiss me again. I was also terrified he wouldn't. Mostly that he would and I'd have to hit him. Maybe.

How does that make any kind of sense?
I got this ARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.