Wednesday, May 24, 2017

ARC Review: The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis

The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart
Author: Stephanie Burgis
Publication: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (February 9, 2017)

Description: Aventurine is the fiercest, bravest kind of dragon, and she's ready to prove it to her family by leaving the safety of their mountain cave and capturing the most dangerous prey of all: a human.

But when the human she captures tricks her into drinking enchanted hot chocolate, she finds herself transformed into a puny human girl with tiny blunt teeth, no fire, and not one single claw. She's still the fiercest creature in these mountains though - and now she's found her true passion: chocolate! All she has to do is walk on two feet to the human city, find herself an apprenticeship (whatever that is) in a chocolate house (which sounds delicious), and she'll be conquering new territory in no time ...won't she?

Wild and reckless young Aventurine will bring havoc to the human city - but what she doesn't expect is that she'll find real friendship there too, along with betrayal, deception, scrumptious chocolate and a startling new understanding of what it means to be a human (and a dragon). A pinch of Ella Enchanted, a sprinkling of How to Train your Dragon and a generous helping of Eva Ibbotsen -The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart is entirely delicious.

My Thoughts: Aventurine is a young dragon; her scales aren't even hard yet. She is also impetuous, impulsive, and eager to prove herself to her elders. She hasn't yet found her passion but she thinks venturing out of her protected cave might lead her to it.

Unfortunately the first person she runs across is making hot chocolate and happens to be a food mage. Rightly fearing that Aventurine intends to eat him after finishing the chocolate, he casts a spell that makes her  a small twelve-year-old human. He suggests that she find her way to the nearest city to make her fortune.

Aventurine finds the human city crowded and very, very confusing. Luckily, she is taken under the wing of Silke who helps her acclimate. After being thrown out of the two most popular chocolate houses in the city, she happens on the third just as the current apprentice is being tossed out the front door. Aventurine is given the job and realizes that she has found her passion.

Unfortunately, the owners of the shop have been taken in dislike by the Lord Mayor who is doing all sorts of sneaky things to make the shop look bad. Things come to a head when the King, the Crown Princess, and Princess Sofia arrive incognito and the Lord Mayor's people pull a surprise inspection and spread rumors that the shop is failing health standards.

It gets even worse when dragons begin coming near the town. The King and Lord Mayor fear that the city will soon be under attack. The mages want to test their mettle against the dragons. It takes some fast talking from Aventurine to save the city.

I loved Aventurine both because she finds her passion and because she learns a lot about both humans and dragons in this story. I like the magic and I really like the chocolate. This is a very entertaining middle grade fantasy.

Favorite Quote:
"So?" Martina said. "What do you think?" She gave me a hard look. "Are you going to hide away forever, just to keep yourself safe from ever failing again? Or are you ready to throw out that batch of your life that went sour, mix yourself up a new one, and work to your last breath to make it the best you possibly can?" She crossed her strong arms. "In other words, apprentice...are you coming with me or not?"
I received this one for review from Bloomsbury. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The Girl With the Ghost Machine by Lauren DeStefano

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!

But even though it was cluttered, Emmaline liked to sit at the table and drink her tea. She could still pretend that her mother and father would soon be downstairs to join her.
This week I am reading The Girl with the Ghost Machine by Lauren DeStefano. I received this ARC from Bloomsbury. Here is the description from Amazon:
When Emmaline Beaumont's father started building the ghost machine, she didn't expect it to bring her mother back from the dead. But by locking himself in the basement to toil away at his hopes, Monsieur Beaumont has become obsessed with the contraption and neglected the living, and Emmaline is tired of feeling forgotten.

Nothing good has come from building the ghost machine, and Emmaline decides that the only way to bring her father back will be to make the ghost machine work…or destroy it forever.

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 22, 2017)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted at The Book Date.  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 was another mixed up week. I lost my 4th graders twice this one. Once they attended the dress rehearsal for the 5th grade musical and then I was gone for a day and missed them too. Since we were supposed to start a new activity, I couldn't have my sub begin it as neither she or the kids would know what to do.

I was off on Friday for my rummage sale. Unlike last weekend, the weather this weekend was awful. Friday it as cold and gray and Saturday it rained all day. Despite the adverse conditions, I did manage to get rid of a lot of stuff.

Next week the painter will be here and so will the realtor. We have some final paperwork before she'll list it. Hopefully, we'll be ready to show the hosue right after Memorial Day.

Read Last Week
What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard will be released on June 6. It is a well-written story about a girl with anorexia by a debut author. My review will be posted on June 3.

I am currently reading The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May. This is the third book in the Falconer trilogy. 
Next Week
I have two more books from my review stack for next week.
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

I added lots of review books from Macmillan and Random House Children's this week.

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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Book Review: Raging Sea by Michael Buckley

Raging Sea
Author: Michael Buckley
Series: Undertow (Book 2)
Publication: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (February 2, 2016)

Description: In the first book of Michael Buckley’s Undertow trilogy, the Alpha arrived and the world was never the same. At the start of the second book, most of south Brooklyn is in ruins and the nation is terrified. Nearly everyone that Lyric Walker loves is either missing or presumed dead, including the mesmerizing prince Fathom. It’s up to Lyric to unite the Alpha before the second wave of a cataclysmic invasion wipes out mankind for good. The Undertow trilogy is an unforgettable reading experience that author E. Lockhart calls, "Allegorical and romantic, the book nevertheless reads like an action movie with especially awesome CGI." 

My Thoughts: When this story begins Lyric, her best friend Bex, and Alpha Arcade are on the run from the East Coast trying to find Lyric's kidnapped parents, the missing Alphas, and the half-breed children who are like her. Their quest takes them to Texas where they are all imprisoned.

Lyric, Bex and Arcade are also captured. They fall into the hands of White Tower Securities Incorporated which is torturing the adults to find out what Alphas can do and training the children to be weapons against the invading Rusalka. There is a war between those invaders from the sea and the United States isn't winning.

Donovan Spangler is in charge of the facility and he is one of the most chilling villains I've read about in a long time. He completely believes that the end justifies the means and he is willing to sacrifice anyone to reach his goals. The most chilling part is that he is concerned with profit rather than the good of the country.

Spangler tortures Lyric and holds those she loves hostage for her good behavior. He coerces her into training the children to be an army. All the while, Lyric is trying to find an angle that would let her free her loved ones and the other captives.

This story is filled with action. Lyric and the other half-breed kids have all sorts of cool powers. Some of the invaders from the sea are very creepy. There are lots of fights with the invaders. It is also filled with Lyric's struggles with her Alpha boyfriend Fathom. The two have cultural differences that may make a relationship between them impossible.

This is the second book in a trilogy, so the cliffhanger ending is almost a requirement. I can't wait to read book three to find out how the story all works out.

Favorite Quote:
Bex sits me down on the side of the tub and puts my head on her shoulder and lets me cry and cry and cry. We have been in this same exact situation before, maybe not locked in a camp, but on the edge of a tub sobbing about some dumb boy. It's oddly comforting that in this nightmare life of mine there are still some things that are familiar and dependable. Bex will always be there to let me cry.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Memes: Raging Sea by Michael Buckley

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.

She sits among the cactus and stones as the rising Texas sun ignites the edges of her silhouette. Her eyes are closed, her legs crossed, as if she's meditating. But the only higher plain she's trying to reach involves killing and maiming her enemies.
Friday 56:
"What is 'this' you speak of?" Arcade says.

"The way neither of you are talking to me."

"I never speak to you, Lyric Walker, because the things you say make me angry and tempt me to kill you," Arcade says as she stands. She walks off into the brush. "Do not disturb me. I am sharpening my Kala and praying."
This week I am reading Raging Sea by Michael Buckley. This one has been on my TBR mountain for a while. Here is the description from Amazon:
In the first book of Michael Buckley’s Undertow trilogy, the Alpha arrived and the world was never the same. At the start of the second book, most of south Brooklyn is in ruins and the nation is terrified. Nearly everyone that Lyric Walker loves is either missing or presumed dead, including the mesmerizing prince Fathom. It’s up to Lyric to unite the Alpha before the second wave of a cataclysmic invasion wipes out mankind for good. The Undertow trilogy is an unforgettable reading experience that author E. Lockhart calls, "Allegorical and romantic, the book nevertheless reads like an action movie with especially awesome CGI."  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Review: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Long Game
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer Book 2
Publication: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; 1 edition (June 7, 2016)

Description: The Kendricks help make the problems of the Washington elite disappear. . . . but some secrets won't stay buried.

For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate's campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.

Meanwhile, Tess's guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can – and cannot – be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in Washington, but she's about to discover firsthand that power always comes with a price.

My Thoughts: I loved this book. It is a fast-paced thriller with murder, intrigue, and betrayal primarily set in an exclusive private school in Washington DC. Tess Kendrick is a fixer like her mother. She has a talent for solving problems and her school provides her with lots of opportunities. Drafted into the campaign for student council president that one of her friends is mounting, Tess has to deal with the behavior of another of the candidates who thinks it is okay to post compromising pictures of her candidate to social media. Things get more complicated when the rival candidate is murdered and one of Tess's friends is the prime suspect.

Meanwhile, her mother Ivy is dealing with a terrorist who happens to be the lover of one of the president's sons and an assassination attempt on the president. Strangely enough, the two cases are both parts of a bigger conspiracy.

I like Tess who is bright and loyal. I can see her working on her relationship with her mother who had left her with her grandparents to be raised while she pursued her dangerous career in Washington DC. Tess grew up believing that her mother was her older sister. She is having trouble getting over the lies and the abandonment. She is also forging a relationship with her grandfather who is a Washington kingmaker and her mother's rival.

The writing was compelling and action-packed. I couldn't put this one down and read late into the night.

Favorite Quote:
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

WoW: Thick As Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner

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!
Megan Whalen Turner
May 16

Discover the world of the Queen’s Thief

Thick as Thieves is the eagerly anticipated new stand-alone novel set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. New York Times-bestselling author Megan Whalen Turner’s entrancing and award-winning Queen’s Thief novels bring to life the world of the epics and feature one of the most charismatic and incorrigible characters of fiction, Eugenides the thief. Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief novels are rich with political machinations and intrigue, battles lost and won, dangerous journeys, divine intervention, power, passion, revenge, and deception. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and George R. R. Martin.

Kamet, a secretary and slave to his Mede master, has the ambition and the means to become one of the most powerful people in the Empire. But with a whispered warning the future he envisioned is wrenched away, and he is forced onto a very different path. Set in the world of the Queen’s Thief, this epic adventure sees an ordinary hero take on an extraordinary mission. The Queen’s Thief novels have been praised by writers, critics, reviewers, and fans, and have been honored with glowing reviews, “best of” citations, and numerous awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Newbery Honor, the Andre Norton Award shortlist, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. Discover and rediscover the stand-alone companion stories The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings, all epic novels set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. Thick as Thieves includes two maps, a map of the world of the Queen’s Thief, and a map of Kamet’s journey.