Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My YA Mailbox (July 31, 2011)

The weekly In My Mailbox post is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is fun to see what everyone else gets in their mailboxes, shopping bags, and library visits. Click on the link to The Story Siren's site to see the rules and join in the fun.
 
I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets. You will discover lots of great blogs and lots of books that you won't be able to live without.

Talk about Christmas in July! I hadn't realized how many books I had pre-ordered that were to be published on July 26 until the packages started arriving. I think I got new books every day this week.

Here they are:
I hadn't really heard much about Wildefire by Karsten Knight until I started to see it all over the blogosphere. I had to jump on the bandwagon and get myself a copy too.

Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott arrived this week too. I had this one on my Amazon wishlist for months but Amazon never got it. I finally ordered a copy from The Book Depository after I saw still another great review.
Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep got on my radar because I read the first in her Elemental Assassins series and loved her style. I had to try her young adult book.

I have been waiting for Supernaturally by Kiersten White since I finished Paranormalcy. I can not wait to see what Evie gets up to next.
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer is another book that I have been waiting for since I finished the last page of its predecessor - Nightshade. 

I got a Kindle copy of Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede because I wanted to read it again before I read Wrede's latest - Across the Great Barrier. It was as entertaining and engaging this time as it was the first time I read it.
I chose Dragon's Tooth by N. D. Wilson as my Amazon Vine pick for this month. It sounded like something I would enjoy.

I also got a free copy of First Frost by Jennifer Estep for my Kindle because it goes with Touch of Frost.

Those were my new arrivals this week. What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

ARC Review: Ward Against Death by Melanie Card

Ward Against Death
Author: Melanie Card
Publication: Entangled Publishing, LLC (August 2, 2011)


Description: Twenty-year-old Ward de Ath expected this to be a simple job bring a nobleman s daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can t be a surgeon the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying so bringing people back from the dead it is.


But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she s been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can t bring himself to break his damned physician s Oath and desert her.


However, nothing is as it seems including Celia. One second, she s treating Ward like sewage, the next she s kissing him. And for a nobleman s daughter, she sure has a lot of enemies. If he could just convince his heart to give up on the infuriating beauty, he might get out of this alive...


My Thoughts: This was a very readable but complex fantasy filled with lots of intrigue. Ward De'Ath is a reluctant necromancer. He comes from a family of necromancers but his real love is medicine. In fact, he is fascinated by the idea of surgery. However, surgery is forbidden in his world. He has been pursuing his dream of being a surgeon even though it has gotten him branded and forced him to flee from other countries. Now he has come to Brawenal City and been hired by a nobleman to raise his daughter from the dead. He thinks it is so that the family can say good-bye.


When he wakes Celia he learns that she was murdered and that she is determined to discover who did it. They end up fleeing and Ward needs to do another ritual to extend Celia's life. Because they are being pursued, Ward has to make changes in the ritual the keeps Celia alive. He is much more successful than he could have imagined. She is behaving just as though she were really alive.

Celia doesn't trust Ward or anyone else but she needs to keep him by her in case the ritual needs to be repeated. Her father is the crime lord of Brawenal and she, herself, is a member of the Assassin's Guild and a skilled assassin. She should be able to determine who killed her and why she was killed. She and Ward do a number of investigations to try to unravel the tale.

I liked both Celia and Ward. They were complex and interesting people. The plot was very convoluted and required a lot of concentration to figure out what was happening. I felt a little like Ward when he said,
Damn, and he thought Calbournians wove complicated sleuth-stories. If he had a big blank wall and some chalk--not to mention a couple of days--he might be able to unravel all the threads. Although he still didn't know anything for certain.
The story was interesting and action packed. I think readers who like well-developed fantasy worlds and political intrigue will like this story. I think the plot complexity is what makes this one more suitable for older young adults.


Favorite Quote:
He had just never done anything like this. He read books, studied medicine, solved problems. He suspected Celia's version of solving a problem involved stabbing it in the heart.
I received this eARC from Entangle Publishing via NetGalley. You can purchase your copy here at Amazon.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Book Beginning & Friday 56: Ward Against Death by Melanie Card

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings

Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages 
Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. 

If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence.

The Friday 56
Rules:
  • Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
  • Turn to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Freda's Voice
  • Post a link along with your post back to Freda's Voice
Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


I was recently sent this transitional YA book for review by Entangled Publishing. Ward Against Death by Melanie Card is a fantasy set in a well-developed fantasy world. Here is the product description:
Twenty-year-old Ward de Ath expected this to be a simple job bring a nobleman's daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can't be a surgeon the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying so bringing people back from the dead it is.

But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she's been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can t bring himself to break his damned physician's Oath and desert her.

However, nothing is as it seems including Celia. One second, she's treating Ward like sewage, the next she's kissing him. And for a nobleman's daughter, she sure has a lot of enemies. If he could just convince his heart to give up on the infuriating beauty, he might get out of this alive...
Beginning:
Even in death, Celia Carlyle was beautiful.
Friday 56 (estimated):
Maybe he should have paid closer attention to the necromancer's obligation to maintain the balance between life and death. The false life he'd given her was claiming real lives in an attempt to correct the imbalance.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: The Vampire Stalker by Alison Van Diepen

The Vampire Stalker
Author: Alison Van Diepen
Publication: Point (June 1, 2011)


Description: What if the characters in a vampire novel left their world--and came into yours?

Amy is in love with someone who doesn't exist: Alexander Banks, the dashing hero in a popular series of vampire novels. Then one night, Amy meets a boy who bears an eerie resemblance to Alexander. In fact, he IS Alexander, who has escaped from the pages of the book and is in hot pursuit of a wicked vampire named Vigo. Together, Amy and Alexander set out to track Vigo and learn how and why Alexander crossed over. But when she and Alexander begin to fall for each other, Amy wonders if she even wants him to ever return to the realm of fiction.


My Thoughts: I very much liked the concept of this book. The idea that the fictional character you have a monster sized crush on could come to life is wish fulfillment for all avid readers. Amy is a very typical young adult fangirl. She even writes fanfic about her favorite characters. She is also the responsible older sister to Chrissy who has taken the occasion of their parents divorce to start hanging out with an older crowd and being angry and defiant all the time. Amy and Chrissy live with their hard-working mother. Amy resents her more or less absentee dad. 


One evening while walking in the park, she is attacked. She is also rescued and is very surprised to discover that her rescuer is Alexander Banks - a literary vampire hunter come to life. At first, Amy doesn't think he is real but is soon convinced. Alexander is chasing Vigo who is his vampire enemy from Otherworld Chicago. Amy is determined to help Alexander find Vigo.


I liked the relationship of Amy and Alexander. I was a little bit less enthralled with the explanation offered by the school librarian - Mrs. P. - that what happened was "literary physics." Not many librarians come to their jobs with a background in Physics. 


It was interesting when Alexander, Mrs. P. and Amy go to talk to the very famous author of the Otherworld books. I'm sure that like many authors of popular series Elizabeth Howard was not surprised to see characters dressed to match characters from her book. Naturally, she had a hard time believing that Alexander was real. 


I liked the action in this story as Amy and Alexander try to track down Vigo. I also liked that we saw some everyday school activities for Amy too. This was an entertaining story that will resonate with all readers who wish that the characters from the books they read could be real.


Favorite Quote:
"I'm not afraid of death, Amy. I think there's peace beyond. If there's such darkness here, it stands to reason that there must be light there. Aunt Helen always talked about the spirit world like it was as real as the physical world. She thought my family would be there waiting for me." He turned to me. "But if I die without killing Vigo, what purpose would my life have had?"
I bought this book from Amazon. You can get yours their too. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wow: Ranger's Apprentice: The Lost Stories by John Flanagan

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It gives us a chance to spotlight books that we are eagerly anticipating.


I was sad to see the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan come to an end recently. So I was delighted when I found out that Flanagan was not finished with the Ranger's Apprentice world. Ranger's Apprentice: The Lost Stories will be published on October 4.


Here is the description:
Inspired by questions and letters his loyal readers have sent over the years, John Flanagan offers a gift in response: a collection of "lost" tales that fill in the gaps between Ranger's Apprentice novels. For the first time, readers can learn the truth behind how Will came to be orphaned and what his real relationship to Halt is, or watch Alyss in action as the young Araluen diplomat disguises herself and becomes the perfect spy.
I can't wait to see what Flanagan has in store for his loyal fans.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Road Trip to See Maggie Stiefvater

Monday, July 25, was a great day for a road trip. I left Duluth and drove (through road construction) to attend Maggie's signing at the Dakota County Wentworth Public Library in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was a beautiful drive. I was trying out my new GPS. It worked fine on the part of the trip I was already familiar with but the battery died just as I was getting into the Twin Cities. Luckily, I had looked at the location on Mapquest and remembered what I needed to do.

I got to the library at 12:30 for the 2 PM signing. I met a friend there and we had a chance to talk to a number of people about books, Maggie, and life as we waited for the doors to open. We were given tickets because the room can only hold 100 people. I was number 3!
Maggie was bright, cheerful and funny as she talked about her books and answered questions from the audience. The picture I took while she was speaking was very blurry because we were asked not to use our flash and the room was kind of dim. The picture of her signing is much better.
Here is my signed book and some of the swag that Maggie was giving out. I haven't had a chance to see what is on the flash drive yet.
My friend also gave me an early birthday present. Look at the neat silver card case and pen. Now I have a spot for my blog business cards. What a wonderful surprise!

Tessa Gratton was traveling this tour with Maggie. So I took the opportunity to get a finished copy of Blood Magic. I read the ARC and really liked it. Now I have a keeper for my bookshelves.
My only disappointment was not getting a shot of Loki, Maggie's 1973 Camaro. Other than that it was a great day!

Teaser Tuesday: The Vampire Stalker by Alison Van Diepen

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • 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!

I am reading The Vampire Stalker by Alison Van Diepen. I saw this on someone's blog and is was intrigued about the idea of a fictional character coming to life. Here is the product description from Amazon:
What if the characters in a vampire novel left their world--and came into yours?

Amy is in love with someone who doesn't exist: Alexander Banks, the dashing hero in a popular series of vampire novels. Then one night, Amy meets a boy who bears an eerie resemblance to Alexander. In fact, he IS Alexander, who has escaped from the pages of the book and is in hot pursuit of a wicked vampire named Vigo. Together, Amy and Alexander set out to track Vigo and learn how and why Alexander crossed over. But when she and Alexander begin to fall for each other, Amy wonders if she even wants him to ever return to the realm of fiction.
Teaser:
Saying his name was so strange. I'd said it so many times before, thought it more times than I could count. But I'd never expected to say it to his face.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby

Fairy Bad Day
Author: Amanda Ashby
Publication: Speak; Original edition (June 9, 2011)


Description: While most students at Burtonwood Academy get to kill demons and goblins, fifteen-year-old Emma gets to rid the world of little annoying fairies with glittery wings and a hipster fashion sense. She was destined to be a dragon slayer, but cute and charming Curtis stole her spot. Then she sees a giant killer fairy - and it's invisible to everyone but her! If Emma has any chance of stopping this evil fairy, she's going to need help. Unfortunately, the only person who can help is Curtis. And now, not only has he stolen her dragon-slayer spot, but maybe her heart as well! Why does she think it's going to be a fairy bad day?


My Thoughts: This was an exciting and entertaining urban fantasy story. I started out not liking Emma very much. She seemed particularly self-centered and self-absorbed. I was sympathetic that she had lost her mother and was trying to adjust to a new pregnant step-mother though. And I could understand her disappointment when she wasn't chose to follow in her mother's footsteps as a dragon slayer. However, her antics to try to convince Principal Kessler to change his mind and her animosity toward Curtis who was chosen as dragon slayer seemed excessive.


Of course, becoming a fairy slayer did make her the laughing stock of her classmates. Fairies aren't really very dangerous being small, fashion-conscious, and prone to hang out at the Mall. Besides that they are vulnerable to Sour Skittles but can be lured with the sweet ones. It isn't until Emma sees a large, dark fairy and no one believes her that the story really kicks off for me. 


She had to do research along with her friends Loni and Tyler to find a way to defeat the darkhel and send it back to its world before it overcomes ours. She is also assisted by Curtis who is her partner in a class project and who grows on her as she gets to know him. Curtis has secrets and problems of his own and blows hot and cold toward Emma which complicates their relationship.


The story had lots of action and danger. It was and exciting story. I recommend it for people who like young adult urban fantasy with a touch of romance. 


Favorite Quote:
"You're doing a good job, you know."


She gave him a faint smile. "Really...because I sort of thought that doing a good job might feel a little better." As she spoke she lowered her chin onto the table. The wood veneer felt cool against her skin as despair washed over her like an old friend. "All I feel is sore and confused and completely unable to figure out what to do next. And I really am sorry about throwing the Death Curse in your face. You didn't deserve that."
I bought this book at Amazon because I had read so many great reviews. You can get your copy there too.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In My YA Mailbox (July 24, 2011)

The weekly In My Mailbox post is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is fun to see what everyone else gets in their mailboxes, shopping bags, and library visits. Click on the link to The Story Siren's site to see the rules and join in the fun.
 
I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets. You will discover lots of great blogs and lots of books that you won't be able to live without.


I got a bunch of books again this week. First are the books I got for review. These are all on my Kindle.
I was approached by Derrolyn Anderson and asked to read her new young adult series. Here is the description for Between the Land and the Sea:
Something extraordinary is lurking in the deep ocean waters off the coast of Aptos, California. In just a few weeks after moving to the small beach town, sixteen year old Marina has nearly drowned twice, enchanted the hottest guy in high school, and discovered a supernatural creature. If she can only manage to survive her increasingly dangerous encounters with unpredictable mermaids, she might just be able to unlock the mystery of her past to learn how to appease the mysterious forces that seem to want something from her...and maybe even find true love along the way.
Book 2: The Moon and the Tide was also available with this intriguing description:
Just when things seem to be all figured out, Marina discovers that there's a lot more going on behind the scenes than she ever imagined. When a terrible accident exposes her secret, she discovers that her whole life has been one big lie, and has to cope with more than one kind of betrayal.

A dangerous enemy arrives on the scene, putting her bravery to the test and forcing her to use all of her new-found talents to protect her family. Will good win out over evil? Can love triumph over jealousy?
 So I got it too. They both sound like interesting young adult stories in the romantic suspense genre. 
I had asked for Fetching by Kiera Stewart at NetGalley quite a while ago. I was surprised to finally be approved for it. I look forward to reading this humorous middle grade novel. I think I have an audience for it at my school.

Elizabeth Bellows approached me to read her book - Alexander Drake's Extraordinary Pursuit - and sent me a PDF. This one sounds like an interesting middle grade adventure that could also be of interest to my students. Here is the description:
Alexander Drake is a curious young man. He lives in a drab, oversized mansion with his secretive father and spends his days playing alone. Where is his mother? And why is his father so tight-lipped about the past?

But secrets have a way of getting out. And a stay at his grandmother's cottage provides strange clues to his father's past. A past Alexander is determined to find out about.

With a mysterious key and several maps in his pack, he sets off on an innocent search for answers about his family.

The discovery of a secret passageway opens the door to dangers, and wonders, unimaginable. And each answer leads to more questions and the journey of his life.

Join Alexander for a thrilling adventure in Azra's Pith, a place of beauty and magic... but beware--something evil lurks in the shadows.
I also added some print books to my overflowing baskets of summer reading.
I had heard great things about Jo Walton's Among Others and when I had a chance to get a used copy at Amazon Marketplace I decided to give it a try. I do enjoy Walton's book reviews on Tor.com and like her writing style.

I had to get Across the Great Barrier by Patricia C. Wrede as soon as it came out. I am a fan of her writing style and just wish that she wrote faster. This one continues the story of Eff that was begun in The Thirteenth Child. It is a historical fantasy taking place in the Midwestern US with magic and dragons and other wonders. This is also a particularly lovely example of bookmaking. the cover illustration is lovely and the spine of the jacket is embossed. Beautiful book!
I also got a finished copy of The Dark City by Catherine Fisher. I read the ARC and am now collecting the whole set in finished copies for my bookshelves. 


That is what I got in my mailbox this week. What did you get in yours?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Review: Dragon's Pupils - The Sword Guest by Martin Chu Shi

Dragon's Pupils - The Sword Guest
Author: Martin Chu Shi
Publication: BookPal (July 27, 2009)


Description: The story centers on Liz, born of half Australian and of half Chinese descent. Growing up in Australia, she isn’t very interested in her father’s ancient Chinese stories. She is concerned with problems that are far more contemporary — such as environmental issues, and particularly her friend’s handsome brother who is an environmental activist. But her disinterest in Chinese culture changes when her two worlds collide, after a catastrophic accident sets thousands of ancient monsters loose near her home. Suddenly Liz must learn many new skills and call on all of her Chinese heritage if she is to prevent the monsters from destroying Earth. Helped by her twin brother and best friend, Liz sets out to discover why the monsters exist and how to stop them. When she is injured in a battle, she must travel to China to seek a cure that is spiritual as much as it is physical. But can she find the old man who can help her before the monsters catch her? How will she manage in a country that is so strange and yet so familiar? And can she learn enough about a world she has ignored to stop the monsters in time?


My Thoughts: This was an interesting and entertaining young adult book. The main characters are all fourteen. Liz, her twin brother Henry, and best friend Sue find themselves battling monsters out of legend to save the world. They are pretty ordinary Australian kids. Liz and Henry are half Chinese. They have grown up hearing but not listening to their father's Chinese legends and folktales. They, along with their friend, have studied Tai Chi since they were little. They are concerned about the environment and attend a lot of protests.


One day they attend a protest at an Aboriginal site that is going to be opened for mining and witness an explosion. They think they see monsters escaping from the new hole in the ground. But most others dismiss this as nonsense. Their Tai Chi teacher Li Ping and a few others believe them. Li Ping prepares them to battle the monsters in what the kids call the Long Dream. They have three years intensive training in using Tai Chi, Gong Fu, and Qi as a way to fight during the course of one night's sleep.


It is a good thing they did too. Because during the first battle with the Vampire King Li Ping is so badly hurt that she that she flies away on a yellow crane which the kids realize is the Chinese way of saying that she died.  The kids are left on their own to battle the monsters. 


What I liked about this story besides the Chinese mythology which was new to me was the fact that the kids aren't your typical superheroes. They aren't seven feet tall and bulletproof. They can be hurt. They can wander around and not know what to do. They can make mistakes. 


After Liz is hurt in one battle, she goes to China to see if she can find some help. There she learns a number of things that will help them in their battles.


This was a good story with lots of action. I think young readers would enjoy it. The characterization was a little thin. We learn mostly about the characters quirks - Liz's crush on Fred, Henry's over-willingness to fight, and Sue's fears. The characters are a little one-dimensional. However, in this one, the action carries the day. Even though Liz gets most of the emphasis, I think that boys would like this one because of the action and battles.


Favorite Quote:
Her father touched the brush hairs with a gentle finger. 'According to legend, the Yellow Emperor of China received a Dragon Whiskered Pen from the Four Sea Dragon King at his coronation.' He mumbled softly as he spoke, as if his words were surfacing from long lost memories.
I received the ebook from the author for review. You can get a copy at Amazon of the ebook or the paperback.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Book Beginning & Friday 56: Dragon's Pupils - The Sword Guest by Martin Chu Shi

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings

Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages 
Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. 

If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence.

The Friday 56
Rules:
  • Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
  • Turn to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Freda's Voice
  • Post a link along with your post back to Freda's Voice
Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.



I was recently contacted by author Martin Chi Shi and asked to read his self-published young adult book Dragon's Pupils - The Sword Guest. I thought the premise about Chinese mythology sounded interesting. 

Here is the product description:
The story centers on Liz, born of half Australian and of half Chinese descent. Growing up in Australia, she isn’t very interested in her father’s ancient Chinese stories. She is concerned with problems that are far more contemporary — such as environmental issues, and particularly her friend’s handsome brother who is an environmental activist. But her disinterest in Chinese culture changes when her two worlds collide, after a catastrophic accident sets thousands of ancient monsters loose near her home. Suddenly Liz must learn many new skills and call on all of her Chinese heritage if she is to prevent the monsters from destroying Earth. Helped by her twin brother and best friend, Liz sets out to discover why the monsters exist and how to stop them. When she is injured in a battle, she must travel to China to seek a cure that is spiritual as much as it is physical. But can she find the old man who can help her before the monsters catch her? How will she manage in a country that is so strange and yet so familiar? And can she learn enough about a world she has ignored to stop the monsters in time?
Beginning:
Zhang lifted his calligraphy pen from the south wall of Anle temple, stepped back, shook his long white beard, and smiled. 

This sentence is the first of the Prologue and takes place in Fifth Century, China. It does set the feel for the book. 


Friday 56:
Still if Li Ping could do magic to defeat monsters, she could know anything she wanted to know.
This book is a Kindle bargain. You can get the story for $.99.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

ARC Review: Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Always a Witch
Author: Carolyn MacCullough
Publication: Clarion Books (August 1, 2011)


Description: Since the gripping conclusion of Once a Witch, Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother’s prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible that it could harm her family forever. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady’s maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. As time runs out, both families square off in a thrilling display of magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.


My Thoughts: This sequel to Once a Witch starts right where it left off. Tamsin is getting used to the idea that she does have Talents and some pretty extraordinary ones too. But she is plagued with bad dreams and with her grandmother's prophecy that she will have to be the beacon for her family.


The villain of the first book Alistair Knight has found a way to go back into the past to try to right what he sees were wrongs. But his changes could result in the destruction of the Greene family. Tamsin needs to go back in time to 1887 New York City to stop Alistair before he changes everything. 


Tamsin has been to the past before with Gabriel but this time she is going alone. Her first problem is locating the Greene family. Before she finds them, she gains entry into the Knight home as a maid and sees for herself how ruthlessly they use their Talents. 


Then, after finding the Greene family, she can't convince them that the Knights are a threat until they capture and hurt one of the Greenes. Gabriel does manage to find her and follow her to the past but it is dangerous for him. If he stays longer than three days, he can die.


The story was filled with interesting characters and was very readable. I do recommend that you read Once a Witch first because there were no info-dumps to remind the reader of what had gone before. I think that readers can identify with Tamsin as the one ordinary person in a family of talented people. I liked her and think other readers would too.


Favorite Quote:
It took the return of an old family enemy, two episodes of time travel, and one very dangerous love spell that nearly killed my sister before I learned three things. First, I can stop anyone from using their Talent to harm me. Second, I can absorb a person's Talent if they attempt to use it against me three times. Third, I apparently have a choice ahead of me.
I received the eARC from NetGalley. You can find it here at Amazon.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wow: A Beautiful Friendship by David Weber

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It gives us a chance to spotlight books that we are eagerly anticipating.

I'll be waiting a while for A Beautiful Friendship by David Weber. This one won't be published until October 4, 2011. While Weber is a very well-known and prolific author of adult science fiction, this is his young adult debut. I have real almost all of his adult works and am especially fond of the Honor Harrington stories. This story is in the same world.

Product description from Amazon:
Stephanie Harrington absolutely hates being confined inside her family’s compound on the pioneer planet of Sphinx, a frontier wilderness world populated by dangerous native animals that could easily tear a human to bits and pieces. Yet Stephanie is a young woman determined to make discoveries—and the biggest discovery of all awaits her: an intelligent alien species.

Treecats  are creatures that resemble a cross between a bobcat and a lemur (but with six legs and much more deadly claws). Not only are they fully sentient, they are also telepathic, and able to bond with certain gifted humans such as the genetically-enhanced Stephanie. But Stephanie’s find, and her first-of-its-kind bond with a treecat, brings on a new torrent of danger. An assortment of highly-placed enemies with galactic-sized wealth at stake is determined to make sure that the planet of Sphinx remains entirely in human hands—even if this means the extermination of another thinking species. Stephanie and Lionheart are about to undergo the greatest test two alien species can ever face together: how to survive first contact and win a future with liberty and justice for all!

The first entry in the Star Kingdom teen series and the origin saga for the incredibly-popular, multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling Honor Harrington adult science fiction adventures. Young Stephanie Harrington is none other than the founder of a pioneering family dynasty that is destined to lead the fight for humanity’s freedom in a dangerous galaxy.
I'll be eager to see how his writing transitions to young adults but I have no doubt that he will have the science fiction elements in place. If you want to sample Weber's style, a number of his books are available in multiple e-formats at the Baen Free Library. Check out the list of Weber's books here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! 
Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • 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!



My teaser is from the eARC of Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough. This is the sequel to Once a Witch and will be published on Aug. 1, 2011.


Here is the product description from Amazon:
Since the gripping conclusion of Once a Witch, Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother’s prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible that it could harm her family forever. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady’s maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. As time runs out, both families square off in a thrilling display of magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.
Teaser: 
The doorbell chimes softly and I look up to see Gabriel stepping into the store. Okay, I know it's lame, but my heart still dies this weird fluttery thing sometimes when I see him, when the afternoon sunlight is hitting his cheekbones the way it is right now, when he smiles at me -- that smile that makes me feel safe and not so safe at the same time, when he gives me that look that spells out, I know you, Tamsin Greene. I know exactly who you are.