Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: Vespers Rising (The 39 Clues)

Vespers Rising (The 39 Clues)
Authors: Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman, Jude Watson
Publication: Scholastic Press; Har/Crds edition (April 5, 2011)


Description: The Cahills thought they were the most powerful family the world had ever known. They thought they were the only ones who knew about Gideon Cahill and his Clues. The Cahills were wrong.


Powerful enemies — the Vespers — have been waiting in the shadows. Now it’s their time to rise and the world will never be the same. In Vespers Rising, a brand new 39 Clues novel, bestselling authors Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman and Jude Watson take on the hidden history of the Cahills and the Vespers, and the last, terrible legacy Grace Cahill leaves for Amy and Dan.



My Thoughts: I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. Amy and Dan has so many adventures in the first ten books of the series that I thought that they deserved a break. So I let this book sit on my TBR stack for a couple of months before I picked it up. The Medusa Plot which is book one of the Cahills vs Vespers series came out yesterday.


This book is divided into four parts (one for each of the authors). Rick Riordan tells us about the beginning of the rivalry between the Cahills and the Vespers and also talks about the events the split the four children of Gideon Cahill and his wife apart. It also talks about a very special ring that Gideon Cahill is determined to keep away from Damien Vesper.


Peter Lerangis' section tells us about Madeleine Cahill who was the fifth child born after Gideon's death. It tells about her life with her mother in hiding from Vesper. It also details an attempt to get to know her brother Luke and how badly it goes. This cements her desire to keep her line secret from the rest of the Cahills and to guard and protect the ring left to her by her mother.

Gordon Korman's part takes us to World War 2 and stars Grace Cahill as a very brave and intrepid thirteen-year old. She needs to travel from Monaco to Casablanca to recover the ring. Along the way she has to match wits with General George S Patton.

The final section by Jude Watson brings us to Amy and Dan who are settling in to normal life and finding it a little boring. But the boredom dissipates quickly when they have to go to a very secure bank in Switzerland to get a clue which will lead them to the current location of the ring. They need to battle a variety of Vespers agents along the way.

While I thought the first two parts were interesting and contained a lot of background information, I don't know that they will grab the attention of the middle grade audience for these books. Kids who stick it out will find plenty of action and adventure in parts 3 and 4 though.

I liked the story and will be adding it to my middle grade media center because I have an audience who enjoyed the first ten books in the series.


Favorite Quote:
The world needed Father, and he was nowhere to be found.

She stopped short, frowning. No, that wasn't quite true. The world needed a Cahill--and Father was not the only one. Grace was a Cahill too.

What am I thinking? I am not in charge of saving the planet! I'm thirteen years old! I'm not even allowed out of the house without permission!
I bought this one because I was a fan of the first 39 Clues series. Ask to see my card collection! You can get your copy here

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson

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!
Next on my review stack was Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson. I was hooked by the first line of the book description and had to find out about the main character. Here is the product description that hooked me:
"Once upon a time there was a girl who was special. This is not her story. Unless you count the part where I killed her."

Sixteen-year-old Alison wakes up in a mental institution. As she pieces her memory back together, she realizes she's confessed to murdering Tori Beaugrand, the most perfect girl at school. But the case is a mystery. Tori's body has not been found, and Alison can't explain what happened. One minute she was fighting with Tori. The next moment Tori disintegrated--into nothing.

But that's impossible. No one is capable of making someone vanish. Right? Alison must be losing her mind--like her mother always feared she would.

For years Alison has tried to keep her weird sensory abilities a secret. No one ever understood--until a mysterious visiting scientist takes an interest in Alison's case. Suddenly, Alison discovers that the world is wrong about her--and that she's capable of far more than anyone else would believe.
Here is my teaser:
"I know, but I don't really...do anger. It never makes anything better. So I try not to get into it." Or any other emotion, for that matter. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Road Trip: Patricia C. Wrede

Saturday morning I got up bright and early to take a road trip with a friend to Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore in Minneapolis, Minnesota to attend an author signing with Patricia C. Wrede. Uncle Hugo's is the oldest independent Science Fiction bookstore in the United States. It opened in 1974.
She was signing her newest book -- Across the Great Barrier -- which she describes as Little House on the Prairie with magic. I also had a chance to get my copy of Thirteenth Child autographed too. These are the first two books in the Frontier Magic series. Pat also mentioned that she had just turned in The Far West the day before and that we could expect it about this time next year. I have been enjoying this series and can't wait to read the next volume.

Unfortunately, I didn't plan well and left the rest of my non-autographed books at home. I really enjoyed her Regency Romances with magic:
Sorcery and Cecilia began as a writing exercise with fellow author Caroline Stevermer where each exchanged letters in character. After doing this for a while, they realized that they might have a book. This one was published in 1988 and became sort of a cult classic. I happen to have two of the first paperback books in my collection. Then in 2004 they revisited the world and wrote The Grand Tour. Sorcery and Cecelia was also republished as a hardcover book. Two years later they continued the story with The Mislaid Magician, or Ten Years Later.

And her Enchanted Forest Chronicles are still very popular with middle grade readers (and adults who like her light-hearted approach to a variety of fairy tale tropes.)
Pat was kind enough to give my friend and I her address so that we can send her a self-addressed stamped envelope and some book plates to get her autograph for the books we forgot at home. That has to get on my "to do" list soon.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Wolfsbane
Author: Andrea Cremer
Publication: Philomel; 1 edition (July 26, 2011)


Description: This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended-Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer-one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack-and the man-she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.


My Thoughts: This sequel to Nightshade was a real page-turner. I hardly moved from my chair once I started reading it because I just had to know what happened next. Calla wakes up to find that she is with the Searchers - her sworn enemies. But they want her to switch over to her side. Since she has learned about the dark underside of her masters, she is willing. But she feels a lot of guilt because she left her pack behind when the saved Shay's life and ran away with him. 


A lot of the action in this story concerns the rescue mission to get her pack and maybe to get Ren. Antoher source of guilt for Calla is her relationship with Ren. She loves both Shay and Ren but in different ways. She feels torn between them.


This episode let us see the Searchers side of the war and introduced a number of great characters. Adne, Connor, and Ethan were all interesting and well-rounded new characters. Even geeky and tactless Silas had his moments. 


This is a must-read for anyone who has read Nightshade. It was action packed and thought provoking too. 


Favorite Quote:
I ran from Vail and that may have changed everything, but I still don't know where I belong.
I bought this one at Amazon. You can get your copy there too

Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Beginning & Friday 56: Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

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 have been wanting to read Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer since the day it got to my house. Finally, I got a chance to start it. This is the sequel to Nightshade. It is about werewolves which would endear it me even if it were not incredibly well-written. Fortunately the book is filled with interesting characters and has a unique take on the werewolf mythos.

Book Description:
This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended-Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer-one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack-and the man-she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.
Beginning:
I couldn't shut out the screams. Darkness surrounded me.
Friday 56 (57 because there is no print on page 56):
I wanted to get back to my pack as soon as possible, but was I ready to fight side by side with Searchers? I didn't trust these people. My captors.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

ARC Review: The Dragon's Tooth by N. D. Wilson

The Dragon's Tooth
Author: N. D. Wilson
Publication: Random House Books for Young Readers (August 23, 2011)


Description: For two years, Cyrus and Antigone Smith have run a sagging roadside motel with their older brother, Daniel. Nothing ever seems to happen. Then a strange old man with bone tattoos arrives, demanding a specific room.

Less than 24 hours later, the old man is dead. The motel has burned, and Daniel is missing. And Cyrus and Antigone are kneeling in a crowded hall, swearing an oath to an order of explorers who have long served as caretakers of the world's secrets, keepers of powerful relics from lost civilizations, and jailers to unkillable criminals who have terrorized the world for millennia.




My Thoughts: This book was filled with adventure, danger, and mystery. But it was also filled with awful adults - uncaring, uninformative, and indifferent to the needs of the children. As an adult, I was appalled. As a middle grader, I would probably overlook this aspect of the story and became lost in the adventure that the two protagonists are having. And it is quite an adventure.


Cyrus and Antigone have lost their father in an accident at sea, seen their mother lapse into a coma, and moved from the California coast house they loved to a shabby old motel in Wisconsin. They are under the care of their older brother Dan who is struggling to make ends meet. When a stranger comes to the motel trailing evil villains who want to kill him and gives Cyrus a keyring with some unusual accessories before he is killed, the adventure begins for Cyrus and his sister Antigone. The motel burns, Dan is missing, and a lawyer shows up to bring the kids to Ashtown which is the nearest outpost of the Order of Brendan - whose goal is to protect the humans from the supernatural dangers of the world.


Once the kids arrive after a harried escape that causes the lawyer to be hurt and unable to sponsor them, they are thrust into the strangeness that is Ashtown. They find that their father had been a member of the Order of Brendan but was expelled for loving and marrying their mother. They find no welcome at Ashtown. All the adults seem either actively hostile or indifferent to the kids. And the keyring and especially the bit of dragon's tooth is attracting villains both within and outside of Ashtown.


The kids need to pass tests to become members of the Order of Brendan. They must do this in order to get the help to find their brother and the financial resources they need to live. They do gather some allies while at Ashtown including a transmortal thief named Nolan and a young woman named Diana Boone who is already a member in good standing of the Order.


The villain of the story is a crazy villain named the Phoenix or Mr. Ashes. He is an expelled member of the Order of Brendan who was expelled for the experiments that he performed on humans that tortured them and altered their genetic codes. He wants revenge on the Order and he wants the Dragon's tooth because it is a Resurrection stone. He is aided by a number of creepy henchmen and traitors inside the Order of Brendan.


The story was exciting and would be of interest to middle graders. I liked that Cyrus and Antigone seemed to be very real and multi-dimensional characters.


This book has a wonderful trailer. Check it out here:

Favorite Quote:
Cyrus slid back beside his sister. "Hold on, Tigs. This is dumb. Really dumb. Are you ready?"

Antigone sniffed and tucked back her hair. "No," she said. "Not even close. Not even a little bit. Now do it."

Cyrus kicked the lever.
I received the ARC as a part of the Amazon Vine Program. You can get your copy here

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

ARC Review: Guys Read: Thriller by Jon Scieszka

Guys Read: Thriller
Editor: Jon Scieszka
Publication: Walden Pond Press (September 20, 2011)


Description: A body on the tracks


A teenage terrorist

A mysterious wish-granting machine

The world’s worst private detective

The second volume in the Guys Read Library of Great Reading is chock-full of mystery, intrigue, and nefarious activity. Featuring some of the best writers around, and compiled by certified guy Jon Scieszka, Guys Read: Thriller is a pulse-pounding collection of brand-new short stories, each one guaranteed to keep you riveted until the final page.




My Thoughts: This was a very entertaining anthology with stories from some of the hot authors for middle graders. I liked the variety of moods of the story from humorous to spine-chilling. Though maybe the spine-chilling was a personal reaction since I really, really hate snakes (The Snake Mafia by Gennifer Choldenko). 


I also liked the variety of ethnicities and locations for the stories. I will admit that my favorite story was The Double Eagle Has Landed by Anthony Horowitz. I loved the humor in this story about the world's worst detective and his younger, smarter brother. It makes me want to read the other stories about the Diamond brothers that I have in my media center.


Some of the authors included are M. T. Anderson, Walter Dean Myers, Margaret Peterson Haddix, James Patterson, and Gennifer Choldenko. All of the authors in the anthology are already represented in my media centers. I can just see the display with this book as the centerpiece surrounded by the authors' other work.


This one will definitely find a place in both my elementary and middle school media centers. 


Favorite Quote:
And of course, I was the only person in the school who hadn't gotten a new Xbox or a new iPhone or any other expensive gadget with a letter in front of it. Tim wouldn't even have been able to afford a new Tcup, and although Mum and Dad had sent me a card from Sydney (Santa surfing at Bondi Beach), they'd forgotten to enclose the book token or, better still, the check.
I received this eARC from NetGalley for review. You can get your copy here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The Dragon's Tooth by N. D. Wilson

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!

The book I am teasing from this week is The Dragon's Tooth by N. D. Wilson. I recently chose this book from the Amazon Vine program. It sounded like an intriguing middle grade fantasy. Here is the product description:
For two years, Cyrus and Antigone Smith have run a sagging roadside motel with their older brother, Daniel. Nothing ever seems to happen. Then a strange old man with bone tattoos arrives, demanding a specific room.

Less than 24 hours later, the old man is dead. The motel has burned, and Daniel is missing. And Cyrus and Antigone are kneeling in a crowded hall, swearing an oath to an order of explorers who have long served as caretakers of the world's secrets, keepers of powerful relics from lost civilizations, and jailers to unkillable criminals who have terrorized the world for millennia. 
Here is the teaser from page 47:
The old man stared at the end of his cigarette. "People say you can't run from Death." He shook his head. "People lie. Running's all you can do, kid. Run like Hell's on your heels, because it is. And if you're still running, well, then you're still alive."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Trailer and Giveaway: Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith

Check out this new horror book by Alexander Gordon Smith. Lockdown is the first book in the series. You can find out more about the book and the series by visiting Alexander Gordon Smith's website.

Here's a bit about the book:
Beneath Heaven is Hell....Beneath Hell is Furnace! Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world.

Do you want a chance to win a copy? Fill out the form below.

Rules:
  • You must live in the US or Canada
  • You must fill out the form completely
  • Forms must be submitted by 8 AM Friday, Sept. 2
The winner will receive a finished copy of Lockdown: Escape from the Furnace 1 by Alexander Gordon Smith from Zeitghost Media.


Good luck!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In My YA Mailbox (August 21, 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.

One lonely short story for my Kindle is my entire mailbox this week. I got Dream Dark: A Beautiful Creatures Story by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I am a fan of the series and want to have everything.

Here is the description:
When Link joined his best friend, Ethan Wate, on a quest through a mysterious network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, he knew the journey would be dangerous. But returning home to Gatlin, South Carolina was just the beginning...

Wounded during a climactic battle, Link discovers that tending his injuries won't be as simple as visiting a doctor and that healing his arm should be the least of his worries. For being bitten by a Supernatural does more than break the skin -- it changes a person, inside and out, turning Link into someone more and more like the dark creature who injured him.

In this never-before-seen short story by New York Times bestselling authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, listeners witness Link's heart-racing transformation. Dream Dark is set before the much-anticipated third Beautiful Creatures novel, Beautiful Chaos, and as a special bonus includes an exclusive sneak peek at the first five chapters.
I am eager for Beautiful Chaos and can't wait to get to the sneak peek.

That was my week. What was in your mailbox?


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Guest Post: Shea Berkley, Author of The Marked Son


Today I get a chance to welcome Shea Berkley to my blog. She is the author of The Marked Son. This is the first in a young adult fantasy trilogy that I recently read and enjoyed. Let me step aside for Shea's post:

Creature Feature

Do you know what I love about writing fantasy? Creating creatures. Okay, it’s like I’m a kid with nightmare issues sometimes, but on the whole it’s really fun. There are the traditional creatures: ogres, trolls, faeries, elves, dwarves, witches and wizards. Nothing truly crazy in any of them. They’re great for getting certain jobs done. Ogres wreak havoc on villages. Trolls terrorize travelers. Faeries have been known to enslave others. Elves may kill you on the spot. Wizards and witches just might allow whatever is chasing you to catch you and eat you. Sounds fun, huh? It is!


But then you have the odder creatures, like sirens and sprites, dragons and griffins, mermaids and minotaurs. Sometimes these creatures are bound to one area like water, the air or fire or even a particular place. They often have little wiggle room for growth. They are what they are. That’s when you can get a bit more creative. You can have them be human sometimes and a siren other times. Or the dragon isn’t just a fire breathing monster but an intelligent creature that has more sense than its human counterpart. Both of these options have been done several times in fiction.


What I like to do with all these creatures is to take what’s expected and twist that expectation. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. Many times in fiction, if you stick too closely to the traditional fantasy elements, people will say the author didn’t try to make the story fresh enough. I say that all depends on the creature’s job in the story. I love traditional characters, so I try to mix in the traditional with the “purely plucked from my mind” creatures.


People love creatures they can understand, and when you use traditional characters, there is an instant understanding of how they work. So when you tweak that expectation, you’ve got to have a really good reason and a logical approach for making a creature do something against type.


Honestly, as a reader, I’ll always give the author the benefit of my imagination and let them tell their story without imposing my expectations on the plot. I want to be taken on a journey of discovery. I love surprises. Don’t you?


The firsts in my story are the traditional Fae characters. I didn’t give them wings, but I did give them a new slant. My Fae can’t lie. It’s impossible for them. Taking away that one aspect of life we all take for granted caused certain things to happen. Also, it begs the question, who is nobler, those who can’t lie or those who can but chose not to lie?


If you want to know more about The Marked Son or get it touch with me, go to: Facebook / SheaBerkley.com / Goodreads / RubySlipperedSisterhood.com



Check out this excerpt from The Marked Son to get a taste of the book:



I was eight the first time I saw the girl. 


Mom freaked when I told her, said I was letting a girl terrorize my dreams, but I didn’t get it. They were 
dreams, not nightmares. I don’t remember ever waking up afraid. Not back then. So when the dreams kept 
coming, year after year, each one more vivid than the last, I held onto them like a skydiver clutching his 
ripcord. No way would I let Mom take them away from me. 


It’s been years since she’s asked me about the girl, but lately Mom’s been curious. I tell her I haven’t had 
a dream in awhile. She eyes me like I’m lying.  


So what if I am? I may not remember everything about my dreams when I wake up, but I do know when 
I’m about to have one.  My scalp tingles, like tiny bugs zap, zap, zapping along my skin. The darkness 
behind my lids turns smoky. I’ve tried to pull away at that point but it’s no use. I don’t fight it now. 
Instead I sink into the thick air and come out the other side into a world that is nothing like the one I 
know...  


Yet, it’s familiar. 


Tonight, the smoke fades, and the girl appears in a thin, white gown. I’m lying in a meadow surrounded 
by deep woods, one hand tucked behind my head—shirtless and shoeless and wearing a pair of old, ratty 
jeans. I can hear the TV I left on fading in the distance until the sound of the meadow fills the air. 
She’s suddenly beside me, beautiful beyond words, her long, dark hair spilling over her shoulder as she 
bends to touch my hand. Her cool fingers rest more like mist than flesh in my palm. The rough corset 
she’s wearing cinches the fabric snug to her hips. She’s got a definite Victorian vibe going, but it suits 
her. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it. 


Her violet eyes darken, revealing the silent plea that carries a hint of desperation, and she tugs, urging me 
to get to my feet. She wants me to run, to escape. In the last two weeks, we’ve tried, running so long and 
so hard that we’re sure we’ll never find our way home again. We’ll be lost together forever. It’s what she 
wants. It’s what I need. But it always fails. We eventually wind up back at the meadow. 


Tonight, I’m content to pull her down beside me, lie in the soft grass, and stare at the sky. Our fingers 
intertwine, our shoulders touch. We’ve both gotten older since the first time we met. There have been 
years when we rarely saw each other, but lately, our time together has intensified. There’s a feeling of 
impending doom that wasn’t there when we were younger, as if this perfect place of dreams is about to 
shatter, and we’ll never see each other again. 


There’s so much I want to know. Why do I only dream about her when I need her most? Am I insane? I 
don’t ask. I’m afraid to. I want her to be real, just a few months more, maybe a year. Then I’ll grow up 
and cut this strange, imaginary cord. I can’t lose her smile, not yet, or her lips against my cheek—one of 
her butterfly kisses that’s gone before it’s begun.  Her silence has never bothered me before. Tonight, all I want is one word.  


My name.  


Review: The Marked Son by Shea Berkley

The Marked Son
Author: Shea Berkley
Publication: Entangled Publishing, LLC (August 2, 2011)


Description: Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he's never met, he had no idea what.


When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents' farm, he knows he's seen her before in his dreams. He's felt her fear. Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.


Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he's completely insane or he's about to have the adventure of his life, because where they're going is full of creatures he's only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death.


My Thoughts: This was an interesting and entertaining start to a series. It is told in the first person from two viewpoints. The first is Dylan who is seventeen and cynical. He has been raised by a careless and indifferent mother. They have drifted from place to place for all his life. He says it is because his mother has depleted the man-pool and needs to find a new one. She is on the constant search for love. Then one trip takes them to her parents' sheep farm where she abandons Dylan. His grandparents didn't know of his existence but welcome him. Dylan doesn't put any faith in their welcome. He is too used to losing everyone he might care about and is not willing to trust that this will be different.

But there is one constant in Dylan's life. Ever since he was young he has been dreaming about a girl.

The second viewpoint is Kera's. She is a privileged girl in a world that has magic, a lost king, and an evil man named Navar who wants to be the new king. She is also a half-breed who has had this concealed by her father. Navar is killing all the half-breeds but he wants to marry her. She has been dreaming of Dylan too and recognizes that he has a lot of power and might be the one to defeat Navar's evil plans. Kera's world and the people in it have a lot of resemblance to the traditional version of faerie. The pure bloods can't lie. They take binding oaths that they cannot break. They have a variety of magics.

It takes a third of the book before they meet and, at first, Dylan doesn't believe that she or her world are real. But he gradually comes to believe her and is determined to rescue her from her fate. He and a few friends go to her world and begin the battle with Navar. The battle is long, difficult, and there are many losses.

I think that readers who like fantasy will enjoy this one.


Favorite Quote:
Everything looks and feels normal. At least, as normal as a guy in the forest meeting a girl wearing an old-fashioned nightgown while his buddy lies  passed out nearby can feel normal. I'm sure situations like this have happened to tons of people...on drugs.
I received the eARC from Entangled Publishing via NetGalley. You can get your copy here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Beginning & Friday 56: The Marked Son by Shea Berkley

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 The Marked Son by Shea Berkley to read for review. This is one of the first offerings from Entangled Publishing. Here is the product description:

Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he's never met, he had no idea what.
When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents' farm, he knows he's seen her before in his dreams. He's felt her fear. Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.

Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he's completely insane or he's about to have the adventure of his life, because where they're going is full of creatures he's only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death.
Beginning:
I was eight the first time I saw the girl.
Friday 56 (estimated on my Kindle): 
Before it could warn the others with its throaty grunt, Kera flipped her knife into her opposite hand and, in tow precise swipes, detached the creature's tail and head from its body.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Review: Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Supernaturally
Author: Kiersten White
Publication: HarperTeen (July 26, 2011)


Description: Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be... kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.


But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.


My Thoughts: OK! I still love Evie and she has a unique and humorous take on life. Now that she is living as a normal person and attending high school, she finds that the life she really wanted is sort of boring. Lend is away at college and she only gets a chance to see him on weekends. When Raquel offers to let her so some contract work for the IPCA, she agrees even though it means lying to Lend about what she is doing.


She is paired with Jack who is a human boy who was raised in fairie and has learned to manipulate the paths. He is a unique character himself with a not very solid grip on reality or sanity. He gets Evie into lots of difficult situations.


I think that I liked this one a little less than Paranormalcy because the problem of the plot was less clear to me. Evie fights against her desire to steal other paranormals' souls. She tries to balance her life with Lend and with the IPCA. She tries to fit into normal human life including applying to Georgetown and then obsessing about whether or not she will be accepted. She tries to stay away from faeries though Reth does pop in with some cryptic comments every once in a while. And, she tries to work on her relationship with Lend knowing that he is immortal and she is not.


This one will be enjoyed by readers who liked meeting Evie in Paranormalcy and want to catch up with her now. There was less external action than in the first book and more about how Evie relates to things.


Favorite Quote:
"Something we have in common, then, besides the world's most perfect hair color. We were both raised by no one and live nowhere."

I squirmed, opening my eyes. He had a point, but not one I especially liked. I was connected to people, to places. Wasn't I? There was something in Jack that I related to, though, on a level I didn't quite understand. Here and there, when he wasn't being an idiot, there was this sort of ... desperation. Like he was trying to find something, but he didn't know what is was yet. It was a feeling I knew all too well.
I loved Paranormalcy so I bought this one from Amazon as soon as I could. You can get your copy here