Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

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!
This week I chose Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan from my review stack. I have both the print and the audiobook of this one. Here is the description:
If a violent battle destroyed the only world you’ve ever known, would you be brave enough to save who was left? Would love be strong enough to survive the fight? Either way, there’s no turning back.

The Empyrean is the only home 15-year-old Waverly has ever known. Part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space, she and her boyfriend Kieran will be pioneers of New Earth. Waverly knows she must marry young in order to have children who can carry on the mission, and Kieran, the handsome captain-to-be, has everything Waverly could want in a husband. Everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Still, there’s a part of Waverly that wants more from life than marriage, and she is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

Suddenly, Waverly’s dreams are interrupted by the inconceivable – a violent betrayal by the Empyrean's sister ship, the New Horizon. The New Horizon’s leaders are desperate to populate the new planet first, and will do anything to get what they need: young girls. In one pivotal moment, Waverly and Kieran are separated, and find themselves at the helm of dangerous missions, where every move has potentially devastating consequences, and decisions of the heart may lead to disaster.


Pulse-pounding and addictive, GLOW begins the most riveting series since The Hunger Games.

Teaser:
Rage swept through Waverly. She wished she were strong enough to take this woman's throat in her hands and squeeze her to death. But what if what she said was true, that the girls had been rescued rather than kidnapped.

Monday, January 30, 2012

State of the Stack (Jan. 30, 2012)

This is my second State of the Stack post. It is my way to keep track of my review books and to hopefully reduce the stack that I have waiting for me. Here is my Review Books spreadsheet.

Here is a photo of the physical part of my review stack:
There are eighteen books on the stack. Five of them are new this month. I did read two that were on the pile last month and the five I took home for my Christmas Break. 

I am currently reading and listening to Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan. I got the audiobook for review from Macmillan Audio on Jan. 16 and the print book on Jan. 25. I bought the print book so that I could do a read-along but am finding it easy to listen to even without following along.

Last month I had 11 Kindle books for review. I did read six of them this month. However, I added five new Kindle review books this month. Here is what is on my Kindle for review now.


The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens (NetGalley)
Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Schultz (NetGalley)
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter (NetGalley)
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown (NetGalley)
Griffin's Fire by Darby Karchut (sent to me by the author)

These are the ones that are holdovers from last month. All of them were sent to me by their authors.


The Second Coming by David H. Burton 
Darkride by Laura Rede
Dragon's Pupils: The Peaks by Martin Chu Shi
Earth Blend by Lori Pescatore
The Fate of the Muse by Derrolyn Anderson

I also received, read, and reviewed these this month.
Time Out by Jill Shalvis (NetGalley)
Daughter of the Centaurs by Kate Klimo (Amazon Vine)
Iris and the Dragonflies by Rosemary Danielis (Author)

All in all, I read 16 review books this month and added 10 new ones to the group. I will be checking in again in a month to report my progress. Do you have any of these on your review stack? Comment and share what you have waiting to review. If you have read any of these, I would also be eager to hear what you think about them.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

In My YA Mailbox (Jan. 29, 2012)

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 six new books this week. Here they are:
These were the ones added to my Kindle. I chose Angelfall by Susan Ee. This one came to my attention when I was looking at the list of books in the running for a Cybil. Even though it is self-published, I have seen nothing but good reviews.

I read Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers series so I was excited to see that this Darkest Powers Bonus Pack - a collection of three companions stories - was available. I look forward to reading it to fill in more of the details about this series. 
I decided to get the YA Edgar nominees when I saw the list. I like mysteries and thought this would be good and would make good additions to my high school media center. This week I got:

I also got a couple more books for review. 

I was surprised to get a package in the mail on Friday containing Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan James. I got this one from a publicist because I had read and reviewed an earlier book by Syrie James.

I also got a print copy of Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan to go along with the audiobook I got a couple of weeks ago. I plan to do sort of a read-along.

This is what I got this week. What did you get?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review: Iris and the Dragonflies by Rosemary Danielis

Iris and the Dragonflies
Author: Rosemary Danielis
Publication: CreateSpace (July 26, 2009)


Description: Iris, a feisty, solitary, eleven-year-old girl prefers being down by the creek near her house more than anywhere else in the world. School is nothing but a joyless prison and uninterested in her classmates she spends each day gazing out the window, waiting for the dismissal bell to ring. Her only friends are the dragonflies who flit through the shoulder high bulrushes growing along the creek's banks. Iris discovers the dragonflies are more than they appear to be and that she is the key to resolving an age-old battle between light and dark, good and evil. She has the ability to unleash the power of the Earth to restore the balance that has been lost. This however is not what the Solaris have in mind. They are the world's most powerful Evil and Iris is the only one who can stop them! Will Iris and her friends be able to win this battle? Iris and the Dragonflies is empowering, and a must read for all girls.


My Thoughts: Iris and the Dragonflies was a fun, engaging read that would be good for middle graders. Iris is a social outcast. She is much more interested in hanging out by the stream and observing the wildlife there than spending time in school. The dragonflies talk to her but no one, except maybe her teacher at school believes her. Her mother is supportive but thinks she has too much imagination. Her father is abrupt and dismisses the possibility that Iris is telling the truth. Her older sister is mean and constantly puts Iris down. She has only one friend and Grace is a shy, withdrawn girl herself.


The summer between fifth and sixth grade Iris travels with her family to visit her grandmother in Ireland. There she explores an old castle, learns old stories that might be true from her grandmother and her grandmother's caretaker Cormac, and discovers a hidden dragon tooth. The stories are about dragons and ancient priestesses who protected the Earth from those who would exploit it. Iris comes back home with even more questions than she started with considering that she could see the past when she touched the castle walls.


When sixth grade begins Iris and Grace make new friends - Luciano from Italy, Anming from China, Karishma from India, and Jabulani from Tanzania. They work on a project together to save Iris' Dragonfly Creek from developers who want to destroy it. The kids have to deal with a mayor who seems for sale to the highest bidder, the class bullies - Timmy and Tommy, the evil development company, and the secretive Mr. Fretghar who seems to know more about Iris than she told him.


I thought the characters were well-drawn. They reminded me of a lot of the middle schoolers I work with every day. I liked that Iris was concerned about the earth but was also kid enough to almost throw a tantrum when things didn't go her way. I also liked the way the kids worked together to solve the problem. I thought both the magic and the ecological message were well-integrated into the story. And I really liked that the grown-up characters who were there to help the kids were a teacher and a librarian. 


There is enough adventure in this one to satisfy the adventure lover and enough fantasy for the fantasy lover. There are enough real middle grade issues - bullies, first crushes, and school rivalries - to satisfy the realistic fiction fans. And while the story doesn't end on a cliffhanger, there are still unresolved issues that will have kids looking for the next book. I will be looking forward to a sequel to this story myself.


Favorite Quote:
Iris sat at her favorite table by the window, marveling at the books stacked in front of her, like the Tower of Pisa. She breathed in the wonderful smell of paper, enjoying the feeling of knowledge that resonated from this place.

The library had always been an indoor refuge for her, an escape from the noisy, bustling world. Within these four walls, she could think, question and explore whatever she wanted.
I was sent this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here. Click the link on the author's name to go to the Iris website.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Book Beginning & Friday 56: Iris and the Dragonflies by Rosemary Danielis

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.

My book this week is Iris and the Dragonflies by Rosemary Danielis. It is a middle grade fantasy and happens to be the last self-published book I accepted for review before I changed my review policy. Here is the product description:
Iris, a feisty, solitary, eleven-year-old girl prefers being down by the creek near her house more than anywhere else in the world. School is nothing but a joyless prison and uninterested in her classmates she spends each day gazing out the window, waiting for the dismissal bell to ring. Her only friends are the dragonflies who flit through the shoulder high bulrushes growing along the creek's banks. Iris discovers the dragonflies are more than they appear to be and that she is the key to resolving an age-old battle between light and dark, good and evil. She has the ability to unleash the power of the Earth to restore the balance that has been lost. This however is not what the Solaris have in mind. They are the world's most powerful Evil and Iris is the only one who can stop them! Will Iris and her friends be able to win this battle? Iris and the Dragonflies is empowering, and a must read for all girls.
Beginning:
Iris skipped into the Grade Five classroom, her eyes bright with anticipation, her hands carefully cupping a surprise. 
Friday 56:
"These people didn't live like we do today, ya' know. If they wanted to eat, they had to go out and hunt, or plant crops and harvest them." 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Review: Charmfall by Chloe Neill

Charmfall
Author: Chloe Neill
Publication: NAL Trade; 1 edition (January 3, 2012)


Description: Protecting Chicago from the dark side of life can be an exhausting job, especially when you're in high school. So when the girls of St. Sophia's start gearing up for Sneak, their fall formal, Lily decides to take a break from fighting to get ready for the event. But when a Reaper unexpectedly crashes the party prep and Lily's firespell fails, she realizes that she has a much bigger problem than a full social calendar...


My Thoughts: This was another charming episode in the Dark Elite series. I love that the author manages to combine the magical with the mundane as can be evidenced in the quote I chose. These are high school kids and they behave like them. I really like the friendship between Lily and Scout. And I like the relationships each have with their boyfriends. I like that Lily is worried about having her heart broken and is cautious as she goes into the relationship. 


I also like Lily's point of view in this one. She is new to having magic and being an Adept which lets her have some perspective that the other characters don't have. She is able to see the shades of grey while most of her friends in the Adepts are more tuned to seeing black and white. This does create come conflicts with her friends and especially with her boyfriend Jason. But it also makes the story more believable and realistic.

The problem in this one is that both the Adepts and the Dark Elite have lost their magic. The loss was sudden and unexplained. The characters all react differently. Lily is least affected because she has had her magic the shortest amount of time. And the Adepts, unlike the Dark Elite, know that they will be giving up their magic when they get older but the shock of having no magic now is difficult for many of them.

This was an entertaining and engaging story with real kids working through real problems (and some magical ones too.) I recommend the series to lovers of paranormal books.


Favorite Quote: 
The situation was dire. We had a trig test, our magic was gone, and we had a party to prep and a secret meeting with a vampire to arrange. I had no parents for parents' night, and no dress for the dance. I also had a worried werewolf and a spellbinding best friend who was now target number one for the city's bad guys. 
I bought this one. You can get your copy here too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WoW: A Wrinkle in Time: 50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition

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!

I am waiting for A Wrinkle in Time: 50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition by Madeleine L'Engle. I have read this book many times and find it hard to believe that it was published 50 years ago. It is one of the books that began my love for science fiction and for anything Madeleine L'Engle wrote. 

While I am excited to get a new hardcover copy of this book, I am equally excited for the bonus materials including an introduction by Katherine Paterson, an afterword by Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter Charlotte Jones Voiklis that includes photographs and memorabilia, and the author’s Newbery Medal acceptance speech.

This book will be published on Jan. 31 and I already have my copy pre-ordered.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Charmfall by Chloe Neill

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 just went browsing my TBR mountain and grabbed Charmfall by Chloe Neill. This is the third in her Dark Elite series.

Here is the product description:
Protecting Chicago from the dark side of life can be an exhausting job, especially when you're in high school. So when the girls of St. Sophia's start gearing up for Sneak, their fall formal, Lily decides to take a break from fighting to get ready for the event. But when a Reaper unexpectedly crashes the party prep and Lily's firespell fails, she realizes that she has a much bigger problem than a full social calendar...
Here is my teaser:
"Did you ever think your Junior Year would be this exciting?" I asked Scout.

"I was hoping it would involve a discovery that I was secretly a princess with the power to rule the world and make pop stars my minions," she said. "I have not yet become aware of any such discovery."

Monday, January 23, 2012

Win Tempest by Julie Cross

Thanks to Zeitghost Media and St. Martin's Griffin I have one copy of Tempest by Julie Cross to give away.

Here is the product description for Julie Cross' debut novel:
The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.
If this sounds like your kind of story, fill out the form below to win a copy.

Rules:
  • Contest is open to US/Canada residents only.
  • Entries must be received by 6PM CST on Friday, Feb. 3
  • Winner will be chosen using Random.org
  • Prize will be sent by St. Martin's Press

Book Review: Torn by Dean Murray

Torn
Author: Dean Murray
Publication: Fir'shan Publishing (October 17, 2011)


Description: Shape shifter Alec Graves has spent nearly a decade trying to keep his family from being drawn into open warfare with a larger pack. The new girl at school shouldn't matter, but the more he gets to know her, the more mysterious she becomes. Worse, she seems to know things she shouldn't about his shadowy world.

Is she an unfortunate victim or bait designed to draw him into a fatal misstep? If she's a victim, then he's running out of time to save her. If she's bait, then his attraction to her will pull him into a fight that'll cost him everything.


My Thoughts: Reading Torn was like immersing myself in a new world. In fact, it felt like there was a whole complex history that I was just getting hints of because it was so familiar to the characters. This world has rival bands of teenage shape shifters who have remarkable powers and who are in a war for dominance. Into the battlefield comes a young woman named Adriana Paige. She immediately becomes a source of conflict between Alec and his rival Brandon. Alec is very suspicious of her at first because she is unusual. Here is what he says:
She glowed. Not just a faint flow of a normal person or the slightly stronger glow of a wolf. She shone with the light of a powerful moon born hybrid, and she didn't belong to my pack, so she was an intruder.
But intruder or not Alec is fascinated by her. She even starts appearing in his dreams where they begin to get to know each other. After she stands up for Rachel, Alec's human younger sister, Alec determines that the pack will protect her. All of the pack is not in favor of this because it just escalates the rivalry with Brandon's pack. Alec is torn between wanting to get closer to Adri and knowing he shouldn't both for her safety and for his. 


The story is filled with intense emotion as Alec struggles to keep his pack safe from Brandon's. The social dynamics in the story are interesting. Both Alec and Brandon are incredibly wealthy but Alec is the one who controls the town of Sanctuary to to point of bribing (or blackmailing) the mayor and the school principal. Alec lost his father in some unexplained but very traumatic incident that escalated the problems that he is facing now. He has been in charge of the pack for years even though he is only seventeen. There is some conflict regarding the larger community of shape shifters because of Alec's heritage. He feels that the Coun'hij - a governing body of the shape shifters - would support Brandon if it was called in because of this heritage. He does know that the Coun'hij would punish both sides of the conflict if it risked any chance of disclosing the existence of shape shifters to the human population. 


A lot of the story revolves around the nature of these shape shifters. Brandon has an advantage because he has manifested a special power that Alec can't match. Alec believes that in any face to face fight with Brandon, he will lose. He is always hoping that his power, whatever it might be, will manifest too. Another special power that the shape shifters have is related to their relationships with humans. Their touch is addictive. The human who becomes addicted to a shape shifter's touch can't survive without it. Alec knows this first hand because his mother is human. While she survived his father's death, she is living in the past and constantly cycling through emotions. She doesn't often even recognize that Rachel is her child or, if she does, she treats her badly. She is an object lesson for him about the dangers of loving a human.


This story was told from Alec's point of view and really emphasized his own struggle with his shape shifter nature. He even calls himself a monster and has to keep a tight control over his emotions and his actions. When I found out that Dean Murray had written a companion novel - Broken - which tells the story from Adri's point of view, I knew that I had to read it too to get the rest of the story.


This was an emotional and intense read with lots of fighting and violence. Alec is under tremendous amounts of stress trying to solve all of the problems on his shoulders but through it all he is honorable, protective, and caring to those under his care. I recommend it for older young adults because of the level of violence. 


Favorite Quote:
"We're where the legends of succubi originated. Irresistible demons who drain their victims dry, who leave their lovers a hollow shell of what they were before. Do you understand now?  My getting closer to you is the ultimate form of self-gratification. It's the worst possible thing I could do to you. If you somehow survive everything that's about to happen, it would leave you forever hungering for another touch, but never able to fulfill that desire."
I was approached by the author to review this book. I bought my copy at Amazon. It is available there or at Smashwords.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In My YA Mailbox (Jan. 22, 2012)

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 have another big mailbox this week with a combination of review books and books to bring to conferences for author's signatures and book discussions. Then there are the books I got because I liked the author or was curious about the book.


Here are my review books:
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown is from NetGalley. I have to admit that I chose this one for the setting. It takes place in and around Lake Superior. I grew up on the shores of Lake Superior. Who knew there were mermaids there? This is a June release.

Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter is the sequel to The Goddess Test which I read and reviewed. This one is from Harlequin Teen and will be released on March 27. I also got it from NetGalley.
Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Schultz is a sequel to Spellbound which I also read and reviewed. It is another Harlequin Teen title from NetGalley. It also comes out on March 27.

My last review book of the week is Traitor's Son by Hilari Bell. I was approached by the author to read and review this one. It will be published by Houghton Mifflin on March 20. It is the sequel to The Trickster's Girl which I read and reviewed. I liked the combination of Native American myth in a dystopian sort of setting of that one and look forward to reading this one too.
I did receive my first audiobook for review this week. I got Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan from Macmillan Audio. It is one of School Library Journal's Best Fiction Books of 2011 and it's science fiction. I am eager to listen to it.

I will be attending the Spotlight on Books conference at the end of March and bought a couple of books to read before then. 
There will be a book discussion of My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson one evening. This is a National Book Award finalist.

Margi Preus, author of Heart of a Samurai, will be presenting at the conference. I decided to get that book to have her autograph it. It was a Newbery Honor Book but I didn't have it in my media center collection.

Here are the rest of the books I couldn't live without this week:
Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey is by an author I really enjoy. This one is a young adult paranormal but, unlike her Drake Chronicles, this one explores the world of the Fae.

I also got The Secret Prince by Violet Haberdasher. This is the sequel to Knightly Academy. I have had lots of student requests for this title.

That was my mailbox. What did you get in yours this week?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

ARC Review: Daughter of Centaurs by Kate Klimo

Daughter of Centaurs
Author: Kate Klimo
Publication: Random House Books for Young Readers (January 24, 2012)


Description: Malora knows what she was born to be: a horse wrangler and a hunter, just like her father. But when her people are massacred by batlike monsters called Leatherwings, Malora will need her horse skills just to survive. The last living human, Malora roams the wilderness at the head of a band of magnificent horses, relying only on her own wits, strength, and courage. When she is captured by a group of centaurs and taken to their city, Malora must decide whether the comforts of her new home and family are worth the parts of herself she must sacrifice to keep them.


My Thoughts: I was swept away by the world-building and the characters in this fantasy/dystopia. Malora is one of the few children of the small remaining Settlement of humans. Her mother is the Healer and her father is in charge of the horses and hunting. While it is traditional for girls to take up their mother's role, Malora wants to work with the horses. She knows that working with the horses is her destiny. She does convince her family and learns to care for and train the horses. But when she is twelve years old, the hunters are attacked by Leatherwings who kill them all. The Leatherwings attack the settlement too. Malora's mother sends her off with the horses and tells her never to return. 


Malora spends three years on the Plains alone except for the herd of horses she assembles. She gets to know them and even think like them as she assumes the role of lead horse. When her horses are captured by a group of centaurs, her life changes unimaginably. They are as astonished to see her. The centaurs believed that all the humans had been killed. She is taken by the centaurs to their fantastic city. Mount Kheiron is a place of art, beauty, and education and is the home of the Highlanders - the upper class centaurs. She is made a pet of by Orion and Zephele - two of the children of the Apex who is the leader of the centaurs.


Malora is out of her depth. She had never imagined a life like she is living in Mount Kheiron. She learns about how the Highlanders live and about the Flatlanders too. She is convinced that centaurs are Perfect Beings. But gradually she begins to see that there is a lot of imperfection under the glossy picture. 


A lot of the story revolves around a horse race to win the Golden Horse. It is an annual contest that happens on Founder's Day. The centaurs were out looking for horses to train for the race when they found Malora and her herd. They wanted to find better horses so that the Highlanders could finally win the trophy. There is great rivalry between the Highlanders and Flatlanders. There is also great disparity in the lives of Highlanders and Flatlanders. The Highlanders have lives of wealth and privilege. They have ample leisure time to pursue art, music, and dance. The Flatlanders are poor and work hard to survive.


The story introduced a number of different creatures. The Leatherwings are man-sized creatures that resemble bats. The Twani who serve the centaurs remind Malora of the old story of Puss in Boots. When she gets to Mount Kheiron she meets Honus who is half goat, half human being who is the pet of the Apex and who is a scholar who is charged with the education of the Apex's children. He is also put in charge of Malora's integration into the centaur society. He is the one who tells her about the distant past when the Scientists created the various creatures that now inhabit the world. He also shares great literature with her from Shakespeare and Stephenie Meyer, among others. 


One recurring theme that goes through the book has to do with the visions that Malora has when she smells the various scent concoctions that Orion makes. She smells them and then has visions most of which come true during the course of this story. But some are left tantalizingly incomplete and give us some hints of what might happen in the next books in this series. 


I really enjoyed this story. In fact, I stayed up late and got up early in order to keep reading. I can't wait to see what happens in the next books. 


Favorite Quote:
"Anything centaurs do with our hands is considered important. Properly mixed and prepared, scents establish the very tone of society. They control emotions and set moods. I've seen them bring about radical transformations. They can make a drowsy soul feel lively and an overly excited one find peace. They can attract mates and repel enemies and bring forth dormant emotions and suppress unwanted ones. They can make for happy, lively, gracious households. A home without scent is a cold cell. I'm proud to have chosen alchemy as my Hand."
I got this one from the Amazon Vine program. You can buy your copy here

Friday, January 20, 2012

Book Beginning & Friday 56: Daughter of Centaurs by Kate Klimo

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 recently got an ARC of Daughter of Centaurs by Kate Klimo from the Amazon Vine program. I chose it because I don't think I have ever read anything about centaurs and it sounded interesting. It is also being compared the The Blue Sword which is one of my favorite fantasy novels.

Here is the description:
Malora knows what she was born to be: a horse wrangler and a hunter, just like her father. But when her people are massacred by batlike monsters called Leatherwings, Malora will need her horse skills just to survive. The last living human, Malora roams the wilderness at the head of a band of magnificent horses, relying only on her own wits, strength, and courage. When she is captured by a group of centaurs and taken to their city, Malora must decide whether the comforts of her new home and family are worth the parts of herself she must sacrifice to keep them.

Beginning:
For as long as she can remember, Malora has dreamed of dancing with horses.
Friday 56:
West throws back his head and screams at the sky, "Flash flood! Head for higher ground!"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Review: Dreamland by Alyson Noel

Dreamland
Author: Alyson Noel
Publication: Square Fish; First Edition edition (September 13, 2011)


Description: Riley’s finding that the afterlife can be a lonely place when all you do is focus on work. So she goes to the place where dreams happen, hoping to find a way to contact her sister, Ever. She meets the director, who tells her about the two ways to send dreams. As a Dream Jumper, a person can jump into a dreamer’s dream, share a message, and participate. As a Dreamweaver, an entire dream can be created in a studio and sent to the dreamer. But Dreamweaving was outlawed decades ago, and the studio was boarded up. Thinking it’s her only way to reach out to her sister, Riley goes in search of the old studio. There she finds a ghost boy, who’s been creating and sending nightmares to people for years. In order to stop him and reach out to Ever, Riley is going to have to confront and overcome her own fears.


My Thoughts: Alyson Noel really hits the right notes in this story. She has the voice of a twelve-year-old, albeit one with a pretty impressive vocabulary, locked in. Riley really shows all the characteristics of the kids I work with - enthusiastic, volatile, dramatic, and more than slightly obsessive. Riley's obsession is with being a teenager. She really wants to be thirteen. Having been there, I don't really get her desire. I wouldn't be thirteen again for all the money in the world. But for Riley that age is a magical one. She really admired her older sister Ever and saw how she changed at thirteen. Riley wants that for herself. 


When the story starts, she is meeting with the Council because, while she was very successful at her last mission, it wasn't the success the council sent her for. When she is congratulated, she thinks she will soon be thirteen. But when the Council decides to give her a break, she realizes that she doesn't have anything but her soul catching work. She hasn't any other interests or hobbies. She also feels that the break will stop her progress to being a teenage.


Riley decides to visit Dreamland. She wants to visit with her sister Ever and get some advice about being a teenager. Naturally, being twelve, Riley wants instant success. When her practice doesn't lead to that by the time Dreamland closes, she decides to sneak back in and finish up her dream. She meets Satchel who is stuck in Dreamland and who is creating nightmares. He subjects Riley to a number of her fears until she decides to see if she can get him to progress. She learns his sad story and tries to make a connection with him. She thinks she is making progress when the director returns and stops her.


Riley is disappointed not to have succeeded with Satchel. But she is even more disappointed when she realizes that she herself has regressed. Her motives to help him were not the correct ones. She wanted him to progress so that she would gain points. She didn't want him to progress for his own good. Her motivations were selfish. 


Noel sneaks a lot of life lessons into Riley's story - lessons about what maturity means, about what community and friendship means. But the lessons don't overpower the story. Young readers will be fans of Riley Bloom on her journey. I look forward to sharing this story with them and sharing the next Riley book - Whisper - with them too.


Favorite Quote:
Everyone is driven by something. No one does stuff just for the heck of it. There's always a reason, some kind of motivation. Peer pressure, revenge, the pursuit of world domination or fame--the motivation's the fuel that sparks the flame--the driving force behind just about everything.
I won this book in a contest. You can buy your copy here.