Monday, December 31, 2012

State of the Stack (Dec. 31, 2012)

This is my monthly 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. I take a look at my review commitments on the last Monday of each month. Please feel free to join in and let me know the state of your stack.

Here is my Review Books Spreadsheet. Yellow highlighted books are ones past their publication date that I still haven't read and reviewed. I use pink highlights for reviews due in even numbered months so that I can see at a glance how many I have for each month. Ideally, this keeps me from over-committing to review books.  


My Physical Review Pile


Adult Books:
  • Gold by Chris Cleave (This is looking more and more like I will never read it. It will be the second Amazon Vine pick I never got around to reading.)
  • Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus - Jan. 15 and on the currently reading list.
  • Ever After by Kim Harrison - Jan. 22 and on the currently reading list but I want to read A Perfect Blood first so that I am caught up on the series.

Young Adult Books:
  • Black Ice by Andrew Lane - Jan. 22 and latest in this Sherlock Holmes series.
  • The Last Station Master by S.A. M. Posey - Feb. 1 release from the author
  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - Feb. 5 release that I really want to read now.
  • Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut - March 12 release and first middle grade book by a favorite author
  • Unremembered by Jessica Brody - March 5 and a book from Macmillan
  • Fox Forever by Mary E. Pearson - March 19 release but I need to read The Fox Inheritance first to be caught up.
  • Soldier Dog by Sam Angus - April 16 and a book from Macmillan
  • Furious by Jill Wolfson - April 16 and from Macmillan
  • One + One = Blue by M. J. Auch - April 30 and also from Macmillan

Not Pictured because they haven't gotten to my mailbox yet but they should be waiting when I get back to school later this week:
  • The Buckhorn Legacy by Lori Foster - Oct. 23 release from Amazon Vine
  • Not Quite Dating by Catherine Bybee - Nov. 13 from Amazon Vine
  • Shattered Souls by Delilah Devlin - Jan. 29 from Amazon Vine
  • Mind Games by Kiersten White - Feb. 19 from Amazon Vine and one that I was really eager to get a copy of

My Kindle Review Pile

Hysteria by Megan Miranda - Feb. 5 release but I am on a blog tour for this one March 14 when I will have a review and a giveaway.
Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson - Feb. 12 release and sequel to Hattie Big Sky which I still recommend to anyone looking for historical fiction
Also Known As by Robin Benway - Feb. 26 release
Dualed by Elsie Chapman - Feb. 26 and 2013 YA Debut Author
Poison by Bridget Zinn - March 12 and another 2013 YA Debut Author
Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson - March 12 and I think this is another 2013 YA Debut Author
The Rules by Stacey Kade - April 23 and science fiction
manicpixiedreamgirl by Tom Leveen - April 23 contemporary
Circle of Lies by Sara Dailey and Staci Weber - Dec. 20, 2012 release and sequel to Pack of Lies

I Read This Month

These are listed in the order I read them. Links go to my reviews for all that have been posted already. Otherwise, the date the review is scheduled for is listed.
I Added These Books

These are listed in the order I received them. Links go to Amazon. Date received and date published are listed in parentheses.
So, time for the year summary. In 2012, I read 174 review books. I received 185 books for review. Forty-nine of the review books were courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program. Another 41 came from NetGalley.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Today is My Blog's 3rd Birthday

Way back on Dec. 30, 2009 I decided to create a new blog that would focus on my young adult reading and on my role as a school media specialist to be a companion to my other blog - Inside of a Dog

Since then I have grown to 1837 followers and have posted 355 book reviews. This will be my 1040th post.

I haven't been too successful talking about being a media specialist but that gives me room to grow and improve.

I want to thank all my followers for coming along for the ride. 

Stacking the YA Shelves (Dec. 30, 2012)

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

Here are the new books I got this week:

First, I hit the sales:
I bought Beastly by Alex Flinn for my Kindle this week because it was on sale. I have bought this book twice previously in print and ended up donating my copies to my high school media center when I never got around to reading the book. I am going to try a third time. I don't know what my hang-up is about this one. I love Beauty and the Beast and fairy take retellings but somehow this never makes it to the top of TBR mountain.

Speechless by Hannah Harrington has been on my radar for quite a while but I never could justify buying a hardcover book that might sit on TBR mountain for quite a while. Having a chance to get the ebook for $1.99 made it more reasonable. I do still have to find the time to read it though.

Second, I got these books for review:
Mind Games by Kiersten White has been one I have wanted to get my hands on for quite a while. When I saw it offered through the Amazon Vine program, I had to take advantage of it. It will be released on Feb. 19.

Project Paper Doll: The Rules by Stacey Kade caught my eye at NetGalley. I know the author's name but have never read anything by her. The book is scheduled for an April 23 release.

Finally, I bought:
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. This one is getting such good press and has shown up on so many "best" lists that I had to get a copy for myself. 

What did you add to your stack this week?

BTW - Congratulations to Christina who won the book of her choice from The Book Depository on my stop of the Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway Hop.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

ARC Review: The 13th Sign by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb

The 13th Sign
Author: Kristin O'Donnell Tubb
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (January 8, 2013)

Description: What if there was a 13th zodiac sign? 

You’re no longer Sagittarius, but Ophiuchus, the healer, the 13th sign. 

Your personality has changed. So has your mom’s and your best friend’s. 

What about the rest of the world? 

What if you were the one who accidentally unlocked the 13th sign, causing this world-altering change, and infuriating the other 12 signs?  

Jalen did it, and now she must use every ounce of her strength and cunning to send the signs back where they belong. Lives, including her own, depend upon it.


My Thoughts: THE 13th SIGN was a fast-paced middle grade novel about a young girl who is dealing with the serious illness of her grandmother and still reeling from the disappearance of her father when she was nine and had a serious illness of her own. We start the story with Jalen and her friend Ellie in a French Quarter voodoo store on her thirteenth birthday as she carries on the tradition of having her horoscope read. Her beloved Nina would be with her but is in the hospital and is too ill.

Jalen is a cynic who doesn't really believe in astrology or horoscopes but she is forced to change her mind when she finds an old unusual book with mysterious locks. She and Ellie manage to open the locks but doing so changes things. All of a sudden there is a 13th zodiac sign. Ophiuchus is the snake and a healer. All of the personalities of people have changed because of this addition to the zodiac and the other signs want her gone. 

Jalen has to defeat the twelve signs of the zodiac and return them to the heavens. If she does this, she has hope that Ophiuchus can heal her grandmother. Jalen, Ellie and Ellie's brother Brandon set off on a quest to defeat the signs of the zodiac with some unexpected help along the way. They have 24 hours to complete their mission and get across New Orleans to save Nina. 

The book is filled with exciting adventures but it also has a message about grief and healing and making tough decisions. Middle graders will read this one for the adventure but come away with some interesting things to think about too. 

Favorite Quote:
Was this all true? I had to defeat all twelve signs of the zodiac -- including, apparently, our guide, Gemini -- and find Ophiuchus? Nina always said, "Crazier things have happened!" But this was top-level crazy.
I received this ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday Memes: The 13th Sign by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

This week I am spotlighting a book from my review stack. The 13th Sign by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb is a middle grade paranormal that I got for review from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. It will be released on Jan. 8, 2013. Here is the description:
What if there was a 13th zodiac sign?

You’re no longer Sagittarius, but Ophiuchus, the healer, the 13th sign.

Your personality has changed. So has your mom’s and your best friend’s.

What about the rest of the world?

What if you were the one who accidentally unlocked the 13th sign, causing this world-altering change, and infuriating the other 12 signs? 

Jalen did it, and now she must use every ounce of her strength and cunning to send the signs back where they belong. Lives, including her own, depend upon it.
Beginning:
Sagittarius: Your bubbly personality and effervescent style make you a shoe-in for "Most Likely to Be the Center of Attention at a Party. Straighten that tiara, flash those pearly whites, and dance for your admirers, superstar!"
Friday 56:
Ellie, Brennan, and I ran through several backyards to the bus stop. And the best luck we'd had yet fell on us. The men in the car didn't seem to follow. Then again, neither did Gemini.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mid-Winter Giveaway Hop


It's time for the....
Third Annual - Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway Hop
December 21st to 27th

Now is your chance to get the book Santa forgot to put under the tree. The winner of this hop can choose any book up to a $15 US value that the Book Depository ships.

Rules:
  • Live where the Book Depository ships
  • Be over age 13
  • Be a GFC follower of this blog
  • Fill out the form below.

Good luck and happy holidays!

ARC Review: Splintered by A. G. Howard

Splintered
Author: A. G. Howard
Publication: Amulet Books (January 1, 2013)

Description: This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

My Thoughts: This was an amazing debut paranormal story about a girl named Alyssa who must travel to Wunderland to defeat a curse that has been in her family for generations which causes the women to go mad. Alyssa fears that she will be next. She is already hearing what insects and plants have to say. She is also torn between her best friend Jeb and the mysterious Morpheus who haunts her dreams.

The story is filled with wonder and magic and dark and light. Alyssa has many hard choices to make. Her choices are even more difficult because Morpheus has his own agenda and is constantly lying to Alyssa. The novel is loosely based on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland but this one emphasizes the creepy and deals with one of Alice's descendants who is a young adult. 

I loved Alyssa's relationship with Jeb who has been her protector for years. Their families live in adjoining duplexes. Both have had hard childhoods. Alyssa has had to deal with a mother in an insane asylum who cut her hands with hedge clippers and left her terribly scarred. Jeb's father was an abusive alcoholic who left masses of burn scars all over Jeb's body. But both Alyssa and Jeb are talented artists. Alyssa's medium is a little weird. She does mosaics made from dead bugs. And, unknown to Alyssa, Jeb's favorite model is Alyssa who he consistently draws as though she were from Wunderland.

Morpheus is the more complex character of the two boys. His hidden agenda and constant manipulation of Alyssa makes it hard to like him. But Alyssa comes to remember the childhood they had together in Wunderland and is always making allowances for him. Yet Alyssa isn't following his path blindly. She is making decisions that she must according to her own sense of right and wrong. She is a strong character who can make good choices.

The magical world that Howard created was vivid and amazing. I loved her take on the characters from Alice in Wonderland. Fantasy lovers will enjoy this story and might even be tempted to pick up the original Alice in Wonderland to see how Howard transformed it. 

Favorite Quote:
Jeb is stable, strong, and genuine - my knight in shining armor. Morpheus is selfish, unreliable, and transcendent - chaos incarnate. Impossible to compare.

Yet here I am, all of those things. Both light and dark at the same time. If I were to give in to one side of me, would that mean I'd have to give up the other? My heart aches at the possibility. Somehow I feel like I need both to be complete.
I received this eARC from Amulet Books via NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WoW: The Essence by Kimberly Derting

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!

This week I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of The Essence by Kimberly Derting which will be released on Jan. 1. I loved The Pledge and can't wait to read this sequel. Here is the description (which contains spoilers for The Pledge):
“Danger, dread, mystery, and romance” (Booklist) continue in the second book of The Pledge trilogy, as Charlie’s reign is under siege from the most unusual of enemies.

At the luminous conclusion of The Pledge, Charlaina defeated the tyrant Sabara and took her place as Queen of Ludania. But Charlie knows that Sabara has not disappeared: The evil queen’s Essence is fused to Charlie’s psyche, ready to arise at the first sign of weakness.Charlie is not weak, but she’s being pushed to the brink. In addition to suppressing the ever-present influence of Sabara, she’s busy being queen—and battling a growing resistance determined to return Ludania to its discriminatory caste system. Charlie wants to be the same girl Max loves, who Brook trusts, but she’s Your Majesty now, and she feels torn in two.

As Charlie journeys to an annual summit to meet with leaders of nearby Queendoms—an event where her ability to understand all languages will be the utmost asset—she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. And the only person she can turn to for help is the evil soul residing within.
Is this one on your wishlist?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Splintered by A. G. Howard

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 my teaser comes from Splintered by A. G. Howard. I received this eARC from Amulet Books via NetGalley. I chose it in part for the lovely cover and in part because of this description:
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
Teaser:
Twisting off the jar's lid, I dip out thirty-five of the small white arachnids with long tweezers, careful not to squish their abdomens or break their legs. With tiny straight pins, I secure them onto a black-tinted plaster background already covered with beetles selected for their iridescent night-sky sheen. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Stacking the YA Shelves (Dec. 23, 2012)


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

I went a little crazy in the Kindle store this past week. Even though my To Read pile was sitting at 1448 books, I decided I had to look over the listings of free Kindle books. I chose these three:
Lonely Souls (Witch Avenue series, #1) by Karice Bolton which is a paranormal romance.

Stained by Ella James is another self-published paranormal romance. 

Saving Mars by Cidney Swanson is a science fiction story and the first book in a series.

I also bought some books this week.
After seeing bunches of reviews and mentions, I bought Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout for my Kindle. I enjoyed Obsidian and am eager to add Opal to TBR Mountain joining Onyx

I bought Exile by Anne Osterlund. I recently read Aurelia by Osterlund from deep in my TBR mountain and was pleased to see that the sequel had already been published. Since it was a 4-for-3 book at Amazon, I had to see if I could find three other books I wanted.

I chose Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones. I have been seeing this book around and been intrigued by it. I also have a couple of the author's adult book on TBR mountain.

What did you get this week?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Book Review: The Dragon's Heart by Jane Yolen

Dragon's Heart
Author: Jane Yolen
Publication: Harcourt Children's Books (May 4, 2009)

Description: Austar IV isn't the planet it once was, and when Jakkin and Akki finally return to the dragon nursery, their homecoming arouses mixed emotions. Together they've survived the insurmountable, and now they can weather the brutal conditions of Dark After and communicate with the dragons they love. But with this knowledge comes responsibility. What they've learned about survival could transform the planet--or, if entrusted to the wrong hands, bring about its destruction. Akki's insistence that she return to the Rokk to finish her training and begin new experiments drives a chasm between her and Jakkin. Suddenly she finds herself in the midst of a political battle that could claim her life. Only Jakkin can save her. If only he could reach her. . . .

My Thoughts: It was good to get back to Austar IV after many years away. I think I read the previous book in this series in 1987. This one has been sitting on my stack since the beginning of 2010. Thankfully, the book included both an introduction and a preface which did a lot to get me back up to speed on what I missed.

This one begins with Jakkin and Akki escaping from their captivity at the hands of the trogs and returning to the dragon nursery that was their home. But after being gone a year and because of some things they did before they left, they are returning to a world that is very different than the one they left.

The bonders revolted, the senate freed all the bonders, and the Federation has embargoed the planet for not more than fifty years. And Akki and Jakkin have changed beyond measure too. They spent the night in the egg sack of Jakkin's dying dragon to escape the bitter cold of the Dark-After and when they left it they could tolerate the cold and speak mind to mind with each other and with dragons. 

Akki is determined to discover how they developed their powers. She wants to find some sort of vaccine that will let others survive the cold and speak mind to mind but without the necessity of killing the female dragons. Jakkin is even more determined to protect the dragons.

Both have harrowing adventures as Akki learns that all the rebels weren't shipped off the prison planets or rehabilitated and Jakkin is recaptured by the trogs who had held them captive. 

The story was engaging and entertaining. I was swept into the story even though I barely remembered the first three books. The writing was wonderful. But, what else could one expect from Jane Yolen? Fantasy fans middle grade and up will enjoy this adventure story and will be eagerly searching out the previous three books in the series. 

Favorite Quote:

From Akki:
Quickly, she sorted through the six nails, chose the sharpest, his the other five under the filthy mattress. Flopping down on a dry part of the mattress--as far away from the wet spot as possible, as close to the window for the light--she began picking at the rope around her wrists with the sixth nail.
From Jakkin:
When he came to, besides a splitting headache, besides the bumps and bruises, he felt fine. If you can be fine upside down and carried on a pole by four subhumans going up a hill. If you can forget that your mouth tastes like fewmets, that your stomach feels as if a dragon has rolled over it. Fine if you aren't scared that everything you love is about to be slaughtered.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Memes: Dragon's Heart by Jane Yolen


Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


This week I am spotlighting a book that has been on my TBR mountain since Jan. 5, 2010. Dragon's Heart: The Pit Dragon Chronicles, Volume Four by Jane Yolen is the long-awaited fourth book in the Pit Dragon series. I read that series years ago since the first book was published in 1982. I am eager to see what happens next. Hopefully, the author will bring us up to speed on the series and I won't be totally lost.

Here is the description:
Austar IV isn't the planet it once was, and when Jakkin and Akki finally return to the dragon nursery, their homecoming arouses mixed emotions. Together they've survived the insurmountable, and now they can weather the brutal conditions of Dark After and communicate with the dragons they love. But with this knowledge comes responsibility. What they've learned about survival could transform the planet--or, if entrusted to the wrong hands, bring about its destruction. Akki's insistence that she return to the Rokk to finish her training and begin new experiments drives a chasm between her and Jakkin. Suddenly she finds herself in the midst of a political battle that could claim her life. Only Jakkin can save her. If only he could reach her. . . .
Beginning:
The copter set down in the front yard of the dragon nursery under a burning sun.
Friday 56:
He could tell the nursery folk where to go to find metal; he could tell Golden. But then the secret about the dragons would be out as well. And the killing of all the dragons would begin.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book Review: Aurelia by Anne Osterlund

Aurelia
Author: Anne Osterlund
Publication: Speak (April 17, 2008)

Description: An impressive debut, equal parts commercial appeal and literary prowess.

Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and . . . not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her . . . dead. Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the king's former royal spy and one of Aurelia's oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the line?her life, her kingdom, her heart? Aurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost.

My Thoughts: AURELIA was an enjoyable high fantasy novel about a princess mired in court politics who is currently in danger of assassination. Is it the stepmother who favors her own daughter over Aurelia? Is it the king of a neighboring kingdom whose motives are not at all clear?

Aurelia's childhood friend and fellow classmate Robert Vantauge comes from the frontier to protect his friend. His father was the former spymaster of the kingdom but is now retired and raising horses far from the political intrigue of the castle. Robert's uncle is one of the king's advisers and his cousin Chris is a noted courtier.

Aurelia is smart, stubborn, and eager to be a good leader to her people. However, her stepmother and the king are more concerned with marrying her off to "suitors" nearly three times her age than they are with her abilities as a ruler. Aurelia feels that her fate is like a shackle around her ankle keeping her from doing what she wants to do. 

It takes Robert's investigations to unravel the tangle of plots around her and leads her to see an ultimate betrayal. But, along the way, Aurelia and Robert fall in love. He has loved her since they were children but this is a new thing for her. After all, he travels from the edge of the frontier to help her when she needs him.

The story is well-written and the characters well-developed. Fans of fantasy will enjoy this story of intrigue, betrayal, and romance. Luckily, the sequel EXILE is available for readers who want to know what happens next for Aurelia and Robert.

Favorite Quote:
The cheery tone in the room disintegrated under his sullen stare. Robert and his mother exchanged brief looks. Tension clung to the dinner table, the participants holding themselves erect, each head, each shoulder, each arm suspended in the thick air. Utensils moved in slow motion lest they bang against a plate. The slightest noise might tear a hole in the tablecloth of silence.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WoW: Blood Prophecy by Alyxandra Harvey

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 can't wait for the next book in the Drake Chronicles. Blood Prophecy by Alyxandra Harvey will be released on January 8, 2013. Here is the description:
Solange Drake will not claim her birthright; she will not be queen as vampire tradition dictates. But change always comes at a cost ...Possessed by a vengeful twelfth-century witch, Solange commits heinous crimes against the vampire tribes that she pledged to empower. Motives are questioned. Trust is broken. The treaty between the Drakes and the Helios-Ra is under threat. Solange must escape the folds of memory and time and fight for the fate of the royal crown - and win. Her destiny, and her heart, depends on it.
What do you think? Are you following this series too?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Aurelia by Anne Osterlund

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 this week comes from a book that has been on my TBR mountain since Jan. 15, 2010. I bought Aurelia by Anne Osterlund after reading her Academy 7 and set it aside when I realized it was not science fiction. Today I was in the mood for an historical fantasy. Here is the description:
An impressive debut, equal parts commercial appeal and literary prowess.

Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and . . . not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her . . . dead. Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the king?s former royal spy and one of Aurelia?s oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the line?her life, her kingdom, her heart? Aurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost.
Teaser:
Unbridled children, grown feral with their parents' neglect, pounded after one another, ducking dangerously under horse and humans alike, the popping up just long enough to spot their fellow predators and prey. Draped over everything hung the humid smell of hay, manure, and horseflesh.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions Dec. 17, 2012



Book Blogger Confessions is a new Monday meme started by Tiger at Tiger's All-Consuming Books and Karen at For What It's Worth. With Tiger moving away and changing the focus of her blogging, Pam from Midnyte Reader will be joining with Karen to host this meme. The purpose of the meme is best stated by Karen here:
"Tiger and I thought it might be time to start a meme to discuss some of the frustrations that are unique to book bloggers. What happens when the hobby you love becomes more of a chore?
This meme will appear on the first and third Mondays of the month. One of the hosts will give us a question to respond to and a linky for sharing our responses and developing community.

This week's question is: Dear Santa! What would you put on your blogging/bookish wish list if the sky was the limit? A new blog design? A house filled with new bookshelves? Even MORE books?

I would have to ask for a house filled with new bookshelves. I have reached capacity at my current house. I don't have any more walls I can use for bookshelves. I have bookshelves in every room except my bathrooms and, oddly enough, the bedroom I use which is small but has a walk-in closet. 

This fall I went through a massive reorganization of my bookshelves and weeded 1500 books out of my collection so that I had shelf space for all the books I owned. I took a serious look at the books on the shelves that I had been keeping and was ruthless about getting rid of books I didn't think I would want to re-read.

I also sorted through the closet where I had stashed about 13 boxes of books that I didn't have shelf space for when I moved to this house in October 2000. The Rochester Friends of the Library got the vast majority of them but I did share a couple of hundred with friends.

I emptied numerous baskets, bags and boxes of TBR books which were filling the floor in my office and are now in alphabetical order on shelves. I actually have four empty shelves now but that doesn't give me a lot of room for expansion. I will have to continue to be ruthless about the books I keep.

You can see the blog posts I wrote about this reorganization project here and here.

I would really like a home that would let me build something like this - but with more soft, comfy seating and good reading lights:
Designed by Architect Curt Lamb
or this:
Photo Credit: Tony Soluri for Architectural Digest
Unfortunately I live in a townhouse and the Board of Directors would frown on any attempts to add a 20 x 20 addition to my unit.

What about you? What bookish thing would you ask Santa for?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Stacking the YA Shelves (Dec. 16, 2012)

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

I added eight books to my TBR mountain this week (sort of).

For my Kindle:
I bought ebooks of A Beautiful Friendship and Fire Season by David Weber from Baen Books (before their ebook prices went up). I have read both of those books and donated them to my High School Media Center but I wanted keeper copies that didn't take up shelf space. These are Weber's young adult science fiction books that take place in the same universe as his Honor Harrington series. 

I also bought a copy of Insurgent by Veronica Roth even though I haven't gotten to Divergent on my TBR mountain. I want to be ready with the sequel when I finally get to the first book. 

Print books:
I bought Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes this week. I will have to admit that I was seduced by the cover of this one.

I also bought The Fault in Our Stars by John Green since Amazon picked it as one of the best YA books of the year. I have never read a book by John Green since I read very little contemporary YA but have heard good things about this one and thought it was time to give him a try.

I also bought The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress since I am a fan of steampunk, mysteries and science fiction. This one looks like just the kind of book I most enjoy.
I also got a couple of middle grade books for my TBR mountain. I got William Alexander's Goblin Secrets both because it won a National Book Award and because he is a Minnesota author. 

I chose "Who Could That Be at This Hour?" by Lemony Snicket because I know that, even if I don't enjoy this one, my students will. I wasn't a big fan of the Series of Unfortunate Events and hope this one is not as silly.

What did you add to your stack this week?