Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards

Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards (published by Knopf, April 13, 2010)

Sixteen-year-old Celestia spends every summer with her family at the elite resort at Lake Conemaugh, a shimmering Allegheny Mountain reservoir held in place by an earthen dam. Tired of the society crowd, Celestia prefers to swim and fish with Peter, the hotel’s hired boy. It’s a friendship she must keep secret, and when companionship turns to romance, it’s a love that could get Celestia disowned. These affairs of the heart become all the more wrenching on a single, tragic day in May, 1889. After days of heavy rain, the dam fails, unleashing 20 million tons of water onto Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in the valley below. The town where Peter lives with his father. The town where Celestia has just arrived to join him. This searing novel in poems explores a cross-class romance—and a tragic event in U. S. history.

Romance, history, and a natural disaster - can't wait to read this one!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book review: Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein

Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein (Published by Bloomsbury, October 13, 2009)

In this novel, set in 11th century Scotland, author Lisa Klein starts with the premise that Macbeth and his wife had a baby daughter, born with a deformed leg. Macbeth, in his anger that she was not the healthy son he longed for, left the infant to die. Lady Macbeth, not much more than a girl herself in a time when women had no power, was helpless to stop him, and grieves the death of her daughter as well as the subsequent pregnancies she loses, believing herself cursed. These losses shape her character and set the stage for the tragic events she later participates in.
What neither of them know, however, is that their baby daughter did not die. She was saved by Lady Macbeth's serving woman, Rhuven, who took her to live with her sisters in the Wychelm Wood. The sisters name the child Albia, and the little girl grows up believing one of the sisters to be her mother. The years pass by peacefully, until the year Albia turns fifteen and great turmoil comes to Scotland. King Duncan is murdered, and Albia is sent to live with a foster family - Banquo, his wife Breda, and their son Fleance. And there is turmoil inside Albia as well - she is confused by her feelings for the attractive but maddening Fleance, and she longs to know the identity of her father. When she learns the truth about her heritage - and that her birth parents murdered the king in order to seize the throne - she struggles with her feelings of revulsion at what her parents have done and determines that she must destroy them and bring peace and justice to Scotland.

Lady Macbeth's Daughter is a rather interesting and complex novel. It is mainly told from the point of view of Albia, although we also see some events from the point of view of Lady Macbeth. Her perspective, and the difficult life she lived, made her actions, wrong though they were, seem more understandable. Overall the story and the ending especially were rather thought-provoking, making me think a lot about the motivations of various characters, and wondering what happened afterwards. I would recommend this book to readers, young adult and older, who enjoy either historical fiction or unique retellings of Shakespeare's plays.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

In My Mailbox - 7/25/09

Credit goes to The Story Siren for thinking up the In My Mailbox feature.

My new books that I bought or received this week:

Shadow by Jenny Moss

When Shadow, whose job all her life has been to stay close to the young queen and prevent her prophecied death at the age of sixteen, fails in her task and the castle is thrown into chaos, she escapes along with a young knight, embarking upon a journey that eventually reveals her true identity.

Surrender the Wind by Rita Gerlach

After a harrowing escape from the British, patriot Seth Braxton finds his father dead at Yorktown. Now battle scarred and grieving, he endeavors to settle down for a peaceful life along the shores of the Potomac by restoring the land his father loved.
Thinking he will forever stay in the secluded wilderness, he receives a message that he has inherited his grandfather's estate in faraway England. Seth is torn between the land he's fought for and the prospect of reuniting with his sister, Caroline, who was a motherless child at the onset of the Revolution, taken to England in order to spare her the horrors of war.
With no intention of making his stay at Ten Width permanent, he journeys to England to do his duty. When he arrives, he finds his sister in the throes of grief after being told her young son has died of a fever. In the midst of so much tragedy, he meets Juleah, the daughter of an eccentric landed gentleman. Her independent spirit and gentle soul steal his heart, and she becomes his wife and lady of the manor, enraging the man who once sought her hand and hoped Ten Width would be his own.
From the Virginia wilderness, to the dark halls of an isolated English estate, Seth inherits more than a crumbling ancestral home. He uncovers a sinister plot that leads to murder, abduction, and betrayal --- an ominous mix that threatens to destroy his new life and new love.

Under the Tulip Poplar by Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver

Rebekah eagerly anticipates the return of her childhood sweetheart from college...and his long-awaited proposal. But when Asher instead tells her that their wedding must wait while he fights for his country, Rebekah's dreams seem to shatter around her. Asher longs to provide a life of wealth and position for his true love, Rebekah. But when she balks at some of his plans for their future, he begins to question the dreams he believed they shared. Will Rebekah and Asher lose their dreams of love or follow God's leading to the life He has for them together?

The Blue Enchantress by M.L. Tyndall

Trying to forget about a painful past, Hope Westcott plunges into Charles Towne society trying to find love and acceptance. Captain Nathaniel Mason is determined to build his shipping business and doesn't need a romantic entanglement?especially with a woman like Hope. When Hope's adventure-seeking puts her freedom?and her life?in jeopardy, will Nathaniel turn his back or follow God's voice and sacrifice everything to save her?

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

Persephone lives in the most gorgeous place in the world. But her mother's a goddess, as overprotective as she is powerful. Paradise has become a trap. Just when Persephone feels there's no chance of escaping the life that's been planned for her, a mysterious stranger arrives. A stranger who promises something more—something dangerous and exciting—something that spurs Persephone to make a daring choice. A choice that could destroy all she's come to love, even the earth itself.
In a land where a singing river can make you forget your very name, Persephone is forced to discover who—and what—she really is.

Tentacles by Roland Smith

Marty and Grace O'Hara's globe-trotting parents disappeared while on assignment for a nature magazine, and now they're living with their Uncle Wolfe, a scientist fascinated by cryptids--creatures that appear in myths but haven't been proven to exist, such as the Loch Ness Monster. Wolfe is planning an expedition to New Zealand to track a giant squid, and he's rented a huge (and possibly haunted) freighter for the trip. But someone on board is determined to sabotage their mission--and if Marty and Grace keeping poking their noses into things, they might end up the saboteur's next victims!

The Clone Codes by Patricia, Frederick, and John McKissack

The Cyborg Wars are over and Earth has peacefully prospered for more than one hundred years. Yet sometimes history must repeat itself until humanity learns from its mistakes. In the year 2170, despite technological and political advances, cyborgs and clones are treated no better than slaves, and an underground abolitionist movement is fighting for freedom. Thirteen-year-old Leanna's entire life is thrown into chaos when The World Federation of Nations discovers her mom is part of the radical Liberty Bell Movement.
After her mother's arrest for treason, Leanna must escape as she is chased by a ruthless bounty hunter. Soon Leanna finds herself living among the Firsts, and nothing will ever be the same again. But what does The World Federation want with the daughter of a traitor? So much is uncertain. Danger hides everywhere. Fear takes over. With help from unlikely sources, Leanna learns the origin of The Liberty Bell Movement and how its members may have answers about her past-and her new reality.
As family secrets are revealed, Leanna must face startling truths about self-identity and freedom. Through time travel, advanced technologies, and artificial intelligence, this exhilarating adventure asks what it means to be human and explores the sacrifices an entire society will make to find out.
Acclaimed authors Patricia C. McKissack and Frederick L. McKissack have collaborated with their son, John to deliver a novel that is as suspenseful as it is searing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Anastasia's Secret by Susanne Dunlap

Anastasia's Secret by Susanne Dunlap (published by Bloomsbury, March 2010)

The youngest grand duchess in the Russian imperial family comes of age during the revolution. Her family is imprisoned, conditions become worse and worse.
But Anastasia has a secret that she keeps from her family, a love that endures through the horrors of war and the privation of imprisonment and deprivation.
Will her love save her from the fate her family seems destined for? Or is she a creation of a rarefied atmosphere, unable to survive without her loved ones?

I love historical fiction, and I love all the novels I've read about Anastasia, so I can't wait to read this book!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

In My Mailbox - 7/18/09

Credit goes to The Story Siren for thinking up the In My Mailbox feature.

My new books that I bought or received this week:

Wolf Cry by Julia Golding

Freydis has been left for dead following a raid by pirates on her father's Viking stronghold. Her brother has been kidnapped-and Freydis's father is hell-bent on revenge. But this is a volatile man who loathes his daughter and is driven by love of his son. Reluctantly he takes Freydis with him on his journey, giving her a slave-Enno-to tend her. As Freydis's father becomes more bitter and cruel, and the hunt for his son becomes increasingly desperate, Freydis and Enno draw closer together. But when battle looms on the horizon, the bonds of friendship, obedience and loyalty are tested to the limit

Saving Rafael by Leslie Wilson

You're fifteen years old. You're in love. Only this is Nazi-ruled Berlin and he's a Jew, so it's against the law to love him. And it's 1943 and they're taking the last Jews away from Berlin. To the gas chambers. This novel of love and courage in the face of danger is one that you won't be able to put down.

Out of the Shadows by Sarah Singleton

Deep in the woods, a child with green-tinged skin and long matted hair awakens. She is Isabella Leland, daughter of a healer who was executed as a heretic some 300 years earlier. On her mother's death, Isabella was taken in by the crow people---faierie folk---who can manipulate space and time. The first time she returned to the real world, Catholics ruled England. Now, those who follow the pope are regarded with suspicion and shunned. When Isabella emerges from her hiding place, she's discovered by another outcast, Elizabeth Dyer, whose family follows the old ways. Elizabeth wants to befriend Isabella, but she has her own troubles. Her brother has brought home a priest in need of shelter. Hiding him is an act of treason, and his pursuers are closing in.

A Surrendered Heart by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

When cholera strikes Rochester, New York, in the spring of 1899, the members of the Broadmoor family flee to their castle home in the Thousand Islands. But Amanda Broadmoor, who has always held a special compassion for the less fortunate, resolves to remain in Rochester with Dr. Blake Carstead, working to help control the spread of the dreaded disease.
However, much more than Amanda's health hangs in the balance. Mishandling of the family fortune threatens to leave the Broadmoor family penniless--and even willing to sacrifice Amanda's future. Will she be forced to marry a man she disdains in order to save the Broadmoor legacy?

The Frontiersman's Daughter by Laura Frantz

One woman searches for love--and herself--in a wild land.
Lovely and high-spirited, Lael Click is the daughter of a celebrated frontiersman. Haunted by her father's ties to the Shawnee Indians and her family's past, Lael comes of age in the fragile Kentucky settlement her father founded. As she faces the many trials of life on the frontier, Lael draws strength from the rugged land. But the arrival of a handsome doctor threatens her view of her world, her God, and herself. Can the power of grace and redemption break through in this tumultuous place?
This epic novel gives you a glimpse into the simple yet daring lives of the pioneers who first crossed the Appalachians, all through the courageous eyes of a determined young woman who would not be defeated.

The Believer by Ann H. Gabhart

Elizabeth Duncan has nowhere to turn. In charge of her younger brother and sister after their parents die, her options are limited: she can give in to the unwanted advances of an odious landowner--or she can flee.
When Elizabeth hears that the Shaker community in the next county takes in orphans, she presents herself and her siblings at Harmony Hill. Despite the hard work and strange new beliefs around her, Elizabeth is relieved to have a roof overhead and food to eat. But life gets complicated when she finds herself attracted to a handsome young Believer named Ethan.
Ethan has never looked on the opposite sex as anything but sisters, but he can't shake the new feelings that Elizabeth has awakened in him.
Will Elizabeth be forced to leave the village to keep Ethan from stumbling? Or could Ethan's love for her change their lives forever?

The Call of Zulina by Kay Marshall Strom

In West Africa, 1787, Grace Winslow runs away to escape her betrothal---only to be swept up in a slave revolt that reveals the truth about her family's business! Threatened with death, Grace begins to understand the plight of the captives. Will African Cabeto---the man she admires most---sacrifice himself for his people's freedom?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Contest: Win a signed copy of A Sweet Disorder by Jacqueline Kolosov

For my latest contest I am giving away a signed copy of A Sweet Disorder by Jacqueline Kolosov, a historical novel set in Elizabethan England. There will actually be two winners for this contest, because I have both a signed hardcover and signed ARC to give away - the first place winner will get to choose which one they want, and the second place winner gets the other one. You can read my review of A Sweet Disorder here and read my interview with Jacqueline Kolosov here.

About A Sweet Disorder:

Sixteen-year old Miranda has no idea how much her life is going to change upon hearing the news of her father's death. Left with little dowry to offer, Miranda faces a broken engagement, and is sent to live with her father's cousin, the Count John Hardwood, and his wife whose primary goal is to take her to Court and marry her off to the insufferable Lord Seagrave for their own profit.
At Queen Elizabeth's court, Miranda soon learns that a large part of her survival will depend on her knowing who to trust. All the maidens at Court dream of being one of the Queen's ladies in waiting. When Miranda distinguishes herself from the rest with her exquisite sewing and embroidery skills, she gets the attention of the Queen, much to the anger and jealousy of the courtiers, ladies in waiting, and even a trusted "friend."
As Miranda begins to win the Queen's favor, she is given the ultimate test-to recreate Elizabeth's mother's (Ann Boleyn) coronation gown. Miranda knows this is her opportunity to escape the shackles of convention and get out of a marriage to Lord Seagrave and instead establish an independent life at Court as the Queen's seamstress. But how will she reunite with Henry Raleigh, the man to whom she was once promised, and has always loved?
With sophisticated writing, an eye for historically accurate detail, and a flair for suspense, Jacqueline Kolosov re-creates the intrigues of Elizabethan society with a vividness and immediacy that will make teen readers recall the pleasures and tensions of their own lives.

Contest will run for two weeks, through July 26. US only, unless you have a US mailing address I can send it to.

Extra entries:
+2 if you are already a follower
+1 if you become a new follower
+2 if you link to this contest anywhere on your blog or website

Please specify in your posts any extra entries you get. Thanks and good luck!

In My Mailbox - 7/12/09

Credit goes to The Story Siren for thinking up the In My Mailbox feature.

My new books that I bought or received this week:

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin

Harriet Sherwood has always adored her grandmother. But when Harriet decides to follow her footsteps to fight for social justice, she certainly never expected her efforts to land her in jail. Nor did she expect her childhood enemy and notorious school bully, Tommy O'Reilly, to be the arresting officer.
Languishing in a jail cell, Harriet has plenty of time to sift through the memories of the three generations of women who have preceded her. As each story emerges, the strength of her family—and their deep faith in the God of justice and righteousness—brings Harriet to discovery of her own goals and motives for pursuing them.

(The description is kind of vague, but this is actually a historical novel, set in the 1920s I think, during Prohibition)

Dark Guardian: Full Moon by Rachel Hawthorne

Lindsey is wild and reckless, a natural rebel—maybe because her entire life was laid out for her even before she was born. Her parents are among the most powerful members of the Dark Guardians, an ancient tribe of werewolves, and they arranged Lindsey's betrothal to Connor long ago. The next full moon is coming all too soon, and then her commitment to Connor will be final—no turning back. She should be happy . . . so why can't she stop thinking about gorgeous, brooding Rafe?
When a dangerous threat on the pack escalates, so do tensions between Connor and Rafe. A fight over Lindsey is imminent, but will it be to the death?

Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana by Melanie Dobson

Liberty, Indiana, is home to a stop on the Underground Railroad operated by Anna Brent and her father, covert abolitionists who harbor runaway slaves traveling toward freedom. The Brents must be very careful; anyone caught aiding runaways is subject to imprisonment under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. So when Anna begins to write columns denouncing slavery in the local newspaper, she must adopt a pen name. Even the newspapers editor, Daniel Stanton, does not know the authors true identity. Daniel takes a risk publishing the columnshis job, his newspaper, and his very life might be in danger. When Annas work on the Underground Railroad is threatened, can she turn to Daniel, a man she barely knows, to ensure the safety of the slaves so dear to her? Will she and Daniel be willing to risk everything for their beliefsincluding their personal liberty?

I also got Intertwined by Gena Showalter and My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent again. I had requested them from the Harlequin Teen website a while back, never got them, ended up picking signed copies up at the BEA, and then they randomly arrived this week. So I'll probably have a contest, or trade them. I don't know.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

In My Mailbox - 7/4/09

Credit goes to The Story Siren for thinking up the In My Mailbox feature.

My new books that I bought or received this week:

Daughters of the Sea: Hannah by Kathryn Lasky

Daughters of the Sea tells the story of three mermaid sisters who are separated at birth by a storm and go on to lead three very different lives. Book one is about Hannah, who spent her early days in an orphanage and is now a scullery maid in the house of rich, powerful family. She is irresistibly drawn to the sea and through a series of accidents and encounters discovers her true identity. Hannah relizes that she must keep the truth a secret but she also knows that soon she will have to make the choice - to be a creature of the land or the sea.

Before They Were Famous: William the Conquerer by Caroline Corby

A young boy is sent away to France, far from the political turmoil of the Normandy court. He spends his years training to become a knight and learning the value of friendship and loyalty – which will be vital when decides he must return to take his rightful place as Duke of Normandy. This thrilling historical adventure, one of the Before They Were Famous series that includes the Cleopatra, Boudica and Pocahontas, tells the story of a young boy who one day became known as William the Conqueror.

Before They Were Famous: Pocahontas by Caroline Corby

There was a prophesy talked of amongst the Native Americans of Virginia – a prophesy that one day a nation would spring from a certain spot on Chesapeake Bay and and destroy them. When ships land there in April 1607, Chief Powhatan wants the intruders killed and when their leader, John Smith, is captured, he orders his execution. But Pocahontas bravely intervenes and persuades her father to befriend the foreigners, learning English to act as translator and helping the newcomers survive the bitter winters in the strange land. But are they to be trusted or will the prophecy come true? Pocahontas learns that bringing two cultures together comes at a cost in this exciting addition to the Before They Were Famous series.

Leigh Ann's Civil War by Ann Rinaldi

Leigh Ann Conners is spunky and determined. Although she often finds herself in trouble, she loves her two older brothers dearly and would do anything to make them proud.
When the Yankees arrive in Roswell, Georgia, Leigh Ann places a French flag upon the family’s mill. She hopes the Yankees will then spare the mill from destruction, but her actions have disastrous results. Sent north with the women and children who worked in the mill—all branded traitors for making fabric for Confederate uniforms—Leigh Ann embarks on a journey that requires her to find her own inner strength. Only then will she be able to rise above the war raging around her.

(This one is actually my first ebook ARC, from Net Galley. I hope it's not too difficult to read!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst (published by Simon & Schuster, October 6, 2009)

When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairytale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth to become a prisoner of the trolls. Now that Cassie is older, she knows that this was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, she is determined to become a scientist, and she has no time for make believe.
Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face to face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned in the troll castle. And that he can bring her back -- if Cassie will agree to be his bride.
That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairytale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knew will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her -- until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of ICE.

This book sounds really great! I love fairy tale retellings and I can't wait to read this one.
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