Monday, February 1, 2010

Great Macmillan books, part one

After this whole Amazon fail mess, I wanted to write up a positive post to support Macmillan and their books rather than continuing to focus on what went wrong. So I decided to make a post featuring some awesome books from various Macmillan imprints. I ended up breaking it up into two parts, since it was longer than expected. Here is part one, featuring books already published:

Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle

In 1837 London, young daughters of viscounts pined for handsome, titled husbands, not careers. And certainly not careers in magic. At least, most of them didn't.
Shy, studious Persephone Leland would far rather devote herself to her secret magic studies than enter society and look for a suitable husband. But right as the inevitable season for "coming out" is about to begin, Persy and her twin sister discover that their governess in magic has been kidnapped as part of a plot to gain control of the soon-to-be Queen Victoria. Racing through Mayfair ballrooms and royal palaces, the sisters overcome bad millinery, shady royal spinsters, and a mysterious Irish wizard. And along the way, Persy learns that husband hunting isn?t such an odious task after all, if you can find the right quarry. (My review here)

Betraying Season by Marissa Doyle

Penelope (Pen) Leland has come to Ireland to study magic and prove to herself that she is as good a witch as her twin sister, Persy. But when the dashing Niall Keating begins to pay her court, she can’t help being distracted from her studies.
Little does Pen know, Niall is acting upon orders from his sorceress mother. And although it starts as a sham, Niall actually falls deeply in love with Pen, and she with him. But even if he halts his mother’s evil plan, will Pen be able to forgive him for trying to seduce her into a plot? And what of Pen’s magic, which seems to be increasingly powerful? (My review here)

Nothing Here But Stones by Nancy Oswald

To Emma, Colorado seems as barren as an unfinished house. The land is too poor to farm, so Papa must work long hours in the mines. The trials of frontier life are especially hard for these Russian Jewish immigrants, who speak no English and practice a different religion from the others in the area. With a harsh, hungry winter coming, the settlement needs some good luck. Can Emma make it happen?
Based on the real struggles of an exceptional group of pioneers who came west in 1882, this is a finely crafted portrait of a family striving to make a home out of nothing. (My review here)

Fortune's Folly by Deva Fagan

Ever since her mother died and her father lost his shoemaking skills, Fortunata has survived by telling fake fortunes. But when she’s tricked into telling a grand fortune for a prince, she is faced with the impossible task of fulfilling her wild prophecy—or her father will be put to death.
Now Fortunata has to help Prince Leonato secure a magic sword, vanquish a wicked witch, discover a long-lost golden shoe, and rescue the princess who fits it. If only she hadn’t fallen in love with the prince herself!

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

All her world’s a stage.
Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.
That is, until now.
Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

Aurelie by Heather Tomlinson

Once upon a time, three children and a little river dragon were the best of friends—until a promise was broken. Now they are almost grown up and barely speaking to one another. Of the four, it is Princess Aurelie who feels the loss the most. How can she prevent a war when she can’t even make her friends get along? Heartsick at losing her dearest companions, Aurelie finds comfort in the beauty of fairyland. But a princess can’t hide from her duties forever. Her country needs her, and so do her friends, whether they know it or not.

The Swan Maiden by Heather Tomlinson

In the quiet hour before dawn, anything can happen. Doucette can dream of being a creature of flight and magic, of wearing a swan skin like her older sisters. But she must run the castle household while her sisters learn to weave spells. Her dream of flying is exactly that . . . until the day she discovers her own hidden birthright. Sudden, soaring freedom—it is a wish come true. Yet, not even magic can protect against every danger, especially when the heart is involved. As she struggles to find her own way in the world, Doucette risks losing the one person she loves most of all.

The Goodbye Season by Marian Hale

Mercy Kaplan doesn’t want to be like her mother, saddled with crying kids and failing crops for the rest of her life. Mercy longs to be on her own—until her wish comes true in the worst possible way. It is 1918 and a deadly flu epidemic ravages the country, leaving her utterly alone and penniless.
Mercy soon finds a job with Mrs. Wilder. But there’s something unsettling about the woman, whose brother died under mysterious circumstances. And then there’s Daniel, who could sweep a girl off her feet if she isn’t careful.

The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle

Hallow Hill has a strange and tragic history. For thousands of years, young women have been vanishing from the estate, never to be seen again. Now Kate and Emily have come to live at Hallow Hill. Brought up in a civilized age, they have no idea of the land’s dreadful heritage. Until, that is, Marak decides to tell them himself.
Intelligent, pleasant, and completely pitiless, Marak is a powerful magician who claims to be a King—and he has very specific plans for the two new girls who have trespassed into his kingdom.

Close Kin by Clare B. Dunkle

“Goblins are just a tale to frighten children.”
Emily might have believed this once, but she knows better now. For years she has been living happily in the underground goblin kingdom. Now Emily is old enough to marry, but when her childhood friend Seylin proposes, she doesn’t take him seriously.
Devastated, Seylin leaves the kingdom, intent on finding his own people: the elves. Too late, Emily realizes what Seylin means to her and sets out in search of him. But her quest, like Seylin’s own journey, is really a plot devised by the cunning goblin King, who has his own reason to hunt for elves. As Emily and Seylin come closer to their goals, they bring two worlds onto a collision course, awakening hatreds and prejudices that have slumbered for hundreds of years.

In the Coils of the Snake by Clare B. Dunkle

Miranda has waited her whole life to come to the goblin kingdom. Now she’s finally underground where she has always wanted to be, but she never imagined she would feel so lost. Her beloved Marak, the center of her world since childhood, has reached the end of his reign.
But Marak didn’t raise a coward. He taught Miranda to be brave, intelligent, and proud—the ideal woman to take her place beside Catspaw, the new goblin King.
Then a mysterious and highly magical elf lord brings his people back to their homeland, reigniting the age-old battle between goblins and elves. Miranda finds herself a prisoner. Caught between the two hostile rulers, she becomes their greatest reason for war—and possibly their only hope for a future.

By These Ten Bones by Clare B. Dunkle

A mysterious young man has come to a small Highland town. His talent for wood carving soon wins him work at the castle and the admiration of the weaver’s daughter Maddie. Fascinated by the silent carver, she sets out to gain his trust, only to find herself drawn into a terrifying secret that threatens everything she loves.
There is an evil presence in the woodcarver’s life that cannot be controlled, and Maddie watches her town fall under a shadow. One by one, people begin to die. Caught in the middle, Maddie must decide what matters most to her—and what price she is willing to pay to keep it.

The Humming of Numbers by Joni Stensel

Aidan is poised to take his monastic vows—until a girl enters the abbey, one who hums of the number eleven. Aidan has the ability to hear the humming of numbers, a buzzing energy given off by living things. He is captivated and tormented by the mysterious girl, Lana, who has some unusual abilities of her own. How can he become a monk when his mind is filled with impure thoughts? Before he can begin to sort his feelings out, the Vikings raid. Only Aidan and Lana can save the village from certain, violent death—and only if they learn to trust in their mysterious talents. Joni Sensel’s richly imagined new novel is a compelling blend of fantasy and adventure.

The Executioner's Daughter by Laura E. Williams

Born into the family of an executioner, Lily has always been sheltered by her mother from the horrors of her father's occupation. While her mother assists her father in all his daily duties, Lily spends her time caring for her animals, collecting herbs, and playing alone in the forest. But when her ailing mother takes a turn for the worse, Lily is suddenly thrust into the paralyzing role of executioner's assistant.
Aside from preparing healing concoctions for the suffering and maimed, Lily must now accompany her father at the town executions, something she has never done before. Though she loves her father, the emotional burden of his disturbing profession is just too much for her to bear. Lily must find a way to change her destiny, no matter the consequences. (My review here)

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

The summer of 1899 is hot in Calpurnia’s sleepy Texas town, and there aren’t a lot of good ways to stay cool. Her mother has a new wind machine from town, but Callie might just have to resort to stealthily cutting off her hair, one sneaky inch at a time. She also spends a lot of time at the river with her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist. It turns out that every drop of river water is teeming with life — all you have to do is look through a microscope!
As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and learns just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.

The Shrouding Woman by Loretta Ellsworth

It was once common practice for small towns to have a shrouding woman to help put their dead to rest. Still, when eleven-year-old Evie's Aunt Flo-herself a shrouding woman-comes to town, Evie knows little of a shrouding woman's ways and wants nothing to do with this aunt of hers, especially after her own mother's recent death. But as this mysterious woman slowly makes her way into Evie's life, her strong and sensitive presence brings far more than signs of death to a grieving girl's home.
Set in the mid-1800s, this beautifully written story, centered on the little-known practice of shrouding, touches on death and healing with sensitivity and quiet dignity.

Letters from Rifka by Karen Hesse

In letters to her cousin, a young Jewish girl chronicles her family's flight from Russia in 1919 and her own experiences when she must be left in Belgium for a while when the others immigrate to America.

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