Saturday, January 29, 2011
Here are the new books I got this week.
Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper
Life has been nothing but unfair to Grace Parkes and her sister. Penniless, the two orphans manage to stay alive-but only barely, like so many on the streets of Victorian London. And Grace must bear a greater heartbreak, having become pregnant from terrible circumstances and then given birth to a stillborn baby. But the infant's death sets Grace on a new path, bringing her into contact with people who hold both riches and power. A great fraud has been perpetrated on young Grace and her sister, and they are the secret recipients of a most unusual legacy-if only they can find the means to claim it. Mary Hooper's latest offers Dickensian social commentary, as well as malicious fraud, mysterious secrets, and a riveting read.
Daughters of the Sea: May by Kathryn Lasky
Book 2 in Kathryn Lasky's shimmering quartet about mermaid sisters and supernatural love.
May feels her life drying up. The sea calls to her, but her parents forbid her from swimming. She longs for books, but her mother finds her passion for learning strange. She yearns for independence, but a persistent suitor, Rudd, wants to tame her spirited ways. Yet after her fifteenth birthday, the urge to break free becomes overpowering and May makes a life-changing discovery. She does not belong on land where girls are meant to be obedient. She is a mermaid-a creature of the sea.
For the first time, May learns what freedom feels like-the thrill of exploring both the vast ocean and the previously forbidden books. She even catches the eye of Hugh, an astronomy student who, unlike the townspeople, finds May anything but strange. But not everyone is pleased with May's transformation. Rudd decides that if can't have May, no one will. He knows how to destroy her happiness and goes to drastic measures to ensure that May loses everything: her freedom and the only boy she's ever loved. (From Star Book Tours)
Dear Canada: Hoping for Home
In these eleven original stories, characters bravely face the challenges of settling into a new life. In this wonderful new short story anthology, eleven of Canada's top children's authors contribute stories of immigration, displacement and change, exploring the frustration and uncertainty those changes can bring. Told in first-person narratives, this collection features a diverse cast of boys and girls, each one living at a different point in Canada's vast landscape and history. With unforgettable protagonists -- such as Miriam, a Warsaw-ghetto survivor, now reunited with her family in Montreal; Wong Joe-on, a young Chinese immigrant who faces racism in a small Saskatchewan town; and Insy, an Ojibwe girl who makes her first trip to a "white" town in Northern Ontario -- young readers will be moved by the opportunities and difficulties that these characters face, as each one ponders what it means to be Canadian, and struggles to fit in.
I Am Canada: Shot at Dawn by John Wilson
Sentenced to death for abandoning his unit, a soldier recounts the events leading up to his arrest. The reality of trench warfare is a shock to Allan McBride. Like many other young soldiers, he enthusiastically signed up for the chance to join the war effort and be a part of the fighting. But after months in the ravaged battlefields, watching men, including his friend Ken, get blown up by German shelling, something in Allan snaps and he leaves his unit, believing he is "walking home to Canada" to get help for his friend. After nearly a week of wandering aimlessly, Allan is taken in by a band of real deserters - men who have abandoned their units and live on the edge of survival in the woods of northern France. Once Allan realizes what he's done, he is paralyzed by the reality of his circumstance: if he stays with these men, it's possible they will be found and have to face the consequences; and if he returns to his unit, he will be charged with desertion - a charge punishable by death. In this outstanding new title in the I Am Canada series, acclaimed author John Wilson explores life in the horrific trenches of WWI and the effect of battle on a shell-shocked soldier.
Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang
Athletic and strong willed, Princess Emmajin's determined to do what no woman has done before: become a warrior in the army of her grandfather, the Great Khan Khubilai. In the Mongol world the only way to achieve respect is to show bravery and win glory on the battlefield. The last thing she wants is the distraction of the foreigner Marco Polo, who challenges her beliefs in the gardens of Xanadu. Marco has no skills in the "manly arts" of the Mongols: horse racing, archery, and wrestling. Still, he charms the Khan with his wit and story-telling. Emmajin sees a different Marco as they travel across 13th-century China, hunting 'dragons' and fighting elephant-back warriors. Now she faces a different battle as she struggles with her attraction towards Marco and her incredible goal of winning fame as a soldier. (reviewed ARC here)
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
After the thrilling journey that led Camille through the dangerous discovery of love, secrets, and a magical stone that grants immortality, Camille has everything she wants. She's escaped the men who wanted her dead, and now she is ready to build a new life with Oscar, her one true love. But things are not to be so simple. Oscar is acting strangely, and before they can even board a ship from Australia back home, to San Francisco, Camille learns that the journey is not over. If she does not follow the magic of the curse of Umandu, her life and Ocar's could be in grave danger.
Everlasting was one of my favorite books of 2010 so I am very excited there is going to be a sequel and I can't wait to read it!
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Sixteen-year-old Florence and her family live in poverty in Victorian London in 1888. Florence, who unlike many poor young girls can read and write, starts a diary after her grandfather dies and leaves his diary to her. To help her family, Florence must start working at the Bryant & May match factory, despite the fact the her older sister died from a terrible disease as a result of working at the match factory.
Shortly after Florence goes to work at the factory, she starts hearing rumors of a possible strike, especially from a young newspaper reporter who interviews her to learn about the conditions at the match factory. While men in many industries have gone on strike before, this would be the first time for women. Florence isn't sure what to think. She believes herself and the other workers deserve better pay and conditions, but she is afraid of going on strike and not being able to bring any money home to her family, when they are already struggling to survive even with her wages.
This book wasn't one of my favorites from the My Story series. The historical information was interesting and the book was a quick read, but Florence's character wasn't really that well developed and so I didn't care that much about what happened to her. Readers who love the series or who are particulary interested in the historical setting might enjoy this book, but for readers who are new to the series I'd recommend starting with one of the other books. It wasn't a terrible book, I just enjoyed most of the other books in the series much more.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Here are the new books I got this week. The first two books are from other bloggers, and the third is a review copy.
Dear America: Cannons at Dawn by Kristiana Gregory
Abigail Jane Stewart returns in this brand-new sequel to THE WINTER OF RED SNOW. The Revolutionary War toils on, but the Stewart family can no longer avoid getting involved. Abby's father joins the Continental Army, while Abby, her mother, and her siblings become camp followers. They face daily hardships alongside the troops and continue to spend time helping the Washingtons. Filled with romance and adventure, Abby's frontline view of the war captures the heartache and bravery of the soldiers, as well as the steep cost of freedom.
Timeless by Alexandra Monir
When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance.
Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives.
Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
Twelve-year-old Kat Stephenson may be the despair of her social-climbing Step-Mama, but she was born to be a magical Guardian and protector of Society--if she can ever find true acceptance in the secret Order that expelled her own mother. She’s ready to turn the hidebound Order of the Guardians inside-out, whether the older members like it or not. And in a society where magic is the greatest scandal of all, Kat is determined to use all her powers to help her three older siblings--saintly Elissa, practicing-witch Angeline, and hopelessly foolish Charles--find their own true loves, even if she has to turn highwayman, battle wild magic, and confront real ghosts along the way!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of an emaciated stranger in the temple courtyard. Just after she discovers wings on the stranger, the murderer enters the temple, and what Melaia has known only through song and story suddenly takes on flesh. Angels and shape-shifters were myths and stories . . . until now.
Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. When the feud turns violent and Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of wandering angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without the repayment of an ancient debt, the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.
I saw the cover for this book and immediately had to look to see what it was about. And, the story does sound pretty interesting. There are a lot of YA novels about angels recently, but this one sounds different, and I really love the cover.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Here are the new books I got this week.
Crusade by Linda Press Wulf
Robert: Left on the steps of a church as a baby, Robert was often hungry but never stole food like the other orphans in town. Introverted and extraordinarily intelligent, he knew all the Latin prayers and hymns by heart by the time he was five years old. Georgette: Her own mother died in childbirth, leaving Georgette with a father who, seventeen at the time, had neither experience nor aptitude as a nurturing parent, and a brother known in town as Le Fuer - The Spitfire - for his terrible temper. Perhaps to replace something missing from their own lives, both Robert and Georgette are drawn to the news of a crusader, twelve or thirteen, no older than themselves, travelling down through France with thousands of followers - all, unbelievably, children too. Of those thousands, this is the incredible story of two. This is a story of hardship, loss and love.
My Story: Factory Girl by Pamela Oldfield
It's 1888. Florence works as a match girl, in dangerous factory conditions. There's talk of a strike, but striking means no work... and no pay. Meanwhile, a young journalist is keen to hear Florence's story - women have never gone on strike before! But is he just stirring up trouble to sell newspapers?
Belladonna by Mary Finn
When Thomas Rose first spots the girl hidden by the roadside, she looks as drab as a lark, with only her red kerchief giving her away. But French Hélène, who goes by "Ling," is no ordinary bird. Tiny Ling enchants Thomas with her wild spirit and tales of a circus where she danced atop her beloved horse, Belladonna. But the horse has been sold, and Ling must fetch her back. Now Thomas’s life as a clever but unschooled wheelwright’s son is about to change. Their search leads to painter George Stubbs, who euthanizes ailing animals in order to study their anatomy. Stubbs draws eerie horses that stride as if they could move out of the paper world into the real one - but he assures his young friends that their horse is safe at a nearby estate. As Ling and Thomas devise a risky plan to recover Belladonna, Stubbs hires Thomas as an apprentice, teaching him to read and write as well. In this fascinating story, Mary Finn incorporates a real eighteenth-century artist into a beautifully imagined tale of adventure and young romance.
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE In Deuce's world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed 'brat' has trained into one of three groups-Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.
As a Huntress, her purpose is clear--to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She's worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing's going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce's troubles are just beginning.
Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn't like following orders. At first she thinks he's crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don't always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she's never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.
As Deuce's perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy... but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she's ever known.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Daughter of Xanadu is a rather unique YA historical. Where did you get the idea for the setting and story?
Dori: I wanted to write a story about Marco Polo because I can relate to him. He went to China and then wrote about it for readers back home; that’s what I did as a foreign correspondent. Once I read his book, I realized that he visited China at a time when it was ruled by the Mongols, as part of the Mongol Empire. I knew a lot about China, but I had to start from scratch learning about the Mongols and Mongolia. Once I started reading about their unique culture and history, I got hooked!
What kind of research did you do? Did you visit any of the real places in the book?
Dori: I read lots of books, including an intriguing one called The Secret History of the Mongols. Then I visited Mongolia, where I rode camels, stayed in a ger (yurt), and explored the Gobi Desert; that was super-fun and gave me a good idea about Mongolian customs. I also visited the ruins of Xanadu and the Khan’s capital of Khanbalik, now known as Beijing, as well as the city of Da-li in southwestern China, which was described by Marco Polo. I felt like an explorer myself, touching history. Like Indiana Jones Yang!
What do you hope readers will learn from Emmajin's story?
Dori: My main hope is that readers will find it a fun, fascinating story. But I also hope they’ll watch the way Emmajin’s view of the foreigner Marco changes over time, and how her understanding of her own culture deepens as she learns to see it through the eyes of a foreigner. Maybe next time my readers talk to a foreigner, they will also try to see the world from their foreign friend’s perspective.
If you could go back in time for a day (with guaranteed safety!) what place and time would you like to visit?
Dori: Oh, Xanadu, for sure, in the days of Khubilai Khan! I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Marco Polo first met him. I would observe their clothing, food, gestures, habits, gardens, and palaces, and they’d I’d fly safely home and write it all down! Maybe I should have done that before Daughter of Xanadu was published . . .
What are some of your own favorite books and authors?
Dori: I love historical fiction and novels about China, by such authors as Lisa See, Amy Tan, Margaret George, Tracy Chevalier, and Susan Vreeland. I also love historical novels that tell stories through the less well-known perspective of women, such as The Red Tent, The Mists of Avalon, and many of the books by Philippa Gregory, such as The Other Boleyn Girl.
Can you tell us anything about your next book?
Dori: Well, I’ve already figured out what happens next in the story of Emmajin and Marco. Do you think enough readers would be interested for a sequel?
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Dori: I’d like to add a message to you and the many other bloggers out there who read and review books online: How cool is that! In an age when ‘pundits’ want to tell us books are dying, you are proving otherwise – avidly reading books (even before they’re published!) and using the Internet to form a vibrant community of book lovers. Book reviews are no longer the sole privilege of a tiny elite. Kudos to you!
Also, please come visit me at http://www.dorijonesyang.com/.
One lucky winner can win a copy of Daughter of Xanadu!
To enter, post a comment with your email address.
For an extra entry, read and comment on my review of Daughter of Xanadu, linked to at the beginning of the interview
US mailing addresses only
Must enter by January 28
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren--the highest calling a mermaid can have. Then Dosinia runs away to the mainland, and Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood--a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.
I really enjoyed Jaclyn Dolamore's debut novel Magic Under Glass, and this book sounds like it will be another great YA fantasy with a unique story. Plus the cover is really pretty!
Saturday, January 8, 2011
I haven't been doing IMM every week recently because I haven't been getting a lot of books and I forget to do it. However since I got some books from Strand I remembered to post an IMM for this week. I will try to do better and remember to do it every week from now on.
The Charmed Return by Frewin Jones
The thrilling conclusion to the Faerie Path series, in which Tania, the long-lost princess of Faerie, ultimately must choose between her two worlds.
She was once a princess of Faerie, the seventh daughter of King Oberon. But sixteen-year-old Anita Palmer wakes up in London with no memory of the Faerie Realm; her princess identity; her true love, Edric; or her quest to save Faerie from a deadly plague that ravaged it. Anita must reawaken Tania, her Faerie self…but how? And who can she trust when not even her memories are safe? Her quest leads to a thrilling final battle, with her own destiny—as well as the fate of both Faerie and the Mortal World—at stake.
From Strand bookstore:
In the Shadow of the Lamp by Susanne Dunlap
It's 1854 and sixteen-year-old Molly would give anything to change her circumstances as a lowly servant in a posh London house. So when she hears of an opportunity to join the nurses who will be traveling with Florence Nightingale to the Crimea, she jumps at the chance. The work is grueling, the hospital conditions deplorable, and Miss Nightingale a demanding teacher. Before long, the plight of British soldiers becomes more than just a mission of mercy as Molly finds that she's falling in love with both a dashing young doctor and a soldier who has joined the army to be near her. But with the battle raging ever nearer, can Molly keep the two men she cares for from harm? A love story to savor, and a fascinating behind-the-scenes imagining of the woman who became known as "the lady with the lamp."
A Templar's Gifts by Kat Black
The second book in Kat Black's historical fantasy trilogy full of intrigue, mystery, and adventure!
Something's wrong with Tormod MacLeod. Ever since returning home his visions have become more intense and disorienting, making him increasingly ill and constantly on the verge of collapse. But then he meets Aine, a fiery, no-nonsense Scottish lass who has powers of her own and a special supernatural connection with Tormod--when they're actually getting along. Together they must find the healer who can save Tormod's life, all the while dodging King Philippe le Bel's ruthless soldiers, who will stop at nothing to find Tormod and information about the secret he keeps.
The Silver Bowl by Diane Stanley
Unwanted at home, Molly goes to work for the king of Westria as a humble scullery maid. She arrives at the castle with no education, no manners, and a very disturbing secret: She sees visions, and those visions always come true.
One day, while she’s working in the king’s great hall, young Prince Alaric passes by. Molly finds him unbearably handsome—but also unbearably rude. But what does it really matter? She’ll probably never see him again.
In time Molly is promoted to polishing silver and is given a priceless royal treasure to work on: the king’s great ceremonial hand basin. But there’s something odd about it. The silver warms to her touch, a voice commands her to watch and listen, and then the visions appear. They tell the story of a dreaded curse that has stalked the royal family for years. There have already been deaths; soon there will be more.
As tragedy after tragedy strikes the royal family, Molly can’t help but wonder: Will the beautiful Alaric be next? Together with her friends Tobias and Winifred, Molly must protect the prince and destroy the curse. Could a less likely champion be found to save the kingdom of Westria?
Eliza's Freedom Road by Jerdine Nolan
It is 1852 in Alexandria, Virginia. Eliza's mother has been sent away and it is Abbey, the cook, who looks after Eliza, when Eliza isn't taking care of the Mistress. Eliza has the quilt her mother left her and the memory of the stories she told to keep her close. When her Mistress's health begins to fail and Eliza overhears the Master talk of Eliza being traded, Eliza takes to the night. She follows the path and the words of the farmhand Old Joe, " … travel the night … sleep the day. Go East. Your back to the set of the sun until you come to the safe house where the candlelight lights the window." All the while, Eliza recites the stories her mother taught her along her Freedom Road from Maryland to St. Catherine's, Canada.
Dear America: Like the Willow Tree by Lois Lowry
Suddenly orphaned by the Spanish flu epidemic in the fall of 1918, eleven-year-old Lydia Pierce and her fourteen-year-old brother, Daniel, of Portland, Maine, are taken by their grieving uncle to be raised in the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake. Thrust into the spartan lifestyle of this isolated religious sect, which practices celibacy and pacifism, Lydia, a fiercely independent girl, must grapple with a new life that is nothing like the one she used to know.
Since she is separated from her beloved brother -- for males and females do not live together in this communal village -- Lydia is forced to adjust to the restrictions placed upon her once carefree, creative spirit all on her own. (reviewed here)
Dear America: A Picture of Freedom by Patricia C. McKissack
Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author Patricia McKissack's inspiring A PICTURE OF FREEDOM is now back in print with a gorgeous new cover!
It's 1859 and Clotee, a twelve-year-old slave, has the most wonderful, terrible secret. She knows that if she shares it with the wrong person, she will face unimaginable consequences. What is her secret? While doing her job of fanning her master's son during his daily lessons, Clotee has taught herself to read and write. However, she soon learns that the tutor, Ely Harms, has a secret of his own.
In a time when literacy is one of the most valuable skills to have, Clotee is determined to use her secret to save herself, and her family.
Patricia C. McKissack weaves the pages of Clotee's diary with the intrigue and disloyalty of spies and traitors, the celebrations of life, and the anguish of death. (reviewed here)
Other books I bought:
The Damascus Way by Davis Bunn & Janette Oke
Julia has everything money can buy...except for acceptance by either the Gentiles or the Jews. Her Greek father already has a wife and family, leaving Julia and her Hebrew mother second-class citizens. But when they are introduced to followers of the Way, they become part of that community of believers. Abigail's brother, Jacob, now a young man, is attempting to discover his own place as a Christian. He is concerned that being more serious about his faith means trading away the exhilaration of his current profession as a caravan guard. Hired by Julia's father to protect the wealthy merchant's caravans on the secretive "Frankincense Trail"--undercover transport of this highly valuable commodity--Jacob also passes letters and messages between various communities of believers. He is alarmed to find out that Julia, hardly more than a girl, is also a messenger. Can their immediate mistrust be put aside to finally bring their hearts together?
Friday, January 7, 2011
Lilia has never known her true identity. When she was around two years old, she was found floating down the river in a basket. The man who rescued her took her home and raised her alongside his own children, Kai and Karina. However, the man’s cruel wife, Ylva, the children’s stepmother, insisted on treating Lilia like a servant. Now that Lilia is almost thirteen years old, and Ylva is pregnant, she has decided Lilia must leave to work as a servant for another family, for there is not enough food and money. Lilia decides to leave on her own and try and find her lost family, and Kai and Karina, who hate their stepmother, too, decide to come along on the journey.
All goes well at first as Lilia, Kai, and Karina travel north, hoping to find Lilia’s family there, for travelers they have met from the North Kingdoms have the same dark hair and violet eyes that Lilia has. But then, while traveling through the Bitra Forest, said to be a cursed place, become lost and stumble into the territory of the Elf-King, who is powerful and cruel, and has stolen many children from their families and used his magic to enslave them. His selfish and spoiled daughter sees Kai and decides she must have him for her own. The only way Lilia and Karina can save Kai is to find a jewel the Elf-King’s daughter wants even more.
A True Princess is a very charming and sweet story. It is inspired by Scandinavian mythology and legends as well as the classic fairytale The Princess and the Pea. Lilia is a likable and brave heroine who never gives up in her quest to save her best friend, Kai, as well as the other children held captive by the Elf-King. This book is sure to be enjoyed by readers who enjoy fairytale retellings by authors such as Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine as well as readers who enjoyed Diane Zahler’s first novel, The Thirteenth Princess.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
1872, London, England
Violet Willoughby doesn’t believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother’s elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother’s scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she’s known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?
So many good new historical reads coming out in 2011! This sounds like it will be a really good one and unique since it's a ghost story too.