Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Spirit's Princess by Esther M. Friesner

Spirit's Princess by Esther M. Friesner (Published by Random House, April 24, 2012)

Himiko, the beloved daughter of a chieftain in third century Japan, has always been special. The day she was born there was a devastating earthquake, and the tribe's shamaness had an amazing vision revealing the young girl's future—one day this privledged child will be the spiritual and tribal leader over all of the tribes. Book One revolves around the events of Himiko's early teen years—her shaman lessons, friendships, contact with other tribes, and journey to save her family after a series of tragic events. Once again, Esther Friesner masterfully weaves together history, myth, and mysticism in a tale of a princess whose path is far from traditional.

This sounds like a great topic for a historical novel. I have never heard of Himiko before but it sounds like she had a very interesting life.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book review: Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore

Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore (Published by Bloomsbury, October 25, 2011)

For years, Esmerine has longed for the day when she can join her older sister, Dosia, as a siren, and now that day has come. Becoming a siren is a great honor for a mermaid and her family. But the very next day, Dosia disappears. Esmerine's worst fears come true when she learns that her sister has gone to the surface world and married a human. Esmerine fears her sister was taken against her will and is desperate to find her, even though it is unlikely she can save her.

Unable to make her way on the surface world alone, Esmerine seeks out the help of Alan, a young man from a winged race of people called the Fandarsee. As children, Esmerine and Alan played together on an island, but she hasn't seen him in several years, since he left to study. After reuniting, their feelings of friendship begin to grow into something more, but a love between them seems impossible, for Alan cannot live in the sea, and Esmerine cannot live on land without terrible pain, unless she permanently gives up her ability to return to the sea.

I really enjoyed Jaclyn Dolamore's debut novel, Magic Under Glass, so I have been looking forward to reading Between the Sea and Sky, and I am happy to say I enjoyed it even more than her first book. I loved the two worlds she created, the underwater world, and the surface world, which seems inspired by southern Europe in the early nineteenth century. And the romance was adorable! Highly recommended for readers who enjoy fairy tales and historical fantasy.

Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Book review: Our Australian Girl: A Home for Grace by Sofie Laguna

Our Australian Girl: A Home for Grace by Sofie Laguna (Published by Penguin Books Australia, October 3, 2011)

The year is 1808, and after being sent from London to Australia as a convict because she stole food, ten-year-old Grace is now working as a servant for a young married couple, Tom and Beth, who live on a farm in the Australian wilderness. Beth is very kind to Grace, but Tom has never trusted her. In the previous book, Grace had to take Tom's beloved horse, Glory, and ride for help when Beth went into labor while Tom was away working. Glory was injured, and now Grace fears that Tom blames her for what happened, even though riding the horse was the only way Grace could get help in time.

Grace feels terrible about what happened to Glory, because she has always loved horses. Now that Tom is home and Glory seems to get sicker each day, Grace fears that she will be sent away. She loves helping Beth with the housework and caring for her new baby, Alice, and she doesn't want to have to leave them. Grace decides the only thing she can do is try to help Glory get better, but who can she turn to for help?

A Home for Grace is the fourth and final book about Grace from the Our Australian Girl series. I have really enjoyed reading Grace's story. She had such a hard life as a poor orphan in London, so I loved reading about her finally getting the happy ending she deserved. I love the time period the stories are set in, and since I haven't read that many books about Australian history, I enjoyed learning about what life was like for the convicts and settlers in early 19th century Australia. I think this series is a great choice for young Australian readers who want to learn more about their country's history, although I wish these books were more easily available outside Australia too. As an American, I've always wished for more historical fiction to be available here that isn't set in either the United States or England.

In My Mailbox - 10/23/11

Credit goes to The Story Siren for creating and hosting the In My Mailbox feature.

I only got one new book this week, but I am really looking forward to reading it.

The Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell

It’s a long way from Baltimore to Oklahoma Territory. But Zora Stewart will go any distance to put the tragic events of her sixteenth summer behind her. So this city girl heads to the tiny frontier town of West Glory to help her young widowed aunt keep her homestead going.
When another Baltimorean shows up in West Glory, Zora couldn’t be more surprised. Theo de la Croix made the long trip out west hoping to court Zora, whom he has long admired from afar.
But Zora has developed an attraction to a rather less respectable fellow: Emerson Birch, a rough-mannered young "sooner" whose fertile land is coveted.
As Zora begins to suspect that there may be more than luck behind Emerson’s good land, she discovers an extraordinary, astonishing power of her own: the ability to sense water under the parched earth. When her aunt hires her out as a "springsweet" to advise other settlers where to dig their wells, Zora feels the burden of holding the key to something so essential to survival in this unforgiving land.
Even more, she finds herself longing for love the way the prairie thirsts for water. Maybe, in the wildness of the territories, Zora can finally move beyond simply surviving and start living.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Enter to win Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

This is my first giveaway with Rafflecopter, so hopefully I set it up correctly!

I am giving away a paperback copy of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Since I already have a hardcover, I decided to give the paperback review copy away to a blog reader.

If you haven't heard of Before I Fall before, here is the cover and summary:

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Waiting on Wednesday: Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves

Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves (Published by Flux, April 8, 2012)

A paranormal mystery involving London’s most notorious killer
In 1888, following her mother’s sudden death, seventeen-year-old Arabella Sharp goes to live with her grandmother in a posh London neighborhood. At her grandmother’s request, Abbie volunteers at Whitechapel Hospital, where she discovers a passion for helping the unfortunate women and children there.
But within days, female patients begin turning up brutally murdered at the hands of Jack the Ripper. Even more horrifying, Abbie starts having strange visions that lead her straight to the Ripper’s next massacres. As her apparent psychic connection with the twisted killer grows stronger, Abbie is drawn into a deadly mystery involving the murders, her mother’s shadowed past, and a secret brotherhood of immortals—who’ll stop at nothing to lure Abbie into its “humanitarian” aims.

I have really enjoyed historical fantasy lately and the plot of this one sounds very original, so I can't wait to read it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In My Mailbox - 10/15/11

Credit goes to The Story Siren for creating and hosting the In My Mailbox feature.

Here are the new books I got this week:

Our Australian Girl: A Home for Grace by Sophie Laguna

It's 1808 . . .
and Grace loves caring for baby Alice and working with her mistress, Beth, on the property at Rose Hill. Grave tries so hard to be a good servant – but still her master, Tom, doesn't trust her. Does he blame her for what happened to Glory, who is injured and growing sicker every day? Grace has to do something to help, but who can she turn to?
Join Grace in the final of four exciting stories about a convict girl who is given a second chance.

Our Australian Girl: Letty's Christmas by Alison Lloyd

It's 1841 . . .
and Letty must leave her job on the sheep-run because drought has brought hard times. Together, she and the Grey family set out over the Blue Mountains. When disaster strikes, Letty needs to be stronger than she could have imagined . . . Will Letty ever see Sydney – or Lavinia – again?
Join Letty in the final of four exciting stories about a free-settler girl and her life in a far-off land.

Our Australian Girl: Poppy Comes Home by Gabrielle Wang

It's 1864 . . .
and Poppy, disguised as a lost princess from India, has joined a travelling medicine show. They're about to enter the town of Beechworth, where her brother Gus told her he was heading months before. Poppy is so happy to think that she might find Gus at last! But when she follows the clues, they lead her to the cemetery. Gus couldn't really be there, could he?
Join Poppy in the final of four exciting stories about a Gold Rush girl who dreams of a better life.

Our Australian Girl: Rose in Bloom by Sherryl Clark

It's 1901 . . .
and even the death of Queen Victoria can't stop the growing excitement as Melbourne gets ready to celebrate Federation – on Rose's birthday! Meanwhile at school, Rose loves being involved in the cricket team. She's so focused on the game coming up that she almost doesn't notice Abigail acting strangely. What's wrong with Rose's best friend? And can Rose help?
Join Rose in the final of four exciting stories about a Federation girl who's determined to do things her way!

Dear America: Behind the Masks by Susan Patron

Newbery Award-winning author Susan Patron brings her talents to the beloved Dear America series in this exciting story of a girl growing up in the Wild West, in a California gold mining town.
Growing up in the wild gold-mining town of Bodie, California, in the 1880s, Angeline Reddy has seen it all -- saloons, brawls, and a whole lot of desperation. When her father, Bodie's greatest lawyer, is declared murdered, Angie knows deep in her heart that he isn't dead and decides it is up to her to solve the mystery of what happened to him. But when her mother takes ill, her uncle Ned is arrested for the murder, and a mysterious ghost appears, putting together the puzzle pieces seems impossible. Not to mention, a gang of vigilantes, the 601s, is raging out of control, running folks out of town, and nobody seems safe.
Will Angie, with the help of her friends Ellie and Ling Loi, and the mysterious and tragically handsome Antoine, be able to uncover the secret of her father's disappearance?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Mastermind Plot by Angie Frazier

Waiting on Wednesday: The Mastermind Plot by Angie Frazier (Published by Scholastic, March 1, 2012)

Suzanna "Zanna" Snow can hardly believe it: she's finally going to escape boring Loch Harbor, New Brunswick. She's received an invitation from her grandmother--the mysterious woman she's never met--to stay with her in Boston. Think of all the mysteries to be solved there! While she's curious about her grandmother, she's even more excited for the chance to be close to her uncle, the famous Bostonion detective Bruce Snow and her cousin Will, Bruce's assistant. Much to her chagrin, her grandmother enrolls her in Miss Lydia Doucette's Adademy for Young Ladies, where all things proper are taught. In the meantime, Will recruits Zanna to help when a string of warehouse fires can't be solved. Zanna gets some leads, the most interesting being the fires' possible connection to famous paintings. When a stranger starts following Zanna, she starts to wonder if all her snooping has caught the attention of the elusive arsonist.

I enjoyed the first book in this series, so I am looking forward to reading book two.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

In My Mailbox - 10/8/11

Credit goes to The Story Siren for creating and hosting the In My Mailbox feature.

Here are the new books I got this week:

For review:

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world’s past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.
Michelle Zink masterfully weaves historical fantasy with paranormal romance to create a gripping tale of love and betrayal.

A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.
It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.
But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.
In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.
As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.
Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret.
Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write.

When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen

In sixteen-year-old Felicita’s world, magic is strictly controlled—or so those in power like to believe. After her dearest friend, Ilven, kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven’s death has called out of the sea a dangerous, wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg’s caste system, and the whole city along with it.

I also got these three books from the Read for Relief auction:

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.
Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.
If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Jill MacSweeney just wants everything to go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. You can't lose one family member and simply replace him with a new one, and when her mom decides to adopt a baby, that's exactly what it feels like she's trying to do. And that's decidedly not normal. With her world crumbling around her, can Jill come to embrace a new member of the family?
Mandy Kalinowski knows what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, she knows she wants a better life for her baby. But can giving up a child be as easy as it seems? And will she ever be able to find someone to care for her, too?
Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about what it means to be a family and the many roads we can take to become one.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley

Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley (Published by Waterbrook Press, March 13, 2012)

To prove himself worthy of a princess, Trevin must first defeat the terror of his past.
In Camrithia, a land of shadows and mystical secrets, Trevin lives to serve King Laetham. But his heart belongs to the princess, Melaia. When the king sends Trevin on a dangerous quest to find the missing comains, he must leave Melaia to the advances of a swaggering Dregmoorian prince.
Challenged to prove his worth, Trevin throws himself into his quest. Challenged to prove his love, Trevin undertakes a second mission—find the harps Melaia seeks in order to restore the stairway to heaven. Through fire caves, rogue winds, and murderous threats, Trevin remains steadfastly dedicated to his quest—even when he is falsely accused of a heinous crime. As Trevin’s time runs out, he realizes he must face the shame and horror of his own past and the terror-dream that has come to life. Will he have the courage to finish what he has started?

I really enjoyed Breath of Angel, the first book in this series, and I can't wait to read book 2. This series is very different from most YA angel books, the books are high fantasy set in a medieval society.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Book review: Tomorrow Girls: Set Me Free by Eva Gray

Tomorrow Girls: Set Me Free by Eva Gray (Published by Scholastic, November 1, 2011)

Set Me Free is the fourth and final book in the Tomorrow Girls series, and begins right where book three, With the Enemy, ended. This series is about four young girls, Louisa, Evelyn, Maddie, and Rosie, who were sent to a boarding school to keep them safe during a war between the United States and the Alliance, which happened after natural disasters destroyed part of the United States. However the girls soon learned that the school was secretly run by the Alliance and successfully escaped, joining up with three boys from the nearby boys' school. After traveling many miles and enduring many difficulties, including rescuing Maddie after she was kidnapped by Alliance agents and taken away to be brainwashed, the kids have finally made it back to their home city of Chicago.

Each book has been narrated by a different girl, and so for the last book, the narrator is Maddie. Maddie is probably the character who changed the most from the start of the series. At the beginning, she was rather timid and not as strong as the other girls. However, she has become stronger and braver, especially after learning that her absent mother, who she thought had a support job in the army, is actually the leader of the Resistance, which is the military organization that fights to defeat the Alliance. Now, Maddie and her friends must find her mother and the Resistance to give them an important encoded message, but finding them in war-torn Chicago won't be easy.

Set Me Free is, overall, a pretty good conclusion to the Tomorrow Girls series, it doesn't end with a cliffhanger and the storylines for all the main characters are resolved. I was disappointed by a couple of things, however - we never find out what happened to some of the minor characters, nor is the exact reason for the war ever explained, in fact it's never explained what exactly the Alliance is or where they came from. This series is a good choice for introducing younger readers to the dystopian genre, and for older readers looking for a quick read. I just wish there had been a bit more background information, because I'm still left wondering why there was even a war in the first place.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

In My Mailbox - 10/1/11

Credit goes to The Story Siren for creating and hosting the In My Mailbox feature.

Here are the new books I got this week:

For review:

Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey

Wilde Island is in an uproar after the recent death of its king. The uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is fraying, and a bloodthirsty witch hunter with a hidden agenda whips villages into frenzies with wild accusations. Tess, a blacksmith’s daughter from a tiny hamlet near the mysterious Dragonswood, finds herself caught in the crosshairs of fate when she is accused of witchery and has to flee for her life along with her two best friends.
Not even Tess’s power to see the future can help the girls as they set off on their desperate journey, but she keeps having visions of a man wielding a sword. And when she finally meets him, Tess has no idea how to handle the magnetic attraction she feels for him, or the elusive call she hears from the heart of the Dragonswood.
In this epic romance, an ancient prophecy comes true in a way neither dragon, fairy, nor human would have predicted.

Variant by Robison Wells

Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.
Where breaking the rules equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.

Eve by Anna Carey

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.
Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards

Magic, Djinn, Ogres, and Sorcerers. Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories about fantastical beings, long banned from the kingdom of Arribitha. But anyone caught whispering of their powers will feel the rage of the sultan—a terrifying usurper who, even with his eyes closed, can see all.
When her own beloved sister is captured by the evil ruler, Zardi knows that she must go to any lengths to rescue her. Along with her best friend, Ridhan—a silver-haired, violet-eyed boy of mysterious origins—and an unlikely crew of sailors led by the infamous Captain Sinbad, Zardi ventures forth into strange and wondrous territory with a seemingly impossible mission: to bring magic back to Arribitha and defeat the sultan once and for all.

Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler

Princess Meriel’s brothers have been cursed. A terrible enchantment—cast by their conniving new stepmother—has transformed the handsome princes into swans. They now swim forlornly on a beautiful heart-shaped lake that lies just beyond the castle walls.
Meriel will do whatever it takes to rescue her beloved brothers. But she must act quickly. If Heart Lake freezes, her brothers will be forced to fly south or perish.
With help from her newfound friends Riona and Liam—a beautiful half-witch and her clever brother—Meriel vows to finish a seemingly impossible task. If she completes it, her brothers may be saved. But if she fails…all will be lost.
With a mesmerizing voice and delightful imagination, Diane Zahler delivers an exceptionally dazzling retelling—full of magic, adventure, and fascinating characters. Fans of beautifully written and exciting fantasy novels, including those who love Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine, will be enthralled.

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?
Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.


Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart

When her sister becomes betrothed to a prince in a northern nation, Zeraphina’s only consolations are that her loyal animal companions are by her side – and that her burning hunger to travel north is finally being sated.
Already her black hair and pale eyes mark her out as different, but now Zeraphina must be even more careful to keep her secret safe. Craving blood is not considered normal behaviour for anyone, let alone a princess. So when the king’s advisor, Rodden, seems to know more about her condition than she does, Zeraphina is determined to find out more.
Zeraphina must be willing to sacrifice everything if she’s to uncover the truth – but what if the truth is beyond her worst nightmares?

A Forest of Gold by Courtney Maika

It is the 1920s, and twelve-year-old Emily Pattersen lives in a logging community in northern Ontario — a place where lumber is king and the forests make many men rich. She, of course, has more important things to concern herself with: run-ins with know-it-all Tilly at school, dealing with her frustrating brothers, and trying not to roll her eyes at her very serious mother's penchant for assigning Duties.
A new set of worries comes to her when, against their parents' wishes, her hot-headed brother Joe sneaks off to work at a lumber camp. Emily is the only one who knows where he's gone. Scared and anxious, she gets the post every day to intercept Joe's letters, with word about his safety. Life has suddenly become complicated, as Emily struggles to remain an obedient daughter, while protecting her brother's secret.
Debut novelist Courtney Maika is as inspiring as the feisty young heroine she has created. She wrote A Forest of Gold while in grade twelve. A keen reader of the the Dear Canada series, she says: "...they really inspired me, so at one point, when I was sixteen, I thought 'Why wait? I think I'm capable of writing a book now.'" Readers will be glad she did.

Horse Diaries: Risky Chance by Alison Hart

For all lovers of horses and history, it's the next book in the popular Horse Diaries series. Born in California at the start of the Great Depression, Risky Chance is a gray thoroughbred who was born to race. Life at the track and being spoiled by his jockey's young daughter, Marie, is all Chance could ask for. He loves nothing more than running fast and winning. But after an accident, Chance discovers a side of horse racing that has little to do with glory.
Like Black Beauty, this moving novel is told in first person from the horse's own point of view and includes an appendix full of photos and facts about thoroughbreds, horse racing, and the Great Depression.

The Lily Pond by Annika Thor

A year after Stephie Steiner and her younger sister, Nellie, left Nazi-occupied Vienna, Stephie has finally adapted to life on the rugged Swedish island where she now lives. But more change awaits Stephie: her foster parents have allowed her to enroll in school on the mainland, in Goteberg. Stephie is eager to go. Not only will she be pursuing her studies, she'll be living in a cultured city again—under the same roof as Sven, the son of the lodgers who rented her foster parents' cottage for the summer.
Five years her senior, Sven dazzles Stephie with his charm, his talk of equality, and his anti-Hitler sentiments. Stephie can't help herself—she's falling in love. As she navigates a sea of new emotions, she also grapples with what it means to be beholden to others, with her constant worry about what her parents are enduring back in Vienna, and with the menacing spread of Nazi ideology, even in Sweden. In these troubled times, her true friends, Stephie discovers, are the ones she least expected.
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