Saturday, June 27, 2009

In My Mailbox - 6/27/09

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

I bought and received a few books this week that I am looking forward to reading:

A Faraway Island by Annika Thor

It's the summer of 1939. Two Jewish sisters from Vienna—12-year-old Stephie Steiner and 8-year-old Nellie—are sent to Sweden to escape the Nazis. They expect to stay there six months, until their parents can flee to Amsterdam; then all four will go to America. But as the world war intensifies, the girls remain, each with her own host family, on a rugged island off the western coast of Sweden.
Nellie quickly settles in to her new surroundings. She’s happy with her foster family and soon favors the Swedish language over her native German. Not so for Stephie, who finds it hard to adapt; she feels stranded at the end of the world, with a foster mother who’s as cold and unforgiving as the island itself. Her main worry, though, is her parents—and whether she will ever see them again.

Oathbreaker: Assassin's Apprentice by S.R. Vaught and J.B. Redmond

In a world where two moons barely light up the sky, we meet Aron, a farm boy with frightening powers. Apprenticed to Stormbreaker—a trained assassin who steals Aron from his home— the two soon find that the fragile peace in their land of Eyrie has begun to unravel, and violently. Stormbreaker and Aron are joined by Dari, a mysterious beauty with powers of her own, and Nic, a prince long given up for dead. As Eyrie enters a civil war, each character must make choices that threaten to tear them from their own promises and fates.This first episode in an incredible epic fantasy unfolds in layers of detail, romance and intrigue that will leavereaders clamoring for more.

My Story: Sophie's Secret War by Jill Atkins

In 1939 at the start of the war, Sophie becomes a messenger for a resistance group in Northern France. But as the German invaders overwhelm the British forces on the French coast, she finds herself more deeply involved with the Resistance - in a dangerous plan to save a young Scottish soldier.

My Story: The Mine's Afire by Susan Battye

Based around the Brunner Mine Disaster of 1896, the biggest industrial accident in New Zealand's history. In this story, Thomas has been sent a journal from his grandmother back in England, with the request that he fill it in over the following 12 months and then send it back to her so that she will get to know the grandson she has never met.

Princess of Pushkar: In the Shadow of the Palace by Judith Simpson

Mid-13th century India.
Princess Rani's marriage to a prince from Kashi is imminent, even though she has only lived thirteen rainy seasons. But the princess and her sisters are kidnapped by a rival kingdom before the marriage can take place. With no sign of rescue in sight, Rani takes matters into her own hands, going undercover as a trainee soldier in her captor's army. She must embrace her new identity and leave her high-handed ways behind her.
But time is running out.
Will Rani be able to rescue her sisters from an unwanted marriage to a dying prince? Will the princesses ever see their home and family again?

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: On Viney's Mountain by Joan Donaldson

On Viney's Mountain by Joan Donaldson (published by Holiday House, November 15, 2009)

Strangers have come to Viney's mountain, and she is furious! The arrogant invaders are leveling acres of forest in her beloved home in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee to establish a Utopian democratic settlement in 1880, the dream of English writer and labor pioneer Thomas Hughes. Sixteen-year-old Viney Walker is determined to sabotage their plans, but her sister Lizzie is thrilled, convinced that she will find a wealthy husband among the newcomers. Independent and uncompromising, Viney rails against the traditional fate of a mountain woman--marriage, children, unending drudgery--and prefers to focus on her true love and extraordinary talent--weaving. But Viney hasn't reckoned on Charlie Breckenridge, a handsome Englishman who takes a fancy to her. When she feigns a relationship with Charlie to put an end to the pressure from her family to find a man, her plot backfires in surprising ways, changing Viney and her mountain forever.

I saw this book in one of the catalogues I picked up at BEA. I love young adult historical fiction and am always on the lookout for more, and this looks like it will be a good addition to the genre.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Contest: Win a signed copy of The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley

I am giving away a lovely signed, hardcover copy of The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley, which is being released by HarperCollins on June 30. You can read my review of this book here and view the book trailer at this link.

About The Stolen One:

"No one wanted you. But I did."
Kat's true identity is a secret, even from her. All she has ever known are Grace and Anna and their small village. Kat wants more—more than hours spent embroidering finery for wealthy ladies and more than Christian, the gentle young farmer courting her.
But there are wolves outside, Grace warns. Waiting, with their eyes glowing in the dark . . . and Grace has given Kat safety and a home when no one else would.
Then a stranger appears in their cottage, bringing the mystery of Kat's birth with her. In one night, Kat's destiny finds her: She will leave. She will journey to London, and her skill with the needle will attract the notice of the magnificent Queen Elizabeth—and of the wolves of the court. She will discover what Grace would never tell her.
Everything will unravel.

Contest will run for two weeks, through July 6. 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!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In My Mailbox - 6/20/09

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

This week I got a few books that I think look really great.

Troubadour by Mary Hoffman

A story of persecution and poetry, love and war set in 13th century Southern France. As crusaders sweep through the country, destroying all those who do not follow their religion, Bertrand risks his life to warn others of the invasion. As a troubadour, Bertrand can travel without suspicion from castle to castle, passing word about the coming danger. In the meantime Elinor, a young noblewoman, in love with Bertrand, leaves her comfortable home and family and becomes a troubadour herself. Danger encircles them both, as the rising tide of bloodshed threatens the fabric of the society in which they live.

Give up the Ghost by Megan Crewe

Cass McKenna much prefers the company of ghosts over “breathers.” Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody… and Cass loves dirt. She’s on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.
But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass’s whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.
As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim’s life, she’s surprised to realize he’s not so bad–and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it’s time to give the living another chance…

The Keepers' Daughter by Gill Arbuthnott

Ten years ago, Alaric, leader of the Shadowmen, killed many of the Keepers - the teachers and bearers of ancient knowledge threatening his barbaric rule.
Now rebellion is flaring up in the Archipelago again and the Shadowmen are out hunting for Keepers. Fourteen-year-old, Nyssa, and her uncle, Marius, descendants of the Keepers, must flee, but there is a greater reason that Nyssa is in danger: on her skull is one half of a strange tattoo, three lines of writing in a strange unintelligible script, the Legend of the Keepers.
Her search for the other half of the script begins, leading her down a dangerous path from which she may never return.

The Everafter by Amy Huntley

Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this--she is dead. And alone, in a vast, dark space. The only company she has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that with these artifacts, she can re-experience--and sometimes even change--moments from her life.
Her first kiss.
A trip to Disney World.
Her sister's wedding.
A disastrous sleepover.
In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and sometimes frightening truths about her life--and death.

The Roman Mysteries: The Man from Pomegranate Street by Caroline Lawrence

September AD 81. Returning from Ephesus to Rome, Flavia and her friends learn of the mysterious and sudden death of the Emperor Titus. Was his death natural? Or was it murder? As the four detectives investigate this mystery, they little dream how much their lives - as well as the future of Italia - will be changed as a result. At last, many of the questions Roman Mysteries fans have been burning to have answered are revealed in the final book of the series.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Book review: The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley

The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley (published by HarperCollins, June 30, 2009)

For as long as she can remember, sixteen-year-old Katherine Bab has lived in the English countryside with her adoptive mother, Grace, and Grace's daughter, Anna. Kat has always longed to know the identities of her birth parents, but Grace has always refused to tell her who they are, or give her any more information than frequent comments about how she inherited the worst qualities of her parents. And despite the love of a young farmer named Christian, who is the son of her adoptive mother's brother, Kat longs for something more than marriage to a farmer, though she does have feelings for him. When Grace dies, refusing even on her deathbed to reveal the secret, Kat decides she and Anna will travel to London in search of the answer to the mystery of her past.

But London is not what Kat expected - it is a busy, dirty, noisy place. Shy Anna, who is deaf, longs to return to the country. When Kat and Anna are taken in by a noblewoman, Kat's talent with embroidery and stitching gets her invited to the court of Queen Elizabeth, to make dresses for the queen and instruct the Queen's ladies. At court, Kat draws the attention of two handsome young gentlemen, but she cannot forget Christian, no matter how hard she tries. And she is troubled by rumors that she could be related to the Queen, perhaps even be her secret, long-lost daughter. Will she ever discover her true identity? And if she does discover who her parents were, how will she choose between her two worlds?

The Stolen One was one of the best historical novels I've read in a long time. Katherine is a wonderfully developed character - she seemed so real, sometimes I would even become frustrated at her actions! The author did a wonderful job at bringing to life the setting of Elizabethan England, and the very different ways of life in the countryside, the city, and at court. Although this book is written for teen readers, I think adults who love historical fiction will enjoy it is as well - it is a wonderful blend of history, romance, and the classic story of a young woman's search for her identity and where she belongs in the world.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore (Published by Bloomsbury, Feburary 2010)

Nimira is a music-hall performer forced to dance for pennies to an audience of leering drunks. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to do a special act - singing accompaniment to an exquisite piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets stir. Unsettling below-stairs rumours abound about ghosts, a mad woman roaming the halls, and of Parry's involvement in a gang of ruthless sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing young fairy gentleman is trapped inside the automaton's stiff limbs, waiting for someone to break the curse and set him free, the two fall in love. But it is a love set against a dreadful race against time to save the entire fairy realm, which is in mortal peril. [close]

I know the release date for this one is pretty far off, but I fell in love with the cover, and the story sounds really unique and interesting for a YA fantasy.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

In My Mailbox - 6/13/09

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

My new books for the week:

Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George

With the Dragon Wars over, Creel finds herself bored with life as a seamstress. Then word comes that a bordering country has been breeding dragons in preparation for an invasion. Never one to miss out on the action, Creel throws herself headlong into an adventure that will reunite her with Shardas, the king of the dragons, pit her against a vicious new dragon, and perhaps rekindle a friendship with Prince Luka. Funny, heart-felt, and action packed, new readers and returning fans alike will dive headlong into this exhilarating follow up to Dragon Slippers.

Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

To impress the popular girls on a high school trip to London, klutzy Callie buys real Prada heels. But trying them on, she trips...conks her head...and wakes up in the year 1815!
There Callie meets Emily, who takes her in, mistaking her for a long-lost friend. As she spends time with Emily's family, Callie warms to them—particularly to Emily's cousin Alex, a hottie and a duke, if a tad arrogant.
But can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, and win Alex's heart, before her time in the past is up?

Sisters of the Sword: Journey Through Fire by Maya Snow

Ever since their father's murder, Kimi and Hana have honed their fighting skills and prepared for vengeance against their vicious uncle Hidehira. They have become true warriors with the hearts of samurai.
Now their fight has become more than just a personal vendetta. As Hidehira's quest for power continues, he is destroying the province and is poised to invade the rest of the kingdom. After both girls are nearly killed in a fire while fighting their uncle's soldiers, their mother insists on attempting to enlist the support of the Shogun.
But at the Shogun's court, the sisters are torn apart by their differences, especially when they rediscover an old friend with a shrouded past. Danger lurks in the most elegant circumstances—behind the smiling face of an aristocrat as well as behind the mask of a ninja—and true peril awaits the sisters where they least expect it. . .

Witch and Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

The world is changing: the government has seized control of every aspect of society, and now, kids are disappearing. For 15-year-old Wisty and her older brother Whit, life turns upside down when they are torn from their parents one night and slammed into a secret prison for no reason they can comprehend. The New Order, as it is known, is clearly trying to suppress Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Being a Normal Teenager. But while trapped in this totalitarian nightmare, Wisty and Whit discover they have incredible powers they'd never dreamed of. Can this newly minted witch and wizard master their skills in time to save themselves, their parents--and maybe the world?

A Dream to Call My Own by Tracie Peterson

Lacy Gallatin, the youngest of the Gallatin sisters, is a woman with a mission: to find her father's killer. Haunted by the belief that she's failed him, Lacy is also battling a desire to have something more than just revenge, something she can't quite figure out.
Enter Dave Shepard, deputy sheriff for the area. Dave has been fervently trying to find the man who killed George Gallatin, but he always feels inadequate when it comes to the beautiful Lacy. When they are together, the tension crackles between them--both when they argue and when they kiss. Lacy finds him frustratingly irresistible...but is it truly love?

Fortune's Fool by Kathleen Karr

Orphaned and left to make his own way in the world, Conrad the Good serves as court jester to a most unworthy master: Lord Otto “the Witless,” who rarely appreciates jesting and acrobatics and more often rewards his good fool with a good whipping. So one night, Conrad flees, leaving Otto’s realm in search of a more enlightened master—taking with him only his noble horse, Blackspur, and his beloved, the servant girl Christa the Fair.
As they take to the road, they soon learn that along with their quest comes hardship. But with Christa disguised as a boy, they are able to make their way as traveling entertainers, and for all the difficulties they encounter, there are as many unexpected joys and friends in unexpected places, and there is their love for one another. And always, their destination lies before them: somewhere, a sanctuary where they’ll have the freedom to be together and be themselves.

Love Thine Enemy by Louise M. Gouge

The tropics of colonial Florida are far removed from America's Revolution. Still, Rachel Folger's loyalties remain with Boston's patriots. Handsome plantation owner Frederick Moberly's faithfulness to the Crown is as certain as his admiration for Rachel—but for the sake of harmony, he'll keep his sympathies hidden. After all, the war is too far distant to truly touch them…isn't it?
A betrayal of Rachel's trust divides the pair, leaving Frederick to question the true meaning of faith in God and in country. Inspired by Rachel to see life, liberty and love through His eyes, Frederick must harness his faith and courage to claim the woman he loves before war tears them apart.

Scatterheart by Lili Wilkinson

It's 1814 and Hannah Cheshire leads a privileged life in London, with fine clothes, servants and a handsome tutor. Then one day her father disappears and she is left to fend for herself. Not equipped for the real world she ends up penniless, and sentenced to transportation to the colonies for a crime she didn t commit...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner

Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner (published by Random House, September 22, 2009)

Nefertiti was far more than just a pretty face.
Nefertiti may be the dutiful daughter of a commoner, but her inquisitive mind often gets her into situations that are far from ordinary, like receiving secret lessons from a scribe. And she’s the kind of girl who acts first, and apologizes later whenever she witnesses injustice or cruelty. But she is also extraordinarily beautiful. And news of her striking beauty and impulsive behavior attracts the attention of her aunt, the manipulative Queen Tiye, who sees Nefertiti as an ideal pawn in her desire for power. Even though Nefertiti is taken from her beloved family and forced into a life filled with courtly intrigue and danger, her spirit and mind will not rest. She continues to challenge herself and the boundaries of ancient Egyptian society.
Esther Friesner offers readers another fresh new look at an iconic figure—blending historical fiction and mythology in a thrilling concoction.

This sounds like it will be a fascinating book! I love historical fiction about royalty and Ancient Egypt is a really fascinating setting. And I love the cover as well, very exotic and interesting looking.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Interview with Jacqueline Kolosov

I am pleased to present my second interview on this blog. This time I am interviewing Jacqueline Kolosov, author of A Sweet Disorder which was released in hardcover today (you can read my review of it here) and The Red Queen's Daughter, which was recently released in paperback. I will be having a contest for these books on my blog in the near future, so be sure to check my blog in the coming days if you are interested in winning them.

Both A Sweet Disorder and your previous novel, The Red Queen's Daughter , are set in Elizabethan England. What drew you to this setting, and to writing for young adults in general?

I have been passionate about Elizabethan England since I read Shakespeare’s “Winter’s Tale” in college. I fell in love with Shakespeare’s language and the magic of the writing—I brought some of that magic (or tried to) to The Red Queen’s Daughter. What’s extraordinary about the Elizabethans is first and foremost their queen. Elizabeth was an amazing, complex woman, and she made an abiding mark on England. The fact that she was Henry VIII’s daughter is just too perfect and perhaps too poignant since Henry VIII believed he needed a son to secure his dynasty—little did he know how powerful Anne Boleyn’s daughter (Elizabeth’s mother) would become. Even today, it’s rare to find a woman with that kind of authority. And perhaps that’s part of the reason I wrote about Mary Seymour and Miranda Molyneux. The tension there. And the contradiction. Despite the fact Elizabeth was on the throne, most women—even extremely well born women—had very little control over their lives. When Miranda’s father dies, her mother loses custody of her daughter, which is why Miranda is sent to live with the distant Puritan relatives. This isn’t just fiction. This sort of thing really happened—and often.
My, this is becoming a long answer. I was also drawn to the period because it’s remote enough in time to allow me a great deal of imaginative freedom. Yes, I know what people wore and how they heated their homes and swaddled their children, etc. I know they didn’t have indoor plumbing. But I’ve never experienced that sort of life first hand—writing about it enabled me to do so. And let’s face it: there’s a lot of romance (in the sense of adventure) and mystery in the period, not to mention very high stakes. After all, a person could lose her head for an action that might just land her in the tabloids today.
Why do I write for young adults? Because the novels I read as a teen—among them everything by Judy Blume as well as J.D. Salinger—made an impression on me that abides today. I needed books then. I need them now, perhaps just as much, but as a teen I needed really good stories to open up the landscape of the present and the future so that I could see just how much was possible. And then, teens are loyal, marvelous readers. I love hearing from readers—I love the way people often write and share a bit of their lives. Making those kinds of connections is enormously satisfying.

The world of Elizabeth England really comes alive - the clothing, food, customs, locations, etc. What kind of research did you do in order to bring this setting to life?

Thank you. I felt I was living in the period as I wrote. I began a lot of research with books. In A Sweet Disorder, I found an amazing resource called The Queen’s Wardrobe Unlock’d, a thick tomb filled with descriptions and images of Elizabeth’s wardrobe, along with information on sewing, haberdashery, the care of gowns, etc. Other marvelous books included cookbooks, healthcare manuals, and other original sources such as diaries, poems, and other texts. So, books. Without books, I don’t know what I would have done. And then the internet is a terrific resource, as the world and history are literally at one’s fingertips. But books and other forms of textual research can seem boggy or unnatural if they aren’t integrated into the narrative. So, the next part of my research involved living with the material. Once I read that the maidens at Elizabeth’s Court only wore dark colors, for example, I tried to imagine what that would be like—to never wear pink or red or chartreuse. As for visiting England, I’d love to say I spent a year living in a Tudor home, but alas, that hasn’t happened yet. I’ve been to London, but to access the feel of the period, my guides remain the poets and the playwrights of the day.
Perhaps I’ll just add one specific example. As you know, Miranda has to spend a lot of time with the Countess, a Puritan woman hostile to gorgeous clothes, literature, music, art, good food, the works… Well, it’s all fine and well to include a villain like the Countess, for the time Miranda spends at Turbury truly “tests” her mettle. But I had to make that time—the narrative time, I mean—interesting. And I didn’t want to make it cliché. I didn’t want a story focused on gruel and forms of penance. So I had to do some research into the Puritans of the time, research that would complicate an “easy” picture of the Countess. What I found was the life (relayed second-hand by the author’s husband) of a woman who died in childbirth. This was a gold mine for me, as I immediately admired the writer, a well-educated woman who DID work with small children and WAS married to a much older man whose education (and perhaps his own intellect) did not match her own. I wound up including her story—in diary form with a healthy dose of fiction. It is her story, you remember, that Miranda reads at the Countess’s request. Miranda, who loves tales of knights and ladies, is initially reluctant to read. But she’s bored, too, so she gives in only to discover—as I did—how much power there is in this diary.

The Red Queen's Daughter imagines what life might have been like for Mary Seymour, a real person who disappeared from written history. Were Miranda or any of the other characters in A Sweet Disorder based on real people, or are they completely from your imagination?

Miranda IS based on a real person, though this woman didn’t exactly disappear from history. After writing Mary Seymour’s story, I read Sylvia Freeman’s biography of Penelope Devereux, the real person on whom Miranda is loosely based. What captivated me about Penelope was her spirit. Like Miranda, she finds herself “forced” to marry a detestable suitor, a man who was quite possibly worse than my own Lord Seagrave. Penelope was betrothed to the Rich Lord Rich, and she protested the match all the way to the altar. Unfortunately, she lost the battle there. In Writing Miranda’s story, I was focused on a version in which the bride got away thanks to her wits and her talents. So both Miranda and Lord Seagrave have historical predecessors, as does Henry Raleigh. He was modeled on Sir Philip Sidney, the man Penelope would have married (and later she had a love affair with him). Sidney wrote a famous sonnet sequence called Astrophil and Stella in her honor. As for the others, with the exception of Elizabeth, they are the creatures of my imagination, though there are hints of a few of my friends in characters like the Duchess of Dewberry and Beatrice…

What do you hope readers will learn from your books?

Oh, that’s a tough question. I suppose, in these two novels, I’d like readers to feel empowered by the narratives and the characters. Despite the challenges Miranda and Mary face, they aren’t defeated. They don’t give up. And they don’t lose their sense of humor—something I’d do well to remember. Too, I’d like readers to be carried away by the stories so that their sense of reality—of what it means to be alive—is expanded. To me, that’s what the best writing does.

Do you have any future novels you would like to talk about?

Well, I’m currently working on a contemporary novel set in Paris, a city I have spent a great deal of time wandering around in. The novel does delve into history, to some extent, as it revisits the lives of Amedeo Modigliani and his lover/muse, Jeanne Hébuterne. Modigliani was an artist who came to Paris around 1911. I have loved his work all my life. He painted portraits. Human beings. And he painted them with great compassion. His own life—and Jeanne’s—ended tragically. The main character, Julie, is an American in Paris. She’s an artist, and she’s working as a nanny. She finds herself involved in the Modigliani mystery and her whole sense of what art is—of what it means to be an artist—is sort of exploded. Enough said.

When you aren't writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I have a 2 ½ year old daughter, and I spend as much time with her as I can, which means I’m often at the playground digging in the sand or pushing her on the swings. Or I’m having tea with her bears and dolls… I’m also very restless. Or athletic. It depends on how you put it. This means I run, practice yoga, swim, and walk pretty regularly. I have a corgi, Edward, and he walks with me. I love cooking, especially with spices, and I have a garden. Sometimes, I paint. And I read.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

If any of you reading this interview want to be a writer, I encourage you to read, read, read, and write, write, write. You’ll get there. But it’s like piano. Before you can play Schubert, you need to practice scales and even after you can play Schubert, you keep up the scales. And when you write, never feel so wedded to a character or an event that you cannot imagine letting it go. What I’ve learned is revision means radical editing and re-envisioning at times.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

In My Mailbox - 6/6/09

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

I only got one book this week. I've been sick so I haven't felt like shopping and nothing came in the mail. I went and bought this one at B&N because I got an ARC of the sequel at BEA. I have lots of great books to read from the last couple of weeks, so I'm not upset I just got one new book.

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater

Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand—one who can see faeries. Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy who enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of thin air. Trouble is, the enigmatic and gorgeous Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin. An equally hunky—and equally dangerous—dark faerie soldier named Aodhan is also stalking Deirdre. Sworn enemies, Luke and Aodhan each have a deadly assignment from the Faerie Queen. Namely, kill Deirdre before her music captures the attention of the Fae and threatens the Queen's sovereignty. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is James, her wisecracking but loyal best friend. Deirdre had been wishing her life weren't so dull, but getting trapped in the middle of a centuries-old faerie war isn't exactly what she had in mind . . .

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Book review: Unclaimed Heart by Kim Wilkins

Unclaimed Heart by Kim Wilkins (published by Razorbill, July 9, 2009)

Seventeen-year-old Constance Blackchurch has grown up in England with her aunt and cousin. Her father, captain of a merchant ship, has always been away at sea for months at a time, and Constance feels she barely knows him. Her mother disappeared one night when Constance was a baby, and no one has heard from her since. Then, shortly after returning from his latest sea voyage, Constance’s father receives a letter telling him that his wife was seen in Ceylon years ago, not long after her disappearance. He immediately decides to sail for Ceylon to see if she is still there.

Constance’s father, who still thinks of her as a child, tries to hide the news from her and is upset that she has found out. Frustrated with him, and determined to find her mother, Constance decides to stow away on his ship - quite a daring plan for a young lady of 1799. When her father finds out he is furious, and she expects to spend the rest of the voyage in lonely solitude. Until she meets Alexandre, a young Frenchman not much older than her, who works as a pearl diver near Ceylon and has escaped his cruel and greedy employer. Constance and Alexandre are instantly drawn to each other, but she knows a relationship between them would never be accepted by her father because of their different social classes. As Alexandre helps Constance search for her missing mother once they arrive in Ceylon, they grow even closer. Will they find a way to be together despite the rules of society?

Unclaimed Heart was a very quick and enjoyable read full of romance, adventure, and history. The love story was very sweet, and the setting was unique and exotic. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy romance and historical fiction, and I hope to see more books from this author in the future. And as a side note, I love the cover. It's so pretty!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Gateway by Sharon Shinn

Gateway by Sharon Shinn (published by Viking, October 15, 2009)

As a Chinese adoptee in St. Louis, teenage Daiyu often feels out of place. When an elderly Asian jewelry seller at a street fair shows her a black jade ring—and tells her that “black jade” translates to “Daiyu”—she buys it as a talisman of her heritage. But it’s more than that; it’s magic. It takes Daiyu through a gateway into a version of St. Louis much like 19th century China. Almost immediately she is recruited as a spy, which means hours of training in manners and niceties and sleight of hand. It also means stealing time to be with handsome Kalen, who is in on the plan. There’s only one problem. Once her task is done, she must go back to St. Louis and leave him behind forever. . . .

The story of this book sounds like a really interesting and unique one. And I love, love, love the cover! It's so pretty.
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