Saturday, November 28, 2009

In My Mailbox - 11/28/09

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

Here are the new books I bought or received this week:

Betrayals: A Strange Angels Novel by Lili St. Crow

Poor Dru Anderson. Her parents are long gone, her best friend is a werewolf, and she's just learned that the blood flowing through her veins isn't entirely human. (So what else is new?)
Now Dru is stuck at a secret New England Schola for other teens like her, and there's a big problem— she's the only girl in the place. A school full of cute boys wouldn't be so bad, but Dru's killer instinct says that one of them wants her dead. And with all eyes on her, discovering a traitor within the Order could mean a lot more than social suicide. . .
Can Dru survive long enough to find out who has betrayed her trust—and maybe even her heart?

Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

On Solange’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family.Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life—Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black—in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart.

Possessed by Kate Cann

Rayne can't wait to start her summer job at a remote country mansion, far from the crowded, noisy London she so desperately wants to escape. But the retreat soon turns into a nightmare -- the mansion is creepy, the legends of ghosts keep Rayne up at night, and she doesn't feel safe anywhere.
Can Rayne figure out why she's so freaked -- before she becomes a ghost story herself?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Book review: Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines (Published by Bloomsbury, October 13, 2009)

Eighteen-year-old Lyn is the daughter of a gladiator father and a mother who made marrying gladiators her career, enabling her to provide a comfortable lifestyle for herself, Lyn, and Lyn‘s younger brother Thad, who has special needs. Her birth father, and several stepfathers, were all gladiators who were killed in combat. Lyn dislikes the gladiator world, and unlike her mother, would like to leave that world, and make a home for herself and Thad away from all the violence and media attention.

When Lyn’s current stepfather is killed in combat, Lyn must make a terrible decision. Her mother will not be allowed to marry an eighth time, which means her family will lose the financial support of the Gladiator Sports Association, support that is especially needed to care for Thad. However, to help her family, Lyn could marry the man who killed her stepfather - or face him in a fight to the death.

Girl in the Arena is set in an alternate version of present day Massachusetts, a world that is much like our own except for the gladiators, of course. If you can accept the concept of gladiators in the modern United States, the book is a compelling story that raises some disturbing questions about the acceptance of violence as a form of entertainment. Lyn is a sympathetic character as she is torn between her disdain of the gladiator lifestyle and her obligation to care for her young brother. I expected more of an action book and while there is some action this book is more of a social commentary. This is the first book by author Lise Haines, and I definitely think she shows a lot of promise. I will be keeping an eye out for future books by her.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Everlasting by Angie Frazier

Everlasting by Angie Frazier (Published by Scholastic, June 1, 2010)

Sailing aboard her father's ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a lady in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: marry a man she doesn't love in order to preseve her social standing. On her last voyage before the wedding, Camille learns the mother she has always believed dead is in fact alive and in Australia. When their Sydney-bound ship goes down in a gale, and her father dies, Camille sets out to find her mother and a map in her possession - a map believed to lead to a stone that once belonged to the legendary civilization.

Everlasting is a book I've been dying to read since I first heard about it months ago. I love historical fiction, especially historical fiction with romance and adventure mixed in. I really really really want to read it and I'm excited to finally see the cover. I'm a bit embarassed to be SQUEE-ing this much but it really does sound amazing! I think it is the 2010 new release I want to read the most right now.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book review: Leigh Ann's Civil War by Ann Rinaldi

Leigh Ann's Civil War by Ann Rinaldi (Published by Harcourt Books, September 28, 2009)

Leigh Ann Conners was eleven years old in the spring of 1861, when the Civil War began. Living in Georgia where her family operated a cotton mill, Leigh Ann had an unusual family life. Her father was unwell and her mother had left the family, leaving her to mainly be raised by her older brothers. This led to the headstrong young girl often having conflicts with her strict older brothers. The war changes everything, however, as over the next three years Leigh Ann must cope with her brothers fighting in a war that is increasingly creeping closer to home.

Three years later, in 1864, the Union Army led by General Sherman arrives in Georgia. Because the family uses the mill to produce cloth for the Confederate army, they are considered enemies of the Union. Leigh Ann's attempts to help only cause further disaster. The mill is burned, and Leigh Ann, her sister, and the other female mill workers are captured and sent north. Because the family uses the mill to produce cloth for the Confederate army, they are considered enemies by the Union army when it arrives in Georgia in 1864. Leigh Ann's attempts to help only cause further disaster. The mill is burned, and Leigh Ann, her sister, and the other female mill workers are captured and sent north. These events force Leigh Ann to grow up and mature as she faces danger and hardship.

Leigh Ann’s Civil War was overall an enjoyable historical fiction read. Ann Rinaldi, as she always does in her historical novels, has taken an event from history and brought it to life. The novel is based on the true story of the female mill workers captured by the Union army, a little-known event from the Civil War that I hadn't known about before reading this book. There were a couple of things I found a bit problematic, however - Leigh Ann’s dysfunctional family history was a bit of a distraction at time from the main story of her experiences during the war, and there were some magical elements thrown in that didn’t really make a lot of sense. While it was not my favorite book by Ann Rinaldi, I would still recommend Leigh Ann’s Civil War to young adult readers who enjoyed other books by Ann Rinaldi or who like historical fiction set during the Civil War.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In My Mailbox - 11/21/09

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

Here are the new books I bought or received this week. A number of these are books I have been really looking forward to so I am pretty excited.

Hourglass by Claudia Gray

Bestselling author Claudia Gray’s Evernight series continues. In Hourglass, Bianca and Lucas have found a way to be together. But it means lying to the people who care about them the most.
After escaping from Evernight Academy, the vampire boarding school, Bianca and Lucas seek refuge with Black Cross, the elite group of vampire hunters led by Lucas’s stepfather. When Bianca’s close friend—the vampire Balthazar—is captured by Black Cross, Bianca knows she has to do whatever it takes to save him. But at what cost?

Borderline by Allan Stratton

Life’s not easy for fifteen-year-old Sami Sabiri, especially as the only Muslim kid at his private school. And when Sami catches his father in a lie, everything he’s ever known comes into question. The FBI raids his home and suddenly his family is at the center of an international terrorist investigation. Sami must fight to keep his world from unraveling.

The Rose Legacy by Kristen Heitzmann

Fleeing her idyllic home in Sonoma, California, Carina Maria DiGratia journeys to the mining town of Crystal, Colorado. Clinging to hopes of a new life, she finds reality has a harsh welcome for her. Overrun with men seeking their fortune and women bound by circumstance, the town hosts both dreams and nightmares, with little surety for tomorrow. But at least here Carina is far from the betrayal that still pierces her heart.
Early on, two men vie for her trust, but neither is what he seems. Will Carina discern the truth and confront the turmoil hidden in her own heart in time to prevent tragedy?

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

When Wayland North brings rain to a region that's been dry for over ten years, he's promised anything he'd like as a reward. He chooses the village elder's daughter, sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, who is a skilled weaver and has an unusual knack for repairing his magical cloaks. Though Sydelle has dreamt of escaping her home, she's hurt that her parents relinquish her so freely and finds herself awed and afraid of the slightly ragtag wizard who is unlike any of the men of magic in the tales she's heard. Still, she is drawn to this mysterious man who is fiercely protective of her and so reluctant to share his own past.
The pair rushes toward the capital, intent to stop an imminent war, pursued by Reuel Dorwan (a dark wizard who has taken a keen interest in Sydelle) and plagued by unusually wild weather. But the sudden earthquakes and freak snowstorms may not be a coincidence. As Sydelle discovers North's dark secret and the reason for his interest in her and learns to master her own mysterious power, it becomes increasingly clear that the fate of the kingdom rests in her fingertips. She will either be a savior, weaving together the frayed bonds between Saldorra and Auster, or the disastrous force that destroys both kingdoms forever.

The Bad Queen by Carolyn Meyer

History paints her as a shallow party girl, a spoiled fashionista, a callous ruler. Perhaps no other royal has been so maligned--and so misunderstood--as Marie-Antoinette.
From the moment she was betrothed to the dauphin of France at age fourteen, perfection was demanded of Marie-Antoinette. She tried to please everyone--courtiers, her young husband, the king, the French people--but often fell short of their expectations. Desperate for affection and subjected to constant scrutiny, this spirited young woman can't help but want to let loose with elaborate parties, scandalous fashions, and unimaginable luxuries. But as Marie-Antoinette's lifestyle gets ever more recklessly extravagant, the peasants of France are suffering from increasing poverty--and becoming outraged. They want to make the queen pay.
In this latest installment of her acclaimed Young Royals series, Carolyn Meyer reveals the dizzying rise and horrific downfall of the last Queen of France.

The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Bet is sixteen, very intelligent, but only knows as much as her limited education will allow. In Victorian England, girls aren't allowed to go to school.
Will is also 16, and though not related by blood, he and Bet act like brother and sister. In fact, they even look like brother and sister. And though they're both raised under the same roof, by the same kind uncle, Will has one big advantage over Bet: He's a boy, and being a boy means he isn't stuck in the grand house they call home. He gets to go out into the world--to school.
But that's not what Will wishes. He wants to join the military and learn about real life, not what's written in books.
So one night, Bet comes up with a plan. She'll go to school as Will. Will can join the military. And though it seems impossible, they actually manage to pull it off.
But once Bet gets to the school, she begins to realize the education she's going to get isn't exactly the one she was expecting.

The Sheriff's Surrender by Susan Page Davis

Gert Dooley can shoot the tail feathers off a jay at a hundred yards, but she wants Ethan Chapman to see she's more than a crack shot with a firearm. When the sheriff of Fergus, Idaho, is murdered and Ethan is named his replacement, Gert decides she has to do whatever she can to help him protect the citizenry. So she starts the Ladies Shooting Club. But when one of their numbers is murdered, these ladies are called on for more than target shooting and praying. Can Gert and the ladies of Fergus find the murderer before he strikes again?

Snow Queen by Emma Harrison

A Florida tomboy through and through, Aubrey’s beyond excited to be joining her best friend, Christie, for winter break at the Vermont inn Christie’s family owns. But Aubrey gets more than she bargained for when Christie signs her up for the local beauty pageant, which luckily comes complete with its own Prince Charming. Too bad charm doesn’t run in his family—his manipulative sister is determined to sabotage all of Aubrey’s plans. The road to Snow Queen-dom isn’t smooth for our heroine but it is hilarious, and teen girls will love following Aubrey on the journey to her happy ending.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Book review: Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards

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

It is the summer of 1888 when Celestia Whitcomb first meets Peter, who works at the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club in Pennsylvania. Celestia, her older sister Estrella, and their parents are spending their summer on vacation at the club along with many other wealthy members of society. Celestia and Peter become close friends, and their friendship turns to love. It is a romance that if discovered could lead to Celestia becoming an outcast from proper society. Events abruptly separate them, but they secretly keep their love alive and hope to reunited.

At the start of the following summer, Celestia and her father return to the club. Celestia's father wants her to marry a man she can never love, and she is desperate to escape. She decides to go to Johnstown, where Peter lives. At the same time, Kate, a young nursing school graduate, is traveling to her new job, while Maura, a young wife and mother whose husband is a railroad engineer, cares for her young children in their home nearby. None are aware of the disaster and tragedy they will soon witness when the poorly maintained dam at the club breaks, unleashing a flood upon Johnstown.

Three Rivers Rising is a very quick and enjoyable read that I could not put down. It is written in verse, and I haven’t read many novels written in this format, but it worked well for the story. I liked how the multiple narrators were included to show different perspectives on the events, although my favorite story was that of Celestia and Peter. Their love for each other was very sweet. And as a fan of historical fiction I loved the interesting historical setting of the story. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys young adult novels with a mix of romance, history, and adventure.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill

Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials by Stephanie Hemphill (Published by HarperCollins, June 29, 2010)

Wicked Girls is a fictionalized account of the Salem witch trials based on the real historical characters, told from the perspective of three young women living in Salem in 1692—Mercy Lewis, Margaret Walcott, and Ann Putnam Jr.
When Ann’s father suggests that a spate of illnesses within the village is the result of witchcraft, Ann sees an opportunity and starts manifesting the symptoms of affliction. Ann looks up to Mercy, the beautiful servant in her parents' house. She shows Mercy the power that a young girl is capable of in a time when women were completely powerless. Mercy, who suffered abuse at the hands of past masters, seizes her only chance at safety. And Ann’s cousin Margaret, anxious to win the attention of a boy in her sights, follows suit. As the accusations mount against men and women in the community, the girls start to see the deadly ramifications of their actions. Should they finally tell the truth? Or is it too late to save this small New England town?

I love historical fiction, and the American Colonial era is one of my favorite settings. Plus I enjoyed some other books set during the Salem Witch Trials that I enjoyed - A Break With Charity by Ann Rinaldi, Time of the Witches by Anna Myers, and Dear America: I Walk in Dread. So I think I will enjoy this book as well.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

In My Mailbox - 11/14/09

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

Here are the new books I bought or received this week:

Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards

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

A Measure of Mercy by Lauraine Snelling

Eighteen-year-old Astrid Bjorklund has always dreamed of becoming a doctor. She had intended to study medicine in Chicago or Grand Forks, but when a disaster wiped out a major portion of her family's income, Astrid stayed home instead, receiving hands-on training from Dr. Elizabeth. Joshua Landsverk left Blessing two years ago, but he's never forgotten Astrid. Returning to town, he seeks to court her. Astrid is attracted to him, and when the opportunity unexpectedly opens for her to go to Chicago for medical training, she finds it difficult to leave. Love blossoms through their letters, but upon arriving back home, she makes a heartbreaking discovery. Will she have to give up love to pursue her dream?

Duplikate by Cherry Cheva

By the time Kate Larson accidentally fell asleep at three a.m., she'd already done more work in one night than the average high school senior does in a week. Getting into Yale has been her dream for years—and being generally overworked and totally under-rested is the price of admission. But when she opens her eyes the next day, she comes face-to-face with, well, her face—which is attached to her body, which is standing across the room. Wait, what?
Meet Kate's computer-generated twin. Kate doesn't know why she's here or how to put her back where she belongs, but she's real. And she's the last thing Kate has time to deal with right now. Unless . . .
Could having a double be the answer to Kate's prayers? After all, two Kates can do more work than one. Or will keeping her twin a secret turn her dream future into a living nightmare?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz

Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz (Published by Revell, July 1, 2010)

Morrow Little is haunted by the memory of the day her family was torn apart by raiding Shawnee warriors. Now that she is nearly a grown woman and her father is ailing, she must make difficult choices about the future. Several men--ranging from the undesired to the unthinkable--vie for her attentions, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to a forbidden love that both terrifies and intrigues her. Can she betray the memory of her lost loved ones--and garner suspicion from her friends--by pursuing a life with him? Or should she seal her own misery by marrying a man she doesn't love? This sweeping tale of romance and forgiveness will envelop readers as it takes them from a Kentucky fort through the vast wilderness to the west in search of true love.

I love historical romances set in the Colonial era so this sounds like it will be a fantastic book, looking forward to reading it! And I love the cover, it is so pretty and one of my favorite covers for an upcoming book.

Friday, November 6, 2009

In My Mailbox - 11/7/09

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

Last week I got nothing and this week I only got one book which I won from a giveaway on LibraryThing. I guess it's kind of a not very active time of year for new books to be published? Cause lately I just haven't seen many new books I want to buy in bookstores.

Emmy's Equal by Marcia Gruver

Emmy Dane doesn’t want to give up her petticoats and frills for boots and spurs when her family decides to take up ranching in South Texas. Diego Marcelo’s mother tells him God will soon deliver him from his loneliness—but he assures her he has no need of deliverance . . .that is, until Emmy disrupts the entire way of life at the ranch. Can Diego put his jealousy aside before time runs out? And will Emmy admit she’s found her match in the stubborn foreman?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: No Moon by Irene N. Watts

No Moon by Irene N. Watts (Published by Tundra Books, April 13, 2010)

Louisa Gardener is the fourteen-year-old nursemaid to the young daughters of a wealthy, titled family living in London, England, in 1912.
Despite the bullying Nanny Mackintosh, for whom she is an extra pair of hands, she loves her work and her young charges. Then everything changes. The family decides to sail to New York aboard the Titanic. An accident to the children's nanny, only days prior to the sailing, means that Louisa must go in her stead. She cannot refuse, although she dreads even the mention of the ocean. Memories she has suppressed, except in nightmares, come crowding back.
When Louisa was five and her sister seven years old, their two-year-old brother died on an outing to the seaside. Since that time, Louisa has had a fear of the ocean. She blames herself for the accident, though she has been told it wasn't her fault.
If Louisa refuses to go on the voyage, she will be dismissed, and she will never get beyond the working-class life she has escaped from.
How Louisa learns self-reliance, overcomes her fears, and goes beyond what is expected of a girl makes No Moon an unforgettable story.

I enjoyed a couple other books I read by this author, and I usually like historical fiction about the Titanic, so I am looking forward to this book. It sounds a bit like the Dear America book about the Titanic which I read and enjoyed years ago, which was also about a working-class girl who travelled in first class on the Titanic as a servant to a wealthy family.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

In My Empty Mailbox

For those wondering, there will be no IMM from me this week because I didn't get any books for review, nothing I ordered arrived in the mail (yay slow post office), and I didn't see anything to buy at the bookstore.

Oh well, better luck next week I suppose.
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