Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein (Published by Bloomsbury, October 2010)

The greatest unsolved mystery of American history--what happened to all the colonists who landed on Roanoke Island in 1587? This novel traces the fortunes and misfortunes of one Cate Archer, banished to Virginia by a jealous Queen Elizabeth because of her dalliance with Sir Walter Ralegh. What will be her fate in this dangerous New World?

I have always been fascinated by the story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke and what may have happened there. And I have loved all the books I have read so far by Lisa Klein. So I am really looking forward to this book, and it is one of the fall releases I want to read the most. Also I love the cover, it is really pretty, love the girl's dress and the background.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

In My Mailbox - 3/27/10

Credit goes to The Story Siren for creating and hosting the In My Mailbox feature. Here are my new books for this week. I originally hadn't gotten anything at all and wasn't going to post this week but then I got some mail today!


Wish by Alexandra Bullen

For broken-hearted Olivia Larsen, nothing can change the fact that her twin sister, Violet, is gone... until a mysterious, beautiful gown arrives on her doorstep. The dress doesn't just look magical; it is magical. It has the power to grant her one wish, and the only thing Olivia wants is her sister back.
With Violet again by her side, both girls get a second chance at life. And as the sisters soon discover, they have two more dresses-and two more wishes left. But magic can't solve everything, and Olivia is forced to confront her ghosts to learn how to laugh, love, and live again.
In a breathtaking debut from Alexandra Bullen, WISH asks the question: If you could have anything, what would you wish for?


American Girl: Missing Grace: A Kit Mystery by Elizabeth McDavid Jones

Kit writes a newspaper story about how her dog, Grace, saved her family and their boarders from a house fire. Grace becomes a local celebrity, and all the attention is a lot of fun for Kit, until the night Grace mysteriously vanishes. Who would take her beloved dog?

American Girl: Puzzle of the Paper Daughter: A Julie Mystery by Kathryn Reiss

When Julie discovers a mysterious note written in Chinese, she brings it to her friend Ivy to translate. The note promises great treasure, but it doesn't quite make sense—and Julie suspects it may be written in a secret code. Soon after, the girls' beloved dolls are stolen, and Julie can't shake the feeling that there's a connection between the stolen dolls and the mysterious note. Will Julie and Ivy find the treasure? And will they ever get their dolls back?

The Cowboy's Baby by Linda Ford

When he left two years before, Colby Bloxham was running from his past, and his pain. Now he's ready to face his responsibilities…and make some long-overdue amends to his baby daughter and the woman who took her in—Colby's former sweetheart, Anna Caldwell.
Anna is tired of trusting Colby—he's let her down too many times. And this time she's not about to let him hurt little Dorrie, too. He claims he's found faith, given up his reckless ways and wants to be a real father to his child. But does Anna have enough faith in his reformation to forgive…and risk her heart once more?

To Be a Mother by Cheryl St. John and Ruth Axtell Morren

Mountain Rose by Cheryl St.John: Teacher Olivia Rose knows what it's like to grow up alone and unwanted. But convincing reserved rancher Jules Parrish he can give his orphaned niece a real home won't be easy—unless Olivia seizes the chance of love and motherhood she never expected….
A Family of Her Own by Ruth Axtell Morren: War and tragedy destroyed Rianna Bruce's chance at happily ever after…or did it? Reuniting with her first love, Noah Samuels, proves that her feelings haven't gone away. In helping his young daughter, can Rianna show the disillusioned Noah the blessing of a second chance?

A couple of release date reminders!

These are both books I reviewed pretty far in advance and I am resposting links to the reviews now that the release dates are very soon.

Shadow by Jenny Moss (Publication date April 1, 2010, though I think it was released a bit early as online bookstores already have it in stock)

Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards (Publication date April 13, 2010)

Friday, March 26, 2010

More on the Fall 2010 Dear America relaunch

I posted a few days ago about the relaunch of the Dear America series which I am super excited about. It looks it it was just announced officially in Publishers Weekly this week as they have an online article:

The article includes some info about the series and pictures of the new covers (the cover in this post is for the first new book, The Fences Between Us by Kirby Larson). As well as some information about the books that will be released in 2011:

Among the six additions to the series scheduled for 2011 is Like the Willow Tree, a new book by Lois Lowry; and Cannons at Dawn, Gregory's sequel to Winter of Red Snow. Also due are reissues by Patricia McKissack, Karen Hesse, and Mary Pope Osborne.

I am so excited about this! It looks like there will be a pretty big marketing campaign, so I hope they decide to feature the series at BEA in May! (because I would be super excited to even just get bookmarks or something, haha, that's how much I loved this series!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper (Published by Bloomsbury UK, June 7, 2010)

Grace Parkes has just had to do a terrible thing. Having given birth to an illegitimate child, she has travelled to the famed Brookwood Cemetery to place her small infant’s body in a rich lady’s coffin. Following the advice of a kindly midwife, this is the only way that Grace can think of to give something at least to the little baby who died at birth, and to avoid the ignominy of a pauper’s grave.
Distraught and weeping, Grace meets two people at the cemetery: Mrs Emmeline Unwin and Mr James Solent. These two characters will have a profound affect upon Grace’s life. But Grace doesn’t know that yet. For now, she has to suppress her grief and get on with the business of living: scraping together enough pennies selling watercress for rent and food; looking after her older sister, who is incapable of caring for herself; thwarting the manipulative and conscience-free Unwin family, who are as capable of running a lucrative funeral business as they are of defrauding a young woman of her fortune.
A stunning evocation of life in Victorian London, with vivid and accurate depictions, ranging from the deprivation that the truly poor suffered to the unthinking luxuries enjoyed by the rich: all bound up with a pacy and thrilling plot, as Grace races to unravel the fraud about to be perpetrated against her and her sister.

I am definitley looking forward to this book very much, I have read and enjoyed most of Mary Hooper's other books. She has a talent for bringing to life the dark and creepy side of history - I loved her books At the Sign of the Sugared Plum and Petals in the Ashes, about the Great Plague and fire in London in 1665-1666.

Note: This book is publihed in the UK, if you live outside the UK and wish to purchase it, it can be pre-ordered from The Book Depository with free worldwide shipping: (I am not affiliated with them in any way other than as a customer, I just think they are awesome!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book review: Chocolate Cake with Hitler by Emma Craigie

Chocolate Cake with Hitler by Emma Craigie (Published by Short Books, January 7, 2010)

During the final days of World War II in April 1945, twelve-year-old Helga Goebbels, daughter of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, is brought to Berlin, along with her younger brother and four younger sisters, to stay with her parents in Hitler’s bunker in Berlin. Having spent much of her childhood sheltered from the horrors of the war, Helga can now see that something is terribly wrong. She is old enough to know that despite attempts to maintain a sense of normalcy for the children, the adults are hiding something terrible from her - the war will soon be over, and Germany has lost.

During the last ten days of her life, Helga looks back on the happier days of her childhood and the memories of good times with family and friends as day by day, things become worse in the bunker. Every day, the adults grow more tense, and more and more people leave in hopes of escaping from the advancing Russian army. Every day, more and more, Helga is faced with the terrible truths that the adults have tried so hard to hide from the children. What Helga doesn’t know, however, is that those she fears - the conquering Russian army - will not be the ones to take her life. Instead, she will lose her life at the hands of the person who should have protected her - her mother.

Chocolate Cake with Hitler is a haunting look at the final days of the life of Helga Goebbels, oldest child of one of the most notorious Nazis, Joseph Goebbels. Helga and her five younger siblings were murdered by their mother shortly before the Russians captured Berlin in early May of 1945. The author conveys the tragedy of a fanaticism so great and evil that a parent would kill her children before allowing them to live in a world in which the Nazis had lost. This is a short but powerful novel of a childhood lost that shows all too clearly that in war, all children are victims.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cover lookalikes

So I was browsing on Amazon, looking for new books, when I came across the cover for Whisper My Name by Jane Eagland and thought it looked *really* familiar, then I realized why, it has almost the exact same cover as a book I have in my reading pile, The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees! Anyone else think these covers look *extremely* similar? Have you noticed any other lookalike covers recently?

Update: A comment mentioned that there is actually a third book cover using this model, but with a different colored dress: The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz- Logsted:

In My Mailbox - 3/20/10

Credit goes to The Story Siren for creating and hosting the In My Mailbox feature. Here are my new books for this week:

For review:

Stargazer by Claudia Gray

Evernight Academy: an exclusive boarding school for the most beautiful, dangerous students of all—vampires. Bianca, born to two vampires, has always been told her destiny is to become one of them.
But Bianca fell in love with Lucas—a vampire hunter sworn to destroy her kind. They were torn apart when his true identity was revealed, forcing him to flee the school.
Although they may be separated, Bianca and Lucas will not give each other up. She will risk anything for the chance to see him again, even if it means coming face-to-face with the vampire hunters of Black Cross—or deceiving the powerful vampires of Evernight. Bianca's secrets will force her to live a life of lies.
Yet Bianca isn't the only one keeping secrets. When Evernight is attacked by an evil force that seems to target her, she discovers the truth she thought she knew is only the beginning. . . .

Others (bought, trades/swaps, etc):

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards

England, 1582 ELLIE – Lady Eleanor Rodriguez of San Jaime – is in possession of a gold-seeking father, a worthless title and a feisty spirit that captivates the elite of the Queen’s court, and none other than the handsome new Earl of Dorset . . . WILLIAM LACEY has inherited his father’s title and his financial ruin. Now the Earl must seek a wealthy heiress and restore his family’s fortune. But Will’s head has been turned by the gorgeous Ellie, yet their union can never be. Will is destined to marry a worthy Lady so the only question is – which one . . . ?

Little Paradise by Gabrielle Wang

As Mirabel watched him, she could not bear the thoughts creeping up on her. JJ was in the Chinese army and his mission in Australia would one day be over. Then she would be just like the others, a girl left behind in the wake of war. 'I'm afraid,' she whispered. 'When the war ends . . . what's going to happen to us?' He put his arm around her and stroked her face. She knew he could not answer that question. But she wanted him to lie, to say that he would take her with him, that they would be together always.
Melbourne, 1943, and Mirabel is seventeen. She's leaving school, designing dresses, falling in love. Then fate intervenes, her forbidden affair is discovered, and JJ is posted back to China where a civil war is raging. Despite all warnings, Mirabel sets off for Shanghai to find him . . .
Little Paradise is inspired by a true story.

Is it Night or Day? by Fern Schumer Chapman

It’s 1938, and twelve-year-old Edith is about to move from the tiny German village she’s lived in all her life to a place that seems as foreign as the moon: Chicago, Illinois. And she will be doing it alone. This dramatic and chilling novel about one girl’s escape from Hitler’s Germany was inspired by the experiences of the author’s mother, one of twelve hundred children rescued by Americans as part of the One Thousand Children project.

Chocolate Cake with Hitler by Emma Craigie

As defeat closes in on the Germans, life in Hitler's bunker becomes increasingly fraught for the children staying there as well as the adults. There's chocolate cake every day for tea with Uncle Fuhrer, but Helga Goebbels cannot help noticing that all is not well among the grown-ups. Her parents grow more and more tense, the bunker grows daily more empty and, as even the soldiers who have been guarding them take their leave, 12-year-old Helga is faced with a terrible truth. Perhaps her perfect childhood has not been all that it seemed...

Dear America series returning in Fall 2010!

Ok, I am so ridiculously excited about this, considering it's a middle grade series, but Dear America was basically my favorite book series ever, and it is because of this series that I still love historical fiction so much. I was soooo sad when it ended. And I was browsing on Amazon looking at new books, and what do I find - a new Dear America book! OMG I am so excited. Here is the info on the new book, which will be published in September 2010!

The Fences Between Us: The Diary of Piper Davis, Seattle, Washington, 1941 by Kirby Larson

Thirteen-year-old Piper Davis records in her diary her experiences beginning in December 1941 when her brother joins the Navy, the United States goes to war, she attempts to document her life through photography, and her father--the pastor for a Japanese Baptist Church in Seattle--follows his congregants to an Idaho internment camp, taking her along with him.

So yeah, I am incredibly excited about this and can't wait to read the new book. I hope it is the first of many!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson (Published by Zondervan, October 1, 2010)

When destiny sleeps, it can only be awakened by true love’s kiss.
In this historical romance loosely based on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, Rose, a woodcutter’s daughter, becomes the town healer’s apprentice. Her job is to help care for the sick and injured in the Southwest tower of Hagenheim Castle. But Rose becomes sick at the sight of blood and is more suited to making up stories than sewing up wounds. She is determined to overcome her weakness and prove herself a competent healer, or face marrying a disgusting old merchant her mother has picked out for her.
Lord Hamlin, oldest son of the duke, destined to be ruler of the region, is injured while the healer is away. Rose must overcome her squeamishness and inexperience to care for his injury. And she must not fall in love in with Lord Hamlin, for he is betrothed to marry a girl who is in hiding and must fulfill his duty to find the evil conjurer, Moncore, and save his betrothed.
But the people of Hagenheim are not always who they seem. When Rose’s life is in danger, Lord Hamlin must choose between duty and destiny, between obligation … and true love.

I love young adult medieval romance and fairy tales so this book sounds perfect for me. And I love the cover, it's so pretty.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Book review: My Story: Highway Girl by Valerie Wildings

My Story: Highway Girl, An English Girl's Diary, 1670 by Valerie Wilding (Published by Scholastic UK, January 5, 2009)

When Susannah Makepeace's mother dies, she and her older brother, Dominic, are left orphaned and homeless in late 17th century England. Dominic decides to travel to the New World of America in hopes of making his fortune, and so Susannah must go to live with her wealthy, distant cousins, the de Gracys, who have a large estate, Gracy Park. Susannah hates having to live off of the charity of relatives she has never before met, and knows it may be a long time before she is reunited with Dominic.

The de Gracys provide Susannah with a comfortable cottage to live in, but she misses her brother and feels terribly lonely. Her cousin Juliana, who is close in age to Susannah, is haughty and unkind, and Susannah's only friends are Bid, the maid provided for her by the de Gracys, and Ned, a young man who was a friend of her brother and who used to work for the Makepeace family. When Susannah learns that her brother has arrived in America but is very ill, she decides she must somehow obtain enough money to travel there and help him, even if the only way is becoming a highwayman and stealing the money.

Highway Girl is written as Susannah's diary, making it a quick and easy read. Overall it was an enjoyable book, though it does have a few flaws. Despite the title, Susannah becoming a highwayman doesn't occur until late in the book, and so it doesn't play a significant role in the plot of the book, which is mostly about her everyday life in Gracy Park. It was also a little unbelievable how quickly Susannah turned to robbery to help her brother, since it seemed a bit out of character for her, and the ending was a bit abrupt and too perfect. However the book was overall a pleasant read. Although this book is not one of my top favorites from the My Story series, fans of the series should enjoy it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

In My Mailbox - 3/13/10

Credit goes to The Story Siren for creating and hosting the In My Mailbox feature. Here are my new books for this week:

For review:

No Moon by Irene N. Watts

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.

Little Vampire Women by Louisa May Alcott and Lynn Messina

The March sisters are back, sweeter and more loving than ever. But they’ve grown up since you last read their tale. That’s right—they live on as vampires. Readers will be agog and aghast at the hilarity of the sisters’ transformation—especially now that they have (much) longer lives and (much) more ravenous appetites.


American Girl: Secrets at Camp Nokomis: A Rebecca Mystery by Jacqueline Dembar Greene

Rebecca loves everything about summer camp, but making friends turns out to be harder than she expected. What secret is her bunkmate hiding—and why? When camp pranks start getting out of hand and a girl goes missing, Rebecca is determined to find out what’s really going on.

Indio by Sherry Garland

Fourteen year old Ipa-tah-chi has survived the Apache raid that killed her grandmother and took her older brother hostage. But when strange, pale warriors ride into her village on magnificent four-legged creatures, Ipa's way of life--like that of those who lived in native Indian villages throughout the southwest United States and Mexico--will be devestated by the disease and war that the Spanish conquistadors usher in during the late 1500s.
Captured by raiding Spaniards and sold into slavery in a silver mine, Ipa finds herself taken under the wing of two padres at the mission, where she is able to practice the herbal remedies her grandmother taught her. Although Ipa is spared the arduous work of the mines, she helplessly watches her younger brother descend into madness after a devastating mine accident. And when her cousin is raped by the mining foreman, Ipa must risk her life to help Xucate escape.
In Indio, Sherry Garland brings a little-known historical era to life, chronicling the virtual extinction of the native indio and the birth of the Mexican race.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Author guest post - Y.S. Lee, author of A Spy in the House

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.

From Y.S. Lee:

Hello! It’s such a pleasure to be back at Rebecca’s Book Blog with the 7th of 8 guest posts I’m making as part of the T2T blog tour. As an ex-professor and writer of historical fiction, my theme is Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Victorians. Yesterday, I talked about the Great Stink of 1858 at the Story Siren. Today’s topic is Victorians and Opium.
What do you think of when you hear the word “opium”? Hookahs? Poppies? Maybe, if you’re an English major, you think of Thomas DeQuincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. Today, I’m here to suggest that you may also want to think about terribly respectable Victorian ladies with their corsets tightly laced and a dose of laudanum to hand. It’s the same thing, in lots of ways.
Let me explain. Opium has a long history of both medical and, shall we say, recreational use. But it was a Jekyll-and-Hyde sort of substance in Victorian England because “opium” still had very un-English connotations. Opium suggested the Far East, opium wars in China, foreign men smoking hookahs. It was also used in bohemian circles – for example by DeQuincey, mentioned above – and amongst other arty types. All in all, it’s about as far from solid, mainstream family fare as you can get.
Laudanum, however, was a liquid tincture of opium widely prescribed by doctors for pains, for anxiety, as a sleeping aid, and other general ailments for which a little light sedative might be helpful. It was unregulated in Victorian England. It was a major ingredient in lots of over-the-counter medicines, and few households were without their little bottle of laudanum. It forms a major plot point in Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, where it’s used to treat both insomnia and chronic pain (with very different results). It was also used as a medicine to soothe fussy or teething babies. In her novel Mary Barton, Victorian author Elizabeth Gaskell notes it was used to dull hunger pangs in the starving babies of the urban poor. In her words, “It was mother’s mercy”.One drug, two faces. It’s an electrifying symbol of Victorian society – and in many ways, of ours, too. We can afford to feel smug and superior about opium. But I’m always haunted by a vision of anthropologists, a hundred years in the future, looking back at us. What do you think they’ll see?

If you think A Spy in the House sounds interesting, be sure to check out the following links!

Enter to win a copy of the book at Y.S. Lee's website:

Visit the other blog stops from the A Spy in the House Traveling to Teens tour:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Published by Bethany House, July 1, 2010)

Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and will soon marry. She dreams of a charming prince, but when her first suitor arrives, he's not what she'd hoped. Prince Aethelbald of mysterious Farthestshore has travelled a great distance to prove his love--and also to bring hushed warnings of danger. A dragon is rumored to be on the hunt and blazing a path of terror.
Una, smitten instead with a more dashing prince, refuses Aethelbald's offer--and ignores his cautions with dire consequences. Soon the Dragon King himself is in Parumvir and Una, in giving her heart away unwisely, finds herself in his sights. Only those courageous enough to risk everything have a hope of fighting off this advancing evil.

I love the classic medieval kingdom type of fantasy novel so this sounds like it will be a good read. And the cover is rather interesting, it is what interested me in the book when I spotted it on Amazon.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

In My Mailbox - 3/6/10

Credit goes to The Story Siren for creating and hosting the In My Mailbox feature. Here are my new books for this week:

For review:

Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart

Could any two sisters be more tightly bound together than the twins, Katherine and Anna? Yet love and fate intervene to tear them apart. Katherine's guilt and sense of betrayal leaves her longing for death, until a surprise encounter and another near catastrophe rescue her from a tragic end. Set against the magical kaleidoscope of the Philadelphia Centennial fair of 1876, National Book Award nominee Beth Kephart's book conjures the sweep and scope of a moment in history in which the glowing future of a nation is on display to the disillusioned gaze of a girl who has determined that she no longer has a future. The tale is a pulse by pulse portrait of a young heroine's crisis of faith and salvation in the face of unbearable loss.

The Roman Mysteries Mini Mysteries: The Legionary from Londinium by Caroline Lawrence

Sometimes, Flavia Gemina and her friends stumble into trouble, but often trouble comes looking for them. In this collection of brand new mini-mysteries the four detectives face some new and surprising villains. Most of the crimes take place in and around Ostia, the port of Rome, but in two tales the mystery takes us to Britannia - home to blue-painted barbarians and savage warrior-queens. Flavia and her friends solve crimes as only the most inspirational truth-seekers can!


Prophecy of the Sisters: Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink

The ultimate battle between sisters is nearing, and its outcome could have catastrophic consequences. As sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe searches for a way to end the prophecy, her twin sister Alice hones the skills she'll need to defeat Lia. Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim her sister's role in the prophecy, and that's not the only thing she wants: There's also Lia's boyfriend James.
Lia and Alice always knew the Prophecy would turn those closest to them against them. But they didn't know what betrayal could lead them to do. In the end, only one sister will be left standing.


I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison

When shy Jenny Cooper goes to stay with her cousin Jane Austen, she knows nothing of the world of beautiful dresses, dances, secrets, gossip, and romance that Jane inhabits. At fifteen, Jane is already a sharp observer of the customs of courtship. So when Jenny falls utterly in love with Captain Thomas Williams, who better than Jane to help her win the heart of this dashing man?
But is that even possible? After all, Jenny’s been harboring a most desperate secret. Should it become known, it would bring scandal not only to her, but also to the wonderful Austen family. What’s a poor orphan girl to do?
In this delicious dance between truth and fiction, Cora Harrison has crafted Jenny’s secret diary by reading everything Jane Austen wrote as a child and an adult, and by researching biographies, critical studies, and family letters. Jenny’s diary makes the past spring vividly to life and provides insight into the entire Austen family—especially the beloved Jane.

My Australian Story: The Hunt for Ned Kelly by Sophie Masson

North-east Victoria, 1879. Jamie Ross and his older sister Ellen are alone in the world after the death of their father. Determined to make their fortune, they head to Beechworth - and straight into the midst of the search for Ned Kelly, the most notorious bushranger of all time. Jamie is fascinated by Ned. Is he a hero wronged by the police, as some people say, or a cold-blooded murderer? A chance encounter will bring Jamie closer to the answer than he could ever imagine.

Strand ARCs:

Faithful by Janet Fox

Sixteen-year-old Maggie Bennet’s life is in tatters. Her mother has disappeared, and is presumed dead. The next thing she knows, her father has dragged Maggie away from their elegant Newport home, off on some mad excursion to Yellowstone in Montana. Torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her friends, from society, and verging on no prospects, Maggie is furious and devastated by her father’s betrayal. But when she arrives, she finds herself drawn to the frustratingly stubborn, handsome Tom Rowland, the son of a park geologist, and to the wild romantic beauty of Yellowstone itself. And as Tom and the promise of freedom capture Maggie’s heart, Maggie is forced to choose between who she is and who she wants to be.

Emily's Fortune by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Emily Wiggins is poor and timid, and now unexpectedly orphaned. Her neighbors Mrs. Ready, Mrs. Aim, and Mrs. Fire decide to help her, sending Emily by stagecoach to her honorable Aunt Hilda. But on the way, Emily must evade Miss Catchum of the Catchum Child- Catching Service, who wants the big bonus she's entitled to if she
can round Emily up and send her to vicious Uncle Victor. And Emily must outrun Uncle Victor, who wants her for his own devious reasons. It will take all the gumption and cunning of fellow orphan and traveler, Jackson, to help Emily find her confidence, conniving spirit, and the truth behind why Uncle Victor wants to claim her.

Sleepless by Cyn Balog

Eron DeMarchelle isn't supposed to feel this connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce his human charges to sleep. Though he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to do so. After all, becoming too involved in one human's life could prevent him from helping others get their needed rest.
But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia, a lonely girl with fiery red hair and sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. In the past, Eron has broken rules to protect Julia, but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't reach her. Eron's time as a Sandman is coming to a close, and his replacement doesn't seem to care about his charges. Worse, Julia is facing dangers she doesn't recognize, and Eron, as he transitions back to being human, may be the only one who can save her. . .
Even once they've become human again, Sandmen are forbidden to communicate with their charges. But Eron knows he won't be able to forget Julia. Will he risk everything for a chance to be with the girl he loves?

Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev

Growing up in the enchanted Thèâtre Illuminata, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith learned everything about every play ever written. She knew the Players and their parts, but she didn’t know that she, too, had magic. Now, she is the Mistress of Revels, the Teller of Tales, and determined to follow her stars. She is ready for the outside world.
But the outside world soon proves more topsy-turvy than any stage production. Bertie can make things happen by writing them, but outside the protective walls of the Thèâtre, nothing goes as planned. And her magic cannot help her make a decision between— Nate: Her suave and swashbuckling pirate, now in mortal peril. Ariel: A brooding, yet seductive, air spirit whose true motives remain unclear.
When Nate is kidnapped and taken prisoner by the Sea Goddess, only Bertie can free him. She and her fairy sidekicks embark on a journey aboard the Thèâtre’s caravan, using Bertie’s word magic to guide them. Along the way, they collect a sneak-thief, who has in his possession something most valuable, and meet The Mysterious Stranger, Bertie’s father—and the creator of the scrimshaw medallion. Bertie’s dreams are haunted by Nate, whose love for Bertie is keeping him alive, but in the daytime, it’s Ariel who is tantalizingly close, and the one she is falling for. Who does Bertie love the most? And will her magic be powerful enough to save her once she enters the Sea Goddess’slair?

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.
At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love - the light and the dark, the warm and the cold - in a way you will never forget.

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested.
Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned.
Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.

March 2010 historical fiction feature - the Tudor era

As many of you who follow my blog know, I *love* historical fiction. And I love to spread the word about great historical fiction I have enjoyed or heard about. So I've decided to do a new monthly feature for my blog. Each month, I will pick a different historical era I have enjoyed reading about, and include a list of middle grade and young adult historical fiction titles set during that time period. For my first post, I will be listing books set in the Tudor era.

The Tudor era is one of my favorite time periods to read about. There was lots of drama with the ruling Tudor family, and many important events happened during this time period - the writing of Shakespeare's plays and the first theaters in London, the beginning of British colonization in the New World, the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and others. So it's an era rich in historical figures and events, perfect for historical fiction.

I will be separating my list into two categories - middle grade, and young adult. I will be posting about a different historical era each month, so if you have any particular time periods you'd like to read about, be sure to leave a comment with your suggestions!

Middle grade:

The Lady Grace Mysteries series: Set in the court of Elizabeth I. Grace Cavendish, a young Maid of Honor and goddaughter to the Queen, writes in her diary about the happenings at court and the many mysteries she helps solve. The books in the series are: Assassin, Betrayal, Conspiracy, Deception, Exile, Gold, Haunted, Intrigue, Feud, Jinx, Keys, and Loot.

My Story: The Bloody Tower: A Tudor Girl's Diary by Valerie Wilding: Tilly lives in turbulent times. It's the 1550s; when Queen Mary ousts Lady Jane Grey to win the throne, her executioners are kept busy. Even Princess Elizabeth is imprisoned in the Tower. As Tilly watches the plots and politics of the Tudor court unfolding, she waits for her chance to deliver a very important letter...

My Story: To Kill a Queen: An Elizabethan Girl's Diary by Valerie Wilding (previously published as The Queen's Spies): It's the 1580s. Queen Elizabeth's enemies plot to kill her and place Mary Queen of Scots on the throne. While Kitty's father works on secret projects for Elizabeth, her brother's mixing with suspicious characters. As Mary's supporters edge closer by the minute, Kitty fears the worst ... that they'll all be thrown into the Tower.

My Story: My Tudor Queen by Alison Prince: It is 1501 and Eva is making the greatest trip of her life - from Spain to London as lady-in-waiting to the Spanish bride of Arthur, Prince of Wales, Catherine of Aragon. But Prince Arthur does not have long to live. What will happen to Catherine, his new wife, then?

My Story: Anne Boleyn and Me by Alison Prince: The diary of Elinor Valjean, the daughter of Eva from My Tudor Queen, who grows up at court and later becomes a lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn.

The Royal Diaries: Elizabeth I, Red Rose of the House of Tudor by Kathryn Lasky: In a series of diary entries, Princess Elizabeth, the eleven-year-old daughter of King Henry VIII, celebrates holidays and birthdays, relives her mother’s execution, revels in her studies, and agonizes over her father’s health.

Swan Town: The Secret Journal of Susanna Shakespeare by Michael J. Ortiz: Restricted by the authorities from practicing Catholicism and forbidden by her parents from seeing a Puritan boy, Susanna, the daughter of William Shakespeare, vents her anger by writing in a journal and composing a play.

Girls of Many Lands: Isabel: Taking Wing by Anne Dalton: In 1592, twelve-year-old Isabel dreams of adventure and finds it, not only on her journey from her London home to her aunt’s manor house in Northamptonshire, but also through the healing arts her aunt teaches her.

Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman: In 1573, the crippled, scorned, and destitute Meggy Swann goes to London, where she meets her father, an impoverished alchemist, and eventually discovers that although her legs are bent and weak, she has many other strengths.

Wicked Will by Bailey McDonald: Performing in the English town of Stratford-on-Avon in 1576, a young actress (disguised as a boy) and a local lad named Will Shakespeare uncover a murder mystery.

The Horse from the Sea by Victoria Holmes: In 1588 in western Ireland, fourteen-year-old Nora risks her own life to rescue a boy and a stallion from a Spanish vessel shipwrecked on the beach.

The Secret of the Rose by Sarah L. Thomson: When her father is imprisoned in 1592 England for being Catholic, fourteen-year-old Rosalind disguises herself as a boy and finds an ultimately dangerous job as servant to playwright Christopher Marlowe.

Lady Jane Grey: Queen for Sale by Caroline Corby: Novel about the childhood and brief reign of Lady Jane Grey. (to be published in July 2010)

Young adult:

Nine Days a Queen by Ann Rinaldi: Lady Jane Grey, who at sixteen was Queen of England for nine days before being executed, recounts her life story from the age of nine.

The Nine Days Queen by Karleen Bradford: Fifteen-year-old Lady Jane Grey was Queen of England for only nine days before being found guilty of treason. Guilty, even though she had never wanted to become Queen. Now she faces the executioner’s axe. Will anyone come forward to save her?

Raven Queen by Pauline Francis: Another novel of Lady Jane Grey's tragic life.

A World Away by Pauline Francis: A novel of the lost colony of Roanoke, told from the alternating points of view of two teenagers, an English boy and a Native girl.

The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby: Catharine Howard recounts the events in her life that led to her being groomed for marriage at the age of fifteen to King Henry VIII, her failure to produce an heir to the throne, and her quick execution.

The Redheaded Princess by Ann Rinaldi: In 1542, nine-year-old Lady Elizabeth lives on an estate near London, striving to get back into the good graces of her father, King Henry VIII, and as the years pass she faces his death and those of other close relatives until she finds herself next in line to ascend the throne of England in 1558.

Patience, Princess Catherine by Carolyn Meyer: In 1501 fifteen-year-old Catharine of Aragon arrives in England to marry Arthur, the eldest son of King Henry VII, but soon finds her expectations of a happy settled life radically changed when Arthur unexpectedly dies and her future becomes the subject of a bitter dispute between the kingdoms of England and Spain.

Beware, Princess Elizabeth by Carolyn Meyer: After the death of her father, King Henry VIII, in 1547, thirteen-year-old Elizabeth must endure the political intrigues and dangers of the reigns of her half brother Edward and her half sister Mary before finally becoming Queen of England eleven years later.

Doomed Queen Anne by Carolyn Meyer: In 1520, thirteen-year-old Anne Boleyn, jealous of her older sister’s beauty and position at court, declares that she will one day be queen of England, and that her sister will kneel at her feet.

Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer: Mary Tudor, who would reign briefly as Queen of England during the mid sixteenth century, tells the story of her troubled childhood as daughter of King Henry VIII.

Shakespeare's Apprentice by Veronica Bennett: The year is 1598. Sam Gilburne is an apprentice actor and member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men, appearing in the roles created by famous playwright William Shakespeare. While onstage, Sam notices the lovely Lady Lucie Cheetham, niece of Lord Essex, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth. The two meet on several occasions and begin to fall in love. But when Lord Essex is convicted of treason and sent to the Tower, there are repercussions for his whole family. Can Sam save Lucie? And can they really have a life together though Sam is merely a lowly actor?

Loving Will Shakespeare by Carolyn Meyer: In Stratford-upon-Avon in the sixteenth century, Anne Hathaway suffers her stepmother’s cruelty and yearns for love and escape, finally finding it in the arms of a boy she has grown up with, William Shakespeare.

The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley: After the death of her foster mother, sixteen-year-old Kat goes to London to seek the answers to her parentage, and surprisingly finds herself invited into Queen Elizabeth’s court.

The Counterfeit Princess by Jane Resh Thomas: Vowing revenge when her parents are executed in 1553 by the Duke of Northumberland, teenaged Iris becomes a messenger, spy, and stand-in for Princess Elizabeth during the volatile political times surrounding Edward VI’s death.

The Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen: The servants call it the Lady Tower: the isolated part of the castle where Eleanor's mother is imprisoned after a terrible accusation. For four years Eleanor's only comfort has been their secret notes to one another. A chance discovery reveals a plot to murder her mother. Now Eleanor must free her before it is too late. But with danger and betrayal at every turn, she can trust no one. Especially not her father. Eleanor must use all her cunning to survive. For she soon realises that it is not just her mother she needs to save . . . but also herself.

A Sweet Disorder by Jacqueling Kolosov: Sixteen-year old Miranda has no idea how much her life is going to change upon hearing the news of her father's death. Left with little dowry to offer, Miranda faces a broken engagement, and is sent to live with her father's cousin, the Count John Hardwood, and his wife whose primary goal is to take her to Court and marry her off to the insufferable Lord Seagrave for their own profit.

The Red Queen's Daughter by Jacqueline Kolosov: Orphaned as a young girl because of the imprudent marriage of her mother, Queen Katherine Parr, Mary Seymour vows never to fall in love-and under no circumstances will she marry. Lady Strange, her mysterious guardian, offers the young woman an extraordinary alternative to marriage: Mary is to become a white magician who will join Queen Elizabeth's court and ensure the success of the Virgin Queen's reign.

At the House of the Magician by Mary Hooper: Lucy has been forced to run away from home as she fears for her safety from her drunken father. She is taken on as a maid at the house of Dr Dee, court magician, upon whom Elizabeth I relies heavily, even down to advising the date of her coronation. The household is strange and sinister, and Lucy has a nose for intrigue ...And she has more than enough to satisfy her: Lucy stumbles across a plot to assassinate the queen and has to find means to warn her...

By Royal Command by Mary Hooper: Lucy has become a firm fixture in the household of Dr Dee, a real-life figure who was court magician to Queen Elizabeth 1. Lucy, in return for saving the queen's life, has been told that she is to work as a spy for Her Grace and that she is to remain with the Dee family and await further instruction ...And then Lucy hears unexplained cries in the Dee house, and finds a young girl imprisoned there. What is Dr Dee doing? Lucy means to find out.

The Betrayal by Mary Hooper: In this final volume, Lucy is asked to continue her work on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I. And her romance with Tomas, the queen's fool, seems to be flourishing - or it is until Mistress Juliette, the new lady-in-waiting, arrives and Tomas pays her far too much attention for Lucy's liking. But then Lucy realises that Juliette is telling lies and is not what she appears to be. Lucy fears for the safety of the queen as there are always supporters of Mary, Queen of Scots who are willing to risk all. How will Lucy convince Tomas of her fears when he just teases her and tells her that she is simply jealous?

Tread Softly by Kate Pennington: Mary Devereux and her father, John, have been appointed to embroider a precious cloak for Walter Raleigh, ready for an invitation to Queen Elizabeth I's court. Each stitch carries Mary's dreams and longings as she gets to know the world of high society. Silently she observes gossip, ambition, dark secrets and high vanity and - on one fateful day - murder.

The Queen's Own Fool by Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris: When twelve-year-old Nicola leaves Troupe Brufort and serves as the fool for Mary, Queen of Scots, she experiences the political and religious upheavals in both France and Scotland.

Shakespeare's Daughter by Peter Hassinger: Susanna Shakespeare yearns to travel to London like her father, to experience the world of actors and poets and to follow her own dream of singing, a path usually followed only by men.

Raider's Tide by Maggie Prince: In 1578, a sixteen year old girl living near the Scottish border risks her life when she saves a young Scot and falls in love with him.

The North Side of the Tree by Maggie Prince: The sequel to Raider's Tide.

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards: England, 1582 ELLIE – Lady Eleanor Rodriguez of San Jaime – is in possession of a gold-seeking father, a worthless title and a feisty spirit that captivates the elite of the Queen’s court, and none other than the handsome new Earl of Dorset . . . WILLIAM LACEY has inherited his father’s title and his financial ruin. Now the Earl must seek a wealthy heiress and restore his family’s fortune. But Will’s head has been turned by the gorgeous Ellie, yet their union can never be. Will is destined to marry a worthy Lady so the only question is – which one . . . ? (to be published in July 2010)

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein: A love story about a teenage girl who was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I and travels to the New World to settle the "lost colony" of Roanoke. (to be published in Fall 2010)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Book review: Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman

Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman (Published by Clarion Books, April 26, 2010)

Born crippled, Meggy Swan was raised in a small English village by her loving grandmother. Her mother was unkind and wanted nothing to do with her, and the villagers were suspicious of people with disabilities. When her grandmother dies in 1573, Meggy’s mother, eager to be rid of her, sends her to London to live with her father, whom Meggy has never met before.

From the time she arrives in London, Meggy hates it and wishes she could return to her country village. The city is dirty and scary and confusing, and it is especially hard for her to travel around because of her disability. Her father, an alchemist, had thought his child was a son, and is disappointed by the arrival of a daughter, and a crippled one at that. Meggy feels lost, alone, and friendless. Her father is obsessed with his work of turning liquid into gold and wants little to do with his unwanted daughter. But soon Meggy learns that the city isn’t an entirely terrible place, and even a crippled country girl like herself can make friends.

Alchemy and Meggy Swan is another enjoyable middle grade historical novel by Karen Cushman. Unlike her previous books, which were set in the Medieval era, this book is set in Elizabethan London, and she brings the place and time to life with gritty and realistic detail. Meggy is a bit unlikable at first - she is a stubborn and unfriendly loner, as a result of a childhood in which she was despised by everyone except her grandmother. But it is enjoyable to see her grow from a friendless loner into a girl with many friends and a chance for a wonderful future. I recommend this book to readers who enjoyed previous books by the author or who like middle grade historical fiction.

Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: The Other Countess by Eve Edwards

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards (Published by Penguin UK, July 1, 2010)

It's 1582 and eighteen-year-old Will Lacey's family is in trouble. After years of wasteful spending, his late father has run Lacey Hall to near ruin. Tasked with marrying his family back into fortune, the new Earl of Dorset is all set for a season at court to woo not just the Queen but potential brides with his jousting skills. But when Ellie – a strong-willed girl with nothing to her name but a worthless Spanish title – catches Will's eye, he faces a bigger battle than he could ever have anticipated.

I love the Tudor era and I love young adult historical fiction with a romance in it so this book sounds really good. The author is a new UK debut author. And the cover is lovely. So I really can't wait to read this book!

Note: This book will be published in the UK. If you are interested in reading it and live outside the UK, you can pre-order it with free worldwide shipping from The Book Depository: (I am not affiliated with them in any way other than as a very happy customer!)
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