Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Belle's Song by K.M. Grant

Belle's Song by K.M. Grant (Published by Quercus Publishing, September 30, 2010)

When Belle meets Luke, son of an alchemist and Scribe to the famous poet Chaucer, she is determined to travel with him to Canterbury on a pilgrimage. She hopes for a miracle: that her father will walk again. She also hopes to atone for her own part in his accident. It is a time of unrest across the country and the young King Richard II is just hanging on to his throne. A malign character on the pilgrimage suspects Chaucer of treason and slowly winds Belle into a political intrigue. At the same time, the impulsive Belle is drawn towards both Luke and to Walter, the wealthy son of a Knight. But Walter himself is in love with Luke...As the uprising against the King starts to draw pace and the web of intrigue around Belle and Chaucer tightens, Belle and her friends must risk everything to save their country and themselves...

I love historical fiction set in the Medieval era, it is one of my favorite time periods. And it sounds like this story has an unusual twist with the love triangle. Plus the cover is really pretty. Note: this is a UK release, a good online bookstore to order UK books from is The Book Depository as they have free worldwide shipping.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

In My Mailbox - 4/24/10

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:

The Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker

In this new stand-alone fairy tale, Princess Annie is the younger sister to Gwen, the princess destined to be Sleeping Beauty. When Gwennie pricks her finger and the whole castle falls asleep, only Annie is awake, and only Annie—blessed (or cursed?) with being impervious to magic—can venture out beyond the rose-covered hedge for help. She must find Gwen’s true love to kiss her awake.
But who is her true love? The irritating Digby? The happy-go-lucky Prince Andreas, who is holding a contest to find his bride? The conniving Clarence, whose sinister motives couldn’t possibly spell true love? Joined by one of her father’s guards, Liam, who happened to be out of the castle when the sleeping spell struck, Annie travels through a fairy tale land populated with characters both familiar and new as she tries to fix her sister and her family . . . and perhaps even find a true love of her own.

So that's all for this week, I didn't see any books to buy really, I have a lot of great books to read though, so I don't mind a week without buying anything.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Follow up on cover lookalikes - new cover for The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees

Last month, I blogged about three summer 2010 young adult historical fiction books that all had a different version of the same cover art. Well, it looks like one of those books, The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees, is getting a new cover that (as far as I know) isn't a lookalike of any other cover. And I think the new cover is much nicer! Here are the new and old covers below - the new is on the left and the old on the right. If you like, leave a comment about which cover you like better!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Wildwing by Emily Whitman

Wildwing by Emily Whitman (Published by Greenwillow Books, September 21, 2010)

When Addy is swept back in time, she couldn’t be happier to leave her miserable life behind. Now she’s mistaken for Lady Matilda, the pampered ward of the king. If Addy can play her part, she’ll have glorious gowns, jewels, and something she’s always longed for: the respect and admiration of others. But then she meets Will, the falconer’s son with sky blue eyes who unsettles all her plans.
From shipwreck to dungeon, from betrothals to hidden conspiracies, Addy faces the intrigues of a castle where she’s not the only one with a dangerous secret. When she discovers the truth, Addy must take matters into her own hands. The stakes? Her chance at true love—and the life she’s meant to live.

This book sounds like a mix of all my favorite genres - I love young adult fantasy and historical fiction with romance mixed in, and I especially love the medieval era, so I am definitley looking forward to reading this book.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

In My Mailbox - 4/17/20

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:

The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood

Jessamine Luxson lives with her father, Thomas, an apothecary, in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle. Thomas’s pride and obsession is his locked garden full of dangerous plants, which Jessamine is forbidden to enter.
When a traveler brings an orphan to their cottage, he claims the boy has special gifts that Thomas might value. Jessamine is drawn to the strange but intriguing boy, called Weed. Soon their friendship deepens into love. Finally, Weed shares his secret: He can communicate with plants. For him they have distinct personalities—and some are even murderous. From the locked garden the poisonous plants call to Weed, luring him with promises of deadly power.
When Jessamine falls inexplicably ill, only Weed’s relationship with the Poisons can save her. But Thomas is determined to exploit Weed’s abilities, even if it risks Jessamine’s life—or drives Weed to the brink of madness...

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn

When twelve-year-old Florence boards the crowded horse-drawn coach in London, she looks forward to a new life with her great uncle and aunt at Crutchfield Hall, an old manor house in the English countryside. Anything will be better, she thinks, than the grim London orphanage where she has lived since her parents' deaths.
But Florence doesn't expect the ghost of her cousin Sophia, who haunts the cavernous rooms and dimly lit hallways of Crutchfield and concocts a plan to use Florence to help her achieve her murderous goals. Will Florence be able to convince the others in the household of the imminent danger and stop Sophia before it's too late?


Dragon Seer by Janet McNaughton

Enslaved since early childhood, Madoca is astonished to be chosen as dragon seer, one who will care for the dragons of Orkney. But people now question the age-old traditions that placed the dragons at the very heart of her society, and one of the older dragon seers has made enemies among the chieftains. When the Vikings arrive with a malevolent seer who has vowed to destroy all dragons, new alliances form and the people’s way of life is threatened. As Madoca’s powers emerge, strong but uncontrolled, she faces the fight of her life. How can she save her beloved dragons?

Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards (signed hardcover copy, reviewed the ARC here)

Sixteen-year-old Celstia 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.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Interview with Barbara Quick, author of A Golden Web

Today on my blog I have an interview with Barbara Quick, the author of Vivaldi's Virgins and the new young adult historical novel A Golden Web, about the life of Alessandra Giliani, a young woman in Medieval Italy who was possibly the world's first female anatomist, which I recently reviewed.

What inspired you to write a novel about Alessandra Giliani?

BQ: I happened on Alessandra's story pretty much by accident, in the course of searching for information about another Italian anatomist. I was captivated by this tale of such a transgressive, brave, and brilliant girl--and I presented the idea to a children's book editor in New York as a possible subject for a YA novel. She jumped on it right away.

What kind of research did you do for the novel?

BQ: I read everything I could find in bookstores and libraries, here in the States, about life in 14th century Italy. And then I flew off to Bologna to search in libraries and archives there. I learned Italian when I researched and wrote my last novel, VIVALDI'S VIRGINS. I wish more people in this country would learn other languages! I can't tell you how many doors have been opened for me in places where I spoke even a little bit of the local language.
Anyway, I spent three joyful and exhausting weeks in and around Bologna, soaking up as much ambiance and as many historical details as I could find. Architecture, illuminated manuscripts, scholarly articles, paintings, the landscape, and even the local birds helped me build an authentic setting for Alessandra's story.

What do you hope your readers will learn from Alessandra's story?

BQ: Well, mostly I hope they'll learn that one's most cherished dreams are worth any amount of risk and hard work. I'm hoping that readers of A GOLDEN WEB will feel moved and inspired by Alessandra's story.

If you could travel back in time anywhere for a day, where and when would you visit?

BQ: Great question! Hmm. Would I be guaranteed safe passage? There are so many times and places I would be fascinated to see! Ancient Greece or Rome. North America before it was colonized. Vienna during Mozart's lifetime. Paris at the turn of the twentieth century... I can't decide!

When you aren't writing, what hobbies do you enjoy?

BQ: My fiance is a violist with the San Francisco Symphony--and so I go to a lot of concerts and hear a lot of rehearsals. I love music! I love growing flowers and vegetables and do a fair amount of landscape design. I always loved dancing; but in my adult life I learned to samba and became very involved with the Brazilian dance community. I've danced in Carnival parades and taken two trips to Brazil. I love traveling. I love learning other languages. I love hiking and being in Nature. And, of course, I love reading!

What is your favorite book/author?

BQ: If I could take just one book to a desert island with me, I guess it would probably be "Anna Karenina." But I can't say that I have one favorite book or author. There are so many books that I have absolutely treasured as I was reading them.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

BQ: I'm so happy to read these wonderful blog reviews written by avid young book-lovers like yourself! The Internet has forever changed the relationship between writers and their readers. There's no longer a chasm between us: we're there for you, suddenly accessible; and you're there for us, spreading the word about our novels. Three cheers to you and your book blog, Rebecca!

If you would like to learn more about Barbara Quick and her novels, you can visit her website at

Waiting on Wednesday: StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Published by Scholastic, October 1, 2010)

Digger thrives as a spy and sneak-thief among the feuding religious factions of Gerse, dodging the Greenmen who have banned all magic. But when a routine job goes horribly wrong and her partner and lover Tegen is killed, she has to get out of the city, fast, and hides herself in a merry group of nobles to do so. Accepted as a lady's maid to shy young Merista Nemair, Digger finds new peace and friendship at the Nemair stronghold--as well as plenty of jewels for the taking. But after the devious Lord Daul catches her in the act of thievery, he blackmails her into becoming his personal spy in the castle, and Digger soon realizes that her noble hosts aren't as apolitical as she thought... that indeed, she may be at the heart of a magical rebellion.

Magic, adventure, and palace intrigue - sounds look a book I will love! I also really like the cover.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My possible BEA schedule

For anyone going to BEA and hoping to meet up this is my schedule for the signings I hope to attend. Although I don't know how I will manage some of the ones that are really close together, sigh.

The Kulak's Daughter by Gabrielle Goldstone Booth 3777 May 26 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Inside Out by Maria Snyder Booth 3922 May 26 12:00PM - 12:45PM
My Soul to Keep by RacheL Vincent Booth 3922 May 26 12:00PM - 12:45PM
Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin Booth 4051 May 27 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson May 27 11:30AM - 12:30PM booth 3940
Secrets at Camp Nokomis by Jacqueline Dembar Greene May 27 1:00-2:00 pm booth 2458
Spyglass by Marie Snyder Booth 3922 May 27 2:00PM - 2:45PM
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready Booth 3484 3:00-3:30pm

Autographing Area
Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey May 26 9:30-10:30 Table 20
The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood May 26 1:30-2:00 table 16
Delirium by Lauren Oliver May 26 2:30-3:30 table 30
Zombies Vs Unicorns by Holly Black May 26, 2010 @ 3:00PM - 4:00PM table 17
Invisible Things by Jenny Davidson May 26 3:30-4:00 Table 19
Ascendent - Diana Peterfreund , May 26, 3:30-4pm table 18
Bright Young Things & Splendor by Anna Godbersen May 26 4:00PM - 4:30PM Table 14
Another Pan - Daniel Nayeri May 26 4:00-5:00 table 27
Nonna's Book of Mysteries by Mary Osborne May 26 4:00-5:00 Table 25
Mistwood by Leah Cypess May 27, 2010 11:00AM - 11:30AM Table 21
Siren by Trish Rayburn May 27 1:00-1:30 Table 28
Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart May 27 1:30 - 2:00 table 29
Forget Her Nots by Amy Brecourt White May 27 3:00-3:30 table 21
Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes May 27 2:30-3:30 Table 28
Plain Kate by Erin Bow May 27 3:30PM - 4:30PM Table 18

Saturday, April 10, 2010

In My Mailbox - 4/10/10

Credit goes to The Story Siren for creating and hosting the In My Mailbox feature. Here are my new books for this week. I was super excited about the Dear America book and am currently reading it, I probably would have finished it already but I am sick with a bad cold and it's harder to concentrate.

For review:

Dear America: The Fences Between Us by Kirby Larson

One fateful day in December 1941, Piper Davis awaits news of her brother, a soldier on the battleship Arizona stationed in Pearl Harbor. Explosions rule the earth and sky, and Piper wonders what will become of her brother, and of her life in Seattle, as rationing and blackouts take hold. Soon, Piper is greeted by another grim situation - the incarceration of her Japanese neighbors.
Piper's father, a pastor for a Japanese Baptist church, decides to follow his congregants when they are sent to an incarceration camp, bringing Piper along with him. She resents being uprooted, but as she learns about the heartbreaking realities of war, Piper begins to understand that she has the power to make a difference.


Prisoner of the Inquisition by Theresa Breslin

Zarita is used to basking in the pampered lifestyle being the only daughter of the town magistrate affords; she is free to roam the town as she likes, consort with the son of a nobleman and spend her days studying the arts. Saulo's family have fallen on hard times, and when his father is hanged for an assault on Zarita he did not commit and Saulo is hauled off to be a slave at sea, Saulo swears revenge. But when Zarita's mother dies in childbirth, and the formidable and frightening Inquisition arrives in the area, a curtain of suspicion and brutality comes down on her old life for good. Saulo may believe that Zarita is his sworn enemy, but in a time when the whole of Spain is in turmoil, are him and Zarita each other's only hope of survival?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Guest post from Ari of Reading in Color: POC Historical fiction

For my second monthly historical fiction feature (for March I blogged about Tudor historical fiction) I have a guest post from Ari of Reading in Color about POC historical fiction. I will also be doing a post of my own with some of my favorite book recommendations.

Many of you may not know that I love historical fiction. I read all kinds and I love Rebecca's blog because of all the recommendations I get, one of my favorite time periods is the Tudors. However, my blog is dedicated to reviewing YA/MG books about people of color (POC). When I first started Reading in Color, I feared that I wouldn't find enough historical fiction to spotlight that fit my criteria. While there isn't nearly as much as I would like, there is a good number of titles, the main problem is the lack of diversity and originality in them. By that I mean, they mostly discuss slavery and civil rights. Those are both very important, but they can become redundant and uninteresting. In compiling this list, I tried to spotlight my favorite historical fiction POC reads that go above and beyond slavery and civil rights.

Middle Grade

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia

Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong (I haven't read this one yet but I've read good reviews of it)

A Million Shades of Grey by Cynthia Kadohata

Young Adult

The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle-The story of Frederika Bremer's visit to Cuba. Frederika was a vocal proponent of equal rights for women and while in Cuba she befriends Cecilia, an African slave (and real person) and Elena (the daughter of a wealthy sugarcane mill owner, fictional character). This story is told in beautiful, simple, prose.

A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott-More than just a Civil War narrative. AWAM starts off with the main protagonist, Genna, living in Brookyln in 2001. She makes a wish at a fountain and ends up in 1863 Brooklyn. Right before the Draft Riots break out. Genna's story is quite unique, we are immeresed in Brooklyn and the prejduces of the North. The timetraveling and complex story is woven together smoothly, lovers of history and fantasy will really enjoy this book.

Mare's War by Tanita Davis-Tally and Octavia don't realize how incredibly cool their grandmother, Mare is. They are sisters forced to go on a roadtrip with their 'crazy' grandmother who insists they call her, Mare. She smokes, speeds and hates baking. As they travel on the roadtrip, Mare tells them about her days in the Women's Army Corps. If African American male soldiers were treated bad, African American female soldiers were treated even worse. Mare is so brave and I really admire her and it was interesting to read about life in France during World War II for AA female soldiers.

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith-Set during WWII, all Ida Mae wants to do is fly. She is inspired by her brother's decision to fight and so she decided to pass as white in order to become a pilot. This book details the benefits and disadvantages of passing as white. It's truly heartbreaing that Ida Mae had to pass. While this story doesn't have much action, it makes up for it with the well rounded and fun characters.

Gringolandia by Lyn-Miller Lachmann-A sad but powerful story. This book shows how the torture of a family member affects not only that family member, but the whole family. I loved how Daniel was nonchalant about Chile. He's become the typical American boy and focuses mostly on his music. He doesn't have any desire to go back to Chile. His girlfriend, Courtney on the other hand, is very passionate about getting rid of Pinochet and she wants to visit Chile and fight in the revolution. An interesting clash of personalities. This family must face their demons (especially Daniel who blames himself for his father's arrest and his sister, Tina who hardly remembers her father).

The Rock & The River by Kekla Magoon-A rare novel that not only portrays the Black Panthers, but it remains neutral in its portrayl. The good and the bad of the non violent civil rights movement and the Black Panthers are explored and readers must make up their opinions of whose methods were most effective. Usually only negativity surrounds the Black Panthers and glowing praise surrounds the work of the civil disobedience civil rights faction so it made for an interesting read.

Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins-Set during the tumultous time of 1970s India (while Indira gandhi is Prime Minster), this story will have all women appreciating the fact that they live in the 21st century. The story is quite well told with an ending that I found to be almost devastating. Random facts about Indian culture are not thrown at you, rather they are weaved naturally into dialogue and setting. Most importantly, you will finish this book wanting to watch or even play cricket.

Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez

Codetalker by Joseph Bruchac-Codetalkers were Navajos who used their language to send secret messages on behalf of the Americans during World War II. The Najaos were used because their language was so complex that the Germans and Japanese could not crack it. Codetalker focuses on the American war efforts aganist the Japanese and it portrays the racisim Native Americans faced (no distinction was made between tribes and they were all called "Chief"). What's worse is that the Navajos mission had to be kept a secret and they never received recognition until the '60s and unlike other veterans of WWII, they could not use the GI Bill to build homes on their reservations.

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Vols I & II by M. T. Anderson-I've only read the first one but it was brillant).

Books Where the main character is not a POC but deal with race relations

Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher-Not only is this about taxi dancers (if you don't know what that is, read this book and even if you do, read it anyway) and set in 1940s Chicago, it also provides a glimpse at how Flipinos and African Americans were treated at this time.

The Agency: Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee-Mary Quinn is one of my new favorite detectives, she does everything Sherlock Holmes does but in a skirt. She's brave, resourceful and almost always a lady. Lascars play a key role in this novel. Lascars are soldiers from Asia. Some of them would travel to England, intermarry and settle down with their families in England. They were treated poorly and lived a hard life. Author Y.S. Lee did a guest post on her novel and the people of color in Victorian England on my blog, which you can read here.

Upcoming Releases

The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Floris-Galbis

Want more? I haven't read these yet but I plan on also reading;

1. Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman

2. Keeping Corner by Kasmira Sheth

3. An Ocean Apart, a World Away by Lensey Namioka (I'm currently reading this)

4. Samurai Shortsop by Alan Gratz

5. Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji

6. Harlem Summer by Walter Dean Myers

Some POC historical fiction recommendations from myself

I was originally going to attach this list to Ari's wonderful guest post but then I decided it would be way too long then. So I decided to make a separate post with a list of historical fiction featuring people of color that I have enjoyed. So here is my list:

Middle grade:

Children of the Fire by Harriette Gillem Robinet: A young black girl named Hallelujah lives through the great Chicago fire with courage and resourcefulness. (Chicago, 1871)

Washington City is Burning by Harriette Gillem Robinet: In 1814, Virginia, a slave in President Madison’s White House, experiences the burning of Washington by the invading British army. (War of 1812)

Missing from Haymarket Square by Harriette Gillem Robinet: Three children in Chicago in 1886 experience the Haymarket Riot in response to exploitative working conditions.

Soft Rain by Cornelia Corneissen: Soft Rain, a nine-year-old Cherokee girl, is forced to relocate, along with her family, from North Carolina to the West. (Cherokee Trail of Tears, 1830s)

Leaving Gee’s Bend by Irene Latham: Ludelphia Bennett, a determined, ten-year-old African American girl in 1932 Gee’s Bend, Alabama, leaves home in an effort to find medical help for her sick mother, and she recounts her ensuing adventures in a quilt she is making.

Sisters of the Sword by Maya Snow: Two aristocratic sisters in ancient Japan disguise themselves as samurai warriors to take revenge on the uncle who betrayed their family. (First in a 4 book series)

Seaward Born by Lea Wait: In 1805, a thirteen-year-old slave and his friend make a dangerous escape from Charleston, S.C. and stowaway to head north toward freedom.

Melitte by Fatima Shaik: In 1772, years of mistreatment force thirteen-year-old Melitte to decide whether or not to run away from the Frenchman who has kept her as a slave on his poor Louisiana farm and leave the young girl who is the only person who ever loved her.

Sound the Jubilee by Sandra Forrester: A slave and her family find refuge on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, during the Civil War. (Sequel: My Home is Over Jordan)

Dust from Old Bones by Sandra Forrester : The diary entries of thirteen-year-old Simone Agneau, a child of mixed African and European ancestry, reflect the peculiar caste system in Louisiana before the Civil War. (New Orleans, 1838)

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich: Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847. (Sequels: The Game of Silence & The Porcupine Year)

The Well of Sacrifice by Chris Eboch: When a Mayan girl in ninth-century Guatemala suspects that the High Priest sacrifices anyone who stands in the way of his power, she proves herself a hero.

Books from the Girls of Many Lands series: Leyla: The Black Tulip (Turkey, 1720s); Minuk: Ashes in the Pathway (Alaska, 1892); Neela: Victory Song (India, 1939); Saba: Under the Hyena’s Foot (Ethiopia, 1840s); and Spring Pearl: The Last Flower (China, 1857)

Books from the History Mysteries series: Mystery of the Dark Tower (Harlem Renaissance, 1928); Circle of Fire (1950s Tennessee); The Minstrel’s Melody (1904 Missouri); and Trouble at Fort La Pointe (Lake Superior region, early 1700s)

Books from the American Diaries series by Kathleen Duey: Evie Peach: St Louis, 1857; Zellie Blake: Lowell, Massachusetts, 1834; and Celou Sudden Shout: Idaho, 1826.

Pacific Odyssey to California, 1905 by Laurie Lawlor: Eleven-year-old Su-Na and her family emigrate from Korea to the island of Hawaii seeking prosperity and good fortune, but racism and poor job prospects force the family to move on to California where they hope life will be better for all of them.

Books from the Dear America series: A Picture of Freedom (Virginia, 1859), I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly (South Carolina, 1865), Look to the Hills (New York, 1763), Valley of the Moon (California, 1846), and Color Me Dark (Chicago, 1919)

Books from the Royal Diaries series: Kaiulani (Hawaii, 1889), Nzingha (Africa, 1595) Jahanara (India, 1627), Kazunomiya (Japan, 1858), Lady of Ch’iao Kuo (China, AD 531), Lady of Palenque (Mesoamerica, AD 749, I didn't really like this one, but some readers might enjoy it), Anacaona (Haiti, 1490) and Sondok (Korea, AD 595)

Books from the Dear Canada series: Blood Upon Our Land (Saskatchewan, 1885), An Ocean Apart (Vancouver, 1922), The Death of My Country (Quebec, 1759) and A Desperate Road to Freedom (Virginia & Canada, 1863)

Young adult:

I haven't found as many good young adult books, there are lots of middle grade but not as many young adult. Still, here are a few I enjoyed:

Indio by Sherry Garland: Thirteen-year-old Ipa struggles to survive a brutal time of change as the Spanish begin the conquest of the native people along the Texas border. (Spanish conquest of the Americas, late 16th century)

The Last Rainmaker by Sherry Garland: Abandoned by her father, thirteen-year-old Caroline runs away to join Shawnee Sam's Wild West Extravaganza in the hope of learning more about her mother, a performer who died in childbirth and whose origins have been kept a secret from Caroline.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson: As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

Second Daughter by Mildred Pitts Walter: In late eighteenth-century Massachusetts, Aissa, the fictional younger sister of Elizabeth Freeman, relates how her sister gains freedom for herself and her family by bringing a suit against their owner in court.

Belle by Beverly Jenkins: About a teenage girl who escapes from slavery and falls in love with Daniel, the son of the family that helps her.

Josephine by Beverly Jenkins: A sequel/companion to Belle, about Daniel's younger sister Josephine who falls in love with her brother's friend, a soldier in the Civil War.

Ties That Bind, Ties that Break by Lensey Namioka: Ailin’s life takes a different turn when she defies the traditions of upper class Chinese society by refusing to have her feet bound. Set in early 20th century China.

And a couple of books I haven't read yet, but plan to read soon:

The Tribe by Valerie Bloom, about a Taino girl living in the Caribbean during the European conquest of the Americas.

Good Fortune by Noni Carter, about a girl kidnapped from her home in Africa and sold as a slave in America.

Little Paradise by Gabrielle Wang: about a Chinese-Australian girl during World War II, who falls in love with a soldier from China and follows him back there when he must return home.

Waiting on Wednesday: Contagion by Joanne Dahme

Contagion by Joanne Dahme (Published by Running Press Kids, September 28, 2010)

In her fourth novel Joanne Dahme creates another page-turning tale in which a young woman named Rose strives to rid Philadelphia’s water of the deadly typhoid bacteria. Set in the late 19th century, Rose Dugan is a young wife who is actively involved in her community. But when her best friend is killed while working at Philadelphia’s Water Works' gardens, the mystery around her death pulls Rose in. Will she save the city from a deadly typhoid outbreak that is threatening the city’s water system? Will Rose unravel the mystery behind her best friend’s murder—a fate that was actually meant for her?

I enjoyed Joanne Dahme's rather creepy historical novel The Plague which I read last year, so I am hoping to enjoy this book as well. The historical setting is very different (The Plague was set in Medieval Europe) but this book will also be a historical mystery set against an epidemic.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

More cover lookalikes

A couple of weeks back I posted a trio of very similar young adult covers, all for books being released this summer (if you haven't seen that post it's at this link:, now I have found another pair of lookalike covers:

What are your thoughts? Does it bother you to see two (or more) very similar book covers within the same genre? What are other lookalike covers you have spotted recently?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

In My Mailbox - 4/3/10

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:

Invisible Things by Jenny Davidson

Sixteen-year-old Sophie knows there is more to the story of her parents’ death. And she's on a mission to find the truth.
Sophie has enlisted her best friend, Mikael, whose friendship has turned into something more, and before long the two are thrust into a mystery that dates back decades. It’s soon clear that Sophie’s future is very much wrapped up in the details of her family’s past, and the key lies with information that only one elusive man can provide.
The more Sophie learns, the more she realizes that nothing—and no one—in her life is what it seems. But coming to terms with the dark secrets she uncovers means imagining a truth that she never dreamed possible. Full of gorgeous settings, thrilling adventure, and romance, Invisible Things is a novel that dares to ask, what if?

Crispin: The End of Time by Avi

"Knowing that as long as I kept my liberty I would be true to Bear, I was determined that no matter what befell me I would keep that freedom."
After the death of their beloved mentor, Bear, Crispin and Troth are more desperate than ever, wandering the desolate French countryside, where they don't speak the language and know no one. The only hope they cling to is that somehow they can reach Iceland, where Bear had said there were no kings or lords, and where they can live in freedom. Crispin is determined to fulfill this dream, both for himself and to honor Bear's memory. But the road to liberty is filled with danger, betrayal, and loss. Crispin must decide for himself what freedom really means-and how high a price he is willing to pay for it.


She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage in the late 1890s, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city's most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of work--there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity's spotlight turns Clara into a society-page darling.
Yet Clara wonders if this is the life she really wants, especially when she learns her best friend has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries. When a man appears who seems to love her simply for who she is, and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes it's not just her heart at stake--the future of her family depends on how she plays the game.

Shadow by Jenny Moss (finished hardcover copy, click here to read my review of the ARC)

In a time of kings, queens, and conspiracy, it's impossible to know whom one can trust. . . .
In a kingdom far away and long ago, it was prophesied at her birth that the queen would die before her sixteenth birthday. So Shadow, an orphan girl the same age as the young queen, was given the duty to watch her every move. And as prophesies do tend to come true, the queen is poisoned days before her birthday. When the castle is thrown into chaos, Shadow escapes with a young knight, whom she believes was betrothed to the queen.
Unsure of why she is following Sir Kenway, but determined to escape as far as possible from the castle, her long-time prison, Shadow sets off on an adventure with the handsome knight who has been charged with protecting her. As mystery builds, and romantic tension does, too, Shadow begins to wonder what her role in the kingdom truly is. Soon, she learns, it is up to her to save her land.

With a Sword in My Hand by Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem and Pat van Beirs

Marguerite's father is desperate for a son. Instead he's stuck with a feisty, stubborn, red-headed daughter who refuses to behave like a lady. This exciting medieval romance-adventure story is based on historical fact about a 14-year-old heiress to Flanders called Marguerite Van Male.
Shaking off the strict expectations of court life, Marguerite roams free - learning to ride, to fence and to outwit the boys. But the Count of Flanders has plans for his wayward daughter. Will Marguerite be able to resist the combined pressure of politics, power and a foreign prince? And has she met her match in Philip, the valiant knight in shirtsleeves?
Based on the real life of Marguerite van Male (1348-1405), With a Sword in My Hand is an intense medieval adventure, and Marguerite herself is a brave, headstrong and thoroughly charming heroine.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Book review: A Golden Web by Barbara Quick

A Golden Web by Barbara Quick (Published by HarperTeen, April 6, 2010)

Alessandra Giliani is not like most girls in fourteenth century Italy. She is very intelligent and loves to read, even dreaming of someday being a scholar. But because she doesn’t behave as a proper lady should, her stepmother dislikes her, and is unkind to her. Alessandra would like to study medicine, but that is not proper for a young girl of her place and time. The only proper choices for a young woman are an arranged marriage or life in a convent.

When Alessandra learns that her stepmother, in her eagerness to get Alessandra out of the family’s home, has convinced her father to arrange Alessandra’s marriage, she is desperate to escape. Before her marriage, Alessandra goes to spend a time of solitude in a convent, and from there she is able to escape, disguise herself as a boy, and fulfill her dreams of studying medicine. However the future her father planned for her still awaits her someday and she may not be able to keep up her disguise forever.

A Golden Web is a fascinating and romantic historical novel based on the legend of Alessandra Giliani, who may have been the world’s first female anatomist. Barbara Quick brings Alessandra to life as a smart and courageous young woman who risks everything to live her dreams in a time when women had few rights and no power to decide their own futures. Highly recommended for readers who love historical fiction.

Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Drowsy Town kit by Irene Alexeeva