Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review: The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton




Title: The Faerie Ring
Author: Kiki Hamilton
Genre: Teen Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
ISBN-13 Book: 9780765327222
Source: I received a copy of the ARC for review from Teen [Book] Scene Tours. This is my honest review!


The Faerie RingThe Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is 1871 London, Tiki and her family of orphan children are just barely scraping by with what they can steal.  When Tiki hops onto the boot of the carriage, her only thought is to get away from the man chasing her, but when she finds herself at Buckingham Palace, she thinks that stealing a little food for her family wouldn’t hurt—the royals have plenty more after all.  When she’s spotted in the kitchens, she runs making her way through the maze of the palace.  It is here that the Queen’s ring, first crosses her path.  Tiki steals it hoping to sell it for money for her family, but the ring is more than it appears to be.  It holds the key to a truce between the Royal family and the Faeries.  Now with the ring no longer in royal hands the faeries are seeking the ring to destroy the truce and they will stop at nothing to get it.


At first I was a bit skeptical about this book.  I have read a lot of fairy books of late, and to be honest, I am not a big fairy fan.  This book had a historical aspect though that made it sound intriguing and so I gave it a try.  I am so glad I did.

The Faerie Ring has to be one of my favorite reads this year.  Hamilton does a marvelous job setting the story in the gritty Dickens’ London.  I loved the fact that she includes references to Dickens’ Oliver Twist--it felt like she was paying homage to Dickens with her orphans and their story.  She describes the cold, the dirt, and the places in such detail that you feel like you have been there.

The characters come alive, and are so well depicted that you want to meet them and befriend them.  Their voices and their relationships ring true, and you just want to know more about them and their lives.  Tiki is a wonderful character who cares for her friends and does the best she can to survive in a city where dying on the streets is a real possibility.  She and her family of orphans stick together to help each other and to provide for each other.  And Rieker is just plain charming—I loved him from the first time we met him in the tavern.

From start to finish this book was one I loathed to put down.  Hamilton hooks you from the first page and propels you through the novel.  The pacing is perfect.  She holds your interest no matter what twists or turns the story takes.  She is a master of setting and characterization.

Overall this is a fantastic book that you won’t want to miss.  I fell in love with this story and my only regret is that it had to end.  I want more.   I loved these characters, I loved the adventure, and I loved the story.  A perfect read, start to finish.


View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: Teen Fiction, Paranormal Fiction
Publication Date: September 29, 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
ISBN-13 Book: 9780399256608
Source: I won a copy of the ARC for review from The Reading Date. This is my honest review!


The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1) The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Rory moves to England to spend a year studying at a boarding school in London, she had no idea how much excitement she was in for. New school, new friends, new sports, and most of all, a serial killer in the neighborhood mimicking the killings of the infamous Jack the Ripper make for an interesting start to the school year. When Rory sees a man the police suspect to be the Ripper on the same night another woman is murdered, Rory’s life is turned upside down. First her roommate didn’t see the man, and second he may have turned his sights on Rory.

I love a good ghost story, and who can honestly say that they aren’t fascinated by the story of Jack the Ripper, the serial killer no one has ever identified. Johnson combines these two elements into a page turning story that won’t let you go until the very end.

The characters are well developed. Rory and her friends are believable and likable. Each character has their own story and motivations, and while all of their motivations aren’t revealed, that made the story that much more real.

The setting is dynamite. Rory’s school, Wexford, is near the haunts of Jack the Ripper. Her school is old as is the area of London in which she lives. London has a long history, and ghosts and history go hand in hand.

The pacing is well done, although there are a couple of spots where the story lagged a bit in the middle. This is more than made up for with the quick pacing of the conclusion.

Johnson is an expert at creating mood in this novel. This book definitely has those spine tingling moments when you don’t know what is going to happen next. I loved how she incorporated history into modern events.

Overall, if you like a good ghost story, this would be the book for you. This novel has twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  This book is the first in a proposed trilogy, and I will definitely be reading the next one to see where this story goes.  


View all my reviews

Friday, September 23, 2011

This or That with Faerie Ring Author Kiki Hamilton



The Faerie RingToday I have the pleasure of welcoming Kiki Hamilton to my blog. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading her novel, The Faerie Ring.  I couldn't put the book down.  Just imagine, Dicken's London with charming orphans and malevolent faeries!  The book is one of my favorite fantasies this year!  Check back on September 29th for my full review! 



This or That With Kiki Hamilton

1. Books or Movies?
Books, then I get to hear what the characters are thinking, I can
envision what they really look like and I learn WAY more than I ever do in movies.

2. Chocolate or Something Else?
Always chocolate

3. Spicy or Sweet?
hmmm….that’s a hard one. I think I’d probably choose sweet.

4. Summer, Winter, Fall, or Spring?
Always summer. Though I like the seasons, a lot, I love
summer.

5. Stay at home with family or travel the world?
I’d like to travel the world with my family, but if I had to choose one or the other, I’d definitely stay home with them.

6. Fiction or Non-Fiction Fiction?
I love the idea of unlimited possibilities.

7. Roller Coaster or Carousel?
Roller Coaster

8. Cats, Dogs or Neither?
Dogs. Mine’s asleep on the couch next to me right now.

9. Morning Person or Night Owl?
Well, I used to be a Night Owl in my 20’s and then I had to get up for work all the time so I became a Morning Person, so I guess that’s what I am now. (Though I did just go to the midnight premerie of Harry Potter last night…so for the right reasons I can be a night owl….. )

10. Harry Potter or Twilight?
Harry Potter, of course.

11. Since your book Faerie Ring is a bit of both, time to choose between Historical Fiction or
Fantasy Fiction which one do you prefer reading?
How about Historical Fantasy?

Thank you Kiki for stopping by today!

Don't forget to check out The Faerie Ring which comes out September 27th!  This is one fantasy you don't want to miss!

Follow Friday!

Come and join the fun of the Friday Follow hosted by Parajunkee's View. You can find the instructions and rules on Parajunkee's Follow Friday post.  Happy Hopping!






Question of the Week: Do you have a favorite series that you read over and over again? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep on revisiting it?

I do have a favorite series that I read over and over again.  It is Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness Quartet series.




Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1)In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness, #2)
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness, #3)Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness, #4)


These books were the first that really introduced me to YA fantasy.  I loved that Alanna was such a strong character and that she was willing to risk everything to do what she wants.  I became addicted to these books and read them so many times that they fell apart!  They my comfort reads now.  Whenever I feel sad or like I need a break from everything, I will pick up these books and reread them.  Visit my old friends and this wonderful world that Pierce has created.

What series do you come back to?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Exciting News for Library Lovers and Kindle Owners

Mid-afternoon yesterday it finally happened.  The event that anyone who loves e-books, Kindles, and libraries had been waiting for...Overdrive became Kindle compatible!  Now for the very first time, Kindle owners can look to their libraries for e-books.

We knew it was going to happen for months, we just weren't sure when.  Earlier this month when I attended one of Overdrive's live training webinars, we were told soon.  Earlier this week, that soon turned into a "very soon."  Yesterday it finally happened.

Lucky for us, one of our staff members is a Kindle owner.  Once we got the news, she was the first to try out the new compatibility here at my library.  It was amazing how simple and how smoothly the download was.  It is so much easier than the cumbersome process that Nook and other e-reader users have to go through.  Actually, because it avoids the Adobe registration, it is probably even easier than using the Overdrive app for iPads, android, etc...

This has really thrown us, because up until this point, when someone asked us what e-reader we recommend, we were always telling people not Kindle, because it wasn't Overdrive compatible.  Now not only is the Kindle compatible with both the apps and the devices--it is much easier to use without all the hoops of the adobe registration needed for the other devices or apps.  With a few clicks on your computer you can have a library ebook wirelessly delivered to your Kindle or Kindle app.  Sync your Kindle and you are done.  In fact, it is so simple that if I had an iPad or other tablet device, I would use the Kindle app to get my library e-books rather the Overdrive app--crazy I know.

We have been preparing for the onslaught of Kindle users, buying as many books as we can, but we know it won't be enough.  There will be holds, but there will be a lot more people using library e-books now.  It should be exciting.  

For more information visit Library eBooks now available for Amazon® Kindle on the Overdrive Blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  WOW spotlights forthcoming titles that we absolutely can't wait to read.



Last year when I read Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien, I wasn't sure what to expect.  I read it as part of a book of the month feature for another blog.  What I found was another wonderful dystopian tale, that made me anxious to read what comes next.  So I have waited.  I am anxious to see where this novel will take me.  The blurb sounds so exciting!

Prized (Birthmarked #2)

Title: Prized
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
ISBN:9781596435704
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date:November 8, 2011


Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime.  In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Review: Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

Title: Tender Morsels
Author: Margo Lanagan
Genre: Teen Fiction, Fantasy, Fairy Tale
Publication Date: October 14, 2008
Publisher: Ember
ISBN-13 Book: 9780375843051
Publisher Audio:  Brilliance Audio
ISBN-13 Audio:  9781423396772
Source: I received a copy of the book for review from the publisher for my book award committee. I borrowed  a copy of the audio from my library. This is my honest review!


Tender Morsels
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After an extremely horrifying set of events, Liga is taken away to her own personal heaven, where she lives, learns, and raises her two daughters. After the outside world begins to intrude on Liga’s heaven, she and her daughters must come to terms with the fact that they can’t escape the real world forever.

To be honest this is a really hard review for me to write. On one hand I can admire the exquisite writing, the intricate detail, and the overall amazing quality of the writing in this novel. On the other hand, I must admit that this novel just wasn’t for me. Truth be told I would not have picked this one up, had it not been for the fact it was on my required reading list for the committee.

Lanagan’s fantasy is so gritty in nature, the events that lead Liga to create her own “heaven” are so horrific, that it is hard to read past those opening events. What she has built though, is a remarkable dark fantasy. In the world of truth, Lanagan has created world where women without proper families are victims, to the vicious natures of unscrupulous men. To escape from that horrific world, Liga creates her own heaven where she is accepted, and safe to raise her two daughters.

The audio version is done by Brilliance Audio. It is narrated by Anne Flosnik and Michael Page. While Flosnik did an admirable job voicing the myriad of characters, I felt that Page’s performance was too similar. One character sounded like the other. I could not tell the difference between Collaby Dought or Ramstrong. In Page’s narration the all the men sounded similar. I loved the accent he used, and the robustness of his voice, I just wish there had been a bit more differentiation between characters.

Overall, the writing in this novel is extremely well done, but the story itself just didn’t appeal to this reader. Check this one out if you like dark fairy tales, and don’t mind them being a little on the gritty side.  Definitely a read for mature readers.


View all my reviews

Monday, September 19, 2011

Saundra Mitchell Visit to My Library and Giveaway!

Yesterday, my library had the pleasure of hosting YA Author Saundra Mitchell.  If you have never heard her speak before, I highly recommend it.  She is a very interesting person, and had some very good insight on writing for teens.  During her talk she mentioned four books that she found very influential as she was growing up.

Here are the four books:

Bridge to Terabithia
The Outsiders
The Silver Kiss




We had a great time and Saundra's experiences were very interesting.  I really want to thank her for dropping by our library and talking about her books and writing with us. Thank you Saundra!  I had a blast!

Since this was such a wonderful experience for me, I thought I would share it with you too!  I am giving away a SIGNED copy of Saundra's The Vespertine!

Details:

  • Contest ends 10/1/11 at 12:01 EST.
  • US entries only
  • Must be 13 years of age or older.
  • Not responsible for items lost or damaged in the mail.  I will pay for delivery confirmation.

Sign up using Rafflecopter below!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Have You Seen the New Cover for Veronica Roth's Insurgent?

I don't often post about covers, but I just saw this EW article about Veronica Roth's Insurgent.  I can't tell you how excited I am for this book to come out.  I loved Divergent and found the book impossible to put down.  I know I must wait until May of 2012, but now I have something to look at while I wait!

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)

Isn't it great! 

If you have time drop by EW's website for the article--it has a great interview with Veronica Roth who has a great sense of humor! :)



What do you think of this cover? 

Friday Five: Guy Reads

I was brainstorming fun activities to do on my blog and I thought perhaps I should try my own type of feature or maybe make it a meme.  I know developing book lists is often hard, but with so many wonderful readers out there, I thought, hey what if we do it together.

So this will be the Friday Five.  I will list a subject and you will list your favorite books or maybe articles you found on that subject.  Be sure to let readers know if your picks are YA or Adult!

This week's subject is Favorite books for boys!  (All five of mine are YA)

  1. Ashfall by Mike Mullin (Okay, I know this one isn't out yet, but it is great!  Definitely worthy of this list
  2. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan--I love this entire series, and it is a great book to recommend to boys--especially with a first chapter titled "I Accidentally Vaporized by Pre-Algebra Teacher."
  3. Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz--This fast fun read is action packed and hooks those readers right off.
  4. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins--I know that the main character in this book is a girl, but the action and the pacing definitely makes it one that appeals to both genders.
  5. Shift by Jennifer Bradbury--This is one I don't hear about often, but I really enjoyed.  It has mystery, biking, adventure, and some great travel.

So how about you?  What are your five favorite books with guy appeal?  Share them here in the comments, or make up your own post and add it to the linky.

   

Read Your Own Books Read-a-thon #SIRYOBM


I am participating in the Read Your Own Books Read-a-thon hosted by Monica at The Bibliophilic Blog.  If you are interested in joining stop by Monica's blog for the details!

I have many books to finish, and so little time.  Lately, I have found myself not wanting to read--probably because I am having a really hard time getting through one of the books on my required reading list for work.  Some of these are books I have to read for work, one is a review request, and the others are ones I want to read.  So here are the books I hope to work on in no particular order:

Tender Morsels
The Night Circus
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Remembrance 
I don't know how far I will get, I haven't had much luck with my reading this week.  I will personally be happy if I finish one book.  What do you think?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Saundra Mitchell is Coming to My Library This Weekend!




Sunday, Sept. 18 • 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at KHCPL Main


Saundra Mitchell, author of The Vespertine (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) and Shadowed Summer (Random House, 2009) will be at the KHCPL Main at 220 N. Union St. Sunday, September 18th from 2:30-4:30 P.M. for a book signing, talk, and question and answer session.

Join us for an exciting afternoon while we chat with award-winning young adult (YA) author Saundra Mitchell. She will talk about her books and the writing experience, and will answer questions from the audience.

The Vespertine (The Vespertine, #1)The Vespertine is the story of a teen girl who discovers she has an unusual ability to see the future while visiting relatives in 1889 Baltimore.  It is a gripping piece of historical fiction and fantasy.  It is a 2011 Amazon Summer Reading List Selection and received excellent reviews from VOYA and Kirkus.  A spinoff novel, The Springsweet, will be published on April 17, 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.



Shadowed Summer 
Shadowed Summer was a 2009 ALAN pick, a 2009 Junior Library Guild Selection, and a 2010 Edgar Nominee for Best YA Mystery.  Shadowed Summer takes place in the small town of Ondine, Louisiana.  Fourteen-year-old Iris uncovers family secrets when she conjures up the ghost of a boy missing for decades and decides to solve the mystery of his disappearance





Saundra Mitchell resides in Indianapolis.  I attended a couple of her signings in Indy and she is an excellent speaker.  She can talk about writing and publishing as well as about her experiences in the process of getting her novel published.  This is an excellent opportunity for teens to meet a published author and ask questions.  I hope you will pass this information on to your students.

You may bring books to have signed or purchase books at the event.  Hardcovers of The Vespertine will be $14 and paperbacks of Shadowed Summer  will be $7.  Cash only please.
Coming Soon:

The Springsweet

Monday, September 12, 2011

Character Interview: Zak from Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey



Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Zak from Mary Lindsey's Shattered Souls to my blog.  Zak is Lenzi's boyfriend. We first meet Zak at the beginning of the novel when he takes Lenzi out for her birthday.  Shattered Souls is a haunting and remarkable novel about ghosts and past lives.  This book is a page turner that had me on the edge of my seat.

 Interview with Zak from Shattered Souls

1. First of all, Zak, welcome to my blog.  Tell me, what was your first thought when you met Lenzi?

Hot. This chick is hot. My first thought for sure.

2. What attracted you to Lenzi?

Well, at first it was what I said above—she’s hot, but once we talked a little bit, I realized we were a lot alike. She hurts deep down and needs a friend—just like me.

3. Some of your behavior around Lenzi seems questionable, for instance, the night when you went to the cemetery with Lenzi you started drinking and had too much? Why were you drinking so much that night?

Look. I’m not in high school anymore and I’m living on my own. I like to have a good time and unwind a bit, you know? It’s not like I do it all the time. You sound like Lenzi. She hassles me all the time about this. I’ve got this under control, okay?

4. I know you have had some troubles of your own in the past. Can you tell us more about your family and your past?

They weren’t my troubles, really. My old man died of an overdose when I was just a kid. I don’t really remember him. My mom said I was too much like him and kicked me out when I finished high school last year. I’m not like him though. I’m not.

5. Why are you so threatened by Alden's relationship with Lenzi?

I’m not threatened. He’s just some punk guy she used to know from Galveston. She says it’s no big deal. Hey, what’s he got that I don’t?

6. Do you trust Lenzi?

I do. She says I don’t. She says I deny stuff to hide my feelings sometimes. What I don’t trust is that Alden guy. He’s totally into her and she doesn’t even see it. I just want to help her. He wants something else. She needs to stay away from him.
Thank you Zak for joining me today!

Shattered Souls is a book you don't want to miss.  Don't believe me?  Check the praise for Shattered Souls.

About Shattered Souls
A thrilling debut story of death, love, destiny and danger

Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

Advance Praise for Shattered Souls
"Drawing readers into a world where the past holds secrets that can offer salvation or destruction, with spirits haunting every nook and cranny, Mary Lindsey crafts a tale that is frightening, beautiful, and wonderfully memorable."
                          --Andrea Cremer, New York Times bestselling author of Nightshade

For More Information:
http://www.marylindsey.com 


About the Author

Mary Lindsey's debut young adult novel, SHATTERED SOULS, is scheduled for release December 8, 2011 from Philomel/Penguin.

Having received a B.A. in English literature with a minor in drama from the University of Houston, she currently teaches acting to children and teens at a private studio in Houston, Texas.

Mary lives with her husband, three kids, two dogs, her daughter's pet rats, an Australian Bearded Dragon, and dozens of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.

She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette from the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Remember 9/11

I don't think any of us, who are old enough to remember will ever forget where we were when 9/11 happened. I was at work, when one of the girls in the training room came out and told us a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. Our first reaction was that he had to be some kind of accident, because at that time we were still innocent. We thought we were safe on U.S. soil, and that no one would or could attack us here. When the second plane hit, we knew we were wrong. Someone had just attacked our nation, and stolen our safety.

Ten years later, we are no longer the same nation. We have the scars and the sacrifices to prove what we have been through. We are more alert, more suspicious, and always on guard for the next attack. We have lost much, but we have learned that as a nation we can endure and that we have the strength to go on.

I will never forget where I was that day, or how it felt seeing my homeland attacked. I will never forget all the sacrifices that were made to save those trapped inside those buildings, and the sacrifices of those who saved lives by giving up their own. No matter how far we travel from that day ten years ago, this day will always be part of us. Part of our sorrow and part of our strength.

Today I pray for those who lost their lives, those who saved lives, and those who survived. I pray for the families of all the victims of 9/11.

I will always remember.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Review: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Title: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Genre: Teen Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
ISBN-13 Book: 9781416990659
Source: I received a copy of the book for review from the publisher for my book award committee. I purchased a copy of the audio from audible.com.  This is my honest review!

Amy & Roger's Epic DetourAmy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amy isn’t happy about leaving her home in California and moving across the country to Conniticutt.  She isn’t happy that she’s been deserted by her mother, her brother is in therapy, and now she is expected to ride across country with a virtual stranger.  But when Roger suggest making this trip into a real road trip, Amy takes him up on the offer.  As they travel across the country, Amy confronts the reasons she is leaving home and the guilt she feels after the death of her father.

This novel is a real road trip and I loved that.  Amy and Roger take detours, backtrack, and even find the Loneliest Road in America.  Along the way she collects facts, and adds to a scrapbook of her travels.

This book is a great summer read.  Even if you go nowhere this summer, this book will take you to destinations you haven’t visited complete with song mixes.  While the heart of this novel centers on grief and guilt, it doesn’t get bogged down by that.  Yes you know Amy feels guilty, but she is also learning how to live again. 

I tried the audio version of this book, but found that the print version was better suited to the book.  In the print version you have pictures, scrapbook pages, receipts, and other momentos that don’t translate well into an audio version of the story.  In audio it comes off sounding like an inventory rather than a scrapbook.  The book is narrated by Suzy Jackson.  I really enjoy her narration, but the book itself isn’t formatted the best for audio.  No fault of the narrator’s, this book is just better suited to reading. 

Overall this is a fun story with a serious subject at its center and an amazing adventure.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Book Review: Starcrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Title: Starcrossed
Author: Elizabeth C. Bunce
Genre: Teen Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: October 1, 2010
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
ISBN-13 Book: 9780545136051
Source: I received a copy for review from the publisher for my book award committee. This is my honest review!


Starcrossed (Thief Errant, #1)Starcrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Greenmen were after her.  They had already killed her partner, and now they were looking for her.  Digger, a petty thief needed to get out of the city, and when a party of young rich nobs come along and offer her a way out, who could blame her for seeking safety among them.  But as she grows closer to the young Merista Nemair, she finds that the safety of that household may be tenuous at best.  When she is caught stealing and blackmailed into spying on her host’s family, Digger wants nothing more than a way out.  Unfortunately, it may be too late.


Bunce’s fantasy world is one of intrigue, war, and religious revolution.  The king has banned magic and worshipers of the goddess Sar.  Years ago, a war raged between the King and the Sarists, but when the King defeated the Sarist, it became dangerous for any of her worshipers. 

I usually enjoy fantasy, but politics and religion reign in this novel.  It was hard stepping into this world and finding it so unfamiliar.  I didn’t understand either the politics or the religion, but I knew that it would result in a complicated explanations. 

As a character, I found Digger interesting.  She has a past that she is hiding and you really want to know what her secret is.  Unfortunately, I found her behavior somewhat irritating—why would you steal from the people who just saved you from death or worse? 

This book is the first of a series, which will hopefully continue Digger’s adventures, but I am not sure that I will pick it up.  Although the book was full of lavish detail, and wonderful settings, its plot was overly complex and the beginning was very hard to follow.  I had a very hard time starting this book despite its opening action sequence.

Overall, this is a good fantasy that will appeal to those willing to plod through the politics.  Perhaps the second book will offer more.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adult Book Review: The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard

Title: The Scent of Rain and Lightning
Author: Nancy Pickard
Genre: Adult Fiction, mystery
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN-13 Book: 9780345471017
Source: I purchased a copy for review from Barnes and Noble

The Scent of Rain and LightningThe Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When Jody Linder's three uncles arrive on her doorstep with the news that the prison sentence of the man who killed her parents 23 years ago has been commuted, Jody is furious. But when people of her small town start discussing the crime and start saying that Billy Crosby wasn't guilty, Jody wants to know more. What secrets does her small town hold, and what is her own family keeping from her?

A year ago, a sales person at the Barnes and Noble in Valporaiso, IN told me that she had just finished this book and loved it. I looked at it then, read the first chapter, thought about purchasing it for my nook, and then put it back. I didn't have time for an adult book--I had too much that I had to read for work. I remember mentioning this book to my mother-in-law a few weeks after that. I told her what the sales person told me, and what I had read about the book on Goodreads, and about the chapter I had read. It was enough to interest her and for her to pick it up. Little did I know she would fall in love with the book, and then go on to seek out everything else Nancy Pickard had written--at the same time asking me if I had yet finished this book. Over a year later, I finally have.

Last weekend when I went down for my conference in Indianapolis, I stopped by Barnes and Noble and picked up a paperback copy of this book. I didn't know when I was going to get around to reading it, but I knew I should soon. My mother-in-law wants to recommend it to her reading group and she wanted to know what I thought of the book. Little did I know that the story would hook me so that I would finish the book in two days.

I am so used to being able to predict the endings of mysteries and TV shows that I was actually taken aback when I finished this novel. Not only did Pickard surprise me, she completely blindsided me with her ending. I can't remember the last time that has happened and I loved every minute of it!

I love how she worked the setting and the storm into her novel. Not only was there a real storm, there was a storm going on in the lives of her characters. You could feel the storm brewing as the story progressed, and you never knew what was going to happen next.

Mild spoiler coming:


S


P


O


I


L


E


R


I did feel that the relationship in the novel between Collin and Jody felt a bit forced. I found it hard to believe that two people with that much history between them could get together, and there was never any support to back up the relationship in the story. You are just kind of told that he loves her and she might love him with out any reason given for those feelings.

Overall this was a fun read, and one that left me pleasantly surprised. I was happy to not have predicted the ending to this one.


View all my reviews


This book reminded me a little of Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts.

Shoot the Moon

My Weekend in Books

Hope you all had a nice Labor Day weekend. This year I was blessed with a four day weekend, but that didn't stop it from flying by. We had plans to visit our favorite fair in Ohio this weekend, but the weather wouldn't cooperate. It was too hot Friday and Saturday, rained on Sunday, and then we had to head home on Monday. Still, we had a good time hanging out with our family.

I finished three books this weekend. Two of them from my reading list and one that my mother-in-law has been wanting me to read. I actually picked up that third one because I hadn't pack a 3rd book from my reading list--I didn't expect to finish the two I brought with me.

Here's what I finished over the weekend:

Starcrossed (Thief Errant, #1)
Starcrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour








Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
The Scent of Rain and Lightning








The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard









Reviews to come!

What did you finish this weekend?   How was your Labor Day?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Into the Past with Amber Argyle Author of Witch Song [Teen Book Scene Tours]


Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Amber Argyle to my blog.  Her book Witch Song is a compelling and exciting fantasy set in a world where the magic of witches control the seasons and where one witch has turned against the others, destroying her own kind.  I literally couldn't put it down.  Don't believe me? Check out my review for Witch Song.

In the meantime, help me welcome Amber while she shares with us some of her favorite books from her past!


Into the Past with Amber Argyle: Her Favorite Books From Ages 5, 11, 15 and 19.

At 5 I loved nursery rhymes (the Cow Jumped Over the Moon, Little Bo Peep, Humpty Dumpty(etc), Goldie Locks, Little Red Riding Hood, Bambi, Berenstain Bears, Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, and Scuffy the Red Painted Tugboat to name a few.

At 11, I read the Little House on the Prairie Series, Babysitter’s Club, Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew, and a bit of historical fiction.

At fifteen I didn’t read quite as much for pleasure as I was so busy with school, rodeo, basketball, honor society, etc. So most of my reading was stuff for English class. Some that I remember are Red Badge of Courage, All Quiet on the Western Front, Heart of Darkness, Wuthering Heights, The Grapes of Wrath, Animal Farm, Shakespeare, Huckleberry Finn, etc. For pleasure, I read a lot of historical fiction.

Nineteen was much the same. My major was English lit with an emphasis on teaching, so I read a lot of literary fiction. I remember Shakespeare, Dante, Willa Cather, etc. Honestly, I try to block it all out. My teachers told me this was great fiction. That genre fiction didn’t count. But the plots were often sluggish or even nonexistent. Character development sometimes went in reverse. Prose was overbearing and overdone. I didn’t think they were great books. But my all time favorite class was young adult literature. It only reinforced my desire to write books instead of tearing them apart. Books that focused on story.

It wasn’t until my mother-in-law gave my husband a fantasy book after college that I finally found my niche.


Thank you so much for dropping by today Amber! I hope everyone will pick up a copy of Witch Song--it is definitely one of my favorites this year!

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