Description from Deseret Book.com "What happens when your imaginary friend turns into your imaginary enemy? New York Times bestselling author Brandon Mull and No.1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Brandon Dorman team up in this new children’s picture book that explores the meaning of friendship and imagination. Like many kids his age, Chad has an imaginary friend. His friend was Pingo. The two would fight ninjas, brew magical potions, and float in zero gravity. Each day was a fun-filled adventure, until Chad decided he was too old to have an imaginary friend. But Pingo wasn’t ready to leave Chad alone, and started tormenting him and causing all kinds of mischief. Can this once inseparable duo ever be friends again? Paired with charming illustrations, Pingo is a delightful read-out-loud picture book for children ages 3 and up.
Meet Pingo... complete with devil horns and polka dotted boxers. And get used to him because he's not about to leave. He's an imaginary friend turned to the dark side after being unsuccessfully dismissed by his owner. Pingo comes back playing pranks and leading Pirate raids in nighttime dreams. As Chad grows into an old man, he misses his side kick and they begin a whole new set of travels together. You'll be giggling along with your children as the mischief is never ending!
Pingo has swiftly become a family favorite. How clever it is to see the floating Fablehaven book in Chad's room during Zero gravity fun. Brandon Dorman's illustrations are out of this world! Pair his talent with Brandon Mull's writing and you have a winning combination. My children were entranced with this little troll and his bright yellow cover.
I have been anticipating this book since I very first heard author Myra McEntire announce it on twitter, and can I just say what is there not to love about Hourglass? It is a-ma-zing. From the cover to the first page which contains my favorite quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, to the end which left me reeling with a mind full of impossible possibilities.
Snarky, sarcastic Emerson has just moved from a boarding school in Arizona to the deep south town of Ivy Springs. She's sent there to her brother/guardian Thomas, who is a well known architect in the area and his wife Dru. Thomas' historic renovation sites are layered in history and as a result begin to trigger visions that only Emerson can see of people from the past.
Enter in Michael Weaver, a secretive and angtsy consultant hired by her Thomas from a foundation called Hourglass. Michael's hired under the agreement that things are to stay strictly business and must not get personal, But not getting personal could prove dangerous for these two. And things get even more complicated when Emerson has to pick between the three men who suddenly take an interest in her: Michael who is fully understanding, Kaleb who is sexy-bad but offers more than meets eye, or Jack- the man who Emerson's not even sure is real.
Oh my Myra. I was messed up (in a good way) after reading Hourglass. She masterfully explores the issues of grief and depression with skill I have never before seen in young adult fiction. McEntire takes a heroine from a broken fragile past and gives her some black belt hard core sass. Then she adds in Southern charm, and supernatural sci-fi elements. This is a book that will surely soar to the tops of the bestseller list as the best in time slip YA romance. Hourglass struck me deeply and had me in tears which very few books have ever had power to do. It's gutsy, intelligent and inspiring with a voice you will never forget. I can't wait for you all to read it!
To learn more about the book Hourglass visit Myra McEntire's site. Then be sure to check back here at Fire and Ice both tomorrow and May 24th- the day of her release for more Hourglass inspired giveways.
This was my favorite book in the Iron Fey series. Amazing! I cried more than once. Beautiful writing Julie. You have done it again! Full review comingThis was my favorite book in the Iron Fey series. Amazing! I cried more than once. Beautiful writing Julie. You have done it again! Full review coming soon. Ash has my heart...can not wait for the Iron Knight!
Ellie is your typical 17 year old teenager except for the nightmares where she is fighting something dark and ugly. As her birthday approaches, a mysterious boy names Will turns up on the scene and she can't quite figure out if he is a nuts stalker or someone she should remember. Things around town get even more strange when her favorite teacher is found dead and the nightmares become reality. Ellie is much more than an average teen...she is the Preliator, reborn each time she dies to fight the creatures of the Grim. Wielding khpoesh swords and angel fire as an ancient warrior, her life become filled with hunting the reaper and trying to contain the forces of evil. Will, is much more than the dark and brooding young man watching her from afar. He is her Guardian, a tragic hero, sworn to put Ellie first and to protect her with his life over and over again. He is sent to reawaken her powers and her memories of past lives.
I truly enjoyed the history behind Will and Ellie. Will was my favorite character of the book: a conflicted character with a love he can't pursue. I admired his loyalty and selflessness. I admit I had a really hard time connecting with Ellie's character and growing to like her. The discrepancy between who she was as a teenager and who she is as the Preliator was too big of a stretch for me. And I couldn't buy the big reveal of her identity in the end.
Sadly, there was a lot that didn't work for me in this book. First and foremost was the violence. It was far above and beyond what we normally see in YA fiction and this would definitely be rated R if it were played out word for word on the screen. There were times I would describe the fight scenes are gory and unnecessary. There were also unfinished questions for me that I hope are addressed more fully in the sequel. What is up with Ellie's dad? Is he some possessed person now working for the dark side? He's downright abusive and the change is drastic from the way he was when Ellie was a child. Also, the angel mythology seemed to come out of the blue near the resolution of the book and I couldn't swallow it.
I'm on the fence about whether I would read the sequel. Will is a big draw for me, but it's not a book I would run out and buy. I wouldn't recommend it it for any child under 17 simply for the violence. As far as other content, there is brief mention of underage drinking and some domestic violence. I give it three stars. Angelfire is action packed with plenty of tension and an interesting premise, but a little too dark and gnarly for my taste.
Special thanks to Net Galley and HarperCollins for the preview....more
Drought describes a group of congregants led by Sula Prosser, a woman raised by a trapper father and no mother. Soon after Sula falls in love with Darwin West and becomes engaged to him near the year 1820, her father returns home from the woods with a man named Otto following him. Sula's love for Darwin dies when she meets the new stranger whose blood has the power to heal and prolong life. But Otto disappears, leaving nothing more than a box behind and the child in Sula's belly.
By now she has a following of people receiving weekly communion. Darwin West turns against Sula and her congregants, forcing six dozen men, women and children leave town and flee for the mountains. Their hope is to begin a new way of life in cabins by the lake. But their peace is short lived as the land they inhabit is owned by West. His revenge over love lost is fierce and soon the followers are enslaved by an evil landowner and his hired men called overseers.
Sula's community are harvesters of water, spending their days scraping drops with a spoon from living leaves into pewter cups. They remain trapped in time, aging and growth, away from civilization and forced to work each day under drought conditions. If they fail to meet quota for the day they are refused food and beaten.
The story is told from the point of view of Sula's daughter Ruby. She carries with her the ability to heal with her blood as did her father Otto. But, Ruby is different. She is determined and independent. After all the brutality she has witnessed, Ruby is done waiting for someone to come save the congregants from Darwin's hand. She's ready to fight.
A newly hired overseer named Ford shows interest in Ruby, he gives her hope in change. She is forced to make a choice between the life she has always known or the mystery that lies beyond the fence. Ford shows Ruby that she has an alternative. A new beginning is waiting for her. Will she continue to follow her upbringing or something that goes against all she has been taught?
Bachorz's writing is riveting and deep. The society she portrays is reminiscent of modern day groups we read about but never live amongst. Her characters truly believe in their hearts, that one day they will be saved, all the while living in daily abuse. Drought brought up issues of faith, but it's not the kind of faith I would consider main stream. It is faith in a human with supernatural abilities, with a cult like feeling. This fictional story had me questioning how many hidden communities exist today held under the hand of brutal leaders amongst religious offshoots and factions. Drought is a dystopian story that will leave an impression.
Readers should check into Pam's site where she shows photos of the childhood camping spot that inspired Sula's community and the reasons she chose for naming the main character Ruby.
Drought is fast paced and I finished it quickly. It is suspenseful and the author's writing is brilliant. Bachorz paints such a living picture of the surroundings, the beliefs, the actions and the personalities of each character you feel you are watching events unravel firsthand. The ending is a shocker. Be prepared for a slew of gut wrenching, nightmarish moments ever present in the story. This is not a book I would recommend for children or tweens as there is vividly described and severe human violence. There are a few minor swear words and inferences to sex. Overall, I think the themes are better suited for those 16 and older.
If you enjoyed Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan you may also enjoy Drought. It's a book that left me thinking and pondering the conditions some humans have and will endure.... wanting to know more. ...more
The Near Witch is a bedtime story remembered in fragments passed down from father to daughter to sister. Victoria Schwab uses rich poetic folklore to lure readers into the village of Near which is closed off and has it's suspicions of anyone unusual. The villagers live in fear which is heightened as a stranger blows into town and small children begin disappearing without a trace. The stranger, Cole is indeed mysterious and draws the curiosity of main character Lexi. She is unlike the other women of her time. Lexi is a tracker and feels the moor around her as very alive. She honors the memory of her father and the land -accepting those shunned with the respect she was taught. But when her own family is placed in danger Lexi will step up to find the kidnapper.
A slow building atmospheric tale, this is a book that starts out subtly and ends in thick, creepy tension. It's clean and suited for middle readers graduating to YA. With it's old world fairy tale feel, readers who enjoyed Hansel and Gretel, Little Red or more currently, The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell will also love The Near Witch. Victoria Schwab can sure spin a wonderful tale not to be read alone or in the dark! Thanks to Netgalley and Hyperion Children's for the sneak peek. And to Ms. Schwab for helping me create photo images and jewelry to match the mood of her book. She's a lovely person and what a stunningly strong debut!
If you would like a chance to win a TNW inspired 8x12 photo print from LittleRedReads on Etsy, just comment below with your favorite item in our collection based on The Near Witch. ...more
The first time I saw this book on the shelf at Deseret Book I have to admit I put it back. I just wasn't sure I was ready to read another book dealingThe first time I saw this book on the shelf at Deseret Book I have to admit I put it back. I just wasn't sure I was ready to read another book dealing with eating disorders. Then after reading Matched I decided I wanted to delve into more of Ally's past titles. Being Sixteen resonated with me on so many levels. It hit deep within my core and it's one of my top three favorite books of the year. I found myself in tears several times while reading as the message breathes truth and hope. Allyson Condie takes on eating disorders with grace and style. Her voice is poetic, and real. Here's one of my favorite passages from Juliet, who struggles with isolation and disappointment in the wake of her sister's disorder.
"On one level I was ashamed of how weak I was, of how I'd do anything to avoid feeling hurt. But on another level I felt almost strong, a little proud of the way I'd cut off the parts of my life that made me feel too much sadness." p. 124
This is a book I would wholeheartedly recommend to every Young Woman I know as well as her parents. Many crucial facets of diagnosis, treatment and the long road to recovery from anorexia and bulimia are addressed. Two sister's struggles and growing pains are woven beautifully into the pages showing that even those from strong functional families have life altering problems.
Being Sixteen explores the effects of an eating disorder on loved ones and family as well and how easily faith in Heavenly Father can dim, to later be rekindled. Thank you so much to Deseret Book for sending me this book for review. It is one that I will forever remember. Five stars plus. ...more
Sarah is a college freshman dropped off by her completely self-absorbed neglectful parents to an apartment for her first experience living away from home. Roommate one is missing a face because it is constantly stuck to her boyfriend and roommate two does not talk. Good thing there's her art history class...the reason she came to school in the first place. Best friend Chel forwarded her phone pics of the perfect TA last year and Sarah is convinced he could surely be her story book hero. So when Ben, aka Adonis, starts to show interest Sarah is confused. Surely things couldn't be as they seem. Is he or isn't he flirting?
The main heroine has flawed self-esteem and can't seen to see what is right in front of her face, which I found funny up until the very last chapters, then it got to be a bit much. She is described as smart, but sometimes I wondered. I love that Sarah is not a picture perfect Barbie doll type. She has curves, out of control curls and a quirky personality. Ben, the main male isn't perfect either, but he IS kind and genuine. I have to give him kudos for his honesty and for walking away when his affections and efforts weren't reciprocated. He is sincere and down to earth. I found myself pulling for him.
Becca Wilhite kept me thoroughly entertained and her books are titles I will gladly pass on to my daughters. Thanks so much to Shadow Mountain and Deseret Book for sending me a copy of the book for review.
3.5 stars Hanging By The Thread is an action packed page turner, perfect for those who read Tom Clancey. Mr. Anderson teaches important lessons in freedom and the Constitution. He also offers readers a tension building interesting plot. His style reminds me of a book ready to be made into movie- with the story a cross between Mission Impossible and Air Force One. An uncovered conspiracy threatens those who find it. It's a race against the clock to get "The Thread" out into the open before someone else's life is forfeit. Fans of financial independence and students of American politics will especially enjoy the lecture series in the final pages...interesting and intelligent writing with teachings that may change the course of America as we know it.
Every once in a while a book takes me completely by surprise and I close the pages with a smile on my face. The Fourth Nephite Series is one4.5 stars
Every once in a while a book takes me completely by surprise and I close the pages with a smile on my face. The Fourth Nephite Series is one I now have my eye on, awaiting book two. Here are a few of the many reasons I loved the first book, The Fourth Nephite:
1) The cover. The top half of the front page is gold metallic paper with rusty holes, like the golden plates and the rest of the cover illustration is perfect.
2) The author. I have met Jeffrey and his wife and two book signings and decided it was time to read his books. They are wonderful people who sit together at their booths and engage fans.
3) The scenes are places I'm familiar with. It's fun to hear of tunnels beneath Salt Lake City and travel back in time to the thick woods of Palmyra where we visited as a youth and an adult.
4) The message is positive and interesting for both teenagers and adults. Common questions and doubts about the early history of the Mormon church are answered through Kaleo's adventures. He learns that knowledge and faith must work together as a key.
5) The author's notes were my favorite part of The Fourth Nephite. I love that Jeff uses real historical facts and names in his scenes. I wish he would have written more. When Joseph Smith speaks his own story to Kaleo, endnotes or footnotes would be a useful reference for teens or others not familiar with his quoted words.
6) The writing mixes fantasy with reality in a tasteful way. I am one who usually runs far far away from series like this. But I was drawn in to Jeffrey's writing, his characters and the quest of Kaleo. I will be reading the entire series and one day when my children are a little older we'll read it together.
7) The journalistic pages written at the beginning of each chapter by main hero Kaleo bring us back to the present thoughts of an every day average teenager and show the changes in his personality as he learns the truth for himself as a first hand witness.
The Mima Journals Book One is an incredible historical fiction piece based on the author's great great great Grandmother, Jemima (Mima). It begins in Wooden Box, Leicestershire England in January 1845 as Mima's mother has decided to accept the Mormon faith and be baptized. Mima and her mother are at odds with each other because Mima cannot comprehend how their Anglican roots could so easily be left behind. Soon after her mother's conversion the family is forced to leave their home, Providence House. Both board the Parthenon a ship headed for Nauvoo, leaving behind all they have ever known to join the Mormon settlement in the United States.
Aboard the ship Mima meets and befriends a young mother who herself is not a Mormon, traveling with her husband and they strike up a deep relationship. Questions of belief and loyalty are out in the open and Mima grapples with the weight of her mother's decision to join the Saints. She also meets a handsome fiddler named Will Fardon. Mima must find her voice while sailing the treacherous seas and learn to sing again though she feels an outsider. The scenes with Will are my favorite tidbits of the story as he and Mima make harmony amidst unrest.
Part Two of The Water Is Wide is set in Nauvoo, Illinois in May 1845. Tension in the area is high when Mima and her mother arrive in "Zion." Camps and towns are burned, mobs descend and homes are lost. Ultimately, the duo is uprooted and leave behind business, a promising singing career and the few friends they have made to travel West as pioneers. There are a few more stops along the way in parts 2 and 3, plus a certain someone who joins in their travels.
Marianne Monson's writing is immersing and beautiful. Years of research, family history, and stories give life to the main character Mima and the trials she and her mother must endure. I really like that this novel was written from the daughter's point of view as she is not a member of the new faith. We see the questions and persecutions converts and family members faced in England and on the Frontier. Mima's singing and passion for music is a strong undercurrent, and her beginnings of belief are inspiring.
"Music is like water," I said, drawing close to him.
"The melody is like the surface of the eater, easily seen. The notes and rhythm are like the hidden currents, the sandbars, and the murky depths below. But the whole thing pulls you forward in one direction leading you on a journey." p.210
Poetic passages with bits of actual songs made the story so much more alive for me. I will treasure it as an example of how family history meets fiction to create an ancestor's masterpiece. Book One will be enjoyed by both members of the Mormon church and those not of the Mormon faith. Anyone intrigued by vocal music, or family history will be swept away in The Water is Wide. It's foundation is solid and beautifully laid out. I am anxiously awaiting book two and thank Deseret Book for forwarding this one one to me. You'll want to be introduced to Marianne Monson's Mima and her fiddler friend Will.
Not really my cup of tea. I read the previous novel with the same characters "Eyes of A Stranger" but for some reason this time around had a hard time connecting with the protagonist Autumn and her love interests. The plot felt a little predictable since it ended in much the same way as its predecessor. I was just too disconnected from the characters and the plot involving a commune, didn't click with me.
But don't let me deter your reading. There are lots of really good rating out there on this book :)...more
The False Princess was a pleasant surprise for me. I picked it up expecting just another fairy tale and finished it thinking, "I REALLY like this book." Eilis O'Neal is a strong storyteller. First off, I'm glad the cover image for the final book is different from the first ARC cover which I didn't care for much. This one is much more appealing. (My copy looks similiar to the CD cover image) Despite my initial hesitation, once I got past the first page of The False Princess I did not it down.
The fantasy begins with Nalia, princess of Thorvaldor and her childhood friend Kiernan seeking for a hidden gate in the surrounding palace walls. Nalia is sixteen, quick to trip over herself, shy and some what quiet. Kiernan, her sidekick is a tease, quick witted and constantly happy. The two are inseparable. That is,until, the King and Queen make an announcement that Nalia is not really the princess but merely a stand in- an imposter, switched at birth. Nalia's role was to protect the real princess who lies hidden away to avoid a prophecy that she would be killed. Now Nalia must step down from her acting role and become nothing more than a mere commoner, Sinda Azaway.
Sinda is pushed from King's court to live with her aunt in the tiny village of Treb. Her one living relative is cold without affection for Sinda. Feeling completely alone, Sinda turns to a local boy Tyr with his "unruffled smoothness and silky voice." All the while Sinda has two new emotions raging inside of her. A force welling up that she does not understand a longing for what she left behind in the city...Kiernan. If he is truly just a friend why did she feel so conflicted?
"But Kiernan and I weren't like that, I thought, confused. We were just...friends, even if we had been friends so long that neither of us could remember a time when we weren't. Even if we were so close we could sometimes finish each other's sentences or say a joke in the instant before the other did,. Even if, every time I thought of living a life without him it was like stepping of into darkness with no lantern and no chance of very finding one again." p. 49
Sinda's inner conflict plus a breach of trust by village boy Tyr lead her back into the city of her royal upbringing- Vivanskari. There a dangerous plot to usurp the King's power and crown yet another false princess are unfurling. Who is the real heir to the throne? Can Sinda resolve her feelings of inadequacy to save her kingdom?
There are so many twists that you'll be reeling trying to keep all of characters straight. The one constant through the plot is Kiernan. He is a ray of sunshine. He stays with Sinda through all of her travels and is faithful to the end. I thought the plot was well paced and characters were interesting. Though I will say so many Princesses left little room for fully developed personas. I at times had a hard time identifying with Sinda because of her constant lake of confidence and blindness to Kiernan's feelings. Her doubtful thoughts became a bit repetitive for me hence the 4.5 stars.
Overall, thought I was moved by O'Neal's writing and the sweet spark of romance that develops. The False Princess is a winning pick for tween and teens who read fantasy. It's a good match for readers who enjoyed Shannon Hale, Brightly Woven by Alex Bracken and The Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry. I will be picking up anything else written by Eilis O'Neal and will pass this book on to my children. Thanks to Egmont for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
I tried three times to finish the book, but got confused with so much going on with the mythology and numerous worlds. I found myself confused. OtherI tried three times to finish the book, but got confused with so much going on with the mythology and numerous worlds. I found myself confused. Other reviews I've read really enjoyed it. Just not a good match for me....more
Before I was a blogger I was a family history addict. As a little girl my dad and I would to go the the Family History Library and pore over rolls of microfilm on the manual turn handle readers. In college I worked at the campus family history library helping patrons find their ancestors in many avenues including census records. Then I got married and started working from home on websites like ancestry.com and roots.web. My children came along and other things took up my time. Years later, I am realizing it has been far too long since I have done any genealogy.
Anne Bradshaw's book rekindled in me the desire to find my roots, to begin again the search for those who have gone before. She has complied stories from every day ordinary people like me and professional genealogists. Each one is inspiring and several had me in tears. If you have never filled out a pedigree chart or looked for someone from your family tree now is the time to start.
True Miracles With Genealogy is a wonderful jumping off point as it plants the desire in your heart. It can be read in more than one sitting since each chapter is an individual story. My favorite account was "My Father Gave Me My Identity Back" by Sandra Taliaferro p. 83. I believe every reader will find a chapter that speaks directly to them. Thanks so much to Anne for sending me a copy of this book. My resolve to seek after my dead has been renewed since reading it.
To read more online, visit Anne Bradshaw's website at http://www.truemiracleswithgenealogy.... She will be signing copies of True Miracles with Genealogy Saturday November 20th at Confetti Antiques and Books, 273 North Main Street, Spanish Fork, Utah, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. She is also offering a free gift to those who can't attend... "please hop on over and "Like" the new Facebook page at Anne Bradshaw and Book Friends. Then click on the Welcome tab to receive a Christmas gift book from her." ...more
This book came right on time for me this year. So often in the hustle and bustle to buy presents and prepare for family gatherings I feel I lose the Christmas Spirit. More important than long wish lists and Santa Claus is the true meaning behind the holiday.
A Christ Centered Christmas takes each nativity piece and centers a story and activity around that figure. The chapters are small but thought provoking. Also included are recipes for yummy Holiday treats like hot cocoa and candy cane cookies. Next year we plan on having one lesson each week for seven weeks to correspond with the chapters in the book. A Christ Centered Christmas would be a great gift for those you love as it invites all to feel and learn the real lessons behind the symbols we so often see this time of year...the bell, the star, the shepard's crook. It's message is simple but powerful. Thanks Deseret Book for sharing this little gem with us. ...more
Once again Julie Kagawa absolutely blows me away with her masterful storytelling. She takes myth and fairytales of old and mixes in characters of herOnce again Julie Kagawa absolutely blows me away with her masterful storytelling. She takes myth and fairytales of old and mixes in characters of her own creation then sets them in a world only she could build. Everything feels so real and vivid. In this final bookend to the Iron Fey series, Ash is out to keep his promise to be with Meghan forever. He must find his way from the Never Never to the River of Dreams to The End of The World and The Testing Grounds then face his demons and ghosts of the past. His quest begins with Puck and Grim and along the way several new characters are added in. Ones the reader will never guess!
It took me a while to get used to hearing the story from Ash's perspective instead of through Meghan's voice but I enjoyed seeing a whole new side to Ash. He must face the dark side of who he once was and his biggest fears that come with a soul. The Iron Knight explored the importance of keeping stories alive and atoning for past mistakes as well as the power of loyalty and love. Each character is forced to make some tough decisions.
I'm sad to see the ending of one of my favorite stories but am happy Julie has announced two new series. She never ceases to amaze me. Thanks so much to Net Galley and Harlequin Teen for a wonderful journey through the forest with the fey, red caps, the big bad wolf and even Baba Yaga. I can guarantee Ash, Puck and Meghan will long live on in readers' imaginations!
Content: moderate violence, mention of sex and two swear words.
My first impression when I got this book in the mail was that this is my kind of cover! I LOVE it, as a sucker for photography of old trucks and vignetted edges. Plus the image fits perfectly with the story. I think this is one of the best covers I have ever seen from Cedar Fort's design team. Major score for author Maggie Fechner!
There is a warm comfort that comes from reading Growing Up Gracie, the memoir of one teen and her two best friends growing up in Cody, Wyoming. Gracie feels ordinary and sometimes lost in her family dynamic. But her conviction to follow her instinct and do what feels right leads her life in many surprising directions. She, like all of us, has unique talents and an influence on others that only she can make. Discovering it for herself takes some time. The book pace is slow moving, much like life in a small town, but I stayed engaged until the very last page. Each chapter is a glimpse at Gracie as she matures from grade school to becoming a mother herself. It's a coming of age tale of an American family and the bonds of friendship.
Maggie Fechner addresses with candor and grace the growing pains of teenage pregnancy, adoption, finding a testimony, making your place in the world and receiving personal answers to prayer. She weaves in a small town romance with its roots in friendship and faith. I am looking forward to reading more from Maggie as this is book is just the beginning and a first installment in a new Fremont Family series.
It's been a while since I have been completely swept away into the world of a book, but Shades of Atlantis carried me away and left me there. Author Carol Oates reawakened my creative spirit and desire to learn about Celtic myth and lore. With only a month left of 2010 and over 115 titles reviewed, her book easily slides onto my list of favorite reads this year.
The tale begins with main heroine, red haired Alitriona Pryor, a regular high school student growing up in Camden, Maine. Raised by her aunt and uncle after the tragic death of her parents, she and her brother Ben find themselves pitched into a battle involving family secrets and hidden destinies. Triona begins work at a local seaside restaurant where she meets her new boss Caleb Wallace and immediately they both feel an attraction that is magnetic. The chemistry between the two of them soon proves to be dangerous. Caleb believes in Platos' concept of soul mates, two halves that make a whole. Soon he starts to open up to Triona with tales of an ancient sword, magic, hidden civilizations and a gifted people. Are they all tales from his childhood or is there some truth to his stories?
Readers travel to the mountains of Maine, Clerkenwell London, Oxford, Dublin and ancient Tara, Ireland in search of the truth. Breathtaking scenery and local legend made the book vivid and alive. The author combines faery lore with Celtic history and adds a dash of Arthurian legend to Atlantis.
Her characters are all well developed and I dare say you will fall in love with both main heroes Caleb and John for the strengths they bring to Triona. Once you pick up Shades of Atlantis you'll want to carve out enough time to read it entirely because there is no turning back. I stayed up late into the night and woke up early the next morning entranced. My only reservation was that at times there are similarities to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, but with enough of a twist to make this book stand alone as unique and powerful. Even the Epilogue was amazing! Each page well crafted and important. Congratulations to Carol Oates for an incredible debut. Shades of Atlantis is mesmerizing and magical.
Readers may also enjoy The Mark by Marilyn Bunderson or The Books of Faeirie by Maggie Stiefvater. I would recommend this book for readers 16 and older as it does contain some sexual content and violence. ...more
From the back cover: Trying to escape form his Texas Baptist Upbringing and a troubles past, Christ Kerry came to Salt Lake City to get an education--and nothing else. But keeping his promise to stay away from the Mormons proves difficult, especially with two cute college girls living across the hall. And when Chris finds a new job at a tuxedo shop, his promise unravels as he discovers new friendships, hidden secrets and a lost heritage he never imagined he had. The Rogue Shop illuminates how we recognize truth even in the most trying of circumstances. Michael Knudsen's hilarious debut will remind you about the value of faith, family, and friends as Chris learns from his past to move forward into a better future.
This book was finished several days ago and it continues to resonate deeply within my heart. What I got from it was not at all expected: real pure lasting peace and a warm feeling of hope. The Rogue Shop stole my heart and expanded my love for fiction. The main character Chris comes full circle from being orphaned by a drunk driver living with his aunt to a young man finding his way in the world and seeking for truth. His past is not perfect, in fact he has some giant ghosts in his closet. But in his dreams he is offered a tiny glimpse of eternity and the parents he lost at such a young age. Bound and determined to make it on his own he heads to the University of Utah to stake his claim on the world...alone and penniless. When he takes a job at the local tuxedo shop and an apartment downtown he has no idea how drastically his life is about to change.
Michael Knudsen's characters are brilliant, even down to the small seemingly insignificant landlord. I felt I knew each of them personally. His historical downtown Salt Lake was a charming, almost lost world of ZCMI stores and 50's ball gowns. I think the back story of The Rogue Shop resonated with me because I grew up in a part member family, split between two religious beliefs. And the Washington DC temple he uses as an anchor in his plot was the closest to our little army base in Maryland. But, most of all I will remember the lasting impression Chris's conversion left for me. What a solid, wonderful debut for Michael Knudsen. Thanks to him sending me a copy of his book. The redemptive message of The Rogue Shop has the power to change, to uplift and to comfort.
I have really mixed feelings about this book. From the beginning the relationships seemed WAY too rushed until you find out a little tidbit of info. near the end. However, there were several points during my read that I almost put the book away and didn't finish due to content. I really wouldn't want my teen reading this book. While pitched as YA fiction with 18 year old main characters, I think it is written more as adult romance. The flashbacks to Laney's previous life I skimmed right past and didn't read because of how violent they were. I understand her past was hard and she is on the run but do why the need to elaborate so much?
That being said, Human Blend does have a very interesting storyline that kept me intrigued enough that I did finish the book. Lori's writing felt a bit choppy at times but the basic premise of the plot and the personalities of the characters are a winning combination. She takes a new slant on two paranormal creatures that come into contact with each other when Laney takes a volunteer position in a hospital. It has your love triangle going on but the relationships were complex and the author keeps you guessing through the whole book. I felt connected to the people and liked the new mythology introduced. Sometimes I wish that books came with filters like TV and movies do, because I genuinely would have loved this one without the sex and violence. This is a trilogy, so I am hoping the next two books are age appropriate. I can only give it 3.5 stars since I bordered between liking it and hating it all at the same time.
I recieved a copy of this book from the author for review and finished it all in one sitting. Kaylee Baldwin tackles grief, divorce, and the power ofI recieved a copy of this book from the author for review and finished it all in one sitting. Kaylee Baldwin tackles grief, divorce, and the power of change. Meg's Melody begins as young Meg Sanders finds a note in her apartment from her husband Austin, stating no more than "I'm Sorry." His clothes are packed and gone...after eight months of marriage she is alone and left to pick up the pieces. Factor in that her pregnancy test comes back positive and her ex-husband remarried in a flash. Meg is about to become a young divorced single mother. In the years of her courtship and marriage she has successfully pushed away her family as well as the church she was raised in. Now she has no where else to turn but back to her roots. Meg has to start over on the path to healing what is broken within herself.
Matt Wilkes has just lost his wife in a tragic car accident and is left to father his little girl, Lilia. He is ready to make a fresh start in a new town and to come to terms with his own grief. The two main characters cross paths when Dr. Wilkes becomes Meg's OBGYN. Her life is about to become interesting as a crush for her High School days begins to pursue a relationship, and Matt becomes a friend to rely on, but is she ready to move on? Can she rediscover her voice and the happy melody she has lost?
I loved every page of this book. Author Kaylee Baldwin made her heroine less than perfect, on the path to growth. She writes engagingly about what has become a sad reality in today's world; with so many young marriages ending in divorce. Her characters have depth and their feelings are genuine. Both of the main characters have important choices to make and a long, hard road ahead of them, but as they learn to lean on each other and trust their feelings the path becomes clear.
Five stars to Meg's Melody. It's a squeaky clean romance that kept me engrossed with simple truths woven in between. As a reader, I connected with both the story and the people. I look forward to more from Kaylee Baldwin and would recommend this book to any and all readers... loved it! Find the author at her website: http://www.kayleebaldwin.com/...more
I first picked up this book from Simon Schuster as an E-ARC and then last week when I got a paper copy in the mail you know what I did? Something I've only ever done with a handful of books...I read it again. The paper in my hands and the awesome cover was too big a temptation to pass up. I loved Possession even more the second time around with it's layers of meaning and depth. Once you know what's going on with the main characters and reach the surprise ending, I'm sure you will want to do the same.
I felt an immediate draw to Possession's protagonist Vi with her sarcastic, fiery personality. She is one strong 15 year old who stands up for herself and isn't afraid to throw punches. Victoria Schoenfeld is a water worker living in the Goodlands with only her mother after her father went missing and sister died working in the hands of the government. Vi's a free thinker who's had more than one brush with the law. So when she's caught crossing borders to meet her match Zenn, a newly recruited special forces agent, the Greenies want consequences for Vi. They wish to rule a society where their model citizens, Goodies are "walking paper dolls" devoid of personality. All must plug into transmissions including messages about not lying and sticking to the rules. But Vi has stopped plugging in and has a mind of her own. Those in charge have an upper hand with advanced technology capable of modifying memories, scanning fingerprints and tracking identities. Vi can feel the tech in her bones and though her father invented it, she's not convinced it's not all that it seems. In the end it's a choice for Vi between "control or don't control, alone or together, Zenn or Jag, duty or death." (p.366)
Jag...oh Jag. Bad boy who likes to read, leader of the Resistance, lover of wicked hair and distributor of hair gel & illegal tech. He stole my heart with his laughter, calmness, and laid back personality. He'll snag yours the first time he utters the words "nice" and shrugs his shoulders. Reader beware that Jag is not alone in his efforts to win Vi and freedom, Zenn is fighting behind enemy lines.
Elana Johnson is genius. She's crafted characters that push and pull you in all directions. There is not a clear cut line between what is bad and what is good. The last 1/3 of the book feels like a choose your own adventure quest for the truth, full of action and suspense. Possession is an ingenious mix of dystopian, paranormal and science fiction that had me thinking long after I finished the book. If you're a fan of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, prepare yourself for something even more mind blowing. Control or be controlled? Join the Resistance.
Content: minor profanity and sexual tension...more
After seeing Personal Demons on our list of books for the Best I've Read 2010 I figured it was high time I check out Lisa's series. I was thrilled when Tor Teen sent me a copy for review because I devoured this book. It's the classic good versus evil, two forces fighting against each other for rights to tag the soul of a girl. Frannie is not just anyone...she has the power to change both heaven and earth. Lisa Desrochers uses all of your senses to pull you to her characters hook , line and sinker. First on the scene at Hades High is Luc, bad boy who's voice is sticky sweet like honey, is hot to the touch and smells like Cinnamon. He has full reign of his intended target, Frannie, until Gabe shows up to counteract Luc's evil plan.
Gabe is the left hand of angel Gabriel, he smells like snow and summer and makes Frannie feel enveloped in love. How are we to choose between to polar opposites? Luc is cultured with Dante's Purgatroio and Inferno and has the ability to smell other's emotions. Black Pepper for fury, grapefruit for fear, anise for envy, rose for sadness and chocolate for love. This was one of my favorite concepts of Personal Demons. Gabe on the other hand, is willing to give up his wings for Frannie, promises he will always be there and has the capacity to help her forgive herself.
I have to say I fell for both forces for different reasons and in the end I wished Gabe had a more definitive role in Frannie's heart. I will definitely be reading he second in the series, Orignial Sin which is scheduled to be released by Tor om July 5, 2011.
Lisa ties in literature, music and art to culture readers. As well she pushes the imporatance of a pure soul, the sway of personal intent and the vital role of forgiveness in our lives. I appreciated Frannie's parents and grandfather as they are solid and protective. They are present. My only distraction was the overuse of the word 'cause in Frannie's self-talk and the constant barrage of physical seduction used by Luc. I personally like the audio book cover better than the print cover, but the tattoo effect on the inside and outside of the paperback is beautiful.
While the theme of Heaven's angels is one I 've read previously, I enjoyed Lisa's spin on things. (You may also like The Fallen series by Lauren Kate, The Heavenly Series by Jennifer Laurens and Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.) Lisa Desrochers does enough to set her book apart as original and gain a spot in my heart as one of my favorites this year. It's content has references that would be better for a reader over age 16.
Visit Lisa Desrocher's website at http://lisadesrochers.blogspot.com/ for more information and to view trailers from each character. I along with Gabe and Luc had fun immersing myself in The Fray, Mozart and Vivaldi while reading and was excited she has a play list posted on her blog as well. Here's to book two...can't wait!
The Vespertine was a full sensory experience for me. I wanted to savor every page and soak in every detail. The first pull came from the fact that the majority of the novel is set in Baltimore, Maryland close to my childhood home. Main character Amelia van Broek describes places I know by heart and the sunsets she describes are ones I've seen. What most struck me about this book is that I truly felt the plot as if through Amelia's eyes, I saw things as if I were there. I sympathized with her chosen fate and her motivation.
Written in first person poetic prose The Vespertine has an ethereal feel peppered with historical and paranormal elements. The back history is well researched and author Saundra Mitchell adds finishing touches that make it authentic to the Victorian age.. The tone is pulled between dark and tragic overlapped with frivolity during Amelia's first summer season with her cousin Zora. The girls enjoy lighthearted outings with friends, picnics and archery. Their friendship as cousins is endearing and deep. All seems well enough, until Amelia begins to see glimmers of the future, premonitions that come at sunset. Soon the home is flooded with calling cards and visits from others seeking their fortune. When future telling turns to prophecies fulfilled all begin to question if Amelia possesses the power to make her foretold events come true.
1889 in Baltimore is also a summer of looking for the perfect husband, a coming of age. Formal dances with dresses made of lace and organza as well as courting and interested callers. Zora, Amelia's cousin has her heart set on Thomas Rae, son of the local doctor. He is genuine and of impeccable manners, my favorite character in The Vespertine. Amelia, on the other hand, is dangerously and mysteriously drawn to Nathaniel Witherspoon, a fourteenth by profession-- one hired to round out the odd 13 number at dinner parties. He's an artist who smells of turpentine and oil paints, one below Amelia's society. I personally found him a little creepy, but captivating none the less. Nathaniel holds a secret and Amelia wants to know more.
Words can't describe how much I enjoyed this book. Everything from the beautiful poetic writing to the minor details of dress making and courtship. The Vespertine is more than just a book, it an emotional journey that will whisper to you long after you've shut the pages. Everything about it is haunting and lush. Saundra Mitchell masterfully writes in the actual voice of a young girl in the Victorian age; it's is authentic, moving, and magical. I can not wait for the companion novel Spring Sweet to be released in 2012.
What a perfect time of year to pick up this book! Small, concise and great for gift giving, 33 Habits of A Really Good Man is an inspirational starting point for a New Year and a new life. Yvonne Swinson takes bits of wisdom gathered form her father over the years and combines them with quotes he loved to pass on to her children and to us. Some of my favorite thoughts included "Change Begins With Me", "Don't Take Offense and "Make it a Habit." Each chapter is a value Bill Wells stood by and lived. I truly enjoyed this book and would recommend it it to all...not just fathers or men. It's a power packed read with life lesson learned and an underlying message of love.
We are giving away a signed copy of 33 Habits of A Really Good Man donated by author Yvonne Swinson for our readers. Simply comment below to be entered to win. Giveaway ends February 4, 2011 and is open internationally.