Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Queens of All the Earth by Hannah Sternberg

Queens of All The Earth
by Hannah Sternberg
Available Now
Bancroft Publishing

As her freshman classmates move into dorms at Cornell University, Olivia Somerset suffers a nervous breakdown. When months of coaxing and analyzing fail to rouse Olivia from her stupor, big sister Miranda decides the sisters should fly off to Barcelona for some "vacation therapy." 

When a mistake at their Barcelona hostel leaves the Somersets in a large co-ed dorm room, Olivia and Miranda are saved by kindly Mr. Brown and his son Greg, who happily volunteer to surrender their private room. But while Olivia feels an instant connection with brooding Greg Brown, Miranda sides with fellow guest and cocky American travel writer Lenny: 

The Browns are just plain weird, and must be avoided at all costs. 

In the midst of urbane Peruvian priests-in-training and Scottish soccer fans, from the shops of La Rambla to the waters of the Mediterranean to the soaring heights of Montjuic, Miranda works to protect her still-fragile sister while Olivia struggles to understand her burgeoning adulthood, her feelings for Greg, and the fear that makes the next step in her life so impossible to take. 

Inspired by E. M. Forster's classic novel A Room with a View, debut author Hannah Sternberg's Queens of All the Earth is a poetic journey of young love and self-awakening set against the beauty of Catalonia. Teenagers and adults alike will be riveted and moved by this coming-of-age novel about the conflicting hearts and minds of two very different sisters. (From Goodreads)

I think to understand this book to its fullest, maybe you will have to have read A Room with a View and understood E.M. Forester's  intention in A Room With a View to understand how closely linked these two books are. I felt like all the characters from the Italian pensione were all there at the Spanish hostel. The sex or the names had been changed slightly, but everyone was there. And they were all appalled because a father and son gave up their room, this time, a private room, to the two sisters, without asking for anything in return.

I guess I should start in the beginning.  Olivia has had a psychotic break. Her father died. She wasn't close to him, he left in her childhood, but everything that she seems to hold onto or identify with seems related to her childhood. She doesn't want to make that step into adulthood, leaving home, going to college, putting away childish things.  Of course, that's how the two women in her family see life. After high school, you become an adult and become responsible and you put away childish things, like freedom and imagination, and spontaneity.  Her mother even threatens to throw away her childhood books which she is clinging to  like a lifejacket in a hurricane.  She even brings A Wrinkle in Time with her on the trip with her to Spain, she can't bear to be separated from her childhood books.

Miranda is about as much fun as a box of stale crackers.  She complains from the minute they get off the plane and it doesn't stop. She even complains when the affable Browns, father and son, give up their private room so the sisters don't have to sleep in a mixed dorm like room.  At every turn she finds something wrong with them or agrees with something ugly the travel writer Eleanor aka Lenny says.
Miranda throws her lot in with Lenny, but it really seems that no one but she can stand Lenny. Even the priest can't stand her, and Lenny can't stand him.  And she has a lot to say about the Browns as well.

But you know those fickle fates, what must be, must be and Olivia and Greg Brown find themselves alone together in the must unusual places.  With him, Olivia still feels alive and young, her youth and childhood still lives. She can still keep her imagination and her curiosity of a child. She doesn't have to be all responsible and grown up like Miranda.  Stiff and threatening.  Miranda is a contradiction, one minute wanting Olivia to grow up  and the next threatening to call their mother. Not exactly grown up behavior to me.  Miranda could use her own psychotherapy.

The point is that as the novel continues, Olivia grows increasingly uncomfortable living by Miranda's rules. She becomes surly and edgy then finally demands they fly to Africa for the last two days of their trip because it's so close.  She eventually sheds the conventions of life as Miranda and her mother see it and finds her own way.

The only thing that really bothered me about this novel was how heavily it borrowed from A Room With A View. The plot was almost the same with the same type of characters, even some of the same names.  Even the trip at the end, was part of A Room With a View.  Forester's novel was pointing out the restrictive life of  Victorian England for women and how silly it all was. A single girl and her chaperone shouldn't have a room with a view simply because a man and his son had been staying in it.  The conventions of that life were made up of ridiculous rules as the life of Miranda is. "I'll call mom and tell her."  "Don't wander off on your own."  "I hope she'll learn to care about politics. It's embarrassing." How do any of these things make a person grown up or not?

I think this is definitely a novel worth reading. For all the people that didn't think anything happened, look again. Olivia grew into her own person. She shook off her fears of growing up. She didn't become her mother, or Miranda.  And she found someone that understood her.  I think it's an incredibly important lesson to learn, that growing up means different things to different people and we shouldn't impose our definitions of it on people. Don't color in the lines if you don't want to. Think inside the box if you want. But do it your way, don't let anyone else tell you how.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

The Humming Room
by Ellen Potter
Available February 28th
Feiwel and Friends

Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life. 

As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret. 

Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write.


First I'd like to say that though it says this novel was inspired by The Secret Garden, I thought I was reading a Middle Grade version of Jane Eyre.  Yes, there were a lot of differences, but the gothic setting, the hidden room, the crying, the secret rooms.  It all reminded me of  Jane Eyre.  But despite all that, I have to say, I loved Roo Fanshaw!  This is a kid that has been through it all.  She was hiding under her trailer, playing with the glass garden she had planted under there while the policemen are asking questions about the murder of her parents.  Roo is strong.  She compartmentalizes the pain and shuts it away. Save it for a day she can deal with it. She takes all the new experiences in stride .  I never felt sorry for her, she just wouldn't let me. She was so inquisitive and didn't follow the rules.  I loved everything about her from the way she hid in a little cave watching the water and learning the earth, to the way she explored the house when she was told not to.  She could listen to the earth and hear things growing.  She is one of my favorite protagonists in contemporary literature.

The other characters, and I'll only name a few, the nasty Ms. Valentine, the always cheerful and permissive Violet, the elusive, but loyal and educational Jack and the never present Uncle.  All of them add a lot to the story and  make for an adventurous time.  The story is laid out with great suspense and detail, but not too much. It's well thought out and enjoyable. The writing is easy to read and  feel and there is a great feeling of what's going to happen next and I couldn't stop reading it until I finished it.   Yes, it's like the Secret Garden and Jane Eyre and Roo is going to forever be in my heart for her bravery and her unwillingness to give up even in the face of insurmountable odds.


I honestly don't know if this is a Middle Grade book or a YA book but it would be fine for either. It's light on the romance and big on the mystery. But the main characters are 14 or so I'm not sure if that makes it YA or not. I didn't think it was that close to the Secret Garden. There were a lot of mysteries to be discovered other than the Secret Garden. I highly recommend this one!

I received an ARC of this from the publisher through NetGalley. I was in no way compensated for my review.
This is one I will be buying for my shelf to keep to read again.



Heather

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WOW

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme started by Jill at Breaking the Spine
so we can share the books we are anxiously awaiting to be released!

Here are two I can't wait for:

Renegade
by J.A. Souders
Tor Teen
Fall 2012

Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law. 

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster. 

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.



Skinny
by, Donna Cooner
Scholastic
October 12, 2012

About a girl whose obesity and negative thoughts stand in the way of her dreams of becoming a singer and finding love, until she begins a long, hard journey of self-discovery and reinvention culminating in gastric-bypass surgery, only to find that love was never dependent on her size.







These are two I REALLY want to read!!
What do you want to read??

Heather

Sunday, February 19, 2012

IMM




In My Mailbox is a meme started by Kristi at The Story Siren.  It's a great way for bloggers and readers to share what books they bought, won, got for review, checked out from the library or whatever. It's just a great way to find out about books we may have never heard of or have been looking forward to and share in each other's happiness!

Here's my mailbox:


I purchased on my Kindle- Demons at Deadnight by A&E Kirk! 
And  True of Blood (Witch Fairy Series) by Bonnie Lamer

From Disney Hyperion I received The Marked by Inara Scott! It's the
second in her Talents series! The new covers are great! Thanks Inara
for adding me to the tour and to Disney Hyperion for the book!

From WW Norton & Co. for review Heft by Liz Moore.
I can tell this is a powerful book. I've just read the first few
pages and I am totally engrossed in the story. Thanks 
WW Norton &Co! No it isn't YA but I think it's a 
crossover.

I requested from NetGalley Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker from  Bloomsbury Childrens. Thank you for the approval!
For review from Centrinian Publishing Ltd Talisman of El (#1) by Alecia Stone

And some very interesting looking indie/self published books. I rarely distinguish between the two so I won't do so here. I think both deserve a shot and I've found some really great books recently that were self published and edited much better than some of the books I purchase.

The Earthquake Machine by Mary Lowry recently reviewed in the Huffington Post here.
The Fae Wars: Changeling by Elle Casey Blog Tour March 20th here
Delta Legend by Kelan O'Connell (Did you all know there is a delta in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Area?)
It provides the water for millions of people according to Kelan.  I didn't even know there was water there. And apparently, there is something else in the water there!
Casey Barnes Eponymous by E.A. Biggs I read the first few pages, it reminds me of something, but I can't name it. Casey writes play lists or song names of music kids her age wouldn't know usually,  for people she sees in the library and she leaves it where they can find it. Some throw it away, not knowing what it means and she goes after them telling them what it is. She's basically trying to change their day from a Monday to a Friday.  She's quirky, but like I said, I've only read a couple of pages. I like her already.
Spear of Seth by Rene Daniel Egypt, need I say more? Oh I started this one too, and there's this great prologue ALWAYS read the prologue. It was a great prologue so I couldn't say no and the first chapter was good and it's from the guy's point of view.  It takes place present day at a college.
Volition and Severance by Shawn Maravel  In getting the links for these two books I read the reviews and I cannot wait to get into them! They have gotten rave reviews just not a lot of exposure!!
The Night Shifter by Emily Devenport who has quite a few books under her belt. This book is only 99cents and you can buy it right there on Goodreads. It sounded good, ringing pretty close to home right now, so I said yes.

If you want to read any of these books I know these authors would love to share their works with you. If you can't find them, let me know and I'll help you hook up with them.  And thanks if even one of you decides you want to read their books!  Believe me they appreciate how precious our time is and so do I!!

I hope the mail/male faery was good to everyone this week! Leave me your links to your blog or your IMM or if you don't do that I'll visit you anyway. I'm sure I'll find something interesting on your blog!
Thanks for coming by!
As always, happy reading!!

Heather

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review-The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers

The Vanishing Game
by Kate Kae Myers
Available Now

Seventeen-year-old Jocelyn follows clues apparently from her dead twin, Jack, in and around Seale House, the terrifying foster home where they once lived. With help from childhood friend Noah she begins to uncover the truth about Jack's death and the company that employed him and Noah. 

Jocelyn's twin brother Jack was the only family she had growing up in a world of foster homes-and now he's dead, and she has nothing. Then she gets a cryptic letter from "Jason December"-the code name her brother used to use when they were children at Seale House, a terrifying foster home that they believed had dark powers. Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn's childhood crush and their only real friend among the troubled children at Seale House. 

But when Jocelyn returns to Seale House and the city where she last saw Noah, she gets more than she bargained for. Turns out the house's powers weren't just a figment of a childish imagination. And someone is following Jocelyn. Is Jack still alive? And if he is, what kind of trouble is he in? The answer is revealed in a shocking twist that turns this story on its head and will send readers straight back to page 1 to read the book in a whole new light.

This is the only book I've ever read that actually terrified me and sent chills up my spine.  It only had one part that did that to me, but it was sufficiently creepy to have me pull the covers up and wish my husband wasn't on a business trip while I was reading it!  It happens in Seale House, the foster home that Jocelyn grew up in when she was younger. But it's been burnt down partially. It' not known by whom, but it's still accessible because Jocelyn is in the cellar of this creepy house when this part happens.  Personally after the descriptions of what went on in that house and the cellar and how afraid she still is of it, I wouldn't set foot anywhere near there, but she's looking for a message from her brother and she's desperate to find it.
So desperate, that she goes in there at dusk when some goth kids are in the house lighting a fire on the floor and sitting on some of the ancient furniture that wasn't  totally burnt down.

Jocelyn and Jack were twins and sent to live at Seale House when they ran away from home. Their mother was a lousy excuse for a human being much less a mother.  From the outside Seale House looks like salvation. From the inside, it's pure hell.  But Jocelyn and Jack learn how to navigate it with Noah's help.
All of the foster kids look out for one another, except for one, Corner Kid. That's all I'll say about him, but Myers has a way of writing, creepy, broken characters like no one I've read before and I have read about a lot of broken characters.  These kids are messed up from families that have abandoned or abused them and Seale house is not going to heal them. So, Noah, taking charge of everything, kind of runs the house and Jack and Jocelyn help, Jocelyn mothering when needed, the three standing up to and straightening out those kids that don't know the rules of foster kids.

The story is told through Jocelyn's sense of desperation about finding her brother. She's only 17 and has been told 2 weeks ago that her brother died. She's gotten a letter from "Jason December" and  only three people knew that name. Her brother, her and Noah. So she goes back to where Seale house is and finds Noah. There are flashbacks to the time the three were at Seale House together and then it goes back to present day.  The present day telling of the story is laced with danger as someone is out to kill either Noah or Jocelyn or both of them.  And they are searching all over the town for clues to what Jack, Jocelyn's brother is trying to tell them.

It's a pretty good story. I definitely did not see the last quarter of the story coming. Not at all. I didn't understand the weirdness that always seemed to follow Jocelyn. That was well written. But some of the explanations didn't add up. Like how Jack knew what was about to happen.  Maybe I'm not smart enough to figure all that out. And how Jocelyn got better at the end without help. People like that need help. Lots.
I think it belittled people who have that "situation," to make it sound so easy to get over.

The story dragged in places. I was actually bored with bits of it, but I never could put it down, because that thing that terrified me, kept making me read and I just had to find out what it was. In the end, I was a bit disappointed with the explanation. But it still scared me. Still does.

Myer writes a good mystery with lots of clues and good descriptions. Some of them were used more than once which made me notice, the sky was cloaked in gray clouds like a shawl, something to that effect but the shawl metaphor was used more than once. It was good that's why I noticed.  I got as tired as the characters of running around looking for clues, but just when I thought "Come on" something dramatic happened that piqued my interest again. And always, there was that monster that I had to get resolved so I could sleep. 

The ending is not tied up in a nice little bow. I guess the negatives would be that it dragged a little and was maybe a little too long. 

It's a clean read, maybe a bit of language but nothing other than that.

Heather

Friday, February 17, 2012

Review-Fairy Blues Song of Magic Book 2 by JL Bryan

Fairy Blues
Song of Magic 
Book 2
by J.L. Bryan
Available Now
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords,

The sequel to Fairy Metal Thunder. 

With their enchanted instruments charming the crowds, the Assorted Zebras attract interest from record producers, and soon they’re off to cut their first album and music video. Jason and his friends don’t know they’ve just become pawns in a sinister plot by a cabal of evil fairies... 

Meanwhile, Aoide and her band pursue a new strategy for regaining their stolen instruments, one that will take them into the most haunted region in Faerie.
****May contain one spoiler if you haven't read Fairy Metal Thunder****
And so the story continues...and it's good!! I really enjoyed the parts of the story that took place in Faerie as Aoide and her band mates walk from Sidhe City through The Haunted Lands and to a small town that might still exist to see if they can get help from Banshee wolves. But no one has ever been able to control a Banshee Wolf. But again, the world Bryan has built is so interesting and different from any of the other Faerie worlds I've ever read about. It is so detailed and fun to read and picture in your mind. Take my word for it, you'll love to read  it!

And the Assorted Zebras-they get the opportunity of a lifetime, but what they don't know can hurt them. Possibly even kill them. The feel pretty good about themselves because they defeated the unicorn dragon, but they don't know what's coming for them. Thank goodness they have Grizlemor. That is, when he's not eating, they have Grizlemor. But the dark fae that are hatching plans for them are some I have never heard of and I've read a lot about faeries. I have an encyclopedia, but these are very dark fae!

Bryan weaves a great tale with twists and turns through it that made me wish I was either a fairy missing my instruments or an Assorted Zebra. I really wanted to be in this story. We see a lot more of the characters and their personalities of both the fae and the Assorted Zebras. The plot moves along at a very fast pace. I kept looking at my percentage on my Kindle and thinking "No, I don't want it to finish yet." But it ended and on a really fun twist.

It's a really clean story, no bad words, no sex, light clean romance or hope for it. It's great for all ages. Okay, now I need the next one!

Heather

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Guardian (Creepy Hollow #1) by Rachel Morgan

Guardian 
Creepy Hollow Book One
By Rachel Morgan
Available Soon


1. Receive assignment. 
2. Save a life. 
3. Sleep. 
4. Repeat. 

Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until one of her assignments—a human boy who shouldn’t even be able to see her—follows her into the fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion. 

The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the fae realm. Easy, right? But Nate and Vi are about to land themselves in even bigger trouble—and it’ll take all Vi’s training to get them out alive. 



First thing you need to know is that the publication date for this novelette, as the author calls it is March 5th. It was 9 chapters on my Kindle and didn't take any time to read at all which was really kind of nice. Sometimes you want a story like that. But this story is far from concluded. It's wrapped up, but you know it's just the beginning of a much bigger story. The author, Rachel Morgan, plans to publish one novelette a month in the series, I'm guessing around the same amount of words.

So, you've got the book synopsis. Basically Violet fights the bad faeries in the human world. So how does she know where to go? The seers have a basic idea of where to go and who to protect. So that's why she's sitting in Nate's room while he lies drooling on his math book. (Bet he'd be embarrassed if he knew she saw that!) Then the reptiscilla shows up and goes after the sleeping Nate and just like that, the fight is on between Violet and the serpent woman. But, of course, Nate is woken up and when all the fighting is over he asks Violet what that was. Violet is shocked. The number one rule of the Guild is Never Bring a Human into the Fae Realm. The number two rule is Never Reveal Yourself to a Human. But she checks her Glamour and its still there so he's just one of those humans who can see through it. She pretty much convinces him he's dreaming and is making a door on the wall to leave when she falls on the Faerie Path only to have him fall on top of her. He's grabbed hold of her shirt and followed her into Faerie. Now, not only does she have a lot of explaining to do, she's got to take him home, the long way around, he may not survive another trip on the Faerie Paths.

That's all the story I can tell you, since it's so short, but I'll tell you this, in nine short chapters, they form a quick bond, not love, but a "we're in this together" type of bond or "I got you into this I'm gonna help get you out". I'm not sure which. And they do go through quite a bit for such a short time so it's action packed. The story is told from Violet's point of view, though I do wish I could hear it from Nate's point of view, too as he's seeing Faerie for the first time. And there are a whole host of characters that we meet in this short novelette and already I don't trust most of them. Not until they've proven themselves otherwise. Morgan has written it so you only know that you can trust Violet and Nate and even people that come to their aide, you're not so sure about.

Character development is a little lean, but again, since it's such a short piece, it's hard to develop the characters. I like Violet, but she has a hard edge to her. She's lost a lot in her 17 years, not just her parents. But she isn't afraid to expose some of this to Nate. Nate seems a bit youngish, but maybe he's just naive not having visited Faerie before so he doesn't know what can happen.

I'm so looking forward to the next installment of the Guardian. There is a lot of information at the website and a blog tour starting March 6th. I'll have Rachel Morgan on my blog for an interview on March 14th. I hope you'll take a look at Guardian when it publishes. I think you'll very much enjoy it!

Heather

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review-The Unfinished Song: Initiate by Tara Maya Book One

The Unfinished Song
by Tara Maya



The initiation ceremony is the gateway to ultimate power...or death. A DETERMINED GIRL Dindi can't do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi's clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. But Dindi has a plan... AN EXILED WARRIOR Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn't commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don't kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father's wars and his mother's curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her... assuming she would even accept the help of an exile.

I had no idea what to expect going into reading this novel, except I knew it wasn't finished, I mean I knew there were other stories. Four so far.  But the name -The Unfinished Song kind of gives it away for anyone that takes a look at the title.  You should be able to deduce that the story will not be ending with this novel. I'm glad! I was incredibly and pleasantly surprised by how sucked into this novel I got. It's got fairies in it, but they're kind of on the periphery for now.  I think they'll be a bigger part of the story further down the line.  Initiate is made up of seven serials that flow together very nicely. I asked the author why there were individual stories and then this book and she said she didn't want people to have to wait.  The serials are like chapters in the book.  Right now, The Unfinished Song: Initiate is FREE so you might want to catch that deal while you can.  Personally, I have all four books and I'm glad I do because Maya knows how to write!

The story has a lot of different characters, but it isn't hard to keep up. Their stories are separate and you know they are from separate tribes and areas.  Dindi is a young girl who can see fairies, a rarity among humans.  Her dream is to become a Tavaedi a secret warrior dancer who can heal, or make it rain or change the course of a river depending on the strength of the magic inside the dancer.  The Tavaedi dance a history of her people who killed the beautiful fairy race, the Aelfae and were victorious.  But I honestly couldn't tell if it was a dance of victory or just history. It didn't seem celebratory.  In any case,  Dindi is one of only many characters who get chosen to be an initiate this year.  With each character we hear the story from their point of view. I don't remember reading a novel from so many different points of view, but in this novel, it works very well.

The time isn't stated, but it's fairly primitive. Spears, flint arrows and pottery bowls are used. Gold is prized and there are tribal feuds and wars. There are also a lot of politics and that's where the "hero" Kavio gets caught. Accused in his own father's court of a crime he didn't commit, something we don't know, he is exiled and forced out of his home.  He saves Dindi's life and they are drawn to each other, but it isn't insta love. They go days without seeing each other and he isn't considered worthy of her because he is exiled. He has no clan, no tribe. But, that might change.  And she might help Kavio make the biggest decision of his life.

There are some truly heinous villains in this novel, too.  Villains posing as friends. And it's sickening to think what they want to do, but I guess such was war back then.  I still have high hopes that Kavio can save the day. There is so much action in this book!  If you like action, this one is full of it. It's not really character driven. There are too many characters, so I guess I'd say it's plot driven because the whole plot is to become an initiate and make it to the destination where they will decide who they are to become.  But a lot more than that happens.

I'm really excited to read the next three books in this series! I have to say this is different than anything I've ever been asked to read before. The time is past the cave man era, but still it's fairly primitive.  There are  mentions of a lot of different types of fae, some good, some bad.  And I'm just really enjoying the magic and the war and the really tough decision Kavio is going to have to make. Oh and Dindi has visions of the Corn Maiden, a woman named Vessia of unmatched beauty who doesn't understand anything in this world, whenever she touches the totem she was given. It's an ugly dried up husk of a doll that all the girls laughed at when they saw it.
Another mystery to figure out!

This is not for the younger YA reader. There are some scenes in it of harsh treatment of women as you can imagine happened in more primitive times during war. And there are some scenes about sex that younger readers shouldn't read. Nothing explicit, but told in a way that you wouldn't want them to read. Sixteen and up crowd.
Well, I'm off to read the next book!!  Thanks Tara Maya for finally writing something different and interesting!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review and Giveaway- Fairy Metal Thunder by JL Bryan

Fairy Metal Thunder
by JL Bryan
Available Now

Jason plays guitar in a teenage garage band called the Assorted Zebras, but they have no fans and no gigs, and they're going nowhere. Even worse, Jason has a crush on the lead singer, but she already has a near-perfect boyfriend. 


One night, Jason steals enchanted instruments from the fairy world. Suddenly (with a little help from YouTube) every kid in the Midwest is crazy about the Assorted Zebras. 


The fairy instruments drive the crowds wild, but the new gear is brimming with dangerous and destructive magic. The band struggles to gain control of their instruments and avoid the supernatural bounty hunters sent by Queen Mab of Faerie to track them down, all while trying to finally land their first gig

This is a unique story in that the humans pull one over on the fairies for once. Leave it to JL Bryan to turn the fairy tales we all know upside down and break all the rules! It all starts with a boy and a girl. The boy, Jason loves the girl, Erin. Erin loves someone else. So, in an effort to get her attention, Jason will do anything. That's when all the trouble starts. A little "monster" appears in his house and his little sister is scared. Jason takes her around to show her it's nothing and he finds out, it is something. The "monster" is a goblin that steals nice shiny jewelry. And he's not only got a pair of Jason's mother's earrings, but Jason suspects he's got Erin's necklace that she lost, that means a lot to her. So begins the chase. A long chase that leads to a fairy door where the goblin unwittingly leads him to Faery. And Jason just happens upon some magical instruments. He steals them and disappears into the world of man.

Now, we all know what happens to humans when they enter a fairy ring where music is playing. They can spend so much time dancing, they can dance for years and not know, they can dance to their death, nothing matters but the music. In Faery, the land feeds off the energy of the kids who fall through the fairy rings, but they only stay for a little while. But, what happens when humans play fairy instruments, not made for them and don't know when to stop?? The first time they play, The Assorted Zebras, Jason's band's name, is playing in a garage. They attract so many fans that they get video taped on a phone and the video goes viral.

So what's a fairy to do without their instruments? Well, piss Mab off for one. But I do want to share with you just how ingenious the world of Faery is that Bryan has created. It is so detailed I love to read about it. I'm just going to give little snippets of it so you can read the whole of it for yourself.


I'm paraphrasing here- Aoide slept in her woven-grass hammock, with the doors of her rear balcony open to catch the cool breeze through the trees. She was completely relaxed, her translucent purple wings stretched out to either side of her.....She yanked on a vine hanging from her ceiling and the hammock folded up and pulled away into a knothole overhead.

Aoide has been summoned to Mab's court but she's just been woken up so she has to get ready with three male knights standing around- There wasn't time to fly over to the bath garden, but she needed to wash up...She stepped out onto her back balcony to collect fresh water from her baby blue dew-pitcher flowers, and then gasped when she realized someone had landed there. One of the Queensguard....She tilted one of the water-filled, pitcher-shaped flower forward to rinse her face then brushed the water back through her hair. "Mind looking away while I dress?"
"My order is to watch this door," he said.
"This door, and not me, then?"
"Yes."
"Good!" Aoide slammed the pink shutters and slid the peg-lock into place. (pgs51-53)


Then later as they are looking for someone to hunt the instruments down and have hired a hunter and met the timid and shy unicorn. Rhodia is Aoide's bandmate and has had to fly with her and Icarus the Queensguard to the hunter. This happens as they are leaving the sugar swamp.
"Will this really work?" Rhodia whispered. "Those unicorns look useless."
"They say unicorns are more than what they appear to be," Aoide whispered. She nudged Rhodia's arm and pointed.

Cinnamon (a unicorn) raised her head from a sugary pool, grasping a black and red swamp cobra in her mouth. It's hooded head arched above the unicorn's face and its fiery red eyes glared down at her. The cobra hissed, with its long fangs dripping venom, and poised to strike the unicorn's soft nose.

Cinnamon snapped her head from side to side, whipping the cobra like a rope. Cracking sounds burst all along the snake's spine. When Cinnamon finally stopped shaking, the long cobra lay limp in her mouth. She sucked up the cobra's body like a noodle.. When she'd devoured it, she belched, her ears flattening and her mouth flaring wide. Then she trotted off into the swamp (p. 84)


Bryan doesn't disappoint us painting enchanting little Tinkerbells alongside cobra eating unicorns in sugary sweet swamps. The mosquitoes suck on them for their sugar and the Queensguard
wears iron armor and carry iron swords because iron is deadly to fairies. These contrasts shouldn't be overlooked, they're important clues in the book. Bryan gives us a delicate little fairy that can comb her hair with a seashell comb and wash her face with the dew from a flower, yet sent a killer unicorn after a human boy to get her instruments back. Bryan has a way of introducing characters and immediately making them familiar and we care about them. We want them to succeed. He describes everything in exquisite detail yet it isn't too much or flowery. It's just what it needs to be.

It's hard to choose a side in this series so far. I want the fairies to have their instruments, but I love the kids in the Assorted Zebras and want them to get their big break. And then there are the bad guys that are just as interesting as the good guys. And there's the goblin that started it all, Grizlemor. Lots of fun characters to love or hate!!

So I hope I've convinced you this is a worthy novel to add to your treasured book shelves. It's hitting the top of mine up there next to the Paranormals Series-you know he's that guy right- Jenny Pox? Yeah, that JL Bryan!  Anyway, if you'd like to win an e-copy of Fairy Metal Thunder, just  leave a comment below and leave you email addy or a way to get in touch with you saying you'd like to be entered.  If you don't feel comfortable leaving your email, you can always email it to me. My email is on the first comment! The winner will be chosen at midnight Friday night or thereabouts!

Thanks everyone! I know you'll love the novel!  The series is very interesting and I have to admit, I'm really glad I have the second one already!! I couldn't wait a year for the next one!

Happy Monday!
Heather




Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review-Tempest by Julie Cross

Tempest
by Julie Cross
St. Martin's Griffin
Available Now



The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

This is one of those stories that you have to let sink in. Almost every time travel novel I've read has been like that. Especially when they go back and forth at different times. Not just one jump, but several. It does get confusing, the how and the when and what it all means and it gets tiring like I was the one doing the jumping. So after I finished Tempest, I set it aside for a few days. Now, I'm ready to review it.

First, I really didn't get a chance to connect to Holly, the girlfriend. I just didn't have enough time with her to really feel a connection. I felt like Jackson was just going through the motions with her to get what he wanted. Not necessarily sex, but companionship. I think there was something real between them, I think she filled a need for him, but I'm not sure I can put a name on it.

I didn't really warm up to Jackson right away. I felt for him in his situation, but he didn't quite reach that place inside of me, not until much further in the book. Not until he needed to do something he hadn't done in the past and he did and God, was I tearing up trying not to cry. Once I do I'm done for. I can't seem to keep the grit out of my eyes. But that's when I hopped on the Jackson train. It was the most unselfish thing he'd done, and from then on he thought with his head.

He learns all kinds of crazy stuff about his family, things he never knew that really blow his mind. His dad isn't who he thought he was at all. People are trying to kill him or at the very least chase him and catch him. And this is all two years in the past where he's trying to keep Holly safe. It's a very fast paced novel and like I said all the time jumps and attempts to learn things about himself really keep you on your toes. The novel is 334 pages long, but could have been much longer. It was entertaining, but it didn't kill me at the end to close the last page despite the ending. There's closure of a sort, but I know we've only touched the surface. And Jackson with his best friend Adam have much to discover about his abilities and their effects on the world.

This novel begins with the characters in college so there is sex involved, probably a few swear words, not enough that I noticed. So use your best judgement. Definitely for the older YA reader. Also do not forget there is a lead in story, a prequel on Amazon called Tomorrow is Today.  It's free on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble.  So read those before the story! I'll definitely want to read the next in the series for several reasons, because of Emily, who you will find out about and to see what he does about Holly.  I'm a big Jackson fan at the end here.  He did something I could never do!

Friday, February 10, 2012

In His Eyes Anthology by Various Authors

In His Eyes
By Various Authors Listed Below

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