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Showing posts from February, 2009

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

This book has been sitting on my shelf for several (we won't go into how many exactly) years. I even *gasp* had both sequels sitting on the shelf next to it. And in the interest of full disclosure, I even started  The Thief  a couple of years ago, got 25 pages in, and stopped. For reasons I no longer recall. The fault, whatever it was, was clearly mine because this book is the beginning of something truly special. I completely understand why it won the  Newbery Honor  and am very glad it did. Gen is a thief, and a rather boastful one at that. Claiming he can steal anything, Gen succeeds in making off with the King of Sounis' seal only to brag about it to the wrong man and get himself thrown in the King's prison indefinitely. Along comes the Magus, the King's senior advisor, who pulls Gen out of prison and sets him an impossible task. Journey to a hidden temple, steal a mythical artifact, and turn it over to the King. On pain of death. A long, slow, excruciating death

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Okay. We'll start with  Jellicoe Road   because it's the one I read first. I picked it up as a result of  Trisha's glowing, cryptic in a good way review  and the fact that it came away with the  Printz Award  this year. It is Australian  Melina Marchetta 's third book and the first of hers I've read. A fault that will have to be remedied quickly as I absolutely loved this knotty, painful, beautiful book.  Taylor Markham is head of her house at the Jellicoe School--a backwoods boarding school located somewhere in Australia. Abandoned by her mother at a 7-Eleven on the Jellicoe Road, Taylor was taken in by a mysterious woman named Hannah and installed at the school. Now eighteen, Taylor is embroiled in turf wars between the Jellicoe students, the Townies, and the Cadets. But when Hannah up and leaves without a word, Taylor is convinced it has something to do with her mother and with a horrific accident that happened on the Jellicoe Road twenty-two years before. Past

Gobsmacked

Please accept my apologies for the unusual pause in our regularly scheduled programming here. I seem to have read  Jellicoe Road   followed by a double chaser of The Thief and The Queen of Attolia . Am now sitting here gobsmacked at the excellence. Reviews to follow just as soon as I recover the power of speech. 

Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn

It's difficult for me to describe exactly how excited I was for this book   to come out.  Silent on the Moor  was easily at the top of my most  anxiously awaited books of 2009 . I discovered  Deanna Raybourn  last year and, after blowing through the  first   two  Julia Grey novels, have spent the last six months in that special agony reserved for the lovers of sequels. Fortunately a copy popped up at a local (ish) bookstore and I was saved from suffering through the last two weeks til its March 1st publication date.  The third installment opens with Julia's big brother Bellmont trying to talk her out of haring off to Yorkshire after Brisbane when he has made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he does not want her anywhere near the place. Julia, of course, doesn't care a fig for Monty's scandalized pride and makes her way with all haste (and several good intentions) to the moors. Unfortunately, Brisbane's new home, Grimsgrave, is even creepier and more decrepit t

Meg Rosoff Guest Blogging at Penguin

Meg Rosoff is guest blogging over at Penguin . She's there the entire week and answering questions in the comments. So far the topics have ranged from her cottage on the Suffolk coastline , to poisonous mushrooms , to the moons of Jupiter . Rosoff's most recent novel, What I Was , was on my Best of 2008 list and her upcoming The Bride's Farewell  is due out August 6th. Head on over and check it out .

Fifteen Weeks of Bees

Attention all Mary Russell fans. This spring marks the 15th anniversary of The Beekeeper's Apprentice , Laurie R. King 's first novel in her wonderful mystery series featuring Sherlock Holmes and the unflappable Mary Russell. It also marks the 150th birthday of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. To celebrate those two events, as well as the publication of The Language of Bees --the 9th book in the series, Ms. King is putting on Fifteen Weeks of Bees . The festivities will be grand and will include, among other things, a blog tour, contests, free downloads, and more!  A dear friend of mine (Hey, CK!) introduced me to this series several years ago while we were both faithful members of Readerville and the YARG (may it rest in peace). I fell in love right away and have enjoyed not only each subsequent installment but passing them on to other appreciative readers. If you like literary mysteries and haven't dipped into this series, now would be a great time. And if you have, spread the w

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Bloom   has been on my list for quite awhile now and it finally got bumped up to the top of my Amazon cart and made its way to my door. This is my first  Elizabeth Scott  book and she comes highly recommended. Comparisons to  Deb Caletti  and  Sarah Dessen  abound and, as I am a big Caletti fan, I was hoping for a nice, cozy read on a snowy February evening.  Lauren is pretty sure she's as average as it gets. The one thing she excels at is playing the clarinet in her school's jazz band, but no one but her best friend Katie even knows she plays at all, so that hardly counts. The one un-average thing about her life is her boyfriend Dave--the golden boy. For reasons unfathomable to Lauren, Dave chose her the year before and they've been together ever since. Lauren spends her days in a pleasant, if rather lackluster fog, walking through life on Dave's arm.  Enter Evan--a blast from Lauren's past. His mother and her father lived together for a short time when they were

The Cybils 2008

The fun folks over at The Cybils have announced the winners for 2008. Last year I served on the Graphic Novels panel and it was a blast. So I was anxious to see which ones they chose this time around. Looks like Rapunzel's Revenge won for Elementary/Middle Grade and Emiko Superstar for the Young Adult category. I've got Rapunzel's Revenge on my TBR shelf. Must bump it up.  I was also happy to see The Hunger Games win in the Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction category ( my review here ), although I think I would have been hard put not to give it to Graceling in the end. And The Graveyard Book   won   in the Middle Grade category. I have to admit, I'm still sort of mystified as to the big draw of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks  (winner for YA). I felt decidedly underwhelmed by it, like I was very much supposed to like it but...didn't. In any event, it looks like a fun time was had by all and you can find the full list of winners  her

Fade by Lisa McMann

After finishing the wonderfully creepy  Wake , I couldn't wait to extend my time with Janie and Cabel in  Fade . The story picks up shortly after the end of  Wake .  Janie and Cabel are finishing up school, looking forward to the day when they can leave Fieldridge High behind and try the freedom (and anonymity) of college life on for size. And if there are a few key, seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their way, well, what's the use of letting your worry play on an endless loop? Particularly when real, peaceful, be-who-we-are moments are so few and far between. When Captain hands them a new case to pursue, Janie and Cabel have no idea how far it will take them from those peaceful moments together. Cabel, particularly, begins to doubt the worth of their involvement when he realizes the case centers around a possible sexual predator(s) at Fieldridge High. That and the fact that Captain intends to dangle Janie out there as bait. What Cabel doesn't know is Captain has also

Envy by Anna Godbersen

Third Luxe book and my favorite cover to date. Could just be that it's Diana on the cover and she's my favorite character...but I really like the dress. Actually, this is my favorite book of the three as well. And I really wasn't sure it would be. What with Henry and Penelope being...shudder. But this one seemed the most real. People grew up and, in a couple of notable cases, grew spines. Whether or not it will all be too little too late remains to be seen. The fourth (and final) Luxe book,  Splendor , is due out in October and will hopefully settle a few things satisfactorily. Envy   begins just a couple of months after the disastrous conclusion to  Rumors . Elizabeth is inexplicably back on the scene, but not really  there.  Diana is floating through a fog of numb and trying to rise above the crushing blows that keep coming her way. Ditto for Henry. Lina is capitalizing on all her success and makes a surprisingly apt romantic choice. And Penelope is Penelope. You just wa

The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald

I was lucky enough to win a copy of  The Outback Stars  in a giveaway at  Janicu's Book Blog . She  read and reviewed it  awhile back and enjoyed it so much she decided to give away a copy to spread the love. Awesome, no?  She really piqued my interest, so I was thrilled to get a copy.  The Outback Stars   is military scifi meets space opera meets Australian mythology.  Janicu  says (and I agree with her): I think if you are a fan of Elizabeth Moon you will like Sandra McDonald's books, particularly because of the military aspects. If you like Linnea Sinclair and Ann Aguirre you may like this as well. The author was an officer in the U.S. Navy and her knowledge of the day to day workings of the military seems to really show in this novel. She's right on with that assessment. Specifically, it reminded me in many ways of the wonderful  Games of Command . So if you're a fan of that book  like I am , this one might be for you.  Lieutenant Jodenny Scott is in a bad way. O

One Book

One book you're currently reading The Outback Stars   by  Sandra McDonald Military Scifi/space opera/Australian mythology mix. Loving it. One book that changed your life The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe  by C.S. Lewis Turns out books and wardrobes take you to other worlds. I was 10. And nothing was the same again.  One book you'd want on a deserted island Sunshine   by  Robin McKinley Because when I sink into her lovely, knotty narrative, I never want to be anywhere else. One book you've read more than once The Road Home   by  Ellen Emerson White White's prose gets me in my gut every time. And Rebecca is so very strong.  One book you've never been able to finish The Portrait of a Lady   by Henry James It appears I do not have the James gene. I just...don't.  One book that made you laugh Straight Man   by Richard Russo Finny the duck, not the man. Hehehe.... One book that made you cry How Green Was My Valley   by Richard Llewellyn I can only read it about on

Wake by Lisa McMann

So I've been hearing about this one for quite some time. And I confess, I deliberately waited for  Wake  to come out in paperback before buying it. (No, my library does not have it. Sigh). I figured that way if it was only so-so, I'd have spent less on it. But if, as I was hoping, it was Teh Bomb, then I'd be that much closer to the sequel coming out. It was, ahem, the latter. And now  Fade   is out! Must secure a copy.  Janie has a hard time sleeping. What with the being sucked into everyone else's dreams without so much as a by your leave. If she's alone in her room with the door shut, she's usually fine. But all she has to do is walk by someone who's sleeping and bam! She's living their dream or nightmare right along with them. And the thing is, they often look right at her and ask her for help. But Janie has no idea how to help, or why this curse chose her life to wreak havoc upon. As if she didn't have it hard enough trying to get by with an al

Bookshelf Meme

The book that's been on my shelves the longest: The Witch of Blackbird Pond   by Elizabeth George Speare.  Read it with my mom when I was six. I wanted to be Kit. And I'm still in love with Nat.  A book that reminds me of something specific in my life: Middlemarch   by George Eliot.  The best book I read during grad school. It summed up exactly why I was there and springboarded me into my thesis. One of the books of my life. A book I acquired in some interesting way: A box of the first 15  Trixie Belden  books when I was 9.  They were sitting on the side of the road with a FREE sign taped to the side of the box. The most recent addition to my shelves: Wake   by  Lisa McMann   I finally got around to this one. So very glad I did as it is excellently creepalicious. The book that's been with me to the most places: Madam, Will You Talk?   by  Mary Stewart .  I take it with me on almost every trip I take. Three continents and c

Pride by Rachel Vincent

So it really seems like I just read  Stray . I can't believe it's been almost a year since  Rogue   came out and that this is the third Werecat book. But, having finished  Pride ,  I can honestly say that this series has gotten better with each book and this is my favorite one so far. The good news is that the wait for the fourth book, Prey , will be much less than a year. It's due out July 1st and I will definitely be picking it up.  Rachel Vincent  has a tendency to end each volume not necessarily on a cliffhanger, but certainly at a point at which you are definitely opposed to stopping!  Pride   was officially released on February 1st and until the 4th Rachel is hosting a  Pride  release contest . Here is the blurb: Here's hoping cats do have nine lives. I’m on trial for my life. Accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend—and killing him to cover up the crime. I’m not guilty. But tell that to the panel of Alphas sitting in judgment. Infecting a human is one of three

Tuesday Giggles

If you haven't run across the hysterical Cleolinda in your webcrawling, now is the time to rectify that oversight. Cleo does many things, among them mind blowingly funny paradies of movies "in fifteen minutes ." My favorites have been her Harry Potters , but today I caught her Twilight parody . Made of awesome, my friends. Made. Of. Awesome .

Ballad Cover

Maggie Stiefvater is very happy with the cover for Ballad , the upcoming sequel to the awesome   Lament . And rightly so, eh? It's lovely! And so very bright and fiery in comparison to the much colder cover of its predecessor, which, for the record, I really love. I also like the new subtitle for this one: A Gathering of Faerie. Here's the blurb: In this sequel to Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception , faeries follow James and Dee to Thornking-Ash Conservatory, where James struggles with his feelings for Dee and with the dangerous faerie muse, Nuala. When Halloween plunges both Dee and Nuala into danger, James finds he can only choose one. Sigh. Ballad is due out in October.