Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Facebook Updates

You may have noticed that this blog has fallen way behind in reviews/updates/announcements of any kind. Why? Other things are taking over my life. Sitting down to think out and then write about what I liked/disliked about the last book I read takes too long, so it's gone by the wayside.

I was thinking, shorter updates would probably work a lot better for me. So I started a Facebook page. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the population or so uses Facebook, right? And I uh, ahem, definitely waste enough time on mine. Now if you become a fan of The Magic of Ink on Facebook, I will more frequently update you on what I've been liking and not liking so much.

Happy reading and happy holidays! Here's to lots of books for holiday presents. :-)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fire

by Kristin Cashore



I just finished Fire, the prequel-ish companion to Graceling. Although a little slow and, I thought, slightly confusing at the start, Fire will not disappoint readers of Graceling. The plot is driving and exciting, and thoroughly unpredictable. Like Katsa, Fire is a complex character who, during the course of the novel, learns about herself and others' perceptions of her in an interesting way.
Cashore's writing style has developed beautifully--not that it was bad before, but it has definitely matured.

I really, really liked Fire, and it kept me reading even after sitting there for several hours. Yet on my Goodreads account (friend me if you want), I only rated it 4 of 5 stars. Why? I think because Graceling resonated with me much more deeply than Fire did. Even Katsa's romance was a lot more to my taste than Fire's.

Fire comes with my high recommendations.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ballad

Okay, I'm trying something new. Very short summary or possibly just a trailer (if there's one I like) for books and then a review that's too the point. Writing my own summaries is time consuming and somewhat boring, and I always feel cheap stealing the official blurb. So on to the first review...

Ballad
by the amazingly talented Maggie Stiefvater


(I had this beautiful music--which Maggie wrote herself--playing in my head throughout reading the novel because it fits so well)

Ballad brings James from Lament into the spotlight with Dee as a much smaller, almost background character and a new homicidal faerie who is fascinated with humans. And it was amazing!

Maggie Stiefvater's writing walks the line between beautiful and suddenly humorous. If you liked James before, you will absolutely love his narration and his egotistical thoughts and quick comebacks that have you laughing even in intense scenes. And believe me, there are plenty of intense scenes.

I loved Nuala as a character and though at first I wanted to smack her and get her away (*glowers darkly in Nuala's direction*) from James, she became incredibly easy to feel sympathy for. I wish Paul had been given a slightly more important role, but I'm thinking he--and Sullivan, too--will play a bigger part in the next sequel (...there will be one, right?).

On the whole, a thrilling novel that will keep you up into the late hours of the night!

Ballad will be available at indie and chain bookstores near you on October 1st.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: A Troubled Peace

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

A Troubled Peace
by L.M. Elliott
Sequel to Under a War-Torn Sky
Released September 1st, 2009

March 1945

World War II may be ending, but for nineteen-year-old pilot Henry Forester the conflict still rages. Shot down behind enemy lines in France, Henry endured a dangerous trek to freedom, relying on the heroism of civilians and Resistance fighters to stay alive. But back home in Virginia, Henry is still reliving air battles with Hitler's Luftwaffe and his torture by the Gestapo. Mostly, Henry can't stop worrying about the safety of those who helped him escape—especially one French boy, Pierre, who, because of Henry, may have lost everything. When Henry returns to France to find Pierre, he is stunned by the brutal after-math of combat: starvation, cities shattered by Allied bombing, and the shocking return of concentration camp survivors. Amid the rubble of war, Henry must begin a daring search for a lost boy—plus a fight to regain his own internal peace and the trust of the girl he loves. L. M. Elliott's sequel to Under a War-Torn Sky is an astonishing account of surviving the fallout from war.

Why I'm waiting:
Because all of the other books I've read by L.M. Elliott have been amazing, and I would love to find out the rest of Henry's story after the end of Under a War-Torn Sky. I'd known a sequel was in the works for a long time, but only just found out that it was finished when it appeared in my library's on-order books update. Can't wait!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Ballad" Trailer

Check out this awesome trailer for Maggie Stiefvater's forthcoming Ballad, the companion/sequel to Lament.



Visit Maggie's blog to find out how to enter to win an ARC of Ballad!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Create Your Debut YA Cover

I wanted to fade the top edge of the black bar at the bottom of mine, but forgot until after I'd saved it as one image and since I didn't save a project version, I am NOT making it all over again! So this is how it is.

What will yours look like?

CREATE YOUR DEBUT YA COVER

1 – Go to "Fake Name Generator" or click http://www.fakenamegenerator.com/

The name that appears is your author name.

2 – Go to "Random Word Generator" or click http://www.websitestyle.com/parser/randomword.shtml

The word listed under "Random Verb" is your title.

3 – Go to "FlickrCC" or click http://flickrcc.bluemountains.net/index.php

Type your title into the search box. The first photo that contains a person is your cover.

4 – Use Photoshop, Picnik, or similar to put it all together. Be sure to crop and/or zoom in.

5 – Post it to your site along with this text.

Let 100 Scope Notes know that you made one by commenting here, and it'll be added to the gallery!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

Voices of Dragons

by Carrie Vaughn
Released March 1st, 2010

On one side of the border lies the modern world: the internet, homecoming dances, cell phones. On the other side dwell the ancient monsters who spark humanity’s deepest fears: dragons.

Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows she’s breaking the law by rock climbing near the border, but she’d rather have an adventure than follow the rules. When the dragon Artegal unexpectedly saves her life, a secret friendship grows between them—even though the fragile truce that has maintained peace between their two species is unraveling around them. As tensions mount and battles begin, Kay and Artegal are caught in the middle. Can their friendship change the course of a war?

In her young adult debut, New York Times bestselling author Carrie Vaughn presents a modern tale of myths and machines and an alliance that crosses a seemingly unbridgeable divide.

Why I'm waiting:
I love dragons, and this looks like it will be a well-done modern-day book on them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Dragonfly by Julia Golding

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. I missed it last week because I'm running out of especially exciting books to post about. :-( This week I'm waiting on...

Dragonfly
by Julia Golding
Released October 20th, 2009 (previously released in the UK)

Princess Taoshira of the Blue Crescent Islands is appalled when she is ordered to marry Prince Ramil of Gerfal in order to unite their lands. And he's not too pleased, either. They hate each other on sight. So, when Tashi and Ramil are kidnapped, they fear there's no escape - from their kidnappers or from each other. Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive ambush, unarmed combat, brainwashing, and imprisonment? And will the people they meet on their adventure help them or betray them to the enemy?

Why I'm waiting:
I'm currently in the middle of Julia Golding's Cat Royal Adventures (as many as have been published in the US, anyway) and find them very entertaining. While I'm thinking this will be rather different from Cat's, I'm hoping it will still be good. It sounds rather fairytale-like.

I LOVE My Library!

Because the library system orders so many books! Thanks to Wowbrary, a program that alerts you to your library's newest acquisitions, just this morning I placed a hold on:

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Fire by Kristin Cashore

and

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Friday, July 10, 2009

Natalie's Good Fortune

A Tale of Piracy and Adventure
by Anthony R. Fanning

At sixteen, Natalie Scatterfield is the soft daughter of a wealthy man, destined to be married off for her father's gain.
However, off the coast of the Caribbean islands in 1722, her destiny is changed forever when the ship she's aboard is attacked by pirates.
Natalie summons her courage and escapes, only to find herself alone on an island and more in need of strength and backbone than ever before if she's going to survive.
But Natalie has fiery Irish blood in her veins and she might find she has a temper and stubborn desire to persevere to match!

Natalie's Good Fortune is a darn good classic adventure story with nothing dull about it. Although unlike them in plot and characters, fans of Pirates of the Caribbean, Pirates!, Bloody Jack Adventures, or Stevenson's Treasure Island will thoroughly enjoy Natalie's Good Fortune. The characters are easy to see in your mind's eye and the scenes and sequences that unfold keep your eyes wide with excitement.
Mr. Fanning's debut novel is utterly readable and highly entertaining--and you won't want to miss the sequel, Isle of Lost Souls. Also look for the upcoming third volume of Natalie's adventures in The Devil's Footprint (tentative title).

Note:
This is definitely recommended for ages 14+ due to suggestive content (pirates being lewd and teenaged boys being their usual selves). Nothing explicit, but there is quite a bit--enough that it makes the Bloody Jack Adventures look clean. It didn't bother me, but I like to let people know.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

Shiver
by Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human...until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Why I'm waiting:
This won't be just another werewolf book.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

What We've Been Watching

Having recently signed up for Netflix, my sister and I have been watching a lot of movies. What have you enjoyed recently? What did you think of something I list here? (Please, no major spoilers in the comments!) For some reason I have a harder time reviewing movies than books, so here are a few mini-reviews:

BBC's North and South
2004
(IMDb)
Starring Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe
Based on the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell

I was unfamiliar with this lovely and moving story--set in England during the industrial revolution--before watching this adaptation, but it won me over quickly. Very powerful acting and lots of attention to detail in the production. North and South might just be a new favorite of mine.

Fan-made trailer:



Lost in Austen
2008
Starring Jemima Rooper and Elliot Cowan
(IMDb)

This was quite original in that the plot isn't based on Pride and Prejudice, but around modern-day Amanda Price appearing in Elizabeth Bennett's world. Where not everyone is as Austen wrote them, and Amanda's popping into their lives doesn't help anything. Soon everybody's falling for the "wrong" character--including Amanda herself.



ShakespeaRe-Told: Much Ado About Nothing
2005
Starring Sarah Parish and Damian Lewis
Based on Shakespeare's play
(IMDb)

Delightful retelling of the classic Much Ado About Nothing story, set in modern times. Although little bits of the original language appear, the dialogue is completely modernized--but still quite clever. I loved noticing references to the original work and also being able to enjoy how the scenes were modernized. Damian Lewis was a completely believable Benedick, and he and Sarah Parish played off of each other very well.
Highly recommended, though their version of A Midsummer Night's Dream is not. (The plot was hardly retold at all and the way the scenes were shot and setting were both very odd. It's presumably the 21st century and yet "Theseus" doesn't believe he's going insane when the king of the fairies comes out to talk to him? Come on.)
We have yet to watch The Taming of the Shrew, and decided to wait on watching Macbeth until we were more familiar with the original story in order to enjoy it better.



And we're currently in the middle of watching BBC's
Robin Hood
TV series
2006-
Starring Jonas Armstrong as Robin Hood, Keith Allen as the Sheriff of Nottingham, Lucy Griffiths as Marian, and Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne
(IMDb)

This version of the legend includes "modern elements," but is still set in medieval times. A lot of the classic scenes usually depicted in the legends--like Robin's meeting with Little John--are done differently, which is actually quite refreshing. Of course the Sheriff is evil and Guy is his minion and Robin is good and Marian is his lady love, but so many stories can be made out of that setup. The series squeezes in more characterization into the roles and completely different plots, but expect the usual corny implausible escapes--but you have to forgive it; he is Robin Hood, after all. The first season was really good, and excepting the first couple episodes *shudders*, the second one has been, too (although I've heard season 3--not yet out on DVD--goes downhill).


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

Ice
by Sarah Beth Durst
Published October 6th, 2009

When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairytale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth to become a prisoner of the trolls. Now that Cassie is older, she knows that this was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, she is determined to become a scientist, and she has no time for make believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face to face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned in the troll castle. And that he can bring her back--if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairytale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knew will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her--until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.

Why I'm waiting:
Sarah Beth Durst's previous novels, Into the Wild and Out of the Wild, were great fun and very imaginative. The cover and summary of Ice makes it look like it will be an equally as well written book, but aimed at an older audience. And while I've already read two retellings of East of the Sun, West of the Moon (Edith Pattou's East and Jessica Day George's Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow), I think Ice will still be original--for one thing it's set in modern times, while the other two were not.

Monday, June 22, 2009

TLC Blog Tour: Starfinder

by John Marco

A new fantasy series from the author of The Sword of Angels.
Steam trains and electricity are rapidly changing the world. Moth of Calio is obsessed with the airships developed by his friend Fiona’s grandfather Rendor, and dreams of taking to the air one day like his heroes, the Skyknights. But not everyone is happy to see humans reach the skies. For thousands of years, the mysterious and powerful race known as the Skylords have jealously guarded their heavenly domain. But Moth and Fiona are about to breach the magical boundary between the world of humans and the world of the Skylords.

My thoughts: (which may be added to later)
Although it wasn't really meant for my age range, and it isn't usually the type of book I like especially, Starfinder was cute and original enough to stay interesting. Certain characters and ideas were particularly intriguing and unique (such as Alis and the rest of the Redeemers).
I think it would be most enjoyed by 9-12 year-old boys who are ready for a full-fledged chapter book, but not some of the more mature elements that often appear in high fantasy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: The Pale Assassin by Patricia Elliott

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

The Pale Assassin (Pimpernelles, Book 1)
by Patricia Elliott
Released November 15th, 2009 (US), July 2nd, 2009 (UK)

Eugenie de Boncoeur is growing up in Paris, unaware that her guardian has contracted her to marry the sinister spymaster known as 'le Fantome' when she turns sixteen. She finds herself falling for the handsome lawyer, Guy Deschamps, but there is little time for romance; France is descending into chaos as the Revolution takes hold. Soon Eugenie is fleeing for her life. Her brother Armand has become involved in a plot to save the King from the guillotine, the mob is searching for aristocrats, and le Fantome, the pale assassin, is on their trail - desperate for revenge.

Why I'm waiting:
While this sounds like quite a different genre, I have previously really liked Patricia Elliott's other books and hope this one will be fun and amusing if nothing else. Besides, the time of the French Revolution is a period I find quite intriguing.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Nothing but Ghosts


It came on a gray December Wednesday afternoon, the postal carrier’s loud knock startling me out of my seat. Opening the door I found a package, flipped it over, read the return address. “It’s my book!” I practically shrieked, so loud I’m sure my sister heard me upstairs. My first ARC copy! Signed! By an awesome author who writes beautiful books! Ms. Kephart had graciously offered me a copy after I posted Nothing but Ghosts as one of my "Waiting on" Wednesday books in November.
I tore open the envelope immediately, I could hardly wait to crack it open! But at the time I was currently in the middle of Gary D. Schmidt ’s Trouble and felt it was an inopportune place to stop reading. Soon though, my eagerness to read Ms. Kephart’s newest work won and I sat down and read the entire novel in almost one sitting. (Unfortunately I’m still rather busy and must again use the publisher’s summary instead of my own if I ever want to review this.)

Ever since her mother passed away, Katie’s been alone in her too-big house with her genius dad who restores old paintings for a living. Katie takes a summer job at a garden estate, where, with the help of two brothers and a glamorous librarian, she soon becomes embroiled in decoding a mystery. There are secrets and shadows at the heart of Nothing But Ghosts, symbols hidden in a time-darkened painting, and surprises behind a locked bedroom door. But most of all, this is a love story—the story of a girl who learns about love while also learning to live with her own ghosts.

I don’t feel like I can do justice to this lovely novel because it was so beautiful. I guess I’ll go for short but heartfelt and say: Nothing but Ghosts includes a little mystery, a little romance, a touch of sadness, and many images of hope and summer. And, as always with Ms. Kephart’s books, beautiful writing that makes me want to linger in the novel as long as possible. Nothing but Ghosts is perfect for a lazy summer day, the plot unhurried but wonderful and the images as crisp as a glass of ice-cold lemonade.

Nothing but Ghosts will be available June 23rd, 2009.
Read the story of the cover at Reading Keeps You Sane’s “On the Outside” feature, and check out Beth’s own trailer:



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein

And you thought I'd died, right?! Nope. I've just been extremely lazy about reviewing or posting anything recently, even though I have two lovely books sitting at home that I've read but haven't written thoughts about yet and I feel terrible! One of them is as part of John Marco's TLC Book Tours for his new MG book, Starfinder, so look for my review of that on June 23rd.
Anyway, on to what I'm waiting on!

Lady Macbeth's Daughter
by Lisa Klein
Released October 13th, 2009

Albia has grown up with no knowledge of her father, the powerful thane Macbeth, and her mother, the grief-wracked Grelach. Instead she knows the dark lure of the Wychelm Wood and the moors, where she’s been raised by three strange sisters. The ambitious Macbeth seeks to know his fate,and Albia’s life becomes tangled with that of the man who leaves in his wake nothing but bloodshed. When Albia learns that she has the second sight, she must decide whether to ignore the terrible future she foresees—or to change it.

With only the shepherd Colum to aid her, Albia sets out on a journey fraught with peril. Will she be able to save the man she loves from her murderous father? Can she forgive her parents their wrongs, or must she destroy them?

Why I'm waiting:
Lisa Klein's Ophelia--a retelling of Hamlet--was amazing and gorgeous and I loved it! Her Civil War novel, Two Girls of Gettysburg was also very good, only not as original. Lady Macbeth's Daughter has GOT to be original since I don't think most people even knew that Lady Macbeth says, "I have given suck, and know how tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me," muchless imagines her having a child. So I'm thinking it looks very exciting!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Win One of My Favorite Books!

Head over to Today's Adventure, where you can enter to win a copy of Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer! This is the beginning of one of my favorite series ever (as you've probably seen) and I highly recommend both the series and Today's Adventure!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

Dragon Spear
by Jessica Day George
Released May 12th, 2009
Sequel to: Dragon Slippers and Dragon Flight

As far as Creel is concerned, all is finally right with the world. The dragon king, Shardas, and his queen, Velika, have made a home for themselves on the Far Islands, and for the first time in centuries it seems dragons and humans might be able to live together in peace. So what better time for Creel and Luka to plan their wedding. But then Velika gets kidnapped by a band of rogue dragons in need of their own queen. And Creel and Luka leap to aid Shardas and rescue her—only to discover that Luka’s father has set his sights on taking back the Far Islands from the dragons. Torn between her love for Prince Luka and her friendship with Shardas and Velika, Creel must make the most difficult decision of her life if she stands any chance of getting to the church on time.

Why I'm waiting:
I have really enjoyed the previous two books about Creel and Luka, and am very much looking forward to hearing the end of their tale. Jessica Day George's books somehow manage to be simple and complex and light and deep all at the same time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Your Blog is Fabulous Award

I was very excited this morning to see that Em nominated me for the Your Blog is Fabulous Award! Right back at you, Em! The rules say that, "Nominated blogs must list 5 things that they are addicted to and then nominate 5 other blogs." Sooo...here are my five:

1. Maelstrom
For Aella and Medeia and their fun reviews, with a very unique rating system.

2. NineteenTeen
For the multitude of fascinating posts on teenaged life during the nineteenth century.

3. Bookwork Chrysalis
For the in-depth reviews of interesting fantasy books.

4. Look Books
Although it's been a little abandoned recently, I always look forward to reading Felicity's updates on what she's learned about the Adams family and other cool things. It's cool to see such passion for something in someone just around my age.

5. Meandering Along
For her long posts about everything, whether it's something she loves or a rant about Orlando Bloom's--in the role of Legolas--eyebrows. Even when our opinions differ (like thoughts on the Inheritance Cycle or Josh Groban), her very well-formed likes and dislikes are always interesting, and when I agree with them they make me laugh because she's so descriptive. (When I don't agree, that's fine, too.) I think she and my friend Chelsea would get along well--IF they happen to agree on most things, that is. ;-)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Fire by Kristin Cashore

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

Fire
by Kristin Cashore
Released October 6th, 2009

Fire, Graceling's "prequel-ish companion book," takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.

Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored--fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green--and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.

Wondering what makes it a companion book/prequel? Fire takes place 30-some years before Graceling and has one cross-over character with Graceling, a small boy with strange two-colored eyes who comes from no-one-knows-where, and who has a peculiar ability that Graceling readers will find familiar and disturbing...

Why I'm waiting:
Let's see...Graceling was amazing, and the lucky people who've read this already are all saying Fire is even better! (Which is hard for me to imagine, but if it really is then yay!) Plus the cover is beautiful, and the story sounds really unique, interesting, and exciting.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

by Carrie Ryan

I’m pressed for time with getting ready to go up to New Jersey this weekend, but I wanted to post this review, so I’m going to do something I never do except for Waiting on Wednesdays, and that is use the official summary instead of writing my own. (I’m also using the UK cover because it's so much more intriguing and awesome.) So here it is with my review below:

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

The Forest of Hands and Teeth drew me in right from the start with its immediate jump into Mary’s life—and also possibly in part because it began with a desire to see the ocean (always a good thing). The characters were introduced quickly but not so fast that they were hard to tell apart, and Mary’s emotions were easy to identify with. The plot moved right along; in a couple parts my palms were sweating and I could hardly read fast enough to see what came next.
But towards the end it fell apart for me—maybe because I read so fast I couldn’t process the story, I don’t know. It seemed to me that there were a lot of plot threads introduced that weren’t taken anywhere, and questions that I wanted answers to but never got. Perhaps the sequel, The Dead-Tossed Waves, will offer explanations.
Aside from that, it was a *very* good debut novel; I think Carrie Ryan has a lot of promise and I will definitely want to read anything she publishes in the future!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Rapture of the Deep by L.A. Meyer

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

Rapture of the Deep: Being the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Soldier, Sailor, Mermaid, Spy

by L.A. Meyer
Released September 28th, 2009
Sequel to: Bloody Jack, Curse of the Blue Tattoo, Under the Jolly Roger, In the Belly of the Bloodhound, Mississippi Jack, and My Bonny Light Horseman

On the very day that Jacky Faber is to wed her true love, she is kidnapped by British Naval Intelligence and forced to embark on yet another daring mission—this time to search for sunken Spanish gold. But when Jacky is involved, things don't always go as planned. Jacky has survived battles on the high seas, the stifling propriety of a Boston finishing school, and even confinement in a dank French prison. But no adventure has quite matched her opportunistic street-urchin desires—until now.

Why I'm waiting:
As I have said before, Jacky and her adventures are some of the best in YA and make me go squee. Enough said.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

A Kiss in Time
by Alex Flinn
Released May 1st, 2009

Talia fell under a spell.... Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic....

I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.

I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger's soft kiss.

I couldn't help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn't know this would happen.

Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!

Now I'm stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels.... The good news: My parents will freak!

Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?

Why I'm waiting:
Alex Flinn's books have been amazing so far! I can't wait to read her second venture into a new genre.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

or as my pen pal taught me to say it,

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!

It's pronounced something like: ban-awk-tee na fail-a por-ick (with a very harsh "awk," almost like you're coughing).

Also, happy birthday to me! Being born today (and having a Gaelic first name) is really my only claim to being Celtic, but take what you can get, right?

Celebrations all around with Scythian's "dueling siblings" act, in which they choose a "random" person to play fiddle:


And with ETH's omigosh-awesome Lancaster Gate:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: The Walls Have Eyes by Clare Dunkle

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

The Walls Have Eyes

by Clare B. Dunkle
Sequel to: The Sky Inside
Released August 25th, 2009

Martin Glass may have seen his baby sister Cassie to safety at the end of The Sky Inside, but his problems are far from over. There’s a totalitarian regime in place, murderous game shows on the air, and a host of government agents on Martin’s tail. And Martin and his Alldog, Chip, get more than they bargained for when they go back to Martin’s old suburb and have to rescue Martin’s parents. But spending time in the wilderness with Mom and Dad isn’t the worst of it. Because Martin learns that Cassie is still in danger—and to keep her and the other Wonder Babies safe, he’s going to have to risk the thing he loves most. Clare Dunkle brings her signature sense of pacing an adventure to a new story of Martin, Chip, and the rest of her varied cast in a story that widens and deepens the fascinating and multifaceted world she presented in The Sky Inside.

Why I'm waiting:
All of Ms. Dunkle's previous books have been fabulous, from her Hollow Kingdom Trilogy to this book's prequel, The Sky Inside.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lament

The Faerie Queen’s Deception
by Maggie Stiefvater

Deidre is used to puking; she does so before every public performance on her harp. But with the appearance of a mysterious man from her dreams, she finds herself calm, and able to add the most breathtaking variations to the melodies as she plays.
When she begins to find four-leafed clovers everywhere, and Luke Dillon and his friends appear at the strangest times, Dee knows something strange is going on. Presently she will discover that she is a Cloverhand; she has an energy that attracts the fey, whether she wants their company or not.

Lament is the first modern-era dark faerie novel I’ve read (and there have been several; Tithe, Ironside, Valiant, Wondrous Strange, Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange) in which I felt connected with the characters and believed the romances. The story, too, drew me in like none of the others, and for once I was completely sure I understood the plot fully—not that it was overly explained or too simple, only that it was explained well.

Look for the sequel, coming October 1st, 2009: Ballad: The Gathering of Faerie.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Dragon's Heart by Jane Yolen

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

Dragon's Heart
The Pit Dragon Chronicles, Book 4
by Jane Yolen
Sequel to: Dragon's Blood, Heart's Blood, and A Sending of Dragons
Released May 4th 2009

Austar IV isn't the planet it once was, and when Jakkin and Akki finally return to the dragon nursery, their homecoming arouses mixed emotions. Together they've survived the insurmountable, and now they can weather the brutal conditions of Dark After and communicate with the dragons they love. But with this knowledge comes responsibility. What they've learned about survival could transform the planet--or, if entrusted to the wrong hands, bring about its destruction. Akki's insistence that she return to the Rokk to finish her training and begin new experiments drives a chasm between her and Jakkin. Suddenly she finds herself in the midst of a political battle that could claim her life. Only Jakkin can save her. If only he could reach her....

Why I'm waiting:
Because the first three books were very unusual and original and I want the ability to FINALLY read the rest of Jakkin and Akki's story! This book has been a looooong time in coming, and I'm very excited to see it being published for real instead of just rumored.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Recent Libray Loot

I haven't kept up with my Library Loot posts recently--mostly because I've only been getting one book at a time. At one time I had the maximum of 13 holds on my list, but none of them were coming in because all of them are yet to be released! So here is what I have checked out of the library recently, not just for this week:



As always, from left to right:
The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
This book got a lot of hype, but my library wasn't ordering it. So I used my Borders employee benefit of checking out books and got a chance to read it. Too bad it didn't live up to my hopes.

Two Girls of Gettysburg by Lisa Klein
I love the author's Ophelia, so I was excited to read and review her new book.

Fade by Lisa McMann
Because the idea is so original and I wanted to read this, the sequel to Wake.

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
The cover looked interesting.

A Stranger to Command by Sherwood Smith
I thought it would be cool to learn the back story of Vidanric (of Crown Duel), but it wasn't terribly exciting.

Daughter of the Flames by Zoë Marriott
If you saw my Waiting on Wednesday for this one, you'll understand.

Terrier by Tamora Pierce (reread)
It seemed like a good idea to have the plot and characters of Terrier fresh in my mind for the release of Bloodhound in April.

Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel
The first two books, Airborn and Skybreaker were very enjoyable.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
I'm finally going to see what all the Mortal Instruments hype is about.

Tenacious by Julian Stockwin (Kydd, book 6)
Working my way through the Kydd series, albeit slowly.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

And the winner is...

Chelsea De Torres

Congratulations! I will email you so you know what to do to receive your prizes.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

The Stolen One

by Suzanne Crowley
Released July 6th, 2009

When her adoptive mother dies, Katherine Bab takes the chance she has been waiting for her whole life: she moves from her country village to London, to uncover the secret of who she really is. Before long, Kat has become a favorite of Queen Elizabeth herself, and rumors are swirling - could fiery-haired Kat be the secret daughter of the Virgin Queen? Kat's got plenty of other things to figure out, as well . . . such as how to choose between her childhood love and two handsome men at court vying for her affection. This smart, sensual novel drips with intrigue, period detail, and drama and will resonate with anyone who has ever longed to find his or her place in the world.

Why I'm waiting:
The time of the Tudors is one of my favorite time periods (after the English Regency), and this is one of those books that I know I will think is wonderful (the last time that happened was with Graceling, and look how that turned out). Isn't the cover nice? I wonder what the pear signifies/references. Can't wait to see!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Books I'd Recommend to Anyone

A friend asked me to create a list of my favorite books in different genres so that she wouldn't have to wade through the 100+ posts on this blog. I thought the rest of you might enjoy seeing as well, so here they are:

Historical


Bloody Jack Adventures (series)
by L.A. Meyer

Suspenseful, funny, amazing series with a main character who simply can't keep herself out of scrapes if her life depends on it (which it often does). Read my full review/plot outline/gush.



The Forestwife
Child of the May
(and if you can get it) Path of the She Wolf
by Theresa Tomlinson

Robin Hood retellings focusing on the females of Sherwood, and with a different look on Marian's character. Really good! I've never been able to read the third book in the trilogy because the publisher finds it too "adult" for the US and I don't want to pay to have it shipped from the UK.

Ophelia
by Lisa Klein

Hamlet--from Ophelia's point of view! Although it was the same storyline, it wasn't predictable, and I love seeing Ophelia as an interesting and smart character rather than a somewhat pathetic one (why does she have to drown herself over a man?). Full summary and review here.


Annie, Between the States
by L.M. Elliot

Torn loyalties and danger that will make even a non-history lover happy. This book made the Civil War really come alive for me; the characters and the descriptions are great--and I've been to so many of the places mentioned! Full summary and review here.


Pirates!
by Celia Rees

Dashing pirates, adventure, romance...
Not everyone I've recommended this to has loved it, but I do. I'm not sure why; maybe because I somehow identify with the main character a lot.



Dystopian

The Giver
Gathering Blue
Messenger
by Lois Lowry
It's a Utopian world that practices "sameness," a way of life invented for minimal pain and suffering, and everyone equal. Or are they? If you haven't read these yet, you should. NOW. Very thought-provoking and in a way, beautiful.

The House of the Scorpion
by Nancy Farmer

Opium, a strip of land between Mexico and the United States, is a dark and frightening world run by rich drug lords...and powered by human clones.
Different than The Giver trilogy, but somehow scarier. I guess the world painted seems more likely to happen. The prologue is very weird when you first read it, but don't give up. If you can't get into the prologue, skip to the first chapter and come back later.

Fantasy

Nightpool
The Ivory Lyre
The Dragonbards
by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Okay, I read these a LONG time ago and it's been a while, but I thought they were amazing when I originally read them. They're pretty unique, especially in the dragon-fantasy genre.
(Couldn't find a good cover for this one.)

The Hollow Kingdom
Close Kin
In the Coils of the Snake
by Clare B. Dunkle

Really amazing goblin and elf stories, anyone? Sisters Kate and Emily are sent to live with their relations, far out in the country. One night when walking home in the dark, the girls come across a band of what they think are gypsies.

The Naming
The Riddle
The Crow
The Singing
by Alison Croggon

If you like epics (Lord of the Rings, the Inheritance Cycle, etc.), you should love this. It's the story of Maarad, a girl who is the Chosen One.

Sorcery and Cecelia
by Caroline Stevermer & Patricia C. Wrede

If you like magic and High Society, this book (and its two sequels) is for you! Cousins Cecy and Kate are about to have their debut Season, but there's magic afoot, and it's not always working for them. Full summary and review here.


Flora Segunda
by Ysabeau S. Wilce
I would recommend this book to everyone, but I don't think it's for everyone. Personally I found it hilarious, despite its being slightly bizarre. I guess you'll have to see for yourself. Full summary and review here.




Guilty Pleasures

The Seer and the Sword
by Victoria Hanley

This book definitely isn't total fluff, but it's enough of a romance that I feel sort of sappy when I read it. But it makes me happy, which is good. So there.




Crown Duel
by Sherwood Smith

In my category, this is about as much of a romance as I can stand. It's not corny, and the court intrigue is delicious. If you like it, check out its prequel, A Stranger to Command (which I found quite a bit drier).



The Raging Quiet
by Sherryl Jordan

More of a historical witch-burning-sign-language story with a love story on the side than a true romance.





Fairytale Retellings

East
by Eddith Pattou

A retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, an old Norwegian folktale. I think I loved it partly because it is a more unusual tale to retell, and partly because of the wonderful way it was told.



Birdwing
by Rafe Martin

What happened to the youngest brother in The Six Swans when his one arm remained a wing? Read his story. Full summary and review here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

Eyes Like Stars (The Théâtre Illuminata: Act 1)
by Lisa Mantchev
Released July 7th, 2009

Enter Stage Right

All her world's a stage.
Beatrice Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She is not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but has no lines of her own.
Until now.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every place ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

Lisa Mantchev has written a debut novel that is dramatic, romantic, and witty, with an irresistible and irreverent cast of characters who are sure to enchant the audience.

Open Curtain

Why I'm waiting:
Doesn't it sound cool?! Who isn't excited? Theatre, Shakespeare, faeries...
Are you excited, too? Check out the scavenger hunt that will make you eligible to win an ARC of Eyes Like Stars!