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1. Win The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey!

I just read The Bloodbound by Ern Lindsey, and it’s a run, exciting read!  Here’s my review.  Want to win a copy? Just enter the giveaway below!

About the book:

Of all those in the King of Alden’s retinue, the bloodbinders are the most prized. The magic they wield can forge invaluable weapons, ones that make soldiers like Lady Alix Black unerringly lethal. However, the bloodbinders’ powers can do so much more—and so much worse…

A cunning and impetuous scout, Alix only wishes to serve quietly on the edges of the action. But when the king is betrayed by his own brother and left to die at the hands of attacking Oridian forces, she winds up single-handedly saving her sovereign.

Suddenly, she is head of the king’s personal guard, an honor made all the more dubious by the king’s exile from his own court. Surrounded by enemies, Alix must help him reclaim his crown, all the while attempting to repel the relentless tide of invaders led by the Priest, most feared of Oridia’s lords.

But while Alix’s king commands her duty, both he and a fellow scout lay claim to her heart. And when the time comes, she may need to choose between the two men who need her most…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Win The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. Review: The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

The Bloodbound appeared in my mailbox about a month ago.  Until I had received an email from the publisher, I had never heard of it, and that’s extremely unusual when it comes to fantasy novels.  I am like a Bloodhound; I relentlessly sniff out new titles, especially when they contain romance elements and aren’t part of an already ongoing series.  And look at the cover?  Protagonist Alix is wearing plate mail and wielding a sword, with barely any flesh exposed.  Finally, a female warrior who looks like she’s actually ready to fight and not pose for the swim suit issue of Sports Illustrated.   Better yet, she actually kicks ass!  She saves her king, Erik, not once, but many times, placing herself at risk of imminent death each and every time.  She’s both physically and mentally tough.  Hooray!

Alix is a scout in the Alden army, serving her mandatory time in the military.  She’s also Lady Black, a member of one of the politically powerful banner houses.  Stealthy and brave, she takes her duties in the army seriously.  When it becomes clear that the King’s brother, Tom, has betrayed him, withdrawing his forces from the field of battle and leaving Erik to die, Alix ignores her orders to hold her position as lookout and rushes to save her king.  She hauls him from his horse to keep him from taking an arrow from an enemy archer, pulling the horse down on top of him.  The resulting injuries, knocking him senseless and breaking his leg, are small prices to pay for saving his life.  She carries him away from the fighting to safety, and the grateful Erik appoints her the head of his personal guard.

I really enjoyed Alix’s strength.  She doesn’t back down from a confrontation, and she always tries to do what’s right.  Her strong morale code and her impetuous nature often earn her the wrath of her commanding officer, but she doesn’t let that stop her from taking risks to keep Erik safe.  His attitude doesn’t help her, either.  Erik isn’t used to hiding behind others, and it’s not until an assassin attempts to take his life that he heeds Alix and follows her security instructions.  There were times at the beginning of the book when I thought Alix was the only character to display any sort of common sense, and I did fear for Erik’s safety.  He was is own worst enemy for most of the book, and his sense of self-preservation was sadly underdeveloped.

With an enemy army perched at the border of his kingdom, as well as his brother’s efforts to take control of the throne, Erik doesn’t know who he can trust outside of a small group of nobles.  Alix has proven her loyalty, so she is given a position of trust within his circle of supporters.  Alix proves herself to be politically astute time and again.  As Erik fights to protect both his people and his crown, his own beliefs are put to the test.  How will he keep control of the country, without tearing it apart from within and adhering to his own code of ethics? 

I enjoyed the political maneuvering, as well as the action peppered throughout the narrative.  The battles were exciting, and neither Alix nor Erik take a backseat during the action scenes.  They meet their opponents head on, blades swinging, unflinching.  I really got a sense of the chaos of battle, and found these sequences hard to put down.

There isn’t really a magic system, other than the bloodbinders.  Few and far between, these individuals can take the blood of a warrior and blend it with the steel of a sword, creating a weapon that is an extension of the wielder.  Alix has a bloodbound sword, which makes her even deadlier in a fight.  It is rumored that the invading Oridian’s have a priest able to bind warriors to himself.  These mindless thralls fight like berserkers, unmindful of wounds and throwing themselves into battle until they kill their targets, or are killed themselves.  Incapable of feeling pain or fear, the thralls are fearsome warriors that never retreat.  An all out battle with the Oridian thralls will cost the lives of many, many Aldens, and Erik despairs at victory.  With Tom dividing the country, the outcome doesn’t look good for Alden.  Erik’s one hope is to kill Madan, the Oridian priest, which will break the blood seal that’s been cast over the bloodbound warriors.

There is a lot going on in The Bloodbound, and while some of the world building elements were a little light, the story was interesting and kept me engrossed in the book.  If there was anything that detracted from the story, it was the love triangle between Alix, Liam, and Erik.  I am firmly in the I can’t stand love triangles camp, so even if this was the best love triangle in the world of love triangles, I still wouldn’t have liked it.  It’s a plot device that is far too overused in YA, and I don’t like it when it pops up in other reads. 

I enjoyed The Bloodbound, and the ending left off with room for another book, so I wouldn’t mind spending more time the characters.  Rig, Alix’s older brother, is a favorite, so I hope he gets more page time. Since his house needs an heir, I’m curious to see who he gets paired up with.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Of all those in the King of Alden’s retinue, the bloodbinders are the most prized. The magic they wield can forge invaluable weapons, ones that make soldiers like Lady Alix Black unerringly lethal. However, the bloodbinders’ powers can do so much more—and so much worse…

A cunning and impetuous scout, Alix only wishes to serve quietly on the edges of the action. But when the king is betrayed by his own brother and left to die at the hands of attacking Oridian forces, she winds up single-handedly saving her sovereign.

Suddenly, she is head of the king’s personal guard, an honor made all the more dubious by the king’s exile from his own court. Surrounded by enemies, Alix must help him reclaim his crown, all the while attempting to repel the relentless tide of invaders led by the Priest, most feared of Oridia’s lords.

But while Alix’s king commands her duty, both he and a fellow scout lay claim to her heart. And when the time comes, she may need to choose between the two men who need her most…

The post Review: The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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3. ARTEMIS AWAKENING by Jane Lindskold {Review}

"Review My Books" Review by Krista Artemis Awakening (Artemis Awakened #1) by Jane Lindskold Hardcover: 304 pages Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (May 27, 2014) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon Artemis Awakening is the start of a new series by New York Times bestseller Jane Lindskold. The distant world Artemis is a pleasure planet created out of bare rock by a

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4. Review and Giveaway: The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

I am beyond thrilled to be part of the 50th anniversary blog tour for Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three.  My history with Prydain goes WAY back.  The Book of Three was one of the first fantasy novels that I ever read, recommended to me by my uncle right after I finished the Narnia Chronicles.  I loved the world of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and I wanted to read more books in this wonderful new genre that I had just discovered.  I was 11 or 12, and armed with a list of books from my uncle, I hit the library and checked out as many as I could find.  The Book of Three and The White Mountains made the biggest impression on me, and I’ve been meaning to reread these treasures from my childhood for quite some time.  The problem: I was afraid that they wouldn’t stand up to the test of time.  The Book of Three is as old as I am, and I wondered if the years would be good to Taran and Eilonwy.  Would they still seem relevant after all this time?  You bet!  I loved the re-read as much as when I read the book for the first time!

Taran is an assistant pig-keeper, and he lives with Coll and Dalben in a remote hamlet.  Nothing much happens, and Taran is bored.  He dreams of swords and chivalry, or doing brave things and being more than he is.  When the animals go nuts one day, and Hen Wen, the oracular pig he helps care for, escapes her pen and flees in terror, Taran learns first hand that being a hero isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  It’s full of hardship and weariness, life-threatening danger, and fear.  It’s also full of new friends, patience, and learning who you are and how you’ll act when faced with the most fearsome foes imaginable.

The writing style is engaging and it didn’t feel dated at all.  I have tried to re-read other books from my past, and have been left disappointed.  The Book of Three still feels fresh and exciting, and if anything, I liked Eilonwy now even better than before.  She’s brave, fearless, and doesn’t wait for someone else to save her.  She’s self-assured (probably too much so!), and her sharp intelligence helps her and Taran out of many nasty situations.  She wants to pull her own weight, and she never loses her ability to think and reason her way out of trouble.  She even has common sense!  More than Taran, at least at first.

Taran begins his journey to save Hen Wen, and then all of Prydain, an impulsive, overly confident boy.  He arrives at the end of his travels far more mature than when he started.  He cares about his friends, even the ones he doubted at first, and doesn’t hesitate to put himself in harm’s way to save them.  He even comes to appreciate the predictable peace of home, and wants nothing more than to return to the old, boring life he took for granted.

If I have any complaints about The Book of Three, it’s about the final battle with the Horned King.  Most of the action takes place off page, and is related to Taran by a third party.  I felt ever so slightly ripped off by that, but it’s not enough of a gripe to mar my reading experience.

If you haven’t read the series before, I highly recommend it, for readers of all ages. 

 

Info about the 50th Anniversary editions:

Henry Holt Books for Young Readers is proud to publish this 50th Anniversary Edition of Lloyd Alexander’s classic The Book of Three, the first book in the Chronicles of Prydain, with a new introduction by Newbery Honor–winner Shannon Hale. This anniversary edition is filled with bonus materials, including an interview with Lloyd Alexander, a Prydain short story, the first chapter of the next Prydain book (The Black Cauldron, a Newbery Honor book), an author’s note, and a pronunciation guide.

I have a hardback copy of The Book of Three to give to one of you!  The book is BEAUTIFUL, so please enter below!  US/Canada only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

The Book of Three 50th Anniversary Blog Tour

Monday September 22

YA Bibliophile

Tuesday September 23

Maria’s Melange

Wednesday September 24

The Book Wars

Thursday September 25

Bunbury in the Stacks

Friday September 26

Manga Maniac Café

Monday September 29

Read Now Sleep Later

Tuesday September 30

The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

Wednesday October 1

Word Spelunking

Thursday October 2

Proud Book Nerd

Friday October 3

Book Haven Extraordinaire

The post Review and Giveaway: The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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5. A Letter to SNOW LIKE ASHES by Sara Raasch

Review by Becca First off, I want to send Andye a HUGE thank you for having me here on Reading Teen! I've become quite the regular here, which is fabulous! But if you haven't seen one of my reviews yet, I'm going to review Snow Like Ashes a little bit different than others. I'll be writing a letter to the book, saying what I did/didn't like, similar to how I normally review on my own blog!

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6. Book Spotlight: Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale

revenge

Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother . . . or the woman she thought was her mother.

Every day, when the little girl played in her pretty garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the garden wall . . . a rather enormous garden wall.

And every year, as she grew older, things seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally climbed to the top of the wall and looked over into the mines and desert beyond.

Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with husband Dean Hale and brilliant artist Nathan Hale (no relation) to bring readers a swashbuckling and hilarious twist on the classic story as you’ve never seen it before. Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair team up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter.

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Grade Level: 5 – 8
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; First Edition edition (August 5, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599902885
ISBN-13: 978-1599902883

PURCHASE HERE!


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7. Mortal Danger, by Ann Aguirre | Book Review

When unpopular, ugly Edie steps out on the ledge, the last person she expects to stop her from jumping is the most beautiful guy she's ever seen.

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8. Writer Wednesday:

I've been tagged by Vicki Leigh in the Meet My Character Blog Hop. Thanks, Vicki! So, today I'll be talking about the MC in Into the Fire. Well, one of them anyway. It's dual POV. Here we go!

1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
Cara Tillman is 100% fictional, though she feels completely real in my mind.

2. When and where is the story set?
The story is set in present day in a fictional town called Ashlan Falls.

3. What should we know about him/her?
Cara is a descendent of the mythical phoenix bird, and her first rebirth is only one month away.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Cara knows that when she's reborn, she's going to forget everyone from her first life. So when she imprints on the new guy in town, Logan, this spells disaster. It also makes her more of a target for Hunters, people who kill Phoenixes and steal their essence so they can live longer.

5. What is the personal goal of the character?
Cara is dying to find a way to hold on to her memories and Logan through her rebirth.

6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
Into the Fire is a YA romantic fantasy. Here's the blurb:
In one month, seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman will die. But until then, she plans to enjoy every look, touch and kiss with her boyfriend Logan, the new boy in Ashlan Falls. Cara is a descendant of the mythical Phoenix bird, and her rebirth is nearing. But first, she must die and forget all that she knew before, including Logan's face, his laugh, and the way he says her name. With precious little time left for the two of them, Cara does all she can to savor every moment, unwittingly drawing a Phoenix hunter to her doorstep with every move.

7. When can we expect the book to be published?
Into the Fire was published on September 9th! You can grab your copy today on Amazon or B&N, and take the #IntotheFireChallenge for a chance to become a phoenix in the final book of the series.

Now I'm tagging Stephanie Faris and Medeia Sharif.

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9. book review: Shieldwolf Dawning

title: Shieldwolf Dawning516+sRTYYpL._AA160_

author: Selena Nemorin

date: Astraea Press; 2014

main character: Samarra

Shieldwolf Dawning is the first in a new speculative fiction series by Selena Nemorin. Samarra and her brother, Cassian, have been moved to Gaia, a planet with a deteriorating natural environment and are being raised by the Sairfangs after the death of the children’s parents. Their step-parent’s wealth protects them from the pollution and scarcities and provides Cassian with the best education money can buy. Samarra is stuck at home cleaning and doing chores. As sexist as this situation seems, it has more to do with Cassian’s future position in life rather than the fact that he’s a male. Samarra despises her situation. She’s impetuous and curious. Given the opportunity to leave her situation, she talks her brother into escaping with her. And so begins their adventure.

The book rattled my attention the mention of ‘all-terrain aircraft’!  Written in third person, the author still confines herself to the limited perception of the main character. That annoys me! Use that voice to fully develop a story with multiple character’s perspectives and with rich settings or stick to first person. Cassian is poorly developed which is tragic given how important he becomes at the end of the book. Time sequences were unequal in length and there were too many detailed situations that were never developed.

Shieldwolf Dawning is unique in two ways. First, it gives us an adventurous female of color  with blue dreads who often saves herself in situations. Second, it’s steeped in philosophy. Where knowledge of the field could provide a stronger appreciation for the book, I had none. I suspect that most teens without this knowledge will be as frustrated as I was with Samarra and never really invest in the story. She repeatedly wanders into situations that end up with negative consequences. Maybetwo-thirds of the way into the book when I was really tired of her doing this over and over again and I began to think that these wanderings might have something to do with stages of intellectual or moral development and that these curiosities were purposeful in her growth. This seemed to make sense to me when Samarra reasoned about moral judgment, truth and honestly.

Sheildwolf Dawning is an ambitious book that doesn’t quite reach it’s potential.


Filed under: Book Reviews Tagged: fantasy

1 Comments on book review: Shieldwolf Dawning, last added: 9/19/2014
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10. book review: Shieldwolf Dawning

title: Shieldwolf Dawning516+sRTYYpL._AA160_

author: Selena Nemorin

date: Astraea Press; 2014

main character: Samarra

Shieldwolf Dawning is the first in a new speculative fiction series by Selena Nemorin. Samarra and her brother, Cassian, have been moved to Gaia, a planet with a deteriorating natural environment and are being raised by the Sairfangs after the death of the children’s parents. Their step-parent’s wealth protects them from the pollution and scarcities and provides Cassian with the best education money can buy. Samarra is stuck at home cleaning and doing chores. As sexist as this situation seems, it has more to do with Cassian’s future position in life rather than the fact that he’s a male. Samarra despises her situation. She’s impetuous and curious. Given the opportunity to leave her situation, she talks her brother into escaping with her. And so begins their adventure.

The book rattled my attention the mention of ‘all-terrain aircraft’!  Written in third person, the author still confines herself to the limited perception of the main character. That annoys me! Use that voice to fully develop a story with multiple character’s perspectives and with rich settings or stick to first person. Cassian is poorly developed which is tragic given how important he becomes at the end of the book. Time sequences were unequal in length and there were too many detailed situations that were never developed.

Shieldwolf Dawning is unique in two ways. First, it gives us an adventurous female of color  with blue dreads who often saves herself in situations. Second, it’s steeped in philosophy. Where knowledge of the field could provide a stronger appreciation for the book, I had none. I suspect that most teens without this knowledge will be as frustrated as I was with Samarra and never really invest in the story. She repeatedly wanders into situations that end up with negative consequences. Maybetwo-thirds of the way into the book when I was really tired of her doing this over and over again and I began to think that these wanderings might have something to do with stages of intellectual or moral development and that these curiosities were purposeful in her growth. This seemed to make sense to me when Samarra reasoned about moral judgment, truth and honestly.

Sheildwolf Dawning is an ambitious book that doesn’t quite reach it’s potential.


Filed under: Book Reviews Tagged: fantasy

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11. Book Spotlight: Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

I’ll be focusing on graphic novels this week. Hope you enjoy it.

seconds

The highly anticipated new standalone full-color graphic novel from Bryan Lee O’Malley, author and artist of the hugely bestselling Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series

Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:

1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake anew

And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She’s also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms—and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it’s against the rules. But Katie doesn’t care about the rules—and she’s about to discover the unintended consequences of the best intentions.

From the mind and pen behind the acclaimed Scott Pilgrim series comes a madcap new tale of existential angst, everyday obstacles, young love, and ancient spirits that’s sharp-witted and tenderhearted, whimsical and wise.

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345529375
ISBN-13: 978-0345529374

PURCHASE HERE!


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12. The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond

Have you ever imagined what the world would be like if the Axis powers, Germany, Japan and Italy, had won World War II.  Well,  author Caroline Tung Richmond has done just that in her debut novel The Only Thing to Fear.  

It's been 80 years since the Allied Forces lost the war and surrendered after being defeated by Hitler's genetically-engineered super soldiers.  The United States has been divided into three territories, the Western American Territory ruled by Japan, the Italian Dakotas, and the Eastern American Territories ruled by the Nazis.

For Zara St. James, 16, living in the Shenandoah Valley in the Eastern American Territory, life has been hard.   She has lived with her Kleinbauer (peasant) Uncle Red since her mother was killed by the Nazis in a Resistance mission when Zara was 8.  Since then, Uncle Red has wanted nothing more to do with Resistance matters, but Zara can't wait to join Revolutionary Alliance, and with good reason.
English on her mother's side, Japanese on her father's, Zara is considered a Mischling by the Germans and there has never been a place for mixed-race children in Nazi society. But Zara is also hiding a secret, one that would mean instant death - she is an Anomaly, able control the air around her.  Anomalies are the result of genetic testing by the Nazis in their concentration camps in the 1930s and, as super soldiers, they helped them win the war.  But only full-blooded Aryans can be Anomalies, everyone else is put to death instantly.

Into all this comes Bastian Eckhartt, son of the formidable Colonel Eckhart, commanding officer of Fort Goering.  Bastian attends the elite military academy where Zara is assigned cleaning duties and lately she has noticed he has been looking her way more and more frequently.  But what could the son of a powerful Nazi leader possibly want with a Kleinbauer who garners no respect whatsoever?  The answer may just surprise you.

I was really looking forward to reading The Only Thing to Fear when I first heard of it.  There aren't many alternative histories for teen readers about the allied Forces losing the war to the Axis powers and what that would have meant for the future.  Unfortunately, this doesn't come across as an alternative history so much as it really just another dystopian novel.   What seems to be missing is a strong sense of ideology - on both the Nazi and the peasant side.  The Resistance was there to overthrow the cruel Nazis, but there is not sense of how or why they will make the world better if or when they succeed.

Richmond's world building was pretty spot on, though not terribly in-depth.  I really like the idea of generically engineered Anomalies, which added an interesting touch.

Zara is quite headstrong and can be a bit whinny and annoyingly brave in that she takes chances without thinking through the consequences.  Zara has a lot to learn, and a lot of growing up to do, even by the end of the novel (or maybe it is going to be a series and she can mature at a later date).

One of the things that always amazes me in books about people fighting for their lives is that there is always time for romance.  Yes, Bastian is originally interested in Zara for reasons that have nothing to do with romance, yet even as things take a dangerous turn, they both find they are attracted to each other.

The Only Thing to Fear is definitely a flawed novel, but still it is one worth reading.  As I said, it is Richmond's debut novel, and though you might find it a bit predictable, it is still a satisfying read.

The Only Thing to Fear will be available in bookstores on September 30, 2014.

This book is recommended for readers age 12+
This book was an E-ARC obtained from NetGalley

Sophisticated readers might also want to take a look at Philip K. Dick's 1962 Hugo Award winning alternate history novel The Man in the High Castle.

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13. What is wrong with THE REMARKABLE AND VERY TRUE STORY OF LUCY AND SNOWCAP; SORROW'S KNOT; GUARDIAN OF THE DEAD

A colleague asked me about H. M. Bouwman's The Remarkable and Very True Story of Lucy and Snowcap. Published in 2008 by Marshall Cavendish, it got a starred review from Kirkus, and was tagged as "serviceable" by School Library Journal. 

Right off the bat, I'm giving it a thumbs down.

The setting is 1787. One character, Lucy, is "Colay" which is a fictional Native tribe the author made up for this fantasy. Because it is fantasy, people will defend what Bouwman does with characterizations of that made-up tribe.

But because Americans know so little about Native peoples, I object to works of fantasy like The Remarkable and Very True Story of Lucy and Snowcap.  And Bow's Sorrow's Knot. And Healy's Guardian of the Dead. 

One of our most esteemed Native writers, Simon J. Ortiz, wrote some time back that people love to retell and read traditional Native stories. A great deal of those stories are "retold" by writers who are outsiders to the people whose story they are "retelling" according to their own needs and creativity. They profess being inspired by Native peoples.

Ortiz quite rightly points out that Native people have very real lives and very real issues that need attention. It might make writers feel good to "retell" our stories, or to use our stories to create fantasies like Bouwman and Bow and Healy have done, but in so doing, they're doing further harm to Native peoples.

Bouwman, Bow, and Healy (and they aren't the only ones!) are feeding a monster of stereotypical expectations of who we are. That is not ok. How can they--on one hand, profess admiration for us--and on the other hand, take/use/misappropriate Native stories and culture when what they do hurts Native people?


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14. Monday Mishmash 9/15/14


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Scholastic Book Fair  I'm helping out with the Scholastic Book Fair at my daughter's school this week. That's always dangerous because I can't be around books and not spend a lot of money.
  2. Kiss of Death  I have a FREE Touch of Death prequel novella from Alex's POV. It's no secret I love Alex, so I had to tell his story. It's been in my head since I wrote Touch of Death. Check out the cover below, and download it FREE here.
  3. Into the Fire Challenge  Have you seen my #IntotheFire Challenge? If you review the book on Amazon before October 10, you'll be entered to win an awesome prize. You could become a phoenix in the Birth of the Phoenix series and get signed copies of all the books! Check out my video about the challenge here.
  4. FREE!  In celebration of the releases of Perfect For You and Into the Fire, I'm making Campus Crush permanently FREE. It's already free on Nook and I'm trying to get Amazon to price match. Hopefully soon.
  5. Milayna Cover Reveal  Michelle Pickett has a cover reveal today. Milayna releases March 17 through Clean Teen Publishing. Check it out. 
    It’s hard being good all the time. Everyone needs to be bad once in a while. But for seventeen-year-old Milayna, being good isn’t a choice. It’s a job requirement. And it’s a job she can’t quit. Born a demi-angel, Milayna steps in when danger and demons threaten the people around her, but being half angel isn’t all halos and happiness. Azazel, Hell’s demon, wants Milayna’s power and he’ll do anything to get it. But he only has until her eighteenth birthday, after which she becomes untouchable.

    With the help of other demi-angels, Milayna thwarts the trouble Azazel sends her way. Fighting by her side is Chay. He’s a demi-angel who’s sinfully gorgeous, and Milayna falls hard. But is Chay her true love… or her nemesis in disguise?

    When she learns of a traitor in her group, there’s no one she can trust… not even the one she loves.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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15. A Letter to Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Review by Becca  First off, I want to send Andye a HUGE thank you for having me here on Reading Teen! I've become quite the regular here on Reading Teen, which is fabulous! But if you haven't seen one of my reviews yet, I'm going to review Afterworlds a little bit different than others. I'll be writing a letter to the book, saying what I did/didn't like, similar to how I normally review on my

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16. Friday Feature: Into the Fire and Perfect For You Release Week SWAG Pack Giveaway!


I have two young adult novels that released on September 9th! Yes, two! They are both Ashelyn Drake titles. For those who don't know, Ashelyn Drake is my romance pen name. The first is a YA romantic fantasy called Into the Fire.
Seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman’s life is a perfectly normal one until Logan Schmidt moves to Ashlan Falls. Cara is inexplicably drawn to him, but she’s not exactly complaining. Logan’s like no boy she’s ever met, and he brings out a side of Cara that she isn’t used to. As the two get closer, everything is nearly perfect, and Cara looks forward to the future.

But Cara isn’t a normal girl. She’s a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical phoenix bird, and her time is running out. Rebirth is nearing, which means she’ll forget her life up to this point—she’ll forget Logan and everything they mean to one another.. But that may be the least of Cara’s problems.

A phoenix hunter is on the loose, and he’s determined to put an end to the lives of people like Cara and her family, once and for all.

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes and Noble



The second is a young adult contemporary romance called Perfect For You.
Seventeen-year-old Meg Flannigan isn’t very self-confident, but what girl would be after her sophomore-year boyfriend dumped her by making out with another girl in front of her locker? 

Now a senior, Meg catches the eye of not one, but two gorgeous guys at school. Sounds good, right? What girl wouldn't want to be in Meg's shoes? One cute boy happens to be her boyfriend, and the other? Well, he wants to be. And Meg? She's torn between Ash, the boy she's been with for nearly five months, and Noah who is pretty irresistible. 

But Meg is playing with fire. Pitting two boys against one another, even if she doesn't intend to, could end badly if she isn't careful. 

Goodreads
Amazon



To celebrate the releases Ashelyn is giving away a SWAG pack that includes:
  • A flame pendant from Into the Fire
  • a phoenix button
  • a heart bracelet from Perfect For You
  • $5 Amazon Gift Card
You know you want to enter, so fill out the rafflecopter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to be a phoenix in the third and final installment of my Birth of the Phoenix series? Now you can be! Check out my Into the Fire challenge!

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17. One Past Midnight, by Jessica Shirvington | Book Review

ONE PAST MIDNIGHT is great for fans of contemporary romance, like Green's THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, as well as readers of light fantasy.

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18. It's Release Day Times Two!

Today I have not one but TWO books releasing into the world! First up is my YA contemporary romance, Perfect For You.

Seventeen-year-old Meg Flannigan isn’t very self-confident, but what girl would be after her sophomore-year boyfriend dumped her by making out with another girl in front of her locker? 

Now a senior, Meg catches the eye of not one, but two gorgeous guys at school. Sounds good, right? What girl wouldn't want to be in Meg's shoes? One cute boy happens to be her boyfriend, and the other? Well, he wants to be. And Meg? She's torn between Ash, the boy she's been with for nearly five months, and Noah who is pretty irresistible. 

But Meg is playing with fire. Pitting two boys against one another, even if she doesn't intend to, could end badly if she isn't careful. PERFECT FOR YOU is a teen romance from bestselling author Ashelyn Drake, where one girl will risk everything to find her perfect match.

Check out the opening pages below:



Need to know what happens next? Click here to buy the book for only $2.99 on Amazon.

Up next is Into the Fire, a YA romantic fantasy.
Seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman’s life is a perfectly normal one until Logan Schmidt moves to Ashlan Falls. Cara is inexplicably drawn to him, but she’s not exactly complaining. Logan’s like no boy she’s ever met, and he brings out a side of Cara that she isn’t used to. As the two get closer, everything is nearly perfect, and Cara looks forward to the future.

But Cara isn’t a normal girl. She’s a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical phoenix bird, and her time is running out. Rebirth is nearing, which means she’ll forget her life up to this point—she’ll forget Logan and everything they mean to one another.. But that may be the least of Cara’s problems.

A phoenix hunter is on the loose, and he’s determined to put an end to the lives of people like Cara and her family, once and for all.

Here's a video of me reading the opening pages:



You can get more of Cara and the other phoenixes for only $3.19 on Amazon or $3.49 on B&N.

Look for a SWAG and gift card giveaway this Friday! 

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19. Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini {Review}

TRIAL BY FIREThe Worldwaker Trilogy Book 1by Josephine Angelini Age Range: 12 - 18 yearsGrade Level: 7 and upLexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)Series: The Worldwalker Trilogy (Book 1)Hardcover: 384 pagesPublisher: Feiwel & Friends (September 2, 2014) Goodreads | Amazon This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in

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20. Destined for Doon

Destined for Doon
Author: Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
Publisher: Blink
Genre: Fantasy / Romance
ISBN: 978-0-310-74233-3
Pages: 352
Price: $17.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

In this sequel to Doon, Kenna has returned to her life in the theater, and now she’s missing the prince she left behind. She has only now realized that they had a true Calling, and Duncan is her soul mate. So when he suddenly arrives to bring her back to Doon, she heads back willingly, hoping for another chance. But Duncan is harboring illusions that Kenna is already spoken for, and won’t listen to any explanations.

Meanwhile, Veronica is attempting to stop the witch’s evil spell, which has created a zombie fungus that threatens to overtake Doon. She and Kenna have defeated the witch once before, and she needs her best friend’s help once again. Can Kenna help Vee save Doon, and can she salvage the relationship she once had with Duncan, before time runs out?

Filled with drama and suspense, Destined for Doon picks up right where Doon left off. Complicated relationships take center stage, as both Vee and Kenna struggle to make things right with their Doonian princes. And of course, good must triumph over evil. My one complaint about this story is that it ends in a cliff-hanger that felt completely out of place. But otherwise, this is a great read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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21. Interview with C.H. MacLean, Author of Two Empty Thrones

C.H. MacLean

To young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

 With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.”  C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality. 

But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

 C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

You can find, follow or chat with C.H. MacLean at the following on-line locations:

Website/Blog: www.chmaclean.com

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest 

Where did you grow up?

While I grew up in several places, including Hawaii and Colorado, I spent most of the time in coldest Minnesota.

When did you begin writing? 

I wrote all through school and afterward. But I didn’t think I was a writer, if that makes any sense. I only really believed in who I was after meeting the love of my life.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I sit down to write in the early morning and late afternoon, sometimes at night. But I get ideas and scribble things down at any random time. I think that is some of the best writing.

What is this book about? Two Empty Thrones 2

Haylwen thinks she can relax, but she hears the silence before the storm. The evil king of the magic users will break every rule to gain control of the One of prophecy. Even the dragons dare not interfere. Haylwen, trapped in the middle, is confronted by all of her fears and the choice of who she will be. Continuing the story from One is Come, Two Empty Thrones increases the intensity of the series and shows Haylwen’s growth as the stakes are raised. 

What inspired you to write it? 

Haylwen’s story exploded in my head, and sucked me in like a black hole. As a reader, this is the book I would love to read. Knowing readers will love it, I just had to share. The tale of this curly-haired girl who thinks she is less than normal when she is really powerful beyond her dreams inspires me still. 

Who is your favorite character from the book?

I don’t really have a favorite, as they are all interesting in different ways. While just a minor player, Tommy’s character resonates with me. His abilities and personality connect him to Haylwen on a karmic level, and his history makes Haylwen a life-saving inspiration for him. 

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Only mildly choppy, but it seemed like I had to tackle more than I expected.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have started earlier, of course. As this is my second book, I know now what I didn’t know with the first, and am learning more to apply to the third.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book? 

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, or Smashwords.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write what you love, pour your heart out for the reader. Never forget that the readers are the reason you write.

What is up next for you? 

Fire Above, my third book, about a young man who dares to dream and starts the first dragon-human war, should be published in March of 2015. The third book in the Five in Circle series, We the Three, where the dragons explode and begin the world-remake, will be released shortly after that. 

Is there anything you would like to add?

Ignore impossible realities. Hold to your dreams and you will find magic everywhere you look.

I’d also like to thank you for your interest in me and my book Two Empty Thrones!

 

Two Empty Thrones banner


0 Comments on Interview with C.H. MacLean, Author of Two Empty Thrones as of 9/4/2014 10:54:00 AM
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22. Interview with C.H. MacLean, Author of Two Empty Thrones

C.H. MacLean

To young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

 With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.”  C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality. 

But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

 C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

You can find, follow or chat with C.H. MacLean at the following on-line locations:

Website/Blog: www.chmaclean.com

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest 

Where did you grow up?

While I grew up in several places, including Hawaii and Colorado, I spent most of the time in coldest Minnesota.

When did you begin writing? 

I wrote all through school and afterward. But I didn’t think I was a writer, if that makes any sense. I only really believed in who I was after meeting the love of my life.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I sit down to write in the early morning and late afternoon, sometimes at night. But I get ideas and scribble things down at any random time. I think that is some of the best writing.

What is this book about? Two Empty Thrones 2

Haylwen thinks she can relax, but she hears the silence before the storm. The evil king of the magic users will break every rule to gain control of the One of prophecy. Even the dragons dare not interfere. Haylwen, trapped in the middle, is confronted by all of her fears and the choice of who she will be. Continuing the story from One is Come, Two Empty Thrones increases the intensity of the series and shows Haylwen’s growth as the stakes are raised. 

What inspired you to write it? 

Haylwen’s story exploded in my head, and sucked me in like a black hole. As a reader, this is the book I would love to read. Knowing readers will love it, I just had to share. The tale of this curly-haired girl who thinks she is less than normal when she is really powerful beyond her dreams inspires me still. 

Who is your favorite character from the book?

I don’t really have a favorite, as they are all interesting in different ways. While just a minor player, Tommy’s character resonates with me. His abilities and personality connect him to Haylwen on a karmic level, and his history makes Haylwen a life-saving inspiration for him. 

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Only mildly choppy, but it seemed like I had to tackle more than I expected.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have started earlier, of course. As this is my second book, I know now what I didn’t know with the first, and am learning more to apply to the third.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book? 

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, or Smashwords.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write what you love, pour your heart out for the reader. Never forget that the readers are the reason you write.

What is up next for you? 

Fire Above, my third book, about a young man who dares to dream and starts the first dragon-human war, should be published in March of 2015. The third book in the Five in Circle series, We the Three, where the dragons explode and begin the world-remake, will be released shortly after that. 

Is there anything you would like to add?

Ignore impossible realities. Hold to your dreams and you will find magic everywhere you look.

I’d also like to thank you for your interest in me and my book Two Empty Thrones!

 

Two Empty Thrones banner


0 Comments on Interview with C.H. MacLean, Author of Two Empty Thrones as of 9/5/2014 6:16:00 AM
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23. Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah Maas

Review by Elisa HEIR OF FIREby Sarah J. MaasSeries: Throne of GlassHardcover: 576 pagesPublisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (September 2, 2014)Language: EnglishGoodreads | Amazon Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life—

0 Comments on Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah Maas as of 9/7/2014 1:32:00 AM
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24. Abhorsen read-alikes

nix sabriel Abhorsen read alikesLike me, my friend Marie (hi Marie!) is a huge fan of Garth Nix’s Abhorsen YA fantasy trilogy. And like me, she’s been patiently(ish) anticipating Clariel, the prequel publishing in October, for years.

A lot of them.

Unlike me, however, she doesn’t have an ARC…so I’m mailing her my reviewer copy. Here are some Abhorsen read-alikes — featuring badass heroines, restless dead, adventure, and a hint of romance, all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and Guide — in case you can’t wait until October either!

armstrong sea of shadows Abhorsen read alikesEvery year, the Seeker, currently teen Ashyn, enters the Forest of the Dead to quiet damned spirits. The Keeper, Ashyn’s twin Moria, remains in the village as protector. But things go terribly awry, and the sisters are forced to travel across the Wastes to save their kingdom from the undead. Author Kelley Armstrong’s elaborate world is populated with complex characters in Age of Legends series-opener Sea of Shadows. (HarperCollins, 2014)

bick ashes Abhorsen read alikesAn electromagnetic pulse kills most of the country’s population instantly at the beginning of Ilsa J. Bick’s trilogy opener Ashes; many of those left become zombielike, “brain-zapped” cannibals. Survivor Alex teams up with eight-year-old Ellie and soldier Tom to search for other people. The trio’s deepening bond adds to the already high tension. This horror/survival story (with graphic violence) presents an intriguing take on zombie fiction. Look for sequels Shadows and Monsters. (Egmont, 2011)

bow sorrows knot Abhorsen read alikesAfter Otter’s mother, a binder of the dead, commits suicide rather than allow herself to be possessed by a ghostly White Hand, Otter and her friends venture beyond the bounds of their forest settlement to find the White Hands’ origin. The spirit-filled fantasy world of Erin Bow’s Sorrow’s Knot gives a hair-raising sensation of being surrounded by unknown dangers and evokes Native American cultures without caricaturing them. (Scholastic/Levine, 2013)

burtenshaw jenna Abhorsen read alikesIn Shadowcry, the first volume in the Secrets of Wintercraft series, fifteen-year-old Kate discovers she’s a Skilled, able to see and manipulate the “veil” between life and death. Moreover, she learns her ancestors wrote the coveted tome Wintercraft, which explains the veil’s secrets. Author Jenna Burtenshaw’s elegant, complex prose sweeps readers along to a dark world teeming with creepy underground passageways, abandoned buildings, and graveyards. Kate is a bright spot, facing each obstacle with defiance and determination. The series continues with Blackwatch and Winterveil. (Greenwillow, 2011)

moore texas gothic Abhorsen read alikesStriving for normality in her magic-practicing family, Amy is happy for a summer of hard work at her aunt’s Texas ranch. But the deathly cold apparition in Amy’s bedroom pulls her into a dangerous mystery. Rosemary Clement-Moore’s Texas Gothic mixes suspense, humor, and lots of local flavor in this lively teen ghost story — with sex appeal — that’s one part Texas history and one part CSI. (Delacorte, 2011)

lafevers grave mercy Abhorsen read alikesRunning from an arranged marriage, seventeen-year-old Ismae lands up at St. Mortain’s convent, discovers she has special gifts (and that her true father is Mortain, the god of Death), and trains to become an assassin — the true vocation of a daughter of Death. Robin LaFevers’s Grave Mercy is a romantic fantasy, set in an alternate, fictional, quasi-late medieval Brittany. The His Fair Assassin series continues with Dark Triumph; volume three, Mortal Heart, will be published this November.

ryan forest of hands and teeth Abhorsen read alikesOnly a fence separates Mary’s village from the Unconsecrated — zombielike creatures that must be kept at bay in order for her primitive post-apocalyptic community, governed by a religious sisterhood, to survive. Carrie Ryan’s inventive horror story The Forest of Hands and Teeth combines mystery, romance, and suspense as it records Mary’s quest to search beyond the barrier for alternatives to the life she has always known. Also look for companion books The Dead-Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places. (Delacorte, 2009)

archived Abhorsen read alikesIn The Archived by Victoria Schwab, Mackenzie’s job is to return the wakeful dead to the Archive, a repository of all human memory. Persuading the dead to return to their rightful resting place often involves kick-ass combat, but this is no common policing-the-supernatural romantic thriller: Schwab writes of death, sorrow, and family love with a light, intelligent touch and inventive vigor. The story continues in sequel The Unbound. (Hyperion, 2013)

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25. Nuts to You


"Nuts to you" might have been what I was saying on Saturday when the class cold hit me so hard there was nothing I could do but lie in bed and create a mountain of soggy kleenex on the floor beside me. When I felt better enough to sit up for some soup and hot tea with honey and lemon (and more than a small splash of Old Charter), I picked up this recent library reserve and within 20 pages was laughing out loud and thanking my class for sharing the germs that stopped me from doing anything more than sitting up in bed reading:


Nuts to You 
by Lynne Rae Perkins
Greenwillow Books, 2014

This story was ostensibly told by a squirrel to the author. That may or may not be the factual truth, but since it's a rollicking good story, let's just go with that. Like another favorite Perkins title, As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth (my gushing review here), there are interruptions by the (human) author, footnotes, and illustrations that clearly demonstrate that Perkins has done her fair share of squirrel-watching.

The story begins when the grey squirrel Jed is carried away by a hawk, manages to trick the hawk into dropping him, and lands fairly softly on a dog and then in a pile of leaves. (Journey #1) Luckily, his friend TsTs sees where he lands and sets off with another squirrel friend, Chai, to find him. (Journey #2) Along the way, they discover that the rumblings they've been hearing are a crew of humans who are clearing the trees from the "buzzpath" (power lines). And the crew is headed right to their home grove. After they find Jed, they have to get back and warn their friends and family. (Journey #3) Convincing squirrels to do anything as organized as run away from a danger they cannot yet see is as easy as herding cats (apparently). But Jed and friends manage. (Journey #4)

Fun stuff. Perfect middle grade (grades 3-5) novel. Will be a fabulous read aloud.

You're welcome.


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