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1. Giveaway: Win Kindle Fire from Kimberley Griffiths Little, Author of Forbidden

Here’s an awesome giveaway that I wanted to share. You can win a Kindle Fire, as well as a ton of other goodies!  Kimberley Griffiths Little is celebrating the release of her historical novel FORBIDDEN with a giveaway!  Check it out!

On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.

 

 

Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter. TO ENTER:

  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to forbiddengiveaway@gmail.com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.
PRIZES:

(1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB — choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt)

2. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson

3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White

4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt

5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf

6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)

7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings

8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)

9. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)

10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards

11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)

(1) SECOND PLACE WINNER:
1. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
(13) RUNNERS-UP WINNERS:
1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
About Forbidden: In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.
Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.
With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.
Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.
Follow Kimberley:
About Kimberley: Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com.
Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

The post Giveaway: Win Kindle Fire from Kimberley Griffiths Little, Author of Forbidden appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. THE FIRE ARTIST by Daisy Whitney {Review}

Review by Valerie  THE FIRE ARTISTby Daisy WhitneyAge Range: 12 - 17 yearsGrade Level: 7 and upHardcover: 288 pagesPublisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (October 14, 2014)Goodreads | Amazon Aria is an elemental artist—she creates fire from her hands. But her power is not natural. She steals it from lightning. It’s dangerous and illegal in her world. When she’s recruited to perform, she seizes

0 Comments on THE FIRE ARTIST by Daisy Whitney {Review} as of 10/20/2014 1:17:00 AM
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3. A Letter to GLORY O'BRIEN'S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE by A.S. King

Review by Becca  Glory O'Brien's History of the FutureHardcover: 320 pagesPublisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (October 14, 2014)Language: EnglishGoodreads | Amazon Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities--but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she's never stopped wondering

0 Comments on A Letter to GLORY O'BRIEN'S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE by A.S. King as of 10/17/2014 3:11:00 AM
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4. 3 Ways to Know If Your YA Fiction Is Really New Adult Fiction


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In the immortal words of Charlotte in E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.”

I was privileged to have Deborah Halverson edit my Harcourt picture book, Searching for Oliver K. Woodman. When we met at a retreat, it was instant friendship, and anytime we talk, it feels like we’ve been friends forever. That’s why I am so excited about this new book. Well, I’m excited because it’s Deborah’s book, but also because it’s the first book I’ve seen to explain the latest fiction genre, New Adult. In Deborah’s capable hands, the topic comes alive and I’ve already got tons of ideas for stories. Here, she answers a basic question; but if you want more, you’ve got to buy her book!


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Guest post by Deborah Halverson

YA writers often ask me to explain the difference between Young Adult fiction and New Adult fiction when the story’s main character is 18 or 19 years old. Some of those writers are curious about this new fiction category that brushes up against their own, but others are trying to noodle out whether that upper YA story they’re working on is really NA. “Tell me what NA is, Deborah, and then I’ll know what I’ve got.” Happy to help! Here are three ways to determine if you’re writing a story about a young adult or a new adult.

DearEditor.com Deborah Halverson is doing a special giveaway for the blog tour for the kickoff of this book. Enter to win “One Free Full Manuscript Edit!

Pin Down Your Protagonist’s Mind-set

How does your character process the world and her place in it? Teens are typically starting to look outward as they try to find their places in the world and realize that their actions have consequences in the grander scheme of life, and they yearn to live unfettered by the rules, structure, and identities that have defined their lives until now. New adults finally get to live that free life they dreamed of—for better or worse. They move forward with the self-exploration they began in their adolescence, going big on personal exploration and experimentation and expanding their worldview. They get to build identities that reflect who they’ve become rather than who they grew up with, and they get to try things out before settling into a final Life Plan. All of this can be overwhelming even when it goes well—after all, even good change is stressful, and “change” is new adulthood in a nutshell. For some, though, the instability is a total freak-out. The clash of ideal vs. reality can shock their system. They’re gaining experience and wisdom hand over fist, but yikes. Luckily, new adults tend to brim with personal optimism, and their explorations and experimentations—both dangerous and beneficial—are endearingly earnest.

If this sounds like your protagonist and her circle of friends, you might have an NA on your hands. You can use this knowledge to give your story a solidly NA sensibility by exposing your character’s inexperience in her decision-making, by imbuing the narrative with a sense of defiance, by conveying stress, by conveying self-focus (not selfishness), by lacing the exposition with personal optimism, and by showing the character’s awareness of her growing maturity. YA characters who are overly analytical about themselves and others risk sounding too mature, but NA character journeys ooze with self-assessment no matter the individual details of their journeys.

Assess Your Circumstances

New Adult v. Young AdultIn fiction, the plot exists to push the protagonist through some kind of personal growth. Thus, our character’s mind-set and the plot are interdependent. Whether your character is a young adult or new adult, the circumstances of your story—the events, problems, places, and roles—should sync with that character. New adults tackle their problems with their new adult filters in place, whether the story is a contemporary one set in college, or a historical one, or a fantastical one. Self-actualization is an essential growth process whether you’re at a college kegger or battling evil overlords.

Once you’ve pinpointed whether your protagonist’s mindset feels YA or NA, consider if your plot events and the circumstances of your protagonist’s life jive with her concerns, fears, coping skills, maturity, and wisdom level. NA story lines tend to remove structure and accountability, tweak the characters’ stress levels by playing musical careers and homes, make money an issue, force the characters to establish new social circles at play and at work, show characters exhibiting ambivalence to adult responsibilities, show characters divorcing from teenhood, show characters striving to “move on from trauma” rather than to “survive trauma”, deny the characters the “ideal” NA life of carefree self-indulgence, put characters in situations that clash their high expectations for independent life against a harsh reality, and show the process of evaluation, of trial-and-error, of weighing exploration and experimentation against consequences, at least by the end of the story.

Deal with the “Sexed-Up YA” Thing

Romance is part of almost any older YA story, and certainly all NA. As it should be—romance is one of the three main areas of identity exploration after puberty, along with career and worldview (think politics, faith, and personal well-being and outlook). The difference is that teens are very solidly in the “what is love, what does it feel like?” realm, whereas new adults are generally working on who they want to be in a relationship, what they want from their partner, what they want from the relationship in general. That doesn’t mean they’re actively searching for Mr./Mrs. Right—there’s plenty of time for that!—but it does mean they want a satisfying, meaningful relationship. Where is your character on that romance spectrum?

Of course, romance isn’t really what people focus on when comparing YA and NA relationships, is it? Nope: it’s sex. So let’s talk about sex. In its early days, NA was accused of being “sexed-up YA”, but after reviewing numbers 1 and 2 above, you’ll see that the differences between YA and NA are more substantial than simply how explicitly you describe two bodies connecting sans clothing. Ask yourself your goal with the romance, and what level of sexual detail is necessary for that goal. Then consider your audience: NA readers are mostly adults of the same 20- to 44-year-old “crossover reader” demographic that shot YA into the publishing stratosphere. (A Digital Book World study reported 2013’s dominant YA crossover readership as being 20- to 29-year-olds; compare that to the 18- to 25-year-old age range of new adulthood). Those grownups can handle—and often flat-out want—explicit sex scenes. Some teens will read NA, but mostly they’re not into that mind-set yet so the stories don’t resonate with them, making them plenty happy to stick with the many great YA stories out there that reflect their current time in life.

Perhaps you determine that your character’s mind-set and story circumstances are solidly YA but you want/need to include some sex scenes in your story because the theme or plot of the story calls for it. In that case, maybe you have a solid YA that requires a “Mature YA” categorization to let readers know that there’s sexual content between those covers. Those scenes will be tamer than the full-on explicitness of NA—your are writing/positioning this story primarily for and about young readers after all, and there are gatekeepers involved—but the sexual content is there and readers are warned. Weigh your goals with your romance, your story’s scene needs, and your audience’s expectations and sensibilities as you make the NA/YA determination on this aspect of your WIP.

So there you have it. Three ways to know if that story you’re writing is Young Adult fiction or New Adult fiction. Good luck with your WIP, and with all your publishing endeavors.


Authorphoto_Halverson_8x8_small3Deborah Halverson is a veteran editor and the award-winning author of Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies. Her latest book, Writing New Adult Fiction, teaches techniques and strategies for crafting the new adult mindset and experience into riveting NA fiction. Deborah was an editor at Harcourt Children’s Books for ten years and is now a freelance editor, the founder of the popular writers’ advice website DearEditor.com, and the author of numerous books for young readers, including the teen novels Honk If You Hate Me and Big Mouth with Delacorte/Random House. For more about Deborah, visit DeborahHalverson.com or DearEditor.com.

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5. Playing for the Commandant by Suzy Zail

In spring 1944, Hungary was occupied by German soldiers and in the city of Debrecen, a ghetto was formed at the end of April.  Thinking her family was lucky because their apartment fell within the walls of the ghetto, Hanna Mendel continued to believe she would be able to attend Budapest Conservatorium of Music, where she had just been selected for a hard won place as a piano student.

But in the middle of a night in June 1944, a knock on the door by officers informed them that the Mendel family,  parents, high-spirited, defiant older sister Erika and Hanna, 15,  was ordered to assemble outside the synagogue at 8 the next morning.   Before leaving, Hanna rips the C-sharp from her beloved piano and takes it with her.  The next morning the Mendels, along with all of Debrecen's Jews, begin their long trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp.

Once they arrive at Auschwitz, the family is split up, but luckily Hanna, Erika and their mother are able to stay together in the same barrack, even sharing a bunk.  Put to work in the quarry, one day Hanna sees her music teacher playing piano with an ensemble made of up inmates and called the Birkenau Women's Orchestra.  Piri thinks that maybe she can get Hanna a place in it.

When that doesn't work out, Hanna is sent to audition with five other inmates for the camp's cruel commandant.  Believing she doesn't stand a chance at being chosen, the commandant leave the choice to his totally disinterested son, Karl Jager, who points to Hanna.

Day after day, Hanna trudges to the commandant's house to await the order to play for him and any guests he may have.  The only perks to playing for the commandant is a warm shower everyday (the commandant detests dirt), shoes, a warm coat and a warm house while she's there.  The only extra food is leftovers she must steal and risk getting caught and shot.

Gradually, however, she discovers that Karl Jager harbors his own dangerous secrets and is not as disinterested or as indifferent as she originally thought.  When he treats her kindly, Hanna finds herself more and more attracted to him.  But returning to the barrack at the end of each day, she sees that her mother and Erika are cold, starving and barely surviving.  To make matters worse, her mother, who had started going mad during the roundup in Debrecen, is having more and more trouble surviving the selections each time they are done.

Their one hope is that the Red Army is really moving east as rumored around the camp and that they arrive in time.

Playing for the Commandant is certainly a very readable book.  I read it in one day.  It is told in the first person by Hanna, a very observant 15 year old and on many levels her voice rings true.  Her descriptions of the camp, of the cruelty inflicted on innocent people are spot on.  When she talks about the lice, the smells, the moldy bread or about how skeleton thin her sister and the other women are becoming, you can clearly see and smell what she is describing.

Despite everything, Hanna'a father had told her to survive at any cost to tell the world what happened to the Jews of Europe and so, she is determined to do what her father wanted.

But when she talks about the danger of stealing scraps of leftover food, or of  living under the pressure of always having to please the commandant, Hanna's fate feels just as capricious or dangerous as her fellow inmates.  For example, when the gardener, a Jew, steps on the grave of the commandant's dog, he is shot in the head for it.  But, when a girl at the commandant's house drops a tray with tea and cakes on it, I thought for sure that when she is removed from the house, she is also killed, but she shows up later, and I have to admit, I was surprised to see her again in the novel.

But, Hanna's growing romance with Karl is very most disturbing and a real flaw in the novel.  I guess I thought Hanna should be thinking more about food than a boy.  She didn't get that much more to eat than her sister, and what she got, she shared with Erika.  Also, at one point, Hanna gets angry at the people, ordinary farmers, who watch her walk to and from the commandant's house every day and do nothing.  I got mad at Karl for being against what the Nazis were doing to the Jews, but who passively sits by and watches it all happen.  I would be curious to know how others feel about this part of an otherwise good novel.  

Yet, despite this criticism, in the end, I thought that Playing for the Commandant is definitely worth reading for its message of survival and hope, but not for its gratuitous romance.

This book is recommended for readers age 12+
This was an EARC received from NetGalley

Though Playing for the Commandant is a complete work of fiction, Jews actually were often used to play music for the Nazis.  Here is the obituary of Natalie Karp, a famous pianist who played for Amon Goeth's birthday on December 9, 1943.  She and her sister allowed to live because of the beautiful piano playing that night.  Goeth was the cruel commandant of the Kraków-Plaszów Concentrtion Camp in Poland (you may recall Goeth from Schindler's List).




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6. Spotlight and Giveaway: Night Sky by Suzanne and Melanie

 

Title: Night Sky

Authors: Suzanne and Melanie Brockmann

Release Date: October 7, 2014

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal)

Summary

Sixteen-year-old Skylar Reid is thrown into a strange world when she discovers that she has unique telekinetic and telepathic powers.  After Sasha, the child she babysits, is kidnapped and believed to be murdered, Sky and her best friend Calvin are approached by Dana, a mysterious girl who has super-abilities similar to Sky’s.  With the help of Dana and her sidekick Milo, the four teens embark on a quest to discover who killed Sasha, and to bring the killers to justice.

With Dana as Skylar’s surly and life-toughened mentor, Sky attempts to harness her powers to aid them in their quest. Complicating an already complex relationship with the older girl, Skystarts to fall for the dangerously handsome and enigmatic Milo – and begins to suspect that the attraction is mutual. But then Sky realizes that Sasha might still be alive, and the unlikely foursome’s mission becomes one of search and rescue, pitting the heroic teens against a very deadly enemy.

Excerpt

“Look what I can do look what I can do,” the woman, who I nicknamed Little Miss Sunshine because of her fancy clothes, yanked a massive-looking gun out of her bag.

Everyone in the store hit the deck at the sight of the gun—everyone except Calvin and me.

She pointed the barrel at my face.

A wave of deja vu washed over me. It was mixed with a hefty dose of panic and combined with at least a small degree of consolation that Calvin, as always, had my back.

“Oh, hell no!” he barked. All the fear had vanished from his tone, and now he just sounded pissed. “You wanna mess with someone? You wanna put your gun in her face? You’re gonna have to shoot me first!”

And then, things got really weird.

“Hey!” someone called form behind Little Miss Sunshine. It was a girl, older than me but probably only by a year or two. She’d appeared as if out of nowhere, but she must’ve come in through the front doors while my attention was on that gun. Dressed in full motorcycle garb—a red leather jacket and black steel-toed boots—she hollered again. “Hey, you!”

Little Miss Sunshine whirled around.

Motorcycle Girl charged froward and flicked the pistol out of crazy lady’s hands as easily as if she was removing a piece of lint from a buddy’s jacket.

The gun spun a couple times before landing on the floor. Motorcycle Girl kicked it back into the air with her foot and caught it with one hand. She tucked it deftly into the back waistband of her pants and then slammed the crazy woman down onto the ground using the palm of one hand. I could have sworn Little Miss Sunshine took a nosedive before Motorcycle Chick even touched her, but then again, I’d been seeing all kinds of crazy things this week.

“Whoa,” Calvin said, while the crowd gasped again.

Little Miss Sunshine landed, hard, and made a gurgling sound. She looked up once at me and pointed, still smiling that awful smile, before her face dropped to the ground.

The room once again was silent. 

Motorcycle Chick turned, running a hand gruffly through her platinum-blond pixie cut as she looked at me and frowned, her eyes the color of icicles.

Around us, the crowd began to move almost as one, with everyone rushing for the door.

I was about to turn too—getting out of there seemed like a brilliant idea—when Motorcycle Girl spoke again. Her words stopped me. “Way to protect everyone here, Sky. What were you waiting for? A sign from God?”

I looked at Cal—Cal looked at me. And I knew we were both thinking the same thing.

How the hell does this girl know my name?

Goodreads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21996356-night-sky


Buy Links

Amazon: http://bit.ly/AmazonNightSky

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/BNNightSky

iBooks: http://bit.ly/AppleNightSky

Biography

Suzanne Brockman, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author, has won 2 RITA awards, numerous RT Reviewers’ Choice, and RWA’s #1 Favorite Book of the Year three years running. She has written over 50 books, and is widely recognized as a “superstar of romantic suspense” (USA Today). Suzanne and her daughter, Melanie Brockmann, have been creative partners, on and off, for many years. Their first project was an impromptu musical duet, when then-six-month-old Melanie surprised and delighted Suz by matching her pitch and singing back to her. Suzanne splits her time between Florida and Massachusetts while Mel lives in Sarasota, Florida. NIGHT SKY is Mel’s debut and Suzanne’s 55th book. Visit Suzanne at www.SuzanneBrockmann.com.

Social Networking Links


Website: http://www.suzannebrockmann.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SuzanneBrockmannBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SuzBrockmann

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/32638.Suzanne_Brockmann

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Night Sky by Suzanne and Melanie appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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7. COMPULSION by Martina Boone {Review}

Review by Andye COMPULSIONSeries: Heirs of Watson IslandHardcover: 448 pagesPublisher: Simon Pulse (October 28, 2014)Goodreads | Amazon Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse. All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a

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8. A bookish microcosm of Russia

My family often wonders about my propensity to jump from one seemingly unrelated topic to another, often within seconds.  What they usually don't realize is that in my mind, the topics are connected; I've merely forgotten to fill them in on the links.

With that in mind, I offer you three new books on Russia that in my mind, are dramatically different and yet completely complementary.  A young adult nonfiction book, a young adult fantasy, and a children's picture book a microcosm of Russia in history, magic and dance.

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Candace Fleming's, The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of the Imperial Russia (Random House Audio, 2014).  My review and an audio excerpt are linked here.

You can read my review or any number of stellar reviews, but I will sum up  by saying that whether you listen to the audio book or read the print copy, The Family Romanov is a fully immersive experience into the final years of tsarist Russia - the time, the place, and  the tragically doomed family.

I was happily mulling over this excellent book when I immediately received an opportunity to  review Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire (Brilliance Audio, 2014).  I had received a galley copy of Egg & Spoon in the spring.  I thought it looked intriguing, but hadn't had time to read it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is a folklore fantasy that takes place - of all places - in tsarist Russia.  I couldn't believe my good fortune.  The book was enhanced by my recent reading of The Family Romanov.  With the history of modern tsarist Russia fresh in my mind, the location and historical setting was vivid, leaving me more time to ponder the story's underpinning of Russian folklore, of which I was mostly ignorant.  I knew little of the witch, Baba Yaga and her peculiar house that walks on chicken legs, and I knew nothing of the magical Russian firebird.

My reviews are linked here and here.  Again, you can read my review or any other, but I will sum up by saying that Egg & Spoon is grand and magical - a metaphoric epic for readers from twelve to adult.

I was so happy to have read these excellent books in tandem and was recommending them at every turn, when I happened to hear an interview with Misty Copeland on the radio speaking about her experience dancing in the Russian ballet, The Firebird. What a coincidence, I thought - the firebird flies again in my milieu. A greater coincidence ocurred at work when I received my new copy of Misty Copeland's, Firebird. (Putnam, 2014)  Reading Egg & Spoon gave me an historical context for The Firebird ballet, and Misty Copeland tied it all together - a modern and immediate manifestation of history's struggles and stories - all rising like the mystical firebird.

So there you have it, my serendipitous encounter with Russian history, folklore and culture.  As our two countries struggle with our relationship, may we always remember that there is more to a country than its leaders and politicians.  There is always us, the common people. And as Egg & Spoon and Firebird will show you, there is always hope.



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9. An Open Letter to BELZHAR by Meg Wolitzer

by Becca BELZHARby Meg WolitzerHardcover: 272 pagesPublisher: Dutton Juvenile (September 30, 2014)Language: EnglishGoodreads | Amazon If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing him in the library stacks. She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a

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10. Atmospheric audiobooks

These audiobooks offer intrepid listeners stories of supernatural and psychological suspense, all with vividly evoked settings.

stroud screaming staircase audiobook Atmospheric audiobooksIn the world of Jonathan Stroud’s The Screaming Staircase (first book in the Lockwood & Co. series), ghost-busting firms employ psychically sensitive children to neutralize supernatural pests infesting London. Lucy Carlyle joins an indie agency — consisting of Lucy, amiable teenage owner Anthony Lockwood, and sardonic George — just before Lockwood accepts a client with a very haunted property. Miranda Raison’s narration imbues Lucy with the right balance of droll humor and compassion for uneasy spirits. Her pacing ratchets up the tension while allowing the teens’ snarky banter room to breathe in this thrilling and funny story. (Listening Library, 10–14 years)

sedgwick midwinterblood audiobook Atmospheric audiobooksMarcus Sedgwick’s Midwinterblood chronicles life on a remote Scandinavian island—going backwards from the future to the distant past — through seven related stories. The tales gradually reveal Blessed Island’s dependence on a strange drug and disturbing history of human sacrifice. Each tale centers on two bonded souls, reincarnated variously as family members, lovers, and intergenerational friends, who reunite only to be wrenched apart again. Narrator Julian Rhind-Tutt ably captures the emotional extremes of this unsettling novel: the uncanny recognition and tender reunion of the protagonists; the desperate fear and violence of their community; and the dark machinations of the island itself. (Listening Library, 12–16 years)

foxlee midnight dress audiobook Atmospheric audiobooksNew girl Rose’s sharp edges gradually soften through relationships with classmate Pearl and eccentric dressmaker Edie in Karen Foxlee’s The Midnight Dress. Edie teases out Rose’s past and shares her own as they sew Rose’s (possibly magical) gown for the upcoming harvest festival. Reader Olivia Mackenzie-Smith transports her listener to a specific era and place (1980s coastal Australia) while also imparting the lyrical prose’s dreamy sense of once-upon-a-time. But there’s no happily ever after here: interspersed interludes reveal that one of the girls has disappeared; Mackenzie-Smith gives these interludes an ominous tone as they progress inexorably towards betrayal and tragedy. (Listening Library, 14 years and up)

lockhart we were liars audiobook Atmospheric audiobooksAfter a two-year absence due to an accident she can’t remember, Cady returns to the private island where her beautiful, privileged family spends its summers. Relationships (particularly among Cady, her same-age cousins Johnny and Mirren, and family friend Gat) feel oddly strained, and no one will tell Cady what happened the summer of the accident. The pieces of her fragmented memory slowly come together to reveal a truth more devastating than Cady (or the listener) could have imagined. The shocking denouement of E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars hits hard — and even more so with narrator Ariadne Meyers’s disbelieving, heartbroken delivery. (Listening Library, 14 years and up)

For more on recommended audiobooks from The Horn Book, click on the tag audiobooks. From the October 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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11. YA supernatural baddies

Looking for a book to send a chill down your spine? These four new novels involving creepy paranormal characters are perfect for the occasion.

ritter jackaby YA supernatural baddiesAbandoning university for a (failed) archaeological dig in the Carpathian Mountains, Abigail Rook, star of William Ritter’s Jackaby, finds herself aboard a ship bound for America. Landing in the town of New Fiddleham in 1892, the young Englishwoman begins working for the remarkable Mr. R. F. Jackaby — a detective whose perceptive observations are of the paranormal variety. Right away, they’re hot on the heels of a murderer — in the process encountering a banshee, a shape-shifter, and a redcap goblin. It’s a riveting mash-up of mystery and folklore, with vivid details and striking turns of phrase. (Algonquin, 12–16 years)

winters cure for dreaming YA supernatural baddiesIn Cat Winters’s The Cure for Dreaming, seventeen-year-old Olivia Mead supports women’s suffrage while her overbearing single father adamantly does not. Dr. Mead hires handsome visiting hypnotist Henri Reverie to set Livie straight about men and women’s proper roles and squelch her ability to argue. But sympathetic Henri hypnotizes Livie to see the way things are — not accept them. Livie’s visions, unsettling and surreal as nightmares, end up empowering her in this story about hypnotism and emotional manipulation. (Abrams/Amulet, 12–16 years)

kiernan into the grey YA supernatural baddiesTwin teens Patrick and Dominick move with their family to a shabby seaside cottage. Pat sees that Dom is being haunted by a young boy’s ghost, while Pat himself has nightmares about a WWI soldier. Eventually Dom is utterly possessed by boy ghost Francis, and Pat is desperate to do what he can to retrieve his brother. Celine Kiernan’s storytelling in Into the Grey is confident, powerful, and poetic. The twisting plot involves family love, local history, loyalty, and protectiveness, with a well-drawn cast of characters, energetic drama, and dialogue pierced with Irish dialect. (Candlewick, 12–16 years)

knudsen evil librarian YA supernatural baddiesSixteen-year-old Cynthia Rothschild’s ordinary junior year goes to hell — literally — when Cyn and her crush Ryan catch new librarian Mr. Gabriel unmasked with demonic wings and fangs in Michelle Knudsen’s Buffy-esque Evil Librarian. Cyn and Ryan team up to research demon-kind, recruit allies, prepare for a showdown with Mr. G. and co., and put on a damn fine musical production (she’s the tech director, he’s a theater prodigy). Smart, loyal, and witty, Cyn is an engaging heroine. Fans of Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Tantalize series or Larbalestier and Brennan’s Team Human will enjoy this blend of supernatural action, school story, romance, and dark comedy. (Candlewick, 14 years and up)

From the October 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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12. Innocent Darkness

Innocent Darkness Suzanne Lazear

Steampunk Faeries. Oh yes. And that’s all you really need to know.

Ok, you want to know more.

Noli comes from a good family that’s fallen on hard times. She’s an ace engineer and too reckless and spirited to ever be the perfect Lady her mother expects. After one-too-many brushes with the law, she’s sent to a reform finishing school.

Kevighn Silver is drawn to the school--it’s a school devoted to ridding young ladies of the Spark. The Spark may make them less-than-society-perfect, but every 7 years, the faeries in the Otherworld need to sacrifice a mortal girl with Spark in order to keep the magic going. The time is coming fast, and it’s Kevighn’s job to find the girl. A well-timed wish in the wrong place, and poof, Noli’s in the Otherworld, slated to die.

On top of all this is Noli’s best friend and next-door-neighbor, V. Noli knows V’s father would never let them marry, so it’s all very platonic, despite her wishes that it could be something else. V knows something is very wrong and tracks her all the way to the Otherworld, where he just happens to be an exiled prince. YEP.

First off, despite the awesomeness of STEAMPUNK FAERIES*, Noli is what makes this book. Noli knows who she is. She likes who she is. She struggles that who she is isn’t who her mother wants or needs her to be and how she can best take care of what’s left of her family. I like that despite the tensions between who her mother (and society) expect her to be and who she is, she still really loves her mother. There's tension, but it's not much greater than most teen daughter/mother tension. I appreciate that it's not a breaking point between them. Unlike many "modern before her time" historical heroines, she chafes at the restrictions, but kind of understands them? Also, more than many historicals, Noli and the text understand that many of these restrictions are actually the restrictions of her class rather than the time period. (She wants to work. The fact her mother won't let her isn't because she's a girl, it's because girls of their station don't work. Even though her mother (most shamefully) does.) She’s brave and bold, but will still cry when things go to hell.

As with all good faeries stories, court politics and tradition are intriguing and dark (even if this one is dressed up in crazy fashion choices and steampunk toys.)

The first in a series, this one pretty much just sets everything up, but it builds a pretty awesome world you’ll want to stay in for longer. (Just don’t eat anything.)


*This is kinda like whenever I talk about His Fair Assassins, I just end up randomly shouting ASSASSIN NUNS! ASSASSIN NUNS!

Book Provided by... my local library

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13. Review: Dead Over Heels by Alison Kemper #zombies

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I enjoyed Alison Kemper’s Donna of the Dead, so when I saw Dead Over Heels on Netgalley, I was all over it.  I was expecting a continuation of that story, but Dead Over Heels features different characters.  It is set during the same time period, in the mountains of North Carolina.  It’s not as campy as the previous book, but once again, I was hooked and couldn’t step away from the zombie apocalypse.

Ava’s parents purchased a vacation home in rural North Carolina, so she’s stuck in the cold mountains during Thanksgiving break, instead of prowling the mall with her friends in Florida.  After her parents head to town, a 45 minute drive from their new digs, Ava’s world comes crashing to a halt.  Cole, who has been doing yard work for her father, comes pounding up the porch steps with unbelievable news – the zombie flu has arrived from China, and a band of zombies are about to eat them both.

Ava doesn’t believe him at first, but a glance at the shambling corpses quickly convinces her.  Grabbing her purse, which holds her live saving EpiPen, she races into the woods with Cole.  She’s desperate to stay alive and find her parents.  With zero wilderness survival skills, it’s a miracle that Cole was there to shepherd her away from the zombies.  He is familiar with the woods, he has extensive camping experience, and he has hunted on the mountain his entire life.  And oh, yeah, he’s drop dead gorgeous.

I am not a big fan of roughing it, so Ava’s extreme roughing it adventure was spellbinding.  She and Cole have practically no supplies, and did I mention that she is allergic to everything?  One insect bite and she goes into anaphylactic shock.  She is toast without her EpiPen.  She has spent her entire life avoiding the great out doors, and now she’s fleeing through the woods from zombies, trying to avoid wasps, bees, and every other stinging creature out there.  The zombies are the least of her worries.  While they are certainly a threat, she can outrun them.  A bug is a death sentence.

Dead Over Heels is a frantic race through the woods, battling hunger, the weather, bears, and the walking dead.  With all of the adrenalin pounding through their systems, Ava and Cole are constantly in a state of distress.  They hit it off like oil and water at first, due to their very different backgrounds.  Cole thinks of Ava as a Floridiot, and Ava rudely calls Cole a redneck.  As they are forced to rely on each other, and as they save each other from death time and again, they begin to develop feelings for each other.  Who could blame them?  They have no idea if anyone else is still alive, or whether everyone on the planet is now a stinky zombie.  It’s comforting that they have each other.

Told in alternating POV, I found both Cole and Ava likable and relatable.  I charged through Dead Over Heels, and I can hardly wait to see what’s next.  

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

The end of the world just might be their perfect beginning…

Glenview, North Carolina. Also known—at least to sixteen-year-old Ava Pegg—as the Land of Incredibly Boring Vacations. What exactly were her parents thinking when they bought a summer home here? Then the cute-but-really-annoying boy next door shows up at her place in a panic…hollering something about flesh-eating zombies attacking the town.

At first, Ava’s certain that Cole spent a little too much time with his head in the moonshine barrel. But when someone—or something—rotted and terrifying emerges from behind the woodpile, Ava realizes this is no hooch hallucination. The undead are walking in Glenview, and they are hungry. Panicked, Ava and Cole flee into the national forest. No supplies, no weapons. Just two teenagers who don’t even like each other fighting for their lives. But that’s the funny thing about the Zombpocalypse. You never know when you’ll meet your undead end. Or when you’ll fall dead over heels for a boy…

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14. FAMOUS LAST WORDS by Katie Alender {Review}

Review by Valerie FAMOUS LAST WORDSby Katie AlenderAge Range: 12 and up Grade Level: 7 and upHardcover: 320 pagesPublisher: Point (September 30, 2014)Goodreads | Amazon Willa is freaking out. It seems like she's seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It's almost as if someone -- or something -- is trying to send

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15. Garth Nix on Clariel

nix clariel Garth Nix on ClarielIn the September/October 2014 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer Katie Bircher asked Garth Nix about Clariel, the long-awaited prequel to his high fantasy trilogy Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen. Read the review here.

Katie Bircher: Do you think the walker chooses the path, or the path the walker? Which is it in Clariel’s case?

Garth Nix: This is one of those questions that doesn’t have an answer, or the answer changes all the time. In Clariel’s case, she chooses her own path, but there are definitely forces at work that both influence her choice and limit her selection of paths. Neither predestination nor entirely free will, but a mixture of both…

From the September/October 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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16. The Maze Runner movie review

maze runner poster big The Maze Runner movie reviewI’m a sucker for a good secret. The Maze Runner is all about secrets.

If you’ve read James Dashner’s novel, seeing the Twentieth Century Fox movie (released September 19, 2014) is a completely different experience than it would be if you were new to the story. Instead of wondering how a gaggle of teenaged boys ended up trapped in a clearing surrounded by a constantly changing maze with their memories wiped, you wonder how director Wes Ball will handle all the information that the book gradually reveals.

The movie keeps the essence of the book as well as many of its details; the sense of confusion at the beginning is particularly well-rendered. Most of the significant changes are to elements that worked well in the book but would have been difficult to execute onscreen. Unsurprisingly, since the characters’ minds have been altered, much of the novel takes place on a mental level. Thomas (played by Dylan O’Brien) and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) communicate through telepathy, which doesn’t happen in the movie. In the book, code-breaking plays a bigger role, which might’ve felt dull on film.

But the biggest change is in how the story’s secrets are filtered through Thomas’s mind. Neither the book nor the movie is the sort of post-apocalyptic story whose characters think everything is as it should be because they’ve never seen a better way, though some residents of the Glade are satisfied that the order they’ve established is the only safe option. These characters know that someone is deliberately sending them to the Glade one by one. They just don’t know who or why. If you encounter the story first through the book, you’re likely to spend much of it feeling like questions are being dangled in front of you. Book Thomas has an overwhelming sense that the Glade is familiar and hides this feeling from the other Gladers, which leads to suspicion between them and him. Though the movie Gladers suspect that Thomas holds an important role in their situation, all we hear from Thomas is what he tells them — the secrets he’s keeping from them are not revealed verbally. (The movie forgoes voiceovers and similar devices.) Instead, we see flashes of memory as Thomas sees them, first very briefly and then in more depth when he takes risks to pursue more information. Although these flashes don’t give many details, they do show the setting of Thomas’s memories very early on, giving a major clue as to how everyone arrived in the Glade. Instead of dangling questions, the movie dangles bits of the answers.

A few plot points are eliminated for the sake of pacing, and the ending is structured a little differently, but the general story arc is preserved. So are the important characters’ personalities, with a couple of notable exceptions. First, hardened-but-ultimately-loveable leader Alby (Aml Ameen) is a softie throughout the movie. More importantly, what happened to Teresa? The novel’s only girl in the Glade comes in with useful information and figures out quite a bit, as befits the super-intelligent character she’s meant to be. Movie Teresa still shows up with a note in her hand declaring her to be the last arrival and still remembers Thomas’s name, but most discoveries that are hers in the book come instead from Thomas in the film. As the first Glader to show enough curiosity to bend the rules, Thomas has agency coming out of his ears. The movie could easily have let Teresa keep her more useful lines and still let its main character come off as the hero.

O’Brien and Scodelario play Thomas and Teresa with an appropriate sense of determination, and though some of the Gladers deliver exposition more smoothly than others, the movie is well-cast overall. Blake Cooper is perfect as guileless Chuck.

For a movie whose characters keep saying, “Everything is going to change,” The Maze Runner keeps most of the important things the same.

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17. 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

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18. Lucky Day: An I Hunt Killers Prequel e-book review

lyga lucky day Lucky Day: An I Hunt Killers Prequel e book reviewI’ve been reviewing Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers trilogy (I Hunt Killers, Game) for the Magazine and am about to start reading the just-released final volume, Blood of My Blood. So I was very excited to get my hands on Lucky Day: An I Hunt Killers Prequel by Barry Lyga (Little, Brown, April 2014), one of several digital-only novella prequels to the series.

Lucky Day follows Sheriff G. William Tanner (a mentor and father figure to the novels’ protagonist Jasper “Jazz” Dent, who makes a very brief appearance here) as he investigates two cases in the last weeks before a county election. One girl has been abducted and is presumed murdered, and another is found raped and killed not long after — brutal violence the likes of which small-town Lobo’s Nod and its surrounding county have not seen since pioneer days.

As the cases go colder and the community’s fears grow, G. William’s chances of re-election to sheriff’s office dwindle. But then he makes a connection between the cases, follows an uncomfortable hunch about an upstanding community member, and finds himself face to face with the killer.

Appropriately, given its adult protagonist, the tone of this prequel is very different from the novels’. Instead of Jazz’s teenage first-person narrative, here a partially omniscient third-person narrator relates G. William’s (very mature) concerns and experiences. His guilt about the cases potentially going unsolved, coupled with grief over his wife’s recent death, sends him into a near-suicidal depression. Perhaps this novella is better suited to adult readers of gritty hardboiled detective/jaded cop novels (I’m thinking fans of Jo Nesbø or Tana French) rather than the teen audience the trilogy is aimed at. That said, as a fan of those types of books myself, I enjoyed this suspenseful look at G. William’s — and the infamous Hand-in-Glove killer’s — earlier career.

Available for various e-readers; $1.99. Recommended for young adult and older users.

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19. A Letter to I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson

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 I'll Give You the Sun 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

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20. Egg & Spoon - an audio book review

I can save you some time today. If you'd like the short review of Egg & Spoon, click here to read my review for AudioFile Magazine. However, if you want to hear more about this wonderful book, read on!

Maguire, Gregory. 2014. Egg & Spoon. Grand Haven, MI: Brilliance Audio.  Read by Michael Page.

Can what we want change who we are? 
Have patience and you will see.

Set in the tsarist Russia of the late 18th or early 19th century, Egg & Spoon is an enchanting mix of historical fiction and magical folklore, featuring switched and mistaken identities, adventurous quests, the witch Baba Yaga, and of course, an egg.

Narrator Michael Page is at his best as the self-proclaimed “unreliable scribe,” who tells the tale from his tower prison cell, claiming to have seen it all through his one blind eye. In a fashion similar to that of Scheherazade, spinning 1001 "Tales of the Arabian Nights," our narrator weaves fantastical stories together and wraps us in their spell.

Ekaterina and Elena are two young girls - one privileged, one peasant - yet so alike that their very lives can be exchanged. Page creates voices so similar that one can believe the subterfuge, yet the voices are also distinct - a necessity in a book written to respect the reader's (or listener's) ability to discern the flow of conversation without the constant insertion of "he said/she said."

One girl finds herself en route to see the tsar, a captive guest of  the haughty and imperious Aunt Sophia on a train to St. Petersburg.  The other finds herself a captive guest of the witch, Baba Yaga, and her curious home that walks on chicken legs. As Baba Yaga, Page is as wildly unpredictable as the witch herself, chortling, cackling, menacing, mothering.

Michael Page is wonderful.  He brings each of author Gregory Maguire's many characters to life with a distinct voice.  He never falls out of character, and his pacing is perfect - measured to keep the listener from being overwhelmed by the story's intricate plot.

Grand and magical, Egg & Spoon is a metaphoric epic for readers from twelve to adult.
Notes:
If you find the egg (or eggs) elusive, you will find the spoon even more so!
My copy of the book was supplied by the publisher. My copy of the audio book was supplied by AudioFile Magazine.  

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21. abandoned: taken

by David Massey Chicken House / Scholastic 2014 Teens in peril. That's where you lose me. I try to read books as "blind" as possible, knowing as little as I can going in so I can let the freshness of the story carry me. Sometimes, though, I get a sense early in a book that it's going to piss me off. In the past when I was a younger man and felt like I had a lifetime to read everything I'd

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22. The Family Romanov

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia Candace Fleming

It opens with an imperial ball in 1903 to celebrate St. Petersburg’s 200th anniversary, the story then jumps back to the childhood of Nicholas II and Alexandra. It starts getting more in-depth once they are married, which is the same time that Nicholas II becomes Tsar. What follows is a horrific story of incompetence and willful ignorance and a population pushed to action in order to survive.

I knew Imperial Russia had problems, and I knew Nicholas II wasn’t the greatest ruler, but holy crap. Fleming paints a bleak picture that offers them very little redemption. Running parallel to the story of the Romanov family is an introduction to early 20th century Russian history, looking at what life was like for ordinary Russians and the causes and starts of the Revolution. The story seamlessly works in quotations pulled from journals and other primary source documents.

Despite covering so much, she keeps it very readable and it’s a great introduction to the subjects, but I think that readers who already know about the topics covered will get a lot out of it as well. It has two different inserts of photographs and frequently in the text is a pull-out box titled “Beyond the Palace Gates” which contains the words of someone else--a soldier, a factory worker, a reporter, a peasant--to add contrast and context to the main narrative.

The package wins further points with it'scomprehensive back matter--endnotes, bibliography, index-- and being a teen-friendly trim size. (I have very strong feelings on trim size for teen nonfiction. It's a surprisingly huge factor in appeal.)

Overall, it is fascinating and horrifying, and just really well-done and put together. I highly recommend it and keep an eye out for it come award season.

Book Provided by... my local library

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23. Trailer Reveal! Night Sky by Suzanne Brockmann and Melanie Brockmann

I haven’t shared a trailer in a while, and since I’m looking forward to Night Sky, I decided to pass this one along.  What do you think? Are you going to add Night Sky to you TBR stack?

Night Sky

By Suzanne Brockmann and Melanie Brockmann

Sourcebooks Fire ? October 7, 2014

ISBN: 9-781-4926-0144-9 ? Hardcover/$16.99 ? Ages 14+

Preo-order here Amazon BN.com

“Original and exciting, NIGHT SKY propels readers into a dangerous future. Loved it.” –Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of Made For You and the Wicked Lovely series.

“A gripping page-turner from first to last…the start of something that can only be described as ‘greater-than.’” –Kirkus STARRED review

“Action-packed, mysterious, charming and witty. I’m ready for more!” — Gena Showalter, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Alice in Zombieland

“Full of adventure, humor, and just the right amount of Brockmann wit…I love this book!” –P.C. Cast, New York Times bestselling co-author of the House of Night series.

Hunted. Kidnapped. Bled. Destiny can be dangerous…

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann makes her young adult debut with a pulse-pounding novel of paranormal suspense set in the same world as her highly acclaimed and bestselling romance Born to Darkness, alongside her daughter and co-author Melanie. Young girls are being murdered for the secret that’s in their blood. When Skylar’s neighbor becomes the next victim, she must use her newly discovered abilities to save her before it’s too late.

Sixteen-year-old Skylar Reid is thrown into a strange world when she discovers that she has unique telekinetic and telepathic powers.  After Sasha, the child she babysits, is kidnapped and believed to be murdered, Sky and her best friend Calvin are approached by Dana, a mysterious girl who has super-abilities similar to Sky’s.  With the help of Dana and her sidekick Milo, the four teens embark on a quest to discover who killed Sasha, and to bring the killers to justice.

With Dana as Skylar’s surly and life-toughened mentor, Sky attempts to harness her powers to aid them in their quest. Complicating an already complex relationship with the older girl, Sky starts to fall for the dangerously handsome and enigmatic Milo – and begins to suspect that the attraction is mutual. But then Sky realizes that Sasha might still be alive, and the unlikely foursome’s mission becomes one of search and rescue, pitting the heroic teens against a very deadly enemy.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Suzanne Brockman, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author, has won 2 RITA awards, numerous RT Reviewers’ Choice, and RWA’s #1 Favorite Book of the Year three years running. She has written over 50 books, and is widely recognized as a “superstar of romantic suspense” (USA Today). Suzanne and her daughter, Melanie Brockmann, have been creative partners, on and off, for many years. Their first project was an impromptu musical duet, when then-six-month-old Melanie surprised and delighted Suz by matching her pitch and singing back to her. Suzanne splits her time between Florida and Massachusetts while Mel lives in Sarasota, Florida. NIGHT SKY is Mel’s debut and Suzanne’s 55th book. Visit Suzanne at www.SuzanneBrockmann.com.

Suzanne’s website and a link to her virtual signings: http://www.suzannebrockmann.com/about/ns-virtual-signing/

The post Trailer Reveal! Night Sky by Suzanne Brockmann and Melanie Brockmann appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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