Friday, August 30, 2013

Ariel Bradley: Spy for General Washington by Lynda Durrant

 
Ariel Bradley: Spy for General Washington
by Lynda Durrant
illustrated by Joe Rossi
NetGalley
Picture Book Nonfiction
September 2013
 
Book Jacket Summary
This book is based on a true event, the real life adventure of nine year-old Ariel Bradley. It reveals the anxiety of the Americans, who a battle in the first months of the Revolutionary War. It also shows George Washington’s keen sense of humor and his wily, perceptive view of his British adversaries.
Ariel Bradley is Washington’s boy spy who pretends to be a country bumpkin (a “Johnny Raw”). He ‘stumbles’ into General Howe’s camp “looking for the mill” his father has sent him in search of. In reality, he is assessing the strength and numbers of the British and their Hessian (German) allies. After he is sent on his way by the unsuspecting English, he reports this to General Washington and his staff. This information proves key in what became known as the Battle of White Plains.

My Thoughts
I love books that highlight a piece of history that is obscure. It is nice to find information about the Revolutionary War and the people who helped shape our nation. Ariel Bradley is one of those people from history who helped our Union. He acted as a "Johnny Raw"  or a country bumpkin to spy on the British during the Revolutionary War. Bradley helped General Washington know how many mercenaries and British soldiers there were in the camps. This is a great history lesson for younger kids who are interested in the Revolutionary War and how kids actually helped out.
In the acknowledgements the author credits the idea on an article he read. You never know when inspiration might strike as an author. Plus, "All the profits from the book benefit the Fisher House Foundation , dedicated to helping America's military families in their time of need." Love that the publisher is so helpful to charities.

Book Pairings
The Fighting Ground by Avi
Betsy Zane, the Rose of Fort Henry by Lynda Durrant 

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rose by Holly Webb

Rose
Rose 
by Holly Webb 
240 pages
NetGalley
Historical Fiction/Tween
September 3, 2013

Book Jacket Summary
Rose isn't like the other orphans at St Bridget's Home for Abandoned Girls. Instead of dreaming of getting adopted by loving, wealthy parents, Rose wants to get a job and be independent. She doesn't need anyone but herself. She finds her escape working as a maid for Mr. Fountain, an alchemist. Unable to ignore the magic that flows throughout the grand residence, Rose realizes that just maybe; she might have a little bit of magic in her too. This new series featuring magicians, witches, talking cats, mist-monsters, and friendships will have young readers in a trance!

My Thoughts
 I love a good historical fantasy book and this one delivered. Rose is a strong heroine that just wants to earn her own wages and have a half-day once a week. She is an orphan and wants to get out of the orphanage as soon as possible. When Miss Bridges picks Rose to be the new house maid for Mr. Fountain she thinks she is right on track for a normal life until she hears the cat speak. 
That is the first sign that Rose is not your typical house maid and it is up to her to figure out why children are disappearing all over the city. The book is highly enjoyable and any book that has a breakdown between the upstairs/downstairs relationship is sure to make me happy. The characters are well thought out and the side characters are fleshed out with prominent personalities, especially the spoiled bratty Isabella! Rose is practical and does not want to go above her station yet everything is pulling her to be an apprentice. I was excited to learn that this was a series and there are already at least three books over seas. I hope NetGalley will have them all and I don't have to wait long to read the next adventure in Rose's life.

Book Pairings 
The Legend of Holly Claus by Brittney Ryan
Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wizard of Oz Colors by Jill Kalz

The Wizard of Oz Colors
Wizard of Oz Colors
By Jill Kalz
Illustrated by Timothy Banks
20 pages
Board Book
NetGalley- Capstone Young Readers
September 2, 2013

Book Jacket Summary
The Land of Oz is full of colors, roads are yellow and monkeys are blue! Let Dorothy, Toto, Tin Man, and Scarecrow explore all of the colors with you!

My Quick Thoughts
I love looking at board books because there is always a baby shower around the corner or just a fun gift for a toddler. This one has bright colors that suit the learning of colors and this one is told in rhyme! It is one of the cutest book to get a youngster or a parent who loves Wizard of Oz.
Black and white describe the twister with men in a row boat fight the storm and the house flying into the sky. Yellow is the yellow brick road and the straw in the Scarecrow. Green is the Wicked Witch of the West and brown is the talking trees and Toto. Gray is the Tin Man with Glinda as pink in her giant ball gown. And of course the red slippers.
The book includes a glossary and other books about colors (see below). There is an index and internet sites to check out. There are more in the Wizard of Oz series with ABC’s, counting, shapes. There is also a brief synopsis of the Wizard of Oz movie. I say movie because in the book the slippers are silver but red showed up better in Technocolor. 

Book Pairings
The Other Colors: An ABC Book by Valerie Gates
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Football Colors by Mark Weakland
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Angel Stone (Fairwick Chronicles #3) by Juliet Dark

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The Angel Stone 
(Fairwick Chronicles #3)
by Juliet Dark 
288 pages
NetGalley- Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine
Adult Fiction- Paranormal
September 2013

Book Jacket Summary
For Callie McFay, a half-witch/half-fey professor of folklore and Gothic literature, the fight to save the enchanted town of Fairwick, New York, is far from over. After a hostile takeover by the Grove—a sinister group of witches and their cohorts—many of the local fey have been banished or killed, including Callie’s one true love. And in place of the spirit of tolerance and harmony, the new administration at Fairwick College has fostered an air of danger and distrust.

With her unique magical abilities, Callie is the only one who can rescue her friends from exile and restore order to the school—a task that requires her to find the Angel Stone, a legendary talisman of immense power. Propelled on an extraordinary quest back to seventeenth-century Scotland, Callie risks her life to obtain the stone. Yet when she encounters a sexy incarnation of her lost love, she finds the greater risk is to her heart. As the fate of Fairwick hangs in the balance, Callie must make a wrenching choice: reclaim a chance for eternal passion or save everything she holds dear.

My Thoughts
I saw this on NetGalley and I hoped that I would get a chance to read it before it came out! I think I might have squealed a little when I saw the e-mail saying I was approved! The Fairwick Chronicles have slowly become one of my favorite series and I am hopping that it will be more than three books long. The characters are memorable and I have loved seeing Callie change throughout the books. She is opening her heart to the people around her and is trying to what is best for the students who remain at the college.
A lot of my favorite characters disappear during this book but Dark keeps the pace throughout the book and you get to know other people a little bit better. Plus there is time travel in this one! Score! The next books don't even have to be about Callie. I would like to know more about Nicky and how she will turn her life around after the curse had been lifted or about Soheila and Frank. All of the side characters could fill a book and this way I do not have to leave Fairwick College. I highly recommend this one and I know that I will be picking up Juliet Dark's other book (under the name Carol Goodman). I hope they are as good as this series.

Book Parings
Discovery of Witches by
Trick of the Light by Rob Thurman 
The Historian by  

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Monday, August 26, 2013

A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison

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A Wounded Name
Dot Hutchison
320 pages
NetGalley- Lerner Publishing Group
YA- Hamlet Retelling
September 2013

Book Jacket Summary
There's a girl who could throw herself head first into life and forge an unbreakable name, an identity that stands on its own without fathers or brothers or lovers who devour and shatter.
I'VE NEVER BEEN THAT GIRL.
Sixteen-year-old Ophelia Castellan will never be just another girl at Elsinore Academy. Seeing ghosts is not a skill prized in future society wives. Even when she takes her pills, the bean sidhe beckon, reminding her of a promise to her dead mother.

Now, in the wake of the Headmaster's sudden death, the whole academy is in turmoil, and Ophelia can no longer ignore the fae. Especially once she starts seeing the Headmaster's ghosts- two of them- on the school grounds.

At the center of her crumbling world is Dane, the Headmaster's grieving son. He, too, understands the power of a promise to a parent- even a dead one. To him, Ophelia is the only person not tainted by deceit and hypocrisy, a mirror of his own broken soul. And to Ophelia, Dane quickly becomes everything. Yet even as she gives more of herself to him, Dane slips away. Consumed by suspicion, rage, and madness, he spirals towards his tragic fate- dragging Ophelia, and the rest of Elsinore, with him.
YOU KNOW HOW THIS STORY ENDS.
Yet even in the face of certain death, Ophelia has a choice to make- and a promise to keep. She is not the girl others want her to be. But in Dot Hutchison's dark and sensuous debut novel, the name "Ophelia" is as deeply, painfully, tragically real as "Hamlet".

My Thoughts
It is a beautiful and lyrical retelling of Hamlet but I do feel reluctant to hand it over to an younger teen because of the abuse that Ophelia takes in this book. Hamlet strangles her at one point and she shows no resistance, only thinking that she will be the outlet for his pain... Not the best role model for most teenage girls. There are some circumstances that make Ophelia only half alive throughout the book but I was uncomfortable whenever she shrugged off the bruises she got from the men in the book. It is so hard for victims of abuse to step forward and with Ophelia playing a willing victim just makes me sad. 
Otherwise it is a beautifully written book and uses the Hamlet characters in a contemporary setting. I will admit that placing it in a school is a brilliant move and having the kingship become a Headmaster instead makes sense. Ophelia is already thought insane by her father and brother, with pills keeping her in their control. She sees the dead and fay creatures that haunt the woods. It follows the Hamlet story line and with this you go into it knowing that it will have a depressing ending. Still unsure when it comes to my feeling about this book, it is beautiful, well written and Ophelia was a weaker character in the play but the abuse just does not sit well with me. Read and judge for yourself.

Book Pairings
Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray
Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay
Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klien

 
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cassie and the Woolf by Olivia Snowe

Cassie and the Woolf
Cassie and the Woolf
by Olivia Snowe
illustrated by Michelle Lamoreaux
128 pages
NetGalley- Twice Told Tales
Red Riding Hood Retelling
August 1st 2013

Book Jacket Summary
Caleb Woolf spots Cassie Cloak. She's carrying a huge box of food . . . and he is very, very hungry.

You know the story.
You've heard it before.
Everyone has.
Now, read  it again.
A new twist. A new gap.
The story is told again.

My Quick Thoughts
This is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood in an urban setting where she is bringing her grandmother some take out food from their favorite diner. Cassie, little red, is wearing her signature red rain jacket and waits for the pouring rain to stop. Enter Caleb, a giant basketball wielding punk, who really wants something to eat. You know what happens from there...
This is a very interesting retelling and rather unique in the big city with Cassie waiting for revenge on the "wolf" that hurt her grandmother. The pictures are all done in black, white, and red. They lend a creepy feel to the book, especially when Cassie or Caleb (which means wolf) lean over menacingly. 
It is short but sweet and is apparently the beginning of a series of retellings. Check them out from your local library!

Book Pairings
The Sealed-Up House by Olivia Snowe 
A Home in the Sky by Olivia Snowe
The Girl and the Seven Thieves by Olivia Snowe
 
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Book Tour: The Emblazoned Red by Dawn McCullough White


Welcome to the review tour for The Emblazoned Red by Dawn McCullough White! You can follow the rest of the tour HERE!


Goodreads

About The Emblazoned Red - Goodreads, Amazon, B&N
Once, in another world—a dark world, the world of Faetta—there lived paladins and pirates, tyrants and scallywags, vampires and the undead. In this world a revolution is brewing. The royalty of Sieunes are in chains, and those priests and paladins who follow the holy word of the gods are under attack. In the west, the kingdom of Kellerhald receives the fleeing priests in their temples of the paladins of Silvius, god of the Sky.
Here, a young woman has just passed her tests to become a paladin. A pirate crew raids along the Azez Sea. An undead creature, wielding great power, roams the graveyard of Yetta. And a lost soul, crying out from beyond the veil, seeks out a pure hearted warrior to hear its plea.
Amid the turmoil of the revolution, Ilka’s mettle is tested. Rescued by pirates, she ends up with an unlikely ally: the pirate captain himself. The newly trained paladin finds herself collaborating with the undead, working with a vampire, and worst of all, longing for revenge against the man who has ignited the revolution in Sieunes: Francois Mond…
Death of an Innocent. Rise of a Paladin.
Book One in the Trilogy of the Tyrant, a stand-alone series set fifteen years after the Trilogy of Shadows.
Dawn McCullough White 
About Dawn McCullough White -  
Dawn McCullough White is known for her strong female protagonists, and gritty dark fantasy.

Ms. McCullough-White has lived the majority of her life in and around Rochester, NY with a brief stint in Tucson, AZ. She is pursuing a degree in psychology at R.I.T. Dawn is a history buff and was a member of the Society of Creative Anachronism for years, active as a heavy weapons fighter. She currently resides with her husband and son in a quaint neighborhood next to an old cemetery.

My Thoughts
I did not know going into the story that this was a spin-off series and it made reading the book a bit confusing. However, it was great (once I let go of the fact that I always need to know everything about a series) and I love a good pirate story. Lots of pirates, ship fights, looting, and pressing men into service. Squee. I am a big fan of Captain Blood and Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Ilka is a paladin, one who protects the priests of Shandow, is attacked and all her company killed. She only survives because she falls off a cliff and is rescued by pirates. Her armor is divided between the pirates and she is held for ransom. Her fate is tied with that of the pirate captain, Nate, several years her senior but is he trust worthy? Only time will tell.
I enjoyed the book, even with my gaps of knowledge. I am a stickler for reading things in order and feel the need to go read the other series because it works as a world builder and would explain some of the side characters that show up. A fun dark fantasy and did I mention pirates? I would recommend it but be sure to check out her first series!  





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Monday, August 19, 2013

Book Blitz: Breaking the Reins by Juliana Haygert






Breaking the Reins

by Juliana
Haygert


Release Date: 08/19/13



Summary from Goodreads:
Horses, mansions, tea parties, and lies are twenty-year-old Hannah Taylor’s life. To others, her family and her relationship with Eric is perfect. But she knows the truth. She lives it.


After a fire takes her grandma's life and kills her horse, Hannah's immaculate life spirals out of control. Her father disapproves of her decision to run her grandma’s ranch instead of focusing solely on learning the family business; Animal Control brings her Argus, a mistreated horse that she can't turn away even though she's not ready for another horse; and her boyfriend, Eric Bennett, a world famous polo player, becomes possessive and authoritarian. Despite her
best efforts to disguise it, Hannah grows wary of him.

Then, Leonardo Fernandes struts onto the polo scene. A cocky rookie with a
messy life of his own, he’s drawn to Hannah and isn’t afraid of showing it,
even when Eric makes it clear she is his and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep
it that way. Hannah suffers for Eric’s jealousy. The abuse only gets worse when
Leo steals the title of best polo player in the world from Eric.

But the title isn’t enough for Leo. He wants Hannah too, and she can’t deny her
attraction to him either. Somehow, she must find a way to break free from
abusive Eric before he breaks every bone in her body.


**New Adult Contemporary Romance Novel**

Available from:

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Praise for Breaking the Reins:

 “Breaking The Reins by Juliana Haygert is a
real treasure. It’s a sexy, heartbreaking and romantic ride you won’t want to
miss.” —Sawyer Bennett, USA
Today Bestselling author of Off SideOff LimitsOffthe Record, and Off Course.

"A breath of fresh air in the New Adult market.
Juliana Haygert’s new contemporary novel is one not to be missed!” —Magan Vernon, international bestselling author of The Only Exception

“A swoonworthy love interest and a fantastic
backdrop make Breaking the Reins a New Adult read you don’t want to miss!”
—Alyssa Rose Ivy, bestselling
author of The Crescent ChroniclesClayton Falls Series, and The Hazards of Skinny Dipping.



About the Author:
New Adult author and contributor at NA Alley blog.

While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.
Author Links:

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Excerpt


I got ready and returned to the exercise. I pulled Argus forward first, on a speedy walk, and he came with me. I stopped, he stopped. I went forward again, walking normally, and he kept up with me. Without halting first, I started walking backward. Argus instantly stopped.

“Come on, boy, you can do it.” I gently tugged on the reins.
He made a loud noise like a sigh and then, slowly, he moved backward.
I had to lock my body not to jump up and down, and held on to my hand before it stroked his white coat.
Calm, Hannah. He feels what you feel. Stay calm.
Argus and I played that game for over forty minutes, until he didn’t hesitate stopping or retreating when I did.
“Good job, boy,” I said, pulling the reins over his neck, so he could trot around the round pen without having them hanging and bothering him.
Whirling on my feet, I walked to where Leo was leaning against the fence, and noticed Argus was coming with me. Leo raised one eyebrow at me, and I smiled.
I took two more steps before stopping. Argus stopped too.
I put a hand over my mouth to help me suppress the happy laughter trying to come out. Oh damn, the horse was following me without any reins or ropes!
I walked in a circle, and Argus followed my every step. I sped up, and he caught up with me. I stopped again, and he did too. I retreated and he did too.
With a big grin, I strolled to Leo with Argus in tow.
“Impressive,” he said, his face alight.
“I’m impressed too,” I whispered, afraid of scaring Argus. I turned to the horse again. “You can go exercise, boy.” Instead of trotting away, he advanced one step. “What is it, boy?” I extended my arms to my sides, wary of moving too much, too sudden. Argus took another step toward me and nudged my forearm with his muzzle. I froze.
Slowly, Leo stood behind me, closer than necessary, clasped his hand around my elbow, and guided my hand to Argus’s neck.
I held my breath.
Until my cell phone started ringing. Argus neighed and trotted away, and Leo closed his arms around me and pulled me back, probably trying to get me out of the way, in case Argus advanced on me.
“No, no, no.” I cursed with some really nasty words in my mind as I reached for my phone in my pocket. Eric’s name flashed on the screen, and I only pressed the end button.
Leo offered me a knowing look. “Have you accepted any of his calls lately?


***GIVEAWAY***

2-ebook copies of Breaking the Reins (INT)
1-ebook copies of Destiny Gift (INT)


Book Blitz hosted by:

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