Friday, October 28, 2011

Princess Academy Sequel! Squee!


To be published August 2012

"Shannon Hale's books blow me away. When I read them I get lost in the magic—her stories are magic."
—Stephenie Meyer

Ever since the publication of Princess Academy in 2005, fans and booksellers have been clamoring for a sequel. Now, Bloomsbury is delighted to announce the Fall 2012 publication of the as-yet-untitled second Princess Academy book.

The new novel picks up where the 2006 Newbery Honor winner Princess Academy left off. Miri and a few of the academy girls travel to the capital city of Asland to help the princess-to-be. But while continuing her studies, Miri befriends some other students who seek to overthrow the crown. Torn between her friendship with the princess and her belief in her new friends' daring ideas, as well as an old love and a new crush, Miri struggles to find her place in the larger world.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Janitors by Tyler Whitesides

The magical, secretive society of JANITORS will sweep the country in the fall of 2011. Have you ever fallen asleep during math class? Are you easily distracted while listening to your English teacher? Do you find yourself completely uninterested in geography? Well, it may not be your fault. The janitors at Welcher Elementary know a secret, and it s draining all the smarts out of the kids. Twelve year- old Spencer Zumbro, with the help of his classmate Daisy Gullible Gates, must fight with and against a secret, janitorial society that wields wizard-like powers. Who can Spencer and Daisy trust and how will they protect their school and possibly the world? Janitors is book 1 in a new children s fantasy series by debut novelist Tyler Whitesides. You ll never look at a mop the same way again.

First line:
"Spencer shifted the papers on his school desk and looked for a hundredth time at the graffiti in the corner."

I read Tyler's book to my kids at bedtime. Every night they were adamant we read it even at 11 PM (which I nixed)!
They loved the characters, cleaning weapons and Toxites. My son wants to take it to school so his teacher can read it to the class. That's a huge compliment!

I loved the clean, fast-paced writing. Lots of twists and play on words. With the tagline: 'you'll never look at a mop the same way again' Tyler is not kidding!
The story kept us hooked from beginning to surprise ending.

Not very happy with the cliffhangers, Mr. Whitesides! Did not see that one coming. My kids even gasped when I read it!
Keep up the good work, Tyler! We are anxiously awaiting the second book. Even though I'm still mad at you for the cliffhanger...

Rating: G
V: Intense fighting moments, a friend disappears & presumed dead
L: No
S: Gross! No!


25% test (p. 70):
""And he drew on my face," Daisy said. "But it washed off."
Another bout of silence hit the truck like a black hole.
"Could someone please explain why I'm a chameleon?" Spencer finally muttered.
"A chameleon," Mr. Gates said as he turned into Hillside Estates, "is a type of lizard that changes color. Might be green one moment and black the next. It changes to fit the environment around it, sometimes to blend in, sometimes to stand out."
"But what does that have to do with me?" Spencer pointed out Aunt Avril's house and the big Ford rolled into the driveway.
"You don't get it?" Daisy asked, a faint smirk on her face. "In our family, a chameleon is someone whose story changes. They might tell it one way, then totally twist it around and tell a different version. People do it when they're insecure. Sometimes to blend in, sometimes to stand out."
Spencer wasn't pleased about being called a color-changing lizard. He had a comeback worked up, but he let it die on his lips. Just wait. The soap was in Daisy's drawer. Soon she'd see that he wasn't a chameleon.
Thanks for the ride, Mr. Gates," Spencer said, slipping off the edge of the seat. he checked his pocket for the flashlight and the latex glove. With both items secure, he walked to the back of the truck, but Mr. Gates had beaten him there. With a smile, Daisy's dad lifted out the boy's bike."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

YA Book Award~by teens for teens

Here is the list of the TEN winners:

  1. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster)
  2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
  3. Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick (Simon & Schuster)
  4. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (HarperCollins)
  5. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin)
  6. Matched by Ally Condie (Penguin)
  7. Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson (Little, Brown & Company)
  8. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (HarperCollins)
  9. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (HarperCollins)
  10. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Penguin)
    I've read SEVEN of these YA books. How many have you read?

Here is a list of 25 YA nominations (have you read any of them?):
  • Bachorz, Pam. Drought. Egmont USA. 2011. (978606840160).
  • Beam, Cris. I Am J. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2011. (9780316053617).
  • Beaudoin, Sean. You Killed Wesley Payne. 2011. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. (9780316077422).
  • Black, Holly and Justine Larbalestier. Zombies vs. Unicorns. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books. 2010. (9781416989530).
  • Card, Orson Scott. The Lost Gate. Tor Books. 2011. (9780765326577).
  • Clare, Cassandra. Clockwork Angel. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry. 2010. (9781416975861).
  • Collins, Suzanne. Mockingjay. Scholastic. 2010. (9780439023511).
  • Collins, Yvonne. Love, Inc. Disney/Hyperion. 2011. (9781423131151).
  • Condie, Ally. Matched. 2010. Penguin/Dutton. (9780525423645).
  • Cremer, Andrea. Nightshade. Penguin/Philomel. 2010. (9780399254826).
  • Fitzpatrick, Becca. Crescendo. Simon & Schuster Children’s. 2010. (9781416989431).
  • Grant, Michael. Lies. 2010. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books. (9780061449093).
  • Hawkins, Rachel. Demonglass. Disney/Hyperion. 2011. (9781423121312).
  • Hakwins, Rachel. Hex Hall. Disney/Hyperion. 2010. (9781423121305).
  • Kagawa, Julie. The Iron King. 2010. Harlequin. (9780373210084).
  • Lore, Pittacus. I Am Number Four. HarperCollins. 2010. (9780061969553).
  • Moore, Peter. Red Moon Rising. Disney/Hyperion. 2011. (9781423116653).
  • Nelson, Jandy. The Sky is Everywhere. 2010. Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers. (9780142417805).
  • Oliver, Lauren. Before I Fall. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 2010. (9780061726804).
  • O’Neal, Ellis. The False Princess. Egmont USA. 2011. (9781606840795).
  • Patterson, James. Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel. Little, Brown & Company. 2011. (9780316036207).
  • Pearce, Jackson. Sisters Red. Little, Brown and Company. 2010. (9780316068680).
  • Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Blessed. Candlewick Press. 2011. (9780763643263).
  • Westerfeld, Scott. Behemoth. Simon Pulse. 2010. (9781416971757).
  • White, Kiersten. Paranormalcy. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 2010. (9780061985843). 
I've read nine!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

Grace Parkes has just had to do a terrible thing. Having given birth to an illegitimate child, she has traveled to the famed Brookwood Cemetery to place her small infant's body in a rich lady's coffin. Following the advice of a kindly midwife, this is the only way that Grace can think of to give something at least to the little baby who died at birth, and to avoid the ignominy of a pauper's grave. Distraught and weeping, Grace meets two people at the cemetery: Mrs Emmeline Unwin and Mr James Solent. These two characters will have a profound affect upon Grace's life. But Grace doesn't know that yet. For now, she has to suppress her grief and get on with the business of living: scraping together enough pennies selling watercress for rent and food; looking after her older sister, who is incapable of caring for herself; thwarting the manipulative and conscience-free Unwin family, who are as capable of running a lucrative funeral business as they are of defrauding a young woman of her fortune. A stunning evocation of life in Victorian London, with vivid and accurate depictions, ranging from the deprivation that the truly poor suffered to the unthinking luxuries enjoyed by the rich: all bound up with a pacy and thrilling plot, as Grace races to unravel the fraud about to be perpetrated against her and her sister. 

First line:
"Grace, holding on tightly to her precious burden, found the station entrance without much difficulty."

The good, the bad and the ugly of Victorian London. Poor Grace and her sister Lily are in the gutter of this city. The girls are orphans and rely on Grace to keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs.
Grace meets James Solent and Mrs. Emmeline Unwin at a cemetery while taking care of a personal tragedy. Solent and Unwin are opposite ends of the spectrum of humanity.
I was tense from almost the first page of this book! I connected with the characters, enjoyed the scenery and enjoyed the plot.
Some things I liked:
A newspaper clipping or epitaph or invitation introduced each chapter.
People hired funeral muses??
I learned a ton about funerals in Victorian England.
Grace is amazing and strong and scared.
Learning about history without knowing I was learning.
Charles Dickens has a cameo.
James is quite the gentleman.

Rating: PG 13
L: None
V: bad people
S: None
(We know Grace has been raped but the story around the story is done sensitively)


25% test (p. 74):
"...she hurried to change the subject. 'Forgive me, my dear, but how long ago did your poor mother die?'
'Near ten years back,' Grace answered.
'were there no other relatives who would take you in? What about your father?'
Grace shook her head. 'I've never known much about my father or his family,' she said. 'When Mama and he were married neither family approved of the match, and two years after that, when Lily was a year old and before Mama even knew she was expecting me, Papa went off to the Americas to seek his fortune.'
'Your poor mother! To be left without a protector!'
Grace nodded. 'She brought us up on a little inheritance she'd had from her grandparents and taught me to read and write quite early, hoping that one day I'd make a good marriage and be able to keep Lily as my companion.' She smiled wryly as she spoke, knowing that good marriages were not made in Seven Dials, and that the most a girl here might hope for would be to marry a coster with his own barrow. 'I started my training as a teacher and Lily was to learn about domestic duties, but then we had to leave...' Here Grace stopped and found it impossible to continue.
'And when was this?'
'Some...some nine months ago.'
'Nine months,' Mrs Beale repeated, and if she made the obvious connection was refined enough not to say anything about it. 'And you never heard from your father again?'

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Splendor by Anna Godbersen

As spring turns into summer, Elizabeth relishes her new role as a young wife, while her sister, Diana, searches for adventure abroad. But when a surprising clue about their father's death comes to light, the Holland girls wonder at what cost a life of splendor comes.
Carolina Broad, society's newest darling, fans a flame from her past, oblivious to how it might burn her future. Penelope Schoonmaker is finally Manhattan royalty—but when a real prince visits the city, she covets a title that comes with a crown. Her husband, Henry, bravely went to war, only to discover that his father's rule extends well beyond New York's shores and that fighting for love may prove a losing battle.
In the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, New York's most dazzling socialites chase dreams, cling to promises, and tempt fate. As society watches what will become of the city's oldest families and newest fortunes, one question remains: Will its stars fade away or will they shine ever brighter?

First line:
"With the younger Miss Holland, Diana, away in Paris for finishing season, it is a most lonely social era, and we have all had to content ourselves with lesser beauties."

I loved the prologues in each book!
The last book in the Luxe series turned out to be full of twists. Everyone got what they deserved in many surprising ways. At first I wasn't too happy with the end but after mulling it over for a couple of days, I like how Ms. Godbersen tied up the series.

Rating: PG 15
S: yes, not graphic
L: No
V: No

4 Stars

25% test (p.98):
":Thank you, Conrad." She twisted the black agates set in white gold at her wrist. Like all the pretty things she had been given as a bride, it was from the elder Mr. Schoonmaker, whose money was old and greatly augmented by his youthful ventures in railroads and real estate and other areas that ladies like Penelope were raised not to be curious about. Her stepmother-in-law had once told her that a woman had the most fun after she was married, when no one cared very much about her purity anymore, and, staring at the breathtaking arrangement that her loveliness had garnered she felt ready to finally accept this as the truth. Before--when she was cooped up in the house, or having to be constantly vigilant of her husband's questionable fidelity--she had been dubious. But now she saw that there were plenty of thrills to be had even with Henry away. Or--she amended her train of thought, thinking of the way the prince had admired her on Carolina Broad's dance floor--especially with Henry away. She gave herself a private, mischievous smile as she checked her simple, up swept bouffant in the walnut-framed hall mirror, and then turned in the direction of her in=laws.
"What a joy it will be to have all my family together again, under one roof...," William Schoonmaker was saying as she entered the grand first-floor drawing room. He was not a small man, and all of his considerable size was richly garbed. Every detail of him commanded attention, but she was having..."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Oops! National Book Foundation Unveils SIX YA finalists

Have you read this article? I would like to have my book accidentally picked as a finalist!

National Book Foundation

Have you read any of the six books? I've only read CHIME

Envy by Anna Godbersen

In this sequel to Rumors, novelist Elizabeth Holland returns to the inner circle of New York's Gilded Age upper crust. Gramercy Park society watchers quickly notice that differences appear to be simmering between Elizabeth and her sister Diana. Meanwhile, troubles are also festering between celebrated newlyweds Henry and Penelope Schoonmaker. Apparently, the stately brass doors of Manhattan's 400 conceal more tumult than the general public suspects. Silk gowns and scandals.

Another book in The Luxe series. And another book I couldn't put down. I had to finish it!
The characters seems more real this time. This book is the one I felt was the high point of everyone's lives, getting what they want. But wait! There's one more book in the series so the high must be setting us up for some loses.
  While the lives of the rich and mean are interesting to watch, the little voice in my head asks why no one is paying the consequences?

Rating: PG 15
S: yes not graphic
L: no
V: no

3 Stars

25% test (p. 99):
""People broaden the guest list all the time," Buck went on. "Anyway, you'll need someone to help you, especially so that you don't ever have to worry about appearing to scheme. Miss Broad has all the right clothes, but she hasn't learned to be clever yet."
"That's true," Penelope glanced at the deflated blonde at her side. "I wish you could come, Isabelle. It's so unfair that mean old Schoonmaker says you must stay here."
Isabelle smiled at her sadly. "Thank you for saying so," she replied in a tone that suggested that the younger girl couldn't begin to understand her suffering.
Penelope might have asked herself if Buck didn't want to come along, and whether or not he might have been her choicest ally, when she looked down below and saw her older brother hopping off the driver's set of a four-in-hand. the horses were gleaming with sweat as though they had just been ridden hard, and Grayson handed over the reins to a servant and began to trot up the Hayeses' grand limestone steps with the clipped assurance of a born aristocrat. Although she liked to think of herself as the brighter. more cunning sibling, she had always known that he was like her--they had the same natural excess of ambition and total deficiency of sentimentality--in a way that could only be explained by shared blood. She had always been a little proud of that , and as she watched him disappear into the house below, an idea began to form in her mind."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rumors by Anna Godbersen

After bidding good-bye to New York's brightest star, Elizabeth Holland, rumors continue to fly about her untimely demise.

All eyes are on those closest to the dearly departed: her mischievous sister, Diana, now the family's only hope for redemption; New York's most notorious cad, Henry
Schoonmaker, the flame Elizabeth never extinguished; the seductive Penelope Hayes, poised to claim all that her best friend left behind—including Henry; even Elizabeth's scheming former maid, Lina Broud, who discovers that while money matters and breeding counts, gossip is the new currency.

As old friends become rivals, Manhattan's most dazzling socialites find their futures threatened by whispers from the past. In this delicious sequel to
The Luxe, nothing is more dangerous than a scandal...or more precious than a secret. 

Fist line:
I have just been invited to a most secretive, but assuredly most elaborate, celebration in Tuxedo Park sponsored by on the Manhattan's finest families."

The second book in The Luxe series continues the stories of Manhattan's upper society. More twists and turns and sighs and gasps.
I'm waiting for someone to step up and be a man/woman, grow a conscience or backbone or moral compass.
So far, no fairytale endings but lots of convenient story plots.
Still good reading though.

Rating: PG 15
S: a couple of short scenes
L: None
V: None

I give it three stars for no morals.

25% test (p.106):
With the opening of the opera tonight, we can again expect to see many of the city's most lamentable invalids, those suffering from that insidious disease call social aspirations, who will no doubt be trying to elbow their way into making new friends in high places by renting a box, no matter the cost, as have so many strivers before the,. We can at least be assured that the crowd they move in is already inoculated.
--from The Society Page of the New-York News of The World Gazette, Saturday, December 16, 1899

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

In the self-contained world of young Gilded Age Manhattan socialites, Elizabeth and Diana Holland reign supreme. Or so it seems. Scratch the surface, though, and you can detect festering jealousies that threaten to topple them. Elizabeth suffers a more literal fall when her carriage overturns and she is carried away by the swift East River current. That's only the beginning of the action and suspense in The Luxe, the launch volume in a teen series by Anna Godbersen.
First line:
On the morning of October 4, 1899, Elizabeth Adora Holland--the eldest daughter of the late Mr. Edward Holland and his widow, Lousia Ganesvoort Holland---passed into the kingdom of heaven."

I had a hard time putting this book down due to the intriguing characters, mystery and writing.
Yes, this book has a prologue and I like it. The prologue set up the place, time, characters, possible goals and society. The prologue is also set in the future to give the reader a few clues (or to throw us off) to what might transpire.
Let's start with the setting. New York, 1890's, where the wealthy have more than ten servants, get their clothes handmade or brought in from Paris and everyone must follow the strict codes of conduct. Of course, the stricter the codes, the more people want to break them
If you enjoy lavish descriptions of period clothing, you'll love this book.
The characters range from servants to the most wealthy. Servants wish they could trade places with their wealthy charges, the men and women are forced into marriages for money/appearances/guilt or manipulation.
Do you remember the one girl in school you loved to hate. Ms. Godbersen's got one. What about the stud/jock/player, the one everyone girl drooled over. Check. The nice girl who had secrets? The sister who wanted the boy her sister had? The best friend who wasn't? The ones concerned only with appearances? Check. Check.  Double check.
Ms. Godbersen has a chapter for each major character and sets them up with a blurb from the gossip columns or from the manners book. Very unique and great idea. The characters have their own voices and quirks and weaknesses and strengths.
All that being said, the characters didn't have a lot of moral strengths, which is too bad. Sex was used as a tool to manipulate, deceive and hurt others. Do not remember reading about a character waiting until after marriage to have sex.

I give this 3 stars because of lack of morals for almost anyone in the book.

Rating: PG 15
S: yes but no scenes, just alluded to
L: None
V: None

25% test (p. 108):
" be elsewhere? She was reminded of some vague impression from her childhood, of the Schoonmaker boy who was two years older than she and always smirking and who didn't seem to care about anything.
"I guess you know what the dinner is for," Henry said, giving Elizabeth a cold stare.
She shook her head petulantly. It occurred to her that Henry might be drunk. She glanced around her, as though for a familiar face to agree that all of this was very strange, and very rude. But there were only children and nannies calling to one another. Everybody she knew was hidden behind closed doors, and whatever happened next, she would have to deal with it herself. "no, I don't know what the dinner party is for."
"The dinner party," he said, pronouncing the words with derision, and rolling his dark eyes at the sky, "is for our engagement."
"you mean...the engagement of you"
"Yes," Henry replied with moderate sarcasm. "The much lauded engagement of miss Elizabeth Holland to Mr. Henry Schoonmaker."
And then she felt like the ground beneath her was crumbling away. She was hit by the nausea and light-headedness of looking down from a very great height. As she tried to keep herself upright, she couldn't but picture Will kneeling,..."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs

On Lily Sanderson’s eighteenth birthday she’ll become just a girl—still a mergirl, true, but signing the renunciation will ink Princess Waterlily of Thalassinia out of existence. That leaves plain old Lily living on land, dating the boy she loves, and trying to master this being-human thing once and for all.
Now that Lily and Quince are together, mer bond or not, she’s almost content to give up her place in the royal succession of Thalassinia. But just when she thinks she has everything figured out, the waves start to get rough. Lily’s father sends a certain whirlpool-stirring cousin to stay with her on land. What did Doe do to get herself exiled from Thalassinia and stuck in terraped form when everyone knows how much she hates humans? And why why why is she batting her eyelashes at Lily’s former crush, Brody?
The seafoam on the raging surf comes when a merboy from Lily’s past shows up—Tellin asks Lily for something that clouds her view of the horizon. There’s a future with Quince on land, her loyalty to the kingdom in the sea, and Lily tossing on the waves in the middle. Will she find a way to reconcile her love, her duty, and her own dreams?
Tera Lynn Childs’s sequel to Forgive My Fins offers another tail-flicking romance with plenty of fun, sun, and underwater adventure.

First Line: "At the moment I am sole heir to the throne of Thalassinia, one of the most prosperous underwater kingdoms in the world."

I enjoyed this book as much as Forgive My Fins. I found the second book in a trilogy isn't as strong but this one is good. Lily, mermaid princess, will become a "normal" girl on her birthday. With Quince by her side, she can do anything.
But when an angry cousin and a childhood boy friend surface in Lily's town, she must choose who she is and where she belongs.
Still love the "mermaid" slang words! Ms. Childs does a great job in descriptions, world building and characters. I enjoyed watching each person grow and change, especially the cousin.
Cute, sweet, story that any girl age 10 and up would enjoy. I read this book in just over two hours.
(I predict a love triangle in the next book.)

Rating: PG
S: No
L: No
V: No

25% test (p. 65):
"...and disappears out the cafeteria doors. Her interest in Brody is a little too interested for my peace of mind.
Before the human food lessons, I have to make one thing very clear. I will not let my final act as royal princess end in a bonding disaster that can only bring trouble to my kingdom.
As soon as Brody's out of sight, I say, "No."
Doe looks innocent. "No what?"
"No Brody," I explain. "Absolutely, unequivocally no."
She shrugs. "Whatever."
I'm not sure if it's an I-don't-really-care-about-him-so-no-big-deal shrug, or an I-like-him-and-and-I-don't-really-care-what-you-think one. Or maybe it's a you're-not-the-boss-of-me shrug.
"Dosinia," I say, not willing to let this go," this is serious. You can't mess around with Brody. I don't know if I told, but he accidentally found out the truth about me a couple of weeks ago."
"So?" she asks in a bored tone.
"So he didn't take it very well. He acted like a jerk and I had to--"
"Ancient history." She reaches down and grabs a lip gloss from her briefcase, swiping it perfectly across her lips without a mirror.
Grrr. I can envy her makeup skills later; right now I'm trying to make a point. "You can't mess with an human, Doe. The risk is too high. Think of what's best for the kingdom."