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Showing posts from October, 2011

Cleopatra's Moon

Cleopatra's Moon is a YA historical fiction by Vicky Alvear Shecter.

Cleopatra Selene is a princess. She is the only daughter of the revered, intelligent Cleopatra and the Roman General Marcus Antonius. Her people love her and her twin brother Alexandros, as well as their adorable little brother Ptolly. They are the picture of a happy, beautiful family for a people to look up to.

And Cleopatra Selene has every intention of being just as powerful and brilliant a queen as her mother.

But before that day even comes close the Roman ruler, Octavianus, sets out to destroy Cleopatra. At least that is how he is spinning it. Calling her a witch, a whore, and worse. He's determined to turn the people against her as he slowly gains approval for dismantling all that Cleopatra Selene's ever known and loved.

Events turn horrifying, and after experiencing immense loss of life Cleopatra Selene and her brothers are taken to Octavianus's palace in Rome - a place of enemies.

Yet as Cleopatra…

Across the Great Barrier

Across the Great Barrier is the sequel to Patricia C. Wrede's YA prairie times fantasy Thirteenth Child.

If you haven't read Thirteenth Child yet, I'd recommend heavily that you avoid this review. Why spoil yourself? Go read Thirteenth Child, and then you can come back! :)

Otherwise, read on...

Eff is finally getting over her fear of being a thirteenth child and therefore inherently evil. She's finally beginning to accept that all that superstition is just that - and she doesn't have to hurt anybody. But that still doesn't change the fact that she doesn't like attention. Attention used to be cruel. Even though now it is full of praise and wonder after she helped to rid the lands of the mirror bugs that were killing are the crops and making it impossible to live in the settlements, she'd still rather do without it. After all, her twin brother Lan (the seventh son of a seventh son, and therefore a powerful magician) is getting a bit jealous.

But despite her d…


Heartless is the first in the fantasy series Tales of Goldstone Wood written by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

I got the chance to read the sequel of Heartless (Veiled Rose) before this, which gave me an interesting perspective. I'd recommend reading it in order - but if not, it worked this way too. It has an overlapping story that influences the other in a lovely way - either way you read it.

Princes Una of Parumvir is of age and is ready to begin being courted. Her father, the King, hasn't allowed any suitors before her eighteenth birthday - but now it's time to start welcoming them to the palace. The first one that arrives, however, is not the sort of prince she dreamed of. His name is Prince Aethelbald and he's sovereign over the strange and mysterious kingdom of Farthestshore - a place of magic and non-human citizens. But yet he has come to declare his love for Princess Una - before she's even tried to get over his ordinary looks and less than overtly charming personali…

Tomorrow Girls #3: With the Enemy

With the Enemy is the third book in the middle-grade futuristic thriller series Tomorrow Girls written by Eva Gray.

Since this is a serialized story, I'd recommend you not read this review unless you've already read the first and second book in the Tomorrow Girls series: Behind the Gates and Run for Cover.

Otherwise, read on...

Maddie has been kidnapped. Right in front of them - right at the abandoned mall they've been hiding out in. Why her? Why didn't they take all of them? Evelyn and the others are horrified, but filled with determination: they will get her back.

It hasn't been that long since Evelyn, Rosie, Louisa, and Maddie escaped from CMS, the fancy school they realized was run by the enemy in the War - the Alliance. Since then they've met up with boys from a school similar to theirs, and they've just kept running. Their goal is to get home and warn their parents.

But this group of thirteen-year-olds have quite a journey ahead of them.

And now to have l…

A Necessary Deception

A Necessary Deception is a new Regency England era historical romance by Laurie Alice Eakes.

Lydia Gale feels like a failure at everything. She always disappointed her father with her "unladylike" painting. She married Charles Gale, despite being advised against it. And she failed as a wife. Now a young widow, Lydia doesn't necessarily miss her husband - their short marriage wasn't as love-filled as she had thought it'd be - but she does feel an obligation to his memory. That's why when given the opportunity to help a French prisoner that aided her husband in the war, she takes it. She helps him obtain parole.

But then, shortly after, Lydia's told that the very man she assisted in leaving prison is a traitor to Britain and loyalist to Napoleon. Instead of focusing on her sister Cassandra's wedding arrangements and her youngest sister Honore's coming out to London Society, Lydia's Season is suddenly veiled in suspicions, blackmail, and espionage.

Blood Magic

Blood Magic is a YA horror/paranormal novel by debut author Tessa Gratton.

High school Junior Silla is haunted by her parents' death. She was the first to find them. All that blood. Her brother Reese found her, blood soaking the tips of her hair. Hair she sheared off haphazardly afterwards, as all she could see was the blood.

Everybody believes that her father shot her mother and then killed himself. But it doesn't make sense. They were in love. Her dad was well-liked and stable. It couldn't be true. Silla's past life of friends and flirting is over - now she's a ghost of her former self.

But then a small, mysterious little book arrives for her. Inside are strange spells written in her father's handwriting. Every one of the spells asks for blood. Silla covets the book, reads it hungrily - desperate for answers to her parents' horrific end. She sets off to her parents' graves one night with some of the ingredients needed for one of the spells... and decides…

Amen, L.A.

Amen, L.A. is a YA contemporary novel by Cherie Bennett and Jeff Gottesfeld.

Seventeen-year-old Natalie Shelton is used to being a minister's daughter in ordinary Minnesota, but after her Mom is offered a more lucrative position at the Church of Beverly Hills they pack up and head to California.

It's a bit of a culture shock - but her sister Gemma and brother Chad are loving it. They're living in Ricardo Montalban's old mansion with a view of the ocean and finding themselves befriended by rich kids galore.

Yet Natalie finds herself also making enemies, and managing to become friends with the one girl she's told not to. But she's a good girl and she has morals. Surely the glitz, glamour, and partying of Beverly Hills won't manage to suck her in.


I found Amen, L.A. to be a refreshing change from the usual Gossip Girl type fare. Instead, we get a girl as our main character who has real morals and is struggling with the fact that she compromised one of her b…

The Measure of Katie Calloway

The Measure of Katie Calloway is a Christian historical fiction novel written by Serena Miller.

Though the Civil War has ended the country, especially the South, is in turmoil economically. Katie's husband came home from the war to find his ancestral home in ruins and only his wife, her little brother, and a few livestock she kept safe waiting for him.

It wasn't long after she married him that Katie realized her mistake. Her husband is a cruel man, and it didn't take long for him to take out that cruelty on her. Continually. Violently.

Then one day Katie decides that she needs to protect herself and her little brother Ned, so they flee. They go north to woodsy Michigan, and she finds a tough job as a cook in a lumber camp. They money is good and she and Ned feel secluded and safe so far away from her husband, whom she's sure is trying to find her.

Plus, the camp owner Robert Foster is a kind man. He seems determined to make the experience of working in a freezing environm…

Flat Broke

Flat Broke is the companion to the middle-grade comedic novel Liar, Liar by Gary Paulsen.

Fourteen-year-old Kevin is reformed liar. He used to lie about everything. Sure, he did it for the betterment of mankind - but things kinda got out of hand. And he got caught. Now, as a punishment for all the lying, Kevin has no allowance. No allowance equals no funds to impress Tina, his fellow eighth grader - and now object of his affection and attention. She is, after all, the World's Most Beautiful Girl. How can he possibly ask her out on a date without money?

Being a smart, innovative young man Kevin decides to get creative and take things into his own hands. He will start earning money by creating his own little company and rake in profits that will be the envy of Bill Gates himself. Can that really be so hard?

Of course - nothing Kevin does is ever as simple as he thinks. And he ends in a variety of mix-ups and errors that provide much comic relief.

In Flat Broke we are reintroduced to Kev…


Reckless is a YA fantasy adventure by the ever-revered (for good reason) Cornelia Funke.

Jacob Reckless has been passing through a mirror portal in his father's forgotten (or, rather, ignored) study for years now. After his father disappeared and his mother became a shell of her former self, he found it. Since then, it's been hard to stay tethered to his world - instead, he's become more and more connected to the alternative option.

In fact, he's managed to make a name for himself as a treasure hunter. And always by his side is a loyal vixen named Fox, a shape-shifter. She's probably the closest thing he has to a friend - but Jacob still considers himself a loner. But he's become comfortable with the different creatures, monsters, and magic this world has to offer - even though right now they are at war with a stone people called Goyl. None of that interests him. He just seeks out his mysterious objects and fetches good prices.

But that's all about to change. …


Sweetly is a YA modern-day retelling of Hansel and Gretel by the author Jackson Pearce.

When Gretchen and Ansel were very young, Gretchen's twin sister vanished without a trace while the three were in the woods exploring. Thing is, Gretchen remembers the witch's yellow eyes - she knows it was a witch, without a doubt, that took her sister. Ansel is less certain, and is haunted by his lack of knowledge of what happened exactly that night. Of course, no one believed Gretchen - and everyone was frustrated by the siblings' lack of help in the search.

Now that Gretchen is eighteen and Ansel is nineteen their stepmother kicks them out and the two head out to cross the country and leave the forests of the Pacific Northwest behind for the ocean of the East coast. But along the way they have car issues and end up in a tiny, sleepy town called Live Oak in South Carolina. In order to earn the money they need to get the car fixed and be on their way, Gretchen and Ansel are directed to S…

Hello Hollywood!

Hello Hollywood! is an adult contemporary romantic comedy by Janice Thompson.

Working as the only female writer on Stars Collide, one of the most popular sitcoms on television, can sometimes be pressure-ridden for Athena Pappas. She's been named head writer, but half the time she still worries about her job as the ratings start to sag a bit here and there.

Her concerns become amplified when Stephen Cosse, a hotshot Vegas comedian, is brought in to join the writer's room and give a "fresh" perspective. Athena wasn't aware that they needed it.

Stephen seems like a nice enough guy - but he has an unfair advantage when it comes to looks. He's Adonis-like. Very distracting. And Athena can't help but notice that he appreciates his Greek roots, just like her family. If her mother knew about him, she'd probably die and go to Heaven before any romance truly even blossomed.

But Athena has already had bad experiences with love. Really bad. Like leave-her-days-befo…

Dark Parties

Dark Parties is a suspenseful dystopia-like YA novel by debut author Sara Grant.

At sixteen years old, Neva has no choices. In Homeland, where she has lived her entire life, everyone is cut off completely from the outside word by a sphere that keeps them "safe". After all, they've been told that everything outside Homeland is a wasteland - they'd never survive out there. In order to avoid the conflicts that come from inequality, the government has strived to make everyone more equal through appearance - to the point where Neva looks very, very similar to everybody else.

She's seen more and more options taken from the table, to the point of now being assigned a job at sixteen. And as the population dwindles it seems that the government primarily wants her to get married and start a family. In fact, she's not sure they're even particular about the getting married part.

But Neva and her best friend, Sanna, have felt there's more going on. Neva has kept …