Book News!

I am so very, very excited! The first sequel to Eyes Like Starsย has been announced by Lisa Mantchev. The book will be released on May 25, 2010, and I am extremely excited to read the continuation of Bertie’s adventures with the Midsummer fairies and Ariel, on her way to find Nathaniel, whose been snatched away by the wrathful sea goddess. But I worry about Bertie’s heart. Will it be able to survive Ariel’s machinations and airy allure? Will she be able to keep her heart strong for Nathaniel, or will she lose her heart to the fae sprite that desires to conquer her so? With all that Bertie has learned about her past, her personal history, will she be able to brave the unknown to find her life-long friend, and survive with her soul intact?

I love Jason Chan’s artwork and am just ecstatic that he has continued to do the cover art for Lisa’s novels. I enjoyed Eyes of Stars, as it is chock-full of Shakespeare’s characters, and Shakespeare is a dear old friend of mine.

Lisa is a greatly enjoyable writer and a wonderful PR person. She’s been running contests for advanced reader copies of Perchance to Dream. I want to keep up on this so that I can enter one when the time comes. ^_^ If you’d like to read more about Lisa, visit the Theatre Illuminata, and see for yourself what an awesome writer and person she is.


Update 10/14/2011 – The third book in this series is now available: So Silver Bright.

The Sight, The Light Bearer’s Daughter, and Silksinger

These three books are my newest buys. Out of three, I have read the predecessors of two of them. Firebringer by David Clement-Davies was an epic novel about the red deer that filled Briton in its ancient days. I really enjoyed the story of Rannoch and his herd. The Sight is Clement-Davies epic about the wolves of Transylvania. I have tired to read this book before but ended up giving it to a student as a goodbye present, as she enjoyed Firebringer even more than I did. So I am excited to read it this time through.

I read O.R. Melling’s first novel The Hunter’s Moon and very much enjoyed it. It was my first experience with the dark side of the Fae, especially the fae myths and stories of Ireland. I am hoping that The Light Bearer’s Daughter will be just as fun. If the glossary is any indication, it will be. ๐Ÿ™‚

Silksinger is the sequel to Blackbringer by Laini Taylor. I have just begun Blackbringer but Silksinger’s cover was too enchanting to leave behind.ย  I shall definitely be putting these books in my classroom when I am done with them.

Currently Reading: The Smile by Donna Jo Napoli

Begun, 1/30/2010: I’ve enjoyed Donna Jo Napoli’s stories, the way she weaves in the details and descriptions of her characters and settings. I don’t remember where I found this book but I bought it for my classroom. No one has touched it yet so I decided to give it a spin myself, especially since I finished two books this week.

And here we go! ๐Ÿ™‚

Paused: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

OK, so I caved and picked up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith at the Scholastic Book Fair. A fellow teacher told me about it last year and I was rather skeptical but having read Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, I figured it might be worth a look. It’s interesting so far and I love the fact that there are illustrations; just hilarious.

Mr. Bennett is much more assertive in this version, as he is concerned with keeping his daughters trained in the “deadly arts” against the scourge that has lately scoured England, ie. zombies.

Mr. Bingley is a just as good-natured and handsome as before but a bit clumsy, as he is not as proficient in musketry as a young lady would like in these difficult times. As I said, it’s interesting.

I shall keep you updated, dear readers. ^_^

UPDATE, 2/9/2010: Too many books to read! I shall return to this one later. ๐Ÿ™‚

Between Two Queens by Kate Emerson

I enjoyed Kate’s first book The Pleasure Palace, even though it felt a tad forced withย  the big plot climax. But it was still nicely-written, so I am looking forward to this second installment in her Tudor Secrets series.

This story is based on the diaries and letters of a maid-in-waiting to Queen Jane Seymour named Nan Basset, a young woman who always thought of love as a game to be won. Such a game is dangerous when it is played with such men as Henry VIII.

As I said, I’m very excited to read this book, though I have a few to finish before I can take it on. ^_^

Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce

My previous experience with Tamora Pierce consists of her Daughter of the Lioness duet (Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen) and I truly enjoyed those books. I love Pierce’s ability to weave a story and characters that you just fall in love with.

So far I really enjoy Evvy, or Evumeimei as Luvo calls her. And I ADORE Luvo. Who wouldn’t adore a living, walking, talking heart of a mountain composed of green and purple crystal in the shape of a bear? I love the way that Pierce describes ambient mages like Evvy (stone) and Rosethorn (plants) and their powers. Evvy’s connection with stone and gem is just…for lack of a better word, magical.

Evumeimei is fiesty, distrusting and as hard and hale a character as one could want. Having already gone through gang warfare over her magic and a war proper, being just a teenager, Evumeimei is rightfully somewhat hateful of humanity, preferring the company of her rocks and Luvo. I adore her.

So I am very much looking forward to finishing this story, as well as reading Pierce’s novel that covers the time of the war that Evvy and Rosethorn went through on Gyongxe. Yes, very excited! ^_^

UPDATE, 1/29/2010: Oh, yes! I was right. I adore Evumeimei! She is an awesome, though stubborn, character.ย  Pierce’s descriptions of her ambient power with and within stone are engrossing and beautiful. I never stones could be so fascinating. Her interactions with others are a constant surprise to her, especially when they do something that causes her to respect or even like them. She doesn’t have much use for humans, obviously, so it’s fun to watch her have to admit that some humans are worth the breath in their lungs. Pierce writes Evvy in such a way that you almost agree with her that most human beings just aren’t worth dealing with and you can feel her love for her stones and the care that she gives them. A very well-written character.

I have about a 1/4 or 1/5 of the book left to go. Perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to finish it today. That would be two books finished in a week. ๐Ÿ™‚

FINISHED, 1/29/2010: I finished the book today and I was rather satisfied with the ending. It felt rather unconventional but it fit in with the story quite well. By the end of the story, you have seen facets to Evumeimei and Luvo that you never expected.

I adored this book! It’s been a few years since I read a Pierce novel and I once again realize why I enjoy her work. I cannot wait for her book on the war in Gyongxe. I need to read Street Magic, the novel where Evumeimei is introduced into Pierce’s world through Briar Moss, another former street rat and “green” mage.

Bravo, Tamora! Another story well-woven!

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner

I pulled this book off the shelf in my classroom because I needed something to read along with my students during Friday reading (I forgot my book at home). I bought this book at the Scholastic Book Fair for my classroom and had not had a chance to read it yet.

I must say that I have been pleasantly surprised and intrigued by this book thus far. On the eve of the French Revolution, a young boy named Yann, along with his lifelong friends Tetu and Topolain, are called away to a Marquis’s chateau in the countryside to perform for the glittering aristocracy on one of the coldest of winter nights. At this chateau, he discovers hidden passages, a neglected heiress named Sido, and witnesses Topolain’s murder. Now Yann and Tetu are on the run for their lives and Yann is constantly surrounded by more questions than answers.

I’m very excited to continue reading this book. ^_^

UPDATE, 1/26/2010: I am enjoying this book far more than I thought I would. The start feels a bit slow at first but it soon picks up and the start begins to unravel its secrets. I am about 84 pages away from the ending and the plot has become gut- and heart-wrenching. Sido is so much more than I expected, as is Yann. It’s a very good and very frightening representation of what went on in Paris during the French Revolution.

I am looking forward to the “plan”, to see how it turns out. YAY! I’m so glad I am enjoying this. ^_^

FINISHED, 1/27/2010: I enjoyed this book very much! It was much more interesting than I thought it would be a first. The end of the story was a little disappointing; not so much a happy ending as a heroic “we hope everything turned out to be a happy ending”. The blood and terror of the French Revolution are almost palpable and Gardner does a wonderful job of bringing it and the magic of Yann’s history to life.

As I said, I truly enjoyed this book! I also aced the Accelerated Reader test for it. ^_^ YAY! Now, onto the next book.

Intermittent: Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale

Belimai Sykes is many things: a Prodigal, the descendant of ancient demons, a creature of dark temptations and rare powers. He isalso a man with a brutal past and a dangerous addiction.

And Belimai Sykes is the only man Captain William Harper can turn to when faced with a series of grisly murders.

But Mr. Sykes does not work for free and the price of Belimaiโ€™s company will cost Captain Harper far more than his reputation.

From the ornate mansions of noblemen, where vivisection and sorcery are hidden beneath a veneer of gold, to the steaming slums of Hells Below, Captain Harper must fight for justice and for his life.

His enemies are many and his only ally is a devil he knows too well. Such are the dangers of dealing with the wicked.

I am very excited about this book. It opens up with an observation of mating fireflies that is, by far, one of the best openings to a novel I have ever read. I have finished the first chapter and Sykes has been engaged by Captain Harper to do some investigation. I am excited to learn about Prodigals and Hells Below. YAY! New book!

Update, 12/27/2009: OK! So far, so interesting. Hale tosses you into this world with very little explanation as to what’s going on but the information comes bit by bit and in rather interesting explanations. I will warn you, however, that Hale writes gay fiction and this book is no exception. Hale’s particular literary penchant becomes evident within the first few chapters, rather like Emma Donoghue’s Slammerkin, Kiss the Witch (fabulous set of rewritten fairy tales), and Life Mask. Different but enjoyable thus far.

UPDATE, 1/29/2010: So, a few nights ago, Belimai engaged in quite a bit of reverie which helped to explain his background and history as a Prodigal, well as explaining why he can fly. We also were introduced to another young Prodigal and the existence of the Good Commons. Good! Things are starting to pull together. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been reading this one off and on. It’s mostly a bedside-table book for now. I have others that travel with me currently. However, I will still keep reading it; it is interesting after all and one doesn’t leave interesting things to languish on a table forever. ๐Ÿ™‚

Stalled: The Child Thief by Brom

OK, so Peter Pan was my first obsession. I read the story as a little girl, watched the Disney film, listened to the story on tape, dreamt about flying away with and being rescued by a charming boy with no fear, who would never grow old. I loved it and continue to love it in all its forms.

Now, the artist Brom has recreated it in The Child Thief. In his characteristic fashion, Brom is lending his own personal touch of horror to the old story. There is no Neverland, no pixie dust, no play-fights, no colorful Captain Hook.

This is a world as dark and dangerous as our own. But also just as fascinating. I’m looking forward to more.

UPDATE, 9/19/2009: I am about halfway through the novel now and it is an interesting take on the Peter Pan story. I admit, however, that it is not entirely what I expected. Brom has taken great pains to show a dichotomy in Peter. He is two things at once: he is aging slowly but he will never reach puberty, not really. So he alternates between being a carefree, playful boy one moment and a cold-blooded killer the next. He has all the capabilities of a man but none of the maturity that goes along with them. All of his dark experiences have been in Avalon, unlikes some of the children that he brings there. Some of those kids were forced to “grow up” early, at least in the light of the things they have gone through. I was expecting a darker, more grown-up Peter, to be honest. This is interesting, like I said, but not really what I expected.

Also, I am contemplating reading the book twice. Once through to just read it and the second time to edit it. Apparently neither Brom nor his editor believe in using commas BEFORE nouns of direct address (he writes: Why Lady, would you do such a thing? instead of Why, Lady, would you do such a thing?). If it were once, then I wouldn’t worry but it’s a constant, annoying occurence. So I am tempted to take a red pen to the novel and then send it back to Brom with a note saying, “You may want to hire me. Obviously, I can be of help.”ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

I will let you know when I am done with the book. ๐Ÿ™‚ We’re about to go into battle, both figuratively and literally.

UPDATE, 11/28/2009: OK, I just want to be done with this book. I cannot honestly say that I think it is any good. Not yet. It makes certain characters more pitiable than in the stories we are used to, which is interesting. But then Brom just kills off characters that we have come to enjoy in fell swoop. It’s a bit annoying and I feel like I’m waiting and waiting for certain things to come to fruition. I just want to be done but it’s like I don’t want to read it any more, you know?

I think it’s part and parcel because I expected something very different. The story is different, interesting in parts, but I do not find it engrossing, like The Plucker, unfortunately.

FRUSTRATED, 12/6/2009: I gave up. I tried to finish the book the other night and just couldn’t do it. I think Brom tried to teach his pony too many tricks and its legs just became all tangled and the show was a flop. It’s rare that I can’t bring myself to finish a book – and maybe I’ll go back and try sometime – but, for right now, I just can’t do it. I’m moving on to something else because I’m depressed now.