Friday, October 25, 2013

The Runaway King by Jenifer A. Nielsen

The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen
“A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen’s blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE! Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King!” (summary from author’s website)

After Jeron takes the throne he discovers that his life is still in danger from pirates, rival countries, and even his own regents. Jeron has no chance of winning against any of them the traditional way. So, he does what he does best. He risks everything in a crazy plan to take over the Avenian pirates. Jeron reverts to his previous persona Sage and infiltrates the dangerous pirate compound by claiming he knows the location of an extremely valuable treasure. If Jeron manages to stay alive his crazy plan could just give his country a fighting chance. Just like the first book in the series the author expertly puts her character in high-stakes situations where you can’t help by root for their survival. An intense and riveting read.

For more information visit Jennifer Nielsen's website.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
"THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end. In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well. As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together. An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats." (summary author's website)

This was a really interesting read. I love the sardonic and self-deprecating voice of Sage. I had a suspicion that he wasn’t who he first appeared to be, but I really wondered just how he came to be an orphan on the streets. The author does an awesome job of convincing the reader of his real backstory. I really enjoyed reading about this strong-willed, bitter, and unconventional hero.

Seriously, this is a book you have to read. The conflict drags you into the story immediately and you can’t help but want to know more about Sage and his unusual quirks. It was really refreshing to read something without romance (huzzah!) and to read something I could share and discuss with my husband. As soon as I finished I put the second book on hold at the library. We are fans.

Jennifer A. Nielsen's website

Friday, October 11, 2013

After Hello by Lisa Mangum

After Hello by Lisa Mangum

"What if the first day of your relationship was the only day you had? 

Seventeen-year-old Sara is a seeker. She’s always on the lookout for the perfect moment to capture with her ever-present, point-and-shoot camera, especially on her first trip to New York City. 

Sam is a finder. He has a knack for finding what other people can’t—a first-edition book or the last two tickets to a sold-out Broadway show. In New York, there is always something interesting to find. 

When Sam and Sara’s paths cross, neither one of them is prepared for what they will find out about each other—and about themselves when they form an unlikely partnership in search of a seemingly elusive work of art. They have one day to find the impossible. Fate brought their talents together, but what happens when time runs out? Will love be able to overcome fate? This new novel from award-winning author Lisa Mangum explores what happens after hello."
Sara is stuck wandering the streets of New York while her father is in a meeting that runs late. She happens to run into Sam, and they discover that they are kindred spirits, both holding wounds that they can help each other heal. Sara accidently gets Sam’s brother fired from his job being the personal assistant to an actress with anger management problems, and spend the rest of her time in New York searching for a piece of art that will get Paul his job back. I enjoyed the characters and setting of the novel and it reminded me in small way of The Fault in our Stars, except the novel was far less depressing, as the book is ultimately not a tragedy, and has a happy ending. I guess the only problem I had with the book is that I felt like the stakes to find the art weren’t high enough personally for Sara. The book kind of slowed for me in the middle because I had a hard time believing that Sara would go through all this trouble and blow off her dad for some guy that was actually kind of a jerk to her when they met. Still, over all I found this to be an interesting read.
 Tour giveaway is here

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

LDSPBP: Ken Baker

Old MacDonald Has a Dragon 

This fun picture book meshes the children’s classic song ‘Old Macdonald” with the classic fantasy trope of a dragon. One can only imagine the type of havoc a dragon could cause on a farm. The famer is losing animals left and right. Then the dragon eats the farmer’s dog and the farmer has had enough.  With a little bit of team work and some music the farmer and his animals managed to chase the dragon off for good.

I thought this was a fun and clever reinterpretation of two children’s tropes. A enjoyable read for those that love farm-animal tales.

Cow Can’t Sleep
Cow isn’t comfortable sleeping in the itchy hay. So she goes to find another place to sleep. That soft feather mattress is slightly more wiggly and lumpy than she expected. Thus begins  Cow’s chaotic search for a new place to sleep. Who knew that one tired cow could cause so much havoc on the farm.
A humorous tale about a picky cow looking for a nice place to sleep.

Brave Little Monster by Ken Baker

Albert, a young monster faces his fears of boys and girls before he falls to sleep.  Little Albert is certain that there are little boys and girls lying in wait under his bed,  hiding in his closet, and playing outside his window. With a little creativity and a lot of courage Albert knows all the right tricks to scare them away. 

The story of a young little monster overcoming  his fears of boys and girls. This book made me laugh because as a young child I used some of the very same tricks to convince myself my room was safe at night.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Transparent by Natalie Whipple

Transparent by Natalie Whipple

"Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl."

Fiona is one of those whose genes have been affected by change. Her particular mutation makes it so that she appears invisible to everyone around her. When she looks in the mirror she doesn’t even know what she looks like. In fact, she often feels like a tool and she is an extremely useful one to her Father, the leader of a crime syndicate.  When her father has plans to send Fiona overseas to kill somebody her mother decides it is time to get out.

They sneak off to a small town in the middle of the desert, and Fi actually gets to go to a normal school. There she begins to make friends and have an almost normal life. Life is almost perfect except for the fact that her brother, her dad’s henchman, keeps coming around the check on them. Fiona can’t trust the fact that he’ll keep their location a secret. She has to rely on her new friends to stay out of her father’s long reaching clutches.

Alright, I know this sounds x-men, and I’m not really a huge fan of this mutant trope, but I loved the small scale of this novel. A vulnerable girl trying to navigate her way through high school, her first crush, and her seemingly insurmountable family issues . I loved the details of how Fiona’s invisibility affected her everyday life, her sense of self, and her relationship with others. I have to say that I loved the way the teen romance worked out in this book. Like the setting it is small, subtle and in a market saturated with epic teenage love stories with protagonists that just can’t keep their hands off each other even in the most unlikely of circumstances Whipple presents the exact opposite. Without a single kiss Fi and Seth build a tender and honest relationship. An excellent read that I’d recommend to everyone.

The sequel Blindsided comes out January 2nd and I can’t wait to finish reading Fi’s story. Find out more about Whipple's work at her website.