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Saturday, September 25, 2010

My review of, "The Musician's Daughter"

Title: The Musician's Daughter

Author: Susanne Dunlap

Publisher: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books

Published: 2009

ISBN# 978-1-59990-452-8

Paperback: 322 pages

Murder and love—from the halls of Vienna’s imperial family to a perilous gypsy camp

Amid the glamor of Prince Nicholas Esterhazy’s court in 18th-century Vienna, murder is afoot. Or so fifteen-year-old Theresa Maria is convinced when her musician father turns up dead on Christmas Eve, his valuable violin missing, and the only clue to his death a strange gold pendant around his neck. Then her father’s mentor, the acclaimed composer Franz Joseph Haydn, helps her through a difficult time by making her his copyist and giving her insight in to her father’s secret life. It’s there that Theresa begins to uncover a trail of blackmail and extortion, even as she discovers honor—and the possibility of a first, tentative love. Thrumming with the weeping strains of violins, as well as danger and deception, this is an engrossing tale of murder, romance, and music that readers will find hard to forget.

This book is promoted as a young adult/ historical fiction, but it doesn't read like one. It is a wonderful read for any adult who loves historical fiction, a budding romance and a lot of mystery. I was surprised to read on goodreads.com, that many people did not like this book as much as I did. I have found this to be happening with many books I have read lately. I will either like a book more than others or will not like a book as much as other readers do. I really am not trying to be contrary, it just seems to be happening.

The beginning of this book hooked me from the moment I started reading it. If you would like to read an excerpt from the beginning of the book, which I found on the author's website, you can go to my other blog to read it. It is very long, but you will be able to see why I had to read this book.

The 15 year old girl, Theresa is brave, courageous and very vulnerable at times. I liked her because of how she took charge of the family after her father died. Her very pregnant Mother shuts down and is no help to the family. It is up to Theresa to look for her father's murderers and get a job to earn money for her family to live on. This story is told so well, first person, from Theresa.

I related so well to her because of her great love of music, which she and her father had shared. The glamorous city of Vienna came to life, and the hardships of the 18th century became more realistic. I loved the excitement and intrigue that came as Theresa visited the Gypsy (Romanian) camps for clues. There she learns of their plight during this time period and how they were ill-treated by the higher gentry and politicians. We also get to go into the very glittering palace of Prince Nicholas Esterhazy's and experience the life of nobility. I particulary loved when Theresa, for the first time in her life, was fitted for a gown for a ball. As a "girl" I loved the idea of dressing up in finery. A warning, there is also a creepy Uncle in the background tormenting Therea.

I do know that a sequel to this book is being written. It truly was left open for a sequel. I think that more romance will be found in the next book. I enjoyed Susanne's fast paced writing style and the wonderful details that she included that swept me away to 18th Century Vienna.

If you would like to learn more about Susanne Dunlap, her other historical fiction novels and the history behind this book, go to her website here.

This book receives 4 stars from me. I will probably end up purchasing this book. I want to read it again.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fallen - Lauren Kate


Author - Lauren Kate

Publisher - Delacorte Press

Published - December 2009

IBSN13 - 9780385738934

Hardcover - 452 pages

ftc fyi - Borrowed from the library

This was one of those books that caught my eye with the cover. I'd seen it around for a few months and wondered what the story was about, and I was always thinking that I needed to read it. Then, a couple weeks ago, my friend called raving about this book she finished in one day, she knew I would like it too.

"Fallen" is a book about mystery, questions, and figuring out the past. Lucinda Price is sent to Sword and Cross because she is thought of as a menace, someone who is possibly dangerous. Something happened in her past that even she can't remember all the details about. In Sword and Cross the reds (cameras) follow you everywhere and you can't even have your cell phone. Luce meets some bizarre kids on her first day. Many she's not sure she can trust, but hopes that she can. Yet, the first time she sees Daniel Grigori, there is a hint of recognition there she can not place and things about him she can't ignore.
I liked most the mystery of it all. Not the mystery of crime solving :), just the figuring everyone out and their intentions toward Luce. Luce is pursued by Cam, a repeat at Sword and Cross. He brings her in and shows her the ropes. Arriane, and Penn are friendly too. They are always trying to get her away from Cam, but why? But, Cam wants her away from Daniel... What will she do and who will she choose? Luce does have some secrets of her own. As she is tries to figure out her surroundings, the past, what happened and why it happened on the night that changed her life forever, she could even be in danger.

I really enjoyed this book. It is a darker story, but I was fascinated by all the characters. Some were spookier then others, and a few have wild secrets of their own. I mostly enjoyed Daniel, figuring him out, and why he did what he did, and why all out avoids anything to do with Luce at first. As I was reading, I felt on edge, with butterflies in my stomach wondering what would happen next. (but all in a good way)
The sequel "Torment" comes out September 28, and I will read that.

4 stars

Friday, September 17, 2010


I found this on author Jessica Day George's blog. She has all of the details about a fabulous event going on tomorrow. We are going to be there too!

Yes, folks, it's time for that ultimate in booksigning experiences: the Authorpalooza!

This one is at the Orem, Utah, Barnes & Noble at University Crossings Plaza. It will be THIS Saturday, September 18th, from 1-4(ish).

Come on down and goggle at the authors!

I will be there (of course, otherwise I wouldn't blog about it!), and also Dan Wells, Nathan Hale, Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, Dene Low, Mette Ivie Harrison, both Kristen Landon and Kristen Chandler, PLUS Kristyn Crow! (Whew, I know a lot of Kriste/yns!) John Brown, Lisa Mangum, Sydney Salter . . . and like TWENTY more authors, Scout's Honor!

Join us! It's never too early to start your Christmas shopping!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Mark - M.R. Bunderson

The Mark

M.R. Bunderson

Published by: Cedar Fort/CFI

Published Date: 2010

Softcover: 278 pages

FTC - I borrowed from the library

"I'm not sure you understand the importance of this decision. The very existence of our people and our way of life stand in the balance." Marco spoke quietly, but there was no mistaking the passion behind his words." (page 1)
Tori is a senior in high school. She's a good student, plays piano, never gets in trouble, and has great friends... she's every parent's dream. In class one day she is chatting with her best friend Shae, they are studying the birthmark on Tori's hand. Tori realizes it's not just an ordinary mark. But, Shae doesn't see what she can. Tori dismisses it, and they start going over their double date plans for that evening. Tori is hesitant about the date, but Shae promises that Jon's best friend, Eric, is worth it. Eric and Tori meet and are instantly connected, in more ways then one. Their connection is based their link to an ancient society. The rest of the book is about how they find and avoid some more of their "people". Along the way they realize they have gifts that could be beneficial, but also harmful to each other.
Although, I enjoyed the idea of the story, I had a hard time with the dialogue at first. It was sometimes cheesy and a little corny. But, I over looked it because the story itself has promise.

3 stars

If there was a sequel I would read it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Review of "Linger" by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (July 13, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545123283

I read the first book in the series, "Shiver" several months ago. Unlike almost every reader out there, it was just an OK book for me. It was good enough though to want to read the next book in the series. I looked forward to reading the second book in the series, "Linger".

If you don't know anything about this series let me give you a little back ground on the first book, "Shiver"....

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human... until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
Shiver begins the story of the wolves of Mercy Falls.

"Linger" continues on with Grace and Sam's story. The thing I liked more about the second book is that Maggie brings in two new voices, Isabel and Cole. The book goes back and forth between the four characters. I found that this made the story more interesting and more complex. In an interview Maggie explains the
challenges of writing a book with four distinct voices.

Q: In Shiver, the narration alternates between Sam and Grace. In Linger, you add two more voices—Isabel and Cole St. Clair. What were the challenges (and joys!) of doing so?

Stiefvater: Oh, it was insane. The hard bit was keeping everyone’s voices straight and consistent of course. They had to sound distinct while still sounding like they belonged in the same book. Each had a distinct vocabulary. Sam, for instance, says “amongst.” The others can’t say amongst. Isabel has her own particular brand of swear words. Cole has his own way of describing the world. Grace sees action in a particular way. The challenge was picking which character narrated each scene; who saw what I needed the reader to see? They were all so different. Of course, that was the joy as well. Hard to get bored that way . . .

Here is more about "Linger"...

In Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love—the light and the dark, the warm and the cold—in a way you will never forget.

Now for the ironic thing, I am one of the few people out there that liked "Linger" better than "Shiver". Some have said that it is slow moving and think Grace has turned into a whiner like Bella in "Twilight". I have to disagree with the "Others" and say that I like "Linger" better than it's predecessor. It was an intriguing read and very exciting at the end. I also love Maggie's writing, so beautiful and poetic. The story just seems to flow, not choppy at all.

Another telling sign for me, was that I was almost done with "Linger" when my copy of "Mockingjay" came in the mail. I tried to start reading "Mockingjay" but could not get "Linger" out of my mind. So I finished "Linger" first and then I picked up "Mockingjay".

If you are someone who likes this kind of book filled with teenage angst and falling in love with non-human creatures, give this series a try. The final book in the trilogy, "Forever" will be coming out in 2011.

One more thing, I would recommend this book for older teens and adults. My twelve year old daughter will not be reading this series for many years. There are many adult things that happen that tweens should not be reading about. Read it first and use your own judgment here, but this is what I will be doing with my daughter.

I will be reading this book again next year before the third book comes out. I do not own my own copies and have borrowed them from the public library.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Enchanted, Inc. - Shanna Swendson

Enchanted, Inc.

By: Shanna Swendson

Ballantine Books

Published 2005

Paperback - 320 pages

ISBN13: 9780345481252

FTC FYI - Borrowed from a friend

"Enchanted Inc." is the first of a four book series. This very clever and funny series is all about Katie Chandler. When she arrived in New York a year ago, she just thought that all the strange goings on around her were just that - strange. Not for one minute did she think that it was real. Katie works for a not-so-nice-boss, doing a not-so-exciting-job. Until one day she notices something out of the ordinary on the subway. Right away she is approached for a new job opportunity. But, she has never heard of the company MSI, and is very skeptical. At her current job, she is at the end of her rope, so she decides to at least talk to the new company, just to see what they are all about. Katie learns that she is immune to magic, that is why she sees all that she does. Spells do not work on her, and magic can not be used against her. Katie is very valuable to the magic community, but possibly dangerous. There's a cute guy in the office, who could possibly be the most powerful wizard of all, and her new boss is someone you might recognize from round tables.

The rest of the books are just as great as the first. Without revealing the plot, I can't tell you much more, but they are worth checking out. I think they get better and better. There is a bit of language throughout the first, and the last, but nothing that stopped me from reading. Book 4 takes a different turn, that at first I wasn't sure I would like for the character, but, it turned out to be one of the best of the series. I was really entertained by this series, and hope the author gets the go ahead to continue with more.

4 stars

I recommend this and the rest of the series.
"Enchanted, Inc."
"Once Upon Stilettos"
"Damsel Under Stress"
"Don't Hex With Texas"
Shanna Swendson has written other books as well.