Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (August 17)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

Published by Hyperion
Release Date: March 13, 2012

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (August 16)

What is teaser tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules:
Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers.

"Late summer was not the season for a freezing wind. Worse, nothing around me had ruffled in the wind - not the tall grass on the bank or the needles of the nearby pines." 
-Hereafter, Pages 39, by Tara Hudson

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. 

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. 

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget. (From Goodreads)

Although the synopsis says it's fairy tale and romance, The Near Witch also had a well-crafted eerie vibe to it. As with most of the YA that I like, the romance between Lexi and Cole didn't overpower Lexi's story. She had a strong personality, and that didn't fall prey to the "damsel in distress" phenomenon (and everyone knows how I feel about that). 

Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the question of who/what was behind the disappearances of the children. I had flashbacks to the film The Village, and became suspicious of just about every character. I really mean almost every character. I went through a chapter where I was debating whether Lexi was somehow involved in it.  I won't spoil it for anyone who has yet to grab a copy, but I really loved the thrill of the mystery.

I do wish that there had been some greater exploration of the witch's past. Really, I just wanted the book to be a bit longer. Schwab's ability to craft a story and make the setting seem real kept me hooked. I'm definitely looking forward to more!

The Near Witch
By Victoria Schwab
Published by Hyperion
288 Pages
Received for Review
Rating: B

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (August 3)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

The Girl in the Mirror by Sarah Gristwood

Jeanne, a young French exile orphaned by the wars of religion on the continent, is brought to London as a young girl disguised as a boy. Growing up, the disguise has not been shed and she finds a living as a clerk, ending up in the household of Robert Cecil. As she witnesses the intrigues and plots swirling round the court of Elizabeth I in the last days of Gloriana’s reign, she finds herself sucked into the orbit of the dashing and ambitious young favourite, the Earl of Essex. The queen draws near to the end of her life, with no heir to follow, and the stakes are high.

As Essex hurtles towards self-destruction, Jeanne finds her loyalties, her disguise and her emotions under threat – in a political climate where the least mistake can attract dire penalties.

This is a beautifully written and evocative novel, rich with the details of life and politics of Elizabeth I’s court. Jeanne’s struggle for survival and love is interwoven with her passionate pull towards the gardens she documents, a lovely and seductive backdrop to the novel.

Published by HarperPress
Release Date: June 9, 2011

*So technically this has been out for almost two months, but it's new to me so I wanted to post about it. What are you waiting on this week?

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