Thursday, February 11, 2016

Book Review: Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor






Members of the Vise Library were selected to review Into the Dim.  We received a copy of Janet B. Taylor's book for an honest review.






About the book:

"Instantly engaging, constantly suspenseful, ultimately poignant and satisfying. Loved it!"--Diana Gabaldon, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Outlander series

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. And she's alive, though currently trapped in the twelfth century, during the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Passing through the Dim, Hope enters a brutal medieval world of political intrigue, danger, and violence. A place where any serious interference could alter the very course of history. And when she meets a boy whose face is impossibly familiar, she must decide between her mission and her heart—both of which could leave Hope trapped in the past forever. 


Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens. 
I am loving all of the time travel books this year!  Each book is uniquely different and Taylor's Into the Dim is no exception.  This book starts off with the main character, Hope, attending the funeral of her mother (who supposedly died in an earthquake).  She is, of course, devastated but has been invited by her mother's sister, Lucinda (who Hope has never met), to visit in Scotland.  At first, Hope is apprehensive but decides to visit in order to get answers about her mom.  Hope soon discovers on her visit that her mother is not dead, but stuck in the 12th century.  Hope finds out that her mom is actually a time traveler (this book offers a scientific approach to the whole time traveling things and it feels believable!).  Lucinda needs Hope's help to bring her mom back to the present.  With the help of some new friends and a mysterious stranger, Hope's journey is anything but smooth.  This book is full of action, rival time travelers, mystery, and history.  I felt like I was in London right along with Hope as she was meandering her way through the time period.  Not only are you on adventure with this book, but discovering about real people and places at the same time.  I think readers are going to love how much fun is involved with this book.  I know I am already waiting for the sequel!   Make sure you check this book out when it releases next month (it will be available from our Popular Collection).  

You can read the first three chapters!

Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books








About the author:

Janet B. Taylor lives in such a small town in Arkansas that if you happen to sneeze when you pass by, you'll totally miss it. (Cause, you know, you can't sneeze with your eyes open. For real-try it-it's impossible.) She lives with her Prince Charming, their two hilarious sons, and Dorda the diabetic dog who won't win any beauty contests, but has a "really nice personality". Janet's debut, INTO THE DIM (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is a YA Adventure/Time Travel, which comes out March 1st, 2016, with the sequel due in Spring 2017.


Connect with the author:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye




The Cumberland University Library has been given the opportunity to participate in a blog tour (The Tsar's Guard Parade) for the upcoming book The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye.  There are over 100 blogs participating in this event: Find the complete Tsar’s Guard Parade Schedule at Evelyn Skye’s website!






This book (there is more information about the book below) is set in Russia during Tsar Alexander I's reign (1801-1825).  Instead of simply reviewing the book and telling you how much we loved it (which we did and we can't wait for people to read this book!) we decided we'd give you a little information about the food that is mentioned in this book.  There are several Russian foods mentioned throughout the book.  We thought it would be interesting for you to know what these dishes look like so that you could have an idea in your head (and be drooling at the same time) as you read this book (it comes out in May!)  Here are just a few of the foods mentioned in the book (I don't know about you, but I suddenly got very hungry....):


 Blini w/ Strawberry Jam



 

Blanquette de veau



 

Kulich Easter Bread




Vatrushka Pastries



 

Borodinsky Bread (a favorite of Vika's father!)



 

Borscht Soup




 

Oreshki Cookies




 

Piroshki



Don't all of these look delicious?   I may have to try a few of these out!  I think my personal favorite is the Blini with the Easter Bread close behind it. We hope this gives a good visual for when you are navigating your way through this wonderful book.  Our copy will be available for check out when this book releases later this year.  We hope you enjoy this book and the wonderful backdrop of Russia (and the culture) as much as we did.  Anyone want to plan a trip to Russia????





About the book:

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see
through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in 
Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a 
powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test 
an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s 
most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off 
her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly  opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he 
can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the 
mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed 
himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes 
dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

Release Date: May 17th, 2016

Pages: 416

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Formats: Hardcover, eBook




About the author:

Evelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on 
"So You Think You Can Dance," and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she 
guarantees she will win. When she isn't writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her 
daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and 
eating way too many cookies. THE CROWN'S GAME is her first novel. Evelyn can be 
found online at www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.




To win an ARC of The Crown's Game enter the giveaway below!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig






Members of the Vise Library were selected to review The Girl from Everywhere.  We received a copy of Heidi Heilig's book for an honest review.






About the book:

Heidi Heilig's debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City, to nineteenth-century Hawaii, to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father's ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility. Its witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, multicultural cast, and enchanting romance will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.
Nix's life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix's father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he's uncovered the one map he's always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix's mother died in childbirth. Nix's life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix's future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who's been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.
This is not your average time travel book.  Heidi Heilig offers a unique approach to a well-explored concept.  Rudy's father, Slate, is a navigator of time travel.  However in order to travel he needs maps (and his ship the Temptation) that were written in the time period that he wants to visit. Ruby has grown up being on her father's ship where her father has spent her whole life looking for a specific year to travel to Hawaii.  Slate is hoping to save the love of his life, Ruby's mother.  Ruby is far from excited because she doesn't know how that affects her present or future.  Slate and his crew travel to Hawaii, but unbeknownst to them: the incorrect year.  They discover the map that they really need, but the cost may be too high.  This story involves a heist that mixes myth, legend and truth.  I loved how imaginative this story was and I can't wait to see how Ruby navigates her life in a future book!  This book comes out later this month, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled when it hits our Popular Collections shelf!!

Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books








About the author:

Heidi grew up in Hawaii where she rode horses and raised peacocks, and then she moved to New York City and grew up even more, as one tends to do. Her favorite thing, outside of writing, is travel, and she has haggled for rugs in Morocco, hiked the trails of the Ko'olau Valley, and huddled in a tent in Africa while lions roared in the dark.

She holds an MFA from New York University in Musical Theatre Writing, of all things, and she's written books and lyrics for shows including The Time Travelers Convention, Under Construction, and The Hole. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, her son and their pet snake.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Book Review: Remembrance by Meg Cabot





Members of the Vise Library were selected to review Remembrance.  We received a copy of Meg Cabot's book for an honest review.






About the book:

Fifteen years after the release of the first Mediator novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot returns with a deliciously sexy new entry to a fan-favorite series. Suze Simon—all grown up and engaged to her once-ghostly soulmate—faces a vengeful spirit and an old enemy bent on ending Suze's wedded bliss before it begins.
You can take the boy out of the darkness.
But you can’t take the darkness out of the boy.
All Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and since becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva).
But when she’s hired as a guidance counselor at her alma mater, she stumbles across a decade-old murder, and soon ancient history isn’t all that’s coming back to haunt her. Old ghosts as well as new ones are coming out of the woodwork, some to test her, some to vex her, and it isn’t only because she’s a mediator, gifted with second sight. 
From a sophomore haunted by the murderous specter of a child, to ghosts of a very different kind—including Paul Slater, Suze’s ex, who shows up to make a bargain Suze is certain must have come from the Devil himself—Suze isn’t sure she’ll make it through the semester, let alone to her wedding night.
Suze is used to striking first and asking questions later. But what happens when ghosts from her past—including one she found nearly impossible to resist—strike first?
What happens when old ghosts come back to haunt you?
If you’re a mediator, you might have to kick a little ass.
Suze is back and she's brought Jesse, Paul & all of the ghosts she helps go to the other side with her.  It's been a few years since we've heard from her and this story fills us in on everything that has happened since the last Mediator book.  Jesse is in his medical residency and Suze is on her way to becoming a counselor.  They both have their plans but those could be in jeopardy for so many reasons.  One of those roadblocks in her way is Paul, a not so friendly person from her past, and he is trying to strike a deal with her that could harm Jesse.  Suze is also dealing with a very angry (and dangerous) ghost.  She has to dig into the past in order to find out why the ghost is hurting people.  Like all the other books in this series, Cabot delivers so much wit through this character.  I was laughing at all of Suze's crazy antics and the adventures that she experiences.  Fans of these books will love the addition to this series.  I am so glad that I was able to visit with Suze and friends again!
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books







About the author:

Meg Cabot is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of books for both adults and tweens/teens. There have been over 25 million copies of Meg's nearly 80 published books sold in 38 countries. Her last name rhymes with habit, as in "her books can be habit forming." She currently lives in Key West, Florida with her husband and various cats. 

Meg's first ever adult book in the Princess Diaries series, "Royal Wedding", will be available in Summer 2015, along with an installment of the series for younger readers, "From the Notebook of a Middle School Princess". "Remembrance", a new book in the Mediator series will be available in February of 2016.

Connect with the author:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Book Review: Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers




Members of the Vise Library were selected to review Assassin's Heart.  We received a copy of Sarah Ahiers' book for an honest review.






About the book:

With shades of Game of Thrones and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a tale of love, lies, and vengeance. Fans of Kristin Cashore and Rae Carson will devour the flawlessly crafted action and inventive world building.
Seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana is a trained assassin. She was born into one of the nine clipper Families in the kingdom of Lovero who lawfully take lives for a price. As a member of the highest-ranking clan, loyalty to Family is valued above all, but that doesn't stop Lea from getting into a secret relationship with Val Da Via, a boy from a rival clan. Despite her better judgment, Lea has fallen in love with him; but she's confident she can anticipate any threat a mile away.
Then she awakens one night to a house full of smoke. Although she narrowly escapes, she isn't able to save her Family as their home is consumed by flames. With horror, she realizes that Val and his Family are the only ones who could be responsible. Devastated over his betrayal and the loss of her clan, there's just one thing on her mind: making the Da Vias pay. The heart of this assassin craves revenge.
Lea Saldana is living the life her family has been called to:a clipper assassin for the Goddess of death.  Her family has always been the top assassin family, until recently anyways.  Their numbers are no longer what they once were and another assassin family, the Da Vias, is the sworn enemy to the Saldana Family.  Lea has a secret though: she has been secretly dating a member of the Da Via family, Val.  They are in "love" or so Lea thinks until the night her entire family is killed by the Da Via Family.  Lea doesn't know if Val is involved but she decides that the whole Da Via Family must pay for the murder of her family.  Lea survives the attack and flees to another area to plot her revenge.  She seeks out an exiled member of her family (her uncle) in order to gain secrets of the Da Via Family.  Her plans do not go exactly as planned: her uncle refuses to help, a lawman has it out for her, she is being hunted by multiple assassin families and she meets someone posing as a clipper.  

Assassin's Heart is a very thought out world and the concepts are very interesting.  There is a lot of tension and action to make this such an enjoyable read!  Lea is very good at her job, but she also isn't perfect.  She has to think through her plans and constantly adapt.  There are so many twists and turns to this book about faith and loyalty.  I think readers will enjoy the world building and character development of this book.  This book releases in February!  Make sure to check our Popular Collections shelf for this one; you wont be disappointed!
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books






About the author:

I was born on a February afternoon 2 minutes before my twin sister. Angels wept or something, I suppose.

After a happy childhood filled with fun and family, I obtained a BA in English with an emphasis in fiction writing from the University of Minnesota, during which I was a bookseller. I also spent a semester as the fiction editor of The Wayfarer, the literary magazine for the U of MN.

I am currently enrolled in Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults and am repped by Mollie Glick of Foundry Literary + Media

I live in a suburb of St Paul, MN in a house I own with my twin sister. We share the house with our brother, 3 dogs, 4 guinea pigs, 2 cockatiels, fish and occasional foster animals from the shelter.

Besides writing and reading, I enjoy dogs, animals, my family, board games, yard games, video games, cooking, gardening and dressing up for the MN Renaissance Festival.


Connect with the author:
Twitter
   Website

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Book Review: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman





Members of the Vise Library were selected to review Blackhearts.  We received a copy of Nicole Castroman's book for an honest review.






About the book:

In this stunningly creative debut, Nicole Castroman reimagines the origins of history's most infamous pirate--Blackbeard--and tells the story of the girl who captured his heart and ultimately set him on his path of destruction.

When Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, returns home from a year at sea, he finds his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn't love and sick of the high society he was born into, all Teach wants is to return to the vast ocean he calls home. There's just one problem: he must convince his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following the death of her parents, Anne Barrett is left penniless. Though she's barely worked a day in her life, Anne takes a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks and Anne longs to escape the confines of her now mundane life. How will she ever achieve her dream of sailing to CuraƧao--her mother's birthplace--when she's trapped in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn together by a shared desire for freedom, but kept apart by Teach's father, their love is as passionate as it is forbidden. Faced with an impossible choice, Teach and Anne must decide whether to chase their dreams and leave England forever--or follow their hearts and stay together.
Castroman's novel offers a unique perspective on how Blackbeard became to be and how he settled down the path of not being Edward Teach (who was a pretty put together guy).  Anne is a maid that works for Edward's father.  She is the daughter of a slave and a respected business man.  However, Edward's father does not know this.  Anne was brought to this house by her (not-so-nice) half brother after both of her parent's died.  At first, Anne has a rough encounter with Edward, but over time they both realize how much they have in common: feeling trapped, no capabilities to make their own decisions, enjoying the simple life and caring about much more than titles and money.  They form a unique bond and have plans to leave London until both of them are tricked by several people.  

I enjoyed the backstory of what made Blackbeard "Blackbeard."  You find out how the names Queen Anne and Blackbeard came to be.  There are several twists to this book that made for a very enjoyable read.  I think readers will enjoy the plot of this book and how the story shows how Edward evolves.  There really isn't anything not to like about this book,  but seriously who doesn't love a good pirate story? :)  Our copy will be available for checkout when this book releases in February!
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books







About the author:

Nicole was lucky enough to come with her very own best friend...she has a twin sister who can read her mind and finish her sentences for her. 

At the age of 13, she went to Europe for the first time and it changed her life. She loves learning about different people, languages and cultures and speaks fluent German. She knows enough Spanish to get herself into trouble and can still read the Cyrillic alphabet from when she studied Russian.

She received her B.A. from Brigham Young University and has lived in Germany, Austria and two different places called Georgia. One is located on the Black Sea. The other is the state of Georgia where she now lives with her handsome husband and two beautiful children who continue to amaze her.


Connect with the author:
Twitter
   Website

Monday, January 11, 2016

Book Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers







Members of the Vise Library were selected to review Starflight.  We received a copy of Melissa Landers' book for an honest review.






About the book:

Solara Brooks needs a fresh start, someplace where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. The outer realm may be lawless, but
it's not like the law has ever been on her side.

Still, off-world travel doesn't come cheap; Solara is left with no choice but to indenture herself in exchange for passage to the outer realm. She just wishes it could have been to anyone besides Doran Spaulding, the rich, pretty-boy quarterback who made her life miserable in school.

The tables suddenly turn when Doran is framed for conspiracy on Earth, and Solara cons him into playing the role of her servant on board the Banshee, a ship manned by an eccentric crew with their own secrets. Given the price on both Doran and Solara's heads, it may just be the safest place in the universe.

It's been a long time since Solara has believed in anyone, and Doran is the last person she expected to trust. But when the Banshee's dangerous enemies catch up with them, Solara and Doran must come together to protect the ship that has become their home-and the eccentric crew that feels like family.
Before I review this book, I can't help but mention how gorgeous the cover for this book is!  I love all of it: this ship, the planet, the gold from the ship.  Basically, it is fabulous.  This book centers around the characters Solara (the girl who is anxious to make a new life for herself as a mechanic on another planet after being pegged a criminal) and Doran (the spoiled rich boy  who has always been mean to Solara).  In order for Solara to be able to afford travel to the area that she has gained employment, she must travel with Doran as his servant.  He makes her life far from easy and in the end it backfires on him.  At some point during their journey together Solara is able to switch the bands that identify her as Doran's servant.  Of course, Doran is mad when he finds out what happened, but there is nothing he can do about it once he learns that the authorities are after him for some unknown crime.  The two are able to secure passage on a ship of misfits that takes them across the galaxy and through some pretty sticky situations.  The two learn that the image that they had of the other may not be an accurate representation.  There are some surprises and great characters too.  This books is full of adventure that never has a dull moment.  You will not be disappointed once you get your hands on this book!
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books







About the author:

Melissa Landers (melissa-landers.com) is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn't afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public--just ask her husband and three kids. She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, "Sweetheart of Ohio."

Connect with the author:
   Twitter
   Website