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23 April 2012

The Rogue (Traitor Spy #2)

The Rogue by Trudi Canavan is the second book in her Traitor Spy trilogy.

Sonea and Cery continue to look for a rogue Theif in the city - a man who may be a magician and is trying to claim more of the city by introducing an addictive drug.

Ambassador Dannyl is in Sachaka. His job as ambassador is fairly boring as Kyralia and Sachaka have no political relationship other than neighbors suspicious of each other. While Dannyl is concerned about his assistant, Lorkin, who was captured by the Traitors - a secret society run by women who promote equality and an end to slavery - he is eager to explore other parts of the land he is in and look for evidence of the storestone. He will travel to the land of the Duna - a nomadic people in the North who are said to have stone magic.

At the same time, another generation of novices is in magician school. Now students from all levels of society are admitted. One of the young novices, Lilia, will be tempted to break her vow against black magic. Though it is forbidden to even read about black magic, everyone knows you cannot learn it from books anyway.

Canavan continues her brilliant fantasy series with more characters who will capture readers' attention. Anyone who reads her will become a fan and wait impatiently with me for the next installment in her Kyralia books.

Canavan, Trudi. (2011). The Rogue. New York: Orbit Books.

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17 April 2012

Light Years

Light Years by Tammar Stein is a story of healing.

Maya Laor is about to start at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She has decided on UVA for many reasons, but needs to attend because of one new reason – after a suicide bomber blew up the café where her boyfriend was waiting to meet her, Maya needs to escape Israel for a while.

Like all people who grow up in Israel, Maya was in the military. Each eighteen year old must serve. And though Maya was assigned to the secretary pool, she was taught to look for suspicious activity. So when she is instrumental in getting a young man fired – and then a year later he bombs the café where he used to work – Maya feels responsible for the death of her boyfriend.

Stein has written a novel that looks at the stages of dealing with grief and survivor’s guilt. Maya is a compelling character to whom readers will relate. This is an important book in our current world.

Stein, Tammar. (2002). Light Years. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.


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16 April 2012

Rogue (HIVE #5)

Rogue by Mark Walden is the fifth book in his H.I.V.E. (Higher Institute of Villainous Education). HIVE is the school designed to train the future world leaders – evil masterminds that will shape our world.

Otto Malpense is one of the star students at HIVE, or at least he was until he was captured by a rival who is trying to destroy HIVE and its leaders. Sebastian Trent runs an organization that, from the outside, looks like a humanitarian aid group. But Trent’s goal is to use Otto’s unique skills to assassinate the leaders of HIVE, find the secret location of the school and destroy it.

Luckily for Otto, the school headmaster has sent his secret weapon to search for Otto. Raven is the most deadly assassin on the planet. She is often underestimated because no one believes the stories about her could be true. With a little help from Otto’s friends at school, Raven hopes to track him down and rescue him before he can be brainwashed by Trent.

The HIVE series will appeal to fans of Alex Rider, CHERUB, or other teen espionage books – with the high adventure, cool spy gadgets and more. It just makes the series more fun that the characters are being groomed to rule the world not save it.

Walden, Mark. (2011). Rogue. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

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11 April 2012

The Dust of 100 Dogs

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King is a pirate story with a twist.

Emer Morrisey was born in the mid-1600s in Ireland. After a very eventful, but short life, she was cursed to live the lives of one hundred dogs before she can live another human life. Due to the curse, she will be conscious the whole time while she lives as a dog and longs to become human once again so she can resume her life of piracy - or at least claim the treasure she has buried in Jamaica.

Reborn as a human in 1972, Emer becomes Saffron Adams. She lives in Pennsylvania, much too far from the ocean for her liking. She must bide her time until she can be free of her new parents' house and search for her treasure.

King has created a pirate tale about two lives lived by one woman. The stories are woven together beautifully and sprinkled with the wisdom of dogs. The Dust of 100 Dogs is a must read! It is a great book and will be the most unique book you read this year.

King, AS. (2009). The Dust of 100 Dogs. Woodbury, MN: Flux.

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09 April 2012

The Girls of No Return

The Girls of No Return by Erin Saldin has been compared to Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Cut by Patricia McCormick. It is also the story of why it is no fun to be a teen and I would never go back - because she captures the emotion of that age and the frantic need to control anything in life.

Lida is on her way to the Alice Marshall School for Girls located in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area of Idaho. The school is the only thing for miles and miles other than mountains and pine trees. Girls are sent to Alice Marshall as a last resort - a wilderness school that purports to help troubled teen girls and set them back on the right track.

It is not the black bears and cougars in the area who are the danger - it is the other girls at the school. As all high schools, there are different groups and Lida will have to choose which one to join. Or more specifically, she must choose between two people - a decision that will affect the rest of her life.

Capturing reading by starting the book with the epilogue, Saldin builds tension because we know that something happened - a major life changing event in Lida's life - but readers will not know what it is until later in the book. If you liked Speak, Twisted, Cut or Hate List read this book.

Saldin, Erin. (2012). The Girls of No Return. New York: Scholastic.

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04 April 2012

Jumpstart the World

Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde is the story of a young girl on her own.

Elle is moving into her first apartment...at fifteen. Her mother's boyfriend made her choose between him and Elle, and now Elle is being moving out. Her mother did allow Elle to stop at the Department of Animal Services to rescue a cat to take with her.

On the way into the building for the first time, Elle meets her neighbor Frank. He seem like a really nice guy. When the chance to meet on the fire escape enjoying the evening, Frank invites Elle over for dinner with he and Molly. Elle soon has a crush on Frank and tries not to like Molly because of it. But they are both very nice and it is impossible not to like them both.

When Elle finds out that Frank is trans, she kinda flips out - not because Frank has transitioned from female to male, but because she is not sure if liking him makes her gay. Luckily, Elle has make a small group of friends at her new school who can help her talk through her feelings - even if the conversations are not easy or smooth.

Hyde has captured the feel of being a teen - the being unsure of yourself and your place in the world - with a lovable but tough character. She has then put that character into a situation that makes the book a must read for all people. While our society is getting more tolerant of our GLBT members, trans people are probably the most often discriminated against. This is a great book that teaches us something while we enjoy a great story.

Hyde, Catherine Ryan. (2010). Jumpstart the World. New York: Alfred. A. Knopf.

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02 April 2012

The Ambassador's Mission (Traitor Spy #1)

The Ambassador's Mission by Trudi Canavan is the first book in her Traitor Spy trilogy - which follows her Black Magician trilogy. It takes place 20 years after the previous trilogy ended.

The Kyralian Ambassador to Sachaka (the land next door) is open. Lord Dannyl, who has been studying the history of magic for twenty years since he was Ambassador to Elyne, is going to apply. His study has come to a halt - it seems that he has found all he is going to find in Kyralia, but he still has holes in his work. Since Kyralian-Sachakan relations have always been rocky this is the first time he may be able to travel there.

In the city of Imardin there have been many changes. The city has grown and the divide between rich and poor has blurred - at least geographically. The Thieves still run the lower class areas - controlling their territories and either running drugs or making sure drug stay out of their neighborhoods. A welcome addition to the new city is the hospice - there are now a few hospices around the city. The poor can be treated whether they can pay or not.

When Dannyl is appointed Ambassador, Lord Lorkin volunteers to be his assistant. While it is always dangerous for a Kyralian to travel to Sachaka, it may be especially hazardous to Lorkin. His parents were the main reason the Sachakan invasion twenty years ago failed - and Sachakans never forget.

Canavan has continued the story of Sonea from the first series while adding new characters and remaining true to the world she has created. Fans will be thrilled. Let's hope there is even more to come after this series!

Canavan, Trudi. (2010). The Ambassador's Mission. New York: Orbit.

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