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2010-07-23 02:20 pm
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Japanland, by Karin Muller


(Buy from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com)


Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) During a year spent in Japan on a personal quest to deepen her appreciation for such Eastern ideals as commitment and devotion, documentary filmmaker Karin Muller discovered just how maddeningly complicated it is being Japanese. In this book Muller invites the reader along for a uniquely American odyssey into the ancient heart of modern Japan. Broad in scope and deftly observed by an author with a rich visual sense of people and place, Japanland is as beguiling as this colorful country of contradictions.

Thoughts: )
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2010-07-05 02:26 pm
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Tyger Tyger, by Kersten Hamilton


(Buy from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com)


Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures--goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty--are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.

Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right. The goblins are coming.


Thoughts: )
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2010-07-02 12:36 pm
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Rough Magic, by Caryl Cude Mullin


(Buy from Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, or Second Story Press.)


Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Follow the interwoven stories of two girls and one woman, their lives all tied to the enigmatic figure of Caliban, the character first introduced by Shakespeare in The Tempest, his famous play of love, loyalty, and magic. Caliban is the strange, half-wild man Prospero and Miranda discovered on an island after being shipwrecked. Rough Magic forms both prequel and sequel, telling the stories of the sorceress Sycorax, Caliban's mother; Miranda's daughter Chiara, who becomes like a daughter to Caliban; and Calypso, a magical young woman with ties to them all. All three must fight against a world that sees magic as evil and uses women as political pawns. Finally, it is the island and its power that draws them all back, demanding amends from the humans who have exploited its natural wonders. A spellbinding story that combines an old-fashioned tale of dragons, shipwrecks, adventure, and sacrifice, with an inspiring message of the earth's power and our environmental responsibility.

Thoughts: )
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2010-06-30 09:42 am
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Yarn: Remembering the Way Home, by Mori Kyoko

(For the curious, force of habit has me naming this author Mori Kyoko instead of the more western Kyoko Mori. It seems more natural to me to do this with Japanese names.)


(Buy from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com


Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) A memoir of crossing cultures, losing love, and finding home by a New York Times notable author. As steadily and quietly as her marriage falls apart, so Kyoko Mori's understanding of knitting deepens. From flawed school mittens to beautiful unmatched patterns of cardigans, hats and shawls, Kyoko draws the connection between knitting and the new life she tried to establish in the U.S. Interspersed with the story of knitting throughout, the narrative contemplates the nature of love, loss, and what holds a marriage together.

Thoughts: )
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2010-06-22 12:20 pm
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101 Ways to Dance, by Kathy Stinson


(Buy from Amazon.ca or direct from Second Story Press)


Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) In this quirky collection, award-winning author for young people Kathy Stinson offers characters and plotlines that reflect the many ways teens learn about lust and love. From the first stirrings of same-sex desire on a lakeside beach to troubling paternity questions around a teen pregnancy, 101 Ways to Dance reflects the spectrum of teen sexuality from the very sweet to the very scary. These stories offer many opportunities for important and engaged discussions, while content and writing style ensure a great selection for reluctant readers. A must-have for all junior high and high school libraries.

Thoughts: )
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2010-06-18 12:36 pm
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Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow, by James Rollins



Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) When a mysterious envelope arrives for Jake Ransom, he and his older sister, Kady, are plunged into a gripping chain of events. An artifact found by their parents—on the expedition from which they never returned—leads Jake and Kady to a strange world inhabited by a peculiar mix of long-lost civilizations, a world that may hold the key to their parents' disappearance.

But even as they enter the gate to this extraordinary place, savage grackyls soar across the sky, diving to attack. Jake's new friends, the pretty Mayan girl Marika and the Roman Pindor, say the grackyls were created by an evil alchemist—the Skull King. And as Jake struggles to find a way home, it becomes obvious that what the Skull King wants most is Jake and Kady—dead or alive.


Thoughts: )
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2010-06-16 12:26 pm
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Oathbound, by Mercedes Lackey


(Buy from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com)

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Tarma witnessed her clan's murder and, swearing vengeance, became a master warrior. Kethry fled her forced "marriage" and became an adept--pledging her power to the greatest good. When Kethry obtains a magical sword which draws her to others in need, the two vow to avenge the wrongs done to womanhood.

Thoughts: )
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2010-06-10 02:02 pm
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Invitation to the Game, by Monica Hughes


(Buy from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com)

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) It's the future, and most jobs are done by machines. Now that school is over, Lisse and her friends are consigned to a bleak neighborhood for the permanently unemployed. Then they receive an invitation to the Game, which transports them to a paradise. Is it a dream or a computer simulation? Each time they play the Game, the new world seems more and more real...

Thoughts: )
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2010-06-09 02:57 pm
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Arrow's Fall, by Mercedes Lackey


(Buy from Amazon.ca and Amazon.com)

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) With Elspeth, the heir to the throne of Valdemar, come of marriageable age, Talia, the Queen's Own Herald returns to court to find Queen and heir beset by diplomatic intrigue as various forces vie for control of Elspeth's future.

But just as Talia is about to uncover the traitor behind all these intrigues, she is sent off on a mission to the neighboring kingdom, chosen by the Queen to investigate the worth of a marriage proposal from Prince Ancar.


Thoughts: )
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2010-06-04 07:18 pm
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Arrows's Flight, by Mercedes Lackey


(Buy from Amazon.ca and Amazon.com)

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Talia has completed her training as a Herald of Valdemar, but before being appointed full Herald status, and that of her special position of Queen's Own, she must still complete her internship.

Kris, beautiful Kris, is assigned to be her mentor as they ride circuit, passing along news, judgement, new laws and even gossip--and learn just *what* being a Herald means to the people of Valdemar.

Talia has a talent no-one else in Haven posessed. So, her training has not been complete or comprehensive. The stresses she faces on her training circuit come close to destroying her and Kris and their Companions!


Thoughts: )
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2010-05-30 11:07 am
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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N K Jemisin


(Buy from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com)

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with a pair of cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother's death and her family's bloody history.

With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate - and gods and mortals - are bound inseparably together.


Thoughts: )
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2010-05-26 12:02 pm
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Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

I decided to read through all of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar novels in order of publication date, for a fun challenge. I've read most of them before, so the majority of these are rereads, but that doesn't stop them from being fun and enjoyable, nor worthy of a review. I see lots of bookblogs talking about how books more than a year past their publication date often get shafted when it comes to new reviews, and I certainly don't mind giving my opinions on some old favourites, or even new-to-me books that have been out just this side of forever.

And so without further ado, I give you my review of Mercedes Lackey's Arrows of the Queen.


(Buy from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com)

Summary: Taken from GoodReads) A KINGDOM IMPERILED!

Chosen by the Companion Rolan, a mystical horse-like being with powers beyond imagining, Talia, once a run-away, has now become a trainee Herald, destined to become one of the Queen's own elite guard. For Talia has certain awakening talents of the mind that only a Companion like Rolan can truly sense.

But as Talia struggles to master her unique abilities, time is running out. For conspiracy is brewing in Valdemar, a deadly treason which could destroy Queen and kingdom. Opposed by unknown enemies capable of both diabolical magic and treacherous assassination, the Queen must turn to Talia and the Heralds for aid in protecting the realm and insuring the future of the Queen's heir, a child already in danger of becoming bespelled by the Queen's own foes!


Thoughts: )
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2010-05-21 01:31 pm
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Tempted, by PC and Kristin Cast


(Buy from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com)

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Zoey needs a break after some serious excitement. Sadly, the House of Night school for vampyres doesn't feature breaks on its curriculum - even for a High Priestess in training and her gang. Plus juggling three guys is no stress reliever, especially when one is a sexy Warrior so into protecting Zoey that he's sensing her emotions. Wider stresses lurk too, and the dark force in Tulsa's tunnels is spreading. Could Stevie Rae be responsible for more than a group of misfit fledglings? And Aphrodite's visions warn Zoey to stay away from the immortal Kalona and his dark allure - but they also show that only Zoey can stop him. She's not exactly keen to meet up, but if Zoey doesn't go to Kalona he'll exact a fiery vengeance on those closest to her. She just has to find the courage to do what's necessary, or everything that's important to her will be destroyed.

Thoughts: )
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2010-05-13 10:28 am
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Hunted, by PC and Kristin Cast


(Buy from Amazon.ca)

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) The good news: Zoey’s friends have her back again and Stevie Rae and the red fledglings aren’t Neferet’s secrets any longer. The bad news: Ancient evil with the face of an angel has been let loose – that and various other nasties (whose faces aren’t so angelic). Grandma Redbird is in trouble. Heath is in trouble. The House of Night is in trouble. Okay, let’s face it – Zoey’s whole world is in trouble! But when the trouble comes from a being who appears to be beauty personified, will the world believe it? Especially when only a teenager and a group of misfits are the only ones who really understand the danger he brings. Will Zoey have the strength and wisdom to reveal the truth? Especially when, in the House of Night, the truth is often hard to come by...

Thoughts: )
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2010-05-09 07:32 pm
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Untamed, by PC and Kristin Cast


(Buy from Amazon.ca)

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Life sucks when your friends are pissed at you. Just ask Zoey Redbird – she’s become an expert on suckiness. In one week she has gone from having three boyfriends to having none, and from having a close group of friends who trusted and supported her, to being an outcast. Speaking of friends, the only two Zoey has left are undead and unMarked. And Neferet has declared war on humans, which Zoey knows in her heart is wrong. But will anyone listen to her? Zoey's adventures at vampyre finishing school take a wild and dangerous turn as loyalties are tested, shocking true intentions come to light, and an ancient evil is awakened in PC and Kristin Cast's spellbinding fourth House of Night novel.

Thoughts: )
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2010-04-27 07:40 pm
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A Spy in the House (The Agency book 1), by Y S Lee


(Buy from Amazon.ca)

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.

Thoughts: )
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2010-04-24 08:17 pm
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Chosen, by PC and Kristin Cast


(Buy from Amazon.ca)

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Dark forces are at work at the House of Night and fledgling vampyre Zoey Redbird’s adventures at the school take a mysterious turn. Those who appear to be friends are turning out to be enemies. And oddly enough, sworn enemies are also turning into friends. So begins the gripping third installment of this “highly addictive series” (Romantic Times), in which Zoey’s mettle will be tested like never before. Her best friend, Stevie Rae, is undead and struggling to maintain a grip on her humanity. Zoey doesn’t have a clue how to help her, but she does know that anything she and Stevie Rae discover must be kept secret from everyone else at the House of Night, where trust has become a rare commodity. Speaking of rare: Zoey finds herself in the very unexpected and rare position of having three boyfriends. Mix a little bloodlust into the equation and the situation has the potential to spell social disaster. Just when it seems things couldn’t get any tougher, vampyres start turning up dead. Really dead. It looks like the People of Faith, and Zoey’s horrid step-father in particular, are tired of living side-by-side with vampyres. But, as Zoey and her friends so often find out, how things appear rarely reflects the truth…

Thoughts: )
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2010-04-19 11:14 am
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Betrayed, by PC and Kristin Cast


(Buy from Amazon.ca)

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Fledgling vampyre Zoey Redbird has managed to settle in at the House of Night. She’s come to terms with the vast powers the vampyre goddess, Nyx, has given her, and is getting a handle on being the new Leader of the Dark Daughters. Best of all, Zoey finally feels like she belongs--like she really fits in. She actually has a boyfriend…or two. Then the unthinkable happens: Human teenagers are being killed, and all the evidence points to the House of Night. While danger stalks the humans from Zoey’s old life, she begins to realize that the very powers that make her so unique might also threaten those she loves. Then, when she needs her new friends the most, death strikes the House of Night, and Zoey must find the courage to face a betrayal that could break her heart, her soul, and jeopardize the very fabric of her world.

Thoughts: )
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2010-04-13 02:00 pm
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Marked, by PC and Kristin Cast


(Buy from Amazon.ca)

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird's world, vampyres have always existed. In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire--that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are chosen do. It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny--with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

Thoughts: )
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2010-03-16 10:47 am
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The Crystal Desert, by Julia Gray


(Buy from Amazon.ca)

Summary: (Taken from Amazon.ca) Terrel's destiny is far from clear. In exile from his home, he journeys through a hostile world, with only the spirits from an earlier life and his instincts to guide him. Having crossed two oceans, Terrel finds himself in Misrah. A harsh and barren desert land, survival there is a daily struggle for its nomadic tribes. But Misrah is also a place of many wonders, where superstition is as important as the constant search for water. For Terrel, his magical talents may be all that can save him—and lead him one step closer to discovering the truth of the mysterious prophecies in the Tindaya Code.

Thoughts: )