The Kiss of Deception – Mary Pearson

the kiss of deceptionPrincess Lia must marry a prince she has never seen or met to broker a peace between two kingdoms.  Lia is not a big fan of that whole ‘sacrifice happiness for the good of the kingdom’ thing.  So Lia and her best friend, Pauline hatch a last minute plan to run away.  They make their way to an inn that was Pauline’s childhood home in a peaceful seaside village.  Quickly settling into life in the busy inn, Lia lets her guard down.  Two travellers wander into the inn; both become enamored of Lia and decide to stay a while.  One is the jilted prince, determined to track her down and angry because she bolted before he did.  The other is an assassin sent by a neighboring kingdom tasked with killing Lia to start a war.

The chapter title tells the reader if it is the Assassin, the Prince, or Lia who is telling the story.  Ahhh, but which man is the assassin and which is the prince?  I am a gushing fan of Mary Pearson and adore The Miles Between.  This is also quite excellent.  A delicious adventure with a tingle of romance and deceit.  This will be quite popular and ends with a cliff hanger.  I eagerly await the next book in this new series, The Remnant Chronicles.  Highly recommend.

eGalley review     Publication date 7.15.14

Posted in fantasy, highly recommend | Tagged

The Sacred River – Wendy Wallace

the sacred riverLuxor is wonderful.  The air is dry, clear, and for the first time in her life, Harriet can breathe.  For the first time she truly feels alive.  The noxious fogs of Victorian London made Harriet’s asthma life threatening, so her mother finally agreed to take her to Egypt for her health.  Harriet has been fascinated by all things Egyptian for most of her twenty-three years, teaching herself to read hieroglyphics and occasionally using them to create charms.  She doesn’t care whether or not her health improves, just to see Egypt will make her life complete.  At the request of her father, Yael, her father’s spinster sister, goes with them.  This is the story of three women, released from society’s constraints, becoming themselves, each in her own way.  It is beautifully written, with the atmosphere of Egypt filling the pages.  I could feel the heat and dust of Alexandria and the cooling breezes of Luxor.  The characters were well drawn, always properly Victorian, never stepping out of the 19th century.   I enjoyed the book, and recommend it.

eGalley review      Publication date 7.1.14

Posted in adult, realistic fiction | Tagged

The Body in the Woods – April Henry

body in the woodsA teen unit within a search and rescue group receives the alert for their first assignment to find a missing man in the woods.  Instead, they stumble upon the body of a teen recently murdered and realize they must have passed the murderer on the trails.  They piece together the recent murder of homeless teens and try to prevent the next murder.  The Body in the Woods is a slight departure from the author’s highly popular suspense novels in that much of the text is devoted to crime solving techniques.  The suspense is ever present and the use of alternate points of view is well executed.  The three teens are each dealing with their own issues while reluctantly coming together to solve the crime.  Girl Stolen is still my favorite book of the author to recommend to middle school readers, but this book will find a following too.

eGalley review      Publication date 6.17.14

Posted in mystery, suspense | Tagged

Circa Now – Amber McRee Turner

circa now

Circa’s parents own a photography studio.  Her mother photographs family portraits and her father is amazing in restoration photography.  He taught his daughter, Circa, intricate techniques to add detail into photos.  Circa’s father is delivering a photograph in the middle of a violent storm and he is killed.  Circa’s mother already battles depression and has difficulty leaving the house so the cruel weight of her husband’s death is almost too much.  But soon after the tragedy, a young boy with amnesia shows up at their house.  His plight gives Circa and her mother new life.

While the plot sounds heavy, the story is full of life and small joys.  The magic of manipulating photos, the steady friendships, and strong-willed Circa bring this story together with a smile.  And Miles, the mystery boy, is the symbol of rebirth that so many long for.  Engaging, heart-warming, and uplifting.  Highly recommend.

eGalley review      Publication date 5.27.14

Posted in highly recommend, realistic fiction | Tagged ,

Say What You Will – Cammie McGovern

say what you willAmy and Matthew are high school students with unique sets of personal challenges. Amy has Cerebral Palsy and needs a walker to move around and a computer-like machine to voice her thoughts. Matthew struggles with OCD and anxiety. When Amy decides she’d like to have student helpers during her senior year, she encourages Matthew to apply, and they develop a wonderful, supportive, and encouraging friendship. They keep one another balanced and help each other grown and heal. The story is beautifully told and has unexpected twists and turns that keep the reader enthralled. Say What You Will is an inspirational story that shows how strong, caring, and brave people can be when faced with challenges. The is a refreshing read and quite excellent. Highly recommend.

eGalley review   Publication date 6.3.14

Posted in highly recommend, realistic fiction | Tagged , ,

Allies and Assassins – Justin Somper

allies and assassinsJared receives word his older brother, Prince Anders, is dead and he must now assume the title of Prince of Archenfeld. The death is ruled murder by poisoning and his young wife, revealing she is pregnant, could have been the possible target. Or perhaps she was the assassin. Prince Jared, with the help Asta Peck, the Healer’s niece, is determined to discover the truth behind the murder. The new prince is only sixteen and is suddenly saddled with the ruling of a kingdom and learning who is truly an ally and who is an assassin.

The book covers one week in the young ruler’s life and the whirlwind of events following shifting suspicions. With many discussions set in the morgue to determine cause of death, the feel of this book is more murder mystery/detective novel. The political conniving and accusations are present and might take center stage in the next book in the series. Asta is my favorite character. She means well, but blunders a bit. A fun read that moves quickly along, setting things up nicely for the next book and a promise of more action.

eGalley review       Publication date 5.27.14

Posted in mystery | Tagged

The Explorers: A Story of Fearless Outcasts, Blundering Geniuses, and Impossible Success – Martin Dugard

the explorersRichard Francis Burton was determined to find the source of the Nile and convinced the Royal Geographic Society to fund his journey. That was not unexpected. When Burton proposed that John Hanning Speke accompany him, that was most unexpected. Their first joint journey into Africa was filled with dissension and bitterness, and Burton treated Speke badly on their return, using Speke’s notes in his book and making Speke look like a fool. But Burton realized that he needed Speke. Speke wouldn’t quit. Speke had a lack of fear. Speke was a good explorer. Speke wanted to turn the request down, but he realized that he needed Burton and this trip for redemption . . .to erase the stain on his name. So the unlikely pair set out in 1856 to explore darkest Africa.

While this book is an account of Burton and Speke’s journey to find the source of the Nile, it is much more than that. The author has examined the seven traits that make an explorer: curiosity, hope, passion, courage, independence, self-discipline and perseverance. Each chapter is devoted to a trait, and various explorations are cited to make his point. It’s a very interesting concept that takes the stories of familiar explorers to a new level and gives insight into how these traits can be used to enhance our lives. I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.

eGalley review Publication date 6.3.14

Posted in adult, nonfiction | Tagged , , ,