Friday, January 25, 2013

Cheers to authors from Down Under! (fiction) - Australia Day

Australia Day is tomorrow, so let's look at some great BooksYALove by authors from Down Under.

book cover of Takeshita Demons by Cristy Burne published by Frances Lincoln Childrens Books
Cristy Burne writes adventurous tales about Miku who encounters many creatures from Japanese folklore, like Takeshita Demons (my review) who followed her family to London and  The Filth-Licker (review here) that her classmates meet up with at camp.

Not sure if Sherryl Clark herself has heard the dead, but her character Sasha in Dying to Tell Me  (my review) certainly can! Visions of blood and death in sleepy little Manna Creek at the edge of the Outback...

A being condemned to inhabit another body as camouflage, over and over; she calls herself Mercy  (my review) in the first book of the series by Rebecca Lim. Book 2, Exile, is in my overflowing to-be-read pile and promises a few more clues about who Mercy might be and why she's existing this way.

book cover of Butterflies by Susanne Gervay published by Kane Miller
Only males may become Dragoneye lords, but one young woman knows she has the power to mind-link with dragons in Alison Goodman's Eon  (my review) and must save her world in Eona  (my review), both now available in paperback.

Susanne Gervay interviewed many teen burn patients as she wrote Butterflies (my review), which follows Katherine through surgery, school worries, and her choices for the future.

She expected snow, festivals and historic shrines, but there was no way to predict that Hannah's Winter (my review) in Japan would include ancient evil spirits and a donut-throwing ghost! Kierin Meehan packs plenty of mystery and historical tidbits into this intriguing story.

book cover of I Lost My Mobile at the Mall by Wendy Harmer published by Kane Miller
Elly has such bad luck! I Lost My Mobile at the Mall, she cries to her parents, who tell her that she's not getting another cell phone from them. Wendy Harmer ably turns her comic touch to this too-common young adult crisis (my review).

The Reformed Vampire Support Group  by Catherine Jinks got to the bestseller list, but I snuck it onto BooksYALove anyway. Be sure you meet this Sydney self-help group that finally has to venture out of its decades-old comfort zone to help someone else (my review).

Mary Arrigan follows a family from Ireland's Potato Famine to the goldfields of Australia in historical fiction of a time period that we usually don't see. Surely the dream of Etsy's Gold  (my review) can come true if they work hard enough?

book cover of The Visconti House by Elsbeth Edgar published by Candlewick
A gentle story of love, loss, and friendship starts and ends in the mural-painted rooms of The Visconti House  in a quiet Australian country town - my review of Elsbeth Edgar's debut novel here.

Stolen: a Letter to my Captor, by Lucy Christopher, might be the scariest book on this list, as it tells of a carefully plotted kidnapping that lands Gemma far, far in the Outback in terrible danger (my review).

Check out these stellar books from Aussie authors today at your local library or independent bookstore!


These are among the 6,000 books recommended on All review copies and cover images courtesy of their respective publishers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Unnaturalists, by Tiffany Trent (fiction) - steampunk, witch-fairy mutiny?

book cover of The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent published by Simon Schuster
Science is good, magic is bad.
Technology is better than nature.
The powers-that-be hold all the power in this city...
or do they?

Steampunk plus pixies, manticores, and sphinxes - all in an alternate London swept out of its own world and time by a Tesla coil in the wrong hands! Vespa is in great peril as she awakens to her powers as a witch in this so-rational City.

If you've ever wondered about how book covers are created, go behind the scenes at the photo shoot for The Unnaturalists.  You'll find it in hardback now at your local library or independent bookstore; don't wait for the August 2013 paperback edition!

So, just how steampunk do you like your alternate history books?

Book info: The Unnaturalists / Tiffany Trent. Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2012. [author's website] [publisher site]

My Recommendation:

Vespa loves working with her father, preparing captured magical creatures for display in the museum. But now she must make a good match, ignoring the signs that she’s as Unnatural as anything in the museum – and in terrible danger.

The Church of Science and Technology controls New London after a temporal quirk landed that city in an alternate England generations ago; it allows no magic or witchery within its bounds. The Tinker folk who respect nature and its Elementals endure a hardscrabble existence outside the City Wall, adopting City children born with magical traits and abandoned there, exposed to the Creeping Waste.

Syrus listens to Granny’s stories in the Tinker camp, knows that the City soldiers will soon take more Tinkers to slave in the Refinery which produces the substance to power the City, senses that Vespa is not like other City folk, knows that the land will rupture and perish when the last Elementals are gone.

The secret society of Architects also knows that the Church cannot keep capturing Elementals /Unnaturals without endangering their world, and they foil the Refiners at every turn. When Syrus gets caught up in their conflict, he rushes to rescue his clan members from the Refinery.

Vespa’s time as Companion to high-born Lucy is filled with dressmaker’s appointments and matchmaker consultations, when her mistress suddenly demands that she use magic to craft a love charm! But lurking secrets in Lord Virulen’s manor house may upset the young ladies’ scheme before it begins.

Does so-ordinary Vespa possess enough untapped magic to help Lucy capture a nobleman’s heart before the Empress discovers their crime?
Who is the secretive Architect risking exposure as he shields Syrus from the Refiners’ wrath?
Why didn’t Vespa ever suspect that she was a witch in the first place?

Steampunk and fantasy collide in this alternate world created by Tiffany Trent, as the creatures seen as Elementals by the Tinkers and as Unnaturals by the Citizens hold the key to everything.
(One of 6,000 books recommended on Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Butterfly Clues, by Kate Ellison (fiction) - obsession, loss, mystery

book cover of The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison published by Egmont
If the arrangement is precise,
life will fall into place.
If the collection is balanced,
personalities will align again.
If manipulating objects could only heal people...

Lo isn't hoarding; she's trying to make sense of hurtful events that seem so random. Even if it puts her in danger, investigating in a bad part of town, compelled to steal things to add to the display of possible find a killer, to discover why her brother left, to find herself.

It's No Name-Calling Week, highlighting ways we can prevent bullying behavior, put-downs, and harassment, like Lo experienced with the acid-burned photos stuck on her school locker.

Just out in paperback (look for the blue cover with red butterfly), you'll also find The Butterfly Clues  in hardback at your local library or independent bookstore.

How much can we rearrange things and people?

Book info: The Butterfly Clues / Kate Ellison. Egmont USA, hardback 2012, paperback 2013. [author's website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

My Recommendation:  Lo is guided to each object she takes, compelled to arrange them just-so, trying desperately to be unnoticed at school like she is at home, since her brother disappeared. She ignores those who call her Penelope, like Mom ignores the outside world now.

She taps significant patterns to keep her safe as she roams neighborhoods to stay out of the too-quiet house. A bang, shattering glass, a bullet in the brick wall nearby – Lo checks the news online later to discover that a young woman was killed at that moment, in that place, jewelry stolen.

At the flea market, a butterfly figurine calls to her to be taken (but-ter-fly, 3 perfect syllables). Lo recognizes it from the news article, stolen from the dead girl Sapphire, she just knows it. Seller says it was in a dumpster, but who’d stick around a murder scene to steal costume jewelry and knick-knacks, then dump them? Something is off-balance here, and Lo can’t stand for anything to be unbalanced, so she starts to investigate.

Visiting the gentlemen’s club where Sapphire worked, talking to homeless people, Lo can’t stop looking for things that will unmask the killer. Meeting Flynt the artist is an unexpected bonus, a joy, but can he be trusted not to tell what Lo is doing in this bad part of Cleveland on her own?

When the phone rings at home, telling her to mind her own business, Lo is a little worried. When acid-scorched photos appear on her school locker, telling her to back off, she gets anxious. When she sees Flynt’s tattoo and remembers a clue in Sapphire’s house, she gets frantic.

Will the killer come to her home?
Will Flynt deny the connection that Lo has discovered?
Will she be able to keep her counting compulsions under control long enough to convince the police to do something?
(One of 6,000 books recommended on Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.