Thursday, April 24, 2014

Candace Reviews The Taking by @KimberlyDerting

The Taking by Kimberly Derting Series: The Taking #1
Published by Harper on April 29th, 2014 
Genres: sci-fi, young adult
Pages: 368 
Format: ARC 
Source: Amazon Vine
A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.
When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.
Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.
Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

This review was first posted at Candace's Book Blog.
The Taking delivered something new to the YA genre (to me anyway- I certainly haven’t read everything out there) and was exactly the kind of book I was craving, even if I didn’t know it.

Characters~ Kyra was a normal girl one minute, playing softball, fighting with her dad and then POOF, she wakes up behind a garbage bin at a gas station and when she goes home she discovers she’s been gone for 5 years. Can you imagine? Waking up in the same clothes, with the same bruises on your body, etc? And everyone is saying you’ve been gone 5 years? Her family is different, her boyfriend and best friend have moved on. Her parents are ecstatic to see her, but they are different. Everyone is different. And this is hard for Kyra. I had to keep reminding myself that it was just YESTERDAY that she was experiencing a much different life. So when she threw tantrums (sort of) it was frustrating, but somewhat understandable. I would have been screaming at people because her whole life is different. She in a way has no one. But she does, her boyfriends (ex-boyfriend now) brother is all grown up and is the only one who listens to her and seems to understand her and what she’s going through.

Tyler is such a sweet guy! I loved that he listened to her and never doubted her word. He did all these big gestures and it was so sweet! I felt like I shouldn’t like him so much, but I really did.

Kyra’s dad was actually pretty great and I liked that he went to such lengths to find Kyra and was open minded. Though Kyra wasn’t as open minded as him and totally denied things, I liked that her father was willing to do so much. It’s clear that her father is going to be important in the future. Her mother was a bit frustrating and not as present. She seems to have a harder time with things, but that’s also understandable.

Romance~ Tyler is Kyra’s ex-boyfriends brother and he was young when she had seen him before she disappeared. So it seems like it would be weird for them to have something, Kyra thinks it’s weird and fights it, but Tyler doesn’t. He does all these amazing big gestures for her and listens to her. In the end he’s the most important person to her, at least that knows her situation. Things seem insta-lovey at first, and things do progress fast, but it was okay with me because of the crazy situation. It maybe went fast, but I didn’t mind that too much.

Plot~ I wouldn’t say this has a huge mystery. For me it was clear what had happened to Kyra. I don’t think it was even suppose to really be a mystery. Of course I want to know MORE and hopefully that comes. But for now that’s not important. While I had a good idea of where she went, I didn’t know all the extras. How she’s changed and now can do things. How there’s a bad side effect, etc. Learning all this was fascinating and I’m anxious for more. This is the kind of plot I’ve been wanting to read in a YA and it was so great!

I really enjoyed this book and devoured it in less than a day. Once I started reading I needed to know more. While there were some things I had figured out, there was way more that surprised me. I’m super anxious for more as this one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. It’s a positive note one though, and has me hopeful for many things. So excited for more from this series!

Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes, all opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Kimberly Derting is the author of the BODY FINDER series (HarperCollins), which are as much coming-of-age romance as they are paranormal thrillers, as well as the dystopic-fantasy THE PLEDGE trilogy (Simon & Schuster). She lives in the Pacific Northwest where the gloomy weather is ideal for writing anything dark and creepy. Her three beautiful (and often mouthy) children serve as an endless source of inspiration, and often find the things they say buried in the pages of their mother’s books.

Find Kimberly on...
Her websiteHer blogFacebookGoodreadsTwitter

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Weaving a Story by Katherine Kirkpatrick @ReadKirkpatrick

Weaving a Story

by Katherine Kirkpatrick, 

Author of 'Between Two Worlds' (novel, ages 14 and up)

Between Two Worlds, copyright © 2014 by Sam Weber

Katherine Paterson wrote: “There are magical moments in writing historical fiction when the woof of one’s invention moving through the warp of history suddenly seems to make sense. The pattern begins to merge, filling the writer with surprise and joy” (from the essay “In Search of a Story: The Setting as Source”).

Like Paterson, I love those aha moments when the fact gathering gives way to something larger, when the story takes on a life of its own. This experience happened to me as I was writing my young adult novel Between Two Worlds, set in the Greenland Arctic in 1900-1901. The novel tells of a real-life 16-year-old Inuk woman, Eqariusaq, also known as Billy Bah, on board explorer Robert E. Peary’s ice-locked ship Windward.

Caption: Billy Bah, age 16, by Clarence Wyckoff, 1901. Sam Weber, the jacket artist for Between Two Worlds, used this photo to help him depict the main character’s face. Copyright © Kim Fairley and Silas Hibbard Ayer III

Happily, after amassing pages of unrelated facts about Inuit life, I began to envision my characters in scenes. For example, as I was reading descriptions of how an Inuk woman uses her ulu (curved utility knife) to trim hides before sewing, I pictured a group of women on a ship. They bickered over who would take the largest and best strips of seal furs for her garments. In finding the action, I’d created the start of a scene: the women were not just sewing, they were arguing.

In writing this scene, I imagined sensory details: the luxurious feeling of the furs, their pungent smell, and how tired the women’s jaws must have been after softening hides with their teeth. I asked myself questions to compose my scenes. How did Inuit women resolve who gets what in terms of choice supplies? How did mothers occupy young children when they worked? How long did it take to sew together two pelts? Research involves thinking through logistics, as much as it is about gathering facts.

In some ways researching Between Two Worlds was easy, because I’d already written The Snow Baby, which also features explorer Peary’s family in the Arctic. But this time I chose to tell the story from an Inuk girl’s point of view. For inspiration, I often flipped through the pages of a beautiful book called Boreal Ties: Photographs and Two Diaries of the 1901 Peary Relief Expedition, edited by Kim Fairley Gillis and Silas Hibbard Ayer III. This book features two New York businessmen, Clarence Wyckoff and Louis Bement, who journeyed to the Arctic as what we would call today “adventure tourists.” Unlike the illiterate sailors from poor families who served as crew on Peary’s ships, Wyckoff and Bement traveled with pens, journals, and the latest camera equipment. After their voyage, the men pasted copies of each other’s photographs in their scrapbooks while often not identifying which man took which shot.

To my delight I found most of my characters within this treasure trove of images. Impish eight-year-old Marie Peary, obviously the little darling of the Windward’s crew, prances about on deck, clad in furs from head to toe. One photograph shows her at the ship’s wheel pretending to steer. Another shot depicts a group of Inuit girls and women teaching her to sew. Another image shows Marie and an Inuk who I feel sure is Billy Bah posed in front of a tupik (leather tent), having their photograph taken.

Only one photo is tagged with her name, a stunning portrait, “Billy Bah, girl of 16.” She looks straight at the viewer, half smiling, seemingly pleased. The photo helped many other images in my mind to coalesce with known historical facts. No author can reach into history with 100 percent accuracy. But through fact gathering, questioning, guesswork, and intuitively weaving imaginative scenarios into the rich fabric of actual events, I came to tell a story, my story of Billy Bah. I hope you enjoy Between Two Worlds.

We are so appreciative for Katherine to stop by our blog and tell us more about 'Between Two Worlds'.  Thanks Katherine!  You should totally stop by and check out Katherine's website!  Find her on Twitter.  Don't forget to add 'Between Two World's' to your Goodreads To Read List.

Between Two Worlds by Katherine Kirkpatrick @ReadKirkpatrick

Happy Book Birthday to 'Between Two World's' by Katherine Kirkpatrick

Published by Wendy Lamb Books/ Random House on April 8, 2014

On the treeless shores of Itta, Greenland, as far north as humans can settle, 16-year-old Inuit Billy Bah spots a ship far out among the icebergs on the bay—a sight both welcome and feared. Explorers have already left their indelible mark on her land and its people, and a ship full of white men can mean trouble.

The ship carries provisions for Robert E. Peary, who is making an expedition to the North Pole. As a child, Billy Bah spent a year in America with Peary’s family. When her parents went to America years later, they died tragically. Now, Peary’s wife, daughter, and crew are in Itta to bring him supplies. Winter comes on fast, and when the ship gets caught in the ice, Billy Bah sets out to find Peary. The journey will imperil her life, and that of the man she loves.

By turns lyrical and gripping, Between Two Worlds is an impassioned coming-of-age novel set in a land of breathtaking beauty and danger, where nature and love are powerful and unpredictable forces.

Check out the full blog tour at the links below!

Monday, April 7, 2014 – New post “Boreal Ties: Part I” in KK’s blog, about research

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 – review in Live to Read

Thursday, April 10, 2014 - guest post by KK and giveaway in The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club
post features the unconventional love story in the book

Friday, April 11, 2014 – review in Bumbles and Fairy Tales

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 – guest post by KK, “Talking to Billy Bah,” in Random House Kids 
post especially for beginning or student writers

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 – review in Rather Be Reading YA

Thursday, April 24, 2014 – Interview with KK in Pandora’s Books

Visit Katherine at:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Myth Matters by @maureenmcquerry

Myth Matters

If someone were to ask me what my books have in common, I might say this: they end up wandering into the mythic woods. Beyond the Door and the paperback of The Peculiars share the same birthday, March 18, 2014. And while I didn’t plan for this double birth, I can’t help looking to see what features the two share.

Beyond the Door starts in a normal home, on a normal day, but normal doesn’t last for long. One of the central characters is the Greenman. Half-man, half-tree, his shape shifts with the seasons. In our front yard we have seventy year old Carolina poplars. I can see them from my writing window. Their bark is rough and ridged, and if you look carefully you can see faces in knot holes. But I first met the Greenman when I was visiting Oxford. In an old church, I looked up and there was a face looking down at me, a face with leaves for hair and vines coming out of his nose. 

The Greenman isn’t the only shapeshifter in my book. There’s Balor the one eyed and Gwydon the wolf who was once a story teller. Shapeshifting involves risk. It’s crossing a boundary, and there is no promise of return. Shapeshifters are always marked. Think of Merlin teaching the young Arthur. In T.H. White’s Once and Future King, Arthur learns about the world by becoming various animals. And it changes him. He’s more insightful. But insight can open us to pain. He’s able to identify in ways he never could before. Think of a selkie, seal-woman. She can reclaim her skin and return to the sea, but she leaves part of her heart on shore. Forever. The werewolf, knows the loneliness of night. He fears who he becomes. Split between two worlds, between two natures he wonders which is his. It’s the question we never escape, who am I? 
At times, we are afraid to learn the answer.

In The Peculiars, Lena embarks on a journey to discover if her long fingers and inflexible feet mean that she’s different on the inside as well. And there are rumors of goblins. Her father may have been one. One of the questions rattling around in my head when I wrote Peculiars was: do we become our parents? Sometimes that’s a good thing, but if our parents are goblins it may not be. And we all have goblins in our family tree.

You see, myth adds subtext to a story. It leads the reader into primal woods where others have traveled before. The writer and reader join a conversation that has been whispered for centuries: where did we come from? Where are we going? Is the world a safe place? This is the territory of writers. The deep place we must be willing to travel with each of our characters. How do we know when we’ve entered the territory of myth?

Author Robin McKinley says: “But myth, to some extent, is where you find it; and you know when you've found it by the way it goes right through you -- like the first heavenly, shocking mouthful of ice cream on a hot day, or falling in love. Whew. Zowie. I always want my stories to be cracking good stories; but I always hope that for some readers there's a resonant depth to them too.”

And Neil Gaiman adds to the conversation with “…sometimes the best way to show people true things is from a direction that they had not imagined the truth coming.”

So what does myth whisper to me? I’ve made a list of some of things I’ve learned from writers like Neil Gaiman, Susan Cooper, Jane Yolen, Lewis and Tolkien:

The inside is often so much larger than the outside

Like Bilbo Baggins, we are all more than meets the eye

There is no easy way out of the maze

We can fight dragons and win

The world isn’t tame

The things we fear are often the wrong things

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

What truths have you learned from myth?

Want to learn more about The Peculiars and Beyond the Door? Stop by Maureen's site. To order The Peculiars and Beyond the Door!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Candace Reviews Starling by Fiona Paul

Starling (The Secrets of the Eternal  Rose #3) by Fiona Paul
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published: March 20th, 2014 by Philomel
Source: Publisher

The dark, seductive conclusion to the thrilling Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy!
In the final book in the trilogy, Cass and Luca are back in Venice trying to find the Book of the Eternal Rose to clear Luca's name and keep them both out of prison. But the hunters become the hunted when the Order of the Eternal Rose figures out their plan. Filled with twists and turns, danger and torrid romances, this novel brings the Secrets of the Eternal Rose novels to a thrilling, heart-pounding, sexy conclusion.

Like the description says, this really was a heart-pounding conclusion! Once I started reading I really didn't want to put it down. It has constant action and very little time to sit back and read. I liked this though and it kept me reading when other books have lost my interest because of their slower pace.

This review was first featured at Candace's Book Blog in March 2014.
The streets and canals of Venice in this time period are vibrant and alive. It's easy to imagine the setting itself, but also all the people within it, even those that are just passersby.

Cass has always felt like a strong character to me. While she might be slightly torn in where her heart lies, she knows strongly in her heart what is right and wrong. When she knows people are being killed she knows she will do anything to save them. To bring down this Order even if she has to do it by herself. Her strength shone in Belladonna but it came through very much in this one as well. There was a time or two that I wasn't so sure she knew what she was doing, making some rash decisions, possibly putting trust into the hands of people she maybe shouldn't. But in the end she really came through and I enjoyed her growth in this one.

A large amount of her growth was obvious in the romantic sense. She had to make a decision about who she loves. We may have thought she already decided, but there are things that come into play here that we don't quite know for sure. Fortunately, she does. While I'm not a big fan of a love triangle, this felt like a realistic one. I can't get into it without spoilers, but you have to remember the teenage heart and how easily it is to get swept up into romance. How it all played out left me happy.

I'm sad to see the series end but I'm very happy with this conclusion. I most definitely recommend this series!

Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes, all opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.
Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Candace Reviews Belladonna by Fiona Paul

Belladonna (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #2) by Fiona Paul
Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: July 16th, 2013 by Philomel
Source: Gifted by another blogger
In Renaissance Italy, love, lust, intrigue and secret societies converge to stunning results!

In the second in the stunning Secrets of the Eternal Rose series, Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fiancé, Luca. But Luca seems to have his own secrets. When he’s arrested by soldiers in the middle of the night, Cass’s life is once again thrown into chaos. She must save Luca, and that means finding the Book of the Eternal Rose—the only evidence that will prove he’s innocent.

So begins her journey to Florence, a city haunted by whispers of vampirism, secret soirees and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose. And home to Falco, who is working for the Order’s eerily stunning leader, the Belladonna herself.

Can Cass trust her heart to lead her to the truth this time?
Nothing is as it seems in this seductive thriller, where the truth may be the deadliest poison of all.
This review was first featured at Candace's Book Blog in June, 2013.
I love, love, love the setting and time period of these books!  But that's not all, I also love the characters and the mystery.  The books tend to suck me in immediately and don't spit me out until the end.  The first book takes place in Venice in it's entirety and this one brought us to Florence for a good chunk of it.  I do love Venice but it was interesting to see a bit more in this one, to have some new scenery and some new characters for awhile.

The book starts out with a bang and Cass is immediately needing to save Luca from certain death.  This lends a sense of urgency to the book as we are with her as she makes the journey to Florence where she's sent on a wild goose chase to try to figure things out.  While in Florence she starts unraveling some mysteries, and discovering some new ones.  She also 'runs into' Falco, her love interest from the first book (not a spoiler).  Cass is extremely determined to save Luca and will do anything.  This leads to some not-so-smart choices but also some extremely brave ones.  At times I was torn about whether I wanted to shake her for this, or wanted to hug her for her bravery.  I did feel that there were a few things she should have figured out and maybe avoided, like she was a bit too trusting of people that she originally knew not to trust.  However, this was a very minor issue for me and one I got over quickly.  I admired Cass for her strength and determination and the lengths she would go to for a man she cared for but wasn't sure whether she loved (at least romantically).

I had some mixed feelings about the romance in this one.  I loved Falco in the first book though he was a bit TOO mysterious at times, I really loved his character.  In this one I felt like I really wanted more from him but he just wasn't very present and he didn't give much to Cass.  He seemed more like he was into her more physically and that's more where his love for her lay, in her body and not so much just for HER.  Luca on the other hand, while not on the page real often, was definitely a character I loved when he was there.  I wasn't a big Luca fan in the first one but now I'm more mixed up inside.  While I'm not a love triangle fan, this is a love triangle that I think actually works.  It's realistic and I 'get' why Cass likes each of them.  I think her heart belongs to one, and I think I know which one, but I do have mixed feelings about it and get how and why things may or may not work for each of them.

The mystery of it all still has a ways to go.  We uncovered a lot of stuff but this is a complicated thing and there's no rushing it.  It's secret society secrets and takes some digging for things to come together.  I am VERY anxious to see where things go in the next book.  Don't worry about a cliffhanger though, the main issues in this book are resolved (at least enough for now).

This book is pretty dark.  There's lots of death and scary things happening.  It wasn't depressing though and never seemed heavy to me.  I read the book quickly and shed a tear or two before I finished.  I recommend this book to mature YA readers that enjoy historical fiction.

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from a blogger who hadn't read the series, it was a gift.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Candace Reviews: Venom by Fiona Paul

Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1) Fiona Paul
Hardcover, 432 pages
Expected publication: Oct. 30th, 2012 by Philomel
Source: Publisher
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.
This review was first featured at Candace's Book Blog in October of 2012.
Venom showed up in my mailbox completely unexpected.  I remember seeing the book around but it wasn't on my wishlist and I'm not even sure I knew what it was about.  So when I saw the beautiful cover I was excited, but once I read the description I was super excited!  Renaissance Venice?!  I mean can you have a more romantic setting?!  I'm not sure I have read a book from that time and place but I knew it would be a fascinating setting.  I immediately started reading (yep, the moment I opened the package!) and was drawn into the gorgeous time period and setting immediately.

Cassandra has been raised by a strict Catholic aunt who is very strict and proper.  This has made Cass feel very alone.  When she finds a murdered girl and meets a new boy the very same night she is thrust into a world of adventure.  It's scary, but she's finally feeling alive.  She starts discovering the underbelly of Venice, the courtesan houses, the artists, and all these people and places she's never been allowed near.  Her and Falco (the guy she meets the night she found the murdered girl) spend nights trying to uncover the mystery and things just keep getting spookier as more girls disappear.

Falco is an artist and he has a light hearted way about him.  He says what he thinks whether it's proper or not and it's not long before Cass is falling for him.  He has a lot of mysteries about him though and this was something that I had figured out long before it was revealed.  I thought the clues were obvious but Cass didn't see them and I think it was just because of the way she was brought up, she never knew anything about this kind of thing.  I didn't mind knowing, but was eager for Cass to know and understand.

I really liked Cass and Falco but I always felt like Falco's personality was held back somehow.  Like his true self didn't shine through as much as it could have.  He still pulled some very romantic moves and kissing in a gondola?  Most romantic setting EVER. So I liked the romance in the book quite a lot.  I also liked that Cass, who was sheltered her whole life, was okay with doing things that she knew was improper.  While she thought it was improper, she did it anyway and didn't hate herself for it too much. 

The main mystery was one I didn't figure out.  I kept guessing but in the end I was completely wrong.  And I thought it was actually clever how the author finished it.  The mystery is semi solved, but there are threads left hanging for the next book.  However it's not a true cliffhanger.  On the other side of things the romance was left open.  Cass is engaged to another man and has to choose between him and Falco.  I believe it's clear who her heart belongs to, but her arranged marriage is what everyone expects of her and this keeps her torn.  As well as the fact that her fiance seems to be a truly good person.   And while the ending didn't feel like the romance left us hanging it wasn't resolved either.  She managed to do it in a way that I felt satisfied but yet I was dying for more.

After reading this book I'm eager to read more about the Renaissance period.  The styles were fascinating and I'm looking forward to doing some googling to learn more about them.  I also loved the setting of Venice and look forward to more books set in this gorgeous and romantic city!

I definitely recommend this book!  It's a hefty book at over 400 pages, but it took me just over a day to read because I found it difficult to put down.  Even though the beginning was slower paced it was still fascinating and the second half when things really started happening I was dying for more so nearly read straight through.  I highly suggest you pick this one up!

Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes, all opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

About the reviewer:
Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

About the Author:
Fiona Paul is a new resident to the PNW and her bio will be along shortly!