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Top Ten Tuesday: YA Reads for Fans of Period Dramas

Hi there!

Who likes loosing themselves in a good old fashioned historical drama?  Downton Abbey perhaps? Reign? Pride and Prejudice? The Tudors? North & South perhaps?!

YES PLEASE!

In my world historical dramas are always a positive! No wonder then why I tend to be drawn towards historical fiction when choosing books! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about YA titles for fans of the wonderful world of period dramas!

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

  • Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. Takes place in Paris in 1889 at the height of France’s beautiful era.
  • The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron. Historical fiction inspired by the mystery surrounding Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, England and the 5th Duke of Portland.
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. Historical fantasy set in a medieval Brittany. There are assassin nuns. Yup.

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy BlundellManor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

  • What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell. This coming of age drama is set in South Florida post World War II…intrigue and seductions abound!
  • Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore.  An upstairs/downstairs drama set in a 1911 England.
  • The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. It’s Manhattan 1889 and this is a historical drama full of gossip, fashion, wealth, and romance.

Changeling by Philippa GregoryThe Diviners by Libba Bray

  • Changeling by Philippa Gregory. Picture it…Italy 1453! (ha!) The Goodreads summary says that “dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance” populate this one! It was surprisingly fun!
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray. This supernatural drama is set in New York City at the height of the Roaring Twenties!

Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba BrayCross My Heart by Sasha Gould 2

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. Another supernatural period drama only this time we’re in a Victorian English boarding school!
  • Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould. A mysterious secret society of women handle things their own way in a 1580s Venice.

Clearly I have a type. Pretty period costume? Check. *nods in approval*

So, what do you think? Are there any other YA period dramas you’d recommend to those of us who love them?

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It’s a History Mystery! Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould

Hello again!  Today’s book review is about a book I read for the 2012 Debut Authors Challenge hosted by The Story SirenCross My Heart by Sasha Gould.

Venice, 1585.  When 16-year-old Laura della Scala learns that her older sister, Cross My Heart by Sasha GouldBeatrice, was drowned, she is given no time to grieve. Instead, Laura’s father removes her from the convent where he forcibly sent her years earlier and orders her to marry Beatrice’s fiancé, a repulsive old merchant named Vincenzo. Panicked, Laura betrays a powerful man to earn her way into the Segreta, a shadowy society of women who deal in only one currency—secrets. The Segreta seems like the answer to Laura’s prayers. The day after she joins their ranks, Vincenzo is publicly humiliated and conveniently exiled. Soon, however, Laura begins to suspect that her sister’s death was not a tragic accident but a cold-blooded murder—one that might involve the Segreta and the women she has come to trust.

I must admit I was drawn to the cover of Cross My Heart.  I mean look at it — it is gorgeous!  I love the way in which the girl’s gown become the image of Venice with the buildings, canals and gondolas.  Gorgeous and smart.  Smart because Venice is almost a character in and of itself in this book so it makes sense to feature it on the cover.

When I was a Social Studies teacher (before I was a librarian) the 7th grade curriculum covered the history of the Mayas in ancient Latin America.  We studied their culture and the fact that, although there are many theories, no one really knows exactly why the Mayas abandoned their cities.  The Mayas were a history mystery, as I’d tell the class to help them differentiate between them and the Aztecs or Incas.  So, I love my historical fiction mixed in with a bit of history.  Cross My Heart is just that.  The story opens with the mysterious death of a young Venetian woman.   Gould totally grabbed my attention with this one.  I was hooked and once I was hooked I couldn’t put it down. Also, there’s a huge twist that I totally didn’t see coming, but once it did it made total sense.

Sometimes when a story begins with suspense like this one, it starts to fall off towards the middle, but I was pleasantly surprised when the story continued to intrigue me.  One of the major driving forces of this continued interest was the Segreta.  I love the idea of a secret society of powerful Venetian women using secrets to pull the strings of politics in the city.  I only wish we could have seen a little more of the Segreta and the way in which they use their power (maybe a sequel?).

Cross My Heart is a light, but suspense filled historical fiction debut that I would recommend to readers who like some mystery mixed in with their history!  I think older teen girls would enjoy this one more than boys as well (since there is a hint of romance too!).

Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould 2Also, there is another cover I keep seeing floating around but I’m not sure which is the official one.  It  lends the book an extra air of intrigue, and would appeal more to teen readers, but I just love one above.

Author: Sasha Gould

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books (March 13, 2012)

Format: Ebook ARC from NetGalley (THANK YOU!)

Length: 272 pages

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: Cross My Heart

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Top Ten Tuesday: Historical Fiction Titles I’ve Read and Enjoyed

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish to showcase book and help other book bloggers get to know each other better.  This week’s theme was supposed to be “Books I’d Play Hookie With” but I just couldn’t get into it, so I went a different route.

Did you know I was a history major in college?  Yes, its true!  I love learning about different time periods and thinking about what life must have been like during those particular times. I also really enjoy historical fiction, but I tend to read less of it than any other genre because it doesn’t circulate at my school.  I try to focus on reading those things that my students will check out, so I can be informed on their tastes.   Because of this I haven’t been able to read a lot of Young Adult or Middle Grades historical fiction, but I decided that I’d let you know which ones I have read and have enjoyed.  So, this week’s Top Ten is focused on ten Historical Fiction titles I’ve read and enjoyed (in no particular order).

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell BartolettiThe Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti 

Based on the true story of teenager Helmut Hubner, who dares to tell the truth about Hitler in a World War II Germany.

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy BlundellWhat I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

A coming of age story of age story involving a girl and the scandal that surrounds her family’s vacation to Florida in a Post World War II United States.

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack GantosDead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (MG)

Part fiction and part memoir, Jack Gantos tells the story of one  strange, mysterious and humorous summer in his childhood.

Woods Runner by Gary PaulsenWoods Runner by Gary Paulsen (MG)

On the cusp of the American Revolution young Sam must rescue his parents when they are kidnapped by Red Coats.

Cross My Heart by Sasha GouldCross My Heart by Sasha Gould (YA)

A girl navigates life in Venetian society while trying to discover the secrets surrounding her sister’s mysterious death.

May B by Carolyn Starr RoseMay B.: A Novel by Carolyn Starr Rose (MG)

A girl struggling with dyslexia on the prairie is sent away to help a newlywed couple only to be abandoned in the middle of an extremely harsh winter.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'DellIsland of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell (MG)

Karana is the Indian girl who lives alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins where she struggles to survive and undergoes personal discovery.

Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and TR SimonZora and Me by Victoria Bond and TR Simon (MG)

A fictionalized tale of the childhood of writer Zora Neale Hurston in which she and her friends uncover a mystery in their hometown of Eatonville, Florida.

Billy Creekmore by Tracey PorterBilly Creekmore by Tracey Porter (MG)

An orphan boy  travels from the coal mines of West Virginia in the early 1900s to the world of a traveling circus, in search of his past, his future, and his own true identity.

The Sacrifice by Kathleen Benner DubleThe Sacrifice by Kathleen Benner Duble (MG)

The year is 1692 and witches have been found in Salem, Massachusetts.  Panic begins to spread to Abigail Faulkner’s town of Andover causing life  to quickly and  drastically change for Abigail and her family.

What do you think of the list?  I’m sure there are tons of historical fiction titles I haven’t read yet.  Do you have any recommendations for my future reading?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring Break To-Read List

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and Bookish.
Its March in Florida which means is Spring! The weather is hitting the mid to high 80s again and we’ve had the AC more than once this past week. Also, my county’s Spring Break starts next week which is fabulous! I love spring Spring Break because a. I don’t have to work, b. I get to work out in the morning, c. I get to do tons of reading! I have a few books I’d like to finish over the break and some I’d like to begin. So, today’s top ten list is all about the books I’d like to read over my Spring Break.

First, the books I’d like to finish:

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner1. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Cinder by Marissa Meyer2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cross My Hart by Sasha Gould3. Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould

Now, for the books I’d like to start:

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins1. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale2. Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater3. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen4. Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Above World by Jenn Reese5. Aboveworld by Jenn Reese

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith6. The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love by Jennifer E. Smith

Serephina by Rachel Hartman7. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

I’m sure I won’t be able to get to all of these, but its worth a try! What are you hoping to read this Spring? Is there anything I need to add to my list?

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Top Ten Tuesday: March New Releases

Well, hello there!

So, its not quite March yet but it is time to showcase some of the books that will be released in March! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is focused on March new releases! Now,  there are obviously more than ten new releases in March, but these are some that I’m particularly excited about.  Its time for the list so, here it is!

Storm Runners: Eruption by Roland Smith1. Storm Runners: Eruption by Roland Smith (March 1)

Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould2. Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould (March 13) 

Out of Sight Out of Time by Ally Carter3. Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls #5) by Ally Carter  (March 13)

Big Nate Goes for Broke by Lincoln Peirce 4. Big Nate Goes for Broke by Lincoln Peirce (March 20)

Dead is a Battlefield by Marlene Perez5. Dead Is a Battlefield (Dead Is #6) by Marlene Perez (March 6)

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen6. Chomp by Carl Hiaasen (March 27)

Pinch Hit by Tim Green7. Pinch Hit by Tim Greene (March 20) 

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink8. A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink (March 20) 

Dead of Night 30 Clues by Peter Lerangis9. The Dead of Night (The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers Series #3)  by Peter Lerangis (March 6)

Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter10. Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test #2) by Aimee Carter (March 27)

Like I said, there are tons of new releases in March. Are there any newbies you’re excited about that I didn’t mention?

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Bookish Goals for 2012

It’s always good to have goals, right?

I tend to stay away from making “resolutions” in the new year because I think its silly to resolve to be better or give something up just because its January.  I’d rather make a goal to try to reach.  So I am making some bookish/blogging goals for 2012.

Now, as an educator I know a goal has to be specific, measurable, and realistic.  So, lets see if my goals fit the description.

2012 Debute Author ChallengeGoal #1: Participate in and complete the 2012 Debut Author Challenge

Kristi at The Story Siren hosts this challenge and it sounds like a good way to discover new authors and meet some new book bloggers. All I have to do is read and review a minimum of twelve young adult or middle grade debut novels between the dates of January 1, 2012 – January 31, 2013.  Sounds good!  NetGalley is helping me out with the Advanced Reader Copies  (thank you NetGalley!) so I can get my hands on some of these titles.  Here are the books I have e-book copies of and plan on using in the 2012 DAC:

  • Halflings by Heather Burch
  • Don’t You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire
  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
  • The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani
  • May B. by Caroline Rose
  • Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould
  • After the Snow by S.D. Crockett
  • The Edumacation of Jay Baker by Jay Clark

So, thats already 8 titles I plan on counting towards my goal. Specific? Yes.  Measurable? Yes. Realistic?  I think so.  That’s 1 book per month or more if I’d like. I can spread them out however I like. Don’t forget I have two and a half months of summer break to look forward to!

Goal #2: Read 90 Books

This sounds pretty big for some people.  However, I read 69 books in 2011 so I think that 90 is a pretty good goal.  I think I could have read that much in 2011 if I had started the year with the same momentum I have now.  At the start of 2011 I was just trying out this YA/MG book blogging thing and wasn’t as purposeful about it.   So, specific? Yes. Measurable? Yes.  I keep track of all the books I’ve read on my Goodreads profile. Realistic?  Possibly.  Can I increase the number of books I read by 21?  Hopefully!!
Goal #3: Host 1 Giveaway

I’ve had the chance this past year to win a few giveaways hosted on other blogs.  I’d like to be able to do something similar and give away books as prizes.  I would have loved to do one to commemorate the one year anniversary of BookTasty, but I don’t think I can get it all set up in three days.  So, I’ll wait until another opportune time this year.  I will need some help with this though, so any other book bloggers out there who have hosted a giveaway before please feel free to send advice!  Specific? Sure!  Measurable? Yes.  Realistic? I think it is.  Remember I have until December 31, 2012 to achieve this goal!

So, there you go!  My goals for the new year!  Will I keep you posted?  Oh most definitely!

It seems that everyone else is making goals for 2012, what are some of your bookish or blogging goals for 2012?