Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Bookshelf

These are my favorite books that are currently on my bookshelf. They are fantastic reads! Harry Potter is not included in this list, even though those are some of my favorites. Neither is the Twilight Sega. I have all those books, but I think everyone is already familiar with them.





Song of the Sparrow
The year is 490 AD. Fiery 16-year-old Elaine of Ascolat, the daughter of one of King Arthur's supporters, lives with her father on Arthur's base camp, the sole girl in a militaristic world of men. Elaine's only girl companion is the mysterious Morgan, Arthur's older sister, but Elaine cannot tell Morgan her deepest secret: She is in love with Lancelot, Arthur's second-in-command. However, when yet another girl — the lovely Gwynivere— joins their world, Elaine is confronted with startling emotions of jealousy and rivalry. But can her love for Lancelot survive the birth of an empire? (summary from scholastic)






A Curse Dark as Gold
As Charlotte struggles to manage the difficulties she inherits along with Stirwaters Woollen Mill, she discovers a shadow world at the fringes of the familiar: Dark magic, restless spirits, a mysterious Helper. A wicked uncle, an age-old curse.... How can Charlotte prevail with such forces allied against her? In this novel inspired by “Rumpelstiltskin,” themiller’s daughter of the fairy tale comes to life as a young woman determined to save her family and her mill--whatever the cost. (elizabethcbunce.com)









To Catch a Pirate
Once caught, it’s harder still to let a pirate goWhen Annalisa Townsend’s ship is set upon by pirates in search of her father’s treasure, one of the crew, James Sterling, discovers her in the hold. When he moves to take her necklace, she begs him not to, as it is all she has left of her mother. He accepts a kiss in exchange for the necklace. “A fair trade, m’lady,” he tells her afterward, before disappearing.A year later, with a forged letter of marque, Annalisa is intent on hunting down the wretched James Sterling and reclaiming her father’s treasure from him. But now she’s in danger of him stealing something far more vulnerable this time: her heart.


(summary by barnes and nobles)



The Red Necklace
The story of a remarkable boy called Yann Margoza; Tetu the dwarf, his friend and mentor; Sido, unloved daughter of a foolish Marquis; and Count Kalliovski, Grand Master of a secret society, who has half the aristocracy in thrall to him, and wants Yann dead.Yann is spirited away to London but three years later, when Paris is gripped by the bloody horrors of the Revolution, he returns, charged with two missions: to find out Kalliovski's darkest deeds and to save Sido from the guillotine. With a tangle of secrets, a thread of magic and a touch of humour, the follies of the aristocracy and the sufferings of ordinary people are unfolded as their lives move relentlessly towards the tragic and horrific days of the Terror. THE RED NECKLACE is not only a tremendous adventure story but a vibrant and passionate picture of Paris in turmoil and of a large cast of memorable characters.(sallygardner.net)



Austenland
Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined. Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen—or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own? (shannonhale.com)






The Handmaid and the Carpenter
In this wonderful novel about love and trust, hope and belief, Elizabeth Berg, the bestselling author of We Are All Welcome Here and The Year of Pleasures, transports us to Nazareth in biblical times to reimagine the events of the classic Christmas story.We see Mary - young, strong, and inquisitive - as she first meets Joseph, a serious-minded young carpenter who is steadfastly devoted to the religious traditions of their people. The two become betrothed, but are soon faced with an unexpected pregnancy. Aided by a great and abiding love, they endure challenges to their relationship as well as threats to their lives as they come to terms with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the birth of their child, Jesus. For Mary, the pregnancy is a divine miracle and a privilege. For Joseph, it is an ongoing test not only of his courage but of his faith - in his wife as well as in his God. (fantasticfiction.co.uk)




The Princetta
Princess Malva—the Princetta of Galnicia—flees her kingdom and an arranged marriage, only to find herself betrayed by the very man who promised to help her. Orpheus is the son of a sea-captain-turned-pirate and is determined to make a name of his own commanding a ship in Galnicia’s royal armada. But when their paths cross on the high seas, so do their destinies. Together the Princetta and Orpheus will travel to edges of the Known World and beyond . . . a journey from which only one of them will return alive. Shipwrecks, shark attacks, barbarians, and mysterious archipelagos await readers in this lavish fantasy-adventure written by one of France’s most celebrated authors. (bloomsburyusa.com)





Aurelia
Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and . . . not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her . . . dead. Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the king's former royal spy and one of Aurelia's oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the line - her life, her kingdom, her heart - Aurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost.
(fantastic fiction.co.uk)



Cybele's Secret
Scholarly Paula embarks on an adventure – a trip to Istanbul with her merchant father, Teodor, to purchase an ancient artefact known as Cybele’s Gift. Paula’s fervent wish to rediscover the mysterious Other Kingdom, the realm she and her sisters visited as children, has been replaced by a more practical ambition: to become a trader in books and manuscripts. But clues and whispers soon convince Paula that she has been set a magical quest – and that the person laying the trail may be her lost sister Tati.

Competition for Cybele’s Gift is fierce, and Paula and Teodor soon find themselves in deadly danger. Their protector against worldly perils is their hired guard, Stoyan, a young man with secrets of his own. In the great Ottoman city, Paula is delighted to secure the patronage of a wealthy Greek scholar, Irene of Volos. Accompanied by Stoyan, Paula visits Irene’s personal library, where she uncovers further clues to her mission. It appears Tati has a quest of her own, and that it is linked with Paula’s. Paula is distracted by another bidder for the artefact: the charismatic pirate captain, Duarte da Costa Aguiar, a man who operates by his own set of rules.

When the artefact is finally unveiled, Paula finds herself on a wild chase by sea and land, accompanied by an unlikely pair of companions in adventure. Puzzles, riddles, tests of strength and of loyalty lie before them, and the price of failure is death. Along the way, there are lessons to be learned in wisdom, trust and love. (julietmarillier.com)

I am Rembrant's Daughter
With her mother dead of the plague, and her beloved brother newly married and moved away, Cornelia van Rijn finds herself without a friend or confidante—save her difficult father. Out of favor with Amsterdam’s elite, and considered brash and unreasonable by his patrons, Rembrandt van Rijn, once revered, is now teetering on the brink of madness. Cornelia alone must care for him, though she herself is haunted by secrets and scandal. Her only happiness comes in chance meetings with Carel, the son of a wealthy shipping magnate whose passion for art stirs Cornelia. And then there is Neel, her father’s last remaining pupil, whose steadfast devotion to Rembrandt both baffles and touches her. Based on historical fact, and filled with family dramas and a love triangle that would make Jane Austen proud, I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter is a powerful account of a young woman’s struggle to come of age within the shadow of one of the world’s most brilliant and complicated artists.
(powells.com)


The Gemma Doyle Trilogy







A Great and Terrible Beauty:
It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to? (libbabray.com)
The Goose Girl
She was born with her eyes closed and a word on her tongue, a word she could not taste. Her name was Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she spent the first years of her life listening to her aunt’s stories and learning the language of the birds, especially the swans. And when she was older, she watched as a colt was born, and she heard the first word on his tongue, his name, Falada. From the Grimm’s fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become queen, Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original, and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can lead the people she has made her own. (shannonhale.com)

Enna Burning
Enna's life was not meant to be simple. When her brother, Leifer, brings home a mysterious piece of vellum that teaches him how to set fires — without a spark, without flint — Enna cannot decide if this power is one she wants for herself, or something that should be extinguished forever. And when Bayern, their country, goes to war, the choice becomes nearly unbearable. Enna never imagined that the warm, life-giving energy of a fire could destroy everything she loves, but she must now save herself and Bayern before fire consumes her entirely. Shannon Hale's new tale is wholly original and spellbinding, a powerful companion to her highly acclaimed first book, the goose girl. (shannonhale.com)

River Secrets
Razo--short, funny and not a great soldier--is sure it's out of pity that his captain asks him to join an elite mission--escorting the ambassador into Tira, Bayern's great enemy. But when the Bayern arrive in the strange southern country, it’s Razo who discovers the first dead body. He’s the only Bayern able to befriend both the high and low born, people who can provide information about the ever-increasing murders. And he’s the one who must embrace his own talents in order to get the Bayern soldiers home again, alive. Newbery–Honor winner Shannon Hale returns the reader to the intrigue and magic of Bayern, introduced in her critically acclaimed novels, The Goose Girl and Enna Burning. In River Secrets, readers revisit a world where even those with no special magical skills find in themselves something they never imagined. (shannonhale.com)
Princess Acadamy
High on the side of rocky Mount Eskel, far from the valleys where gardens are green and lush, where lowlanders make laws, Miri’s family has lived forever, pounding a living from the stone of the mountain itself. For as long as she can remember, Miri has dreamed of working alongside the other villagers in the quarries of her beloved mountainside. But Miri has never been allowed to work there, perhaps, she thinks, because she is so small.Then word comes from the valley that the king's priests have divined Mount Eskel to be the home of the prince’s bride-to-be—the next princess. The prince himself will travel to the village to choose her, but first all eligible girls must attend a makeshift mountain academy to prepare themselves for royal lowlander life. At the school, Miri soon finds herself confronted by bitter competition among the girls and her own conflicting desires to be chosen by the prince. Yet when danger comes to the academy and threatens all their lives, it is Miri, named for a tiny mountain flower, who must find a way to save her classmates—and the one chance to leave the mountain each of them is determined to secure as her own. (shannonhale.com)

Others that were accidentally missed, but still dearly loved:
Wildwood Dancing (comes before Cybelle's Secret) by Juliet Marillier
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

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