Dragon Princess by S. Andrew Swann

Dragon Princess(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“Frank Blackthorne’s most recent heist did not end optimally. The sacrificial virgin survived, but the whole incident left Frank, a respectable career thief, on the run from a kingdom full of evil cultists eager to replace their sacrifice.

So, when the Court Wizard of Lendowyn, Elhared the Unwise, comes to him intending to hire someone to save Lendowyn’s princess from an evil dragon in return for riches, glory, and help with the bloodthirsty cultists problem, Frank is rightfully suspicious. Frank is also not in a position to refuse.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Frank’s rescue fails—in an explosion of spectacularly misapplied magic. When the dust settles, all parties involved find themselves body-swapped. Frank is left stranded in the Princess Lucille’s body, halfway across the kingdom. The understandably angry Princess Lucille finds herself inhabiting the body of the dragon. In order to set things right, they will have to team up and face down thugs, slavers, elvish bookies, knights in shining armor, an evil Queen, and the hordes of the Dark Lord Nâtalc.”

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Waypoint: Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

If you come to the west coast, especially the central and northern portions, you will gain the great opportunity to visit trees that tower taller than city skyscrapers and are older than this country by a fair span. I don’t care where you come from, you haven’t seen trees until you’ve seen redwoods and sequoias.

 

If you find yourself in the Central Valley like I do, the best place with the least amount of driving to visit a calm and old grove is to go out to Sonoma County about four miles north of a small town called Guerneville.   There, nestled amidst the rolling coastal hills, is Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.

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Essence by Lisa Ann O’Kane

Essence(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“Neutrality is the key to longevity. This motto has governed 16 year-old Autumn’s life in the mid-21st century Centrist cult, which believes that expressing emotions leads to Essence drain and premature death.

But Autumn’s younger brother’s death casts her faith into question.

While sprinting through a park in violation of Centrist teachings, she encounters Ryder Stone, an Outsider who claims Essence drain is nothing more than a Centrist scare tactic. She agrees to join his Community, a utopia of adrenaline junkies living in the abandoned remains of Yosemite National Park.

Autumn learns about sex, drugs, and living life to the fullest. But as she discovers dark secrets beneath the Community’s perfect exterior, she realizes that this illusion of paradise could be shattered…”

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Marked by Alex Hughes

Marked(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“Freelancing for the Atlanta PD isn’t exactly a secure career; my job’s been on the line almost as much as my life. But it’s a paycheck, and it keeps me from falling back into the drug habit. Plus, things are looking up with my sometimes-partner, Cherabino, even if she is still simmering over the telepathic Link I created by accident.

When my ex, Kara, shows up begging for my help, I find myself heading to the last place I ever expected to set foot in again—Guild headquarters—to investigate the death of her uncle. Joining that group was a bad idea the first time. Going back when I’m unwanted is downright dangerous.

Luckily, the Guild needs me more than they’re willing to admit. Kara’s uncle was acting strange before he died—crazy strange. In fact, his madness seems to be slowly spreading through the Guild. And when an army of powerful telepaths loses their marbles, suddenly it’s a game of life or death.…”

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My Shelving System, Or Lack Thereof

Spring OwlcatWhen people find out that I’m an unapologetic bookworm, they usually get to asking “How do you shelve your books?” fairly quickly.  And after I answer “With the spines facing out” or something equally smart-alecky, they ask what they really want to know, which is “How do you organize your books?”

For a long time, I didn’t really have a shelving system… or at least, I didn’t think that I did.  Mostly I just tried to keep all the books by one author in the same place for ease of access, but beyond that, it was pretty haphazard.  Not always being able to afford really nice bookcases, I would often just pick up what I could from Office Max or some other similar store.  As a result, my in-home library is quite the collection of tall shelves, wide shelves, low shelves, and in-between shelves.

Eventually I came to realize that I actually do have a shelving system, albeit one that’s kind of weird.  You see, I shelve my books according to how much I like them.

Sounds funny?  Let me explain.

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Elsewhens by Melanie Rawn

Elsewhens(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“Touchstone, the magical theater troupe, continues to build audiences. But Cayden is increasingly troubled by his “elsewhens,” the uncontrolled moments when he is plunged into visions of the possible futures. He fears that his Fae gift will forever taint his friendships; his friends fear that his increasing distance will destroy him.

But worldly success follows them—an apparent loss in the Trials leads to Touchstone being selected to travel to the Continent with a Royal Embassy to collect Prince Ashgar’s new bride. They are the first theater artists to appear outside Albeyn for at least seventy years—for magic is suspect and forbidden elsewhere, and the Kingdom’s easy race mixing and magic use horrifies the people they are to travel among.”

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Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy

Night Owls(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“Valerie McTeague’s business model is simple: provide the students of Edgewood College with a late-night study haven and stay as far away as possible from the underworld conflicts of her vampire brethren. She’s experienced that life, and the price she paid was far too high for her to ever want to return.

Elly Garrett hasn’t known any life except that of fighting the supernatural beings known as Creeps or Jackals. But she always had her mentor and foster father by her side—until he gave his life protecting a book that the Creeps desperately want to get their hands on.

When the book gets stashed at Night Owls for safekeeping, those Val holds nearest and dearest are put in mortal peril. Now Val and Elly will have to team up, along with a mismatched crew of humans, vampires, and lesbian succubi, to stop the Jackals from getting their claws on the book and unleashing unnamed horrors.”

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Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy

Divided We Fall(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“Danny Wright never thought he’d be the man to bring down the United States of America. In fact, he enlisted in the Idaho National Guard because he wanted to serve his country the way his father did. When the Guard is called up on the governor’s orders to police a protest in Boise, it seems like a routine crowd-control mission … but then Danny’s gun misfires, spooking the other soldiers and the already fractious crowd, and by the time the smoke clears, twelve people are dead.”

This is the kind of intelligent young adult novel that I think should be on every reading list imaginable.  Yes, it contains a lot of action, and yes, it contains teen romance and angst, but there’s much more to it than that.  This is a book that is going to make you think, and you’re going to end up pondering issues that you probably haven’t ever thought about before.

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