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Holiday House – February 6, 2009

Laura Brown lives in the U.K. and unfortunately the U.K. is the first country to establish carbon rationing.  Everyone will be expected to reduce their carbon consumption by 60%. Everyone has 200 Carbon Points per month to spend on travel, heat, food, and fun.  The 200 Carbon Points are loaded on a card.  In order to use anything, you have to swipe your card.  If you have enough points – fine.  If not, your oven could shut off in the middle of cooking dinner.  People have to choose what is really important.

As tough as the carbon rationing is, the extreme weather patterns are worse.  Unbearable heat, droughts, hurricanes, and floods put normal life on hold for everyone.  

In addition to adapting to this new life, Laura also has to deal with typical teenage issues. Her family seems to be falling apart, her band is attempting to stay together, and she is trying to get the boy next door to notice her.

With the U.K. falling down around her, does Laura have the luxury of being a typical teenager?

Saci Lloyd has written an addicting eco-thriller.  Following Laura through the toughest year of her life is fascinating.  Readers will be anxious to read the follow-up, CARBON DIARIES 2017, later this year.

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The Carbon Diaries, 2015

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It has been years since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but she still hasn’t recovered.  The three things that give her any peace at all are writing and playing music, her best friend Claire, and her loving boyfriend Blaze.  Sadness covers her like a blanket and prevents her from enjoying some of the new things going on in her life.

Alice’s father has remarried and he and his new wife are expecting a baby.  Alice feels nothing but resentment toward Victoria, the new wife, and the baby that is on the way.  When Ivy finally does arrive, Alice doesn’t even go to the hospital to see her and doesn’t want anything to do with her once she comes home.

Alice is devastated when her father tells her the whole family is going to visit Victoria’s parents over Thanksgiving break.  She is forced to ride the whole way sitting next to Ivy in the backseat acting as a human pacifier in order to keep her quiet. 

While Thanksgiving is relatively painless, Alice is ready to get back home.  With her father called away for a work emergency, Victoria and Alice must make the drive home alone.  A big winter storm is moving into the area fast and Victoria decides to leave a little early to stay ahead of it.  Alice takes a Tylenol PM to prepare herself for the ride so she can get some sleep and not be expected to talk to Victoria or take care of Ivy. When she wakes up with the car stuck in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing but white, she realizes she may have made a mistake.  Maybe she should have been paying attention.

Lisa Schroeder weaves together individual poems to create a heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and healing.  Alice is forced to take stock of her life and decide what really matters.  Working together with Victoria becomes a necessity, not only for their survival, but for Ivy’s survival as well.  Alice’s struggle with her family and faith come alive for the reader as we experience everything through her eyes.  The relationship between Alice and Blaze is refreshing.  The devotion the two have for each other is rare for two teenagers in this day and age.  Readers will be brought to tears while reading this incredible story of personal triumph and transformation.

For more information about Lisa Schroeder and her books visit her website at http://www.lisaschroederbooks.com

lamentDeirdre Monaghan is a gifted harpist with a consistent case of stage fright.  She knows, without a doubt, that sometime before a performance she’ll need to vomit.  We meet Dee on her way to a music competition and she is exactly like she always is – a jumble of nerves.  As soon as she gets checked in, she has to run to the restroom to throw up.  Unexpectedly, a cool hand falls on the back of her neck, comforting her during her routine.

Luke Dillon is a saving grace.  After calming her down after her upset stomach, he takes Dee’s mind off the important competition by practicing with her.  Luke’s skilled flute playing compliments Dee’s harp beautifully and it doesn’t take long to decide to amend Dee’s competition entry from solo to duet.  For this moment on, their lives are intertwined.  

Dee feels a strong attraction toward Luke.  At the same time she is getting used to her feelings for Luke, other strange things are happening to her.  The most obvious thing that is going on is the fact that four-leaf clovers are popping up all around her.  She sees them everywhere.

Dee begins to think things aren’t quite right.  She doesn’t know if she can really trust Luke even though she desperately wants to. Luke seems to be hiding something, but Dee can’t quite put her finger on what.  There is no way Dee could know that the world Luke is involved in is one that Dee doesn’t even know exists. You see, Dee’s musical talent has attracted the attention of the Faerie Queen and Luke is her gallowglass, her soulless assassin.

Maggie Stiefvater has written an interesting tale where the magical world of faeries and the commonplace human world meet. A great love story is the bridge between the two worlds.  The sequel BALLAD will be released Fall 2009.

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Deirdre Monaghan is a gifted harpist with a consistent case of stage fright.  She knows, without a doubt, that sometime before a performance she’ll need to vomit.  We meet Dee on her way to a music competition and she is exactly like she always is – a jumble of nerves.  As soon as she gets checked in, she has to run to the restroom to throw up.  Unexpectedly, a cool hand falls on the back of her neck, comforting her during her routine.

Luke Dillon is a saving grace.  After calming her down after her upset stomach, he takes Dee’s mind off the important competition by practicing with her.  Luke’s skilled flute playing compliments Dee’s harp beautifully and it doesn’t take long to decide to amend Dee’s competition entry from solo to duet.  For this moment on, their lives are intertwined.  

Dee feels a strong attraction toward Luke.  At the same time she is getting used to her feelings for Luke, other strange things are happening to her.  The most obvious thing that is going on is the fact that four-leaf clovers are popping up all around her.  She sees them everywhere.

Dee begins to think things aren’t quite right.  She doesn’t know if she can really trust Luke even though she desperately wants to. Luke seems to be hiding something, but Dee can’t quite put her finger on what.  There is no way Dee could know that the world Luke is involved in is one that Dee doesn’t even know exists. You see, Dee’s musical talent has attracted the attention of the Faerie Queen and Luke is her gallowglass, her soulless assassin.

Maggie Stiefvater has written an interesting tale where the magical world of faeries and the commonplace human world meet. A great love story is the bridge between the two worlds.  The sequel BALLAD will be released Fall 2009.

Have you ever broke someone’s heart?  Broke up with them when they weren’t expecting it?  Audrey did.  And boy did it come back and bite her in the behind.

When typical teenage girl, Audrey, broke up with her self-involved, rock star wannabe, boyfriend Evan, she never expects him to write a song about it.  She definately didn’t imagine that song, “Audrey, Wait!”, to skyrocket to the top of the charts.  In the blink of an eye Audrey goes from a normal music loving girl to a star.

Audrey is hounded by paparazzi, begged for interviews from newspapers and magazines, and rumored to be a muse for the music industry.  Basically, her life is turned upside down.  

One perk, that her best friend enjoys more than she does, is when Audrey receives the royal treatment.  For instance, when attending the concert of one of their favorite bands, Audrey and Victoria are wisked up to the special VIP balcony area where food and drinks are freely available and there is an unobstructed view of the hot band members.  They even have an opportunity to rub elbows with the band – with some interesting end results.

Throughout all the challenges Audrey faces during the song’s popularity, you really get to see what kind of girl she is.  She is strong, confindent, and smart – definately someone you’d like to have in your corner.  She learns a lot about herself, her friends, and popularity.  AUDREY, WAIT! is just plain fun to read.  Audrey’s voice comes through so clear through the book that she’ll feel like a friend when you get to the end.