Sunday, October 30, 2016

THE HAUNTING OF FALCON HOUSE by Eugene Yelchin / Blog Tour: Book Review / Giveaway

Welcome to the next stop in THE HAUNTING OF FALCON HOUSE by Eugene Yelchin. Today's stop features an excerpt from the book, and a giveaway! First, here's a little bit about the book.


By: Eugene Yelchin
Published by: Henry Holt & Co
Released on: June 14th, 2016
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
Add it to Goodreads

A long undisturbed bedroom. A startling likeness. A mysterious friend.
When twelve-year-old Prince Lev Lvov goes to live with his aunt at Falcon House, he takes his rightful place as heir to the Lvov family estate. Prince Lev dreams of becoming a hero of Russia like his great ancestors. But he'll discover that dark secrets haunt this house. Prince Lev is the only one who can set them free-will he be the hero his family needs.

READ AN EXCERPT Excerpt #2 (p. 208-215)
I climbed after Vanyousha through an attic window onto a rood that slanted sharply under a coat of glassy ice. It was dark already and bitter cold. Ice crystals shimmered in the frosty air, pricking my face like needles. I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled a cloud of dense steam. I had arrived at Falcon House only the night before, but it seemed I had not breathed fresh air in weeks.
Below us in the waiting stillness gleamed Saint Petersburg. The churches, palaces, and bridges lay buried under the brilliance of snow. The sky shone with stars. Their pale blue flicker reflected from the frozen river that sliced the city into islands like shards of a shattered mirror.12
“My village is beyond the river,” said Vanyousha. “Can you see it?”
I looked in the direction he was pointing, but past the river was just blackness.
“Mother’s hut is behind those birches. See the roof made of straw?”
I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye. “Yes,” I lied. “I see it.”
“Mother has a lovely hut. It’s white as milk inside, the oven’s always warm, and it smells good in there—lived in.” He started a smile, but instead he frowned. “See my mother in the window? She’s crying. Ever since they carried me away from her, Mother has been crying.” Vanyousha sniffled and wiped his nose on his shirtsleeve. “I’d rather be dead, Your Honor, than be away from her.”
“Stop calling me Your Honor. My name is Lev.”
He looked at me but didn’t reply. Somewhere down below, a solitary church bell began a mournful toll. We stood without talking and listened to the tolling of the bell and watched the stars. All of the stars were different. Some seemed to be made of gold but some of silver; some were blue but some were purple; some stars were bright but some were faint; some were far away, some close; and some blinked fast, while others only now and then.
“How beautiful,” I said. “I wish I knew how to draw these stars.”
“Try it,” Vanyousha said. “Your picture will come out pretty.”
“How do you know?”
“I just know, Levushka,” he said with a mischievous smile.
Levushka? That was what Mother always called me. Not Prince or Lev but Levushka, in a kindly way.
“If you wish upon a shooting star,” he said, “your wish comes true.”
“You believe that?”
“I do, but you have to keep your wish a secret.”
He turned away and peered up into the sky. Stars pulsated in the frosty air, as if keeping time with the tolling of the bell. Minutes passed, but not one of the stars fell. Vanyousha sighed and looked away.
“Can you see your mother from here?”
“No, Vanyousha, she’s too far away. But I will see her soon.”
“Soon?” he echoed, and glanced at me with envy. “When?”
“First I have to become the master of this house like my grandfather was, and then—”
“Look!” he cried, pointing up. “A shooting star!”
A shooting star, such as I had never seen the likes of, stood in the sky, trembling faintly. Instead of moving, its tail arched over the city like a golden bridge. At intervals, the tail swelled to the brightest burn, then waned slowly, as if the star were sighing for some poor soul. At last, the tail began to fade, became translucent, and expired, but its afterglow shimmered in the inky sky.
“I made a wish,” Vanyousha said. “I . . .” Eager to continue, he parted his pale lips to speak, but after a glance at me, he halted. Carefully, he closed his lips, but they refused to stay in place and spread into a smile. “Did you make a wish?”
I nodded.
“Good,” he said. “Good, Levushka.”
“Levushka,” I echoed, smiling, and shook my head at him. “So what are we going to tell Olga Lvovna about that elevator, Vanyousha? She’ll be awfully angry.”
His eyes became alarmed. “Who will be angry?”
“Don’t worry,” I said. “I’ll be the one responsible. Lukich did not see you in the cage. You won’t be punished.”
“I was punished once,” he said, and his face darkened. “Made me so sick, I near died.”
“How were you punished?”
“Flogged? For what?”
“I couldn’t draw pictures, remember?” He bit his lip and glanced at me. “Want to see?”
“See what?”
He turned his back to me and rolled his shirt up his shoulders.
“Good God!” I gasped, horror-struck.
Vanyousha’s white, slender back was one horrific wound, densely gouged with deep, intersecting grooves.
“Your Excellency!” someone cried. “Thank heavens! You’re alive!”’
I turned to the sound of the voice and saw Woldemar climbing out of the attic window. When I looked back, Vanyousha was no longer near me. I spotted him in a deep shadow against a chimney’s wall. When our eyes met, he pressed a fingers to his lips and smiled.
“Careful, Your Excellency, it is unsafe up here!” cried Woldemar, cautiously moving over the icy roof and holding his hand out to me. “We feared that you had fallen in with the elevator. Madam is beside herself.”
The Neva River depicted here by Prince Lev still flows through the very center of Saint Petersburg from Lake Ladoga into the Gulf of Finland. It is responsible for the city’s high number of islands (100), canals (48), bridges (800), and embankments (over 100 miles). More than 300 floods have occurred in Saint Petersburg since its founding.


Eugene Yelchin is a Russian born author and illustrator of children’s books.
In 2012, Breaking Stalin’s Nose, a middle grade novel that he had written and illustrated received a Newbery Honor award. Horn Book magazine called Breaking Stalin’s Nose one of the Best Books of 2011. In 2010, the picture book Rooster Prince of Breslov that he illustrated received the National Jewish Book Award. In 2006, he received a Tomie de Paola award. His other books received starred reviews, and were on Children’s Choice and the Independent Booksellers lists.
1 winner will receive a finished copy of THE HAUNTING OF FALCON HOUSE, US Only.

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I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~