On Saturday, I woke up REALLY early and had a bad start to the day (what happened is better left unsaid), took the metro to ALA (the metro station is right at the conference center- how awesome is that?!), registered, and then waited for Monica, Susan, Harmony and Meaghan. Susan texted me with a mission- to get her a copy of Pegasus. While I waited for Meaghan, PJ Hoover and Jessica Lee Anderson came over to say hi to me and we took a picture. It was so great seeing PJ again, but I wasn't worried about not seeing her. We always seem to run into each other- we did it at BEA and we did a LOT here at ALA. After a few more minutes and texting, Meaghan came, we stopped by Penguin, and I grabbed a copy of Pegasus. Meaghan got distracted by something else if I recall correctly (it was a cool program, but it was funny that I just kinda lost her for a bit) so I waited around until she was ready to go. After that, we wandered over to Random House where we grabbed some ARCs- Torment for Susan, which she appointed Meaghan to do, lol and that was where I got my copy of Real Live Boyfriends (the last copy they had!!) and 7 Souls (which I had known nothing about until Meaghan said "Read the back! It sounds amazing!!" She did this several times throughout the conference and so I ended up with more books than I had originally planned). Meaghan and I went to Malinda Lo's signing and I chatted with Malinda for a few minutes. I got a picture with Malinda and I think this happened before I worked up the courage to ask for a picture, but Meaghan and I were standing off to the side and just chatting across the aisle from Malinda's table. At some point, we looked up and saw Melissa Marr at Malinda's table. I whispered to Meaghan "Hey, look, it's Melissa Marr!" in a quiet but very admiring tone. Meaghan, being the subtle person she is, pointed right at Melissa's back and pretty much shouted "OMG IT'S MELISSA MARR!!!!" Which then prompted Melissa to turn around and be like "What the hell?" (she didn't actually say anything, but I imagine she was thinking it) then turned back to Malinda. This has now became a running joke with us. It was seriously one of the most hilarious moments ever. Maybe you had to be there. While I was talking with Malinda after getting the picture with her, Harmony came up and found me. She glomped on and she went with me to all my signings and ARC pickups. We first stopped by LK Madigan's signing where we saw Holly Cupala and Amy Brecount White. LK was so sweet and hugged me when I came up to her table and we got a picture together. We chatted for a few minutes then I went to go chat with Holly, Amy, and this amazing librarian friend of Harmony's named Tiffany. We told them about the dinner happening that night and they said that they would see if they could make it. After that, went to Kami and Margie's signing and guess who we met in line?! None other than debut author Karen Kincy, who wrote Other (which looks so good!). She was carrying around her book and holding it cover out in front of her and telling everyone who would listen that this was her book and that she had a signing later that day. This makes her sound pushy, but she really wasn't; she was a joy to hang out with and a very funny lady. Not only that, but I also got to meet Danielle Joseph, author of Shrinking Violet and Indigo Blues, and Christina Gonzalez, author of The Red Umbrella, who stopped by to chat with us while we waited in the long line. I was asked to take a picture of Christina and Harmony with someone's phone but it turned out blurry. Just for future reference, if your camera is not an actual camera, I will not be able to work it, so please don't ask me to use your camera phone. They eventually just took a "Myspace photo" where Harmony was holding the camera and took a self-pic. Then, it was off to Ellen Hopkins and Laurie Halse Anderson signings at the Simon and Schuster booth. I got a picture with Ellen, and she recognized me!! She also introduced me to Justin, who I later found out was the publisher (like, the Head Honcho guy), as a "one of the big book bloggers" and said (I think) that I'd been so sweet to her and her books. Justin was a REALLY sweet guy and I saw him a few times during ALA at the booth. In Sunday's recap, you'll see just how sweet he was! :)
Once we were done with Ellen's signing, we got into Laurie's line where they were handing out ARCs of Forge if you bought a book of hers. Harmony did this, but I didn't. Even though it was from a different publisher (I had Penguin's Wintergirls) Laurie signed my copy of it. Laurie was very sweet and remembered Harmony from a signing she had done a while back. After that, we wandered over and chatted with Melissa Marr, Kami and Margie, and I found out some fun Melissa Marr info (which is now public, lol). :) Then Harmony and I went to lunch where we spent $10 each on a crappy sub. Well, ok, it wasn't crappy, it was actually quite good, just not anywhere in the vicinity of $10 good. After that, wandered around some more, got in line for Melissa Marr and I chatted with her for a bit and grabbed a fun Radiant Shadows bookmark. While I was in line for Melissa, I saw that Jessica Anya Blau was signing her debut book, so I got in line and said hi to Jessica who's a wonderful author and I got Skyanne a signed copy of her debut (which was given to me by a hot publicist or bookseller- not sure which- who was most likely gay). Then we went to Cheryl Rainfield's signing and she was so sweet and perky and I'm way excited to read her book, Scars! We sat down for a while, then went to Karen Kincy's signing. I attempted to go to Politics & Prose for a group signing there but got lost (mainly because I had no address and was just wandering around really), so bought some batteries at CVS then went back to the convention center. I read for a bit, then headed over for dinner. I was a tad lost and while trying to figure out the map of DC, a drunk probably homeless person helped me figure out where I was going, then asked me for money, of which I had none. I never carry cash on me, so I said no, but he asked me two more times and my answer didn't change. I thanked him and walked off, found the place, and we waited for Stephanie Kuehnert and Jeri Smith Ready to come, which they did. We all had a wondrous time eating, chatting and laughing with everyone there (or at least, the people down near me). Eventually, Holly Cupala and Amy Brecount White joined us, and there was even more laughter and chatting. It was a wonderful time. I took the metro back, did some internet stuff in bed, went to sleep.
Next saturday, I'll be posting my second day of ALA. Yay!
This has been a very busy week for me so I wasn't able to record a vlog, but I hope you all are continuing to do it. Leave your link in the Mr. Linky below. I stopped by a few blogs last week and left a comment thanking them for participating. I hope to do everyone this week because I really do appreciate everyone taking this meme and reading aloud from their current book. I wasn't sure how it would do and thought it would bomb, but you all are proving me wrong and I hope we can keep doing this and keep the meme growing week-to-week.
Everything in my life was working out. I had my three best friends, a brand-new boyfriend, and the lead in the school play. Aside from that history paper I hadn't started, things felt perfect. Then I returned from spring break to find my Friendverse profile hacked. Someone clearly out to ruin me had spilled the most damaging secrets - AND posted the worst photos of me ever taken - online. Now my boyfriend and I are broken up, half the school hates me, and I'm in deep trouble.- Top 8 summary
Sixteen-year-old Madison still loves logging on to Friendverse to see what her BFFs and her cute new boyfriend Nate are up to. But the latest social networking craze is Status Q, which is all about rapid-fire status updates. When one of Mad’s friends has to pull off a high-pressure heist, the gang relies on Status Q to send code messages to each other…all in the middle of a school dance! Will up-to-the-minute social networking save the day…or lead to good old-fashioned disaster?- What's Your St@tus? summary
About the Author- Katie Finn is the author of Top 8 and What’s Your St@tus?. She lives and writes in Los Angeles. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @katiefinnwrites and visit her online at www.katiefinn.com. To learn more about What's Your St@tus?, click here!
One winner will receive a Top 8 prize pack containing both books in the series- Top 8 and What's Your St@tus? To enter, leave a comment below and, if you have a Twitter account, you can tweet about this contest to gain an extra entry! Just be sure to put me in the Tweet so I'll see it- @BookChicClub. Once you've tweeted, comment here and let me know you tweeted and either put the link to the specific tweet in or tell me your Twitter name so I can add up entries properly. Two other entries can be gained if you comment on my reviews of these books which will be posted next week. Also, this contest is US only! This contest will be open until August 11 at 11:59 pm EST.
To get an entry: +1- Leave a comment on this post.
To gain extra entries: +1- Tweet about this contest and let me know you tweeted +1- Leave a comment on my Top 8 review, up next week! +1- Leave a comment on my What's Your St@tus? review, up next week!
I think I got all the main points. If anyone has any questions, let me know!
JAMES: Popular, smart, and athletic, James seems to have it all. But the only thing James really wants is his college acceptance letter, so he can get far away from Alabama. In a town where secrets are hard to keep, everyone knows what Alex did at the annual back-to-school party. The only question is why.
ALEX: With his friends no longer talking to him and his brother constantly in motion, Alex is prepared to get through junior year on his own. And he would, if his ten-year-old neighbor, Henry, didn't keep showing up, looking for company. What Alex cares most about is running, and when he's encouraged to try out for cross-country, he's surprised to find more than just a supportive teammate in his brother's friend Nathen."- summary from Martin Wilson's website
This book was a refreshing read after all the fast-paced, quick adventures I'd been reading. Wilson's debut is more character-based than plot-based and, because of that, is quieter than a lot of books out there right now. It's a fantastically written debut that goes back and forth between two brothers over the course of a year and the change that comes over them during that time. It was a bit weird reading in third person, even though I've gotten used to it; for some reason, it just didn't feel right to me sometimes.
Being a gay man, I found myself wanting more of Alex's chapters and less of James' which I know is very selfish. I did enjoy James' story but Alex's rang more true to me and so I identified with it more. The romance in his part was just very swoon-worthy in my mind and I want my own Nathen now. It was nice to read a book that didn't have a lot of angst associated with the main character realizing he's gay. Alex just accepted it and moved on, much like how I did, though I didn't have a hot guy to help me figure it out.
Wilson spends a lot of time making his characters fully three-dimensional and he did a great job of conveying a lot of emotions subtly. Like I said before, it's a very quiet book and it's one that you want to just curl up and spend your time with.
One character that's a constant between the two stories is a young boy named Henry and there's a whole sub-plot mystery going on with him which was fun to read. He was a great inclusion into the book because he befriended both of the brothers and helped them change over the year. I don't know, I just really liked his character- very smart and perceptive.
Overall, a wonderful, coming-of-age debut that makes me eager to read more of Wilson's writing.
FTC: Received book from author way back when- I'm very bad with reading, lol. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.
I went to Maggie's launch party for Linger in Williamsburg, VA this past Tuesday and it was a blast. I left work early to make the 3 hour drive there and sped just a tiny bit to get there. Luckily, on one of the roads, the speed limit was 70 mph, which has now become one of my two favorite roads (the other being the one in WV that was 70 as well). So anyway, I made it there easily and did not get lost at all (the place was like crazy easy to find) but made it there kinda late. The event started at 5:30 and I got there around 5:45.
My first act upon entering the College of William and Mary bookstore was to find and use the restrooms. Having finished that, I went and found the cash registers to pick up the copy of Linger I was buying for my blogger friend Jonathon. Unfortunately, my reserved copy wasn't there but luckily, there was a bunch right nearby, so I just grabbed one and purchased it. After that, I went in search of Maggie who was easy to find since she was using a microphone- her voice was loudly talking all through the store. I stopped at a table with all her books because it had the Linger audio, which I hadn't seen yet.
Then I went upstairs where the event was being held and spotted a TON of people. Loads of fans had shown up and I got a spot at the back; Susan noticed me after a few minutes (she was busy taking pictures of Maggie doing silly things) and we waved but there was just too much of a human buffer between us to actually get together. So I stood and took some pictures that ended up dark because of the flash, or blurry because of no flash. WHY CAN'T I HAVE A HAPPY MEDIUM?!
Anyway, the event had started out with a Q&A which had Maggie telling us tons of hilarious stories which was awesome. Maggie told us how she's most like Isabel in the Shiver series, how one of her memories that she thought was her own was actually from a Ramona book, and how her sketchbook got the name "Sketchbook of Doom" among many other things. When the Q&A was done, they handed out prizes like the Linger tank tops, some tote bags, and foreign editions of Shiver.
After that, it was time to mingle with Maggie and eat some cake. They had made a huge Linger cake; tons of people took photos but I was too far away to get one, so I only got this one of the part they saved. Susan and I chatted for a bit by ourselves, but occasionally we had other people join in, like Purple Shirt Girl (I don't remember her name) and Louise (one of the Twilight Moms who recently branched out to her own blog). Susan pimped my blog because I suck at doing it. At the end of this particular part of the event, Beau (is that how you spell it?) the Bookseller had graded up all the trivia sheets and whoever got the most right won the Sharpie doodle-festooned guitar that Maggie had drawn on. They gave it away to someone and then Maggie went downstairs to get ready to sign a bajillion books. Susan, Louise and I hung back and wandered around the YA section and just chatted while we waited for the line to die down which took probably about 45 minutes to an hour.
We got in line, and I went up first. The first thing out of Maggie's mouth was "You FINALLY read my books! I saw it!" referring to this Maggie Stiefvater week I'm now finishing up and also referring to the fact that I've been to like 10 of her signings and had only read Shiver (and even then, like 6 months after it came out) I told her there was more to come and I'm hoping that it made her happy like I told her it would on Twitter when I hinted at it a few days before it started. I got my Linger ARC signed, then the hardcover that I was getting for Jonathon. She knew who Jonathon was too, and said of him "He writes smart, funny comments on my blog, so I love him.". Isn't that sweet? She also doodled a funny picture in his book, which was awesome. After I was done, Susan came in with her 50 books to be signed (only slightly exaggerated) and it was funny to see Maggie get into Signing Position and looking up expectantly for the name of the person the book was being signed to. It became even funnier when she did this and there had been a sticky note attached to the front of the book saying the name of the person.
Once she was done signing everyone's books, it was picture time. Also, sometime in the middle of us being around her signing, some frat guys came by and asked for a quick picture with her, got it, then ran off. It was quite weird and I had no idea what the hell had just happened. Anyway, I got my picture with her (twice!) with the Sarcasm shirt (see my Lament review for why I specifically mention this), Susan got multiples because Maggie just cannot behave around her, and Louise got one too.
We hung around a bit after that while Maggie started signing all the books that were left. I think she ended up having to buy one because she had written in it "For Diane" when in fact, it was actually for someone else. That and other crazy shenanigans happened. I left around 9 cuz I still had the 3 hour drive left plus I hadn't yet eaten dinner. I stopped by Sheetz on the way home and it was AMAZING (though some of the fries were not good).
And that is my recap of the Linger Launch Party and the conclusion of Maggie Stiefvater Week. I hope you guys enjoyed it, and be sure to enter the contest that was posted yesterday for a copy of Linger!
Picture 1- Maggie answering questions during the Q&A Picture 2- Maggie showing off the Sketchbook of Doom Picture 3- A section of Linger cake Picture 4- One view of the mob that was Maggie's signing Picture 5- Another view that was maybe taken like half an hour later; still a ton of people Picture 6- Maggie and I. Supposedly this is her professional look if I recall correctly. Also, notice the Sarcasm shirt! :)
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater "In Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole."- summary from Amazon
Yes, this is a jam-packed post!! I've got my review of Linger, a short interview with Maggie, and a contest where you can win a copy of Linger! So let's get started.
In Linger, we get the same wonderful, poetic prose that was in Shiver. I absolutely love the way Stiefvater writes; the details are amazing without being overbearing and flowery. It also comes across as necessary rather than like she's trying to fill up pages.
I loved the multiple narrators too. It can be difficult to pull off, but Stiefvater did it well. It flowed smoothly for me while reading and the transitions between the narrators always made sense. It was really cool to see inside each character's head, especially the new character of Cole and Grace's friend Isabel, who I loved. Isabel was so funny and I really related to her.
The climax was amazing and it was hard to put the book down. Not only that, but the ending was one I was not expecting and it ends on such a cliffhanger. I want Forever now!!
INTERVIEW WITH MAGGIE STIEFVATER
1) You run a short story site with your critique partners called The Merry Sisters of Fate. How did that site come about? Has doing it helped your novel writing?
*preens* It is always very flattering to be asked about Merry Sisters of Fate. Yep, it’s a short story blog that I post to along with Tessa Gratton (BLOOD MAGIC, 2011) and Brenna Yovanoff (THE REPLACEMENT, 2010). It started out because of my art background. Back when I was a portrait artist, I was part of a movement called A Painting a Day. The idea was to start and finish a complete painting, even if it was small, all in one day . . . every day. I love challenges and I wanted to get better, so I did it for about two years -- floating around the world now are hundreds of Maggie paintings that I sold worldwide. What was amazing was looking at the difference between my art at the beginning of the project to the end. I mean, even though I didn’t paint any more per day than I had before, somehow the act of doing a complete painting instead of just working on part of a big one really made me get better.
Anyway. I thought that the same principle would work for my writing, so I asked Tessa and Brenna if they were up for something crazy. They were. For the first year we each wrote a short story every week, and posted it online, no editing. As we got more embroiled in professional pursuits, we had to cut it back down to one a month for this year, but it really did work. I can see a huge difference in my writing since we started.
2) What do you have planned for your readers after the release of Forever, the final Wolves of Mercy Falls book? Can you tell us anything about it?
I can tell you lies.
Well, I can also tell you that I’m working on a standalone paranormal YA quite unlike anything else I’ve ever done. With blood, beaches, and kissing. I’m really revoltingly excited about it and wish I could tell you more. But I can’t. I can tell you that it’s not about kraken, despite the rumors.
3) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor? Or, if you don’t eat those, what’s your favorite snack to have while writing?
Ugh, jelly bellies are not actually food. They’re like eating flavored pustules. I prefer cookie dough. Now there’s a real food.
4) What book(s) are you currently reading, or are about to start?
I am about to start THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS by Francisco X. Stork, because I loved his MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD with a furious passion.
Thanks for stopping by, Maggie! Now, if you want to enter to win a copy of Linger, just leave a comment below saying what (or who) you're looking forward to seeing in Linger or say something about Maggie's interview or why you love her. If you just say "Enter me!" and nothing else, you'll be disqualified. Contest will end Wednesday, July 28 at 11:59pm.
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.
In honor of Maggie Stiefvater week here on the blog, I will be reading a small (ok, not really, since it's like a 9 minute video, but whatever) excerpt from Linger! I hope you all enjoy!
(A tiny bit of info- So I didn't read the summary of Linger, lol. Cole is a completely new character not seen before, even though I say that he's in Shiver in my video. I got him confused with a different character, so please don't go looking in Shiver for a character that's not there.)
(Another tiny bit of info- Linger debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List this week!! How awesome is that?!)
Now, since I'm posting my vlog today (had to as blog tour post is scheduled for tomorrow), come back here on Friday to put your Fragment Friday meme links into the Mr. Linky below. Thanks all!
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater "James Morgan has an almost unearthly gift for music. And it has attracted Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and then feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. James has plenty of reasons to fear the faeries, but as he and Nuala collaborate on an achingly beautiful musical composition, James finds his feelings towards Nuala deepening. But the rest of the fairies are not as harmless. As Halloween—the day of the dead—draws near, James will have to battle the Faerie Queen and the horned king of the dead to save Nuala's life and his soul."- summary from Amazon
I apologize for the review not being up until now, 8 hours after it posted. I got home from Maggie's signing after midnight and was just done, lol. So anyway, here's my review:
I didn't like this book as much as I thought I would. As mentioned in my Lament review, I loved James' character and was excited to see a book written from his point of view. I still enjoyed reading from James' perspective and we got a much deeper characterization of him than what we saw from Dierdre's viewpoint, which was just a carefree, funny guy. In this book, he is still funny, but there's a lot more going on inside his head than we ever thought. I really enjoyed seeing that shift between the two novels.
But anyway, the plot wasn't very action-y. If I hadn't been rushing through this to get it ready for review today, it might have been a book that I put down and wander away from. It wasn't as compelling for me as Lament was. There's stuff happening throughout, but it doesn't seem to have as big of an effect on the main characters and through that, makes the reader not care as much. The main draw here is the romance between James and Nuala, which is still sweet and worth reading, but just wasn't as compelling as Lament's romance.
One thing I forgot to mention in the Lament review that still applies here that I love is the emphasis on music. Both Deirdre and James play obscure instruments (harp and bagpipes, respectively) and it was nice to see just how much music affected their lives. The descriptions also when it comes to that aspect shows how much music affects Stiefvater's life too, which makes sense as she plays a variety of instruments, including the harp. The way she describes how her characters feel when they hear or play music are some of the best passages in the book because you can how deeply she and her characters feel for it.
All in all, Ballad is a good book, just not extraordinary like Lament was. But you should all buy it just for the awesome cover. :D
FTC: Bought book at Maggie's launch for the book. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater "For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever."- summary from Amazon
THIS IS A REPOST FROM DECEMBER 2009.
I really enjoyed this book. The prose is so poetic and lyrical that it pulls you in and makes the atmosphere of the book just come alive as you read. It's flowery language without being overly so, and I should know since I absolutely abhor flowery language and unnecessary details. What Stiefvater does with her details, in my opinion, is necessary for the novel; I couldn't imagine this story being told without that attention to detail. It just would not work otherwise.
The romance between Sam and Grace is wonderful to read. With both of them being narrators (switching between chapters), you understand just how real their love for each other is. It's the perfect contrast to the cold, harsh winter setting of Mercy Falls, Minnesota, as reading about their devotion to each other just warms the heart.
All the characters are well-developed and I loved the banter between Sam and Grace peppered throughout the novel. But my favorite character probably has to be Isabel, Jack's sister, who mainly becomes more prominent toward the end of the novel, but her dialogue is just so hilarious; I loved it.
The book has some twists and turns to it and I really enjoyed the scientific approach to werewolves that Stiefvater took. It's very original (though I haven't read many werewolf novels, so...) and was really interesting to read about. The ending was done really well and was very understated, but it left me wanting more. I can't wait for the sequel, Linger.
FTC: Was given ARC by Maggie herself. Link above is an Amazon Associates link; any profit goes toward funding contests.
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater "Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand—one who can see faeries. When a mysterious boy enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of nowhere, Deirdre finds herself infatuated. Trouble is, the enigmatic and conflicted Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin—and Deirdre is meant to be his next mark. Deirdre has to decide if Luke's feelings towards her are real, or only a way to lure her deeper into the world of Faerie."- summary from Maggie's website (Amazon's product description only said "From the New York Times Bestselling author of Shiver." THAT EXPLAINS NOTHING!)
Stiefvater's debut is amazing and makes me wish I'd read it much much sooner (full disclosure: I've had it since October 2008 when it first came out; I know, I'm a horrible person). I loved Deirdre's character because she's a kick-butt heroine and very funny and made the story even more compelling. She was a character who also had her flaws and since the story is in 1st person, we see it all- the doubts, the wavering, and the times when she knows she's doing something she isn't supposed to do. Stiefvater's prose is very descriptive, but never flowery or unnecessary; anything that's mentioned is there for a reason, and not just to fluff up the book.
I also loved the character of James, Dee's best friend, and knowing Maggie, it probably didn't take long to come up with all the quips and jokes he has on hand. He's a great guy too and all-around awesome. What was also funny was that in one scene, James was wearing a shirt that read "Sarcasm! Just Another Service I Offer." which I own and am in fact wearing now as I write this review. I thought that was such a coincidence that I made a note to mention it in this review.
The plot was fast-paced and took some wonderful twists and turns. I found it hard to put the book down, especially during the latter half when everything went down. The climax was action-packed, and the ending was something I was not expecting at all, but fit the story very well. I felt like there were some loose ends at the end that I wanted to know more about and see how those ended, but I'll have to hope that maybe they're mentioned in the sequel, Ballad.
Overall, a wonderful debut and having read Shiver already, her sophomore novel, Stiefvater shows no signs of slowing down or deteriorating in quality. It's no wonder she made it onto the NY Times Bestseller list. Those who want a Stiefvater fix after reading Linger should read Lament and its sequel, Ballad, which I'll be reviewing later this week.
FTC: Bought book WAYYYY back when it first came out in October 2008 at Maggie's launch party. And yes, I've just now read it. Yes, that also means I have the original cover- a rarity now. Link above is Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus "Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.
After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.
But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life."- summary from GoodReads
With the completion of this book, my top reads of 2010 are changing and this one is way up there. Hopcus has a compelling debut with Shadow Hills, which is full of the paranormal, history, science, romance, and mythology. That may sound like too many things in one place, but Hopcus handles it all deftly and makes it all fit together and be understandable.
Phe is a wonderful character and a great heroine to follow in this suspenseful story. She's strong and smart, but also has her flaws. The other characters in the book are filled out fantastically and are fun to read about. Hopcus creates this wonderful, haunting world that makes you sad when you have to turn the final page and leave the town and all its inhabits behind.
I honestly can't say enough good things about it. Back when I read it as part of a 1-ARC tour, my preview said this was sure to be a hit and that Egmont is a publisher to keep an eye on. Featuring two original books published by them in one week should be evidence enough of that. Please go pick up a copy of Shadow Hills; you won't regret it, and will be eagerly anticipating the sequel!
FTC: ARC received as part of Around the World tours. Amazon link is an Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.
OK, so I'm not doing the actual new Friday meme this week (or, well, it's not under the new name), but the rest of you can use the new name and put your link in the comments. Hopefully a Mr. Linky can be used in following weeks instead so it's easier to post your link.
Here's a vlog of me reading an excerpt from Siren by Tricia Rayburn, which is out in stores now!
Hope you all enjoyed it, and I hope many of you are out there recording a bit from what you're currently reading! :)
I saw a 60 Minutes segment about a gifted savant, named Daniel Tammet, and it made me wonder---what if there was a whole society of people with these kinds of abilities? And what would happen when an outsider started digging into their history, looking for answers? The idea just grew from there.
2) What was The Call like? Tell us all about it.
I actually touched on this the other day when I did a blog post about how awesome bloggers are. During the time my wonderful agent was submitting Shadow Hills, there were many editors who were staying away from paranormal YA because the publishing industry was unsure if it would continue to be popular. So by the time I got the call, the main thing I felt was relieved. I was, of course, very happy---Egmont USA was a company I was really excited about and hoping for---but I was also just emotionally exhausted. It didn't truly hit me that I was going to have a book published and other people were going to read it until bloggers started WoWing Shadow Hills. That was the most amazing feeling, and it's just one of the many reasons I love bloggers so much.
3) You were at BEA this year. Did you have time to wander around and pick up some books? Which ones were you excited for, and were you able to get them?
I got Paranormalcy, which I'm reading now, though I've hardly had any time to read. That was actually a present from a blogger, though. I really wanted Beautiful Darkness, but I missed the first drop. Luckily I got a copy of it on the second drop. I've taken a peek at it, but I'm trying to hold off on reading it until after my release date. I know from reading Beautiful Creatures that I will shirk all my responsibilities as soon as I start it. ;) Unfortunately, two of the books I really wanted, The Replacement and Nightshade, were ones they put out while I happened to be doing Egmont business-y type things. Luckily, another generous blogger sent me a copy of Nightshade, which is now sitting on my bedside table, also vying for my attention. Sadly, The Replacement continues to elude me.
4) What book(s) are you working on now? Can you tell us anything about it?
I have a couple of projects in the works. One thing I'm interested in is continuing Phe's and Zach's story, but I also have in mind a YA paranormal set in the 1800's.
5) What book(s) are you reading now, or are about to start?
I just finished Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready, which I loved. Now I'm enjoying Paranormalcy----I just wish I had more time to read it!
6) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor?
7) Shadow Hills deals a lot with science and history. What kind of research did you have to do for that? What made you decide to incorporate those aspects?
I've never been a big history buff, but I was always fascinated by the Salem witch trials. While Shadow Hills doesn't really have anything to do with the trials, that setting intrigued me. It seemed the perfect place to have the ancient cemetery that is central to the book's plot. Most of the historical research involved not only early Massachusetts, but also the kind of epidemics that were common back then, where large groups of people died at the same time. The scientific research was really interesting, though pretty dense and technical at times.
Siren by Tricia Rayburn "Seventeen-year-old Vanessa Sands is afraid of everything--the dark, heights, the ocean--but her fearless older sister, Justine, has always been there to coach her through every challenge. That is until Justine goes cliff diving one night near the family's vacation house in Winter Harbor, Maine, and her lifeless body washes up on shore the next day.
Vanessa's parents want to work through the tragedy by returning to their everyday lives back in Boston, but Vanessa can't help feeling that her sister's death was more than an accident. After discovering that Justine never applied to colleges, and that she was secretly in a relationship with longtime family friend Caleb Carmichael, Vanessa returns to Winter Harbor to seek some answers.
But when Vanessa learns that Caleb has been missing since Justine's death, she and Caleb's older brother, Simon, join forces to try to find him, and in the process, their childhood friendship blossoms into something more. Soon it's not just Vanessa who is afraid. All of Winter Harbor is abuzz with anxiety when another body washes ashore, and panic sets in when the small town becomes home to a string of fatal, water-related accidents . . . in which all the victims are found grinning from ear to ear.
As Vanessa and Simon probe further into the connections between Justine's death and the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance, and that will change her life forever."- summary from Amazon
Siren gripped me from the beginning and I found it hard to put the book down, which happened a lot since I read it at work and could only read during breaks and lunch. While you do know who the paranormal creature is, Rayburn does a great job of sucking the reader in to the story with how she describes scenes and Vanessa's voice so that you forget that you know.
I thought it was interesting how Rayburn dealt with the siren mythology as well as the personal histories of the sirens involved. There were also some great twists and turns, especially one that I definitely wasn't expecting. The second half of the book is fantastic and such a page turner. It was very action-packed.
I enjoyed the romance aspect of the story too because I just love romances in most anything. The male love interest was very swoon-worthy and the scenes between them were touching and so romantic. Though one of the problems I had with Vanessa was that she wasn't able to go slap a siren for trying to steal her man. No joke, I was literally like "OMG GO SLAP HER!!" over and over in my head during those scenes. Because sometimes you just gotta slap a bitch.
Anyway, overall, this was a really good book with a very creepy cover. I highly suggest it along with most any Egmont book. I can't wait for the sequels.
FTC: Received ARC at BEA. Link above is Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.
The idea for Siren came about because of my somewhat recently developed fear of all creatures of the deep. I love swimming and the beach, but despite having done so countless times growing up, I now won't go swimming AT the beach. I'm too scared of jellyfish, crabs, sharks—you name it! This fear made me think about what else might be lurking beneath the surface, and Siren grew from there.
2) What was The Call like? Tell us all about it.
I was extremely fortunate to receive several exciting calls about Siren. The first few were from my agent; we received multiple offers from publishers, and she called each time she learned of a new one. Then, on the day of the auction, I talked to Regina, my wonderful editor, after we knew Egmont had won. It was overwhelming in a great way. There are never any guarantees that what you're writing will be something anyone else will want to read, so I was—and will forever be—a combination of thrilled and grateful.
3) You were at BEA this year. Did you have time to wander around and pick up some books? Which ones were you excited for, and were you able to get them?
I was only in NYC for a few hours that day and had other Egmont events to attend, so unfortunately, I didn't have much time to wander around. But I'm very much looking forward to Matched by Ally Condie and Fat Vampire by Adam Rex!
4) What book(s) are you working on now? Can you tell us anything about it?
I just finished the first draft of Siren 2, and now I'm working on a fun new middle-grade project. It's in the very beginning stages so I can't say much, but I'm very excited about it!
5) What book(s) are you reading now, or are about to start?
I just finished The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, about the founding of Facebook, and now I'm reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.
6) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor?
7) Siren mainly takes place in a beach town. Did you base that or any of the businesses on a real place?
Siren takes place in Winter Harbor, which is a real town on Maine's coast. I chose it after learning the harbor never freezes, not even in the middle of winter. (This unusual characteristic contributes to a key plot development!) But I've spent a lot of time in New England, and Betty's Chowder House and other spots in the books are based on various waterfront restaurants and businesses I've visited over the years.
Got quite a few books this week, but I don't remember them all. Here's most of them:
Forbidden Sea by Sheila A. Nielson X-Isle by Steve Augarde 7 Souls by Barnabas Miller and Jordan Orlando The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez (who I met at ALA!) Bright Young Things by Anna Godberson sampler (it's a big one- 84 pages!) What Happened on Fox Street by Tricia Springstubb (ARC) and two other books I can't remember. I'm at home with my parents so can't go look, lol.
Friday- I started up a new meme where you read a small excerpt from whatever you're currently reading. I chose Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart, out in December 2010! Also, there's a contest to name the meme and the winner has free reign over my shelves and gets to choose any book. Contest ends July 14!
Please comment on my Brilliant review, Ask Book Chic, and Forgive My Fins review as all didn't really get all that much love. I was surprised at how many people commented on Girl Parts- by the time I was at work at 8am, there were already like 9 comments on it. It was amazing. I wish all my posts were like that, lol.
Next week is Fresh New Voice of YA for July, where I'll be featuring Anastasia Hopcus, author of Shadow Hills, and Tricia Rayburn, author of Siren. Be sure to check all those posts out!!
Hey everyone! So Pam and Susan said that I should start a weekly meme where people read a bit from whatever they're reading currently. However, we don't have a name for it. So please help us come up with a name for this meme and spread it far and wide! It'll happen every Friday, so I'd kinda like the word "Friday" to be in the title somewhere. If we pick your title, you get to take a look at my bookshelves and pick whatever you want from it!
Anyway, today's pick is Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart, which will be out in stores December 28, 2010! I got this one at ALA the other week and have read it already and LOVE it! Hope you guys enjoy the excerpt!
This contest will go until next Wednesday, July 14 at 11:59 pm EST. I'll announce the winner next Friday when I'll be reading from Siren by Tricia Rayburn as part of Fresh New Voice of YA week!
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs SPOILER ALERT!! Normally I try not to do this, but to fully review it, I did have to mention some spoilers. They aren't anything big and most likely, people will be like "These weren't spoilers" but just be warned anyway. "Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it's not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you're a normal teenage girl, but when you're half human, half mermaid, like Lily, there's no such thing as a simple crush.
Lily's mermaid identity is a secret that can't get out, since she's not just any mermaid—she's a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn't feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she's been living on land and going to Seaview High School ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems—like her obnoxious biker-boy neighbor, Quince Fletcher—but it has that one major perk: Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren't really the casual dating type—the instant they "bond," it's for life.
When Lily's attempt to win Brody's love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily ever after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned."- summary from Amazon
I want to say this is my first mermaid book and it probably is, but I feel like I've read one before. Not that it really matters, but after reading this one, I want to find more mermaid books! Childs creates this wonderful world down under and I can't wait to go back to it next summer. Oh and by the way, be warned that the ending is a big cliffhanger that makes you want more right away. As soon as I read that last chapter, my jaw dropped and I was like "NOOO!! This can't be over!" But the good thing was that, unlike with Girl Parts, I was in the privacy of my own bedroom, so only one of our cats looked at me funny and then went back to cleaning themselves.
Anyway, back to the book. Lily was a great heroine and I absolutely loved her voice. One of the problems I had though was her complete stubbornness when it came to Quince and it did get a bit annoying around the middle when she kept denying how good he could be. I guess it's realistic to her character and it did provide some depth to Lily when it came to just how stubborn she could be about several things. But it annoyed me a bit while reading.
Another problem I had was how Childs handled Brody. I think it's kind of the easy way out to just make him the bad guy and therefore easy for Lily to make her romantic decision. It's started to bother me now that I've seen it in many books and it's become easy for me to predict; and it's always the popular guy who turns out bad. There need to be more books where, if there's a love triangle, both suitors are equally good for the main character so there's even more tension there and it can be more of a surprise who the protagonist picks. However, I do think Childs did put a nice twist on it, going back to Lily's stubbornness, especially in matters of the heart. Does that make sense?
Aside from what I wrote above, the romance is still very good. Steamy, even. The blurbs on the book are not lying. But it's also slow-moving, which is always a nice change of pace. The two characters get to know each other over the course of the novel and so it's not just lust, nor is it love at first sight.
Overall, this was a fun, romantic beachy sort of read perfect for summer. So if you're looking for a book to take on vacation with you, pick this one up!
FTC: Received ARC from publisher (Tera told them to send me one). Link above is Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.
Liz asks "Do you prefer when a story is in 1st or 3rd person? Do you have a preferred age for the protagonist? How old do they have to be for you to relate to them and not feel disconnected?"
I think I prefer 1st person and it's the one I've read the most of and also feel most comfortable writing in as well. I do enjoy 3rd person every so often and have been reading more of it and it gets less jarring the more I read it. When I first read Wake by Lisa McMann, it was the first 3rd person novel I'd read in a LOOOONG time so I was jarred while reading it because of the 3rd person disconnect. I did still enjoy the novel though and its sequels, and it's now easier for me to read 3rd person.
I don't have a preferred age for a protagonist. I'm 24, but I can read any age range (and do) and feel connected to the characters. The author's job is to get us to connect to the characters and if they're doing it right, it doesn't matter what age you are. Also, most of the time, I don't even notice age, unless it's a middle grade novel.
Molly asks "Is there anything that you do differently when you read to review than when you read just for fun (not that reading to review isn't fun)?"
This will sound very bad of me, but I hardly read for fun anymore. Maybe every once in a while, I'll get a book from the library and just read it without reviewing it, but I have so many review books that I don't have time to read outside of this blog. But like you said in your question, reading for review is still fun. I genuinely enjoy reading all the books I get and it's never felt like a job to me or anything like that. Sometimes I will dread writing reviews because I'm lazy, but I know all bloggers go through that every so often. That's kind of why I'm glad I've gotten ahead with all my reviewing. If I decide to wait a few days to write a review, it's not a big deal because it's not going up for several weeks anyway. It's more relaxing to me now than it used to be, but that pressure before was mainly from myself. I usually ask too much of myself, lol.
But when I do read for non-review purposes, I don't think I do anything differently. While reading, I usually don't think about the review unless something jumps out at me and I think "Oh, I need to be sure to mention that." Most of the time though I think about it after finishing the book, so for non-review books, I just move on without dwelling on it, lol.
Liviania asks "Why do you think young boys are reading less than young girls?"
I think it has to do with the machoness of reading, or the lack thereof. Boys seem to be ingrained with the thinking that reading is not cool, is nerdy, will get you pummelled, etc. Girls, on the other hand, don't worry about that sort of thing, at least to my knowledge (I'm not a girl, nor have I been one, despite what you may have heard from me at BEA). So they're more open to reading books; there's also the fact that a LOT of YA literature is more geared toward girls. There's not a lot of books from guy perspectives and they're hard to find in the mass of teen girls on the YA shelves. That could be another reason- the fact that the boys in question would have to browse and sift through the girl books (when there are quite a few girl books that have crossover appeal) and not be able to just grab and go, there's a risk that they might be spotted by fellow peers and labeled a nerd or whatever.
But it makes me happy to see sites like GuysLitWire (which I contribute to once a month!) and GuysRead that focus on getting more boys to read and to see that reading is a ton of fun for everyone! :)
Does anyone else have any thoughts about why boys don't read as much as girls? I think it's a really interesting discussion.
Girl Parts by John M Cusick "David and Charlie are opposites. David has a million friends, online and off. Charlie is a soulful outsider, off the grid completely. But neither feels close to anybody. When David’s parents present him with a hot Companion bot designed to encourage healthy bonds and treat his “dissociative disorder,” he can’t get enough of luscious redheaded Rose — and he can’t get it soon. Companions come with strict intimacy protocols, and whenever he tries anything, David gets an electric shock.
Parted from the boy she was built to love, Rose turns to Charlie, who finds he can open up, knowing Rose isn’t real. With Charlie’s help, the ideal “companion” is about to become her own best friend."-summary from Amazon
I really enjoyed this book, though it's one of those that I was hoping no one would ask me about or see the cover and of course it's the one I brought to ALA to read. Cover aside, it had a fantastic premise and was really original. I loved how Cusick digged in deep and made his characters three-dimensional, including even the Companion. There's a lot of introspective and quiet moments that you might not expect to be in this novel, so that was a nice aspect.
There is also lots of humor sprinkled throughout, though it's not as hilarious as the back cover summary suggests. I also thought it was kind of funny how the way for these boys to become more social and away from the machines that they're obsessed with (though I'm sure there's a few boys who have them who are more like Charlie, who doesn't do much on the computer) is through a machine and not, yknow, getting involved in extracurriculars.
Also in the book is a bit of a mystery, though it doesn't come into play until the latter half of the novel. There's something going on though with Sakora Solutions (the company that makes the Companions) and I'm excited to see what it is. The ending had me going "This can't be all. There must be more. There isn't?! NOOOOO!!" and then people looked at me funny but whatever. However, there is a sequel coming, so at least there's that to look forward to. I can't wait to see where the story goes.
FTC: Received ARC through Around the World tours. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.
Quinn Avery can handle change. It's just paint, right? Bright, blinding white paint covering her once dazzling red bedroom walls. Quinn knows she shouldn't be angry at her mom—she's doing what she must to sell the house—but still, Quinn is beyond mad, and she doesn't know what to do about it.
Until now, Quinn was doing a pretty good job at pretending to be her old self—calm and brilliant Avery daughter, responsible big sister to Allison and Phoebe, piano virtuoso, girl who makes everyone proud—but without the sanctuary of her room, a new, wild Quinn is emerging. Lying, sneaking out, partying, Quinn is practically asking to get caught. When Quinn adds kissing the wrong boys—including her sister's boyfriend and her own piano teacher—to her list of crimes, has she gone too far to save herself?"- summary from Amazon
I love how Rachel Vail did this trilogy; you get the same situation with different events in each book as it's told from each sister. There's the same family situation told over several months, I think. The timeline was a bit confusing for me as I thought it was going to be the same period of time told through each sister's perspective.
But aside from that, it's interesting to see how each sister views the other two, then to read how the outer appearance is different from the inner. In this one, Quinn is seen as the perfect oldest sister but reading from her point of view, you see that she's way more than that and wants to break out of the mold. It sounds cliche, but Vail makes it more complex and realistic. To me, it's just fantastic how she crafts each character, especially the sisters.
The book flew by for me because it was so interesting. The prose was full of humor, romance, reflective moments, and heated arguments. This trilogy is wonderful for those who love realistic fiction, which can be a bit hard to find these days.
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.
I'm a 30 year old male who started a book blog over on Myspace back in June 2007. I have since moved completely to Blogspot as of July 2009- feel free to follow me on here! I mainly review YA books, but will also do the occasional MG or adult title, as well as interview authors and sometimes have them guest blog.