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The Compulsive Reader: December 2007

Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 Sneak Peek

As promised yesterday, I have compiled a list of fabulous looking books that are coming out this New Year! I'm psyched about them, and will do my best to try to read and review every book listed here.



The Redheaded Princess by Ann Rinaldi
Release Date: January 29, 2008

Ann Rinaldi's historical novels are famous for their accuracy and for being engaging. Recently she's branched out from American history, and into Britain in Nine Days A Queen and The Redheaded Princess, which is sure to be a hit.








A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Release Date: March 1, 2oo8

A fairy tale re-telling of Rumpelstiltskin! I haven't read once since Donna Jo Napoli's Spinner. If the cover is any indication, it's bound to be good!








Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Release Date: April 22, 2008

Though I have only just started getting into Dessen's books, I think I am as excited about this one as any long time reader of hers. Her entrancing and thought provoking style could make a fan out of anyone.








Nobody's Prize by Esther Friesner
Release Date: April 22, 2008

Though I have not read Nobody's Prize's prequel, Nobody's Princess, it is on my to read list, and the sequel looks as excellent as the first one. I am definitely going to make time to read them both.









Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
Release Date: May 1, 2008

Ah, yet another novel from the fabulously talented Maureen Johnson. Her first book set in New York City--at an Art Deco hotel, no less! This will be the start to what I believe will be a very entertaining and humorous series.






Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Release Date: May 5, 2008

I have had the opportunity to read this one already, and it is delightful! Click here for my review.










Airhead by Meg Cabot
Release Date: June 1, 2008

Though the summary on this one is vague at best, I cannot wait to read it. The less information, the greater my curiosity! Reading Jinx and rereading The Mediator series over and over are no substitutes for another supernatural by Meg Cabot. Thanks goodness for amazon.com's Pre-Order button.





Stop in the Name of Pants! The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison
Release Date: July 1, 2008

Yet another one of those crazily hilarious installments of the Georgia Nicolson series. Pure fun and laughter, I can't wait to see what crazy escapades Georgia will get into next.


Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier
Release Date: September 9, 2008

Sequel to Wildwood Dancing, which although I have not read (yet), I am sure will be very good. I read The Daughter of the Forest and its sequels which were excellent, so I have great faith in Juliet Marillier.







Bloodhound: Book Two in the Beka Cooper Legend by Tamora Pierce
Release Date: December 24, 2007 (finally, a book out BEFORE Christmas)

A continuation in the tale of Beka Cooper, a Provost's Dog, or policewoman in the fantastical city of Corus, Tortall 200 years before Pierce's unforgettable The Song of the Lioness Quartet. Pierce is truly a queen on the fantasy genre, and her writing just gets better and better.





Kitty, Kitty by Michele Jaffe
Release Date:

Sequel to Jaffe's hilarious first YA novel, Bad Kitty, which followed the misadventures of Jasmine and her friends as they tried to solve a mystery in Las Vegas without Jas's father finding out. Hopefully this one will be as packed full of fun, footnotes, and crazy stalkings.


That's it for now, although I'm sure there will be many, many more. Thanks for riding it out with me this year, guys, and I hope to see you in 2008! I have many cool ideas for next year, so keep reading for their unveiling!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Best of 2007




Happy New Years Eve eve! In honor of tomorrow, I've come up with the Top Ten list of the best books I've encountered in 2007...maybe you'll agree with me.



THE TOP TEN BEST BOOKS OF 2007



No. 10: HATTIE BIG SKY by KIRBIE LARSON

Hattie leaves her comfortable life with her distant relatives to live and work on her deceased uncle's farm in the West. Harsh winters, back-breaking work, and conniving neighbors are what she finds once she arrives. But she'll also find true friends, joy, hope, and ultimately herself.




No 9: SEEING REDD by FRANK BEDDOR

In this breathtaking sequel to Beddor's retelling of Alice's Adventures of Wonderland, The Looking Glass Wars, Queen Alyss must find a way to pull her struggling nation together. Meanwhile, mysterious threats are coming from every direction, all hinting at the one thing everyone dreads: has Redd returned?



No. 8: UNWIND by NEIL SHUSTERMAN

In the years following the second Civil War of the United States, a terrifying new practice has become not only legal, but wildly popular: unwinding. Any kid between the ages of 13 and 18 are eligible, as long as their guardians sign the papers. But if this procedure is as wonderful as everyone claims, then why are three teens so intent on escaping process?



No. 7: THE BOOK THIEF by MARKUS ZUSAK

I know, I know. This one came out in 2006. But, I read it in January!
Liesel's mother abandoned her, and left her to live with an undeniably German family. But many people would question how German her adoptive family is if they knew of the Jewish man in her basement. Death is embodied in this book as the narrator as he tells of Liesel's struggles, and what led her become a thief of the written word.



No. 6: FOREVER IN BLUE by ANN BRASHARES

Carmen, Tibby, Lena, and Bridget have just completed their first year in college in this final installment of the wildly popular The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Can Carmen step out of her new friend's shadow? Will Bee revert back to old habits? Can Tibby face her fears when it comes to Brian? And will Lena ever get over Kostos? More importantly, will these four friends learn that they don't need a pair of pants in order to stay friends?


No. 6: GIRL AT SEA by MAUREEN JOHNSON

Clio Ford has lived an interesting life. She became famous at age 12. Her parents are divorced. And she has a tattoo, just to name a few. Now, forced to spend a summer with her insane father and his research team on a boat on the Mediterranean Sea, she just might go mad. Especially since she knows they're looking for something...something they refuse to tell Clio anything about.




No. 4: ECLIPSE by STEPHENIE MEYER

Third in the highly acclaimed Twilight Saga, Bella is finding it harder and harder to spend time with both Edward and Jacob. But she will have to be the mediator between the vampire and werewolf races, because in order to survive the impending attack from a mysterious source, the two kinds will have to work together.


No. 3: THE SWEET FAR THING by LIBBA BRAY

The conclusion to the trilogy that started with the New York Times Bestseller A Great and Terrible Beauty, The Sweet Far Thing finds Gemma a year after her mother was murdered by Circe. Powers from every direction are grappling for power over the Realms, and suddenly the East Wing at Spence Academy is being rebuilt. What is happening?


No. 2: EXTRAS by SCOTT WESTERFELD

What a delight this novel was, especially seeing as it was not supposed to have existed! The fourth novel in the Uglies 'Trilogy' finds Earth two years after Tally set off for the Wilderness with David in tow to watch after the cities. Now, the cities are dominated by fame. If you're popular, you matter. But Aya Fuse is so unpopular, she's just an Extra. She would do anything to become popular...even if it means compromising earth's chance to survive.



AND THE NUMBER ONE BEST BOOK OF 2007 IS...





HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS by J.K. ROWLING

In this final volume, Harry must come face to face with his parents' murderer for the last time. They both know there can be only one survivor. Harry will need all the help he can get from every one of his friends to ensure that the wizarding world, and the Muggle world, will be safe forever from Voldemort.




It seems like it's been quite a year for conclusions. But no worries...keep reading tomorrow for a sneak peak at what's to come in 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock


Move over, Gail Carson Levine! For all of you who loved, obsessed, or even just liked Ella Enchanted, Princess Ben is for you. Ben (short for Benevolence) is in quite a predicament. Her parents and the king killed by assassins from a neighboring country, she finds herself heir apparent, and under the tutelage of her aunt, Queen Sophia, whose harsh ways quickly ensure that this princess would rather be the lowliest scullery maid than learn to be queen. But when she finds herself locked in the highest tower of the castle in true fairy tale fashion, she is amazed by the discovery a hidden magical room. There she learns spells from a mysterious spellbook while the castle sleeps. But Ben will have to learn more than magic if she's to ever escape from aunt's clutches and keep her country from being overrun by the very people that conspired in her parents' murders.

This was such a fun read. Ben's dilemmas, while set in rather mystical settings, are such that you can relate to. Never dull, she is an engaging narrator who weaves a subtle enchantment on the reader. Princess Ben is adventurous, romantic, entertaining, and most of all, a humorous story about growing up that anyone of any age will not help but love.

This book was also reviewed for BookDivas.com.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Prey by Lurlene McDaniel


Hello, all! I hope you have all had a very happy holiday! And if you don't celebrate anything, I sure hope you are enjoying these few weeks off. I had a great Christmas. I recieved an iPod and am having a very fun (read: frustrating) time figuring that out. As much as I may look the part, I am not a huge technology person.


Anyway, I've just finished a real thought provoking book. Prey, written by Lurlene McDaniel, who is popular for her numerous books that deal with illness, death, and their effects on relationships, is a total 180 from her normal books. Ryan, a freshmen in high school, is the class comedian, if only to cover up his insecurities about his home life. He is overwhelmed and yet ecstatic about his teacher Lori Settles's more than platonic friendship with him. But soon he can't keep up with her demands. His friend Honey knows there is something up...how long can everyone live like this?


Prey was a complex and multilayered read that I am not entirely sure whether or not I enjoyed. It fascinated me on many levels, but left me frustrated many a times too. It is evident to the reader how Ryan is drawn in, and the ending left me wondering if there were another solution, and if it would have been a better one, or if there were indeed no perfect endings.


This book will be released February 12, 2008.


Now for contest news: Congrats to Ann H. for winning the copy of Class Favorite by Taylor Morris. I still have one more copy that I might include in a future contest, so keep reading!


For now, I want to give away an ARC of Prey. Just send me an email at thecompulsivereader@gmail.com with Prey in the subject heading, along with your name, email address, mailing address, and the book title of the you are most looking forward to in 2008 and the title of the book you are reading right now, or just finished. All entries must be recieved by Wednesday, January 9th, 2008 at 11:59 PM Eastern. A winner will be picked on or around January 10, 2008 and notified by email.


Tell all your friends about it, and good luck!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Countdown--Almost There!!

Hey guys. Sorry about not posting this weekend. I had a couple of family things come up, and that coupled with Christmas madness left me with no spare time. But today things has kinda settled down. After church this afternoon, my family always has a Christmas Eve party for friends and whatever family we don't see Christmas Day. It's quite fun, especially the years when my parents decide that they'll have a theme. Like, one time my dad wanted a Mexican Christmas eve, with tacos and fun stuff like that. Instead, we ended up with a Colombian friend who made us Colombian food, like figs stuffed in prunes all wrapped up in bacon.

Yeah, it was kinda gross.

Anyway, enough of my sentimental rambling, on to today's highlight!


THE FAERIE LORD BY HERBIE BRENNAN

Newcomers to this series will want to know that the Faerie War Chronicles begin with Faerie Wars. Now, if you are like me, you probably read that and go, "What the heck?" But this is an amazingly good book. Honestly. I wouldn't pull your leg (okay, maybe I would, but only on April 1st, which is still four months away). It may take a chapter or two, but you will fall in love with the characters. Henry Atherton is a normal kid. He has a job helping old Mr. Fogarty clean out his shed, when he finds something that is entirly not normal: a faerie. Pyrgus is a prince of the Faeries. But rather than attend to his duties, he runs away from home, and stumbles upon a secret that will lead him to an entirely different world: Henry's world. And it is up to Henry and Mr. Fogarty to return Pyrgus to his own world in time.


The Faerie Lord (the fourth and final book) takes place two years after the first three. There is a strange disease running rampant through the Faerie Realm that is causing faeries to age faster than normal. Henry and Pyrgus must find the source of it, and come head to head with old enemies. This conclusion will be one no one will want to miss!


The books are as follows: Faerie Wars, The Purple Emperor, Ruler of the Realm, and The Faerie Lord. If you haven't already, check them out! And make sure to grab a copy of The Faerie Lord on Wednesday!






Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Countdown--4 Days!


Hello, everyone. Have you all done your Christmas shopping yet? I am just about done with mine. All I need to do is wrap everything up! If you aren't done yet, and you need to get your best friend or sister something special, you might want to pay attention.


The Luxe, written by Anna Godbersen, is in a class of its own. Unlike all of the rich girl novels floating around out there, The Luxe takes place in 1899. But don't think that these girls are as mild mannered as their time period would suggest. Penelope Hayes would do anything in order to marry Henry Schoonmaker. Her best friend Elizabeth Holland would rather not marry anyone if her class at at all. But when circumstances beyond these girls' control puts them at odds with each other, situations tense. Throw in a bitter maid and a nosy younger sister, and things go from tense to deadly, and someone might not live to see the next season.


Nothing like any of the novels today that feature the upper class, The Luxe is one delicious read that nearly any girl will love. You'll think you have it figured out by page fifty, but a mysterious twist in the end will leave readers eagerly anticipating a sequel.


So go out and buy a copy for yourself, and every other girl on your list!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Countdown--Only 5 Days!

Today I want to focus on The Princess Diaries Vol. IX: Princess Mia. Michael is in Japan, Mia has a broken heart, and Lilly won't even acknowledge her. Mia is absolutely miserable. Even JP's neverending cheerfulness isn't helping. To top that all off, Lana Weinburger suddenly wants to be friends. Can things possibly get any weirder? But then Mia finds the diary of a teenaged ancestor, and with it a secret that could change everything.

The Princess Diaries is one series that I have been reading for years, and the thought that this will be the second to last book (say it isn't so!) is very heartbreaking. I feel as if I've grown up reading about Mia. Although oftentimes her escapades frusrtate me, she always comes out with her dignity intact, and after Princess on the Brink's cliffhanger ending, I will be eager to see what the outcome of Vol. IX will be.

So grab yourself a copy and email me with your thoughts, because we'll be featuring an interview with Meg Cabot herself on this blog very soon! You know where to find me: thecompulsivereader@gmail.com, or just leave a comment. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Countdown--6 More Days to Go!


Today's highlight is a book that many of you may have never heard of, but will certainly want to!

Two Moon Princess, written by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban, tells the story of Princess Andrea, who lives in a parallel world called Xaren. Discontent with her life, she wants to learn to fight with the other squires, not become a lady and as her distant parents demand. But even when her Tio Ramiro fails to convince her father, she is forced to learn to become a lady, and learn the finer arts of royal behavior with her elder sisters. Until she finds a portal that takes her to modern day California. Here, Andrea flourishes. She is convinced that this is where she is meant to be, and intends to stay forever. But when circumstances beyond her control force her to return to Xaren, along with a John, a boy who is not supposed to know her secret. Soon John is involved in a war that will surely tear her country apart--unless Andrea has the courage and strength of mind to put a stop to it all.

Headstrong, clever, and sometimes a little foolish, Princess Andrea is a character I fell in love with immediately. Fast paced, enchanting, and humorous, Two Moon Princess is definitely a book that you will not want to miss. Don't be fooled by the demure cover, this one headstrong princess's journey will make you wish that Andrea's story would never end as she learns that she can be a lady and still follow her heart.


This book is now available in bookstores.

Fun Contests

ThHey guys, check out Em's Bookshelf (http://emsbookshelf.blogspot.com/) for a chance to win 7 cool books and a tote bag from HarperTeen! Get your entry in before December 31st for a chance to win! Thanks for the contest, Em!

Also check out HarperTeen's The Best of 2007 Sweepstakes. Enter at http://www.harperteen.com/features/bestof2007/index.asp. Good luck!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Countdown Commencement

So it's official: one week til Christmas. In order to pass the time, each day will be accompanied with a highlight of the most popular YA books this season. And so, without further ado, allow me to present the first featured title...

THE SWEET FAR THING by LIBBA BRAY




The conclusion to Bray's New York Times Bestselling series, which include A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels, The Sweet Far Thing is sure to fly off shelves this Christmas season. Set a year after Gemma Doyle's rather eventful arrival at the Spence Academy, The Order is struggling for control of the mysterious realm that Gemma and her friends have access to. Pippa is deeply changed, and suddenly Spence's East Wing is being rebuilt. As the girls' debuts rapidly approach, they will push the bonds of their friendships to their limits as they try to make sense of the roles they are to assume.

I am rather excited for this conclusion, guys. Although it will be the end of Gemma, Felicity, and Ann (sob), I am dying to know what the deal is with these realms. And, ahem, whether or not Kartik and Gemma ever get together. This one's sure to be a winner.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's featured title!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Twilight Movie News

This just in--Robert Pattinson will be playing Edward in the Twilight movie. You know him from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as lovable Cedric (who, in my opinion, kinda stole the show). I approve of this choice. While he's not exactly like I imagined, I don't think anyone could live up to the standards of my imagination.

Kritstin Stewart has been cast as Bella. I don't know about this one...she always seems to look angry to me. I think a better choise would have been Alexis Bledel. Oh well, maybe Kristin will surprise us.

Christmas is Coming!

So who's frantically rereading A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels in anticipation for The Sweet Far Thing? Or the Princess Diaries books? As much as I love Christmas and everything that comes with it, the one thing I hate is this: all of the good books come out the day after! This is a source of constant frustration for my parents whenever I ask for these books, so I try to keep a balance between these and books that are already out.

What books are you asking for for Christmas? Or do you spare your parents nerves and go straight for the cash/gift card route? My parents never want to give me just money, so I usually just ask for the books themselves.

This year, I requested The Sweet Far Thing (of course!), Princess Mia (this series really is an addiction, so be warned), Murder on Lenox Hill (the seventh in the phenomonal Gaslight Mysteries seris), Big Boned (one of Meg Cabot's better series, did you know she decided to write a 4th book?), and The High King's Tomb (third in The Green Riders Trilogy).

The countdown has begun. We'll see whether or not I get all of what I asked for. Comment or email me to tell what books you asked for, and keep reading this blog every day until Christmas for highlights on the hottest books coming out this Christmas season!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Guest Blogger Matthew Peterson

Today Matthew Peterson will be answering some of your questions!



Where did you come up with the idea for Paraworld Zero?

Magic, I guess. The idea sprang forth from my mind in full detail. That happens sometimes. The ideas come like a flood and I can hardly write them down fast enough. One part of the book came to me from a very simple event in a video game from the late 1980's called Black Tiger. There was a part where you jump from pillar to pillar. Down below was hot lava. Anyway, the thing that I’ll never forget was the tiny spider web on one or two of the pillars. It was so small, but it stuck out at me. I, of course, had to put something of that nature in my book.

How many books will be in the series?

There will probably be six books in the series with one additional stand-alone book dealing with one of the main characters. The problem I have is that I have too many ideas and only a limited amount of pages to use.

Have you written any other books besides the Paraworlds series?

I started Paraworld Zero in 1990, when I was fourteen years old. That’s the same year J. K. Rowling started writing Harry Potter, so there must have been something in the water at that time. My book is like a “Harry Potter meets Star Wars” for those of you who haven’t read it. But before Parallel Worlds (that’s the original name and is now the name of the series), I starting writing a book called (and I kid you not) The Sorcerer’s Wand. Yes, there was definitely something in the water. The Sorcerer’s Wand was similar to Paraworld Zero, in that a boy learns that he has magic and goes to a school, but it’s set in medieval times, instead of modern times like Paraworld Zero. I got about six chapters finished on both books before my computer died on me. I didn’t pick up Paraworld Zero again until 12 years later... after I read Harry Potter and realized how similar it was to my book. In the “Bits And Pieces” section of my website http://www.paraworlds.com/ I put some “before and after” shots of my book.

What are you working on now?

I am slowly working on the second book, which will probably be called The School of Magical Learning or Magical Learning. Actually, let me rephrase that... I should be working on the second book. What I’m doing right now is finishing up on the video trailer, audiobook, and promotions. I am spearheading a $100,000+ marketing campaign, and it’s sooooo time consuming. I also have a publicist who is doing radio and newspaper promotions. She just told me today, actually, that she booked me for an interview on USA Radio Network, which will go out to 275 affiliates nationwide. Yippee! Oh, I do write short stories as well. “Yearning To Jump” will come out on teen-age-magazine.com in the next week or two.

Well, that’s about it. Thanks for having me. Keep your eye out for Paraworld Zero in January. You can pre-order from BN.com (cheapest price right now) and Amazon.com.

Matthew Peterson
http://www.paraworlds.com/

Monday, December 10, 2007

Class Favorite by Taylor Morris


In this delightful book from Taylor Morris, Sara Thurman, age 13, is humiliated when the whole school finds out that she has officially become a woman. To top it all off, her best friend seems to want to spend less and less time with her, while the new girl is hinting at betrayal. What's a girl to do but win the hearts of everyone on the school? Predictable but totally lovable, Class Favorite will have you reminiscing of those awkward middle school days. Sara reminds us that we are all human, and we all have our embarrassing moments, but there is a way to come out on top.

I enjoyed this very much, and it was a fun, quick read that really made me smile. Therefore, I've decided to give away a copy of this book. Just send me your name, mailing address, and email via email to thecompulsivereader@gmail.com and I'll throw your name into the drawing. All entries must be in by December 24, 2007 at 11:59 PM Eastern. Please only one entry per person.

Good luck!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Paraworld Zero by Matthew Peterson


Just 16 more days until that big day...here's an idea on how to spend that Barnes and Noble giftcard you get from the grandparents.


Simon Kent is just another ordinary boy: he lives in an orphanage, is bullied on, and loves playing video games. His life might be a little rough, but he's a tough kid. But after a visit from an intriguing girl from another world, Simon's life is ordinary no more as he's forced to cope with a whole slew of strange and mysterious magical things, including learning of his own perplexing powers, and becoming the one hope of an odd society. Enticing and very entertaining, Matthew Peterson creates in Paraworld Zero a very engaging and attention grabbing first novel that both me and my younger brother enjoyed, and had us fighting over who's turn it was to read the book. We'll be eagerly looking forward to the next in this funny, unique, and imaginative series.

Author Matthew Peterson will be a guest blogger sometime later this week, so leave your questions/comments in either a comment or email me (thecompulsivereader@gmail.com) with them. Stay tuned to see what he has to say!

This book will be available in January 1, 2008.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Golden Compass


Well, since the movie comes out today, I thought that this would be the perfect book to discuss today. I read the Golden Compass last week when a friend finally lent it to me, mainly because I wanted to see the movie. But I will only see a movie after I've read the book--that's my rule.

It wasn't until I was a few chapter into it that I heard of all the controversy around the book. A couple chapters later, I started to receive comments on the fact that I was reading it, and I am a Christian. I was shocked. First of all, there is hardly anything in The Golden Compass that is atheistic. And second of all, no one has the right to judge me because of what I read.

I also find it ironic that these books have been out for about 12 years, and no one's put up much of a fuss before now. I think ti's just getting hype because of the fact that the movie is coming out.

So what do you guys think? Have you read the books? If so, what are your thoughts about the controversy over them? I've read only up til about the third chapter in The Subtle Knife, but my opinion on them--they are just fantasy. Very, very good fantasy.