The Compulsive Reader: July 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009

Supernatural July: Upcoming Reads

Thanks everyone for keeping with me this month--there are a LOT of great supernatural reads out there, and I hope that some of my guides have been helpful!

The following are a list of really awesome looking supernatural books that are coming out in the coming months that I can't wait to read! It seems only proper to end this month on a positive outlook...

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
August 1st, 2009

I am reading this right now and it is unbelievably good!

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.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
December 2009

Actually, I've already read this one (all 600-some pages) and it is magnificent! Totally magnificent! And who can't love this most amazing cover? I am really excited for this one to comes out and for everyone to be able to read this lovely, lovely book!

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
October 13th, 2009

Looks pretty amazing, huh? I think this will be a real different read that will do well!

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.

With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

The Dark Divine by Bree DeSpain
December 22nd, 2009

This one's cover is, well, divine! It's described as the Prodigal Son with supernatural elements, so I really can't wait to see how the author pulls it off. I. Want.

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
January 5th, 2010

This one's cover is similar to that of The Dark Divine's. Different story though, and this is another I can't wait to get my hands on!

Love can be a dangerous thing....

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
August 25th, 2009

This one I have, and it is fantastic! I am almost halfway through and it is so funny and unique!

Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns . . .

Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they've been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.

Or not.

Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.

However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student . . . an attraction that could jeopardize everything.

Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri
August 25th, 2009

One night, in cities all across Europe, five children vanish — only to appear, years later, at an exclusive New York party with a strange and elegant governess. Rumor and mystery follow the Faust teenagers to the city’s most prestigious high school, where they soar to suspicious heights with the help of their benefactor’s extraordinary "gifts." But as the students claw their way up — reading minds, erasing scenes, stopping time, stealing power, seducing with artificial beauty — they start to suffer the sideeffects of their own addictions. And as they make further deals with the devil, they uncover secrets more shocking than their most unforgivable sins. At once chilling and wickedly satirical, this contemporary reimagining of the Faustian bargain is a compelling tale of ambition, consequences, and ultimate redemption.

Looks intriguing, huh?

Darklight by Lesley Livingston
December 22nd, 2009

This book is the sequel to Wondrous Strange, and it looks absolutely fabulous! I can't wait to see what happens next with Kelly's story! If it's anything like its prequel, it will be wonderful!

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
March 16th, 2010

I actually have this one here, right next to me! I hope to get to it soon, but despite how much I want to read it, I'm in no huge rush--this book won't be out for a long time yet!

Sea by Heidi R. Kling
June 10th, 2010

This one's way ahead in the future, but isn't that cover enough to make you want to hunt it down?? GORGEOUS! It's so dreamy and romantic.

Haunted by recurring nightmares since her mother's accidental disappearance over the Indian ocean three years before, fifteen year old California girl Sienna "Sea" Jones reluctantly travels with her father's volunteer team to six months post-tsunami Indonesia. During her stay at the orphanage, she meets scarred and soulful Deni who is more like Sea than anyone she has ever met.

She knows they can't be together, so why can't she stay away from him? And what about her old-best-friend-turned-suddenly-hot Spider who may or may not be waiting for her back home? And why is her psychiatrist father so secretive about her mother's plane crash? The farther she gets from home, the closer she comes to the truth. And Sea's real adventure begins.

These are what I'm looking forward to! Anything else I should know about? What books can you not wait for?

Supernatural July: Interview with Heather Brewer

Heather Brewer is the author of the Vladimir Tod series, whose books include Eighth Grade Bites, Ninth Grade Slays, and Tenth Grade Bleeds. You can visit her at http://heatherbrewer.com/.


What three words would you use to describe your series?

Easy! Those would be the three words that made me realize what I should be writing about: unpopular teenage vampire.

But if I had to choose three different words, I'd choose: real, funny, and action-y.
What element(s) make(s) the Vladimir Tod series unique?

It seems that they're are shelves and shelves of books out there about a girl who falls in love with a vampire...but no one ever talks about the vampire. That's what my series is about, the vampire's POV. It's also a fast-paced, action packed series that will appeal to reluctant readers, something I'm immensely proud of.

If you could have any supernatural power, which would it be and why?

I'd want the ability to turn invisible. Handy for embarrassing moments, plus it would make pulling pranks on people unbelievably awesome.
What supernatural books (or books) have influenced you the most?

The biggest would be the classic of classics, Bram Stoker's Dracula. Of course, I found the book to be highly amusing. But then, I laugh at Nosferatu...

What supernatural read are you itching to read?

Without a doubt, HUNGER by Jackie Morse Kessler. It's about a teenage girl with an eating disorder who gets chosen as the new Famine (one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse).

Thanks, Heather!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Supernatural July: Interview with Kristen Cast

Kristen Cast (left) is the co-author of the bestselling House of Night series. She was kind enough to take a few moments and answer a couple of questions.


What three words would you use to describe the House of Night series?

Real, edgy, gripping

If you could have a conversation with any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

The people who wrote the Bible, cause I'm really confused.

What's one supernatural book you are itching to read?

Jana Oliver's DEMON TRAPPERS series. It's not out yet, but I know it's going to be fantastic!!!!

Thanks, Kristen!

Supernatural July: Books That Will Keep You Up At Night

Wake by Lisa McMann

Janie doesn't really feel like she belongs. She's been mostly self sufficient since she was young due to her mother's alcoholism, and steers slear of most people, afraid that they'll learn of her secret: Janie can enter into others' dreams. Unwilling or otherwise, she is a silent observer to anyone who may be sleeping near here. Janie has been able to handle it for nearly 11 years, until she becomes friends with Cabel. Because Janie actually partakes in Cabel's riveting nightmares.

Told in a journal format that allows the story to glide along smoothly, Wake is fast paced and full of high suspense. Janie is the girl that everyone knows, but no one notices, thus making her story and life even more appealing. The tension and the mystery, the vagueness and trepidation are what make Wake so appealing. Readers will follow this mesmerizing story with rapt attention as Janie's talents expand, she discovers the truth about herself and rises to take her place in the world.

Fade by Lisa McMann

Christmas Break has been quiet thus far for Janie and Cabel. But now the Captain has their first joint assignment: there is reason to believe that Fieldridge High has a sexual predator among the teachers. While Janie and Cabel are quick to narrow down the suspects, their relationship suffers from withheld feelings and thoughts. And then Janie discovers the dreadful truth about her abilities and the dim future ahead of her.

Lisa McMann's sequel to her popular debut Wake contains the same creepy dreams and suspense, plus a stellar, structured plot and more skillful character development. Fade unfolds more quickly than its predecessor since it was revealed to readers that Cabel is working for the police, but that doesn’t mean all of the secrets our out in the air—quite the opposite, in fact. McMann's style is stark and steady, and her frank, straightforward manner is refreshing. The climax of the novel is riveting and frightening, and will have a very real and relevant impact on teens. This is a quick read that will have you rooting for Janie and Cabel, and has the power to scare and entertain at the same time.

Cover Comments: I wasn't too crazy about the covers of Wake and Fade at first, but they've really grown on me. I like the glass of water on this cover (it's not a blue candle like I thought at first!), and the black and blue colors with the big font for the title make the books look intense, which they are. Good cover!

Gone by Lisa McMann

Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she'd made her peace with it. But she can't handle dragging Cabel down with her.

She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He's amazing. And she's a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves--she has to disappear. And it's going to kill them both.

Then a stranger enters her life--and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she'd ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out...

Gone will be released in February, but in the meantime, if you are a fan of Lisa McMann's books, you'll love Terri Clark's Sleepless. And don't be fooled by this cover--it truly is a great book!

On the outside, Trinity Michaels might be just another teenager, enjoying her last summer before college. But inside, there's a secret—while Trinity dreams, people can visit her...people she knows. And when a girl named Kiri that Trinity once met comes to her one night, begging for an escape from her kidnapper, Trinity is crushed when she doesn't get Kiri the help she needs in time.

Trin hoped that she'd get some closure over Kiri's killer, Rafe Stevens' incarceration. But instead, his lawyer uses shady tactics and gets Rafe into a mental hospital...where he promptly breaks out! And there's something else: while at the mental hospital, Rafe somehow managed to attain the ability to walk into Trinity's dreams, and now he's bent of revenge. Trinity will be forced to team up with an unlikely ally—Dan Devlin, son of Rafe's lawyer, as she struggles for a solution that will save her life…if only she can stay awake long enough.

From newcomer Terri Clark is a fast paced and heart pounding novel that will keep you up at night! Clark handles her plot like a pro, and her fun and modern voice, along with many well placed pop culture references, entice and encourage readers into the story. The characters are those that readers can't get enough of—amusing, intelligent, savvy, but yet a bit fallible as well. Sleepless is a quick read, and the storyline is one that is simple enough to ensnare reluctant readers, but complicated enough to still be highly engaging. With all the suspense and danger of Lisa McMann's Wake and the sharp wit and supernatural allure of Meg Cabot's The Mediator series, Sleepless—and Clark—are sure to be a success.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Supernatural July: Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the YA author of three Gothic fantasy novels from Candlewick Press--Tantalize (2007), Eternal (2009), and Blessed (2011), which will crossover the two casts and pick up where Tantalize leaves off. A Tantalize graphic novel is also in the works. In addition, Cynthia's recent YA short stories include "Haunted Love" from Immortal: Love Stories with Bite, edited by P.C. Cast (BenBella, 2008) and "Cat Calls" from Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magic, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, July 2009), both of which are set in the Tantalize universe, as well "The Wrath of Dawn, co-authored by Greg Leitich Smith," from Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd, edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci (Little, Brown, 2009). Cynthia runs a large children's-YA literature resource site at: www.cynthialeitichsmith.com and a popular blog, Cynsations, at: http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/

What three words would you use to describe your books?

Horrific, romantic, layered.

What element(s) would you say make(s) your books unique?

For this three set--Tantalize (2007), Eternal (2009), and Blessed (2011), all from Candlewick--it's probably the girl-empowerment themes and the combination of multicultural, religious, and economic diversity in fantasy settings. They're also upper-level YAs that include, say, quasi-epistolary elements, unreliable narrators, alternating point of view, etc., which gears them toward more YA sophisticated readers. Beyond that, I'm writing stories set in a universe. They don't all have the same characters, and they're not in linear order. They include novels, short stories, and (forthcoming) graphic novels, so I'm using a lot of formats.

What supernatural book or books have influenced you the most?

In terms of my Gothic writing, Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897); Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause (1997); and though it was a TV series, Joss Whedon's "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer."

If you could have any supernatural power, what would it be and why?

The ability to freeze time for everyone else while I continue to work. Reason: deadlines!

What supernatural read are you itching to read?

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (Delacorte, 2009).

Thanks so much for agreeing to answer my questions! I really do appreciate it!

Thank you!

And check out the trailer for Eternal, Cynthia latest book!

Eternal Trailer

Supernatural July: HarperTeen's "Hell" Anthologies

HarperTeen has a set of cool anthologies, composed of short stories by famous YA paranormal authors like Scott Westerfeld, Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, and Stephenie Meyer, out that are really cool, not just because the stories rock, but because every time you buy one, a portion of the proceeds go to charity! Now, that's awesome! Here they are:

Vacations from Hell by Libba Bray, Maureen Jonhson, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Sarah Mlynowski

In HarperTeen's latest "Hell" anthology, bestselling authors have created five smart, mysterious, and downright creepy stories. Vampires stalk a cruise ship in Sarah Mlynowski's Cruisin', and two young witches get tangled in a powerful spell in I Don't Like Your Girlfriend by Claudia Gray. The Law of Suspects by Maureen Johnson is an intense story about a powerful myth, and Cassandra Clare will make you think twice about island hospitality in The Mirror House. Finally, Libba Bray wraps up the anthology with Nowhere is Safe, a freaky story about a secluded village in Europe with some frightening old traditions.

Vacations from Hell is an absorbing and quick r
ead, and the stories within are surprising, scary, and don't always end very happily. Only one seems to feel as if it would have benefitted from being turned into a novel, but it isn't very bothersome. This is a great read for those reluctant readers who find it challenging to get into a good book; the short stories are every bit as entertaining at 50 pages as a full length novel. The stories are as diverse as their authors, and they're all the perfect length for a travel read...or if you are easily scared, perhaps not...

Love is Hell by Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin, Laurie Faria Stolarz, Melissa Marr

From determined ghosts to otherworldly love interests, Love is Hell contains a selection of romantic, chilling, and gripping short stories from some of the best Young Adult paranormal writers.

The stories are just as varied and diverse as the collection of writers; Laurie Faria Stolarz relates to readers a modern tale of a haunting while Scott Westerfeld offers readers a glimpse into a futuristic "perfect world" and two teens that unwittingly learn a thing or two about perfection. Justine Larbalestier's story is centered on a complicated relationship that struggles to defy all odds, and Gabrielle Zevin's story is a complex mix of reality and fantasy that cleverly twists readers' minds. Melissa Marr wraps the anthology up with her seaside tale of trust, patience, and love.

Dreamy, suspenseful, (sometimes) heartbreaking, and even satirical at times, Love is Hell is full of fun, quick reads that will engage any paranormal fan.

Prom Nights From Hell by Meg Cabot, Michele Jaffe, Stephenie Meyer, Lauren Myracle, and Kim Harrison

In this exciting collection, bestselling authors Meg Cabot (How to Be Popular), Kim Harrison (A Fistful of Charms), Michele Jaffe (Bad Kitty), Stephenie Meyer (Twilight), and Lauren Myracle (ttyl) take bad prom nights to a whole new level—a paranormally bad level. Wardrobe malfunctions and two left feet don't hold a candle to discovering your date is the Grim Reaper—and he isn't here to tell you how hot you look.

From angels fighting demons to a creepy take on getting what you wish for, these five stories will entertain better than any DJ in a bad tux. No corsage or limo rental necessary. Just good, scary fun.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Supernatural July: Evermore and Blue Moon by Alyson Noel


After the tragic death of her parents and little sister, Ever's life is changed drastically. She now sees auras, and ghosts, and knows what people are thinking by simply touching them. She withdraws and becomes a loner...until she meets Damen. Damen doesn't have an aura, and he makes all the crazy feelings and thoughts that aren't her own inside her head calm down. But he's keeping secrets...dangerous secrets that could affect everyone around her.

Different and exciting, Evermore is a very entrancing read. Noel's writing is tight, and her supernatural world is explained very well and is surprisingly logical. Ever is a realistic character, and her struggles are portrayed in an authentic manner as she tries to deal with the loss of her family and strives to provide an explanation for her strange powers and her questions surrounding Damen's appearance. Many of the problems Ever faces are problems that teen girls face in their lives every day, but Ever's are given a more dangerous and mysterious spin, making her story exciting but very much in reach for teens. Noel's writing is very detailed, and her characters are very easily pictured and distinguishable. Though issues at the end resolve a bit conveniently, Evermore is a book that Twilight fans and non-Twilight fans can both really enjoy.

Cover Comments: I really like the purple of the cover, and the red tulips. The girl's pose is perfect, and the cover is very mysterious and magical.

Blue Moon

In the second installment, Ever can bring her family back from the dead—but only if she’s willing to sacrifice the guy she loves more than life itself.

Just as Ever is learning everything she can about her new abilities as an immortal, initiated into the dark, seductive world by her beloved Damen, something terrible is happening to him. As Ever’s powers are increasing, Damen’s are fading—stricken by a mysterious illness that threatens his memory, his identity, his life.

Desperate to save him, Ever travels to the mystical dimension of Summerland, uncovering not only the secrets of Damen’s past—the brutal, tortured history he hoped to keep hidden—but also an ancient text revealing the workings of time. With the approaching blue moon heralding her only window for travel, Ever is forced to decide between turning back the clock and saving her family from the accident that claimed them—or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows weaker each day...

And if you love this series, be sure to check out ImmortalSeries.com, the cool new site with exclusive audio clips between characters, an aura photo upload tool, and excerpts! Check it out, it's really awesome!

Supernatural July: Interview with Lesley Livingston!

Lesley Livingston is the fabulous author of Wondrous Strange and its sequel, Darklight, which will be hitting stores sometime in December.

What three words would you use to describe Wondrous Strange?

Dark-sparkly (hyphenated words do too count as one word!)
Heart-poundy (see? told ya!)

What element (or elements) would you say make Wondrous Strange a unique read?

Oh... a soap devouring kelpie, for one... Seriously? What I actually had the most fun with was taking familiar Faerie tropes and turning them on their heads to make them unique within the boundaries of those timeless legends. I’m really excited, for instance, with the actual back-story of the mythology in this book – which is also partially based on a real-world occurrence – and which is developed and expanded upon in the sequel, DARKLIGHT (and the so-far nameless Book the Third).

Are there any supernatural works that have influenced your writing the most?

Celtic mythology and Arthurian literature in general has influenced me immensely. Also stuff like the Dresden Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (not a book, I know!) have left their stamp in the way I like to use humor and banter-y dialogue in dire situations and in the richness of the supernatural worlds they build... Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry was very influential when I was younger. And, in case it wasn’t obvious, that Shakespeare guy left a pretty deep impression on my brain (and lest ye think The Bard didn’t write “supernatural”? May I say unto thee: Hamlet. Macbeth. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Tempest....)

If you could have any supernatural power, what would it be and why?

Flight. Without a doubt. I mean - aside from the saved expense of air travel... how cool would it be to just fling yourself into the sky and stay there? Freedom, exhilaration, wind in your hair (and hopefully no bugs in your teeth!)

What supernatural read are you itching to read?

I’ve been dying for the chance to delve into the latest Jim Butcher Dresden Files novel, TURN COAT. Butcher writes what has been described as “Wizard Noir”. It’s funny, dark, cool stuff and I have a little bit of a crush on Harry Dresden – who routinely gets the crap kicked out of him by supernatural beasties. (It’s not YA, though! Be warned.)

Thanks for the questions, Tirzah! This was a load of fun!

Thank YOU, Lesley!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Suzanne Collins Event!

Hey everyone,

Hope you had a great Monday! Mine was fabulous! I traveled to Chelsea, MI to participate in the Borders Book Club discussion with Suzanne Collins. Borders has a series of really neat videos in a very relaxed, very laid back tone with a whole slew of authors, including Sarah Dessen, Christopher Paolini, and Stephenie Meyer. You can check out all of their videos here, which I really recommend that you do! They're all very awesome, and just brimming with great information!

I went down to Chelsea, which is about three hours away from where I live, last night because we had to be there by 8 AM. There were a bunch of really cool people there, and in between getting our make-up done, we had some really great conversations about books, authors, ALA, and libraries. It was tons of fun!

Here's a shot of some of us waiting in the next room while the film crew set up. I'm the one in the red! (Sorry in advance for all the blurry pictures! There was a camera malfunction!)

Here's one of us getting set up and seated. Suzanne is the one with her back to the camera!

Here I am, waiting to be miked...

....which involved a lot of complicated fastening and adjusting.

Meanwhile, Suzanne was showing off her awesome, awesome necklace which was a real gold version of Katniss's mockingjay pin! It's hard to see here, but hopefully we'll get a good look in the actual video. All of us (even the guys!) wanted one as well, but unfortunately it was a special order...but I think whoever made it could sure make a pretty penny by making more for fans!

Afterward, Suzanne signed books and us readers continued our conversation that the camera cut off.

And here I am getting my book signed!

And here is when I presented Suzanne with our project! She loved it so much, and asked me to say THANK YOU to everyone who contributed. I know I said I would vlog it, but I actually ended up finishing it at 11 last night, so I did not get the chance. Sorry! Nonetheless, it turned out really well, and she loved it!

And here is a picture of our group! It was so much fun. We got to talking and just could not stop. I think we were all pretty bummed when the camera crew told us we had to wrap up!

And here is a picture of me and Suzanne!

And I met a lot of really great people today, including Suzanne's publicist at Scholastic, Sheila Marie (on the left). It was so much fun to finally put a face to the names!

Okay, now onto some rumor control (even I learned a couple of things today!):

Suzanne told us she has not yet finished the third book, and she was very tight-lipped about anything that would be going on in it! (Though really, I wouldn't have wanted any spoilers at all!)

She is doing the screenplay for the official The Hunger Games movie, which will be done by Lionsgate, at least for the first few drafts. She has not started it yet, but plans to do so after she's written the third book (and I think we all agree that we want her to write the third book first!).

There's not too much info out right now about the movie. Suzanne did say that they would try to keep it PG-13, which might be a little bit of a challenge, and when asked, she said that the tentative release date will be sometime in 2011.

That's all I can think of! The rest you will have to wait for until the official video airs! I will most certainly let you know when, but I'll tell you now that it will be somewhere around September 1st. Based on our discussion (and not knowing what Borders may or may not edit out), I'd say that unless you want some mild spoilers, you may want to read Catching Fire first.

It was a great day! A huge thanks to Suzanne for doing this and for the amazing people at Borders for putting this together! I had the most fun today than I have had in ages!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Supernatural July: The Hollow by Jessica Verday

Check out this eerie read from Jessica Verday, hitting stores September 1st, 2009!

Abby is devastated over the loss of her best friend Kristen, who disappeared one night on the bridge near the cemetery in their small town of Sleepy Hollow. Everyone believes that she committed suicide and drowned herself, but Abby can't accept that. At Kristen's funeral, Abby meets Caspian. He's gorgeous, but also a bit of an enigma.
As she spends more time with him, she suspects he's keeping secrets from her, but he's also the only one who makes her feel like her old self again. But with her developing relationship with Caspian, Abby learns a few secrets that Kristen kept herself, and the truth about Caspian himself that just might be far too large for her to grasp.

The Hollow is a dark and enthralling new spin on Washington Irving famous tale that is certain to keep readers up late at night. Jessica Verday's vivid imagery and descriptive language capture the mood and setting of the novel perfectly, and fit Abby's dark and grim mood as she struggles to get through each day without Kristen and questions everything she knew about her friend as secrets are revealed. The pace of the novel is steady, and Verday effectively builds suspense throughout the book as every small event leads up to the final pages when Abby discovers the secrets behind the people she thought she knew. Verday answers some questions, but not all, leaving readers hanging and in desperate need of a sequel. The Hollow is a dark, brooding, and wonderfully delicious debut and Verday is a talented new author to watch.

Cover Comments: This cover's colors are lovely. I really think the deep blues and purple tones fit the book very well, and I like how the necklace is brought out in the cover (it has significance in the story). This is a very striking cover, and I really like the title treatment.

What three words would you use to describe The Hollow?

Haunting Love Story

What makes The Hollow unique?

The main character, Abbey, has the unusual hobby of perfuming and the story itself is set in an American town with a famously supernatural and literary history, Sleepy Hollow, NY.

What supernatural book has influenced you the most?


What supernatural book are you looking forward to reading?

DREAMDARK: SILKSINGER (Faeries of Dreamdark) by Laini Taylor

Thanks, Jessica!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Supernatural July: A Very Fair Blog Post

Fairies: they're not your average, cute little magical being. They can be dangerous, scary, ethereal, and sly. And the following books showcase that perfectly:

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Laurel has always felt different--she only eats fruits and a few vegetables, and she's most happy in the woods surrounding her home, where her parents have brought her up and homeschooled her. She chafes at being forced to go to public school for the first time in her life and at being cooped up indoors, but finds that her days are made bearable by her new friendship with David.
David truly understands her, and she enjoys being with him. But then one day, a bump on Laurel's back turns into a fantastic blossom, shaped exactly like wings, and David is the only one who Laurel trusts to help her figure out what has happened to her, and who she truly is.

Magical and inviting, Wings takes the reader on a charming and airy journey. Aprilynne Pike's wholly unique and fascinating take on faeries is delightful and innovative, and her presentation of the faerie world is a clever blend of folklore, tradition, and new thoughts that make for a perfectly fun and light read. Laurel is a likable and unassuming character that readers will immediately fall for and sympathize with as she struggles to discover the source of her differences, and finds herself torn between two very different worlds and two very different guys. Pike's writing is magnetic, and her adventure is as suspenseful and riveting as it is romantic and enchanting.

Cover Comments: This cover isn't as striking as some I've seen, but it is a nice one: I like the petal on the water, and the gracefulness of the title's font. The colors are very vivid and they sure stand out, but yet the cover still has the soft, magical appearance. It's very nice, and it's sure to catch more than a few eyes.

Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog

Morgan Sparks has a perfect boyfriend, and a pretty-near perfect life. She and her boyfriend Cameron Browne share a birthday, and their upcoming sixteenth birthday party is the most talked of event in school. But just a week before the big day, a strange guy named Pip shows up, claiming to be the Brownes’ real son. He declares that Cam is really fairy royalty, and next in line for the crown—and that it's time for him to return to the fairy world and for Pip to take his place in the human one. But Morgan won't let go of Cam easily; she's bound and determined to make sure that he stays with her for the rest of their lives...but what if that isn't his destiny?

Fairy Tale is unexpected in many aspects—from Morgan's ability to see into the future to Cyn Balog's surprise ending. Morgan herself is a strong narrator who packs in plenty of wit and sass. Her confidence is refreshing, and her reaction to the many magical events occurring around her is humorous and entertaining. Her psychic abilities aren’t dwelled upon for very long, which seems a little curious, but isn’t distracting from the novel as a whole.

The idea that the male lead—not the female one—is a fairy is a different one, and the new approach is definitely welcome. Fairy Tale deals a lot with the emotions and fears that accompany change as both Cam and Morgan face the possibility of losing each other forever and grapple with fears of the unknown, which is an issue that many teens will be able to draw connections with in their own lives. At the center of the story is a sweet romance that is touching without being cliché, and realistically complicated and gut-wrenching. Balog's debut is a dazzling one, full of fun dialogue, true-to-life emotions, and a suspenseful climax that will have readers coming back to this lovely novel again and again.

Cover Comments: This cover is exquisite--I love the beauty of the wings in the background, and the many colors in them. The drops of water make the image look three dimensional and more realistic, and the simple black background makes the color in the wings pop. I like the title treatment and fint as well, it compliments the image nicely. This is a very, very attractive cover!

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater

Deirdre is tremendously gifted in music, but when it comes to actually performing, that's where she runs into some problems. She's hiding out backstage trying to deal with her extreme stage fright before a big recital when the mysterious Luke Dillon appears, seemingly out of nowhere, and guides her through the performance. Deirdre is inexplicably drawn him, despite the negative reactions from her family and Luke's peculiar behavior. Soon it becomes obvious that something else is afoot besides their electrifying romance, something sinister and dangerous that involves the sly and not entirely honest fey, and their queen who would stop at nothing to make sure that the threat Deirdre poses is eliminated...

Elegantly creepy and foreboding, Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception is a bold and exciting read with much of the same air and forbidden romantic appeal that attracted fans to the Twilight series. However, Lament certainly stands on its own ground as Stiefvater weaves old lore with new twists to form a compelling and unique take on faeries. The book is well drawn out as the mystery unfolds and secrets slowly reveal themselves, giving readers just the right amount of information to keep them suspended in anticipation. Stiefvater strikes just the right balance between supernatural intrigue and down-to-earth teenage tendencies, making Lament engaging to even reluctant readers, despite its length.

However, one of the most admirable qualities of Stiefvater's writing is the bold way in which she presents it, and the fact that she doesn't shy around the tough stuff in order to give readers the happy fluff. She manipulates the plot like a pro, giving Lament an edgy, tantalizing air that will entertain to no end, and also lends more depth to her work in the long run. Maggie Stiefvater, with her ability to create not only a gripping romance, but also a shadowy and puzzling mystery at the same time, is most definitely an author to watch.

And keep your eyes out for the sequel to Lament, Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie, coming in October (on a side note, isn't the cover GORGEOUS? I love it!):

In this mesmerizing sequel to Lament, music prodigy James Morgan and his best friend, Deirdre, join a private conservatory for musicians. James' musical talent attracts Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Composing beautiful music together unexpectedly leads to mutual admiration and love.

Haunted by fiery visions of death, James realizes that Deirdre and Nuala are being hunted by the Fey and plunges into a soul-scorching battle with the Queen of the Fey to save their lives.

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Kelley is a young actress, trying to make ends meet working as a stage hand and understudy in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in New York City. One night while practicing her lines in Central Park, she meets Sonny, who, unbeknownst to the mortal world, guards the Samhain Gate to the Otherworld and protects the city from the beings that would try to cross over and cause chaos.

Sonny senses immediately that there is something different about Kelley, but is unable to pinpoint what it is. He is inexplicably drawn to her, much to her dismay, and Kelley refuses to believe his ridiculous claims that she is not of this world. Soon the truth comes comes out though, putting Kelley and Sonny into more danger than they could have ever foreseen...

Wondrous Strange is a beguiling read. It combines the excitement of stage life, the diversity of New York City, and the thrill of magic to pull insistently at the reader until they fully succumb to this romantic and dangerous read. Kelley is your likable, average heroine who's just trying to get by on her own, and her practicality and wit punctuate the story with a modern and full-of-attitude flair.

The plot is well drawn out, and the balance between the fantastical elements and moments of reality is perfect. Some more critical readers might feel as though Kelley's acceptance of her role in the Otherworld is a bit rushed, but Livingston's convincing voice and attitude-filled characters will quickly overwhelm any lingering doubtful feelings. Wondrous Strange is a stirring and adventurous book with wry humor, colorful and expressive characters, and an unbelievably addictive quality.

Wondrous Strange is coming out in paperback in September! And keep an eye out for the sequel to Wondrous Strange, Darklight, coming in December:

Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was Faerie royalty, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved New York City from a rampaging Faerie war band. When a terrifying encounter in Central Park sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful—but cut short. For they’ve been plunged into a game of Faerie deception and wavering allegiances in which the next move could topple a kingdom…or part them forever.

The fans who flocked to Lesley Livingston’s Wondrous Strange will fall hard for Darklight, the soaringly romantic second book in the trilogy. Breathless high stakes and vividly magical characters make this a can’t-miss fantasy for readers of Melissa Marr and Holly Black.

And of course, Melissa Marr's books are a must read for any fairy lover. The first book is Wicked Lovely, the second Ink Exchange, and the third Fragile Eternity.

These are just a few great books that come to my mind...what are some of your favorite fairy (or faerie!) reads?

Latest Vlog: What's In My Bookbag

Here's the new vlog in which I talk about my need to always carry around five million books and share what I am carrying around now. Yes, I know my bangs look dorky. It's humid here.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Supernatural July: Need by Carrie Jones

When her father died, a part of Zara did too. Now she's just a walking shell, nothing like her old self. So her mother sends her to the small town of Bedford, Maine to live with her grandmother in the hopes that the change of scene will do her good. Zara can't help but feel mad at her mother for sending her away, despite how welcome everyone makes her feel. There's something creepy about Bedford...like the strange disappearances of young boys and the man who keeps following her, and how no one will let her go out at night. Something sinister is going on, and Zara is caught up in the middle of it.

Though the initial set-up of the novel is a little standard (girl arrives at a new school, makes friends, makes enemies, develops a crush), Need is a really imaginative and smart paranormal read. Though still grieving over the death of her father, Zara is a clever and likable character with backbone, and she doesn't wait around for anyone to save her. The supporting characters are funny and diverse, from the energetic new best friend to the smoldering hot male lead. Carrie Jones' writing is very detailed, from the weather in Maine to the dangerous pixies, and she writes with wonderful clarity, making for some super-creepy scenes. Need is a delicious combination of mystery, dark secrets from the past, electrifying romance, and bone-chilling danger that will make you look at gold glitter in an entirely new way.

Cover Comments: This cover is all right. I like the branches and the gold accents, however I think that the face and neck look a little cartoon-ish. Nonetheless, it's very eye-catching!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Supernatural July: The Mortal Instruments Trilogy by Cassandra Clare and Interview

City of Bones

Clary Fray's normal, quiet life takes a surprising turn one night when she witnesses a murder at the club Pandemonium. The only thing is, she's the only one who can see the killers and their victim. The next night, her mother disappears and her apartment is ransacked. It's then that Clary discovers that the killers she saw are really Shadowhunters, demon killers who live in secret. And the people she saw at Pandemonium, Jace, Isabelle, and Alec are the only one who can help her make sense of this strange new world of vampires, warlocks, werewolves, and demons, and help her find her mother.

Cassandra Clare's writing is illuminating and imaginative, and her talent for building imaginary worlds remarkable. City of Bones is a weighty novel, but even the most reluctant of readers will find themselves swept away by the quick wit, fast thinking, and beguiling creatures. The book moves rapidly and seamlessly as Clary and her new friends move all across the city, uncovering hints as they go along and running into all sorts of trouble. The setting details really go a long ways towards making Clary's world more believable; Clare is constantly dr
opping names of landmarks and streets in and around New York City, as if the reader is actually there and is familiar with the city. The ending is exhilarating, with a twist you'll never see coming that will leave you eager for more.

City of Ashes

The past few weeks have been hectic for Clary Fray to say the least, and they only s
eem to get even more so in the sequel to Cassandra Clare's popular debut City of Bones. Clary's mother still hasn't awoken from her strange sleep induced by Jace and Clary's father, Valentine, and Jace is having troubles coming to terms with his true parentage.

Things only get more complicated when an Inquisitor is sent to the Institute to question Jace's loyalty to the Clave, and he doesn't make a good impression. Suspicion is further aroused when children of magical descent are found dead all over the city, making everyone suspect that Valentine is up to something more sinister than they have anticipated.

The second book in the Mortal Instruments series is full of fast paced action and twists and turns that you won't see coming. Clary gets more and more involved in the supernatural world as she and Jace struggle to accept their relationship, while at the same time fending off attacks from all sides. In between it all is exhilarating excitement, the awkwardness of being a teenager, and intriguing mysteries. Readers looking for more breathless adventure and a spectacular battle against
evil will delight in City of Ashes.

City of Glass

Shadowhunters everywhere have been called to the city of Alicante in Idris so that the Clave may decide how to best defeat Valentine. Jace doesn't want Clary to come, fearing that her unnatural talent with runes may bring her unwanted attention. But when Clary manages to get to Idris on her own, illegally, to find the only person who can heal her mother, things start to get tense. Then something horrific happens, making it apparent that a traitor is among the Shadowhunters. Can Clary and Jace discover who it is, and how to work their strange powers before Valentine can take over?

City of Glass starts off not long after City of Ashes ends, and switches points of view frequently between main characters so quickly it's almost hard to keep up and keep everything straight. But it doesn't take long before the pacing evens out once more, and the book glides along quite nicely. Cassandra Clare manages to fit in plenty of action-packed scenes and plot twists in this lengthy final book, and does a great job at building suspense throughout. It's not until more than halfway through that readers realize exactly how well thought out the Mortal Instruments series is, and Clare keeps them guessing until the surprising end. Full of romance, betrayals, dark secrets, and plenty of adventure, Clare's final book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy is the perfect, satisfying finish that won’t let go until the last page.

Cassandra Clare, author of the bestselling Mortal Instruments trilogy, was sweet enough to take a moment to answer a couple questions:

What three words would you use to describe the Mortal Instruments trilogy?

Long. I can't write short. You get a lot of bang for your buck with my books, page-number wise! I'd say they're also urban, and romantic.

What makes your books unique?

Wow, I don't know how to answer that without sounding like a jerk. I guess I would say that what I most often hear from readers is that they find the mixture of fantasy, action and humor unusual and they enjoy that.

What supernatural book or work has influenced you and your writing the most?

There isn't one book or work that has influenced me most, but rather I think I'm equally influenced by a number of different works. I can certainly point toward the urban fantasy of the eighties — the Borderlands books, the work of Charles de Lint and Emma Bull — and say, "I was influenced strongly by those."

If you could have any supernatural power, what would it be and why?

Flying. I hate driving, so if I could fly, I'd never be stuck in traffic again.

What supernatural read are you itching to read next?

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan when it comes out in October.