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The Compulsive Reader: January 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Author Spotlight: Leslie Margolis


Leslie Margolis is the author of Fix, Price of Admission, and Boys Are Dogs. She escaped from Los Angeles, where she grew up, at eighteen, and lives in Brooklyn with her fairly well-trained, six-toed mutt named Aunt Blanche and her less-well-trained husband. You can visit her at lesliemargolis.com.

Fix

Cameron Beekman's life changed forever when she had a nose job at age 15. No longer Beakface, she's now one of the Beautiful People. Accepted, popular, and glamorous, she's never been happier. Now 18, Cameron has no qualms about going under the knife again, but her decision has angered her parents, despite the fact that her young sister Allie will soon get a nose job herself. Allie has her reservations about the procedure, but when surrounded by her glamorous, model mother, and gorgeous, successful sister, she can't help but wonder...would plastic surgery finally allow her to fit in with her own family?

Scintillating, gritty, and engrossing, Fix poses a simple, yet powerful question to women of today: what exactly is beauty? It's a controversial subject, and Margolis handles it with supreme competence. This is a novel that doesn't choose sides, but instead qualifies each view of cosmetic surgery. It's full of facts and details, delivering a truthful, introspective look at the issue of appearance. Each character's individualism stands out as they must make a decision that will change their lives. Unflinching and riveting, Fix will make you think.

Price of Admission

As a studio head’s daughter, Jasmine Green's seemingly perfect life is just a facade for some very serious problems. Despite her cushy home, endless resources, and fancy cars, Jasmine's father is completely absorbed with his job, her brother is having an affair with their stepmother, and Jasmine herself is dating two guys at once. When one these guys dies, his screenplay is found in his apartment, and is sold to Jasmine's father's company. The only problem? It's really Jasmine's screenplay, and it's the story of her life. Every lurid detail.

Price of Admission is a gripping, galvanizing, and outstanding novel that explores the depths of family loyalty as Jasmine does all it takes to keep her family's dirty little secrets from being revealed. This novel doesn't fail to meet expectations, and Jasmine's clear and expressive voice is authentic. Rather than make excuses for her actions, she learns to face them, making her a character that no one can resist. The colorful cast of expressive and fallible characters make this lively and full of attitude read that will steal your attention away and won't release you until the credits roll.


Boys Are Dogs

Annabelle isn't too pleased when her mom moves her to a new house and new school so she can live with her new boyfriend. This new school is different from her old one in that it has boys, and as Annabelle learns pretty quickly, dealing with boys is NOTHING like making friends with girls. And then when Annabelle's mom and her boyfriend then get her a new puppy, Annabelle finds herself a little stressed out. But as Annabelle learns to train her new puppy, she sees some surprising similarities between training dogs, and training boys…

Funny, wise, and a bit thoughtful, Boys Are Dogs is an innovative and fun-filled read. Annabelle is an engaging and relatable narrator whose perfect combination of smarts, independence, and shyness will capture even the reluctant reader's attention. Boys Are Dogs will have you roaring with laughter one minute and wincing with empathy the next. Margolis's unique talent of emulating her characters' ages and attitudes perfectly carries through in Boys Are Dogs and succeeds in establishing a bond between reader and author that offers empathy and comfort to young girls surviving the highs and lows of middle school, and a vivid trip down memory lane for older audiences. Margolis has created the ultimate must-read for tweens, packed full of fantastic advice, laughs, and a bunch of confidence-boosting girl-power.

Check back tomorrow for an interview with Leslie Margolis!

Becoming Chloe Excerpt

Check out this video excerpt in which Catherine Ryan Hyde reads aloud from her book Becoming Chloe.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fun Friday

Hey everyone,

I'm not giving away a book this weekend, BUT: check out Julie Linker's awesome contest here. You have til Thursday to enter!

Have you bought a copy of Bloom by Elizabeth Scott, The Elite or In Too Deep by Jennifer Banash, or The Center of the Universe (Yep, That's Be Me) by Anita Liberty recently? If you have, send me a picture of the book with the receipt (or screen shot of the order confirmation), and I'll throw your name in the hat to win a hardcover of Elizabeth Scott's Stealing Heaven. Details are here.

And, here's a chance to win the first two books in Veronica Tabares's series, Behold the Eye.

Also, click here to enter to win an ARC of Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls.

And, last one, go here to win a copy of Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell!


And finally, a cute video by author Amy Koss Goldman, author of Poison Ivy.



Have an awesome weekend!

TCR

The Rule of Won by Stefan Petrucha


Caleb Dunne is a self-proclaimed slacker. He isn't motivated to so much of anything, but yet he still is blamed for the construction accident that brought the new school gym tumbling to the ground. When his girlfriend Vicky convinces him to join a new school club, centered around the bestselling book Rule of Won which focuses on positive thinking, he does so reluctantly just to please Vicky, but then because it might be a chance to get everyone's mind off of him. But as the club grows in size and popularity, some of the ideas are quickly becoming twisted into something cult-like Caleb can't agree with—and when it becomes harmful to the people around him, Slacker Caleb is motivated to do something about it.


Stefan Petrucha's Rule of Won is humorous (in an ironic and almost dark sort of way), fascinating, and quite thoughtful. Petrucha's Rule of One cult is just believable enough to be realistic, but at the same time its less convincing undertones are enough to keep readers on Caleb's side and understand the effects of peer pressure and a persuasive leader. Caleb is a very well formed character, from his actions to his responses to the Rule of Won cult, and his humor and witty line of thinking counteract the novel's more serious moments appropriately. Petrucha's message is clear, but not in a patronizing or overly preach-y way, and his candid and surprising style make it easy to fall right in to The Rule of Won, a must read for the forward-thinking teen.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rumors Winner

The winner of the copy of Rumors is Cassandra! Congrats! Just send me your address!

Also, I just wanted to apologize for being rather sporadic of late when it comes to posting. I'm a student, and my course load this semester is VERY heavy, which leaves me little time for anything besides studying in the evening, hence the weekend updates. While I don't anticipate it lightening up any time soon, I promise you that I will keep updating and reading and offering cool contests and Book of the Month features to the best of my ability. Thanks to everyone for your understanding!

Julie Linker is Here


Hi Compulsive Reader readers!! My name is Julie Linker, and I’m doing today’s guest blog! Which I’m pretty excited about because I’ve never done a guest blog before. At least, not the kind where I can write about whatever I want, anyway. So, this is pretty cool. I’m tempted to write about the Oscars because I’m a total celebrity-junkie, but, um, I think the point is for me to write about my book. Which is called Crowned. It’s a story about two rival beauty pageant queens.

I wish I could tell you I decided to write about pageants because I’m a former Miss America or something, but sadly—no. I’m not a former anything. Although I did make the top ten at the county fair queen contest when I was in high school. Does that count?

Yeah, not really.

My littlest sister, on the other hand, was really big into pageants, right up until a couple of years ago. Even better, she actually won stuff. Although sadly, never the state pageant. The state pageant is THE pageant because that’s how you get to go to Miss America. Or Miss America Outstanding Teen, depending on how old you are. Neither one of which are in any way related to Miss USA or Miss Teen USA. Zip. Zilch. Nada. America and USA are two totally different things. But we won’t get into those little details, or else this post will be five pages long.


Speaking of Miss America, though, did anybody watch it last Friday night? SPOILER ALERT—I’m going to talk about the winners (in case any of you taped it, but haven’t watched it yet). Miss Indiana, Katie Stam, won. Deservedly, but I have to admit that I felt a little cynical when I was watching it. Like it was all so predictable. She’s tall, brunette, had on a white evening gown (which, incidentally, looked a LOT like the evening gown last year’s Miss America won in), sang for her talent. It’s like the only thing that’s ever different from year to year is the date written on the sash. Figuratively speaking, of course—the Miss America system actually did away with sashes a while back. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just getting old and jaded.

Not that I’m going to stop watching pageants or anything. No way! Sparkly gowns, high heels, big hair—I’m a sucker for all that stuff, even if it is sort of politically incorrect in this day and age.
Aaaack! I have so much more pageant-stuff I want to talk about, but we’re in the middle of a giant ice storm and I think our electricity is about to go out. Again. But please visit my blog sometime at http://www.julielinker.com/. And please pick up Crowned! Also, I’m doing a giveaway in conjunction with The Compulsive Reader! A year’s subscription to Pageantry magazine, plus signed copies of Crowned and my first book, Disenchanted Princess. Plus, signed copies of Kate Perry’s book Project Date and the soon to be released Marked by Passion, the first book in her new Guardians of Destiny series! Which is a seriously awesome series, and I’m not just saying that because she’s one of my BFFs.

Thx so much everybody!

Note from TCR:

To enter Julie's awesome contest, just leave a comment here (no lame comments, please!) in order to be entered! This contest will run for a week!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson


Alex is having a rough year: after a painful incident at a party in which he attempted suicide by swallowing Pine-Sol, his friends have all abandoned him, his parents don't trust him, and his older brother James acts like he's a complete stranger. So Alex befriends the boy next door, ten-year-old Henry, whose Mom is flighty and whose father is absent. He also makes friends with James's friend Nathen, who encourages him to join the cross country team. As his friendship with Nathen slowly turns into something more, Alex regains his confidence and he and James learn what it means to be brothers.


What They Always Tell Us highlights the ups and downs of teen life, from relationships to school, in a contemplative and affecting way. Wilson's characters are wonderfully normal and real, flawed and talented, who accentuate the insightfulness of the book, and the struggles that the go through that go hand in hand with growing up are convincing. Wilson doesn't sugar coat things or talk down to his audience: the language and the content reflect the lives of teens today, making What They Always Tell Us very relatable and believable to teens today, and Wilson's humor and low-key style make this read especially appealing to reluctant readers, despite its slightly slow pace. Smart, witty, and complex, and yet wonderfully simple at the same time, What They Always Tell Us poignant without being mushy, and moving without being cliché.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Luxe Weekend

First off, this weekend I'll be giving away a copy of Rumors, the second installment in Anna Godbersen's Luxe series. Just comment below in order to win!

Haven't read the first book, The Luxe, yet? No worries! Just click here and you can read the entire book for free for a limited time! But hurry, because I'm not sure how long that will last... (This seems to be a theme with publishers lately. Penguin is offering The Ruins of Gorlan as a free eBook as well. Click here to read it.)

Also, for those of you breathlessly awaiting Envy, you can read a sneak peek here, or check out my review.

Have a fantastic weekend!

TCR

Envy by Anna Godbersen


Picking up just two months where Rumors left off, Envy continues with the inexplicably engrossing story of New York City's finest society girls and their secrets and scandals. Elizabeth Holland is still mourning the death of her husband, Will Keller, and is doing the best to pick up her life. The new Mrs. Schoonmaker, formerly Penelope Hayes and formerly Elizabeth's best friend, isn't making life easy for either Holland sister. Penelope insists on carrying on the charade of Elizabeth being her best friend, and knows that Diana Holland and her husband Henry are in love, and will do anything to keep them apart. Amidst them all is Carolina Broad, who is determined to continue with her recently elevated lifestyle, no matter what. The dreary winter months are filled with secrets and scandals, love and greed, proposals and farewells...

Godbersen has crafted the perfect guilty-pleasure series for teens. Envy is even more jam-packed with all of the scintillating gossip and drama that its prequels are well known for. Godbersen keeps the book moving at a good clip by rotating the points of view among her characters, which does well in keeping the reader's attention. She also departs from a familiar setting and takes her characters to Palm Beach, Florida, a nice change in scenery that keeps the series fresh, and offers a bit of an educational look at another aspect of the lifestyle of the rich. Towards the end of the novel, readers will be gratified to see that a few characters develop a backbone and an admirable sense of honor, which certainly spices up the storyline, leave readers wondering what on earth the author has up her sleeve. Godbersen is proving herself a bold and fearless writer, and continues the tradition of leaving readers hanging in an ending that is both exciting and exceedingly frustrating, but will ensure that readers will keep coming back.


Envy will be out on Tuesday, January 27th!

Click here to learn more about The Luxe, and here to learn more about Rumors.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder


In the five years since she helped Yelena Zaltana capture the Warpers and save Sitia, Opal Cowan has been living at the Keep, studying magic and working at the local glass shop. Known as a "One Trick Wonder", Opal is discouraged to find that her magical abilities don't extend beyond bestowing magic into her glass creations, and her lack of conventional magical abilities has left her mostly friendless. But then something goes awry with the Stormdance Clan's glass orbs that the Stormdancer's use to trap the vast amount of energy that the devastating storms bring each year, and the Master Magicians are convinced that Opal's unique ways with glass will be able to determine the problem—but Opal isn't so sure. And when she, Master Magician Zitora Cowan, and the mysterious Stormdancer Kade, find the true reason behind the sabotaged orbs, it will lead them on a journey full of danger, secrets, and unimaginable power.


With her signature wit, intelligence, and breathtaking action, Maria V. Snyder ensures that Storm Glass is fast paced and completely engrossing from start to finish. Readers of Snyder's Study trilogy will be delighted to learn more about Opal, who first made her appearance in Magic Study, and will enjoy getting to know her and her unique abilities. Snyder creates in Storm Glass a multi-layered and intriguing glimpse at the politics of her world, and it is evident through her writing that it is very well researched and carefully thought out. The same danger and suspense that were prevailing in her previous novels are present, but are paired with a new, interesting, and very likable character who isn't always sure of herself. This quality in Opal is very appealing, and keeps her grounded and likable. Her uncertainties and insecurities when it comes to her love life, family, and abilities are all quite relatable, and very convincing. Storm Glass strikes the perfect balance between serious moments and situations and light hearted, humorous moments, making it a suspenseful, riveting, and wholly satisfying read. Maria V. Snyder is at her best.

Storm Glass comes out in May.

Fantastic News!


The cover art and title of the sequel to the amazingly fantastic The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins has been released! Isn't the cover awesome? I just love it. Apparently the plot of Catcxhing Fire is very hush-hush since Scholastic would really like readers to experience it for themselves, and I for one am glad--I just hate stumbling upon spoilers, don't you?


Anyhoo, here's the article in PW for any who are interested, and September 8th better get here fast!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just When I Was Beginning to Think Everyone Had Forgotten About Me...

...I got a pile of packages today.

From top to bottom:

Reality Check
Far From You
Envy
Riding the Universe
Totally Fabulous
Beautiful World
Sloane Sisters

I really want to dig right into Envy...



Sunday, January 18, 2009

Taken by Storm by Angela Morrison


Leesie is the good girl, everything that is expected of her by her parents and religion: kind, thoughtful, driven, and pious. She has a bright future ahead of her, and hopes to attend Brigham Young University. Michael will be lucky if he can just make it until next week with his sanity intact. He's tormented by Isadore, the hurricane that ripped his parents away from him and left him alone in the world, his only family his aging grandmother who lives far away from everything he knows.

At first, Michael is distant and out of reach. But Leesie can't deny her strange urge to reach out and help him. And slowly, Michael learns to trust Leesie. But even though physically, Isadore has run her course, she's still very much alive within Michael: can he and Leesie hold on long enough for Isadore to blow over?

Taken by Storm is a heartfelt and romantic novel told in alternating viewpoints through a unique mix of dive logs, poetry, and online chats, which is a very personal and fitting approach to such an emotional story. The setting of the novel is described beautifully and goes to great lengths at establishing the mood of the story: a bit dreary, mysterious, and overcast, but not without the potential for sunshine. Michael's grief is portrayed very realistically, and his honesty contributes to the authenticity of his character, making him lovable despite his many flaws.

Leesie is a unique character in the sense that she is very religious (a trait usually glossed over in most Young Adult novels) and very firm in her beliefs, but also quite vulnerable as well. Her endeavors to help Michael are admirable, and the roadblocks she encounters along the way realistic. The interactions between Michael and Leesie excite as often as they exasperate, creating a much more believable relationship between the two as they struggle to find common ground between their desires and beliefs. Unflinching, honest, and sometimes sorrowful, Taken by Storm is a novel that is not only romantic and entertaining, but thoughtful and moving. Morrison is a bold and talented author to watch.

Taken by Storm will be released on March 5th, 2009!

Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas


Anke plays a small role in her household—she's almost nonexistent to her father, who doesn't even care about her enough to offer any sort of attention...not even the bad sort of attention. While Anke’s mother, brother, and sister endure their father's abusive behavior day after day, Anke is ignored, her importance reduced to that of furniture. But once she starts high school, Anke learns to become noticeable. She joins the volleyball team, and makes friends. And as the weeks go by, she not only gains confidence and independence, but a loud and strong voice as well.

Bright, poignant, and powerful, Thalia Chaltas reveals one family's struggles through her intricate and moving poetry. Ranging from frank and straightforward to thoughtful and contemplative, Chaltas' portrayal of Anke's journey to discover the courage and self-assurance she needs to right the wrongs in her life is surprisingly real and tangible as the story encompasses more than just her home situation, but also highlighting other aspects of teenage life: crushes, rejections, first dates, and making friends. The poetry is uncomplicated and enjoyable to read; it reads like a compelling mix of Ellen Hopkins and Sonya Sones, and its slightly elusive and strangely beautiful arrangement allows Anke's voice to ring out loud and clear to the reader. This surprisingly quick story is empowering, sweet, and highly affecting.


This book will be released on April 16th, 2009.

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead


Rose Hathaway has been diligent when it comes to catching up on her studies—even when she disagrees with what she's being taught—because of her obligation towards her best friend and Moroi princess, Lissa, to become her guardian once they both graduate. Now the time has come for Rose to prove herself in the last stage of her training, and she's more than ready. But a fresh encounter with an old enemy and strange appearances on the St. Vladimir’s campus keep tripping her up. All of these are pointing to impending danger, and only Rose can save them if she can make sense of the clues in time.


Richelle Mead's third book in the Vampire Academy series is full of the same pulse-pounding, breathless, and smart action and excitement that made the first two popular. Rose continues to be her sarcastically witty, clever, and hot-headed self, and these self assured qualities are what really continue to make the series appealing. Mead's innovative vampire world continues to be intriguing as she offers a few more glimpses into the background and politics of the Moroi's government and their royal court.


Mead skillfully builds up sense of foreboding and some electrifying anticipation as Rose discovers many things about herself—from magical abilities to emotions she's buried deep down—which culminates in a terrifying and suspenseful battle in which readers will be satisfied to find that Rose manages perfectly. But Mead isn't soft and refuses to leave readers with a happy conclusion, instead finishing off with a major twist (that is maybe slightly predictable) that will leave readers breathlessly demanding a sequel.

B2B

This rather dull and snowy (er, at least for some of us) weekend practically screams for a book that's smart, entertaining, and completely riveting to keep your mind off the fact that we still have AT LEAST two and a half more months of this weather: enter The Book Thief. This read by Markus Zusak just came out in paperback (a steal at $7.19 on Amazon.com!), and is the perfect mix of heartfelt storytelling (that's definitely not fluffy), eccentric and endearing qualities, and a nice and strong message that, although may be redundant in literature, is one that never gets old. Bonus: it's a Printz Award finalist and is still on the New York Times Bestseller list, so it has to be good, right?

So if you buy this book at all this month, take a picture of the receipt, send it to me at thecompulsivereader@gmail.com (no, you don't have to be in the picture), and I'll enter your name into the contest for a copy of Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott. An extra entry to anyone if they buy the hardcover edition.

Remember, you can still get an entry for each of January's B2B (Bloom, The Elite, In Too Deep), so don't be shy, and send those recepits. There will be one more B2B next weekend, and the contest ends the 31st...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Free E-Book

Hey everyone,

Penguin USA's Teen Imprint is offering the first book in its bestselling Ranger's Apprentice series as an E-book, for free! It's called The Ruins of Gorlan, and it will be available for a full month, until February 15th. I'd definitely encourage you to at least read the first few pages. I read the novel in regular book form, and loved it--it reminded me a bit of the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini. Check it out:


Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan


The sixth book in the series is coming out this summer, so if you enjoy what you read, you have plenty of time to catch up with the series (I know that's what I'll be working on as well!).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Trailer Time

You know The Dust of 100 Dogs, the book I'm mildly obsessed with, whose widget is to the right and comes out in just a little over two weeks? Well, here's it awesome and totally unique book trailer.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Winner

The winner of the Avalon High graphic novel is Laina! Send me your address, Laina!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Widgeting

Guess who wasted far too much time on SproutBuilder this afternoon? Yeah, that'd be me...

For your blog decorating enjoyment:



ETA:



ETA:

And more...







Shelter Me by Alex McAulay


Maggie Leigh is living with her extremely religious and wheelchair ridden mother in World War II period London when the Germans drop the bombs on the city that seriously injure her aunt, Maggie's only respite from her mother's strict and controlled parenting. Now paranoid, Maggie's mother sends her to a Catholic school for girls in Wales to keep her safe; physically from the German bombs, and spiritually from her "heathen" aunt. But the school is far from what Maggie expects: girls from all over the country are crowded like livestock in the school, the nuns are extremely strict and rigid, and the Mother Superior is not only frightening, but mad. Then a dangerous discover on the beach near the school sets off a chain of events that send Maggie on a harrowing, dangerous journey that will test her to her limits.


Shelter Me provides an intriguing and riveting plotline—McAulay is skilled at capturing a sense of danger and adventure that entertains and causes plenty of apprehension. Readers may be put off by the slightly shaky and standard writing in the first chapter, but it quickly evens out and provides plenty of excitement and action to keep the reader enthralled.


The school Maggie is sent to is uniquely portrayed, and the nuns will give the reader chills. It is here that the story begins to pick up as Maggie makes some new friends, and the terrifying scene at the beach sets the girls' plans for escape into motion. A series of last minute discoveries and near misses will keep readers on the edges of their seats as the girls are thrown from one dilemma directly into another. All the while, Maggie's fear and uncertainty are palpable, and her innocence very apparent, making for a more realistic and heart pounding novel. Also notable is how McAulay adresses the difference between the social classes and how the war effects each and the clashes between them. Readers may be surprised at how neatly the ending wraps up, but will be completely and wholly satisfied nonetheless. Despite the modern terms and lack of more historical details, Shelter Me is an action filled and adventurous story that is sure to especially appeal to reluctant readers. Alex McAulay knows how to entertain and keep readers hanging in suspense.

Author Spotlight: Veronica Tabares

Veronica Tabares lives in Seattle, Washington, and is the author of two MG/YA books in a trilogy called Behold the Eye. She grew up in Memphis, and has had tons of different jobs--from sellng art to teaching middle school.


Behold the Eye: Braumaru
Vickie is bored with the every day activities that occupy her time, and so she sets out to write a book. But not just any book—a thriller. Complete with ghosts, secrets, and mysterious happenings that will make it a bestseller. Her only dilemma? She needs research. Her search for ghosts sets off a chain of events that lead her—and some newfound enemies—to the discovery of an alternate world where Micah lives, and where dreams hold new meaning.

Enchanting, baffling, and mystifying, Tabares' tale is certain to entertain. Though a little confusing and shaky at the very start, that story quickly evens out and begins to draw readers in. Alternating points of view ensure that the books moves along quickly, and poses many questions that add an air of mystery and suspense. Tabares portrays a world that is unique and inviting, and will appeal to the readers' fantasies, making Behold the Eye: Braumaru all the more entertaining and appealing to readers of any age.



Behold the Eye: Cerulea

Vickie has awakened to find herself in a strange world, far from home. Guided by three new friends, she must struggle to find a way back to her own world. But it isn't as easy as she hopes--danger and peril are with her every step of the way, and she'll find herself tested every step of the way.

Continuing where its prequel left off, Behold the Eye: Cerulea contains all of the mystery, excitement, and danger that Braumaru did. Tabares' world of dreams and fantasies is both intriguing and daring, and will excite and thrill readers at the same time. Though the book dragged slightly towards the middle, the many secrets and incessant questions will propel readers through the book, and the great dynamics between the characters is a joy to read. This trilogy is full of love, excitement, and the impossible.

Do these books sound good to you? Comment below for a chance to win copies of both books! Two lucky winners will each receive a copy of Braumaru and Cerulea! Contest runs through the end of the month, and the winners will be picked on February 1st!

Happy Reading,
TCR

Saturday, January 10, 2009

An Elite B2B

This weekend's Book to Buy is one that just came out, and is already getting loads of buzz on a bunch of blogs: In Too Deep by Jennifer Banash. It's the sequel to The Elite, which also garnered a lot of praise. These books are entertaining, inexpensive (paperback!), and they make for great re-reading.

So if you buy In Too Deep (or even The Elite!) at all this month, take a picture of the book(s) and receipt and email it to me at thecompulsivereader@gmail.com for a chance to win Stealing Heaven by ELizabeth Scott! Also, last week's Book to Buy, Bloom, is still fair game as well...

Happy buying,

TCR

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fun Friday!

Up for grabs this weekend is a copy of Meg Cabot's manga, Avalon High: Coronation, Volume 2: Homecoming (that's a mouthful!). It's part of the seuqel to her novel Avalon High, which is a modern day King Arthur story.

Leave your comments below to be entered! I'll pick a winner Monday!

Evermore Trailer

Here's the book trailer for Evermore, a new trilogy by Alyson Noel. Doesn't it look excellent?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January Book of the Month: Crowned by Julie Linker


I've been a little scatter-brained recently, and have fallen behind on Book of the Month, but no more! I'm back at it again, and with me this month is Julie Linker, author of Disenchanted Princess and Crowned, which just came out.

Check it out:

Presley Ashbury is passionate about pageants. You know the kind: the swimsuit contest, talent show, evening gowns, and tiaras all around. Presley is quite good at them, and not just because she likes looking pretty in the spotlight (though that is a perk): she needs the scholarship money that goes with winning the crown. But just two weeks before the Miss Teen State pageant, her nemesis and all around evil girl Megan Leighton is already on a mission to ensure Presley's defeat. Presley isn’t the kind to take that kind of treatment lying down, but she will have to find a happy medium between getting even and acting like a lady if she has any chance at all of wearing the crown.

Crowned is one drama-filled, sparkling, and hilarious read. Presley is a vibrant and energetic character whose realistic and dramatic narration will enrapture the audience and is sure to illicit many giggles. But the book isn’t all giggles and glitter: Crowned deals with some tough issues, like underage drinking, and the effect it can have on a person's image, bullying, as well as the dangers of posting pictures on the internet that will hopefully make an impression on readers. At the center of the story is Presley's struggle to deal with her enemy and how difficult it is to get along with Megan. Readers will be happy know that despite whatever thoughts Presley may have about Megan, she doesn't stoop to her level, which leaves a lasting and positive impression. Crowned is a cute and fun read that not only debunks a few misconceived perceptions of beauty pageants, but is a book that reminds readers that life's low points don't last forever, and success comes in many different forms.

So check back next Thursday for some Crowned-themed posts, and later this month for a chance to win your very own copy!

Happy Thursday,

TCR

P.S. Any authors/publicists out there interested in making their book a March Book of the Month? The slot is wide open...email for more info, or if interested at thecompulsivereader@gmail.com.

In Too Deep by Jennifer Banash


Casey McCloy is enjoying her new life in New York City, despite her frenemy Madison Macallister's attempts to scare her off. But Madison doesn't give up—it's not in her nature—and she is determined to steal back Drew Van Allen, her ex and Casey's almost boyfriend. In the midst of it all, Sophie is planning her Sweet Sixteen, which has to be completely memorable (and not just because she's trying to one-up Mad) because her biological mother will be there, and they will meet for the first time. And Phoebe is struggling with her own budding feelings for Jared, Sophie's hot and completely annoying brother, while at the same time attempting to deal with the identity of her mom's secret lover...everyone in Jennifer Banash's riveting sequel to The Elite is in a little too deep...


Fans of the drama, romance, gossip, and privileged lifestyle depicted in Gossip Girl and Blue Bloods will be drawn to In Too Deep. Banash is a pro at keeping things moving with her alternating points of view and knack for adding just the right touches of drama at just the right places, giving the book an exciting, sparkling air that isn't overdone. Once again, Casey proves herself an admirable character with her grounded desire to fit in, but not at the cost of turning into a bad person, which is an issue she struggles with. We also catch a glimpse of Madison's vulnerable side, which makes her a little more reachable to readers than the standard mean girl. All in all, In Too Deep continues to showcase the glitzy and glamorous lifestyle of New York City's privileged teens with a bit of depth that makes it stand out and above the standard, ho-hum rich girl novel. Banash's Elite series continues to rock above the rest.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Crowned by Julie Linker


Presley Ashbury is passionate about pageants. You know the kind: the swimsuit contest, talent show, evening gowns, and tiaras all around. Presley is quite good at them, and not just because she likes looking pretty in the spotlight (though that is a perk): she needs the scholarship money that goes with winning the crown. But just two weeks before the Miss Teen State pageant, her nemesis and all around evil girl Megan Leighton is already on a mission to ensure Presley's defeat. Presley isn’t the kind to take that kind of treatment lying down, but she will have to find a happy medium between getting even and acting like a lady if she has any chance at all of wearing the crown.


Crowned is one drama-filled, sparkling, and hilarious read. Presley is a vibrant and energetic character whose realistic and dramatic narration will enrapture the audience and is sure to illicit many giggles. But the book isn’t all giggles and glitter: Crowned deals with some tough issues, like underage drinking, and the effect it can have on a person's image, bullying, as well as the dangers of posting pictures on the internet that will hopefully make an impression on readers. At the center of the story is Presley's struggle to deal with her enemy and how difficult it is to get along with Megan. Readers will be happy know that despite whatever thoughts Presley may have about Megan, she doesn't stoop to her level, which leaves a lasting and positive impression. Crowned is a cute and fun read that not only debunks a few misconceived perceptions of beauty pageants, but is a book that reminds readers that life's low points don't last forever, and success comes in many different forms.

Hilarious Perfect Chemistry Rap Video

Hey, does everyone remember Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles? Well, here is a HILARIOUS rap video promoting it. Just keep in mind while watching--this is supposed to be humorous, not very serious! Also, be sure to check out the book--I loved it!



Also, on the plus side, I now know how to pronounce Simone's last name. I was wondering about that...

Forever Princess: Princess Diaries Vol. X by Meg Cabot

A bittersweet and satisfying end...

It's been nearly two years since Princess Mia declared Genovia a democracy, and in that time she's been very busy—too busy to write in her journal. She's had her senior project to work on, her father's campaign for prime minister to worry about, princess lessons to take, and her senior year to finish. But now, just a week before her graduation, Mia's facing some issues. She's been telling a lot lies still, and they're threatening to blow up in her face. Michael has returned from Japan, making for many awkward situations. And her biggest secret of all? Ransom My Heart, her four hundred page senior project—that's actually a romance novel. It's going to be a hectic week for Genovia's princess...


Forever Princess, the final book in the Princess Diaries series, is full of the same smart, independent, and fiercely passionate princess we've all known and loved, but with a bit more maturity and wisdom that has been a long time in coming. The fairy tale elements of the series that have sucked countless girls in are ever present in Forever Princess—the ball gowns and parties, hi-tech gadgets and name dropping to name a few. Throughout it all, Mia is kept down to earth by her flaws and outbursts and true-to-life emotions that readers can identify with. One of the main conflicts of the story is Mia's love life, and readers will root for her as she discovers what it means to truly be in a healthy and happy relationship, and fights for what she wants. Themes of courage, independence, and standing up for yourself are also evident, and Cabot presents them in a convincing style as Mia struggles with the decisions she must make, and her journey through high school and all of her experiences culminate, giving us a Mia who is strong and sure of herself. With a satisfying, optimistic, romantic, and slightly cheesy conclusion fit for a princess, Cabot ensures that Mia goes out with a bang.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz


Disclaimer: Despite my somewhat "negative" review, this book was shockingly readable. I was surprised at how hard it was to put down. Never underestimate the power of a good secret to keep readers interested...


Life has been busy for the Blue Bloods: Schuyler Van Allen has been condemned to live in the Force household where she is highly unwelcome, and even accused of being a Silver Blood. Mimi Force is planning her "wedding" to Jack, her true love and Schuyler's secret crush. Bliss has been struggling to find a solution to keep Dylan at her side, despite his erratic and threatening behavior. And in the midst of it all, something is happening in Rio de Janeiro: sinister powers are restless, and the Blue Bloods fear the worst. But even the most powerful among them are surprised at just how costly the battle between with the Silver Bloods is, and just how many of their own are among them...


Revelations, the third book in Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods series, is enticing and shocking. Covered up secrets and many characters' quests for unanswered questions propel the otherwise slow moving plot. Revelations is mainly comprised of drama caused by the Mimi-Jack-Schuyler-Oliver love quadrangle, and Bliss's past, but the "revelations" towards the end speed the slow story up and make it all worth the reading. De la Cruz's closing is surprising, exciting, and maybe just a bit frustrating in the sense that it will leave readers chomping at the bit for more. Nonetheless, many will be able to overlook the uneven storytelling and the fact that all it consists of is the characters struggling to make decisions in light of the new plot twists and drama, and if anything, Revelations will only cause the Blue Bloods series to gain popularity and eagerly anticipate the fourth novel, The Van Allen Legacy.

Winners!

Here are the winners for a couple ongoing contests:

First off, the winner of the copy of Savvy Girl by Lynn Messina is Alicia!

And the winner of the copy of Teens Talk: Growing Up is Heather!

Send me your addresses, Alicia and Heather!

Also, don't foget to check out the B2B contest!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Fun Friday a Little Late...

I ran out of time yesterday, but Fun Friday contests are still on! This one's just a little late...

This week, the prize is a copy of Teens Take: Growing Up, a collection of stories for teens, by teens put together by the people who so the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. It's a stellar collection, and there's something in it for everyone. Just comment below for a chance to win! I'll pick the lucky winner Monday morning.

Friday, January 2, 2009

B2B

Hey there, everyone!


First off, Happy New Year! I've got some cool things in store for 2009, and I'm excited it's finally here. First off is a new feature that is partly a continuation of my campaign to get people to buy books (I'm sure everyone was awesome and bought books over the holidays, but alas, holiday sales won't help the publishing industry as much as we'd like). Each week, I'll feature a Book to Buy. Books to Buy (I'm shortening it the kinda lame acronym B2B because I am lazy) will be chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Content--generally a very enjoyable, unique book, because I'm not going to be mean and reccomend you spend your hard earned money on a book that I don't think will be worth your time.

  • Potential--these reads are definitely ones that have rereading potential, and will be ones that will be getting buzz, which means you might want to lend them to a friend.

  • $$$--Cause, let's face it: Most here are teens, which means little to no income, and you don't want to waste what little money you have on a book that you'll read once and never crack open again.

  • Looks--Because, really, who doesn't judge a book by its cover at least a tiny bit? These picks should at least be pleasing to the eye and should be able to get you excited about the book without having read the summary.

  • Buzz--are people talking about this book? If the author is known for putting out really good books, a certain amount of trust is already instilled and you know that you can expect a good book.

These picks should hopefully help guide and advise you tight-budgeted teens so you can discern a keeper worthy of a place in your personal library from a book that is maybe better off being picked up at the library.

And here's the coolest (in my opinion) part of this feature: if you decide to buy one of the four books featured each month in B2B and email me a picture of the book with the receipt (or forward me an online order confirmation), I'll enter you in a special contest to win another book. So, it's pretty much a win-win situation: buy a book, win a book.

January's prize is a copy of Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott, and this weekend's Book to Buy is another one of Scott's books, Bloom (Simon Pulse, paperback, $8.99). Click here to read a review. Now, I have to admit, Elizabeth Scott is pretty amazing. Since her debut in 2007 with Bloom, she's published three more books for young adults, with an additional two set to come out this year. She's gotten rave reviews from authors and readers alike, and she proved with Living Dead Girl that she's bold and unafraid to go where few YA writers venture.


So if you happen to buy a copy of Bloom, take a picture of the book and receipt (you don't have to be in the picture!) and send it to thecompulsivereader@gmail.com with B2B in the subject heading. Also be sure to check back every weekend for a new featured book (and if you happen to buy more than one of them, all the more entries for you!).

Have a wonderful weekend!

TCR

ETA:

January's Books to Buy (but any of these for a chance to win!)

The Elite by Jennifer Banash
In Too Deep by Jennifer Banash
The Book Thief by Jennifer Banash
The Center of the Universe (Yep, That Would Be Me) by Anita Liberty

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott


Dani's never known anything other than the life of crime she shares with her mother: constantly moving around, targeting wealthy households, and stealing their silver. Though she secretly wishes for a fixed, stable, and law-abiding, her loyalty to her mother overshadows any of these dreams.


Then Dani and her mother move to Heaven, a small beach town with plenty of wealthy residents and numerous opportunities for Dani and her mom. But Dani is distracted from the job for the first time ever: she makes a genuine friend...who just happens to be the daughter of the people Dani's mom wishes to steal from. And then she meets a guy...who just happens to be a cop. Suddenly Dani is hit with a torrent of confusion and must challenge all that she has ever known to discover just how far her loyalty to her mother really extends.


Stealing Heaven is a thoughtful, honest, and emotional look at one girl's struggles to break free from her upbringing and find her own path without betraying her roots. Elizabeth Scott's authentic and down-to-earth voice give the whole cast of characters a certain highly noticeable vibrancy that makes them stick in the reader's mind, and her knack for drawing on all of her character's life experiences to create a comprehensive picture of them and their situations make for an even more engaging and absorbing read. Stealing Heaven is very well thought out and detailed, ensuring that the plot runs smoothly, which helps to diminish the small unrealistic sense of the situation, and the numerous witty remarks accompanied by Dani’s oftentimes sarcastic commentary keep the tone appropriately light. Scott continues to keep things real by giving Stealing Heaven an end that readers will heartily appreciate, sealing Scott's status as an amazingly talented author who knows teens and has a gift for portraying the complexity of life.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Author Spotlight: A Conversaation with Leslie Margolis

What motivated you to move away from the YA genre dealing with cosmeticsurgery and Hollywood to the middle grade genre?

When I'm in the early stages of developing ideas I'm not thinking in terms of age group or genre. I start with character and story.Annabelle appeared as a sixth grader, and her story was set in junior high school. The transition from YA to middle grade was organic. That said, I'm thrilled it happened because adolescence is such an exciting and dynamic time. There's so much material to draw from.


Which of your characters do you think you resemble the most...Annabelle,
Cameron, Allie, or Jasmine?


I didn't mean to write any of my characters as myself. However, Price of Admission is the most personal novel I've ever written, so I suppose I feel most similar to Jasmine. Of course, my high school English teacher read both novels and he claims to see a lot of me in Allie – at least when I was fifteen. And I suppose I can see that, as well –although I was, am, and always will be a terrible soccer player.

What inspired you to write about plastic surgery in Fix?

When I began to formulate the idea, reality television shows about plastic surgery like The Swan, I Want A Famous Face, and Dr. 90210 were very popular. This horrified me, because on television, plastic surgery is often treated way too casually. All surgery is risky and serious business – literally life-threatening. So what's to romanticize? Plastic surgery is too often treated as a joke or a punch line, which makes it easy to dismiss. Yet it's a billion dollar industry that grows stronger each year. There are so many issues to explore. One – why is it that 91% of all cosmetic procedure patients are women, while most cosmetic surgeons are men?

What sort of research went into the writing of Fix?

I interviewed plastic surgeons, as well as teenagers who'd had plastic surgery, and some who hadn't. I read a lot about the issue and also watched too much makeover/plastic surgery reality-TV. The latter was my least favorite part. It gave me nightmares.

One thing that really stands out in Fix is how objective your writing is. Did you set out to make it that way, and was it hard to do?

Thank you. That was a huge challenge. The more research I did and the more I thought about it, the more cosmetic surgery scared and depressed me. Breast implants, especially, left me with strong opinions, because I spoke with numerous women whose lives have been destroyed due to complications related to their implants. But no one likes to be preached to – especially teenagers and especially in fiction.

Why did you choose the rich lifestyle of the family of a Hollywood executive as the setting of Price of Admission?


Again, the character came first and then the story. But as I mentioned before, Price of Admission is more personal than my other novels. My father was a Hollywood executive and that certainly influenced me in numerous ways, growing up, but not how people might assume. I don't understand why so many books about Hollywood focus on the superficial -money and looks and excess and labels. Not every teenager is obsessed with shopping or cares about brand names. I wasn't. None of my friends ever were. I think teenagers are smarter and more nuanced. I really wanted to write something different – a novel set against the backdrop of Hollywood that wasn't 'aspirational'.

What's one thing you'd like teens to get out of your novels?

My goal is to write smart, honest fiction that sparks independent thought.

What was one of your favorite books when you were a teen?

I think these are the five books I loved the most when I was in high school: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf, White Noise, by Don Delillo, The Secret History, by Donna Tartt, and The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger.

What are you planning on writing next?

I just finished Girls Acting Catty, the sequel to Boys Are Dogs. And I've been working on some new ideas – one having to do with friendship and aliens, and another having to do with a magical ice cream shop. I'm not sure what I'm going to focus on next, but so far, all of my novels have been set in Southern California. I've been in New York for over ten years, so I think it's time to write something set there.

What's one author, living or deceased, you'd like to have a discussion with?

Virginia Woolf. Do you know how I can get in touch with her?


Thanks so much, Leslie!