Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Justina Chen Headley's North of Beautiful embodies beauty. Her keen insights and smooth, seamless style are a complete joy to read. Headley combines Terra's artistic talent and her father's profession of cartography to help illustrate every experience that Terra undergoes and enforce how it has affected her as a person and formed her concepts of true beauty. There are many aspects in North of Beautiful that will tear your heart in two: Terra's father domineering and condescending attitude, her disjointed family, and her mother who has been worn down into a subservient shell of a person. But these aspects strengthen the story and emphasize the beauty and wonder of Terra's search for love, acceptance, beauty, and ultimately, herself. Readers will easily be able to forget Terra’s birthmark and identify with her on a very personal level as she struggles to overcome self-doubt and criticism. Headley has written a book that is challenging, heartbreaking, and completely memorable.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
What was the hardest part about writing it? The easiest?
What's one thing you want your readers to take away from The September Sisters?
What are you writing now/what can we expect next from you?
What's one good book you've read recently you'd like to recommend to your readers?
As a debut author, what's one piece of advice you'd like to share with other authors (or aspiring authors)?
If you could choose any author, alive or dead, to colloborate with, who would it be and why?
Is there anything I didn't ask that you wish I had?
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I really wanted to make this for Julia Hoban as a big THANK YOU for being so cool and so willing to chat about just about anything. She's written a superb book that I hope everyone will check out (if this trailer isn't incentive enough, please look for the Willow Giveaway under the Contest sidebar). THANK YOU, JULIA!
ETA: Oh, and PLEASE: post this on your own blog/site/Facebook/Myspace! Spread the word!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Pure is a fresh, funny, and wise new novel that addresses everything from family differences and friendships to boys and religion. Terra Elan McVoy's writing is, plainly speaking, wonderful. She effortless captures the emotions associated with the apprehension and joy of first love, the anxiety and anguish of friendship troubles, and the uncertainty of beliefs in a large and diverse world. Tabitha is an extremely grounded and likable character who readers will easily be able to relate to and empathize with as she tries to find a balance between being loyal to herself and her beliefs, being loyal to her friends, and most importantly, being loyal to God. McVoy's personal, down-to-earth writing style and sense of how teens operate—in speech, attitude, and thoughts—is very obvious, making it seem as though Tabitha's world is your own. Pure is a wonderfully positive, realistically complicated, and sweetly romantic read that will challenge and strengthen your beliefs in friendship and God.
Compelling, emotional, and down-to-earth, Say the Word is a wonderfully written novel that looks long and hard at family dynamics and how the relationships between family members—both the unwanted and the loved—shape, mold, and effect who we are. The plot is unique, and rendered all the more believable by how Garsee distinguishes her characters: Shawna, who feels the need to strive to be perfect, and her father, who takes his abandonment harshly, and becomes bitter and even more domineering. Fran and her sons and their Jewish practices offer a unique view on the situation, and Shawna's strained relationship with them is intriguing to observe.
Best of all, Garsee perfectly captures the idea that life changes, and people don't always stay who you want them to be. Shawna struggles to accept this, and to let go of her prejudices and bitterness, which isn't an easy task (yet another believable element in Say the Word). But overall, Say the Word is an honest and unflinching book that illustrates to readers that life is full of a lot of tough decisions—and there aren't always easy answers or solutions. Witty, entertaining, and completely genuine, Jeannine Garsee is an author to watch.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Ever since the death of David Jellico, Mallory and Merry Brynn have slowly slipped back into normal life, Merry worrying about cheerleading, and Mally about soccer. But when a vision reveals a cheerleader getting seriously injured, their old fears and apprehensions come rushing back. As they struggle to find he culprit, Mallory stumbles upon a secret her friend Eden has been keeping. This revelation causes Merry and Mally to rush to find the answers they need before the unspeakable can occur.
Look Both Ways is an entertaining continuation of Jacquelyn Mitchard's The Midnight Twins trilogy. In this installment, Mitchard stretches beyond just the twins' strange abilities to include local folklore and magic, making Mally and Merry's world more believable and three dimensional. Readers aren't given many more clues as to how the twins' powers work, but Mitchard reveals just enough to keep readers interested and excited for the next book in the series. Besides building upon the supernatural elements of the book, Mitchard also explores day to day issues and takes a look at how the twins deal with the new, normal changes in their lives, from family dynamics to boyfriends. The even balance between the two gives Look Both Ways its appeal, and will make it a popular book among younger teens.
Cover Comments: Once again, as with the cover of The Midnight Twins, I do like the parallelism with the water--it's a neat effect. This is a prettier, more mysterious and romantic cover that its prequel's, with the creamy dress and the golden light. It is quite alluring--when you pick it up, you don't expect it to be about 14 year olds. Nonetheless, it's a keeper!
Look Both Ways will be available from Razorbill April 2nd, 2009!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
When Evie's stepfather Joe Spooner, a soldier who has recently returned home after fighting in World War II, takes Evie and her mom on vacation to Palm Beach, Florida, Evie is so excited that she hardly thinks anything at all of Joe's strange behavior. When they get to Florida though, Evie's family befriends the Graysons, wealthy hotel owners, and Evie meets the mysterious and charming Peter Coleridge. Peter is wealthy, young, and served with Joe. Evie falls head over heels in love. But with her new romance comes some strange secrets—secrets that affect the way she thinks and views her life, and threaten to tear her life apart if they come to light.
What I Saw and How I Lied is a gripping, galvanizing read that perfectly portrays one girl's struggles and insecurities amidst the post-war anxieties and hopes and the United States, and the glamour of the 1940's. Evie's character is intensely likable, and readers will be able to identify with her dreams, her crushes, and her impatience at being stifled by her beautiful and alluring mother. Blundell's writing is excellent; it is tight and descriptive, but moves briskly, making What I Saw and How I Lied very readable.
Blundell also introduces topics that were not spoken of as freely in the 1940's as they are now in a sensitive, yet straightforward, manner. Evie's reactions are believable as she comes to realize many things about the circumstances and relationships she is surrounded by, and though her actions may not always be admirable or true, one can't help but admire her for her sense and bravery. As for the setting of the novel, it is apparent that it is very well researched and flows seamlessly with the plot, making it an easy book for even reluctant readers to get through. Blundell has created a smart and thought-provoking read full of keen insights, mystery, first love, and a good dose of reality.
Cover Comments: I like the dark cover--it's very fitting, and the model partly in shadow is very catching. Also, the dramatic lipstick and the GORGEOUS hair and the font of the title are all very 1940's--this is such an excellent cover!
Saturday, March 21, 2009
At the most elite school in the universe, two very different people meet: Aerin Renning and Dane Madousin. Loner Aerin's tumultuous past and her unconventional upbringing make it hard for her to fit in at Academy 7. Rich Dane's dark secret concerning his family life makes it hard for him to open up to anyone, but his father's legacy makes him a celebrity. The two are at the top of their class, and are highly competitive. But when they are unexpectedly thrown together, they slowly become friends. And as they learn more and more about each other, it becomes apparent that there are many secrets surrounding their past—and with Aerin and Dane's special talents, it won't be long before they are uncovered.
Anne Osterlund delivers a unique and breathtaking book that will sweep away both fantasy and science-fiction lovers alike. Her futuristic universe, reminiscent of Star Wars, is vivid and varied, and quite intriguing. Osterlund does an excellent job presenting her characters, and giving little hints about their past, which succeeds in hooking readers right from the start. Both Aerin and Dane are dynamic characters who are fallible, but they recognize their problems and faults and grow as individuals throughout the course of the book. As readers delve more deeply into the novel, they'll be happy to find that Academy 7 is not just about romance, competition, and dark secrets; there are many political, social, and even ethical issues that the characters must grapple with. These more serious elements make Academy 7 more believable and realistic and, at times, more serious. Overall, Osterlund has created a highly imaginative, wonderfully entertaining, and nicely complicated read that is at once romantic, witty, and quite intelligent.
Cover Comments: Though this cover didn't really indicate the true nature of the book (it made me think it would be another medieval fantasy novel like Aurelia), I have to say that they romantic embrace and pose really does catch my eye--even though there isn't tons of romance in the book! The verdict: it's a really good cover, even if it is a little misleading!
Academy 7 will be available from Speak on May 14th, 2009!
That being said, I think they might change their minds if sales of Sleepless continue to be good, so won't you please help me spread the word? Tell everyone you know (friends, fam, teachers, librarians, etc.) about Sleepless and why they should buy it. :)
I'm a strong believer in the power of postive thinking. So, help me put that energy out into the world. I know some of you like the P.J. cover and others think it's not edgy enough. If you were to design the sequel's cover, what would it look like? Leave your ideas in the comment section.
And here's a bit about the proposed sequel:
* It's called Awakened.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
What do you think? Did you like the music?
Also, please feel free to embed on your blog/Facebook/MySpace! Spread the word!
Fourteen-year-old Mackenzie is horrified to learn that her father has decided to move from their Canadian hometown to Jerusalem for a year. Despite her father's insistence that the move will be good for them, and that they both could use a change of scenery to help them heal after the death of Mackenzie's mother, Mackenzie is certain that this decision is a bad one, and that she'll be miserable. But once she's there, she can't help be overwhelmed and amazed at the diversity and culture in Jerusalem. Then she makes a new friend, and slowly falls for Nasir...
Deborah Kerbel creates a very unique and thoughtful look at the collision of cultures in Mackenzie, Lost and Found. It's the mix of exotic experiences and everyday problems that make this novel an engaging one; Mackenzie's story is unconventional, but she is an average teen, and through her journey to Jerusalem, readers experience her coming-of-age as she is faced with each new difficulty, from the difficulty of a language barrier to something as universal as friendship troubles. Readers are challenged to think right along with Mackenzie in this sensitive, romantic, and intriguing read, and are sure to learn plenty along the way. Kerbel has created a unique, inviting, and thought provoking book that is sure grab teens looking for something different.
Cover Comments: I like this cover--it's simple yet striking. You don't often see such close-up shots of faces on covers (sometimes it seems like designers go out of their way to AVOID faces). I like how the contrasting skin colors are really played up in this cover--great job.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Breathing is a novel full of heart, humor, and plenty of romance. Cheryl Renee Herbsman writes in a unique and convincing style that brings each of her characters alive and makes them memorable. Her apt descriptions of the seaside town that Savannah lives in are vivid and tangible and add to the romantic air of the book. Herbsman also explores social and economic statuses in a sensitive and thoughtful manner, adding extra depth to Breathing that sets it apart from many other YA romance novels. The romance of the novel is steamy and heart pounding, but is also appropriate for younger teens, and depicts a relationship that is quite realistic. Herbsman also includes some interesting family dynamics; Savannah has a sometimes strained relationship with her mother, and she struggles to make her mother proud, and still have the life she wants. These elements combined make Breathing a beautiful, down-to-earth, and romantic read that will leave readers breathless.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Also check out Angela's site, which has a really awesome playlist for the novel that is pretty cool, among other things.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Becky and Abby seem to be each other's worst enemy. Exactly two years and one day apart, these sisters are always at each other's throats, allowing petty fights and sibling rivalry to rule them—until the day Becky disappears. She's gone without a single trace, and Abby is left to watch as her family and her life shatters. Her father becomes condescending and focused on the effort to find her, and her mother withdraws within herself, becoming a shell of a person. Abby slowly finds solace in Tommy, her new next door neighbor. They form a tentative friendship that somehow gets them both through the rough spots. But even Abby recognizes that it is nearly impossible to move on without knowing whatever happened to Becky.
The September Sisters is a beautifully penned and emotional book. Abby is a wonderfully expressive and bluntly honest character whose questioning voice is not one that is easily evaded. Her story, told over the span of two years after her sister disappears, is one that is wrought with tension and heartbreak, but also love and hope. The September Sisters is as much a coming of age story as it is one of survival and Abby struggles to stay afloat as her life crashes around her—going to school and receiving her first kiss while struggling with her disintegrating home life and her unanswered questions. Cantor is an extremely sensitive and yet savvy writer, and aptly describes each and every dynamic aspect of the girls' lives, give the book a haunting and persistently real quality. Though the ending of the novel seemed slightly rushed, the resolution is one that is quite believable and will give readers satisfaction. Cantor's impressive debut is a beautiful and heartfelt novel that will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, and should not be missed.
Jillian Cantor will be stopping by later this month to answer a few questions, and there will be a chance to win a copy of The September Sisters as well!
In the meantime, watch the trailer:
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
I'm so sorry for being so behind schedule. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that my good friend has been in the hospital this past week, and I've hardly had any free time. Hence this tardy announcement of all of the winners of February's contests.
Winner of the February Book of the Month Contest (a copy of The A List: Hollywood Royalty, In Too Deep, and Pants on Fire) is Teresa Warner!
Winner of February's B2B contest, a copy of Zoe Marriott's The Swan Kingdom, is Hillary Krajewski! (If you entered this contest, but didn't win, don't worry! You'll still be entered to win March's book!)
Winners of the copy of The Siege of Macindaw are Levi Vermeer, Staci Taylor, Kymberly Pelky, Kay Gehring, and Thea Groger!
And the winner of Zoe Marriott's inspirational playlist contest is Chantele! (Send me your address, Chantele!)
Thanks to everyone for participating, and be sure to check out the new Willow giveaway, the Mary Hogan giveaway, and keep your eyes peeled for the new B2B contest and the Book of the Month Contest!
Friday, March 6, 2009
Hey everyone, in celebration of the paperback release of Mary Hogan's Pretty Face, I have a really awesome contest for you: two winners will win a full signed and personalized set of Mary Hogan's novels, pictured above. They are:
The Serious Kiss
The Susanna Series:
Susanna Sees Stars
Susanna Hits Hollywood
Susanne Covers the Catwalk (British edition, not out in the US)
To enter: All you have to do is email your name and address to email@example.com with MARY HOGAN CONTEST in the subject heading. I'll pick two winners at random on April 1st.
To learn more about Mary, click here!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Skeleton Creek on iTunes! Sarah Fincher's videos are now available on iTunes to download for your iPod or computer, just search for "Skeleton Creek" in the iTunes store. (This will be good for me, because then I can read the book on the go!)
So get yourself on over and get discussing!
Strange Angels is a fresh take on a popular subject in YA literature, showcasing a heroine that is strong, gutsy, and fallible. Fans of the TV show Supernatural will be happy to dig into this fearful bunch of creepy-crawlies, blood-suckers, werwulfen, hexes, and many other assorted paranormal creatures and enchantments. Each supernatural creature possesses its own unique characteristics within the novel which makes Strange Angels stand apart from the mundane. St. Crow's writing is solid and wonderfully descriptive, and she skillfully balances out the novel with action-filled scenes and memories from Dru's past, transforming her world into a tangible and comprehensive one. Though she has a tendency to repeat herself in suspenseful scenes, St. Crow does an admirable job creating and building fear and apprehension. Her characters are well-rounded, the setting vivid, and the action scenes suspenseful: the perfect makings for a stellar new series that will spellbind readers and leave them begging for more.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Winner: There is one winner, and they will recieve the following if their name is drawn:
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Thanks so much for buying and for participating in the B2B contests! It's been a success so far, and you guys all rock for purchasing so many books!
This month, I'm giving away a signed harcdcover copy of Sucks to be Me: The All True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (Maybe) by Kimberley Pauley. Anyone who bought last month's books is eligible too (click here to see the list)! I have kept your entries, and they will be counted.
This weekend brings you a chance to get three entries:
HarperTeen has come out with a great series of anthologies written by some of the best YA paranormal authors around. The first one is Prom Dates From Hell, and features authors Stephenie Meyer, Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison, Michelle Jaffe, and Lauren Myracle. The second is Love is Hell, which just came out this past November, and has stories from Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Melissa Marr, Gabrielle Zevin, and Laurie Faria Stolararz. In late May, Vacations from Hell will be hitting shelves, comprised of stories written by Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Claudia Gray, Sarah Mlynowski, and Cassandra Clare.
But the coolest thing about these books? Every time you buy one, HarperTeen donates a portion of the proceeds to charity! When you buy Prom Dates from Hell, you'll be giving money to First Book, and College Summit benefits whenever you buy Love is Hell. I'm not sure who will be benefitting from the sale of Vacations from Hell, but either way, it's sure to be a great read that will make you feel good about yourself for buying.
PLUS: All three books are available in either hardcover or paperback. If you buy the harcover edition, I'll give you two entries!
Just send all pictures of last month's or this month's books to firstname.lastname@example.org with B2B in the subject heading. Remember, you don't have to be in the picture, but your book and receipt does (order confirmation emails from online stores count too!). The contest ends on March 31st! Good luck!
This month's qualifying books:
Prom Dates From Hell
Love is Hell
Vacations from Hell
Sleepless by Terri Clark