Thursday, April 30, 2009
So have you heard of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl yet? If not, definitely check it out!
There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
This book doesn't come out until December 1st (such a long ways away!), but to count down the days I made this:
And, this banner (SCROLL DOWN TO BOTTOM OF PAGE FOR FULL BANNER!)
Feel free to nab them and display them on your own blogs!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Day 1: Tami Klockau won a copy of Pants on Fire!
Day 2: Diana Dang won a copy of Avalon High Coronation, Volume II: Homecoming!
Day 3: Ashley P. won a copy of Airhead!
Day 4: Sami B. won a copy of Pants on Fire!
Day 5: Andrew C. won a copy Being Nikki!
Day 6: Gayle won a copy of How to be Popular!
Day 7: Ally won a copy of The New Girl, an Allie Finkle book!
Day 9: dissecting perfection won a copy of Avalon High Coronation, Volume II: Homecoming!
Day 10: Angelina won a copy of Being Nikki!
Day 11: Erin C. won a copy of Airhead!
Day 12: Sharon H. won a copy of Avalon High Coronation, Volume II: Homecoming!
Now back to answering your entries for the Meg Cabot giveaway (ARCs of Being Nikki, anyone?) and translations!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
I apologize for being a bit sporadic as of late when it comes to posting! There are two weeks left of serious classes though, so I'm hanging in until then!
In the meantime, I thought I'd share this banner that I made for Anne Osterlund's books. Anne is the wonderfully talented and sweet author of Aurelia and Academy 7 (which some have been saying will really appeal to teen fans of Star Wars!). You can see the whole banner at the bottom of this page.
Anne, whose books are published by Speak, an imprint of PenguinUSA, has been having a little trouble getting the word out on her books, so if there are any bloggers out there who would like to help her out, please post this banner! Go ahead and take the banner code below and insert it anywhere!
Thanks so much, everyone!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: As lovers of YA literature, you must, you really must read “Catcher”. Few books have this kind of verbal energy and rhythm, fewer still such an extraordinary voice or such brilliant dialogue. Holden Caulfield’s vulnerability and isolation make him an extraordinarily sympathetic character. We’ve all felt this alone at one time or another. Probably the most famous YA of all time and deservedly so.
Tess of the Durbervilles by Thomas Hardy: Every woman should read this book. The sheer beauty of the language alone is more than enough reason, but beyond that Hardy’s sympathy for his doomed heroine is heartbreaking. If for some reason Tess doesn’t speak to you. Put it down! Don’t spoil it for yourself! Pick it up another time, I guarantee that at some point you will fall in love with this book.
The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald. I’m quite sure that many of you have encountered this in English class, but for those of you that haven’t.... Fitzgerald is possibly the greatest American stylist, and Gatsby is possibly his greatest creation. A tragic story of the American dream gone wrong.
Sherlock Holmes vols One and Two by Arthur Conan Doyle: All right, you’re having a bad day. You have a paper due first thing in the morning, and a calculus exam an hour after that. Time for a little procrastination! There’s nothing more you would rather do than get lost in a good book, you need an absolutely guaranteed great read, but something you can put down after an hour or so.... Nothing fits the bill like a Sherlock Holmes story! Go ahead: The Second Stain, The Adventure of The Dying Detective, The Bruce Partington Plans. Aaahh! You’re ready for work now! There’s a reason why these are the most beloved detective stories of all time. Sherlock and Watson form one of the most satisfying partnerships in literature. Sherlock himself is such a powerful and charismatic character that when Conan Doyle tried to kill him off and end the series, Londoners wore black arm bands in protest.
You’re Amazing: A No Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self by Clare Mysko and The Girl’s Guide to Absolutely Everything by Melissa Kirsch. Two terrific books that cover everything, from how to write the perfect thank you note, to safe sex. The first one is geared towards younger women, while the second deals with issues that are more likely to crop up in your twenties and beyond (car loans anyone?) Both of them are must reads that will provide answers to questions you didn’t even know you had. I myself have the Girl’s Guide on my night table and dip into it regularly.
Horton Hatches the Egg and Oh! The Places You’ll Go! Dr. Suess for high school and beyond? Absolutely! When you’re feeling hopeless there’s only one thing to do: get under the covers, put a do not disturb sign on the door, and bring these out. I defy anyone not to be moved and inspired by the faithful Horton or the wisdom in “The Places You’ll Go.” Absolutely guaranteed to get you back on track when you don’t know how to cope
The Railway Children by Evelyn Nesbit. This is a middle grade novel that is suitable for any person of any age at any time. It is one of my favorite books and one that I must have read at least twenty times. Although I’m guessing that many of you won’t have heard of Nesbit, she’s a giant in the field of juvenile literature, and both Neil Gaiman and J. K. Rowling acknowledge their debt to her. This is a story of three children whose lives are drastically altered when their father is taken from them and when they are uprooted from their home. Not to worry, good triumphs in the end, and there are plenty of adventures along the way. I think the following anecdote best sums up the power of this book: I was recently in one of my favorite bookstores, an independent that exclusively carries adult mysteries. I was surprised to see a stack of “The Railway Children,” and asked the owner what they were doing there. She smiled and said “Julia, you can hardly own a bookstore without stocking “The Railway Children!”
I could go on, and on, and on.... There are plenty more to list, but I’m afraid that I can’t as right now I have an appointment with Mr. Sherlock Holmes!
Thanks so much, Julia!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
While I was working at Scholastic, I was in this really great book group that read a lot of YA. Even though each book was terrific, I always came away from it feeling like the life of a plain-old, regular high schooler wasn’t really represented. I also wanted to write something that addressed how tough it is trying to define your own morality when you’re a teenager, let alone stick to it. When I read an article about purity rings, it all came together!
Have you ever worn a purity ring yourself?
I wore a lot of crosses, but no purity ring I’m afraid!
Do you think that purity rings are a good reminder for teen girls about their faith, or that they cause unneeded problems, like they did with Tabitha and her friends?
Since purity rings weren’t around when I was a teenager, I’m still formulating my own opinions about them now, actually. But I do think –as I hope the book points out—that all the decisions we make can be complicated ones, even if at the time they seem very simple.
What would you like readers to take away from reading Pure?
I hope, if nothing else, that people who read Pure end up with a lot to talk about. I hope that maybe it generates for readers some reflection about their beliefs and where those come from. I also hope Pure can be a reminder that no matter what someone else believes, it’s just as complex and important to them as your own beliefs are to you.
What are you working on now/what can we expect from you next?
What were a few of your favorite books as a teen?
How have your teenage years influenced your writing?
I’ve always loved reading and writing, but I really got encouraged and supported when I was in high school to grow and stretch myself. Definitely the help I got there pushed me in the directions I took for college and graduate school, where I really honed my skill.
Monday, April 13, 2009
You know how I love, love, love Susane Colasanti? Well, if you would like to experience a sample of her amazing work for FREE, look no further:
Susane Colasanti Sampler
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Where did the inspiration for Mackenzie, Lost and Found stem from?
Well, I’m always looking for new book ideas. If you keep your eyes open, there are stories all around you waiting to be told.
The inspiration for Mackenzie, Lost and Found happened one day over lunch in a north Toronto restaurant. A good friend of mine lit the spark of the idea in my head talking about how her parents moved her from Canada to Israel when she was fifteen and how the experience changed her life. I was on the look-out for a new book idea at the time and this concept seemed like one with HUGE potential for drama, high emotion, and forbidden love. I went home and wrote the first chapter that same day.
Have you ever been to Jerusalem If yes, was your experience and reaction similar to Mackenzie's? What is hard to write about the setting and culture?
Yes, I visited Jerusalem (and Tel Aviv, and Tiberias) while I was in the editing stage of my book. And I did feel like Mackenzie in many ways – thrilled, overwhelmed, nervous and disoriented all at once (and I was only there for eight days compared to Mackenzie’s full year).
For example, before I got to Jerusalem, I thought the soldiers would freak me out. They’re everywhere! And many of them are so young – fresh out of high school. Just like Mack, I’d never seen a real gun before. But after I’d been there for a couple of days, I found that the presence of the soldiers was actually reassuring…not frightening at all. And by the end of my trip, I came to love Israel – just like Mackenzie.
What kind of research went into writing Mackenzie, Lost and Found?
My friend Simone (the one who moved to Israel as a teenager) was my main source of information. She was SO helpful! We went through her photo albums and I grilled her for details – from everything to the feel of the air in Tel Aviv, to sneaking into the hotel pools, to the smell of the markets in the souk. She was a fabulous resource for me.
I also bought a couple of Israel travel guide books, which gave me a good sense of the land and the layout of things. And then I was able to fill in whatever gaps remained in my research with the internet. There’s so much information out there if you know where to look.
What are you writing now/what are you publishing next?
Well, if you’re the Compulsive Reader, then I must be the Compulsive Writer because I’ve got so much on the go that it’s hard for me to keep track! LOL!
My next YA is called Girl on the Other Side and it’s about two girls who go to the same school, but live in totally opposite worlds. Tabby is rich, pretty and the most popular girl in her class. Lora is smart, timid and the constant target of bullies. Although they’ve never been friends, a series of strange events causes their lives to come crashing together in ways neither could have ever imagined.
If all goes well, Girl on the Other Side will be hitting the bookshelves in winter, 2009 (yay!).
I just finished the final draft of another YA that is worlds apart from anything else I’ve ever written before. It’s called Bye-Bye, Evil Eye and -- I don’t even know the right way to describe it – it’s kind of a paranomal-ish mystery, comedy, romance about the Evil Eye! LOL - did that make any sense? You can read the first chapter of Bye-Bye, Evil Eye on my website.
And right now I’m starting to plot out the sequel to Mackenzie, Lost and Found. All I can say is that it’s going to take place three years after the first one when Mackenzie returns to Israel for college.
I’ve also written a couple of picture books that I’m shopping around. Both my kids are at the picture book age and so my writer’s brain is being fed a daily diet of dinosaur and princess books – so I knew I just had to write some of my own!
Where is your favorite spot to write?
In my dreams, my favorite place to write would be a warm, quiet, shady spot under a swaying palm tree. In reality, anywhere quiet where my children can’t jump over me does just fine.
What are a few of your favorite books?
Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels knocked my socks off when I read it fifteen years ago. And the author’s follow-up novel is finally coming out this year. Can’t wait!
I recently read The Book of Negroes (Somebody Knows My Name) by Lawrence Hill and its stunning! The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls was un-put-down-able! And The Girls, by Lori Lansens was brilliant!
Recent YA reads that I’ve loved come from two other Canadian authors (yay, go Canucks!) Cracked up to Be, by Courtney Summers and I Know it’s Over, by C. K. Kelly Martin. As far as classic books, Watership Down is one of my all time favorites as is Wuthering Heights (sigh) and The Hobbit.
Is there anything I didn't ask that you wish I had?
Yeah…how about this: “So, Deborah – where can people go to learn more about you and your books?”
Wow, great question! Here’s the answer: http://www.deborahkerbel.com/
And thanks Compulsive Reader! You are awesome!
Thanks so much, Deborah! And you can check out my review of Mackenzie, Lost and Found here, or you can watch the trailer below!
Once again, any feedback would be welcome! (I know it ends a little abruptly--blame it on YouTube! I uploaded it 5 times, and it still won't fade off nicely like the original file does!)
Also, to any author willing to let me hone my my movie-making skills by using their books, I think I'm going to start accepting some requests for book trailers. You can check out my YouTube channel here for all of my work, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like more information.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
The Awakening is even more riveting and full of nonstop action than its prequel. Armstrong offers an unflinching and oftentimes grim look at what life on the streets is like for teens, with the added appeal of a perfectly sinister and powerful enemy and the suspense of unknown supernatural powers. Armstrong’s teen characters are smart and resourceful, and each obstacle thrown their way requires them to use every bit of caution, wits, and intelligence they possess. Armstrong focuses a little more on the technical aspects of the teens' powers and abilities as Derek and Chloe especially explore their capabilities and restraints. Their difficulties and the tension that they face help them grow as characters and make them more appealing characters to the reader. This dark, gripping, and highly suspenseful read will have readers chomping at the bit for a sequel.
Thanks for buying these past three months--you guys are awesome! I was impressed at the number of entries!
This month's prize is a hardcover copy of Justine Larbelestier's latest, How to Ditch Your Fairy, a cute and clever read set on a very unique world.
How to Win: Just purchase either last month's books, or any of April's books. Each B2B is announced every weekend, and for each one that you buy, you get an entry. Just take a picture of the book and recepit and send it to me, or forward online confirmation emails. Put B2B in the subject heading and send all entries to mailto:email@example.com.The contest ends April 31st, and I'll email the winner on or around May1st.
This weekend's book is The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong. Click here for a review. The Summoning is a New York Times Bestseller, and its high anticipated sequel, The Awakening, comes out later this month. The Summoning just came out in paperback, at the very affordable price of $8.99--so go and get it so you'll know why everyone is talking about this series--it's fantastic!
Good luck, everyone!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Aphra and her mother are on the run. Unsure of who to trust and unable to go home, they hide in France, biding their time until the can catch The Mole, the man responsible for the turmoil in their lives. When their cover is blown, they flee to Paris, where Aphra's mom has a contact. But when that contact turns up dead, bound and gagged with denim, it's clear that The Mole may closer than originally thought. And when Aphra heads to Italy to save Seth Mulo, she inadvertently leads him right into The Mole's trap...
Death by Denim, the third book in Linda Gerber's fun, action-packed, and suspenseful series, is just as riveting as its prequels. Gerber's style is not only modern and down to earth, but cunning and intelligent as well. Fans of the series will be happy to see that Death by Denim focuses on the shifting alliances and the reluctant trust that the characters must put in each other in order to finally track down their nemesis, and get out alive, and provides an answer to a few questions. Aphra is an engaging and lively narrator whose bravery and smarts readers will admire. Equal parts action, romance, and mystery, Death by Denim is a fun-filled and engrossing read that will appeal to fans of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series. And once again, Gerber leaves readers hanging, with the suggestion of perhaps another sequel...
Cover Comments: I just love the fun colors and the big cartoon-like graphics on this cover. It really captures the series' sense of fun, but the skulls hint at the more serious aspects of the book as well. It's definitely an attention grabber! (And rumor has it that the actual covers have cut-outs! So fun!)
Death by Denim will be available May 14th, 2009!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Well, is it any surprise that with all the hype Willow has been getting that it's April's Book of the Month?
When Julia Hoban approached me last year to inquire as to whether or not I would read her book, I was struck by her kindness, thoughtfulness, and the amount of knowledge she possesses. When I finally read Willow, I was blown away:
Willow has been living in a fog for seven months. She performs basic functions--eating communicating, and going to school, but inside she's struggling to deal with a torrent of guilt and pain brought on by the events of a rainy night seven months previously when her parents died in the car she was driving after Willow had lost control of the vehicle.
Isolated and lonely, Willow has turned to her only outlet for her grief--cutting. She manages to keep her growing obsession with the razor blade a secret from everyone--until one day easygoing and hardworking Guy discovers her secret. Rather than look the other way, he becomes determined to help Willow, even though her attitude to him is far from warm. But as time goes by, Willow finds the perhaps a friend is what she needs, and slowly Guy draws her out of her shell. But is Willow strong enough to let go of her only release for her pain, and discover new ways of living?
Willow is a striking and mesmerizing read. What stands out the most is the fact that Hoban focuses just as much on the developing emotions of her characters rather than making the act of cutting the only forefront issue, which gives the book a very sincere and captivating quality. Willow is an intelligent and sensitive character who, though some people may not be able to empathize with on some levels, is a very natural and dynamic character that readers can identify with. The issue of cutting is handled very smoothly and is looked at from both sides, which will placate a diverse group of readers.
Another element of the novel that stands out is the vivid imagery Hoban employs to set the scene of the book without being overly elaborate, creating a tangible universe for her story. The plot flows at a smooth and steady pace that is easy to follow and completely realistic. Willow is a beautifully written story, wrought with grief, pain, hope, and love that is tender without being cheesy, and optimistic without being cliché or improbable. At the close of the novel, Hoban continues in her practice of keeping it real with a step towards healing that isn't highly dramatic, but hopeful and plausible, leaving readers wishing and hoping for the very best, and unwilling to say goodbye to Willow.
And, if that's not enough to get you interested, here's a trailer that I made for Willow:
Julia Hoban will be dropping by this month for some insightful and fun posts, so stick around! Also, be sure to check out the release party for Willow at gettingtoknowwillow.blogspot.com! There's a MAJOR contest plus lots of cool extras! See you there!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
All submissions will be posted (subject to approval to weed out spam and profanity), and between now and the novel's release date on May 14th, three of them will also be chosen to be made into flash-animated "books" on the site's virtual bookshelf. (The winners will also each receive a signed copy of HTBALOR.)
Check out Tanya's website for more info" howtobuyaloveofreading.com
Good luck, everryone!
P.S. Here's a little video that goes along with the book: