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The Compulsive Reader: September 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cover Comments: Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials

So, I received a catalog for Penguin Group's Young Readers selections almost two months ago, and one of the first books I saw when I flipped through it was Rosalind Wiseman's upcoming YA book Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials, mainly because the cover is very bold and eye-catching. At first, I was slightly surprised at it, but then I really grew to like it, only to find....

...that it has been changed to this:




Really different, right? At first, I was a bit taken aback. I had really grown to like the first cover. I could see that it had a lot of really great elements, like how the bright colors against the black was a really bold statement, and the the bomb really conveyed the "hazardous" part of the title. Also, this is a book I could envision guys picking up as well without a second thought.

The new cover, however, has lost all guy appeal, in my opinion. The kissing couple and the curvy font will appeal to more girls though. However, the couple (I love how the notebook covers up the heads. It looks like something that belongs in a photoshoot for a Susane Colasanti cover!), definitely holds more "teen appeal". But I have to ask...where's the "hazardous" coming through with this cover?

Both are good covers, and it's hard for me to pick one over the other. I'm just happy that my ARC has the original explosive cover. Now I am really tempted to move this book to the top of my TBR pile!

What do you think?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fun Stuff

Hey everyone,

Here are some fun things happening around the blogging world:

Want to meet Richelle Mead?

This evening while browsing the Vampire Academy website, I learned that Richelle Mead is going on tour again in November. Only this time, she's letting her fans pick where she's headed! You can vote from a list of locations, and the top ones are where she'll be headed! Unfortunately, none are near me, but check it out!

Looking for a Contest?

Both Stephanie Keuhnert and Danielle Joseph (who are also both MTV Books authors!) are holding a contest to help promote Danielle's book Shrinking Violet! See all the details here!

Celebrate Banned Books Week

Ellen Hopkins, who wrote the kick-butt poem Manifesto in honor of Banned Books Week, is going through some censorship issues herself right now. Click here to learn how you can help.

A Michigan Event

Also, remember that Ellen Hopkins is visiting Michigan this week! Here is a list of the events she's doing, let me know if you'll be at one of them! The Portage event is also really close to Indiana, so for any of you northern Indiana folk, consider it!

Summerland!

And remember to enter the huge Summerland giveaway, with a special contest for bloggers! The contest will be extended an extra week!

Forest Born by Shannon Hale


Rinna has always lived in the forest with her mother and many brothers. Theirs is a big, loud family, and Rin enjoys the simple forest life, frequently taking comfort in the trees that surround her. But then something changes, and the trees seem to be reminders of self-loathing and hate, and Rin feels disjointed. So when her brother Razo comes home for a brief visit, she returns to the city with him and the Tiran ambassador Dasha to work for the queen. Isi and Enna and Dasha, whom Rin calls the Fire Sisters, and their strange powers impress and excite her, and though Rin feels small and insignificant in comparison, she is drawn to them like a moth to the flame.

But when trouble in the east threatens Isi and the royal family, Rin travels with the Fire Sisters to investigate. There they discover an unexpected and powerful enemy that threatens not just the Fire Sisters and Rin, but the entire nation of Bayern as well, and Rin must learn to face her fears and discover her true strength.

Shannon Hale's novels are always delightful and lovely. They're brimming with magic and strength and love, but also contain elements of danger and powerful villains that keep her stories lively. But always readers read through her books knowing that they will have a satisfactory ending, and they do not care about this knowledge—Hale's novels are just that enthralling. However, in Forest Born, readers will be blown away by the suspense and surprising plot twists that make for a harrowing and gripping read that will make you doubt the outcome of the story.

Rin is a smart, resourceful character, but after her first disappointment in love and the confusion concerning her abilities, she's left uncertain and self-conscious. Throughout the story as she observes and aids the Fire Sisters, she does slowly emerge from her shell and begin to find confidence and understanding in her abilities, which is one of the major themes of the book.

Hale also skillfully builds upon older characters, which is enjoyable as it's always fun to drop in and check on older characters. Their humor and quirks, added to Rin's journey of self discovery, makes Forest Born an exciting, witty, and completely enthralling read. Fans of the Books of Bayern will certainly not be disappointed, and will be happy at the satisfying, but open, ending in hopes for yet another Bayern book to immerse themselves in.

Cover Comments: I do like this cover, with all mof its purple tones and the pretty fonts used. Though I do prefer the older style of covers this series has, I do think this is pretty, and perhpas more befitting of the younger teen audience.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Calling All Michigan Readers!

This is a message to all of you lovely Michigan readers and bloggers. Ellen Hopkins is coming to our state on her Tricks tour, and will be making three stops this week! They are:

Tuesday, September 29

6 :30 PM



Wednesday, September 30

7 :00 PM

BORDERS

3140 Lohr Rd.

Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Thursday, October 1

7 :00 PM

BARNES & NOBLE

6134 South Westnedge Ave.

Portage, MI 49002

SCHULER BOOKS

1982 Grand River Ave.

Okemos, MI 48864






If you live in the LP and you are coming to one of these events, let me know (thecompulsivereader@gmail.com)! If you're going to the same one I'm going to, maybe we can meet up and chat about books!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Burned by Ellen Hopkins


Pattyn von Statten has been questioning a lot of things in her life lately: her religion, her parents' belief of a women's role in life, love. But these questions lead to her abusive father's anger, and when Pattyn begins to test her father beyond what he can handle, he sends her to her Aunt Jeanette's ranch in Nevada as punishment. But to Pattyn, the summer away is redemption. She finds freedom, love, and happiness. She finds her first love. But with fall comes her expected return home, and despite all of the wonderful things Pattyn has discovered, the pain and oppression of the past don't disappear.

I've read enough of Ellen Hopkins' novels to know that her books are powerful, brutally honest portrayals of teens stuck in tough spots in life, but yet this book managed to amaze me nonetheless. Pattyn is a character everyone can relate to; she's inquisitive and vulnerable, and what she wants most out of life is love and acceptance. Unfortunately for her, her family life is a complete disaster, and the abuse her family endures is often hidden or excused by their twisted religious beliefs. But despite these harsh and tragic elements, Burned also contains one of the sweetest love stories as Pattyn finds rare true love and learns what it means to be happy despite the confusing jumble of emotions she experiences. However, the happiness can't last forever, and when she's forced to return home, the following events will shock readers. The novel is wonderfully and scarily realistic, right down to the very end, and Hopkins' sophisticated and gripping poetry is perfect for the story. Burned is one book that will make you think long and hard.

Cover Comments: This cover keeps in with the theme of Hopkins' previous novels, and I like how the title looks like an actual burn mark. It's really simple, but really effective, even if it doesn't exactly mirror the content of the book.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Everafter by Amy Huntley


The first thing Maddie knows is that she's dead—other than that, she just is. She doesn't know where she is, who she is, or what's going on. But then she encounters lost objects from her life, and each one takes her back to the events in her life during which she lost them. Slowly her memory is restored, and Maddie learns that she can even alter the outcome of each event. Each object brings her closer to the person she was before—and the truth behind her death.

The Everafter is a one of a kind, luminous debut. Amy Huntley's imagined abstract after world—what it’s like and how it works—is wonderfully wrought and keenly described. With great feeling and honesty, Huntley carefully peels back each layer of Maddie's life, exploring her character, and how each person she knew had an effect on her life. Huntley's eye for detail is remarkable, and the questions and ideas she presents in a simple, probing manner will get readers thinking about life and the meaning of our own existence. Moving, unique, and imaginatively told, The Everafter is a novel about life, loss, acceptance, and powerful love that will resonate with many readers, especially fans of Gayle Forman's If I Stay.

Cover Comments: Any cover in purple wins my stamp of approval, but I do like the ethereal and almost unnatural feel of the flower. It's quite fitting for Maddie's state, and it's eerie without being too creepy. This book has a beautiful, intriguing cover!

New Location, Same Blog!

Hey everyone...so you may or may not have noticed, but The Compulsive Reader has gone "official" and is now www.thecompulsivereader.com! Woohoo! It's something I've been wanting to do for a while, partly because so many people forgot about the blogspot part of the address, partly because it's such a mouthful without it, and partly because I wanted to snag it before anyone else did.

So anyway, if you still use the old URL, no worries, it should redirect you to the right spot, same with any URL on any specific site you may have. Even though the official URL has changed, and I'd prefer that people be familiar with that one, the old one still works!

I am really excited to have gotten an official domain name, and thanks so much to everyone for your support!

Happy Reading,

TCR

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Brooklyn Book Festival Recap

Hey everyone,

Some of you may have heard about the Brooklyn Book Festival a couple of weekends ago. Sounded like fun, right? Well, reader Ashley Rudder was so kind as to film clips from some of the discussions and panels and out them on YouTube so you don't have to miss out on any of the great discussions!

Ashley says, "This video is one of the panels that includes three talented young adult writers, Laurie Halse Anderson ( Wintergirls), Gayle Forman ( If I stay), and G. Neri ( Surf Mules). This panel's theme was Breaking Through, these author's novels featured teens forced to make difficult decisions under extraordinary and less than favorable circumstances. This panel discussion was awesome and I had a great time. I wanted to share with you all who are book lovers and enjoy reading young adult books like I do. Since some of you may not live in NYC and couldn't attend the event. I figured it would be great to show you a few clips that i took so you can enjoy and see some and hear from some great young adult writers. Hope you all enjoy!!!"

Thanks, Ashley! Here's the first video, with Gayle Forman discussing If I Stay:



You can check out the rest of the videos here: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=chocochip16&view=videos

Thanks again, Ashley!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick


Nora Grey's life is turned upside down the day arrogant Patch becomes her lab partner. Patch is a know-it-all who teases Nora mercilessly and acts as if he knows every detail of her life. He scares and infuriates her, but yet she can't deny the tiny tug of attraction, or the feeling that there is more to him than meets the eye. Then a strange series of break-ins and dangerous encounters with a figure in a ski mask put both Nora and her friend in danger, making her realize that she must get answers...before someone gets hurt.

Becca Fitzpatrick has brought a daring and exciting new element to YA: fallen angels. Her characters are extremely well crafted, and Nora's voice is such an authentic and genuine one. Her confusion at the events happening around her and her frustration and attraction when it comes to Patch are both tangible. You can’t help but be wary of him, yet intensely attracted as well, and the chemistry between the two is electric and undeniable, just one of the many elements of the story that will motivate readers to race through the pages to see what happens.

The supernatural aspects, from the myths and lore to the strange powers the fallen angels possess, are both enthralling and more than a little chilling, especially the scenes where mind control is exercised and the characters are compelled to see things that aren’t really there. The story is full of twists and surprising revelations that will have you debating who is to be trusted and what Patch's real motives are. This is a dangerous, tension-filled novel that is fast-paced and quick-witted, full of strong, solid, and complex characters. Hush, Hush is a sexy thrill ride that will keep you guessing until the last minute and haunt you long after the final page.

Cover Comments: This cover is lush and dangerous looking, just like the book! I love how the black pieces are tinged with red as they go higher up, and the gray and white cover is just perfect. I also am in love with the font used. Basically, this cover rocks.

Hush, Hush will be available from Simon and Schuster on October 13th, 2009!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Blue Bloods Video!

Check out this really cool video with Melissa de la Cruz as she talks about her Blue Bloods series and the latest book, The Van Alen Legacy. I can't wait to get it!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines


Lyn's whole life has always been about gladiators and the GSA (Gladiator Sport Association). Her mother has married seven gladiators in Lyn's lifetime, the limit for a gladiator's wife. But when Tommy, Lyn's seventh father, dies, her dowry bracelet is also taken by the victor, a young man named Uber, and the law states that Lyn must now marry him. Lyn hates the gladiator lifestyle and doesn't want to follow in her mother's footsteps, so in order to save herself and her family from poverty, she makes a daring choice; instead of marrying Uber, she will fight with him to the death in the arena—even though she's beginning to develop feelings for him.

Lise Haines' Girl in the Arena is set in an alternate world, very similar to ours, that poses the question, What if, as a result of the Vietnam War, one man made gladiators popular in America? The world Haines crafts is chilling, with violence a regular part of every day life, but yet also offers many similarities with our society now. Historical details are included as well to help form the world and tell the story of the evolution of gladiators in the US.

Lyn is sick of the gladiator culture and would like nothing better but to get away from it, but she also has resigned herself to the fact that it may be difficult to do so. She is a very realistic and resourceful teen, and her indecision and emotions are quite believable, especially with when she interacts directly with Uber. The book is very fast-paced, which occasionally makes it easy to miss some crucial details or sentences, which may make the story a little confusing at first. Those incidences aside, Girl in the Arena is a heart-pounding, suspenseful read with twists and turns you won't see coming, leaving you to wonder, How can this end? Yet Haines wraps it all up cleverly and realistically, giving the readers and characters hope for a better future while imparting a moral lesson that isn't glaringly obvious or in your face. Girl in the Arena is a very intriguing and well-written novel about violence and entertainment, how easy it is for people to latch on to it when the two are strung together, but also about the courage of one girl wanting to make a positive change in her world.

Cover Comments: I like the mix of modern elements and the classic, gladiator styles in this cover. It fits the book well, even if the girl on the cover doesn't look like Lyn at all. I think it looks a bit edgy, and I like it a lot.

Girl in the Arena will be available October 13th, 2009.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble


Anne is just an average teen, getting through high school and worrying about college. But her recurring nightmares set her apart...nightmares of another girl, trapped. Then strange Ethan appears, offering the answers Anne is looking for, and to beg for her help to free the girl in her dreams—who is actually Anastasia Romanov, the last surviving member of her family.

Joy Preble's debut novel is dramatic and magical. Full of suspense and with twists at every turn, history buffs and paranormal fans alike are sure to enjoy Dreaming Anastasia. The characters are all very unique and diverse, each having their own distinctive voice and contributing almost equally to the story. The plot is full of plenty twists and turns, and the antagonistic elements very serious, making for a more gripping read. The novel is also very well paced, making it easy to glide through, with the exception of the few parts in the story where Anastasia's letters are shown in a nearly-illegible cursive font. But besides those pages, Dreaming Anastasia is a romantic and adventurous read that will not only entertain, but light a spark of curiosity in readers about Russian history.

Cover Comments: I suppose the cover is just all right. it doesn't really stand out to me. I do like the font used and the embellishment on the title, but the images just don't do much for me.

Follow Joy's entire blog tour!

Saturday, August 29th

Through the Wardrobe

Class of 2k9

Monday, August 31st

Story Siren

Tuesday, September 1st

EVEREAD

The Book Resort

Wednesday, September 2nd

Marta’s Meanderings

Thursday, September 3rd

Babbling About Books

A Passion for Books

Friday, September 4th

Day by Day Writer

Saturday, September 5th

Neverending Shelf

Sunday, September 6th

YA Books Central

Monday, September 7th

Dolce Bellezza

Books & Literature for Teens

Tuesday, September 8th

Shelf Elf

The Shady Glade

Wednesday, September 9th

Debbie’s World of Books

Bookalicio.us

Thursday, September 10th

Ultimate Book Hound

Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf

Friday, September 11th

Sarah’s Random Musings

Saturday, September 12th

Cindy’s Love of Books

Presenting Lenore

Always Riddikulus

Sunday, September 13th

Jenn’s Bookshelf

Carol’s Corner

Monday, September 14th

A High & Hidden Place

Looking Glass Review

Karin’s Book Nook

Tuesday, September 15th

Shooting Stars Magazine

Library Lounge Lizard

Wednesday, September 16th

Book Journey

The Book Pixie

Thursday, September 17th

The Compulsive Reader

Bildungsroman

Friday, September 18th

Booking Mama

BriMeetsBooks.com

Saturday, September 19th

The Written World

Hope’s Bookshelf

Sunday, September 20th

Book Nut

Hope is the Word

Monday, September 21st

Zoe’s Book Reviews

Homespun Light

Teen Scene magazine

Tuesday, September 22nd

Galleysmith

Once Upon a Bookshelf

Wednesday, September 23rd

Café of Dreams

My Friend Amy (9pm EST author chat)

Thursday, September 24th

The Brain Lair

Ms. Bookish

Friday, September 25th

Lori Calabrese Writes

Mrs. Magoo Reads

Saturday, September 26th

Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm

Fantasy Book Critic

Sunday, September 27th

Into the Wardrobe
In the Pages

Monday, September 28th

Beth Fish Reads

Reverie Book Reviews

BookLoons.com


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Reminder

Hey guys!

This is a reminder, if you haven't already done so, to check out Summerland! It's a collab between Harmony (of Harmony Book Reviews) and I, and besides talking about summer (and giving it a proper send off) with the help of other bloggers and authors, we're also giving away two huge prize packs of books! The prize packs both have a lot of ARCs and hardcovers and signed books and swag, and even a gift card or two! So please, check it out!

Thanks!

TCR

Bran Hambric: The Fairfield Curse by Kaleb Nation


Bran is a misfit, living with a foster family after he was found in a bank vault at age six without any memory of how he got there. Once night, while waiting on a roof for a burglar, a strange creature confronts Bran, a mysterious link to the mother he can't remember, a magic user. And in a city where magic is forbidden, it's not only scandalous, but dangerous...

Kaleb Nation's first book is quirky and suspenseful and completely fun. Bran is a funny character, and he really comes to life in Nation's clever and magical world that is well-crafted and quite intriguing. Nation's writing style is simple, yet incredibly entertaining and endlessly amusing, making it easy for younger readers to get sucked right in. The plot is unique and fun, but also has some spookier, suspenseful elements, making Bran Hambric a well rounded read. The characters were many, so it will be interesting to see how or if Nation will develop them further in the future. Though the book does bear some striking resemblances to the Harry Potter series, younger readers will easily overlook it in favor of the comedy (one of Nation’s talents). Overall, this is a vibrant and eccentric tale that has it all: mystery, suspense, wit, and fun. Kaleb Nation is a talented new author to watch.

Check out the rest of the Bran Hambric Blog Tour!

Sunday, August 30th

Jenn’s Bookshelf

Homespun Light

Monday, August 31st

StevenTill.com

Dolce Bellezza

Bobbi’s Book Nook

Tuesday, September 1st

The Looking Glass Review

Edward-Cullen.net

Beth Fish Reads

SMS Book Reviews

James Holder’s YouTube Channel

Wednesday, September 2nd

Bookalicio.us

Reading Rumpus

Katie’s Literature Lounge

Ultimate Bookhound

Thursday, September 3rd

Brimful Curiosities

Charlotte’s Library

Friday, September 4th

BriMeetsBooks.com

Bran Hambric by Kaleb Nation

Saturday, September 5th

Library Lounge Lizard

Sarah’s Random Musings

Saulchichas

GreenFyr.com

Sunday, September 6th

Cindy’s Love of Books

Monday, September 7th

Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf

Grasping for the Wind

Life After Twilight vlog channel

Tuesday, September 8th

Shooting Stars Magazine

Mrs. Magoo Reads

Lori Calabrese Writes

Wednesday, September 9th

The Brain Lair

Dulemba.com

The Children’s Book Review

TV Watch Online

Thursday, September 10th

The Friendly Book Nook

Book Journey

Stephanie’s Written Word

Home School Buzz

Spidurmunkey.com

Friday, September 11th

The Inside Scoop With Chandelle

Booking Mama

Saturday, September 12th

Zoe’s Book Reviews

Lit for Kids

Sunday, September 13th

Never Jam Today

A Bibliophile’s Reverie

Monday, September 14th

Café of Dreams

Marta’s Meanderings

Galleysmith.com

A Book Blogger’s Diary

The Reader’s Quill

Tuesday, September 15th

a book in hand

MistiSchindele.com

Not Just for Kids

Wednesday, September 16th

Write for a Reader

CumpulsiveReader.com

Thursday, September 17th

Howling Good Books

The Written World

Friday, September 18th

Always Riddikulus

YA Books Central

Saturday, September 19th

Ms. Bookish

Into the Wardrobe

www.thelateinergangbookreviewspot.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Soulstice by Simon Holt


In the six months since Reggie, with the help of her best friend Aaron, rid Reggie's brother Henry of the Vour that possessed him, the Vours have been relatively quiet. But now the summer solstice is approaching, and the Vours begin to reign terror on them once more. Then, Reggie is visited by the most unexpected person, who helps reveal just how deeply infiltrated the Vours are in Reggie's life and helps her realize that her strange powers have put her in far more danger than she really knows.

Like its prequel, Soulstice carries a thick, palpable air of danger and suspense that is unsettling and engrossing. In this sequel, readers learn much more about Vours and how they operate, answering some unaddressed questions left in The Devouring, and at the same time further scaring readers as Reggie discovers that one person after another in her life is somehow involved with the Vours. Reggie also explores fearscapes a bit more, which are imaginative, creepy, and sometimes a little gory, but also explore the idea of fear and its causes, effects, and manifestations. Though Soulstice doesn't have the downright, creepy feeling that the first book did, the characters are further developed and the stakes are higher, making it easy to get attached to them and be concerned for their well being. The unexpected, jarring ending will leave you exclaiming with injustice and fear for Reggie and her friends, and hoping for a third book very, very soon.

Cover Comments: I really like how they've continued with the same sort of cover for Soulstice that they had for The Devouring. I think that The Devouring's cover is gorgeous, and I like the plumes of smoke-like substance. The yellow is a really cool color, and I think that this whole cover is very well done!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kristin Cashore Blog Tour: Getting to Know the Characters of Fire


Hey everyone,

Today is the first official day of Kristin Cashore's blog tour for Fire, her latest novel which comes out October 5th, and is a companion (which means related to, but is basically a standalone) to her very popular book Graceling! The tour is running for three weeks, from September 14th through October 2nd, and at each stop, Kristin will reveal a little bit about each character (click on the image above for the tour schedule so you can follow Kristin around).

About today's first (and very integral) character, Kristin says:

"Lord Archer, Fire's friend from childhood, takes his nickname from his skill with a bow, but he has other areas of expertise, as well, that make him rather popular with the ladies. How does Archer get away with creating such beautiful messes? And what happens when he creates one he can't undo?"

Aren't you just dying for the book? Well, you can click here to read my review, or look below to read the prologue and first chapter of Fire!

Fire by Kristin Cashore


Also, if you have a blog, you can embed the widget below (isn't it fun?):




If you Twitter, you can chat about Fire and the tour by using the hashtag #firetour too!

Okay, I saved the best for last....thanks to the generosity of Penguin Group, I am also holding a contest for a signed copy of Fire! There are tons of ways to win:
  • Leave a comment below
  • Tweet about this contest (leave the link to your tweet in the comments)
  • Blog about the tour
  • Include the widget
  • Include the eBook excerpt
Every task you do earns you 1 entry! Comment below with all of your links and entries so I can check them!

I'll be picking the winner on September 30th! Good luck everyone, and I really hope you enjoy the book! I adored it!



Saturday, September 12, 2009

You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith


Average Emma Healy doesn't really fit in with her family of overachievers, with her professor parents and smart, talented siblings nearly two decades older than her. Instead, she coasts by with her "polite but detached" smile and feigned interest. But when rummaging in the attic one day, Emma finds birth and death certificates for the twin brother she never knew existed, dated two days apart. She suddenly feels like she's discovered the missing link, someone so much like herself. Before she knows it, she’s enlisted the help of Peter Finnegan, the shy, studious guy next door, to go with her on a road trip from New England to North Caroline to visit her brother’s grave.

Jennifer E. Smith's second novel is full of heartache, loss, and new discoveries. The emotions in You Are Here are conveyed perfectly and beautifully, making it a sensitive and thoughtful read. Peter's passion for maps and places provides a wonderful vehicle for the many ways in which Smith relates Emma and Peter’s dizzying journey of self discovery to the readers, and are a unique element. Emma's wish that a sign that read "You are here" is all it takes for a person to find themselves is one many can relate to, and many will be able to find a little piece of themselves in the characters’ search for identity. Despite the sad undertones of loss and grief and family secrets, You Are Here does have some subtle humor that creeps up on you every now and again, making it a quick and enjoyable read.

Both Peter and Emma are searching for something they have lost, and both learn valuable things about their families and each other by the end of the novel. You are Here has a satisfying, optimistic ending that will make you smile, and is a heartfelt and insightful novel that once again proves that Jennifer E. Smith is an author to watch.

Cover Comments: I love this cover! I like how the blue Mustang is included, as well as the maps in the background towards the top of the cover, an element which follows through to the back of the book. I also like how the wind is blowing the girl's hair, creating the impression that she is in transit, which Emma is throughout the story, not just physically, but emotionally. This is such a beautiful cover.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Got Bookmarks?

Hey everyone,

This is a message for all you authors and publicists out there! I have started classes and have spent a lot of time in my school library so far. We've got a great librarian who is really great about staying up to date on books (when we have the funds), and I have been giving her bookmarks and postcards and other promo items to distribute to the students coming in to the library.

The good news: They're are going like wildfire! The librarian has had a lot of new book requests, and everyone is loving them and talking about them!

The bad news: I am almost out of bookmarks and postcards to give away!

Do any of you have bookmarks to donate (even if it is just a few?) to the library? They are going to students, many of whom are also requesting the books through the library. It is a really great way to spread the word about your books because you know us teens....we like to talk. A lot. And if we see something cool, we'll show our friends. And when our friends are right there when we see the cool thing....well, you know.

So please contact me if you would like to put your bookmark or post card in the school library! If I have extras, I also take them to the bookstores and the community library as well! If you feel more comfortable talking with my librarian, I can put you in contact with her as well!

My email address is thecompulsivereader@gmail.com

Thanks!

TCR

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford


Bea and her family are constantly on the move, going from town to town for her father's job. But their latest movie from Ithaca to Baltimore is different somehow. Bea's mom is acting strange and is accusing Bea of being an unfeeling robot girl, and her dad is absent a lot. Bea goes to her new school, not expecting much, and somehow makes friends with Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, the strange guy who hasn't had a friend since the third grade. He and Bea form some sort of bond through a late night radio show, a connection that isn't exactly love, but more than friendship. But will it, or can it, last?

Natalie Standiford's debut novel is wise and quirky, expressive and humorous, and completely unforgettable. The novel takes place in an odd, in-between stage for Bea, where she is dealing with her family's numerous moves and her mother's strange behavior while trying to finish her last year of high school and find who she is, and her conflicting emotions will certainly resonate with readers. Jonah's and Bea's relationship is a very interesting one, and the dynamics between the two is very fun to read about. Neither of them have a perfect family situation, which is a big part of what bonds them. As the story progresses and Bea helps Jonah with his problems and the two figure out a few things, you can see the change in Bea; she's not quite so cynical, and she has learned to empathize with people, an ability nearly lost to her along with all of the friendships that dried up with every new move. She no longer is the robot girl her mother accuses her of being.

Though the many, many mentions of alcohol and underage drinking are slightly irking, they don’t really detract from the message of book in any way, and some of the more interesting scenes take place in a sort of bar. How to Say Goodbye in Robot is a sensitive, smart, and multifaceted read that is realistic and poignant without being mushy. The end, while surprising, is satisfying, and will leave you thinking long after the final page. Fans of John Green, Elizabeth Scott, and Maureen Johnson, watch out for Natalie Standiford.

Cover Comments: I like this cover a lot. The pink is an interesting, but really great choice, and the phone is neat as it kind of plays in with the phoning in to the late night radio show. I also really like the font; it's futuristic and very robotic looking. It fits the title well!

How to Say Goodbye in Robot will be available from Scholastic on October 1st!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Maureen Johnson Fans Rejoice!

Hey everyone, here's some cool news floating around right now concerning a new series by Maureen Johnson:

"DISNEY BOOK GROUP ACQUIRES MULTI BOOK SERIES AT AUCTION FROM BEST SELLING AUTHOR MAUREEN JOHNSON

New York, September 10, 2009—Disney-Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group, has acquired a three book series from best selling young adult author Maureen Johnson at a hotly contested auction. The agreement was negotiated by Jennifer Besser, Executive Editor, Disney Book Group, and Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary.

The series begins with a modern-day thriller about an American high-school student who enrolls at a London boarding school for her junior year. Soon after her arrival, a series of murders begins to take place across the city—on the exact dates and in the exact style of Jack the Ripper. Her ties to the killer bring her in contact with a secret paranormal branch of the British police. The first book in the series will be published in Summer 2011 with a new book following each subsequent summer.

“Maureen has incredible range as a writer,” said Jon Yaged, vice president, US publisher, Disney Book Group. “We’re thrilled to have her join the Disney-Hyperion list—she’s a wonderful addition and a perfect fit.”

Maureen Johnson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and studied writing and theatrical dramaturgy at Columbia University, where she earned her MFA. In addition to writing books, she is also a scriptwriter for the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince videogame. She lives in New York City, and travels to the UK on a regular basis. Her books include The Key to the Golden Firebird, The Bermudez Triangle, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, the Andre Norton-nominated Devilish, Girl at Sea, Suite Scarlett, Let It Snow, and the forthcoming Scarlett Fever. Her works have honored by the New York Public Library, the American Library Association, IndieBound (formerly known as Booksense), and Publishers Weekly’s “Cuffies.”"

I can't wait! I love Maureen's work, and I can't wait to hear more about this series! I think that Summer 2011 is also when the 13 Little Blue Envelopes sequel is coming out as well!

Exciting!

Cool Videos

For your viewing pleasure, here are some cool book-ish videos currently floating around:










Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Meet Adriana Trigiani

Hey everyone,

Adriana Trigiani is an adult author, but she is making her YA debut this month with Viola in Reel Life! Here's a summary:

I'm marooned.

Abandoned.

Left to rot in boarding school . . .

Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana, far, far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Now Viola is stuck for a whole year in the sherbet-colored sweater capital of the world.

Ick.

There's no way Viola's going to survive the year—especially since she has to replace her best friend Andrew with three new roommates who, disturbingly, actually seem to like it there. She resorts to viewing the world (and hiding) behind the lens of her video camera.

Boarding school, though, and her roommates and even the Midwest are nothing like she thought they would be, and soon Viola realizes she may be in for the most incredible year of her life.

But first she has to put the camera down and let the world in.


Adriana will be going on a 6 city VIOLA IN REEL LIFE tour:


Wednesday, September 16 - ATLANTA, GA - Barnes & Noble – 7660 North Point Parkway (Alpharetta, GA) – 7pm


Thursday, September 17 - DALLAS, TX - Borders – 10720 Preston Road, Suite 1018 – 7pm


Friday, September 18 - RALEIGH, NC - Quail Ridge Books & Music – 3522 Wade Ave. – 7:30pm


Tuesday, September 22 - CHICAGO, IL - Off-site event hosted by Anderson’s Bookshop – Pfeiffer Hall at North Central College, 310 E. Benton Ave. (Naperville IL) – 7pm


Thursday, September 24 - WASHINGTON, DC - Borders 5871 Crossroads Center Way (Baileys Crossroads, VA) – 7:30pm



So if you live nearby and have the time, drop by and say hi! It looks like loads of fun!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Contest: Win Catching Fire and Swag!


I know we're all very excited about the release of Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, and now to make the release even sweeter, I'm hosting a contest, giving you a chance to win a copy of the book and some neat swag!

Three lucky winners will receive:

  • *very* limited edition promotional T-shirt (only 300 made!)
  • collectible gold mocking jay pin
  • copy of Catching Fire
Want to know more about The Hunger Games?

COULD YOU SURVIVE ON YOUR OWN, IN THE WILD, WITH EVERYONE FIGHTING AGAINST YOU?

Twenty- four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives.

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see.

Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

You can also go here to read my review of Catching Fire, or click here to go to the official website (where you can read the first chapter of Catching Fire!). And be sure to check out this awesome, awesome book trailer as well:






All right, so to enter to win, all you have to do is leave me a comment below! Simple as that. I'm going to let this contest run until the end of the month, September 30th, and will notify winners on or around October 1st!

The Fine Print:

The Catching Fire book promotion is open to participants with a United States mailing address only (international readers can enter if you have a friend in the States who can accept your prizes by mail!). Entrants under age 13 must have parent or guardian permission to enter.


Oh, and if you want some more Catching Fire fun, be sure to check out my blog post about the day I met Suzanne, the video I participated in with Suzanne, and my review!

All set? Let the games begin!

The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy


This book doesn't come out until April, but it is oh so fabulous, and you should definitely have it on your radar! Thanks a billion to Kay Cassidy who included me in her tour!

Jess Parker is a go-get-em type of person. She's always around to volunteer her time to worthy causes and charities, but when it comes to her social life, she flies under the radar. Her family is constantly moving, so she never really makes any friends. And when her family moves to her mom's hometown, Mt. Sterling, her social status plunges even farther due to Jess taking the meanest and one of the most popular girl's spots on the cheerleading team.

Bullied and miserable, Jess never expects an invite from one of the most exclusive secret societies, The Cinderella Society. But before she knows it, her fairy godmother of a cheerleading captain has transformed her from shabby to chic, and she's learning how to lead a more positive life. But it won't be easy—the Wickeds (including her archenemy) aren't about to let the Cindys win, nor are they above using regular, innocent people to do it.

Kay Cassidy's The Cinderella Society is a divine, delightful read that's just as much about empowering yourself and sticking up for what's right as it is about the romance and fun stuff. What makes this book so fun is the Cinderella Society, a secret group that is surprisingly extensive and super secretive, which is an element that will certainly attract readers who are also fans of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girl's series. Cassidy also populates her book with realistic, down to earth characters, many who are popular and nice, and genuinely care about doing the right thing, not the latest designer item or the juiciest bit of gossip. These positive role models are a breath of fresh air, a relief from the numerous catty and snarky popular girls that tend to be popular in YA.

The message in this book is also genuine. Cassidy doesn't have any skewed perceptions of perfection, or tell readers you have to change yourself in order to be a better person; instead she focuses on showing readers that by being yourself and discovering who you want to be, you can become the best that you can be. Full of fun secrets and some surprising twists, The Cinderella Society is a novel about choices and their affects and about being positive and true.

Cover Comments: The cover is fun and pink and flirty, and it fits the title well, but not so much the book. Still, it is one that will stand out, and it works!

The Cinderella Society is hitting bookstores on April 13th, 2010, coming from Egmont USA!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead


Rose's world shattered when Dimitri Belikov, her mentor and lover, was turned into a Strigoi. Now she's determined to find him and honor the promise they once made to each other that they would rather die than become completely evil and soulless. But her mission will prove to be harder to complete than Rose originally thought. Not only does she run into road block after road block, but Lissa is struggling to cope without Rose. Strange new forces are at work, and unless both Rose and Lissa watch their backs, they could end up dead.

The fourth book in the Vampire Academy series is probably one of the most dramatic yet. Rose is forced to face harsh realities and grow up a bit more in the process. She becomes more mature and a little wiser, but thankfully doesn't lose her tough, lovable devil-may-care attitude. This is the first book that isn't set at St. Vladimir's for the majority of the novel, and it is interesting to see how Rose handles the freedom and experience her new discoveries. At the same time, Mead packs in a lot of interesting cultural facts and tidbits, sneaking in a lesson in Russian culture and history without the reader even realizing it.

The inevitable meeting with Dimitri is farther along in the book than many readers would like, but it doesn't fail to disappoint. It doesn't go quite as expected, but is nevertheless entertaining and will leave you flipping the pages quickly, hanging in suspense. Mead wraps it up with a surprising turn of events that is unexpected on many levels. Blood Promise is certainly one of the better books in the series, brimming with revelations and more insights on this imaginative vampire world, but still containing the agonizing yet not unexpected cliffhanger ending. Spirit Bound is just as eagerly anticipated, if not more so, than Blood Promise.

Cover Comments: I love this cover, I think it is the best out of all of the ones in the Vampire Academy series. The green is a great color choice, and the pose of the model fits the book well. I also really like the new format that these books are in, it's very striking!

Friday, September 4, 2009

How to Steal a Car by Pete Hautman


The first car was an accident. Kelleigh didn't plan on stealing it, it just sort of happened. But the rush of the experience, the excitement of it all, it gets to Kelleigh. Her life seems to be a crazy mess, and stealing cars helps Kelleigh forget about how her lawyer father is defending a rapist, her parents don't have the best relationship, her best friend is annoying her more than ever, and the guy she likes is lukewarm towards her. Stealing cars is a release. The only problem? She can’t stop.

How to Steal a Car is funny, smart, and compelling read that is different from many coming-of-age YA stories out there. Pete Hautman sets up the book so that everything you learn about Kelleigh and her friends and family is staggered throughout the book. There aren't any lengthy explanations or character histories to wade through before you dive into the action; it's all combined together, making for a more interesting and entertaining book. Kelleigh doesn't really understand why she steals cars at first, all she knows is that she hates the disjointed feeling that’s taken up residence inside her, and stealing cars gets rid of it. Her journey is every bit as surprising to her as it is to the reader. From the funny moments to the tense ones to the affecting ones, Kelleigh is an authentic, confused character, and her tumultuous feelings are completely relatable to many readers.

How to Steal a Car is a novel about growing up and learning to deal with life's more unpleasant issues, getting along with family and friends, and juggling the many confusing, conflicting emotions that usually accompany the teenage years. Hautman has a talent for being concise in his writing, yet every word is affecting. How to Steal a Car is one book that will entertain you just as much as it will make you think.

Cover Comments: I love this cover. It's simple, but yet very clever, and goes well with the title. I also really like (and this may be ahrd to see in the picture) how instead of doing just a plain, boring blue background, it's a subtle pattern of two blue hues. Such a great cover!

How to Steal a Car is out now from Scholastic!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Steal Alert!


Hey everyone!

This is just a friendly announcement to let you know that YA books are on sale at Borders.com! There's a nice list of a lot of YA books that are buy one, get one 1/2 off! Isn't that cool? Just another reason why Borders rocks! There are an assortment of paperback and hardcover books, contemporary and paranormal, new releases and old favorites...there's literally something for everyone! So go pick up the latest book in your favorite series, or be adventurous and try something new. It can't hurt, and it's pretty cheap! But hurry up, because the offer ends Monday! As for me...I'm stocking up on Ellen Hopkins' books, and may pick up another copy of Catching Fire and Blood Promise as well....

Happy reading!

Amy Efaw Discusses After

One book I read in these past months that really grabbed me and wouldn't let go was After by Amy Efaw. After is the story of what happens to Devon, a straight A student who is so deep in denial that she doesn't even realize she is pregnant, and when her child is born, she throws her into the trash. You can read my full review here, but below is a video from Amy Efaw talking about her inspiration for After.



Has anyone read After? What are your thoughts?