The Compulsive Reader: June 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kindle Fashion, Take II

So, I truly loved my M-Edge New Yorker Kindle cover (read my review of it here). But...did you know that The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is my favorite play ever? And did you know that Kate Spade makes a Kindle cover that pays tribute to that play? So really, it was a no-brainer for me. I simply had to have it.
The cover is made out of canvas, which is coated on the outside to keep it clean, but uncoated on the inside, which I really like. It's soft and it doesn't collect dirt and dust that could scratch my Kindle like some inner covers do. I've had it for three months and have used it heavily and it hasn't gotten dirty at all. The left side has two pockets, which I find very convenient for stuffing my notecards for my reviews into.

This cover keeps the Kindle in place with the hinge system, something I didn't know about prior to purchase. Your Kindle comes with two little slots on the left side that allow for two little "hooks" to latch on to keep it in place. It took me a few minuted to figure out how to get the Kindle in there and get it adjusted just so, but once I figured it out, I loved it! It keeps the Kindle very secure and straight, and it doesn't wiggle around it all. It's relatively easy to get the Kindle back out again, though I did notice that if you do not put your Kindle in correctly, it will be a little crooked and loose. I received a customer service email from Amazon not long after I purchased this cover advising me to not let the Kindle hang solely from the hooks, as it will damage them, which is just a matter of common sense.

This cover is slightly thicker than my M-Edge cover and slightly padded, but it provides plenty of security for the Kindle. Unlike other covers, the front flap doesn't fold back all the way, so you have to read the Kindle like you would with a normal book, propped open with two covers. This was a little bit of an adjustment for me, as I really enjoyed reading it with either hand, but certainly not a deal breaker.

This one, like my M-Edge cover, doesn't come with a closure, but I haven't had any issues with it falling open in my bag. I've taken it to class and traveled with it, and it's been fantastic. I just put it in my backpack or purse and don't even worry about it. It's very sturdy and protective, but without a utilitarian look.

As far as the design goes--I love it! It's simple, cute, and the colors are great. I love the quote on the back from the play and the little details in the corners. It makes such a great statement. The cover came in a sturdy and colorful Kate Spade gift box, which I love as well. The full price was a little much for me, but I snatched it up when it went on sale. This cover also comes in two other designs featuring the classics The Great Gatsby and Great Expectations. I might be tempted to buy the Great Gatsby one next if I have a little extra money!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Today is the day that the US edition of Tabitha Suzuma's book, Forbidden, comes out!

Thanks to their neglectful alcoholic mother, Maya and Lochan are more than just siblings, but best friends. Together, they raise their three younger siblings and try get by as best as they can, with only occasional appearances from mum. As they weather their brother's rebellion and the stress of taking care of three young children, pay bills, and dodge social services, they find that their feelings for each other go beyond just love, but to need and lust. Maya and Lochan know that what they feel for each other is something that no one else will understand, but yet they are determined to stay together, no matter what life throws their way, no matter what the consequences.

Forbidden is an extremely well written novel; the tension, the feelings, and the drama are all perfectly described and compelling. Suzuma manages to suck the reader so completely into the romantic tension between Lochan and Maya that you almost forget that they are siblings, and you almost want them to find a way to stay together forever. The story alternates between Maya and Lochan's perspectives, allowing the reader to really get into their heads and discover the motivations behind their feelings for each other, but also revealing the stress and loneliness they feel at their mother's abandonment. Their mother's character is fairly despicable on her own, though most of the time the reader only finds out about her actions secondhand through Lochan's recollections. The ending of Forbidden is jarring, tragic, but a little unbelievable in some aspects (for instance, the children are able to completely cover up their mother's shortcomings). Nonetheless, Forbidden is a raw, frank, and uncensored look at the lives of these teens, and it becomes apparent that the real tragedy of this story isn't the incest, but the fact that Maya and Lochan never received the help they desperately needed.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Reading Rants: Kindle Contempations

So, it's been about six months since I got my Kindle for Christmas, and my immediate reaction was LOVE at first sight. Now that I've had a little while to adjust to it and use it over a long period of time, here are some of my thoughts about the Kindle 3G + WiFi:

  • The battery life is great. I haven't actually gotten it to last an entire month, but I've never ran out of battery, and the Kindle charges super quick--no more than 20 minutes. 
  • I still really love the style and functionality of the Kindle. It's probably the only electronic device I've ever owned that still looks practically new six months later. The page turn buttons, the arrows, and the full keyboard are still really great. There are maybe one or two things I wish I could rearrange in the menu, but it's not a deal breaker for me, and not an inconvenience.
  • I've had one software update since I got the Kindle, and it was very easy to install. Amazon provides detailed step by step instructions for a wireless download, and a download with a computer connection. My only issue with it is that it promised page numbers for the books, which I was really excited about. (The lack of page numbers being probably the only thing that bugged me about the Kindle.) However, when I downloaded the software change, I noticed that page numbers are only displayed in the Go To feature. I hope that the next step would be to display the numbers along the bottom of every page.
  • As of today, I have 45 books, short stories, and ARCs on my Kindle! Most of them were very, very cheap. I am always so impressed at the deals I find on Amazon in books. I think a common misconception is that the only cheap (i.e. $2.99 or less) Kindle books are the self-published ones which aren't up to the standards of traditionally published books, but I have found so many books published by big six publishers that are $1.99 or less. I love it. It's also forced me to broaden my reading horizons, and now I read a lot more adult books than I used to.
  • I also read faster on my Kindle--a very interesting observation, but very helpful at times. I first noticed this when I re-read Jane Eyre for a Women's Lit class I took. The first time I read it, it took me two weeks in between my classes and regular reading. When I read it on my Kindle--4 days. I was able to instantly look up the words I didn't know without hardly pausing at all in reading, and I was able to highlight and take notes as I went along.
  • As for Notes and highlights, I really like the feature and it's really simple to use. The only thing I DO NOT like about it at all (and I am hoping Amazon will change this) is that every highlight and note you make is sent to a separate document called My Clippings (which is fine), but you can't divide the notes and clippings according to the book they come from, and the document quickly runs out of space, which requires you to delete your previous ones (by going back to them in the book) to make room for new ones. I would really like the notes and clippings to be put in the back of the book, like a separate "chapter", or in their own document according to book, which I then could put in a group. This way I could easily sort through them without every having to delete them (as most of them are for a class!) and I can continue to use that feature.
  • For school, the Kindle has been really helpful. I'm an English major with Spanish and French minors, and not only do I read a lot, but I use a lot of reference books. The Kindle comes pre-loaded with three dictionaries--I use the Oxford English dictionary all the time, especially when reading older novels by authors with fabulous vocabularies, and I have my English to Spanish and English to French dictionaries on my Kindle as well. I love the quick look-up time (it takes seconds...actually, it only really takes one second). I also did put a lot of books for my lit classes this past Spring on it as well. My only complaint with that one goes back to the page number issue, and the fact that when it comes to looking for specific bits and passages, it's easier to flip through a book than a Kindle. However, if I can remember snatches of prose from the section I was looking for, I can search those words, which is NICE. So, it's really a trade-off. And I would be lying if I said that having a device with my school books and YA books didn't come in handy during particularly boring classes...

Overall, the things I love about the Kindle greatly outweigh the issues I have with it. I do not regret getting this one, and I am so not interested in any other device (okay, that's a lie. I would like the iPad, mostly because it's so shiny, but I will definitely live without it). About 21% of the books I have read this year have been on my Kindle, and though that seems like a lot, I'm still mostly a print girl. I still love the feel of books, the appearance of a page, and the make and design of books (especially after re-reading Shiver and Linger and reading Forever--such gorgeous books! Don't ever buy them electronically!) and I am not giving those up any time soon. But there is a balance to be found between print and electronic books, and I think I've found a very happy medium!

Let me know your thoughts about your Kindle or other e-reader! I want to hear them...especially if they're Kindle tips or tricks! I've learned the most from other Kindle owners.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Paranormal Love

I like a good paranormal book now and then, but with so, so many out there, and so many different sorts (should I go with vampires, witches, werewolves, ghosts, or monsters?), it can be hard to choose one. And, if you like to "try before buy" so to speak, then excerpts and samples are like, a must.

I stumbled upon this cool e-sampler earlier, and I think it's awesome. Though it's titled Spring 2011, I still think you can find a lot of cool stuff in it--excerpts from Vampire Academy, Nightshade, Chime, Strange Angels, Possessions, and The Locket. So, you can decide if you want to start a new series, or pick up a new book! I love it, though  have to warn you--it might be hard to resist tracking down a copy of these books after starting them!

Penguin Teen Paranormal ESampler

What book do you want to read the most?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Interview with Terra Elan McVoy!

Terra Elan McVoy is the fabulous author of three YA books--Pure, After the Kiss, and the recently released The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, which just exudes summer and fun! If you haven't picked it up yet, I definitely recommend that you do, especially if you are in need of a good beach or camp read! I met Terra while I was in New York (she's very lovely in person!) and she very graciously agreed to this interview!


TCR: What came first--the idea to write a book from the points of view of three sisters, or the idea to set a book at a summer camp?

TEM: Definitely the sister idea came first. I myself am the oldest of three sisters, and I was just really interested in trying to talk about the dynamic you have together in that kind of a sibling triangle: How the eldest and the middle have their own issues/relationship, and the middle and the youngest, the youngest and the eldest—plus all three of them together. It’s just a lot of interesting connections. The summer camp thing came up because I needed a place where they all three were forced to be together (unlike home or school where they could potentially escape with friends or whatever), but also had their own things going on.

TCR: What were some of the challenges of creating each sister's voice?

TEM: I think the biggest challenge was letting go of trying to force that individuality too much. Because it’s natural for them to sound and talk alike. Growing up, nobody could figure out if it was me, my Mom, or either of my sisters whenever we answered the phone. And you know how, after hanging out with someone for a long time, you can start talking like them? It’s like that. They sound alike somewhat because they’re around each other all the time. But another thing I wanted to examine in this sister book was the challenge of making yourself distinct in this kind of combo. Of course, they are individuals so they do have their own traits (Calla talks in rushed, run-on sentences full of hope, and Daisy’s are usually shorter and more observant. Violet is somewhere in between, with a lot of internal gazing going on.), but I think the main distinctions between the girls are found in their personalities, and how they handle what’s going on in their lives.

TCR: Did you go to summer camp when you were a kid/teen? What are some of your favorite memories from camp?

TEM: We went to this amazing place called Montreat that was sort of half camp, half mountain town/conference center. We’d go up with our youth groups in high school and rent a house or a cabin for our whole group. Activities took place in town –it’s a whole little town, with everything walkable—at the convention center and other spots. There was a lake in the middle, and mountain trails to hike, and this big gorgeous hotel, and awesome ice cream shop, streams to do rock-hopping in . . . etc. Everybody got divided up into small groups that would meet during the week. (So you’d have your home group, and your small group.) You’d meet other high schoolers from all over the Southeast—everybody in this intensive program together (yes that had a keynote and warm-ups in the morning, sort of like Camp Callanwolde)—and it really had a huge impact on me. I remember breaking down into total sobs when I came home from my first experience there! There are too many really amazing memories from there (including many with my sisters), but one of the best stories is that I met (and fell in love with) a guy at Montreat who became my date to the Junior Prom!

TCR: What's your idea of a perfect summer day?

TEM: I don’t live near the beach any more, so I really miss my youth growing up near the Florida Gulf Coast. Perfect summer day for me would be packing up the car, driving with my family to St. George Island (90 minutes away from our hometown), and spending the day reading, playing, swimming, hanging out, going for walks, building a sandcastle, watching my dad fish . . . then packing everything up to drive home, picking up a bunch of fresh shrimp on the way. At home, I’d take a fantastic-feeling shower and then spend the evening on the screened-in porch at my Dad’s house, eating shrimp and playing games with everybody I love.

TCR: Can you give us any tidbits of information about your next book?

TEM: Ha ha! Well, I can’t say a lot, because I haven’t even seen what my editor thinks about it yet, but I’ll say that I got inspired to write it thanks to Daisy and Rutger’s friendship in The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, plus Calla and Duncan’s too. I was just interested in all the different complications that can come up, being friends with boys, and wanted to write more about it!

TCR: Thanks so much, Terra!

Definitely check out The Summer of Firsts and Lasts! You seriously will not regret it!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Short Story Review: "Familiar" by Michelle Rowen

Brenda is so not okay with being a witch like her mom, and does everything she can to get out of magic lessons, much to her mother’s frustration. To placate her, Brenda reluctantly agrees to go to the magic shop to pick out a familiar. She picks up a kitten, happy to get something cute and fluffy out of the situation, but is shocked when her kitten turns out to be Owen, a shapeshifter on the run from some very dangerous werewolves. This unusual premise is a great hook, and Brenda's generally upbeat and humorous narrative, punctuated by Owen's sarcasm, makes this an easy to read and enjoyable short story. The conflict may not be very complicated, but it does provide some room for a taste of danger, some drama, and a little twist, all of which wraps up in a satisfying conclusion. This is a fun short story with good dialogue, some cute characters, and a good amount of laughs. “Familiar” is a great pick if you're looking for something quick, fun, and well-written, and at $0.99, it's worth the money.

I downloaded this one to my Kindle!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Contest: Win a Copy of 13 Reasons Why!

Jay Asher's book Thirteen Reasons Why took everyone by storm, and now it's finally being released in paperback! To celebrate, I'm giving a paperback copy to two winners! But first, if you're unfamiliar with it, here's what the book is about:
Thirteen Reasons Why is the story of a girl named Hannah Baker who takes her own life. But before she does, she records several cassette tapes explaining why and sends them to the people she feels pushed her toward that decision. The story is told from the point of view of Clay Jensen who spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah’s voice as his guide. He becomes a first-hand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself—a truth he never wanted to face.
The anti-bullying anthem was published in hardcover in October 2007 by Razorbill, and quickly became a word-of-mouth favorite among teenaged readers with fans claiming, “This book changed my life.” The novel has been on the New York Times children’s hardcover bestseller list for 65 weeks, foreign rights have been sold into 30 countries and it has been acquired by Universal Pictures and will star Selena Gomez.
Jay Asher lives on the central coast of California with his wife and son. His favorite part of being an author is speaking with his readers at schools and libraries across the country.

Penguin has also the 13RW Project at www.13RWProject.com as a place for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why to record their thoughts, stories, videos and photos relating to the book, and to view what other readers from all across the country have shared. Each review is logged on a map to show the many locations that viewers are posting from, and all content is shareable through Facebook and Twitter.

To enter, go visit the website and look around, then come back and comment here about what you thought was interesting or about what you shared. This contest is open to US residents, and will end on July 7th!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Guest Blog from Nova Ren Suma!

I'm super excited to be the first stop on Nova Ren Suma's blog tour to celebrate the release of her YA debut, Imaginary Girls, which came out last Tuesday! Her tour will consist of a series of secrets about the book, so without further ado...

Now that Imaginary Girls is undeniably real and out in the world, I think it’s time to spill a few secrets about the book, like what surprising things inspired pieces of the story, the true events that found their way into the novel, and more. As the cover says, “Secrets never stay below the surface.” Here’s one bubbling up now…

Secret #1: Imaginary Girls wasn’t supposed to be the title. I changed it at the last second when querying agents… and decided to keep it.

The original title of the book was Mythical Creatures, which came from a short story I wrote about two sisters named Ruby and Chloe, the same two sisters who’d go on to take over the novel and, with it, my life for a few years. I never meant the title Mythical Creatures literally—there were no actual unicorns or werewolves in the story—but I wanted to play with the idea of what made something, or someone, into a legend in a small town. There’s actually a line in the first chapter of the book that’s a lot like one from the old short story, too, and it speaks to the title:

“If anyone was a mythical creature here, it was Ruby, the one we all looked to and listened for, the one the boys loved and fought to be with, who couldn’t be captured or caged.”

I was pretty attached to that title. So why’d I go and change it? When I was putting together my email queries for literary agents and typing “Mythical Creatures – YA novel query” into the subject line, I had a sudden wave of doubt. Agents might see that and think this was a fantasy novel, and it’s not. What if they rejected me based on title alone? So, at the very last second, I changed the title to one of the top contenders on my list of other possibles: Imaginary Girls. Even so, I messed up some of the queries and a couple agents got an email from me saying “Mythical Creatures – YA novel query,” and when they replied asking for pages I sent back a manuscript with the new title in place.

(I should add: Soon after those queries, I saw the beyond-gorgeous cover for a book called Beautiful Creatures—and felt a rush of relief that I’d changed my title when I did.)

So that’s how I happened upon my title Imaginary Girls, in a panic, and at the last second, and yet now I can’t imagine this book being called anything else.

Thanks, Nova!

Definitely check out Nova's website and follow her on Twitter to learn more about this awesome book!

Also, here is the really cool trailer:

And if you are curious about the book, read an except!

Imaginary Girls

Thanks to the generosity of Penguin, I have one signed copy of Imaginary Girls to give away! Just comment below and tell me why you want to read this book, and I'll enter you to win! This contest will end July 6th, and is open to US residents!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

After narrowly escaping the Tesla canon in Istanbul, the Leviathan heads east with Deryn and Alek in tow, where they are expected to pick up a mysterious new passenger. The newcomer is secretive and quirky to the extreme: his eccentricities put Deryn on edge, but his claims of having a device that will end the war intrigue Alek. As secrets are revealed and the Leviathan continues east to the United States, dodging enemies along the way, Deryn will make some important choices about her future and the decisions Alek must make will affect the entire world.

Goliath is an outstanding finale to this imaginative and vivid steampunk trilogy. Once again, Westerfeld masterfully balances the intrigue and politics of the great war between the Darwinists and Clankers with Alek and Deryn's dynamic and unique friendship. The tensions between the two run high as Alek finally discovers the truth about Deryn, and there is plenty of drama as they try to figure where they stand with each other. Alek also experiences many personal conflicts as he puts his trust in a weapon in order to bring an end to the war, and is ultimately tested to his limits. A few old characters resurface as complications arise and provide some well-needed insight and comic relief to the story. Everything in Goliath builds to an electrifying confrontation with a breathless and very satisfactory ending. This final book is full of adventure, plenty of skulking about, moral dilemmas, and no shortage of action. It will be very hard to let go of Alek, Deryn, the perspicacious loris, and the rest of Westerfeld's magnificent world.

Cover Comments: I love this cover--the yellow/gray background, and I am liking the portrayal of the characters a lot! Very cool!

ARC picked up at BEA!

Goliath comes out on September 20th, 2011!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sample Some Sarah Dessen!

Sarah Dessen books have been around for as long as I've been reading YA, and I've always known that she's really popular among teen readers. However, despite seeing her titles all over my public library, I didn't pick up one of her books until just four years ago, when the release of Lock and Key made me give in and I picked it up when it came out. After that, I was kicking myself for not reading her books sooner! I've been slowly catching up since then.

If you are kinda interested in starting her books, but aren't ready to commit to buying one, or aren't sure what to start with, then check out this neat sampler below! It has excerpts from Just Listen, Lock and Key, Along for the Ride, and her latest, What Happened to Goodbye! They're all so good, it's hard to say which one is my favorite. Check them out, and I hope you'll become a fan!

Sarah Dessen E-sampler

So tell me--what's your favorite Sarah Dessen book?

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was, without a doubt, one of THE most wanted books at BEA this year, and is one of this fall's most anticipated books! I read it before I left for New York last month, and I was stunned at how massive the hype for this book is! I did meet Michelle Hodkin though, and she was extremely nice and enthusiastic! Anyway, here is my review!

Mara Dyer is falling apart. Still reeling from an accident months earlier and the resulting memory loss, She moves with her family from New England to Florida for a change of scenery. But Mara's memory loss, the death of her boyfriend and two best friends, lapses in memory, and strange hallucinations plague her continuously. She's certain she's not crazy, but that something is happening to her, and if she can figure out what happened the night her friends died, everything will be fixed. Frightened of getting close to anyone else, she pushes away the advances of Noah, a boy from school with his own secrets, but the more she pushes, the more Noah sticks around, until it's evident that whatever is happening to Mara isn't going away, and Noah might be able to somehow help her.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a chilling book, and an absolutely fascinating look at one girl's struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder that just might be something more. The mystery behind what really happened the night of Mara's accident and what was so terrible that her memory has erased is fascinating, and Mara's lapses in her short term memory and the strange hallucinations that she has not only mess with Mara's head, but the reader's as well, and will keep them on the edge. The antagonism between Mara and Noah is an interesting development, yet it fits very well with Mara's current state of confusion, hurt, and her tough personality, and the barbs exchanged by the two flawed characters did provide some interesting tension. The novel does tend to be a little formulaic when it comes to some of Mara and Noah's early conversations and interactions at their school, which is stereotypically clique-ish to the extreme, but the driving mystery of what is happening to Mara and the strange occurrences that follow her everywhere make them easy to overlook. Hodkin certainly winds readers up throughput the novel, which is a surprisingly quick read, and then leaves them with many questions in the suspenseful conclusion that demands a sequel right away. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a fitting title to this fascinating and intriguing enigma of a book.

Cover Comments: I think this cover is amazing! It really does fit the book perfectly. I did have to stare at the book sometime before I made out the there was a boy hugging the girl from behind, but once I saw it, I was even more intrigued. This cover is genius, and will sell books based on looks alone.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer will be out on September 27th, 2011.

ARC provided by publisher.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Guest Blog from Janet Fox!

Janet Fox is the author of the historical fiction novels Faithful, and most recently, Forgiven. I fell in love with Faithful because of it's unique (and breathtaking) setting of Yellowstone Park in 1904. (You can read my review here.) Forgiven is the companion novel, and takes place two years later in San Francisco. You can click here to read my review, and read on to hear from Janet about how she constructs the settings of her novels!


I’m a very visual person. When I write, I see pictures playing in my head like a movie. Setting is the one aspect of writing that I don’t struggle with so much – it seems to come out naturally, because my characters are already there, in my head, with the scenery intact around them. (Believe me, I struggle with other aspects of writing, but I’ll save that for another time.) Having said that, I do pick and choose my setting’s details carefully.

When I began to write Faithful, I actually wrote the story for the setting. I know that seems weird, but I love the Greater Yellowstone region and the Park so much that I felt I had to craft a novel in that setting. It took me a while after that to find the right story, one that would fit the place, and the right time period. I wanted to set it in the past, and I chose 1904 because that was the year that the Old Faithful Inn was finished and open for business; it was also a period of dynamic social change. My research consisted of lots of trips into Yellowstone Park. (I know; it was a terrible hardship.) Park history is well known and researched and documented, so my research was easy. I attended lectures in the Park, and visited the Research Center. I traced the route that the old coaches took through the Park, noting what would have been there in 1904 and what was gone, but knowing that the landscape – the most compelling aspect of my setting – was basically unchanged. And easy to describe because it is so marvelous, so wondrous.

When I began Forgiven I knew that I wanted to send Kula out of Yellowstone (for reasons of character), and I chose San Francisco because I’d read about the great earthquake and fires of 1906. I don’t know San Francisco so well as I do Yellowstone, but I have been there. There is a virtual museum of the city with a trove of old photographs, videos, letters, newspaper articles, and other documents, and I spent hours reading and studying those files, and reading other books about the city and the time. There were some things I had to invent, because large portions of the city were destroyed by the earthquake and fires. But I gathered the descriptions of that terrible event of April 1906 from eyewitness accounts and then reinterpreted them from Kula’s point of view.

I think this latter aspect is most important when I construct setting – what does the setting reflect about the character? We each see things in our own way. One person sees graffiti; another sees wall art. Maggie sees Yellowstone first as a threat (dangerous animals, deadly hot springs) but comes to see its beauty over time. Setting is background, yes; but it’s also a window into the soul of my character. I paint the details of my setting to reflect that soul.

Thanks so much, Janet!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Voy a España!

If you've been following me on Twitter at all, you'll know that I am heading to Spain today! I'm going on a Study Abroad trip with my university, and I'll be gone for three weeks. I am super excited, though a little bummed out at all that I may miss with the lovely book world while I am gone. I have scheduled a post for almost every day that I am gone, so the blog will definitely NOT be dormant! Please continue to stop by and keep the conversation flowing, even if I won't be around! I'll be excited to catch up with it all when I get back!


Monday, June 13, 2011

BEA '11: Buzz from Little, Brown

Little, Brown didn't have a a blogger event for YA bloggers like HarperCollins and Simon and Schuster did, but their booth at BEA was definitely a happening place, and I found a TON of fantastic books (some I was lucky enough to get, others I am eagerly anticipating). So, here we go!

One of the books that I absolutely, positively NEEDED to find (if it was there) was Sara Zarr's How to Save a Life. I was so moved by Once Was Lost a few years ago, and about a week before I went to New York I listened to a radio show where Sara was a guest and talked about How to Save a Life. The basic, bare bones premise: a story told by two girls, one a teen trying to convince her mother NOT to adopt a baby in the wake of her father's death, and the other the pregnant teenage mother. It just really grabbed me because my own siblings are all adopted, and the title, How to Save a Life, reminded me of an experience my family had during the adoption process, because my parents really did save my siblings' lives. Now, I don't know how it pertains to the book, but there was enough of a personal connection there to make me want this book desperately...and lucky for me I got the very last copy!

The second book I was desperate for was Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. If you haven't read her book Lips Touch, a National Book Award finalist, then go pick it up NOW! Laini's writing is so quirky and unusual and beautifully written, it reads like poetry! Lips Touch was three novellas, so I am so excited to see what she does with a full YA novel. I can't wait to start this one!

The Rivals is the sequel to the book The Mockingbirds, which was one interesting and important book that used the book To Kill a Mockingbird in an innovative way. I thought that The Mockingbirds wrapped up pretty well at the end, but I won't protest a sequel! It'll be interesting to see where this one goes!

Why We Broke Up was also a big one a lot of people were buzzing about! Written by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket...see, NOW you know who I'm talking about), this one is about a box of things that explain the story of a relationship, and why it ended. I like the concept of using mementos of a relationship to tell a story, so I think that it will be an interesting book.

Another one that I simply adore the looks of, and want very much, is Jennifer E. Smith's third book, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. You can't tell me that isn't a rocking title. And it only gets better: Hadley is four minutes late for her flight to London, where her father is getting married to a woman she's never met. Oliver is on the next flight. They're sitting right next to each other. Oh my word, I want this book so badly.

Bunheads is another novel that looks pretty interesting. It's about a dancer in the Manhattan Ballet Company, and her struggle balancing her demanding career with a romance...and deciding if dancing in the company is something she really wants. I had a friend who was a dancer, so I've seen just about every ballet movie you can imagine, and I think that this would be a fascinating book! I can't wait to read it!

 A.S. King is an amazing writer. She's written The Dust of 100 Dogs, an unusual and gripping book about reincarnation and one girl's life as a pirate, and Please Ignore Vera Dietz (a Printz Honor book), which was one of the best books I read last year (and also made me crave pizza a lot). I am so excited for her next one, Everybody Sees the Ants, about a guy who starts dreaming about his grandfather's experiences in Vietnam. Intriguing, right? A.S. King has a talent for taking the most unusual subjects and making them fascinating! And the little teaser excerpt I read was so good!

What book do you think you are looking forward to the most?