The Compulsive Reader: October 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

FURY Winner!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered the Fury contest and spread the word about it! After tallying up all of your entries and using a random number generator, I have a winner!

Congratulations to....


Watch your email for more info on how to get your prize! And thanks so much to everyone!

Happy Halloween!

I love fall for all of the colors and the sweaters and thick socks and hot tea and good books. I've never been a huge Halloween fan (except for when it comes to the candy--I'm all over that), but you don't have to like horror movies and costumes in order to get into Halloween. Scary books are much more my taste--you get all of the suspense and thrills, but you can take it at your own pace!

So, I recommend getting something hot to drink, dimming the lights (not too much), and grabbing that candy you had planned on handing out to the hyper trick-or-treater's, and curling up with on of these awesome books:

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

I can't think of a more perfect book for Halloween. McMann is such a talented writer and she's got the pacing, the suspense, and mystery down perfectly. This one has some genuinely creepy moments, but it also has romance and an interesting mystery and a heroine with some significant hurdles to overcome. I read it on Halloween last year and I LOVED it!

Frost by Marianna Baer

I read this one not too long ago, and it's perfect if you like subtly spooky reads. It centers around a house at a boarding school that four girls share. It's not dangerous ans scary in the way that you might think, so I recommend this one to readers who don't like scary surprises or anything the tiniest bit violent. Still, Frost will give you shivers!

After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel

This is a quick, quick read you can finish Halloween night well before dark, and is about ancient powers and possession. I liked the romance and the scary forces and the atmosphere of the small Maine town in which the book is set. Jones and Wedel are a GREAT writing team!

The Poison Eaters by Holly Black

If you just want a taste of something a little darkly supernatural and short, then grab this collection of short stories from Holly Black. There wasn't a single one that I disliked, and Black has such a magnificent style that will leave you thinking about her stories for a little while, and just a bit unsettled.

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

This is another excellent choice for those who don't want something scary, but a little dark supernatural. Taylor is a spectacular writer and her stories are so affecting and magnetic. You don't want to miss this book. And if you haven't read Daughter of Smoke and Bone yet, then, uh, GO GET IT NOW!

I also recommend catching up on the TV shows The Vampire Diaries or The Secret Circle for some light, scary, but not-too-scary entertainment! And if you can't have those, then going back to classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a definite must!

I wish you lots of candy and a safe, happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Prized and Caragh M. O'Brien!

Prized is the sequel to Caragh M. O'Brien's first book, Birthmarked! You can read all about Birthmarked here, and look for a review of Prized soon! Caragh was kind enough to stop by and answer a few questions about her books and writing!

TCR: What was the hardest part about writing Prized?

CMO: First, let me say how delighted I am to be here, Tirzah! I’m so happy The Compulsive Reader is part of the blog tour for Prized.

The hardest part about writing Prized was trying to write a first draft while I was still teaching high school English full-time. To keep the thread of my ideas going daily, I would write during my 25-minute lunch breaks, and then stop wherever I was to go back and keep teaching. It resulted in a very unwieldy, unfocused first draft that was monstrously long, 450 pages of dog-rot, and I also messed crumbs into my keyboard, but once the draft was done, I was able to start chopping and hacking it into shape. Gradually the project improved, and after twelve drafts, I’m happy with the way it turned out, but I never want to write a first draft that way again.

TCR: What was the easiest part about writing it?

CMO: The easiest part was deciding to dedicate Prized to my editor, Nancy Mercado.

TCR: What was your reaction to the cover face-lift the series received?

CMO: The cover face-lift was fascinating to me. I know the art team at Roaring Brook went through dozens of covers for the hardcover of Birthmarked, so conceptually the series posed some significant challenges. An obvious one is that Gaia is badly scarred on her face, which makes it tricky to highlight the protagonist on the cover, but there are problems of mood, too, and trying to capture the feel of both the future and the backward, primitive conditions outside the wall. Tim Green of Faceout Studio has done an extraordinary job with the new look for the series. The covers are faithful to the novels and intensely inviting. When I first saw the monocle on the cover of Prized in real life, I was blown away, because it really looks like glass is hovering over the wooden background, like you could touch it. I’ve never seen an effect like it before. We’re working on concepts for the third book’s cover now.

TCR: When you sit down to write, what are your writing essentials?

CMO: I don’t need much. My computer. One of those lap desk things. A pillow under my right elbow because for some reason my right shoulder gets sore. Sometimes I need a blanket if I’m cold, and I like to listen to Grooveshark. That’s about it. If I need to, I can write anywhere in a notebook. Mainly, I just need to write.

TCR: What YA books have you read and loved lately?

CMO: Lately, I’ve really enjoyed Jacqueline Woodson’s Beneath A Meth Moon, which is due out next February, and Lauren DeStefano’s Wither. The first invokes the power of writing to heal, even when dealing with drug addiction and terrible loss, and the second is eerily creepy. They both stay with me.

Thanks so much, Cargh! And for those of you following along with the codes, here's the one for my blog:

Prized Code #7: A

Can't get enough of Prized and Caragh? Be sure to check out the chat that will be happening on Goodreads November 8th, 2011! Click here to view the page. It'll be happening all day long!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Shelf Discovery: Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto

Shelf Discovery is a feature in which I highlight one book that I have found while prowling the shelves of the independent bookstore I work at it. These books aren't necessarily YA books; they're books that have discovered and find interesting or unique. I hope you do too.
Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto was a book I found while perusing Ingram Advance, a catalog put out by our distributor, a little while back. I liked the title a LOT, because it's what happens before happily ever after that's really interesting, and then the cover is just so, so pretty! And of course, when I read what it's about, I was even more intrigued:
"Three years after her husband Max's death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max–same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose–he could be Max's long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well. 
As outrageous as Paolo's claims seem–how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn't he looked her up? – Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down–if it is really Max– and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max's stories of bloody Parisian barricades, medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her "happily ever after." And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to."
Doesn't that sound just so magical and mysterious? I am really intrigued by this one, and I'd love to read it.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Looking Ahead: Sara Wilson Etienne and Harbinger!

Looking Ahead is a feature in which new upcoming books and their authors are featured! Take a minute to read the interview, get to know them, read about their book(s), and find them on the internet!

Today is a special feature of Looking Ahead! I have Sara Etienne here to talk about her new book, Harbinger, and she is also hosting a reveal of harbinger-inspired art! First off, here's our interview!

TCR: Can you describe your book in ten words or less?

SE: No! But I can get close… I actually do Haiku Reviews for books on my website, but I’ve never tried it with my own stories. So here we go…

Faye’s nightmares made real…
Bleached bones, tasers, bloody hands.
Who can she trust now?
…how’s that?

TCR: What has surprised you the most about the publishing process?

SE: How steep the learning curve is. The whole process feels a bit shrouded in mystery, so when you step into the elusive shadows of the publishing world, you can feel a little lost. The trick is to be brave and ask a lot of questions.

But I also have to say that I’m thrilled at how fun some of the stuff has been… getting blurbs from Tamora Pierce and Lisa McMann, ARCs, chocolate from my wonderful editor, Stacey Barney, and, of course, seeing the cover for the first time!

TCR: We love Tamora Pierce and Lisa McMann! That's awesome! What was your reaction when you saw your cover?

SE: *blink, blink*

I just stared at the computer screen… I was stunned! I admit, I fell in love, hard. It’s so unique and it captures the tone and world of Harbinger perfectly. I can’t even express how grateful I am to the designers at Putnam. I want them to have my book-babies.

TCR: Where can we stay up to date on what's going on with you and your book?

SE: You can see what I’m writing and thinking about at www.sarawilsonetienne.com. Or follow me on twitter @wilsonetienne

As for Harbinger, you should visit Faye’s school, www.holbrookacademy.com. There you can see the campus, report a friend for subversive behavior, and, starting today, you can unlock Harbinger-inspired artwork done by amazing illustrators in the Holbrook “Student Sketchbook.”

Follow the Path! Every Thursday the username and password for a new illustration will be revealed on a different YA book blog. That day, the location of that blog will be announced on www.facebook.com/holbrookacademy and on twitter: @HolbrookAcademy.

This week, you’ve come to the right place!

TCR: Indeed! Thank you so much, Sara!

And...here's today's password for the reveal!

All about Harbinger:
"When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast.

But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she's come home. She's even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.

Faye knows she's the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can't trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her - and the rest of the world too.

Rich, compelling writing will keep the pages turning in this riveting and tautly told psychological thriller."
Sound good? Unfortunately, it doesn't release until February 2nd, but you can win an ARC right here! All you have to do to enter is full out this form!

 What do you think? Is this one you're excited for?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis

A year ago, Luna's mother was hit and killed by a taxi, and she's been grappling with the loss ever since. One day she visits her mother's studio and discovers her mother's phone, still plugged into its charger. On it, she finds seven unheard messages. Luna starts listening to them, and in doing so, discovers things she never knew about her mother and her parents' relationship. And throughout her investigation for the truth about the events the night her mother died and closure, Luna grows up and begins testing her own boundaries.

Stewart Lewis has written an engaging coming of age novel with a great concept. Luna's discovery of the phone is like recovering a lost piece of her mother that she never got to know, and everything she learns forces her to grow up quickly. Her voice sounds as if it should belong to someone older than fifteen years old despite her immaturity at the beginning of the novel. As the plot meanders along, she is introduced to her parents' world of fame, secrets, and the issues that come up with them. Luna is a refreshingly grounded narrator for the daughter of a famous director and model, though the book does get a little self indulgent when certain celebrities begin popping up throughout the book. Luna's romance with Oliver, the boy next door under extreme pressure from his own parents, is sweet and real for a first love portrayal, though Oliver's excuses for their relationship issues come across as a bit flimsy. However, readers will respond positively to the happy ending for the young couple. You Have Seven Messages is a good, quiet novel about one girl's pursuit for truth in life, love, and second chances, and a nice first book for Lewis. Keep an eye on this author.

Cover Comments: I adore this cover! The light and the big, huge open windows are gorgeous. I also love the way she is looking out--it fits the tone of the book very well.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Laotong Nights

I know that I usually keep this blog strictly YA, but one "adult" book I've really enjoyed is Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. It was made into a movie, which comes out soon, and to celebrate the release and the amazing friendship of the characters, here are some tips on how to keep in touch with your long distance friends--something that is helpful as we all get older and move further away.

Growing up in 19th century China, Lily (Bingbing Li) and Snow Flower (Gianna Jun) are brought together in a Laotong friendship—a lifelong bond between two women who rely on each other for companionship and comfort. Amid the civil unrest and gender discrimination of the era, the pair deals with life’s hardships together until they are separated by marriage and childbirth. As sworn sisters, however, the women continue to communicate through the secret Chinese language of nushu, hiding their stories and messages within the folds of delicate silk fans.

Lily and Snow Flower had an intense friendship that lasted a lifetime. Nushu helped them communicate and remain close, even in distance. Everyone has that old friend they have known for a long time, yet find it hard to keep in touch. Both get busy with their separate lives and don't take the time to catch up with one another. In honor of SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN coming to Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 1, we've created a guide for keeping in touch with your besties, through whatever life may put between you. Here we share tips such as writing letters, Skyping and sending each other gifts in the mail.

Write Letters

There’s nothing like a handwritten letter to let someone know that you care and are thinking about them. Make a point of writing to your long-distance friend at least once a month, and giving them updates on what’s going on in your life, and asking what’s new in their life. If you’re so inclined, you can include photos or other small tokens of your friendship with your letters. This simple, heartfelt update will go a long way in making your friendship last.

Take a Trip Together
If it’s within both of your budgets, you and your bestie should take a trip together! Meet up in different places each year – places that are either meaningful to you both, or places that you two have always wanted to visit together. Have a weekend in Las Vegas, a week at the theme parks in Orlando, a glamorous trip to Hollywood, or a long, restful weekend in New England. Making new memories (or reliving old ones) will help keep your friendship vibrant.


One of the greatest inventions for modern day friendships is Skype. Making a weekly or biweekly “Skype date” can give you a chance to both talk to and see your long-distance friend on a regular basis. Best of all, Skype is free to use, even if you’re video-chatting someone internationally! Skype is great because, in addition to getting to hear your friend’s voice, you can also actually show them what’s new with you, or do something new together!

Start an Online Photo Album

There are so many different ways to share photos online these days, and you and your friend should take advantage of that! You can make a private album that only the two of you can access (you can do this on Facebook, PhotoBucket, etc.), and then you can both upload and comment on each other’s photos and keep up with what’s going on in each other’s lives.

Send Each Other Gifts

If you’re ever out shopping and see a little something that reminds you of your friend, or something you think your friend would love, why not send it to them? With USPS’ Flat Rate Boxes, you can send as much as you want to your long-distance friend for a small fee. Why not make a care package, filled with things you know they like (like homemade treats, or products specific to your area that they can’t get where they live)? If you exchange small gifts every few months, it will remind your friend that you’re thinking about them, and help you two stay friends forever.

What are some of the ways that you keep in touch with your long distance friends?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

Lucky Linderman has been bullied by Nader ever since he was seven years old. He deals with it by talking with his grandfather, a missing POW from the Vietnam War, in his dreams. The bullying comes to a head freshman year when Lucky's social studies project is misunderstood and gets him and Nader into a bit of trouble. Now it's summer, and Nader is out to get Lucky. His latest attack upsets Lucky's mother so much that she whisks him away to Arizona to visit his aunt and uncle, a trip that will change them both.

A.S. King has once again created a book that is a little weird and very readable. Lucky is a smart character and engaging narrator, and his frustration over the bullying and his parents' inability to do anything about it really takes a toll on him. He cares about the POW/MIA cause his grandmother was so passionate about and his father carries as a burden. He struggles to carry on the memory of his grandfather in his daily life, outside of the dream conversations they share and Lucky's many attempts at rescuing him.

Lucky learns a lot about his family during the unexpected trip to Arizona. At first it is just a struggle to get along with Aunt Jody, who is convinced that Lucky needs professional help, despite her blatantly obvious imbalances and issues. Throughout the ups and downs of living with his extended family and some late-night excursions with their gorgeous, mysterious neighbor, Lucky begins to see that no one is perfect, and everyone has their own shortcomings. He starts to understand how his grandfather's loss has affected his father, which in turn affects him every day of his own life. He realizes that in order to stop the bullying, he can't expect anyone to step in and intervene, but he must stand up for himself, and learns to find the courage to do so. His journey to this epiphany is painful, sometimes funny, unexpected, and complicated. King has written an excellent, important book about loss, bullies, the importance of standing up for yourself, and the complexity of relationships with a lot of heart and a touch of magical realism. Everybody should read this book.

Cover Comments: I like this cover a LOT. Very retro, yet it stands out. The lines like the target give it some depth that's pretty neat.

ARC provided by publisher.

A.S. King is also the author of Please Ignore Vera Dietz, one of my favorite books of 2010! Check it out!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shelf Discovery: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Shelf Discovery is a feature in which I highlight one book that I have found while prowling the shelves of the independent bookstore I work at it. These books aren't necessarily YA books; they're books that have discovered and find interesting or unique. I hope you do too.

I have seen snatches of this one all over the internet ever since I went to BEA in May, and a couple of weeks ago, we finally got The Night Circus in at the bookstore!

I read the first two chapters and was hooked instantly.

Here is a description:
"The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart."
If that summary made you shiver in anticipation, know that the actual novel is ten times better and so, so engrossing. We have it on display front in center, and I keep stealing moments to read a few more pages. I can't wait to begin reading in earnest!

Plus, that cover is petty awesome, you have to admit!

What do you think?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cover Talk: Keep Holding On

I have been such a Susane Colasanti fangirl since I started this blog about five years ago, and I am so, so excited to share the news that the cover for her sixth book, Keep Holding On, has been revealed! And...I think this is one of my favorite covers (besides Waiting for You)!

The lockers, the way the girl is looking down, those awesome purple shoes...I just love it! Absolutely. Love. It.

I still haven't found a synopsis for this book (which is way frustrating, especially since that cover is making me go crazy with excitement) but what I have read is that it has to do with bullying, which is an important topic, and I'm excited to see how Colasanti handles it here!

What do you think of the cover? What's your favorite Susane Colasanti book (cover)?

Shatter Day!

I read this book last week and it blew me away--SO awesome! Please check it out today!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen

In the summer of 1929, Cordelia Grey is still suffering from grief over the loss of her recently re-discovered father, and the guilt on her inadvertent role in his death. She's eager to prove that she has what it takes to be a Grey to her brother Charlie. Letty Larkspur is reunited with her best friend, but dreams of the stage still entertain her thoughts, and she's not sure her long-time friend really values her anymore now that she has found her family. And there is nothing Astrid Donal would like more than to become Mrs. Grey, even if that doesn't seem to be what Charlie wants. Is she really ready to settle down and become mistress of Dogwood? Will each girl have the strength and courage to pull through and get what they really want as the Greys and Hales are preparing for war?

Like the prequel, Bright Young Things, and the books from her previous Luxe series, Godbersen has crafted yet another fast-paced book with alternating narratives, strong, interesting characters, and the most intriguing drama. Cordelia is so bent on proving herself and seeming like a strong, capable woman in front of her new love interest, Max Darby, that she pushes Letty away. Letty is feeling naive and out of place, but rejection only makes her more determined to succeed—no matter what the cost, at the risk of losing her friends. And Astrid has always appeared to be carefree and self-assured, but her relationship issues with Charlie confuse her, and in reality, she isn't really sure what she wants. All of these issues, nestled between the politics of the bootlegging business and the conflict between Cordelia's family and the family that killed her father, make for an intriguing, dangerous read. At time the girls' consciences do prickle a little, but they are easy to ignore in favor of the tantalizing pull of romance and glamour—something that will surely come back to haunt them later on. Beautiful Days is an entertaining, glittering read in which the stakes are raised, and the ending leaves you hanging with the certainty that something big is bound to happen in the third book, Lucky Ones.

Cover Comments: I love all of the pretty dresses on the covers of Anna Godbersen's books! While I don't think this one is as magnificent as some of her previous covers, I like the detail! So pretty!

Review copy purchased.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Looking Ahead: Eve Marie Mont and A Breath of Eyre!

Looking Ahead is a feature in which new upcoming books and their authors are featured! Take a minute to read the interview, get to know them, read about their book(s), and find them on the internet!

It's no secret that I am a Jane Eyre fangirl, so when I saw A Breath of Eyre, I jumped up and down a bit in excitement! Here's the author, Eve Marie Mont:

TCR: Can you describe your book in ten words or less?

EMM: Gothic settings. Stormy weather. Brooding lovers. Dangerous secrets. One destiny.

TCR: What was your reaction when you first saw your cover?

EMM: The first thing that struck me was the model’s eyes—deep brown, direct, and so arresting—like Jane Eyre’s gaze. Add the sumptuous Victorian dress in that lovely violet color, and I was enchanted.

TCR: What has surprised you the most about the publishing process?

EMM: I know others have said the exact opposite, but I think the most surprising aspect for me has been the amount of time everything takes in publishing. Most people have no idea that the debut novel sitting on the shelf at Barnes and Noble most likely had a trajectory that looks a little something like this:

5 years ago: a glimmer in the author’s eye
4 years ago: a messy first draft that needed frequent naps and diaper changes
3 years ago: a hopeful toddler taking its first steps in the world
2 years ago: a crying toddler who’d taken one too many tumbles and rejections
1 year ago: a gleeful child who just got accepted into pre-school but has to agree to a total makeover
Today: a terrified preschooler hoping he doesn’t get beaten up on the playground

TCR: Where can we stay up to date on you and your books?

EMM: My website has the playlist & trailer for A BREATH OF EYRE, a quiz to discover your literary soul mate, and book-related events and news: http://evemariemont.com/. I blog (http://evemariemont.blogspot.com/) and tweet (@evemariemont) when I can, and I love to give away books and swag when possible. I also blog occasionally over at The Nightstand, a group blog for paranormal debut authors. (http://thenightstanddebuts.blogspot.com/) I hope to see you soon!

Thanks so much, Eve! 

For the official summary of A Breath of Eyre, out April 1st, 2012, read below!
"Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre…

Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own…"
Check out this trailer as well!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Support Shine

You've probably seen this all over Twitter and the news, but Lauren Myracle was asked to withdraw from consideration for the National Book Award with her novel Shine because of a mistake on the part of the National Book Foundation.

Don't worry, you read that right.

When I heard, I was incredulous. Surely I was missing some piece of the story, because I couldn't believe that a respected organization would be so tactless. But, it's true.

Here's the Reader's Digest version: Shine and four other novels were announced as finalists, then two hours later, Chime by Franny Billingsly was announced as a sixth finalist. There have never been six finalists before. Then, it later came out that Shine was a mistake, and Chime was supposed to have been the fifth book.

(This is something to do with telephone-only communications on the part of the people picking the finalists and mishearing Chime for Shine. Whatever. I don't know hardly anything about how the NBF operates, but I pictured something a bit more upscale than a bunch of paranoid people whispering titles into the phone and not even bothering to confirm ISBN numbers, or even AUTHORS. Come on. The Cybils could teach ya'll a thing or two.)

So, now there is this really awkward situation. I can't even imagine how Lauren Myracle must have felt. But, whatever, mistakes happen and awkwardness is a part of life and we just DEAL with it.

You don't go making it even worse by demanding that innocent victims of your mistake fix it for you. Which is just what NBF oh so graciously decided to do when they asked Lauren to pull out to preserve the integrity of the award. Which, in my opinion, preserved nothing. It diminished integrity. But, Lauren Myracle is one classy lady, and she agreed...but not before she asked the NBF to make a hefty donation to a foundation that supports the causes she talks about in her books. I knew I liked her for more besides her writing!

What. A. Disaster.

My opinion on this is that everyone makes mistakes...the NBF made a big one. What they should have done was owned up to it immediately, apologized profusely, and then carried on, dealing with the ramifications. By asking an innocent author to fix it, and in such a tactless manner, disgusts me, and has hurt them more than just keeping Shine on as a finalist would have. I have a lot of respect for Lauren Myracle right now, and not a lot for the NBF.

What do you think about the situation? If you want to read a less sarcastic article about the issue, check out the NY Times coverage here. And if you want more snark and outrage and awesomeness, read Libba Bray's blog post about the debacle.

Beautiful Chaos Swag Giveaway!

I am a big, big fan of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's Beautiful Creatures series! Every book is just brimming with magical lore, dark forces, and shadowy secrets and surprises. It's a fantastic, atmospheric series, and I am pumped for the third book, Beautiful Chaos, which comes out today!

You can click here to read my review of Beautiful Creatures, here to read my review of Beautiful Darkness, and read on to see what Beautiful Chaos is all about!
"Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?  
For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.  
Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending."
So, for this contest, you'll get a bunch of Beautiful Creatures swag to go with the book--including a Gatlin Public Library SIGNED bookplate, BC and BD pins, a bracelet, and a keychain! (Plus, as always, some other fun swag I have lying around!) You definitely want this prize!

All you need to do to enter is fill out the form below!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Steal Alert!

I know that I blog a lot about Kindle deals, but I thought I'd take a moment and share some awesome print book deals! Check them out!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Revenge is Sweet: FURY Giveaway!

Have you ever been so angry or so hurt, that all you can picture in your head are various acts of revenge?

It's okay to say yes. I think we all have revenge fantasies at times--we just don't always act on those impulses. Sometimes just imagining revenge can make you feel better--and that's where Elizabeth Miles' debut novel, Fury, comes in!

Fury is the story of two teens in Ascension, Maine who have made a few not-so-smart choices with huge consequences. When they begin seeing three beautiful girls--the Furies--they have no idea what sort of retribution is in store for them. I thought this was an excellent book, and you can read my review here.

Thanks to the generosity and awesome-ness of Paper Lantern Lit, I'm going to be giving away a pretty cool prize: a signed copy of Fury, a "Revenge is Sweet" tee (see the pic--isn't it great?), and you'll be a part of an exclusive chat session with Elizabeth Miles herself! Awesome, right?

So, here's what you can do to win this prize: Comment on this post! It's as simple as that! But, you can also get extra entries by doing a few other things, including...
  • Tweeting this contest with a link to this post and twitter handle (@compelledtoread)
  • Posting about this contest on Facebook, tumblr, or your own blog with a link to this post
  • Posting your own revenge story (true or not, and it can be anonymous)
  • Posting what question you'd ask Elizabeth Miles if you won a place in the chat session
  • Referring a friend! For every person you refer (make sure they let me know in the comments!) you get another entry!
Comment below and tell me what extra things you've done (either as separate comments, or one big one, it doesn't matter! I will count them all!) and you'll receive one extra entry for everything you do...you can get five entries easily, maybe even more!

This contest will run all the way until October 30th, and then the winner will be announced on Halloween! So fitting! Fury is a little creepy and is a perfect read if you prefer romance and suspense over slashing and gore!

Let the fun begin!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer

From the author that wrote the Life as We Knew It trilogy, here is another striking book that will be hard to put down:

Willa knows that her family may not be perfect, but she considers herself pretty happy living in a modest home with her mother, stepfather, and two stepsisters. They all love each other and have a pretty good relationship—Willa never thinks about the abusive father she and her mother left when she was toddler. But he comes back into her life in a violent way when the police show up at her doorstep one day with the tragic and terrifying news that he has killed his new wife and young children...and is on his way from across the country with the intent to make Willa and her mother his next victims.

Blood Wounds is an intense, tension-filled novel that is as much of a suspenseful thriller as it is a family drama. At the very beginning of the novel, Willa's family is portrayed as a happy, busy, slightly stressed normal mixed family, with a few underlying tensions that manifest themselves in Willa's secret habit of cutting. The family's issues are put on the back burner as Willa's father is pursued and eventually stopped, but once he is, the family's drama explodes as the circumstances expose all of the lies, half-hidden truths, pent-up resentment, and hurt that every member has been harboring for years. Willa learns the extent to which her stepsisters' mother controls her life, and is finally open about the financial inequality between her and her stepsisters and how it upsets and affects her. Willa does stand strong in demanding to attend her half-siblings' funeral, despite her mother's objections, and she learns a lot about her parents' pasts and what might have led to the unspeakable tragedy that befell her family.

Through everything that happens to her, Willa remains strong, and in the face of near poverty, manages to do what she believes is right for everyone involved, The result isn't a rosy, serendipitous solution, and her family isn't completely content, but they are much more honest with each other and on their way to establishing an even stronger relationship. Pfeffer has created a complicated and thought-provoking novel where the bad guy isn't perhaps the most obvious character and the result is a story that will stick with you for a long time.

Cover Comments: This cover is just so chilling! The look on the girl's face is frightening, and the title written in the color of blood is very striking.

Digital copy purchased.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cover Talk: Reunited

A few weeks ago, I interviewed Hillary Weisman Graham, author of Reunited, a YA novel that comes out in June. You can read the interview here. The basic premise of the novel can be explained pretty succinctly: "1 concert, 2,000 miles, 3 ex-best friends" And, I think the cover got that!

First off, I love the bright yellow! It's so eye-catching and happy! Second, the big map the girls are hiding behind? Genius! It's so cool and says a lot about the book. This is just such a fun and eye-catching cover!

Here's the official summary:
"Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends. 
Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3. 
But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books. 
Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show.
Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. Good thing Alice’s graduation gift (a pea-green 1976 VW camper van know as the Pea Pod) is just the vehicle to get them there. 
But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over?"
What do you think of the cover, and the book? It's going to be hard waiting for this one...it doesn't come out until June 2012!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Looking Ahead: Ann Redisch Stampler and Where It Began

Looking Ahead is a feature in which new upcoming books and their authors are featured! Take a minute to read the interview, get to know them, read about their book(s), and find them on the internet!

 Up today is Ann Redisch Stampler and her YA debut, Where It Began!

TCR: Can you describe your book in ten words or less?

ARS: Gabby can’t remember totaling Billy’s car, but everything has changed. Why?

TCR: What has surprised you the most about the publishing process?

ARS: What was surprising and wonderful was that the process in publishing “Where It Began” was so completely collaborative and friendly. My editor and I talked on the phone and I made notes on her concerns and suggestions and this enabled me to do a serious rewrite that made the book more intensely what it was trying to be. I didn’t feel oppressed; I felt happy. (I am a compulsive, OCD-ish, stays up all night in a rewriting frenzy kind of rewriter – doing a good revision in general makes me happy.) And then we exchanged the manuscript several more times and bounced ideas off each other. It has been a remarkably angst-free process, and I love the final result.

TCR: What was your reaction when you first saw your cover?

ARS: I thought, and still think, that the cover is gorgeous. It isn’t what I was expecting – in my mind’s eye there was a car wrapped around a eucalyptus tree, billowing smoke, and the night sky. Or there were Gabby and Billy, lying on the hood of his car, parked in a turnout on Mulholland Drive and looking down at Los Angeles. Or lying on his bed throwing darts at…never mind, no spoilers from me!

And then I saw the cover, this cover, and it was perfect. Now, when I think about Gabby (which happens all the time; she keeps popping up and wanting to talk with Emma, the narrator of the next book) she has taken on the face of the girl on the cover. That’s her.

TCR: Where can we stay up to date on you and your book?

ARS: I have a new blog, “Novel in the Oven,” at www.annstampler.blogspot.com, and a website at www.annredischstampler.com (although “redisch” is such a pain to spell, that www.annstampler.com will get you there, too). And “Where It Began” also has a facebook fanpage at www.facebook.com/WhereItBegan , although right now it’s contents consist entirely of posts from friends going yay, a novel, congratulations! And there’s more: Simon Pulse has a very nice place to find out more about the book and about me at http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Ann-Redisch-Stampler/79138691/author_revealed.

Thanks so much, Ann!

To read the official summary of Where It Began, see below!
"Gabby Gardiner wakes up in a hospital bed looking like a cautionary ad for drunk driving—and without a single memory of the accident that landed her there. But what she can recall, in frank and sardonic detail, is the year leading up to the crash. 
As Gabby describes her transformation from Invisible Girl to Trendy Girl Who Dates Billy Nash (aka Most Desirable Boy Ever), she is left wondering: Why is Billy suddenly distancing himself from her? What do her classmates know that Gabby does not? Who exactly was in the car that night? And why has Gabby been left to take the fall? 
As she peels back the layers of her life, Gabby begins to realize that her climb up the status ladder has been as intoxicating as it has been morally complex...and that nothing about her life is what she has imagined it to be."
This one will be out March 6th, 2012! What do you all think about it--does it sound like something you'll pick up?

Well, if so, then I have one ARC to give away, courtesy of the author and S&S! All you have to do to enter to win is comment below and let me know what you think. Sorry, but this contest is open to U.S. residents only, please!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Daniel Nayeri's New Book

I often post book trailers, but the amount of trailers I pass along to you guys has declined a bit, mainly because I am a little disappointed in the quality of some, and bored with content of others. Daniel Nayeri, who co-wrote Another Faust and Another Pan with his sister, has a new book out this month, and to promote it, instead of coming up with a book trailer, he came up with four book commercials that I can't get enough.

His book is comprised of four short stories (entirely written on his iPhone), and it is called Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow. Very interesting, right? Well, the short stories are all very different genres, which I think you can definitely get a feel for by watching the commercials:

Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow - Our Lady of Villains Commercial from Candlewick Press on Vimeo.

Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow - Wish Police Commercial from Candlewick Press on Vimeo.

Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow - Doom With a View Commercial from Candlewick Press on Vimeo.

Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow - Toy Farm Commercial from Candlewick Press on Vimeo.

Awesome, right? I think the Wish Police video is my favorite.

Well, if you want a chance to preview this one before it comes out, "Straw House", the first short story, is available as a free download! You can get a feel for Daniel's writing and learn more about the stories. The book releases on October 25th, so mark it on your calendar. I am excited for the release!

And, to celebrate, Daniel has kindly offered to give away this neat mailer he had made to promote the books. He had one at BBC where I first met him in May, and trust me, it's really cool! You definitely want to win this. So, fill out the form below and let me know which trailer you liked the best, and you'll be entered to win!

Monday, October 10, 2011

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

When Jill MacSweeny's mother decides to adopt a baby less than a year after her father's death, Jill is completely against the idea, and against Mandy Kalinowski, the teenager whose baby she wants to adopt. But for Mandy, Mrs. MacSweeny is everything she could want for her baby. Just before delivery, Mandy comes to Denver to meet Jill and her mother, and in the weeks leading up to the birth, both girls must work past their differences and past hurts to somehow accept each other, and the unborn baby, despite an uncertain future.

How to Save a Life is a heartbreaking, complicated novel about choices, grief, and redemption. The story is told in alternating viewpoints, allowing the reader to really delve into the minds of the new two narrators. Zarr does an excellent job at portraying these two girls—Jill and Mandy are very different on the surface, from looks to personalities, but both grapple with family and relationship issues. Jill has always had a happy family, but as a result of the grief she is experiencing, she's closed off and hurt, trying to make sense of life with a new fear she carries with her at all times. Mandy's home life has never been good, but she knows the kind of life that she wants for her baby, and the type that she wants for herself, but she struggles with making the right choices for herself and her unborn child. The confusion that both girls feel oftentimes propels them into doing things that they regret.

Another great thing about this book is the many excellent supporting characters. To name a few memorable ones, there’s Jill's mom, who has her own issues and stress, but a very large heart and courage to face the future. There is Jill's boyfriend, who is fascinated by Mandy and her situation, and willing to help her, and Jill's "co-worker" Ravi, who is cute and funny and the first person to get through to Jill since her father's death. This book is all about relationships—severing the old, poisonous ones, opening yourself up, and forging new ones. There's plenty of drama in this novel, and the rich, realistic characters will take up residence in your thoughts long after the final, hopeful page. How to Save a Life is a heartfelt novel about family, grief and healing, losing and gaining.

Cover Comments: I love the snow, the benches, and the blonde girl sitting on one--just like Mandy in the book. The font of the title is also pretty cool. An awesome cover!

This one will be available October 18th, 2011!

ARC picked up at BEA!

Win this book all this month! Click here for more info!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Interview with A.S. King!

A.S. King is the author of a couple seriously amazing books. Her first one, The Dust of 100 Dogs, was published a couple of years ago, and is about a pirate who is cursed to live 100 lives as a dog before she is reincarnated into a human body. Please Ignore Vera Dietz was published this past fall, and it about a girl whose best friend dies, and the secret she carries about him. They're both a little weird, and so is her latest, Everybody Sees the Ants...but that's just the awesome part about A.S. King's writing--it may be a little weird, but deliciously so, and her books are so hard to put down.

She was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about Everybody Sees the Ants (expect a review from me sometime this week), her writing process, and of course, her next book!

ASK: Hi Compulsive Reader! Thank you so much for being part of the EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS blog tour. In order to spice things up a little I have decided to do this Q & A in a compulsive way. Which wouldn’t be new. I tend to like things to be all tied up and tidy before I go to bed. I’m compulsive about writing lists and crossing tasks off of them. My goal: write and revise this interview in fifteen minutes or less and send it without obsessing over it needing a final revision later. (You have no idea how I obsess over things like this.)

TCR: What inspired Everybody Sees the Ants?

ASK: A lot of things inspired this novel. I was looking at early notes last night and the first character sketch, and I think the biggest influence was Lucky’s missing grandfather. The minute Lucky started to talk, that’s what he talked about—his grandfather and how his disappearance affected his father (and eventually affects him, too.) This then immediately tied into Lucky’s situation at school—being bullied for years and yet, getting in trouble the minute he asks a stupid question. There was a lot of inspirational injustice here.

Also, the pool setting was a big inspiration. I help run my local non-profit community pool, so that setting is based on our pool where I live. And in a way, that same pool inspired the ants, but I’ll get to that question later!

TCR: If you could visit with any of your ancestors in your dreams, who would you want to see?

ASK: Oh wow. What a question! I’d love to visit my grandmother, who died when I was 10. She’s a constant inspiration to me even though I didn’t know her as an adult. Also her mother-in-law whom I never met. She’s legend in my family and I would have loved to know her.

TCR: What was your reaction when you first saw the cover?

ASK: I saw variations of the cover for EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS for a month or two before I saw the final. So, think of a file with several different ideas and about 15-20 different covers. This one? Popped right out at me. And then, as they worked on it (the title block, the rings, etc) it just got better and better. I love it. Cover designer Saho Fujji is a genius.

TCR: Can you tell us anything about your next book?

ASK: ASK THE PASSENGERS, due fall 2012 from Little, Brown is about Astrid Jones and her odd family who have moved to a small town in Pennsylvania from New York City. To deal with her new surroundings and her mother’s lack of affection and the town’s dumb gossip, Astrid has a habit of sending her love to the passengers in the airplanes she watches flying overhead. It’s also about Socrates, love and sisterhood. There are no insects.

TCR: Why did you choose the Vietnam War to be the setting for Lucky's dreams?

ASK: This is going to sound corny, but really, my books choose me. I’m a non-outlining writer so I often find myself at the mercy of whatever is coming out of my fingers. I know that sounds totally cosmic, but I’m a cosmic person, so *shrug* it’s the truth. So, I sat down to write this kid who was in my head and before we ever left the first page, he was talking about his grandfather and the POW/MIA situation from the Vietnam War. I’m guessing this probably came from twenty years of my reading about the Vietnam War. I was born in 1970. I remember watching the evacuation of Saigon on TV because my mom was all about us watching historical moments like that. I think this book was probably building since then. I also think the parallel between bullying and torture and war offers a lot of emotional overlap.

TCR: For some who haven't read the book, the significance of the ants may be confusing, but why ants?

ASK: This goes back to the pool setting I was talking about up there. Anyone who goes to a pool that has a snack bar knows that ants are just a part of the picture. You may not see them day to day, but drop a French fry? And BAM! The ants are there. In the book, seeing the ants is a way for Lucky Linderman to face himself after being bullied so much that he feels like he’s going a little crazy. In a way, when he gets beat up one day at the pool he kinda drops his psychological French fry…and BAM…the ants come and do their job. The ants say what Lucky wants to say and often do what he wants himself to do. Readers unfamiliar with my writing may find this odd, but trust me…in the last book there was a talking pagoda. So really, ants are almost saner.

Thank you again for having me! Here’s my compulsion report: Objective FAIL. This took me 14 revisions and about 52 minutes. Oh well. I’m still going to send it off without obsessing! Woot! Thanks for letting me be compulsive with you!

TCR: THANK YOU! It was awesome!

Pick up a copy of Everybody Sees the Ants today! You must, must, must read this incredible book!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Boyfriend Thief by Shana Norris

Ever since I read and reviewed Helper12 by Jack Blaine, I've been working on being a bit more open to self-published books. This one caught my eye one day, and I am glad I downloaded it to my Kindle!
Avery may only be a high school junior, but she's got her heart set on becoming a doctor one day, and she is determined to go to Costa Rica during the upcoming summer to work alongside doctors helping patients in need. That is, if she can come up with the money in time. Working at Hot Diggity Dog won't quite cut it, but Avery is desperate to go. So when her ex-best friend Hannah unexpectedly offers Avery $500 to steal her boyfriend Zac, Avery is reluctant, but she accepts. Zac is unlike anyone Avery knows--he's impulsive, energetic, and hilarious. He hardly ever sleeps. It's going to be quite a feat to steal him from Hannah, much less keep up with him, yet as she spends more and more time with him, Avery finds herself actually enjoying his company...and maybe falling for him.

If you're in the mood for a lighthearted, amusing, happy romance with just enough seriousness to keep it realistic, The Boyfriend Thief is a great read. Avery is a strong, determined, and hard-working heroine. She's very protective of the people she loves and loyal, but she has a hard time with change. Zac, for the most part, is a really funny, sweet male lead whose crazy antics and funny quips will charm readers. Avery's best friend Molly, her ex-friends, her family, and her employer all provide some good background drama to the story, and are generally pretty interesting characters. The essential structure of this novel is good, but there are a few occasions when the characters say something that sounds awkward or unbelievable, and it would have been awesome if there were more details and dialogue in certain areas. At its heart, The Boyfriend Thief is about a girl who has never gotten over her mother abandoning her family, and who is just trying to deal with her inner insecurities, a tough but affecting issue. Despite this somber issue, this novel is, for the most part, a very funny and sweet pick-me-up book, and worth the $2.99 if this is the sort of book you're in the mood for.

Cover Comments: I think this cover is cute! I like the feet and how they are positioned. Very nicely done!

E-book purchased on Kindle! Get your copy of The Boyfriend Thief here!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cover Talk: Revolution Cover Change Up

So, last year I read this book that almost made my heart stop, it was so good. It was Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. I find it extremely hard to articulate what I feel for this book, so generally I just urge people to pick it up and give it a try. You can read my review here.

I really like the cover of the hardcover because it gives you a feel for the two time periods the book represents, it's pretty, and I like the red ribbon with the key on it. It's striking, it's unusual, and it fits the book very well.

I was a bit disappointed to see that the paperback edition got a new cover. I think the original is splendid, and I just don't see how this new one is as unique...it has some drama to it, that's for sure, but not quite the same flare as the hardcover cover. Here it is...what do you think?

In fact...it reminds me a lot of these:

A new trend, perhaps?

I do, however, like it better than the UK cover. It is pretty, and that key is amazing, but it's a little plain. 

What do you think? Which cover(s) do you like the best?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Looking Ahead: Kiera Cass and The Selection!

Looking Ahead is a feature in which new upcoming books and their authors are featured! Take a minute to read the interview, get to know them, read about their book(s), and find them on the internet!

Up today is Kiera Cass, who I met at Book Blogger Con in May, with  the first book in her new trilogy, The Selection!

Can you describe your book in ten words or less?

Wannabe princesses in awesome clothes looking at hot guys. Lazers. (Okay, the lazers thing is a stretch, but I had an extra word.)

What has surprised you the most about the publication process?

I've been surprised by just how many people it takes to put a book together! I feel like every other week I have a new person to send a thank you card to for their hard work in making The Selection happen. But it's really great to feel like you have a support team the whole way. Everyone wants to do their best, and the result is (hopefully) an awesome book in readers' hands.

Where can readers stay up today with you and your book?

Well, kieracass.com is a great start. As new things pop up, I post them on the front page, and I blog weekly about junk going on and books I'm reading. And I'm on twitter all the time (kieracass). Also, YouTube (kieracass). Stalk me any of those places anytime you like.

Thanks so much, Kiera! This one will be out in 2012, so keep your eyes open for any mention of it. Here's what I've found being said online about it so far, and I think it sounds awesome!
"Kiera Cass's trilogy beginning with THE SELECTION, a dystopian romance pitched as "The Hunger Games" meets "The Bachelor," following 17-year-old America Singer, one of the eligible young women selected to compete to become the next queen, who finds herself falling in love despite only wanting to break her family out of the lower castes and leaving her boyfriend at home."
Excitement! I can't wait! What do you think?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Liesl & Po Book Trailer

Lauren Oliver, author of Before I Fall and Delirium, is coming out with her third book today, a middle grade novel called Liesl & Po. I have a copy on my shelf that I am looking forward to read, but in the meantime, check out the trailer for this one, featuring beautiful artwork and an original song!

What do you think?

Dark Days With Anna Carey: Week Four

Today is the release day of Eve, Anna Carey's debut book! Yay! Sadly, it is also the last week of features from Anna about this awesome read. It's been a very fun month, and I hope you all have enjoyed hearing about Eve and Dark Days. If you aren't familiar with Dark Days, check out the website to see what they're all about and what books are being featured this fall, and click here to see if the authors are coming to a bookstore near you!

Today is all about Eve! You can read my review of it here, read back on the features with Anna (the exclusive interview, week two's character profiles, and week three's character profiles), and read on to hear about the awesome settings in Eve and how Anna was inspired to incorporate them into her book! In Anna's words...

"Eve, in a lot of ways, is a tribute to the west coast and all the natural beauty I’m continually discovering here. In terms of specific locations, I spent the summer after my first year of graduate school in San Francisco and have always thought of it as this sleepy, peaceful place. When creating the world for Eve (which involved reimagining our world, overtaken by nature in the aftermath of a plague) I loved taking iconic structures or buildings from the America we know and showing them in a different way. To Eve the Golden Gate bridge isn’t the Golden Gate bridge—it’s not an attraction so much as a horror, the site of a riot and fire staged by sick people trying to flee a ruined city. 
I’ve never actually been to Sedona or Lake Tahoe, but the locations felt right for what they are in the book. I wanted the dugout to be in a scenic, secluded place near fresh water. Sedona exists in my mind as this mystical city surrounded by towering red rocks. Choosing it as a stop on the Trail came more from character than anything else—it felt like the kind of place Marjorie and Otis would raise a family."
A huge THANK YOU to Anna and HarperTeen for an awesome month of Eve-themed fun! If you haven't gotten your copy of the book yet, what are you waiting for?

Also, be sure to watch this Dark Days fall teaser! if it doesn't get you excited for these books, I don't know what will!


The Dark Days authors will be participating in a Livestream event on Thursday 10/6 at 4:30 (EST), and there is an opportunity for you to submit your questions to them in advance! Just check out these two links:



RSVP at both sites, then come back here and let me know what you would like to ask the author(s) in the comments and I'll enter you into a contest to win a SIGNED copy of Eve! This contest will only last until the end of the streaming event!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Every fall on the remote island of Thisby, vicious water horses, capaill uisce, emerge from the sea, tossed to land by the autumn storms. The people of Thisby begin the dangerous process of capturing these horses and training them the best they can for the Scorpio Races, which take place on the first of November. Sean Kendrick is only nineteen, but he has ridden in the races for years, and is the man to beat. But he rides for more than just the money: he loves his mount, Corr, and hopes to one day be able to buy his freedom from Malvern Stables. Puck Connolly's parents were killed by the capaill uisce, and now her older brother has decided to abandon Puck and her younger brother Finn for the mainland. Desperate to convince him to stay, Puck declares that she will ride in the races--the first woman to ever do so. The races will be deadly. And neither Sean nor Puck will ever be the same.

Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races is as complicated and arresting as the autumn sea. The strange, almost mystical setting of Thisby is very set apart, both physically from the rest of the world, and in time. It has its own unique history with the capaill uisce that wash ashore every year, and as a result, its own culture where it is acceptable, even honorable, to ride in the deadly races, even at a young age. Yet Puck, who is female, is discouraged and sabotaged nearly every step of the way. But she doesn't give up—she's fiercely protective when it comes to her family, and she'd do anything for her brothers, even if riding in the races isn't the smartest thing to do. She's a very observant character, and is constantly looking for ways to educate and better herself, with a little humor and a lot of courage. Sean is similar to Puck in his courage and dedication to what he loves, in this case, is capall uisce, Cor. He may be a loner who doesn't have much to say to other people, but he is also very intelligent and he doesn't miss much. The tentative alliance between Puck and Sean, followed by friendship, then romance, was paced perfectly. They form a strong bond, and are tested when each has a compelling reason to win the races in which there can only be one victor. The story is told back and forth between the points of view of both Sean and Puck, giving the reader a wide look at the politics of Thisby, the iron grip that the Malverns hold on Thisby, and all of the drama of the upcoming races. The Scorpio Races is a very dangerous, very compelling, and heart-pounding book that will make you never look at an autumn shoreline the same way again.

Cover Comments: This cover reminds me of ancient drawing on the side of a cliff, which actually do appear in the book! I love the red of the cover (it makes me think of one of the horses, Corr) and the font of the title! Very simple, yet very cool!

ARC picked up at Scholastic event!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Shelf Discovery: Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler

Shelf Discovery is a feature in which I highlight one book that I have found while prowling the shelves of the independent bookstore I work at it. These books aren't necessarily YA books; they're books that have discovered and find interesting or unique. I hope you do too.

While I was looking for a book for a customer, I caught a glimpse of the spine of a particular book...it was called Becoming Jane Eyre. Now, there are certain times when working at a bookstore is frustrating. Having to continue to search for a customer's book instead of stopping to read this little gem I had stumbled upon was one of those times.

Luckily, I was able to memorize the location of the book and go back later to check it out! And since I am such a huge Jane Eyre freak, naturally this was a lovely little discovery. Here's what it's about:
"The year is 1846. In a cold parsonage on the gloomy Yorkshire moors, a family seems cursed with disaster. A mother and two children dead. A father sick, without fortune, and hardened by the loss of his two most beloved family members. A son destroyed by alcohol and opiates. And three strong, intelligent young women, reduced to poverty and spinsterhood, with nothing to save them from their fate. Nothing, that is, except their remarkable literary talent.

So unfolds the story of the Brontë sisters. At its center are Charlotte and the writing of Jane Eyre. Delicately unraveling the connections between one of fiction's most indelible heroines and the remarkable woman who created her, Sheila Kohler's Becoming Jane Eyre will appeal to fans of historical fiction and, of course, the millions of readers who adore Jane Eyre."
This premise reminds me of the movie "Becoming Jane", which was about Jane Austen's life (romanticized, naturally) and how it inspired her classic novels. What do you all think? Worth picking up sometime? It is on sale, if you decide that you like, NEED it.