The Compulsive Reader: November 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Legend Blog Tour with Marie Lu!

Marie Lu's debut novel, Legend, was released this week! To celebrate, Marie is on the blog today to share her thoughts on...failure. It's an ironic choice of subject, especially since this book has received so much hype (and then there is that recent movie news), but Marie has had more of her fair share of rejection before now, and the fact that she kept going is awesome! 

Here's Marie!

A Writer’s Familiarity with Failure Part One

 It's easy for success stories to be the news we all like to focus on. Seven-figure deal! Four-book deal! Multi-city tour! And so on. But for almost every successful writer, there's a long story of struggle in how s/he managed to get there. And I was no different. So today I'm going to talk about my failures in writing, and all the bumps I hit before I reached a smooth patch of road.

When I first started writing seriously (i.e. for the goal of publication), I naively thought that I would finish my manuscript, send out a few letters to literary agencies, get an agent, and then be on my way to getting my manuscript accepted by a big NY publisher. I was in high school. Life was bright, shiny, and optimistic. How hard could it possibly be? Plenty of teenagers get publishing deals, I remember thinking. Christopher Paolini. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. They were my idols, and I wanted to make it into their small circle. Shouldn’t be too difficult!


I didn't even know how to write a proper query letter, but I mailed those letters off to about 30-40 literary agents. The result? Manuscript #1 didn't get a single request for sample chapters. Not a single one. Undaunted, I sent out letters to a dozen more agencies. I got back a dozen additional rejections. At this point I took a step back, flipped through Manuscript #1 again, and tried to be honest with myself. Manuscript #1 simply wasn't ready to be a book. It was full of cliches and meandering plots, weak characters and poor writing. I'd spent a full year writing it, and turning my back on it hurt. But I took a deep breath, put the file away in my archives, and started on Manuscript #2.

Manuscript #2 was The Glass Sonata, a fantasy novel some of you might remember. For this one I planned better. I worked hard on a worldbuilding document (a spreadsheet that I used to keep track of the places, countries, customs, and magic in my book), and even made a chapter-by-chapter outline of how the story would go. I'd learned this was a good way to go into writing a novel instead of plunging headlong into it with absolutely no planning. I had high hopes for Manuscript #2. I worked on it with every spare moment I had--setting my alarm for the middle of the night so that I could write quietly for a couple of hours, sneaking moments in after school and during lunch periods, writing on weekends when I should have been studying for my SAT (sorry Mom!). Manuscript #2 had stronger writing, better characters. I thought it would be The One.

And for a while, it looked like it might come true. I still got rejections, but I also got requests for sample chapters. While I settled into college life at USC, I got two requests for the entire manuscript--one of them from a leading literary agency that specialized in fantasy/sci-fi. Eagerly I bought a little laser printer and printed out two sets of my four hundred page manuscript. Then I waited.

Eureka. Fantasy Agent called one afternoon, eager to sign me and The Glass Sonata. I shrieked. This is going to happen. I now had a venerable agent at my side, and it was only a matter of time before a publisher bought Manuscript #2.

What I didn't know was how different it was to get an agent to take on your book, vs. what it takes to get a publisher to buy that book. Months went by. We got a couple of bites, and one request from an editor for revisions. I worked hard on that revision, sent it to my agent, and waited for the publishing contract to arrive. Nope. Silence. A year of silence.

As writer Natalie Whipple says, this is the quiet agony of writers who have been signed by agents but haven't had a publisher buy their books. You are now floating in a sort of purgatory, a space where you have no control over what happens to your book. The only thing I could do during this time to keep myself sane was to work on the next manuscript. So I started Manuscript #3. I attended writers' conferences. I tried to hone my craft. Another year passed. Something happened in my personal life that turned everything upside down. I became depressed, bitter, and unreasonably angry at times. I managed to finish Manuscript #3, but all the silent waiting and the personal life drama had taken its toll. Manuscript #3 was weak and unfocused. My agent was obviously not impressed. Months later, after I graduated and got my first job, we parted ways.

Catch part two of “A Writer’s Familiarity with Failure” tomorrow at Frenetic Reader!

And to enter to win a copy of Legend and a Legend button, fill out the form below! I hope you'll all check out this book!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Interview with Julie Kagawa and a Contest!

The fourth book in the Iron Fey series, The Iron Knight, came out not too long ago! To celebrate, I have author Julie Kagawa here to answer a few questions! (And there's a chance to win a copy of the book as well!)

You’ve written a few novellas in the series. Which do you find harder to write, the short stories or the full novels and why?

JK: They’re both challenging for different reasons. The full novels, by virtue of their length, take a lot of time to plan out, plot, and write. But strangely, it’s the lack of length in a short story that makes it harder to write; you don’t have a lot of time to get what you need done. I don’t really have a favorite of the two, though the novellas are a little less work overall.

You are an admitted gamer. If approached, would you prefer a movie version or a gaming version of your Iron Fey series?

JK: As much as I love gaming, I would have to say movie. (Because if the movie is a success they’ll make a game anyway, right?)

When writing about the Fey, there are a lot of tricks and loopholes involved, especially where Grimalkin is concerned. How do you manage to keep them all straight?

JK: Thankfully, my husband is very good at catching inconsistencies. He is the first to read the finished book, and will always tell me if something doesn’t work or make sense. (He’s also threatened to rip the semi-colon key off the keyboard, for all the semi-colons he’s had to take out, lol!)

Do you find it harder to write battle scenes or love scenes?

JK: Oh, love scenes, definitely. I have such a hard time with romance, believe it or not. Give me a good sword fight or bloody, violent battle any day.

Thanks, Julie! Just fill out the form below for a chance to win!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thankfulness (A Little Late)

This Thanksgiving weekend, I am thankful for:

  • awesome books
  • equally awesome readers (of both said books and this blog)
  • the Flavia de Luce mysteries
  • my family
  • my job at the bookstore
  • my education (though I do make jokes about it, a college education that isn't putting me into debt is nothing to take for granted)
  • people who know how to write well
  • this tumblr, Reasoning with Vampires
  • Thanksgiving leftovers
  • the approaching end of the semester (two weeks!)
  • the fact that it is Saturday and I still have one precious day left in the weekend
  • your patience with this temporarily errant blogger
Two weeks, folks. Then I will be back at it full time, full force. In the meantime, back to the study cave.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nina Malkin, an Interview, and a Contest, Oh My!

Nina Malkin is the author of Swoon (read my review here) and its sequel, Swear (available now). The covers are gorgeous and the characters nice and complicated...as you can see in this interview between main characters Dice and Sin:


Candice Reagan Moskow, AKA Dice, and Sinclair Youngblood Powers, AKA Sin, the heroine and hero of SWOON and SWEAR, chat each other up about revenge, regret, penance, power, skinny-dipping, Newton’s law of motion and love, love, love…

DICE: Here we are.
SIN: Indeed. Here we are. And how lovely you look.

DICE: Thanks. You too. You ready?
SIN: I’m not quite sure. It seems odd to invite others into our personal conversation. Can you explain the purpose of this interview?

DICE: We’re trying to promo SWEAR, the sequel to SWOON. And come on, Sin. Everything that’s gone on between us has been laid bare in black and white.

SIN [encircling her, whispering]: Surely not everything…

DICE: [indulging, then swatting him]: Cut it out. Now, since I narrate SWOON, everyone knows what I thought when I first set eyes on you. What went through your mind when you first saw me?
SIN: You were my first sight, the moment my spirit successfully transported, there beneath the ash tree. I looked up and I saw…sanctuary.  The care and concern in your eyes. The warmth of your smile. I saw your heart, Dice, and it was love at first sight.

DICE: Yeah, well, you didn’t always treat me right, did you?
SIN: It is true. Love was not my reason for returning to SWOON. Revenge was. That’s not an excuse—it is simply the fact. But as I was to learn, revenge is a fool’s errand. What did you learn from SWOON?

DICE: I learned that anything is possible. I learned that people can change. I learned…well, I began to understand about love—that it’s not always sunshine and flowers. Love is the challenges you meet for love.
SIN: Well said. And did you not also learn to embrace your power?

DICE: To an extent, yeah. But then, in the end…all I wanted was to deny it, be regular, ordinary. So I guess  the most burning question when it comes to SWOON is: Sin, WTF? We have this amazing night, we fall asleep in a tangle of limbs by the fire, but next thing I know you’re gone. What happened? Where’d you go? Why did you leave me?

SIN: I had to serve my penance, dear lady. After all we went through, it was my honor to receive your love, and finally be ready to return it, with all my heart and—yes—soul. But spiritually, cosmically, I still had to pay for the havoc I wreaked. And so I found myself in exile. A cloudy nowhere. A cruel limbo. Yet the whole time, this omnipresent awareness of you. Didn’t you feel me, too?

DICE: I did. My blue bruise—still as tender as the night you put it there. And those surreal nighttime encounters, stronger than dreams, more painful than reality. That’s why it was so hard to move forward. Did you want me to get on with my life?
SIN: I did—and I didn’t. I hated to think of you pining, you with so much energy, so much will, so much life. Even if it meant an eternity of watching you, I would endure it as long as you were happy. But I was unable to let you go—that was part of the torment. The only salve was the chance that I might return somehow. And when you sang with Bruise Blue, the possibility of our reunion grew stronger. Was it the same for you?

DICE: I don’t know. I was confused, torn. I never stopped loving you, but I wanted to have a life. So then there was the band, and Tosh…
SIN: Yes. Tosh.
DICE: You’re not still…you’re over that now, right?
SIN: My lady, I love you. I even understand why you…strayed. But the image of one’s beloved in the arms of another is indelible.

DICE: I guess. I mean, the time I saw you dancing with Antonia Forsythe, the way she swooned in your arms. Even though I was 99.9999 to infinity percent sure you weren’t into her, it was hard to watch.
SIN: Antonia. Poor Antonia. Most unfortunate.

DICE: Yeah, well. But talk about an adversary. The crap she pulled—on Crane…on little Charlotte…
SIN [ruefully]: Must we speak of her? Can we not be more lighthearted in this exchange? For instance, what is your favorite color, my lady?

DICE: My— Okay, green. Yours?
SIN: Blue. Indigo blue. The color of your eyes.

DICE: Oh, Sin. That’s sweet. But readers knowing that won’t cause a SWEAR stampede at bookstores. So tell me this: Any regrets from SWEAR?
SIN: Ha! Indeed! I regret I wasn’t there to witness the skinny-dipping! And you?

DICE [eyes clouding over]: I wish I could’ve done something for Early Hampford. She was so cool. What a waste!
SIN: Indeed. In a way, Miss Hampford reminds me of your other dear departed friend…

DICE: Oh, Sin! I know! I still miss Ruby so much…
SIN: My dear, my dear, come here. [Comforts her in his arms] As the survivor of a restive grave, I can assure you: Ruby is in a better place now.

DICE [sniffling once]: I know. You’re right. [Sniffling again] I’m okay. So let me ask you this: What’s your greatest lesson from SWEAR?
SIN: The greatest lesson? For there are many…but if pressed I’d say that Newton’s law of motion—that every action has an equal and opposite reaction—hit home rather hard. Behavior from my past had consequences I would never have imagined. So I learned one must be very careful in all matters of the heart. The law of motion can also be one of emotion—devastatingly so.

DICE: True that, Sin. For me, the biggest lesson is, it makes no sense to swear to love. It’s futile. Love is more powerful than any promise. Love is a gift beyond your control. When it comes to love, all you can do is believe.
SIN: And I do, Dice. I do. And because I believe in love, our love, I wonder about our story’s final chapter—SWOON, the trilogy.

DICE: Sin, that’s out of our hands. Our continuing saga wouldn’t even have come to print in SWEAR if readers hadn’t made SWOON such a success. If people embrace SWEAR as enthusiastically as they did SWOON, the publisher will no doubt want to put it out as a book.
SIN [to you]: So our fate is in your hand, dear reader. And I have faith that you will prevail. So much so, in fact, I’ve already begun the final segment. It shall be called SWAY. And this time, the narrator is none other than yours truly, Sinclair Youngblood Powers! 

Intrigued? Well, you can enter to win a copy of Swoon and Swear below! Just fill out the form!

Many thanks to Nina (and Sin and Dice, of course!) for the interview, and I hope you enjoy the books!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shelf Discovery: Puffin Classics Get a Delightful New Look!

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 found what are arguably the most adorable books I have ever seen in my life.

The Penguin Puffin children's classics.

They look like this:

So. Adorable.

There are so many things I love about these editions. The covers, first of all, are adorable and bright and vivid and just SO MUCH FUN. Whoever the artist is...he/she rocks.

I also love that these books are introduced by popular kids'/YA authors, like Rick Riordan, Christopher Paolini, Louise Rennison, Cornelia Funke, Garth Nix, Jennifer Donnelly, Eoin Colfer, Eva Ibbotson, and SO MANY MORE!

Also...these books are unabridged, and they're only $4.99!

When I started working at the bookstore, this was our selection:

Now, THIS is our selection:

I didn't really have much to do with the sudden influx of these lovely Puffin classics (I swear), but I am LOVING it! I have my little list (I mean, long...the paper on which it's written on is little) of books I must buy, and thankfully they are all only $4.99, so that means I can build my library easily! At the top of my list are: The Princess and the Goblin, Daddy Long-legs, Little Women (introduction by Louise Rennison! I can only imagine the epic awesome-ness!), and Alice in Wonderland!

What are some of your favorite children's classics? And what do you think of the Puffin covers?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott

When Ava wakes up, she has no idea who she is. The bedroom she's in, the house she lives in, and the mother who lives with her are all completely unfamiliar. The doctors tell her it's all the result of some medical anomaly, perhaps an infection, that has completely wiped her memory, and one day she may recover it. So Ava goes on living, struggling to remember everything that is unfamiliar about her life. Soon, she does start remembering things—but they can't be memories from the life she's living now. Then she meets Morgan—he's the first one to acknowledge that the life she's living now is a lie, and he's the key to figuring out who she is and reclaiming her life.

As I Wake is a very intriguing book with an unexpected twist. Fans of Scott's Love You Hate You Miss You will be attracted to it thanks to the brief summary, but this sci-fi mystery masquerading as a dramatic contemporary novel is more similar to Grace than any of her other work. Ava's situation is unique, and her questions are immediate: who is she? Where is she? Who doesn't she remember anything? And, how did she get to this unfamiliar place? Those questions are enough to hook readers, and the strange and uneasy atmosphere of Ava's home life and social life contribute to the overall feeling that something isn't quite right. Scott sprinkles in snatches of Ava's life before she lost her memory, giving readers a glimpse into an unsettling world where Ava walks a fine line between obedience and rebelling against what she has always known. The particulars of both the present world and Ava's past world are very vague and hazy, and readers never really learn how they are linked, or how exactly Ava got into the situation that she is in. Nonetheless, the tension between characters and the mystery of what happened to Ava is interesting, and that will keep readers going until the very end, even though many questions are left unanswered.

Cover Comments: This cover is definitely different! The way the girl is hiding her face is neat, and the smoke from her hair kind of alludes to some events in the book. Very nice.

Review copy purchased.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Interview with Anna Carey!

Back in September, I counted down to the release of Eve with Anna Carey, and now she's back on the blog with another interview! If you haven't already read Eve, I encourage you to do so, and if you haven't heard of the book, please check out my review!

TCR: What's the best reader reaction to Eve that you have received thus far?

AC: I'm obsessed with this video from Anna over at www.annareads.com Partially because I've pondered all the same things (How WOULD I survive? Is eating pirate booty a translatable skill?) and partially because I love stick figures and The Shins. Check it out here: http://www.annareads.com/2011/11/my-new-favorite-genre.html

TCR: If you were stranded in the wilderness like Eve is at one point in the book, what would be your survival strategy?

AC: Hide! So much of whether you live or die in the wild depends on how long you can fly under the radar. Eve has to follow the main road (it's the only lead she has on Califia) but if I could, I'd use lesser known streets. I'd spend the first few days going from house to house, collecting any supplies I could--a backpack, canned foods, flashlights, tarps, blankets, etc. (depending on what type of apocalypse it is, this could be challenging). I'd travel at night and sleep during the day, looking for a place to set up camp. I'd want somewhere 1.) well hidden, 2.) that had a water supply, and 3.) had workable soil. Then I'd live there as long as possible...

TCR: What are some of your writing essentials?

AC: I need my youthberry tea from Teavana (if it actually works I've shaved ten years off my age), a couple of Dum Dum pops, and Freedom, which has changed my life. The program is cheap ($10) and allows you to block the internet on your computer for up to eight hours at a time. You know you're living in "the future" when you have to pay your computer to withhold things from you.

TCR: Can you share any information with readers about Eve being developed into a TV show?

AC: It's in the early stages, but the series has been optioned and a pilot is in development. I'll keep everyone updated on facebook and twitter!

TCR: I can wait to hear more! Thank you so much, Anna!

If you want to read Eve, then fill out thr form below for the chance to win a signed copy!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

It's 1996, and when Emma's dad's new wife has a baby, she gets her first desktop computer from him. She fires it up, and with the America Online CD-ROM given to her by her friend and next-door neighbor Josh, the two of them log on to the internet…only to find the page that comes up is Facebook—fifteen years into the future. At first they're convinced it's a joke...Josh really won't end up marrying the hottest girl in the school, who, before now, has never even spoken to him, will he? And Emma would never be so unhappy, right? When it becomes obvious that this Facebook thing isn't a joke, but the actual future, both Emma and Josh start acting differently...changing their Facebook pages, and their futures.

Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler have created an awesome and inventive book in The Future of Us! Both are excellent writers and they seamlessly piece their own styles and voices together to create an accessible and fun book that teenagers today will have no trouble getting into, despite being set in 1996. They've got the dialogue, the emotions, and the drama down perfectly. The dynamics between Emma, Josh, and their close friends were excellent. Each have their own relationship dramas that play into the futures that Emma and Josh see on Facebook, and as they try to "fix" things, they discover that more issues crop up, leading them to the realization that while you can't control the future, you have the power to change your own life, and if you live your life trying to control what may happen, you won't really enjoy living. The little details about life before everyone had cell phones, Facebook pages, and tablets are kind of fun for those readers who remember the '90's and the pop culture of the time, but even if you don't, The Future of Us is still an engaging, fun book with plenty of humor, relationship drama, and just enough romance to satisfy teens and adults alike. Definitely do not miss this book.

Cover Comments: I like the cover! It;s neat how the pair on the cover aren't totally visible, and I think the design of the cover is really neat! I also like how it's not overly feminine, so I hope both males and females will be encouraged to pick it up!

ARC picked up at BEA.

This ones hits stores on Tuesday!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Looking Ahead: Aimee Agresti and Illuminate!

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 I have Aimee Agresti and her book, Illuminate! I was lucky enough to snag this one at GLIBA, and it is a gorgeous book!

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

AA: Yikes, ten words, that's tough! OK, how about this, it sounds like a fun newspaper headline: Teen angel battles devils, saves souls and falls in love.

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

AA: I think it's that I've been so very well cared for. The folks at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have been so wonderful and enthusiastic. I have an incredible editor, who I adore, and who has such a sharp eye. I've learned a lot from her. And everyone I've worked with from the publicist to the cover designer to the copy editor has had such genuinely kind words about the book. That's meant a lot, especially to a first-timer like me. These are all people who have a lot of books to work on and the fact that they're giving their all to mine is something I appreciate so much and don't take for granted. It also helps that I happen to have a fantastic agent who keeps involved every step of the way and is a real friend. What can I say? I'm a lucky girl!

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

AA: My reaction was: WOW!!!!!!!! I absolutely LOVED it. I mean, look at that thing, it's just gorgeous! It really embodies the feeling of glamour in the book and then I just love that wing in shadow behind her. It's a really special touch that captures the idea that Haven has to work to earn her wings and isn't a full-fledged angel just yet. It's just a great image. And the cover model is beautiful, her expression says so much: she's somehow able to perfectly convey Haven's soulful vulnerability. I just love it. As soon as I saw it, I told the brilliant cover designer, Liz Tardiff, that I hope this book will, indeed, be judged by its cover!

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

AA: My website aimeeagresti.com is the place to go for news and updates. Stay tuned: I'll be posting fun things like an ILLUMINATE playlist and soon I'll be doing my first giveaway!

Thanks so much, Aimee! To learn more about Aimee's book, visit her website, or read on!
"Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything changes when she isawarded a prestigious internship at a posh Chicago hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous strangers: the powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit. 
As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the
This one will be available on March 6th, 2012!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I've said this quite a bit already, but I love my Kindle that I received last Christmas! It's a really excellent device, and what makes it really stand apart is the E-Ink technology, which is fantastic.

However, I don't have the new Amazon Kindle, and I am a little curious to know if any of you have purchased it, and how it compares. I am especially interested in the Kindle Touch--what do you all think? Is it easy and enjoyable to use? If you don't have one, are you looking at buying one?

Let me know in the comments!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Hunger Games Trailer!

If you haven't seen it yet, stop reading what I have to say and watch this amazing trailer!

My goosebumps aren't going away! I am so excited!

What do you think?

Contest: Win the Latest Books from This Is Teen!

Check out some of the latest books from Scholastic's This Is Teen! They look to be an adventurous, action-filled bunch! And thanks to the generosity of Scholastic, you have the opportunity to win a copy of all three books--Underdogs, The Eleventh Plague, and iBoy!

About the books:

The Eleventh Plague
By Jeff Hirsch

“The Eleventh Plague hits disturbingly close to home…An excellent, taut debut novel.” – Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games

In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade for food and other items essential for survival. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true, where there are real houses, barbecues, a school, and even baseball games. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank on the town bully’s family that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing forever.

By Markus Zusak

Before The Book Thief, Markus Zusak wrote a trilogy of novels about the Wolfe brothers: The Underdogs, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl. Cameron and Ruben Wolfe are champions at getting into fights, coming up with half-baked schemes, and generally disappointing girls, their parents, and their much more motivated older siblings. They’re intensely loyal to each other, brothers at their best and at their very worst. But when Cameron falls head over heels for Ruben’s girlfriend, the strength of their bond is tested to its breaking point.

iBoyBy Kevin Brooks

Before the attack, Tom Harvey was just an average teen. But a head-on collision with high technology has turned him into an actualized App. Fragments of a shattered iPhone are embedded in his brain. And they’re having an extraordinary effect on his every thought. Because now Tom knows, sees, and can do more than any normal boy ever could. But with his new powers comes a choice: Seek revenge on the vicious gangs who rule the South London housing project where he lives, and who violated his friend Lucy? Or keep quiet and move on? Not even the search engine in his head can predict the shocking outcome of iBoy’s actions. A wifi, thriller by YA master Kevin Brooks.

Want to win them? Just fill out the form below!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

This is the final book in the Legend of Beka Cooper trilogy. Click here to read my review of Terrier, and here to read my review Bloodhound.

Beka Cooper has been a Dog for four years now, and partner to Tunstall for nearly three of them. When Mastiff begins, she is burying her betrothed, and wracked with grief and guilt, because no one knows that she was about to break it off with him before he died. She doesn't have much time to think about her tragedy, though, when the Lord Provost calls her out of bed at night and summons her and Tunstall to the Summer Palace, where a terrible crime has been committed. There are traitors living among the royal family that have aided in the kidnapping of the prince, and the Lord Provost trusts Beka, Tunstall, and Lady Sabine to track him. The stakes are higher than ever, and this is the most dangerous trail Beka and Achoo have ever followed.

Mastiff is high-speed, complicated finale to this excellent trilogy. Similar to the prequel, Bloodhound, this one unfortunately excludes a lot of favorite characters from the first book, and Goodwin. Thankfully, Tunstall, Sabine, Pounce, Achoo, and new character Farmer keep Mastiff plenty entertaining with their humorous exchanges and quick thinking. Farmer is a character readers probably won't take very seriously at first, but as he and Beka get to know each other better and better, a romance begins to unfold in the midst of attacks, dead-ends, and questions about trust. The hunt for the stolen prince is very long and sometimes quite toiling, but Pierce throws in plenty of action along the way to break it up, and she begins to set the scene for social change that is about to occur in Tortall, taking it from the more liberal world to one where women are stifled by skirts and expectations. She also ties in some history lessons that relate to stories and incidences in later Tortall books that fans will delight in.

As the search for the prince winds down and the group gets ever closer to exposing the criminals and traitors, it becomes evident to Beka that something isn't quite right. The shocking ending to Mastiff is heartbreaking and may be hard to swallow for some, but Pierce does leave Beka in a happy place by the end of the story. It's a bittersweet, surprising finale, but a good one nonetheless, and the epilogue, told from Geroge Cooper's point of view, ties everything together nicely and will leave you feeling nostalgic for Pierce's debut book. Mastiff, while unexpected, is the perfect twisty end to this unique and engaging trilogy.

Cover Comments: I love the green and the view of the mountains in the distance! I do think that Beka looking behind her is an awkward pose, but it's not too noticeable. 

Review copy provided by publisher.

What did you think of the ending? It broke my heart!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce

This is book two of the Legend of Beka Cooper trilogy! Click here to read my review of the first book, Terrier, and check back tomorrow for my review of the final book, Mastiff!

It's been over a year since Beka Cooper and her partners Goodwin and Tunstall took down the killer that was preying on the Lower City. Now Beka is a full-fledged Dog, and finds herself unable to keep a partner that is willing to keep up and put up with her. She's assigned to Goodwin and Tunstall once again, but after a bread riot leaves Tunstall with a broken leg, Beka and Goodwin are sent to Port Caynn to try and discern the cause behind counterfeit coins that caused the riot. Their undercover operation has the potential to get deadly, especially since the Rogue of the city is a foolish woman who runs about unchecked, and the Deputy Provost is too afraid to do anything about her. When the trail runs cold, can Beka be as tenacious as a bloodhound and find the perpetrators?

Beka is once again thrown into the midst of a dangerous, life-or-death mystery in Bloodhound. The setting of Port Caynn is different and perhaps a bit if a disappointment to those who love Corus, and the absence of some key characters is sad, but Pierce makes up for it with a few fun new characters (including a scent hound named Achoo) and an excellent mystery. Beka really becomes a strong, independent character in this novel as she must role-play with Goodwin in order to get close to their enemies, and then handle the situation on her own when Goodwin is detained in Corus. The conflict is pleasantly sophisticated and engaging—counterfeit coins are showing up, and the economy of Tortall is beginning to suffer quickly. The source of these false coins is a mystery, and as Beka and Achoo travel all over the corrupted city of Port Caynn, Pierce really expands the world of Tortall and makes it even more realistic and vivid. Beka is very grounded and persistent throughout the book, which culminates in a fast-paced, heart-pounding chase for the mastermind behind the scheme that leaves Beka close to death. The humor in this book is good, the mystery absorbing, and the action nonstop. Bloodhound is yet another excellent installment to this trilogy, though readers will be eager for the third and final book and the return of some of their favorite supporting characters.

Cover Comments: I am liking the purple and how dark and mysterious this cover is! How appropriate that Beka is looking down. Very nice!

Review copy received as gift.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Terrier by Tamora Pierce

A couple of weeks ago, Mastiff, the final book in Tamora Pierce's latest trilogy came out. I was beyond excited as I've loved Pierce's work since I was about 11. I've read all of her Tortall books (which can have very confusing order, so click here if you want to know more about that) and I had read Terrier back about 5 years ago. I had Bloodhound, book two, sitting on my shelf since about Christmas of 2008 or 2009, but hadn't gotten to it. So, I took a delightful week and I got caught up. Here's my review of Terrier! Look for Bloodhound's review tomorrow, and Mastiff the day after!

Beka Cooper is the newest puppy in the Provost's Dogs, the guards that keep the peace in the streets Corus, the capital city. She's tough, which is a quality that is required to work in the Lower City, the seediest portion. She's also been assigned to the two best veteran Dogs in the Guard—Tunstall and Goodwin. They're a famous pair, and it'll take everything that Beka has to keep up with them—and to cobble a killer that has been preying on the poor and kidnapping their children. Beka has a few unconventional talents—she can speak to the dead through the city's pigeons, and she communicates with dust spinners...but will it be enough to survive her first few months in Provost’s Guard? 

Terrier, the first book in the Legend of Beka Cooper trilogy, is quite a departure from Pierce's earlier work. First, it's set in Corus, Tortall—two hundred years before Alanna's story begins. Second, it's written in first person journal format. However, that style works for this story, and there's plenty that is familiar about Beka's world that will draw Tortall fans in. Pierce really makes Corus come alive in this one, painting a vivid picture of what life was like for people before Alanna's time (tough, especially with slavers looking to kidnap children, but not without its redeeming qualities—strong women who could fight were a part of everyday life), and the fine line that the Dogs have to walk each day. Their job is equal parts enforcing the law and allowing certain lawlessness to occur (such as bribe taking) to keep the peace, especially when dealing with the Rogue's court. This is epitomized in Beka's tentative friendship with three newcomers who become her neighbors, but aren't always on the right side of the law. However, she is fiercely loyal to her job and the Crown, and determined to do what is right. She is a bit over eager at times, and makes mistakes, but her partners Tunstall and Goodwin keep her on the right path, and the dynamics between the three of them are delightful. The two mysteries that the Dogs have to deal with are puzzling and perfectly drawn out to keep you hanging in suspense, and the seriousness is punctuated by arch remarks from Beka's cat Pounce, who readers will recognize by the name Faithful. All in all, Terrier is a terrific start to what is sure to be a suspenseful, promising trilogy!

Cover Comments: I am loving this cover! I like how Beka looks very tough and bad-ass with her stare and baton, and the pigeons and the cat are the perfect additions! Awesome colors, awesome cover!

Review copy purchased.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Living in a dangerous world controlled by a weak, desperate queen, Charlie is harboring a dangerous secret. In her world, classes are drawn and enforced by the language you speak, and it is a crime punishable by death to know a language other than your own. Charlie doesn't just know another class's language—she knows them all. It's a difficult ability to hide, and her life depends on appearing ignorant. But one night, at an underground club, Charlie meets an intriguing young man, Max, who seems different from everyone else. This is quickly proven when she catches him speaking a language she's never heard before. Their encounter isn't by chance, and soon Charlie's world will be turned upside down.

The Pledge is a dark and magical book with a very unique concept. Derting’s world, which is a blend of dystopia and fantasy, is dangerous and full of hidden tunnels and carefully kept secrets that Charlie is slowly exposed to soon after meeting Max. Her family has sacrificed a great deal to keep her secret safe throughout her life, so she's always cautious, but she soon gets sucked into a conflict much bigger than herself. There are more than a few shocking surprises along the way—people who aren't at all what they appear, long-kept family secrets, and other secret abilities—that keep this book suspenseful and intriguing, and the threat of a queen who will stop at nothing to get what she wants is chilling. The book ends with a satisfying, open ending that will leaves room for a sequel in which hopefully many unanswered questions and unresolved issues will be addressed. The Pledge is an interesting departure from Derting's other work, but it is unique and promising.

Cover Comments: I absolutely love this cover! How the girl's face is partially obscured, how the title is displayed, the darkness of it--it's so intriguing and mysterious! I think that this is one that a LOT of people will be drawn to!

The Pledge will be released on November 15th!

ARC provided by publisher.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cover Talk: Grace Cover Change Up

Elizabeth Scott is an amazingly prolific writer, and she's also very dynamic. One of my favorite books by her is Grace, a dystopia that has some frightening parallels with out own world. Her writing is stark and beautiful and she is at her very best in it. (Check out my review here.) The cover is also just as striking--an outline of a girl's face amongst flames, which holds some significance in the book. Check it out:

Beautiful, right? This is the hardcover edition.

I recently discovered that the paperback got a cover makeover, and at first I was against it, but the more I study this new cover, the more I like it.

The flames that I liked so well are still present, and the image of them consuming the feather is so, so symbolic and fits with what happens in the story. I like the simple black background and the orange font. The simplicity of this cover is just beautiful.

Which one do you like better?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Shelf Discovery: The Chronicles of Harris Burdick

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.
Show of hands...who ever had to write a short story in Creative Writing based off of Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick? I definitely did when I was in seventh grade, and I thought it was the coolest assignment ever! I wrote my story on "Mr. Linden's Library" and I still have it floating around on my hard drive somewhere.

If you haven't heard of this picture book (which is tragic, and you should go get a copy), then what it is a picture book composed entirely of fourteen pictures, titles, and captions. Van Allsburg gives an introduction in which he tells us that they came from a book editor who received them from a man named Harris Burdick. He asked the ediotr to look at some samples of his work, and then promised to return with all fourteen stories and illustrations. He never did.

While I never actually wrote any other stories based on that amazing picture book, I sure thought about it, and those pictures and captions really captured my imagination and made me long to figure out the mystery behind Harris Burdick. I thought about him every time I walked by Van Allsburg's books at work (I also recommend Queen of the Falls and The Polar Express!).

So, I was beyond thrilled when I was processing an order last week and stumbled upon The Chronicles of Harris Burdick! It is a collection of the original drawings, their captions, the original introduction from Van Allsburg, AND fourteen original short stories written by some really awesome writers like Kate DiCamillo, Stephen King, Sherman Alexie, Lois Lowry, M.T. Anderson, Gregory Maguire, Walter Dean Meyers, and more! Plus, it has a lovely and hilarious introduction from Lemony Snicket! (Why, oh why couldn't HE have written a story as well?)

I was so, so, so tempted to buy it then and there, but I held myself back. (Maybe for Christmas...) Instead, I read the stories while at the store. It is going to be my next pick of the month, for sure (if I can sell the copy of How to Save a Life that's sitting in the slot, it'll go up sooner). I'll have to post a review sometime this month, but let me tell you...this book rocks. I love it, love it, love it. I will forgive Walter Dean Meyers for making his version of "Mr. Linden's Library" so different from mine, and I want to high-five Stephen King for his awesome finishing piece. These stories are so wonderful, they'll make you want to pick up a pen and create your own. I would totally be open to a Chronicles of Harris Burdick Volume II!

Did you ever write a Harris Burdick story? What was yours about?

And for you teachers out there...copy and paste no more! There is now a Harris Burdick portfolio version to use for your creative writing classes!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Interview With Nicole From Tribute Books!

Tribute Books recently announced that due to changes in the market and economy, they would be making the switch from publishing print and e-books to e-books only! Read on to find out more about the decision  in this interview with Nicole of Tribute Books!

TCR: What led you to your decision to only publish YA e-books?

N: Our main reason is the explosion in popularity of e-readers such as the Kindle, Nook and iPad. Over the course of 2011, we've watched our ebook sales outpace our print sales by 2 to 1. The under $5 price point of most of our titles and the ease of purchase and delivery are surely contributing factors.

On a business level, the young adult genre sells especially if it is well written and has a paranormal romance theme. On a marketing level, the devotion of the young adult fan base is unparalleled. On a personal level, I thoroughly enjoy a good young adult novel and review many on my blog at http://tributebooksreviews.blogspot.com.

TCR: How will your publishing approach change? How do you anticipate that it will remain the same?
N: Our submission guidelines are stricter. Manuscripts that have already been professionally edited will receive greater consideration. Our preference is to work with authors who have already been published through a royalty-paying press and who know the ins and outs of book promotion. An established social media platform is a must, and we will not consider writers who do not have a well-followed blog, Facebook page or Twitter account.

Our support system will remain the same. What sets us apart is our one-on-one interaction with our authors. We go the extra mile in doing everything we can to promote our titles on a daily basis even years after a book's initial release. I'm a believer in doing what you love and working with like-minded people, when it's at all possible.

TCR: What sorts of stories are you going to be looking for?
N: We're looking for ebook submissions for the young adult genre. Our preference is for damn good writing, the particular topic is secondary in importance. However, ebooks written with a series in mind or those that delve into the paranormal will have a slight edge.

Interested authors can submit their manuscripts via email to info@tribute-books.com. There will be no charge for the authors we select to work with, and they will receive 50% of the net profits of their ebook sales in quarterly royalty payments. We're looking for Microsoft Word documents with a maximum of 350 pages of text with no photos, charts, illustrations, graphs, etc.

My hope is that we are able to recruit some talented writers of well-written, well-crafted stories in order to develop an eager fan base for the titles we publish. We want readers to be excited about the ebooks we produce. Young adult authors have the most devoted fan followings out there, and we'd like to introduce that audience to a whole new host of talent.

TCR: What do you believe is the most important element of publicity for a new book?
N: I am a big believer in the power of social media. I even conduct monthly blog tours for outside publishers and authors in order to help them increase the online presence of a book. Book bloggers are a powerful force in the book industry. With more and more book stores closing and book review columns being cut from major newspapers, readers are depending on bloggers to help them find the books they want to read. They are turning to the internet as a reference point to fill this information gap.

In my opinion, social networking is the bread and butter of any author's promotional efforts. Without it, it's like trying to paddle upstream without a canoe. Readers want to connect with the person who wrote the book. They crave interaction with an author. Nothing beats getting a writer to comment on a blogger's book review post or getting a personalized thank you tweet from your favorite author. The days of authors being isolated from their fans is over. They're now able to build an online following and receive instant feedback for their work. They have the opportunity to take part in creating their own literary community.

TCR: Thanks, Nicole!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Crossed and Ally Condie and a Contest, Oh My!

Crossed is the sequel to Matched, Ally Condie's awesome new dystopia trilogy, and it just came out on Tuesday! I sincerely hope you all get the chance to pick it up! You can click here to read my review of Matched, and here to read my review of Crossed.

Today, I have Ally here on the blog to talk about her publishing process, and I'll be giving away a Crossed prize pack!

Journey to Publication, Part 2

To read the first part of the journey, click here.

I worked on Matched from the fall of 2008 to the summer of 2009. When I finished it, I knew it wasn’t a good fit for the regional publisher who had published my first five books. So I took a deep breath and started looking for an agent, hoping I’d meet with more success than my initial attempt five years earlier.

I decided to pace myself. I sent out 5-10 queries each week. They were cold queries, which means I had no connections and they went into the slush pile with everyone else. I found that my earlier books had no bearing on what agents thought of my current work—they saw my previous publications as neither an asset nor a liability. I believe I sent out about 50 queries total, with my fastest rejection arriving via e-mail within half an hour and my slowest…well, let’s just say that some of the rejection letters still haven’t arrived. But after two months of querying, an agent offered representation. When I let the other agents know that had happened, suddenly my book was moved to the front burner and people were reading it more quickly. Eventually I had seven offers of representation. I couldn’t believe it. I remember the flurry of setting up phone calls and the unreal feeling that I might make it farther than I ever had on the national scene—I might actually get an agent.

When I spoke with Jodi Reamer at Writers House, it was clear to me immediately that she was exactly as awesome, smart, savvy, and personable as her reputation indicated. I was thrilled when Jodi offered representation and knew she was the right person to advocate for me and for Matched. After about a month of revisions, Jodi took the book to auction. Six publishing houses came back with offers, and ultimately I was blessed enough to end up with Julie Strauss-Gabel at Dutton/Penguin. It was my dream to work with Julie, as I knew and respected her work with other authors, and it has been even more wonderful than I thought it would be.

To those who don’t know the whole story, my journey to publication appears rather fast—begin writing a book in 2008, sell it in 2009, have it released in 2010—but it was all those years and all those books before that made something like this possible. I could never have written Matched when I first set out. The early rejections made success that much sweeter.

And now, the sequel to Matched is almost out in the world! Writing Crossed was another dream come true, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

About Ally:

Ally Condie is the author of the international bestseller Matched, and its newly-released sequel, Crossed. Matched was chosen as one of YALSA’s 2011 Teens’ Top Ten, named as one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of 2010, selected as the #1 Pick on the Winter Kid’s Indie Next List, and received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. In a starred review for the sequel, Crossed, Kirkus called the Matched series an “addictive, layered dystopic trilogy.”

A former English teacher (who still keeps her license current, just in case!), she lives with her husband and three sons outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, writing, running, and listening to her husband play guitar.

Now...contest time! Thanks to the generosity of Penguin, I have a signed copy of Crossed, a Matched/Crossed/book 3 poster, and 3 Matched buttons to give away to one lucky winner! Just fill out the form below to enter!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette has spent her entire life ostracized because she possesses a dangerous power, and now she is imprisoned. For the past 264 days, she's lived in solitary confinement, held captive by a faceless enemy. Then one day, she receives a cell mate—Adam. Juliette remembers Adam from her childhood as the only one who never mistreated her, but isn't sure if he remembers her. His appearance changes everything for Juliette, and she slowly begins to see herself as a person, not a weapon to be used. Adam offers Juliette a way out…that is, if she can bring herself to trust him.

Shatter Me is a tense, surprising book that absolutely rocks. Mafi allows you to really get inside of Juliette's head with the stream of consciousness narrative, which is very revealing and fascinating to read. You really understand Juliette's pain and struggles in how she trains herself to think that she somehow is deserving of her cruel treatment because of deadly mistakes in the past, and that because of her frightening ability, she doesn't deserve humanity. Her views are shattered when Adam appears and he and Juliette struggle to trust each other; once they do, their relationship is intense and their romance smoldering. Mafi skillfully builds suspense throughout the book as the world Juliette lives in is revealed to be dark and destructive, with secrets and danger in every nook, and as Juliette struggles to stay out of the grasp of Warner, a smart, calculating young man with too much power and a dangerous fixation on Juliette. However, the central conflict throughout Shatter Me is really Juliette's struggle with her ability and touch, how it has shaped her, what it means for her enemies, and for any possible future she might have. As the drama unfolds, Juliette learns that she may be capable of more than she ever could have imagined. Despite all of the fear, confusions, and danger in the uncertain ending, there is hope for a strong new heroine who is just beginning to come into power. Fans of Shatter Me will have a hard time waiting for a sequel.

Cover Comments: Even though the white dress doesn't really appear in the novel, I like how bright and eye-catching it is, especially against the silver back drop and the "shattering" effect in the background! So awesome! I am also in love with the way the title is slashed through!

ARC picked up at BEA.

This one will be out on November 15th, 2011!

For a chance to win Shatter Me all this month, check out the Monthly Commenter Contest!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Looking Ahead: Meg Medina and The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind

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 I have Meg Medina with her book The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind!

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

MM: Girl overcomes a mountain of myths, suffers, loves, saves herself.

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

MM: I have loved this process, but you’re right, it’s full of surprises.

The good: The world of children’s books and YA is filled with talented, generous people, who love books and want to help.

The bad: You do not become a millionaire...or even financially able to leave your day job for a long while.

The ugly: Once you start publishing, you have to keep up a pace of writing new manuscripts that can be grueling. That magic time of the first novel is over.Also, you will spend a lot of time supporting your own books through events, social media, promotional materials, etc. Often you will ask, "but when do I write?"

Still, I wouldn't trade this life for anthing.

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

MM: I never like my covers when I first see them. It’s like seeing myself in film or something. Yikes. I’ve learned that this is a knee jerk reaction. In time, I truly love my covers.

TCR: Where can we stay up to date on you and your book?
MM: www.megmedina.com. I’m also on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/meg_medina
and on Facebook. I keep an author page on Amazon, too.

This one is available March 13th, 2012! Scroll down to read the official summary!

"Sixteen-year-old Sonia Ocampa was born on the night of the worst storm Tres Montes had ever seen. And when the winds mercifully stopped, an unshakable belief in the girl's protective powers began. All her life, Sonia has been asked to pray for sick mothers or missing sons, as worried parents and friends press silver milagros in her hands. Sonia knows she has no special powers, but how can she disappoint those who look to her for solace? Still, her conscience is heavy, so when she gets a chance to travel to the city and work in the home of a wealthy woman, she seizes it. At first, Sonia feels freedom in being treated like all the other girls. But when news arrives that her beloved brother has disappeared while looking for work, she learns to her sorrow that she can never truly leave past or family behind. With deeply realized characters, a keen sense of place, a hint of magical realism, and a flush of young romance, Meg Medina tells the tale of a strong-willed, warmhearted girl who dares to face life's harsh truths as she finds her real power."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Monthly Commenter Contest: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me is one book that you're going to be hearing a LOT about this month--and for good reason! It is a stunningly awesome book that I absolutely could not get enough of! It's got the dystopia elements that are popular right now, but the best part about it is the narrator, Juliette, her unique powers and experiences reminiscent of a superhero, and the sizzling romance! I am beyond excited about this book, which is why I've made it the prize for November's commenter contest!

How to win: Every time you post a significant comment that contributes to the conversation, I give you an entry into the contest! The more you comment, the more you entries you get! Only comments on posts from November 2011 are eligible, so keep coming back for more posts and more chances to comment. For all of the details, click here.

Here's what Amazon has to say about the book:
"You can't touch me," I whisper.
I'm lying, is what I don't tell him.
He can touch me, is what I'll never tell him.
But things happen when people touch me.
Strange things.
Bad things.
No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.
But Juliette has plans of her own.
Look for my review, coming soon, with more details about this awesome book. For now, just trust me when I say that you WANT TO WIN THIS BOOK. And of course, as always, it comes with awesome, fun swag! Enter away!

Crossed by Ally Condie

Cassia has been working in the Outer Provinces, looking for any sign of Ky, held together by the hope of the poetry that her grandfather gave her and her memories of the boy she loves. After months, she finally picks up his trail, and learns that he has escaped with two other boys to the Carving, vast canyons on the edge of the Society's control. She escapes with her new friend Indie and the two girls follow Ky. But their reunion isn't all that Cassia expects it to be. There are secrets that Ky has kept from her, and they might force them apart once more. Will their love and will to survive be enough to keep them together?

Crossed is a much more philosophical and thoughtful book than its prequel, Matched. In between rich, metaphorical language, Condie has woven in two beautiful poems by Dylan Thomas and Alfred Tennyson that don't just accentuate the novel, but become integral elements as Cassia realizes that the poems aren't just illegal, but an vital part of the rebellion. Condie also does a beautiful job with the character development as Cassia has to re-evaluate all of her beliefs and Ky grapples with the idea of the rebellion and how it plays into his relationship with Cassia. In addition, the new supporting characters are interesting and complicated and each experiences their own inner turmoil. This drama all plays out with a fair amount of action in the rugged, beautiful, and fascinating canyons, a wonderful setting. At the end, there is a twist that readers won't see coming, and though it may be hard to accept at first, it's a tantalizing new development that has the potential to alter the dynamics between the characters dramatically. Crossed is a thoughtful, very readable book, and though its ending is a bit abrupt, it sets the stage for what's bound to be a very good sequel.

Cover Comments: Love this cover! It's very representative of how Cassia really has to re-arrange her thinking and break out of the bubble. Awesome.

This book is out today!