The Compulsive Reader: February 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cover Talk: Black City Cover Reveal

Have you heard of Black City by Elizabeth Richards? It's a dark supernatural tale that's coming out in November here in the US, and the cover is being revealed today! Also, thanks to the generosity of Penguin Group, I'm also giving away an ARC to one lucky winner!

First, here's what it's all about:
"A dark and tender postapocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection, that causes Ash’s long dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths."
Without further ado, here is the cover!

Gorgeous, don't you agree? I love the colors and how the cover just captures the action so well!

About Elizabeth Richards:

Elizabeth Richards is an award-winning journalist and debut author, who spent her early career writing for videogame publications such as CUBE, P2 and GamesTM,and now works as a website editor. Previously, she ran a successful lifestyle website aimed at teenage girls. She won the Jane Hayward Young Journalist of the Year award for her feature on girls in the games industry, and was named 'Editor's Choice' in the industry trade magazine, MCV. She lives in BuckinghamshireEngland and can be found online at www.theredpenofdoom.wordpress.com.

Not sure if this one is for you? Here's the first chapter!
An air raid siren wails in the distance, alerting Black City citizens to lock their doors and turn out the lights. They don’t want to be out in the dark alone. They might meet something dangerous. Something like me. 
I head under the canal bridge and wait for the girl, taking a packet of Sentry-regulation smokes from my back pocket and sparking up. The nicotine courses through my veins, making them throb with adrenaline; the sensation is almost like a pulse . . . almost. 
Footsteps approach the bridge, and a short girl with straggly black hair appears from the shadows, dressed in men’s work boots, tight black trousers and a tailcoat made from a patchwork of clashing fabrics. Her hazel eyes gaze up into mine. She’s brave. Not many cherry-poppers have the courage to look me in the eyes. She hands me an old playing card with two hearts on it, one red, one black. It’s my calling card. It seemed an appropriate choice; that’s what I’m selling her after all, an illusion of love. I slip it into the pocket of my dark green military jacket. 
“You’re late,” I say. “Last thing I need is to be caught out here after curfew by a Tracker. They’re just begging for a reason to throw me in jail.” 
“Sorry, they’ve put up extra checkpoints, stopping everyone. There’s tanks everywhere!” she babbles. “I guess they can’t be too careful with the Sentry Emissary back in the city, what with the boundary negotiations with the Legion and—” 
“You paid Beetle?” I interrupt. 
The girl nods. 
“Terms and conditions,” I say. “No refunds. You don’t enjoy it, you puke, you freak—not my problem, okay?” 
She nods again. 
“You pregnant?” She blushes furiously. “I’ll take that as a no. It may cause drowsiness, so don’t drive or operate any heavy machinery.” She smiles at this, and I grin. They always like that. “And no repeats for at least two weeks, all right? I mean it.”
“That all?” 
“No kissing. Strictly business, okay?” 
She seems a little disappointed by this, but I don’t like to mix business with pleasure. She shyly unbuttons the collar of her coat, revealing her slim, pale neck. Hunger grips my stomach at the sight. 
“What do I do?” she asks. 
“Lean back,” I say. 
She obeys like a good girl. I place a hand against the wall and slip my other hand between her thighs, gently easing her legs apart. Touching her doesn’t turn me on, but I groan like it does, knowing she’ll enjoy that. They all do, even the guys—it’s why they come to me instead of the Haze dens. I slide my body between her thighs so we’re face-to-face. Her shallow breaths are warm against my cool skin. 
“Relax, okay? It’s more enjoyable if you relax.” 
“My heart’s pounding a mile a minute.” She gives a nervous laugh. 
“Can’t say I know how that feels,” I admit. 
She tentatively presses a hand against my chest, and her eyes widen. “So it’s true, then? You don’t have a heart?” 
“I have a heart,” I growl, shoving her hard against the wall. It just doesn’t beat.A small tear snakes down her cheek, her thin lips trembling. 
“Sshhh, it’s okay, sweetheart. I didn’t mean to frighten you.” I gently wipe her tear away. “Forgive me?”
She nods, then tilts her head to one side, exposing the smooth whiteness of her neck. The poison sacs behind my fangs swell with venom. 
Focus, Ash. Don’t blow your load. 
I lean toward her, pressing my lips against the soft flesh on her neck, just below her ear. Her pulse flutters under my lips, and I nearly lose it. I begin to nibble on the flesh, tickling the tiny hairs on her neck with my tongue, making them wet with my saliva. 
“Do it,” she whispers. 
So much for foreplay. I sink my fangs into her jugular. Hot blood spills over my tongue, making my taste buds burst with its sticky sweetness. Man, I love the newbies; they always taste the best. She sighs as my venom enters her bloodstream. I wait for the Haze to take effect before I start to drink from her. That’s the bonus of Haze; my clients get high from me, and I get high from them by drinking their drugged blood. It’s win-win. 
A sour, bitter flavor suddenly floods my mouth, and I gag, leaping back.
“What the—” I spit up blood. 
The girl stares at me with glazed eyes, blood trickling down the two puncture wounds in her neck. 
“Everything’s sparkling,” she says dreamily. 
“Didn’t Beetle tell you I don’t take clients on meds?” 
She lurches toward me, and I grab her before she falls into the water.
“I love you,” she slurs, trying to kiss me. 
I shove her, hard. She falls back against the wall and slides to the floor. Her eyes roll back into her head, and she begins to spasm, white foam bubbling out the corners of her mouth. 
“No, no, no! Wake up.” I kneel down and shake her, panic rushing through me. 
The girl jerks, her boots leaving black scuff marks on the cobblestones. Fragg! This is why I don’t take clients on meds. You can never tell how they’re going to react to the Haze. I shrug off my jacket and place it under her head. 
A Sentry tank rolls over the bridge, and I shut my eyes and wait for it to pass. Even though the war is officially over, I still get chills at that sound. Wherever they went, Death followed. I had a few close scrapes during the war. During those days, the fact that I was a legal citizen and half human didn’t mean much to them. If you weren’t 100 percent human, you were the enemy. Every day was a fight for survival. Not much has improved since then; I’m still the enemy in most people’s eyes. All they can see is the Darkling in me. The tank turns down Bleak Street toward the Sentry Emissary’s headquarters. 
The girl groans. It’s too dangerous here; I have to go. I could just leave her . . . No, that’s not an option, but I can’t take her to the hospital. I’d get in so much trouble. 
I peer down the canal. A yellow barge is moored about one hundred feet away. The lights are off. Where is he? He’s meant to be my wingman; that’s why I came to the bridge in the first place. Can this get any wor— 
An explosion of pain bursts inside my chest, and I clutch a hand over my lifeless heart. I sense someone behind me and turn. 
A girl stands by the entranceway, lit by the headlamps of a passing truck. In the fleeting light, I catch a glimpse of cornflower-blue eyes flicking between me and the Hazer writhing on the ground. 
Her gaze finally fixes on me. 
I fall back, struck down, as the pain in my chest blooms again. 
Shivers run through my body, rushing toward a single point in my chest. There’s a spark of electricity and then: 
A flutter.

How to win: Just comment below for a chance to win! The contest will run from now until next Wednesday at midnight, and it is open internationally! (Thanks again to Penguin Group!) PLUS....winners are then entered for a chance to win drawings of the main characters signed by the author, like the one pictured above!

Good luck!

Kate Klimo and Daughter of the Centaurs

Today I have Kate Klimo, author of Daughter of the Centaurs, here on the blog to talk about her love for horses and how it led her to write her book!

"Ever since I read C.S. Lewis’s The Horse and His Boy when I was ten, I yearned to have a relationship with a horse like the Boy had with Bree. I grew up on the posh North Shore of Long Island, where my parents did exactly have a posh discretionary budget for their five kids. There were lots of girls in my magnet school whose parents were rich, who had their own horses, and who rode to hounds and showed—but they weren’t my friends. My friends and I saved up our birthday money so we could take lessons at a barn in Brookville, where there are a lot of estates, but the people who ran the barn were wonderfully down-to-earth. I loved the smell of the barn: hay and dung and horse sweat. I guess you could say that, over the years, I sought out that singular olfactory stimulation. 

When I grew up and got married I rode horses wherever we went on vacation (Hawaii, in a bathing suit, to waterfalls; Sedona on the rocky trails that wound through the red rock; Mexico in the mountains through shanty-towns and jungle). But it wasn’t until my fiftieth birthday that my husband got tired of hearing me mooning about horses that my relationship with horses began in earnest. He gave me a package of ten lessons at a barn just across the street (so no excuses!) I started taking lessons weekly, both private and group, burning through that ten pack in under a month. Those lessons became a budget item. The folks who ran the barn, Suzanne Shepherd and Bob Jeffreys (the man to whom I dedicated Daughter of the Centaurs), were natural horsemen and Suzanne is a high-level Centered Rider so you might say that my formal equestrian education is Centered Riding, which is a wonderful combination of Eastern philosophy and traditional practice. It has to do with being one with the horse and the centaur is an image that Centered Riding teachers frequently give their students to promote fluid movement and “one-ness”. 

Bob and Suz are well-known on the horse circuit, teaching clinics and giving exhibitions at equine expos in the US and Canada. I shared my group classes with eight-year-old girls who were ruthlessly snotty. They’d tell me when my heels were up or my hands were too busy or I had failed to cool down my horse sufficiently after a work-out. It was like being the geeky new girl in the fourth grade: out of step, out of tune, klutzy, infinitely uncool. What can I say? Probably more than anything else, it was those eight-year-old girls who fired my ambition to keep at it. I doubled up on the lessons, I gave over every vacation to week and two-week clinics. I took a share in a horse so I could practice every day when I got home from work, alone in the arena, just me and a speckled roan named CJ who had a jaw-jarring gait but the sweetest disposition and a miraculous built-in filter that enabled him to interpret with enormous clarity my often garbled cues. 

After a few years, the eight-year-old girls had less to pick on. In fact, they were the ones asking my advice and I was on my way to being infinitely cool (Hah!) I bought my own horse, a blanket Appie named Pie who had been a ribbon-winning barrel-racer. I learned that a horse was a mirror of my own moods, that I could never lie to a horse, that if I was unhappy a good ride could smooth me out, that horses had incredible kindness and compassion; that horses made it possible for me to be in the moment and not leap ahead to “what next?” I learned to be light and quiet with my hands, to follow my horse’s head, to be firm and never to let the horse think that he was in charge. But Pie had some issues. He had a tendency to spook at almost nothing, and I came off a lot. Once he bucked me sky-high and came down on my shoulder, breaking it in four places. That’s what got me into doing ground-work. Doing ground-work taught me more about horses than anything else could. I learned to control every part of my horse’s body from the ground. By the time my shoulder was mended Pie and I had arrived at an understanding and my ability to control all the parts of his body from his back made it possible for me to cut down on those nasty spills. My husband took up riding because it was the only way he could spend time with me. He bought a horse for a dollar, a swayback old quarter horse named Max, the model for the Apex’s Champion. Max looked like hell but he was the fastest thing on four legs and he had this wonderful way of keeping his body beneath Harry no matter how hard my novice husband bounced around on his back. He took care of Harry and never let him get hurt. 

My husband and I took vacations that were all about riding: to France, to Africa, to the Canary Islands. The Canaries off-season are bleak, like the surface of the moon: volcanic islands jutting out of the steel-blue Atlantic. There, we met a Dutch ex-pat who kept his herd of beautiful Spanish Warm Bloods in these old smugglers’ caves by the sea. I said to Harry, “This is awesome. Somehow, this will wind up in a book.” Those cave stables were my first glimmer of Daughter of the Centaurs. Not long after that, we went on a riding safari in Botswana and South Africa. I experienced what it was like to be on the back of what was, essentially, prey to just about every other animal in the bush except the antelopes. And it was in Africa, that I came up with the idea of the last human on earth being the alpha member of a herd of horses. The horses depend upon Malora to protect them from predators, everything from lions to ticks. Malora depends upon them to give her company, comfort, and transport. Knowing how she feels about horses, it is no surprise that she would have an affinity toward the centaurs, after they have captured her and her herd. She’s lonely for human company and she adores horses…which makes centaurs the perfect beings. That centaurs are no more perfect that people is just the first of many revelations Malora has when she comes in from the bush to what passes for civilization. In the first book, she explores the centaurs’ relatively homogenous nation-state of Mount Kheiron. In the second book, she travels up north to the Kingdom of Ka, to Kahiro, which is more of a melting pot, and in whose famed bazaar they say that you can find anything you could possibly want. Talk about shopping fantasies!"

Thanks so much, Kate! Be sure to pick up a copy of Daughter of the Centaurs, available now!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Looking Ahead: Alethea Kontis and Enchanted!

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 Alethea Kontis and her magical book Enchanted on the blog!

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

AK: Every fairy tale you know came from the Woodcutter family.

TCR: What's the best thing so far about being a published author?

AK: The absolutely amazing friends I've made all over the world. To think, they were once complete strangers!

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

AK: I was torn, to be perfectly honest. On the one hand, I LOVED it. It's a freaking gorgeous cover. I want the font and the dress, in that order. The other hand reminded me that it wasn't my original title, and it wasn't art by John Jude Palencar or K.Y. Craft...but a girl has to have goals, right?

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

AK: You can stay up with everything I do at www.aletheakontis.com. There is a special page dedicated solely to ENCHANTED and all the relevant reviews, interviews, and Easter Eggs at: http://aletheakontis.com/about/enchanted Which reminds me that I need to post about the audiobook sale of ENCHANTED to Brilliance Audio...woohoo!!

Thank you so much, Alethea!

Read on to learn more about Enchanted, which will be out on May 8th, 2012!
"It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true. 
When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises. 
The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?"
What do you think?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

When Lena escaped into the wilds, she ended up alone and devastated by the loss of her newfound love, Alex. She is taken in by a rebel group at a homestead in an abandoned town, and struggles to recover emotionally and physically as best as she can. Life is hard as a rebel, and it only gets harder as Lena is drawn into a more active role in the resistance, getting close to Julian, son of an anti-love activist. When the two are abducted and must figure out how to escape unscathed, working together uncovers secrets…and feelings that Lena didn't think she'd ever feel again.

Lauren Oliver's second book in the Delirium trilogy is just as emotional, intense, and action-packed as the first. Oliver picks up right where Delirium leaves off, with Lena at an all-time low. To have a strong heroine who has overcome so much be dealt such a blow is hard to read about, but readers will find Pandemonium nearly impossible to put down. Oliver keeps the book from being gloomy by hopping back and forth between Lena's recovery and her undercover role months later back in society, racketing up the suspense and tension with each chapter. Oliver's plotting is extremely clever, from escape routes to secret codes and hidden intentions, and she always manages to work in a plot twist when you least expect it. Lena's relationship with Julian is different from the one she had with Alex—it's much more tentative and complicated, yet no less vivid and heartfelt. Those stolen romantic moments are almost as sweet as the tantalizing glimpses of other long lost characters. Pandemonium certainly lives up to its title with its constant action and relationships in a state of flux, but small triumphs and moments of happiness do exist amongst the chaos. Oliver conclude the novel with a cliffhanger ending that will irrevocably change the life that Lena has managed to build for herself, and readers will be desperate for the next book in this beautifully written and emotionally wrought series.

Cover Comments: I like how this cover is in the same style as the new Delirium cover, and I do think it;s really pretty, though it doesn't exactly fit the story.

This book will be out tomorrow!

ARC provided by publisher.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shelf Discovery: Delicacy by David Foenkinos

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. 

A customer came in and asked about delicacy by Davod Foenkinos, so we got it in around Valentine's Day, and it sold within a few days--but not before I managed to peruse it! It's a French book that has been made into a movie starring Audrey Tatou, who is a great actress. I like the premise, and the writing is quirky and very readable. It's a very quick read, and I highly recommend it!

Here's what it's all about:
"Natalie and FranÇois are the perfect couple, and perfectly happy. But after FranÇois dies suddenly, only seven years into their still blissful marriage, the widowed Natalie erects a fortress around her emotions into which no one can gain access. Until the most unlikely candidate appears: Markus, Natalie’s Swedish, geeky, and unassuming coworker."
It was excellent, and now I'm really eager to see the movie!

What have you discovered lately?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fun Bookish Gifts That Give Back

If you are anything like me, then not only do you go crazy over books, but book-ish gifts and items as well! I found a perfect website for book-ish products that not only are cool, but they benefit literacy as well! All profits from these items are donated to funding libraries in developing countries! How awesome is that?

GoneReading.com carries a bunch of fun book-ish items, and they ship anywhere in the world! (Though if you live in the US, you can get free shipping if you spend $25 or more.) They carry tees, booklights, games, bookmarks, and more! My favorite so far--this Jane Austen for President tee!

More good news--I have a coupon code for 25% off your total purchase! It expires March 24th, so hurry up and use it before it's gone!

Get 25% off now: COMPULSIVEREADER25

Friday, February 24, 2012

The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols

Gemma is used to being second best in her friendship with Addison. Addison has always been hypercritical, and now that Gemma has succeeded at losing 50 pounds to join the majorette squad, their friendship is strained. One day at majorette camp, Gemma and Addison meet Max and Carter. Gemma is sure that Max was staring at her, and Carter seems to like Addison—but Addison has already decided that Max is the one that she wants. She makes this clear to Gemma, but Gemma may have just found the one thing that will motivate her to stand up to Addison once and for all.

The One That I Want is as much a romance as it is a sort of coming age for Gemma. She's been hanging on the sidelines for too long and her weight loss and new status as one of the best members of the majorette squad have been great for her self-esteem—she's been building up to her breaking point as far as Addison is concerned. The girls' friendship with Max and Carter creates plenty of drama, and there are some interesting parallels between the two sets of friends. Throughout the drama, Gemma does her best, and readers will be solidly on her side as she begins to realize what friendship is not, and that standing up for yourself can have some unexpected benefits and consequences. Anyone who has even gone through the angst of liking someone who may or may not reciprocate will empathize with Gemma, and her journey towards self-acceptance is universal. The One That I Want is a fun, romantic read with a good bit of drama, stolen kisses, and a great message about standing up to bullies—not to win a guy, but for yourself.

Cover Comments: Though the two models on the cover don't resemble Max or Gemma, the cover is pretty, light, and cute! I like it!
Review copy purchased on Kindle.

This one is available for only $6.99 as an e-book!

Steal Alert: Cool Friday Deal!

If you're looking for something to read this weekend, check out Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey! It's only $1.99 for a limited time! It sounds like the perfect read for a cold and snowy weekend!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Looking Ahead: Jennifer Nielsen and The False Prince

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 I have Jennifer Nielsen, author of The False Prince! I first heard about The False Prince at the GLIBA trade show back in October, and everyone at the Scholastic book was really excited about it! Here's Jennifer!

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

JN: In this game, it’s either treason or death.

TCR: What surprised you the most about your road to publication?

JN: Before I sent THE FALSE PRINCE to my agent, I warned my husband that if it sells at all, it’d probably take a while. But in our first round of submissions, four of the six publishers made offers on it and we ended up with a pre-empt deal with Scholastic! Honestly, every day of that process when my agent would email me with the latest update, my jaw would just drop – I literally could not believe the way things were unfolding.

For two years, I’ve often heard from those involved in the publication process of their love of this story and their feelings that the book will be well received by readers of all ages. But remember, I’m that person who wasn’t sure the story would get published at all, and so while I’ve sincerely appreciated and genuinely loved every kind comment, I knew the real test would come once actual readers got the book.

Now that THE FALSE PRINCE is finding its way into the literary world, I’m starting to hear from readers, and thus far the response has been wonderful. So the biggest surprise for me is simply that everything with this publication experience has been even better than I could possibly have imagined.

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

JN: The art was done by Tim O’Brien, who also did THE HUNGER GAMES, and the cover design was done by Christopher Stengel, who did the SHIVER series. With those two artists involved, I knew the cover was in amazing hands. And as beautiful as I thought it was on screen, nothing is equal to seeing the cover in person. The gold is embossed and just stands out so elegantly against that dark blue. This past Christmas, my husband had the cover framed, and now I can sit in my office and just stare at it all day!

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

JN: The best way is on my website, www.jennielsen.com, or else readers can “like” THE FALSE PRINCE fan page on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @nielsenwriter.

Thank you very much for hosting me for this interview.

TCR: Thank you, Jennifer! Read on to learn more about The False Prince!
"THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end. 
In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well. 
As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together. 
An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats."
The False Prince will be available on April 1st, 2012!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


One book that I am looking forward to this spring is Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard. It comes out on March 13th and it chronicles the journey of 18-year-old Bria as she backpacks through Central America.

The novel is bound to be excellent because it's strongly influenced by Hubbard's own experiences traveling to Central America. To celebrate the novel's release, she's heading back to central America and blogging about her trip at wanderlove.com. 

But this website isn't going to be all about her travels--she wants readers to participate as well by submitting pictures of their own favorite places, near and far! If you submit by March 5th, you'll be entered for a chance to win a personalized and signed copy of Wanderlove! You can check out all the details at wanderlove.com! In the meantime, I hope you also check out the book and pre-order it!

To kick things off, I thought I'd share a  couple of photos with you all about my own wanderlove:

This is me on the top of La Peña de Francia in Spain. I studied abroad there this past summer, and one my favorite day trips was to a small village called La Alberca, which is near this beautiful mountain range and to the top of this mountain. There is an old monastery on top of the tallest mountain in this range that is now a hotel. The day we went up to the top was bright and clear, and HOT. My group made fun of me for wearing a scarf that day, because in the city we were staying in it was about 95 degrees. By the time we got to the top, it was a cool 60 and I was glad for the scarf. The breathtaking views were totally worth the utterly terrifying trip up the mountain in an old van without shocks on a road without guardrails, perilously close to many steep inclines. I could have stayed up there for the rest of my life and been completely and utterly content. The monks really had the right idea when they settled up there.

The view of La Peña de Francia from the top floor of a house in La Alberca.

My group on the steps of a very old church in La Alberca.

Here we are on the top of the wall guarding the fortified Ciudad Rodrigo. That castle you see was once the fortress of the Castille family (the family of Queen Isabella, the Catholic Queen responsible for sending Christopher Columbus across the sea and for Spanish Inquisition), and is now a five star hotel so expensive they wouldn't even let a person like me enter through their gates and into the courtyard.

Share your pictures at wanderlove.com and let me know about them so I can check them out!

Reading Rants: Recommended Independently Published E-books

With the crazy popularity of e-readers, it's no surprise that independently published e-books have become so popular as of late, mostly due to their low prices (which is a bigger thing I take issue with, but that's for another time). Whereas before bloggers stayed away from independently published books because they were usually pretty bad, now there are a TON of good ones out there that are receiving attention from readers and are even finding book deals at major publishing houses (Amanda Hocking, and most recently Brittany Geragotelis). Not to mention that there are a bunch of traditionally pubbed authors who are turning to e-publishing.

Because I like being able to recommend things and I'm curious myself, I've sort of undertaken finding good independently pubbed books to recommend as a project. All except one I've had to purchase myself, which has made me be very discerning and very careful. I've developed a system that involves a lot of concentrated browsing, and is heavily dependent on reader reviews and ratings. Then, the Sample feature on Amazon is employed quite liberally, and only if I can't imagine going the day without finding out what happens next do I click Buy.

I've been doing this for about three months so far and this is what I've come up with (don't take the brevity of the list as any indicator of the amount of quality of there--I've been busy). I definitely plan on adding to the list as I come across stuff I like. Happy browsing!

Helper12 by Jack Blaine

This was the first I ever tried, and I was pleasantly surprised. This futuristic tale with elements of Jane Eyre definitely hooked me immediately, and I enjoyed the developing relationships and little twists. If you want a well-written dystopian that's a standalone with a happy ending, then this book is definitely for you.

Helper12 is available for $6.99.

Plus, look for Jack's next book, The Nightworld, coming out from HarperCollins in April!

The Boyfriend Thief by Shana Norris

This was the first independently published book I purchased, but I wasn't too uneasy about it because Norris has traditionally published two other novels. It turned out to be quite a fun book with some good emotional depth and turmoil and lots of humor. I'd definitely pick up anything new she put out. Do check it out!

The Boyfriend Thief is available for $2.99.

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

I was totally intrigued by this book's premise, and I always love finding YA books about characters going into college--just because you graduate from high school doesn't mean you're too old for YA. The humor is sharp and fast, and even though I sorta figured out the big twist about a third of the way through the book, there are plenty of other little mysteries and tensions to keep it interesting. Plus, the romance is hot.

Flat-Out Love is available for $2.99.

"Familiar" by Michelle Hudson

This is just a little paranormal short story I bought on a whim--I follow the author on Twitter, and she is quite pleasant so I thought I'd give it a shot. The story is cute, and there is a nice amount of romance packed in a small package. If you enjoy paranormal books about witches and warlocks and you like a little romance and drama, check this one out!

"Familiar" is available for $0.99.

Unbroken Connection and Cayman Summer by Angela Morrison

These two books are actually sequels to Taken by Storm, which was published by Razorbill a few years ago. The first book is about a Mormon girl, Leesie, who falls in love with Michael, a non-believer who just lost his parents in a terrible storm at sea and is having a hard time dealing. I really liked Taken by Storm--the romance, the emotion--but I thought it ended well. Turns out Morrison had a few more books in mind for Leesie and Michael, so she independently published them. They do get into the Mormon religion quite a bit more than Taken by Storm did. I'm Lutheran, so religion in books doesn't bug me, and it was interesting to learn a little bit more about Mormonism, though it didn't really do anything for me. Still, if you liked Taken by Storm, these books might be fun for you to see where Leesie and Michael end up.

Both Unbroken Connection and Cayman Summer are available for $2.99.

Cross My Heart by Katie Klein

I was a little surprised at how many reviews this one has on Amazon, and most of them were glowing. I also had heard that Klein got signed by an agent recently, so I decided to check her out. I liked the sound of Cross My Heart over her paranormal Guardian books, so that was what I downloaded. I really did enjoy it, and any problems I had with the plot or minor kinks in the writing are something I feel like a good editor would have caught--this book has awesome potential, and the story (and romance) are great!

Cross My Heart is available for $3.99.

What were your thoughts on these books? Do you have anything you'd like to recommend to me? Let me know in the comments! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Kim Purcell and Trafficked

One book that you all should know about is Kim Purcell's Trafficked. It touches on some very important issues being addressed in the news today, human trafficking. Read on to see what it's all about!
"Hannah believes she's being brought from Moldova to Los Angeles to become a nanny for a Russian family. But her American dream quickly spirals into a nightmare. The Platonovs force Hannah to work sixteen-hour days, won't let her leave the house, and seem to have a lot of secrets - from Hannah and from each other. Stranded in a foreign land with false documents, no money, and nobody who can help her, Hannah must find a way to save herself from her new status as a modern-day slave or risk losing the one thing she has left: her life."
I can't even imagine being put into such a situation. Kim Purcell did a lot of research on the very real and frightening business of trafficking, and she was kind enough to take a moment to tell us what she hopes that readers will get out of her book. Here's Kim:
"I wrote TRAFFICKED, a story about a girl who comes from Moldova to America to be a nanny and ends up a modern-day domestic slave, because I was shocked that people could actually keep people working as slaves in their homes in this day and age. I figured that kind of thing could happen in a poorer country, but certainly not in a developed country like America.

When I did more research, I learned that in most cases, these girls and women had many chances to leave or escape and they chose not to. This fascinated me because I realized then that they weren’t any different from any of us who want to do something, but we don’t, out of fear. I hope that when people read TRAFFICKED, they’ll see themselves in Hannah. Maybe they’ll realize that she’s afraid, but I’m afraid too. Perhaps it will help people push out of whatever box they’ve built around themselves, so they do what they need to do.  
I also hope that my readers realize, as I did, that modern-day slaves aren’t weak victims, so different from us. It could happen to someone like me and it could happen to someone like them. I don’t think we should separate ourselves from people in this situation because that keeps us from seeing what’s happening right next door. 
If we create more awareness about the issue and more protection for people who come forward and report their traffickers to the police, we can decrease slavery in this country and around the world. Maybe when people read TRAFFICKED, they’ll be motivated to do something about this terrible problem. If nothing else, the novel will create more awareness. I hope that after people read this book, they’ll be kinder to people they meet who don’t speak English perfectly, people who might be illegal or legal, people who work very hard to make a living in this country and have so many beautiful qualities if only people would give them a few minutes of their time. 
Finally, my most fervent hope, a dream, really, is that some girl somewhere will read this book and she won’t ever go with a trafficker because she will have recognized some of the red flags. If just one girl is saved somewhere from this fate, it would mean everything to me."

You can pick up a copy of Trafficked now!  Thank you to Kim Purcell for her research and her voice!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Shelf Discovery: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

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.

My co-worker brought today's Shelf Discovery to my attention a couple of weeks ago--she has a real sharp eye for books that look very good! The Snow Child not only has a wonderful and lovely cover, but the premise sounds absolutely enthralling. Check it out:
"Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. 
This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them."
This description sort of reminds me of the trailer for the movie The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Either way, I think it sounds amazing, and maybe if I ever graduate from college, I will have time to read it.

What do you think? Have you discovered anything cool recently?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

Natasya has been alive for almost 500 years. She's one of the Immortals, nearly impossible to kill and fated to live forever. She has spent the past century in the company of her best friend Inocencio, seeking the next best party or thrill. But when Inocencio thoughtlessly tortures a human, Natasya is jolted from her meaningless lifestyle. Panicked, she runs away and seeks refuge with River, an Immortal she met years earlier, who offers a home for wayward Immortals. Though she is opposed to River's rules and ideals at first, the longer she immerses herself into a simple existence, the more she realizes what's been missing in her long life—including clues to her troubled past.

Immortal Beloved is a surprisingly engrossing novel. Natasya has a very cynical voice, but as Tiernan gets further along in the story, layers of sarcasm are peeled back to reveal a very real girl who has been unhappy for decades, a direct result of attempting to grapple with a dark past she doesn't fully understand. Tiernan does a good job at making a character that has been around for centuries still sound like a relatable, sometimes immature teenager, and cites the reasons for Natasya's behavior as emotional pain and uncertainty.

There is a certain amount of romanticism to the setting of River's home and the rural life that helps so many Immortals connect with each other and the lighter sides of their potential power. However, Immortal Beloved does stay rooted in more human instincts and actions with some drama between Natasya, the mysterious and handsome Reyn, and the younger Immortal Nell who has a hopeless crush on Reyn and sees Natasya as a threat. The tensions between Natasya and Reyn, who hovers on the edges of her long memory, are interesting, and their physical interactions electric, which will satisfy readers with just enough romance without losing focus on Natasya's emotional journey. Though the ending is anti-climatic, readers will be very proud with how far their heroine has come, and interested in what her significance is in the world of the Immortals and how it will play out in book two, Darkness Falls.

Cover Comments: Though it is probably a little more commercial than my tastes usually run, I do like this cover. The font, the red smoke, and the sideways picture of the girl all create a very eye-catching image.

Review copy purchased.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Wrinkle in Time Trailer!

Remember the A Winkle in Time 50th anniversary celebration here on the blog last month? Well, another cool element is this new book trailer! Check it out!

What did you think? I love the classic elements combined the the more modern look!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Class of 2k12: A.C. Gaughen

The Class of 2k12 is a group of YA and MG authors making their debuts in 2012! I was lucky enough to ask most of them two questions about their debut novels. Today I have A.C. Gaughen on the blog to talk about her book, Scarlet! You might remember her from my Looking Ahead interview last year.

First, about Scarlet, which is out today!
"Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for."
And, here's A.C.!

TCR: What was the hardest part about writing your book? What was the easiest?

ACG: The hardest part about writing SCARLET was the history.  SCARLET is a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, and Scarlet’s story was actually there immediately; her character reimagines Will Scarlet as a girl that is a skilled thief but a total loner, and her whole narrative was just in my mind and it was like word-vomiting until I finished writing it--her voice even includes some deliberate bastardizations of English grammar, and I found myself thinking in that grammar for a while, which was a little disconcerting.  I couldn’t help it, and the story practically tore out of me.  It was by far the fastest novel I’ve ever written, and there was something insane and wonderfully easy about that kind of all consuming passion.

But then I went back over it to reexamine the historical context, and I really stressed about getting it right, especially since from what I can tell, there was no historical Robin Hood.  So then it became about treading the fine line between what the popular understanding of Robin Hood’s history is, and where I wanted Scarlet’s story to fit into history.  It was definitely complicated, but I loved every minute of it. 

Thanks so much! Scarlet is out today, so be sure to go pick up a copy of the book!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cover Talk: Kerstin Gier's Gorgeous New Covers!

Last June, I stumbled upon a German book that quietly released in the US that was loads of fun! Kerstin Gier's Ruby Red is a great European time traveling story that features a down to earth heroine, some intriguing family drama, and of course, fascinating trips through time! I devoured it and have been longing for the sequel, Sapphire Blue, which is set to release to fall. (The sequel appears to be available in many countries in Europe--I saw a copy of it in Madrid back in June and was sorely tempted to buy it.)

Anyway, I'm very pleased to report that I saw a release date for Sapphire Blue on Amazon, along with a summary and a brand new cover design! A few Google searches later, and voila! I found the cover redesigns!

Though I really liked the classic, fairy tale-esque look of the original cover (below), I am in love with the new covers. The dresses are gorgeous! Check them out!

Fairy tale class:

Magical glamour:

First off, those dresses. They are stunning! They really capture the eye. But, what I think I like the best about them are their backgrounds--London scenes with swirly time vortexes or whatever they're supposed to be. They fit with the whole time travel thing, and just add to the drama of the covers! I love them!

What do you think?

The paperback edition of Ruby Red will be out May 22nd, 2012, and Sapphire Blue will be out on October 30th, 2012! I can hardly wait!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cross My Heart by Katie Klein

Jaden has spent her entire high school carrer dedicated to her grades, volunteer work, and extracurriculars. She's been dreaming about getting into Harvard for years, and now she's just days away from finding out if she's been accepted. When she's paired with Parker Whalen for a project in AP English, Jaden is slightly perturbed. Parker may be new to school, but he has a reputation for being a slacker and Jaden doesn't want to lose focus. But she's about to find that there is a lot more to Parker--and to life--than she initially thought.

Cross My Heart is a fun read with a sweet romance and realistic dialogue. The initial drama in the novel unfolds very nicely--Jaden doesn't see what she's missing out on, she doesn't really like her boyfriend that much, and there are some tensions in her family life with a distant father and a very full house. When she begins to get to know Parker, all of these issues begin to come to a head, and Jaden leans on him more and more until they find that they're falling for each other, much to the dismay of everyone around them. Parker's reputation results in the mystery of his past--no one seems to know much about him at all until Jaden takes the time to become his friend. The premise does seem a bit hokey, but Klein's voice is fresh and she includes many references to Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome, which is a book less widely read than the classic that usually are slipped into YA novels and fits into Jaden and Parker's story nicely. All of the elements work together well until the end of the novel when Parker's big secret is revealed. It's one that requires a stretch of the imagination to accept, is rushed out onto Jaden and the reader, and is portrayed a touch too unrealistically. Jaden's reaction to his news and how she deals with it are also very awkward. This is a disappointment since it's very easy to see how, with a little more careful editing, Klein could have made it believable. Still, readers will be rooting for Jaden and Parker, and a happy ending does follow. Cross My Heart is a wonderful romance, and if readers can get over the unbelievable (but romantic) ending, it's worth the $3.99 spent.

Cover Comments: The cover doesn't have anything to do with the book, but it is pretty! It doesn't look like it has been independently published, which definitely helps it!

Cross My Heart is available for $3.99 as an e-book!

Review opy purchased from Amazon.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Reading Rants: Some Things Are Better With Romance

Sometimes there's nothing better than curling up with a nice romance read when it's cold and blustery out. It's especially nice when all of the pink decorations go up and the chocolate comes out. You have to admit--sometimes some things are just better with a little romance. Pick up one of these lovely books to keep you company over the weekend!

Sometimes Love is Sweet

There really is nothing sweeter than a Stephanie Perkins books to get you a romantic mood. Her two books, Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, are adorable and slightly mushy (but not too much) and all around very charming. Her protagonists are quirky and smart girls and the heroes are defintiely swoon-worthy.

Sometimes Love is Steamy

Simone Elkeles writes one hot romance novel. Check out the Perfect Chemistry trilogy (Perfect Chemisy, Rules of Attraction, Chain Reaction) for protagonists with some serious chemistry! Already read them and looking for something similar? The you'll like Jennifer Echols' books, especially Going Too Far! I just finished The One That I Want, and I loved it!

Sometimes Loved is Complicated

Valentine's Day isn't always about what's going right in love--you know things can get messy. Definitely check out Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald (sounds way more depressing than it really is) for some good angst. Jane by April Lindner is a modern retelling of Jane Eyre, which we all know is very, very complicated story, and a good pick as well!

Sometimes Love is Star-Crossed

This is definitely true of Hazel and Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars. Jackson and Holly of Tempest don't have an easy time of it either. Michele and Philip of Timeless aren't even in the same century and they're falling in love. These books address the question: Does love really conquer all? Of course it does.

Sometimes Love is Meant to Be

From cross-country road trips (Amy and Roger's Epic Detour) to trans-Atlantic flights (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight) to escaping imprisonment in a dystopian society (Shatter Me), at the end of the story, you know some love is just meant to be.

What books do you recommend?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Video Interview with Daisy Whitney!

To celebrate the release of The Rivals, author Daisy Whitney is here today to answer a few of my questions via video! Here she is!

Thanks so much, Daisy! I love your recommendations--those are some of my favorites as well!

Click here to read my review of The Rivals, and be sure to pick up a copy today!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Looking Ahead: Wendy Higgins and Sweet Evil

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! 

I have Wendy Higgins, author of Sweet Evil, with me today!

TCR: Can you describe your book in ten words or less?
WH: A sexy and sweet love story about facing one's demons...

TCR: What's best thing about being a published author so far?
WH: I love interacting with fans/reviewers/bloggers/other authors. The writing community (despite its few recent flaws) is very supportive and I've made a lot of great friends.

TCR: What was your reaction when you first saw your book cover?
WH: I was blown away by the feel of it - the spookiness and intensity of the sweeping red dress. It completely captures the tone of the story. The models aren't exactly as I'd picture the characters, but that's to be expected. :) Kaidan would be taller, and Anna would be shorter, but they are VERY close. Even her uncomfortable stance and awkward arms are Anna-ish.

TCR: Where can we stay up to date on you and your book?
WH: The best place is my website/blog: www.wendyhigginswrites.com but I'm also on Twitter (Wendy_Higgins)

Thanks, Wendy! Sweet Evil will be out on May 1st, 2012! Read on to learn more about it!

"What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?  
This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.

Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?"

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Rivals by Daisy Whitney

Alex is back at Themis Academy for her senior year, and as leader of The Mockingbirds, the underground student justice system. She's still not completely over what happened to her last year, but she's eager to be a part of the Mockingbirds and help any way she can. When she's approached about a cheating ring using illegal prescription drugs, her job gets tough. There's no clear perpetrator, everyone has differing opinions, and every clue is sending her in a different direction. Can she hold the Mockingbiords together, find out who is playing with them, and bring down the cheaters without sacrificing her values?

The Rivals is an excellent sequel to Daisy Whitney's debut, The Mockingbirds. Though Alex still struggles with getting over her rape, the book doesn't focus on that issue--though Whitney does illustrate the point that standing up for what's right can have a lasting negative impact. But The Rivals sticks mainly to the problems at hand, and how Alex can fight the dirty tactics of the cheaters without becoming underhanded herself or crumpling under the pressure. It can be hard, and Alex isn't a perfect protagonist or leader, but the lessons she learns help amplify Whitney's message that doing right, and doing it honestly, are more important than winning and being the best. Whitney pulls this off without being preachy, and with an engrossing mystery as well. The books offers quite a different perspective than The Mockingbirds, but is no less entertaining. The Rivals is a riveting book aboutjustice and the peer pressures of high school.

Cover Comments: I like the yearbook style of this cover, and the graphics, but it does seem a little average compared to a lot of YA covers out there.

ARC picked up at BEA.

Stay tuned on Thursday for an exclusive video with Daisy Whitney!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Shelf Discovery: The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

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.

We just got The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown in the store in paperback, and I was attracted to it first for its cover (gorgeous) and the title (which reminded me of the band in Harry Potter, but is named for a quote from Shakespeare's Macbeth). I can't put it out til Tuesday, but I sure had fun just looking at it! Here's what it's all about:
"Three sisters have returned to their childhood home, reuniting the eccentric Andreas family. Here, books are a passion (there is no problem a library card can't solve) and TV is something other people watch. Their father-a professor of Shakespeare who speaks almost exclusively in verse-named them after the Bard's heroines. It's a lot to live up to.

The sisters have a hard time communicating with their parents and their lovers, but especially with one another. What can the shy homebody eldest sister, the fast-living middle child, and the bohemian youngest sibling have in common? Only that none has found life to be what was expected; and now, faced with their parents' frailty and their own personal disappointments, not even a book can solve what ails them..."
I think it sounds interesting, and a little different from what I would normally read. Though the description doesn't really grab me as much as the cover does, I have to think that the title gives you an idea that the writing would be interesting.

What do you think? What have you discovered lately?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Maggie Stiefvater's New Book!

Yesterday Maggie Stiefvater announced the details about her newest book! I am in love with everything that she writes, so I was eager to hear what this one would be about. Knowing her, she always has the most interesting storylines with wonderful little twists and magical writing!

Maggie Stiefvater's next book is...

...The Raven Boys!

Isn't that cover beautiful? I am in love with it!

And here is the official summary!

"Filled with mystery, romance, and the supernatural, The Raven Boys introduces readers to Richard “Dick” Campbell Gansey, III and Blue Sargent. Gansey has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on the hunt to find Glendower, a vanished Welsh king. Legend has it that the first person to find him will be granted a wish—either by seeing him open his eyes, or by cutting out his heart. 
Blue Sargent, the daughter of the town psychic in Henrietta, Virginia, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. But she is too practical to believe in things like true love. Her policy is to stay away from the rich boys at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. The boys there—known as Raven Boys—can only mean trouble. When Gansey and his Raven Boy friends come into her life, Blue realizes how true this is. She never thought her fortune would be a problem. But she was wrong."
It'll be out September 18th, 2012! What do you think? It sounds a little different but very intriguing! It's going to be a four book series, so I am sure that we will be left hanging at the end!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February Monthly Commenter Contest: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver is an amazing writer and storyteller, and her novels are magnificent. I fell in love with her second book, Delirium, and now I am excited for its sequel, Pandemonium, which comes out this month. I'm making it this month's Monthly Commenter Contest prize, which means that you can be one of the first ones to get it!

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 February 2012 are eligible, so keep coming back for more posts and more chances to comment. For all of the details, click here.
Click here to read more about Pandemonium!

What do you think of Lauren Oliver's writing? Are you excited for the release?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Butterfly Clues Contest!

I'm kicking off February with a contest for a book I am very, very excited about!

The Butterfly Clues is Kate Ellison's debut novel, and is about a girl who collects (and sometimes steals) beautiful things, only to get drawn into the mystery of the murder of another girl. The trailer is very awesome--click here to take a look at it if you haven't already seen it! Here's the official summary for the book:

"Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad's consulting job means she's grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she's learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place--possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home. 
But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as "Sapphire"--a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can't get the murder out of her mind. 
As she attempts to piece together the mysterious "butterfly clues," with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined--a world, she'll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother's tragic death."

A lot of things that main character Lo collects are found in flea markets, which can be interesting places. They hold a myriad of objects with their own stories and pasts, and there's always so much going on in them. What's the most interesting thing you've seen or found in a flea market (or antique shop, etc.)? If you haven't found something cool at a flea market, what's one thing you'd look for while browsing? Comment below and let me know--I'll enter you for a chance to win a signed copy of The Butterfly Clues, courtesy of Paper Lantern Lit!

The Butterfly Clues will be out on February 14th--the same day that the winner will be announced! Bonus entries to anyone who tweets/Facebooks/blogs about the contest! U.S. only, please.