The Compulsive Reader: July 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Looking Ahead: Sharon Cameron and The Dark Unwinding!

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!

On the blog today is Sharon Cameron, author of The Dark Unwinding! I met Sharon in New York during BEA week and watched her do readings at the Scholastic event (so much fun!) with Maggie Stiefvater, James Dashner, and Eliot Schrefer. She is very sweet, and I am so excited for The Dark Unwinding!

TCR: Can you describe your book in 10 words or less?

SC: Gothic Jane Eyre with steampunk, spies and a brooding romance.

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

SCL Something like, “Oh, WOW! This is a real book!” The whole process doesn’t even seem real sometimes until you see something concrete. I'm not sure I knew I’d actually sold a book until that moment.

TCR: What has been most surprising about the process of taking your story from an idea to a published book?

That getting my story published wasn’t really my goal! I don’t think I truly hit my stride as a writer until I quit focusing on getting my work published and instead turned all my attention to writing the best novel I possibly could. Continuing to learn and get better on each step of the journey, both before and after publication (and there’s quite a lot to learn after publication!), has become much more important than the actual fact of being published.

If I could have time traveled and read that statement six years ago, thinking my past self would be pretty surprised!

TCR: Where is the best place to stay up to date on you and your books?

Thanks so much, Sharon! 

And here's more about The Dark Unwinding, which will be out on September 1st!
"A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance! 
When Katharine Tulman's inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London. 
Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity. 
As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle's world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance."
Doesn't that sound amazing?

I have some Dark Unwinding swag to give away--leave me a comment below and I'll pick a few random winners and send out swag packs!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cover Talk: Truth or Dare Cover Reveal

Truth or Dare is the debut YA novel of Jacqueline Green and I am thrilled to be able to reveal the cover today! It is gorgeous!

I love the blue tones, and how both the title and author's name pop. That pink is a great accent, and the simplicity of the large font for the title is really eye-catching. I definitely think this one will stand out on shelves!

Truth or Dare will be out sometime in May 2013 from Little, Brown. And it sounds like it'll be ah-mazing...
"Some say the seaside town of Echo Bay is cursed. 
They may be right. 
When a game of truth or dare spins out of control, three beautiful teen girls start receiving mysterious dares containing hints to dark secrets long buried. For artsy outcast Sydney Morgan; perfect, popular Caitlin “Angel” Thomas; and queen bee Tenley Reed, the truth is not an option. This is no party game—it’s do or die. And it’s their turn to play."
The only bad thing about this...we have to wait another 10 months to read it!

Check out jacquelinewrites.com and paperlanternlit.com to stay up to date on this book!

What do you think?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Live in Michigan?

Do you live in Michigan? Come out to Grand Rapids Tuesday night and see Anne Greenwood Brown and Susan Dennard at Schuler Books on Alpine! They'll be talking about their debut books, Lies Beneath and Something Strange and Deadly, and signing! I'll be there with some other fun YA bloggers and authors, so you should come out and mingle!

The event begins at 7 pm and is being held at their Alpine store! Check out the event page for more info, and I hope to see you there!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy

Charlotte is perfectly happy being the behind the scenes songwriter and manager for the band she started with three guy friends. But when two of her friends, Oliver and Trip, have a major disagreement that sends Trip packing and opens up the band to two new members, everything changes for Charlotte. Suddenly her best friends aren't talking to each other, and she's got a major crush on her new bandmate. And when her place in the band is shifted, it's suddenly a lot harder being friends with all of these guys.

Terra Elan McVoy's latest novel portrays the weird push and pull of high school friendships and dramas very well. Charlotte has a lot on her plate between her family, school issues, friend drama, and the band's new found success. McVoy gives it all equal treatment, making Charlotte seem like a very reachable and likable protagonist, despite her mistakes and occasional bad judgment calls. She struggles with finding her place among the guys, coming out of her shell, learning what constitutes a good friend, and how to deal with staying connect with her sister, who is off to college. There are a lot of really great, colorful characters sprinkled throughout the book, though I would have liked to see more of Trip, who becomes estranged from Charlotte throughout the majority of the book. The timeline of the novel is nice and works well for the story, and for the most part the book is nicely paced and keeps you moving forward. Fans of McVoy's previous works and musically-centered books will really enjoy this unique and fun book with a lot of great messages about friendships and romances.

Cover Comments: I love the bright blue of the cover background and the sweet coffee image. It's simple and very nice!

Review copy purchased.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Venom Trailer Countdown!

Venom by Fiona Paul is one of Penguin's Breathless Reads books, and it looks absolutely amazing. I can't wait to dive into this book, and I can't wait for the book trailer reveal! The countdown has begun...

To get ready for the trailer reveal (which will be on the USA Today Happily Ever After blog on Tuesday), I'm releasing a still from the trailer here as a teaser...here it is!

Isn't it cool? I love the old world look of this map! The final trailer has to awesome!

To get more stills from the Venom trailer, check out the rest of the blogs on the countdown tour!

July 23: Amber in Blunderland

July 24: Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf

July 25: Perpetual Page Turner

July 26: The Compulsive Reader

July 27: The Elliot Review

July 30: The Book Smugglers

July 31: USA Today’s Happily Ever After Blog [FULL TRAILER REVEAL]

Stay connected and follow Breathless Reads on Facebook and tumblr! Like Venom on Facebook, and follow Fiona Paul on Twitter!

Also, stay tuned for a Looking Ahead post with Fiona Paul, and a review of Venom!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cover Talk: Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy

I'm a huge fan of Terra Elan McVoy's writing. She writes really great novels about friendship and love and has gorgeous bright covers that are very eye-catching. Today she revealed the title and summary of her next release, Criminal!

Criminal, as you can see by the cover, is a little edgier than her last books. What do you think? I like the black, and I absolutely love the bullet splicing the title--very dangerous!

Go check out terraelan.com to learn more!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Looking Ahead: Carmen Rodrigues and 34 Pieces of You!

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!

On the blog today is Carmen Rodrigues and her new book 34 Pieces of You!

TCR: What was the hardest part about writing 34 Pieces of You

CR: Honestly, all of it. 34 PIECES OF YOU is told from three (really four) alternating points-of-view. You have the three main narrators--Jake, the brother; Sarah, the best friend; and Jessie, Sarah's younger sister--and Ellie, whose story is shared through her pieces. At the start of the novel, Ellie has died, and the other characters each feel responsible for her death. They start to examine their actions, telling us a story that spans five years. Plus, we're not only looking back, we're simultaneously moving forward. So there is what happened that night, what happened before that night, and what happened after.

To write from four different voices/two different sexes inside a nonlinear timeframe--all while dealing with an incredibly dark subject matter that, at times, made me feel very depressed--was difficult. I actually meant to write this book from only Sarah's P.O.V., but the story begged to be told otherwise. It took years to get it right--their vulnerabilities, back stories, and dialogue. And if you ask my editor, Jen Klonsky at Simon Pulse, she'll tell you that I'm a bit obsessive about my revision process. So the novel continued to be polished well after it was sold.

TCR: The easiest?

CR: Determining the locations. I'm most familiar with three places: Lorain, Ohio, Miami, Florida, and New York City. I grew up in Lorain and Miami, and have lived in NYC throughout the years. I wanted the bulk of 34 PIECES OF YOU to be set in a location that mirrored the emotional state of the narrators, so the majority of it takes place in a small, fictional Ohio town during the winter. About a fifth of the book takes place in NYC and Miami.

TCR: Where's the best place to stay up to date with you and your novels?

You can find me in so many places:

Twitter @ThisIsMyHndStnd
   --These boards show you the world I've created in 34 PIECES OF YOU. Really cool!

And here's what the book is all about:
"A dark and moving novel—reminiscent of Thirteen Reasons Why—about the mystery surrounding a teenage girl’s fatal overdose. 
There was something about Ellie…Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance—and kept watch. 
Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are thirty-four clues she left behind. Thirty-four strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. Thirty-four secrets of a brief and painful life. 
Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they confront the past, they will discover not only the darkest truths about themselves, but also what Ellie herself had been hiding all along…."
Want to win an advanced copy? Check out the Goodreads giveaway! And be sure to visit Carmen's website because she's giving away a ton of fun books to celebrate her release!

And check out this cool video with Carmen about the book!

34 Pieces of You will be out in September 4th, 2012!

Carmen is also the author of NOT Anything--click here to read my review!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mothership Giveaway!

Mothership by Martin Leicht and Ilsa Neal was one book that I enjoyed immensely! I loved the quirky humor, nonstop action, and kick-butt heroine. And...the aliens. It was just awesome. You can read my review here, and I highly recommend it...which is good because I have two copies to give away courtesy of Simon and Schuster!

About the book:
"Pregnant. In space. Yeah, things are really looking up.

It’s 2074 and Elvie’s unplanned pregnancy (with Cole Archer, who bolted out of town half a millisecond after hearing the news, not that Elvie’s bitter about it or anything) forces her to leave her best bud back on Earth and spend her junior year aboard a corny old space cruiser with forty-five other hormonal teen girls (one of whom just happens to be her arch-nemesis).

Getting shipped off to the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers was not how Elvie imagined spending her junior year, but she can go with the flow. That is, until a team of hot commandos hijacks the ship—and one of them turns out to be Cole.

Mothership is the first installment in a new trilogy from Martin Leicht and Isla Neal that has been described as Juno meets Pretty In Pink…but in space."
Check out the Facebook page, and the awesome book trailer!

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

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal

Elvie had a plan: get good grades and get a great job after school that allows her to travel the universe. But that plan got derailed by Cole, and now she's pregnant and attending the Hanover School for for Expecting Teen Mothers on a space ship orbitting Earth. Things are going as well as can beexpected considering Elvie is pregnant andher arch-nemesis is a fellow student at the school...pregnant with Cole's baby as well. But when a bunch of hot pirates board the ship just a few weeks short of Elvie's due date and tell the girls that they're not safe, things get interesting. And when it turns out that Cole is one of her so-called rescuers...well, then things get complicated.

Mothership is a wacky and hilarious novel reminiscent of Louise Rennison...if Rennison had written about teen pregnancy and aliens. Everything about this book, from the characters to the plot, is very quirky, but engagingly so. The humor is intelligent and quick to grab your attention, but not so out there as to lose your attention. Elvie is an excellent narrator; she's plucky, smart, and a little guy crazy, but that doesn't dimish her intelligence. On the surface she may appear to be silly and superficial, but she really is a mature character who has a lot of dreams and is struggling to make the best decisions for her baby and herself, and with feeling betrayed by Cole. She definitely doesn't sit around and wait for anyone to save her, and even eight months pregnant, she is kicking butt. The secondary characters are well-developed as well; Elvie's dad is pretty cool, even if he has trouble communicating with her and her best friend Duckie is fun and supportive in the best of ways. Though Cole does come off as dumb and rather unattractive at first, he does grow on the reader as the book moves along. There is plenty of good action, great laughs, and nice twist at the end of the book to guarantee that readers will be coming back for book two in the Ever Expanding Universe trilogy.
Cover Comments: I wasn't really sure about this cover at first just because it seems a bit juvenile, but it is a lot of fun and it fits the book nicely! Also, it really pops out on the shelf!

Review copy provided by publisher.

Stay tuned for your chance to win a copy!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Reading Rants: Books to Re-read

There's just something about summer and its (somewhat more) relaxed pace that makes me want to re-read old favorite books. Unfortunately for me this summer, Moby-Dick has taken up a shockingly large chunk of my time (I can't believe we're more than halfway through July and I'm not done already), and keeping up with just my regular reading schedule has been tough.

Sadly, this leaves me making lists of books I'd love to revisit, but don't have the time to, and living vicariously through the people who buy them at the bookstore (it's almost as good as the real thing). So, if it weren't for Moby-Dick*, these are the books I would re-read this summer:

Both of Robin Benway's books, Audrey, Wait! and The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

I just love Robin Benway's writing style. That woman can write. I love her characters, her fun, unconventional plots, and the humor infused in her narratives, even when she's writing about serious things. It's just brilliant. I wish that she had something new coming out soon, but it looks like the earliest we can expect anything is 2013. From what I've heard, they'll be a little different than her first two books, but I am excited nonetheless! If you haven't read anything by her, do so! Both books are in paperback and are inexpensive!

Read my review of Audrey, Wait! here.

Read my review of The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June here.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

I've been reading Sunshine every July for a couple of years now, and I fear that this will be the first year I don't have time to re-visit it! It's a vampire story, but wholly unlike any vampire stories that have come out in the past few years. Robin McKinley has always been able to put her own special spin on a lot of various conventions, and Sunshine is no exception. It's a lovely, thick read that is creepy and beautifully plotted, and I adore it.

Read my review here.

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford

Like Robin Benway, Natalie Standiford just has that special something that makes her books so readable and just so good. My favorite in Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters, which is told from the point of view of three sisters who each have done things that they believe have upset the matriarch of their wealthy family, their grandmother. This isn't a spoiled rich girl story--it's one with a lot of heart and confessions and love.

Read my review here.

Say the Word by Jeanine Garsee

When I first read Say the Word, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. It has a struggling perfectionist protagonist, estranged family members, and a character you just love to hate. But all of the family drama and secrets come together so well, making it a really heart-rending read about the boundaries of family and the sacrifices we're willing to make for those we love. I think it's a very important one, and I've been itching to re-read it for a while.

Read my review here.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

This was one of my favorite books of 2011--you can read my review here. I just am so impressed with Taylor's writing and imagination and I love, love, love the magical elements and settings in this book. I would love to re-read it before the sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, comes out this fall!

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Another one of my 2011 favorites, this is an awesome kick-butt fantasy! I liked the myths and religion that Carson created for this one, and I love the protagonist. The sequel, Crown of Embers, is out soon!

Read my review here.

What are some of your favorite books to re-read?

* Okay, so maybe I'm throwing a lot of blame toward Moby-Dick lately. But it's such a good scapegoat.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Black Heart by Holly Black

Cassel Sharpe is walking a fine line between working for the Feds and dealing with the Zacharov family. One misstep could land him in a lot of trouble. But working with the Feds isn't all it's cracked up to be. They claim that they're the good guys, but they're slippery and unexpected, and when they make Cassel a deal that seems too good to be true, Cassel is suspicious. The only problem? He can't afford to not take it.

Holly Black's conclusion to the Curseworkers trilogy is sharp and intelligent, full of sly plot twists and more elaborate cons that will keep you flipping pages late into the night. Cassel has to make a lot of tough decisions in this book, in dealing with his family, deciding what truths to tell, in how he will react to Lila, and how he ultimately wants to live his life and use his rare ability. There are a lot of attempts to dig up the past, with some interesting discoveries, and good drama between Cassel and the Zacharovs. It is a busy read, but not too overloaded, and Black does a great job at surprising readers and concluding the book without completely tying off all loose ends. Some things are left a mystery, but all of the important things are resolved, making for a very fitting end to this smart and intense mindbender of a trilogy.

Cover Comments: I'm not a fan of this cover at all...click here to read the Cover Talk post.

ARC provided by publisher.

Remember that one time I met Holly Black?

She's cool.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Quotable Herman Melville

Herman Melville is quite garrulous, and a lot of what he has to say is, in my opinion, completely useless. But part of what makes Moby-Dick so frsutrating to read is that he CAN write really well, and there are some really good quotes in Moby-Dick. HB and I compiled a few favorites:

"They asked him, then, whether to live or die was a matter of his own sovereign will and pleasure. He answered, certainly. In a word, it was Queequeg's conceit, that if a man made up his mind to live, mere sickness could not kill him: nothing but a whale, or a gale, or some violent, ungovernable, unintelligent destroyer of that sort." Ch. 110

"Wherefore, for all these things, we account the whale immortal in his species, however perishable in his individuality." Ch. 105

"Doubts of all things earthly, and intuitions of some things heavenly; this combination makes neither believer or infidel, but makes a man who regards them both with equal eye." Ch. 85

"Thus, while in life the great whale's body may have been a real terror to his foes, in his death his ghost becomes a powerless panic to a world."

"Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began." Ch. 60

"You may think with what emotions, then, the seamen beheld this old Oriental perched aloft at such unusual hours; his turban and the moon, companions in one sky." Ch 51

"There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit therof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own." Ch 49

"But at this critical instant a sudden exclamation was heard that took every eye from the whale. With a start all glared at dark Ahab, who was surrounded by five dusky phantoms that seemed fresh formed out of air." Ch 47

"As a carpenter's nails are divided into wrought nails and cut nails; so mankind may be similarly divided. Little Flask was one of the wrought ones; made to clinch tight and last long. " Ch 27

"A man like Queequeg you don't see every day, he and his ways were well worth unusual regarding." Ch 4

"Starbuck was no crusader after perils; in him courage was not a sentiment; but a thing simply useful to him, and always at hand upon all mortally practical occasions." Ch 26

There you go, the one post you'll get out of us that proves Melville can be a great writer!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Looking Ahead: Origin and Jessica Khoury

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!

On the blog today is Jessica Khoury, author of Origin!

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

JK: Immortal teenager Pia discovers the dark secrets behind her creation. (Wow. That was really hard. How very sneaky of you, Tirzah! =) jk, I love you, but seriously. Ten words. That's brutal.)

TCR: Haha, sorry to make you squirm! What was your reaction when you first saw your cover?

JK: This:

Which translates to: I instantly loved how unique the cover is. It just pops at you and says, "You ain't seen nothing like me!" And it's true. I've yet to see a cover similar to this one, and I think it will look fantastically refreshing and eye-catching on shelves! Plus, it just captures so much of the book's heart: mystery, beauty, exoticism. They really nailed it! I love that the girl on the cover is composed of negative space; anyone could look at that and see themselves in her place, I think, which is pretty cool.

TCR: What has surprised you the most about the process of taking your story from an idea to a published book? 

JK: It seems every week brings a new surprise! Something that stands out to me is how fully everyone at Penguin has embraced and supported the story from day one. Everyone from editorial to marketing has been so excited about the book, which has really been encouraging to me. Because of their enthusiasm, the book has been rushed through the publication process. I'd always heard you can expect a two year wait between selling a book and seeing it on shelves. Not so here! When it hits shelves, Origin will have been in production for only eleven months--an unusually short waiting time for a novel! It blew me away at how quickly this has all happened. I'm still a little dizzy.

TCR: Where is the best place for readers to stay up to date on you and your books? 

JK: My website, www.jessicakhoury.com, for big news and in-depth information. But for day to day updates, follow my Twitter @jkbibliophile or my Facebook page!

TCR: And what a beautiful website it is! Thanks again, Jessica! I am looking forward to Origin I hope a lot of my readers are as well! 

JK: Thank you so much, Tirzah! There were some great questions--even your vicious ten-word one. ;-) What an honor to be on your blog! =)

Want to know more about Origin? Read on!
"Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home--and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life. 
Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin--a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever. 
Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost."
Origin will be out on September 4th, 2012!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Taken by Storm Anniversary!

Ten years ago this week, Taken by Storm's scuba-diving hero, Michael, swam out of  YA author Angela Morrison's brain and onto her page. Join the anniversary celebration! Win your own copy of the brand new paperback! Snag Taken by Storm's Kindle ebook for only $ .99! Unbroken Connection (Book 2) and Cayman Summer (Book 3) are free on Kindle! Hurry. The promotion ends Friday, July 20th. Don't own a Kindle? Download free Kindle apps for your laptop, tablet, iTouch, or phone.

In Taken by Storm, Leesie has life figured out until devastated Michael lands in her small town high school. He needs her like no one has before.

from Taken by Storm . . .

I’m lost to his firm chest,

his slender fingertips, his long wavy hair,

his mouth sucking my bottom lip—

The world spins, the stars shift,

and I can’t see anything except his smoky

gray eyes gazing into mine.

You scare me, whispers

from my mouth across his.

Good, he breathes into me.

I need you to save me.

"[Morrison] handles the topics of religion and premarital sex gracefully without passing judgment. The message has less to do with religion than learning to respect and cherish others while staying true to one’s own beliefs.” – Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

Brand new paperback and reformatted ebook with fully scalable fonts. Includes bonus, never-before-published scene, "Airport Good-bye!"

Angela Morrison is the award-winning YA author of Taken by Storm (Books 1-3) and Sing Me to Sleep. She grew up in Eastern Washington on the wheat farm where Taken by Storm is set. She's an advanced NAUI, Nitrox certified scuba diver. The hurricane that kills Michael's parents was inspired by a real-life diving accident. She wrote Cayman Summer, book three of Michael and Leesie's saga, with fan input, athttp://caymansummer.blogspot.com/.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Steal Alert: Great Reads Under $3

Hey there,

I just quickly wanted to share some deals going on for two really great reads, in case you are looking for your next read!

First, Matched by Ally Condie is available for only $2.99 TODAY ONLY! Grab it and start the trilogy before the final book, Reached, comes out this fall! Click here to read my review!

Second, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, my favorite fantasy read of 2011, is also available for only $2.99 for a limited time! Definitely grab this one and read it before the sequel, The Crown of Embers, comes out (I'm so excited!). Also, an exclusive short story, "The Shadow Cats," comes out on Tuesday, so be sure to download that as well! I've already got that on pre-order--I just love Rae Carson's writing! Click here to read my review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

Happy reading!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Celia and her two sisters share more than a birth date--they each possess supernatural powers that allow them to know people better. But while her sisters are blessed with the gifts of seeing people's presents and futures, Celia can only see their pasts. This seems useless, until she meets the mermaid Lo. Lo is struggling to hold on to her humanity, and accessing forgotten memories helps her hold on. But their friendship is challenged when the girls clash over Jude, a drowning boy they helped save, and the dark forces behind what transformed Lo from human to mermaid are revealed.

Jackson Pearce's Fathomless takes its inspiration from "The Little Mermaid" but it bears little resemblance to the original tale. The narrative is split pretty much equally between Celia and Lo, though Lo has a lot of internal conflicts that make her an unstable narrator, and Celia comes off as the more reliable narrator. Celia, her sisters, their powers, and their sometimes rocky relationship was interesting, but not really fully developed. Celia's new relationship with musician Jude is much more entertaining. Jude is the ideal male lead—kind, quirky, straightforward, with just enough romance. It's no wonder that Lo can't help but like him, despite her ulterior motives for wanting him to fall in love with her. Lo's struggles were heartrending, and her connection to Pearce's Sweetly will make readers happy, but there was still a maddening lack of information about her and her situation by the end of the novel. Fathomless moves quickly, and is a nice addition to Pearce's collection of supernatural fairy tale retellings, but it wasn't very satisfying.

Cover Comments: It's pretty, but I am disappointed. Click here to find out why.

ARC picked up at BEA.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Classics Corner: Eating Whale

There are many things to ponder over the hours and hours and hours it takes to read Moby-Dick, but strangely enough the things I think about are not how Moby-Dick is less of a novel and more of an in-depth look at whaling and what it meant for the US in the 19th century, how it is about the nature of vengeance or whatever, or about the issues of man and nature and how they're connected.

Instead, I can't stop thinking about how reading Moby-Dick is like eating a whale. That and the obvious sexual innuendos, but, ahem, you don't really need me to explain those for you.

At first you a presented with this giant whale of a book. It's huge. It's dense. It doesn't look like a lot of fun. It's so large, it's overwhelming, and you think, "Nah, maybe I'll just skip it."

But you gotta do. You just have to start.

So at first, it's not too bad. You decide to start with the tail it's smaller than the head, and it seems doable. And for a little while you're like, "Hey, this isn't bad at all! Look at me, I'm eating whale!"

And then the whale starts to get a little thicker, and your pace slows a little. You're not quite as sure as you once were. You realize whales are HUGE. And you're tired. What you really want to do is go outside in the sun, or go watch the new episode of Suits in air conditioning. But you can't give in.

A little before you're halfway there, you might feel like you're at your breaking point. You'll call your best friend and tell her that you're really sick of whale, and can you just ditch it and go to the beach? And she'll tell you to suck it up and keep going, but it's okay because soon your roles will be reversed and you can be the one screeching at her to NOT GIVE UP.

And then...you'll hit the halfway mark. And it feels AMAZING. Look at all you've eaten! One half of the giant whale is completely gone, and the second half no longer looks as daunting as it did earlier. You totally got this.

Your progress might be slowed a little when the halfway euphoria wears off, but you just keep eating whale. And before you know it, you're about to hit another milestone--the 2/3 mark! And it's rough, but you're prepared to five in and go for the most challenging part.


Okay, that'll be the end of what is probably the grossest metaphor for reading literature ever.

Somewhere in my dark moments, I did ponder the flow of the narrative, and how frustrated I was that Melville can't really tell you anything without showing you snippets of a scene and injecting them with random bits of history and other philosophical asides. I contemplated charting the flow of these chapters, but there are 185 of them, and I was busy eating whale, so I made this pie chart to send to HB instead:

See, every time I try to think about this book in a mature way, I get distracted by the ridiculous. Story of my life.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Looking Ahead: Defiance and C.J. Redwine

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 C.J. Redwine, author of Defiance, on the blog!

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

CJR: Girl + Boy + Monster + Secrets + Assassins + Heartbreak + Swoony = Defiance

TCR: What was your reaction when you first saw your cover?
CJR: I almost licked my monitor. I maybe teared up a bit. I definitely squealed. And then I emailed it to my besties so they could lick their monitors and squeal too.

TCR: What surprised you the most about the writing and publication process for Defiance?
CJR: I was surprised by how much I loved the editing process. My editor, Kristin Rens, is so skilled at getting to the heart of the story and she pushes me hard without giving me the answers. We work well together. At the end of the editing process, I had the book I'd always meant to write.

TCR: What's the best place for readers to stay up to date on you and your books?
CJR: My blog: http://cjredwine.blogspot.com or follow me on Twitter: @cjredwine

Thanks so much, C.J.! And read on to learn more about Defiance!
"Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making."
Defiance will be available August 28th, 2012! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Samantha has been watching the Garretts, the family next door, for years. She never imagined that she'd ever be allowed into their messy, chaotic world until the day that Jase Garrett introduces himself and the two begin to fall for each other. Samantha is thrilled to be a part of the Garretts' lives, but she knows that her mother, the conservative state senator, would not be happy with the association. So Samantha sneaks around, avoiding her mother's judgment, until one night her two worlds collide and Samantha must decide what's right, and which family she will stand with.

Huntley Fitzpatrick has crafted a near-perfect summertime read in My Life Next Door. With an intoxicating blend of romance, humor, sunshine, and realistic family and moral issues, this book sucks you in from the very beginning. The characterization is fantastic; Samantha is an engaging and relatable protagonist who struggles with knowing and loving her mother, even if she doesn't always agree with her views or actions. This issue seems to float in the background at the beginning, but it quickly rises to the surface as the book progresses, becoming the main problem. Each member of the Garrett family is vibrant and memorable, Samantha's friends are flawed and special, and even the book's "bad guy" Clay has a magnetic personality that makes him fun to hate. Samantha and Garrett's relationship is so much fun—he's an easy-going, hardworking, and charming character. Though their romance wasn't always perfect or ideal, the way that each of them work through the rough patches was realistic and true. The major conflict is quite a big deal, and Fitzpatrick handles it well, staying true to her characters and their situations. Though the ending is neither ideal nor perfect, it felt right, and after everything that Samantha and Jase go through, the book does leave them in a good place. My Life Next Door is an excellent, beautifully written book with great pacing, wonderful emotion, and unforgettable characters.

Cover Comments: I love this cover--the fence behind the characters is a cool element, and I am in love with the lighting. It's so fresh and summery. I will say that the romance of the cover does belie the rather serious nature of the book, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Such a beautiful cover!

Review copy purchased on Kindle (because I couldn't wait for it!).

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summer Loving

The Fourth of July may have passed, but we still have a lot of summer left (if this heat is any indication)! I am a huge fan of summer reads--and not boring, dry, assigned things like Moby-Dick, but the fun, summery, romantic books that remind you of beaches and sunshine. I tend to like mine with a little bit of substance, which is why I am enjoying and recommending these books for your beach bag:

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

One summer to reconnect, to try and make up for past mistakes.

Read my review here.

Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham

Their favorite band from middle school is reuniting for one last concert, against all odds. Can three ex-best friends reunite for the ten days it'll take for them to drive to see the final concert?

Review coming soon!

In Honor by Jessi Kirby

When Honor receives a letter from her brother who died in Iraq, and she sets out for California with his estranged best friend to carry out his last request.

Review coming soon!

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Bria discovers that the best trips are the ones that are unplanned, spontaneous, and way off course.

Read my review here.

The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Terra Elan McVoy

Three sisters, three boys, one last summer together at the summer camp they love.

Read my review here.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

After years of watching the family next door, summer with the boy next door is not what Samantha was expecting at all.

Review coming soon!

Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abbie McDonald

When dumped by her best friend and long-time crush, Sadie launches Operation Get over Garrett Delaney in order to save her summer and her sanity.

Read my review here.

And of course, here are some classic picks from years previous:

The Summer Trilogy by Jenny Han

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner

Heartbreak River by Tricia Mills

Stay by Deb Caletti

What are some of your favorite summer reads?

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Hunt Audio Book!

Last week I reviewed The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda (you can read my review here), but what I didn't mention is that it is also available as an audio book! Thanks to the generosity of Macmillan Audio, I have an excerpt here for you to listen to!

Based off of this clip and the action of the book, I think this one would be really fun and intense to listen to! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

When Meg and Minnie are invited to a weekend getaway at a classmate’s secluded beach house on Henry Island, they're expecting an illicit weekend of fun and no adult supervision. But things are weird from the start—their hostess never shows, and a freaky homemade DVD unsettles everyone on the first night. As a major storm rages outside, suddenly people in their party start ending up dead, and weird slash marks in the entryway indicate that this is no accident. Meg doesn't want to believe that the killer is Minnie, her slightly unhinged best friend, or her long-time crush TJ, but it's rapidly becoming apparent that the killer is one of them…

Gretchen McNeil's Ten is a creepy and intense thriller with plenty of twists and a heap of suspense. The story is told from the point of view of Meg, who is an admirable protagonist dealing with an unhealthy friendship with her best friend Minnie. Right away readers can tell that it is a sticky situation, and Meg is in the unenviable position of having to placate Minnie at the risk of her other relationships and her own happiness. McNeil does a good job at balancing out Meg's drama with Minnie and their past issues with their present at the beach house, the dynamics between the other eight guests, some of whom the girls know and some of whom are strangers, and the steadily building sense of dread caused by the creepy atmosphere. Once the murders begin, the book is constantly moving, hurdling to a surprising and dramatic ending. Ten has all of the classic elements—a killer bent on revenge, a tentative romance, secret identities, and hidden diaries—that make it a harrowing but deliciously dark read. A few of the plot elements do require a slight stretch of the imagination, but overall McNeil has written a creative and immersive read that will have you racing to the end.

Cover Comments: I love, love, love the creepiness of this cover! The red of the title really stands out against the dark blue of the island, ocean, and the sky. It's so lonely and foreboding. I adore it.

ARC picked up at BEA.

This one will be out on September 18th, 2012!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Classic Corner: Moby-Dick and Independence Day

I would just like to take a moment to let you all know these things:

1. HB and I are officially halfway through Moby-Dick! HUZZAH!

2. Today is Independence Day, and while we agree that Moby-Dick is this great piece of American literature (okay, we agree that many people believe in its worth to American Literature), we think there are better ways to celebrate the 4th of July than by reading it, so we're going to take this Wednesday off to set things on fire.

3. No, we will not be lighting my copy of Moby-Dick on fire. Unfortunately.

Have a safe and happy 4th, fellow Americans! And to those readers abroad...uh...be back next week and sorry for the lame post.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Casual Vacancy Has a Cover!

I don't know about you all, but I am so excited for JK Rowling's new book, The Casual Vacancy! I know it's hard to separate her from her Harry Potter success, but the truth of the matter is that I'd read anything she wrote--she's an amazing writer! AND, the cover for her new book was revealed today:

I actually really like it--it's got a really cool classic, vintage vibe and it's pretty elegant in its simplicity. I also really like the colors. They're unusual, but they work well together.

I know some of you don't like it, but let's be honest here...does it really NEED a cover? No. Because we're all going to read it anyway.

The Casual Vacancy will be out September 27th, 2012!

What do you all think?

Monday, July 2, 2012

The List by Siobhan Vivian

Every year, the Monday before Homecoming, the List is posted. On it are eight names, the supposed prettiest and ugliest girls of each grade. For each of the eight girls, being named either pretty or ugly had different effects on their lives, but they all share one thing: attention. Because suddenly, pretty or ugly, everyone at school sees them, even the school’s new principal who is determined to discover the List’s author. But the List is tradition…can it ever really be stopped?

Siobhan Vivian has written a tremendous, truthful, and important novel in The List. Told from the rotating perspectives of all eight girls on the List, her characterization is so strong and brilliant. Each girl’s point of view is engaging and they all play off of each other wonderfully to help propel the plot while remaining very fluid. Rather than seeming disjointed, this style comes off as pretty cohesive. This is partly due to the fact that while readers do wonder about the List’s creator, the principal’s hunt for this person isn’t the main focus of the book. Instead, it’s about the very personal effects that being on the List has on each girl, and how it both negatively and positively affects the characters. Vivian did a magnificent job of balancing countless events, characters, and personalities, and she doesn’t let all of the action get in the way of diving into the heart of the emotions and feelings of every girl. In her straightforward, witty, and realistic voice, Vivian delivers an ironic ending that will leave a lasting impression. The List is an incredibly strong and important book.

Cover Comments: I like this cover! It's pretty and not too loud, but it captures the action and tone of the book quite well. The only thing I'd probably change is the title--it's a little small.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July Monthly Commenter Contest: Persuasion and For Darkness Shows the Stars

Diana Peterfreund's For Darkness Shows the Stars, a dystopian re-imagining of Jane Austen's Persuasion, has been receiving a TON of buzz! I am so excited about this one, which is why it is the prize for July's Monthly Commenter Contest, along with a copy of Persuasion!

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 July 2012 are eligible, so keep coming back for more posts and more chances to comment. For all of the details, click here.

What are you looking forward to reading this month?