The Compulsive Reader: September 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cover Talk: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Today on EW's Shelf Life, the cover for Gayle Forman's new book, Just One Day, was revealed--along with an excerpt! Just One Day will be out in January, and I have to say--I am loving the cover!

I love the reflections, the way the image fades to white, the slight blurriness. It's very modern and pretty and thoughtful. What do you think?

Here's what Amazon has to say about the book:

"A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!"
I am excited! And to check out the excerpt, head on over to Shelf Life!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blogging Lately

I've been thinking about the direction of this blog a lot lately, and what I want to do with it and what I want it to be. Don't worry--I'm not going anywhere and I don't plan on making any drastic changes. But, as you've probably noticed, I haven't been blogging much lately, due to my school commitments (senior year of college and all that) and I do want to go to grad school, so I don't see my schedule clearing up suddenly for all things blog and YA, as much as I would love it to.

I can never get away from the YA book world--I love it, I want to always be a reader and blogger, and I know that one day that I will be one of the authors, but keeping up on all of the books and news can be exhausting, and for a long time I thought I HAD to do it in order to be good at blogging. There are three things that have changed my mind about this. First, my job at the bookstore (I work at a small indie called Great Lakes Books). There is a surprising difference between what my customers love at the bookstore and what my blogger friends and the people of Twitter love. Certainly there is a ton of overlap, and I love it when that happens, but it also made me realize that sometimes the books with the most noise online aren't what my customers want to read, and that made me feel better about not wanting to read them myself.

Second, I read about fifty pages of about five highly anticipated books that blogger friends have been raving over, and...eh. I felt so guilty over it because some authors I really liked, some of the books looked quite interesting, but I just couldn't get into them. And then I've read a handful of really excellent books that have flown under the radar and shared them with customers and blog readers, and they've reminded me why I love blogging and why I started doing this in the first place--to talk about books that I love when there really isn't a place to talk about them or a conversation already started.

The third thing was Lev Grossman's article in Time about book reviewers. I love how he is unapologetic for not being able to read everything and like everything. It made me think about what I do, reaffirmed my faith in my method for picking out the books I want to read, and helped me realize that there is room for everyone on the internet to express their opinions, but that doesn't mean we have to like the same things.

I'm going to do my best to keep blogging as regularly as possible, but when I do blog, it's going to be about books I love, books I read for class that I think are important, writing YA, and those authors I think are really cool. I'm not going to be cover everything that falls into those categories--I wish I could, but I can't. But, I want to extend another heartfelt thank you to those of you that read this blog, whether you comment or not. I appreciate you and your support, and I appreciate the fact that, like me, you love books and reading. You all rock.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Adaptation by Malinda Lo

Reese and her debate partner David are on their way home from the national competition in Arizona when their flight is cancelled after flocks of birds cause planes around the country to crash. Freaked out and desperate to get home to San Francisco, they begin driving...only to crash in the middle of the desert when a bird flies into the headlights. Reese wakes up almost a month later in a top secret government medical facility and is barely given time to process what has happened to her before she's forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement and sent back home. She is not home long before she meets Amber and is shocked by the intense physical attraction she feels for her. Amber is funny and impulsive, but mysterious...and there is a chance that she is somehow connected to what happened to Reese and the strange memories that are beginning to surface from her month-long coma.

Adaptation is a sharp and intense sci-fi thriller. Lo quickly establishes and builds up tension as planes come crashing to the ground and the conventional news sources quickly become unreliable, and ratchets it up with the strange encounters at the government medical facility and the complete lack of answers Reese and David face when they are finally sent home. Adjusting to life back home in San Francisco, familiar yet strange enough to unsettle Reese, would be boring if not for the introduction of Amber's character. Reese’s electric attraction to and romance with Amber forces her to question not just what happened to her a month earlier, but how she is changing now, and what her feelings for Amber will mean in her life. Just when Reese is ready to accept the idea that something in her is irrevocably changed and Amber is somehow involved, Lo takes the readers on a whirlwind race for the shocking answers about what happened to Reese and David, who Amber really is, and what it means for the characters, their futures, and their country. This quick, smart book effortlessly blends conspiracy theories, top-secret government cover-ups, extra-terrestrials, and romance and the result is a straightforward and highly entertaining novel with an admirable heroine and a hot, unconventional love triangle. Adaptation is an excellent read and Lo a talented, incisive writer.

Cover Comments: I am loving this cover. I love the reflection, the way the title is slightly out of focus. It's creepy and very unsettling, like this book. 

Review copy provided by publisher.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Looking Ahead: Daphne Benedis Grab and The Girl in the Wall!

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 Daphne Benedis Grab, author of Alive and Well in Prague, New York and the soon-to-be-released The Girl in the Wall, on the blog!

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

DBG: Thriller about a party taken hostage- action and romance ensue.

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

DBG: I loved it! This is actually the second cover they did for the book- the first was lovely but had a bit more of a romance feeling to it. I like the danger imminent in this image, and the look of both fear and determination in the girl’s eyes.

TCR: How was writing The Girl in the Wall different from writing Alive and Well in Prague, New York?

DBG: They came from really different places. Prague was based on my feelings about losing my dad to ALS. It was both hard and cathartic to work on. Girl in the Wall was a story I started just because the premise seemed juicy and fun to work on. It goes dark places but hopefully it’s held onto the initial intent and is a juicy and fun read.

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

DBG: In a few weeks it will be my new website, www.daphnebg.com . Right now it’s under construction and I should probably head over there right now and get to work on it.

Thanks for having me on your awesome blog!

Thank you, Daphne! If you're curious about The Girl in the Wall, read on! It will be released on December 18th, 2012!
"Ariel's birthday weekend looks to be the event of the season, with a private concert by rock star Hudson Winters on the grounds of her family's east coast estate, and all of Ariel's elite prep school friends in attendance. The only person who's dreading the party is Sera, Ariel's former best friend, whose father is forcing her to go. Sera has been the school pariah since she betrayed Ariel, and she now avoids Ariel and their former friends. Thrown together, Ariel and Sera can agree on one thing: this could be one very long night. 
They have no idea just how right they are. 
Only moments after the concert begins and the lights go down, thugs open fire on parents and schoolmates alike, in a plot against Ariel's father that quickly spins out of control. As the entire party is taken hostage, the girls are forced apart. Ariel escapes into the hidden tunnels in the family mansion, where she and Sera played as children. Only Sera, who forges an unlikely alliance with Hudson Winters, knows where her friend could be. As the industrial terrorist plot unravels and the death toll climbs, Ariel and Sera must recall the sisterhood that once sustained them as they try to save themselves and each other on the longest night of their lives."
Doesn't that sound awesome? What are you looking forward to this week?

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Memory Chronicle News!

Hey all, I hope you all check out the official Facebook page of blogger/author Lenore Appelhans' new book, Level 2! Level 2 is an awesome book and an incredible start to The Memory Chronicles, and I so cannot wait for it to come out so you all can read it. However, if you go to the Facebook page, you can read the first four chapters now!

Stay tuned for a Looking Ahead post featuring Lenore and Level 2, and for my review!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Origin Blog Tour: Annotating Origin with Jessica Khoury

 Welcome to the final stop on the Origin blog tour! To celebrate the release of her first novel, Origin, Jessica Khoury has been touring the blogosphere, introducing passages from the novel and telling readers a little bit more about the thought process behind them, which I think is an awesome idea. 

Though this is the final stop, our excerpt is from the very beginning. Here's the opening to Origin!
"I’m told that the day I was born, Uncle Paolo held me against his white lab coat and whispered “She is perfect.” Sixteen years later, they’re still repeating the word. Every day I hear it, from the scientists or the guards, from my mother or from my Aunt Brigid. 
They say other things too. That there are no others like me, at least not yet. That I am the pinnacle of mankind, a goddess born of mortal flesh. You are immortal, Pia, and you are perfect, they say. (Origin, page 1)."
What a great opening! And here is what Jessica has to say about it:
"There are dozens of stories about immortality, but Origin is unique is several ways. For one, it’s both unique and classic in that it’s set in the jungle. Classic, because there are actual legends dating back to the first Spanish and Portuguese expeditions into South America which speak of plants in the jungle that extend human life, even to the point of immortality. I thought these were fascinating, since I only discovered them after I began writing Origin. The story is unique, however, in that it’s taken from a science fiction angle, whereas most current immortality stories are paranormal or fantasy. In this case, it isn’t vampires or wizards or pirates seeking everlasting life, but scientists. And for Pia, instead of becoming a prize to be sought and won, immortality becomes a burden, something holding her back from the ones she loves. 
So many stories uphold immortality as the ultimate prize, but in Origin I want to look at it another way: is it truly so desirable? How much life is too much? And just how much are you willing to sacrifice for an eternity in this world? These are all questions that Pia faces, and questions I hope readers will ask themselves. Because we all have something we’re trying to achieve, whether it’s fame or fortune or success or a certain relationship or a certain lifestyle. And we must ask ourselves the same questions Pia must ask herself: sooner or later and sometimes more than once, we each come to a place of sacrifice. The question we must ask is, will we make that sacrifice for ourselves—or for others?"
Thanks so much, Jessica!

Origin is out now, so go get your copy today! Also, check out the trailer and these fun links, which contain a longer excerpt!

Jessica on the web:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jkbibliophile
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicakhoury
Breathless Reads Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/breathlessreads   
Breathless Reads Tumblr: http://breathlessreads.tumblr.com/ 
Breathless Reads Scribd Samplr: http://www.scribd.com/doc/89698531/Breathless-Reads-Fall-2012-Sampler

And if you missed the other blog tour stops, here they are!

Monday 8.27 - The Book Smugglers - http://thebooksmugglers.comTuesday 8.28 - Pure Imagination - http://www.pureimaginationblog.comWednesday 8.29 - Steph Su Reads - http://stephsureads.blogspot.com 
Thursday 8.30 - Mundie Moms - http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com 
Friday 8.31 - Forever YA - http://www.foreveryoungadult.com 
Monday 9.3 - Novel Thoughts - http://www.novelthoughtsblog.com 
Tuesday 9.4 - Page Turners - http://www.pageturnersblog.comWednesday 9.5 - Frenetic Readers - http://freneticreader.blogspot.com 
Thursday 9.6 - Bookshelf Banter - http://www.bookshelfbanter.com 
Friday 9.7 - The Story Siren - http://www.thestorysiren.com
Monday 9.10 - Green Bean Teen Queen - http://www.greenbeanteenqueen.comTuesday 9.11 - The Book Muncher - http://thebookmuncher.blogspot.comWednesday 9.12 - The Book Cellar - http://thebookcellarx.blogspot.comThursday 9.13 - Book Chic - http://bookchicclub.blogspot.com

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Music is Seraphina Dombegh's passion, and she is an extraordinarily gifted musician working as the assistant music mistress in the royal palace. Seraphina has always kept a low profile, but one performance does away with her carefully cultivated anonymity. This is a problem for her, but it pales in comparison to the issues her kingdom of Goredd is facing. Their uneasy peace treaty with the dragons is being threatened with the recent murder of the prince, and Seraphina is quickly drawn into the investigation along with Prince Lucian Kiggs. Seraphina soon finds herself in over her head, her darkest secret threatened to be exposed.

Rachel Hartman is a truly gifted writer. Her first lines will entice readers into Seraphina's world, and once there they’ll never want to leave. The setting is rich with details of the royal family, the dragons and their human forms and minds for the logical (eschewing anything emotional), and the magic of the music that Seraphina creates. Seraphina's careful balance of her love for music and her public life and her secrets and trouble with her family life are threatened when she meets Lucian Kiggs. Lucian is smart, he respects Seraphina, and he is devoted to discovering the cause of his uncle's murder, but he is not without his own personal issues; his illegitimate birth has always been a bone of contention in his family. Lucian is quick to accept that Seraphina is different from other girls; her extensive knowledge of dragons and relationship with her dragon tutor are highly unusual, but useful for their investigation. However, Seraphina and Lucian's partnership is threatened when Seraphina discovers startling connections between her life and the murder, and is unable to explain them to Lucian. The tension between two worlds is well-wrought, and this lovely, layered, and imaginative book will be one that readers will want to linger over.

Cover Comments: I'll admit, I wasn't so sure when I saw this cover that this would be a book I'd like. I've gotten to used the flashy covers with models and weapons and action. But, I have come to adore this cover; I think it captures the essence of the setting and is just as artistic and sophisticated as the book behind it. I love it.

Review copy purchased at Great Lakes Books!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Speechless Giveaway!

If you haven't heard about Hannah Harrington's new book, Speechless, you are missing out. Not only is Hannah a great writer, but with her newest release, her publisher HarlequinTEEN is partnering with Love is Louder. Keep reading to learn about the book, the movement, and the giveaway!

About Speechless:
Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret. Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast – and nearly got someone killed. Chelsea has taken a vow of silence – to learn to keep her mouth shut and to stop hurting anyone else. 
Speechless explores the real-life teen issues of bullying, mean girls, LGBT awareness and hate crimes. Compared to the many books already out about bullies, Harrington’s novel stands out for its authentic voice and unflinching portrayal of what it means to be part of the bullying. In October 2012, Harlequin TEEN will be releasing a brand new survey that has interviewed 1,500 girls between 13-18 years old on the subject of bullying.
About Love is Louder:

Harlequin TEEN has partnered with the nonprofit Love is Louder, a movement that started when actress Brittany Snow, MTV and the Jed Foundation decided to do something to help those feeling mistreated. Hundreds of thousands of people just like you have come together to raise the volume around the message that love and support are louder than any internal or external voice that brings you down.

Check out the trailer:

If you want to learn more, check out Hannah's website, or the Speechless website.

Thanks to HarlequinTEEN, I am also offering a giveaway! One winner will receive a copy of Speechless and a Speechless/Love is Louder phone gelskin. All you need to do to enter is fill out the form below. I really hope you'll spread the word about this book and this awesome movement!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

52 Reasons to Love Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody is the author of The Karma Club, My Life Undecided, and most recently, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father. To celebrate the release of her latest book, Jessica is sharing a ton of fun 52 Reasons content and exclusive trivia about herself!

1 of the 52 Reasons to Love Jessica Brody and Her Books….for 51 other reasons, visit Pure Imagination (September 5th), Adventures in Children's Publishing (September 7th) and YA Bookmark (August 8th), and stay tuned for more!

The most helpful tip her stylist sister has given her:  layering. She normally just wears jeans and a shirt. But she’s taught her the beauty of cute blazers, cardigans, wraps, scarves, etc.

To learn more about 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, read one!
"Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. 
Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either. 
Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteenth birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her. 
In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him."
To read an excerpt, click here!

And check out the awesome trailer!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Looking Ahead: Fiona Paul and Venom

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 Fiona Paul, author of Venom, on the blog today! Venom is one of Penguin's Breathless Reads!

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

FP: It's a creepy, sexy murder mystery set in Renaissance Venice.

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

FP: Whoa--shiny! I was blown away by how ornate and gilded it looked, but a little bit worried it didn't adequately convey the creepiness of the book. Penguin did an awesome job of tweaking their original cover just enough so that the end product is both mysterious and mesmerizing.

TCR: What surprised you the most about the writing and publication process for Venom?

FP: I continue to be blown away by the tweets, comments, and emails I get from far-off exotic lands. There were couple of weeks where I got ARC or interview requests from Romanian bloggers almost every day. And then just recently I received word that some signed bookmarks I sent had made it safely to Bangladesh. Regardless of the rating, when I see on Goodreads that someone in Germany or Russia or India has read Venom, it just fills me with pride. Venom is going places I've never been. How cool is that?

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

FP: Twitter is my social media of choice and you can find me there as @FionawritesYA. Anything major like cover reveals, Breathless Reads tour dates, etc. will also definitely be mentioned on my blog: fionapaulbooks.blogspot.com and my FB account:


TCR: Thanks again!

FP: Thanks for supporting VENOM!

Well, I am super excited about this book! Fortunately, you don't have to wait much longer to read it--it'll be out on October 30th! Keep reading to learn more about it!
"Love, lust, murder, mayhem and high society converge in one thrilling debut

Cassandra Caravello has everything a girl could desire: elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, invitations to the best parties, and a handsome, wealthy fiancĂ©—yet she longs for something more. Ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape. 
When Cass stumbles upon the body of a murdered woman—with a bloody X carved across her heart—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans, and killers. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a poor artist with a mischievous grin . . . and a habit of getting into trouble. Will Cassandra find the murderer before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancĂ© or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco? 
Beauty, romance, and mystery weave together in a novel that’s as seductive and stunning as the city of Venice itself."
Sounds awesome, right? What do you think? 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Celaena Sardothien is notorious for being the youngest and deadlist assassin in Adarlan. Her days of killing came to an end when she was caught and imprisoned in the salt mines, but to her shock, she's being given a second chance. If she becomes the prince's champion in a competition that the king is holding for a new Crown Assassin, she just might win her freedom. Celaena is cocky and certain she'll win. But the king's court is a dangerous place to live, and someone is slowly picking off her competitors. Celaena must be very careful, for the most obvious threats are not the deadliest.

Throne of Glass is a breathtaking debut. You can't help but fall head over heels in love with protagonist Celaena. Part of her appeal to readers is the tremendous amount of power she wields so effortlessly. She's an incredibly strong and clever heroine, and action follows her everywhere, but she's not without her vulnerabilities. She has a shrouded past that relentlessly haunts her, and she has the capacity to be very vain and a bit childish at times. However, like Buffy Somers, she is full of power and humor and is charming despite, or perhaps because of, her shortcomings. The plot never lags in between the competition, murders, forging of friendships, making of enemies, romantic interests, and unexpected character twists. Maas does a great job at balancing it all while slowly hinting at Celaena's past, and the romantic tension in the novel is nice and not overdone. There is definitely room for romance and the two male leads will have fans picking sides, but the first book focuses more on Celaena's personal struggles than her love life. This action-packed read with a gutsy heroine in the middle of a highly developed fantasy world is engrossing and exciting—do not miss Throne of Glass!

Cover Comments: I am loving the fierce expression on the girl's face, the blue background, and that dagger! Awesome!

ARC picked up at BEA!

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue grew up surrounded by clairvoyants who have been telling her for ages that she will kill her true love. This has never overly concerned Blue—she hardly even dates—until she meets the Raven Boys: Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah. Gansey is the leader of this eclectic band, and he is in search of a lost Welsh king for reasons that aren't exactly transparent. When Blue and Gansey are connected by forces and reasons that they don't understand, Blue joins the boys in their search, and together they begin to uncover secrets about the lost king, and themselves.

Maggie Stiefvater's first book in a new series is brimming with magic and the unknown. None of the many, vibrant characters are what they seem, and every one of them is wrapped up in secrets, whether they realize it or not. Gansey is a particularly appealing character—despite being charged with carelessness when it comes to his wealth and his occasional presumptuousness, he genuinely cares for his friends and does his absolute best to help them. He is the sort of person that people give their loyalty to, without being asked. Though readers catch a glimpse of his past in this book, he remains a bit of an enigma. The other characters are just as intriguing and unexpected; Stiefvater does a lovely job at revealing her characters bit by bit as they discover the ley line and learn more about the history and magic of the land. There are plenty of twists throughout and the danger, both the magical sort and the real life sort, is very close and real. Stiefvater writes with such precision and beauty, and the book's strange conclusion will leave readers with the feeling that they've only scratched the surface of this vivid, smart, and magical tale.

Cover Comments: I love the raven, the font, the colors--it looks magical, in the dark and mysterious sort of way. This is an excellent cover!

The Raven Boys will be available September 18th, 2012!

ARC provided by publisher.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September Monthly Commenter Contest: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater is one of the writers I've come to trust absolutely; everything that she has written has been beautiful. I love it all. So naturally I was ecstatic to pick up a copy of The Raven Boys at BEA. And when I read it...oh my word, you guys. Just, whoa. It is amazing and lovely and perfect and strange. And that is why I have to make it this month's prize for the Monthly Commenter Contest! Plus...it just might be a signed copy! Maggie is doing two events in my area this month, and depending on my schedule, I hope to attend one of them and have her sign the prize!

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 September 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 excited about reading this month?