The Compulsive Reader: January 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Win a Copy of The Madness Underneath!

Maureen Johnson's long-awaited sequel to The Name of the Star is coming out in just under a month! I am so excited for you all to read The Madness Underneath--it was so much fun revisiting Rory and her friends, especially with all of the high stakes and new mysteries. You can click here to read my review!

If you can't wait for the book to come out, I have one ARC to give away to a lucky reader, thanks to the generosity of Penguin Group! All you have to do to enter is full out the form below!

And if you want your own shiny finished copy, along with a signed bookplate and secret gift, then click over the Maureen's website to see the list of independent bookstores to pre-order from! You get an awesome book, free stuff, and you support an independent bookstore--it's a win-win!

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #8

Who is Marcus Finch? Find out on February 12th! Click here to learn more about the Bloodlines series, The Indigo Spell, and enter to win a a free copy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Big News!

I have some exciting news to share with you all! It's obvious from the breadth of this blog that I am totally, completely, irrevocably in love with YA. I've known for a very long time that I've wanted to work with YA books in some capacity when I "grow up" and working at my local indie bookstore while in college has been a lot of fun. Even though I'll be graduating from college in May and I'm still not completely sold on the whole concept of growing up, I have been lucky enough to figure out within the past few years what I'm passionate about, and that's writing.

To that end, I'm very excited to announce that I've been accepted to Vermont College of Fine Arts to study Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults! This is an awesome program, and I've heard nothing but good things from numerous alumni I've spoken with. I am so excited to begin in July!

So, what does that mean for this blog? Hopefully not too many changes, and if so, I think they'll be good ones. I have no intention of giving up the blog, and I think that being a part of the VCFA community will only enhance my blog writing! I'm excited to continue blogging and reading and writing, and sharing all that I'll learn with everyone!

Thanks for being such wonderful readers!


Looking Ahead: Kelly Barson and 45 Pounds (More or Less)!

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!

Cori McCarthy (author of The Color of Rain) recommended Kelly Barson's 45 Pounds (More or Less) to me, and I am so glad that she did! It looks quite good, and you know that I am a sucker for a contemporary read! I'm happy to have Kelly on the blog today to talk about her release!

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

KB: A light read with heavier undertones. (Pun intended)

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

KB: Ooh! I love the font and the colors! I also liked that the model fit the story.

TCR: What's one important writing lesson you learned while writing your book? 

KB: Don't be afraid to start over from scratch once you really figure out what the story is. When my story didn't work, I had to start at square one--twice.

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

KB: My website: www.kabarson.com

45 Pounds (More or Less) will be available from Viking on July 11th, 2013!
"Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi's life: 
She is 16. 
And a size 17. 
Her perfect mother is a size 6. 
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 2 months, and wants Ann to be a bridesmaid. 
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less). 
Welcome to the world of informercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, endless run-ins with the cutest guy Ann's ever seen—and some surprises about her not-so-perfect mother. 
And there's one more thing—it's all about feeling comfortable in your own skin—no matter how you add it up!"
What are you looking forward to reading this week?

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #7

Who is Marcus Finch? Find out on February 12th! Click here to learn more about the Bloodlines series, The Indigo Spell, and enter to win a a free copy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Return to Me by Justina Chen

Rebecca is excited to start college at Columbia University, across the country from her father's big expectations and her mom's color-coded schedules and detailed planning. So when her parents announce that they're moving to New York with her, she's less than thrilled. But the surprises don't end there; once in New York, Reb's father drops a bomb on the family that devastates them all and forces Reb to examine what she really wants, both in her future career and in her relationship with her boyfriend Jackson, and causes her to look at her family in an entirely different light.

Return to Me is perhaps Chen's most emotionally raw book yet. Reb and her family are betrayed early on, but this is not a story about reckoning with a cheating husband and disappointing father as much as it is about picking yourself up and finding your way in the face of heartbreak. Reb's story is about a family upended and lost, and how a person can find a safe refuge to start fresh, and with a fresh start, the courage to follow a pursuit with passion, the assurance of trusting intuition, and the ability to be open to everything that the future has to offer. Reb learns a lot not only about her family throughout the book, but also about love and trust through her rocky relationship with her boyfriend Jackson. Jackson is patient with her while she figures out her feelings, but he doesn't let Reb use him as a doormat. Each character is developed well in the novel, making Chen's message about finding love and acceptance a lesson for every character in the book. Return to Me is inspiring without being overwrought and is an empowering story for readers of any age.

Cover Comments: I like the pink lettering of the title, but I'm not sure if I am a fan of how dark the cover is. A good chunk of the story takes place in Hawaii, and this just seems incongruous with that setting. It isn't a bad cover, though!

eARC provided by publisher.

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #6

Who is Marcus Finch? Find out on February 12th! Click here to learn more about the Bloodlines series, The Indigo Spell, and enter to win a a free copy!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Join the Hunt!

I read Andrew Fukuda's first novel, The Hunt, about six months ago and it was definitely unique and creepy! You can click here to read my review, or check out this cool widget to learn more about The Hunt and the sequel, The Prey!

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #5

Who is Marcus Finch? Find out on February 12th! Click here to learn more about the Bloodlines series, The Indigo Spell, and enter to win a a free copy!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

United States of YA

I love, love, love this cool map that shows off the settings of some of the great YA books out there! What's your home state? Do you recognize all of the books?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #4

Who is Marcus Finch? Find out on February 12th! Click here to learn more about the Bloodlines series, The Indigo Spell, and enter to win a a free copy!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #3

Who is Marcus Finch? Find out on February 12th! Click here to learn more about the Bloodlines series, The Indigo Spell, and enter to win a a free copy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #2

Who is Marcus Finch? Find out on February 12th! Click here to learn more about the Bloodlines series, The Indigo Spell, and enter to win a a free copy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #1

Who is Marcus Finch? Find out on February 12th! Click here to learn more about the Bloodlines series, The Indigo Spell, and enter to win a a free copy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Who is Marcus Finch?: Counting Down to The Indigo Spell

I don't know about you all, but I am so excited for the release of the third Bloodlines book, The Indigo Spell! I really love Richelle Mead's writing, and even though I was slightly wary about starting a new series where Rose and Dimitri weren't the center of attention (sob), I am loving all of the Bloodlines books so far! (Plus, it totally helps to have some favorite characters from the Vampire Academy books make frequent appearances!) To celebrate the release of The Indigo Spell, I am counting down to the date with clues to answer the question "Who is Marcus Finch?"

There will be one clue every week day between now and February 12th! See if you can figure out who Marcus Finch really is, and while you wait and speculate, enter to win a hardcover copy of The Indigo Spell! All you have to do is fill out the form below!

In the meantime--what do you think? Is Marcus competing against Adrian? Alchemist or not? Good, or not-so-good? Check back starting tomorrow for clue #1!

Click here to visit the official website, and go here to Like the Bloodlines series on Facebook! Thinking about giving the Bloodlines series a try? Click here to read an excerpt!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

Aura is very close to discovering the reason for the Shift, and how she and her new boyfriend Zachary might be involved. But when tragedy strikes and Zachary is held indefinitely by the DMP under questionable conditions, Aura realizes just how dangerous the truth might be. If she continues with the plans she made with Zach to head overseas, she will be faced with impossible decisions and the prospect of committing treason in order to ultimately reverse the Shift.

Jeri Smith-Ready's conclusion to her Shade trilogy is packed with high-stakes action and buried secrets. The involvement of international agencies with differing end-games make for some suspenseful moments and pose some interesting questions about loyalty to one's nation, especially when one agency has far too much power. Smith-Ready does a really good job of balancing the "real-world" political drama with the more mystical discoveries Aura and Zachary uncover. At this point in Aura's story, Aura is certain of her feelings for Zachary, and the romance between the two is full of tension as they are separated for most of the novel, but ultimately reunited abroad. Their reunion is everything that fans have been waiting for--romantic, sweet, realistic, and of course, full of action as they duck the dangerous people tailing them. The book is not without a few twists at the end, and while Smith-Ready doesn't leave readers with the impression that Zach and Aura have saved the world single-handed, the changes that they've brought about are evident. Smith-Ready's trilogy is a fascinating look at an alternate world where mysticism and reality mesh perfectly, and love, loss, and longing are dealt with deftly.

Cover Comments: Words cannot express how disappointed I am in this cover change. The previous covers were beautiful--unusual, dark, and intriguing. This cover is neon green. I hate it. But, it's what's inside that counts, right?

Review copy purchased.

The Mediator Series Lives On!

ETA: It's true, it's true! Look at this and this!

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned multiple times how much I love the Mediator series by Meg Cabot. Like, here and here and here. I have a soft spot in my heart for Meg Cabot and her books, as they are the first YA books I really ever read when I first discovered YA ten years ago. Just typing that last sentence makes me feel ridiculous and old.

Anyway, my favorite series by Meg is indubitably the Mediator series. The protagonist is Suze, a Buffy-like New York City girl transplanted to Carmel, CA when her mom re-marries. Not only does she have to deal with living with three new teenage step-brothers and a new step-dad, but she sees ghosts. And unfortunately for her, Carmel is full of old buildings with ghosts to haunt them. But none of the ghosts are as interesting as the one who haunts her new bedroom--Jesse, a nineteenth century guy who died back when her new home was a boarding house. Of course, it's not like she can ever get anywhere with Jesse when she has to deal with all of these maniacal and homicidal ghosts that are all around her.

The series comprises of six books--Shadowland, Ninth Key, Reunion, Darkest Hour, Haunted, and Twilight. (Meg's Twilight came out before the other Twilight. When Meyer's book came out and had so much buzz, I remember being very happy that Meg's series had found so many new readers, but alas...) The series is great in itself, and the six books are lovely with a full story arc, and Twilight ends with a bit of a game-changer that leaves the storyline open for some interesting developments (any fans out there want to discuss spoilers in the comments? Just leave a warning for anyone who doesn't want to know!) but it is also a nice conclusion to the series as well. And Meg has stated repeatedly throughout the years that that's it, Twilight was the end. Let Suze have her happy ending. So hard to accept, but for almost eight years, that's what we have done.

And then...this happened.

The official Mediator Facebook page announced that we will be seeing more of Suze and Jesse soon in a new full-length book! The fact that Meg's website hasn't refuted it (yet) is a sort of good sign that perhaps this isn't a prank or a joke or a hack. I've got my hopes up, but I'm trying not to get too excited until I hear from an official source. Rumor has it that Meg has hinted about Mediator-related research as recently as this past year, and the great thing about writers is that sometimes they change their minds about sequels and series and can surprise us! (Scott Westerfeld made my year when he wrote a fourth book in the Uglies "trilogy.")

Whether it's true or not, go start reading Shadowland. The books are inexpensive ($7.99, cheaper as e-books) and I dare you to read the first three chapters of Shadowland and NOT want to continue! I'll keep my eyes and ears open for more news!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

To Read and Read Again

As I dive into The Hunger Games for what is probably the fourth or fifth time (an assignment for a popular fiction class!), I thought I would share this with you all:

Wear your nerdiness proudly, lovely readers.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cover Talk: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Alexandra Bracken's latest book is The Darkest Minds, and it's about a scary futuristic world where kids have deadly powers that have provoked the adults into rounding them up into internment camps. It's a dark and intriguing story, and the cover matches the dark mystery of the novel very well, I think. Take a look:

I love the textured metal background with the barbed wire around the edges--dark and dangerous with an unconventional edge. And as you'll see when you read the book, the psi is pretty significant to the story. I like how it's a yellowish orange--it reminds me of molten metal. What do you think of the cover?

To learn more about The Darkest Minds, read on!
"When Ruby awakened on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." Because Ruby might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby knows that she is one of the dangerous ones and, when the truth comes out, she barely escapes Thurmond with her life. On the run and desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her, Ruby joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what she did to her parents.

When they arrive at the safe haven, East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work too, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. And soon Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

The heart-pounding first book a near-future dystopian series, Alexandra Bracken’s THE DARKEST MINDS will leave you begging for the next installment."

Sound good? Want to win a copy? Fill out the form below for a chance to win!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Alexandra Monir and Her Timeless Settings

I read Alexandra Monir's debut novel, Timeless, about two years ago, and I loved the romance between the star-crossed protagonists, the beautiful settings across time, and the music in the story. (Click here to read my review.) Timekeeper is the sequel, and it's out this month! To celebrate, Alexandra Monir is here on the blog to talk about one specific setting in the book that spans across time--Windsor Manor!

Here's Alexandra!

“A portico of four hulking white Corinthian columns fronted the mansion’s exterior. There were curved balconies and arched windows, and beyond the gates, Michele could see that the driveway and grounds were decorated with a rose garden and small sculptures. A group of tourists stood outside the gates, taking pictures of one of the last remaining relics of Gilded Age New York.” –TIMELESS, pg 30

“Designed like an indoor open piazza, the Grand Hall was the focal point of the mansion. Marble columns soared up to the gilded, hand-painted ceilings, and plush chaise lounges and armchairs surrounded a large, carved fireplace.” –TIMEKEEPER, pg 27

When creating the Windsor Mansion, the most prominent setting in my Timeless novels, I looked to classic examples of opulent Gilded Age architecture: the Newport mansions in Rhode Island. These homes, carefully preserved by the Preservation Society of Newport County, were owned by New York’s wealthiest families, from the Astors to the Vanderbilts. While their Manhattan palaces were ultimately torn down, their Newport homes remain as a stunning example of the way life was once lived.

I specifically based Windsor Mansion on two different Gilded Age homes that I toured in Newport. Alva Vanderbilt’s Marble House was my inspiration for the Windsor Mansion’s exterior, while I based several rooms on those in Alice Vanderbilt’s The Breakers, particularly the spectacular entrance hall. It’s fitting that these two houses were equally appealing to me, as they were both built by Richard Morris Hunt, the paragon of late nineteenth-century architecture.

To get a feel for how Michele and her Windsor ancestors lived, you can make a trip to Newport, Rhode Island and visit Marble House and The Breakers—I have a feeling you’ll be blown away!

Thanks so much, Alexandra! Keep on reading to learn more about about the books and Alexandra!

Timeless (now available in paperback!)
When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance. 
Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives.

This sequel to Timeless combines breathtaking romance with a tale of complex magic in a story that will have every reader believing in the transcendent power of love. 
When Philip Walker appears as a new student in Michele Windsor's high school class, she is floored. He is the love she thought she lost forever when they said goodbye during her time travels last century. Overjoyed that they can resume the relationship they had a lifetime ago, Michele eagerly approaches him and discovers the unthinkable: he doesn't remember her. In fact, he doesn't seem to remember anything about the Philip Walker of 1910. 
Michele then finds her father's journals, which tell stories of his time-traveling past. As she digs deeper, she learns about his entanglement with a mysterious and powerful organization called the Time Society and his dealings with a vengeful Windsor ancestor. Michele soon finds herself at the center of a rift over 120 years in the making, one whose resolution will have life-or-death consequences.

About Alexandra:
At the age of 25, author and recording artist Alexandra Monir released her debut young adult novel, Timeless. The book caught on quickly, with Amazon.com naming it one of the "Best Books of the Month" and Barnes & Noble featuring the title in their "Top Teen Picks". The book went on to hit the Barnes & Noble Teen Bestsellers chart, and has been featured in a variety of media, from popular teen websites to The Huffington Post. Alexandra wrote a companion short story eBook, Secrets of the Time Society, to set up the sequel, Timekeeper. The sequel was published on January 8, 2013. 
Alexandra also integrated original music into the novels' pages, writing two songs for Timeless, which she recorded with producer Michael Bearden (musical director of Michael Jackson's last concert, This Is It). The songs were released on iTunes as a supplement to the book. A new song for Timekeeper was released on January 8, 2013, produced by Heather Holley and Rob Hoffman.

Alexandra currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where she is writing her next young adult novel for Random House. You can find her online:

Website: http://www.alexandramonir.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TimelessSeries
Twitter: @TimelessAlex 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Interview with Anne Osterlund!

Anne Osterlund is the author of the fantasy books Aurelia and Exile and the sci-fi book Academy 7. Now she's branching out into contemporary fiction with her latest, Salvation! Salvation will be out tomorrow, and to celebrate, Anne has stopped by as a part of her blog tour to answer a few questions. But first, here's more about Salvation:
"Salvador Resendez--Salva to his friends--seems to have it all. He's Student Body president, captain of the football team, and has a near-perfect GPA. Everyone thinks that he could have any girl, and go to any college, that he wants. But how could he ever leave his family? After the death of this mother, his father and younger sisters need him more than ever. Then the most unlikely girl in school--shy, quiet Beth--catches his eye, and with her help, Salva starts to see things differently. And when a tragic accident strikes, Salva is forced to accept that life is too short not to pursue your dreams. 
Thoughtful and romantic, this is a beautifully written story about following your heart and fulfilling your potential."
And here is Anne!

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

AO: A young man who doesn’t want to be everyone’s salvation.

TCR: How was writing Salvation different from writing your other characters and worlds in Aurelia, Exile, and Academy 7?

Salvation is the story of Salvador Resendez, a brilliant young man who hovers just beyond the center of the spotlight. He is student council president, quarterback of the football team, and has a near perfect GPA. His Mexican immigrant family has high expectations and Salva intends to fulfill them. But instead of embracing his ability to lead, he allows his friends to direct his inner compass.

Until he collides with Beth Courant, AKA the walking disaster area. And all manner of chaos erupts.

This is the first contemporary novel I have written. And the first in which the guy’s story defines the action. It required a great deal of tossing and catching of objects: footballs, oranges, keys. Ultimately, though, the challenge remained the same. Digging as deeply into the character’s head—and heart—as possible, and allowing the reader to see the world from that character’s perspective.

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

Beth was totally embarrassed. She is not an exhibitionist.
Salva was perfectly happy not being at the center of the photo—even though it is his story.
I could never design anything half as beautiful as the covers Penguin’s artistic team creates.

TCR: What are some YA books you have read recently that you would recommend to your readers?

Recent Contemporary:
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Leaving Paradise & the Perfect Chemistry trilogy by Simone Elkeles
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

My All-time Contemporary Favorites:
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Life Without Friends by Ellen Emerson White
Children of the River by Linda Crew
The Wind Blows Backward by Mary Downing Hahn
Dare by Marilyn Halvorson
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

My fantasy, historical fiction, and other all-time favorites are on the recommended books page of my website. www.anneosterlund.com
Thank you, Tirzah, for hosting Salva, Beth, and I on your tour! We hope your visitors will all feel welcome to come visit:
Our website: www.anneosterlund.comOur blog: www.anneosterlund.blogspot.comGoodreads:
And the other stops on our SALVATION Blog Tour!

Thanks so much, Anne! I hope you all check out Anne's books if you haven't already, especially Salvation!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Jacquelyn Mitchard on Writer's Block

Today is the release day of Jacquelyn Mitchard's new YA book, What We Saw at Night! This is a high-stakes thriller with plenty of twists and turns, a really creepy bad guy, and some excellent drama. Needless to say, I absolutely loved it! You can read my review of the book by clicking here.

Today, Jacquelyn is on the blog to talk about writing, specifically writer's block and how she overcomes it.

Here's Jacquelyn!
"Most writers say that the cure for writer's block is to power through it, like you power through "hitting the wall" of exercise when you work out. I say, forget that! I don't really see the sense of writing garbage. When I hit a place where I know that what I'm writing is drivel, I go into the cave: I read. I watch good films. Especially, I sleep. Before I fall asleep, when I'm right on the ledge about to fall over into sleep, I say, "I'm going to go and be with Allie Kim now. I'm going to be with Juliet." In that sleep, even if I don't really dream at all about my plot consciously, I find answers and inspirations. It doesn't have to be at night. If I have time for a long nap, I can slip inside the characters in a way that I can't when I'm pushing at the story, trying and trying to get in to places where all the doors and windows are locked. When people say that you have to get up and go straight to your keyboard while you're still in the semi-trance of sleep, I think that's hokey-pokey. It would be great, but it would be great to be able to go outside on a deck overlooking a beach in Tahiti too, as soon as you awakened, refreshed and filled with the power of dream inspiration. What you do is, keep it in your pocket and don't let yourself get sucked into Facebooking or emailing or any of the usual tasks before you take whatever it is you brought out of your cave out onto the page. You can make breakfast, or work out, or even be with people, but keep that part of you that you found in the place of retreat private and keep it in reserve."
Thanks so much for the advice, Jacquelyn!

What We Saw at Night is available everywhere today--definitely do not miss this awesome book!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What the Spell Giveaway!

Among some of the great new releases this month is What the Spell by Brittany Geragotelis! And thanks to the generosity of Simon & Schuster, I have a signed copy and a What the Spell lip gloss to give away to one lucky reader!
"A teenage witch juggles popularity and romance while keeping her powers a secret in this spellbinding debut. 
Almost-sixteen-year-old Brooklyn feels invisible, but she desperately wants to be pretty, to be popular, to be adored by a cute guy. Luckily for her, she’s a witch about to come of age—so she’s only a few spells away from making it all happen.

On her milestone birthday, Brooklyn’s conservative parents finally unbind her powers, which include the ability to magically match couples with a love spell. Brooklyn uses her special skills to get a makeover, new friends, and the attention of her crush, Asher. But the popular clique Brooklyn wants to infiltrate puts her in the same precarious position as her Salem ancestors: If she’s found out, she could be vilified—and lose Asher in the process. Can she make the most of her magic, or will she be luckless and loveless? Be careful what you witch for!"
Want to start reading an excerpt? Click here to visit Brittany's Facebook page!

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

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt

Keturah is a remarkable storyteller, hoping for true love and a modest future in her small, poor village. When one day she finds herself deep in the nearby woods, near death, she avoids the enigmatic and severe Lord Death by doing what she knows best—telling him a story. Lord Death allows Keturah one day—to either say goodbye to her family and friends and die, or find and marry her true love and live.

Keturah and Lord Death is a lovely, dark, and enticing tale. The mood of the book is finely tuned; Leavitt handles the issue of death and the character of Lord Death very well, balancing the darker subjects and complicated emotions with every day levity and romance. The best part about this book is the cast of characters; each one is developed and lovable, and Leavitt is sure to make sure that they each get their own happy ending, apart from Keturah's fate. The world-building is magical, and the story unfolds so seamlessly that it's easy to get lost in Keturah's world and her search for true love. But this book is about much for than just Keturah and death, it's about love, loyalty, the power of friendship, and the cycles of life. This is a remarkable book to be read again and again.

Cover Comments: I feel like the darkness of the cover is very appropriate, given the setting and the tone of the book. It almost borders on frightening, which I feel might give the wrong impression. It's not as romantic as the hardcover cover, but I do like it a lot.

Review copy borrowed!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Whether you're a regular reader or new to the blog, I wanted to say thank you so much for stopping by and wish you all a very happy New Year!

Be sure to check out what books I'm looking forward to in 2013 by clicking here, and see what I thought was the best of 2012 by clicking here!

Are you new to YA? Click over to my YA for Beginners post here and see what books are absolute must-reads for a great introduction to YA books.

Whatever your New Year resolutions are, I hope they include lots of reading and lots of happiness!