The Compulsive Reader: February 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cover Reveal: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

The Indigo Spell, the third book in Richelle Mead's Bloodlines series, just came out this month and I had a lot of fun counting down to the release with the Marcus Finch clues. If you've read the book, then you know that the ending was another cliffhanger (Mead has us wrapped around her little finger). But for a little relief...today the cover for the fourth book, The Fiery Heart, was revealed on Bookish! Check it out!

I'm not always crazy about the design scheme of the covers in this series, but I like this cover. It's warm without being in-your-face orange, and the faces on the cover don't look as awkward as they did on The Golden Lily. What do you think?

The Fiery Heart will be out on November 19th, 2013. Click here to read more at Bookish!

Click here to read my review of The Indigo Spell.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blog Tour: Being Henry David with Cal Armistead

Being Henry David is Cal Armistead's debut novel, and to celebrate its release, Cal is on a blog tour and so graciously answered a few questions about her book and writing!

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

CA: Lost teen guided home by friends, music, nature, and Thoreau.

TCR: This may sound silly, but why anchor the book with Henry David Thoreau?

CA: Not silly at all--I’m glad you asked! First, I’ve lived in and around Concord, Massachusetts for a lot of my life, and it’s almost like you absorb Thoreau through osmosis when you live around here. The town is incredibly proud of its literary roots, especially Henry. Plus, I absolutely love Walden Pond, and I’ve spent many happy hours just walking the trails around the pond, visiting Thoreau’s house site, and thinking deep(ish) thoughts. As for adding Thoreau to my book, I loved the idea of putting in a literary reference, and the more I thought about it, the more I decided the words of Thoreau could serve as a compass for someone who’s lost. Thoreau writes about simplicity and paring down to the essentials, and that’s pretty much where my character finds himself—pared down to a life with very little in the way of food, clothing and shelter. Instead of paring down though, he has to add the essentials, to create a brand new existence. Thoreau writes about the things that really matter, like nature, truth, and integrity, and my main character finds strength, comfort and guidance in that.

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

CA: I burst into tears, literally. Luckily, they were good tears! I thought the designer did an excellent job depicting the soul of the story, and it was so exciting to see the boy who had only lived inside my head on a cover that also had my name on it. We don’t see his face, but that’s perfect too, because he doesn’t know who he is, and is looking out into the woods for answers to his questions. I think seeing the cover helped make the whole experience feel more real to me.

TCR: What was the hardest part about writing Being Henry David? The easiest?

CA: Whew. Writing a book is hard work, don’t let anybody tell you different. You go through so many drafts and re-writes, and throw away entire sections that you used to be in love with. But there’s just no easy way to get through the process. I imagine it’s like sculpting—you start with a hunk of marble, then chop away at it until starts taking shape, then you polish that up until it’s right. There’s no way to rush the process. The easiest part was just believing in Hank and his story, and living in his world with him.

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

CA: Visit my website: calarmistead.com!

TCR: Thanks so much, Cal!

To learn more about the book, read on!
"Seventeen-year-old "Hank" has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything --who he is, where he came from, why he's running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or "Hank" and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of--Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead's remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home."
Sound good? Enter to win a copy below!

Check out Teen Librarian’s Toolbox tomorrow for the next stop on the blog tour!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cover Talk: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

I caught a glimpse of the cover for Just One Year by Gayle Forman on Facebook today! Just One Year is the sequel to Just One Day, which came out last month. It's an excellent book, and I highly recommend it (read my review here) and I'm waiting rather impatiently for the sequel. What do you think?

I love how romantic it is, and I adore the effects of the lighting and the reflection in the glass! It is so pretty and almost magical! 

Just One Year will be out in October 2013! I absolutely cannot wait.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Sophronia has no interest in becoming a lady—she's far too fascinated by how machinery works to worry about perfect curtsies. Being sent to finishing school seems like a prison sentence, but Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality is not your typical finishing school. Weapons’ training is taught alongside dancing, and the young ladies are just as adept at poisons as they are at creating perfect place settings. Sophronia is the first cover recruit in years and she has a lot to learn: how to curtsy properly for one, and how to sneak about without getting caught by the mechanicals for another, but most importantly…why does the finishing school seem to be a target for the infamous flywaymen? It is going to be a busy year.

Gail Carriger's YA debut has all of the same energetic, quirky, and imaginative humor and action of her Parasol Protectorate series, set in another facet of her steampunk world. The finishing school setting isn’t at all what readers will expect, and Carriger pulls it off cleverly and confidently. Sophronia is a delightfully spunky, kindhearted, and unassuming protagonist, and she has little interest for what’s considered proper. She makes friends easily, and even though her curious nature often gets her into trouble, her resourcefulness and her connections get her out rather easily. Carriger slyly sneaks in a few favorite characters from her previous books into this novel, but the majority of the faces are new in this book, with their own secrets and motivations to make Sophronia’s first few months quite interesting. The action never stops between the late-night adventures, little tricks and heists, and abounding mysteries, and readers will eagerly devour book the first. New readers and long-time Carriger fans will take to Sophronia instantly.

Cover Comments: I love the deep purple and the gears in the background! Although the girl on the cover looks older than Sophronia, this is a lovely cover and a fairly accurate representation of the book!

Book purchased from independent bookstore.

Book the Second, Curtsies and Conspiracies, will be landing November 5th, 2013!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Finishing School Lessons

I just finished Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger last week, and I've been gearing up to write a review for the fabulous book when I saw this and couldn't resist sharing.

Don't wait for my review to pick up this book (or Carriger's fabulous Parasol Protectorate series). Go get a copy NOW!

Sony Readers VIP Weekend

This past weekend, I had the lovely opportunity to travel to Los Angeles to participate in an in-person event with author Michael Connelly and the other members of the Sony Readers VIP Club. We've been discussing books online since November (our first discussion was The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor), and this weekend we talked about The Black Box by Michael Connelly.

Los Angeles was a bit of a shock to my system. I woke up in Michigan, where it was 4 degrees, and less than ten hours later I landed in sunny LA, where it was 85 degrees. My body protested by being alternatively hungry and exhausted all weekend long, and just about the time that I started convincing myself that 80 degrees in February could be natural, it was time to hop onto a place back to the snowy Midwest. Blech.

Nonetheless, I had a great time meeting other book lovers, catching up with family in my free time, and of course, chatting with Michael Connelly. The Black Box was my first book of his, but my dad is a fan and the conversation was great. You can read the highlights by going to my Twitter feed, and I'm sure you can catch a re-cap by heading over to the Sony Readers Facebook page! I also had a mild fangirl moment twice; once when I found out that Michael Connelly has been on the TV show Castle and therefore has met Nathan Fillion, and another time when the YA bookies of the group started talking about John Green with Connelly (his latest book mentions The Fault in Our Stars).

I definitely recommend that you all check out the Sony Book Club! Next month we're chatting with Molly Ringwald about her book When It Happens to You. (For real.) It's not too late to join in, and everyone can be a part of the conversations on Twitter or Facebook!

A huge thank you to Sony, Michael Connelly, and the other VIP members for making it such a great weekend!

Monday, February 18, 2013

10 Things You Might Like to Know About The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen!

There’s no author who says “love” more than Sarah Dessen. And we don’t mean just romantic love (though she’s plenty good at that!). Sarah writes amazing, deep friendships, complex and true familial relationships, and, of course, swoony and wonderful first loves, so who better than Sarah to have a Valentine’s Day blog tour for her upcoming book, The Moon and More? Check with each blog every day for one of the 10 things you might like to know about The Moon and More that Sarah wrote herself. 

Here’s the sixth of Sarah’s "10 Things You Might Like To Know About The Moon and More":
"It’s not a typical love story. Which is not to say there isn’t a love story (or even a couple of them) within it. But I’ve done a lot of the troubled-girl-meets-awesome-boy-and-lives-happily-ever-after over eleven books. I wanted to try a different take on WHAT that ever after (or after ever) really means."
About The Moon and More:
"Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough. 
Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby. 
Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby? 
Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going? 
Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer."
Click here to read my review!

You can find out more about Sarah’s books on Sarah-Land!

Keep up to date with Sarah on Twitter and her website.

Want to know more about The Moon and More? Check with these blogs on Sarah’s tour!
Monday, 2/11: Forever Young Adult
Tuesday, 2/12: The Story Siren 
Wednesday, 2/13: Mundie Moms 
Thursday, 2/14: Chick Loves Lit
Friday, 2/15: Good Choice Reading

Monday, 2/18: The Compulsive Reader
Tuesday, 2/19: The Perpetual Page Turner
Wednesday, 2/20: The Young Folks
Thursday, 2/21: Good Books & Good Wine
Friday, 2/22: I am a Reader, Not a Writer
Keep an eye out for my review soon!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Monica Never Shuts Up: A Collection of Short Stories by A.S. King

I think that I have sufficiently extolled my love for A.S. King's writing and admiration for her as a person previously on this blog...but then she released her new collection of short stories, Monica Never Shuts Up. And now I'm finding it hard to shut up about King.

This collection has been advertised as King's first collection of stories "for adults" but really the fact that the majority of characters are adults is the only element that delineates these stories from King's novels for teenagers. To say that these stories have a wide range is an understatement. There really is a bit of everything in this collection, from contemporary stories to magical realism to soft science fiction. King isn't afraid to tackle big issues on new and interesting ways, and even her quiet stories are starkly funny and haunting. Even in her most (seemingly) innocuous tales, King seems to be gravitating towards and pushing boundaries, forcing her readers to think about the reasoning behind the choices we makes, how we deal with life's rough patches, and whether or not people have the capacity to change themselves. That same weirdness that we all know and love pervades these stories, and King's creativity and confidence make Monica Never Shuts Up a great pick for new and old readers alike.

My favorite stories in the collection? "Monica Never Shuts Up," "Raul Shows Me Things," "Harry's Giant," and "Tests I Failed." Seriously, either get a paperback copy or download the e-book. This is an amazing collection.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Classics Corner: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Happy Valentine's Day to those that celebrate, and Happy Free Chocolate Day to those that don't! I thought about a lot of romantic books I've read lately that I could highlight on this day, but I've decided to post the latest Classics Corner edition instead--and on what better book than Pride and Prejudice, hailed one of the most romantic books in the English language? Don't worry, I'm not going to fangirl over Darcy or Bingley, or any other character for that matter.

I admit right now that sitting down to write about Pride and Prejudice is slightly daunting for me. How does one talk about a romance that’s so immensely popular, even after 200 years of being in print? What more can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said?

I think for so many years, Pride and Prejudice was one of those novels that everyone just talked about around me, and I knew because of the modern adaptions, the movies, the miniseries, and of course, that quote—“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” (This statement is flowery and nice, but sort of a bull-headed way to propose to a girl. I mean, would you say “yes” to a guy who admitted to loving you only after saying it’s against his better judgment?)

I think that it’s really interesting how in our modern adaptations and discussions about Pride and Prejudice, we hype up the romance and image of Darcy as this mysterious, passionate lover and center around the romance between him and Elizabeth when throughout most of the book he comes off as an ass, and there is so much else going on in the story. Sure, we all realize that the guy is probably pretty shy, and we all grow to love him halfway through the novel, but it makes me wonder how closely we really look at this story, and how much we appreciate Austen’s writing beyond the fact that she created these characters we all love to swoon over.

I admired Pride and Prejudice from afar for quite a while. I read the book in eighth grade, but my recollections of the story are dimmed, and mostly were augmented with repeated viewings of the BBC miniseries. I never dared to call it my favorite book, but I’ve often been guilty of saying something inane along the lines of “Oh yeah, Pride and Prejudice, it’s an amazing book! Love it!” without being terribly familiar with the actual text of the book. I got the chance to re-read it again earlier this year for a British Literature class I am taking, and this time around, my eyes were really opened.

Pride and Prejudice has often been praised for being elegantly written, and I would agree with this assessment. There is something about Austen’s narrative that gives you the feeling of perfect balance as you read along—balance between showing and telling, plot and character study, grave situations and playful satire of how marriage is treated and women are commodities. It’s really quite remarkable when you take a step back and take it all in—even the silliest characters have an important message to impart.

My favorite motif throughout the book is that of eyes. Mr. Darcy compliments Elizabeth on her fine eyes throughout the book, even in the beginning when the pair seems to dislike each other intensely. Austen continually comes back the eyes, as it is revealed that both Darcy and Elizabeth have been blinded by the appearances of all that are around them, and as they finally are able to see reality. It’s a beautiful and elegant motif that correlates well with many of the themes of the book, and I wonder if it is oftentimes easily overlooked, especially in our many modern retellings.

This being said, I really love The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a truly unique modern adaptation video blog style. It’s entertaining, innovative, and the writing is sharp. Plus, it’s totally free on Youtube (and created by Hank Green, brother to John Green)! It’s something that anyone can really enjoy, but I think reading the book (it’s actually not all that long!) will really make the experience richer.

What’s your favorite thing about Pride and Prejudice?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sequel to The Raven Boys: The Dream Thieves Cover!

I don't know about you all, but the very last line of Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys made me go, "Whaaa?" But in an awesome, what-is-she-going-to-do-now? sort of way! It's been one that has haunted me and made me wonder what on earth is going to happen in the sequel, so I was very excited to see the news that the sequel is going to be called The Dream Thieves, and there is a cover!

I am loving the artwork for these covers--so unique and odd, and so compelling. I am curious to see who this is on the cover (Ronan, perhaps?), and to learn more about the ley lines and Blue and....I could go on and on.

The Dream Thieves is going to hit shelves this fall, on September 17th, 2013! No soon enough, in my opinion... And if you haven't read The Raven Boys yet, click here to read my review.

What do you all think of this cover?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #15

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!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Win The Butterfly Clues and Notes from a Ghost Town by Kate Ellison!

Kate Ellison is the author of The Butterfly Clues and soon-to-be-released Notes from a Ghost Town. To celebrate her new release, I'll be giving away copies of both books on the blog! 

About The Butterfly Clues:
"Seventeen-year-old Penelope "Lo" Marin has always collected beautiful things. Since her brother's untimely death, her collection has become an obsession. When she finds an antique butterfly necklace that belonged to a murdered girl at a flea market, she impulsively steals it and becomes fixated. As Lo delves deeper into the life of this girl she feels an otherworldly connection to, she finds herself in the middle of a violent underworld of crime, drugs and sex. But the more questions she asks, the more danger she is in. Can Lo uncover the killer's identity, or will she become the next victim?"
About Notes from a Ghost Town:
"Olivia Tithe was excited for the summer and spending it with her best friend, Stern. But that was ruined when he was mur­dered...by Olivia's mother. Flashing forward, Olivia's life has been transformed since that awful night.

After her mother's incarceration, Olivia must move on, but she hates her father's new fiancée, Heather, and with her dad's new real estate development (she calls it Ghost Town) in the works, she barely sees him. But a new boy, Austin, has kindled feelings inside her that she hasn't felt since Stern's death.

Arriving at the same time as this new guy is a mysterious note that brings Stern's murder back to the forefront; Olivia knows that she must discover the truth behind her friend's death once and for all."
To enter to win, fill out the form below!

Also, be sure to check out Egmont on Facebook and follow them on Twitter (@egmontUSA), and "Like" Kate on Facebook!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #14

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, February 7, 2013

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #13

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, February 6, 2013

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #12

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, February 5, 2013

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

Life has gotten complicated for Sydney Sage since Adrian confessed his love for her, so now she's avoiding him, trying to carry out her job for the Alchemists without any complications. But the longer Sydney works with the Moroi, the more she sees that certain things aren't adding up. The Alchemists are hiding something from her, and Sydney is sure that the elusive Marcus Finch holds the answers she's looking for. In between her search for answers and a new nemesis that possesses an awful lot of magical power, Sydney has a lot to handle—and she won't be able to get very far without Adrian's help.

In the third book in the Bloodlines series, Richelle Mead focuses a lot on Sydney's struggle to maintain balance between her two very different lives. Sydney is beyond the point of worrying about betraying the Alchemists, but she walks a fine line between maintaining the appearance of loyalty and investigating their actions while struggling with her magical identity. Spurred into action because of a threat from a powerful witch, Sydney makes great strides in her magical training with Ms. Terwillger, and gains a lot of confidence along the way. Finding Marcus Finch isn't what Sydney expects, which forces her to contemplate how she wants to play the game—does she sacrifice everything she's worked for, or does she stay loyal to her friends and find a way to help them, even if it means more danger? Longtime Mead readers will be rewarded in this book as Sydney continues to sort through the messy Moroi and Alchemist relationships with Adrian's very close help. The Indigo Spell has an ending that is promising and surprising, dredging up past family issues in the Sage family. As always, readers will be clamoring for another book at the last page.

Cover Comments: I'm not particularly crazy about the design of these covers--I think that the girl who is supposed to be Sydney looks a bit awkward--but this one is better than the first two! I like this shade of blue.

ARC provided by publisher.

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #11

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, February 4, 2013

Prodigy Blog Tour

Welcome to the Prodigy blog tour! Prodigy is the sequel to Legend (read my review here), written by Marie Lu. To celebrate the release, you can read a short excerpt of scenes from the book and take a look at Marie's thought process behind the writing.

First, more about Prodigy:
"June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector. 
It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long. But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong? 
In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action."
Prodigy Excerpt: I look around in surprise. I’ve never been inside a real Republic barrack before, but this one must be reserved for officers – there’s no way they’d use this to house regular soldiers. First off, it’s not a long room with rows of bunk beds. It could be an upscale apartment for one or two officials. There are electric lights on the ceiling and in the lamps. Marble tiles of silver and cream cover the floor, the walls are painted in alternating shades of off-white and a deep wine color, and the couches and tables have thick red rugs cushioning their legs. A small monitor sits flush against one of the walls, mutely showing the same newsreel that’s playing on the JumboTrons outside. – Day, page 23

Marie’s thoughts: I wanted the Republic to feel like a combination of the familiar and the strange. As Prodigy opens, for example, we arrive in Las Vegas and see what it would look like if it became a military city. The Luxor (that iconic black pyramid hotel) still exists, but it’s now a docking base for airships. Those sorts of details were fun to play with. Other tidbits, like the fact that everyone in the Republic wears white to a funeral, were pulled from other cultures. In China, you traditionally wear white instead of black to a funeral, as white in Asian culture represents death.

Download the FREE Marie Lu digital sampler to your e-reader and start reading Legend and Prodigy right now!


Watch the Prodigy book trailer!

Read more from Prodigy and Marie Lu on these blogs!

Mon, 1/21: The Story Siren
Tues, 1/22: Forever Young Adult
Wed, 1/23: Book Chic
Thurs, 1/24: Books with Bite
Fri, 1/25: Alice Marvels

Mon, 1/28: Presenting Lenore
Tues, 1/29: Mundie Moms
Wed, 1/30: GreenBeanTeenQueen
Thurs, 1/31: Pure Imagination
Fri, 2/1: Bookalicious

Mon, 2/4: The Compulsive Reader
Tues, 2/5: The Book Cellar
Wed, 2/6: Cuddlebuggery
Thurs, 2/7: Anna Reads
Fri, 2/8: Tales of the Ravenous Reader

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #10

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!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Who is Marcus Finch?: Clue #9

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!