Wednesday, August 31, 2011
This week's WoW book is Damage by Anya Parrish! It will be released on September 8, 2011.
SUMMARY: When Dani was eight, she fell from a building. No one believed her claim that she was pushed by Rachel . . . her imaginary friend. It took years of therapy to convince Dani that Rachel wasn't real. Now fifteen, Dani wants to make it as a dancer. But a deadly freak accident sends Dani a terrifying message: Rachel is back, she's real, and she'll stop at nothing to kill Dani. Complicating matters is Jesse, the school bad boy who's being stalked by his own invisible childhood nemesis. Dani and Jesse join forces to learn why their astral tormenters are back. Their investigation leads to a horrifying discovery—and the terrible experiment that binds them to each other.
This one sounds so unique, I've never read a book even similar to that description! PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2011.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
This is a monthly meme of mine that I made up! :) It's similar to my "Waiting on Wednesday" posts, but highlights many books, not just one, and doesn't include summaries. Here's a list of young adult books that are still in-the-making or will be published in the future. These can range from being released tomorrow, to two years from now! The covers and release dates might not be permanent, it's just what I saw on Amazon, Goodreads, or the author's website. Hope this will be efficient to expand your reading pile! All of the titles are linked to their Goodreads' pages so you can add them to your TBR shelf. :)
The Predicteds by Christine Seifert (September 1, 2011): Daphne is the new girl in town and is having trouble fitting in. At least she has Jesse... sort of. He wants to be more than "just friends," but there's something he's not telling her about his past. Something dangerous.
Bloodborn by Karen Kincy (September 8, 2011): Brock always hated werewolves and Others like them. While trying to trap a werewolf pack, he and his brother Chris were attacked and bitten—becoming what they have always feared and despised.
If I Tell by Janet Gurtler (October 1, 2011): Having a young mother who didn't raise her, a father who wants nothing to do with her and living in a small-minded town where she's never fit in hasn't been easy. But Jasmine's been surviving. Until she sees her mom's new boyfriend making out with her own best friend. When do you forgive people for being human or give up on them forever?
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey (September 20, 2011): When her boyfriend, Danny, is killed in a car accident, Wren can’t imagine living without him. Wild with grief, she uses the untamed powers she’s inherited to bring him back. But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy she once loved.
Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe (October 13, 2011): When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. Living in a strange city with a host family, she's deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties.
The Shattering by Karen Healey (September 5, 2011): Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to plan for every possibility. She knows what to do if you break an arm, or get caught in an earthquake or fire. But she wasn't prepared for her brother's suicide, and his death has left her shattered with grief.
The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen (September 27, 2011): Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.
Without Tess by Marcella Pixley (October 11, 2011): Tess and Lizzie are sisters, sisters as close as can be, who share a secret world filled with selkies, flying horses, and a girl who can transform into a wolf in the middle of the night. But when Lizzie is ready to grow up, Tess clings to their fantasies. As Tess sinks deeper and deeper into her delusions, she decides that she can’t live in the real world any longer and leaves Lizzie and her family forever.
Battle Fatigue by Mark Kurlansky (October 25, 2011): In an insightful and compelling novel from bestselling nonfiction writer Mark Kurlansky comes an exploration of one teen's struggle to understand himself amid the harsh realities of life during wartime.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
This week's WoW book is All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin! It will be released on September 6, 2011.
SUMMARY: In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.
I don't know where to begin...chocolate is illegal, the year 2083, mafia family...this sounds like one heck of an interesting and unique book! Can't wait for its release. PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 6, 2011.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Title: Perfect Chemistry
Author: Simone Elkeles
Published: December 2008 by Walker Books
My Rating: 5 stars
Tags: YA | Romance | Realistic | Gangs
Includes: Violence, Sexuality, Profanity
First Lines: Everyone knows I'm perfect. My life is perfect. My clothes are perfect. Even my family is perfect. And although it's a complete lie, I've worked my butt off to keep up the appearance that I have it all.
Brittany Ellis has a seemingly perfect life from the outside. Others are jealous of her good looks, boyfriend of two years, rich family and mansion of a house. But what they don't know is that she's faking it all. As her home life is crumbling apart, so is her relationship with her boyfriend Colin. And to make matters worse, on the first day of senior year she gets paired up with gang member Alex Fuentes in chemistry class. The two are from different parts of town and are constantly at each others' throats. But when Alex makes a bet with his friends that by November he can get Brittany to sleep with him, things turn around. Suddenly, Alex is always on Brittany's mind and he can't get her out of his own either. As the two begin a secret relationship, they realize that maybe they aren't so different after all.
From page 82
I take one of his hands in mine. I'd never be this bold if we had an audience, and am thankful for the privacy of the nonfiction titles surrounding us. His breathing slows as I sit up on my knees and lean into him. I'm ignoring the fact that his fingers are long and rough and that I've never actually touched him before. I'm nervous. I shouldn't be, though. I'm the one in control this time.
This was a unique blend of Romeo and Juliet meets West Side Story. One thing I loved about this book was that it was told in both Brittany and Alex's point of view, alternating chapters. I was able to see both of the characters' home lives and cultures, and grow equally close to the main characters. They were deeply developed and almost right from the beginning I really connected to them. I could relate to Brittany and her struggle at plastering on a smile, while I could also understand Alex's reasons behind being in a tough gang to protect his family.
I hadn't ever read anything by this author before so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Her writing blew me away though, and left me hungry for more. Simone Elkeles has such a talent of weaving together an interesting plot, steamy romance, unforgettable and compatible characters, and words that flow perfectly together. There was never a dull moment in the story, and even the tiniest of details seemed to play a role in the book. Even me, someone who is completely turned off by profanity, didn't have a problem at all with the many f-bombs included in the dialogue. And that's because the author used them when needed, to make a point, and to bring the story even more to life. Alex is a bad boy - he has tattoos, scars from knife fights, wears a bandanna with his gang colors, and talks tough. But I swear he'll melt your heart. The passion between Alex and Brittany was so raw and real; I believed every second of it. I do think the ending was a little far fetched and dramatic, but that doesn't lower my 5 star rating of this fantastic and emotional novel. I enjoyed every page of it and recommend it to all you mature romantics!
Cover Thoughts: I think it accurately portrays the book, but at the same time, I didn't imagine Alex and Brittany to look like the cover models so it was a little off-putting to me.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
This week's WoW book is Witch Song by Amber Argyle! It will be released on September 1, 2011.
SUMMARY: The world is changing. Once, Witch Song controlled everything from the winds to the shifting of the seasons - but not anymore. All the Witches are gone, taken captive by a traitor. All but Brusenna. As the echo of their songs fade, the traitor grows stronger. Now she is coming for Brusenna. Her guardian has sworn to protect her, but even he can't stop the Dark Witch. Somehow, Brusenna has to succeed where every other Witch has failed. Find the traitor. Fight her. Defeat her. Because if Brusenna doesn't, there won't be anything left to save.
Alright so I'm not gonna lie when I say that this summary confuses me and I'm not quite sure what the plot of this book is... but I've recently taken to a liking of books with witches so I must read this one. PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2011.
Monday, August 15, 2011
In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth: When a small mistake costs sixteen-year-old Eagan her life during a figure-skating competition, she leaves many things unreconciled, including her troubled relationship with her mother. From her vantage point in the afterlife, Eagan reflects back on her memories, and what she could have done differently, through her still-beating heart. When fourteen-year-old Amelia learns she will be getting a heart transplant, her fear and guilt battle with her joy at this new chance at life. And afterwards when she starts to feel different—dreaming about figure skating, craving grape candy—her need to learn about her donor leads her to discover and explore Eagan’s life, meeting her grieving loved ones and trying to bring the closure they all need to move on.
RECEIVED FOR REVIEW:
My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody: Here’s the deal. My name is Brooklyn Pierce, I’m fifteen years old, and I am decisionally challenged. Seriously, I can’t remember the last good decision I made. I can remember plenty of crappy ones though. Including that party I threw when my parents were out of town that accidentally burned down a model home. Yeah, not my finest moment, for sure. But see, that’s why I started a blog. To enlist readers to make my decisions for me. That’s right. I gave up. Threw in the towel. I let someone else be the one to decide which book I read for English. Or whether or not I accepted an invitation to join the debate team from that cute-in-a-dorky-sort-of-way guy who gave me the Heimlich Maneuver in the cafeteria. (Note to self: Chew the melon before swallowing it.) I even let them decide who I dated! Well, it turns out there are some things in life you simply can’t choose or have chosen for you—like who you fall in love with. And now everything’s more screwed up than ever.
Paradise by Jill S. Alexander: Paisley Tillery is the drummer for a country rock band. If they can make it to the stage at the Texapalooza music fest, then Paisley will be closer to her dream of a career in music and a ticket out of her small Texas town. Drumming and music are what Paisley has always wanted. Until the band gets a new lead singer, the boy from Paradise, Texas. With Paradise in her life, what Paisley wants, and what she needs, complicate her dreams coming true.
Settling by Shelley Workinger: Clio and her friends realize that they aren’t ready to go home; they’re determined to stay on campus and continue their journey of self- discovery. But someone doesn’t feel the same way and will do anything to drive them away – even kill. Friendships will be tested, abilities will evolve, and more secrets will come out as the teens race to stop the killer before he sets his sights on one of them…
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Title: Beautiful Creatures
Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Published: December 2009 by Little, Brown Books
My Rating: 4 stars
Tags: YA | Romance | Paranormal
Includes: Violence, Sensuality
First Lines: There were only two kinds of people in our town. "The stupid and the stuck," my father had affectionately classified our neighbors. "The ones who are bound to stay or too dumb to go. Everyone else finds a way out."
Ethan lives in Gatlin, South Carolina: a small, Southern, historical town full of people who are all alike. His mom died last Spring so he just lives with a father that locks himself up in his study to write, and Amma the housekeeper. It's no surprise that when a new girl moves into the Ravenwood mansion, it's the talk of the town. She's living with her Uncle Macon, who is the equivalent to Boo Radley - he never comes out of his house and no one has seen his face in years. Ethan is strangely drawn to Lena and the two share a powerful connection. Together they must learn how to fight off a curse that's been running through Lena's family for generation after generation...because Lena's life may depend on it.
First of all, for a book written by two women, they absolutely blew me away at writing from a teenage guy's point of view. I personally love reading from the male perspective because it's different and usually interesting. Ethan was a great protagonist and his and Lena's characters were very much developed. I became familiar with them both almost instantly and really felt connected to them. I liked seeing their relationship grow, and it flowed smoothly. It didn't feel forced at all.
This was a nice break from the typical paranormal romance novel. For one thing, it's Lena that has the special abilities, not Ethan, the main character. I don't think that this book would fit into just one type of genre either. It felt very realistic at times, the romance was toned down (so this could be a book for either male or female I think), there was a bit of suspense, some great action scenes, and I learned a little history along the way, too. Which brings me to my next topic: the setting. I adored reading about this small Southern town and the people that inhabited it. The tiny history lessons about battles and wars involving the Confederacy and how they related to Gatlin, South Carolina were interesting. The girls who lived in Gatlin who were all alike and knew everyone's business were amusing and believable. Seeing the whole town turn their nose up at Lena because of how different she was was a shocker but I really admire how Lena handled things. She was a tough chick and a memorable character who I can't wait to read more about in the sequel.
From page 32
She tucked her dark curls behind her ear, black nail polish catching the fluorescent light. Her hands were covered with black ink, like she had written on them. She walked down the hall as if we were invisible. She had the greenest eyes I'd ever seen, so green they could've been considered some new color altogether. Macon Ravenwood's niece.
With over 500 pages, this book was no doubt a long one. At times it did drag and I think certain scenes could have been left out to keep the story flowing more smoothly. It's just that the explaining portion of the book - about Lena, her background, and her powers - took way too long. Don't get me wrong, I think the two authors are geniuses and extremely imaginative and talented writers. However, because of how creative the setup of the story was, the explanation took chapters to uncover but nonetheless was worth it in the end. I wasn't ever confused and all of my questions were answered at some point. Once I got near to the climax, my interest in the story spiked off the charts. I stayed up all night to finish the book, devouring it page to page. I don't want to spoil anything, but let's just say that I was not disappointed in the ending. It was the perfect way to leave room for the next installment.
Cover Thoughts: It's eye-catching, elegant, and unique. I like how dark and simple it is. Just like the summary, it doesn't give anything away and remains mysterious.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
This week's WoW book is Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake! It will be released on August 30, 2011.
SUMMARY: Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay. When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.
I've been so interested in reading this book since I first heard about it months ago. It sounds so creepy and I love a good horror book. Plus check out that eerie cover! PUBLISHED ON AUGUST 30, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
I had the privilege of interviewing Joshua C. Cohen, author of Leverage!
You've always been an avid athlete interested in gymnastics and football, so where did your writing interest come from and what made you want to write a book?
When I was growing up, I liked coming up with different endings to stories I read or movies I watched, trying to make them sadder or funnier or crazier. I think, at some point, when I was in college, I really wanted to create a complete story from beginning to end. That was the first time I sat down and put all my ideas and thoughts on paper. It followed that when I saw I could string together a story, I wanted to create a complete novel.
So why gymnastics?
When I was in grade school, I was into karate and I really loved it. I think I started seeing these showy karate tricks in the kung-fu movies where the guy would do a flip and then incorporate a kick and, being a young boy, I thought that was the coolest thing in the world and would be a great way to impress girls. Looking back, I'm guessing the girls could not have cared less. Anyway, I started getting more interested in performing the flips and less interested in the kicks and punches. That's when I found out our junior high school had a gymnastics program. Budget cuts have eliminated that program and many other programs like it which is really a shame. Students should have the chance to discover new sports and hobbies. Without that after school program, I probably never would have been a gymnast.
Do you see any of yourself in your characters?
Excellent question! I've definitely exaggerated the trials and tribulations that both the characters Kurt and Danny face in Leverage. The incidents that surround the two boys are complete fiction. Having said that, as I wrote the story, I tried to put myself in both boys' place and imagine how would I face bullies if I was still in a tiny body or if I stuttered and felt trapped by my voice. So, yes, in that regard, the choices that both boys make--specifically to stay silent when that is probably the worst choice--are a character flaw I'm capable of possessing myself at times--or at least it was when I was 16. I'd like to think that part of becoming a full-fledged adult is that you make better choices when you are confronted with heavy moral choices and obstacles. That's part of the challenge of writing in the voice of a teenager when you no longer are one.
Leverage deals with some pretty serious issues. Was it difficult to write about these heavy topics? What was the hardest part about writing your novel?
The topic was both difficult and compelling. I really felt I had this story that I needed to get out. I'd written many drafts trying to get certain parts just right. I'd think I had them and then re-read what I'd written and know they were still not right. The hardest part about writing the novel was pacing. My editor worked with me to cut out lots of extra stuff. There was a secondary love story between Danny and Indira but it was adding to the already hefty page count and was taking away from the central conflict so that was cut out. Also, trying to build the prank wars and keep layering the tension was a hard balancing act to perform on paper. Writing any specific scene for me is usually not difficult but making those scenes blend smoothly is where I need help.
If your life was made into a movie, what actor would play you? What would be the title?
Doesn't every guy pick Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Johnny Depp to this question? :-) I've been told I resemble Elijah Wood a bit so maybe him. But I like George Clooney even though I'm not as charming or good looking as he is. My life, like others, has so many different aspects to it that any one title would be really difficult but since I just finished reading Johathan Franzen's novel, Freedom, and felt a real empathy with a number of the characters in that book (plus it's partially set in Minnesota and NYC) I'll go with that title at the moment. Freedom.
If you could meet any author (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
Hmmmm.... I have dozens I'd love to talk to but I think I might pick Jodi Picoult at the moment to find out how she managed to juggle parenting and writing. I love her work and could use her advice in that balancing act now that I'm a new father. I love being a new father, by the way. It's fantastic!
What do you hope your readers will take away with them after reading Leverage?
First and foremost, I want them to be gripped by the novel and come away thinking "that was a great page-turner." But I also want them to maybe see something through the eyes of another human and empathise with a different person's predicament. Growing up, I felt like books really opened up my world and I want to return that favor to the next generation of readers.
Have an interesting fact about yourself that not too many people know?
When I'm feeling stressed out or cooped up (which happens after doing a lot of sitting in front of the computer for both work and my own writing) I'll break out into spontaneous handstands in my living room. It feels good.
I'll wrap up this interview with a little bit of "This Or That":
Thunderstorms or sunshine? Sunshine! But a summer thunderstorm that cools everything off is great, too! (Yes, I'm a total wavering politician here with my answer).
Summer or winter? Summer! Growing up in Minnesota, it either makes you hate winter or embrace it. It made me hate winter.
Mountains or beach? The older I get the more I like the mountains better because they offer so much to see. But growing up, I adored the beach. I still do. I love swimming in the ocean and snorkeling.
Computer or television? Computer. I'm addicted to internet news surfing.
Coffee or tea? Tea in the morning. Coffee in the afternoon with chocolate covered almonds to help me stay awake.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
This week's WoW book is Possess by Gretchen McNeil! It will be released on August 23, 2011.
SUMMARY: Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from. Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.
This one sounds completely AWESOME. I'm in awe of its stellar cover, too! PUBLISHED ON AUGUST 23, 2011!
Monday, August 1, 2011
A person's first appearance or performance in a particular capacity or role.
Welcome to author Victoria Schwab's debutante ball...
Victoria enters the ballroom wearing a vintage black and white halter dress. Escorting her is none other than Alexander Skarsgard of True Blood.
And now (mostly) ladies and (a few) gentlemen, I introduce to you...Victoria Schwab! *cue applause* This new author in the literature realm is debuting in August with her book The Near Witch.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him. As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
The setting of your party: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I'd have it in a forest, fey-style, right at dusk when the whole world smears at the edges. Lights in the trees, a thousand small ones like stars or fireflies, or magic.
The guest list: Who are the top three authors (dead or alive) that you would like to meet?
The menu: What do you consider your "brain food", the snacks that kept you going while you wrote your novel?
The deb's high heels: If you could step into someone else's shoes for a day, who would it be and why?
The table centerpiece: What's the #1 thing that you can't go anywhere without?
Now it's time for the debutante and her date to share their first dance! What song has stuck with you through life?
We have a special guest tonight at the ball...Lexi from The Near Witch! Lexi, what was your favorite scene from the novel you starred in?
The heartfelt speech: How has the publishing process changed you? What have you learned from your experiences?
The future: Now that you are officially introduced to society, what's next? Do you plan to write another book?
My next book is called THE ARCHIVED. I'm positively shaking with excitement for this project. I am not really supposed to talk about it right now, but I'll say it's kind of like Buffy meets If I Stay. That mash-up seems to change daily.
Must be a blog follower. Ends on August 30.
FIND VICTORIA ONLINE: Website | Blog | Goodreads