Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Struts and Frets by Jon Skovron - Review

Music runs through Sammy Bojar’s veins. His dreams are filled with music, as are most of his waking thoughts. He’s in a band, Tragedy of Wisdom, (the lead singer’s choice and yes, he knows it’s not a good name, really he does) and they’ve decided to compete in a battle of the bands, although they all know they don’t practice enough, the singer doesn’t know the words to the songs yet, and sometimes they don’t even all play the same song at the same time.

As if this was not enough to worry Sammy, his jazz pianist grandfather is not well and seems to be getting worse, slipping away. He keeps bumping into the flip side of musical success (so how on earth is he going to persuade his Mom that he wants to play music professionally?). And apparently one of his band mates is interested in his best friend, who may be interested in more than friendship with him.

This coming of age story is full of warmth and humor, it’s light and fun and brimming with music. Skovron obviously shares Sammy’s passion for all kinds of music and Struts and Frets is a must read for any music-loving teen. And I really did like the inclusion of Sammy’s soundtrack for the book.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

In My Mailbox

I'm early with this - a miracle I know, but In My Mailbox explores the contents of my mailbox on a weekly basis. Of course I only mention things like books! As ever with thanks to The Story Siren and Pop Culture Junkie who host and inspired this meme. And I'm early because tomorrow I'm going away for a week.

And although I only got one book this week it looks really good and I can't wait to start it(thank you Sarah!)

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.

The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

A Holiday Present from Sarah Rees Brennan

For those of you who loved The Demon's Lexicon, Sarah Rees Brennan has a holiday present just for you. A short story entitled Nick's First Word. How awesome is that?
Oh, and isn't the UK and Ireland cover for the sequel, The Demon's Covenant, fabulous?

Nick’s First Word

Light was caught and held for a gleaming moment, reflecting the whole room in a small bright oval. Then the drop of water slid down to the end of the mirror, and Nick started watching another drop.

The door opened and Alan rushed in, dropping to his knees and testing the bath water with his elbow. It was cold. It had been cold for quite a while, since Mum had started screaming and Dad had left Nick to go to her. Nick had been watching drops slide down the mirror since then.

Alan started talking very quickly as he bundled Nick out and wrapped him in a towel. He threw another towel over Nick's head, enveloping him in blackness that shifted into dim colour as Alan began vigorously drying his hair.

"That bath was icy, you must have been there for hours, you must be frozen," he said. "Were you unhappy? Were you bored?"

Nick was obviously not frozen.

He did not understand half of what Alan said to him. He did not know what Alan meant by bored, or unhappy. The words did not mean cold, because Alan used them sometimes when Nick was quite warm.

For more (and how could you stop here?), click here to get to Sarah's live journal.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Radiant Shadows giveaway!

Happy holidays to all.

Just seen this amazing giveaway and had to post it. If you are a fan of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series, as I am, you will be waiting not very patiently for Radiant Shadows to hit the bookshelves. And Melissa is giving away arcs on her Goodreads page. Click here for details. You have only 17 days to enter. oh, and these arcs are signed!

Radiant Darkness (Wicked Lovely #4)cover copy:

Hunger for nourishment.
Hunger for touch.
Hunger to belong.

Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers. Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries’ coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani’s death.

Ani isn’t one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin’s plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?

Alluring romance, heart-stopping danger, and sinister intrigue combine in Melissa Marr’s next volume of Melissa Marr’s New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series.

I entered - of course I entered - did you?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Twilight and New Moon Secrets!

Chris Weitz, director of New Moon, told Entertainment Weekly 10 "little things he embedded in the film", including hidden wolves ("Look for an upside-down engraving of a wolf in the shot of the bowl in which Carlisle burns his first-aid equipment; on Jacob's T-shirt when he meets Bella in the school parking lot for the first time; and a wolf trinket on the dream-catcher that he gives her.") and vampire elevator music ("When Edward, Bella, and Alice get into the elevator on their way to see the Volturi, the music playing in the elevator is from Strauss' Die Fledermaus (a.k.a. The Bat).").

So, did you spot any of them? And now I have to go back and see it again just to find them!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter's End by Jean-Claude Mourlevat - Review

Who and what would you risk to escape a boarding school that feels more like a jail? Could a chance encounter change everything you thought you would or could do? In this harsh dystopian world, four teenagers manage to escape, leaving others to pay for their freedom, with a pack of dog men on their heels. Will they find the resistance movement before they are captured? Can they do more than their parents managed to do 15 years before? Can a beautiful voice ignite a rebellion? Can they really stay one step ahead of the Phalange, who are determined to kill them?

One of them is captured and forced to train and take part in their version of gladiator games. For him the question is whether he can he even survive the training, let alone a fight. And will he ever be reunited with his love

Translated from the French, this is a heart-stopping, all-action tale of adventure and rebellion that takes us from cruel boarding school conditions, through icy rivers and mountains, to the resistance movement just waiting for someone to ignite their passions. It feels very European. Yet with all the hardships they encounter, there remains a streak of romance that lingers and hope that sustains them in their belief that they can succeed where their parents couldn’t. Try this if you are looking for something inventive, adventurous, and just a little different.

Monday, December 21, 2009

In My Mailbox

I'm late with this, I know, but In My Mailbox explores the contents of my mailbox on a weekly basis. Of course I only mention things like books! As ever with thanks to The Story Siren and Pop Culture Junkie who host and inspired this meme.

This week I got only one book, but it's one I've been waiting for:

Fang by James Patterson

Being a kid with wings--constantly on the run--has never been easy, and Max and her flock are getting tenser than ever. First, on a trip to Africa, they meet a mysterious billionaire whose intense scrutiny of the flock makes her fear the worst. Then, a cryptic message from a young girl arrives, warning them "The sky will fall." And as if an impending apocalypse weren't bad enough, canny birdkid Angel makes a dire prophecy about Max's soul mate: Fang will be the first to die.

Max's desperate desire to protect Fang brings the two closer than ever. But can the team weather the storm, or will the turmoil rip them apart for the last time?

What was in your mailbox?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Hush, Hush Christmas - A Message From Patch

Oh, I have just seen this and simply have to repost. Hush, Hush was one of my favorite reads this year and apparently this is the model from the cover of the book (who is perfect as Patch - no?)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Movie news

See it on a screen near you ...many great books have been optioned for movies recently.

Natalie Portman will star in and produce a film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, based on the Seth Grahame-Smith/Jane Austen mashup. Variety reported that Lionsgate will finance and distribute, and "Portman will play feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet, who is distracted from her quest to eradicate the zombie menace by the arrival of the arrogant Mr. Darcy."

Variety also tells us that the studio has officially acquired Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl . Richard Lagravanese (P.S. I Love You, Freedom Writers) has signed on to write and direct the film.

And then of course there is the much awaited movie of The Lightning Thief (opens February 12). The cast includes:
Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Pierce Brosnan, and Uma Thurman. Here's the trailer in case you've not yet seen it

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Video book talks by Sarah Quigley, Lauren Bjorkman, and John Yang

As promised, here are the three remaining authors talking about their books from our recent author workshop.

First, here's Sarah Quigley talking about her book, TMI:

Next, here's Lauren Bjorkman talking about her book, My Invented Life:

And finally, here's Jon Yang talking about his book, Exclusively Chloe:

All of these books sound great, don't they? And again, we have signed copies at Kepler's if you want to buy a copy (

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cheryl Renee Herbsman and C. Lee McKenzie

I was lucky enough to host a teen writers workshop last week and asked the five authors to describe their books for me so I could post them here. The workshop was good -- really insightful I thought - and all five authors were delightful, witty, with fascinating stories on how they got to being published. I would thoroughly recommend these workshops if you get a chance to attend one, and of course I've added all of their books to my TBR pile (oh that pile is huge!)

So here's Cheryl Renee Herbsman talking about her novel, Breathing:

And here's C. Lee McKenzie talking about her book, Sliding on the Edge:

I'll post the video book talks of Sarah Quigley, Lauren Bjorkman, and Jon Yang tomorrow. And we have signed copies all five title so if you'd like one, or think it would make that perfect gift for someone on your list, click here to order a copy!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

In My Mailbox

Can it be that time again? This week just sailed by. As ever, thanks go to the very creative Kristi aka Story Siren and Alea of Pop Culture Junkie, the blogs where this meme started, here are the books I acquired this week. A quieter week - just two books to talk about (not arcs, both already published):

How to Ruin Your Boyfriend's Reputation by Simone Elkeles

Guess who’s jetting off to the Holy Land this summer! Me—Amy Nelson-Barak. I’ve volunteered for ten days of military training in Israel with my friends. The Sababa brochure said it would be a “fun” summer experience. Okay, so I didn’t sign up to prove I’m not a princess…I did it to surprise my Israeli boyfriend stationed at the same base. Too bad nobody told me:

- It’s hot in the Negev desert…like, so hot your makeup melts off and you get under-boob sweat spots.
- You can’t sleep in until 11 a.m.
- You shouldn’t kill bees with your flatiron—don’t ask.
- Peeing in a hole isn’t easy (when you’re a girl)—double don’t ask.

When I found out our team leader was my boyfriend Avi, I was totally psyched…until I learned he has to treat me like all the other recruits.

Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith

Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.

Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world.

I'm in the mood for non-paranormal adventure this week so Lockdown is calling to me. Will let you know.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Elsewhere by Will Shetterly - Review

I know this is an older title but I just had to post my colleague Shannon's wonderful review of Elsewhere by Will Shetterly (yet another to add to my ever-growing TBR pile!).

Faerie has returned. But this time its run smack into a human city and created Bordertown, a dangerous and gritty world where magic, drugs, gangs, humans, halfies, and elves run wild on the streets. Ron has runaway to find his brother Tony but instead he finds Castle Pup an old building where a community of humans, elves, and half-breeds squat and live in a delicious tumult of electric colored hair, leather, spelled motorcycles, and great music. Will Ron ever be able to find his brother and survive Bordertown where beneath the thrill a dark undertow of violence and dark magic churn?

I loved this book. I think I borrowed it at least 10 times from our library. It was so full of the rebellion and danger that was just not part of my happy suburban adolescence. The characters completely charmed me. They were wild, brazen, street wise, and I mean, what beats a statuesque, leather clad elf riding a motorcycle?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Heidi R. Kling and Sea

I'm a bit late for my Waiting on Wednesday post but naturally I'm waiting for Heidi's wonderful book, Sea, to be published. Wanted to post video of Heidi talking about Sea, so here it is:

(And I'm sorry that the arrow seems to fall directly over your nose in the video, Heidi.)

Now that your interest has been piqued (!), you can read my review here , you can read my interview with Heidi here, and you can even become a fan on facebook here. Go!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fallen by Lauren Kate - Review

Luce Price is haunted by shadows. She can’t remember anything about the accident in which her boyfriend died, but nonetheless she’s sent to a reform school, Sword and Cross. Strangers surround her - all seem messed up to her – her cell phone is taken away, and there are security cameras everywhere. No wonder she’s unhappy. Then she catches a glimpse of Daniel Grigori and wonders why he seems so familiar. She’s sure she’s met him somewhere before but he is simply not interested, won’t have anything to do with her. And yet she can’t keep away. She needs to find out more about him (of course she does!) but he makes no sense to her at all.

This is very much an introductory novel to a new series that is full of unusual characters (my favorite is Penn), star-crossed lovers, and a fight between good and evil. There will be many, many things said about this ending but I loved it, made me change the way I thought about the book. Try it for yourself. Let me know.

Oh, and the cover is beautiful don't you think?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

In My Mailbox

As ever, thanks go to the very creative Kristi aka Story Siren and Alea of Pop Culture Junkie, the blogs where this meme started, here are the books I acquired this week. And this week the holidays came early. I was just SO very excited with my books this week. Sometimes you get exactly the books you were waiting and waiting for.
And to the books.

First, and most exciting to me,
This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

I am such a huge fan of Life As We Knew It and The Dead and The Gone. I picked this up the second I received it, despite being in the middle of another book. This was the book I wanted over all others. And mid way through, it is every bit as good as I had expected it to be - and I had very high hopes.

from the back:It's been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. For Miranda Evans life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce. The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

Lies (A Gone Novel) by Michael Grant
I am also an enormous fan of the Gone series and this is the third in the series. Can't read fast enough this week.

from the back: It happens one night: a girl who died now walks among the living. Zil and the Human Crew set fire to Perdidi Beach, and amid the flames and smoke Sam sees teh body of drake, but Drake is not dead, even though Sam and Caine defeated him along with the darkness - or so they thought.As Perdidi Beach burns, battles rage. And the prophetess Orsay is preaching that death will set them all free. As life in the FAYZ becomes more deperate, noone knows who they can trust.

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Yes, I admit, I'm Team Jacob, have always loved werewolf stories (Shiver being the most recent, and thoroughly enjoyed Tattoo and the Squad series. I did say this was a good week for me...

from the author: It's about a human girl who was adopted and raised by a pack of werewolves after her human family was killed by a rogue wolf when she was five. The story picks up when Bryn (the main character) is fifteen and discovers a secret at the center of the pack- lots of snark, lots of adventure, and tons of werewolf politics and teenage rebellion.

That's my very wonderful round up for this week. What did you get?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalists Announced

The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, first awarded in 2009, honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.

The shortlist was just announced and is FANTASTIC!

1. Ash by Malinda Lo

2. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

3. The Everafter by Amy Huntley

4. Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan

5. Hold Still by Nina LaCour

The winner will be announced on January 18th.

Which book would you vote for?
(OK, I shamefully admit that I have only read one of the titles above - although I have all the rest on my TBR pile! However the one I have read, Beautiful Creatures, is fantastic.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

John Green reviews Twilight and New Moon

I had to post this. John Green talks here about Twilight and New Moon, the books and the movies.

So - what do you think?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hunger Games 3 Due Next August!

As announced in Publishers Weekly (click here to read the original article), today came fabulous news for all of us eager to know how Suzanne Collins will finish the amazing Hunger Games trilogy. We have just eight more months to wait! It hasn't yet got a title but it will be released in English worldwide on August 24, 2010. Oh be still my heart.

They also announced that they will finally release the trade paperback edition of the The Hunger Games on July 6, 2010.

Apparently The Hunger Games has 800,000 copies in print and Catching Fire has more than 750,000 copies in print. Oh, and Lionsgate has optioned movie rights.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


As promised, here's video of the incredibly talented Jessarae singing Without You (It'll Be Alright), the song inspired by Courtney Sheinmel's Positively. Hard to believe he's only 14 years old!

And did you know that his brother acts in TV's The Vampire Diaries? Such a talented family.

And here's Courtney talking about Positively, the book that inspired the song above.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Courtney Sheinmel Interview

In honor of World AIDS Day, here's my interview with the lovely Courtney Sheinmel, talking about her writing and her newest book Positively.

Tell us a little about Positively

Positively is about a thirteen-year-old girl named Emerson who was born with HIV. When her mother dies of AIDS, she has to move in with her dad and stepmother. Even though everyone around her has always accepted her, Emmy feels isolated and filled with grief. Her dad ends up sending her to a camp for girls with HIV, where she finds hope and the will to live, even in a world without her mother.

What was your inspiration to write Positively?

In February of 1991, when I was in eighth grade, I read an article about a woman named Elizabeth Glaser. She was infected with HIV and had unknowingly passed the virus onto her two children. After her daughter’s death in 1988, Elizabeth founded the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, in hopes of saving her son. It was one of the most remarkable stories I had ever heard, and I decided I wanted to get involved. Since then, I’ve met a lot of men, women, and children who are HIV-positive – regular people who never imagined how their lives would be changed by illness. Over the years I wondered how I would handle being thrust into that situation – particularly as a young kid. That was the impetus for Positively. In the book, Emerson has a personality that is markedly similar to my own; but unlike me, Emerson is living with HIV.

You tackle such a difficult subject like growing up HIV positive in a very sensitive manner. How many people did you interview for this? How much did you agonize over getting it “just right”?

I was very nervous about doing right by this story. I spoke to a number of teenagers with HIV, some of whom had lost parents. I had dozens of conversations with my friend Carol, who started a camp for kids who are HIV-positive, and I got in touch with an HIV nurse practitioner, to make sure I was accurate when it came to medical details. Still, sometimes I felt like I didn’t have a right to tell the story. The issues Emerson faces – life as an HIV-positive teen and as a motherless daughter – seemed almost sacred. One night I had dinner with Elizabeth Glaser’s son, Jake – the boy she started the Foundation to save. He’s all grown up now, and a close friend. I told him I felt like a fraud. He assured me I wasn’t and encouraged me to keep going. He said he believed in me, and believed I could tell the right story. I will always be grateful to him for that.

Because you tackle subjects like what families mean to us, no matter who or what they are, or about growing up HIV positive, are your books seen as controversial?

I don’t see them as controversial. I try to write honest and realistic stories, and my hope is that when readers finish them, they will feel the time they spent reading was worthwhile.

Is there one of your characters you identify most with? And are any of them based on people you know?

As I mentioned, Emerson is a lot like me – she’s sentimental about books and photographs, she’s loyal, and she’s stubborn. Sometimes she throws things when she doesn’t know what else to do (not my best characteristic). I identify with her a lot, even when she does things that may make her life more difficult. In terms of basing characters on people that I know, there are definitely similarities between my friends and the characters in my books. For example, Avery in My So-Called Family is a lot like my friend Arielle – they both have personalities that make people want to be around them. I gave Avery a heartthrob older brother because when I was in middle school, one of my friends had an older brother we were all in love with. And Leah’s younger brother Charlie has a few great one liners that came directly out of my nephews’ mouths.

How does it feel to know your book has inspired a song?

Oh, you mean “Without You (It’ll Be All Right)” by Jessarae? It feels great! The song is about going on after the death of a parent. I think it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard and I was blown away when I found out that Positively was the inspiration.

(I'll post video of this song here tomorrow!)

Do you hear from readers (or parents of readers) who either empathized with characters or had found themselves in the same situation?

I do, and it’s amazing. When I write, it’s just me alone in a room, and I have no idea who will end up reading my books. I would keep writing even if I knew no one would ever see the final product, but getting letters from readers is an incredible bonus. Recently I got an email from the mother of a boy who died of AIDS, and she said she really saw her son in Positively. I will save that e-mail for the rest of my life.

Did you always want to be a writer? (And do you still secretly want to be a singer?)

I always wrote – when I was really little, I would staple pages together to make “books.” But I did really want to be a singer. I was particularly encouraged by my father’s insistence that my sister and I harmonized together really well. (Apparently, in my family, love is deaf.) I still want to be a singer, but I have accepted that it’s just not in the cards.

Do you write full time?

Yes, writing is my main job. I also teach in an afterschool writing workshop and occasionally write book reviews.

Are you part of a writing group?

I’m not in an official writing group, but I sometimes send early chapters to friends for feedback.

Which writers do you admire most and did they influence your own writing?

I cannot possibly name all the writers I admire, but there are three who were particularly influential: First, and of course, there’s Judy Blume, the author of the first chapter books I read on my own, and the person who made me fall in love with reading. When my parents divorced, I carted around It’s Not the End of the World for months. I must have read it a hundred times. Then there was Anna Quindlen, the acclaimed novelist and columnist, who is probably one of the nicest people you could ever meet. She spoke at my high school when I was a freshman, and it was during her speech that I decided, officially, that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. And finally, Mary Gordon. Nothing I can say about her will ever do her justice. She’s an English professor at my alma mater, Barnard College, she’s one of my favorite writers, and she was, hands down, the best teacher I’ve ever had. She made me feel like a real writer, because she took my writing seriously.

What was your favorite book growing up?

There’s a picture book that I read until it was literarily shredded, called The Littlest Rabbit, about a rabbit who dreams of being taller.

What are you currently reading?

How to Say Goodbye in Robot, by Natalie Standiford.

What book would you like to read again for the first time?

A few months ago I read an incredibly moving, lyrical book for adults called The Cure for Grief. When I finished it, I was overwhelmed with sadness that it was over. Also I wish I could read my own books for the first time, as if they were written by someone else. I wonder what I would think of them if I were looking at them from a more objective standpoint.

What next?

My next book, Sincerely, Sophie/Sincerely, Katie, will be published by Simon & Schuster on June 8, 2010 -- I think it’s fitting that the book is a Gemini, because there are two protagonists. Sophie Turner and Katie Franklin are cross-country pen pals who confide in each other when their home lives seem overwhelming.

And I’m in the middle of editing my 2011 book, You Can’t Even Measure It, which follows seventh grader Carly Wheeler, whose life is turned upside-down the day FBI agents come to her house to arrest her mother for a white-collar crime. I went to law school and practiced law for several years before becoming a full-time writer, and this book marks the first time I’ve worked any of my legal knowledge a piece of fiction!

Is there something about you that would surprise people who don’t know you?

I am not really five feet tall (I’m about an eighth of an inch shy).

Do you have any advice for young aspiring writers?

Read a lot. Write a lot – write what you know, write things that interest YOU, and not what other people are telling you to write. And be persevering.

Thank you so much, Courtney, for taking the time to answer all my questions. Your event at Kepler's was fantastic and it's always a pleasure to see you - and to read one of your books. I'll post video of Jessarae singing tomorrow so watch out for it. And below are a few photos from the event: Courtney, Jessarae, and a fan (left) and Courtney and the wonderful Heidi Kling (right)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Beautiful Creatures book trailer

Because I simply loved this book (see review below) I wanted to share this stunning book trailer, which really seems to capture the mood of the book.

And in honor of World AIDS Day tomorrow I'll post an interview with the lovely Courtney Sheinmel, talking about her writing and her newest book Positively.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

In My Mailbox

As ever, thanks go to the very creative Kristi aka Story Siren and Alea of Pop Culture Junkie, the blogs where this meme started, here are the books I acquired this week. And again, such good books!

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
I am such a fan of this series and have been waiting and waiting for a copy of this book so no guesses which book I read first this week. I started it almost the second I was given it. I needed to know how this series ended! (Hint: it was worth the wait!)

From the back: Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I'm on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We're hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We'll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we'd left behind and take out the Edison Group . . . or so we hope.

Hearts at Stake by Alexandra Harvey

From the back: On Solange’s 16th birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black — agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family.

Luckily she has her own secret weapon — her human best friend Lucy — who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life — Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black — in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart.

I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer

Adam Selzer's books arehit and miss for me. I really enjoyed How to Get Suspended and Influence People but didn't like Pirates of the Retail Wasteland at all. But a good satire is hard to find and this really looks fun.

From the back: Algonquin “Ali” Rhodes, the high school newspaper’s music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He’s a weird-looking guy — goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, “Well, I don’t really live there, exactly... ”

When Ali and Doug start dating, Ali is falling so hard she doesn’t notice a few odd signs: he never changes clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally Marie, the school paper’s fashion editor, points out the obvious: Doug isn’t just a really sincere goth. He’s a zombie. Horrified that her feelings could have allowed her to overlook such a flaw, Ali breaks up with Doug, but learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of — at the same time she learns that vampires, a group as tightly-knit as the mafia, don’t think much of music critics who make fun of vampires in reviews...

Winter's End by Jean-Claude Mourlevat

This book came very highly recommended and it looks as good as its hype.

From the back: Escape. Milena, Bartolomeo, Helen, and Milos have left their prison-like boarding schools far behind, but their futures remain in peril. Fleeing across icy mountains from a terrifying pack of dog-men sent to hunt them down, they are determined to take up the fight against the despotic government that murdered their parents years before. Only three will make it safely to the secret headquarters of the resistance movement. The fourth is captured and forced to participate in a barbaric game for the amusement of the masses — further proof of the government’s horrible brutality. Will the power of one voice be enough to rouse a people against a generation of cruelty?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - Review

Ethan can’t wait to finish high school and move out the small Southern town of Gatlin, where he grew up, where nothing ever changes. But the new school year brings a new face to his high school – a face he has seen over and over again in his ever-more agitating dreams. Lena - beautiful, unusual, unnerving – will never fit in, especially as she’s the niece of the town’s infamous recluse, Macon Ravenswood. Ethan can’t help but be drawn to Lena and is soon drawn into a drama that has been going on for generations.

It’s a lush, extravagant, vivid gothic drama, full of magic, mystery, and mayhem, played out in southern plantations, crumbling graveyards, and overlooked sprawling gardens. I tumbled headlong into this all-consuming, unusual plot and simply got lost - fell in love – am still thinking about cursed lockets, hidden secrets, powers unleashed, and even a little voodoo. Absolutely one of my favorites this year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

This idea was taken from Breaking the Spine (thanks) and is such a great idea because it's the place we can talk about the books we really, really want - now. And this one calls to me. I loved her her first two books (Life As We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone) - couldn't read them fast enough - so this week I am waiting and waiting and waiting for

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

It's been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. For Miranda Evans life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce.

The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

I cannot wait.

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along. Just do the following:

-Grab your current read.

-Open to a random page.

-Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others.)

-Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week I'm reading Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey.

And here's my teaser:

I read the words again, not trusting my eyes. Discernable change.

Was`it possible that Jill's father really had told the truth? Was there a chance that I held the actual roots of my twisted family tree in my hands?

..."Um, Tristen?" she ventured, sounding almost frightened. "Why really do you want to do the experiment?"
(arc, p. 65)

Monday, November 23, 2009

In My Mailbox

Again with thanks to the very creative Kristi aka Story Siren and Alea of Pop Culture Junkie, the blogs where this meme started, here are the books I acquired this week. And what a week - such good books I don't know where to start.

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantasky

Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents’ rules – especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father’s office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she's tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To better her odds, Jill enlists the help of Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen’s sanity. Maybe his life. But Jill’s accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything – even Tristen’s love – just for the thrill of being… bad.

I loved, really loved, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side so was absolutely delighted when Beth sent this to me (and yes, I admit it, I've already finished it! Review soon.)

Captivate by Carrie Jones

Another one I was clutching to my chest when I got hold of it. I loved Need so can't wait to start this. (And I love the cover!)

Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town.

A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Nick isn't buying it, though Zara isn't as sure -- despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it's a lot more than her relationship with Nick that is at stake. It's her life -- and his.

Firespell by Chloe Neill

The very talented Lucienne Diver sent me this to review - a book she was talking about when she visited Kepler's last month. Don't think I'll be able to read quickly enough this week.

Lily's parents have sent her to a fancy boarding school in Chicago filled with the ultra-rich. If that wasn't bad enough, she's hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophie's creepy campus. Her roommate, Scout, keeps her sane, but keeps disappearing at night. When one day Lily finds Scout running from real-life monsters, she learns the hard way that Scout is involved in a splinter group of rebel teens.

They protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and dark magic users. It's too bad Lily doesn't have powers of her own to help. At least, none that she's discovered yet...

Feel very lucky this week. Wonderful books. Many thanks to everyone who gave them to me. Now back to reading.

How was your week?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NBA in Young People's Literature Winner Announced

The National Book Award for Young People's Literature was given Wednesday night to Phillip Hoose, for Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, a true-life account of the 15-year-old African-American girl who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in March 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks. Hoose walked to the podium with Colvin, and in accepting his medal, called the honor "unreal."

Congratulations to Phillip Hoose. Haven't read it yet - have any of you? (I was rooting for Lips Touch.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Maze Runner by James Dashner - Review

What do you do if you wake up in a metal box and can’t remember anything except your name? Scream! That’s exactly what Thomas does until the roof of the box is opened by a group of boys (yes, all boys) and all he hears is, "Welcome to the Glade."

And what on earth is the Glade? It’s a prison and that box brings a new boy every month. Their memories are wiped, they have no idea who they are, why they are there, and what to do. But they’ve formed a community, work hard to keep themselves alive, and try to find a way out. They are put in teams, each with different responsibilities. And each boy tries out all the teams to see where he best fits in. But Thomas feels drawn to the Maze Runners – he doesn’t know why. He thinks he can find a way out, can discover the secret to the Glade. Then he’s told the Maze changes every day, that no one has ever survived spending a night in the Maze, and that the creatures that come out at night to hunt are fierce, half robot, terrifying.

But just as Thomas starts to adjust to his new surroundings things change again. The box arrives too soon after his arrival and this time it brings a girl. And in her hand is a note. They know they have to escape. The questions is: will they trust Thomas to help them run the Maze?

A scary page-turning adventure, this is a must read for all those adrenaline junkies out there. A twist on every page, right to the very end, I can’t wait for the sequel.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read.

-Open to a random page.

-Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

-Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

And this week I'm reading Beautiful Creatures (and how I love it!) by Kami Garcia and Maqrgaret Stohl.

And here's the teaser from page 216 (arc)

"I get it. You're scared. But we'll figure something out. We're supposed to be together."
"We're not. You're a Mortal. You can't understand. I don't want to see you get hurt, and that's what will happen if you get close to me."
"Too late."
I'd heard every word she'd said, but I only knew one thing:
I was all in.

It is SO good.

Monday, November 16, 2009

In My Mailbox

Again with thanks to the very creative Kristi aka Story Siren and Alea of Pop Culture Junkie, the blogs where this meme started, here are the books I acquired this week.

1. The Body Finder by Kimberley Derting

"A serial killer on the loose. A girl with a morbid ability. And the boy who would never let anything happen to her. Violet Ambrose can find the dead. Or at least, those who have been murdered. She can sense the echoes they leave behind... and the imprints they leave on their killers. As if that weren't enough to deal with during junior year, she also has a sudden, inexplicable, and consuming crush on her best friend since childhood, Jay Heaton. Now a serial killer has begun terrorizing Violet's small town... and she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him."

2. My So-Called Death by Stacey Jay

"One second, sophomore Karen Vera's on top of the most fabulous cheer pyramid ever. The next, she's lying on the pavement with seriously unflattering cranial damage. Freakishly alive without a pulse, Karen learns that she's a genetically undead zombie. Soon, Karen is sent off to DEAD High, a boarding school for the "death-challenged," and her non-life is suddenly an epic disaster. She's stuck with a greasy-haired, wannabe-Goth roommate who hates her guts. She's chowing down on animal brains every day to prevent rot. Even worse, someone is attacking students and harvesting their brains for a dark ritual . . . and it might be the hottest guy at DEAD High, the one who makes Karen's non-beating heart flutter! As more brains are stolen—including her best friend's—Karen tracks down the brain snatcher to save her fellow students from certain zombie death."

3. Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga

"After six months in the Maryland Mental Health Unit, Kyra Sellers, a.k.a. Goth Girl, is going home. Unfortunately, she's about to find out that while she was away, she lost track of more than time. Kyra is back in black, feeling good, and ready to make up with the only person who's ever appreciated her for who she really is. But then she sees him. Fanboy. Transcended from everything he was into someone she barely recognizes. And the anger and memories come rushing back. There's so much to do to people when you're angry. Kyra's about to get very busy."

They sound great. Once I finish Beautiful Creatures (which I can't say enough good things about), I think I'm heading straight to The Body Finder.

So what was in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Eoin Colfer (yes, again)

Anyone who has read any of my recent posts knows how enamored I am with Eoin Colfer and how I thought him to be charming, entertaining, and downright adorable.

Our very talented videographer, John Ray, just sent me this video and, of course, I want to share it with you. It's Eoin talking about And Another Thing, the difficulties of continuing The Hitchhikers Guide series, and the response from Douglas Adams' fans.

Fantastic, don't you think?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Secret Society by Tom Dolby - Review

Here's Antonia's review of Secret Society by Tom Dolby. I haven't read it yet - it's on my TBR pile - but I do admire the cover!

Lauren and Nick are the children of scions of New York high society. Phoebe is not. But these three teens have one thing in common and it isn't money -- what they have is potential. Each of them receives a mysterious invitation to a "gathering" at midnight in the meatpacking district. They are cautioned not to be late. They have no idea what this is about, but intrigued, they respond to the summons.

They are given a choice, join the society and receive their hearts desire, or leave now. Not a difficult decision, but they aren't given the full story, they don't know what they will be asked to sacrifice as members of the society, and they certainly don't know what the society has to do with the body that was discovered recently in Central Park -- the body of a young man with a strange tattoo on the back of his neck.

This gripping thriller is a fantastic read into the dark side of privilege, I read it cover to cover before I looked up and realized it was 3 a.m.

As I said above, reviewed by Antonia

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Don't miss Courtney Sheinmel tonight

Just to remind you that Courtney Sheinmel will be at Kepler's tonight at 6.30 with singing sensation, Jessarae. Courtney is one of the nicest authors you will meet so don't miss this opportunity to hear her talk about her newest book, Positively.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Firelight - a Twilight parody

Did you see this? A Twilight parody with Taylor Swift on Saturday Night Live. Hilarious!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trailer Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read.

-Open to a random page.

-Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

-Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

And this week I'm reading Fallen by Lauren Kate.

And here's my teaser:

"I could swear we've met before," she said. "Am I crazy?"

"Crazy? Isn't that why you're here?" he said, brushing her off.

"I'm serious."

"So am I." Daniel's face was blank. "And for the record" - he pointed up at the blinking device attached to the ceiling - "the reds do monitor for stalkers."

Have I tempted you with that teaser?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Publishers Weekly Best Children's/YA Fiction for 2009

Did you read that Publishers Weekly just announced their list of best children's/Ya fiction for 2009? How many have you read from this list and what would you add/delete?

Laurie Halse Anderson

Going Bovine
Libba Bray

Kristin Cashore

Catching Fire
Suzanne Collins

If I Stay
Gayle Forman

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Jacqueline Kelly

Purple Heart
Patricia McCormick

The Ask and the Answer
Patrick Ness

A Season of Gifts
Richard Peck

When You Reach Me
Rebecca Stead

Maggie Stiefvater

Marcelo in the Real World
Francisco X. Stork

Tales from Outer Suburbia
Shaun Tan

Lips Touch: Three Times
Laini Taylor, illus. by Jim Di Bartolo

The Uninvited
Tim Wynne-Jones

I would have added Hush, Hush. Of course I would. And Dust of 100 Dogs. But I haven't read them all so can't suggest which to switch...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Eoin Colfer

Well, I talked and talked about Eoin Colfer before he arrived at Kepler's but I was still blown away when he visited us last week to talk about And Another Thing...He's charming, a wonderful storyteller, and so very, very funny. I'm smitten, I admit it! One of the very best author presentations I've had the good fortune to attend - like going to a very good comedy club - and I just want to say that you should make the time to go and hear him wherever and whenever he talks. He's that amusing.

So Don’t Panic - but Arthur Dent is hitchhiking through the galaxy again. Eoin Colfer has written a 6th novel in the ever-more increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy on the 30th anniversary of publication of the first book in the late, great Douglas Adams’ phenomenally successful series. It was one of the funniest books ever published.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, triggered by the destruction of Earth to make way for a hyperspace expressway, has 15 million copies in print, has been heard on radio, seen on TV, enjoyed on the big screen, adapted for the stage, spawned several computer games, - there was even a musical version. And it has many many fans.

And now, in an effort to achieve enlightenment through the pursuit of towels, liberty, and a nice cup of tea, Eoin Colfer explained how be has brought the eternal pessimist Arthur Dent, his alien best friend Ford Prefect, and everyone’s favorite renegade Galactic President Zaphod Beelbebrox back for another adventure along with a pantheon of unemployed gods, a lovestruck green alien, an irritating computer, and at least one very large slab of cheese.

Eoin told us how The Hitchhikers Guide sat on his Golden Shelf - along with his Kate Bush and Pink Floyd LPs - his favorite things from his teenage life along with the first Highlander film. And how the series made him realize science fiction did not have to be serious. Here was an author who managed to write fantastic books that were also funny - very funny - full of one liners and witty parody. They were unlike anything else.

Eoin talked about how excited and nervous he was when asked to write this 6th edition of the series (and how he initially said no because he didn't think it should be done). He talked about the fans (and facebook groups) who wrote to say how he really shouldn't be attempting to write it. But Douglas Adams' widow was a fan of his work and thought he could introduce the series to a younger audience. Apparently Douglas did leave notes but Eoin didn't use them because he wanted it to be HIS book. So he picked his favorite characters and then did something controversial with one of them (OK, yes I'll tell you, it's Zaphod).

Here he is talking about And Another Thing...:

And here, Eoin talks about Artemis Fowl:

Finally, I must talk about his chair. The egg chair (see photo) is being shipped from book shop to book shop on this tour. It's gorgeous, with cow cushions and magificent Hitchhiker art on the back. Eoin explained all that is significant about the chair and happily swirled around on it for enthusiastic fans.

But for all those fans who unhappily missed Eoin this time for whatever reason, we did video the entire presentation and I'll let you know as soon as it's posted.

And, for the record, And Another Thing is very funny. It keeps the spirit of Adams' work but is very much Colfer's. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater - Review

I loved Lament and thus was eagerly awaiting the publication of the sequel, Ballad. And make no mistake; it is every bit as wonderful as Lament.

Do you remember James, Dee's talented musician friend? Of course you do - funny, quirky, in love with Dee - he was my favorite character in Lament. Ballad focuses on James as he follows Dee to a private conservatory for gifted musicians. It's not really a good choice for him as he's a piper and they have no real program for him but he wants to be near Dee, even though she doesn't reciprocate his feelings and doesn't have much to do with him once they get to school. She's still mourning Luke, seems changed, and despite the new setting, still sees the Fae.

Despite making new friends James is lonely, sad, and ultimately catches the attention of a faerie muse called Nuala who mentors and brings out the best in artists while feeding on their creativity, until they burn out and die. But this is James - charming and handsome, clever, funny but complicated, - and Nuala begins to fall in love with him as they compose music together. Did I mention that James hears songs of the dead at night and that Nuala ultimately has to decide where her allegiances lie?

When I say that I liked Ballad even more than Lament, can you now see why? James and Nuala both tell the story in alternating chapters - with a few text messages from Dee sprinkled here and there. I couldn't read quickly enough this beautifully written story of unrequited love, doomed romance, heartless Fae, and gorgeous music. Maggie is a wonderful writer and yes, I admit, I'm a fan. There's a haunting lyricism to her writing that just sucks me into the narrative and leaves me asking for just one more glimpse into this wonderful world she's created. Please.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I am so excited! Here's what Maggie Stiefvater (author of Lament, Ballad, and Shiver) - one of my very favorite YA authors - posted for her Teaser Tuesday on her live journal (click here to see for yourself). A copy of the cover of Linger (sequel to Shiver) and the first paragraph!

• Grace •

This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one.

Just a few months ago, it was Sam who was the mythical creature. His was the disease we couldn’t cure. His was the good-bye that meant the most. He had the body that was a mystery, too strange and wonderful and terrifying to comprehend.

But now it is spring. With the heat, the remaining wolves will soon be falling out of their wolf pelts and back into their human bodies. Sam stays Sam, and Cole stays Cole, and it’s only me who’s not firmly in my own skin.

I just can't wait! Thanks Maggie.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Swim the Fly by Don Calame - Review

Three friends, Matt, Sean, and Coop, have a tradition. Every summer since they were about eight they’ve set themselves a goal. Like building a clubhouse out of old boxes or playing a thousand ping pong games. This summer Coop decides that their goal should be to try to see a naked girl – in person.

And just to make life a little more complicated, Matt volunteers to swim the 100-yard butterfly to impress Kelly, the newest girl on their swim team. Oh – did I mention that Matt is not one of the better swimmers on the team and that he actually can’t even manage to swim one lap of butterfly? But he has all summer to practice – right? How hard can it be? Especially as he finds a new swim instructor who has a very unusual (sadistic) coaching style.

This is a laugh-out-loud, be-careful-where-you-read-it, kind of a book. It screams out for a movie version (Judd Apatow, can you hear me?). But I’d certainly give this a PG-13 label!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lucienne Diver

The lovely Lucienne Diver was at Kepler's yesterday to sign copies of her book Vamped and to talk to her readers.

In this video she talks a little about Vamped:

She told us about her inspiration for the novel (the big-haired girl in high school), about her book group telling her that the short story she wrote should be a novel, about her work as a literary agent, about how Flux, her publisher, chooses such great covers, about the sequel ReVamped, and about another series she's writing centered on a teenage witch.

It was a pleasure to host this event and I wish Lucienne every success with her novels. If you missed meeting Lucienne at Kepler's but want to catch her while she's in the area, she'll be at the World Fantasy Convention this weekend in San Jose (where Garth Nix is one of the guests of honor. Garth Nix!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Come and Meet Lucienne Diver tomorrow

Come and meet and chat with Lucienne Diver, fabulous author of Vamped, tomorrow, Thursday, October 29, at 4:00 p.m. Should be fun.

Meet Gina Covello, fashionista of the damned. Gina’s life isn’t quite going the way she planned. Not since she was vamped by chess dud turned vamp stud Bobby Delvecchio at the prom.

But Gina’s trying to look on the bright side. Perks of her new vampire lifestyle include: eternal youth and beauty and free designer clothes. Her new mission is to save everyone she knows from fashion disasters and other fates worse than death.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson - Review

Imagine waking up and finding that you remember nothing --absolutely nothing. The people who say they are your parents tell you that you've had a terrible accident and that you need to stay inside while you recover. And that maybe you could recover your memories by watching the videos they've taken of your life. So you start to watch. But all the time you wonder why your family has relocated from Boston to California, why your Grandmother keeps such a distance from you when she clearly doted on you in the movies, why no one from Boston has tried to get in touch with you? And why don't they want you to leave the house.

But then you start remembering things that you shouldn't really remember and you decide your parents are keeping something from you. So you go to school, make new friends, and try to start again. But you keep trying to find out what they are keeping from you. Trying to recapture your past and what happened to you.

It's an amazing story that explores what it means to be human, how you impact the world around you, what makes you "you", and how far people go to save those they love, while exploring the boundaries of science and ethics. Beautifully written, complex yet realistic, this is thoughtful, provocative, disturbing, and yet uplifting. It will leave you with as many questions as it answers.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eoin Colfer

I've been a fan of the Artemis Fowl series for years and a fan of Eoin Colfer since I heard him speak at BEA a few years ago. He was just so funny, even very early in the morning.

I am also a HUGE fan of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series (did you know that this is the 30th anniversary of the publication of the first book in the series?). So I can't tell you how excited I am that tomorrow, Wednesday October 28, at 6.30 pm Eoin Colfer will be at Kepler's to talk about And Another Thing... the sixth novel in the ever-more increasingly inaccurately named trilogy.

So don't panic. Arthur Dent is hitchiking through the galaxy again! His accidental association with that wholly remarkable book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, has not been entirely without incident. Arthur has traveled the length, breadth, and depth of known, and unknown, space. He has stumbled forward and backward through time. He has been blown up, reassembled, cruelly imprisoned, horribly released, and colorfully insulted more than is strictly necessary. And of course he's comprehensively failed to grasp the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

Arthur has finally made it home to Earth, but that does not mean he has escaped his fate. His chances of getting his hands on a decent cup of tea have evaporated rapidly, along with all the world's oceans. For no sooner has he touched down on the planet Earth than he finds out that it is about to be blown up . . . again.

And Another Thing . . . features a pantheon of unemployed gods, everyone's favorite renegade Galactic President, a lovestruck green alien, an irritating computer, and at least one very large slab of cheese.

Don't miss this opportunity to meet Eoin, hear about this newest book in the Hitchhikers Guide series, and even get to see Eoin sitting in the above photographed egg chair! Come and join me.