Monday, May 31, 2010

Read Chapter 1 of Crescendo and Torment FREE

Did you love Hush Hush and Fallen as much as I did? If so you will be thrilled to discover you can read the first chapters of both Torment and Crescendo FREE. Isn't that amazing? To read Torment simply click here and to read Crescendo click here. I've just read them and simply can't wait to get my hands on the books.

The good news is that both authors are touring in the Fall. Becca Fitzpatrick is touring with the Smart Chicks awesome tour (that will be at Kepler's on September 18th) and Lauren Kate will be touring too (dates and places not yet announced). So exciting.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Post BEA In My Mailbox

I'm back from the craziness of BEA - so many authors, so many books, so many bloggers, so much fun - and it's hard to know where to start. Yes, my shoulders hurt from carrying so many books, my voice is croaky from talking too much, and I'm in need of a lot of sleep. Only at BEA will you find that you are sitting next to someone more famous (Cornelia Funke) than the person you are listening to on stage (Mitali Perkins). Only at BEA will you find that the person you are chatting to in line (for Laurie Halse Anderson's Forge) is someone whose book you loved (Diana Peterfreund) and who gives you a completely different book (thank you!). Where the lines for some books are just so long that you are told they will run out somewhere in the middle (Zombies vs Unicorns). Where you casually run into Rick Riordan, Cory Doctorow, Wendy Maas, Heidi Kling, and Courtney Scheinmel all within the space of an hour.

For my In My Mailbox I'm going to only list the books I stuffed into my case - the others will all arrive in the mail next week. ((Yes, the case was very very heavy...)

Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller
Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Reckless by Cornelia Funke
Revolution by Jennifer Connely
Matched by Allie Condie
Firelight by Sophie Jordan (thank you The Page Flipper!)
For the Win by Cory Doctorow

and many more coming in the mail...!
Don't they look fabulous? I've already finished Reckless (loved it) and am in the middle of Matched.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Just a quick note to say that I'll be at BEA in New York next week so won't post again until I'm back - with a ton of books and lots of lots of stories.

Have a great week.

In My Mailbox

Sunday again - after oh, such a busy week - and time to explore the contents of my mailbox this week. With thanks, as ever, to The Story Siren and Pop Culture Junkie who host and inspired this meme.

This week I've read Paranormalcy (couldn't put it down - review later), in the middle of For the Win (fascinating) and have just started Nightshade (and all I can say is oh. my. god. Get this book if you can get your hands on it. Just started it and so far it's brilliant).

Now to this week's books:

1. Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Super excited because I loved Beautiful Creatures

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen. Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tuernan

Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something's got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.

Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe--until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

3. Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund
Sequel to Rampant

Astrid Llewelyn is now a fully-trained unicorn hunter, but she’s learning she can’t solve all her problems with just a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend Giovanni has decided to leave Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend’s powers seem to be mysteriously disintegrating, and Astrid fears that school, home, and her hopes of becoming a scientist are nothing but impossible dreams.

So when she’s given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and put her skills to use as part of a scientific quest to discover The Remedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactly what she wants…or can she? At the Gordian Pharmaceuticals headquarters deep in the French countryside, Astrid begins to question everything she thought she believed: her love for Giovanni, her loyalty to the Cloisters, and - most of all - her duty as a hunter. Should Astrid be saving the world from killer unicorns, or saving the unicorns from the world?

Oh, and of course I bought a copy of Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead because I had to. Even though I was disappointed in Blood Promise. Because I had to see where Richelle is taking this story. Will let you know. What did you get this week?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cory Doctorow

I was reading an article recently that asked why noone was writing books like 1984 or Brave New World any more. Books with clear political themes. Er hem, Cory Doctorow's books anyone? I'm a self-confessed Little Brother super fan and so was very excited that Cory Doctorow was signing at the store and to get my hands on For the Win, a book about labor politics, economics, gold farming, and above all about gaming.

Here's Cory talking about For the Win

I'll post a review - after BEA - but so far it is very, very good.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's children's book week and one of my favorite blogs - Cake Wrecks - is celebrating by posting photos like this:

Fabulous, aren't they. Can you guess the classic book that inspired this cake?

Click here for more fabulous book cakes.

Did you guess it? - need a clue? - it's The Giving Tree!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Prophecy of Days by Christy Raedeke - Review

I wanted to remind everyone that the lovely Christy Raedeke will be at Kepler's on Friday May 21 at 7.00 and hope those of you in the area will drop by and hear her talk about Prophecy of Days. To tempt you a little more, here's my review:

Inheriting a Scottish castle would be fantastic for Caity MacFireland if it didn't mean leaving her comfortable life in San Francisco and going to stay in this castle to see whether her parents want to open it up as a bed and breakfast.

But this castle reveals a hidden room, mysterious symbols, and buried truths about the Mayan Calendar and why it stops at 2012. Does she have enough time to break the code and let everyone know?

This is an intricate adventure filled with mythology and secret societies, of a girl wishing to be discovered only to be pushed into a very different spotlight, of the power of friendship and the devastation of betrayal. But what I really want to know is where I can find a monkey like Mr Papers - because I really, really want one.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Jimmy Kimmel hosts Twilight stars

You know I had to post this little piece of news - According to Shelf Awareness, on June 23 at 10 p.m., late-night TV's Jimmy Kimmel will host Twilight Saga: Eclipse stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner in a primetime special called Jimmy Kimmel Live: Twilight Saga: Total Eclipse of the Heart, on ABC. The Wrap noted that on the show, "Twihards also will see exclusive Twilight content a week before the film premieres."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

In My Mailbox

Sunday again and time to explore the contents of my mailbox this week. With thanks, as ever, to The Story Siren and Pop Culture Junkie who host and inspired this meme.

I couldn't have been more excited about the books I received this week. I dropped everything for one of the - literally. I just couldn't wait (and so far, it is as good as I expected, no probably better).

1. Reckless by Cornelia Funke
Now you can see why I dropped everything else for it. I was given a copy of the manuscript and watched the world disappear while I sat and read.

For years, Jacob Reckless has been escaping to another world--a world behind the mirror, where witches haunt the forests and fairies and dwarfs roam. A world for treasure hunts and magnificent quests--but also a world locked in a deadly war. Jacob's secret seems safe, until one day his younger brother Will follows him, to disastrous consequence. Faced with a curse that is quickly turning Will to stone, the Reckless brothers are thrust into a race against time to find a cure before one of them is lost forever.

2. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours. But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures. So much for normal.

3. Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Marked as special, Jacinda knows she is watched. When she breaks the most sacred tenet of her kind, she nearly pays with her life, only to be spared by a beautiful stranger sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki - a descendant of dragons whose ability to shift into human form is her best defense. Forced to flee the mortal world, she struggles to adapt. The only bright light is Will. She knows she should avoid him - he's a hunter - but the passion he stirs can't be ignored, even if it means risking her life

4. Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

After Renee Winters discovers her parents lying dead in California’s Redwood Forest in what appears to be a strange double murder, her grandfather sends her off to Gottfried Academy in Maine, a remote and mysterious high school dedicated to philosophy, “crude sciences,” and Latin: the Language of the Dead. It’s here she meets Dante, a dark and elusive student to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they get to know each other better, Dante can’t seem to control his attraction either, and their desires gradually deepen into a complex and dangerous romance. Dangerous because Dante is hiding a frightening secret. A secret so terrible, it has him fearing for Renee’s life. Dante’s not the only one with secrets, though. Turns out Gottfried Academy has a few of its own… Like, how come students keep disappearing? Why are the prefect-like Monitors creeping around campus during the night? And what exactly are the Headmistress and Professors really up to? Renee is determined to find out.

5. The Magnificent 12 by Michael Grant
Michael talked about this when I met him. Reviewers have saif it is laugh-out-loud funny in a Monty Pythonish way. I'm a huge fan of teh Gone series and Monty Python so I have high hopes for this

12 year old Mac MacAvoy suffers from a severe case of mediumness...and then a 3000-year-old man named Grinluk appears in teh boys' bathroom to deliver some startling news. Mack is one of the Magnificent 12, an evil force is on its way, and mack has to track down the other eleven 12-year-olds to stop it.

What did you get this week? Let me know.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Poison Eaters by Holly Back - Review

I loved the Tithe series by Holly Black and want to share my colleague, Megan's review of The Poison Eaters, which is now very near the top of my to-be-read pile. This review made me want to drop everything else, ignoring the gorgeous weather outside, and even my very demanding puppy.

Dive straight into this collection of short stories and when you come up for air (if you remember), you'll be dripping shadows and strange magic. Here are vampires, fairy tales, and magical libraries; here are runaways, vodka, and eating contests with the devil. Don't be fooled by their brevity! These are stories deep enough to hold both enchantment and the real world, with all the scary corners, wild, freakish, and wonderful parts of each. You'll want to read them because they're fun, keep popping them like little candies, and their aftertaste -- creepy, beautiful, or fantastic -- will make you turn the page for more.

Friday, May 14, 2010

BEA 2010: YA Galleys to Grab

This post is for all readers who are going to BEA. Publishers Weekly has listed the YA/kids titles to grab and all I can say is WOW. You can read more about it here.

Gives me the gimmies just looking at the list

Favorite Authors, New Projects

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen (Harper). From the author of the Luxe series, a series set during the roaring twenties.
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (S&S/McElderry) launches the Infernal Devices trilogy, which will be a prequel series to the Mortal Instruments books.
DC Super Heroes: The Ultimate Pop-up Book by DC Comics and Matthew Reinhart (Little, Brown) is a pop-up exploration of Superman, Batman, and other DC characters, coinciding with the company’s 75th anniversary.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Harper) is a dystopian novel from the author of Before I Fall, in which love is considered a disease.
Hero by Mike Lupica (Philomel). A 14-year-old boy develops superpowers in Lupica’s latest, a departure from his sports-themed books.
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (Harper) is first in an SF series, pseudonymously co-authored by James Frey, about alien teenagers hiding on earth; optioned by Steven Spielberg for DreamWorks.
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (Clarion) weaves together stories of a Sudanese girl in 2008 and a “lost boy” in 1985.
The Magnificent Twelve: The Call by Michael Grant (HarperCollins/Tegen) kicks off a humorous fantasy series from the author of the Gone series.
On the Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells, illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline (Candlewick). A boy’s adventures involve trains and time travel.
Reckless by Cornelia Funke (Little, Brown) begins a new series, set in a world inspired by the Brothers Grimm, in which dark fairy tales come alive.
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (Delacorte) interweaves the stories of a girl living in present-day Brooklyn and one who lived in Paris 200 years earlier.
The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi (S&S). A girl who has been hiding underground searches for others like her.
The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike (Harcourt). In this fantasy romance, a flying carpet transports Sara to the Island of the Djinn.
Steps Across the Water by Adam Gopnik, illus. by Bruce McCall (Disney-Hyperion) is a fantasy in which a New York City girl discovers a hidden sister city, U Nork.
The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Kevin Cornell (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray) is an illustrated novel about a retired search-and-rescue dog forced to track down missing chickens.

Sequels and Series
The Agency: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee (Candlewick). In Victorian London, Mary seeks the identity of a murderer in this companion to A Spy in the House.
Another Pan by Daniel and Dina Nayeri (Candlewick). An Egyptian spell is turning Marlowe School into an underworld in this sequel to Another Faust.
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Little, Brown) is a sequel to the bestselling fantasy Beautiful Creatures.
Clementine: Friend of the Week by Sara Pennypacker, illus. by Marla Frazee (Disney-Hyperion). A great week for Clementine takes a turn for the worse.
Day of Deliverance: A Jack Christie Adventure by Johnny O’Brien (Candlewick/Templar) is the second installment in this middle-grade series.
Dead Is Just a Rumor by Marlene Perez (Graphia) is the latest in the Dead Is... series.
The Exiled Queen: A Seven Realms Novel by Cinda Williams Chima (Disney-Hyperion) is the second book in the trilogy that began with The Demon King.
The Genius Wars by Catherine Jinks (Harcourt) concludes the trilogy that began with Evil Genius and Genius Squad.
Judy Moody, Girl Detective by Megan McDonald, illus. by Peter H. Reynolds (Candlewick) centers on a missing puppy.
N.E.R.D.S.: M Is for Mamma’s Boy by Michael Buckley (Abrams/Amulet), is the second book in Buckley’s series about misfit nerds/spies.
Sapphique by Catherine Fisher (Dial) is a sequel to Incarceron.
Scumble by Ingrid Law (Dial). Mibs’s cousin Ledge is introduced in this sequel to Savvy.
Witch & Wizard: The Gift by James Patterson (Little, Brown) follows Patterson’s dystopian adventure Witch & Wizard.

Debuts to Watch
Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft (Houghton Mifflin). A teenager survives the death of his twin with help from his guitar, Walt Whitman, and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.
Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon (Disney-Hyperion). After her parents’ deaths, 16-year-old Renée is drawn to a boy at her new boarding school.
The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger (Poppy). In this novel, which is being featured at BEA’s YA Editors Buzz Panel, a teen enters into a secret relationship with the school hottie.
The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson (Harper) is a fantasy adventure starring a cat; film rights have been optioned by Sony with Sam Raimi to produce/direct.
The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston (Carolrhoda Lab). Dealing with the deaths of her younger sister and a friend, Loa tries to face her everyday life.
Girl Parts by John M. Cusick (Candlewick). A robot designed to be a boy’s companion develops a will of her own.
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride (Holt) stars a boy who discovers he is a necromancer, falls in love, and must save Seattle.
Hush by Eishes Chayil (Walker). In this pseudonymously written novel, a teenager confronts her memories of and guilt about abuse she witnessed in her Hasidic community in Brooklyn.
Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel (Abrams/Amulet) is a nonfiction title for teens that coincides with the 40th anniversary of the singer’s death.
Matched by Ally Condie (Dutton). This dystopian novel, set in a world where people are paired with their ideal mates, is being featured in BEA’s YA Editors Buzz Panel.
Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales (Simon Pulse) is a humorous first novel set in a prep school.
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Philomel) is a paranormal romance in which a shapeshifting wolf falls for a human boy.
Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner (Holiday House). Three orphan rats rebel against a subterranean dictatorship and attempt to create a new city.
Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl (Chronicle). This historical novel follows a 16-year-old girl, who becomes the future queen’s maid.
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (Razorbill) is a horror novel about a boy who discovers he is a “replacement” from an underground world.
Stork by Wendy Delsol (Candlewick). A teen discovers her ability to decide who gets pregnant in this supernatural romance.
Wildthorn by Jane Eagland (Houghton Mifflin) is a YA romance set in a Victorian insane asylum.
Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon (Candlewick) is a middle-grade novel, inspired by the life of Zora Neale Hurston and set in a turn-of-the-century African-American community.

Fantastic Adventures
Alien Invasions and Other Inconveniences by Brian Yansky (Candlewick) is a YA adventure involving telepathic aliens, who are both deadly and polite.
Annexed by Sharon Dogar (Houghton Mifflin). This fictionalized account follows Peter van Pels from the attic he shared with Anne Frank on to Auschwitz.
Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick (Carolrhoda Lab). A teen whose drawings seem to have power from another world uncovers long-buried secrets about his Wisconsin town.
The Enemy by Charlie Higson (Disney-Hyperion) is a dystopian novel in which those older than 16 are turned into flesh-eating zombies.
Firelight by Sophie Jordan (Harper). First in a trilogy, this novel about a girl who can change into a dragon is being featured in BEA’s YA Editors Buzz Panel.
The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn (Clarion). Florence discovers that her aunt and uncle’s manor house is haunted by the ghost of her dead cousin.
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler (HMH/Graphia). In Kessler’s first book for teens, an anorexic teenager becomes one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
The Limit by Kristen Landon (Aladdin) is set in a world in which children are taken to “workhouses” when their families exceed their monthly debt limits.
Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin (Bloomsbury). In this paranormal mystery, pseudonymously written by Elizabeth Scott, Avery connects with a new boy who could be involved in her parents’ mysterious deaths.
The 10pm Question by Kate De Goldi (Candlewick). A worry-prone boy attempts to keep his family secret under control.
Thaw by Rick Jasper (Carolrhoda Lab). The cryogenically frozen bodies of 27 federal inmates thaw out—and disappear—after a blackout.
Tyger, Tyger: A Goblin Wars Book by Kersten Hamilton (Clarion). Teagan’s life is on track until the arrival of Finn Mac Cumhaill.
Virals by Kathy Reich (Razorbill) launches a YA mystery series set on an island near Charleston, S.C.

I can't wait!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

best children's book ever

The best children's books ever? Always a difficult list to pull together, but the Guardian takes a stab at it. Here's the list for over 12s from the much-loved classic Tom Sawyer to the modern classic His Dark materials. For more info click here. This list was put together by Lucy Mangan, author of Hopscotch & Handbags and Imogen Russell Williams, director of the new fringe theatre company Have Your Cake Theatre

I Capture the Castle: Dodie Smith

2. His Dark Materials: Philip Pullman

3. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret: Judy Blume

4. A Little History of the World: EH Gombrich

5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Mark Haddon

6. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: Mark Twain

7. Witch Child: Celia Rees

8. Exposure: Mal Peet

9. The Sterkarm Handshake/The Sterkarm Kiss: Susan Price

10. The White Darkness: Geraldine McCaughrean

Really? So have you read them all? What would you include? I'm going to have to think and post my own list but how can they not include the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix for example? Or the Book Thief by Marcus Zusac?

More Eclipse News

I can't resist - I had to post this. Apparently "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)" by Muse, Stephenie Meyer's favorite band, is the first song confirmed to be on the Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack album. Rolling Stone reported that "the soundtrack is available for pre-order on Amazon, and Twi-hards have already pushed the release to Number 25 on the current Amazon Music Bestsellers list without even knowing the rest of the track list."

I just saw Muse live and all I can say is that they were incredible. Best concert I've seen for forever. No wonder Stephenie wants them for the soundtrack.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Michael Grant

What can I tell you about Michael Grant? He's written 150 books. 150. He’s the co-creator and co-author of the Animorphs and the Everworld book series with his wife, Katherine Applegate , and also the creator and author of the very wonderful Gone series, a world where there are no adults, where the kids are in charge and it’s terrifying. Think X-Men without the wise council of Professor Xavier (and quite a few more villains). And yes, I'm a fan. You can see my review of GONE here. He was raised in a military family, moved around a lot, and just kept moving. He currently working on a new series called The MAGNIFICENT 12 and Michael Grant is not his real name.

Here's Michael talking about Lies:

Ane here he is reading a chapter from Lies:

Did you know that girls write to Michael saying they had crushed on Drake? Really?

Michael was a delight - if you have a chance to hear him talk, GO. (Did I mention how much I liked this series?)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

This meme originated with MizB of Should Be Reading and 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 one of the many books I'm reading is Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis and here's my teaser:

"If only Jane had talked her out of it somehow...
Mom. That sobbing voice was Mom?
If only I knew where to look...where to start...
Mom's Waves were what Jamie was feeling. God, no wonder he ran.
My heart thundered against my ribs. So Icka was really gone; my gut feeling was right. I kept thinking I should go, I should run after jamie. Before Mom catches me Listening. But I couldn't stop..."

(arc page 224)

Will post a review soon and if you want to meet and listen to Phoebe, she'll be at Kepler's on June 16th. So exciting.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell - Review

My colleague, Antonia, loved, loved, loved this book so I'm posting her review (and yes, I started it as soon as I read this).

In Golden City the most profitable tourist draw is the large population of super heroes and super villains. Tourists flock there in hopes of catching a glimpse of a superhero hunting down a supervillain, or maybe even witnessing an epic battle. And one of the best tickets in town, if you can swing it, is to a sixteenth birthday party for a superhero or supervillain kid. For it is on this day that the children of heroes and the children of villains have a letter appear on their left thumb to identify them, a V for villains and an H for heroes.

Our story begins on the night of Damien Locke's 16th birthday. As the only son of the supervillain known as The Mistress of Mayhem, Damien is eagerly awaiting the Big Change when his thumb print will change. But as the clock strikes midnight, the unthinkable happens - Damien's thumb print does change, but it does not change into the expected V, but rather, the apocryphal X, which can mean only one thing - his mother, supervillain extraordinaire, managed to get herself knocked up by a super hero, during a brief tryst in a subway restroom.

Damien is horrified. Damien is repulsed. Damien has no idea what on earth he is meant to do now. But certain things start to make sense. This might explain why he let the animals his mother was using for scientific experiments escape from their cages. It explains why his mother has always been relatively concerned about his tendency toward kindness. You see, Damien has a problem, he has superpowers, but he cannot be consistantly good, or consistantly evil. His embarrasing tendancy to do the right thing leaves him an outcast in villain society, but his knack for self preservation makes him unable to be embraced by the heroes he has always loathed.

This is one of the funniest books I have read in a while. As if a sixteen year old supervillain didn't have enough to worry about, he's not even a true villain. How on earth is he supposed to figure out where he belongs.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

In My Mailbox

Sunday again and time to explore the contents of my mailbox this week. With thanks, as ever, to The Story Siren and Pop Culture Junkie who host and inspired this meme.

This week I'm in the middle of FOR THE WIN BY Cory Doctorow but want to talk about the three books I received this week:

1. Birth Marked by Caragh M O'Brien

IN THE ENCLAVE, YOUR SCARS SET YOU APART, and the newly born will change the future.
Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone and her mother faithfully deliver their quota of three infants every month. But when Gaia’s mother is brutally taken away by the very people she serves, Gaia must question whether the Enclave deserves such loyalty. A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish.

2. The Mermaid's Mirror by LK Madigan

Lena has lived her whole life near the beach – walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves – the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf. But her father – a former surfer himself – refuses to allow her to take lessons. After a near drowning in his past, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport. Yet something lures Lena to the water … an ancient, powerful magic. One morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman – with a silvery tail. Nothing will keep Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove. And soon … what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life …

3. The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones

Maxwell Unger has always loved the night. He used to do brave things like go tramping through the forest with his gran after dark. He loved the stories she told him about the world before the Destruction—about nature, and books, and the silver owls. His favorite story, though, was about the Owl Keeper. According to Max’s gran, in times of darkness the Owl Keeper would appear to unite owls and sages against the powers of the dark. Gran is gone now, and so are her stories of how the world used to be. Max is no longer brave. The forest is dangerous, the books Gran had saved have been destroyed, and the silver owls are extinct. At least that’s what the High Echelon says. But Max knows better. Maxwell Unger has a secret. And when a mysterious girl comes to town, he might just have to start being brave again. The time of the Owl Keeper, Gran would say, is coming soon.

They look really good...wish I could read faster...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lisi Harrison

Lisi Harrison has a huge following. She’s the author of the very popular Clique and Alphas series and has just finished the first book in a new series, Monster High (which she wrote in a month and is due in the fall). She was born in Canada, was a film major until she decided to transfer to creative writing. And then moved to New York where she began a career creating and developing shows for MTV. According to Lisi, it was MTV, not middle school, which inspired her to write The Clique. It reminded her so much of life in 7th grade she had to write about it. And she gave plenty of real life examples in her presentation. The rest is history.

From the start Lisi was charming, engaging, and accessible. Her fans clung to her every word, asking her about both series, her writing life, about life at MTV, about fashion, about cliques and her own experiences in school and in cliques. We treated the crowd to sparkling drinks, and held a raffle for t-shirts, a book, and a gift certificate to a local nail salon. We had a blast. The crowd stayed to chat, to have their piles of books signed, to take photos, and to have one last drink. Lisi has a real connection to her readers and they write to her on her blog, send her books to sign – and she answers them all. Impressive.

I'll post video later. Oh, and you can read what she said about this event at her own blog here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gone by Michael Grant - Review

We are so excited. The fabulous Michael Grant is visiting Kepler's tomorrow Friday May 7th at 6.30. And I realized I never posted my review of Gone (the first in the series) - so here it is. And if you are in the area, don't miss this event. These books are wonderful.

Imagine this: you’re sitting in class one day and suddenly everyone over the age of 14 just disappears. You reach for your phone and find it no longer works – nor does the internet or TV. Noone has any answers or knows what to do. The survivors are terrified – who will look after the babies, heal the sick, put out fires, or stop people looting? Can anyone cook?

Amid the chaos, there are coyotes the size of wolves, teens starting to develop “talents,” bullies trying to take charge, and heroes stepping forward to help.

This adrenaline-charged, all-action adventure kept me hooked from page one, as those left behind choose sides, pick leaders, watch their powers evolve, and head toward an inevitable battle between good and evil. Don’t miss this

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

I've just been reading about this title from Penguin Teens and so it was my obvious choice of books I simply can't wait to read

Matched by Alli Condie

Summary (from the back cover): Cassie has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her its a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else dared to follow.

Julie Strauss-Gabel, associate publisher of Dutton Children’s, is the editor and said in Publishers Weekly that it “will make readers crave the passion of uncertainty and cherish the power of the written word.”

This sounds SO very good and absolutely worth the wait. With thanks, as ever, to Jill over at Breaking the Spine who started this meme.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ridley Pearson

Ridley Pearson was a pleasure to host – a real entertainer, he had his audience enthralled from the first moment. He accompanied his talk with slides from Disneyland, telling people how he researched his books, how he got his ideas, all the great places he got to see in the park in the name of research, how he got Disney lawyers to agree to some of his plot lines. He told stories with Dave Barry, and stories of the band he plays with (the Rock Bottom Remainders), and just never stayed still.

A very funny man, he made every one of the 60 plus people in the audience want to read his books. He plugged independent bookstores constantly and reading in general. He signed every book, posed for pictures - as I said, a pleasure to host.

Here he is talking about his Kingdom Keepers series:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

In My Mailbox

Sunday again and time to explore the contents of my mailbox this week. With thanks, as ever, to The Story Siren and Pop Culture Junkie who host and inspired this meme.

This week I've been reading my event book (by Ridley Pearson, Lisi Harrison, Christy Raedeke) but I received three fabulous YA reads in the my mailbox - look!

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

She can control her pack but not her heart.

No blurb on the back just this quote
"Sexy and thrilling, Nightshade had more than enough suspense to keep me flipping pages all night. I was pulled into Andrea's seductive, twisted world where humans are pawns to a powerful pack of werewolves, and nothing is what it seems. I was left guessing until the very end." Becca Fitzpatrick

The Cardturner by Louis Sacher

The summer after junior year of high school looks bleak for Alton Richards. His girlfriend has dumped him for his best friend. He has no money and no job. His parents insist that he drive his great-uncle Lester to his bridge club four times a week and be his cardturner. Alton’s uncle is old, blind, very sick, and very rich. But Alton’s parents aren’t the only ones trying to worm their way into Lester Trapp’s good graces. They’re in competition with his housekeeper, his young nurse, and the crazy Castaneda family, who seem to have a mysterious influence over him. Alton soon finds himself intrigued by his uncle, by the game of bridge, and especially by Toni Castaneda. As the summer goes on, he struggles to figure out what it all means, and ultimately to figure out the meaning of his own life.

Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman

After a terrorist attack kills Dani’s aunt and unborn cousin, life in Argentina—private school, a boyfriend, a loving family—crumbles quickly. In order to escape a country that is sinking under their feet, Dani and her family move to the United States. It’s supposed to be a fresh start, but when you’re living in a cramped apartment and going to high school where all the classes are in another language—and not everyone is friendly—life in America is not all it’s cracked up to be. Dani misses her old friends, her life, Before.

But then Dani meets a boy named Jon, who isn’t like all the other students. Through him, she becomes friends with Jessica, one of the popular girls, who is harboring a secret of her own. And then there’s Brian, the boy who makes Dani’s pulse race. In her new life, the one After, Dani learns how to heal and forgive. She finds the courage to say goodbye and allows herself to love and be loved again.

Just can't wait to start Nightshade. It looks that good.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - Review

It is 1943 when the Carver family move to a beach house in a small town on the coast to get away from the city and the war. It’s a beautiful place – full of secrets – but strange things start to happen: they adopt a malevolent cat, his sister has an accident, the other sister has unsettling dreams, they find a sunken ship, and he finds a sinister garden of statues that seem to call him. Not to forget the spirit of a boy who drowned there, the story of the lone survivor of a terrible storm, and the Prince of Mist.

This beautifully written, increasingly creepy story is Zafon’s first novel. It’s a haunting coming of age tale of a summer Max will never forget. It has everything – adventure, danger, mystery, horror, a little romance, old debts, and unexplained death.

And, if you enjoy this as much as I did, read Shadow of the Wind, his extraordinary novel set in post war Barcelona, has become one of my very favorite books.