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Monday, April 30, 2012

BEA: What the heck do I do now?

Book Expo America 2012 is fast-approaching and I, like a lot of you, am making plans to head to NYC and attend North America's leading publishing event. It's a great place to learn what books are forthcoming, check out the trends, network with publishers, meet authors and other bloggers and of course pick up some books you're excited about. But how exactly do you go about tackling such a gigantic trade show? 

Well, I've done posts in the past on BEA Tips to prepare you for the event and how to attend BEA on a Budget. Today, I'll share my two cents about how to avoid being overwhelmed on the show floor. 

The exhibit hall is a maze of booths neatly tucked in along numbered aisles, but once the exhibits open they will disappear in the insane crush of people. Your program and a map might help, but that's if you can find a spot to safely pull off the main drag and re-orient yourself. With so many things going on and the level of activity ramping up, you have to have a plan to handle the chaos.

The key to success is preparing for the question you'll spend 90% of BEA asking yourself. 
"What the heck do I do now?"

Know what you want to do. -- What are your goals while at BEA? Meet authors. Meet your publishing contacts and make new ones. Hit the stages and listen to authors and editors talk about what's new. Wander the booths and get an insiders opinion by asking representatives what they're excited for. Focus on books and try to snag the ones you're excited about. It's all up to you, but at least somewhat sort it out before you get there.

Get organized. -- Use the BEA website and organize before you get to NYC. You can find floor maps and a list of exhibitors. The Find tool is also particularly helpful for finding author events and signings. You can even use the My BEA tool to organize your schedule.

Have a schedule, even if you don't stick to it. -- Use the tools I mentioned above to make yourself a schedule. It will be helpful even if you don't stick to it. Include signings in-booth and in the autographing area, stage events, meetings, and any other events you're planning to attend during BEA hours. Put the big picture down on paper so you can see exactly what's on your agenda and where the conflicts are. You'll also be able to mark which events are most important to you. And don't forget to double-check your schedule the week before BEA since schedules are constantly evolving. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Summer Lovin' Blog Tour Reviews

The Summer of No Regrets
by Katherine Grace Bond

Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: E-galley
Source: Publisher
Pages: 304
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
The day Brigitta accidentally flings herself into the lap of a guy she's never met, her friend Natalie is convinced he's Trent Yves, egotistical heartthrob-in-hiding. When the boy, who calls himself Luke, is nearly eaten by a cougar, Brigitta finds herself saving his life, being swept into his spectacular embrace and wondering if she wants Natalie's fantasy to be true.

As the two spend the summer together raising orphaned cougar cubs, Brigitta still can't be sure of his true identity. But then again, since her grandparents' death, her father's sudden urge to give away all their possessions and become a shaman, and her own awkward transition from girlhood into a young woman, she isn't sure of anything. What is the truth? More importantly, can she accept it?
While He Was Away
by Karen Schreck

Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks FireAge Group: Young AdultFormat: E-galley
Source: Publisher
Pages: 256
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
"This is just something I have to do, okay?" I hear David say. "The right thing." 

He cradles my face in his hands. He kisses me hard. Then he lets go of me. His eyes dart from me to whatever's next.  
All she wants is for him to stay. She's been doing pretty well, pretending he doesn't have to go. But one day, after one last night to remember, she wakes up and there's no denying it anymore. He's gone. 

When Penna Weaver's boyfriend goes off to Iraq, she's left facing life without him. As summer sets in, Penna tries to distract herself with work and her art, but the not knowing is slowly driving her crazy. Especially when David stops writing. 

She knows in her heart he will come home. But will he be the same boy she fell in love with?

It’s hard to tell with the weather being moodier than Mad-Eye, but summer’s quickly approaching, and with it comes the new crop of books to read while relaxing in the sunshine.  Two new ones that will hit the shelves in May are The Summer of No Regrets by Katherine Grace Bond and While He Was Away by Karen Schreck.  While both stories share the backdrop of summer in a small town and deeper themes than your average beach read, I enjoyed them both for different reasons.

Guest Post: Katherine Grace Bond on Identity

Today Katherine Grace Bond, author of The Summer of No Regrets, is stopping by as part of Sourcebooks' Summer Lovin' Blog Tour to talk about identity, her latest novel,  and how she ultimately found herself. 

Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pre-order: Amazon / IndieBound 

                    / Barnes & Noble

Finding the Real Me

Sometimes I feel, as far as social groups are concerned, that I’m sort of a minor hello and goodbye part.
~ Diary, 3-29-77

As teens read The Summer of No Regrets, I’ve been reading my teenage diary. REALLY embarrassing, but it has to be done. How else will I know whether I’ve actually grown up?

I shopped a lot, but thought I looked terrible in the “in” clothes (which included something called “gauchos”.) I went to a folk dance convention, was dumped by my best friend, fought with my mother. My dad yelled a lot. I almost got to be an exchange student in France. I asked a boy named Lyle for his picture every single week.

What strikes me, as I read these awkward entries, is that I expected other people to tell me who I was.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

More Author Insight: People or Setting

What's more difficult to write, people or setting?

"Setting. My manuscripts start very heavy on dialogue/characterization, and I layer in setting as I go. Setting is really important to me, but I have to think about the details." - Bethany Griffin, author of Masque of the Read Death.

"I think a lot more goes into creating an interesting character than an interesting setting, because characters are more dimensional and protean. Of course, my first book features an all-animal cast, so what do I know? My current work-in-progress, though, does use regular ol’ humans, and  I miss getting to rely on an animal’s stock appearance and behavior to help flesh out its character." - Barry Wolverton, author of Neversink.

"I tend to go back and forth between which comes more naturally, depending on my mood. Sometimes I'm definitely in a character mood and I want to write about their FEELINGS, and other times I can't be bothered to think about feelings. Just let me describe things! (I really do love describing setting.) But most of the time, character and setting are tied together, simply because the description of the setting is filtered through the character's point of view and their current emotional state." - Jodi Meadows, author of Incarnate.

"People! Settings don't have complicated emotions to grapple with." - Elizabeth Miles, author of Fury.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Release Date: May 8, 2012 (UK: May 15, 2012)
Publisher: Entangled Teen (UK: Entangled Select)
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Series: Lux #1
Pages: 400
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens. 

The hot alien living next door marks me. 

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 

If I don't kill him first, that is.

I’m just going to come right out and say it.  OMG I LOVED THIS BOOK.  It totally floated my boat...and then sailed off into the sunset.   This book has everything – a great premise, an exciting plot, SIZZLING chemistry between the two main characters and the promise of more to come.  And guess what?  The main character is a book blogger LOL.  It feels weird to read about a character talking about “Waiting on Wednesday” and all the other book blogger lingo that we generally use but I like it ;)   Jennifer L. Armentrout is a very clever writer indeed; she gives the reader exactly what they want and makes no apologies for it.  And I love her for that.  

I want to start by talking about Daemon.  Let’s get something straight.  We’re supposed to pronounce it like DEMON and there is no way on this earth that I can call a guy DEMON so he became DAMON to me.  And you know what?  When I first “met” him? I thought he was the biggest dick ever.  He comes across as an arrogant, egocentric idiot.   So what if he is hot and has killer abs, his personality leaves a lot to be desired, at least in the beginning.  THEN, slowly but surely, he charmed me and lo and behold, I fell for him just as Katy did.  I didn’t enjoy it but I can relate to liking someone you hate (if that makes sense).  It’s all about the chemistry baby and boy was there tons of that!  The sexual tension and lustiness between Daemon and Katy was ah-mazing and some of the best I’ve read.  It reminded me a bit of Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles but even more so as the chemistry between the two main characters was OFF THE CHARTS.

Now, it’s not a spoiler to say that we all know Daemon and his sister are aliens (hello, it’s in the synopsis?!) and I have to say that I thought the idea behind using light was ingenious (you’ll see when you read the book).  When the Luxen are in their true form, they are basically beings of light and reminded me very much of the aliens from Cocoon which if you didn’t know, is a classic eighties movie and well worth watching. 

I digress.  What I liked most about Katy was the fact that she is a strong, independent young woman.  She’s not just going to fall at the feet of her attractive neighbour just because he’s hot.  He’s annoying and rude and she doesn’t need that in her life.  The relationship between Katy and Daemon seemed to develop quite naturally and I like that she didn’t just give in, she stood her ground right to the end!  You go girl!

I couldn’t write a review and not include some words about Dee who is Daemon’s twin sister.  Not only does she look like a model, she’s the nicest girl you could hope to meet and you can’t possibly hate her if you tried.  She’s cheerful, friendly and such a contrast to her brother!

The plot is dangerously exciting and as always, there has to be a bad guy – only there’s lots of bad guys this time.  An entire race that wants to kill the last of the Luxen and steal their abilities.  NOT WHILST DAEMON IS AROUND, BIATCHES.  Or y’know, something equally as intimidating. 

I cannot even begin to express how excited I am for book two and hell yes, I’ve pre-ordered.  You may notice that the covers have changed and I have no idea why.  I thought the covers were fine just as they were but whatever, I don’t care.  I HAVE TO HAVE THIS BOOK!   I’m now at the point where I’ve read all of Jennifer’s YA offerings and have decided that I no longer care what she writes about, I just know that I need it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Author Insight: People or Setting (and a giveaway!)

What's more difficult to write, people or setting?

"People. They're much more complex and ever-changing, and it's tough to balance reality with likeability. We all have major flaws, but reading about them in another character doesn't always make for a fun story. I'm always striving to develop realistic but compelling characters--it's a huge challenge!" - Sarah Ockler, author of Bittersweet

"Oh – those are two of the bits I like.  Can I punt and say "plot"?

(I guess not.  Okay, Leah, answer the question.)
Setting, probably: It's so precise, and it has so many moving parts, each of which impact the other.  People I can sort of feel my way into, work intuitively.  Setting's always deliberate logic." - Leah Bobet, author of Above.

"Setting. In the worst case scenario, if I can’t figure out how to write a person, I’ll just make him or her like one of my friends. Settings are tough though unless you’ve actually been there, at least for me." - Aaron Karo, author of Lexapros & Cons.

"Setting is more difficult.  You want it to be evocative but not heavy-handed in suggesting the feel of the place and the emotion connected to it, at the same time there are the concrete parameters of the physical space." - Ann Stampler, author of Where It Began.

Meet the editor of The Immortal Rules, Natashya Wilson

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa is out today, and I'm lucky enough to have her amazing editor here on the blog to talk about Julie, her books, and the editing process! Harlequin TEEN was also generous enough to offer me a copy of The Immortal Rules to give away, so be sure to read all the way to the end and enter. 

Now, here's Natashya!

And she's sporting the
clockwork collar!
Name: Natashya Wilson 
Position: Senior Editor for Harlequin TEEN
You might have seen her: Manning the Harlequin TEEN Twitter
Bio: Natashya holds a B.S. in animal science from the University of California, Davis, and  an M.A. in magazine journalism from the S. I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University. She began working at Harlequin as an editorial assistant in 1996. She left in 2000 to work first as an associate editor for McGraw-Hill and then later for the Rosen Publishing Group, where she edited children’s nonfiction books. She returned to Harlequin in 2004 and later became the senior editor for Harlequin TEEN.

Hello everyone. I’m Natashya Wilson, the senior editor for the Harlequin TEEN program. Thanks so much for having me here to post as part of The Immortal Rules blog tour. I have the privilege of working with Julie Kagawa, and this book has been one of my favorites to edit. I’m excited to tell everyone a little more about the process.

Years ago when we first acquired Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey trilogy for Harlequin TEEN, I knew we’d found a unique author with an outstanding and cinematic story telling style. I sound a bit gushy, I know, but it’s true. Julie wound up writing a fourth book in that series—um, I might have encouraged that just a bit, but that’s another tale—but even then Blood of Eden was working its way through Julie’s creative mind, and we contracted a new “dark fantasy” trilogy, not quite knowing what it would become. Julie’s agent, Laurie McLean, began describing Julie’s fledgling idea to me and we got to thinking, hmm, could vampires work in a future dystopian world? Laurie took that to Julie, and soon book one of the Blood of Eden series, The Immortal Rules, was on its way.

I was eager to see what Julie would do with a new world, one so different from her bestselling faery series, and when the manuscript came in, it surpassed even my high expectations (see? Gushy. And still entirely true.). I sent her my notes and we talked over Julie’s ideas for refining the story, and did a round of edits before the final ms was ready for production. I hope you’ll enjoy the results as much as I did. The Immortal Rules is darker, edgier and just as action-driven as the Iron Fey books but with a human girl, Allison Sekemoto, making a different choice—die, or become one of the vampire monsters she loathes. The way Julie approached the scenario creates a question that will resonate universally—what does it mean to be human, and what makes someone a monster?

You decide. Please let us know what you think! You can find us on Twitter @HarlequinTEEN and on Facebook.  Thank you for following The Immortal Rules blog tour!

All best,
--Natashya Wilson, Senior Editor, Harlequin TEEN

The Immortal Rules
by Julie Kagawa

You will kill. The only question is when. 
In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.

Unregistered humans cling to the fringe, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.

Add Immortal Rules on Goodreads

Signings for The Immortal Rules
Tuesday, April 24th at 4pm - Barnes & Noble Livonia, Louisville, KY
Saturday, April 28th at 2pm - The Bookstore, Radcliff, KY
Monday, May 7th at 5:30 pm - Lincoln's Loft, Hodgeville, KY

Please visit http://www.tyngasreviews.com/ for the next stop on The Immortal Rules blog tour. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 23, 2012

From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas

Release Date: May 15, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 480
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
KYLIE: Tijuana WHAT? I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY, and is this a wedding band on my finger.

MAX: It all started with Kylie's laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics Okay, it was kind of hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we're stranded in TIjuana. WIth less than twenty-four hours before graduation. Awesome.

WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring thier passports across the border--but there's no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started.

LILY: I just walked in on my boyfriend, Max Langston, canoodling with Kylie Flores, freak of the century. Still, I can't completely hold it against him. He NEEDS me. It's even clearer now. And I'm not giving him up without a fight.

From What I Remember is a laugh-out-loud, pop culture filled, self-aware adventure of the last 3 days of senior year at Freiburg Academy in San Diego.  You will be hooked by the end of the prologue, which reads like a high school version of The Hangover.  Valedictorian and aspiring filmwriter Kylie Flores wakes up in an unfamiliar bedroom in Ensenada, Mexico with a pounding headache and no memory of how she got there.  Next to her is the hottest guy in school, Max Langston, who doesn’t seem surprised to see her OR the matching gold rings they are sporting.  You know who is surprised to see them?  Max’s girlfriend, Lily Wentworth.

Rewind two days into the past, where we follow Kylie, Max, Lily, Kylie’s best friend Will, and Kylie’s little brother Jake on a whirlwind caper of unfair school assignments, temper-filled shin kicks, stolen backpacks, last minute car jackings, accidental border crossings, unlikely friendships, even more unlikely romantic relationships, epiphanies and revelations out the wazoo, and one of the funniest and most awkward confession scenes I have ever experienced.  I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

I’m having a hard time deciding which character is my favorite, which is honestly a great problem to have.  Kylie is so snarky and sharp, but it’s all to hide her vulnerable side and her inner sweetness.  Max can charm the pants off of anyone, he’s far more introspective than his popular jock persona would suggest, and he’s fighting his own secret battle outside of the walls of Freiburg.  Max and Kylie have amazing chemistry that practically leaps off the page as well.  And, Will.  Oh, Will is… well, he’s like that gay boyfriend you always wanted but never knew existed in real life- he’s loyal to a fault, he quotes all the best movies, he’ll bring you In-n-Out Burger at a moment’s notice, and he always has the best retorts for any occasion.  Much like Janis and Damian, he is the greatest person you will ever meet.

There is so much going on inside the mind of every character, so I thought the alternating points of view worked really well for the most part.  While I understand the inclusion of Jake and Lily, their voices didn’t bring as much to the story as the others.  However, by keeping their chapters brief and to the point, it kept the pace rolling along.  Movie quotes from Clueless, Memento, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and other such favorites from my personal collection begin each chapter, giving the reader a peek into what’s to come.  I’m a self-proclaimed pop culture junkie, so of course I loved that.  Both of the authors have a past in the film industry, so it’s also no surprise to see this used so well.  Also, these kids talk like real kids.  They curse, they joke around, they speak their minds.  Except for the fact that they kept using the word “wack” in almost every situation and their truly awful texting abbreviations, I found the rest to be refreshing.  Their voices are contemporary and modern, but there’s a timeless quality about them.  They say things that I could imagine hearing from the mouths of my own friends in high school. 

If you’re looking for a fast paced, satisfying, and gut-bustingly hilarious read for the summer, From What I Remember is just what you need.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Early May ARC Giveaway

I have a few May advance reader copies in need of a good home, and I'm hoping one of my readers might have a place for them on their shelves.
To enter to win, just fill out this FORM

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She's survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn't who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything. 

Gilt by Katherine Longshore

In the court of King Henry VIII, nothing is free--
and love comes at the highest price of all.

When Kitty Tylney's best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII's heart and brings Kitty to court, she's thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat's shadow, Kitty's now caught between two men--the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat's meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lexapros and Cons by Aaron Karo

Release Date: April 10, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Pages: 240
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
Chuck Taylor’s OCD has rendered him a high school outcast. His endless routines and habitual hand washing threaten to scare away both his closest friend and the amazing new girl in town. Sure he happens to share the name of the icon behind the coolest sneakers in the world, but even Chuck knows his bizarre system of wearing different color “Cons” depending on his mood is completely crazy.

In this hilariously candid debut novel from comedian Aaron Karo—who grew up with a few obsessions and compulsions of his own—very bad things are going to happen to Chuck. But maybe that’s a good thing. Because with graduation looming, Chuck finds himself with one last chance to face his inner demons, defend his best friend, and win over the girl of his dreams. No matter what happens, though, he’ll have to get his hands dirty.
I knew I had to have Lexapros & Cons from the moment I read the catalog blurb. It promised laughter and quirkiness, and it delivered. I laughed out loud more times then I can count and in the end it left me with a huge grin on my face.

Chuck Taylor can't live without his routines. Check the same things every day. Take the same paths. Don't deviate. He knows it's crazy, but he can't stop. He recently found out, thanks to the Internet, that he has OCD.

After discovering that he shares his name with the namesake of Chuck Taylor All-Stars, which he refers to as "Cons" because Chucks would be confusing for obvious reasons, he amasses a collection of the popular sneakers. And he uses them to convey his mood. (Just another one of Chucks little compulsions.) Of course, no one knows about the system and, even if they did know it existed, they's have a hard time making sense out of it.

Quirkiness, snark and hilarious moments aside, I think I fell in love with this book for two reasons:

1.) Chuck, despite everything, is bluntly honest with himself. He is acutely aware that his normal is not the same normal everyone else enjoys and realizes, more clearly than ever, that it's affecting his life.

2.) It's true and genuine and completely believable. (The aforementioned honesty has a lot to do with this, I think.) If Chuck were just someone wrapped up in his compulsions, believing that he's perfectly fine then it wouldn't be much of a read. It's Chuck's ability to be honest with himself, evolve and eventually push himself to his limits that makes the story the self-discovery and personal reclamation it is.

There's no insta-love and no melodramatic break-up drama. It's a good old fashion "boy-meets-girl" story with all the imperfections of like and love. Amy could be a hipster and part of the A-crowd, but Chuck, who's definitely not either of those things, plans to make his move before the entire senior class catches on to Amy's popularity potential. His window of opportunity is limited, and the clock isn't the only thing he has to beat.

Lexapros & Cons was such an amazingly real and awesomely funny read that it's definitely been deemed re-readable. So much so in fact that I finished in the middle of a plane ride and kind of wanted to flip back to page one and start over because I enjoyed it so much. I dare say reading this book in a semi-regular basis might become one of my compulsions.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Big news for Immortal Rules!!!

If you haven't noticed, we're big Julie Kagawa fans around here. We were there at the first signing for Iron King. We were ecstatic when Iron Queen hit the NYT Bestseller list. It thrilled us when we heard Julie was taking on vampires in her upcoming novel, Immortal Rules (HarlequinTeen, April 24), and now the level of excitement is ramping up further! 

Can you handle it? 


Head over to Julie's blog for complete details!

More Author Insight: Sucked Into the Story

What type of storyline or hook gets you every time?

"Stories about characters who are trapped. I love...desperation. I like songs about it, and I love books that have some aspect of desperation, you know, form being trapped in some way...literal or metaphorical, it doesn't matter to me." - Bethany Griffin, author of Masque of the Read Death.

"I’m an all-day sucker for classic British fantasy, whether it’s The Hobbit or Harry Potter or the brilliant Bartimaeus trilogy. Or even something like A Game of Thrones that has that same vibe." - Barry Wolverton, author of Neversink.

"I'm definitely a sucker for a well-written fantasy with hints (or more than hints!) of romance. Give me amazing worldbuilding, characters who make me swoon, and prose that sings off the page and I will read the commas out of a book." - Jodi Meadows, author of Incarnate.

"I'm a sucker for period dramas - especially if they include a young woman coming into her own." - Elizabeth Miles, author of Fury.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine 
that highlights eagerly anticipated books.

From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas

Release Date: May 15, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion

KYLIE: Tijuana WHAT? I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY, and is this a wedding band on my finger.

MAX: It all started with Kylie's laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics Okay, it was kind of hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we're stranded in TIjuana. WIth less than twenty-four hours before graduation. Awesome. 

WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring thier passports across the border--but there's no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started. 

LILY: I just walked in on my boyfriend, Max Langston, canoodling with Kylie Flores, freak of the century. Still, I can't completely hold it against him. He NEEDS me. It's even clearer now. And I'm not giving him up without a fight.

Why can't I wait?
The description sounds like The Hangover High School Edition.  What craziness follows after an out of control trip to Tijuana?  As a fan of teen shows like The OC and Veronica Mars, where stops to Tijuana occurred as often as stops to the grocery store, I'm ready for a whole new story.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Author Insight: Sucked Into the Story

What type of storyline or hook gets you every time?

"I love me some tear-jerkers, so pretty much any story where someone is dying or in danger of dying has my vote. I also like a lot of kissing and swooning." - Sarah Ockler, author of Bittersweet

"The kind where someone needs to make a genuinely hard choice: one where there's really no obvious right or wrong way out, and they have to decide what's really important to them.  Of all things, the first example I can think of is a video game: Dragon Age forced a couple of those wonderful-terrible choices, and that was part of what made it eat my brain and play it four times, and now I'm thinking it might be good to run through again…

Alternately, I'm a sucker for really soft, understated, sweet-sober love stories; the kind where what's actually said is so quiet, so formal, but the subtext is like Niagara Falls." - Leah Bobet, author of Above.

"I’m a sucker for conspiracy theories and sci-fi, or any combination thereof. Basically, I love the show LOST." - Aaron Karo, author of Lexapros & Cons.

"Boy meets girl.  Boy loses girl.  Boy gets girl back.  I don’t actually write those, but what the hell, I like them a lot." - Ann Stampler, author of Where It Began.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Want to participate in Author Insight or submit a question?

The next round of Author Insight is right around the corner, and we're interested in what questions you want us to ask! We're also looking for authors who'd like to participate.

If you're not familiar with the feature, it's an effort to get inside authors' heads and learn about their writing processes, their publishing journeys, the books they love and much, much more. You can check out the archive HERE.

Follow the links below to submit your questions or volunteer for the next round of Author Insight. The deadline to submit your questions or information is April 29. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Screen-Free Week Giveaway

Screen-Free Week is coming up, and I want to help one of you lucky readers prepare! For one week every year, people are encouraged to turn off the television and find other means of entertainment. This year it's April 30-May 6, and of course, to bookish types there's a natural solution. READ!

Just fill out this FORM to enter for your chance to win a stockpile of stories to keep you from picking up the remote. 

The Last Echo by
Kimberly Derting

Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet's talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it's Violet's job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by "the girlfriend collector" she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new "relationship" and Violet may have caught his eye....
Glimmer by
Phoebe Kitanidis

What if you forgot your identity and had to rely on other people to tell you who you were?

And what if to discover your true self, you first had to unravel a mystery so big and terrifying you were not sure you’d survive solving it?

When Marshall and Elyse wake up in each other’s arms with zero memory of how they got there or who they are, it’s the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future.

Terrified by their amnesia, the two make a pact to work together to find the answers that could jog their missing memories. As they piece together clues, they discover they’re in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls, where everyone seems mysteriously happy, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town’s perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living inhabitants retain bad memories of anything—not the death of Marshall’s mom, not the hidden shame in Elyse’s family, not even the day-to-day anguish of high school.

Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marsh and Elyse fall into an intense relationship...but the secrets they uncover could be the death of this growing love—and the death of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls.

The Temptation
by Alisa Valdes

His touch was electric. His eyes were magnetic. His lips were a temptation.... But was he real? 

After crashing her car on an empty highway, Shane is miraculously saved by Travis, a mysterious cowboy who walks out of nowhere. She is instantly attracted to him, and for the first time, she believes in “soul mates.” But Shane soon discovers that Travis is dead and that strict rules from the Underworld govern kindred spirits of different dimensions. Breaking these rules could destroy both their souls. And while Travis is almost impossible to resist, temptation proves to be the kindest enemy they encounter. 

Can true love surpass the power of pure evil? Part love story, part supernatural thriller, this first book in the Kindred trilogy will leave readers lusting for more!

Masque of the Red Death
by Bethany Griffin

Everthing is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

The Selection
by Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Immortal Rules Winner


Congratulations! The ARC went in the mail to you today, so you should be receiving it shortly. Thanks to everyone who entered. Stay tuned for more giveaways! 

Daimon by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Release Date: May 6, 2011
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: Kindle E-book
Source: Purchased
Pages: 86
Series: Covenant #0.5
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
"Love in my world usually ended up with someone hearing 'I smite thee!' as she was cursed to be some lame flower for the rest of her life." 

For three years, Alexandria has lived among mortals--pretending to be like them and trying to forget the duty she'd been trained to fulfill as a child of a mortal and a demigod. At seventeen, she's pretty much accepted that she's a freak by mortal standards... and that she'll never be prepared for that duty.According to her mother, that's a good thing.

But as every descendant of the gods knows, Fate has a way of rearing her ugly head. A horrifying attack forces Alex to flee Miami and try to find her way back to the very place her mother had warned her she should never return-the Covenant. Every step that brings her closer to safety is one more step toward death... because she's being hunted by the very creatures she'd once trained to kill.

The daimons have found her.

For those that don’t know, Daimon is the short story and prequel to Half Blood by Jennifer Armentrout.  I was lucky enough to pick up a paperback copy of this at BEA last year together with Half Blood and funnily enough, at the time I was convinced that this was a book about a guy called Daimon LOL.  Having now read Half Blood, I can see that I was totally wrong.   Daimons are of course the zombie like creatures that threaten the existence of Pure Bloods and an enemy that the half blood sentinels are training to fight against. Alex being one of them.  In Daimon, we get a little taster of the natural fighting talent Alex has and the strong survival extinct already inherent within her. We get an insight into what happened when she was on the run with her mother and how and why she turned back to the Covenant.

 I’m not sure what the right answer is as to whether this should be read before or after Half Blood but I read it afterwards and it definitely enhanced the story but I don’t see what harm it could do to read this book first.   Daimon sets the scene for Half Blood and is essentially the beginning to the story.  At only 75 pages long, this is a quick but essential read for fans of the Covenant series.