Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (5)

WoW is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine!

Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala
(HarperTeen, 6/10)

It’s tough, living in the shadow of a dead girl…

In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda’s death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister’s world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.

Then two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears. Stripped of her former life, Miranda must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister’s demons and her own.

In this powerful debut novel, stunning new talent Holly Cupala illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her own future.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (4)

The Retueners
Gemma Malley
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (March 2, 2010)

London teenager Will Hodge is miserable. His mother is dead, his father’s political leanings have grown radical, and his friends barely talk to him. To top it off, he’s having nightmares about things like concentration camps. Then Will notices he's being followed by a group of people who claim to know him from another time in history. It turns out they are Returners, reincarnated people who carry with them the memory of atrocities they have witnessed in the past. Will realizes that he, too, is a Returner. But something about his memories is different, and with dawning horror, Will suspects that he wasn’t just a witness to the events, he was instrumental in making them happen. Set in the near future, with the world on the verge of a new wave of ethnic cleansing, Will must choose to confront the cruelty he's known in his past lives, or be doomed to repeat it . . . again.Set in the near future, Gemma Malley's newest novel is a terrifying and enlightening look at the lessons of history, and at humankind's ongoing struggle with its conscience.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Author Interview: Sara J. Henry

Sara J. Henry’s debut novel LEARNING TO SWIM will be released in January 2011. Even though the book has not come out yet, I read the excerpt of her novel and now I cannot wait for the book. You can go to Sara’s site here. Let’s welcome Sara!
1. Can you tell us about LEARNING TO SWIM?

It's my debut novel, scheduled for early January 2011 from Shaye Areheart Books (Random House). Here's a description I lifted from a catalog: Briskly paced, rich in the details of small-town life and easily traversing the cultural terrain of New York's North Country and French Canada, LEARNING TO SWIM is a haunting debut and the first in a two-book deal featuring the same enterprising heroine. You can find more about it and a brief excerpt on my website.

2. How did you feel when your first book LEARNING TO SWIM was going to be published?

It was a wild and crazy ride for me. I spent a long time revising and polishing the manuscript, but once I started querying things went very quickly. I signed with an agent and the manuscript sold in a two-book deal, almost before I had time to process how I felt. I doubt it's going to seem real until I see the book in print.

3. Where did the idea for LEARNING TO SWIM come from?

While visiting the Adirondacks in upstate New York where I used to live, I was driving in a car along Lake Champlain - an enormous lake that borders New York and Vermont - and for some reason I imagined the scene that became the opening chapter of the book. Then I had to develop a book around that scene - which is just as hard as it sounds.

Some other facets of the book are based on my life when I used to live in a small upstate New York town, where I had lots of roommates and worked as a sports editor on a small newspaper.

4. Has LEARNING TO SWIM changed from the first draft to the finished copy of the book?

Absolutely. I learned to write fiction by writing this novel, so this manuscript went through many changes and revisions. The characters and basic structure never changed, but the original plot had quite a few loose ends and characters that weren't fully developed. The original middle of the book was, I'll have to admit, really bad. I did a lot of rewriting and learned a lot about writing, pacing, and plot as I went.

5. Why do you write YA?

LEARNING TO SWIM actually isn't considered YA - it's being classified as a suspense novel. But from the start I wanted a book that a 13-year-old could pick up and read - at that age I was raiding the bookshelves of my parents, and I didn't want to put any limitations on who could or could not read my work. Steph Bowe, a 15-year-old author in Australia whose first novel will come out in 2010, was one of my beta readers, and thinks my book will definitely appeal to mature teens. (I think what she said was Brilliant!)

I love YA novels because even ones that deal with gritty topics are seldom as jaundiced or cynical as adult novels. Most YA books seem to have hope. And I love YA fans, who are are dedicated, outspoken, and incredibly loyal.

6. What are some of your favorite YA authors and books? Have you read any YA books recently that you loved and recommended to others?

I became interested in modern YA because of AS King's DUST OF 100 DOGS, which I had no idea was classified young adult. I loved this book - I literally could not put it down and recommend it like mad to everyone who will listen. It's the story of a young Irish woman who became a pirate and was doomed to live 100 lives as a dog before being reincarnated as an American girl - and then can't wait to turn 18 and get back to Jamaica and find her buried treasure.

I've read Steph's novel, originally titled THESE BONES, and so loved it that I steered her toward several agents.

Based on Steph's recommendation I recently read LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green and THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher. Other YA books of note I've read of late are CRAZY BEAUTIFUL by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, BAD GIRLS DON'T DIE by Katie Alender, JUMPER by Steven Gould, and WRITING NAKED by Peter Gould.

7. Where do you get your ideas in general?

I'm an observer. I see a lot and hear a lot and read a lot and it all goes into my brain. Plot and character ideas just come to me - and sometimes a character simply springs from the pages of the book as I'm writing.

But plotting in general - especially an involved plot - can be very hard work. For me it was by far the hardest part of novel writing.

8. What is the sequel of LEARNING TO SWIM going to be about? Can you tell us anything?

It features many of the same characters, including the main character, a young woman named Troy Chance, and is set primarily in the small upstate New York towns of Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. It deals with the meaning of friendship, small-town life, the clashes between different subcultures, and the ripple effect of choices some people make.

9. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Read a lot. Write a lot. Find good critiquers, and listen to them. For me a turning point was going to a writing conference where an agent, an editor, and a writer (I know this sounds like the beginning to a bad joke) convinced me I had the talent to make this happen.

10. Is there anything you would like to add?

For me, the dream of full-time novel writing didn't happen until I fully committed to it. I had to decide that this is what I did, for better or worse. I tackled the first major revision of this novel while houseswapping in Australia with a broken foot at the start of winter - I remember the moment when I realized This is what I do and knew I had to finish this book whether it was publishable or not. And that was when I truly began to be a writer.

Thanks Sara!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Review: Vampire Academy: Book 4: Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

Summary:Rose Hathaway's life will never be the same.

The recent attack on St. Vladimir's Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose's neck, a mark that says she's killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters . . . Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life's vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She'll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?

Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir's and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?

Review: I’ll try my hardest not to give anything away in this review and that might be why some of my statements don’t make any sense!

Ah where to begin? Where to begin? First off, I've waited for this book for a long time and I was very, very excited to finally sit down and read it. First and foremost, the wait was worth it.

The fourth book in this enthralling series left me absolutely breathless. The beginning I’ll admit was boring but the author caught my attention. Even though the beginning moved slower than I would have preferred, I understood at the end that that was important. In order to get the middle and ending right, that is.

Rose was wonderful yet again and she is now my most favorite character. I just loved that even though Rose learned a lot of things about herself and all, she was still the same old Rose that we all loved.

I loved the intro of all of the new characters, especially Abe and his role in Rose’s life. Sydney was an interesting character and the Alchemists are people I want to know more about.

Now the one character I wanted to know most about: Dimitri. I’ll admit everything that happened between Rose and Dimitri in the book was a surprise to me but after thinking about it, I think I knew something like that would happen. All in all, I just loved Dimitri. He was kind of a jerk near the ending but the note he sent Rose made up for that.

The plot was good, but somewhat slow moving. I think it should have moved a bit faster. The dialogue was pulled off perfectly and it really brought out the personalities of the characters. The action in the book was great and it was put in exactly the right places. As always the surprises were just thrilling and Richelle Mead defiantly has a knack for pulling off surprises just perfectly.

I’m not sure what else I can say about this book but that it was an excellent addition to the series and that I am looking forward to the last two books in the series.

Grade: Go to fullsize image I loved it!

Cover: There's not much I can say about it but it goes well with the story it's own way.

Overall: A definite must read. If you've never heard of the Vampire Academy than you need to go get the books and read them ALL. IT WAS SIMPLY AMAZING!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Review: The Chronicles of Vladmir Tod: Book One: Eight Grade Bites by Heather Brewer

Summary: Junior high really sucks for thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod. Bullies harass him, the principal is dogging him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: his mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he faces a much bigger problem: he's being hunted by a vampire killer.

Review: The first time I saw the cover for this book, it looked really good. I mean it's about vampires and the cover had it all: it was dark, cool , creepy, and well, exciting. I read the synopsis and it sounded even better. One interesting thing I noticed about the synopsis was that it said Vlad was already a vampire and that he was not going to learn he was a supernatural being. This was a good thing as most books these days has to do with teens turning into supernatural being. It was good to find something new.

I loved the plot: making Vlad have the challenges of not only growing up into an adult but also becoming a vampire. The plot was a good one with the right amount of everything: a little romance, trouble at school, guardian problems. Basically, Heather Brewer did a good job with bringing out what kind of problems teens have.

I liked the beginning and the middle. But I think the end lost it's touch. To me it was just to fast paced. As the rest of the novel was a good, normal paced, I left that when I got to the end, the novel just raced through it. There weren't many descriptions that actually "showed" me what was happening in the book. That was the only downer to the book.

Grade:Go to fullsize image The ending just brought the whole book down....but not too much!

Cover: A

Overall: I think this is a good book and Vlad is defiantly one character I want to know more about. I recommend this book to all of you Urban Fantasy lovers but if you're just looking for a good book, then you can pick this up too!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

"Waiting on" Wednesday (3)

Demon Princess: Reign Check by Michelle Rowan
June 2010 by Walker Books

Nikki Donovan, Demon Princess, is back--and stuck in a love triangle that's straight out of hell!

Fresh from finding out that she is a demon princess, fighting her aunt for her life, and rescuing her father from being poisoned, Nikki Donovan is looking forward to getting back to her regular high school life. But when Rhys, the handsome king of the faery realm, decides to show up at her school as a "foreign exchange student," Nikki knows this won't be possible. Couple with this a whole host of other problems: there's a new prophecy that claims she will destroy everyone. Her conflicted feelings for Rhys and her boyfriend, Michael, are getting in the way of their relationship. Her best friend Melinda just might be a demon-slayer-in-training, and her old crush Chris might know of her demon side. Throw in a field trip to none other than Hell itself … and Nikki's going to be hoping for a rain check on more than just her homework!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

New Interviews

I will be posting TWO new interviews in the next few days! They are:

1. Sara J. Henry-- Author of LEARNING TO SWIM coming out in 2011

2. Kalayna Price-- Author of ONCE BITTEN (out!) and TWICE DEAD coming out in Feb 2010!

Kalayna is a Urban fantasy writer and her book is AMAZING!
Sara's book is a very interesting one and one I think teens will love!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

"Waiting on" Wednesday (2)

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
June 2010/Little Brown

Scarlett never believed in the Fenris—werewolves drawn to the delectable charms of young girls. That all changed when in one swift attack, a Fenris murdered her grandmother and left Scarlett half-blind and horrifically scarred. Only her younger sister, Rosie, escaped unharmed as Scarlett shielded her from the Fenris’s jaws.

Now eighteen, Scarlett’s life’s mission is to destroy the Fenris and save other girls from her fate—a mission she’s grown to love, despite herself. Armed with red cloaks and hatchets, Scarlett, Rosie, and a young woodsman, Silas, move to the city in search of answers—and vengeance. If they can find a Potential Fenris, tainted by the pack but not yet consumed by it, they can unlock the mystery that transforms them- but better yet, use him as bait.

But unlike Scarlett, Rosie doesn't feel the thrill of the hunt in her blood. Longing for a life away from heavy responsibility and something sweeter than steel determination, Rosie finds herself drawn to Silas. More and more often, they find themselves abandoning the search for the Potential, stealing kisses, sharing secrets.

When Scarlett discovers the romance blossoming in her midst, she abandons her sister to the woodsman, certain that her own heart has no room for love, not when it's filled with her mission, her purpose. Still, the bond between Scarlett and Rosie is too deep to truly sever, and when Scarlett discovers a way to bring her sister back to her side for good- even if it means destroying Rosie’s happiness—she is forced to make a decision that will change the course of both their lives.

A modernization of Little Red Riding Hood, SISTERS RED is told in alternating viewpoints of Scarlett and Rosie as the sisters struggle to find the Potential, destroy the Fenris, and unwind their own tangle of romantic complexities and the deeply rooted bond between them. SISTERS RED is approximately 80k words in length, aimed at a mid to upper teenage audience.