Wednesday, November 25, 2009

November 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features are running on for the month of November.

Reviews and Excerpts
SPLENDOR: A Luxe Novel, by Anna Godbersen (Historical Romance)
In this dramatic conclusion to Anna Godbersen’s bestselling Luxe series, New York's most dazzling socialites chase dreams, cling to promises and tempt fate. As society watches what will become of the city's oldest families and newest fortunes, one question remains: Will its stars fade away, or will they shine ever brighter? Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.
- Click here to browse inside SPLENDOR.

FRONT AND CENTER by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (Fiction)
In this conclusion to the Dairy Queen trilogy, D.J. Schwenk returns to her small-town high school --- only to find herself the focus of far too much attention. From an old friend now hot for romance, to college recruiters and rabid local hoops fans, to Brian Nelson, how will shy, quiet D.J. handle things now that she’s front and center? Reviewed by Norah Piehl and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt of FRONT AND CENTER.

THE VAN ALEN LEGACY: A Blue Bloods Novel, by Melissa de la Cruz (Fantasy/Horror)
With the stunning revelation surrounding Bliss's true identity comes the growing threat of the sinister Silver Bloods. Once left to live the glamorous life in New York City, the Blue Bloods now find themselves in an epic battle for survival. Not to worry, love is still in the air for the young vampires of the Upper East Side. Or is it? Reviewed by Amy Alessio.
- Click here to read Melissa de la Cruz’s blog post, “A Writer is A Reader, Also, Decisiveness.”
- Click here to read an interview with Melissa de la Cruz on the Blog.

DARK CALLING: The Demonata, Book 9 by Darren Shan (Horror/Supernatural)
The Disciples are being manipulated by beings older than time. Only Kernel Fleck knows that something is wrong. But he is in the grip of a creature who cares nothing for the fate of humanity. Voices are calling to him from the darkness, and he's powerless to resist. Kernel has already been to hell and back. Now he's about to go further... Reviewed by Sally Tibbetts.

GOTH GIRL RISING by Barry Lyga (Fiction)
After six months in a mental hospital, Kyra Sellers, a.k.a. Goth Girl, is going home. Unfortunately, she's about to find out that while she was away, she lost track of more than time. Kyra is ready to make up with Fanboy, the only person who has ever appreciated her for who she really is. But then she sees him. And the anger and memories come rushing back. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

THE GATES by John Connolly (Fantasy/Thriller)
Bursting with imagination, THE GATES is about the pull between good and evil, physics and fantasy. It’s about a quirky and eccentric boy who’s impossible not to love, and the unlikely cast of characters who give him the strength to stand up to a demonic power. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

ICE by Sarah Beth Durst (Fantasy)
Based on a Scandinavian fairy tale, the whimsical story ICE recalls a legend of the Polar Bear King and his arranged marriage to a beautiful human girl. In a bargain to free her captive mother, Cassandra Dasent willingly enters the magical realm of the munaqsri with the creature who would take her as a bride. The promise of uniting with her love will send the maiden on a long journey to a realm beyond the ends of the Earth. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

SOLACE OF THE ROAD by Siobhan Dowd (Fiction)
Fifteen-year-old Holly Hogan bides her time in yet another foster home before running away again. With her silvery-blonde wig, she is transformed into the fierce and fearless Solace, bound for the green hills of Ireland to find her Mam. In what will regrettably be Siobhan Dowd’s last book, her superb story forces you to relive the dreams and horrors of the girl’s life. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

DESTINY’S PATH: Warrior Princess, Book Two by Frewin Jones (Historical Fantasy)
After an epic battle that left her home in flames and her father dead, Branwen knows that now is the time to follow her Warrior Princess destiny. But she soon finds that those she trusts most are capable of the greatest betrayal. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE BOOK OF SAMUEL by Erik Raschke (Fiction)
Twelve-year-old Samuel Gerard is aptly named after his Bible counterpart. Despite his father abandoning him and a host of school problems, Samuel feels called to save the world, starting with those around him. Will he succeed at bringing peace, or lose out on the joys of childhood? Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.
- Click here to read Erik Raschke’s blog post, “Clothe the Naked.”

THE CIRCLE OF GOLD: The Book of Time III, by Guillaume Prevost (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
In the final installment of The Book of Time trilogy, 14-year-old Samuel Faulkner once again travels through time to exotic and frightening places. During this quest, he risks his health and his life to rescue his love interest, Alicia, bring his father out of a coma and try to reverse his mother’s death. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

WHEN THE SNOW FELL by Henning Mankell (Fiction)
In this companion novel to A BRIDGE TO THE STARS and SHADOWS IN THE TWILIGHT, readers follow Joel Gustafson’s journey as he realizes along the way that it will require determination, strength and valor to truly become a man. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

GIRL IN THE ARENA by Lise Haines (Fiction)
Lyn has grown up in the gladiator spotlight, a modern-day sport as big and popular as football. She has had seven gladiator fathers, six of whom were killed in an arena all in the name of entertainment. When the seventh dies, one of the Gladiator Sports Association rules requires Lyn to marry the victor. But Lyn proposes an alternate solution --- she will meet her father’s murderer in the arena and fight to the death. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

JUMPING OFF SWINGS by Jo Knowles (Fiction)
In Jo Knowles’s well-received first novel, LESSONS FROM A DEAD GIRL, she examined how patterns of abuse and dysfunction formed in childhood can have unforeseen implications years down the road. In her second work of fiction, JUMPING OFF SWINGS, Knowles also explores the surprisingly wide-reaching influence of a single event. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
- Click here to read Jo Knowles’ blog post, “Did It Happen to You?”

SINGING FOR MRS. PETTIGREW: Stories and Essays from a Writing Life , by Michael Morpurgo (Short Stories/Essays)
This collection of short stories, essays and commentaries was written by Michael Morpurgo, the Children’s Laureate of Britain from 2003 to 2005. Morpurgo gives some background about his early life, and explains how a love of words and a very active imagination combined with life experience and education to make him the highly respected writer/storyteller he has become today. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

Author Interviews
Frank Beddor
Frank Beddor's latest book, MAD WITH WONDER, is the second installment in his graphic novel companion series to The Looking Glass Wars trilogy, a prose re-imagining of Lewis Carroll's ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND. In this interview with's Benjamin Boche, Beddor discusses how a London exhibit on playing cards prompted his search for the "true" story behind this classic tale, and explains why he chose to tell the story of the Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan in this visual format. He also describes his experiences working with a co-writer and an illustrator, muses on the enduring appeal of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and shares details about what's in store for his main characters in Volume Three of the Hatter M series, THE NATURE OF WONDER.

Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest
Celebrate the season with's Fourth Annual Holiday Basket of Cheer feature and contest! From November 13th through December 10th, you can enter to win a "Basket of Holiday Reading and Fun."

Five winners each will receive a festive basket that includes 10 of the holiday's hottest books --- THE AMANDA PROJECT: BOOK 1: INVISIBLE I by Melissa Kantor, DEADLY LITTLE LIES by Laurie Faria Stolarz, HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT by Natalie Standiford, IT’S ALL GOOD: A So For Real Novel by Nikki Carter, A MAP OF THE KNOWN WORLD by Lisa Ann Sandell, NEED by Carrie Jones, SECRET SOCIETY by Tom Dolby, SPLENDOR: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: THE AWAKENING by L.J. Smith, and VIOLA IN REEL LIFE by Adriana Trigiani.

Along with the books, winners will find their basket stocked with tons of seasonal goodies --- a kit to make a mini gingerbread village, Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate mix, peppermint bark candy, a snowflake patterned fleece blanket, red woolen gloves, a snowman ceramic coffee mug, plush warm socks, snowflake tissues, and gourmet hand-cut vanilla marshmallows.

What to Give, What to Get
Sometimes deciding what to get is as hard as deciding what to give. So we've created a special What to Give, What to Get Guide --- a list of books just for teens that will give you tons of gift-giving ideas (and maybe a few to put on YOUR list). Happy Holidays!

Special Features
HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT by Natalie Standiford
Icelandic hairdressers are the happiest people in the world. Bea is not an Icelandic hairdresser. Neither is Jonah. But together, they might find something approaching happiness.

New to town, Bea is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. You know the type: very cheery, very friendly, very average. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost boy, a quiet observer who hasn’t made a new friend since third grade. He’s not a big fan of people in general…but he’s willing to make an exception for her. Maybe.

Bea and Jonah are not going to have a friendship like other people have a friendship, where it’s all based on gossip and parties and what everybody else thinks. Instead, their friendship comes from truth-bound conversations, shared secrets, daring stunts, and late-night calls to the same old-timer radio show. They help each other and hurt each other, push away and hold close. It’s not romance, exactly --- but it’s definitely love. And it means more to them than either one can ever really know…

For anyone who’s ever entered the wonderful, treacherous, consuming, meaningful world of a true friendship, HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT will strike a deep and lasting chord.
- Click here to read an excerpt from HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT
- Click here to read Natalie Standiford’s bio.

BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS written by Laurie Faria Stolarz and artwork by Janina Görrissen (Graphic Novel)
The Blue is for Nightmares series that put a spell on more than half a million readers continues --- in graphic novel format! Prophetic nightmares. Near-brushes with death. Killers pursuing her and her friends. Stacey Brown knows that being a hereditary witch isn’t all it's cracked up to be.

All she really wants to do is work things out with Jacob and figure out what to do with the rest of her life. But before Stacey and Jacob can have a future, they must face their pasts. BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS reveals the never-before-seen backstory --- and what lies ahead --- for the young, spellcasting lovers.

BLACK continues the harrowing adventures of Stacey and Jacob in the wake of Jacob's brush with death. Ever since he lost his memory, Jacob hasn't been able to remember Stacey --- his own soul mate. He leaves Massachusetts, returning to his childhood home in Colorado, hoping to jog his memory. What he remembers is Kira, his ex-girlfriend. As Jacob works to piece together his past, will there be room for Stacey in his future?
- Click here to read more about BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS.
- Click here to browse inside BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS.
- Click here to read our interview with Laurie Faria Stolarz.
- Click here to read Laurie Faria Stolarz’s bio.

THE GOOD NEIGHBORS, Book Two: Kith written by Holly Black and illustrated by Ted Naifeh (Graphic Novel)
Rue Silver's life is not what it appears to be. Her mother is a faerie, and has been taken back to the faerie realm. As Rue goes to bring her back, she must travel deep into an inhuman world. At the same time, the faerie realm is venturing into our world too, and taking its toll on those Rue loves. When her grandfather's plans threaten Rue's city, she realizes that she's the only one who can stop him. But is Rue a human or a faerie? Where does she fit? How does she know the difference between love and enchantment?
- Click here to look inside KITH.
- Click here to read our interview with Holly Black.
- Click here to read Holly Black’s bio.

THE MIDNIGHT CHARTER by David Whitley (Fantasy/Thriller)
In the tower of Count Stelli in the ancient city-state of Agora, two children meet, apparently by chance. Mark has escaped the plague ravaging the city’s slums, and Lily is the servant who takes care of him. At first, their only goal is survival: in Agora everything can be bought and sold, debt is death, and Mark and Lily must barter their labor for their lives. When Lily escapes the tower for the city outside, Mark stays on as a servant to the count. Though Mark and Lily choose two very different paths, their lives remain strangely intertwined by the long-held secret prophecy of the Midnight Charter. What is the charter? Who knows of its power, and why are Mark and Lily destined to uncover its meaning?

As the mystery of the charter unfolds, Mark and Lily face dangerous enemies and shifting loyalties --- and a choice that could shape the future for all of Agora.
- Click here to read more about THE MIDNIGHT CHARTER.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE MIDNIGHT CHARTER.
- Click here to read our interview with David Whitley.
- Click here to read David Whitley’s bio.

Books into Movies
This month’s Books into Movies Feature includes:
New Moon
Disney’s A Christmas Carol

Cool New Books
November and December’s roundup of Cool New Books includes RAVEN SUMMER, a captivating novel from Printz Award winner David Almond, in which the discovery of an abandoned baby ultimately leads to a boy’s fateful encounter with two foster care children; DEADLY LITTLE LIES, the second installment in Laurie Faria Stolarz’s thrilling and chilling paranormal Touch series; DAWN, Kevin Brooks’s provocative dissection of family, friendship and faith; CLAIM TO FAME, Margaret Peterson Haddix’s novel about a young TV star with a strange power whose kidnapping forces her to confront everything she’s hiding from; and TANGLED by Carolyn Mackler, a story of the secrets we keep, the risks we take, and the things we do for love.

New in Paperback
November and December’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes FOREVER PRINCESS, the 10th and final installment in Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series, which finds Mia in her last year of high school and with plenty of nerve-racking decisions still to make; HOW THEY MET, AND OTHER STORIES, David Levithan’s collection of stories about love that crosses the borders and boundaries of the human heart; DEADLY LITTLE SECRET, a story of paranormal romance from Laurie Faria Stolarz that revolves around a fairly ordinary 16-year-old protagonist whose life is turned upside down when a mysterious new guy starts junior year at her high school; and DREAM GIRL, Lauren Mechling’s novel about a girl whose world becomes a whole lot clearer --- and dangerous --- after receiving a strange black-and-white onyx cameo on a gold chain from her grandmother.

Click here to read the full newsletter.