Monday, November 1, 2010

October 2010

Reviews and Excerpts

THE SCORCH TRIALS by James Dashner(Science Fiction)
Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to. After an excruciating wait for the sequel to THE MAZE RUNNER, fans will be instantly absorbed into the unrelenting harum-scarum adventures that Thomas and the Gladers are thrown into. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon and excerpted.

DASH & LILY’S BOOK OF DARES by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
When Lily gets tired of looking for the right guy, she leaves a notebook full of challenges on her favorite bookstore shelf and waits for someone to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash really the right guy, or are he and Lily only destined to swap their dreams and desires? Can they possibly connect with each other in person, or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions? Reviewed by Norah Piehl and excerpted.

(Gothic Horror)
It has a dozen names in a dozen lands and is older than the hills. It feeds, and the more it feeds, the hungrier it becomes. It starves even as it gorges. It is the hunger that cannot be satisfied. In the Algonquin tongue, its name literally means “the one who devours all mankind.” Reviewed by Benjamin Boche and excerpted.

FORGE by Laurie Halse Anderson
(Historical Fiction)
The Patriot Army was shaped by the desperate circumstances at Valley Forge, where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. But as an escaped slave passing for a freedman, Curzon must face the fear of discovery along with the hardships of being a soldier. And then there’s Isabel --- who’s there against her will. Can she and Curzon sort out the tangled threads of friendship and find the path to true freedom? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
» Click here to watch an interview with Laurie Halse Anderson.
BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS by Anna Godbersen(Historical Romance)
From Manhattan speakeasies to downtown boarding houses, from the bridges of Brooklyn to estates on Long Island, BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS marks the beginning of a new series byThe Luxe author Anna Godbersen, set in the last wild summer before the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.
»Click here to watch a photo shoot for the cover of BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS.
In hopes of reinstating their family in their grandmother's will, sisters Norrie, Jane and Sassy write out confessions of their transgressions. Their letters are sometimes hilarious and at other times heartbreaking --- but always riveting --- in Natalie Standiford’s absorbing new novel. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.
KISSES FROM HELL by Kristin Cast, Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Richelle Mead and Francesca Lia Block (Paranormal Romance Anthology)
From a fugitive vampire who’s forced to trust a boy who might be bent on destroying her, to the legend of two immortals whose love compels them to risk everything, this heart-pounding collection brings new meaning to the words "love you forever." Whether you're into dark and moody romances, or light and fun love stories, KISSES FROM HELL will quench your thirst for enchanting tales of the beautiful undead. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.
GUARDIAN OF THE GATE: Prophecy of the Sisters, Book 2 by Michelle Zink (Fantasy)
As 16-year-old Lia tries to end the Prophecy, her twin sister Alice hones the skills she’ll need to defeat her. Lia and Alice always knew the Prophecy would turn their loved ones against them, but they didn’t know what betrayal could lead them to. And in the end, only one sister will be left standing. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.
BEAT THE BAND by Don Calame (Fiction)
It’s the beginning of the school year, and the 10th-graders have to partner up for semester-long health projects. Matt and Sean get paired together, but Coop gets stuck with the infamous “Hot Dog” Helen for a presentation on safe sex. The only way to escape this social death sentence is for Coop to win “The Battle of the Bands” with his group. There’s just one problem: none of the guys actually plays an instrument. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

Click here to read Don Calame’s blog post, “What If I Couldn't Be a Writer?”
Graphic Novel Reviews
ANIMAL CRACKERS: A Gene Luen Yang Collection, written and illustrated by Gene Luen Yang
The early work of Gene Luen Yang, author of AMERICAN BORN CHINESE, is collected in this special edition containing Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, and Loyola Chin and the San Peligran Order, plus an all-new story by Yang. ANIMAL CRACKERS tells two stories of two very different young people who encounter the extraordinary while living their ordinary lives. Reviewed by Collin David.
ALADDIN: LEGACY OF THE LOST written by Ian Edginton and illustrated by Patrick Reilly and Stjepan Sejic
A strapping young hero, an attractive princess, an evil guy with a beard, and a powerful djinn --- it’s all fairly standard stuff from the Aladdin tales, but ALADDIN: LEGACY OF THE LOST is a transcendentally solid, classic adventure. Reviewed by Collin David.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THEATER OF WAR written by Paul Jenkins, illustrated by Gary Erskine, John McCrea, Fernando Blanco and Elia Bonetti
Paul Jenkins brings you four stories chronicling the adventures that made Captain America the hero we know today. From Skinny Steve Rogers at boot camp to the Super-Soldier leading a battlion of men against the Nazis, this is the Captain America you thought you knew but you've never seen. Reviewed by John Hogan.
PINOCCHIO, VAMPIRE SLAYER, Volumes 1 and 2 written by Van Jensen and illustrated by Dusty Higgins
When it comes to slaying vampires, Pinocchio has a built-in advantage --- every time he tells a lie, he grows his own wooden stake. On the other hand, there are disadvantages to having a lie detector right in the middle of your face, especially when you are faced with a roomful of vampires --- or just one pretty girl. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

Manga Reviews

THE CLIQUE: THE MANGA written by Lisi Harrison and illustrated by Yishan Li
Claire Lyons is the new girl at Octavian Country Day School, an exclusive private school in Westchester County, New York. But Claire is totally unprepared for the social (and fashion) demands of her new classmates. To make matters worse, Claire's family is living in the guesthouse of one Massie Block, the queen supreme of her new school. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.
THE DREAMING: THE COLLECTION written and illustrated by Queenie Chan
When twin sisters Amber and Jeanie are accepted into an exclusive Australian boarding school, their future looks bright. But the school's halls harbor a terrible secret: students have been known to wander into the surrounding bushlands and vanish...without a trace! As Amber and Jeanie are about to learn, the key to the school's dark past may lie in the world of their dreams... Reviewed by Danica Davidson.
GRAND GUIGNOL ORCHESTRA, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Kaori Yuki
Lucille and his orchestra encounter a town overrun with the worst kind of audience: the Living Dead! Well, not really. They’re people who have been turned into doll-like zombies. And they are definitely not a crowd to take lightly. Can a group of roving musicians use their skills to calm the beasts? Reviewed by Danica Davidson.
HIMEYUKA & ROZIONE’S STORY written and illustrated by Sumomo Yumeka
In a corner of the city, Himeyuka, a female high school student, begins living by herself in an average, unremarkable apartment. One day, she returns from school to see her building completely covered in colorful, crazy childish scribbles! The offender turns out to be a little boy named Rozione who is, for some reason, incredibly attached to Himeyuka, even though she can't remember ever laying eyes on him before. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

Author Talk

Lauren Kate
Recently, staffer Jordana Frankel had the opportunity to chat with Lauren Kate, author of the Fallen series. In this five-part video interview, Kate answers questions about her writing process, her seventh-grade teacher, angels, TORMENT (the second book in the series), and what might come next. We also got her to dish about PASSION, the prequel to FALLEN --- and for all you romantics out there, this one sounds like it's going to make Luce and Daniel's historically ill-fated love all the more swoon-worthy.

FALLEN by Lauren Kate (Supernatural Romance)
Mysterious and aloof, Daniel Grigori captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. Even though he wants nothing to do with her --- and goes out of his way to make that very clear --- Luce can't let it go. She has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret…even if it kills her. Reviewed by Jordana Frankel.

TORMENT by Lauren Kate (Supernatural Romance)
It took Luce and her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel, an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away for a little while to hunt down the Outcasts --- immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, where she learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. Reviewed by Jordana Frankel.

» Click here to watch our interviews with Lauren Kate on the blog.
» Read reviews of FALLEN and TORMENT.

Seasonal Features

Book O’Lantern Feature

Looking for some spooky reads leading up to Halloween? For the first time ever, is celebrating the season of ghouls and ghosts with our Book O'Lantern feature. Here we spotlight 14 titles that will help make the scariest season of them all last well beyond October 31st.

Click here to read more about our featured titles.
» Click here to see the winners of our Book O’Lantern contest.

In REVOLUTION, Jennifer Donnelly --- author of the award-winning novel A NORTHERN LIGHT --- artfully weaves two girls’ stories into an unforgettable account of life, loss and enduring love. The book spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

To celebrate the release of this highly anticipated novel, is giving 15 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, December 15th at noon ET.

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want --- and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession.

» Click here to read all the contest details.
» Click here to read more about REVOLUTION.
» Click here to read a review of REVOLUTION.
» Click here to read an excerpt from REVOLUTION.
» Click here to read our interview with Jennifer Donnelly.
» Click here to read Jennifer Donnelly’s bio.

When her beloved, albeit kooky, aunt is killed in a freak lightning storm, Erin Channing’s world is thrown upside down when she inherits a magical pink crystal ball that has the ability to change the future --- often in very unpredictable ways. As Erin and her friends struggle to control their futures, events quickly spiral out of control in THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL --- a hilarious new YA novel with the perfect supernatural twist. Risa Green, author of NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY (the book that spawned two seasons of a series by the same name airing on ABC), is back with this fabulously original, warm and funny novel that follows a trio of best friends as they navigate adolescence with the help of a pink crystal ball.

To celebrate the release of THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL, is giving 30 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, December 15th at noon ET.

When Erin inherits a plastic crystal ball and a set of cryptic instructions from her free-spirited aunt, she and her two best friends laughingly give it a try and discover that this particular ball has a knack for being accurate. But as with all magic, nothing is as simple as it seems. Unless Erin and her friends can fix the damage, the magic will turn on them. The crystal ball gave them answers about love and life…but at what price?

» Click here for all the contest details.
Click here to read an excerpt from THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL.
» Click here to read Risa Green’s bio.
» Enter to win a $250 Shopping Spree in the Pink Crystal Ball “What Would You Wish For?” Video Trailer Contest.
» Check out the trailer on YouTube!
» Find out more about Risa Green at

Looking for a great book that is sure to generate lots of discussion in your reading group? Then check out THE THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS by Dana Reinhardt, which tells the story of Levi, who must deal with his older brother Boaz's return from war in the Middle East. Instead of being a happy occasion, Boaz’s post-traumatic stress disorder makes it impossible for Levi to have anything remotely resembling a brotherly relationship with him. But that doesn’t stop Levi from trying…and maybe pushing Boaz farther away, if that’s even possible. is giving away up to 20 copies of THE THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS to one lucky book club. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, November 17th at noon ET.

THE THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS by Dana Reinhardt (Fiction)
Finally, Levi Katznelson’s older brother, Boaz, has returned. Boaz was a high school star who had it all and gave it up to serve in a war Levi can’t understand. Things have been on hold since Boaz left. With the help of his two best friends, Levi has fumbled his way through high school, weary of his role as little brother to the hero.

But when Boaz walks through the front door after his tour of duty is over, Levi knows there’s something wrong. Boaz is home, safe. But Levi knows that his brother is not the same.

Maybe things will never return to normal. Then Boaz leaves again, and this time Levi follows him, determined to understand who his brother was, who he has become, and how to bring him home again.

» Click here for all the contest details.
» Click here to read a review of THE THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS.
» Click here to read an excerpt from THE THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS.
» Click here to read our interview with Dana Reinhardt.
» Click here to read Dana Reinhardt’s bio.
» Visit Dana Reinhardt’s offical website,

Special Features

RUINED by Paula Morris (Supernatural Thriller)
Rebecca Brown couldn’t feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year. She’s staying in a creepy old house with her Aunt Claudia, who reads tarot cards for a living. And at the snooty prep school, the filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she’s invisible. Only gorgeous unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he’s got a hidden agenda.

» Click here to read more about RUINED.
» Click here to read a review of RUINED.
» Click here to read an excerpt from RUINED.
» Click here to read our interview with Paula Morris.
» Click here to read Paula Morris’s bio.

MOON SPUN by Marilee Brothers (Fantasy)
Allie Emerson's first boyfriend was an ex-gangbanger who helped her survive after she was thrown into the world of magick. Her second boyfriend was half demon. Her newest BF can turn into a hawk.

Things are definitely getting weirder in Allie's life. Which was tough enough already as a wise-cracking nobody in Peacock Flats, Washington, where she lives in a camping trailer with her not-quite-normal mother.

Now she learns she's a fae princess and warrior. It's up to her to save her faery grandmother's kingdom. And survive high school, too.

» Click here to read more about MOON SPUN.
» Click here to read a review of MOON SPUN.
» Click here to read an excerpt from MOON SPUN.
» Click here to read our interview with Marilee Brothers.
» Click here to read Marilee Brothers’s bio.

THE EXILED QUEEN: A Seven Realms Novel, Book Two by Cinda Williams Chima (Fantasy)
Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery --- but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

» Click here to read more about THE EXILED QUEEN.
» Click here to read a review of THE EXILED QUEEN.
» Click here to read an excerpt from THE EXILED QUEEN.
» Click here to read our interview with Cinda Williams Chima.
» Click here to read Cinda Williams Chima’s bio.
» Visit Cinda Williams Chima’s official website,

PLAIN KATE by Erin Bow (Fantasy)
Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver’s daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden charms are so fine that some even call her “witch blade” --- a dangerous nickname in a town where witches are hunted and burned in the square.

For Kate and her village have fallen on hard times. Kate’s father has died, leaving her alone in the world. And a mysterious fog now covers the countryside, ruining crops and spreading feat of hunger and sickness. The townspeople are looking for someone to blame, and their eyes have fallen on Kate.

» Click here to read more about PLAIN KATE.
» Click here to read a review of PLAIN KATE.
» Click here to read an excerpt from PLAIN KATE.
» Click here to read our interview with Erin Bow.
» Click here to read Erin Bow’s bio.

TOUCH BLUE by Cynthia Lord (Fiction)
“Why take chances?” asks 11-year-old Tess Brooks. “Especially when it’s so easy to let the universe know what you want by touching blue or turning around three times or crossing your fingers.”

But Tess is coming to know that it’s not always that simple. The state of Maine plans to shut down her island’s schoolhouse, which would force Tess’s family to move to the mainland --- and Tess to leave the only home she has ever known. Fortunately, the islanders have a plan, too: increase the number of students by having several families take in foster children. So now Tess and her family are taking a chance on Aaron, a 13-year-old trumpet player who has been bounced from home to home. And Tess needs a plan of her own --- and all the luck she can muster. Will Tess’s wish come true, or will her luck run out?

» Click here to read a review of TOUCH BLUE.
» Click here to read an excerpt from TOUCH BLUE.
» Click here to read our interview with Cynthia Lord.
» Click here to read Cynthia Lord’s bio.
» Visit Cynthia Lord’s official website,
Books into Movies

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
The moment you’ve been waiting for is almost here. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 hits the big screen on November 19th, so grab your wizarding gear and take a trip to your local movie theater, where you’ll enter a magical world of harrowing journeys, never-before-seen spells and hair-raising excitement.

Based on the seventh installment of J.K. Rowling’s beloved series, this is the first of two riveting, full-length features (Part 2 releases on July 15, 2011) that will follow Harry and his friends as they try to outsmart the Death Eaters and put a stop to the Dark Lord’s evil doings once and for all. Now that Dumbledore is gone, Voldemort’s henchmen have taken over Hogwarts and seized control of the Ministry of Magic, making Harry’s hunt for Horcruxes more dangerous than ever before. And to make matters worse, he’s slowly starting to realize that his future might already have been decided.

Does Harry have the strength to survive long enough so that he can prepare to face Voldemort in what is sure to be their final battle? Unless you’ve mastered the art of Divination since the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, you’ll have to see the movie to find out.

» Click here for more details about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.

Cool New Books

October’s roundup of
Cool New Books includes REVOLUTION, the highly anticipated novel by Jennifer Donnelly that weaves together the stories of a depressed, modern-day teen and a young heroine of the French Revolution; FORGE, Laurie Halse Anderson’s page-turning sequel to CHAINS, which tells of a young slave’s struggle to survive the American Revolution --- and somehow forge a path to freedom; THE SCORCH TRIALS by James Dashner, the second installment of The Maze Runner Trilogy that follows Thomas and the Gladers as they try to cope with the challenges of life outside the Maze; BIRTH OF A KILLER, the riveting prequel to Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak series that sheds light on the mysterious origins of Larten Crepsley; part two of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan Trilogy, BEHEMOTH, which chronicles the ongoing conflict between the Darwinists and the Clankers as it plays out on board a British airship; and DASH & LILY’S BOOK OF DARES, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s story of a girl who tries to find the right guy by leaving a notebook on the shelf of her favorite bookstore. » Click here

New in Paperback

October’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes WITCH & WIZARD, James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet’s twisted tale of a brother and sister who fall afoul of a government-run witch-hunt; ARCHENEMY, the third installment of Frank Beddor’s spellbinding series, The Looking Glass Wars; KITH by Holly Black, the visually stimulating sequel to THE GOOD NEIGHBORS: KIN that follows Rue Silver’s quest to rescue her mother from the faerie realm; THE FETCH, award-winning author Laura Whitcomb’s account of a death escort who must brave a journey back to earth; HAZEL, Julie Hearn’s story of a sheltered girl who is forced to confront the secrets of her family’s past; and ICE, the fantastical narrative about a Polar Bear King by Sarah Beth Durst that will keep readers wondering whether fairy tales aren’t real after all. » Click here