Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 2011

BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys (Historical Fiction)
It's 1941, and Lina is just like any other 15-year-old Lithuanian girl. That is, until Soviet officers barge into her home. Separated from her father, Lina, her mother and her brother travel north on a crowded train to a camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here, under Stalin's orders, they are forced to dig for beets --- and fight for their lives --- under the cruelest conditions. Reviewed by Norah Piehl and excerpted.

- Click here to watch Ruta Sepetys talk about BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY.
TORTALL AND OTHER LANDS: A Collection of Tales, by Tamora Pierce (Fantasy/Short Stories)
Collected here for the first time are all the tales from the land of Tortall, featuring previously unknown characters, as well as old friends. Filling in gaps of time and interest, these stories will lead Tamora Pierce's fans and new readers alike into one of the most intricately constructed worlds of modern fantasy. Reviewed by Joy Held and excerpted.
MILES FROM ORDINARY by Carol Lynch Williams (Fiction)
Thirteen-year-old Lacey is excited about her new job at the library, and her mother is supposed to start work at the grocery store. Lacey hopes that her mother's ghosts have been laid to rest; after all, she seems so much better these days. But as the hours tick by and memories come flooding back, a day of hope spins terrifyingly out of control. Reviewed by Norah Piehl and excerpted.
WORDS IN THE DUST by Trent Reedy(Fiction)
A quiet, severely disfigured Afghan girl experiences a promising vision of her nation's future when American troops occupy her desert village and arrange surgery for her cleft lip. Based on an enlightening true story, WORDS IN THE DUST tells of a shy 13-year-old and how much her life changes because of the simple kindness of a few concerned American soldiers. Reviewed by Melanie Smith and excerpted.

- Click here to watch Trent Reedy talk about WORDS IN THE DUST.
LOST & FOUND: THREE by Shaun Tan(Fiction/Illustrated Short Stories)
The Lost Thing won Best Animated Short at this year's Academy Awards. This huge honor coincides with the release of LOST & FOUND, a collection of Shaun Tan's early picture books that includes the story on which the film is based, along with THE RED TREE and THE RABBITS. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.
TO TIMBUKTU: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story, written by Casey Scieszka and illustrated by Steven Weinberg(Memoir)
Two young adults meet while studying abroad in Morocco. They fall in love and decide to travel some more... and their adventures begin. For the next year-and-a-half, they teach English in China, wander Southeast Asia, and do research in Mali. TO TIMBUKTU is a fully illustrated chronicle of their illuminating time abroad --- and what they learned there. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.
CHIME by Franny Billingsley (Historical Fantasy)
Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for her family's problems. To escape her guilt, Briony tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see them, and witches are sentenced to death. Then Eldric comes along and changes everything. As it turns out, there are secrets even Briony doesn't know. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.
ANGRY YOUNG MAN by Chris Lynch (Fiction)
National Book Award finalist Chris Lynch returns with another award-worthy novel centering on two all-American brothers who encounter distressing experiences and undergo an evolution. The story is astonishingly lifelike and genuine, and is a reading experience I'll guarantee you'll remember for a very long time. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.
STEEL by Carrie Vaughn (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she's never held a real blade. So when she finds an old sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she instantly pockets it as her own. But the broken tip holds secrets, and it transports Jill to a pirate ship. In order to get home, Jill must risk everything by dueling to the death with a villainous captain. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.
CLOSER by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams (Mystery/Action & Adventure)
Finally reunited with his dad, Will spends his days exploring the "land of the second sun," decoding glyphs, or eyeing wild animals with the renegade girl Elliott. Meanwhile, Chester has returned Topsoil, where his homecoming is becoming a horror show. But the ruthless Rebeccas have cheated death again, and they'll hunt Will to the innards of the earth. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.
PROM AND PREJUDICE by Elizabeth Eulberg(Fiction)
The girls at Longbourn Academy are obsessed with prom. Lizzie Bennett isn't interested, but now that Charles Bingley is back from London, her best friend, Jane, is. Lizzie is happy for her, but she's less impressed with Will Darcy, a pompous jerk who Lizzie finds herself drawn to anyway. Will pride and prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a couple in the making? Reviewed by Amy Alessio.
THE VESPERTINE by Saundra Mitchell(Historical/Paranormal Romance)
It's 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is eager to take in the pleasures of Baltimore. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing visions that offer glimpses of the future. As people come to hear her prophecies, a forbidden romance threatens the life she's built in Baltimore. And when one of her darkest visions comes to pass, some wonder if she's the cause. Reviewed by Sally Tibbetts.
DESIRES OF THE DEAD: A Body Finder Novel, by Kimberly Derting (Supernatural Thriller)
Violet can sense the echoes of the murdered --- and the matching imprint of their killers. But when she finds a young boy's body, she draws the attention of the FBI. As Violet tries to hide her ability, she becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Soon, she starts digging into the past of her boyfriend's pal, Mike, and discovers a truth that might endanger everyone. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

THE GOOD NEIGHBORS, Book Three: KIND written by Holly Black and illustrated by Ted Naifeh
When Holly Black decided to create a graphic novel series called The Good Neighbors, she pulled out all the stops, creating one of the most vivid and compulsively readable YA series around. The third and final book more than lives up to the dark, brooding promise of the first two installments, giving Rue Silver's journey a fitting conclusion. Reviewed by John Hogan.
SIEGE written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Olivier Coipel
The Marvel Universe has been in a tailspin of disaster after disaster since 2006. Most of our iconic heroes found themselves embroiled in battles against one another over politics and personal vendettas. But finally the heroes reunite and fight the evil that started it all, rediscovering the meaning of heroism. Reviewed by Collin David.
BLACK BUTLER, Volume 3 written and illustrated by Yana Toboso
When Sebastian Michaelis, singular butler of the Phantomhive house, lays bare Jack the Ripper's true identity, all that is left for him to do is eliminate the perpetrator in the name of the Queen and Phantomhive. But inhumanly efficient skills don't guarantee victory when the opponent is just as supernaturally gifted. Reviewed by Casey Brienza.
GRAND GUIGNOL ORCHESTRA, Volume 2 written and illustrated by Kaori Yuki
Lucille is loving heading up the traveling Royal Orchestra, roving from town to town entertaining the masses and making money. But now he and his Orchestra have met their match: people infected with the Guignol Virus, turning them into zombie dolls intent on killing all humans. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.
CRIMSON CROSS written by Sakae Maeda and illustrated by Kyoko Negishi
You can see his ivory-colored sharp teeth through his distorted lips when he laughs...and the crimson-colored blood dripping like it wanted to baptize a person. Carl van Hellsing has vowed to hunt down the vampire Elliot for eternity. But that's exactly what Elliot wants. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.
THE SECRET NOTES OF LADY KANOKO, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Ririko Tsujita
Although she doesn't get along with people very well, Lady Kanoko considers herself a perfect "observer." Her hobby is observing the students in her high school class and keeping a journal of the classroom drama. But what will happen when Kanoko becomes more than the observer and directly involved with some of her classmates? Reviewed by Kyla Hunt.

Trent Reedy
A first-time novelist and a member of the Army National Guard, Trent Reedy is the author of WORDS IN THE DUST, the remarkable tale of an Afghan girl named Zulaikha who dares to hope for a better future --- and the surgery she'll need to fix her cleft palate --- when American soldiers arrive in her village. In this interview, Reedy talks about his own experiences as a soldier in Afghanistan, elaborating on the real-life figure who inspired his book. He also explains how the experience of war altered his feelings about the Afghan people, reflects on the challenges of writing his first-ever novel, and recalls the fan letter he wrote that helped launch his career as a writer --- and sparked the beginning of a long-lasting literary friendship.

» Read the interview and the review.

Win a Copy of THE ABUSED WEREWOLF RESCUE GROUP by Catherine Jinks --- Plus a Pair of T-Shirts!
To celebrate the April 4th release of THE ABUSED WEREWOLF RESCUE GROUP by Catherine Jinks, is giving 25 readers the chance to win a copy of this highly anticipated follow-up to THE REFORMED VAMPIRE SUPPORT GROUP, along with two t-shirts --- one reads "Reformed Vampire" and the other "Abused Werewolf." The deadline for entries is Friday, April 8th at noon ET.

When Tobias Richard Vandevelde wakes up in a hospital with no memory of the night before, his horrified mother tells him that he was found unconscious. At Featherdale Wildlife Park. In a dingo pen.

He assumes that his two best friends are somehow responsible, until the mysterious Reuben turns up, claiming that Toby has a rare and dangerous "condition." Next thing he knows, Toby finds himself involved with a strange bunch of sickly insomniacs who seem convinced that he needs their help.

It's not until he's kidnapped and imprisoned that he starts to believe them --- and to understand what being a paranormal monster really means.

» Click here to read all the contest details.
» Click here to read a review of THE ABUSED WEREWOLF RESCUE GROUP.
» Click here to read an excerpt from THE ABUSED WEREWOLF RESCUE GROUP.
» Click here to read our interview with Catherine Jinks.
» Click here to read Catherine Jinks's bio.

Win a Copy of DAUGHTERS OF THE SEA #2: MAY by Kathryn Lasky
May is different from what her mother and father would have her be. She wants to go swimming in the summer, to whoop and holler running off the wharf and into the seawater. She wants to read books (other than the Bible) late into the night. She wants a freedom that they just don't understand her need for; even she can't quite grasp it. That is, until she realizes her true nature as a mermaid.

To celebrate the release of MAY, is giving 100 readers the chance to win a copy of this second book in Kathryn Lasky's Daughters of the Sea series. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, May 4th at noon ET.

DAUGHTERS OF THE SEA #2: MAY by Kathryn Lasky (Fantasy)
May feels her life drying up. The sea calls to her, but her parents forbid her from swimming. She longs for books, but her mother finds her passion for learning strange. She yearns for independence, but a persistent suitor, Rudd, wants to tame her spirited ways. Yet after her 15th birthday, the urge to break free becomes overpowering and May makes a life-changing discovery. She does not belong on land where girls are meant to be obedient. She is a mermaid --- a creature of the sea.

» Click here to read all the contest details.
» Click here to read more about DAUGHTERS OF THE SEA #2: MAY.
» Click here to read a review of DAUGHTERS OF THE SEA #2: MAY.
» Click here to read an excerpt from DAUGHTERS OF THE SEA #2: MAY.
» Click here to read Kathryn Lasky's bio.

Win a Copy of NUMBERS #2: THE CHAOS by Rachel Ward
Adam is cursed. Who would want to look into the eyes of a friend and not only see the date of their death, but feel the pain of it as well? At first, it was Jem's death day. Now, Adam has moved to London with his great-grandmother, Val, and there's a new number that's showing up: 01012027 --- New Year's Day. And it's not just one person. How many people can he save from the catastrophe that awaits?

To celebrate the release of THE CHAOS, is giving 100 readers the chance to win a copy of this second book in Rachel Ward's Numbers series. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, May 4th at noon ET.

NUMBERS #2: THE CHAOS by Rachel Ward (Urban Fantasy)
When he was a little boy, Adam learned about the numbers. The first ones he saw were Jem's. That was how he knew she was going to die. Adam has more than inherited his mother's curse: When he looks in someone's eyes, he not only sees the date of their death, he feels the searing, shocking pain of it. Since Jem died, Adam has lived by the sea with his great-grandmother, Val. But when rising tides flood the coast, they return to London. The city is an alien, exciting, frightening place. Most disturbing of all, Adam can't help but clock how many people's numbers are in January 2027; how many are on New Year's Day. What chaos awaits the world? Can he and Sarah stop a catastrophe? Or are they, too, counted among the "twenty-sevens"?

» Click here to read all the contest details.
» Click here to read a review of NUMBERS #2: THE CHAOS.
» Click here to read an excerpt from NUMBERS #2: THE CHAOS.
» Click here to read our interview with Rachel Ward.
» Click here to read Rachel Ward's bio.

Grab Bag of Books Giveaway
Every month in our Grab Bag of Books contest, five readers are awarded a signature tote bag filled with some of the hottest books --- and may even include a sneak peek at titles that haven’t been released yet!

This contest period's winners will each receive a copy of DARKEST MERCY: The Final Wicked Lovely Book, by Melissa Marr; DEATH CLOUD: Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins, by Andrew Lane; DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver; I AM NUMBER FOUR: Movie Tie-In Edition, by Pittacus Lore; and UNEARTHLY by Cynthia Hand.. The deadline for entries is Monday, April 18th at noon ET.

» Click here for all the contest details.
» Click here for the winners of our past giveaways.


THE ANTI-PROM by Abby McDonald
Popular Bliss has the perfect boyfriend, the perfect prom dress --- and now the perfect case for revenge after finding her BFF and boyfriend making out in the back of the limo. Bad girl Jolene wouldn't be caught dead at the prom, yet (due to her mother's ultimatum) here she is, trussed up in pink ruffles, wondering whether boot camp might have been the better choice. And shy, studious, uber-planner Meg, ready to stop being a wallflower and start experiencing life firsthand, never counted on her date's standing her up and leaving her idling in the parking lot outside the prom.

Click here to read a review of THE ANTI-PROM.
» Click here to read an excerpt from THE ANTI-PROM.
» Click here to read our interview with Abby McDonald.
» Click here to read Abby McDonald's bio.

TRAPPED by Michael Northrop (Psychological Thriller)
Scotty and his friends, Pete and Jason, are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn't seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision…

Click here to read a review of TRAPPED.
» Click here to read an excerpt from TRAPPED.
» Click here to read our interview with Michael Northrop.
» Click here to read Michael Northrop’s bio.


Spring is right around the corner, and's Books into Movies feature is spotlighting three films to celebrate the start of a new season. March is going to be a month of misguided love, gripping dramas and timeless classics, beginning with Beastly, an edgy flick based on Alex Finn's ultra-modern retelling of "Beauty and the Beast." The story of a high school hotshot who finds himself transformed into a hideous outcast, it's a spellbinding saga of revenge, true love, and one teen's quest to find out what it really means to be beautiful.

If Beastly leaves you in the mood for more contemporary fairy tales, then there's Red Riding Hood, which is loosely based on the classic Brothers Grimm story. Watch the stunning Amanda Seyfried as she tries to choose between two equally charming suitors --- one of whom may be a werewolf --- and save her village from the clutches of a savage beast. You also will not want to miss Sarah Blakley-Cartwright and David Leslie Johnson's book of the same name, which was inspired by the movie.

But film fanatics in search of a different sort of romance should be on the lookout for the latest adaptation of JANE EYRE. Based on Charlotte Brontë's moving 19th-century novel, Jane Eyre follows a courageous orphan who's burdened by her feelings for her wealthy employer --- and the knowledge of a dark and terrible secret that's captivated audiences for almost two centuries.

» Click here for more details about these films.


March's roundup of Cool New Books includes THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES, the final installment in Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy, in which a devastated Annah meets a mysterious guy who's linked to her horrific past and her even more terrifying future; MILES FROM ORDINARY by Carol Lynch Williams, the gripping tale of a 13-year-old girl whose day that started out so full of hope now spins horribly out of control; BLINK & CAUTION, a heart-pounding thriller from Tim Wynne-Jones about a boy named Blink who finds himself running from the law with a sketchy but disarmingly beautiful street punk named Caution; and TO TIMBUKTU, Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg's illustrated memoir about their travels through Morocco and Southeast Asia --- and the story of how they fell in love. » Click here


March's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes FEVER CRUMB, the highly anticipated prequel to Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines Quartet, which explains the origins of Municipal Darwinism through the story of a mysterious orphan named Fever; THE SIX RULES OF MAYBE by Deb Caletti, in which a selfless problem solver inexplicably falls for her sister's husband; THE SHADOW DRAGONS, the latest installment in James A. Owen's The Chronicles of Imaginarium Geographica, in which the Caretakers are pitted against the Shadow King in an epic battle that will decide the fate of the Imaginarium Geographica once and for all; and THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson, the emotional tale of a devastated teen who's trying to cope with the death of her older sister --- and finds herself torn between a talented musician and her sister's former boyfriend. »Click here