Saturday, December 25, 2010

Book of the Week 12/28

Here is the YA book you should be paying attention to, due in book stores on Tuesday...

Sapphique (Catherine Fisher)- The highly-anticipated sequel to the international best-selling fantasy Incarceron.

Other Noteworthy Releases

The Lost Saint (A Dark Divine novel) (Bree Despain)
Bloody Valentine (A Blue Bloods novella) (Melissa De la Cruz)
Deadly Little Games (A Touch novel) (Laurie Faria Stolarz)
Real Live Boyfriends (E. Lockhart)
Maine Squeeze (Catherine Clark)
Dark Times (Emily the Strange series) (Rob Reger)
Keep Me In Your Heart (Lurlene McDaniel)
Once In a Full Moon (Ellen Schreiber)
The Edge (Star Trek: Starfleet Academy series) (Rudy Josephs)
The Mediator: Shadowland/Ninth Key (Meg Cabot)
Rage: A Love Story (Julie Anne Peters)
See What I See (Gloria Whelan)
Bitter Melon (Cara Chow)
Teenie (Christopher Grant)
Vampire Crush (A.M. Robinson)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Book of the Week 12/21

Here is the YA book you should be paying attention to, due in stores on Tuesday...

Tempestuous (Lesley Livingston) - This is the final book in Livingston's trilogy that includes Wondrous Strange and Darklight, telling an urban faerie tale.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Cherub (Mission 2): The Dealer (Robert Muchamore)
Solitary (Alexander Gordon Smith)
The Book of Spells: A Private Prequel (Kate Brian)
Roses and Bones (Francesca Lia Black)
Falling In Love with English Boys (Melissa Jensen)
Out For Blood (Alyxandra Harvey)
The Secret Year (Jennifer Hubbard)
The Devil's In the Diva (Paul Ruditis)
Fall For Anything (Courtney Summers)
Rhymes With Cupid (Anna Humphrey)
All You Get Is Me (Yvonne Prinz)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book of the Week 12/14

Here is the YA book you should be paying attention to, due in stores on Tuesday...

Vixen (Jillian Larkin) - The first book in new author Jillian Larkin's The Flappers series follows two teenaged girls seduced by the sexy lifestyle of flappers during the Roaring Twenties.

Other Noteworthy Releases

The Gift (Witch and Wizard Series #2) (James Patterson & Ned Rust) - In stores Monday.
Tutored (Allison Whittenberg)
Surface Tension (Brent Runyon)

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Cynthia Hand

Unearthly is the first book in a trilogy from debut author Cynthia Hand.  And it's pretty amazing.  This supernatural romance follows Clara Gardner, who's part angel, and is learning about her powers as she grows into them, including her "purpose," which is a calling that comes to her in dreams, letting her know the mission that she must complete on Earth.  When Clara uncovers a clue that lets her know exactly where the burning forest in her visions take place, her mother immediately uproots her and her brother to move from Sunny California to small-town Wyoming, a jarring transition, especially as Clara isn't exactly welcomed with open arms.  But the boy she's meant to rescue, Christian, is in her sights as she slowly builds a life for herself, a life that takes her to some unexpected places, making friends along the way.  The angel mythology that Hand builds for this novel is pretty grand and mysterious, and thoughtfully created.  It's a lot of fun watching as Clara slowly comes to learn about the angel world, and just how magical it is.  But of course danger comes with the territory as well, as Clara encounters first-hand.  But it seems that Clara's biggest battle is of the heart, as she wages a war of emotions between the man she's come to Wyoming to save, and the boy whom she's come to really enjoy spending time with.  All of the relationships in this book come off as very authentic, growing organically from the story and the circumstances they find themselves in.  The characters are very fully-formed, with plenty of secrets and emotions roiling just beneath the surface.  While Hand certainly does the supernatural/action-y stuff really, really well, it's the characters that really drive the story and make it so exceptional.  Themes of responsibility, love and, above all, destiny, are at the heart of this story that is insightful, engrossing and perfectly paced to keep readers on the edge of their seats.  I'm definitely hungry for more from this new author.

Unearthly will be in stores 1/4/2011.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Book of the Week 12/7

Here is the YA book you should be paying attention to, due in stores on Tuesday...

They Lying Game (Sara Shepard) - The first book in a new series by Pretty Little Liars author Sara Shepard, sees a girl stepping into the shoes of her twin sister after she discovers her sister was murdered.  Can she be convincing to her friends?  Will she uncover who the murderer is?

Other Noteworthy Releases

Last Sacrifice (Vampie Academy #6) (Richelle Mead)
Blood Ninja II: The Revenge of Lord Oda (Nick Lake)
Entice (Carrie Jones)
Nicholas Dane (Melvin Burgess)
Rosebush (Michele Jaffe)
Edges (Lena Roy)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Book of the Week 11/30

Here is the YA book you should be paying attention to, due in bookstores on Tuesday...

Matched (Ally Condie) - Finally, the long-awaited Matched makes its way to bookstores.  Buzz has been building around this book for awhile, about a girl coming of age in a Utopian society that she discovers isn't everything it's cracked up to be.  When she is matched with her ideal mate - her best friend - and another boy "accidentally" comes up on the screen for her match, she second-guesses the system, and falls in love when she shouldn't.  An excellent book - read my review here.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Reaper (A Soul Screamers Novella) (Rachel Vincent) - Available only as an e-book.
Fixing Delilah (Sarah Ockler)
Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins)
Pretty On the Outside (Fame Unlimited Series) (Liane Bonin)
If You Come Softly and Behind You (Jacqueline Woodson) - An omnibus collection.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide

Wondering what to buy for the teen on your list?  Here are some ideas to make your shopping a little easier going into the holidays...

If they liked Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Ally Condie's Matched.

Matched (in stores November 30th) has similar themes of rebellion in a Utopian future society, with a forbidden love that you can't help but root for.

If they liked Stephenie Meyer's Sophie Jordan's Firelight.

Firelight has a supernatural creature and a human, dangerous to be around one another, but with shape-shifting dragons, and a less passive female protagonist than Bella Swan.

If they liked Christopher Paolini's Alison Goodman's Eon.

Eon has plenty of dragon action going on, but is steeped in a fully-realized and absorbing Chinese-based mythology.

If they liked Cassandra Clare's City of Kiersten White's Paranormalcy.

Both books see humans and non-humans battle supernatural creatures in action-packed stories with a good dose of romance.

If they liked J.K. Rowling's Harry Michael Scott's The Alchemyst.

Trying to get them to move on after Harry Potter?  This teen title is full of action, magic and danger and is the sure trick to get them addicted to something new.

If they liked Sara Shephard's Pretty Little Sara Shephard's The Lying Game.

Sara Shephard's new series featuring bad girls begins with The Lying Game, which hits stores on December 7th.

If they liked Lauren Kate's Alexandra Adornetto's Halo.

More angels.  Halo is the first in a new trilogy of dark romance books featuring the battle between good and evil.

If they liked Kristin Cashore's Elizabeth C. Bunce's StarCrossed.

Both fantasies with very capable female protagonists and political intrigue.

If they liked Markus Zusak's The Book Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution.

Revolution sees the award-winning author behind The Northern Lights returns with a powerful, unforgettable story about two girls whose lives become intertwined despite the centuries that separate them.

And here are some general recommendations, by genre...

Action/Adventure: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore about an alien teen living in a small town to escape the notice of his pursuers.

Horror: The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey is the critically-acclaimed book about a boy aiding a monster hunter.

Mystery: Ruby In the Smoke by Philip Pullman follows the wonderful character Sally Lockhart as she tries to piece together the mystery behind the disappearance of her father.

Romance: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han features the ultimate summer romance triangle.

General Fiction: Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford is about three sisters who make confessions in an attempt to get back in the good graces of a relative, in a novel of self-discovery and family.

Graphic Novels: Gunnerkrigg Court (Volume 1): Orientation by Thomas Siddell is a fantasy full of magic and wonder, praised by the likes of Neil Gaiman, Publisher's Weekly...and me.  I can't recommend this one enough.

Graphic Novels - Superheroes: Astonishing X-Men Omnibus by Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and John Cassaday is a bit pricey, but worth every penny.  Full of unforgettable characters, humor and plenty of action, this is a complete blast.

Manga: Pluto by Naoki Urasawa is based on an Astro Boy story by manga master Osamu Tezuka, and features a future populated by robots amid a murder mystery.

And if I gave just too many choices for you to decide number one recommendation for a gift this holiday season is Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.  It has something for everyone: action, humor, horror, romance, and a plucky protagonist.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Book of the Week 11/23

Here is the YA book you should be paying attention to, due in bookstores on Tuesday...

Pathfinder (Orson Scott Card) - Orson Scott Card's classic Ender's Game (and sequels) has already made its way from the science fiction sections of bookstores to the teen section to introduce new readers to the out-of-this-world tale.  Now Card brings an original story directly to a YA audience, featuring a boy who can see the paths of people's pasts.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Threads and Flames (Esther M. Friesner)
Invisible Things (Jenny Davidson)
Drama Queens (The Good Girlz Series) (ReShonda Tate Billingsley)
When the Stars Go Blue (Caridad Ferrer)
Sad Stories of the Death of Kings (Barry Gifford)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Kiersten White

Paranormalcy is hands-down one of the best paranormal books of the year.  The story follows Evie, who works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, which tags and processes supernatural creatures, while covering up their existence in the first place.  Evie is one of the best characters that I've had the pleasure of getting to know in a very long while.  Since she was raised by IPCA, she has a warped view of society (most of what she knows of other teenagers she learned from a television show she's obsessed with), although she thinks of herself as rather normal for a girl with a best friend who lives in a big fish tank.  And a pink taser she decorated with rhinestones.  Evie is also invaluable to IPCA, as she has the unique ability to see through glamours.  So all those werewolves, vampires, hags and whatever else is out there that can hide from other IPCA members have no chance when she's around.  But Evie's world is turned upside-down when a shape-shifting paranormal infiltrates the IPCA, and she's forced to face some hard question, looking at things through new eyes.  What is she doing?  Who is she?  What is she?  It's a very compelling story, with tons of action, and is also really, really funny.  White seems to effortlessly create a wonderful realm of creatures, and offers interesting takes on creatures such as faerie, but also introduces a good dose of horror through others.  And while the action and story would have easily been enough to sustain a pretty damn imaginative book, the characters are what really make this book something special.  Evie herself is absolutely delightful, but the characters that surround her all feel very real and human (even when they're not).  Kiersten White hits a home run with Paranormalcy, which is at the top of my favorite YA books that I've read this year.  Two sequels are currently in the works, so jump on the bandwagon now, because there's no way you're going to want to miss this ride.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Teen Retro: Extreme Zone

Another series that could be reprinted in wake of Pittacus Lore's I Am Number Four is a series that saw publication between 1997 and 1998 called Extreme Zone.  This series was written by M.C. Sumner, kind of riding off of the success of The X-Files television show.  It even has an eye in the cheesy logo, like the one in the opening credits for the show.

There were eight books in the series in all.  The synopsis for book one, from the publisher:

"Noah Templer:  Every night I wake screaming, drenched in a cold sweat, my heart racing.  I remember glowing figures bending over me, cutting me open with alien instruments - but that's it.  If I don't find out where these nightmares come from, I'll go insane...or am I already too far gone?

Kathleen 'Harley' Davisidaro: From the moment I arrived with my father at the Tulley Hills Research Facility, I didn't trust the people - or their top-secret project.  Now my father's disappeared.  And nobody will tell me where he went.  They want to ship me off the base, but I'm not going anywhere - not until I find out the truth!

The moment Noah and Harley meet, they find an immediate connection - a connection that goes deeper than either ever could have believed.  Alone, both are lost in their personal terrors of the night.  Their last hope lies in learning to trust each other, but in the Extreme Zone, they can never trust anyone - including themselves..."

This series certainly capitalized on the government-conspiracy-paranoia stuff from The X-Files, but set in a high school, with a good amount of romance between the characters.  I remember this series being pretty action-packed with aliens that were genuinely frightening to me at the time.  It's more of a traditional abduction/cover-up tale than books about aliens that came later, like I Am Number Four, and even Roswell High, which debuted in 1998, but it's good scary stuff that could potentially be republished in the current market.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Book of the Week 11/16

Here is the YA book you should be paying attention to, due in bookstores on Tuesday....

The Back Door of Midnight (A Dark Secrets novel) (Elizabeth Chandler) - I read these in the early 2000's when they were coming out in little mass market editions, and while they didn't have the most catchy premises, I remember really loving the thrillers.  This latest volume of the omnibuses that have been recollecting the series is the first brand-new story in the series, one that was solicited for release years ago that never saw the light of day.  Fans surely won't be disappointed with another family saga full of mystery from this talented writer.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Night Star (Immortals Series #5) (Alyson Noel)
Garden of Shadows (Dollanganger Series #5) (V.C. Andrews)
Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Volume 3): Carnival of Souls/One Thing or Your Mother/Blooded (Christopher Golden, Nancy Holder & Kirsten Beyer)