Sunday, April 24, 2011

Book of the Week 4/26

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

We'll Always Have Summer (Jenny Han) - The wait is over!  The final book of Jenny Han's excellent Summer trilogy finally arrives!  Who will Belly end up with?  Read my spoiler-free review here.

Other Noteworthy Selections

Bumped (Megan McCafferty)
Abandon (Meg Cabot)
Summer and the City (Candace Bushnell)
The Last Little Blue Envelope (Maureen Johnson)
Ocean of Blood (The Saga of Larten Crepsley series) (Darren Shan)
Forever Summer: Laguna Cove and Cruel Summer (Alyson Noel)
The Shore: Shirt and Shoes Not Required/LB (Laguna Beach) (Todd Strasser)
Carmen: An Urban Adaptation of the Opera (Walter Dean Myers)
Speak No Evil (Gifted series) (Marilyn Kaye)
Future Imperfect (K. Ryer Breese)
Family (Micol Ostow)
Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances (edited by Trisha Telep)
Truth & Dare: 21 Tales of Heartbreak and Happiness (edited by Liz Miles)

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Veronica Roth

The amazing post-apocalyptic novel Divergent sees a world broken into five factions that balance each other out in a society that finds peace in this system.  They each highlight admirable qualities and each have their own beliefs and innate prejudices associated with them.  Beatrice was born into the Abnegation faction, which is comparable to an Amish way of life.  They live simply, without much comfort, doing a lot of charity and always thinking of others before themselves.  Even looking in a mirror is an indulgence frowned upon in this faction, and inquisitive, impulsive Beatrice doesn't feel like she really belongs, even though she loves her family dearly.  When the choosing ceremony draws near, where she will choose which of the five factions she will live with, she switches to the Dauntless faction, which seems to consist of reckless, daring individuals with piercings and tattoos, something very foreign to Beatrice's world.  And in order to become a fully-fledged member of this faction, she must undergo trials of strength to prove her worth, or become one of the pitiable factionless.  But Beatrice also has a secret she must hide from her new faction: that her tests are "inconclusive."  She doesn't really fit neatly into any one faction, but is a divergent.  The government fears such people, because they are difficult to control.  But Beatrice holds this truth close to herself as she befriends people around her, and love ignites in her life.  She discovers things about herself that she didn't recognize previously, and changes over her time in the trials.  But even if she gets through her trials in one piece, it seems that she's not the only one with secrets, and the whole world is closer to danger than they realize.

Divergent is a satisfying fantasy in the vein of Ally Condie's Matched and Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games.  Throughout the book, Beatrice sees things more clearly than those around her, and has to be careful around the government, like in the aforementioned books, and ultimately confront it in a pulse-pounding climax.  The world that Beatrice lives in is very fully-realized, as are many of the characters.  People react dramatically sometimes to very extreme situations, but it all seems to fit for the individuals here, the personalities of which are varied.  Beatrice is a complex protagonist, since, as a divergent, she has several qualities that others don't share.  And it's neat to see her come from such humble beginnings to rise into a force to be reckoned with, a courageous girl who finds a voice.  Veronica Roth really pieced together an exciting story here that's full of action, romance and mystery, and is riveting throughout.  This really is the most exciting debut of the year so far, by a longshot.

Divergent will be available in bookstores on May 3rd.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Book of the Week 4/19

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

Eona: The Last Dragoneye (Alison Goodman) - Finally!  The sequel to one of the best fantasies EVER is coming out.  I've been waiting very patiently for this book to arrive.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Boyfriends With Girlfriends (Alex Sanchez)
The Betrayal of Maggie Blair (Elizabeth Laird)
Stranger With My Face (Lois Duncan)
Down A Dark Hall (Lois Duncan)
Summer of Fear (Lois Duncan)
The Goddess Test (Aimee Carter)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book of the Week 4/12

Here is the YA book you should be paying attention to this week, due in bookstores tomorrow...

The Gathering (Kelley Armstrong) - Hot on the heels of her Darkest Powers trilogy (and spun out from Darkest Powers) is the first book in Armstrong's Darkness Rising series.

Other Noteworthy Releases

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide (Stephenie Meyer)
In the Shadow of the Lamp (Susanne Dunlap)
My Unfair Godmother (Janette Rallison)
On the Volcano (James Nelson)
What Comes After (Steve Watkins)
Roadside Assistance (Amy Clipston)
Insight (Diana Greenwood)
Enclave (Ann Aguirre)
The Key (Marianne Curley)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Her Dark Destiny

The first book in my Hunters of the Dark series is available now through Barnes & Noble digitally for just $0.99, following a group of monster hunters.  Think City of Bones or Buffy the Vampire Slayer and you'll have a good idea of what this book is like.

Official synopsis:

Teenager Shanna Hunt has been hunting demons since her parents were murdered by them. She’s used to doing things alone, her own way, but one fateful night throws her into the company of a team of hunters, each specializing in a particular kind of monster: vampires, werewolves, witches, shape-shifters… This newly-formed team should be an unstoppable force for whatever is out there picking off individual hunters across the globe, but their first battle together against the monsters of the night could be their last.

And here's a taste of the book:


Becca hated herself as she tentatively pushed the strap of her camisole back up over her bare shoulder. Picking up her red high heels, she plodded down the dank hallway, feeling utterly exhausted and used. She ached. She ached and throbbed in places she’d told herself she would never let anyone touch again. But she always did. She always let someone touch her, for the right price.

She sighed as she reached the entry door to the apartment complex she was leaving and slid her feet into the heels. She couldn’t wait to take them off when she got back to her place. Maybe she would take a bath tonight, drink a glass of wine to help her relax, help her forget. It would feel nice to dull the pain, feel clean again. At least this one hadn’t protested when she’d insisted on using a condom. Some of them did, despite the fear of STDs. Some people just didn’t care. Some people just didn’t think. They wouldn’t catch anything. Not even from a dirty whore.

“Not here, Tom. Someone might see.”

“So let ‘em.”

Becca looked up to see a man and woman kissing against a wall. The man’s words were slurred. But he was only a man. None of her concern.

Deciding to avoid the happy couple, Becca ducked down an alley. The kind of dark alley her mother had told her to avoid. At least before kicking her out of her house because her mother’s sleazy boyfriend had come on to her. Like it had been her fault.

Becca paused mid-stride as she heard a sharp clunking noise, like a tin can being kicked. She shivered, suddenly aware of all the shadows around her. Clutching her purse to her bosom a little tighter, she unzipped the top in case quick access was necessary.

She held her breath to listen and cocked her head, staring hard at all of the dark corners, willing them to unveil their secrets. Nothing. Just her nerves. Just her life getting to her.

She really needed that bath about now, needed to melt into the steaming water, not into these cold shadows that seemed to be breathing entities, barring her way. Shadow creatures from an alternate dimension, coming to whisk her away from a life of prostitution. Becca nearly giggled. The things she came up with sometimes. Anything would be better than where she was. Even shadows coming to abduct her.

But the shadows were moving. Or at least parting. Making way for someone...or something.

Becca’s breath caught in her throat as a figure came to a stop before her. Her eyes widened as she took in the wild eyes, the unkempt hair. She must have been a beautiful woman when she made herself up, but just then, she looked mad, crazed. Something was wrong with her. And her round belly didn’t go unnoticed by Becca. She was pregnant, probably about ready to pop. What was she doing out here in...her slippers? Becca looked again. Yep. Pink fuzzy slippers. Something was definitely wrong here.

“Um....miss, are you...are you alright?” Becca stammered.

The woman stared at her, as if she didn’t understand, then her eyes fastened themselves down onto...her breasts? No...higher. Her neck.

Becca bit her lip and backed up a step, feeling a little self-conscious, a little vulnerable. Bumping into a crazy pregnant lady after she’d screwed some married forty-year-old pig wasn’t exactly her idea of a fun Friday night. Give her an old-fashioned date anytime.

“Miss?” Becca tried again.

The woman looked up into Becca’s eyes again and opened her mouth in a feral snarl, revealing two sharp canine teeth.

Swallowing hard, Becca dug into her bag, feeling a little more confident when her hand fastened itself around her wooden stake and mallet set. She pulled it out and let her purse drop to the ground, a wad of rolled-up bills spilling out alongside her keys and a box of condoms.

“Now this is my idea of fun,” Becca informed the pregnant woman with a slightly psychotic grin. “God, this feels good, doesn’t it? Just us girls?” She kicked the woman as she was about to strike and the vampire fell to the ground with a crash, seemingly tired, a little dazed. She must have just been made. Couldn’t have been more than an hour old. Super-sharp reflexes usually kicked in after a couple hours of unbearable thirst. This wouldn’t be as much fun as she’d hoped it would be.

“Oh, well,” Becca murmured as she straddled the woman and placed the stake over her heart. “It’s the thought that counts.” She was about to hit the stake with a gleeful swing of the mallet when the vampire bucked savagely, startling Becca enough to expose an arm, upon which the woman immediately fastened her fangs.

“Gugh!” Becca yanked her arm back, caught off-guard and slightly afraid. She stared in disbelief at the woman’s horrible maniacal grin where her blood - her blood - dripped down the undead chin.

“Damn trollop,” Becca snarled, redoubling her effort to pin the vampire. Once she was firmly on top again, she didn’t waste any time. She slammed the mallet down onto her properly-positioned stake with a grunt and felt the wood glide easily through the flesh, through the tissue. After a few more well-placed strikes, she finally drove it home, through the woman’s tainted heart.

Becca stood up with a smile upon her face, mission accomplished. At least this was something she could be proud of.

The woman was ash in seconds. Everything just seemed to transform, atom for atom, to dust.

Reaching out a hand, Becca touched the tip of the woman’s nose, greasy ash coming away with it. She rubbed the ash on the alley’s brick wall and gathered her belongings together, kissing the wad of money before tossing it back into her purse. “Not a bad night.” Glancing down at the blood still trickling down her arm, Becca scowled. She must be slipping, letting a newbie get the best of her, getting too arrogant for her own good. Sighing, Becca sent the body of ash a kiss goodbye and continued down the alley like she didn’t have another care in the world.

She didn’t pause as she left the alley and came out on a side street, a little jump in her step as she made her way to her apartment and its old claw-footed bathtub. She deserved extra bubbles tonight. And extra wine. Definitely extra wine.

If she’d given even the slightest pause, she would have noticed the ashen body shift behind her. She would have seen the right shoulder move and crumple in upon itself, the head rolling from its neck and shattering silently on the concrete ground, like glass, into thousands of papery shards. She would have noted the ashes scatter like leaves on a windy autumn day, tossed aside as if from a gutter, where they’d discreetly gathered. And she wouldn’t have been able to ignore the tiny hand that reached out from the ash belly, seeking its mother’s dead flesh, where there no longer was any.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Book of the Week 4/5

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

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments series) (Cassandra Clare) - The latest book in Cassandra Clare's popular action-packed fantasy series finally arrives.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Red Glove (Holly Black)
Where She Went (Gayle Forman)
The Ghoul Next Door (Monster High series) (Lisi Harrison)
The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group (Catherine Jinks)
Plague (Gone series) (Michael Grant)
Huntress (Malinda Lo)
Stay (Deb Caletti)
Viola In the Spotlight (Adriana Trigiani)
The Time-Travelling Fashionista (Bianca Turetsy)
Teeth: Vampire Tales (Edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
We All Fall Down: Living With Addiction (Nic Sheff)
Seven Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes (Amber Kizer)
The FitzOsbornes In Exile (Michelle Cooper)
Through Her Eyes (Jennifer Archer)
...Then I Met My Sister (Christine Hurley Deriso)
Faerie Winter (Janni Lee Simner)
Jasper Jones (Craig Silvey)

New Author Blog!

For those of you who are interested, I've begun a new blog specifically about my young adult fiction here.  Thank you to everyone who's read and enjoyed Twice Bitten!  Your support is greatly appreciated!  More announcements forthcoming...