Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Maze Runner

James Dashner

This action/adventure features a group of boys who find themselves stuck in a maze, where they puzzle over their surroundings (the glade) and try to escape the maze by mapping out how the walls of the maze shift each day.  Thomas is just the latest arrival of boys that must grapple with growing their own food and looking out for each other amid the sort of leadership a group of teenage boys are able to put together.  And it's a dangerous place, since when the walls close for the night, monstrous creatures with stingers and needles venture out into the maze, and if they happen to sting a glader, the boy goes through a terrifying change.  Everything shifts one day when a girl comes up through the box that Thomas and all boys before him have come up through, and the rules change.

I was initally kind of put off by the boys that populate the glade and their language with words like "shank" and "Greenie."  It felt very juvenille to me, like it belonged to a younger audience than a young adult novel, like Holes where they have characters like "Armpit."  But once the story gets going, the mystery grows ever more intriguing, even if it is frustrating how unnecessarily secretive the mysteries are teased out by the author.  And once things go to "clunk," things really get interesting.  There's that certain turning point in this book where I really began to enjoy the story and couldn't wait to see what happened, it just took awhile to get there.  I'm glad I toughed it out though, because it turned out to be a pretty intriguing world.  This will certainly appeal to fans of other fantasies like Incarceron.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Book of the Week 3/29

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

Entwined (Heather Dixon) - A retelling of the Brothers Grimm's The Twelve Dancing Princesses, this fantrasy is getting good buzz for its humor, romance and dialogue.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Department 19 (Will Hill)
Fury of the Phoenix (Cindy Pon)
Born at Midnight (C.C. Hunter)
Wake Unto Me (Lisa Cach)
Zitface (Emily Howse)
Crystal Bones (C. Aubrey Hall)
Savannah Gray (Cliff McNish)
Memento Nora (Angie Smibert)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Twice Bitten

My first novel, a gay paranormal romance called Twice Bitten, is now available through Barnes & Noble digitally for just $1.99!

The official synopsis:

Jesse Hartwick is a teen celebrity, recently out of the closet, and just beginning to take off as the next big thing in Hollywood. Distanced from his only family, Jesse puts his all into his career, leading a lonely life in the spotlight.

Everything changes one day when he meets Kurt, a cute mysterious stranger who saves him from a mob of fans, beginning a romance that will change things forever, but is Jesse's celebrity status the only thing that Kurt is interested in?

When Lane comes into the picture, it just confuses Jesse more, but he can hardly deny the strong feelings he has for him, especially since he didn't even know that Jesse was a celebrity when he met him, making him all the more appealing.

Shortly after meeting these two men after his heart, Jesse is attacked by a werewolf, then saved from certain death by a vampire, changing him into something altogether new. With his new abilities, he doesn't know who he can trust, let alone how to balance the spotlight with this aspect of himself that he must hide. But in the end, he must decide between the warring factions within: Vampire or werewolf? Kurt or Lane?

Read it and tell your friends!  You can get it here or search for "Dave Ferraro" or "Twice Bitten" on your nook or whatever device you have the Barnes & Noble software on (it's free to download the software, if you don't have it already for the I-Pad, I-Pod Touch, Blackberry, personal computer, etc).  It will also be available through Amazon shortly, but I'll add another post when that happens.  What have you got to lose for $1.99?  Following is a two chapter preview...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Body Finder

Kimberly Derting

I read this one pretty fast while I was on vacation.  A good sign, as it kept me turning the pages pretty much all the way through until the end.  The Body Finder is a paranormal romance with some scary moments mixed in, featuring Violet, who has the ability to detect dead bodies.  She doesn't speak to ghosts, like is typically done in this sort of story.  Instead, she can sense echoes of the deceased, whether it's a strange taste in her mouth, a sound, or something visual.  Either way, her senses are drawn to where the bodies are found, and often grow quieter when she gives them a proper burial.  And the bodies she can sense are only those who have been murdered.  If someone dies naturally, she won't be able to find a trace of them - it's like the murdered souls are not at rest, and so give off these echoes.  Anyways, the same echoes that Violet finds on the corpses are also attached to the murderer of the body, which makes it kind of handy to identify a killer.  Which is what Violet pretty much decides to use her abilities to do in her sleepy little town, where several area girls have turned up dead.  While all of this spooky stuff is going on, Violet also tries to make sense of her personal life, especially when it comes to her best friend since elementary school, Jay, who has grown into the sort of boy that every girl has a crush on, including Violet herself.  As she grapples with her feelings, danger surrounds her in this riveting tale, Derting balancing the supernatural and romantic aspects of the story like a champion.  The Body Finder may not be reinventing the wheel here, but it's a very solid, really well-done thriller.  Very engrossing with really fun characters.  The dialogue throughout is really great too, as Violet has quite a few sarcastic friends who play off of each other nicely.  If you like your stories a little on the scary side, this is a good book for you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Finally, some covers are available to some highly-anticipated books due out later this year. 

Here is the cover for the sequel to Ally Condie's excellent MatchedCrossed available November 1st.

And here's the sequel to Alexandra Adornetto's HaloHades available August 30th.

The latest book in Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires series, Last Breath, will be in stores on November 1st.

Anna and the French Kiss author Stephanie Perkins' new book Lola and the Boy Next Door will be in stores September 29th.

And then there's this brilliant little gem called Twice Bitten from debut author...oh my, it's me!  Yes, I know: shameless plugging.  My first novel will be available through Barnes & Noble exclusively in digital format, later this week.  I'll provide a few chapters and a link to purchase as soon as it's up.  Watch for it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We'll Always Have Summer

Jenny Han

The final book in Jenny Han's Summer series sees the love triangle between Belly and the two boys she's known her entire life, brothers Conrad and Jeremiah, come to a head.  After the dark, although necessary, tone of the last book, it's refreshing to see Belly just enjoy life again, this time fast-forwarding a few years to college.  There are some pretty rough spots that Belly needs to get over on her way to a happy ending, but that's what makes a story worth reading in the end, and we get to see plenty of the yearning and jealousy that we've come to expect from the other two novels.  Belly is still confused about her feelings in this new story as she was in the others, but she considers herself a grown-up and wants to act accordingly, which means big things in terms of where she wants her life to lead.  Most of the book, in fact, surrounds her obsession with getting married.  It's every little girl's dream, and pretty much the entire book we get to see her plan, and stress, over the wedding, overlooking her reasons for getting married and her conflicted feelings, with that stubbornness that readers have come to know in Belly over the last few books.  There's a good message in this story by the end, and I'm happy that Belly gets her own moment to shine in there through the choices she ultimately makes, not relying quite so much on the boys to define who she is in every aspect of her life.  It's ultimately a satisfying final chapter to the series, although it does seem to end a little too abruptly for my taste.  I'm sad to say goodbye to Belly, but I've enjoyed the journey and can't wait to see what Jenny Han has in store for readers next.

We'll Always Have Summer is available in bookstores on May 3rd.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Book of the Week 3/22

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

The Dark and Hollow Places (Carrie Ryan) - This is the sequel to The Dead-Tossed Waves, a book which takes place in the same post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world as the exciting thriller The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Scorpia Rising (Alex Rider series) (Anthony Horowitz)
Invincible (Chronicles of Nick series) (Sherrilyn Kenyon)
Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy) (Lauren DeStefano)
Ten Miles Past Normal (Frances O'Roark Dowell)
Ask Amy Green: Summer Secrets (Sarah Webb)
Between Shades of Gray (Ruta Sepetys)
Royally Crushed: Royally Jacked/Spin Control/Do-Over (Niki Burnham)
To Catch a Prince: To Catch a Prince and the Frog Prince (Gillianb McKnight)
Purple Daze (Sherry Shahan)
Nickel Plated (Aric Davis)
Bloodline Rising (Katy Moran)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's Not Summer Without You

Jenny Han

The sequel to The Summer I Turned Pretty is much darker than that first book in the series, which introduced readers to Belly and the two brothers vying for her affection.  It was inevitable, however, given the nature of where the first book ended.  If you haven't read The Summer I Turned Pretty, I recommend reading that before continuing, as I assume you have, and will spoil things.  Death is always a hard thing to deal with in novels, but Han does a great job handling it in her Summer books.  When Susannah's cancer returned at the end of the first book, it was shocking to everybody, and while we missed her actual death between novels, I felt it hit me just as hard witnessing the ramifications of her death and how it affected everyone in her life.  Susannah was a fully-realized character, as are all of Han's creations in these novels, and how different people delt with her death felt equally as real, as different as they were from one another.  With the death of a loved one hanging over this entire book like a black cloud, it can get pretty depressing, and go to dark places, but I think there's something hopeful in the way that Han handles it by the end.  During the course of the book, we learn that Susannah's husband plans to sell the beach house where Belly has spent every Summer of her entire life with loved ones, despite her son's wishes against such action.  It's a good idea for a sequel, the threat of losing this sanctuary, especially as a metaphor for the memories of Susannah they would lose along with its sale.  And in the end, I think it gives a charge of optimism and hope to the idea of death.  As for the choice between Conrad and Jeremiah that Belly has to make, well, the pendulum swings in another direction as relationships change, but who knows where she'll end up?  I'm glad that Han dealt with the fallout of Susannah's death and what that meant for the teenagers she left behind, as it was important to address, but I'm looking forward to a more lighthearted story with the final volume in the trilogy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book of the Week 3/15

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

The Vampire Diaries: The Return - Midnight (L.J. Smith) - When I was growing up, The Vampire Diaries were my favorite books, period.  And L.J. Smith, may favorite author.  My tastes have changed a bit since then, but I still love L.J. and The Vampire Diaries will always hold a special place in my heart.  This is the latest book in "The Return" of the series that has taken place over the past few years.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Shimmer (A Riley Bloom book) (Alyson Noel)
Steel (Carrie Vaughn)
Prom: A Novel (Ellie O'Ryan)
Miles From Ordinary (Carol Lynch Williams)
The Goblet Club (S.A. Partridge)
Chime (Franny Billingsley)

Monday, March 7, 2011


Here are some covers for upcoming teen releases that I stumbled across.  Some very nice ones. (Note that release dates are tentative and may change)

Supernaturally available 8/30/11

Uncommon Criminals available 6/21/11

Tris & Izzie available 10/11/11

The Power of Six available 8/23/11

Sweet Venom available 10/4/11

Beautiful Chaos available 10/18/11

The Hidden available 9/6/11

Never Have I Ever available 8/2/11

From Willa, With Love available 7/1/11

So Much Closer available 5/3/11

Sweet Venom available 10/4/11

Bloodlines available 8/23/11

A Beautiful Dark available 9/27/11

Everlasting available 6/7/11

Lost In Time available 10/4/11

The Faerie Ring - No release date available.

Vanish available 9/6/11

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Book of the Week 3/8

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

Evercrossed (A Kissed By an Angel novel) (Elizabeth Chandler) - While I haven't read Elizabeth Chandler's Kissed By An Angel books, I have very fond memories of her Dark Secrets novels, and definitely recommend her for a good suspenseful read.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Please Don't Be True: Dangerously Alice, Almost Alice, Intensely Alice (Phyllis Reynolds Naylor)
Afterlife (An Evernight novel) (Claudia Gray)
Road To Nowhere (Christopher Pike)
Die Softly (Christopher Pike)
The Vespertine (Saundra Mitchell)
The Hunt of the Unicorn (C.C. Humphreys)
Like Mandarin (Kirsten Hubbard)
Afterwar: The Revolt/The Choice (Gloria Skurzynski)
The Transall Saga (Gary Paulsen)
The Piper's Son (Melina Marchetta)
Human.4 (Mike Lancaster)
Blink & Caution (Tim Wynne-Jones)
Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best (Maria Padian)
Mates, Dates and Inflatable Bras (Cathy Hopkins)
The Queen of Water (Maria Virginia Farinango)
Illegal (Bettina Restrepo)
The Resurrection Fields (Brian Keaney)
Playing Hurt (Holly Schindler)