Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Loot from the Library & IMM

I had a very successful trip to the library this week...so successful that I realized I was getting more books than I could possibly carry and had to return half of them. I'm sharing my loot this week in the ever-popular "In My Mailbox" feature hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren in which people share the goods that came to them in the mail that week. Okay, so the library isn't quite my mailbox, but close enough.

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  • Going Bovine by Libba Bray: Not so sure about this one. It sounds a little trippy. But it won the 2010 Prinz Award, so it's gotta be good.

  • Saving Francesca and Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta: I loved Jellicoe Road so much that I thought I'd better give her other books a shot.

  • Fire by Kristin Cashore: I adored her book Graceling but was very put off when I found out this "sequel" was just set in the same word...different characters. I had been really hoping for a continuation of the first story. But I've stopped being stubborn about it and am ready to give this one a go!

  • Deception by Lee Nichols: If I'm not mistaken, this is the first of the Haunting Emma series. Spooky.

  • Vixen by Jillian Larkin: This flapper book is actually an ARC that came to me at work by chance. Score! The book comes out in December, but I've been hearing good things and can't wait to start reading.
Lots of good stuff, plus a few NetGalley ARCs still on the Kindle. Better get reading! Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thank Goodness It's Friday!

Book Blogger Hop


TGIF, y'all. I'm joining Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday this week to meet some fellow bloggers. They're both hops from blog to blog, with everyone answering a question for discussion.

This week’s Hop question is: What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost? Okay, so I know this isn't a "thing"...but I would love to go to Book Expo America next May in NYC. It's not really a matter of cost, more a matter of the time off from work. But I'd love to go and meet some authors, bloggers, buy a bunch of new books. My dream week! Here's hoping.

And, Follow Friday is asking: If you have, or would have a daughter, what book would you want your daughter to read? I'd definitely make sure she started with the classics. Anne of Green Gables, Pride & Prejudice and Little Women. Those were some of my favorite books before I moved on to contemporary reads, so I'd love to pass those down.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Evolution of YA

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A BRIEF AND VERY SCIENTIFIC AND ACCURATE ACCOUNT OF THE EVOLUTION OF YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE IN MY LIFE BY ME, WHO WOULD GET A PHD IN YA IF THEY GAVE ONE, SPECIFICALLY IF THERE WAS ONE THAT DID NOT ACTUALLY REQUIRE ANY CLASSWORK, BUT MAYBE JUST A DISSERTATION ON WHY ALL BOOKS SHOULD INVOLVE BOYS AND KISSING


At first, everyone was reading about humans. Maybe some people were reading about witches or Anne Rice vampires, but I didn't know those people and that seemed VERY taboo. To me, anyway.

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So I'm going around, reading books, thinking the most exciting thing a character can do is realize she's secretly Princess of Genovia and fall love with Michael Moskovitz (which is still pretty damn exciting, let's be honest), when suddenly someone in the U.K. thinks to herself, "Boy doesn't know he's a wizard, goes to wizard school."

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Enter Harry Potter. The heavens open! Light comes shining down! Wingardium leviosa! I attend a midnight release wearing a temporary lightning bolt tattoo on my forehead.

But there is so much time before the next book is released that I shrug and return to reading about humans.

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OR SO I THINK. I quickly realize that seemingly regular humans can have magical powers too. For example, the power to FIT IN THE SAME PAIR OF PANTS AS HER THREE BEST FRIENDS! That has to be magic, right?

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BUT THEN: It seems like people everywhere simultaneously realize that there's something even better than humans who are magical: humans who are DEAD. It starts out slow, with ghosts. Imagine the possibilities. Specifically, imagine Jesse from the Mediator series. Mmmm.

Then I hear that there are some dead humans who are hotter than Jesse? Not possible, I say!

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Ohhh. I see now.

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VAMPIRES! Insanity ensues. TV, movies, books...they're everywhere. Children get into the craze, so the phrase "vamped-out" is invented by adults. Though I secretly love Edward Cullen with a burning passion, I begin to tell people "I'm so over vampires."

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"What about the werewolves?" everyone says. No. Gross. Jacob Black. No. I don't buy it. But then...what's this? Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater? Sam? YES! I have seen the werewolf light! Ahhhooooo! Full moons every night!

But beyond Sam, they are still hairy. Eww.

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So we turn back to where we started: humans. Except now I find the women I am from here on out hailing as AUTHOR GODS. I continue to worship at the Church of Meg Cabot, but pause to pay tribute to other gods, Megan McCafferty and Sarah Dessen. I vow to purchase every single book they write ever.

But, after awhile, these human boys seem too NICE.

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Everyone must agree, because suddenly it's all about fairies. Fairies aren't nice. They are sneaky and will trick you into doing bad, bad things, but at least they usually do so in a very entertaining manner. Lesley Livingston and Melissa Marr and Aprilynne Pike can attest to this.

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But the fairies are actually TOO naughty. So back to good guys? NO! Even BETTER than good guys...ANGELS.

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No...even better than angels...FALLEN ANGELS. Good boys + bad boys in one. There's Fallen and Hush, Hush and it's all so good it could NEVER GET BETTER...

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And then I start blogging because I need to talk to someone about these fairies and vampires and angels...OH MY!

A blogger advises me to read Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready and I am like "Wha? Back to ghosts? MY EMOTIONS ARE TORN!" But then I realize hers were really very HUMAN ghosts so maybe I am just fooling myself.

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So back to humans. Because now I've discovered Jellicoe Road and Before I Fall and so many more.

And because sometimes it's just nice to read about real(ish) people. The end.

Well, for now. Because I haven't even gotten to MERMAIDS yet, people! Watch out.

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You've been warned.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Waiting On" Wednesday 5


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Virals
By Kathy Reichs
Razorbill, released November 2, 2010

Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot—if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends—they're a pack. They are Virals.


— Amazon.com description

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Bones has been my favorite TV show for a long time. It's got mystery, action, romance, humor...and David Boreanaz. Okay, I'll admit, it was my love for him that encouraged me to tune in at first. But it's the one show I've found myself eagerly anticipating week after week, season after season.

So I was pretty disappointed when I went to go read Reichs' books that inspired the series and found that her Temperance Brennan was so very different from the TV version. She's a lot older in age, and that just didn't appeal to me. But I'm just being stubborn, and now that a YA version is coming out I'm thrilled to give Reichs another shot. YA fiction + Bones = my dream combo!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

The Eternal Ones
By Kirsten Miller
2010, Razorbill, 416 pages



Haven Moore can't control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother's house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.
In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves, before all is lost and the cycle begins again.


— Amazon.com description

WHO CAN HAVEN TRUST? WHO IS HAVEN, ANYWAY? WHAT IS THE TRUTH!?!?!

Pardon my caps lock, but it basically sums up my crazed state of mind while reading this book.

Haven's been having confusing visions of her past lives for as long as she can remember. As she battles through centuries of lies, I felt every moment of her struggle. The twists and turns and uncertainty swept me away. Can she trust Iain Morrow? It seems like the answer to this question changes every 20 pages, and I couldn't put this book down until I knew for sure. I stayed up FAR too late so I could finish it in one sitting.

Haven's experiences in both rural Tennessee and urban NYC really ring true. They should, after all: The author also left her small hometown at age 17 to move to the Big Apple. They say to "write what you know," and I think this is what Miller does best. That's what first impressed me about her Kiki Strike series, also set in Manhattan. Finding underground tunnels and battling ├╝ber-powerful secret societies suddenly seems plausible when it's intertwined with reality-based details of NYC history and architecture.

Oh, and it's a love story. And Satan is an actual character. C'mon, can you really pass that up?

You might also like: Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City, also by Miller, "the tale of the delinquent girl geniuses who keep Manhattan safe." They're for a little younger age group, but I loved 'em nonetheless.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Bright Young Things
By Anna Godbersen
2010, HarperCollins, 400 pages



The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.

Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star.

Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will.

The only person Cordelia can trust is Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.

Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls' fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes an epic new series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age.


— Amazon.com description

Well, if this book doesn't make you want to get all dolled up in a low-waisted flapper dress and throw back an Old-Fashioned or two (whiskey + Angostura bitters + water + sugar + soda water + maraschino cherry + orange wedge + twist of lemon), I don't know what will, darlings!

I just wish I'd finished this book with enough time to spare to create a '20s costume for Halloween. Because this book was the cat's pajamas. The real McCoy. The bee's knees.

All right, I'm getting carried away with the slang. But you can tell Godbersen really immersed herself in this stuff, and she swept me away with her. The clandestine affairs, the booze, the gangsters—it was all told with intriguing word choices that seemed so authentically 1920s.

And let's talk about the girls. Astrid, Cordelia and Letty are a strong-willed bunch who made a lot of flighty decisions but still came off as positive leads. These ladies were doing some gutsy stuff. Women in the '20s might have had the right to vote, but it's clear that they were still expected to comply to some pretty strict societal norms. And all three of these main characters pretty much turned their back on that, with varying results. Bravo to them.

There's a sequel in the works, and I can't wait to find out what happens next. In the meantime, I was inspired by Letty and tracked down this 1920s name generator to find out what my stage name would be. I'm Tillie George, of course. You'll see that name in lights someday, dolls.

You might also like: The Luxe, also by Godbersen.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shopping My Shelves

Some of my book-blogging friends have been discussing going on a book-buying ban. Well, I'm all for taking the frugal route (borrowing from the library or buying books for less on my Kindle), so I thought I'd join in and "shop my shelves"! Most of these books I just haven't felt like reading (they're mostly "grown-up books"), but let's take a poll: Which should I read next? (Pardon the blurry pics.)

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Nothing is really jumping out at me. Any recommendations within that list? If not, back to the library! Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fragment Friday + Etc. 2

Okay, I'm brave now. It's time for Fragment Friday #2. It's a weekly meme hosted by James at Book Chic and gives bloggers a chance to post a vlog and read a snippet from a book they've read or are reading. This week I chose Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen, because it is fabulous, darlings! Check me out in my frazzled, exhausted state:



Book Blogger Hop


Because I love checking out new blogs, I'm also joining in on Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop this week.

This week’s Follow Friday question is: What are you currently reading? And can you believe...my answer is NOTHING? I finished Bright Young Things late last night.

And, the Hop is asking: Where is your favorite place to read? I have a little nook in my living room surrounded by windows. We put a little lamp and a mini sofa there JUST so I could sit there and read. It's perfect!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Life as an 826 Secret Agent



This is The Boring Store. It's a small storefront not far from my neighborhood in Chicago. The sign out front encourages you to pay it no attention, but I'm going to let you in on the truth.

IT'S TOTALLY A SECRET AGENT STORE.

Kinda. The Boring Store is a front for 826CHI, where a group of volunteer "agents" train students ages 6 to 18 to battle "an international conglomerate of super villains, rogue agents and verbal assassins" with their "imagination, inspiration and good old-fashioned creativity."

In other words, once a month or so, I head to the 826CHI headquarters at The Boring Store to help teach workshops that help the kids improve their writing skills. The nonprofit was founded by novelist Dave Eggers and has sister centers around the country (a superhero supply company in Brooklyn, a space travel company in Seattle and so on). In addition to the workshops I help out with, 826 offers tutoring, student publishing opportunities, field trips and more.

For me, it's a chance to share my love of reading and writing while exercising my imagination, laughing and learning a lot along the way.


(a secret agent at the 826CHI website)


There's a lot of make-believe involved (beyond imagining we're secret agents). I've played the owner of a Scout the Wonder Dog, who recently went missing. The kids held a press conference to interview me and then write up front-page news stories about the lost Wonder Dog. (Lesson learned: Do not attempt to play your own mysterious twin sister without first changing clothes. It will cause the "press" to become suspicious and turn on you.)

We've taken them to a hot dog stand and asked them to write food reviews that we then published online. And we've played anthropologists from the future looking back on ancient remains from 2010 and chronicling our findings. (Lesson learned: I'm "weird.")

Me (holding a watch): So, we're in the future. Look at this odd item from 2010 that was salvaged from the rubble. What do you think it could be?
6-year-old girl: It's a watch.
Me: Or what if it's some sort of military detonation device?
Girl: It's a watch.
Me: Maybe it's a dog collar.
Girl: It's too small for a dog. It's a watch.
Me: Maybe dogs in 2010 were super small.
Girl: Where's the dog's name on it then? It's a watch.
Me: Maybe dogs in the past weren't named, like, Fido. Maybe they were named 123456789101112.
Girl: You're weird.

And tonight I'll be helping a group of 2nd- to 4th-grade boys write stories about Samurai. Could it get any cooler than that?

If you haven't laughed in a while, if your job isn't playing to your strengths, if your imagination seems drained, share your talents with a kid. It's one of the most enriching things I've ever done. Well, you know, besides my world-class work as a secret agent.

826National: 826National.org
The Boring Store: NotaSecretAgentStore.com

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Waiting On" Wednesday 4


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Bumped
By Megan McCafferty
HarperCollins, released April 26, 2011
My next novel, BUMPED, goes on sale April 26th, 2011. It was described in Publishers Weekly as “a sharply funny and provocative dystopian novel set in a world where only teens are able to have babies, and are contracted by adults to carry them to term.” I’ve been calling it a cross between Heathers and The Handmaid’s Tale.

— From Megan's blog

Well, there's a long wait ahead of me for this one. There's nothing but a title and a brief description, but word is that a cover will be released soon.

I'm sure you're all well aware of my adoration of Megan McCafferty and her Jessica Darling series (Sloppy Firsts, etc.) by now. Bumped will be her first novel since the end of the series, and I cannot wait.

Sure, there's a lot of dystopian YA novels coming out lately, but what I love about this is that it's such a departure from what she's done before. I applaud authors who are willing to try something different. Sounds like a "provocative" plot, indeed.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Top 10 Fictional Crushes

Over at Broke and Bookish, Jen is sharing her Top 10 Fictional Crushes. Which got me thinking about mine, listed below in the order in which I fell for them. It sort of feels like writing up a list of ex-boyfriends...

Dr. Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery:
My first book crush. When I was about 10 years old, I used to sit in the back seat of our car during road trips and read these books again and again until we arrived at our destination. He was so attractively...reliable.


Calvin O'Keefe from the Time Quartet series by Madeleine L'Engle:
L'Engle describes Calvin as "the boy that we all, all us girls want to meet. Not all of us are lucky enough to meet a Calvin, but I was. And I married mine." Hello, he is willing to TRAVEL ACROSS TIME for Meg. Most dudes won't even travel across town for a girl.


Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen:
Watching his icy facade melt = the ultimate swoonfest. Also: the lake scene in the BBC version. 'Nuff said.


Mr. George Knightley from Emma by Jane Austen:
Watch this. That is all. Can you tell I love BBC adaptations?


Edward Cullen from the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer:
Whatever. I know he's a prick. Don't judge.


Marcus Flutie from the Jessica Darling/Sloppy Firsts series by Megan McCafferty:
Marcus is my one true love (besides the hubby). Okay, maybe it's tied with Mr. Darcy. He sings songs, writes poems, makes confusing T-shirts and commits to vows of silence...yet he is—miraculously—one of the most REAL characters I've ever read.


Jace from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare:
Sometimes cocky is hot, okay?


Sam from the Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater:
He's just so sincere and lovable. And that's coming from me, who hates werewolf books.


Roger from Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson:
I just read this earlier this month, but already I'm in love. It might have something to do with his good musical taste.


John After from Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols:
I never thought cops were hot before.


Honorable Mention: Laurie from Little Women...up until the end when he ran off with Amy. The d-bag.

Agree? Disagree? Who are yours?

Anna Reads young adult book blog
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