Monday, November 22, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

Can you believe that it's almost the end of 2010?  Just over a month left until January 1st and the start of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge.  Hosted  by The Story Siren, this challenge is a great way to learn about and read books by debut authors.

The goal of the challenge is to read at least 12 YA or MG debut novels.
The timeframe: January 1 to December 31, 2011
For more information hop on over to The Story Siren.

I'm currently participating in the 2010 Debut Author Challange and it has been so much fun.  I've found so many great books; books that I've loved and shared with the teens at the library.  This past year I read more debut books than I reviewed.  So, my personal goal for 2011 is to actually review all of the debut books I read.  Here's my preliminary list, I have a feeling that it will grow as the year goes on.  As I review each book, I'll link the review back to this page.

Across the Universe,  Beth Revis
Entangled,  Cat Clarke
The False Princess,  Eilis O'Neal
Other Words for Love,  Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
XVI,  Julia Karr

Angelfire,  Courtney Allison Moulton
Haven,  Kristi Cook
The Iron Witch,  Karen Mahoney
A Touch Mortal,  Leah Clifford
Where I Belong, Gwendolyn Heasley

Clarity,  Kim Harrington
Entwined,  Heather Dixon
Wither,  Lauren DeStefano

Blood Magic,  Tessa Gratton
Die for Me,  Amy Plum
Divergent,  Veronica Roth

Hereafter,  Tara Hudson
Hourglass,  Myra McEntire
Luminous,  Dawn Metcalf
Paper Covers Rock,  Jenny Hubbard
Possession,  Elana Jonhson
The Revenant,  Sonia Gensler

Vanished,  Sheela Chari
Wildefire,  Karsten Knight

Possess,  Gretchen McNeil
The Near Witch,  Victoria Schwab

September through December:
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer,  Michelle Hodkin
Queen of Glass,  Sarah J. Maas

Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Strings Attached

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Strings Attached by Judy Blundell
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date:  March 1, 2011

From National Book Award winner Judy Blundell, the tale of a sixteen-year-old girl caught in a mix of love, mystery, Broadway glamour, and Mob retribution in 1950 New York.

When Kit Corrigan arrives in New York City, she doesn't have much. She's fled from her family in Providence, Rhode Island, and she's broken off her tempestuous relationship with a boy named Billy, who's enlisted in the army.

The city doesn't exactly welcome her with open arms. She gets a bit part as a chorus girl in a Broadway show, but she knows that's not going to last very long. She needs help--and then it comes, from an unexpected source.

Nate Benedict is Billy's father. He's also a lawyer involved in the mob. He makes Kit a deal--he'll give her an apartment and introduce her to a new crowd. All she has to do is keep him informed about Billy . . . and maybe do him a favor every now and then. (Summary from Amazon)

It's not a secret that I enjoy reading books that are set in New York, so when I saw that Judy Blundell's new book was about 1950s New York City and the Mob I knew I had to read it.  Also, I loved, loved, absolutely adored What I Saw and How I Lied, Ms. Blundell's first YA book, so I have high hopes for Strings Attached. 

What book are you eagerly waiting for on this Wednesday?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Review - The Fortune of Carmen Navarro by Jen Bryant

The Fortune of Carmen Navarro by Jen Bryant
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (Random House)
Publication Date: November 9, 2010
Rating: 3 Bookcases

An official summary can be found on the author's website.

What would you do for love?

Carmen and Maggie are best friends, just like sisters in fact, and they both work at Quickmart, a convenience store in town.  Will and Ryan are students at Valley Forge Military Academy; on a day pass from campus, they meet Carmen.  Ryan, the shyer of the two cadets, is quickly smitten and soon he and Carmen are dating.  Everyone agrees that the quiet, straight-laced guy on his way to West Point and the high school dropout, musician, gypsy girl make an odd pair.  Carmen and Ryan's initial attraction quickly turns to passion, but at what cost?

The Fortune of Carmen Navarro was very different from what I was expecting.  From the summary on the back of the ARC, I was expecting a wrong side of the tracks girl meets wealthy, cute but geeky soldier love story with maybe an unexpected ending.  Instead, it turned a lot of YA cliches upside down and backwards.  Inspired by the novella written by Prosper Merimee and the opera by Bizet, Bryant brings the story of Carmen to 2007 Pennsylvania. Told in 7 parts and from the perspectives of the two pairs of best friends (Carmen and Maggie and Ryan and Will) it chronicles the intense romance between Carmen and Ryan.  Through Maggie and Will the reader gets all the background information - how Carmen came to live with her grandparents and why she's working at Quickmart, how Ryan got Will to attend Valley Forge Military Academy and how they became best friends as kids.  The chapters are short and keep the action moving through out the entire book.

Maggie and Will's perspectives also show the affect the relationship has on both Carmen and Ryan and on how it changes Will and Ryan's friendship.  Plus, the reader gets to see a lot of what happens from different perspectives, since most of the key moments are retold by more than one character.  I'm usually not a fan of books told from so many perspectives, but it works really well for this story.  I think that this is mainly because Ryan is so focused on Carmen that you don't learn that much about him from his chapters.  So, it really takes the other characters to fill in all the blanks and connect all the dots.  In fact, I actually liked Maggie and Will's chapters more than Ryan and Carmen's.  The two of them just felt more relatable.  And part of me thinks that if they really got a chance to meet and know each other, they would make an awesome couple.

Carmen and Ryan's relationship happens fast - it would have been even quicker if not for the fact that Ryan can only get off campus on the weekends - and soon it's obvious that Ryan cares more for Carmen than she does for him.  The relationship pretty much takes over Ryan's life, while Carmen is hoping that it won't distract her from making music with her band, Gypsy Lovers.  This is the opposite of many YA books where it's the girl who makes the romance the focus of her life.  Again, I really like that the roles were reversed, that Carmen was super focused on her goals and wouldn't let anything get in the way of her dreams.

There were so many individual parts that I loved about this story - Maggie and Carmen's friendship, Will's commitment to Ryan, Maggie as a character - but, they just didn't fit together in a way that made me absolutely love the story.  It felt like some pieces didn't fit in the bigger picture.  Other times scenes that were told from multiple points of view felt fractured, like one piece was mentioned by one person, another perspective focused on a different piece of what happened and so on.  I had to go back and reread a few scenes several times really understand what happened.  I was ready to give up, but the book is such a quick read that I found myself close to the end and had to find out how Ms Bryant ended Carmen and Ryan's story.   Here's the funny thing, Part 7 was my favorite part of the whole book!  It takes place 3 months after the end of Part 6 and works as an epliogue in a way.  It let the reader know just enough about what came next, but didn't give everything away. 

So, in the end, I have mixed feelings about The Fortune of Carmen Navarro.  But, I can see what other readers might love about it.  A definite recommendation to those who love retellings or the opera version of Carmen

FTC Disclosure:  This review was based on an ARC borrowed from my library system's Teen Services Coordinator.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shadow Hills Paperback Puzzle

EgmontUSA has decided to give Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus a new look for its paperback release!

The Shadow Hills Street Team is releasing the new cover piece be piece from November 8th to the 19th.  Each blog will also have Shadow Hills trivia questions.  On November 20, Anastasia will reveal the entire cover and the answers to the questions.

Those trivia questions are your way of being entered to win a signed Shadow Hills poster - get the answer correct and you're entered to win one of 24 posters.  That means that you have 24 chances to win, because you can answer both questions each day of the reveal!  So make sure to follow along and eneter at each stop.

Today's question is:  What is the Devenish Prep's headmaster named? (fill out the form below)

To find today's other trivia questions visit Reading Nook

Make sure to visit Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm and Sophistikatied Reviews to see yesterday's puzzle piece and trivia questions.

Tomorrow's puzzle piece and questions will be at Ticket to Anywhere and Reading Angel.

If more than one person answers the question correctly, will be used to determine the winner for this stop.

Make sure to check Anastasia's blog on November 20 for the official paperback cover reveal!

For more information you can check out Ms. Hopcus' website, twitter and the Shadow Hills Facebook Page.

To purchase Shadow Hills visit:
IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Book Depository

Monday, November 8, 2010

HP Extravaganza Winner!

A BIG Thank You to everyone who entered!

The winner of the HP Extravaganza Contest is:

#44 - CherylS22 

She wins a hardcover copy of the UK edition of Prisoner of Azkaban
and a Unity Scarf!!

Congrats Cheryl :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cover Love

So many gorgeous new covers were revealed this week.  I spent a lot of time this week squeeing over theses covers and furiously adding books to my "To Be Read" list...As awesome a reading year as 2010 has been, 2011 looks to be even better.

The first cover is the US cover for Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Surrender, which is the last book in her The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy. 

This was my initial reaction:  Hello Alan! 

The color makes this cover a great bookend to the series, especially for readers that have the original Demon's Lexicon hardcover.  I love the silhouette of London in the background.  I have to admit that this is my favorite US cover of the series (even though I secretly love the UK covers and can't wait to see Sin's cover).  Even though Alan's weapon of choice is a gun, the bow and arrow still makes him look pretty badass.  Oh, Alan... your bookish demeanor and button down shirts hide your true nature.  The Demon's Surrender is one of my most anticipated books of 2011.

This morning Andrea Cremer shared the cover of Wolfsbane, the sequel to Nightshade.

The green and gold exude warmth, which is so different from the cool feel of the purple Nightshade cover.  And this is much closer to how I picture Calla.  What do you think?

A new to me author is Melissa Walker.  I haven't read any of her Violet books, but the summary for her book Small Town Sinners sounds intriguing .  Plus check out the cover...

Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver's license in hand and the chance to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, Lacey's junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn't know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for him make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion. Does falling in love mean falling out of faith?

What 2011 releases are you excited about?  Which new covers are you madly in love with?


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