If you haven't heard yet, Lisa and Laura Roeker are two fabulous sisters whose debut novel LIAR SOCIETYcomes out this week! And you can win signed copies here! Two ways!
The details, courtesy of Elana Johnson:
1. We'll be giving away 10 (TEN) signed copies of THE LIAR SOCIETY this week. Contest starts Monday, February 28 and goes through Friday, March 4.
2. There are two ways to enter to win: Twitter or blog.
3. Twitter. Use the hashtag #liarsociety and tweet about the book every day next week. We'll be trolling the twitterverse 24/7 (who needs to sleep when you've got THE LIAR SOCIETY??) and will announce a winner each night.
If you pink-hair your twitter profile pic, you'll get an extra entry each day. #PhotoshopFTW
4. Blog. Take this button (copy the code in that box up there! Easy!) and put it on your blog. At the top, please. Then fill out the form (linked or below). You've just entered! Blog winners will be announced on Monday, March 7.
Signed copies of THE LIAR SOCIETY
So sorry, but today's scheduled post on ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, by Beth Revis, will go up next Thursday. Please come back for it!
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her overprotective mom, by the hunky son of the police officer who got her father killed, and by the eerie voices which she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Turns out the voices are demons--the Biblical kind, not the Buffy kind--and Bridget possesses the rare ability to banish them.
San Francisco's senior exorcist and his newly assigned partner from the Vatican enlist Bridget's help with increasingly bizarre and dangerous cases of demonic possession. But when one of Bridget's oldest friends turns up dead in a ritualistic sacrifice that mirrors her father's murder, Bridget realizes she can't trust anyone. An interview with her father's murderer reveals a link between Bridget and the Emim: a race of part-demons intent on raising their forefathers to the earth in human form. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the Emim's plan before someone else close to her winds up dead, or worse--the human vessel for a Demon King.
Dark, and twisty, and scary, right? Wait 'til you see the cover Gretchen just revealed today...
Yep. I'll be sleeping with the lights on when it comes time to read this one. Hop on over to Gretchen's blog and read her reaction!
It's my great pleasure this week to review a fellow Elevensie novel! Two weeks ago, I was browsing my local bookstore and there it was, prominently displayed, face out in the YA section, and I probably scared the poor kid next to me with how excited I got when I saw it. I don't think it'll ever get old seeing friends' books out there like that.
So...without further adieu, here it is!
Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.
I think the best thing a dystopian novel can do is make you think. And a really good one gives you a plausible, maybe even not so far off picture of what the future could be. Then it asks the question "What if?"
By my estimation, XVI is a great dystopian novel for these reasons. Julia Karr has created a world in which the sexualization of teenage girls runs rampant (sound familiar?) and then she takes this situation to its extreme, adds an all-seeing and controlling government, gives us a main character who's more than real enough to feel empathy for, and amps it up a little bit more by adding a mystery. What's not to love?
What we end up with is a thought-provoking read, rich with questions and implications about our own society. We also end up with a well-drawn girl who's worth rooting for. My favorite part of this book was Nina--for her strength and determination. I'm a sucker for a good heroine, and Karr dielivers with Nina.
If you like dystopian, you'll love this book. Kudos to Karr!!
See what the other Bookanistas are up to!
See what the other Bookanistas are up to!
A few weeks back, after finishing, revising, and sending Book #2 off to my agent, I got the call I'd been waiting for. She told me she'd read it and loved it and that it was totally ready to send on to my editor. Hallelujah! Between the time I sent this story to her and the time she got back to me about it (which wasn't much), I'd alternated between totally believing in it and deciding she was going to tell me it was horrible and I should scrap the entire thing. Such is my neurosis.
But she liked it! And was sending it on! From the little experience I have at this, I knew it would be longer before my editor could get back to me. Revision letters take time. So I asked a question I kind of already knew the answer to:
"So...what do I do now? While I'm waiting?"
And she said the thing I most surely knew she would say.
"Get started on the next book."
Like I said, I knew she was going to say that. But still. The next book, the idea of the next book is a thrilling, terrifying idea.
I've had ideas for the next book for a while now, and ideas are fun and shiny and flirtatious. But that's when they're just ideas. Before you have to put your fingers to the keyboard and do the work that will turn them into life and breath and poetry. Before you have to wrestle them into a craptastic first draft so that you can eventually, through enough revision, mold them into the story you want to tell.
So. I've sat on these ideas a few weeks now. Filled out character worksheets to try and get to know the new people I'm about to spend the next nine months with, written notes on index cards and legal pads and the backs of grocery lists, talked endlessly to my endlessly patient husband about story possibilities. And now it's time. I have outlines and notes and his brilliant ideas. I have a brand new word document with only the title of the next book typed. A single word, when this story will probably take 70,000 more to tell.
It's a start, I guess. The next time I open up that word document, I'll probably stare at it a good long while, take a few deep breaths like you would before you make a leap that takes all your courage, because that's what writing the next book feels like. A leap. A big, scary leap into the unknown.
But that's the best part. The unknown is wide open and bursting with possibility, and the next book is out there waiting.
It's that time again! This week I have the great pleasure of reviewing a book I was intrigued by way before I got to read it. Holly Schindler's 2010 debut novel, A BLUE SO DARK, is a book so beautiful it's hard to know where to start. Perhaps the best place would be with her gorgeous cover:
Terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future, sixteen-year-old Aura struggles with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay.
As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frighteningly similar to her mother’s hallucinations.
Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process.
This book sings. And it's one of those hauntingly beautiful songs you think about long after it ends. And then you wish you wrote it. Schindler's prose is striking. Aura's voice, with it's insight and fear, sarcasm and hope, is so real it leaps of the page and makes you want to do something-- anything to help her as she watches her mother's downward spiral into schizophrenia. Her treatment of mental illness is heartbreaking to read, but there are so many glimmers of beauty and hope along the way you can't help but feel them.
One of these glimmers is Nell, a local photographer Aura works for. Nell is quite possibly one of my most favorite minor characters ever. She's brash and irreverant and no nonsense. She's also a saving grace for Aura and her mother.
A BLUE SO DARK is a story of art and mental illness, despair and resilience, and the ties between mothers and daughters. If you haven't read it yet, grab a cozy chair and make the time!
And while you're here, check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week:
- Christine Fonseca freaks for THE FAMILIARS
- Elana Johnson loves THE LOST SAINT
- Jen Hayley and Scott Tracey swoon over ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS
- LiLa Roecker dies for DESIRES OF THE DEAD with a fabulous giveaway!
- Shannon Messenger gushes some cover love for HOURGLASS
- Shelli Johannes-Wells is over the moon for ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
- Carolina Valdez Miller loves THE LIAR SOCIETY, complete with a signed ARC giveaway!
- Shana Silver has fallen for FALL FOR ANYTHING
- Myra McEntire reveals her amazing cover for HOURGLASS
- Carrie Harris celebrates XVI
- Rosemary Clement-Moore marvels over MATCHED
This year is gonna be a year of firsts for me, and I'm pretty excited about the first first. The lovely ladies who call themselves the Bookanistas have graciously let me join their group! The Bookanistas are "a group of writers-- at various stages of the publishing process--who have decided to band together and review the very special books of [their] peers."
So not only do I get to be a part of this awesomely talented community, I get the privelege of reviewing books I love. And now I present you with the first one.
By Ally Condie
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.
Bookanista Review: As a former English teacher whose favorite book to teach was THE GIVER, I approached this book with the hope that it would deliver on the same themes of control, and choice, and freedom, while presenting a unique, female point of view. Of course I was definitely drawn in by the love story idea too, since that's a thing I always wanted a teensy bit more of in THE GIVER.
And wow, did Condie deliver.
With precision and restraint quite fitting of the world Cassia lives in, Condie weaves a story that's rich in thought and emotion. The beauty of the story doesn't come from intense action sequences or steamy, longing love scenes. It comes from the understated, graceful way Cassia goes from accepting her society to questioning, then finally rebelling. This change happens incrementally and realistically, which I loved.
Another thing I loved--the use of words and poetry as rebellion. Condie chose one of my most favorite poems in the whole wide world, and she used it brilliantly. Do Not Go Gentle is a perfect fit for this story.
Lastly, the cover. How could you not drool over this cover that captures the beauty and the restriction of Cassia's world? It's gorgeous. And stunning. And just one of the reasons you should read this book!
Check out the links below to see what other Bookanistas are up to this week!
A while back, I signed up to do a feature over on the Elevensies Blog called "A Day in the Writing Life," where you let everyone else in on where and when and how you do your thing. My post is up today, and you can find it here as well: community.livejournal.com/2011debuts/224
Anyway, it got me thinking about blogging and how I really should be blogging and how maybe one of my New Years' resolutions should be to blog more in 2011.
We shall see!
So far, one of the best experiences I've had in the publication process was seeing my cover because it made it feel real. Now, I'm even happier to unveil the revised version of the cover, which shows Anna with blond hair (as she's written), and even has little sparkles of sea glass in the sand! Now, it really couldn't be more perfect, and that is thanks to designer Krista Vossen at Simon & Schuster. Thank you, thank you! I love it!