June 30, 2010

Tell Me What to Read: Round 4

Tomorrow if the first of July, which means it's time for Round 4 of Tell Me What to Read. The suggestion box is open for business. Tell me what book I should read this month. It can be any genre, any age level, and have been published last week or three hundred years ago. You can pick it because it's a book that everyone should read or because it changed your life or because it is great literature or just because it entertained you. So far we've had two fantasies and one contemporary YA. What will this month bring? 
As my friend and inspiration Janssen says--here's how it goes:
  1. Comment with the title and author of one book you think I should read (any book you want). One title only, please, lest my brain explode.
  2. I'll select one comment at random.
  3. On the off-chance that I've already read the book you select, I'll contact you and ask for a follow-up suggestion (make sure there is a way to contact you either by blog or email).
  4. I'll get a copy of the book and read it by the end of the month (or so....).
  5. I'll write a review of it here. Even if I hate the book, I will not hate you.
And. . .go!

June 29, 2010

The Ivy by Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur

I picked up an advanced copy of The Ivy last month at BEA. I had seen it pop up on GoodReads awhile back and flagged it as interesting in that it's a YA take on the whole Ivy League experience. So when I was offered a copy at BEA, I grabbed it and stuck it in my bag. And, given how much I enjoyed Diana Peterfreund's Secret Society Girl series, it seemed only fair to give this similar series a go. Written by best friends and former roommates at Harvard themselves, Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur, I like the simplicity of the cover and, having read it now, the deep red over the wrought iron gates definitely hits the right tone for this dishy delving into the outrageous underbelly of freshman year at Harvard. I started this one while still in New York and finished it on the plane ride home. It reads fast and furious and is the first in a four-part series following a humorous and diverse cast of characters. Word is each installment in the series will take place a few months apart, following the seasons and natural divisions of the school year.

Callie Andrews has just landed at Harvard. Hailing from sunny California, she's not your typical Ivy Leaguer and she got there honestly on the strength of her grades and diversified extracurricular activities rather than the length of her pedigree or the degree of her parents' wealth. The adventure starts on moving day, when Callie meets the three other girls who will be her roommates for the duration of freshman year: Vanessa Von Vorhees, Dana Gray, and Marine Aurelie Clement. And their names pretty much predict exactly what you're going to get from them. That same day she also meets the boys next door. Literally. Greg, Matt, OK (short for Okechuwuku), and Adam. Things get off to a rocky start to say the least, as Callie doesn't feel like she really fits in with any of the motley group. Then her longtime boyfriend Evan dumps her via a poorly worded email. And the implosion doesn't stop there. It seems young Evan made a few ill-advised mistakes when they were back home in Cali and they may just come back to bite Callie just when she's trying to make a fresh start in a new environment where the slightest social faux pas can ruin your chances of making it out of Harvard alive. Her roommates rally around her in her time of need, but there's one person on campus who has it in for Callie Andrews, a person who will annihilate anyone opposition.

The Ivy sucks you in right off the bat. Each chapter begins with a letter and/or email from Alexis Thorndike, Advice Columnist for the Fifteen Minutes Magazine--Harvard University's Authority on Campus Life since 1873. Alexis's blunt, holier-than-thou attitude comes through loud and clear in these short snippets and couches Callie's upcoming shenanigans in an appropriately foreboding light. And shenanigans is the only word for what Callie has. From roommate cat fights and drunken make out sessions with vague acquaintances to desperate crushes on the wrong people and the devious plotting of social assassination--it's all here. Thankfully there are a multitude of laughs along the way. A humorous (and very typical of the whole) early encounter with cocky next door neighbor Greg (taken from my uncorrected ARC):
For a moment, she could see nothing but his eyes. The color was irrelevant (blue, if you must know), but the expression was magnetic: intensity masquerading as indifference, the look carried a challenge--Entertain me, or I will entertain myself at your expense. His mouth twisted in a smirk so natural she had to assume that this was its default expression. Even in silence, he appeared to be mocking her.

Callie felt her cheeks grow hot. "Oh--uh--yikes," she stammered, bending down and shoving her bras and underwear back into the box, cringing as she reached for her smelly shin-guards and wishing, for once, that she had listened to her mother ("The doctor said no more soccer for at least a year: do you really think your shins are going to need guarding in college?"). Instead Callie had insisted, a tad bit dramatically, that they were the closest thing she had to a teddy bear (seeing as she slept with them on the night before every big game), and without them she was like a warrior without his armor, at which point Theresa Frederickson-Andrews, no, make that Theresa Frederickson (it'd been three years since the divorce but she still had to remind herself), threw up her hands and shook her head, muttering the oft-repeated phrase, " . . . just like your father."

In a way, though, it was true: without soccer--a busted ACL put her out of commission at the end of last season for possibly forever--she wasn't quite sure who she was anymore. Thankfully old Scott Bugers Wentworth had also promised as rapt--raptly asleep that is--audience had lapsed into a collective heat coma on graduation day that "College is a primetime for reinvention." So far, it was looking like she had a jump start on redefining herself as the Dorm Klutz.

"I'd offer to assist you," said the box-droppingly handsome Reason-for-the-mess, still watching with poorly concealed amusement and looking like help was the farthest thing from his mind. "But usually I like to buy a girl dinner or at least a drink before I handle her undergarments."
Callie is a very normal girl who struggles, somewhat ineptly, to deal with the ridiculous academic and social expectations put upon her the second she passes through the hallowed gates of this place. For the first half of the book I just went with the flow, laughing out loud several times, and letting the snarky writing tug me to and fro. After that the predictability (and petty) meter started shooting off the charts and I felt anxious to get to the inevitably unresolved ending. The lack of substance was getting to me. This is a four-part series after all, though it seems to me as though it's really one crazy adventure divided into four books. In the end the reading experience reminded me strongly of a modern-day, college version of The Luxe series. It's a sea of hormones, backstabbing, ambition, and flailing freshmen. And, even though my investment level ended up on the low end, it was a breezy, raucous read and I liked the last guy Callie kissed the best. For those interested in a more in-depth, sophisticated, and charming version, I cannot recommend Diana Peterfreund's Secret Society Girl series highly enough. The Ivy is due out August 31st. 

Linkage

June 28, 2010

Willoughby & Wentworth

Sometimes it's hard for me to get going on a Monday morning. So if you could do with a little kick start to your day as well, click on over here and listen to Greg Wise (a.k.a. Willoughby from Sense & Sensibility) read the pivotal scene from Persuasion, in which Anne Elliot reads Captain Wentworth's letter. I think my favorite part is when he pauses and says in that perfectly modulated voice, "I can listen no longer in silence." Yeah. That should do the trick this Monday morning. Thank goodness for Jane Austen. What would the world be like without her?

Thanks so much to Diana for the link!

June 25, 2010

Retro Friday Review: I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted here at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc. Everyone is welcome to join in at any time! I include roundups from participating bloggers in my post every week.


A little over three years ago I decided to try my first Markus Zusak book. I had heard everyone and their grandmother go on about what an amazing accomplishment his later novel The Book Thief was, so naturally I walked right past that one in the bookstore and grabbed a copy of I am the Messenger. Will I never stop being so obstinate when it comes to hype? But in this case, though, I have to say I'm sort of glad I read this book first. It's just so freaking unique. And hilarious. And moving. And that is not to say that The Book Thiefisn't all those things and more. Because it is. And let it be known that I think it is a perfect piece of literature and I love it with every fiber of my bookish being. But today I want to talk about his earlier book. The one I read first. The one that introduced me to the wonder that is Markus Zusak's gift with the written word. And the one I think fewer people have read, which is a problem that must be rectified at once. Today, if possible! Originally published back in 2003 in Australia as The Messenger (a title I like almost as well), this remarkable novel has been the lucky recipient of several awesome covers as well as the Children's Book Council Book of the Year award (for older readers) in Australia and the Printz Honor here in the states. And I promise you two things. You have never read anything like it. And you do not want to miss it.

Ed Kennedy is the most underachieving 19-year-old cab driver you'll ever meet. He lives in a dump of an apartment with his atrociously lovable dog the Doorman, who is--among other things--a diehard coffee slurper. And Ed spends his days driving cabs and mooning over his friend Audrey, and his nights playing poker poorly with his best mates Marv, Ritchie, and Audrey. Then one day Ed does something unusual. He stops a bank robbery in progress and barely escapes with his life. A short while later, cards are delivered to him. Playing cards. All aces. One by one, they appear in his path. One by one, they change his life. For with each ace comes a message that needs to be delivered and Ed--poor, average, no expectations Ed--is the messenger. The messages drag him around the city, searching for their chosen recipients. Ed stumbles along in his role and receives a heady and shocking glimpse into the lives of the people living around him every day. Sometimes he's bringing comfort. Sometimes a warning. And sometimes he is the punisher. Finding it difficult to cope with the weight of his sudden, unwelcome responsibility, Ed turns to his longtime friends for support. But even they, after awhile, are unable to truly understand what he's going through. And Ed becomes inevitably obsessed with finding out who is sending the aces, who is behind the strange and prescient messages, and--most of all--why they've chosen him to be their messenger.

I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning finishing this book the first time. On the cold tiles of the bathroom floor I sat, knees drawn up to my chest, absolutely frozen with my sympathy for the characters and my need to know how it would all turn out. Zusak blew me away. It's just that the words were always right. A good story, great characters, it's not enough. The individual words have to be right. And not even just good words. The best ones for the job. Zusak has this talent in spades (no pun intended). A good early passage on a typical poker night with the gang:
"I'm telling you," Marv points his finger at Ritchie. "I did knock. I don't care what you say."

"Did he knock?" Ritchie asks me.

"I can't remember."

"Audrey?"

She thinks a moment and shakes her head. Marv throws his hands in the air. He has to pick up four cards now. In Annoyance, that's the way it works. You get down to two cards and you knock. If you forget to knock before you put down that second-to-last card, you pick up four. Marv forgets to knock quite frequently.

He scowls as he picks up the cards, but secretly he'll always try to get away with it. It's part of the game.

We're at Audrey's place, on her balcony. It's dark but the floodlights are on, and people look up as they walk past the lot of town houses. It's a street around the corner from mine. A bit of a dive, but nice enough.

In the first hour of play, I look at Audrey and know that I'm in nervous love with her. Nervous because I don't know what to do sometimes. I don't know what to say. What can I tell her when I feel the hunger rise in me? How would she react? I think she's frustrated with me because I could have gone to university and now I just drive a cab. I've read Ulysses, for God's sake, and half the works of Shakespeare. But I'm still hopeless, useless, practically pointless. I can see she could never really see herself with me. Yet she's still done it with others who are pretty much the same. Sometimes I can't bring myself to think about it. Thinking about what they've done and how it feels and how she likes me too much to consider me.

Even though I know.

It isn't just sex I'd want from her.

I'd want to feel myself mold with her, just for a moment, if that's all I'm allowed.

She smiles at me when she wins a round, and I smile back.

Want me, I beg, but nothing comes.
And (because I can't help myself) a little bit later on, one of my favorite scenes:
"It's just . . . I wish it was easier, for me, you know?" I make a special point not to look at her. "I wish it was someone else who was chosen for this. Someone competent. If only I didn't stop that robbery. I wish I didn't have to go through with it all." It comes gushing out, with words like spilled milk. "And I wish it was me with you and not that other guy. I wish it was my own skin touching with yours . . ."

And there you have it.

Stupidity in its purest form.

"Oh, Ed." Audrey looks away. "Oh, Ed."

Our feet dangle.

I watch them, and I watch the jeans on Audrey's legs.

We only sit there now.

Audrey and me.

And discomfort.

Squeezed in, between us.

She soon says, "You're my best friend, Ed."

"I know."

You can kill a man with those words.

No gun.

No bullets.

Just words and a girl.
As you can tell, I was really struck with Ed and Audrey's complicated and often painful, but always true, relationship. I love Ed. I love Audrey and Marv and Ritchie. And I freaking love the way the language wrapped itself around me and made me laugh and cry and gasp. This book isn't just a story. It's a comprehensive experience. I felt better the next morning. Like the world was brighter, more vivid. I inhaled this book, but it swallowed me. I imagine Mr. Zusak would be pleased with that result.

Retro Friday Roundup
Book Harbinger reviews The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope
Chachic's Book Nook reviews A Stranger to Command by Sherwood Smith

Linkage
Black and Blue Ink Review
bookshelves of doom review
Maw Books Blog Review
Novel Insights Review
Persnickety Snark Review
Savidge Reads Review

June 23, 2010

Foreboding Pretties


I think the cover gods may be trying to kill me with these three. Seriously, cover gods? How long am I to drool over these pretties before they are mine? They each look so deliciously foreboding. I want to know what these girls are running from, hiding from, suspicious of . . . and I want to know now.

The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams
So Lenore and I saw this book at the Chronicle Booth at BEA and were immediately struck by the cover. Trust me, it's even more awesome in person. But, alas, they had no advanced copies to dole out. It did stick in my mind, though, as a great example of title/art synergy. And I love the way the girl's silhouette and the author's name match. Billed as "not your everyday coming-of-age novel," I am very much looking forward to finding out more about Evie and the body found in the woods. Due out today!

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
The Book Smugglers got the scoop on this gorgeous cover the other day and I've been feeling all jumpy about it ever since. It helps that Kaz is such a delightful tweeter/blogger/author. This is her debut YA novel and it features a main character by the name of Donna who has iron tattoos, alchemist parents, and magically enhanced superstrength. Do you even need to ask why I'm so excited about The Iron Witch? I didn't think so. Mark your calendars, folks. Due out February 1st.

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
I ran across the cover for this one awhile ago and have to admit to liking the stone arch, the black cape, and bare feet. Now, Dead Beautiful does involve a couple of mysteriously dead parents, a Gothic boarding school, and a hottie with a secret, so it's sixes, I suppose, as to whether or not it will float my boat or sink in a disastrously drawn-out manner. I'm wary but I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt and myself permission to be cautiously excited about the possibilities. Due out September 21st. 

June 22, 2010

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Well, well, well. It's still June and here I am posting my review for this month's Tell Me What to Read selection. This is very encouraging. It helps that my library had a copy in right when I checked and it's a very fast, engaging read. My friend Karen has been trying to get me to read Audrey, Wait! for the last few months and I was happy it popped up this time around. I really had meant to read it when it came out in 2008 and the host of favorable reviews spurred me on, but somehow it got lost in the shuffle. I knew just the very basic premise of the book and I knew it involved a lot of great rock music--always a plus--and something about the title just sort of grabs you, doesn't it? I'm also a fan of the original hardback cover. I think the swirling neon colors surrounding the girl with her head flung to the side combine to form a good representation of the sort of eye of the pop culture hurricane Audrey finds herself in in this story.

Audrey never thought that breaking up with her high school boyfriend Evan would land her in such hot water. Evan is the lead singer of a local band and Audrey has been his support system for too long. Every ounce of energy either of them have gets sucked into "the band" and Audrey's decided it's high time to cut the cord and let both of them move on. But Evan is floored by the news. He calls out to her to wait as she walks out the door, but Audrey feels it's best to make a clean break. She doesn't turn back. And, in that moment, everything changes. Evan writes a song that night entitled, "Audrey, Wait!" And the song goes viral. Before she realizes it, Audrey's song is being played on local stations, Evan and the band have an agent, they head out on tour, and everyone on the planet it seems knows her as that girl who inspired that hit song. Things only spiral further out of control from there. Audrey's parents struggle to keep her safe, while her best friend Victoria expresses her support by attempting to capitalize on all the free publicity and sponsorship tossed Audrey's way. Meanwhile Audrey would like to just hide from it all, keep her head down, and work at her after school job at the Scooper-Dooper with her socially challenged, co-worker James, who seems blissfully unaware she has become an international music icon. But the song's growing fandom (and their intense focus on Audrey) will have none of that. And the possibility of a "normal" life just keeps growing further and further away.

First off, Robin Benway's setup is just fantastic. Great title, great idea, great chapter titles, each of them a single line from a famous song and most of them ones that I know and love. Just try to wipe the grin off my face when I start a chapter headed by a line from Stars' "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" or anything by Belle & Sebastian or The Velvet Underground. I found myself giggling through many of the early pages and I liked Audrey just fine. She really did feel like a normal girl thrown into insanely unforeseen circumstances. I liked that Evan was never really the Bad Guy. He had his heart broken. Legitimately. And he's the lead singer of an indie band. What else is he supposed to do? Of course he writes a song about it. And, as the best songs are inspired by acute emotional pain, it was a hit. Audrey and Evan are separated by the whole fame thing almost instantly and when they finally do talk again, I enjoyed their conversations immensely. Another thing I enjoyed immensely was Scooper-Dooper perpetual employee of the month James. He was the cause of most of my giggles throughout the book and he is a great example of a good guy worth swooning over. It was very gratifying to watch Audrey realize this about him. Also, one particular scene set in a walk-in freezer was particularly enjoyable. The thing that was not the source of any giggling for me was her best friend Victoria. It turns out I am excessively tired of the perky, extroverted best friend who is solely there for comic relief and often doesn't seem to get the main character that well, certainly not the way I think a best friend should. Victoria kept pressuring Audrey to do things she didn't want to, to take advantage of the situation in ways that made her extremely uncomfortable, and, in the end, after the inevitable big fight occurs, Audrey (who I thought was in the right the entire time) ends up giving in, apologizing, and begging forgiveness and it just felt wrong to me. That said, Audrey, Wait! is a light and funny look at the way a single, seemingly inconsequential decision can balloon out to change your entire life and, as such, I enjoyed it.

Linkage
Bookshelves of Doom Review
Bildungsroman Review
Jen Robinson's Book Page Review
Once Upon a Bookcase Review
Persnickety Snark Review
See Michelle Read Review
Stacked Review

June 21, 2010

The Dawn Treader and Mercy in the Making

A couple of fun images for you guys today.

First off, my artist brother-in-law came across this demonstration that artist Dan Dos Santos did for the oil painting process he went through on the artwork for the cover of Moon Called--the first Mercy Thompson novel. Adam thought it was awesome and that I'd like it and he was right on both counts. I thought you would as well. I have to say, I really sort of love that first sketch, even if it didn't end up in the final cover. Enjoy!

Second, the official trailer for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader film is out and my boy and I are so excited we can hardly wait. The scene where the water comes pouring out of the picture on the wall gave me chills. It's set to come out right around his birthday so I already know what we'll be doing to celebrate...

June 18, 2010

Retro Friday Review: The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted here at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc. Everyone is welcome to join in at any time! I include roundups from participating bloggers in my post every week.

It's no secret that Patricia McKillip is a most beloved author for so many fantasy readers. I discovered her late in the game, when I ran across a beautiful reissued omnibus edition of The Riddle-master Trilogy in a Barnes & Noble several years ago. After finishing that excellent trilogy, I went looking for any other McKillip books I could get my hands on. The result was a binge, of sorts, in which I blew through six or seven titles without a by-your-leave. And it was an immensely good time. But it did result in a little bit of fatigue, as her writing style is very specific and lyrical and I wound up needing to cleanse my palate a little after. Since then I've re-read a few of my favorites here and there, particularly the Riddle-Master and The Book of Atrix Wolfe, but not since The Tower at Stony Wood's release have I picked up one of her new ones. While I was perusing the McKillip section on my shelves the other night, the slender little volume The Changeling Sea caught my eye and I got to thinking it might be time to get back on the McKillip wagon. Originally published in 1988, this young adult fantasy has stood the test of time. Firebird put out the pretty little edition pictured on the right in 2003 and, having worked hard to find my own used copy, I was happy to see new life breathed into it. I also think it's the most accurate artistic representation of Peri herself and the spiraling, mesmerizing tone of the novel.

Nobody ever really noticed Periwinkle. She and her small family have always been a bit on their own, quietly living out their lives in their sleepy fishing village. And then the year she turns fifteen, Peri is suddenly really and truly alone for the first time in her young life. It seems the sea has taken everything that she loves. First her father who drowned and now her mother who failed to get over her father's death to the point where she no longer talks to Peri at all. And so Peri spends her days working as a chamber maid, scrubbing floors at the local inn, and her nights trying desperately to curse the sea that's been the source of all her sorrow. Magic has always been a part of Peri's world, though it's never made itself known with quite such a presence as it does the day the King arrives in town with his son Prince Kir. The unhappy prince has a problem that plagues him, a problem he hopes Peri may be able to help him with. If she will just include something of his in her latest curse, perhaps the longing that rides him will abate. Neither of them expect the sea monster who rises as a result. A sea monster bound by a golden chain and from that point on, nothing is the same in Peri's life, and it is with gratitude she accepts the help of the wizard Lyo--a sort of local wise man. Between the four of them--the girl, the prince, the wizard, and the dragon--they piece together the mystery of what happened in that same place so many years ago and why it's rearing its ugly head now.


I loved Peri instantly and without reserve. From the very first page, she is not your classic fairy tale heroine. The opening lines:
No one really knew where Peri lived the year after the sea took her father and cast his boat, shrouded in a tangle of fishing net, like an empty shell back onto the beach. She came home when she chose to, sat at her mother's hearth without talking, brooding sullenly at the small, quiet house with the glass floats her father had found, colored bubbles of light, still lying on the dusty windowsill, and the same crazy quilt he had slept under still on the bed, and the door open on quiet evenings to the same view of the village and the harbor with the fishing boats homing in on the incoming tide. Sometimes her mother would rouse herself and cook; sometimes Peri would eat, sometimes she wouldn't. She hated the vague, lost expression on her mother's face, her weary movements. Her hair had begun to gray; she never smiled, she never sang. The sea, it seemed to Peri, had taken her mother as well as her father, and left some stranger wandering despairingly among her cooking pots.
She is not beautiful or poised or charming or sweet. But she is kind and determined and involved in unraveling the mystery from beginning to end. She earns the trust of the men around her before (if) she earns their love and we (and they) are frequently reminded of her flaws, from scraped knees to a nose on the large side. Urchin from top to bottom, it is most definitely what's inside that matters with this girl. And it matters quite a lot as so many come to depend on her, including the unusual and wondrous creature from the sea who is himself not exactly what he seems. As is always the case with a McKillip tale, the poetic language and gracefully interwoven magic lend a golden glow to the whole. At the same time, this is one of her more "real" stories. Peri is so real. Cloaked in the unreal and unbelievable elements around her, she remains focused and bright. Clocking in at a scant 144 pages, it is also a prime (and all-too- rare) example of a book I don't wish longer. It's perfect just as it is, especially the ending. The briefness only accentuates the sweetness and strangeness and I never fail to finish it at ease with my world and hers. 


Retro Friday Roundup
See Michelle Reads reviews The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Twisted Quill reviews Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

June 16, 2010

Masques + Wolfsbane Covers

I am very excited about these two upcoming releases, you guys. Instead of getting a third installment in Patricia Briggs' Alpha and Omega series this year, we're being treated to something different and new. Masques was first published fifteen years ago and it is Ms. Briggs' first novel. It is also the first in a series (of sorts) called the Sianim series, which includes previously published books Steal the Dragon and When Demons Walk. These are self-contained standalone novels that take place in the same world. The direct sequel--Wolfsbane--was written but never published. Until now, that is. This fall we get a repackaged, revised edition of Masques September 28th. And then, in November, we get Wolfsbane for the first time in print. And these are the new covers. All I know is that the books involve shapeshifters and a character named Wolf. Sign me up!

June 15, 2010

Books I Love

Today you can find me over at Book Chick City talking about a few of my favorite books. As part of her fortnightly Books We Love feature, Carolyn invited me to blather on a bit about one or two of my most beloved reads. Any guesses as to which author or books I picked? Make sure to stop in and say hi!

June 14, 2010

Monday Afternoon Visits

First up, I have incredibly good news! You'll remember my confusion and dismay when I discovered The King Commands--the sequel to Meg Burden's Northlander--was nowhere to be found despite having been published not quite two months ago. Well, a couple of days ago Charlotte contacted me to let me know that she talked to the publishers and they informed her that Amazon had just placed an order and that the book, in fact, was now in stock there! Charlotte and I (after doing the happy dance) naturally concluded that it was the review that got the ball rolling. So way to go 'Villians! When I first checked it said there were five copies in stock at Amazon and more were on the way. Those five copies have now been sold, but there are new copies available for the original sale price of $8.95 all over now. Barnes & Noble has them shipping in two days, and now The Book Depository and Powell's does as well. My copy is already on its way. It's a midsummer miracle!

Next, my buddy and book blogger Chachic over at Chachic's Book Nook is hosting her very first giveaway. As Chachic's over in the Philippines, this contest is open there only. But she's picked a great book to start with (and a pretty copy, too)--Beauty by Robin McKinley. I know none of you have ever heard me talk about that book or that author before, so you'll just have to take Chachic's word for it. They're good 'uns. Just tell her your favorite fairy tale and you'll be entered.

Third, while Charlotte and I were getting to the bottom of the Great King Commands Caper, we got to discussing our favorite tortured brothers--Alan and Nick Ryves from The Demon's Lexicon trilogy by Miss Sarah Rees Brennan. We both favor Alan. For pretty much anything. I have my hopes (and suspicions) for the way book three will turn out, but I won't go into those here so as not to spoil anything for those of you haven't read the first or second one. But our Alan Lovefest wound to its natural conclusion with Charlotte posting a poll on her site. Alan, Nick, Mae, Sin? Go cast your vote. Personally, I'm Team Alan all the way. Though not necessarily to end up with who you might think...

Happy Monday, folks! What does your week hold in store?

June 12, 2010

What I'm Going to Read: Round 3

And the randomly selected winner is Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway, as suggested by KarenS!


I heard about this one when it first came out a couple of years ago and  thought it looked all kinds of fun. I'm glad this is giving me the final push to go ahead and read it. I'm in the mood for something delightful, which is what Karen says it is. 


Here is the full list of suggestions:
A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers (pirate penguin)
Galax-Arena by Gillian Rubenstein (Katy)
The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (Mhyrrine, Chachic, & Amy)
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (April)
The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (Alexa)
Diamond Ruby by Joe Wallace (MarnieCollette)
A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer (Ceci)
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Carla)
Precious Bane by Mary Webb (melissa @ 1lbr)
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway (KarenS)
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (Rosey)
Trick of the Light by Rob Thurman (Ellyll)
Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Emily)
Nothing But Blue Skies by Tom Holt (Diana)
A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee (Raspberry)
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (Chachic)
Once a Princess by Sherwood Smith (Charlotte)
Everlost by Neal Shusterman (Lyssa K)
A Rather Lovely Inheritance by C.A. Belmond (mainhoonemily)
Sir Apropos of Nothing by Peter David (literarymiss)
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (Christine)
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (JoLee)
The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel (Anon)
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly (Jacqueline C)
The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold (Li)


Of these, I have already read:
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (my review)
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting


Okay. That's it for now. I'm off to locate a copy of Audrey, Wait! and see how it treats me. As always, thanks for the lovely suggestions!