July 28, 2011

The Hunger Games Sneak Peeks

So while the EW cover featuring Gale and Peeta left me . . . underwhelmed. This still here and this one over here have me, well, smiling pretty big. I really cannot wait to see it.

July 26, 2011

Forever Giveaway Winner!

And the winner is . . . Maigan Silverstein Rarick!

Congrats! Maigan said that Sam is her favorite werewolf because of
how deeply he feels for his humanity, and how much he struggles to hold onto it and remember it. I love the notion of the "monster" who clings to his humanity so strongly. Maggie gives Sam such a great layer of emotion, and that is why he's my favorite.
Well said, Maigan! Please send me your contact info and we'll get your sketch and book out soon. Thanks to everyone  for entering and sharing your favorite fictional weres. I'm pretty sure Sam, Cole, and Lupin took the cake as far as everyone's favorite furry friend goes, although there was much love for Ren from Nightshade and a couple of shout-outs to personal favorites of mine--Adam from the Mercy Thompson series and Derek from the Kate Daniels books. Lastly, a big thanks to This is Teen for hosting the blog tour and giveaway!

July 20, 2011

Wednesday Stops

And in links of awesome today . . .

Sarah Rees Brennan is handing out summer book recommendations and I am paying attention. "They made each other laugh through being funny and terrible." Uh . . . yes, please. "People who are staggering around being staggeringly crazy in love?" Hm . . . don't mind if I do.

Ever since the Mythopoeic Society honored Sunshine a few years back, I've known they had excellent taste. They proved it again this week by handing out their annual award for Children's Literature to . . . the Queen's Thief series! Well done, Mythopoeic Society. Well. Freaking. Done.

Lastly, the Bookaholics Romance Book Club has a great interview up with Moira Moore, plus a giveaway. The release of Heroes at Odds is literally just around the corner now (praise be), and Moira discusses all kinds of good stuff related to Taro, Lee, and the series.

Enjoy!

Chain Reaction Book Trailer

I posted the first two book trailers for Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry trilogy. That first one still makes me laugh. Self-effacement in a book trailer? Never a bad thing. I figured I might as well continue with tradition, so here is the trailer for Chain Reaction--the third and last book in the trilogy--due out August 16. Pretty, pretty Fuentes brothers. Which one is your favorite?

July 15, 2011

With Harry


“So whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” 
- J.K. Rowling

July 13, 2011

Forever Blog Tour + Giveaway!

I'm awfully excited to be a part of this unique blog tour in celebration of the release of Forever by the insanely talented Maggie StiefvaterScholastic recently launched an online community called This Is Teen to connect readers with their favorite YA authors and books. Visit their page on Facebook for all the latest news on Maggie Stiefvater and ForeverEach stop on the tour is hosting a particular character from the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, and I have the good luck to be the stop for Sam--my favorite emo-wolfboy! Sam is so very endearing, in a decidedly non-angsty or overt way. His breathtaking blend of maturity and vulnerability tugs at my heartstrings and the strength of his relationship with Grace is unswerving. He is warm and thoughtful and artistic, and I liked him right from the start of the series. Because I can't resist, here are two of my favorite Sam quotes, the first from Grace's point of view in Shiver and the second from Sam's point of view in Linger:
I settled on the floor and whispered to Sam, “I want you to listen to me, if you can.” I leaned the side of my face against his ruff and remembered the golden wood he had shown me so long ago. I remembered the way the yellow leaves, the color of Sam’s eyes, fluttered and twisted, crashing butterflies, on their way to the ground. The slender white trunks of the birches, creamy and smooth as human skin. I remembered Sam standing in the middle of the wood, his arms stretched out, a dark, solid form in the dream of the trees. His coming to me, me punching his chest, the soft kiss. I remembered every kiss we’d ever had, and I remembered every time I’d curled in his human arms. I remembered the soft warmth of his breath on the back of my neck while we slept. I remembered Sam.
Later, I thought of the things I could have added to the list of resolutions, things I'd wanted back before I realized what being a wolf meant for my future. Things like Write a novel and Find a band and Get a degree in obscure poetry in translation and Travel the world. It felt indulgent and fanciful to be considering those things now after reminding myself for so long that they were impossible.
I tried to imagine myself filling out a college application. Writing a synopsis. Tacking a sign saying DRUMMERS WANTED on the corkboard opposite Beck's post office box. The words danced in my head, dazzling in their sudden nearness. I wanted to add them to my index card of resolutions, but I just . . . couldn't.

That night, while Grace showered, I got out the card and looked at it again. And I wrote:

Believe in my cure.

For each character, Maggie has compiled a playlist and an original character sketch. Here is Sam and his playlist:




SAM (Playlist by Maggie Stiefvater)

1. Welcome Home - Radical Face
2. Comes And Goes (In Waves) - Greg Laswell
3. No One’s Gonna Love You - Band of Horses
4. The Dragon - The Guggenheim Grotto
5. New Slang - The Shins
6. Tiger Mountain Peasant Song - Fleet Foxes
7. Librarian - My Morning Jacket
8. Miner’s Lamp - Steve Reynolds
9. Sundrenched World - Joshua Radin
10. I And Love And You - The Avett Brothers
11. Spaceship - Jonas & Plunkett
12. Wash Away - Matt Costa
13. The Ocean - The Bravery


Today we're giving away this framed original sketch of Sam as well as an ARC of Forever to one lucky commenter. All you need to do is leave a comment telling me your favorite werewolf--from any book and/or series. The giveaway will be open for one week and will end at midnight on Wednesday, July 20th. I'll announce the winner the next day. This giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only. As always, please be sure to leave me a way to contact you.

Next stop on the tour: Friday, July 15 – Green Bean Teen Queen – Isabel!

July 12, 2011

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Since I knew way ahead of time that I would not be able to attend BEA this year, I had a chance to prepare myself to miss out on all the enticing ARCs I knew would be available there. But truthfully there were only a handful that I really moped over, and Forever was pretty much at the top of the list. The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy is one I've thoroughly enjoyed. When it comes to the absolute glut of YA paranormal romances out there, this series stands head and shoulders above the pack, if you will. And, as I've said before, it's all due to Maggie Stiefvater's exceptional prose and the understated nature of her storytelling in general. I end up walking away unsatisfied from so many paranormals these days, that it is with not a little relief that I look forward to each of Maggie's releases. I really cannot wait to get my hands on her upcoming The Scorpio Races. But Sam and Grace have been on my mind since the end of Linger, and I may have done a little dance of joy when this ARC showed up in my mailbox. In any event, every other book in the house immediately went on the back burner as I cozied up with Sam and Grace (and Isabel and Cole) to see their story through to its conclusion.

A warning: This is the third and final book in a trilogy so take heed. Beyond this point, there be spoilers.

Waiting. That's what Sam's life has become. One unending series of days and nights in which Grace isn't there. In which the "normal" inhabitants of Mercy Falls stare at him suspiciously, wondering just what he had to do with the mysterious disappearance of more than one hometown girl in the past few months. And while the girl he loves is off discovering the furrier side of life, Sam is left at home to take care of things. To take care of Cole. And Isabel. And the bookstore. Except Sam is not up to doing much taking care of anything these days. And so Cole fills Sam's silences up with any noise he can find. And when blasting old NARKOTIKA tunes as loud as the speakers will go fails to rouse Sam, Cole calls Isabel's cell phone and leaves one more in an endless string of unanswered messages. And Isabel sits at home, barely suppressing the anger that seems to fill her to bursting these days. But just as Sam before her, Grace's shape is now ruled by weather, and it's only a matter of time before the missing girl comes back. In the meantime, Sam must get through another day without her and without Beck. Isabel must negotiate her increasingly militant father's calls for a wolf hunt in Boundary Wood. And Cole must see if he can put his long dormant intellect to good use finding a way to save them all.

So this is my second "last book in a trilogy" in a row, and frankly I'm starting to feel a bit picked on. A bit bruised by all this ending. Yes, yes, all good things must come to an end and other nonsense. But I can still bemoan it being over, right? Having to say goodbye to friends is tough stuff. I actually brushed up a little bit on what happened in Linger before diving into Forever. Good thing, too, as it takes right off without a ton of recap, which is, for the record, just the way I like it. Cole and Isabel completely worked their way under my skin in Linger, and I was so stoked to be back with them again. I love it when an author takes a risk by introducing new, often initially unwelcome characters, into a series with just spectacular results. The two of them and Sam were my favorite parts about this book. Cole himself leaped off the pages like gangbusters. Anytime he and Isabel were in the same room had my heart pounding. And, just for the record, the last chapter featuring the them together is killer. The feisty and complicated dynamic between the ex-rock star and the spoiled little rich girl was perfectly balanced by Sam's increasing isolation. And none of it is sugar coated. A favorite early exchange between Isabel and Sam (taken from my uncorrected ARC):
"Sam. God, am I talking to myself?" Over the line, I heard the chime cars made when a door was opened. And then a sharp intake of breath as the door shut.

I realized I was being an ingrate. "I'm sorry, Isabel. It's just been--it's been a really long day."

"Tell me about it." Her feet crunched across gravel. "Is he all right?"

I walked the phone down the hallway. I had to wait a moment to let my eyes adjust to the pools of lamplight--I was so tired that every light source had halos and ghostly trails--and waited for the requisite rise and fall of Cole's chest.

"Yes," I whispered. "He's sleeping."

"More than he deserves," Isabel said.

I realized that it was time to stop pretending to be oblivious. Probably well past time. "Isabel," I said, "what went on between you two?"

Isabel was silent.

"You aren't my business." I hesitated. "But Cole is."

"Oh, Sam, it's a little late to be pulling the authority card now."

I didn't think that she meant to be cruel, but it smarted. It was only by imagining what Grace had told me of Isabel--of her getting Grace through my disappearance, when Grace had thought I was dead--that kept me on the phone. "Just tell me. Is there something going on between you two?"

"No," Isabel snapped.

I heard the real meaning, and maybe she meant for me to. It was a no that meant not at the moment. I thought of her face when she saw the needle beside Cole and wondered just how big of a lie that no was. I said, "He's got a lot to work through. He's not good for anyone, Isabel."

She didn't answer right away. I pressed my fingers against my head, feeling the ghost of the meningitis headache. Looking at the cards on the computer screen, I could see that I had no more options. The timer said it had taken me seven minutes and twenty-one seconds to realize I'd lost.

"Neither," Isabel said, "were you."
Good stuff, huh? The exchanges between Cole and Grace are just as good, and I found myself charmed by Cole's reaction to Grace and by the unexpected connection they form. I loved how large a role Sam's history plays as well. I didn't even realize I'd been craving more on his relationship with Beck and the other wolves who raised him, but apparently I was as I absolutely ate up the exploration of how his perceptions of the past worked on him now. That said, my emotions weren't quite as engaged as they were in the previous two books. The stakes didn't feel as high. One of the things I have always loved about this series is that it's quieter and not showy on the whole, yet it packs such an emotional punch. And it's not that there was a lack of tension this time (the final chapters rev their engines nicely), but rather that the various threads of tension didn't seem to coalesce quite right by the time the climax came around, with the result that I was a bit surprised when I read the last sentence and turned the page to find there was nothing more. Rest assured, however, that the writing is as beautiful as always. And I was left with a palpable sense of longing, which may in the end be the perfect result for this elegant series that has been so full of the ebb and flow of both love and loss.

Forever is due out today.

Reading Order
Shiver - my review
Linger - my review
Forever


Linkage
Bibliopunkk Review
A Casual Reader Review
Fictitious Delicious Review
Presenting Lenore Review

July 8, 2011

Friday Giggles: Silent Star Wars Version

I had to laugh when I ran across this awesome silent film version of The Empire Strikes Back. It's just very well done and works surprisingly well in this format, I think. Helps that it's one of my favorite movies. Enjoy!