Monday, August 30, 2010

Awesome Cover Art in YA literature: US vs UK: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

US Version
I heard about this book from Razorbill publisher Ben Schrank. He was very excited about it and described the cover as being awesomely creepy and dark. I have to agree. It sucks you right into it's creepy, scary world and raises all sorts of questions! Is this a Rosemary's Baby type story? What's up with the knives, scissors and sharp instruments over the carriage? What if one of them falls and stabs the "baby?!" within? This cover is awesome just in the questions it elicits. Love that!

I ran across the British version of The Replacement. What do you think? Does it stack up in the awesome department. Which one would you be drawn to? Why? What do you think the different covers imply? Ahh...this is so much fun. I just adore finding and exploring cover art. Enjoy and share your thoughts. Please. I want to know!

I will be reviewing and doing a giveaway of this book on it's release day, September 21. Be here! The story is just as awesome as its cover--I swear!


UK Version

And the Winner of the Eternal Ones is...

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and entered the giveaway. I love sharing the literary love. I won't make you wait another minute. The winner of The Eternal Ones is...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review and Giveaway: The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller: One Lucky Winner For This One!

Title: The Eternal Ones
Author: Kirsten Miller
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from Publisher
ISBN 978-1-59514-308-2
$17.99, 416 pages
Release Date: August 10, 2010

This is a bit of a re-cap. I reviewed this book in the winter, long before it was released. Now that's it's in the stores, I want to remind you about it again. I received this ARC from Ben Schrank, president and publisher of Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin during the Winter Conference of the Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrators (SCBWI) in New York. He was gracious enough to make a few available and I am grateful that he did.

Prior to receiving this ARC, I was unfamiliar with the author, Kirsten Miller. I am now aware that she has written a critically-acclaimed series called Kiki Strike. I believe THE ETERNAL ONES is going to be her break out novel.

Wow. Where do I begin. This book is chocked full of so many delicious twists and turns, it will keep you riveted to your seat, and quickly turning the page to get to the bottom of all that is going on. Let me begin with the blurb on the back.

Haven Moore has always lived in the tiny town of Snope City, Tennesse. But for as long as she can remember, Haven has experienced visions of a past life as a girl named Constance, whose love for a boy called Ethan ended in a fiery tragedy.

One day, the sight of notorious playboy Iain Morrow on television brings Haven to her knees. Haven flees to New York City to find Iain and there, she is swept up in an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Is Iain her beloved Ethan? Or is he her murderer in a past life? Haven asks members of the powerful and mysterious Ouroboros Society to help her unlock the mysteries of reincarnation and discover the secrets hidden in her past lives and loves before all is lost and the cycle begins again. But what is the Ouroboros Society? And how can Haven know who to trust?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: Dracula in Love by Karen Essex..."slurp"...

Waiting on Wednesday is a terrific meme by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It offers us the opportunity to learn what we're all looking forward to reading and get great recommendations.

Dracula in Love by Karen Essex is my pick of the week. It was released August 10th by Doubleday. It's a new take on an old classic. The story is narrated from the perspective of Mina Murray Harker, Dracula's love interest. I've heard it described as "Twilight for grown-ups". It looks dark, Gothic and full of rich atmosphere. All the new vampire stories of the YA variety, make the poor old original Dracula seem rather quaint and old-fashioned. I'm prepared to go back in the day, go retro and suck up a new point of view of the original story. It looks like something I can sink my teeth into. What about you?


Monday, August 23, 2010

Awesome Cover Art in MG literature: The Kneebone Boy-Can You Say "Delicious"?

I ran across this cover months ago, in the Fall. It immediately captivated me. Who are these children? What is their story? And that cat! That sassy look on his face, his toes--he has eight of them. And, if you look closely enough, he has an extra leg...ugh! Let's not forget, there's someone sitting above in the tree. What's going on with that? I've heard, that the blond boy is based on a real guy that the author had a crush on in high school...ooh...

The cover is dark, Gothic and beautiful. I want to know about the artist as much as the story itself. The artist has signed the cover, but it's so faint, I can't read it. I had to get this book. And I did--or the ARC that is. And believe me, the story is just as awesome. The Kneebone Boy releases in mid September. I'll be reviewing it and possibly doing a giveaway. Stay tuned...


Friday, August 20, 2010

Interracial Couples: UK vs US...My Observations...

Buckingham Palace
One of the things that struck me when I was in England, was the number of interracial couples I saw. I don't know how prevalent this is throughout the UK, but let's compare cities and start with the US. I often go back and forth between New York City and Columbia, SC. The majority of mixed couples are white women and black men. I've seen this confirmed in various statistics over the years. Now let's look at London.

I saw many mixed couples that consisted of white men and black women--just the opposite! I did see white women with black men as well, but the white guy, black girl combination really stood out. This combo is not nearly as common in the US. The large number of interracial couples I saw in the relatively short time I visited, leads me to believe that this is fairly common place in London. I wish I could have taken pictures to show you guys, but the people probably would have though I was crazy!

Park Entrance

Of course, this is in London and folks in cities tend to be more liberal and open minded, but it was still more prevalent than anything I've seen in any US city I've visited. I was at Buckingham Palace  and wandered to a park across the street. The entrance to this park is the photo above (awesome, isn't it?) While there, I saw this couple. She's Asian and he's black. I just couldn't resist taking their picture. They were good sports about it and were so caught up with each other, they could have cared less.



If you have any thoughts about this, please share. Have a good weekend!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: Rich and Mad by William Nicholson

This is my second time following this meme and I love it. Jill at Breaking the Spine started it and it gives me a great opportunity to highlight and indulge my love of scintillating stories. The book I can't wait to dig into is called Rich and Mad by William Nicholson, an Academy Award Nominated screenwriter and award-winning fantasy author and playwright. Rich and Mad is his first YA novel.

Rich is the boy and Mad (Maddie) is the girl.  I think the statement on the book's cover, says it all:

First love. First Sex. And everything in between.

I think that about covers like a good read to me. I've heard it gets pretty graphic in it's depiction of sex and there's a violent sub plot. I'm up for it. I can take it. What about you? Rich and Mad was released in England in April and releases in the US in September. An editor from Egmont, that is publishing the book, told me it's awesome. I intend to call her bluff and read it to find out! You should probably be brave and do the same.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Battle of the Cover Art: UK vs US: The Help and The Hunger Games

While I was in England, of course I had to visit bookstores. I took notice of two very popular books: The Help and The Hunger Games. I had to take pictures. As you can see, their covers are very different than what is offered in the American version. Let's examine The Help first.

I'll say one thing for the British. They certainly keep it real! I haven't read The Help, but when you look at the British cover, it leaves no doubt what kind of "help" the book is talking about. I love it. It's raw and in your face. Bam! Now look at the American cover. If the book wasn't so popular, you would have no idea what the novel is about in my opinion. The cover is innocuous and neutral, telling you nothing of what the story entails. Like I said, I haven't read it, so perhaps those birds on a wire, are indicative of what lies within, but you certainly wouldn't know it details black maids working in Mississippi in the sixties.

What do you think? Is the British cover too much? Is it too real for American sensibilities and consumption? I've heard it said that The Help would not have been as big a hit and gotten the publicity it did, if a black author had penned it. What do you think about this? Do you think such a belief is credible? Food for thought. I'm a therapist, one of my many titles,  and I like to know what people are thinking and why.

Moving on to The Hunger Games. I haven't read this book either, though I bought it recently and it's waiting on my shelf for me to get some down time to dig into it. Once again, the American cover has no people, but look, there's a bird again! I don't know if the bird is symbolic of anything in the story, but the popularity of the book surpasses the cover art at this point and even I, who haven't read it know the story premise. I assume the girl in the UK version is Katniss and the boy on the over cover must be Peeta. Does the British version capture the image of the characters as you envision them in your imagination? I was surprised to see the UK covers look so cartoonish. I would have thought them to be more edgy, darker, considering the subject matter.

Hope you enjoyed the covers and the discussion. Until the next time...


Friday, August 13, 2010

Visiting England and My First Novel Attempt

 In my first attempt to write a novel, I set the story in England. I've always loved the sense of history there and the beautiful geography. I love to watch Pride and Prejudice as much for the scenery as for the story. When I went to England this summer, one of the main things I wanted to do was check out some of the sites I utilized in my story. I didn't get nearly as much done as I planned because I was just plain exhausted. There's a 5 hour time difference and it took about 3-4 days just to get on British time and not want to fall asleep during the day!

I wrote a YA story and it's of teen love, lust. and mama drama--but not the urban-she's pregnant-by-a-knuckle-head-and-he's-got-5-other-kids-and-all-the-moms-are-fighting-each-other drama. Oh no. The mother of my main character is the drama queen...among other things. It's intense. Mom is more than a little out of control.

Victoria, one of my main character's is a garden enthusiast and what better place to take her on her first date than to the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, better known as Kew Gardens. That is exactly what Thomas, her love interest does. I envisioned them running up the beautiful spiral staircase in the Palm House, which is one of the glass palaces in the Garden. I had to see this staircase in person and it did not disappoint. It was perfect. When they reach the top they steal hot kisses among the exotic foliage. It's an awesome setting. I took pictures of course and that is what I'm posting here. Judge for yourself. Looks like a great place for romance and clandestine kisses to me.

This is their view on the upper walkway at the top of the staircase. Awesome isn't it?


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

For those of you who don't know, Waiting on Wednesday is a meme started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. You tell everyone what book you can't wait to read. Add your link and visit sites to see what other books folks are recommending.
The book I can't wait to read is Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles. She's one of my favorite authors. It's a contemporary YA, and will be released  September 1st.  I have no doubt it'll be good. Simone hasn't let me down yet! Here's a little synopsis:

Caleb Becker left Paradise seven months ago. He couldn't stay in a town where his reputation and family life were damaged beyond repair. Maggie Armstrong tried to be strong after Caleb broke her heart and moved away. They both managed to somehow move on. But then his past and her future, throw Caleb and Maggie together again, shattering everything they thought they knew about each other and themselves.

Can't wait and nether should you. Get it. Pre-order it.  Simone Elkeles is an awesome contemporary YA author.


And the Winner of I Am Number Four is...

This is such a good book, I'm sure the winner is going to enjoy it. Based on the comments, not many people have read anything with aliens in it, so my assumption about that is right. One person did mention The Host by Stephanie Myers. Umm...I forgot about that one. I'll have to check it out. Haven't heard much about it. I picked it up in the store and the first line didn't pull me in. I think it was a type of alien language of some the premise sounds great, so I know I'll be reading it at some point.

Anyhoo, let's move on to the best part--the winner. And the winner of  I Am Number Four, a very intriguing book is...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Awesome Cover Art in YA literature

Halo is going to be released at the end of this month and I'm in the midst of reading it now. Loving it! I couldn't resist posting this cover. I think it is just so lovely. Honestly, the glow is so bright, it hurt my eyes even looking at it on the screen. I have to look at it from different angles, because I can't quite believe it. I don't know how they do it, but it certainly is eye-catching. It really looks like light is emanating from the cover. Anyone know of any other amazing cover art out there?

Friday, August 6, 2010

And the Winner of the MINDER Book and Swag Giveaway is...

Thanks to all  for your comments and for entering the  giveaway and supporting an up and coming author. Kate Kaynak has provided an awesome packet of goodies for the winner. I have the T shirt myself and I love it. It gets plenty of looks and questions! The winner has the book, T shirt and poster coming her way.

Based on the comments,  folks showed a huge variety of interest in what they'd like to see in paranormal literature. There were no particular trends noted here! It's wide open. Well, on to the winner.
The winner of this super nice giveaway is...

Kailia Sage!!!

Congratulations. Please email me your address, so I can pass it on to the author. If you don't respond in 72 hrs, another winner will be selected.

Winner was chosen randomly via


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Release Day! Book Review and Giveaway: I Am Number Four by Pitticus Lore aka James Frey and Jobie Hughs

Title: I Am Number Four
Author: Pitticus Lore aka James Frey and Jobie Hughs
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: ARC
ISBN: 978-0-06-200123-8
Price: 17.99 Pages: 448
Release Date: 8/3/10

I Am Number Four is the first young adult novel from the infamous, best selling author James Frey and the debut novel of his co-author, Columbia MFA graduate, Jobie Hughs.  They have chosen to write under the pseudonym Pittacus Lore, a character from the book and one of its narrative voices.

The novel takes the paranormal phenomenon in YA literature in a fresh direction exploring aliens. I Am Number Four is the first of a six-book series that tells the tale of nine children from the planet Lorien. Their home planet has been invaded and destroyed by a hostile race called the Mogadorian. The “Lorien Nine” and their guardians are the sole survivors of the vicious war. They have settled on Earth to await the time they are ready to fight the enemy, avenge their people, and reclaim and rebuild their planet. 

The Nine are protected by a charm specifying that they can only be killed by their enemies in numeric order. Three of the nine have been located and killed. The narrator of the story, John Smith, is number four—and time is running out.  John and his guardian have stayed on the move to evade capture for the past ten years they’ve lived on Earth. They settle in Paradise, Ohio. Fifteen-year-old John has finally made a friend—his first—and a girlfriend as well. It’s going to make a sudden move a whole lot harder now—not to mention the fatal consequences looming.

Release Day! Book Review: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June by Robin Benway

Title: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June
Author: Robin Benway
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Format: ARC
ISBN: 978-1-59514-286-3
Price: 16.99 Pages: 288
Release Date: 8/3/10

When the publisher was gracious enough to send me this book, I had never heard of the author, Robin Benway. She's a relatively new voice in the YA genre and what a voice that is! The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June is her second novel and I want to get right to the blurb on the book:

Around the time of their parent's divorce, sisters April, May and June recover special powers from chidhood--powers that come in handy navigating the pure hell that is high school, and help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?

April, the oldest, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And the youngest sister June reads minds. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls must come together to save the day or risk falling apart forever. Will they realize how much they need one another, before it's too late? Because if there's anything stronger than magic, it's sisterhood.

While magical elements play a big part of the plot in this novel, it is so seemlessly woven in, that it never feels contrived or out of place. Benway makes such elements seem almost plausible as she takes the reader through the lives, conniptions and struggles of three very true-to-life teenagers. It's a real coming of age story and the special abilities that the girls possess, draw the reader in to discover how such abilities are going to play out as the girls navigate boys, troubled parental relationships and their own bad choices.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

And the Two Winners of Lipstick Jungle and One Fifth Avenue are...

Thanks to all who stopped by to enter the giveaway and gave me their definition of Chick Lit. I hear that the phrase is going by the wayside these days by literary agents and publishers alike. Oh well, trends come and they go, but an interesting story will always be in favor, no matter what you call it. Let's move on to this giveaways winners.

The winner of Lipstick Jungle is Carol Naomi Wong.
The winner of One Fifth Avenue is Chantel.

Congratulations girls. Please send me your address so I may mail you your book. If I don't hear from the winners in 72 hours, others will be selected.

The winners and the books each received was done randomly utilizing