In My Mailbox 3

-------> Hey! Have you entered the contest for a signed and personalized copy of "Jane" by April Lindner over at Shylock Books ? Today is the last day of the contest, so you still have time to enter and win! Head on over there now!
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In My Mailbox was created by  The Story Siren. The idea is for book bloggers to come together once a week and post what books they have received in the mail/purchased/found at the library/borrowed from a friend. Anyone can participate!

This week I have...
Anxious Hearts

Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw
(Review Copy)

Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic)

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede

Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Romancing Miss Bronte: A Novel

Romancing Miss Bronte by Juliet Gael




NaNoWriMo 2010 - Write a book in 30 days!


As you may or may not know, November is National Novel Writing Month. People all over the world commit to sit down and actually write that book already!

Contrary to most popular writing programs, the idea here is quantity over quality. While that may make for some serious editing later, the point is to stop talking, and start writing.

Anyone can participate; all you have to do is go the NaNoWriMo site to sign up and choose your word count goal. They also have a program just for young writers, which you can find here. There are lots of cool free resources like inspiration workbooks and forums...good for writing anytime.

Are you participating? Thinking about it?

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist SocietyWhen Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre...to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria...to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own--scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat's dad needs her help. For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in history--or at least her family's (very crooked) history.

I've always wanted to be an agent for the CIA, but now I think being one of the best thieves in the world would be even cooler. That's what Kat is - a professional thief, even though she is only 15. Her attempt at a normal life fails when her father's life is threatened by the unscrupulous "art collector" Artur Taccone. What's been stolen must be re-stolen from the most secure museum in Europe, and returned to its (relatively) rightful owner. And Kat is one of the few people in the world who can pull off this particular heist. 

The story was very well-planned out; every move the characters make seems utterly plausible. I could easily imagine Kat and company crisscrossing the globe on a moment's notice, trying to outsmart and outwit both dangerous men and advanced technology.

Kat is a great female character; strong and able to take charge of a situation when necessary, but my favorite character was Hale; rich, smooth talking, well-dressed, and uber-confident without being cocky, Hale is mysterious without being pretentious. Totally swoon-worthy. I also quite liked Gabrielle. Any girl who can pull off a scam in a skirt and heels is a girl after my own heart.

The attraction between Hale and Kat is electrifying; he chose this lifestyle primarily because of her, and it's because of her he stays in it. Hale seems to be just waiting patiently for the day when Kat is ready to see him as more than a partner in crime.

This fast-paced read is like James Bond meets Ocean's Eleven meets Spy Kids...plus a little something that makes it great on its own merit. My only wish is that this book were longer!

Fortunately, Ally Carter has already announced that the as-yet unnamed 2nd installment in the series may be out by summer 2011. There is also talk of a movie in the works, which I would definitely go see!

YALSA Teens' Top 10 of 2010



Every year the Young Adult Services American Library Association (YALSA) opens up a vote for the best YA fiction from the previous year. More than 8,000 teens voted, and the results are as follows:


Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)City of Glass (Mortal Instruments)Heist SocietyShiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls)Hush, Hush

#1 - Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
#2 - City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
#3 - Heist Society by Ally Carter
#4 - Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
#5 - Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Beautiful CreaturesAlong for the RideIf I StayFire (Graceling)Wintergirls

#6 - Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia
#7 - Along For the Ride by Sarah Dessen
#8 - If I Stay by Gayle Forman
#9 - Fire by Kristin Cashore
#10 - Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson


I have read all except If I Stay (which is waiting patiently on my bookshelf), Fire, and Beautiful Creatures (which are on my wishlist). It's definitely a diverse list, which is great; there are some titles missing that I would have included, and some included that I would have left out, but overall, it's a solid representation of what teens and YA fans have been reading this year.

What about you? Which books have you read (or want to read) from this list? Which books would you have left out/included? 

Torment by Lauren Kate

Torment (Fallen)Hell on earth.

That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.
It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts—immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something—something dangerous.
What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?
 
The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies.


For starters, I'd like to comment on the cover. Like Fallen, I think it's just gorgeous, and I really want to know the name of the artist (anyone know?). It takes skill and talent to create such wondrous images, and they manage to capture the theme and mood of the books perfectly.

I quite liked Fallen, which was Torment's predecessor. So it was with high anticipation and, yes, slight dread that I approached this book. Why dread? Well, too many times I have loved a first book in a series, then been let down by subsequent books. It's that feeling you get when you worry that something will just never be as good as the first time. Reading sequels is always a bit of a gamble.

This time, however, a bet on Torment would have won the jackpot. Lauren Kate delves even deeper into Luce's past lives, which I find fascinating, and we get to see bits and pieces of her throughout her history with Daniel. Each time she sees or experiences a new "memory" via the Announcers, it's like she is collecting them to purposefully put herself - her true self - together. 

The book was aptly named; Luce truly is tormented by her feelings for Daniel, and I appreciate that Lauren Kate was brave enough to delve deep into Luce's mind, and let us experience every conflicting emotion with her. At first, she is devastated that she has to be away from Daniel for awhile, but as she makes new friends and explores her past, she begins to wonder what their love in actually based on. She questions her love for Daniel, and even explores slightly her feelings for another boy. It is very refreshing to see a young female protagonist that is in love but not brainless because of it. 

Without getting too spoilery, I though the ending was very appropriate, and very powerful. There is an epilogue that I felt was unnecessary; it was nice that the author tied up loose ends, I suppose, but I would have been left with a greater sense of impact if the book had finished without it.

All in all, a great read, highly recommended, and I can't believe we have to wait until Summer 2011 for the next book, Passion! (but I bet the cover will be amazing!)

Jane Austen Had A Spell Checker


Or so say the folks over at MSNBC. Check out this interesting article about the writing habits of our beloved Jane Austen, and then let me know if your thoughts!
And since we are on the topic of Jane Austen, here are a few books I've been wanting to read that are Jane Austen themed (and that don't involve zombies, vampires, werewolves, etc.):


Jane
Jane by April Lindner

Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. 

But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?


-------> Hey! There is a great interview with the author, April Lindner, over at Shylock Books, AND there is a giveaway contest going on right now - you can enter to win a signed and personalized copy of Jane! Check it out! 



I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend
I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison

When shy Jenny Cooper goes to stay with her cousin Jane Austen, she knows nothing of the world of beautiful dresses, dances, secrets, gossip, and romance that Jane inhabits. At fifteen, Jane is already a sharp observer of the customs of courtship. So when Jenny falls utterly in love with Captain Thomas Williams, who better than Jane to help her win the heart of this dashing man?
 
But is that even possible? After all, Jenny’s been harboring a most desperate secret. Should it become known, it would bring scandal not only to her, but also to the wonderful Austen family. What’s a poor orphan girl to do?




Pies & Prejudice (Mother Daughter Book Club)
Pies and Prejudice by Heather Vogel

Fans of the series will not be disappointed with this installment. With four effervescent heroines, several budding romances, an ambitious cooking venture, and a hefty pinch of drama, Pies has instant teen appeal, even more so if readers are Anglophiles. When Emma's family announces they are moving to England for a year, the book club selects Pride & Prejudice in honor of their adventure and keeps up regular meetings via webcam. Austen fans will appreciate the character nods: Emma deflects the advances of a Mr. Collins-like oaf, Megan falls for the amiable Simon Berkeley (aka Mr. Bingley), and Cassidy spends much energy detesting Tristan Berkeley, the obvious but nonetheless enjoyable Mr. Darcy character.

In My Mailbox 2


In My Mailbox was created by  The Story Siren. The idea is for book bloggers to come together once a week and post what books they have received in the mail/purchased/found at the library/borrowed from a friend. Anyone can participate!

This week I have...


Graceling

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Pretty Little Liars Box Set: Books 1 to 4

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

a novel:Her Fearful Symmetry byNiffenegger(hardcover)(2009)

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

5 Books that will leave you "Breathless"


I just stumbled across this promotional trailer created by Penguin Publishing:



I have to admit, I've been ambivalent about the whole "book trailer" trend; while I think it's a great way to get more visual personalities interested in reading, the offerings thus far have mainly consisted of flashing still pictures interspersed with words about the book. It's not exactly a visual delight. This trailer, however, takes the promotional idea to a new level. It's engaging, intriguing, and beautiful. I hope other publishers will take their cue from Penguin and step up their game a little. Here's a little more detail about each of the books:


The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

The Eternal OnesHaven Moore can't control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother's house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.
In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves, before all is lost and the cycle begins again.




The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff


The Replacement


Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.




Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.




Nightshade by Andrea Cremer


Nightshade


Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?








Matched by Ally Condie


Matched


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.




Sapphique by Catherine Fisher


Sapphique


Finn has escaped from the terrible living Prison of Incarceron, but its memory torments him, because his brother Keiro is still inside. Outside, Claudia insists he must be king, but Finn doubts even his own identity. Is he the lost prince Giles? Or are his memories no more than another construct of his imprisonment? And can you be free if your friends are still captive? Can you be free if your world is frozen in time? Can you be free if you don't even know who you are? Inside Incarceron, has the crazy sorcerer Rix really found the Glove of Sapphique, the only man the Prison ever loved. Sapphique, whose image fires Incarceron with the desire to escape its own nature. If Keiro steals the glove, will he bring destruction to the world? Inside. Outside. All seeking freedom. Like Sapphique.


-Descriptions courtesy of Amazon.com


You can go to the Breathless Reads site and download free sample chapters of all five books. Enjoy!

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