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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: HarperTeen, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 33
1. Lessons in Publishing Longevity: Undercover Sells to the Dutch House, Callenbach

Yesterday, it became official: Callenbach, the glorious Dutch publishing house that released a gorgeous, translated Small Damages two years ago, has purchased Dutch translation rights to Undercover, the first young adult novel I ever wrote and published.

Like Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River, Undercover first appeared in 2007 and taught me several things about risks worth taking. Like The Heart Is Not a Size, Undercover is vaguely autobiographical—a Cyrano story of a teen who cannot see her own beauty and who relies on words to bridge her to the world. My Elisa writes poems. She has an English teacher who cares. She skates secretly on a frozen pond. She meets a boy named Theo. Her words, she soon discovers, have power. But so, perhaps, does she.

It is moving to think of vestiges of my own Radnor High and adolescence being transported to the Netherlands, under the auspices of a publishing house established in 1854. It is also telling, and hopeful—a sign of optimism for all of us—that books written years ago still live on, somehow. This idea about longevity is perhaps the lesson for me of this year, as Flow, seven years later, emerges as an affordable paperback, and as Undercover begins the process of finding a new audience in the Netherlands, as it has also found in China.

My thanks to Alpha Wong of HarperTeen for negotiating the agreement, and to Amy Rennert, my agent, for letting me know.

0 Comments on Lessons in Publishing Longevity: Undercover Sells to the Dutch House, Callenbach as of 5/30/2014 9:43:00 AM
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2. What's new with Holly Cupala



Hello, dear readergirlz, and Happy Anniversary! It's pretty exciting to see the fruition of all of the ideas and hard work of the co-founders--Justina Chen, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, and Lorie Ann Grover--and all of the helpers along the way! I'm honored to have been a part of it.

What's new with me? After readergirlz featured TELL ME A SECRET, my second YA novel, DON'T BREATHE A WORD, came out in January 2012 from HarperCollins. Since then, I've been working hard on a third YA (in the home stretch, hopefully!) with secrets...still so many secret stories to tell!

There have been big changes for me personally, too--family up by one, a crazy move to the country, wild forages for ideas and edibles, lots of DIY projects, and...three? four?...novels brewing.

I'm inspired by all of you, readergirlz! Keep up the wonderful work.


 


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3. Fang Girl: Guest Post + Giveaway (Intl - Ends 12/25)


We are super excited to be a part of the Fang Girl blog blitz today. Thanks to Xpresso Reads for hosting this great tour. Fang Girl has been on my TBR pile for a little while now. I love vampires and can't wait to read it. Today for our stop we have a guest post by author Helen Keeble. Be sure to read all the way to the end of the post where you'll have a chance to win several prizes, including a signed copy of Fang Girl. 


Fang Girl by Helen Keeble
September 11th 2012 / HarperTeen

Things That Are Destroying Jane Greene’s Undead Social Life Before It Can Even Begin:
1) A twelve-year-old brother who’s convinced she’s a zombie.
2) Parents who are begging her to turn them into vampires.
3) The pet goldfish she accidentally turns instead.
4) Weird superpowers that let her rip the heads off of every other vampire she meets.(Sounds cool, but it doesn’t win you many friends.)
5) A pyschotic vampire creator who’s using her to carry out a plan for world domination.

And finally:
6) A seriously ripped vampire hunter who either wants to stake her or make out with her. Not sure which.

Being an undead, eternally pasty fifteen-year-old isn’t quite the sexy, brooding, angst-fest Jane always imagined....

Helen Keeble’s riotous debut novel combines the humor of Vladimir Tod with Ally Carter’s spot-on teen voice. With a one-of-a-kind vampire mythology and an irresistibly relatable undead heroine, this uproarious page-turner will leave readers bloodthirsty for more.

Find the author: Author's Website | Goodreads | Twitter.



Fandom, Family, and FANG GIRL 
Guest Post by Helen Keeble

FANG GIRL is about two things: fandom and family.

…Okay, so it's also about a lot of other things, like undead goldfish, vampiric retail empires, and hot boys in tight leather trousers, but mostly it's about fandom and family. Let me explain.

I started writing FANG GIRL because I was immensely irritated (I suspect irritation is the major cause of novels, actually). It was at the height of Twilight fever, and it seemed like every day there was a new article in the newspapers or blogosphere about it. You couldn't click a link or turn on the radio without finding someone either dismissing all YA paranormal romance fans as utterly stupid for liking "that trash", or alternatively getting into a moral panic that these girls were being fundamentally damaged by reading it.

As I rather enjoy a good paranormal romance myself, this was irritating. Really irritating. So irritating I had to spend a year writing a novel to fully express my irritation.

See, personally I think that teenagers are a lot smarter and more discriminating than adults assume. I certainly read an awful lot of fantasy schlock as a teen, and enjoyed it immensely without ever thinking I was actually going to fall through a portal and meet the perfect knight-protector, so I don't believe that all teenage girls are having their relationship expectations warped for life by Robert Patterson's hair. And in my experience, teen paranormal fans can be hugely clever and creative -- they dissect their favorite books like ruthless surgeons, they write their own fanfic versions, they make amazing music videos with footage from movies or tv shows… it's a far cry from the stereotype of a wide-eyed, ditzy girl uncritically consuming anything packaged with a black-and-red cover.

So I decided to write a paranormal romance about a girl who's a vampire fangirl, and who is also practical, snarky, and intelligent -- so when she wakes up one night and discovers she's now a vampire herself, she's got the knowledge and wits to deal with it.

But of course, vampires are rather ridiculous creatures -- seriously, you're angsty because you're eternally young and beautiful? Seriously? I mean, the first thing I'd do is camp out in New York Public Library and read every book ever -- so I also wanted to poke fun at some paranormal romance cliches. The much older vampire hero who inexplicably falls in love with the heroine, eternal angst-filled passion, the inevitable brooding rival, the terribly glamorous vampire lifestyle… in my book, the vampires are quite aware of all these tropes, and are willing to use them to try to influence my heroine Jane. But the vampires are -- like all those columnists and bloggers -- assuming that teenage vampire fangirls actually believe all this stuff… which turns out to be a big mistake.

The other trend I'd noticed in paranormal romances is that usually the heroine's family are barely present (especially not both parents). She might have endless conversations with vampires and werewolves and bears, oh my, but parents seem to stay mostly off-page. Now, I'm not saying that I never fought with my parents when I was a teen, but mostly we got along, and my family were definitely a big influence in my life. And I think that's true for a lot of teens. So I wanted my protagonist's family to be a major part of the story. And really, if you're a girl who wakes up unexpectedly dead one night, what are you going to do? Run off alone and try to survive on the contents of your pockets (most people don't get buried with credit cards, you know), or go back home where there's bed, broadband, and people who love you even if you do now seem to have fangs? No contest!

So that's FANG GIRL: one part fandom, one part family, blended together with creamy comedy goodness and baked in the oven of righteous irritation. Can I tempt you to a bite?

---

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2 Comments on Fang Girl: Guest Post + Giveaway (Intl - Ends 12/25), last added: 12/19/2012
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4. Interview with Ingrid Paulson, author of Valkyrie Rising

Ingrid Paulson is the author of Valkyrie Rising, a book I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on.  Ingrid very kindly took some time out of her busy day to answer a few of my questions.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Ingrid Paulson] Science nerd and avid reader turned young adult writer. Former Olympic athlete (not really).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Valkyrie Rising?

[Ingrid Paulson] I’m a huge fan of girl power stories, so I set out to write the kind of book I would want to read. In a nutshell, Valkyrie Rising is about a girl (Ellie) who comes into her own while visiting her grandmother in Norway. Boys start mysteriously disappearing, including her brother, and it’s up to Ellie to save them all and overthrow an ancient power. And along the way learns a few unexpected things about her family history.

But I think the copy on the back of the galley says it best:

Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s astonishingly epic coming-of-age.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Ingrid Paulson] A few years ago, I went on a trip Norway with the Paulson women, and I was so inspired by the mountains and fjords that I wanted to write a book based on the setting alone. I knew right away it would include Valkyries—I’ve always loved the idea of strong warrior women.

I was actually working on a different book, but Tuck and Ellie captured my imagination so suddenly and completely that I sat down and started sketching out scenes. The rest of the story came together around those two characters and the setting.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?

[Ingrid Paulson] There are about a million challenges in writing a book–it’s hard to pick just one! But I think I struggled most with the ending and ended up re-writing it several times. I’d set up big stakes in the first three-quarters of the book and it was hard to tie everything back up together in a satisfactory way while keeping the action fast and light. Fortunately, I had an amazing editor who helped me work through those issues.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Ellie?

[Ingrid Paulson] This is hard because Ellie changes a lot during the course of the story. But the girl she becomes by the final scene is determined, resilient, and brave.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Tucker would never have in his pocket?

[Ingrid Paulson] Tucker is the type to always travel light. It’s not likely he’d have anything but his cell phone and a credit card or two. But he’d definitely never have another girl’s number, even if he’s likely to be slipped more than a few. He also wouldn’t be caught dead with anything relating to school or homework. Part of his casual confidence thing is never admitting he puts work into anything.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Ingrid Paulson] I love reading and that definitely inspired me to start writing. And this might sound creepy, but I also really enjoy people watching (I’m a shameless and painfully obvious eavesdropper). I think that contributed a lot to creating the other people who reside in my head.  In the case of Valkyrie Rising, travel was also a huge influence—I was fortunate enough to stumble across incredible vistas in Norway that made me itch to describe them on paper.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Ingrid Paulson] I need coffee and silence. When I hit a tricky scene or plot issue, I often work it out on a long run, so I guess I need running shoes too.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Ingrid Paulson] That is a hard question! I think the biggest contributor to my love of reading was a father who would sit and read to me for hours and hours on end. His love of books is infectious. However, I was a huge fan of Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein and can still recite embarrassing amounts of their works.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Ingrid Paulson] Lately, I feel like I’m always either writing or secretly thinking about writing while pretending to pay attention to something else. But I live in San Francisco, pretty close to the bay, so I just love being outside and wandering the city with my daughter. I love to travel (who doesn’t) and spending time with my friends.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Ingrid Paulson] My websites is: www.ingridepaulson.com

I’m on twitter @ingridepaulson.com

Facebook:  Valkyrie Rising

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase Valkyrie Rising from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below. Available in print and digital.

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5. Update and Sale

I am a bit behind on reviews, and probably won’t be able to catch up until the weekend.  I returned home from vacation to a broken well, and let me tell you, not having water is not pleasant.  All of the little things you take for granted are suddenly no longer possible – flushing the toilet, washing your hands, taking a shower – even cooking and making coffee!  Thankfully we had it repaired in a few days, but now I have piles of laundry and a billion other things I had to put off until it was fixed. 

In the meantime, one of my favorite 2012 releases, Under the Never Sky, is currently discounted to $2.99 for the Kindle.  If you haven’t read this yet, give it a try.  I am counting down the days until the release of Through the Ever Night.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi will be discounted at Amazon until Sept 17, so grab your copy soon!  Click the cover for the Amazon product page.

Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

In her enthralling debut, Veronica Rossi sends readers on an unforgettable adventure set in a world brimming with harshness and beauty.

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6. Variant by Robison Wells

Wow! I didn't know what to expect when I started reading this book and to be honest I've started quite a few recently that I didn't finish...this was NOT one of those books. In fact, when I reached the last page I got angry because it had a sequel and now I can't wait to get it read. It's a mixture of Hunger Games and The Most Dangerous Game (both which I loved) but with a unique twist. Wish I'd thought of it. Continue reading

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7. Review: A Long Way From You by Gwendolyn Heasley

 

Title: A Long Way From You

Author: Gwendolyn Heasley

Publisher:  Harper Teen

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

For too long, Kitsy has had to satisfy her dreams of becoming a real artist by giving her friends makeovers before prom. So when her best friend Corrinne’s family offers to sponsor her for a summer art course in New York City, Kitsy bids a temporary good-bye to Texas to say hello to the West Village.

Between navigating the subway and the New Yorkers—namely, the Art Boy who has a nice trick of getting under her skin—Kitsy knows that this summer is going to be about a lot more than figure drawing.

Review:

When I saw that Gwendolyn Heasley had a follow up to Where I Belong, I was quite excited to read it.  I enjoyed her first book, and found myself overcoming my initial dislike of Corrinne as she matured into a more compassionate human being.  At the start of her story, she is spoiled, over-indulged, and not likable.  Not at all.  But as her family’s financial circumstances deteriorated, she was forced to take a long look at herself and decide whether she wanted to continue being a selfish, immature person.  Unfortunately, the Corrinne that we meet in A Long Way From You is sadly similar to the Corrinne at the beginning of Where I Belong.  Her New York friends, obviously, were not good for her personality, but I digress.

In this outing, Kitsy is the star, and I never had a problem liking her.  Kitsy is bubbly and fun, despite her difficult home life.  Her mother is not an ideal caregiver, and Kitsy is the adult in their house.  She cares for her younger brother,  as well as her mother, cooking, cleaning, and keeping everything running as smoothly as a teenager in charge of a household can.  She is the breadwinner, and her checks from her job at Sonic keep the lights on and food on the table, but just barely.  Kitsy has so many dreams, too, but as shackled as she is to the well-being of her family, it is unlikely that she will ever see them realized. 

When Corrinne’s family volunteers to sponsor her in New York City so she can attend summer art school, it’s a dream come true.  Though she’s excited to attend, the reality of leaving her brother in their mother’s questionable  care is almost enough to keep her home in tiny Broken Spoke, Texas.  There are so many things that can go wrong during her absence, and her mother is so unreliable.  When she is accepted into the summer art program, it’s with a great deal of trepidation that she accepts the plane ticket to NYC, and her summer of adventure.

I was under the mistaken impression that this is a romance.  It’s not, not really.  This is the story about a young woman who is given the chance to discover who she is, away from the stifling expectations of her small town.  Nobody knows Kitsy in NYC, and she loves the freedom that brings.  She can become anyone she wants to be, without her mother’s failures to hinder her.  She isn’t expected to be anyone’s steadfast girlfriend, or the level-headed older sister who has been given far too many responsibilities for far too long.  I loved reading along with Kitsy as she rebels against the perfect girl she is supposed to be.   When she meets a handsome guy who is just as interested in art as she is, she looses her sense of caution and takes risks and c

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8. Character Word Associations with Amelia from Arise

 

Amelia is the protagonist from Tara Hudson’s Arise.  Amelia is a ghost, and her love for Joshua seems doomed to failure.  Amelia took time out of her busy day searching for a way for them to be together forever to answer some word associations.  Check out what she has to say!

[Manga Maniac Café] Hi, Amelia!  Thanks for stopping by.  Can you please play a little word association game with us? What is the first thing that comes to mind for each of these words?

[Amelia] Brass – The old miner’s lamp in Joshua’s bedroom, which I like best when we turn it off…

Violin – The music on Joshua’s iPod.  If only I could touch it, so that I could play DJ for once.

Fireworks – Um…I’m kind of blushing right now.  I can’t say what I’m thinking, but it definitely involves Joshua

Fog – Where I lived for years, and where I never want to return…unless I have to

Safe – Ha!  What’s that word?

Scream – Demons.  Wish I didn’t do that, every time I see one.  Since I seem to be seeing them more often, now….

Mistake – Something I did in New Orleans…something I hope I can undo

Barrier – Seer Dust.  You know, I really hate that stuff

Memory – My father and my mother.  Things I’m starting to remember, but sometimes wish I wouldn’t

Torrent – High Bridge.  May it crumble into dust, amen.

Hunger – Beignets. 

Camel – The thirst I feel, watching Joshua and his family drink chicory coffee in the French Quarter

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!


You can purchase Arise from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below.  Available in both print and digital

Thanks to {teen} Book Scene for arranging this interview

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9. Cover shot! City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Here is the  cover for Miriam Forster’s City of a Thousand Dolls.   The book isn’t slated for release until 2013 (sad face).   I find this cover interesting, and the premise sounds promising, so I will be waiting impatiently for the release date next year.  What do you think about this one?  Check out Miriam’s blog to see her reaction to her cover.

 

 

The girl with no past, and no future, may be the only one who can save their lives.

Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.

Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.

 

In stores 2013

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10. Review: Arise by Tara Hudson


 

   Title: Arise

   Author: Tara Hudson

   Publisher: HarperTeen

   ISBN: 978-0062026798

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Amelia—still caught between life and death—must fight for every moment of her relationship with the human boy Joshua. They can hardly even kiss without Amelia accidentally dematerializing. Looking for answers, they go to visit some of Joshua’s Seer relatives in New Orleans. But even in a city so famously steeped in the supernatural, Amelia ends up with more questions than answers…and becomes increasingly convinced that she and Joshua can never have a future together.Wandering through the French Quarter, Amelia meets other in-between ghosts, and begins to seriously consider joining them. And then she meets Gabrielle. Somehow, against impossible odds, Gaby has found a way to live a sort of half-life…a half-life for which Amelia would pay any price. Torn between two worlds, Amelia must choose carefully, before the evil spirits of the netherworld choose for her.

Review:

Arise picks up where Hereafter left off, with Amelia still a ghost and a long term relationship with Joshua looking more and more unlikely.  Nobody can see her, after all, and he looks like a nut case walking through the school campus holding her hand or talking to her.  Worse, he is avoiding his friends and starting to lose his social standing at school so he can spend time with her.  This only makes Amelia feel guilty and stressed out.  She realizes that a relationship with her will make Joshua a social outcast and it’s tearing her up inside. 

I thought that the setting and story elements were stronger in Arise than Hereafter.  Joshua’s family heads to New Orleans to spend the Christmas holidays with family, and Amelia is immediately surrounded by a group of young Seers.  Instead of wanting to banish her forever, they seem to want to help her.  Can she trust them?  I was immediately skeptical of their motives.  Joshua’s sister, Jillian, had me the most suspicious.  After Amelia saved her from certain death and her Seer abilities were unlocked, Jillian did nothing but deny that she can see and hear Amelia.  I kept wondering why she trying to be deceptive.  Was it because she was in denial, or was there a more sinister motive behind it?

Without giving too much of the plot away, I did like the voodoo aspects that were introduced to the storyline, but wish that that they were a little more believable.  Amelia’s new friend, Gabby, performs a voodoo ritual that drastically changes Amelia.  The ritual was supposedly learned by reading a spell in a voodoo priestess’ shop, and it just seemed wrong to me that Gabby could alter the dead just by reading a spell in a book.  Even though she was interested in voodoo and even though she was related to a voodoo practitioner, I would have expected that a spell that powerful would demand a lot more effort than waiting for the book to be left open on that particular page.  Maybe by virtue of the fact that they are in New Orleans, the very air that surrounded Gabby gave her the knowledge and the magical powers necessary to perform the spell. 

I felt that this book is guil

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11. Win Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa!

Want to win a copy of Julie Kagawa’s new book, Immortal Rules??  Just fill out the widget below! You can earn extra entries by following.  US mailing addresses only, please. Contest ends April 23th.

 

You can follow Julie Kagawa for extra entries.   Follow me for extra entries, too!

Follow me on Twitter

Friend me at Goodreads

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12. Review: Don’t Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala

 

Title: Don’t Breathe a Word

Author: Holly Cupala

Publisher: Harper Teen

ISBN: 978-0061766695

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Joy Delamere is suffocating.

From asthma, from her parents, and from her boyfriend, Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out. She can take his cruel words, his tender words . . . until the night they go too far.

To escape, Joy sacrifices her suburban life to find the one who offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. He introduces her to a world of fierce loyalty, to its rules of survival, and to love—a world she won’t easily let go.

Set against the backdrop of the streets of Seattle, Holly Cupala’s power­ful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the secrets we keep, and the ways to redemption. But above all, it is an unflinching story about the extraordinary lengths one girl will go to discover her own strength.

Review:

If I hadn’t received a review copy of Don’t Breathe a Word, it probably would have never even been a blip on my radar, and that would have been too bad, because it is a compellingly readable title.  I did have to engage a heavy suspension of disbelief during my time with Joy, because some of the plot elements did not work for me, and seemed highly unlikely. 

Joy has been suffering from debilitating asthma her entire life.  She has been in and out of the hospital after severe reactions and bouts with pneumonia.  Several times during her short life, she has been inches away from death.  Only the quick reactions of her caretakers and the emergency staff at the hospital have saved her life.  Fearful that any mold or dust might cause an immediate and unfortunate reaction, her mother keeps their house spotless.  Joy’s older brother is assigned to take care of her, to make sure that she is sheltered from an allergic reaction to anything.  Joy is smothered and unhappy, but her parents won’t take any chances with her health.

When she meets handsome, wealthy Asher, she thinks her life is going to change for the better.  Her parents approve of him, and soon, Asher is given the responsibility of caring for Joy. Of keeping her safe.  Only with Asher, Joy is imprisoned in a different kind of cage. Asher is possessive and has an explosive temper, and soon Joy is willing to do anything to keep him happy.  As her friendships slide and Asher becomes her world, Joy feels a different kind of fear.  When his abuse turns from verbal to physical, she is terrified.  Desperate, she fakes her kidnapping and heads to Seattle, to hide from Asher among the homeless population.

The premise is compelling and instantly had me hooked.  How would I survive if I was homeless?  I kept wondering if I would get along as well as Joy, as she meets danger at every turn.  She has to find food for herself, a safe haven to sleep, and clothes for the upcoming winter.  The trials she faces on the streets are perilous and frightening.  There are scary people willing to take advantage of her and worse, do her physical harm.  Her frail health is also a concern.  What happens when she runs out of her inhalers?  How will she survive a bout of sickness or a severe asthma attack on her own?

There were two elements of the story that didn’t work for me, the biggest being Joy’s precarious health.  She is forced to weather the ha

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13. Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour - Welcome Robert Sharenow - The Berlin Boxing Club





















I am honored to introduce Rob Sharenow, winner of the 2012 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s TeenReaders Category for The Berlin Boxing Club published by HarperTeen. This historical novel reveals the history of Nazi Germany through the eyes of Karl Stern, a typical 14-year-old German boy. Karl never gave much thought to being Jewish and had little connection with any religious life. When classmates bully Karl, he is forced to face the dangers in his own community. Given the opportunity to learn boxing from German champion Max Schmeling, Karl jumps at the chance. He grows strong and learns to defend himself. But as the Nazi’s gain power and his family is in peril, Karl questions who he can trust. The Berlin Boxing Club is a riveting read - bringing history to life in a compelling story that will inspire readers of all ages.

I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with Rob and learn more about The Berlin Boxing Club.

In Berlin Boxing Club, Karl is a believable teen. His thoughts, emotions, and experiences will ring true for today's readers. Interestingly, Karl doesn't identify with being Jewish. Why was this an important part of Karl’s character?

I think most teenagers have mixed feelings about their identity, particularly if they don't see themselves as part of a majority. I grew up in a town where Jews were a real minority. Despite being brought up with a strong Jewish background, I did not love the idea of being identified as the class "Jew" at school and having to answer for that in any way. At school, I wanted to be just another kid, and I was largely able to achieve that in modern America. Nazi Germany did not allow for such choices. In 1930s Berlin, a Jew was a Jew and you could never deny or change that in the eyes of anyone. I specifically made Karl come from a non-observant family to amplify just how unfair the Nazi labeling could be. Interestingly, although Karl does not consider himself Jewish, his interests reflect that identity without him even knowing it. His love of comic books and cartooning is a very Jewish trait, as is his love of the sport of boxing. One of the wonderful revelations for his character is his discovery of the Jewish fighters who filled the U.S. boxing ranks at the time. For a German boy, it was a complete shock to see that kind of powerful image of Jewish masculinity. It still is.

After Karl is attacked by bullies at school and jumps at the opportunity to learn boxing from Max Schmeling. What sparked your interest in the famous boxer?
I first learned about Schmeling when I was working as a writer for the History Channel. I was astonished to learn that he had never joined the Nazi party and his manager and close friends were Jews. This completely flew in the face of all my assumptions about him being an Aryan superman and a poster boy for Hitler. I'm a real history buff and I'm always intrigued when a character from history reveals some unexpected quality or dimension. Also, Schmeling's life had an epic quality

5 Comments on Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour - Welcome Robert Sharenow - The Berlin Boxing Club, last added: 2/8/2012
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14. Shatter Me - Review


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Publication date: 15 November 2011 by HarperTeen
ISBN 10/13: 0062085484 | 9780062085481

Category: Young Adult Futuristic Dystopian
Keywords: Super powers, war, romance
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, audiobook


From goodreads:

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.



Alethea's review:

I was very excited to meet Tahereh Mafi and pick up a copy of Shatter Me at the SCIBA 2011 Author Feast. Even more excited to read it, except for all the interference to my reading time caused by school. When I finally had a chance to curl up on a cloudy day and read it, my excitement waned a little, I have to confess.

The book starts out really well with a strong writing style and inventive strikethroughs. Unfortunately, as the story of Juliette starts rolling and more information came to light, I began to feel like I was stuck in an extended one-off episode of Heroes. And I am definitely not a Heroes fan. One of the characters says it best: everything is "awfully convenient." Big air-quotes.

I'm not saying you shouldn't pick this up. If you're a romance fan, you may literally need a fan for whenever the sparks really start to fly between Juliette and Adam. I know I had to shed a layer from my snuggie cocoon, even though it was like, 60 degrees in the apartment. The revelations closer to the end of the book do make me want to come back for more.

The book also earns a whole star just for the cover! I've been drooling over it for months, so even though it didn't deliver quite the punch I was expecting, I will definitely keep it on my shelf. Here's hoping the sequel will be a little more electrifying.





Visit the author online at www.taherehmafi.com and follow @taharehmafi on Twitter
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15. Review: The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

Release Date: September 6, 2011
Series: Standalone
Publisher: HarperTeen
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Laurel is just a typical teen, studying for the SATs, worrying about French homework, talking about boys with her best friend Megan -- until suddenly, she isn't. Her world falls apart in one fell swoop, starting with the knock of a policeman at her front door. In the wake of her family's death, Laurel must rebuild from the rubble of Before, and learn to start living in the After.

In The Beginning of After, Jennifer Castle explores what it means to survive. Though there are many such stories in the young adult genre, this novel stands out. It examines not just the grief, but the process of learning to live again when nothing will ever be the same. Laurel is understandably a mess, and it's impossible not to cry for her as she makes it through each day on trial and error -- going back to school, breaking down at a party, staying in bed for a week, rescuing strays and almost giving up altogether. Castle's portrayal of Laurel's struggle as she figures out how to carry on is heartbreakingly raw and honest. There are ups and downs and setbacks, people who try to help but only make things worse, and those few crystallized moments where the light at the end of the tunnel briefly illuminates the darkness.

It is inspiring to see Laurel's remaining family and friends rally around her, even as she pushes them away in her depression. Unlike many YA novels, Laurel's grandmother is a steady and necessary presence in the story. She is an amazing, compassionate woman who drops everything to care for the orphaned granddaughter she fiercely loves, their twin grief making the sense of loss all the more resonant and devastating. Her presence reminds Laurel that she isn't the only one who lost her family that day, and she isn't completely alone in the aftermath. Without each other, I don't believe either of them could have survived.

The relationship between Laurel and her best friend Megan starts off strong. The girls have been best friends forever and Meg is the first one there in the wake of the accident. I was hopeful that she would be a grounding force in the novel, staying at Laurel's side through it all. Unfortunately, Megan lets her own problems make her bitter toward her best friend, whose tragedy she can't even begin to comprehend. She (understandably) doesn't know what to say or do to help Laurel, but trying would have been enough. Instead she seems rather petulant, a poor friend when Laurel needs her the most.

David is an even bigger mess than Laurel, his mother dead and his father in a coma from the accident that killed Laurel's family. He comes and goes, seeming to care for no one but himself. Yet, he's the only one who can even begin to fathom what Laurel's feeling

7 Comments on Review: The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle, last added: 9/16/2011
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16. Silver Phoenix - Review



Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Publication date: 28 April 2009 by HarperTeen

ISBN 10/13: 0061730211 | 9780061730214

Category: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Keywords: Mythology, Asian, power


Thuy's review:

Ai Ling comes from a pretty traditional family and is on her way to becoming betrothed. However, it seems like the old rumors of her father's exile from the Palace haven't died, and her family is unable to find her a match. Her father is then summoned back to the Palace but, when he doesn't return and an associate tries to blackmail Ai Ling into marriage, she flees the city to bring him back. 

On her journey she encounters Chen Yong, a young man of mixed heritage who is also searching for his own answers as well as a whole slew of demons, witches and other mythical creatures all intent on stopping Ai Ling. Luckily for her, her father gives her a jade pendant before he leaves that has mythical properties that protect her and it saves her on more than one occasion. Ai Ling is also coming into powers of her own that she must learn to use. 

I have to admit that I didn't really know what to expect when I picked up this book. I found it by way of a blog post about diversity in young adult lit (sorry but the source escapes me now) and picked it up on the basis of some positive reviews and a beautiful cover (more on that later). 

It took me awhile to get really get into this book. I liked the idea of the story but the writing felt a bit formal and I had a hard time getting into the characters and story. Eventually I did though and I found myself really rooting for Ai Ling and her companions. I would have liked to have learned more about Silver Phoenix. We get a little bit of information on her but not much. I also want to learn more about the origins of Ai Ling's powers and what they mean. 

The descriptions of the demons and creatures was great. I don't know which ones are actual myths but Pon writes them so it doesn't matter. All of them seem like they could have come out of an ancient text. Some people have said that the ending was too abrupt but I liked

4 Comments on Silver Phoenix - Review, last added: 7/1/2011
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17. Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

 

Title: Starcrossed

Author: Josephine Angelini

Publisher: HarperTeen

ISBN: 978-0062011992

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it’s getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she’s haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they’re destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

Review:

I loved the spin Josephine Angelini put on Greek mythology in her debut book, Starcrossed.  I love all of the novels hitting stores shelves with re-imagined myths and fairytales, and I don’t think I will ever get tired of them.  There is a timelessness about them, and such a huge body of material to play with that I’m not even concerned about them sounding too much alike. 

I had very high expectations for Starcrossed, and despite it feeling overlong a few times, it did not disappoint.  I was sucked right into the story, and found it difficult to put the book down, especially after Helen goes berserk and tries to kill Lucas, a guy she hasn’t even met yet!  What was that all about, I wanted to know.  I mean, what would compel this mild-mannered young woman, who by nature is rather  timid, to try to strangle a complete stranger?  That was a great WTF moment, and I was hooked from that point on.

Though Helen’s timidity occasionally irked me, I did like her character.  She has a level-head on her shoulders, as long as she isn’t a slave to the frenzied whispers of the Furies, urging her to kill, kill, kill some guy that she doesn’t even know.  She and her dad live on the island of Nantucket, and Helen has always felt like a freak.  She doesn’t fit in at school, and her only real friend is Claire, a little spitfire who always has her back.  If it wasn’t for Claire, Helen would be totally alone.  Weird things happen wherever Helen goes,  and her classmates quickly ostracize her.  Her self-confidence is sadly lacking, and she does everything she can to just fade into the background.  That’s not so easy with her height and stunning looks, but she still tries to stand out as little as possible.

When Lucas and his family move to the island, Helen’s life is turned upside down.  She’s drawn to Lucas, but for all of the wrong reasons.  She wants to see him dead.  Every time she sees him, she has an obsessive compulsion to kill him.  What Helen doesn’t know is that she is descended from one of the four great houses of Greece, and that all of them are under a curse – one that compels them to kill anyone they see from another house. 

As Helen and the Delos family work through the curse, as well as the visions of the Oracle, they discover that there’s a lot more at stake than overcoming the need to commi

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18. Undercover Poetry Contest Results, An Interview, and Some Guest Blogging

In Seeing Past Z: Nurturing the Imagination in a Fast-Forward World, my memoir about the years I spent learning from a group of young writers, I made it clear that I do not believe in writing as a competitive sport.

I felt, therefore, as if I'd stepped onto hypocritical grounds these past two days as I tried to sort through the many glorious submissions to the Undercover poetry contest. The bloggers who visit here and the bloggers whom I visit are putting art out into the world. Thoughtful, provocative, introspective, original poems and prose that make me stop, over and again. How could I ever choose a slate of bests?

In the end, I narrowed the list of submissions into two semi-finalist slates—one for authors 21 and under, and one for all the others. Jill Santopolo, senior editor at HarperTeen, then spent part of her Monday morning narrowing the field even more. "This will be hard," she said, after seeing the work, but within a few hours she'd made her choices, saying: "What fun to spend the morning reading poetry! In all that I chose, I felt the universality of the experiences written about—I instantly connected with the poem and the narrator and the emotions evoked."

The winners of the 21 and under series are Cuileann, "My Letter to My Astronaut Sister" and The Curly Q, "Self-Contradiction." Runners up in this series are Erin ("Standing") and Maya ("Napwrimo-25"). Cuileann and Q will both receive signed Undercover paperbacks. Erin and Maya will receive (in two months, when they are available) galleys of my fourth YA novel, The Heart is Not a Size, due out next March. Please leave your email addresses in the comments box of this blog so that we can correspond and I can get your snail mail.

The winner of the second category is Susan for her poem that begins, "Searching for the boy." Susan, I'd love to have your email address as well.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to share with me your best work. There wasn't a poem in the bunch that did not move me. I have promised to write a poem with some of your best lines. Look for that in a coming post.

Finally, the writer Sherrie Petersen kindly interviewed me on her always interesting blog. She asked great questions, and I encourage you to take a look. Also today, on the HarperTeen site, I am guest blogging about beginnings. Finally, on David Tabler's lovely Appalachian History blog, I am writing about Horace Kephart's personal legacy, sharing photographs that I have not previously posted.

14 Comments on Undercover Poetry Contest Results, An Interview, and Some Guest Blogging, last added: 5/16/2009
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19. Teaser: Stranded

Stranded by J.T. Dutton. HarperTeen. Reviewed from ARC from publisher. Publication date June 2010.

With great reluctance, fifteen year old Kelly Louise and her mother are leaving Des Moines for her mother's hometown of Heaven, Ohio.

Kelly Louise -- named for Tina Louise, of Gilligan's Island fame -- tells of being dragged back to the small town her teen mother escaped from years ago, to live with her cleaning-obsessed Nana and religion-obsessed cousin Natalie. Natalie, fifteen, seems to love unicorns and Jesus equally. Her mother promises it's just temporary, but it's the middle of the school year! It's going to be that much harder for Kelly Louise to get a boyfriend.

Kelly Louise tells this story; and her voice makes this fresh and different; she's funny and amusing, self-centered and a drama queen, and, like Lola from Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and Alice from Alice, I Think, you're going to alternate between cringing, laughing, and loving her.

But there is a seriousness to this novel; a gravity. Because Heaven is best known for the recent news story about Baby Grace, an infant abandoned in a cornfield.

Dutton's story of the unthinkable -- a baby left to die -- is told against a setting of lost family farms, alcoholism, and second generations of teen pregnancies. Kelly Louise's voice brings humor, and she thinks of herself, first, most of the time. But she also thinks about Baby Grace, and family secrets, and what it means to do the right thing.


Teaser: A mini post about a book I've read that won't be published for several months. The full review will be posted closer to the publication date.


Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

4 Comments on Teaser: Stranded, last added: 3/13/2010
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20. Turning the Page with…Carolyn Mackler!

I wanted to post this today because Carolyn Mackler is on my mind.  Today I had a lovely discussion with a couple librarians in the booth at Midwinter – they were very interested in TANGLED, Carolyn’s realistic YA fiction book with HarperTeen.

We contrasted and compared Carolyn’s books and I told them about TANGLED, which they hadn’t had the chance to read yet.  It’s a story told in the various viewpoints of four teenagers stuck in Paradise, a Caribbean resort.  Dakota, Jena, Skye, and Owen soon find that their lives intersect in unexpected ways and they’re surprised to find out that they have much more in common than they thought.

Carolyn Mackler recently decided to take on our grueling interrogation because that’s the sort of daring, feisty woman she is.  Here is what she told us:

What time is your alarm clock set for?

I wish!  My children are my alarm clock.  The baby babbles from his crib, so we grab him.  Once he’s in our bed, my first-grader comes tumbling in full of 6am energy.  And suddenly our bed feels really small.  And I need coffee.

Favorite book from childhood?

FOREVER by Judy Blume.  Hands down.  It was sexy.  It was real.  It was heartbreaking.  I felt like I knew Katherine and Michael.  Sometimes I’m still curious how they’re doing.

If you weren’t an author/illustrator, what job would you like to have?

Stand-up comedian.  My husbands jokes that I’ve watched Funny People way too many times.  I even have the soundtrack on my iPod.  Some combination of career envy and a celebrity crush on Adam Sandler.

How many stamps are in your passport?

Four? Five?  It’s my new passport.  I traveled much more before I had kids.  No one tells you that international travel isn’t quite as glamorous when you’re schlepping car seats, a pack-n-play, and jet-lagged angry children.  My husband and I are determined to go somewhere next year where we have to cross an ocean.  Grandparents, did you hear that?

Favorite word?

Sleep.  Bath.  Massage.  Coffee.  Clean clothes.  Okay, that’s six words.

What are you reading right now?

The New Yorker.

Finish this sentence: “I always smile when…”

21. Desires of the Dead - Guest Review

Desires of the Dead

Desires of the Dead (The Body Finder, Book 1) by Kimberly Derting
Publication date: 15 February, 2011 from Harper Teen
ISBN 10/13: 0061779849 / 9780061779848

Category: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Keywords: Contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, synesthesia, death

Guest Review by KimberlyBuggie

3
Find the synopsis at goodreads.com.

How I found out about this book: I read and loved The Body Finder (Book 1) last year. When I spotted the ARC at ALA Midwinter I let out a squee! My friend and fellow YA fanatic KimberlyBuggie agreed to do a guest post.

Guest review: I'm always hesistant when it comes to sequels. There's usually a lot to live up to compared to the first book. The author has to keep everything moving, while re-establishing the characters, bringing in a new storyline and, fingers crossed, not doing the expected. Lucky for us, Kimberly Derting does not disappoint. Desires of the Dead is a very solid sequel. Derting does a great job capturing the tone and suspense of the first novel without sticking to a formula.

I sat down on Sunday to read only a couple of chapters, 'cause I had errands to run, rooms to clean, etc.

Well, yeah. That didn't work out. Like The Body Finder, I found myself with this urge to keep reading, keep going, to find out what the mystery was and oh no! I won't stop until it's done! 'cause really, what's one more chapter?

All right, one more. Just another one. Yep.

Hours later, I left the couch, really really behind schedule but not feeling guilty about it at all.

As Jay and Violet's romance continues to grow, the lines blur between their old best friend relationship and the new romantic one. It was refreshing to see Jay and Violet's relationship develop in this book. It had a realistic forward momentum, and an endearing quality.

New characters are introduced and while they propel this story forward, it seems that the author is just laying the groundwork. I have no doubt Sara and Rafe will play even larger roles in the next books. Especially Rafe, who keeps his own secrets.

Can't wait for the next one!

Comments? What do you think? Is this something you would read? If you've already read it, put in your two cents... (no spoilers, please!)

1 Comments on Desires of the Dead - Guest Review, last added: 2/18/2011
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22. Review: Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

 

Title: Where I Belong

Author: Gwendolyn Heasley

Publisher: HarperTeen

ISBN: 978-0061978845

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Meet Corrinne. She’s living every girl’s dream in New York City—shopping sprees at Barneys, open access to the best clubs and parties, and her own horse at the country club. Her perfect life is perfectly on track. At least it was. . . .

When Corrinne’s father is laid off, her world suddenly falls apart. Instead of heading to boarding school, she’s stripped of her credit cards and shipped off to the boonies of Texas to live with her grandparents. On her own in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the life she’s supposed to be living. She doesn’t care who she stomps on in the process. But when Corrinne makes an unlikely friend and discovers a total hottie at work, she begins to wonder if her life B.R.—before the recession—was as perfect as it seemed.

Review:

Corrinne gets an unwanted taste of reality after her father is laid off.  It’s like somebody has pulled the rug out from under her feet.  Good-bye credit card and shopping sprees at her favorite stores, and hello Grandma and Grandpa and the tiny little town of Broken Spoke, Texas.  Corrinne is seething with resentment at the sudden reversal of fortune, and it is going to take more than her grandmother’s delicious home cooking to soothe the sting of her new prospects.  She worked so hard to be accepted into Kent, an exclusive boarding school that she has wanted to attend forever.  Instead, she is going to be enrolled in Broken Spoke High School, a teeny, tiny public school where her grandmother works.  Ugh!  Life just isn’t fair!

At first, Corrinne and I had a personality clash.  I did not like the whining little princess, and I found her selfish behavior inexcusable.  OK, sure, her parents let her get away with anything, and she is clever enough to manipulate them to get her own way, but there were many times that she grated on my nerves.  It wasn’t until after she moves in with her grandparents, and goes head to head with her no-nonsense grandmother that Corrinne slowly begins to see the light.  There are so many more important things than the latest designer shoes, but when you are accustomed to getting everything your heart desires, it is often difficult to see the forest for the trees.

I liked that the focus of the story is on Corrinne and her gradual realization that having material possessions doesn’t mean as much as having good friends and a caring family.  Romance plays a backseat to her character growth.  Instead, Corrinne must come to terms with her new life.  Her grandparents don’t put up with any nonsense from her, and instead take an active interest in her life.  There are chores to do, schedules to keep, certain standards of behavior to adhere to.  I loved the conflict between Corrinne and her grandmother – here are two very stubborn and strong-willed women who clash again and again.  Corrinne doesn’t have much respect for the adults in her life, and her grandmother isn’t going to have any of that.

My favorite relationship in the book is the one between Corrinne and her younger brother Tripp.  Like most big sisters, Corrinne just doesn’t have the time or the patience to hang out with Tripp.  Tripp longs for any scrap of attention from Corrinne, and it was grati

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23. HarperTeen is Rocking the Drop in NYC!

These books from the HarperTeen offices are ready to go out into the world for Rock the Drop! YES!





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24. Radiant Shadows - Review



Howdy! Kimberly ended up reading a whole bunch of Melissa Marr books recently, so we present an impromptu Wicked Lovely Week. Shortlink to the main post: http://bit.ly/w1ck3dwk

Tuesday 5/24 - Wicked Lovely - review by Kimberly


Thursday 5/26 - Ink Exchange - review by Kimberly

Friday 5/27 - Fragile Eternity - review by Kimberly

Saturday 5/28 - Radiant Shadows - review by Alethea

Sunday 5/29 - Darkest Mercy - podcast with special guest Kate G.

Monday 5/30 - Graveminder - review by Jessica from Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

Tuesday 5/31 - last chance to enter to win Radiant Shadows - giveaway


1 Comments on Radiant Shadows - Review, last added: 5/30/2011
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25. Darkest Mercy - Review - Podcast


Howdy! Kimberly ended up reading a whole bunch of Melissa Marr books recently, so we present an impromptu Wicked Lovely Week. Shortlink to the main post: http://bit.ly/w1ck3dwk

Tuesday 5/24 - Wicked Lovely - review by Kimberly


Thursday 5/26 - Ink Exchange - review by Kimberly

Friday 5/27 - Fragile Eternity - review by Kimberly

Saturday 5/28 - Radiant Shadows - review by Alethea

Sunday 5/29 - Darkest Mercy - podcast with special guest Kate G.

Monday 5/30 - Graveminder - review by Jessica from Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

Tuesday 5/31 - last chance to enter to win Radiant Shadows - giveaway
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