Wednesday, October 26, 2011
We have loved seeing everyone's "Top YA Books for Halloween" lists this week. There are a lot of creepy reads we need to check out -- like The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, or even The Stand by Stephen King.

While we work on getting our hands on those books, we wanted to get YOUR hands on THESE books!

Tempted (House of Night, #6) Trance
TEMPTED by PC and Kristin Cast, and TRANCE by Linda Gerber

Yes, friends, this is a giveaway. And an easy one, at that. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment before next Wed, Nov 2nd, and tell us what you're doing for Halloween. Going to a party? Dressing up as Tinkerbell? Staying home to hand out candy? Let us know, and you'll be entered to win one of these 2 books.

(Must have a US mailing address. Sorry, international friends!)

Also, we'd love if you would spread the word on Twitter or FB. Thanks!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Artwork by MShah123
When I open a book and read about a character described as "perfect" or "ordinary", I have to roll my eyes. We see it all the time: Perfect Girl that no one understands, Ordinary Girl that Perfect Boy just so happens to fall for. In reality, very few people fall into those catagories. Most us of are somewhere between ordinary and perfect.

When I come across a story that goes against this cliché, I get excited. It's refreshing. So I thought I would take a couple blog posts and discuss two different types of protagonists that I can never get enough of.

Part 1: The Protagonist that is too busy saving the world to care about appearances

Katniss Everdeen is no stranger to dirt and grime. She appreciates a pretty dress when she's at the Capitol, but when it's time to get down to business, her mind is in the arena. She has no problem roughing it to survive. And no one has to tell us that Katniss is attractive, her strength and cleverness show us that.

While Harry Potter's friends are worrying about hand-me-down robes and ten-second pimple vanisher, Harry just wants to make it through the school year alive. He never frets about his glasses and untidy hair. In fact, he makes us love those qualities about him, just because of who he is.

Claudia Arlexa lives in a world that prioritizes appearances above everything else. Futuristic technology and conspiracy are hidden beneath an 18th-century mask, creating a picturesque kingdom. But Claudia is determined to strip away all that beauty to show everyone the world as it really is, because the suffering in Incarceron is too high a price to pay for castles and beautiful gowns.

What are some characters that you think fall into this category? How do you think we can learn from people like Katniss, Harry, and Claudia?

Click here to read Part 2.

Steph
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
There are some seriously scrumptious stories out right now...books that are so decadent, I am more than willing to take that leap into a strange, new, or upside-down world.

The best stories are the ones where you know with the first word or the first line, that you are in good hands. Two of our recent favorites:


It starts with a crack, a sputter, and a spark. The match hisses to life.
- The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab


Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.
- The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Of course, we have to mention:


Because she was a princess she had a Pegasus.
- Pegasus by Robin McKinley

I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.
- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Okay, these writers are stupendous, but it also emphasizes how important it is to craft that first sentence, that first impression. No pressure or anything. ;)

What's the best first line you've ever read, that made you go all goose-pimply?



Wednesday, October 5, 2011
The Iron King = Iron Fey 1
The Iron Daughter = Iron Fey 2
The Iron Queen = Iron Fey 3
Summer's Crossing = Iron Fey ... 3.5?

There's something funny about that list, and I don't just mean the word "iron," which starts to look a little weird when you use it seven times in a row. No, I'm talking about that .5. Where on earth did that come from?

(Don't worry, I'll tell you!)

It came from a new trend. Many authors are now writing novellas, which are then being released as ebooks, which are meant to get you interested in a new series (like The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross) or else to tide you over until the next book in a series comes out (like Summer's Crossing by Julie Kagawa).

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (The Twilight Saga, #3.5) The Strange Case of Finley Jayne (Steampunk Chronicles, #0.5) Summer's Crossing (Iron Fey, #3.5)

(Note: If you have an ereader, or don't mind reading on the computer, you too can pick up these freebies!)

Personally I think these ebook novellas are a great idea. I love getting a taste of the characters, their world, and the author's writing style. In the (strange) case of Finley Jayne (Steampunk Chronicles 0.5), for example, it got me interested in a series I might otherwise not have picked up. "Steampunk" itself isn't a big draw for me, but I really enjoyed Finley's dual personality -- like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde -- combined with her humor and courage.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (Twilight 3.5) was a little different. Stephenie Meyer had written that material for herself, then decided to release it later as a fundraiser and a fan treat. It came after all the Twilight books were already out -- like a popsicle after a big summer picnic. Even though it wasn't directly about Bella or the Cullens, I definitely enjoyed seeing more of the story that I already knew and loved.

And then there's Summer's Crossing, which I downloaded but haven't read yet (because I haven't read Iron Fey 1-3, so I can't start with 3.5!). Like Meyer did in Bree Tanner, Julie Kagawa uses a different narrator from the rest of the series to show fans a new side to the story and the world. From what I've heard, he's a popular character, and readers were happy to get inside his head.

What about y'all? Do you like these ebook extras? Do you bother to read them, or are they like the special features on a DVD that you never watch? Are there any others besides the three I've listed here that you enjoyed or are looking forward to? If you could pick any series to have the author write a bonus novella, which would it be?

KH
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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.


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on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Transparent
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
Bitterblue
The Fault in Our Stars
Pretties


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