Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Booking Forward to 2013

We like to start a new year off right....with BOOK PUNZ.  And book lists!  So, let's talk about all the books we're counting down the days to be released in 2013.

First off, let's get the No, Duh selections out of the way. As in, The Howling Boy. Duhhhhh. Just One Day. Duh. Isla and the Happily Ever After. Duh. Dracomachia. Double duh. More Than This. All duhs in the history of duhs. We (and the rest of you) will be elbowing each other out of the way for those new books.  But what other release dates do we have circled on our calendars?

Noelle: As a long time reader and fan of The Rejectionist, my first choice had to be All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry (and that was when all I knew was that it was based in the Pacific Northwest in the 90s!)  Goodreads now has a full synopsis and I cannot wait. (St. Martin's Griffin: July 30, 2013)
Goodreads Synopsis: The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.  Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying. And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can.

Maggie: Have you read Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood? By that, I mean have you LOVED Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood? That book just made me happy. I immediately staked out Fiona Wood's website and Twitter for news of her next book, and after a few title changes, she settled on Wildlife. There aren't many details about the book but the few that she has released, namely that Lou from Six Impossible Things will be one of the two main characters, easily makes this one of my most anticipated titles of 2013. (Pan Macmillan Australia)


Noelle:  Anyone who read my review of The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke, knew The Pirate's Wish was going to show up here.  With all the setup out of the way, the sequel has promise of being even better than the first book.  I'm dying to get my hands on it. (Strange Chemistry: June 4, 2013)
Goodreads Synopsis: After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach. Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.


Maggie: My first choice doesn't have a cover but it at least has a title. My second choice has neither, but anyone who's read Angelfall by Susan Ee has been waiting with bated breath for news of the sequel. Fall 2013. It's on. (Amazon Children's Publishing)


Noelle: Who didn't add Daisy Whitney's When You Were Here to their to-read list at that original "Where She Went meets Lost in Translation" blurb? (Little, Brown: June 2013)
 Goodreads synopsisDanny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.  Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.  When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harijuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

Maggie: This one doesn't have a cover either. However, it already has an award. Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts won the 2012 Text Prize. Text publishes some of our favorite authors, like Leanne Hall (winner of the 2009 Text Prize), Vikki Wakefield, and Paula Weston, so I have high expectations for Zac and Mia. (Text: August 2013)
Text synopsis: Zac and Mia opens in an oncology ward in Perth, where 17-year-old Zac is recovering from a bone marrow transplant for leukaemia. He and Mia, the ‘newbie’ patient in the room next door, begin a friendship via Facebook, letters and messages passed through one of the nurses — but out of hospital things are a lot more complicated. Written with great humour, Zac and Mia is a realistic novel about being a young person in extraordinary circumstances.


Noelle: I feel like I've had my eye on this next book for-ev-er.  But never fear! The release date of Bruised by Sarah Skilton is finally near! (Amulet/Abrams: March 5, 2013)
Goodreads synopsisWhen Imogen, a sixteen-year-old black belt in Tae Kwon Do, freezes during a holdup at a local diner, the gunman is shot and killed by the police, and she blames herself for his death. Before the shooting, she believed that her black belt made her stronger than everyone else -- more responsible, more capable. But now her sense of self has been challenged and she must rebuild her life, a process that includes redefining her relationship with her family and navigating first love with the boy who was at the diner with her during the shootout. With action, romance, and a complex heroine, Bruised introduces a vibrant new voice to the young adult world -- full of dark humor and hard truths.


Maggie: I just came across this on Alpha Reader's Most Anticipated Books of 2013 list and the word basketball immediately jumped out at me. (Go Spurs Go!) Canary by Rachele Alpine has "destroy me" potential. (Medallion Press: August 28, 2013)
Goodreads synopsis: Staying quiet will destroy her, but speaking up will destroy everyone.
Kate Franklin’s life changes for the better when her dad lands a job at Beacon Prep, an elite private school with one of the best basketball teams in the state. She begins to date a player on the team and quickly gets caught up in a world of idolatry and entitlement, learning that there are perks to being an athlete. 
But those perks also come with a price. Another player takes his power too far and Kate is assaulted at a party. Although she knows she should speak out, her dad’s vehemently against it and so, like a canary sent into a mine to test toxicity levels and protect miners, Kate alone breathes the poisonous secrets to protect her dad and the team. The world that Kate was once welcomed into is now her worst enemy, and she must decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes. 
Canary is told in a mix of prose and verse.

Noelle: A Psychological YA Thriller by Lucy Christopher?! Where do I sign?  The Killing Woods can't be released soon enough for me. (Chicken House Ltd: March 5, 2013)

 Goodreads synopsisEmily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.  


Maggie: Lili Wilkinson x stage magicians x a bunny named Warren. Need I say more? (Okay, technically I can't say more since there isn't much information and the book isn't even listed on goodreads yet.) But a picture is worth a thousand words. Look at this cover! I got the cover off Lili's website and according to her Twitter, The Zigzag Effect will be released April 2013. (I'm assuming by Allen & Unwin.)


Noelle: You all know I love Martha Wells so her first official YA fantasy release, Emilie & the Hollow World is getting an automatic spot on this list. (Strange Chemistry: April 2, 2013)
Goodreads synopsisWhile running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure. Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of Lord Engal, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father. With the ship damaged on arrival, they attempt to traverse the strange lands on their quest. But when evidence points to sabotage and they encounter the treacherous Lord Ivers, along with the strange race of the sea-lands, Emilie has to make some challenging decisions and take daring action if they are ever to reach the surface world again.  

Maggie: I started off 2012 by reading Mercy Thompson. All of Mercy Thompson. I thought it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship with urban fantasy, but honestly, I haven't liked another series nearly as much. Luckily, Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson #7) by Patricia Briggs will be released in 2013. Hauptman. Swoon. (Orbit: March 5, 2013)

Goodreads synopsis: Shapeshifter Mercy Thompson's life is calming down, at least enough that she can focus on mundane matters like Black Friday sales. But on her return, Mercy is unable to contact her mate, Alpha Adam Hauptman, or the other members of their pack. All she knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam's disappearance may be related - and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from the most unlikely of allies: the vampire seethe.


Noelle: My urban fantasy pick for 2013 has to be Haze by Paula Weston.  As we mentioned above, Text Publishing authors are basically an auto-buy for us at this point and Paula Weston and Shadows was one of my favorite new discoveries of 2012.   I can't wait to see what comes next!

This being a sequel and all, I'll play it safe and just link to the Goodreads synopsis.  Don't want to accidentally spoil anything for those still waiting for the US release of Shadows.


Maggie: Whoever said you shouldn't judge books by their covers said it to make books that didn't have THIS cover feel better. Seriously, just look at Girl Defective by Simmone Howell. This cover kicks so much ass. It's already my favorite cover of 2013. The title and description just add to the anticipation. (Pan Macmillan Australia: March 1, 2013)

 Goodreads synopsis: We, the Martin family, were like inverse superheroes, marked by our defects. Dad was addicted to beer and bootlegs. Gully had "social difficulties" that manifested in his wearing a pig snout mask 24-7. I was surface clean but underneath a weird hormonal stew was simmering... 
It's summer in St Kilda. Fifteen-year-old Sky is looking forward to great records and nefarious activities with Nancy, her older, wilder friend. Her brother – Super Agent Gully – is on a mission to unmask the degenerate who bricked the shop window. Bill the Patriarch seems content to drink while the shop slides into bankruptcy. A poster of a mysterious girl and her connection to Luke, the tragi-hot new employee sends Sky on an exploration into the dark heart of the suburb. Love is strange. Family Rules. In between there are teenage messes, rock star spawn, violent fangirls, creepy old guys and accidents waiting to happen. If the world truly is going to hell in a hand-basket then at least the soundtrack is kicking. Sky Martin is Girl Defective: funny, real and dark at the edges.

Noelle:   I loved Split and am beyond intrigued by the hybrid graphic novel/prose format of Swati Avasthi's latest book Chasing Shadows  (August 6, 2013).   It's killing me that there's no cover art available yet. *grabby hands*
 Goodreads Synopsis: College-bound Holly, Corey, and Savitri plan to make their last summer together count between reading comic books and free running (a sport that blends gymnastics with running through an urban landscape). But a bullet changes everything: Corey is dead; Savitri wants revenge, and Holly withdraws into a world of her own making, where she can rescue Corey from Death himself. As Holly disappears into a realm beyond Savitri’s reach, Savitri must decide how far she'll go to rescue Holly. Written as a hybrid between graphic novel and prose, Chasing Shadows is about how we let go of people we love.

Maggie: For my final book, I'm pulling out my tie-dyed Rayanne Graff "duh squared" card. Noelle and I already mentioned it above, but I have to mention it again because it is unquestionably my most anticipated book of 2013. Howling Boy. Cath Crowley. Duh squared. Like with my other choices, details are few and far between, but here's one from Cath that should make the lack of cover more bearable. (Pan Macmillan Australia: September 2013)

Noelle: Um, duh.


So there you have it!  There's nothing like starting off a new year with an exciting new to-read list! What are you looking forward to reading in 2013?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Have Yourself A Very Bookish Christmas

by Noelle
My kind of Christmas tree (source)
Looking for some bookish love from Santa this year? (Well besides the obvious wish for MOAR BOOKZ, that is?)  Never fear,  I've been trolling the internet like it's my job, finding the best book lovers' gifts available to give or receive this holiday season.  Let's get to it.

This hand painted book locket by khara ledonne is sold out in her Etsy store, but restocks in a slightly different design every once in awhile.  Isn't it adorable?

This necklace by Anne Potter is one of my favorite of the Hunger Games mockingjay inspired pieces of jewelry I've seen:

An old Harry Potter fave of mine: "I solemnly swear I am up to no good" bracelet from The Letter G Etsy store

I cackled with glee when I stumbled across this t-shirt homage to the notorious Direwolves (of Game of Thrones fame) at FencingNArchery's Etsy store (also available in Stark):

Another Game of Thrones shirt, this time A King in Every Corner designed by Alexi Solis and Alice X. Zhang:

I wish this t-shirt was available in a print, but a t-shirt will do for now.  Here's The Gift of Knowledge by Jeremy Owen:

I love this Calvin and Hobbes (Calvin and Hobbit?) interpretation of The Hobbit.  Halfling and Wizard by Cool Johnny:

And can't forget good ol' Jane.  Love the silhouette (and the quote!) in this Jane Eyre inspired pullover by Penelope Valencia:
Art Prints
I headed over to Etsy & Society6 to check out the bookish art prints in stock (some are now available to print on tote bags, phone covers, and pillows!)  Here are my faves with a link of where to buy:

The Upside of Being an Introvert by Noelle Stevenson
Library by the Sea by Jeremy Miranda 
(bought for me by my sister! Thanks B!)
Louisa May Alcott quote by Rebecca Borrelli
(unfortunately prints aren't available yet but the original was just too pretty not to include!)
Ideal Bookshelf 353: English Lit by Jane Mount

Jungle Book by David Fleck
A Good Book by Emmy Cicierega
ElectriciTree by Budi Satria Kwan
Also available as a t-shirt here
by BookishCharm on Etsy
Want to charge your iPhone with a little more bookish style?  Rich Neeley Designs has you covered (get it? GET IT?) Good luck deciding which beautiful book to go with!

Those who know my penchant for lists know this book journal at Gone Reading is a no brainer:
Speaking of checking out books, you can transform your own lending library with this personal library kit! The obvious next step is charging late fees for borrowing offenders: 

Last but not least (as in totally expensive)... A whole new meaning of book plates:

And I'm nothing if not thorough, so why not some book themed wrapping paper to wrap all your bookish gifts! What--you weren't buying all of these for yourself, were you? *cough*  Anyways, there are a ton of literary wrapping paper choices at this site, including a fave Louisa May Alcott quote ("She was too fond of books, and it has turned her brain") option.

Which bookish gifts are going on your wishlist this year? What are some great bookish gifts you've given or gotten in the past?

From us here at YAA to you, our lovely readers: Here's to a happy, healthy and bookish holiday season!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bookmark Binge: November 18, 2012

Let's play some catch-up.  In case you haven't gotten enough of...

The Hollow Kingdom?
How cool is this? Clare B. Dunkle posted a bunch of deleted scenes from The Hollow Kingdom on her blog.  (Warning: Inevitable spoilers for those who haven't read it!)
Dunkle also answers questions specifically for readers of The Hollow Kingdom. (Again: spoiler alert.)
I had a feeling there would be some fan art for this series, here is my favorite I found: Prince Charming He's Not

My Most Excellent Year?
Apparently Steve Kluger made website for Augie (Enter the fabulous word of Augie Hwong!), but it's not running anymore. Sad. I'm sure it was fabulous.

Where to start with Quintana? How about Melina's casting choice for Perri.
One of my favorite reviews has some Joetry, poetry by Jo on Wear the Old Coat.
132 Minutes hosted a blog tour and had a guest post by Melina herself.
Danielle at Alpha Reader recapped 'Meet Melina Marchetta' and 'The Art of Writing for Children' at the Melbourne Writers Festival.
And of course, I have to mention the fabulous playlists by Noelle, Reynje, and Catie.

Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight?
In case you need more reasons to read this, here is Nomes's fabulous review.
Like with My Most Excellent Year, I should've read this sooner because apparently I missed the extras and alternate scenes on However, the About page is still up.

Look at all these links lying around...
Laini Taylor announces the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Jewelry Collection! All proceeds for sales made through January 31 will go to the Red Cross to benefit Hurricane Sandy relief!
Leanne over at the Reclusive Reader is looking for a co-blogger.
Jo kicks off her new feature On Writing by interviewing Trish Doller on American Contemporary Fiction.
And if you missed this post last week, The Readventurer discusses fictional settings they wish they could explore in real life.

Upcoming Reviews and Reads...



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight by Nick Earls and Rebecca Sparrow

Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight
By Nick Earls and Rebecca Sparrow
Reviewed by Maggie: November 15, 2012
Published January 1, 2007 by Penguin Australia
Goodreads • Buy at Fishpond ($15.97)

Remember the Britney and Justin Dance Off of 2002? (And Matt Damon's reenactment on SNL?) This book is the literary equivalent of that. Yes, it's as awesome as it sounds.

Joel and Cat, classmates and enemies, are paired together for a tandem writing project. They have to write a story one alternating paragraph at a time. But the first rule of tandem story writing is that you do not talk about tandem story writing. They can't discuss the plot or characters. Any problems? Take it to the page! (Sidenote: No wonder Australian YA is awesome -- their English teachers kick ass. Mr. Ashton reminded me a bit of Mr. Botherit and his Joy of the Envelope.)

The 'enemies who are forced to work together' is one of my favorite tropes. Done well, it leads to great chemistry and banter, and the reader falls in love along with the characters. You already know how I feel about Rebecca Sparrow. (In case you don't, I ADORE her.) There's just something about her writing that I connected to immediately and I loved Nick McGowan from the first page. Imagine my surprise when I didn't connect to Joel and Cat right away. I don't get it. Did I stumble into bad lighting? I put the book down after about 40 pages. A few days later, I decided to pick it up again, and this time, I couldn't put it down until I was done. I didn't stop laughing until a good 30 minutes after I had finished the book. I think the beginning felt a bit disjointed as the characters, the authors, and I got used to the tandem style. Once we were all on the same page (hardy har har), it was so much fun. It's obvious that Rebecca Sparrow and Nick Earls had fun writing this. I can't even mention a scene without cackling like Julia Roberts and wanting to spoiler the hell out of it for you so we can laugh about it together, but I won't!

There's a distinctly Australian feel to the book. I had to google references to Megan Gale, Andrew G, and Mary Kostakidis. I cracked up after looking up 'Ken Done scarf', which is how Cat describes Joel's hippy dippy mother's appearance, because that's exactly how I pictured her. I was surprised that Australia has Sizzlers. Of all the restaurants America could export! There are still a few around LA -- to keep people like my grandma happy. I loved that Sizzler was also a turning point in the book. Seriously, so much fun!

If Sizzler doesn't tempt you to read this book, maybe Cat's dad will. Remember that episode of Friends where Ross goes tanning? "I'm an 8!" Cat's dad takes that as a personal challenge.
When Joel and Cat are first paired up, Joel throws down the gauntlet and challenges Cat with two words: Amaze me. Nick Earls and Rebecca Sparrow did. They each bring such a charming, unique voice to the story. I'm no Nate Silver, but I predict you will laugh your ass off while reading this book.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Review: Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
(Lumatere Chronicles #3)
Reviewed by Maggie: October 26, 2012
Published September 26, 2012 by Viking Australia
To Be Published March 12, 2013 by Candlewick
Goodreads • Buy at Fishpond • Preorder at Amazon

What can I say about this book but faith rewarded? How do I begin to talk about a series that turned me onto a new genre?

Marchetta took me on a journey through an unfamiliar genre and story landscape, through curses and the Citavita. Looking back on Finnikin, I couldn't even finish my review because I was so unused to fantasy. I was exhausted by the little I did manage to write. By the time I read Froi, I was better prepared and any exhaustion I felt was due to the emotional ride from the book.

With Quintana, I could talk about how Lucian and Perri should star in their own buddy cop show, or how being in Quintana's head seemed like the most natural place to be. I loved so many of the characters, but for me, this series comes down to two people -- Isaboe and Froi. The things that bond them are at the heart of the series. They are the faces of children of war.

In Isaboe, we see what war does to a once beloved, sheltered child. Her experiences in Sarnak and Sorel shape the fierce queen she’s become. She’s unflinching. However, sometimes that results in a harshness that had me wincing. It's how she survived on her own, but it may not be the best way to ensure her people's survival.

For Froi, it was Sir Topher who prevented him from going down an irreversible path, but that and a belief in a girl with magic, shaped the man he became. His journey of redemption -- never once forgetting what could have been -- is about overcoming all the experiences that can break you and turn you into someone you're not. I loved seeing the person Froi came to be when given love and when he gave his love in return. It was so wholehearted and pure. It was devastating to think what war did to the boy with that much heart.

One character I didn't feel much affection for was Lady Zarah. To quote the great Dionne Warwick, I got your number, hussy!

Quintana of Charyn tested the bounds of loyalty, friendship, and family, and what it meant to be Lumateran, Charynite, Queen, husband, wife, lover, and friend. It's about having faith first, like a boy with cats once did, so it can be rewarded later. I loved being in this world and I hope Marchetta revisits it again, as I know I will.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

I leave the playlist-making to Noelle, but one song that played over and over in my head while reading Quintana was This Woman's Work by Kate Bush.

YAA Soundtrack: Lumatere Boxset

by Noelle

If you scroll through my favorite books on Goodreads, chances are I have a soundtrack for them on my iPod.  And like any music-obsessed person, I live to force my favorite songs on others.  For any other playlist aficionados out there who enjoy making and listening to book-themed soundtracks, you've come to the right place!  We will occasionally be posting links to playlists from my personal soundtrack collection.

This is a very special multi-blog soundtrack collection that I'm super excited to participate in: The Lumatere Boxset!  The idea came about chatting with the lovely Catie (of The Readventurer) and Reynje (of the brand new wordchasing) and our mutual love of book soundtracks.  Before long, we decided to try our hand at a trilogy, specifically a playlist for each book in the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta.  I chose Finnikin of the Rock.  

Visit wordchasing for Reynje's soundtrack for Froi of the Exiles and The Readventurer for Catie's soundtrack for Quintana of Charyn next!

First up is Finnikin!


Since the Lumatere Trilogy is a fantasy, I tried to go for cinematic soundtrack choices for my tracklist.  I could imagine most of these songs playing in scenes from a Finnikin of the Rock movie or trailer.  Besides that, I tried to choose songs about epic journeys and the ol' standby emotional ANGST.  

Take a listen to the Grooveshark playlist or check out the tracklisting below:

1. O Death - Jen Titus
2. Endless Night - The Lion King Broadway Original Cast: What? First of all a) this is a total father son song for Trevanion and Finnikin and b) this entire show has something in common with Marchetta: they both make me sob.
3. Wading Deep Waters - Crooked Still
4. Ivory Tower - Tripod
5. Sorrow - The National: Sorrow found me when I was young... 
6. Cold, Cold Water - Mirah: This song always reminded me of Evanjalin.
7. Poison and Wine - The Civil Wars: My Evanjalin/Finnikin song.
8. Do Not Hang Your Head - Elizabeth and the Catapult: Sometimes manipulating loved ones to achieve the freedom of your people can really wear you down.
9.  You Will Be My Ain True Love - Allison Krauss
10. Just Breathe - Pearl Jam 
11. Hold you In My Arms - Ray LaMontagne: Because I'm a sucker for ending on a happy note.

Thanks for listening!  How'd I do?  And don't forget to check out Reynje's Froi soundtrack and Catie's Quintana soundtrack to listen to the complete set!