Friday, July 29, 2011

A Sneak Peek at "Blood Wounds"

Hi Readers,

I’m sure that most, if not all, of you have heard of or read Susan Beth Pfeffer’s award-winning series affectionately known as “the Moon books.”  The series, which begins with “Life As We Knew It,” details the events that follow a catastrophic collision between the moon and a meteor that knocks the moon out of orbit and sets off a chain of events that forever alters … well … life as the characters knew it. 

Although Pfeffer is currently working on a fourth book for the moon series, her latest novel, “Blood Wounds,” due out on September 13, 2011, deals with a very different type of catastrophic event.  In “Blood Wounds,” Willa Coffey is a high school junior living a relatively normal life.  She resides in a wealthy suburb with her mother, stepfather, and stepsisters, attends a very nice public school, and sings in the chorus. But Willa’s life is forever changed when her father, whom she has not seen since she was a young child, murders his new wife and their three young children and then heads north, presumably towards Willa, forcing her and her mother into hiding under police protection.  

Although the publisher’s description of “Blood Wounds” suggests that the novel is a suspenseful, action-packed account of Willa fleeing from her father, the book is really much more about the aftermath as Willa attempts to come to terms with her own identity and how she fits into the many families in her life.  In fact, “Blood Wounds” opens with a scene in which Willa reflects on a Tolstoy quote from "Anna Karenina" about families and that quote sets the scene for the entire novel.  “Blood Wounds” isn’t about running from a madman as much as it’s about realizing that no family is perfect, and no family is the same, but nevertheless, family is important and sometimes it’s all we have.

“Blood Wounds” is a must-read and since I’m so excited about it, I am going to give my copy to one lucky reader.  If you want to get your hands on an ARC of “Blood Wounds,” fill out this form. You can earn extra entries by tweeting about the contest, promoting it through Facebook, or posting about it on your own blog! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Review Flashback

Hi Readers!

As you may have noticed, I've been taking it pretty easy this summer.  I have three(!) summer jobs, so the blog has been pushed a bit to the back burner, but don't worry - I'm saving up all my good stuff for the fall. :)

While you anxiously await the good stuff, I figured I would link back to reviews of books that TBF 2012 authors that I've published previously on the blog.  Follow the links and enjoy!

Last June, I reviewed "Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side" by Beth Fantaskey.  I said that "Twilight" fans and non-fans alike would appreciate this novel with a kick-butt heroine, and I stand by the statement.

Guest reviewer Colleen reviewed "Jekel Loves Hyde" by Beth Fantaskey in February, saying that she thought the expansion of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson story would appeal to many readers.

In March 2010, I posted a review of Ellen Hopkin's "Tricks" which had originally been published in Nazareth's student newspaper, "The Gleaner." My favorite of Ellen's books thus far, I raved about the novel-in-verse.

Jordan, my first ever teen guest blogger, provided her review of "Crank" by Ellen Hopkins.  Jordan raved about the book and wrote that she loved the way "Crank" allowed her to get into the mind of teenage drug user Kristina.

One of my very first reviews on the blog covered Terry Trueman's "Stuck in Neutral" and earlier this year, I reviewed its companion novel, "Cruise Control."  Both are must-reads, and good preparation for "Stuck in Neutral"'s sequel, which is on its way to publication.

I reviewed one of my favorite reads of last summer, "Violet on the Runway" by Melissa Walker more than a year ago.  I love Melissa's writing and she is one of the authors that I am most looking forward to meeting at TBF 2012.  Also be sure to check out my review of her newest novel, "Small Town Sinners," which celebrated its book birthday this past Tuesday!

So readers, hopefully this blast from the past provided you with at least one new review and a few books to add to your TBF TBR pile.  And like I said, get ready for this fall - exciting things are coming. (New reviews! Giveaways! Interviews! Sneak Peeks! Can you feel the excitement?)

Friday, July 15, 2011

"Wintergirls" in Summertime

Hi Readers!

Okay I realize that it has been waaaaaay too long since I last posted, and I apologize, but I have a pretty good excuse.  I was in Harry Potter World! And it was incredible! I’ve been dreaming of going since they first announced the project and this year I was lucky enough to finally get the chance.  My family spend half a day there and it felt just like living one of the Harry Potter books.  I wandered around Hogsmeade, wound my way through Hogwarts, poked around in Zonkos and Honeydukes, and whizzed around a “broomstick.”  It was so worth the years-long wait.  But enough babbling about the awesomeness that is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter … I have TBF business to get to!

TBF 2012 will mark the third time that the amazing Laurie Halse Anderson has attended Teen Book Festival.  She was an attendee at the very first TBF, which is where I first saw her speak.  I actually stumbled upon her presentation by accident – I was looking for Alex Sanchez’s room, turned the corner too soon and ended up the cafeteria where she was presenting.  It was the best wrong turn I ever took.  Her presentation was hilarious, and serious, and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Although she’s most well-known in the young adult world for her novel “Speak” she has authored four other YA novels: “Catalyst,” “Prom,” “Twisted,” and “Wintergirls.” 

In “Wintergirls,” Lia and Casie were best friends until Casie’s death.  Twins in mental illness, both Lia and Casie struggled (and continue to struggle) with eating disorders.  Bulimia stole Casie’s life, and although Lia is no longer in treatment for anorexia, she is still hiding her illness from her dysfunctional family.  Booklist described “Wintergirls” as “a brutal and poetic deconstruction of how one girl stealthily vanishes into the depths of anorexia.” I can’t think of a better way to describe this book.  It’s disturbing and hearth wrenching, but it’s also eye-opening.  It provides the reader with a glimpse into the mind of a teenager struggling with a very serious and very real issue.  “Wintergirls” is not a book to be taken and read lightly, but it is a book with the potential to change lives, and that is an astounding thing.