Under Construction

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday!

This Wednesday, I'm waiting on Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. But, come on, who isn't? Shiver was amazing and I can only hope that this second book will live up to its expectations. All I know is the synopsis sounds pretty darn good, and the cover is totally cool. Linger will be released by Scholastic Press July 20, 2010.


"In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget." Goodreads.com



Enjoy,
Arya

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin 5 of 5 stars.

"Here (in Pakistan and Afghanistan), we drink three cups of tea to do business, the first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third, you join our family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything--even die." --Haji Ali, Korphe Village Chief, Karakoram Mountain, Pakistan

The astonishing, uplifiting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his remarkable humanitarian campaign in the Taliban's backyard.

In 1993 a mountaineer named Greg Mortenson drifted into an impoverished Pakistan village in the Karakoram mountain after a failed attempt to climb K2. Moved by the inhabitants' kindness, he promised to return and build a school. Three Cups of Tea is the story of that promise and its extraordinary outcome. Over the next decade Mortenson built not just one but fifty-five school--especially for girls--in the forbidding terrain that gave birth to the Taliban. His story is at once a riveting adventure and testament to the power of the humanitarian spirit. (book blurb)

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin was a moving and humbling story that brought a tear-jerking view of the people in the region that America has feared ever since 9/11. I laughed and I cried as I read about the saintly man called Greg Mortenson. From what he went through as a child moving from Tanzania to America and his time in the army, Mortenson's life and good heart are something to marvel at.
While the writing of the book, being nonfiction, was not what I was used to I enjoyed it, and I cherish the look into the lives of the Muslim people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The people in the rural villages where Mortenson traveled had so very little, but they were willing to give it all to a foreigner passing by. Reading this book was so humbling, I had to fight back tears much of the time.
Reading about how Greg Mortenson refused to go home after 9/11, even when everyone in America was telling him he was in the most dangerous part of the world was also touching. All of the people who passed through Mortenson's life came alive on the page and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about all of them.
Greg Mortenson's theory of improving life and ridding the world of terrorism and extremism through education is truly inspirational, and I agree 150%!

This is an unforgettable story, and I would suggest this book to absolutely everyone.

To find out more please go to ThreeCupsofTea.com

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In My Mailbox + News!

Hi, everyone! I've had a lovely week with all the mail I've been getting. I'll list what I got below, but I would also like to ask you to check out BehinYellowEyes.com for me. They're trying to find a webcaster for their site and I've auditioned. =) I'd love it if you checked it out and maybe voted for me? You can check it out by clicking here. Thanks!

Here is my loot for the week:


Not quite sure how I feel about this one yet. From a quick scan through the poems don't really look my taste. I'll have to check it out more later to decide though.


This one actually looks really good! I can't wait to read it.


This isn't really the type of thing I usually read, and I haven't had a chance to read the other books, but it looks pretty cool. I love the gothic cover!


Not into this one in the least, sadly. I wish people would stop sending these kind of novels...((The cover is different than this))

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller (cover art not released)
I am soooo excited to read this one! The synopsis sounds so absolutely amazing I'm going to share it with you now. (Because, ya know, I don't have a cover pic or anything...)

"Haven Moore has always lived in the tiny town of Snope City, Tennessee. But for as long as she can remember, Haven has experienced visions of a past life as a girl named Constance, whose love for a boy called Ethan ended in a fiery tragedy.
One day, the sight of notorious playboy Iain Morrow on television brings Haven to her knees. Haven flees to New York City to find Iain and there, she is swept up in an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Is Iain her beloved Ethan? Or is he her murderer in a past life? Haven asks the members of the powerful and mysterious Ouroboros Society to help her unlock the mysteries of reincarnation and discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves, before all is lost and the cycle begins again. But what is the Ouroboros Society? And how can Haven know who to trust?"
Sounds awesomely gothic and romantic, huh? =)


And last but not least, A Conspiracy of Kings! I've been dying to read this, even though I haven't had the chance to read any of Megan Whalen Turner's other books. It sounds like just what I've been needing. =) So thrilled!

Much love,
Arya

Friday, March 26, 2010

Interview with Barbara Quick

Hello, everyone! Today I am excited to introduce the author of A Golden Web, a historical fiction novel releasing April 16, 2010, Barbara Quick! She's an amazing author and was kind enough to do an interview with me. Its very inspiring to read, and I think you'll all enjoy it!




Alessandra is desperate to escape.

Desperate to escape her stepmother, who's locked her away for a year; to escape the cloister that awaits her and the marriage plans that have been made for her; to escape the expectations that limit her and every other girl in fourteenth-century Italy. There's no tolerance in her quiet village for Alessandra and her keen intelligence and unconventional ideas.

In defiant pursuit of her dreams, Alessandra undertakes an audacious quest, her bravery equaled only by the dangers she faces. Disguised and alone in a city of spies and scholars, Alessandra will find a love she could not foresee -- and an enduring fame.

In this exquisite imagining of the centuries-old story of Alessandra Giliani, the world's first female anatomist, acclaimed novelist Barbara Quick gives readers the drama, romance, and rich historical detail for which she is known as she shines a light on an unforgotten -- and unforgettable -- heroine.

1. Was it hard for you to get an image in your head of the setting/time period in A Golden Web?

It was a surprise for me, once I got to Bologna to begin my research there, to realize how long ago the 14th century was! I guess I was a little na├»ve and maybe a bit spoiled, too, in that 18th century Venice—the setting for VIVALDI’S VIRGINS—is still more or less intact. The settings for A GOLDEN WEB have mostly been covered up by seven centuries of history and architecture. I literally had to go underground, in Bologna, to explore many of the ruins of the 14th century—to creep around in crypts!

I had a bit of a sense of despair when I realized that time had obliterated so much of what I had hoped to touch, smell, and see. And then I woke up in my little hotel room one day and heard birds singing out in the garden. They were probably the same kind of birds, I reasoned, that Alessandra would have heard. I took a long hike along a pilgrimage road, and realized that the trees, the plants, the way the clouds massed in the sky above the land—all of that was still there to inform me about Alessandra’s world.

The biggest help, though, were the paintings and illuminated manuscripts I studied in Bologna’s beautiful museums and libraries: paintings that were made in Alessandra’s time. Even though the subject matter was almost always Classical or Biblical, the little details in the paintings revealed a huge amount about the way daily life was lived in the early 14th century in that part of Italy. I mined these pictures for details: how people dressed, what furniture they sat and slept on. What and how they ate, and how they harvested and prepared the food for their table. All the complex architecture of their everyday lives.

Of course, I profited, too, from the considerable scholarly research that’s been done on the subject. I’m putting together a list for my web site of the books I used for my research. I’m tremendously grateful for the patient work of all those scholars who’ve spent whole academic lifetimes studying the Middle Ages!


2. What was your favorite thing about writing this book?

Well, of course, I loved going to Bologna and spending time there, doing the research. Soon after I got home, though, I had a really serious accident on a backpacking trip. I ended up with a horribly bruised face, thirteen stitches at my hairline, and a broken heart (on top of it all). The characters of A GOLDEN WEB gave me companionship and escape during what turned out to be a year of healing. My bruises took about three weeks to heal; the broken heart took the entire year.

Fortunately, I was more than willing to immerse myself in what turned out to be the most intense experience of research and writing of my entire professional lifetime. It took me only one year, from start to finish, to research and write A GOLDEN WEB—and there was, as you know from the book, Arya, a huge amount of material to master: daily life in early 14th century Emilia-Romagna, educational practices, gender roles, the Church, how medicine was practiced (what was known, what wasn’t), all the physical details about how books were made prior to the invention of the printing press….

I’m pretty sure I did enough research, for each of these two novels, to earn a PhD (if only a novel could be counted as a doctoral dissertation!).

History was never one of my favorite subjects in school. But history has become a treasure-hunt for me, piecing together a richly detailed world to hold the stories I want to tell. I loved every moment that I worked on A GOLDEN WEB. “Worked” doesn’t even seem like the right word. The process was more a deeply emotional adventure for me: a full immersion into a fascinating and quite magical time and place. The hardest part was looking up, when the book was done, and realizing that I had to lose the companionship of Alessandra and all her family and friends, who had done so much to get me through what would have otherwise been a really difficult year. I hated saying goodbye to them!

3. What do you struggle most with when writing?

For the most part, writing isn’t a struggle for me—writing saves me, and always has, since I started writing poetry at the age of nine. The struggle for me is the world of publishing, which is littered with stumbling-blocks, not just for me, but for just about every writer. I filled an entire wall with rejection slips before my first poems were published.

Now that I’ve said that, I guess I have to add that writing sometimes has been an enormous struggle for me. My first novel, NORTHERN EDGE, took me ten years and thirteen complete drafts. It was a struggle to figure out how to make the transition from writing poetry to writing fiction.

For years, I had a sense of helplessness when I wrote short stories: the sense that I had no mastery over the form. I’ve only recently gotten to the point where I’m beginning to feel some sense of comfort in the genre: I’ve just written two short stories I really like.

These last two novels, VIVALDI’S VIRGINS and A GOLDEN WEB, were a breakthrough for me: I’d never written or even thought about writing historical fiction before. With both novels, I felt wonderfully connected with the characters. I felt like I could overhear them, inside my head, talking and thinking. I know it sounds kind of goofy—but that’s what it felt like.

4. Are there any authors you look up to?

Oh, there are so many! I so admire Tolstoy, Flaubert, Jane Austen, Henry James, Shirley Hazzard, the Bronte sisters, Rose Tremain, Dickens, Melville—I could go on and on. I don’t pay much attention to the bestseller list. When you look at the bestsellers of thirty years ago, they are almost all, uniformly, forgotten today. Time is the only trustworthy judge of literary merit. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that, in today’s cold-cruel-world of publishing and book selling, which only pays attention to the books that make lots and lots of money. That said, I’ve got to add that I really love the editor at HarperTeen, Rosemary Brosnan, who worked with me on A GOLDEN WEB. She’s wonderful—and I’m proud to count her now as a friend.

5. How do you find inspiration?

Being alive is terrifically inspiring—especially in light of the knowledge that our lives are all, absolutely, temporary. I’m inspired to do the best work I can, in whatever time I have in this body—and to be the best person I can be, too (well, that’s a lifelong struggle, isn’t it?).

But, getting back to your question, I think I find the greatest inspiration in things that move me—that open my heart. That make me feel—that bring tears to my eyes. Music does it, sometimes. And so does art—art that shows the humanity in all of us. And Nature, too, provides tremendous inspiration and solace. I love hiking and being in Nature—I’m a real tree-hugger! I love being near the ocean and near streams and waterfalls. I love watching and listening so closely that I myself disappear.

6. Who was your favorite character in A Golden Web? (Other than Alessandra.)

Hands-down, Otto! Although I do also love Nicco, and Alessandra’s father, too. In all of them, I was creating my own pretend-family.

Otto is the one character in the book, besides Mondino and his clan, whose existence is clearly documented. Otto really was a medical student, the son of a great landowner, and, later, an assistant to the great anatomist, Mondino. I found the text of the inscription Otto wrote for Alessandra to be so beautiful and touching. To be loved like that! As I said, it was a sad and lonely year for me. As I created Otto on the page, I was creating my own ideal romantic partner. And then I met Wayne! I have the beginnings of another YA novel called “The Magic Pen”—well, you can guess what that one’s about!

7. Do you have any advice for young historical fiction writers?

Read everything you can get your hands on, relevant to your subject. Don’t read other people’s fiction about the time and place, unless you know that it’s absolutely reliable. There’s a tremendous danger in mistaking other writers’ invention for historical fact! You also have to be very discriminating about “facts” you find on the Internet—although, believe me, the Internet is a fabulous resource for writers of historical fiction!

The other piece of advice I’d give is to surrender yourself to the subject matter. Let your characters live and breathe inside you. Experience their emotions—don’t just write about them! Read every word you write out loud. The rightness of language will often reveal itself to your ears before it reveals itself to your eyes. You have to be an actor as well as a writer, in that sense. “Perform” your novel while you’re writing it.

Make the basic story line of your novel as simple as possible; make sure it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Keep the cast of characters relatively small. Write “back stories,” just for yourself, about all the characters: these will inform you as you write your novel. They’ll tell you how these people will think and react; how they’ll speak. What they’re afraid of. What they want. What they don’t want. Give even your minor characters a wonderful, rich role to play in the story—even if they have only a few lines to speak, make them good ones. Make them matter. Make sure that no one character can ever be mistaken for any other character: give all your characters uniqueness and complexity. But keep your plot simple.


Thanks again, Barbara! I really enjoyed reading your answers!

Click here to read my review of A Golden Web.
To pre-order a copy of A Golden Web from Amazon.com click here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday!

This week I'm waiting on Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George which will be released by BloomsburyUSA on May 25, 2010. I love Jessica, and this sounds like an awesome remake! And, come on, who couldn't love that cover! I seriously want that girl's dress!!


"Hoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program, whereby young princes and princesses travel to each other's countries in the name of better political alliances and potential marriages. It's got the makings of a fairy tale until a hapless servant named Eleanor is tricked by a vengeful fairy godmother into competing with Poppy for the eligible prince. Ballgowns, cinders, and enchanted glass slippers fly in this romantic and action-packed happily-ever-after quest from an author with a flair for embroidering tales in her own delightful way." Amazon.com synopsis


To pre-order Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George from Amazon.com click here



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday's Adventure: Nellie Bly

I know I haven't been doing my Tuesday's Adventure much, but I'm going to start. And being that March (Women's History Month) is almost over, I want to spend this week telling you about one hell of a woman. Nellie Bly.


Nellie Bly May 5, 1862- January 27,1922


Nellie Bly was the pen name of a pioneer woman named Elizabeth Jane Cochran. Elizabeth was born to a wealthy former associate justice. Her father died when she was only six leaving nothing for her or her mother. In an attempt to secure wealth for her family Elizabeth's mother remarried three years later. Unfortunately, Elizabeth's stepfather was abusive and an alcoholic. Elizabeth, at 14, testified in court against him. Many people believe her passion for the women's rights movement stemmed from seeing how her stepfather treated her mother.

When Elizabeth was only 18 she sent a vehement, anonymous letter to the Pittsburgh Dispatch in response to a sexist article. The manager, George Madden, was impressed with her spunk and placed an add in the Sunday paper asking that she introduce herself. The very next day Elizabeth met George Madden and landed her first job as a journalist. Elizabeth then decided on the pen name Nellie Bly.

Nellie focused her attentions on women's rights, and she wasn't afraid to go under cover. She once posed as a sweat shop worker to expose the cruel condition women faced. She then moved on to Mexico where she wrote about the political corruption and economical hardship in the country. After a while her articles got her deported from Mexico.

Some of her other famous stunts include the time when she manged to get herself admitted into an insane asylum and was able to take pictures and write, from the inside, about the despicable way the patients were treated. As well as when she got herself arrested for theft in order to uncover the horrid way women prisoners were treated at the time.

But perhaps most famous of all was when little miss Bly was dared to try and beat the record of Around the World in 80 Days. What do you think Nellie Bly did? Not only did Nellie Bly accept this challenge, she beat it. Circumnavigating the world in 72 days while writing wonderful articles and taking beautiful pictures of her adventures along the way!

To find out more about Nellie Bly check out the book Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist by Brooke Kroeger or for children The Daring Nellie Bly: America's Star Reporter by Bonnie Christensen.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bro-Jitsu by Daniel H. Wilson

Bro-Jitsu the Martial Art of Sibling Smackdown by Daniel H. Wilson 5 of 5 stars.
26 Techniques to Gain Family Domination
To be released by BloomsburyUSA April 13, 2010

The world's most (okay, only) comprehensive guide to sibling torment.
Kung Fu. Tae Know Do. Karate. All ancient martial arts that have been around for thousands of years. But there's only one that's been studied by billions of brothers and sisters the world over. We're talking about Bro-Jitsu.
Defensive, and Psychological moves, Bro-Jitsu is a tongue-in-cheek encyclopedia of sibling smackdown, from how to most effectively include pro-wrestling moves in a standard bout to executing a full-body defensive fish wiggle, which will get you out of just about any choke hole or tackle. Throughout the book, diagrams and illustrations of the moves help you in your quest toward Bro-Master status. (book blurb)

I've honestly got to say, this is the most hilarious book I have read in a while. Actual tears came out of my eyes. I requested a review copy of this book expecting a little novelty book I could review and give to my younger cousins afterward, but now I DON'T WANT TO GIVE IT AWAY! Daniel H. Wilson has an absolutely perfect way of writing to bring out exactly how funny each of these moves is, and I can guarantee that whether or not you have siblings you will get major dejavu reading this. My mother adores it as well. We're waiting on the book to come out so that we can order a bunch of gift copies. I don't think anyone could possibly NOT like this book. I highly recommend it to everyone ages 6-66! I'm going to include a couple of excerpts to give you a small taste of how wonderful this book really is. Enjoy!

"Warning: Dealing with Only Children"
"A percentage of people on this planet do not have siblings. Scientists call these unfortunate people only children. These 'only children' can be found any where; they may be people you play with or people you ride the bus to school with. Be careful. Without years of daily training in Bro-Jitsu, only children may never properly learn how to tease, taunt, or rassle. An only child may take casual insults to heart. After a friendly noogie, headlock, or wet willy, an only child my react by punching you in the face, causing real blood to come out of your nose or lip. Stay alert and do not be taken by surprise; an only child can be as dangerous as a cornered badger."

"Stealth Butt Kick"
"While Walking side by side, shift the weight off the leg that is away from your sibling and bend your knee. Now deliver a quick behind-the-back kick to the seat of your sibling's pants and keep walking. If blamed for the kick, deny it. If kicked back, tell Mom."

To pre-order Bro-Jitsu by Daniel H. Wilson from Amazon.com click here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund 4 of 5 stars.

FORGET EVERYTHING
YOU EVER KNEW
ABOUT UNICORNS...
Real unicorns are
venomous, man-eating
monsters with huge fangs
and razor-sharp horns.
Fortunately, they've been extinct
for a hundred and fifty years.
OR NOT.

Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend--thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom--Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries
However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to--perhaps most dangerously of all--her growing attraction to a handsome art student. . . an attraction that could jeopardize everything.

Rampant was a quickly moving, hilariously written novel. Diana Peterfreund clearly put a great deal of thought and time into her mythology, creating a wonderfully believable tale. I enjoyed the unicorn stories immensely. From the cute little zhis like Bonegrinder, to the towering Karkadann that was said to have been the secret to Alexander the Great's conquest for Rome, Bucephalus. Peterfreund was able to give all of the characters a unique and genuine feel. Watching the main character Astrid grow from a girl aspiring to be a physician to a warrior crouching in mud and blood was funny, at times, and quite moving at others.
The only thing I think this book was lacking was a bit more action. I had expected a great deal of gorey unicorn battles, but was a bit disappointed. While the setting was gorgeous, the actual action amount to very little in comparison to the time spent delving into the characters.
All in all, Rampant is a good book that I believe many fantasy lovers would enjoy.

For fans of: Graceling, Fire, Fantasy

To order Rampant by Diana Peterfreund from Amazon.com click here

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Contest Winner!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

So, the corned beef has been eaten, the green has been worn, and the winner of the St. Patrick's Day giveaway has been chosen. Wanna know who's going to be receiving the illustrious SIGNED ARC copy of Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore??? ........ LINDSAY! I've emailed the lucky winner and she will soon be receiving her prize very soon. Sorry to all of you who entered and didn't win. Better luck next time. =)

Arya

Monday, March 15, 2010

In My Mailbox

WOW! Today has been a day. And in case you were wondering, shopping while sick is absolutely horrendous. Though shopping for anything that doesn't involve books usually is. Well, I was able to go to the bookstore 60 miles from here today and I must say I was surprised and quite pleased. While I still shudder at the cost of books, I was glad to see how many YA novels were now in stock. It looks like the barrier has really been broken. We went from having a handful of the bestsellers and a load of vampire/Twilight stuff, to hundreds of absolutely wonderful books! I'm proud. =)


Any way, today, on my limited fund, I was able to purchase these two:

Rampant by Diana Peterfund

I've been dying to get my hands on this book since it came out. I love the fact that they used the more traditional view of unicorns as deadly. I'm hoping it will be an exciting twist from some of the more subdued thing I've been reading lately.

Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

I've been dying to read this one as well. Especially, since reading Shiver the other day. Maggie Stiefvater is such an amazing talent, and I've got a feeling I'm going to love this book!

Upon arriving home today, I was also bombarded by these lovelies in the mail:

The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart

I didn't request this book but it looks totally awesome. And such a beautiful cover!

House of Dance by Best Kephart

Another lovely Beth Kephart surprise! I hope I like this one as well. The synopsis reminds me a bit of by beloved Eva Ibbotson, only more modern.

and

Little Vampire Women by Louisa May Alcott and Lynn Messina
(Cover Art Not Released)
This was a more unpleasant surprise. If you know me at all you know that I don't try to hide my disgust for the crazy classics-gone-paranormal fad. I find it completely distasteful and I absolutely will not be reading or reviewing this book. But, I also know how bloodthirsty some of you are so I'm going to be throwing this into a hoard of other vampire things I've been gathering for an AWESOMELY HUGE giveaway soon. =)

Much love,
Arya

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Alice, Eragon, Eclipse and More

My lovely readers! So good to see you again. Hehe. No, I haven't been purposefully lazy this last week, I have been dreadfully sick and still sort of am. But, since my brain was working a bit more properly, I thought I'd give you a recap of all the news from the past week.


Before becoming too sick to leave the house I was able to see Alice in Wonderland. While I adore Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway, I wasn't very impressed with the movie. But that's probably because I was never very crazy about Alice in Wonderland to begin with. The costumes were great but the 3D hurt my eyes a bit. I was surprised by how much better 3D effects have gotten since I last saw a movie in it. Overall I would give the movie 3 stars out of 5.

And let's not forget the much anticipated release of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse trailer! I was excited to see it but sadly there wasn't much to see. It definitely doesn't look (from the trailer) as exciting as New Moon. I was hoping for a glimpse of the vampire army. And apart from that I couldn't help but giggle at the way the actors looked. Its like some freaked out soap opera. But I am still excited to see it.


And now I bet your wondering where Eragon comes into all this, right? Well, RandomHouse's fantasy website/blog Suvudu.com is doing this fantasy character "Cage Match" thing. I don't really get the point but it is very entertaining. And guess who one of the match ups was!? Eragon vs. Aslan. Yes. Dragon Rider boy against C.S. Lewis's lion interpretation of God. I wasn't sure if I should laugh or be completely appalled. But I think they did good by it without offending anyone. And according to the little poll at the bottom of the post I'm guessing Aslan won, but like I said, I didn't really understand what the point was. Here's a link to the post, I think you'll enjoy it. Aslan vs. Eragon

And last but not least, I thought I'd toss my word into the seemingly never-ending conversation about Affiliates that is going around all of the blogs right now. I, personally, consider every single one of the blogs that you see on my blog roll as Affiliates. No, I don't inform everyone of all of their posts, but that isn't the point. When I was younger I used to do graphic designs for the website neopets.com. At the time there were a good many graphic sites set up for this purpose. I, of course, decided to make my own. Then everyone would have links to some of the other similar sites and call themselves Affiliates. How is that helpful? Because if someone doesn't find exactly what they're looking for on your site they can look through your Affiliates and see if they can find it there.
But that's just one way to do things I suppose. Thanks for listening to me ramble and ease my lazy conscience.

Much love,
Arya

Friday, March 12, 2010

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater 5 of 5 stars.

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human ... until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

I've wanted to read Maggie Stiefvater's books for a while. Shiver was the first I could get my hands on and I can't say it was a disappointment. Despite what might be viewed by some as a standard sounding synopsis that embodies today's Young Adult Paranormal genre this book is something entirely different. It is unique in a way that is touchy and heartbreaking. The writing is beautifully descriptive and I do wish I had seen a bit more of that. The characters are as real as if they were living and breathing people. The story's heroine, Grace, is not the typical of today's cowering girl that clings to her supernatural boyfriend, but a wonderfully strong and practical person who is willing to fight for what she wants. All of the characters from the main characters to the smaller ones are all an amazingly special part of the story. They all embody traits and personalities that instantly make you love or hate them. The story was full of surprises right up to the last page. And now I am dying to get my hands on the second book, Linger!

This is a truly amazing story that I would recommend for anyone.

For fans of: Maggie Stiefvater, Twilight
Click here to order Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater from Amazon.com

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fresh Pages

Hi, my lovely readers!! Today (or tonight, I know its late. Sorries!) I'm sharing with you some of the YA novels coming out this week. If I made a mistake on any of these please over look that. I was just picking some off of Amazon.



Twilight: Graphic Novel by Young Kim -- March 16


OMJ, do I really need to say anything here? Yes, it is beautiful but I can't help but see it as just another money maker for the Twilight franchise. And... kinda corny.


The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadow Souls by LJ Smith --March 16


Mwewhaha! Why, oh why, has CW postponed Vampire Diaries so long?!?

Is It Night or Day by --Mar 16


This look like a really cute historical fiction novel. =)

Hourglass (Evernight novel) by Claudia Gray-- March 9


I haven't read the Evernight books but the cover is GORGEOUS!

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan--March 9


*Shivers* Zombies... Not my thing. (It is about zombies, right?)

Poisoned Honey: A Story of Mary Magdalene by Beatrice Gormley-- March 9


This looks like an absolutely awesome novel, if not a bit controversial. I adore the cover as well.


Much love,
Arya

Friday, March 5, 2010

Interview with Leah Cypess

Hi, everyone! My last interview brought you a little bit closer to the fantasy author Carrie Jones. This time I'm bringing you the amazing Leah Cypess author of the upcoming fantasy Mistwood. Mistwood will be released April 27, 2010 by Greenwillow Books/HarperTeen, and it is sure to be a favorite of every fantasy lover.

Enjoy!



1. Did you try and set Mistwood to a particular time period and setting, or did you just have fun with the fantasy of it?

I had fun with making up a fantasy world, and didn’t deliberately try to match a particular historical period. However, I did generally default to the time period I know the most about, which is late Renaissance Europe.

2. What to you think is the hardest part about writing?
Those times when I think I'm done with a certain scene, character, or plot twist... and then I realize there's a problem, and that problem can only be fixed by reworking the entire manuscript.

3. What was your publication journey like?

It started over ten years ago, with a completely different manuscript that got one revision request and a lot of “Please send us your next book” rejection letters. I wrote, critiqued, and submitted three more manuscripts, and with each one I increased the ratio of positive responses to form rejections. By the time I was ready to submit Mistwood, I had a very good idea of which editors were interested in seeing my next manuscript and were likely to be interested in Mistwood; and it took less than two months after sending my first round of query letters that I had an offer from my editor at Greenwillow. (Two months in one sense, over ten years in another!)

4. Are there any authors you particularly look up to?

Many! Juliet Marillier, Megan Whalen Turner, Connie Willis, Dave Duncan, Libba Bray… there are more, but I think five is a good number to stop at. :)

5. When did you start writing?

At the end of first grade, I wrote a story from the point of view of an ice-cream cone. At the beginning of first grade, I didn’t know how to write. So it was definitely sometime during that year.

6. How do you feel about being compared to Kristin Cashore?

Flattered, of course; I love Kristin Cashore’s books. And some similarities are obvious: Mistwood, Graceling, and Fire all have female main characters with supernatural powers, and all those characters are trying to figure out who they are while simultaneously protecting someone else’s interests.

7. How would you feel about making Mistwood into a movie?
I certainly wouldn’t say no. In fact, when I first workshopped the first chapters of Mistwood back in 2003, one of the members of the writing workshop said, “I could see this as a movie with Halle Berry playing the lead.” But realistically, I don’t see that many high fantasy novels getting made into movies these days.

8. Any advice for young writers?

Read. Write. And be prepared for a possible long haul… but don’t give up!

Click here to read my review of Mistwood.

To pre-order Mistwood from Amazon.com click here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

For Keeps by Natasha Friend


For Keeps by Natasha Friend 2 of 5 stars.

For sixteen years, Josie Gardner and her mom, Kate, have been a team. It's been the Garder Girls against the world, and that's how Josie likes it. Until one day, in the pet-food aisle of Shop-Co, they run into the parents of Paul Tucci, Kate's high school boyfriend--the father Josie has never met. If Mr. and Mrs. Tucci are back in town, it's only a matter of time until Paul shows up.
Suddenly Josie's mature, capable mother regresses to the heartbroken teenager she was when Paul moved away. Meanwhile her free-loving best friend Liv begins yet another no-strings-attached fling.
When Josie learns some surprising truths about Paul Tucci, she finds herself questioning what she's always believed about her parents--and about herself.

For Keeps was not a badly written book. But I can't say I particularly liked it. Natasha Friend's story of a girl meeting her long-lost father just didn't spark for me. It wasn't what I would call original, it wasn't funny enough to hold my attention. I'm simply not into this genre. The whole, modern teenager worried about their latest parent and boy issue doesn't sit well with me. I see it too much, it makes me restless. But if you like this genre and plot type I'd say go for it. The writings not horrid or mindless, its actually very good in spots, but not my type.

For fans of: Chick-lit

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday!

This week, I'm waiting on The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. It sounds like a charming historical fiction novel. The Education of Bet will be released by Houghton Miffling Books for Children on July 12.
"Bet is sixteen, very intelligent, but only knows as much as her limited education will allow. In Victorian England, girls aren't allowed to go to school.
Will is also 16, and though not related by blood, he and Bet act like brother and sister. In fact, they even look like brother and sister. And though they're both raised under the same roof, by the same kind uncle, Will has one big advantage over Bet: He's a boy, and being a boy means he isn't stuck in the grand house they call home. He gets to go out into the world--to school. But that's not what Will wishes. He wants to join the military and learn about real life, not what's written in books.
So one night, Bet comes up with a plan. She'll go to school as Will. Will can join the military. And though it seems impossible, they actually manage to pull it off. But once Bet gets to the school, she begins to realize the education she's going to get isn't exactly the one she was expecting." Goodreads


To pre-order The Education of Bet from Amazon.com click here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday's Adventure!

I've decided to start a new weekly post called Tuesday's Adventure! I'll be featuring some great adventures every week, from real-life explorations, to books, and online sites. You are, of course, welcome to use this little idea on your blog as well. (I'd love it if you sent a link!=)

This week I'm featuring an awesome new site by HarperCollins Children's Books. You can play games, read about awesome new adventure novels, enter weekly sweepstakes, and more! Its definitely worth checking out no matter what your age!



The Adventures: http://www.awesomeadventurebooks.com/adventures.aspx

The Arcade: http://www.awesomeadventurebooks.com/arcade.aspx

The Sweepstakes: http://www.awesomeadventurebooks.com/sweepstakes.aspx

Videos & Podcasts: http://www.awesomeadventurebooks.com/sightssounds.aspx
Enjoy,
Arya

Monday, March 1, 2010

Women's History Month!


Today, March 1st, is the first day of National Women's History Month! =) I just thought I'd remind everyone. This is a great month to read about the great women in history. Here's some suggestion for YA readers:

Hall, Marjory, Quite Contrary: Dr. Mary Edwards Walker (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1970). Biography of a pioneer female physician, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Army surgeon (during the Civil War) and to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Snyder, Charles McCool, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker: The Little Little Lady in Pants (Salem, NH: Ayers Co. Pubs., Inc., 1974).

Hine, Darlene Clark, Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing Inc., 1993). Brief biographies of African-American women throughout the nation's history. This reference work includes useful bibliographies, a chronology/time line, and a index by accomplishments or job categories.

Hymowitz, Carol, and Michaele Weissman, A History of Women in America (New York: Bantam Books, 1984). From the "Founding Mothers" to "The New Feminism."

Luchetti, Cathy, and Carol Olwell, Women of the West (New York: Orion Books, 1982). Includes many photos and first-hand accounts of women and girls on the western frontier.

And here are some great quotes I found:

"I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too."
Elizabeth I, Speech at Tilbury1588, England

"History...tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all - it is very tiresome."
- Jane Austen (1775-1817), from her book: Northanger Abbey

"I fall, I stand still… I trudge on. I gain a little… I get more eager and climb higher and begin to see the widening horizon. Every struggle is a victory."
"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."
Hellen Keller (1880-1968)

Happy Women's History Month!!
Arya

 
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