Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New for 2010

2010 starts in two days, and I can start salivating because we're that much closer to these books coming out.

After Ever After by Jordon Sonnenblick (February 1) - In a sequel/companion to Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, Sonnenblick takes a look at the life of a kid after cancer. Intriguing.

Heist Society by Ally Carter (February 9) - The start of a new series about a family of con artists, jewel thieves, and the girl who can't quite manage to leave her family traditions behind. Bloggers I trust have already read ARCs and pronounced it great fun.

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X Stork (March 1) - I want to see what else the author of Marcelo in the Real World can spring on us.

Lord Sunday by Garth Nix (March 16) - The last couple of books in The Keys to the Kingdom series got pretty complex and I admit it, lost me a few times. It's an intricate series, and probably is best read all in one gulp. But I can't wait to see how Arthur Penhaligon will collect the last Key, and what will happen to him when he does.

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner (March 23) - If you can't understand my slavish devotion to Turner and her tales of the trickster Eugenides, I can only direct you to The Thief and envy you the ride ahead.

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott (April 4) - Y'all, I would read The Toilet Paper Chronicles if Elizabeth Scott wrote it, and probably would love it.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (April 6) - John Green and David Levithan? Which kidney would you like?

A Wizard of Mars by Diane Duane (April 14) - I've been waiting for this one, literally, for years. Publication got pushed back a couple of times, but this time they're almost pretty sure it'll probably come out this year.

Runaway by Meg Cabot (May 1) - The third in the Airhead trilogy (I think), this promises to answer a lot of questions, including the most important one--are Em and Christopher just gonna smooch already or what?

The Princess and the Snowbird by Mette Ivie Harrison (May 4) - I loved The Princess and the Hound so much that I'm going to remain optimistic for this title.

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness (May 5) - Another third of a trilogy, this in the wowie-zowie Chaos Walking Series. My reaction: !!!!!!!!

Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev (May 25) - What the heck is Bertie going to do on the outside? This could be wondrous or completely hollow, without the setting of the Theatre. Hoping it's the former.

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (July 20) - Just finished Shiver last night. Besides my love for Stiefvater's style, my interest is piqued by the fact that this is a sequel about the same characters in the aftermath of the first book, not another love story between two different people.

Hunger Games Book 3 by Suzanne Collins (August 24) - Peeta. Katniss. Revolution. Cliffhanger. Nuff said.

What are you looking forward to for 2010?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Year's Blog Resolutions

Okay, New Year's Day isn't until Friday. But I thought I'd get these out there now. Lately, my life has been just a little insane, and my blogs are two things I pushed to the back burner. I have no problem with that--for a little bit, other things took precedence. But now I want to get back to blogging, and also to improve some things about my own blogging experience.

Resolutions work better when you set a specific goal, so I'll include one.

This year, I resolve to:

Comment more
I know people love getting comments, and there are varying schools of thought on their value. Speaking for myself, I like commenting and getting comments because it feels like I'm deeper into this awesomely fun conversation we've all been having for, oh, the last four years or so. I hear murmurings of a comment challenge in January. Maybe this will be the kick in the pants I need. I resolve to leave at least 5 comments a week. At the moment, that's 5 more than I am doing.

Post more
Like I said, I haven't been blogging much lately. That's been life-related, but it would be too easy to let that non-blogging habit continue. I resolve to post at least twice a week on both blogs. My next resolution should help with that.

Review more
My policy is not to review a book unless it has That Thing. That special spark that makes me go, "Ooooh, this is something I want to talk about." All very well and good, but I've been skipping books I wanted to review but just didn't. MotherReader's 48-Hour Reading Challenge in June taught me that I can write a review in twenty minutes or so, and even the blathery ones don't take more than half an hour to 45 minutes, including links and images. Surely I can carve out half an hour each week to write a review of a book I want to talk about anyway. I resolve to post one review a week on either blog, and preferably on both.

Not sweat the small stuff
Okay, this one might seem contradictory, given all those great intentions I have up there. But I do tend to overfocus and obsess a little, even if it's in the privacy of my own mind. So this is the year I'm going to relax and not chew on things like statistics. I've always done this for me first, and I want to stop grizzling because So-and-So has more followers than I do. Or whether I've read that hot book everyone's talking about. I'll get to it. If it's that great, it'll still be that great in ten months or whenever. No goal for this one, because I can't really say, "I resolve to not freak out at least once a week."

So that's my plan for 2010. What are your New Year's Blog Resolutions?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sign of the Times

If ever you needed visual proof of the rising profile of YA, have a look at the "Deals" column in Publisher's Weekly for this week. Half the deals mentioned are for YA series, with a couple of MG novels thrown into one deal. Pretty snazzy.

And hey, more Lisa McMann! Always a good thing.

Thanks to a tweet from @lisa_mcmann.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Book Review: Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Book: Liar
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Published: 2009
Source: Local Library

Everyone lies a little, right? Well, Micah lies a lot. She lies to her family, to her friends, to her boyfriend. She even lies to herself. But that's all done now. Over. Finito. She's not going to lie anymore. And she's going to start by telling the story of how her boyfriend died, and what she knows about it. This is the truth. All of it. Every word.


Oh, lord. How to write a spoiler-free review? Here goes: This book made my brain twist into a pretzel.

It's a good thing Justine Larbalestier is such a good writer, or else this would always be that one book with the cover, yeah, that cover, you know the one. But I forgot about all that three pages in.

Basically, it does what it says on the cover. You know Micah is a liar, it says so right there. But what is she lying about? It's not easy to tell. The things that seem wildest are true, and the things that seem most basic are false. Every time she doles out some new piece of information, either about what happened or about herself, you have to stop and consider it. If it's the truth, why would she tell us? If it's a lie, what's the truth she's trying to hide?

Surprisingly enough, the biggest, craziest thing that Micah tells us, I actually believe. I'm not sure why, even, because she admits to telling large and complex lies about herself and what she is. Perhaps it's that nothing else really makes sense if that's a lie. Everything really is built on this revelation, which occurs about two-thirds of the way through the novel. There has to be some truth, or else it wouldn't be so hard to figure out what's a lie.

As we get into the last third of the novel, Micah's lies--and her world--are crumbling around her. More and more, she asserts to the readers that she would never lie to us, even while admitting that she has, repeatedly, sometimes as recently as the previous page. There's only one small group of people that I don't remember her ever lying to--the people she can truly be herself with. Of course, she is our eyes on the scene, and just because she never admits to and we never catch her in a lie to these people, doesn't mean that she never has. But again, sometimes you just have to take something as the truth.

About midway through the book, she talks about the counselors and shrinks who try to tell her why she lies, and she says, "Maybe the world is better the way I tell it." This is the world that Micah wants to be true, but the trouble is that reality can't be changed with words. One major revelation is left almost too late, and there are threads trailing after the novel is done. I'm not sure whether this is a flaw or not, since it helps to undercut our belief in Micah's final assertions. Undercut, but not completely negate. At the end, you're not sure whether everything you've finally decided is real is just what Micah wants to believe.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Reading Roundup November 2009

By the Numbers
Teen: 13
Tween: 10
Children: 5

Swapped: 9
Library: 23

Teen: Liar by Justine Larbalestier (review coming soon!)
Tween: Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry
Children: Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson

Because I Want To Awards
Most Unflinching Look at Farm Life: The Beef Princess of Practical County by Michelle Houts
Gotta Read More of the Series: Fringe Girl by Valerie Frankel
Even Though It's the End of the Series, It Left Me All Happy: Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock