YA New Releases – September Edition

Hello gentle reader,

There are many books published this month, and I’ve highlighted below the ones I’m most looking forward to reading…

All Our Yesterdays

All Our Yesterdays (Cassandra Chronicles #1) by Cristin Terrill (YA Sci-Fi)

Expected publication: September 3rd 2013 by Disney Hyperion

Why I’m looking forward to it: time travel!

Antigoddess

Antigoddess (The Goddess War #1) by Kendare Blake (YA Myth retelling)

Expected publication: September 10th 2013 by Tor Teen

Why I’m looking forward to it: a retelling of Greek mythology!

ChaosOfStars

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White (YA Paranormal)

Expected publication: September 10th 2013 by HarperTeen

Why I’m looking forward to it: Egyptian gods and family issues…

Frozen

Frozen (Heart of Dread #1) by Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston (YA Dystopia)

Expected publication: September 17th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile

Why I’m looking forward to it: snowed in Las Vegas!

What about you? Any books you’re eagerly waiting for this month? Let me know in the comments below!

Stacking The Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga @ Tyngasreviews. The idea is to showcase the books that we’ve recently won/bought. I have never felt the need to participate in such a meme, since until recently I had never won a book, and I shared the books I bought in my Book of the Week feature. But this month I have actually won/received books so I thought I’d share the news with you!

Won:

Wilde’s Army (Darkness Falls #2) by Krystal Wade via her website.

Look! It’s signed!

Received as a gift from the author:

Stolen Night (The Vampire Queen #2) by Rebecca Maizel.

Look! It’s signed too!

Bought while in the US

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Once (Eve #2) by Anna Carey

Underworld (Abandon #2) by Meg Cabot

Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) by Kendare Blake

What did YOU add to your shelves this week?

A Writer in the Spotlight – Kendare Blake

This week again I was lucky enough to have a YA author give me an exclusive interview! The idea behind the “Writer in the Spotlight” feature is that published (and bestselling) authors are the best source of advice for us, would-be-published writers. Today’s interview is with the ever awesome Kendare Blake, whose YA ghost story Anna Dressed In Blood is one of my favourite books.

 

A writer in the spotlight – 9

Author : Kendare Blake

Genre : Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghost story, Horror

Website : http://kendareblake.com/

Blog: http://kendare-blake.livejournal.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/KendareBlake

Books : The Anna series: Anna Dressed In Blood (2011), Girl of Nightmares (released August 7th, 2012)

                  Sleepwalk Society (2010)

                   Antigoddess (released 2013)

My interview (13/07/2012):

On writing:

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

Yes. Though I didn’t think of it as a practical option after I graduated from high school. I still didn’t think it was a practical option when I decided to do it after grad school. But by then I’d come to terms with the idea of being a starving artist.

When and where do you write?

I write when I have spare time. And after I’ve done everything else that could possibly need doing. (Master procrastinator!) My office is in my apartment and consists of a kitchen table, a printer, my laptop, stacks of books and sheafs of paper.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

No! And now I must go find wood and knock on it, and pet my black cat backwards.

What do you say to people who want to be writers?

Excellent! Books books and more books. The world needs ‘em.

Can you tell us a little bit about your publishing journey? (the different steps and how long it took you to be published)

I’ll tell you Anna’s story. Which was not the first book I wrote, or the first book I sold. The first book I wrote (seriously wrote, not wrote during childhood) was the first book I sold, but it took forever.

I wrote Anna in about eight months. Queried agents for about two months. Got a few requests for fulls, and some rejections. Ended up with two offers of representation, both from amazing agents. One a smaller more boutique agent, and another with the backing of a big agency. Talked with both of them. Ended up going with the smaller agency. Anna went out on submission and was out for about three months. I think. We started getting nibbles around the month and a half mark. Some rejections. Went to a few editorial boards. Wound up with two offers, so I guess you’d call that a mini-auction. I went with Mel Frain, at Tor Teen, and she’s excellent and bodacious. Anna sold in April, 2010 and pubbed in August 2011.

 

On “Anna Dressed In Blood”:

What made you choose to write a ghost/horror story?

I wanted to play Silent Hill but was too scared. And I missed reading Stephen King and Anne Rice. When I was in London, I’d rekindled my love of the fantastic, with Joe Hill and Angela Carter.

What is striking about your book is its voice. Did you work a lot on that or did it come to you naturally when you started writing the book?

Cas’ voice came naturally. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been if it hadn’t. He was real from the moment he hit the page. If he hadn’t been, I probably would’ve stopped.

To write this book, where did you get your inspiration from?

No idea. Anna’s name came to me first. Anna Dressed in Blood. And I thought, who’s that? Oh of course. She’s a dead girl who kills people. Hmm. Someone ought to kill her.

Cas is awesome. Anna is amazing. How did you come up with those characters?!

They sort of came up with themselves. I knew what Anna was, but not exactly who. She was a murderous ghost. A real badass. That side was easy. Her human part didn’t reveal until later. I knew Cas was a ghost hunter, with a knife. I knew he’d go after her, and that he was a loner. That’s about it.

What type of music did you listen to when you wrote this book?

I didn’t! I can’t write and listen to music that often. I usually end up just jamming, and nothing gets done.

What are you working on now?

Right now is that wonderful phase of juggle city! I’m halfway through the second book in my new series and the first one comes back ready for edits. So I’m putting aside the second this week to polish up the first.

The new series kicks off with ANTIGODDESS next August. It’s Greek gods in the modern world. Athena and Hermes and Odysseus and Cassandra. Dying gods at war and the teens who get caught in their mess. Very, Terminator. Or Terminator 2. Maybe just very Sarah Connor.

 

Reading advice:

Which authors inspire you now? Any YA books you would recommend?

Right now I’m halfway through WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE by Shirley Jackson. Not YA exactly but holy shit. How have I not read this before? It’s a flipping masterpiece. Ominous and so beautiful. On the YA side I’m consistently inspired by the short stories of Holly Black, and by loads of others. I’d recommend reading her collection THE POISON EATERS and also…well, it depends what you’re in the mood for. Suzanne Young’s A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL is amazing. The sequel, A WANT SO WICKED is out now. Kristen Simmons’ ARTICLE 5 is harrowing. Deb Caletti’s STAY from last year…so many more!

Thanks for the interview Kendare!

Thank you for having me by the blog! And for the fun interview questions :)

Girl of Nightmares will be out on August 7th, 2012. Buy it on Amazon here.

Waiting On Wednesday – 3

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Today I have chosen Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) by Kendare Blake (Expected publication: August 7th 2012 by Tor Teen)

From Goodreads:

“In this follow-up to Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas begins seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep, and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong. These aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.”

I LOVED Anna Dressed in Blood that came out last year. I can’t wait for its sequel!

What are you waiting for this week?

Favorite books

What’s on my bookshelf ? 2

Today I want to mention the books that have made me want to become a writer. They are the books I wish I had written myself, the books I can read over and over again, the books I can’t imagine my bookshelf without.

Because they are all different, I can’t really decide a number one and a number ten, so I will mention them in the order I have read them, from the oldest to the most recently discovered.

1-    Remember Me, Christopher Pike

I read this book when I was maybe 12 or 13, and I still recommend it to people. Because when it comes to YA novels, it doesn’t really get better than this: a girl who wakes up and realizes she is a ghost. She embarks on a journey to find out who killed her – before he kills again. It’s gripping, Shari is a great character and all the themes that you want to find in a YA book are there.

Most people would probably call me a ghost. I am, after all, dead. But it wasn’t so long ago I was alive, you see. I was just 18. I had my whole life in front of me.”

2-    Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling

I am one of the lucky readers who grew up with Harry: I was thirteen when the first book came out and I eagerly waited for each book to be published so I could read it in the next two days, then re-read it a few time afterwards. As I got older, I came to really appreciate the amazing literary achievement that this series is.

“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

3-    A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving

I clearly remember reading this book during my High School Senior Year because it had been recommended by my English teacher. And I can still tell you the story from start to finish. The plot is one of the best written I have read, with every single small part of the book being meaningful and important in the end. When I try to write today, I always ask myself: is this important in the grand scheme of things for my novel? If it’s not, I get rid of it.

“I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice – not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.”

4-    Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl

Another great plot. It is a 700-page novel about reading, writing and teaching literature, complete with visual aids and a final test. It is incredibly clever, funny and sad. Loving to read can save lives, Marisha Pessl proves it.

“It was as if Hannah had sprung a leak and her character, usually so meticulous and contained, was spilling all over the place.”

5-    Wicked, Gregory Maguire

Another book I keep recommending to everyone, although I know it’s not the easiest read. It’s just that I LOVE it. It tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West (yes, the one from The Wizard of Oz). It’s about women empowerment, evil and good, friendship and loss, communication and miscommunication, love and hate, books and magic. It’s a Fantasy novel about us. It’s an amazing book.

“Are people born wicked? Or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?”

6-    American Gods, Neil Gaiman

I have read every book by Neil Gaiman, but American Gods remains my favorite. It is a classic American novel written by an Englishman. It tackles serious themes like religion, violence, loss, freedom and love and it mixes them with humor, magic and oddities. It is a Fantasy book, so not everything in it is true, or is it?

“Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.”

7-    Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

I never laughed so hard reading a book. This tale of the apocalypse, by the two literary geniuses that Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett are, is impossible to describe. There are a witch, an angel, a demon, the son of Satan who gets unexplainably lost, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and a nun. All these people work towards/against the coming End Of Days, and it’s hilarious.

“Kids! Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous. Do not attempt it in your own home.”

8-    A Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin

Obviously, this Fantasy series is not yet finished, however its first book, entitled A Game of Thrones, made me rethink my way of writing Fantasy novels. As I read the following books, I grew tired of the main characters dying and of the thickening of the plot. But Daenerys Targaryen  remains one of those characters I wish I had thought of myself;

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”

9-    Wither, Lauren DeStefano

Wither, which came out last year, was, on top of being an amazing read, a real eye-opener for me in terms of Young Adult writing. Yes, you can write for teenagers and still tackle very serious issues, write with a rich vocabulary and describe elaborate settings.

“And here we are: two small dying things, as the world ends around us like falling autumn leaves.”

10- Anna Dressed In Blood, Kendare Blake

Another read from last year, I bought Anna Dressed in Blood because I loved the title. And I wasn’t disappointed, as the writing is as good as the title. This Young Adult ghost story narrated by a foul-mouthed teenage boy is a great novel, on top of being remarkable for its non PG-rated writing.

“Anna, she’s like Bruce Lee, the Hulk and Neo from The Matrix all rolled in to one.”

So, what are your favorite books?