Scandals and Signings and Shakespeare, oh my!

Book Notes - Featuring News and Gossip at DeadBookDarling
Book Notes is a regular feature at Dead Book Darling highlighting bookish news, curiosities and gossip spotted across the blogosphere. May the drama be with you…

De-Gay YA

When I heard the news that a well-respected agency tried to get two authors to “de-gay” their YA novel, I can’t say I was shocked. In fact, what surprised me was that the authors had come out and told their story to the mainstream press. I am sure this kind of thing goes on all the time, we just never hear about it… And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, the agency came out denying everything. Which is certainly a new crisis management technique! Aja gives you the full scoop (and a very healthy rant) in her article in The Mary Sue. Read it!

New author deals

In other, less terrifying news, there have been some pretty brilliant new deals signed between authors and their publishers. Here are the ones I am particularly excited about:

  • Historical Fiction writer Phillipa Gregory has signed with Simon and Schuster to write 4 YA Historical Fiction novels. The first will be published in summer 2012. I’ve never read any of Gregory’s work, but it is exciting to have her in the genre! More on Dark Faerie Tales.
  • Dark Life author Kat Falls will be publishing a dystopian romance trilogy with Scholastic. The first book, The Fetch, will be out in autumn 2012. I loved Dark Life, so I am really looking forward to what else Kat comes up with. More on Presenting Lenore.
  • One of my favourite authors, Ann Aguirre, will be publishing an all-new science fiction trilogy with Ace. The books have been pitched as “prison break – in space”, so needless to say that I am desperate to read them! They’ll be out in autumn 2013. More on Ann Aguirre’s website.
  • Rag & Bones is a new YA anthology, edited by Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt, that will feature a whole bunch of my favourite authors. Among them: Kelley Armstrong! It is being published in 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (World). More on Tez Says.

New Covers

There are always new stunning and not-so-stunning covers coming out. But these are the ones that have really caught my eye:
  • Illuminate by Aimee Agresti – I know, another red dress. But the summary for this book is just so intriguing!
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth – I haven’t read Divergent and I really never planned to… but this cover is just so lovely! I am really tempted to pick up the first book in the series now!
  • The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellsion – No idea what this is about, but I find the cover gorgeously spooky. It’s Dexter meets butterflies…
  • Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – This cover is so spooky! Maybe I am developing a new love for somewhat terrifying things, because I just find this cover amazing.
  • If I Die by Rachel Vincent – I have but one word: F-I-E-R-C-E.

UK Signings!

Some big names are coming to the UK. Some seriously, seriously big names! I really hope y’all can make some of these great signings:

  • Christopher Paolini will be at Forbidden Planet on Wednesday 28 September! Christopher Paolini will be signing the first three volumes of The Inheritance Cycle at the Forbidden Planet Megastore. The signing is a lead-up to the publication of the final book in the cycle. I tried to read Christopher’s books, but they aren’t for me. Even still, I find the story of his publication extremely inspiring! For more information about this signing, see the Forbidden Planet website.
  • Erin Morgenstern, author of the highly anticipated The Night Circus will be discussing her fin-de-siècle fantasia of magic and mischief at Foyles in Bristol, Monday 10 October. I have been dying to read this book – so it’s extremely exciting that the author is coming to the UK! Read more here.
  • Peter F. Hamilton will be signing his short story collection Manhattan in Reverse at the Forbidden Planet Megastore on Thursday 6 October. While I haven’t had the chance to read any of Peter’s works yet, he is an absolute rock star in the SF genre!More details on the Forbidden Planet website.
  • Christopher Priest, the multiple award-winning fantasy/SF/horror author will be at London Foyles not once, but twice! He’ll be in the Gallery discussing his career and new book, The Islanders, on 29 September. Read more here. And then he’ll be back for the “House of Fear” event along with Sarah Pinborough and Paul Meloy. Read more here.
  • Moira Young and Philip Reeve will be doing a joint chat in Guildhall, Bath on Sunday, 25 September. Tickets are £5, but I am sure the event will be unforgettable! More information is available on the Waterstones website.

The waters of the Avon…

And last but not least, Oxford Dictionaires has a great new online test for you all… How Shakespearean are you? You just stick a bit of your own writing into a box, and they give you a verdict. Apparently my English is 81 percent Shakespearean. “The waters of the Avon almost lap at your feet.”
Give it a go!

Review: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Review: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn BarnesRaised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: Raised by Wolves #1
Published by Quercus Books
Pages: 418
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two.

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped?

Thoughts: It took me a really long time to get into this book. I think I spent about a month slowly making my way through the first 70 pages. Although I could intellectually appreciate the writing, the plot did absolutely nothing for me. I couldn’t understand the main character’s motivations, and found the insta-romance that was both annoying and bland.

I was very tempted to put it down, but then re-read one of the many positive reviews that made me pick it up in the first place. I don’t know about you, but reviews tend to muddle in my brain to become either “Good, pick it up” or “Avoid avoid avoid”. I usually don’t to remember the details. So imagine my surprise to hear the book touted as one of the few truly feminist YA books out there, with a heroine I would love, and twists I would never see coming.

It really didn’t sound like I was reading the same book.

Turns out, I was. I so so was. I’d give the last half of this book five stars. The twists in this book really came out of left-field… and yet, like all good twists, when you re-read the book you can see the clues right in front of you. Suddenly, choices that had annoyed the hell out of me became logical, and characters with whom I had taken some issue suddenly made sense. It was a complete and utter paradigm shift. Fantastic stuff.

Bryn turned out to be quite the leader: this girl was one of the most fabulous, feminist alpha characters I’ve read in a while. Her fantastic support network was another one of the things that set this book apart – although adopted, she has a lot of people guarding her back.  It’s rare to see good parenting (scratch that, any parenting) in YA, so it was a refreshing change!  Alas, Bryn’s love-interest remained bland-as-hell.  Honestly have no idea what she sees in that plank of wood, but at least I didn’t completely hate him… probably because was I was easily distracted by the oh-so-amazing alpha-werewolf Callum (oh, Callum ♥), who completely stole my heart.  Loved him.  He seemed so calm and in control, and yet he could be utterly cold and ruthless when required.  And, GUH, his relationship with pseudo-daughter Bryn was a-mazing.

Bottom line: This book takes a very, very long time to like.  But once you get past the first 150-or-so pages, you’ll love it.  It’s well-worth the read and I – for one – cannot wait for Trial by Fire to come out!

June 2010 Releases: Books I can’t wait to read!

It’s June!  Which means, besides the ludicrous heat and sticky hands on the tube, some of the books I’ve been lusting after are finally coming out.  There are a few more comprehensive lists out there.  Check out Tez Says for a list of June ReleasesAll Things Urban Fantasy for UF releases, and Fiendishly Bookish for a list of PNR/UF releases.But these six books are the ones I will definetaly be getting my hands on. All of them are from new – or new to me – authors that I am curious about.  Also, see the shift in YA themes?  Some how YA paranormal is no longer content with silly old vampires – it’s moving underwater and into the woods!

Sea by Heidi R. Kling (US/UK: June 10th)
Forgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Childs (US/UK: June 1st)
13 to Life by Shannon Delany (US: June 22nd UK: August)
Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (US: June 8th – UK: Sept. 2nd)
Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison (US: June 29th – UK: July 20th)
Everlasting by Angie Frazier (US/UK: June 1st)