4 New Covers (Hastings, Lu, O’Brien, Roth)

Continue reading

Now Available for US Pre-Order

Keri Arthur: DARKNESS FALLS: 2nd December 2014: Buy (US)
Abigail Barnette: THE BRIDE (paperback): 9th April 2014: Buy (US)
Ally Condie: as-yet-untitled new novel: 4th November 2014: Buy (US)
Kim Harrison: THE WITCH WITH NO NAME: 9th September 2014: Buy (US)
Megan Hart: LOVELY WILD: 25th November 2014: Buy (US)
Mark Henry: BEACH BLANKET BLOODBATH: 4th April 2014: Buy (US)
Nancy Holzner: FIRESTORM: 25th November 2014: Buy (US)
Sophie Littlefield: INFECTED: 6th January 2015: Buy (US)
Marissa Meyer: CRESS (paperback): 3rd February 2015: Buy (US)
Marissa Meyer: WINTER: 3rd February 2015: Buy (US)
Kathleen Peacock: THORNHILL (paperback): 6th January 2015: Buy (US)
Kathleen Peacock: WILLOWGROVE: 6th January 2015: Buy (US)
Lissa Price: ENDERS (paperback): 6th January 2015: Buy (US)
Tiffany Reisz: THE KING: 25th November 2014: Buy (US)
Madeleine Roux: THE SCARLETS: 5th August 2014: Buy (US)

[REVIEW] Natchez Burning – Greg Iles

Greg Iles
Natchez Burning (The Trial of Tom Cage, Book 1)
HarperCollins (UK: 13th March 2014; AU: 1st April 2014; US & CA: 29th April 2014)
Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Hardcover) Buy (UK Kindle Edition) Buy (UK Hardcover) Buy (UK Paperback) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Hardcover) Buy (CA Mass Market Paperback) Buy (AU) Buy (Worldwide)

A 791-page tome is a big ask. Especially considering it’s a thriller, and the first in a trilogy – is it possible to keep the tension going for so long? Greg Iles is no ordinary writer, and thus he succeeds where others wouldn’t.

It’s also quite a challenge to write about racism and prejudice, and the author asks all the tough questions, with even more uncomfortable answers. And that’s the point: people are often prejudiced, though they don’t mean to be. Even thinking of someone as “exotic,” and admitting that’s part of the allure – this is prejudice, and Tom Cage acknowledges that. In a promotional video, the author says, “No one is immune to prejudice,” and this book shows that truth.

This is Mississippi. Even in my high school in far away Australia, studying the film Mississippi Burning was part of the English curriculum. Although the lead characters love Natchez, they know the way the town is run and the things that happen in it are far from perfect. As mayor, Penn Cage does what he can, but even he is way out of his league when dealing with the likes of the Double Eagles and their descendants. What starts as trying to get his father off a murder charge soon becomes just the tip of the iceberg.

And it’s horrific to read. But important. Hate crimes, and crimes against those trying to atone for their past, should not be easy to face, should not be swept under the carpet. But in the midst of all this terrible stuff are some real heroes: Albert Norris, whose music shop serves as a secret rendezvous for interracial couples. Henry Sexton, who investigates these cold cases for decades, even though it seriously endangers him and everyone he cares about. And Sleepy Johnston, who could be the key to providing evidence.

Though Penn, Caitlin, and Tom are the lead characters, they are not the real heroes. Not even they are above underhanded tactics to get what they want, and sometimes they are really freaking annoying. But these flaws make them more believable.

And then there’s Katy, whose own father punished her for the supposed “crime” of loving a black boy. The repercussions continue, and this subplot is of particular interest to me because of the sanatorium element. Hopefully this is further explored later.

There are no happy endings here, but with time (over the remainder of the trilogy) maybe a little bit of justice can be served. The problem with reading a book as soon as it’s released is that it makes the wait until the next novel even longer. But in the hands of Greg Iles, the wait will likely be worth it for readers. Looking forward to The Bone Tree in 2015…

#PTALive Melbourne: Monday 14th April 2014: Possible Rant Ahead

Unpopular Opinion Time! But first, the positive:

-Location: cinema at Melbourne Central
-Set-up: section for book purchasing
-Ordered agenda: slides to keep the presentation on topic and track
-Presenter: Ms. Felicity is old-hand at this, with plenty of experience presenting, and loads of enthusiasm
-Preview of PTA TV: interview with Richelle Mead, who has an announcement coming in a month or so
-Publication schedule: the most informed and varied part of evening
-Shout-out to the Australian YA Bloggers Goodreads Group

I have no doubt that most of the crowd had no quibbles at all, so I’m in the minority here. And I do understand that you can’t please everyone, so you may as well cater to the majority.

“The show everyone’s talking about”, “unmissable”, “[insert over-the-top superlative here]” – I have “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO) at the best times, but not in these circumstances. The more that people seem to like something, the more I’m inclined to NOT like it. It’s not deliberate; just that our interests are different, and attempts at conversion are useless. I don’t think less of people because they like something I don’t, as long as they respect my views, too. Agree to disagree, and all that.

(Image from Family Guy Wikia.)

But the more something is shoved down my throat, the more likely I am to resist, and to vomit…as opposed to accepting, and learning to love the tentacle. (That’s a Futurama reference, though that doesn’t seem to be part of Penguin Teen Australia’s fandoms.)

I am not a fan of John Green, Hank Green, Nerdfighters, DFTBA, et al. The reasons are numerous and varied, but I figure we’re all stubborn people, and no one is going to change their mind because of something someone else says – so I won’t try to convert you, as long as you don’t try to convert me.

I understand that film adaptations bring more readers to books, and are great introductions for people who aren’t already familiar with the age group, genre, etc. That’s fine. But #PTALive is full of BOOK PEOPLE. Considering the film adaptation is of a book first published in…2012 maybe, by now people have decided whether they’re interested in the story or not. And when we’ve decided we’re not, but the book, the author, and the community are brought up regularly and consistently…it’s really farking annoying. And the constant pushing of it did not change my mind. Instead, I found myself disliking the product more and more.

(Image from Quick Meme.)

I was seething, people. Not aloud. But my eyes rolled, my jaw hardened, and my handwriting turned to all caps with exclamation marks. (Yes, I took notes throughout the event on my Post-It notes. No, I don’t have a smart-phone or tablet; I am poor.) At the end, we were dismissed, so off I went, then we were called back. I returned. Apparently, some guys did a good deed earlier, which is great. But then “Nerdfighters” were mentioned, and I stalked out. Fed up. Completely over it. Had I paid anything more than train fare and meal money, I would’ve been absolutely outraged, possibly demanding my money back because I was so dissatisfied. But it was a free event, so I can’t – and won’t demand – compensation for having to suppress my anger and frustration.

It could’ve been worse.

I like Richelle Mead, and am interested in all her series. I like Vampire Academy, though I’ve only read the first two books. But I’m old-fashioned: only interested in BOOKS – NOT their adaptations, NOT their book trailers. And not “ships”, either – I like world-building, and plotting, but I’m completely over reading about romance and love interests. OVER IT. And there was a lot of freaking talk about “Sydrian”, and the book trailers – because one of the actors was in attendance, and had a short interview. I wasn’t interested, but my affection for the books made this much more tolerable than…well, see my earlier gripe.

There was a little attention given to other books: Top 5, favourites, other publisher’s books, stuff the staff wants to read, and the wonderful publication schedule. If only the rest of the evening had been less fangirly, and more informational and varied as that schedule, I would’ve been quiet content. Unfortunately, there was no mention of Jessica Spotswood’s Sisters’ Fate, which is due out on 14th August in the US and UK…

The event could’ve capitalised on the large audience (350 people, reportedly) to give more attention to the lesser-known books and authors, but for the most part the well-known and popular books hogged the limelight. Though I was on the fence about Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds before, I definitely want to read it now.

The publication schedule came with a problem, though: Pittacus Lore. If you haven’t heard of James Frey and the way he treats his “writer sweatshop”, or his upcoming new series that sounds like a total rip-off of… well, the information is online.

And I disagree with the statement that Katie McGarry’s books are New Adult. To me, New Adult is about university-aged characters, whereas McGarry’s are in high school, so they’re more Young Adult.

Giveaways and goodie bags included a Vampire Academy film poster, Sally Green’s Half Bad, and Maya van Wagenen’s Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek, but I declined all these. (No point in accepting things I won’t use.)

P.S. These links are relevant if you’re interested in understanding why I don’t like certain things:

http://bibliodaze.com/2014/04/say-no-to-james-frey-why-im-boycotting-full-fathom-five/

http://bibliodaze.com/2014/03/green-tinted-glasses-filtering-ya-through-a-narrow-lens/

http://bibliodaze.com/2014/02/john-green-privilege/

http://carriemesrobian.com/2014/03/this-is-very-upsetting/

http://www.thebooklantern.co.uk/2013/10/how-do-you-read-book-any-way-you-want-to.html

http://www.thebooklantern.co.uk/2012/09/the-green-brothers-and-white-boy.html

http://www.thebooklantern.co.uk/2012/09/the-green-brothers-and-white-boy_5.html

http://www.thebooklantern.co.uk/2012/07/minority-warriors.html

7 New Deals (Arthur, Bao, Heathfield, Hoover, Landers, Rollins, Woolston)

Keri Arthur‘s new genetically-engineered courtesan assassin urban fantasy series to NAL. The first book, City of Light, is due out in 2015.

Karen Bao‘s sci-fi trilogy set on the Moon to Viking Children’s (World English rights). The first novel, Dove Arising, is about introvert Phaet Theta, a model citizen whose mettle, faith, and beliefs are tested when she’s forced to confront disturbing truths about her society and its government in order to save her family.

Lisa Heathfield’s Seed (2015), plus a sequel, to Egmont UK (world English rights). 15-year-old Pearl has lived her whole life within the small community at Seed, which worships Nature and idolise their leader, Papa S. However when outsiders arrive in the community, Pearl begins to realise that there is darkness at heart of the community.

Colleen Hoover‘s next new adult novel, to Atria (world rights).

Melissa Landers‘s Starflight to Disney-Hyperion. Pitched as “Overboard meets Firefly“, in which an orphan indentures herself to a wealthy, arrogant man in exchange for passage to a new world; but when an accident erases his memory, she convinces him that their roles are reversed and leads him on a series of intergalactic misadventures.

Danielle Rollins‘s Burning in a two-book deal to Bloomsbury (world English rights). A YA horror novel pitched as “Orange Is the New Black meets Carrie“. In a juvenile detention facility, Angela is a girl just weeks from being released when she gets a new cellmate – a tiny, yet dangerous, 10-year-old who may be starting fires with her mind.

Blythe Woolston‘s two new YA novels to Candlewick (North American rights). MARTians (2016) is a dark comedy about a girl left to fend for herself in a world of urban decay studded with big box stores and mosquito-infested swimming pools. Hacking Texanna (2017) is a love story about a genius boy hacker, on the autistic spectrum, who decides to “hack” the personality of a mesmerising girl in his class, with unforeseen consequences.

15th April 2014 Releases

Happy Release Day to:

Janet Edwards
Earth Star (Earth Girl, Book 2)
Pyr (US: 15th April 2014)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Eighteen-year-old Jarra has a lot to prove. After being awarded one of the military’s highest honours for her role in a daring rescue attempt, she finds herself – and her Ape status – in the spotlight. Jarra is one of the unlucky few born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Derided as an “ape” – a “throwback” – by by the rest of the universe, she is on a mission to prove that Earth Girls are just as good as anyone else. Except now the planet she loves is under threat by what could be humanity’s first ever alien contact. Jarra’s bravery – and specialist knowledge – will once again be at the centre of the maelstrom, but will the rest of the universe consider Earth worth fighting for?

12th April 2014 Releases

Happy Release Day to:

Jeri Smith-Ready
Bring On the Night (WVMP Radio, Book 3)
Simon & Schuster Gallery (US & CA: 12th April 2014)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin seems to finally have it all. A steady job at WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ‘n’ Roll. A loving relationship with the idiosyncratic but eternally hot DJ Shane McAllister. A vampire dog who never needs shots or a pooper-scooper. And after nine years, it looks as if she might actually finish her bachelor’s degree! But fate has other plans for Ciara. First she must fulfill her Faustian bargain with the Control, the paranormal paramilitary agency that does its best to keep vampires in line. Turns out the Control wants her for something other than her (nonexistent) ability to kick undead ass. Her anti-holy blood, perhaps? Ciara’s suspicions are confirmed when she’s assigned to a special-ops division known as the Immanence Corps, run by the Control’s oldest vampire and filled with humans who claim to have special powers. To a confirmed skeptic like Ciara, it sounds like a freak fest. But when a mysterious fatal virus spreads through Sherwood – and corpses begin to rise from their graves – Ciara will not only get a crash course in zombie-killing, but will be forced to put her faith, and her life itself, in the hands of magic.