Friday, January 29, 2010

Books I'm Excited to Read

First off, I have to say how sad I am to hear that JD Salinger died. If you are a regular reader of YAedge, you probably remember the post I talked about my love for Catcher in the Rye. Catcher isn't his only book, but is not his only amazing book. One of my other favorites of all time is Salinger's Franny and Zooey. I believe Salinger was one of the last great classic literary writers. It was easy to forget that Salinger was still around, due to his disappearance from the world, as he stayed out of view from the world the last several years of his life. If you haven't read either of the above books, or any of Salinger's work, I suggest you do so.

Now, I thought I would talk about the books I can't wait to read that are on my TBR list or coming out soon.

New releases:

Heist Society by Ally Carter-
(From Since she can remember, Katarina's relatives have been grooming her for the family business--thieving. But when Kat tries to go straight and leave the Life for a normal life, she's promptly kicked out of her new school for stealing the headmaster's car and mounting it on the school fountain. Although she could have done it without breaking a sweat, ironically, this time, she's innocent.

In fact she was framed--by another highly-skilled thief. Her friend and brother-in-trade Hale, with his mischievous smile and limitless bank account, has appeared out of nowhere to bring her back to the Life, back to the family Kat tried so hard to escape. Hale has a good reason: A powerful mobster has just been robbed of his priceless art collection and he wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have cracked this vault, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he IS the list.
Now, caught between Interpol and a far more deadly predator, Kat's dad needs her help.

For Kat, a consummate thief in her own right, the solution is simple: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and maybe just enough misguided pride to pull off the biggest heist in history - or at least in her family's (very crooked) history.

I have been so excited about this book. I'm a huge fan of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girl's series and have a feeling this book will bring my love of her books to new heights. Her stories are fun, easy reads that makes me want to curl up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate and my cat, Roxy. I will be running out to the store February 9th for this one for sure!

Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson-
(From Ever since Mrs. Amberson, the former-aspiring-actress-turned-agent, entered Scarlett Martin's life, nothing has been the same.

She's still in charge of the Empire Suite in her family's hotel, but she's now also Mrs. Amberson's assistant, running around town for her star client, Chelsea - a Broadway star Scarlett's age with a knack for making her feel insignificant.

Scarlett's also trying to juggle sophomore year classes, her lab partner who is being just a little TOO nice, and getting over the boy who broke her heart.

In the midst of all this, her parents drop a bombshell that threatens to change her New York life forever...

Maureen Johnson is one of my favorite teen authors of all time. I've read all of her books and long for more. This is the sequel to 2008's Suite Scarlett, so be sure to pick that one up first if you haven't read it. Each of the family member's have their quirks in this story, but you hope and wish to be one of them. Their life isn't all glamor, owning and living in an old hotel in New York that has seen it's better days, but it has a feel of old New York to me. I hope Scarlett Fever lives up to Suite Scarlett but I have no doubt that it will.

TBR list:

Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan-
(From Fifteen-year-old Blake has a girlfriend and a friend who’s a girl. One of them loves him; the other one needs him.

When he snapped a picture of a street person for his photography homework, Blake never dreamed that the woman in the photo was his friend Marissa’s long-lost meth addicted mom. Blake’s participation in the ensuing drama opens up a world of trouble, both for him and for Marissa. He spends the next few months trying to reconcile the conflicting roles of Boyfriend and Friend. His experiences range from the comic (surviving his dad’s birth control talk) to the tragic (a harrowing after-hours visit to the morgue).

In a tangle of life and death, love and loyalty, Blake will emerge with a more sharply defined snapshot of himself.

To be honest, I didn't know about Flash Burnout until people started talking about it on Twitter. Since then, I have only heard amazing things, including starred reviews and I believe at least one award. This book sounds like it's right up my alley and I can't wait to dive right in.

Beautiful by Amy Reed-
(From When Cassie moves from the tiny town where she has always lived to a suburb of Seattle, she is determined to leave her boring, good-girl existence behind. This is Cassie's chance to stop being invisible and become the kind of girl who's worth noticing.

Stepping into her new identity turns out to be easier than Cassie could have ever moment, one choice, will change everything.

Cassie's new existence both thrills and terrifies her. Swept into a world of illicit parties and social landmines, she sheds her virginity, embraces the numbness she feels from the drugs, and floats through it all, knowing that she is now called beautiful. She ignores the dangers of her fast-paced life?but she can't sidestep the secrets and the cruelty.

Cassie is trapped in a swift downward spiral tinged with violence and abuse, and no one—not even the one person she thought she could trust—can help her now.

As you all know, I love edgy contemporary teen fiction so I have very high hopes for Beautiful. I've heard great things about and debut author Amy Reed is nice enough to join YAedge for an interview that I will be on the site in the coming weeks. If you get a chance, pick up a copy of Beautiful!

Candor by Pam Bachorz-
(From In the model community of Candor, Florida, every teen wants to be like Oscar Banks. The son of the town's founder, Oscar earns straight As, is student-body president, and is in demand for every club and cause. But Oscar has a secret. He knows that parents bring their teens to Candor to make them respectful, compliant–perfect–through subliminal Messages that carefully correct and control their behavior. And Oscar' s built a business sabotaging his father's scheme with Messages of his own, getting his clients out before they're turned. After all, who would ever suspect the perfect Oscar Banks? Then he meets Nia, the girl he can't stand to see changed. Saving Nia means losing her forever. Keeping her in Candor, Oscar risks exposure . . . and more.

This is another book that was under my radar until recently. Now I can't wait to read Candor by another debut author, Pam Bachorz. It makes me think of a teen version of Stepford Wives with a flair. It is getting amazing reviews, so I can't wait to pick it up!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Adventures of a Blog Tour Diva

For any of you planning a book blog tour – either as a new author seeking exposure – or as a blog host….I have a few suggestions.


- Start planning early. Like way ahead of your release date. I’m organizing a book blog tour for Under My Skin, hoping to get a blog spot each day in the month of March. I started seeking out bloggers a week ago. That’s 6/7 weeks in advance and I could have started earlier and avoided the “OMG-my brain is going to explode” feeling that’s settling in about now.
- If you have a publicist, they’ll do a ton of legwork for you – dream up a cool pitch for the tour, etc. But guess who has to answer all the interview questions and keep track of who you’ve replied to and when their particular deadline falls? And who is responsible that you show up for chats on time? That’s right my little diva in training – it all comes down to you.
- If you don’t have a publicist – or if you’re sharing the hunter-gatherer stage of wrangling in bloggers (like I am) then you have to utilize all the tools at your disposal. Twitter has been an amazing resource for attracting blog hosts. They’ve even been so kind as to re-tweet my all calls as have my author buddies. Facebook also works wonders.
- Once you have bloggers contacting you. Get organized. Have an Excel spreadsheet: Date / Blog / Host name / Interview questions sent / Guest post sent / Contest info / SWAG sent to winner / thank you to host
- Create a calendar of all your blog appearances. Pay attention. Promote appearances on your website, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Get the most out of each event for you and your blog host.
- The day of: Show up and respond to comments. It’s a blast when you get a bunch of readers commenting back and forth with you and other readers. Be there for them and they’ll be there for you.
- The follow up: Check back a few days after the blog post and reply to any last minute comments.
- Thank the host for their time and energy and love of books/authors. Without these volunteer champions of authors it would be sooooooooooo tough to reach the masses. Send them some special SWAG. Show them some love. ;)

Blog Hosts:

As a member of YAedge, I’ve been on the hosting side of things, so I know it can be tough to make each interview unique. I used to think the best way to go was to come up with 5 or 6 quirky questions and ask the same ones to all authors featured on our blog. WRONGO. Now from the author side of things, I know how challenging it can be to answer those quirky yet generic questions (which many other bloggers have thought of already, believe me) and force your answers to apply to your book/genre/theme.
- Moral of the story? Do some research. Visit the author’s website/blog. Dig up a few interesting facts and sprinkle them throughout your interview questions. The authors will love you and be flattered you took a few extra minutes to make them feel valued.
- Schedule authors visits/interviews/guest posts. It’s so much easier for an author to promote/show up to comment/thank you after the fact – if they know in advance exactly when you’ll be posting their feature. Plus if you give them the date ahead of time, you can send them email reminders to promote it and help bring in a crowd. A major plus for you and the author.
- Encourage authors to comment / be a presence on the day of their feature. Sometimes authors are shy….or busy….or they don’t want to “toot their own horns”, but if you invite them to be active participants – they and your readers will enjoy the experience so much more.
- The Follow up: Thank the author for their time. Seriously, between day jobs, edits, promotional stuff and their lives….authors are stretched pretty thin. A hearty “Thanks, that was cool!” can go a long way and keep the door open for future appearances. You never know, that newbie author might be a bestseller one day. ;)