This week was an amazing week for books, which helped cheer me up, as it was my first week back to school as well. The first four were sent for review (the first two from Bloomsbury/Walker books and the last two from Sourcebooks: Thank you so much for the review copies!).
Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines (10/13/09 from Bloomsbury)
It’s a fight to the death—on live TV—when a gladiator’s daughter steps into the arena
Lyn is a neo-gladiator’s daughter, through and through. Her mother has made a career out of marrying into the high-profile world of televised blood sport, and the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association are second nature to their family. Always lend ineffable confidence to the gladiator. Remind him constantly of his victories. And most importantly: Never leave the stadium when your father is dying. The rules help the family survive, but rules—and the GSA—can also turn against you. When a gifted young fighter kills Lyn’s seventh father, he also captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet, which means she must marry him... For fans of The Hunger Games and Fight Club, Lise Haines’ debut novel is a mesmerizing look at a world addicted to violence—a modern world that’s disturbingly easy to imagine.
Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa M. Klein (10/13/09, Bloomsbury)
In alternating chapters, ambitious Lady Macbeth strives to bear a son and win the throne of Scotland for her husband, and their daughter Albia, banished due to a deformity, tries to deny her supernatural abilities as she is raised in the woods by three weird sisters, in this tale based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange (Sourcebooks, Out Now)
Mr. Darcy, Vampyre starts where Pride and Prejudice ends and introduces a dark family curse so perfectly that the result is a delightfully thrilling, spine-chilling, breathtaking read. A dark, poignant and visionary continuation of Austen's beloved story, this tale is full of danger, darkness and immortal love.
Zombies for Zombies: Advice and Etiquette for the Living Dead by David P. Murphy (Sourcebooks)
So, you've been bitten by a zombie?
But there's no need to panic! Yes, your life will be undergoing a major transformation, but this doesn't have to be the end-all it once was when the Disaster first hit. There have been significant breakthroughs in the last decade in helping you keep significant parts of your wit and dignity. Together we can limit the damage.
Zombies for Zombies is a motivational guide designed specifically to make a profound difference in your accidental, strange new life. You say you don't want to become another one of those ghastly creatures you see on the news out in the Tempe Containment Zone? You don't have to—if you follow the great advice inside, including:
How to dress for your new lifestyle Handy recipes for brains. Fitness ideas for keeping you somewhat energetic. New skin-care techniques to help ward off "rotting flesh syndrome" How to overcome that darned zombie social stigma. Dance steps for the motor-impaired.
Completely Revised and Updated Since the Containment Zone Disaster!
"Face it, being bitten by a zombie is inevitable. Thanks to this indispensable book, we can finally stop making survival plans and start making the most of our new lives as zombies. Even for the uninfected, Zombies For Zombies is a scream."
—Daniel H. Wilson, author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising
Slept Away by Julie Kraut (Random House, out now)
Laney Parker is a city girl through and through. For her, summertime means stepping out of her itchy gray school uniform and into a season of tanning at rooftop swimming pools, brunching at sidewalk cafes, and—as soon as the parents leave for the Hamptons—partying at her classmates’ apartments.
But this summer Laney’s mother has other plans for Laney. It’s called Camp Timber Trails and rustic doesn’t even begin to describe the un-air-conditioned log cabin nightmare. Laney is way out of her element—the in-crowd is anything but cool, popularity seems to be determined by swimming skills, and the activities seem more like boot camp than summer camp.
Splattered with tie dye fall out, stripped of her cell, and going through Diet Coke withdrawal, Laney is barely hanging on. Being declared the biggest loser of the bunk is one thing, but when she realizes her summer crush is untouchably uncrushable in the real world, she starts to wonder, can camp cool possibly translate to cool cool?
Summer camp might just turn this city girl’s world upside down!
The Blonde of the Joke by Bennett Madison (HarperTeen, out now)
It’s like the set-up for the perfect blonde joke: the blonde is Francie—big earrings, bigger heels, large ambition. The brunette is Val—mousy, quiet, always the obedient one. But when Francie befriends Val one day at the mall, the two girls become inexorably linked in a tangled web of friendship and love, lies and betrayal that begins and ends in the thrilling victory of stealing as much as they possibly can from the larger-than-life mall.
Immortal by Gillian Shields (HarperTeen, out now)
Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, housed in a Gothic mansion on the bleak northern moors, is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming. When Evie Johnson is torn away from her home by the sea to become the newest scholarship student, she is more isolated than she could have dreamed. Strict teachers, snobbish students, and the oppressive atmosphere of Wyldcliffe leave Evie drowning in loneliness.
Evie's only lifeline is Sebastian, a rebellious, mocking, dangerously attractive young man she meets by chance. As Evie's feelings for Sebastian grow with each secret meeting, she starts to fear that he is hiding something about his past. And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl—a girl who is so eerily like Evie, she could be a sister. Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control. And as the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astounding truth about Sebastian, and her own incredible fate.
Gillian Shields's electrifying tale will dazzle readers with suspense, mysticism, and romance.
Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph (Simon and Schuster, out now)
High school senior Teresa Adams is so painfully shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class. But in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks out -- doing mock broadcasts for Miami's hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather. When a slot opens up at The SLAM, Tere surprises herself by blossoming behind the mike into confident, sexy Sweet T -- and to everyone's shock, she's a hit! Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ's awesome taste in music. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest -- and a prom date with Sweet T is the grand prize -- Sweet T's dream could turn into Tere's worst nightmare..
Seven Tears into the Sea by Terri Farley (Simon Pulse, out now)
Beckon the sea,
I'll come to thee....
Shed seven tears,
perchance seven years....
At the age of ten, Gwen Cooke had a strange encounter with a boy with dark, slightly tilted eyes. He came to her on the beach, whispered strange words in her ear, and then disappeared. Shortly thereafter, her family moved away from their seaside home and Gwen never saw the boy again.
Now seventeen, Gwen is returning to her childhood home. Her nana asked her to come. But Gwen knows it's time to go back for another reason: She yearns for the sea. Perhaps the sea itself is calling to her. Perhaps the memory of the boy and his haunting words are drawing her back to the place they met. Perhaps it's time for her to face her destiny.
Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon (HarperTeen, out now)
No one wanted Ai Ling. And deep down she is relieved—despite the dishonor she has brought upon her family—to be unbetrothed and free, not some stranger's subservient bride banished to the inner quarters.
But now, something is after her. Something terrifying—a force she cannot comprehend. And as pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, Ai Ling begins to understand that her journey to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams isn't only a quest to find her beloved father but a venture with stakes larger than she could have imagined.
Bravery, intelligence, the will to fight and fight hard . . . she will need all of these things. Just as she will need the new and mysterious power growing within her. She will also need help.
It is Chen Yong who finds her partly submerged and barely breathing at the edge of a deep lake. There is something of unspeakable evil trying to drag her under. On a quest of his own, Chen Yong offers that help . . . and perhaps more.