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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Interview: Mindi Scott (Author of Freefall!)

I was extremely lucky to be able to read Mindi Scott's FREEFALL in June, but I've been waiting (im)patiently to be able to say "Run to your local bookstore and pick up your own copy. Now!" I'm still a bit premature, but FREEFALL will be hitting shelves October 5th in the US so you can at least prepare yourselves! To be super prepared, you might even want to preorder it. Not sure? Maybe my review will convince you. Read it here!

I'm very excited to have Mindi here at The Hiding Spot to answer a few questions about FREEFALL and its subject matter!

A Brief Bio
Read more about Mindi HERE.

Mindi Rochelle Scott lives near Seattle, Washington, with her drummer husband in a house with a non-sound-proof basement. Her first novel, Freefall, will be published by Simon Pulse on October 5, 2010.

The Interview

Give a short statement describing FREEFALL. (This should be in your own words and is meant to draw in readers, so no copying from the book jacket, etc.)
Freefall is about Seth McCoy, a bassist in a rockabilly band whose nickname is “Dick” for arguably legitimate reasons. This is the story of how, two months after finding his best friend dead, Seth is now at a point where he thinks he might be ready to start living and feeling again—he just has to learn how.

To me, Seth was incredibly real, which I found to be commendable, since you are, after all, not a teen boy. I feel like many girls and women feel like they think they know how the male mind works, but guys are forever telling them they actually have no idea. How did you find a way into Seth’s head? Did you find it difficult to make him believable? Was there research involved? Did you have a male “consultant?”
While working on this book, I read lots and lots of other YA with male POVs to kind of get the flavor. My husband was a big help, too. He’d read each of my scenes and sometimes he’d say, “Really? You think a guy would say/think/do that?” Then I’d try again. The thing that was cool is after a few months of working on the project, our discussions shifted from being about whether the narrative was boyish enough to whether it was Sethish enough. I was very proud when I got to that point because it was like, Seth had become a real enough person that “boy” or “not boy” was no longer a consideration. If that makes any sense.

I appreciated the frank portrayal of underage drinking in your novel. Do you think teens fully understand the negative consequences of drinking? What message did you hope to impart by its inclusion in the novel?
Despite the fact that my dad was killed in a collision with a drunk driver when I was four, I know that I didn’t fully understand the negative consequences of underage drinking when I was a teen. For instance, it seemed like puking was a thing that should automatically happen while partying. (It isn’t.) I also didn’t grasp that a 100-pound girl trying to keep up with, like, 175-pound boys was not only stupid, but could be dangerous for a multitude of reasons.

I don’t imagine that it would be a stretch to say that other teens out there might be clueless in the ways that my friends and I were clueless. And, yes, this is probably pretty obvious, but what I really hope readers will come away with after reading this book is that taking care of yourself and making smart choices is never a bad thing.

I loved Mrs. Dalloway and Seth’s Interpersonal Communications class. What was your inspiration behind her character and her often zany lessons?
I took an Interpersonal Communications class in college. Mrs. Dalloway is a less annoying, but more out-there version of my instructor. For the class I took, we had to choose fake names for ourselves and make lists of ways that we would challenge ourselves. I stole those ideas, and also came up with things that I thought would make the format of the class in the book more interactive and unexpected.

Can you tell us anything about your next YA novel?
I don’t actually know what my next published novel will be, but I have a few YA projects in the works which might be contenders. I hope that I’ll know more in the coming months!

My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?
A combination of a book and a tropical beach is the ideal hiding spot for me.

I urge you to pick up FREEFALL. There's been a lot of talk about the lack of males narrators and "guy" books in YA lately, so Scott's debut is worth picking up for that reason alone, but there are many, many more reasons to pick up this amazing debut. Be sure to check out my review and the book trailer:

Character Interview: Noah from The Absolute Value of -1

Today I'm joined by Noah from Steve Brezenoff's THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF -1. I found Noah to be one of the most interesting and, in ways, elusive of the three main characters in the novel. I think readers will get a good sense of Noah's attitude in his answers below... actually, I'm a bit surprised he didn't just decide to blow off the last few questions. I'm impressed.

The Interview

Describe yourself in 5 words or less.

Um, high? Horny? Handsome? How many is that?

Name 3 of your favorite things and, for good measure, 3 of your least favorite too.
Number one is getting a good buzz on. I also like playing Madden and listening to Biohazard in the basement, especially if dear old Dad is out and I can pump it up. Least favorites? How about watching Lily fall all over herself to get Simon’s attention for half a second.

School doesn’t seem to be your scene… If you could be anywhere or go anywhere, where would you be?
Back in the OC, definitely—Orange County, CA. I’d like to be on Laguna Beach right now, actually, with a nice buzz, laying out and watching the girls.

You, Simon, and Lily are in a bit of a predicament. You’ve got a thing for Lily, but she only has eyes for Simon, while Simon’s head is somewhere else entirely. Why do you suppose Lily’s so blinded by Simon… what draws her to him?
Who the hell knows what goes her mind. Same as Mom, I guess. Same as most of the girls in school: they love the guys who treat them like garbage or ignore them completely. Hey, maybe I’m wrong, but if I am, how else can you explain it?

From the outside looking in, Simon doesn’t seem like the greatest friend… why do you stick around?
I don’t have a lot of options, first of all. The guy was my only friend when I moved out to Long Island. But hey, he’s also my number-one customer. Besides, I’ve got feelers out, looking into new social situations, you know?

I was extremely impressed by this novel! Be sure to check out my review of THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF -1 here.

To win -1 bookmarks and other fun swag, leave a comment
on this post or the review linked above!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (40)

WoW is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books/July 2011
Description (from GoodReads):
Nora, the popular girl and happy consumer, witnesses a horrific bombing on a shopping trip with her mother. In Nora’s near-future world, terrorism is so commonplace that she can pop one little white pill to forget and go on like nothing ever happened. However, when Nora makes her first trip to a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic, she learns what her mother, a frequent forgetter, has been frequently forgetting. Nora secretly spits out the pill and holds on to her memories. The memory of the bombing as well as her mother’s secret and her budding awareness of the world outside her little clique make it increasingly difficult for Nora to cope. She turns to two new friends, each with their own reasons to remember, and together they share their experiences with their classmates through an underground comic. They soon learn, though, they can’t get away with remembering.

Whoa. Just... whoa. This description caught my attention and the cover cemented it in my mind. Whoa.

Review: The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff

Title: The Absolute Value of -1
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Pub. Date: 9.1.2010
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Love, Friendship, Multiple POV
Pages: 264
Description (from GoodReads):
The absolute value of any number, positive or negative, is its distance from zero: I-1I = 1.

Noah, Lily, and Simon have been a trio forever. But as they enter high school, their relationships shift and their world starts to fall apart. Privately, each is dealing with a family crisis—divorce, abuse, and a parent's illness. Yet as they try to escape the pain and reach out for the connections they once counted on, they slip—like soap in a shower. Noah’s got it bad for Lily, but he knows too well Lily sees only Simon. Simon is indifferent, suddenly inscrutable to his friends. All stand alone in their heartache and grief.

In his luminous YA novel, Steve Brezenoff explores the changing value of relationships as the characters realize that the distances between them are far greater than they knew.

Having never heard of THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF -1, I had no expectations as I cracked the cover. Not one. Which is why I was shocked to discover that this novel, Steve Brezenoff's YA debut, has landed squarely on my Best of 2010 list.

The novel is divided into three main sections - one for each character - but the first and last pages are told by Suzanne. I'll admit to being a bit confused when I saw her name printed largely on the first page... there's no mention of a Suzanne in the description. It doesn't take long to figure out who this mysterious narrator is, but it takes the majority of the novel to make sense of her role and meaning to each of the main characters.

I ended up preferring Lily and Noah over Simon. I appreciated seeing the events unfold from each POV, but Simon set me on edge. Even at the end of the novel, I wasn't completely sure I understood his motivations, which made is actions difficult to reconcile. In the end, I resigned myself to disliking his character, which was difficult for me because I can't help but try to connect with each character, even in a small way.

I found it easy to identify with Lily. She's the typically high school girl, in love with a boy who is oblivious to her. Or worse, is completely aware and chooses to act oblivious. I feel confident saying that every girl feels like a Lily at some point, whether it occurs in high school or later.

Noah was my favorite character, though it's hard to say exactly why. Part of me wonders if it's due to the fact that he had the smallest section. It's almost like when you meet someone for the first time and you think they're pretty cool, but then, the more you get to know them, the more you're aware of their flaws. And then they just don't seem so cool anymore. Simon and Lily's flaws were painfully clear, while Noah was just a stoner boy with an unrequited crush. He was much easier to like. Maybe I would have ended up liking him less if he was more of a focus, but I still can't help wanting to hear more of his story.

THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF -1 is unflinchingly honest and beautifully written. I'm very curious to see what Steve Brezenoff offers next, but, in the meantime, I'll be pondering this novel's final pages...

Grade: A

Part of the reason I decided to read THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF -1 was the book trailer... I always thought book trailers were more fun than functional, but, more and more, I've found that book trailers have caused me to give a book a second look!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cover of the Week (22)

Cover of the Week is a weekly feature at The Hiding Spot, in which I share a cover that gives me that swoony feeling.

You Against Me by Jenny Downham
David Fickling Books/12.2.2010
Description (from Amazon):
If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another.

I'm really liking the image on the cover of YOU AGAINST ME, but my favorite aspect is the lines of text across the bottom. I haven't seen that done many times before and there is something beautiful about it... that small snapshot into the novel. The one aspect that I don't like is the little bubble mentioning BEFORE I DIE. I understand why it's there, but I feel like it takes from overall effect of the cover.

And can I just say that I am unable to express how much I'm longing for this novel. BEFORE I DIE caused me to sob uncontrollably and I feel like I've been waiting forever for Downham's next novel. Now that I have a description and cover, I feel like I can finally allow myself to imagine walking into the bookstore and taking it home with me where it will live happily on my bookshelf. There is "unbearable tension" in this book. UNBEARABLE. I think you all know how I feel about tension. Especially when it's unbearable.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Review: Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart

Title: Dangerous Neighbors
Author: Beth Kephart
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pub. Date: 8.24.2010
Genre: Historical YA
Keywords: Sisters, Twins, Grief, Regret, Love
Pages: 192
Description (from GoodReads):
Could any two sisters be more tightly bound together than the twins, Katherine and Anna? Yet love and fate intervene to tear them apart. Katherine's guilt and sense of betrayal leaves her longing for death, until a surprise encounter and another near catastrophe rescue her from a tragic end. Set against the magical kaleidoscope of the Philadelphia Centennial fair of 1876, National Book Award nominee Beth Kephart's book conjures the sweep and scope of a moment in history in which the glowing future of a nation is on display to the disillusioned gaze of a girl who has determined that she no longer has a future. The tale is a pulse by pulse portrait of a young heroine's crisis of faith and salvation in the face of unbearable loss.

At times, when I'm reading one of Beth Kephart's novels, I find myself distracted by the gorgeous phrasing and richly described settings and characters. It's easy to find oneself swept away by the beautiful writing, but I always remind myself to go beyond that aspect Kephart's novels because the writing isn't meant to distract readers from a mediocre tale: Kephart is a thought-provoking storyteller as well.

DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS is a slim volume, but the I felt Katherine and Anna's story fit well within its covers. This novel is not for readers who favor action and a quickly paced story. At all. The story begins slowly and continues at a leisurely pace, meandering between past and present.

I found Katherine's relationship with her sister, Anna, and her father interesting. There isn't very much dialogue in the novel, but each interaction holds weight and meaning and I found myself analyzing the words exchanged and considering how Katherine would have reacted and felt. The flashbacks, to me, held the most meaning, as they were the only time readers are able to observe Katherine and Anna's interaction. I couldn't help imagining Katherine collecting these memories like a crow collects shiny baubles, though many of the memories lacked the luster of happiness.

Kephart tells her characters' stories with a delicate hand and deposits them carefully into the reader's heart. DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS, with it's beautiful language and acute heartache, is no exception.

Grade: B+

Cover Comments:
This cover is perfect for DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS. The colors and image both convey the delicate subject matter and writing.

Review copy provided by EgmontUSA.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Review: Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford

Title: Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters
Author: Natalie Standiford
Publisher: Scholastic
Pub. Date: 9.1.2010
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Sisters, Inheritance, Secrets, Rebellion, Family, Love, Grief
Pages: 320
Description (from GoodReads):
The Sullivan sisters have a big problem. On Christmas Day their rich and imperious grandmother gathers the family and announces that she will soon die . . .and has cut the entire family out of her will. Since she is the source of almost all their income, this means they will soon be penniless.

Someone in the family has offended her deeply. If that person comes forward with a confession of her (or his) crime, submitted in writing to her lawyer by New Year's Day, she will reinstate the family in her will. Or at least consider it.

And so the confessions begin....

I find it difficult to verbalize just why I adore Natalie Standiford and her novels so much. There's something almost cinematic about them. Her characters are always unique and they seem to sparkle. They catapult themselves off the page and into my imagination so naturally that it's like they belong there. I find that oddly comforting.

I tend to be drawn to love stories and romantic characters, so it's understandable that I particularly liked Norrie's confession. Not only does she fall in love, she blatantly disregards the wishes of her grandmother, the one and only Almighty, to be with her beau. But, even without her role as a star-crossed lover, I'd still identify with Norrie. She's a smart, sensible girl and often makes observations and comments I find myself agreeing with, like: "I had to admit he looked nice. He has very regular features and straight teeth. I'd just read that even, regular features are universally recognized as beautiful. So no matter what I think of Brooks as a person, I'm genetically programmed to find him attractive. I resent that."

I was won over by the straight-talking Jane right from the start of her confession. Jane blogs about her family, primarily Almighty, on the blog and her version of family's history is both amusing and relateable. My family is nothing like the Sullivans, yet exactly the same. Despite having a vastly different backgrounds, I can identify with the cynical feelings Jane feels toward her family and her overbearing grandmother, even if the feelings only last during a particularly trying period of time. Every family has a skeleton or two in the closet and issues swept under rug, but sometimes they just won't stay hidden away.

The last confession is Sassy's and it's... interesting. I wasn't quite as taken with this character as I was with Norrie and Jane, so I was happy to find that her section of the novel isn't nearly as substantial as her sisters'. Still, I felt for Sassy. Despite the ridiculousness of her fearful belief that she had committed a horrible crime against her grandmother, especially in light of what she thought she had done, her guilt and fear could not be disputed. I just didn't connect with her character as strongly as the other two sisters.

I loved the entire novel, but I was most taken with Almighty's confession on the last pages. I can't think of a better way Standiford could have finished this novel and I can honestly say I found Almighty's confession the most shocking of all... not only because of it's content, but that Almighty would confess anything, no matter the circumstances.

After reading Standiford's debut, HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT, I had high expectations for her sophmore novel, and I was in no way disappointed. Standiford makes the shortlist of novelists I feel comfortable preordering... and that's saying a lot.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back to school!

I'm back at school... which means multiple things for The Hiding Spot.

First off, I have a lot less time for anything I actually want to do. Like sleep. And blog. And *sob* read. It's the last that hurts the most. In fact, lately, every time I try to read a few chapters, I find my eyes are unable to stay open and I'm quickly asleep. I feel like my parents. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Also, due to time constraints, nothing in my room is organized or set up. Just the other day, a friend came over to raid my bookshelves, and informed me that it looks like I'm "living in a jail cell." Sadly, this is an accurate description. Which is why I was thrilled to find an email from in my inbox. It's almost like the kind people over as CSNstores could hear my room crying after it heard its unkind description.

I'm now on a mission to find CSN products that transform my jail cell, ahem, room, into a comfy, cozy, library-like habitat.

I've browsed everything from office items to bookshelves to patio and garden. I spent a few mintues flipping through end tables... I've discovered end tables and bedside tables are pieces you take for granted until they aren't there. My books end up on the ground as I drift to sleep... and then I trip on them in the morning!

I don't know what I'll end up with, but I'll have fun choosing!

I really like this one! Part table, part bookshelf. Perfect!

Win a copy of SHADE by Jeri Smith-Ready!

The fabulous Jeri Smith-Ready is offering one signed copy of SHADE to a lucky winner at The Hiding Spot. To top it off, the prize is the UK version of the novel, whose cover rivals the US version. I have a hard time deciding which I like more!

Be sure to check out my review of SHADE here.

(1) UK version of SHADE

How to Enter:
You MUST fill out this FORM. If you neglect to fill out the form, you will not be entered to win.

Extra Entries:
Not required. Extra entries are detailed on the entry form as well.
+1 Tweet this contest. (Leave a link and include @thehidingspot.)
+1 Link this contest on your sidebar, in a post, or on FB. (Leave a link.)
+2 Comment on my review of SHADE here.

There will be 1 winners. Contest will close October 21, 2010. Open Internationally!

Good luck!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Stolen {Book} Meme

This meme keeps popping up in my dashboard and each time I can't help but think about which books I'd choose for each category, so I might as well steal it. You should steal it to. All the cool kids are doing it: Anna Jarzab, Courtney Summers, Mindi Scott.

5 Books I’ve Read Recently
  1. Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford
  2. The Ivy by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur
  3. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
  4. Small-Town Sinners by Melissa Walker
  5. Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart
 5 Books I’m Planning to Read (in the near future)
  1. Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
  2. Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
  3. Dark Song by Gail Giles
  4. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
  5. Hunger by Jackie Kessler
5 of My Favorite Books
  1. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
  2. Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
  3. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
  4. The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride
  5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
 5 of My Least Favorite Books
  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I know, I know! I read it in 9th gr and should probably reread it!)
  2. Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner (I just couldn't get into this one.)
  3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Ugh.)
  4. The Tear Collector by Patrick Jones (I tried to like it!)
  5. Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis (Ditto!)
 5 of My Favorite Book-to-Film Adaptations
  1. Pride and Prejudice (Both! I love Colin Firth and Keira Knightly, so I can't choose!)
  2. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
  3. Whip It! (Originally titled DERBY GIRL.)
  4. Atonement
  5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Review: Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick

Title: Her and Me and You
Author: Lauren Strasnick
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub. Date: 10.5.2010
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Twins, Love, Friendship, Manipulation, Lies, Eating Disorders
Pages: 224
Description (from GoodReads):
First love, broken friendships, and heartache all play a part in this evocative, voice-driven novel about Alex, a girl whose world is ripped apart when her father’s affair splits her family in two.

Alex moves with her mess of a mother to a new town, where she is befriended by hot, enigmatic Fred—and alternately flirted with and cold-shouldered by Fred’s twin sister, Adina. Others warn Alex to steer clear of the twins, whose sibling relationship is considered abnormal at best, but there’s just something about Fred—and something about Adina—that draws Alex to them and makes her want to be part of their crazy world…no matter the consequences.

An intense, fast-paced read, Lauren Strasnick pulled me into the twisted, passionate world of Alex, Fred, and Adina. I finished the novel in just over an hour, but the story continued to ricochet through my mind even after the last page was turned.

Alex is the main character, but it's Adina and Fred, and their interesting relationship, that steal the spotlight. Fred is immediately likeable and it wasn't difficult to imagine why Alex would fall him, even as she's being warned against him... and his sister.

It's Adina, however, that gave the novel an almost sinister feel. Right from the beginning, the reader can tell there's something not right with Adina. She's possessive of Fred, manipulative of everyone, and her fragility makes her easy to underestimate. As I read, I couldn't help but be a bit impressed by her deft manipulation of Alex and Fred. The lengths she was willing to go to achieve her goal was terrifying, but I found it hard to look away.

The novel is comprised of more than just Adina and her games. Alex and Fred's relationship unfolds slowly, tenderly. The two are comfortable, yet hesitant and I found myself hoping they'd break free of Adina's control, despite how interesting I found her intrusions and designs.

Strasnick has succeeded in writing a gripping novel populated with compelling characters that will leave you wondering where the last two hours have gone.

Grade: A

 Review copy provided by Good Golly Miss Holly Tours.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Character Interview: River from Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

Cate Tiernan is the author of the SWEEP series and the newly released IMMORTAL BELOVED. Today one of the novel's central characters, River, is at The Hiding Spot to answer a few questions about Nastasya, the main character, and her unique name.

The Interview

You first met Nastasya in 1929. What was your first impression? What 5 words best describe the girl you encountered.

Wet, bloody, clueless, remorseless, and belligerent. I first met Nastasya (she was using the name Christiane at the time) minutes after she and Incy wrecked their car, killing one human girl and gravely injuring another. But there was no concern, no understanding of how badly they had messed up. Mostly she was upset about her clothes, and just wanted a ride to the nearest town. It was so disheartening and unattractive. I offered her help, larger help on a personal-karma scale, but she was not at a place where she would hear me. Not yet. People can only hear what they can hear.

Without getting into spoilery specifics, how is today's Nastasya different from the person you met so briefly in 1929?
In some ways she’s the same--the innate nature of people usually doesn’t change. But she has a few chinks in her armor now, and is trying to be willing to see herself differently, see the world differently. She has a bit more self-awareness, and seems more able to put her behavior into a larger context, which is showing her how pointless and soulless it can be. She can do it--I know she can. But I know it’s really hard, and I know she has to swallow her pride over and over again, which is never easy. Actually she seems younger now, partly because she seems less sure of herself, less world-weary. It’s interesting, watching her change. It’s always interesting, doing what I do.

When you first met, Nastasya went by another name, but, like now, you called yourself River. Have you held different aliases? Is there a story behind your name?
I’ve called myself River, on and off, for almost three hundred years. It seems like me. The name I was born under was Aulina. Some of us enjoy changing names frequently, but I find it’s harder for me, and gets harder as I get older. I feel settled into myself, and my name reflects that. I know that probably in the next ten years or so, I’ll have to pretend to die, then come back as my own daughter or niece to inherit this property, so I can continue the work I’m doing. But I’m not looking forward to changing my name. I’m taking suggestions, though.


New name, new town, new life. Nastasya has done it too often to count. And there’s no end in sight. Nothing ever really ends... when you’re immortal. But this time is different: Nastasya knows that this new town must hold her salvation—or her death.

Nastasya was born into darkness, and has embraced it her whole life. Four hundred years ago, a tragedy robbed her of her birthright, and she’s been living a lie ever since. Now, four centuries of exploring the depths and limits of dark power has left Nastasya feeling sickened unto death. If she continues down this road, she will end up as a very dark, twisted, evil thing—with unthinkable power. Or she can begin the long, painful road toward light, and reclaim the destiny that others tried to destroy.

They’re rare. You may have never met one, never sat next to one on a plane, never eaten in the same restaurant at the same time. But the Immortals are there. Have always been there. Will always be there. Moving among humans, playing out their own cursed fate. Sometimes subtly, sometimes with huge, sweeping implications for mankind. But no one will ever know. Except you.

Thank you for the insight, River!

Be sure to check out IMMORTAL BELOVED for a new take on immortality... and a rather studly Viking.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (39)

WoW is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Divergent by Veronica Roth
HarperTeen (Katherine Tegen Books)/5.2011
Description (from GoodReads):
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris, and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together, they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes-fascinating, sometimes-exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen.

But Tris also has a secret: one she’s kept hidden from everyone, because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly-perfect society, she also learns that her secret might be what helps her save those she loves . . . or it might be what destroys her.

I think Roth's debut has the potential to be fantastically epic. It's set in Chicago!  I wasn't sure if I liked the cover at first, but, the more I look at it, the more it grows on me. I'm really loving the skyline and I'm hoping the symbol and flames will be embossed...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blogfest 2010 & Contest

While I'm ridiculously late with my Blogfest 2010 post and contest, I thought it was still worth doing. So enter away!

Please be sure that you read through the information and rules below.

(1) SIGNED arc of CLOCKWORK ANGEL - or -
(1) SIGNED pb copy of CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare

How to Enter:
You MUST be a follower of The Hiding Spot and comment on this post to be considered eligible. This counts as one entry. Be sure to leave your email address as well.

Extra Entries:
Not required.
+1 Tweet this contest. (Leave a link and include @thehidingspot.)
+1 Link this contest on your sidebar, in a post, or on FB. (Leave a link.)

Contest will close September 13th, 2010. Tomorrow night! Open internationally!

Good luck!

Be sure to check out Late Bloomer Online and enter to win Lisa McMann's amazing trilogy! Find more great blogs and contests here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Guest Post: Erica Perl (Author of

I adored Erica Perl's YA debut, VINTAGE VERONICA, so when I was excited to discover she had an upcoming childrens' release: DOTTY. Erica is a phenomenal writer whose writing tackles important topics and I'm thrilled to have her back at The Hiding Spot! Even if DOTTY doesn't appeal to you, I urge you to read Erica's post - she imparts an important message that, I think, applies to everyone, no matter what your age!

The Importance of Holding on to Childhood Things

I hold onto a lot from my childhood - books, photos, toys, and especially books - but something happened over the weekend that made me realize that the thing I hold onto most is my ability to play. I think adults should play a lot more, and should bring a sense of playfulness into their everyday lives. I feel very lucky to get to hang out with my kids, who keep me playing and who force me to play even when I am tired and acting too much like a grown up. What happened this weekend was: we were taking a hike, and the kids started to complain that it was taking too long, so I picked up a stick and announced that it would be the story stick and we would make up a story. Immediately, the longness and uphillness and are-we-there-yet-ness was forgotten. I kicked it off with "Once upon a time there was a toad who wanted to be a frog..." and then I handed off the stick and my younger daughter started spinning the most excellent yarn. Before we were through, there was a unicorn (of course), a blue Yeti, two giants, an enchantress and a very bad cat. We also created elaborate rules as we went, which was fun, too. The point is, so often I am tempted to say to my kids "go play!" but the fact is, I need play as much as they do. Which is one of the things I was trying to say with Dotty: adults should hold onto their essential childishness as long as possible AND not keep it a secret. One of the greatest gifts you can give to a child is to show that, inside, you're a kid, too. Not all the time, of course, because kids get comfort from reliability and rules and firmness and all that adult stuff. But every so often, just like Ms. Raymond, you have to take them aside and show them that you still have a string. And if that last line makes no sense, please read my new book, Dotty. Because then it will.

All the best,
Your friend Erica
and her friend, Dotty

Be sure to check out all the blogs Erica has visited on the Connect with Dotty tour!

8/30 The Happy Nappy Bookseller
9/1 Alison’s Book Marks
9/2 A Patchwork of Books
9/3 Jean Little Library
9/4 Pragmatic Mom
9/7 Links to Literacy
9/8 The Book Bag Blog
9/9 The Hiding Spot
9/10 Bookmark, The First Book Blog

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

{Book Trailer} Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers

I know I've been mentioning FALL FOR ANYTHING, Courtney Summers' upcoming December release, way too much lately, but oh.em.gee. guys. Have you seen the book trailer? What? You haven't? Watch it now. Seriously.


Ahhhhhh! I have no words to express just how excited I am about this novel. Courtney, you are beyond awesome.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Guest Post: Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson (Authors of The Familiars!)

Please welcome Adam and Andrew, authors of THE FAMILIARS, to The Hiding Spot! Their novel, a MG novel featuring young wizards and their familiars, magical animal companions, releases today, September 7th!

A Brief Bio

ADAM JAY EPSTEIN spent his childhood in Great Neck, New York, while ANDREW JACOBSON grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but the two met in a parking garage out in Los Angeles. They have been writing for film and television together ever since. The Familiars is their first book. 
One day, Adam asked Andrew, “Are you familiar with what a familiar is?” And from that simple question, Vastia was born, a fantastical world filled with the authors’ shared love of animals and magic. They wrote every word, sentence, and page together, sitting opposite each other.

Adam Jay Epstein lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jane, their daughters, Penny and Olive, and a black-and-white alley cat who hangs out in their backyard. Andrew Jacobson lives with his wife, Ashley, and their dog, Elvis, four traffic lights away.

THE FAMILIARS will be produced for film by Sam Raimi and Sony Animation.


“Working With a Literary Agent: An Appreciation”

We wanted to introduce you to our third writing partner. His name doesn’t appear on the cover of “The Familiars” or anywhere inside for that matter. But his imprint can be felt in the words on every page. He is Markus Hoffmann, our book agent at Regal Literary. Every step along the way of our journey to getting published, Markus has done more than simply sell our material. He has helped make sure it is propulsive, engaging, and richly detailed. Before our manuscript ever landed on the desk of a publisher, it was thoroughly developed and vetted by Markus. No “i” was dotted or “t” crossed without first passing Markus’s sharp eye or keen literary intuitiveness. We’re not sure if every agent goes through this process with their author client, but from what we’ve heard, most do not. He is our secret weapon (not so secret any more). He pushed us just the right amount, always challenged us to do our best, and we are confident that with him at our side, each book we write will get better and better. In a lot of ways he is the mentor who taught us how to be authors. His patience, knowledge of the market, and creative insight are all invaluable. His German accent mysterious and alluring. To Andrew, who still has not been to New York to meet him, he is but an enigmatic voice on the phone, wise and all-knowing. Adam, who has met him in person, has had some of the wizard-behind-the-curtain mystique revealed. But he is no less impressed by his impeccable taste and talent. We thank you, Markus, for embodying all that an agent should. Now if you’ll please review and add your magic touch to this guest blog post, it would be much appreciated.

You can learn more about “The Familiars” at

Friday, September 3, 2010

{Book Trailer} Radiance by Alyson Noel and Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

I'm really looking forward to two of Macmillan's newest titles: RADIANCE by Alyson Noel and HALO by Alexandra Adornetto. Both novels feature gorgeous cover art and promising descriptions. Be sure to check out those covers and descriptions below, then take a couple minutes to watch the book trailers!

RADIANCE by Alyson Noel
Riley has crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. She has picked up life where she left off when she was alive, living with her parents and dog in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. When she’s summoned before The Council, she learns that the afterlife isn’t just an eternity of leisure. She’s been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a possibly cute, seemingly nerdy boy who’s definitely hiding something. They return to earth together for Riley’s first assignment, a Radiant Boy who’s been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But all of that was before he met Riley . . .


HALO by Alexandra Adornetto
Three angels are sent down to bring good to the world: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. But she is the most human, and when she is romantically drawn to a mortal boy, the angels fear she will not be strong enough to save anyone—especially herself—from the Dark Forces.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Title: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: 8.31.2010
Genre: Paranormal YA
Keywords: Orphans, Powers, Paranormal Creatures, Love, Friendship
Pages: 352
Description (from GoodReads):
Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

You can't deny that Kiersten White's debut has a fantastic cover That alone will cause readers to flock, but it's Evie's charm and the unique plot that will entice them to stay... and ask for seconds.

The word I most closely associate with PARANORMALCY is fun. There's mystery, there's romance, but, mostly, this book is an engaging, quick read. At just over 350 pages, PARANORMLCY is one of the thicker YA volumes I've read of late, but, for the most part, the action moved at a quick pace and the chapters whizzed by.

I was impressed with the variety of fantastical and interesting characters White packed into Evie's world. She included the standard vampires, mermaids, etc, etc, but also cast a shapeshifter (without fur!) and many more, often creepy, creatures!

The one aspect of PARANORMALCY that I found lacking was the romance. It was cute, but it was missing the tension I'd hoped for. I liked the boy, I liked the girl, but I wanted more fire. Hopefully my tension-filled wishes will be fulfilled in the next installment!

Grade: B

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ban This! and Banned Books Reading Challenge!

Donna of Bites is hosting Ban This! 2010 which extends Banned Books Week into Month and encourages readers and bloggers everywhere to read, review, and spread the word about banned and controversial books. You can read more about Ban This! here.

Between September 1 and October 15 Steph Su (of Steph Su Reads) will be hosting a Banned Books Reading Challenge. The goal of the challenge is for participants to pledge to read a self-determined number of banned or challenged books for the months of September and October. If you feel like this is an issue worthy of your support, sign up for the challenge on the sign-up post and/or blog about this challenge or just generally spread the word about it.

In addition, be sure to check out Blogger Confidential over at Emily's Reading Room. Each week, a question is posed to a group of bloggers (including myself!) on a variety of topics. Last week's question was regarding "edgy fiction," which is often questioned and sometimes censored. Check out the varying opinions here! Keep in mind, the question was about "edgy" fiction, which may mean different subjects and content depending on who you ask.

My Banned Books Reading List:
  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Alexie Sherman
  2. Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
  3. Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block
  4. Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles
  5. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  6. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  7. Burned by Ellen Hopkins
  8. Shade's Children by Garth Nix
  9. The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud