Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pottermore Halloween Surprise!

We're pleased to officially announce that from tomorrow, 31st October, 12 noon GMT, the final chapters of
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
will be available on Pottermore for you to explore.

Help us spread the word by telling your fellow Harry Potter and Pottermore fans about the great news.

That means that we are a mere few hours away from completing the second book! I know I'll be (gently) cracking open my copy to read along with the site. What about you? Will you peruse the pages by yourselves, or will you follow along with your e-, print-, or audio- books? And regardless of your practice, are you stoked for more content? Or have you, like my sister, given up on Pottermore?

Let me hear you howl!

Top Ten Tuesday: Kickass Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week seems to be a bit repetitive for me. I know I've listed my top ladies before, and a lot of these (okay, nearly all of them) have made past lists. However, ranking them in order of kickassiness is a new feat for me... I don't know that I've succeeded, but here's my best shot at quantifying some of my favorite kickass heroines.

10. Mercy Thompson ~ Mercy Thompson

She has her ups and downs, her strengths and weaknesses, but overall I think she has the head to keep herself out of danger, the heart to know when to ignore her head, and the guts to do what she has to.

9. Rachel ~ Animorphs

Some girls might have a hard time getting their hands dirty, but Rachel has no such qualms. When the safety of her friends or the human race is on the line, she is first to throw herself into the fray.

8. Lily Fielding ~ Vamplayers

A little girly at times, but this girl's got bite when she needs it.

7. Holly Short ~ Artemis Fowl

She may be small in size, but don't let your guard down on that account. Holly has risked life and limb on missions and time after time, so if you're looking for a tough gal on your team, don't overlook the fairy.

6. Lyra Belacqua/Silvertongue ~ His Dark Materials

Lyra may not be the most effective fighter, but that doesn't stop her. She may not know everything, may not be able to see the big picture, but just to go through what she had to and come out on the other side must mean something.

5. Sophie Mercer ~ Hex Hall

Less a fighter and more of a lover, but spunk and snark count a lot in my book, and this part-demon has got that in droves.

4. Fire ~ Seven Kingdoms Chronicles

So much I want to say, and so much I can't express. Hers is a complex tale, but never once did I want to turn away. A brave, noble, loyal, fierce, and kind lady to be sure.

3. Nita & Dairine Callahan ~ Young Wizards

A bit more relatable than some of the others here, these sisters are tied on my list. Imagine existing in our world, but being privy to the secrets of magic and the encroaching entropy enveloping our universe, then facing down that danger at every turn. Exhausting, yes, but these girls have shown time and again that they have what it takes.

2. Hermione Granger ~ Harry Potter

Not the title character, perhaps, but a vital role in the series nonetheless. I don't know how much I need to say about Hermione. What hasn't been said before? Intelligent, loyal, kind, and not too proud to admit when she needs help or was wrong. And she has a mean right hook.

1. Alanna of Trebond ~ The Song of the Lioness (and other Tortall books)

If I had to pick just one of Tamora Pierce's heroines, Alanna had to be it. The first and most memorable of the bunch (partly because of her recurring appearances), she is still my standard for kickass heroines. A fiery red-headed lady knight who doesn't hesitate to risk life and limb for her friends, country and King, and who had to fight tooth and nail to achieve her rank in the first place.

So, which ladies made your kickass list?
Do you prefer brains or brawn in your heroines?
Or is a mix your preference?
Let me hear you howl!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Almost Every Cell Held A Wolf

The Werewolf Asylum

A novelette of lycanthropy and insanity.

In Victorian England, there is a special institution where two men intend to help lycanthropes suppress their nocturnal transformations, while searching for a more permanent cure. One evening, they discover a rare type of werewolf - one trapped eternally in a half-human, half-wolf form - that they believe could be beneficial to their research.

'Martha', however, believing her shape is due to her being a Messiah to her brethren, wishes to see the other werewolves embrace their curse. Can she be treated and cured? Or will her 'Lord' have his way?

First and foremost, this is a novella. At 104 pages (including the title and acknowledgement pages), there isn't a lot of room to go off and explore the entire world, nor to grasp much of the complexity in the main characters. And yet Barsby managed to pack in a lot into a small package.

The story is told in the perspective of journal entries of a nameless doctor. Actually, it's unclear if he is a doctor since his work involves a strange mix of psychology and studying lycanthropy. At the very least, he and his associate, Harlston, run an asylum for werewolves. It is our narrator's hope to cure this affliction and allow his wards to return to their normal human lives.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Zombies Don't Guest Blog

The Top-5 Things
Writing About Zombies Has Taught Me
About Writing YA
By Rusty Fischer, author of Detention of the Living Dead

I always love it when a new book comes out because I get to take all I’ve done in the past year and start blogging about it for guest posts! So, this time around, I wanted to apply what I’ve learned while writing about zombies to what I’ve learned about writing YA. And the weird thing is, they’re surprisingly similar.

So here is my guest post on The Top-5 Things Writing About Zombies Has Taught Me About Writing YA:

The First Thing Zombie Writing Has Taught Me About Writing YA:
Watch Your World

When you write about zombies, you have to be very careful with the world you’re building. I learned this the hard way after my debut YA novel, Zombies Don’t Cry, came out and I got dinged by a few reviewers for my zombie science. To me, it was simple: lightning strikes teenager, teenager becomes zombie, hilarity ensues.

Well, for a lot of people, they wanted more; much more. As in: How, exactly, did lightning make her a zombie? What kind of zombie is she? Why can she talk? Etc.

So whether you’re writing about zombies, vampires, werewolves, faeries, kingdoms, dragons or just your normal, everyday, non-monster teenager, watch your world. Know what color your main character’s best friend’s hair is. It sounds silly, but how many times has an editor popped me by saying, “Rusty, last chapter she had red pigtails, now she has raven black long hair. Which is it?”

The more you know your world, the more real your characters become for you and your readers.

The Second Thing Zombie Writing Has Taught Me About Writing YA:
The Story is the Thing

I love writing about zombies. I love writing YA. So it’s only natural I’d love writing about YA zombies. But there’s a point, I think, early on, where subconsciously you think, “Well, this is about zombies; that’s enough!” I mean, yes, every story has a plot but there is SO much more to writing a zombie book, a YA book or ANY book than just the hook of trying to write a zombie mash-up book or “Twilight for zombies” or whatever.

Writing in a really cool genre isn’t enough to pull off a really cool story. You have to start with the story and then, for me anyway, the genre has to come second. For me, zombies aren’t a genre anyway. They just happen to be what I write about. And young adults are the characters, the people, I most relate to so they’re who I write about.

But it’s really easy to get so caught up in a trend, or as in the case of zombies, a tidal wave and think, “Man, if I just make those vampires I was going to write about zombies instead, I can have this to a publisher by the end of the month…”

But if you’re really going to write about zombies, they’re not just interchangeable monsters you can swap out with, say, vampires or werewolves. They’re a different breed and you have to know and respect that breed. Just like YA; it’s not just “kids,” it’s a very specific, very sophisticated audience with certain rules and lingo and all the rest.

And above all, zombie lovers, YA readers and YA themselves, demand a good story. Something rich and alive with characters they care about and an arc they can follow and get invested in and feel a little sad about when it’s all over. That’s not just zombie or YA writing; that’s any writing.

That’s good writing…

The Third Thing Zombie Writing Has Taught Me About Writing YA:
Know Your Niche

So, I learned this one pretty fast: not all zombie books are alike. Did you know this? I did not. You see, when I set out reading YA zombie books, I read the first three I could get my hands on at the time, which would be: You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay, Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amada Ashby and Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by E. Van Lowe.

Now, if you’ve ever read any of these three books, you know they all are a very specific type of tongue in cheek, funny, zany, teenage drama type of zombie book, which fit perfectly with my sensibilities. So naturally, those were the types of books I was drawn to read and the type of book I initially wanted to write.

But… but… lots of zombie publishers, readers, reviewers, agents, bloggers, fans and so on like another type of zombie book; a gorier, straight-up dystopian end-of-the-world Walking Dead type book. And they’re quick to let you know it, too!

I never thought “cute” would be a derogatory term, but it is to certain reviewers when they come upon a certain zombie book about a certain sentient zombie who can, you know, drive and go to school and wear berets to cover up the lightning scar on the top of her head.

So, yeah, it’s not your job to write solely for reviewers but if you don’t want to be shocked when/if you get slammed for your very specific type of writing, know what you’re writing going in. Know your niche, live it, breathe it, inhabit it.

Know if it’s gory or cute, funny or clever, dark or lighthearted, and own it. Don’t just know your niche, but own it. Me? I’ve kind of settled into this place where a lot of people describe my books as “B-movies in print.” Now, a lot of serious writers might get ruffled feathers to be described that way, but I love it. Why? Because that’s exactly what I’m going for.

Confidence is a really underrated writing skill that is constantly ebbing and flowing. The more you know and own your niche, the more confidently you’ll write in it.

The Fourth Thing Zombie Writing Has Taught Me About Writing YA:
Know Your Publishers

You would think it’d be easy for a zombie writer to approach a zombie publisher and get… zombie published. I mean, you publish zombie books, I write zombie books, let’s get together, yeah, yeah, yeah.

But for every zombie publisher, there is a personality. Some really, really like gore; some like no gore. Some won’t touch YA; some won’t touch certain types of YA. Some like “Romero” zombies, some “28 Days Later” zombies, lots don’t like “sentient” zombies; the list goes on and on.

Now more than ever, publishers seem to be getting really, really particular about their brand. Particularly zombie publishers. I’ve had a lot of publishers send out really nice rejections that say things like, “You know, we know this would sell well and it’s ‘hot’ right now, but it’s just too violent for our current line…” Or not violent enough. Or too funny, or not funny enough, etc.

Of course, I’m no fan of rejection but this process has really taught me to fine-tune and tailor my submissions much more personally than I have in the past. I’ll really get to know a publisher (or agent) before submitting now. I’ll follow them on Twitter, “friend” them on Facebook, subscribe to their blog, etc., just to get the drop on what kinds of books they put out, how often, how they promote them, where they promote them, etc.

Knowing as much as you can about a publisher before you submit isn’t cutting edge news, but now more than ever it’s a prerequisite for getting published, be it in zombies, YA or gardening books.

The Fifth Thing Zombie Writing Has Taught Me About Writing YA:
Zombies — and Kids — Just Want to Have Fun

Probably the most important thing writing about zombies has taught me about writing YA is to have fun. Yes, I said zombies, YA and “fun” in the same sentence. I’m not even saying to have slapstick, wearing a clown nose fun (unless that’s your thing), but if you’re writing at all, it should be fun.

If you’re writing about what you love, it should be fun. If you’re writing a 60,000-word YA zombie novel on deadline, it should still be fun. You have to have fun with your writing, no matter what you’re writing about.

Am I saying every day is going to be daisies, wine coolers and lollipops? Heck no. But even so, the idea you’re working on should be fun, crafting a really clever line of dialogue should be fun, capping off another chapter should be fun and writing “the end” at the bottom of the last page should be fun.

Because you know why? When you’re having fun, when you’re really enjoying the genre you write in, the characters you write about, the world you’ve built and the story you’ve decided to write, your readers will have fun as well.


So there you have it; a few years into this whole YA zombie paranormal genre writing scene and I hope I’ve learned a little more than a lot. I’ve tried to share just a glimpse of what I’ve learned in this guest post, and I hope it helps you no matter what genre you write in! I’d love to hear what you’ve learned on your own writing journey. As always, comment boxes are open below…

PS: And thanks, Vicki, for letting me stop by and bend your readers’ ears for a little bit. I hope I’ve helped!!!

Yours in YA,


About the Author

Rusty Fischer is the author of Zombies Don’t Cry, as well as several other popular zombie books, including Panty Raid at Zombie High, Detention of the Living Dead and the Reanimated Readz series of 99-cent living dead shorts.

Rusty runs the popular website Zombies Don’t Blog (www.zombiesdontblog.blogspot.com). At Zombies Don’t Blog you can read more about Rusty’s work, view his upcoming book covers and read – or download – completely FREE books & stories about… zombies!

You can also check out my reviews of Detention of the Living Dead, Ushers, INC., Vamplayers, and Zombies Don't Cry here at The Wolf's Den. And a HUGE thanks to Rusty!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Reads

Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week, in honor of the approaching holiday, we are tasked with presenting our Top Ten Books To Get In The Halloween Spirit. Now, I'm not really one for Horror, so my list is probably not going to be as scary or even as creepy as a lot of them. Still, here's what I'd read if I needed a little Halloween pick-me-up.

The Mayflower Project10. The Mayflower Project by K.A. Applegate

Not really Halloween-y in the normal sense, but the start to one of the creepiest series I've ever read. Following in the tracks of Animorphs and Everworld, this was a series that promised to push the boundaries of YA, and boy did it ever. If you want dark sci-fi with a side of teen adventure, check out these chilling tales.

Detention of the Living Dead

9. Detention of the Living Dead by Rusty Fischer

If you want your zombies with the same amount of gore, but still get that light-hearted vibe, definitely go with any of Rusty's stories. He has that perfect balance of gore and humor to give you thrills, chills, and still have you ready and rearing to go out at night.

Secret of the Old Clock8. The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene

It's been quite some time since I've read the old Nancy Drew books, but when I think of full moons and creepy houses, I can't help but have the teenage sleuth come to mind. Definitely short on gore, but still a good ambiance for the season, no?

7. Vamplayers by Rusty Fischer

He does much of the same with vampires as he does with zombies. Pack in a little more action and romance with this one, and maybe a little drama, but I still say you can't go wrong with one of Rusty's reads.

Frankenstein6. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

This is obviously one of the classics. Honestly, it didn't read all that scary for me, but I guess you could always pick up one of the movie adaptations instead.

Zombies Don't Cry

5. Zombies Don't Cry by Rusty Fischer

Okay, okay, my last Rusty Fischer book. If you want a lot more romance in your gore-fest, this is definitely the book to choose.

Alien Terror
4. Alien Terror by Chris Archer

Another non-Halloweeny pick here. Still, finding out you're an alien, and that other aliens want to kill and/or recruit you has got to serve for some chills, right?


3. Dracula by Bram Stoker

Yet another classic, and deservedly so. This one definitely has the creep factor. Though not as straight-forward as some modern writing, as it's written as a compilation of journals and news articles, it still gets the job done for a Halloween story.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith

More and more zombies. Like I said, I'm not really one for horror, but throw a little humor in there and I can usually make it through alright. This is definitely one of the goriest stories I've read, but in context it's pretty enjoyable to read. Perfect for getting into Halloween, if you don't mind all that romance in between.

One Day at Horrorland

1. Goosebumps One Day At Horrorland by R.L. Stine

This was the one and only book that has ever given me nightmares - and the main reason I didn't continue with the series. Though, actually, I remember it being 2nd in the series, not 20th... But regardless, if I had to pick the one book that scared me as a kid, this one tops the list.

Little Pet Shop of HorrorsHonorable Mentions:
Little Pet Shop of Horrors by Betsy Haynes
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith
Other Goosebumps & Bone Chillers

So, which books are on your Halloween list?
Do you prefer creeps and chills, or supernatural thrills?
Trick or Treat?
Let me hear you howl!

Monday, October 22, 2012

We Are Dead - Scratch That, Rewind - The Living Dead

Detention of the Living Dead

Maxine “Max” Compton is in detention when the outbreak starts; so are several other students when Max’s best friend Brie storms in – chomping on the thigh bone of their favorite Home Ec teacher, Ms. Watkins!

Brie is a zombie, and quickly starts biting everyone in the room—even her best friend, Max!

When the class realizes what happens, it’s too late; they are all zombies—and they’re no longer alone.

Now a thin gray man in a white lab coat is testing them; making them read, and once they can no longer read, the zombies are led from the room, never to be seen again.

One by one the zombies stop reading, all but a few of them, Max included. Oh, and that cute thug she’s been crushing on for years, Cory Winthrop!

That’s when Max learns that there are good zombies, and bad zombies. And if she’s to survive, she has to pick a side.

Who knew Detention could be this hard... or last forever?

I've read and enjoyed a number of Rusty's teen humor/romance/horror stories, so when Decadent Publishing e-mailed me about his latest book, I jumped at the chance.

You've no doubt seen the surge of supernatural, and specifically zombie material these days. And really, a lot of it is the same. Zombie outbreak occurs, main characters try to survive while slowly but surely they get picked off one by one... It's a pretty bleak outlook, to be sure.

But Rusty chooses a different point of view. What happens after the bite, the turn? What if death isn't the end? And what if the heart keeps working even after the heartbeat stops? His zombies still pack the bite, but a few still keep their brains even after their organs shut down—and not all of them are friendly. So now our protagonists have to deal with learning the ins and outs of being undead, defeating their menacing, bloodthirsty foes, and still contend with teenage hormones.

This particular outbreak happens in the small coastal town of Catfish Cove, Florida. Max has just gotten detention with an assorted bunch of misfits when the Principal comes on the school's TV announcement system screaming about zombies, only to be promptly chowed down upon moments later. Max's best friend, Brie comes into the room a few seconds later, chomping on a severed limb of her own, then decides to share with the class. Max and the rest awake a few minutes later to find themselves under the supervision of a shady Proctor and a lot of armed guards who aren't too stingy with their tasers.

Oh yeah, and the kids are all zombies now.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Don't Think Of You As My Guardian - You're My Angel

This review is for those who have read or are familiar with the previous book, Halflings, or don't mind knowing some major spoilers for it. Guardian, however, will remain spoiler-free.

Book 2

By Heather Burch
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Vigilance. The mission to safeguard Nikki Youngblood depends on the fragile alliance of two half-angel, half-human guardians, both struggling with intense feelings for the girl who has been assigned to their care.

Mace, steadfast and deeply in love, wants to protect Nikki at all costs, while Raven's loyalty to Nikki finds him advocating for her independence and battling his own darker inclinations. At the same time, Nikki finds it harder and harder to choose between the two heavenly beings she may never have.

Dangers intensify, and tensions between Mace and Raven flare as the purpose of their mission becomes clear. Can their defenses hold up to master manipulator Damon Vessler and the powerful secret he holds regarding Nikki's heritage? Can anyone protect Nikki from her true purpose and destiny?

If Halflings had me torn, Guardian has me ripped apart. And not in a good way. Sure, Halflings disappointed me in some respects, but it at least still had enough to make me hope for improvements. Guardian managed to do nothing but infuriate me chapter after chapter. But let me start at the beginning.

Nikki Youngblood has lost everything she knows and loves. Her parents were murdered. Her house was emptied by her mysterious godfather. Even her dog was slaughtered by hellhounds. All she has left to cling onto is her half-angel protectors, two of whom are trying to become a bit closer than protectors. So it just stands to reason that they all need a vacation.

Yep, no Twilight rip-off here; this love triangle is on the move. And what better way to solve angsty problems than trapping eleven teenagers on a boat together? Obviously God knows what he's doing here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lost Boys, Halflings, Outcasts

Book 1

By Heather Burch
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves Halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

Halflings has me a bit torn. You could say I'm half-and-half with this one. On the one hand there were characters I loved, mysteries and questions that had me hooked, and twists I never saw coming. Unfortunately there were also cliché situations, demeaning language, and parts that felt religiously preachy. So I guess I'll just start at the beginning and see what you think.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Switching Places

Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week we bloggers were given a reprieve of sorts. Pick a topic that we hadn't covered before, or wanted a second go at. So, this week I'll be listing characters I'd love to switch places with for 24 hours. Get ready for some unabashed indulgence.

Rachel10. Rachel from Animorphs

Kick-ass gal who can change into any animal she's ever touched. So long as I can stay away from the creepy brain slugs that are trying to take over the planet, I think I'll be okay for 24 hours.
Lily Fielding

9. Lily Fielding from Vamplayers

Just trying out the vampire lifestyle for a day. Provided I'm not being toyed with or hunted by some overpowered super vampire, I think it'd be a fun day.

Mercy Thompson
8. Mercy Thompson from her series

Can't say I know much about cars or fixing stuff, but I wouldn't mind having some of Mercy's perks for a day. Being able to change into a coyote at will, and being friends (and friends with benefits) with fae, vampires and werewolves. Definitely wouldn't be a boring 24 hours.
Minerva McGonagall

7. Minerva McGonagall from Harry Potter

I'd willingly trade age for awesomeness on this one. Animagus, extremely learned, fairly powerful witch, and friends with some of the greatest witches & wizards of 'our' time. Yep, not seeing any downsides to this one.

Clary Fray6. Clary Fray from The Mortal Devices

Honestly, I kinda got annoyed with this character, but if I could take her place for a day, I'd get to hang out with some really cool characters including Magnus, Isabelle and Simon. Ah, Simon... *drools*

Sophie Mercer

5. Sophie Mercer from Hex Hall

Another witch. But also super-powered from being part demon. Sure, running from people who want to kill you is a drag, but getting to hang out with an awesome vampire and a couple hawties is never a bad thing.

Lyra4. Lyra Belacqua/Silvertongue from His Dark Materials

How cool would it be to have a daemon companion who knew you inside and out? And being able to ask the Golden Compass any question you wanted would be pretty neat, too.
Nita Callahan

3. Nita Callahan from Young Wizards

How many magic-users do I have to pick before I get my letter to Hogwarts? Well, Nita's world isn't nearly as whimsical as the HP universe, but it does have a lot of perks - including space travel and a little shapeshifting. But all that responsibility and saving-the-world stuff might get a little much, so 24 hours is enough for me to get in, enjoy, and get out.

Daine Sarrasri2. Daine Sarrasri from The Immortals

Shapeshifter. Need I say more? Unfortunately the time period does detract from the appeal just a tad - modern restrooms are a plus - but I think I could stick it out for a day.
Tris Chandler

1. Tris Chandler from Shatterglass

I've said before how similar I am to Tris, so I think that trading places just to do a little magic, and observe other magic, would be well worth 24 hours.

Honorable Mentions:
Cimorene from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles
Bastion from The Neverending Story
Milo from The Phantom Tollbooth
Eragon from The Inheritance Cycle

So, which characters are on your list?
Or what Top Ten topic did you pick this week?
Let me hear you howl!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sneaking a Peek at The Archived

The Archived
~The Archived~
The Archived
Book 1

By Victoria Schwab
Amazon Pre-Order ~ Powell's Pre-Order

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous—it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard won redemption.

First of all, I hope they don't change a thing about that cover. It's gorgeous! Be sure to click on the image to get a larger view. Okay, maybe a little tweaking to the author name, as it can get a little lost up there. But still, great design guys. I only wish I'd gotten to see it on my Kindle - but that's neither here nor there.

I don't honestly remember what drew me to request this sneak peek from NetGalley two months back, but when I picked it up this week I had absolutely no clue what I was getting myself into. An organization that keeps secrets and souls, a world where the dead don't always rest in peace, and a fiery heroine who hunts down Histories while struggling to come to terms with her own... How could I not want to read more?

Mackenzie, or Mac to her family and friends, sucked me into her story instantly. Whether she was leading me through the present, navigating memories with her grandfather (Da) or brother, or exploring the other worlds of the Narrows and the Archive, I couldn't pull away. She's the perfect combination of strength and fragility; carrying out her duties to the best of her ability but still being raw from her recent loss, not to mention being so young in a job that deals with life and death situations on a daily basis.

The formatting was a bit wonky in my copy. Of course, I can't really fault it since it's not even an ARC and it has over 3 months before its proper release. Still, even with the strange fi & fl errors, the on-and-off red text, and the only sometimes bold flashback sections, it was very easy for me to tell what was happening at all times. Mac's narration (aka Schwab's writing) guides you through both past and present effortlessly, so even though there are a lot of switching tenses and flashbacks, I was never once confused. ...Okay, maybe just the first time when the formatting didn't change. But that's obviously a gimme.

Frankly, I was most surprised to find myself tearing up in a couple parts. Perhaps it's the fact that I lost a very dear companion (a cat, but still), and have attended a few memorial services recently. But nevertheless, I'd say this book's handling of the subject of death and the afterlife is extremely well-done. Not only is it innovative and completely new-to-me, but it's also tactful and sensitive.

Needless to say, I cannot wait to get my hands on the finished book come next January. There's a lot more I could say and a lot of theorizing I could make, but I'd rather save that for my eventual review. These 9 chapters are more than enough to suck you in and never let you go, so I'm more than eager to know what the rest of the book — and the series! — has in store!

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: January 22nd, 2013 by Hyperion

Disclaimer: I received this Sneak Peek from Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books We Hope Aren't Forgotten

Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is focusing on books that we hope will remain "on the radar" of readers. Either current lower-hyped titles that we thought were great, or really great older books that might be forgotten down the line. Now, I tend to remember authors a lot more than I remember specific books. So here are a few books & authors that I hope will continue to be remembered and treasured down the line...

Where the Red Fern Grows
10. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

I don't remember when I first read this book—probably 3rd or 4th grade—but I do remember it was the very first book to make me cry. A well-written story, great characters, and a heart-wrenching ending, this is definitely one I hope continues to be carried in children's sections for decades to come.

J.R.R. Tolkien

9. J.R.R. Tolkien

An author I don't think will ever be forgotten, Mr. Tolkien created characters, a language, and a world which has been passed down to new generations and shared with new audiences. There is a timelessness to his tales, though some are more memorable than others. Nonetheless, I hope his memory and his works survive long into the future.

His Dark Materials
8. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

A series which I probably picked up at too-young an age, but still lingers with me nonetheless. I've re-read the first couple books but have yet to delve back into the third novel a second time. The series as a whole is deceptively simple and innocent, but the subject matter is pretty deep and complex. Still, I hope this series doesn't go the way of the movie and get completely forgotten.

Diane Duane
7. Diane Duane

Though I've only managed to read her Young Wizards series, I've heard some great things about her other works as well. Even though her characters are a 'young adult' age, nothing about her books has ever made me feel written-down to. I hope her work continues to be on the radar of children and adults alike.

C.S. Lewis

6. C.S. Lewis

I took a class in college about C.S. Lewis and his works, so I might be a bit biased. Still, whether you're only reading his Chronicles for children, or whether you've ventured into his non-fiction Christian works, I believe he still has a lot to share.

Kristin Cashore5. Kristin Cashore

This is an author I'm thrilled to follow. I remember when Graceling first came out, I liked it but there were elements that didn't rub right with me. When Fire was released, I loved it so much I couldn't explain it. It was originally going to be my very first review on my blog, but I just couldn't get the wording right.

Bitterblue finally came out this year, and yet again I am stumped on how to review it. There is something that just resonates in all of her books, and I am excited to see her continue to grow with what she releases in the future. Seriously, go pick up her books now!
Eoin Colfer

4. Eoin Colfer

I know I've said this before, but Colfer is quite possibly my favorite male author. I first knew him from his Artemis Fowl series, then his book The Wish List, and finally his addition to the Hitchhiker's series. I was even lucky enough to hear him when he came to talk about the Hitchhiker book. Maybe I'm just a sucker for that Irish accent and a sense of humor. Or maybe his books are really just that great. Regardless, I hope he and his books stay on the reader radar for some time to come.

Katherine Applegate

3. K.A. Applegate

Quite possibly the author who most shaped my literary childhood. I not only read and collected the entire Animorphs series, but I also read her Everworld and Remnants series, which inspired and terrified me, respectively. Though arguably not as 'literary' as YA has been allowed to become in recent years, her books are still exciting reads that I hope aren't completely forgotten as time moves along.

Harry Potter

2. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

The world-wide phenomenon that spurred a new age of literature. The Star Wars of books. There are movies, conventions, websites, classes, and more all dedicated to remembering and preserving the magic these books brought us.

I met some of my dearest friends on a fansite and then spent many hours imagining up our own scenarios in the HP world. I own two copies of each of the books (hardbound and paperback) so that I'll have one copy for keeps and one for re-reading.

I don't know that this series will ever fade, and for that I am thankful.

Tamora Pierce
© www.tamorapierce.com

1. Tamora Pierce

I cannot stress enough how amazing all of her books are. Whether it's her anthology of short stories, or her Tortall series or her Emelan series, she never fails to present strong female and male characters in historical and magical worlds. I've never known her books to have a ton of hype surrounding them, and yet her signings and events never fail to fill the seats. She is an amazing person, and I hope she and her work continue to be a staple in YA literature for a very, very long time.

Honorable Mentions:
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Ender's Game & series by Orson Scott Card
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy & sequels by Douglas Adams
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
1984 by George Orwell
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

So, which books (or authors) are on your list?
Have they already established a legacy, or are they still on the fringe?
Let me hear you howl!