Monthly Archives: March 2010

Literary Lovers Mash-Up: John Willoughby & Jane Eyre

Today, we have a new story from our Literary Lovers Mash-Up Writing Contest entries. We asked you to write about two literary lovers meeting OR falling in love for the first time in about 500 words.

Today’s entry comes from Lillie Hill, who stuck with the classics — writing a meeting between John Willoughby from Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen and Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Jane’s Heart

Jane stepped off the doorstep of her sister’s home. A gusty wind blew from behind, almost knocking Jane off of her feet. She tucked a few wayward strands of inky hair beneath her cap. She held a basket in one hand, and used the other to smooth down her rustling skirt. She tried to quell the anxious feeling that had risen in her chest.

Jane walked down the lane toward her brother-in-law’s workshop. As a farrier, Samuel Lapp had been doing a brisk business lately, and had decided to hire an assistant. Last week, when Jane had brought a basket for lunch, she had been introduced to John Willoughby. The man’s dark eyes had seemed to bore into her very soul. She had been unable to look away from his direct gaze, even though normally she would have lowered her eyes. Then, Willoughby had winked at her. Winked! A warm feeling snaked down Jane’s spine at the memory.

Now, she was headed back to the workshop. Rebecca, Jane’s sister, had packed a simple meatloaf and apple pie lunch for the men. How could Jane refuse the request to deliver the food? Especially when Rebecca, at seven months pregnant, looked exhausted from her time in the kitchen. No, she had to go. But, she would not linger in the man’s presence. She was unnerved by his actions. She didn’t like feeling this way about an Outsider.

Arriving at the door to the workshop, Jane took a deep breath, then walked inside. She saw Samuel speaking to a neighbor. John stood with the two men, but his eyes sought her out immediately. He moved away from the men. His long stride ate up the distance between the two. Jane looked down, her fingers fumbling with the handle of the basket. She knew when he stood in front of her; his musky scent filled her nose.

“Jane.” John spoke her name with familiarity, while his warm hand settled on top of hers and squeezed. She was compelled to look up. His face held a tender expression, and she softened, giving him a tiny smile.

“Let’s go sit outside.” He slipped the basket from her unresisting fingers.

“This is lunch for you and Samuel.”

“I’m sure that your sister made plenty. We’ll be sure to save him some.” He held the door open for her. Jane followed him, her heart leading the way.

See all of the Literary Lovers Mash-Up entries.

Nat’l Poetry Month: Get a Poem a Day!

No foolin’… beginning April 1, will send one new poem to your inbox every day to celebrate National Poetry Month  (which we will officially begin celebrating tomorrow – stay tuned!). The poems have been selected from new poetry collections being published this spring.

Sign up here for your daily dose of poetical inspiration in April from

I also highly recommend the Poem-a-Day emails from Knopf Publishing. One emailed to you every day during April.

A month’s worth of verse in your inbox daily – now that’s delicious.

Crescendo cover reveal on April 10th – New details!

Our friends at will be exclusively unveiling the cover of Cresendo, the sequel to Hush, Hush live on April 10th! Here are the details:

Cover Reveal

After a lot of planning by the fabulous folks at Simon & Schuster, we are excited to announce that Becca Fitzpatrick will be revealing the cover of CRESCENDO, the highly anticipated follow-up to New York Times Bestselling HUSH HUSH, here on, live from the Denver Teen Lit Festival on Saturday April 10! The cover reveal will take place over the course of several hours as Laurie Maves, a chalk artist from Denver CO, will be drawing the Crescendo cover live!

The streaming video of this event will begin around 11 am EST / 9 am MDT. Plan to stop by throughout the day to see the cover art as it gradually comes to life and for occasional visits from Becca.

Have you experienced The Lonely Hearts Club yet?

Today marks the last day for our March Book of the Month – The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg … which begs the question: Have you experienced The Lonely Hearts Club yet?

All month, we’ve shared some exciting goodies from the book — including a contest, trivia, book trailer, interviews, and of course, lots & lots of Beatles music! Here’s a look back at the highlights:

The Lonely Hearts Club Writing Contest
Remember, you’ve got until midnight (PST) tonight to enter — so hurry up and send us your entries! Three winners will each receive a signed & personalized copy of The Lonely Hearts Club from author Elizabeth Eulberg.

The Lonely Hearts Club Book Trailer
A book trailer for The Lonely Hearts Club didn’t exist, so we took it upon ourselves to create one:

The Lonely Hearts Club Crossword Puzzle
Not only is this tons of fun — but even the author herself was wowed by it! She wrote:

I LOVED this! I will admit, I had to print it out again because I screwed up. Yes, the author messed up (I started answering #7 across without starting with “the”). YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING!

That definitely had us blushing and feeling a bit satisfied with ourselves …

Beatles Trivia & Lyrics Matching
The Beatles is a huge part of The Lonely Hearts Club, and we made a point to talk about the connection between the text & the music throughout the month. Elizabeth Eulberg even shared with us all the Beatles trivia packed into her novel, and we made a fun little contest for matching Beatles lyrics to the song title based on Elizabeth’s personal soundtrack for the book!

Exclusive interview with Elizabeth Eulberg – Part 1Part 2Part 3
We asked Elizabeth a LOT of questions. Some of them pretty wacky. But Elizabeth just answered them — all of them — and with a great attitude. She has some wonderful stories to share, including her own personal soundtrack to life and her own personal tribute to the TV show “24” that can be found in The Lonely Hearts Club.

Elizabeth Eulberg’s Guest Blog: “Never Give Up, Never Surrender!”
We know a lot of you out there are aspiring authors. Elizabeth has some great advice for you in her guest blog, which she wrote exclusively for Novel Novice. In her post, she talks about how she almost gave up on her dream — and why refusing to give up helped her see her book become a reality.

The Lonely Hearts Club Desktop Wallpapers
We’re sort of known for our desktop wallpapers around the blog-o-sphere, and our Book of the Month wouldn’t be complete without a new collection of desktop wallpapers made just for The Lonely Hearts Club!

For the comments: What has been your favorite part of The Lonely Hearts Club this month?

Book review: Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan

Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan

Official synopsis:

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.


Flash Burnout is a rarity among YA novels for a number of reasons.

1. It’s edgy and realistic: No vamps, no zombies, nary a faery, but the subject matter does include a number of difficult subjects including drug addition, parental abandonment and sex (parents, don’t cover your eyes yet). I love vamps as much as the next reader, but it’s refreshing to visit real problems in the real world — there are no potions, runes or spells to undo the choices the characters make.

What’s more, the story doesn’t have a neatly-wrapped ending like so many YA novels, where the guy gets the girl, evil is defeated and mortals sleep in peace. Life has loose threads and so does Flash Burnout (and I promise, nothing more spoilery than that). That’s not to say it isn’t satisfying – it is, with its central message of “actions have consequences.”

To that I say, amen.

2. It’s written from a male POV: Blake’s voice is, hands down, the best male POV I’ve read in a long, long time. There is a serious lack of boys’ POVs in YA. Because girls read more? With more characters like this, even reluctant male readers will be forced to bow down to Madigan’s genius. She captures a guy’s high school experience like Blake captures “gritty” with his ever-present camera.

3. It’s laugh-out-loud hilarious: Readers may not realize this, but it’s extremely difficult to write humor, even for funny people, but again, Madigan handles this with ease. Not only that, she creates necessary and ever-present sexual tension using humor, reminding this reader of her best guy friends from high school.

The funniest scenes involve Blake’s parents, particularly his dad, when he has “the talk” with Blake after realizing he may soon be taking things to the next level with his girlfriend. It’s awkward, embarrassing and shoot-soda-out-your-nose funny. It’s also great to see present, supportive parents, in a genre where parents are largely MIA.

Do yourself a favor and pick this one up — it deserves a place in your to-read list. Then tell us what you think in the comments or at

Literary Lovers Mash-Up: Violet Ambrose & Edward Cullen

We’ve gotten some pretty fantastic entries in our Literary Lovers Mash-Up Writing Contest — and, as promised, we’ll be posting our favorite entries all week-long. (Plus, we’re sending the U.S. winners some awesome Novel Novice bookmarks.)

For this contest, we asked you guys to write about two literary lovers meeting OR falling in love for the first time in about 500 words.

Today’s entry comes from Courtney Rae, who has written a meeting of Violet Ambrose from The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting & Edward Cullen from Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

Courtney has done a fantastic job of introducing these two characters to each other, while maintaining the integrity of the original books and keeping the encounter believable within the context of either novel. It works especially well here because of Violet’s talent for sensing the “echoes” of people who have killed, and the fact that both books take place in Washington state. (And I confess, this was my personal favorite out of all the entries!)

I heard him before I saw him. His echo was deafening, even in the middle of the mall’s food court, where everyone seemed to scream.

I told Jay I would wait for him and I knew he would be furious if I followed this person alone. But the echo was getting further and further away. I couldn’t let this possible murderer just walk out.

Before I knew it, my feet were taking me to the front doors. My eyes scanned the faces I passed. A few parents moved their kids out of my path. No surprise, I’m sure my fear inside was seeping into my expression, leaving me looking crazy.

When I stepped over the threshold and onto the sidewalk outside, I could taste him. My tongue burned like it had hundreds of pennies laying on it. The coppery aroma causing my stomach to turn.

The echo was greatly layered, dark and heavy, but also light. I pursued the sound of beating wings and galloping hoofs into the woods that lined the building.

This could just be someone who is malicious and kills animals for fun, but I was too far in to turn back now.

I saw movement ahead and sped up, stopping when I caught sight of a guy with his back to me, bending down. The light wind played with his bronze hair. He was tall and you could tell that even when he was bent over.

The echo coming off him all but knocked me over. I had to lean against the nearest tree to keep standing. A groan came out of my throat that I couldn’t stop.

The guy stiffened and slowly pivoted his body to look at me. That’s when I saw it.

His mouth was covered in blood. And there was deer laying at his feet, twitching in pain, with the side of it’s throat ripped open.

I looked back up into the guys eyes. They were golden and pleading. A scream bubbled up inside me. I bit it back before it could escape.

He stepped toward me and I took one back, ending up with my back to a tree.

“I wont hurt you,” he said to me.

I just stared at him. Not saying a word. Trying to find a way to run.

“Edward!” a voice rang out to the left.

The guy looked as if he was going to say something else. I blinked, though, and he was gone. A trail of leaves rustling was the only thing showing he actually left.

I retreated backwards, watching the spot where he was standing.

Footsteps came up behind me. I stilled.

A pair of hands grabbed hold of my upper arms and spun me around. My scream couldn’t be held back anymore.

“Violet, it’s me.” Jay’s voice sang in my ear.

I fell into him as my body turned to Jell-O.

What I had just seen, I don’t know. But right now I was safe. In Jay’s arms, I was safe.

I honestly can’t wait for you guys to read the rest of the entries — they are all so clever & creative! We’ll post all of the Literary Lovers Mash-Up entries on this page.

Book Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

The first sign that Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins would be a good book was when I stayed up too late reading. And then repeated the process three nights in a row, until I was finished.

The book’s strongest selling point is narrator Sophie, whose sarcastic sense of humor is the driving force behind the narrative and helps liven up what could have been an otherwise humdrum novel. Instead, what Hawkins presents to us is a fresh, funny and charming story about a reform school for the magically-inclined. It’s a little bit Gossip Girl, a little bit Hogwarts and a whole lot of original.

Mixed in with all the drama of being the new girl in a reform school full of witches, shape-shifters and faeries is the added mystery of having a potential murderer on the loose. Plus, you’ve got Sophie’s not-so-easy friendship with the school’s only vampire and her crush on Archer Cross, who may or may not turn out to be the ultimate bad boy. (Either way, he’s got just the perfect balance of charm and danger about him to keep you engaged. And crushing on him a bit yourself, too.)

I’m a sucker for a good YA fantasy/supernatural thriller — and Hex Hall has that in aces and spades. But what really charmed me was the sense of humor woven throughout the entire book. Even amidst some of the most tense scenes, Hawkins deftly adds a turn of phrase or a quick one-liner that lets you laugh, before the tension sets in again.

And while there are so many books in this genre available right now, Hawkins still manages to keep it fresh and unpredictable. I am certainly looking forward to further adventures at Hex Hall. (UPDATE: Just heard from Hawkins that Hex Hall #2 will be out March 1, 2011.)

Here is the official synopsis:

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father–an elusive European warlock–only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Stephenie Meyer to release new Twilight Saga novella!

Yes. It’s true! Stephenie Meyer is planning to release a NEW novella based on The Twilight Saga, to be called: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella.

Fans will remember Bree as one of the newborn vampires featured at the end of Eclipse (and is portrayed by Jodelle Ferland in the upcoming movie).

Here is the press release:





NEW YORK, NY (March 30, 2010) – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, a division of Hachette Book Group, has announced today that it will release the first new title from Stephenie Meyer in nearly two years. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is a novella told from the point of view of Bree, a character originally featured in Eclipse. The novella (at 192 pages) will be released at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in hardcover for $13.99 with a first printing of 1.5 million copies. One dollar for each book sold in the US from the first printing will be donated to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which supports disaster relief efforts such as those in Haiti and Chile.*

“I’m as surprised as anyone about this novella,” said Stephenie Meyer. “When I began working on it in 2005, it was simply an exercise to help me examine the other side of Eclipse, which I was editing at the time. I thought it might end up as a short story that I could include on my website. Then, when work started on The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide, I thought the Guide would be a good fit for my Bree story. However, the story grew longer than I anticipated, until it was too long to fit into the Guide.”

As a special thank you to fans, Meyer is giving them exclusive access to the novel on a dedicated website,, from June 7 to July 5, 2010 where fans from around the world will be able to read the book online in English. “I’d always considered The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner as something for the fans,” said Meyer. “They have been so supportive of all things Twilight.”

Visitors to the dedicated site will also find a link to the American Red Cross website (, where they can make a donation and learn more about their relief efforts worldwide. “I have been moved by the generous outpouring of support for the recent crises in Haiti and Chile,” said Meyer. “I am glad that sales of this book will support the American Red Cross with their amazing efforts abroad.”

“Fans have been waiting with bated breath for a new book from Stephenie,” said Megan Tingley, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. “We are doubly thrilled to be giving them the opportunity to read this exciting new work as well as contribute to an important cause at the same time.”

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is the riveting story of Bree Tanner, a newborn vampire first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the world she inhabits. The novella chronicles the newborn vampire army’s journey as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.

The character Bree not only features prominently in the book Eclipse, but in the upcoming movie from Summit Entertainment. “Stephenie was gracious enough to let me read a draft of the novella while we were prepping the movie The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” said Director David Slade. “I thoroughly enjoyed the story and it gave us great insight and inspired location choices and the tailoring of scenes. I think fans are going to love the fascinating details involved in the loves, fears and actions of an emerging vampire.”

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner will also be available as an ebook beginning at 6:00 a.m. EST on June 5, 2010. Additionally, more information about the previously announced The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide, including publication date, will be released by the end of the year.

In less than five years, Stephenie Meyer has become a worldwide publishing phenomenon. The Twilight Saga’s translation rights have been sold in nearly 50 countries and 100 million copies have been sold worldwide.

For the comments: Will you be buying this book when it comes out?

LHC Featured Song: “Here Comes the Sun”

Throughout this month, we’ve been featuring certain Beatles songs that have a certain significance to our Book of the Month, The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg. The Beatles play a significant role in the novel, and were a big influence for Eulberg. Each of the songs we feature will be important to the novel.

For our final song today, we’re featuring “Here Comes the Sun,” which is quoted on page 283:

“Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter …”

Here comes the sun, doo da doo doo
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s alright

Little darling
It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter
Little darling
It feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s alright

Little darling
The smiles returning to the faces
Little darling
It seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s alright

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Little darling
I see the ice is slowly melting
Little darling
It seems like years since it’s been clear

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun and i say,
It’s alright X2

New Book Trailer: White Cat by Holly Black

The chilling book trailer for Holly Black’s White Cat has been unveiled — and now I want to read this book more than ever. Check it out:

Here’s a bit more about the book:

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn’t got the magic touch, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love — or death — and your dreams might be more real than your memories.

You can also read an excerpt from White Cat on Holly Black’s website.

For the comments: What do you think of the trailer? Are you intrigued?