Monthly Archives: February 2011

Introducing Our Featured Book: Clarity by Kim Harrington


We are SO excited to be featuring Clarity by Kim Harrington all this week here at Novel Novice. We absolutely ADORE both this book and Kim herself, and since the book hits stores this week, well, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Tune in all week for fun exclusives, our review, plus your chance to win a copy of Clarity. In the meantime, here are all the delightful details about this fantastic new book:

When you can see things others can’t, where do you look for the truth?

This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.

Clarity “Clare” Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It’s a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare’s ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case–but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare’s brother–who has supernatural gifts of his own–becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Here’s where you can get even more great stuff:

Here’s the official book trailer:

Intriguing, no? And because we love Clarity SO MUCH, we made a desktop wallpaper! Just click to view full-size, then right-click to save:


For the comments: What are your initial impressions of Clarity?

The Best of Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg


Today marks the end of our February 2011 Book of the Month, Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg. We absolutely ADORE Elizabeth (and her book!) and working with her is always such a treat. Heck, why do you think we’ve now done TWO monthly features with her?! So we’re kind of sad to bid farewell to our month long Elizabeth-extravaganza. Still, we have fun looking back on all the best of our last month. Here are the highlights:

The Prom & Prejudice Writing Contest:

You’ve still got until midnight (PT) tonight to submit your stories about prom (or anti-prom) for a chance to win a SIGNED copy of Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg. Hurry — details here!

Jane Austen Galore!

Obviously, Prom & Prejudice is a modernized twist on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. So we took this opportunity to share some more love about Jane Austen, her other novels, and a few other adaptations/mash-ups/parodies worth noting:

Elizabeth Eulberg also guest blogged about the staying power of Pride & Prejudice, and why it still resonates with audiences today.

Another Fantastic Interview with Elizabeth Eulberg:

Yeah, I know, we’ve already gushed about how much we love Elizabeth. But if you need more proof, just check out this three-part interview she did with us (this is a NEW interview, besides the one she did with us last year)

Prom & Prejudice: Beyond the Book

We love when we can have fun with a book even beyond the reading experience. That’s why we got creative with a quote smackdown (can you tell the difference between quotes from Prom & Prejudice versus Jane Austen’s original?), desktop wallpapers, a playlist and creating our own book trailer:

Taking it to the classroom:

It wouldn’t be Novel Novice if we didn’t help you incorporate fun books like this into your classroom. That’s why we put together an assortment of project & essay topics based on Prom & Prejudice. We also compiled some lesson plan resources for teachers. Elizabeth’s book is a great way to help get kids excited about reading Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, after all!

For the comments: Tell us YOUR favorite part of the last month!

 

Literary Lovers Mash-Up: True Grit meets The Twilight Saga


We are sharing entries from our second-annual Literary Lovers Mash-Up Writing Contest — which offered you the chance to combine two romantic heroics from different books. We’ve been featuring all of the qualifying stories over the last few days, but now we’ve come to the last one! Find all of the stories here. Thanks to everyone who sent in stories — check your mail for Novel Novice bookmarks soon!

Our last story comes from Gretchen V. and features Mattie Ross from the novel True Grit and Jasper Whitlock from The Twilight Saga:

I had scarcely touched the icy stone marking the final resting place of Reuben Cogburn when I was frozen by the faint sound of scuffling. It was coming from six feet below in a disinterred grave.

The rifle swung from behind my back into my hand within seconds. With the cock of the gun, the grave robber climbed — or rather, jumped — nearly flew, really, out of the hole.

“Who are you that dares to defile the dead?! By the Grace of God, I will dispense justice with my rifle. Tell me why I should not put a bullet through your forehead forth with!”

From underneath the broad-brimmed hat, there was a sigh of, “Because it would not matter, ma’am.”

The man removed his hat and bowed. “My apologies, ma’am. I meant no disrespect to the dead. I was merely in need of a burial for my two — companions.”

I at once understood his regret, even though at what I did not know. The rifle slipped down my open fingers and dropped to the ground.

“I see you grieve for the good Marshall. I was a Major in the C.S.A. myself: Major Jasper Whitlock.”

With that declaration he looked me square in the eyes. I could not draw a breath! His eyes were like deep pools of blood. It was impossible that he could have been a veteran as he did not look a day past 20. My breath came in ragged bursts and my fingers began to tingle. Then I began to calm through some force outside myself and I could not run as I knew I should. My feet were as tree roots seeking water and a thirst that I had never indulged before burned through my veins. Nevertheless, I began to sway but was uprighted within seconds. The angel’s face was inches from mine and the smell of the devil’s breath was like a June meadow.

“I must take my leave but I should like to know your name before I do.”

My instinct was to tell him to go back to the fiery pits he came from but I knew I could not — would not — refuse him anything.

“Mattie Ross,” I whispered.

I yearned for him to touch me — just once — before he departed. The Major raised his hand and lightly stroked along my jawbone. I closed my eyes and leaned into his palm which was as smooth as the marble headstone. His fingers traced down my neck, across my collarbone and lightly down to the stump of my right arm.

As his lips found my neck, I sighed and murmured: “If I be wicked woe unto me. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction.”

His mouth moved to my ear and in his honeyed voice whispered: “Goodbye sweet, sad Mattie. ‘I shall not return, even though I go to the land of darkness and the shadow of death.’ “

Cold lips pressed lightly against mine and then Major Jasper Whitlock was gone, as if a feather carried away by the wind.

“…and where the light is as darkness,” I uttered to the moon.

Literary Lovers Mash-Up: Grace & Sam Uley


We are sharing entries from our second-annual Literary Lovers Mash-Up Writing Contest — which offered you the chance to combine two romantic heroics from different books. We’ll be featuring all of the qualifying stories over the next few days, so check back periodically for all of these great submissions! Participants will also be receiving a set of Novel Novice bookmarks!

Today we have Sandy L.’s story, featuring Grace from Shiver and Sam Uley from The Twilight Saga:

I was desperate, searching for any sign or hint of him in the woods while simultaneously destroying any remaining evidence of him from sight. Dad completely freaked out at the sight of the broken guitar, shattered pieces of wood scattered around me, but all I could do was hold myself to keep from shivering out of control.

How could I possibly explain to them the loss I had faced? The missing need that would never be filled as long as Sam was gone?

I could only watch as the other wolves, wolves I recognized but did not know, weaved I and out of the trees. Black shadows skittering between the leaves. I covered my ears when I heard their howls at night, cringing at the thought that Sam was among them.

The same Sam that was warm, and gentle, and everything I was not.

I didn’t explain when Dad asked questions, just grabbed my coat and headed outside. And as soon as my feet hit the cold air, I was running. The howls grew quieter, quieter, quieter still – I had to chase after them, in fear that they would disappear completely into the forever.

But when I grew weary, when I stopped running, when I found myself alone in the woods – well, I realized how pointless this all was. How long would I keep running around in circles, trying to find him again? Trying to find my heart again? Even if I tried to push it aside, tried to take control of my life again, the loss I felt still lingered.

I fell to my knees, crashing into a pile of snow. I sat in a clearing, illuminated only by the light of the moon. I felt so exposed sitting there, but I didn’t move.

Something snapped behind me, and I quickly jerked around to see exactly what. There, in the thicket of the woods, I caught a dark shadow moving behind me. I turned around slowly, eyes straining to focus on what it was. The figure seemed larger than a human, maybe the size of a bear…

“Sam?” I asked quietly.

The beast stepped forward, out of the shadows and into the light.

A wolf.

I searched its eyes, but they were not the ones I knew.

“You’re not Sam,” I said. But then the wolf moved its head, as if in response to my comment. I rephrased. “You’re not… my Sam.”

The wolf gave me one long look, then began to turn away.

“Wait!” I cried, hurrying to my feet and stumbling after the wolf. It didn’t turn, but when I tripped over my feet it glanced back at me. I got up again, slowly, carefully, and held out a hesitant hand towards the wolf. “You’re not my Sam… but your eyes… they look just as sad as his.”

The wolf came closer, nearer to me than it had before, and bowed its head down.

I buried my hands into its fur.

Literary Lovers Mash-Up: Katniss Everdeen & Jace Wayland


We are sharing entries from our second-annual Literary Lovers Mash-Up Writing Contest — which offered you the chance to combine two romantic heroics from different books. We’ll be featuring all of the qualifying stories over the next few days, so check back periodically for all of these great submissions! Participants will also be receiving a set of Novel Novice bookmarks!

Today we have Becca R.’s story, featuring Katniss from The Hunger Games and Jace from The Mortal Instruments:

Her hand cracked across his face, hard. A trail of fire flamed where her hand hit, but Jace didn’t feel the pain. Instead, he felt the heat leaking into his skin, melting away the frozen mask he often wore. Before he could grab her wrist, Katniss darted swiftly away.

She slipped into a hunter’s crouch as he began to circle her slowly. Their feet moved silently across the floor.

The edges of his lips slipped upward as they continued their dance. The tempo increased as their heartbeats began to quicken.

“All right, Wayland,” she hissed, cursing the exposed skin she felt where her quiver of arrows should be. Her fingers itched without her bow grasped between them. The reasons she had concocted learning to fight without them now seemed trivial. Should she learn to fight without her arm next, she thought furiously.

While she argued with herself, Jace took a step forward. The gap between them was sliced in half. She parried his step, trying to regain the edge with distance, but her extended fingertips skimmed the wall. They traced the patterns of the seraphim painted there. Her eyes turned back to the angelic boy across from her and panic flared in her eye. It was the call of cornered prey which no hunter could miss.

Jace was a hunter.

Her body reacted before she processed his moves. His white hand shot past her face and the dark runes traced across it looked like ink streaked on a blank page. She slipped sideways, her feet veering instinctively toward the door. The back of his knees buckled under the kick she landed, forcing him to the ground. He gasped in surprise. He hadn’t really taken her seriously until now.

“Too afraid to fight?” she growled, her voice smoldering, “Or are you too used to playing with girls who won’t fight back?” The feral sneer she wore only made him want her more.

He chuckled coldly, straightening again, and his eyes warned her to back away. She stepped closer. Leaning on the balls her feet, she taunted him by waving her hand a precarious distance from his face. His words were frosted with malice, “You’re going to regret that, sweetheart.”

There was no blocking him this time. His arms, an iron cage, wrapped around her and locked her against his chest. Pushing against her, they were soon pressed against the wall. A small cherub statue stabbed Katniss’s left shoulder. She struggled against him.

Pinned against wall, she felt his resistance melt. Her aggression turned into something that held her. His iron grip melted in the heat that formed between them. Her eyes locked with his, fanning the flames of his desire. This skin burned where her hands touched him. He leaned down and pressed his forehead against the soft curtain of her hair.

She tilted her head toward him, and breathing the words “I win,” pressed her lips to his. They melted together, fire and ice, intertwined.

Literary Lovers Mash-Up: Alaska Young & Gale Hawthorne


We are sharing entries from our second-annual Literary Lovers Mash-Up Writing Contest — which offered you the chance to combine two romantic heroics from different books. We’ll be featuring all of the qualifying stories over the next few days, so check back periodically for all of these great submissions! Participants will also be receiving a set of Novel Novice bookmarks!

Today we have Kimberly S.’s story, featuring Alaska Young from Looking for Alaska by John Green and Gale Hawthorne from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins:

I sat at the Smoking Hole, alone. I couldn’t bear it. I was drunker than ever, I had forgotten my mom’s anniversary, and I had practically cheated Jake with Pudge. Drawing a cigarette, I cried. I hated crying. I really didn’t know what was happening around me, and started to feel my eyelids drooping. All of the sudden, sleep was the only thing that sounded appealing. I felt myself start to fall back, when all of the sudden, warm breath was at my neck and I had been caught. Startled, I swung around, ready to sloppily take out whoever was behind me. Instead, he caught me, both hands on my shoulders. He was tall, skinnier than Pudge, and although his face was in shadow, I could see his impeccable jaw line. He had to be good-looking.

“Who the hell are you? Get off me!” I swatted at my shoulders, but he only held on tighter.

He crouched down to my eye level; the moonlight cast on his face. His grey eyes shimmered in the moon’s reflection. Holy shit, Alaska, since when are you all mushy gushy? I thought. It must be the liquor.

Puzzled, he stared at me, as if assessing the situation. “You’re drunk,” he declared, after catching a whiff of my breath.

“Yes, I’m fully aware of this. And I want you to go away.” I glared at him, intent on scaring him away. But he wouldn’t give into my icy stares.

Standing, he let go, but blocked me from getting up and running. As if I could have run in my state. “I’m Gale.”

“And I have my mother’s grave to go visit. Move.” He stepped back, and the light from the moon was once again on his face. Something in his eyes was sad as he resigned and let me make a beeline for the way out of the forest.

I stood up and wobbled a bit, but I was determined to go see my mom. One foot in front of the other, Alaska. You got this. No I didn’t “got this.” My knees buckled and I fell into a heap of old crumpled leaves, still there from the fall. The thud shook tears from my eyes, and before I knew it, I was crying again. Damnit. I felt him sit down beside me and thought maybe I had heard him ask if I was okay, but I stopped listening. I cursed myself for the night’s events, and now I wasn’t even doing what I had set out to do. I was stuck here, drunk as a lord, with some strangely hot guy I didn’t even know.

I wanted to scream.

Before I could let it out, his arm wrapped around my shoulder, and he said, “It will be alright. You can see her tomorrow. Shh…” He began to hum a song that I had never heard, rocking me slowly to sleep. I believed him and allowed myself to fall asleep in his arms.

Confirmed: Put Alex Pettyfer on the cover & any book will sell!

Nothing new to report, although Beastly is in its second week on the paperback list. (Just put Alex Pettyfer on the cover of anything and it will sell!)  I’m disappointed Kelly Keaton’s Darkness Becomes Her didn’t make the list. Ah, well, maybe next week!

This Week    Children’s Chapter Books Weeks
on List
1   I AM NUMBER FOUR, by Pittacus Lore. (HarperCollins, $17.99.) Members of another civilization live secretly among Earth-dwellers. (Ages 14 and up) 11
     
 
2   THE LOST HERO, by Rick Riordan. (Disney-Hyperion, $18.99.) A return to Camp Half-Blood and semi-divine characters. (Ages 10 and up) 19
   
 
 
3   JUSTIN BIEBER, FIRST STEP 2 FOREVER, by Justin Bieber. (HarperCollins, $21.99.) Short takes and photos from the pop star. (Ages 6 to 12) 12
     
 
4   THE RED PYRAMID, by Rick Riordan. (Disney-Hyperion, $17.99.) Ancient gods (this time from Egypt) and a mortal family meet. (Ages 10 and up) 42
     

 

5   THE GIFT, by James Patterson and Ned Rust. (Little, Brown, $17.99.) A sister and brother flex their new powers. (Ages 10 and up) 10
     

 

6   TALES FROM A NOT-SO-POPULAR PARTY GIRL, by Rachel Renée Russell. (Aladdin, $12.99.) Further reflections of Nikki Maxwell on enduring middle school; a “Dork Diaries” book. (Ages 9 to 13) 30
     
 
7   MOON OVER MANIFEST, by Clare Vanderpool. (Delacorte, $16.99.) Abilene, 12, solves a mystery in Depression-era Kansas. (Ages 9 to 12) 6
     
 
8   TIGER’S CURSE, by Colleen Houck. (Splinter, $17.95.) Kelsey helps a prince break the curse that has turned him into a white tiger. (Ages 12 and up) 4
     
9   DELIRIUM, by Lauren Oliver. (Harper/HarperCollins, $17.99.) Coming of age in a society that imposes “a cure for love.” (Ages 14 and up) 3
     
10   MATCHED, by Ally Condie. (Dutton, $17.99.) In this dystopian romance, a girl rebels against a deterministic future society. (Ages 12 and up) 12

Literary Lovers Mash-Up: Magnus Bane & Dorian Gray


We are sharing entries from our second-annual Literary Lovers Mash-Up Writing Contest — which offered you the chance to combine two romantic heroics from different books. We’ll be featuring all of the qualifying stories over the next few days, so check back periodically for all of these great submissions! Participants will also be receiving a set of Novel Novice bookmarks!

Today we have Lauren C.’s story, featuring Magnus Bane from Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices Series) and Dorian Gray from The Picture of Dorian Gray:

He barely felt the young man’s hand fall upon his thin shoulder blades, for his touch was as light as that of a butterfly. Magnus Bane turned his head curiously so as to identify the perpetrator of such a forward gesture but his curiosity quickly turned to breathless admiration. The young man he now faced was as beautiful as Adonis. He wasn’t the kind of man Magnus usually felt attracted to: his hair wasn’t dark like the night; instead it was gold and shone under the stark lighting of the Club. Although, his eyes were as blue as sparkling sapphires, the kind of eyes that poison your heart with lies as they plead you to believe that they are windows to an honest soul.

However, to say that these eyes fooled the experienced warlock would be wrong. He could see sin and darkness in those eyes, something ugly that betrayed the prince like demeanour that the young man had seemingly taken much care to cultivate. Yet, despite these signs of a twisted heart, Magnus could not help but feel even more drawn to the young man.

With their eyes alone they came to an unspoken understanding, for they both had darkness within them that they did not wish to explain.

The young man looked down at his finely polished shoes and seemed to laugh silently as the dawdling seconds wandered away from their grasp, before looking up at Magnus once again.

“I don’t believe I’ve seen you here before, do you mind me asking for your name?” Magnus could not help but focus upon the boys sensuous lips as they carefully formed each and every word, just as hands caress the cheek of a lover, that tongue rolled those words with an amorous passion.

He found himself answering without thinking, in a breathy but steady voice that matched the young man’s own tone. “Magnus Bane, and yours?” The question hung in the air like a feather lingering on a breeze. The young man smiled with those, oh, so gorgeous lips.

“My name is Dorian Gray.” Then Dorian moved his fine slender hand to Magnus’s lips and pressed them together. Heads turned and Magnus blushed. “I wouldn’t ask anyone here for their opinion on me.” He said in a rather loud and bitter voice whilst his eyes grew dark as they flickered between Magnus’s own and those of the staring intruders that had paused their conversations and games to judge the young man. Then he leant closer to Magnus and whispered, “They are all rather biased you see. You would be better off learning of my character for yourself.” The smile was no longer sweet, but tainted by a cruel edge.

Magnus knew of the dark rumours that circled Dorian Gray; he could see the truth of them in the man’s eyes. This man was no innocent, but neither, he reflected, was he. So he ignored the glares and whispered back. “I would be delighted to do so.”

Literary Lovers Mash-Up: Lucius & Isabelle


We are sharing entries from our second-annual Literary Lovers Mash-Up Writing Contest — which offered you the chance to combine two romantic heroics from different books. We’ll be featuring all of the qualifying stories over the next few days, so check back periodically for all of these great submissions! Participants will also be receiving a set of Novel Novice bookmarks!

Today we have Shauna D.’s story, featuring Isabelle Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments and Lucius Vladescu from Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side:

Dear Vasille,

Jessica has spurned me completely, choosing instead to “go out” with that bumpkin Jake.

Why that term–”go out”? Why do Americans choose to use the most basic of verbology?

I digress. Antanasia has made it abundantly clear that I am not the one she wishes to be with.

Americans. What feckless, feeble-minded individuals.

I do find the American ideology of “choice” rather appealing. I have made an interesting choice.

Uncle, I have met a girl by the name of Isabelle Lightwood. She has a presence about her which sings to my blood; I cannot seem to get enough of her. Her aura of self-confidence and assurance is such a relief after seeing nothing but girls who demand attention to feel better about themselves. Isabelle has no need for this repulsive behavior; she knows she’s beautiful and expects her due.

I met her at a “party.” I showed up, enjoyed the atmosphere and imbibed in casual conversation and customary beer. I was being accosted by Faith Crosse (her many attributes would make her a good vampire), when from across the room my eyes lay upon a dark-haired girl in a white dress, a glorious silver whip clasped to her side, thigh-high boots, and a deliciously curvy body.

I stole across the room to ensure my spot at her side; she was surrounded by peasants. The sly, seductive smile gracing her porcelain visage was my undoing. It was no hardship to separate her from the others.

She is Nephilim. Have you heard of this? Apparently it is someone with angel blood running through their veins. No wonder her blood sings to me–it is a light to my darkness, an inherent goodness to my black sin. Isabelle enlightened me that she destroys those of our kind. I find this entirely sexy–knowing that she could be the end of me at any time, and vice versa. Thrilling!

She is absolutely striking–alive with life, vitality, and energy. She burns so brightly,  surrounded by dim specks of twilight, and she stands out along amidst the crowd shining as if on fire!

We were joined very quickly outside by Faith and a gaggle of drooling men. Faith latched herself to my side immediately. Isabelle took this opportunity to step away and converse with one of the peon males, laying her hand on his upper arm, smiling seductively, her lashes low and her charm turned to this inconsequential individual. Little did he know that he was putty in her hands.

She looked to me the entire time she stood with him.

I could take it no longer. I broke away from the insufferable Faith and took Isabelle into my arms, stealing her from the party. I cannot print what glorious verbs we accomplished; do know that her whip isn’t always used to cause undue pain.

I will continue to meet with this intriguing young woman with her enigmatic dark eyes.  The Dragomirs and their pact be damned.

Always, irrevocably,
Yours,

Lucius

Literary Lovers Mash-Up: Luce Price & Jacob Black


We are sharing entries from our second-annual Literary Lovers Mash-Up Writing Contest — which offered you the chance to combine two romantic heroics from different books. We’ll be featuring all of the qualifying stories over the next few days, so check back periodically for all of these great submissions! Participants will also be receiving a set of Novel Novice bookmarks!

Today we have Amanda E.’s story, featuring Luce from Lauren Kate’s Fallen series and Jacob Black from The Twilight Saga:

Three days. That’s how much time has passed since Luce Price stepped through the Announcer. Leaving everyone she cared for. Everything she had witnessed… behind her. She desired too know the truth of why all that has happened in her life, past and present, was happening.

After stopping to rest Luce began to walk the roadside once more, attempting to hitch a ride to Seattle. The sound of a fast moving car echoed in her ears. She turned to see an expensive sports car pull to a stop next to her. A young man with shaggy looking black hair opened the passenger door; Luce slid inside and pulled it shut behind her. As the man started down the road, Luce couldn’t help but notice how ruggedly hansom he was.

“Thanks for the ride.”

“No problem. My names Jacob. So, where you heading too?”

“Seattle. For now anyways.” Luce turned towards the window, sadness shown deeply in her eyes, this Jacob could see. “By the way, my name’s Luce.”

“Well, Luce. It’s a long drive to Seattle and I may not look like it, but I’m a real good listener.” She looked at him and smiled for the first time in days. So, she told him almost everything. Leaving out the Fallen Angel’s and the Nephilim’s. Jacob could see she was holding something back, but he didn’t ask. They sat in silence for several miles after she finished before the anyone spoke.

“Listen, Luce. I’m not sure if what you said is true or not, but I do know first hand how crazy life can get when something you never thought possible suddenly happens. Only then do you realize that the life you had; is gone and you can never get it back.” She was silent as he explained how his life changed dramatically overnight. Of how things had gone from bad to worse in such a short time.

An hour later the car pulled up in front of a bus station. After Jacob put it in park Luce opened the door only to be stopped by his hand on her arm. It was warm on her cool skin.

“If you really do love this Daniel guy… well then, I really hope it all works out for the both of you.” Luce touched his hand with hers before stepping out of the car.

“Thank you Jacob. I hope everything works out for you as well. Hopefully, we both find what we are looking for. Goodbye Jacob.” Luce didn’t know what it was, but something about Jacob just remind her of Daniel. It wasn’t his looks or even how he was a good listener. No, it was how he gave words of encouragement and understanding for her situation.

As she walked towards the bus station Luce knew what she had to do. She had to find out all that she could about her past. So, her and Daniel could have a future together. Free of pain and sadness. Leaving only everlasting love.