Monthly Archives: June 2011

How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend Blog & Contest

Today, we are delighted to share an exclusive guest post from Gary Ghislain, the author of How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend — an outrageous and charming YA novel that’s now available in stores everywhere. After you read Gary’s guest post, scroll down for your chance to win his hilarious book!

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“The book that did it for me”

Many moons ago, I was addicted to comic books. In other words, I was a Marvel fiend. Wolverine was my man. I had a fascination for the Silver Surfer too. I didn’t fully understand his tortured personality, but I felt the guy had some deep and fascinating philosophical issues while catching the cosmic wave and zooming in the void of space. Ruben, my older brother, was the one building a gigantic collection of Marvel comics. If it came out, he had to have it and I got to read it.

One day, I was setting myself in my parents library with a serious pile of X-men albums and a good supply of ginger beer, ready to get down to business. But then, a book in my parent’s eclectic collection caught my eyes. The cover was really intriguing. It looked like a comic book, but it was definitely a thick novel. I picked it up. It was The Ice People by Sci-fi French writer Barjavel. For some unknown reason, I dropped the X-men comic I was about to read and started the novel instead.

The story grabbed me from page one. A group of archeologists and scientists discover an ancient civilization in Antarctica. They dig through 900 000 years worth of ice, guided by the sound of a faint heart beat. The explorers uncover a chamber in which a man and a woman have been in suspended animation since ‘the night of time’. The woman is awaken and… well, you’ll have to get a copy and figure it out.

The point here, is that The Ice People was the book that did it for me. I’m sure we all have a book like that. A book that changed everything. My heart was racing while reading. I was addicted to it. School. Parents. My infatuation for lovely girl called Rosemarie. For a few days, nothing else mattered than this novel and the people in it.

Once I finished it, I was hooked to that feeling and I definitely knew that something important had happened in that sofa in my parent’s library: I had become a bookworm. And I never looked back.

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So you want to win a copy of Gary’s book? Here’s how:

The Contest:

Just fill out the contest entry form, and tell us which celebrity is your fantasy boyfriend/girlfriend.

The Prize:

One (1) winner will receive a copy of How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain, courtesy of Chronicle Books.

The Rules:

  • One entry per person
  • U.S. & Canada only
  • Use the entry form

The Deadline:

All entries are due by midnight (PT) on Thursday, July 7th

Questions? Leave ’em in the comments & we’ll reply!

More about How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend:

David Gershwin’s summer is about to take a turn for the weird. When his dad’s new patient Zelda tells him she s from outer space and on a quest to take Johnny Depp back to her planet, he knows he should run away screaming. But with one look from her mean, green eyes, David’s hooked, and soon he’s leaping across rooftops, running from police, and stealing cars just to stay by her side. He might not be a typical hero, but David’s going to get the girl even if it takes him to the ends of the earth or beyond.

Book Review: The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

Last year, after reading Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder, I declared it to be my favorite book of hers to date. But I think she has outdone herself once again. The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder is nothing short of perfect.

The book (written in verse, like Lisa’s three other YA novels), tells the story of Amber, who escapes from her family and friends for a day all to herself at the beach. Her life is spiraling out of control, and she needs just one day alone; to live for herself and no one else. While there, she meets Cade — who seems in search of his own day. Together, they agree to spend 24 hours, living in the moment — no questions asked. But the more time Amber spends with Cade (and the more their connection seems to grow), the more she feels the need to know exactly what’s wrong in his life and how she can help. If she can help.

Amber and Cade are two of my new favorite characters in fiction Amber, with her dyed-hair, jelly bean obsession and rock girl attitude — and Cade, with his skinny jeans, and oh-so-adorable references to movies like “Say Anything.” And while Amber and Cade carry the story, they are not the only ones worth loving in The Day Before. Amber’s parents each have small moments to shine, as does her sister and her best friend. A brief appearance by Cade’s friends give you a tiny glimpse into his world beyond this single day.

As always, Lisa’s writing is beautiful. She chooses her words so carefully, and it comes across in each beautiful verse of the novel. On each page, Lisa beautifully captures the emotions and feelings of her characters — anger, melancholy, the tingles of first love. Likewise, her descriptions will whisk you away to the Oregon coast. Reading The Day Before made me wish I was there, with the sand and the gray ocean and the cloudy skies and the saltwater taffy that makes a day on the Oregon coast oh-so-perfect. In small ways, The Day Before is almost a little love letter to these perfect places.

But I think what I loved most about The Day Before was seeing the whole story come together as pieces of the mystery are revealed. Lisa peels back the layers of her story so delicately — giving you just enough to satisfy, yet not quite enough so that you simply must keep reading. What’s even more, is that Lisa manages to avoid becoming predictable. Even if you think you know where the story is going, you’ll find yourself surprised.

What’s more is, The Day Before will leave you filled up with hope and happiness. It’s a story about accepting one’s fears, and moving on even when that fear remains.

The Day Before is in stores now. Do yourself a favor, and go pick up a copy today.

The Best of Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Today marks the bittersweet end of our June Book of the Month feature on Hourglass by Myra McEntire. First of all, a huge HUGE thanks to Myra for helping provide so much additional content for us this month. She went above and beyond what a lot of the authors we work with usually contribute, and for that we are incredibly grateful. Also thanks to the folks at Egmont for supporting our posts this month. And of course, thanks to YOU for tuning in, reading along, and sharing your thoughts. Here’s a look back at this month’s highlights:

Hourglass-inspired Time Travel Writing Contest

You’ve got until midnight (PT) to submit your entries for a chance to win a finished copy of Hourglass and an Hourglass poster!

Why we love Hourglass

We started this month before the book hit stores, so we offered you many reasons to pick it up after it was released:

A Q&A and much more from Myra McEntire

We had lots of input from Myra for this month’s content, going beyond the typical Q&A and guest blog. Here are all the great goodies Myra shared with us:

Go Beyond Hourglass

We offered you many ways to explore themes and ideas from Hourglass even beyond the last page:

Also, be sure to head over to Mundie Moms tonight for a live chat with Myra!

For the comments: What was your favorite part of our Hourglass features?

Exclusive Sneak Peek at Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

This September, a really beautiful and wonderful new middle grade book comes out from Walden Pond Press — Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. And today, thanks to the fine folks at WPP, we’re delighted to share an exclusive excerpt & sneak peek at some of the artwork from the book:

Ben clasped his hands together and leaned toward her. “May I ask what you’re doing here?”

Hazel looked at the floor. It didn’t seem like she was doing anything but spinning wool into gray thread.

“You should get out,” he continued gently. “This woods is no place for girls.”

“I can’t,” Hazel whispered.

He sighed. “I know. It feels that way. You lost someone.”

Hazel eyed him and nodded. “I lost my friend. How did you know?”

“Well . . . you’re here, aren’t you?”

She didn’t understand. “Does everybody come here after somebody else?”

He looked at her a moment. “Oh,” he said finally. “Oh, I see. You literally lost your friend? Here?”

“Yes. What did you mean?”

He shook his head. “Never mind. What happened to your friend?”

Hazel sat up. “He was taken. By a woman in a white sled. She wears white furs and doesn’t look human. Do you know who she is?”

He sat back. “You mean the white witch,” he said slowly. A chill ran through her body. “The white witch?” she breathed. “Like Narnia?”

“No,” he said, his voice quiet. “Narnia is like her.”

Hazel’s heart sped up. “Well, she took my friend,” she said. “What does she want with him? Will she hurt him?”

Ben gazed at her for a moment. He seemed about to say something, and then stopped. “I don’t think you should go after him,” he said finally.

Breadcrumbs hits stores on September 27th. Here’s more about the book:

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. But that was before he stopped talking to her and disappeared into a forest wth a mysterious woman made of ice. Now it’s up to Hazel to go after him. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” BREADCRUMBS is a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.

Lisa Schroeder Week: Lisa’s Other YA Novels

We’re celebrating the fabulousness of Lisa Schroeder all this week here at Novel Novice, in honor of the release of her newest book, The Day Before. So today, we want to take a moment to look at Lisa’s other YA novels, which we adore so much!

I Heart You, You Haunt Me

Girl meets boy.

Girl loses boy.

Girl gets boy back…

…sort of.

Ava can’t see him or touch him, unless she’s dreaming. She can’t hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she’s crazy, but she knows he’s here.

Jackson. The boy Ava thought she’d spend the rest of her life with. He’s back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.

Far From You

Lost and alone…Down the rabbit hole.

Alice thought she knew
what solitude was:
Her mother—gone.
Her father—remarried with a newborn

in the icy embrace
of a deadly snowstorm,
Alice faces the true meaning of loneliness.

But hope
may not be as far away
as she thinks….

Chasing Brooklyn

Restless souls and empty hearts

Brooklyn can’t sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe’s ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn’t Lucca visiting her dreams.

Nico can’t stop. He’s always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca’s ghost begins leaving messages, telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they’re being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.

See our review of Chasing Brooklyn here.

Want more about Lisa Schroeder and her books? We featured her for our April 2010 Book of the Month!

Hourglass by Myra McEntire: Southern architecture

Right from page 1, paragraph 1, Southern architecture forms the “exquisite” bones of Ivy Springs, Tennessee, (based on Franklin, TN), the setting for Hourglass by Myra McEntire. Our main character, Emerson, lives in a warehouse her architect brother converted into lofts. He also renovated the former phone company and turned it into a restaurant, aptly called the Phone Company.

When Emerson tracks down the actual Hourglass, here’s how she describes it:

A Greek Revival Style plantation house spread out in front of me–big, rambling, and red brick with tall white columns flanking the wide front door.”

Greek Revival is a classic antebellum (pre-war) style popularized by Tara in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. Here’s the house the Hourglass is based on (thanks to Myra for the pictures!):

The converted warehouse where Emerson, Thomas, Dru (and later Micheal) live may have looked like this building, which has Italianate influences. These buildings and houses are often angular and brick with white accents, curved windows, a flat roof line and heavy, overhanging cornices.

Myra sent us this picture, which looks an awful lot like the Phone Company might. The red brick storefront was probably built in the 1940s. It’s very plain and utilitarian compared to buildings constructed before the Great Depression.

If you head a little further south from Tennessee, you’ll find many other uniquely Southern types of architecture. Here are a few (click on the thumbnail for the full-sized image):

Antebellum styles:




French Colonial:

Creole Cottage

Creole Townhouse

French Creole Plantation House

Post-War Styles:


Katrina Cottage

Book Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma is not an easy read — but it is a beautiful book, with a heartbreaking story of forbidden love.

Forbidden tells the story of 17-year-old Lochan and 16-year-old Maya. Together, they’ve raised their three younger siblings due to a neglectful and alcoholic mother. But through all that time filling parental roles, something unexpected happens … Lochan and Maya fall in love. The book follows the siblings as they struggle to come to terms with their unconventional and socially unacceptable romance — and come to ask, “how can something so wrong feel so right?”

At times, Forbidden is an uncomfortable read — but not because it depicts a case of consensual incest, but because it makes you root for the romance. Conventional wisdom tells you that this relationship is wrong. But the love between Lochan and Maya is so undeniable, you really want them to find a way to make things work out.

Forbidden is simply un-put-down-able. It’s a completely difficult and heartbreaking love story, with a romance doomed to fail. Heartbreaking, sad and poignant, Forbidden is a difficult book to read, yet it is wholly rewarding. A beautiful story, beautifully told. Perhaps the most significant part of Forbidden is Suzuma’s ability to offer hope in the light of a tragic ending.

Forbidden is in stores now. I highly recommend this one — though it’s probably best suited for older teens and adults due to content.

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder: Exclusive Trailer Debut!

It’s heeeeere! The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder is in stores now — and we’ve got your exclusive first look at the official book trailer:

Now that you’ve watched it, spread the love! Re-post this trailer on your blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. Share it everywhere — then go out and pick up your copy of The Day Before!

Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.

The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.

Hourglass author Myra McEntire’s Fav. Southern Spots: Pt 2

Today we continue our look at Hourglass author Myra McEntire’s favorite Southern spots!

6. Downtown Nashville, Tennessee: I could people watch there for HOURS. Also, lots of live music and spectacular food.

7. Destin, Florida: Once I visited the white sand beaches of the Gulf Coast, I was hooked. (Rachel Hawkins is also a fan of Destin – we discovered we stay in the same hotel when we go!)
8. Hilton Head, South Carolina: You can’t beat the island vibe! Or the seafood. (Apparently, reading over my choices, I am a fan of food.)
9. Decatur, Georgia: Attending the Decatur Book Festival was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done in the south, and I’m SO EXCITED to be participating as an author this year! The town is charming and walkable, and contains the Little Shop of Stories! So cool!
10. Chattanooga, Tennessee: It’s a pretty open secret that I really, really, really want to move here. Lookout Mountain calls to me, and there’s also Rock City and Ruby Falls! And don’t forget the aquarium!
For the comments: Anyone else ready to plan a vacation to the South? Tell us which places you’d most like to visit!

New YA Book Releases: June 28, 2011

Here’s a look at some of today’s new YA releases:

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.

The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs

On Lily Sanderson’s eighteenth birthday she’ll become just a girl—still a mergirl, true, but signing the renunciation will ink Princess Waterlily of Thalassinia out of existence. That leaves plain old Lily living on land, dating the boy she loves, and trying to master this being-human thing once and for all.

Now that Lily and Quince are together, mer bond or not, she’s almost content to give up her place in the royal succession of Thalassinia. But just when she thinks she has everything figured out, the waves start to get rough. Lily’s father sends a certain whirlpool-stirring cousin to stay with her on land. What did Doe do to get herself exiled from Thalassinia and stuck in terraped form when everyone knows how much she hates humans? And why why why is she batting her eyelashes at Lily’s former crush, Brody?

The seafoam on the raging surf comes when a merboy from Lily’s past shows up—Tellin asks Lily for something that clouds her view of the horizon. There’s a future with Quince on land, her loyalty to the kingdom in the sea, and Lily tossing on the waves in the middle. Will she find a way to reconcile her love, her duty, and her own dreams?

Tera Lynn Childs’s sequel to Forgive My Fins offers another tail-flicking romance with plenty of fun, sun, and underwater adventure.

And this book is an adult title, but we totally think older/mature YA readers will love it, too:

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

A Map of Time by Felix J. Palma. Set in Victorian London with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time is a page-turner that boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H.G. Wells is called upon to investigage purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence. What happens if we change history?

For the comments: What new YA releases will you be picking up today?