Monthly Archives: July 2012

Innocent Darkness author Suzanne Lazear’s Recommended Reads

Today we have some book suggestions from Innocent Darknessauthor Suzanne Lazear. These are great to check out while you await the August 8th release of Innocent Darkness!

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one… except the “thing” inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch.

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her and says she’s special, says she’s one of them . The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets, against the wises of his band of misfits. And Finley thinks she might finally be a part of something, finally fit in-until a criminal mastermind known as Machinist threatens to tear the group apart…

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

I was obsessed.

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I’d ever seen–everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable…utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.

There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.

I’ve crossed over into his world within the painting, and I’ve seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked–bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittridge

In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft’s epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.
Aoife Grayson’s family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty – especially if they learn of her Sight – and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.
But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr’s stunning twnety-first-century faery tale.

“Goblin Market” (poem) by Christina Rossetti

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”

See the full poem here!

ParaNorman A ghost story with a heartwarming, zombie twist!

“We didn’t understand,” he said. “She didn’t behave like the rest of us. We thought her difference made her dangerous. We thought it made her powerful.”  pg. 185, ParaNorman

And so they killed her. It’s the infamous town legend in Blithe Hollow, a quaint New England town, known for a steady history of witch hunts and hangings.

But ParaNorman is not just another re-telling of ludicrous witch-trials. It’s a  paranormal, zombie apocalypse, complete with haunted toilets, moth-infested teddy bears (we’re talking true horror film style), and well-placed, ghostly sarcasm.

Norman’s only friends are the dead. And the whole town thinks he’s got more than one loose screw in his head.

But Norman doesn’t care. The dead are kinder to him than the living – and at least he can make himself useful to them: passing along messages of spectrals, burying the body of a helpless toad in his science lab (animals have spirits, too!), and helping insistent spirits settle unfinished arguments. All that was fine and well, but when Norman finds out he’s fated with the task of saving the town from cursed zombies, he’s not sure he’s cut-out for the job.

Full of humorous horror and brain-leaking zombie heads, this dark novel is a sinister laugh, but it doesn’t end in terror. Behind the rotting flesh of the cursed, Elizabeth Cody Kimmel throws her readers a heroic, heart-warming curveball. What ParaNorman is really about, is learning to temper the fear and intolerance surrounding those who are different, and seeing the humanity within everyone. It’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond — zombie style.

This is one ghoulish nightmare you don’t want to miss.

I can’t wait for the film’s release on August 17th!

Guest Blog: Mothership authors Martin Leicht & Isla Neal

Today, we are thrilled to be hosting the final stop in the blog tour for Mothership by Martin Leicht & Isla Neal. The authors are guest blogging here today with items they would include in a time capsule for their character Elvie to open in 2074.

But first — here’s more about Mothership:

Pregnant. In space. Yeah, things are really looking up.

It’s 2074 and Elvie’s unplanned pregnancy (with Cole Archer, who bolted out of town half a millisecond after hearing the news, not that Elvie’s bitter about it or anything) forces her to leave her best bud back on Earth and spend her junior year aboard a corny old space cruiser with forty-five other hormonal teen girls (one of whom just happens to be her arch-nemesis).  Getting shipped off to the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers was not how Elvie imagined spending her junior year, but she can go with the flow. That is, until a team of hot commandos hijacks the ship—and one of them turns out to be Cole.

Mothership is the first installment in a new trilogy from Martin Leicht and Isla Neal that has been described as Juno meets Pretty In Pink…but in space.

Connect with Mothership on Facebook and Twitter.

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We’ve spent the past few weeks picking contemporary objects (some silly, some serious) to put in a time capsule so that our fictional heroine, Elvie Nara, might discover (and, let’s face it, probably mock) them in the year 2074. For our very last time capsule pick, we thought we’d select something a little unusual—a look at past attempts to predict the future.

Since Cassandra during the Siege of Troy, mankind has been making predictions about what will happen in the future. These predictions—while sometimes meant to be taken literally—are often more a referendum on the current social and political climate than anything else . . . and nine times out of ten, they turn out to be pretty stinking hilarious. Here’s a look at three future predictions from the past (or would that be “past-future predictions?”) that we think Elvie would find interesting.


The source: The novel 1984, by George Orwell, published in 1949

What year did it attempt to predict?: 1984 (just an educated guess)

Just tell me what the book’s about already, so I can write my book report without reading it: George Orwell’s then-shocker of a novel is about a society tyrannized by a consolidated political group known simply as “The Party,” and its totalitarian ideology. In this dystopian future, Orwell’s characters are plagued with perpetual war, government surveillance, and public mind control (think: a crap-ton of propaganda and revisionist history). A privileged elite persecutes individualism and independent thinking as “thoughtcrimes.” The Party is headed by “Big Brother,” the quasi-divine political leader who justifies his rule in the name of the greater good.

What did it say would happen?: Totalitarian government; suppression of personal liberty; and “news” which serves no purpose but to toe the party line of the powers that be (your basic happy feel-good fun-time).

How accurate was it?: Depends what you’re grading on. Although technically Orwell missed his mark by about two decades, these days our society lines up nearly point-for-point with that of the novel. Not to get all ranty or anything, but today’s citizens are losing control of their personal information in a way that would cause Orwell to roll over in his grave. Often without our knowledge or consent (and sometimes at the express command of government legislation), we’re constantly being monitored through the likes of our personal phones and computers. It doesn’t make it any better, of course, that half of us are more than willing to share every last personal bit of information about ourselves with the entire world. (Speaking of which, you guys should totally follow us on Twitter! @MartinLeicht and @IslaNeal) And don’t even get us started on cable news . . . But don’t take our word for it.

Predict-o-Meter Rating: 9 out of 10


The source: RoboCop, directed by Paul Verhoeven (yep, the Showgirls guy), in 1987

What year did it attempt to predict?: 2030

Just tell me what the movie’s about already, so I can decide if I want to add it to my Netflix queue: In this vision of the future, the city of Detroit is in complete ruin—overcome by poverty and overrun by crime. Corrupt corporations control all levels of the city, even so far as privatizing (and making a profit from) the police department. When a young cop is brutally murdered, the corporation uses cybernetic technology to bring him back as RoboCop, an enforcer who seeks to enforce the law . . . but to do so, he must override the protocols programmed into his software by the evil corporate villains.

What did it say would happen?: Privatization of public services; cybernetic technology; and an abundance of perms.

How accurate was it?: Well, a good argument about the movie’s ability to predict the extreme movement towards privatization could be made here. Private security companies, private prisons, even private armies fighting overseas . . . it’s all at least touched on in this (albeit kinda silly) film. The world has also made massive strides towards cybernetic technology, as evidenced by artificial limbs, organs, and the dawn of true artificial intelligence. The perms, fortunately, faded from the popular zeitgeist.

Predict-o-Meter Rating: 8 out of 10


The source: Star Trek: The Original Series (1966 – 1969), and its many iterations (including the most recent movie reboot, which came out in 2009)

What year did it attempt to predict?: Crazy far in the future! It also makes repeated references the late 20th century and early 21st century—aka, right about now.

Just tell me what the show’s about already, so I can decide if I should make fun of my parents for watching it: The chaos of the aforementioned 20th and 21st centuries results in mankind flying through the universe in cool spaceships while wearing colorful pajamas. In the 1990s (a period, we learn, of great strife in the world) genetically engineered “super humans” rose up and became warlords who wreaked havoc across the globe. Nuclear wars and the fall of the current nation states lead the planet into a period of despair that was only ended when a scientist discovered the ability to travel faster than the speed of light (hello, “Warp Speed!”). While testing this new technology, Earthlings caught the attention of some rather serious, pointy-eared aliens known as the Vulcans, who would help the Earth slowly rise from the ashes and become the seat of a new, democratic alliance known as the United Federation of Planets.

What did it say would happen?: The fall of (current) civilization; nuclear wasteland; and Ricardo Montalban’s pectoral muscles.

How accurate was it?: The first two of these predictions have not yet taken place. Fortunately for the world, the third one has.

More impressive than any of those predictions, though, is the sheer number of real-life technological advances whose creation has been influenced—either directly or indirectly—by the show. Check out this article for a list of just a few of them.

Predict-o-Meter Rating: 6.5 out of 10

What would Elvie think of these predictions? She’d probably laugh, for the most part, or weep, depending. I also think she’d be glad that the world she lives in is free from most of the dire drama predicted by these examples. (Of course, what with her unplanned pregnancy and living on a low-Earth orbiting space cruiser, Elvie already has enough to deal with that we would consider pretty out of this world!) In the end, were we to predict our own future, we probably wouldn’t have been much more accurate than Conan O’Brien, as seen in this clip.

Other future predictions Elvie would get a kick out of:

Planet of the Apes (1968); Back to the Future Part II (1989); Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989); The Matrix (1999); and WALL-E (2008).

Guest Blog from Innocent Darkness author Suzanne Lazear

Today, we are thrilled to host an exclusive guest blog from Innocent Darkness author Suzanne Lazear. Thanks for stopping by, Suzanne!

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One of the great things about writing Steampunk, to me, is all the research.

Even though it’s not historical fiction, I still found myself doing a lot of research in order to write the Aether Chronicles books. Since it’s a Victorian-based world I needed to get an idea as to what life was actually life so I could use it as a springboard to create my own.  Basically, I needed to know what the rules were so I could break them.

I researched fallen gentry to get idea what it would be like for Noli and her mother to “fall” from society after Mr. Braddock’s disappearance. I took an online class run by a police officer and pelted with hypothetical questions so I could get the scene where Noli and V are pulled over by the hovercop just right. I looked up pictures so I knew what Los Angeles looked like in 1901.

The ease of online research makes it easy to world build on the fly.

How is the Big Bad Pixymobile powered? Since Noli is a mechanic, I needed to know this. I could look a few things up and figure it out while writing the scene.

What would a steampunk tree house look like? A quick Google search gave me pictures to serve as inspirations so I could come up with my own ideas.

I spent hours looking at dresses, because I like looking at pictures of steampunk dresses, so I could get ideas as to what the characters might wear.

Some details are more important that others, but I was having a good time researching.

Besides serving as building blocks, research can add fascinating (and terrifying) details to a story. For example Noli is sent to a terrible reform school. I pulled many of the things that happen to the girls from actual treatments used on women in Victorian mental institutions. Some of these things were quite horrifying.  The sensory deprivation box Noli is put in was actually used to treat different sorts of “imbalances” during that time. The ailments Noli and Charlotte talk about were things girls and women were actually institutionalized for.

What lady’s magazines were in print back then?  What some common faery lore beyond a mushroom-ringed oak tree and not eating faery food?  When did the carousel arrive at the Santa Monica Pier? What did people eat? Did they have take out in the Victorian era?

Sure, I could make up all or part of it, one of the fun parts about writing steampunk is tweaking history and playing with reality.  But it’s also good to know what the “real” answers are.

I even did research on names. Even though my version of 1901 has very different technology, the society I’ve created is still quite proper.  Where we would have no problem calling a girl named Charlotte “Charlie”, that probably wouldn’t happen in Noli’s world, at least in regards to her friend Charlotte Wilson. So what were girls named Charlotte called as nicknames?  (The answer is Lottie.) I needed to look up Gaelic versions of the names of the Darrow children.  Speaking of the Darrow family, that name was carefully selected (anyone want to guess why?)

Sometimes my research was on line, there’s some great Victorian resources out there like or Googling “Victorian Torture Methods” yielded some interesting information – including things I actually used. I looked though old lady’s magazines from the era. Brushed up on my faery lore and re-read classic fairytales.  Read articles on life in the era, especially in regards to the lives of the wealthy. Poured over census lists for name ideas. 

I also did a lot of asking questions over Facebook and twitter—including asking other authors who write in the era questions, like what exactly is the proper term for Victorian underpants? (It turns out I was actually referring to bloomers.) 

Research can be quite fun when world building.  You just don’t want to get too carried away. After all, you have to get some actual writing in, too.


Innocent Darkness & the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

Today, we’re exploring one historical event that gets a bit of fictionalization in Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear — the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

In Suzanne’s novel, the quake takes place in 1895 and is triggered by magical backlash from the Otherworld. (Seriously, just read the book when it comes out next month — it all makes sense & it’s so fabulous.)

But as Suzanne notes at the beginning of her book, the San Francisco Earthquake actually happened in 1906 and was triggered by a major shift in the San Andreas Fault.

Measurements back then weren’t as accurate as they are today, but it’s estimated that the 1906 quake had a magnitude of at least 7.9 — and shaking was felt as far away as Oregon, Nevada, and Los Angeles.(By comparison, the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 — one I remember vividly from my childhood — had a magnitude of only 6.9.)

To this day, it is still considered one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. More than 3,000 people are estimated to have died in the quake, and the economic damage has been compared to the effects Hurricane Katrina had on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005.

The quake caused incredible damage to the San Francisco area — but even worse were the fires sparked in its aftermath. In fact, it’s estimated that 90% of the damage from the quake was actually caused by the ensuing fires. Much of the reconstruction after the quake laid the groundwork for the San Francisco of today.

New YA Book Releases: July 24, 2012

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

Drain You by M. Beth Bloom

Every night I’d lie there in bed and look out at the hills behind our house, listening. I knew there’d be consequences.

Actions meant reactions. Sunrises meant sunsets. My fear was too permanent, lasting longer than eyeliner, something I wore every day and didn’t wash off.

Quinlan Lacey’s life is a red carpet of weird fashions, hip bands, random parties, and chilling by the pool with her on-and-off BFF Libby. There’s also her boring job (minimum wage), a crushed-out coworker (way too interested), her summer plans (nada), and her parents (totally clueless). Then one night she meets gorgeous James, and Quinn’s whole world turns crazy, Technicolor, 3-D, fireworks, whatever.

But with good comes bad and unfortunately, Quinn’s new romance brings with it some majorly evil baggage. Now, to make things right, she has to do a lot of things wrong (breaking and entering, kidnapping, lying, you name it).

There’s normal, and then there’s paranormal, and neither are Quinlan’s cup of Diet Coke. Staying sane, cool, in love, and alive isn’t so easy breezy.

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein

Jason Bourne meets The Sopranos in this breathtaking adventure

Sara Jane Rispoli is a normal sixteen-year-old coping with school and a budding romance–until her parents and brother are kidnapped and she discovers her family is deeply embedded in the Chicago Outfit (aka the mob).

Now on the run from a masked assassin, rogue cops and her turncoat uncle, Sara Jane is chased and attacked at every turn, fighting back with cold fury as she searches for her family. It’s a quest that takes her through concealed doors and forgotten speakeasies–a city hiding in plain sight. Though armed with a .45 and 96K in cash, an old tattered notebook might be her best defense–hidden in its pages the secret to “ultimate power.” It’s why she’s being pursued, why her family was taken, and could be the key to saving all of their lives.

Action packed, with fresh, cinematic writing, Cold Fury is a riveting and imaginative adventure readers will devour.

Red Heart Tattoo by Lurlene McDaniel

At 7:45 a.m. on the day before Thanksgiving break, a bomb goes off at Edison High. Nine people die instantly. Fifteen are critically injured. Twenty-two suffer less severe injuries. And one is blinded. Those who survive, struggle to cope with the loss and destruction. All must find new meaning for their lives as a result of something they may never understand.

Lurlene McDaniel’s signature expertise and finesse in dealing with issues of violence, death, and physical as well as emotional trauma in the lives of teens is immediate and heartrending.

Endlessly by Kiersten White

Evie’s paranormal past keeps coming back to haunt her. A new director at the International Paranormal Containment Agency wants to drag her back to headquarters. The Dark Faerie Queen is torturing humans in her poisonous realm. And supernatural creatures keep insisting that Evie is the only one who can save them from a mysterious, perilous fate.

The clock is ticking on the entire paranormal world. And its fate rests solely in Evie’s hands.

So much for normal.

Guitar Notes by Mary Amato

A heartwarming story about an unlikely friendship forged between a straight-A, classical musician and a bad-boy guitar player told through notes, lyrics, texts, and narration.

For the comments: Any other new releases you’re excited about? Which of these are you planning to pick up?

Behind the Scenes at Novel Novice & Changes Coming Your Way

Hello dear blog readers! I don’t know if it’s been completely apparent from the outside or not, but behind the scenes here at Novel Novice lately things have been … chaotic, to say the least. And I wanted to take a moment to explain the many reasons why & to let you in on a few very small changes coming soon.

I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately when it comes to blog responsibilities, you see. And I’m making these changes in an effort to get myself back on track and feeling good about things. On a very small scale, I’ve been going it mostly alone lately since my cohort of the past is busy promoting her own book now (as she should be! Please check out Stephanie Lawton’s Want — you won’t regret it!!) and I’ve been unable to find anyone else to fill her shoes. And I sort of like the autonomy of just plodding along and doing things at will, so I’m not exactly motivated to find anyone new. Plus, the oh-so-fabulous Amanda has been busy beefing up our Middle Grade Monday features — which I adore!

And then, you see, my own personal time to blog has been eaten up by changing factors. My boyfriend moved in a few months ago — and now we’re engaged, so I am completely and overwhelmingly distracted by shiny wedding planning things. Yes, I have 18 months to plan this extravaganza — but it is SHINY! And NEW! And MY WEDDING! So it’s sort of all I can think about right now. I mean, I’m obsessing over floral arrangements on Pinterest and wondering if I’ll be able to find the perfect pair of yellow shoes to wear with my dress.

I also got a new job. I’d been working for many years producing morning television, which sounds exciting and all, but had turned into a zombie-making, soul-sucking hell that I couldn’t wait to escape. The only plus side of that horrid job was that it afforded me plenty of time to work on bloggy posts. My new job is oh-so-much better — I’m working with my dad now, and we’ve turned his small business into a family business and I couldn’t be happier. But the new job takes up more time because it actually requires effort and thought — all good things when you want to be satisfied by your career. The side effect, however, is less time for blogging.

And finally, as many of you know, I’m a volunteer for Wordstock Festival — an annual book festival held in Portland, Oregon each year. I’m in charge of booking all of the children’s, middle grade, and YA authors. This year for the first time, we added a YA-only stage. It’s great! Buuuut it means I have more authors than ever before and frankly, I’m a bit overwhelmed by all the work that needs doing for the festival — especially right now, as we’re in crunch time to finalize our authors, panels, and schedule before August 1st.

So as you can see — I’ve been completely & overwhelmingly swamped by busy things & exciting changes.

So with that in mind, I would like to announce two very slight changes coming your way …

1) There will be no August Book of the Month this year.

I simply need the time off to regroup and focus on getting everything in my life (both online & off) back in order.

I’m hoping to supplement this absence with a few more book reviews (which I’ve been behind in posting), and some additional feature posts on books I think you should be checking out. Maybe I’ll even finally get around to writing a BEA recap.

And in all that catch-up, I absolutely MUST finally announce any and all remaining pending contest winners, especially for many of our writing contests. I feel awful that it’s taken so long to get around to reading all these entries. I hope you’ll forgive me & continue entering future contests.

2) Simpler Book of the Month Posts

In the past, our Book of the Month pattern has been to post one new blog post per weekday on our monthly featured book. But in reality, this is a LOT of content to produce — and for some books, it can be really hard coming up with enough worthy content to fill those days.

So in lieu of continuing this grueling and sometimes unrealistic goal, I am modifying my approach to Book of the Month.

The plan now is to feature as many weekday posts as is deemed fitting for said book. If that means only three posts per week instead of five, so be it. But I’m allowing myself a bit more flexibility to make the Book of the Month posts more realistic to produce and more enticing to readers.

More changes coming?

I may continue to make small adjustments and changes to Novel Novice down the road — such as incorporating more regular features like Middle Grade Mondays, and maybe getting back to posting The Saturday Post more often. But in the meantime, I’m going to use the next few weeks to regroup and start fresh.

As always, I welcome your feedback. Please share your (constructive) comments & ideas in the comments below!

Sneak Peak: ParaNorman

Oooooh, I can’t wait! ParaNorman, the movie, hits theaters on August 17th!

When great books are made into films, there’s always fear of  disappointment. But after watching the trailer, I’m fairly confident the movie will live-up to the book’s ghostly adventure.

If you have yet to dive into Norman’s ghoulish gallivants, I highly recommend embarking on the journey.

Look for my review next Middle Grade Monday, and check-out the official synopsis below.

In a quaint New England town with a history of  witches and pilgrims, misunderstood eleven-year-old Norman Babcock can see and talk to ghosts. No one believes him, of course-everyone just thinks he’s weird (including his parents). But when a folktale of a witch who cursed her accusers turns out to be true, it’s up to Norman to save the town from pilgrim zombies! In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on a very angry witch, an annoying sidekick, his boy-crazy teenage sister, and dozens of moronic grown-ups who get in his way. This young ghoul whisperer finds his paranormal talents pushed to their otherworldly limits in this hilarious and spooky adventure!

And just for kicks, here’s the movie trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear & William Butler Yeats

At the beginning of Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear is the following quote from William Butler Yeats’ poem “The Stolen Child”

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world’s more full of weeping
than you can understand.

The poem serves as a mood-setter for the rest of the book, and is even referenced later in the text itself.

Yeats’ poem is based on an Irish legend about faeries luring children away from their families — and besides its influence on Innocent Darkness, the famous poem as also influenced other works of literature and music.

Keith Donahue’s novel The Stolen Child is one of my favorite books inspired by Yeats’ poem:

I am a changeling–a word that describes within its own name what we are bound and intended to do. We kidnap a human child and replace him or her with one of our own. . . .

The double story of Henry Day begins in 1949, when he is kidnapped at age seven by a band of wild childlike beings who live in an ancient, secret community in the forest. The changelings rename their captive Aniday and he becomes, like them, unaging and stuck in time. They leave one of their own to take his place, an imposter who must try–with varying success–to hide his true identity from the Day family. As the changeling Henry grows up, he is haunted by glimpses of his lost double and by vague memories of his own childhood a century earlier.

Narrated in turns by Henry and Aniday, The Stolen Child follows them as their lives converge, driven by their obsessive search for who they were before they changed places in the world. Moving from a realistic setting in small-town America deep into the forest of humankind’s most basic desires and fears, this remarkable novel is a haunting fable about identity and the illusory innocence of childhood.

Loreena McKennitt also set the poem to music:

For the comments: Where else have you seen “The Stolen Child” referenced in literature or pop culture?

New in Paperback: The Book of Tomorrow by Cecilia Ahern

We wanted to give you a little heads up that a book we first reviewed last year is coming out in paperback tomorrow — The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern, the author of P.S. I Love You.

Here’s what we had to say about The Book of Tomorrowlast year in our review:

Fans of Cecelia Ahern’s work will no doubt love her latest novel, The Book of Tomorrow, but typical YA readers may have a more difficult time getting into this beautifully written, but slow-paced story about a spoiled teen girl who learns some hard lessons about life, fate and how your actions affect the world around you.

Look for The Book of Tomorrow in paperback … TOMORROW, in stores! Here is the full synopsis:

Born into the lap of luxury and comfortable in the here and now, spoiled, tempestuous Tamara Goodwin has never had to look to the future; until the abrupt death of her father leaves her and her mother a mountain of debt and forces them to move in with Tamara’s peculiar aunt and uncle in a tiny countryside village. Tamara is lonely and bored, with a traveling library as her only diversion. There she finds a large leather-bound book with a gold clasp and padlock, but no author name or title. Intrigued, she pries open the lock, and what she finds inside takes her breath away. Tamara sees entries written in her own handwriting, and dated for the following day. When the next day unfolds exactly as recorded, Tamara realizes she may have found a solution to her problems. But in her quest to find answers, Tamara soon learns that some pages are better left unturned and that, try as she may, she mustn’t interfere with fate.

For the comments: Have you read The Book of Tomorrow? Share your thoughts below!