January 30, 2011

Overheard

Overheard by my friend Destinee:

The Princess Diaries (Full Screen Edition)

Bro: Dude?
Bro 2: Yeah dude?
Bro: Have you seen The Princess Diaries?
Bro 2: Why, is it good?
Bro: Yeah, you should see it. Read the book too. The book is better.

January 19, 2011

Review: The True Meaning of Smekday

True Meaning of Smekday, The

By Adam Rex
Available now from Disney Hyperion
2011 Winner of the Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production


I have no idea how this book would work as an audiobook.  Some sections are done like a comic.  Others are illustrated by 'photos,' sketches, or other representations of things the characters come across.  The illustrations are well-done, offering information not available in the story. 

But any team that could adapt it well would deserve an award.

Gratuity Tucci (her friends call her Tip) is driving by herself to Florida.  Why?  Because that's where the aliens are relocating the humans and they've already taken her mother.  She doesn't trust their transportation so she's relying on her own.  But then her car breaks and she and her cat, Pig, are stranded at a gas station . . . until one of the aliens fixes their car.  Soon Tip, Pig, and J.Lo the Boov are on a cross-country trip to save the world from even worse aliens.

When I started the novel, I was underwhelmed.  Alien invasion as a satirical critique of Western imperialism has been done to death.  But things improve after the group reach Bland Name Disney World and the storyline becomes more complex.  Adam Rex does do one thing with the satire that I appreciated - an actual Native American shows up and some people are pretty cognizant of the comparisons between the Boov's actions and human action.

I liked Tip's personality from the beginning as well.  She doesn't trust easily, but she doesn't cut herself off from other people either.  She accepts genuine help.  She's also pretty savvy for an eleven-year-old.  But I'll take it because I love a book featuring a strong female character, especially ones aimed at children.  I enjoyed the way Rex portrayed her biracial heritage.  It's not an issue at all when she and J.Lo are alone, but it sometimes bothers the people they encounter. 
The plot peters out a bit at the end as well, when the way to defeat the aliens becomes clear yet takes forever for Tip to figure out.  Luckily, there's lots of great character interaction among her, J.Lo, and minor characters that fills up the space well.  Unluckily, adults tend to be all but useless.  In fact, I can only recall one useful adult.  It couldn't hurt to have more adults act a little intelligently, could it?

THE TRUE MEANING OF SMEKDAY is pretty firmly aimed at older children.  There's a bit of cussing and a lot of violence.  (Some violence which I find disturbing, even.)  At the same time, it's quite funny and charming.  I'd have loved it as a kid.  I still found it absorbing and worth recommending to others, but it does have flaws.  I'm probably passing this one onto my nieces anyway.

January 13, 2011

Review: Sinful

Sinful

By Sara Dailey and Staci Weber
Available now from Mundania Press
Review copy
Visit other tour stops

The first downside is that SINFUL suffers from the same problem as a lot of small press books. Typos, typos, typos. It grates on my nerves a little every time I notice something wrong which doesn't put mean in a mind to be generous.

And boy, does SINFUL need me to be generous.

The back cover blurb introduces Elizabeth Carrington, who moves to League City, Texas after her mother's death. It also introduces the angel Michael who falls instantly for Elizabeth since she's "so alluring that he can't force himself to resist her." (Elizabeth's reasoning is just as simple but more understandable: he's hot.) The problem with this is that Elizabeth, quite frankly, is an asshole.

She thinks rude things about people who try to be nice to her. She calls other girls bitches and hobags with little provocation. She congratulates herself on quips so clever they leave her opponent speechless, when her opponent is likely just speechless that she said something so mean and crass when they weren't even arguing. No, I don't get why Michael would become human to be with her.

Lyndsee, the head mean girl, almost becomes a sympathetic character. Elizabeth accidentally hits her with a car door and a plate of food once. But then she does those things on purpose. (Assault! How heroic!) Lyndsee also gets dumped. Then her boyfriend sides against her in public (twice) because he thinks the humiliation will do good things for her personality.

Oh, and one of those faux-clever clips is delivered to Lyndsee. Yeah, bulimia jokes are real funny.

Lyndsee's significant other is the hottest boy in school (who still isn't as hot as Michael). In fact, he's so hot that everyone refers to him by his full name. Which makes me wish someone had said something to Dailey and Weber, because I couldn't help but laugh everytime his name was said.

That's right. The hottest guy in school is Jason Alexander.

Photobucket

The best character in the story is Daniel, a slightly unhinged former angel. Unfortunately he doesn't show up all that much. Oh well, I'd've probably found something to dislike if he showed up enough.

January 12, 2011

Review: Trickster's Girl

Book Cover By Hilari Bell
Available now from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review copy
Read the interview and visit T2T for full tour schedule

TRICKSTER'S GIRL begins with Kelsa Phillips at her father's funeral. Not only is she in mourning, but she and her mother are at odd since they had different ideas about how her father should have spent the last months of his terminal illness. Then Raven walks into her life, saying that she needs to restore the ley lines of North America to prevent the end of humanity. He claims to be the Raven of myth, and says that most of the others like him would prefer to let humans die and then fix the problem, caused by pollution and other ill-treatment of the environment. Oh yes, and this takes place one hundred years in the future.

Hilari Bell's world-building is slight but coherent. She manages to make her high-tech world slyly funny. Future USA is obsessed with security, but it does little to prevent drug-smuggling, border crossing, or other problems. Canada, conversely, does just fine while paying far less attention to the movements of its citizens. The magic is a bit shakier. The folkloric parts are fine, but it is a little weird that Kelsa can fix nodes by suddenly knowing what to say and sprinkling conveniently pre-prepared dust. At least Kelsa thinks it is somewhat odd too.

The story definitely picks up once Raven and Kelsa hit the road. The beginning does a good job of setting up Kelsa's emotional state and her own need for healing, but it just doesn't have much forward momentum. TRICKSTER'S GIRL is aimed at a slightly older audience than Bell's most famous books, so Kelsa does face sexual threats on her sometimes-solo journey.

In general, I enjoyed TRICKSTER'S GIRL but felt the ending was rather abrupt. Kelsa does complete a full emotional arc, but her task still ends rather suddenly. In addition, she spends much of the book thinking about Raven's attractiveness. That's not odd for a teenage girl on the road with a good-looking guy. At the same time, it feels kind of pointless when no romance develops. Raven and Kelsa are just friends, so she doesn't really need to dwell on his physical appearance.

If you like quest narratives, you'll probably enjoy TRICKSTER'S GIRL. Dystopia fans will probably enjoy it as well. This version of the future might not be a burned out wasteland, but it's certainly not a utopia. I do enjoy the blending of science fiction and fantasy, which is perfect for the YA market. (Yay genre busting!)

Interview with Hilari Bell

Let's welcome Hilari Bell! She's the author of the Goblin books and the Farsala trilogy, among others.  (I discovered her due to the Farsala trilogy, which confused me when the books kept changing names!)  She's a former reference librarian who now writes first time.  TRICKSTER'S GIRL is a little different from her previous books - there's a little more science fiction to it and it's a bit more grown up.  The sequel, TRAITOR'S SON, will be available in 2012.  This interview is part of a T2T tour, as is the review that will be posted later today.  You can catch Hilari at All About {n} on the fourteenth or at her previous stops.
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Trickster's Girl (Raven Duet)

1. Some of your books are directed more towards a middle grade audience and others are aimed at young adults. What do you think makes a book MG or YA? Are you conscious of the audience when writing a novel?


The main differences between MG and YA are the age of the main characters, complexity of the plot, and pace of the story--also sometimes length. In MG, because the characters are younger they also have somewhat different problems and concerns, and the younger your reader the faster your pace needs to be. The age of the reader also impacts how many and what kind of subplots you have going on. But when I sit down to write a story, I think of the story I want to write. Only when I've decided that a particular plot would be best as middle grade or YA do I start thinking about the rest of it. And I also love writing for tweens (ten to fourteen) which falls right between the two age categories, but that's awkward for publishers, bookstores and libraries, because the books have to be shelved in one section or the other. They end up being labeled either younger YA or older MG, but in fact quite a bit of my YA and middlegrades are actually tween.

2. TRICKSTER'S GIRL is a science fantasy instead of fitting neatly in science fiction or fantasy. What was the hardest part about combining the genres?

I don't find it hard to combine them, which probably says something bad about me and categories. (Note the above paragraph, about how many of my books falling in between the normal age ranges?) But if you can have fantasy elements in a middle ages setting, or fantasy elements in today's modern world, why not fantasy elements in a futuristic SF setting? And it's a total kick to write, because you get the best of both genres--the coolness and freedom to explore the future that comes with SF, and the fun of magic. The first book I ever sold, SONGS OF POWER, is also a near-future SF/fantasy. So in some ways writing TRICKSTER'S GIRL and TRAITOR'S SON felt like coming home.

3. TRICKSTER'S GIRL is also quite different from your previous works, which tend toward traditional fantasy. What sort of territory do you think you'll explore next?

The next thing I'm going to work on is a gypsy steam punk novel, but (what is it with me and categories?) it's set in an alternate just-post-WWI setting instead of Victorian. In this world most magic has become just another branch of science, with recognized principles that are well understood and harnessed, but gypsy magic is different. And WWI fought with magic was every bit as brutal as the real one. I'd like to say more brutal, but it would be hard to be more horrible than WWI, which seems to me to have combined the worst of both modern and primitive warfare--it was ghastly. What's at stake in this story is the success of a peace conference that stands a chance of ending that war. It will be very cool.

4. In your site bio, you mention that you enjoy a decadent sort of camping with your mother. I couldn't help but wonder if that influenced your portrayal of Kelsa's relationship to her father.


Not so much their relationship, but Kelsa's love of nature, of the beauty and peace of the open places comes from me. And it was very frustrating, because Jase in the next book lives in one of the most stunningly gorgeous places I've ever seen, but he's a total city kid whose first love is his car! He does get better eventually, but seeing the world through his mind I couldn't do Alaska justice--and that hurt, because Alaska is incredible. Until I wrote these books I didn't realize that my editor had also been to Alaska, but she told me that when they first went there she and her husband were "stunned silent" by it's beauty. And that's just about right.


5. Who are some of your favorite authors writing now?

Lois Bujold, Eric Flint & David Weber are my top three, but there are a lot of others.

6. Do you ever write yourself into a corner? How do you salvage a good idea when your first attempt at executing it goes wrong?


I'm one of those people who plots out the whole story before I ever start to write--because I don't want to write myself into corners! I also don't want to have to go back and throw out a quarter (or more) of my manuscript backtracking all those paths that turned into blind alleys. But I do know quite a few writers who can't bring themselves to give up the joy of discovering the story as they write, even though I think they end up doing twice as much work as we pre-plotters. And when they write themselves into a corner they usually agonize and write in circles for a long time, and then bring their stalled story into the writers group and tell us what they've got so far and where they're stuck. The group brainstorms for a while and comes up with several different directions they could go, and several interesting ways to get there. But they almost always have to throw out huge chunks of what they've written so far, because what they've got is what lured them into that dead end in the first place.

January 10, 2011

Review: Solitary

Reasons not to post when you're traveling: you might not correct it quickly when Blogger's scheduled posting bugs out again.

Solitary: Escape from Furnace 2

By Alexander Gordon Smith
Available now from Farrar Straus Giroux
Review copy
Read my review of LOCKDOWN and interview with Alexander

SOLITARY begins where LOCKDOWN ended: Zee, Gary, and Alex are in the river post escape attempt. But SOLITARY isn't a retread of LOCKDOWN. Alexander Gordon Smith turns down the gruesomeness (just a tad) and turns up the torture. Alex and Zee are thrown into solitary, with only themselves for company . . . well, themselves and the blacksuits giving them their food every two days. The blacksuits angry that two of their own died in the escape attempt.

But as I mentioned in my interview, Escape from Furnace is more about the monsters than psychological horror, although both play a part. So soon enough a failed experiment named Simon is taking Alex and Zee out for brief jaunts to create a new escape plan.

But the psychological hits hit hard. Not only is Alex's mind under a great deal of stress, but also Gordon kills off characters frequently. The only reason Alex isn't dead is because he's the narrator. That bit of narrative power doesn't offer his friends any protection, unfortunately.

As for things moving forward, there's also mention of an Alfred Furnace. I am excited by the hint that there's someone pulling strings behind the scenes. There's a place for horror where bad things happen to people for no reason. But Escape from Furnace does have a stated premise that needs a little bit of mythology to survive. After all, if the blacksuits are framing teens to keep the number of prisoners at a high enough level, then the crime rate probably isn't going down. Why maintain a system that doesn't prevent crime?

Alex continues to be sympathetic in spite of himself. In the first chapter, he warns the reader that he's a bad guy who deserves to be in Furnace. Hard to take him seriously when no one deserves to be in Furnace. It's also hard to take him seriously since he always does his best to help his friends, no matter how dire the circumstances.

SOLITARY and its predecessor are a good choice for young horror fans. It's fast-paced and has a nice bit of action to go with the chills. It might not be a great idea for kids under ten or twelve, but if they're into R.L. Stine and ready for Fear Street instead of Goosebumps, they'll probably do alright. (I may be afraid of escalators, but I'm a bad judge of scariness. Thus I'm trying to be conservative with the ages.) I'm eager to read DEATH SENTENCE and totally jealous of all the people in the lovely UK who can do that already.

P. S. I liked the original US cover of LOCKDOWN, but the ARC cover of SOLITARY is awful. I think the new red and green covers are awesome and fitting.

Interview with Alexander Gordon Smith

Today Alexander Gordon Smith, the author of LOCKDOWN and SOLITARY, is visiting IBWB. The third book in the Escape from Furnace series will be out this summer. I hope ya'll enjoy the interview; Alexander was quite loquacious! Plus, if you scroll to the bottom, I'm giving away two copies of SOLITARY courtesy of AuthorsOnTheWeb. You will receive a bonus entry if you comment on my review posted later today.

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Thanks for interviewing me on In Bed With Books, it's fantastic to be here!

Lockdown: Escape from Furnace 1 (Escape from Furnace (Quality))

1. LOCKDOWN, SOLITARY, and DEATH SENTENCE were all released in 2009 in the UK. What was it like to have three books come out in such quick succession?


Originally Faber (my publisher in the UK) only wanted to publish the first two books in 2009, but I managed to convince them to speed up the schedule! I love reading a series, but I get frustrated when I have to wait for the next one to come out. I wanted readers to be able to finish the first book, Lockdown, and have the next one out in three months, and the next three months after that. I'm pretty impatient with most things, and writing is no different! The only thing I didn't plan for was the editing – I forgot that each book needs about six different edits, so I was totally swamped for the whole year!

I would have loved to do the same in the States, but Farrar Straus Giroux (my publisher over here) wanted to publish a hardback edition of each book, which affected the schedule. It's a little longer to wait between each title in the series, but I think it's worth it because the hardback editions look absolutely amazing!

In terms of the writing, it was great to have three books out in a year. Being so immersed in the story during such a brief time really made me feel like I was part of Alex's nightmare, that I was trapped inside Furnace with him. It was intense!

Solitary: Escape from Furnace 2

2. Have you noticed a difference in reception to the Furnace series between the US and the UK?


I've been so lucky – the response on both sides of the Atlantic has been astonishing! I've been touring over here in the UK since the books came out, and it's been brilliant meeting fans face to face. I get most of my British fan mail after events. I've also had some fantastic reviews from the British press, which has been great!

On the whole, though, I think the response in the US has been more enthusiastic. Eight out of ten of the letters and emails I receive are from the States, and quite a few of them are positive feedback from teachers and librarians, which is just amazing. There really is nothing better than getting an email or letter from somebody who enjoyed the books enough to get in touch. There has been such a great response from bloggers as well. There seems to be a much bigger culture of blogging in the States, people who absolutely love reading and talking about what they've read. It's been wonderful to see so many of you getting behind LOCKDOWN, and I'm truly grateful!

I've done a couple of Skype events to American audiences, but I'm hoping to visit the States next year to do some shows. I really can't wait!

3. To me, horror seems to come in two main categories: psychological horror and terrifying monsters. While LOCKDOWN and SOLITARY have their psychological moments, most of the scariness comes from the monsters populating Furnace. What were some monsters (from movies or literature) that scared you?


Great question! Yes, I really wanted these books to be full of monsters – not familiar ones like vampires and werewolves but really nasty ones, things that people hopefully haven’t seen before. I think for me the scariest monsters you can get are the ones that are human, or at least that were once human and which have become something else. Some of the monsters in Lockdown fall into this category. They're terrifying not because of what they are, but because of what has happened to them. I can't say any more without giving too much away! I'm also fascinated by the idea of evil, and the existence of entities that are utterly inhuman – that are the very antithesis of life and warmth and happiness. I explore the idea of timeless, depthless evil in the Furnace series as well. It really, really creeps me out.

As for the monsters that scared me . . . There are way too many to mention here, but witches used to terrify me. When I was a kid I used to have a recurring dream, I think it was brought on by a fairy tale, of a witch who was trying to kill me. As I woke up, she'd pull me through the dream into this horrible, dirty house and I'd see her standing by a bloodstained table, grinning. Thankfully I always woke up before she got me. More recently I began to dream about her again, only this time she sits at the bottom of the attic stairs in my house in one of those trolleys that legless people sometime use. I'm still irrationally frightened of stereotypical evil witches!

Strangely angels used to scare me too, because they were so human and yet so utterly not. Their almost sociopathic detachment from humanity, combined with their powers, made them really scary. Frankenstein was another one, and Pennywise the Clown from IT, oh and the Blob, because I used to imagine it oozing down the corridors inside my house when I was trying to get to sleep. I'd totally forgotten about that! I was freaked out by zombies and ghosts as well. But one of my greatest fears was doppelgangers – people who looked like my friends and family but who weren't. Another dream I remember was talking to my mum then realising she had horse's teeth and that it wasn't her, it was someone pretending to be her. Horrible!

Thanks for bringing back all these memories, I'm never going to sleep again!!

4. What attracted you to writing horror for young adults?


It's weird, but with the Furnace books I wasn't specifically setting out to write for young adults. I just had this story in mind, the location really – this horrific underground prison full of nightmares – and I started writing. It became a book for young adults because the characters themselves were teenagers. I was so close to Alex, the main character, when I was writing. I mean I was him. And he reminded me so much of a bad patch I went through as a teenager – I wasn’t as much of a criminal as him, but I was certainly heading in the same direction. There was a time when I might have written Alex as an adult, but there was such a powerful connection between him and my memories of myself as a teenager that I made him fourteen.

What I really didn't want to do was tone down the action and the horror just because it was a YA book. Teenage readers deserve more. So I just wrote the story exactly the way that Alex lives it, red in tooth and claw. Luckily for me, my editors on both side of the pond were fine with the violence and the horror!

Oh, and I love horror because it’s really the only genre where there are no rules. None whatsoever. Absolutely anything can happen.

5. It can be hard to keep up with British authors on this side of the pond. (For instance, I picked up THE BLACK TATTOO because of the awesome cover and only realized Sam Enthoven was British because the first part of the novel was set in the West End. It seems to happen more by accident than purpose.) What British authors should American YA fans seek out?


There are so many amazing authors over here! It's funny that you mention Sam Enthoven because he's a great friend of mine. I love THE BLACK TATTOO, and his latest, CRAWLERS, is disgustingly brilliant! Sam and I are both members of two groups of writers. The first is called Trapped By Monsters and includes nearly twenty children’s and YA authors. We all blog regularly on the site about writing and books in general, and it's a great place to find some wonderful British and Irish authors.

The second is called The Chainsaw Gang and is made up exclusively of horror authors. It was set up by Sarwat Chadda, author of DEVIL'S KISS and DARK GODDESS(which are available in the States). We do quite a few events, and we're planning an anthology of scary stories this year as well. At the moment the gang includes me, Sam, Sarwat, David Gatward, Steve Feasey, Jon Mayhew, Alex Milway, Alex Bell, William Hussey, Steven Deas and Sarah Pinborough. If you're looking for a good read and a good scare then I can recommend any of these writers!



The Inventors

6. Before the Furnace series, you wrote the Inventors duology with your younger brother. What are some of the differences between writing a novel on your own and collaborating?


Writing The Inventors books with Jamie was one of the best experiences of my life. He was nine when we started it. I woke up one morning with the image of an evil genius chasing two inventors, and I ran round to his house (he lives three doors down the road from me with my mum) and told him we had to write a book! He loved reading so he was really keen, and together we expanded the idea into the story of two teenage inventors, Nate and Cat, who win a scholarship with the world's most famous inventor, Ebeneezer Saint. Needless to say Saint turns out to be the bad guy (kind of, anyway, he's a complex character!) and Nate and Cat have to outwit, out-run and out-invent the world's greatest inventor!

Writing with Jamie was a very different experience to writing alone. For a start, Jamie attempted to build a lot of the inventions in the book for real – traps, remote control gadgets, even rocket boots – and he would test them on me! It was a real adventure, and I was almost blown to smithereens several times. But the writing process was very different, too. One of us would have an idea, and the other one would roll with it and add something new, then it would bounce back and forth, growing and evolving in a way that it never would have done if I was working on my own.

It's a great way of writing, it opens up so many doors creatively. I'd absolutely recommend it to anyone out there who is writing a book, especially one for kids or teens, and especially especially if you have kids or relations that are the same age as your readers. Jamie was nine, so he knew exactly what kind of adventure he wanted to read about, what kind of characters he wanted to meet, what kind of inventions would be most exciting and what kind of gory deaths everyone should have! And writing with somebody else really does alleviate the boredom of sitting by yourself all day trying to have a conversation with the cat (which is pretty much how I wrote Furnace)!

Thanks again for the chance to appear on your blog!

January 9, 2011

In My Mailbox

Trickster's Girl (Raven Duet)
Just wanted to let you know that it's a new year and IBWB will pick up again.  This week will feature reviews of SOLITARY (Escape from Furnance, Book 2), TRICKSTER'S GIRL, and SINFUL . . . as well as interviews with their authors!  Alexander Gordon Smith is visiting tomorrow, Hilari Bell on the twelfth, and Sara Dailey and Staci Weber on the thirteenth.  Be sure to stop by!  There will be a giveaway starting tomorrow.  I know ya'll love contests.

The Mermaid's Madness (PRINCESS NOVELS)This week I bought:
SPICED by Dalia Jurgenson (as a late Christmas gift for a former roommate)
THE MERMAID'S MADNESS by Jim C. Hines
CYBERMANCY by Kelly McCullough

January 5, 2011

Finding a Place

When I'm reading a book I'm really excited about, I like to sit somewhere special.  Somewhere that I can, from then on, associate with that book.  This causes trouble sometimes, as I have to wait to read that book until I find the perfect place.  (And believe me, there was no more perfect place for Beth Kephart's NOTHING BUT GHOSTS than the Oxford Botanical Gardens.)

Other times it causes trouble because I realize, after I start a book, that it needs a Place.

PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ is one of those books.  There's a pagoda in the novel that's fairly important to the setting, and I feel driven to find my real-world pagoda.  Not that I actually want to read the book in a pagoda. I just want somewhere where I'm sheltered from the elements, but can still see the outdoors.  Somewhere where people are passing by, but they don't talk to me.  Somewhere that I'm not familiar with, but as I grow familiar with the book I'll grow familiar with the place.

I'll tell you when I find it.

January 2, 2011

In My Mailbox

The Story Siren isn't currently doing In My Mailbox, but I wanted to post this week. Between end-of-the-year clearance sales, credit at used book stores from my yearly clear out, and Christmas giftcards, I bought a number of books this weekend. They include:
Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, Book 4)Frostbite (Vampire Academy, Book 2)
I've finally started reading Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series.  I bought FROSTBITE and BLOOD PROMISE, but I still need SHADOW KISS!  (I hate reading out of order.)

HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter
BLAMELESS by Gail Carriger
MAGIC AT THE GATE by Devon Monk
THE KING MUST DIE by Mary Renault

Playing Easy to GetI've been looking for PLAYING EASY TO GET for a long time, since it contains the first novella in Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series.  I'm really happy I found a copy of this one at Half-Price Books.

WHITE WITCH, BLACK CURSE by Kim Harrison
WEBMAGE by Kelly McCullough
LOVE SUCKS! by Mel Francis

Are You Alone on Purpose?
I love Nancy Werlin, but somehow never heard of ARE YOU ALONE ON PURPOSE? until I ran across it on the shelves of Katy Budget Books.

STRANGE CANDY by Laurell K. Hamilton
THE DEMON KING AND I by Candace Havens
STREET GANG by Michael Davis
BOOM! by Mark Haddon
THE TEMPTATION OF THE NIGHT JASMINE by Lauren Willig
THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger

Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists
I love the A. V. Club, so I was happy to find INVENTORY (a compilation of Inventory columns) for $3.99 at Borders.  (I am so, so sad that Borders is likely to go out of business.)
THE ELEPHANT VANISHES by Haruki Murakami
DIVINE MISDEMEANORS by Laurell K. Hamilton
THE LAST LIGHT OF THE SUN by Guy Gavriel Kay
JAPANESE SCHOOLGIRL INFERNO: Tokyo Teen Fashion by Patrick Macias and Izumi Evers

I also bought three books earlier in the week which are back at my mom's house.  They included a postmodern book about cartography, a mystery about a female secret P.I. in modern China, and BETWEEN THE ASSASSINATIONS by Aravind Adiga.

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