September 2012 Publishingpalooza

Dear teen peeps,

I haven’t done this before, but since I review many titles before they come out, sometimes I’m afraid that you will forget about them by the time they are actually published. So I just wanted to take a moment to remind you of two books that I reviewed waaaay back in February and May 2012 that I already know are going to be among my Top Ten of the year:The Brides of Rollrock Island by  Margo Lanagan and The Diviners by Libba Bray. Both books are available NOW and you should get them from your school or public library POST HASTE. (Tell them Reading Rants sent ya, and maybe, JUST maybe they’ll bump your name up on the hold list:) I promise that if you like magic, mayhem, ouiji boards or selkies (and seriously, who doesn’t love selkies for goodness sakes?), you will not want to miss these two lovelies. I can’t say enough grandiose good things about them, so I’ll stop there and only ask this: why are you still staring at this screen? Go forth, find these terrifyingly terrific tomes and GET LOST IN A GREAT BOOK!

Sailor Twain or The Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel

Turn of the century riverboat captain Elijah Twain is a righteous dude: upstanding, responsible and totally devoted to his lovely wife Pearl, who waits patiently for him at home while he sails the Hudson saving up for the expensive medical treatments required to free her from her wheelchair. He looks down his nose a bit at the riverboat’s owner, a flashy playboy named Lafayette who seems to take ladies to bed as a hobby. But Captain Twain finds his high and mighty morals sorely tested when he makes a surprising discovery one dark night. A wounded mermaid has pulled herself up on the deck of his boat and passed out. Shocked and more than a little intrigued, Twain hides her in his room and gradually nurses her back to health. The mermaid’s very presence soothes him and seems to inspire his writing, which had lately taken a back seat to his riverboat work. Soon Twain feels torn between his trusting wife and the otherworldly beauty who has become his muse. Meanwhile, Lafayette has developed an intense interest in mermaids, even inviting an eccentric author of Hudson Valley folklore on board to discuss the topic with him. Guilt-ridden Twain becomes very worried—does Lafayette know his secret? When the mermaid disappears with Twain’s pocket watch, and Lafayette seduces his seventh simultaneous romantic conquest, the captain and his roguish friend are drawn into fantastical nautical mystery that is both whimsical and terrifying, and more than a little naughty. (Let’s just say that mermaids are traditionally topless and Lafayette gets caught with his pants down more than once) This marvelous blend of mythology, morality, love and obsession kept me up all night, as I couldn’t resist turning just one…more…page. And the charcoal artwork, which ranged from softly shaded to deep and vibrant was so stunning that I didn’t even miss the color. All my high school peeps who love historical fiction and fantasy are going to want to own this resplendent graphic novel in hardcover. Because as much as I want to recommend this gor-ge-o-so volume to friends and students, I’m having a hard time parting with my pretty copy.  (And if you’d like to take a look for yourself, you can start reading here)

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Beautiful blue haired Karou finally knows her true identity, but it has brought her no peace. Instead, she has been convinced to help make living killing machines for a war she doesn’t truly believe in and knows deep in her heart is impossible to win. Still she toils on, the memories of her deceased family members always in the front of her mind, guiding her hands as she continues Brimstone’s work. Meanwhile, miles away on the battlefield, the Misbegotten seraph Akiva still dreams of his lost love, even though he believes that both she and any hope they ever had for ending this ceaseless war are dead. But their love has changed him and he can no longer willfully participate in the chimera genocide. Is it possible for Akiva to overthrow the Emperor’s murderous plan? All he knows is that he must try, if for nothing else but the bittersweet memory of his beloved. Have no clue what I’m talking about? Start here. For those of you in the know, prepare yourselves for the lush, violent sequel to one of the most original fantasy series in recent history. More gorgeous world building, more pages, more drama, more blood, more treachery, more heartbreak, more, more, MORE! (It’s Laini Taylor, ya’ll. She of the hot pink hair, epic story arc and velvet prose. Did you think it could ever be LESS?) Don’t expect closure–Book 3 is in the works and while I was left satiated for the moment, I am already salivating for the next volume. At any rate, to say any MORE would give away stunning secrets that are best left for your own delighted discovery when DBAS comes to a library, bookstore or e-reader near you November 2012.