Review & Giveaway: The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman

the glass casketTitle: The Glass Casket

Author: McCormick Templeman

Publisher: Random House

Pub. Date: February 11, 2014

Genre: Young Adult

Rec. Age Level: 14+

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Life in Nag’s End is steady and predictable for Rowan Rose and her best friend Tom Parstle, until the day five riders thunder through town bound for Begger’s Drift, a place rumored forsaken by the Goddess. The arrival and subsequent sinister disappearance of the riders mark both the arrival of beautiful and mysterious Fiona Eira and the beginning of evil’s descent upon the superstitious village of Nag’s End. Rowan’s gentle scholarly father grows suddenly cold and distant, distracted by something he keeps closely guarded in his study, and forbids Rowan from speaking to Fiona, who she discovers is her estranged cousin. When Tom first sees Fiona, he falls suddenly and irrevocably in love with the dark-haired, scarlet-lipped beauty and begs Rowan to break her father’s commandment and convince Fiona to meet with him. As the youth of Nag’s End experience first love, unexpected pain, and dream of happy endings, a dark and violent force creeps into locked rooms, leaving nightmarish scenes and death in its wake. When tragedy strikes, madness and fear reach a fever pitch among the town’s inhabitants as they seek to unmask the evil in their midst. With THE GLASS CASKET, McCormick Templeman gives readers an ominous and horrific fairy tale filled with the darkest, bloodiest bits of their nightmares.

I have very mixed feelings about McCormick Templeman’s THE GLASS CASKET. On one hand, I found it impossible to put down. I felt compelled to unravel the mystery surrounding the disturbing deaths plaguing the people of Nag’s End; the horror and mystery aspects of the novel are remarkably well done. As Templeman demonstrated with her debut novel, THE LITTLE WOODS, and proved once again with this sophomore offering, her writing is sumptuous and richly detailed. I found it easy to imagine the setting and characters of THE GLASS CASKET as I read, an aspect that made the horror elements of the novel especially frightening.

My disappointment with the novel stems from the characters. I found it impossible to connect with any of them. I, quite honestly, loathed them all… On multiple occasions, I was so frustrated that I nearly gave up on the novel. It sometimes felt that Templeman was employing character idiocy and horrible communication to further suspend the mystery, which might be fine if this tactic didn’t make the characters so unbearable. In retrospect, I realize that the characters are very much products of their upbringing within the village. They’re quick to judge, with those judgments, more often than not, grounded in superstitions and first impressions rather than careful observations and rational thought. But Rowan, the girl who dreams of escaping Nag’s End and who claims to be above this superstitious upbringing, is the worst of the lot! I might have been able to handle the others, but Rowan’s ridiculous reactions and shortsighted judgments proved too much for my patience.

Though I was extremely put off by the characters within THE GLASS CASKET, there were many elements that I appreciated, so I’m happy I read this one. I’ll definitely read Templeman’s next book, but with my fingers-crossed for characters that live nowhere near Nag’s End.

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Win It!

Open to US & Canadian mailing addresses only. Giveaway will close Friday, March 7th, 2014.

Moving back to Blogger! Enter this giveaway here!

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Review: Minders by Michele Jaffe

mindersTitle: Minders

Author: Michele Jaffe

Publisher: Penguin

Pub. Date: January 30, 2014

Genre: Young Adult

Rec. Age Level: 12+

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For years, Sadie has worked with one ultimate goal in mind: being accepted into the prestigious Mind Fellowship program, a program that seeks to educate the future’s best minds. She knows little about the program, but what she does know – that the it pushes boundaries, selects only the best, and is a frontrunner in technological advancement – would make it a shining achievement on her already impressive resume. Sadie learns she will undergo a process in which her mind will connect with a randomly selected subject’s; she will see and feel everything he experiences, but he’ll have no idea she’s there. Sadie is expected to stay objective, to observe her subject without the bias of emotion, but she soon finds that task is much easier said than done. All she’s told about her subject, Ford, is that he’s on the fast track to criminality, information that immediately biases Sadie. Though privileged and sheltered, it doesn’t take long for Sadie to realize that people, even those from the wrong side of the tracks and with infuriatingly annoying tendencies, are complex… and that there’s always more than one side to every story. As the days she spends in Ford’s mind turn to weeks, she finds herself reevaluating the way she looks at the world. Pulled into his quest to solve his brother’s murder, Sadie is surprised to find herself feeling for Ford… and maybe even falling for him.

Oh, where to start with my love for this book? There’s crazy, advanced science, a mystery, dark threatening forces, gorgeous, crumbling Detroit architecture, and a complicated, swoon-worthy romance. What more could you want? Read this book!

Happy Release Day, Alienated + Win a Nook Simple Touch!

Today is an awesome day for two reasons: 1. Alienated by Melissa Landers hits stores today (!!) and 2. To celebrate, Melissa is giving away a Nook Simple Touch to one lucky winner! Below you’ll find an announcement from Melissa, in which she discusses her book and the generous giveaway!

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About the Author

melissa landersMelissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.” For more information, or just to say hello, visit www.melissa-landers.com.

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Hey, fiction lovers.

I’m author Melissa Landers, and I’m thrilled to announce that my debut YA sci-fi romance, Alienated, is finally available from Disney-Hyperion! Cue the dancers and toss the confetti, because it’s been a long wait!

In a nutshell, Alienated is the story of valedictorian Cara Sweeney, who gets more than she bargained for when she agrees to host the nation’s first intergalactic exchange student, the gorgeous but emotionally-stilted Aelyx (pronounced A-licks) from planet L’eihr. The tone is light and humorous, but I explore some deeper themes as well.

What do reviewers have to say?

alienated “The storyline is out of this world and character development paired with authentic voice is superb. Filled with intrigue and suspense, this book will appeal to both sci-fi and contemporary YA fiction fans.” –VOYA

“Interstellar relations heat up in this start to a new romantic science fiction series. Landers [explores] larger social, ecological, and ethical issues in this tense, fast-paced read.” –Booklist

“The perfect blend of sizzling romance, action, and suspense.” –#1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout

“Smart, funny, and epic. I am now awaiting contact from planet L’eihr.” Julie Cross, bestselling author of Tempest.

“Intergalactic exchange students? Yes, please! I fell in love with this story and couldn’t put it down.” Jodi Meadows, author of Incarnate.

If you like hot, swoony science fiction as much as I do, I hope you’ll give Alienated a try. It’s now available in stores and online.

Indie Bound

 Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Book Depo

(free international shipping at Book Depo)

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To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a Nook Simple Touch. I’ll even throw in a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble so you can fill your new e-reader with whatever you want!

Now for the fine print: This giveaway is open to US residents only. (Sorry, international friends, but you need a US billing address to buy digital content on the Nook.) Due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate.

Best of luck, and happy reading!

To enter to win a Nook Simple Touch, go here to enter!

Must-Read-Monday (2)

Must-Read-Monday is a new feature here at The Hiding Spot. Each week I’ll feature a book that, if it isn’t already, should be on your radar!

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c23bb-themuseumofintangiblethingsThe Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder

Available April 10, 2014 from Razorbill/Penguin

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Hannah and Zoe haven’t been given much in life, except each other, and they don’t have anything particularly wonderful waiting in their future. Unless you count enrolling at the local community college, which they don’t. The only worthwhile tie the girls have to the New Jersey town they grew is Zoe’s autistic brother, who relies on Zoe and Hannah to help him navigate the world and all the intangible things within it he struggles to understand. After climbing out of a dark depression, Zoe bounds into mania, declaring that Hannah might not have the best grip on the intangibles either. Hoping to recover the real Zoe in the midst of her cycles of depression and mania, Hannah agrees to ditch New Jersey and embark on a cross country road trip in search of those difficult to understand but absolutely essential intangibles: Loyalty. Envy. Obligation. Dreams. Disappointment. Fear. Negligence. Coping. Elation. Lust. Nature. Freedom. Heartbreak. Insouciance. Audacity. Gluttony. Belief. God. Karma. Knowing what you want (there is probably a French word for it). Saying Yes. Destiny. Truth. Devotion. Forgiveness. Life. Happiness (ever after).

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Click the images below for more information.

More about Wendy Wunder:

wendy wunder

More about Wunder’s debut novel, The Probability of Miracles:

the probability of miracles

SOLD! Recently Acquired, Forthcoming Reads for your TBR (2)

Stressed about the future? Check out the rights report and feel your anxiety melt away. More amazing books to read, that’s what your future holds! Don’t forget to add these forthcoming titles to your Goodreads to-read and wishlist shelves!

Young Adult

Drowning Is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley

shalanda stanleyMelanie Cecka at Knopf has bought Shalanda Stanley‘s debut novel Drowning Is Inevitable, about four teens who flee to New Orleans in the wake of an accidental homicide where they hope to find a solution to an unfixable problem. It’s scheduled to publish in fall 2015; Kate McKean at the Howard Morhaim Agency brokered the deal for North American rights. Add on Goodreads.

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang

doctorow wangMark Siegel at First Second Books has bought world rights to a graphic novel by Boing Boing creator and author Cory Doctorow, to be illustrated by Jen Wang. The book, called In Real Life, tells of a girl encountering social inequality and injustice online and having to figure out what to do about it. It will publish this October; Russell Galen was the agent for Doctorow. Add on Goodreads.

2 Untitled Graphic Novels by Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks

rainbow rowellCalista Brill at First Second Books has acquired world rights to two graphic novels from Printz Honor author Rainbow Rowell. The two graphic novels will be YA romance in the vein of her novels Eleanor & Park and Fangirl; the first will be illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks. Christopher Schelling at Selectric Artists was the agent for Rowell; Bernadette Baker-Baughman at Victoria Sanders represented Hicks.

Bluescreen by Dan Wells

dan wellsJordan Brown at HarperCollins imprint Balzer + Bray has bought Bluescreen, the first in a futuristic YA cyberpunk series from Partials author Dan Wells. In the series, a teen hacker’s friend’s overdose on an illicit digital drug leads her to uncover a mystery with roots deep in her L.A. neighborhood’s crime syndicate. Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger brokered the three-book deal for world English rights. Add on Goodreads.

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

stephanie perkinsSara Goodman at St. Martin’s Press has bought a YA anthology called My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories, edited by Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss. The collection will feature 12 romantic tales of young love by celebrated YA authors, including Rainbow Rowell, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Ally Carter, Holly Black, Kiersten White, Matt de la Peña, Laini Taylor, Jenny Han and Kelly Link. Publication is set for October 2014; Kate Schafer Testerman at KT Literary did the deal for North American rights. Add on Goodreads.

Knockout Games by G. Neri

g neriAndrew Karre at Carolrhoda Lab has acquired Coretta Scott King Honor author G. Neri‘s new YA novel, Knockout Games. It tells the story of Erica, a white 15-year-old, and her experience getting caught up in the TKO Club, a group of middle-school kids urged to play the now-infamous knockout game by Kalvin, a charismatic black 18-year-old. The book, according to its publisher, takes an unflinching and morally complex look at casual violence and American teenagers. Neri wrote the book based on visits to a St. Louis high school where the knockout game was popular several years ago. Publication is scheduled for August 2014; Edward Necarsulmer IV of Dunow, Carlson & Lerner did the deal for world English rights. Add to Goodreads.

Black River by Jeff Hirsch

jeff hirschLynne Polvino at Clarion Books has acquired Black River, a YA novel by Jeff Hirsch (The Eleventh Plague). In the story, 16-year-old Cardinal Odera is the only member of his family to escape a virus that stole the memories of everyone in his town. He chooses to remain in his quarantined town, caring for a band of orphaned kids, but when a mysterious young woman appears, and factions within the town begin to agitate for greater freedom, the safe, closed-off world he worked so hard to build begins to crumble. Publication is set for fall 2015; Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger did the deal for world rights. Add on Goodreads.

N.E.E.D. by Joelle Charbonneau

joelle charbonneau headshotMargaret Raymo at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has signed a two-book deal with Joelle Charbonneau, author of the YA trilogy The Testing. The first title in the deal, N.E.E.D., was pitched as Pretty Little Liars meets Homeland. It’s set in a small Wisconsin town and follows teenager Kaylee, who gets involved in an elite social networking Web site called N.E.E.D., which that grants your desire in return for fulfilling a request. Publication is slated for fall 2016; the second book is currently untitled and scheduled for fall 2016. Stacia Decker at the Donald Maass Literary Agency did the two-book deal for world rights. Add on Goodreads.

The Veiled Man’s Goddess by Amy McNulty

amy mcnultyGeorgia McBride at Month9Books has bought The Veiled Man’s Goddess trilogy by Amy McNulty, a YA fantasy romance where one girl fights to save the boy she loves from a spell that forces all men to wear masks and only ever love one woman, each their “goddess.” Publication will begin in 2015; Jason Yarn at Paradigm sold world English rights. Add on Goodreads.

 

Woven by Michael Jensen & David Powers King

jensen & kingDavid Levithan and Zack Clark at Scholastic bought Michael Jensen and David Powers King‘s epic YA fantasy, Woven, in which a spoiled princess and the ghost who haunts her, a recently murdered young knight, embark on a quest to thwart death itself. Clark will edit, and publication is scheduled for spring 2015. Meredith Bernstein at the Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency held the auction for world English rights; Jacqueline Murphy at Fineprint is handling foreign rights. Add on Goodreads.

The Great Library trilogy by Rachel Caine

author Roxanne Carson at homeAnne Sowards at NAL signed a mid-six-figure deal for a YA fantasy trilogy by Rachel Caine, author of the Morganville Vampires books. In the new trilogy, called the Great Library, the Library of Alexandria still exists and has become all-powerful, and, while there is unfettered access to information digitally, it is a crime to keep print books in any personal collection. The series is described as The Book Thief with Fahrenheit 451 by way of Harry Potter. The first book is planned for summer 2015; Lucienne Diver at the Knight Agency sold North American rights. Add on Goodreads.

Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

leah thomasMary Kate Castellani at Bloomsbury has pre-empted Because You’ll Never Meet Me, a debut novel from 24-year-old author Leah Thomas, about the unique friendship – told through letters – between Ollie, a 14-year-old with an allergy to electricity, and Moritz, a blind German boy with unusual powers. It is scheduled to be co-published with Ellen Holgate of Bloomsbury U.K. in spring 2015. Lana Popovic of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency did the deal for world rights. Add on Goodreads.

The Borden Murders by Sarah Miller

sarah millerAnne Schwartz at Random House’s Schwartz & Wade imprint has bought Sarah Miller‘s The Borden Murders, a YA narrative nonfiction book about the infamous Lizzie Borden, for publication in spring 2016. Wendy Schmalz at Wendy Schmalz Agency negotiated for world rights. Add on Goodreads.

 

Puchio by Jing Guo

jin guoLee Wade at Schwartz & Wade has acquired Jing Guo‘s Puchio, a wordless graphic novel about a girl who, in an effort to visit her grandmother, embarks on a fantastical journey. Publication is scheduled for spring 2016. Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors did the deal for world rights. Add on Goodreads.

Middle Grade

Pram by Lauren DeStefano

lauren destefanoCatherine Onder at Bloomsbury has acquired a debut middle-grade novel, Pram, and an untitled sequel, by Lauren DeStefano, author of the Chemical Garden and Internment Chronicles YA trilogies. Pram tells the story of a girl with a unique talent: she can talk to ghosts. After befriending a boy named Clarence, Pram decides to search for her father in the hope that he can answer her questions about her mother’s death. It comes out in fall 2015; Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency did the deal for U.S., Canadian, and open market rights. Add on Goodreads.

Partition Junction by N.H. Senzai

nh senzaiSylvie Frank at S&S’s Paula Wiseman Books has acquired N.H. Senzai‘s Partition Junction (working title), a middle-grade novel in which 12-year-old Maya uncovers a family mystery that takes her on an adventure from Pakistan to India. Senzai is the author of Shooting Kabul and Saving Kabul Corner. Publication is scheduled for fall 2015; Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich was brokered the deal. Add on Goodreads.

The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson

john david andersonJordan Brown at Walden Pond Press has acquired three middle-grade novels from Sidekicked author John David Anderson. In The Dungeoneers, Colm Candorly is the perfect pickpocket, but when he’s chosen to enter a school that trains dungeon raiders, he learns that taking treasure from monsters is the easiest part of being a Dungeoneer. It’s scheduled for publication in summer 2015; Quinlan Lee at Adams Literary negotiated the six-figure deal for North American rights. Add on Goodreads.

The Allegiance and Bottle Cap by Megan Frazer Blakemore

megan frazer blakemoreHarvey Klinger agent Sara Crowe has closed two deals for Megan Frazer Blakemore, author of The Water Castle. Mary Kate Castellani at Walker has bought world English rights to a new middle-grade novel, tentatively titled The Allegiance, about a sixth grader who uncovers a mystery in her local library while preparing for the school spelling bee, in a two-book deal. Publication is planned for spring 2015. And Alexandra Cooper at HarperCollins has bought world English rights to a YA novel tentatively titled Bottle Cap, about 16-year-old Very Woodruff, a straight-A student in a family of free-spirited artists, who starts questioning everything in her orderly life when her grandmother, a famous writer, is on her deathbed, and Very is forced to face the truth about her family and who she wants to be, also in a two-book deal. The projected publication date is fall 2015. Add on GR here & here.

Confidentially Yours series by Jo Whittemore

jo whittemoreAndrea Martin at HarperCollins has bought a six-book middle-grade series from D Is for Drama author Jo Whittemore. Confidentially Yours is a humorous series about a group of sixth-graders who collaborate on an advice column; publication is tentatively slated to begin in fall 2015. Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency did the six-figure deal for world rights. Add on Goodreads.

Which of these YA and MG titles are you most excited about?

**All rights reports are taken directly from PW**

Must-Read-Monday (1)

Must-Read-Monday is a new feature here at The Hiding Spot. Each week I’ll feature a book that, if it isn’t already, should be on your radar!

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02405-theedgeoffallingThe Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

Available March 18, 2014 from Simon Pulse

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Caggie lives every day haunted by her failure to save her little sister from drowning. Even though no one ever says it, Caggie knows that her parents blame her just as much as she blames herself. Everyone at school thinks she’s a hero after saving a classmate from plummeting to her death at the beginning of summer, but only Caggie – and the girl she saved – knows what really happened on the rooftop ledge. Caggie has formed a wall of secrets and lies to keep everyone at arm’s length, including her best friend, who keeps pushing her to move forward, and her ex-boyfriend, who can’t seem to understand that Caggie isn’t the girl she used to be anymore. Then new boy Astor enters Caggie’s life and he seems to understand the darkness that threatens to overwhelm her every day and, best of all, he doesn’t push her to talk about what happened or to move forward. But Astor has secrets of his own and his demons might be hungry enough to swallow both of them… dead or alive.

Last year I read and very much enjoyed Rebecca Serle’s debut novel, When You were Mine, but I must admit that it pales in comparison to The Edge of Falling. Caggie’s story of grief and guilt is remarkably powerful and painfully captivating. It begins slowly but builds with a steady intensity that leaves the reader completely invested in Caggie and her search for meaning and redemption in the aftermath of her sister’s death.

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Click the images below for more information.

More about Rebecca Serle:

rebecca serle

My review of When You Were Mine, a retelling of Romeo & Juliet:

when you were mine pb

Review: Avalon by Mindee Arnett

avalonTitle: Avalon

Author: Mindee Arnett

Publisher: Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins

Pub. Date: January 21, 2014

Genre: Young Adult

Rec. Age Level: 13+

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Jeth Seagrave used to live a normal, relatively comfortable life, but that all changed after his parents were accused of treason and killed. Left in the dubious care of his uncle, who gambled away Avalon, Jeth’s parents’ ship, and, by extension, Jeth’s future, Jeth is left with few options. Jeth captains a crew of teenaged mercenaries who work for one of the most powerful crime bosses in the galaxy. The ragtag team is unassuming and remarkably good at their job: stealing unsecured metatech, a hot ticket item on the black market, that allows ships to travel quickly and under the radar of the government. Jeth saves every penny he earns and dreams of one day buying Avalon back from the man who controls him. His dreams are almost within reach when he’s offered one final job, use Avalon to travel into a dangerous patch of galaxy, where rumors of missing ships and strange happening abound, and locate a lost ship with invaluable metatech aboard. What seems like a straightforward, if dangerous, job soon spirals out of control when Jeth uncovers hidden truths about his parents, the government, and the technology he’s spent years hijacking.

One of the biggest reasons I picked up AVALON is how similar it sounded to Joss Whedon’s FIREFLY. And, I can assure you, it has the same feel. My only complaint? The action in AVALON is much slower. Honestly, it was too slow for me. I could easily set this book aside and never felt any great pull to pick it up again. I kept hoping that it would pick up, but, in my opinion, it never did.

Otherwise, I enjoyed AVALON. The characters are interesting, the premise promising, and the background compelling. But, without the pull of action, this book fell short of my expectations.

Would I read another book set in this world? Possibly, if it didn’t depend heavily on the events of AVALON… because I worry that I won’t remember enough detail from this book and it’s unlikely that I would reread this book first. If there was another book that could function as a standalone, I’d give it a shot because I genuinely do enjoy Arnett’s writing and the premise of AVALON.

This book wasn’t well-suited to my tastes, but I think there are some readers out there who will really love it.