Tag Archives: maggie stiefvater

Book Geek Wednesday: Weekly Roundup

I know. I know. Go ahead and let me have it. I’ve been a terrible blogger. With Lisa getting her wedding stuff finalized, that leaves little old me to man the blog and I won’t lie, as you can clearly tell, I’m often not up to the challenge. I meant to post last week but I had my nanny duties on Wednesday (my posting day!) along with taking care of my own toddler. Not to mention, I turned 25 on Friday. And yes, I am having a quarter life crisis, thanks for asking. 😉 Ha ha.

Anyway, I haven’t forgotten you lovely readers. I have a few things to show you. And they’re GOOD. 😀

I’ve always said that a good cover can make me stop and take notice. And although the age old adage: ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, is good in theory, it doesn’t work when it comes to actually purchasing books, as covers are the very first introduction we get to a story. In fact, the cover to this next book made me look up the author and discover a series I didn’t even know existed.

Blurb from author’s website: SHADOWSPELL (Faeriewalker Book 2)
Coming January 4, 2011!
On top of spending most of her time in a bunkerlike safe house and having her dates hijacked by a formidable Fae bodyguard, Faeriewalker Dana Hathaway is in for some more bad news: the Erlking and his pack of murderous minions known as the Wild Hunt have descended upon Avalon. With his homicidal appetite and immortal powers, the Erlking has long been the nightmare of the Fae realm. A fragile treaty with the Faerie Queen, sealed with a mysterious spell, is the one thing that keeps him from hunting unchecked in Avalon, the only place on Earth where humans and Fae live together. Which means Dana’s in trouble, since it’s common knowledge that the Faerie Queen wants her – and her rare Faeriewalker powers – dead. The smoldering, sexy Erlking’s got his sights set on Dana, but does he only seek to kill her, or does he have something much darker in mind?

Gorgeous, isn’t it? Thanks so much to Jackie from Literary Escapism for the heads up on the cover. She and Angie (of Angieville fame) always sport some of the BEST cover reveals! 😀 

Another cover, which feeds my recent hunger for minimalist cover art that delivers a POW, is POSSESSION by Elana Johnson. Tell me this is not just beautifully eerie. And the tag line? Control or be controlled. Right up my alley. Not to mention the book deals with  brainwashing and Thinkers and a really crazy society where breaking the rules results in rehabilitation. Dystopia indeed.

Then there’s this dark and gothic cover for BLESSED by Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of ETERNAL and TANTALIZE.  I haven’t read that series myself, as I’m all vampired out, but it has gotten some really great reviews and Ms Smith has been said to give a wink to Bram Stoker. So if you’re going to do vamps, may as well respect the classics, right?

And our final book of the day- (didn’t I tell you I had quite the show?), the third and final book of the Mercy Falls trilogy. FOREVER finally has a cover! And it’s just as gorgeous as the two before it. I particularly adore how each cover captures the season it represents. This one has that late summer early autumn feel and it features SAM! 😀

Enjoy!!!


Fun Friday: Crafty Fantasy Fans!

Hello and Happy Friday!  Lisa here.  As some of you may know, in my other life, I’m a yarnie and bookbinder.  I’m also a big promoter of the craft site Etsy, and I have a little shop there where I sell my journals.  I’m far from being the only fantasy-loving craftie on the site, though, and I wanted to showcase a couple of the fun things people make, inspired by the very kinds of stories we love here.

Firstly, a journal from a fellow bookbinder… this is, yes, a Vampire Diary, by repaper.

It wasn’t exactly inspired by the show or the books, according to the listing, but personally I can’t help but thinking about a Salvatore or two when I look at it.  I think the toothy look of the binding and the bits of red “blood” are especially clever.  Fun!

Secondly, some Summer Fairies yarn by WeirdAndTwisted.

This yarn shop is fab.  I also really like her handspun that’s inspired by Hagrid’s coat on Harry Potter.  This fairy yarn is lush and perfect, though… it definitely looks fairy-worthy.

This next listing is reverse-engineered by BoopieCreations from the new movie Alice in Wonderland, which I just reviewed on Monday.

You can see just how close this knitter came to the originals, in the picture here.  You can also find a lot of Twilight knits on Etsy, of course!

And lastly, because I was so excited to run across it…

This is a lovely necklace by cynthial11 that’s inspired by Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series, shown with a cover of Shiver, one of my favorite books that I read last year.  The sequel, Linger, is due out in just a little over a month (July 20th!) and I can’t wait!  You can read our interview with Maggie right here.

I just love seeing how people can take inspiration from myths and stories and create beautiful things—or recreate, as the case may be.  Are any of you crafters?  What inspires you?


Fun Friday: Released this Week!

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce was released this week, and it’s one of the two books I’ve most been looking forward to this summer (the other is Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger, from the Wolves of Mercy Falls series!)

If you haven’t heard about Sisters Red, this is the summary from goodreads:

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris– the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax– but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they’ve worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.

I’m so excited to read this.  The cover itself would have drawn me in and held me captive, but I’ve been watching Jackson Pearce’s blog and twitter, and I really just think she’s one of the smartest, sassiest authors to hit YA in a while, and I’m excited to watch her take the YA market by force.


Fun Friday: Trailer for Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

This is the sequel to Shiver, which I read last year and fell in love with instantly.  I even broke my I’m-too-poor-to-buy-hardcovers rule because the book is too pretty not to own… and I was worried the paperback might not have the pretty blue ink that the hardcover does (Linger has green ink, by the way!)  Also, I didn’t think I’d be satisfied with waiting for the paperback or reading a library copy of Linger.  I want this in my pocket, yesterday.  (Big pocket, yes.)

How gorgeous is the trailer?  Probably about as gorgeous as the book, if past experience is any indication.  I’m looking forward, muchly.


Fun Friday: Another Book Trailer

Because some are works of art and truly worth watching:


Fun Friday Interview: Maggie Stiefvater!

Today we are delighted to be able to chat a little bit with Maggie Stiefvater, author of Lament, Ballad, and the acclaimed Shiver, the first novel in her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, with the sequel Linger due out in July. (Hooray!)

So welcome, Maggie!  We’re super excited to getting to know a little bit more about you.

First things first.  Many of your characters have some sort of strong musical leanings… can you tell us a little bit about your own musical background?
Music makes the world go ‘round. My mom put me at the piano when I was a tiny maggot, and then I picked up other instruments as I went: harp, guitar, bodhran (that’s a sort of Irish drum), tin whistle, and finally, in college, the bagpipes, which I played competitively for a few years. Yes, I know. You don’t have to tell me.
Anyway, I love music. I have it playing all the time, Celtic, Classical, Alternative Rock . . . I have music playing right now. “I Love the Trees” by Nomos. I was just listening to “Walking the Dog” by Fun. before that.

You’ve shown off some of your doodling on your Livejournal, what other hidden talents do you have?

I swear, I have no other hidden talents beside art and music and writing. I can’t make tortillas. I am not good at sitting still. I can drive a stick shift. Does that count? Also, I can perform a cartwheel.

What is your absolute, no-holds-barred favorite bit of the writing process?

That moment when I write a scene and I know that it is going to hurt the readers in some way, either because it’s so, so bad or so, so good. I love to put characters in situations that almost break them, and the almost-breaking is fantastic — but so is the other side when they become giant and strong.

We’re all about YA fantasy here.  What is it about the genre you find so appealing?

Teens are really powerful, passionate people. Who wouldn’t want to write about that? One day I might write an adult book, but for now, I love writing about that edge when you find yourself.

Do you, have you, or would you work in another genre?

Other than fantasy YA? I always tell people that there is something very lovely about a platonic shower with your boyfriend/ husband/ lover, but that I would never be able to write on in a YA though I really want to. One of these days, I will be unable to stop myself and will have to write an adult book because of that. When you see me come out with my first adult book, look for the shower scene. Because that will be the cause of it all.

Your faeries really are nice and homicidal, aren’t they?  You also seem to know faerie lore like the back of your hand.  Was this all research you did for your books, or was it something you were already familiar with?

Oh, I grew up with this stuff. I was a small, strange child like Coraline or Wednesday Addams, and I always had a fat, dusty tome of mythology in my lap. While other girls were telling you about fairy godmothers, I was advising you to hang open scissors above cribs to keep fairies from stealing the baby.

Musicians are always being asked for their influences–who are your biggest influences in writing?

Hm. Audrey Niffenegger, because she first gave me the “hmmm, I wonder” thought about alternative point of views, and also because she made me cry, which never happens, and made me want to do that to other people. Mary Lawson’s Crow Lake was lovely and subtle and taught me to trust my readers. Diana Wynne Jones taught me to use humor when things got bad.

You have some seriously awesome music on your story soundtracks on your website.  What music is inspiring you right now?

Thanks! I am listening to “Eagle Eye” by Brian Tyler for a Super Secret Project I am writing. And I just handed the draft of FOREVER to my editor while listening to “First Floor People” by Barcelona.

I loved Shiver and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series–Not asking for specific spoilers here, but looking at it in comparison to your Faeries series, are we going to be sticking close to the characters we know, or get a closer look at some of the smaller characters from the first book in Linger and Forever?

A little bit of both. Linger is definitely more a true sequel to Shiver than Ballad is to Lament. We definitely get Sam and Grace, but the world opens up a bit to include Isabel and a newcomer, Cole. I’m very excited to see how readers react to them . . . especially Cole, one of the most challenging characters I’ve ever written.

I’ve just discovered your Merry Sisters of Fate blog that you’re involved in—can you tell us a little more about that?

Ooh, yes! I write short fiction each month over there at www.merryfates.com, with my two critique partners, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff. The theory was this: when I was a full time artist, I was part of a movement called “Painting a day.” You were supposed to start and finish a painting each day — usually a small one so you could manage it all. I did it for two years and so there are hundreds of Maggie pieces out there. And I got so amazingly better from year to year because of it that I decided that it would be fantastic to do the same thing with my writing. So we jumped in and started the blog, and for the first year, we each did a short story every week. Now we’ve cut back to once a month because we all have other deadlines going on, but man. Those first stories versus what we do now? It’s been amazing.

Thank you so much for your time, Maggie!  I can promise that the Hollow Tree plans on keeping a very close eye on you in the future!

Thank you guys so much for the fantastic questions!!

****************

Be sure to check out Maggie’s author website and blog, and look for her books in stores!  They come highly, highly recommended from the Hollow Tree Team!


Book Geek Wednesday: We Geek over Ballad

Okay, so yesterday we put up a review of Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater, who we’ll be interviewing on Friday.  A few days before, Isabelle and I geeked out about the book on instant messenger.  This is the result. 🙂  We didn’t get super in-depth about the book, I admit, but we did squee… a lot.  This might be the tiniest bit spoilery, so be warned!

Isabelle: I loved Ballad
Isabelle: the idea that the muse killed the men she inspired
Isabelle: So awesome.
Isabelle: So brilliant.
Lisa: hahaha
Lisa: I loved James.  Oh man.
Isabelle: I figured you would
Isabelle: LOL
Lisa: ROFL
Isabelle: He was sooo… you.
Lisa: hahahaha
Lisa: YES.  He was.
Isabelle: I did have a soft spot for him though.
Isabelle: I’ll admit.
Isabelle: And I was VERY angry when Dee kissed him.
Lisa: Yeah.
Isabelle: I mean, how cruel
Isabelle: that whole pull and tug relationship was just brutal to watch
Isabelle: /read
Lisa: I mean… I almost wanted her to give in and be with him.  But when she started crying, I was just like… hell no.
Lisa: I loved it. hahaha
Isabelle: I know, me too.
Isabelle: We’re such sadists.
Isabelle: ha ha
Lisa: True.
Lisa: Because really, I didn’t like Nuala a ton… I just wanted James happy.
Isabelle: Nuala struck me as very unfae
Isabelle: She was so typical teenage girl it was kind of weird
Isabelle: I know that was the point… lure prey and all that… but it seemed so odd…
Isabelle: I LOVED the teacher.
Isabelle: He just fascinated me.
Lisa: OH MAN I KNOW.
Isabelle: There was so much about him in general that worked for me… and then when he talked about his old experiences I kind of got shivers and was like, poor dude.
Isabelle: He’s wayyy too familiar with the folk
Lisa: I was picturing him as Ed Quinn…. I’m a sucker for Ed Quinn.
Lisa: Side note—he’s who I wanted for The Time Traveler’s Wife, too… but he’s a bit too old to play the younger years.
Isabelle: I loved that James played bagpipes. I don’t know why but that made him like really cool in my book
Isabelle: lol
Isabelle: Oh… and weird creepy roommate hearing the names and the song.
Isabelle: That whole plot line. FASCINATED me
Lisa: Yeah, I ended up really liking the roommate.
Lisa: Yeah.
Lisa: I LOVED the Ophelia conversation.  Oh my goodness that was my favorite thing in the book.
Isabelle: OH i know!
Isabelle: SO fitting!
Isabelle: That was a really great scene.
Lisa: That where he realizes that she DOES love him, just not the way he wanted… killed me.
Isabelle: I know. The poor kid. He was really so hung up on her.
Isabelle: I mean, even in Lament, where he sends her that last text.
Isabelle: Guh.
Isabelle: Too much.
Lisa: Yeah.
Isabelle: It makes my heart hurt for him.
Isabelle: And I don’t even really fully feel Nuala was right for him.
Isabelle: Though I was glad he was no longer caught up on Dee.
Isabelle: I think Nuala was just… there at the right time and could share something he was really passionate about…

So… maybe not the most professional review we’ve done, and I have to say, I do like Nuala… especially what she turns into and how she develops, she just takes some getting used to.  Anyhow, be sure to come back for our interview with Maggie on Friday!


Lisa’s Tuesday Perspective: Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie, is the sequel to Lament, a story about a girl named Deidre which I reviewed enthusiastically a while back, and Isabelle reviewed just a little bit ago.  Yes, it’s good enough that we both took a shot at it.

Somehow I was taken by surprise when I started reading this and found myself seeing through the eyes of James, Dee’s neurotic-but-quietly-awesome best friend.  I’d even read that it was from his POV, but that had been before I’d read either book, and some hopeful forgetful part of me had blanked it out and was waiting for more Dee.  It didn’t take me to see that Stiefvater definitely knew what she was doing when she decided that James was certainly capable of carrying his own novel—not to mention more than worthy of his own happy ending.

James is barely there in Lament—or really, no, he’s not, but it feels like he is, as the reader, through Dee’s perspective, generally takes him for granted, enchanted as she is by Luke and her own developing possibilities.  Ballad starts as James and Dee are starting their first year at Thornking-Ash, a musical conservatory that sneaking suspicion says has more to it than meets the eye.  Well, sneaking suspicion and that nightly song of the dead.

It doesn’t take James long to wonder just what the hell he’s doing there—he’s already the best piper (yes, bagpiper) in the state, and no one at the school—or even the surrounding area—has the expertise he’d require in a teacher.  He’s not kidding himself, though.  He knows he’s followed Dee there.  Dee, his best friend, who he carries a tortuous unrequited love for.  Dee, who saved his life from homicidal faeries the year before—but who still chose Luke, in her heart.  Dee, who refuses to talk to him about any of it, and avoids his company unless she’s looking for a distraction.

Meanwhile, someone else is distracting James.  Not an altogether welcome someone, either.  Nuala is a muse, offering unparalleled inspiration in exchange for very little—just the years of your life.  James is still pissed at what the faeries have done to both him and Dee, though, and isn’t about to make any deals, even if he is bored out of his mind.  Nuala sticks around regardless, though.  Even at a school full of musical talent, no one can grab her attention like James.  Eventually they start making music together anyway, with no deal being made, and James can’t help but be struck with how human Nuala is.  Well, not human.  But human-ish.  And as a side-bonus, she’s a slap in the face to Dee, which James can’t help but enjoy, just a little bit.  Things come to a head on Halloween night, though, when both Nuala and Dee are faced with death—and James can only choose to save one.

I can’t tell you how awesome this book is.  For some reason, I’m a bit fonder of Lament, but when the pure Awesome in the two books are compared, Ballad blows Lament away.  James is the most fascinating narrator I’ve encountered in a long, long time, and what he says out loud is only half as funny as the things he stops himself from saying.  As a reader you’ll find yourself fluctuating between hopeful and frustrated with his encounters with Dee, and I think the best scene in the book is the one where James realizes that there are different kinds of love, and that you can’t change that, even if you want to sometimes.  I won’t even start on the side story with James’ teacher, Sullivan, which I loved as much or more than the rest of it.

Besides all that, this book has the best ending line I’ve read in some time—a line I’ve been wanting to hear from YA fantasy for a long time, and one I wholeheartedly agree with.  A definite A+.

And so you know, we’ll be interviewing Maggie Stiefvater here for Fun Friday this week!  We’re so excited!


Book Geek Wednesday: Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

I realize that Lisa has already posted a review of this book-a glowing review whose enthusiasm was so contagious, it forced me to a bookstore and had me buying both Lament AND Ballad without having read anything by Ms. Stiefvater first. I trust Lisa’s judgment THAT much. And as usual, she didn’t disappoint.

Why am I reviewing this story, rather than its sequel? Well that might be part of a super secret we have in store for you readers, but which I’m sure you’ll really enjoy.

In the meantime, like Lisa, I did not immediately get drawn into the book. In fact, I read the first few pages over the course of a few months, and was just not impressed enough to keep reading. I had no IDEA what was happening within the first 2-3 pages, only that there was a white bird involved and it was trapped in a cage, and somehow, there was something cruel and torturous about keeping it there, as it seemed awfully human and its captured seemed awfully INhuman. But this did little to explain what the heck was going on and by the time we got to Deidre Monaghan, our heroine and average teenage girl, I was confused. Wasn’t this book supposed to be about fairies?

Well, I finally buckled down this past weekend and read through. Several things immediately struck me about Deidre. She is the every girl, the high school geek who never feels like she quite fits in, since most of the world just finds her so amazingly ordinary. And I loved that. I was a theatre girl in high school, I did musicals, I sang, I acted, and I was a geek, let’s face it. I loved performing, took it way seriously, though it made me wicked sick the entire day before. Not throw up in the bathroom sick, like Deidre, but, you know, can’t eat, can’t sleep, insane ball of energy kind of sick.

Anyway, I related to her on a lot of levels, loved how she carried a kind of confidence that came with her musical talent but it never made her haughty. In fact, she never felt special in anyway. But she was wrong. Her ability to play the harp so beautifully, to sing with a voice so lovely, has a very distinct correlation to her special, newfound ability, being a cloverhand, one who sees fairies.

And I love that it went WAY further than that. I was expecting, uh oh, she can see fairies, they’re going to totally harass her. Well yea, they do, because let’s face it, they’re mischievous little buggers, but Deidre’s power starts to manifest in other interesting ways that I won’t reveal, as I feel they’re really great spoilers.

Amidst all of these changes, Deidre has to deal with several things. One, her best friend and rock, James who is undoubtedly falling in love with her and will ruin everything between them if he ever voice it. And the mysterious Luke, who she’s seen in her dreams and suddenly makes a real life appearance. The story definitely took a stunning turn with Luke, who’s entire budding relationship with Deidre left me breathless on more than one occasion. I particularly enjoyed how they did average every day things together, like eat ice cream and go for walks, though they both knew that the other suspected something far more supernatural happening. I see the reality of not mentioning how unlikely Luke’s presence was, for fear that it might, POOF, disappear, like her dreams. It made the discovery of his true identity fascinating and scary. Is he good? Is he bad? What does he really want with Deidre?

Overall, Ms. Stiefvater does an amazing job telling this story in a way that made me smile and ache and cry and snicker. Her writing is fluid and beautiful and effortless. Having already bought Ballad, I devoured it the very next day. Maybe Lisa and I will discuss it together. 🙂 Because James kind of won me over. As I have a feeling he did to her as well. 😉

Lament receives an enthusiastic A+.


Book Geek Wednesday: I’m Reading…

Welcome to my first edition of ‘I’m reading’ where I divulge my insanity and the surreal number of books I tend to read at once. Sometimes, one will jump ahead of the pack and will become the new IT book which forces me to devour it at unheard of speeds. But mostly, especially lately, I’ve been flooded with life- my son’s newfound walking skills which leave my pots, pans and tupperware all over my kitchen floor, my writing deadlines, my house which is often a disaster area for toys and baby socks . It’s hard to really sit and enjoy a book when I’m always peeking to make sure the little one isnt bodyslamming the cat.

So here’s the rundown:

Classics: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Print: Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

Ebook: Uglies by Scott Westerfield

So how about you? What are you reading?


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