Tag Archives: shiver

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: 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 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!

Movie Magic Monday: Books to Movies Updates

I’ve spent most of the weekend reading. Like hard core, walking with a book in my hand and crashing against doors kind of reading. Reading for pleasure and to refuel the muse. I haven’t done that for FAR too long. It felt SO good.

When I was done with my mental vacation (two books in two days!), I played online a bit and found some really awesome news, which you all might already know, but which I’m just finding out, so here it is.

On September 30th, Maggie Stiefvater announced that Shiver has been optioned for a movie. Can I beg for Lament and Ballad to join those ranks?! PLZ?!

That’s not all. Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty, is also coming to theaters.

Let’s get you even more excited, shall we? One of my very favorite characters of all time, Ramona Quimby, has a movie in the works! Ramona and Beezus comes out sometime in August of this year, and it stars Disney teen queen Selena Gomez, and itty bitty Joey King as Ramona.

And of course, no one can forget Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, (pt 1? seriously?), coming in September.


Is anyone else as psyched about this YA book to movie revolution?! It’s everywhere! Percy Jackson, Wimpy Kid, Eclipse, etc. I feel like I’m in movie heaven. Granted, they wont’ all be great. But the fact that they’re getting done and drawing attention to the amazing variety of YA books out there- priceless.

Lisa’s Tuesday Perspective – Lament: The Fairy Queen’s Deception by Maggie Stiefvater

It’s no secret that there’s sort of been a Faeriesplosion in the YA section of the book store.  Well, maybe a parasplosion is a bit more accurate, but admit it, there are a bunch of faerie books out there… we’ve reviewed a handful of them right here.  I’ve read a few, and poked around at several more, and I really wanted to find one to fall breathlessly,  head-over-heels in love with, but instead I kept getting frustrated.

Many books on the market are just not what I’ve been looking for, where the Faerie world has been “reinvented” as a grunge-type underworld.  Which is okay, and certainly one way to deal with the issue, but the ones I’ve read (Tithe, for example) just haven’t done it for me.  This is for multiple reasons, but the main one has always been that… well personally I always thought faeries were cool enough (not to mention threatening enough!) on their own.

And then I heard all the buzz about Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, and basically swallowed that book whole, which caused an impending demand to read Stiefvater’s other two published books, which leads us to Lament.  I’m not going to tell you that this book grabbed me and held me in place from the very first page, because that would just be lying—it took until page six.  After that, though, I was a goner.  Goner than gone.

I am, embarrassingly, almost speechless about this book, because it is so very good.

The main storyline is this: Deidre Monaghan is a normal teenage girl.  She happens to be exceptionally talented at two things: music, and being completely invisible in high school.  Then one summer day at a music competition she’s found and entranced by the slightly older, and utterly fascinating Luke Dillon—who finds her fascinating as well.  While she knows that something is not normal about Luke, and he knows she knows it, she can’t or won’t bring herself at first to question it.  As events (or otherwise) continue to throw them together, though, strange things are happening around and within Deidre, leading her to the discovery that she’s a cloverhand, or one who can see faeries.  And really, that is just the beginning.

There is something immensely lyrical about this book, yet at the same time the language is very fresh and the wit is quick and lively.  It’s the seemingly effortless passing between the modern and the formal that is so breathtaking.  Well, that and the fact that Luke keeps calling Deidre “pretty girl,” because really, I think I gushed that much more every time he did it.  The wonderful thing about this story is that, for all its fantastical elements, the main storyline rings out true and exceptionally identifiable—the story of someone with quiet insecurities, who is suddenly recognized for being beautiful, interesting and powerful, and being recognized as such, becomes so.  Deidre seems to realize her own possibilities as they are seen by Luke, the wayward gallowglass.

Of course the more powerful Deidre becomes (and “awesome” is a fitting description, just by the by), the more danger she’s in, as the jealous Faerie Queen wants her head.  She has the protection of iron with her at all times, but with malicious, and outright homicidal faeries coming out of the woodworks all around, will it be enough?  I can’t tell you.  Well I could, but I’m not going to.  You’re just going to have to find out for yourself.  All I can say is that this is honestly the most delicious book I’ve read all year.  Good enough to read a second time immediately after finishing—though I have Ballad, the sequel, so I suppose I’ll work on that first (she says coyly, even though she’s almost 80 pages into it already).

Meanwhile, Lament has a lot of nice cameos by the PRETTY side of Faerie.  The Daoine Sidhe and a certain triplet of child-sized faeries were of particular delight.  And I may have already said too much about Luke, but let’s just say that he’s dream-worthy.  Ballad focuses on Deidre’s best friend James, who is promising quite a story himself, which I will be telling you about soonly.

Lament gets an A++ from me.  Ms. Stiefvater? You officially have a fan for life.

Book Geek Wednesday: The Evolution of Young Adults

While cashiering at B&N one morning last week, a customer brought up the Faerie Queen books by Maggie Stiefvater. I was pretty thrilled, since Lisa and I have excitedly talked about them and although Lisa has beat me to reading Shiver (it’s been on my radar for quite a while) it’s definitely still high up on my reading list.

Anyway, while chatting with the customer I easily volunteered that I’d been wanting to read Lament for quite some time, even before I’d heard of Shiver. She said the reason she was picking up the Faerie series was because she’d bought Shiver for her daughter, who is 12 years old, and upon reading it herself, found that there was *SPOILER ALERT*a sex scene. Granted, we’re not talking erotica or anything. Likely it was a PG-13 movie type scene (Lisa would probably be able to better tell us, as she’s the one who read it). Of course, this disturbed the customer as a parent because although she enjoyed the book for herself, she didn’t think her twelve year old was ready to read something like that.

I found that comment interesting, since we’ve been talking about crossover fiction and its appeal. These books are clearly marketed to teens, but how young is too young for some of this material? I know around this time last year, a father brought the Gossip Girl series back into the store, wanting to return them. He’d bought them for his daughter before he had any real idea what they were about. Let’s just say he was less than thrilled with the content.

Of course, it’s important to note that kids nowadays are growing up much faster than in my day. Teen pregnancy is on the rise, so they obviously know a thing or two about sex, though they’re not well educated in protection and contraception. Does the recent acceptance of on the page sexuality (meaning no longer vaguely implied, but not necessarily graphically shown) promote sex to younger audiences or is it simply mirroring what teens already know?

And this isn’t the only book I’ve heard a few things about. I’ve heard that the House of Night Vampire series by Kristen and PC Cast is high in the sensuality/sexuality department. Older teens are definitely interested in that kind of sexual tension, but would I necessarily suggest them to an 11 year old? Especially if she were to go looking for more of PC Cast’s books only to find they’re VERY adult?

Is this the inevitable consequence of crossover fiction? Or just the reality of the evolution of young adults?

What are your thoughts?

Lisa’s Tuesday Perspective: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

When Grace was ten years old, she was pulled from her tire swing by ravenous wolves.  She knows they are going to kill her, but then the unimaginable happens—they don’t. They’ve been stopped by one of their own.  Grace grows up watching the wolves behind her house, especially the one who saved her, the one with the stark yellow eyes.  When Jack Culpeper, star athlete and grade-A jerk from Grace’s school is seemingly killed by the wolves, the town goes up in arms.  It’s all Grace can do to stop a group of men from hunting down her beautiful wolves—but not before some shots are fired.  It’s then that she returns home to find a boy, naked and bleeding on her porch.  A boy with shockingly familiar yellow eyes.

And that, of course, is where the story really begins.

Maggie Stiefvater has been on my radar for a while now.  Obviously, not just mine—when I put a hold on this novel at the library there were already a couple dozen people ahead of me, and this book has been out for months.  Finally my turn came, though, and I just devoured this book.  I thought it was fantastic.  At moments it was almost too poetic—but then it would catch itself, and then again there are moments that are very nearly gory.  As a whole though, the book is wonderfully done.  The characters are smart, multi-dimensional, and constantly surprising.  The ones you expect might be archetypes are anything but, and the questions I had about the storyline (like, if Sam turns into a wolf when it’s cold, why doesn’t he just move somewhere warmer?) were answered in satisfying and surprising ways.  This book took many a turn that I wasn’t expecting, and while I had an idea all along of how it might end, it was definitely a fantastical ride getting there.

And in the midst of the wonderfully smooth plot twists and turns, there was Grace and Sam, two characters that were entirely enticing all throughout.  Grace, stoical and book-smart, older than her years thanks to her absent-minded (and usually physically absent) parental units, and Sam, whose human parents were dangerously afraid of him—and who was saved only by the overwhelming love of the pack mentality.  Together they form a lovely, sweet and endearing pair, able to fully be themselves only with each other.  All the time, though, the weather is dropping, and this winter the cold may take Sam away from himself forever.

I won’t tell you how this ends, of course, but I will tell you that I can’t wait to read the sequel, Linger, due out next year.   That, and that I’m excited that I have another Stiefvater book (Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception) waiting for me in my TBR pile.

This is a solid A.

Book Geek Wednesday: Looking Forward To 2010

I can’t believe it’s already the second day of December.  This year has been a whirlwind for me—I guess it really is true that the older you get, the faster the years fly by, but really now, I’m not that old.  And while I don’t understand where 2009 has gone to, I have to admit, I’m excited for 2010.  Not least because of all the amazing YA novels set to come out next year!  Here’s a look at just a couple of the ones I’m simply dying to get to:

All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab. – January 12th 2010 by Delacorte BFYR

Not fantasy, but man does it look good.

Carly: She was sweet. Smart. Self-destructive. She knew the secrets of Brighton Day School’s most privileged students. Secrets that got her killed.

Neily: Dumped by Carly for a notorious bad boy, Neily didn’t answer the phone call she made before she died. If he had, maybe he could have helped her. Now he can’t get the image of her lifeless body out of his mind.

Audrey: She’s the reason Carly got tangled up with Brighton’s fast crowd in the first place, and now she regrets it—especially since she’s convinced the police have put the wrong person in jail. Audrey thinks the murderer is someone at Brighton, and she wants Neily to help her find out who it is.

As reluctant allies Neily and Audrey dig into their shared past with Carly, her involvement with Brighton’s dark goings-on comes to light. But figuring out how Carly and her killer fit into the twisted drama will force Audrey and Neily to face hard truths about themselves and the girl they couldn’t save.

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater – July 20th 2010 by Scholastic Press

I’m only halfway through Shiver, but I’m totally excited there’s a sequel!

In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love — the light and the dark, the warm and the cold — in a way you will never forget.

Sleepless by Cyn Balog – July 13th 2010 by Delacorte Press

I loved Cyn Balog’s debut novel, Fairy Tale.  Can’t wait to read this!

Eron De Marchelle isn’t supposed to feel a connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce human charges to sleep. While he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn’t encouraged to–after all, getting too involved in one human’s life would prevent him helping his other charges get their needed rest.

But he can’t deny that he feels something for Julia. Julia, with her fiery red hair and her sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. Eron has always felt protective of Julia . . . but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can’t seem to reach her . . .

Sandmen are forbidden from communicating with humans outside their dreams. But will Eron be willing to risk everything for a chance to be with the person he loves?

Spells by Aprilynne Pike – May 4th 2010 by Harper Teen

I confess, I haven’t read Wings just yet, but I can’t wait to get to it, and I’m excited to hear about the sequel!

Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger–and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever.

When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?

Honestly, those are only a few of the books I’m looking forward to!  As far as YA fiction goes, 2010 looks bright indeed!  (All descriptions from goodreads.com)

Fun Friday Discussion – By Crossover, She Means Good.

The evolution of Young Adult.












A few weeks ago, Isabelle posted some thoughts on crossover fiction, talking about how she prefers this nebulous concept over run-of-the-mill young adult fiction, and how she got tired of reading about high school drama, and was relieved when the industry was starting to look for and promote books that can be enjoyed by adults as well as teenagers.

See… I have a similar story, but a completely different perspective on how the YA market has changed. Because I’ve loved YA since I read my first YA Judy Blume book when I was twelve, but was admittedly not even remotely tempted to read something like Sweet Valley High (one of the run-of-the-mill series Isabelle got tired of). I’ve been leery of obvious publisher-driven series like that since a very young age, apparently. (Never read The Babysitter’s Club either.) I’m a bit snobbish when it comes to literature, but I never really considered books like that (or any publisher-driven series—Goosebumps, ANY TV-spin-off series) to be “real” books. It’s like I could smell that they were written by staff writers and not by people who were actually pouring their heart and soul into them.

So while I was a teen—okay, even before I was a teen—I was finding the YA options available to me were beyond slim.  If I so much as stepped out of Judy Blume, just about, I hit dull and repetitive high school blah storylines—or worse, Lurlene McDaniel, whose books were being turned into TV-movies-of-the-week over and over (and over!) again, and all seemed to be exactly as awfully melodramatic as the one before (how many teens lose their one true love to cancer anyway? Ms. McDaniel seems to have written about all of them).*

The fact is, young adult literature wasn’t being done well.  Except for, again, Judy Blume, and a few spare others (probably Go Ask Alice, for example, but I haven’t read that myself, so I can’t say for certain).  This was for two reasons.  Number one, there was a lot of stuff that was still way taboo to put into “kids'” books.   IE, sex, drugs, all of that.  Heck, not even sex.  Young Adult up through the early nineties was still awkward about kissing.  The genre as a whole has “grown up” in its own way, I guess you could say.  The second reason for this, is that young adult books were being written by older people.  There seemed to be a kind of stigma almost preventing people who were actually closer to high-school age themselves actually putting any books out.  Maybe because “author” had such a adult connotation to it.  I can’t say exactly when this wall started breaking down, but I remember watching as it did.

I do think Isabelle hit it right when she said Harry Potter had an effect on this, because obviously that ushered in the overwhelming wave of paranormal in the market today, but Harry Potter isn’t really YA—or any one particular genre, if we get down to it (which is why it’s awesome, right?)—and I can’t help but wonder what some of the other factors were.  For example, this year marks a decade worth of NaNoWriMo, a totally online initiative bent entirely on the idea that anyone can write a novel.  More than that, the internet, through blogs and youtube and Twitter and everything else, has for years been instilling us with the idea that every single one of us has something to say.   You put a thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters for a thousand years, eventually one of them will write a masterpiece.  Fully-functional and imaginative human beings have turned the publishing industry upside down in about a decade.

I can’t help but think that a lot of young YA authors out there today are writing because they had the same reaction as I did to the scanty selections they had available to them growing up.  I would honestly go to the stacks at the bookstore or the library, and just cringe because there was so little available, when I knew the possibilities were endless.  Other clever likeminded people (a little older than me, which is why they’re all published now!) must have thought the same thing.  The stories I write now are the ones I desperately wanted to read when I was a teenager.  Because the fact is, the standards for YA fiction have gone up as the writing has improved.

Sure, there are still run-of-the-mill industry-backed series out there (but not as many, if you’ve noticed), but they’re not the ones you hear about.  What you hear about is Twilight, and Wicked Lovely, and Shiver, the books that burned in people’s minds until they had to share them with the world.  Those are the books that last, they always are, because they are serious endeavors that the writers care about, and if a book is written well, it will be enjoyed by adults and teens alike.  And everyone else.  There is no such thing as “a book for teens” and “a book for adults,” really.  There’s good literature, and there’s less-than-good books.  That’s all.

*No disrespect to Lurlene McDaniel.  Pulp has its place, I’m sure.  Just not on my shelf.

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