Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Libba Bray's "The Diviners": Hauntings in Manhattan!

It's Halloween and the New York subways are underwater. Must be time to review Libba Bray's great new beginning to her new series "The Diviners". It is 1926  and a group of sophisticated young Manhattanites is celebrating the 18th birthday of  one of their crowd. Things are getting dull, so she brings out the Ouija board. The one she got at an antique store where the proprietor told her not to forget to spell out "goodbye" on the board to put any spirits to rest. The party goers gather round and drink and laugh and place their hands on the planchette and  ...make contact with a spirit that says it is Naughty John. After a few questions the spirit gets nasty...  the birthday girl finally yells at it to stop, and the board goes quiet. She mentions the ritual of spelling out goodbye... her friends scoff and suggest one of the gang was playing a trick, so she stashes it back in the closet and goes off to dance the night away. What was unleashed that night no longer a concern for the party goers.
The story jumps ahead to introduce our leading lady, Evie O'Neil, an attractive, wise-cracking, young flapper living in Ohio. Evie loves a good drink and dancing and doing the occasional party-trick of reading someone's belongings to find out their secrets.
This trick has gotten Evie into hot water when she outs the secret of a boy who had a dalliance with a chamber-maid. Refusing to apologise her parents give her the option of leaving town for a while and living with her bachelor uncle in New York City. She can't believe her luck, not only will she be getting away from her home town, she'll be living it up in NYC, where all the action is, and her girlhood chum and pen pal, Mabel, to enjoy it all with!
And what of Naughty John, that nasty spirit? Will we be hearing more from him? Read "The Diviners" and immerse yourself in New York in the 20's filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls ... and murder!
This is one terrific story and pos-i-tute-ly addictive, as Evie might say. Evie is one heck of an engaging girl and one you will love to spend 500+ pages with and still want more. Which we can look forward to.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Boston Teen Author Festival!

This sounds amazing, especially because One of my favorite authors, Daniel Waters (see interview here!) will be there. Here's a link and a posting about it:

Boston Teen Author Festival

Hello, everyone! Welcome to the about page of the Boston Teen Author Festival. You may be thinking to yourself, hey, I didn't know there was a teen author festival in Boston, and that would be because we just created it! For the very first time, in conjunction with Emerson College's Undergraduate Students for Publishing, I am so happy to bring you fifteen amazingly talented middle grade and young adult authors for a celebration of children's books unlike anything Boston has seen recently, if at all.

I have always loved book signings. How cool is it to actually meet the people behind the pages, those who endlessly entertain you with these epic stories of adventure, romance, and humor? It wasn't until high school that I realized these people who seemed so untouchable were actually willing to talk to their readers, meet them in bookstores, and answer emails online. I consider myself very lucky to now consider a few of them my friends. But I've always wanted to bring that experience to my community. I'd been to the Rochester Teen Book Festival at Nazareth College and the epic Books of Wonder Signing in New York City. As a senior in high school, I wanted to bring a group of authors to my small New York town, to give other kids my age the chance to meet their favorite authors, but I never had the resources.

Now, four years later as a senior at Emerson College, I finally have the opportunity. Through a collection of sponsors who are making it possible to make this festival the best it can be, Boston will finally have the chance to come together to hear a large group of fantastic authors talk about their craft, their journey, and any other information you wish to ask them (really, get creative). These four panel sessions will be followed by a large group signing, where you can go up and tell your favorite authors how much you love them, and new authors how much you're looking forward to digging into their books. There will be refreshments and a table where you can buy the authors' most recent books from our school's Barnes and Noble. I sincerely hope to see each and every one of you there! Thank you for loving books, and happy reading.

Forever your nerdy friend,
Renee Combs
Authors Attending:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"Auraria" by Tim Westover: Pure Gold!

All the Recommender can say after reading Tim Westover's new novel, Auraria, is Wow! What a journey! It's hard to believe Auraria doesn't really exist and kind of sad to think you won't be able to pack an overnight bag and take a train through Georgia to this mountain retreat filled with an unusual assortment of  characters both living and, well, not so alive.

James Holtzclaw is a dedicated company man. He is content working for Mr. H.E. Shadburn who got him out of a tight spot in the silkworm business and offered him employment as his accountant. Shadburn is a very wealthy man and his latest scheme is sending Holtzclaw off to the town of Auraria to buy as much land as possible from the locals so he can "improve"  this run-down former gold mining town by flooding it and turning it into a lake and resort. He has given Holtzclaw a traveling bag filled with cash and gold coins with unusual markings. Gold that had been minted in Auraria.
Holtzclaw's coach arrives in town and he sets off through the hills to bargain with the farmers and land-owners.
As he makes the acquaintance of these and the other townsfolk and a variety of other puzzling characters like Mr. Bad Thing, the invisible pianist at the Old Rock Falls and Princess Trahlyta, a girl who seems to shadow his every step and speak to him in cryptic riddles... he finds himself getting more and more involved in their unusual way of life and the local passion of panning for gold.
This book is such a uniquely original delight that the Recommender has been recommending it all over the place. If you want to join Holtzclaw in his discovery of singing trees and tortoises and moon maidens and gold, gold, gold... then be sure to grab a copy and visit the dreamy, otherworldly pleasures of Auraria!