Tag: Lauren Oliver

Harper Collins Fall Fiction Preview

Things have been quiet here on Required Reading the last little while. Two weeks ago we moved to a new apartment, and then I spent this past weekend in Las Vegas attending the American Library Association’s annual conference. There were author signings, professional development events, and keynote speeches galore, but since I am a Harper Voyager Super Reader, I got up bright and early on Monday to check out the Harper Collins Book Buzz event, so that I could give you all a preview of what we have to look forward to from them this fall. Here are the highlights:

Cover image for Rooms by Lauren OliverRooms by Lauren Oliver. The best-selling author of the Delirium series is back with a ghost story recommended for fans of Alice Sebold, Audrey Niffenegger, and Neil Gaiman. Richard Walker has just died, leaving a large inheritance to his estranged family. But when his ex-wife and children come to claim their share, they find themselves in a house that is already occupied by two ghosts; Alice and Sandra. This sweet, sad, spooky ghost story has already received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and is due out September 23, 2014.

Cover image for Agatha Christie's The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah Agatha Christie’s The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah. For the first time ever, the Christie Estate has authorized a new Hercule Poirot mystery, which will be penned by poet and crime fiction writer Sophie Hannah. Poirot’s quiet dinner at a London coffeehouse is interrupted by a young woman who tells him she is about to be murdered, and implores him not to interfere so that justice will  be done. Soon after, not one, but three young women are murdered in fashionable London hotels. Look for this new Poirot tale in stores on September 9, 2014.

Cover image for Angel Killer by Andrew Mayne Angel Killer by Andrew Mayne. This former e-book best-seller has been acquired and revamped by Harper Collins, and will be re-released as a paperback on September 23, 2014. Angel Killer is the first in a series of mysteries starring FBI agent Jessica Blackwood, whose unusual upbringing in a family of magicians makes her an invaluable asset when a murder seems to have no logical explanation. Author Andrew Mayne is a magician who has worked with Penn and Teller, and David Copperfield, and his father and brother are special agents.

Cover image for The Miniaturist by Jessie BurtonThe Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. This mysterious debut novel is set in 17th century Amsterdam, where eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman has just married Dutch merchant Johannes Brandt. As a wedding gift, she receives a beautiful miniature model of her husband’s extravagant house, and his wealth enables her to engage the services of a famous but reclusive miniaturist to furnish the model. Soon, however, pieces Nella never commissioned begin to arrive, eerily echoing events in the full-sized house that the artist could not possibly know about. Recommended for fans of Emma Donoghue and Sarah Waters, The Miniaturist is due out on August 26, 2014.

Cover image for Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix ChristieGutenberg’s Apprentice by Alix Christie. Journalist and letterpress printer Alix Christie fictionalizes the birth of the printing press, chronicling the lives of Johann Gutenberg, his apprentice, Peter Schoeffer, and their financial backer, Johann Fust. Their efforts to create the first printed Bible will bring them head-to-head with the Catholic Church, threatening to tear their partnership asunder. This debut novel has already received a starred review from Kirkus, and will be available on September 23, 2014.

Cover image for Black Dog by Caitlin KittredgeBlack Dog by Caitlin Kittredge. First in a new dark Urban Fantasy series, Black Dog stars Ava, a hellhound who has spent a hundred years tracking down errant souls and dragging them back to Hell. But after a hundred years, Ava is getting tired of being used by the grim reaper she serves, and allows a human necromancer to persuade her to steal her reaper’s scythe. The theft unleashes the wrath of Lilith, a powerful demon who controls all the reapers. Suggested for fans of Richard Kadrey, Black Dog is out on October 28, 2014.

Of course, there are many more great titles coming out this fall from Harper Collins and other publishers. Check back next week to find out what else was hot at ALA!

Pitch Dark Days

This past Thursday, I visited the University Bookstore in Seattle, which was hosting the HarperTeen Pitch Dark Days tour, featuring five YA authors, including Kiersten White, Dan Wells, Debra Driza, Lauren Oliver and Claudia Gray. I was there to see Claudia Gray, whose new book, Spellcaster, I reviewed last week, but I was introduced to four more teen authors who write sci-fi/fantasy, and as a result my library holds queue just got a little bit longer. Here’s a preview of the books they were touring, and some of the questions they answered, and some speculation about what Claudia Gray has in store for us with Spellcaster #2, due out next year:

Cover image for Mind Games by Kiersten WhiteKierstin White was promoting her new book, Mind Games, a thriller about two sisters who are being held in a special school that exploits the supernatural powers of its students to conduct espionage. This book has a fantastic cover, which White touted as the best thing about her book! (She says the words are pretty good, too.) One of the sister’s in blind, which creating some unique descriptive writing challenges in the romance department. White started writing as a new mom, as a way to reclaim some time and space for herself. She wrote four books before she got published, but maintains that no book written is a waste, because you learn from your writing even when you don’t get published.

Cover image for Fragments by Dan WellsDan Wells is currently touring Fragments, which is book two in the Partials Sequence, a series of books about the extinction of the human race due to a virus. Wells described writing the book as “perversely fun,” because in book two he got to beat up his main character and show her that life isn’t fair. However, I was more intrigued by his descriptions of his  Mr. Monster books, which are apparently so dark that his mother-in-law was worried for the safety of his wife and children! When asked about his decision to set the books on Long Island, Wells explained that it offered the contained space he needed for his setting, but also put him in close proximity to Manhattan, allowing him to blow up famous New York landmarks.

Cover image for MILA 2.0 by Debra DrizaDebra Driza’s new book is MILA 2.0, the first in a sci-fi thriller series about a young woman who discovers that she is in fact a military grade android which her “mother” stole from the government. And, problematically, the series also features a human love interest for Mila. The most discussed (and joked about) item about this book by far was a scene in which Mila stabs someone with a hair dryer plug. Apparently the romance doesn’t get much page-time in book one since Mila has to go on the run from government operatives, but Driza assures readers the love interest will be back in book two. And, like Mind Games, this book has some fantastic cover art.

Cover image for Requiem by Lauren OliverMany of the fans who turned out for Pitch Dark Days were there to see Lauren Oliver, who just published Requiem, the final book in her Delirium series. The series is set in a futuristic society in which love has been deemed an infectious disease, and cured. The exciting news here is that there is currently a TV pilot in production based on the books, starring Emma Roberts. Oliver was also excited about the fact that she got to introduce a second POV character, despite the fact that this is the third book in her series. She also revealed that the Raven character was based on her own kickass, tough love sister. Though this is the final book in the series, Oliver mentioned that since she started out writing fan fiction, she loves “books where a door stays open for you.”

Cover image for Spellcaster by Claudia GraySomehow, of these five big name YA authors, I had only read Spellcaster, by Claudia Gray, which I finished just three days before the event. A little bit less sci-fi that the other titles, Spellcaster is a fantasy in which a young witch loses her teacher just as she moves to a new town with a cursed inhabitant and an evil resident witch. Gray described her villain as the coolest thing about her book, because she was so powerful that even Gray was sometimes stumped about how to have her protagonists triumph. Gray tried on many different hats before becoming an author, but finally got down to writing in time to, entirely by accident, have a vampire manuscript ready just as  Twilight  was taking off.

Gray also revealed that just before heading out on the Pitch Dark Days tour, she handed in book two of the series to her publisher. It is titled Steadfast, and is due out next spring. Although she got a lot of page-time in book one, Verlaine becomes a second lead in book two, and gets her own epic love story. The conversation amongst the panelists revealed that we likely already met her love interest in book one. (Warning: spoilers ahead!) There were very few male characters of the right age to be Verlaine’s upcoming love interest. Besides Mateo, the only teen boys with significant page-time were Mateo’s friend Gage, and the handsome-but-mean Jeremy Prasad. But Jeremy died, so it would seem that Gage is the de facto winner. Or perhaps not. One of the things I failed to mention in my review of Spellcaster was how much I loved a certain sassy and sympathetic demon named Asa, who is called up to serve the whims of the villain. He was genuinely one of my favourite things about the book, but he escaped mention because he doesn’t really do much, at least on page. However, towards the end of the book, he takes possession of the body of Jeremy Prasad, who, it is repeatedly mentioned, Verlaine finds handsome but obnoxious. I have a year to wait to find out if I am right, but casting Asa/Jeremy as Verlaine’s new love interest seems to offer a lot more possibilities than Gage (nice as he seems).

Already read Spellcaster? Who do you think Gray should enlist to romance Verlaine?