Today I have the lovely ladies from Raincoast Books offering up their selections for Most Anticipated Reads of 2014! I love this post style, and look how adorable they are! Huge thank you to them for taking the time to do this, and for making it so much fun! Enjoy their bookish conversation (I sure did).
5 Most Anticipated Titles of Winter 2014
MELISSA PELLEGRIN: Hi Crystal!
CA: I'm so excited that Kathy asked us to be a part of her 2014 Most Anticipated Event!
MP: I know, me too!
CA: There are so many great books coming out in 2014! It's hard to pick just 5. Should we concentrate on Winter 2014?
MP: Ahh, yes there are! It's so hard to choose. Focusing only on Winter 2014 titles should definitely help us narrow it down.
CA: Agreed. So what is your number 1 book for Winter 2014?
MP: I think I'm going to have to go with Love Letters to the Dead. Such a beautifully written book!
CA: I just finished reading it last night! It was so good. I'm in complete agreement.
About Love Letters to the Dead:
It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more -- though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family.
It was one of those books that you want to last forever. So readable, gut wrenchingly emotional... but not to the point that it leaves you depressed and unable to function.
MP: Yes I love that--"gut wrenchingly emotional." That is precisely how it reads. But you're right; you aren't crushed by grief in the end. The author, Ava Dellaira, does a fantastic job of writing about Laurel's emotions and how she is dealing—or not dealing—with her sister's death. I also loved that the letters began by addressing the celebrities that May loved the most.
CA: Ava Dellaira is a superstar. I can't wait to read what she writes next. She was the screenwriter for The Perks of Being a Wallflower. She showed the manuscript of Love Letters to Stephen Chbosky who fell in love with it (like we did) and was instrumental in getting the book published.
One of my favorite things about this book was how the main character, Laurel, chose who she wrote to based on what was going on in her life and where she needed to find strength. For example if she was trying to be brave she wrote to Amelia Earhart and if she was angry at her mother she wrote to Judy Garland. I also loved Laurel's emotional growth from the beginning of the book to the end and how she slowly began to open up and show more of herself the more letters she wrote. She had so much guilt over her sister’s death and it was interesting to watch Laurel slowly reveal how her sister died and what Laurel's involvement was the further the book progressed.
MP: Yes I completely agree! I'm so in love with this book. It is such a compelling read and it just makes you feel so many emotions, but in a good way. I couldn't put it down, and I actually read it all in one sitting. I would definitely recommend this one. Also, the cover is gorgeous!
CA: Ok... Book 2. What do you think? The Winner's Curse?
Another book with a gorgeous cover and a fabulous story.
MP: Yes, definitely! This is the first in a brilliant new series. And it seems to already be garnering a bit of buzz, which I think is well deserved.
Here’s a little bit about the book:
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.
As a general's daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin's eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him-with unexpected consequences. It's not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
I absolutely loved The Winner's Curse. Our awesome Sales & Marketing Assistant (and fellow YA lover) Megan and I have been gushing over this book. It is the first in a series set in a sort of alternate world, one where slavery still exists. The writing is great and keeps you interested from the very start. There's romance, danger, betrayal—all the good stuff! And I'm already desperately waiting for the next book so I can find out what happens next. Definitely one to look out for!
CA: It's on my "Christmas Reading Pile". I loved that a fight almost broke out between West Coast and East Coast bloggers over the limited amount of ARC's we received for this one. Megan has great book taste so I trust her when she says a book is great.
MP: I don't think you'll be disappointed with it!
CA: I think we need to throw a Canadian author in the mix for Book 3. Janet Gurtler for #16ThingsIThoughtWereTrue?
MP: Yes! We love Janet. She's such a lovely author to work with. I'm really excited about this new book because it's a road trip novel, and I always love to read about road trips.
CA: Road trip novels are great. Especially for spring break. 3 things have me excited about this book.
1. It's Janet Gurtler... and I love her.
2. They took a new cover treatment approach which I think is really fun.
3. The book is filled with social media references. Hashtags, text messages and tweets galore. Pretty fun.
A little bit about #16ThingsIThoughtWereTrue:
Heart attacks happen to other people #thingsIthoughtweretrue. When Morgan's mom gets sick, it's hard not to panic. Without her mother, she would have no one-until she finds out the dad who walked out on her as a baby isn't as far away as she thought? Adam is a stuck-up, uptight jerk #thingsIthoughtweretrue. Now that they have a summer job together, Morgan's getting to know the real Adam, and he's actually pretty sweet? in a nerdy-hot kind of way. He even offers to go with her to find her dad. Road trip, anyone? 5000 Twitter followers are all the friends I need #thingsIthoughtweretrue. With Adam in the back seat, a hyper chatterbox named Amy behind the wheel, and plenty of Cheetos to fuel their trip, Morgan feels ready for anything. She's not expecting a flat tire, a missed ferry, a fake girlfriend? and that these two people she barely knew before the summer started will become the people she can't imagine living without.
MP: Ah, yes I completely agree! I also love that the cover is different from her other books. The social media that is incorporated in the book is also a really cool idea. I think (and hope!) people will enjoy this one.
We're already up to three out of five books! I know it's hard to choose, but what would be your next choice?
CA: My next choice is actually a really easy one. I'm sure everyone reading this who knows the Raincoast list is sitting there yelling at their screen "What about Cress?!?!?!" Yep. Cress the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series is coming out in February. That would definitely be my number 4 pick.
MP: Cress! Definitely needs to be on the list. And I have also had the opportunity to read this one. It's just as awesome as the others! We're able to see all the characters we love and they're as great as ever. Marissa Meyer does a fantastic job of switching between the characters and giving us just the right amount of each.
CA: Marissa came to Vancouver when Cinder first came out and I was lucky enough to get to spend a couple of days with her. She and her husband were both so lovely. It's really nice when the author is as great as the books are.
Here’s a brief synopsis:
In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth. Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she's being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she's just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she'd ever expected.
Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.
That last sentence is so great. Girl power!
MP: For sure! Love that.
CA: Ok... now THIS is the hard one. What is your choice for book 5?
MP: I think I'm going to have to go with Going Over by Beth Kephart. This is a book from Chronicle Books that we are all really looking forward to! It's actually our Raincoast Book Club pick for December.
Megan read this one and loved it! She says that it has an awesome, strong protagonist who is also rebellious and a bit of a punk. It's a Romeo and Juliet-esque love story with the Berlin Wall separating the two teens. The writing is really poetic, and lovely. She said that it reads very literary but in a good way, and it's full of drama and suspense.
Here's an actual synopsis for it:
It is February 1983, and Berlin is a divided city with a miles-long barricade separating east from west. But the city isn't the only thing that is divided. Ada lives among the rebels, punkers, and immigrants of Kreuzberg in West Berlin. Stefan lives in East Berlin, in a faceless apartment bunker of Friedrichshain. Bound by love and separated by circumstance, their only chance for a life together lies in a high-risk escape. But will Stefan find the courage to leap? Or will forces beyondhis control stand in his way? National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart presents a story of daring and sacrifice, and love that will not wait.
Basically, it sounds great and I can't wait to read it for our book club!
CA: Ooooh. That is a great pick. I can't wait to read it for our book club. I think I have to pick a different book for my 5th choice though. This book has a soft spot in my heart. Landline by Rainbow Rowell is coming out this winter. I was lucky enough to get to spend a couple of days with Rainbow while she was in Toronto touring for Fangirl. I read Landline as a pdf on my Kobo while I was there. It was the coolest experience ever. I got to chat with Rainbow about the book as I was reading it. The book is an adult novel but I think anyone who enjoyed her YA books will enjoy this one as well. Her novels have such great YA/Adult crossover appeal.
Here’s a bit about the book:
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble and that it has been for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply -- but that almost seems besides the point now.
Two days before they're supposed to visit Neal's family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can't go. She's a TV writer, and something's come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her, but she doesn't expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she's finally ruined everything.
That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It's not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she's been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . . Is that what she's supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?
MP: Oh, that is a great pick too. I love Rainbow! Such a great writer. I also loved Landline, and you’re definitely right—if people loved her YA books, I think they’ll also love this one. I’m still jealous that you met her! So I forgive you for disagreeing with me ;)
CA: Great bookie chat Melissa!
MP: Same to you Crystal! Thanks so much Kathy for having us. We’ve had a great (albeit difficult) time choosing the books we’re most excited about.
CA: Yes, thank you Kathy! If you want to talk books on Twitter, you can follow me at @sewcreativeblog or Raincoast at @RaincoastBooks.