Tag Archives: Melissa de la Cruz

NYC Teen Author Festival

12 May

Last month, one of my favorite NYC bookish events returned for it’s annual appearance! The NYC Teen Author Festival.

It was a busy work week for me, with back to back photo shoots mixed in with author panels. But I managed to catch a group of authors at a NYPL panel, and the “finale” Mega-Signing at Books of Wonder!

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Elizabeth Eulberg, Tara Altebrando, Jenny Han, and Stephanie Perkins at the NYPL.

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Stephanie Perkins.

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Sarah Mlynowski.

At Sunday’s mega-signing, there were almost too many authors to count! I hauled a giant grocery tote full of books half-way across NYC to have signed by those appearing.

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The always amazing Gayle Forman.

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Jocelyn Davies and Anna Carey.

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Kim Harrington.

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Stephanie Perkins! Who I took a million photos of, because 1. She is adorable and SO BRIGHT. And 2. She’s awesome.

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LOLA

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“Fixing” a book for a fan who purchased a book from Barnes and Noble, already signed to some random dude!

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Another great redhead: Andrea Cremer!

The funky lighting in Books of Wonder made a few of the authors rather “glowy”.

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Barry Lyga.

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David Levithan.

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Jenny Han.

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Corey Whaley and Jennifer E. Smith, with Mitali in the middle!

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Jon Skovron with his awesome book, Misfit! (One of my 2011 faves.)

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Jeri Smith-Ready

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Melissa de la Cruz, who signed every.single. Blue Bloods book for me! –Ok, except the 2 I’d already had signed. 😉

We snagged Stephanie again after the signing for some fun portraits:

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Michelle, Stephanie, and Bethany.

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Me and Stephanie

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Getting goofy!

See the full photo set here.

And my 2011 TAF post here.

Review: Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

6 Jun

Witches of East End

“It’s the beginning of summer in North Hampton, and beautiful Freya Beauchamp is celebrating her engagement to wealthy Bran Gardiner, the heir to Fair Haven and Gardiners Island. But Freya is drawn to Bran’s gorgeous but unreliable brother Liam, and sparks fly when the two decide to play a dangerous game of desire, following an ancient story of love, betrayal and tragedy that harks back to the days of Valhalla.

Witches of East End follows the Beauchamp family—the formidable matriarch Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid. Freya, a sexy bartender, has a potion to cure every kind of heartache, while Ingrid, the local librarian, solves complicated domestic problems with her ability to tie magical knots. Joanna is the witch to see when modern medicine has no more answers; her powers can wake the dead. Everything seems to be going smoothly until a young girl, Molly Lancaster, goes missing after taking one of Freya’s irresistible cocktails. As more of the town’s residents begin disappearing, everyone seems to have the same suspects in mind: the Beauchamp women.

Fraught with love affairs and witchcraft, Witches of East End will capture any reader who craves a page-turning, heart-stopping story of myth and magic from an author who knows how to deliver”.

Warning: due to this novel using elements of the author’s previous books in a different series, this review may be spoiler-y for some.

Witches of East End is Melissa de la Cruz’s first book for adults. Having been of fan of hers since her the days of her magazine journalism and the Au Pairs series, and also a huge lover of the Blue Bloods books, I have been eagerly awaiting Melissa’s first foray into adult fiction for ages.

It even made my 11 Must Reads of 2011 list!

Witches definitely does not disappoint. While the novel could have been a bit longer, the story by no means felt short, or unfinished. I found writing for an adult audience to be a nice change for Melissa. She has always catered to a more mature (if not in age, in mentality) audience, so writing an adult novel seems to be a natural progression for her.

After a slow first chapter or so, the story kicks off with a bang. Ummm, literally. It’s no secret that an adulterous tryst takes place very early on in the story. But it does not in any way overshadow the rest of the plot! I’ve seen a handful of reviewers on Goodreads saying the adultery ruined the book for them. When it comes to immortal fictional characters who have lived, lets just say much longer lives than most of us can expect to, I do not feel as if said characters should be held up to normal human morals and standards.

Even more importantly, for all the reviewers & readers spazzing out over Freya’s affair, especially those who DNF the book: reading about it doesn’t mean you have to condone it! And, fortunately it really does all makes sense in the end.

I feel that only truly great authors can write characters who do despicable things, yet make you still care about them. Along with the adultery, Freya, Ingrid, and Joanna make plenty of bad choices. They keep harmful secrets. They don’t heed potential omens and warnings. They begin practicing magic again, but solo, without telling each other. They make mistakes with vast consequences. Yet their love for each other holds them together, until once again luck is on their side. In many ways, Witches is as much a tale of the relationships between mothers and daughters as it is a story about three women practicing magic.

Loved:

* Melissa’s world-building is always phenomenal. WOEE is no different! Mysteries and secrets are slowly exposed, without ever giving too much away at once. And the way MDLC incorporates historical details and facts into her stories is beyond comparison.

* Cameo appearances from Blue Bloods characters. It made me even more anxious for Lost In Time.

* The Norse mythology incorporated within the story. The way it fits together with the witchcraft= AWESOME.

* The huge variety of paranormal characters/beings included in the story.

* There is a cliffhanger, but not an “I want to throw this book across the room” when I’m finished cliffhanger. Thank you, Melissa, for not torturing your readers.

* Just the fact that Melissa wrote one adult novel makes me hopeful for more in the future!

Didn’t Love:
* Honestly, the cover. It just doesn’t do it for me. And I’m not sure what it has to do with the story contained inside. The cover screams “Fall!” to me, while the book takes place during the Summer.

* And of course, I am not a fan of having to wait over a year for Book #2 (Rumored to be entitled “The Serpent’s Kiss”!) 😉

I’d recommend Witches to new fans of Melissa de la Cruz looking for a delicious and quick reading experience. Note: You do not need to read the Blue Bloods series beforehand. But reading at least book #1 would lead to a much better understanding of events in this book.

Overall Witches of East End was a fast, fun, and sexy read. Perfect for both a day at the beach, or just lying around the house. It’s a total guilty pleasure read, without a dumbed down storyline, or cheesy writing.

I can’t wait to learn more about the Beauchamp family backstory in Book #2!

4/5 STARS.
Witches of East End will be released by Hyperion, June 21, 2011.

Disclosure: I received my copy of Witches of East End at BEA.

BEA Recap: Day Two

2 Jun

I started my second day of BEA by breaking the cardinal rule of attending book expo: don’t be late. My roommate Jenn (a media publicist) and I both seemed to have trouble getting out of the apt. that morning, and also vastly underestimated the length of time it would take to get us from the subway to Javits Center on the far west side of Manhattan.

And: it was HOT. And very humid.

By the time we did walk in to Javits around 9:20am, I already felt dead. But I sucked it up, and after waiting in a very tiny line for our passes, dashed over to the first signing on my list– Jeri Smith Ready. Sadly, there were only 40 or so books available, so I definitely missed getting a signed copy of Shift. Having met Jeri the night before, I didn’t feel too badly, so my next stop was Scott Tracey’s signing for Witch Eyes. I was really excited to pick up a copy after hearing so much discussion of his book on twitter.

Along with roomie Jenn, I ended up hanging out with Lindsi of Books, Sweets and Other Treats in the signing lines. Apparently a crazy older woman actually BIT Lindsi in the arm when she reached past her for a book that AM—an event that would later reach BEA Urban Legend status. (Edit: You can read her account of the incident here.)

Lindsi was shaken by the experience, but appeared rabies-free, so we decided to hang out while we waited for signings to begin. Together, we made an awesome team, and were able to get each other books we would have otherwise missed out on. At one point, running around Javits, we met this bookish Piggie:
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Shortly after we met Melissa de la Cruz (signing Bloody Valentine and Witches of East End), who remembered my blog from the very early “Most Wanted Books of 2011” post I had written about Witches. I’ve met her twice now, and each time Melissa is completely and utterly awesome. She also has the honor of being one of my longest read YA authors (second only to LJ Smith)–I’ve been a fan of hers since the second Au Pairs book!

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Melissa De la Cruz.

After Melissa’s signing, we double teamed the lines of Alma Katsu (The Taker), Claudia Gray (Fateful), Trinity Faegen (The Mephisto Covenant, one of my most highly anticipated YA reads of BEA), and Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Trial by Fire). After, Jenn went back to continue her half day of work, and Lindsi headed to some other signings. I stopped by the Harlequin booth to meet Rachel Vincent. The lines were a bit hectic, but I managed to snag a copy of “If I Die”, and have Rachel sign it. Along with one other similarly named blogger friend in front of me, we all had a nice discussion about the proper way to spell Rachel:

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At some other point that afternoon, I met Trinity Faegen, Jana Oliver, and Jeri Smith Ready again:
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R-L:Trinity, Jana, and Jeri.

I attempted to grab lunch in my downtime, but due to a major Javits FAIL, I wasn’t able to eat. Turns out the entire convention center had lost the use of their credit/debit card network, leaving many attendees unable to purchase food. I was actually chastised by a cashier for not bringing cash, which as a New Yorker, I can say is completely ridiculous. So I continued on, scarfing the only food I had brought with me: a banana, and some peanut butter crackers. Little did I know, I wouldn’t be eating lunch at all that day.

After my lunch disaster, tired, and hungry, I got in line early the Tahereh Mafi signing line for Shatter Me. Which was a good decision, because that line ended up being huge. Tahereh was super nice (and more shy than she seems on twitter), so when I ended up randomly running into her at the Harper Collins booth later that day, she signed a second copy of her book for me to give Jenn, and inscribed it with a “Happy Birthday” message for her!

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Tahereh Mafi.

Post-Shatter Me, a small group of bloggers and I got in line at the Penguin booth for Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines signing later that afternoon. We seemed to be blocking the show floor and the current signing line, so a Penguin employee handed out numbered cards, and told us to come back about an hour and a half later for what was sure to be the biggest YA signing of the day.

As expected, things did not go as smoothly as planned.

People were confused by the number system. People got in line where they didn’t belong. And bloggers were told the number system was “canceled” and the line was a free for all.  Luckily, a smart publicist did a last-minute line organization, so we all managed to get back in line close to our original numbers, and meet Richelle. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the chance to meet her a second time. Since Richelle is 5 or 6 months pregnant, I was surprised she even came to BEA! She was amazing, as always, and we had a brief chat about how busy she was going to be around the end of August. (She has I believe 2 books, a graphic novel, and the baby due all within a week!)

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Richelle Mead.

After scoring both Bloodlines and Shatter Me, I was pretty confident in my author meeting and book procuring abilities. I only had one other “must have” book left to get Wednesday morning.

I got in line to meet Kiki Hamilton, author of The Faerie Ring, but sadly the books ran out 3 people in front of me –after a BEA volunteer had counted out the number of people in line and told me I’d be the last person to receive one. I was sad, but got over it. I did manage to get Leigh Fallon’s Carrier of the Mark, another book high on my want list, so that pretty much made up for missing out on Faerie Ring. One last stop at Jeff Hirsch’s line for The Eleventh Plague (a highly anticipated post-apocalyptic YA novel), and we were done with day one!

Kind of.

Lindsi, and her hotel roommates Casey, Farrah, and Britney needed to go to the post office, so we hopped on the cross-town bus with our massive suitcases (much to the chagrin of the other passengers), and headed to the giant 34th street USPS location. It ended up being much much cheaper than shipping at Javits, but took forever. I sat outside on the steps and got some sun while I waited, and ended up meeting a woman who works as book reviewer & writer for a Canadian newspaper—who has been going to BEA for 20 years! It was insane hearing the stories she had to tell about past conventions.

After all of day 1’s books were securely shipped off, our group headed to Chelsea to one of my favorite cafe’s, Grey Dog. It felt absolutely amazing to sit down, and finally eat some food. Not only is Grey Dog super yummy, but it’s pretty laid back, which was just what we needed after a long day running around like crazy people doing bookish things.

Finally, I made it home. Where I did not go to bed early (mistake!), and instead pet my new books, and read more of an old one. Other than a few books I missed out on, I had a very successful first day on the show floor. And felt like I was slowly learning what not to do on day 2. Check back tomorrow for that story!

I will leave you with this crazy photo. The end of day 2 book pile, featuring books from Monday and Tuesday:
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BEA WEEK EVENTS

18 May

BEA is just under a week away, but I am already feeling the “omg so much to do!” insanity and falling behind on reviews. Along with my regular work, doing fun things like shooting a beautiful fashion show (for blog #1), and helping my parents pack for a move, I am booked for every day this month! Thankfully, BEA’s official schedule ends around 5pm every night, leaving time for blogger meetups, parties, and more signings. Here are some of the most exciting events I’ve found:

SUNDAY MAY 22:

TERRIFIC TEEN TITLES Event at Books of Wonder:
1 pm – 3 pm

CASEY SCIESZKA – To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story
STEVEN WEINBERG – To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story
ELIZABETH SCOTT – Between Here and Forever
AMY IGNATOW – Popularity Papers: Book 2
ROBERT SHARENOW – The Berlin Boxing Club
MEGAN MCCAFFERTY – Bumped
18 West 18th Street, NYC

MONDAY MAY 23:

Lady Gaga at Best Buy, Union Square.
9pm-??
CD Release/Signing
Not a bookish event, but just as exciting!
(This isn’t confirmed by any means)

Meet the Author: Gena Showalter
Book: The Darkest Secret
Venue: Apple Store, SoHo, 6:30pm
Location: 103 Prince Street, NYC

NYC TEEN AUTHOR CARNIVAL:
May 23 Time: 4-7pm
Mulberry Street Library
10 Jersey Street NYC
24 Authors Reading and Signing, including Andrea Cremer, Gayle Forman, Kody Keplinger, David Levithan, and more! More info here.

TUESDAY MAY 24:

Speculating on Fiction at the NYPL:
Tuesday May 24th 5:30pm
Lev Grossman – The Magicians
John Scalzi – Fuzzy Nation
Cat Valente – Deathless
Scott Westerfeld – Behemoth
Info, and registration here.

WEDNESDAY MAY 25:

Charlaine Harris Signing 3
Word for Word: Charlaine Harris, Dead Reckoning. Moderated by Melissa Marr
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 from 12:30 pm to 1:45 pm
The New York Times bestselling author visits the Bryant Park outdoor reading series to discuss the latest installment in the hugely popular Sookie Stackhouse novels. This event is a part of the “Word for Word” is an outdoor reading series that features bestselling authors, celebrity writers, and expert-panelists sharing anecdotes, answering questions from the audience, and signing copies of their latest books.
The event is FREE and open to the public. For updates and additional information, please visit the website at http://www.bryantpark.org. The Bryant Park Reading Room is located on the 42nd Street side of the park – under the trees – between the back of the NYPL & 6th Avenue. Look for the burgundy and white umbrellas. Rain Venue: Library of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen 20 West 44th Street (between 5th & 6th Avenue).

Writing for Teens Today : Authors Speak
Wednesday May 25th: 5:30 PM
Join some of today’s hottest YA authors as they discuss writing for teens in today’s market. From developing authentic voices to keeping the reader hooked, from plot twists and turns to keeping the slang right, find out their tips and tricks to staying in style. For ages 12 and up.
Featuring:
Ally Condie – Matched
James Dashner – The Scorch Trials
Ellen Hopkins – Fallout
Maureen Johnson – The Last Little Blue Envelope
Lauren Kate – Torment
Scott Westerfeld – Behemoth
Bring your copy from home or buy a fresh edition on site and collect autographs!
For ages 13 to 18 years
Venue: Mulberry Street Library
Location: 10 Jersey St.

THE CLASS OF 2K11:
Wednesday May 25th 6 pm – 8 pm
JULIA KARR – XVI
BETTINA RESTREPO – Illegal
AMY HOLDER – The Lipstick Laws
ANGIE SMIBERT – Memento Nora
CAROLE ESTBY DAGG – The Year We Were Famous
GAE POLISNER – The Pull Of Gravity
CHRISTINA MANDELSKI – The Sweetest Thing
SHEILA O’CONNOR – Sparrow Road
ALISSA GROSSO – Popular
GEOFF HERBACH – Stupid Fast
CARRIE HARRIS – Bad Taste In Boys
KIKI HAMILTON – The Faerie Ring
TRINITY FAEGAN – The Mephisto Covenant
Books of Wonder: 18 W. 18th St, NYC
More info.

Meet the Author: Christopher Paolini
Book: Inheritance, coming this Fall
Venue: Apple Store, SoHo, 5pm
Location: 103 Prince Street

Meet the Authors: Ally Carter and Melissa De La Cruz
Book: Uncommon Criminals (Carter) and Blue Bloods: Lost in Time (De La Cruz)
Venue: Apple Store, SoHo, 6:30pm
Location: 103 Prince Street, NYC.

7:00 – 8:30 PM Paperback Launch party for Emma Donoghue’s ROOM
Emma Donoghue reads and signs from her acclaimed novel ROOM, just out in paperback. Drinks will be served.
The PowerHouse Arena, 37 Main St, Brooklyn NY

THURSDAY MAY 26:

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Scholastic “This is Teen” Book Signings:
Libba Bray, Meg Cabot, Maggie Stiefvater
May 26, 2011, The Scholastic Store in New York, NY
More info here.

SATURDAY MAY 28:

FANTASTIC FICTION!
DANIEL KIRK – Elf Realm: The Road’s End
BIANCA TURETSKY – The Time-Traveling Fashionista
GAIL CARSON LEVINE – A Tale of Two Castles
MAURISSA GUIBORD – Warped
SARAH REES BRENNAN – The Demon’s Covenant
Books of Wonder: 18 W. 18th St, NYC.

OTHER:

Ultimate BEA Party Guide

Book Expo’s List of Concurrent Events

My Regular NYC Book Signings List

11 Must Reads of 2011, Part Two: Witches of East End

16 Dec

Melissa de la Cruz
Melissa de la Cruz, via her official site.

Witches of East End is New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz’s first venture into adult fiction. The new series follows the Beauchamp family, a family of three women living in the fictional town of North Hampton, who fight evil with witchcraft.

Yesterday, Melissa sent out her reader newsletter with an excerpt from the letter included at the beginning of the Witches ARC:

The Beauchamp family is composed of three fearsomely powerful women–the formidable matriarch, Joanna, and her two daughters, bookish Ingrid and wild child Freya, who have had to suppress their true magical nature for many centuries. Their story is about the joys and pains of motherhood, sisterhood, relationships, friendships, touching upon themes of loss, resurrection, true love, discovering your inner strength and female power.

I’m absolutely thrilled to write for an adult audience, as many of my Blue Bloods readers have grown up with the series, I jumped at the opportunity to create a new cast of characters to hold dear. In a cool twist, the universe of my witches crosses with that of my vampires: Freya makes an appearance in Bloody Valentine, and Blue Blood regulars Mimi Force and Oliver Hazard-Perry’s journey takes them to consult with the Beauchamp witches.

This book is a fun, delicious, sexy and frothy romp that includes star-crossed lovers, zombies, vampires and the history of Salem, a ride that begins on the beaches of the fictional town of North Hampton and leads all the way to Valhalla. I’ve always been obsessed with the tragic and beautiful tales from Norse mythology and I hope you too, will enjoy the magical, witchy soap opera that is the Witches of East End.

A little google sleuthing led me to this description of the book on Hyperion’s site:

“It’s the beginning of summer in North Hampton, and beautiful Freya Beauchamp is celebrating her engagement to wealthy Bran Gardiner, the heir to Fair Haven and Gardiners Island. But Freya is drawn to Bran’s gorgeous but unreliable brother Liam, and sparks fly when the two decide to play a dangerous game of desire, following an ancient story of love, betrayal and tragedy that harks back to the days of Valhalla.

Witches of East End follows the Beauchamp family—the formidable matriarch Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid. Freya, a sexy bartender, has a potion to cure every kind of heartache, while Ingrid, the local librarian, solves complicated domestic problems with her ability to tie magical knots. Joanna is the witch to see when modern medicine has no more answers; her powers can wake the dead. Everything seems to be going smoothly until a young girl, Molly Lancaster, goes missing after taking one of Freya’s irresistible cocktails. As more of the town’s residents begin disappearing, everyone seems to have the same suspects in mind: the Beauchamp women.

Fraught with love affairs and witchcraft, Witches of East End will capture any reader who craves a page-turning, heart-stopping story of myth and magic from an author who knows how to deliver”.

I also found a cover image, but I’ll refrain from posting it because it’s not the final version. The real cover is set to be revealed on January 7th on EW’s Shelf Life blog.

I’ve been a MdlC fan since the Au Pairs series, so I’m thrilled to see her venturing into the world of adult fiction. I was luck enough to meet Melissa at a signing back in 2007, and not only is she an amazing author, she’s also incredibly sweet. Witches, vampires, zombies, romance, mystery, Norse mythology (!!!), a Hamptons setting, Blue Bloods character crossovers, plus Melissa’s spirited storytelling? Sounds like the perfect recipe for an exciting new series!

Summer 2011 can’t come soon enough!

Witches of East End will be released by Hyperion, June 21, 2011.