Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy holidays

All of us at JVNLA are sending you our best wishes for wonderful holidays and a happy New Year!  Here's to a fabulous 2013!

The illustration above is from Iza Trapani's picture book THE BEAR WENT OVER THE MOUNTAIN, published by Sky Pony Press in April 2012. Trapani wrote the above text for us when we asked if we could use her illustration for our holiday card!  Be sure to visit Trapani's website here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

JVNLA rides the subway!

In order to celebrate the holidays and our books, we at JVNLA decided to go on an adventure through the subway!  After all, what could be a better way to celebrate the end of the year than to stuff rolling backpacks with some of our recently published books and read them en masse in subway cars?

Below, you can see a sampling of the books we brought with us.  They're stacked on top of Mini-JVNLA as she attempts to hold them all!

One of our first books to read is DARK LIE by Nancy Springer (NAL, November 2012).  Below, you can see Jessica, Ariana, and Jennifer with their books out.  On the far left, you'll see a woman who was also interested in the book, who read with us!

Jessica, Ariana, Laura, and Mini-JVNLA read VANISHING ACTS by Phillip Margolin and Ami Margolin Rome (HarperCollins, paperback October 2012).

A kid performing in the subway decided to read VANISHING ACTS, too!  He shows off his skills by simultaneously playing his drum and reading.

Jennifer, Jessica, and Ariana read PASSION BLUE by Victoria Strauss (Amazon Children's Publishing, November 2012).  Jessica looks up from her book to smile at the camera.

Mini-JVNLA and Laura are engrossed in AMBER HOUSE by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed (Arthur A. Levine Books/ Scholastic, October 2012).

A fellow subway rider was intrigued by AMBER HOUSE, so we gave her a copy to read, too!

Below, Tara and Laura discuss celebrities' favorite New York hotspots while reading MY CITY, MY NEW YORK by Jeryl Brunner (Globe Pequot, October 2011).  Mini-JVNLA is also fascinated by the read.

While we wait for a subway car to arrive, Jessica opens up IF JACK'S IN LOVE by Stephen Wetta (Amy Einhorn Books/ Penguin, paperback August 2012).

Below, Tara is absorbed by her read.  Meanwhile, the guy sitting beside her is trying not to peek at the book, but he knows he wants to.

Jessica, Mini-JVNLA, and Laura all read IF JACK'S IN LOVE on the 6 train.

Jessica, Mini-JVNLA, Jennifer, and Laura are riveted by THE FRIDAY SOCIETY by Adrienne Kress (Dial, December 2012).

Ariana pulls out a copy of EUROPE ON 5 WRONG TURNS A DAY by Doug Mack (Perigee, April 2012) from one of our rolling backpacks.

On the Shuttle, Laura and Tara hang onto the handrails in order to stay focused on their reads.

Jennifer and Jessica read THE LAST NUDE by Ellis Avery (Riverhead, paperback December 2012).

Jessica, Mini-JVNLA, Laura and Tara are all enjoying HOW DOES SLEEP COME? by Jeanne C. Blackmore (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, September 2012).

And, below, Jennifer reads the picture book to Mini-JVNLA, who proves how this is the perfect bedtime, sleepy-time read.

Laura just can't get enough of ON POLITICS by Alan Ryan (Liveright, October 2012), so she decides to read both volumes at once.

Below, Laura and Jessica think intellectual thoughts while engaged by ON POLITICS.

We hope you enjoyed these photos from our subway adventure!  If you're looking for a good holiday read or a great gift idea, look no further than the books pictured and linked to above (and those featured on the Recent and Upcoming Titles page of our website).  They're all excellent choices!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Released just last week from Dial, THE FRIDAY SOCIETY by Adrienne Kress is all about steampunk, mystery, and kick-ass heroines. It is centered around three young women: Cora, a lab assistant; Michiko, a combat instruction assistant; and Nellie, a magician's assistant. All three are shown in the breathtaking cover below:

This is a cover you simply have to get your hands on to fully appreciate. It is shiny and metallic, with the title, author's name, and even the three featured characters embossed. Inside, chapter headings are illustrated with gear wheels.

But not only is the cover beautiful, so is the incredible book trailer! gave an exclusive trailer reveal earlier today via its Hollywood Crush site. Now, we bring you the trailer below:

Last week, Kress hosted a Book Launch Party / Steampunk Gala for THE FRIDAY SOCIETY, complete with costumes, steampunk prop and invention displays, and cake. The gala was the site of her own trailer premiere, as well as a reading. She posted a description of the event and many wonderfully fun photos on her blog, which you shouldn't miss; you can view the post here.

THE FRIDAY SOCIETY has received fabulous reviews so far. Below is a sampling:

“Anyone longing for a refreshing, inspiring cast of female heroes will find them in THE FRIDAY SOCIETY...This book is pure fun and adventure, and the author’s casual, irreverent sense of humour is apparent on every page.” --Quill and Quire, starred review

Steampunk meets CHARLIE'S ANGELS...Frothy, sparkly fun.” --Kirkus

“Combines humor and menace in equal proportion...With odd inventions, beautifully described clothing, and skilled heroines, this alternate history offers much to enjoy.” --Publishers Weekly

“Kress does a commendable job of juggling all her plot elements and also in negotiating her story’s tone...An overall sense of frothy fun prevails, bolstered by...three kick-ass females with complementary strengths and distinctive personalities. “ --Horn Book 

“A set of strong female characters and a twisty, surprising and sophisticated plot.” --Romantic Times

“Set in the past but with a modern irreverent flare, this steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike—well, relatively ladylikeheroines poised for more dangerous adventures.”

Earnestly, refreshingly different.” --The Book Smugglers Blog

“Basically, THE FRIDAY SOCIETY takes Joss Whedon-esque dialogue, proto-feminism, and superheroes, mixes those things in a blender, then sprinkles them over a murder mystery involving grave robbing, fog, and the destruction of a beloved landmark...It's great fun and these are characters I'd love to hang out with again.” --In Bed with Books Blog

Friday, December 7, 2012

DARK LIE and the writing life of Nancy Springer

Just released last month, DARK LIE by Nancy Springer is a riveting psychological thriller that centers upon Dorrie White, a woman scarred by lupus who is hiding a secret. Seventeen years ago, Dorrie gave up a baby girl for adoption. She has just discovered that her now-teenage daughter is living nearby. When Dorrie witnesses her daughter being kidnapped, she does the only thing she can think to do. She follows the kidnapper.

Springer is a two-time Edgar Award winner who has written numerous novels. DARK LIE is her fifty-fifth. Since the book's release, she has been traversing the blogosphere via guest posts and interviews. We bring you some snapshots below:

Springer's connection to nature cultivated her imagination as she grew up. At Barnes and Noble's Mystery Book Club Blog, Springer lyrically describes her childhood in rural Livingston, NJ, spent “explor[ing] every inch of the fascinating brook that meandered crystalline amid wildflowers and willows to the swamp along the Passaic River.” When she wasn't running around outside, though, she “was still running wild—in the world of words,” reading from her parents' extensive library. Read more about her rich childhood here.

When Springer began writing and publishing, she didn't think of herself as an author at first. As she explains at Long and Short Reviews, it wasn't “until the morning I told my husband that, starting that day, I would put my writing first and housework second” that she thought of herself as official. Even though Springer has published fifty-five books, she's written almost as many unpublished works. “I mention them now,” she writes, “lest anyone think once you're published, you're 'in.' It's not so. Every new novel is as risky as the first.” Read more about Springer's evolution as a writer here.

Springer notes at Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews, “I like to try my wings. I'm willing to attempt almost anything. Starting with mythic fantasy, I segued into magical realism, women's fiction, contemporary literature for middle graders, then horror and fantasy and mystery for young adults.” Next was suspense for young adults, and so suspense for adults “seemed a natural next step.” Read the full post here, in which Springer details what it was like to transition from young adult to adult writing.

The hardest part about being a writer, according to Springer, is the unavoidable side-effect of working at one's writing alone. At Literary Escapism, she describes how difficult that side-effect was in the writing of DARK LIE. Some of the hardest aspects of writing DARK LIE alone included deciding how best to write sympathetic characters, determining how to reveal that Dorrie gave away her child without making her seem like a wimp, and judging how far was too far. Read more about those hard parts here.

Finally, Springer gets to the heart of what it takes to be a novelist in an earlier post over at Long and Short Reviews, where she lists “the Three Inane Question most frequently asked of novelists”: 1. “How long does it take you to write a novel?” 2. “How do you find the time?” 3. “Where do you get your ideas?” In response to the first, Springer answers, “How can I explain how long it takes to write a novel? Your whole life, that's how long. Your childhood, your dreams, your waking time and sleeping time and loving and hurting time all go in.” Read more of her insights here.

DARK LIE has already received several excellent reviews, which we've included below:

“As the author alternates among the points of view of Dorrie and other characters...she makes the far-fetched feel plausible, building the stoic Dorrie into a protagonist of epic proportions...A fine finale...A compulsive page turner that will have readers cheering on the decidedly unglamorous heroine, this thriller gets points for making the suburban mom-type the one who saves the day.” --Kirkus

“[Springer] captures the fear of the women and the sickness of their captor with precision and the resolution of the kidnapping with unforeseen irony.” --RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 stars, Top Pick

A gripping story that draws the reader in and doesn't let go until the final page.” --Stuff and Nonsense Blog

“A most unusual psychological thriller...If you're looking for something very different and gripping in a noir thriller, you won't go wrong with DARK LIE.”

A fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller that will have you reading late into the night and cheering for the novel's unlikely but steadfast heroine.” --Heather Gudenkauf, author of the New York Times bestselling novels THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE and THESE THINGS HIDDEN

“A darkly riveting read...The pages swiftly fall away, along with layers of secrets and lies, to reveal the pulsing heart of this compelling thriller: the primal bonds between parent and child, between man and woman—and the fine line between love and hate.” --Wendy Corsi Staub, author of HELL TO PAY

"A page-turner of a thriller with a truly unique and fascinating heroine." --Alison Gaylin, national bestselling author of AND SHE WAS

NAL, November 2012