Ones to Watch: March 2011

At the beginning of each month, I like to point out upcoming titles that seem worthy of being read. Granted, this is just my opinion on books that I personally want to read. There are so many March books that I'm simply DYING to read. We have a busy couple of months ahead of us, bookworms! What will you be reading? This month, I have a lot of adult titles (and I don't mean that in a dirty way) in addition to all the YA books I'm looking forward to. I'll write [AF] (er, adult fiction) if it's something you'd find on the main bookfloor and [YA] (or Young Adults) if it's something for teens or middle-grade. I should probably start flagging in this fashion from now on, huh? ^^;

Anyway, there are a bajillion books coming out this month. I'm pretty sure I've forgotten a couple of them, but they're not in my notes, so... I feel like I'm missing something major, too. Oh, I overload...

DISCLAIMER: I'm all over the place when it comes to genre, so there will most likely be books that don't appeal to you. There might also be something you're looking forward to not on the list. We're sure to have some titles in common, though! (There's also a good chance I won't get to every book I want to read, so if doesn't show up as a review here, it doesn't mean I didn't care for it! Plus, there are some books that I may want to look at due to a summary or cover image but may decide not to read because it's not *my* personal type of book, and that's okay, too. Still pointing them out early!)

S P O T L I G H T O N : W I T H E R B Y L A U R E N D E S T E F A N O

Lauren DeStefano's debut novel, Wither, looks AMAZING. It's the first in The Chemical Garden trilogy. Just look at that cover! It's gorgeous, absolutely stunning. I have to own a copy so I can stare at that lovely piece of art for hours upon hours. I want to read this so, so, so badly. Are you ready for the latest in Dystopian fiction? I know I am! I'm about 50 pages into my ARC atm and it's as good as I was hoping. The first four pages alone had my jaw dropping. Absolutely gorgeous. You're some lucky bookworms because I've been spending my evening putting this post together instead of reading!

S P O T L I G H T O N : E N T W I N E D B Y H E A T H E R D I X O N

I know, I should only have one spotlight, not two. But Heather Dixon's Entwined needs to be in my life, like, NOW. It's based on the fairytale The Twelve Dancing Princesses, which is only my favorite fairytale, um, ever. I'm hoping all the white on the cover is going to be gorgeous embossing. Another debut author I'm dying to get my hands on!

o n e s t o w a t c h ( M a r c h 2 0 1 1 )

M a r c h 1 :

*Clarity by Kim Harrington [YA]: 2011 debut author, guys. The cover is the first thing that ever caught my eye in regards to this book. LOVE! Clarity is about a girl who can somehow see things no one else can. She teams up with a gorgeous detective's son to solve a murder. The synopsis slightly reminds me of the Fingerprints series by Melinda Metz, which is currently being re-released in omnibus form. The first three volumes are entitled Echoes now. If you missed the series the first time around, it's worth checking out. I loved it in HS. Metz also wrote the Roswell series that later became an awesome TV show on the WB. Am I showing my age? ^^;

*Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney [YA]: This is Putney's debut novel for young adults. She's previously written a bunch of adult romance novels, so you know the teen romance in this will be well-developed and not rushed. I've been dying for this book since I first heard that it existed. It takes place in 1803 and pairs traditional English aristocracy. Doesn't sound like anything out of the ordinary, right? Add in the fact that the main character has magic running through her veins, something considered so evil, it could destroy her entire family. Can I get a wow?

*Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins[YA]: Demonglass, Demonglass, Demonglass, Demonglass! ...I don't think I can say anything else. It's the second Hex Hall book, guys! I don't care if you don't like paranormal books. Heck, I really don't, either. But this book was FUNNY. Not dark and creepy and angsty and overwrought. It was made of awesomeness. I grabbed this book off the shelf as soon as I got to work yesterday. I wish I had it on the plane this past Wednesday!

*The Liar Society by Lisa & Laura Roecker
[YA]: These two real-life sisters teamed up to write their debut novel. It's already getting a lot of buzz. Maybe you've heard of it? I love the story behind the buzz. Originally, the main character didn't have pink hair. When the Roecker sister saw their final cover, there were some tears. They sat and thought about it, realized it could work, and re-edited the book so that she had pink hair. They said it wound up being a good thing and that the pink hair defined the character. She had reasons for going pink. Recently, tons of authors and other bookie people have been dying their hair pink, wearing pink wigs, or photoshopping pictures of themselves to show pink hair and they've been showing up EVERYWHERE. Think Pink!

*May by Kathryn Lasky [YA]: The second in the Daughters of the Sea series. I really like this cover (a lot better than Hannah, actually. It makes me want to buy it now to hold it in my grubby paws, but I waited to get Hannah in PB and they have to match, so...). I really enjoyed reading Hannah last year, so I'm excited to read May. If you like books about mermaids--and you know I do--you're going to want to check this series out.

*Percival's Angel by Anne Crompton [YA]: Okay, obviously I'm destined to read & review Merlin's Harp ASAP since I just purchased Gawain and Lady Green not knowing it was a sequel. And here is the third in the series? Anne Crompton REALLY wants my $$$ and my readership! Maybe if I wasn't such a sucker for King Arthur stuff...

*Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult [AF]: JODI PICOULT. Do you need any more information than that? She is my favorite. author. EVER! My Sister's Keeper and Keeping Faith are my top two books by anybody EVER and two of her other books (Perfect Match and Salem Falls) are very high up on her list as well. Not to mention all of her other awesome books. Sure, she's had a couple of duds, but the good far outweigh the bad. She is a Day One purchase for me, no matter what. I meet her whenever she's in my area doing a signing. I LOVE HER. I also love the risks she takes. She tries out new ideas. This book comes with a CD she wrote and her best friend, Ellen Wilber, performed. Each chapter is titled after a song track. The CD describes the inner workings of the main character, and music is very important in her life. One of her previous books, The Tenth Circle, infuses a graphic novel into the story in order to get the dad's (a comic book artist) POV. Recently, she came out with Over the Moon, also with Ellen Wilber. It's the book for a musical that a high school can perform. I LOVE HER! She's not afraid to take risks. She rips issues in society out of the headlines and takes a hard look at them in her novels. Some of her books are depressing. Some will make you cry. Not all of them, but a few. A lot of them wind up in the court room. She'll make your brain spin and make you THINK. Her newest novel deals with a current hot-button issue that may lose her fans, but needs to be talked about: The fact that gay couples have trouble adopting children. Did I mention that I love this woman more than anything when it comes to reading?

M a r c h 8 :

*Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster [YA]: A Dystopian novel from a debut author. Yes, please. The cover is creepy, yet awesome, and so is the summary. It's about a guy who volunteers to be hypnotized, but something happens. When he comes too, life as he knows it ceases to exist. Technology doesn't function anymore and everything has gone wrong. Is he still hypnotized and in a nightmare, or has something horrible happened? The story is told through some transcribed cassette tapes, which seems to be a theme in YA at the moment. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan both use this technique and they're wildly popular novels. Hopefully Lancaster's debut will be as well!

*Love You More by Lisa Gardner [AF]: I've never read anything by Gardner before. The summary for this book sounded interesting, so I entered a contest on GoodReads and wound up winning a copy. It's about a woman who killed her husband in self-defense, which should have been an open and shut case. The only problem? Their daughter is missing. How far would you go to protect someone you loved? Hopefully I don't have to read any of her other books for this one. It sounds awesome!

*The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell [YA]: This book has gotten a ton of early buzz. It's a historical novel, taking place in 1889. It's about a girl who has the ability to see the future. She goes to Baltimore in search of a husband and instead, finds a mysterious stranger with secrets of his own. Sounds mysterious and lush. And have you seen that cover? GORGEOUS!

M a r c h 1 5 :

Beyonders: A World without Heroes by Brandon Mull [YA]: A sparkly new series by the author of the acclaimed middle-grade series Fablehaven. Just the title draws me in. Can you imagine a world without heroes? I love stories about heroes. A world without them sounds SCARY. I need to know more!

*So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
[AF?]: I'm pretty sure this is an adult novel, but one of the main characters is 15 yrs old, so I'm just not sure... The title is what caught my eye for this book. I love weird net phrases like "so much pretty." Who cares if there's grammatically wrong? They're fun! This is another mystery novel. A girl goes missing and everyone thinks she ran away until her body turns up a few months later. She's from a small town where crime just "doesn't happen." A woman who wants to be a reporter moves to the area and when the body is discovered, she suddenly has a hot story on her hands. A second wave of crime hits the area, and the woman winds up pairing off with a teenager in order to figure out what's going on...before tragedy strikes again.

*Steel by Carrie Vaughn: Vaughn also wrote Voices of Dragons, which I always meant to read last year, but never got around to. First off, the cover is AMAZING. It seems to scream, "RAWR, Girl Power!" It has a raw energy to it that reminds me of Graceling by Kristin Cashore (one of my favorite teen books EVER) and the upcoming Eona by Alison Goodman (sequel to Eon, which is another awesome fantasy novel). It's about a girl who's really good at fencing (and I swear, in the last month, I read another book with a girl that was awesome at fencing, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was...). Anyway, she finds an old piece of a sword on a beach and winds up on--are you ready?--A PIRATE SHIP. OMG, this sounds like it's going to be fantastic, rip-roaring fun!

M a r c h 2 2 :

*Night Road by Kristin Hannah [AF]: I haven't read many of Hannah's books, though she has several. Firefly Lane was the first book by her to catch my eye. Her books always have really lovely covers, too. It's about a woman with twins, and one night when the twins are in high school, something horrible happens. Because of this one moment, this one decision, the family is torn apart and life as they know it is irrevocably altered.

*The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen [AF]: This cover is so, so pretty. That's always the most important thing about any book, right? (What do you mean your mother taught you never to judge a book by its cover? For shame!) SAA's novel's are always full of whimsical charm, and I expect nothing less this time around. It's hard to sum up what I've gleaned from online summaries here, but there's definitely a mix of magic, romance, mystery, and, of course, a slight touch of the paranormal.

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson [AF]: Atkinson is a strong writer. This is the fourth novel starring Detective Jackson Brodie (the first was Case Histories), but you don't need to read them as a series to enjoy each book. At least, I don't think you do. I read all of her books in 2008 after When Will There Be Good News? came out, so they're not fresh in my mind. I remember a co-worker saying I didn't have to read in order when I was first starting out, though. I'm not sure of all that this novel revolves around, but I do know that it involves a poor, abused dog. Save the doggies!

*Wither by Lauren DeStefano [YA]: This is, hands-down, one of my favorite covers of 2011. It's BEAUTIFUL. And the way the book is set on the inside is to-die-for. I can't wait to take some close-ups and show all of you. It uses the same geometrical design you can see running through the cover. It's amazing and unique and I LOVE it. Anyway, for more info, see the above Spotlight column. I've already gushed way too much about this book.

M a r c h 2 9 :

*Entwined by Heather Dixon [YA]: Another book you can read more about above in the Spotlight Feature. But again, gorgeous cover and a book centered around The Twelve Dancing Princesses = love at first sight!

*Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon [YA]: The sequel to Silver Phoenix is here, you guys! Do you need to know what happens? I do! While I'm disappointed the hardback cover won't match the gorgeous thing that is Silver Phoenix due to a style change, I'm excited for what's between the pages. Each chapter will be decorated with Chinese brush art by Pon herself, who is quite the talented artist in addition to being a wonderful writer. This is a beautiful epic fantasy novel with Chinese roots. If you enjoyed books such as Eon by Alison Goodman, you'll like this, too. Gorgeous, lush, romantic...why wouldn't you pick this up?

*Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal [AF?]: Again, pretty sure this one is hitting the adult floor because it's aimed at people like ME who grew up with Jessica and Elizabeth. Who didn't love the twins? I grew up with these girls, from Kids to Teens to High to Senior Year to University. I'm not as invested as I once was, but won't it be trashy fun to read up on where the girls are now? What has ten years done to them? It's like that dirty little secret you know we'll all be reading. Don't lie. You KNOW you will!

P a p e r b a c k s :

I read all of the following books when they came out in tradecloth, so hopefully you'll check them out now that they're at a more affordable price. I'm 95% sure I forgot to include a few books in particular that I'm sure I'll smack myself for when I remember what it is. Oh well. This post is long enough already, ne?

*Have A Little Faith by Mitch Albom [AF]: I own all of Albom's novels. Tuesdays with Morrie is one of my top ten favorite novels. I could read it a million times. HALF reminds me of Morrie because it's another memoir, this time of Albom's Rabbi. He mixes it together with the incredible story of a Baptist priest who used to deal drugs. One night when he was sure he was going to die, he prayed to God and promised to dedicate his life to Him if his life was spared. While Albom is Jewish, he wound up forming a connection with this priest. The memoir may be too religious for some people, but the point is the life of these men. Albom is wonderful at painting a portrait with words in order to flesh out real human beings.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: Okay, so this has been out in paperback forever, I know. This one is the "Movie Cover Edition." The movie's coming out...sometime soon. April maybe? I saw a brief trailer on TV the other day, but it was over in the blink of an eye. From what little I saw--and based on the pose in this cover--the style reminds me very much of something Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge [my favorite movie EVER], Romeo and Juliet, Australia) would do. I'm not saying he did this movie because he DIDN'T, just that it reminds me of him. Plus, Reese Witherspoon looks gorgeous. I love her. (Another favorite movie? Legally Blonde. I admit it!) I actually haven't read this book, but I did buy a used copy from the library last year for a dollar. I'm going to have to read it soon, since I can't see the movie before I read the book!

So, which books are you looking forward to this month, Bookworms? Any of the above? Something I totally missed? I'm already swamped with books. How will I get through March? There are so many that came out this week alone! At least the rest of the month isn't quite as heavy... I feel overwhelmed right now...