Featured Book of the Week: Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Monday, November 9, 2015

Featured Book of the Week
Iron Trial
 Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst -- and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

From the remarkable imaginations of bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a heart-stopping, mind-blowing, pulse-pounding plunge into the magical unknown.

About the Authors

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare) and The Darkest Part of the Forest. She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. 

To find out more about Holly Black check out her web site.

Cassandra Clare was born to American parents in Teheran, Iran and spent much of her childhood travelling the world with her family, including one trek through the Himalayas as a toddler where she spent a month living in her father’s backpack. She lived in France, England and Switzerland before she was ten years old.

Since her family moved around so much she found familiarity in books and went everywhere with a book under her arm. She spent her high school years in Los Angeles where she used to write stories to amuse her classmates, including an epic novel called “The Beautiful Cassandra” based on a Jane Austen short story of the same name (and  which later inspired her current pen name).
After college, Cassie lived in Los Angeles and New York where she worked at various entertainment magazines and even some rather suspect tabloids where she reported on Brad and Angelina’s world travels and Britney Spears’ wardrobe malfunctions. She started working on her YA novel, City of Bones, in 2004, inspired by the urban landscape of Manhattan, her favourite city. She turned to writing fantasy fiction full time in 2006 and hopes never to have to write about Paris Hilton again.

Cassie’s first professional writing sale was a short story called “The Girl’s Guide to Defeating the Dark Lord” in a Baen anthology of humor fantasy. Cassie hates working at home alone because she always gets distracted by reality TV shows and the antics of her two cats, so she usually sets out to write in local coffee shops and restaurants. She likes to work in the company of her friends, who see that she sticks to her deadlines.

To find out more about Cassandra Clare and her books check out her web site.

Surrounded by Sharks by Michael Northrop

Monday, November 2, 2015

Michael Northrop

When Davey wakes, just as the sun is rising, he can't wait to slip out of the crammed hotel room he's sharing with his family. Leave it to his parents and kid brother to waste an entire day of vacation sleeping in! Davey heads straight for the beach, book and glasses in hand, not bothering to leave a note. As the sparkling ocean entices him, he decides to test the water, never mind that "No Swimming" sign. But as the waves pull him farther from shore, Davey finds himself surrounded by water -- and something else, too. Something circling below the surface, watching, waiting. It's just a matter of time.
Author Post

From Start to Fin: How I Wrote Surrounded By Sharks
By Michael Northrop 

I’ve always been fascinated by sharks—fascinated and, OK, more than a little scared. But I faced a few big obstacles when I set out to write a gripping survival story about sharks. The first obstacle: Shark attacks are seriously rare. In fact, you are more likely to get killed by a vending machine falling on you than by a shark attack. But vending machines are nowhere near as cool or scary as sharks. There’s a reason my book isn’t called Squashed By Snickers!

The second obstacle: I was determined to write about realistic sharks, not malicious movie monsters. In real life, sharks are cautious hunters. They rarely encounter people, so when they do, they are usually more curious than aggressive. They aren’t sure what we are, much less if we’re on the menu.

But in order for the book to work, the danger from the sharks had to seem both very likely and very serious. I accomplished that by putting the main character, Davey Tsering, right in the middle of the sharks' world. A powerful riptide pulls him far out into the ocean—and pulled me past both obstacles.

Out there in the open ocean, so far from land (and vending machines), a shark attack isn’t unrealistic at all. In fact, it’s just a matter of time… 

About the Author

My name is Michael Northrop, and I am a writer living in New York City. I am the author of Scholastic’s new multi-platform series, TombQuest. Book 1: Book of the Dead was published on January 27, 2015, and spent three weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. I am also the author of four young adult novels: Gentlemen (2009), which earned a Publishers Weekly Flying Start citation; Trapped (2011), an Indie Next List selection; Rotten (2013), one of the Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of the Year; and Surrounded By Sharks (2014), one of E! Online’s Best Summer Reads. My first middle grade novel, Plunked, was named one of the best children’s books of the year by both the New York Public Library and Bank Street and was selected by NPR for its Backseat Book Club.

I am originally from Salisbury, Connecticut, a small town in the foothills of the Berkshire mountains. It was a great place to grow up (to the extent that I did), falling out of trees, shooting BB guns at soda cans (and my brother), and kicking field goals for my high school football team.

Since moving to New York to attend NYU, I have worked at The World Almanac and Sports Illustrated Kids, where I was a senior editor from 2000 to 2008. I have moonlighted as a standup comedian, earned a black belt, and taken up running. I’ve been to the Olympics, the Super Bowl, and spring training. And my writing has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated Kids, People Online, The New York Times Upfront, Notre Dame Review, McSweeney’s, Weird Tales, and many other places.

Three random facts about me:
1) I am dyslexic and had to repeat second grade.
2) I once stepped on a yellowjacket nest and was stung approx. 75 times.
3) According to family lore, I am distantly related to Jonathan Swift, who wrote
Gulliver’s Travels.

Three of my favorite things:
1) Watership Down (book)
2) Jaws (movie)
3) Spicy tuna hand rolls (food)

If you would like more information about Michael Northrop check out his website

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