Jan 31, 2011

Must Have Monday

I feel about 102 years old when I talk about the weather, but I am so not looking forward to the cold front this week. My friends and family in Oklahoma have already been told that school is cancelled. My buddies in Dallas are even going to get hit pretty hard. So today's MHM is all about keeping warm. Reminder, these are just things I found on the Web that I like. The description will link you to the seller. I have no idea who these clowns are, so don't take it personal if I didn't choose your kitten mittens. ;)

Audio Review - Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Published 2009 (first published 2008) by Playaway
Chelsea Mixon as Katsa & Zachary Exton as Prince Po

From the Publisher:
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight — she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme, and in her case horrifying, skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. 

She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace — or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away... a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

Day in and day out, Katsa has to put her Grace to use. She is gifted with the Grace of killing and her uncle, the king, sends Katsa out to do his dirty work. When she meets Prince Po, she thinks that perhaps she has found the only worthy person to practice her fighting skills. What she finds is more than a fighting partner. Katsa learns that her Grace is more than meets the eye and even though she doesn't want to tie herself to Po forever, she can't possibly live without him. 

For some odd dumb reason, I kept pushing Graceling aside. To be honest, I think it was the sword on the cover that turned me off. Silly I know, but I have "issues" with high fantasy books and as a result, this area isn't one of my strong suits. I'm working on it! (For the record, Graceling is not high fantasy) Regardless, many people told me to give Graceling a try and when I saw the Playaway version at the library, I had to give it a go. 

Graceling is one of those books that makes you want to live back in the days where words like "crunk," "fo-shizzle," and "jank" don't exist. Although the vocabulary is made up of simple, everyday words, there is a sophisticated feel and air of properness that add to the quality of the story. In fact, it is what makes this story great. Simply put, Cashore has a way with words. Yes, the dialect has something to do with the time period and setting, but let's be honest, Cashore has a gift. For me, the language was the most special aspect of this book and it adds a lightness and airy quality feel to a book about a girl killer and her journey to accept who she is and meant to be. 

Close second? The sweet romance between Katsa and Po - hands down. Man, I was really hoping that there was something more than friendship between the two. When we see that yes, indeed, love is in the air, my heart made a little jump. Surely I am repeating others thoughts, but Katsa's decision to remain unwed and essentially free of the confines of marriage, I wanted to leap for joy! Katsa's explanation for remaining "single" was sound and, to me, made perfect sense. Why would she go from serving one man - the king - to serving another? Of course, Po wouldn't ask her to do something against her will, but for Katsa, she would be living a life that she didn't envision for herself. She never thought love or marriage was an option - only death. Po doesn't push Katsa; he accepts that he will have Katsa anyway she will allow. How refreshing! Yes, very unlikely for the time period, but the message that it conveys is extraordinary. What is even more special about the arrangement is that they had a meaningful conversation about what the other person wanted and expected. Does this happen in real life between young people? No, probably not, but it should. I think those scenes where Katsa and Po were figuring out what would work for them as individuals and as a couple, were beautifully unique. 

This audio version was a full cast reading. What does that mean? There was more than one reader. In fact, there were too many to count! Katsa (Chelsea Mixon) and Po (Zachary Exton) had unique voices, as well as the awesome narrator (David Baker). When Bitterblue enters the story (the tie that will bind book 1 and book 3), I was more than happy a grown woman wasn't trying to turn her voice into that of a child's. Listening to a full cast version was like listening to a play - just not watching it. The actors chosen were sensational. Each actor was so convincing and I could easily hear and understand the emotion behind the words. When I was doing a little digging around about Cashore, I ran across this video about the making of full cast audio version. Watch and be amazed! 

Understand what I mean? Amazing! If you have already read Graceling, please give the full cast version a try. Yes, it is over 14 hours long, but beyond worth it. New to the story? The Playaway version is the way to go! Check out Cashore's website for awesome versions of Graceling and the sequel, Fire!

5 stars!

Jan 30, 2011

(ARC) Tour - The Dark & Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

The Dark and Hollow Place by Carrie Ryan
April 7th, 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters. 

Annah's world stopped that day and she's been waiting for him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn't feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again. 

Except, Catcher has his own secrets—dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah's longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah—can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

Please be sure to start here if you want to participate.
Comment below with your name and state to be 
considered for this tour.

*Must have read The Forest of Hands & Teeth and also Dark Tossed Waves

1. Cynthia (TX)
2. Christina (OH)
3. Michelle (WV)
4. Jen D. (TX)

Tour complete 3/11/2011

In My Mailbox

For Review:
Pearl by Jo Knowles
The Liar Society by Lisa & Laura Roecker

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson from Simon & Schuster

From the Library:
Looking for Alaska by John Green (Playaway - audio)

Fade by Lisa McMann (for signing)

Hummingbirds: Faces and Folklore From the Americas by Jeanette Larson (thx Jeanette!)

Currently Reading:
Looking For Alaska by John Green
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Still accepting donations for the Austin Children's Shelter

Priscilla the Great giveaway Ends Feb 2nd
SIGNED Bright Young Things contest Ends Feb 6th
Literary Lonestar Giveaway coming soon...
Graceling review coming soon...

Jan 29, 2011

Montgomery County Teen Book Festival Wrap-up

Texas bloggers, librarians, and book lovers gathered at the Montgomery County Teen Book Festival last week. We had groups come down from Dallas, Austin, and all over Houston. Stephanie, Jennifer, and I piled in my car and headed on down the night before. We ate a box of oatmeal creme pies along the way... We checked into the hotel and met a group of Houston bloggers for dinner!

Houston group: Christin, Lena, Ginger & Cari

Stephanie inside a Jen sandwich

After dinner we took a trip to Wal-Mart, but that really wasn't very exciting at all....lol! 

Fest day arrived and we couldn't wait to meet so many great authors - Lois Lowry, Anna Godbersen, Justina Chen, Thomas E. Sniegoski, and Jeff Stone. There was a great general session to start off the fest. Here is a little of what we learned:

"If you house was burning down, what book would you save?"
Lowry: signed, 1st edition of The Shining by Stephen King
Chen: Her personal journals so no one read them
Stone: Moby Dick

"If you could meet anyone from the past, who would you meet?"
Godbersen: Hemingway
Sniegoski: Jack Kirby
Lowry: Marjorie Henderson Buell

"Where do you write?"
Stone: Every book was written in a different place
Chen: Coffee shops - scared to write alone
Lowry: Her country house in Maine - she likes it perfectly quiet

"Which book would you recommend if someone wasn't familiar with your work?"
Lowry: A Summer To Die 
Sneigoski: A Kiss Before the Apocalypse
Godbersen: The Luxe
Next, we listened to Lois Lowry as she gave us a glimpse into her life. I must say, I was totally enthralled. She was relaxed, funny, and shared so much of her past. Here is a little from her presentation:

  She took the photographs that graced the covers of Number the Stars, 
The Giver, Gathering Blue, and The Messenger. 

She wanted to use this photo for The Giver, 
but the model was wearing a bandaid - 
there was no Photoshop back then to remove it.

Her first published story

Next up was the signing....there were a lot of people, but I think the lines went pretty fast. Here are a few:

Anna Godbersen

Justina Chen
Lois Lowry

Thomas Sneigoski

TX bloggers - Jessica, Kari, Jennifer, Stephanie, me,
Cynthia, Cari, and Christin

Overall, it was a fanny-pack-tastic day! Thank you's go out to the Houston gals for making us feel so welcome! Next time...Austin! 

Happy Reading!

Jan 27, 2011

The Book Blogger Hop (15)

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books and runs from Friday to Sunday. 

The Hop is a fantastic way to get your blog noticed, and visit some other blogs that you didn't know about before. Head over and sign up and see what you can find!

Each week a different question will be added to the hop in order for conversations to occur, and for your followers to get to know you better. Here we go!

"What book are you most looking forward to 
seeing published in 2011? Why are
you anticipating that book?"

My answer is a little convoluted. I would normally say that I am looking forward to the final installment in The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy - The Dark and Hollow Places, but....I've read it! The Forest of Hands and Teeth is one of my favorite series, and I was literally jumping out of my skin for a long time for the third book. Lucky me, I got an advanced copy and read it a few weeks ago. It was awesome!!! I can't wait for the rest of the world to read. Author Carrie Ryan will be making a stop to Texas, and I now I am looking forward to that.

Follow Friday is hosted by the lovely Rachel at Parajunkee's View. Here is her question:

"What was your favorite subject in school"?

Oh geez. In high school.....lunch!! For my undergraduate, anything with the word Psychology in the title. Master's in Experimental Psych....statistics! By far, I love statistics. I took about 24 hours of stats. ;) Master in Library Science...I would say my favorite class was collection development. We talked about what makes a good collection for a library and how best to serve your customer. Interesting.... I liked the lit classes, but I had to write a review every week. For some reason...I didn't like that very much. Ha...look at me now! 

Montgomery County Teen Book Fest wrap-u.
Three chances to win a singed Once in a Full moon bookmark Ends Friday, January 28th
Priscilla the Great giveaway Ends Feb 2nd
SIGNED Bright Young Things contest Ends Feb 6th

Cover Reveal - Perfect by Ellen Hopkins

Perfect by Ellen Hopkins
September 13th 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry

Everyone has something, someone, somewhere else that they'd rather be. For four high-school seniors, their goals of perfection are just as different as the paths they take to get there.

Cara's parents' unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother Conner spiraling toward suicide. For her, perfect means rejecting their ideals to take a chance on a new kind of love. Kendra covets the perfect face and body - no matter what surgeries and drugs she needs to get there. To score his perfect home run - on the field and off - Sean will sacrifice more than he can ever win back. And Andre realizes to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he'll be living a life his ancestors would never understand.

Everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go? What would you give up to be perfect?

A riveting and startling companion to the bestselling Impulse, Ellen Hopkins's Perfect exposes the harsh truths about what it takes to grow up and grow into our own skins, our own selves.

Amazing! I think this book will strike home for a lot of teens trying to live up to their families ideals and exceptions. I have no doubts that this will be a great addition to Ellen's collection. Next to Crank, this is my favorite cover. The bleeding watercolors are fantastic!

Good News Friday

Happy FRIDAY everyone! Another week has come and gone, and I would love to hear some good news. It's been crazy in the Bigheart house. It took me a few days to recover from the Mont Teen Book Fest. Whew....I was exhausted! We had such a great time, and I promise to write all about it this weekend. Meeting Lois Lowry was soooo.....everything!

My good news today is that we are throwing our daughter a 15th birthday party tonight! I really am old kids, so you can stop saying, "Wowwwwww." Anyway, we are throwing her a rave and busting out the black lights! These things have been the best investment ever! Need I remind you of our TX book blogger party back in December? Oy...good times! So, the house is decorated and the house looks awesome! I am kinda hoping that the 50 teenagers will ruin my carpet so I can score some new wood floors from my old man! We'll see...maybe that will be my good news next week!

Younger daughter on her 12th

Would love to hear your good news! Share it.....

Cover Reveal - Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Hourglass by Myra McEntire
May 24th 2011 by EgmontUSA

Since the age of fourteen, Emerson Cole has seen strange things – dead things – swooning Southern Belles, soldiers, and other eerie apparitions of the past. She’s tried everything to get rid of the visions: medication, counseling, asylums. Nothing’s worked.

So when Emerson's well-meaning brother calls in yet another consultant from a mysterious organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to give it one last try.

Michael Weaver is no ordinary consultant. He's barely older than she is; he listens like no one she's ever met before; and he doesn't make her feel the least bit crazy. As Emerson ventures deeper into the world of the Hourglass, she begins to learn the truth about her past, her future--and her very life.

A seductive time-slip novel that merges the very best of the paranormal and science fiction genres, Myra McEntire’s Hourglass is a stunning debut from an author to watch. 

Oh wow, I can honestly say that I love this! I think this has been one of my favorite cover reveals in a long time. My brain tries to make sense of what's going on with that girl on the wall. To me, the cover conveys that this girl's life is literally upside down. I"m blown away. 

Sidenote: Hourglass comes out on my birthday so you know I have to read it!

Jan 25, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Tighter by Adele Griffin
May 10th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

When 17-year-old Jamie arrives on the idyllic New England island of Little Bly to work as a summer au pair, she is stunned to learn of the horror that precedes her. Seeking the truth surrounding a young couple's tragic deaths, Jamie discovers that she herself looks shockingly like the dead girl—and that she has a disturbing ability to sense the two ghosts. Why is Jamie's connection to the couple so intense? What really happened last summer at Little Bly? As the secrets of the house wrap tighter and tighter around her, Jamie must navigate the increasingly blurred divide between the worlds of the living and the dead.

Brilliantly plotted, with startling twists, here is a thrilling page-turner from the award-winning Adele Griffin.

Ohhhh, spooky. I think this sounds really interesting. I've been on a bit of a paranormal break so this one sounds good today. The cover looks pretty wicked too. Is that a sheet? Is there more than one person? Hmmm, not sure what's going on, but it has a tortured kind of look. I dig. 

Happy Reading! 

Review - Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson (& Giveaway)

Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson
December 2010 by WorldMaker Media

From the Publisher:
Meet Priscilla Sumner, an ordinary seventh grader with extraordinary gifts. As if middle school isn’t hard enough, not only does Priscilla have to fight pimples and bullies, but genetically enhanced assassins trying to kill her and her family. Armed with wit, strength, and a genius best friend, Priscilla must defeat the Selliwood Institute, an organization dead set on turning children into killing machines.

Add an older brother annoyingly obsessed with Christina Aguilera, mischievous baby twin brothers who could scare the sin off of Satan, and parents more puzzling than a Rubik’s cube in the Bermuda triangle and expect a smoking page-turner!

You would think that shooting fire out of your finger would be pretty awesome for a kid. Priscilla thought so too until she realized she put everyone around her at risk. Priscilla tries to keep her secret kept to herself, but soon, she is lighting things on fire all around her. Even hugging or kissing a boy has it's dangers. (don't ask her about the "sex video") When Priscilla's parents learn of her strange ability, years of secrets and lies begin to crumble. Her mother has always been an absent parent, but to Priscilla's surprise, there are very good reasons why her mom missed her birthday celebrations. It seems that Priscilla isn't the only one with special abilities. When her family is kidnapped, Priscilla must fight a government operation to genetically produce killers. Even though she has special skills, can Priscilla fight off armed guards with their own abilities?

This book was quite the page turner. Even though the book is relatively long for a middle grade book, each page is dived up into several paragraphs making it a breeze to read. Priscilla is funny, witty, sarcastic, and full of charm. She tells us about farting on her brother and even a game called Snot Wars. After she learns of her powers, she begins to think that she may be an alien. There are several scenes of inner dialogue of her hashing out the odds that she is from space. Very funny! Her humor and inner worries about how she came into her powers are what make this book special. 

There is a lot of mystery and adventure (even a bit of violence) to keep the story interesting for a male reader. The end is very climatic and exciting, and we are easily set up for book two. Overall, very cute and a great pick for a middle grader! 

4 Stars

My review copy is up for grabs to one lucky winner! 

Contest Rules
US address only
Must be a follower
Contest ends at midnight CST, Wednesday, February 2nd
Winner will be chosen using Random.org
Must fill out the form below to be officially entered
Good luck!

*Giveaway closed*

Jan 24, 2011

Review - The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
December 2010 HarperTeen

From the Publisher:
The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

Emma has bounced from foster home to foster home since she was a small child. After being left by her mother, she pretty much can't wait to turn 18 and be on her own for good. After she sees a horrifying video of what looks like a girl being choked to death, she thinks she may have a long lost twin sister out there. She boards a bus and starts a search to see if her sister died or if that is her sister at all. When she arrives in her sisters town, she quickly learns that her life is in danger and she must play the part of her sister for her to survive and learn who murdered her. 

Let me preface by saying that I am a Pretty Little Liar fan. I started reading that series when book 2 or 3 came out - eons ago. So I was more than willing than to give The Lying Game a try. In a nutshell, this is so similar to PLL that I was irritated and found myself skimming a lot. They have the same label and brand dropping, same type of mystery, same snarky remarks from the same type of snotty girls, and the same kind of mini cliff-hangers or revelations at the end of every chapter. There is absolutely nothing new and refreshing about this book. I was very disappointed. 

Before I started I said to myself, "I will not like this book if anyone drops a brand name in the first chapter." Sure enough, by page 10, we start the excessive, unnecessary adabrag. For example, "I love Gucci more than Pucci, but not as much as Juicy." Ugh. I get it, the girls are superficial and all about the label. I don't care, the label names were so rampant that it lost it's charm - quick. The other major problem I had with the story is the narration. The story is being told from Sutton's, the dead sister's, point of view, but I was easily confused. Sutton would explain Emma's feelings. How is that possible? Because she is a ghost, a twin? Also, Sutton would call her parents Mr. and Mrs. Mercer when Emma would interact with them. Why? They were her parents? Was the narration supposed to jump between sisters because they were twins? I had no clue. 

There were a few other little irritating things: Emma, a foster kid, owns a Blackberry? Yes, she works and saves her money, but for someone who shops at thrift stores to save a buck, you would think a regular phone would suffice. I don't even want to talk about the mention of a hot-dog eating contest in Vegas. Pointless inner dialogue throughout. You get my point...

If you think you know find out who Sutton's killer is...you would be wrong. Maybe that will happen in book 5 or 6 like PLLs (10 book series). Overall, super disappointed and I don't see myself staying tuned to the series. Because I finished the book...

2 Stars

Drought Winner

Congratulations goes to....

Jennelle from Reading is Dreamy

She won an ARC of Drought by Pam Bachorz. Thank you everyone for entering! 

Jan 23, 2011

Bright Young Things - Interview with Anna Godbersen (& Contest)

I have been waiting for years for Anna to make her way to Texas and was SO happy to hear last year that she would be attending the Montgomery County Teen Book Festival at the beginning of 2011. After I read Bright Young Things, I had a few questions for Anna.

I am one of many readers that picked up your book, The Luxe, because of that gorgeous pink dress. Can you tell me anything about the casting or wardrobe choices for the Luxe series and Bright Young Things?
They’re beautiful, right?! Like most authors, I don’t have much control over what goes on the covers of the books, but I’m really lucky and pleased with what the art department folks did there. I did go the cover shoots, which were really fun—the girls aren’t ever exactly what I picture for the characters, but they all did great jobs of representing the idea of the characters. And who can argue with big heaps of dress? Which, by the way, is such a great metaphor for the world of THE LUXE—how all that beautiful ornamentation is also a big fat trap.

Was the concept of BYTs born because The Luxe series was coming to an end, or was it always swimming around somewhere?
More the latter. I wanted to do another series, and I wanted it to be new and different, but also to be a logical extension of the themes from THE LUXE. In a way, the 1920s follows the Gilded Age, but in another way it turns it on its head. And what American writer or reader doesn’t always have Gatsby in the back of their minds?

Cordelia and Letty pretty much throw caution to the wind and head for NYC in search of a new life (and more). Why 1929? Why NYC?
As with THE LUXE, BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS is set at the end of an era, although the characters don’t really know that their way of living (strict morality for the Gilded Age, anything goes giddy speculation for the Roaring 20s) is coming to an end. I’m really interested in that, in who is going to go down with the ship, and who is going to find a new way of being? And New York… New York because it is the center of everything. Though I probably just think that because New York is the city I moved to when I was eighteen. And like most writers, I have to start with what I know.

Letty learns quickly that it won't be easy becoming a star in New York. Without giving too much away, does Cordelia's "situation" help Letty rise to the top?
I don’t know yet! But I think the whole series will be about the tension and love between these two girls who were really all each other had in their small town life, and then when they arrive in this big wonderful, horrible city where all their dreams are supposed to come true, that bond really gets challenged. They have to learn not to need each other as much, and they begin to see differences that they just couldn’t acknowledge when they leaned on each so heavily back home. But, on the other hand, that kind of bond just never goes away.

The Grey's and Hale's have bad blood that goes back for years. Will we learn more about their falling out?
Oh yes. But that’s all I’m going to say!

Astrid comes off a little snobby (okay she is snobby), but deep down she has a big heart. Is she in for a huge roller coaster of a ride with Charlie?
I would say it already is a big roller coaster ride—doesn’t everyone know a couple like this, who are always either making out in public or on the verge of breaking up? But yes, I think as the kids get more involved in the business, the stakes for Astrid and Charlie are going to get awfully high.

How many times does the word 'cigarettes' appear in BYT? ;)
Ha! Many. Kids: Don’t smoke. For real. It’s funny—forgive my tangent here, but—I live in a pretty hip neighborhood here in Brooklyn—you know, the kind where tattooed graphic designers fill the coffee shops. And I see girls of all ages walking down the street briskly in high heels, cigarette in hand. And I distinctly remember being younger and watching girls like that and thinking, “Man, that looks cool.” And now all I can think is, “Man, that looks stupid.” When I write, I want to write about experience, the world as it is, the imperfections of my characters, their mistakes as well as their fears and their joys, and all of that without judgment. But here in the world, I am not above a little PSA!

We all want to know, any characters from the Luxe series make an appearance in the Bright Young Things series?
You know, I had considered an angle or two… but for the first book at least I was just so concerned with making BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS its own entity, so I didn’t really get too in depth with making Luxe connections. But now that you mention it… any requests or suggestions?!


Want to guess who has an extra signed copy of Bright Young Things left over from Mont Fest....? Yep, me and I would love for someone to enjoy it. Because I think this should go to a super-fan, this won't be a giveaway, but a contest. Below is how you can win a SIGNED hardcover of Bright Young Things.

What character from The Luxe series would you like to see make an appearance in the Bright Young Things series? Describe the event or circumstance briefly in form. Answers more insightful than "Henry dates Astrid" will likely win. Think out of the box and have fun! I think Anna will have to help me choose a winner so take your time...

Contest Rules:
US address only
Must be a follower
Contest ends at midnight CST, Sunday, February 6th
Winner will be chosen by Anna and myself
Must fill out the form below to be officially entered
Extra entries will be considered in the event of a tie
Good luck!

*Giveaway closed*

In My Mailbox

IMM is hosted by the Story Siren.

For Review:
Paradise by Jill S. Alexander (thx Jill!)
The Lying Game by Sara Shepard (Around the World ARC Tours)
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney (Flux)
So Shelly by Ty Roth (thx Ty!)

Kat, Incorrigible (Simon & Schuster)

A Summer To Die by Lois Lowry 
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Currently Reading:
The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

Win a signed Once in a Full Moon bookmark
Coming Soon - Interview & Giveaway with Anna Godbersen
Montgomery Fest wrap-up

Jan 20, 2011

Good News Friday (Mont Fest)

It's Friday again, yay! If you have good news, share it! Tell me about your new puppy, a lower heating bill, or even a good recipe you found. I have two pieces of good news. Tomorrow is my first TLA committee meeting! I have no clue what to expect, but I will write down everything. I hope I walk in and they hand me a ten page spreadsheet of all the awesome authors that are attending. Doubt that will happen, but a book nerd can dream!

My second good news is that a bunch of us TX book bloggers are meeting in The Woodlands this weekend for the Montgomery County Teen Book Festival!!!! I am SO very excited to meet some of these awesome ladies that I have been talking to for the first time. I know they are happy to meet me. ;)

So, you may notice a lot of crae crae tweeting going on tomorrow night and Saturday! Wanna come? Please do! Below is a link to the festival. I won't tell you what hotel we are staying in, but I bet you can find us if you roll down your window and drive slow down I-45. Also, a lot of these wonderful Lonestars are handing over bags and boxes of books to take to the Austin Children's Shelter. Awesome!

So what's your good news?

Mont Fest link HERE

The Book Blogger Hop (14)

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books and runs from Friday to Sunday. The Hop is a fantastic way to get your blog noticed, and visit some other blogs that you didn't know about before. Head over and sign up and see what you can find!

Each week a different question will be added to the hop in order for conversations to occur, and for your followers to get to know you better. Here we go!

Looks like there is no question so far tonight, 
so tell me what you're reading... 

I'm reading Dark & Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan. And...I love it! Halfway done and I don't want it to end!

Follow Friday is hosted by the lovely Rachel at Parajunkee's View. Here is her question:

"Who do you cheer for"?

If we are talking sports, then I cheer for a whole bunch of teams! I live in Texas, but was born and mostly raised in Oklahoma. For nine years I lived in California! So the list may seem a little random. Both my daughter play sports so I definitely root them on a lot! 

College sports - Oklahoma Sooners!
NFL - Oakland Raiders
MLB - San Francisco Giants 
MBA - OKC Thunder
Nascar - Would rather poke my eyes out

Montgomery County Teen Book Fest this weekend!
Three chances to win a singed Once in a Full moon bookmark Ends Friday, January 28th

Review - When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
July 2009 Wendy Lamb Books

From the Publisher:
While living in New York City, twelve-year-old Miranda is busy helping her mother study for her upcoming appearance on The $20,000 Pyramid when a series of anonymous notes leave her feeling anything is possible.

In 1978, Miranda is a twelve-year-old girl living alone with her mother in New York City. Her mother works full-time, and Miranda is often left home alone. One day, Miranda receives a note that says, “I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.” Over the next several weeks items around the house turn-up missing, and more anonymous notes arrive. Unfortunately, Miranda doesn’t have anyone she can confide in. Her best friend and neighbor Sal has just told her he doesn’t want to be friends anymore. Miranda is heartbroken and makes several failed attempts to make new friends. During all of these events, Miranda’s mother is set to appear on the popular The $20,000 Pyramid game show. The family needs money, and Miranda and Richard, her mother’s boyfriend, spend every night quizzing her with trivia questions. As time goes on, Miranda tries to unravel the mystery and find clues in her daily activities. Relationships change, additional friendships form, and her mother’s television debut has arrived. It is at this moment that all of the pieces and clues fall into place for Miranda. She understands the notes and knows who needs to be saved, but has to defy the laws of space and time to believe it’s possible.

Stead does a good job weaving science fiction and fantasy elements into this coming of age story. In the story, Miranda speaks often of her favorite book, A Wrinkle in Time. This novel by Madeleine L'Engle foreshadows the current story during several scenes. Having never read A Wrinkle in Time, I had no idea of the clues that the book brought to the When You Reach Me story. Regardless, there are other opportunities to pick up on hints and signs about where the story was headed. Personally, I felt the story was a little too easy and predictable without the clues from L’Engle’s novel. The side story of the game show appearance was distracting for me. I appreciate the fact that the game show adds to the setting and time of the story (1970s), but this element seemed to take up too much time, and seemed too grand of an idea. It is easy to see that Stead was raised in New York City during the 1970s. Stead and Miranda take pride in the neighborhood. The local delis, pizza parlors, alleys, and apartment buildings are all described from firsthand knowledge with great details. Stead understands the value of chosen family members, and for Miranda, those people are neighbors and local business owners. This coming of age story will attract young readers, and the low fantasy elements will keep them tuned in. Recommended for ages 10-14 yrs.

3.75 Stars

Ellen Schreiber - Once in a Full Moon Tour (& Giveaway)

Last night I had the pleasure to hear Ellen speak about her best selling series Vampire Kisses and talk about her new series, Once in a Full Moon. Here are some tidbits about her and her writing:

She was an actor and stand up comedian at The Second City in Chicago

She was inspired to write Vampire Kisses because of 4 things: a rebellious girl character came to mine, three goth girls standing on swings in a park, vampires, and Johnny Depp. She wondered....what would Johnny Depp do if he was a vampire?

She was first published in Belgium - Johnny Lightening

She wrote Vampire Kisses in 1998.

She submitted her manuscript to an editor who was accepting "unsolicited manuscripts" -without an agent.

Years later, her editor asked her to think about writing something new. She knew she wanted to stay with a paranormal theme. She began to think about werewolf's.

Book #2 in this series is called Magic of the Moonlight

Ellen was so nice to sign some bookmarks for me to giveaway. She even said she would make a donation to the Austin Children's Shelter!

I am going to change the way you can enter a little bit. There will be one winner from the Literary Lonestar Facebook page, 1 winner from Twitter, and 1 winner from the blog. You can enter all three to increase your chances.

Literary Lonestar winner - "Like" and comment below the book mark photo

Twitter winner - Tweet "Win a signed #OnceinaFullMoon bookmark from I Read Banned Books! http://tiny.cc/v0yfp @jenbigheart @ellenschreiber @PitchDarkBooks"

Blog winner - Follower and comment on this post with an email

*Giveaway closed*

Montgomery County Teen Book Festival, Jan 21-22
Coming Soon - Interview & Giveaway with Anna Godbersen