Thursday, January 31, 2013

Librarian Blog: Early Word

At my newish librarian blog with Kimberly, I'm talking about Early Word and why I love it!

Contest: Order of Darkness

About the book:
Dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance populate the pages of this first in a four-book teen series from the #1 bestselling author of The Other Boleyn Girl. 

The year is 1453 and all signs point to it being the end of the world. Accused of heresy and expelled from his monastery, handsome seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is recruited by a mysterious stranger to record the end of times across Europe. Commanded by sealed orders, Luca is sent to map the fears of Christendom and travel to the very frontier of good and evil.

Seventeen-year-old Isolde, a Lady Abbess, is trapped in a nunnery to prevent her from claiming her rich inheritance. As the nuns in her care are driven mad by strange visions, walking in their sleep, and showing bleeding wounds, Luca is sent to investigate and driven to accuse her.

Forced to face the greatest fears of the dark ages—witchcraft, werewolves, madness—Luca and Isolde embark on a search for truth, their own destinies, and even love as they take the unknown ways to the real historical figure who defends the boundaries of Christendom and holds the secrets of the Order of Darkness.

I'm about 2/3rds the way through this book and it's really good. I'll have a review up soon!

The book trailer:

Link to the official sites
Visit the Official Site 

About the author
Philippa Gregory is the author of several internationally bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl and The White Queen, and is a recognized authority on women’s history. She lives in the north of England with her family and welcomes visitors to her website, Order of Darkness: Changeling is her first novel written for teens.

Contest: (with thanks to Big Honcho Media)
1. 2 people will win 1 copy of Order of Darkness: Changeling
2. leave a comment with your email address before 2/7 midnight EST

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Winner: Jennifer Lynn Barnes Contest

Of the two Jennifer Lynn Barnes books is:

Sarah Herron

Congrats Sarah, I'll be sending you an email. 

What's on My Holds List (37)

My Librarian friend Jess from I Read to Relax came up with a great idea.  It's to highlight the books on hold at the library. I usually have 20-40 items checked out at the library and another 20 items on hold.

Today's brought to you by the award winning titles from the youth awards this week.

Bomb: Winner of multiple awards - this historical nonfiction looks very interesting

The One and Only Ivan: The Newbery Winner which looks super cute!

Seraphina: I've been wanting to read this for ages. Now I have the best reason ever! (Morris Award winner). 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

At the HUB: 19th Century Literature

Inspired by this timeline in Entertainment Weekly, I wrote a book list for some of my favorite reads from this era. Check it out!

Tween Tuesday Review: Swindle

**Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens. Join the fun! **   

Griffin always has a plan. He wants to use the land from the house being destroyed for a skate park. However, everyone refused to let him speak. Now in a last ditch effort, he's invited his whole class to sleep over at the house. Only his best friend shows up.

The night isn't a total loss as Griffin finds an old Babe Ruth card hidden inside a desk. He hopes that this card could be the answer to his parents' money troubles. He takes the card to a local shop where the man gives him $20.

Later, he sees the man on TV raving about this rare baseball card. Immediately Griffin knows that he's been swindled. He's not about to let that stop him. He comes up with a plan to steal back his baseball card.

My Thoughts: I LOVED this book. I'm a huge Gordon Korman fan. I read this for our 4th and 5th grade book club at the library. I loved the action, the danger, the heist, and the characters. I like how Gordon Korman writes about kids standing up for their rights and often taking matters into their own hands. I loved Griffin and his plans. I was impressed by how he assembled his team. You can't go wrong with Gordon Korman, all of our book club kids love him. I'm eagerly awaiting my turn at the second book in the series.

Cover Thoughts: Great
Source: my Library

Book Trailer: Check out the awesome book trailer.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pride and Prejudice: 200 years

Dear Jane,

I first discovered your work after watching Clueless. I fell in love with that movie. It was funny, clever, and sweet.

I read a review in the school newspaper that it was based on Emma. I remember going to the library and checking out your works in one volume.  I read Emma, loved it and then turned my attention to Pride and Prejudice. I loved the title.

I devoured the book, loving every moment of it. I fell in love with Mr. Darcy, admired Lizzie, and felt badly for Jane for most of the book.  In my opinion, it's the greatest love story ever told.

I adore reading sequels, prequels, or Pride and Prejudice from a different viewpoint. I love the mini series. I like the movie. I admit there are parts of the movie, I prefer to the mini-series, but as a whole, I'm a Colin Firth fan.  

In graduate school, a cataloging professor realized my love of Pride and Prejudice (and Mr. Darcy through my email), she invited me to her college library to see a first edition copy. I held the three volumes in my hand. It was a magical moment. 

I'm so greatful that 200 years later, we have the chance to read Pride and Prejudice, along with your other works. Thank you for writing such an amazing story (not to mention your other stories). I only wish you lived longer to share more stories with us. I also wish that your letters had not been burned, I'm so curious as to the secrets we will never learn of your life.

Blog Tour: Interview with Shannon Greenland

I've been a fan of Shannon's for years, so I'm happy to participate in her blog tour!

How did you get the idea for the Specialist series? 
When Alias was on I watched it religiously with my friends. And so when I decided to write a teen series, spies came as a natural fit.
Oh, I LOVED that series

Is there a character from the series that most resembles you?
 I think like any author there’s bits and pieces of each character that resembles him or her. With my lead character GiGi it’s her awkwardness around boys and her mathematical brain that I resemble the most.
I find that funny, but I'm sure in real life it would be embarrassing.

How many books are in the series and are they all available?
 There are 5 books in the series and they are all available electronically now. Woot!

Is there something daring your characters have done that you would never dare to do?

My favorite character is Bruiser. She is so adventurous and kick-butt. I envy her. When people ask me who do I want to be most like, it’s definitely her.

5. What's up next for you?
 I’m working on a suspense trilogy that takes place in D.C. I’m very excited about it. It’s not like anything I’ve ever done before.
Oh, that sounds great! Looking forward to it!
Is there a book you're reading (or recently finished)  that you think everyone should read? 
 Hm… so many books, so little time. I recently read by April Lindner. It’s a retelling of the classic novel Jane Eyre. She did a fantastic job. So if you’re a fan of the classics, I’d say you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Teen Book Character Outfit: The Elite

I read The Elite by Kiera Cass. She has a great wardrobe, I wouldn't mind wearing some of her dresses. (Review coming soonish).

Here's what I picture her wearing.

The pin will also go up on my Library Pinterest Board

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mysterious Saturday Review: Book Line and Sinker

* Library Lover's Mystery #3*

Pirate fever has taken hold of the small town of Briar Creek, Connecticut.  A salvage company wants to search Ruby Island. The company is in possession of a map, which they believe will lead them to the treasure of Captain Kid.

During the excavation of the island, Trudi (a local) ends up at the bottom of the hole, murdered. She was seen fighting with Milton outside the library on more than one occasion.

To make matters worse, Lindsey's neighbor signed up to work on the dig. Lindsey helps look into the murder to clear her friends, whom she doesn't believe for a moment would resort to murder.

My Thoughts: I love this series. I love the moments in the library with Beth, the Children's Librarian making it a warm place for kids. I even like the very authentic interactions between Lindsey and Mrs. Cole. I liked the addition of Lindsey's former boyfriend, looking to reconcile. It made for tension in Sully and Lindsey's relationship. I loved the pirate flair and learning a bit about pirates. All in all, a smashing good read with romance, friendship, pirate lore, and of course murder.

Cover Thoughts: Cute - love the book tie in plus the treasure map.
Source: my Library

Friday, January 25, 2013

Review: Model Spy

Kelly James, child genius, finds herself in hot water after a boy in college asks her to hack into a government computers system. She's brought in for questioning and given a choice. She can go to juvie or she can become a part of a government program called the Specialists.

She decides there's nothing waiting for her; she has no friends and her parents are dead. she travels with TL to her new home, a ranch for boys and girls. It's a cover for the real program.

Kelly's brought in, where she becomes a part of a new team. One of the boys gives her the name Genius Girl, GiGi for short. Each team member has his or her own specialty. They're expected to go to school, GiGi to college and the rest to high school. They're expected to train physically. Plus they're expected to go on missions as needed.

Not too long into her training, GiGi's given a mission. She needs to blend in as a model, while using her computer skills. Her partner in crime is the boy who got her in the mess in the first place. 

My Thoughts: A smashing start to series full of spies, romance, and smart girls. I love GiGi - how she's smart, how she thinks in computer code to calm down, how she loves lollipops, how she mixes up words when she talks, her determination and her strength. I love her team, can't wait to read more about them. The series is funny, sexy, and thrilling. I love the action, the danger, and the scenes between David and GiGi.

Cover Thoughts: Really like it
Source: My Library
READ poster: I created this poster about the Specialists series and Shannon Greenland.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: Boy Nobody

* Comes out June 11th *

Body Nobody has an easy way of blending into crowds. he can become your new best friend in just a moment. He'll change your life forever and than disappear without a trace. It's his job and he's really good at it.

His new assignment is to infiltrate a famous private school on the Upper West Side and become friend's Sam, the Mayor's daughter. His next target is the Mayor of New York City. The Program sets him up with an apartment and cover story. He has five days to complete the mission.

On first first day, he gains the attention of Sam. He's not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing. When he attends a party at her house, he has the opportunity to make his move. Instead, he hesitates. The Mayor brings up memories of his own father. He's not sure he wants to complete this mission for the Program. But if he's not Boy Nobody, than who is he?

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this action packed book. I love books about assassins/spies. I liked the interaction between Sam and Ben. I like that she made him work for a chance at friendship and she wasn't afraid to say her real thoughts. The action made me not want to put the book down. I liked Body Nobody and how he could blend into a crowd and disappear. He could also be anyone. He could reinvent himself anytime - with a price of course. I felt bad for him. While he feels nothing, he seems lonely.

Cover Thoughts: LOVE it!
Source: Little Brown
Fun Fact: It looks like it's the first in a series, according to GoodReads.

Rumor: The rumor swirling at the Little Brown event was movie rights have been purchased by Will Smith's company in hopes that his son will star in this movie --- as a read I can see that happening and real liking the idea. I hope it turns out to be more than just a rumor!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What Makes a Good Mystery?

I'm addicted to mysteries - love teen mysteries and cozies. Yesterday I wrote up a guest post for Teen Librarian Toolbox. Check out what I think makes a good mystery!

What's on My Holds List (36)

My Librarian friend Jess from I Read to Relax came up with a great idea.  It's to highlight the books on hold at the library. I usually have 20-40 items checked out at the library and another 20 items on hold.

Jealousy: Addicted to this series so much!!! Can't wait to read the next installment, especially after that cliffhanger!

When Summer Comes: Really enjoyed the first two books in this series set in Whiskey Creek
Summerset Abbey: Looks very Downton

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays

This week we're talking about what we'd like to see more in YA books! - meme from The Broke and the Bookish

This is an easy list for  me to make and in no particular order:

  1. College
  2. Beach - summer
  3. Winter/Christmas
  4. In Verse Novels
  5. Text/Letter novels
  6. historical America
  7. Renaissance Italy
  8. Regency England 
  9. High Fantasy
  10. Mysteries 

Nobody Contest

Yesterday I reviewed Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Today I'm giving it away. Not sure if you want to read Nobody. Trust me - you do. Check out my review here.

But wait there's more. You can also win a paperback copy of Every Other Day - which you also want to read. My review for this awesome stand alone is here.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes books are an automatic read for me, I love them all. Now's your chance to read these amazing books too.

Thanks to Media Masters Publicity:
1 Winner will receive both a hardcover copy of Nobody and a paperback of Every Other Day.
(US and Canada only)
Please leave a comment by FRIDAY January 25th by midnight EST with your email so I can get in touch with you.

For more info on Jen's GREAT books, check out her twitter and the publisher's twitter and facebook. 

* Follow Egmont USA on Facbook:
* Follow Egmont USA on Twitter: @EgmontUSA
*  Follow Jennifer on twitter: @jenlynnbarnes

Monday, January 21, 2013

Review: Nobody

* Comes out Tomorrow*
Nix is nothing. No one will ever love him. No one can see him, unless he wants them to, and those people will forget him within seconds. He is Nobody.

Due to his unique abilities, (he can fade his body to walk through walls) he's sent to kill people - bad people. He's awfully good at it, until he meets his new target Claire.

Claire isn't a Null. She's just a girl and she can see Nix. For the first time, Nix hesitates. He's not sure why the Society wants her dead. When he realizes that she can see him, he knows she's NOT a Null. Nix starts questioning the Society and why they gave him orders to kill her. He knows that neither of them are safe, so he kidnaps her until he can figure it all out. 

My Thoughts: I adore Jennifer Lynn Barnes's book. Her newest book is fabulous. It's a perfect blend of science fiction, thriller, and romance. It's heartbreaking at times and at other times, very funny.  Nix and Claire have a mutual attraction, but they each need to work out their own fears about each other. I love Claire's strength and her ability to see the good in the world which has ignored her for 16 years. I find Nix troubled, but sweet. I loved the scene where Claire takes him to the library and the scene where he builds her a bookcase.  Overall, a great book about two teens discovering their abilities, along with their strengths and weaknesses in a world that doesn't appreciate them. 

Cover Thoughts: LOVE IT!
Source: Media Masters Publicity

If you think this one sounds good, come back tomorrow for a giveaway!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Teen Book Character Outfit

I'm at a writing retreat this weekend, my first ever. I've been looking at a lot of pictures trying to strengthen my world.  Here's a peek into my main character Princess Raphaela. She's a girl fighting for her crown and her people, fighting for the right to rule as a female. There's friendship, romance, and dragons.

If you want to read the Prologue, check it out here.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mysterious Saturday Review: Holiday Buzz

** Coffeehouse Mystery Series #12 **
Clare's attending the Great New York Cookie Swap, a charity event, with pastry chefs making wonderful creations. Clare's serving lattes and other beverages. At the end of the stressful night, she stumbles across a body at the event. 

It's her baker's assistant, the one she saw leave for a cigarette break and never return. She found it hard to believe that Moirin would vanish without saying a word. Now she wished that she looked into her disappearance. 

As she gives her recollections of the night to the police, she can see that one of them isn't regarding her as helpful.  Clare knows a thing or two about helping solve murders, she's not about to let his bad attitude stop her from uncovering the true about what happened to this young girl.

My Thoughts: A fun festive entertaining installment to the series. I loved the charity event descriptions: in the major toy store and the Storybook cookie event. I found those details charming and just right for the holiday season. I found Clare's dealings with the police entertaining - and interesting to see the politics. As usual, I adored the coffee shop and the employees. I like seeing where the relationship between Quinn and Clare goes, as it changes due to the long distance.

Cover Thoughts: Great
Source: the Library

Friday, January 18, 2013

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Just a few of my favorite pictures taken during my vacation to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It was the highlight of trip and the reason for going to Universal. We had SUCH fun exploring the buildings, trying Butterbeer (I liked the frozen kind best). I hope they expand the park so I can go back and enjoy it more. Best theme park area EVER! 

I LOVE the snow on the roof tops!

The castle! Looked great -I loved the inside leading up to the ride. 
I'm a wuss, so I hated the ride.

Chris and I drinking Butterbeer - very sweet.

Hermoine's ball gown
Muggle wanting to get on the train to Hogwarts.

Book store window

Have you been? Do you want to go?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dear Mr. Potter: A letter

Dear Mr. Potter,

I regret that I didn't grow up with you. I regret that we were never the same age. Harry Potter, you were not my childhood, but you were and always will be part of my life. I found you at the time your next book was coming out. My father read an article in the paper, knowing that I loved books, he pointed it out to me. I had never heard of Harry Potter.

Everyone seems to have great memories of the series as to how old they were when they read the books. I do not. I can't remember if this article was about the 3rd or 4th book in the series. Looking back, I think it was the 4th book, because I was home for the summer. I had a job at the library during my summers from college. I went into my shift, not knowing if the book would be there (we have a very small town library.)

The book was in, so I brought it home that night. I started reading it, thinking the first few pages weren't bad, but it wasn't until I read the end of the first chapter that I was hooked. I wanted to know more about the Boy Who Lived.

I probably finished reading the rest of the books available at that summer. I was thrilled when I heard there was going to be a movie. I remember attending it in college and LOVING it! It wasn't a perfect adaptation, but it was pretty good. It captured the magic of reading the books.

I remember attending my first big book event at a release party for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at Northshire Bookstore. I was dumbfounded and delighted about attending a midnight party for a book. I loved how the store tied bits and pieces from the book in games, trivia, and food. It was a fabulous night. I was in graduate school to become a librarian and I went with my then boyfriend (now husband). The bookstore was part of my childhood and we made the night a special trip.  We had so much fun, we went back for the Half Blood Prince party.

I stored up all the activities in my mind and after I had my second library job, I helped host two Harry Potter parties. One for the last book and one for the last movie.  I changed up some of the events from the bookstore and tweaked it to fit my audience and the space we had.

Butter Beer (no alcohol)
Origami Hedwig
Cockroach Clusters

Pumpkin Juice
Quidditch Field 

I loved reading the books, watching the movies, and attending fun events. It made the Harry Potter world seem huge. My husband and I talked about Harry Potter for hours, imagining what the last book would hold. He's read all the books too. We watched the movies together. We went to midnight showings. We went to the traveling exhibit to see the movie artifacts. We couldn't wait to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and I was super happy to see it (check out tomorrow's post for pictures)

So, THANK YOU J.K Rowling for giving me this magical world filled with great characters, magic, love, friendship, danger, and family. I'll always keep Harry Potter close to my heart. The magic will never die. I'm so happy to live through a novel, which will become a classic.for generations to come. 

What I love about Harry Potter personally: I loved reading the series. I was sad when it ended. I cried forever when Dumbledore died. I cried when Sirus, Fred, and Dobby died. I was so scared that something horrific would happen to Harry in the last book. Chris and I read the last book together - aloud during one weekend. I actually had the book spoiled for me by a person on the street the day after the book released. I was so annoyed and angry. It was from a person who never read the series, but just wanted to know the ending. I told her I didn't want to know and she spoiled it anyways. I've never gotten over that.

I love the characters and their quirks. I love that Hermoine's bookish. She's probably my favorite character. I love Hagrid because he's so sweet, yet strange. I love Dumbledore, even though he was aloof. He's so wise. I adore Professor McGonagall - she's smart, serious, and caring. I love the story about a boy who came from nothing, found his place in the world, and magic gave him everything.

What I love about Harry Potter professionally: As a Librarian, I love that Harry Potter made reading cool. I love that the books brought generations of readers together. I love that the fantasy book world (and the YA world) exploded because people were reading Harry Potter and then they wanted more books while waiting.