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1. The Wizard of Oz Blog Tour

Read on for more about the Classic Edition of The Wizard of Oz illustrated by Charles Santore, my Oz memories, and a giveaway!

From Goodreads:

“With stunning illustrations from celebrated artist Charles Santore and a child-friendly, abridged retelling that remains faithful to Frank L. Baum’s original text, this Classic Edition of The Wizard of Oz is a must-have for every family’s library.

”Readers of all ages will follow the Yellow Brick Road on an unforgettable journey that takes them from Dorothy’s gray Kansas home into the blue Munchkin land; the sparkling bejeweled Emerald City; the dark, foreboding forest; and the ruby-red throne room of Glinda the Good Witch in this gorgeously illustrated, classic edition of The Wizard of Oz.”


Like most children of many ages, my first exposure to The Wizard of Oz was the 1939 film/musical version starring Judy Garland. I've never read the novels, but now that I've read the classic edition, I really want to! I'm normally very wary of retellings and abridgments, but the classic edition of The Wizard of Oz does its best to capture the spirit and retain as much as possible of Baum's original text. Coupled with the gorgeous and imaginative watercolors of Charles Santore, this edition is essential for any child's library.

Santore plays with color, from the gray stormy overcast of Kansas, to the vibrant red poppy field, to the rich, almost-monochromatic-but-not-quite Emerald City. The golden hue of the Yellow Brick Road ties it all together. A lithe art-nouveau Glinda contrasts in style with a stumpy Great Oz and grotesque Wicked Witch. And if you're familiar with the Saturday Evening Post, you'll recognize the Americana touches to the illustrations. I get the impression that Santore's imagination caught fire upon reading the book, which he did so reluctantly, then repeatedly. There are so many spreads in this book that I would love to frame, particularly the pages with red poppies and the Queen of All the Field Mice. 

The Wizard of Oz was one of those movies that I had to watch and listen to ad nauseam when I was younger and my little sister was addicted to this film. There was a time I could perform the entire movie with dialogue and song entirely from memory. It's interesting reading the novel, even in abridged format, and encountering so many differences between the classic edition and the film. I will have to dig out my husband's copies of the series from when he was a child, and discover the differences for myself.

Find the book 

Follow along with the Official Blog Tour

Read Write Reflect

Mr. Schu Reads

Randomly Reading

Giveaway!

One lucky winner will get a copy of The Wizard of Oz: Classic EditionUS addresses only, ends May 31, 2015

  • Open to US only, ends 5/31/2015.
  • No purchase is necessary to enter a giveaway. Void where prohibited.
  • We and the publisher are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • One set of entries per household please.
  • If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email us at readnowsleeplater@gmail.com
  • PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps, but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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2. Bride of Slug Man Blog Tour

I read a super-fun middle grade novel this week--check out the hilarious Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man by Julie Mata! Check out my review, a Q&A with the author, watch the trailer, and enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter widget below.

About the book:

After her huge success with her first feature-length movie, seventh-grader Kate Walden is eager to start on her next film, a sci-fi romance called Bride of Slug Man. When a new kid comes to town from New York City, Kate thinks she might have a new found film buddy-someone to share her interest with. And it doesn't hurt that he's pretty cute. But it turns out that Tristan is making his own movie, and now the classmates Kate thought were eager to join her cast and crew are divided.

With rumors spreading in school and between sets, Kate finds herself juggling more than just call times and rewrites. And judging from the whispers Kate hears about Tristan Kingsley,she suspects that he isn't interested in having a fellow film-buff friend; he just wants to prove himself as the best filmmaker in school by winning the Big Picture Film Festival. Kate vows to enter too, and tries to focus on just making the best movie she can.

But between the cutthroat popularity contest, a bully situation that goes from bad to worse, and several on-set mishaps, Kate is going to need all the movie magic she can get to make sure Bride of Slug Man hits the big-screen.

Alethea's Review:

Kate Walden is a girl after my own heart, studying filmmaking books and taking steps to make her dreams into reality--er, well, real films about weird and fictional things. (I can relate--at her age I was trying to adapt The Hobbit into a two-hour stage play.) Her friends help her out--er, well, they put their own unique spin on things with their skills and foibles. Her family, including her sometimes annoying little brother Derek, is supportive, if occasionally preoccupied with their own creative endeavors. 

Of course, what middle grade novel on school and friendship is complete without some cute boys to crush on? Things get complicated when the new kid turns out to be a rival in the world of filmmaking, and some bullies get in on the act. As if things weren't SO complicated already.

I really enjoy funny middle grade novels with a little seriousness lying under the skin, so I found Bride of Slug Man really entertaining. The characters are warm and varied. Kate can't just get what she wants--she has to think hard and muddle through confusing feelings to solve her problems. Her mix of enthusiasm and immaturity comes across as authentic tween exuberance, even if the situations are still somewhat cartoonish. 

I'd definitely recommend this to young readers with a creative bent and an interest in realistic school fiction about friendships, family, and of course, filmmaking. 

4 STARS - STAY UP LATE Julie Mata (photo credit: Tony Mata)

Julie Mata (photo credit: Tony Mata)

About the author:

Julie Mata grew up outside Chicago and currently lives in Wisconsin, where she owns a video production business with her husband.. She loves movies and once wrote and directed her own short film. She also loves traveling, gardening, and reading a really good book. Her first book was Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens. For more information, including a downloadable curriculum guide and a filmmaking tip of the month, visit her website: juliemata.com.

Twitter: @juliehmata

Q&A with Julie Mata

RNSL: Kate Walden is my kind of geek. What inspired her character?

Julie Mata: My daughters were a big inspiration. They didn't dream of making it in Hollywood when they were Kate's age, but they did enjoy making movies. I think a lot of kids can relate to that. Kate loves filmmaking, but she also loves spending time with her friends, and making movies together is a great way to do that. Kate may be a bit of a geek, but she's also very smart and sharp, and she's not afraid to pursue a big dream.

RNSL: Kate is looking for a collaborator, but finds a competitor instead. I've been in her shoes before! What gave you the idea for this plot setup?

JM: I thought giving Kate a rival would add some fun conflict, especially if the rival is a cute boy who also likes to make movies. Giving Kate a competitor causes her problems but it also causes her to change and grow throughout the story, as she tries to figure out the new boy's motives. Kids sometimes tend to make snap decisions about people, and Kate does too. She thinks she has the new boy pegged but finds out the hard way that it's dangerous to make assumptions. 

RNSL: What's your favorite kid-appropriate Bride of Slug Man-type movie? Non-kid-appropriate?

JM: Plan 9 from Outer Space is the perfect kid-appropriate sci-fi flick It's a black and white movie from 1959 directed by Ed Wood. Wood thought audiences were only interested in the big picture and wouldn't notice little details like terrible special effects, bizarre leaps in logic, and props falling over. The result is a movie that's hilariously bad and great fun to watch. For non-kid-appropriate movies, I would have to go with the original Alien. Now that's a nasty, slimy slug creature. It doesn't get much scarier than that. 

RNSL: If you could have a dream cast for a film or TV adaptation of your books, who would you get? 

JM: I think that either Lindsay Lohan or Amanda Bynes would have been perfect as Kate Walden back when they were child actors.They were both extremely talented and funny. They grew up, of course, and their lives got complicated, but if I could commandeer a time machine, I'd go back and cast one of them as Kate and the other one as popular girl Lydia.

RNSL: If you could take any book you love and produce the film version, which would it be?

JM: I would have picked A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, but it sounds like Frozen director Jennifer Lee beat me to it and is currently working on a new adaptation. Can't wait to see it! So I'm going with a real dark horse candidate--Precious Bane, written by Mary Webb and published in 1924. I loved it when I was young, and often wished someone would make it into a movie. The main character, Prue Sarn, has a harelip and suffers widespread scorn and distrust, but encounters a man who sees past her defect and recognizes her inner beauty. I found the characters, the stark setting, and the tragic tale so haunting and compelling that I read it many times and still have a copy of it.

Follow along on the blog tour!

Monday, May 18 - GreenBeanTeenQueen

Wed. May 20 - Once Upon a Story

Thurs, May 21 - Read Now, Sleep Later

Fri, May 22 - Curling Up with a Good Book

Tues, May 27 - The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

Wed, May 28 - BookHounds YA

Thurs, May 29 - The Brain Lair

Fri, May 30 - Kid Lit Frenzy

Giveaway time!

One lucky winner will get both of Julie Mata's Kate Walden Directs books. US addresses only, ends May 31, 2015

  • Open to US only, ends 5/31/2015.
  • No purchase is necessary to enter a giveaway. Void where prohibited.
  • We and the publisher are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • One set of entries per household please.
  • If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email us at readnowsleeplater@gmail.com
  • PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps, but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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3. SYNC Summer is here!

Summer is upon us, which means that it's time for SYNC! What is SYNC? SYNC is a great audiobook program that happens each summer. They offers two free young adult audiobooks for download each week. Usually a more current YA title is paired with a classic. They offer some really great books each year and they are FREE. Yes, totally free. You just need the Overdrive program or app to download your free books. For more info, check out http://www.audiobooksync.com. Titles only last a week so be sure to check back each week for new downloads. Below are some audio clips of this week's offerings as well as the upcoming schedule.


SYNC YA Audiobooks

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (Hachette Audio)

A CORNER OF WHITE by Jaclyn Moriarty (Scholastic Audiobooks)

COURAGE HAS NO COLOR: THE TRUE STORY OF THE TRIPLE NICKLES by Tanya Lee Stone (Brilliance Audio)

CROWS & CARDS by Joseph Helgerson (Brilliance Audio)

DODGER by Terry Pratchett (HarperAudio)

ECHOES OF AN ANGEL by Aquanetta Gordon (christianaudio)

THE EXPLORERS CLUB by Nell Benjamin (L.A. Theatre Works)

THE LIVING by Matt de la Pena (Brilliance Audio)

MARCH by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin Audio)

MONSTER by Walter Dean Myers (Listening Library)

THE RING AND THE CROWN by Melissa de la Cruz (Recorded Books, Inc.)

ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein (Bolinda Publishing)

UNDER A WAR-TORN SKY by L.M. Elliott (Tantor Audio)

 

SYNC Classic Audiobooks

 

THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain (Mission Audio)

ANNE FRANK REMEMBERED by Miep Gies & Alison Leslie Gold (Oasis Audio)

AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS by Jules Verne (Tantor Audio)

BUDDHA BOY by Kathe Koja (Full Cast Audio)

DRACULA by Bram Stoker (Naxos AudioBooks)

GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens (Naxos AudioBooks)

HERE IN HARLEM by Walter Dean Myers (Live Oak Media)

JOHN BALL’S IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT Adapted by Matt Pelfrey (L.A. Theatre Works)

LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott (Listening Library)

LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding (Listening Library)

THE OLD BROWN SUITCASE by Lillian Boraks-Nemetz (Post Hypnotic Press)

THE PERFECT STORM: A TRUE STORY OF MEN AGAINST THE SEA by Sebastian Junger (Recorded Books, Inc.)

REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier (Hachette Audio)

SEA HEARTS by Margo Lanagan (Bolinda Publishing)

Happy listening!

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4. The Shadow Cabinet - Review and Giveaway

Thanks to Putnam Juvenile for sending a review copy of Maureen Johnson's The Shadow Cabinet. I'm actually 1 book behind in the series (listening to The Madness Underneath), so my friend Kate reviewed the 3rd book in the series for me.

The Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London, Book 3) by Maureen Johnson

Publication date: 10 February 2015 by Putnam Juvenile

Category: Young Adult Paranormal

Keywords: Ghosts, Murder, Mystery

Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook

Source: ARC from publisher for review

This review is a hard one to write because I don’t want to give away any of the fun surprises that I got to experience in reading this third installment of the Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson.

I really liked this book. I was attracted to the original book, The Name of The Star, because of its connection to the Jack the Ripper lore and history. The strange thing is, as I have read the follow-up books, I see that the first book was constrained by some of the Jack the Ripper references. Though it did draw some of us readers in, it also added limitations to the world that Maureen Johnson has set up since then; a world I love to visit. With each book, we get a deeper glimpse into the darker side of London’s history--both normal and paranormal--making London a full-fledged character in the books.

In The Shadow Cabinet, the squad must come back from a shattering upset to continue the search for Charlotte and to stop Jane’s evil plans. A few odd bookshop keepers and a set of twins that don’t seem to play by any rules give Rory a run for her money. However, the “bad guys” aren’t the only ones to receive a boost in their roister. Rory’s additional backup arrives from an unusual and unlikely source.

For those readers looking for romance, there isn’t much I can give away except to say that this book does a good job of staying away from the love triangle push and pull that can be found in a lot of Young Adult titles. Though the romance may be seen as a bit lacking to some, the development of the team’s relationships and the supernatural lore more than makes up for it. There are references not just to the old world lore of the English Isles, but Greek mythology as well. As the story continues to unfold, we see just how psychedelic London got in the early '70s as well as glimpse the ghostly culture of its past and present.

Faced with ancient rites and modern day codes, Rory must wade through the fog and haze wherever it may lead, to save her friends, herself, and the whole of England. What is a girl to do when the odds are against her, but there is no way to turn back?

While I enjoyed the twists and surprises of The Shadow Cabinet, it is also a nice set-up to the fourth and final book in the series. I can’t wait to see how this one ends.

-KATE-

Find the book: Goodreads | IndieBound | Barnes & NobleAmazon

Find the author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr


I'm giving away either THE SHADOW CABINET in hardcover OR THE NAME OF THE STAR and THE MADNESS UNDERNEATH in paperback or audiobook (winner's choice). 

  • Open to US and Canada only, ends 5/1/2015.
  • No purchase is necessary to enter a giveaway. Void where prohibited.
  • We and the publisher are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • One set of entries per household please.
  • If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email us atreadnowsleeplater@gmail.com
  • PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps, but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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5. Shadow Scale Blog Tour - Review and Giveaway

Thanks to Random House for including us on the Shadow Scale blog tour! Read on for my review of the second Seraphina book by Rachel Hartman, and a giveaway. Please note there may be spoilers for Seraphina that I cannot avoid mentioning.

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Publication date: 10 March 2015 by Random House

Category: Young Adult Sci-Fi Fantasy

Keywords: Dragons, Conspiracy, War

Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook

Source: ARC from publisher for review, audiobook purchased with credits from Audible.com

About the book:

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways. 

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

Rachel Hartman returns with even more beautiful prose in Shadow Scale, detailing Seraphina's travels to find and unite the ityasaari, formerly only known to her as the grotesques in her mind's garden. Together with her fellow half-dragon/half-human friend, the acrobatic Abdo, she sets off with a mission that soon goes awry. Jannoula, the ityasaari she had locked out of her thoughts, seems to be one step ahead of her all the way, and while she professes to want what Seraphina does--the reunion and acceptance of the ityasaari as a family of powerful beings--Seraphina cannot trust her. With her support system falling apart, either falling prey to Jannoula's machinations or, out of necessity, far away (Queen Glisselda and Prince Lucian Kiggs remaining in Goredd, Seraphina's dragon uncle Orma hiding in exile), Seraphina's wits and will are stretched thin.

At every turn, new questions crop up: how will she find the ityasaari without being able to see their mind-fire, the magical aura that only trained Porphyrian priests can see? What makes them the way they are? And what will she do with them when she finds them?

Hartman's expert world-building unfurls into gorgeous, deep, and detailed life as Seraphina and Abdo travel from Goredd to Ninys, from there to mountainous Samsam, then exotic Porphyry. Expertly weaving in snippets of information about everything from the lives of the saints to the customs and linguistics of Porphyry (which we learn has 6 genders), the author creates an immersive and intriguing experience for the reader, peopled with a diverse cast.

Seraphina's cleverness and loyalty can only carry her so far. As she is exposed to new cultures, she learns to accept her limitations and gain insights into other people and ideas. Her visions may not hold a candle to the great powers displayed by other ityasaari, like Lars's technical genius, Dame Okra's powers of premonition, and Abdo's agility, but her tenacity and compassion make her more than worthy as a protagonist. The love between her and Kiggs is heart-breaking, both valiantly striving to do what's right, since Kiggs is engaged to his cousin, Queen Glisselda, whom both care for as dear friends. Meanwhile, there is much to fear: war rages in the Tanamoot, an enemy ascends as regent of Samsam (under dubious circumstances), and Jannoula dogs every step from within the minds of Seraphina's most trusted and loved friends.

Fantasy readers who love Kristin Cashore's captivating Graceling, Leigh Bardugo's epic Grisha Trilogy, and Robin LaFevers's sweeping His Fair Assassin series will devour Shadow Scale like a dragon would an auroch. With a tightly-woven plot, compelling characters, and an intricately embellished history, there's a lot to love, and almost nothing is forgettable. Here's hoping that the poetry, mystery, and depth of Seraphina's world is one we can return to again and again in future journeys and books. 

Find the book: Goodreads | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter

  • Open to US and Canada only, ends 4/19/2015.
  • No purchase is necessary to enter a giveaway. Void where prohibited.
  • We and the publisher are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • One set of entries per household please.
  • If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email us atreadnowsleeplater@gmail.com
  • PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps, but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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6. Luck of the Irish $250 Cash Group Giveaway

Luck-of-the-Irish.jpg

Hosted by I am a Reader

Need a little extra luck this year?  Here is your chance to win some cash!

1 lucky winner will receive $250 in Paypal Cash!

I'm not Irish, but I love corned beef, and now's the time to find it. I usually get it at Trader Joe's so it isn't riddled with nitrates. To tell the truth, it's the only luck I'm hoping for today--a nice big corned beef roast and a side of cabbage. Mmm-mm!

Sponsor List

I Am A Reader
Laurie Here – Cont Fiction and MORE
Read Now Sleep Later
Leisure Reads
TMBA Corbett Tries to Write
Lori’s Reading Corner
Simple Wyrdings
J.L. Weil
Here We Go Again…Ready?
{A Leisure Moment} A Casual Conversation About Our Love For Literature
Author Deb Atwood
YA Author Fabio Bueno
Stacy Claflin, Author
Kim’s Cozy Book Nook
Aubrey Wynne: Romantasy Through The Ages
Taylor Dean Books
MK McClintock
Melissa M. Frye
Unshelfish
Amiabooklover
The Discerning Reader
My Book Self
A Tattered Copy
Craves the Angst Book Blog
Joyce DiPastena
MyLadyWeb: Women Authors, Women’s History
Lise McClendon – Author
Danielle Thorne
Author Ednah Walters
Raven Haired Girl
Dianne Venetta ~ Romantic Adventure
Kary Rader
Kimber Leigh Wheaton
Helena @ Book Nerd Addict
Ann Swann – Suspense
Books R Us
Bella Street Time Travel Romance
More Than A Review
Danielle Annett
Pauline Creeden, Author
Diana’s Book Reviews
Krysten Lindsay Hager author
InspiredBooksGuide
Author Georgina Young-Ellis

Giveaway Details

$250 Paypal Cash

Starts 03/17/15 - Ends 3/31/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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7. Public School Superhero Giveaway

Enter today for a chance to win PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO and more funny middle grade books from James Patterson. I'm a fan of Patterson not just for his adult mystery novels, but for his generosity to book people of all ages. Just today Scholastic Reading Club announced his pledge to help school libraries with $1.25 MILLION in grants! Sadly, we're not giving away millions in cash today, but for your resident middle grade humor/adventure/graphic novel lover, this book might be priceless anyway. Read on for a synopsis and sample art, as well as the Rafflecopter widget to enter the giveaway (US only, ends 3/16/2015)

PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO
by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts
Illustrated by Cory Thomas

In stores March 16, 2015

About the Book:

In this story about a good kid with a great imagination struggling in a less-than-ideal world, James Patterson brings his bestselling "Middle School"-style humor and sensibility to an urban setting.

Kenny Wright is a kid with a secret identity. In his mind, he's Stainlezz Steel, super-powered defender of the weak. In reality, he's a chess club devotee known as a "Grandma's Boy," a label that makes him an easy target for bullies. Kenny wants to bring a little more Steel to the real world, but the question is: can he recognize his own true strength before peer pressure forces him to make the worst choice of his life?

James Patterson's newest illustrated novel is a genuinely funny yet poignant look at middle school in a challenging urban setting, where a kid's life can depend on the everyday decisions he makes.

SampleArt.jpg
SampleArt2.jpg
SampleArt3.jpg

JAMES PATTERSON. Photo credit: David Burnett

JAMES PATTERSON. Photo credit: David Burnett

About James Patterson:

James Patterson was selected by readers across America as the Children's Choice Book Awards Author of the Year in 2010. He is the internationally bestselling author of the highly praised Middle School books, I FunnyConfessions of a Murder Suspect, and the Maximum RideWitch & WizardDaniel X, and Alex Cross series. His books have sold over 275 million copies worldwide, making him one of the bestselling authors of all time.

 

 


LEARN MORE

Learn More at PublicSchoolSuperhero.com

Visit the Author Site at JamesPatterson.com

Follow James Patterson on Twitter and Facebook

#PublicSchoolSuperhero

Giveaway

Make it through middle school with James Patterson! Enter for a chance to win copies of:

·         Public School Superhero

·         I Funny

·         Treasure Hunters

·         House of Robots

Prizing & samples courtesy of Little, Brown. Giveaway open to US addresses only.

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8. Ontario Teen Book Fest - Author Spotlight - Debra Driza

What: Ontario Teen Book Fest

When: Saturday March 21st , 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School, 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761

The Ontario Teen Book Fest is a FREE AND UNTICKETED EVENT! Meet 20 YA authors, hear them speak about their books and writing, and meet other book lovers like you. Books will be available for purchase on-site from Once Upon a Time. There will also be t-shirts and posters available for purchase.

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West -- Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers -- What A Nerd Girl Says

March 2nd: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred -- Recently Acquired Obsessions

March 3rd: Spotlight on Catherine Linka -- Read Now Sleep Later

March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza -- Read Now Sleep Later

March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn -- Fearless Kurt Reads YA

March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray -- A Bookish Escape

March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger -- People Like Books

March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller -- The Thousand Lives

March 9th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross -- Kid Lit Frenzy

March 10th: Spotlight on Anna Carey -- The Reader's Antidote

March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith -- Movies, Shows and Books

March 12th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer -- What A Nerd Girl Says

March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury -- The Consummate Reader

March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo -- The Windy Pages

March 15th: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci -- Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody -- The Romance Bookie

March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil -- Movies, Shows and Books

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler -- Fangirl Feeels

March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy -- The Consummate Reader

Spotlight on Debra Driza

Today's stop on the tour is a spotlight on Debra Driza, author of MILA 2.0 and MILA 2.0: Renegade.

About MILA 2.0

Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

About Debra Driza

Debra Driza is a member of the teen lit blogging groups The Bookanistas and The League of Extraordinary Writers, and a former practicing physical therapist who discovered tormenting her characters was infinitely more enjoyable. These days you can find her at home in California, adding random colors to her hair and wrangling one husband, two kids, and an assortment of Rhodesian Ridgebacks (most of them naughty).

MILA 2.0 is her first YA novel in a planned trilogy from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins. It's currently in development with Shondaland production company (Grey's Anatomy) to become a TV series for ABC.


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Q&A with Debra Driza

RNSL: Writing aside, what hobbies or interests take up your time?

Debra Driza: Children!  Are children a hobby?  No?  Because they sure take up a lot of time! If they don't count, then I guess I'd say working out (I like lifting weights), dogs (we own 3 Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and I occasionally entertain crowds by attempting to show them in conformation and agility myself), and reading. 

RNSL: Out of all the advice you've ever been given about getting published, what's the first piece of advice that comes to mind, and why?

DD: Never give up--often, the only difference between a published writer and an unpublished writer is perseverance.

RNSL: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

DD: Definitely a pantser by nature. The MILA books required outlining though, which was REALLY challenging for me. 

RNSL: When you were a teen, what did you like to read?

DD: Not Stephen King, like tons of my friends did--I was too much of a scaredy-cat for horror. I remember reading Dune several times, Jeffrey Archer books, thrillers, and romances "borrowed" from my mom's closet. I guess I was always more of a genre girl!

RNSL: I'm a messy purse girl too. My mother keeps pens, paper, and tools in her bag-of-doom (she's an architect). What 3 things are you most likely to pull out of your purse if you just reached in and grabbed things at random?

DD: Oh gosh, this is kind of embarrassing, but I'd have to say a crumpled, year-old receipt, a stray credit card (I seem to have a wallet phobia), and a petrified clementine (my daughter loves them, and I can't tell you how many times I've reached for a pen and instead grabbed a shriveled up little orange ball. Oops).


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9. Ontario Teen Book Fest - Author Spotlight - Catherine Linka

What: Ontario Teen Book Fest

When: Saturday March 21st , 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School, 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761

The Ontario Teen Book Fest is a FREE AND UNTICKETED EVENT! Meet 20 YA authors, hear them speak about their books and writing, and meet other book lovers like you. Books will be available for purchase on-site from Once Upon a Time. There will also be t-shirts and posters available for purchase.

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West -- Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers -- What A Nerd Girl Says

March 2nd: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred -- Recently Acquired Obsessions

March 3rd: Spotlight on Catherine Linka -- Read Now Sleep Later

March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza -- Read Now Sleep Later

March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn -- Fearless Kurt Reads YA

March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray -- A Bookish Escape

March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger -- People Like Books

March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller -- The Thousand Lives

March 9th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross -- Kid Lit Frenzy

March 10th: Spotlight on Anna Carey -- The Reader's Antidote

March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith -- Movies, Shows and Books

March 12th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer -- What A Nerd Girl Says

March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury -- The Consummate Reader

March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo -- The Windy Pages

March 15th: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci -- Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody -- The Romance Bookie

March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil -- Movies, Shows and Books

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler -- Fangirl Feeels

March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy -- The Consummate Reader

Spotlight on Catherine Linka

Today's stop on the tour is a spotlight on Catherine Linka, author of A Girl Called Fearless.

About A Girl Called Fearless

Avie knows her life is over when her dad “Contracts” her in marriage to millionaire Jessop Hawkins. Hawkins has bought Avie to be his first lady as he runs for governor of California on the Paternalist ticket. But Avie’s lifelong friend, Yates, believes she  has the strength to flee to freedom in Canada. As Yates draws her into the secret world of Exodus, their friendship turns to passion, and freedom means leaving Yates and hoping they can reunite over the border.

This romantic spec fiction/political thriller is set in a contemporary America upended by the deaths of millions of women from a hormone in meat. Teenage girls are a valuable and restricted commodity “protected” by guards, gates and Paternal Controls on phones, internet and media. After Avie leaves the mansions of LA and Malibu, she learns dangerous truths about who controls the US government. Pursued by federal agents as she heads for the border, Avie must find the courage Yates always believed she possessed.

About Catherine Linka

Catherine Linka was almost thrown out of boarding school for being “too verbal.” Fortunately, she learned to channel her outspokenness and creative energy into writing. She is the author of the romantic spec fiction thriller, A Girl Called Fearless. Catherine has traveled to such out of the way places as the Arctic circle, Iceland, and the Amazon and her personal goals include seeing penguins and orcas in the wild.  She doesn’t believe in fate, but she did fall in love with her husband on their first date when he laced up her boots after she broke her hand. 

Q&A with Catherine Linka

RNSL: When you started writing A Girl Called Fearless, did you think your book was going to be a YA novel, or did that develop later on the road to publication?

Catherine Linka: Avie is sixteen, almost seventeen, and she tells her story as she’s experiencing it. She’s dreaming of going to college and falling in love, and bam!--universities shut out women and her dad signs a contract for her to marry a guy twice her age. Avie has to choose whether to be fearless and run for freedom, or submit to a marriage she doesn’t want. I knew when I heard her voice in my head that this was YA, but I didn’t know that older readers would love her story, too. What’s been great is that some readers get swept away by the action and romance, while others dig deeper for the political undercurrent. 

RNSL: What project are you actively working on at the moment?

CL: We’re finishing the final copy on A Girl Undone which is the sequel and conclusion to A Girl Called Fearless, and that comes out in June. Plus, I am super excited to be working with St. Martin’s Press and Wattpad.com to feature my novella, A Girl Called Defiant: Sparrow’s Story. Everybody loved Sparrow in A Girl Called Fearless, and so I wanted to share her story. It’s sexy and tragic, and you don’t have to read A Girl Called Fearless to enjoy it, but you might want to later. 

RNSL: You have worked in the book industry apart from being an author. How has that influenced your writing life (or not)?

CL: Buying YA books for an indie bookstore is an amazing education if you want to be a writer. You’re reading all the time, seeing what books sell, and learning about different publishers. And I was really lucky I ran a teen board for 7 years because it was like watching a focus group every month about what teen readers love and hate.  The one thing I had to learn was to not let what I know about the business keep me from writing what I need to write. I have to say, “Shut up!” to my evil inner voice that tortures me by saying, “Oh, that will never sell.”

RNSL: Are you able to read other books while writing your own? Why or why not?

CL: I read every night even when I’m writing. I had to read constantly for my job at the bookstore, and it was easy, because I had tons of advance copies. When I was writing A Girl Called Fearless, I avoided reading dystopian, because I didn’t want to accidentally steal from someone else. It’s funny, but readers tell me that the characters in A Girl Called Fearless express much more emotion than they do in most spec fiction and I think that might be because I read a lot of contemporary fiction. 

RNSL: Your series is rather frightening to me in that Margaret Atwood sort of, something-like-this-could-possibly-happen-within-our-lifetimes kind of way. What makes you the most afraid? (Or are you fearless?)

CL: I wanted to write a story that when a reader put it down, they would say, “Oh my God, I could totally see that happening.” As I wrote A Girl Called Fearless, I kept thinking about how people act when a country has been through a horrible loss, and how fear or anger can be manipulated for political gain. We saw the Tea Party soar to power, and I don’t care what your political beliefs are--that was an amazing display of how emotion can be turned into political might.  One teen reviewer talked about how the rise Paternalists reminded her of the rise of Hitler--which shocked me, because that had been in the back of my mind, too.

RNSL: Cake or pie (or both)?

CL: Pie, absolutely. And when it comes to ranking pie: berry (any kind!!), lemon meringue, pecan--oh wait, did I forget chocolate pecan pie!!!


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10. SCIBA Children's Literacy Day 2015

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On Saturday, February 21, 2015, the inaugural SCIBA Children's Literacy Day took place at the Hilton Long Beach conference rooms. A diverse group of speakers including authors and publisher representatives addressed an audience of teachers, librarians, and other supporters of children's literacy, alongside a host of children's book experts from our local independent bookstores. I carpooled down with my friend Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy, excited about seeing old friends from the our bookloving community, and seeing all the great new books coming out for the season.

The day began at 9 am with a continental breakfast and a special guest, former teacher and Mexican-American author Pam Muñoz Ryan, who presented about her career as a children's author and provided background about her latest novel, Echo, which all of the breakfast attendees received. The book grew from her research into the school desegregation case commonly known as the Lemon Grove Incident (Roberto Alvarez vs. Lemon Grove School District) and evolved into a story of several children from different times and places connected by an unlikely item: a harmonica.

Pam Muñoz Ryan and the children's booksellers of Vroman's Bookstore (Pasadena, CA) show off Echo

Pam Muñoz Ryan and the children's booksellers of Vroman's Bookstore (Pasadena, CA) show off Echo

After breakfast, the children's representatives from several publishers--Penguin, Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Scholastic--recommended their best picks from the new spring/summer crop of books. I won't go into that in too much depth during this post, as I'll be posting throughout the week about books from each publisher in a separate post.

Our luncheon speakers included 5th grade teacher and debut author Dan Gemeinhart (The Honest Truth), YA author and screenwriter Andrea Portes (Anatomy of a Misfit), and living legend Jane O'Connor--yes, the author of Fancy Nancy herself--who spoke mostly in her capacity as an editor of children's nonfiction at Random House. Attendees received the aforementioned books, along with intermediate nonfiction title Who Was King Tut?, penned by O'Connor under one of her pseudonyms, Roberta Edwards. This was followed by two talks, one with Ingram representative Beverly Fisher talking about services to libraries. Author Stacey Lee (Under a Painted Sky), one of the founding members of the We Need Diverse Books movement, moderated a Diversity in YA panel with Ayize Jama-Everett (The Liminal People, The Entropy of Bones), Cynthia Kadohata (Half a World Away), and Sherri L. Smith (Orleans).

To round out the panels for the day, attendees chose between one on children's nonfiction with Jane O'Connor and our friend Alyson Beecher from Kid Lit Frenzy, and another featuring debut YA authors Leah Thomas (Because You'll Never Meet Me), Sarah Tomp (My Best Everything), and Henry Turner (Ask the Dark). Courtney Saldana, the librarian behind the Ontario Teen Book Fest, moderated. I really wish I could have been in two places at once, as I was interested in the nonfiction panel too, but I'd signed up for the YA one. I also wish I could have brought a photographer along, as I was having issues with my phone that day (so many blurry, dark photos!). Maybe next year. (You can search for other people's photos on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #scibakidlit and #scibakidlit2015.)

Clockwise from top left: Simon & Schuster, Scholastic, Penguin, Random House exhibits showed new and upcoming releases from each publisher

Clockwise from top left: Simon & Schuster, Scholastic, Penguin, Random House exhibits showed new and upcoming releases from each publisher

The exhibits area featured our children's publishing representatives, Roz Hilden from Scholastic, Kelly Stidham from Simon & Schuster, Nicole White from Penguin, and Nicole DuFort from Random House, as well as booksellers Mrs. Nelson's Book Fair and Library Services (Pomona, CA) and Once Upon a Time Bookstore (Montrose, CA). Rounding out the event was a cocktail hour including signings and book with yet still more authors, including MG/YA author Shannon Messenger with Keeper of the Lost Cities: Everblaze, YA author Elana K. Arnold with her middle grade debut The Question of Miracles, debut YA author Elissa Sussman, and author/illustrator Dan Krall with his new picture book Sick Simon. I'll be featuring more of these titles later in the week!

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I can't decide which of the books I picked up yesterday is the most exciting, but also I feel like it's going to take me a solid year to work through all of these titles. Do you know what I was even more excited about though? The people! It was wall-to-wall book people, my favorite kind. Author Salina Yoon (Stormy Night) attended, and I really have to remember to get my photo taken with her next time. I love her so much! I had breakfast with Book Beastie (you should follow her on Tumblr :) Teachers and librarians were everywhere, including my teaching idol and Nerdy Book Club member Cathy Blackler and my book club buddy Emily Aaronson. I also met Lana and Erin from Chaucer's Bookstore in Santa Barbara (where my good friend Colleen worked during college), and Susie from Once Upon a Storybook in Tustin. I had a chance to catch up with Kim and her daughters (who run a school book club in Upland) while waiting in line for author signings. I even carpooled home with Carolyn, the YA reviewer from Kid Lit Frenzy. I'm probably forgetting a ton of names... some I'm not entirely sure if they want to be mentioned, so if I met you yesterday and you want to be mentioned by name, hey, leave a comment!

I really had a ton of fun at the first SCIBA Children's Literacy Day! I was so tired afterwards, but happy, too. If you are a teacher, librarian, or other school or literacy professional, you can sign up for annual membership in SCIBA on their website, www.scibabooks.org (though at this point, I'd wait until the end of the school year so your membership is valid for the next big children's events--fall and spring). The way the event is priced usually varies (I purchased tickets for every meal of the day, plus membership, which totaled $170), but trust me, it's completely worth it, whether your goal is to network, meet authors, learn about upcoming releases, or gather up books for your classroom or library. I also hope educators and librarians will continue to come and interact with their book industry representatives, to find out the ways in which publishers and independent bookstores can support literacy and programming in classrooms and libraries.

Thanks to the Andrea Vuleta and the rest of the awesome folks at SCIBA for welcoming us to their event, and may there be many more!

Follow SCIBA on Facebook and Twitter. For more info, go to www.scibabooks.org.

Find your local indie bookseller at www.indiebound.org.
Bookstore Links:
Once Upon a Time
Vroman's Bookstore
Mrs. Nelson's Book Fair
Chaucer's Bookstore
Once Upon a Storybook

More info on featured books and authors coming soon!

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11. Shadow Study

The Shadow Study Blog Tour

Feb 16th-20th and 23rd-27th

Hosted by Rockstar Book Tours

   

You guys! I am so excited. You can't even imagine. 

I remember the first time the name "Maria V. Snyder" registered in my brain. All these calls had been coming in to the store (formerly Borders Glendale, may it rest in peace) for a book called Fire Study. Well, all our copies sold out the first Tuesday they were on sale, and it just made me wonder--what the heck? It was the third book in a fantasy trilogy and I'd never heard of it before, which was unusual because I was usually all over the sci-fi/fantasy section.

I went home with the first book that night, read through to morning, went to work, bought the second book (the third book was sold out at that point, so I had to order it), then went home "sick" because at that point I had been awake for two days, read some more, and I don't even remember what happened the next day because I probably blacked out, haha! (And yes, this is the origin story of my blog name).

So I'm happy to be part of the blog tour for the 4th Study book--technically, the first book of the Soulfinders series--Shadow Study. Read on for a description, my review, and an international giveaway (there will be 10 winners! you don't want to miss this!)


Review

Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Publication date: 24 February 2015 by MIRA

Category: Adult Fantasy/Romance

Keywords: Magic, Conspiracy, Spies

Format: Paperback, ebook, audiobook

Source: ARC from publisher for review

5 Stars - Stay Up All Night

Note: No spoilers in this review, but if you haven't read the original trilogy starting with Poison Study, you may be a little confused. I'll be revealing things that sound like they might be spoilers, but they happen in the first few chapters of Shadow Study and are mentioned in the synopsis. So read at your own risk!

Okay, okay--truth. This was not a true Stay-Up-All-Night rating, in that I read Shadow Study over a couple of weeks in little fits and starts, instead of a night-long binge-read resulting in calling out sick the next day. This happened because I have a day job, and I'd like to keep that day job. There are also little things like chores, errands, general hygiene (why does proper dental care take so long?), classes, and commuting that take up my time. I would sneak little bits of it here and there. So yeah, I did put it down for many hours at a time. But I really didn't want to.

Maria V. Snyder fans had been clamoring for a continuation to the Study series set in Ixia/Sitia for years. And boy, did we get it. Yelena, everyone's favorite Soulfinder and ex-poison taster, is back--except someone has poisoned her and somehow taken away her magic. Uh-oh.

True to form, Snyder's story splits Yelena from her heartmate, Valek, as he returns to Ixia to sort out some shady business--smuggling, skullduggery, and a young upstart assassin who's after his job. Yelena, meanwhile, tries to find a cure for her condition, made extra tricky by the need to keep the loss of her powers a secret. If Study Series fans know anything, it's that everything will get much, much worse before they get any better.

At least, neither of our protagonists is truly alone in their endeavors: fan favorites Ari and Janco from Valek's elite forces are back, as well as the intrepid, street-smart Fisk and Yelena's brother, Leif, to provide support and the usual shenanigans. Opal from the Glass Series plays a part as well--as do many, many other characters from previous books. Halfway through, I was wishing for a dramatis personae since it's been a few years since I read the Study books over again.

As the unknown villains continue to evade them, more questions than answers crop up: why did the Sitian Council not warn Yelena that a powerful magician escaped from prison? Would the Commander welcome Yelena back to Ixia if he found out she no longer had magical abilities? How are smugglers getting past Valek's usually whip-smart security forces?

Hardcore fans are in for a treat with the beginning of the Soulfinders series, but new readers should probably go back and read the first three books (completionists will also want to read Opal's series and all of the free novellas before attempting Shadow Study). Those who've persevered will be rewarded with an action-packed spinoff series including--gasp!--flashbacks to Valek's training days, when people would call him "Kingkiller" only in jest.

Once again, Snyder leaves readers on the edge of their seats, and will leave them craving more.


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Synopsis

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder wowed readers with Poison Study, the unforgettable story of poison taster Yelena. Now she's back with a new tale of intrigue. 

Once, only her own life hung in the balance… 

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands—and protect her relationship with Valek. 

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job and his life are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret—or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is—while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers. 

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous…


Praise

"After years of clamoring, fans of Snyder's awesome Study series are about to be rewarded with a new adventure featuring former poison taster turned Soulfinder Yelena Zaltana. Snyder's complex world and rich characterization are what have made this series so unforgettable, and she doesn't miss a beat in this new installment. Having Yelena, Valek, Ari, Janco and the rest back is pure reading pleasure!"
4.5 stars, March 2015
~ RT Book Reviews on Shadow Study

"Doing full justice to the plot of this original and entertaining epic fantasy is impossible. Suffice it to say that the action is nonstop. The many characters leap to life, particularly Yelena, whose first-person narrative is riveting."
~ RT Book Reviews on Fire Study


About the author

Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes at the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornados, Maria earned a bachelors of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn't one of her skills. In order to chase tornados you had to predict where they might form. Creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable to her.

Writing proved to be more enjoyable than meteorology, and Maria returned to school to earn a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part company with Seton Hill and its wonderful writing program, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program.

Maria's research on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study.

Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general and via cruise ship in particular are her biggest distractions from writing. Maria has traveled to Belize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal.

Maria lives with her family and a black cat name Valek (a.k.a. the bug assassin!) in Pennsylvania where she is at work on NIGHT STUDY, the second book of the NEW set of three Study books with Yelena and Valek!

Readers are welcome to contact Maria at the following email address: maria@mariavsnyder.com.

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Tour Schedule

Week One:

2/16/2015 - a GREAT read - Guest Post
2/17/2015 - Alice Marvels - Review
2/18/2015 - Reading YA Rocks - Guest Post
2/19/2015 - Tales of the Ravenous Reader - Interview
2/20/2015 - Read Now Sleep Later - Review                          

Week Two:

2/23/2015 - Two Chicks on Books - Guest Post
2/24/2015 - Seeing Double In Neverland - Review
2/25/2015 - Magical Urban Fantasy Reads - Guest Post
2/26/2015 - Mundie Moms - Review
2/27/2015 - Parajunkee - Interview


Giveaway

The blog tour is giving away 10 finished copies of SHADOW STUDY! Open Internationally. Enter using the Rafflecopter below! Don't forget to leave some comment love (no, it's not mandatory, it's just nice!) for all of the blog tour hosts.

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12. One Witch at a Time Blog Tour

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for including us on the blog tour for One Witch at a Time by Stacy DeKeyser! Check out the other blogs on the tour, as well as a guest post from the author and a giveaway of both books (The Brixen Witch in paperback and its sequel in hardcover).

   

One Witch at a Time Blog Tour Schedule

Mon, Feb 9 - Cracking the Cover
Tues, Feb 10 - Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Wed, Feb 11 - Mother Daughter Book Club
Thurs, Feb 12 - GreenBeanTeenQueen
Fri, Feb 13 - The Book Monsters
Mon, Feb 16 - Word Spelunking
Tues, Feb 17 - Read Now, Sleep Later
Wed, Feb 18 - Small Review
Thurs, Feb 19 - Kid Lit Frenzy
Fri, Feb 20 - The Flashlight Reader

About the book

Misplaced magic is trouble.

The day had started so well. But now here was Rudi, racing home to intercept a thief. All because of a foolish bargain made by a nine-year-old girl.

Trouble has returned to Brixen, and once again, Rudi is the one who must make things right. Can he undo the disaster caused when an unsuspecting stranger brings a foreign witch’s magic into the Brixen Witch’s province? 

Guest Post

Alethea asked me to write about the books that keep me reading past bedtime, but I have a confession to make: I’m a terrible bedtime reader. Five pages and I’m drifting off, no matter how awesome the book is!

Maybe that’s why I love to travel: There’s nothing better than a long flight or a day under a beach umbrella, because then I can devour a good book in one long sitting.

I have a few absolute favorite books. If I could stay awake past bedtime, these would be the ones to keep me reading:

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean: This book is haunting and horrifying, and unfolds so relentlessly that it gives me chills just thinking about it!

Nation by Terry Pratchett: I’m a huge Pratchett fan, and this is his masterpiece. Not as wildly fantastical as his Discworld books, it’s heartbreaking in parts, and laugh-out-loud funny in other places. (And if you’re a writer, and want to study a master of the omniscient point of view, Pratchett is your guy.)

Anything by Jonathan Stroud: Currently I’m reading The Whispering Skull, the second book in his new Lockwood & Co. series, about young ghost hunters in London. And his four Bartimaeus books are among my favorites of all time.

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Anything by Hilary McKay: Her Casson family series (Saffy’s Angel and sequels) are some of the funniest books ever. I’m eagerly anticipating Binny in Secret, the sequel to Binny for Short, which is hilarious and sweet. Plus, there’s a dog.

Just thinking about all these wonderful books makes me think I should take another long trip soon!

 

About the author

Stacy DeKeyser is the author of The Brixen Witch, which received two starred reviews and was a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Pick, and its sequel, One Witch at a Time, as well as the young adult novel, Jump the Cracks and two nonfiction books for young readers. She lives in Connecticut with her family. To learn more and to download a free, CCSS-aligned discussion guide, visit StacyDeKeyser.com.

 

Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive The Brixen Witch in paperback and One Witch at a Time in hardcover. US addresses only, please!

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open to US residents only. Ends 02/23/2015.
  2. We and the publisher are not responsible for items lost, stolen, or damaged in the mail. 
  3. One set of entries per household please. 
  4. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address. 
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends. 
  6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner. 
  7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here
  8. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find. Thanks!
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13. The New Indian Slow Cooker

The New Indian Slow Cooker: Recipes for Curries, Dals, Chutneys, Masalas, Biryani, and more by Neela Paniz

Publication date: 2 September 2014 by Ten Speed Press (reprint)

Category: Cooking, Indian Cuisine

Keywords: Cookbook, Slow Cooker

Format: Paperback, ebook

Source: Blogging for Books, ARC from publisher for review

4 STARS - STAY UP LATE

Photos from @readnowsleeplater and @frootjoos on Instagram

So I've been sitting on this book review for a while. I've had really mixed feelings about The New Indian Slow Cooker. The book is pretty gorgeous, with delectable photography and easy-to-follow layouts. Recipe introductions, instructions, and descriptions of ingredients used in this cuisine are helpfully clear and concise for helping the home cook navigate unfamiliar territory, making this a great intro to Indian food. The structure of most of the recipes also reduces the intimidation factor quite a bit, though slow cooker aficionados should note that there is more prep involved than you would expect from a normal slow cooker manual. Onions, for example, need to be cooked through on the stove before adding them into the mix; spices need to be roasted and ground (I've done this by hand and also in a spice grinder).

Lamb vindaloo @frootjoos

Lamb vindaloo @frootjoos

The variety of dishes is as I expected--staples like chicken tikka masala and my favorite butter chicken--are featured alongside everything you need for a meal, including rice dishes, paneer, raita, and chutneys. Simmering them for a long time at a low heat made a lot of sense, and the recipes were easy to prepare. However, while my test batches of curry were pretty successful (I'm looking at you, lamb vindaloo), one of the recipes I wanted to master the most (baingan bharta, a spicy eggplant curry) didn't come out nearly as I expected. Stewing the vegetables (mostly eggplant and potato) in the slow cooker didn't produce the smoky flavor I'd come to associate with the dish, nevermind that my usual exposure to it was through the Trader Joe's frozen food aisle (and the item is now, sadly, discontinued). I think I'll actually roast the eggplants next time.

Chopping up chilis @frootjoos

Chopping up chilis @frootjoos

Additionally, some of the recipes struck me as pretty Westernized, not authentic, but then I also think it makes acquiring or substituting ingredients somewhat easier, especially if you don't happen to live near a good Indian supermarket.

The size and soft binding of the book is great for leaving it open while you cook. Get a splatter-shield, though--I learned that lesson the hard way while frying onions. It's worth reading cover to cover, if for nothing else than to get a better idea of which spices combine to make a particular flavor. There are also little tips sprinkled throughout that I'd only expect to learn while learning from an experienced cook (like adding ice to a sauce pan before adding milk to make the yogurt). And actually, I got the cookbook right around the time my slow cooker broke--I have been preparing most of the recipes on a very low flame on the stove top, so you don't even really need a slow cooker if you get the principles of how heat affects your ingredients. 

I'd recommend this to adventurous cooks getting ready to venture into Indian cuisine, but not to slow-cookers expecting a quick fix-and-forget meal.

- ALETHEA -

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for review purposes. 

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14. Twilight Special Edition Giveaway

Do I even really need to explain this? Special edition hardcovers of Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer are up for grabs! Happy Valentine's Day, loyal followers! We love you.

US only (sorry, they're heavy!) Winner will be announced on February 14, 2015.

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open to US residents only. Ends 02/13/2015.
  2. We are not responsible for items lost, stolen, or damaged in the mail. 
  3. One set of entries per household please. 
  4. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address. 
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends. 
  6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner. 
  7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here
  8. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find. Thanks!
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15. Candlewick Press - Best of YA Giveaway

TIME Magazine recently published their 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time and 100 Best Children's Books of All Time lists. Candlewick Press is offering a chance to win 6 of their titles which appeared on the YA list!

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The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

Rob, sickly and devastated by the death of his mother, moves to a hotel with his father for a new start. But after he comes across a caged tiger in the woods outside the motel, the unexpected find helps him overcome his sadness and open up to a new friend.

The Tiger Rising is a National Book Award finalist (2001).

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The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. Along the way, we are shown a miracle--that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is in the Top 25 to be voted on for Best of the Best ranking by reader vote: http://time.com/100-best-young-adult-books/

Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci

An unforgettable debut novel that follows an antisocial cinephile as she meets a quick-witted artist who's savvy enough to see through her sci-fi disguise. 

Boy Proof will celebrate its 10th anniversary in February 2015.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Illustrated by Jim Kay

An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor. 

Soon to be a major motion picture!

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

A dystopian thriller follows a boy and girl on the run from a town where all thoughts can be heard--and the passage to manhood embodies a horrible secret.

Feed by M. T. Anderson

Anderson takes on consumerism in this smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now. 

Feed is a National Book Award Finalist (2002).


Thanks to Candlewick, you can enter to win all 6 books using the Rafflecopter widget below! The giveaway is open to the US and Canada only, and ends Monday, January 26, 2015.

Candlewick online: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

eVolt online: Twitter | Tumblr

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open to US and Canada residents only. Ends 01/26/2015.
  2. We are not responsible for items lost, stolen, or damaged in the mail. 
  3. One set of entries per household please. 
  4. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address. 
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends. 
  6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner. 
  7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here
  8. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find. Thanks!
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16. Tuck Everlasting 40th Anniversary Blog Tour

Thanks to Macmillan for including us on the 40th Anniversary blog tour for Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.

I'm so excited that I'm offering up a copy of the 40th Anniversary Edition of the book in a quick giveaway. It's open internationally and ends Saturday, Jan 10. The book won't be out until Tuesday, Jan 20, so if you don't win my giveaway, you can preorder your copy right here! Enter using the Rafflecopter below, and look up the hashtag #Tuck40th to find the other 39 blog tour posts on the tour!

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What if you could live forever?

If I could live forever, I can think of a million things I'd like to do. I'd knit and sew a lot. I'd try to help alleviate poverty and counteract global warming. I'd take a boat out to sea and try to chip away at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch--that's sure to take up a whole lot of time. I'd take classes in everything: languages, math, science, and every art form available. I'd bake millions of cookies, pies, cakes, and other desserts. I'd adopt every stray cat that crossed my path (especially the black ones).

When I was younger, I thought I'd like to just stay home and read forever. And I'm sure, if I could live forever, I would make sure I had somewhere to keep my books. But there is a whole world out there to see, lots of things to do. I'd try to do them all, especially the things that scare me the most. For example, while I love to sing, I really hate being in front of an audience. I would look for opportunities to sing and maybe speak publicly, or even act. I'm also really scared of swimming in the ocean. I mean, I can go for a little dip at the beach, but when I can't see or feel the sandy bottom anymore, I really start to freak out.

Of course, there are practical considerations to living forever. How do you pay for everything? Won't people wonder how I stayed young or managed to outlive everyone else? Would I have to go into hiding to protect myself? I really don't relish the thought of having to work for a paycheck the rest of my life, or spend my life on the run, so I'm sure some strict investment and retirement plans, legal action, and/or winning the lottery might have to come into play.

I'm not sure I'd be lonely, because I do like being alone, and I feel like I can make friends with whoever else happens to be alive at the same time. The worst case scenario I can think of is if I outlived every other earthly life form (including cats), and no benevolent aliens came along to invite me to travel through space with them for eternity. Then, I'd probably regret living for so long. I'd also avoid any kind of wrongdoing--especially things that could land me in jail! A life sentence seems way worse when it's never-ending.

I'd spend the rest of eternity making friends, traveling, making things, reading (and maybe writing) books, singing, baking, and trying to change the world. I'd knit, and sew, and raise an army of black cats. Actually, even if I can't live forever, I think I'll do those things anyway.

Except maybe the swimming in the deep ocean part.

About the book

2015 marks the 40th anniversary of Natalie Babbitt’s celebrated, ground- breaking title Tuck Everlasting (Anniversary edition on sale January 20). In celebration of the anniversary, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group will publish a special anniversary edition featuring an introduction from Wicked author Gregory Maguire.

Tuck Everlasting asks readers “What if you could live forever?” Doomed to, or blessed with, eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less of a blessing than it might seem. Then complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

Upon the book’s publication in 1975, Natalie was greeted with concern from parents and educators who were stunned to read a book about death written for children. She is an author who challenges her readers and thinks the best questions are the ones without answers.

This 40th anniversary will introduce a whole new generation to this timeless classic. The book has sold over 3.5 million copies in the US alone, and has never been out of print since publication. 

About the author

Natalie Babbitt is the award-winning author of Tuck Everlasting, The Eyes of the Amaryllis, Knee-Knock Rise, and many other brilliantly original books for young people. She began her career in 1966 as the illustrator of The Forty-Ninth Magician, a collaboration with her husband. When her husband became a college president and no longer had time to collaborate, Babbitt tried her hand at writing. Her first novel, The Search for Delicious, established her gift for writing magical tales with profound meaning. Knee-Knock Rise earned her a Newbery Honor, and in 2002, Tuck Everlasting was adapted into a major motion picture. Natalie Babbitt lives in Connecticut, and is a grandmother of three. 

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17. Upcoming Events January 2015

Hey hey! Just a quick reminder that we post links to select local Los Angeles/Southern California book events at the beginning of every month. You can check out the calendar anytime at http://www.readnowsleeplater.org/events. We sometimes add events as soon as we find out about them, so keep up with them here, on Tumblr, and on Twitter. Whenever we can, we also attend and post photos on Facebook and Instagram!

We usually cover the following venues and events:

Once Upon a Time Bookstore, Montrose
Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena
Nucleus Gallery, Alhambra
Book Soup, Los Angeles
Skylight Books, Los Angeles
The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles
Barnes & Noble at The Americana, Glendale

Barnes & Noble at The Grove, Los Angeles
Barnes & Noble at The Promenade, Santa Monica
Barnes & Noble at Bella Terra, Huntington Beach
Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego

Burbank Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library
Pasadena Public Library
Santa Monica Public Library

Book'd in Burbank
Los Angeles Times Book Festival
Ontario Teen Book Fest
Pasadena Teen Book Fest
YALLWEST - new this year!

If you are a traditionally published author, event manager, librarian, or publicist, please email event info including author name, date, time, venue, and event description to readnowsleeplater@gmail.com. We cannot guarantee that we will include every event in our calendar, but we do try to list all events that are of interest to our readers.

If you see Alethea, Thuy, and/or Kimberly at one of the events, please come and say hi! There may be a bookmark in it for you... just sayin'...

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18. Blue Lily, Lily Blue Giveaway

Hello, dear readers! We're starting a great run of giveaways for 2015. Today we're giving away a hardcover copy of Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. The winner also gets a signed Dream Thieves bookplate (right) as well as a Sinner bookplate (left). Keep in mind that this is the 3rd book in the series, so you'll have to get your hands on the first two some other way if you win!

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Just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Make sure you're following us so you don't miss any of the fantastic giveaways coming up!

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open to US residents only. Ends 01/19/2015.
  2. We are not responsible for items lost, stolen, or damaged in the mail. 
  3. One set of entries per household please. 
  4. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address. 
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends. 
  6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner. 
  7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here
  8. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find. Thanks!
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19. Hello Kitty Con 2014 Recap

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On Nov. 1, 2014, I headed down to Los Angeles's Little Tokyo with my pals Celina and Kate to see the crazy Sanrio extravaganza known as Hello Kitty Con. Celebrating her 40th Anniversary, HKCon2014 was a massive cutesplosion of displays, activities, and of course, shopping. My only regret is not getting a second day pass so I could see panels as well as shop. Oh, ok, and that the SPAM booth ran out of Hello Kitty Musubi kits. And that I didn't have time or energy left to go make sand art.

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Ok, so I have a lot of regrets. But I had a ton of fun, too! It was weird to look through the Vintage Village displays and see things I most certainly had as a kid. To see all the people dressed in head-to-toe Sanrio gear made me grin. I picked up some collectibles (Socks! Notebooks! Baggu!) for myself, plus a couple more things to give away! Enter below using the Rafflecopter.

The prize is a set of 40th Anniversary notebooks and pins from Hello Kitty Con, plus a bag of Strawberry Pocky because they're pink and delicious. If the post gets 100 comments (minus any by Alethea, Thuy, or Kimberly) we'll throw in a gray Hello Kitty Baggu bag from Poketo, and the Hello Kitty graphic novel, Delicious!

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open to US residents only. Ends 11/20/2014.
  2. We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items. 
  3. One set of entries per household please. 
  4. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address. 
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends. 
  6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner. 
  7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here
  8. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find. Thanks!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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20. Gratitude Giveaway Hop

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21. Getting the Words Out (8)

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Hello everyone!

You know, I actually kind of hate it when bloggers make a big announcement about going on hiatus (or coming back from one, or whatever). It's like the "man behind the curtain" moment--I'd rather not see. So this is not going to turn into that. I'm just going to tell you what fun stuff I've been doing instead of blogging (which is also fun, but in a much more time-consuming way than you might imagine).

  • I have really revived my passion for knitting and sewing. I have my pals at Twisted Stitches to thank for that. I just finished a scarf and I'm starting a pair of gloves for a Christmas gift. I plan to make myself some dresses as soon as I finish all of my Christmas crafting!
  • I have been exercising on and off just to maintain my weight so I could pig out like I wanted to on Thanksgiving (mission accomplished) but I sprained my ankle the other night, so no running for a bit :(
  • My husband got me hooked on Serial, a nonfiction podcast that unfolds a single story week by week.
  • I am binge-watching Criminal Minds. Great tv fare for both ankle-elevating and knitting (and very occasional blogging).
  • I'm trying to toilet-train my cats (to use the actual toilet!). Week one is almost over and so far, zilch. But apparently it's to be expected with a two-cat household.
  • I got a new bookshelf. Hallelujah! I am trying NOT to double-stack this one, but it does reach floor-to-ceiling.
  • I made pumpkin cream cheese bars, which smelled so bad during the making (due to gelatin and egg white components) that I swore I'd never make it again, but tasted so good afterwards, I had to give most of it away so I wouldn't eat it all myself.
  • I was in the same room (well, theatre) as John Cleese and Eric Idle. Watch here.
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I got a new MacBook Air. OMG. OMG. Ok, I'll be honest, the feel of the keys under my fingers is totally why I'm blogging again.

:) More soon!

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22. The Wolf Chronicles: Guest Post by Dorothy Hearst

Thanks to Dorothy Hearst for answering some questions about her Wolf Chronicles series today! Stick around and check out the giveaway as well as the other stops on the blog tour. 


Five most common questions about The Wolf Chronicles

I often get questions from young people who have read The Wolf Chronicles. Here are answers to the questions I hear most:

Talking wolves? How did you get that idea? 

One day, I was thinking about dogs, and how remarkable it is that we’re so drawn to them and they’re so drawn to us. I wondered how that came to be. And I thought about wolves—about how so many people hate and fear them. Then, a voice in my head said “I should write about how the wolf became the dog from the wolf’s point of view.” No one else was in the apartment, so I took the idea for my own. I didn’t have much choice. The wolves really wanted their story told, and they can’t type, so it was up to me.

Was it hard to write a wolf narrator?

It was easy in some ways and challenging in others. I’d been trying to write for about ten years when I got the idea for TWC.  As soon as I started writing, Kaala’s voice was there. I realized that I had written about three pages in her voice ten years earlier. So I had a dog-like narrator in my head already. Then the work began.

I did my research on how wolves perceive the world, then experimented with different ways to make Kaala seem wolflike, but not so unfamiliar that she would be hard for readers to relate to. I played with it until I got it just how I wanted it.  

Which character is most like you?

I think that Kaala and Tlitoo are two sides of me. Kaala takes things seriously and is a bit of an outsider. Tlitoo is a jokester and impulsive, and can’t resist chaos. I found it interesting that these two parts of my personality came out in two very different characters.

How did you come up with the names?

Some characters just came with names, like Tlitoo (ravens deliberately chose difficult-to-pronounce names). I had to work at others. I would start with a name and write about that character for a while. Then, often, something about the name wouldn’t match the character, so I’d try another. Eventually I would find the right name.

Then, I needed to make sure that readers would know right away whether a wolf, raven, human or Greatwolf was talking. So I developed naming conventions for each one, an idea I got from Anne McCaffrey. All the wolves have double letters in their names, the Greatwolves’ names end in “dra” and “dru” (in honor of their ancestor, Indru), and the humans have their villages at the ends of their names.

How do you write a whole book?

Keep on going. Most people think that if their first drafts aren’t good it means they can’t write. People also think that if it’s hard, they’re doing it wrong. Both are untrue. You have to get through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff, and writing seems hard because it’s hard. Just keep working at it.  It’s the only way to get to the end.


About Promise of the Wolves

WHAT IS THE PROMISE OF THE WOLF?
NEVER CONSORT WITH HUMANS
NEVER KILL A HUMAN UNPROVOKED
NEVER ALLOW A MIXED-BLOOD WOLF TO LIVE

At least that's what the wolves of the Wide Valley believe. Until a young wolf dares to break the rules--and forever alters the relationship between wolves and the humans who share their world.

This is the story of such a wolf. Born of a forbidden mixed-blood litter and an outcast after her mother is banished, Kaala is determined to earn a place in the Swift River pack. But her world is turned upside down when she saves a human girl from drowning. Risking expulsion from their pack and exile from the Wide Valley, Kaala and her young packmates begin to hunt with the humans and thus discover the long-hidden bond between the two clans. But when war between wolves and humans threatens, Kaala learns the lies behind the wolf's promise. Lies that force her to choose between safety for herself and her friends and the survival of her pack--and perhaps of all wolf- and human-kind.

Set 14,000 years ago, Promise of the Wolves takes us to a land where time is counted in phases of the moon, distance is measured in wolflengths, and direction by the scent of the nearest trail. Years of research into the world of wolves combines with mythical tale-telling to present a fantastical adventure set in a world filled with lore.


About the author

Before the wolves barged in the door, demanding that their story be told, Dorothy Hearst was an acquisitions editor at Jossey-Bass, where she published books for nonprofit, public, and social change leaders. She loves dogs but doesn’t have one, and borrows other people’s whenever she gets the chance. After seven years in New York City and nine years as a San Franciscan, Dorothy now lives in Berkeley, California.

Spirit of the Wolves, the third and final title in The Wolf Chronicles, will be released December 2. For more information, and to download free CCSS-aligned discussion questions for all three novels, visit her website www.dorothyhearst.com.


Giveaway

Simon & Schuster is pleased to offer a complete set of The Wolf Chronicles--PROMISE OF THE WOLVES, SECRETS OF THE WOLVES, AND SPIRIT OF THE WOLVES--to one lucky winner! (U.S. addresses only.) Giveaway ends December 20, 2014.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Check out all the stops on The Wolf Chronicles blog tour!

Mon, Dec 1 - Novel Novice

Tues, Dec 2 - The Book Monsters

Wed, Dec 3 - SLJ Teen

Thurs, Dec 4 - I Am a Reader, Not a Writer

Fri, Dec 5 - I Read Banned Books

Mon, Dec 8 - Library Fanatic

Tues, Dec 9 - YA Book Nerd

Wed, Dec 10 - Read Now, Sleep Later

Thurs, Dec 11 - The Brain Lair

Fri, Dec 12 - Unleashing Readers

Sat, Dec 13 - The Children's Book Review

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23. Alexandra Monir Suspicion Launch Party

*I am not going to go into a full rant but I just wrote this entire post and it did not save. *sob* So please excuse me if this seems a bit brief. My original post was brilliant. :)*

Hi, everyone! It's been a while since our last book event, but Kimberly and I were lucky enough to be able to make it to the Suspicion launch party last night at Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica. We arrived about 20 minutes before the signing to purchase our books. Then we went upstairs to the event space and were greeted with this:

This was only part of the spread, too. There was a whole table filled with delicious finger sandwiches and treats and a bartender pouring sparking cider and other liquid refreshments. Monir told us later that her mom had planned the whole thing so yay mom! We've been to a lot of book signings and they don't usually have snacks. I really think we need to change this and make it a more regular occurrence. There was a large crowd of people at the events including friends, family and fans.

The signing started off with us listening to Monir's "Autumn Leaves," a song that she recorded for Suspicion. Monir has been a performer and recording artist for most of her life and has recorded a song for each of her books. 

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Monir says that her start in writing was a "happy accident." She had been pursuing a career in music when, one day, the idea for a time travel romance (what would later become Timeless) came to her. She didn't know what to do with the idea really but decided to start writing it to see where it went. It turned into a full length novel. Monir passed the novel on to her music agent who, in turn, gave it to an editor at Random House for comments. What resulted was a two book deal for Monir. Monir counts herself lucky though and says that her story is an unusual one. 

Monir said that Suspicion was very much inspired by one of her favorite books, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Monir said that she originally wanted to re-imagine the story for a younger audience and in a more contemporary setting. She added her own twist though with elements of the supernatural and themes of childhood friendship. The setting for Suspicion was inspired by Downton Abbey. The class differences of that time really interested Monir and she says that she discovered that the peerage is still going strong in Britain. She says that the Brits treat the royals like celebrities similar to how reality and film stars are treated in the U.S.

When asked if she listened to music while writing, Monir said that she likes to listen to film scores of world music so that she doesn't get caught up in the lyrics. Two of her favorite composers are Alexandre Desplat and John Williams. When asked if she would ever stop writing YA, Monir said that she did not think that she would ever tire of writing YA. The intense feelings and the discovery of first experiences are themes that loves. She also says that YA readers are the best reader.

After a few more questions it was time to sign books. Monir was very sweet and gracious when we chatted with her and we discussed how awesome Rebecca is and her upcoming trip to France (jealous!).

We had a really great time and can't wait to read Suspicion. You can see all of our pics from the event in our Flickr album. Also, mini eclairs! Many thanks to B&N, Alexandra Monir, and her mom for bringing treats. :)

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24. Evil Librarian

evillibrarian.jpg

Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

Publication date: 09 September 2014 by Candlewick Press

Category: Young Adult Horror, Paranormal

Keywords: Humor, High School, Demons, Romance

Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook

4 Stars - Stay up late

Cynthia Rothschild is creeped out when her best friend Annie falls for the young and handsome new librarian, Mr. Gabriel. But it's more than just an age ick factor. There's something wrong with Mr. Grabriel, something Cyn can't put her finger on...

Fans of Buffy rejoice because a fun and well written paranormal YA adventure has hit the shelves. Cyn is a typical teenage girl. She loves musical theater and is head stage manager. She's secretly in love with the lead singer Ryan, who is playing Sweeney Todd. She is a loyal and loving best friend to her friend Annie. Even when Annie starts acting very strange.

There's a lot to like about Evil Librarian. The writing is good. Every sentence is fun and I read the book at a medium pace, savoring the funny Cyn-isms and high school situations. Yes, high school is hell and sometimes a demon invades your school and tries to... never mind.

My heart is warmed towards Ryan who is the lead in the high school musical. I love musicals. I went to college for a year for a musical theater degree. Seriously. Their story is like my high school life. You know, without the demon. So it's very refreshing to see Ryan, the romantic lead, be playing Sweeney. And to have Cyn involved in musical theater.

Also, the story really takes you on a ride. A few times, you think you have it figured out--"oh, this is bound to work" and then it slaps you upside the head. I really liked these moments. 

There's a few things that brought the book down for me though. One is that Ryan is Cyn's only side kick. She's trying to save Annie and he is her main partner in crime. This wouldn't be that bad but he's also her HUGE crush so a lot of the book is spent on her swooning over him, talking about his hair or his eyes or if he touches her, etc. Now I'm all about YA romance, but this was a little excessive especially when she is trying to save her best friend from becoming something very evil. I think a second sidekick would have helped, a non-romantic best friend, to help them solve everything. It was just really focused on Ryan and Cyn's crush on Ryan and OMG he touched my hand... A little too much for this reader.

The other thing is that while the plots twists were fun, for some reason, the book felt too long. It's only coming in under 350 pages but the pacing was off in some places. I didn't want to stop reading, but I had no problem putting the book down for a few days and maybe reading something else for a while. That didn't stop me from enjoying it but it wasn't a feverish, frantic I-gotta-know-what-happens type of read either.

Overall I think Evil Librarian is a very fun, well written YA book. There's humor and romance and evil and good.

- Kimberly -

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25. Alex as Well

   

Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman

Publication date: 20 January 2015 by Henry Holt & Co.

Category: Young Adult Realistic, Contemporary

Keywords: Intersex, Sexuality, Family

Format: Hardcover, ebook

4 STARS - STAY UP LATE

Boy or girl. Pink or blue. Normal or...? What is it that makes gender such a divisive line? First, consider that the assignment of pink for girls and blue for boys is a social convention based on a 1980's marketing strategy brought on by the advent of pre-natal testing, that President Obama recently subverted gender stereotypes by sorting balls and tool kits into the "girls" box at Toys for Tots, that even now in our modern age there are people who believe certain jobs "belong" to one gender or the other. Then consider that whether a person is male or female is actually determined by genes and hormones at birth... except when it kind of isn't.

Alex, the title character in Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman, is intersex--a label applied to people whose anatomy doesn't assign them to one gender or the other. Think of gender as a continuum rather than a binary, either-or situation. Raised by her parents as a boy, but identifying as a girl, Alex decides to leave the all-boys school in which she's enrolled after a traumatic experience, and enrolls herself in a co-ed school, instead. Her parents are at the end of their tether--her mom blogs about the trials and tribulations of raising not just any teenager, but one who's gender-confused (and insists on referring to Alex as male); her dad just flat-out leaves when she tells them she's a girl.

Alex herself feels torn in several directions--she struggles internally with boy-Alex, who sometimes whips out their "noodle"--the euphemism their mother came up with for their ambiguous genitalia--for a quick wank. There's a cute boy at her new school who seems to have a crush on her, but Alex has got a crush on another girl instead. Meanwhile, as much as she loves her parents and yearns for their understanding, at just fourteen years old, Alex feels like she can't go on living with them anymore. To top it off, how long can she withstand the strain of keeping up appearances at school? Someone is bound to find out her secret, and what happens next could turn her world upside down.

This story is sensitive and timely, told accessibly with heart and dry humor by Australian author Alyssa Brugman. While the ending may feel too abrupt for some readers, I hope the novel arouses some needed awareness and discussion of intersex, transgender, and other gender-related issues, and shifts our world's view closer to understanding and support rather than derision and disgust. 

- Alethea -

Further reading:

* I know Emily. She's magnificent and you should read her Reddit AMA. We would also both be super thrilled if you would get hooked on the YA series Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer, particularly on audiobook. Please and thank you!

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