29 March, 2010

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder - Review

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern
Publication date: September 29, 2009
ISBN 10/13: 0312382529 / 9780312382520

Category: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Hardcover (borrowed from the library)
Keywords: Growing up, Bad friends, New friends, Identity, Realistic but fantastic, Mathletes

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com.
How I found out about this book: Ingram catalog--anything that was pink in last year's Summer Children's issue got on my to-be-read list. I haven't been disappointed yet.

Quickie: It's pink. And it's covered in d20's. (That's 20-sided dice, to you, n00b.) What more could a girl want?

For more details, click on "Read More"

24 March, 2010

In My Mailbox (6) + Oh My Word

Bad news. I bought some books today. On goes the breaking of my New Year's resolution.

The good news is, they were

which I only had in mass market, so it didn't match my copy of Touching Darkness (Midnighters, Book 2)


which Drew told me is not as good as Touching Darkness, but I have to read anyway because I'm a "completionist".

I also got 
but not for myself--for a contest I will be holding over at Goodreads. I'll post the link here soon.

More good news. I decided to see if my library card was still valid (it wasn't) and if our local public library had a teen section (it does). And while they were missing a few newer releases that I wanted to check out, they did have

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder Food, Girls, & Other Things I Can't Have I Am the Messenger

that I have been wanting to read, and trying desperately to avoid ordering. I got my card renewed, my address fixed, and will be back to the library soon for Flash Burnout and Silver Phoenix.

So hey, I lost a little, and I won a little. A break-even day sounds good to me after yesterday. I had transportation problems getting to school (only slightly late) then had a killer migraine thanks to freakish heat wave (when I left the house, it was 60 degrees--when I got back, it was over 80!) and airborne allergies. Boo.

As for Oh My Word:

That's what I exclaimed when I found out that Oliver Jeffers, yes, THE Oliver Jeffers, is going to beat Mrs. Nelson's in LaVerne, CA on Thursday, April 15th. I'm so happy that my spring break is that week! Alybee has graciously offered to carpool out to the boonies. It's so odd, James Burks and a couple of other people were tweeting about him just yesterday on #kidlitchat. And all of a sudden, there he is!

In the interest of breaking even, here's a picture I snagged from Mrs. Nelson's website (bad) linked to their event page so you can get info/buy his books from an indie bookstore (good).


In My Mailbox is brought to you by The Story Siren. What's in your mailbox?

(BTW The Story Siren just got a blog make-over. Cutest blog layout EVER!)

21 March, 2010

Read between the Lines: A Super-Special Secret Maybe Event


Some of you know, I am a bookseller as well as a bookblogger. I work part-time for Borders Books & Music in Glendale, CA. I love books, and YA in particular. I have met some of my favorite authors, but except for one, none of them have ever come to my store. In part, it's because the last few years have been tumultuous ones in our business (though it's been so much better lately), and in part it's because our town is more of a suburb of Los Angeles, not really a teeming center of entertainment.

Last week I found out that I have this chance to maybe, perhaps, ever-so-tentatively host one of my favorite YA authors at my store. Yes, the person's initials include the letters S and M. No, this person has not written a vampire book. I'm afraid to even say their name, in case the gods & goddesses of Special Events and Publicity choose to spit on my dreams and deny us this chance. (This is why, in the course of my posts about this subject, I will not name names, but just clue you in, if you're clever enough to read between the lines. Do me a favor, and play along!)


If I can show them that I can pack the house for this author, that their trip all the way across the country
will not be wasted on a turnout that we'll have to characterize with euphemisms like "intimate" and "cozy" (i.e., we threw a party and no one came) I might stand a fighting chance of making this happen.

The very thought of being able to host this event and meet this author gives me the shivers.

Can you help me?

All you have to do is

  • If you are in the Southern California area, and/or plan to be here in late July/early August, RSVP for the Super-Special Secret Maybe Event on our Facebook page at http://bit.ly/bordersgdca. Please Fan us also, so we can keep you up to date on this and all the rest of our YA events.
  • Tell your friends to do the same.
  • Tell the Internets. You can blog it, tweet it, post it, share it: http://bit.ly/bordersgdYA is the direct link to the event on Facebook. You can also follow me or the store. You can also link to this post at http://bit.ly/rnslsecretevent
  • If you're not on Facebook and don't plan to be, email me directly at frootjoos at gmail dot com so I can put you on the RSVP list (full name, email address, zip code -- phone # is optional!)
  • Or any combination of the above.
I will be hosting a contest (it's in the works--I'll tell you when it starts, what it will entail, and what you could win!) and possibly a second contest--one to help spread the word about the event while we're trying to get it, and IF WE GET IT, one to spread the word about the event itself.


Even as I'm writing this, I have a lingering feeling of doubt that somehow I have not made the proper offerings in veneration to the gods and goddesses of Special Events & Publicity, and that I will be denied this dream of meeting my awesome author.

Of all the missed chances in my life, that would be one of the ones that I would regret forever.

RSVP for the Super-Special Secret Maybe Event NOW!

In My Mailbox (5)


On Friday night I...


then I got...

and in my boss's office I found an ARC for
and I was all

Also, I have a super special secret amazing possibly mind-blowingly awesome author event that I need YOUR help to make it happen... more on this later.

Soon! No, I swear, I'm just stopping for a Hot Pocket, then I will tell you what's up.

17 March, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
Publication date: April 1, 2010
ISBN 10/13: 037321006X / 9780373210060

Back cover copy:

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? Not like it's all that dangerous - the only neck I risk is my own. Until I accidently start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

Sooooo... I'm supposed to be studying for a psychology test this week.

Guess what I'm doing instead. While you all have a couple of weeks left to wait, I got mine in the mail (^_^). Ah, the perks of being a maven.

You can read an excerpt from Inside Out here. (Just scroll down a bit.)

16 March, 2010

How to Say Goodbye in Robot - Review

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Publication date: October 1, 2009
ISBN 10/13: 0545107083 / 9780545107082

Category: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Hardcover--and I have to say, the book designer did a bang-up job--it's one of the most gorgeous books I've ever owned. If you're not normally a hardcover buyer, splurge, just this once--it's deliciously well-put together.
Keywords: Realistic but fantastic, friendship, family, moving, growing up, loneliness, death, grief

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com.
How I found out about this book: It was already on my radar thanks to the Ingram catalog, and then Alybee told me that even though she doesn't normally read realistic fiction, she really enjoyed it. When it appeared front and center on the IndieBound shelf at Mrs.Nelson's where we were attending a signing, I could resist it no longer. And it's so... pink!

Quickie: 01110010 01100101 01100001 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01100010 01101111 01101111 01101011 00101110 00100000 01101001 01110100 00100000 01110010 01101111 01100011 01101011 01110011 00100001

Oh what, you can't read binary? I said, "read this book. it rocks!"

For more details, click on "Read More"

15 March, 2010

Author Appreciation Week - Maria V. Snyder

Author Appreciation Week is brought to you by Heidi R. Kling, author of Sea!

Today, I'm appreciating

Maria V. Snyder

Author of Poison Study
Magic Study
Fire Study

Storm Glass
Sea Glass
Spy Glass (coming Sept. 2010)

and the soon-to-be-released YA novel Inside Out (April 2010)

I became obsessed with Maria V. Snyder's Study Series a couple of years ago. I just couldn't stop thinking about them. Her heroine, Yelena, grows and changes so much over the three novels; her strength and tenacity made such a distinct impression on me that I just had to meet the person who thought her up! In April 2009 I finally met her face-to-face when we arranged a book launch party in Los Angeles for one of her novels--her publisher sent her all the way from Pennsylvania! People drove from hours away just to meet her.

Maria as an author is very accessible and as busy as she is, always makes time to correspond and meet with her fans. She has fans all over the world! Her stories are clever and creative. Best of all, I love the world-building and action in her books. She takes time to think about how everything works (from politics to plumbing) and in real life will learn the things she wants to describe in fiction (like fighting with a bo, or glass-blowing--really!). 

Maria is a great friend and an awesome author. Long may she write!

You can find Maria at her website, on Facebook, and Goodreads.

Here's what I call my Poison Story, or how I started reading and grew to love Maria V. Snyder's books:

Dirty Little Secrets - Review

Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu
Publication date: February 2, 2010
ISBN 10/13: 080278660X / 9780802786609

Category: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Keywords: Hoarding, secrets, lies, realistic fiction

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com.
How I found out about this book: I won a copy from Elizabeth Scott during her recent Twitter follower contest. I had been hoping to read it anyway--the cover is very striking and the premise timely as well as chilling.

Quickie: Hoarding is currently one of the most newsworthy psychological disorders, and Omololu tells Lucy's story with a sensitive and caring hand. I could hardly put this book down (I had to, once--no reading in the chemistry lab!) and most readers will finish it in one sitting... then either start a massive spring cleaning, or start watching episodes of Hoarders. I did both.

For more details, click on "Read More"

14 March, 2010

The Secret Hour & Touching Darkness (Midnighters, Books 1 & 2) - Review

The Secret Hour (Midnighters, Book 1) by Scott Westerfeld
Publication date: March 1, 2005
ISBN 10/13: 7800605195 / 9780060519537

Touching Darkness (Midnighters, Book 2) by Scott Westerfeld
Publication date: March 1, 2006
ISBN 10/13:  0060519568 / 9780060519568

Category: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Trade Paperback
Keywords: Super powers, ancient evil, friendship, secret identities

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com for Book 1 and Book 2.
How I found out about this book: My good friend Drew, who carried a great disdain for Young Adult fiction (possibly as a result of the early stages of Twilight mania) was reshelving this one evening at the bookstore where we worked, when his eye happened to glance over the jacket copy--I imagine his brain doing an overly dramatic double-take (Drew is an actor by trade) and screaming "Drew! You/I/We must read this book!" It was probably around midnight. He read it, loved it, and pestered me for over a year to read it (I had attempted to read Uglies, which didn't take, so I was a pretty hard sell) before I actually did so. And guess what. My brain did a dramatic double-take, and screamed at me "Alethea! You/I/We must collect them all!"

Quickie: I abandoned Uglies. I'm lukewarm on Leviathan (though I must add, what a pretty cover).

I abso-freaking-lutely love Midnighters. Read. These. Books.

For more details, click on "Read More"

13 March, 2010

The Sixty-Eight Rooms - Review

The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone
Publication date: February 23, 2010
ISBN 10/13:  0375857109 / 9780375857102

Category: Middle Grade Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Keywords: Thorne Miniature Rooms, friendship, adventure, imagination

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com.

How I found out about this book: The cover struck me as intriguing--it came in the same day as Incorrigible. Who hasn't dreamt of shrinking down and living in a perfect dollhouse? (Well, all right, there may be some people out there...)

Quickie: It had its moments, and is worth a read, but I wasn't terribly excited by this one. I hold that if a story is told well, it should not matter what age it's written for. The story was good, the plot was decent, but it was missing that--how can I say this--magic?

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place - Review

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling (Book 1)
 by Maryrose Wood, Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Publication date: February 23, 2010
ISBN 10/13: 0061791059 / 9780061791055

Category: Middle Grade/Independent Reader Fiction
Format: Hardcover 
Keywords: Jane Eyre, governess, raised by wolves, humor, howling

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com.

How I found out about this book: I got an email newsletter from HarperCollins that had a link to the first 54 pages of this new series about a young woman who is hired to look after three children who were raised by wolves. I devoured it in one bite. Then had to wait another month to get my hands on a final copy of the book. Agony...

Quickie: Not since Lemony Snicket have I laughed so hard over a middle grade novel. No howling-related pun can begin to express just how much fun this story was to read! (And I know Miss Lumley would jump all over that poorly constructed sentence... in the most polite and ladylike manner, of course.)

For more details, click on "Read More"

09 March, 2010

Silence! Off with her Head!

Sorry for the silence, everyone! I have chemistry and psychology tests this week, so there's a lot of sleeping--I mean, studying--in my weekly forecast.

However, I will be taking a study break tonight for Lost and to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D with the lovely Kate (no, not Kate from Lost) ... I don't care if everyone else says it sucks. I am an Alice (Alethea, if it's Greek to you) and I will watch it!

Alethea bombarded by flash cards

On the to-be-read pile this week:

The Last Child by John Hart (I actually just realized I gave my copy to Oblio's grandma without having finished reading it. Waah!)

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (much thicker than I thought it would be)

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (for Oblio's new +1 Club of Reading--er, you may have to be a roleplaying geek to get that joke)

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick (recommended by Alybee, if I remember correctly)

Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder by Jo Nesbø (I think this is pretty self-explanatory, don't you? I just haven't figured out how to justify buying it... will put the ol' thinking cap on)

- - -

In other news:

I used a line from Jane Eyre on Facebook today: "I must keep in good health, and not die." I'm simultaneously proud of and sorry for myself, as I used the quote to describe how I'm handling my current lack of health insurance :/

My bookstore now has a Facebook page so you can keep track of our events and book recommendations from people other than me (I swear, they're good ones) ... go to http://bit.ly/bordersgdca -- If you know anyone with kids between ages 2-12 years, we've got some really cool events coming up for Storytime! Hosted by the aforementioned Kate.

Even I am excited.

Oh yeah, and I will be reprising my role as MC for the DVD release of a little movie called New Moon.... have you heard of it? RSVP now if you're in the Los Angeles area!

01 March, 2010

The Secret Year - Review

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
Publication date: January 7, 2010
ISBN 10/13: 0670011533 / 9780670011537

Category:Young Adult Fiction
Format: Hardcover (I read a paper-bound copy borrowed as part of ARC tour)
Keywords: Romance, Secrets, Lies, Love, Death, Loss, Social Situations

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com.
To find more reviews on Other Shelf Tours, click here.

How I found out about this book: The buzz for this book was pretty strong at the end of last year, and I was lucky enough to get on the Other Shelf Tour (we had too few copies at work for me to borrow it).

Quickie: Touching on teen angst is always a tricky prospect, but Jennifer Hubbard pulls off a grand debut with The Secret Year. When Colt gets his hands on a notebook full of letters his secret girlfriend, Julia, wrote but never sent to him, he begins to question his perception of the past, and the lies that continue to haunt him after Julia's death.

For more details, click on "Read More"