28 November, 2010

Meet Hilary Duff

Meet Hilary Duff when she signs Elixir at Borders Glendale

Who: Hilary Duff, author of Elixir and all-around super-star
What: Book signing & benefit day
Where: Borders Glendale, 100 South Brand Boulevard, Glendale CA 91204
When: Wednesday, December 1 at 7 pm
Why: It's World AIDS Day and Ms. Duff is appearing on behalf of LIFEBeat.org

So, this is a kind of last minute event, so much so that I don't know if I'll be able to go! I'm supposed to give a presentation at school the next day (*crai*) and, responsible me, I probably should be at home prepping instead of joining what will probably be a huge mob of people. ;(

I recommend coming early. I have been told that wristbands are required, and you can get one by buying a copy of Elixir at Borders Glendale on the day of the event.

If you bring in the LIFEbeat voucher, up to 25% of your purchases that day will be donated to the nonprofit organization. For more info, please visit their website.

If you have more questions, call the store at 818 241 8099!

See you there, I hope!

Thanks for Helping School Libraries

I hope you all have had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I sat down to a giant meal with my family and my husband's family who met for the first time (even though we have been married a while, it has been tricky trying to get everyone in the same place).

Most of this month I have seen people posting about the things they are thankful for every day. I have not been doing this, not because I'm not thankful for anything, but because I'm thankful for almost everything! and if I had the luxury of time, I'd write about them all, but since I'm a little busy, I thought I'd write about one of the newest and most meaningful things I am thankful for this year.

This year I am thankful for my friend Amber Lessa, who took the time and effort to start her own nonprofit organization this year. Book by Book is dedicated to improving California public school libraries--a daunting task at any time, but even more so now during one of the worst economic crunches our country and state have ever experienced. As a small grassroots group, the only way we can accomplish what we plan is to keep moving forward every day, one step at a time, one school at a time, book by book. I probably don't have to tell you why--you probably read my blog because you love books, too, and because you already know that reading is one of the life skills that can help kids shape hopeful, meaningful, and happy adult lives.

So far this year, through the kindness of strangers, we have restocked 6 local elementary school libraries with over 2,800 new books including stuff kids actually want to read like the Harry Potter series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries, etc. 

With your help, we can do even more to help kids learn to love books in 2011. 

This December we are competing for $250,000 in grant money from the Pepsi Refresh Project. All we need is for supporters to vote on the Pepsi Refresh site (or through iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, or Facebook apps) every single day in December (yes, weekends and holidays too!) The link for voting will go live on our website on November 30. In the meantime, you can preview our project video on YouTube. 

We are also running two book drives benefiting 11 local schools, at Borders in Glendale and at Flintridge Bookstore in La Canada/Flintridge.

One of our other goals this year is to get our incorporation papers in, which would normally cost us $3000 or more, but thanks to the kindness of friends, Book by Book is getting pro bono representation which brings our costs down to about $750! So far, we have collected $270 (36% of goal), and have more than a month left to our donation drive at ChipIn

So whether you can help us in a way that costs you money (books or donations) or in a way that is totally free (but for a few seconds of your time every day), please take a moment to email me at frootjoos [at] gmail [dot] com and let me know if you would like to help.

Visit the Book by Book website at http://www.bookbybooknonprofit.org

"Like" us on Facebook at http://bit.ly/bkbyfb

Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bkbybk

Donate $ for our incorporation fees at http://bookbybook.chipin.com/book-by-book

Drop by Borders in Glendale, CA or Flintridge Bookstore to donate new or gently-used books

Follow us on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/bkbybkorg

Book bloggers and authors, please contact me if you think you can help spread the word about our cause (frootjoos [at] gmail [dot] com)

and stay tuned for instructions on voting for our Pepsi Refresh Project!

Last, but certainly not least, Thank You, dear reader!

27 November, 2010

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer - Review

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Publication date: 12 October, 2010 by Henry Holt & Co.
ISBN 10/13: 0805090983 / 9780805090987

Category: YA Fantasy/Horror
Format: Hardcover
Keywords: Paranormal, Funny as Hell

From goodreads.com:

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.  

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

How I found out about this book: Eye-catching cover, no? It nearly yanked my eyeballs out of my head. I had to take it home with me. Or else.

Quickie: I nearly died laughing. No, really. At some point I actually stopped breathing; silent laughter is the best laughter I can produce.
For more details, click on "Read More"

26 November, 2010

Hunger - Review

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Publication date: 18 October 2010
ISBN 10/13: 0547341245 / 9780547341248

Category: YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Keywords: Eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia, recovery

From goodreads.com:

“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.” 

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? 

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?

How I found out about this book: Netgalley.com

Quickie: I read this just before Thanksgiving Day this year. I thought it apropos.

24 November, 2010

End of the Year Giveaway

So, I love giving away free books almost as much as getting free books. I've been lucky enough this year that I have gotten SO many ARCs and met so many authors--I want to pass that good luck on to my readers.

So now that I have the prospect of being able to afford to mail things to people again, I'm giving away up to 10 books between today and 12/25! I will have 9 winners from US and Canada, and 1 international winner.

Here are the books, with my ratings: 

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1) by Gayle Forman
If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)
Finished copy, signed by the author (rated 5 stars/loved)
Won by Aurora M.

Inside Out (Inside Out, #1) by Maria V. Snyder
Inside Out (Inside Out, #1)
Finished copy, signed bookplate, with Harlequin Teen bookmark
(rated 5 stars/loved)

Won by Minas

Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires, #1) by Rachel Caine
Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires, #1)
Finished copy, signed by the author (rated 4 stars/really liked)
Won by Kimberly C.

 My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers, #1) by Rachel Vincent
My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers, #1)
Finished copy, signed by the author, with Soul Screamers and Harlequin Teen bookmarks
(rated 3 stars/liked)

Won by Victoria S on 12/2!

Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3) by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3)
Unsigned UK paperback edition (rated 5 stars/loved) 
Won by Janine M

Magic Under Glass (Magic Under, #1) by Jaclyn Dolamore
Magic Under Glass (Magic Under, #1)
Unsigned UK paperback edition (rated 4 stars/really liked)
Won by Ashley C.

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
Unsigned ARC* (rated 5 stars/loved)
Won by Jessica (epherielle)

The Poison Diaries (The Poison Diaries, #1) 
by Maryrose Wood and The Duchess of Northumberland
The Poison Diaries (The Poison Diaries, #1)
Unsigned ARC* (rated 5 stars/loved)
Won by Allison T on 12/9!

Annexed by Sharon Dogar
Unsigned ARC* (unread, unrated)
Won by Vivien

Nightshade (Nightshade, #1) by Andrea Cremer
Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)
Unsigned ARC* (rated 4 stars/really liked)
Won by WulfLuva on 12/9!
What do you have to do?

Just fill out the form here < - -
You can get additional entries for doing the "Extra Credit" tasks!

I will pick one winner on Dec. 2, two on Dec. 9, three on Dec. 16, and four on Dec. 25 (the international winner will be chosen on this last round). Winners will be notified via email. You can enter once a day between now and 12/25 (unless you win, in which case you are disqualified from further entries), so what are you waiting for? Fill out that form! Happy Thanksgiving and whatever joyous holiday you are celebrating this season.

*Just a reminder that under no circumstances are Advance Reader Copies to be resold. If you someday choose to pass it on, please do so by donating it to a worthy nonprofit, or a friend in need.

Smile for the Camera - Review

Smile for the Camera by Kelle James

Publication date: November 2nd 2010 by Simon & Schuster Children's
ISBN 10/13: 1442406232 / 9781442406230

Category: Memoir, Modeling, Acting, Child Celebrity
Format: Hardcover
Keywords: Determination, Success, Friendship, Exploitation

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com.

How I found out about this book: I was just walking through the Young Adult section one day and saw this on the shelf. I don't know... it kind of smiled at me and I couldn't resist! (Click on Read More)

22 November, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

It's that time again. The Story Siren is hosting the third annual Debut Author Challenge. I don't care so much about winning any of the prizes, but I just *love* that the challenge keeps me up to date on the new YA and MG books. Though as a result I have giant piles of older books sitting around, gathering dust.

This post will mostly serve as a placeholder until I figure out what I'm doing, probably over the next week. I have to backtrack and update my old post, too. Links and booklists soon!

January 2011 Wishlist - GR will take you to Goodreads.com synopsis

Warped by Maurissa Guibord | GR
XVI by Julia Karr | GR
Timeless by Alexandra Monir | GR
The Rendering by Joe Naftali | GR
The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal | GR
Across the Universe by Beth Revis | GR
Vesper by Jeff Sampson | GR
Choker by Elizabeth Woods | GR
Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal | GR

The Mockingbirds - Review

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Publication date: 2 November, 2010 by Little, Brown
ISBN 10/13: 0316090530 / 9780316090537

 YA realistic fiction
Format: Hardcover
Keywords: Justice, Date Rape, Recovery

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com.

How I found out about this book: 2010 Debut Author Challenge at TheStorySiren.com

Quickie: I had a hard time rating this one... In the end I loved it, though I had a hard time getting started.
But when I finished, I immediately wanted to read it again, which is a sure sign that I liked it above average. As an issues book, it hit all the right notes: empathy for the main character, exploration of all the what-ifs and what-nows, and sensitive but realistic resolutions. As a novel, it did the thing I always look for in a five-star-book: kept me up till dawn.

My review: The premise is what I found initially intriguing: Alex seeks out a semi-secret student council called The Mockingbirds to help her when she becomes the victim of date rape at a private boarding school adept at turning a blind eye to the wrongdoings of its students. The novel is based partly on true events that happened to author Daisy Whitney during her freshman year of college. (There's a great interview with her on Drinking Diaries--I highly recommend reading it *after* you read the book, or if you don't plan on reading it, this might change your mind.) I thought it was going to be more about The Mockingbirds--like they are some kind of vigilante justice league--but really, it was all about Alex and how she handled becoming a victim.

I really enjoyed the secondary characters, especially as Alex is not that likeable during the first part of the book--pitiable, yes, but not until she starts showing some backbone (not to mention brains, eventually unclouded by alcohol) did I really get in her corner and cheer her on for the rest of the book. But I immediately liked everyone else--her roomies, her sister, and the other people who befriend and support her during her ordeal. Really, it is their love for Alex that makes me love her, too.

(I can't tell you about my favorite character... too spoilery. But if you read it and want to know, comment or email me and I'll tell you. I'll gush. You won't be able to shut me up!)

The Mockingbirds themselves aside (though wouldn't it be nice to have a conscientious and powerful agency such as this in our real lives?), Whitney also provides resources for rape victims at the end of the book. She doesn't preach and overdramatize. She doesn't blame the victim, though the victim, for quite a large portion of the book, blames herself! Overall, it's the realism in this cautionary tale that makes it more than just a scary story--it's an in-depth analysis of the emotional aspects of being a victim; the process of healing and recovery; and the problems, solutions, and choices available to someone who experiences this in the real world. 

Who should read this book: There are some graphic descriptions of intercourse, as the subject of the book warrants, and Whitney can be credited with finding just the right wording and cadence to arouse nothing but the worst unease in the reader as Alex begins to recall flashbulb memories of the rape. So parents of younger readers will probably not want to let them read this book--unless you are reading together, or God forbid, the young reader has been raped or molested; in this case, I highly recommend seeking understanding through reading. I am not a therapist, but in my experience, reading accounts (fictionalized or not) about difficult topics like this one do offer a measure of relief and healing in certain contexts, and I am sure that what drove me to read it is one of the things that drove Ms. Whitney to write and publish this book. 

Author photo from Goodreads.com author page.

The Mockingbirds is Daisy Whitney's first novel. (Book 1 of The Mockingbirds series)

Find the author at daisywhitney.com, on Twitter @daisywhitney

Shortlink to this review: http://bit.ly/mkgbrds1
Find this book on goodreads.com.

What do you think? Is this something you would read? If you've already read it, put in your two cents... (no spoilers, please!) 

02 November, 2010

Oh No Oh No

I'm doing NaNoWriMo, and doing pretty well... then I took a peek at what Netgalley has on offer in YA. Uh oh.
(which I already read. review forthcoming.)
Angelfire (Angelfire, #1)
The Vespertine
The Lying Game
Delirium (Delirium, #1)
Afterlife (Evernight, #4) *** squeeeee! ***
Always a Witch (Witch, #2)
The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group

Also, Dark Parties, The Midnight Palace, Book 3 of 43 Old Cemetery Road, and the last two books of the Nathaniel Fludd series!

Well, what are you waiting for? Get clicking! Add them to your TBRs... if you're able, sign up with NetGalley. (BTW they just signed up Hachette--do you know what that means? Little, Brown Books for Young Readers! YESSS!) Me? I'm going back to writing my novel... yes, sure I am... [hooks up eReader to mini-USB cable]...