31 July, 2012

Random Fat Kid!

Help a kid out! Some of you already know I'm trying to Tugg the Fat Kid Rules the World movie to Pasadena, CA, but today I have a time-sensitive request for help that I saw via @FatKidMovie.

Read this: http://fiercefatties.com/2012/07/30/buy-michael-a-ticket/

Then help out with $10 here: http://www.tugg.com/events/990

They just need 16 more tickets sold (as of this writing) to confirm the screening. They have until about 6pm Pacific (it's noon as I'm writing this).

Unless you're actually in the area of Chesterfield, MO, you won't be able to attend this screening, but you can make a good kid SO happy for just $10. Priceless, IMHO.

You won't be charged unless they meet the minimum # of tickets sold. I helped, please do, too!

If you'd like to go to the Pasadena, CA screening of the film, please click here
Ours is at the Pasadena Laemmle Playhouse 7 at 7:30 pm on Thursday, August 16.
(Tickets on sale through August 10 at 7:30!)

Thank you! Thank you very much!

26 July, 2012

Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop (INTL)

This contest is now open Internationally! There will be a US winner and a non-US winner.
Thanks so much to Marisa for her generosity ;) She will be sending a signed hardcover to the US winner and I will send an unsigned hardcover through bookdepository.com to someone outside the US.

Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop
July 27th to August 1st

Yes, I have to admit I'm a bit biased where this next giveaway is concerned. I designed Marisa Calin's site, so it's unlikely I will be posting a formal review for her great new book--but that doesn't mean I can't give it away!

A lucky winner will get a copy of Between You & Me by Marisa Calin (after the August 7 release date).

Marisa is an actress and a novelist, and she also reads the audiobooks for Kerstin Gier's Edelstein trilogy in English. She is just lovely! And for those of you doing the Debut Author Challenge, her book counts towards your DAC total!

For one of the bonus entries, check the widget at the top right and click Get Widget (will not show on iPhone/iPad/Safari) then add the countdown to your blog or website. Leave the link on the rafflecopter so I can verify it!

You can read the rest of the fine print at the bottom of the Rafflecopter.

Don't forget to enter my other giveaways (links at the top of the page) and check out the other blogs on the hop (most links not active until after midnight on Thursday)!

Good luck ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

25 July, 2012

Frangoline and the Midnight Dream - Picture Book Review

by Clemency Pearce
Illustrated by Rebecca Elliott
Publication date: 1 Sept 2011 by Scholastic
ISBN 10/13: 0545314267 | 9780545314268

Category: Children's Picture Book
Keywords: Children, picture book, bedtime, Halloween, spooky
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Thuy's review:

Frangoline is a girl who is good during the day but loves to sneak out of her bedroom at night to explore the world and the creatures in it. As Frangoline runs wild, the wise moon looks on, reminding her that children should be in bed at night, not out having adventures. But Frangoline does not heed the moon's advice, instead doing as she pleases. 

Unfortunately, her nighttime fun wakes the dead, who come crawling out to see what all the noise is about. Suddenly being outside in the dark isn't so fun and Frangoline longs to be in her safe bed. Will she escape the dark creatures of the night? You'll have to read it to find out.

Frangoline and the Midnight Dream is a sweet little picture book that would be perfect to read during Halloween. With charming illustrations and a fun, rhyming story, children and adults alike will have a good time following Frangoline on her midnight adventure. 

Pearce's word play and use of rhyme gives the story a great flow and it almost seems to bounce along the page with Frangoline. Though I enjoyed the story, the illustrations were my favorite part. They are super cute and a little "dark" but in a non-scary way. 

This might be a good book for the child that likes to avoid bedtime. It also stands alone as a fun read. If you like your picture books a little spooky, definitely pick up Frangoline and the Midnight Dream

You can find Clemency Pearce here and Rebecca Elliott here. Thuy also blogs about adult books at RNSL Nite Lite.

24 July, 2012

Blogger Dramarama

I try not to post much about my personal life here unless it has to do with books or author events in some fashion. So sorry for this departure. It's not all directly book related.

But if any of you guys know me at all, you would know that I hate drama. I hate starting it. I hate getting embroiled in others' drama. So when drama comes knocking, I retreat into my shell.

Not like this guy:

He doesn't like drama either, but he usually goes after it with a katana.

There's been a lot of drama in the last few weeks regarding ARCs, greedy bloggers, angry librarians, paid bloggers, Goodreads bullies, indie authors... it's enough to turn me off blogging completely. Several times this month I've thought to myself, What if I just stop? Wouldn't that be lovely? I could still see my author pals and read lots of books (actually, more books! since I will not have to stop every so often to blog about them) and not read other blogs unless I know the author personally. It was really, really tempting.

*deep breath*

But the thing is, I was a bookseller for almost 14 years. You can't just turn something like that off. I can't just quit recommending books cold turkey. Connecting people with books and other cool stuff (like tv shows and artists and movies) makes me happy. Getting excited about stories and authors makes me happy. I can't let a few bad, overdramatic eggs spoil all that for me. 

I have unfollowed some people that I think are just toxic to my environment at the moment. I'm sad because they are people I admired. 

So, that's it. I'm going to keep on keeping on. I'll recommend books and bookstores and tell you in advance about cool author events. And if you have any drama for me, keep it to yourself, or else be studiously ignored by me.

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog ;)

Check out what you missed from The Knit Spot
Sign up to watch Fat Kid Rules the World with us in Pasadena, CA

And stay tuned for more cool events coming up in August, a bookstore review, more author podcasts, and even more book giveaways!


23 July, 2012

The Knit Spot (4)

The Knit Spot features characters spotted knitting in books.

This week we feature little Mika from from The Insomniacs.

They don't knit (though the whole family tries different things to help them fall asleep), but Mika sports a pretty scarf in my favorite color this year. All I need is a stripey black and white dress and a jar of night beetles. I already have the eye bags. D:

The Insomniacs is written by Karina Wolf and illustrated by The Brothers Hilts. It will be released on August 16 by Putnam Juvenile.

16 July, 2012

Fat Kid Rules the World - Movie Screening

YA Book Council presents...

673 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA, 91101 (map)

What: Discussion and movie screening

Troy Billings is seventeen, overweight, and suicidal. Just as he’s about to jump in front of a bus, he’s saved by Marcus, a charming high school dropout/street musician. The two begin an uneasy friendship when Marcus enlists the musically challenged Troy to become the drummer in a new punk rock band. As Troy’s relationship with Marcus grows, Troy’s father becomes increasingly concerned about his son’s new friendship.

The SXSW Audience Award winning film starring Jacob Wysocki (TERRI), Matt O’Leary (NATURAL SELECTION) and Billy Campbell (THE KILLING) in Matthew Lillard’s directorial debut based on the novel by K. L. Going and produced by Whitewater Films.

"Fat Kid Rules The World" - OFFICIAL TRAILER [RED BAND] from Fat Kid on Vimeo.

Links to the movie:

12 July, 2012

Vodnik - Review

Publication date: 28 March 2012 by Tu Books
ISBN 10/13: 1600608523 | 9781600608520

Category: Young Adult Paranormal Fiction
Keywords: Slovakia, folklore, prejudice, bullying
Format: Hardcover
Source: Sent for review by Lee & Low


When Tomas was six, someone — something — tried to drown him. And burn him to a crisp. Tomas survived, but whatever was trying to kill him freaked out his parents enough to convince them to move from Slovakia to the United States.

Now sixteen-year-old Tomas and his family are back in Slovakia, and that something still lurks somewhere. Nearby. It wants to drown him again and put his soul in a teacup. And that’s not all. There’s also the fire víla, the water ghost, pitchfork-happy city folk, and Death herself who are after him.

If Tomas wants to survive, he'll have to embrace the meaning behind the Slovak proverb, So smrťou ešte nik zmluvu neurobil. With Death, nobody makes a pact.

Alethea's review:

I will admit, I was a little sidetracked by the cover when I first received this book. There's just something too unreal about Tomas's face and the cutesy reaper logo on his shirt. He's a little too smirky. When I finally started the book, there were all these references to movies and American culture that I felt were a bit gratuitous and designed to draw in the reluctant reader. I put the book down for a while.

When I started it a second time (months later), I couldn't put it down! I could understand the culture shock that Tomas was going through, having gone back to my homeland to live (permanently, or so I thought at the time) after spending a few years in America. I found myself trying to sound out the Slovak as I went along. Vodník definitely gets points for originality--this is pretty uncommon territory for mainstream young adult novels.

I really enjoyed the storytelling and characterization in this novel. After a few chapters it became apparent to me that this was much more than an attempt to be different--Moore really engages the reader not just with geek references and creepy folktales, but also with family dynamics. The way Tomas interacts with his parents, his cousin Katka, and Uncle Lubos grounds this fantastic story and made him relatable despite the far-out mythology surrounding him.

this part made me LOL

I wasn't entirely sure what to think about the Gypsy intolerance (due to which Tomas, being quarter-Roma, receives quite a bit of bullying). I felt the messages were really mixed, with "bullying is bad" and "we're better than other, regular Roma" boiling up to the top but dealt with almost as a side issue. (Though frankly, if you've made a date with Death, all your other problems will probably pale in comparison.) If Goodreads has half-stars this would be a 4.5 due to this ambiguity. 

All in all, Vodník is a pretty balanced, action-packed, well-researched and intriguing read. This would be a great addition to any classroom or home library, and I hope readers will overlook the ghastly cover.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Visit the author online at www.brycemoore.com and follow @bmoorebooks

11 July, 2012

Anna Dressed in Blood - Birthday Giveaway (US/CAN ends 7/31)

July is my birth month!

So to share the love, I will be sending you presents. You! Yes, you.

That is, if you're lucky enough. My birthday is 7/11. That's pretty lucky.

One of my favorite reads so far this year is Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. I received a copy last year from Tor Teen and ended up buying another at the LA Times Festival of Books.

I'll be seeing Kendare again soon when she visits Mrs. Nelson's Toy & Book Shop in La Verne, CA (with Lisa Desrochers and Maria Acosta!) this coming August. So guess what! If you win, you get a signed hardcover copy of the book.

  1. No purchase necessary. None of the entries are mandatory, but you have to do at least one to enter.
  2. Open to people with mailing addresses in the United States and Canada. 
  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 after the end of the day on July 31, 2012. 
  6. Winner(s) will be contacted by email within 24 hours after the giveaway ends. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send us an email at readnowsleeplater@gmail.com!
Enter below! Don't forget to enter our other giveaways: Extra Yarn (PB), Scaredy Squirrel (PB), and Charlaine Harris (Adult)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

09 July, 2012

The Knit Spot (3)

The Knit Spot features characters spotted knitting in books.

This week we feature the octopus from 
Squid & Octopus: Friends for Always by Tao Nyeu.

I didn't get very far into the book, but then again I didn't have to. Squid pretty much starts out the tale as a sock-making machine! I wish I had that many arms sometimes. I will definitely pick this up on my next trip to the bookstore.

06 July, 2012

Obsidian Trailer Debut

Hello, everyone! By now hopefully you've seen the awesome trailer reveal that the HEA USA Today blog put up for Jennifer Armentrout's Obsidian. We here at RNSL are huge fans of Obsidian and the super hot Daemon Black (and cover models Pepe and Sztella) and couldn't be happier that we get to see more of them in this fun trailer by VLC Studios.

Check out the full post on the HEA blog here, and the trailer below.

Ahhhhh! Hot, right? Man it makes me want to re-read Obsidian right now. Barnes & Noble is also have a big 40% off teen paranormal romance books deal right now which includes Obsidian. So if you haven't picked up a print copy of the book yet, you really have no excuse. :)

Cover Reveal: Uncontrollable

We're really excited to be part of the cover reveal for S.R. Johannes's follow up to her wildness thriller Untraceable. I read Untraceable last year and gave it 4 stars. If you missed it, you can check out my review and interview with the author here.  I can't wait to read Uncontrollable, Book 2 in The Nature of Grace series, and find out what happens next for Grace. So without further ado, here is the cover for Uncontrollable!

Launch is for Uncontrollable is Sept 24th. You can add the book to your Goodreads list here.

Shelli is also having a contest that kicks off Friday with the cover reveal. Visit her website, srjohannes.com, for more info.

Summary for Uncontrollable

As Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program".

While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is growing silk plants.

After a couple wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. When a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues.

Little does she know, she is being hunted too.

And possibly by more than one person.


What do you guys think? I think the cover looks great and it goes really well with the previous one. I can't wait to read it. We're part of the official blog tour so we'll be back again with more updates and fun stuff leading up to the release of the book. We'd love to know what you think of the cover though so leave a comment and let us know.


S.R. Johannes is the author of award-winning and Amazon bestselling Untraceable (a teen wilderness thriller) and new tween paranormal, On The Bright Side. She has also published short novelettes as well as a teen romance anthology with 16 other authors titled, In His Eyes. Uncontrollable, the sequel to Untraceable, is scheduled for September 2012.

03 July, 2012

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach - Birthday Month Giveaway (US/CAN ends 7/31)

July is my birth month!

So to share the love, I will be sending you presents. You! Yes, you.

That is, if you're lucky enough. My birthday is 7/11. That's pretty lucky.

My next giveaway will be the book Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach*. If we hit 711 entries by the end of the contest, I'll throw in this guy:

12" plush Scaredy Squirrel Puppet from MerryMakers
He's too cute! 

*Sorry, some previous tweets said "signed copy" but it's not--I copy-pasted from another rafflecopter widget and missed erasing the word "signed".

But it's still a great little book. :)

If you're not familiar with Scaredy Squirrel, he's an extremely fearful forest creature from a series of picture books by Mélanie Watt (Kids Can Press). Her adorable illustrations will make you laugh even harder as Scaredy tries to enjoy life despite danger (and germs!) lurking everywhere. I can really relate to him since I'm a total home-body, though I think I'm a lot braver.

There isn't an Independence Day story for Scaredy (I have a sneaking suspicion he's Canadian... though it doesn't say on his passport) but there is a beach vacation story, and that's what you can win today.

Kids can get into the spirit of the book, even if you're nowhere near the ocean, by drawing beachy scenery for a staycation or making up a passport. (My cousins and I spent one summer taking turns being the customs officer as we "flew" from room to room... each corner of each room was a different part of the world. I really liked stamping the "passports" and visiting "Japan" ;) I think it would also be fun to make a beach terrarrium and decorate it with (unoccupied) seashells and make icy cold drinks to sip during the hot summer. Just don't forget to put on sunblock, even if you're only lying in patches of sun indoors (we used to do that too).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  1. No purchase necessary. None of the entries are mandatory, but you have to do at least one to enter.
  2. Open to people with mailing addresses in the United States and Canada. 
  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 after the end of the day on July 31, 2012. 
  6. Winner(s) will be contacted by email within 24 hours after the giveaway ends. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send us an email at readnowsleeplater@gmail.com!
Don't be scared--enter today!

Events in July

Happy July! Wow this year is really flying by. Last month was full of bookish events and it looks like July will be more of the same. Both Alethea and I will be heading to Comic Con next weekend where we are going to get our geek on. If you see us, please say hi. Hopefully we'll remember to bring some bookmarks and buttons for anyone who wants one. And if you're heading to any of the events below, let us know and we'll keep an eye out for you. :)

Jessica Brody at Barnes & Noble
signing 52 Reasons to Hate My Father

Saturday July 07, 2012
3rd Street Promenade
1201 3rd Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310-260-9110 (there is no time listed online, so best to call. also, b&n often does a wristband type thing so you should confirm what the procedure will be for this event.)
event page

Dark Days Tour at Barnes & Noble
with Aprilynn Pike, Veronica Roth, S.J. Kincaid, Dan Wells

Tuesday July 10, 2012
Huntington Beach (why does B&N not have times on their site?)
Bella Terra
7881 Edinger Ave. #110
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
event page

Carlos Ruiz Zafon at Vromans
signing Prisoner of Heaven

Wednesday July 18, 2012 7:00 pm
132 N. Euclid Ave. (All Saints Church in Pasadena)
event page

Special Peter Brown Story Time!
Friday July 20, 2012 11:00 am

Mrs. Nelson's Toy & Book Shop1030 Bonita Avenue
La Verne, CA 91750
One of our favorite author/illustrators around, Peter Brown (You Will Be My Friend, Chowder), will be at Mrs. Nelson's to give a special story time! He'll read, answer questions, and sign books! Don't miss out on this opportunity to meet a charming and talented artist!
event page

RWA Autographing Session
Wednesday, July 25, 2012, from 5–8 p.m. 
PT in the Ballroom (third floor) at the Anaheim convention center
event page

The "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing has become one of the most popular events at RWA's Annual Conference. Hundreds of romance authors participate in this autographing event, and each year we raise thousands of dollars, which are donated to ProLiteracy Worldwide and local literacy organizations. Since 1990, RWA has raised more than $716,000 to fight illiteracy.

This event is open to the public; there is no admittance fee. Please note: No outside books will be allowed in (from attendees, not signing authors). Proceeds from book sales go to ProLiteracy Worldwide, Read Orange County, and Literacy Volunteers—Huntington Valley.

*OMG this sounds awesome. Seriously you have to look at the list of authors who are going to be there. :)

"Glee" Star Chris Colfer Tour Stop! 
Friday July 27, 2012 Start: 7:00 pm
Mrs. Nelson's Toy & Book Shop
1030 Bonita Avenue
La Verne, CA 91750
event page

Chris Colfer, star of the critically-acclaimed comedy Glee (which has earned him a Golden Globe, 2 Emmy Nominations, a SAG Nomination, and inclusion in the 2011 TIME 100 - talented guy!) has written a fantastic middle grade novel, The Land of Stories! Mrs. Nelson's will be sponsoring this leg of his tour, so come meet a wonderful author and get your books signed - this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so don't miss out! Ticketing information:You may call the store or come in to pre-order up to 3 books. If you come to the store, you will be given a ticket and your receipt. If you order over the phone, we will keep your ticket and receipt in a file. When ordering online, select "pick up at store" for your delivery option. Do NOT select "pay at store" for payment. You MUST pay online or your ticket will not be reserved. You may then collect your book the day of the event by showing your I.D. On the day of the event, you will be given a wristband which will allow you in the store to see Chris! You may also come in to purchase the book after it is released on July 17. You will still need to collect a wristband the day of the event by showing your receipt. Books must be purchased at Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop.

Holly Black at Mysterious Galaxy SD
Wednesday July 25, 2012 7:00pm

Mysterious Galaxy SD
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite #302
San Diego, CA 92111
event page

Preview for Aug:
Sarah J. Maas at Mrs. Nelson's - Aug 7, 2012
Lisa Desrochers, Kendare Blake, Maria Acosta at Mrs. Nelson's - Aug 16, 2012

Read more of Thuy's adult book reviews over at Nite Lite

Blackout - Picture Book Review

Blackout by John Rocco
Publication date: 24 May 2011 by Disney Hyperion
ISBN 10/13: 1423121902 | 9781423121909
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Category: Children's Picture Book
Keywords: Caldecott Honor, New York, blackout, family, community
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed

From Goodreads:

One hot summer night in the city, all the power goes out. The TV shuts off and a boy wails, "Mommm!" His sister can no longer use the phone, Mom can't work on her computer, and Dad can't finish cooking dinner. What's a family to do?

Alethea's Review:

Based on true events, John Rocco's moody but whimsical illustrations tell of a strange evening in 2003 when the lights went out in the Northeast United States. Fear of terrorism after the 9/11 attacks of 2001 could have made this a much more tragic event than it was, but instead of turning on each other, New Yorkers kept each other safe throughout the dark night.

This picture book shows the events on a much more intimate level that what you can hear on the news. On the surface it's about a family disconnected from their normal routine. Especially for kids growing up in such a plugged-in age, what do you do when the power turns off?

For grown-ups, Blackout will evoke memories of a simpler time where you had to amuse yourself without the aid of video games, computers, television, and all the other power-reliant gadgets and services we have today. For the younger audience, it subtly touches on kindness, creativity, and family togetherness.

I love that the family who are the main characters in the book portrays the diversity I associate with an urban, modern place like New York City. The scenes depicting their neighbors and passers-by spilling out into the night, sharing food and whatever light and comfort that they could, still bring tears to my eyes. Imagine what it would be like if only people would treat each other so well all the time and not just on the darkest days.

I think this is a great picture book not just for little kids and bedtimes, but even for older kids and adults who might be discussing recent American history, art & illustration, psychology, contingency plans, and even anthropology. Wouldn't this make a fun (and maybe not-so-scary) nighttime literacy cafe to teach children about emergency procedures? Grown-ups can fire up the grill instead of turning on the microwave, kids can discover the lost art of shadow puppetry, and together they can read this book, even if illuminated only by flashlight.

Blackout is a Caldecott Honor book for 2012. I had the great privilege of meeting John Rocco, shaking his hand, and congratulating him on winning this prestigious award. That was definitely a highlight of my experience at this year's ALA Annual Conference!

Visit the author online at www.roccoart.com.

02 July, 2012

Hidden - Review

Publication date: 10 May 2011 by Farrar Straus & Giroux
ISBN 10/13: 0446574473 | 9780446574471
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Category: Young Adult Verse Novel
Keywords: Kidnapping, friendship, forgiveness, compassion, camp
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased from Vroman's Bookstore

From the jacket copy:

When Wren Abbott and Darra Monson are eight years old, Darra's father steals a minivan. He doesn't know that Wren is hiding in the back. The hours and days that follow change the lives of both girls. Darra is left with a question that only Wren can answer. Wren has questions, too.

Years later, in a chance encounter at camp, the girls face each other for the first time. They can finally learn the truth—that is, if they’re willing to reveal to each other the stories that they’ve hidden for so long. Told from alternating viewpoints, this novel-in-poems reveals the complexities of memory and the strength of a friendship that can overcome pain.
Alethea's Review:

I once had a parent tell me that she did not want her daughter (14 at the time) reading verse novels as they were "too short" and "too easy". I tried to tell her they are just different--that the form of the novel does tend towards brevity, but that extracting meaning from verse is sometimes a more difficult skill for kids to pick up. The parent was adamant, and I felt bad for her child--she'd be missing out on some great stories just because they were told in poetry format, or would at least until she is able to choose her own reading material. I hope that girl gets to read Hidden someday

I connected at once with both Wren and Darra. I found it interesting that while both voices are very distinct, they had a lot of commonality, and that's really what a reader will take away from this book. The contrasts between the girls make it easier to focus on the things they share: fear of not belonging, love for their families, and a need for closure. Frost expresses their emotional state so well that most readers won't be able to put this down until they have cried at least once, and read it through twice (though the 2nd time is a special type of re-reading I can't tell you about. You will just have to try it yourself).

The realistic social situations the girls later find themselves in at camp counterpoint the strange and unpleasant circumstances under which they are first brought together, but bring to the fore the same questions and choices they originally faced: Am I a good person?, Should I help this stranger at the risk of endangering myself?, and What is the right thing to do? I found it especially satisfying that the surrounding secondary characters also seem to benefit and learn from the girls' healing process, instead of just conforming to the usual tween and teen tropes (mean girls, etc.). 

While the book skews a bit to the middle grade voice, I think the true-crime aspect will appeal to a tougher crowd, reeling them in just long enough to become emotionally invested in the outcome of Wren & Darra's encounters. Frost's words cannot be taken simply at face value, and a desire to unpack the underlying themes will lead most readers to recommend this book to another, if only to have someone else to talk to about this book.

Thanks to Alybee930 at KidLitFrenzy for recommending Hidden to me. I really enjoyed it.

Visit the author online at www.helenfrost.net.

The Knit Spot (2)

The Knit Spot features characters spotted knitting in books.

This week we feature one of the many Hueys from The Hueys in The New Sweater.

The Hueys are all alike. They kind of look like eggs. They do everything the same.
Except for when this Huey has a bright idea...

The Hueys in The New Sweater (Philomel, May 24, 2012)
is written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

The Hueys: The New Sweater is called The New Jumper in the United Kingdom.

Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound

01 July, 2012

Extra Yarn - Birthday Month Giveaway (US/CAN ends 7/31)

July is my birth month!

So to share the love, I will be sending you presents. You! Yes, you. 

That is, if you're lucky enough. My birthday is 7/11. That's pretty lucky.

My first giveaway will be a signed copy of Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

My review is here. It might be my favorite picture book this year, and it's only just July!

We had an Extra Yarn Party at Unwind in Burbank this April. Here's Thuy's recap. Aly from KidLitFrenzy blogged about it over at Bridge to BooksCarter Higgins at Design of the Picture Book has a recap too. And if you just want photos, we have plenty of those on Flickr. Oh, and ideas for literacy cafe are on Pinterest.

Here's Jon (left) and Mac with a tiny fan who has read the book lots of times. The event is where I got the super nifty signed copy of the book.

Are you ready to win?

  1. No purchase necessary. None of the entries are mandatory, but you have to do at least one to enter.
  2. Open to people with mailing addresses in the United States and Canada. 
  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 after the end of the day on July 31, 2012. 
  6. Winner(s) will be contacted by email within 24 hours after the giveaway ends. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send us an email at readnowsleeplater@gmail.com!
I'll also throw in a ball of extra yarn, so tell me in the comments below--what's your favorite color? Pink? Pistachio? Purple haze? Let me know!

The Immortal Rules - Review

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, Book 1) by Julie Kagawa
Publication date: 24 April 2012 by Harlequin Teen
ISBN 10/13: 0373210515 | 9780373210510

Category: Young Adult Dystopian Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, ebook
Keywords: Series, Dystopian, Vampires, Zombies
Source: Netgalley

From the jacket copy:

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of "them." The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked--and given the ultimate choice. Die...or become one of the monsters.

Alethea's Review:

I can't tell if it's partially that I'm burned out on vampires, but I did not enjoy reading The Immortal Rules as much as I did the Iron Fey series. Part of me really wanted to like it. I'm a sucker for dystopians after all--few of my friends shed as many tears as I did over Cormac McCarthy's The Road. I love the sting of tears as I read about puny humans forced to be brave, driven by a desire to protect whatever humanity they have left to them. Sadly, Allison Sekemoto, while at times admirable for her determination and strength in the face of disappointments and setbacks that ring all too real, doesn't quite grab me as other heroines have. It was almost as if she was the plot device in her own story--she's just there, and I am just turning the pages. 

Is it inventive? Sure. Kagawa cooks up some mythology about vampires and zombies that isn't too transparent; she answers just enough questions as the story progresses to keep you just short of the point where you get so frustrated that you put this book down, and go re-read one of her other, better-paced books. I kept trying to discern thematic meaning from the various rules that Allison has to then choose to obey or disobey according to her fast-fading conscience, the least of which is her lust for human blood, but ultimately the plodding pace and the details involving the welfare of the ragtag bunch of people she travels with weighs down the narrative.

Is it satisfying? Marginally. Predictability definitely lends a damper: cute boy (Zeke), somewhat evil father figure (Jeb), benevolent vampiric sire (Lucas) to induct Allison into the second life of the undead, the big bad guy--name not important. They are predictable to the point of forgettable. Other things are a little less predictable, like when rabids will appear on the scene, or when the next meal will come around, but beyond providing a slight feeling of suspense, they don't account for much. Here the author fails to hit the balance between the expected and the surprising; I spent much of the book engaged in eye exercises just to keep my sight going in the right direction.

The most unavoidable flaw was the unbelievability of it all. Normally, I suspend my disbelief for just about anything with a likeable hero, a worthy cause, and seemingly insurmountable odds (part of the reason I enjoyed John Carter so darn much). The Immortal Rules presented me with a relatable protagonist (she's part Asian and loves books!), a good goal (the world is broken, pls. fix), and insanely impossible choices (in a binary system where 0 is vampires and 1 is zombies, humans lose every time) and I still couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to get through more than one chapter a night. There are enough questions left unanswered that most readers will eagerly await the next book, though I won't number among their ranks. 

If you're stuck in an airport or merely want to read through a day at the beach without straining your brain, The Immortal Rules will entertain you for a few hours, maybe more (it's nearly 500 pages!). Just don't expect to remember anything important about it in the morning.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

You can find the author online at http://www.juliekagawa.com and follow her on Twitter @jkagawa