19 August, 2014

5th Blogaversary Giveaway

I've been blogging on and off since 1998. It's been such a fun and fulfilling part of my life and though I slow down now and then, I never really stop, and probably never will.

Some big things (giveaways!!!) happening on this, the 5th anniversary of my current blog, Read Now Sleep Later:

But you have to go to the new blog to find out what!

15 August, 2014

Evil Fairies Love Hair - Blog Tour


Evil Fairies Love Hair by Mary G. Thompson
Illustrations by Blake Henry

 ISBN-10/13: 0544308905 | 9780544308909

Publication date: 08 Aug 2014 by Clarion Books

Check out Mary G. Thompson's new middle grade novel, Evil Fairies Love Hair! We have a quick Q&A with the author, links to other stops on the blog tour, and of course, a chance to win a copy of the book. Read on!

About the book


Eighth-grader Ali is growing one hundred fairies so she can get her wish. All she has to do is feed their ravenous appetite for . . . hair? She mustn't let them near her own hair, or break any of the other rules. They are called evil fairies for a reason! A realistic setting plus fairies plus plenty of humor add up to an accessible fantasy that will enchant tween readers.


Where to find it



Q&A with Mary G. Thompson


RNSL: I read a lot of fairy books, but this is the first I've heard of evil fairies eating hair! Where did you get the idea for such an outlandish bit of world-building?
MGT: I wish I had a good, rational story to give you. The idea really just popped into my head. If you want to be logical about it, hair is generally a very silly thing. Wigs are hilarious in almost any context. People care way too much about their hair, and people consider it gross once it’s fallen off somebody’s head, even though it’s not gross at all when flopping around people’s shoulders. In that way, hair is mysterious. There’s mythology about hair having magical power, like in the biblical story of Samson and Delilah. I wasn’t consciously thinking about all this when I came up with the idea that the fairies ate hair, but it might be somewhere in the background.

RNSL: If you were in 7th grade and were presented with the amazing (though perilous) opportunity to make a wish (in exchange for helping evil to spread); would you do it? and if yes, what would you wish for?
MGT: When I was in seventh grade, I’m not sure if I would have done it. I was kind of a mature, thoughtful seventh grader. I probably would have reported the fairies to the appropriate authority. Now, I would absolutely do it. I’ve previously said that I’d wish to be smarter, like Ali does in the book, but maybe I’d wish for the “improvement in health” choice. It would be nice to never get sick or tired and all that.

RNSL: While writing this book, how were you influenced (or not) by previously written fairy lore?
MGT: I tried to be influenced as little as possible. I called them “fairies” just because they were little magical creatures, and I thought people would immediately get the idea, but beyond the name, I was trying to be original.

RNSL: What is your preferred hairstyle? On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being the least likelihood), how likely are you to be eaten by evil fairies due to this grooming choice?
MGT: I try to do as little as possible with my hair. Wash, dry, brush—that’s it. I do put my hair up a couple days a week if I’m too lazy to wash it, so on those days I’d be pretty safe, maybe 2. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’m normally about a 9!

RNSL: Have you always been a writer? When and how did the inspiration to start writing reach you?
MGT: I started writing when I was a little kid. I remember that my first “book” was written in a little purple blank notebook, and it was all about a planet full of like Amazon-ish warrior women. They came to earth somewhere near my house, and after that, I’m pretty sure I lost my train of thought and stopped writing. I had tons of partially written-in blank books! But I didn’t get serious about it until about eight years ago. All of a sudden I just couldn’t go on with my life without actually finishing something and trying to publish it. I guess it was building for all that time.

RNSL: What book are you in the middle of reading right now? If you're not currently reading a book, what book did you just finish?
MGT: I’m in the middle of One Came Home by Amy Timberlake. Loving it so far!

RNSL: What book have you read (again, written by someone else) do you wish you had written? (I'll tell you mine--it's The Time Traveler's Wife, written by Audrey Niffenegger.)

MGT: Feed by M.T. Anderson.

Download the free activity and Reader's Theatre kit here.

About the author

Mary G. Thompson was born and raised in Cottage Grove and Eugene, Oregon. She was a practicing attorney for more than seven years, including almost five years in the U.S. Navy, before she moved to New York City to write full time. This is her third novel. Visit her website at marygthompson.com.

Blog Tour Schedule


Mon, Aug 11 Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Tues, Aug 12 The Book Monsters
Wed, Aug 13 The Children's Book Review
Thurs, Aug 14 Cracking the Cover
Fri, Aug 15 Read Now, Sleep Later
Sat, Aug 16 Beauty and the Bookshelf
Mon Aug 18 Word Spelunking
Tues, Aug 19 Flashlight Reader
Wed, Aug 20 The Compulsive Reader
Thurs, Aug 21 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Fri, Aug 22 Small Review
Mon, Aug 25 The Hiding Spot

Giveaway


US addresses only, ends 8/22/2014. Please use the Rafflecopter widget, and remember, if you're 13 years old or under, get a parent or guardian's permission first. Full contest rules here. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



On our 5th anniversary, August 19, 2014, we will be switching over to our new Squarespace blog, readnowsleeplater.org! Please check out this blog post about updating your bookmarks, and check us out on that day as we'll be revealing a ton of great giveaways. Email subscribers need not update anything; the feed has already been switched over. See you at the new digs!

13 August, 2014

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone - Blog Tour

From the moment she stepped foot in NYC, Addison Stone’s subversive street art made her someone to watch, and her violent drowning left her fans and critics craving to know more. I conducted interviews with those who knew her best—including close friends, family, teachers, mentors, art dealers, boyfriends, and critics—and retraced the tumultuous path of Addison’s life. I hope I can shed new light on what really happened the night of July 28.
—Adele Griffin



Who was Addison Stone? I'll never really know; we never met. I followed her from afar, a bright light in the dark. I studied her moves, her looks, read every magazine article and online tabloid tidbit. I envied her artwork and the apparent ease with which she produced it. I've tried to paint like her, but it's no use; we're worlds apart in every way.


I had a Google Alert set to inform me of her latest shenanigans. But I wasn't prepared for the deluge come July 29th; I clicked the link where the message was clipped, and it kept going. Tons of speculation, but no clear picture. Did she jump? Was she pushed? Or was it just a tragic accident borne of carelessness, a gust of wind in the wrong direction? I'll never really know, though I still get alerts every day. Even now the so-called news outlets and online gossips can't say. 

The girl is gone, but her memory lives; I can close my eyes and see her clearly.
—Alethea Allarey



I'm Not Here, Alethea Allarey (2014).
Acrylic on canvas. 11" x 14".

About the book

Two-time National Book Award finalist Adele Griffin offers an ingenious fictional take on celebrity biography, as told in first person interviews through the eyes of Addison Stone's parents, friends, boyfriends, mentors, critics, and more-punctuated in full color with Addison's artwork, photographs, and emails. When it comes to Addison's untimely and mysterious death, nobody escapes unscathed.

Read more about the book here.
Read an excerpt here.

About the author

Adele Griffin is a two-time National Book Award Finalist and the highly acclaimed author of numerous books for young adult and middle grade readers. Her works include Sons of Liberty and Where I Want to Be, as well as the popular Witch Twins and Vampire Island series. Adele lives with her husband, Erich; their two young children; and their dog, Edith, in Brooklyn, New York.

Author Website
Twitter
Book Website
Publisher Website
Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


We're switching to Squarespace! Please switch your Bloglovin' feed to readnowsleeplater.org and follow @rnslbooks on Twitter. Email subscriptions need not be transferred.

04 August, 2014

August 2014 Events


Hi, everyone. Sorry this month's events page is a bit late. I've been in and out of town for the past couple of weeks and have only just found the time to write up the calendar today. If I am missing any local SoCal events, please let me know in the comments below and I'll add them ASAP. I hope you guys are able to come out to some of these events. Happy reading! 

Friday August 8, 2014 7pm
Gayle Forman
If I Stay

Barnes & Noble Americana
The Americana at Brand
210 Americana Way
Glendale, CA 91210, 818-545-9146
event page

Special Instructions
A BN receipt of purchase must be presented in order for any titles to be signed. Seating space is extremely limited, so please arrive early. Attendance for the discussion is only available for those seated in the event space, and is not guaranteed

Monday August 11, 2014 7pm
YA Summer Road Trip
Amy Tintera, Debra Driza, Kasie West and Shannon Messenger

Barnes & Noble Americana
The Americana at Brand
210 Americana Way
Glendale, CA 91210, 818-545-9146
event page

Friday, August 15, 2014 7pm
Suzanne Lazear
Fragile Destiny
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101

Saturday, August 16, 2014 3:30pm
LAPL Teen Author Reading Series
Livia Blackburne, Chris Terry and Rachel Shukert and your host Cecil Castellucci

Chinatown Branch of LAPL
639 N Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
event page

30 July, 2014

Getting the Words Out (7)


A weekly post about writing and life in general

You may have noticed the lack of anything going on over here. Don't worry! It's a good thing. 

First, Thuy and I (and a few hundred thousand other people) went to Comic-Con in San Diego. It remains to be seen whether I will actually blog about all that. Stranger things have happened.

Second, we're moving! Yes, after 5 years on Blogger we will be moving to Squarespace. No need to update all your feeds etc. just yet. Soon, though! Everything at readnowsleeplater.com will actually remain the same; our new site will still be under the same name but look and feel very different.

Third, I have a bunch of web projects that I'm working on and will, hopefully, have up and running soon so I can tell you about them. But they are taking up all my time and energy at the moment so... I'd better hop to it!

If you really want to know what I've been reading and working on lately, head on over to my Instagram feed.

In the meantime, we have a couple of blog tour posts coming soon before we head over to the new blog. Stay tuned for those...

Anyone waiting for raffle prizes, hang in there. I am aiming to get to the post office on Saturday.


16 July, 2014

Schneider Family Book Award 10th Anniversary Blog Tour & Giveaway


The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. We are happy to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this award with some great blog posts and a giveaway!

For our post, we're featuring an activity for this year's winning picture book, A Splash of Red.

For more information about the Schneider Family Book Award: webpage | list of winners

Check out all of the links of the Schneider Family Book Award 10th Anniversary Blog Tour & Giveaway:

July 6, 2014 Nerdy Book Club

July 6, 2014 Kid Lit Frenzy

July 7, 2014 Nonfiction Detectives

July 9, 2014 Teach Mentor Texts

July 10, 2014 There’s a Book For That

July 11, 2014 Kathie Comments

July 12, 2014 Disability in Kidlit

July 14, 2014 Librarian in Cute Shoes

July 15, 2014 The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog

July 16, 2014 Read, Write, and Reflect

July 17, 2014 Read Now Sleep Later

July 18, 2014 Unleashing Readers

July 19, 2014 Great Kid Books

July 20, 2014 Maria’s Mélange



A Splash of Red: The Life & Art of Horace Pippin
Written by Jen Bryant
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

About the book

As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw: He loved the feel of the charcoal as it slid across the floor. He loved looking at something in the room and making it come alive again in front of him. He drew pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his co-workers. Even during W.W.I, Horace filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches . . . until he was shot. 

Upon his return home, Horace couldn't lift his right arm, and couldn't make any art. Slowly, with lots of practice, he regained use of his arm, until once again, he was able to paint--and paint, and paint! Soon, people—including the famous painter N. C. Wyeth—started noticing Horace's art, and before long, his paintings were displayed in galleries & museums across the country.

About the activity

I love to paint, and I love Horace Pippin's art. People will give you all kinds of excuses for how they are "bad" at art. Not Horace Pippin. If you read the book, you'll learn that not only did he make beautiful artwork despite injury to his dominant arm, he also made art without being able to afford fancy materials and supplies. I based this activity on both of those things. 

Materials:
  • Some paint and a palette (or other mark-making media)
  • A brush or brushes
  • A container of water
  • Paper or cardboard (or other surface that will accept your media)
  • A subject -- something you want to paint

For my project, I just picked supplies that I already have at home. I do actually have real watercolors and watercolor paper, but you can use any paints and painting surfaces you want. You don't even have to use paint, if you have pencils, pens, crayons, or other mark-making media. You also don't need special equipment--Horace Pippin didn't! As you can see, my palette was a paper plate. My container used to hold spaghetti sauce, but it's now filled with clean water. My brush is no big deal -- it's a well-worn watercolor brush*. You can use your fingers, or paper towels, or bits of sponges. Just make sure to clean up after yourself!

*If you are using a brush, make sure you take it out of the water right after you rinse it. Soaking it and leaving it standing in a jar of water will only damage the bristles! Rest your brush on the palette/paper plate/paper towel so the bristles don't get bent or pulled out.


Choose a subject:

For my subject, I picked some leaves and flowers from the garden. Make sure it's ok with your parent or whoever owns the subject matter you are taking! I also had this little wooden frog, though I ended up not adding it to the final composition. Oh, and my cats are in all of these photos, because they added an extra layer of difficulty to the project. I haven't painted them (yet). You might have some fruit, or a pair of shoes, or something else that interests you. Horace Pippin painted everyday things and sometimes things he imagined, too. So if you can't find any physical objects you want to paint, that's ok! Just dream something up.


Choose sides:

This is how I would normally set everything up, because I am left-handed. But for the purposes of this exercise, we are going to paint with our off-hands. Yes! Horace used his good hand to support his other hand, but especially if you have two good arms, it's actually quite difficult to stop your dominant hand from functioning normally. In this exercise, you switch hands, and you can use your dominant hand to stabilize your off-hand.


Practice:

Here I am, trying to draw the stem and leaves of this jasmine sprig with my right hand. There is also a zinnia blossom, and of course, my assistant, John Carter. As you can see, I didn't have a lot of control over the shapes I was making, but I made them anyway. Watercolor is pretty forgiving like that. I was very tempted to switch to my dominant hand, but I managed to remember not to hand over the brush whenever I reached for it with my left hand.


Here is my finished practice painting. As you can see, using my right hand I couldn't really control my movements. That frog, for example, looks nothing like the real thing! It looks more like a rock. The point of the practice is to experiment. I tried different ways of holding and moving the brush, different ways of mixing the paint, all without using my dominant hand. The other point of this practice is to help you let go of your expectations that your artwork will be perfect.

Focus:

For this exercise, you want to

  • use your non-dominant hand
  • express yourself
  • have fun

Don't worry about making your painting perfect or for how much you will sell your masterpiece--Horace Pippin's first paintings were priced at $5 and no one really wanted to buy them.

Go for it!


Here, I tried to make the zinnia petals by bouncing the rush rapidly off the paper.


It's ok if your paint spatters.


It's also ok if your cat tries to grab your paintbrush and makes you paint a big swoosh where you were trying to just paint a leaf or stem.


I tried to give my off-hand more control by stabilizing it with my other hand. It didn't really help.


Here is my finished painting. I showed a lot more than what I actually had in front of me. And there were quite a few abstract shapes as a result of the cats "helping" me paint.


Switch back:

I also tried painting with my dominant hand afterwards. What do you think? I like the off-hand one better, don't you?

I hope this off-hand painting exercise will give you more ideas about what disability means, and what it doesn't mean. What if you could only paint with your foot, or with the paintbrush in your mouth? Could you still express yourself creatively? Can you create something meaningful or beautiful? What other means could you use instead of painting?

- - -

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Schneider Family Book Award, we are providing readers with an opportunity to win a set of all three 2014 Schneider Family Book Award Winners. Participants must be 13 years or older and have a US or Canadian mailing address.

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

14 July, 2014

The Mortal Instruments T-Shirt Giveaway (US - Ends 7/31)


Hi, everyone. I am back with another random giveaway. It's part of my quest to give away all of the great prizes I've been hoarding for you guys. I think I just have one more t-shirt giveaway and then it's on to books. Today I am giving away a new Mortal Instruments t-shirt. I got this at Comic-Con last year and it's a promo tie-in for the film. It's a women's size XL.  It's kind of in that baby doll style so it's sized pretty small. But it's an XL and I think it should fit a good range of sizes. This giveaway is for US residents only and ends on July 31, 2014. Good luck!

Giveaway Rules:
  1. Open to US residents only.
  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




06 July, 2014

July 2014 Events


Hello, summer! It's hard to believe that half the year is already behind us but summer is here and it's going strong. Lots of really cool events this July, including signings by Maggie Stiefvater and the Fierce Reads Tour. Alethea and I (Thuy) will be at Comic-Con in San Diego as well. If you see us, say hi, cause we'd love to meet you.

Saturday July 4, 2014 5pm
Ed Brubaker
reads and signs Velvet

Skylight Books
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
event page

Friday July 11, 2014 7pm
Mary E Pearson 
Kiss of Deception launch party
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
Ste 302
San Diego, California 92111-1040
Wednesday July 9, 2014 7pm
Bernie Su
Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet
3rd Street Promenade
1201 3rd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
310-260-9110
event page


Tuesday July 15, 2014 4pm
LAPL Teen Author Reading Series
Katie Alender, Allen Zadoff, Mark Kruger, Stewart Lewis, Kathy McCullough

LAPL - Fairfax Branch
161 S. Gardner Street
Los Angeles, CA 90036
event page

Saturday July 19, 2014 7pm
LA Sizzles
Cecil Castellucci, Catherina Linka, Livia Blackbourne, Amy Talkington
Once Upon a Time Bookstore
2207 Honolulu Ave
Montrose, California 91020

Saturday July 19, 2014 2pm
Chris Colfer
The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning

Barnes & Noble The Grove
The Grove at Farmers Market
189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-525-0270
event page

Wednesday July 23, 2014 7pm
Fierce Reads Summer Tour
Ann Aguirre, Anna Banks, Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer 
We are honored to welcome the Fierce Reads Summer Blockbuster Tour featuring Ann Aguirre (Horde), Anna Banks (Of Neptune), Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising) and Marissa Meyer (Cress). Anthony Breznican (Brutal Youth) will be moderating this discussion!
Wednesday July 23, 2014 7:00 PM

The Grove at Farmers Market
189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-525-0270
event page

Thursday July 24, 2014 7pm
Deborah Harkness
The Book of Life 
Barnes & Noble The Grove
The Grove at Farmers Market
189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30
Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323-525-0270
event page

Special Instructions
This event is wristbanded. Please check back soon for complete event guidelines.

July 24 - 27, 2014
San Diego Comic-Con
San Diego Convention Center
event page

Monday July 28, 2014 7pm
Maggie Stiefvater
Sinner

Barnes & Noble The Grove
The Grove at Farmers Market
189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-525-0270
event page

Special Instructions
This is a wristbanded signing. Please check back soon for complete event details.

Monday July 28, 2014 7pm
Deborah Harkness
The Book of Life 

Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, California 91101

Tuesday July 29, 2014
Maggie Stiefvater 
Sinner
Once Upon a Time Bookstore
2207 Honolulu Ave
Montrose, California 91020





03 July, 2014

Minion Blog Tour - Guest Post by John David Anderson - Giveaway (US ends 7/11)


Welcome to the Minion Blog Tour! [Insert your best evil laugh here.]

Today we have a guest post by author John David Anderson on his top 10 favorite minions. Read about the new book, which is the sequel to last year's Sidekicked, as well as enter to win a signed copy of the book. (US only, ends 7/11). You can also check out the cool trailer! Finally, make sure you visit all the other blog tour stops as they open up for more cool content and chances to win!



About the book:

John David Anderson returns to the world of superheroes he created in Sidekicked with an entirely new cast of characters in Minion, a funny and emotional companion to his first breakout tween novel—perfect for superhero fans who also love the work of bestselling authors Rick Riordan, Louis Sachar, and Frank Cottrell Boyce.

Michael Morn might be a villain, but he's really not a bad guy. When you live in New Liberty, known across the country as the City without a Super, there are only two kinds of people, after all: those who turn to crime and those who suffer. Michael and his adoptive father spend their days building boxes—special devices with mysterious abilities—which they sell to the mob at a price. They provide for each other, they look out for each other, and they'd never betray each other.

But then a Super comes to town, and Michael's world is thrown into disarray. The Comet could destroy everything Michael and his dad have built, the safe and secure life they've made for themselves. And now Michael and his father face a choice: to hold tight to their life or to let it unravel.



Take it away, Dave!




The Top Ten Minions

Guest Post by John David Anderson

Hey there, Read Now, Sleep Later fans. Alethea was kind enough to let me come crash her blog and share with you my personal list of top ten minions in celebration of the launch of my new novel COMPLETELY INCOINCIDENTLY titled Minion. Of course, our culture is swarming with bodacious villains, and it would be so simple to conjure up a list of ten baddies that I think have influenced my own writing, but coming up with ten minions whose work I admire is much more challenging. If you don’t see your favorite on the list (like those little banana-loving guys, or Henchmen 21 and 24), it’s not because they aren’t cool…it’s just because these lists always only go up to ten. So here goes.


10. Grover Dill: Technically a crummy little toady, Grover Dill exemplifies the need we have to attach ourselves to people we think are stronger than us. As Scott Farkus’s minion, Grover looks like some kind of strong arm thug for the little people mafia.


9. Oddjob: He wears a hat that can cut through steel and he can crush a golf ball in his hand. Plus he makes an excellent chauffeur and golf caddy. Did I mention the hat cuts through steel?


8. Lock, Shock, and Barrel: Minions can be delightfully mischievous, and these three have a playful exuberance that sugarcoats their ax-wielding, Mr. Bogeyman-feeding quest to pretty much kill Christmas.


7. Bellatrix Lestrange: The only female on the list (minions are a male-dominated group, it seems), she’s also, arguably, the most insane. If Voldemort is the pure evil ice-cream, Bellatrix is the crazy cookie crumble topping.


6. Kronk: He speaks squirrel. And, to be honest, he is the only thing I even remember about this movie. Small brain. Big heart. Excellent cook.


5. Waylan Smithers: Perhaps no minion is as loyal to his master as Smithers is to Mr. Burns. Though his conscience may occasionally get in the way, his devotion to the old man certainly borders on the obsessive.


4. Minion: A good evil sidekick is loyal, but he’s also willing to speak his mind (unlike nameless thugs who don’t even get speaking parts). Minion provides the extra heart and soul to Megamind’s often erratic, over-exuberant, Mick Jagger-esque villainy.


3. Count Rugen: The Princess Bride may ostensibly be about the power of twu wuv to conquer death, but for me it’s Inigo Montoya’s quest for the six-fingered man that ultimately gives the story its emotional climax. While Prince Humperdink is a schemer and a sleaze bucket, Rugen represents pure sadism at work. After all, “No one withstands... The Machine.”


2. The Witch King: he rides a dragon-type-thing. He has a cool spiked ball and chain swingy dealy. He grimaces menacingly without even having a face. And he can be killed by no man. When your main supervillain is basically just a big eyeball at the top of a tower, you need a hardcore right hand Nazgul to do your dirty work. Probably the coolest looking minion on my list.


1. Darth Vader: Probably at the top of several villain lists (and a hero in his own right), there is no question that, as the Emperor’s apprentice, Vader represents the most notorious and most iconic minion on the list. (Though he does kill his master in the end, which kind of negates his minion privileges.) Yes I liked him better before I met him as a teenager, but I would never say that to his face. My number one right-hand Sith Lord.

So there you have it. Of course the best minions, like many of the best villains they serve, are morally complex. Some even straddle the line between wannabe villain and antihero, causing us to root for them, even when they break the rules. Perhaps that just makes them antiheroes. Maybe that’s a top ten list for another day.

And if you didn’t see your name on the list, you might look into finding a new criminal mastermind to serve.

About the author:

John David Anderson writes novels for young people and then, occasionally, gets them published. Besides Minion, he is the author of Sidekicked and Standard Hero Behavior. He lives with his patient wife and brilliant twins in Indianapolis, Indiana, right next to a State park and a Walmart. He enjoys hiking, reading, chocolate, spending time with his family, playing the piano, chocolate, making board games, chocolate, not putting away his laundry, watching movies, and chocolate. 

Those aren't his real teeth.

Find Dave on Twitter, Facebook and his website, www.johndavidanderson.org.



Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open to the US only.
  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, and good luck!




Walden Pond Press

Blog Tour Schedule

June 23 Maria’s Melange
June 24 The Library Fanatic
June 25 The Next Best Book
June 26 Jean Book Nerd
June 27 Book Egg
June 28 Word Spelunking Book Blog

June 30 Ms. Yingling Reads
July 1 The Book Monsters
July 2 The Book Monsters
July 3 Read Now, Sleep Later

July 6 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
July 7 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
July 8 Candace’s Book Blog
July 9 Middle Grade Mafioso
July10 Librarian’s Quest
July 11 Unleashing Readers
July 12 Mindjacked

July 14 This Kid Reviews Books
July 16 Charlotte’s Library
July 17 Literacy Toolbox
July 18 Small Review

01 July, 2014

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop - Intl ends 07/09


Welcome to the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop
July 2 - July 9, 2014

Hi everyone! Welcome to this week's giveaway hop. I'm happy to spotlight Sarah Zettel's American Fairy Trilogy. Please note that this will be posting a little bit early, so if you don't see giveaway hop posts yet on the other blogs (linky list at the end of this post), don't worry! Everyone's posts will go live sometime on July 2.

The publisher, Random House Children's Books, will send a winner a copy of Bad Luck Girl, the third book in the trilogy (US/Canada only), while I will provide a copy of one of the books, winner's choice (International). Please make sure you choose the correct Rafflecopter widget to enter!


About Bad Luck Girl:

Historical fiction fans will be drawn into a rich blend of historical fiction and fantasy in Sarah Zettel’s BAD LUCK GIRL (Random House Books for Young Readers/ Ages 12 up). The exciting conclusion to the American Fairy Trilogy, fans of Libba Bray's The Diviners will love the blend of fantasy and twentieth-century history in this stylish series.

After rescuing her parents from the Seelie king at Hearst Castle, Callie is caught up in the war between the fairies of the Midnight Throne and the Sunlit Kingdoms. By accident, she discovers that fairies aren't the only magical creatures in the world. There's also Halfers, misfits that are half fairy and half . . . other--half paper, half steel girder, half electric spark. As the war heats up, Callie's world falls apart. And even though she's the child of prophecy, she doubts she can save the Halfers, her people, her family, and Jack, let alone herself. Bad Luck Girl, they call Callie, and she's starting to believe them.

Extraordinary detailed research about 1930s America and Chicago's crime-ridden cityscape shines through in BAD LUCK GIRL. Die-hard historical fiction fans will be drawn into the fantasy realm and fantasy readers will find themselves caught up in the vivid history of this story.
Click on any of the book covers to open the Goodreads page for that book.


Giveaway Rules:

  1. For Bad Luck Girl: Open to US and Canada. For any 1 book in the American Fairy Trilogy by Sarah Zettel: Open internationally.
  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, and good luck!

US/Canada:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Everyone not in US/Canada:

a Rafflecopter giveaway





25 June, 2014

Drift Blog Tour and Giveaway - INTL ends 7/3

Hey everyone! Today I'm featuring a book from Lee & Low's Tu Books imprint, a debut novel by M.K. Hutchins. I actually only got the book in the mail a few days ago, so I haven't finished reading enough to write a review yet. But that doesn't mean I can't share some info about it with you!

I like what I've read so far, so I've also decided to offer a giveaway of the hardcover (open internationally, ends 7/3/2014). Make sure you get all the way down to the end of the post and use the Rafflecopter widget to enter the giveaway.

On to the book!


Drift by M.K. Hutchins
Publication date: 15 June 2014 by Lee & Low/Tu Books
ISBN 10/13: 1620141450 | 9781620141458
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

About the book:

Tenjat lives on the shores of Hell, an ocean filled with ravenous naga monsters. His island, a massive Turtle, is slowed by the people living on its back. Only those poor enough to need children to support themselves in old age condescend to the shame of marriage. Tenjat is poor as poor gets, but he has a plan.

In the center of the island rises a giant Tree, where the Handlers—those who defend and rule the island—live. Against his sister’s wishes, Tenjat joins the Handlers. He couldn’t have picked a more dangerous time. The Turtle is nearing a coral reef where it desperately needs to feed, but the naga will swarm just before they reach it. Even novices like Tenjat are needed for the battle.

Can Tenjat discover his sister’s secrets in time? Will the possibility of love derail all his plans for a richer, marriage-free life? Long-held secrets will at last be revealed in this breathtaking debut from M. K. Hutchins.

About the author:

M.K. Hutchins's short fiction appears in Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show and Daily Science Fiction.  She studied archaeology at BYU, which gave her the opportunity to compile histories from Maya glyphs, excavate in Belize, and work as a faunal analyst. Drift is her debut novel.





Are you intrigued?




Blog Tour Schedule


June 19: John Scalzi’s Whatever BlogM.K. Hutchins on worldbuilding and cultural ecology here
June 20: Supernatural Snark – M.K. Hutchins on being inspired by Maya mythology here.
June 23: It’s All About Books – M.K. Hutchins’ top 5 most influential books here.
June 25: Read Now Sleep Later - Spotlight and

June 26: The Brain Lair - M.K. Hutchins on tools of the trade here.

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open internationally.
  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, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

20 June, 2014

Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop - US ends 6/30

Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop
June 21st to 30th

Hello again, book fans! Thanks to I am a Reader for another great giveaway hop. Make sure you hit the links at the end of the post (most bloggers will post their giveaway on Saturday, I'm just a little early) to enter to win more great books and prizes.

Today I'm giving away what is so far my favorite middle grade book of the year -- The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer! I haven't posted a review yet, since I chose it for my YABC (book club) pick and the first rule of book club is that you don't talk about the book before the meeting :) I will probably post a review on Amazon and link it since my clubmates don't really read my reviews there. But suffice to say for now that it's a phenomenal book, and I hope it wins many awards in the year to come! The giveaway is open to US only (ends 6/30) because I have to mail something breakable to the winner, but more on that later.


About the book


Twelve-year-old Grace and her mother have always been their own family, traveling from place to place like gypsies. But Grace wants to finally have a home all their own. Just when she thinks she's found it her mother says it's time to move again. Grace summons the courage to tell her mother how she really feels and will always regret that her last words to her were angry ones.

After her mother's sudden death, Grace is forced to live with a grandmother she's never met. She can't imagine her mother would want her to stay with this stranger. Then Grace finds clues in a mysterious treasure hunt, just like the ones her mother used to send her on. Maybe it is her mother, showing her the way to her true home.

Lyrical, poignant and fresh, The Secret Hum of a Daisy is a beautifully told middle grade tale with a great deal of heart.


About the author

Tracy Holczer lives in Southern California with her husband, three daughters, and two rather fluffy dogs named Buster and Molly. She has a deep love for the mountains where she grew up so she writes them into her stories.

A 2014 ABA Indies Introduce New Voices pick, her debut middle grade, The Secret Hum of a Daisy, was written in praise of both nature and family, and all that can be found if you're willing to hunt for treasure. It will be also be published by Konigskinder/Carlsen in Germany, fall 2015.
Find out more:
Follow @tracyholczer on Twitter
Blogging on the 30th of each month at http://smack-dab-in-the-middle.blogspot.com
Buy the book:
Autographed copies (note request on the order or they won't know it needs to be autographed!) available at Once Upon a Time in Montrose, CA

The Giveaway (US only, ends 6/30)

1 signed hardcover copy of The Secret Hum of a Daisy

1 answer jar (here is the one Tracy made for me! Answers not provided, haha :) You can read a little more about the answer jar here.


Giveaway Rules:
  1. Open to US residents only.
  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, and good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


18 June, 2014

Trailer Tuesday (on a Wednesday)

Hi, everyone. I am a little late on Trailer Tuesday so you're getting trailers on Wednesday instead. There have been some fun trailers released in the last few weeks, so we hope you enjoy and let us know what you think of these in the comments below.



Delirium (Hulu) starring Emma Roberts will premiere this week on June 20. Who is going to tune in? I think I am one of the few people who has still not read Delirium, but this looks like it might be good. I like Emma Roberts enough and think she's make a good heroine. This trailer is pretty dramatic though so I may wait until I am in a drama mood (yes, I have a drama mood).




Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo was just released this week and this is the newest trailer for it. Again, very dramatic. Love this series though and can't wait to read the final book in the Grisha trilogy.




This is a new-ish trailer for Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater. Maggie is such an amazing artist and I love all of her trailers. She usually does the art and music for all of them and I am  just amazed. I really like the artwork in this one and the animation. I wish the book cover had her original art instead of what it actually is (sorry, not a fan). Excited to read Cole's story.




The Merciless by Danielle Vega - Well this just looks creepy.

Those are all of the trailers I have for you guys today. Do any of these excite you? What books or movies are you looking forward to this summer?