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Win a copy of Nobody and Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (ends 2/20)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

In My Mailbox + Bookish News!

For review:
The Missing Magic (B Magical)
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
You Killed Wesley Payne

From friend via PBS:
The Kid Table

Won from Sydney Salter:

A Mayan Life (for school) [ohhh I have issues with this book lol]

-IMM was inspired by Alea (Pop Culture Junkie), but memefied by Kristi (The Story Siren)-

YA Novel Discovery Contest

No query? No pitch? No problem!

Have a young adult novel—or a YA novel idea—tucked away for a rainy day? Are you putting off pitching your idea simply because you’re not sure how to pitch an agent? No problem! All you have to do is submit the first 250 words of your novel and you can win both exposure to editors, and a reading of your manuscript from one of New York’s TOP literary agents Regina Brooks.

Regina Brooks is the founder of Serendipity Literary Agency and the author of Writing Great Books for Young Adults. Brooks has been instrumental at establishing and building the careers of many YA writers, including three-time National Book Award Honoree and Michael Printz Honoree Marilyn Nelson, as well as Sundee Frazier—a Coretta Scott King Award winner, an Oprah Book Pick and an Al Roker book club selection. As an agent, she is known for her ability to turn raw talent into successful authors.

In honor of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.org)—an international event where aspiring novelists are encouraged to write an entire novel in 30 days—this contest is meant to encourage the aspiring YA author to get started on that novel by offering an incentive for completing the first 250 words.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS: The top 20 submissions will all be read by a panel of five judges comprised of top YA editors at MacMillan, Scholastic, Candlewick, Harlequin, Sourcebooks and Penguin. The first 100 will receive free autographed copies of Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks. Of the 20, they will pick the top five submissions and provide each author with commentary. These five winners will also receive a free ONE YEAR subscription to The Writer magazine. ONE Grand Prize Winner will win a full manuscript reading and editorial consultation from Regina Brooks and free 10-week writing course courtesy of the Gotham Writer’s Workshop.

Please submit all entries via the contest website at WritingClasses.com/YAPitch. One entry per person; anyone age 13+ can apply. Open to the U.S. & Canada (void where prohibited). Entries for the YA Novel Discovery Contest will be accepted from 12:01am (ET) November 1 until 11:59pm (ET), November 30th

So enter now! http://bit.ly/YAContest

The Grand Prize Winner will have the opportunity to submit an entire manuscript to YA literary agent Regina Brooks AND receive a free, 10-week writing course, courtesy of Gotham Writers' Workshop.

The Top Five Entrants (including the Grand Prize winner) will receive a 15-minute, one-on-one pitch session with Regina Brooks, one of New York’s premier literary agents for young adult books. They will also receive commentary on their submissions by editors, Scholastic, Macmillan, Penguin, Harlequin, Candlewick, and Sourcebooks. In addition, they will receive a year’s subscription to The Writer magazine!

YA literary agent Regina Brooks and her team , will read all of the entries and determine the top 20 submissions. These submissions will then be read by Nancy Mercado, Executive Editor at Roaring Brook Press(Macmillan); Nicole Raymond, Editor at Candlewick; Cheryl Klein, Senior Editor at Arthur Levine Books (Scholastic); Leila Sales, Editor Viking (Penguin) Evette Porter, Editor at Harlequin and Leah Hultenschmidt, Executive Editor at Sourcebooks. These judges will whittle the top 20 down to five, and each of the five winners will be provided commentary on their submissions.

Scholastic launched You Are What You Read (www.youarewhatyouread.com), a new social networking site for readers around the world. Users log on to www.youarewhatyouread.com, list the five books that had the biggest impact on their lives, and connect with other readers through these shared “Bookprints.” The site also contains the Bookprints of more than 130 “Names You Know” – notable people from entertainment, academia, business, media, publishing, and more – including Taylor Swift, Bill Gates, Scarlett Johansson, Tony Hawk, Venus Williams, Tommy Hilfiger, Jodi Picoult, Philippa Gregory, Rick Riordan, James Patterson, Jim Parsons, Ann M. Martin, Eva Mendes, Judy Blume, Sanjay Gupta, and two former Presidents.

After logging into You Are What You Read via Facebook or Scholastic.com accounts, users can:

  • Discover new books through an interactive web that shows how users’ Bookprints are connected
  • Find and connect with users across generations and from around the world to see the books in their Bookprints
  • Compare their Bookprints to those of the participating “Names You Know,” and find out if they share a book in their Bookprint with famous athletes, award-winning entertainers, world-renowned scientists, or iconic business leaders
  • “Favorite” other books they like and check out what similar users enjoy reading
  • See which books have been chosen as Favorites from around the world
  • Share a book in the real word through Pass It On, which encourages users to give a favorite book to a family member, a friend, or even a complete stranger.
You Are What You Read also features a separate community for young readers that provides kid friendly information about books and other activities.

I encourage you to check out the site, add your Bookprint, and see what connections you make. You can also find downloadables – including screenshots and blog widgets – on our media room.

PS: The site is part of our 90th anniversary global literacy campaign, Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life, which celebrates the importance of literacy in the 21st Century.

Books by its Cover - October Winner!

Week 1:
Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup:
3 sisters—3 powers
Pst, I think Buttercup is feeling
better; less green more yellow!

Week 2:
It’s a giant magnet.
I’m not joking...

Week 3:
I spy with my little eye:
Something blue,
Something wet,
Something vampiric.

Week 4:
Whoosh goes the hair.
Old skool is the choice of music.
Vinyl baby, addiction.

Drum roll please! This month the champion is....Emily aka WilowRaven! EMAIL ME EMILY TO I CAN SEND YOU SOME FREE BOOKS!

Next month you have a chance at something else! I think I'm just going to have a giant pot of prizes to celebrate my 2 year blogoversary.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Little Wanting Song

A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

Grade: 4.5 / 4.8 stars out of 5
Charlie Duskin sings to herself in the dark. Charlie Duskin lost her bikini top at a party and a big part of her self-confidence. Charlie Duskin lost her mother 7 years ago. She lost her grandmother a year ago. She’s just trying to find herself.

Rose Butler watches the car drive pass her little town. She wants to go with them and leave this town for the city. Every Christmas break Charlie comes to town to help her grandfather with the shop and leave after a few weeks. This time, Rose wants to go with Charlie when she leaves.
A Little Wanting Song leaves the reader wanting a little more after finishing. It was only when I finished the novel and got up to leave did I realize that Charlie, Rose, and the rest of the gang got up and followed me as well. A Little Wanting Song is a haunting song because it describes every person.

I feel like Charlie's and Rose's friendship is one that I've been through countless times. As horribly as it may sound there is typically an a reason why I talk to a person: curb my loneliness, asking for an answer, a piece of gum (not yet though lol). Rose's motive is a lot bigger and a lot harsher than mine, but it balances out when readers realize what Charlie is getting. But the friendship works because it grows and the two girls learn! It was a give and take relationship that balanced out so well with the emotional gravity that both girls face.

Rose hates her small town and loves the city. Her presence and energy is made for the busting life. Charlie is someone from the city yet her mousy personality fits in to the quaint town. These two girls cannot be more than opposite with different family circumstances. Rose's family is protective and can be smothering. Charlie's mother died and her father is so distant that a hug is beyond awkward. They want what the other have. It puts the "grass is greener on the other side" into perspective in this dual narrative novel, frankly speaking both lives "suck" on some aspects. The subject of talking things through plays a large role in A Little Wanting Song and it's evidently clear because music is a symbol in the novel.

Charlie is the person that I believe most readers will draw to. Readers will empathize to the little girl with her big voice, but will envy he artistic qualities. She writes and sings her songs and does it well too! She's such a dynamic character that explodes on the pages.

The romance in the novel is tentative and light. I'll just leave that as it is.

Cover B-/C+: I like it yet at the same time I don't think it fits perfectly with the novel. Unless you consider that term where people see colors and hear music in everything and leaves confuses me.
Source: won from Cath Crowley / review copy from Knopf Books shows up several days later *head palm* (gonna do something with the extra copy, just wait)
Published: 2010, June 8; hardcover

Thursday, October 28, 2010

When Rose Wakes

When Rose Wakes by Christopher Golden

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Ever fairy tale is told and retold through generations across the ocean and through the test of time. Rose, however, is having trouble recalling any fairy tales and just as well as she wakes from a 2 year coma. Her life, as her aunts tell, was back in France before they moved to America for better medical care. Her parents—dead. Her friends—not really talked about. Her memory—just lingering in the back of her head.

Rose is determined for it not to get the best of her as she enrolls into a new school as a sophomore, despite being the age of a junior. She has a great group of new friends and plans to not let cliché-freaked cheerleader get the best of the new girl—“Coma Girl”. Yet her aunts’ demand of not kissing any guys, definitely NO on sex, and their nags on drinking some disgusting tea makes Rose frustrated. How can she let go and start a new life like her aunts’ want if they impose restrictions on anything but?

The life of a teenager is hard enough when you wake up from a 2 year coma, but add to that a crazy stalker and a catfight that ends with a girl turning into leaves. Rose wants answers.
Here’s the part where I smack my head because one way or another I missed the memo that When Rose Wakes is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Insert: “Duh”. As far as a retelling goes, Christopher Golden does a job well done incorporating his own little touches while maintaining the essence of Sleeping Beauty.

My biggest qualm with the novel was how. How does Rose know so much after being in a coma for so many years? How does Rose know French and English fluently? How old is Rose really and for how long can she look young? How did the aunts’ get the proper documentations? Where did they get their money from? Where are the “others”? How did the villain create a group of evil people? My mind is just bouncing off questions as I went through the novel. But I’d rather not talk about the negatives any longer.

When Rose Wakes drops little hints and reoccurring dreams that point the readers to the solution of the “mystery”.  In many ways I was dense because it didn’t hit me until the novel literally told me the truth. The dreams were a nice touch because it dug the backbone of the plot out and this sort of existence to the novel. The contrasting aunt’s played nicely to good cop, bad cop and their light bantering and withering glances speak volumes of comfort. I just wished that the aunts were more developed and the novel discusses how they were selected to be guard Rose.

Jared and Rose’s budding relationship was a tad more than I expected, but still very sweet and understanding. I liked how Jared know when to say, “No”, and when to say “Okay” and not become this obsessive, possessive, and ever constant presence in Rose’s mind. And say “Hell yes!” to ethnic diversity in characters.

In all, however, When Rose Wakes ended the weekend nicely for me. There was a lightness to the novel that made it pleasant.

Cover B+
Source: Gallery Books / MTV Books
Published: 2010 September 28; paperback

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Love Goddess' Cooking School

The Love Goddess' Cooking School by Melissa Senate

Grade: 4.5 stars out of 5
Holly Maguire's grandmother was the Love Goddess of Blue Crab Island, Maine–a Milanese fortune teller who could predict the right man for you, and whose Italian cooking was rumored to save marriages. Holly has been waiting years for her unlikely fortune: her true love will like sa cordula, an unappetizing old-world delicacy. But Holly can't make a decent marinara sauce, let alone sa cordula. Maybe that's why the man she hopes to marry breaks her heart. So when Holly inherits Camilla's Cucinotta, she's determined to forget about fortunes and love and become an Italian cooking teacher worthy of her grandmother's legacy.

But Holly's four students are seeking much more than how to make Camilla's chicken alla Milanese. Simon, a single father, hopes to cook his way back into his daughter's heart. Juliet, Holly's childhood friend, hides a painful secret. Tamara, a serial dater, can't find the love she longs for. And twelve-year-old Mia thinks learning to cook will stop her dad from marrying his phony lasagna-queen girlfriend.

As the class gathers each week, adding Camilla's essential ingredients of wishes and memories into every pot and pan, unexpected friendships and romances are formed–and tested. Especially when Holly falls hard for Liam . . . and learns a thing or two about finding her own recipe for happiness.
Everything you need to know about the novel can be surmised from the synopsis. The Love Goddess’s Cooking School makes one reader very, very hungry for some decent Italian cuisine. Thank God that there are recipes readers can follow at the back of the novel or I might have taken a bite of the novel. Yum….

The Love Goddess’ Cooking School was a delicious novel that held different layers like a lasagna with various textures, aromas, and tastes. The novel does not completely focus on cooking and many of the side-characters try to find their niche in life and the reason for existence at all. The potential of a new stepmother drives Mia to the cooking class. She becomes the bright singular light and one of the wisest and fearless out of the bunch. But she herself is so fragile and breakable, just a young tween, that the arrival of her mother throws everything out of balance. Mia physically demonstrates in a person whereas Holly emotionally develops through her cooking.

Holly’s grandmother’s diary, however, leaves some questions remaining. It does bring light to this family tension that passes through generation and takes into account the progression of assimilation and the effects it has on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generations. Having taken a course on race and culture, The Love Goddess’ Cooking School follows the exact same pattern and concept. This is just another layer to that piling lasagna that makes this novel delicious.

The novel is part heartbreaking, part love humor, and all gobbled up by me. The ending, however, was just a little tough to chew through.

Cover B-/C+
Source: Gallery Books
Published: 2010 October 26; paperback

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spooktastic ARC Giveaway!

Thanks to Hachette Books and Little, Brown and Company I have 3 prizes to offer you! This is going to be a quickie contest; both contests will end October 31st (Halloween!).

Prize #1 (two winners!)
The Witches' KitchenBirth of a Killer (The Saga of Larten Crepsley)BloodthirstyDark Song

Prize #2 (one winner!)
Dewey the Library Cat: A True StoryThe Adventures of Nanny PigginsTumtum & Nutmeg: The Rose Cottage Tales

The Year of Living Scandalously

The Year of Living Scandalously by Julia London

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
The Year of Living Scandalously (the cover itself is quite scandalously enough for me!) was a tale of star-crossed lovers whose passion reaches the stars. Nope. I’m lying to you. It’s actually about a girl turned woman whose beauty and charm attracts man out of their wits and an earl who loves horses. The rape and suicide of a childhood friend leave them both haunted and in hatred/guilt in each other’s presence.

But when Lily, Kiera’s cousin, finds herself a new title her desire to travel abroad overcomes her sense of duty and enlists the help of Keira to maintain her newest property. Keira finds Ashwood barely hanging on—a clear cry from when it held the grandest party of all time. There, she runs into Declan who plans to purchase a fine horse from the estate and cajoles him into helping her. Keira is determined that Ashwood stay afloat despite a new neighbor who is out to get the family and discovered what truly happened to the family jewels that led to one woman’s death and her cousin’s sudden arrival to her home.

Keira may find more than she ever bargained for.
The first thing that made me pause and think about the novel was the prologue and epilogue. See, they are both told in Lily’s perspective while the rest of the novel is told through Keira. It was such an odd match that I had to look up the synopsis of the novel to figure what the novel focuses on. The prologue was a much longer chapter than I expected and set things up more so for the sequel rather than this installment. It set the ball rolling for The Year of Living Scandalously but doesn’t play the biggest role in the romancing of Declan and Keira.

Declan and Keira are well suited for each other: both being born in Ireland, wanting to travel and experience life, and a strong liking to horses. They are both also like horses or rather mules—stubborn, head strong, doesn’t exactly think things through carefully before acting and reacting. Going with their gut instincts. Oddly enough, this is an appealing characteristic to the novel as the novel is direct about the plot while amusing as the two butt heads.

The novel ends roughly, which leaves plenty of tidying up to do in the sequel for Lily as she comes back from her trip.

Cover C-/D+
Source: ARC/Bound Manuscript from Pocket Books
Published: 2010 October 19; mass market paperback

Monday, October 25, 2010

Manga Monday: Samurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo by Manglobe and Gotsubo Masaru

Genre: Comedy, Action, Historical (yet it has HipHop music...)
Art: 4.5 stars
Plot: 3.3 stars
Characters: 3.5 stars
Serialized: TokyoPop
Other: Anime
Note: Creators of Cowboy Bebop
Manga was discontinued after second volume. So I watched the anime (ratings reflect anime).
Mugen is a rough-around-the-edges mercenary with a killer technique and nothing left to lose. Jin is a disciplined samurai who's as deadly as he is reserved. Fuu is a young waitress with a good heart and a resourcefulness that emerges when you least expect it. These three unlikely companions are about to begin a journey that will change all of their lives.

It's a dangerous quest for a mysterious samurai that will see our squabbling group of heroes get into and out of trouble more times than they can count (which admittedly, isn't very high). From the cynical gentility of the nobles to the backstabbing of the Japanese underworld, Mugen, Jin and Fuu will face threats from without and within as they hurl insults and throwing stars alike. Ancient Japan is about to get a lethal dose of street justice--Champloo style. And it will never be the same.

Samurai Champloo: The Complete Collection