Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

2011 Debut Author Challenge November 26, 2010

Filed under: books — bestbookihavenotread @ 3:10 pm
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Story Siren is having a 2011 Debut Author Challenge. I’m always up for a good challenge, love debut authors (well, I pretty much love books). I’m always looking for ways to connect to other bloggers, as well as stretch myself as a reader. Thanks Story Siren!

What is the 2010 Debut Author Challenge?

  • The objective is to read a set number of YA (Young Adult) or MG (Middle Grade) novels from debut authors published this year.* I’m going to challenge everyone to read at least 12 debut novels! I’m hoping to read at least 30! You don’t have to list your choices right away, but if you do feel free to change them throughout the year. I will also be focusing on mostly Young Adult novels.
  • Anyone can join, you don’t need a blog to participate. If you don’t have a blog you can always share your views by posting a review on Amazon.com/BarnesandNoble.com/GoodReads/Shelfari, or any other bookish site.
  • The challenge will run from January 1, 2010- December 31, 2010. You can join at anytime!
 

In My Mailbox November 21, 2010

Filed under: In My Mailbox — bestbookihavenotread @ 3:03 pm
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Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (new cover) 

The Cruisers by Walter Dean Myers   

Spaceheadz by Jon Scieszka

Pyrotechnics On the Page: Playful Craft that Sparks Writing by Ralph Fletcher

Day by Day: Refining Writing Workshop Through 180 Days of Reflection by Ruth Ayres and Stacey Shubitz

Me and Rolly Maloo by Janet S. Wong

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Choker by Elizabeth Woods (E-Galley)

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton (E-Galley)

Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell (E-Galley)

 

 

Happy Birthday Jean Fritz! November 16, 2010

Filed under: authors — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:52 am
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Today Jean Fritz turns 95 years old! That is pretty darn amazing, as is her career as a children book’s author. By my count, her newest book in January 2011 will be here 44th book!

Born in 1915 in China to American missionary parents, Jean Fritz spent her first thirteen years living abroad. Having read her The Cabin Faced West as a child, as well as her Homesick: My Own Story, when I became a teacher and discovered her first couple of biographies, I was thrilled. I could hardly wait to share Why Don’t You Get a Horse Sam Adams with my students when it came out in 1996. While never successfully getting one of my students to embrace biography like I had as a child (read every biography in the public or school library), I was happy to have her great works to share with my students.

 

Happy Birthday Jean! I loved meeting you while I was finishing up my master’s degree in Children’s Literature. Thank you for the wonderful books you have given this world.

There’s a great article over at Publisher’s Weekly

 

In My Mailbox 4 November 14, 2010

Filed under: In My Mailbox,Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:27 pm
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Bemouth by Scott Westerfield


Infinity by SherriLynn Kenyon (audiobook)
Storyteller by Patricia Reilly Giff

 

Reviews written:
A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Trance by  Linda Gerber

 

The Replacements November 9, 2010

Filed under: book reviews,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:33 am
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The Replacements by Brenna Yovanoff

Razorbill, September 2010

Young Adult (Horror-I think)

I read it because Maggie Stiefvater is quoted on the cover. I had to force myself to do it. It scared me and grossed me out. I had to keep putting it down. I read it because Penguin Books sent them to me and I’d like them to send me more :)  I had seen the cover at ALA this past June, but, no surprise, it creeped me out!

Some will love it (see starred review from Booklist below) and as I reflect on how much I loved horror as a middle school and high school student, I think I used to be the perfect audience for it.

I did find the characters really interesting and like the relationship between the main character and his sister as well as the relationship between the main character and his best friend.

Amazon Exclusive: Author Q&A with Brenna Yovanoff 

 

Q: Where did you get the idea for The Replacement?

A: The Replacement happened because I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of changelings, but that by itself wasn’t enough to kick-start the story. I didn’t have an actual book until I started wondering one day what it would be like to be a changeling today, where everything is made of steel, and high school means being around a lot of other people all day every day and trying to act normal. One afternoon, I wrote a couple chapters and they worked, so I kept writing!

Q: How does The Replacement differ from other novels about changelings and the fey?

A: I’d say that one of the biggest differences is probably the tone. Even though the changeling aspect of the story has a strong basis in folklore, a lot of the settings and the characters are very contemporary. The story is just as much about Mackie finding his place in the human world as it is about the fantastical world that exists underground.

Q: Your main character, Mackie, is a teenage boy. Given that you are not, in fact, a teenage boy, did you find it difficult writing a male voice?

A: Honestly, I was really scared at first, but that went away once I actually started writing. Now, I don’t think it was much different from writing any other point of view. Every character is their own person, and ideally they each have their own voice. It was really an issue of figuring out what Mackie’s voice sounded like, rather than figuring out what a teenage boy sounded like.

Q: Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kinds of music, artists/bands or songs influenced The Replacement?

A: I love to listen to music while I write. For The Replacement, I had a dedicated playlist that was pretty much all rock music, but the two songs I listened to more than any other were The Rat by Dead Confederate, and Allison Crowe’s beautiful cover version of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen.

Q: What do you like about writing for teenagers?

A: I really like the freshness and the immediacy. The emotions are very raw and intense. I think there’s something so exciting about telling a story where a lot of the things that happen to the characters are happening to them for the very first time.

Q: What were some of the books that you loved as a teen? Did any of these books influence The Replacement?

A: As a teenager, I loved to read. My school locker was full of books and my bedroom floor was covered in them. Some of my absolute favorites were The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. However, if I had to pick one piece of fiction that really influenced The Replacement, it would definitely be The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

Q: The Replacement is being described as Edward Scissorhands meets The Catcher in the Rye, and it certainly has quite a Tim Burton-esque feel. Do you think that’s an apt description of your book? How did you go about creating the uniquely unsettling world of Mayhem?

A: Well, I’m crazy about J.D. Salinger and Tim Burton, so to me, that’s an incredibly high compliment—I’ll take it! For the world of Mayhem, I thought about all the things I like and the things that scare me (which are sometimes the same things anyway—I love horror movies). Then I kind of let them live them together in Mayhem and watched how they eventually grew together.

 

Q: If you weren’t an author, what do you think your career would be?

A: Well, the actual answer is that I would probably be an editor or a copywriter or a proofreader, which is all stuff I’ve done before, and in a lot of ways, it’s all very closely related to being an author. So, for the sake of novelty, I’m going to say that I would be a forensic anthropologist. Because that just seems really interesting.

Q: What would you like your readers to take away from the experience of reading The Replacement?

A: It’s always difficult to say what someone will get out of a book, because people definitely bring their own experiences to books. However, if readers take anything away from The Replacement, I hope it’s the sense that everyone has their own doubts and insecurities, even if they’re good at hiding them, and you don’t have to be ashamed of who you are, no matter how freakish or strange you might feel sometimes.

 

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The light paranormals—think vampires, werewolves, angels, faeries, demons—that flood young adult lit often share a similar problem: by merely tweaking established archetypes, they feel largely interchangeable. No such pitfalls bedevil Yovanoff, whose first novel is not only startlingly conceived from the ground up but will still appeal to the legions craving doom, gloom, and, yes, romance. Mackie lives in Gentry, a small town that owes its history of good fortune to an uneasy relationship with the supernatural underground dwellers who protect them. Their price? Merely an annual human sacrifice, which they take in the form of a stolen baby, leaving behind a fragile nonhuman replacement. Mackie is such a replacement, and despite his allergies to iron and blood, he has somehow survived to be a teen—but now is about to meet his makers. The two separate menageries of monsters—housed in a slag heap and a dump hill—are almost Victorian in bearing, and possess an apocalyptic Bradburian worldview: “‘We are pandemonium and disaster. We are the dancing, gibbering horror of the world,’” says the baddest of them all, the Dirt Witch. The climax is not perhaps what it might be, but Yovanoff’s unsettling villains and intriguing moral ambivalence make this effort shockingly original and frequently breathtaking. Grades 9-12. –Daniel Kraus

 

 

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin November 8, 2010

Filed under: book reviews,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:59 am
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Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

release date September 7, 2010

ARC courtesy of Dial Publishing

young adult

I was first alerted to Extraordinary when I was doing some searches for hot ARCs at ALA 2010. I can’t remember if it was Monica Edinger’s Tweet or blog post at Educating Alice or Liz B at A Chair, A Fireplace, & a Tea Cozy. No matter, I’ve never been steered wrong by either of those women, so it went on my ALA “shopping list”.

Not only did I manage to track down an Advanced Review Copy, but was also fortunate enough to run into the author while I was in someone else’s autograph line. What a kind and gracious person she was. Based on that encounter and the reading of Extraordinary, I have added Werlin’s other books to my reading list.

While the first “chapter” reveals to the reader that part of the story involves Faeries, if one inadvertently skipped it by starting to read “Chapter One”, it would be possible to begin reading thinking that you were going to be reading a realistic fiction book about middle school girls and their friendships. Hopefully when the reader gets to the chapter after Chapter Two, entitled Conversation with the Faerie Queen, 2,they would realize they missed something and go back to the beginning. If the chapter titles weren’t enough clue, there is also ivy that curls up and down the pages that are conversations with the queen.

Extraordinary is a fabulous read that intertwines the friendship of Mallory and Phoebe, with mystery surrounding Phoebe’s family history, and faerie lore. Does that sound like hard things to mix? Well not for Werlin. The three are exquisitely wound in and around each other, resulting in a unique and compelling story.

As a reader, I throughly enjoyed all parts of the story. Seamlessly the story of friendship, mixed with conversations between an unseen queen and her subject, pull the reader along on a fantastic journey.

For a much more detailed review/critique, head on over to The Book Smugglers. They don’t say anything I disagree with, but for me the combination of the friendship, intermixed with faerie, made it a fascinating read for me!

 

 

As often happens, when I went onto Liz ‘s blog, I got distracted by a new post she has. I then got further distracted by reading the comments in reply to her post, which of course led me to other blogs, other posts, and other comments.

That’s how writing a book review ends up taking over an hour!

 

In My Mailbox November 7, 2010

Filed under: In My Mailbox — bestbookihavenotread @ 2:21 pm

#3 In My Mailbox

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Saraswati’s Way by Monika Schroder

A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

A Finders-Keepers Place by Ann Haywood Leal

Trance by Linda Gerber

 

 

Nightshade November 3, 2010

Filed under: book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 3:03 pm
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Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Philomel, October 19, 2010

Young Adult

Twilight fans will love it!

Cassandra Clare fans will love it!

Linger fans will love it!

I love it!

Webisodes: A new twist on advertising. One of the characters in the book, Shay, makes videos that are part of a “prequel” to the book. Also a Bonus Prequel

I am thoroughly enjoying Nightshade, Andrea Cremer’s first book. When the ARC came in the mail, I was not quite sure. Notice the blood dripping off the cross shaped T. It creeped me out a little. Not a fan of blood, zombies, or gore. BUT, the sparkle on the cover around the eye made up for it and with the first page, I found myself unable to put it down!

Calla, Bryn, Ren, Ansel, Logan…Ordinary teens? Or Guardians (similar to werewolves) controlled by a pack leader who in turn is controlled by Keepers. And don’t forget Shay. Witch, warlock, chosen one? Forbidden from Calla, the alpha of one pack who has been promised to Ren, the alpha of another pack. As the story unfurls, dark creatures of all sorts emerge that make it very difficult to keep Shay safe.

Detail that takes the book to the next level:

Chapter pages-start completely black, and then reveal slivers of the moon, a little more each chapter

I really enjoyed the following Q & A with the author found on Amazon.com. Go buy the book. You won’t be sorry. A sequel, or series, is just around the bend!


A Q&A with Andrea Cremer

Q: Where did you get the idea for Nightshade?

A: Nightshade is Calla’s story and she was the inspiration for the book. I tend to write from characters and Calla was floating around in my head for a week or two before I started putting her story onto the page. I knew she was a girl who was also a wolf. I knew she was strong, but also in serious trouble. I couldn’t figure out how someone so powerful could be in that sort of a fix. That’s whereNightshade‘s world emerged it was all about building a history and society that explained Calla’s predicament.

Q: Nightshade takes place in such a vivid, well-developed fantasy world. What sort of research went into the development of the world and the mythology of the series?

A: Like I said earlier, Calla started it all. The world of Nightshade came as I tried to figure out how someone like Calla, a girl who I knew was incredibly powerful, could be afraid and angry. What was controlling her? Why would she be fighting against her own destiny? I realized that she was facing off with something even more powerful than herself. That’s where my background as a historian came in. I teach early modern history (1500-1800)–a period of immense, violent change in human societies. This is the time of witch hunts, religious warfare, colonization, the Inquistion; all types of cataclysmic social transformation that turned the lives across the globe upside down. The more I thought about Calla I thought about the ways in which wolf warriors and witches could have intertwined lives. The mythology in Nightshade is a blend of history and lore plus new twists I imagined along the way.

Q: Your narrator, Calla Tor, is a very take-charge female character—in fact, she’s the alpha of her wolf pack. What are the unique benefits and challenges of her position? Are you hoping that teenage girls will see Calla as a role model?

A: Calla is a natural leader and fierce warrior. She loves taking charge and she’s intensely loyal to her packmates, but her role as alpha comes with restrictions set by her masters. Calla’s sense of duty comes into conflict with her independent spirit–she wants to make her own choices rather than just follow orders. I hope that girls, and boys, will see the way Calla’s journey is about finding her true self, questioning a society that limits her strengths, and fighting for what she loves even when that goes against the rules of her world.

Q: Why did you decide to set Nightshade in Colorado? What does the setting bring to the story?

A: Calla’s masters, the Keepers, are powerful witches who live in luxury, but also seclusion. I wanted a setting that evoked that type of exclusive, almost unreachable landscape where a world of privilege is bordered by the wildness of forests and mountains. Vail, Colorado offered the best mixture of those qualities.

Q: What do you like best about writing for teens?

A: I love writing YA because it’s full of characters who are testing the limits of their world and figuring out who they really are. Coming of age and self-discovery are incredible moments that reveal so much about human nature and offers the chance to explore pivotal questions and ideas we all struggle with. I also think YA fiction is fearless about expanding the realm of the possible. It’s a boundless, thrilling place to be a writer.

Q: Will there be more books featuring Calla, or set in the Nightshade world?

A: Yes! Nightshade is a trilogy. Wolfsbane (Nightshade #2) will be published in July 2011 and Bloodrose (Nightshade #3) in spring 2012. After that I’m writing a prequel about the origins of the Witches War, which will be on bookstore shelves in fall 2012. Beyond that–who knows! I’m always coming up with new ideas, so this is just the beginning.

Q: What is one thing you would like people to take away from their experience of reading Nightshade?

A: I hope that readers will be as invested in the struggles, hopes, and fears of Calla and her pack as I am. The most important thing to me is that the world of Nightshadeand the lives of its characters draw readers in so that we’re all going through the series together–cheering, laughing, crying, fighting–that it becomes more than a good story, that we feel like we’re traveling with Calla and her pack on their journey to unravel the tangled mystery of Nightshade’s world.

 

Thank you Granville School supporters

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:22 am

Last night around 11:00 it was official. All precincts data in and the levy won by 180 votes.

THANK YOU GRANVILLE SCHOOL SUPPORTERS!!!!

 

Go Blue Aces!

 

Upcoming Wish List November 2, 2010

Filed under: books — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:43 am
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Delirium by Lauren Oliver: Harper Teen Publishers

Plague by Michael Collins: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins Publishers)

The Dark & Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan:  Random House Children’s Book

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare Publisher-Margaret K. McElderry–Simon & Shuster

Stay by Deb Calletti-SimonPulse

Evercrossed by Elizabeth Chandler: SimonPulse

The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer Holm: Atheneum Books for Young Readers Simon & Shuster

Kat, Incorrigble by Stephanie Burgis: Atheneum Books for Young Readers



 

 
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