Monday, February 28, 2011

Win a Copy of Daisy Whitney's The Mockingbirds

I really enjoyed The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney and noticed that she has a giveaway on Facebook. You can WIN a signed copy of THE MOCKINGBIRDS! All you have to do is a create a post on YOUR Facebook wall saying why you like to share books with friends and tag THIS page - Daisy's Facebook page (using the @ for the tag) in your wall post. Don't forget to tag the page or she won't be able to see the entry!

GO (I already have a signed copy or I would be there asap!)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

In My Mailbox

So looking forward to hosting Rachel Hawkins and Sarwat Chadda. I've just read Hex Hall and Demonglass (loved both, very funny, if you haven't tried them you should) and am now reading A Devil's Kiss. With thanks, as ever, to Story Siren for hosting this meme. Now to the books:

1. Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

2. The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

It's the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him.

When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia's world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she's not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.

3. Anya's War by Andrea Alban

Anya Rosen and her family have left their home in Odessa for Shanghai, believing that China will be a safe haven from Hitler’s forces. At first, Anya’s life in the Jewish Quarter of Shanghai is privileged and relatively carefree: she has crushes on boys, fights with her mother, and longs to defy expectations just like her hero, Amelia Earhart. Then Anya finds a baby—a newborn abandoned on the street. Amelia Earhart goes missing. And it becomes dangerously clear that no place is safe—not for Jewish families like the Rosens, not for Shanghai’s poor, not for adventurous women pilots.

Based on a true story, here is a rich, transcendent novel about a little-known time in Holocaust history.

4. Bumped by Megan McCafferty

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

Sound good, don't they? Bumped next I think...
So what did you get?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Upcoming Events at Kepler's

I've booked such incredible authors to come to Kepler's that I wanted to let everyone know as soon as possible. Very very exciting.

All events are at the store unless otherwise stated.
All events are at 7.00 unless otherwise stated.

March 7th
Jon Scieszka, Spaceheadz Book 2
(At the Menlo Park Library)

March 9th
Rachel Hawkins, Demonglass
and Sarwat Chadda, Dark Goddess

March 17th
Alyson Noel, Shimmer (Riley Bloom #2)

March 25th
Anthony Horowitz
Scorpia Rising

April 10th
Kelley Armstrong, The Gathering
4.00 pm

April 12th
Cassandra Clare, City of Fallen Angela
and Holly Black, Red Glove
(At the Menlo Park Library)

April 14th
MaryRose Wood, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 2
(at the Menlo Park Library)

April 27th
Magic Tree House Live Reading Tour
(at the Menlo Park Library)
6.30 pm

April 30th
John Flanagan, The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 10, The Emperor of Nihon-Ja

May 1
Andrea Alban, Anya's War
4.00 pm

May 3
Neil Shusterman, Everfound

May 4th
Jessica Powers, This Thing Called the Future
and Emily Wing-Smith, Back When You Were Easier to Love

May 11
Jeanne Birdsall, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette

June 3
Melissa Marr, The Graveminder

July 14th
Gail Carriger, Heartless

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins - Review

Sophie Mercer is a witch. This wouldn't be so bad but apparently trying to help a sobbing fellow student with a love potion on prom night was not such a good idea. It backfires and her father (who she's never met) ships her off to Hecate (aka Hex) Hall with all the other delinquent Prodigium (faeries, witches, shapeshifters) who have all attracted more attention than they should.

On her first day she is introduced to her roommate, who is a vampire, and three dark witches who want her to join their coven. She's attacked by a werewolf (and it seems shouting "bad dog" doesn't do any good) and meets Archer Cross (and immediately develops a crush).

Did I mention that there's a predator on the loose who is attacking students? And a secret organization called The Eye bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth. Oh yes, and a family secret.

I loved this book. It's funny, with a strong but sarcastic heroine, and yet written with a light touch. It's the sort of story where Lord Byron teaches literature, where the students have to conjure up their dresses for prom (if they can) yet have to visit graveyards at midnight and face off with ghosts. It's a mystery wrapped up in a comedy with a few surprising twists and an ending you don't expect.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kathy Reichs talking about Going Viral

I love the TV series Bones (and yes, I admit it, I haven't read the books) and also loved Kathy Reichs' first YA title, Virals. School Library Journal has a fascinating interview with her here. I've posted the first few questions and if you want to read the rest, click here. And you can see my review of Virals here.

Were you trying to expand your Bones franchise by making Tory the grandniece of Temperance?

While I hope my adult readers will give Virals a chance, the idea for a young adult series actually came from my son, Brendan Reichs. We thought of Virals as a way to reach out to students and hopefully inspire them to consider scientific careers. When I tour in support of my Temperance Brennan novels, I often encounter younger fans that are fascinated by forensic science. Writing a young adult novel seemed like a natural extension of what I do, so that I could bring my scientific expertise to a younger audience.

Do you think forensics is a good way to introduce kids to basic science principles?

Absolutely. Forensic science can be a gateway drug for a student's interest in hard science careers. What's important about forensics is that it combines scientific principles with the interesting premise of solving a crime. This duality can often pique a young person's interest, even one that would not usually consider simple scientific experiments interesting. Forensic science classes may be the best way to increase the profile of the hard sciences in our schools.

Tell us some more about Virals?

Tory and her small group of brainiac friends are living an isolated lifestyle on one of Charleston's barrier islands when their lives are turned upside down. After rescuing a dog scheduled for termination at a prestigious veterinary institution, Tory and her friends fall sick from a mysterious virus, and, upon recovery, realize that they've been changed, down to their DNA. The group has developed super-sensory powers. In Virals, the group tries to understand and control these new abilities while caught up in the investigation of a cold case murder.
Sounds like Tory could be a 21st-century forensic Nancy Drew.

I like to think so, although Tory has a bit of an edge with her new-founded capabilities! Tory is brilliant, precocious, and loyal. She's a true prodigy, with all the intellectual firepower of her great Aunt Tempe, but at heart she's still a 14-year-old girl. When I envisioned Tory, I saw a combination of traits from the Tempe character in my novels and the one on the TV show Bones. I'm careful to keep Tory as human as possible, however. I don't want her to be impossibly perfect as a teenage. Special, certainly, but Tory has issues and flaws just like the rest of us. It's how she overcomes those problems hat sets her apart as someone to be admired.

Was it hard to create characters who teens could identify with?

I enjoyed exploring the world of teenage interactions, something I've not done in the Temperance Brennan novels. Younger characters face an entirely different set of problems, and those issues are no less daunting than the ones faced by adults. In some areas I relied heavily upon my son, who is 30 years younger and a bit more in tune with today's kids. But creating Virals was a novel and pleasurable experience. While I definitely changed how the main characters talk and interact with each other to keep the book age appropriate, I tried very hard not to change how I create a story. I think most of my adult readers will also enjoy Virals because it's not an attempt to write down to a younger level. It's simply a mystery novel with teenage protagonists. In the end, I think it worked out quite well.

Oh, can't wait for the next in this series.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe - Review

Elizabeth really really liked this book so I'm posting her review here. I'm always looking for something a little different. And what a gorgeous cover, don't you think? Yes, I'm adding yet another title to my TBR pile. Looks fabulous.

When this book ended, I breathed out and immediately started reading the first few pages again to see if I should've been able to figure it out earlier. This fantastic murder mystery captured my imagination and kept me in suspense until the end.

Jane wakes up in a hospital room, not sure what happened to her. She remembers being at a party. She remembers walking in with her two best friends - the most popular in the room. She remembers kissing her boyfriend - who she adores. And then she remembers waking up - and is paralyzed. Over the course of the next four days, Jane's voice and memories start to come back. She remembers more and more, and she is convinced that the killer is going to come back to finish the job. With the hospital and her family doubting her sanity, Jane must figure out who tried to kill her in order to save her own life.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ellen Hopkins

Ellen Hopkins - what an incredible speaker, a really inspirational person. She's a poet, freelance writer, and award winning author of twenty nonfiction titles and 7 New York Times bestselling novels in verse. She’s published articles on subjects ranging from aviation to child abuse to winegrowing. And she mentors other writers through her position as a regional advisor to the Nevada chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. called her the "bestselling living poet in the U.S." And she really reaches and understands her audience.

For those of you who don’t know, Ellen had a daughter who became addicted to crystal meth. In 2002, her struggle inspired her to begin writing Crank. She’s since written several verse novels, including Burned, Impulse, Identical, Glass, Tricks and Fallout. Her next book will be called Perfect, and we have to wait until September to read it. And it sounds very interesting (and controversial!)

Here she is talking about her newest book, Fallout

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis - Review

I've had this sitting at the top of my TBR pile for a while now. But have been sidetracked. SO, I'm including Antonia's review, which has made me want to pick it up all the more!

Amy's parents choose to be cryogenically frozen, set on board the spaceship, Godspeed, and set to travel for 300 years to a new planet. Amy's Mom is a genetic engineer, her Dad is in the military; they decide Amy should go with them. Amy's not sure she wants to go, but she doesn't want to leave her parents, and so reluctantly agrees.

Then the unthinkable happens. Amy is awakened early. 50 years early in fact. It doesn't take her long to understand the implications. By the time the ship arrives on the new planet, she will be an old woman. By the time her parents wake up, she will have lived a full lifetime. She only went on this trip to be with them, but now she is completely alone. And all is not well on the Godspeed. Amy is seen as a threat to the stability of the ship, and the people act strangely. Together with the young man who mistakenly took her out of cryo, she must seek out the secrets that haunt this ship before they are all doomed.

This is great science fiction, a page turner cover to cover, and that's not the only thing that turns - this book comes complete with reversible dust jacket. I love it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Am Number Four

Can't wait! I Am Number Four, based on the book by James Frey (yes, that James Frey) and Jobie Hughes writing as Pittacus Lore, number one in the Lorien Legacies series, opens this Friday, February 18. Alex Pettyfer stars as a superhero hiding among normal teenagers to avoid a deadly enemy. Directed by D.J. Caruso. I really liked the book so you know where I will be found this weekend.

Do you plan to see this?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

In My Mailbox

Last week we hosted the incredible Ellen Hopkins, who were simply inspirational. I'll post photos and video soon. Next up, Rachel Hawkins and Sarwat Chadda, so I've just read Hex Hall (loved it, very funny) and am now reading Demonglass. With thanks, as ever, to Story Siren for hosting this meme. Now to the books!

Wildfire By Karsten Knight
Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at her school...and she's one of them.

Trouble twisters by Garth Nix and Sean Williams
I loved teh Sabriel series so very much so can't wait to read garth Nix's newest book

Fins are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs
Sequel to the wonderful Forgive my Fins

Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby
Instead of becoming a dragon slayer like she wants to, like her mother, Emma is assigned to slay fairies.

Now back to Demonglass. What did you get this week

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Here's Amanda's review of Delirium, which is sitting right at the top of my to-be read pile. If only I could read faster...

Delirium: a disordered state of mind, characterized by confused thinking, disrupted attention, mood shifts, etc.

It's been 64 years since the United States identified love as a disease, 43 years since they developed a cure. Now, Lena Holloway has just 95 days until she can finally have the procedure that will keep her safe. Lena has grown up hearing the stories of those afflicted with amor deliria nervosa; people who would die for love--people like her mother. She promised herself she would not let that happen to her. All she wanted was to ace her evaluations, make a good pairing, and live a safe and predictable life. And then she met Alex. And fell in love.

Set in the near future in the remote landscape of Portland, Maine, Delirium depicts a society sheltered to the point of numbness; a place where passion is outlawed and passivity revered. Lauren Oliver's beautiful prose and vivid scenery make this dystopia compelling, haunting, and romantic. It makes you wonder-- what will Lena and Alex do for love? What would you do for love?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Daisy Whitney and CJ Omololu

Last week we hosted two local debut teen novelists: Daisy Whitney and CJ Omololu. Both have written realistic issues-based books, one about date rape, one about hoarding. And if you haven't read both books, you should. They are very good.

What can I tell you about them? When Daisy Whitney is not inventing fictional high school worlds, she’s a multimedia reporter specializing in all forms of online and new media content distribution and produces conferences for iMedia and ad:tech. She was the first journalist to launch a personal online newscast covering the internet business. Currently she hosts the audio podcast called This Week in Media. The Mockingbirds, Daisy’s very impressive debut novel, is a powerful, honest book that tackles a difficult subject. It’s a book I think should be on every high school reading list. And she’s apparently writing a sequel about the same secret society.

CJ Omololu, or Cynthia Jaynes Omololu, was born in New Jersey, but grew up in San Diego. And now lives in the Bay Area. She grew up with the serviceable last name of Jaynes, but then married a Nigerian man, which is why her other last name has so many vowels. She’s the author of the picture book, When It’s Six O’clock in San Francisco and the wonderful Dirty Little Secrets – a heartbreaking, disturbing look into life with a hoarder. (I will admit that it made me take a good look at my house and take bags and bags of things to Goodwill. My husband thanks her!). No, it seems she didn't grow up in a hoarder family but was inspired by a magazine article she read on a plane. And her next book? Apparently, it will be a fantasy. (yay!)

They came with a powerpoint presentation about their path to publication that was both funny and informative - along with bad fashion choices and bad hair styles. So inspirational, I can't wait to read their next books.

Here's video of Daisy talking about The Mockingbirds:

And here's video of Cynthia talking about Dirty Little Secrets:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

In My Mailbox

Last week we hosted Daisy Whitney and CJ Omololu, who were wonderful. I'll post photos and video tomorrow. We'll host Ellen Hopkins, which I'm very excited about, on Tuesday February 8th. Join us if you are in the area. 7.00. With thanks, as ever, to Story Siren for hosting this meme. This week's books are awesome!

1. Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray
A contemporary retelling of Hamlet from Ophelia's point of view where this time Ophelia doesn't die!

2. Huntress by Malinda Lo
The prequel to Ash, overflowing with lush Chinese influences and details inspired by the I Ching. I loved Ash so can't wait to start this.

3. The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Shadow of the Wind is one of my favorite books and I really did enjoy the creepy Prince of Mist so could be found clutching this to my chest, jumping around with glee when I was given this

4. This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
In this prequel to Shelley's Frankenstein, 15 year old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever as he searches for the ingredients for the Elixir of Life

Don't they sound good? So - what did you get this week?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Donna Underwood is different. Her father died saving her life when she was seven. It haunts her nightmares. It drove her mother crazy. Her arms and hands were rebuilt by magic with iron tattoos. On the plus side, she is now very strong. But she wears gloves to hide the tattoos. And feels she will never fit in.

When her best and only friend Navin drags her to a party, she meets Xan, a boy who seems to have secrets of his own. But things are changing: Maker, the man who rebuilt her hands and arms, is attacked by wood elves, then so is she and Xan. Worse, they kidnap Navin and Donna knows she will do anything to rescue him.

The Iron Witch
seamlessly blends adventure, self-discovery, and a little romance. Donna is an easy heroine to root for - strong, independant, loyal, and determined - as she faces the realities and dangers of her world. Her questions echo through the book: How does she tell her friend about her hands, or about an alchemist's life, or about wood elves? If she tells him, will he still want to hang out with her? Can she risk losing him - her only link to the outside world? Can she trust Xan to help her? And ultimately will she really put friendship over her family and all the alchemists believe?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Veronica Roth talking about Divergent

Because I've just read Divergent and LOVED it (oh, I can be such a fan girl at times) I wanted to play you this short video of Veronica Roth talking about Divergent.

I know I've already included it in a Waiting on Wednesday meme but really it is so worth waiting for.