Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making By Cat Valente - Review

Here's Sarah's review of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Cat Valente. Oh, it looks good. Looks like this will be next on my reading list.

I've been meaning to read Catherynne Valente for some time and it is only through great restraint that, after finishing Girl, I have not rushed off to buy everything she's ever written. Girl is quite simply stunning. Girl is - to shamelessly steal a quote from another of my favourite books - terrible and beautiful at the same time. While the genesis of the tale is simple: a girl goes on a quest for a magic item in Fairyland, the execution is mind-bogglingly good. September's adventures through Fairyland offer Valente a place to meditate on childhood, growing up, friendship, love, laughter, and sadness. It is a book that children will enjoy - there is plenty of adventure and danger to be had - but that will grow with the reader. It reminded me of my all-time favourite novel, The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle, in that there are layers upon layers of meaning to be read and pondered over.

It's difficult, as a bookseller, to come up with new ways to describe a book we love. In the case of a book that captures one's heart this way, old adjectives like brilliant seem useless and tawdry. It makes me wish I were a writer of Valente's capability in order to do justice to this little miracle of a book - alas, I am reduced to saying you MUST read it. You must, and you must give it to every child you know, because you will be giving them a gift that will speak something new to them at every stage of their life; and that is a gift beyond measure.

Monday, May 30, 2011

In My Mailbox

Again, a little late with this but this week seems to have zoomed by. I've been reading Zombies vs Unicorns, an anthology put together by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier and some of the short stories are excellent. It seems yes, I'm team zombie but that can't come as any surprise. Review soon. And The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch. Memorial Weekend was lovely and languorous - I spent it in LA. And don't forget that we're hosting Emma Donoghue with her book, Room (which is very good if you haven't read it) on Thursday June 2 and the wonderful Melissa Marr for her first adult title, Graveminder (which I adore) on Friday June 3rd at 7.00. So excited.

Now to the books (with thanks, as ever, to the Story Siren for hosting this meme)

1. Forever by Maggie Steifvater
Squee. Can't be more excited. Love, love, love Maggie's writing - everything. This follows Shiver and Linger.

2. Angel Burn by LA Weatherley
I've been hearing a lot about this so had to get a copy. How can you resist a line like "what if we were all wrong about angels? What if they have their own agenda and should be feared not admired?"

3. Passion by Lauren kate
Sweeping across the centuries, this is the third in the Fallen series, following Fallen and Torment
We are hosting the launch of Lauren's Passion tour on June 14th and I can't wait to read this.

4. Brian Selznick, Wonder Struck
The genius who gave us Hugo Cabret has a new novel called Wonderstruck and it is in my hands...

Great week for books, amazing upcoming events - what more can I ask? What did you get this week?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cloaked by Alex Flinn - Review

Do you believe in magic? Johnny certainly didn't. He works at his mother's shoe repair store in a fancy hotel in South Beach, Florida. They are one step away from losing their store, they can rarely pay their bills, and although Johnny has big dreams he worries he'll never do anything apart from mending shoes. But when he meets Princess Victoriana of Aloria, everything changes. She asks him to help her find her brother, who has been turned into a frog. And although Johnny doesn't believe this is possible, she IS very beautiful, she does offer her hand in marriage as a reward, and does give him a magic cloak that will take him anywhere he wants to go and headphones that lets him talk to animals.

Johnny is suitably clueless, as he finds himself in the Everglades, talking to swans, foxes, and rats, fighting giants, and facing an evil witch who is out to get him. He's accompanied on this quest by his best friend Meg, who has more tricks up her sleeve than he ever expected. Flinn cleverly updates and combines several fairy tales in Cloaked - The Elves and the Shoemaker (one of my favorites!), The Frog Prince, The Six Swans, The Golden Bird (or Firebird), and The Valiant Tailor - in Johnny's search for his happily ever after.

On a side note, personally I think it's far better to say someone has an accent rather than write it into the script. Just saying.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Neal Shusterman

I wanted to tell you a little about our event with Neal Shusterman while it was still on my mind. He was wonderful and we were so glad to host him. I think we were all a little starstruck. Unwind, if you haven't read it, is one of those books that stays with you. It is shocking and provocative and very well written. His books are all original, well written, and thoughtful - and full of adventure. His storytelling is a gift. He writes both realistic fiction (The Schwa Was Here), dystopia (Unwind), and action/adventure (The Skinjacker Trilogy).

First I'll give you a little background about Neal: he grew up in Brooklyn and, within a year of graduating from UC Irvine , he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movie script. In the years since, Neal has made his mark as a successful novelist, screenwriter, and television writer. His books have received many awards , he has written for the "Goosebumps" and “Animorphs” TV series, and is currently adapting his novel Everlost for Universal Studios. And is in talks about making Unwind a movie too.

Neal is both charming and engaging, talking about his books and the inspiration behind them. Why he is not interested in writing books about subjects already broached, why he wants his books to be thought-provoking and uplifting, that you come away with more information that you started, that you see things in a a different way. He read from Everlost and Everfound, talked about making a juke box a god, and about the potential movies.

If you get a chance to hear him talk, GO. He's fascinating. And his books are really good :)

Everlost by Neal Shusterman - Review

Nick and Allie don't survive a car crash. They bump into each other in a tunnel and end up stuck between Life and Death in a place called Everlost. It's a bizarre place where you sink into the Earth if you don't keep moving (unless it's a dead zone), They meet Lief, who tells them all about life as an Afterlight and set out to find their way home. But the living can't see or hear them. They can't walk where they walk. Dangers are everywhere: roaming gangs, a monster called the McGill, and the Haunter. They could fall into a rut (forever) or simply forget who they are. And then there's Mary, who writes books about life in Everlost and looks after the children - for a price.

This is an incredibly inventive world, full of danger and delight, where Nick and Allie are determined to make a difference. As they struggle to make sense of their new reality, and find a purpose in Everlost, they are captured, outsmarted, but find their gifts and their purpose. Nothing here is as it seems, no one should be taken at face value. Full of twists and turns, yet funny in parts, this is an adventure you should not miss. I'm turning to Everwild right now. And will always look at fortune cookies differently from now on!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Neil Shusterman

Neil Shusterman was in the store recently and below I posted video of him talking about his newest book, Everfound, the third in his Skinjacker trilogy. I've just read Everlost - review to come - and loved it. I really am a fan. Here's the video:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In My Mailbox

Another week - went so quickly - hosted Jeanne Birdsall with her most recent Penderwick tale and Matt and Jenni Holm with their newest book, Squish. Both so much fun. Read Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer, finished Between Shades of Gray, and The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore. And am mid way through Cloaked by Alex Finn. Reviews to come.

Now to the books:

1. A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
Two strangers. Two destinies. One secret. A paranormal romance with an angelic twist.

2. Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
Hartley finds out her boufriend Josh is cheating on her. Then she finds out he is pegged as suspect number 1 in a murder and he wants Hartley to clear his name.

3. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
OK, I've wanted this one for a long time. LOVE the cover. A time-slip novel that merges paranormal and sci fi, this looks great.

4. Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Sequel to Raised by Wolves, which I loved. Yay.

Thanks, as ever, to the Story Siren for hosting this meme. So - what did you get this week?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lauren Kate

Are you eagerly waiting for Passion by Lauren Kate? Oh, I am. And I'm so excited because she's coming to Kepler's on June 14th to start her tour and launch Passion. Just can't wait. Remember June 14th. 7.00 pm.

In the meantime Indiebound is offering an exclusive excerpt from Passion.

Just click here and you can download a pdf from there.

Don't wait!

Friday, May 13, 2011

I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan - Review

Blogger has been down for a few days so I thought I'd make up for it with a review from Amanda, who really loved this book. (I'm reading Cloaked by Alex Flinn BTW...)

Sam and Riddle have been on their own for a long time. Sure, they lived with their dad, in dozens and dozens of towns, always just one step ahead of the law, but he didn't take care of them, let alone enroll them in school. The important thing was that they got by, even as they faded into the background and were left alone. Sam looks forward to Sundays when he can slip into the backs of churches and listen to the music unnoticed. Which is why it is so startling to have the girl in the front of this church
look right at him while she sings. It doesn't make any sense.

Emily had a perfectly fine life: a lovely home, caring parents, no major bumps in the road. She takes interest in other people and believes in destiny. So during her church solo on Sunday, she sings to the boy in the back row and it all makes sense. I loved this book! I loved the characters - their voices, their honesty. Rich in humor, subtlety, and suspense, I'll Be There is certainly a book worth falling for.

Reviewed by Amanda

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan - Review

What would you do if you knew you had only a few days left to live? This is the recurring question of The Dark and Hollow Places, which focuses on Annah who, as a young girl, left her sister Gabry behind in the forest. She and Elias survive together in the Dark City until he joins the recruiters. Then Annah is left to wait. She glimpses her sister just as she decides to leave the city, is found by Catcher, and is finally reunited with Gabry and Elias, only to be taken prisoner and used as bait to ensure Catcher's help.

This is by far the darkest of the trilogy, as the title suggests. Where do you go when the Unconsecrated are everywhere? What is worth fighting for? Why do we continue to live in the face of such adversity? What keeps us going? It asks a lot of hard questions and doesn't shy away from difficult or painful truths. Annah lives under the threat of violence all the time and is such an admirable character - she is strong, courageous, and has an incredible will to live, The zombie scenes are extraordinary, as ever, but it manages to convey a sense of hope that is unexpected in such a dark and violent book. I just don't suggest reading this late at night unless you don't need much sleep

This follows The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves. What a fantastic series!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Stanley Tucci to play Caesar Flickerman

Breaking news: Stanley Tucci has been cast to play Caesar Flickerman, host of the Hunger Games! What do you think? I like Stanley Tucci - he's good in almost everything he's in - it's a good choice. But actually I was thinking he'd make a great Cinna!

In My Mailbox

I seem to be later and later with this meme recently. This week? We hosted Andrea Alban with her debut YA Anya;s War on Sunday, Neal Shusterman on Tuesday (oh, I'm such a fan) and Jessica Powers and Emily Wing Smith on Wednesday. And books? I read Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith, Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer, and Scored by Lauren McLaughlin. Reviews soon.

Now to this week's books:

1. The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore
Yes, I loved I Am Number Four. Couldn't wait to start this. And I'm already half way through!

2. Variant by Robinson Wells
A brilliant looking dystopian thriller (and I'm still so into dystopian fiction) about a boy trapped in a school surrounded by a razor wire fence, cameras monitoring his every move, where to break a rule means death. Then he stumbles on the school's real secret!

3. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
A 16 year old princess becomes the heart of a revolution. Looks great.

4. I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler
Tes is the smart sister, Kristina is the beautiful sporty sister. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer. Now Tess has to bcome the strong one because if she doesn't hold it together, who will?

Great books this week.
Oh and we host Jeanne Birdsall for her third Penderwick book on Wednesday and Jenni and Matt Holm for their new graphic novel: Squish!

Thanks as ever to the Story Siren for hsoting this meme. What did you get?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Big Children's Titles at BEA

Lots to look forward to, Big news of course is that both Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle and James Dashner's Maze Runner trilogy are drawing to a conclusion. New collaborations from Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman, and Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, set sail. And fresh ventures from William Joyce, Maggie Stiefvater, Lane Smith, Jack Gantos, Hilary Knight, and Richelle Mead, among others, as well as a picture book debut for a charismatic little mollusk with a lot of YouTube fans, and a middle-grade debut from the lead guitarist of the Decemberists. Wish I had some of them RIGHT NOW!


Dear Hot Dog by Mordicai Gerstein.

The Jewel Fish of Karnak by Graeme Base.

Tilly the Trickster by Molly Shannon, illus. by Ard Hoyt.


Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger. .


After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel.


Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly.

The Flint Heart by Katherine and John Paterson, illus. by John Rocco.

Pip and Posy: The Super Scooter, illus. by Axel Scheffler.


One Love by Cedella Marley.

The Orphan of Awkward Falls by Keith Graves.


The Bridge to Never Land by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.


Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick.(This is the one I want the most!)


Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars by Nick James.

Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey.


Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein.


Eve by Anna Carey.

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver, illus. by Kei Acedera.


If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff, illus. by Felicia Bond.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy, illus. by Carson Ellis.
The lead singer from The Decemberists makes his children's book debut with this middle-grade fantasy illustrated by his wife! Can I say more than wow?


Dark Eden by Patrick Carman.


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.

Variant by Robison Wells.


The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell the Tales, illus. by Chris Van Allsburg.


Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty.


Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff.

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson.


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Jerry Pinkney.

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, illus. by Maira Kalman.

You Will Be My Friend! by Peter Brown.

Booth 3352

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin.

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos.


Ten Rules for Living with My Sister by Ann M. Martin.


The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson.


Grandpa Green by Lane Smith.


Treasury of Greek Mythology by Donna Jo Napoli, illus. by Christina Balit.

Booth 3252

Crossed by Ally Condie.

The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman by Meg Wolitzer.

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy.

Shelter by Harlan Coben.


Bloodlines by Richelle Mead.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On: Things About Me by Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp. $18.99, ISBN 978-1-59514-455-3; Nov.
Based on a popular Web video, this picture book introduces an iconoclastic mollusk.


Llama Llama Home with Mama by Anna Dewdney.

Booth 4420

The Death Cure by James Dashner.

Modelland by Tyra Banks.

Passion by Lauren Kate.


Inheritance by Christopher Paolini.

ZooZical by Judy Sierra, illus. by Marc Brown.


Bailey by Harry Bliss.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick.


The 39 Clues: Cahills Versus Vespers: The Medusa Plot by Gordon Korman.


Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers by Dav Pilkey.


The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann.


Man in the Moon by William Joyce.

M.O.M (Mom Operating Manual) by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Laura Cornell.


Perfect by Ellen Hopkins.


Goliath by Scott Westerfeld.


Moo by Matthew Van Fleet, photos by Brian Stanton.

Booth 4756

Frog and Friends by Eve Bunting, illus. by Josée Masse.


Magic Most Foul by Leanna Renee Hieber.


Laddertop, Vol. 1 by Orson Scott Card and Emily Janice Card, illus. by Honoel Ibardolaza.

Down the Mysterly River by Bill Willingham, illus. by Mark Buckingham.


Between by Jessica Warman.

Tough Teen Heroines of SF and Fantasy

Kirkus Review just came out with a list of kickass, tough teen heroines. Have read most of them and they are great. Am putting those I haven't read right at the top of my reading pile. Which did you like the best? And I can't wait for Misfit (thoroughly enjoyed Struts and Frets and this looks great!)

Kristin Cashore

Sarwat Chadda

Cassandra Clare

Rosemary Clement-Moore

Suzanne Collins

Alison Goodman

Malinda Lo

Cindy Pon

Dia Reeves

Jon Skovron

Lili St. Crow

Scott Westerfeld

Monday, May 2, 2011

In My Mailbox

Ah, a very busy week. We hosted a play version of the Magic Tree House on Wednesday. Over three hundred little kids absolutely agog. The funny and entertaining John Flanagan on Saturday afternoon. Sunday afternoon we hosted Andrea Alban with her debut YA Anya's War for Holocaust Memorial Day. An insight into an almost undocumented part of Holocaust history. Tomorrow we host the awesome Neal Shusterman. Oh how I love his books. Scenes from Unwind will stay with me forever, I think. And wednesday brings us JL Powers and Emily Wing-Smith with their new teen books. As I said, busy.

I read Die for Me by Amy Plum (thank you Alicia for pushing it up to the top of my TBR pile), and Everlost by Neal Shusterman (and boy, he writes so well). Reviews later in teh week.

Books this week? Such a great selection:

1. Juliet Immortal by Stacy Jay
Juliet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by her husband Romeo to ensure his immortality. But she was granted eternal life too and has become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. Squee.

2. The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen
Only a daughter of Eve is pure enough of spirit to love a son of hell.

3. A Plague Year by Edward Bloor
As the plague progresses it becomes an epidemic and zombies appear. Is there a cure? Noone seems to know. But I'm team zombie all the way so this looks interesting.

4. Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer
I loved the Life as we knew it trilogy so am looking forward to this, her new book.

5. You Against Me by Jenny Downham
I thought Before I Die was brilliant and this looks just as good. Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her. Ellie's brother is accused of a crime he says he didn't do. They meet and two worlds collide.

6. My Beating Teenage Heart by CK Kelly Martin
This was our rep's pick for next season.

7. Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison
A love philtre. A dream guy. Too bad he's the wrong guy.

8. Robopocalypse by Daniel Wilson
When the Robot Wars ignites humankind will be both decimated and possibly united.
OK, this looks fabulous.

Quite a stack this week. Thanks to the Story Siren for hosting this meme. What did you get this week?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

John Flanagan

John Flanagan was at Kepler's yesterday afternoon. And if you missed seeing him, he was charming, funny, and totally entertaining. I'll post details and photos later but today I'll post video of him talking about his newest book - the emperor of nihon-ja, book 10 in the Ranger's Apprentice series