Friday, December 30, 2011

Book Blogger Holiday Swap Update

Hope everyone had a good Holidays. I went to Vegas, which was so much fun, and why you haven't heard from me for a week. Now that I'm back, I want to tell you all about the fabulous gifts I received from the Book Blogger Holiday Swap. So fabulous that it caused a happy dance, or two.

I got The Night Circus (which I read almost immediately and simply adored - what a debut) and The Iron King by Julie Kagawa that I have been meaning to read for such a long time (and will read just as soon as I finish The Fault In Our Stars by John Green - yes, I have a manuscript but I did have to sign a non disclosure form to get it...). And a cool book mark. And some chocolate. Perfect gift. Can't say nice enough things about it. Thank you so much Joli.

On top of all that wonderfulness, I got introduced to two new bloggers and their blogs - Joli of Actin' Up with Books (who sent me all the wonderfulness above) and Julie of My Book Retreat to whom I sent a gift. This was such a lovely idea. So glad I participated.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Best of 2011 - Megan's List

Megan writes Kepler's other blog, The Book Flap, runs our YA book group, dances, and always picks incredible books. I always love her suggestions. So here's her best of list of 2011.

Older Readers
The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman by Meg Wolitzer
Powerless by Matthew Cody
Wildwood by Colin Meloy

High School
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Red Glove by Holly Black
Pink by Lili Wilkinson
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

The Radleys by Matt Haig
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best of 2011 - Marilyn's Picks

Continuing with our best of lists - here's Marilyn's. And she always chooses such wonderful titles.

Picture books
Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
Stars by Mary Lin Ray
Press Here by Herve Tullet
The Conductor by Laetitia Devernay
The Umbrella by Ingrid Schubert
11 Experiments that Failed by Jenny Offill

Older Fiction
The Orphan of Awkward Falls by Keith Graves
The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh
The Inquisitors Apprentice by Chris Moriarty
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Wonder Struck by Brian Selznick

Middle School
Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2) by Ally Carter

High School
Ashes by Ilsa Bick
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Power of Six by Pitticus Lore
Au Revoir Crazy European Chick by Joel Schrieber
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Miss Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Monday, December 19, 2011

Best of 2011 - Amanda's list

Still posting our best of 2011 lits. Now it's Amanda's turn and she always picks such wonderful books.

Amanda's Picks

Picture books even adults will enjoy:
Will You be My Friend by Peter Brown
Have You Seen My Hat by J. Klassen
13 Words by Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) and Maira Kalman

Fun Graphic Novels:
Bad Island by Doug Tennapel
Bake Sale by Sara Varon

Must-Read Award Winners:
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

If You Ever Wanted to Live in Narnia. . .
Wildwood -by Colin Meloy
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
Darwin Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact by AJ Hartley

For Animal Lovers;
Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer Holland
Friends: True Stories of Animal Friendships by Catherine Thimmesh

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Best of 2011 - Antonia's List

I did say that I would post all our lists, not just mine! Here is Antonia's - Kepler's children's and YA book buyer. Her lists are always awesome.

Picture Books
Wiener Wolf by Jeff Crosby
If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff
Should I Share My Ice-Cream by Mo Willems
Huck Runs Amuck by Sean Taylor
Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet by Kelly DiPucchio
Skippyjon Jones Class Action by Judy Schachner
Man in the Moon by William Joyce
Bippolo Seed by Dr Seuss
Clink by Kelly DiPucchio
Press Here by Herve Tullet
Everything on It by Shel Silverstein
Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio

Younger and Older Readers
Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin
Apothecary by Maile Meloy
Wildwood by Colin Meloy
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Middle School
The Dead (The Enemy #2) by Charlie Higson
Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz
Death Cure by James Dashner
Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making by Catherynne Valente
Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
Uncommon Criminals (heist society #2) by Ally Carter
Subject 7 by James A Moore

High school
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Shatter Me by Tahareh Mafi
Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Legend by Marie Lu
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Department 19 by Will Hill
Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Across the Universe (now in paperback) by Beth Revis
Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Best of 2011 - Angela's List

December - and time to make our best of lists for the year. I'm going to post everyone in the department's lists and today I'll start with mine. I loved them all. And I've included all ages from picture books to crossover titles.

Picture Books
Stars by Mary Lin Ray
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Press Here by Herve Tullet
Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell
11 Experiments that Failed by Jenny Offill
Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
Wiener Wolf by Jeff Crosby
Skippyjon Jones: Class Action by Judy Schachner

Older Readers
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Middle School
The Warlock by Michael Scott
Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz
Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins
The Death Cure by James dashner

High School
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Wither by Lauren deStafano
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Scorpia Races by Maggie Steifvater
Legend by Marie Lu


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
Graveminder by Melissa Marr
House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
Room by Emma Donoghue (now in pb)
Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie (now in pb)

Given this list, let me know what you think I should read next!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver - Review

Here's Antonia review of Liesl and Po. I thought Before I Fall was so very good, and Amanda loved Delirium. Another to add to my brimming TBR pile!

Locked in the attic by her wicked stepmother, Liesl is desperate to escape, to run away to the last place she was happy when her parents were still alive. She is helped in this endeavor by Po, a boy (maybe, it's hard to tell and these things don't really matter) from The Other Side.

Apprenticed to an evil alchemist, Will is forced to escape after a delivery mix-up. Hunted by the alchemist and the lady premiere and a man with a hat (really) Will meets up with Liesl and the two of them (along with Po) set off to return color to the world.

Beautifully written, this is part Cinderella, part Hansel & Gretel, and storytelling at it's best. A fantastic and fantastical adventure.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Reasons to Be Happy - Upcoming Events!

Just wanted to give you a heads up about the events I've just booked and to share our enthusiasm.

First, on January 27th, at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, JOHN GREEN with his brother, Hank will be talking about THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. There will be music and entertainment and JOHN GREEN. Can you tell how excited I am about this? We are all such huge fans. Tickets are already on sale.

On February 2nd, at the Menlo Park Council Chambers, DANIEL HANDLER (AKA LEMONY SNICKET) with MAIRA KALMAN, will be talking about WHY WE BROKE UP. Another very exciting event, another fabulous book. And if you haven't already seen it, you should go and see their web page, the Why We Broke Up project.
I guarantee you'll spend endless time there.

On February 9th, at the store, we are launching LOVE MAIA'S book, DJ RISING.

And on March 21st,at the store, ALLY CARTER will be talking about her latest Gallagher Girl novel, OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF TIME. We love Ally, and all her books, and simply can't wait.

Write them on your calendar. Buy a John Green ticket for a friend for the holidays or add said ticket to your own holiday wish list. And join us in our excitement and at the events.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz - Review

A mystery too disturbing to tell preys on Watson's mind and once again he sets pencil to paper to describe one last portrait of Sherlock Holmes at work, and then seals it up for a hundred years.

A man appears at 221B Baker Street, en route to the opera, and asks for help. It appears that he is being followed by stranger wearing a flat cap, who may have followed him from America. And the game is again afoot. There is a robbery and a murder but all is not as it seems. One case leads to another, a circuitous route into the underworld of opium dens, dastardly deeds, and a creepy conspiracy. There are chases and prison escapes, robberies, conundrums, and the House of Silk itself.

Horowitz has written a perfect Holmsian adventure. He hits all the right notes - foggy London streets, Hansom cabs, dodgy criminals, corrupt officials, brilliant deductions, Lestrade, Moriarty, and the Baker Street Irregulars. The adventur's a little more modern, a little darker, with a little more social commentary as befits an older Watson writing from a retirement home. The voice seems authentically Watson's, with maybe a hint of pathos, and the mystery superb. This is another success for the multi-talented Mr Horowitz. May it be the first of many.

Monday, December 5, 2011

John Green!

Yes! John Green is coming to the Bay Area and will be at the Fox Theatre on January 27th to celebrate his new book, The Fault in Our Stars, with his brother, Hank. Be prepared for a night of music, readings, comedy, free posters, fancy programs, and vlogbrother mayhem! This will be unlike any other reading or booksigning. Come and be entertained.

This is a ticketed event and you can pre-order today! It will make a great gift. Just click here. Every person attending must have a ticket. Please note that a preordered book from another retailer does not count toward your ticket price.

To whet your appetite, you can take a peek at the first two chapters. Just click here. We are SO excited!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Prized by Caragh O'Brien - Review

Birth Marked was one of my favorite reads of last year. The harsh environment of the Enclave stayed with me for a long time as did Gaia, the girl who stood against the authorities. Well, In Prized, she flees into the wasteland with her baby sister but without Leon, looking for the village rumor said her grandmother found. But she runs out of supplies and her sister is near death when she is captured and taken to Sylum, a community run by women with a very strict set of rules. Men, who outnumber the women, have little rights. And here fewer and fewer girls are being born here and no one knows why or what to do about it. They take her sister away and force her to submit if she wants to see her again. Yet whereas she was overlooked in the Enclave because of her scar here she is valued, vied for.

Gaia is such a wonderful heroine, strong, stubborn, with a profound sense of justice. You know she will do the right thing, whatever the consequences. This new society is so different and yet so perplexing to her: How can it be a crime for someone to kiss her if she agreed to it? How can it be OK for only some to have the vote? How can a woman be won as a prize? And, more importantly, if the rules are unfair, why is no one trying to change them?

I liked Prized just as much as Birth Marked, maybe even more. The world building is just as complex, and the storyline just as intense. And O'Brien, like Gaia, never takes the easy path. If this is the year of dystopian novels, this one stands out for me. Try it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Video of our Launch of Operation Marriage

Cynthia Chin-Lee wrote the book. Operation Marriage, after hearing how children at her church convinced their two mothers to marry, which was briefly supported in California. The video includes the illustrator and some of the models she used for the book. It was a great event of an important book.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shades of Gray wins Best Novel for Young People in French literary magazine, Lire

Did you read Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys? It's on my top 10 of this year (published later this week)and tells the story of Stalin's deportation of Lithuanians to Siberia. Just read in Publishers Weekly that the French literary magazine LIRE has selected it as "Ce qu'ils n'ont pas pu nous prendre"— Best Novel for Young People 2011. It is the first time the prestigious French prize has been awarded to an American in the children's category. Well deserved too.

Anthony Horowitz

We had the great pleasure of hosting Anthony Horowitz last week for The House of Silk. Yes, he was chosen by the Conan Doyle Estate to write this new Sherlock Holmes novel and it is fabulous.

A little background: Anthony Horowitz's life might have been copied from the pages of the Brothers Grimm. Anthony’s father was "a fixer for the British prime minister, Harold Wilson" and a very secretive man. When threatened with bankruptcy, he withdrew all his money and deposited it in under a false name. When he died, he had told no one so the money was never found. That shaped Anthony's view of things. At boarding school he told stories of revenge to entertain his peers and found solace in the escapism of the James Bond films. And for his 13th birthday his mother gave him a human skull.

Explains a lot, doesn’t it. Anthony has been writing professionally since the age of 20. In addition to the Alex Rider books, the Power of 5 series, The Diamond Brothers series, and the Horowitz horror books, he also writes for TV (Foyle’s War anyone?)
So what did he tell us? That he set himself some rules while writing a Holmes mystery. No lovers, no famous walk-ons (like Jack the Ripper, or Freud, or Queen Victoria), and it was to be narrated by Watson in the same kind goodhearted, admiring tone of the originals. He himself was never going to be seen in a deerstalker hat and pipe. He wanted to write something a little more shocking and dark, a little more modern, with a little tristesse that befits Watson writing from a retirement home. He wanted it to be a little more analytical as befits the times – so there is a discussion of child poverty for example.

The multi-talented Anthony Horowitz seems to excel at everything he touches. He is one of the most charming authors I’ve ever met and it is always a pleasure to hear him discuss his projects. He says he would like to do more Foyle’s War episodes but not in peace time, so maybe a prequel. And he’s unlikely to write more Sherlock Holmes mysteries sadly. Says maybe he’ll turn to another 19th century thriller next but wouldn’t give us a clue. As you can see, I’m such a fan girl!

Finally, here's video of Anthony talking about The House of Silk.