Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Author in the Spotlight Wrap-up + Giveaway

July Author in the Spotlight Wrap-up + Giveaway

Anything but Ordinary Giveaway ends at midnight tonight.  Hurry and Enter.

What the heck?  It is the end of July already?  I can hardly believe that I go back to work in 16 days and students will arrive in my classroom in such a short amount of time.  July just flew by.  My brother got married, we spend the 4th at my in-laws and last weekend we went camping and visited the literary place of Walnut Grove, MN.  Home of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I had a great month, reading.  I participated in two read-a-thons and read lots of great books including Anything but Ordinary by Lara Avery, July's Author in the Spotlight.

If you would like to enter for a chance to win one of four books of Anything but Ordinary please enter here:  Anything but Ordinary giveaway

Please check out my book review of Anything but Ordinary.  Lara Avery has created a fascinating contemporary book that is a mixture of love story, drama and tragedy.  Her characters are emotional beings who have suffered because of a accident that changed each of their lives in dramatic ways.  Anything but Ordinary reminds the reader that life is fragile and that anything can happen.  Bryce is a well developed main character that you can relate to and Avery draws the reader in from the very first page with her writing style.

Anything but Ordinary Book Review

Next you can check out the Author Interview of Lara Avery.  She shares her favorite authors and books as well as giving the back story behind her young adult novel.  Lara also tells us a little bit about what she is writing now and it looks good, hint, hint.

Lara Avery Author Interview

Lara wrote a guest post on the subject of summer.  She talks about why her book, Anything but Ordinary takes place in the summer and she shares her personal summer reading experiences and adventures.

Lara Avery Guest Post

It has been a pleasure to work with Lara Avery this month and I would like to thank her for being the July Minnesota Author in the Spotlight.  I met Lara Avery at the Twin Cities Book Festival in October, 2012.  Anything but Ordinary was recently released and Lara was bubbly and on cloud nine.  She gladly handed me a copy and I am so glad I was able to feature her on BookSnob.  Please check out Lara's website at

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lara Avery Author Interview + Giveaway

Lara Avery Author Interview + Giveaway

Lara Avery is the July, Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob and she has agreed to answer some questions about her new book Anything but Ordinary.  Read on to discover the story behind Anything but Ordinary and to find out who Lara Avery's favorite authors are.  Enjoy

Hi Lara,

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, I was born and raised in Topeka, Kansas. I live in St. Paul with my best friend. Soon we’re moving to Minneapolis. I came here to play basketball for Macalester College, but quickly abandoned the sport to spend all my spare time writing and going to parties. (These days I do all three.) I love to make mix tapes, eat spicy food, and I’m very bad with money.

2. What is the inspiration behind your story “Anything but Ordinary”?
The story is based on a fantastic screenplay by Charlie Craig that my editors bought the rights to and thought would make a great novel. I only read it once through, used his characters names and general plot line, and then ran with it. The characters’ personalities, their relationships, how they get from A to B, etc, are all from my own weird head.

3. Usually an author puts some of her own life experiences in the book.  Did you do that?  Do you have anything in common with your characters?
I loved the story right away because Bryce is a serious athlete, which is how I also spent most of my childhood. I dug down from my memories of playing basketball--the drive to always be better than the day before, discipline, work ethic. She has a lot more than I had, though. At least that’s what my dad (also my coach) might say, haha. I also love Beyonce. Had to put Beyonce in there!

4. Why did you decide to become a writer and why did you choose to write for young adults?
It’s a simple answer, but it’s also the truth: I write because I don’t want to do anything else. I write for
young adults (at least for the moment) because I can remember those days vividly, not only because of my age, but also their intensity; it felt like I was learning each day--sometimes failing--how to be a decent human being. Writing YA offers the opportunity to bring that learning process to the forefront, and to weave it into some damn good stories.

5. Do you like to read?  What are some of your favorite books and authors?
I love to read. My favorite authors are pretty standard: Kurt Vonnegut, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Hemingway. I also love Lorrie Moore, Nicole Krauss, and Jennifer Egan. My favorites lately have been Just Kids by Patti Smith, The Savage Detectives by Roberto Belano, and Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.

6. Are you working on another book?  Can you tell us a bit about it?
I am! I can tell you that it’s also Young Adult, and it involves love letters, sisters, and the war in Afghanistan. It will most likely be out in Spring of 2015. In the meantime, I am a regular contributor at Revolver []. It’s an amazing site. You should check it out. (And be warned: it’s not Young Adult writing.)

7. How do you carve time out of your busy day to write?
I don’t have a routine yet--I wish I did. If there is a deadline, I make it happen. I like to write in the morning. I like to write in big spurts, 6-8 hours at a time.

8. Do you have any advice for future young adult writers?
Put yourself and your work out there at every opportunity. Don’t worry about being perfect. Just write and show people, in whatever way you can.

9. Have you ever met anyone who has experienced a loss of five years of their life?
No, I haven’t. At least, not five years.

10. Tell us in one sentence why we should read Anything but Ordinary?
It’s no grand fantasy, but at the end of the day, you have to close a book and keep living where you are, especially if you’re a teenager. I think ABO can help people enjoy living where they are. (Sorry--two sentences, but hey. I’m a writer.)

Thanks.  If you would like to win a copy of Lara Avery's book Anything but Ordinary please enter here:  Anything but Ordinary Giveaway

Monday, July 29, 2013

High Summer Read-a-Thon Wrap-up

High Summer Read-a-Thon Wrap-up

I had a great week last week full of reading and literary adventures.  So let me re-cap my goals at the beginning of the Read-a-thon.

These are my goals for the week.
1.  Finish reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.  I am on page 215 right now.

2.  Read 80-90 pages in The White Queen by Phillippa Gregory.  This is for a read-a-long.

3.  Read all of Moonbird by Phillip Hoose.  Try to read a chapter or two a day.

4.  Finish listening to audio book The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I am half done with this audio book.  On Part 5 of ten parts.

5.  Start another book??  Not sure which one yet.

My reading accomplishments:
1.  Finished City of Bones
2. Read 85 pages of The White Queen for a Read-a-Long.
3.  Finished Moonbird by Phillip Hoose
4.  Here is where I faltered.  Only listened to 1 and a half parts and I wanted to finished 5 parts of The Raven Boys.  It is hard for me to listen to audio books uninterrupted.
5.  Started How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff.  I read about 80 pages of this Printz award winning book.
6.  Visited a literary place:  Laura Ingalls Wilder home in Walnut Grove, MN.  It was a wonderful visit and I will write a blog post about it.

I also hosted a mini-challenge for the Read-a-Thon.


Congrats Greg.  You win a lovely scarf that I made myself and a book of your choice from this list.
     A.  The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
     B.  Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog (used)
     C.  A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
     D.  The World to Come by Dara Horn

Let me know which book you would like.

Thanks Michelle for another great Read-a-Thon!!

Anything but Ordinary by Lara Avery

Anything but Ordinary by Lara Avery

Bryce Graham wakes up in the hospital and discovers that she has been asleep in a coma for 5 years due to a traumatic brain injury.  When Bryce was 17 she was an Olympic diving competitor, hopeful of accomplishing her dreams.  She was in love with her high school sweetheart Greg and had a best friend, Gabby, who was her confidante.  One fateful day, she dove and hit her head on the diving platform, changing her life and those who she loved forever.

Bryce still feels 17 but in reality she is 22.  Life has gone on for everyone but Bryce, who feels like she stuck back in time.  She has to learn to walk and navigate a world that has changed greatly.  She suffers some side effects like migraine headaches, tunnel vision, pain and something else that no one suspects, she remembers things that happened while she was asleep.

Anything but Ordinary is a perfect summer book.  The main character Bryce wakes up in the summer to experience a series of wonders and to relive her senior year of high school.  Bryce learns about life, love, family and friendship and she makes extraordinary choices.  The people around her seem to wake up from the self imposed, mundane way of life they have put themselves in and Bryce learns to live in the moment.

Lara Avery has created a fascinating contemporary book that is a mixture of love story, drama and tragedy.  Her characters are emotional beings who have suffered because of a accident that changed each of their lives in dramatic ways.  Anything but Ordinary reminds the reader that life is fragile and that anything can happen.  Bryce is a well developed main character that you can relate to and Avery draws the reader in from the very first page with her writing style.

Wake up people, this book is Anything but Ordinary.

Friday, July 26, 2013

High Summer Read-a-Thon update

High Summer Read-a-Thon update

So my busy week continues as we head into the weekend.  Here is what I have accomplished so far.

1.  Finished City of Bones
2.  Finished reading 85 pages of The White Queen for a read-a-long
3.  I have read half of Moonbird or 4 chapters.  4 chapters to go and I hope to finish over the weekend.
4.  Listened to Part 5 of audio book The Raven Boys.  Planning to listen as I pack today.

I created a mini-challenge for the Read-a-Thon so if you are a participant you should check it out.

I am going on a literary field trip this weekend and am camping in Walnut Grove, MN, home of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I am super excited about this trip as I have been wanting to go for a super long time.  It is about a 3 and a half hour drive.  I plan to take lots of pictures.  Have a great weekend everyone!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriquez

The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriquez with Jenna Glatzer

Gaby Rodriquez had to complete a senior project to graduate from her Washington state high school.  In her junior year she comes up with the idea to fake a pregnancy to try and find out what stereotypes pregnant teens face as well as reasons that cause pregnant mothers to drop out of high school.  She got permission from her mom and her boyfriend as well as the principal and superintendent of her school district.

This project was going to big, Gaby just didn't realize the impact it would make and how big it would become.

Gaby is all to familiar with teen moms.  Her own mother had her first baby when she was 14 in 8th grade.  All of her sisters were teen moms and her brothers all impregnated women in their teens.  It seemed everyone expected Gaby to get pregnant too, which made this project all the more believable for her.  Gaby's project ended up changing her life and the lives of many people who surrounded her.  Her senior project made a big impact.

The Pregnancy project details Gaby Rodriquez's life growing up in a big Latino-American family living in a small in Washington.  The book covers her decision to fake her pregnancy for her senior project through when she revealed her secret to the world and the huge media hype surrounding her.

As a teacher who has pregnant teens in class as well as teenage mom and dads trying to raise a child while attending school, this story proved to be very valuable.  I feel The Pregnancy Project has given me a different perspective on what the pregnant teens go through on a daily basis.  I didn't realize all the bullying and emotional abuse they take on when they walk around school.  I also gained a better perspective in relation to the father's of these babies and what they go through and the enormous pressure they are under by their peers.  I mean I know it is hard to be a pregnant teen but I never really gave much thought to what they go through on a day to day basis or that being a pregnant teen is a isolating experience.

"I felt like a zoo animal"  Pg. 130  "I wanted to hide.  It was exhausting to feel like people were judging me all day.  I went home and cried and wished I never started this project."  Pg 131.

My own students will be creating a senior project and I am going to tell then about Gaby and her experience.  There is a lifetime movie on her project as well.  Wow this girl has guts.  Way to go Gaby!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

High Summer Read-a-Thon Reading Challenge

High Summer Read-a-Thon Reading Challenge

It's time for a Reading Challenge!!  If you are participating in the High Summer Read-a-Thon this year you are eligible to participate in this reading challenge.

The Prizes:
1.  A handmade scarf (made by yours truly)
2.  A book of your choice from the list below.  Each of these books are doubles in my collection.
     A.  The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
     B.  Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog (used)
     C.  A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
     D.  The World to Come by Dara Horn

The Challenge:  A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

1.  Choose a picture that represents a person, place or thing in one of the books you are currently reading.

2.  Name the book you are reading and explain how the picture relates to the story you are reading.

3.  Put a link to your post in the linky.

Here is my version of the challenge:
I am reading The White Queen by Philippa Gregory.

The White Queen is Elizabeth Woodville and the Tower of London is a place in the book that is mentioned again and again.

There you have it.  So easy.

Good Luck!

The Challenge ends when the read-a-thon ends on July 28th at midnight.

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

The Magician's Nephew.  The Chronicles of Narnia.  Book #1 by C.S. Lewis

Digory and Polly are neighbors and live side by side in a row house. They met when Digory and his mother moved in with his aunt and uncle.  Digory's mother is very ill and needs to be cared for.  Polly and Digory become fast friends.  One day, they decided to have an adventure when they climbed into the attic and followed the rafters to the next row house.  What they found surprised them as they opened the door into the forbidden study of Uncle Andrew, the magician.

Uncle Andrew is devious and gives Polly a ring. When she puts it on her finger she disappears before their eyes.  Digory is appalled and must save her so he puts on a ring and follows her to another world to try and bring her back.

This is the first book I have read in the Chronicles of Narnia series.  I wish I would have read it as a child but I was never introduced to it.  I have seen the three movies on the series and loved them and have always wanted to give this series a try and I am so glad I did.  The Magician's Nephew explains the creation of Narnia and it is comparable to the Christian creation story.  It is a quick read and one I am glad I undertook.

The Magician's Nephew is adventure filled and is even at times comical.  It explained so much about the world of Narnia that I knew so little about.  The biggest thing the reader learns is how the witch gets into Narnia as well as the lamp post.  Narnia is a magical place.

The Magician's Nephew was the sixth book published in the Chronicles of Narnia series but it is currently labeled as the first book in the series.  I wonder why the publisher want readers to read them in this way.  Maybe I should have started with a different book?  What book did you read first?

The next movie in the Chronicle of Narnia series will be The Magician's Nephew.  I can't wait!

Monday, July 22, 2013

High Summer Read-a-thon

High Summer Read-a-Thon

Today marks the beginning of another read-a-thon for me.  I can't participate in any during the school year and so I try to make the most of my reading time during the summer.  Michelle at Seasons of Reading is the host and this is my 3rd year participating.  Feel free to go and sign up.  I am even hoping to host a reading challenge again this year for read-a-thon participants.

So here are my goals for the week.
1.  Finish reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.  I am on page 215 right now.

2.  Read 80-90 pages in The White Queen by Phillippa Gregory.  This is for a read-a-long.

3.  Read all of Moonbird by Phillip Hoose.  Try to read a chapter or two a day.

4.  Finish listening to audio book The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I am half done with this audio book.  On Part 5 of ten parts.

5.  Start another book??  Not sure which one yet.

Note:  I have a busy week.  My son is getting his braces off and he has a baseball playoff game.  I am getting a massage and packing for a weekend camping trip.  Packing seems to take forever.  Oh and I have a ton of laundry to do.  Hoping I can accomplish these goals but not sure.  Wish me luck!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lara Avery Guest Post + Giveaway

Lara Avery Guest Post + Giveaway

Lara Avery is the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on Book Snob this hot month of July.  She has written a guest post on summer and why her young adult novel Anything But Ordinary takes place during the summer.  I sure hope you are enjoying your summer.  It is really hot and humid in Minnesota today.  So without further adieu I would like to welcome Lara to BookSnob.  Please read on.

Lara's guest post.

It’s summer. You may not be reading this post in the summertime, but as I’m writing, you can feel the heat pressing against the windows. It’s so hot the sky is too tired to be blue.  I mention this because, in a roundabout way, this kind of dead heat played a big part in writing Anything But Ordinary.

I am brought back to humid, still afternoons whenever I am asked to provide some of sort of insight on writing it (and when faced with Minnesota heat like today). I was pleased when my editor and I agreed that this novel should be set in the summer, not only because it pays tribute to the hot days of my childhood growing into a career, but also because no matter who you are, summertime is a different world.

Anything But Ordinary would not be the same if it took place under the fluorescent lights of a school hallway or between holiday car trips in December. Summer means relaxation and boredom, sure, but it also means emptiness waiting to be filled, a potential for adventure that could rarely happen behind a desk.

For the main character of ABO, Bryce, summer was supposed to be filled with days diving, training, enjoying the lazy evenings with her best friend and the love of her life. In a fatal instant, her world was turned upside down, and the months away from school became years, riding a thin line between life and death. The book spans Bryce’s attempts to get back her life one summer day at a time, under a burning, cloudless Nashville sky, on the shores of a glinting lake, between sycamores and tall grass and forbidden trips to the railroad tracks.

For me, summer was escaping into world after world through words, thinking through them as I walked to the park and imagining myself in them as I climbed trees.

School would get out and for a few days my brothers and I would be blissful outside from dawn til dusk, and maybe we’d go to a camp, if my parents could afford it, but mostly we ended up bored, shoved out the door after breakfast and told to be back when the street lamps came on. With that kind of endless daylight, there are only so many times you can jump in the pool or throw a tennis ball against the wall. While my brothers went fishing or made slingshots, I walked to the public library.

Every few days, I brought plastic bags that my mom used for groceries and filled them with books to bursting, which, once or twice, they actually did, all over the sidewalk as I was walking home. I lay in my cool bed or in the shade of the backyard and I read until dinnertime, sometimes through dinnertime, past lights out, until my parents told me to stop or I would ruin my eyes. (I did ruin my eyes, by the way. I have a -5.25 prescription, getting worse by the day.)

As a result, my brain became infected with words. After many summers reading the shelves twice over, I had become to think in a rhythm. Paragraphs came out of me like the words to a song I had heard over and over. Perhaps not great writing, but quick and abundant enough that practicing didn’t feel like practicing. Because I had consumed so many sentences, constructing them was an act of pure muscle memory, and it remains that way.

The opportunity to write Bryce’s story came about because I needed to way to fill summer days, and I happened to get good at the thing I chose. In her summer, Bryce must make choices of much more immediate consequence: whether or not to go after the love of her life who is about to be married to someone else, whether or not watch her torn family deteriorate or to step in and save them, whether or not to give up on herself, trapped in a broken body.

Even as I can see sweat pooling under my clothes already and all I want to do is pour water on myself and sleep, and even though I am no longer a school kid with nothing to do, writing Anything But Ordinary has taught me that summers matter. Summers far off in the past matter now, as they do for me, and the present summer will matter forever, as Bryce’s did. And heck, considering how bright and quick they burn out, Minnesota summers matter more than anyone’s. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get out there before the sun goes down. After I finish writing, that is.

If you would like to enter to win a copy of Lara's book Anything but Ordinary please enter here:  Anything but Ordinary Giveaway

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller

The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller

Iris Dupont is a 14 year old whose only friend is the deceased American broadcast journalist, Edward R Murrow.  Iris wants to be a journalist herself and constantly banters back and forth with Murrow.  Of course her parents become alarmed that she is talking to a dead person and send her to counseling and eventually move her out of town and to a new school to escape the stress and grief she is under, hoping she will cease talking to Murrow.

Iris enrolls in Mariana Academy, one of the best schools on the East Coast.  She joins the school newspaper and quickly learns there is secret society and an underground newspaper (The Devil's Advocate) spreading their own form of justice throughout the school.  Teachers and students have much to fear from this secret society including Iris.  Murrow and Iris agree that she must be an investigative reporter and find out what is really happening at Mariana.

There is a new science teacher at Mariana named Mr. Kaplan and his main goal is not to teach biology to freshman but to get his students to think for themselves and not to follow the herd mentality.  So he starts off the school year by teaching the students about extremophiles-"the extreme loving microbes from which all life originates". pg. 15. The class slogan is "Difference is the essence of extremity." pg. 17.   I loved this teacher and wanted to be in his class.

Jennifer Miller has created a smart, witty and entertaining, page-turning novel.  Miller took seven years to complete The Year of the Gadfly and it was well worth the wait.  Her novel is well-written, full of plot twist and turns and humorous to boot.  The characters are awesome, and I'm not sure who I loved more, Mr. Kaplan or Edward R. Murrow.  Iris is a character that you want to invest your time in and see her succeed.

The Year of the Gadfly is a coming of age novel with a prep school theme.  It is part mystery, part secret society and full of the search for truth and meaning.  The Year of the Gadfly is a book about teens who don't fit in to the status quo and a message that says, it's OK to be yourself.  The characters are well-developed with three narrators who drive the story to its shocking conclusion.

The Year of the Gadfly was completely addicting and I read the majority of the book in one day.  Jennifer Miller is a creative author and you should put her book The Year of the Gadfly on your radar. I predict more great books from Miller and looking forward to reading all of them!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Winner of The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

Winner of The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver

TLC book tours along with Random House are generously giving away one copy of The Execution of Noa P. Singleton to a BookSnob follower from the U.S. or Canada.
And the winner is.....

Sandra L from Alberta Canada

Congratulations Sandra and Enjoy your new book!

Here is an excerpt from my book review:

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton is a page turning thriller. I finished it in 3 days. Whatever side of the Capital Punishment issue you favor, this book will have you thinking and re-thinking the American justice system. Silver does an excellent job of detailing death row in a female maximum security prison and looking at the justice system from the eyes of the accused and convicted. Silver does an excellent job of establishing doubt.

Monday, July 15, 2013

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

Raami is the seven year old daughter of a prince.  She lives in a beautiful house in the capital city of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Her father is a poet and a buddhist and he has created a serene, peaceful place for his family within their home.  Raami lives with her parents, her mother is a vision of beauty, her baby sister Radana and her grandmother, the Queen as well as a variety of servants.  The year is 1975 and the winds of a lost civil war are blowing into town.

The Khmer Rouge regime has just taken power of Cambodia.  They arrived in Phnom Penh and proceeded to evacuate the city.  Raami's family piles into the family car in sweltering heat, in a rushed exodus, never to return. During the next four years, the Khmer Rouge tries to systematically destroy the infrastructure of the country and its people by creating a group mentality, separating family, reeducating the educated populace in the ways of the peasants and stripping each individual of their memory of self.  Two million people lost their lives during the brutal communist regime of Pol Pot.

The author, Vaddey Ratner is a survivor of the Cambodian genocide.  She was five years old when the communist regime came to power.  She lost almost everything during the revolution, including most of her family.  She survived to tell her story in this semi-autobiographical novel.  Most of the characters in the book are based on her family members and her personal story is embedded in the narrative of In the Shadow of the Banyan.

Ratner is a beautiful writer.  While the story itself is tragic, the beauty of the writing and the hope of the characters make this story exceptional.  The love of family, the beauty of the moon, the hope for tomorrow are all reasons to fight and live among tragic and terrible circumstances.  Poetry is woven throughout the pages as well as traditional stories and myths of the ancestors.  At times In the Shadow of the Banyan is hard to read yet the author offers equal parts of tragedy and grace, imbuing the novel with small moments of kindness, love and spirit.

At one point in the novel the family is housed in a Buddhist monastery classroom.  This quote is written on the chalkboard “Knowing comes from learning, finding from seeking.” pg. 69

Below is the author talking about her book and her experience living through the regime of the Khmer Rouge.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lunch with Authors, Chris Bohjalian and Stephen P Kiernan

Lunch with authors, Chris Bohjalian and Stephen P Kiernan.

Yesterday I had lunch with two amazing authors, Chris Bohjalian and Stephen P Kiernan.  This author event was set up by Subtext bookstore in St. Paul.

I arrived at Fabulous Fern's restaurant at exactly 11:30 and met up with a bunch of like minded, wonderful book women and two men.  Three ladies drove over 150 miles to come to this event.

Chris and Stephen arrived around noon to much applause and joined two different tables for a lunch of soup and sandwich.  Then Chris was introduced and he told some "non-glamourous" stories of being an author on tour.  He then explained the premis behind his new novel, The Light in the Ruins.  He defines the novel as a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet in Tuscany, set around World War II in 1943.  There is a parellel storyline which takes place in 1955 with a female detective with scars from the war investigating murders in the area.  This is Chris Bohjalian's 16th book.

After Chris read from his book, he introduced his good friend, new fiction author, Stephen P Kiernan.  Stephen talked about how he got the inspiration for his book The Curiosity from the song Frozen Man by James Taylor.  The main plot is when a frozen man from 1906 is awakened in modern day society.  Stephen states at it's heart The Curiosity is a love story and it is filled with important elements of science and scientific discoveries.  I totally love the cover!

After Stephen read from his book they opened it up for questions.  They even gave away several T-shirts with the covers of their books imprinted on it.  Sadly I didn't win but that is OK as I was able to ask two questions.  One of the questions I asked is what authors influence them and what are their favorite books?  They answered this questions so fast I couldn't get all the names of authors and books down fast enough.  Luckily after the event ended, I walked over to SubText Bookstore and spent sometime looking at books when Stephen and Chris walked in the door.  We ended up talking about books and sharing titles and authors.  It was cool.  Chris walked me over to one of his favorite books and told me it influenced his next book called Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands being released next summer.  That book was ROOM by Emma Donoghue.  I have not read this book and frankly I have been avoiding it.  Have any of you read it?

Here are some of the books and writers each author recommended.

Chris Bohjalian's List
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Joyous Season by Patrick Dennis
The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
Help for the Haunted by John Searles
Schroder. A Novel by Amity Gaige
Joyce Carol Oates,
John Irving,
Tom Perotta

Stephen P Kiernan's List
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins
The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
The Last Nude by Ellis Avery
The Twelve and The Passage by Justin Cronin
Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I had both authors sign my new books and they both wrote very thoughtful inscriptions.  I had a great time and I can't wait to sit down and read both of their books.  I loved this author event!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Anything but Ordinary Giveaway

Anything but Ordinary Giveaway

Lara Avery is the July Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on Book Snob this month and she is giving away 4 copies of her Young Adult novel to BookSnob followers who live in the U.S. and Canada.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

An inspiring, bittersweet love story about making every day count.

Bryce remembers it like it was yesterday. The scent of chlorine. The blinding crack and flash of pain. Blood in the water.

When she wakes up in the hospital, all Bryce can think of is her disastrous Olympic diving trial. But everything is different now. Bryce still feels seventeen, so how can her little sister be seventeen, too? Life went on without her while Bryce lay in a coma for five years. Her best friend and boyfriend have just graduated from college. Her parents barely speak. And everything she once dreamed of doing—winning a gold medal, traveling the world, falling in love—seems beyond her reach.

But Bryce has changed too, in seemingly impossible ways. She knows things she shouldn’t. Things that happened while she was asleep. Things that haven’t even happened yet. During one luminous summer, as she comes to understand that her dreams have changed forever, Bryce learns to see life for what it truly is: extraordinary.

Fill out the form.
U.S./Canada Residents only
Ends July 31st at midnight
Must be 13 or older.
Good Luck

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Million Heavens Giveaway Winners!

A Million Heavens Giveaway Winners!

Hope you are enjoying your summer so far.  John Brandon and his publisher are giving away five copies of his book A Million Heavens to Book Snob followers who live in the United States. I am excited to announce the winners of this multi-layered novel that takes place in the New Mexico desert.  So without further adieu, here are the winners.  Drum roll please....

Ben from Indiana (photo blog)

Anita from Georgia

Monika from A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall

Bill from Like an Open Book blog.

Maud from What I have in Mind Blog.

Congratulations Everyone.  Hope you enjoy your new book.

Here is an excerpt from my book review:

A Million Heavens is a novel of place, people and the connections they make.  It is intriguing and interesting how Brandon takes a group of seemingly average, unconnected people and darn it, makes you care about what happens to them in the end.  The characters are complex, the writing style is unique and the story is dark with rays of light shining through. A Million Heavens is full of multiple perspectives, with a little love, arson, music and revenge thrown in. 

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Wrap-Up

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Wrap-Up

The read-a-thon has come to an end and I met and exceeded my goals this year.  Oh yeah! So here is what I accomplished.

I read two books and parts of three others.
1.  The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller - Finished
2.  The Magician's nephew by C.S. Lewis - Finished
3.  The White Queen by Phillippa Gregory - 85 pages
4.  Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder -3 chapters about 30 pages.
(read aloud to daughter)
5.  The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriquez - 96 pages
Total pages read:  733 pages read.

Wow.  I have done better this year than in the last two read-a-thons.  I am so proud of myself.  So happy to get some good reading done.  Doing the happy dance.

Max:  Read a total of an hour for the three days.  It is disappointing but I know he has other priorities right now.

Georgia:  She listened to three chapters in Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder and read for a total of 3 hours.  She is almost finished with her book The One and Only Ivan.  She has about 20 pages left.

Thanks so much to the hosts of this read-a-thon. This read-a-thon is hosted by Pure Imagination, Candace's Book blog and Reading Angels.

Can't wait for next years Read-a-Thon!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Update and mini challenge

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Update and mini challenge

So far I have been accomplishing my reading goals and I am so happy.  My kids on the other hand are not doing as well.  Oh well, I guess I expected that.  Friends, video games and TV are more important to them than reading right now and that is fine.

So far I have completed one book,The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller.  I have read 525 pages total in two days and I finished reading my pages in The White Queen by Phillippa Gregory for my read-a-long.  Yesterday I started The Magician's nephew by C.S. Lewis and read about 100 pages.  I plan to finish this book today and start a new one.  Not sure which one yet.  I also read one chapter in Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder to my daughter which equals about 10 pages.

Max:  Did not read at all yesterday and doubt he will read today.

Georgia:  Read 20 minutes in The One and Only Ivan and listened to one chapter of Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

This mini-challenge is brought to you by Dizneee's World of Book blog.

For my little challenge, I would like for you to tell me your favorite genre, favorite book within that genre, and your favorite character from the same genre.

My absolute favorite genre is Historical Fiction.  I love reading a book that takes place in history and makes that history come alive for me.  I love imagining what life was like in a certain time period and I love learning about actual people and events from a period in history.  

My hands down favorite book is Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  

My favorite character is:  I have no idea.  Scarlet is definitely the most memorable character I have read about but I don't think she is my favorite.  So here are some of my favorites.  Kunta Kinte from Roots.  Ahab's wife by Sena Jeter Naslund, Ishmael from Moby Dick.  Rebecca from Rebecca.

Who are your favorites?