Monday, June 30, 2014

June Author in the Spotlight Wrap-Up + Giveaway

June Author in the Spotlight Wrap-Up + Giveaway

The giveaway for Guy In Real Life ends tonight at midnight.  Enter quick.

June has been a crazy month for me.  I have two sprained ankles and my doctor put me in a boot. My left foot is worse than my right.  Then I traveled to National History Day competition in Maryland and my student, Natasha Holtman won FIRST place in the senior division, paper category!!  This was an awesome experience.  Then I turned another year older on June 24th but unfortunately my birthday was marred by the fact that my son, slid into home base at his baseball game and broke his ankle in two places.  We spend the last four hours of my birthday in the emergency room.  Huge Bummer!  So Max and I have big plans to get some Boy Scout Eagle requirements done and rest as much as possible this summer.  Rest = Reading is my new motto.

Please join me in saying goodbye to June's Author in the Spotlight Steve Brezenoff.  Enter to win his recently released YA novel, Guy In Real Life.

Guy In Real Life Giveaway

Check out my book review of Guy In Real Life.  Two very different teens from two different socio economic backgrounds tell their story in alternating chapters.  The gaming world is also represented with chapters interspersed throughout the book.  Guy In Real Life is not your typical love story and it is going to be hard for readers to fit Guy In Real Life into a box or a set category or genre because it is unique and genre bending. There's a little bit of mystery, fantasy, GLBTQ, romance and more.

Guy In Real Life Book Review

Check out my book review of Brooklyn, Burning.  The story is narrated by Kid whose gender is undefined, in fact for both Kid and Scout, you don't know whether they are boy or girl, gay or straight.  Brooklyn, Burning is written without pronouns for the main characters.  It is an interesting way to read a novel and I loved it.  I love how Brezenoff experiments with gender and makes a statement about love and transcendance.  At its heart Brooklyn, Burning is a love story.  Yet this love story makes you think about gender stereotypes and how teens and people define themselves.

Brooklyn, Burning Book Review

Check out the author interview with Steve.  His new Young Adult book, Guy In Real Life was just released this month to rave reviews.  I decided to ask him some questions about his life, his writing, his new book and online gaming.  Read on to find out all the juicy details.

Steve Brezenoff Author Interview

I met Steve at the Loft Literary Center where I was participating in a writing conference for children and young adult authors.  Steve and his publisher were one of the presenters.  I have had a great time working with Steve this month and getting to know him as a writer.  Anyways, I am so glad I was able to feature Steve and his books here on Book Snob.  You need to seriously check out his website and read his creative books.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Guy In Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

Guy In Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

Guy In Real Life is a book about a lot of things.  It's a book about Lesh, who listens to heavy metal music, wears black clothes and is your average kind of sensitive weird guy who starts playing an online video game after he gets grounded for getting drunk.  He admires a beautiful girl from his school named Svetlana and she just happened to drive her bike into him, late one Saturday night.  So he creates a online character in her name and plays online as a girl, even though he is a guy in real life.

Svetlana is a role playing gamer and is the head of the RPG gaming club at her school.  She is an artist and draws many of the monsters for the game.  She sews and embroiders her clothes and is tall, blonde and beautiful.  Your typical senior hippie weird girl.  She starts falling for Lesh after they share lunch together and he saves her from a family friendly stalker boy lurking in the lunchroom.

Two very different teens from two different socio economic backgrounds tell their story in alternating chapters.  The gaming world is also represented with chapters interspersed throughout the book.  Guy In Real Life is not your typical love story and it is going to be hard for readers to fit Guy In Real Life into a box or a set category or genre because it is unique and genre bending. There's a little bit of mystery, fantasy, GLBTQ, romance and more.  So if you identify with the word, nerd or geek, this might be the perfect book for the nerdish side of you.  Nerds Unite!  Gamers Unite!  Readers Unite!

One of the things I really loved about this book was the music the characters interact with.  Brezenoff introduces the reader to an interesting playlist of tunes that go from Bjork and Iron Maiden to Captain & Tennille and composer Hector Berlioz.  I looked up some of the music and played it.  In fact, Brezenoff should create a playlist so you can listen to all the songs listed in the novel.  That would be cool.  A Novel Playlist??  Steve?

One of the things I admire about Brezenoff's writing is that he is creative.  He is not afraid to write something that no one has tried before and he takes risks.  As readers, we should take risks too and read books outside your comfort zone. Don't you agree?

Nerd alert:  So let's sing - Love Will Keep Us Together by Captain and Tennille because this song is in the best chapter of the book.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book A Day, Books 8-10 with Mini Reviews

Book A Day, Books 8-10 with Mini Reviews

This week I fell behind my on #Book A Day summer goal because I went to Maryland for National History Day and was super busy.  Up early and into bed late, left little time for reading.   My student competed in the senior division, paper category and on Thursday, June 19th, they announced that she had won first place!!  First place in the Nation!!  OMG, it was so emotional and wonderful to see her achieve that level of success.  Next week we will be interviewed on two local radio programs in Minneapolis.

Day #9, Book 8
Satchel Paige. Striking Out Jim Crow by James Sturm
Graphic Novel

This is an awesome graphic novel about the baseball legend Satchel Paige.  Satchel Paige was an amazing baseball pitcher. His career spanned 6 decades. He was the most famous African American baseball player alongside Jackie Robinson. This graphic novel highlights the barriers Paige faced and the amazing ability and character he displayed when playing ball. Super good and sure to be enjoyed by anyone interested in sports history.

Day #10, Book 9
Sleep Donation by Karen Russell

This little book is packed full of interesting science fiction.  Can you imagine what the world would be like if insomnia were an epidemic?  Sleep deprivation and insomnia is killing people and many need a sleep transfusion. There is a sleep bank set up and people donate their sleep to save lives. I can't stop thinking about this book.  What if?

Day #11, Book 10
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Audio Book
Narrated by Wil Wheaton
15 hours and 46 minutes

Listened to the audiobook of Ready Player One. Wil Wheaton is a fabulous narrator. Seriously listen to this on audio. Ready Player One is an ode to the decade of the 1980's with a ton of pop culture references. It was an awesome trip down memory lane and a nod to video game culture.  The year is 2044 and there is an egg worth millions of dollars hidden inside the Oasis, a massive online video world.  Wade, a high school student may have found the door to the first gate and from there it is a race to the finish.  Really, really good on audio.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bookshelf Roulette

Bookshelf Roulette

Have you ever played Bookshelf Roulette??

On the bookish podcast Literary Disco, they play a version of bookshelf roulette.  I am going to modify it a bit but I will use their numbers.  This month their numbers are 4, 5, and 13.  Please play along if you want to.  So go to bookshelf #4, go to the 5th shelf (I counted from the bottom to the top) and scroll over (right to left) and pick book #13.  Then talk about it.

The book I picked is: The Heartsong of Charging Elk by James Welch
Published in 2000.  James Welch died in 2003.  Have you read this book or heard of this author??
James Welch wrote Fools Crow which is probably his most famous novel.
I have not read The Heartsong of Charging Elk and I bought this copy as a used library book.  I forgot this book was even sitting on my shelf.  It is 440 pages.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

From the award-winning author of the Native American classic Fools Crow, a richly crafted novel of cultural crossing that is a triumph of storytelling and the historical imagination.

Charging Elk, an Oglala Sioux, joins Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and journeys from the Black Hills of South Dakota to the back streets of nineteenth-century Marseille. Left behind in a Marseille hospital after a serious injury while the show travels on, he is forced to remake his life alone in a strange land. He struggles to adapt as well as he can, while holding on to the memories and traditions of life on the Plains and eventually falling in love. But none of the worlds the Indian has known can prepare him for the betrayal that follows. This is a story of the American Indian that we have seldom seen: a stranger in a strange land, often an invisible man, loving, violent, trusting, wary, protective, and defenseless against a society that excludes him but judges him by its rules. At once epic and intimate, The Heartsong of Charging Elk echoes across time, geography, and cultures.

Wow, it sounds really good.  So I'm adding this to my Goodreads shelf and am going to read it.

Now it's your turn.  Play bookshelf roulette and let me know what book you pick.
Have fun!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Two Great Audiobooks

Two Great Audiobooks.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Narrated by Dan Stevens
Length: 8 Hours and 35 minutes.

I started Frankenstein twice.  The first time, I just couldn't get into it, I couldn't follow it and so I quit.  Which I then regretted and so I tried again and I'm so glad I did.  Once the slow beginning was over and I got over my confusion, the story picked up.  Frankenstein was creepy and awesome and addressed all kinds of questions about what it means to be human.  The narrator was great, expressive and after I got used to him, easy to follow.  I cannot believe that Mary Shelley wrote this when she was just 17.  That is incredible!

Rotters by Daniel Kraus
Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
Length: 16 hrs and 23 mins

Rotters was paired with Frankenstein by AudioBook Sync when they gave away both audiobooks last summer for a week for free.  Score!  This was the first I had heard of Rotters and it was a perfect pairing.

If Frankenstein was creepy and awesome, Rotters was more creepy and freaky and also awesome.  Wow, what a great story about a father and son grave robbing team and their assortment of colleagues.  I was blown away by the creative aspects of the story and just the right amount of ick inserted where needed.  The narrator was superb and added to the creepiness of the story. Highly recommend!

What audiobooks are you listening too?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Steve Brezenoff Author Interview + Giveaway

Steve Brezenoff Author Interview + Giveaway

Steve is the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight for June and his new Young Adult book, Guy In Real Life was just released this month to rave reviews.  I decided to ask him some questions about his life, his writing, his new book and online gaming.  Read on to find out all the juicy details.

Hi Steve,

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, I’m a writer. And I’m a stay-at-home-dad to an almost-six-year-old boy and a seven-month-old girl. I live in Minneapolis now, but I was born on Long Island and spent most of my first thirty years in and around New York City. Though I consider myself a YA author, the overwhelming majority of my published work are chapter books for 8- to 12-year-olds, including the Field Trip Mysteries series.

2. What inspired you to write Guy in Real Life?

My wife. Well, sort of. I’m a gamer myself, and for several years my primary game of choice was World of Warcraft, the most popular MMORPG ever (I think). Anyway, I’d talked to my wife about my experiences in-game, playing both a male avatar and a female avatar, and how differently I’d been treated. I didn’t think there was a story there, but my wife insisted there was. So I pulled from my own experience and invented quite a bit, and wrote a short synopsis. It was years before I found the right voice for Lesh, and then thousands and thousands of words before I realized Lana would need a voice as well.

   3.  Can you tell us why or when you decided to become a writer?

I’m not sure I know. That is, I’ve been writing in one capacity or another for most of my life, I think. But it was in tenth grade (I think) that I signed up for an independent study class to write a novel under the guidance of a member of the English department faculty. I did this for two semesters, eventually finishing a terrible rip off of the Hobbit. In high school I also edited the literary journal and contributed several short stories. In college and after, much of my writing was music journalism, but it was a short story that I wrote in college and the novel it became—over the next fourteen years—that became my first YA novel, The Absolute Value of -1.

4. Usually an author puts some of his own life experiences in the book.  Did you do that?

I think it’s impossible not to include some of one’s own life experience in a story of any length. Even if writers don’t draw directly—like I did for some of the online interactions in Guy in Real
Life—they almost necessarily pull from their experience in one way or another: they might recall a conversation they had or even overheard, and use little bits of it totally out of context, or use some instance of body language that stuck with them, or the way a friend or stranger wears his hat, or the way an old  woman they see at the grocery store licks her lips or drums her fingers when she picks out a frozen pizza. It’s all fair game, and it all goes into a story.

5. Do you have anything in common with your characters?
This is kind of related to the previous question, because I think I have something—even if it’s some tiny little thing—in common with every character I’ve ever created. In order for a character to have depth and an absorbing voice, he or she needs a twinkle of realism, and the best way to make that happen as a writer (at least this writer) is to step right into the character’s skin. I can’t do that if everything about the character is entirely foreign to me. So while I game like Lesh (and Greg), I also suffer from vasovagal episodes like Svetlana, and like her I get a big kick out of the dreams I have in that 3 or 4 seconds I’m unconscious. When I was a teen, I drove like an idiot, doing my best to get all four wheels of my car off the ground at the same time by taking a little hill WAY too fast, like Lesh’s older friends do. Even Henny, Lana’s little sister, has a little bit of me in her. She has a tendency to cut to the quick, pull no punches, say what’s true with a straight face and let the chips fall where they may. Though I don’t do that as a matter of habit, I think we’d all like to do that sometimes.

6. Tell us a little bit about the other books you have written.

My first YA novel, The Absolute Value of -1, is the story of three high school friends as they enter their sophomore year. Their friendships are tested by dissolving families and developing feelings among the trio, and the attempts by one of them to leave the trio. It’s full of cursing and pot smoking, too. My second YA novel is Brooklyn, Burning, and is a love story without gender. Aside from those, I’ve written dozens of chapter books for younger readers, including the Field Trip Mysteries and the Ravens Pass series of thrillers.

7. Do you like to read?  What authors or books influence you?

Of course I like to read! My favorite books (and the ones that probably influenced me the most) include Rumble Fish and The Outsiders (SE Hinton masterpieces), The Catcher in the Rye (by far the biggest influence on my voice as a writer), Weetzie Bat (a huge influence particularly on Brooklyn, Burning), The Sunlight Dialogues (not remotely young adult), the Narnia books, the Prydain books, and the Dark Is Rising books (I still hope to write a middle-grade fantasy series eventually).

8. How do you carve time out of your busy day to write?  Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job?

My day job is taking care of my kids, and with a new baby in the house, finding time to write is getting harder and harder. I find an hour here and there when she’s napping, and sometimes—like one night a week—I’ll go out after bedtime to a coffee shop and get some work done.

9. Are you a Role Playing gamer or an online gamer?  If so, what games do you play?  And what game did you model your story after?  (note: I thought it was similar to World of Warcraft)
As I mentioned, I played WoW for several years. I’ll almost definitely get back to it when the next expansion comes out this Christmas. I’ve also played several other RPGs on my computer, several of them MMOs as well. I have not, however, played any table-top RPGs. I’d like to. (The game in G.I.R.L. certainly bears the most similarities to WoW.)

10.  I know you love music.  How do you decide what songs to put in your books?
Are you a musician?

Typically, my characters will be very into whatever music I’m most into when I’m writing. In GIRL, Svetlana took on my recent re-obsession with Bjork, an artist who I felt suited her personality so well, and my love for Berlioz. Lesh, however, as an online gamer with online gamer friends, felt like a metalhead to me. I was not a metalhead at all going into this manuscript, though I liked quite a lot of heavy music. Gradually, I came to enjoy the music I thought Lesh would listen to.

I was a musician. I played trumpet (like Fry) in school, starting when I was ten years old. I’ve also played guitar and bass guitar and sung lead in a handful of bands since college, mostly back in New York City.

11. Tell us in one sentence why we should read:  Guy in Real Life.

Because Kirkus said “This is not the teen love story you’ve read a thousand times before”!

Thanks Steve!!!

Thank you!

If you would like to win a copy of Steve's latest book, Guy In Real Life please enter here:  Guy In Real Life Giveaway

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Book A Day Updates and Mini-Reviews

Book A Day Updates and Mini-Reviews

I've been trying to read a book a day this summer as part of the BookADay challenge.  So far, I feel like I am keeping up.  I just got back from a trip to Maryland/DC for National History Day where my student took FIRST place in the paper category.  It was awesome!  So now I'm home and my feet are up (to decrease the swelling in my two sprained ankles) and I'm ready to read and write.

I will post the some of the books I have read and a short mini-review.

Day 4, Book #4   Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

I loved this book!  It is a love story that transcends gender and stereotypes and it was sweet and beautiful and full of meaning.  Brezenoff's writing is poetic and original.  I like a writer that takes risks and gets creative.  The characters of Kid and Scout are endearing and you will fall in love with them as they throw off societal labels.

Day 5, Book #5   Sex Criminals Volume 1 by by Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky (Artist)

This graphic novel is for adults only.  It is about a couple of people who when they orgasm are able to stop time.  They decide to rob a bank while their in the orgasm zone.  It is a bit zany and totally interesting and unique.  Great storyline.  I am looking forward to the next volume.

Day 6, Book #6    Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor

I love Byrd Baylor's children's books.  Everybody needs a rock to love and this is a little instruction book for finding a truly special rock to hold and love.  Frankly, I love rocks.  They speak to me and I have a whole bunch of rocks sitting on my dresser and around my house.  This book is perfect for kids from age 3 to 103.

Day 7, Book #7   Pieces of Georgia by Jen Bryant

I was drawn to this book because I named my daughter Georgia.  Pieces of Georgia is told in verse.  Georgia is 13 and living in trailer with her father on a
farm.  She has been labelled "at-risk" because her mother recently died and she is introverted.  Georgia is an artist and so was her mother.  I liked the focus on art and learning about the Wyeth family artists.

I love this idea of reading a book a day.  I wish I could do this all year!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

Brooklyn, Burning is the type of book that only comes along once in awhile and burns its beautiful story into your heart.

Kid is a teen runaway and so is Scout.  They meet outside of Fish's bar in Brooklyn and develop a relationship while they try and survive on the streets.  Both play instruments and make beautiful music together that is raw and creative.

Kid used to sleep in the old warehouse down by the river but it burned.  The authorities suspect arson and Kid is their prime suspect.  Kid is reeling from the loss of first love and is trying to find the strength to move on and is thinking maybe jail would be the right punishment.  Yet Scout is always there when needed and maybe the truth will actually set you free.

The story is narrated by Kid whose gender is undefined, in fact for both Kid and Scout, you don't know whether they are boy or girl, gay or straight.  Brooklyn, Burning is written without pronouns for the main characters.  It is an interesting way to read a novel and I loved it.  I love how Brezenoff experiments with gender and makes a statement about love and transcendance.  At its heart Brooklyn, Burning is a love story.  Yet this love story makes you think about gender stereotypes and how teens and people define themselves.

Brezenoff's writing is poetic and original.  I like a writer that takes risks and gets creative.  The characters of Kid and Scout are endearing and you will fall in love with them as they throw off societal labels.

I loved this story of non-conformity.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Two Book Club Book Reviews

Two Book Club Book Reviews

My book club, the Itty Bitty Reading Committee, has read a book a month so far this year and I haven't reviewed any of the books yet and basically we have read some pretty awesome books in the first half of the year.  So here are two short reviews of the first and second book club reads of 2014.

Our first book of 2014 (January) was The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.  It was pretty cute.  It is a awkward love story that is laugh out loud funny.  It is a feel good kinda book.  Don Tillman is the main character and he is systematically trying to find a wife and starts, the wife project where he interviews and dates women who fit the "wife" criteria.  Of course nothing ever goes as planned and Don ends up meeting Rosie and they begin a tentative friendship.  Rosie does not meet the "wife" criteria that Don has established so Rosie can never be more than a friend.  This novel is quirky and enjoyable and Don is a unique character, with Asperger- like characteristics.

Our second book of 2014 (February) was Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler.  This is the third book I have read by Anne Tyler.  I read and enjoyed both Ladder of Years and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant.  Back When We Were Grownups is a character driven book about Rebecca Davis, a 53 yr old grandma and her family.  Rebecca is looking at her life through a new lens and wondering if she made the right choices.  Rebecca is a professional party planner and her life is giving one endless party after another.  In some ways, I feel the book is reminiscent of Mrs. Dalloway.  Yet, I feel there wasn't much happening in the book, very little action and I've decided I prefer plot driven novels over character driven novels.  Back When We Were Grownups was a little slow moving and my least favorite of the three Anne Tyler books I have read.

What about you?  Do you prefer Plot Driven books or Character Driven books?
What has your book club been reading?

Friday, June 13, 2014

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

The voice of 15 year old Carey jumps off of the first page into your heart as you learn she has been kidnapped and then abandoned in the woods with her little sister, Jenessa, by their drug addicted mother.  They have been surviving on beans for close to two months before someone finds them.  Two strangers arrive in the woods and lead them out, into a foreign world of school, shopping, TV, beds, and the abundance of food.

Carey is a mass of confusion.  She loves her mother and still believes her lies but she must come to terms with why she kidnapped her.  She trusts no one, her sister won't talk (she hasn't spoken in a year) and surprise she has a step-mom and a crabby step-sister to boot.  Life is just a little bit of crazy and she only feels at peace when she is in the woods.

I devoured this book in one sitting.  I just loved everything about it.  I loved the language and writing style Murdoch uses, I loved the characters, the setting (the Hundred-Acres Wood), the love story, the survivor story.  I was just sucked into the story and could not let go of the book.  I cried, I smiled, and I cringed.  I even tweeted the author.  I felt such a communion with these characters and their story.  It was healing for me.

If You Find Me is compelling, heart-wrenching, and intriguing and it will probably make it in my top ten books of 2014.  It is so good and I can't stop thinking about it.

Quote:  “I answer her with my silence, understanding the full power of it for the first time. Words are weapons. Weapons are powerful. So are unsaid words. So are unused weapons.”

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Winner of Big Girl Panties Audiobook!

Winner of Big Girl Panties Audiobook!

Hey Everyone, June is Audiobook month and I am giving away this CD audio book by Stephanie Evanovich.  I won it myself, about 6 months ago and listened to it once so I am passing it on to someone else who wants to listen.  And the winner is....

Holly L. from Decatur, AL

Congrats, Holly!!
Enjoy your new audio book.

Here is a snippet from my review of the audiobook, Big Girl Panties, in case you want to listen:

Holly the main character is a bit overweight and starts working out with a hot trainer she met on an airplane.  Of course he is owns the training business and is cute and wonderful and wealthy.  So cliche!  I really liked the workout parts of the book and the main character.  Holly was spicy and spunky and adorable.  I totally laughed out loud several times.

The narration by Katie Shorr was great!  She is easy to follow, changes her voice with each character and even throws in some southern drawl.  It is the perfect audio book for light summer listening.

Book A Day. Book 2 and 3

Book A Day Summer Challenge.  Book #2 and #3.

I am trying to read a book a day this summer and today is Day #3 of summer for me.  So I want to share with you the two books I have finished.

Book #2
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
This is a wordless book and the artwork in it, is extraordinary.  It is beautiful, heartfelt and you will experience the foreign world that every immigrant experiences in a new place for the first time.  I loved it.

Book #3
The Raft by Jim LaMarche
The Raft is a beautiful children's book about a boy who spends the summer with his grandma.  She lives along a river and he finds a raft and connections to nature and his grandmother.  It is such a beautiful story and it totally reminds me of my experience growing up and spending summers with my grandparents in Wisconsin.  Any child would love this book.  In fact, I think I love it more than my children ever could.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Book A Day Summer Challenge

Book A Day Summer Challenge by Nerdy Book Club
I ran across this challenge on twitter, to read a book a day during the summer, and I thought, I could probably do this.  I have so many books stacked in piles around my house from a variety of genres that I thought it would be nice to read a bunch of them this summer and since I'm stuck on the couch with my feet up (two sprained ankles), the timing is perfect.

Book A Day Summer Challenge

So today marks Day #1.  My first official day of summer.  Yesterday I turned in my grades and cleaned my classroom.  Today I am reading and writing and driving my kids around town.

Book #1
The book I finished reading today was:  The Gendarme by Mark Mustian.  This is about WWI and the Armenian genocide.  It was so powerful.  This year marks the 100th anniversary of World War I.

I plan to read a variety of books for this challenge like novellas, graphic novels, audiobooks, children's books, poetry, short stories and more.  So excited to try this and see how it goes.  If I can read 5 books a week I will be happy.

I will try and update you periodically on this challenge.

If you have any good suggestions for a book I can finish in a day.  Please let me know.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Look What I made

                                                            Look What I Made.

                                            Who knew I could draw??  Surely, not I.

I teach an elective called H-Art, Hands on art.  Part of the class is spent at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.  My class and I worked with artist Lori Brink and screen printing artist, Jonas to create a hand-drawn or computer generated design which were then blown up and made into a transparency (a 3 day process)  Jonas and Lori than created the screens over the weekend and when we came in they were ready to screen print.  My actual drawing is below.  Above is my finished print.

I wanted to draw a silhouette and include a quote that expressed a social, political or cultural statement. I searched Google and came up with a style I liked and then I hand drew it, trying to mimic the style.  Then I searched quotes about banned books and found this one by Minnesota author Pete Hautman.  Pete is an award winning young adult novelist and I have met him several time and have read many of his books.  His quote is perfect for my idyllic reading scene because I wanted to show that in some places in the world, women are not allowed to read or go to school.  I also wanted to express that reading is a subversive activity in some parts of the world and literary people are often arrested.  Here in the United States, people try to ban books and stop others from reading. Reading is something I can't imagine living without and I always want to share my love of books with others.

I used two colors in my screen print, dark brown and red and I think it turned out spectacularly.  I think the finished print is awesome and I plan to frame it and hang in my library.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Guy In Real Life Giveaway

Guy in Real Life Giveaway

Steve Brezenoff is the June Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on BookSnob this month and he is giving away 3 copies of new young adult novel, Guy In Real Life to BookSnob followers who live in the United States.  His new book is garnering much acclaim and a lot of attention from the Young Adult book community and I am confident that you are going to love this book.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

From the acclaimed author of Brooklyn, Burning comes Guy in Real Life, an achingly real and profoundly moving love story about two Minnesota teens whose lives become intertwined through school, role-playing games, and a chance two-a.m. bike accident.

It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.

But they don't.

This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other's lives, who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn't belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren't in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play-at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends-and the one person who might show us what lies underneath is all.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sex & Violence Giveaway Winners!

Sex and Violence Giveaway Winners!

Carrie Mesrobian was the May Author in the Spotlight here on BookSnob and she is giving away two copies of her award winning young adult novel, Sex & Violence to U. S. followers.  Sex &Violence recently won the Minnesota Book Award.  You are gonna love this book!  Carrie is the new YA author to watch and she is writing up a storm of good books.

And the winners are...

Brooke from Illinois
Christina from Connecticut

Congratulations ladies.
Enjoy your new book.

Here is an excerpt from my book review of Sex & Violence;

Sex & Violence is an excellent novel for the mature teen.  It is gripping, honest, raw and a bit shocking.  Evan is a swearing, beer drinking, weed smoking, girl using, character you hate to love, he is multi-faceted and trying to become a better person.  Mesrobian has captured the male teenage voice perfectly.  Sex & Violence is a great first novel and Mesrobian is a writer I want to read more of.  Love it or hate it, Sex & Violence is a part of the culture teens grow up in the U.S. and Mesrobian doesn't shy away from the tough nature of the subject matter.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Book Love from Book Riot Quarterly

Book Love from Book Riot Quarterly

My box of book love from Book Riot Quarterly arrived on Saturday.  I've been lying low, literally, because I fell Thursday night down the stairs and sprained and bruised the heck out of both of my feet.  So both my feet are up and being iced to reduce swelling and I can read all I want to.

This is my second box (I didn't subscribe to the first one) but Book Riot's 3rd, and I absolutely loved it.  I loved this month's theme and the small details and personalization that came with each book.  So cool.

First I read the letter and did not peek inside the box.  I highly recommend this as the anticipation is awesome. I'm totally saving all my letters.  Their theme this month was to give readers the chance to expand their horizons.  So they picked three genres of books that readers have expressed they are reluctant to try and gave us each one book from that genre.  Yay!

So here are the books and the genres

1.  First up is the Young Adult category.  Well I love this category and the book love inside the box is Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King.  I have only read one book by A.S. King and it was my favorite summer read of 2013, Ask the Passengers.  After I read it, I fell in love with A.S. King.  Yep, all it takes is just one book to fall in love with an author.  I am excited to read Please Ignore Vera Dietz and her other books too.  Oh and included in the book is a original flowchart from A.S. King.  How cool is that?  I love the personal touches.

2.  The second category is Sci-Fi/Fantasy.  I tend to like this category too but I don't read a lot of books in this genre and so I am glad to be introduced to a new author.  The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin looks awesome.  Inside the book is a hand written note from the author.  Love it!!

3.  The third category is Romance and here is where I wrinkle up my nose usually and my Booksnob qualities come out.  I think I read too much romance in my younger days and so now I don't want to read it. But I am thinking I will give this a try.  A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah Maclean.  This is the first book in a series.  The publisher (Avon/HarperCollins) created a poster that lists the 10 Reasons to Read Romance and it was included in my box of book love.
Here is the top ten reasons.
1.  Because life can be difficult, and books should be fun.
2.  Because love is the oldest story, and it's the only one everyone wants a part in.
3.  Because duke or vampire, cowboy or billionaire-the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
4.  Because in a genre for women, by women, the heroine always wins.
5.  Because bodice ripping isn't always a bad thing.  In fact, it can be a very good thing.
6.  Because sometimes the guy gets the girl.
7.  And sometimes, a girl has to take matters into her own hands.
8.  Because romance is the chocolate truffle of the literary world... and don't we all deserve a treat now and then?
9.  Because a perfect match takes time, and a great book is good company.
10.  Because everyone deserves a happily ever after.

I think I will hang this in my classroom.  Yep, I'm gonna try to add some Romance back into my reading life.

I also got a I Read YA button, a set of Literary Aces playing cards and Out of Print Library Card pouch.  It is kinda like a big coin purse.  I really like the Out of Print company and have several of their T-shirts.  I also got a 2 month subscription to the Oyster Ebook Service.  I am excited to try this.  I did not get any extra lottery items in my box this time but that is OK.  I love everything that was in my Book Riot Quarterly box.

OK, so now it is time for me to go forth and read.  Ouch, my feet hurt!