Monday, February 29, 2016

Mini Review: The Trouble With Destiny

Mini Review: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill

Mini review: A entertaining YA book with a fun romance in it! Enjoyed it a lot, and makes me want to read the authors previous books now! First book I read this year, and a great beginning to my reading year! :)

I checked this book out from my library.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Week of Debuts Recap Post!

A Week of Debuts is now over! I had so much fun interviewing these authors, and getting to have you all read the interviews this week! Thank you again to Abby Cooper, Janet Sumner Johnson, K.C. Held, Jennie K. Brown, and Bridget Hodder for letting me interview you! And thank you to everyone who commented on the posts, tweeted them out, posted about them on Facebook, and any other way you supported them! :)

And now here's a recap of all the posts! :)

The first day of A Week of Debuts featured an interview with Abby Cooper! Where she talked about her book, Sticks & Stones, what her favorite word is, and more! :)

The second day featured an interview with Janet Sumner Johnson! She talked about her book, The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society, why she loves writing Middle Grade books, and more! :)

The third day featured an interview and giveaway (which goes through March 2nd, go enter!) with K.C. Held! We talked about her book, Holding Court, what her favorite time period is based on the clothing worn then, and more! :)

The fourth day featured an interview with Jennie K. Brown! Where we talked about her book, Poppy Mayberry, the Monday, her favorite Disney movie, and more! :)

The fifth day featured an interview with Bridget Hodder! Where she talked about her book, The Rat Prince, her favorite color, and more! :)

All of the authors also talked about what books they're looking forward to in 2016 in the interviews! :)

I hope everyone had as much fun reading these interviews as I did asking the questions! And I hope you maybe added some new books to your TBR because of them! Thank you again to everyone! :)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Interview With Bridget Hodder!

Today is the final day in A Week of Debuts, and to finish the week off I have an interview with Middle Grade author Bridget Hodder! Her book (Which is a retelling of Cinderella!) The Rat Prince releases August 23rd! :)

Here's the summary of the book:
The dashing Prince of the Rats--who's in love with Cinderella--is turned into her coachman by the Fairy Godmother on the night of the big ball. And he's about to turn the legend (and the evening) upside down on his way to a most unexpected happy ending!

The bolded questions are what I asked, the regular font is her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers!

1. The Rat Prince looks like a fun retelling! Would you please describe it in five words?
Ooooh! That's hard...

Cinderella! Danger! Secrets! Magic!, Rats!

Now, in time-honored spelling class fashion, I will use each of the five words in a sentence:

Cinderella (Lady Rose de Lancastyr) is not the meek lackwit you might believe her to be. She suspects her stepmother's hiding a dangerous secret. That's where the Prince of the Rats of Lancastyr Manor comes in--with a cunning plan to help Lady Rose, and to get rid of her stepmother. But both Rose's plan and the Rat Prince's schemes are turned upside down by a magic ring and a fairy-goddess on the night of the big royal ball-- with delightful, and most unexpected, results!

You'll have to read the book to see where everyone ends up, but I can promise you a very satisfying happy ending.

Ahh, it sounds good! :)

2. Is there another fairytale you would like to retell?

Oh, yes. I'm absolutely 100% scheming and plotting more retellings here in my sparkly fairy bower ;-)

So many fairy tales are based on outdated, disturbing ideas that don't feel right to me. And that's exactly what makes them so fun to "fix".

You know what I mean--it's hard to be happy about a story where someone breaks into an innocent giant's house, killing him and stealing the goose that lays the golden eggs. (Jack in the Beanstalk) And it's not my idea of happily ever after when two strangers meet and instantly become engaged based on the woman's beauty and the guy's money and high social status.(Sleeping Beauty, etc.) Or when a guy walking through the woods sees a dead girl in a coffin, falls in insta-love, and...kisses her, arggggghhh! (Snow White).

I could go on and on. (Maybe I already did.)

3. Random question time! Favorite color?
A glowing, rich honey-brown. Like polished wood floors lit by a cozy fire, or a soft, brown, velvet skirt with the sun shining across it. Mmm, don't you feel relaxed now?

4. If you're able to talk about it, what are you working on now?
A super-secret fairy tale project...with romance and adventure at its heart, because that's the way I roll.

Sounds fun! :)

5. What books in 2016 (debut and non-debut) are you looking forward to?
So many. SO many, I could not possibly choose. I read fast and I read a LOT, and lately I've been trying to put up my reviews on Goodreads, so you can see what I like there.

By the way, all the 2016 YA and MG or Tween debuts can be found in one friendly place, There are author photos, Top Sixteen Lists, interviews, book descriptions, giveaways, a calendar of upcoming events...

And it may be strange for a book author to say this in this context, but I am almost hyperventilating already in anticipation of seeing FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM in November. With JK Rowling having written the screenplay, I think it counts to mention this as the work of the absolute, uncontested queen of youth literature, coming out in 2016!

Thanks for inviting me over, Jessica, and thanks for being excited about THE RAT PRINCE!

Thank you for letting me interview you! :)

Here Are A Few Links:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Interview With Jennie K. Brown!

Today I'm delighted to have Middle Grade author Jennie L. Brown on the blog! Ms. Brown's debut book Poppy Mayberry, the Monday releases September 13th! :)

Here's the summary of the book:
What if your teacher could read your mind just because she was born on a Thursday? Or the kid next to you in class could turn back the clock just because he was a ‘Wednesday”? In the quirky town of Nova, all of this is normal, but one thing is not—Poppy Mayberry. As an almost-eleven-year-old Monday, she should be able to pass notes in class or brush her dog, Pickle, without lifting a finger. But her Monday telekinesis still has some kinks, and that plate of spaghetti she’s passing may just end up on someone’s head. And if that’s not hard enough, practically perfect Ellie Preston is out to get her, and Principal Wible wants to send her to remedial summer school to work on her powers! It’s enough to make a girl want to disappear…if only she were a Friday.

The bold writing is the questions I asked, the regular writing is her answers, and the bold iatlic writing is my comments on her answers!

1.  Poppy Mayberry, the Monday looks like a fun book! Would you please describe it in five words?
Thanks so much, Jess!
Magical powers based on birth-weekday. (Does that count?) haha

2. In the book, what power you have depends on what day of the week you were born. What power would you have based on that?

In Poppy’s world of Nova, if you’re born on a Monday, you move things with your mind. Tuesdays teleport. Wednesdays manipulate electricity. Thursdays read minds. And Fridays can become invisible. Saturdays and Sundays are powerless. That said, I was born on a Saturday which makes me a powerless weekend. L 

And is it the one you would most want? 

So obviously, being powerless is not what I would want; however, I didn’t actually research my own birth day until after I wrote the book! (By the way, you can find out your “week day power” on my website at I would like to have Tuesday’s teleporting power. I just think it’d be so awesome to simply close my eyes, and when I open them up again, I am sitting on a beach half-way across the world reading an amazing book.

Based on this, I would be able to manipulate electricity! And yeah, being able to teleport wherever I want, whenever I want would be awesome, too! :)

3. Random question time! Favorite Disney movie? :) 

This is so hard ... Cinderella or Bedknobs and Broomsticks -- a tie! 

Ahh, Cinderella! :)

4. If you're able to talk about it, what are you working on now? 

Right now I’m working on the revisions for POPPY book 2 and writing POPPY book 3. I am also working on a cooking inspired middle grade novel. I also write a column for a style magazine, so I’m usually working on those pieces as well.

5. What 2016 books (debut and non-debut) are you looking forward to? 

For debut books, ALL of the Sweet Sixteens books and Sixteen to Reads books. I’m also looking forward to Mary E. Pearson’s next book in her Remnant Chronicles series – The Beauty of Darkness. I just couldn’t put books 1 and 2 down!

Jennie K. Brown is an award-winning high school English teacher, freelance magazine writer, and author of children’s books. Her middle grade novel POPPY MAYBERRY, THE MONDAY will be published in September 2016 by Month9Books (Tantrum Books imprint), with a sequel to follow in April 2017. Book 3 in her Nova Kids Series is set to publish in September 2017. Jennie currently serves as president of the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts (PCTELA) and she is an active member of SCBWI, NCTE, and ALAN. She is a regular contributor to the SCBWI Eastern PA and PCTELA blogs.
When she’s not teaching or writing, Jennie can be found reading, hanging out with her awesome family, or plotting her next book!

Here Are a Few Links:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Interview With K.C. Held + Giveaway!

Today in A Week of Debuts I'm happy to post an interview and giveaway with YA author K.C. Held! Ms. Held's debut book, the fun looking mystery Holding Court releases next month! (March 1st!) :)

Here's the summary for the book:
Sixteen-year-old Jules Verity knows exactly what's in store at her new job at castle-turned-dinner-theater Tudor Times. Some extra cash, wearing a fancy-pants dress, and plenty of time to secretly drool over the ever-so-tasty--and completely unavailable--Grayson Chandler. Except that it's not quite what she imagined.

For one, the costume Jules has to wear is awful. Then there's the dead body she finds that just kind of...well, disappears. Oh, and there's the small issue of Jules and her episodes of what her best friend calls "Psychic Tourette's Syndrome"--spontaneous and uncontrollable outbursts of seemingly absurd prophecies.

The only bright side? This whole dead body thing seems to have gotten Grayson's attention. Except that the more Jules investigates, the more she discovers that Grayson's interest might not be as courtly as she thought. In fact, it's starting to look suspicious...

Here's the interview! And be sure to read all the way to the end, because Ms. Held has an awesome giveaway! :)

The bold writing is the questions I asked, the regular writing is her answers, and the bold italic writing are my responses!

1. Holding Court looks like an entertaining mystery! Would you please describe it in five words?

Wanted: job, boy, fancy gown.

2. Your website bio mentions you worked in a castle for a summer. That sounds like fun! Did that have any impact on you writing your book?

When I was an undergrad I had the great good fortune to land an internship in textile conservation at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA. I also wrote my senior thesis on the castle’s decorative arts collection, which meant when I wasn’t working on medieval tapestries I got to do some exploring behind the scenes. It’s a fascinating place, and while it didn’t directly inspire me to write HOLDING COURT, there are absolutely parts of Lunewood Castle/Tudor Times that were inspired by Hearst Castle.

That's really neat! :)

3. Random question time! Favorite time period based on the clothing that was worn then?

Oh, I love this question! In grad school I started out studying historic costume and collection management before switching to costume design and costume construction technology, so I love discussing period clothing. Choosing my favorite period is not so easy! I’m going to twist the question and choose the Tudor garment I would reproduce if I had an unlimited budget like the costume designer at Tudor Times, and I’d have to choose the Portrait of a Man in Red from the Haunted Gallery at Hampton Court Palace. I’ve added him to my Pinterest board for HOLDING COURT ( so you can see how incredibly dashing he is. I’d probably also have to make a gown to match his costume. :)

I love how elaborate the costume you linked to is! :)

4. If you're able to talk about it, what are you working on now?

I’m going to be very mysterious and say it involves…a mystery.

5. What books in 2016 (debut and non-debut) are you looking forward to?

There are so many marvelous books to choose from! The books I’m particularly looking forward to are DIG TOO DEEP by Amy Allgeyer, CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber, THE CROWN’S GAME by Evelyn Skye, LOVE, LIES & SPIES by Cindy Anstey, FLIRTING WITH FAME by Samantha Joyce, REMEMBRANCE by Meg Cabot, RIDERS by Veronica Rossi, and A TYRANNY OF PETTICOATS edited by Jessica Spotswood. I’ll stop there although I could go on and on and on…

All excellent picks! :)

Thank you again to Ms. Held for letting me interview her! I enjoyed it! :)

K.C. HELD was born and raised in California with stopovers in Honduras, Mexico, and France. Married to her high school sweetheart, and mom to two wee bookworms, she holds an MFA in costume design and has worked as a freelance costumer in opera, theater, film, and television. Although she once spent a summer working in a castle, there were no dead bodies involved.
K.C. is represented by Kathleen Rushall at
Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Here Are A Few Links:

And now here's the giveaway!

 The author is giving away a signed copy of Holding Court, plus a swag pack to one lucky winner!

(Here's a picture of the swag pack!)

Here are the rules:
 One winner will get a signed copy of Holding Court + swag.
Giveaway runs from February 17th through March 2nd.
US and CA only.
After the giveaway is over, I will contact the winner and get the information for the author. The winner will have 48 hours to reply, if they do not, I will have to pick a new winner.
No cheating!

Good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Interview With Janet Sumner Johnson!

Today in A Week of Debuts I'm happy to present an interview with Middle Grade author Janet Sumner Johnson! Ms. Johnson's debut book, The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society releases in April and looks like a good book! :)

Here's the summary for the book:
Some things are better together. Like peanut butter and jelly. Or Annie and Jason. So when her best friend's house is threatened with foreclosure, Annie Jenkins is bursting with ideas to save Jason's home. She could sell her appendix on eBay. (Why not?) Win the lottery. (It's worth a shot!). Face the evil bankers herself. (She's one tough cookie, after all.) Or hunt down an elusive (and questionably real) pirate treasure. Whatever the plan, it has to work, or this is undoubtedly THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY.

And now here's the interview! :)

The bold font is the questions I asked, the regular font is her responses, and the bold italic font is my comments on her answers.

1. The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society looks like a fun book! Would you please describe it in five words?

Oh wow. This is a challenge! Hmmm . . .

Girl refuses to let friend move.

Girl saves the world with PLANS.

Pirate Treasure would fix everything.

PB&J sandwiches bringing people together.

Best friends fight against foreclosure.

This is starting to get addictive!! Perhaps I better stop there. ☺

Haha, I love these! :)

2. What's your favorite part of writing Middle Grade books?

Middle grade is the best! There's so much I love about writing it. I love that as an author I can be a little silly. Though my body says I'm an adult, my brain tells me I'm still a kid, so I feel right at home writing Middle grade. Also, I can address hard topics, but there is such resilience in middle graders, that hope always fills the pages. Adults give up too easily sometimes, so writing Middle Grade inspires me to keep trying, even when it's hard.

3. Random question time! Favorite quote? :)

After Thomas Edison produced 10,000 failed prototypes for an electric candle, he famously said: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

What an inspiration! When I'm struggling with my writing (or with anything, really), I remind myself of Edison's doggedness and perseverance when others would have given up. Thank heavens he didn't!

I like this quote! :)

4. If you're able to talk about it, what are you working on now?

I'm currently revising a derivative fairy tale. It's about a princess who is sent off to another kingdom as a goodwill ambassador in the face of brewing turmoil between the two nations. It's got magic, and princes, and picnics, and scavenger hunts! Not to mention mysterious illnesses, and betrayals, and poison. It's been challenging to write, but I'm really in love with the story and especially my princess heroine. Hopefully you will all love it, too!

Ooh, this sounds good! :)

5. What books (debut and non-debut) are you looking forward to in 2016?

So many that I couldn't possibly list them all!

For non-debuts, I'm excited about Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein (released in January). I loved the first book! Another is Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff (out in April).

As for debuts, I've been super lucky to read several ARCs for many of Sweet Sixteen debuts. I haven't met a book I haven't liked yet! A couple I'm really excited about are:

The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder (Aug.)
Sticks and Stones by Abby Cooper (July)
BFF Bucket List by Dee Romito (May)
The Hour of the Bees by Lindsey Eagar (Mar.)
The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop (June)
The Last Boy at St. Edith's by Lee Gjertsen-Malone (Feb.)
Bounders by Monica Tesler (Jan.)
The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price by Jennifer Maschari (Feb.)

Okay, that was more than a couple, but I could really go on for a while. So many wonderful books that are coming out this year!

A bunch of the books you listed are books I want to read! Yay! :)

 Thank you again to Ms. Johnson for letting me interview her! That was fun! :)

Janet Sumner Johnson lives in Oregon with her husband and three kids. She bakes a mean cinnamon twist and eats way more cookies than are good for her, which explains her running habit. Though her full-time occupation as evil tyrant/benevolent dictator (aka mom) takes most of her time, she sneaks in writing at night when her inner funny bone is fully unleashed.

Here Are a Few Links:

Monday, February 15, 2016

Interview With Abby Cooper!

Today on the first day of A Week of Debuts, I am happy to present an interview with Middle Grade author Abby Cooper! Her debut book Sticks & Stones releases July 19th, and I am looking forward to it a lot! :)

Here's the summary for the book:
Ever since she was a baby, the words people use to describe Elyse have instantly appeared on her arms and legs. At first it was just "cute" and "adorable," but as she's gotten older and kids have gotten meaner, words like "loser" and "pathetic" appear, and those words bubble up and itch. And then there are words like "interesting," which she's not really sure how to feel about. Now, at age twelve, she's starting middle school, and just when her friends who used to accept and protect her are drifting away, she receives an anonymous note saying "I know who you are, and I know what you're dealing with. I want to help." As Elyse works to solve the mystery of who is sending her these notes, she also finds new ways to accept who she is and to become her best self.

And now here's the interview! :)

The bold writing is the questions I asked, the regular writing is her answers, and the bold italic writing is my comments about her answers!

1. First, Sticks & Stones looks like a very good book! What five words would you use to describe it?

Thanks! Sticks & Stones is about: self-confidence, friendship, emotions, discovery, and growth. 

2. Based on what I know of your book, words seem like they play a big part. What's your favorite word?

Sesquipedalian. It means "a big word"! Also lugubrious because it's super fun to say. Luckily for my main character, the words that show up on her arms and legs aren't quite as long as sesquipedalian or lugubrious. Words like that would take up a lot of room and make her feel really funny!

Ahh, I like these words! :)

3. Random question time! Your Twitter profile mentions desserts! What's your favorite dessert ever (And if that's too hard, top three.)? :)

Or maybe top thirty-seven? Can we do that? Kidding. Sorta. But yeah, I'm really into desserts. I could eat them for every meal, although I guess I sort of already do. I especially love cupcakes (any kind - the more frosting the better), molten chocolate lava cake, and my mom's chocolate-chip cookies. 

I'm getting hungry just reading this answer! Mmm, molten chocolate lava cake... :)

4. If you're able to talk about it, what are you working on now?

I will have a second middle grade novel published by FSG in 2017, so I'm hard at work on revisions! This one is also magical realism. It's about a twelve-year-old girl who is able to do something very unusual. I'm also revising a couple other middle grade novels and slowly writing another.

5. What books in 2016 (debut and non-debut) are you looking forward to?

I cannot WAIT for the 2016 debuts. I've gotten to read a bunch of middle grade ARCs and every single one has been out-of-this-world amazing. (Check them out here!) I'm also excited for Gail Nall's OUT OF TUNE, Jen Malone's THE SLEEPOVER, Natalie Lloyd's THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY, Kate DiCamillo's RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE, Varian Johnson's TO CATCH A CHEAT, Kate Messner's THE SEVENTH WISH... okay, I could do this all day long, so I should probably cut myself off now. But let's just say it's going to be a very good year for reading!

I love what books you listed! A few of them are already on my TBR list! And the ones that aren't? *goes off to look up the other books* :)

Thank you again to Ms. Cooper for letting me interview her! It was fun! :)

Photo by David Cooper
I live in St. Paul, Minnesota with my miniature poodle, Louis, and a whole bunch of books. A former teacher and school librarian, I love reading and helping others find the perfect books for them. When I'm not reading or writing, I like to eat cupcakes, go running, and watch a lot of bad reality TV.

Here are a few links:

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day 2016!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!!!!

I hope you have a day filled with chocolate and love! :)

Mini Review: Pilfer Academy

Mini Review: Pilfer Academy by Lauren Magaziner

Fans of Escape From Mr. Lemencello’s Library and Roald Dahl will gobble up this hilarious story about a secret boarding school for thieves-in-training!

Troublemaking George has never heard of Pilfer Academy, a top-secret school for cultivating young crooks, until he's kidnapped as its newest student. The teachers are kooky at best, and naughty does not even begin to describe his sneaky, smart, and morally bankrupt new classmates. Between disguise classes, cracking safes, and DIY gadgets, George becomes an expert bandit and finds true friendship with Tabitha, his new partner-in-crime. But everything is ruined when George comes to a shocking realization: He is just too good-hearted to be a thief!

Unfortunately, not thieving is not an option at Pilfer Academy, and "misbehaving" students face Dean Deanbuggle's favorite punishment—the Whirlyblerg! In order to gain their freedom, George and Tabitha must pull the biggest heist the school has ever seen and reveal their true colors not as thieves, but as kind (and, okay, mischievous) kids.

 -summary and cover via Goodreads

Mini Review: Another delightfully funny book from Lauren Magaziner! If you liked The Only Thing Worse Than Witches, I think you'll like this book just as much! And if you have never read this authors books before, why not?! If you're looking for a funny Middle Grade read, I recommend trying this book! :)

(And by the way, how much do I want to eat Triple-Dipple Ultra-Deluxe Melty Creamy Creamer Rainbow Swizzle Milk Munch ice cream now? Answer: A lot.) :)

This book releases Tuesday, February 16th! :)

I was sent an ARC of this book.

A Week of Debuts Begins Tomorrow!

I'm very happy to write that beginning tomorrow, there will be a week of debut author interviews on the blog! I had a lot of fun interviewing these wonderful authors and reading their answers! :)

The interview schedule:

15th author of Sticks & Stones, Abby Cooper
16th author of The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society, Janet Sumner Johnson
17th author of Holding Court, K.C. Held (+ giveaway!)
18th author of Poppy Mayberry, the Monday, Jennie K. Brown
19th author of The Rat Prince, Bridget Hodder

I look forward to everyone getting to read these interviews! Don't forget to read the first interview beginning tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Secrets of Solace

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine blog

This Wednesday I'm Waiting on: The Secrets of Solace by Jaleigh Johnson

From Jaleigh Johnson, the acclaimed author of The Mark of the Dragonfly, comes another thrilling adventure in the magical world of Solace.
    Lina Winterbock lives in the mountain strongholds of Solace. She’s an apprentice to the archivists, the wise men and women whose lives are dedicated to cataloging, studying, and preserving the objects that mysteriously fall from the sky in the scrap towns.
    Lina should be spending her days with books, but the Iron War has changed everything. The strongholds are now a refuge, and the people Lina once counted on no longer have time for her, so she spends her days exploring the hidden tunnels and passages of her home. The strongholds are vast and old, with twisting paths, forgotten rooms, and collapsed chambers, some of them containing objects that have been lost and forgotten even by the archivists.
    And in one of the forgotten chambers, Lina discovers a secret.
    Hidden deep in a cavern is a half-buried airship like nothing she has ever seen before. She’s determined to dig it out and restore it. But Lina needs help, and she doesn’t know anyone she can trust with her secret.
    Then she meets Ozben, a mysterious boy who has a secret of his own—a secret that’s so dangerous it could change the course of the Iron War and the world of Solace forever.

-summary and cover via Goodreads

I love The Mark of the Dragonfly, and I'm looking forward to reading another book set in that world! :)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Top Seven Historical Settings and Events I Love to Read About

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog

This week's theme was either historical or futuristic themed, and we were able to spin it any way we wanted to! I wasn't able to think up ten, but I figured seven is good, too! :)

Top Seven Historical Settings and Events I Love to Read About

The American Revolutionary War

World War II

The 1920's

The 1950's

The Regency Era

The War of 1812

Any time period/event that does not often have books written about it! I love learning new things in books!

What are your favorite time periods to read about? And what did you do for your TTT this week? :)