Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins - 7/30/10

1. I'm going to enjoy my last weekend of summer vacation before going back to work on Monday.

2. For some, it's all about adventure and daring.

3. Perhaps today you can make it a point to pay it forward.

4.My husband has a  true adventurer’s spirit.

5. Compassion is key to working with kids.

6. Smile, no matter how difficult.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to dinner out, tomorrow my plans include shopping at Kohl's and Sunday, I want to go fishing if the seas are right!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Waiting on Wednesday" - Freefall

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
By Mindi Scott
Publication Date:  October 5th 2010 by Simon Pulse  

How do you come back from the point of no return?

Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend Isaac alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time where Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn’t wake up.

Convinced that his own actions led to his friend’s death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely.

Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he's ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth will soon realize he isn’t the only one who needs saving . . .

First of all, I love the simplicity of the cover, yet it says so much!  Also, we are starting to see more and more YA with male protagonists.  I like that!  For so long, it's been about the girls, but boys have real issues that need to be broached in stories as well.  Can't wait for this one!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Because of A Book with Katie Williams

This week I am pleased to have Katie Williams, author of The Space Between Trees, joining me on the blog.  Look for my review of Katie's book to come later this week

Katie Williams was born and raised in the small town of Okemos, Michigan, though a town is only as small as its library, and Katie “visited” many other places through reading. Like Evie, she was an awkward and sometimes lonely teenager. Unlike Evie, she wouldn’t lie to you. Or would she?

After high school, Katie studied English at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and figured out that she liked writing stories almost as much as she liked reading them. This led her to earn an MFA in creative writing from the generous Michener Center for Writers at University of Texas in Austin.

Katie currently lives in San Francisco, California, where she works as a writing instructor at Academy of Art University. She loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns, cinnamon ice cream, orange cats, and her husband, Ulysses Loken.

You can find Katie online at Katie Williams Books.

Because of a Book

Waiting for Witches

Roald Dahl, sir, wherever you may be—bits of your spirit curled, I’m certain, in the bubbles of my soda pop—you owe me lost sleep. 534 nights’ worth, to be precise. A year and a half. That’s how long it took me to start sleeping soundly again after reading your novel, The Witches.

I was eight years old when I read it, and I knew right away that those witches had to be real, even as I simultaneously knew that they couldn’t be. After all, by that time, I’d been taught what a novel was: A made-up story. Still. Square toes! Long gloves to cover claws! Flared nostrils at the dog-poo scent of children! No author could make up such strange, almost comical, personal stats. It was imaginarily impossible! So that settled it. The witches were real, and I was not closing my eyes, lest I wake up trapped in the picture hung on my parents’ living room wall. (The girl in the book, you remember, got stuck in a painting of a lovely cottage. The picture in our living room was a portrait of my mother’s three cats, and I wasn’t sure what they’d do to me if I appeared on the canvas smaller than them!)

Oh, it was hard to stay awake every night. Sometimes I’d turn on the lamp and read from my stack of library books until my eyes grew heavy. Other times I’d cast a spell on myself, an illusion that allowed for sleep, so that if a witch did creep into my bedroom she’d see not a slumbering child but one who was wide awake and watching her warily. Most often I’d bother my parents, marching out into the living room where the TV squawked laughter at them and they laughed back at it. I’d stand in the doorway until one of them noticed me and nudged the other. “Again?” they’d say. They promised that if I stayed in bed every night for two weeks, I could get my ears pierced. That worked. For two weeks. And then I was up again, waiting for witches.

So you can see, Mr. Dahl, you owe me quite a lot.

But it’s also true that I owe you. I owe you for knowing that scary is best when it’s a little bit funny and that sad is often tinged with happy, because in real life our emotions are rarely packaged one to a tidy box. I owe you for being one of the only children’s authors who understood that children like to be told appalling and inappropriate things, to be let in on a few secrets of the adult world, to be treated, in short, like real people. And I owe you, most of all, for teaching me that a well-written story is powerful enough to follow you out into the real world.

Let’s call it even then, shall we? Unless, that is, my novel, The Space Between Trees, contains a sliver of your storytelling magic, in which case, I think I’m the one with the debt, and I don’t imagine I’ll ever be able to pay you back.

About The Witches -This Roald Dahl classic tells the scary, funny and imaginative tale of a seven-year-old boy who has a run-in with some real-life witches! "In fairy tales witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks and they ride on broomsticks. But this is not a fairy tale. This is about REAL WITCHES. REAL WITCHES dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses and they work in ordinary jobs. That is why they are so hard to catch." Witches, as our hero learns, hate children. With the help of a friend and his somewhat-magical grandmother, our hero tries to expose the witches before they dispose of him. 

Buy it at IndieBound

About The Space Between Trees - This story was supposed to be about Evie how she hasn't made a friend in years, how she tends to stretch the truth (especially about her so-called relationship with college drop-out Jonah Luks), and how she finally comes into her own once she learns to just be herself but it isn't. Because when her classmate Elizabeth "Zabet" McCabe's murdered body is found in the woods, everything changes and Evie's life is never the same again.

Buy it at Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books has generously offered an autographed copy of The Space Between Trees to one of my readers.  Please comment with why you'd like to read this book and don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.  You have a week to enter.  This giveaway will end at midnight on Tuesday, Aug. 3rd.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Blog Tour - Boys Lie

 Title:  Boys Lie: How Not to Get Played
Authors:   Belisa Vranich, Psy.D & Holly Eagleson
Review Copy Provided by:  HCI Teens

About the Book:  So consider this book the ultimate BS detector. In today's hookups without-heart society, this brutally honest guide reveals the most common lies boys tell and the truths behind them so you and your friends can separate the good guys from the bad.

'Everyone else is doing it.' 'I won't show anyone these pictures.' 'If we get pregnant, we could take care of it on our own.' Lies like these get lots of girls in trouble, especially when they cast aside their doubts and make poor choices in the heat of the moment. Written by psychologist Belisa Vranich and former Seventeen magazine editor Holly Eagleson, this provocative book sets the record straight with a 'cheat sheet' on what guys lie about, why they lie, and how you can respond. By learning how to react before embarrassing or volatile situations arise, you will be more confident and more likely to enjoy healthier, honest, and more fulfilling relationships.

Have You Ever Been Played?

Lie #8: I can't wear a condom.
Lie #2: Guys are built to cheat.
Lie #17: I'll love you forever.
Lie #3: You're a slut if you've had sex with lots of guys.
Yes, boys lie. But now you and your friends have the anti-get-played book.
My Review:  I thought this would be a fun book to review on my blog, since I read a lot of YA and have many young followers.  Not that I needed to read this as I'm happily married.  Maybe I should have had a book like this when I was dating though; it might have made things a little easier.

At first glance, Boys Lie sounds like boys are being stereo typed, that they all lie, but we all know that that is not the case.  We do however know that there are many boys out there that will say anything to get a girl to go out with him or do other things.  The authors know that not every boy lies, but they have written this book so that young girls have something to go by when boys try those lines.

I think that it's important for girls to know what they could experience when dating, and the authors of Boys Lie do a great job of spelling that out.  Psychologist Belisa Vranich and former Seventeen magazine editor Holly Eagleson are the perfect people to write this book together, because they seem to have a thumb on teens of today.  Unfortunately for us, there are guys out there who are not completely honest with girls, for one reason or another, so a book like this had to be written.

As I said before, this book was not for me, because I am married, but it is one that I feel has a place.  Dating teens, young adults, and partents of them should read this book.

The publisher has graciously offered a copy of Boys Lie to one of my readers.  Just leave a copy on this post, with your email address, and you will be entered.  You have until next Monday, Aug 2, at midnight, to enter.  The winner will be chosen randomly and emailed on Tuesday, Aug. 3.  Good luck!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Got Books? Contest

Thanks for stopping by! I apologize for getting this post up late.  I have been in San Antonio all week with some of my teachers for a workshop and didn't get in until late last night.  Sleep was the first thing on my mind, and was until late this morning.

If you don't know about the Got Books? Event, then click through to check it out.  There are over 100 blogs participating and each one is hosting a giveaway of the bookish kind.  There's even a Kick-Off contest that's running until midnight, July 24th.

So, what's up for grabs here at Write For A Reader?  I'm glad you asked!  I have 3 great children's books up for grabs for one lucky person.  Just fill out this form and you are's that easy!  You have until tomorrow at midnight, and then the winner will be emailed on Sunday, July 24th.

Orangutans are Ticklish - In this knockout book of animal photographs, perfect for the youngest animal lover, you'll discover all sorts of things. Did you know that orangutans are ticklish? Yes, they are—just like you and me. But be careful if you ever see a hippo yawning. It doesn't mean he's sleepy—it means he wants to fight.

Once Upon a Twice -Out in the open, in the clear,
Where any wisenmouse would fear,
Jam licks his paw, he grooms an ear,
And never hears approaching hisssss . . .
What will happen to the brave mouse Jam when he breaks the rules and goes for a moonlit adventure against the advice of the elder mice?

Bubble Trouble - When little Mabel’s bubble gets away from her, it’s her baby brother who gets into trouble. Soon he’s floating out of the house, above the fence, and all over town! And it’s up to Mabel, Mother, and the rest of the townspeople to get him safely back down. Who knew that so much trouble could come from one little bubble?

Again, thanks for stopping by, following if you'd like so you can check out my reviews and other fun to come, entering if you choose, and then checking out some of the other contests as well.  Got Books?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Waiting On" Wednesday - The Mockingbirds

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is
Title:  The Mockingbirds
Author:  Daisy Whitney
Publication Date:  November 2nd 2010 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

This is so different than what I've been reading lately, so it caught my eye!  I was not a boarding school girl, so that kind of life intrigues me.  I'm really looking forward to this one!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Because of A Book with Ashley Benson

This week I am pleased to have this feature back up and going again.  It has been awhile since the last Because of A Book, so I'm thrilled to revive it.  As always, if you would like to be featured here on a Tuesday, just email me and let me know; all are welcome.  I am joined today by a fellow blogger, so I'll just let her introduce herself to you.

PhotobucketHi everyone! I'm Ashley from Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing. I've been blogging about a month and a half and I love it. I grew up in a series of small towns in varying degrees of rurality. I come from a large family, both immediate and extended, so my life has never been boring. Most of my family members are big readers, so I've been surrounded by books and encouraged to read them my whole life. Books are my preferred entertainment. Most days, I prefer the company of books to people. My sister is working to change that but I'm resilient.

Review: Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

In fourth grade, right before I outgrew the ability to enjoy listening to a book rather than reading it myself, my teacher read Where the Red Fern Grows to our class. I was enthralled from the beginning, and I never lost interest. I remember sitting in class, trying desperately not to cry throughout the last section so that I could stay with the story to the end, and then promptly getting up to go to the bathroom because my 'allergies were acting up'.

This was my first exposure to a "reading experience". I had read many books before this and had many more read to me. But, it took this book to teach me that there is more to a book than simply reading the words on the page. The characters come alive in a truly well written story. The author is able to draw you into the lives of their characters. Books like this allow you to share the experiences and emotions and they are able to shape a part of your life. A book that transcends mere reading to become an experience creates characters so real you mourn their loss, share their joy and are genuinley confused when you don't meet up with them in the grocery store.

I have read this book so many times I stopped counting around 40. In elementary school I read this book back to back for over a month. I remember my parents talking to me about it. I have always been a fast reader, and they were confused that it had taken me so long to read this one book. I explained to them I had already finished it twice, and just felt that I needed to read it again. It has been my default book for years. If I am trying to find a book to read and nothing immediately comes to mind, out come Billy and his dogs. We were inseperable in childhood and it's always nice to revisit old friends.

I don't really know what it is about this one book that resonates so strongly with me, but I know it's there. I'm not often a very visual reader but this book is so vivid in my mind. I watch as Billy staggers through the brambles collecting berries to sell so he can buy his dogs. I see him walking 'as the crow flies' across the Ozarks because he is so anxious to get them. I can taste the strawberry soda pop as it fizzles down his throat as if it's my first taste as well. I share his anxiety as he desperately tries to pull Little Ann from the icy waters of the partially frozen river. I experience his anguished suffering as he carries Old Dan's failing body home from the Cyclone Timber. I sob with him as he burries Little Ann's body next to Old Dan. And, of course, I rejoice with Billy as he realizes the red fern has grown up between the tiny graves of his beloved dogs. I have read this book numerous times at every stage of my life thus far, and it has never failed to make me cry and touch my heart. It is a beautiful book everytime I read it, and that is what makes this, Basically Amazing.

About Where the Red Fern Grows - Billy, Old Dan and Little Ann -- a Boy and His Two Dogs...

A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn, Little Ann had the brains -- and Billy had the will to train them to be the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. And close by was the strange and wonderful power that's only found...

Where the Red Fern Grows

Clicking on the book jacket will take you to Indiebound, where you can purchase the book through an independent bookstore near you.  I am an Indiebound affiliate, so clicking through my link will generate a little bit of credit for me, which helps to pay for shipping of books to contest winners.  Thanks for your help and support of Indie bookstores!

Monday, July 19, 2010

In My Mailbox/Mailbox Monday - 7/19/2010

Welcome to my weekly post about the books I receive in the mail.  This is my favorite meme of the week, as I get to share what came into my house as well as learn about new books by checking out what others got.   I do both memes in one because I love them!  In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.  If you'd like to join in, head over to their blogs and link your mailbox.  Make sure you visit some of the other linked bloggers as that's what makes these memes so much fun!

Here's what came in the mailbox this past week:

Thomas and the Dragon Queen by Shutta Crum, from Knopf - A kingdom is at war.
A princess has been kidnapped by a dragon queen.
A brave squire volunteers to set out on a quest to rescue her.
But there's just one small problem. He's Thomas, the shortest of all the squires. With little more than a donkey, a vest, and a sword, Thomas will have to use all of his courage and determination to battle a beast with many heads, reach a forbidden island, and rescue the princess from a most fearsome dragon-and an even more fearsome fate!

So Cold the River by Michael Koryta, from (bought on recommendation from a friend and for challenge) - It starts with a beautiful woman and a challenge. As a gift for her husband, Alyssa Bradford approaches Eric Shaw to make a documentary about her father-in-law, Campbell Bradford, a 95-year-old billionaire whose past is wrapped in mystery. Eric grabs the job even though there are few clues to the man's past — just the name of his hometown and an antique water bottle he's kept his entire life.

In Bradford's hometown, Eric discovers an extraordinary history — a glorious domed hotel where movie stars, presidents, athletes, and mobsters once mingled, and hot springs whose miraculous mineral water cured everything from insomnia to malaria. Neglected for years, the resort has been restored to its former grandeur just in time for Eric's stay.

Just hours after his arrival, Eric experiences a frighteningly vivid vision. As the days pass, the frequency and intensity of his hallucinations increase and draw Eric deeper into the town's dark history. He discovers that something besides the hotel has been restored — a long-forgotten evil that will stop at nothing to regain its lost glory.

A Place Where Hurricanes Happen by Renee Watson, from Random House - Natural and man-made disasters are becoming more commonplace in children's lives, and this touching free-verse picture book provides a straightforward account of Hurricane Katrina. In alternating voices, four friends describe their lives before, during, and after the storm and how, even though the world can change in a heartbeat, people define the character of their community and offer one another comfort and hope even in the darkest hours.

Adrienne, Keesha, Michael, and Tommy have been friends for forever. They live on the same street—a street in New Orleans where everyone knows everybody. They play together all day long, every chance they get. It's always been that way. But then people start talking about a storm headed straight for New Orleans. The kids must part ways, since each family deals with Hurricane Katrina in a different manner. And suddenly everything that felt like home is gone.

Songs for a Teenage Nomad (ARC) by Kim Culbertson, from Simon & Schuster - After living in twelve places in eight years, fourteen-year-old Calle Smith finds herself in a new town at the start of ninth grade. But Calle knows better than to put down roots. Her song journal keeps her moving to her own soundtrack through a world best kept at a distance.

Yet before she knows it, friends creep in-as does an unlikely boy with a secret. And Calle discovers why she's been running all these years.

The Death (and Further Adventures) of Silas Winterbottom by Stephen M. Giles, from Simon & Schuster - Meeting for the first time, cousins Milo, Adele, and Isabella soon realize nothing is as it seems. Lured to their sick Uncle Silas's home under the pretense of becoming heirs to a vast fortune, the trio figures out too late that Silas is a villain who will stop at nothing to prevent his own death.

Dangerous Neighbors (ARC) by Beth Kephart, from Egmont - It is 1876, the year of the Centennial in Philadelphia. Katherine has lost her twin sister Anna in a tragic skating accident.  One wickedly hot September day, Katherine sets out for the exhibition grounds to cut short the haunted life she no longer wants to live.

Write the Right Words by Sandra Lamb, from St. Martin's Press for a blog tour - A Warm and Practical Guide to Writing the Perfect Card Message

Are you at a complete loss for words when a birthday card or congratulatory card circulates at the office?
When was the last time you mailed a “thinking of you” card to a faraway family member, just to say hello?
What should you write to a grieving friend? How do you comfort a colleague in a time of need?

Every greeting card needs a personal, handwritten message to make it complete. In this comprehensive, encouraging guide, journalist and lifestyle expert Sandra Lamb offers a wealth of advice, inspiration, and examples for anyone who wants to add the perfect personal touch to their card messages---as well as anyone who wants to know the etiquette of when and what to write.

Something as small as a heartfelt message on a greeting card can help remedy our hectic, e-mail--dependent lives. Lamb provides tips and sample messages for every occasion under the sun, both happy and somber (thank-you, birthday, birth and adoption, condolence), and explains the meanings of possibly unfamiliar holidays and religious rituals to aid in the writing of appropriate messages.  

The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews, from Thomas Nelson, won on Twitter - While digging up a withering tree beside his waterfront home on the Gulf coast, Andrews unearths a rusted metal container filled with Nazi artifacts and begins an intriguing investigation that unlocks an unspoken past that took place in his backyard.

The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez, from Knopf - In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. Her friends feel like strangers. And her family is being watched.

As the revolution's impact becomes more oppressive, Lucía's parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own.

Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life. But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl?

Efrain's Secret by Sofia Quintero, from Knopf - Ambitious high school senior Efrain Rodriguez dreams of escaping the South Bronx for an Ivy League college like Harvard or Yale. But how is his family going to afford to pay for a prestigious university when Moms has to work insane hours to put food on the table as it is? And Efrain wouldn’t dare ask that good-for-nothing father of his who has traded his family in for younger models. Left with few options, Efrain chooses to do something he never thought he would. He embarks on a double life—honor student by day, drug peddler at night—convinced that by temporarily capitulating to society’s negative expectations of a boy like him, he can eventually defy them.

7 Souls by Barnabas Miller & Jordan Orlando, from Delacorte Press - Mary expected her seventeenth birthday to be a blowout to remember, courtesy of her best friends, fellow New York City prepsters Amy and Joon, and her doting boyfriend, Trick.

Instead, the day starts badly and gets worse. After waking up in a mortifying place with a massive, unexplainable hangover, Mary soon discovers that nobody at school is even aware that it's her birthday. As evening approaches, paranoia sets in. Mary just can't shake the feeling that someone is out to get her—and, as it turns out, she's right. Before the night is over, she's been killed in cold blood.

But murder is just the beginning of Mary's ordeal. Her soul gets trapped in a strange limbo, and she must relive the day of her death through the eyes of seven people—each of whom, she finds, had plenty of reasons to hate her. As Mary explores the mysteries of her world, discovering secrets that were hidden in plain sight while she was alive, she clings desperately to the hope that she can solve her own murder, change the past, and—just maybe—save her own life.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins - 7/16/10


1. This is what life does. It lets you contemplate things.

2. Can't you just appreciate the moment?

3. Upon reflection it seems that my sleep schedule is out of whack.

4. My husband hasn't slept for quite a long time.

5. Later, you wake up and wonder how you got here.

6. I commit thee to the far and boundless sea.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to spending an entire evening with my husband for the first time this week, tomorrow my plans include packing up books and Sunday, I want to mow the yard; it's been neglected!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Aaron's Books: Kid-Lit Challenge

Thanks to the summer holidays, I've been able to spend a lot of time on Twitter catching up with my blogging buddies and making many new friends.  The conversations as of late have been wonderful, including the #dearpublisher one that many of us have been following and participating in.  Publishers want to know what we, bloggers, want from them, how they can help us.  Can you believe that?  It is a topic for a whole other blog post, so I won't go on about it here, except to say that it's been awesome!

So, during the course of conversations, I've met some great indie bookstore folks and have to tell you about one of them, along with another challenge.  Aaron's Books, in Lancaster County, PA, hosts a KidLit Fest, and it's happening in 2 months.  If you're in the area, you should check it out.  It's pretty far for me, but I would if I could because I have it on good authority that it's pretty cool!  Anyway, back to the challenge.   So, to get themselves and others ready for the festival, they have issued a challenge: The Lititz Kid-Lit Challenge.  Here are the details, straight from the Aaron's Books' blog:

Read any five books from the list below by the end of September (Yes, five books in two months, but some are picture books), and let us know what you've read and enjoyed. Then,at the end of September,one lucky participant will receive a signed copy/copies of some of the featured KidLit Fest books!
 Here is a list of some of the books from our KidLit Fest featured authors and illustrators:

Easy, right?  I think I have at least 3 of these books, so I'm in.  Here's what I know I have in the house that I haven't read, but will read for this challenge:  Fairy Tale, Sleepless, The Dust of 100 Dogs.  I may still have The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, if I haven't passed it on to my favorite teen reader, and I have read some of the Milo and Jazz Mysteries.  If they're still here, I'll reread those as they are fast and easy.  Titles that pique my interest are:  Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains, Cupcake and Somebody Everybody Listens To.  What are you waiting for? Don't you want to join in on the fun?

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