Monthly Archives: June 2009

Elf Envy: Random Roundup of Exhaustedness

Gosh folks, I really wish I had just a tiny bit of brain that was functioning right now, because I’ve been reading books. Honest. Quite a few books, in fact. I just can’t wrap my head around writing a review right now. Too tired. Instead I present cool things that other people are writing / noticing / thinking about:

I really enjoyed 7 Imp’s interview with Edwin Fotheringham, in part because I like to say the name “Edwin Fotheringham,” because it makes me feel all posh and British-y, but also because I now want to get my hands on a copy of Mermaid Queen.

Over at Cynsations, Cynthia features Sara Zarr in one of her Craft, Career and Cheer posts. Remember, Sara is also the featured author this month at readergirlz.

Obviously Emily loves Stuart’s Cape as much as I do.

I want an ARC of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan. Jennifer at Reading Rants made me want it even more.

And finally, for a little animal cuteness, check out Susan Beth Pfeffer’s kitten, Scooter, scooting all over her kitchen. (Good to know that when she’s not writing super-intense novels about worldwide catastrophes she’s making videos of that adorable little critter. Way to find some balance Susan!)

That’s all for now. I promise something good tomorrow.

readergirlz June Events

rgz ad June 2009

This month, the theme at readergirlz is “Truth,” and the featured title is one of the most memorable teen books I’ve discovered since I started this blog: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr. There’s lots happening this month to celebrate Sara’s wonderful book.

1) Join in for the LIVE chat on June 17th (6pm PST, 9pm EST) at the readergirlz blog.

2) Share your thoughts at some of the great discussions going on all month long, at the blog.

3) You must read at least one of the particularly amazing postergirl-recommended reads this month. A stunning list (if I do say so myself).

4) One of the themes Sara explores in her book is the traumatic effects of bullying on kids and teens. So check out the organization featured in this month’s Community Service spotlight, bullybust.org. Take the Stand Up pledge.

5) Read this month’s roundtable discussion.

6) Read my review of Sweethearts and my interview with Sara. Isn’t she great?

An added bonus this month is a second LIVE chat to celebrate readergirlz diva Melissa Walker’s newly released title, Lovestruck Summer.

The Lovestruck Summer chat will happen on Tuesday, June 9th at 6pm (PST) at the readergirlz blog.

The Luxe (one year later) and Rumors

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For some reason, I wrote the following review of Anna Godbersen’s The Luxe last year and I never posted it. It has been sitting in my “drafts” folder since then. I just finished listening to the sequel, Rumors, so I figured I had to either post it, or delete it. I chose post.

Geeky confession time. I have a little reading journal where I write down random words, phrases and thoughts I have about whatever I happen to be reading. It makes me think more about the books. It helps with reviews. Perhaps I should say, it helps with some reviews. Some reviews cannot be helped. I’ve been resisting writing about The Luxe because I simply wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about it. However, at the same time, I felt I should write about it fast, before I had absolutely nothing to say about it. So I thought I’d start off with offering you the little jot notes I recorded in my reading journal while working my way through The Luxe (and I quote):

- not the reason I read

- like eating petit fours for hours and washing them down with champagne

- cut out characters (Diana the only interesting one)

- Penelope: kind of amusing/entertaining as OTT bad-girl

- FULL of melodrama

Done.

All of this said, I was not approaching this book with grand expectations, so it’s shortcomings are not a great disappointment. I expected to be entertained, not educated. However, while The Luxe was amusing, it was not the deliciously absorbing naughty-book I had hoped for. The beginning had more momentum, but by the middle, it was almost yawn-worthy. (I think you have to actually care about the characters in order for a book to interest you, yes?) Will some teenage girls love it? Undoubtedly. Will it inspire them to read Wharton? Maybe but probably not.

Somewhere I read this described as “Edith Wharton lite.” I’ve read more than a few reviewers who’ve written that it reminds them of The Titanic (*shudder*). I’ve also read other reviews in which reviewers praise the historical accuracy and detail. Um… I’m not thinking that “Hey” was a typical greeting in 1900.  On the detail score, I was left with only the sketchiest portrait of Manhattan during the period (baruches, swooshy dresses, bowler hats and  calling cards). Then, of course, there’s the fact that a lot of people think that offering books like this to young women is doing nothing for feminism.

Parting thought/shot: I wonder if I should add “Bodice Ripper” to my categories list?

So… how about Rumors? Well, it’s more of the same, but with different coloured dresses.

And yet, I think I will probably keep on reading. I can’t explain it. I think it has to do with the covers. Pretty.

(It would seem I’m not the only one who just can’t look away. Leila at bookshelves of doom feels the same-ish).

Ahem… MY TURN!

So… remember my post a few days ago about a certain book that I wanted so so so badly?

Take a look at this:

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(Hmmm… what’s that down there?)

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(Could it be… a mockingjay perhaps?)

(Opening package)

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I GOT A COPY I GOT A COPY I GOT A COPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Do I feel lucky? Oh yes.

Do I feel just the teensiest bit sheepish? Um, yes.

Thank you Scholastic!!! I promise not to tell any secrets and to be good, ’cause Scholastic editor man David Levithan asked me to.

You will have to forgive me in advance, because there will certainly be plenty more cheering and gushing later. I think I’m going to reread THE HUNGER GAMES first, so that I can have the whole story right there in my mind as I head into Book Two.

Twenty Boy Summer Giveaway

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*The giveaway has ended. Thanks for your best summer stories! You will receive an email if you are one of the winners.*

Today I am happy to announce another giveaway. This time, 5 winners will each receive a hardcover copy of Sarah Ockler’s debut, Twenty Boy Summer. This one is high on my TBR list. Here’s a teaser:

“Don’t worry, Anna. I’ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it.”
“Okay.”
“Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?”
“Don’t worry.” I laughed. “It’s our secret, right?”

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie—she’s already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

Here is a video of Sarah chatting about her book:

So, to enter, all you need to do is leave a comment below, sharing one of your best summer memories ever. The contest will run until June 30ish.

Zen Monday: Picture + Poem

door

Traces

With so much new
all the time
it’s easy to lose track
of the old things.

Ancient walls crumbling underground,
letters tied up in dusty ribbon,
broken artifacts asleep
inside labeled boxes,
songs hummed by grandmothers,
yellowed photographs of faces
no one knows
anymore.

All these old things,
mysteries, fragments
left behind.

Stories are everywhere,
patient neighbors
to everyday matters.

You have to listen
and even then
secrets generations old
have a way of staying
locked in silence,
all that intrigue and loss and
love worn away
to the barest whisper,
a golden trace
against the dark.

(Copyright K. Millar 2009. Please do not reprint without permission).

(Photo by Celine Nadeau).